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fnents about a foot long and three inches thick, made of a hard wood which they call Etoa. The shape of this instrument is not unlike a square razor strap, only that the handle is longer, and each of its four sides or faces is marked, lengthways, with small grooves, or furrows, of different degrees of fineness; those on one side being of a width and depth sufficient to receive a small packthread, and the others finer, in a regular gradation, so that the last are not more than equal to sewing silk.
They beat it first with the coarsest side of this mallet, keeping time like our smiths; it spreads very fall under the strokes, chiefly, however, in the breadth, and the grooves in the mallet mark it with the appearance of threads; it is successively beaten with the other sides, last with the finest, and is then fit for use, Sometimes, however, it is made still thinner, by beating it ■with the finest side of the mallet, after it has been several times doubled; it is then called Hoboo, and is almost as thin as a muflin; it becomes very white by being bleached in the air, but is made still whiter and softer by being wastied, and beaten again after it has been worn.
Of this cloth there are several sorts, of different degrees of fineness, in proportion as it is more or less beaten without being doubled; the other cloth also differs in proportion as it is beaten; but they differ from each other in consequence of the different materials of which they 3re made. The bark of the breadfruit is not taken till the trees are considerably longer and thicker than those of the fig; the process afterwards is the fame.
When cloth is to be washed after it has been worn, it is taken down to the brook, and left to soak, being kept fast to the bottom, as at first, by a stone; it is then gently wrung, or squeezed, and sometimes several pieces of it are laid one upon another, and beaten together with the coarsest side of the mallet, and they are then equal in thickness to broad-cloth, and much more soft and agreeable to the touch, after they have been a little while in use, though when they come immediately from the mallet, they feel as if they had been starched. This cloth some imes breaks in the ■ • beating, beating, but it is easily repaired by pasting on a patch with a gluten, that is prepared from the root of the Pea, which is done so nicely that it cannot be discovered. The women also employ themselves in removing blemishes of every kind, as our ladies do in needlework or knotting; sometimes, when their work is intended to be very fine, they will paste an entire Covering of hoboo over the whole. The principal excellencies of this cloth are its coolness and softness; and its imperfections, its being pervious to water, like paper, and almost as easily torn.
The colours with which they dye this cloth are principally red and yellow. The red is exceedingly beautiful, and, I may venture to fay, a brighter and more delicate colour than any we have in Europe; that which approaches nearest is our full scarlet, and the best imitation which Mr. Banks's natural-history painter could produce, was by a mixture of vermilion anc carmine. The yellow is also a bright colour, but we have many as good.
The red colour is produced by the mixture of the juices of two vegetables, neither of which separately has the least tendency to that hue. One is a species of fig, called here Matte, and the other the Cordia Sebestina, or Etou; of the fig the fruit is used, and os the Cordia the leaves.
The fruit of the fig is about as big as a rounceval pea, or very small gooseberry; and each of them, upon breaking off the stalk very close, produces one drop of a milky liquor, resembling the juice of our figs, of which the tree is indeed a species. This liquor the women collect into a small quantity of cocoanut water: to prepare a gill of cocoa-nut water, will require between three and four quarts of these little figs. When a sufficient quantity is prepared, the leaves of the Etou are well wetted in it, and then laid upon a plantain leaf, where they are turned about till they become more and more flaccid, and then they are gently squeezed, gradually increasing the pressure, but so as not to break them; as the fhecidity increases, and they become spongy, they are supplied with more of the liquor; in about five minutes the colour begins to appear upon the veins of the leaves, and in about
ten, or a little more, they are perfectly saturated with it; they are then squeezed with as much force as can be applied, and the liquor strained at the fame time that it is expressed.
For this purpose the boys prepare a large quantity of the Moo, by drawing it between their teeth, or two little sticks, till it is freed from the green bark and the branny substance that lies under it, and a thin web of the fibres only remains; in this the leaves of the Etou are inveloped, and through these the juice which they contain is strained, as it is forced out. As the leaves are not succulent, little more juice is pressed out of them than they have imbibed: when they have been once emptied, they are filled again, and again pressed, till the quality which tinctures the liquor as it passes through them is exhausted; they are then thrown away; but the Moo, being deeply stained with the liquor is preserved, as a brush to lay the dye upon the cloth.
The expressed liquor is always received into small cups made of the plantain leaf, whether from a notion that it has any quality favourable to the colour, or from the facility with which it is procured, and the convenience of small vessels to distribute it among the artificers, I do not know.
Of the thin cloth they seldom dye more than the edges, but the thick, cloth is coloured through tke whole surface; the liquor is indeed used rather as a pigment than a dye, tor a coat of it is laid upon one fide only, with the fibres of the Moo; and though J have seen of the thin cloth that has appeared to have been soaked in the liquor, the colour has not had the fame richness and lustre as when it has been applied in the other manner.
Though the leaf of the Etou is generally used in this process, and probably produces the finest colour, yet the juice of the figs will produce a red, by a mixture with the species of Tournefortia, which they call Taheinoo, thePohuc, the Eurhe,or Convolvulus Brasilierisis, and a species of Solanum, called Ebooa; from the use of these different plants, or from different proportions of the materials, many varieties aie observable in
the the colours of their cloth, some of which are conspicuously superior to others.
The beauty, however, of the best is nor permanent, but it is probable that some method might be found to fix it, if proper experiments were made, and perhaps to search for latent qualities, which might be brought out by the mixture of one vegetable juice with another, would not be an unprofitable employment; our present most valuable dyes afford sufficient encouragement to the attempt; for by the mere inspection of indico, woad, dyer's weed, and most of the leaves which are used for the like purposes, the colours which they yield 'could never be discovered. Of this Indian red I shall only add, that the women who have been employed in preparing or using it, carefully preserve the colour upon their fingers and nails, where it appears in its utmost beauty, as a great ornament.
The yellow is made of the bark of the root cf the Morinda citrifolia, called Nono, by scraping and infusing it in water; after standing some time, the water is strained and used as a dye, the cloth being dipped into it. The Morinda, of which this is a species, seems to be a good subject for examination' with a view to dyeing. Brown, in his History -of Jamaica, mentions three species of it, which, he fays, are used to dye brown; and Rumphius fays of the Bancuda Augustifolia, which is nearly allied to our Nono, that it is used by the inhabitants of the East-India islands as a fixing drug for red colours, with which it particularly agrees.
The inhabitants of this island also dye yellow with the fruit of the Tamanu; but how the colour is. extracted, we had no opportunity to discover. They have also a preparation with which they dye brown and black; but these colours are so indifferent, that the method of preparing them did not excite oui curiosity.
Another considerable manufacture is matting of various kinds, some of which is finer, and better in every respect than any we have in Europe; the coarser sort serves them to sleep upon, and the finer to wear in wet weather. With the fine, of which theie are also two sorts, much pains is taken, especially with that
made. made of the bark of the Poerou, the Hibiscus tiliaceus ^7S9of Linnæus, some of which is as fine as a coarse ~* cloth; the other sort, which is still more beautiful, they call Vanne; it is white, glossy, and shining, and is made of the leaves of their Wharrou, a species of the Pandanus, of which we had no opportunity to sec either the flowers or fruit: they have other matt's, or, as they call them, Moeas, to sit or to sleep upon, which are formed of a great variety of rushes and grafs, and which they make, as they do every thing else that is plaited, with amazing facility and dispatch.
They are also very dextrous in making basket and •wicker-work; their baskets are of a thousand different patterns, many of them exceedingly neat; and the making them is an art that every one practises, both men and women: they make occasional baskets and panniers of the cocoa-nut leaf in a few minutes, and the women who visited us early in a morning, used to fend, as soon as the fun was high, for a few of the leaves, of which they made little bonnets to shade their faces, at so small an expence of time and trouble, that when the sun was again low in the evening, they used to throw them away. These bonnets, however, did not cover the head, but consisted only of a band that went round it, and a shade that projected from the forehead.
Of the bark of the Poerou they make ropes and lines from the thickness of an inch to the size of a small packthread; with these they make nets for fishing; of the fibres of the cocoa-nut they make thread, for fastening together the several parts of their canoes and belts, either round or flat, twisted or plaited; and of the bark of the Erowa, a kind of nettle which grows in the mountains, and is therefore rather scarce, they make the best fishing-lines in the world; with these they hold the strongest and most active fish, such, as bonetas and albicores, which would snap our strongest silk lines in a minute, tho' they are twice as thick.
They make also a kind of seine, of a coarse broad grasp, the blades of which are like flags; these they twist and tie together in a loose manner, till the net, which is about as wide as a large sack, is from sixty to