Billeder på siden

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 being placed about eight or ten paces off, on the ground, when the cooks who brought them 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: he places the root immediately before him, and retires to his seat. The root is now split up with an axe, or any such instrument, into small pieces, by the man who is to mix the cava, and those about him ; and being thus sufficiently divided and scraped clean with muscle shells, &c., it is handed out to those sitting in the inferior and exterior circle, to be chewed. There is

now heard a universal buz 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 inouth 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 is 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 bow] * from the exterior circle, and places it on the ground before the man who is to make the infusion. In the mean while, each

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

[ocr errors]

person who sits at any distance from the inferior circle, passes on his portion of chewed rvot, so that it is conveyed from one to another till it is received by three or four persons, who are actively engaged in the front of the inferior circle, going from one side to the other col. lecting it, and depositing it in the wooden bowl : it is not, however, thrown in promiscuously, but in such a way, that each portion is 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 edges : this is done that a judgment may afterwards be formed of the quantity of beverage that it will make: as each portion is disengaged from its leaf, the leaf is thrown any where on the ground.

The cava being thus deposited in the bowl, those persons who had been busy collecting it, retire to their places and sit down : 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, 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 caya root, to be chewed as before ; but if it is 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 rinced 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 he 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 an

* 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 sa It water, and buried in the sand until the inside becomes decayed or rather deliquescent, when it is poured out, and the inside well washed.

nounces by saying, mow he ty, 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 mou, mix it every where equally, and make it firm, i. e. bring the dregs together in a body. · 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 toats upon the surface. The man who manages the bowl now begins his difficult operation. In the first place, be extends his left hand to the farther side of the bowl, with the tingers 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 palın presenting outwardy. He does this slowly, from side to side, grarlually descending deeper and deeper, till his fingers meet each other at the bottom, so that nearly

* The fuw is the bark of a tree stripperd into rall fitres, and has very much the appearance of the willow slavings that are used in England to decorate fire-places in sumraer time,


« ForrigeFortsæt »