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.

On the 9th; soon after breakfast, we received a visit from Oberea, being the first that she had made us after the loss of our quadrant, and the unfortunate confinement of Tootahah; with her came her present favourite, Obadee, and Tupia:  They brought us a hog and some bread-fruit, in return for which we gave her a hatchet.  We had now afforded our Indian friends a new and interesting object of curiosity, our forge, which, having been set up some time, was almost constantly at work.  It was now common for them to bring pieces of iron, which we suppose they must have got from the Dolphin, to be made into tools of various kinds; and as I was very desirous to gratify them, they were indulged, except when the smith’s time was too precious to be spared.  Oberea having received her hatchet, produced as much old iron as would have made another, with a request that another might be made of it; in this, however, I could not gratify her upon which she brought out a broken axe, and desired it might be mended; I was glad of an opportunity to compromise the difference between us:  Her axe was mended, and she appeared to be content.  They went away at night, and took with them the canoe, which had been a considerable time at the point, but promised to return in three days.

On the 10th, I put some seeds of melons and other plants into a spot of ground which had been turned up for the purpose; they had all been sealed up by the person of whom, they were bought, in small bottles, with resin; but none of them came up except mustard; even the cucumbers and melons failed, and Mr Banks is of opinion that they were spoiled by the total exclusion of fresh air.

This day we learned the Indian name of the island, which is Otaheite, and by that name I shall hereafter distinguish it:  But after great pains taken we found it utterly impossible to teach the Indians to pronounce our names; we had, therefore, new names, consisting of such sounds as they produced in the attempt.  They called me Toote; Mr Hicks, Hete; Mollineux they renounced in absolute despair, and called the master Boba, from his Christian name Robert; Mr Gore was Toarro; Dr Solander, Torario; and Mr Banks, Tapane; Mr Green, Eteree; Mr Parkinson, Patini; Mr Sporing, Poliui; Petersgill, Petrodero; and in this manner they had now formed names for almost every man in the ship:  In some, however, it was not easy to find any traces of the original, and they were perhaps not mere arbitrary sounds, formed upon the occasion, but significant words in their own language.  Monkhouse, the midshipman, who commanded the party that killed the man for stealing the musket, they called Matte; not merely by an attempt to imitate in sound the first syllable of Monkhouse, but because Matte signifies dead; and this probably might be the case with others.


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