May 9. — The day was cold and cloudy, and we remained in camp to rest the horses, and diminish the weight of meat, which was greater than our horses could well carry in their present state. On getting up the horses to water them at noon, I was grieved to find the foal of my favourite mare (which died on the 28th March) missing; how we had lost it I could not make out, but as its tracks were not any where visible near the camp, it was evident that it had never come there at all. In leaving our last halting place my time and attention had been so taken up with getting the weak horse along, that I had left it entirely to Wylie to bring up the others, and had neglected my usual precaution of counting to see if all were there before we moved away. The little creature must have been lying down behind the sand-hills asleep, when we left, or otherwise it would never have remained behind the others. Being very desirous not to lose this foal, which had now accompanied me so far and got through all the worst difficulties, I saddled the strongest of the horses, and mounting Wylie, I set off myself on foot with him to search for it. We had not gone far from the camp, when Wylie wished me to go back, offering to go on by himself; and as I was loth to leave our provisions and ammunition to the mercy of any native that might chance to go that way, I acceded to his request, and delivering to him the rifle, returned to the encampment. Wylie had pledged himself to the due execution of this errand, and I had some confidence that he would not deceive me. Hour after hour passed away without his return, and I began to be uneasy at his long delay, and half repented that I had been so foolish as to trust the rifle in his hands. At last, a little after dark, I was delighted to see him return, followed by the foal, which he had found six miles away and still travelling backwards in search of the horses. Having given him an extra allowance of bread as a reward for his good conduct, we took our tea and lay down for the night.
During the day, whilst Wylie was absent, I had employed my time in collecting firewood from the back of the sand-hills. In this occupation I was pleased to meet with the silver-bark tea-tree, another change in the vegetation, which still further convinced me that we were rapidly advancing into a more practicable country.