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.

These people, however, were not wholly strangers to European commodities, for upon a closer attention, I perceived among them one woman who had bracelets either of brass, or very pale gold, upon her arms, and some beads of blue glass, strung upon two long queues of hair, which being parted at the top, hung down over each shoulder before her:  She was of a most enormous size, and her face was, if possible, more frightfully painted than the rest.  I had a great desire to learn where she got her beads and bracelets, and enquired by all the signs I could devise, but found it impossible to make myself understood.  One of the men shewed me the bowl of a tobacco-pipe, which was made of a red earth, but I soon found that they had no tobacco among them; and this person made me understand that he wanted some:  Upon this I beckoned to my people, who remained upon the beach, drawn up as I had left them, and, three or four of them ran forward, imagining that I wanted them.  The Indians, who, as I had observed, kept their eyes almost continually upon them, no sooner saw some of them advance, than they all rose up with a great clamour, and were leaving the place, as I supposed to get their arms, which were probably left at a little distance:  To prevent mischief, therefore, and put an end to the alarm, which had thus accidentally been spread among them, I ran to meet the people who were, in consequence of my signal, coming from the beach, and as soon as I was within hearing I hallooed to them, and told them that I would have only one come up with all the tobacco that he could collect from the rest.  As soon as the Indians saw this, they recovered from their surprise, and every one returned to his station, except a very old man, who came up to me, and sung a long song, which I much regretted my not being able to understand:  Before the song was well finished, Mr Cumming came up with the tobacco, and I could not but smile at the astonishment which I saw expressed in his countenance, upon perceiving himself, though six feet two inches high, become at once a pigmy among giants; for these people may indeed more properly be called giants than tall men.  Of the few among us who are full six feet high, scarcely any are broad and muscular in proportion to their stature, but look rather like men of the common bulk, run up accidentally to an unusual height; and a man who should measure only six feet two inches, and equally exceed a stout well-set man of the common stature in breadth and muscle, would strike us rather as being of a gigantic race, than as an individual accidentally anomalous; our sensations therefore, upon seeing five hundred people, the shortest of whom were at least four inches taller, and bulky in proportion, may be easily imagined.  After I had presented the tobacco, four or five of the chief men came up to me, and, as I understood by the signs they made, wanted me to mount one of the horses, and go with them to their habitations, but as it would upon every account have been imprudent

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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