Conference with Towha.—Heevas described.—Omai and Oedidee give Dinners.—Fireworks exhibited.—A remarkable Present of Cloth.—Manner of preserving the Body of a dead Chief.—Another human Sacrifice.—Riding on Horseback.—Otoo’s Attention to supply Provisions, and prevent Thefts.—Animals given to him.—Etary, and the Deputies of a Chief, have Audiences.—A mock Fight of two War Canoes.—Naval Strength of these Islands.—Manner of conducting a War.
The close of the very singular scene exhibited at the morai, which I have faithfully described in the last chapter, leaving us no other business in Attahooroo, we embarked about noon, in order to return to Matavai; and, in our way, visited Towha, who had remained on the little island where we met him the day before. Some conversation passed between Otoo and him, on the present posture of public affairs; and then the latter solicited me once more to join them in their war against Eimeo. By my positive refusal I entirely lost the good graces of this chief.
Before we parted, he asked us if the solemnity at which we had been present answered our expectations; what opinion we had of its efficacy; and whether we performed such acts of worship in our own country? During the celebration of the horrid ceremony, we had preserved a profound silence; but as soon as it was closed, had made no scruple in expressing our sentiments very freely about it to Otoo, and those who attended him; of course, therefore, I did not conceal my detestation of it in this conversation with Towha. Besides the cruelty of the bloody custom, I strongly urged the unreasonableness of it; telling the chief, that such a sacrifice, far from making the Eatooa propitious to their nation, as they ignorantly believed, would be the means of drawing down his vengeance; and that, from this very circumstance, I took upon me to judge, that their intended expedition against Maheine would be unsuccessful. This was venturing pretty far upon conjecture; but still, I thought, that there was little danger of being mistaken. For I found, that there were three parties in the island, with regard to this war; one extremely violent for it; another perfectly indifferent about the matter;