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Our curate, Jane's meek virtues pondering o'er,
Quite changed his taste and thought her plain no
"A maid so good must make a charming wife,
A very pretty girl, too, on my life!"


I AM physician to a hospital in a large
seaport town. My curiosity was aroused lately
by the face of a man, which, as it lay upon
the pillow of a hospital bed, looked singularly
savage. It was marked by a broad blue line
extending from the lower level of his nose to
an inch below the lips, and from the back of
one whisker to the back of the other.
Evidently such a tattoo-mark was not one
with which any white man would have been
willingly disfigured. On the patient's
recovery I put some questions to him, and
obtained the substance of the following
account. For several reasons I believe the
tale to be a true one. It was not volunteered;
the man appeared to be ashamed of his own
story, and required a steady cross-examination
before he would yield up half of what he
had to say. The cross-questioning produced
no inconsistent statements; no published
accounts contradict anything that he states;
and he mentions many facts known in this
country through books which it is not likely
that he ever read.

David or Daniel Dash, native of the state
of Virginia, embarked on board a whaling
ship as a common seaman, at the age of nineteen.
His ship sailed round Cape Horn, and
had been cruising about for perhaps nineteen
months, when she was overtaken by a
storm near the Marquesas; there she was
driven ashore in spite of all exertions, and
soon went to pieces. The crew consisted of
thirty persons. The captain and twenty-four
men took to the boats, and he believes
escaped. He and four others swam to land.
As soon as they arrived on shore they were
surrounded by the natives, made prisoners,
and carried a few miles into the interior.
Being then placed in a long hut, the prince
or chief came to them and arranged them in
a line. Without any delay the choice was
offered to themwhether they would be
tattooed or killed. The chief easily made his
meaning understood; he produced first the
usual tattooing implements, pointed to the
marks on his own person, and then to the
bodies of his prisoners. Presenting next a
knife, he made a feint of cutting off their

After this dumb-show, the chief offered to
each man in succession dagger or bowl, that
is to say, knife or tattooing apparatus.
Would they be dead men or savages? Dash's
four companions being his seniors, polled first
at this election, and they chose the knife.
He was, however, young to die, and willing
to do anything to save his life. He chose
to be tattooed. As soon as the decision
of the five men had been ascertained, the
four who had disdained to be made comrades
by the cannibals were killed. They lost
their heads. Without the least delay, their
bodies were cut up, and preparations made
for a feast. The large bones were cut out
to make fish-hooks, spear-heads, tattoo
instruments; particular parts were cut off to be
given as offerings to the Gods, and the rest
of the flesh was cooked. Holes were then
dug in the earth, and filled with dry wood,
some large stones being placed here and there
among the wood, to be heated when the pile
was fired. After ignition, fresh wood was
heaped on, and the fire kept up until the
ground had been made thoroughly hot. The
ashes being then raked out, the flesh was
put into the holes, and covered with the
stones and embers. It was so left for about
half an hour, and at the end of that time
taken out, and eaten by perhaps two hundred
men. Before the feast was ready, the men
had begun to drink an intoxicating liquor,
which resembled soap suds in appearance,
and soon took effect. This was the Cava
cup, of which travellers have written, and
Lord Byron has sung. Having no rum
or other spirit, and not understanding the
way to prepare any ordinary fermented
liquors, the islanders had been led to the
discovery of a strange substitute. They
procure a root called Cava root (which
appears, by the bye, to be very rich in starch);
they cut it up, and chew it thoroughly; they
then wash it in water, strain it through tappa
cloth; and, throwing the fibrous part away,
retain the washings. These are allowed to
stand for a short time, during which they
ferment, and acquire intoxicating power.
This drink appears to act as slow poison;
for indulgence in it reduces men often to a
miserable state of nervousness and blindness.

These natives seem from Daniel's account
to be epicures in cannibalism; and it is rather
agreeable to white men, to know that they do
not think so much of white men as they do of
black. Black men's flesh is greatly preferred
to pork, and their fondness for it is so decided
that no man of that colour would ever have
a choice given him for his life. The whites
on the contrary usually meet with the same
treatment that Dash and his companions had
experienced. The feast being over, tattooing
operations were commenced upon him. The
instruments employed were pieces of bone
filed into the shape of very fine saws; they
were about three inches long and varied from
a pen-knife's to two fingers' breadth; these
were set in cane handles, and when used
were placed upon the skin and struck by a
sort of wooden mallet till blood spirted out.
Burnt human bones were then rubbed in
over the wounds. The process was exceedingly
painful, so much so that only small portions
of the skin were painted at a sitting. Three
months elapsed before the whole tattooing