Billeder på siden

the village, which the inhabitants did not seem inclined to dispose of. Among the women were some good-looking girls, attired in a piece of cloth which reached from the loins down to the calf of the leg, and over the head and shoulders was thrown a piece of coarse cloth. Their lips, teeth, and mouths were stained and disfigured by the frequent use of beetle-nut and lime.

Yesterday evening my attention was attracted by an old man who had two most singular teeth in his lower jaw. I wished to get him on deck to examine them; but could not. I at first concluded that the supposed teeth were pieces of bone introduced into his lower jaw, in shape and size like the teeth of a full grown ox. This morning my surprize was increased by observing several men in the canoes alongside with teeth much larger than those I saw yesterday in the chief's lower jaw. I prevailed on two of them to come on board, one of whom I requested to sell me what had excited my wonder ; which however I found firmly fixed in his jaws, and not an artificial ornament as I had supposed it. Anxious to possess this dental curiosity, I offered a joiner's plane-iron for it, and then an adze ; but neither was considered an equivalent. Resolved to procure it if possible, I exhibited a large axe, on seeing which one of these gentry, who had a most enormous tooth in the front of his lower

jaw, commenced dragging it out but experienced great difficulty in the attempt ; I therefore got the surgeon's tooth-drawing instrument with a view of assisting him, which not being sufficiently large, I had recourse to the carpenter's pincers. With this the doctor got hold of the tooth as if in play, and by a sudden jerk twisted it out of the jaw. He bled freely, demanded the axe, which having secured, he jumped about with delight at the advantage he had gained by the exchange. I learnt that this person was a priest, and of course a magician, such as are on most of the islands in the Pacific. He left the ship for some time, but returned in the afternoon accoutred like an European pedlar, with a bag at his back containing several pieces of wove cloth for sale. It was closed at the top by a kind of strings and suspended from his neck by a belt. Having come on board he pulled off his bag, and began to talk and sing, without seeming to experience any inconvenience from the loss of his tooth, I ordered him some yam and pork, but before it came up he pretended to be seized with violent fits, during which he sung, cried, laughed, and appeared to converse with a spirit who inspired him. Our people on board stared with amazement: and the Serang told me that this was a bad man who would bewitch the ship. He said he once saw a fellow of the kind at Muscat, who used to create living goats out of wood and sell them.

The Marquis of Wyemattee observed that there were many similar instances of inspiration at New Zealand, both with men and women, who while the fits lasted invariably spoke truth. All this time the canoes kept at a respectful distance from the ship ; except one, from which two men took


their station in the chains, and intimated that the priest should have a tokey. I accordingly presented him with an adze and string of beads; but he pretended to be too much engaged with the gods to pay any attention to sublunary matters, and went on ranting as before. Soon after, however, he suddenly started up, hooted and hallowed most vociferously, opened his bag, threw the pork, yam, adze, and beads into it (being now sufficiently disengaged to attend secular affairs), handed his bag over the side into his canoe, into which he leaped with surprizing agility, and pushing off kept braying till we lost sight of him. The seamen, who are ever ready to make merry at the expence of their betters, christened him Parson Bedford (from his resemblance, as they said, to a clergyman at Van Diemen’s Land, particularly about the lips) by which appellation he was known during all his subsequent visits.

The people at this island bury their dead under ground. The females are modest, and are betrothed in marriage when young to boys of their own age or to adults. Persons of rank



as many wives as they can maintain, but the poorer people are satisfied with one each. Fowls of the barn-door breed, and pigs, are to be found wild in the woods.

13th.Cloudy weather with light rain at intervals throughout this day. I observed the latitude at noon 10° 46' S. which places the head of the bay in 10° 46' 45' S.

Two boats were employed bringing off water from the river they entered yesterday, to fill our empty casks. About two hundred yards from the river a spring of fresh water gushes out from the rocks, which I suppose to be the wateringplace in the account of the Spanish settleinent at this island.

I found his excellency Morgan McMurragh fast asleep to day while charged to look out for the safety of the ship, and to give notice if the boats were attacked on shore. I chastised him for this negligence, at which he was offended, and entered as one of the crew in the watering boat; and on the boat returning, the officer informed me that he had deserted into the woods. This did not make me uneasy, as I knew Morgan too well to suppose he would remain on an island from which there was not the least chance of being able to return to his own country. Nor was I mistaken; for two hours had scarcely elapsed when I observed him standing on the shore, surrounded by the natives, who were ad.

[blocks in formation]

miring the beautiful tattooed lines on his face; and when I sent a boat on shore, his excellency embarked in it with apparent pleasure at being rescued from consequences to which his sulki. ness had nearly exposed him.

About half of the European seamen were at this time confined to their beds by fever and ague, as well as M. Chaigneau and our draughts. man; and several others complained, but only those who had been exposed in the boats at Mannicolo were seriously attacked by sickness, I in consequence called a council, pursuant to my instructions, to discuss the propriety of making further search among the islands for the Europeans who escaped from the wrecks, when it was unanimously declared that further search would be inexpedient.

The Tucopian interpreter having quitted his island under a positive engagement to be returned when his services were no longer required, intimated his wish that the tenor of it should be fulfilled. I offered him a large remuneration if he would consent to remain here, or to give him the long boat to take himself, his two countrymen, and Martin Bushart and his wife to Tucopia ; but both proposals were rejected: the first, on the plea that he was old, and wished to end his days among his friends; and the second, on account of the time they would have to wait here for a westerly wind, during which the peo

« ForrigeFortsæt »