Typee First British Edition

Melville first published Typee under the title The Marquesas Islands; Or, A Peep At Polynesian Life in February 1846, as part of John Murray’s “Home and Colonial Library.” The text of Chapters 12, 13, and 14 corresponds to the manuscript chapters 10, 11, and 12 featured in this site. Bracketed page numbers in the table of contents and transcribed text link to the corresponding page images. Page names or numbers given in {curly braces} are editorial additions. Images of the cover and front matter appear after the Appendix.

We are grateful to Melinda Baumann and the staff of Digital Library Production Services at the University of Virginia libraries for providing the digital scans and XML transcription that underlie this edition of the text.

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London: Printed by William Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street.

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More than three years have elapsed since the occurrence of the
events recorded in this volume. The interval, with the exception
of the last few months, has been chiefly spent by the author tossing
about on the wide ocean. Sailors are the only class of men who
now-a-days see anything like stirring adventure; and many things
which to fire-side people appear strange and romantic, to them
seem as common-place as a jacket out at elbows. Yet, notwith-
standing the familiarity of sailors with all sorts of curious ad-
venture, the incidents recorded in the following pages have
often served, when “spun as a yarn,” not only to relieve the
weariness of many a night-watch at sea, but to excite the warmest
sympathies of the author’s shipmates. He has been therefore
led to think that his story could scarcely fail to interest those
who are less familiar than the sailor with a life of adventure.

In his account of the singular and interesting people among
whom he was thrown, it will be observed that he chiefly treats
of their more obvious peculiarities; and, in describing their cus-
toms, refrains in most cases from entering into explanations con-
cerning their origin and purposes. As writers of travels among
barbarous communities are generally very diffuse on these sub-
jects, he deems it right to advert to what may be considered a
culpable omission. No one can be more sensible than the author
of his deficiencies in this and many other respects; but when the

[ viii ]
very peculiar circumstances in which he was placed are under-
stood, he feels assured that all these omissions will be excused.

In very many published narratives no little degree of attention
is bestowed upon dates; but as the author lost all knowledge of
the days of the week, during the occurrence of the scenes herein
related, he hopes that the reader will charitably pass over his
shortcomings in this particular.

In the Polynesian words used in this volume—except in those
cases where the spelling has been previously determined by
others—that form of orthography has been employed, which
might be supposed most easily to convey their sound to a
stranger. In several works descriptive of the islands in the
Pacific, many of the most beautiful combinations of vocal sounds
have been altogether lost to the ear of the reader by an over-
attention to the ordinary rules of spelling.

There are a few passages in the ensuing chapters which may
be thought to bear rather hard upon a reverend order of men,
the account of whose proceedings in different quarters of the
globe—transmitted to us through their own hands—very ge-
nerally, and often very deservedly, receives high commendation.
Such passages will be found, however, to be based upon facts
admitting of no contradiction, and which have come immediately
under the writer’s cognizance. The conclusions deduced from
these facts are unavoidable, and in stating them the author has
been influenced by no feeling of animosity, either to the indi-
viduals themselves or to that glorious cause which has not
always been served by the proceedings of some of its advocates.

The great interest with which the important events lately
occurring at the Sandwich, Marquesas, and Society Islands, have
been regarded in America and England, and indeed throughout
the world, will, he trusts, justify a few otherwise unwarrantable

[ ix ]

There are some things related in the narrative which will be
sure to appear strange, or perhaps entirely incomprehensible,
to the reader; but they cannot appear more so to him than they
did to the author at the time. He has stated such matters just
as they occurred, and leaves every one to form his own opinion
concerning them; trusting that his anxious desire to speak the
unvarnished truth will gain for him the confidence of his

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The Sea—Longings for Shore—A Land-sick Ship—Destination of the
Voyagers—The Marquesas—Adventure of a Missionary’s Wife among
the Savages—Characteristic Anecdote of the Queen of Nukuheva

[ Page 1 ]

Passage from the Cruising Ground to the Marquesas—Sleepy times aboard
Ship—South Sea Scenery—Land ho!—The French Squadron discovered
at Anchor in the Bay of Nukuheva—Strange Pilot—Escort of Canoes—A
Flotilla of Cocoa-nuts—Swimming Visitors—The Dolly boarded by them
—State of affairs that ensue

[ 8 ]

Some Account of the late operations of the French at the Marquesas—
Prudent Conduct of the Admiral—Sensation produced by the Arrival of
the Strangers—The first Horse seen by the Islanders—Reflections—
Miserable Subterfuge of the French—Digression concerning Tahiti—
Seizure of the Island by the Admiral—Spirited Conduct of an English

[ 16 ]

State of Affairs aboard the Ship—Contents of her Larder—Length of South
Seamen’s Voyages—Account of a Flying Whaleman—Determination to
Leave the Vessel—The Bay of Nukuheva—The Typees—Invasion of their
Valley by Porter—Reflections—Glen of Tior—Interview between the
old King and the French Admiral

[ 20 ]
[ xii ]

Thoughts previous to attempting an Escape—Toby, a Fellow Sailor, agrees
to share the Adventure—Last Night aboard the Ship

[ 31 ]

A Specimen of Nautical Oratory—Criticisms of the Sailors—The Starboard
Watch are given a Holiday—The Escape to the Mountains

[ 36 ]

The other side of the Mountain—Disappointment—Inventory of Articles
brought from the Ship—Division of the Stock of Bread—Appearance of
the Interior of the Island—A Discovery—A Ravine and Waterfalls—A
sleepless Night—Further Discoveries—My Illness—A Marquesan Land-

[ 44 ]

The Important Question, Typee or Happar?—A Wild-Goose Chace—My
Sufferings—Disheartening Situation—A Night in a Ravine—Morning
Meal—Happy Idea of Toby—Journey towards the Valley

[ 54 ]
Perilous Passage of the Ravine—Descent into the Valley
[ 63 ]

The Head of the Valley—Cautious Advance—A Path—Fruit—Discovery of
Two of the Natives—Their singular Conduct—Approach towards the
inhabited parts of the Vale—Sensation produced by our Appearance—
Reception at the House of one of the Natives

[ 72 ]

Midnight Reflections — Morning Visitors — A Warrior in Costume—A
Savage Æsculapius—Practice of the Healing Art—Body Servant—A
Dwelling-house of the Valley described—Portraits of its Inmates

[ 83 ]
[ xiii ]

Officiousness of Kory-Kory—His Devotion—A Bath in the Stream—Want
of Refinement of the Typee Damsels—Stroll with Mehevi—A Typee
Highway—The Taboo Groves—The Hoolah-Hoolah Ground—The Ti
—Time-worn Savages—Hospitality of Mehevi—Midnight Misgivings—
Adventure in the Dark—Distinguished Honours paid to the Visitors—
Strange Procession and Return to the House of Marheyo

[ 97 ]

Attempt to procure Relief from Nukuheva—Perilous Adventure of Toby in
the Happar Mountain—Eloquence of Kory-Kory

[ 107 ]

A great Event happens in the Valley—The Island Telegraph—Something
befalls Toby—Fayaway displays a tender Heart—Melancholy Reflections—
Mysterious Conduct of the Islanders—Devotion of Kory-Kory—A rural
Couch—A Luxury—Kory-Kory strikes a Light à la Typee

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Kindness of Marheyo and the rest of the Islanders—A full Description of the
Bread-fruit Tree—Different Modes of preparing the Fruit

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Melancholy condition—Occurrence at the Ti—Anecdote of Marheyo—
Shaving the Head of a Warrior

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Improvement in Health and Spirits—Felicity of the Typees—Their enjoy-
ments compared with those of more enlightened Communities—Compara-
tive Wickedness of civilized and unenlightened People—A Skirmish in the
Mountain with the Warriors of Happar

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Swimming in company with the Girls of the Valley—A Canoe—Effects
of the Taboo—A pleasure Excursion on the Pond—Beautiful freak of
Fayaway—Mantua-making—A Stranger arrives in the Valley—His mys-
terious conduct—Native Oratory—The Interview—Its Results—Departure
of the Stranger

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Reflections after Marnoo’s Departure—Battle of the Pop-guns—Strange con-
ceit of Marheyo—Process of making Tappa

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History of a day as usually spent in the Typee Valley—Dances of the Mar-
quesan Girls

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The Spring of Arva Wai—Remarkable Monumental Remains—Some ideas
with regard to the History of the Pi-Pis found in the Valley

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Preparations for a Grand Festival in the Valley—Strange doings in the
Taboo Groves—Monument of Calabashes—Gala costume of the Typee
damsels—Departure for the Festival

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The Feast of Calabashes
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Ideas suggested by the Feast of Calabashes—Inaccuracy of certain published
Accounts of the Islands—A Reason—Neglected State of Heathenism in
the Valley—Effigy of a dead Warrior—A singular Superstition—The
Priest Kolory and the God Moa Artua—Amazing Religious Observance—
A dilapidated Shrine—Kory-Kory and the Idol—An Inference

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[ xv ]

General Information gathered at the Festival—Personal Beauty of the
Typees—Their Superiority over the Inhabitants of the other Islands—
Diversity of Complexion—A Vegetable Cosmetic and Ointment—Testi-
mony of Voyagers to the uncommon Beauty of the Marquesas—Few
Evidences of Intercourse with Civilized Beings—Dilapidated Musket—
Primitive Simplicity of Government—Regal Dignity of Mehevi

[ 200 ]

King Mehevi—Allusion to his Hawiian Majesty—Conduct of Marheyo and
Mehevi in certain delicate matters—Peculiar system of Marriage—
Number of Population—Uniformity—Embalming—Places of Sepulchre—
Funeral obsequies at Nukuheva—Number of Inhabitants in Typee—
Location of the Dwellings—Happiness enjoyed in the Valley—A Warning
—Some ideas with regard to the Civilization of the Islands—Reference to
the Present state of the Hawiians—Story of a Missionary’s Wife—Fashion-
able Equipages at Oahu—Reflections

[ 209 ]
The Social Condition and General Character of the Typees
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Fishing Parties—Mode of distributing the Fish—Midnight Banquet—Time-
keeping Tapers—Unceremonious style of eating the Fish

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Natural History of the Valley—Golden Lizards—Tameness of the Birds—
Mosquitos—Flies—Dogs—A solitary Cat—The Climate—The Cocoa-nut
Tree—Singular modes of climbing it—An agile young Chief—Fearlessness
of the Children—Too-Too and the Cocoa-nut Tree—The Birds of the

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A Professor of the Fine Arts—His Persecutions—Something about Tattooing
and Tabooing—Two Anecdotes in illustration of the latter—A few thoughts
on the Typee Dialect

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[ xvi ]

Strange custom of the Islanders—Their Chanting, and the peculiarity of
their Voice—Rapture of the King at first hearing a Song—A new Dignity
conferred on the Author—Musical Instruments in the Valley—Admiration
of the Savages at beholding a Pugilistic Performance—Swimming Infant—
Beautiful Tresses of the Girls—Ointment for the Hair

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Apprehensions of Evil—Frightful Discovery—Some remarks on Cannibalism
—Second Battle with the Happars—Savage Spectacle—Mysterious Feast—
Subsequent Disclosures

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The Stranger again arrives in the Valley—Singular Interview with him—
Attempt to Escape—Failure—Melancholy Situation—Sympathy of Mar-

[ 264 ]
The Escape
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Provisional cession to Lord George Paulet of the Sandwich Islands
[ 279 ]
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The Sea—Longings for Shore—A Land-sick Ship—Destination of the
Voyagers—The Marquesas—Adventure of a Missionary’s Wife among
the Savages—Characteristic Anecdote of the Queen of Nukuheva.

Six months at sea! Yes, reader, as I live, six months out of
sight of land; cruising after the sperm-whale beneath the
scorching sun of the Line, and tossed on the billows of the wide-
rolling Pacific—the sky above, the sea around, and nothing else!
Weeks and weeks ago our fresh provisions were all exhausted.
There is not a sweet potatoe left; not a single yam. Those
glorious bunches of banannas which once decorated our stern
and quarter-deck have, alas, disappeared! and the delicious
oranges which hung suspended from our tops and stays—they,
too, are gone! Yes, they are all departed, and there is nothing
left us but salt-horse and sea-biscuit. Oh! ye state-room sailors,
who make so much ado about a fourteen-days’ passage across the
Atlantic; who so pathetically relate the privations and hardships
of the sea, where, after a day of breakfasting, lunching, dining
off five courses, chatting, playing whist, and drinking champaign-
punch, it was your hard lot to be shut up in little cabinets of
mahogany and maple, and sleep for ten hours, with nothing to
disturb you but “those good-for-nothing tars, shouting and
tramping over head,”—what would ye say to our six months out
of sight of land?

Oh! for a refreshing glimpse of one blade of grass—for a snuff
at the fragrance of a handful of the loamy earth! Is there
nothing fresh around us? Is there no green thing to be seen?
Yes, the inside of our bulwarks is painted green; but what a

[ 2 ]
vile and sickly hue it is, as if nothing bearing even the semblance
of verdure could flourish this weary way from land. Even the
bark that once clung to the wood we use for fuel has been
gnawed off and devoured by the captain’s pig; and so long ago,
too, that the pig himself has in turn been devoured.

There is but one solitary tenant in the chicken-coop, once a
gay and dapper young cock, bearing him so bravely among the
coy hens. But look at him now; there he stands, moping all
the day long on that everlasting one leg of his. He turns with
disgust from the mouldy corn before him, and the brackish water
in his little trough. He mourns no doubt his lost companions,
literally snatched from him one by one, and never seen again.
But his days of mourning will be few; for Mungo, our black
cook, told me yesterday that the word had at last gone forth,
and poor Pedro’s fate was sealed. His attenuated body will be
laid out upon the captain’s table next Sunday, and long before
night will be buried with all the usual ceremonies beneath that
worthy individual’s vest. Who would believe that there could
be any one so cruel as to long for the decapitation of the luck-
less Pedro; yet the sailors pray every minute, selfish fellows,
that the miserable fowl may be brought to his end. They say
the captain will never point the ship for the land so long as he
has in anticipation a mess of fresh meat. This unhappy bird can
alone furnish it; and when he is once devoured, the captain will
come to his senses. I wish thee no harm, Peter; but as thou art
doomed, sooner or later, to meet the fate of all thy race; and if
putting a period to thy existence is to be the signal for our deli-
verance, why—truth to speak—I wish thy throat cut this very
moment; for, oh! how I wish to see the living earth again!
The old ship herself longs to look out upon the land from her
hawse-holes once more, and Jack Lewis said right the other day
when the captain found fault with his steering.

“Why, d’ye see, Captain Vangs,” says bold Jack, “I’m as
good a helmsman as ever put hand to spoke; but none of us can
steer the old lady now. We can’t keep her full and bye, sir:
watch her ever so close, she will fall off; and then, sir, when I
put the helm down so gently, and try like to coax her to the
work, she won’t take it kindly, but will fall round off again;
and it’s all because she knows the land is under the lee, sir, and

[ 3 ]
she wont go any more to windward.” Aye, and why should she,
Jack? didn’t every one of her stout timbers grow on shore, and
hasn’t she sensibilities as well as we?

Poor old ship! Her very looks denote her desires: how de-
plorably she appears! The paint on her sides, burnt up by the
scorching sun, is puffed out and cracked. See the weeds she
trails along with her, and what an unsightly bunch of those
horrid barnacles has formed about her stern-piece; and every
time she rises on a sea, she shows her copper torn away, or
hanging in jagged strips.

Poor old ship! I say again: for six months she has been roll-
ing and pitching about, never for one moment at rest. But
courage, old lass, I hope to see thee soon within a biscuit’s toss
of the merry land, riding snugly at anchor in some green cove,
and sheltered from the boisterous winds.

* * * * *

“Hurra, my lads! It’s a settled thing; next week we shape
our course to the Marquesas!” The Marquesas! What strange
visions of outlandish things does the very name spirit up!
Naked houris—cannibal banquets—groves of cocoa-nut—coral
reefs — tatooed chiefs — and bamboo temples; sunny valleys
planted with bread-fruit-trees—carved canoes dancing on the
flashing blue waters—savage woodlands guarded by horrible
idols— heathenish rites and human sacrifices.

Such were the strangely jumbled anticipations that haunted
me during our passage from the cruising ground. I felt an irre-
sistible curiosity to see those islands which the olden voyagers
had so glowingly described.

The group for which we were now steering (although among
the earliest of European discoveries in the South Seas, having
been first visited in the year 1595) still continues to be tenanted
by beings as strange and barbarous as ever. The missionaries,
sent on a heavenly errand, had sailed by their lovely shores, and
had abandoned them to their idols of wood and stone. How in-
teresting the circumstances under which they were discovered!
In the watery path of Mendanna, cruising in quest of some
region of gold, these isles had sprung up like a scene of enchant-
ment, and for a moment the Spaniard believed his bright dream
was realised. In honour of the Marquess de Mendoza, then

[ 4 ]
viceroy of Peru—under whose auspices the navigator sailed—
he bestowed upon them the name which denoted the rank of his
patron, and gave to the world on his return a vague and magni-
ficent account of their beauty. But these islands, undisturbed
for years, relapsed into their previous obscurity; and it is only
recently that anything has been known concerning them. Once
in the course of a half century, to be sure, some adventurous
rover would break in upon their peaceful repose, and, astonished
at the unusual scene, would be almost tempted to claim the merit
of a new discovery.

Of this interesting group, but little account has ever been
given, if we except the slight mention made of them in the
sketches of South-Sea voyages. Cook, in his repeated circum-
navigations of the globe, barely touched at their shores; and all
that we know about them is from a few general narratives.
Among these, there are two that claim particular notice.
Porter’s ‘Journal of the Cruise of the U. S. frigate Essex, in the
Pacific, during the late War,’ is said to contain some interesting
particulars concerning the islanders. This is a work, however,
which I have never happened to meet with; and Stewart, the
chaplain of the American sloop of war Vincennes, has likewise
devoted a portion of his book, entitled ‘A Visit to the South
Seas,’ to the same subject.

Within the last few years American and English vessels
engaged in the extensive whale fisheries of the Pacific have
occasionally, when short of provisions, put into the commodious
harbour which there is in one of the islands; but a fear of the
natives, founded on a recollection of the dreadful fate which
many white men have received at their hands, has deterred their
crews from intermixing with the population sufficiently to gain
any insight into their peculiar customs and manners.

The Protestant Missions appear to have despaired of reclaim-
ing these islands from heathenism. The usage they have in
every case received from the natives has been such as to intimi-
date the boldest of their number. Ellis, in his ‘Polynesian
Researches,’ gives some interesting accounts of the abortive
attempts made by the Tahiti Mission to establish a branch
Mission upon certain islands of the group. A short time before
my visit to the Marquesas, a somewhat amusing incident took

[ 5 ]
place in connection with these efforts, which I cannot avoid

An intrepid missionary, undaunted by the ill-success that had
attended all previous endeavours to conciliate the savages, and
believing much in the efficacy of female influence, introduced
among them his young and beautiful wife, the first white woman
who had ever visited their shores. The islanders at first gazed
in mute admiration at so unusual a prodigy, and seemed inclined
to regard it as some new divinity. But after a short time, be-
coming familiar with its charming aspect, and jealous of the
folds which encircled its form, they sought to pierce the sacred
veil of calico in which it was enshrined, and in the gratification
of their curiosity so far overstepped the limits of good breeding,
as deeply to offend the lady’s sense of decorum. Her sex once
ascertained, their idolatry was changed into contempt; and there
was no end to the contumely showered upon her by the savages,
who were exasperated at the deception which they conceived
had been practised upon them. To the horror of her affec-
tionate spouse, she was stripped of her garments, and given to
understand that she could no longer carry on her deceits with
impunity. The gentle dame was not sufficiently evangelised to
endure this, and, fearful of further improprieties, she forced her
husband to relinquish his undertaking, and together they re-
turned to Tahiti.

Not thus shy of exhibiting her charms was the Island Queen
herself, the beauteous wife of Mowanna, the king of Nukuheva.
Between two and three years after the adventures recorded in
this volume, I chanced, while aboard of a man-of-war, to touch
at these islands. The French had then held possession of the
Marquesas some time, and already prided themselves upon the
beneficial effects of their jurisdiction, as discernible in the de-
portment of the natives. To be sure, in one of their efforts at
reform they had slaughtered about a hundred and fifty of them
at Whitihoo—but let that pass. At the time I mention, the
French squadron was rendezvousing in the bay of Nukuheva,
and during an interview between one of their captains and our
worthy Commodore, it was suggested by the former, that we, as
the flag-ship of the American squadron, should receive, in state,
a visit from the royal pair. The French officer likewise repre-

[ 6 ]
sented, with evident satisfaction, that under their tuition the
king and queen had imbibed proper notions of their elevated
station, and on all ceremonious occasions conducted themselves
with suitable dignity. Accordingly, preparations were made to
give their majesties a reception on board in a style corresponding
with their rank.

One bright afternoon, a gig, gaily bedizened with streamers,
was observed to shove off from the side of one of the French
frigates, and pull directly for our gangway. In the stern sheets
reclined Mowanna and his consort. As they approached, we
paid them all the honours due to royalty;—manning our yards,
firing a salute, and making a prodigious hubbub.

They ascended the accommodation ladder, were greeted by
the Commodore, hat in hand, and passing along the quarter-
deck, the marine guard presented arms, while the band struck
up ‘The king of the Cannibal Islands.’ So far all went well.
The French officers grimaced and smiled in exceedingly high
spirits, wonderfully pleased with the discreet manner in which
these distinguished personages behaved themselves.

Their appearance was certainly calculated to produce an
effect. His majesty was arrayed in a magnificent military uni-
form, stiff with gold lace and embroidery, while his shaven
crown was concealed by a huge chapeau bras, waving with os-
trich plumes. There was one slight blemish, however, in his
appearance. A broad patch of tatooing stretched completely
across his face, in a line with his eyes, making him look as if he
wore a huge pair of goggles; and royalty in goggles suggested
some ludicrous ideas. But it was in the adornment of the fair
person of his dark-complexioned spouse that the tailors of the
fleet had evinced the gaiety of their national taste. She was
habited in a gaudy tissue of scarlet cloth, trimmed with yellow
silk, which, descending a little below the knees, exposed to view
her bare legs, embellished with spiral tatooing, and somewhat
resembling two miniature Trajan’s columns. Upon her head
was a fanciful turban of purple velvet, figured with silver sprigs,
and surmounted by a tuft of variegated feathers.

The ship’s company crowding into the gangway to view the
sight, soon arrested her majesty’s attention. She singled out
from their number an old salt, whose bare arms and feet, and

[ 7 ]
exposed breast were covered with as many inscriptions in India
ink as the lid of an Egyptian sarcophagus. Notwithstanding
all the sly hints and remonstrances of the French officers, she
immediately approached the man, and pulling further open the
bosom of his duck frock, and rolling up the leg of his wide trow-
sers, she gazed with admiration at the bright blue and vermilion
pricking, thus disclosed to view. She hung over the fellow,
caressing him, and expressing her delight in a variety of wild
exclamations and gestures. The embarrassment of the polite
Gauls at such an unlooked-for occurrence may be easily ima-
gined; but picture their consternation, when all at once the
royal lady, eager to display the hieroglyphics on her own sweet
form, bent forward for a moment, and turning sharply round,
threw up the skirts of her mantle, and revealed a sight from
which the aghast Frenchmen retreated precipitately, and tum-
bling into their boat, fled the scene of so shocking a catastrophe.
[ 8 ]

Passage from the Cruising Ground to the Marquesas—Sleepy times abroad
Ship—South Sea Scenery—Land ho!—The French Squadron discovered
at Anchor in the Bay of Nukuheva—Strange Pilot—Escort of Canoes—A
Flotilla of Cocoa-nuts—Swimming Visitors—The Dolly boarded by them
—State of affairs that ensue.

I can never forget the eighteen or twenty days during which
the light trade-winds were silently sweeping us towards the
islands. In pursuit of the sperm whale, we had been cruizing
on the line some twenty degrees to the westward of the Galli-
pagos; and all that we had to do, when our course was deter-
mined on, was to square in the yards and keep the vessel before
the breeze, and then the good ship and the steady gale did the
rest between them. The man at the wheel never vexed the old
lady with any superfluous steering, but comfortably adjusting his
limbs at the tiller, would doze away by the hour. True to her
work, the Dolly headed to her course, and like one of those cha-
racters who always do best when let alone, she jogged on her way
like a veteran old sea-pacer as she was.

What a delightful, lazy, languid time we had whilst we were
thus gliding along! There was nothing to be done; a circum-
stance that happily suited our disinclination to do anything. We
abandoned the fore-peak altogether, and spreading an awning
over the forecastle, slept, ate, and lounged under it the live-long
day. Every one seemed to be under the influence of some nar-
cotic. Even the officers aft, whose duty required them never to
be seated while keeping a deck watch, vainly endeavoured to
keep on their pins; and were obliged invariably to compromise
the matter by leaning up against the bulwarks, and gazing ab-
stractedly over the side. Reading was out of the question; take
a book in your hand, and you were asleep in an instant.

Although I could not avoid yielding in a great measure to the
general languor, still at times I contrived to shake off the spell,

[ 9 ]
and to appreciate the beauty of the scene around me. The sky
presented a clear expanse of the most delicate blue, except along
the skirts of the horizon, where you might see a thin drapery of
pale clouds which never varied their form or colour. The long,
measured, dirge-like swell of the Pacific came rolling along,
with its surface broken by little tiny waves, sparkling in the
sunshine. Every now and then a shoal of flying fish, scared
from the water under the bows, would leap into the air, and fall
the next moment like a shower of silver into the sea. Then you
would see the superb albicore, with his glittering sides, sailing
aloft, and often describing an arc in his descent, disappear on
the surface of the water. Far off, the lofty jet of the whale
might be seen, and nearer at hand the prowling shark, that
villainous footpad of the seas, would come skulking along, and,
at a wary distance, regard us with his evil eye. At times, some
shapeless monster of the deep, floating on the surface, would, as
we approached, sink slowly into the blue waters, and fade away
from the sight. But the most impressive feature of the scene
was the almost unbroken silence that reigned over sky and water.
Scarcely a sound could be heard but the occasional breathing of
the grampus, and the rippling at the cut-water.

As we drew nearer the land, I hailed with delight the ap-
pearance of innumerable sea-fowl. Screaming and whirling in
spiral tracks, they would accompany the vessel, and at times
alight on our yards and stays. That piratical-looking fellow,
appropriately named the man-of-war’s hawk, with his blood-red
bill and raven plumage, would come sweeping round us in
gradually diminishing circles, till you could distinctly mark the
strange flashings of his eye; and then, as if satisfied with his
observation, would sail up into the air and disappear from the
view. Soon, other evidences of our vicinity to the land were
apparent, and it was not long before the glad announcement of
its being in sight was heard from aloft,—given with that pecu-
liar prolongation of sound that a sailor loves—“Land ho!”

The captain, darting on deck from the cabin, bawled lustily
for his spy-glass; the mate in still louder accents hailed the
mast-head with a tremendous “where-away?” The black cook
thrust his woolly head from the galley, and Boatswain, the dog,
leaped up between the knight-heads, and barked most furiously.

[ 10 ]
Land ho! Aye, there it was. A hardly perceptible blue
irregular outline, indicating the bold contour of the lofty
heights of Nukuheva.

This island, although generally called one of the Marquesas,
is by some navigators considered as forming one of a distinct
cluster, comprising the islands of Ruhooka, Ropo, and Nuku-
heva; upon which three the appellation of the Washington
Group has been bestowed. They form a triangle, and lie within
the parallels of 8° 38″ and 9° 32″ South latitude, and 139° 20′
and 140° 10′ West longitude from Greenwich. With how little
propriety they are to be regarded as forming a separate group
will be at once apparent, when it is considered that they lie in
the immediate vicinity of the other islands, that is to say, less
than a degree to the north-west of them; that their inhabitants
speak the Marquesan dialect, and that their laws, religion, and
general customs are identical. The only reason why they were
ever thus arbitrarily distinguished, may be attributed to the
singular fact, that their existence was altogether unknown to
the world until the year 1791, when they were discovered by
Captain Ingraham, of Boston, Massachusetts, nearly two centu-
ries after the discovery of the adjacent islands by the agent of
the Spanish Viceroy. Notwithstanding this, I shall follow the
example of most voyagers, and treat of them as forming part and
parcel of the Marquesas.

Nukuheva is the most important of these islands, being the
only one at which ships are much in the habit of touching, and
is celebrated as being the place where the adventurous Captain
Porter refitted his ships during the late war between England
and the United States, and whence he sallied out upon the large
whaling fleet then sailing under the enemy’s flag in the surround-
ing seas. This island is about twenty miles in length and nearly
as many in breadth. It has three good harbours on its coast;
the largest and best of which is called by the people living in its
vicinity ‘Tyohee,’ and by Captain Porter was denominated
Massachusetts Bay. Among the adverse tribes dwelling about
the shores of the other bays, and by all voyagers, it is generally
known by the name bestowed upon the island itself—Nukuheva.
Its inhabitants have become somewhat corrupted, owing to their
recent commerce with Europeans; but so far as regards their

[ 11 ]
peculiar customs and general mode of life, they retain their
original primitive character, remaining very nearly in the same
state of nature in which they were first beheld by white men.
The hostile clans, residing in the more remote sections of the
island, and very seldom holding any communication with fo-
reigners, are in every respect unchanged from their earliest
known condition.

In the bay of Nukuheva was the anchorage we desired to reach.
We had perceived the loom of the mountains about sunset; so
that after running all night with a very light breeze, we found
ourselves close in with the island the next morning: but as the bay
we sought lay on its farther side, we were obliged to sail some
distance along the shore, catching, as we proceeded, short glimpses
of blooming valleys, deep glens, waterfalls, and waving groves,
hidden here and there by projecting and rocky headlands, every
moment opening to the view some new and startling scene of

Those who for the first time visit the South Seas, generally
are surprised at the appearance of the islands when beheld from
the sea. From the vague accounts we sometimes have of their
beauty, many people are apt to picture to themselves enamelled
and softly swelling plains, shaded over with delicious groves, and
watered by purling brooks, and the entire country but little
elevated above the surrounding ocean. The reality is very dif-
ferent; bold rock-bound coasts, with the surf beating high
against the lofty cliffs, and broken here and there into deep inlets,
which open to the view thickly-wooded valleys, separated by the
spurs of mountains clothed with tufted grass, and sweeping down
towards the sea from an elevated and furrowed interior, form the
principal features of these islands.

Towards noon we drew abreast the entrance to the harbour,
and at last we slowly swept by the intervening promontory, and
entered the bay of Nukuheva. No description can do justice to
its beauty; but that beauty was lost to me then, and I saw
nothing but the tri-coloured flag of France trailing over the stern
of six vessels, whose black hulls and bristling broadsides pro-
claimed their warlike character. There they were, floating in
that lovely bay, the green eminences of the shore looking down
so tranquilly upon them, as if rebuking the sternness of their

[ 12 ]
aspect. To my eye nothing could be more out of keeping than
the presence of these vessels; but we soon learnt what brought
them there. The whole group of islands had just been taken
possession of by Rear Admiral Du Petit Thouars, in the name of
the invincible French nation.

This item of information was imparted to us by a most extra-
ordinary individual, a genuine South-Sea vagabond, who came
alongside of us in a whale-boat as soon as we entered the bay,
and by the aid of some benevolent persons at the gangway was
assisted on board, for our visitor was in that interesting stage of
intoxication when a man is amiable and helpless. Although he
was utterly unable to stand erect or to navigate his body across
the deck, he still magnanimously proffered his services to pilot
the ship to a good and secure anchorage. Our captain, however,
rather distrusted his ability in this respect, and refused to recog-
nise his claim to the character he assumed; but our gentleman
was determined to play his part, for by dint of much scrambling
he succeeded in getting into the weather-quarter boat, where he
steadied himself by holding on to a shroud, and then commenced
issuing his commands with amazing volubility and very peculiar
gestures. Of course no one obeyed his orders; but as it was im-
possible to quiet him, we swept by the ships of the squadron with
this strange fellow performing his antics in full view of all the
French officers.

We afterwards learned that our eccentric friend had been a
lieutenant in the English navy; but having disgraced his flag by
some criminal conduct in one of the principal ports on the main,
he had deserted his ship, and spent many years wandering among
the islands of the Pacific, until accidentally being at Nukuheva
when the French took possession of the place, he had been ap-
pointed pilot of the harbour by the newly constituted authorities.

As we slowly advanced up the bay, numerous canoes pushed
off from the surrounding shores, and we were soon in the midst
of quite a flotilla of them, their savage occupants struggling to
get aboard of us, and jostling one another in their ineffectual
attempts. Occasionally the projecting out-riggers of their slight
shallops running foul of one another, would become entangled
beneath the water, threatening to capsize the canoes, when a
scene of confusion would ensue that baffles description. Such

[ 13 ]
strange outcries and passionate gesticulations I never certainly
heard or saw before. You would have thought the islanders
were on the point of flying at one another’s throats, whereas they
were only amicably engaged in disentangling their boats.

Scattered here and there among the canoes might be seen
numbers of cocoa nuts floating closely together in circular
groups, and bobbing up and down with every wave. By some
inexplicable means these cocoa nuts were all steadily approach-
ing towards the ship. As I leaned curiously over the side en-
deavouring to solve their mysterious movements, one mass far in
advance of the rest attracted my attention. In its centre was
something I could take for nothing else than a cocoa nut, but
which I certainly considered one of the most extraordinary spe-
cimens of the fruit I had ever seen. It kept twirling and dancing
about among the rest in the most singular manner, and as it drew
nearer I thought it bore a remarkable resemblance to the brown
shaven skull of one of the savages. Presently it betrayed a pair
of eyes, and soon I became aware that what I had supposed to
have been one of the fruit was nothing else than the head of an
islander, who had adopted this singular method of bringing his
produce to market. The cocoa nuts were all attached to one
another by strips of the husk, partly torn from the shell and
rudely fastened together. Their proprietor inserting his head
into the midst of them, impelled his necklace of cocoa nuts
through the water by striking out beneath the surface with his

I was somewhat astonished to perceive that among the number
of natives that surrounded us not a single female was to be seen.
At that time I was ignorant of the fact that by the operation of
the “taboo” the use of canoes in all parts of the island is rigor-
ously prohibited to the entire sex, for whom it is death even to
be seen entering one when hauled on shore; consequently, when-
ever a Marquesan lady voyages by water, she puts in requisition
the paddles of her own fair body.

We had approached within a mile and a half perhaps of the
foot of the bay, when some of the islanders, who by this time had
managed to scramble aboard of us at the risk of swamping their
canoes, directed our attention to a singular commotion in the
water ahead of the vessel. At first I imagined it to be produced

[ 14 ]
by a shoal of fish sporting on the surface, but our savage friends
assured us that it was caused by a shoal of “whinhenies” (young
girls), who in this manner were coming off from the shore to
welcome us. As they drew nearer, and I watched the rising and
sinking of their forms, and beheld the uplifted right arm bearing
above the water the girdle of tappa, and their long dark hair
trailing beside them as they swam, I almost fancied they could
be nothing else than so many mermaids:—and very like mer-
maids they behaved too.

We were still some distance from the beach, and under slow
headway, when we sailed right into the midst of these swimming
nymphs, and they boarded us at every quarter; many seizing
hold of the chain-plates and springing into the chains; others,
at the peril of being run over by the vessel in her course, catch-
ing at the bob-stays, and wreathing their slender forms about the
ropes, hung suspended in the air. All of them at length suc-
ceeded in getting up the ship’s side, where they clung dripping
with the brine and glowing from the bath, their jet-black tresses
streaming over their shoulders, and half enveloping their other-
wise naked forms. There they hung, sparkling with savage
vivacity, laughing gaily at one another, and chattering away with
infinite glee. Nor were they idle the while, for each one per-
formed the simple offices of the toilette for the other. Their
luxuriant locks, wound up and twisted into the smallest possible
compass, were freed from the briny element; the whole person
carefully dried, and from a little round shell that passed from
hand to hand, anointed with a fragrant oil: their adornments
were completed by passing a few loose folds of white tappa, in a
modest cincture, around the waist. Thus arrayed they no longer
hesitated, but flung themselves lightly over the bulwarks, and
were quickly frolicking about the decks. Many of them went
forward, perching upon the head-rails or running out upon the
bowsprit, while others seated themselves upon the taffrail, or re-
clined at full length upon the boats. What a sight for us
bachelor sailors! how avoid so dire a temptation? For who
could think of tumbling these artless creatures overboard, when
they had swam miles to welcome us?

Their appearance perfectly amazed me; their extreme youth,
the light clear brown of their complexions, their delicate fea-

[ 15 ]
tures, and inexpressibly graceful figures, their softly moulded
limbs, and free unstudied action, seemed as strange as beautiful.

The ‘Dolly’ was fairly captured; and never I will say was
vessel carried before by such a dashing and irresistible party of
boarders! The ship taken, we could not do otherwise than yield
ourselves prisoners, and for the whole period that she remained
in the bay, the ‘Dolly,’ as well as her crew, were completely in
the hands of the mermaids.

In the evening after we had come to an anchor the deck was
illuminated with lanterns, and this picturesque band of sylphs,
tricked out with flowers, and dressed in robes of variegated tappa,
got up a ball in great style. These females are passionately fond
of dancing, and in the wild grace and spirit of their style excel
everything that I have ever seen. The varied dances of the
Marquesan girls are beautiful in the extreme, but there is an
abandoned voluptuousness in their character which I dare not
attempt to describe.

Our ship was now wholly given up to every species of riot and
debauchery. Not the feeblest barrier was interposed between
the unholy passions of the crew and their unlimited gratification.
The grossest licentiousness and the most shameful inebriety pre-
vailed, with occasional and but short-lived interruptions, through
the whole period of her stay. Alas for the poor savages when
exposed to the influence of these polluting examples! Unso-
phisticated and confiding, they are easily led into every vice,
and humanity weeps over the ruin thus remorselessly inflicted
upon them by their European civilizers. Thrice happy are they
who, inhabiting some yet undiscovered island in the midst of the
ocean, have never been brought into contaminating contact with
the white man.

[ 16 ]

Some Account of the late operations of the French at the Marquesas—
Prudent Conduct of the Admiral—Sensation produced by the Arrival of
the Strangers—The first Horse seen by the Islanders—Reflections—
Miserable Subterfuge of the French—Digression concerning Tahiti—
Seizure of the Island by the Admiral—Spirited Conduct of an English

It was in the summer of 1842 that we arrived at the islands;
the French had then held possession of them for several weeks.
During this time they had visited some of the principal places
in the group, and had disembarked at various points about five
hundred troops. These were employed in constructing works of
defence, and otherwise providing against the attacks of the na-
tives, who at any moment might be expected to break out in
open hostility. The islanders looked upon the people who made
this cavalier appropriation of their shores with mingled feelings
of fear and detestation. They cordially hated them; but the
impulses of their resentment were neutralized by their dread of
the floating batteries, which lay with their fatal tubes ostenta-
tiously pointed, not at fortifications and redoubts, but at a hand-
ful of bamboo sheds, sheltered in a grove of cocoa-nuts! A
valiant warrior doubtless, but a prudent one too, was this same
Rear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars. Four heavy, double-banked
frigates and three corvettes to frighten a parcel of naked
heathen into subjection! Sixty-eight pounders to demolish huts
of cocoa-nut boughs, and Congreve rockets to set on fire a few
canoe sheds!

At Nukuheva, there were about one hundred soldiers ashore.
They were encamped in tents, constructed of the old sails and
spare spars of the squadron, within the limits of a redoubt
mounted with a few nine-pounders, and surrounded with a fosse.
Every other day, these troops were marched out in martial array,
to a level piece of ground in the vicinity, and there for hours

[ 17 ]
went through all sorts of military evolutions, surrounded by
flocks of the natives, who looked on with savage admiration at
the show, and as savage a hatred of the actors. A regiment of
the Old Guard, reviewed on a summer’s day in the Champs
Elysées, could not have made a more critically correct appear-
ance. The officers’ regimentals, resplendent with gold lace and
embroidery, as if purposely calculated to dazzle the islanders,
looked as if just unpacked from their Parisian cases.

The sensation produced by the presence of the strangers had
not in the least subsided at the period of our arrival at the
islands. The natives still flocked in numbers about the encamp-
ment, and watched with the liveliest curiosity everything that
was going forward. A blacksmith’s forge, which had been set
up in the shelter of a grove near the beach, attracted so great a
crowd, that it required the utmost efforts of the sentries posted
around to keep the inquisitive multitude at a sufficient distance
to allow the workmen to ply their vocation. But nothing gained
so large a share of admiration as a horse, which had been
brought from Valparaiso by the Achille, one of the vessels of
the squadron. The animal, a remarkably fine one, had been
taken ashore and stabled in a hut of cocoa-nut boughs within
the fortified enclosure. Occasionally it was brought out, and,
being gaily caparisoned, was ridden by one of the officers at full
speed over the hard sand beach. This performance was sure to
be hailed with loud plaudits, and the “puarkee nuee” (big hog)
was unanimously pronounced by the islanders to be the most
extraordinary specimen of zoology that had ever come under
their observation.

The expedition for the occupation of the Marquesas had sailed
from Brest in the spring of 1842, and the secret of its desti-
nation was solely in the possession of its commander. No
wonder that those who contemplated such a signal infraction of
the rights of humanity should have sought to veil the enormity
from the eyes of the world. And yet, notwithstanding their
iniquitous conduct in this and in other matters, the French have
ever plumed themselves upon being the most humane and po-
lished of nations. A high degree of refinement, however, does
not seem to subdue our wicked propensities so much after all;
and were civilization itself to be estimated by some of its results,

[ 18 ]
it would seem perhaps better for what we call the barbarous
part of the world to remain unchanged.

One example of the shameless subterfuges under which the
French stand prepared to defend whatever cruelties they may
hereafter think fit to commit in bringing the Marquesan natives
into subjection is well worthy of being recorded. On some
flimsy pretext or other Mowanna, the king of Nukuheva, whom
the invaders by extravagant presents have cajoled over to their
interests, and move about like a mere puppet, has been set up
as the rightful sovereign of the entire island,—the alleged ruler
by prescription of various clans who for ages perhaps have
treated with each other as separate nations. To reinstate this
much-injured prince in the assumed dignities of his ancestors,
the disinterested strangers have come all the way from France:
they are determined that his title shall be acknowledged. If any
tribe shall refuse to recognise the authority of the French, by
bowing down to the laced chapeau of Mowanna, let them abide
the consequences of their obstinacy. Under cover of a similar
pretence, have the outrages and massacres at Tahiti the beautiful,
the queen of the South Seas, been perpetrated.

On this buccaneering expedition, Rear-Admiral Du Petit
Thouars, leaving the rest of his squadron at the Marquesas—
which had then been occupied by his forces about five months—
set sail for the doomed island in the Reine Blanche frigate. On
his arrival, as an indemnity for alleged insults offered to the flag
of his country, he demanded some twenty or thirty thousand
dollars to be placed in his hands forthwith, and in default of
payment, threatened to land and take possession of the place.

The frigate, immediately upon coming to an anchor, got
springs on her cables, and with her guns cast loose and her men
at their quarters, lay in the circular basin of Papeete, with her
broadside bearing upon the devoted town; while her numerous
cutters, hauled in order alongside, were ready to effect a landing,
under cover of her batteries. She maintained this belligerent
attitude for several days, during which time a series of informal
negotiations were pending, and wide alarm spread over the
island. Many of the Tahitians were at first disposed to resort
to arms, and drive the invaders from their shores; but more
pacific and feebler councils ultimately prevailed. The unfortu-

[ 19 ]
nate queen, Pomare, incapable of averting the impending ca-
lamity, terrified at the arrogance of the insolent Frenchman,
and driven at last to despair, fled by night in a canoe to Emio.

During the continuance of the panic there occurred an in-
stance of feminine heroism that I cannot omit to record.

In the grounds of the famous missionary consul, Pritchard,
then absent in London, the consular flag of Britain waved as
usual during the day, from a lofty staff planted within a few
yards of the beach, and in full view of the frigate. One morn-
ing an officer, at the head of a party of men, presented himself
at the verandah of Mr. Pritchard’s house, and inquired in broken
English for the lady his wife. The matron soon made her
appearance; and the polite Frenchman, making one of his best
bows, and playing gracefully with the aguilettes that danced
upon his breast, proceeded in courteous accents to deliver his
mission. “The admiral desired the flag to be hauled down—
hoped it would be perfectly agreeable—and his men stood ready
to perform the duty.” “Tell the pirate your master,” replied the
spirited Englishwoman, pointing to the staff, “that if he wishes
to strike those colours, he must come and perform the act him-
self; I will suffer no one else to do it.” The lady then bowed
haughtily and withdrew into the house. As the discomfited
officer slowly walked away, he looked up to the flag, and per-
ceived that the cord by which it was elevated to its place, led
from the top of the staff, across the lawn, to an open upper win-
dow of the mansion, where sat the lady from whom he had just
parted, tranquilly engaged in knitting. Was that flag hauled
down? Mrs. Pritchard thinks not; and Rear Admiral Du
Petit Thouars is believed to be of the same opinion.

[ 20 ]

State of Affairs aboard the Ship—Contents of her Larder—Length of South
Seamen’s Voyages—Account of a Flying Whale-man—Determination to
Leave the Vessel—The Bay of Nukuheva—The Typees—Invasion of their
Valley by Porter — Reflections—Glen of Tior—Interview between the
Old King and the French Admiral.

Our ship had not been many days in the harbour of Nukuheva
before I came to the determination of leaving her. That my
reasons for resolving to take this step were numerous and weighty,
may be inferred from the fact that I chose rather to risk my for-
tunes among the savages of the island than to endure another
voyage on board the Dolly. To use the concise, point-blank
phrase of the sailors, I had made up my mind to “run away.”
Now as a meaning is generally attached to these two words no
way flattering to the individual to whom they are applied, it
behoves me, for the sake of my own character, to offer some
explanation of my conduct.

When I entered on board the Dolly, I signed as a matter of
course the ship’s articles, thereby voluntarily engaging and
legally binding myself to serve in a certain capacity for the
period of the voyage; and, special considerations apart, I was of
course bound to fulfill the agreement. But in all contracts, if
one party fail to perform his share of the compact, is not the
other virtually absolved from his liability? Who is there who
will not answer in the affirmative?

Having settled the principle, then, let me apply it to the
particular case in question. In numberless instances had not
only the implied but the specified conditions of the articles
been violated on the part of the ship in which I served. The
usage on board of her was tyrannical; the sick had been in-
humanly neglected; the provisions had been doled out in scanty
allowance; and her cruizes were unreasonably protracted. The
captain was the author of these abuses; it was in vain to think

[ 21 ]
that he would either remedy them, or alter his conduct, which
was arbitrary and violent in the extreme. His prompt reply to
all complaints and remonstrances was—the butt end of a hand-
spike, so convincingly administered as effectually to silence the
aggrieved party.

To whom could we apply for redress? We had left both law
and equity on the other side of the Cape; and unfortunately, with
a very few exceptions, our crew was composed of a parcel of
dastardly and mean-spirited wretches, divided among themselves,
and only united in enduring without resistance the unmitigated
tyranny of the captain. It would have been mere madness for
any two or three of the number, unassisted by the rest, to attempt
making a stand against his ill usage. They would only have
called down upon themselves the particular vengeance of this
“Lord of the Plank,” and subjected their shipmates to additional

But, after all, these things could have been endured awhile,
had we entertained the hope of being speedily delivered from
them by the due completion of the term of our servitude. But
what a dismal prospect awaited us in this quarter! The longevity
of Cape Horn whaling voyages is proverbial, frequently extending
over a period of four or five years.

Some long-haired, bare-necked youths, who, forced by the
united influences of Captain Marryatt and hard times, embark at
Nantucket for a pleasure excursion to the Pacific, and whose
anxious mothers provide them with bottled milk for the occasion,
oftentimes return very respectable middle-aged gentlemen.

The very preparations made for one of these expeditions are
enough to frighten one. As the vessel carries out no cargo, her
hold is filled with provisions for her own consumption. The
owners, who officiate as caterers for the voyage, supply the larder
with an abundance of dainties. Delicate morsels of beef and
pork, cut on scientific principles from every part of the animal,
and of all conceivable shapes and sizes, are carefully packed in
salt, and stored away in barrels; affording a never-ending variety
in their different degrees of toughness, and in the peculiarities of
their saline properties. Choice old water too, decanted into
stout six-barrel-casks, and two pints of which are allowed every
day to each soul on board; together with ample store of sea-bread,

[ 22 ]
previously reduced to a state of petrifaction, with a view to pre-
serve it either from decay or consumption in the ordinary mode,
are likewise provided for the nourishment and gastronomic enjoy-
ment of the crew.

But not to speak of the quality of these articles of sailors’ fare,
the abundance in which they are put on board a whaling vessel
is almost incredible. Oftentimes, when we had occasion to break
out in the hold, and I beheld the successive tiers of casks and
barrels, whose contents were all destined to be consumed in due
course by the ship’s company, my heart has sunk within me.

Although, as a general case, a ship unlucky in falling in with
whales continues to cruize after them until she has barely suffi-
cient provisions remaining to take her home, turning round then
quietly and making the best of her way to her friends, yet there
are instances when even this natural obstacle to the further pro-
secution of the voyage is overcome by headstrong captains, who,
bartering the fruits of their hard-earned toils for a new supply of
provisions in some of the ports of Chili or Peru, begin the voyage
afresh with unabated zeal and perseverance. It is in vain that
the owners write urgent letters to him to sail for home, and for
their sake to bring back the ship, since it appears he can put
nothing in her. Not he. He has registered a vow: he will fill
his vessel with good sperm oil, or failing to do so, never again
strike Yankee soundings.

I heard of one whaler, which after many years’ absence was
given up for lost. The last that had been heard of her was a
shadowy report of her having touched at some of those unstable
islands in the far Pacific, whose eccentric wanderings are care-
fully noted in each new edition of the South-Sea charts. After
a long interval, however, ‘The Perseverance’—for that was her
name—was spoken somewhere in the vicinity of the ends of the
earth, cruizing along as leisurely as ever, her sails all bepatched
and bequilted with rope-yarns, her spars fished with old pipe
stores, and her rigging knotted and spliced in every possible
direction. Her crew was composed of some twenty venerable
Greenwich-pensioner-looking old salts, who just managed to
hobble about deck. The ends of all the running ropes, with the
exception of the signal halyards and poop-down-haul, were rove
through snatch-blocks, and led to the capstan or windlass, so

[ 23 ]
that not a yard was braced or a sail set without the assistance of

Her hull was incrusted with barnacles, which completely en-
cased her. Three pet sharks followed in her wake, and every
day came alongside to regale themselves from the contents of the
cook’s bucket, which were pitched over to them. A vast shoal
of bonetas and albicores always kept her company.

Such as the account I heard of this vessel, and the remem-
brance of it always haunted me; what eventually became of her
I never learned; at any rate she never reached home, and I sup-
pose she is still regularly tacking twice in the twenty-four hours
somewhere off Buggerry Island, or the Devil’s-Tail Peak.

Having said thus much touching the usual length of these
voyages, when I inform the reader that ours had as it were just
commenced, we being only fifteen months out, and even at that
time hailed as a late arrival, and boarded for news, he will
readily perceive that there was little to encourage one in looking
forward to the future, especially as I had always had a presenti-
ment that we should make an unfortunate voyage, and our ex-
perience so far had justified the expectation.

I may here state, and on my faith as an honest man, that
though more than three years have elapsed since I left this same
identical vessel, she still continues in the Pacific, and but a few
days since I saw her reported in the papers as having touched at
the Sandwich Islands previous to going on the coast of Japan.

But to return to my narrative. Placed in these circumstances
then, with no prospect of matters mending if I remained aboard
the Dolly, I at once made up my mind to leave her: to be
sure it was rather an inglorious thing to steal away privily from
those at whose hands I had received wrongs and outrages that I
could not resent; but how was such a course to be avoided when
it was the only alternative left me? Having made up my mind,
I proceeded to acquire all the information I could obtain relating
to the island and its inhabitants, with a view of shaping my plans
of escape accordingly. The result of these inquiries I will now
state, in order that the ensuing narrative may be the better un-

The bay of Nukuheva in which we were then lying is an ex-
panse of water not unlike in figure the space included within the

[ 24 ]
limits of a horse-shoe. It is, perhaps, nine miles in circumfer-
ence. You approach it from the sea by a narrow entrance,
flanked on either side by two small twin islets which soar coni-
cally to the height of some five hundred feet. From these the
shore recedes on both hands, and describes a deep semicircle.

From the verge of the water the land rises uniformly on all
sides, with green and sloping acclivities, until from gently rolling
hill-sides and moderate elevations it insensibly swells into lofty
and majestic heights, whose blue outlines, ranged all around,
close in the view. The beautiful aspect of the shore is heightened
by deep and romantic glens, which come down to it at almost
equal distances, all apparently radiating from a common centre,
and the upper extremities of which are lost to the eye beneath
the shadow of the mountains. Down each of these little valleys
flows a clear stream, here and there assuming the form of a
slender cascade, then stealing invisibly along until it burst upon
the sight again in larger and more noisy waterfalls, and at last
demurely wanders along to the sea.

The houses of the natives, constructed of the yellow bamboo,
tastefully twisted together in a kind of wicker-work, and thatched
with the long tapering leaves of the palmetto, are scattered irre-
gularly along these valleys beneath the shady branches of the
cocoa-nut trees.

Nothing can exceed the imposing scenery of this bay. Viewed
from our ship as she lay at anchor in the middle of the harbour,
it presented the appearance of a vast natural amphitheatre in
decay, and overgrown with vines, the deep glens that furrowed
its sides appearing like enormous fissures caused by the ravages of
time. Very often when lost in admiration at its beauty, I have
experienced a pang of regret that a scene so enchanting should
be hidden from the world in these remote seas, and seldom meet
the eyes of devoted lovers of nature.

Besides this bay the shores of the island are indented by several
other extensive inlets, into which descend broad and verdant
valleys. These are inhabited by as many distinct tribes of
savages, who, although speaking kindred dialects of a common
language, and having the same religion and laws, have from time
immemorial waged hereditary warfare against each other. The
intervening mountains, generally two or three thousand feet above

[ 25 ]
the level of the sea, geographically define the territories of each
of these hostile tribes, who never cross them, save on some ex-
pedition of war or plunder. Immediately adjacent to Nukuheva,
and only separated from it by the mountains seen from the
harbour, lies the lovely valley of Happar, whose inmates cherish
the most friendly relations with the inhabitants of Nukuheva.
On the other side of Happar, and closely adjoining it, is the mag-
nificent valley of the dreaded Typees, the unappeasable enemies
of both these tribes.

These celebrated warriors appear to inspire the other islanders
with unspeakable terrors. Their very name is a frightful one;
for the word “Typee” in the Marquesan dialect signifies a lover
of human flesh. It is rather singular that the title should have
been bestowed upon them exclusively, inasmuch as the natives of
all this group are irreclaimable cannibals. The name may, per-
haps, have been given to denote the peculiar ferocity of this clan,
and to convey a special stigma along with it.

These same Typees enjoy a prodigious notoriety all over the
islands. The natives of Nukuheva would frequently recount in
pantomime to our ship’s company their terrible feats, and would
show the marks of wounds they had received in desperate en-
counters with them. When ashore they would try to frighten
us by pointing to one of their own number, and calling him a
Typee, manifesting no little surprise that we did not take to our
heels at so terrible an announcement. It was quite amusing, too,
to see with what earnestness they disclaimed all cannibal propen-
sities on their own part, while they denounced their enemies—the
Typees—as inveterate gormandizers of human flesh; but this is
a peculiarity to which I shall hereafter have occasion to allude.

Although I was convinced that the inhabitants of our bay
were as arrant cannibals as any of the other tribes on the island,
still I could not but feel a particular and most unqualified re-
pugnance to the aforesaid Typees. Even before visiting the
Marquesas, I had heard from men who had touched at the group
on former voyages some revolting stories in connection with
these savages; and fresh in my remembrance was the adventure
of the master of the Katherine, who only a few months pre-
vious, imprudently venturing into this bay in an armed boat for
the purpose of barter, was seized by the natives, carried back a

[ 26 ]
little distance into their valley, and was only saved from a cruel
death by the intervention of a young girl, who facilitated his
escape by night along the beach to Nukuheva.

I had heard too of an English vessel that many years ago, after
a weary cruize, sought to enter the bay of Nukuheva, and ar-
riving within two or three miles of the land, was met by a large
canoe filled with natives, who offered to lead the way to the place
of their destination. The captain, unacquainted with the locali-
ties of the island, joyfully acceded to the proposition—the canoe
paddled on and the ship followed. She was soon conducted to a
beautiful inlet, and dropped her anchor in its waters beneath the
shadows of the lofty shore. That same night the perfidious
Typees, who had thus inveigled her into their fatal bay, flocked
aboard the doomed vessel by hundreds, and at a given signal
murdered every soul on board.

I shall never forget the observation of one of our crew as we
were passing slowly by the entrance of this bay in our way to
Nukuheva. As we stood gazing over the side at the verdant
headlands, Ned, pointing with his hand in the direction of the
treacherous valley, exclaimed, “There—there’s Typee. Oh,
the bloody cannibals, what a meal they’d make of us if we were
to take it into our heads to land! but they say they don’t like
sailor’s flesh, it’s too salt. I say, maty, how should you like to
be shoved ashore there, eh?” I little thought, as I shuddered at
the question, that in the space of a few weeks I should actually
be a captive in that self-same valley.

The French, although they had gone through the ceremony
of hoisting their colours for a few hours at all the principal places
of the group, had not as yet visited the bay of Typee, antici-
pating a fierce resistance on the part of the savages there, which
for the present at least they wished to avoid. Perhaps they were
not a little influenced in the adoption of this unusual policy from
a recollection of the warlike reception given by the Typees to the
forces of Captain Porter, about the year 1814, when that brave
and accomplished officer endeavoured to subjugate the clan merely
to gratify the mortal hatred of his allies the Nukuhevas and

On that occasion I have been told that a considerable detach-
ment of sailors and marines from the frigate Essex, accompanied

[ 27 ]
by at least two thousand warriors of Happar and Nukuheva,
landed in boats and canoes at the head of the bay, and after pene-
trating a little distance into the valley, met with the stoutest
resistance from its inmates. Valiantly, although with much loss,
the Typees disputed every inch of ground, and after some hard
fighting obliged their assailants to retreat and abandon their
design of conquest.

The invaders, on their march back to the sea, consoled them-
selves for their repulse by setting fire to every house and temple
in their route; and a long line of smoking ruins defaced the
once-smiling bosom of the valley, and proclaimed to its pagan
inhabitants the spirit that reigned in the breasts of Christian
soldiers. Who can wonder at the deadly hatred of the Typees
to all foreigners after such unprovoked atrocities?

Thus it is that they whom we denominate “savages” are made
to deserve the title. When the inhabitants of some sequestered
island first descry the “big canoe” of the European rolling
through the blue waters towards their shores, they rush down to
the beach in crowds, and with open arms stand ready to embrace
the strangers. Fatal embrace! They fold to their bosoms the
vipers whose sting is destined to poison all their joys; and the
instinctive feeling of love within their breasts is soon converted
into the bitterest hate.

The enormities perpetrated in the South Seas upon some of
the inoffensive islanders wellnigh pass belief. These things are
seldom proclaimed at home; they happen at the very ends of the
earth; they are done in a corner, and there are none to reveal
them. But there is, nevertheless, many a petty trader that has
navigated the Pacific whose course from island to island might
be traced by a series of cold-blooded robberies, kidnappings, and
murders, the iniquity of which might be considered almost suffi-
cient to sink her guilty timbers to the bottom of the sea.

Sometimes vague accounts of such things reach our firesides,
and we coolly censure them as wrong, impolitic, needlessly severe,
and dangerous to the crews of other vessels. How different is
our tone when we read the highly-wrought description of the
massacre of the crew of the Hobomak by the Feejees; how we
sympathise for the unhappy victims, and with what horror do we
regard the diabolical heathens, who, after all, have but avenged

[ 28 ]
the unprovoked injuries which they have received. We breathe
nothing but vengeance, and equip armed vessels to traverse thou-
sands of miles of ocean in order to execute summary punishment
upon the offenders. On arriving at their destination, they burn,
slaughter, and destroy, according to the tenor of written instruc-
tions, and sailing away from the scene of devastation, call upon
all Christendom to applaud their courage and their justice.

How often is the term “savages” incorrectly applied! None
really deserving of it were ever yet discovered by voyagers or by
travellers. They have discovered heathens and barbarians, whom
by horrible cruelties they have exasperated into savages. It
may be asserted without fear of contradiction, that in all the
cases of outrages committed by Polynesians, Europeans have at
some time or other been the aggressors, and that the cruel and
bloodthirsty disposition of some of the islanders is mainly to be
ascribed to the influence of such examples.

But to return. Owing to the mutual hostilities of the different
tribes I have mentioned, the mountainous tracts which separate
their respective territories remain altogether uninhabited; the
natives invariably dwelling in the depths of the valleys, with a
view of securing themselves from the predatory incursions of
their enemies, who often lurk along their borders, ready to cut
off any imprudent straggler, or make a descent upon the inmates
of some sequestered habitation. I several times met with very
aged men, who from this cause had never passed the confines of
their native vale, some of them having never even ascended mid-
way up the mountains in the whole course of their lives, and
who, accordingly, had little idea of the appearance of any other
part of the island, the whole of which is not perhaps more than
sixty miles in circuit. The little space in which some of these
clans pass away their days would seem almost incredible.

The glen of Tior will furnish a curious illustration of this.
The inhabited part is not more than four miles in length, and
varies in breadth from half a mile to less than a quarter. The
rocky vine-clad cliffs on one side tower almost perpendicularly
from their base to the height of at least fifteen hundred feet; while
across the vale—in striking contrast to the scenery opposite—
grass-grown elevations rise one above another in blooming ter-
races. Hemmed in by these stupendous barriers, the valley would

[ 29 ]
be altogether shut out from the rest of the world, were it not that
it is accessible from the sea at one end, and by a narrow defile at
the other.

The impression produced upon my mind, when I first visited
this beautiful glen, will never be obliterated.

I had come from Nukuheva by water in the ship’s boat, and
when we entered the bay of Tior it was high noon. The heat
had been intense, as we had been floating upon the long smooth
swell of the ocean, for there was but little wind. The sun’s rays
had expended all their fury upon us; and to add to our discomfort,
we had omitted to supply ourselves with water previous to start-
ing. What with heat and thirst together, I became so impatient
to get ashore, that when at last we glided towards it, I stood up
in the bow of the boat ready for a spring. As she shot two-thirds
of her length high upon the beach, propelled by three or four
strong strokes of the oars, I leaped among a parcel of juvenile
savages, who stood prepared to give us a kind reception; and
with them at my heels, yelling like so many imps, I rushed for-
ward across the open ground in the vicinity of the sea, and
plunged, diver fashion, into the recesses of the first grove that

What a delightful sensation did I experience! I felt as if
floating in some new element, while all sort of gurgling, trickling,
liquid sounds fell upon my ear. People may say what they will
about the refreshing influences of a cold-water bath, but commend
me when in a perspiration to the shade baths of Tior, beneath
the cocoa-nut trees, and amidst the cool delightful atmosphere
which surrounds them.

How shall I describe the scenery that met my eye, as I looked
out from this verdant recess! The narrow valley, with its steep
and close adjoining sides draperied with vines, and arched over-
head with a fret-work of interlacing boughs, nearly hidden from
view by masses of leafy verdure, seemed from where I stood like
an immense arbour disclosing its vista to the eye, whilst as I
advanced it insensibly widened into the loveliest vale eye ever

It so happened that the very day I was in Tior the French
admiral, attended by all the boats of his squadron, came down in
state from Nukuheva to take formal possession of the place. He

[ 30 ]
remained in the valley about two hours, during which time he
had a ceremonious interview with the king.

The patriarch-sovereign of Tior was a man very far advanced
in years; but though age had bowed his form and rendered him
almost decrepid, his gigantic frame retained all its original mag-
nitude and grandeur of appearance. He advanced slowly and
with evident pain, assisting his tottering steps with the heavy
war-spear he held in his hand, and attended by a group of grey-
bearded chiefs, on one of whom he occasionally leaned for sup-
port. The admiral came forward with head uncovered and ex-
tended hand, while the old king saluted him by a stately flourish
of his weapon. The next moment they stood side by side, these
two extremes of the social scale,—the polished, splendid French-
man, and the poor tattooed savage. They were both tall and
noble-looking men; but in other respects how strikingly con-
trasted! Du Petit Thouars exhibited upon his person all the
paraphernalia of his naval rank. He wore a richly decorated
admiral’s frock-coat, a laced chapeau bras, and upon his breast
were a variety of ribbons and orders; while the simple islander,
with the exception of a slight cincture about his loins, appeared
in all the nakedness of nature.

At what an immeasurable distance, thought I, are these two
beings removed from each other. In the one is shown the result
of long centuries of progressive civilization and refinement, which
have gradually converted the mere creature into the semblance of
all that is elevated and grand; while the other, after the lapse of
the same period, has not advanced one step in the career of improve-
ment. “Yet, after all,” quoth I to myself, “insensible as he is to
a thousand wants, and removed from harassing cares, may not the
savage be the happier man of the two?” Such were the thoughts
that arose in my mind as I gazed upon the novel spectacle before
me. In truth it was an impressive one, and little likely to be
effaced. I can recall even now with vivid distinctness every fea-
ture of the scene. The umbrageous shades where the interview
took place—the glorious tropical vegetation around—the pic-
turesque grouping of the mingled throng of soldiery and natives
—and even the golden-hued bunch of banannas that I held in
my hand at the time, and of which I occasionally partook while
making the aforesaid philosophical reflections.

[ 31 ]

Thoughts previous to attempting an Escape—Toby, a Fellow Sailor, agrees
to share the Adventure—Last Night aboard the Ship.

Having fully resolved to leave the vessel clandestinely, and
having acquired all the knowledge concerning the bay that I
could obtain under the circumstances in which I was placed,
I now deliberately turned over in my mind every plan of escape
that suggested itself, being determined to act with all possible
prudence in an attempt where failure would be attended with so
many disagreeable consequences. The idea of being taken and
brought back ignominiously to the ship was so inexpressibly
repulsive to me, that I was determined by no hasty and impru-
dent measures to render such an event probable.

I knew that our worthy captain, who felt such a paternal
solicitude for the welfare of his crew, would not willingly con-
sent that one of his best hands should encounter the perils of a
sojourn among the natives of a barbarous island; and I was
certain that in the event of my disappearance, his fatherly
anxiety would prompt him to offer, by way of a reward, yard
upon yard of gaily printed calico for my apprehension. He
might even have appreciated my services at the value of a mus-
ket, in which case I felt perfectly certain that the whole popu-
lation of the bay would be immediately upon my track, incited
by the prospect of so magnificent a bounty.

Having ascertained the fact before alluded to, that the
islanders, from motives of precaution, dwelt altogether in the
depths of the valleys, and avoided wandering about the more
elevated portions of the shore, unless bound on some expedition
of war or plunder, I concluded that if I could effect unperceived
a passage to the mountains, I might easily remain among them,
supporting myself by such fruits as came in my way until the
sailing of the ship, an event of which I could not fail to be im-

[ 32 ]
mediately apprised, as from my lofty position I should command
a view of the entire harbour.

The idea pleased me greatly. It seemed to combine a great
deal of practicability with no inconsiderable enjoyment in a
quiet way; for how delightful it would be to look down upon
the detested old vessel from the height of some thousand feet,
and contrast the verdant scenery about me with the recollection
of her narrow decks and gloomy forecastle! Why, it was really
refreshing even to think of it; and so I straightway fell to pic-
turing myself seated beneath a cocoa-nut tree on the brow of
the mountain, with a cluster of plantains within easy reach,
criticizing her nautical evolutions as she was working her way
out of the harbour.

To be sure there was one rather unpleasant drawback to these
agreeable anticipations—the possibility of falling in with a fo-
raging party of these same bloody-minded Typees, whose appe-
tites, edged perhaps by the air of so elevated a region, might
prompt them to devour one. This, I must confess, was a most
disagreeable view of the matter.

Just to think of a party of these unnatural gourmands taking
it into their heads to make a convivial meal of a poor devil, who
would have no means of escape or defence: however, there was
no help for it. I was willing to encounter some risks in order
to accomplish my object, and counted much upon my ability to
elude these prowling cannibals amongst the many coverts which
the mountains afforded. Besides, the chances were ten to one
in my favour that they would none of them quit their own fast-

I had determined not to communicate my design of with-
drawing from the vessel to any of my shipmates, and least of all
to solicit any one to accompany me in my flight. But it so
happened one night, that being upon deck, revolving over in my
mind various plans of escape, I perceived one of the ship’s
company leaning over the bulwarks, apparently plunged in a
profound reverie. He was a young fellow about my own age,
for whom I had all along entertained a great regard; and Toby,
such was the name by which he went among us, for his real
name he would never tell us, was every way worthy of it. He

[ 33 ]
was active, ready, and obliging, of dauntless courage, and singu-
larly open and fearless in the expression of his feelings. I had
on more than one occasion got him out of scrapes into which this
had led him; and I know not whether it was from this cause, or
a certain congeniality of sentiment between us, that he had
always shown a partiality for my society. We had battled out
many a long watch together, beguiling the weary hours with
chat, song, and story, mingled with a good many imprecations
upon the hard destiny it seemed our common fortune to en-

Toby, like myself, had evidently moved in a different sphere
of life, and his conversation at times betrayed this, although he
was anxious to conceal it. He was one of that class of rovers
you sometimes meet at sea, who never reveal their origin, never
allude to home, and go rambling over the world as if pursued
by some mysterious fate they cannot possibly elude.

There was much even in the appearance of Toby calculated
to draw me towards him, for while the greater part of the crew
were as coarse in person as in mind, Toby was endowed with a
remarkably prepossessing exterior. Arrayed in his blue frock
and duck trousers, he was as smart a looking sailor as ever
stepped upon a deck; he was singularly small and slightly made,
with great flexibility of limb. His naturally dark complexion
had been deepened by exposure to the tropical sun, and a mass
of jetty locks clustered about his temples, and threw a darker
shade into his large black eyes. He was a strange wayward
being, moody, fitful, and melancholy—at times almost morose.
He had a quick and fiery temper too, which, when thoroughly
roused, transported him into a state bordering on delirium.

It is strange the power that a mind of deep passion has over
feebler natures. I have seen a brawny fellow, with no lack of
ordinary courage, fairly quail before this slender stripling, when
in one of his furious fits. But these paroxysms seldom occurred,
and in them my big-hearted shipmate vented the bile which
more calm-tempered individuals get rid of by a continual pettish-
ness at trival annoyances.

No one ever saw Toby laugh; I mean in the hearty aban-
donment of broad-mouthed mirth. He did smile sometimes, it
is true; and there was a good deal of dry, sarcastic humour

[ 34 ]
about him, which told the more from the imperturbable gravity
of his tone and manner.

Latterly I had observed that Toby’s melancholy had greatly
increased, and I had frequently seen him since our arrival at the
island gazing wistfully upon the shore, when the remainder of
the crew would be rioting below. I was aware that he enter-
tained a cordial detestation of the ship, and believed that, should
a fair chance of escape present itself, he would embrace it will-
ingly. But the attempt was so perilous in the place where we
then lay, that I supposed myself the only individual on board
the ship who was sufficiently reckless to think of it. In this,
however, I was mistaken.

When I perceived Toby leaning, as I have mentioned, against
the bulwarks and buried in thought, it struck me at once that
the subject of his meditations might be the same as my own.
And if it be so, thought I, is he not the very one of all my ship-
mates whom I would choose for the partner of my adventure?
and why should I not have some comrade with me to divide its
dangers and alleviate its hardships? Perhaps I might be obliged
to lie concealed among the mountains for weeks. In such an
event what a solace would a companion be?

These thoughts passed rapidly through my mind, and I won-
dered why I had not before considered the matter in this light.
But it was not too late. A tap upon the shoulder served to
rouse Toby from his reverie; I found him ripe for the enter-
prise, and a very few words sufficed for a mutual understanding
between us. In an hour’s time we had arranged all the preli-
minaries, and decided upon our plan of action. We then ratified
our engagement with an affectionate wedding of palms, and to
elude suspicion repaired each to his hammock, to spend the last
night on board the Dolly.

The next day the starboard watch, to which we both belonged,
was to be sent ashore on liberty; and, availing ourselves of this
opportunity, we determined, as soon after landing as possible, to
separate ourselves from the rest of the men without exciting their
suspicions, and strike back at once for the mountains. Seen
from the ship, their summits appeared inaccessible, but here and
there sloping spurs extended from them almost into the sea,
buttressing the lofty elevations with which they were connected,

[ 35 ]
and forming those radiating valleys I have before described.
One of these ridges, which appeared more practicable than the
rest, we determined to climb, convinced that it would conduct
us to the heights beyond. Accordingly, we carefully observed
its bearings and locality from the ship, so that when ashore we
should run no chance of missing it.

In all this the leading object we had in view was to seclude
ourselves from sight until the departure of the vessel; then to
take our chance as to the reception the Nukuheva natives
might give us; and after remaining upon the island as long as
we found our stay agreeable, to leave it the first favourable op-
portunity that offered.

[ 36 ]

A Specimen of Nautical Oratory—Criticisms of the Sailors—The Starboard
Watch are given a Holiday—The Escape to the Mountains.

Early the next morning the starboard watch were mustered
upon the quarter-deck, and our worthy captain, standing in the
cabin gangway, harangued us as follows:—

“Now, men, as we are just off a six months’ cruise, and have
got through most all our work in port here, I suppose you want
to go ashore. Well, I mean to give your watch liberty to-day,
so you may get ready as soon as you please, and go; but under-
stand this, I am going to give you liberty because I suppose you
would growl like so many old quarter gunners if I didn’t; at
the same time, if you’ll take my advice, every mother’s son of
you will stay aboard, and keep out of the way of the bloody can-
nibals altogether. Ten to one, men, if you go ashore, you will
get into some infernal row, and that will be the end of you; for
if those tattooed scoundrels get you a little ways back into their
valleys, they’ll nab you—that you may be certain of. Plenty of
white men have gone ashore here and never been seen any more.
There was the old Dido, she put in here about two years ago, and
sent one watch off on liberty; they never were heard of again for
a week—the natives swore they didn’t know where they were—
and only three of them ever got back to the ship again, and one
with his face damaged for life, for the cursed heathens tattooed
a broad patch clean across his figure-head. But it will be no
use talking to you, for go you will, that I see plainly; so all I
have to say is, that you need not blame me if the islanders make
a meal of you. You may stand some chance of escaping them
though, if you keep close about the French encampment, and are
back to the ship again before sunset. Keep that much in your
mind, if you forget all the rest I’ve been saying to you. There,
go forward; bear a hand and rig yourselves, and stand by for a

[ 37 ]
call. At two bells the boat will be manned to take you off, and
the Lord have mercy on you!”

Various were the emotions depicted upon the countenances of
the starboard watch whilst listening to this address; but on its
conclusion there was a general move towards the forecastle, and
we soon were all busily engaged in getting ready for the holiday
so auspiciously announced by the skipper. During these pre-
parations his harangue was commented upon in no very mea-
sured terms; and one of the party, after denouncing him as a
lying old son of a sea-cook who begrudged a fellow a few hours’
liberty, exclaimed with an oath, “But you don’t bounce me out
of my liberty, old chap, for all your yarns; for I would go ashore
if every pebble on the beach was a live coal, and every stick a
gridiron, and the cannibals stood ready to broil me on landing.”

The spirit of this sentiment was responded to by all hands,
and we resolved that in spite of the captain’s croakings we would
make a glorious day of it.

But Toby and I had our own game to play, and we availed
ourselves of the confusion which always reigns among a ship’s
company preparatory to going ashore, to confer together and
complete our arrangements. As our object was to effect as rapid
a flight as possible to the mountains, we determined not to en-
cumber ourselves with any superfluous apparel; and accordingly,
while the rest were rigging themselves out with some idea of
making a display, we were content to put on new stout duck
trousers, serviceable pumps, and heavy Havre-frocks, which with
a Payta hat completed our equipment.

When our shipmates wondered at this, Toby exclaimed in his
odd grave way that the rest might do as they liked, but that he
for one preserved his go-ashore traps for the Spanish main, where
the tie of a sailor’s neckerchief might make some difference;
but as for a parcel of unbreeched heathen, he wouldn’t go to
the bottom of his chest for any of them, and was half disposed
to appear among them in buff himself. The men laughed at
what they thought was one of his strange conceits, and so we
escaped suspicion.

It may appear singular that we should have been thus on our
guard with our own shipmates; but there were some among us
who, had they possessed the least inkling of our project, would,

[ 38 ]
for a paltry hope of reward, have immediately communicated it
to the captain.

As soon as two bells were struck, the word was passed for the
liberty-men to get into the boat. I lingered behind in the fore-
castle a moment to take a parting glance at its familiar features,
and just as I was about to ascend to the deck my eye happened
to light on the bread-barge and beef-kid, which contained the
remnants of our last hasty meal. Although I had never before
thought of providing anything in the way of food for our expedi-
tion, as I fully relied upon the fruits of the island to sustain us
wherever we might wander, yet I could not resist the inclination
I felt to provide luncheon from the relics before me. Accord-
ingly I took a double handful of those small, broken, flinty bits
of biscuit which generally go by the name of “midshipmen’s
nuts,” and thrust them into the bosom of my frock; in which
same ample receptacle I had previously stowed away several
pounds of tobacco and a few yards of cotton cloth—articles with
which I intended to purchase the good-will of the natives, as
soon as we should appear among them after the departure of our

This last addition to my stock caused a considerable pro-
tuberance in front, which I abated in a measure by shaking the
bits of bread around my waist, and distributing the plugs of
tobacco among the folds of the garment.

Hardly had I completed these arrangements when my name
was sung out by a dozen voices, and I sprung upon the deck,
where I found all the party in the boat, and impatient to shove
off. I dropped over the side and seated myself with the rest of
the watch in the stern sheets, while the poor larborders shipped
their oars, and commenced pulling us ashore.

This happened to be the rainy season at the islands, and the
heavens had nearly the whole morning betokened one of those
heavy showers which during this period so frequently occur.
The large drops fell bubbling into the water shortly after our
leaving the ship, and by the time we had effected a landing it
poured down in torrents. We fled for shelter under cover of an
immense canoe-house which stood hard by the beach, and waited
for the first fury of the storm to pass.

It continued, however, without cessation; and the monotonous

[ 39 ]
beating of the rain over head began to exert a drowsy influence
upon the men, who, throwing themselves here and there upon
the large war-canoes, after chatting awhile, all fell asleep.

This was the opportunity we desired, and Toby and I availed
ourselves of it at once by stealing out of the canoe-house and
plunging into the depths of an extensive grove that was in its
rear. After ten minutes’ rapid progress we gained an open space
from which we could just descry the ridge we intended to mount
looming dimly through the mists of the tropical shower, and
distant from us, as we estimated, something more than a mile.
Our direct course towards it lay through a rather populous part
of the bay; but desirous as we were of evading the natives, and
securing an unmolested retreat to the mountains, we determined,
by taking a circuit through some extensive thickets, to avoid their
vicinity altogether.

The heavy rain that still continued to fall without intermission
favoured our enterprise, as it drove the islanders into their houses,
and prevented any casual meeting with them. Our heavy frocks
soon became completely saturated with water, and by their
weight, and that of the articles we had concealed beneath them,
not a little impeded our progress. But it was no time to pause
when at any moment we might be surprised by a body of the
savages, and forced at the very outset to relinquish our under-

Since leaving the canoe-house we had scarcely exchanged a
single syllable with one another; but when we entered a second
narrow opening in the wood, and again caught sight of the ridge
before us, I took Toby by the arm, and pointing along its sloping
outline to the lofty heights at its extremity, said in a low tone,
“Now Toby, not a word, nor a glance backward, till we stand
on the summit of yonder mountain—so no more lingering, but
let us shove ahead while we can, and in a few hours’ time we may
laugh aloud.—You are the lightest and the nimblest, so lead on,
and I will follow.”

“All right, brother,” said Toby, “quick’s our play; only let’s
keep close together, that’s all;” and so saying, with a bound like
a young roe, he cleared a brook which ran across our path, and
rushed forward with a quick step.

[ 40 ]

When we arrived within a short distance of the ridge, we were
stopped by a mass of tall yellow reeds, growing together as
thickly as they could stand, and as tough and stubborn as so
many rods of steel; and we perceived, to our chagrin, that they
extended midway up the elevation we purposed to ascend.

For a moment we gazed about us in quest of a more practi-
cable route; it was, however, at once apparent that there was no
resource but to pierce this thicket of canes at all hazards. We
now reversed our order of march, I, being the heaviest, taking
the lead, with a view of breaking a path through the obstruction,
while Toby fell into the rear.

Two or three times I endeavoured to insinuate myself between
the canes, and by dint of coaxing and bending them to make
some progress; but a bull-frog might as well have tried to work
a passage through the teeth of a comb, and I gave up the attempt
in despair.

Half wild with meeting an obstacle we had so little antici-
pated, I threw myself desperately against it, crushing to the
ground the canes with which I came in contact; and, rising
to my feet again, repeated the action with like effect. Twenty
minutes of this violent exercise almost exhausted me, but it
carried us some way into the thicket; when Toby, who had
been reaping the benefit of my labours by following close at
my heels, proposed to become pioneer in turn, and accordingly
passed ahead with a view of affording me a respite from my
exertions. As however with his slight frame he made but bad
work of it, I was soon obliged to resume my old place again.

On we toiled, the perspiration starting from our bodies in
floods, our limbs torn and lacerated with the splintered fragments
of the broken canes, until we had proceeded perhaps as far as the
middle of the brake, when suddenly it ceased raining, and the
atmosphere around us became close and sultry beyond expression.
The elasticity of the reeds, quickly recovering from the tempo-
rary pressure of our bodies, caused them to spring back to their
original position; so that they closed in upon us as we advanced,
and prevented the circulation of the little air which might
otherwise have reached us. Besides this, their great height
completely shut us out from the view of surrounding objects,

[ 41 ]
and we were not certain but that we might have been going all
the time in a wrong direction.

Fatigued with my long-continued efforts, and panting for
breath, I felt myself completely incapacitated for any further
exertion. I rolled up the sleeve of my frock, and squeezed the
moisture it contained into my parched mouth. But the few
drops I managed to obtain gave me little relief, and I sunk down
for a moment with a sort of dogged apathy, from which I was
aroused by Toby, who had devised a plan to free us from the net
in which we had become entangled.

He was laying about him lustily with his sheath-knife, lopping
the canes right and left, like a reaper, and soon made quite a
clearing around us. This sight reanimated me, and seizing my
own knife, I hacked and hewed away without mercy. But alas!
the farther we advanced, the thicker and taller, and apparently
the more interminable, the reeds became.

I began to think we were fairly snared, and had almost made
up my mind that without a pair of wings we should never be
able to escape from the toils; when all at once I discerned a
peep of daylight through the canes on my right, and, communi-
cating the joyful tidings to Toby, we both fell to with fresh
spirit, and speedily opening a passage towards it we found our-
selves clear of perplexities, and in the near vicinity of the ridge.

After resting for a few moments we began the ascent, and
after a little vigorous climbing found ourselves close to its
summit. Instead however of walking along its ridge, where we
should have been in full view of the natives in the vales beneath,
and at a point where they could easily intercept us were they so
inclined, we cautiously advanced on one side, crawling on our
hands and knees, and screened from observation by the grass
through which we glided, much in the fashion of a couple of
serpents. After an hour employed in this unpleasant kind of
locomotion, we started to our feet again and pursued our way
boldly along the crest of the ridge.

This salient spur of the lofty elevations that encompassed the
bay rose with a sharp angle from the valleys at its base, and
presented, with the exception of a few steep acclivities, the ap-
pearance of a vast inclined plane, sweeping down towards the

[ 42 ]
sea from the heights in the distance. We had ascended it near
the place of its termination and at its lowest point, and now saw
our route to the mountains distinctly defined along its narrow
crest, which was covered with a soft carpet of verdure, and was
in many parts only a few feet wide.

Elated with the success which had so far attended our enter-
prise, and invigorated by the refreshing atmosphere we now
inhaled, Toby and I in high spirits were making our way rapidly
along the ridge, when suddenly from the valleys below which lay
on either side of us we heard the distant shouts of the natives,
who had just descried us, and to whom our figures, brought in
bold relief against the sky, were plainly revealed.

Glancing our eyes into these valleys, we perceived their savage
inhabitants hurrying to and fro, seemingly under the influence
of some sudden alarm, and appearing to the eye scarcely bigger
than so many pigmies; while their white thatched dwellings,
dwarfed by the distance, looked like baby-houses. As we looked
down upon the islanders from our lofty elevation, we experienced
a sense of security; feeling confident that, should they undertake
a pursuit, it would, from the start we now had, prove entirely
fruitless, unless they followed us into the mountains, where we
knew they cared not to venture.

However, we thought it as well to make the most of our time;
and accordingly, where the ground would admit of it, we ran
swiftly along the summit of the ridge, until we were brought to
a stand by a steep cliff, which at first seemed to interpose an
effectual barrier to our further advance. By dint of much hard
scrambling however, and at some risk to our necks, we at last
surmounted it, and continued our flight with unabated celerity.

We had left the beach early in the morning, and after an un-
interrupted, though at times difficult and dangerous ascent,
during which we had never once turned our faces to the sea, we
found ourselves, about three hours before sunset, standing on the
top of what seemed to be the highest land on the island, an im-
mense overhanging cliff composed of basaltic rocks, hung round
with parasitical plants. We must have been more than three
thousand feet above the level of the sea, and the scenery viewed
from this height was magnificent.

[ 43 ]

The lonely bay of Nukuheva, dotted here and there with the
black hulls of the vessels composing the French squadron, lay
reposing at the base of a circular range of elevations, whose
verdant sides, perforated with deep glens or diversified with
smiling valleys, formed altogether the loveliest view I ever be-
held, and were I to live a hundred years, I should never forget
the feeling of admiration which I then experienced.

[ 44 ]

The other side of the Mountain—Disappointment—Inventory of Articles
brought from the Ship—Division of the Stock of Bread—Appearance of
the Interior of the Island—A Discovery—A Ravine and Waterfalls—A
sleepless Night—Further Discoveries—My Illness—A Marquesan Land-

My curiosity had been not a little raised with regard to the
description of country we should meet on the other side of the
mountains; and I had supposed, with Toby, that immediately on
gaining the heights we should be enabled to view the large bays
of Happar and Typee reposing at our feet on one side, in the
same way that Nukuheva lay spread out below on the other.
But here we were disappointed. Instead of finding the mountain
we had ascended sweeping down in the opposite direction into
broad and capacious valleys, the land appeared to retain its
general elevation, only broken into a series of ridges and inter-
vales, which as far as the eye could reach stretched away from
us, with their precipitous sides covered with the brightest ver-
dure, and waving here and there with the foliage of clumps of
woodland; among which, however, we perceived none of those
trees upon whose fruit we had relied with such certainty.

This was a most unlooked-for discovery, and one that promised
to defeat our plans altogether, for we could not think of descend-
ing the mountain on the Nukuheva side in quest of food. Should
we for this purpose be induced to retrace our steps, we should
run no small chance of encountering the natives, who in that
case, if they did nothing worse to us, would be certain to convey
us back to the ship for the sake of the reward in calico and
trinkets, which we had no doubt our skipper would hold out to
them as an inducement to our capture.

What was to be done? The Dolly would not sail perhaps
for ten days, and how were we to sustain life during this period?
I bitterly repented our improvidence in not providing ourselves,
as we easily might have done, with a supply of biscuit. With a

[ 45 ]
rueful visage I now bethought me of the scanty handful of bread
I had stuffed into the bosom of my frock, and felt somewhat
desirous to ascertain what part of it had weathered the rather
rough usage it had experienced in ascending the mountain. I
accordingly proposed to Toby that we should enter into a joint
examination of the various articles we had brought from the ship.
With this intent we seated ourselves upon the grass; and a little
curious to see with what kind of judgment my companion had
filled his frock—which I remarked seemed about as well lined as
my own—I requested him to commence operations by spreading
out its contents.

Thrusting his hand, then, into the bosom of this capacious
receptacle, he first brought to light about a pound of tobacco,
whose component parts still adhered together, the whole outside
being covered with soft particles of sea-bread. Wet and dripping,
it had the appearance of having been just recovered from the
bottom of the sea. But I paid slight attention to a substance of
so little value to us in our present situation, as soon as I perceived
the indications it gave of Toby’s foresight in laying in a supply
of food for the expedition.

I eagerly inquired what quantity he had brought with him,
when, rummaging once more beneath his garment, he produced
a small handful of something so soft, pulpy, and discoloured, that
for a few moments he was as much puzzled as myself to tell by
what possible instrumentality such a villainous compound had
become engendered in his bosom. I can only describe it as a
hash of soaked bread and bits of tobacco, brought to a doughy
consistency by the united agency of perspiration and rain. But
repulsive as it might otherwise have been, I now regarded it as
an invaluable treasure, and proceeded with great care to transfer
this paste-like mass to a large leaf which I had plucked from a
bush beside me. Toby informed me that in the morning he had
placed two whole biscuits in his bosom, with a view of munching
them, should he feel so inclined, during our flight. These were
now reduced to the equivocal substance which I had just placed
on the leaf.

Another dive into the frock brought to view some four or five
yards of calico print, whose tasteful pattern was rather disfigured
by the yellow stains of the tobacco with which it had been

[ 46 ]
brought in contact. In drawing this calico slowly from his
bosom inch by inch, Toby reminded me of a juggler performing
the feat of the endless ribbon. The next cast was a small one,
being a sailor’s little “ditty-bag,” containing needles, thread, and
other sewing utensils; then came a razor-case, followed by two
or three separate plugs of negro-head, which were fished up from
the bottom of the now empty receptacle. These various matters
being inspected, I produced the few things that I had myself

As might have been anticipated from the state of my com-
panion’s edible supplies, I found my own in a deplorable condition,
and diminished to a quantity that would not have formed half a
dozen mouthfuls for a hungry man who was partial enough to
tobacco not to mind swallowing it. A few morsels of bread,
with a fathom or two of white cotton cloth, and several pounds
of choice pigtail, composed the extent of my possessions.

Our joint stock of miscellaneous articles was now made up
into a compact bundle, which it was agreed we should carry
alternately. But the sorry remains of the biscuit were not to be
disposed of so summarily: the precarious circumstances in which
we were placed made us regard them as something on which very
probably depended the fate of our adventure. After a brief dis-
cussion, in which we both of us expressed our resolution of not
descending into the bay until the ship’s departure, I suggested to
my companion that little of it as there was, we should divide the
bread into six equal portions, each of which should be a day’s
allowance for both of us. This proposition he assented to; so I
took the silk kerchief from my neck, and cutting it with my
knife into half a dozen equal pieces, proceeded to make an exact

At first, Toby, with a degree of fastidiousness that seemed to
me ill-timed, was for picking out the minute particles of tobacco
with which the spongy mass was mixed; but against this pro-
ceeding I protested, as by such an operation we must have greatly
diminished its quantity.

When the division was accomplished, we found that a day’s
allowance for the two was not a great deal more than what a
table-spoon might hold. Each separate portion we immediately
rolled up in the bit of silk prepared for it, and joining them

[ 47 ]
altogether into a small package, I committed them, with solemn
injunctions of fidelity, to the custody of Toby. For the remainder
of that day we resolved to fast, as we had been fortified by a
breakfast in the morning; and now starting again to our feet,
we looked about us for a shelter during the night, which, from
the appearance of the heavens, promised to be a dark and tem-
pestuous one.

There was no place near us which would in any way answer
our purpose; so turning our backs upon Nukuheva, we com-
menced exploring the unknown regions which lay upon the
other side of the mountain.

In this direction, as far as our vision extended, not a sign of
life, nor anything that denoted even the transient residence of
man, could be seen. The whole landscape seemed one unbroken
solitude, the interior of the island having apparently been un-
tenanted since the morning of the creation; and as we advanced
through this wilderness, our voices sounded strangely in our
ears, as though human accents had never before disturbed the
fearful silence of the place, interrupted only by the low mur-
murings of distant waterfalls.

Our disappointment, however, in not finding the various
fruits with which we had intended to regale ourselves during
our stay in these wilds, was a good deal lessened by the consi-
deration that from this very circumstance we should be much
less exposed to a casual meeting with the savage tribes about us,
who we knew always dwelt beneath the shadows of those trees
which supplied them with food.

We wandered along, casting eager glances into every bush we
passed, until just as we had succeeded in mounting one of the
many ridges that intersected the ground, I saw in the grass
before me something like an indistinctly traced footpath, which
appeared to lead along the top of the ridge, and to descend with
it into a deep ravine about half a mile in advance of us.

Robinson Crusoe could not have been more startled at the
footprint in the sand than we were at this unwelcome discovery.
My first impulse was to make as rapid a retreat as possible, and
bend our steps in some other direction; but our curiosity to see
whither this path might lead, prompted us to pursue it. So on
we went, the track becoming more and more visible the farther

[ 48 ]
we proceeded, until it conducted us to the verge of the ravine,
where it abruptly terminated.

“And so,” said Toby, peering down into the chasm, “every
one that travels this path takes a jump here, eh?”

“Not so,” said I, “for I think they might manage to descend
without it; what say you,—shall we attempt the feat?”

“And what, in the name of caves and coal-holes, do you expect
to find at the bottom of that gulf but a broken neck—why it
looks blacker than our ship’s hold, and the roar of those water-
falls down there would batter one’s brains to pieces.”

“Oh, no, Toby,” I exclaimed, laughing; “but there’s some-
thing to be seen here, that’s plain, or there would have been no
path, and I am resolved to find out what it is.”

I will tell you what, my pleasant fellow,” rejoined Toby
quickly, “if you are going to pry into everything you meet
with here that excites your curiosity, you will marvellously soon
get knocked on the head; to a dead certainty you will come
bang upon a party of these savages in the midst of your discovery-
makings, and I doubt whether such an event would particularly
delight you. Just take my advice for once, and let us ’bout
ship and steer in some other direction; besides, it’s getting late,
and we ought to be mooring ourselves for the night.”

“That is just the thing I have been driving at,” replied I;
“and I am thinking that this ravine will exactly answer our
purpose, for it is roomy, secluded, well watered, and may shelter
us from the weather.”

“Aye, and from sleep too, and by the same token will give us
sore throats and rheumatisms into the bargain,” cried Toby,
with evident dislike at the idea.

“Oh, very well then, my lad,” said I, “since you will not
accompany me, here I go alone. You will see me in the morn-
ing;” and advancing to the edge of the cliff upon which we had
been standing, I proceeded to lower myself down by the tangled
roots which clustered about all the crevices of the rock. As I
had anticipated, Toby, in spite of his previous remonstrances,
followed my example, and dropping himself with the activity of
a squirrel from point to point, he quickly outstripped me, and
effected a landing at the bottom before I had accomplished two-
thirds of the descent.

[ 49 ]

The sight that now greeted us was one that will ever be
vividly impressed upon my mind. Five foaming streams, rushing
through as many gorges, and swelled and turbid by the recent
rains, united together in one mad plunge of nearly eighty feet,
and fell with wild uproar into a deep black pool scooped out of
the gloomy-looking rocks that lay piled around, and thence in
one collected body dashed down a narrow sloping channel which
seemed to penetrate into the very bowels of the earth. Overhead,
vast roots of trees hung down from the sides of the ravine drip-
ping with moisture, and trembling with the concussions produced
by the fall. It was now sunset, and the feeble uncertain light
that found its way into these caverns and woody depths heightened
their strange appearance, and reminded us that in a short time
we should find ourselves in utter darkness.

As soon as I had satisfied my curiosity by gazing at this scene,
I fell to wondering how it was that what we had taken for a
path should have conducted us to so singular a place, and began
to suspect that after all I might have been deceived in supposing
it to have been a track formed by the islanders. This was
rather an agreeable reflection than otherwise, for it dimiuished
our dread of accidentally meeting with any of them, and I came
to the conclusion that perhaps we could not have selected a more
secure hiding-place than this very spot we had so accidentally
hit upon. Toby agreed with me in this view of the matter, and
we immediately began gathering together the limbs of trees
which lay scattered about, with the view of constructing a tem-
porary hut for the night. This we were obliged to build close
to the foot of the cataract, for the current of water extended
very nearly to the sides of the gorge. The few moments of light
that remained we employed in covering our hut with a species of
broad-bladed grass that grew in every fissure of the ravine. Our
hut, if it deserved to be called one, consisted of six or eight of the
straightest branches we could find laid obliquely against the steep
wall of rock, with their lower ends within a foot of the stream.
Into the space thus covered over we managed to crawl, and dis-
pose our wearied bodies as best we could.

Shall I ever forget that horrid night? As for poor Toby, I
could scarcely get a word out of him. It would have been some
consolation to have heard his voice, but he lay shivering the

[ 50 ]
live-long night like a man afflicted with the palsy, with his knees
drawn up to his head, while his back was supported against the
dripping side of the rock. During this wretched night there
seemed nothing wanting to complete the perfect misery of our
condition. The rain descended in such torrents that our poor
shelter proved a mere mockery. In vain did I try to elude the
incessant streams that poured upon me; by protecting one part
I only exposed another, and the water was continually finding
some new opening through which to drench us.

I have had many a ducking in the course of my life, and in
general care little about; but the accumulated horrors of that
night, the deathlike coldness of the place, the appalling dark-
ness and the dismal sense of our forlorn condition, almost un-
manned me.

It will not be doubted that the next morning we were early
risers, and as soon as I could catch the faintest glimpse of any-
thing like daylight I shook my companion by the arm, and told
him it was sunrise. Poor Toby lifted up his head, and after
a moment’s pause said, in a husky voice, “Then, shipmate, my
toplights have gone out, for it appears darker now with my
eyes open than it did when they were shut.”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed I; “you are not awake yet.”

“Awake!” roared Toby in a rage, “awake! You mean to
insinuate I’ve been asleep, do you? It is an insult to a man
to suppose he could sleep in such an infernal place as this.”

By the time I had apologized to my friend for having mis-
construed his silence, it had become somewhat more light, and
we crawled out of our lair. The rain had ceased, but everything
around us was dripping with moisture. We stripped off our
saturated garments, and wrung them as dry as we could. We
contrived to make the blood circulate in our benumbed limbs by
rubbing them vigorously with our hands; and after performing
our ablutions in the stream, and putting on our still wet clothes,
we began to think it advisable to break our long fast, it being
now twenty-four hours since we had tasted food.

Accordingly our day’s ration was brought out, and seating
ourselves on a detached fragment of rock, we proceeded to dis-
cuss it. First we divided it into two equal portions, and care-
fully rolling one of them up for our evening’s repast, divided

[ 51 ]
the remainder again as equally as possible, and then drew lots
for the first choice. I could have placed the morsel that fell to
my share upon the tip of my finger; but notwithstanding this I
took care that it should be full ten minutes before I had swal-
lowed the last crumb. What a true saying it is that “appetite
furnishes the best sauce.” There was a flavour and a relish to
this small particle of food that under other circumstances it
would have been impossible for the most delicate viands to have
imparted. A copious draught of the pure water which flowed
at our feet served to complete the meal, and after it we rose sen-
sibly refreshed, and prepared for whatever might befall us.

We now carefully examined the chasm in which we had
passed the night. We crossed the stream, and gaining the
farther side of the pool I have mentioned, discovered proofs
that the spot must have been visited by some one but a short
time previous to our arrival. Further observation convinced us
that it had been regularly frequented, and, as we afterwards con-
jectured from particular indications, for the purpose of obtaining
a certain root, from which the natives obtain a kind of oint-

These discoveries immediately determined us to abandon a
place which had presented no inducement for us to remain,
except the promise of security; and as we looked about us for
the means of ascending again into the upper regions, we at last
found a practicable part of the rock, and half an hour’s toil car-
ried us to the summit of the same cliff from which the preceding
evening we had descended.

I now proposed to Toby that instead of rambling about the
island, exposing ourselves to discovery at every turn, we should
select some place as our fixed abode for as long a period as our
food should hold out, build ourselves a comfortable hut, and
be as prudent and circumspect as possible. To all this my
companion assented, and we at once set about carrying the plan
into execution.

With this view, after exploring without success a little glen
near us, we crossed several of the ridges of which I have before
spoken; and about noon found ourselves ascending a long and
gradually rising slope, but still without having discovered any
place adapted to our purpose. Low and heavy clouds betokened

[ 52 ]
an approaching storm, and we hurried on to gain a covert in a
clump of thick bushes which appeared to terminate the long
ascent. We threw ourselves under the lee of these bushes, and
pulling up the long grass that grew around, covered ourselves
completely with it, and awaited the shower.

But it did not come as soon as we had expected, and before
many minutes my companion was fast asleep, and I was rapidly
falling into the same state of happy forgetfulness. Just at this
juncture, however, down came the rain with a violence that put
all thoughts of slumber to flight. Although in some measure
sheltered, our clothes soon became as wet as ever: this, after all
the trouble we had taken to dry them, was provoking enough:
but there was no help for it; and I recommend all adventurous
youths who abandon vessels in romantic islands during the rainy
season to provide themselves with umbrellas.

After an hour or so the shower passed away. My companion
slept through it all, or at least appeared so to do; and now that
it was over I had not the heart to awaken him. As I lay on
my back completely shrouded with verdure, the leafy branches
drooping over me, and my limbs buried in grass, I could not
avoid comparing our situation with that of the interesting babes
in the wood. Poor little sufferers!—no wonder their constitutions
broke down under the hardships to which they were exposed.

During the hour or two spent under the shelter of these
bushes, I began to feel symptoms which I at once attributed to
the exposure of the preceding night. Cold shiverings and a
burning fever succeeded one another at intervals, while one of
my legs was swelled to such a degree, and pained me so acutely,
that I half suspected I had been bitten by some venomous
reptile, the congenial inhabitant of the chasm from which we
had lately emerged. I may here remark by the way—what I
subsequently learned—that all the islands of Polynesia enjoy the
reputation, in common with the Hibernian isle, of being free
from the presence of any vipers; though whether Saint Patrick
ever visited them, is a question I shall not attempt to decide.

As the feverish sensation increased upon me, I tossed about,
still unwilling to disturb my slumbering companion, from whose
side I removed two or three yards. I chanced to push aside a
branch, and by so doing suddenly disclosed to my view a scene

[ 53 ]
which even now I can recall with all the vividness of the first
impression. Had a glimpse of the gardens of Paradise been
revealed to me I could scarcely have been more ravished with
the sight.

From the spot where I lay transfixed with surprise and delight,
I looked straight down into the bosom of a valley, which swept
away in long wavy undulations to the blue waters in the distance.
Midway towards the sea, and peering here and there amidst the
foliage, might be seen the palmetto-thatched houses of its inha-
bitants glistening in the sun that had bleached them to a dazzling
whiteness. The vale was more than three leagues in length, and
about a mile across at its greatest width.

On either side it appeared hemmed in by steep and green ac-
clivities, which, uniting near the spot where I lay, formed an
abrupt and semicircular termination of grassy cliffs and preci-
pices hundreds of feet in height, over which flowed numberless
small cascades. But the crowning beauty of the prospect was its
universal verdure; and in this indeed consists, I believe, the pecu-
liar charm of every Polynesian landscape. Everywhere below me,
from the base of the precipice upon whose very verge I had been
unconsciously reposing, the surface of the vale presented a mass
of foliage, spread with such rich profusion that it was impossible
to determine of what description of trees it consisted.

But perhaps there was nothing about the scenery I beheld
more impressive than those silent cascades, whose slender threads
of water, after leaping down the steep cliffs, were lost amidst the
rich herbage of the valley.

Over all the landscape there reigned the most hushed repose,
which I almost feared to break lest, like the enchanted gardens
in the fairy tale, a single syllable might dissolve the spell. For
a long time, forgetful alike of my own situation, and the vicinity
of my still slumbering companion, I remained gazing around
me, hardly able to comprehend by what means I had thus sud-
denly been made a spectator of such a scene.

[ 54 ]

The Important Question, Typee or Happar?—A Wild-Goose Chase—My
Sufferings—Disheartening Situation—A Night in a Ravine—Morning
Meal—Happy Idea of Toby—Journey towards the Valley.

Recovering from my astonishment at the beautiful scene before
me, I quickly awakened Toby, and informed him of the dis-
covery I had made. Together we now repaired to the border
of the precipice, and my companion’s admiration was equal to
my own. A little reflection, however, abated our surprise at
coming so unexpectedly upon this valley, since the large vales
of Happar and Typee, lying upon this side of Nukuheva, and
extending a considerable distance from the sea towards the in-
terior, must necessarily terminate somewhere about this point.

The question now was as to which of those two places we were
looking down upon. Toby insisted that it was the abode of the
Happars, and I that it was tenanted by their enemies the fero-
cious Typees. To be sure I was not entirely convinced by my
own arguments, but Toby’s proposition to descend at once into
the valley, and partake of the hospitality of its inmates, seemed
to me to be risking so much upon the strength of a mere suppo-
sition, that I resolved to oppose it until we had more evidence
to proceed upon.

The point was one of vital importance, as the natives of
Happar were not only at peace with Nukuheva, but cultivated
with its inhabitants the most friendly relations, and enjoyed
beside a reputation for gentleness and humanity which led us to
expect from them, if not a cordial reception, at least a shelter
during the short period we should remain in their territory.

On the other hand, the very name of Typee struck a panic
into my heart which I did not attempt to disguise. The
thought of voluntarily throwing ourselves into the hands of
these cruel savages, seemed to me an act of mere madness; and

[ 55 ]
almost equally so the idea of venturing into the valley, uncertain
by which of these two tribes it was inhabited. That the vale at
our feet was tenanted by one of them, was a point that appeared
to us past all doubt, since we knew that they resided in this
quarter, although our information did not enlighten us further.

My companion, however, incapable of resisting the tempting
prospect which the place held out of an abundant supply of food
and other means of enjoyment, still clung to his own inconsi-
derate view of the subject, nor could all my reasoning shake it.
When I reminded him that it was impossible for either of us to
know anything with certainty, and when I dwelt upon the hor-
rible fate we should encounter were we rashly to descend into
the valley, and discover too late the error we had committed,
he replied by detailing all the evils of our present condition,
and the sufferings we must undergo should we continue to remain
where we then were.

Anxious to draw him away from the subject, if possible—for
I saw that it would be in vain to attempt changing his mind—I
directed his attention to a long bright unwooded tract of land
which, sweeping down from the elevations in the interior, de-
scended into the valley before us. I then suggested to him that
beyond this ridge might lie a capacious and untenanted valley,
abounding with all manner of delicious fruits; for I had heard
that there were several such upon the island, and proposed that
we should endeavour to reach it, and if we found our expectations
realised we should at once take refuge in it and remain there as
long as we pleased.

He acquiesced in the suggestion; and we immediately, there-
fore, began surveying the country lying before us, with a view
of determining upon the best route for us to pursue; but it pre-
sented little choice, the whole interval being broken into steep
ridges, divided by dark ravines, extending in parallel lines at
right angles to our direct course. All these we would be
obliged to cross before we could hope to arrive at our desti-

A weary journey! But we decided to undertake it, though,
for my own part, I felt little prepared to encounter its fatigues,
shivering and burning by turns with the ague and fever; for I
know not how else to describe the alternate sensations I experi-

[ 56 ]
enced, and suffering not a little from the lameness which afflicted
me. Added to this was the faintness consequent on our meagre
diet—a calamity in which Toby participated to the same extent
as myself.

These circumstances, however, only augmented my anxiety to
reach a place which promised us plenty and repose, before I
should be reduced to a state which would render me altogether
unable to perform the journey. Accordingly we now commenced
it by descending the almost perpendicular side of a steep and
narrow gorge, bristling with a thick growth of reeds. Here
there was but one mode for us to adopt. We seated ourselves
upon the ground, and guided our descent by catching at the
canes in our path. The velocity with which we thus slid down
the side of the ravine soon brought us to a point where we could
use our feet, and in a short time we arrived at the edge of the
torrent, which rolled impetuously along the bed of the chasm.

After taking a refreshing draught from the water of the
stream, we addressed ourselves to a much more difficult under-
taking than the last. Every foot of our late descent had to be
regained in ascending the opposite side of the gorge—an opera-
tion rendered the less agreeable from the consideration that in
these perpendicular episodes we did not progress an hundred
yards on our journey. But, ungrateful as the task was, we set
about it with exemplary patience, and after a snail-like progress
of an hour or more, had scaled perhaps one half of the distance,
when the fever which had left me for awhile returned with such
violence, and accompanied by so raging a thirst, that it required
all the entreaties of Toby to prevent me from losing all the
fruits of my late exertion, by precipitating myself madly down
the cliffs we had just climbed, in quest of the water which flowed
so temptingly at their base. At the moment all my hopes and
fears appeared to be merged in this one desire, careless of the
consequences that might result from its gratification. I am
aware of no feeling, either of pleasure or of pain, that so com-
pletely deprives one of all power to resist its impulses, as this
same raging thirst.

Toby earnestly conjured me to continue the ascent, assuring
me that a little more exertion would bring us to the summit, and
that then in less than five minutes we should find ourselves at the

[ 57 ]
brink of the stream, which must necessarily flow on the other
side of the ridge.

“Do not,” he exclaimed, “turn back, now that we have pro-
ceeded thus far; for I tell you that neither of us will have the
courage to repeat the attempt, if once more we find ourselves
looking up to where we now are from the bottom of these

I was not yet so perfectly beside myself as to be heedless of
these representations, and therefore toiled on, ineffectually en-
deavouring to appease the thirst which consumed me, by thinking
that in a short time I should be able to gratify it to my heart’s

At last we gained the top of the second elevation, the loftiest
of those I have described as extending in parallel lines between
us and the valley we desired to reach. It commanded a view of
the whole intervening distance; and, discouraged as I was by
other circumstances, this prospect plunged me into the very
depths of despair. Nothing but dark and fearful chasms, sepa-
rated by sharp crested and perpendicular ridges as far as the eye
could reach. Could we have stepped from summit to summit of
these steep but narrow elevations we could easily have accom-
plished the distance; but we must penetrate to the bottom of
every yawning gulf, and scale in succession every one of the
eminences before us. Even Toby, although not suffering as I
did, was not proof against the disheartening influences of the

But we did not long stand to contemplate it, impatient as I
was to reach the waters of the torrent which flowed beneath us.
With an insensibility to danger which I cannot call to mind
without shuddering, we threw ourselves down the depths of the
ravine, startling its savage solitudes with the echoes produced
by the falling fragments of rock we every moment dislodged
from their places, careless of the insecurity of our footing, and
reckless whether the slight roots and twigs we clutched at sus-
tained us for the while, or treacherously yielded to our grasp.
For my own part, I scarcely knew whether I was helplessly fall-
ing from the heights above, or whether the fearful rapidity with
which I descended was an act of my own volition.

In a few minutes we reached the foot of the gorge, and kneel-

[ 58 ]
ing upon a small ledge of dripping rocks, I bent over to the
stream. What a delicious sensation was I now to experience!
I paused for a second to concentrate all my capabilities of en-
joyment, and then immerged my lips in the clear element before
me. Had the apples of Sodom turned to ashes in my mouth, I
could not have felt a more startling revulsion. A single drop of
the cold fluid seemed to freeze every drop of blood in my body;
the fever that had been burning in my veins gave place on the
instant to death-like chills, which shook me one after another
like so many shocks of electricity, while the perspiration pro-
duced by my late violent exertions congealed in icy beads upon
my forehead. My thirst was gone, and I fairly loathed the
water. Starting to my feet, the sight of those dank rocks, oozing
forth moisture at every crevice, and the dark stream shooting
along its dismal channel, sent fresh chills through my shivering
frame, and I felt as uncontrollable a desire to climb up towards
the genial sunlight as I before had to descend the ravine.

After two hours’ perilous exertions we stood upon the summit
of another ridge, and it was with difficulty I could bring myself
to believe that we had ever penetrated the black and yawning
chasm which then gaped at our feet. Again we gazed upon
the prospect which the height commanded, but it was just
as depressing as the one which had before met our eyes. I
now felt that in our present situation it was in vain for us to
think of ever overcoming the obstacles in our way, and I gave
up all thoughts of reaching the vale which lay beyond this series
of impediments; while at the same time I could not devise any
scheme to extricate ourselves from the difficulties in which we
were involved.

The remotest idea of returning to Nukuheva, unless assured of
our vessel’s departure, never once entered my mind, and indeed
it was questionable whether we could have succeeded in reaching
it, divided as we were from the bay by a distance we could not
compute, and perplexed too in our remembrance of localities by
our recent wanderings. Besides, it was unendurable the thought
of retracing our steps and rendering all our painful exertions of
no avail.

There is scarcely anything when a man is in difficulties that
he is more disposed to look upon with abhorrence than a right-

[ 59 ]
about retrograde movement—a systematic going over of the
already trodden ground; and especially if he has a love of
adventure, such a course appears indescribably repulsive, so long
as there remains the least hope to be derived from braving
untried difficulties.

It was this feeling that prompted us to descend the opposite
side of the elevation we had just scaled, although with what
definite object in view it would have been impossible for either
of us to tell.

Without exchanging a syllable upon the subject, Toby and
myself simultaneously renounced the design which had lured us
thus far—perceiving in each other’s countenances that despond-
ing expression which speaks more eloquently than words.

Together we stood towards the close of this weary day in the
cavity of the third gorge we had entered, wholly incapacitated
for any further exertion, until restored to some degree of strength
by food and repose.

We seated ourselves upon the least uncomfortable spot we
could select, and Toby produced from the bosom of his frock
the sacred package. In silence we partook of the small morsel
of refreshment that had been left from the morning’s repast, and
without once proposing to violate the sanctity of our engage-
ment with respect to the remainder, we rose to our feet, and
proceeded to construct some sort of shelter under which we might
obtain the sleep we so greatly needed.

Fortunately the spot was better adapted to our purpose than
the one in which we had passed the last wretched night. We
cleared away the tall reeds from a small but almost level bit of
ground, and twisted them into a low basket-like hut, which we
covered with a profusion of long thick leaves, gathered from a
tree near at hand. We disposed them thickly all around,
reserving only a slight opening that barely permitted us to crawl
under the shelter we had thus obtained.

These deep recesses, though protected from the winds that
assail the summits of their lofty sides, are damp and chill to a
degree that one would hardly anticipate in such a climate; and
being unprovided with anything but our woollen frocks and thin
duck trousers to resist the cold of the place, we were the more
solicitous to render our habitation for the night as comfortable

[ 60 ]
as we could. Accordingly, in addition to what we had already
done, we plucked down all the leaves within our reach and threw
them in a heap over our little hut, into which we now crept,
raking after us a reserved supply to form our couch.

That night nothing but the pain I suffered prevented me from
sleeping most refreshingly. As it was, I caught two or three
naps, while Toby slept away at my side as soundly as though he
had been sandwiched between two Holland sheets. Luckily it
did not rain, and we were preserved from the misery which a
heavy shower would have occasioned us.

In the morning I was awakened by the sonorous voice of my
companion ringing in my ears and bidding me rise. I crawled
out from our heap of leaves, and was astonished at the change
which a good night’s rest had wrought in his appearance. He
was as blithe and joyous as a young bird, and was staying the
keenness of his morning’s appetite by chewing the soft bark of a
delicate branch he held in his hand, and he recommended the
like to me as an admirable antidote against the gnawings of

For my own part, though feeling materially better than I had
done the preceding evening, I could not look at the limb that
had pained me so violently at intervals during the last twenty-
four hours, without experiencing a sense of alarm that I strove
in vain to shake off. Unwilling to disturb the flow of my com-
rade’s spirits, I managed to stifle the complaints to which I might
otherwise have given vent, and calling upon him good-humouredly
to speed our banquet, I prepared myself for it by washing in the
stream. This operation concluded, we swallowed, or rather
absorbed, by a peculiar kind of slow sucking process, our
respective morsels of nourishment, and then entered into a
discussion as to the steps it was necessary for us to pursue.

“What’s to be done now?” inquired I, rather dolefully.

“Descend into that same valley we descried yesterday,”
rejoined Toby, with a rapidity and loudness of utterance that
almost led me to suspect he had been slyly devouring the broad-
side of an ox in some of the adjoining thickets. “What else,”
he continued, “remains for us to do but that, to be sure? Why,
we shall both starve to a certainty if we remain here; and as to
your fears of those Typees—depend upon it, it is all nonsense.

[ 61 ]

“It is impossible that the inhabitants of such a lovely place
as we saw can be anything else but good fellows; and if you
choose rather to perish with hunger in one of these soppy
caverns, I for one prefer to chance a bold descent into the valley,
and risk the consequences.”

“And who is to pilot us thither,” I asked, “even if we should
decide upon the measure you propose? Are we to go again up
and down those precipices that we crossed yesterday, until we
reach the place we started from, and then take a flying leap from
the cliffs to the valley?”

“’Faith, I didn’t think of that,” said Toby; “sure enough,
both sides of the valley appeared to be hemmed in by precipices,
didn’t they?”

“Yes,” answered I, “as steep as the sides of a line-of-battle
ship, and about a hundred times as high.” My companion sank
his head upon his breast and remained for a while in deep
thought. Suddenly he sprang to his feet, while his eyes lighted
up with that gleam of intelligence that marks the presence of
some bright idea.

“Yes, yes,” he exclaimed; “the streams all run in the same
direction, and must necessarily flow into the valley before they
reach the sea; all we have to do is just to follow this stream,
and sooner or later it will lead us into the vale.”

“You are right, Toby,” I exclaimed, “you are right; it
must conduct us thither, and quickly too; for, see with what a
steep inclination the water descends.”

“It does, indeed,” burst forth my companion, overjoyed at
my verification of his theory, “it does indeed; why, it is as
plain as a pike-staff. Let us proceed at once; come, throw away
all those stupid ideas about the Typees, and hurrah for the lovely
valley of the Happars!”

“You will have it to be Happar, I see, my dear fellow; pray
Heaven you may not find yourself deceived,” observed I, with a
shake of my head.

“Amen to all that, and much more,” shouted Toby, rushing
forward; “but Happar it is, for nothing else than Happar can
it be. So glorious a valley—such forests of bread-fruit trees—
such groves of cocoa-nut—such wildernesses of guava-bushes!
Ah, shipmate! don’t linger behind: in the name of all delightful

[ 62 ]
fruits, I am dying to be at them. Come on, come on; shove
ahead, there’s a lively lad; never mind the rocks; kick them
out of the way, as I do; and to-morrow, old fellow, take my
word for it, we shall be in clover. Come on;” and so saying,
he dashed along the ravine like a madman, forgetting my in-
ability to keep up with him. In a few minutes, however, the
exuberance of his spirits abated, and, pausing for a while, he
permitted me to overtake him.
[ 63 ]

Perilous Passage of the Ravine—Descent into the Valley.

The fearless confidence of Toby was contagious, and I began to
adopt the Happar side of the question. I could not, however,
overcome a certain feeling of trepidation as we made our way
along these gloomy solitudes. Our progress, at first compara-
tively easy, became more and more difficult. The bed of the
watercourse was covered with fragments of broken rocks, which
had fallen from above, offering so many obstructions to the
course of the rapid stream, which vexed and fretted about them,
—forming at intervals small waterfalls, pouring over into deep
basins, or splashing wildly upon heaps of stones.

From the narrowness of the gorge, and the steepness of its
sides, there was no mode of advancing but by wading through
the water; stumbling every moment over the impediments which
lay hidden under its surface, or tripping against the huge roots
of trees. But the most annoying hindrance we encountered was
from a multitude of crooked boughs, which, shooting out almost
horizontally from the sides of the chasm, twisted themselves
together in fantastic masses almost to the surface of the stream,
affording us no passage except under the low arches which they
formed. Under these we were obliged to crawl on our hands
and feet, sliding along the oozy surface of the rocks, or slipping
into the deep pools, and with scarce light enough to guide us.
Occasionally we would strike our heads against some projecting
limb of a tree; and while imprudently engaged in rubbing the
injured part, would fall sprawling amongst flinty fragments,
cutting and bruising ourselves, whilst the unpitying waters flowed
over our prostrate bodies. Belzoni, worming himself through
the subterranean passages of the Egyptian catacombs, could not
have met with greater impediments than those we here encoun-

[ 64 ]
tered. But we struggled against them manfully, well knowing
our only hope lay in advancing.

Towards sunset we halted at a spot where we made prepara-
tions for passing the night. Here we constructed a hut, in much
the same way as before, and crawling into it, endeavoured to
forget our sufferings. My companion, I believe, slept pretty
soundly; but at daybreak, when we rolled out of our dwelling,
I felt nearly disqualified for any further efforts. Toby pre-
scribed as a remedy for my illness the contents of one of our
little silk packages, to be taken at once in a single dose. To
this species of medical treatment, however, I would by no means
accede, much as he insisted upon it; and so we partook of our
usual morsel, and silently resumed our journey. It was now the
fourth day since we left Nukuheva, and the gnawings of hunger
became painfully acute. We were fain to pacify them by chew-
ing the tender bark of roots and twigs, which, if they did not
afford us nourishment, were at least sweet and pleasant to the

Our progress along the steep watercourse was necessarily slow,
and by noon we had not advanced more than a mile. It was
somewhere near this part of the day that the noise of falling
waters, which we had faintly caught in the early morning,
became more distinct; and it was not long before we were
arrested by a rocky precipice of nearly a hundred feet in depth,
that extended all across the channel, and over which the wild
stream poured in an unbroken leap. On either hand the walls
of the ravine presented their overhanging sides both above and
below the fall, affording no means whatever of avoiding the
cataract by taking a circuit round it.

“What’s to be done now, Toby?” said I.

“Why,” rejoined he, “as we cannot retreat, I suppose we
must keep shoving along.”

“Very true, my dear Toby; but how do you purpose accom-
plishing that desirable object?”

“By jumping from the top of the fall, if there be no other
way,” unhesitatingly replied my companion: “it will be much
the quickest way of descent; but as you are not quite as active
as I am, we will try some other way.”

And, so saying, he crept cautiously along and peered over

[ 65 ]
into the abyss, while I remained wondering by what possible
means we could overcome this apparently insuperable obstruction.
As soon as my companion had completed his survey, I eagerly
inquired the result.

“The result of my observations you wish to know, do you?”
began Toby, deliberately, with one of his odd looks: “well, my
lad, the result of my observations is very quickly imparted. It
is at present uncertain which of our two necks will have the
honour to be broken first; but about a hundred to one would be
a fair bet in favour of the man who takes the first jump.”

“Then it is an impossible thing, is it?” inquired I, gloomily.

“No, shipmate; on the contrary, it is the easiest thing in life:
the only awkward point is the sort of usage which our unhappy
limbs may receive when we arrive at the bottom, and what sort
of travelling trim we shall be in afterwards. But follow me now,
and I will show you the only chance we have.

With this he conducted me to the verge of the cataract, and
pointed along the side of the ravine to a number of curious
looking roots, some three or four inches in thickness, and
several feet long, which after twisting among the fissures of the
rock, shot perpendicularly from it and ran tapering to a point
in the air, hanging over the gulf like so many dark icicles.
They covered nearly the entire surface of one side of the gorge,
the lowest of them reaching even to the water. Many were
moss-grown and decayed, with their extremities snapped short
off, and those in the immediate vicinity of the fall were slippery
with moisture.

Toby’s scheme, and it was a desperate one, was to intrust
ourselves to these treacherous-looking roots, and by slipping
down from one to another to gain the bottom.

“Are you ready to venture it?” asked Toby, looking at me
earnestly, but without saying a word as to the practicability of
the plan.

“I am,” was my reply; for I saw it was our only resource if
we wished to advance, and as for retreating, all thoughts of that
sort had been long abandoned.

After I had signified my assent, Toby, without uttering a
single word, crawled along the dripping ledge until he gained a
point from whence he could just reach one of the largest of the

[ 66 ]
pendant roots; he shook it—it quivered in his grasp, and when
he let it go it twanged in the air like a strong wire sharply
struck. Satisfied by his scrutiny, my light-limbed companion
swung himself nimbly upon it, and twisting his legs round it in
sailor fashion, slipped down eight or ten feet, where his weight
gave it a motion not unlike that of a pendulum. He could not
venture to descend any further; so holding on with one hand,
he with the other shook one by one all the slender roots around
him, and at last, finding one which he thought trustworthy,
shifted himself to it and continued his downward progress.

So far so well; but I could not avoid comparing my heavier
frame and disabled condition with his light figure and remark-
able activity; but there was no help for it, and in less than a
minute’s time I was swinging directly over his head. As soon
as his upturned eyes caught a glimpse of me, he exclaimed in
his usual dry tone, for the danger did not seem to daunt him in
the least, “Mate, do me the kindness not to fall until I get
out of your way;” and then swinging himself more on one side,
he continued his descent. In the mean time I cautiously trans-
ferred myself from the limb down which I had been slipping to
a couple of others that were near it, deeming two strings to my
bow better than one, and taking care to test their strength before
I trusted my weight to them.

On arriving towards the end of the second stage in this ver-
tical journey, and shaking the long roots which were round me,
to my consternation they snapped off one after another like so
many pipe stems, and fell in fragments against the side of the
gulf, splashing at last into the waters beneath.

As one after another the treacherous roots yielded to my grasp,
and fell into the torrent, my heart sunk within me. The
branches on which I was suspended over the yawning chasm
swang to and fro in the air, and I expected them every moment
to snap in twain. Appalled at the dreadful fate that menaced
me, I clutched frantically at the only large root which remained
near me, but in vain; I could not reach it, though my fingers
were within a few inches of it. Again and again I tried to
reach it, until at length, maddened with the thought of my
situation, I swayed myself violently by striking my foot against
the side of the rock, and at the instant that I approached the

[ 67 ]
large root caught desperately at it, and transferred myself to it.
It vibrated violently under the sudden weight, but fortunately
did not give way.

My brain grew dizzy with the idea of the frightful risk I had
just run, and I involuntarily closed my eyes to shut out the
view of the depth beneath me. For the instant I was safe, and
I uttered a devout ejaculation of thanksgiving for my escape.

“Pretty well done,” shouted Toby underneath me; “you are
nimbler than I thought you to be—hopping about up there
from root to root like any young squirrel. As soon as you have
diverted yourself sufficiently, I would advise you to proceed.”

“Aye aye, Toby, all in good time: two or three more such
famous roots as this, and I shall be with you.”

The residue of my downward progress was comparatively easy;
the roots were in greater abundance, and in one or two places
jutting out points of rock assisted me greatly. In a few moments
I was standing by the side of my companion.

Substituting a stout stick for the one I had thrown aside at
the top of the precipice, we now continued our course along the
bed of the ravine. Soon we were saluted by a sound in advance,
that grew by degrees louder and louder, as the noise of the
cataract we were leaving behind gradually died on our ears.

“Another precipice for us, Toby.”

“Very good; we can descend them, you know—come on.”

Nothing indeed appeared to depress or intimidate this intrepid
fellow. Typees or Niagaras, he was as ready to engage one as
the other, and I could not avoid a thousand times congratulating
myself upon having such a companion in an enterprise like the

After an hour’s painful progress, we reached the verge of
another fall, still loftier than the preceding, and flanked both
above and below with the same steep masses of rock, presenting,
however, here and there narrow irregular ledges, supporting a
shallow soil, on which grew a variety of bushes and trees, whose
bright verdure contrasted beautifully with the foamy waters that
flowed between them.

Toby, who invariably acted as pioneer, now proceeded to
reconnoitre. On his return, he reported that the shelves of rock
on our right would enable us to gain with little risk the bottom of

[ 68 ]
the cataract. Accordingly, leaving the bed of the stream at the
very point where it thundered down, we began crawling along
one of these sloping ledges until it carried us to within a few
feet of another that inclined downward at a still sharper angle,
and upon which, by assisting each other, we managed to alight
in safety. We warily crept along this, steadying ourselves by
the naked roots of the shrubs that clung to every fissure. As we
proceeded, the narrow path became still more contracted, ren-
dering it difficult for us to maintain our footing, until suddenly,
as we reached an angle of the wall of rock where we had ex-
pected it to widen, we perceived to our consternation that a yard
or two farther on it abruptly terminated at a place we could not
possibly hope to pass.

Toby as usual led the van, and in silence I waited to learn from
him how he proposed to extricate us from this new difficulty.

“Well, my boy,” I exclaimed, after the expiration of several
minutes, during which time my companion had not uttered a
word; “what’s to be done now?”

He replied in a tranquil tone, that probably the best thing we
could do in our present strait was to get out of it as soon as

“Yes, my dear Toby, but tell me how we are to get out of it.”

“Something in this sort of style,” he replied; and at the
same moment to my horror he slipped sideways off the rock, and
as I then thought, by good fortune merely alighted among the
spreading branches of a species of palm tree, that shooting its
hardy roots along a ledge below, curved its trunk upwards into
the air, and presented a thick mass of foliage about twenty feet
below the spot where we had thus suddenly been brought to a
stand still. I involuntarily held my breath, expecting to see the
form of my companion, after being sustained for a moment by
the branches of the tree, sink through their frail support, and
fall headlong to the bottom. To my surprise and joy, however,
he recovered himself, and disentangling his limbs from the frac-
tured branches, he peered out from his leafy bed, and shouted
lustily, “Come on, my hearty, there is no other alternative!”
and with this he ducked beneath the foliage, and slipping down
the trunk, stood in a moment at least fifty feet beneath me, upon
the broad shelf of rock from which sprung the tree he had

[ 69 ]

What would I not have given at that moment to have been
by his side! The feat he had just accomplished seemed little
less than miraculous, and I could hardly credit the evidence of
my senses when I saw the wide distance that a single daring act
had so suddenly placed between us.

Toby’s animating “come on!” again sounded in my ears,
and dreading to lose all confidence in myself if I remained me-
ditating upon the step, I once more gazed down to assure myself
of the relative bearing of the tree and my own position, and then
closing my eyes and uttering one comprehensive ejaculation of
prayer, I inclined myself over towards the abyss, and after one
breathless instant fell with a crash into the tree, the branches
snapping and crackling with my weight, as I sunk lower and
lower among them, until I was stopped by coming in contact
with a sturdy limb.

In a few moments I was standing at the foot of the tree, mani-
pulating myself all over with a view of ascertaining the extent
of the injuries I had received. To my surprise the only effects
of my feat were a few slight contusions too trifling to care about.
The rest of our descent was easily accomplished, and in half an
hour after regaining the ravine we had partaken of our evening
morsel, built our hut as usual, and crawled under its shelter.

The next morning, in spite of our debility and the agony of
hunger under which we were now suffering, though neither of
us confessed to the fact, we struggled along our dismal and still
difficult and dangerous path, cheered by the hope of soon catch-
ing a glimpse of the valley before us, and towards evening the
voice of a cataract which had for some time sounded like a low
deep bass to the music of the smaller waterfalls, broke upon our
ears in still louder tones, and assured us that we were approach-
ing its vicinity.

That evening we stood on the brink of a precipice, over which
the dark stream bounded in one final heap of full 300 feet. The
sheer descent terminated in the region we so long had sought.
On either side of the fall, two lofty and perpendicular bluffs
buttressed the sides of the enormous cliff, and projected into the
sea of verdure with which the valley waved, and a range of
similar projecting eminences stood disposed in a half circle about
the head of the vale. A thick canopy of traces hung over the

[ 70 ]
very verge of the fall, leaving an arched aperture for the passage
of the waters, which imparted a strange picturesqueness to the

The valley was now before us; but instead of being conducted
into its smiling bosom by the gradual descent of the deep water-
course we had thus far pursued, all our labours now appeared to
have been rendered futile by its abrupt termination. But, bitterly
disappointed, we did not entirely despair.

As it was now near sunset we determined to pass the night
where we were, and on the morrow, refreshed by sleep and
by eating at one meal all our stock of food, to accomplish a
descent into the valley, or perish in the attempt.

We laid ourselves down that night on a spot, the recollection
of which still makes me shudder. A small table of rock which
projected over the precipice on one side of the stream, and was
drenched by the spray of the fall, sustained a huge trunk of a
tree which must have been deposited there by some heavy freshet.
It lay obliquely, with one end resting on the rock and the other
supported by the side of the ravine. Against it we placed in a
sloping direction a number of the half decayed boughs that were
strewn about, and covering the whole with twigs and leaves,
awaited the morning’s light beneath such shelter as it afforded.

During the whole of this night the continual roaring of the
cataract—the dismal moaning of the gale through the trees—the
pattering of the rain, and the profound darkness, affected my
spirits to a degree which nothing had ever before produced. Wet,
half famished, and chilled to the heart with the dampness of the
place, and nearly wild with the pain I endured, I fairly cowered
down to the earth under this multiplication of hardships, and
abandoned myself to frightful anticipations of evil; and my
companion, whose spirit at last was a good deal broken, scarcely
uttered a word during the whole night.

At length the day dawned upon us, and rising from our mi-
serable pallet, we stretched our stiffened joints, and after eating
all that remained of our bread, prepared for the last stage of our

I will not recount every hair breadth escape, and every fearful
difficulty that occurred before we succeeded in reaching the
bosom of the valley. As I have already described similar scenes,

[ 71 ]
it will be sufficient to say that at length, after great toil and
great dangers, we both stood with no limbs broken at the head of
that magnificent vale which five days before had so suddenly
burst upon my sight, and almost beneath the shadows of
those very cliffs from whose summits we had gazed upon the
[ 72 ]

The Head of the Valley—Cautious Advance—A Path—Fruit—Discovery of
Two of the Natives—Their singular Conduct—Approach towards the
inhabited Parts of the Vale—Sensation produced by our Appearance—
Reception at the House of one of the Natives.

How to obtain the fruit which we felt convinced must grow near
at hand was our first thought.

Typee or Happar? A frightful death at the hands of the
fiercest of cannibals, or a kindly reception from a gentler race
of savages? Which? But it was too late now to discuss a
question which would so soon be answered.

The part of the valley in which we found ourselves appeared
to be altogether uninhabited. An almost impenetrable thicket
extended from side to side, without presenting a single plant
affording the nourishment we had confidently calculated upon;
and with this object, we followed the course of the stream,
casting quick glances as we proceeded into the thick jungles
on either hand.

My companion—to whose solicitations I had yielded in de-
scending into the valley—now that the step was taken, began to
manifest a degree of caution I had little expected from him. He
proposed that, in the event of our finding an adequate supply of
fruit, we should remain in this unfrequented portion of the coun-
try—where we should run little chance of being surprised by its
occupants, whoever they might be—until sufficiently recruited to
resume our journey; when laying in a store of food equal to our
wants, we might easily regain the bay of Nukuheva, after the
lapse of a sufficient interval to ensure the departure of our vessel.

I objected strongly to this proposition, plausible as it was, as
the difficulties of the route would be almost insurmountable, un-
acquainted as we were with the general bearings of the country,
and I reminded my companion of the hardships which we had

[ 73 ]
already encountered in our uncertain wanderings; in a word, I
said that since we had deemed it advisable to enter the valley,
we ought manfully to face the consequences, whatever they might
be; the more especially as I was convinced there was no alter-
native left us but to fall in with the natives at once, and boldly
risk the reception they might give us: and that as to myself, I
felt the necessity of rest and shelter, and that until I had ob-
tained them I should be wholly unable to encounter such suffer-
ings as we had lately passed through. To the justice of these
observations Toby somewhat reluctantly assented.

We were surprised that, after moving as far as we had along
the valley, we should still meet with the same impervious thickets;
and thinking that although the borders of the stream might be
lined for some distance with them, yet beyond there might be
more open ground, I requested Toby to keep a bright look-out
upon one side, while I did the same on the other, in order to
discover some opening in the bushes, and especially to watch for
the slightest appearance of a path or anything else that might
indicate the vicinity of the islanders.

What furtive and anxious glances we cast into those dim-look-
ing shades! With what apprehensions we proceeded, ignorant
at what moment we might be greeted by the javelin of some
ambushed savage! At last my companion paused, and directed
my attention to a narrow opening in the foliage. We struck
into it and it soon brought us by an indistinctly traced path to a
comparatively clear space, at the further end of which we de-
scried a number of the trees, the native name of which is “an-
nuee,” and which bear a most delicious fruit.

What a race! I hobbling over the ground like some decrepid
wretch, and Toby leaping forward like a greyhound. He
quickly cleared one of the trees on which there were two or
three of the fruit, but to our chagrin they proved to be much
decayed; the rinds partly opened by the birds, and their hearts
half devoured. However, we quickly despatched them, and no
ambrosia could have been more delicious.

We looked about us uncertain whither to direct our steps, since
the path we had so far followed appeared to be lost in the open
space around us. At last we resolved to enter a grove near at
hand, and had advanced a few rods when, just upon its skirts, I

[ 74 ]
picked up a slender bread-fruit shoot perfectly green, and with
the tender bark freshly stript from it. It was still slippery with
moisture, and appeared as if it had been but that moment thrown
aside. I said nothing, but merely held it up to Toby, who
started at this undeniable evidence of the vicinity of the savages.

The plot was now thickening.—A short distance further lay a
little faggot of the same shoots bound together with a strip of
bark. Could it have been thrown down by some solitary native
who, alarmed at seeing us, had hurried forward to carry the tidings
of our approach to his countrymen?—Typee or Happar?—But
it was too late to recede, so we moved on slowly, my companion
in advance casting eager glances under the trees on either side,
until all at once I saw him recoil as if stung by an adder.
Sinking on his knee, he waved me off with one hand, while with
the other he held aside some intervening leaves and gazed
intently at some object.

Disregarding his injunction, I quickly approached him and
caught a glimpse of two figures partly hidden by the dense
foliage; they were standing close together, and were perfectly
motionless. They must have previously perceived us, and with-
drawn into the depths of the wood to elude our observation.

My mind was at once made up. Dropping my staff, and
tearing open the package of things we had brought from the ship,
I unrolled the cotton cloth, and holding it in one hand plucked
with the other a twig from the bushes beside me, and telling
Toby to follow my example, I broke through the covert and
advanced, waving the branch in token of peace towards the
shrinking forms before me.

They were a boy and girl, slender and graceful, and com-
pletely naked, with the exception of a slight girdle of bark, from
which depended at opposite points two of the russet leaves of
the bread-fruit tree. An arm of the boy, half screened from
sight by her wild tresses, was thrown about the neck of the girl,
while with the other he held one of her hands in his; and thus
they stood together, their heads inclined forward, catching the
faint noise we made in our progress, and with one foot in advance,
as if half inclined to fly from our presence.

As we drew near their alarm evidently increased. Apprehen-
sive that they might fly from us altogether, I stopped short and

[ 75 ]
motioned them to advance and receive the gift I extended towards
them, but they would not; I then uttered a few words of their
language with which I was acquainted, scarcely expecting that
they would understand me, but to show that we had not dropped
from the clouds upon them. This appeared to give them a little
confidence, so I approached nearer, presenting the cloth with
one hand and holding the bough with the other, while they
slowly retreated. At last they suffered us to approach so near
to them that we were enabled to throw the cotton cloth across
their shoulders, giving them to understand that it was theirs, and
by a variety of gestures endeavouring to make them understand
that we entertained the highest possible regard for them.

The frightened pair now stood still, whilst we endeavoured to
make them comprehend the nature of our wants. In doing this
Toby went through with a complete series of pantomimic illus-
trations—opening his mouth from ear to ear, and thrusting his
fingers down his throat, gnashing his teeth and rolling his eyes
about, till I verily believe the poor creatures took us for a couple
of white cannibals who were about to make a meal of them.
When, however, they understood us, they showed no inclination
to relieve our wants. At this juncture it began to rain violently,
and we motioned them to lead us to some place of shelter. With
this request they appeared willing to comply, but nothing could
evince more strongly the apprehension with which they regarded
us, than the way in which, whilst walking before us, they kept
their eyes constantly turned back to watch every movement we
made, and even our very looks.

“Typee or Happar, Toby?” asked I as we walked after them.

“Of course Happar,” he replied with a show of confidence
which was intended to disguise his doubts.

“We shall soon know,” I exclaimed; and at the same mo-
ment I stepped forward towards our guides, and pronouncing
the two names interrogatively and pointing to the lowest part of
the valley, endeavoured to come to the point at once. They
repeated the words after me again and again, but without giving
any peculiar emphasis to either, so that I was completely at a
loss to understand them; for a couple of wilier young things
than we afterwards found them to have been on this particular
occasion never probably fell in any traveller’s way.

[ 76 ]

More and more curious to ascertain our fate, I now threw
together in the form of a question the words “Happar” and
“Mortarkee,” the latter being equivalent to the word “good.”
The two natives interchanged glances of peculiar meaning with
one another at this, and manifested no little surprise; but on
the repetition of the question, after some consultation together,
to the great joy of Toby, they answered in the affirmative. Toby
was now in ecstasies, especially as the young savages continued
to reiterate their answer with great energy, as though desirous
of impressing us with the idea that being among the Happars,
we ought to consider ourselves perfectly secure.

Although I had some lingering doubts, I feigned great delight
with Toby at this announcement, while my companion broke out
into a pantomimic abhorrence of Typee, and immeasurable love
for the particular valley in which we were; our guides all the
while gazing uneasily at one another as if at a loss to account
for our conduct.

They hurried on, and we followed them; until suddenly they
set up a strange halloo, which was answered from beyond the
grove through which we were passing, and the next moment we
entered upon some open ground, at the extremity of which we
descried a long, low hut, and in front of it were several young
girls. As soon as they perceived us they fled with wild screams
into the adjoining thickets, like so many startled fawns. A few
moments after the whole valley resounded with savage outcries,
and the natives came running towards us from every direction.

Had an army of invaders made an irruption into their terri-
tory they could not have evinced greater excitement. We were
soon completely encircled by a dense throng, and in their eager
desire to behold us they almost arrested our progress; an equal
number surrounding our youthful guides, who with amazing
volubility appeared to be detailing the circumstances which had
attended their meeting with us. Every item of intelligence ap-
peared to redouble the astonishment of the islanders, and they
gazed at us with inquiring looks.

At last we reached a large and handsome building of bamboos,
and were by signs told to enter it, the natives opening a lane for
us through which to pass; on entering without ceremony, we
threw our exhausted frames upon the mats that covered the floor.

[ 77 ]
In a moment the slight tenement was completely full of people,
whilst those who were unable to obtain admittance gazed at us
through its open cane-work.

It was now evening, and by the dim light we could just dis-
cern the savage countenances around us, gleaming with wild
curiosity and wonder; the naked forms and tattooed limbs of
brawny warriors, with here and there the slighter figures of
young girls, all engaged in a perfect storm of conversation, of
which we were of course the one only theme; whilst our recent
guides were fully occupied in answering the innumerable ques-
tions which every one put to them. Nothing can exceed the
fierce gesticulation of these people when animated in conver-
sation, and on this occasion they gave loose to all their natural
vivacity, shouting and dancing about in a manner that well-nigh
intimidated us.

Close to where we lay, squatting upon their haunches, were
some eight or ten noble-looking chiefs—for such they subsequently
proved to be—who, more reserved than the rest, regarded us
with a fixed and stern attention, which not a little discomposed
our equanimity. One of them in particular, who appeared to be
the highest in rank, placed himself directly facing me; looking
at me with a rigidity of aspect under which I absolutely quailed.
He never once opened his lips, but maintained his severe ex-
pression of countenance, without turning his face aside for a
single moment. Never before had I been subjected to so strange
and steady a glance; it revealed nothing of the mind of the
savage, but it appeared to be reading my own.

After undergoing this scrutiny till I grew absolutely nervous,
with a view of diverting it if possible, and conciliating the good
opinion of the warrior, I took some tobacco from the bosom of
my frock and offered it to him. He quietly rejected the proffered
gift, and, without speaking, motioned me to return it to its

In my previous intercourse with the natives of Nukuheva and
Tior, I had found that the present of a small piece of tobacco
would have rendered any of them devoted to my service. Was
this act of the chief a token of his enmity? Typee or Happar?
I asked within myself. I started, for at the same moment this
identical question was asked by the strange being before me. I

[ 78 ]
turned to Toby; the flickering light of a native taper showed me
his countenance pale with trepidation at this fatal question. I
paused for a second, and I know not by what impulse it was that
I answered “Typee.” The piece of dusky statuary nodded in
approval, and then murmured “Mortarkee!” “Mortarkee,”
said I, without further hesitation—“Typee mortarkee.”

What a transition! The dark figures around us leaped to
their feet, clapped their hands in transport, and shouted again
and again the talismanic syllables, the utterance of which ap-
peared to have settled every thing.

When this commotion had a little subsided, the principal chief
squatted once more before me, and throwing himself into a sud-
den rage, poured forth a string of philippics, which I was at no
loss to understand, from the frequent recurrence of the word
Happar, as being directed against the natives of the adjoining
valley. In all these denunciations my companion and I ac-
quiesced, while we extolled the character of the warlike Typees.
To be sure our panegyrics were somewhat laconic, consisting in
the repetition of that name, united with the potent adjective
“mortarkee.” But this was sufficient, and served to conciliate
the good will of the natives, with whom our congeniality of sen-
timent on this point did more towards inspiring a friendly feeling
than anything else that could have happened.

At last the wrath of the chief evaporated, and in a few
moments he was as placid as ever. Laying his hand upon his
breast, he now gave me to understand that his name was
“Mehevi,” and that, in return, he wished me to communicate
my appellation. I hesitated for an instant, thinking that it
might be difficult for him to pronounce my real name, and then
with the most praiseworthy intentions intimated that I was
known as “Tom.” But I could not have made a worse selection;
the chief could not master it: “Tommo,” “Tomma,” “Tommee,”
every thing but plain “Tom.” As he persisted in garnishing the
word with an additional syllable, I compromised the matter with
him at the word “Tommo;” and by that name I went during
the entire period of my stay in the valley. The same proceeding
was gone through with Toby, whose mellifluous appellation was
more easily caught.

An exchange of names is equivalent to a ratification of good

[ 79 ]
will and amity among these simple people; and as we were aware
of this fact, we were delighted that it had taken place on the
present occasion.

Reclining upon our mats, we now held a kind of levee, giving
audience to successive troops of the natives, who introduced
themselves to us by pronouncing their respective names, and
retired in high good humour on receiving ours in return.
During this ceremony the greatest merriment prevailed, nearly
every announcement on the part of the islanders being followed
by a fresh sally of gaiety, which induced me to believe that some
of them at least were innocently diverting the company at our
expense, by bestowing upon themselves a string of absurd titles,
of the humour of which we were of course entirely ignorant.

All this occupied about an hour, when the throng having a
little diminished, I turned to Mehevi and gave him to understand
that we were in need of food and sleep. Immediately the atten-
tive chief addressed a few words to one of the crowd, who disap-
peared, and returned in a few moments with a calabash of “poee-
poee,” and two or three young cocoa-nuts stripped of their husks,
and with their shells partly broken. We both of us forthwith
placed one of these natural goblets to our lips, and drained it in
a moment of the refreshing draught it contained. The poee-poee
was then placed before us, and even famished as I was, I paused
to consider in what manner to convey it to my mouth.

This staple article of food among the Marquese islanders is
manufactured from the produce of the bread-fruit tree. It some-
what resembles in its plastic nature our bookbinders’ paste, is of
a yellow colour, and somewhat tart to the taste.

Such was the dish, the merits of which I was now eager to
discuss. I eyed it wistfully for a moment, and then unable any
longer to stand on ceremony, plunged my hand into the yielding
mass, and to the boisterous mirth of the natives drew it forth
laden with the poee-poee, which adhered in lengthy strings to
every finger. So stubborn was its consistency, that in conveying
my heavily-freighted hand to my mouth, the connecting links
almost raised the calabash from the mats on which it had been
placed. This display of awkwardness — in which, by-the-bye,
Toby kept me company—convulsed the bystanders with uncon-
trollable laughter.

[ 80 ]

As soon as their merriment had somewhat subsided, Mehevi,
motioning us to be attentive, dipped the fore finger of his right
hand in the dish, and giving it a rapid and scientific twirl, drew
it out coated smoothly with the preparation. With a second pe-
culiar flourish he prevented the poee-poee from dropping to the
ground as he raised it to his mouth, into which the finger was
inserted and drawn forth perfectly free from any adhesive matter.
This performance was evidently intended for our instruction; so
I again essayed the feat on the principles inculcated, but with
very ill success.

A starving man, however, little heeds conventional proprieties,
especially on a South-Sea Island, and accordingly Toby and I
partook of the dish after our own clumsy fashion, beplastering
our faces all over with the glutinous compound, and daubing our
hands nearly to the wrist. This kind of food is by no means
disagreeable to the palate of a European, though at first the mode
of eating it may be. For my own part, after the lapse of a few
days I became accustomed to its singular flavour, and grew
remarkably fond of it.

So much for the first course; several other dishes followed it,
some of which were positively delicious. We concluded our
banquet by tossing off the contents of two more young cocoa-
nuts, after which we regaled ourselves with the soothing fumes
of tobacco, inhaled from a quaintly carved pipe which passed
round the circle.

During the repast, the natives eyed us with intense curiosity,
observing our minutest motions, and appearing to discover
abundant matter for comment in the most trifling occurrence.
Their surprise mounted the highest, when we began to remove
our uncomfortable garments, which were saturated with rain.
They scanned the whiteness of our limbs, and seemed utterly un-
able to account for the contrast they presented to the swarthy
hue of our faces, embrowned from a six months’ exposure to the
scorching sun of the Line. They felt our skin, much in the
same way that a silk mercer would handle a remarkably fine
piece of satin; and some of them went so far in their investi-
gation as to apply the olfactory organ.

Their singular behaviour almost led me to imagine that they
never before had beheld a white man; but a few moments’ re-

[ 81 ]
flection convinced me that this could not have been the case;
and a more satisfactory reason for their conduct has since sug-
gested itself to my mind.

Deterred by the frightful stories related of its inhabitants,
ships never enter this bay, while their hostile relations with the
tribes in the adjoining valleys prevent the Typees from visiting
that section of the island where vessels occasionally lie. At long
intervals, however, some intrepid captain will touch on the skirts
of the bay, with two or three armed boats’ crews, and accom-
panied by an interpreter. The natives who live near the sea
descry the strangers long before they reach their waters, and
aware of the purpose for which they come, proclaim loudly the
news of their approach. By a species of vocal telegraph the
intelligence reaches the inmost recesses of the vale in an incon-
ceivably short space of time, drawing nearly its whole population
down to the beach laden with every variety of fruit. The inter-
preter, who is invariably a “tabooed Kannaka,”* leaps ashore
with the goods intended for barter, while the boats, with their
oars shipped, and every man on his thwart, lie just outside the
surf, heading off from the shore, in readiness at the first untoward
event to escape to the open sea. As soon as the traffic is con-
cluded, one of the boats pulls in under cover of the muskets of
the others, the fruit is quickly thrown into her, and the transient
visitors precipitately retire from what they justly consider so
dangerous a vicinity.

The intercourse occurring with Europeans being so restricted,
no wonder that the inhabitants of the valley manifested so much
curiosity with regard to us, appearing as we did among them
under such singular circumstances. I have no doubt that we
were the first white men who ever penetrated thus far back into
their territories, or at least the first who had ever descended from
the head of the vale. What had brought us thither must have

* The word “Kannaka” is at the present day universally used in the
South Seas by Europeans to designate the Islanders. In the various dialects
of the principal groups it is simply a sexual designation applied to the males;
but it is now used by the natives in their intercourse with foreigners in the
same sense in which the latter employ it.

A “Tabooed Kannaka” is an islander whose person has been made to a
certain extent sacred by the operation of a singular custom hereafter to be

[ 82 ]
appeared a complete mystery to them, and from our ignorance of
the language it was impossible for us to enlighten them. In
answer to inquiries which the eloquence of their gestures enabled
us to comprehend, all that we could reply was, that we had come
from Nukuheva, a place, be it remembered, with which they were
at open war. This intelligence appeared to affect them with the
most lively emotions. “Nukuheva motarkee?” they asked. Of
course we replied most energetically in the negative.

They then plied us with a thousand questions, of which we
could understand nothing more than that they had reference to
the recent movements of the French, against whom they seemed
to cherish the most fierce hatred. So eager were they to obtain
information on this point, that they still continued to propound
their queries long after we had shown that we were utterly un-
able to answer them. Occasionally we caught some indistinct
idea of their meaning, when we would endeavour by every
method in our power to communicate the desired intelligence.
At such times their gratification was boundless, and they would
redouble their efforts to make us comprehend them more per-
fectly. But all in vain; and in the end they looked at us
despairingly, as if we were the receptacles of invaluable informa-
tion; but how to come at it they knew not.

After a while the group around us gradually dispersed, and
we were left about midnight (as we conjectured) with those who
appeared to be permanent residents of the house. These indi-
viduals now provided us with fresh mats to lie upon, covered us
with several folds of tappa, and then extinguishing the tapers
that had been burning, threw themselves down beside us, and
after a little desultory conversation were soon sound asleep.

[ 83 ]

Midnight Reflections — Morning Visitors — A Warrior in Costume—A
Savage Æsculapius—Practice of the Healing Art—Body Servant—A
Dwelling-house of the Valley described—Portraits of its Inmates.

Various and conflicting were the thoughts which oppressed
me during the silent hours that followed the events related in the
preceding chapter. Toby, wearied with the fatigues of the day,
slumbered heavily by my side; but the pain under which I was
suffering effectually prevented my sleeping, and I remained dis-
tressingly alive to all the fearful circumstances of our present
situation. Was it possible that, after all our vicissitudes, we were
really in the terrible valley of Typee, and at the mercy of its
inmates, a fierce and unrelenting tribe of savages?

Typee or Happar? I shuddered when I reflected that there
was no longer any room for doubt; and that, beyond all hope of
escape, we were now placed in those very circumstances from
the bare thought of which I had recoiled with such abhorrence
but a few days before. What might not be our fearful destiny?
To be sure, as yet we had been treated with no violence; nay,
had been even kindly and hospitably entertained. But what
dependence could be placed upon the fickle passions which sway
the bosom of a savage? His inconstancy and treachery are pro-
verbial. Might it not be that beneath these fair appearances the
islanders covered some perfidious design, and that their friendly
reception of us might only precede some horrible catastrophe?
How strongly did these forebodings spring up in my mind as I
lay restlessly upon a couch of mats, surrounded by the dimly
revealed forms of those whom I so greatly dreaded.

From the excitement of these fearful thoughts I sank towards
morning into an uneasy slumber; and on awaking, with a start,
in the midst of an appalling dream, looked up into the eager
countenances of a number of the natives, who were bending over

[ 84 ]

It was broad day; and the house was nearly filled with young
females, fancifully decorated with flowers, who gazed upon me
as I rose with faces in which childish delight and curiosity were
vividly pourtrayed. After waking Toby, they seated themselves
round us on the mats, and gave full play to that prying inquisi-
tiveness which time out of mind has been attributed to the
adorable sex.

As these unsophisticated young creatures were attended by no
jealous duennas, their proceedings were altogether informal, and
void of artificial restraint. Long and minute was the investiga-
tion with which they honoured us, and so uproarious their mirth,
that I felt infinitely sheepish; and Toby was immeasurably out-
raged at their familiarity.

These lively young ladies were at the same time wonderfully
polite and humane; fanning aside the insects that occasionally
lighted on our brows; presenting us with food; and compassion-
ately regarding me in the midst of my afflictions. But in spite
of all their blandishments, my feelings of propriety were exceed-
ingly shocked, for I could not but consider them as having over-
stepped the due limits of female decorum.

Having diverted themselves to their heart’s content, our young
visitants now withdrew, and gave place to successive troops of
the other sex, who continued flocking towards the house until
near noon; by which time I have no doubt that the greater part
of the inhabitants of the valley had bathed themselves in the
light of our benignant countenances.

At last, when their numbers began to diminish, a superb-
looking warrior stooped the towering plumes of his head-dress
beneath the low portal, and entered the house. I saw at once
that he was some distinguished personage, the natives regarding
him with the utmost deference, and making room for him as he
approached. His aspect was imposing. The splendid long
drooping tail-feathers of the tropical bird, thickly interspersed
with the gaudy plumage of the cock, were disposed in an im-
mense upright semicircle upon his head, their lower extremities
being fixed in a crescent of guinea-beads which spanned the fore-
head. Around his neck were several enormous necklaces of
boars’ tusks, polished like ivory, and disposed in such a manner
as that the longest and largest were upon his capacious chest.

[ 85 ]
Thrust forward through the large apertures in his ears were two
small and finely shaped sperm-whale teeth, presenting their cavi-
ties in front, stuffed with freshly-plucked leaves, and curiously
wrought at the other end into strange little images and devices.
These barbaric trinkets, garnished in this manner at their open
extremities, and tapering and curving round to a point behind
the ear, resembled not a little a pair of cornucopias.

The loins of the warrior were girt about with heavy folds of a
dark-coloured tappa, hanging before and behind in clusters of
braided tassels, while anklets and bracelets of curling human hair
completed his unique costume. In his right hand he grasped a
beautifully carved paddle-spear, nearly fifteen feet in length,
made of the bright koar-wood, one end sharply pointed, and the
other flattened like an oar-blade. Hanging obliquely from his
girdle by a loop of sinnate was a richly decorated pipe, the slen-
der reed forming its stem was coloured with a red pigment, and
round it, as well as the idol-bowl, fluttered little streamers of the
thinnest tappa.

But that which was most remarkable in the appearance of the
splendid islander was the elaborated tattooing displayed on every
noble limb. All imaginable lines and curves and figures were
delineated over his whole body, and in their grotesque variety
and infinite profusion I could only compare them to the crowded
groupings of quaint patterns we sometimes see in costly pieces of
lacework. The most simple and remarkable of all these orna-
ments was that which decorated the countenance of the chief.
Two broad stripes of tattooing, diverging from the centre of his
shaven crown, obliquely crossed both eyes—staining the lids—to
a little below either ear, where they united with another stripe
which swept in a straight line along the lips and formed the base
of the triangle. The warrior, from the excellence of his physical
proportions, might certainly have been regarded as one of Na-
ture’s noblemen, and the lines drawn upon his face may possibly
have denoted his exalted rank.

This warlike personage, upon entering the house, seated him-
self at some distance from the spot where, Toby and myself
reposed, while the rest of the savages looked alternately from us
to him, as if in expectation of something they were disappointed
in not perceiving. Regarding the chief attentively, I thought

[ 86 ]
his lineaments appeared familiar to me. As soon as his full face
was turned upon me, and I again beheld its extraordinary embel-
lishment, and met the strange gaze to which I had been subjected
the preceding night, I immediately, in spite of the alteration in
his appearance, recognised the noble Mehevi. On addressing
him, he advanced at once in the most cordial manner, and,
greeting me warmly, seemed to enjoy not a little the effect his
barbaric costume had produced upon me.

I forthwith determined to secure, if possible, the good will of
this individual, as I easily perceived he was a man of great
authority in his tribe, and one who might exert a powerful in-
fluence upon our subsequent fate. In the endeavour I was not
repulsed; for nothing could surpass the friendliness he manifested
towards both my companion and myself. He extended his sturdy
limbs by our side, and endeavoured to make us comprehend the
full extent of the kindly feelings by which he was actuated. The
almost insuperable difficulty in communicating to one another
our ideas affected the chief with no little mortification. He evinced
a great desire to be enlightened with regard to the customs and
peculiarities of the far-off country we had left behind us, and to
which under the name of Maneeka he frequently alluded.

But that which more than any other subject engaged his atten-
tion was the late proceedings of the “Franee,” as he called the
French, in the neighbouring bay of Nukuheva. This seemed
a never-ending theme with him, and one concerning which he
was never weary of interrogating us. All the information we
succeeded in imparting to him on this subject was little more than
that we had seen six men-of-war lying in the hostile bay at the
time we had left it. When he received this intelligence, Mehevi,
by the aid of his fingers, went through a long numerical calcula-
tion, as if estimating the number of Frenchmen the squadron
might contain.

It was just after employing his faculties in this way that he
happened to notice the swelling in my limb. He immediately
examined it with the utmost attention, and after doing so de-
spatched a boy who happened to be standing by with some

After the lapse of a few moments the stripling re-entered the
house with an aged islander, who might have been taken for old

[ 87 ]
Hippocrates himself. His head was as bald as the polished sur-
face of a cocoa-nut shell, which article it precisely resembled in
smoothness and colour, while a long silvery beard swept almost
to his girdle of bark. Encircling his temples was a bandeau of
the twisted leaves of the Omoo tree, pressed closely over the
brows to shield his feeble vision from the glare of the sun. His
tottering steps were supported by a long slim staff, resembling
the wand with which a theatrical magician appears on the stage,
and in one hand he carried a freshly plaited fan of the green
leaflets of the cocoa-nut tree. A flowing robe of tappa, knotted
over the shoulder, hung loosely round his stooping form, and
heightened the venerableness of his aspect.

Mehevi, saluting this old gentleman, motioned him to a seat
between us, and then uncovering my limb, desired him to exa-
mine it. The leech gazed intently from me to Toby, and then
proceeded to business. After diligently observing the ailing
member, he commenced manipulating it; and on the supposition
probably that the complaint had deprived the leg of all sensa-
tion, began to pinch and hammer it in such a manner that I
absolutely roared with the pain. Thinking that I was as capable
of making an application of thumps and pinches to the part as
any one else, I endeavoured to resist this species of medical treat-
ment. But it was not so easy a matter to get out of the clutches
of the old wizard; he fastened on the unfortunate limb as if it
were something for which he had been long seeking, and mutter-
ing some kind of incantation continued his discipline, pounding
it after a fashion that set me well nigh crazy; while Mehevi,
upon the same principle which prompts an affectionate mother
to hold a struggling child in a dentist’s chair, restrained me in
his powerful grasp, and actually encouraged the wretch in this
infliction of torture.

Almost frantic with rage and pain, I yelled like a bedlamite;
while Toby, throwing himself into all the attitudes of a posture-
master, vainly endeavoured to expostulate with the natives by
signs and gestures. To have looked at my companion, as, sym-
pathising with my sufferings, he strove to put an end to them,
one would have thought that he was the deaf and dumb alphabet
incarnated. Whether my tormentor yielded to Toby’s entreaties,
or paused from sheer exhaustion, I do not know; but all at

[ 88 ]
once he ceased his operations, and at the same time the chief
relinquishing his hold upon me, I fell back, faint and breathless,
with the agony I had endured.

My unfortunate limb was now left much in the same condition
as a rump-steak after undergoing the castigating process which
precedes cooking. My physician, having recovered from the
fatigues of his exertions, as if anxious to make amends for the
pain to which he had subjected me, now took some herbs out of
a little wallet that was suspended from his waist, and moistening
them in water, applied them to the inflamed part, stooping over
it at the same time, and either whispering a spell, or having a
little confidential chat with some imaginary demon located in
the calf of my leg. My limb was now swathed in leafy bandages,
and, grateful to Providence for the cessation of hostilities, I was
suffered to rest.

Mehevi shortly after rose to depart; but before he went he spoke
authoritatively to one of the natives whom he addressed as Kory-
Kory; and from the little I could understand of what took place,
pointed him out to me as a man whose peculiar business thence-
forth would be to attend upon my person. I am not certain
that I comprehended as much as this at the time, but the subse-
quent conduct of my trusty body-servant fully assured me that
such must have been the case.

I could not but be amused at the manner in which the chief
addressed me upon this occasion, talking to me for at least fifteen
or twenty minutes as calmly as if I could understand every word
that he said. I remarked this peculiarity very often afterwards
in many other of the islanders.

Mehevi having now departed, and the family physician having
likewise made his exit, we were left about sunset with the ten or
twelve natives, who by this time I had ascertained composed the
household of which Toby and I were members. As the dwelling
to which we had been first introduced was the place of my per-
manent abode while I remained in the valley, and as I was
necessarily placed upon the most intimate footing with its occu-
pants, I may as well here enter into a little description of it and
its inhabitants. This description will apply also to nearly all the
other dwelling-places in the vale, and will furnish some idea of
the generality of the natives.

[ 89 ]

Near one side of the valley, and about midway up the ascent
of a rather abrupt rise of ground waving with the richest ver-
dure, a number of large stones were laid in successive courses, to
the height of nearly eight feet, and disposed in such a manner
that their level surface corresponded in shape with the habitation
which was perched upon it. A narrow space, however, was re-
served in front of the dwelling, upon the summit of this pile of
stones, (called by the natives a “pi-pi,”) which being enclosed
by a little picket of canes, gave it somewhat the appearance of a
verandah. The frame of the house was constructed of large
bamboos planted uprightly, and secured together at intervals by
transverse stalks of the light wood of the habiscus, lashed with
thongs of bark. The rear of the tenement—built up with suc-
cessive ranges of cocoa-nut boughs bound one upon another, with
their leaflets cunningly woven together—inclined a little from
the vertical, and extended from the extreme edge of the “pi pi”
to about twenty feet from its surface; whence the shelving roof
—thatched with the long tapering leaves of the palmetto—sloped
steeply off to within about five feet of the floor; leaving the
eaves drooping with tassel-like appendages over the front of the
habitation. This was constructed of light and elegant canes, in
a kind of open screen work, tastefully adorned with bindings of
variegated sinnate, which served to hold together its various
parts. The sides of the house were similarly built; thus pre-
senting three quarters for the circulation of the air, while the
whole was impervious to the rain.

In length this picturesque building was perhaps twelve yards,
while in breadth it could not have exceeded as many feet. So
much for the exterior; which with its wire-like reed-twisted
sides, not a little reminded me of an immense aviary.

Stooping a little, you passed through a narrow aperture in its
front; and facing you, on entering, lay two long, perfectly straight,
and well-polished trunks of the cocoa-nut tree, extending the full
length of the dwelling; one of them placed closely against the
rear, and the other lying parallel with it some two yards distant,
the interval between them being spread with a multitude of gaily-
worked mats, nearly all of a different pattern. This space
formed the common couch and lounging place of the natives,
answering the purpose of a divan in Oriental countries. Here

[ 90 ]
would they slumber through the hours of the night, and recline
luxuriously during the greater part of the day. The remainder
of the floor presented only the cool shining surfaces of the large
stones of which the “pi-pi” was composed.

From the ridge pole of the house hung suspended a number of
large packages enveloped in coarse tappa; some of which con-
tained festival dresses, and various other matters of the wardrobe,
held in high estimation. These were easily accessible by means
of a line, which, passing over the ridge-pole, had one end attached
to a bundle, while with the other, which led to the side of the
dwelling and was there secured, the package could be lowered or
elevated at pleasure.

Against the farther wall of the house were arranged in tasteful
figures a variety of spears and javelins, and other implements of
savage warfare. Outside of the habitation, and built upon the
piazza-like area in its front, was a little shed used as a sort of
larder or pantry, and in which were stored various articles of
domestic use and convenience. A few yards from the pi-pi was
a large shed built of cocoa-nut boughs, where the process of pre-
paring the “poee-poee” was carried on, and all culinary opera-
tions attended to.

Thus much for the house, and its appurtenances; and it will
be readily acknowledged that a more commodious and appro-
priate dwelling for the climate and the people could not pos-
sibly be devised. It was cool, free to admit the air, scrupu-
lously clean, and elevated above the dampness and impurities of
the ground.

But now to sketch the inmates; and here I claim for my tried
servitor and faithful valet Kory-Kory the precedence of a first
description. As his character will be gradually unfolded in the
course of my narrative, I shall for the present content myself
with delineating his personal appearance. Kory-Kory, though
the most devoted and best natured serving-man in the world,
was, alas! a hideous object to look upon. He was some
twenty-five years of age, and about six feet in height, robust and
well made, and of the most extraordinary aspect. His head was
carefully shaven, with the exception of two circular spots, about
the size of a dollar, near the top of the cranium, where the hair,
permitted to grow of an amazing length, was twisted up in two

[ 91 ]
prominent knots, that gave him the appearance of being deco-
rated with a pair of horns. His beard, plucked out by the roots
from every other part of his face, was suffered to droop in hairy
pendants, two of which garnished his upper lip, and an equal
number hung from the extremity of his chin.

Kory-Kory, with a view of improving the handiwork of nature,
and perhaps prompted by a desire to add to the engaging ex-
pression of his countenance, had seen fit to embellish his face
with three broad longitudinal stripes of tattooing, which, like
those country roads that go straight forward in defiance of all
obstacles, crossed his nasal organ, descended into the hollow of
his eyes, and even skirted the borders of his mouth. Each com-
pletely spanned his physiognomy; one extending in a line with
his eyes, another crossing the face in the vicinity of the nose,
and the third sweeping along his lips from ear to ear. His coun-
tenance thus triply hooped, as it were, with tattooing, always
reminded me of those unhappy wretches whom I have sometimes
observed gazing out sentimentally from behind the grated bars
of a prison window; whilst the entire body of my savage valet,
covered all over with representations of birds and fishes, and a
variety of most unaccountable-looking creatures, suggested to
me the idea of a pictorial museum of natural history, or an
illustrated copy of ‘Goldsmith’s Animated Nature.’

But it seems really heartless in me to write thus of the poor
islander, when I owe perhaps to his unremitting attentions the
very existence I now enjoy. Kory-Kory, I mean thee no harm
in what I say in regard to thy outward adornings; but they were
a little curious to my unaccustomed sight, and therefore I dilate
upon them. But to underrate or forget thy faithful services is
something I could never be guilty of, even in the giddiest
moment of my life.

The father of my attached follower was a native of gigantic
frame, and had once possessed prodigious physical powers; but
the lofty form was now yielding to the inroads of time, though
the hand of disease seemed never to have been laid upon the
aged warrior. Marheyo—for such was his name—appeared to
have retired from all active participation in the affairs of the
valley, seldom or never accompanying the natives in their
various expeditions; and employing the greater part of his time

[ 92 ]
in throwing up a little shed just outside the house, upon which
he was engaged to my certain knowledge for four months, with-
out appearing to make any sensible advance. I suppose the old
gentleman was in his dotage, for he manifested in various ways
the characteristics which mark this particular stage of life.

I remember in particular his having a choice pair of ear-orna-
ments, fabricated from the teeth of some sea-monster. These he
would alternately wear and take off at least fifty times in the
course of the day, going and coming from his little hut on each
occasion with all the tranquillity imaginable. Sometimes slipping
them through the slits in his ears, he would seize his spear—
which in length and slightness resembled a fishing-pole—and go
stalking beneath the shadows of the neighbouring groves, as if
about to give a hostile meeting to some cannibal knight. But
he would soon return again, and hiding his weapon under the
projecting eaves of the house, and rolling his clumsy trinkets
carefully in a piece of tappa, would resume his more pacific
operations as quietly as if he had never interrupted them.

But despite his eccentricities, Marheyo was a most paternal
and warm-hearted old fellow, and in this particular not a little
resembled his son Kory-Kory. The mother of the latter was
the mistress of the family, and a notable housewife, and a most
industrious old lady she was. If she did not understand the art
of making jellies, jams, custards, tea-cakes, and such like trashy
affairs, she was profoundly skilled in the mysteries of preparing
“amar,” “poee-poee,” and “kokoo,” with other substantial
matters. She was a genuine busy-body; bustling about the
house like a country landlady at an unexpected arrival; for ever
giving the young girls tasks to perform, which the little hussies
as often neglected; poking into every corner, and rummaging
over bundles of old tappa, or making a prodigious clatter among
the calabashes. Sometimes she might have been seen squatting
upon her haunches in front of a huge wooden basin, and knead-
ing poee-poee with terrific vehemence, dashing the stone pestle
about as if she would shiver the vessel into fragments; on other
occasions, galloping about the valley in search of a particular
kind of leaf, used in some of her recondite operations, and re-
turning home, toiling and sweating, with a bundle of it, under
which most women would have sunk.

[ 93 ]

To tell the truth, Kory-Kory’s mother was the only industrious
person in all the valley of Typee; and she could not have em-
ployed herself more actively had she been left an exceedingly
muscular and destitute widow, with an inordinate supply of
young children, in the bleakest part of the civilized world.
There was not the slightest necessity for the greater portion of
the labour performed by the old lady: but she seemed to work
from some irresistible impulse; her limbs continually swaying to
and fro, as if there were some indefatigable engine concealed
within her body which kept her in perpetual motion.

Never suppose that she was a termagant or a shrew for all
this; she had the kindliest heart in the world, and acted towards
me in particular in a truly maternal manner, occasionally putting
some little morsel of choice food into my hand, some outlandish
kind of savage sweetmeat or pastry, like a doting mother petting
a sickly urchin with tarts and sugar-plums. Warm indeed are
my remembrances of the dear, good, affectionate old Tinor!

Besides the individuals I have mentioned, there belonged to
the household three young men, dissipated, good-for-nothing,
roystering blades of savages, who were either employed in pro-
secuting love-affairs with the maidens of the tribe, or grew boozy
on “arva” and tobacco in the company of congenial spirits, the
scapegraces of the valley.

Among the permanent inmates of the house were likewise
several lovely damsels, who instead of thrumming pianos and
reading novels, like more enlightened young ladies, substituted
for these employments the manufacture of a fine species of tappa;
but for the greater portion of the time were skipping from house
to house, gadding and gossiping with their acquaintances.

From the rest of these, however, I must except the beauteous
nymph Fayaway, who was my peculiar favourite. Her free pliant
figure was the very perfection of female grace and beauty. Her
complexion was a rich and mantling olive, and when watching
the glow upon her cheeks I could almost swear that beneath the
transparent medium there lurked the blushes of a faint vermilion.
The face of this girl was a rounded oval, and each feature as
perfectly formed as the heart or imagination of man could desire.
Her full lips, when parted with a smile, disclosed teeth of a daz-
zling whiteness; and when her rosy mouth opened with a burst

[ 94 ]
of merriment, they looked like the milk-white seeds of the
“arta,” a fruit of the valley, which, when cleft in twain, shows
them reposing in rows on either side, imbedded in the rich and
juicy pulp. Her hair of the deepest brown, parted irregularly
in the middle, flowed in natural ringlets over her shoulders, and
whenever she chanced to stoop, fell over and hid from view her
lovely bosom. Gazing into the depths of her strange blue eyes,
when she was in a contemplative mood, they seemed most placid
yet unfathomable; but when illuminated by some lively emotion,
they beamed upon the beholder like stars. The hands of Fay-
away were as soft and delicate as those of any countess; for an
entire exemption from rude labour marks the girlhood and even
prime of a Typee woman’s life. Her feet, though wholly exposed,
were as diminutive and fairly shaped as those which peep from
beneath the skirts of a Lima lady’s dress. The skin of this young
creature, from continual ablutions and the use of mollifying
ointments, was inconceivably smooth and soft.

I may succeed, perhaps, in particularising some of the indi-
vidual features of Fayaway’s beauty, but that general loveliness of
appearance which they all contributed to produce I will not
attempt to describe. The easy unstudied graces of a child of
nature like this, breathing from infancy an atmosphere of per-
petual summer, and nurtured by the simple fruits of the earth;
enjoying a perfect freedom from care and anxiety, and removed
effectually from all injurious tendencies, strike the eye in a
manner which cannot be pourtrayed. This picture is no fancy
sketch; it is drawn from the most vivid recollections of the person

Were I asked if the beauteous form of Fayaway was altogether
free from the hideous blemish of tattooing, I should be constraind
to answer that it was not. But the practitioners of the barbarous
art, so remorseless in their inflictions upon the brawny limbs of
the warriors of the tribe, seem to be conscious that it needs not
the resources of their profession to augment the charms of the
maidens of the vale.

The females are very little embellished in this way, and
Fayaway, with all the other young girls of her age, were even
less so than those of their sex more advanced in years. The
reason of this peculiarity will be alluded to hereafter. All the

[ 95 ]
tattooing that the nymph in question exhibited upon her person
may be easily described. Three minute dots, no bigger than pin-
heads, decorated either lip, and at a little distance were not at all
discernible. Just upon the fall of the shoulder were drawn two
parallel lines half an inch apart, and perhaps three inches in
length, the interval being filled with delicately executed figures.
These narrow bands of tattooing, thus placed, always reminded
me of those stripes of gold lace worn by officers in undress, and
which were in lieu of epaulettes to denote their rank.

Thus much was Fayaway tattooed—the audacious hand which
had gone so far in its desecrating work stopping short, appa-
rently wanting the heart to proceed.

But I have omitted to describe the dress worn by this nymph
of the valley.

Fayaway—I must avow the fact—for the most part clung to
the primitive and summer garb of Eden. But how becoming
the costume! It showed her fine figure to the best possible ad-
vantage; and nothing could have been better adapted to her
peculiar style of beauty. On ordinary occasions she was habited
precisely as I have described the two youthful savages whom we
had met on first entering the valley. At other times, when ram-
bling among the groves, or visiting at the houses of her ac-
quaintances, she wore a tunic of white tappa, reaching from her
waist to a little below the knees; and when exposed for any
length of time to the sun, she invariably protected herself from
its rays by a floating mantle of the same material, loosely
gathered about the person. Her gala dress will be described

As the beauties of our own land delight in bedecking them-
selves with fanciful articles of jewellery, suspending them from
their ears, hanging them about their necks, and clasping them
around their wrists; so Fayaway and her companions were in
the habit of ornamenting themselves with similar appendages.

Flora was their jeweller. Sometimes they wore necklaces of
small carnation flowers, strung like rubies upon a fibre of tappa,
or displayed in their ears a single white bud, the stem thrust
backward through the aperture, and showing in front the delicate
petals folded together in a beautiful sphere, and looking like a
drop of the purest pearl. Chaplets too, resembling in their ar-

[ 96 ]
rangement the strawberry coronal worn by an English peeress,
and composed of intertwined leaves and blossoms, often crowned
their temples; and bracelets and anklets of the same tasteful
pattern were frequently to be seen. Indeed, the maidens of the
island were passionately fond of flowers, and never wearied of
decorating their persons with them; a lovely trait in their cha-
racter, and one that ere long will be more fully alluded to.

Though in my eyes, at least, Fayaway was indisputably the
loveliest female I saw in Typee, yet the description I have given
of her will in some measure apply to nearly all the youthful por-
tion of her sex in the valley. Judge ye then, reader, what
beautiful creatures they must have been.

[ 97 ]

Officiousness of Kory-Kory—His Devotion—A Bath in the Stream—Want
of Refinement of the Typee Damsels—Stroll with Mehevi—A Typee
Highway—The Taboo Groves—The Hoolah Hoolah Ground—The Ti
—Time-worn Savages—Hospitality of Mehevi—Midnight Misgivings—
Adventure in the Dark—Distinguished Honours paid to the Visitors—
Strange Procession and Return to the House of Marheyo.

When Mehevi had departed from the house, as related in the
preceding chapter, Kory-Kory commenced the functions of the
post assigned him. He brought us various kinds of food; and,
as if I were an infant, insisted upon feeding me with his own
hands. To this procedure I, of course, most earnestly objected,
but in vain; and having laid a calabash of kokoo before me, he
washed his fingers in a vessel of water, and then putting his
hand into the dish and rolling the food into little balls, put them
one after another into my mouth. All my remonstrances against
this measure only provoked so great a clamour on his part, that
I was obliged to acquiesce; and the operation of feeding being
thus facilitated, the meal was quickly despatched. As for Toby,
he was allowed to help himself after his own fashion.

The repast over, my attendant arranged the mats for repose,
and, bidding me lie down, covered me with a large robe of
tappa, at the same time looking approvingly upon me, and ex-
claiming, “Ki-Ki, muee muee, ah! moee moee mortarkee” (eat
plenty, ah! sleep very good). The philosophy of this sentiment
I did not pretend to question; for deprived of sleep for several
preceding nights, and the pain in my limb having much abated,
I now felt inclined to avail myself of the opportunity afforded me.

The next morning, on waking, I found Kory-Kory stretched
out on one side of me, while my companion lay upon the other.
I felt sensibly refreshed after a night of sound repose, and imme-
diately agreed to the proposition of my valet that I should repair
to the water and wash, although dreading the suffering that the
exertion might produce. From this apprehension, however, I

[ 98 ]
was quickly relieved; for Kory-Kory, leaping from the pi-pi,
and then backing himself up against it, like a porter in readiness
to shoulder a trunk, with loud vociferations and a superabund-
ance of gestures, gave me to understand that I was to mount
upon his back and be thus transported to the stream, which
flowed perhaps two hundred yards from the house.

Our appearance upon the verandah in front of the habitation
drew together quite a crowd, who stood looking on and convers-
ing with one another in the most animated manner. They re-
minded one of a group of idlers gathered about the door of a
village tavern when the equipage of some distinguished traveller
is brought round previous to his departure. As soon as I clasped
my arms about the neck of the devoted fellow, and he jogged off
with me, the crowd—composed chiefly of young girls and boys—
followed after, shouting and capering with infinite glee, and
accompanied us to the banks of the stream.

On gaining it, Kory-Kory, wading up to his hips in the water,
carried me half way across, and deposited me on a smooth black
stone which rose a few inches above the surface. The amphi-
bious rabble at our heels plunged in after us, and, climbing to
the summit of the grass-grown rocks with which the bed of the
brook was here and there broken, waited curiously to witness
our morning ablutions.

Somewhat embarrassed by the presence of the female portion
of the company, and feeling my cheeks burning with bashful
timidity, I formed a primitive basin by joining my hands toge-
ther, and cooled my blushes in the water it contained; then
removing my frock, bent over and washed myself down to my
waist in the stream. As soon as Kory-Kory comprehended from
my motions that this was to be the extent of my performance,
he appeared perfectly aghast with astonishment, and rushing
towards me, poured out a torrent of words in eager deprecation
of so limited an operation, enjoining me by unmistakeable signs
to immerse my whole body. To this I was forced to consent;
and the honest fellow regarding me as a froward, inexperienced
child, whom it was his duty to serve at the risk of offending,
lifted me from the rock, and tenderly bathed my limbs. This
over, and resuming my seat, I could not avoid bursting into
admiration of the scene around me.

[ 99 ]

From the verdant surfaces of the large stones that lay scattered
about, the natives were now sliding off into the water, diving and
ducking beneath the surface in all directions—the young girls
springing buoyantly into the air, and revealing their naked forms
to the waist, with their long tresses dancing about their shoulders,
their eyes sparkling like drops of dew in the sun, and their gay
laughter pealing forth at every frolicsome incident.

On the afternoon of the day that I took my first bath in the
valley, we received another visit from Mehevi. The noble savage
seemed to be in the same pleasant mood, and was quite as cordial
in his manner as before. After remaining about an hour, he rose
from the mats, and motioning to leave the house, invited Toby
and myself to accompany him. I pointed to my leg; but Me-
hevi in his turn pointed to Kory-Kory, and removed that objec-
tion; so, mounting upon the faithful fellow’s shoulders again—
like the old man of the sea astride of Sindbad—I followed after
the chief.

The nature of the route we now pursued struck me more
forcibly than anything I had yet seen, as illustrating the indolent
disposition of the islanders. The path was obviously the most
beaten one in the valley, several others leading from either side
into it, and perhaps for successive generations it had formed the
principal avenue of the place. And yet, until I grew more fami-
liar with its impediments, it seemed as difficult to travel as the
recesses of a wilderness. Part of it swept round an abrupt rise
of ground, the surface of which was broken by frequent inequa-
lities, and thickly strewn with projecting masses of rocks, whose
summits were often hidden from view by the drooping foliage of the
luxuriant vegetation. Sometimes directly over, sometimes evad-
ing these obstacles with a wide circuit, the path wound along;—
one moment climbing over a sudden eminence smooth with con-
tinued wear, then descending on the other side into a steep glen,
and crossing the flinty channel of a brook. Here it pursued the
depths of a glade, occasionally obliging you to stoop beneath vast
horizontal branches; and now you stepped over huge trunks and
boughs that lay rotting across the track.

Such was the grand thoroughfare of Typee. After proceeding
a little distance along it—Kory-Kory panting and blowing with
the weight of his burden—I dismounted from his back, and

[ 100 ]
grasping the long spear of Mehevi in my hand, assisted my steps
over the numerous obstacles of the road; preferring this mode of
advance to one which, from the difficulties of the way, was equally
painful to myself and my wearied servitor.

Our journey was soon at an end; for, scaling a sudden height,
we came abruptly upon the place of our destination. I wish that it
were possible to sketch in words this spot as vividly as I recol-
lect it.

Here were situated the Taboo groves of the valley—the scene
of many a prolonged feast, of many a horrid rite. Beneath the
dark shadows of the consecrated bread-fruit trees there reigned a
solemn twilight—a cathedral-like gloom. The frightful genius
of pagan worship seemed to brood in silence over the place,
breathing its spell upon every object around. Here and there,
in the depths of these awful shades, half screened from sight by
masses of overhanging foliage, rose the idolatrous altars of the
savages, built of enormous blocks of black and polished stone,
placed one upon another, without cement, to the height of twelve
or fifteen feet, and surmounted by a rustic open temple, enclosed
with a low picket of canes, within which might be seen, in various
stages of decay, offerings of bread-fruit and cocoa-nuts, and the
putrefying relics of some recent sacrifice.

In the midst of the wood was the hallowed “hoolah hoolah”
ground—set apart for the celebration of the fantastic religious
ritual of these people—comprising an extensive oblong pi-pi,
terminating at either end in a lofty terraced altar, guarded by
ranks of hideous wooden idols, and with the two remaining sides
flanked by ranges of bamboo sheds, opening towards the interior
of the quadrangle thus formed. Vast trees, standing in the middle
of this space, and throwing over it an umbrageous shade, had
their massive trunks built round with slight stages, elevated a
few feet above the ground, and railed in with canes, forming so
many rustic pulpits, from which the priests harangued their

This holiest of spots was defended from profanation by the
strictest edicts of the all-pervading “taboo,” which condemned
to instant death the sacrilegious female who should enter or touch
its sacred precincts, or even so much as press with her feet the
ground made holy by the shadows that it cast.

[ 101 ]

Access was had to the enclosure through an embowered en-
trance on one side, facing a number of towering cocoa-nut trees,
planted at intervals along a level area of a hundred yards. At the
further extremity of this space was to be seen a building of con-
siderable size, reserved for the habitation of the priests and re-
ligious attendants of the groves.

In its vicinity was another remarkable edifice, built as usual
upon the summit of a pi-pi, and at least two hundred feet in
length, though not more than twenty in breadth. The whole
front of this latter structure was completely open, and from one
end to the other ran a narrow verandah, fenced in on the edge of
the pi-pi with a picket of canes. Its interior presented the ap-
pearance of an immense lounging-place, the entire floor being
strewn with successive layers of mats, lying between parallel
trunks of cocoa-nut trees, selected for the purpose from the
straightest and most symmetrical the vale afforded.

To this building, denominated in the language of the natives
the “Ti,” Mehevi now conducted us. Thus far we had been
accompanied by a troop of the natives of both sexes; but as soon
as we approached its vicinity, the females gradually separated
themselves from the crowd, and standing aloof, permitted us to
pass on. The merciless prohibitions of the taboo extended likewise
to this edifice, and were enforced by the same dreadful penalty
that secured the Hoolah Hoolah ground from the imaginary pol-
lution of a woman’s presence.

On entering the house, I was surprised to see six muskets
ranged against the bamboo on one side, from the barrels of which
depended as many small canvas pouches, partly filled with powder.
Disposed about these muskets, like the cutlasses that decorate
the bulkhead of a man-of-war’s cabin, were a great variety of
rude spears and paddles, javelins, and war-clubs. This then, said
I to Toby, must be the armory of the tribe.

As we advanced further along the building, we were struck
with the aspect of four or five hideous old wretches, on whose
decrepit forms time and tattooing seemed to have obliterated
every trace of humanity. Owing to the continued operation of
this latter process, which only terminates among the warriors of
the island after all the figures stretched upon their limbs in
youth have been blended together—an effect, however, produced

[ 102 ]
only in cases of extreme longevity — the bodies of these men
were of a uniform dull green colour—the hue which the tattooing
gradually assumes as the individual advances in age. Their skin
had a frightful scaly appearance, which, united with its singular
colour, made their limbs not a little resemble dusty specimens of
verde-antique. Their flesh, in parts, hung upon them in huge
folds, like the overlapping plaits on the flank of a rhinoceros.
Their heads were completely bald, whilst their faces were
puckered into a thousand wrinkles, and they presented no ves-
tige of a beard. But the most remarkable peculiarity about
them was the appearance of their feet; the toes, like the ra-
diating lines of the mariner’s compass, pointed to every quarter
of the horizon. This was doubtless attributable to the fact,
that during nearly a hundred years of existence the said toes
never had been subjected to any artificial confinement, and in
their old age, being averse to close neighbourhood, bid one an-
other keep open order.

These repulsive-looking creatures appeared to have lost the
use of their lower limbs altogether; sitting upon the floor cross-
legged in a state of torpor. They never heeded us in the least,
scarcely looking conscious of our presence, while Mehevi seated
us upon the mats, and Kory-Kory gave utterance to some unin-
telligible gibberish.

In a few moments a boy entered with a wooden trencher of
poee-poee; and in regaling myself with its contents I was obliged
again to submit to the officious intervention of my indefatigable
servitor. Various other dishes followed, the chief manifesting
the most hospitable importunity in pressing us to partake, and to
remove all bashfulness on our part, set us no despicable example
in his own person.

The repast concluded, a pipe was lighted, which passed from
mouth to mouth, and yielding to its soporific influence, the quiet
of the place, and the deepening shadows of approaching night,
my companion and I sank into a kind of drowsy repose, while
the chief and Kory-Kory seemed to be slumbering beside us.

I awoke from an uneasy nap, about midnight, as I supposed;
and, raising myself partly from the mat, became sensible that we
were enveloped in utter darkness. Toby lay still asleep, but our
late companions had disappeared. The only sound that inter-

[ 103 ]
rupted the silence of the place was the asthmatic breathing of the
old men I have mentioned, who reposed at a little distance from
us. Beside them, as well as I could judge, there was no one else
in the house.

Apprehensive of some evil, I roused my comrade, and we
were engaged in a whispered conference concerning the unex-
pected withdrawal of the natives, when all at once, from the
depths of the grove, in full view of us where we lay, shoots of
flame were seen to rise, and in a few moments illuminated the
surrounding trees, casting, by contrast, into still deeper gloom
the darkness around us.

While we continued gazing at this sight, dark figures appeared
moving to and fro before the flames; while others, dancing and
capering about, looked like so many demons.

Regarding this new phenomenon with no small degree of tre-
pidation, I said to my companion, “What can all this mean,

“Oh, nothing,” replied he; “getting the fire ready, I sup-

“Fire!” exclaimed I, while my heart took to beating like a
trip-hammer, “what fire?”

“Why, the fire to cook us, to be sure; what else would the
cannibals be kicking up such a row about if it were not for

“Oh, Toby! have done with your jokes; this is no time for
them; something is about to happen, I feel confident.”

“Jokes, indeed!” exclaimed Toby, indignantly. “Did you
ever hear me joke? Why, for what do you suppose the devils
have been feeding us up in this kind of style during the last
three days, unless it were for something that you are too much
frightened at to talk about? Look at that Kory-Kory there!—
has he not been stuffing you with his confounded mushes, just in
the way they treat swine before they kill them? Depend upon
it, we will be eaten this blessed night, and there is the fire we
shall be roasted by.”

This view of the matter was not at all calculated to allay my
apprehensions, and I shuddered when I reflected that we were
indeed at the mercy of a tribe of cannibals, and that the dreadful

[ 104 ]
contingency to which Toby had alluded was by no means removed
beyond the bounds of possibility.

“There! I told you so! they are coming for us!” exclaimed
my companion the next moment, as the forms of four of the
islanders were seen in bold relief against the illuminated back-
ground, mounting the pi-pi and approaching towards us.

They came on noiselessly, nay stealthily, and glided along
through the gloom that surrounded us as if about to spring upon
some object they were fearful of disturbing before they should
make sure of it.—Gracious heaven! the horrible reflections
which crowded upon me that moment.—A cold sweat stood upon
my brow, and spell-bound with terror I awaited my fate!

Suddenly the silence was broken by the well-remembered tones
of Mehevi, and at the kindly accents of his voice my fears were
immediately dissipated. “Tommo, Toby, ki ki!” (eat).—He
had waited to address us until he had assured himself that we
were both awake, at which he seemed somewhat surprised.

“Ki ki! is it?” said Toby in his gruff tones; “well, cook us
first, will you?—but what’s this?” he added, as another savage
appeared, bearing before him a large trencher of wood, contain-
ing some kind of steaming meat, as appeared from the odours it
diffused, and which he deposited at the feet of Mehevi. “A
baked baby, I dare say! but I will have none of it, never mind
what it is.—A pretty fool I should make of myself, indeed, waked
up here in the middle of the night, stuffing and guzzling, and all
to make a fat meal for a parcel of bloody-minded cannibals one
of these mornings!—No, I see what they are at very plainly, so
I am resolved to starve myself into a bunch of bones and gristle,
and then, if they serve me up, they are welcome! But I say,
Tommo, you are not going to eat any of that mess there, in the
dark, are you? Why, how can you tell what it is?”

“By tasting it, to be sure,” said I, masticating a morsel that
Kory-Kory had just put in my mouth; “and excellently good it
is too, very much like veal.”

“A baked baby, by the soul of Captain Cook!” burst forth
Toby, with amazing vehemence; “Veal! why there never was
a calf on the island till you landed. I tell you you are bolting
down mouthfuls from a dead Happar’s carcass, as sure as you
live, and no mistake!”

[ 105 ]

Emetics and lukewarm water! What a sensation in the abdo-
minal regions! Sure enough, where could the fiends incarnate
have obtained meat? But I resolved to satisfy myself at all
hazards; and turning to Mehevi, I soon made the ready chief
understand that I wished a light to be brought. When the taper
came, I gazed eagerly into the vessel, and recognised the muti-
lated remains of a juvenile porker! “Puarkee!” exclaimed
Kory-Kory, looking complacently at the dish; and from that
day to this I have never forgotten that such is the designation of
a pig in the Typee lingo.

The next morning, after being again abundantly feasted by
the hospitable Mehevi, Toby and myself arose to depart. But
the chief requested us to postpone our intention. “Abo, abo,”
(Wait, wait,) he said, and accordingly we resumed our seats,
while, assisted by the zealous Kory-Kory, he appeared to be en-
gaged in giving directions to a number of the natives outside,
who were busily employed in making arrangements, the nature
of which we could not comprehend. But we were not left long
in our ignorance, for a few moments only had elapsed when the
chief beckoned us to approach, and we perceived that he had
been marshalling a kind of guard of honour to escort us on our
return to the house of Marheyo.

The procession was led off by two venerable-looking savages,
each provided with a spear, from the end of which streamed a
pennon of milk-white tappa. After them went several youths,
bearing aloft calabashes of poee-poee; and followed in their turn
by four stalwart fellows, sustaining long bamboos, from the tops
of which hung suspended, at least twenty feet from the ground,
large baskets of green bread-fruit. Then came a troop of boys,
carrying bunches of ripe banannas, and baskets made of the
woven leaflets of cocoa-nut boughs, filled with the young fruit of
the tree, the naked shells stripped of their husks peeping forth
from the verdant wicker-work that surrounded them. Last of all
came a burly islander, holding over his head a wooden trencher,
in which lay disposed the remnants of our midnight feast, hidden
from view, however, by a covering of bread-fruit leaves.

Astonished as I was at this exhibition, I could not avoid
smiling at its grotesque appearance, and the associations it natu-
rally called up. Mehevi, it seemed, was bent on replenishing

[ 106 ]
old Marheyo’s larder, fearful perhaps that without this precau-
tion his guests might not fare as well as they could desire.

As soon as I descended from the pi-pi, the procession formed
anew, enclosing us in its centre; where I remained part of the
time, carried by Kory-Kory, and occasionally relieving him from
his burden by limping along with a spear. When we moved off
in this order, the natives struck up a musical recitative, which,
with various alternations, they continued until we arrived at the
place of our destination.

As we proceeded on our way, bands of young girls, darting
from the surrounding groves, hung upon our skirts, and accom-
panied us with shouts of merriment and delight, which almost
drowned the deep notes of the recitative. On approaching old
Marheyo’s domicile, its inmates rushed out to receive us; and
while the gifts of Mehevi were being disposed of, the superan-
nuated warrior did the honours of his mansion with all the
warmth of hospitality evinced by an English squire when he
regales his friends at some fine old patrimonial mansion.

[ 107 ]

Attempt to procure Relief from Nukuheva—Perilous Adventure of Toby in
the Happar Mountain—Eloquence of Kory-Kory.

Amidst these novel scenes a week passed away almost imper-
ceptibly. The natives, actuated by some mysterious impulse,
day after day redoubled their attentions to us. Their manner
towards us was unaccountable. Surely, thought I, they would
not act thus if they meant us any harm. But why this excess
of deferential kindness, or what equivalent can they imagine us
capable of rendering them for it?

We were fairly puzzled. But despite the apprehensions I could
not dispel, the horrible character imputed to these Typees ap-
peared to me wholly undeserved.

“Why, they are cannibals!” said Toby on one occasion when
I eulogised the tribe. “Granted,” I replied, “but a more
humane, gentlemanly, and amiable set of epicures do not pro-
bably exist in the Pacific.”

But, notwithstanding the kind treatment we received, I was
too familiar with the fickle disposition of savages not to feel
anxious to withdraw from the valley, and put myself beyond the
reach of that fearful death which, under all these smiling ap-
pearances, might yet menace us. But here there was an obstacle
in the way of doing so. It was idle for me to think of moving
from the place until I should have recovered from the severe
lameness that afflicted me; indeed my malady began seriously
to alarm me; for, despite the herbal remedies of the natives, it
continued to grow worse and worse. Their mild applications,
though they soothed the pain, did not remove the disorder, and
I felt convinced that without better aid I might anticipate long
and acute suffering.

But how was this aid to be procured? From the surgeons of
the French fleet, which probably still lay in the bay of Nuku-

[ 108 ]
heva, it might easily have been obtained, could I have made my
case known to them. But how could that be effected?

At last, in the exigency to which I was reduced, I proposed
to Toby that he should endeavour to go round to Nukuheva,
and if he could not succeed in returning to the valley by
water, in one of the boats of the squadron, and taking me off,
he might at least procure me some proper medicines, and effect
his return overland.

My companion listened to me in silence, and at first did not
appear to relish the idea. The truth was, he felt impatient to
escape from the place, and wished to avail himself of our present
high favour with the natives to make good our retreat, before
we should experience some sudden alteration in their behaviour.
As he could not think of leaving me in my helpless condition,
he implored me to be of good cheer, assured me that I should
soon be better, and enabled in a few days to return with him to

Added to this, he could not bear the idea of again returning
to this dangerous place; and as for the expectation of persuading
the Frenchmen to detach a boat’s crew for the purpose of rescu-
ing me from the Typees, he looked upon it as idle; and with
arguments that I could not answer, urged the improbability of
their provoking the hostilities of the clan by any such measure;
especially as, for the purpose of quieting its apprehensions, they
had as yet refrained from making any visit to the bay. “And
even should they consent,” said Toby, “they would only pro-
duce a commotion in the valley, in which we might both be
sacrificed by these ferocious islanders.” This was unanswerable;
but still I clung to the belief that he might succeed in accom-
plishing the other part of my plan; and at last I overcame his
scruples, and he agreed to make the attempt.

As soon as we succeeded in making the natives understand
our intention, they broke out into the most vehement opposition
to the measure, and for a while I almost despaired of obtaining
their consent. At the bare thought of one of us leaving them,
they manifested the most lively concern. The grief and con-
sternation of Kory-Kory, in particular, was unbounded; he
threw himself into a perfect paroxysm of gestures, which were
intended to convey to us not only his abhorrence of Nukuheva

[ 109 ]
and its uncivilized inhabitants, but also his astonishment that
after becoming acquainted with the enlightened Typees, we should
evince the least desire to withdraw, even for a time, from their
agreeable society.

However, I overbore his objections by appealing to my lame-
ness; from which I assured the natives I should speedily recover,
if Toby were permitted to obtain the supplies I needed.

It was agreed that on the following morning my companion
should depart, accompanied by some one or two of the household,
who should point out to him an easy route, by which the bay
might be reached before sunset.

At early dawn of the next day, our habitation was astir. One
of the young men mounted into an adjoining cocoa-nut tree,
and threw down a number of the young fruit, which old
Marheyo quickly stripped of the green husks, and strung to-
gether upon a short pole. These were intended to refresh Toby
on his route.

The preparations being completed, with no little emotion I
bade my companion adieu. He promised to return in three days
at farthest; and, bidding me keep up my spirits in the interval,
turned round the corner of the pi-pi, and, under the guidance of
the venerable Marheyo, was soon out of sight. His departure
oppressed me with melancholy, and, re-entering the dwelling, I
threw myself almost in despair upon the matting of the floor.

In two hours’ time the old warrior returned, and gave me to
understand that, after accompanying my companion a little dis-
tance, and showing him the route, he had left him journeying on
his way.

It was about noon of this same day, a season which these people
are wont to pass in sleep, that I lay in the house, surrounded by
its slumbering inmates, and painfully affected by the strange
silence which prevailed. All at once I thought I heard a faint
shout, as if proceeding from some persons in the depth of the
grove which extended in front of our habitation.

The sounds grew louder and nearer, and gradually the whole
valley rang with wild outcries. The sleepers around me started
to their feet in alarm, and hurried outside to discover the cause
of the commotion. Kory-Kory, who had been the first to spring
up, soon returned almost breathless, and nearly frantic with the

[ 110 ]
excitement under which he seemed to be labouring. All that I
could understand from him was that some accident had happened
to Toby. Apprehensive of some dreadful calamity, I rushed out
of the house, and caught sight of a tumultuous crowd, who, with
shrieks and lamentations, were just emerging from the grove
bearing in their arms some object, the sight of which produced
all this transport of sorrow. As they drew near, the men re-
doubled their cries, while the girls, tossing their bare arms in
the air, exclaimed plaintively, “Awha! awha! Toby muckee
moee!”—Alas! alas! Toby is killed!

In a moment the crowd opened, and disclosed the apparently
lifeless body of my companion borne between two men, the
head hanging heavily against the breast of the foremost. The
whole face, neck, and bosom were covered with blood, which
still trickled slowly from a wound behind the temple. In the
midst of the greatest uproar and confusion the body was carried
into the house and laid on a mat. Waving the natives off to give
room and air, I bent eagerly over Toby, and, laying my hand
upon the breast, ascertained that the heart still beat. Over-
joyed at this, I seized a calabash of water, and dashed its contents
upon his face, then wiping away the blood, anxiously examined
the wound. It was about three inches long, and on removing the
clotted hair from about it, showed the skull laid completely bare.
Immediately with my knife I cut away the heavy locks, and
bathed the part repeatedly in water.

In a few moments Toby revived, and opening his eyes for a
second, closed them again without speaking. Kory-Kory, who
had been kneeling beside me, now chafed his limbs gently with
the palms of his hands, while a young girl at his head kept
fanning him, and I still continued to moisten his lips and brow.
Soon my poor comrade showed signs of animation, and I suc-
ceeded in making him swallow from a cocoa-nut shell a few
mouthfuls of water.

Old Tinor now appeared, holding in her hand some simples
she had gathered, the juice of which, she by signs besought me
to squeeze into the wound. Having done so, I thought it best to
leave Toby undisturbed until he should have had time to rally
his faculties. Several times he opened his lips, but fearful for
his safety I enjoined silence. In the course of two or three hours,

[ 111 ]
however, he sat up, and was sufficiently recovered to tell me
what had occurred.

“After leaving the house with Marheyo,” said Toby, “we
struck across the valley, and ascended the opposite heights. Just
beyond them, my guide informed me, lay the valley of Happar,
while along their summits, and skirting the head of the vale, was
my route to Nukuheva. After mounting a little way up the
elevation my guide paused, and gave me to understand that he
could not accompany me any farther, and by various signs inti-
mated that he was afraid to approach any nearer the territories
of the enemies of his tribe. He however pointed out my path,
which now lay clearly before me, and bidding me farewell hastily
descended the mountain.

“Quite elated at being so near the Happars, I pushed up the
acclivity, and soon gained its summit. It tapered up to a sharp
ridge, from whence I beheld both the hostile valleys. Here I
sat down and rested for a moment, refreshing myself with my
cocoa nuts. I was soon again pursuing my way along the height,
when suddenly I saw three of the islanders, who must have just
come out of Happar valley, standing in the path ahead of me.
They were each armed with a heavy spear, and one from his ap-
pearance I took to be a chief. They sung out something, I
could not understand what, and beckoned me to come on.

“Without the least hesitation I advanced towards them, and had
approached within about a yard of the foremost, when, pointing
angrily into the Typee valley, and uttering some savage excla-
mation, he wheeled round his weapon like lightning, and struck
me in a moment to the ground. The blow inflicted this wound,
and took away my senses. As soon as I came to myself, I per-
ceived the three islanders standing a little distance off, and ap-
parently engaged in some violent altercation respecting me.

“My first impulse was to run for it; but, in endeavouring to
rise, I fell back, and rolled down a little grassy precipice. The
shock seemed to rally my faculties; so, starting to my feet, I fled
down the path I had just ascended. I had no need to look be-
hind me, for, from the yells I heard, I knew that my enemies were
in full pursuit. Urged on by their fearful outcries, and heedless
of the injury I had received—though the blood flowing from the
wound trickled over into my eyes and almost blinded me—I

[ 112 ]
rushed down the mountain side with the speed of the wind. In
a short time I had descended nearly a third of the distance, and
the savages had ceased their cries, when suddenly a terrific howl
burst upon my ear, and at the same moment a heavy javelin
darted past me as I fled, and stuck quivering in a tree close to
me. Another yell followed, and a second spear and a third shot
through the air within a few feet of my body, both of them
piercing the ground obliquely in advance of me. The fellows
gave a roar of rage and disappointment; but they were afraid,
I suppose, of coming down further into the Typee valley, and
so abandoned the chase. I saw them recover their weapons and
turn back; and I continued my descent as fast as I could.

“What could have caused this ferocious attack on the part of
these Happars I could not imagine, unless it were that they had
seen me ascending the mountain with Marheyo, and that the
mere fact of coming from the Typee valley was sufficient to
provoke them.

“As long as I was in danger I scarcely felt the wound I had
received; but when the chase was over I began to suffer from it.
I had lost my hat in my flight, and the sun scorched my bare
head. I felt faint and giddy; but, fearful of falling to the
ground beyond the reach of assistance, I staggered on as well
as I could, and at last gained the level of the valley, and then
down I sunk; and I knew nothing more until I found myself
lying upon these mats, and you stooping over me with the cala-
bash of water.”

Such was Toby’s account of this sad affair. I afterwards
learned that fortunately he had fallen close to a spot where the
natives go for fuel. A party of them caught sight of him as he
fell, and sounding the alarm, had lifted him up; and after in-
effectually endeavouring to restore him at the brook, had hurried
forward with him to the house.

This incident threw a dark cloud over our prospects. It re-
minded us that we were hemmed in by hostile tribes, whose ter-
ritories we could not hope to pass, on our route to Nukuheva,
without encountering the effects of their savage resentment.
There appeared to be no avenue opened to our escape but the
sea, which washed the lower extremity of the vale.

Our Typee friends availed themselves of the recent disaster of

[ 113 ]
Toby to exhort us to a due appreciation of the blessings we
enjoyed among them; contrasting their own generous reception
of us with the animosity of their neighbours. They likewise
dwelt upon the cannibal propensities of the Happars, a subject
which they were perfectly aware could not fail to alarm us;
while at the same time they earnestly disclaimed all participation
in so horrid a custom. Nor did they omit to call upon us to
admire the natural loveliness of their own abode, and the lavish
abundance with which it produced all manner of luxuriant fruits;
exalting it in this particular above any of the surrounding

Kory-Kory seemed to experience so heartfelt a desire to infuse
into our minds proper views on these subjects, that, assisted in
his endeavours by the little knowledge of the language we had
acquired, he actually succeeded in making us comprehend a con-
siderable part of what he said. To facilitate our correct appre-
hension of his meaning, he at first condensed his ideas into the
smallest possible compass.

“Happar keekeeno nuee,” he exclaimed; “nuee, nuee, ki ki
kannaka!—ah! owle motarkee!” which signifies, “Terrible fel-
lows those Happars!—devour an amazing quantity of men!—
ah, shocking bad!” Thus far he explained himself by a variety
of gestures, during the performance of which he would dart out
of the house, and point abhorrently towards the Happar valley;
running in to us again with a rapidity that showed he was fearful
we would lose one part of his meaning before he could com-
plete the other; and continuing his illustrations by seizing the
fleshy part of my arm in his teeth, intimating by the operation
that the people who lived over in that direction would like
nothing better than to treat me in that manner.

Having assured himself that we were fully enlightened on this
point, he proceeded to another branch of his subject. “Ah!
Typee motarkee!—nuee, nuee mioree—nuee, nuee wai—nuee,
nuee poee-poee—nuee, nuee kokoo—ah! nuee, nuee kiki—ah!
nuee, nuee, nuee!” Which, literally interpreted as before, would
imply, “Ah, Typee! isn’t it a fine place though!—no danger of
starving here, I tell you!—plenty of bread-fruit—plenty of
water—plenty of pudding—ah! plenty of everything!—ah!
heaps, heaps, heaps!” All this was accompanied by a running

[ 114 ]
commentary of signs and gestures which it was impossible not to

As he continued his harangue, however, Kory-Kory, in emu-
lation of our more polished orators, began to launch out rather
diffusely into other branches of his subject, enlarging, probably,
upon the moral reflections it suggested; and proceeded in such
a strain of unintelligible and stunning gibberish, that he actually
gave me the headache for the rest of the day.

[ 115 ]

A great Event happens in the Valley—The Island Telegraph—Something
befalls Toby—Fayaway displays a tender heart—Melancholy reflections—
Mysterious Conduct of the Islanders—Devotion of Kory-Kory—A rural
Couch—A Luxury—Kory-Kory strikes a Light à la Typee.

In the course of a few days Toby had recovered from the effects
of his adventure with the Happar warriors; the wound on his
head rapidly healing under the vegetable treatment of the good
Tinor. Less fortunate than my companion, however, I still
continued to languish under a complaint the origin and nature of
which were still a mystery. Cut off as I was from all inter-
course with the civilized world, and feeling the inefficiency of
anything the natives could do to relieve me; knowing too, that
so long as I remained in my present condition, it would be im-
possible for me to leave the valley, whatever opportunity might
present itself; and apprehensive that ere long we might be ex-
posed to some caprice on the part of the islanders, I now gave
up all hopes of recovery, and became a prey to the most gloomy
thoughts. A deep dejection fell upon me, which neither the
friendly remonstrances of my companion, the devoted attentions
of Kory-Kory, nor all the soothing influences of Fayaway could

One morning as I lay on the mats in the house, plunged in
melancholy reverie, and regardless of everything around me,
Toby, who had left me about an hour, returned in haste, and
with great glee told me to cheer up and be of good heart; for he
believed, from what was going on among the natives, that there
were boats approaching the bay.

These tidings operated upon me like magic. The hour of our
deliverance was at hand, and starting up, I was soon convinced
that something unusual was about to occur. The word “botee!
botee!” was vociferated in all directions; and shouts were heard
in the distance, at first feebly and faintly; but growing louder

[ 116 ]
and nearer at each successive repetition, until they were caught
up by a fellow in a cocoa-nut tree a few yards off, who sounding
them in turn, they were reiterated from a neighbouring grove,
and so died away gradually from point to point, as the intelli-
gence penetrated into the farthest recesses of the valley. This
was the vocal telegraph of the islanders; by means of which
condensed items of information could be carried in a very few
minutes from the sea to their remotest habitation, a distance of
at least eight or nine miles. On the present occasion it was in
active operation; one piece of information following another
with inconceivable rapidity.

The greatest commotion now appeared to prevail. At every
fresh item of intelligence the natives betrayed the liveliest in-
terest, and redoubled the energy with which they employed
themselves in collecting fruit to sell to the expected visitors.
Some were tearing off the husks from cocoa-nuts; some perched
in the trees were throwing down bread-fruit to their companions,
who gathered them into heaps as they fell; while others were
plying their fingers rapidly in weaving leafen baskets in which to
carry the fruit.

There were other matters too going on at the same time.
Here you would see a stout warrior polishing his spear with a
bit of old tappa, or adjusting the folds of the girdle about his
waist; and there you might descry a young damsel decorating
herself with flowers, as if having in her eye some maidenly con-
quest; while, as in all cases of hurry and confusion in every part
of the world, a number of individuals kept hurrying to and fro,
with amazing vigour and perseverance, doing nothing themselves,
and hindering others.

Never before had we seen the islanders in such a state of
bustle and excitement; and the scene furnished abundant evi-
dence of the fact—that it was only at long intervals any such
events occur.

When I thought of the length of time that might intervene
before a similar chance of escape would be presented, I bitterly
lamented that I had not the power of availing myself effectually
of the present opportunity.

From all that we could gather, it appeared that the natives
were fearful of arriving too late upon the beach, unless they

[ 117 ]
made extraordinary exertions. Sick and lame as I was, I would
have started with Toby at once, had not Kory-Kory not only re-
fused to carry me, but manifested the most invincible repugnance
to our leaving the neighbourhood of the house. The rest of the
savages were equally opposed to our wishes, and seemed grieved
and astonished at the earnestness of my solicitations. I clearly
perceived that while my attendant avoided all appearance of
constraining my movements, he was nevertheless determined to
thwart my wish. He seemed to me on this particular occasion,
as well as often afterwards, to be executing the orders of some
other person with regard to me, though at the same time feeling
towards me the most lively affection.

Toby, who had made up his mind to accompany the islanders
if possible, as soon as they were in readiness to depart, and who
for that reason had refrained from showing the same anxiety
that I had done, now represented to me that it was idle for me
to entertain the hope of reaching the beach in time to profit by
any opportunity that might then be presented.

“Do you not see,” said he, “the savages themselves are fear-
ful of being too late, and I should hurry forward myself at once
did I not think that if I showed too much eagerness I should
destroy all our hopes of reaping any benefit from this fortunate
event. If you will only endeavour to appear tranquil or un-
concerned, you will quiet their suspicions, and I have no doubt
they will then let me go with them to the beach, supposing that
I merely go out of curiosity. Should I succeed in getting down
to the boats, I will make known the condition in which I have
left you, and measures may then be taken to secure our escape.”

In the expediency of this I could not but acquiesce; and as
the natives had now completed their preparations, I watched
with the liveliest interest the reception that Toby’s application
might meet with. As soon as they understood from my com-
panion that I intended to remain, they appeared to make no
objection to his proposition, and even hailed it with pleasure.
Their singular conduct on this occasion not a little puzzled me
at the time, and imparted to subsequent events an additional

The islanders were now to be seen hurrying along the path
which led to the sea. I shook Toby warmly by the hand, and

[ 118 ]
gave him my Payta hat to shield his wounded head from the
sun, as he had lost his own. He cordially returned the pressure
of my hand, and solemnly promising to return as soon as the
boats should leave the shore, sprang from my side, and the next
minute disappeared in a turn of the grove.

In spite of the unpleasant reflections that crowded upon my
mind, I could not but be entertained by the novel and animated
sight which now met my view. One after another the natives
crowded along the narrow path, laden with every variety of
fruit. Here, you might have seen one, who, after ineffectually
endeavouring to persuade a surly porker to be conducted in lead-
ing strings, was obliged at last to seize the perverse animal in
his arms, and carry him struggling against his naked breast, and
squealing without intermission. There went two, who at a
little distance might have been taken for the Hebrew spies, on
their return to Moses with the goodly bunch of grapes. One
trotted before the other at a distance of a couple of yards, while
between them, from a pole resting on their shoulders, was sus-
pended a huge cluster of banannas, which swayed to and fro
with the rocking gait at which they proceeded. Here ran
another, perspiring with his exertions, and bearing before him a
quantity of cocoa-nuts, who, fearful of being too late, heeded
not the fruit that dropped from his basket, and appeared solely
intent upon reaching his destination, careless how many of his
cocoa-nuts kept company with him.

In a short time the last straggler was seen hurrying on his
way, and the faint shouts of those in advance died insensibly
upon the ear. Our part of the valley now appeared nearly de-
serted by its inhabitants, Kory-Kory, his aged father, and a few
decrepid old people being all that were left.

Towards sunset the islanders in small parties began to return
from the beach, and among them, as they drew near to the house,
I sought to descry the form of my companion. But one after
another they passed the dwelling, and I caught no glimpse of
him. Supposing, however, that he would soon appear with
some of the members of the household, I quieted my appre-
hensions, and waited patiently to see him advancing in company
with the beautiful Fayaway. At last, I perceived Tinor coming
forward, followed by the girls and young men who usually re-

[ 119 ]
sided in the house of Marheyo; but with them came not my
comrade, and, filled with a thousand alarms, I eagerly sought to
discover the cause of his delay.

My earnest questions appeared to embarrass the natives greatly.
All their accounts were contradictory: one giving me to under-
stand that Toby would be with me in a very short time; another
that he did not know where he was; while a third, violently in-
veighing against him, assured me that he had stolen away, and
would never come back. It appeared to me, at the time, that in
making these various statements they endeavoured to conceal
from me some terrible disaster, lest the knowledge of it should
overpower me.

Fearful lest some fatal calamity had overtaken him, I sought
out young Fayaway, and endeavoured to learn from her, if
possible, the truth.

This gentle being had early attracted my regard, not only
from her extraordinary beauty, but from the attractive cast of
her countenance, singularly expressive of intelligence and
humanity. Of all the natives she alone seemed to appreciate
the effect which the peculiarity of the circumstances in which
we were placed had produced upon the minds of my companion
and myself. In addressing me—especially when I lay reclining
upon the mats suffering from pain—there was a tenderness in her
manner which it was impossible to misunderstand or resist.
Whenever she entered the house, the expression of her face
indicated the liveliest sympathy for me; and moving towards
the place where I lay, with one arm slightly elevated in a
gesture of pity, and her large glistening eyes gazing intently
into mine, she would murmur plaintively, “Awha! awha!
Tommo,” and seat herself mournfully beside me.

Her manner convinced me that she deeply compassionated my
situation, as being removed from my country and friends, and
placed beyond the reach of all relief. Indeed, at times I was
almost led to believe that her mind was swayed by gentle
impulses hardly to be anticipated from one in her condition;
that she appeared to be conscious there were ties rudely severed,
which had once bound us to our homes; that there were sisters
and brothers anxiously looking forward to our return, who were,
perhaps, never more to behold us.

[ 120 ]

In this amiable light did Fayaway appear in my eyes; and
reposing full confidence in her candour and intelligence, I now
had recourse to her, in the midst of my alarm, with regard to
my companion.

My questions evidently distressed her. She looked round
from one to another of the byestanders, as if hardly knowing
what answer to give me. At last, yielding to my importunities,
she overcame her scruples, and gave me to understand that Toby
had gone away with the boats which had visited the bay, but
had promised to return at the expiration of three days. At first
I accused him of perfidiously deserting me; but as I grew more
composed, I upbraided myself for imputing so cowardly an
action to him, and tranquillized myself with the belief that he
had availed himself of the opportunity to go round to Nukuheva,
in order to make some arrangement by which I could be removed
from the valley. At any rate, thought I, he will return with
the medicines I require, and then, as soon as I recover, there
will be no difficulty in the way of our departure.

Consoling myself with these reflections, I lay down that night
in a happier frame of mind than I had done for some time. The
next day passed without any allusion to Toby on the part of the
natives, who seemed desirous of avoiding all reference to the
subject. This raised some apprehensions in my breast; but
when night came, I congratulated myself that the second day
had now gone by, and that on the morrow Toby would again be
with me. But the morrow came and went, and my companion
did not appear. Ah! thought I, he reckons three days from the
morning of his departure,—to-morrow he will arrive. But that
weary day also closed upon me, without his return. Even yet
I would not despair; I thought that something detained him—
that he was waiting for the sailing of a boat, at Nukuheva, and
that in a day or two at farthest I should see him again. But
day after day of renewed disappointment passed by; at last hope
deserted me, and I fell a victim to despair.

Yes, thought I, gloomily, he has secured his own escape, and
cares not what calamity may befall his unfortunate comrade.
Fool that I was, to suppose that any one would willingly
encounter the perils of this valley, after having once got beyond
its limits! He has gone, and has left me to combat alone all the

[ 121 ]
dangers by which I am surrounded. Thus would I sometimes
seek to derive a desperate consolation from dwelling upon the
perfidy of Toby: whilst at other times I sunk under the bitter
remorse which I felt as having by my own imprudence brought
upon myself the fate which I was sure awaited me.

At other times I thought that perhaps after all these treacher-
ous savages have made away with him, and thence the confusion
into which they were thrown by my questions, and their contra-
dictory answers, or he might be a captive in some other part of
the valley; or, more dreadful still, might have met with that fate
at which my very soul shuddered. But all these speculations
were vain; no tidings of Toby ever reached me; he had gone
never to return.

The conduct of the islanders appeared inexplicable. All re-
ference to my lost comrade was carefully evaded, and if at any
time they were forced to make some reply to my frequent in-
quiries on the subject, they would uniformly denounce him as an
ungrateful runaway, who had deserted his friend, and taken
himself off to that vile and detestable place Nukuheva.

But whatever might have been his fate, now that he was gone,
the natives multiplied their acts of kindness and attention towards
myself, treating me with a degree of deference which could hardly
have been surpassed had I been some celestial visitant. Kory-
Kory never for one moment left my side, unless it were to exe-
cute my wishes. The faithful fellow, twice every day, in the
cool of the morning and in the evening, insisted upon carrying
me to the stream, and bathing me in its refreshing water.

Frequently in the afternoon he would carry me to a particular
part of the stream, where the beauty of the scene produced a
soothing influence upon my mind. At this place the waters
flowed between grassy banks, planted with enormous bread-fruit
trees, whose vast branches interlacing overhead, formed a leafy
canopy; near the stream were several smooth black rocks. One
of these, projecting several feet above the surface of the water,
had upon its summit a shallow cavity, which, filled with freshly-
gathered leaves, formed a delightful couch.

Here I often lay for hours, covered with a gauze-like veil of
tappa, while Fayaway, seated beside me, and holding in her hand
a fan woven from the leaflets of a young cocoa-nut bough, brushed

[ 122 ]
aside the insects that occasionally lighted on my face, and Kory-
Kory, with a view of chasing away my melancholy, performed a
thousand antics in the water before us.

As my eye wandered along this romantic stream, it would fall
upon the half-immersed figure of a beautiful girl, standing in the
transparent water, and catching in a little net a species of dimi-
nutive shell-fish, of which these people are extravagantly fond.
Sometimes a chattering group would be seated upon the edge of
a low rock in the midst of the brook, busily engaged in thinning
and polishing the shells of cocoa-nuts, by rubbing them briskly
with a small stone in the water, an operation which soon con-
verts them into a light and elegant drinking vessel, somewhat
resembling goblets made of tortoiseshell.

But the tranquillizing influences of beautiful scenery, and the
exhibition of human life under so novel and charming an aspect,
were not my only sources of consolation.

Every evening the girls of the house gathered about me on the
mats, and after chasing away Kory-Kory from my side—who,
nevertheless, retired only to a little distance and watched their
proceedings with the most jealous attention—would anoint my
whole body with a fragrant oil, squeezed from a yellow root,
previously pounded between a couple of stones, and which in
their language is denominated “aka.” And most refreshing and
agreeable are the juices of the “aka,” when applied to one’s
limbs by the soft palms of sweet nymphs, whose bright eyes are
beaming upon you with kindness; and I used to hail with de-
light the daily recurrence of this luxurious operation, in which I
forgot all my troubles, and buried for the time every feeling of

Sometimes in the cool of the evening my devoted servitor
would lead me out upon the pi-pi in front of the house, and seat-
ing me near its edge, protect my body from the annoyances of
the insects which occasionally hovered in the air, by wrapping me
round with a large roll of tappa. He then bustled about, and
employed himself at least twenty minutes in adjusting everything
to secure my personal comfort.

Having perfected his arrangements, he would get my pipe,
and, lighting it, would hand it to me. Often he was obliged to
strike a light for the occasion, and as the mode he adopted was

[ 123 ]
entirely different from what I had ever seen or heard of before,
I will describe it.

A straight, dry, and partly decayed stick of the Habiscus, about
six feet in length, and half as many inches in diameter, with a
smaller bit of wood not more than a foot long, and scarcely an
inch wide, is as invariably to be met with in every house in
Typee as a box of lucifer matches in the corner of a kitchen cup-
board at home.

The islander, placing the larger stick obliquely against some
object, with one end elevated at an angle of forty-five degrees,
mounts astride of it like an urchin about to gallop off upon a
cane, and then grasping the smaller one firmly in both hands, he
rubs its pointed end slowly up and down the extent of a few
inches on the principal stick, until at last he makes a narrow
groove in the wood, with an abrupt termination at the point
furthest from him, where all the dusty particles which the friction
creates are accumulated in a little heap.

At first Kory-Kory goes to work quite leisurely, but gradually
quickens his pace, and waxing warm in the employment, drives
the stick furiously along the smoking channel, plying his hands
to and fro with amazing rapidity, the perspiration starting from
every pore. As he approaches the climax of his effort, he pants
and grasps for breath, and his eyes almost start from their sockets
with the violence of his exertions. This is the critical stage of
the operation; all his previous labours are vain if he cannot sus-
tain the rapidity of the movement until the reluctant spark is
produced. Suddenly he stops, becomes perfectly motionless.
His hands still retain their hold of the smaller stick, which is
pressed convulsively against the further end of the channel
among the fine powder there accumulated, as if he had just
pierced through and through some little viper that was wriggling
and struggling to escape from his clutches. The next moment a
delicate wreath of smoke curls spirally into the air, the heap of
dusty particles glows with fire, and Kory-Kory almost breathless,
dismounts from his steed.

This operation appeared to me to be the most laborious species
of work performed in Typee; and had I possessed a sufficient
intimacy with the language to have conveyed my ideas upon the
subject, I should certainly have suggested to the most influential

[ 124 ]
of the natives the expediency of establishing a college of vestals
to be centrally located in the valley, for the purpose of keeping
alive the indispensable article of fire; so as to supersede the ne-
cessity of such a vast outlay of strength and good temper, as
were usually squandered on these occasions. There might, how-
ever, be special difficulties in carrying this plan into execution.

What a striking evidence does this operation furnish of the
wide difference between the extreme of savage and civilized life.
A gentleman of Typee can bring up a numerous family of chil-
dren and give them all a highly respectable cannibal education,
with infinitely less toil and anxiety than he expends in the simple
process of striking a light; whilst a poor European artisan, who
through the instrumentality of a lucifer performs the same ope-
ration in one second, is put to his wit’s end to provide for his
starving offspring that food which the children of a Polynesian
father, without troubling their parent, pluck from the branches
of every tree around them.

[ 125 ]

Kindness of Marheyo and the rest of the Islanders—A full Description of the
Bread-fruit Tree—Different Modes of preparing the Fruit.

All the inhabitants of the valley treated me with great kind-
ness; but as to the household of Marheyo, with whom I was now
permanently domiciled, nothing could surpass their efforts to
minister to my comfort. To the gratification of my palate they
paid the most unwearied attention. They continually invited
me to partake of food, and when after eating heartily I declined
the viands they continued to offer me, they seemed to think that
my appetite stood in need of some piquant stimulant to excite its

In pursuance of this idea, old Marheyo himself would hie him
away to the sea-shore by the break of day, for the purpose of
collecting various species of rare sea-weed; some of which
among these people are considered a great luxury. After a
whole day spent in this employment, he would return about
nightfall with several cocoa-nut shells filled with different de-
scriptions of kemp. In preparing these for use he manifested all
the ostentation of a professed cook, although the chief mystery
of the affair appeared to consist in pouring water in judicious
quantities upon the slimy contents of his cocoa-nut shells.

The first time he submitted one of these saline salads to my
critical attention I naturally thought that anything collected at
such pains must possess peculiar merits; but one mouthful was a
complete dose; and great was the consternation of the old war-
rior at the rapidity with which I ejected his Epicurean treat.

How true it is, that the rarity of any particular article en-
hances its value amazingly. In some part of the valley—I know
not where, but probably in the neighbourhood of the sea—the
girls were sometimes in the habit of procuring small quantities of
salt, a thimble-full or so being the result of the united labours

[ 126 ]
of a party of five or six employed for the greater part of the
day. This precious commodity they brought to the house, en-
veloped in multitudinous folds of leaves; and as a special mark
of the esteem in which they held me, would spread an immense
leaf on the ground, and dropping one by one a few minute par-
ticles of the salt upon it, invite me to taste them.

From the extravagant value placed upon the article, I verily
believe, that with a bushel of common Liverpool salt all the real
estate in Typee might have been purchased. With a small pinch
of it in one hand, and a quarter section of a bread-fruit in the
other, the greatest chief in the valley would have laughed at all
the luxuries of a Parisian table.

The celebrity of the bread-fruit tree, and the conspicuous place
it occupies in a Typee bill of fare, induces me to give at some
length a general description of the tree, and the various modes in
which the fruit is prepared.

The bread-fruit tree, in its glorious prime, is a grand and
towering object, forming the same feature in a Marquesan land-
scape that the patriarchal elm does in New England scenery.
The latter tree it not a little resembles in height, in the wide
spread of its stalwart branches, and in its venerable and imposing

The leaves of the bread-fruit are of great size, and their edges
are cut and scolloped as fantastically as those of a lady’s lace
collar. As they annually tend towards decay, they almost rival in
the brilliant variety of their gradually changing hues the fleeting
shades of the expiring dolphin. The autumnal tints of our
American forests, glorious as they are, sink into nothing in com-
parison with this tree.

The leaf, in one particular stage, when nearly all the prismatic
colours are blended on its surface, is often converted by the
natives into a superb and striking head-dress. The principal
fibre traversing its length being split open a convenient distance,
and the elastic sides of the aperture pressed apart, the head is
inserted between them, the leaf drooping on one side, with its
forward half turned jauntily up on the brows, and the remaining
part spreading laterally behind the ears.

The fruit somewhat resembles in magnitude and general ap-
pearance one of our citron melons of ordinary size; but, unlike

[ 127 ]
the citron, it has no sectional lines drawn along the outside. Its
surface is dotted all over with little conical prominences, looking
not unlike the knobs on an antiquated church door. The rind
is perhaps an eighth of an inch in thickness; and denuded of this,
at the time when it is in the greatest perfection, the fruit pre-
sents a beautiful globe of white pulp, the whole of which may be
eaten, with the exception of a slender core, which is easily

The bread-fruit, however, is never used, and is indeed alto-
gether unfit to be eaten, until submitted in one form or other to
the action of fire.

The most simple manner in which this operation is performed,
and I think, the best, consists in placing any number of the freshly
plucked fruit, when in a particular stage of greenness, among the
embers of a fire, in the same way that you would roast a potato.
After the lapse of ten or fifteen minutes, the green rind embrowns
and cracks, showing through the fissures in its sides the milk-
white interior. As soon as it cools, the rind drops off, and you
then have the soft round pulp in its purest and most delicious
state. Thus eaten, it has a mild and pleasing flavour.

Sometimes, after having been roasted in the fire, the natives
snatch it briskly from the embers, and permitting it to slip out of
the yielding rind into a vessel of cold water, stir up the mixture,
which they call “bo-a-sho.” I never could endure this com-
pound, and indeed the preparation is not greatly in vogue among
the more polite Typees.

There is one form, however, in which the fruit is occasionally
served, that renders it a dish fit for a king. As soon as it is taken
from the fire the exterior is removed, the core extracted, and the
remaining part is placed in a sort of shallow stone mortar, and
briskly worked with a pestle of the same substance. While one
person is performing this operation, another takes a ripe cocoa-
nut, and breaking it in half, which they also do very cleverly,
proceeds to grate the juicy meat into fine particles. This is
done by means of a piece of mother-of-pearl shell, lashed firmly
to the extreme end of a heavy stick, with its straight side
accurately notched like a saw. The stick is sometimes a gro-
tesquely-formed limb of a tree, with three or four branches
twisting from its body like so many shapeless legs, and sustaining
it two or three feet from the ground.

[ 128 ]

The native, first placing a calabash beneath the nose, as it
were, of his curious-looking log-steed, for the purpose of re-
ceiving the grated fragments as they fall, mounts astride of it as
if it were a hobby-horse, and twirling the inside of one of his
hemispheres of cocoa-nut around the sharp teeth of the mother-
of-pearl shell, the pure white meat falls in snowy showers into
the receptacle provided. Having obtained a quantity sufficient
for his purpose, he places it in a bag made of the net-like fibrous
substance attached to all cocoa-nut trees, and compressing it
over the bread-fruit, which being now sufficiently pounded, is put
into a wooden bowl—extracts a thick creamy milk. The delicious
liquid soon bubbles round the fruit, and leaves it at last just
peeping above its surface.

This preparation is called “kokoo,” and a most luscious pre-
paration it is. The hobby-horse and the pestle and mortar were
in great requisition during the time I remained in the house of
Marheyo, and Kory-Kory had frequent occasion to show his skill
in their use.

But the great staple articles of food into which the bread-fruit
is converted by these natives are known respectively by the
names of Amar and Poee-Poee.

At certain seasons of the year, when the fruit of the hundred
groves of the valley has reached its maturity, and hangs in
golden spheres from every branch, the islanders assemble in
harvest groups, and garner in the abundance which surrounds
them. The trees are stripped of their nodding burdens, which,
easily freed from the rind and core, are gathered together in
capacious wooden vessels, where the pulpy fruit is soon worked
by a stone pestle, vigorously applied, into a blended mass of a
doughy consistency, called by the natives “Tutao.” This is
then divided into separate parcels, which, after being made up
into stout packages, enveloped in successive folds of leaves, and
bound round with thongs of bark, are stored away in large re-
ceptacles hollowed in the earth, from whence they are drawn as
occasion may require.

In this condition the Tutao sometimes remains for years, and
even is thought to improve by age. Before it is fit to be eaten,
however, it has to undergo an additional process. A primitive
oven is scooped in the ground, and its bottom being loosely

[ 129 ]
covered with stones, a large fire is kindled within it. As soon
as the requisite degree of heat is attained, the embers are re-
moved, and the surface of the stones being covered with thick
layers of leaves, one of the larger packages of Tutao is deposited
upon them, and overspread with another layer of leaves. The
whole is then quickly heaped up with earth, and forms a sloping

The Tutao thus baked is called “Amar;” the action of the
oven having converted it into an amber-coloured caky substance,
a little tart, but not at all disagreeable to the taste.

By another and final process the “Amar” is changed into
“Poee-Poee.” This transition is rapidly effected. The amar
is placed in a vessel, and mixed with water until it gains a proper
pudding-like consistency, when, without further preparation, it is
in readiness for use. This is the form in which the “Tutao” is
generally consumed. The singular mode of eating it I have
already described.

Were it not that the bread-fruit is thus capable of being pre-
served for a length of time, the natives might be reduced to a
state of starvation; for owing to some unknown cause the trees
sometimes fail to bear fruit; and on such occasions the islanders
chiefly depend upon the supplies they have been enabled to store

This stately tree, which is rarely met with upon the Sandwich
Islands, and then only of a very inferior quality, and at Tahiti
does not abound to a degree that renders its fruit the principal
article of food, attains its greatest excellence in the genial
climate of the Marquesan group, where it grows to an enormous
magnitude, and flourishes in the utmost abundance.

[ 130 ]

Melancholy condition—Occurrence at the Ti—Anecdote of Marheyo—
Shaving the Head of a Warrior.

In looking back to this period, and calling to remembrance the
numberless proofs of kindness and respect which I received from
the natives of the valley, I can scarcely understand how it was
that, in the midst of so many consolatory circumstances, my mind
should still have been consumed by the most dismal forebodings,
and have remained a prey to the profoundest melancholy. It is
true that the suspicious circumstances which had attended the
disappearance of Toby were enough of themselves to excite dis-
trust with regard to the savages, in whose power I felt myself to
be entirely placed, especially when it was combined with the
knowledge that these very men, kind and respectful as they were
to me, were, after all, nothing better than a set of cannibals.

But my chief source of anxiety, and that which poisoned every
temporary enjoyment, was the mysterious disease in my leg, which
still remained unabated. All the herbal applications of Tinor,
united with the severer discipline of the old leech, and the affec-
tionate nursing of Kory-Kory, had failed to relieve me. I was
almost a cripple, and the pain I endured at intervals was agoniz-
ing. The unaccountable malady showed no signs of amendment;
on the contrary, its violence increased day by day, and threatened
the most fatal results, unless some powerful means were employed
to counteract it. It seemed as if I were destined to sink under
this grievous affliction, or at least that it would hinder me from
availing myself of any opportunity of escaping from the valley.

An incident which occurred as nearly as I can estimate about
three weeks after the disappearance of Toby, convinced me that
the natives, from some reason or other, would interpose every
possible obstacle to my leaving them.

One morning there was no little excitement evinced by the

[ 131 ]
people near my abode, and which I soon discovered proceeded
from a vague report that boats had been seen at a great distance
approaching the bay. Immediately all was bustle and anima-
tion. It so happened that day that the pain I suffered having
somewhat abated, and feeling in much better spirits than usual,
I had complied with Kory-Kory’s invitation to visit the chief
Mehevi at the place called the “Ti,” which I have before
described as being situated within the precincts of the Taboo
Groves. These sacred recesses were at no great distance from
Marheyo’s habitation, and lay between it and the sea; the path
that conducted to the beach passing directly in front of the Ti,
and thence skirting along the border of the groves.

I was reposing upon the mats, within the sacred building, in
company with Mehevi and several other chiefs, when the an-
nouncement was first made. It sent a thrill of joy through my
whole frame;—perhaps Toby was about to return. I rose at
once to my feet, and my instinctive impulse was to hurry down to
the beach, equally regardless of the distance that separated me
from it, and of my disabled condition. As soon as Mehevi
noticed the effect the intelligence had produced upon me, and
the impatience I betrayed to reach the sea, his countenance
assumed that inflexible rigidity of expression which had so awed
me on the afternoon of our arrival at the house of Marheyo. As
I was proceeding to leave the Ti, he laid his hand upon my
shoulder, and said gravely, “abo, abo” (wait, wait). Solely
intent upon the one thought that occupied my mind, and heed-
less of his request, I was brushing past him, when suddenly he
assumed a tone of authority, and told me to “moee” (sit down).
Though struck by the alteration in his demeanor, the excitement
under which I laboured was too strong to permit me to obey the
unexpected command, and I was still limping towards the edge
of the pi-pi with Kory-Kory clinging to one arm in his efforts to
restrain me, when the natives around starting to their feet,
ranged themselves along the open front of the building, while
Mehevi looked at me scowlingly, and reiterated his commands still
more sternly.

It was at this moment, when fifty savage countenances were
glaring upon me, that I first truly experienced I was indeed a
captive in the valley. The conviction rushed upon me with

[ 132 ]
staggering force, and I was overwhelmed by this confirmation of
my worst fears. I saw at once that it was useless for me to
resist, and sick at heart, I reseated myself upon the mats, and for
the moment abandoned myself to despair.

I now perceived the natives one after the other hurrying past
the Ti and pursuing the route that conducted to the sea. These
savages, thought I, will soon be holding communication with
some of my own countrymen perhaps, who with ease could
restore me to liberty did they know of the situation I was in.
No language can describe the wretchedness which I felt; and
in the bitterness of my soul I imprecated a thousand curses on
the perfidious Toby, who had thus abandoned me to destruction.
It was in vain that Kory-Kory tempted me with food, or lighted
my pipe, or sought to attract my attention by performing the
uncouth antics that had sometimes diverted me. I was fairly
knocked down by this last misfortune, which, much as I had
feared it, I had never before had the courage calmly to contem-

Regardless of every thing but my own sorrow, I remained in
the Ti for several hours, until shouts proceeding at intervals
from the groves beyond the house proclaimed the return of the
natives from the beach.

Whether any boats visited the bay that morning or not, I
never could ascertain. The savages assured me that there had
not—but I was inclined to believe that by deceiving me in this
particular they sought to allay the violence of my grief. How-
ever that might be, this incident showed plainly that the Typees
intended to hold me a prisoner. As they still treated me with
the same sedulous attention as before, I was utterly at a loss how
to account for their singular conduct. Had I been in a situation
to instruct them in any of the rudiments of the mechanic arts,
or had I manifested a disposition to render myself in any way
useful among them, their conduct might have been attributed
to some adequate motive, but as it was the matter seemed to me

During my whole stay on the island there occurred but two
or three instances where the natives applied to me with the view
of availing themselves of my superior information. And these
now appear so ludicrous that I cannot forbear relating them.

[ 133 ]

The few things we had brought from Nukuheva had been
done up into a small bundle which we had carried with us in
our descent to the valley. This bundle, the first night of our
arrival, I had used as a pillow, but on the succeeding morning,
opening it for the inspection of the natives, they gazed upon the
miscellaneous contents as though I had just revealed to them a
casket of diamonds, and they insisted that so precious a treasure
should be properly secured. A line was accordingly attached to
it, and the other end being passed over the ridge-pole of the
house, it was hoisted up to the apex of the roof, where it hung
suspended directly over the mats where I usually reclined.
When I desired anything from it I merely raised my finger to a
bamboo beside me, and taking hold of the string which was
there fastened, lowered the package. This was exceedingly
handy, and I took care to let the natives understand how much I
applauded the invention. Of this package the chief contents
were a razor with its case, a supply of needles and thread, a
pound or two of tobacco, and a few yards of a bright-coloured

I should have mentioned that shortly after Toby’s disappear-
ance, perceiving the uncertainty of the time I might be obliged
to remain in the valley—if, indeed, I ever should escape from it—
and considering that my whole wardrobe consisted of a shirt and
a pair of trousers, I resolved to doff these garments at once, in
order to preserve them in a suitable condition for wear should I
again appear among civilized beings. I was consequently obliged
to assume the Typee costume, a little altered, however, to suit
my own views of propriety, and in which I have no doubt I ap-
peared to as much advantage as a senator of Rome enveloped in
the folds of his toga. A few folds of yellow tappa tucked about
my waist, descended to my feet in the style of a lady’s petticoat,
only I did not have recourse to those voluminous paddings in the
rear with which our gentle dames are in the habit of augmenting
the sublime rotundity of their figures. This usually comprised
my in-door dress: whenever I walked out, I superadded to it an
ample robe of the same material, which completely enveloped my
person, and screened it from the rays of the sun.

One morning I made a rent in this mantle; and to show the

[ 134 ]
islanders with what facility it could be repaired, I lowered my
bundle, and taking from it a needle and thread, proceeded to
stitch up the opening. They regarded this wonderful application
of science with intense admiration; and whilst I was stitching
away, old Marheyo, who was one of the lookers-on, suddenly
clapped his hand to his forehead, and rushing to a corner of the
house, drew forth a soiled and tattered strip of faded calico—which
he must have procured some time or other in traffic on the beach—
and besought me eagerly to exercise a little of my art upon it.
I willingly complied, though certainly so stumpy a needle as
mine never took such gigantic strides over calico before. The
repairs completed, old Marheyo gave me a paternal hug; and
divesting himself of his “maro” (girdle), swathed the calico
about his loins, and slipping the beloved ornaments into his ears,
grasped his spear and sallied out of the house, like a valiant
Templer arrayed in a new and costly suit of armour.

I never used my razor during my stay in the island, but,
although a very subordinate affair, it had been vastly admired
by the Typees; and Narmonee, a great hero among them, who
was exceedingly precise in the arrangements of his toilet and the
general adjustment of his person, being the most accurately
tattooed and laboriously horrified individual in all the valley,
thought it would be a great advantage to have it applied to the
already shaven crown of his head.

The implement they usually employ is a shark’s tooth, which
is about as well adapted to the purpose as a one-pronged fork for
pitching hay. No wonder, then, that the acute Narmonee per-
ceived the advantage my razor possessed over the usual imple-
ment. Accordingly, one day he requested as a personal favour
that I would just run over his head with the razor. In reply,
I gave him to understand that it was too dull, and could not be
used to any purpose without being previously sharpened. To
assist my meaning, I went through an imaginary honing process
on the palm of my hand. Narmonee took my meaning in an
instant, and running out of the house, returned the next moment
with a huge rough mass of rock as big as a milestone, and indi-
cated to me that that was exactly the thing I wanted. Of course
there was nothing left for me but to proceed to business, and I

[ 135 ]
began scraping away at a great rate. He writhed and wriggled
under the infliction, but, fully convinced of my skill, endured the
pain like a martyr.

Though I never saw Narmonee in battle, I will, from what I
then observed, stake my life upon his courage and fortitude.
Before commencing operations, his head had presented a surface
of short bristling hairs, and by the time I had concluded my
unskilful operation it resembled not a little a stubble field after
being gone over with a harrow. However, as the chief expressed
the liveliest satisfaction at the result, I was too wise to dissent
from his opinion.

[ 136 ]

Improvement in Health and Spirits—Felicity of the Typees—Their Enjoy-
ments compared with those of more enlightened Communities—Comparative
Wickedness of civilized and unenlightened People—A Skirmish in the
Mountain with the Warriors of Happar.

Day after day wore on, and still there was no perceptible change
in the conduct of the islanders towards me. Gradually I lost
all knowledge of the regular occurrence of the days of the week,
and sunk insensibly into that kind of apathy which ensues after
some violent outbreak of despair. My limb suddenly healed, the
swelling went down, the pain subsided, and I had every reason
to suppose I should soon completely recover from the affliction
that had so long tormented me.

As soon as I was enabled to ramble about the valley in com-
pany with the natives, troops of whom followed me whenever I
sallied out of the house, I began to experience an elasticity of
mind which placed me beyond the reach of those dismal fore-
bodings to which I had so lately been a prey. Received where-
ever I went with the most deferential kindness; regaled perpe-
tually with the most delightful fruits; ministered to by dark-eyed
nymphs; and enjoying besides all the services of the devoted
Kory-Kory, I thought that for a sojourn among cannibals, no
man could have well made a more agreeable one.

To be sure there were limits set to my wanderings. Toward
the sea my progress was barred by an express prohibition of the
savages; and after having made two or three ineffectual attempts
to reach it, as much to gratify my curiosity as anything else, I
gave up the idea. It was in vain to think of reaching it by
stealth, since the natives escorted me in numbers wherever I
went, and not for one single moment that I can recall to mind
was I ever permitted to be alone.

The green and precipitous elevations that stood ranged around

[ 137 ]
the head of the vale where Marheyo’s habitation was situated
effectually precluded all hope of escape in that quarter, even if I
could have stolen away from the thousand eyes of the savages.

But these reflections now seldom obtruded upon me; I gave
myself up to the passing hour, and if ever disagreeable thoughts
arose in my mind, I drove them away. When I looked around
the verdant recess in which I was buried, and gazed up to the
summits of the lofty eminence that hemmed me in, I was well
disposed to think that I was in the “Happy Valley,” and that
beyond those heights there was nought but a world of care and

As I extended my wanderings in the valley and grew more
familiar with the habits of its inmates, I was fain to confess that,
despite the disadvantages of his condition, the Polynesian savage,
surrounded by all the luxurious provisions of nature, enjoyed an
infinitely happier, though certainly a less intellectual existence,
than the self-complacent European.

The naked wretch who shivers beneath the bleak skies, and
starves among the inhospitable wilds of Terra-del-Fuego, might
indeed be made happier by civilization, for it would alleviate his
physical wants. But the voluptuous Indian, with every desire
supplied, whom Providence has bountifully provided with all the
sources of pure and natural enjoyment, and from whom are re-
moved so many of the ills and pains of life—what has he to de-
sire at the hands of Civilization? She may “cultivate his
mind,”—may “elevate his thoughts,”—these I believe are the
established phrases—but will he be the happier? Let the once
smiling and populous Hawiian islands, with their now diseased,
starving, and dying natives, answer the question. The mission-
aries may seek to disguise the matter as they will, but the facts
are incontrovertible; and the devoutest Christian who visits that
group with an unbiased mind, must go away mournfully asking
—“Are these, alas! the fruits of twenty-five years of enlight-

In a primitive state of society, the enjoyments of life, though
few and simple, are spread over a great extent, and are unal-
loyed; but Civilization, for every advantage she imparts, holds
a hundred evils in reserve;—the heart burnings, the jealousies,
the social rivalries, the family dissensions, and the thousand self-

[ 138 ]
inflicted discomforts of refined life, which make up in units the
swelling aggregate of human misery, are unknown among these
unsophisticated people.

But it will be urged that these shocking unprincipled wretches
are cannibals. Very true; and a rather bad trait in their cha-
racter it must be allowed. But they are such only when they
seek to gratify the passion of revenge upon their enemies; and I
ask whether the mere eating of human flesh so very far exceeds
in barbarity that custom which only a few years since was prac-
tised in enlightened England:—a convicted traitor, perhaps a
man found guilty of honesty, patriotism, and suchlike heinous
crimes, had his head lopped off with a huge axe, his bowels
dragged out and thrown into a fire; while his body, carved into
four quarters, was with his head exposed upon pikes, and per-
mitted to rot and fester among the public haunts of men!

The fiend-like skill we display in the invention of all manner
of death-dealing engines, the vindictiveness with which we carry
on our wars, and the misery and desolation that follow in their
train, are enough of themselves to distinguish the white civilized
man as the most ferocious animal on the face of the earth.

His remorseless cruelty is seen in many of the institutions
of our own favoured land. There is one in particular lately
adopted in one of the States of the Union, which purports to
have been dictated by the most merciful considerations. To
destroy our malefactors piece-meal, drying up in their veins,
drop by drop, the blood we are too chicken-hearted to shed by
a single blow which would at once put a period to their suffer-
ings, is deemed to be infinitely preferable to the old-fashioned
punishment of gibbeting—much less annoying to the victim,
and more in accordance with the refined spirit of the age; and
yet how feeble is all language to describe the horrors we inflict
upon these wretches, whom we mason up in the cells of our
prisons, and condemn to perpetual solitude in the very heart
of our population.

But it is needless to multiply the examples of civilized bar-
barity; they far exceed in the amount of misery they cause the
crimes which we regard with such abhorrence in our less
enlightened fellow-creatures.

The term “Savage” is, I conceive, often misapplied, and

[ 139 ]
indeed when I consider the vices, cruelties, and enormities of
every kind that spring up in the tainted atmosphere of a feverish
civilization, I am inclined to think that so far as the relative
wickedness of the parties is concerned, four or five Marquesan
Islanders sent to the United States as Missionaries might be
quite as useful as an equal number of Americans despatched to
the Islands in a similar capacity.

I once heard it given as an instance of the frightful depravity
of a certain tribe in the Pacific, that they had no word in their
language to express the idea of virtue. The assertion was
unfounded; but were it otherwise, it might be met by stating that
their language is almost entirely destitute of terms to express
the delightful ideas conveyed by our endless catalogue of civilized

In the altered frame of mind to which I have referred, every
object that presented itself to my notice in the valley struck me
in a new light, and the opportunities I now enjoyed of observing
the manners of its inmates, tended to strengthen my favourable
impressions. One peculiarity that fixed my admiration was the
perpetual hilarity reigning through the whole extent of the vale.
There seemed to be no cares, griefs, troubles, or vexations, in
all Typee. The hours tripped along as gaily as the laughing
couples down a country dance.

There were none of those thousand sources of irritation that
the ingenuity of civilized man has created to mar his own felicity.
There were no foreclosures of mortgages, no protested notes, no
bills payable, no debts of honour in Typee; no unreasonable
tailors and shoemakers, perversely bent on being paid; no duns
of any description; no assault and battery attorneys, to foment
discord, backing their clients up to a quarrel, and then knocking
their heads together; no poor relations, everlastingly occupying
the spare bed-chamber, and diminishing the elbow room at the
family table; no destitute widows with their children starving
on the cold charities of the world; no beggars; no debtors’
prisons; no proud and hard-hearted nabobs in Typee; or to sum
up all in one word—no Money! “That root of all evil” was
not to be found in the valley.

In this secluded abode of happiness there were no cross old
women, no cruel step-dames, no withered spinsters, no love-sick

[ 140 ]
maidens, no sour old bachelors, no inattentive husbands, no melan-
choly young men, no blubbering youngsters, and no squalling
brats. All was mirth, fun, and high good humour. Blue devils,
hypochondria, and doleful dumps, went and hid themselves
among the nooks and crannies of the rocks.

Here you would see a parcel of children frolicking together the
live-long day, and no quarreling, no contention, among them.
The same number in our own land could not have played
together for the space of an hour without biting or scratching
one another. There you might have seen a throng of young
females, not filled with envyings of each other’s charms, nor
displaying the ridiculous affectations of gentility, nor yet moving
in whalebone corsets, like so many automatons, but free, inarti-
ficially happy, and unconstrained.

There were some spots in that sunny vale where they would
frequently resort to decorate themselves with garlands of flowers.
To have seen them reclining beneath the shadows of one of the
beautiful groves; the ground about them strewn with freshly
gathered buds and blossoms, employed in weaving chaplets and
necklaces, one would have thought that all the train of Flora
had gathered together to keep a festival in honour of their

With the young men there seemed almost always some matter
of diversion or business on hand that afforded a constant variety
of enjoyment. But whether fishing, or carving canoes, or polish-
ing their ornaments, never was there exhibited the least sign of
strife or contention among them.

As for the warriors, they maintained a tranquil dignity of
demeanor, journeying occasionally from house to house, where
they were always sure to be received with the attention bestowed
upon distinguished guests. The old men, of whom there were
many in the vale, seldom stirred from their mats, where they
would recline for hours and hours, smoking and talking to one
another with all the garrulity of age.

But the continual happiness, which so far as I was able to
judge appeared to prevail in the valley, sprung principally from
that all-pervading sensation which Rousseau has told us he at one
time experienced, the mere buoyant sense of a healthful physical
existence. And indeed in this particular the Typees had ample

[ 141 ]
reason to felicitate themselves, for sickness was almost unknown.
During the whole period of my stay I saw but one invalid among
them; and on their smooth clear skins you observed no blemish
or mark of disease.

The general repose, however, upon which I have just been
descanting, was broken in upon about this time by an event
which proved that the islanders were not entirely exempt from
those occurrences which disturb the quiet of more civilized

Having now been a considerable time in the valley, I began
to feel surprised that the violent hostility subsisting between its
inhabitants, and those of the adjoining bay of Happar, should
never have manifested itself in any warlike encounter. Although
the valiant Typees would often by gesticulations declare their
undying hatred against their enemies, and the disgust they felt
at their cannibal propensities; although they dilated upon the
manifold injuries they had received at their hands, yet with a
forbearance truly commendable, they appeared patiently to sit
down under their grievances, and to refrain from making any
reprisals. The Happars, entrenched behind their mountains,
and never even showing themselves on their summits, did not
appear to me to furnish adequate cause for that excess of
animosity evinced towards them by the heroic tenants of our
vale, and I was inclined to believe that the deeds of blood
attributed to them had been greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, as the clamours of war had not up to this
period disturbed the serenity of the tribe, I began to distrust the
truth of those reports which ascribed so fierce and belligerent a
character to the Typee nation. Surely, thought I, all these ter-
rible stories I have heard about the inveteracy with which they
carried on the feud, their deadly intensity of hatred, and the dia-
bolical malice with which they glutted their revenge upon the
inanimate forms of the slain, are nothing more than fables, and I
must confess that I experienced something like a sense of regret
at having my hideous anticipations thus disappointed. I felt in
some sort like a ’prentice-boy who, going to the play in the ex-
pectation of being delighted with a cut-and-thrust tragedy, is
almost moved to tears of disappointment at the exhibition of a
genteel comedy.

[ 142 ]

I could not avoid thinking that I had fallen in with a greatly
traduced people, and I moralized not a little upon the disadvan-
tage of having a bad name, which in this instance had given a
tribe of savages, who were as pacific as so many lambkins, the
reputation of a confederacy of giant-killers.

But subsequent events proved that I had been a little too
premature in coming to this conclusion. One day about noon,
happening to be at the Ti, I had lain down on the mats
with several of the chiefs, and had gradually sunk into a most
luxurious siesta, when I was awakened by a tremendous outcry,
and starting up beheld the natives seizing their spears and hurry-
ing out, while the most puissant of the chiefs, grasping the six
muskets which were ranged against the bamboos, followed after,
and soon disappeared in the groves. These movements were
accompanied by wild shouts, in which “Happar, Happar,”
greatly predominated. The islanders were now to be seen
running past the Ti, and striking across the valley to the Happar
side. Presently I heard the sharp report of a musket from the
adjoining hills, and then a burst of voices in the same direction.
At this the women, who had congregated in the groves, set up
the most violent clamours, as they invariably do here as else-
where on every occasion of excitement and alarm, with a view
of tranquillizing their own minds and disturbing other people.
On this particular occasion they made such an outrageous noise,
and continued it with such perseverance, that for awhile, had entire
volleys of musketry been fired off in the neighbouring mountains,
I should not have been able to have heard them.

When this female commotion had a little subsided I listened
eagerly for further information. At last bang went another shot,
and then a second volley of yells from the hills. Again all was
quiet, and continued so for such a length of time that I began
to think the contending armies had agreed upon a suspension of
hostilities; when pop went a third gun, followed as before with
a yell. After this, for nearly two hours nothing occurred worthy
of comment, save some straggling shouts from the hill-side,
sounding like the halloos of a parcel of truant boys who had lost
themselves in the woods.

During this interval I had remained standing on the piazza of
the “Ti,” which directly fronted the Happar mountain, and with

[ 143 ]
no one near me but Kory-Kory and the old superannuated savages
I have before described. These latter never stirred from their
mats, and seemed altogether unconscious that anything unusual
was going on.

As for Kory-Kory, he appeared to think that we were in the
midst of great events, and sought most zealously to impress me
with a due sense of their importance. Every sound that reached
us conveyed some momentous item of intelligence to him. At
such times, as if he were gifted with second sight, he would go
through a variety of pantomimic illustrations, showing me the
precise manner in which the redoubtable Typees were at that
very moment chastising the insolence of the enemy. “Mehevi
hanna pippee nuee Happar,” he exclaimed every five minutes,
giving me to understand that under that distinguished captain
the warriors of his nation were performing prodigies of valour.

Having heard only four reports from the muskets, I was led
to believe that they were worked by the islanders in the same
manner as the Sultan Solyman’s ponderous artillery at the siege
of Byzantium, one of them taking an hour or two to load and
train. At last, no sound whatever proceeding from the moun-
tains, I concluded that the contest had been determined one way
or the other. Such appeared, indeed, to be the case, for in a
little while a courier arrived at the “Ti,” almost breathless with
his exertions, and communicated the news of a great victory
having been achieved by his countrymen: “Happar poo arva!—
Happar poo arva!” (the cowards had fled). Kory-Kory was in
ecstacies, and commenced a vehement harangue, which, so far as
I understood it, implied that the result exactly agreed with his
expectations, and which, moreover, was intended to convince me
that it would be a perfectly useless undertaking, even for an army
of fire-eaters, to offer battle to the irresistible heroes of our valley.
In all this I of course acquiesced, and looked forward with no
little interest to the return of the conquerors, whose victory I
feared might not have been purchased without cost to them-

But here I was again mistaken; for Mehevi, in conducting
his warlike operations, rather inclined to the Fabian than to the
Bonapartean tactics, husbanding his resources and exposing his
troops to no unnecessary hazards. The total loss of the victors

[ 144 ]
in this obstinately contested affair was, in killed, wounded, and
missing—one forefinger and part of a thumb-nail (which the late
proprietor brought along with him in his hand), a severely con-
tused arm, and a considerable effusion of blood flowing from the
thigh of a chief, who had received an ugly thrust from a Happar
spear. What the enemy had suffered I could not discover, but
I presume they had succeeded in taking off with them the bodies
of their slain.

Such was the issue of the battle, as far as its results came
under my observation; and as it appeared to be considered an
event of prodigious importance, I reasonably concluded that the
wars of the natives were marked by no very sanguinary traits.
I afterwards learned how the skirmish had originated. A num-
ber of the Happars had been discovered prowling for no good
purpose on the Typee side of the mountain; the alarm was
sounded, and the invaders, after a protracted resistance, had been
chased over the frontier. But why had not the intrepid Mehevi
carried the war into Happar? Why had he not made a descent
into the hostile vale, and brought away some trophy of his
victory—some materials for the cannibal entertainment which I
had heard usually terminated every engagement? After all, I
was much inclined to believe that such shocking festivals must
occur very rarely among the islanders, if, indeed, they ever take

For two or three days the late event was the theme of general
comment; after which the excitement gradually wore away, and
the valley resumed its accustomed tranquillity.

[ 145 ]

Swimming in company with the Girls of the Valley—A Canoe—Effects
of the Taboo—A pleasure Excursion on the Pond—Beautiful Freak of
Fayaway—Mantua-making—A Stranger arrives in the Valley—His mys-
terious conduct—Native Oratory—The Interview—Its Results—Departure
of the Stranger.

Returning health and peace of mind gave a new interest to
everything around me. I sought to diversify my time by as many
enjoyments as lay within reach. Bathing in company with
troops of girls formed one of my chief amusements. We some-
times enjoyed the recreation in the waters of a miniature lake,
into which the central stream of the valley expanded. This
lovely sheet of water was almost circular in figure, and about
three hundred yards across. Its beauty was indescribable. All
around its banks waved luxuriant masses of tropical foliage,
soaring high above which were to be seen, here and there, the
symmetrical shaft of the cocoa-nut tree, surmounted by its tuft
of graceful branches, drooping in the air like so many waving
ostrich plumes.

The ease and grace with which the maidens of the valley pro-
pelled themselves through the water, and their familiarity with
the element, were truly astonishing. Sometimes they might be
seen gliding along, just under the surface, without apparently
moving hand or foot—then throwing themselves on their sides,
they darted through the water, revealing glimpses of their forms,
as, in the course of their rapid progress, they shot for an instant
partly into the air—at one moment they dived deep down into
the water and the next they rose bounding to the surface.

I remember upon one occasion plunging in among a parcel
of these river-nymphs, and counting vainly upon my superior
strength, sought to drag some of them under the water, but I
quickly repented my temerity. The amphibious young creatures

[ 146 ]
swarmed about me like a shoal of dolphins, and seizing hold of
my devoted limbs, tumbled me about and ducked me under the
surface, until from the strange noises which rang in my ears,
and the supernatural visions dancing before my eyes, I thought I
was in the land of spirits. I stood indeed as little chance among
them as a cumbrous whale attacked on all sides by a legion of
sword-fish. When at length they relinquished their hold of me,
they swam away in every direction, laughing at my clumsy en-
deavours to reach them.

There was no boat on the lake; but at my solicitation and
for my special use, some of the young men attached to Marheyo’s
household, under the direction of the indefatigable Kory-Kory,
brought up a light and tastefully-carved canoe from the sea. It
was launched upon the sheet of water, and floated there as grace-
fully as a swan. But, melancholy to relate, it produced an effect
I had not anticipated. The sweet nymphs, who had sported
with me before in the lake, now all fled its vicinity. The pro-
hibited craft, guarded by the edicts of the “taboo,” extended the
prohibition to the waters in which it lay.

For a few days, Kory-Kory, with one or two other youths,
accompanied me in my excursions to the lake, and while I pad-
dled about in my light canoe, would swim after me shouting
and gambolling in pursuit. But I was ever partial to what is
termed in the ‘Young Men’s Own Book’ — “the society of
virtuous and intelligent young ladies;” and in the absence of the
mermaids, the amusement became dull and insipid. One morning
I expressed to my faithful servitor my desire for the return of
the nymphs. The honest fellow looked at me bewildered for a
moment, and then shook his head solemnly, and murmured
taboo! taboo!” giving me to understand that unless the canoe
was removed, I could not expect to have the young ladies back
again. But to this procedure I was averse; I not only wanted
the canoe to stay where it was, but I wanted the beauteous Fay-
away to get into it, and paddle with me about the lake. This
latter proposition completely horrified Kory-Kory’s notions of
propriety. He inveighed against it, as something too monstrous
to be thought of. It not only shocked their established notions
of propriety, but was at variance with all their religious ordi-

[ 147 ]

However, although the “taboo” was a ticklish thing to meddle
with, I determined to test its capabilities of resisting an attack.
I consulted the chief Mehevi, who endeavoured to dissuade me
from my object: but I was not to be repulsed; and accordingly
increased the warmth of my solicitations. At last he entered
into a long, and I have no doubt a very learned and eloquent
exposition of the history and nature of the “taboo” as affecting
this particular case; employing a variety of most extraordinary
words, which, from their amazing length and sonorousness, I have
every reason to believe were of a theological nature. But all
that he said failed to convince me: partly, perhaps, because I
could not comprehend a word that he uttered; but chiefly, that
for the life of me I could not understand why a woman should
not have as much right to enter a canoe as a man. At last he
became a little more rational, and intimated that, out of the
abundant love he bore me, he would consult with the priests and
see what could be done.

How it was that the priesthood of Typee satisfied the affair
with their consciences, I know not; but so it was, and Fayaway’s
dispensation from this portion of the taboo was at length pro-
cured. Such an event I believe never before had occurred in the
valley; but it was high time the islanders should be taught a
little gallantry, and I trust that the example I set them may pro-
duce beneficial effects. Ridiculous, indeed, that the lovely
creatures should be obliged to paddle about in the water, like so
many ducks, while a parcel of great strapping fellows skimmed
over its surface in their canoes.

The first day after Fayaway’s emancipation I had a delightful
little party on the lake—the damsel, Kory-Kory, and myself.
My zealous body-servant brought from the house a calabash of
poe-poe, half a dozen young cocoa-nuts—stripped of their husks—
three pipes, as many yams, and me on his back a part of the way.
Something of a load; but Kory-Kory was a very strong man for
his size, and by no means brittle in the spine. We had a very
pleasant day; my trusty valet plied the paddle and swept us
gently along the margin of the water, beneath the shades of the
overhanging thickets. Fayaway and I reclined in the stern of
the canoe, on the very best terms possible with one another; the
gentle nymph occasionally placing her pipe to her lip, and

[ 148 ]
exhaling the mild fumes of the tobacco, to which her rosy breath
added a fresh perfume. Strange as it may seem, there is nothing
in which a young and beautiful female appears to more advan-
tage than in the act of smoking. How captivating is a Peruvian
lady, swinging in her gaily-woven hammock of grass, extended
between two orange trees, and inhaling the fragrance of a choice
cigarro! But Fayaway, holding in her delicately formed olive
hand the long yellow reed of her pipe, with its quaintly carved
bowl, and every few moments languishingly giving forth light
wreaths of vapour from her mouth and nostrils, looked still more

We floated about thus for several hours, when I looked up to
the warm, glowing, tropical sky, and then down into the trans-
parent depths below; and when my eye, wandering from the
bewitching scenery around, fell upon the grotesquely-tattooed
form of Kory-Kory, and finally encountered the pensive gaze of
Fayaway, I thought I had been transported to some fairy region,
so unreal did everything appear.

This lovely piece of water was the coolest spot in all the
valley, and I now made it a place of continual resort during the
hottest period of the day. One side of it lay near the termi-
nation of a long gradually expanding gorge, which mounted to
the heights that environed the vale. The strong trade wind,
met in its course by these elevations, circled and eddied about
their summits, and was sometimes driven down the steep ravine
and swept across the valley, ruffling in its passage the otherwise
tranquil surface of the lake.

One day, after we had been paddling about for some time, I
disembarked Kory-Kory, and paddled the canoe to the windward
side of the lake. As I turned the canoe, Fayaway, who was
with me, seemed all at once to be struck with some happy idea.
With a wild exclamation of delight, she disengaged from her
person the ample robe of tappa which was knotted over her
shoulder (for the purpose of shielding her from the sun), and
spreading it out like a sail, stood erect with upraised arms in the
head of the canoe. We American sailors pride ourselves upon
our straight clean spars, but a prettier little mast than Fayaway
made was never shipped a-board of any craft.

In a moment the tappa was distended by the breeze—the long

[ 149 ]
brown tresses of Fayaway streamed in the air—and the canoe
glided rapidly through the water, and shot towards the shore.
Seated in the stern, I directed its course with my paddle until it
dashed up the soft sloping bank, and Fayaway, with a light
spring, alighted on the ground; whilst Kory-Kory, who had
watched our manœuvres with admiration, now clapped his hands
in transport, and shouted like a madman. Many a time after-
wards was this feat repeated.

If the reader have not observed ere this that I was the
declared admirer of Miss Fayaway, all I can say is that he is
little conversant with affairs of the heart, and I certainly
shall not trouble myself to enlighten him any farther. Out of
the calico I had brought from the ship I made a dress for this
lovely girl. In it she looked, I must confess, something like an
opera dancer. The drapery of the latter damsel generally com-
mences a little above the elbows, but my island beauty’s began
at the waist, and terminated sufficiently far above the ground to
reveal the most bewitching ankle in the universe.

The day that Fayaway first wore this robe was rendered
memorable by a new acquaintance being introduced to me. In
the afternoon I was lying in the house, when I heard a great
uproar outside; but being by this time pretty well accustomed to
the wild halloos which were almost continually ringing through
the valley, I paid little attention to it, until old Marheyo, under
the influence of some strange excitement, rushed into my pre-
sence and communicated the astounding tidings, “Marnoo
pemi!” which being interpreted, implied that an individual by
the name of Marnoo was approaching. My worthy old friend
evidently expected that this intelligence would produce a great
effect upon me, and for a time he stood earnestly regarding me,
as if curious to see how I should conduct myself, but as I
remained perfectly unmoved, the old gentleman darted out of the
house again, in as great a hurry as he had entered it.

“Marnoo, Marnoo,” cogitated I, “I have never heard that name
before. Some distinguished character, I presume, from the pro-
digious riot the natives are making;” the tumultuous noise
drawing nearer and nearer every moment, while “Marnoo!—
Marnoo!” was shouted by every tongue.

I made up my mind that some savage warrior of consequence,

[ 150 ]
who had not yet enjoyed the honour of an audience, was desirous
of paying his respects on the present occasion. So vain had I
become by the lavish attention to which I had been accustomed,
that I felt half inclined, as a punishment for such neglect, to
give this Marnoo a cold reception, when the excited throng
came within view, convoying one of the most striking specimens
of humanity that I ever beheld.

The stranger could not have been more than twenty-five years
of age, and was a little above the ordinary height; had he been
a single hair’s breadth taller, the matchless symmetry of his form
would have been destroyed. His unclad limbs were beautifully
formed; whilst the elegant outline of his figure, together with
his beardless cheeks, might have entitled him to the distinction of
standing for the statue of the Polynesian Apollo; and indeed the
oval of his countenance and the regularity of every feature
reminded me of an antique bust. But the marble repose of art
was supplied by a warmth and liveliness of expression only to be
seen in the South Sea Islander under the most favourable deve-
lopments of nature. The hair of Marnoo was a rich curling
brown, and twined about his temples and neck in little close
curling ringlets, which danced up and down continually when he
was animated in conversation. His cheek was of a feminine
softness, and his face was free from the least blemish of tattooing,
although the rest of his body was drawn all over with fanciful
figures, which — unlike the unconnected sketching usual among
these natives — appeared to have been executed in conformity with
some general design.

The tattooing on his back in particular attracted my attention.
The artist employed must indeed have excelled in his profession.
Traced along the course of the spine was accurately delineated
the slender, tapering, and diamond-checkered shaft of the beau-
tiful “artu” tree. Branching from the stem on either side, and
disposed alternately, were the graceful branches drooping with
leaves all correctly drawn, and elaborately finished. Indeed, this
piece of tattooing was the best specimen of the Fine Arts I had
yet seen in Typee. A rear view of the stranger might have sug-
gested the idea of a spreading vine tacked against a garden wall.
Upon his breast, arms, and legs, were exhibited an infinite variety
of figures; every one of which, however, appeared to have refer-

[ 151 ]
ence to the general effect sought to be produced. The tattooing
I have described was of the brightest blue, and when contrasted
with the light olive colour of the skin, produced an unique and
even elegant effect. A slight girdle of white tappa, scarcely
two inches in width, but hanging before and behind in spreading
tassels, composed the entire costume of the stranger.

He advanced surrounded by the islanders, carrying under one
arm a small roll of the native cloth, and grasping in his other
hand a long and richly decorated spear. His manner was that of
a traveller conscious that he is approaching a comfortable stage
in his journey. Every moment he turned good-humouredly to
the throng around him, and gave some dashing sort of reply to
their incessant queries, which appeared to convulse them with
uncontrollable mirth.

Struck by his demeanor, and the peculiarity of his appearance,
so unlike that of the shaven-crowned and face-tattooed natives in
general, I involuntarily rose as he entered the house, and prof-
ferred him a seat on the mats beside me. But without deigning
to notice the civility, or even the more incontrovertible fact of
my existence, the stranger passed on, utterly regardless of me,
and flung himself upon the further end of the long couch that
traversed the sole apartment of Marheyo’s habitation.

Had the belle of the season, in the pride of her beauty and
power, been cut in a place of public resort by some supercilious
exquisite, she could not have felt greater indignation than I did
at this unexpected slight.

I was thrown into utter astonishment. The conduct of the
savages had prepared me to anticipate from every new comer the
same extravagant expressions of curiosity and regard. The sin-
gularity of his conduct, however, only roused my desire to
discover who this remarkable personage might be, who now
engrossed the attention of every one.

Tinor placed before him a calabash of poee-poee, from which
the stranger regaled himself, alternating every mouthful with
some rapid exclamation which was eagerly caught up and echoed
by the crowd that completely filled the house. When I observed
the striking devotion of the natives to him, and their temporary
withdrawal of all attention from myself, I felt not a little piqued.
The glory of Tommo is departed, thought I, and the sooner he

[ 152 ]
removes from the valley the better. These were my feelings at
the moment, and they were prompted by that glorious principle
inherent in all heroic natures—the strong-rooted determination to
have the biggest share of the pudding or go without any of it.

Marnoo, this all-attractive personage, having satisfied his
hunger, and inhaled a few whiffs from a pipe which was handed
to him, launched out into an harangue which completely en-
chained the attention of his auditors.

Little as I understood of the language, yet from his animated
gestures and the varying expression of his features—reflected as
from so many mirrors in the countenances around him, I could
easily discover the nature of those passions which he sought to
arouse. From the frequent recurrence of the words “Nuku-
heva” and “Frannee” (French), and some others with the
meaning of which I was acquainted, he appeared to be rehearsing
to his auditors events which had recently occurred in the neigh-
bouring bays. But how he had gained the knowledge of these
matters I could not understand, unless it were that he had just
come from Nukuheva—a supposition which his travel-stained
appearance not a little supported. But, if a native of that region,
I could not account for his friendly reception at the hands of the

Never, certainly, had I beheld so powerful an exhibition of
natural eloquence as Marnoo displayed during the course of his
oration. The grace of the attitudes into which he threw his
flexible figure, the striking gestures of his naked arms, and above
all, the fire which shot from his brilliant eyes, imparted an effect
to the continually changing accents of his voice, of which the
most accomplished orator might have been proud. At one mo-
ment reclining sideways upon the mat, and leaning calmly upon
his bended arm, he related circumstantially the aggressions of the
French—their hostile visits to the surrounding bays, enumerating
each one in succession—Happar, Puerka, Nukuheva, Tior,—and
then starting to his feet and precipitating himself forward with
clenched hands and a countenance distorted with passion, he
poured out a tide of invectives. Falling back into an attitude of
lofty command, he exhorted the Typees to resist these encroach-
ments; reminding them, with a fierce glance of exultation, that
as yet the terror of their name had preserved them from attack,

[ 153 ]
and with a scornful sneer he sketched in ironical terms the won-
drous intrepidity of the French, who, with five war-canoes and
hundreds of men, had not dared to assail the naked warriors of
their valley.

The effect he produced upon his audience was electric; one
and all they stood regarding him with sparkling eyes and trem-
bling limbs, as though they were listening to the inspired voice of
a prophet.

But it soon appeared that Marnoo’s powers were as versatile as
they were extraordinary. As soon as he had finished this vehe-
ment harangue, he threw himself again upon the mats, and,
singling out individuals in the crowd, addressed them by name,
in a sort of bantering style, the humour of which, though nearly
hidden from me, filled the whole assembly with uproarious

He had a word for everybody; and, turning rapidly from one
to another, gave utterance to some hasty witticism, which was
sure to be followed by peals of laughter. To the females, as
well as to the men, he addressed his discourse. Heaven only
knows what he said to them, but he caused smiles and blushes to
mantle their ingenuous faces. I am, indeed, very much inclined
to believe that Marnoo, with his handsome person and captivat-
ing manners, was a sad deceiver among the simple maidens of
the island.

During all this time he had never, for one moment, deigned to
regard me. He appeared, indeed, to be altogether unconscious
of my presence. I was utterly at a loss how to account for this
extraordinary conduct. I easily perceived that he was a man of
no little consequence among the islanders; that he possessed un-
common talents; and was gifted with a higher degree of know-
ledge than the inmates of the valley. For these reasons, I
therefore greatly feared lest having, from some cause or other,
unfriendly feelings toward me, he might exert his powerful in-
fluence to do me mischief.

It seemed evident that he was not a permanent resident of the
vale, and yet, whence could he have come? On all sides the
Typees were girt in by hostile tribes, and how could he pos-
sibly, if belonging to any of these, be received with so much

[ 154 ]

The personal appearance of the enigmatical stranger suggested
additional perplexities. The face, free from tattooing, and the
unshaven crown, were peculiarities I had never before remarked
in any part of the island, and I had always heard that the con-
trary were considered the indispensable distinctions of a Marquesan
warrior. Altogether the matter was perfectly incomprehensible
to me, and I awaited its solution with no small degree of anxiety.

At length, from certain indications, I suspected that he was
making me the subject of his remarks, although he appeared
cautiously to avoid either pronouncing my name, or looking in
the direction where I lay. All at once he rose from the mats
where he had been reclining, and, still conversing, moved towards
me, his eye purposely evading mine, and seated himself within
less than a yard of me. I had hardly recovered from my sur-
prise, when he suddenly turned round, and, with a most benig-
nant countenance, extended his right hand gracefully towards
me. Of course I accepted the courteous challenge, and, as soon
as our palms met, he bent towards me, and murmured in musical
accents,—“How you do?” “How long you been in this bay?”
“You like this bay?”

Had I been pierced simultaneously by three Happar spears, I
could not have started more than I did at hearing these simple
questions! For a moment I was overwhelmed with astonish-
ment, and then answered something I know not what; but as
soon as I regained my self-possession, the thought darted through
my mind that from this individual I might obtain that informa-
tion regarding Toby which I suspected the natives had purposely
withheld from me. Accordingly I questioned him concerning
the disappearance of my companion, but he denied all knowledge
of the matter. I then enquired from whence he had come?
He replied, from Nukuheva. When I expressed my surprise, he
looked at me for a moment, as if enjoying my perplexity, and
then, with his strange vivacity, exclaimed,—“Ah! me taboo,—
me go Nukuheva,—me go Tior,—me go Typee,—me go every
where,—nobody harm me,—me taboo.”

This explanation would have been altogether unintelligible to
me, had it not recalled to my mind something I had previously
heard concerning a singular custom among these islanders.
Though the country is possessed by various tribes, whose mutual

[ 155 ]
hostilities almost wholly preclude any intercourse between them;
yet there are instances where a person having ratified friendly
relations with some individual belonging to the valley, whose in-
mates are at war with his own, may, under particular restrictions,
venture with impunity into the country of his friend, where,
under other circumstances, he would have been treated as an
enemy. In this light are personal friendships regarded among
them, and the individual so protected is said to be “taboo,” and
his person, to a certain extent, is held as sacred. Thus the
stranger informed me he had access to all the valleys in the island.

Curious to know how he had acquired his knowledge of
English, I questioned him on the subject. At first, for some
reason or other, he evaded the enquiry, but afterwards told me
that, when a boy, he had been carried to sea by the captain of a
trading vessel, with whom he had staid three years, living part
of the time with him at Sydney, in Australia, and that, at
a subsequent visit to the island, the captain had, at his own re-
quest, permitted him to remain among his countrymen. The
natural quickness of the savage had been wonderfully improved
by his intercourse with the white men, and his partial knowledge
of a foreign language gave him a great ascendancy over his less
accomplished countrymen.

When I asked the now affable Marnoo why it was that he had
not previously spoken to me, he eagerly enquired what I had
been led to think of him from his conduct in that respect. I
replied, that I had supposed him to be some great chief or war-
rior, who had seen plenty of white men before, and did not think
it worth while to notice a poor sailor. At this declaration of the
exalted opinion I had formed of him, he appeared vastly grati-
fied, and gave me to understand that he had purposely behaved
in that manner, in order to increase my astonishment, as soon as
he should see proper to address me.

Marnoo now sought to learn my version of the story as to how
I came to be an inmate of the Typee valley. When I related
to him the circumstances under which Toby and I had entered
it, he listened with evident interest; but as soon as I alluded to
the absence, yet unaccounted for, of my comrade, he endeavoured
to change the subject, as if it were something he desired not to
agitate. It seemed, indeed, as if everything connected with

[ 156 ]
Toby was destined to beget distrust and anxiety in my bosom.
Notwithstanding Marnoo’s denial of any knowledge of his fate,
I could not avoid suspecting that he was deceiving me; and this
suspicion revived those frightful apprehensions with regard to
my own fate, which, for a short time past, had subsided in my

Influenced by these feelings, I now felt a strong desire to
avail myself of the stranger’s protection, and under his safeguard
to return to Nukuheva. But as soon as I hinted at this, he un-
hesitatingly pronounced it to be entirely impracticable; assuring
me that the Typees would never consent to my leaving the valley.
Although what he said merely confirmed the impression which I
had before entertained, still it increased my anxiety to escape
from a captivity, which, however endurable, nay, delightful it
might be in some respects, involved in its issues a fate marked
by the most frightful contingencies.

I could not conceal from my mind that Toby had been treated
in the same friendly manner as I had been, and yet all their
kindness had terminated in his mysterious disappearance. Might
not the same fate await me?—a fate too dreadful to think of.
Stimulated by these considerations, I urged anew my request to
Marnoo; but he only set forth in stronger colours the impossi-
bility of my escape, and repeated his previous declaration that
the Typees would never be brought to consent to my departure.

When I endeavoured to learn from him the motives which
prompted them to hold me a prisoner, Marnoo again assumed
that mysterious tone which had tormented me with apprehen-
sions when I had questioned him with regard to the fate of
my companion.

Thus repulsed, in a manner which only served, by arousing
the most dreadful forebodings, to excite me to renewed attempts,
I conjured him to intercede for me with the natives, and en-
deavour to procure their consent to my leaving them. To this
he appeared strongly averse; but, yielding at last to my impor-
tunities, he addressed several of the chiefs, who with the rest had
been eyeing us intently during the whole of our conversation.
His petition, however, was at once met with the most violent
disapprobation, manifesting itself in angry glances and gestures,
and a perfect torrent of passionate words, directed to both him

[ 157 ]
and myself. Marnoo, evidently repenting the step he had taken,
earnestly deprecated the resentment of the crowd, and in a few
moments succeeded in pacifying to some extent the clamours
which had broken out as soon as his proposition had been under-

With the most intense interest had I watched the reception
his intercession might receive; and a bitter pang shot through
my heart at the additional evidence, now furnished, of the un-
changeable determination of the islanders. Marnoo told me,
with evident alarm in his countenance, that although admitted
into the bay on a friendly footing with its inhabitants, he could
not presume to meddle with their concerns, as such a procedure,
if persisted in, would at once absolve the Typees from the re-
straints of the “Taboo,” although so long as he refrained from
any such conduct, it screened him effectually from the conse-
quences of the enmity they bore his tribe.

At this moment, Mehevi, who was present, angrily interrupted
him; and the words which he uttered, in a commanding tone,
evidently meant that he must at once cease talking to me, and
withdraw to the other part of the house. Marnoo immediately
started up, hurriedly enjoining me not to address him again, and,
as I valued my safety, to refrain from all further allusion to the
subject of my departure; and then, in compliance with the order
of the determined chief, but not before it had again been angrily
repeated, he withdrew to a distance.

I now perceived, with no small degree of apprehension, the
same savage expression in the countenance of the natives which
had startled me during the scene at the Ti. They glanced their
eyes suspiciously from Marnoo to me, as if distrusting the nature
of an intercourse carried on, as it was, in a language they could
not understand, and they seemed to harbour the belief that already
we had concerted measures calculated to elude their vigilance.

The lively countenances of these people are wonderfully indi-
cative of the emotions of the soul, and the imperfections of their
oral language are more than compensated for by the nervous
eloquence of their looks and gestures. I could plainly trace, in
every varying expression of their faces, all those passions which
had been thus unexpectedly aroused in their bosoms.

It required no reflection to convince me, from what was going

[ 158 ]
on, that the injunction of Marnoo was not to be rashly slighted;
and accordingly, great as was the effort to suppress my feelings,
I accosted Mehevi in a good-humoured tone, with a view of dis-
sipating any ill impression he might have received. But the
ireful, angry chief was not so easily mollified. He rejected my
advances with that peculiarly stern expression I have before
described, and took care by the whole of his behaviour towards
me to show the displeasure and resentment which he felt.

Marnoo, at the other extremity of the house, apparently de-
sirous of making a diversion in my favour, exerted himself to
amuse with his pleasantries the crowd about him; but his lively
attempts were not so successful as they had previously been, and,
foiled in his efforts, he rose gravely to depart. No one expressed
any regret at this movement, so seizing his roll of tappa, and
grasping his spear, he advanced to the front of the pi-pi, and
waving his hand in adieu to the now silent throng, cast upon me
a glance of mingled pity and reproach, and flung himself into
the path which led from the house. I watched his receding
figure until it was lost in the obscurity of the grove, and then
gave myself up to the most desponding reflections.

[ 159 ]

Reflections after Marnoo’s Departure—Battle of the Pop-guns—Strange con-
ceit of Marheyo—Process of making Tappa.

The knowledge I had now obtained as to the intention of the
savages deeply affected me.

Marnoo, I perceived, was a man who, by reason of his superior
acquirements, and the knowledge he possessed of the events which
were taking place in the different bays of the island, was held in
no little estimation by the inhabitants of the valley. He had
been received with the most cordial welcome and respect. The
natives had hung upon the accents of his voice, and had mani-
fested the highest gratification at being individually noticed by
him. And yet, despite all this, a few words urged in my behalf,
with the intent of obtaining my release from captivity, had
sufficed not only to banish all harmony and good-will; but, if I
could believe what he told me, had gone nigh to endanger his
own personal safety.

How strongly rooted, then, must be the determination of the
Typees with regard to me, and how suddenly could they display
the strangest passions! The mere suggestion of my departure
had estranged from me, for the time at least, Mehevi, who was
the most influential of all the chiefs, and who had previously exhi-
bited so many instances of his friendly sentiments. The rest of
the natives had likewise evinced their strong repugnance to my
wishes, and even Kory-Kory himself seemed to share in the
general disapprobation bestowed upon me.

In vain I racked my invention to find out some motive for the
strange desire these people manifested to retain me among them;
but I could discover none.

But however this might be, the scene which had just occurred
admonished me of the danger of trifling with the wayward and
passionate spirits against whom it was vain to struggle, and

[ 160 ]
might even be fatal to do so. My only hope was to induce the
natives to believe that I was reconciled to my detention in the
valley, and by assuming a tranquil and cheerful demeanour, to
allay the suspicions which I had so unfortunately aroused. Their
confidence revived, they might in a short time remit in some
degree their watchfulness over my movements, and I should then
be the better enabled to avail myself of any opportunity which
presented itself for escape. I determined, therefore, to make the
best of a bad bargain, and to bear up manfully against whatever
might betide. In this endeavour I succeeded beyond my own
expectations. At the period of Marnoo’s visit, I had been in
the valley, as nearly as I could conjecture, some two months.
Although not completely recovered from my strange illness
which still lingered about me, I was free from pain and able to
take exercise. In short, I had every reason to anticipate a per-
fect recovery. Freed from apprehensions on this point, and
resolved to regard the future without flinching, I flung myself
anew into all the social pleasures of the valley, and sought to
bury all regrets, and all remembrances of my previous existence,
in the wild enjoyments it afforded.

In my various wanderings through the vale, and as I became
better acquainted with the character of its inhabitants, I was
more and more struck with the light-hearted joyousness that
everywhere prevailed. The minds of these simple savages,
unoccupied by matters of graver moment, were capable of de-
riving the utmost delight from circumstances which would have
passed unnoticed in more intelligent communities. All their
enjoyment, indeed, seemed to be made up of the little trifling
incidents of the passing hour; but these diminutive items swelled
altogether to an amount of happiness seldom experienced by
more enlightened individuals, whose pleasures are drawn from
more elevated but rarer sources.

What community, for instance, of refined and intellectual
mortals would derive the least satisfaction from shooting pop-
guns? The mere supposition of such a thing being possible
would excite their indignation, and yet the whole population of
Typee did little else for ten days but occupy themselves with that
childish amusement, fairly screaming, too, with the delight it
afforded them.

[ 161 ]

One day I was frolicking with a little spirited urchin, some six
years old, who chased me with a piece of bamboo about three feet
long, with which he occasionally belaboured me. Seizing the
stick from him, the idea happened to suggest itself, that I might
make for the youngster, out of the slender tube, one of those
nursery muskets with which I had sometimes seen children play-
ing. Accordingly, with my knife I made two parallel slits in
the cane several inches in length, and cutting loose at one end
the elastic strip between them, bent it back and slipped the point
into a little notch made for the purpose. Any small substance
placed against this would be projected with considerable force
through the tube, by merely springing the bent strip out of the

Had I possessed the remotest idea of the sensation this piece of
ordnance was destined to produce, I should certainly have taken
out a patent for the invention. The boy scampered away with
it, half delirious with ecstacy, and in twenty minutes afterwards
I might have been seen surrounded by a noisy crowd—venerable
old greybeards—responsible fathers of families—valiant warriors
—matrons—young men—girls and children, all holding in their
hand bits of bamboo, and each clamouring to be served first.

For three or four hours I was engaged in manufacturing pop-
guns, but at last made over my good-will and interest in the con-
cern to a lad of remarkable quick parts, whom I soon initiated
into the art and mystery.

Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, now resounded all over the valley.
Duels, skirmishes, pitched battles, and general engagements were
to be seen on every side. Here, as you walked along a path
which led through a thicket, you fell into a cunningly-laid am-
bush, and became a target for a body of musketeers whose
tattooed limbs you could just see peeping into view through the
foliage. There, you were assailed by the intrepid garrison of a
house, who levelled their bamboo rifles at you from between the
upright canes which composed its sides. Farther on you were
fired upon by a detachment of sharpshooters, mounted upon the
top of a pi-pi.

Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop! green guavas, seeds, and berries were
flying about in every direction, and during this dangerous state of
affairs I was half afraid that, like the man and his brazen bull, I

[ 162 ]
should fall a victim to my own ingenuity. Like everything else,
however, the excitement gradually wore away, though ever after
occasional pop-guns might be heard at all hours of the day.

It was towards the close of the pop-gun war, that I was infi-
nitely diverted with a strange freak of Marheyo’s.

I had worn, when I quitted the ship, a pair of thick pumps,
which, from the rough usage they had received in scaling preci-
pices and sliding down gorges, were so dilapidated as to be alto-
gether unfit for use—so, at least, would have thought the gene-
rality of people, and so they most certainly were, when con-
sidered in the light of shoes. But things unserviceable in one
way, may with advantage be applied in another, that is, if one
have genius enough for the purpose. This genius Marheyo
possessed in a superlative degree, as he abundantly evinced by
the use to which he put these sorely bruised and battered old

Every article, however trivial, which belonged to me, the
natives appeared to regard as sacred; and I observed that for
several days after becoming an inmate of the house, my pumps
were suffered to remain, untouched, where I had first happened
to throw them. I remembered, however, that after awhile I had
missed them from their accustomed place; but the matter gave
me no concern, supposing that Tinor—like any other tidy house-
wife, having come across them in some of her domestic occupa-
tions—had pitched the useless things out of the house. But I was
soon undeceived.

One day I observed old Marheyo bustling about me with un-
usual activity, and to such a degree as almost to supersede Kory-
Kory in the functions of his office. One moment he volunteered
to trot off with me on his back to the stream; and when I refused,
noways daunted by the repulse he continued to frisk about me
like a superannuated house-dog. I could not for the life of me
conjecture what possessed the old gentleman, until all at once,
availing himself of the temporary absence of the household, he
went through a variety of uncouth gestures, pointing eagerly
down to my feet, and then up to a little bundle which swung from
the ridge-pole overhead. At last I caught a faint idea of his
meaning, and motioned him to lower the package. He executed
the order in the twinkling of an eye, and unrolling a piece of

[ 163 ]
tappa displayed to my astonished gaze the identical pumps which
I thought had been destroyed long before.

I immediately comprehended his desires, and very generously
gave him the shoes, which had become quite mouldy, wondering
for what earthly purpose he could want them.

The same afternoon I descried the venerable warrior approach-
ing the house, with a slow, stately gait, ear-rings in ears, and
spear in hand, with this highly ornamental pair of shoes suspended
from his neck by a strip of bark, and swinging backwards and
forwards on his capacious chest. In the gala costume of the
tasteful Marheyo, these calf-skin pendants ever after formed the
most striking feature.

But to turn to something a little more important. Although
the whole existence of the inhabitants of the valley seemed to
pass away exempt from toil, yet there were some light employ-
ments which, although amusing rather than laborious as occupa-
tions, contributed to their comfort and luxury. Among these,
the most important was the manufacture of the native cloth,—
“tappa,”—so well known, under various modifications, through-
out the whole Polynesian Archipelago. As is generally under-
stood, this useful and sometimes elegant article is fabricated
from the bark of different trees. But, as I believe that no de-
scription of its manufacture has ever been given, I shall state
what I know regarding it.

In the manufacture of the beautiful white tappa generally
worn on the Marquesa Islands, the preliminary operation con-
sists in gathering a certain quantity of the young branches of the
cloth-tree. The exterior green bark being pulled off as worth-
less, there remains a slender fibrous substance, which is carefully
stripped from the stick, to which it closely adheres. When a
sufficient quantity of it has been collected, the various strips are
enveloped in a covering of large leaves, which the natives use
precisely as we do wrapping-paper, and which are secured by a
few turns of a line passed round them. The package is then
laid in the bed of some running stream, with a heavy stone placed
over it, to prevent its being swept away. After it has remained
for two or three days in this state, it is drawn out, and exposed,
for a short time, to the action of the air, every distinct piece
being attentively inspected, with a view of ascertaining whether

[ 164 ]
it has yet been sufficiently affected by the operation. This is
repeated again and again, until the desired result is obtained.

When the substance is in a proper state for the next process,
it betrays evidences of incipient decomposition; the fibres are
relaxed and softened, and rendered perfectly malleable. The
different strips are now extended, one by one, in successive layers,
upon some smooth surface—generally the prostrate trunk of a
cocoa-nut tree—and the heap thus formed is subjected, at every
new increase, to a moderate beating, with a sort of wooden
mallet, leisurely applied. The mallet is made of a hard heavy
wood resembling ebony, is about twelve inches in length, and per-
haps two in breadth, with a rounded handle at one end, and in
shape is the exact counterpart of one of our four-sided razor-strops.
The flat surfaces of the implement are marked with shallow
parallel indentations, varying in depth on the different sides, so as
to be adapted to the several stages of the operation. These marks
produce the corduroy sort of stripes discernible in the tappa in its
finished state. After being beaten in the manner I have described,
the material soon becomes blended in one mass, which, moistened
occasionally with water, is at intervals hammered out, by a kind
of gold-beating process, to any degree of thinness required. In
this way the cloth is easily made to vary in strength and thick-
ness, so as to suit the numerous purposes to which it is applied.

When the operation last described has been concluded, the
new-made toppa is spread out on the grass to bleach and dry,
and soon becomes of a dazzling whiteness. Sometimes, in the
first stages of the manufacture, the substance is impregnated with
a vegetable juice, which gives it a permanent colour. A rich
brown and a bright yellow are occasionally seen, but the simple
taste of the Typee people inclines them to prefer the natural tint.

The notable wife of Kammahammaha, the renowned conqueror
and king of the Sandwich Islands, used to pride herself in the skill
she displayed in dyeing her tappa with contrasting colours disposed
in regular figures; and, in the midst of the innovations of the
times, was regarded, towards the decline of her life, as a lady of
the old school, clinging as she did to the national cloth, in pre-
ference to the frippery of the European calicoes. But the art of
printing the tappa is unknown upon the Marquesan Islands.

In passing along the valley, I was often attracted by the noise

[ 165 ]
of the mallet, which, when employed in the manufacture of the
cloth, produces at every stroke of its hard, heavy wood, a clear,
ringing, and musical sound, capable of being heard at a great
distance. When several of these implements happen to be in
operation at the same time, and near one another, the effect upon
the ear of a person, at a little distance, is really charming.
[ 166 ]

History of a Day as usually spent in the Typee Valley—Dances of the
Marquesan Girls.

Nothing can be more uniform and undiversified than the life
of the Typees; one tranquil day of ease and happiness follows
another in quiet succession; and with these unsophisticated
savages the history of a day is the history of a life. I will,
therefore, as briefly as I can, describe one of our days in the

To begin with the morning. We were not very early risers
—the sun would be shooting his golden spikes above the Happar
mountain, ere I threw aside my tappa robe, and girding my long
tunic about my waist, sallied out with Fayaway and Kory-Kory,
and the rest of the household, and bent my steps towards the
stream. Here we found congregated all those who dwelt in our
section of the valley; and here we bathed with them. The
fresh morning air and the cool flowing waters put both soul and
body in a glow, and after a half-hour employed in this recreation,
we sauntered back to the house—Tinor and Marheyo gathering
dry sticks by the way for fire-wood; some of the young men
laying the cocoa-nut trees under contribution as they passed
beneath them; while Kory-Kory played his outlandish pranks
for my particular diversion, and Fayaway and I, not arm in arm
to be sure, but sometimes hand in hand, strolled along, with
feelings of perfect charity for all the world, and especial good-
will towards each other.

Our morning meal was soon prepared. The islanders are
somewhat abstemious at this repast; reserving the more powerful
efforts of their appetite to a later period of the day. For my
own part, with the assistance of my valet, who, as I have before
stated, always officiated as spoon on these occasions, I ate
sparingly from one of Tinor’s trenchers of poee-poee; which

[ 167 ]
was devoted exclusively for my own use, being mixed with the
milky meat of ripe cocoa-nut. A section of a roasted bread-fruit,
a small cake of “Amar,” or a mess of “Cokoo,” two or three
bananas, or a Mawmee apple; an annuee, or some other agree-
able and nutricious fruit served from day to day to diversify the
meal, which was finished by tossing off the liquid contents of a
young cocoa-nut or two.

While partaking of this simple repast, the inmates of Marheyo’s
house, after the style of the indolent Romans, reclined in sociable
groups upon the divan of mats, and digestion was promoted by
cheerful conversation.

After the morning meal was concluded, pipes were lighted;
and among them my own especial pipe, a present from the noble
Mehevi. The islanders, who only smoke a whiff or two at a
time, and at long intervals, and who keep their pipes going from
hand to hand continually, regarded my systematic smoking
of four or five pipefuls of tobacco in succession, as something
quite wonderful. When two or three pipes had circulated freely,
the company gradually broke up. Marheyo went to the little
hut he was for ever building. Tinor began to inspect her rolls of
tappa, or employed her busy fingers in plaiting grass-mats. The
girls anointed themselves with their fragrant oils, dressed their
hair, or looked over their curious finery, and compared together
their ivory trinkets, fashioned out of boar’s tusks or whale’s
teeth. The young men and warriors produced their spears,
paddles, canoe-gear, battle-clubs, and war-conchs, and occu-
pied themselves in carving all sorts of figures upon them with
pointed bits of shell or flint, and adorning them, especially the
war-conchs, with tassels of braided bark and tufts of human
hair. Some, immediately after eating, threw themselves once
more upon the inviting mats, and resumed the employment of
the previous night, sleeping as soundly as if they had not closed
their eyes for a week. Others sallied out into the groves, for
the purpose of gathering fruit or fibres of bark and leaves; the
last two being in constant requisition, and applied to a hundred
uses. A few, perhaps, among the girls, would slip into the
woods after flowers, or repair to the stream with small cala-
bashes and cocoa-nut shells, in order to polish them by friction
with a smooth stone in the water. In truth these innocent

[ 168 ]
people seemed to be at no loss for something to occupy their
time; and it would be no light task to enumerate all their
employments, or rather pleasures.

My own mornings I spent in a variety of ways. Sometimes
I rambled about from house to house, sure of receiving a cordial
welcome wherever I went; or from grove to grove, and from
one shady place to another, in company with Kory-Kory and
Fayaway, and a rabble rout of merry young idlers. Sometimes
I was too indolent for exercise, and accepting one of the many
invitations I was continually receiving, stretched myself out on
the mats of some hospitable dwelling, and occupied myself plea-
santly either in watching the proceedings of those around me or
taking part in them myself. Whenever I chose to do the latter,
the delight of the islanders was boundless; and there was always
a throng of competitors for the honour of instructing me in any
particular craft. I soon became quite an accomplished hand at
making tappa—could braid a grass sling as well as the best of
them—and once, with my knife, carved the handle of a javelin
so exquisitely, that I have no doubt, to this day, Karnoonoo, its
owner, preserves it as a surprising specimen of my skill. As
noon approached, all those who had wandered forth from our
habitation, began to return; and when mid-day was fairly come
scarcely a sound was to be heard in the valley: a deep sleep fell
upon all. The luxurious siesta was hardly ever omitted, except
by old Marheyo, who was so eccentric a character, that he
seemed to be governed by no fixed principles whatever; but act-
ing just according to the humour of the moment, slept, ate, or
tinkered away at his little hut, without regard to the proprieties
of time or place. Frequently he might have been seen taking
a nap in the sun at noon-day, or a bath in the stream at mid-
night. Once I beheld him perched eighty feet from the ground,
in the tuft of a cocoa-nut tree, smoking; and often I saw him
standing up to the waist in water, engaged in plucking out the
stray hairs of his beard, using a piece of muscle-shell for

The noon-tide slumber lasted generally an hour and a half;
very often longer; and after the sleepers had arisen from their
mats they again had recourse to their pipes, and then made pre-
parations for the most important meal of the day.

[ 169 ]

I, however, like those gentlemen of leisure who breakfast at
home and dine at their club, almost invariably, during my in-
tervals of health, enjoyed the afternoon repast with the bachelor
chiefs of the Ti, who were always rejoiced to see me, and lavishly
spread before me all the good things which their larder afforded.
Mehevi generally produced among other dainties a baked pig,
an article which I have every reason to suppose was provided for
my sole gratification.

The Ti was a right jovial place. It did my heart, as well as
my body, good to visit it. Secure from female intrusion, there
was no restraint upon the hilarity of the warriors, who, like the
gentlemen of Europe after the cloth is drawn and the ladies
retire, freely indulged their mirth.

After spending a considerable portion of the afternoon at the Ti,
I usually found myself, as the cool of the evening came on, either
sailing on the little lake with Fayaway, or bathing in the waters
of the stream with a number of the savages, who, at this hour,
always repaired thither. As the shadows of night approached
Marheyo’s household were once more assembled under his roof:
tapers were lit, long and curious chants were raised, intermin-
able stories were told (for which one present was little the
wiser), and all sorts of social festivities served to while away the

The young girls very often danced by moonlight in front of
their dwellings. There are a great variety of these dances, in
which, however, I never saw the men take part. They all con-
sist of active, romping, mischievous evolutions, in which every
limb is brought into requisition. Indeed, the Marquesan girls
dance all over, as it were; not only do their feet dance, but
their arms, hands, fingers, ay, their very eyes, seem to dance in
their heads. In good sooth, they so sway their floating forms,
arch their necks, toss aloft their naked arms, and glide, and swim,
and whirl, that it was almost too much for a quiet, sober-minded,
modest young man like myself.

The damsels wear nothing but flowers and their compendious
gala tunics; and when they plume themselves for the dance,
they look like a band of olive-coloured Sylphides on the point of
taking wing.

Unless some particular festivity was going forward, the inmates

[ 170 ]
of Marheyo’s house retired to their mats rather early in the
evening; but not for the night, since, after slumbering lightly
for a while, they rose again, relit their tapers, partook of the
third and last meal of the day, at which poee-poee alone was eaten,
and then, after inhaling a narcotic whiff from a pipe of tobacco,
disposed themselves for the great business of night, sleep.
With the Marquesans it might almost be styled the great busi-
ness of life, for they pass a large portion of their time in the
arms of Somnus. The native strength of their constitutions is
no way shown more emphatically than in the quantity of sleep
they can endure. To many of them, indeed, life is little else
than an often interrupted and luxurious nap.
[ 171 ]

The Spring of Arva Wai—Remarkable Monumental Remains—Some ideas
with regard to the History of the Pi-Pis found in the Valley.

Almost every country has its medicinal springs famed for their
healing virtues. The Cheltenham of Typee is embosomed in
the deepest solitude, and but seldom receives a visitor. It is
situated remote from any dwelling, a little way up the mountain,
near the head of the valley; and you approach it by a pathway
shaded by the most beautiful foliage and adorned with a thou-
sand fragrant plants.

The mineral waters of Arva Wai* ooze forth from the crevices
of a rock, and gliding down its mossy side, fall at last, in many
clustering drops, into a natural basin of stone fringed round
with grass and dewy-looking little violet-coloured flowers, as
fresh and beautiful as the perpetual moisture they enjoy can
make them.

The water is held in high estimation by the islanders, some of
whom consider it an agreeable as well as a medicinal beverage;
they bring it from the mountain in their calabashes, and store it
away beneath heaps of leaves in some shady nook near the house.
Old Marheyo had a great love for the waters of the spring.
Every now and then he lugged off to the mountain a great
round demijohn of a calabash, and, panting with his exertions,
brought it back filled with his darling fluid.

The water tasted like a solution of a dozen disagreeable things,
and was sufficiently nauseous to have made the fortune of the
proprietor, had the spa been situated in the midst of any civilized

As I am no chemist, I cannot give a scientific analysis of the
water. All I know about the matter is, that one day Marheyo

* I presume this might be translated into “Strong Waters.” Arva is the
name bestowed upon a root the properties of which are both inebriating and
medicinal. “Wai” is the Marquesan word for water.

[ 172 ]
in my presence poured out the last drop from his huge calabash,
and I observed at the bottom of the vessel a small quantity of
gravelly sediment very much resembling our common sand.
Whether this is always found in the water, and gives it its pecu-
liar flavour and virtues, or whether its presence was merely
incidental, I was not able to ascertain.

One day in returning from this spring by a circuitous path, I
came upon a scene which reminded me of Stonehenge and the
architectural labours of the Druid.

At the base of one of the mountains, and surrounded on all
sides by dense groves, a series of vast terraces of stone rises, step
by step, for a considerable distance up the hill side. These
terraces cannot be less than one hundred yards in length and
twenty in width. Their magnitude, however, is less striking
than the immense size of the blocks composing them. Some of
the stones, of an oblong shape, are from ten to fifteen feet in
length, and five or six feet thick. Their sides are quite smooth,
but though square, and of pretty regular formation, they bear
no mark of the chisel. They are laid together without cement,
and here and there show gaps between. The topmost terrace
and the lower one are somewhat peculiar in their construction.
They have both a quadrangular depression in the centre, leaving
the rest of the terrace elevated several feet above it. In the
intervals of the stones immense trees have taken root, and their
broad boughs stretching far over, and interlacing together,
support a canopy almost impenetrable to the sun. Overgrowing
the greater part of them, and climbing from one to another, is
a wilderness of vines, in whose sinewy embrace many of the
stones lie half hidden, while in some places a thick growth of
bushes entirely covers them. There is a wild pathway which
obliquely crosses two of these terraces; and so profound is the
shade, so dense the vegetation, that a stranger to the place might
pass along it without being aware of their existence.

These structures bear every indication of a very high anti-
quity, and Kory-Kory, who was my authority in all matters of
scientific research, gave me to understand that they were coeval
with the creation of the world; that the great gods themselves
were the builders; and that they would endure until time shall
be no more. Kory-Kory’s prompt explanation, and his attributing

[ 173 ]
the work to a divine origin, at once convinced me that neither
he nor the rest of his countrymen knew anything about them.

As I gazed upon this monument, doubtless the work of an ex-
tinct and forgotten race, thus buried in the green nook of an
island at the ends of the earth, the existence of which was yester-
day unknown, a stronger feeling of awe came over me than if I
had stood musing at the mighty base of the Pyramid of Cheops.
There are no inscriptions, no sculpture, no clue, by which to
conjecture its history: nothing but the dumb stones. How
many generations of those majestic trees which overshadow them
have grown and flourished and decayed since first they were

These remains naturally suggest many interesting reflections.
They establish the great age of the island, an opinion which the
builders of theories concerning the creation of the various groups
in the South Seas are not always inclined to admit. For my own
part, I think it just as probable that human beings were living
in the valleys of the Marquesas three thousand years ago as that
they were inhabiting the land of Egypt. The origin of the island
of Nukuheva cannot be imputed to the coral insect; for inde-
fatigable as that wonderful creature is, it would be hardly mus-
cular enough to pile rocks one upon the other more than three
thousand feet above the level of the sea. That the land may
have been thrown up by a submarine volcano is as possible as
anything else. No one can make an affidavit to the contrary,
and therefore I will say nothing against the supposition: indeed,
were geologists to assert that the whole continent of America
had in like manner been formed by the simultaneous explosion
of a train of Etnas laid under the water all the way from the
North Pole to the parallel of Cape Horn, I am the last man in
the world to contradict them.

I have already mentioned that the dwellings of the islanders
were almost invariably built upon massive stone foundations,
which they call pi-pis. The dimensions of these, however, as
well as of the stones composing them, are comparatively small:
but there are other and larger erections of a similar description
comprising the “morais,” or burying-grounds, and festival-
places, in nearly all the valleys of the island. Some of these
piles are so extensive, and so great a degree of labour and skill

[ 174 ]
must have been requisite in constructing them, that I can scarcely
believe they were built by the ancestors of the present inhabitants.
If indeed they were, the race has sadly deteriorated in their know-
ledge of the mechanic arts. To say nothing of their habitual
indolence, by what contrivance within the reach of so simple a
people could such enormous masses have been moved or fixed in
their places? and how could they with their rude implements
have chiselled and hammered them into shape?

All of these larger pi-pis—like that of the Hoolah Hoolah
ground in the Typee valley—bore incontestable marks of great
age; and I am disposed to believe that their erection may be as-
cribed to the same race of men who were the builders of the still
more ancient remains I have just described.

According to Kory-Kory’s account, the pi-pi upon which
stands the Hoolah Hoolah ground was built a great many moons
ago, under the direction of Monoo, a great chief and warrior,
and, as it would appear, master-mason among the Typees. It
was erected for the express purpose to which it is at present de-
voted, in the incredibly short period of one sun; and was dedi-
cated to the immortal wooden idols by a grand festival, which
lasted ten days and nights.

Among the smaller pi-pis, upon which stand the dwelling-
houses of the natives, I never observed any which intimated a
recent erection. There are in every part of the valley a great
many of these massive stone foundations which have no houses
upon them. This is vastly convenient, for whenever an enter-
prising islander chooses to emigrate a few hundred yards from
the place where he was born, all he has to do in order to esta-
blish himself in some new locality, is to select one of the many
unappropriated pi-pis, and without further ceremony pitch his
bamboo tent upon it.

[ 175 ]

Preparations for a Grand Festival in the Valley—Strange doings in the
Taboo Groves—Monument of Calabashes—Gala Costume of the Typee
Damsels—Departure for the Festival.

From the time that my lameness had decreased, I had made a
daily practice of visiting Mehevi at the Ti, who invariably gave
me a most cordial reception. I was always accompanied in
these excursions by Fayaway and the ever-present Kory-Kory.
The former, as soon as we reached the vicinity of the Ti—which
was rigorously tabooed to the whole female sex—withdrew to a
neighbouring hut, as if her feminine delicacy restrained her from
approaching a habitation which might be regarded as a sort of
Bachelor’s Hall.

And in good truth it might well have been so considered. Al-
though it was the permanent residence of several distinguished
chiefs, and of the noble Mehevi in particular, it was still at certain
seasons the favourite haunt of all the jolly, talkative, and elderly
savages of the vale, who resorted thither in the same way that
similar characters frequent a tavern in civilized countries. There
they would remain hour after hour, chatting, smoking, eating
poee-poee, or busily engaged in sleeping for the good of their

This building appeared to be the head-quarters of the valley,
where all flying rumours concentrated; and to have seen it filled
with a crowd of the natives, all males, conversing in animated
clusters, while multitudes were continually coming and going,
one would have thought it a kind of savage Exchange, where
the rise and fall of Polynesian Stock was discussed.

Mehevi acted as supreme lord over the place, spending the
greater portion of his time there: and often when, at particular
hours of the day, it was deserted by nearly every one else except
the verd-antique looking centenarians, who were fixtures in the

[ 176 ]
building, the chief himself was sure to be found enjoying his
“otium cum dignitate” upon the luxurious mats which covered
the floor. Whenever I made my appearance he invariably rose,
and, like a gentleman doing the honours of his mansion, invited
me to repose myself wherever I pleased, and calling out “tam-
maree!” (boy), a little fellow would appear, and then retiring
for an instant, return with some savoury mess, from which the
chief would press me to regale myself. To tell the truth, Me-
hevi was indebted to the excellence of his viands for the honour
of my repeated visits,—a matter which cannot appear singular,
when it is borne in mind that bachelors, all the world over, are
famous for serving up unexceptionable repasts.

One day, on drawing near to the Ti, I observed that extensive
preparations were going forward, plainly betokening some ap-
proaching festival. Some of the symptoms reminded me of the
stir produced among the scullions of a large hotel, where a grand
jubilee dinner is about to be given. The natives were hurrying
about hither and thither, engaged in various duties; some lugging
off to the stream enormous hollow bamboos, for the purpose of
filling them with water; others chasing furious-looking hogs
through the bushes, in their endeavours to capture them; and
numbers employed in kneading great mountains of poee-poee
heaped up in huge wooden vessels.

After observing these lively indications for a while, I was
attracted to a neighbouring grove by a prodigious squeaking
which I heard there. On reaching the spot I found it proceeded
from a large hog which a number of natives were forcibly hold-
ing to the earth, while a muscular fellow, armed with a bludgeon,
was ineffectually aiming murderous blows at the skull of the
unfortunate porker. Again and again he missed his writhing
and struggling victim, but though puffing and panting with his
exertions, he still continued them; and after striking a sufficient
number of blows to have demolished an entire drove of oxen,
with one crashing stroke he laid him dead at his feet.

Without letting any blood from the body, it was immediately
carried to a fire which had been kindled near at hand, and four
savages taking hold of the carcass by its legs, passed it rapidly
to and fro in the flames. In a moment the smell of burning
bristles betrayed the object of this procedure. Having got thus

[ 177 ]
far in the matter, the body was removed to a little distance;
and, being disembowelled, the entrails were laid aside as choice
parts, and the whole carcass thoroughly washed with water. An
ample thick green cloth, composed of the long thick leaves of a
species of palm-tree, ingeniously tacked together with little pins
of bamboo, was now spread upon the ground, in which the body
being carefully rolled, it was borne to an oven previously pre-
pared to receive it. Here it was at once laid upon the heated
stones at the bottom, and covered with thick layers of leaves, the
whole being quickly hidden from sight by a mound of earth
raised over it.

Such is the summary style in which the Typees convert per-
verse-minded and rebellious hogs into the most docile and amiable
pork; a morsel of which placed on the tongue melts like a soft
smile from the lips of Beauty.

I commend their peculiar mode of proceeding to the consider-
ation of all butchers, cooks, and housewives. The hapless porker
whose fate I have just rehearsed, was not the only one who
suffered on that memorable day. Many a dismal grunt, many
an imploring squeak, proclaimed what was going on throughout
the whole extent of the valley; and I verily believe the first-
born of every litter perished before the setting of that fatal sun.

The scene around the Ti was now most animated. Hogs and
poee-poee were baking in numerous ovens, which, heaped up with
fresh earth into slight elevations, looked like so many ant-hills.
Scores of the savages were vigorously plying their stone pestles
in preparing masses of poee-poee, and numbers were gathering
green bread-fruit and young cocoa-nuts in the surrounding groves;
while an exceeding great multitude, with a view of encouraging
the rest in their labours, stood still, and kept shouting most
lustily without intermission.

It is a peculiarity among these people, that when engaged in
any employment they always make a prodigious fuss about it. So
seldom do they ever exert themselves, that when they do work
they seem determined that so meritorious an action shall not
escape the observation of those around. If, for example, they
have occasion to remove a stone to a little distance, which per-
haps might be carried by two able-bodied men, a whole swarm
gather about it, and, after a vast deal of palavering, lift it up

[ 178 ]
among them, every one struggling to get hold of it, and bear it
off yelling and panting as if accomplishing some mighty achieve-
ment. Seeing them on these occasions, one is reminded of an
infinity of black ants clustering about and dragging away to
some hole the leg of a deceased fly.

Having for some time attentively observed these demonstrations
of good cheer, I entered the Ti, where Mehevi sat complacently
looking out upon the busy scene, and occasionally issuing his
orders. The chief appeared to be in an extraordinary flow of
spirits, and gave me to understand that on the morrow there
would be grand doings in the Groves generally, and at the Ti
in particular; and urged me by no means to absent myself. In
commemoration of what event, however, or in honour of what
distinguished personage, the feast was to be given, altogether
passed my comprehension. Mehevi sought to enlighten my
ignorance, but he failed as signally as when he had endeavoured
to initiate me into the perplexing arcana of the taboo.

On leaving the Ti, Kory-Kory, who had as a matter of course
accompanied me, observing that my curiosity remained unabated,
resolved to make every thing plain and satisfactory. With
this intent, he escorted me through the Taboo Groves, pointing
out to my notice a variety of objects, and endeavoured to explain
them in such an indescribable jargon of words, that it almost
put me in bodily pain to listen to him. In particular, he led
me to a remarkable pyramidical structure some three yards
square at the base, and perhaps ten feet in height, which had
lately been thrown up, and occupied a very conspicuous position.
It was composed principally of large empty calabashes, with a
few polished cocoa-nut shells, and looked not unlike a cenotaph
of skulls. My cicerone perceived the astonishment with which
I gazed at this monument of savage crockery, and immediately
addressed himself to the task of enlightening me: but all in vain;
and to this hour the nature of the monument remains a complete
mystery to me. As, however, it formed so prominent a feature
in the approaching revels, I bestowed upon the latter, in my own
mind, the title of the “Feast of Calabashes.”

The following morning, awaking rather late, I perceived the
whole of Marheyo’s family busily engaged in preparing for the
festival. The old warrior himself was arranging in round balls

[ 179 ]
the two grey locks of hair that were suffered to grow from the
crown of his head; his earrings and spear, both well polished,
lay beside him, while the highly decorative pair of shoes hung
suspended from a projecting cane against the side of the house.
The young men were similarly employed; and the fair damsels,
including Fayaway, were anointing themselves with “aka,” ar-
ranging their long tresses, and performing other matters con-
nected with the duties of the toilet.

Having completed their preparations, the girls now exhibited
themselves in gala costume; the most conspicuous feature of
which was a necklace of beautiful white flowers, with the stems
removed, and strung closely together upon a single fibre of tappa.
Corresponding ornaments were inserted in their ears, and woven
garlands upon their heads. About their waist they wore a short
tunic of spotless white tappa, and some of them superadded to
this a mantle of the same material, tied in an elaborate bow upon
the left shoulder, and falling about the figure in picturesque folds.

Thus arrayed, I would have matched the charming Fayaway
against any beauty in the world.

People may say what they will about the taste evinced by our
fashionable ladies in dress. Their jewels, their feathers, their
silks, and their furbelows would have sunk into utter insignifi-
cance beside the exquisite simplicity of attire adopted by the
nymphs of the vale on this festive occasion. I should like to
have seen a gallery of coronation beauties, at Westminster Abbey,
confronted for a moment by this band of Island girls; their stiff-
ness, formality, and affectation contrasted with the artless viva-
city and unconcealed natural graces of these savage maidens. It
would be the Venus de’ Medici placed beside a milliner’s doll.

It was not long before Kory-Kory and myself were left alone
in the house, the rest of its inmates having departed for the
Taboo Groves. My valet was all impatience to follow them;
and was as fidgety about my dilatory movements as a diner out
waiting hat in hand at the bottom of the stairs for some lagging
companion. At last, yielding to his importunities, I set out for
the Ti. As we passed the houses peeping out from the groves
through which our route lay, I noticed that they were entirely
deserted by their inhabitants.

When we reached the rock that abruptly terminated the path,

[ 180 ]
and concealed from us the festive scene, wild shouts and a con-
fused blending of voices assured me that the occasion, whatever
it might be, had drawn together a great multitude. Kory-Kory,
previous to mounting the elevation, paused for a moment, like a
dandy at a ball-room door, to put a hasty finish to his toilet.
During this short interval, the thought struck me that I ought
myself perhaps to be taking some little pains with my appearance.
But as I had no holiday raiment, I was not a little puzzled to
devise some means of decorating myself. However, as I felt
desirous to create a sensation, I determined to do all that lay in
my power; and knowing that I could not delight the savages
more than by conforming to their style of dress, I removed from
my person the large robe of tappa which I was accustomed to
wear over my shoulders whenever I sallied into the open air,
and remained merely girt about with a short tunic descending
from my waist to my knees.

My quick-witted attendant fully appreciated the compliment
I was paying to the costume of his race, and began more sedu-
lously to arrange the folds of the one only garment which
remained to me. Whilst he was doing this, I caught sight of a
knot of young lasses, who were sitting near us on the grass sur-
rounded by heaps of flowers which they were forming into gar-
lands. I motioned to them to bring some of their handywork
to me; and in an instant a dozen wreaths were at my disposal.
One of them I put round the apology for a hat which I had been
forced to construct for myself out of palmetto-leaves, and some
of the others I converted into a splendid girdle. These opera-
tions finished, with the slow and dignified step of a full-dressed
beau I ascended the rock.

[ 181 ]

The Feast of Calabashes.

The whole population of the valley seemed to be gathered within
the precincts of the grove. In the distance could be seen the
long front of the Ti, its immense piazza swarming with men,
arrayed in every variety of fantastic costume, and all vociferating
with animated gestures; while the whole interval between it and
the place where I stood was enlivened by groups of females
fancifully decorated, dancing, capering, and uttering wild excla-
mations. As soon as they descried me they set up a shout of
welcome; and a band of them came dancing towards me chanting
as they approached some wild recitative. The change in my
garb seemed to transport them with delight, and clustering about
me on all sides, they accompanied me towards the Ti. When
however we drew near it these joyous nymphs paused in their
career, and parting on either side, permitted me to pass on to the
now densely thronged building.

So soon as I mounted to the pi-pi I saw at a glance that the
revels were fairly under way.

What lavish plenty reigned around!—Warwick feasting his
retainers with beef and ale was a niggard to the noble Mehevi!
—All along the piazza of the Ti were arranged elaborately
carved canoe-shaped vessels, some twenty feet in length, filled
with newly made poee-poee, and sheltered from the sun by the
broad leaves of the banana. At intervals were heaps of green
bread-fruit, raised in pyramidical stacks, resembling the regular
piles of heavy shot to be seen in the yard of an arsenal. Inserted
into the interstices of the huge stones which formed the pi-pi
were large boughs of trees; hanging from the branches of which,
and screened from the sun by their foliage, were innumerable
little packages with leafy coverings, containing the meat of the
numerous hogs which had been slain, done up in this manner to

[ 182 ]
make it more accessible to the crowd. Leaning against the railing
of the piazza were an immense number of long, heavy bamboos,
plugged at the lower end, and with their projecting muzzles
stuffed with a wad of leaves. These were filled with water from
the stream, and each of them might hold from four to five

The banquet being thus spread, nought remained but for
every one to help himself at his pleasure. Accordingly not a
moment passed but the transplanted boughs I have mentioned
were rifled by the throng of the fruit they certainly had never
borne before. Calabashes of poee-poee were continually being
replenished from the extensive receptacle in which that article
was stored, and multitudes of little fires were kindled about the
Ti for the purpose of roasting the bread-fruit.

Within the building itself was presented a most extraordinary
scene. The immense lounge of mats lying between the parallel
rows of the trunks of cocoa-nut trees, and extending the entire
length of the house, at least two hundred feet, was covered by
the reclining forms of a host of chiefs and warriors, who were
eating at a great rate, or soothing the cares of Polynesian life in
the sedative fumes of tobacco. The smoke was inhaled from
large pipes, the bowls of which, made out of small cocoa-nut
shells, were curiously carved in strange heathenish devices.
These were passed from mouth to mouth by the recumbent
smokers, who, taking two or three prodigious whiffs, handed the
pipe to his neighbour; sometimes for that purpose stretching
indolently across the body of some dozing individual whose
exertions at the dinner-table had already induced sleep.

The tobacco used among the Typees was of a very mild and
pleasing flavour, and as I always saw it in leaves, and the natives
appeared pretty well supplied with it, I was led to believe that it
must have been the growth of the valley. Indeed Kory-Kory
gave me to understand that this was the case; but I never saw a
single plant growing on the island. At Nukuheva, and, I believe,
in all the other valleys, the weed is very scarce, being only ob-
tained in small quantities from foreigners, and smoking is conse-
quently with the inhabitants of these places a very great luxury.
How it was that the Typees were so well furnished with it I
cannot divine. I should think them too indolent to devote any

[ 183 ]
attention to its culture; and, indeed, as far as my observation
extended, not a single atom of the soil was under any other
cultivation than that of shower and sunshine. The tobacco-
plant, however, like the sugar-cane, may grow wild in some
remote part of the vale.

There were many in the Ti for whom the tobacco did not
furnish a sufficient stimulus, and who accordingly had recourse to
“arva,” as a more powerful agent in producing the desired effect.

“Arva” is a root very generally dispersed over the South
Seas, and from it is extracted a juice, the effects of which upon
the system are at first stimulating in a moderate degree; but it
soon relaxes the muscles, and exerting a narcotic influence pro-
duces a luxurious sleep. In the valley this beverage was uni-
versally prepared in the following way:—Some half-dozen young
boys seated themselves in a circle around an empty wooden vessel,
each one of them being supplied with a certain quantity of the
roots of the “arva,” broken into small bits and laid by his side.
A cocoa-nut goblet of water was passed around the juvenile
company, who rinsing their mouths with its contents, proceeded
to the business before them. This merely consisted in thoroughly
masticating the “arva,” and throwing it mouthful after mouth-
ful into the receptacle provided. When a sufficient quantity had
been thus obtained water was poured upon the mass, and being
stirred about with the forefinger of the right-hand, the prepara-
tion was soon in readiness for use. The “arva” has medicinal

Upon the Sandwich Islands it has been employed with no
small success in the treatment of scrofulous affections, and in
combating the ravages of a disease for whose frightful inroads
the ill-starred inhabitants of that group are indebted to their
foreign benefactors. But the tenants of the Typee valley, as
yet exempt from these inflictions, generally employ the “arva”
as a minister to social enjoyment, and a calabash of the liquid
circulates among them as the bottle with us.

Mehevi, who was greatly delighted with the change in my
costume, gave me a cordial welcome. He had reserved for me
a most delectable mess of “cokoo,” well knowing my partiality
for that dish; and had likewise selected three or four young
cocoa-nuts, several roasted bread-fruit, and a magnificent bunch

[ 184 ]
of bananas, for my especial comfort and gratification. These
various matters were at once placed before me; but Kory-Kory
deemed the banquet entirely insufficient for my wants until he
had supplied me with one of the leafy packages of pork, which,
notwithstanding the somewhat hasty manner in which it had
been prepared, possessed a most excellent flavour, and was sur-
prisingly sweet and tender.

Pork is not a staple article of food among the people of the
Marquesas, consequently they pay little attention to the breeding
of the swine. The hogs are permitted to roam at large in the
groves, where they obtain no small part of their nourishment from
the cocoa-nuts which continually fall from the trees. But it is
only after infinite labour and difficulty, that the hungry animal can
pierce the husk and shell so as to get at the meat. I have fre-
quently been amused at seeing one of them, after crunching the
obstinate nut with his teeth for a long time unsuccessfully, get
into a violent passion with it. He would then root furiously
under the cocoa-nut, and, with a fling of his snout, toss it be-
fore him on the ground. Following it up, he would crunch at
it again savagely for a moment, and the next knock it on one
side, pausing immediately after, as if wondering how it could
so suddenly have disappeared. In this way the persecuted
cocoa-nuts were often chased half across the valley.

The second day of the Feast of Calabashes was ushered in
by still more uproarious noises than the first. The skins of in-
numerable sheep seemed to be resounding to the blows of an
army of drummers. Startled from my slumbers by the din, I
leaped up, and found the whole household engaged in making
preparations for immediate departure. Curious to discover of
what strange events these novel sounds might be the precursors,
and not a little desirous to catch a sight of the instruments
which produced the terrific noise, I accompanied the natives as
soon as they were in readiness to depart for the Taboo Groves.

The comparatively open space that extended from the Ti
toward the rock, to which I have before alluded as forming the
ascent to the place was, with the building itself, now altogether
deserted by the men, the whole distance being filled by bands
of females, shouting and dancing under the influence of some
strange excitement.

[ 185 ]

I was amused at the appearance of four or five old women
who, in a state of utter nudity, with their arms extended flatly
down their sides, and holding themselves perfectly erect, were
leaping stiffly into the air, like so many sticks bobbing to the
surface, after being pressed perpendicularly into the water.
They preserved the utmost gravity of countenance, and con-
tinued their extraordinary movements without a single moment’s
cessation. They did not appear to attract the observation of the
crowd around them, but I must candidly confess that, for my
own part, I stared at them most pertinaciously.

Desirous of being enlightened with regard to the meaning
of this peculiar diversion, I turned inquiringly to Kory-Kory;
that learned Typee immediately proceeded to explain the whole
matter thoroughly. But all that I could comprehend from what
he said was, that the leaping figures before me were bereaved
widows, whose partners had been slain in battle many moons
previously; and who, at every festival, gave public evidence
in this manner of their calamities. It was evident that Kory-
Kory considered this an all-sufficient reason for so indecorous a
custom; but I must say that it did not satisfy me as to its pro-

Leaving these afflicted females, we passed on to the Hoolah-
Hoolah ground. Within the spacious quadrangle, the whole
population of the valley seemed to be assembled, and the sight
presented was truly remarkable. Beneath the sheds of bam-
boo which opened towards the interior of the square, reclined
the principal chiefs and warriors, while a miscellaneous throng
lay at their ease under the enormous trees which spread a ma-
jestic canopy overhead. Upon the terraces of the gigantic altars,
at either end, were deposited green bread-fruit in baskets of
cocoa-nut leaves, large rolls of tappa, bunches of ripe bananas,
clusters of mammee-apples, the golden-hued fruit of the artu-
tree, and baked hogs, laid out in large wooden trenches, fanci-
fully decorated with freshly plucked leaves, whilst a variety of
rude implements of war were piled in confused heaps before the
ranks of hideous idols. Fruits of various kinds were likewise
suspended in leafen baskets, from the tops of poles planted up-
rightly, and at regular intervals, along the lower terraces of
both altars. At their base were arranged two parallel rows of

[ 186 ]
cumbersome drums, standing at least fifteen feet in height, and
formed from the hollow trunks of large trees. Their heads
were covered with shark skins, and their barrels were elabo-
rately carved with various quaint figures and devices. At
regular intervals they were bound round by a species of sin-
nate of various colours, and strips of native cloth flattened upon
them here and there. Behind these instruments were built
slight platforms, upon which stood a number of young men
who, beating violently with the palms of their hands upon
the drum-heads, produced those outrageous sounds which had
awakened me in the morning. Every few minutes these mu-
sical performers hopped down from their elevation into the
crowd below, and their places were immediately supplied by
fresh recruits. Thus an incessant din was kept up that might
have startled Pandemonium.

Precisely in the middle of the quadrangle were placed per-
pendicularly in the ground, a hundred or more slender, fresh-cut
poles, stripped of their bark, and decorated at the end with a
floating pennon of white tappa; the whole being fenced about
with a little picket of canes. For what purpose these singular
ornaments were intended I in vain endeavoured to discover.

Another most striking feature of the performance was ex-
hibited by a score of old men, who sat cross-legged in the little
pulpits, which encircled the trunks of the immense trees grow-
ing in the middle of the enclosure. These venerable gentlemen,
who I presume were the priests, kept up an uninterrupted mo-
notonous chant, which was nearly drowned in the roar of drums.
In the right hand they held a finely woven grass fan, with a
heavy black wooden handle curiously chased: these fans they
kept in continual motion.

But no attention whatever seemed to be paid to the drummers
or to the old priests; the individuals who composed the vast
crowd present being entirely taken up in chatting and laughing
with one another, smoking, drinking arva, and eating. For all
the observation it attracted, or the good it achieved, the whole
savage orchestra might, with great advantage to its own mem-
bers and the company in general, have ceased the prodigious
uproar they were making.

In vain I questioned Kory-Kory and others of the natives,

[ 187 ]
as to the meaning of the strange things that were going on; all
their explanations were conveyed in such a mass of outlandish
gibberish and gesticulation that I gave up the attempt in de-
spair. All that day the drums resounded, the priests chanted,
and the multitude feasted and roared till sunset, when the
throng dispersed, and the Taboo Groves were again abandoned
to quiet and repose. The next day the same scene was repeated
until night, when this singular festival terminated.
[ 188 ]

Ideas suggested by the Feast of Calabashes—Inaccuracy of certain published
Accounts of the Islands—A Reason—Neglected State of Heathenism in
the Valley—Effigy of a dead Warrior—A singular Superstition—The
Priest Kolory and the God Moa Artua—Amazing Religious Observance—
A dilapidated Shrine—Kory-Kory and the Idol—An Inference.

Although I had been baffled in my attempts to learn the origin
of the Feast of Calabashes, yet it seemed very plain to me that
it was principally, if not wholly, of a religious character. As a
religious solemnity, however, it had not at all corresponded with
the horrible descriptions of Polynesian worship which we have
received in some published narratives, and especially in those
accounts of the evangelized islands with which the missionaries
have favoured us. Did not the sacred character of these persons
render the purity of their intentions unquestionable, I should
certainly be led to suppose that they had exaggerated the evils
of Paganism, in order to enhance the merit of their own disin-
terested labours.

In a certain work incidentally treating of the ‘Washington, or
Northern Marquesas Islands,’ I have seen the frequent immolation
of human victims upon the altars of their gods, positively and
repeatedly charged upon the inhabitants. The same work gives
also a rather minute account of their religion,—enumerates a
great many of their superstitions,—and makes known the par-
ticular designations of numerous orders of the priesthood. One
would almost imagine from the long list that is given of cannibal
primates, bishops, archdeacons, prebendaries, and other inferior
ecclesiastics, that the sacerdotal order far outnumbered the rest
of the population, and that the poor natives were more severely
priest-ridden than even the inhabitants of the papal states.
These accounts are likewise calculated to leave upon the reader’s
mind an impression that human victims are daily cooked and
served up upon the altars; that heathenish cruelties of every de-

[ 189 ]
scription are continually practised; and that these ignorant
Pagans are in a state of the extremest wretchedness in conse-
quence of the grossness of their superstitions. Be it observed,
however, that all this information is given by a man who, accord-
ing to his own statement, was only at one of the islands and re-
mained there but two weeks, sleeping every night on board his
ship, and taking little kid-glove excursions ashore in the day-
time, attended by an armed party.

Now, all I can say is, that in all my excursions through
the valley of Typee, I never saw any of these alleged enormities.
If any of them are practised upon the Marquesas Islands they
must certainly have come to my knowledge while living for
months with a tribe of savages, wholly unchanged from their
original primitive condition, and reputed the most ferocious in
the South Seas.

The fact is, that there is a vast deal of unintentional humbuggery
in some of the accounts we have from scientific men concerning
the religious institutions of Polynesia. These learned tourists
generally obtain the greater part of their information from the
retired old South-Sea rovers, who have domesticated themselves
among the barbarous tribes of the Pacific. Jack, who has long
been accustomed to the long-bow, and to spin tough yarns on a
ship’s forecastle, invariably officiates as showman of the island
on which he has settled, and having mastered a few dozen words
of the language, is supposed to know all about the people who
speak it. A natural desire to make himself of consequence in
the eyes of the strangers, prompts him to lay claim to a much
greater knowledge of such matters than he actually possesses. In
reply to incessant queries, he communicates not only all he
knows but a good deal more, and if there be any information
deficient still he is at no loss to supply it. The avidity with
which his anecdotes are noted down tickles his vanity, and his
powers of invention increase with the credulity of his auditors.
He knows just the sort of information wanted, and furnishes it
to any extent.

This is not a supposed case; I have met with several indi-
viduals like the one described, and I have been present at two or
three of their interviews with strangers.

Now, when the scientific voyager arrives at home with his col-

[ 190 ]
lection of wonders, he attempts, perhaps, to give a description
of some of the strange people he has been visiting. Instead of
representing them as a community of lusty savages, who are
leading a merry, idle, innocent life, he enters into a very circum-
stantial and learned narrative of certain unaccountable supersti-
tions and practices, about which he knows as little as the islanders
do themselves. Having had little time, and scarcely any oppor-
tunity to become acquainted with the customs he pretends to
describe, he writes them down one after another in an off-hand,
haphazard style; and were the book thus produced to be trans-
lated into the tongue of the people of whom it purports to give
the history, it would appear quite as wonderful to them as it
does to the American public, and much more improbable.

For my own part, I am free to confess my almost entire in-
ability to gratify any curiosity that may be felt with regard to
the theology of the valley. I doubt whether the inhabitants
themselves could do so. They are either too lazy or too sensible
to worry themselves about abstract points of religious belief.
While I was among them they never held any synods or councils
to settle the principles of their faith by agitating them. An un-
bounded liberty of conscience seemed to prevail. Those who
pleased to do so were allowed to repose implicit faith in an ill-
favoured god with a large bottle nose and fat shapeless arms
crossed upon his breast, whilst others worshipped an image
which, having no likeness either in heaven or on earth, could
hardly be called an idol. As the islanders always maintained a
discreet reserve, with regard to my own peculiar views on reli-
gion, I thought it would be excessively ill-bred in me to pry
into theirs.

But, although my knowledge of the religious faith of the
Typees was unavoidably limited, one of their superstitious ob-
servances with which I became acquainted interested me greatly.

In one of the most secluded portions of the valley within a
stone’s cast of Fayaway’s lake—for so I christened the scene of
our island yachting—and hard by a growth of palms, which stood
ranged in order along both banks of the stream, waving their
green arms as if to do honour to its passage, was the mausoleum
of a deceased warrior chief. Like all the other edifices of any
note, it was raised upon a small pi-pi of stones, which, being of

[ 191 ]
unusual height, was a conspicuous object from a distance. A
light thatching of bleached palmetto leaves hung over it like a
self-supported canopy; for it was not until you came very near
that you saw it was supported by four slender columns of bamboo
rising at each corner to a little more than the height of a man.
A clear area of a few yards surrounded the pi-pi, and was en-
closed by four trunks of cocoa-nut trees resting at the angles on
massive blocks of stone. The place was sacred. The sign of the
inscrutable taboo was seen in the shape of a mystic roll of white
tappa, suspended by a twisted cord of the same material from
the top of a slight pole planted within the enclosure.* The
sanctity of the spot appeared never to have been violated. The
stillness of the grave was there, and the calm solitude around was
beautiful and touching. The soft shadows of those lofty palm-
trees!—I can see them now—hanging over the little temple, as
if to keep out the intrusive sun.

On all sides as you approached this silent spot you caught
sight of the dead chief’s effigy, seated in the stern of a canoe,
which was raised on a light frame a few inches above the level
of the pi-pi. The canoe was about seven feet in length; of a
rich, dark coloured wood, handsomely carved and adorned in
many places with variegated bindings of stained sinnate, into
which were ingeniously wrought a number of sparkling sea-
shells, and a belt of the same shells ran all round it. The body
of the figure—of whatever material it might have been made—
was effectually concealed in a heavy robe of brown tappa, re-
vealing only the hands and head; the latter skilfully carved in
wood, and surmounted by a superb arch of plumes. These plumes,
in the subdued and gentle gales which found access to this se-
questered spot, were never for one moment at rest, but kept
nodding and waving over the chief’s brow. The long leaves of
the palmetto dropped over the eaves, and through them you saw
the warrior holding his paddle with both hands in the act of
rowing, leaning forward and inclining his head, as if eager to
hurry on his voyage. Glaring at him for ever, and face to face,
was a polished human skull, which crowned the prow of the
canoe. The spectral figure-head, reversed in its position, glancing
backwards, seemed to mock the impatient attitude of the warrior.

When I first visited this singular place with Kory-Kory, he

* White appears to be the sacred colour among the Marquesans.

[ 192 ]
told me—or at least I so understood him—that the chief was
paddling his way to the realms of bliss, and bread-fruit—the
Polynesian heaven—where every moment the bread-fruit trees
dropped their ripened spheres to the ground, and where there
was no end to the cocoa-nuts and bananas: there they reposed
through the livelong eternity upon mats much finer than those
of Typee; and every day bathed their glowing limbs in rivers of
cocoa-nut oil. In that happy land there were plenty of plumes
and feathers, and boars’-tusks and sperm-whale teeth, far prefer-
able to all the shining trinkets and gay tappa of the white men;
and, best of all, women far lovelier than the daughters of earth
were there in abundance. “A very pleasant place,” Kory-Kory
said it was; “but after all, not much pleasanter, he thought,
than Typee.” “Did he not then,” I asked him, “wish to ac-
company the warrior?” “Oh, no: he was very happy where he
was; but supposed that some time or other he would go in his
own canoe.”

Thus far, I think, I clearly comprehended Kory-Kory. But
there was a singular expression he made use of at the time, en-
forced by as singular a gesture, the meaning of which I would
have given much to penetrate. I am inclined to believe it must
have been a proverb he uttered; for I afterwards heard him
repeat the same words several times, and in what appeared to me
to be a somewhat similar sense. Indeed, Kory-Kory had a great
variety of short, smart-sounding sentences, with which he fre-
quently enlivened his discourse; and he introduced them with an
air which plainly intimated, that, in his opinion, they settled the
matter in question, whatever it might be.

Could it have been then, that when I asked him whether he
desired to go to this heaven of bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, and young
ladies, which he had been describing, he answered by saying
something equivalent to our old adage—“A bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush?”—if he did, Kory-Kory was a discreet
and sensible fellow, and I cannot sufficiently admire his shrewd-

Whenever in the course of my rambles through the valley I
happened to be near the chief’s mausoleum, I always turned
aside to visit it. The place had a peculiar charm for me; I
hardly know why; but so it was. As I leaned over the railing

[ 193 ]
and gazed upon the strange effigy and watched the play of the
feathery head-dress, stirred by the same breeze which in low
tones breathed amidst the lofty palm-trees, I loved to yield myself
up to the fanciful superstition of the islanders, and could almost
believe that the grim warrior was bound heavenward. In this
mood when I turned to depart, I bade him “God speed, and a
pleasant voyage.” Aye, paddle away, brave chieftain, to the
land of spirits! To the material eye thou makest but little pro-
gress; but with the eye of faith, I see thy canoe cleaving the
bright waves, which die away on those dimly looming shores of

This strange superstition affords another evidence of the fact,
that however ignorant man may be, he still feels within him his
immortal spirit yearning after the unknown future.

Although the religious theories of the islands were a complete
mystery to me, their practical every-day operation could not be
concealed. I frequently passed the little temples reposing in the
shadows of the taboo groves and beheld the offerings—mouldy
fruit spread out upon a rude altar, or hanging in half-decayed
baskets around some uncouth jolly-looking image; I was present
during the continuance of the festival; I daily beheld the grin-
ning idols marshalled rank and file in the Hoolah Hoolah ground,
and was often in the habit of meeting those whom I supposed to
be the priests. But the temples seemed abandoned to solitude;
the festival had been nothing more than a jovial mingling of the
tribe; the idols were quite as harmless as any other logs of wood;
and the priests were the merriest dogs in the valley.

In fact religious affairs in Typee were at a very low ebb: all
such matters sat very lightly upon the thoughtless inhabitants;
and, in the celebration of many of their strange rites, they ap-
peared merely to seek a sort of childish amusement.

A curious evidence of this was given in a remarkable cere-
mony in which I frequently saw Mehevi and several other chiefs
and warriors of note take part; but never a single female.

Among those whom I looked upon as forming the priesthood
of the valley, there was one in particular who often attracted my
notice, and whom I could not help regarding as the head of the
order. He was a noble looking man, in the prime of his life, and
of a most benignant aspect. The authority this man, whose name

[ 194 ]
was Kolory, seemed to exercise over the rest, the episcopal part
he took in the Feast of Calabashes, his sleek and complacent
appearance, the mystic characters which were tattooed upon his
chest, and above all the mitre he frequently wore, in the shape
of a towering head-dress, consisting of part of a cocoa-nut branch,
the stalk planted uprightly on his brow, and the leaflets gathered
together and passed round the temples and behind the ears, all
these pointed him out as Lord Primate of Typee. Kolory was
a sort of Knight Templar—a soldier-priest; for he often wore
the dress of a Marquesan warrior, and always carried a long spear,
which, instead of terminating in a paddle at the lower end, after
the general fashion of these weapons, was curved into a heathen-
ish-looking little image. This instrument, however, might per-
haps have been emblematic of his double functions. With one
end in carnal combat he transfixed the enemies of his tribe; and
with the other as a pastoral crook he kept in order his spiritual
flock. But this is not all I have to say about Kolory. His
martial grace very often carried about with him what seemed to
me the half of a broken war-club. It was swathed round with
ragged bits of white tappa, and the upper part, which was in-
tended to represent a human head, was embellished with a strip
of scarlet cloth of European manufacture. It required little
observation to discover that this strange object was revered as
a god. By the side of the big and lusty images standing sentinel
over the altars of the Hoolah Hoolah ground, it seemed a mere
pigmy in tatters. But appearances all the world over are decep-
tive. Little men are sometimes very potent, and rags sometimes
cover very extensive pretensions. In fact, this funny little
image was the “crack” god of the island; lording it over all
the wooden lubbers who looked so grim and dreadful; its name
was Moa Artua.* And it was in honour of Moa Artua, and
for the entertainment of those who believe in him, that the
curious ceremony I am about to describe was observed.

Mehevi and the chieftains of the Ti have just risen from their
noontide slumbers. There are no affairs of state to dispose of;
and having eaten two or three breakfasts in the course of the

* The word “Artua,” although having some other significations, is in
nearly all the Polynesian dialects used as the general designation of
the gods.

[ 195 ]
morning, the magnates of the valley feel no appetite as yet for
dinner. How are their leisure moments to be occupied? They
smoke, they chat, and at last one of their number makes a pro-
position to the rest, who joyfully acquiescing, he darts out of the
house, leaps from the pi-pi, and disappears in the grove. Soon
you see him returning with Kolory, who bears the god Moa
Artua in his arms, and carries in one hand a small trough, hol-
lowed out in the likeness of a canoe. The priest comes along
dandling his charge as if it were a lachrymose infant he was en-
deavouring to put into a good humour. Presently, entering the
Ti, he seats himself on the mats as composedly as a juggler about
to perform his sleight-of-hand tricks; and with the chiefs dis-
posed in a circle around him, commences his ceremony.

In the first place he gives Moa Artua an affectionate hug,
then caressingly lays him to his breast, and, finally, whispers
something in his ear; the rest of the company listening eagerly
for a reply. But the baby-god is deaf or dumb, — perhaps both,
for never a word does he utter. At last Kolory speaks a little
louder, and soon growing angry, comes boldly out with what
he has to say and bawls to him. He put me in mind of a
choleric fellow, who, after trying in vain to communicate a secret
to a deaf man, all at once flies into a passion and screams it out
so that every one may hear. Still Moa Artua remains as quiet
as ever; and Kolory, seemingly losing his temper, fetches him a
box over the head, strips him of his tappa and red cloth, and
laying him in a state of nudity in the little trough, covers him
from sight. At this proceeding all present loudly applaud and
signify their approval by uttering the adjective “motarkee”
with violent emphasis. Kolory, however, is so desirous his con-
duct should meet with unqualified approbation, that he inquires
of each individual separately whether, under existing circum-
stances, he has not done perfectly right in shutting up Moa Artua.
The invariable response is “Aa, Aa” (yes, yes), repeated over
again and again in a manner which ought to quiet the scruples
of the most conscientious. After a few moments Kolory brings
forth his doll again, and while arraying it very carefully in the
tappa and red cloth, alternately fondles and chides it. The toilet
being completed, he once more speaks to it aloud. The whole
company hereupon show the greatest interest; while the priest

[ 196 ]
holding Moa Artua to his ear interprets to them what he pretends
the god is confidentially communicating to him. Some items of
intelligence appear to tickle all present amazingly; for one claps
his hands in a rapture; another shouts with merriment; and a
third leaps to his feet and capers about like a madman.

What under the sun Moa Artua on these occasions had to say
to Kolory I never could find out; but I could not help thinking
that the former showed a sad want of spirit in being disciplined
into making those disclosures, which at first he seemed bent on
withholding. Whether the priest honestly interpreted what he
believed the divinity said to him, or whether he was not all the
while guilty of a vile humbug, I shall not presume to decide.
At any rate, whatever as coming from the god was imparted to
those present seemed to be generally of a complimentary nature:
a fact which illustrates the sagacity of Kolory, or else the time-
serving disposition of this hardly used deity.

Moa Artua having nothing more to say, his bearer goes to
nursing him again, in which occupation, however, he is soon in-
terrupted by a question put by one of the warriors to the god.
Kolory hereupon snatches it up to his ear again, and after list-
ening attentively, once more officiates as the organ of communi-
cation. A multitude of questions and answers having passed
between the parties, much to the satisfaction of those who pro-
pose them, the god is put tenderly to bed in the trough, and the
whole company unite in a long chaunt, led off by Kolory. This
ended, the ceremony is over; the chiefs rise to their feet in high
good humour, and my Lord Archbishop, after chatting awhile,
and regaling himself with a whiff or two from a pipe of tobacco,
tucks the canoe under his arm and marches off with it.

The whole of these proceedings were like those of a parcel of
children playing with dolls and baby houses.

For a youngster scarcely ten inches high, and with so few early
advantages as he doubtless had had, Moa Artua was certainly a
precocious little fellow if he really said all that was imputed to
him; but for what reason this poor devil of a deity, thus cuffed
about, cajoled and shut up in a box, was held in greater estima-
tion than the full-grown and dignified personages of the Taboo
Groves, I cannot divine. And yet Mehevi, and other chiefs of
unquestionable veracity—to say nothing of the Primate himself—

[ 197 ]
assured me over and over again that Moa Artua was the tutelary
deity of Typee, and was more to be held in honour than a whole
battalion of the clumsy idols in the Hoolah Hoolah grounds.
Kory-Kory—who seemed to have devoted considerable attention
to the study of theology, as he knew the names of all the graven
images in the valley, and often repeated them over to me—like-
wise entertained some rather enlarged ideas with regard to the
character and pretensions of Moa Artua. He once gave me to
understand, with a gesture there was no misconceiving, that if
he (Moa Artua) were so minded, he could cause a cocoa-nut tree
to sprout out of his (Kory-Kory’s) head; and that it would be
the easiest thing in life for him (Moa Artua) to take the whole
island of Nukuheva in his mouth and dive down to the bottom
of the sea with it.

But in sober seriousness, I hardly knew what to make of the
religion of the valley. There was nothing that so much per-
plexed the illustrious Cook, in his intercourse with the South Sea
islanders, as their sacred rites. Although this prince of naviga-
tors was in many instances assisted by interpreters in the prose-
cution of his researches, he still frankly acknowledges that he
was at a loss to obtain anything like a clear insight into the puz-
zling arcana of their faith. A similar admission has been made
by other eminent voyagers: by Carteret, Byron, Kotzebue, and

For my own part, although hardly a day passed while I re-
mained upon the island that I did not witness some religious
ceremony or other, it was very much like seeing a parcel of
“Freemasons” making secret signs to each other; I saw every-
thing, but could comprehend nothing.

On the whole, I am inclined to believe, that the islanders in
the Pacific have no fixed and definite ideas whatever on the sub-
ject of religion. I am persuaded that Kolory himself would be
effectually posed were he called upon to draw up the articles of
his faith and pronounce the creed by which he hoped to be
saved. In truth, the Typees, so far as their actions evince, sub-
mitted to no laws human or divine—always excepting the thrice
mysterious taboo. The “independent electors” of the valley
were not to be brow-beaten by chiefs, priests, idols, or devils.
As for the luckless idols, they received more hard knocks than

[ 198 ]
supplications. I do not wonder that some of them looked so
grim, and stood so bolt upright as if fearful of looking to the
right or the left lest they should give any one offence. The fact
is, they had to carry themselves “ pretty straight,” or suffer the
consequences. Their worshippers were such a precious set of
fickle-minded and irreverent heathens, that there was no telling
when they might topple one of them over, break it to pieces, and
making a fire with it on the very altar itself, fall to roasting the
offerings of bread-fruit, and eat them in spite of its teeth.

In how little reverence these unfortunate deities were held by
the natives was on one occasion most convincingly proved to
me.—Walking with Kory-Kory through the deepest recesses of
the groves, I perceived a curious looking image, about six feet in
height, which originally had been placed upright against a low
pi-pi, surmounted by a ruinous bamboo temple, but having be-
come fatigued and weak in the knees, was now carelessly leaning
against it. The idol was partly concealed by the foliage of a
tree which stood near, and whose leafy boughs drooped over the
pile of stones, as if to protect the rude fane from the decay to
which it was rapidly hastening. The image itself was nothing
more than a grotesquely shaped log, carved in the likeness of a
portly naked man with the arms clasped over the head, the jaws
thrown wide apart, and its thick shapeless legs bowed into an
arch. It was much decayed. The lower part was overgrown
with a bright silky moss. Thin spears of grass sprouted from
the distended mouth and fringed the outline of the head and
arms. His godship had literally attained a green old age. All
its prominent points were bruised and battered, or entirely rotted
away. The nose had taken its departure, and from the general
appearance of the head it might have been supposed that the
wooden divinity, in despair at the neglect of its worshippers, had
been trying to beat its own brains out against the surrounding trees.

I drew near to inspect more closely this strange object of
idolatry; but halted reverently at the distance of two or three
paces, out of regard to the religious prejudices of my valet. As
soon, however, as Kory-Kory perceived that I was in one of my
inquiring, scientific moods, to my astonishment, he sprang to the
side of the idol, and pushing it away from the stones against
which it rested, endeavoured to make it stand upon its legs. But

[ 199 ]
the divinity had lost the use of them altogether; and while Kory-
Kory was trying to prop it up, by placing a stick between it and
the pi-pi, the monster fell clumsily to the ground, and would
infallibly have broken its neck had not Kory-Kory providentially
broken its fall by receiving its whole weight on his own half-
crushed back. I never saw the honest fellow in such a rage
before. He leaped furiously to his feet, and seizing the stick,
began beating the poor image: every moment or two pausing
and talking to it in the most violent manner, as if upbraiding it
for the accident. When his indignation had subsided a little he
whirled the idol about most profanely, so as to give me an oppor-
tunity of examining it on all sides. I am quite sure I never
should have presumed to have taken such liberties with the god
myself, and I was not a little shocked at Kory-Kory’s impiety.

This anecdote speaks for itself. When one of the inferior
order of natives could show such contempt for a venerable and
decrepit God of the Groves, what the state of religion must be
among the people in general is easily to be imagined. In truth,
I regard the Typees as a back-slidden generation. They are
sunk in religious sloth, and require a spiritual revival. A long
prosperity of bread-fruit and cocoa-nuts has rendered them remiss
in the performance of their higher obligations. The wood-rot
malady is spreading among the idols—the fruit upon their altars
is becoming offensive—the temples themselves need re-thatching
—the tattooed clergy are altogether too light-hearted and lazy—
and their flocks are going astray.

[ 200 ]

General Information gathered at the Festival—Personal Beauty of the
Typees—Their Superiority over the Inhabitants of the other Islands—
Diversity of Complexion—A vegetable Cosmetic and Ointment—Testi-
mony of Voyagers to the uncommon Beauty of the Marquesans—Few
Evidences of Intercourse with civilized Beings—Dilapidated Musket—
Primitive Simplicity of Government—Regal Dignity of Mehevi.

Although I had been unable during the late festival to ob-
tain information on many interesting subjects which had much
excited my curiosity, still that important event had not passed
by without adding materially to my general knowledge of the

I was especially struck by the physical strength and beauty
which they displayed, by their great superiority in these respects
over the inhabitants of the neighbouring bay of Nukuheva, and
by the singular contrasts they presented among themselves in
their various shades of complexion.

In beauty of form they surpassed anything I had ever seen.
Not a single instance of natural deformity was observable in all
the throng attending the revels. Occasionally I noticed among
the men the scars of wounds they had received in battle; and
sometimes, though very seldom, the loss of a finger, an eye, or
an arm, attributable to the same cause. With these exceptions,
every individual appeared free from those blemishes which some-
times mar the effect of an otherwise perfect form. But their
physical excellence did not merely consist in an exemption from
these evils; nearly every individual of their number might have
been taken for a sculptor’s model.

When I remembered that these islanders derived no advantage
from dress, but appeared in all the naked simplicity of nature, I
could not avoid comparing them with the fine gentlemen and
dandies who promenade such unexceptionable figures in our fre-
quented thoroughfares. Stripped of the cunning artifices of the

[ 201 ]
tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden,—what a sorry
set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets
would civilized men appear! Stuffed calves, padded breasts,
and scientifically cut pantaloons would then avail them nothing,
and the effect would be truly deplorable.

Nothing in the appearance of the islanders struck me more
forcibly than the whiteness of their teeth. The novelist always
compares the masticators of his heroine to ivory; but I boldly
pronounce the teeth of the Typees to be far more beautiful than
ivory itself. The jaws of the oldest greybeards among them
were much better garnished than those of most of the youths of
civilized countries; while the teeth of the young and middle-
aged, in their purity and whiteness, were actually dazzling to
the eye. This marvellous whiteness of the teeth is to be as-
cribed to the pure vegetable diet of these people, and the unin-
terrupted healthfulness of their natural mode of life.

The men, in almost every instance, are of lofty stature, scarcely
ever less than six feet in height, while the other sex are uncom-
monly diminutive. The early period of life at which the human
form arrives at maturity in this generous tropical climate, like-
wise deserves to be mentioned. A little creature, not more than
thirteen years of age, and who in other particulars might be
regarded as a mere child, is often seen nursing her own baby;
whilst lads who, under less ripening skies, would be still at
school, are here responsible fathers of families.

On first entering the Typee Valley, I had been struck with
the marked contrast presented by its inhabitants with those of
the bay I had previously left. In the latter place, I had not
been favourably impressed with the personal appearance of the
male portion of the population; although with the females, ex-
cepting in some truly melancholy instances, I had been wonder-
fully pleased. I had observed that even the little intercourse
Europeans had carried on with the Nukuheva natives had not
failed to leave its traces amongst them. One of the most dread-
ful curses under which humanity labours had commenced its
havocks, and betrayed, as it ever does among the South Sea
islanders, the most aggravated symptoms. From this, as from
all other foreign inflictions, the yet uncontaminated tenants of
the Typee Valley were wholly exempt; and long may they

[ 202 ]
continue so. Better will it be for them for ever to remain the
happy and innocent heathens and barbarians that they now are,
than, like the wretched inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands, to
enjoy the mere name of Christians without experiencing any of
the vital operations of true religion, whilst, at the same time,
they are made the victims of the worst vices and evils of civil-
ized life.

Apart, however, from these considerations, I am inclined to
believe that there exists a radical difference between the two
tribes, if indeed they are not distinct races of men. To those
who have merely touched at Nukuheva Bay, without visiting
other portions of the island, it would hardly appear credible the
diversities presented between the various small clans inhabiting
so diminutive a spot. But the hereditary hostility which has ex-
isted between them for ages fully accounts for this.

Not so easy, however, is it to assign an adequate cause for the
endless variety of complexions to be seen in the Typee Valley.
During the festival, I had noticed several young females whose
skins were almost as white as any Saxon damsels; a slight dash
of the mantling brown being all that marked the difference.
This comparative fairness of complexion, though in a great de-
gree perfectly natural, is partly the result of an artificial process,
and of an entire exclusion from the sun. The juice of the
“papa” root, found in great abundance at the head of the valley,
is held in great esteem as a cosmetic, with which many of the
females daily anoint their whole person. The habitual use of
it whitens and beautifies the skin. Those of the young girls
who resort to this method of heightening their charms, never
expose themselves to the rays of the sun; an observance, how-
ever, that produces little or no inconvenience, since there are
but few of the inhabited portions of the vale which are not
shaded over with a spreading canopy of boughs, so that one
may journey from house to house, scarcely deviating from the
direct course, and yet never once see his shadow cast upon the

The “papa,” when used, is suffered to remain upon the skin
for several hours; being of a light green colour, it conse-
quently imparts for the time a similar hue to the complexion.
Nothing, therefore, can be imagined more singular than the ap-

[ 203 ]
pearance of these nearly naked damsels immediately after the
application of the cosmetic. To look at one of them you would
almost suppose she was some vegetable in an unripe state; and
that, instead of living in the shade for ever, she ought to be
placed out in the sun to ripen.

All the islanders are more or less in the habit of anointing
themselves; the women preferring the “aker” or “papa,” and
the men using the oil of the cocoa-nut. Mehevi was re-
markably fond of mollifying his entire cuticle with this oint-
ment. Sometimes he might be seen, with his whole body fairly
reeking with the perfumed oil of the nut, looking as if he had
just emerged from a soap-boiler’s vat, or had undergone the
process of dipping in a tallow-chandlery. To this cause perhaps,
united to their frequent bathing and extreme cleanliness, is as-
cribable, in a great measure, the marvellous purity and smooth-
ness of skin exhibited by the natives in general.

The prevailing tint among the women of the valley was a
light olive, and of this style of complexion Fayaway afforded
the most beautiful example. Others were still darker, while
not a few were of a genuine golden colour, and some of a
swarthy hue.

As agreeing with much previously mentioned in this nar-
rative, I may here observe, that Mendanna, their discoverer,
in his account of the Marquesas, described the natives as won-
drously beautiful to behold, and as nearly resembling the
people of southern Europe. The first of these islands seen by
Mendanna was La Madelena, which is not far distant from
Nukuheva; and its inhabitants in every respect resemble those
dwelling on that and the other islands of the group. Figueroa,
the chronicler of Mendanna’s voyage, says, that on the morn-
ing the land was descried, when the Spaniards drew near the
shore, there sallied forth, in rude procession, about seventy
canoes, and at the same time many of the inhabitants (females,
I presume) made towards the ships by swimming. He adds,
that “in complexion they were nearly white; of good stature, and
finely formed; and on their faces and bodies were delineated
representations of fishes and other devices.” The old Don then
goes on to say, “There came, among others, two lads paddling
their canoe, whose eyes were fixed on the ship: they had beautiful

[ 204 ]
faces and the most promising animation of countenance; and were
in all things so becoming, that the pilot-mayor Quiros affirmed,
nothing in his life ever caused him so much regret as the leav-
ing such fine creatures to be lost in that country.”* More than
two hundred years have gone by since the passage of which the
above is a translation was written; and it appears to me now,
as I read it, as fresh and true as if written but yesterday. The
islanders are still the same; and I have seen boys in the Typee
Valley of whose “beautiful faces” and “promising animation of
countenance” no one who has not beheld them can form any
adequate idea. Cook, in the account of his voyages, pronounces
the Marquesans as by far the most splendid islanders in the
South Seas. Stewart, the chaplain of the U. S. ship Vin-
cennes, in his “Scenes in the South Seas,” expresses, in more
than one place, his amazement at the surpassing loveliness of
the women; and says that many of the Nukuheva damsels re-
minded him forcibly of the most celebrated beauties in his own
land. Fanning, a Yankee mariner of some reputation, like-
wise records his lively impressions of the physical appearance
of these people; and Commodore David Porter of the U. S.
frigate Essex, is said to have been vastly smitten by the beauty
of the ladies. Their great superiority over all other Polyne-
sians cannot fail to attract the notice of those who visit the prin-
cipal groups in the Pacific. The voluptuous Tahitians are the
only people who at all deserve to be compared with them; while
the dark-hued Hawiians and the woolly-headed Feegees are
immeasurably inferior to them. The distinguishing character-
istic of the Marquesan islanders, and that which at once strikes
you, is the European cast of their features—a peculiarity seldom
observable among other uncivilized people. Many of their faces
present a profile classically beautiful, and in the valley of Typee,
I saw several who, like the stranger Marnoo, were in every
respect models of beauty.

* This passage, which is cited as an almost literal translation from the
original, I found in a small volume entitled “Circumnavigation of the
Globe,” in which volume are several extracts from “Dalrymple’s Historical
Collections.” The last-mentioned work I have never seen, but it is said to
contain a very correct English version of great part of the learned Doctor
Christoval Suaverde de Figueroa’s History of Mendanna’s Voyage, published
at Madrid, a.d. 1613.

[ 205 ]

Some of the natives present at the Feast of Calabashes had
displayed a few articles of European dress; disposed, however,
about their persons after their own peculiar fashion. Among
these I perceived the two pieces of cotton-cloth which poor
Toby and myself had bestowed upon our youthful guides the
afternoon we entered the valley. They were evidently reserved
for gala days; and during those of the festival they rendered
the young islanders who wore them very distinguished charac-
ters. The small number who were similarly adorned, and the
great value they appeared to place upon the most common and
most trivial articles, furnished ample evidence of the very re-
stricted intercourse they held with vessels touching at the
island. A few cotton handkerchiefs, of a gay pattern, tied about
the neck, and suffered to fall over the shoulders; strips of fan-
ciful calico, swathed about the loins, were nearly all I saw.

Indeed, throughout the valley, there were few things of any
kind to be seen of European origin. All I ever saw, beside the
articles just alluded to, were the six muskets preserved in the
Ti, and three or four similar implements of warfare hung up
in other houses; some small canvas bags, partly filled with
bullets and powder, and half a dozen old hatchet-heads, with
the edges blunted and battered to such a degree as to render
them utterly useless. These last seemed to be regarded as
nearly worthless by the natives; and several times they held up
one of them before me, and throwing it aside with a gesture of
disgust, manifested their contempt for anything that could so
soon become unserviceable.

But the muskets, the powder, and the bullets were held in
most extravagant esteem. The former, from their great age
and the peculiarities they exhibited, were well worthy a place in
any antiquarian’s armory. I remember in particular one that
hung in the Ti, and which Mehevi—supposing as a matter of
course that I was able to repair it—had put into my hands for
that purpose. It was one of those clumsy, old-fashioned, Eng-
lish pieces known generally as Tower Hill muskets, and, for
aught I know, might have been left on the island by Wallace,
Carteret, Cook, or Vancouver. The stock was half rotten and
worm-eaten; the lock was as rusty and about as well adapted
to its ostensible purpose as an old door-hinge; the threading

[ 206 ]
of the screws about the trigger was completely worn away;
while the barrel shook in the wood. Such was the weapon the
chief desired me to restore to its original condition. As I did
not possess the accomplishments of a gunsmith, and was like-
wise destitute of the necessary tools, I was reluctantly obliged
to signify my inability to perform the task. At this unexpected
communication Mehevi regarded me, for a moment, as if he
half suspected I was some inferior sort of white man, who after
all did not know much more than a Typee. However, after a
most laboured explanation of the matter, I succeeded in making
him understand the extreme difficulty of the task. Scarcely
satisfied with my apologies, however, he marched off with the
superannuated musket in something of a huff, as if he would no
longer expose it to the indignity of being manipulated by such
unskilful fingers.

During the festival I had not failed to remark the simplicity
of manner, the freedom from all restraint, and, to a certain
degree, the equality of condition manifested by the natives in
general. No one appeared to assume any arrogant pretensions.
There was little more than a slight difference in costume to dis-
tinguish the chiefs from the other natives. All appeared to
mix together freely, and without any reserve; although I noticed
that the wishes of a chief, even when delivered in the mildest
tone, received the same immediate obedience which elsewhere
would have been only accorded to a peremptory command.
What may be the extent of the authority of the chiefs over the
rest of the tribe, I will not venture to assert; but from all I saw
during my stay in the valley, I was induced to believe that in
matters concerning the general welfare it was very limited.
The required degree of deference towards them, however, was
willingly and cheerfully yielded; and as all authority is trans-
mitted from father to son, I have no doubt that one of the effects
here, as elsewhere, of high birth, is to induce respect and

The civil institutions of the Marquesas Islands appear to
be in this, as in other respects, directly the reverse of those
of the Tahitian and Hawiian groups, where the original
power of the king and chiefs was far more despotic than that
of any tyrant in civilized countries. At Tahiti it used to be

[ 207 ]
death for one of the inferior orders to approach, without per-
mission, under the shadow of the king’s house; or to fail in paying
the customary reverence when food destined for the king was
borne past them by his messengers. At the Sandwich Islands,
Kaahumanu, the gigantic old dowager queen—a woman of nearly
four hundred pounds weight, and who is said to be still living at
Mowee—was accustomed, in some of her terrific gusts of temper,
to snatch up an ordinary sized man who had offended her, and
snap his spine across her knee. Incredible as this may seem, it
is a fact. While at Lahainaluna—the residence of this mon-
strous Jezebel—a humpbacked wretch was pointed out to me,
who, some twenty-five years previously, had had the vertebræ of
his back-bone very seriously discomposed by his gentle mistress.

The particular grades of rank existing among the chiefs of
Typee, I could not in all cases determine. Previous to the Feast
of Calabashes I had been puzzled what particular station to assign
to Mehevi. But the important part he took upon that occasion
convinced me that he had no superior among the inhabitants of
the valley. I had invariably noticed a certain degree of deference
paid to him by all with whom I had ever seen him brought in
contact; but when I remembered that my wanderings had been
confined to a limited portion of the valley, and that towards the
sea a number of distinguished chiefs resided, some of whom had
separately visited me at Marheyo’s house, and whom, until the
Festival, I had never seen in the company of Mehevi, I felt dis-
posed to believe that his rank after all might not be particularly

The revels, however, had brought together all the warriors
whom I had seen individually and in groups at different times
and places. Among them Mehevi moved with an easy air of
superiority which was not to be mistaken; and he whom I had
only looked at as the hospitable host of the Ti, and one of the
military leaders of the tribe, now assumed in my eyes the dignity
of royal station. His striking costume, no less than his naturally
commanding figure, seemed indeed to give him pre-eminence
over the rest. The towering helmet of feathers that he wore
raised him in height above all who surrounded him; and though
some others were similarly adorned, the length and luxuriance of
their plumes were far inferior to his.

[ 208 ]

Mehevi was in fact the greatest of the chiefs—the head of his
clan—the sovereign of the valley; and the simplicity of the
social institutions of the people could not have been more com-
pletely proved than by the fact, that after having been several
weeks in the valley, and almost in daily intercourse with Mehevi,
I should have remained until the time of the festival ignorant of
his regal character. But a new light had now broken in upon
me. The Ti was the palace—and Mehevi the king. Both the
one and the other of a most simple and patriarchal nature it must
be allowed, and wholly unattended by the ceremonious pomp
which usually surrounds the purple.

After having made this discovery I could not avoid congratu-
lating myself that Mehevi had from the first taken me as it were
under his royal protection, and that he still continued to enter-
tain for me the warmest regard, as far at least as I was enabled
to judge from appearances. For the future I determined to pay
most assiduous court to him, hoping that eventually through his
kindness I might obtain my liberty.

[ 209 ]

King Mehevi—Allusion to his Hawiian Majesty—Conduct of Marheyo and
Mehevi in certain delicate matters—Peculiar system of Marriage—
Number of Population—Uniformity—Embalming—Places of Sepulchre—
Funeral obsequies at Nukuheva—Number of Inhabitants in Typee—
Location of the Dwellings—Happiness enjoyed in the Valley—A Warning
—Some ideas with regard to the Civilization of the Islands—Reference to
the Present state of the Hawiians—Story of a Missionary’s Wife—Fashion-
able Equipages at Oahu—Reflections.

King Mehevi!—A goodly sounding title!—and why should
I not bestow it upon the foremost man in the valley of
Typee? The republican missionaries of Oahu cause to be
gazetted in the Court Journal, published at Honolula, the most
trivial movements of “his gracious majesty” King Kamme-
hammaha III., and “their highnesses the princes of the blood
royal.”* —And who is his “gracious majesty,” and what the
quality of this “blood royal?”—His “gracious majesty” is a
fat, lazy, negro-looking blockhead, with as little character as
power. He has lost the noble traits of the barbarian, without
acquiring the redeeming graces of a civilized being; and, al-

* Accounts like these are sometimes copied into English and American
journals. They lead the reader to infer that the arts and customs of civi-
lized life are rapidly refining the natives of the Sandwich Islands. But let
no one be deceived by these accounts. The chiefs swagger about in gold
lace and broadcloth, while the great mass of the common people are nearly
as primitive in their appearance as in the days of Cook. In the progress of
events at these islands, the two classes are receding from each other: the
chiefs are daily becoming more luxurious and extravagant in their style of
living, and the common people more and more destitute of the necessaries
and decencies of life. But the end to which both will arrive at last will be
the same: the one are fast destroying themselves by sensual indulgences,
and the other are fast being destroyed by a complication of disorders, and
the want of wholesome food. The resources of the domineering chiefs are
wrung from the starving serfs, and every additional bauble with which they
bedeck themselves is purchased by the sufferings of their bondsmen; so
that the measure of gew-gaw refinement attained by the chiefs is only an
index to the actual state of degradation in which the greater portion of the
population lie grovelling.

[ 210 ]
though a member of the Hawiian Temperance Society, is a most
inveterate dram-drinker.

The “blood royal” is an extremely thick, depraved fluid;
formed principally of raw fish, bad brandy, and European sweet-
meats, and is charged with a variety of eruptive humours, which
are developed in sundry blotches and pimples upon the august
face of “majesty itself,” and the angelic countenances of the
“princes and princesses of the blood-royal!”

Now, if the farcical puppet of a chief magistrate in the Sand-
wich Islands be allowed the title of King, why should it be with-
held from the noble savage Mehevi, who is a thousand times
more worthy of the appellation? All hail, therefore, Mehevi,
King of the Cannibal Valley, and long life and prosperity to his
Typeean majesty! May Heaven for many a year preserve him,
the uncompromising foe of Nukuheva and the French, if a hostile
attitude will secure his lovely domain from the remorseless in-
flictions of South Sea civilization.

Previously to seeing the Dancing Widows I had little idea
that there were any matrimonial relations subsisting in Typee,
and I should as soon have thought of a Platonic affection being
cultivated between the sexes, as of the solemn connexion of man
and wife. To be sure, there were old Marheyo and Tinor, who
seemed to have a sort of nuptial understanding with one another;
but for all that, I had sometimes observed a comical-looking old
gentleman dressed in a suit of shabby tattooing, who had the
audacity to take various liberties with the lady, and that too
in the very presence of the old warrior her husband, who looked
on, as good-naturedly as if nothing was happening. This be-
haviour, until subsequent discoveries enlightened me, puzzled me
more than anything else I witnessed in Typee.

As for Mehevi, I had supposed him a confirmed bachelor, as
well as most of the principal chiefs. At any rate, if they had
wives and families, they ought to have been ashamed of them-
selves; for sure I am, they never troubled themselves about any
domestic affairs. In truth, Mehevi seemed to be the president
of a club of hearty fellows, who kept “Bachelor’s Hall” in fine
style at the Ti. I had no doubt but that they regarded children
as odious incumbrances; and their ideas of domestic felicity were
sufficiently shown in the fact, that they allowed no meddlesome

[ 211 ]
housekeepers to turn topsy-turvy those snug little arrangements
they had made in their comfortable dwelling. I strongly sus-
pected, however, that some of these jolly bachelors were carrying
on love intrigues with the maidens of the tribe; although they
did not appear publicly to acknowledge them. I happened to
pop upon Mehevi three or four times when he was romping—in
a most undignified manner for a warrior king—with one of the
prettiest little witches in the valley. She lived with an old
woman and a young man, in a house near Marheyo’s; and al-
though in appearance a mere child herself, had a noble boy about
a year old, who bore a marvellous resemblance to Mehevi, whom
I should certainly have believed to have been the father, were it
not that the little fellow had no triangle on his face—but on
second thoughts, tattooing is not hereditary. Mehevi, however,
was not the only person upon whom the damsel Moonoony
smiled—the young fellow of fifteen, who permanently resided in
the house with her, was decidedly in her good graces. I some-
times beheld both him and the chief making love at the same
time. Is it possible, thought I, that the valiant warrior can
consent to give up a corner in the thing he loves? This too was
a mystery which, with others of the same kind, was afterwards
satisfactorily explained.

During the second day of the Feast of Calabashes, Kory-Kory
—being determined that I should have some understanding on
these matters—had, in the course of his explanations, directed
my attention to a peculiarity I had frequently remarked among
many of the females;—principally those of a mature age and
rather matronly appearance. This consisted in having the right
hand and the left foot most elaborately tattooed; while the rest
of the body was wholly free from the operation of the art, with
the exception of the minutely dotted lips and slight marks on
the shoulders, to which I have previously referred as comprising
the sole tattooing exhibited by Fayaway, in common with other
young girls of her age. The hand and foot thus embellished
were, according to Kory-Kory, the distinguishing badge of wed-
lock, so far as that social and highly commendable institution is
known among these people. It answers, indeed, the same purpose
as the plain gold ring worn by our fairer spouses.

After Kory-Kory’s explanation of the subject, I was for some

[ 212 ]
time studiously respectful in the presence of all females thus dis-
tinguished, and never ventured to indulge in the slightest ap-
proach to flirtation with any of their number. Married women,
to be sure!—I knew better than to offend them.

A further insight however into the peculiar domestic customs
of the inmates of the valley did away in a measure with the
severity of my scruples, and convinced me that I was deceived
in some at least of my conclusions. A regular system of poly-
gamy exists among the islanders; but of a most extraordinary
nature,—a plurality of husbands, instead of wives; and this soli-
tary fact speaks volumes for the gentle disposition of the male
population. Where else, indeed, could such a practice exist, even
for a single day?—Imagine a revolution brought about in a
Turkish seraglio, and the harem rendered the abode of bearded
men; or conceive some beautiful woman in our own country run-
ning distracted at the sight of her numerous lovers murdering one
another before her eyes, out of jealousy for the unequal distribu-
tion of her favours!—Heaven defend us from such a state of
things!—We are scarcely amiable and forbearing enough to
submit to it.

I was not able to learn what particular ceremony was observed
in forming the marriage contract, but am inclined to think that
it must have been of a very simple nature. Perhaps the mere
“popping the question,” as it is termed with us, might have
been followed by an immediate nuptial alliance. At any rate,
I have more than one reason to believe that tedious courtships
are unknown in the valley of Typee.

The males considerably outnumber the females. This holds
true of many of the islands of Polynesia, although the reverse of
what is the case in most civilized countries. The girls are first
wooed and won, at a very tender age, by some stripling in the
household in which they reside. This, however, is a mere frolic
of the affections, and no formal engagement is contracted. By
the time this first love has a little subsided, a second suitor pre-
sents himself, of graver years, and carries both boy and girl away
to his own habitation. This disinterested and generous-hearted
fellow now weds the young couple—marrying damsel and lover
at the same time—and all three thenceforth live together as
harmoniously as so many turtles. I have heard of some men

[ 213 ]
who in civilized countries rashly marry large families with their
wives, but had no idea that there was any place where people mar-
ried supplementary husbands with them. Infidelity on either
side is very rare. No man has more than one wife, and no wife
of mature years has less than two husbands,—sometimes she has
three, but such instances are not frequent. The marriage tie,
whatever it may be, does not appear to be indissoluble; for sepa-
rations occasionally happen. These, however, when they do
take place, produce no unhappiness, and are preceded by no
bickerings; for the simple reason, that an ill-used wife or a hen-
pecked husband is not obliged to file a bill in Chancery to obtain
a divorce. As nothing stands in the way of a separation, the
matrimonial yoke sits easily and lightly, and a Typee wife lives
on very pleasant and sociable terms with her husbands. On the
whole wedlock, as known among these Typees, seems to be of
a more distinct and enduring nature than is usually the case with
barbarous people. A baneful promiscuous intercourse of the sexes
is hereby avoided, and virtue, without being clamorously invoked,
is, as it were, unconsciously practised.

The contrast exhibited between the Marquesas and other
islanders of the Pacific in this respect, is worthy of being
noticed. At Tahiti the marriage tie was altogether unknown;
and the relation of husband and wife, father and son, could
hardly be said to exist. The Arreory Society—one of the most
singular institutions that ever existed in any part of the world—
spread universal licentiousness over the island. It was the vo-
luptuous character of these people which rendered the disease
introduced among them by De Bougainville’s ships, in 1768,
doubly destructive. It visited them like a plague, sweeping
them off by hundreds.

Notwithstanding the existence of wedlock among the Typees,
the Scriptural injunction to increase and multiply seems to be
but indifferently attended to. I never saw any of those large
families in arithmetical or step-ladder progression which one
often meets with at home. I never knew of more than two
youngsters living together in the same home, and but seldom
even that number. As for the women, it was very plain that
the anxieties of the nursery but seldom disturbed the serenity of
their souls; and they were never to be seen going about the

[ 214 ]
valley with half a score of little ones tagging at their apron-
strings, or rather at the bread-fruit-leaf they usually wore in
the rear.

The ratio of increase among all the Polynesian nations is
very small; and in some places as yet uncorrupted by inter-
course with Europeans, the births would appear but very little
to outnumber the deaths; the population in such instances re-
maining nearly the same for several successive generations, even
upon those islands seldom or never desolated by wars, and among
people with whom the crime of infanticide is altogether un-
known. This would seem expressly ordained by Providence to
prevent the overstocking of the islands with a race too indolent
to cultivate the ground, and who, for that reason alone, would,
by any considerable increase in their numbers, be exposed to the
most deplorable misery. During the entire period of my stay
in the valley of Typee, I never saw more than ten or twelve
children under the age of six months, and only became aware
of two births.

It is to the absence of the marriage tie that the late rapid
decrease of the population of the Sandwich Islands and of
Tahiti is in part to be ascribed. The vices and diseases intro-
duced among these unhappy people annually swell the ordinary
mortality of the islands, while, from the same cause, the origi-
nally small number of births is proportionally decreased. Thus
the progress of the Hawiians and Tahitians to utter extinction is
accelerated in a sort of compound ratio.

I have before had occasion to remark that I never saw any of
the ordinary signs of a place of sepulchre in the valley, a cir-
cumstance which I attributed, at the time, to my living in a
particular part of it, and being forbidden to extend my rambles
to any considerable distance towards the sea. I have since
thought it probable, however, that the Typees, either desirous
of removing from their sight the evidences of mortality, or
prompted by a taste for rural beauty, may have some charming
cemetery situated in the shadowy recesses along the base of the
mountains. At Nukuheva, two or three large quadrangular
“pi-pis,” heavily flagged, enclosed with regular stone walls, and
shaded over and almost hidden from view by the interlacing
branches of enormous trees, were pointed out to me as burial-

[ 215 ]
places. The bodies, I understood, were deposited in rude vaults
beneath the flagging, and were suffered to remain there without
being disinterred. Although nothing could be more strange
and gloomy than the aspect of these places, where the lofty
trees threw their dark shadows over rude blocks of stone, a
stranger in looking at them would have discerned none of the
ordinary evidences of a place of sepulture.

During my stay in the valley, as none of its inmates were so
accommodating as to die and be buried in order to gratify my
curiosity with regard to their funeral rites, I was reluctantly
obliged to remain in ignorance of them. As I have reason to
believe, however, that the observances of the Typees in these
matters are the same with those of all the other tribes on the
island, I will here relate a scene I chanced to witness at

A young man had died, about daybreak, in a house near the
beach. I had been sent ashore that morning, and saw a good
deal of the preparations they were making for his obsequies.
The body, neatly wrapped in new white tappa, was laid out in
an open shed of cocoa-nut boughs, upon a bier constructed of
elastic bamboos ingeniously twisted together. This was sup-
ported, about two feet from the ground, by large canes planted
upright in the earth. Two females, of a dejected appearance,
watched by its side, plaintively chanting and beating the air
with large grass fans whitened with pipe-clay. In the dwelling-
house adjoining a numerous company were assembled, and vari-
ous articles of food were being prepared for consumption. Two
or three individuals, distinguished by head-dresses of beautiful
tappa, and wearing a great number of ornaments, appeared to
officiate as masters of the ceremonies. By noon the entertain-
ment had fairly begun, and we were told that it would last
during the whole of the two following days. With the excep-
tion of those who mourned by the corpse, every one seemed dis-
posed to drown the sense of the late bereavement in convivial
indulgence. The girls, decked out in their savage finery,
danced; the old men chanted; the warriors smoked and chatted;
and the young and lusty, of both sexes, feasted plentifully, and
seemed to enjoy themselves as pleasantly as they could have done
had it been a wedding.

[ 216 ]

The islanders understand the art of embalming, and practise
it with such success, that the bodies of their great chiefs are
frequently preserved for many years in the very houses where
they died. I saw three of these in my visit to the Bay of Tior.
One was enveloped in immense folds of tappa, with only the face
exposed, and hung erect against the side of the dwelling. The
others were stretched out upon biers of bamboo, in open, ele-
vated temples, which seemed consecrated to their memory.
The heads of enemies killed in battle are invariably preserved
and hung up as trophies in the house of the conqueror. I
am not acquainted with the process which is in use, but believe
that fumigation is the principal agency employed. All the re-
mains which I saw presented the appearance of a ham after
being suspended for some time in a smoky chimney.

But to return from the dead to the living. The late festival
had drawn together, as I had every reason to believe, the whole
population of the vale, and consequently I was enabled to make
some estimate with regard to its numbers. I should imagine
that there were about two thousand inhabitants in Typee; and
no number could have been better adapted to the extent of the
valley. The valley is some nine miles in length, and may
average one in breadth; the houses being distributed at wide
intervals throughout its whole extent, principally, however, to-
wards the head of the vale. There are no villages: the houses
stand here and there in the shadow of the groves, or are scat-
tered along the banks of the winding stream; their golden-
hued bamboo sides and gleaming white thatch forming a beau-
tiful contrast to the perpetual verdure in which they are
embowered. There are no roads of any kind in the valley—
nothing but a labyrinth of foot-paths twisting and turning
among the thickets without end.

The penalty of the Fall presses very lightly upon the valley
of Typee; for, with the one solitary exception of striking a
light, I scarcely saw any piece of work performed there which
caused the sweat to stand upon a single brow. As for digging
and delving for a livelihood, the thing is altogether unknown.
Nature had planted the bread-fruit and the banana, and in
her own good time she brings them to maturity, when the idle
savage stretches forth his hand, and satisfies his appetite.

[ 217 ]

Ill-fated people! I shudder when I think of the change a few
years will produce in their paradisaical abode; and probably when
the most destructive vices, and the worst attendances on civiliza-
tion, shall have driven all peace and happiness from the valley,
the magnanimous French will proclaim to the world that the
Marquesas Islands have been converted to Christianity! and this
the Catholic world will doubtless consider as a glorious event.
Heaven help the “Isles of the Sea!”—The sympathy which
Christendom feels for them has, alas! in too many instances
proved their bane.

How little do some of these poor islanders comprehend when
they look around them, that no inconsiderable part of their dis-
asters originate in certain tea-party excitements, under the influ-
ence of which benevolent-looking gentlemen in white cravats
solicit alms, and old ladies in spectacles, and young ladies in
sober russet low gowns, contribute sixpences towards the creation
of a fund, the object of which is to ameliorate the spiritual con-
dition of the Polynesians, but whose end has almost invariably
been to accomplish their temporal destruction!

Let the savages be civilized, but civilize them with benefits,
and not with evils; and let heathenism be destroyed, but not by
destroying the heathen. The Anglo-Saxon hive have extirpated
Paganism from the greater part of the North American conti-
nent; but with it they have likewise extirpated the greater por-
tion of the Red race. Civilization is gradually sweeping from
the earth the lingering vestiges of Paganism, and at the same
time the shrinking forms of its unhappy worshippers.

Among the islands of Polynesia, no sooner are the images
overturned, the temples demolished, and the idolaters converted
into nominal Christians, than disease, vice, and premature death
make their appearance. The depopulated land is then recruited
from the rapacious hordes of enlightened individuals who settle
themselves within its borders, and clamorously announce the
progress of the Truth. Neat villas, trim gardens, shaven lawns,
spires, and cupolas arise, while the poor savage soon finds himself
an interloper in the country of his fathers, and that too on the
very site of the hut where he was born. The spontaneous fruits
of the earth, which God in his wisdom had ordained for the sup-
port of the indolent natives, remorselessly seized upon and appro-

[ 218 ]
priated by the stranger, are devoured before the eyes of the
starving inhabitants, or sent on board the numerous vessels which
now touch at their shores.

When the famished wretches are cut off in this manner from
their natural supplies, they are told by their benefactors to work
and earn their support by the sweat of their brows! But to no
fine gentleman born to hereditary opulence does manual labour
come more unkindly than to the luxurious Indian when thus
robbed of the bounty of Heaven. Habituated to a life of indolence,
he cannot and will not exert himself; and want, disease, and vice,
all evils of foreign growth, soon terminate his miserable existence.

But what matters all this? Behold the glorious result!—The
abominations of Paganism have given way to the pure rites of
the Christian worship,—the ignorant savage has been supplanted
by the refined European! Look at Honolulu, the metropolis of
the Sandwich Islands!—A community of disinterested merchants,
and devoted self-exiled heralds of the Cross, located on the very
spot that twenty years ago was defiled by the presence of idolatry.
What a subject for an eloquent Bible-meeting orator! Nor has
such an opportunity for a display of missionary rhetoric been
allowed to pass by unimproved!—But when these philanthropists
send us such glowing accounts of one half of their labours, why
does their modesty restrain them from publishing the other half
of the good they have wrought?—Not until I visited Honolulu
was I aware of the fact that the small remnant of the natives had
been civilized into draught horses, and evangelized into beasts of
burden. But so it is. They have been literally broken into the
traces, and are harnessed to the vehicles of their spiritual in-
structors like so many dumb brutes!

Among a multitude of similar exhibitions that I saw, I shall
never forget a robust, red-faced, and very lady-like personage, a
missionary’s spouse, who day after day for months together took
her regular airings in a little go-cart drawn by two of the
islanders, one an old grey-headed man, and the other a rogueish
stripling, both being, with the exception of the fig-leaf, as naked
as when they were born. Over a level piece of ground this pair
of draught bipeds would go with a shambling, unsightly trot,
the youngster hanging back all the time like a knowing horse,
while the old hack plodded on and did all the work.

[ 219 ]

Rattling along through the streets of the town in this stylish
equipage, the lady looks about her as magnificently as any queen
driven in state to her coronation. A sudden elevation, and a
sandy road, however, soon disturb her serenity. The small
wheels become imbedded in the loose soil,—the old stager stands
tugging and sweating, while the young one frisks about and does
nothing; not an inch does the chariot budge. Will the tender-
hearted lady, who has left friends and home for the good of the
souls of the poor heathen, will she think a little about their
bodies and get out, and ease the wretched old man until the
ascent is mounted? Not she; she could not dream of it. To
be sure, she used to think nothing of driving the cows to pasture
on the old farm in New England; but times have changed since
then. So she retains her seat and bawls out, “Hookee! hookee!”
(pull, pull.) The old gentleman, frightened at the sound, labours
away harder than ever; and the younger one makes a great show
of straining himself, but takes care to keep one eye on his mis-
tress, in order to know when to dodge out of harm’s way. At
last the good lady loses all patience; “Hookee! hookee!” and
rap goes the heavy handle of her huge fan over the naked skull
of the old savage; while the young one shies to one side and
keeps beyond its range. “Hookee! hookee!” again she cries—
“Hookee tata kannaka!” (pull strong, men,)—but all in vain,
and she is obliged in the end to dismount and, sad necessity!
actually to walk to the top of the hill.

At the town where this paragon of humility resides, is a
spacious and elegant American chapel, where divine service is
regularly performed. Twice every Sabbath towards the close of
the exercises may be seen a score or two of little waggons ranged
along the railing in front of the edifice, with two squalid native
footmen in the livery of nakedness standing by each, and waiting
for the dismission of the congregation to draw their superiors

Lest the slightest misconception should arise from anything
thrown out in this chapter, or indeed in any other part of the
volume, let me here observe, that against the cause of missions
in the abstract no Christian can possibly be opposed: it is in
truth a just and holy cause. But if the great end proposed by
it be spiritual, the agency employed to accomplish that end is

[ 220 ]
purely earthly; and, although the object in view be the achieve-
ment of much good, that agency may nevertheless be productive
of evil. In short, missionary undertaking, however it may be
blessed of Heaven, is in itself but human; and subject, like every-
thing else, to errors and abuses. And have not errors and abuses
crept into the most sacred places, and may there not be unworthy
or incapable missionaries abroad, as well as ecclesiastics of a
similar character at home? May not the unworthiness or in-
capacity of those who assume apostolic functions upon the remote
islands of the sea more easily escape detection by the world at
large than if it were displayed in the heart of a city? An un-
warranted confidence in the sanctity of its apostles—a proneness
to regard them as incapable of guile—and an impatience of the
least suspicion as to their rectitude as men or Christians, have
ever been prevailing faults in the Church. Nor is this to be
wondered at: for subject as Christianity is to the assaults of un-
principled foes, we are naturally disposed to regard everything
like an exposure of ecclesiastical misconduct as the offspring of
malevolence or irreligious feeling. Not even this last considera-
tion, however, shall deter me from the honest expression of my

There is something decidedly wrong in the practical operations
of the Sandwich Island Missions. Those who from pure re-
ligious motives contribute to the support of this enterprise,
should take care to ascertain that their donations, flowing through
many devious channels, at last effect their legitimate object,
the conversion of the Hawiians. I urge this not because I doubt
the moral probity of those who disburse these funds, but because
I know that they are not rightly applied. To read pathetic
accounts of missionary hardships, and glowing descriptions of
conversions, and baptisms taking place beneath palm-trees, is one
thing; and to go to the Sandwich Islands and see the missionaries
dwelling in picturesque and prettily-furnished coral-rock villas,
whilst the miserable natives are committing all sorts of immorali-
ties around them, is quite another.

In justice to the missionaries, however, I will willingly admit,
that whatever evils may have resulted from their collective mis-
management of the business of the mission, and from the want of
vital piety evinced by some of their number, still the present

[ 221 ]
deplorable condition of the Sandwich Islands is by no means
wholly chargeable against them. The demoralising influence of
a dissolute foreign population, and the frequent visits of all de-
scriptions of vessels, have tended not a little to increase the evils
alluded to. In a word, here, as in every case where Civilization
has in any way been introduced among those whom we call sa-
vages, she has scattered her vices, and withheld her blessings.

As wise a man as Shakspeare has said, that the bearer of evil
tidings hath but a losing office; and so I suppose will it prove with
me, in communicating to the trusting friends of the Hawiian
Mission what has been disclosed in various portions of this nar-
rative. I am persuaded, however, that as these disclosures will
by their very nature attract attention, so they will lead to some-
thing which will not be without ultimate benefit to the cause of
Christianity in the Sandwich Islands.

I have but one thing more to add in connection with this sub-
ject—those things which I have stated as facts will remain facts,
in spite of whatever the bigoted or incredulous may say or write
against them. My reflections, however, on those facts may not
be free from error. If such be the case, I claim no further in-
dulgence than should be conceded to every man whose object is
to do good.

[ 222 ]

The social Condition and general Character of the Typees.

I have already mentioned that the influence exerted over the
people of the valley by their chiefs was mild in the extreme:
and as to any general rule or standard of conduct by which the
commonalty were governed in their intercourse with each other,
so far as my observation extended, I should be almost tempted
to say that none existed on the island, except, indeed, the mys-
terious “Taboo” be considered as such. During the time I
lived among the Typees, no one was ever put upon his trial for
any offence against the public. To all appearances there were
no courts of law or equity. There was no municipal police for
the purpose of apprehending vagrants and disorderly characters.
In short, there were no legal provisions whatever for the well-
being and conservation of society, the enlightened end of civil-
ized legislation. And yet everything went on in the valley
with a harmony and smoothness unparalleled, I will venture to
assert, in the most select, refined, and pious associations of
mortals in Christendom. How are we to explain this enigma?
These islanders were heathens! savages! ay, cannibals! and
how came they, without the aid of established law, to exhibit, in
so eminent a degree, that social order which is the greatest
blessing and highest pride of the social state?

It may reasonably be inquired, how were these people go-
verned? how were their passions controlled in their everyday
transactions? It must have been by an inherent principle of
honesty and charity towards each other. They seemed to be
governed by that sort of tacit common-sense law which, say
what they will of the inborn lawlessness of the human race,
has its precepts graven on every breast. The grand principles
of virtue and honour, however they may be distorted by arbi-
trary codes, are the same all the world over: and where these

[ 223 ]
principles are concerned, the right or wrong of any action
appears the same to the uncultivated as to the enlightened
mind. It is to this indwelling, this universally diffused percep-
tion of what is just and noble, that the integrity of the Mar-
quesans in their intercourse with each other is to be attributed.
In the darkest nights they slept securely, with all their worldly
wealth around them, in houses the doors of which were never
fastened. The disquieting ideas of theft or assassination never
disturbed them. Each islander reposed beneath his own pal-
metto thatching, or sat under his own bread-fruit-tree, with none
to molest or alarm him. There was not a padlock in the valley,
nor anything that answered the purpose of one: still there was
no community of goods. This long spear, so elegantly carved
and highly polished, belongs to Wormoonoo: it is far hand-
somer than the one which old Marheyo so greatly prizes; it
is the most valuable article belonging to its owner. And yet
I have seen it leaning against a cocoa-nut tree in the grove, and
there it was found when sought for. Here is a sperm-whale
tooth, graven all over with cunning devices: it is the property
of Karluna: it is the most precious of the damsel’s ornaments.
In her estimation its price is far above rubies—and yet there
hangs the dental jewel by its cord of braided bark, in the girl’s
house, which is far back in the valley; the door is left open,
and all the inmates have gone off to bathe in the stream.*

So much for the respect in which “personal property” is
held in Typee; how secure an investment of “real property”
may be, I cannot take upon me to say. Whether the land
of the valley was the joint property of its inhabitants, or
whether it was parcelled out among a certain number of landed
proprietors who allowed everybody to “squat” and “poach”

* The strict honesty which the inhabitants of nearly all the Polynesian
Islands manifest towards each other, is in striking contrast with the thieving
propensities some of them evince in their intercourse with foreigners. It
would almost seem that, according to their peculiar code of morals, the pil-
fering of a hatchet or a wrought nail from a European is looked upon as
a praiseworthy action. Or rather, it may be presumed, that bearing in
mind the wholesale forays made upon them by their nautical visitors, they
consider the property of the latter as a fair object of reprisal. This con-
sideration, while it serves to reconcile an apparent contradiction in the
moral character of the islanders, should in some measure alter that low
opinion of it which the reader of South Sea voyages is too apt to form.

[ 224 ]
as much as he or she pleased, I never could ascertain. At any
rate, musty parchments and title deeds there were none on the
island; and I am half inclined to believe that its inhabitants
hold their broad valleys in fee simple from Nature herself; to
have and to hold, so long as grass grows and water runs; or
until their French visitors, by a summary mode of conveyanc-
ing, shall appropriate them to their own benefit and behoof.

Yesterday I saw Kory-Kory hie him away, armed with a
long pole, with which, standing on the ground, he knocked
down the fruit from the topmost boughs of the trees, and
brought them home in his basket of cocoa-nut leaves. To-day
I see an islander, whom I know to reside in a distant part of
the valley, doing the self-same thing. On the sloping bank of
the stream are a number of banana-trees. I have often seen a
score or two of young people making a merry foray on the great
golden clusters, and bearing them off, one after another, to
different parts of the vale, shouting and tramping as they went.
No churlish old curmudgeon could have been the owner of that
grove of bread-fruit trees, or of these gloriously yellow bunches
of bananas.

From what I have said it will be perceived that there is a
vast difference between “personal property” and “real estate”
in the valley of Typee. Some individuals, of course, are more
wealthy than others. For example: the ridge-pole of Mar-
heyo’s house bends under the weight of many a huge package
of tappa; his long couch is laid with mats placed one upon the
other seven deep. Outside, Tinor has ranged along in her
bamboo cupboard—or whatever the place may be called—a
goodly array of calabashes and wooden trenchers. Now, the house
just beyond the grove, and next to Marheyo’s, occupied by Ru-
aruga, is not quite so well furnished. There are only three
moderate-sized packages swinging overhead: there are only
two layers of mats beneath, and the calabashes and trenchers are
not so numerous, nor so tastefully stained and carved. But then,
Ruaruga has a house—not so pretty a one, to be sure—but just
as commodious as Marheyo’s; and, I suppose, if he wished to vie
with his neighbour’s establishment, he could do so with very
little trouble. These, in short, constituted the chief differences
perceivable in the relative wealth of the people in Typee.

[ 225 ]

Civilization does not engross all the virtues of humanity: she
has not even her full share of them. They flourish in greater
abundance and attain greater strength among many barbarous
people. The hospitality of the wild Arab, the courage of the
North American Indian, and the faithful friendships of some of the
Polynesian nations, far surpass any thing of a similar kind among
the polished communities of Europe. If truth and justice, and
the better principles of our nature, cannot exist unless enforced
by the statute-book, how are we to account for the social condi-
tion of the Typees? So pure and upright were they in all the
relations of life, that entering their valley, as I did, under the
most erroneous impressions of their character, I was soon led to
exclaim in amazement: “Are these the ferocious savages, the
blood-thirsty cannibals of whom I have heard such frightful
tales! They deal more kindly with each other, and are more
humane, than many who study essays on virtue and benevolence,
and who repeat every night that beautiful prayer breathed first
by the lips of the divine and gentle Jesus.” I will frankly de-
clare, that after passing a few weeks in this valley of the Mar-
quesas, I formed a higher estimate of human nature than I had
ever before entertained. But alas! since then I have been one
of the crew of a man-of war, and the pent-up wickedness of five
hundred men has nearly overturned all my previous theories.

There was one admirable trait in the general character of the
Typees which, more than any thing else, secured my admiration:
it was the unanimity of feeling they displayed on every occasion.
With them there hardly appeared to be any difference of opinion
upon any subject whatever. They all thought and acted alike.
I do not conceive that they could support a debating society for
a single night: there would be nothing to dispute about; and
were they to call a convention to take into consideration the state
of the tribe, its session would be a remarkably short one. They
showed this spirit of unanimity in every action of life: every
thing was done in concert and good fellowship. I will give an
instance of this fraternal feeling.

One day, in returning with Kory-Kory from my accustomed
visit to the Ti, we passed by a little opening in the grove; on
one side of which, my attendant informed me, was that afternoon
to be built a dwelling of bamboo. At least a hundred of the

[ 226 ]
natives were bringing materials to the ground, some carrying
in their hands one or two of the canes which were to form the
sides, others slender rods of the habiscus, strung with palmetto
leaves, for the roof. Every one contributed something to the
work; and by the united, but easy, and even indolent, labours of
all, the entire work was completed before sunset. The islanders,
while employed in erecting this tenement, reminded me of a
colony of beavers at work. To be sure, they were hardly as
silent and demure as those wonderful creatures, nor were they
by any means as diligent. To tell the truth, they were some-
what inclined to be lazy, but a perfect tumult of hilarity pre-
vailed; and they worked together so unitedly, and seemed ac-
tuated by such an instinct of friendliness, that it was truly beau-
tiful to behold.

Not a single female took part in this employment: and if the
degree of consideration in which the ever-adorable sex is held by
the men be—as the philosophers affirm—a just criterion of the
degree of refinement among a people, then I may truly pronounce
the Typees to be as polished a community as ever the sun shone
upon. The religious restrictions of the taboo alone excepted,
the women of the valley were allowed every possible indulgence.
Nowhere are the ladies more assiduously courted; nowhere are
they better appreciated as the contributors to our highest enjoy-
ments; and nowhere are they more sensible of their power. Far
different from their condition among many rude nations, where
the women are made to perform all the work while their ungal-
lant lords and masters lie buried in sloth, the gentle sex in the
valley of Typee were exempt from toil, if toil it might be called
that, even in that tropical climate, never distilled one drop of
perspiration. Their light household occupations, together with
the manufacture of tappa, the platting of mats, and the polishing
of drinking-vessels, were the only employments pertaining to
the women. And even these resembled those pleasant avocations
which fill up the elegant morning leisure of our fashionable
ladies at home. But in these occupations, slight and agreeable
though they were, the giddy young girls very seldom engaged.
Indeed these wilful, care-killing damsels were averse to all useful
employment. Like so many spoiled beauties, they ranged through
the groves—bathed in the stream—danced—flirted—played all

[ 227 ]
manner of mischievous pranks, and passed their days in one
merry round of thoughtless happiness.

During my whole stay on the island I never witnessed a single
quarrel, nor any thing that in the slightest degree approached
even to a dispute. The natives appeared to form one household,
whose members were bound together by the ties of strong affec-
tion. The love of kindred I did not so much perceive, for it
seemed blended in the general love; and where all were treated
as brothers and sisters, it was hard to tell who were actually re-
lated to each other by blood.

Let it not be supposed that I have overdrawn this picture. I
have not done so. Nor let it be urged, that the hostility of this tribe
to foreigners, and the hereditary feuds they carry on against
their fellow-islanders beyond the mountains, are facts which con-
tradict me. Not so: these apparent discrepancies are easily
reconciled. By many a legendary tale of violence and wrong,
as well as by events which have passed before their eyes, these
people have been taught to look upon white men with abhor-
rence. The cruel invasion of their country by Porter has alone
furnished them with ample provocation; and I can sympathize
in the spirit which prompts the Typee warrior to guard all the
passes to his valley with the point of his levelled spear, and,
standing upon the beach, with his back turned upon his green
home, to hold at bay the intruding European.

As to the origin of the enmity of this particular clan towards
the neighbouring tribes, I cannot so confidently speak. I will
not say that their foes are the aggressors, nor will I endeavour
to palliate their conduct. But surely, if our evil passions must
find vent, it is far better to expend them on strangers and aliens,
than in the bosom of the community in which we dwell. In
many polished countries civil contentions, as well as domestic
enmities, are prevalent, at the same time that the most atrocious
foreign wars are waged. How much less guilty, then, are our
islanders, who of these three sins are only chargeable with one,
and that the least criminal!

The reader will ere long have reason to suspect that the Ty-
pees are not free from the guilt of cannibalism; and he will
then, perhaps, charge me with admiring a people against whom
so odious a crime is chargeable. But this only enormity in their

[ 228 ]
character is not half so horrible as it is usually described. Ac-
cording to the popular fictions, the crews of vessels, shipwrecked
on some barbarous coast, are eaten alive like so many dainty joints
by the uncivil inhabitants; and unfortunate voyagers are lured
into smiling and treacherous bays; knocked in the head with
outlandish war-clubs; and served up without any preliminary
dressing. In truth, so horrific and improbable are these accounts,
that many sensible and well-informed people will not believe
that any cannibals exist; and place every book of voyages which
purports to give any account of them, on the same shelf with
Blue Beard and Jack the Giant-Killer; while others, implicitly
crediting the most extravagant fictions, firmly believe that there
are people in the world with tastes so depraved that they would
infinitely prefer a single mouthful of material humanity to a
good dinner of roast beef and plum pudding. But here, Truth,
who loves to be centrally located, is again found between the two
extremes; for cannibalism to a certain moderate extent is prac-
tised among several of the primitive tribes in the Pacific, but it
is upon the bodies of slain enemies alone; and horrible and fear-
ful as the custom is, immeasurably as it is to be abhorred and
condemned, still I assert that those who indulge in it are in
other respects humane and virtuous.
[ 229 ]

Fishing Parties—Mode of distributing the Fish—Midnight Banquet—
Timekeeping Tapers—Unceremonious style of eating the Fish.

There was no instance in which the social and kindly disposi-
tions of the Typees were more forcibly evinced than in the man-
ner they conducted their great fishing parties. Four times during
my stay in the valley the young men assembled near the full of
the moon, and went together on these excursions. As they were
generally absent about forty-eight hours, I was led to believe that
they went out towards the open sea, some distance from the bay.
The Polynesians seldom use a hook and line, almost always em-
ploying large well-made nets, most ingeniously fabricated from
the twisted fibres of a certain bark. I examined several of them
which had been spread to dry upon the beach at Nukuheva.
They resemble very much our own seines, and I should think
were very nearly as durable.

All the South Sea Islanders are passionately fond of fish; but
none of them can be more so than the inhabitants of Typee. I
could not comprehend, therefore, why they so seldom sought it
in their waters, for it was only at stated times that the fishing
parties were formed, and these occasions were always looked
forward to with no small degree of interest.

During their absence the whole population of the place were
in a ferment, and nothing was talked of but “pehee, pehee”
(fish, fish). Towards the time when they were expected to re-
turn the vocal telegraph was put into operation—the inhabitants,
who were scattered throughout the length of the valley, leaped
upon rocks and into trees, shouting with delight at the thoughts of
the anticipated treat. As soon as the approach of the party was
announced, there was a general rush of the men towards the
beach; some of them remaining, however, about the Ti, in order
to get matters in readiness for the reception of the fish, which

[ 230 ]
were brought to the Taboo groves in immense packages of
leaves, each one of them being suspended from a pole carried on
the shoulders of two men.

I was present at the Ti on one of these occasions, and the sight
was most interesting. After all the packages had arrived, they
were laid in a row under the verandah of the building and
opened. The fish were all quite small, generally about the size
of a herring, and of every variety of colour. About one-eighth
of the whole being reserved for the use of the Ti itself, the re-
mainder was divided into numerous smaller packages, which were
immediately dispatched in every direction to the remotest parts
of the valley. Arrived at their destination, these were in turn
portioned out, and equally distributed among the various houses
of each particular district. The fish were under a strict Taboo,
until the distribution was completed, which seemed to be effected
in the most impartial manner. By the operation of this system
every man, woman, and child in the vale were at one and the
same time partaking of this favourite article of food.

Once I remember the party arrived at midnight; but the un-
seasonableness of the hour did not repress the impatience of the
islanders. The carriers dispatched from the Ti were to be seen
hurrying in all directions through the deep groves; each indivi-
dual preceded by a boy bearing a flaming torch of dried cocoa-
nut boughs, which from time to time was replenished from the
materials scattered along the path. The wild glare of these
enormous flambeaux, lighting up with a startling brilliancy the
innermost recesses of the vale, and seen moving rapidly along
beneath the canopy of leaves, the savage shout of the excited mes-
sengers sounding the news of their approach, which was answered
on all sides, and the strange appearance of their naked bodies,
seen against the gloomy background, produced altogether an
effect upon my mind that I shall long remember.

It was on this same occasion that Kory-Kory awakened me at the
dead hour of night, and in a sort of transport communicated the
intelligence contained in the words “pehee perni” (fish come).
As I happened to have been in a remarkably sound and refreshing
slumber, I could not imagine why the information had not been
deferred until morning; indeed, I felt very much inclined to fly
into a passion and box my valet’s ears; but on second thoughts

[ 231 ]
I got quietly up, and on going outside the house was not a little
interested by the moving illumination which I beheld.

When old Marheyo received his share of the spoils, immediate
preparations were made for a midnight banquet; calabashes of
poee-poee were filled to the brim; green bread-fruit were roasted;
and a huge cake of “amar” was cut up with a sliver of bamboo
and laid out on an immense banana-leaf.

At this supper we were lighted by several of the native tapers,
held in the hands of young girls. These tapers are most inge-
niously made. There is a nut abounding in the valley, called
by the Typees “armor,” closely resembling our common horse-
chestnut. The shell is broken, and the contents extracted whole.
Any number of these are strung at pleasure upon the long elastic
fibre that traverses the branches of the cocoa-nut tree. Some of
these tapers are eight and ten feet in length; but being perfectly
flexible, one end is held in a coil, while the other is lighted. The
nut burns with a fitful bluish flame, and the oil that it contains is
exhausted in about ten minutes. As one burns down, the next
becomes ignited, and the ashes of the former are knocked into a
cocoa-nut shell kept for the purpose. This primitive candle re-
quires continual attention, and must be constantly held in the
hand. The person so employed marks the lapse of time by the
number of nuts consumed, which is easily learned by counting
the bits of tappa distributed at regular intervals along the

I grieve to state so distressing a fact, but the inhabitants of
Typee were in the habit of devouring fish much in the same way
that a civilized being would eat a radish, and without any more
previous preparation. They eat it raw; scales, bones, gills, and
all the inside. The fish is held by the tail, and the head being
introduced into the mouth, the animal disappears with a rapidity
that would at first nearly lead one to imagine it had been launched
bodily down the throat.

Raw fish! Shall I ever forget my sensations when I first saw
my island beauty devour one? Oh, heavens! Fayaway, how
could you ever have contracted so vile a habit? However, after
the first shock had subsided, the custom grew less odious in my
eyes, and I soon accustomed myself to the sight. Let no one
imagine, however, that the lovely Fayaway was in the habit of

[ 232 ]
swallowing great vulgar-looking fishes: oh, no; with her beau-
tiful small hand she would clasp a delicate, little, golden-hued
love of a fish, and eat it as elegantly and as innocently as though
it were a Naples biscuit. But, alas! it was after all a raw fish;
and all I can say is, that Fayaway ate it in a more ladylike manner
than any other girl of the valley.

When at Rome do as the Romans do, I held to be so good a
proverb, that being in Typee I made a point of doing as the
Typees did. Thus I ate poee-poee as they did; I walked about
in a garb striking for its simplicity; and I reposed on a commu-
nity of couches; besides doing many other things in conformity
with their peculiar habits; but the farthest I ever went in the way
of conformity, was on several occasions to regale myself with
raw fish. These being remarkably tender, and quite small, the
undertaking was not so disagreeable in the main, and after a few
trials I positively began to relish them: however, I subjected
them to a slight operation with my knife previously to making
my repast.

[ 233 ]

Natural History of the Valley—Golden Lizards—Tameness of the Birds—
Mosquitos—Flies—Dogs—A solitary Cat—The Climate—The Cocoa-
nut Tree—Singular modes of climbing it—An agile young Chief—Fear-
lessness of the Children—Too-Too and the Cocoa-nut Tree—The Birds
of the Valley.

I think I must enlighten the reader a little about the natural
history of the valley.

Whence, in the name of Count Buffon and Baron Cuvier,
came those dogs that I saw in Typee? Dogs!—Big hairless
rats rather; all with smooth, shining, speckled hides—fat sides,
and very disagreeable faces. Whence could they have come?
That they were not the indigenous production of the region, I
am firmly convinced. Indeed they seemed aware of their being
interlopers, looking fairly ashamed, and always trying to hide
themselves in some dark corner. It was plain enough they did
not feel at home in the vale—that they wished themselves well
out of it, and back to the ugly country from which they must
have come.

Scurvy curs! they were my abhorrence; I should have liked
nothing better than to have been the death of every one of them.
In fact, on one occasion, I intimated the propriety of a canine
crusade to Mehevi; but the benevolent king would not consent
to it. He heard me very patiently; but when I had finished,
shook his head, and told me, in confidence, that they were

As for the animal that made the fortune of the ex-lord-mayor
Whittington: I shall never forget the day that I was lying in
the house about noon, everybody else being fast asleep; and
happening to raise my eyes, met those of a big black spectral cat,
which sat erect in the doorway, looking at me with its frightful
goggling green orbs, like one of those monstrous imps that tor-
ment some of Teniers’ saints! I am one of those unfortunate

[ 234 ]
persons to whom the sight of these animals is at any time an
insufferable annoyance.

Thus constitutionally averse to cats in general, the unexpected
apparition of this one in particular utterly confounded me.
When I had a little recovered from the fascination of its glance,
I started up; the cat fled, and emboldened by this, I rushed out
of the house in pursuit; but it had disappeared. It was the only
time I ever saw one in the valley, and how it got there I cannot
imagine. It is just possible that it might have escaped from one
of the ships at Nukuheva. It was in vain to seek information
on the subject from the natives; since none of them had seen
the animal, the appearance of which remains a mystery to me
to this day.

Among the few animals which are to be met with in Typee,
there were none which I looked upon with more interest than a
beautiful golden-hued species of lizard. It measured perhaps
five inches from head to tail, and was most gracefully propor-
tioned. Numbers of these creatures were to be seen basking in
the sunshine upon the thatching of the houses, and multitudes at
all hours of the day showed their glittering sides as they ran
frolicking between the spears of grass or raced in troops up and
down the tall shafts of the cocoa-nut trees. But the remarkable
beauty of these little animals and their lively ways were not
their only claims upon my admiration. They were perfectly
tame and insensible to fear. Frequently, after seating myself
upon the ground in some shady place during the heat of the day,
I would be completely overrun with them. If I brushed one off
my arm, it would leap perhaps into my hair: when I tried to
frighten it away by gently pinching its leg, it would turn for
protection to the very hand that attacked it.

The birds are also remarkably tame. If you happened to see
one perched upon a branch within reach of your arm, and ad-
vanced towards it, it did not fly away immediately, but waited
quietly looking at you, until you could almost touch it, and then
took wing slowly, less alarmed at your presence, it would seem,
than desirous of removing itself from your path. Had salt been
less scarce in the valley than it was, this was the very place to
have gone birding with it.

I remember that once, on an uninhabited island of the Galli-

[ 235 ]
pagos, a bird alighted on my outstretched arm, while its mate
chirped from an adjoining tree. Its tameness, far from shocking
me, as a similar occurrence did Selkirk, imparted to me the most
exquisite thrill of delight I ever experienced; and with some-
what of the same pleasure did I afterwards behold the birds and
lizards of the valley show their confidence in the kindliness of

Among the numerous afflictions which the Europeans have
entailed upon some of the natives of the South Seas, is the acci-
dental introduction among them of that enemy of all repose and
ruffler of even tempers—the Mosquito. At the Sandwich Islands
and at two or three of the Society group there are now thriving
colonies of these insects, who promise ere long to supplant alto-
gether the aboriginal sand-flies. They sting, buzz, and torment,
from one end of the year to the other, and by incessantly exas-
perating the natives materially obstruct the benevolent labours of
the missionaries.

From this grievous visitation, however, the Typees are as yet
wholly exempt; but its place is unfortunately in some degree
supplied by the occasional presence of a minute species of fly,
which, without stinging, is nevertheless productive of no little
annoyance. The tameness of the birds and lizards is as nothing
when compared to the fearless confidence of this insect. He will
perch upon one of your eye-lashes, and go to roost there, if you
do not disturb him, or force his way through your hair, or along
the cavity of the nostril, till you almost fancy he is resolved to
explore the very brain itself. On one occasion I was so incon-
siderate as to yawn while a number of them were hovering
around me. I never repeated the act. Some half-dozen darted
into the open apartment, and began walking about its ceiling;
the sensation was dreadful. I involuntarily closed my mouth,
and the poor creatures being enveloped in inner darkness, must
in their consternation have stumbled over my palate, and been
precipitated into the gulf beneath. At any rate, though I after-
wards charitably held my mouth open for at least five minutes,
with a view of affording egress to the stragglers, none of them
ever availed themselves of the opportunity.

There are no wild animals of any kind on the island, unless it
be decided that the natives themselves are such. The mountains

[ 236 ]
and the interior present to the eye nothing but silent solitudes,
unbroken by the roar of beasts of prey, and enlivened by few
tokens even of minute animated existence. There are no ve-
nomous reptiles, and no snakes of any description to be found in
any of the valleys.

In a company of Marquesan natives the weather affords no
topic of conversation. It can hardly be said to have any vicis-
situdes. The rainy season, it is true, brings frequent showers,
but they are intermitting and refreshing. When an islander
bound on some expedition rises from his couch in the morning,
he is never solicitous to peep out and see how the sky looks, or
ascertain from what quarter the wind blows. He is always sure
of a “fine day,” and the promise of a few genial showers he hails
with pleasure. There is never any of that “remarkable weather”
on the island which from time immemorial has been experienced
in America, and still continues to call forth the wondering con-
versational exclamations of its elderly citizens. Nor do there
even occur any of those eccentric meteorological changes which
elsewhere surprise us. In the valley of Typee ice-creams would
never be rendered less acceptable by sudden frosts, nor would pic-
nic parties be deferred on account of inauspicious snow-storms:
for there day follows day in one unvarying round of summer and
sunshine, and the whole year is one long tropical month of June
just melting into July.

It is this genial climate which causes the cocoa-nuts to flourish
as they do. This invaluable fruit, brought to perfection by the
rich soil of the Marquesas, and borne aloft on a stately column
more than a hundred feet from the ground, would seem at first
almost inaccessible to the simple natives. Indeed the slender,
smooth, and soaring shaft, without a single limb or protuberance
of any kind to assist one in mounting it, presents an obstacle only
to be overcome by the surprising agility and ingenuity of the
islanders. It might be supposed that their indolence would lead
them patiently to await the period when the ripened nuts, slowly
parting from their stems, fall one by one to the ground. This
certainly would be the case, were it not that the young fruit,
encased in a soft green husk, with the incipient meat adhering
in a jelly-like pellicle to its sides, and containing a bumper of the
most delicious nectar, is what they chiefly prize. They have at

[ 237 ]
least twenty different terms to express as many progressive stages
in the growth of the nut. Many of them reject the fruit alto-
gether except at a particular period of its growth, which, incre-
dible as it may appear, they seemed to me to be able to ascertain
within an hour or two. Others are still more capricious in their
tastes; and after gathering together a heap of the nuts of all
ages, and ingeniously tapping them, will sip first from one and
then from another, as fastidiously as some delicate wine-bibber
experimenting glass in hand among his dusty demijohns of dif-
ferent vintages.

Some of the young men, with more flexible frames than their
comrades, and perhaps with more courageous souls, had a way of
walking up the trunk of the cocoa-nut trees which to me seemed
little less than miraculous; and when looking at them in the act,
I experienced that curious perplexity a child feels when he be-
holds a fly moving feet uppermost along a ceiling.

I will endeavour to describe the way in which Narnee, a noble
young chief, sometimes performed this feat for my peculiar gra-
tification; but his preliminary performances must also be re-
corded. Upon my signifying my desire that he should pluck
me the young fruit of some particular tree, the handsome savage,
throwing himself into a sudden attitude of surprise, feigns as-
tonishment at the apparent absurdity of the request. Maintain-
ing this position for a moment, the strange emotions depicted on
his countenance soften down into one of humorous resignation to
my will, and then looking wistfully up to the tufted top of the
tree, he stands on tip-toe, straining his neck and elevating his
arm, as though endeavouring to reach the fruit from the ground
where he stands. As if defeated in this childish attempt, he now
sinks to the earth despondingly, beating his breast in well-acted
despair; and then, starting to his feet all at once, and throwing
back his head, raises both hands, like a school-boy about to catch
a falling ball. After continuing this for a moment or two, as
if in expectation that the fruit was going to be tossed down to
him by some good spirit in the tree-top, he turns wildly round in
another fit of despair, and scampers off to the distance of thirty
or forty yards. Here he remains awhile, eyeing the tree, the
very picture of misery; but the next moment, receiving, as it
were, a flash of inspiration, he rushes again towards it, and clasp-

[ 238 ]
ing both arms about the trunk, with one elevated a little above
the other, he presses the soles of his feet close together against
the tree, extending his legs from it until they are nearly hori-
zontal, and his body becomes doubled into an arch; then, hand
over hand and foot after foot, he rises from the earth with steady
rapidity, and almost before you are aware of it, has gained the
cradled and embowered nest of nuts, and with boisterous glee
flings the fruit to the ground.

This mode of walking the tree is only practicable where the
trunk declines considerably from the perpendicular. This, how-
ever, is almost always the case; some of the perfectly straight
shafts of the trees leaning at an angle of thirty degrees.

The less active among the men, and many of the children of
the valley, have another method of climbing. They take a broad
and stout piece of bark, and secure either end of it to their
ankles; so that when the feet thus confined are extended apart, a
space of little more than twelve inches is left between them.
This contrivance greatly facilitates the act of climbing. The
band pressed against the tree, and closely embracing it, yields a
pretty firm support; while with the arms clasped about the
trunk, and at regular intervals sustaining the body, the feet are
drawn up nearly a yard at a time, and a corresponding elevation
of the hands immediately succeeds. In this way I have seen
little children, scarcely five years of age, fearlessly climbing the
slender pole of a young cocoa-nut tree, and while hanging perhaps
fifty feet from the ground, receive the plaudits of their parents
beneath, who clapped their hands, and encouraged them to mount
still higher.

What, thought I, on first witnessing one of these exhibitions,
would the nervous mothers of America and England say to a
similar display of hardihood in any of their children? The
Lacedemonian nations might have approved of it, but most
modern dames would have gone into hysterics at the sight.

At the top of the cocoa-nut tree the numerous branches, ra-
diating on all sides from a common centre, form a sort of green
and waving basket, between the leaflets of which you just discern
the nuts thickly clustering together, and on the loftier trees
looking no bigger from the ground than bunches of grapes. I
remember one adventurous little fellow—Too-Too was the rascal’s

[ 239 ]
name—who had built himself a sort of aerial baby-house in the
picturesque tuft of a tree adjoining Marheyo’s habitation. He
used to spend hours there,—rustling among the branches, and
shouting with delight every time the strong gusts of wind rush-
ing down from the mountain’s side swayed to and fro the tall and
flexible column on which he was perched. Whenever I heard
Too-Too’s musical voice, sounding strangely to the ear from so
great a height, and beheld him peeping down upon me from out
his leafy covert, he always recalled to my mind Dibdin’s lines—

“There’s a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
To look out for the life of poor Jack.”

Birds—bright and beautiful birds—fly over the valley of
Typee. You see them perched aloft among the immovable
boughs of the majestic bread-fruit trees, or gently swaying on the
elastic branches of the Omoo; skimming over the palmetto
thatching of the bamboo huts; passing like spirits on the wing
through the shadows of the grove, and sometimes descending
into the bosom of the valley in gleaming flights from the moun-
tains. Their plumage is purple and azure, crimson and white,
black and gold; with bills of every tint:—bright bloody-red,
jet black, and ivory white; and their eyes are bright and spark-
ling; they go sailing through the air in starry throngs; but
alas! the spell of dumbness is upon them all—there is not a
single warbler in the valley!

I know not why it was, but the sight of these birds, generally
the ministers of gladness, always oppressed me with melancholy.
As in their dumb beauty they hovered by me whilst I was walk-
ing, or looked down upon me with steady curious eyes from out
the foliage, I was almost inclined to fancy that they knew they
were gazing upon a stranger, and that they commiserated his

[ 240 ]

A Professor of the Fine Arts—His Persecutions—Something about Tattoo-
ing and Tabooing—Two Anecdotes in illustration of the latter—A few
thoughts on the Typee Dialect.

In one of my strolls with Kory-Kory, in passing along the border
of a thick growth of bushes, my attention was arrested by a sin-
gular noise. On entering the thicket I witnessed for the first
time the operation of tattooing as performed by these islanders.

I beheld a man extended flat upon his back on the ground,
and, despite the forced composure of his countenance, it was
evident that he was suffering agony. His tormentor bent over
him, working away for all the world like a stone-cutter with
mallet and chisel. In one hand he held a short slender stick,
pointed with a shark’s tooth, on the upright end of which he
tapped with a small hammer-like piece of wood, thus puncturing
the skin, and charging it with the colouring matter in which the
instrument was dipped. A cocoa-nut shell containing this fluid
was placed upon the ground. It is prepared by mixing with a
vegetable juice the ashes of the “armor,” or candle-nut, always
preserved for the purpose. Beside the savage, and spread out
upon a piece of soiled tappa, were a great number of curious
black-looking little implements of bone and wood, used in the
various divisions of his art. A few terminated in a single fine
point, and, like very delicate pencils, were employed in giving
the finishing touches, or in operating upon the more sensitive
portions of the body, as was the case in the present instance.
Others presented several points distributed in a line, somewhat
resembling the teeth of a saw. These were employed in the
coarser parts of the work, and particularly in pricking in
straight marks. Some presented their points disposed in small
figures, and being placed upon the body, were, by a single blow
of the hammer, made to leave their indelible impression. I

[ 241 ]
observed a few the handles of which were mysteriously curved,
as if intended to be introduced into the orifice of the ear, with a
view perhaps of beating the tattoo upon the tympanum. Alto-
gether, the sight of these strange instruments recalled to mind
that display of cruel-looking mother-of-pearl-handled things
which one sees in their velvet-lined cases at the elbow of a

The artist was not at this time engaged on an original sketch,
his subject being a venerable savage, whose tattooing had become
somewhat faded with age and needed a few repairs, and accord-
ingly he was merely employed in touching up the works of
some of the old masters of the Typee school, as delineated upon
the human canvas before him. The parts operated upon were
the eyelids, where a longitudinal streak, like the one which
adorned Kory-Kory, crossed the countenance of the victim.

In spite of all the efforts of the poor old man, sundry twitch-
ings and screwings of the muscles of the face denoted the exqui-
site sensibility of these shutters to the windows of his soul, which
he was now having repainted. But the artist, with a heart as
callous as that of an army surgeon, continued his performance,
enlivening his labours with a wild chant, tapping away the
while as merrily as a woodpecker.

So deeply engaged was he in his work, that he had not observed
our approach, until, after having enjoyed an unmolested view of
the operation, I chose to attract his attention. As soon as he
perceived me, supposing that I sought him in his professional
capacity, he seized hold of me in a paroxysm of delight, and was
all eagerness to begin the work. When, however, I gave him
to understand that he had altogether mistaken my views, nothing
could exceed his grief and disappointment. But recovering
from this, he seemed determined not to credit my assertion, and
grasping his implements, he flourished them about in fearful
vicinity to my face, going through an imaginary performance of
his art, and every moment bursting into some admiring excla-
mation at the beauty of his designs.

Horrified at the bare thought of being rendered hideous for
life if the wretch were to execute his purpose upon me, I strug-
gled to get away from him, while Kory-Kory, turning traitor,
stood by, and besought me to comply with the outrageous re-

[ 242 ]
quest. On my reiterated refusals the excited artist got half
beside himself, and was overwhelmed with sorrow at losing so
noble an opportunity of distinguishing himself in his profession.

The idea of engrafting his tattooing upon my white skin filled
him with all a painter’s enthusiasm: again and again he gazed
into my countenance, and every fresh glimpse seemed to add to
the vehemence of his ambition. Not knowing to what extremi-
ties he might proceed, and shuddering at the ruin he might
inflict upon my figure-head, I now endeavoured to draw off his
attention from it, and holding out my arm in a fit of desperation,
signed to him to commence operations. But he rejected the
compromise indignantly, and still continued his attack on my
face, as though nothing short of that would satisfy him. When
his fore-finger swept across my features, in laying out the borders
of those parallel bands which were to encircle my countenance,
the flesh fairly crawled upon my bones. At last, half wild with
terror and indignation, I succeeded in breaking away from the
three savages, and fled towards old Marheyo’s house, pursued by
the indomitable artist, who ran after me, implements in hand.
Kory-Kory, however, at last interfered, and drew him off from
the chace.

This incident opened my eyes to a new danger; and I now
felt convinced that in some luckless hour I should be disfigured
in such a manner as never more to have the face to return to my
countrymen, even should an opportunity offer.

These apprehensions were greatly increased by the desire
which King Mehevi and several of the inferior chiefs now mani-
fested that I should be tattooed. The pleasure of the king was
first signified to me some three days after my casual encounter
with Karky the artist. Heavens! what imprecations I showered
upon that Karky! Doubtless he had plotted a conspiracy against
me and my countenance, and would never rest until his diabolical
purpose was accomplished. Several times I met him in various
parts of the valley, and, invariably, whenever he descried me, he
came running after me with his mallet and chisel, flourishing
them about my face as if he longed to begin. What an object
he would have made of me!

When the king first expressed his wish to me, I made known
to him my utter abhorrence of the measure, and worked myself

[ 243 ]
into such a state of excitement, that he absolutely stared at me
in amazement. It evidently surpassed his majesty’s comprehen-
sion how any sober-minded and sensible individual could enter-
tain the least possible objection to so beautifying an operation.

Soon afterwards he repeated his suggestion, and meeting with
a like repulse, showed some symptoms of displeasure at my ob-
duracy. On his a third time renewing his request, I plainly
perceived that something must be done, or my visage was ruined
for ever; I therefore screwed up my courage to the sticking
point, and declared my willingness to have both arms tattooed
from just above the wrist to the shoulder. His majesty was
greatly pleased at the proposition, and I was congratulating
myself with having thus compromised the matter, when he inti-
mated that as a thing of course my face was first to undergo the
operation. I was fairly driven to despair; nothing but the utter
ruin of my “face divine,” as the poets call it, would, I perceived,
satisfy the inexorable Mehevi and his chiefs, or rather, that in-
fernal Karky, for he was at the bottom of it all.

The only consolation afforded me was a choice of patterns: I
was at perfect liberty to have my face spanned by three hori-
zontal bars, after the fashion of my serving-man’s; or to have
as many oblique stripes slanting across it; or if, like a true
courtier, I chose to model my style on that of royalty, I might
wear a sort of freemason badge upon my countenance in the
shape of a mystic triangle. However, I would have none of
these, though the king most earnestly impressed upon my mind
that my choice was wholly unrestricted. At last, seeing my
unconquerable repugnance, he ceased to importune me.

But not so some other of the savages. Hardly a day passed
but I was subjected to their annoying requests, until at last my
existence became a burden to me; the pleasures I had previously
enjoyed no longer afforded me delight, and all my former desire
to escape from the valley now revived with additional force.

A fact which I soon afterwards learned augmented my appre-
hension. The whole system of tattooing was, I found, connected
with their religion; and it was evident, therefore, that they were
resolved to make a convert of me.

In the decoration of the chiefs it seems to be necessary to
exercise the most elaborate pencilling; while some of the inferior

[ 244 ]
natives looked as if they had been daubed over indiscriminately
with a house-painter’s brush. I remember one fellow who prided
himself hugely upon a great oblong patch, placed high upon his
back, and who always reminded me of a man with a blister of
Spanish flies stuck between his shoulders. Another whom I
frequently met had the hollow of his eyes tattooed in two regular
squares, and his visual organs being remarkably brilliant, they
gleamed forth from out this setting like a couple of diamonds
inserted in ebony.

Although convinced that tattooing was a religious observance,
still the nature of the connection between it and the superstitious
idolatry of the people was a point upon which I could never
obtain any information. Like the still more important system
of the “Taboo,” it always appeared inexplicable to me.

There is a marked similarity, almost an identity, between the
religious institutions of most of the Polynesian islands, and in all
exists the mysterious “Taboo,” restricted in its uses to a greater
or less extent. So strange and complex in its arrangements is
this remarkable system, that I have in several cases met with
individuals who, after residing for years among the islands in the
Pacific, and acquiring a considerable knowledge of the language,
have nevertheless been altogether unable to give any satisfactory
account of its operations. Situated as I was in the Typee valley,
I perceived every hour the effects of this all-controlling power,
without in the least comprehending it. Those effects were,
indeed, wide-spread and universal, pervading the most important
as well as the minutest transactions of life. The savage, in
short, lives in the continual observance of its dictates, which
guide and control every action of his being.

For several days after entering the valley I had been saluted
at least fifty times in the twenty-four hours with the talismanic
word “Taboo” shrieked in my ears, at some gross violation of
its provisions, of which I had unconsciously been guilty. The
day after our arrival I happened to hand some tobacco to Toby
over the head of a native who sat between us. He started up,
as if stung by an adder; while the whole company, manifesting
an equal degree of horror, simultaneously screamed out “taboo!”
I never again perpetrated a similar piece of ill-manners, which,
indeed, was forbidden by the canons of good breeding, as well

[ 245 ]
as by the mandates of the taboo. But it was not always so easy
to perceive wherein you had contravened the spirit of this insti-
tution. I was many times called to order, if I may use the
phrase, when I could not for the life of me conjecture what par-
ticular offence I had committed.

One day I was strolling through a secluded portion of the
valley, and hearing the musical sound of the cloth-mallet at a
little distance, I turned down a path that conducted me in a few
moments to a house where there were some half-dozen girls em-
ployed in making tappa. This was an operation I had frequently
witnessed, and had handled the bark in all the various stages of
its preparation. On the present occasion the females were intent
upon their occupation, and after looking up and talking gaily to
me for a few moments, they resumed their employment. I
regarded them for awhile in silence, and then carelessly picking
up a handful of the material that lay around, proceeded uncon-
sciously to pick it apart. While thus engaged, I was suddenly
startled by a scream, like that of a whole boarding-school of
young ladies just on the point of going into hysterics. Leaping
up with the idea of seeing a score of Happar warriors about to
perform anew the Sabine atrocity, I found myself confronted
by the company of girls, who, having dropped their work, stood
before me with starting eyes, swelling bosoms, and fingers pointed
in horror towards me.

Thinking that some venomous reptile must be concealed in the
bark which I held in my hand, I began cautiously to separate
and examine it. Whilst I did so the horrified girls redoubled
their shrieks. Their wild cries and frightened motions actually
alarmed me, and throwing down the tappa, I was about to rush
from the house, when in the same instant their clamours ceased,
and one of them seizing me by the arm, pointed to the broken
fibres that had just fallen from my grasp, and screamed in my
ears the fatal word Taboo!

I subsequently found out that the fabric they were engaged in
making was of a peculiar kind, destined to be worn on the heads
of the females, and through every stage of its manufacture was
guarded by a vigorous taboo, which interdicted the whole mas-
culine gender from even so much as touching it.

Frequently in walking through the groves I observed bread-

[ 246 ]
fruit and cocoa-nut trees, with a wreath of leaves twined in a
peculiar fashion about their trunks. This was the mark of the
taboo. The trees themselves, their fruit, and even the shadows
they cast upon the ground, were consecrated by its presence. In
the same way a pipe, which the king had bestowed upon me, was
rendered sacred in the eyes of the natives, none of whom could I
ever prevail upon to smoke from it. The bowl was encircled by
a woven band of grass, somewhat resembling those Turks’ heads
occasionally worked in the handles of our whip-stalks.

A similar badge was once braided about my wrist by the royal
hand of Mehevi himself, who, as soon as he had concluded the
operation, pronounced me “Taboo.” This occurred shortly after
Toby’s disappearance; and were it not that from the first mo-
ment I had entered the valley the natives had treated me with
uniform kindness, I should have supposed that their conduct
afterwards was to be ascribed to the fact that I had received this
sacred investiture.

The capricious operations of the taboo is not its least remark-
able feature: to enumerate them all would be impossible. Black
hogs—infants to a certain age—women in an interesting situa-
tion—young men while the operation of tattooing their faces is
going on—and certain parts of the valley during the continuance
of a shower—are alike fenced about by the operation of the taboo.

I witnessed a striking instance of its effects in the bay of Tior,
my visit to which place has been alluded to in a former part of
this narrative. On that occasion our worthy captain formed one
of the party. He was a most insatiable sportsman. Outward
bound, and off the pitch of Cape Horn, he used to sit on the
taffrail, and keep the steward loading three or four old fowling-
pieces, with which he would bring down albatrosses, Cape pigeons,
jays, petrels, and divers other marine fowl, who followed chatter-
ing in our wake. The sailors were struck aghast at his impiety,
and one and all attributed our forty days’ beating about that
horrid headland to his sacrilegious slaughter of these inoffensive

At Tior he evinced the same disregard for the religious pre-
judices of the islanders, as he had previously shown for the su-
perstitions of the sailors. Having heard that there were a con-
siderable number of fowls in the valley—the progeny of some

[ 247 ]
cocks and hens accidentally left there by an English vessel, and
which, being strictly tabooed, flew about almost in a wild state—
he determined to break through all restraints, and be the death
of them. Accordingly, he provided himself with a most for-
midable looking gun, and announced his landing on the beach
by shooting down a noble cock that was crowing what proved to
be his own funeral dirge, on the limb of an adjoining tree.
“Taboo,” shrieked the affrighted savages. “Oh, hang your
taboo,” says the nautical sportsman; “talk taboo to the marines;”
and bang went the piece again, and down came another victim.
At this the natives ran scampering through the groves, horror-
struck at the enormity of the act.

All that afternoon the rocky sides of the valley rang with suc-
cessive reports, and the superb plumage of many a beautiful fowl
was ruffled by the fatal bullet. Had it not been that the French
admiral, with a large party, were then in the glen, I have no
doubt that the natives, although their tribe was small and dis-
pirited, would have inflicted summary vengeance upon the man
who thus outraged their most sacred institutions; as it was, they
contrived to annoy him not a little.

Thirsting with his exertions, the skipper directed his steps to
a stream; but the savages, who had followed at a little distance,
perceiving his object, rushed towards him and forced him away
from its bank—his lips would have polluted it. Wearied at last,
he sought to enter a house, that he might rest for a while on the
mats; its inmates gathered tumultuously about the door and
denied him admittance. He coaxed and blustered by turns, but
in vain; the natives were neither to be intimidated nor appeased,
and as a final resort he was obliged to call together his boat’s
crew, and pull away from what he termed the most infernal place
he ever stepped upon.

Lucky was it for him and for us that we were not honoured
on our departure by a salute of stones from the hands of the ex-
asperated Tiors. In this way, on the neighbouring island of
Ropo, were killed, but a few weeks previously, and for a nearly
similar offence, the master and three of the crew of the K—.

I cannot determine with anything approaching to certainty,
what power it is that imposes the taboo. When I consider the
slight disparity of condition among the islanders—the very

[ 248 ]
limited and inconsiderable prerogatives of the king and chiefs—
and the loose and indefinite functions of the priesthood, most of
whom were hardly to be distinguished from the rest of their
countrymen, I am wholly at a loss where to look for the autho-
rity which regulates this potent institution. It is imposed upon
something to-day, and withdrawn to-morrow; while its opera-
tions in other cases are perpetual. Sometimes its restrictions
only affect a single individual—sometimes a particular family—
sometimes a whole tribe; and in a few instances they extend not
merely over the various clans on a single island, but over all
the inhabitants of an entire group. In illustration of this latter
peculiarity, I may cite the law which forbids a female to enter a
canoe—a prohibition which prevails upon all the northern Mar-
quesas Islands.

The word itself (taboo) is used in more than one signification.
It is sometimes used by a parent to his child, when in the exer-
cise of parental authority he forbids it to perform a particular
action. Anything opposed to the ordinary customs of the island-
ers, although not expressly prohibited, is said to be “taboo.”

The Typee language is one very difficult to be acquired; it
bears a close resemblance to the other Polynesian dialects, all of
which show a common origin. The duplication of words, as
“lumee lumee,” “poee poee,” “muee muee,” is one of their
peculiar features. But another, and a more annoying one, is the
different senses in which one and the same word is employed; its
various meanings all have a certain connection, which only makes
the matter more puzzling. So one brisk, lively little word is
obliged, like a servant in a poor family, to perform all sorts of
duties; for instance, one particular combination of syllables ex-
presses the ideas of sleep, rest, reclining, sitting, leaning, and all
other things anywise analogous thereto, the particular meaning
being shown chiefly by a variety of gestures and the eloquent
expression of the countenance.

The intricacy of these dialects is another peculiarity. In the
Missionary College at Lahainaluna, or Mawee, one of the Sand-
wich Islands, I saw a tabular exhibition of a Hawiian verb, con-
jugated through all its moods and tenses. It covered the side of
a considerable apartment, and I doubt whether Sir William Jones
himself would not have despaired of mastering it.

[ 249 ]

Strange custom of the Islanders—Their Chanting, and the peculiarity of
their Voice—Rapture of the King at first hearing a Song—A new Dignity
conferred on the Author—Musical Instruments in the Valley—Admira-
tion of the Savages at beholding a Pugilistic Performance—Swimming
Infant—Beautiful Tresses of the Girls—Ointment for the Hair.

Sadly discursive as I have already been, I must still further
entreat the reader’s patience, as I am about to string together,
without any attempt at order, a few odds and ends of things not
hitherto mentioned, but which are either curious in themselves
or peculiar to the Typees.

There was one singular custom, observed in old Marheyo’s
domestic establishment, which often excited my surprise. Every
night, before retiring, the inmates of the house gathered together
on the mats, and squatting upon their haunches, after the uni-
versal practice of these islanders, would commence a low, dismal,
and monotonous chant, accompanying the voice with the instru-
mental melody produced by two small half-rotten sticks tapped
slowly together, a pair of which were held in the hands of each
person present. Thus would they employ themselves for an hour
or two, sometimes longer. Lying in the gloom which wrapped
the further end of the house, I could not avoid looking at them,
although the spectacle suggested nothing but unpleasant reflec-
tions. The flickering rays of the “armor” nut just served to
reveal their savage lineaments, without dispelling the darkness
that hovered about them.

Sometimes when, after falling into a kind of doze, and awaking
suddenly in the midst of these doleful chantings, my eye would
fall upon the wild-looking group engaged in their strange occu-
pation, with their naked tattooed limbs, and shaven heads dis-
posed in a circle, I was almost tempted to believe that I gazed
upon a set of evil beings in the act of working a frightful

[ 250 ]

What was the meaning or purpose of this custom, whether it
was practised merely as a diversion, or whether it was a religious
exercise, a sort of family prayers, I never could discover.

The sounds produced by the natives on these occasions were
of a most singular description; and had I not actually been pre-
sent, I never would have believed that such curious noises could
have been produced by human beings.

To savages generally is imputed a guttural articulation. This,
however, is not always the case, especially among the inhabitants
of the Polynesian Archipelago. The labial melody with which
the Typee girls carry on an ordinary conversation, giving a mu-
sical prolongation to the final syllable of every sentence, and
chirping out some of the words with a liquid, bird-like accent,
was singularly pleasing.

The men, however, are not quite so harmonious in their utter-
ance, and when excited upon any subject, would work themselves
up into a sort of wordy paroxysm, during which all descriptions
of rough-sided sounds were projected from their mouths, with a
force and rapidity which was absolutely astonishing.

* * * * * *

Although these savages are remarkably fond of chanting,
still they appear to have no idea whatever of singing, at least as
that art is practised among other nations.

I never shall forget the first time I happened to roar out a
stave in the presence of the noble Mehevi. It was a stanza from
the “Bavarian broom-seller.” His Typean majesty, with all his
court, gazed upon me in amazement, as if I had displayed some
preternatural faculty which Heaven had denied to them. The
king was delighted with the verse; but the chorus fairly trans-
ported him. At his solicitation I sang it again and again, and
nothing could be more ludicrous than his vain attempts to catch
the air and the words. The royal savage seemed to think that
by screwing all the features of his face into the end of his nose
he might possibly succeed in the undertaking, but it failed to
answer the purpose; and in the end he gave it up, and consoled
himself by listening to my repetition of the sounds fifty times

Previous to Mehevi’s making the discovery, I had never been
aware that there was anything of the nightingale about me; but

[ 251 ]
I was now promoted to the place of court-minstrel, in which
capacity I was afterwards perpetually called upon to officiate.

* * * * * *

Besides the sticks and the drums, there are no other musical
instruments among the Typees, except one which might appro-
priately be denominated a nasal flute. It is somewhat longer
than an ordinary fife; is made of a beautiful scarlet-coloured
reed; and has four or five stops, with a large hole near one end,
which latter is held just beneath the left nostril. The other
nostril being closed by a peculiar movement of the muscles about
the nose, the breath is forced into the tube, and produces a soft
dulcet sound, which is varied by the fingers running at random
over the stops. This is a favourite recreation with the females,
and one in which Fayaway greatly excelled. Awkward as such
an instrument may appear, it was, in Fayaway’s delicate little
hands, one of the most graceful I have ever seen. A young
lady, in the act of tormenting a guitar strung about her neck by
a couple of yards of blue ribbon, is not half so engaging.

* * * * * *

Singing was not the only means I possessed of diverting the
royal Mehevi and his easy-going subjects. Nothing afforded
them more pleasure than to see me go through the attitude of
pugilistic encounter. As not one of the natives had soul enough
in him to stand up like a man, and allow me to hammer away at
him, for my own personal gratification and that of the king,
I was necessitated to fight with an imaginary enemy, whom
I invariably made to knock under to my superior prowess.
Sometimes when this sorely battered shadow retreated preci-
pitately towards a group of the savages, and, following him up,
I rushed among them, dealing my blows right and left, they
would disperse in all directions, much to the enjoyment of
Mehevi, the chiefs, and themselves.

The noble art of self-defence appeared to be regarded by them
as the peculiar gift of the white man; and I make little doubt
but that they supposed armies of Europeans were drawn up
provided with nothing else but bony fists and stout hearts, with
which they set to in column, and pummelled one another at the
word of command.

* * * * * *

[ 252 ]

One day, in company with Kory-Kory, I had repaired to the
stream for the purpose of bathing, when I observed a woman
sitting upon a rock in the midst of the current, and watching
with the liveliest interest the gambols of something, which at
first I took to be an uncommonly large species of frog that was
sporting in the water near her. Attracted by the novelty of the
sight, I waded towards the spot where she sat, and could hardly
credit the evidence of my senses when I beheld a little infant,
the period of whose birth could not have extended back many
days, paddling about as if it had just risen to the surface, after
being hatched into existence at the bottom. Occasionally the
delighted parent reached out her hands towards it, when the
little thing, uttering a faint cry, and striking out its tiny limbs,
would sidle for the rock, and the next moment be clasped to its
mother’s bosom. This was repeated again and again, the baby
remaining in the stream about a minute at a time. Once or
twice it made wry faces at swallowing a mouthful of water, and
choked and spluttered as if on the point of strangling. At such
times, however, the mother snatched it up, and by a process
scarcely to be mentioned obliged it to eject the fluid. For
several weeks afterwards I observed this woman bringing her
child down to the stream regularly every day, in the cool of the
morning and evening, and treating it to a bath. No wonder
that the South Sea Islanders are so amphibious a race, when they
are thus launched into the water as soon as they see the light.
I am convinced that it is as natural for a human being to swim
as it is for a duck. And yet in civilized communities how many
able-bodied individuals die, like so many drowning kittens, from
the occurrence of the most trivial accidents!

* * * * * *

The long, luxuriant, and glossy tresses of the Typee damsels
often attracted my admiration. A fine head of hair is the pride
and joy of every woman’s heart! Whether, against the express
will of Providence, it is twisted up on the crown of the head and
there coiled away like a rope on a ship’s deck; whether it be
stuck behind the ears and hangs down like the swag of a small
window-curtain; or whether it be permitted to flow over the
shoulders in natural ringlets, it is always the pride of the owner,
and the glory of the toilette.

[ 253 ]

The Typee girls devote much of their time to the dressing of
their fair and redundant locks. After bathing, as they sometimes
do five or six times every day, the hair is carefully dried, and if
they have been in the sea, invariably washed in fresh water, and
anointed with a highly scented oil extracted from the meat of
the cocoa-nut. This oil is obtained in great abundance by the
following very simple process:

A large vessel of wood, with holes perforated in the bottom, is
filled with the pounded meat, and exposed to the rays of the sun.
As the oleaginous matter exudes, it falls in drops through the
apertures into a wide-mouthed calabash placed underneath.
After a sufficient quantity has been thus collected, the oil under-
goes a purifying process, and is then poured into the small
spherical shells of the nuts of the moo-tree, which are hollowed
out to receive it. These nuts are then hermetically sealed with
a resinous gum, and the vegetable fragrance of their green rind
soon imparts to the oil a delightful odour. After the lapse of a
few weeks the exterior shell of the nuts becomes quite dry and
hard, and assumes a beautiful carnation tint; and when opened
they are found to be about two-thirds full of an ointment of a
light yellow colour, and diffusing the sweetest perfume. This
elegant little odorous globe would not be out of place even upon
the toilette of a queen. Its merits as a preparation for the hair
are undeniable—it imparts to it a superb gloss and a silky fine-

[ 254 ]

Apprehensions of Evil—Frightful Discovery—Some remarks on Cannibalism
—Second Battle with the Happars—Savage Spectacle—Mysterious Feast
—Subsequent Disclosures.

From the time of my casual encounter with Karky the artist,
my life was one of absolute wretchedness. Not a day passed but
I was persecuted by the solicitations of some of the natives to
subject myself to the odious operation of tattooing. Their im-
portunities drove me half wild, for I felt how easily they might
work their will upon me regarding this or anything else which
they took into their heads. Still, however, the behaviour of the
islanders towards me was as kind as ever. Fayaway was quite
as engaging; Kory-Kory as devoted: and Mehevi the king just
as gracious and condescending as before. But I had now been
three months in their valley, as nearly as I could estimate; I had
grown familiar with the narrow limits to which my wanderings
had been confined; and I began bitterly to feel the state of cap-
tivity in which I was held. There was no one with whom I
could freely converse; no one to whom I could communicate
my thoughts; no one who could sympathise with my sufferings.
A thousand times I thought how much more endurable would
have been my lot had Toby still been with me. But I was left
alone, and the thought was terrible to me. Still, despite my
griefs, I did all in my power to appear composed and cheerful,
well knowing that by manifesting any uneasiness, or any desire
to escape, I should only frustrate my object.

It was during the period I was in this unhappy frame of
mind that the painful malady under which I had been labour-
ing—after having almost completely subsided—began again to
show itself, and with symptoms as violent as ever. This added
calamity nearly unmanned me; the recurrence of the complaint
proved that without powerful remedial applications all hope of
cure was futile; and when I reflected that just beyond the eleva-

[ 255 ]
tions which bound me in, was the medical relief I needed, and
that, although so near, it was impossible for me to avail myself of
it, the thought was misery.

In this wretched situation, every circumstance which evinced
the savage nature of the beings at whose mercy I was, augmented
the fearful apprehensions that consumed me. An occurrence
which happened about this time affected me most powerfully.

I have already mentioned that from the ridge-pole of Mar-
heyo’s house were suspended a number of packages enveloped in
tappa. Many of these I had often seen in the hands of the
natives, and their contents had been examined in my presence.
But there were three packages hanging very nearly over the
place where I lay, which from their remarkable appearance had
often excited my curiosity. Several times I had asked Kory-
Kory to show me their contents; but my servitor, who in almost
every other particular had acceded to my wishes, always refused
to gratify me in this.

One day, returning unexpectedly from the “Ti,” my arrival
seemed to throw the inmates of the house into the greatest con-
fusion. They were seated together on the mats, and by the lines
which extended from the roof to the floor I immediately perceived
that the mysterious packages were for some purpose or other
under inspection. The evident alarm the savages betrayed filled
me with forebodings of evil, and with an uncontrollable desire to
penetrate the secret so jealously guarded. Despite the efforts of
Marheyo and Kory-Kory to restrain me, I forced my way into
the midst of the circle, and just caught a glimpse of three human
heads, which others of the party were hurriedly enveloping in
the coverings from which they had been taken.

One of the three I distinctly saw. It was in a state of perfect
preservation, and, from the slight glimpse I had of it, seemed to
have been subjected to some smoking operation which had re-
duced it to the dry, hard, and mummy-like appearance it pre-
sented. The two long scalp-locks were twisted up into balls
upon the crown of the head in the same way that the individual
had worn them during life. The sunken cheeks were rendered
yet more ghastly by the rows of glistening teeth which protruded
from between the lips, while the sockets of the eyes—filled with
oval bits of mother-of-pearl shell, with a black spot in the centre
—heightened the hideousness of its aspect.

[ 256 ]

Two of the three were heads of the islanders; but the third,
to my horror, was that of a white man. Although it had been
quickly removed from my sight, still the glimpse I had of it was
enough to convince me that I could not be mistaken.

Gracious God! what dreadful thoughts entered my mind! In
solving this mystery perhaps I had solved another, and the fate
of my lost companion might be revealed in the shocking spectacle
I had just witnessed. I longed to have torn off the folds of
cloth, and satisfied the awful doubts under which I laboured.
But before I had recovered from the consternation into which I
had been thrown, the fatal packages were hoisted aloft and once
more swung over my head. The natives now gathered round me
tumultuously, and laboured to convince me that what I had just
seen were the heads of three Happar warriors, who had been slain
in battle. This glaring falsehood added to my alarm, and it was
not until I reflected that I had observed the packages swinging
from their elevation before Toby’s disappearance, that I could
at all recover my composure.

But although this horrible apprehension had been dispelled, I
had discovered enough to fill me, in my present state of mind,
with the most bitter reflections. It was plain that I had seen the
last relic of some unfortunate wretch, who must have been mas-
sacred on the beach by the savages, in one of those perilous
trading adventures which I have before described.

It was not, however, alone the murder of the stranger that
overcame me with gloom. I shuddered at the idea of the subse-
quent fate his inanimate body might have met with. Was the
same doom reserved for me? Was I destined to perish like him
—like him, perhaps, to be devoured, and my head to be preserved
as a fearful memento of the event? My imagination ran riot in
these horrid speculations, and I felt certain that the worst pos-
sible evils would befal me. But whatever were my misgivings,
I studiously concealed them from the islanders, as well as the
full extent of the discovery I had made.

Although the assurances which the Typees had often given
me, that they never eat human flesh, had not convinced me that
such was the case, yet, having been so long a time in the valley
without witnessing anything which indicated the existence of the
practice, I began to hope that it was an event of very rare occur-
rence, and that I should be spared the horror of witnessing it

[ 257 ]
during my stay among them; but, alas! these hopes were soon

It is a singular fact, that in all our accounts of cannibal tribes
we have seldom received the testimony of an eye-witness to the
revolting practice. The horrible conclusion has almost always
been derived either from the second-hand evidence of Europeans,
or else from the admissions of the savages themselves, after they
have in some degree become civilized. The Polynesians are
aware of the detestation in which Europeans hold this custom,
and therefore invariably deny its existence, and, with the craft
peculiar to savages, endeavour to conceal every trace of it.

The excessive unwillingness betrayed by the Sandwich Island-
ers, even at the present day, to allude to the unhappy fate of
Cook, has been often remarked. And so well have they suc-
ceeded in covering that event with mystery, that to this very hour,
despite all that has been said and written on the subject, it still
remains doubtful whether they wreaked upon his murdered body
the vengeance they sometimes inflicted upon their enemies.

At Karakikova, the scene of that tragedy, a strip of ship’s
copper nailed against an upright post in the ground used to in-
form the traveller that beneath reposed the “remains” of the
great circumnavigator. But I am strongly inclined to believe
not only that the corpse was refused Christian burial, but that
the heart which was brought to Vancouver some time after the
event, and which the Hawiians stoutly maintained was that of
Captain Cook, was no such thing; and that the whole affair was
a piece of imposture which was sought to be palmed off upon the
credulous Englishman.

A few years since there was living on the island of Mowee
(one of the Sandwich group) an old chief, who, actuated by a
morbid desire for notoriety, gave himself out among the foreign
residents of the place as the living tomb of Captain Cook’s big
toe!—affirming, that at the cannibal entertainment which ensued
after the lamented Briton’s death, that particular portion of his
body had fallen to his share. His indignant countrymen actually
caused him to be prosecuted in the native courts, on a charge
nearly equivalent to what we term defamation of character; but
the old fellow persisting in his assertion, and no invalidating proof
being adduced, the plantiffs were cast in the suit, and the can-

[ 258 ]
nibal reputation of the defendant fully established. This result
was the making of his fortune; ever afterwards he was in the
habit of giving very profitable audiences to all curious travellers
who were desirous of beholding the man who had eaten the great
navigator’s great toe.

About a week after my discovery of the contents of the mys-
terious packages, I happened to be at the Ti, when another
war-alarm was sounded, and the natives rushing to their arms,
sallied out to resist a second incursion of the Happar invaders.
The same scene was again repeated, only that on this occasion I
heard at least fifteen reports of muskets from the mountains
during the time that the skirmish lasted. An hour or two after
its termination, loud pæans chanted through the valley an-
nounced the approach of the victors. I stood with Kory-Kory
leaning against the railing of the pi-pi awaiting their advance,
when a tumultuous crowd of islanders emerged with wild cla-
mours from the neighbouring groves. In the midst of them
marched four men, one preceding the other at regular intervals
of eight or ten feet, with poles of a corresponding length, ex-
tended from shoulder to shoulder, to which were lashed with
thongs of bark three long narrow bundles, carefully wrapped in
ample coverings of freshly plucked palm-leaves, tacked together
with slivers of bamboo. Here and there upon these green winding-
sheets might be seen the stains of blood, while the warriors who
carried the frightful burdens displayed upon their naked limbs
similar sanguinary marks. The shaven head of the foremost had a
deep gash upon it, and the clotted gore which had flowed from the
wound remained in dry patches around it. This savage seemed
to be sinking under the weight he bore. The bright tattooing
upon his body was covered with blood and dust; his inflamed
eyes rolled in their sockets, and his whole appearance denoted
extraordinary suffering and exertion; yet, sustained by some
powerful impulse, he continued to advance, while the throng
around him with wild cheers sought to encourage him. The
other three men were marked about the arms and breasts with
several slight wounds, which they somewhat ostentatiously dis-

These four individuals, having been the most active in the late
encounter, claimed the honour of bearing the bodies of their

[ 259 ]
slain enemies to the Ti. Such was the conclusion I drew from
my own observations, and, as far as I could understand, from the
explanation which Kory-Kory gave me.

The royal Mehevi walked by the side of these heroes. He
carried in one hand a musket, from the barrel of which was
suspended a small canvass pouch of powder, and in the other he
grasped a short javelin, which he held before him and regarded
with fierce exultation. This javelin he had wrested from a cele-
brated champion of the Happars, who had ignominiously fled,
and was pursued by his foe beyond the summit of the mountain.

When within a short distance of the Ti, the warrior with the
wounded head, who proved to be Narmonee, tottered forward
two or three steps, and fell helplessly to the ground; but not
before another had caught the end of the pole from his shoulder,
and placed it upon his own.

The excited throng of islanders, who surrounded the person of
the king and the dead bodies of the enemy, approached the spot
where I stood, brandishing their rude implements of warfare,
many of which were bruised and broken, and uttering continual
shouts of triumph. When the crowd drew up opposite the Ti,
I set myself to watch their proceedings most attentively; but
scarcely had they halted when my servitor, who had left my
side for an instant, touched my arm, and proposed our returning
to Marheyo’s house. To this I objected; but, to my surprise,
Kory-Kory reiterated his request, and with an unusual vehemence
of manner. Still, however, I refused to comply, and was re-
treating before him, as in his importunity he pressed upon me,
when I felt a heavy hand laid upon my shoulder, and turning
round, encountered the bulky form of Mow-Mow, a one-eyed
chief, who had just detached himself from the crowd below, and
had mounted the rear of the pi-pi upon which we stood. His
cheek had been pierced by the point of a spear, and the wound
imparted a still more frightful expression to his hideously tattooed
face, already deformed by the loss of an eye. The warrior,
without uttering a syllable, pointed fiercely in the direction of
Marheyo’s house, while Kory-Kory, at the same time presenting
his back, desired me to mount.

I declined this offer, but intimated my willingness to withdraw,
and moved slowly along the piazza, wondering what could be the

[ 260 ]
cause of this unusual treatment. A few minutes’ consideration
convinced me that the savages were about to celebrate some
hideous rite in connection with their peculiar customs, and at
which they were determined I should not be present. I de-
scended from the pi-pi, and attended by Kory-Kory, who on this
occasion did not show his usual commiseration for my lameness,
but seemed only anxious to hurry me on, walked away from the
place. As I passed through the noisy throng, which by this time
completely environed the Ti, I looked with fearful curiosity at
the three packages, which now were deposited upon the ground;
but although I had no doubt as to their contents, still their thick
coverings prevented my actually detecting the form of a human

The next morning, shortly after sunrise, the same thundering
sounds which had awakened me from sleep on the second day of
the Feast of Calabashes, assured me that the savages were on the
eve of celebrating another, and, as I fully believed, a horrible

All the inmates of the house, with the exception of Marheyo,
his son, and Tinor, after assuming their gala dresses, departed in
the direction of the Taboo Groves.

Although I did not anticipate a compliance with my request,
still, with a view of testing the truth of my suspicions, I proposed
to Kory-Kory that, according to our usual custom in the morning,
we should take a stroll to the Ti: he positively refused; and
when I renewed the request, he evinced his determination to
prevent my going there; and, to divert my mind from the sub-
ject, he offered to accompany me to the stream. We accordingly
went, and bathed. On our coming back to the house, I was sur-
prised to find that all its inmates had returned, and were lounging
upon the mats as usual, although the drums still sounded from
the groves.

The rest of the day I spent with Kory-Kory and Fayaway,
wandering about a part of the valley situated in an opposite
direction from the Ti; and whenever I so much as looked towards
that building, although it was hidden from view by intervening
trees, and at the distance of more than a mile, my attendant
would exclaim, “taboo, taboo!”

At the various houses where we stopped, I found many of the

[ 261 ]
inhabitants reclining at their ease, or pursuing some light occu-
pation, as if nothing unusual were going forward; but amongst
them all I did not perceive a single chief or warrior. When
I asked several of the people why they were not at the
“Hoolah Hoolah” (the feast), they uniformly answered the
question in a manner which implied that it was not intended
for them, but for Mehevi, Narmonee, Mow Mow, Kolor,
Womonoo, Kalow—running over, in their desire to make me
comprehend their meaning, the names of all the principal chiefs.

Everything, in short, strengthened my suspicions with regard
to the nature of the festival they were now celebrating; and
which amounted almost to a certainty. While in Nukuheva I
had frequently been informed that the whole tribe were never
present at these cannibal banquets; but the chiefs and priests
only, and everything I now observed agreed with the account.

The sound of the drums continued, without intermission,
the whole day, and falling continually upon my ear, caused me
a sensation of horror which I am unable to describe. On the
following day hearing none of those noisy indications of re-
velry, I concluded that the inhuman feast was terminated; and
feeling a kind of morbid curiosity to discover whether the Ti
might furnish any evidence of what had taken place there, I pro-
posed to Kory-Kory to walk there. To this proposition he re-
plied by pointing with his finger to the newly risen sun, and
then up to the zenith, intimating that our visit must be deferred
until noon. Shortly after that hour we accordingly proceeded
to the Taboo Groves, and as soon as we entered their precincts,
I looked fearfully round in quest of some memorial of the
scenes which had so lately been acted there; but everything
appeared as usual. On reaching the Ti, we found Mehevi and
a few chiefs reclining on the mats, who gave me as friendly a
reception as ever. No allusions of any kind were made by them
to the recent events; and I refrained, for obvious reasons, from
referring to them myself.

After staying a short time I took my leave. In passing along
the piazza, previously to descending from the pi-pi, I observed a
curiously carved vessel of wood, of considerable size, with a cover
placed over it, of the same material, and which resembled in shape
a small canoe. It was surrounded by a low railing of bamboos,

[ 262 ]
the top of which was scarcely a foot from the ground. As the
vessel had been placed in its present position since my last visit,
I at once concluded that it must have some connection with the
recent festival; and, prompted by a curiosity I could not repress,
in passing it I raised one end of the cover; at the same moment
the chiefs, perceiving my design, loudly ejaculated, “Taboo!
taboo!” But the slight glimpse sufficed; my eyes fell upon the
disordered members of a human skeleton, the bones still fresh
with moisture, and with particles of flesh clinging to them here
and there!

Kory-Kory, who had been a little in advance of me, attracted
by the exclamations of the chiefs, turned round in time to wit-
ness the expression of horror on my countenance. He now
hurried towards me, pointing at the same time to the canoe, and
exclaiming rapidly, “Puarkee! puarkee!” (Pig, pig). I pre-
tended to yield to the deception, and repeated the words after him
several times, as though acquiescing in what he said. The other
savages, either deceived by my conduct or unwilling to manifest
their displeasure at what could not now be remedied, took no
further notice of the occurrence, and I immediately left the Ti.

All that night I lay awake, revolving in my mind the fearful
situation in which I was placed. The last horrid revelation had
now been made, and the full sense of my condition rushed upon
my mind with a force I had never before experienced.

Where, thought I, desponding, is there the slightest prospect
of escape? The only person who seemed to possess the ability to
assist me was the stranger Marnoo; but would he ever return to
the valley? and if he did, should I be permitted to hold any
communication with him? It seemed as if I were cut off from
every source of hope, and that nothing remained but passively to
await whatever fate was in store for me. A thousand times I en-
deavoured to account for the mysterious conduct of the natives.
For what conceivable purpose did they thus retain me a captive?
What could be their object in treating me with such apparent
kindness, and did it not cover some treacherous scheme? Or, if
they had no other design than to hold me a prisoner, how should I
be able to pass away my days in this narrow valley, deprived of
all intercourse with civilized beings, and for ever separated from
friends and home?

[ 263 ]

One only hope remained to me. The French could not long
defer a visit to the bay, and if they should permanently locate
any of their troops in the valley, the savages could not for any
length of time conceal my existence from them. But what
reason had I to suppose that I should be spared until such an
event occurred—an event which might be postponed by a hun-
dred different contingencies?

[ 264 ]

The Stranger again arrives in the Valley—Singular Interview with him—
Attempt to Escape—Failure—Melancholy Situation—Sympathy of Mar-

Marnoo, Marnoo pemi!” Such were the welcome sounds
which fell upon my ear some ten days after the events related in
the preceding chapter. Once more the approach of the stranger
was heralded, and the intelligence operated upon me like magic.
Again I should be able to converse with him in my own language;
and I resolved at all hazards to concert with him some scheme,
however desperate, to rescue me from a condition that had now
become insupportable.

As he drew near, I remembered with many misgivings the
inauspicious termination of our former interview; and when he
entered the house, I watched with intense anxiety the reception
he met with from its inmates. To my joy, his appearance was
hailed with the liveliest pleasure; and accosting me kindly, he
seated himself by my side, and entered into conversation with the
natives around him. It soon appeared, however, that on this
occasion he had not any intelligence of importance to commu-
nicate. I inquired of him from whence he had last come? He
replied from Pueearka, his native valley, and that he intended
to return to it the same day.

At once it struck me that, could I but reach that valley under
his protection, I might easily from thence reach Nukuheva by
water; and animated by the prospect which this plan held out,
I disclosed it in a few brief words to the stranger, and asked
him how it could be best accomplished. My heart sunk within
me when in his broken English he answered me that it could
never be effected. “Kannaka no let you go no where,” he said;
“you taboo. Why you no like to stay? Plenty moee-moee
(sleep)—plenty ki-ki (eat)—plenty whihenee (young girls)—
Oh, very good place Typee! Suppose you no like this bay,

[ 265 ]
why you come? You no hear about Typee? All white men
afraid Typee, so no white men come.”

These words distressed me beyond belief; and when I again
related to him the circumstances under which I had descended
into the valley, and sought to enlist his sympathies in my behalf
by appealing to the bodily misery I endured, he listened to
me with impatience, and cut me short by exclaiming passionately,
“Me no hear you talk any more; by by Kannaka get mad, kill
you and me too. No you see he no want you to speak to me
at all?—you see—ah! by by you no mind—you get well, he
kill you, eat you, hang you head up there, like Happar Kan-
naka.—Now you listen—but no talk any more. By by I go;—
you see way I go.—Ah! then some night Kannaka all moee-
moee (sleep)—you run away, you come Pueearka. I speak
Pueearka Kannaka—he no harm you—ah! then I take you my
canoe Nukuheva—and you no run away ship no more.” With
these words, enforced by a vehemence of gesture I cannot de-
scribe, Marnoo started from my side, and immediately engaged
in conversation with some of the chiefs who had entered the

It would have been idle for me to have attempted resuming
the interview so peremptorily terminated by Marnoo, who was
evidently little disposed to compromise his own safety by any
rash endeavours to ensure mine. But the plan he had suggested
struck me as one which might possibly be accomplished, and I
resolved to act upon it as speedily as possible.

Accordingly, when he rose to depart, I accompanied him with
the natives outside of the house, with a view of carefully noting
the path he would take in leaving the valley. Just before leap-
ing from the pi-pi he clasped my hand, and looking significantly
at me, exclaimed, “Now you see—you do what I tell you—ah!
then you do good;—you no do so—ah! then you die.” The
next moment he waved his spear in adieu to the islanders, and
following the route that conducted to a defile in the mountains
lying opposite the Happar side, was soon out of sight.

A mode of escape was now presented to me, but how was I to
avail myself of it? I was continually surrounded by the savages;
I could not stir from one house to another without being attended
by some of them; and even during the hours devoted to slumber

[ 266 ]
the slightest movement which I made seemed to attract the notice
of those who shared the mats with me. In spite of these obstacles,
however, I determined forthwith to make the attempt. To do so
with any prospect of success, it was necessary that I should have
at least two hours’ start before the islanders should discover my
absence; for with such facility was any alarm spread through
the valley, and so familiar, of course, were the inhabitants with
the intricacies of the groves, that I could not hope, lame and
feeble as I was, and ignorant of the route, to secure my escape
unless I had this advantage. It was also by night alone that I
could hope to accomplish my object, and then only by adopting
the utmost precaution.

The entrance to Marheyo’s habitation was through a low
narrow opening in its wicker-work front. This passage, for no
conceivable reason that I could devise, was always closed after
the household had retired to rest, by drawing a heavy slide across
it, composed of a dozen or more bits of wood, ingeniously fastened
together by seizings of sinnate. When any of the inmates chose
to go outside, the noise occasioned by the removing of this rude
door awakened every body else; and on more than one occasion
I had remarked that the islanders were nearly as irritable as more
civilized beings under similar circumstances.

The difficulty thus placed in my way I determined to obviate
in the following manner. I would get up boldly in the course of
the night, and drawing the slide, issue from the house, and pre-
tend that my object was merely to procure a drink from the cala-
bash, which always stood without the dwelling on the corner of
the pi-pi. On re-entering I would purposely omit closing the
passage after me, and trusting that the indolence of the savages
would prevent them from repairing my neglect, would return to
my mat, and waiting patiently until all were again asleep, I
would then steal forth, and at once take the route to Pueearka.

The very night which followed Marnoo’s departure, I pro-
ceeded to put this project into execution. About midnight, as I
imagined, I rose and drew the slide. The natives, just as I had
expected, started up, while some of them asked, “Arware poo
awa, Tommo?” (where are you going, Tommo?) “Wai”
(water) I laconically answered, grasping the calabash. On
hearing my reply they sank back again, and in a minute or two

[ 267 ]
I returned to my mat, anxiously awaiting the result of the ex-

One after another the savages turning restlessly, appeared to
resume their slumbers, and rejoicing at the stillness which pre-
vailed, I was about to rise again from my couch, when I heard a
slight rustling—a dark form was intercepted between me and the
doorway—the slide was drawn across it, and the individual, who-
ever he was, returned to his mat. This was a sad blow to me;
but as it might have roused the suspicions of the islanders to have
made another attempt that night, I was reluctantly obliged to
defer it until the next. Several times after I repeated the same
manœuvre, but with as little success as before. As my pre-
tence for withdrawing from the house was to allay my thirst,
Kory-Kory, either suspecting some design on my part, or else
prompted by a desire to please me, regularly every evening
placed a calabash of water by my side.

Even under these inauspicious circumstances I again and again
renewed the attempt; but when I did so my valet always rose
with me, as if determined I should not remove myself from his
observation. For the present, therefore, I was obliged to aban-
don the attempt; but I endeavoured to console myself with the
idea that by this mode I might yet effect my escape.

Shortly after Marnoo’s visit I was reduced to such a state,
that it was with extreme difficulty I could walk, even with the
assistance of a spear, and Kory-Kory, as formerly, was obliged
to carry me daily to the stream.

For hours and hours during the warmest part of the day I lay
upon my mat, and while those around me were nearly all dozing
away in careless ease, I remained awake, gloomily pondering
over the fate which it appeared now idle for me to resist, when I
thought of the loved friends who were thousands and thousands
of miles from the savage island in which I was held a captive,
when I reflected that my dreadful fate would for ever be con-
cealed from them, and that with hope deferred they might con-
tinue to await my return long after my inanimate form had
blended with the dust of the valley—I could not repress a shudder
of anguish.

How vividly is impressed upon my mind every minute feature
of the scene which met my view during those long days of suf-

[ 268 ]
fering and sorrow! At my request my mats were always spread
directly facing the door, opposite which, and at a little distance,
was the hut of boughs that Marheyo was building.

Whenever my gentle Fayaway and Kory-Kory, laying them-
selves down beside me, would leave me awhile to uninterrupted
repose, I took a strange interest in the slightest movements of the
eccentric old warrior. All alone during the stillness of the tro-
pical mid-day, he would pursue his quiet work, sitting in the shade
and weaving together the leaflets of his cocoa-nut branches, or
rolling upon his knee the twisted fibres of bark to form the cords
with which he tied together the thatching of his tiny house.
Frequently suspending his employment, and noticing my melan-
choly eye fixed upon him, he would raise his hand with a gesture
expressive of deep commiseration, and then moving towards me
slowly would enter on tip-toes, fearful of disturbing the slumber-
ing natives, and, taking the fan from my hand, would sit before
me, swaying it gently to and fro, and gazing earnestly into my

Just beyond the pi-pi, and disposed in a triangle before the
entrance of the house, were three magnificent bread-fruit trees.
At this moment I can recal to my mind their slender shafts, and
the graceful inequalities of their bark, on which my eye was ac-
customed to dwell day after day in the midst of my solitary
musings. It is strange how inanimate objects will twine them-
selves into our affections, especially in the hour of affliction.
Even now, amidst all the bustle and stir of the proud and busy
city in which I am dwelling, the image of those three trees seems
to come as vividly before my eyes as if they were actually pre-
sent, and I still feel the soothing quiet pleasure which I then had
in watching hour after hour their topmost boughs waving grace-
fully in the breeze.

[ 269 ]

The Escape.

Nearly three weeks had elapsed since the second visit of
Marnoo, and it must have been more than four months since I
entered the valley, when one day about noon, and whilst every-
thing was in profound silence, Mow-Mow, the one-eyed chief,
suddenly appeared at the door, and leaning forward towards me
as I lay directly facing him, said in a low tone, “Toby pemi
ena” (Toby has arrived here). Gracious heaven! What a
tumult of emotions rushed upon me at this startling intelligence!
Insensible to the pain that had before distracted me, I leaped to
my feet, and called wildly to Kory-Kory, who was reposing by
my side. The startled islanders sprang from their mats; the
news was quickly communicated to them; and the next moment
I was making my way to the Ti on the back of Kory-Kory, and
surrounded by the excited savages.

All that I could comprehend of the particulars which Mow-
Mow rehearsed to his auditors as we proceeded, was that my
long-lost companion had arrived in a boat which had just entered
the bay. These tidings made me most anxious to be carried at
once to the sea, lest some untoward circumstance should prevent
our meeting; but to this they would not consent, and continued
their course towards the royal abode. As we approached it,
Mehevi and several chiefs showed themselves from the piazza, and
called upon us loudly to come to them.

As soon as we had approached, I endeavoured to make them
understand that I was going down to the sea to meet Toby. To
this the king objected, and motioned Kory-Kory to bring me
into the house. It was in vain to resist; and in a few moments
I found myself within the Ti, surrounded by a noisy group
engaged in discussing the recent intelligence. Toby’s name was
frequently repeated, coupled with violent exclamations of as-

[ 270 ]
tonishment. It seemed as if they yet remained in doubt with
regard to the fact of his arrival, and at every fresh report
that was brought from the shore they betrayed the liveliest

Almost frenzied at being held in this state of suspense, I pas-
sionately besought Mehevi to permit me to proceed. Whether
my companion had arrived or not, I felt a presentiment that my
own fate was about to be decided. Again and again I renewed
my petition to Mehevi. He regarded me with a fixed and serious
eye, but at length yielding to my importunity, reluctantly granted
my request.

Accompanied by some fifty of the natives, I now rapidly con-
tinued my journey; every few moments being transferred from
the back of one to another, and urging my bearer forward all the
while with earnest entreaties. As I thus hurried forward, no
doubt as to the truth of the information I had received ever
crossed my mind. I was alive only to the one overwhelming
idea, that a chance of deliverance was now afforded me, if the
jealous opposition of the savages could be overcome.

Having been prohibited from approaching the sea during the
whole of my stay in the valley, I had always associated with it
the idea of escape. Toby too—if indeed he had ever voluntarily
deserted me—must have effected his flight by the sea; and now
that I was drawing near to it myself, I indulged in hopes which
I had never felt before. It was evident that a boat had entered
the bay, and I saw little reason to doubt the truth of the
report that it had brought my companion. Every time therefore
that we gained an elevation, I looked eagerly around, hoping to
behold him.

In the midst of an excited throng, who by their violent
gestures and wild cries appeared to be under the influence of
some excitement as strong as my own, I was now borne along at
a rapid trot, frequently stooping my head to avoid the branches
which crossed the path, and never ceasing to implore those who
carried me to accelerate their already swift pace.

In this manner we had proceeded about four or five miles,
when we were met by a party of some twenty islanders, between
whom and those who accompanied me ensued an animated con-
ference. Impatient of the delay occasioned by this interruption,

[ 271 ]
I was beseeching the man who carried me to proceed without his
loitering companions, when Kory-Kory, running to my side, in-
formed me, in three fatal words, that the news had all proved
false — that Toby had not arrived — “Toby owlee permi.”
Heaven only knows how, in the state of mind and body I then
was, I ever sustained the agony which this intelligence caused
me: not that the news was altogether unexpected; but I had
trusted that the fact might not have been made known until we
should have arrived upon the beach. As it was, I at once fore-
saw the course the savages would pursue. They had only
yielded thus far to my entreaties, that I might give a joyful
welcome to my long-absent comrade; but now that it was known
he had not arrived, they would at once oblige me to turn back.

My anticipations were but too correct. In spite of the re-
sistance I made, they carried me into a house which was near
the spot, and left me upon the mats. Shortly afterwards several
of those who had accompanied me from the Ti, detaching them-
selves from the others, proceeded in the direction of the sea.
Those who remained—among whom were Marheyo, Mow-Mow,
Kory-Kory, and Tinor—gathered about the dwelling and ap-
peared to be awaiting their return.

This convinced me that strangers—perhaps some of my own
countrymen—had for some cause or other entered the bay.
Distracted at the idea of their vicinity, and reckless of the pain
which I suffered, I heeded not the assurances of the islanders,
that there were no boats at the beach, but starting to my feet
endeavoured to gain the door. Instantly the passage was blocked
up by several men, who commanded me to resume my seat. The
fierce looks of the irritated savages admonished me that I could
gain nothing by force, and that it was by entreaty alone that I
could hope to compass my object.

Guided by this consideration, I turned to Mow-Mow, the only
chief present whom I had been much in the habit of seeing, and
carefully concealing my real design, tried to make him com-
prehend that I still believed Toby to have arrived on the shore,
and besought him to allow me to go forward to welcome him.
To all his repeated assertions, that my companion had not been
seen, I pretended to turn a deaf ear: while I urged my solicita-
tions with an eloquence of gesture which the one-eyed chief ap-

[ 272 ]
peared unable to resist. He seemed indeed to regard me as a
froward child, to whose wishes he had not the heart to oppose
force, and whom he must consequently humour. He spoke a
few words to the natives, who at once retreated from the door,
and immediately passed out of the house.

Here I looked earnestly round for Kory-Kory; but that hitherto
faithful servitor was nowhere to be seen. Unwilling to linger
even for a single instant when every moment might be so im-
portant, I motioned to a muscular fellow near me to take me
upon his back: to my surprise he angrily refused. I turned to
another, but with a like result. A third attempt was as unsuc-
cessful, and I immediately perceived what had induced Mow-
Mow to grant my request and why the other natives conducted
themselves in so strange a manner. It was evident that the chief
had only given me liberty to continue my progress towards the
sea because he supposed that I was deprived of the means of
reaching it.

Convinced by this of their determination to retain me a cap-
tive, I became desperate; and almost insensible to the pain
which I suffered, I seized a spear which was leaning against the
projecting eaves of the house, and supporting myself with it, re-
sumed the path that swept by the dwelling. To my surprise I
was suffered to proceed alone, all the natives remaining in front
of the house, and engaging in earnest conversation, which every
moment became more loud and vehement; and to my unspeak-
able delight I perceived that some difference of opinion had
arisen between them; that two parties, in short, were formed, and
consequently that in their divided counsels there was some chance
of my deliverance.

Before I had proceeded a hundred yards I was again surrounded
by the savages, who were still in all the heat of argument,
and appeared every moment as if they would come to blows. In
the midst of this tumult old Marheyo came to my side, and I
shall never forget the benevolent expression of his countenance.
He placed his arm upon my shoulder, and emphatically pro-
nounced the only two English words I had taught him—“Home”
and “Mother.” I at once understood what he meant, and
eagerly expressed my thanks to him. Fayaway and Kory-
Kory were by his side, both weeping violently; and it was not

[ 273 ]
until the old man had twice repeated the command that his son
could bring himself to obey him, and take me again upon his
back. The one-eyed chief opposed his doing so, but he was over-
ruled, and, as it seemed to me, by some of his own party.

We proceeded onwards, and never shall I forget the extacy I
felt when I first heard the roar of the surf breaking upon the
beach. Before long I saw the flashing billows themselves through
the opening between the trees. Oh glorious sight and sound of
ocean! with what rapture did I hail you as familiar friends!
By this time the shouts of the crowd upon the beach were dis-
tinctly audible, and in the blended confusion of sounds I almost
fancied I could distinguish the voices of my own countrymen.

When we reached the open space which lay between the
groves and the sea, the first object that met my view was an
English whale-boat, lying with her bow pointed from the shore,
and only a few fathoms distant from it. It was manned by five
islanders, dressed in short tunics of calico. My first impression
was that they were in the very act of pulling out from the bay;
and that, after all my exertions, I had come too late. My soul
sunk within me: but a second glance convinced me that the boat
was only hanging off to keep out of the surf; and the next
moment I heard my own name shouted out by a voice from the
midst of the crowd.