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house, on the matting which constitutes the flooring, with his face towards the open malái, into which the circle on either side extends. On his right and left hand sits a mataboole, who order and arrange the ceremonies alternately in the manner directly to be shown, and whom, for the sake of distinction, we shall call presiding matabooles. On the lower hand of either of them sits the next greatest chief present, and another, who may be his equal or a little inferior to him, on the opposite side, near the other mataboole. After these, come other chiefs, matabooles, and mooas, sitting more or less according to their rank; for as it frequently happens that the higher chiefs are not the first that come, the places due to their rank are found occupied by persons inferior to them, and rather than disturb the company, they take their seats a little out of the proper order. As a general rule, however, the higher chiefs sit towards the top; for it is not so much in the order of sitting that their rank is paid respect to, as in the order of their being served, which is done with the most scrupulous exactness. It is the characteristic of a mataboole, to know how to serve out cava and provisions according to the rank of individuals, so as not to give offence. Thus, the ring extends itself on either hand of the presiding chief, but it is in general not an exact circle, the greatest diameter dividing the top from the bottom, which last is rather less curved than the top. About one third of the ring which constitutes the bottom, is generally oc

*It must be recollected, their houses are rather of an oval form, closed at the two ends and open in the front and back, the eaves coming within about four feet of the ground.

cupied by the young chiefs and sons of matabooles belonging to the chief who presides; and in the middle of these, exactly opposite the chief, sits the man who is to mix and prepare the cava after it is chewed. He is generally a mooa, tooa, or cook, though sometimes a chief; at any rate, he must be able to perform his task, which is not an easy one at large parties, with strength, dexterity, and grace. Behind those at the bottom of the ring, sits the body of the people, which, on extraordinary occasions, may consist of three or four thousand individuals, chiefly men, the number of women being comparatively small. If either of the presiding matabooles now discovers any person of rank sitting much below the place he ought to occupy, he desires the individual who sits in that place to change situations with him; or if he sees a chief coming after the ring is formed, he orders some one to retire, and calls out to the chief by his name, saying, "Here is a place for you.

Before we go further, we must make an important distinction between what we have here called the bottom and the rest of the ring. The latter, beginning with the chief, and advancing onwards on either side, constituting about two thirds of the whole ring, consists of but a single row of individuals, and this, for the sake of distinction, we shall denominate the superior circle; the bottom, which may be considered only the front of the body of the people, we shall name the inferior circle; and the body of the people, who are closely seated together indiscriminately, we shall call the exterior circle.

No person, though he be a chief of high

* i. e. One row behind another, with their faces towards the chief.




rank, can sit in the superior circle at the same time that his father is there (or any superior relation), even though he be at a considerable distance; and if he be already seated there, when his father comes, he must necessarily retire to the inferior or exterior circle, no matter which, out of respect to his superior relation. In either of the other circles, however, father and son may sit near to each other if they please. On this account, the superior circle is alone considered the true cava party; all the rest, both inferior and exterior, being rather to be considered attendants, and persons looking on, although several of them frequently obtain their share of provisions and cava, according to the quantity that there may be. From this circumstance it happens, that the inferior ring is generally composed of the sons of those chiefs and matabooles, who belong to the presiding chief (forming his cow nofo), who are perhaps situated in the superior or true ring; and that very great chiefs are sometimes seated in the exterior circle; it being thought no particular advantage to be in the inferior, unless for those who wish to be assiduous in serving out the cava, which is an honourable office. During the late king's life, his son, the present king, usually sat in the inferior or exterior circle, and assisted in chewing the root and serving it out.

The company being thus all arranged, the provisions, if they have not been already brought, are now fetched by the cooks belonging to the chief at at the head of the company, and who do this without receiving any orders. If the cava is not already brought, one of the prosiding matabooles perhaps calls out to one of the cooks in the exteior ring, who immediately rises and advances,

through the inferior ring towards the mataboole, and, sitting down before him, receives orders to go to the chief's home, and fetch such a root or such a quantity of cava. When he returns he enters the ring as before, through the inferior circle, bearing the cava root in his arms. If the provisions are coming in at the same time, the man with the cava advances at the head, amidst the thanks of the company, and proceeds close up to the chief and sits down, laying the cava root before him. The provisions are placed about eight or ten paces off, on the ground, and the cooks immediately retire to their places in the exterior circle. In the mean while, the man who has brought the cava remains seated before the chief till he receives orders from the same presiding mataboole, to take the cava root to be broken up and chewed. He accordingly rises, and carries the root to the man opposite the chief, who sits in the middle of the inferior circle, places the root before him, and retires to his seat. The root is now split into small pieces by the man who is to mix the cava, and those about him; then scraped clean with muscle-shells, &c., and handed to those in the inferior and exterior circle, to be chewed. There is now heard a universal buzz throughout this part of the company, which forms a curious contrast to the silence that reigned before, several crying out from all quarters, my ma cava; my, my ma cava; my he cava; give me some cava; give me cava-some cava: each of those who intend to chew it crying out for some to be handed to them. No one offers to chew the cava but young persons who have good teeth, clean mouths, and have no colds: women frequently assist. It is astonishing

how remarkably dry they preserve the root, while it is undergoing this process of mastication. In about two minutes, each person having chewed his quantity, takes it out of his mouth with his hand, and puts it on a piece of plantain or banana leaf; or sometimes he raises the leaf to his mouth, and puts it off his tongue in the form of a ball, of tolerable consistence, (particularly if it be dry cava root). The different portions of cava being now all chewed, which is known by the silence that ensues, nobody calling for any, some one takes the wooden bowl* from the exterior circle, and places it on the ground before the man who is to make the infusion. In the mean while, each person who sits at any distance from the inferior circle, passes on his portion to another till it is received by three or four persons, who are collecting it, and depositing it in the wooden bowl. It is not, ' however, thrown in promiscuously: each portion is kept distinct and separate from the rest, till at length the whole inside of the vessel becomes thickly studded, beginning at the bottom, and going up on every side towards the rim. This is done that a judgment may afterwards be formed of the quantity of beverage that it will make.

The cava being thus deposited in the bowl, those persons who had been busy collecting it retire to their places and sit down; and the man before whom the bowl is placed, now tilts it up a little towards the chief, that he may see the quantity of its contents, saying, coe cava heni gooa ma, this is the cava chewed. If the chief (having consulted the mataboole) thinks there is not enough,

* The bowl used at a large party is about three feet in diameter, and about one foot in depth in the centre.

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