A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay.
to the land, for some distance; the Indians keeping pace with her on the beach.  At last an officer in the boat made signs of a want of water, which it was judged would indicate his wish of landing.  The natives directly comprehended what he wanted, and pointed to a spot where water could be procured; on which the boat was immediately pushed in, and a landing took place.  As on the event of this meeting might depend so much of our future tranquillity, every delicacy on our side was requisite.  The Indians, though timorous, shewed no signs of resentment at the Governor’s going on shore; an interview commenced, in which the conduct of both parties pleased each other so much, that the strangers returned to their ships with a much better opinion of the natives than they had landed with; and the latter seemed highly entertained with their new acquaintance, from whom they condescended to accept of a looking glass, some beads, and other toys.

Owing to the lateness of our arrival, it was not my good fortune to go on shore until three days after this had happened, when I went with a party to the south side of the harbour, and had scarcely landed five minutes, when we were met by a dozen Indians, naked as at the moment of their birth, walking along the beach.  Eager to come to a conference, and yet afraid of giving offence, we advanced with caution towards them, nor would they, at first approach nearer to us than the distance of some paces.  Both parties were armed; yet an attack seemed as unlikely on their part, as we knew it to be on our own.

I had at this time a little boy, of not more than seven years of age, in my hand.  The child seemed to attract their attention very much, for they frequently pointed to him and spoke to each other; and as he was not frightened, I advanced with him towards them, at the same time baring his bosom and, shewing the whiteness of the skin.  On the cloaths being removed, they gave a loud exclamation, and one of the party, an old man, with a long beard, hideously ugly, came close to us.  I bade my little charge not to be afraid, and introduced him to the acquaintance of this uncouth personage.  The Indian, with great gentleness, laid his hand on the child’s hat, and afterwards felt his cloaths, muttering to himself all the while.  I found it necessary, however, by this time to send away the child, as such a close connection rather alarmed him; and in this, as the conclusion verified, I gave no offence to the old gentleman.  Indeed it was but putting ourselves on a par with them, as I had observed from the first, that some youths of their own, though considerably older than the one with us, were, kept back by the grown people.

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A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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