Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/421

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islets in a state of rapid growth. I have written rough notes of our little trip, and I shall probably send them for your amusement, or perhaps the substance of them will be inserted in our newspaper in some shape or other, but not in so familiar a style as written in the notes. On the whole the trip was interesting, though we had some rough weather at sea, and I had an interesting interview with a large body of natives who probably then for the first time came in contact with white men. This was near the flat-topped range already referred to. Their language differed materially from that of the people here, but many words were identical, or nearly so. I managed to make myself partly understood by them. We were also at Gantheaume Bay, and saw the whale boats lying, where Capt. Grey was wrecked, from which place he walked to Perth.

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Feb. 3rd.—I feel myself as yet rather confused, and forget exactly how matters stood before I went away. I dare say I shall recollect by degrees. My grapes have ripened since I went away. I attacked them to-day with all the eagerness of appetite acquired by the exercise and salt fare of a sea trip, and I wish I had not taken so many. By the way, we got abundance of delicious rock oysters on the Abrolhos, and one day we had very nice soup made from the haliotis or aures marinæ, which you must know as the ear-shaped shell you have often seen. My former mention of the arrival of the Beagle was premature. Like coming events, she had, I suppose, "cast her shadow before." She arrived the day after we did. She came round from Sydney by Torres Straits, and has discovered on the main, in the neighbourhood of Port Essington, two rivers—one, the Victoria; their boats went up for perhaps 130 miles, and the ship itself went up the Adelaide for 10 or 12 miles, and their boats went further; but the land did not appear to be very available, and the climate was so hot as to make it almost uninhabitable for Europeans—at