Some Ladies visit the Fort with very uncommon Ceremonies: The Indians attend Divine Service, and in the Evening exhibit a most extraordinary Spectacle: Tubourai Tamaide falls into Temptation.
Friday, the 12th of May, was distinguished by a visit from some ladies whom we had never seen before, and who introduced themselves with very singular ceremonies. Mr Banks was trading in his boat at the gate of the fort as usual, in company with Tootahah, who had that morning paid him a visit, and some, other of the natives; between nine and ten o’clock, a double canoe came to the landing-place, under the awning of which sat a man and two women: The Indians that were about Mr Banks made signs that he should go out to meet them, which he hasted to do; but by the time he could get out of the boat, they had advanced within ten yards of him: They then stopped, and made signs that he should do so too, laying down about a dozen young plantain trees, and some other small plants: He complied, and the people having made a lane between them, the man, who appeared to be a servant, brought six of them to Mr Banks by one of each at a time, passing and repassing six times, and always pronouncing a short sentence when he delivered them. Tupia, who stood by Mr Banks, acted as his master of the ceremonies, and receiving the branches as they were brought, laid them down in the boat. When this was done another man brought a large bundle of cloth, which having opened, he spread piece by piece upon the ground, in the space between Mr Banks and his visitors; there were nine pieces, and having laid, three pieces one upon another, the foremost of the women, who seemed to be the principal, and who was called Oorattooa, stepped upon them, and taking up her garments all around her to the waist, turned about, with great composure and deliberation, and with an air of perfect innocence and simplicity, three times; when this was done, she dropped the veil, and stepping off the cloth, three more pieces were laid on, and she repeated the ceremony, then stepping off as before; the last three were laid on, and the ceremony was repeated in the same manner the third time. Immediately after this the cloth was rolled up, and given to Mr Banks as a present from the lady, who, with her friend, came up and saluted him. He made such presents to them both as he thought would be most acceptable, and after having staid about an hour they went away. In the evening the gentlemen at the fort had a visit from Oberea, and her favourite female attendant, whose name was Otheothea, an agreeable girl, whom they were the more pleased to see, because, having been some days absent, it had been reported she was either sick or dead.