May 4. — After an early breakfast we gave the horses as much water as they chose to drink, and removing their hobbles gave them full liberty to range where they liked. I then left Wylie to continue his slumbers, and taking my rifle, walked about three miles among the sand-drifts to search for grass, but could find none, except the coarse vegetation that grew amongst the sand-drifts. I found two other places where the natives got water by digging, and have no doubt that it may be procured almost anywhere in these drifts, which extend for some miles, along the coast. Some black cockatoos made their appearance near the sand-hills, indicating, in connection with the change I had noticed in the vegetation, that we were now about entering a different and less difficult country than any we had yet traversed. These birds I knew never inhabited that description of country we had been so long travelling through. We had not seen one before, during our whole journey, and poor Wylie was quite delighted at the idea of our vicinity to a better region.

During the day a strict look out was kept for the other two natives, and at night, after watering the horses and concealing the saddles, we took our provisions and arms up among the sand-hills, and slept there at some distance from the water: that if they travelled onwards by moon-light, they might not come upon us unawares whilst sleeping. If they had continued their route to the westward, they would, I knew, both have a severe task to reach the water, and be unable to go to it without our knowledge; the youngest boy I did not think would prove equal to so arduous a task, but the elder one I thought might, if his courage and perseverance did not fail him in travelling so far, without any indications to lead him to hope for final success, save the fact of our having gone on before. Upon the whole, however, I thought it more than probable that on finding they could not get Wylie to join them, and that they could not keep pace with us, they would turn back, and endeavour to put in practice their original intention of trying to reach Fowler’s Bay. Still it was necessary to be cautious and vigilant. A few days at most would decide whether they were advancing this way or not, and until satisfied upon this point, I determined to take every precaution in my power to guard against a surprise. My hand was dreadfully painful at night, and quite deprived me of all rest.