Thursday, 14th August, Springs and Chains of Ponds South of the Roper.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Sixth Expedition
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Thursday, 14th August, Springs and Chains of Ponds South of the Roper. Started at half-past seven, intending to follow a south-east course to make the Mussel Camp on the 23rd of June; but, meeting with another large creek with continuous water, deep, broad, and boggy, also a number of springs and water creeks, so boggy that I could not cross them, had to twist and turn about very frequently, and sometimes to go quite back again, before I could clear them--which brought me often close to the river again. About eleven o'clock, as I was approaching the east end of a low rocky range of hills, where I expected to get rid of all the boggy ground, I was again stopped by a broad, deep, and boggy sheet of water. A few minutes before coming to it, I was seized with a violent pain under the right shoulder-blade, which deprived me of breath and power of utterance: it darted through my body like lightning, causing the most excruciating pain that I have ever felt during my life. I had to halt the party, and was lifted from the saddle completely powerless. After dismounting, the pain became so violent, and the torture so excessive, that I thought my career in the world was coming quickly to a close. I was completely paralysed, and a cold perspiration was pouring in streams over my face and body. Recollecting I had got a mixture of laudanum and other strong aromatic tinctures, had it sought for and took a strong dose. After suffering an hour the extremes of torture, I began to feel the good effects of the medicine, and obtained a little relief from the pain ceasing for a few seconds; but still very bad. In a short time afterwards I was able to bear being lifted into the saddle; again my sufferings commenced, for every false step the horse made sent the pain through my body like a knife, and almost brought me to the ground. Being determined to reach the Mussel Camp to-night, and get quit of the Roper River, which has been so unfortunate to me in drowning two of my best horses, I kept my saddle until I reached it--which was not till near five o'clock. Such a day of torture I never experienced before. On reaching our tracks, about four miles from the Mussel Camp, another of the horses knocked up, and we could not get him a step further. I expected to have lost him long before this; he is one of those that failed on my last journey, and was sent back from Mount Margaret. Light winds from east.