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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.
to lie to, and when it cleared away, we were much surprised, to find ourselves surrounded by some hundreds of canoes.  They were of different sizes, and had on board different numbers, from one to ten, so that in all of them together, there could not be less than eight hundred people.  When they came within pistol-shot of the ship, they lay by, gazing at us with great astonishment, and by turns conferring with each other.  In the mean time we shewed them trinkets of various kinds, and invited them on board.  Soon after, they drew together, and held a kind of council, to determine what should be done:  Then they all paddled round the ship, making signs of friendship, and one of them holding up a branch of the plantain-tree, made a speech that lasted near a quarter of an hour, and then threw it into the sea.  Soon after, as we continued to make signs of invitation, a fine, stout, lively young man ventured on board:  He came up by the mizen chains, and jumped out of the shrouds upon the top of the awning.  We made signs to him to come down upon the quarter-deck, and handed up some trinkets to him:  He looked pleased, but would accept of nothing till some of the Indians came along-side, and after much talk, threw a few branches of plantain-tree on board the ship; he then accepted our presents, and several others very soon came on board, at different parts of the ship, not knowing the proper entrance.  As one of these Indians was standing near the gang-way, on the larboard side of the quarter-deck, one of our goats butted him upon the haunches:  Being surprised at the blow, he turned hastily about, and saw the goat raised upon his hind-legs, ready to repeat the blow.  The appearance of this animal, so different from any he had ever seen, struck him with such terror, that he instantly leaped over-board; and all the rest, upon seeing what had happened, followed his example with the utmost precipitation:  They recovered, however, in a short time, from their fright, and returned on board.  After having a little reconciled them to our goats and sheep, I shewed them our hogs and poultry, and they immediately made signs that they had such animals as these.  I then distributed trinkets and nails among them, and made signs that they should go on shore and bring us some of their hogs, fowls, and fruit, but they did not seem to understand my meaning:  They were, in the mean time, watching an opportunity to steal some of the things that happened to lie in their way, but we generally detected them in the attempt.  At last, however, one of the midshipmen happened to come where they were standing, with a new laced hat upon his head, and began to talk to one of them by signs:  While he was thus engaged, another of them came behind him, and suddenly snatching off the hat, leaped over the taffarel into the sea, and swam away with it.

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