Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/107

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
East Coast, & V.D.'s Land.]


came with friendly intentions, set fire to the heap without hesitation. This was no sooner done, than they retired precipitately to a small hill, and threw a shower of stones, by which captain Marion and the commander of the Castries were both wounded. Some shots were then fired; and the French, returning to their boats, coasted along the beach to an open place in the middle of the bay, where there was no hill or eminence from whence they could be annoyed. The savages sent their women and children into the woods, and followed the boats along shore; and on their putting in to land, one of the natives set up a hideous cry, and immediately a shower of spears was discharged. A black servant was hurt in the leg; and a firing then commenced, by which several of the natives were wounded, and one killed. They fled to the woods, making a frightful howling, but carried off such of the wounded as were unable to follow. Fifteen men, armed with muskets, pursued them; and on entering amongst the trees, they found a dying savage. This man was a little more than five feet seven inches high; his breast was marked like those of the Mozambique Caffres, and his skin appeared as black; but on washing off the soot and dirt, his natural colour appeared to be reddish. The spears, which it was feared might have been poisoned, were proved not to be so by the facility with which the wound of the black servant was healed.

After the flight of the savages, captain Marion sent two officers with detachments, to search for water, and for trees proper to make a foremast and bowsprit for the Castries; but after traversing two leagues of country without meeting a single inhabitant, they returned unsuccessful in both pursuits; nor could any fresh water be found during the six days which the ships remained in Frederik Hendrik's Bay.

The land here is quite sandy, but covered with brush-wood, and with small trees which the savages had mostly stripped of the bark for cooking their shell fish. The greater part of the trees were

burnt at the foot; but amongst them there was a kind of pine, less