Note that the page
numbers vary considerably between the various editions, for example the
reference to surfboards appears on page 141 in the quoted text (first American
edition, 1817), on pages 145 to 146 in the 1916 Edinburgh edition (Dela
Vega et. al., page 13), and on pages 143-144 in the second American
Instead of candles,
the tootooee-nut is used, which, being of an oily nature, yields
a considerable quantity of light.
It grows upon a small tree, and is about the size of a horse-chestnut.
When pulled, they are thrown into water, and thqse that sink are reckoned sound; they are then baked under ground, and their shells broken off, in which state they are kept till required.
When used as candles, they string twenty or thirty upon a slit of bamboo, each of which will burn five or six minutes; but they require constant trimming, and it is necessary to reverse the torch whenever a nut is consumed, that the one under it may catch fire.
It must, therefore, be held by a person whose business it is to keep it always in order.
This nut, when
pressed, yields an oil well adapted for mixing with paint.
The black colour, by which their canoes are painted, is produced by burning the nuts after they are pressed, and by the cinders of the torches, which are carefully preserved for the purpose; these are reduced to powder, and mixed with oil.
The women are
subject to many restrictions from which the men are exempted.
They are not allowed to attend the morai upon taboo days, nor at these times are they permitted to go out in a canoe.
They are never permitted to eat with the men, except when at sea, and then not out of the same dish.
Articles of delicacy, such as pork, turtle, shark, cocoa-nuts, bananas or plantains, are also forbidden.
Dog's flesh and fish were the only kinds of animal food lawful for them to eat; but since the introduction of sheep and goats, which are not tabooed, the ladies have less reason to complain.
the rigour with which these ceremonies are generally observed, the women
very seldom scruple to break them, when it can be done in secret; they
often swim off to ships at night during the taboo; and I have known them
eat of the forbidden delicacies of pork and sharks' flesh.
What would be the consequence of a discovery I ...
... know not; but I once saw the queen transgressing in this respect, and was strictly enjoined to secrecy, as she said it was as much as her life was worth.
This cloth (tapa),
from its texture, is, when wetted, extremely apt to get damaged, in which
state it tears like moist paper; great care, therefore, is always taken
to keep it dry, or to have it carefully dried when it is wetted.
When they swim off to ships, they hold their clothes out of the water in one hand, occasionally changing it as it becomes fatigued.
From their earliest years, the natives spend much of their spare time in the water, and constant practice renders them so dexterous, that they seem as much at their ease in that element as on land; they often swim several miles off to ships, sometimes resting upon a plank shaped like an anchor stock, and paddling with their hands, but more frequently without any assistance whatever.
Although sharks are numerous in these seas, I never heard of any accident from them, which I attribute to the dexterity with which they avoid their attacks.