Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

principally upon nuts, which are not unlike a chesnut, and which they call Ahee.

When we had walked till we were weary, we called up the boat, but both our Indians, Tituboalo and Tuahow, were missing : They had, it seems, stayed behind at Wa. heatua's, expecting us to return thither, in consequence of a promise which had been extorted from us, and which we had it not in our power to fulfil.

Tearee, however, and another, embarked with us, and we proceeded till we came a-breast of a small island called Otooareite; it being then dark, we determined to land, and our Indians conducted us to a place where they said we might sleep : It was a deserted house, and near it was a little cove, in which the boat might lie with great safety and convenience. We were, however, in want of provisions, having been very sparingly supplied since we set out; and Mr Banks immediately went into the woods to see whether any could be procured. As it was dark, he met with no people, and could find but one house that was inhabited: A bread-fruit and a half, a few Ahees, and some fire, were all that it afforded; upon which, with a duck or two, and a few curlieus, we made our supper, which, if not scanty, was disagreeable, by the want of bread, with which we had neglected to furnish ourselves, as we depended upon meeting with bread-fruit, and took up our lodging under the awning of a canoe belonging to Tearee, which followed us.

The next morning, after having spent some time in another fruitless attempt to procure a supply of provisions, we proceeded round the south-east point, part of which is not covered by any reef, but lies open to the sea; and here the hill rises directly from the shore. At the southermost part of the island, the shore is again covered by a reef, which forms a good harbour; and the land about it is very fertile. We made this route partly on foot, and partly in the boat: When we had walked about three miles, we arrived at a place where we saw several large canoes, and a number of people with them, whom we were agreeably surprised to find were of our intimate acquaintance. Here, with much difficulty, we procured some cocoa-nuts, and then embarked, taking with us Tuahow, one of the Indians who had waited for us at Waheatua's, and had returned the night before, long after it was dark. When we came abreast of the south-easti end of the

island,

[ocr errors]

island, we went ashore, by the advice of our Indian guide, who told us that the country was rich and good. The chief, whose name was Mathiabo, soon came down to us, but seemed to be a total stranger both to us and to our trade: His subjects, however, brought us plenty of cocoa-nuts, and about twenty bread-fruit. The bread-fruit we bought at a very dear rate, but his excellency sold us a pig for a glass bottle, which he preferred to every thing else that we could give him. We found in his possession a goose and a turkey-cock, which, we were informed, had been left upon the island by the Dolphin : They were both enormously fat, and so tame that they followed the Indians, who were fond of them to excess, wherever they went.

In a long house in this neighbourhood, we saw what was altogether new to us. At one end of it, fastened to a semicircular board, hung fifteen human jaw-bones; they appeared to be fresh, and there was not one of them that wanted a single tooth. A sight so extraordinary, strongly excited our curiosity, and we made many enquiries about it: But at this time could get no information, for the people either could not, or would not understand us.

When we left this place, the chief, Mathiabo, desired leave to accompany us, which was readily granted. He continued with us the remainder of the day, and proved very useful, by piloting us over the shoals. In the evening, we opened the bay on the north-west side of the island, which answered to that on the south-east, so as at the isthmus, or carrying-place, almost to intersect the island, as I have observed before; and when we had coasted about two-thirds of it, we determined to go on shore for the night. We saw a large house at some distance, which, Mathiabo informed us, belonged to one of his friends; and soon after several canoes came off to meet us, having on board some very handsome women, who, by their behaviour, seemed to have been sent to entice us on shore. As we had before resolved to take up our residence here for the night, little invitation was necessary. We found that the house belonged to the chief of the district, whose name was Wiverou: He received us in a very friendly manner, and ordered his people to assist us in dressing our provision, of wbich we had now got a tolerable stock. When our supper was ready, we were conducted into that part of the house where Wiverou was sitting, in order to eat it;

Mathiabo

Mathiabo supped with us, and Wiverou calling for his supper at the same time, we eat our meal very sociably, and with great good humour. When it was over, we began to' enquire where we were to sleep, and a part of the house was shewn us, of which we were told we might take possession for that purpose. We then sent for our clokes, and Mr Banks began to undress, as his custom was, and, with á precaution which he had been taught by the loss of the jackets at Atahourou, sent his clothes aboard the boat, proposing to cover himself with a piece of Indian cloth. When Mathiabo perceived what was doing, he also pretended to want a cloak; 'and, as he had behaved very well, and done us some service, a cloke was ordered for him., We lay down, and observed that Mathiabo was not with us ; but we supposed that he was gone to bathe, as the Indians al-, ways do before they sleep. We had not waited long, however, when an Indian, who was a stranger to us, came and told Mr Banks, that the cloke and Mathiabo had disappear-. ed together. This man had so far gained our confidence, that we did not at first believe the report ; but it being soon after confirmed by Tuahow, our own Indian, we knew, no time was to be lost. As it was impossible for us to pursue the thief with any hope of success, without the assista ance of the people about us, Mr Banks started up, and telling our case, required them to recover the cloak; and to enforce this requisition, shewed one of his pocket-pistols, which he always kept about him. Upon the sight of the pistol, the whole company took the alarm, and, instead of assisting to catch the thief, or recover what had been stolen, began with great precipitation to leave the place; one of them, however, was seized, upon which he immediately offered to direct the chase : I set out therefore with Mr Banks, and though we ran all the way, the alarm had got

for in about ten ininutes we met a man bringing back the cloak, which the thief had relinquished in great terror; and as we did not then think fit to continue the pursuit, be made his escape. When .we returned, we found the house, in which there had been between two and three hundred people, entirely deserted. It being, however, soor knowit that we had no resentment against any body but Mathiabo, the chief, Wiverou, our host, with his wife and many others, returned, and took up their lodgings with 'us' for the night. In this place, however, we

were hatchet ment

before us,

[ocr errors]

were destined to more confusion and trouble, for about five o'clock in the morning our sentry alarmed us, with an account that the boat was missing : He had seen her, he said, about half an hour before, at her grappling, which was not above fifty yards from the shore; but, upon hearing the sound of oars, he had looked out again, and could see nothing of her. At this account we started up greatly alarmed, and ran to the water-side: The morning was clear and star-light, so that we could see to a considerable distance, but there was no appearance of the boat. . Our situation was now such as might justify the most terrifying apprehensions; as it was a dead calm, and we could not therefore suppose her to have broken from her grappling, we had great reason to fear that the Indians had attacked her, and finding the people asleep, had succeeded in their enterprise : We were but four, with only one musquet and two pocket-pistols, without a spare ball.or charge of powder for either. In this state of anxiety and distress we remained a considerable time, expecting the Indians every moment to improve their advantage, when, to our unspeak able satisfaction, we saw the boat return, which had been driven from her grappling by the tide; a circumstance to which, in our confusion and surprise, we did not advert.

As soon as the buat returned, we got our breakfast, and were impatient to leave the place, lest some other vexatious accident should befall us. It is situated on the north side of Tarrabou, the south-east peninsula, or division, of the island, and at the distance of about five miles south east from the isthmus, having a large and commodious harbour, inferior to none in the island, about which the land is very rich in produce. Notwithstanding we had had lit tle communication with this division, the inhabitants

every where received us in a friendly manner; we found the whole of it fertile and populous, and, to all appearance, in a more flourishing state than Opoureoou, though it is not above one-fourth part as large.

The next district in which we landed, was the last in Tiarrabou, and governed by a chief, whose name we un derstood to be Omoe. Omoe was building a house, and being therefore very desirous of procuring a hatchet, he would have been glad to have purchased one with any thing that he had in his possession; it happened, however, sather unfortunately for him and us, that we had not one hatchet left in the boat. We offered to trade with nails, but he would not part with any thing in exchange for them; we therefore re-embarked, and put off our boat, but the chief being unwilling to relinquish all hope of obtaining something froin us that would be of use to him, embarked in a canoe, with his wife Whanno-ouda, and followed us. After some time, we took them into the boat, and when we had rowed about a league, they desired we would put ashore : We immediately complied with his request, and found some of his people, who had brought down a very large hog. We were as unwilling to lose the hog, as the chief was to part with us, and it was indeed worth the best axe we had in the ship; we therefore hit upon an expedient, and told him, that if he would bring his hog to the fort at Matavai, the Indian name for Port Royal Bay, he should have a large axe, and a nail into the bargain, for his trouble. To this proposal, after having consulted with his wife, he agreed, and gave us a large piece of his coun. try-cloth as a pledge that he would perform his agreement, which, however, he never did.

At this place we saw a very singular curiosity : It was the figure of a man, constructed of basket-work, rudely made, but not ill designed ; it was something more than seven feet high, and rather too bulky in proportion to its height. The wicker skeleton was completely covered with feathers, which were white where the skin was to appear, and black in the parts which it is their custom to paint or stain, and upon the head, where there was to be a representation of hair : Upon the head also were four protuberances, three in front and one bebind, which we should have called horns, but which the Indians dignified with the name of Tate Ete, little men. The image was called Manioe, and was said to be the only one of the kind in Otabeite. They attempted to give us an explanation of its use and design, but we had not then acquired enough of their language to understand them. We learnt, however, afterwards, that it was a representation of Mauwe, one of their Eatuas, or gods of the second class.

After having settled our affairs with Omoe, we proceeded on our return, and soon reached Opoureonu, the north-west peninsula. After rowing a few miles, we went on shore again, but the only thing we saw worth notice, was a repository for the dead, uncommonly decorated : The pave

« ZurückWeiter »