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this subject. He spoke contemptuously of
the people for believing just what their
doctor priests told themsaid that they told
them all sorts of thingsbut did not, of
his own will, particularise any.

As his account of the Taboo agreed
completely with that made familiar by many
writers, not forgetting Herman Melville, I
did not ask many questions about it. In
these midnight expeditions the knife is
used; in larger battles, however, the musket
supersedes all other arms. Great battles
are very numerous, a fortnight never elapses
without one. My informant said "He could
not rightly tell what they fought forhe
did not think they knew themselvesthey
could not be at peace." In these fights,
between two and three hundred will engage
on either side; the scene of the battle is
usually laid in the woods, and the
combatants dodge to and fro among the
trees. None like to expose themselves fully,
the whiz of a bullet immediately frightens
them, and causes them to drop upon the
ground. In consequence of all this caution,
the contests are often prolonged over from
one to three days, and it rarely happens that
more than four or five are killed on either
side. They sometimes, but seldom, come to
close quarters, when they fight with their
muskets clubbed. As soon as a few men are
killed, the losing side withdraws, the victims
are then conveyed to their village by the
conquerors, the "fancy" parts of their bodies
are devoted to the gods, the rest is cooked
and eaten by the men. The warriors do not
appear to have much sense of honour; for the
strong tribes constantly make war upon the
weak, and two or three tribes now and then
suspend their own quarrels to make more
effective war upon a fourth. In consequence
of this spirit, many tribes are now almost
exterminated and do not include more than
twenty or thirty men. All the people speak
one language, so that an union might be easily
effected if the temper of the people changed.

As they are savage in their war with
hostile tribes, so they are rude and brutal
in their peace amongst themselves. From
some cause or another Daniel was constantly
attacked by the women of the tribe who,
half in savage fun and half in earnest,
used to seize him by the beard and hair
and shake him; this they could often do
without fear of his wrath, as more than two
or three would set on him at once. He
considered that the attention was paid chiefly in
fun, but he had often to thrash the ladies
vigorously before they would set him free.
The men are not commonly savage amongst
themselves, as man to manrather as man to
woman. He had seen men thrashing women
with the butt end of a musket, and had known
limbs to be broken in this way. In such
cases it would be of no use for the wife to go
home to her father; he would only thrash
her again and send her back. It is not often
that actual murder takes place; when it does,
atonement is made to the friends of the
deceased by presents, or the murderer is
driven out into another tribe.

The islanders have enough regard for their
friends to show the delicate abstinence of not
eating themwhether killed in battle or by
chance. They never inter their dead, but
take them out to a distance in the woods,
where a rude cane hut is built to protect each
corpse from the sun and rain; a sort of
trough is made for the dead man's bed, in
which his body is left. Two days afterwards
a hog is killed, cooked, and deposited by the
bedside. This is done under the impression
that the dead require food like the living,
and the supply is continued long after the
flesh has crumbled into dust; in fact, until
the family of the defunct has itself become
extinct. It forms one of the chief occupations
of the life of the living to convey food to
the dead. Unlike some other savage nations,
they keep the old people during the helplessness
of age with assiduous care; the younger
members of the family, or of the tribe, supply
them regularly with provisions.

The climate is warm, genial, and healthy;
sickness is rare; nevertheless, from the
causes before mentioned, the population is on
the decrease. Daniel was not aware that any
European diseases had been introduced, nor
were the people habitually given to intoxication.

There are numerous feasts held in the
course of the yearusually one every two
months. The occasion of such a feast is
most commonly the reception of some recently
tattooed individuals, male or female, among
the adult members of a tribe. The chief
entertainment then is dancing. When all is
prepared, the men of the tribe arrange
themselves on one side of an open spacethe
women in a line opposite and parallel to them
between these opposed sides there are placed
four men whose duty it is to keep time by
beating drums. The drums are made by
scooping the interior from a piece of wood
and stretching a shark skin over it, which is
tightened by cords made of cocoa nut fibre.
The musicians produce on them only
discordant notesbut the rest of the people
somewhat improve the effect by clapping their
hands and singing.

Near the musicians the recently tattooed
youths are placed "yellowed off," said Daniel,
"with curry and cocoa nut, until they shine
like burnished mahogany." They take no
active part in the proceedings. The dancers
are women, who are chosen for their good
looks from amongst the wives and maidens
indiscriminately,—they are usually six in
number, and are dressed very handsomely;
their head-dress consists of tortoiseshell, pearl,
and feathers, their other clothing is a long
robe of tappa cloth, open in front, and reaching
to the ancles like a dressing gown. It is
ornamented as far down as the hips, with