Peron Peninsular, western Australia, September 1818.
'The savages on the shore scarcely allowed us to approach them pretty near, except for a few moments: they fled with astonishing rapidity when we attempted to go close to them; yet I wished to ascertain the character of their physiognomy, and, of the different marks on their bodies, to be enabled to impart more truth to my drawings. ... I had already remarked, that previous to their making certain movements, the savages, who seemed disposed to attack us, frequently turned their eyes toward an old man, painted with stripes of various colours, who seemed to give them orders, and was distinguished from the rest by a shell hanging to his girdle [see lot 39], and covering his navel... In vain did I show the old man a white handkerchief, and make motions as if I would throw it, in order to give it him; he still preserved the most immovable stillness. At last I recollected that I had a pair of castanets in my pocket, and presuming that the sound might please them, by playing a sort of tune on them, I began to rattle them briskly. Judge of my pleasure: the old man rose with astonishment, and ... fell to dancing in such a grotesque manner that we were ready to die with laughing.' J. Arago, Narrative