Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

March.

suspended to them by ftrings; such as chiffels 1970.
or bodkins made of green talc, upon which
they set a high value, the nails and teeth of
their deceased relations, the teeth of dogs, and
every thing else that they can get, which they
think either curious or valuable. The women
also wear bracelets and anclets, made of the
bones of birds, shells, or any other substances
which they can perforate and string upon a
thread. The men had sometimes hanging to a
ftring, which went round the neck, a piece of
green talc, or whalebone, somewhat in the shape
of a tongue, with the rude figure of a man carv- .
ed upon it; and upon this ornament they set a
high value. In one instance, we saw the gristle
that divides the nostrils, and called by anato.
mists, the septum nasi, perforated, and a feather
thrust through the hole, which projected on each
fide over the cheeks : it is probable that this
frightful singularity was intended as an orna-
ment, but of the many people we faw, we ne-
ver observed it in any other, nor even a perfo-
ration that might occasionally serve for luch a
purpose..

Their houses are the most inartificially made Houfesi
of any thing among them, being scarcely equal,
except in fize, to an English dog-kennel : they
are seldom more than eighteen or twenty feet
long, eight or ten broad, and five or six high,
from the pole that runs from one end to the
VOL. III.

Cc

other,

[ocr errors]

other, and forms the ridge, to the ground: the framing is of wood, generally sender sticks, and both walls and roof consist of dry grass and hay, which, it must be confessed, is very tightly put together; and some are also lined with the bark of trees, so that in cold weather they must afford a very comfortable retreat. The roof is noping, like those of our barns, and the door is at one end, just high enough to admit a man, creeping upon his hands and knees : near the door is a square hole, which serves the double office of window and chimney, for the fireplace is at that end, nearly in the middle between the two fides : in some conspicuous part, and generally near the door, a plank is fixed, covered with carving after their manner: this they value as we do a picture, and in their eftimation it is not an inferior ornament: the side-walls and roof project about two feet beyond the walls - at each end, so as to form a kind of porch, in which there are benches for the accommodation of the family. That part of the floor which is allotted for the fire-place, is enclosed in a hollow square, by partitions either of wood or stone, and in the middle of it the fire is kindled. The floor, along the inside of the walls, is thickly covered with straw, and upon this the family feep. . Their furniture and implements conlift of but few articles, and one chest commonly con.21

1770. March,

tains

12

Forniture

March.

tains them all, except their provision-baskets, 1979. the gourds that hold their fresh water, and the world hammers that are used to beat their fern-root; which generally stand without the door: some rude tools, their cloaths, arms, and a few feathers to stick in their hair, make the rest of their treasure.

Some of the better sort, whose families are large, have three or four houses enclosed within a court-yard, the walls of which are constructed of poles and hay; and are about ten or twelve feet high.

When we were on shore in the district called Tolaga, we saw the ruins, or rather the frame of a house, for it had never been finished, much superior in size to any that we saw elsewhere : it was thirty feet in length, about fifteen in breadth, and twelve high : the sides of it were adorned with many carved planks, of a workmanship much superior to any other that we had met with in the country; but for what purpose it was built, or why it was deserted, we could never learn.

But these people, though in their houses they are so well defended from the inclemency of the weather, seem to be quite indifferent whether they have any shelter at all during their excur. sions in search of fern-roots and fish, sometimes fetting up a small shade to windward, and some. times altogether neglecting even that precautions

Cc 2

Neeping

1770, March,

Food,

Neeping with their women and children under bulhes, with their weapons ranged round them, in the manner that has already been described. The party consisting of forty or fifty, whom we saw at Mercury Bay, in a district which the natives call Opoorage, never erected the least shelter while we staid there, though it fometimes rained incessantly for four and twenty hours together.

The articles of their food have been enumerated already; the principal, which to them is what bread is to the inhabitants of Europe, is the roots of the fern which grows upon the hills, and is nearly the same with what grows upon our high commons in England, and is called indifferently fern, bracken, or brakes. The birds which sometimes serve them for a feast, are chiefly penguins and albatroffes, with a few other lpecies that have been occalionally mentioned in this narrative.

Having no vessel in which water can be boiled, their cookery confifts wholly of baking and roasting. They bake nearly in the fame manner as the inhabitants of the South Seas, and to the account that has been already given of their roaiting, nothing need be added, but that the long skewer or spit to whịch the flesh is faftened, is placed soping towards the fire, by setting one stone against the bottom of it, and supporting it near the middle with another, by the moving

Cookery.

of

[blocks in formation]

of which to a greater or less distance from the end, the degree of obliquity is increased or di- n minifhed at pleasure.

To the northward, as I have observed, there are plantations of yams, sweet potatoes, and coccos, but we faw no such to the southward ; the inhabitants therefore of that part of the country must subsist wholly upon fern root and fish, except the scanty and accidental resource which they may find in fea fowl and dogs; and that fern and fish are not to be procured at all seasons of the year, even at the sea side, and upon the neighbouring hills, is manifest from the stores of both that we saw laid up dry, and the reluctance which some of them expressed at selling any part of them to us when we offered to purchase them, at least the fish, for sea stores; and this particular seems to confirm my opinion that this country scarcely sustains the present number of its inhabitants, who are urged to perpetual hostilities by hunger, which naturally prompted them to eat the dead bodies of those who were sain in the contest.

Water is their universal and only liquor, as far as we could discover, and if they have really no means of intoxication, they are, in this parricular, happy beyond any other people that we have yet seen or heard of.

As there is perhaps no source of disease either critical or chronic, but intemperance and inac

Cc 3 .. tivity,

« ZurückWeiter »