May 29. — After breakfasting upon a spoonful of flour a-piece, mixed with a little water and boiled into a paste, we again proceeded. At ten miles we came to a small salt water stream, running seawards; in passing up it to look for a crossing place, Wylie caught two opossums, in the tops of some tea-trees, which grew on the banks. As I hoped more might be procured, and perhaps fresh water, by tracing it higher up, I took the first opportunity of crossing to the opposite side, and there encamped; Wylie now went out to search for opossums, and I traced the stream upwards. In my route I passed several very rich patches of land in the valleys, and on the slopes of the hills enclosing the watercourse. These were very grassy and verdant, but I could find no fresh water, nor did I observe any timber except the tea-tree. After tracing the stream until it had ceased running, and merely became a chain of ponds of salt water, I returned to the camp a good deal fatigued; Wylie came in soon after, but had got nothing but a few yams. The general character of the country on either side the watercourse, was undulating, of moderate elevation, and affording a considerable extent of sheep pasturage. The cockatoos of King George’s Sound, (without the yellow crest) were here in great numbers. Kangaroos also abounded; but the country had not brush enough to enable us to get sufficiently near to shoot them.
During the day Wylie had caught two opossums, and as these were entirely the fruit of his own labour and skill, I did not interfere in their disposal; I was curious, moreover, to see how far I could rely upon his kindness and generosity, should circumstances ever compel me to depend upon him for a share of what he might procure. At night, therefore, I sat philosophically watching him whilst he proceeded to get supper ready, as yet ignorant whether I was to partake of it or not. After selecting the largest of the two animals, he prepared and cooked it, and then put away the other where he intended to sleep. I now saw that he had not the remotest intention of giving any to me, and asked him what he intended to do with the other one. He replied that he should be hungry in the morning, and meant to keep it until then. Upon hearing this I told him that his arrangements were very good, and that for the future I would follow the same system also; and that each should depend upon his own exertions in procuring food; hinting to him that as he was so much more skilful than I was, and as we had so very little flour left, I should be obliged to reserve this entirely for myself, but that I hoped he would have no difficulty in procuring as much food as he required. I was then about to open the flour-bag and take a little out for my supper, when he became alarmed at the idea of getting no more, and stopped me, offering the other opossum, and volunteering to cook it properly for me. Trifling as this little occurrence was, it read me a lesson of caution, and taught me what value was to be placed upon the assistance or kindness of my companion, should circumstances ever place me in a situation to be dependent upon him; I felt a little hurt too, at experiencing so little consideration from one whom I had treated with the greatest kindness, and who had been clothed and fed upon my bounty, for the last fifteen months.