Sidor som bilder

was fixed upon the prodigy, and every operation was suspended. The whole assembly stood some time motionless, in silent astonishment, which could not have been more strongly expressed if they had discovered that our friend's limbs had been screwed on to the trunk. In a short time, however, the young women who were chafing us resumed their employment, and having continued for about half an hour, they dressed us again, but in this they were, as may easily be imagined, very awkward; I found great benefit, however, from the chafing, and so did the lieutenant and the purser.

"After a little time our generous benefactress ordered some bales of Indian cloth to be brought out, with which she clothed me and all that were with me, according to the fashion of the country. At first I declined the acceptance of this favour; but being unwilling not to seem pleased with what was intended to please me, I acquiesced. When we went away, she ordered a very large sow big with young to be taken down to the boat, and accompanied us thither herself. She had given directions to her people to carry me, as they had done when I came, but as I chose rather to walk, she took me by the arm, and whenever we came to a plash of water or dirt, she lifted me over with as little trouble as it would have cost me to have lifted over a child if I had been well."

The following morning Captain Wallis sent her a present by the gunner, who found her in the midst of an entertainment given to at leas a thousand people. The messes were put into shells of cocoanuts, and the shells into wooden trays, like those used by our butchers, and she distributed them with her own hands to the guests, who were seated in rows in the open air round the great house. When this was done she sat down herself upon a place somewhat elevated above the rest, and two women, placing themselves one on each side of her, fed her,

she opening her mouth as they brought their hands up with the food. From this time provisions were sent to market in the greatest abundance. The queen frequently visited the captain on board, and always with a present; but she never condescended to barter, nor would she accept of any return.

One day, after visiting her at her house, the captain at parting made her comprehend by signs that he intended to quit the island in seven days. She immediately understood his meaning, and by similar signs expressed her wish that he should stay twenty days, that he should go with her a couple of days' journey into the country, stay there a few days, return with plenty of hogs and poultry, and then go away; but on persisting in his first intention she burst into tears, and it was not without great difficulty that she could be pacified. The next time that she went on board Captain Wallis ordered a good dinner for her entertainment and those chiefs who were of her party; but the queen would neither eat nor drink. As she was going over the ship's side she asked, by signs, whether he still persisted in leaving the island at the time he had fixed; and on receiving an answer in the affirmative, she expressed her regret by a flood of tears; and as soon as her passion subsided she told the captain that she would come on board again the following day.

Accordingly the next day she again visited the ship twice, bringing each time large presents of hogs, fowls, and fruits. The captain, after expressing his sense of her kindness and bounty, announced his intention of sailing the following morning. This, as usual, threw her into tears, and, after recovering herself, she made anxious inquiry when he should return. He said in fifty days, with which she seemed to be satisfied. "She staid on board," says Captain Wallis," till night, and it was then with the greatest difficulty that she could be prevailed upon to go on shore. When she was told that the boat was ready,

she threw herself down upon the arm-chest, and wept a long time with an excess of passion that could not be pacified. At last, however, with the greatest reluctance, she was prevailed upon to go into the boat, and was followed by her attendants."

The next day, while the ship was unmooring, the whole beach was covered with the inhabitants. The queen came down, and, having ordered a double canoe to be launched, was rowed off by her own people, followed by fifteen or sixteen other canoes. She soon made her appearance on board, but, not being able to speak, she sat down, and gave vent to her passion by weeping. Shortly after, a breeze springing up, the ship made sail; and finding it now necessary to return into her canoe, "she embraced us all," says Captain Wallis, "in the most affectionate manner, and with many tears; all her attendants also expressed great sorrow at our departure. In a few minutes she came into the bow of her canoe, where she sat weeping with inconsolable sorrow. I gave her many things which I thought would be of great use to her, and some for ornament. She silently accepted of all, but took little notice of any thing. About ten o'clock we had got without the reef, and a fresh breeze springing up, our Indian friends, and particularly the queen, once more bade us farewell, with such tenderness of affection and grief as filled both my heart and my eyes."

The tender passion had certainly caught hold of one or both of these worthies; and if her majesty's language had been as well understood by Captain Wallis as that of Dido was to Æneas when pressing him to stay with her, there is no doubt it would have been found not less pathetic.

Nec te noster amor, nec te data dextera quondam,
Nec moritura tenet crudeli funere Dido?

This lady, however, did not sink, like the "miserrima Dido," under her griefs; on the contrary, we


find her in full activity and animation, and equally generous to Lieut. Cook and his party, under the name of Oberea, who, it now appeared, was no queen, but whose husband they discovered was uncle to the young king, then a minor, but from whom she was separated. She soon evinced a partiality for Mr Banks, though not quite so strong as that for Wallis, but it appears to have been mutual, until an unlucky discovery took place that she had at her command a stout, strong-boned cavaliere servente; added to which, a theft rather of an amusing nature contributed for a time to create a coolness, and somewhat to disturb the good understanding that had subsisted between them. It happened that a party, consisting of Cook, Banks, Solander, and three or four others, was benighted at a distance from the anchorage. Mr. Banks, says Lieut. Cook, thought himself fortu nate in being offered a place by Oberea in her own canoe, and, wishing his friends a good night, took his leave. He went to rest early, according to the custom of the country; and taking off his clothes, as was his constant practice, the nights being hot, Oberea kindly insisted upon taking them into her own custody, for otherwise, she said, they would cer tainly be stolen. Mr. Banks, having, as he thought, so good a safeguard, resigned himself to sleep with all imaginable tranquillity; but awakening about eleven o'clock, and wanting to get up, he searched for his clothes where he had seen them carefully deposited by Oberea when he lay down to sleep, and perceived, to his sorrow and surprise, that they were missing. He immediately awakened Oberea, who, starting up and hearing his complaint, ordered lights, and prepared in great haste to recover what had been lost. Tootahah, the regent, slept in the next canoe, and, being soon alarmed, he came to them, and set out with Oberea in search of the thief. Mr. Banks was not in a condition to go with them, as of his apparel scarcely any thing was left him but his

[ocr errors]

breeches. In about half an hour his two noble' friends returned, but without having obtained any intelligence of his clothes or of the thief. Where Cook and Solander had disposed of themselves he did not know; but hearing music, which was sure to bring a crowd together, in which there was a chance of his associates being among them, he rose, and made the best of his way towards it, and joined his party, as Cook says, more than half-naked, and told us his melancholy story."


It was some consolation to find that his friends were fellow-sufferers, Cook having lost his stockings, that had been stolen from under his head, though he had never been asleep, and his associates their jackets. At daybreak Oberea brought to Mr. Banks some of her country clothes; "so that when he came to us," says Cook, "he made a most motley appearance, half Indian and half English." Such an adventure must have been highly amusing to him who was the object of it when the inconvenience had been removed, as every one will admit who knew the late venerable president of the Royal Society. He never doubted, however, that Oberea was privy to the theft, and there was strong suspicion of her having some of the articles in her custody. Being aware that this feeling existed, she absented herself for some time, and when she again appeared she said a favourite of hers had taken them away, whom she had beaten and dismissed; "but she seemed conscious," says Cook, "that she had no right to be believed; she discovered the strongest signs of fear, yet she surmounted it with astonishing resolution, and was very pressing to be allowed to sleep with her attendants in Mr. Banks's tent. In this, however, she was not gratified." Sir Joseph might have thought, that if he complied with her request his breeches might be in danger of following the other articles of his dress.

The Otaheitans cannot resist pilfering. "I must

« FöregåendeFortsätt »