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his safety, imagining a shark must have seized him.
Whilst they were all in the greatest concern, debating what was best to be done, whether they ought to dive down after him, or wait according to his orders, for that perhaps he had only swam round and was come up in some niche of the rock, intending to surprise them ;—their wonder was increased beyond all powers of expression, when they saw him rise to the surface of the water, and come into the canoe with a beautiful female. At first they mistook her for a goddess, and their astonishment was not lessened when they recognised her countenance, and found her to be a person, whom they had no doubt was killed in the general massacre of her family; and this they thought must be her apparition. But how agreeably was their wonder softened down into the most interesting feelings, when the young chief related to them the discovery of the cavern and the whole circumstance of her escape. All the young men on board could not refrain envying him his happiness in the possession of so lovely and interesting a creature. They arrived safe at one of the Fiji islands, and resided with a certain chief for two years : at the end of which time, hearing of the death of the
tyrant of Vavaoo, the young chief returned with his wife to the last mentioned island, and lived long in peace and happiness. .
Such, as to matter of fact, is the substance of the account given by the old mataboole. There was one thing however which he stated, rather in opposition to probability, viz. that the chief's daughter remained in the cavern two or three months, before her lover found an opportunity of taking her to the Fiji islands: if this be true, there must have been some other concealed opening in the cavern to have afforded a fresh supply of air. With a view to ascertain this, Mr. Mariner swam with the torch in his hand up both the avenues before spoken of, but without discovering any opening; he also climbed every accessible place, with as little success. If the story be true, and, however romantic it may be considered, it is still very possible, in all likelihood the duration of her stay in the cavern was not much more than one fourth of the time mentioned ; and if we take the cube of 40, which is about the number of feet the place extended either in height, length, or breadth, we shall have about a sufficient number of cubic feet of air to serve for the subsistence of one individual about a month, allowing
a cubic foot of air for every minute's natural respiration ; and if the frequent visits of the young chief be taken into account, there was air enough to last them about a fortnight or three weeks. But setting calculations aside, there is one ascertained fact, viz. that the air was very pure at the time Mr. Mariner was there, and none of the company made any complaint, relating to this matter, after breathing the air for the space of two hours. After all, there may be other openings which are not accessible, and which do not admit the light, not being sufficiently straight and regu. lar; and though these openings may be but small, they may still be sufficient to renew the whole air of the cavern in no great space of time, seeing that the rise and fall of the tide in the lower part of it would act as bellows without a valve, producing the same effect, by expiration and inspiration, as the action of the diaphragm of animals :—if, on the contrary, there be no other opening,—then the rise and fall of the tide in the cavern ought not to be so great as out of it, because the pressure of the internal air would impede its rise, and in the same proportion it would have less extent to fall. It did not occur to Mr. Mariner to
ascertain whether this was the fact. He believes that this place is very seldom visited by the natives.
Finow and his party having finished their cava, dived out of the cavern, and resumed their proper dress : after which they proceeded across the country, and got into the public roads, to amuse themselves with the sport of shooting rats. These animals are not so large as in our parts of the world, but rather between the size of a mouse and a rat, and much of the same colour: they live chiefly upon such vegetable substances, as sugar-cane, bread-fruit, &c.: they constitute an article of food with the lower orders of people, but who are not allowed to make, a sport of shooting them, this privilege being reserved for chiefs, matabooles, and mooas*. The plan and regulations of the game of fanna gooma (rat-shooting) are as follow.
A party of chiefs having resolved to go ratshooting, some of their attendants are ordered to procure and roast some cocoa-nut, which being done, and the chiefs having informed them what road they mean to take, they proceed along the appointed road, chewing the
* For a description of these ranks in society, see the subject in the second volume.
roasted nut very finely as they go, and spitting, or rather blowing, a little of it at a time out of their mouths with considerable force, but so as not to scatter the particles far from each other; for if they were widely distributed, the rat would not be tempted to stop and pick them up, and if the pieces were too large, he would run away with one piece instead of stopping to eat his fill. The bait is thus distributed, at moderate distances, on each side of the road, and the men proceed till they arrive at the place appointed for them to stop at. If in their way they come to any cross roads, they stick a reed in the ground in the middle of such cross roads, as a taboo or mark of prohibition for any one to come down that way, and disturb the rats while the chiefs are shooting: and this no one will do ; for even if a considerable chief be passing that way, on seeing the taboo he will stop at a distance, and sit down on the ground, out of respect or politeness to his fellow chiefs, and wait patiently till the shooting party has gone by: a petty chief, or one of the lower orders, would not dare to infringe upon this taboo at the risk of his life. The distributors of the bait being arrived at the place appointed for them to stop at, sit down to prepare cava, having previously given