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est order is observed during the whole time, and the rank of persons is particularly attended to. The following description we shall suppose to be of some grand occasion, either religious or political. At all cava parties, proyisions are also shared out; but the habitual cava drinkers seldom eat more than a mouthful, and this they do to prevent the infusion, when drunk in large quantities, from affecting the stomach with nausea ; but there are a few who will not even use this precaution. When the party is very large, it is held on a marly'; for the sake of room ; the chief who presides sitting within the eaves of the house. The time of the day is indifferent: small cava parties are frequently held by torch light; but for religious ceremonies, whether of large or small parties, mostly in the morning. Women of rank never attend large public cava parties.
In the first place, we shall endeavour to deseribe the form and order in which the company and attendants sit. The chief who presides, and who is always the greatest chief present, sits about two feet, or perhaps three, within the eaves of the house, * on the matting
* 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
which constitutes the flooring, with his face towards the open marly', into which the circle on either side extends. On his right and left hand sits a mataboole: both these order and arrange the ceremonies in the manner directly to be shewn, 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 ; but for a general rule, 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 eut 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 occupied 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 one of those who is seated, to get up and retire, and he 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 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, and 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
* i.e. One row behind another, with their faces towards the chief.
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 chiefs and matabooles, who belong to the presiding chief, \ (forming his cow nofo), and who are perhaps situated in the superior or true ring : from this cause it also often happens, that very great chiefs are 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 the head of the company, and who do this without receiving any orders. If the cava is not already brought, one of the presiding matabooles perhaps calls out to one of the cooks in the exterior ring, who immediately rises and advances through the inferior ring towards the mataboole, and, sitting down