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.
ranged in a circle round us.  These vessels were very neatly made, and so clean that they appeared to be quite new:  None of them had fewer than three persons on board, nor any of them more than six.[40] After these Indians had gazed at us some time, one of them suddenly jumped out of his proa, swam to the ship, and ran up the side like a cat:  As soon as he had stepped over the gunwale, he sat down upon it, and burst into a violent fit of laughter, then started up, and ran all over the ship, attempting to steal whatever he could lay his hands upon, but without success, for, being stark naked, it was impossible to conceal his booty for a moment.  Our seamen put on him a jacket and trowsers, which produced great merriment, for he had all the gestures of a monkey newly dressed:  We also gave him bread, which he eat with a voracious appetite, and after having played a thousand antic tricks, he leaped overboard, jacket and trowsers and all, and swam back again to his proa; after this several others swam to the ship, ran up the side of the gun-room ports, and having crept in, snatched up whatever lay in their reach, and immediately leaped again into the sea, and swam away at a great rate, though some of them, having both hands full, held up their arms quite out of the water, to prevent their plunder from being spoiled.  These people are tall, well-proportioned, and clean-limbed; Their skin is a bright copper-colour, their features are extremely good, and there is a mixture of intrepidity and cheerfulness in their countenances that is very striking.  They have long black hair, which some of them wore tied up behind in a great bunch, others in three knots:  Some of them had long beards, some only whiskers, and some nothing more than a small tuft at the point of the chin.  They were all of them stark naked, except their ornaments, which consisted of shells, very prettily disposed and strung together, and were worn round their necks, wrists, and waists:  All their ears were bored, but they had no ornaments in them when we saw them:  Such ornaments as they wear, when they wear any, are probably very heavy, for their ears hang down almost to their shoulders, and some of them were quite split through.[41] One of these men, who appeared to be a person of some consequence, had a string of human teeth about his waist, which was probably a trophy of his military prowess, for he would not part with it in exchange for any thing I could offer him.  Some of them were unarmed, but others had one of the most dangerous weapons I had ever seen:  It was a kind of spear, very broad at the end, and stuck full of sharks’ teeth, which are as sharp as a lancet, at the sides, for about three feet of its length.  We shewed them some cocoa-nuts, and made signs that we wanted more; but instead of giving any intimation that they could supply us, they endeavoured to take away those we had.

[Footnote 40:  “These have some resemblance to the proas used by the Indians of the Ladrone Islands, they having what is termed an outrigger, that is, a frame laid out to the windward, to balance this little vessel, and prevent its oversetting, which would otherwise infallibly happen, from its small breadth in proportion to its length.”]

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