+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

was complete. Dash was marked on the
face, on the breast, on the back, and from the
toe nails to the ancles. All the natives of this
island and the neighbouring ones are tattooed.
The process seems to be compulsory, like-some
of the initiations practised by the North-
American Indians. It has to be undergone
alike by men and women. The priests or
doctors, called "Vahanna," are the operators.
The usual age for the operation is eighteen.
The father hands over his children to the
operator as they reach that age, with a certain
sum, either of goods, money, or land. In case
of his death before the children are sufficiently
mature he leaves some of his land for
the same purpose. The men are usually
tattooed in patterns, women more plainly.
In women the lips are marked by small spots,
the ears are bored, and round the hole, faint
blue concentric lines are drawn. The hands are
marked as far as the wrists, looking as if they
were gloved. The feet are marked in a
similar way as far as the ancle, and there
extend stripes from the upper margin of this
tattooed shoe to the knee joint.

When the process of tattooing had been
properly completed, Dash was adopted by
the chief into the tribe. This man "changed
places with him," "gave up his seat to him,"
and "they exchanged names;" Dash
became Coonooai (Coonooy) or "the great chief,"
and the chief David or Daniel Dash. The
chief could pronounce Daniel better than
David, and so adopted that one of the two
names which the sailor claims a right to use
at option. The chief also gave him his
daughter to wife, a well-built, handsome
woman of nineteen years of age. He "had
to marry" also four-and-twenty others, who
expected to be treated as his lawful spouses,
but who were in some degree inferior to the

The brothers and friends of these wives
soon built for their new associate a hut of
bamboo, in which the entire family resided.
A small compartment was made for the
princess and her spousea sort of state-room
to mark their superiority. He was in every
way treated as a chief; the brothers of
his wives prepared his victuals; a pig was
killed every second day for the use of his
household, and they had as many boiled
potatoes as they could eat. He had four children
only during the time he remained on the
island, three of whom died in their infancy.
He was about ten months before he could
speak the language perfectly, but he could
make himself understood much earlier.

The women, he says, have, on the whole,
few children. They suffer scarcely anything
at a confinement: and do not usually nurse
their children very long; they feed them with
cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, and raw fish, all these
being finely chewed before they are given, to
the infant. None of the people like cooked fish;
they all prefer it raw. Few die in infancy; the
great majority of children born are reared.
They seem almost to have an instinct for the
water. As soon as they can walk to the edge of
the stream they walk into it, and they can
swim as soon as or even before they have learnt
to run. I may observe that all children appear
to have a particular fondness for the water;
but those only can indulge it who go
constantly either quite naked, or in clothes not
liable to be injured, who at the same time have
access to water mild and genial as our
summer air.

The natives of the Marquesas keep up their
swimming powers throughout their lives, and
attain extraordinary faculties. They have no
fear of sharks; when one appears in the bay
the natives singly or in numbers "go out to
attack it" in its own element with their
knives. They have canoes which they manage
cleverly, and use in trading excursions to
other islands, or in fishing.

The colour of the islanders is similar to
that of many a tawny Spaniarda light
mahogany. The men and women are of a
medium height, well made, and often very
good-looking. Their dress consists of a piece
of tappa cloth round the loins, concerning
which they are as careful and proud as we
are in reference to the quality and fashion of
our more numerous and costly garments.
This tappa cloth is made by beating a part of
the bark of the bread-fruit tree with a sort
of wooden mall, which breaks up its fibres so
that they may be stretched out, like the lace
bark of the West Indies. This is carefully
washed and bleached until it becomes as
white and as fine as linen. It is never woven.

In disposition the Islanders are, by Daniel's
account, true savages. They are constantly
at war with neighbouring tribes. The
country is full of mountains and woods, the
former being very steep and difficult, the
latter dense and extensive. The valleys and
bays are the parts in and about which the
inhabitants are chiefly clustered. A distance
of four miles is frequently all the interspace
between the lands belonging to two hostile
tribes. The men are constantly at war, and
have the Dyak fondness for heads. Scarcely
a moonlight night elapses but one man or
other goes on a head-hunting excursion.
They often go alone, but usually hunt in twos
or threes. They start before night-fall so as
to arrive in the neighbourhood of the intended
victim shortly after dark; they then either
lie in ambush for a lone man, or go to a hut
disguising their voices, ask for shelter, or a
light for their pipes. When the door is
opened, they rush in; and if they can succeed
in overpowering the inmates, they kill them,
cut off their heads and return. The bodies are
too heavy to be dragged over the mountains.
The trophy or trophies being thus secured,
are cut into as many parts as possible, and
given to the numerous gods to propitiate them
and to procure from them good luck. These
gods are usually uncouth figures, but by
oversight I omitted to examine Daniel on