Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/279

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103
MR. CHALMERS' NARRATIVE.

by a noisy crowd all unarmed, and extremely anxious to trade with us. There was no mistaking their friendliness, and we allowed them round the boat as friends. We pulled out of the inlet, and round on to the beach, where we landed and again met the people. They had very few things worth trading for. They were greatly delighted with pocket handkerchiefs, and danced and shouted when they possessed a piece of red cloth.

Getting on board we were under way by eight o'clock, and steaming all day we anchored at the Jabbering Islands about 6 p.m. We did not think the General looked worse, only he complained of feeling terribly prostrated, and at night could not sleep. He would not take quinine in any form whatever. On Saturday (28th) before daylight, we were under way and off for Lydia, where we arrived about 2 p.m. We spent several hours ashore, and everywhere met with kindness. Several boys from Queensland were here, who told us frequently, "White man no good. New Guinea man very good;" "White man no gammon, too much fight."

When passing through Chads Bay, we had difficulty in getting canoes alongside. One approaching with clothed men, our interpreter recognized boys as some who had been returned in "Victoria," and knew they belonged to a place where a labour vessel killed several natives and stole quite a large number. Of the latter were some of those in the canoe.

On Sunday morning, the 29th, the General was much worse. We arrived at Dinner Island about 10 a.m., got mails on board, and away to Suau. When reading his letters he seemed to revive, and spoke quite hopefully and pleasantly of his return next year, when together we should do the north-east coast and D'Entrecasteaux Group well, visiting every nook and corner, and making excursions inland, meeting the vessel at points decided on.

At 2 p.m. Mr. Forbes and I landed at South Cape, and the "Blackall" steamed away for Australia, we hoping that the next news would be that our good kind General would have quite recovered, and that a quiet rest in Hobart with Lady Scratchier and family would set him up for another season.