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John Gilbert diary entry

6 May 1845

Page 90. Volume 2

[in left margin]

1232

undetermined what to do, in a little time after we heard screams α crys from the Women α Children behind, at which all the Black fellows immediately ran off in that direction, as they passed several of them shook their waddies at us as if threatening us if their wives α children had met with any harm. The cause of this I concluded was the approach of the Dr α Charlie, and so it proved, the appearance of this addition to our numbers caused quite a dif=ferent conduct to ensue, the natives were probably supposing our number might be increased still more, [and therefore they] thought it necessary to appease our an=ger, and at their reappearance the Dr spoke to them across the water in a friendly spirit, which they returned by throwing to us roasted seed vessels of the blue Lotus, and seemed quite satisfied that we were not angry with them as we immediately commenced eating them in their presence and made them understand that we liked them very much, their [sic] was nothing very remarkable in the flavour, but still they are evidently very nutritious and as the plant grows all over the Lagoons α lakes very abundantly, it very probably forms at this period of the year one of their principal arti=cles of food. I consider it fortunate that our absentee's came in as they did, for from the Boldness α gestures of two of the men, I have not the slightest doubt they would eventually and that very soon have induced the others to run in upon us, they however could not have surprised us very much as we were all fairly prepared for them, at each attempt to step into the water, I succeeded in some way in driving them back till our numbers were thus opportunely increased, which after all was my principal object, and I was much more satisfied that it ultimately ended as it did harmlessly. The Dr bore the ill news