Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before eBook

George Turner (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before.
and in Scotland a “cookie,” bore a hole in the centre of it, run the spindle through it, and wedge it fast about the middle of the spindle.  At the top of the spindle fasten two strings, each nine inches long, to the ends of these strings attach the ends of a common cedar pencil, forming a triangle with a wooden base and string sides.  Stand up the machine with your left hand, place the iron point where you wish to bore a hole, and steady the spindle with your left hand.  Take hold of the pencil handle of the upper triangle, twirl round the spindle with your left hand, which will coil on the strings at the top to the spindle, pull down the pencil handle quickly, and then the machine will spin round.  Work the handle in this way up and down, like a pump, the cord will alternately run off and on to the spindle, and the machine will continue to whirl round, first one way and then the other, until the pearl-shell, or whatever it may be, is perforated.

There is hardly anything else in the department of manufacture requiring particular notice.  When speaking of garments, we referred to native cloth and mats.  Large quantities of cinnet are plaited by the old men principally.  They sit at their ease in their houses, and twist away very rapidly.  At political meetings also, where there are hours of formal palaver and speechifying, the old men take their work with them, and improve the time at the cleanly, useful occupation of twisting cinnet.  It is a substitute for twine, and useful for many a purpose, and is now sold to the merchants at about a shilling per pound. Baskets and fans are made as of old of the cocoa-nut leaflet, floor mats and a finer kind of baskets from the pandanus leaf.  Twenty or thirty pieces of the rib of the cocoa-nut leaflet, fastened close together with a thread of cinnet, form a comb.  Oval tubs are made by hollowing out a block of wood. Clubs, three feet long, from the iron-wood, or something else that is heavy. Spears, eight feet long, were made from the cocoa-nut tree, and barbed with the sting of the ray-fish; a wicked contrivance, for it was meant to break off from the spear in the body of the unhappy victim.  In nine cases out of ten there was no way of cutting it out, and the poor creature died in agony.

The Samoans are an agricultural rather than a manufacturing people.  In addition to their own individual wants, their hospitable custom in supplying, without money and without stint, the wants of visitors from all parts of the group, was a great drain on their plantations.  The fact that a party of natives could travel from one end of the group to the other without a penny of expense for food and lodging, was an encouragement to pleasure excursions, friendly visits, and all sorts of travelling.  Hardly a day passed without there being some strangers in the “guest house” of the village, to be provided for by a contribution from every family in the place.  After meeting fully, however, all home wants, large quantities of yams, taro, and bananas, with pigs and poultry, were still to spare, and were sold to the ships which called for water and supplies.

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Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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