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grown-up ladies to stand up to perform the Otaheitan dance, which they consented to with a reluctance that showed it was done only to oblige them. It was little more than a shuffling of the feet, sliding past each other, and snapping their fingers. They did not long continue this diversion, considering it as too great a levity, and only the three before-mentioned ladies could be prevailed on to exhibit their skill. They appeared to have little taste for music, either instrumental or vocal. Adams, when on board the Blossom for two or three days, made no difficulty of joining in the dance, and was remarkably cheerful, but on no occasion neglected his usual devotions. Captain Beechey has no doubt of the sincerity of his piety. He slept in the same cabin, but would never get into his cot until the captain was in bed and supposed to be asleep, when, in a retired corner of the cabin, he fell on his knees and performed his devotions; and he was always up first in the morning for the same purpose.
This good old man told Beechey one day that it would add much to his happiness if he would read the marriage ceremony to him and his wife, as he could not bear the idea of living with her without its being done when a proper opportunity should offer, as was now the case. Though Adams was aged, and the old woman had been blind and bedridden for several years, Beechey says he made such a point of it, that it would have been cruel to refuse him. They were accordingly, the following day, duly united, and the event noted in a register by John Buffet. The marriages that take place among the young people are, however, performed by Adams, who makes use of a ring for such occasions, which has united every couple on the island since its first settlement; the regulated age under which no man is allowed to marry is twenty, and that of the women eighteen. The restrictions with regard to relationship are the same as with us, and are strictly put in force when parties are about to marry. Adams also officiates at christenings.
Captain Beechey observes that these amiable people rigidly adhere to their word and promise, even in cases where the most scrupulous among Europeans might think themselves justified in some relaxation of them. Thus, George Adams, in his early days, had fallen in love with Polly Young, a girl somewhat older than himself; but Polly, for some reason or other, had incautiously declared she never would give her hand to George Adams; who, however, still hoped she would one day relent, and of course was unremitting in his endeavours to please her; nor was he mistaken; his constancy and his handsome form, which George took every opportunity of displaying before her, softened Polly's heart, and she would willingly have given him her hand. But the vow of her youth was not to be got over, and the love-sick couple languished on from day to day, victims to the folly of early resolutions. This weighty case was referred to the British officers, who decided that it would be much better to marry than to continue unhappy in consequence of a hasty resolution made before the judgment was matured, but Polly's scruples still remained, and those who gave their decision left them unmarried. Captain Beechey, however, has recently received a letter, stating that George Adams and Polly Young had joined hands and were happy; but the same letter announced the death of John Adams, which took place in March, 1829.
The demise of this old patriarch is the most serious loss that could have befallen this infant colony. The perfect harmony and contentment in which they appear to live together, the innocence and simplicity of their manners, their conjugal and parental affection, their moral, religious, and virtuous conduct, and their exemption from any serious vice, are all to be ascribed to the exemplary conduct and
instructions of old John Adams; and it is gratifying to know, that five years after the visit of the Blossom, and one year subsequent to Adams's death, the little colony continued to enjoy the same uninterrupted state of harmony and contentment as before.
In consequence of a representation made by Captain Beechey when there of the distressed state of this little society with regard to the want of certain necessary articles, his majesty's government sent out to Valparaiso, to be conveyed from thence for their use, a proportion for sixty persons, of the following articles: sailors' blue jackets and trousers, flannel waistcoats, pairs of stockings and shoes, women's dresses, spades, mattocks, shovels, pickaxes, trowels, rakes; all of which were taken in his majesty's ship Seringapatan, commanded by Captain the Honourable William Waldegrave, who arrived there in March, 1830.
The ship had scarcely anchored when George Young was alongside in his
canoe, which he guided by a paddle ; and soon after Thursday October Christian, in a jolly-boat, with several others, who, having come on board, were invited to breakfast, and one of them said grace as usual both before and after it. The captain, the chaplain, and some other officers accompanied these natives on shore, and having reached the summit of the first level or plain, which is surrounded by a grove or screen of cocoanuttrees, they found the wives and mothers assembled to receive them. “I have brought you a clergyman,” says the captain.—“God bless you,” issued from every mouth; “ but is he come to stay with us?"
"No."-" You bad man, why not?”—“I cannot spare him, he is the chaplain of my ship; but I have brought you clothes and other articles, which King George has sent you.”—“ But,” says Kitty Quintal, we want food for our souls.",
“Our reception,” says Captain Waldegrave, “was most cordial, particularly that of Mr. Watson, the
chaplain; and the meeting of the wives and husbands most affecting, exchanging expressions of joy that could not have been exceeded had they just returned from a long absence. The men sprang up to the trees, throwing down cocoanuts, the husks of which were torn off by others with their teeth, and offering us the milk. As soon as we had rested ourselves, they took us to their cottages, where we dined and slept.”
Captain Waldegrave says it was highly gratifying to observe their native simplicity of manners, apparently without guile; their hospitality was unbounded, their cottages being open to all, and all were welcome to such food as they possessed; pigs and fowls were immediately killed and dressed, and when the guests were seated, one of the islanders, in the attitude of prayer, and his eyes raised towards heaven, repeated a simple grace for the present food they were about to partake of, beseeching, at the same time, spiritual nourishment; at the end of which each responded Amen. On the arrival of any one during the repast, they all paused until the new guest had said grace.
At night they all assembled in one of the cottages to hear the afternoon church service performed by Mr. Watson, and Captain Waldegrave describes it as a most striking scene. The place chosen was the bedroom of one of the double cottages, or one with an upper story. The ascent was by a broad ladder from the lower room through a trap-door. The clergyman took his station between two beds, with a lamp burning close behind him. In the bed on his right were three infants sound asleep; at the foot of that on his left were three men sitting. On each side and in front were the men, some wearing only the simple mara, displaying their gigantic figures; others in jackets and trousers, their necks and feet bare; behind stood the women, in their modest home-made cloth dresses, which entirely covered the form, leaving only the head and feet bare. The girls wore, in addition, a sheet knotted in the manner of a Roman senator's toga, thrown over the right shoulder and under the left arm. When the general confession commenced, they all knelt down facing the clergyman, with their hands raised to the breast in the attitude of prayer, slowly and distinctly repeating the confession after the clergyman. They prayed for the King of England, whom they consider as their sovereign. A sermon followed, from a text which Captain Waldegrave thinks was most happily chosen: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” At the conclusion of the service they requested permission to sing their parting hymn, when the whole congregation, in good time, sang “ Depart in peace.”
Captain Waldegrave, like all former visiters, bears testimony to the kind disposition and active benevolence of these simple islanders. The children, he says, are fond and obedient, the parents affectionate and kind towards their children. None of the party ever heard a harsh word made use of by one towards another. They never slander or speak ill of one another. If any question was asked as to the character or conduct of a particular individual, the answer would probably be something of this kind, 6 If it could do any good, I would answer you; but as it cannot, it would be wrong to tell tales;" or if the question applied to one who had committed a fault they would say, “It would be wrong to tell my neighbour's shame." The kind and benevolene feeling of these amiable people is extended to the surviving widows of the Otaheite men who were slain on the island, and who would be left in a helpless and destitute state, were it not for the humane consideration of the younger part of the society, by whom they are supported and regarded with every mark of attention.
The women are clothed in white cloth made from