“Let Peter come,” said Hartog when the boat was alongside. “I would have him engrave a plate to be set in some safe place, so that it may be known that I, Dirk Hartog, landed here, to any who may come after me.”
When we had come to the shore Hartog, taking the boat’s crew with him, set off inland, leaving me to my work. The plate was soon finished, when I fastened it to a rock out of reach of the waves.
It bore the following inscription:
“On the 25th of October arrived here the ship ‘Endraght,’ of Amsterdam; first supercargo Gilles Miebas Van Luck; Captain Dirk Hartog, of Amsterdam. She set sail again on the 27th of the same month. Bantum was second supercargo; Janstins first pilot.
“Peter Ecoores Van Bu, in the year 1616.”
I engraved the date upon which the ship was to sail according to directions given me by the captain, though whether the “Endraght” did sail at that time I cannot say, by reason of an adventure which befell me.
When I had finished my work I began to think in what manner I might employ myself until my companions returned, and, perceiving a grove of trees not far distant from where I stood, I determined to rest a while in the shade. As I penetrated these silent forests I beheld sights wholly novel. Parrots and paroquets flew among the trees, as also large white birds with sulphur crests, the like of which I had never seen before. Presently I came to a stream which took its course through a valley, and, kneeling, I was about to quench my thirst when I felt a hand upon my shoulder. Springing to my feet, I was confronted by a band of savages, many of whom held their spears its though about to strike. They were all quite naked, their bodies marked with white streaks. I tried to make them understand I came as a friend, and endeavoured to retrace my steps to the open, where I hoped my shipmates might see me and effect a rescue, but I now perceived that whichever way I turned my path was barred by these wild men. The savages now began to jabber to each other in a jargon which I could not comprehend, and presently two of them laid hold of me, one by each arm, and in spite of my protests and such resistance as I made, forced me through the scrub inland. Some of the tribe followed, others went on ahead, flitting like shadows among the trees, the journey being performed at a rate which made it hard for me to keep pace with them.
All day we continued to penetrate the bush toward the interior of the country, and just before dark we came to a native village, where we found the tribe assembled at their camp fires. There must have been several hundred blacks in this camp, and many gathered round to look at me, although they did not appear to regard me with as much curiosity as might have been expected, from which I conjectured that white men were not unknown to them.
After a meal of fish and wild duck, together with a pasty kind of bread made from the bulrush root, which I found palatable, I was permitted to lie down in one of their gunyahs upon a bed of freshly-picked leaves, where, in spite of my anxieties, I soon fell asleep.