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John Gilbert diary entry

28 January 1845

Page 15. Volume 2

nor could they utter a sentence understood by other, added to which the horses kept constantly deviating from their course in their anxiety to get under the shade of every little tree they came at all near, so much did they suffer from the heat α thirst. and as if misfortunes were never to come singly the Dr broke his compass glass thus rendering it nearly useless as a guide, the Peaks therefore in all probability from standing so high and forming such conspicuous landmarks was the means of their saving their lives, one night more and the horses certainly [would] have sunk under it, and it is scarcely possible that Calvert could have walked in, nor do I think the Dr could even have done so much suffering as he was from one of the most weakening illness in addition to the fatigues of hunger thirst α heat, what would have rendered it the more distressing had they been lost, was that we should have been under no apprehension on their account, untill [sic] too much time had passed, and they would inevitably have perished perhaps within reach of help, the Dr on two former occasions when he was out longer than we thought was necessary to accomplish his object, returned just in time to prevent us going in search of him and on each occasion almost chided us for imagining him in danger, this made us feel a confidence during his absence, that I question whether we should have thought it necessary to go in pursuit of him had he been absent 5 or 6 days, a time more than sufficient to have caused death to both them and their horses. this I afterwards shewed to the Dr and he saw very plainly that he had run an immense hazard of his life I believe however it will have the effect of preventing him ever again running into a similar danger. After drinking incessantly a great quantity of warm tea, they were both so far recovered as to relate to us a brief history of their sufferings, α the Dr describes the country α Range as the most interesting to a Geologist of any we have yet seen, on the Plains he found Fossilised wood - Agate α Chalcedony - the Peaks and domed mountains are of Domite formation, connected in the range by very slightly elevated ridges in some parts in others by long ridges of Sandstone α Basalt, the latter easily detected by having grass to their summits. the Dr fully expected in such a range and with such Geological characters to have found numerous springs at least, but he neither found springs or water in the courses, the light nature of the soil being every where so porous the water filters through very rapidly especially when exposed to the evaporating effects of such heat as is experienced on these plains, all the plains α country generally give evidence of their being at times a plen=tiful supply of water, at which time the whole country must present the most verdant appearance from the great quantity of grass α herbage, which now from the double effects of the Natives fires, and great heat of the sun presents the most arid α thirsty appearance imaginable. The extent of the Drs exploring was about 20 miles following the range, and here at the return point, he could see Peaks and tops of mountains resembling a line of tents all apparantly rising in isolated positions from one immense ex=tent of level Plains. By sunset they had very much recovered after drinking the whole time from their first coming without five minutes cessation till I began to feel some alarm and as I frequent=ly expressed it [to] them, their only reply was I [should] feel not at all uneasy but my mouth is yet very dry and they would again recommence. I calculated the quantity of Tea α Gelatine soup eaten