Friday 23 September 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

At about 5 o’clock on Friday evening we also returned to the vessel, and the following morning again set sail for Australia.

The ship of war I before mentioned, named the Hyacinth, a noble vessel, homeward bound after a three years’ absence, likewise set sail for England while we were passing in our boats to the ship amidst the hearty cheers of the crew. These were heartily responded to by us all on board the Africaine, and the Hyacinth’s band played ” Rule, Britannia.” The man-of-war carried our letters, one of which was from myself to Mr. Leonard Baugh, our agent in London. On the previous day, as Mrs. Hallett and I, with the children, were taking a walk, we met some of the crew of the Hyacinth, who immediately recognized us as their countrymen. Each of them had a beautiful ostrich feather stuck in his hat, and these I gladly would have purchased to send to some friends in England. I knew, however, that with the characteristic generosity of sailors they would most likely have insisted on my having them gratis. This, of course, I would not have agreed to.

While taking our walk, Mrs. Hallett’s servant and mine went in another direction, and happening to come upon a native burying-ground, they gathered some flowers which they found growing there. When our landlady and her daughter saw them they inquired where they got them, and on finding that they were from the cemetery belonging to the aborigines they expressed their regret, as the natives consider it a certain omen of evil, and would not pluck a flower or anything else from a grave on any account. We expressed our regret that the girls had done so, though it was entirely through ignorance of their customs. Nevertheless, we hoped no harm would result from it to anyone, but it appeared from what they said that even the white people entertain the same superstition respecting the graves of the black population as sailors do of the drowning of a cat.

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