- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Second Expedition
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
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Sunday, 26th June, The Douglas. Started at 8.25, on a bearing of 217 degrees. Crossed the lagoon, which was rather boggy in some places. It is now more than two miles broad, with a white crust on the top, composed of soda and salt, but mostly salt. It must be supplied by springs. At three miles crossed a salt creek, with salt water. It empties itself into the lagoon, and is the same that passes by the Strangway Springs. I can see nothing of any springs at this part of the creek. Steered upon the same course to intersect my outward tracks. Saw some natives walking along a valley. They did not observe us. I hailed them, and an old man came up to us. He was rather frightened, and trembled a good deal. He seemed to wonder and be pleased at my smoking a pipe of tobacco. I gave one to him and a piece of tobacco, but he did not know how to manage the cutting, filling, and lighting operations. I did these for him. In the first attempt he put the wrong end into his mouth, which he found rather hot, and quickly took it out. I then showed him the right end. He managed a whiff or two, but he did not fancy it. He seemed very much pleased with the pipe, which he kept. I then made him understand that I wanted water. He pointed the same course that I was steering. In a short time another made his appearance in the distance. By a little persuasion from the old fellow, he was induced to come up, and in a short time became very talkative, and very anxious to show us the water. In a few minutes a third made his appearance, and came up. He was the youngest--a stout, able-bodied fellow, about twenty-four years old. The others were much older, but were very powerful men, and all three in excellent condition. The women did not come up, but remained in the flat. I expected they were going to take us to some springs, and was disappointed when they showed us some rain water in a deep hole. They were quite surprised to see our horses drink it all. They would go no further with us, nor show us any more, and, in a short time after, left us. We struck our outward tracks, and steered for the Elizabeth Springs, where we arrived after dark.