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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 14.
for our names, and then adopted us as their sons, at the same time introducing to us the several relations, whom we acquired by this means.  After a series of little caresses, the old lady began, Aima poe-eetee no te tayo mettua? “Have you not a little bead for your kind mother?” Such a trial of our filial attachment always had its desired effect, as we could not fail to draw the most favourable conclusions from thence in regard to the general kind disposition of the whole people:  for to expect a good quality in others, of which we ourselves are not possessed, is a refinement in manners peculiar to polished nations.  Our other female relations in the bloom of youth, with some share of beauty, and constant endeavours to please, laid a claim to our affections by giving themselves the tender name of sisters; and all the world will agree that this attack was perfectly irresistible.”  But it must not be imagined that the fair sisters in this happy island, any more than elsewhere, were exempt from certain ruder passions, by which, at times, they seem to vie with the lords of the creation.  Mr F. has preserved a very characteristic trait of such a spirit of domination in his account of one of the Potatow’s wives, which may be read, but it is to be hoped will not be imitated, by any of our female friends.  “Polatehera,” says Mr F. “was so like him in stature and bulk, (one of the tallest and stoutest men in the island,) that we unanimously looked upon her as the most extraordinary woman we had ever seen.  Her appearance and her conduct were masculine in the highest degree, and strongly conveyed the idea of superiority and command.  When the Endeavour bark lay here, she had distinguished herself by the name of Captain Cook’s sister, and one day, being denied admittance into the fort on Point Venus, had knocked down the sentry who opposed her, and complained to her adopted brother of the indignity which had been offered to her.”  Altogether, however, this gentleman is the eulogist of the natives and country of Otaheite, and admits, that he left them with great regret.  We shall conclude our extracts from his description, by the following remarks as to the language:—­“Many of them seeing us desirous of learning their language, by asking the names of various familiar objects, or repeating such as we found in the vocabularies of former voyages, took great pains to teach us, and were much delighted when we could catch the just pronunciation of a word.  For my own part, no language seemed easier to acquire than this; every harsh and sibilant consonant being banished from it, and almost every word ending in a vowel.  The only requisite, was a nice ear to distinguish the numerous modifications of the vowels which must naturally occur in a language confined to few consonants, and which, once rightly understood, give a great degree of delicacy to conversation.  Amongst several observations, we immediately found that the O or E with which the greatest part of the
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