A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.
yams, and also to get up by.  When the yams had reached the top of the first posts, they fastened others to them, and so continued till each pile was the height of thirty feet, or upward.  On the top of one, they placed two baked hogs; and on the top of the other, a living one; and another they tied by the legs, half-way up.  It was matter of curiosity to observe, with what facility and dispatch these two piles were raised.  Had our seamen been ordered to execute such a work, they would have sworn that it could not be performed without carpenters; and the carpenters would have called to their aid a dozen different sorts of tools, and have expended, at least, a hundred weight of nails; and, after all, it would have employed them as many days as it did these people hours.  But seamen, like most other amphibious animals, are always the most helpless on land.  After they had completed these two piles, they made several other heaps of yams and bread-fruit on each side of the area; to which were added a turtle, and a large quantity of excellent fish.  All this, with a piece of cloth, a mat, and some red feathers, was the king’s present to me; and he seemed to pique himself on exceeding, as he really did, Feenou’s liberality, which I experienced at Hepaee.

About one o’clock they began the mai, or dances; the first of which was almost a copy of the first that was exhibited at Mareewagee’s entertainment.  The second was conducted by Captain Furneaux’s Toobou, who, as we mentioned, had also danced there; and in this, four or five women were introduced, who went through the several parts with as much exactness as the men.  Toward the end, the performers divided to leave room for two champions, who exercised their clubs, as described on a former occasion.  And, in the third dance, which was the last now presented, two more men, with their clubs, displayed their dexterity.  The dances were succeeded by wrestling and boxing; and one man entered the lists with a sort of club, made from the stem of a cocoa-leaf, which is firm and heavy; but could find no antagonist to engage him at so rough a sport.  At night we had the bomai repeated; in which Poulaho himself danced, dressed in English manufacture.  But neither these, nor the dances in the daytime, were so considerable, nor carried on with so much spirit, as Feenou’s, or Mareewagee’s; and, therefore, there is less occasion to be more particular in our description of them.

In order to be present the whole time, I dined ashore.  The king sat down with us, but he neither ate nor drank.  I found that this was owing to the presence of a female, whom, at his desire, I had admitted to the dining-party; and who, as we afterward understood, had superior rank to himself.  As soon as this great personage had dined, she stepped up to the king, who put his hands to her feet, and then she retired.  He immediately dipped his fingers into a glass of wine, and then received the obeisance of all her followers.  This was the single instance we ever observed of his paying this mark of reverence to any person.  At the king’s desire, I ordered some fire-works to be played off in the evening; but, unfortunately, being damaged; this exhibition did not answer expectation.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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