Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 2 - Ch 4
Written by Edward John Eyre
June 15. — Early this morning the boat came on shore for me, and I went on board to take a farewell breakfast, in the Mississippi, and to wish good bye to her kind-hearted people. At eight I landed with the Captain, got up my horses and loaded them, a matter of some little time and trouble, now my stock of provisions and other things was so greatly augmented; in addition too to all I had accumulated before, the Captain insisted now upon my taking six bottles of wine, and a tin of sardines.
Having received a few letters to be posted at Albany for France, I asked the Captain if there was anything else I could do for him, but he said there was not. The only subject upon which he was at all anxious, was to ascertain whether a war had broken out between France and England or not. In the event of this being the case, he wished me not to mention having seen a French vessel upon the coast, and I promised to comply with his request.
After wishing my kind host good bye, and directing Wylie to lead one of the horses in advance, I brought up the rear, driving the others before me. Once again we had a long and arduous journey before us, and were wending our lonely way through the unknown and untrodden wilds. We were, however, in very different circumstances now, to what we had been in previous to our meeting with the French ship. The respite we had had from our labours, and the generous living we had enjoyed, had rendered us comparatively fresh and strong. We had now with us an abundance, not only of the necessaries, but of the luxuries of life; were better clothed, and provided against the inclemency of the weather than we had been; and entered upon the continuation of our undertaking with a spirit, an energy, and a confidence, that we had long been strangers to.
From the great additional weight we had now to carry upon the horses, we were again obliged to give up riding even in turn, and had both to walk. This was comparatively of little consequence, however, now we were so well provided with every thing we could require, and the country appeared to be so well watered, that we could arrange our stages almost according to our own wishes.
Steering to the north-west we passed over a sandy country, covered with low heathy plants, and grasstrees, and having granite elevations scattered over its surface at intervals. Under these hills fresh water swamps and native wells were constantly met with, and at one of them we encamped for the night, after a stage of about four miles.
During the day, we passed a variety of beautiful shrubs, and among them were many different kind of Banksias, one was quite new to me, and had a scarlet flower, which was very handsome. The fossil formation still constituted the geological character of the country, most of the lower ridges of rock intervening between the various hills of granite, exhibiting shells in great abundance. In the more level parts, the surface was so coated over with sand, that nothing else could be seen. I have no doubt, however, that the whole of the substrata would have been found an uninterrupted continuation of the tertiary deposit.
At night I observed native fires about a mile from us, in a direction towards the sea; but the natives did not come near us, nor was I myself anxious to come into communication with them whilst my party was so small.
The evening had set in with steady rain, which continuing with little intermission during the night, wet us considerably.