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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

When the wrestling was over, we were given to understand that two hogs, and a large quantity of bread-fruit, were preparing for our dinner, which, as our appetites were now keen, was very agreeable intelligence.  Our host, however, seemed to repent of his liberality; for, instead of setting his two hogs before us, he ordered one of them to be carried into our boat; at first we were not sorry for this new disposition of matters, thinking that we should dine more comfortably in the boat than on shore, as the crowd would more easily be kept at a distance:  But when we came on board, he ordered us to proceed with his hog to the ship:  This was mortifying, as we were now to row four miles while our dinner was growing cold; however, we thought fit to comply, and were at last gratified with the cheer that he had provided, of which he and Tubourai Tamaide had a liberal share.

Our reconciliation with this man operated upon the people like a charm; for he was no sooner known to be on board, than bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, and other provisions were brought to the fort in great plenty.

Affairs now went on in the usual channel; but pork being still a scarce commodity, our master, Mr Mollineux, and Mr Green, went in the pinnace to the eastward, on the 8th, early in the morning, to see whether they could procure any hogs or poultry in that part of the country:  They proceeded in that direction twenty miles; but though they saw many hogs, and one turtle, they could not purchase either at any price:  The people every where told them, that they all belonged to Tootahah, and that they could sell none of them without his permission.  We now began to think that this man was indeed a great prince; for an influence so extensive and absolute could be acquired by no other.  And we afterwards found that he administered the government of this part of the island, as sovereign, for a minor whom we never saw all the time that we were upon it.  When Mr Green returned from this expedition he said he had seen a tree of a size which he was afraid to relate, it being no less than sixty yards in circumference; but Mr Banks and Dr Solander soon explained to him that it was a species of the fig, the branches of which, bending down, take fresh root in the earth, and thus form a congeries of trunks, which being very close to each other, and all joined by a common vegetation, might easily be mistaken for one.

Though the market at the fort was now tolerably supplied, provisions were brought more slowly:  A sufficient quantity used to be purchased between sun-rise and eight o’clock, but it was now become necessary to attend the greatest part of the day.  Mr Banks, therefore, fixed his little boat up before the door of the fort, which was of great use as a place to trade in:  Hitherto we had purchased cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit for beads; but the market becoming rather slack in these articles, we were now, for the first time, forced to bring out our nails:  One of our smallest size, which was about four inches long, procured us twenty cocoa-nuts, and bread-fruit in proportion, so that in a short time our first plenty was restored.

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