A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.

Their clothing is the same as at Otaheite, and made of the same materials; but they have it not in such plenty, nor is it so good.  The men, for the most part, have nothing to cover their nakedness, except the Marra, as it is called at Otaheite; which is a slip of cloth passed round the waist and betwixt the legs; This simple dress is quite sufficient for the climate, and answers every purpose modesty requires.  The dress of the women is a piece of cloth wrapped round the loins like a petticoat, which reaches down below the middle of the leg, and a loose mantle over their shoulders.  Their principal head-dress, and what appears to be their chief ornament, is a sort of broad fillet, curiously made of the fibres of the husk of cocoa-nuts.  In the front is fixed a mother-o’-pearl shell wrought round to the size of a tea saucer.  Before that is another smaller one, of very fine tortoise-shell, perforated into curious figures.  Also before, and in the centre of that, is another round piece of mother-o’-pearl, about the size of half-a-crown; and before this another piece of perforated tortoise-shell, about the size of a shilling.  Besides this decoration in front, some have it also on each side, but in smaller pieces; and all have fixed to them, the tail feathers of cocks, or tropic birds, which, when the fillet is tied on, stand upright; so that the whole together makes a very sightly ornament.  They wear round the neck a kind of ruff or necklace, call it which you please, made of light wood, the out and upper side covered with small red pease, which are fixed on with gum.  They also wear small bunches of human hair, fastened to a string, and tied round the legs and arms.  Sometimes, instead of hair, they make use of short feathers; but all the above-mentioned ornaments are seldom seen on the same person.

I saw only the chief, who came to visit us, completely dressed in this manner.  Their ordinary ornaments are necklaces and amulets made of shells, &c.  I did not see any with ear-rings; and yet all of them had their ears pierced.

Their dwellings are in the vallies, and on the sides of the hills, near their plantations.  They are built after the same manner as at Otaheite; but are much meaner, and only covered with the leaves of the bread-tree.  The most of them are built on a square or oblong pavement of stone, raised some height above the level of the ground.  They likewise have such pavements near their houses, on which they sit to eat and amuse themselves.

In the article of eating, these people are by no means so cleanly as the Otaheiteans.  They are likewise dirty in their cookery.  Pork and fowls are dressed in an oven of hot stones, as at Otaheite; but fruit and roots they roast on the fire, and after taking off the rind or skin, put them into a platter or trough, with water, out of which I have seen both men and hogs eat at the same time.  I once saw them make a batter of fruit and roots diluted with water, in a vessel

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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