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he says, oofi-oofi, bea how he tangata, cover it over, and let there come a man here. The bowl is then covered over with a plantain or banana leaf, and a man goes to the same presiding mataboole to receive more cava root, to be chewed as before; but if it be thought there is a sufficiency, he says, paloo, mix. The two men, who sit one on each side of him who is to prepare the cava, now come forward a little, and, making a half turn, sit opposite to each other, the bowl being between them. One of these fans off the flies with a large leaf, while the other sits ready to pour in the water from cocoa-nut shells, * one at a time. Before this is done, however, the man who is about to mix, having first rinsed his hands with a little of the water, kneads together (the mataboole having said paloo) the chewed root, gathering it up from all sides of the bowl, and compressing it together. Upon this, the mataboole says, lingi hi vy, pour in the water; and the man on one side of the bowl continues pouring, fresh shells being handed to him, until the mataboole thinks there is sufficient, which he announces by saying, mow he vy, stop the water. He now discontinues pouring, and takes up a leaf to assist the other in fanning. The mataboole now says, paloo ger tattow, bea fucca mow, mix it every where equally, and make it firm, i. e. bring the dregs together in a body.
* These shells are whole, having merely two small holes at the top. The large ones are always chosen for this purpose. The nuts destined for this use are filled with salt water, and buried in the sand until the inside becomes decayed or rather deliquescent, when it is poured out, and the inside well washed.
Things being thus far prepared, the mataboole says, y he fow, put in the fow. * A large quantity of this fibrous substance, sufficient to cover the whole surface of the infusion, is now put in by one of those who sit by the side of the bowl, and it floats upon the surface. The man who manages the bowl now begins his difficult operation. In the first place, he extends his left hand to the farther side of the bowl, with the fingers pointing downwards, and the palm towards himself; he sinks that hand carefully down the side of the bowl, carrying with it the edge of the fow; at the same time his right hand is performing a similar operation at the side next to him, the fingers pointing downwards, and the palm presenting outwards. He does this slowly, from side to side, gradually descending deeper and deeper, till his fingers meet each other at the bottom, so that nearly the whole of the fibres of the root are by these means enclosed in the fow, forming as it were a roll of above two feet in length, lying along the bottom from side to side, the edges of the fow meeting each other underneath. He now carefully rolls it over, so that the edges overlapping each other, or rather intermingling, come uppermost. He next doubles in the two ends, and rolls it carefully over again, endeavouring to reduce it to a narrower and firmer compass. He now brings it cautiously out of the fluid, taking firm hold of it by the two ends, one in each hand (the back of the hands being upwards), and raising it breast high, with his arms
The fow is the bark of a tree stripped into small fibres, and has very much the appearance of the willow shavings that are used in England to decorate fire-places in summer-time.
considerably extended, he brings his right hand towards his breast, moving it gradually onwards, and whilst his left hand is coming round towards his right shoulder, his right hand partially twisting the fow, lays the end which it holds upon the left elbow, so that the fow lies thus extended upon that arm, one end being still grasped by the left hand. The right hand being now at liberty, is brought under the left fore-arm, (which still remains in the same situation), and carried outwardly towards the left elbow, that it may again seize in that situation the end of the fow. The right hand then describes a bold curve outwardly from the chest, whilst the left comes across the chest, describing a curve nearer to him, and in the opposite direction, till at length the left hand is extended from him, and the right approaches to the left shoulder, gradually twisting the fow by the turn and flexures principally of that wrist. This double motion is then retraced, but in such a way, (the left wrist now principally acting), that the fow, instead of being untwisted, is still more twisted, and is at length again placed upon the left arm, while he takes a new and less constrained hold.* Thus the hands and arms perform a variety of curves of the most graceful description. The muscles, both of the arms and chest, are seen rising as they are called into action, displaying what would be a fine and uncommon subject of study for the painter, for no combinations of animal action can develope the swell and play of the muscles with more grace
This is described from seeing Mr Mariner mimic the action; and I have given a minute account of it, because it is an operation which the natives greatly admire when well performed.
The degree of strength
or with better effect. which he exerts when there is a large quantity is very great, and the dexterity with which he accomplishes the whole never fails to excite the attention and admiration of all present. Every tongue is mute, and every eye is upon him, watching each motion of his arms, as they describe the various curvilinear turns essential to the success of the operation. Sometimes the fibres of the fow are heard to crack with the increasing tension, yet the mass is seen whole and entire, becoming more thin as it becomes more twisted, while the infusion drains from it in a regularly decreasing quantity, till at length it denies a single drop. He now gives it to a person on his left side, and receives fresh fow from another in attendance on his right, and begins the operation anew, with a view to collect what before might have escaped him. *
* No man undertakes to perform this operation at a large party, but who has been well practised on smaller occasions; for it is considered a great accomplishment, even worthy of a chief; and a failure on such an occasion would look very bad. Mr Mariner, however, never witnessed one. The cava dregs which have been thus put aside are afterwards taken away by the cooks, and chewed over again to make fresh infusion for themselves. disgusted reader will here perhaps call to mind the assertion we have formerly made, that no nation can excel the Tonga people in personal cleanliness, and will regret that they are not equally clean in their food. If this objection were made to a native, he would say, "It is not indeed very cleanly, for we would not eat a piece of yam which another had bitten; but chewing the cava is an ancient practice, and we think nothing of it; but what," he will perhaps add," can be more filthy and disgusting than the Papalangi practice of drinking the milk of a beast, and giving it to your children for food?" Every country has
During the above operation, various people in the exterior circle are employed making cava cups of the unexpanded leaf of the banana tree, which is cut into lengths of about nine inches; each piece being then unfolded, is nearly square. The two ends are next plaited up in a particular manner, and tied with a fibre of the stem of the leaf, forming a very elegant cup, not unworthy of imitation. These leaves are provided before-hand, as well as the water, the bowl, &c. by the cooks. Sometimes it happens that there is not water enough, in which case off starts some one from the exterior circle to fetch more, running as if it were for his life, and twenty more after him, each anxious to show his readiness in arriving first with the water. In a short time, if these do not return, twenty or thirty more will rush off with equal swiftness. Presently after they are seen coming back at full speed, with three or four cocoa-nut shells of water; or if any thing else is wanted, it is fetched in the same prompt way.
In the meanwhile, also, the fono, or provisions to be eaten with the cava, is shared out. This generally consists of yams, ripe bananas, or plantains, in sufficient quantity that each in the superior circle may have a small portion to eat after his dish of cava. The mataboole calls out for somebody to come and divide the fono: a couple generally advance forward and proceed to make the division. A large portion is first separated, and presented to the presiding chief, by laying it before him; this being done, the mataboole orders the remainder to be divided equally between the two sides, left and right, of the superior circle; each person has consequently a portion presented