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and when they came out, even with this veil, we could perceive that their modesty suffered much pain by "our presence. The girdle and apron which they wear in common have been mentioned before.
Both sexes bore their ears, and by stretching them, the holes become large enough to admit a finger at Jeast. In these holes they wear ornaments of various kinds, cloth, feathers, bones of large birds, and even sometimes a stick of wood; and to these .receptacles of finery they generally applied the nails which we gave them, and every thing which it was possible they could contain. The women sometimes thrust through them the down of the albatross, which is as white as snow, and which, spreading before and behind the hole in a bunch almost as big as the fist, makes a very singular, and however strange it may be thought, not a disagreeable appearance. Besides the ornaments that arc thrust ithro' the holes of the ears, many others are suspended to them by strings; such as chisels 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 binds, shells, or any other substances which they can perforate and string upon a thread. The men had sometimes hanging to a string 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 carved 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 anatomists, the septum nast, perforated, and a feather thrust through the hole, which projected on each side over the cheeks: it is probable that this frightful singularity was intended as an ornament, but of the many people we saw, we never observed it in any other, nor even a perforation that might occasionally serve tor iuch a purpose.
Csheir houses are the most inartificially made of anyHousci.
thing among them, being scarcely equal, except in size,
to an English dog-kennel : they are seldom more than
eighteen or t,wenty feet long, eight or ten broad, and
S 2 five
five or six high, from the pole that runs from one end to the other, and forms the ridge, to the ground: the framing is of wood, generally slender flicks, and both walls and roof consist of dry grafs 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 sloping, 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 fire-place is at the 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 estimation it is not an inferior ornament: the fide 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 inclosed 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 steep, f uriiittire. The furniture and implements consist of but few articles, and one chest commonly contains them all, except their provision-baskets, the gourds that hold their fresh water, and the hammers that are used to beat their fern-root, which generally stand without the door: some rude tools, their clothes, 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 inclosed 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 manship much superior to any other that we had met '770with 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 excursions in search of fernroots and fish, sometimes setting up a small shade to windward, and sometimes altogether neglecting even that precaution, sleeping with their women and children under bushes, with their weapons ranged round them, in the manner that has been already 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 stayed there, though it sometimes rained incessantly for fourand-twenty hours together.
The articles of their food have been enumerated Food, already; the principal, which to them is what bread is to the inhabitants of Europe, is the roots of fern which grows upon the hills, and is nearly the fame 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 albatrosses, with a few other species that have been occasionally mentioned in this narrative.
Having no vessel in which water can be boiled, their Cookery, cookery consists 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 roasting, nothing need be added, but that the long skewer, or spit, to which the flesh is fastened, is placed sloping towards the fire, by setting one stone against the bottom of it, and supporting it near the middle with another, by the moving of which to a greater or less distance from the end, the degree of obliquity is increased or diminished at pleasure.
To the northward, as I have observed, there are plantations of yams, sweet potatoes, and cocoas, but we saw no such to the southward; the inhabitant? therefore of that part of the country must subsist wholly upon
S 3 fern
'77?- fern-soot and fish, except the scanty and accidental resource which they may find in sea-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 seastores: and this particular seems to confirm my opinion, that this country searcely 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 stain 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 particular, 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 inactivity, it cannot be thought strange that these people enjoy perfect and uninterrupted health. In all our visits to their towns, where young and old, men and women, crowded about us, prompted by the fame curiosity that carried us to look at them, we never saw a single person ■who appeared to have any bodily complaint; nor, among the numbers that we have seen naked, did we once perceive the slightest eruption upon the skin, or any marks that an eruption had left behind. At first, indeed, observing that some of them, when they came off to us, were marked in patches with a white flowery appearance upon different parts of their bodies, we thought that they were leprous, or highly scorbutic; but, upon examination, we found that these marks were owing to their having been wetted by the sprey of the sea in their passage, which, when it was dried away, left the salts behind it in a fine white powder.
Another proof of health, which we have mentioned upon a former occasion, is the facility with which the wounds healed that had left scars behind them, and that we saw in a recent state; when we saw the man who
had had been shot with a musket-ball through the fleshy part of his arm, his wound seemed to be so well digested, and in so fair a way of being perfeaiy healed, that if I had not known that no application had been made to it, I should certainly have inquired, with a very interested curiosity, after the vulnery herbs and surgical art of the country.
A farther proof that human nature is here untainted with disease, is the great number of old men that we saw, many of whom, by the loss of their hair and teeth, appeared to be very ancient, yet none of them were decrepit; and though not equal to the young in muscular strength, were not a whit behind them in cheerfulness and vivacity.
C H A P. X.
Of the Canoes and Navigation of the Inhabitants of
THE ingenuity of these people appears in nothing Canoes-