Thursday 3 November 1836

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

NOVEMBER 3.-This morning a boat containing some white men and one black woman, an aboriginal native, arrived to concert measures for discovering the ramblers. From the different accounts which we heard we really began to be very uneasy about them, but these people seemed to be under no apprehension as to their final safety. They said that the journey across the island which they proposed was utterly impossible, as the brushwood would so completely entangle them that they would lose their way and might never be found again, either alive or dead. But before I proceed any further I must give some account of the black woman, who, being the first native we had seen, excited our curiosity. Her clothing consisted of a red woollen cap, such as sailors often wear, and a shirt of the same material under a coat of thick leather, such as in England is used for harness and to cover trunks. Her countenance was pleasing, though perfectly black, and her hair not woolly, like that of African natives, but long and straight on the forehead. Her legs and feet were bare, and round her neck hung several rows of glass beads. Her chin was also ornamented with a kind of beard, and whiskers grew at the sides of her face. But what most surprised us was her musical voice, and the pleasing intonation with which she spoke the English language, for what she said she uttered with a proper accent and almost with fluency. Her height was about five feet six inches, and her age apparently about twenty-five years, but on being asked how old she was she replied, ” I cannot tell,” and this is the case with them all. She was taken into the steerage and regaled with biscuit and beef, which she seemed to relish exceedingly. She talked with great confidence as to being able to trace the young men, as she knew every part of the island. She added that there was no fear of their perishing, especially as they were provided with guns.

As soon, therefore, as it had been pointed out by the map on what part of the island the missing passengers had landed, the men, with the black woman, departed in the boat and Mr. Thomas accompanied them. He went to arrange with Mr. Hallett, who, with his family, had landed on the island and erected a tent there, as to what remuneration should be given for the search and how it should be conducted. At length it was agreed that four men and two women should set out immediately, with a sufficient supply of provisions and water, in a boat to that part where the young men had landed and follow them through the bush until they came up with them. For this service they were to receive six pounds. Accordingly they set off.

Mr. Thomas returned on board, and we then learnt that royalty itself had condescended to pay us a visit in the person of the black woman, for she was no other than the Princess Con, daughter of King Con, a chief of one of the native tribes. Her father was at that time on Kangaroo Island.

In the evening the sky was again illuminated by the burning brushwood.

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