GRANDY. "It is a great cause for thankfulness, that religion is spreading her benign influence over these volcanic isles. The women who, truly speaking, were the most callous and obdurate, have exhibited bright and numerous proofs of that change of heart, which is the single end and aim of pure Christianity. Kekupuhe, who in Cook's days was one of the wives of the king of Hawaii, evinced the sincerity of her conversion, which took place in 1828, by learning to read when she was more than eighty years of age, and by inditing hymns in honor of the God of her old age."
GEORGE. "I cannot understand why they killed Captain Cook; and I have never read the account of his first visit to the Sandwich Islands: have you, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Yes, and a very interesting account it is. On the first appearance of the English ships, the chiefs and priests, taking them for floating islands, imagined that their long-expected guardian spirit, 'Etuah Orono,' was arrived. Hence Captain Cook was received with honor approaching to adoration, as they imagined him to be their 'Orono.' The king was absent at the time of his arrival; but the chief priest and his son received the captain. Scarcely were the ships anchored, when a priest went on board, and decorating Cook with a red cloth, such as adorned their deities, offered him a pig in the manner of a sacrifice, and pronounced a long harangue. They chanted hymns before him, and priests, bearing wands, preceded him on his landing, while the in habitants prostrated themselves on the ground, as he walked from the beach to the village."
GEORGE. "But if they held him in such reverence, how was it they killed him?"
MR. WILTON. "His own imprudence brought about his melancholy end. Some time after his arrival, it appears, that one of his smaller boats was stolen by some of the natives, for the sake of the nails in her, and was broken up the very night it was stolen. Captain Cook, angry at losing his boat, attempted to get the king on board his ship, to confine him there, until the boat should be restored. This caused a tumult, and in the tumult, Captain Cook was slain. There certainly was no malice in the case,—not the slightest intention of injuring him; and his body was treated in the same manner as those of their own chiefs, the bones being assigned to different Eries (chiefs), who, either from affection, or from an idea of good luck attending them, desired to preserve them. Long after Captain Cook's death, the natives believed he would re-appear, and perhaps punish them for their breach of hospitality."
MR. BARRAUD. "They are a most interesting people; and, to prove to you how they have advanced in civilization, I will give you two instances of their mode of living and taking their meals. Forty years ago, the Rev. Mr. Stewart, being then on a mission, visited a chief, and, when he entered the apartment, one of his queens was seated on the ground a la Turc, with a large wooden tray in her lap. Upon this a monstrous cuttle-fish had just been placed, fresh from the sea, and in all its life and vigor. The queen had taken it up with both hands, and brought its body to her mouth, and, by a single application of her teeth, the black blood with which it was filled gushed over her face and neck, while the long sucking arms of the fish, in the convulsive paroxysm of the operation, were twisting and writhing about her head, like the snaky hairs of a Medusa. Occupied as both hands were, she could only give her visitor a nod. Mr. Stewart remarks, 'It was the first time I had seen her Majesty, and I soon took my departure, leaving her, as I found her, in the full enjoyment of her luxurious luncheon.' Now,—observe the contrast. In 1841, Sir George Simpson and friends visited a chief. They were received in an immense apartment: several white persons were there to meet them: all the rules of etiquette were observed on going to table. The chiefs were all handsomely attired, their clothes fitting to a hair's breadth, for they had imported a tailor from England to make them. The dining-room was handsomely furnished, and lighted with elegant lamps. The dinner was excellent, with fine pastry and preserves from every country, and the glass and plate on the table would have been admired even in a London mansion. The chiefs, especially the host, were men of excellent address, and, adds Sir George Simpson, 'we soon forgot that we were sipping our coffee in a country which is deemed uncivilized, and among individuals who are classed with savages. There were but few incongruities in the course of the evening's entertainment, such as could at all mar the effect, excepting that one of the chiefs frequently inquired, with much solicitude, whether or not we thought his whiskers handsome.' In conclusion, he says, 'After chatting a good deal, and smoking a few cigars, we took our leave, highly gratified with the hospitality and courtesy of the governor and his friends'."
DORA. "It must have been a work of time to convert these people; for their belief in the power of their idols was so strong, and had been preserved through so many generations."
GRANDY. "The work was of God, my dear, and he made it to prosper. Civilization once introduced, the way to Christianity was paved; and the chiefs with their wives setting the example, the mission was soon full of hopes for the future. The great women of the islands, when converted themselves, endeavored to propagate the truths of the Gospel; and amongst them, one of the most justly celebrated Christians was Kapiolani. She wished to undeceive the natives concerning their false gods; and knowing in what veneration Peli, the goddess of the volcano, was held, she determined to climb the mountain, descend into the crater, and by thus braving the volcanic deities in their very homes, convince the inhabitants that God is God alone, and that the false and subordinate deities existed only in the fancies of their ignorant adorers. Thus determined, and accompanied by a missionary, she, with part of her family, and a number of followers, both of her own vassals, and those of other chiefs, ascended Peli. At the edge of the first precipice that bounds the sunken plain, many of her followers and companions lost courage and turned back: at the second, the rest earnestly entreated her to desist from her dangerous enterprise, and forbear to tempt the powerful gods of the fires. But she proceeded; and, on the very verge of the crater, caused a hut to be constructed for herself and people. Here she was assailed anew by their entreaties to return home; and their assurances, that, if she persisted in violating the dwellings of the goddess, she would draw on herself, and those with her, certain destruction. Her answer was noble:—'I will descend into the crater,' said she; 'and if I do not return safe, then continue you to worship Peli; but, if I come back unhurt, you must learn to adore the God who created Peli.' She accordingly went down the steep and difficult side of the crater, accompanied by a missionary, and by some whom love or duty induced to follow her. Arrived at the bottom, she thrust a stick into the liquid lava, and stirred the ashes of the burning lake. The charm of superstition was at that moment broken. Those who had expected to see the goddess, armed with flames and sulphurous smoke, burst forth and destroy the daring heroine who thus braved her, in her very sanctuary, were awe-struck when they saw the fire remain innocuous, and the flames roll harmless, as though none were present. They acknowledged the greatness of the God of Kapiolani; and from that time few indeed have been the offerings, and little the reverence paid to the fires of Peli."
CHARLES. "What delightful anecdotes concerning my island! but I have one reserved for the conclusion, which illustrates the truth of the assertion, that the women of the Sandwich Islands are superior to the men in many exercises requiring skill, and also in their powers of endurance. The latter quality may, I believe, be fairly adjudged to the women of all countries. 'A man and his wife, both Christians, were passengers in a schooner, which foundered at a considerable distance from the land. All the natives on board promptly took refuge in the sea; and the man in question, who had just celebrated divine service in the ill-fated vessel, called his fellows (some of them being converts as well as himself) around him, to offer up another tribute of praise and supplication from the deep; exhorting them, with a combination of courage and humility rarely equalled, to worship God in that universal temple, under whose restless pavement he and most of his hearers were destined to find their graves. It was done: they called on God from the midst of the waves, and then each struggled to save the life they valued. The man and his wife had each succeeded in procuring the support of a covered bucket by way of a buoy; and away they struck with the rest for Kahoolawe, finding themselves next morning alone in the ocean, after a whole afternoon and night of privation and toil. To aggravate their misfortunes, the wife's bucket went to pieces soon after daylight, so that she had to make the best of her way without assistance or relief; and, in the course of the second afternoon, the man became too weak to proceed; till his wife, to a certain extent, restored his strength by shampooning him in the water. They had now Kahoolawe in full view after having been about four-and-twenty hours on their dreary voyage. In spite, however, of the cheering sight, the man again fell into such a state of exhaustion, that the woman took his bucket for herself, giving him at the same time the hair of her head as a towing-line; and, when even this exertion proved too much for him, the faithful creature, after trying in vain to rouse him to prayer, took his arms round her neck, holding them together with one hand, and making with the other for the shore When a very trifling distance remained to be accomplished, she discovered that he was dead, and dropping his corpse she reached the land before night, having swam upwards of twenty-five miles during an exposure of thirty hours! The only means of resting from her fatigue being by floating on the top of the water."
MR. WILTON. "Very good, Charles; but if our notes of all the other islands in Polynesia be as extensive as those of the Sandwich Isles, I fear we shall not cross the equator before midnight."
EMMA. "I can soon quiet your fears, dear papa; for the description of the remaining isles in North Polynesia rests with the elder members, and of course they are at liberty to abridge them if they please."
MR. WILTON. "In that case I will undertake to run over the Ladrones, sometimes called the Marianne Isles. There are twenty of them; but only five are inhabited, and they lie in the south extremity of the cluster. They are so close together, and so broken and irregular in their form and position, as to appear like fragments disjointed from each other, at remote periods, by some sudden convulsion of nature. The coasts consist for the most part of dark brown rocks, honey-combed in many places by the action of the waves. The islands are fertile, abounding in hogs, cattle, horses, mules, and many other agreeable things; while in order that, like other countries in this sublunary world, they may lay claim to a portion of disagreeables, they are infested with mosquitoes and endless varieties of loathsome insects; and the fish that are found around the coasts are not fit for food. So much for the country—now for the natives:—They are tall, robust, and active; the men wear scarcely any covering, and the women only a petticoat of matting. Both sexes stain their teeth black, and many of them tattoo their bodies. The Ladrone Islands were originally discovered by Magellan, who called them 'las Islas de las Ladrones' or the islands of thieves; because the Indians stole everything made of iron within their reach. At the latter end of the seventeenth century, they obtained the name of Marianne from the Queen of Spain, who sent missionaries thither to propagate the Christian religion. Guajan is the largest island of the group. Near the Ladrones lies the famous pyramidal rock called 'Lot's wife.' A sea neither broken nor interrupted for an immense space in all directions, here dashes with sublime violence on the solid mass which rises almost perpendicularly to a height of 350 feet. On the south-east side is a deep cavern, where the waves resound with a prodigious noise."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Philippine Isles fall to my share. They are, correctly speaking, in the Eastern Archipelago. Luzon, the most northerly, is the largest: it is a long narrow island, and, like all the others, abounding in volcanoes. Gold, iron, and copper have been found in the mountains, and rock salt is so abundant in some parts as to be an article of export. These islands are exceedingly mountainous and fertile, but from the large swamps are very unhealthy. There are no beasts of prey, but numerous herds of cattle; the inhabitants, however, are too indolent to profit by these gifts of nature; they are actually too idle to make their cow's milk into butter, and throughout the islands use hog's lard instead, because they will not be at the trouble of keeping and milking the cows. Rice is the chief support of the population. Sugar, coffee, and many other delightful things grow here, and cotton shrubs thrive well. Manilla is the only port of trade in the Philippines: it is a fortified city inhabited by people from all parts of the world. This city is entered by six gates. The streets have carriage ways and footpaths, and are lighted at night. The houses are solidly constructed, but, on account of earthquakes, seldom more than one story above the ground floor. Most of the houses are furnished with balconies and verandahs; the place of glass in the windows is supplied by thin semi transparent pieces of shell, which though more opaque repel heat better. In the year 1762 Manilla was taken by the English; but ransomed by Spain for 1,000 000l. sterling. There! who can compete with my islands in value?"
MRS. WILTON. "Quantity must compensate for the loss of quality. Here are the Caroline or New Philippines,—forty-six groups of them, comprising several hundred islands. A few of them are high, rising in peaks, but by far the greater number are merely volcanic formations. They were discovered in 1686, by a Spaniard, who named them after Charles II. of Spain. There are no hogs on these islands, and the inhabitants subsist chiefly on fish. They are reputed to be the most expert sailors and fishermen in Polynesia; and, notwithstanding the tremendous sea by which they are surrounded, they have a considerable trading intercourse with the Ladrone and many other islands."
GEORGE. "Papa, it is your turn again.—Pelew Isles."
MR. WILTON. "They are chiefly known from the accounts of Captain Wilson, who was wrecked on them in 1783. He describes the inhabitants as hospitable, friendly, and humane; and they are a gay and comparatively innocent people; but they do not appear to have any form of religion, although they conceive that the soul survives the body. These islands are covered with close woods. Ebony grows in the forests. Bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees are in abundance. Cattle, goats, poultry, &c., have been sent there and thrive well. The Pelews have a considerable trade with China.
"Now it seems to me that we had better cross the equator with all expedition, for there are so many islands up here, we cannot possibly go to all, and I think we have noticed the most important."
DORA. "South Polynesia then. Papua or New Guinea is my portion, and it happens to lie near the Pelew Isles. It is supposed to be the first part of Australia discovered by Europeans, and is the favorite residence of the superb and singular birds of paradise, of which there are ten or twelve kinds. There are three kinds reckoned the most gorgeous: viz., the King, which has two detached feathers parallel to the tail, ending in an elegant curl with a tuft: the Magnificent, which has also two detached feathers of the same length with the body, very slender, and ending in a tuft: the Golden Throat, which has three long and straight feathers proceeding from each side of the head. These birds are considered the best, but they are all arrayed in brilliant colors, and all superbly magnificent. They are caught chiefly in the Aroo Isles, either by means of bird-lime, or shot with blunted arrows. After being dried with smoke and sulphur, they are sold for nuts or pieces of iron and carried to Bunda."
EMMA. "The New Hebrides are in my course, but the Friendly Isles are allotted to me."
MRS. WILTON. "Nevertheless, the New Hebrides claim a few words. They were discovered in 1506, and so named by Captain Cook. They are considerably hilly, and well clothed with timber. The valleys are extremely abundant, producing figs, nutmegs, and oranges, besides the fruits common to the rest of Polynesia. The inhabitants present the most ugly specimen extant of the Papuan race; the men wear no covering, and the women, who are used as mere beasts of burden; wear only a petticoat, made from the plantain leaf. Their canoes are more rudely constructed than in most of the other islands; and, on the whole, these people seem to be among the most degraded of the islanders of the Pacific."
EMMA. "I should not like to live with such people; therefore we will pass on to my Friendly Islands. They are low and encircled by dangerous coral reefs; the soil is almost throughout exceedingly rich, producing with very little care, the banana, bread-fruit, and yam. The population may amount to about 90,000; but the natives, though favorably mentioned by Captain Cook, appear to be as treacherous, savage, and superstitious as any in the worst parts of Polynesia. The Wesleyan Missionaries established themselves in these islands in 1821, and are reported to have met with considerable success. The leading island is that which is called Tongataboo, or the 'consecrated island.' The name is properly two words 'Tonga Taboo,' signifying 'Sacred Island,' the reason of which appellative will appear, when I tell you that the priest of this island, whose name was Diatonga, was reverenced and resorted to by all the surrounding islands. Earthquakes are very frequent here; but the islands display a spectacle of the most abundant fertility. The foundations of this group are coral rocks, and there is scarcely any other kind of stone to be found. Tongataboo has a large and excellent harbor, which admits of being well fortified."
GRANDY. "You wisely passed the Feejees, Emma; and I will explain why I say wisely. They have the reputation of being cannibals; but they are industrious, and at times kindly; and their islands are tolerably fertile. A missionary ship was nearly lost here, in broad daylight and calm weather, by coming in contact with a reef, of which no previous warning was presented. George, my child, you are next; what have you selected for your display?"
GEORGE. "The Society Islands, Grandy. They consist of six large and several smaller islands. The principal is called Otaheite, or more properly, Tahiti; which is often styled the 'Queen of the Pacific.' The whole circumference of this royal isle is 180 miles; on all sides, rivers are seen descending in beautiful cascades, and the entire land is clothed, from the water's edge to its topmost heights with continual verdure, which for luxuriance and picturesque effect, is certainly unparalleled."
CHARLES. "Excuse me interrupting you, George; but how do you contrive to remember all those long words?"
MR. WILTON. "I have heard of honorable members being taken to task for ignorance, but never for possessing superior abilities, and I suggest that the learned member be allowed to proceed with his account, without further interruption."
GEORGE. "There, Charles, you are called to 'order,' and I hope you will not commit yourself again, by trying to break the thread of my narrative."
CHARLES. "I am full of contrition; pray proceed, and I trust you will find no great difficulty in joining your thread again. If you are disposed to retaliate, I give you free permission to criticize me to any extent when my turn comes."
GEORGE. "Never fear but I will watch for an opportunity. The Society Islanders are light-hearted, merry, and fond of social enjoyment, but, at the same time, indolent, deceitful, thievish, and addicted to the excessive use of ardent spirits. The highest ambition of an Otaheitan is to have a splendid 'morai,' or family tomb. The funerals, especially those of the chiefs, have a solemn and affecting character. Songs are sung; the mourners, with sharks' teeth, draw blood from their bodies, which, as it flows, mingles with their tears. An apron, or maro of red feathers, is the badge of royal dignity, and great deference is paid to the chiefs. These people manufacture handsome cloths and mats; but the commerce consisting of pearl-shells, sugar, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root, in exchange for European manufactures, is carried on chiefly by foreigners, as the natives have no vessels larger than their double canoes. Otaheite is a fine place, but not so important a commercial station as Oahu, in the Sandwich Islands. There, Charles, I am at the end of my thread."
GRANDY. "And very well you have spun it, George; but as you have not informed us on the subject of the religion of these islanders, I presume it is unknown to you. They believe in a sort of deity, that he resides in the palace of heaven, with a number of other divinities, who are all designated 'children of the night.' The forms of Christian worship are enforced here as rigidly as in the Sandwich Islands; but civilization is considerably less advanced; although I am happy to add, in conclusion, that the people are undergoing a remarkable change, and Christianity is certainly gaining ground; for the idols are being destroyed, and the labors of the zealous missionaries are now sanctioned by the highest authorities. We will make no more remarks on the Society Islands; for they have formed the subject of more writings, perhaps, than many a kingdom of Europe, and the Otaheitans are positively better known to us than the inhabitants of Sardinia or Corsica."
GEORGE. "Thanks, dear Grandy, for winding up my subject so beautifully. Now, friend Charles, perhaps you will spin your yarn?"
CHARLES. "Most willingly; but it will be a short one, as I have very little material. Pitcairn's Island stands alone near the eastern extremity of Polynesia. It is chiefly interesting on account of its having been the refuge of the mutinous crew of Captain Bligh's ship, the 'Bounty.' The mutineers, after having turned their captain and a few of the crew out in an open boat, tried to make a settlement in the Society Islands; but failing, they, accompanied by some Otaheitans, fixed themselves in this isolated spot. They landed here in 1790, fifteen men, and twelve women. Nine of the men were mutineers; all the others were Otaheitans. Captain Beachey visited the island in 1825, and found about sixty persons on it, the descendants of Captain Bligh's men. Pitcairn's Isle is a little spot not more than seven miles in circumference, with an abrupt rocky coast. I believe the reason there are so few persons on the island, is accounted for by the dismal fate of the original settlers. The sailors had married Otaheitan women, whose brothers in one night murdered them, only one escaping, whose name was Adams. On the following night, the Otaheitan widows of the English inflicted dreadful vengeance, by murdering all their brothers who had committed the first frightful deed. Their children grew up under the fostering care of Adams, who officiated as a sort of patriarch. The present population comprises about eighty individuals, who form an interesting link between the European and Polynesian races."
MR. WILTON. "In a Bermuda paper of August, 1848, there is an interesting letter from a school-master named Nobbs, which is so replete with information, that I will read it all to you, as it is not so remarkable for its length as its interest:—
"More than twenty years ago, I left England for the express purpose of visiting Pitcairn's Island, and to remain there if I could render my talents available to the inhabitants. The proprietor of a small vessel of but eighteen tons' burthen, hearing me express my anxiety to obtain a passage to Pitcairn's Island, remarked, it was a spot he had long desired to visit, and if I would assist him in fitting out his vessel, he would go with me. I accepted his proposal advanced him what money I could command, and embarked from Callao de Lima, with no other person than the owner of the little cutter; and in six weeks arrived here (Pitcairn's Island) in safety.
"'Five months after my arrival, John Adams departed this life. After his decease, the superintendence of the spiritual affairs of the island, and the education of the children, devolved on me chiefly; and from that time to the present (with the exception of ten months, during which period I was banished from the island by brute force, and recalled by letters of penitential apology), I have been with them, and have lived to see the labor of my hands prosper; for there is not a person on the island, between the ages of six years and twenty-five, who has not received, or is not receiving, a tolerable education.
"'There is one untoward but prominent object on the horizon of paternal affection, and which, though imperceptibly, yet rapidly approaches our increasing colony, and that is the imperious necessity of a separation; for so very limited are the available portions of the island, that some families who number ten or twelve persons, have not five acres of arable land to divide among them.
"'Animal food is a luxury obtained with difficulty once or twice in the week; and though we have, by dint of very hard labor, been enabled to obtain cloth and other indispensable necessaries from whale-ships, in exchange for potatoes, yet this resource is beginning to fail us; not from scarcity of visitors, but from inability on our part to supply them.
"'This is the exact state of affairs at present: how much it will be aggravated ten years from this, may be imagined, but cannot be fully realized even by ourselves. Whether the British Government will again interest itself in our behalf, is doubtful; if it does not, despite the most assiduous industry, a scanty allowance of potatoes and salt must be the result, and the "Tibuta" and "Maro," will be the unchanging food and raiment of the rising generation.'"
GEORGE. "What a pity the coral insects have not been at work there, and enlarged these poor peoples' island; then they could have all remained together, and brought up their families. As it is, some must migrate. Charles, you are very ingenious; cannot you contrive a plan for overcoming these difficulties."
CHARLES. "Much as I should glory in benefiting mankind, I could not by any effort or sacrifice ameliorate the condition of these poor people, although I would willingly do anything in my power to testify my sorrow for their wretched destitution."
DORA. "I fear none of us can accord them more than our sympathy; so we must needs journey on to the Marquesas, which were discovered by the Spaniards in 1595. There are thirteen. The largest, Nukahiva, is about seventy miles in circumference, and is the only one generally frequented by shipping. The coast scenery is neither picturesque nor inviting; its principal features being black, naked cliffs, or barren hills; but in the interior are grassy plains and forests filled with birds of elegant plumage. The inhabitants, with regard to personal beauty, are superior to most of the Polynesian tribes, some of the women being almost as fair as a European; in civilization, however, they are far behind the Sandwich Islanders. They have steadily resisted all attempts to convert them to Christianity, and have practised cannibalism within a very recent period. The tattooing of the Marquesans is remarkable for its regularity and good taste."
CHARLES. "You call them Marquesans, Dora? I thought they were Kannaks."
DORA. "So they denominate themselves: but I have more to tell you yet. They are all excellent swimmers; men, women, and children. They throw themselves fearlessly into the water several times a day, and, although in a state of perspiration, they suffer no harm. They are also dexterous climbers of trees; making the ascent like monkeys, with the hands and feet only. But their treatment of their sick is, in the highest degree, cruel and unnatural. Instead of giving assistance, every one shuns the invalid; and if he is thought to be at all in the way, he is taken to some distant spot, whither it is thought sufficient to carry him food at intervals. It is also their custom to prepare the dying man's coffin before his eyes; and what is still more incredible, when they see him about to render up his last sigh, they place a bit of moistened 'tapa' in his mouth, whilst the fingers of some friend are employed in closing the lips and nostrils!"
[Footnote 17: Tapa is a species of stuff made from the inner bark of the mulberry-tree.]
GRANDY. "All this appears very unfeeling to us my dear; but cruelty is not the intention of the poor Kannaks. They believe that the soul escapes with the parting breath, and their desire is to secure the spirit within the body until the body wastes; when, according to their doctrine, it animates another body, which, during the process of decomposition in the old one, has been created in a far distant island, where all the good things of this life are found in abundance, and the soul flies thither as soon as its old habitation is destroyed."
EMMA. "Poor people! What a lamentable state of ignorance! How I pity them. Are there any more miserable people to be visited here?"
CHARLES. "Well, here are the Low Islands to the south of the Marquesans; but I have not the pleasure of an acquaintance with the people, therefore I cannot say if they be happy or miserable. Gambia, Crescent, and Clermont Isles are the principal. Gambia contains upwards of a thousand inhabitants. Crescent Isle is not very fertile, and occupied by a few natives, who have erected little huts their, and procure a scanty subsistence."
MR. BARRAUD. "Those islands were discovered by the ship 'Duff,' when on a missionary voyage in the year 1797. We shall have to retrace our steps to come to the large islands in our chart; but Easter Island is so near, it may be as well to call; although we may gain nothing by the visit, for it is a sterile spot inhabited by demi-savages, who worship small wooden deities. They tattoo themselves so as to have the appearance of wearing breeches. Most of them go naked; some few wear a maro which is made either of fine Indian cloth of a reddish color, of a wild kind of parsley, or of a species of sea-weed."
GEORGE. "There are more small islands before we go to New Zealand or Australia, and I have an account of one,—viz., New Caledonia, lying south-west of the New Hebrides. It is rather a large island, rocky for the most part; and there not being much food for animals, very few are found there. One, however, must be mentioned. It is a spider called a 'nookee,' which spins a thread so strong, as to offer a sensible resistance before breaking. This animal (for I have discovered that a spider is not an insect) constitutes part of the people's food. The inhabitants are cannibals from taste. They eat with an air of luxurious pleasure the muscular parts of the human body, and a slice of a child is esteemed a great dainty. Horrible wretches! They wear no clothes; the women just have a girdle of fibrous bark, and the men sometimes encircle their heads with a fillet of sewed net-work or leaves, and the hair of the vampire bat. Their houses are in the form of beehives, and the door-posts are of carved planks."
DORA. "New Zealand, almost the antipodes of England, lies in the South Pacific, and consists of two large islands, the extreme points of which are called North and South Cape. Near North Cape is Norfolk Island, where the English, at one time, had a flourishing colony, now removed to Van Diemen's Land. We must all help to work our ship round these larger islands, for no individual can be responsible for the entire management."
MRS. WILTON. "I will set the example. New Zealand was discovered by Tasman in 1642; but its extent and character were ascertained by Cook in his voyage of 1774. It is now a regularly established colony belonging to the British crown. There is a bishop, several clergymen of the Church of England, and many other missionaries resident there. It is a fertile group, but contains several active volcanoes. In the north island, or New Ulster, are various cavities, which appear to be extinct craters; and in their vicinity numerous hot springs are to be met with; some of them, as they rise to boiling point, the natives use for cooking."
GRANDY. "The New Zealanders belong to the Malay family: they are a fine handsome race, and possess fewer of the vices of the savage than almost any other savage people. The Missionaries have been eminently successful in the conversion of the natives to Christianity. The first establishment formed there, was commenced in the Bay of Islands, at a village called Rangiona, in 1814. The persons were sent out by the Church Missionary Society, and have never relaxed in their endeavors to promote the laudable work of converting the heathen natives from the error of their superstitions, although they have had numerous difficulties to overcome. They went out, in the strength of the Lord, resolved to do nothing in strife or vain-glory, but all in lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than themselves: and they succeeded notwithstanding the numerous hindrances; for the work was of God, and He gave them power to do all things without murmuring, in order to attain the salvation of the souls of their fellow-creatures."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Bay of Islands is quite in the north, and has been for the last thirty years the favorite resort of whale-ships. Upwards of thirty vessels have been anchored there at the same time; and at this bay the chief intercourse between European vessels and New Zealand has principally taken place. Numerous islands are sprinkled over the space, and several creeks or entrances of rivers penetrate the surrounding country. It is on the north and west sides of this bay that the principal territories of Shunghee, the New Zealand chief who visited this country, are situated; and in these spots the horrid rites of this superior race of savages have also been witnessed."
MR. WILTON. "It is remarkable that when New Zealand was first discovered, there were no animals whatever on the islands except a few species of lizards, which quadrupeds the inhabitants held in great veneration and terror. Even the rat and dog were introduced by Europeans; and the rat is at present the principal species of game. A good many parrots, parroquets, wild ducks, pigeons of large size and fine flavor, inhabit the forests; and poultry are found to thrive very well, though not yet reared to any great extent. Indeed, if we except their prisoners of war, (for the New Zealanders were cannibals,) almost the only animal food hitherto used by them has been fish, which abounds around their coasts."
GEORGE. "They must be right glad that Europeans have visited them."
CHARLES. "I understand that when pigs were first introduced into New Zealand, the natives, not knowing what animals they were, nor what were their uses, mounted two, and forthwith rode them to death! They had seen some horses on board Captain Cook's vessel, and supposed the pigs to be for the same purpose."
MRS. WILTON. "The New Zealanders are a fine race, but not exempt from vice. They do not regard lying or stealing as crimes, and are remarkable for their propensities to make use of these qualifications on every available occasion. Captain Cook relates an instance which will give you a tolerable idea of the native character:—He had been purchasing a great quantity of fish from the natives. He says, 'While we were on the traffic, they showed a great inclination to pick my pockets; and to take away the fish with one hand which they had just given me with the other. This evil, one of the chiefs undertook to remove, and with fury in his eyes made a show of keeping the people at a proper distance. I applauded his conduct, but at the same time kept so good a look-out as to detect him picking my pocket of a handkerchief, which I suffered him to put in his bosom, before I seemed to know anything of the matter, and then told him what I had lost. He seemed quite ignorant and innocent, until I took it from him; then he put it off with a laugh, acting his part with so much address, that it was hardly possible to be angry with him; so we remained good friends, and he accompanied me on board to dinner.'"
EMMA. "But they are better now, are they not?"
MRS. WILTON. "Very slightly in these points, my dear; and still less so as regards their superstitions. Generations to come may be free from these vices; but at present they are too deeply rooted to be discarded altogether. They have some curious and simple notions peculiar to themselves, and some extraordinary legends concerning natural objects of earth, sea, and sky. They account for the appearance of the face in the moon thus:—They say, 'A native girl, named Rona, went with a calabash to fetch water. The moon hid her pale beams behind dark and sweeping clouds. The maid, vexed at this uncourteous behavior, pronounced a curse on the celestial orb; but as a punishment, for so doing, she stumbled and fell. The moon descended—raised the maid from the ground, and took her to reside on high, in her realms of silvery light.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "A curious idea: they have many such. I remember an anecdote of a chief who lost a son for whom he grieved greatly; but one day a European met him, and observed he was very merry: he accosted him, and inquired the cause of so sudden a discontinuance of his grief. The chief replied, he had passed a bush some few days previously, when his late son, who had inserted himself into the body of a little Tikan bird, whistled to him, and bade him dry up his tears, as he felt perfectly satisfied with the quarters he then occupied. 'Shall I grieve at his happiness?' added the old man."
DORA. "There is a sweet simplicity about that little story which prepossesses me in favor of these New Zealanders, although they were once such horrible cannibals. Do they not tattoo very much?"
MR. WILTON. "The art of tattooing has been brought to such perfection here, that it actually excites admiration. It is looked upon as answering the same purposes as clothes. When a chief throws off his mats, he seems as proud of displaying the beautiful ornaments figured on his skin, as a civilized dandy does of his fashionable attire. Mr. Earle speaks of a man named Aranghie, a professor of the art of tattooing, thus:—'He was considered by his countrymen a perfect master in the art, and men of the highest rank and importance were in the habit of travelling long journeys, in order to put their skins under his skilful hands. Indeed, so highly were his works esteemed, that I have seen many of his drawings exhibited even after death. A neighbor of mine very lately killed a chief who had been tattooed by Aranghie, and appreciating the artist's work so highly, he skinned the chieftain's thighs, and covered his cartouch box with it!—I was astonished to see with what boldness and precision Aranghie drew his designs upon the skin, and what beautiful ornaments he produced: no rule and compasses could be more exact than the lines and circles he formed. So unrivalled is he in his profession, that a highly finished face of a chief from the hands of this artist, is as greatly prized in New Zealand as a head from the pencil of Sir Thomas Lawrence is amongst us. Such respect was paid to this man by the natives, that Mr. Earle expresses the gratification he felt, on seeing the fine arts held in such estimation by the savages."
MR. BARRAUD. "I do not doubt but the New Zealanders are still cannibals in heart; for, so late as 1832, when Mr. Earle was there, he unfortunately had ocular proof of the fact. He had been residing with them some months, when a chief claimed one of his (Mr. Earle's) servants, stating she was a runaway slave. He tied her to a tree and shot her through the heart, and his men prepared an oven and cooked her. Mr. Earle heard of it, and hastened to the spot. He caught them in the act of preparing some of the poor girl's flesh, and endeavored, in vain, to prevent the horrible feast; but to no purpose; for they assembled at night and devoured every morsel except the head, which he saw a hungry dog run off with to the woods. The poor girl was only sixteen years of age, pretty and well-behaved, and her murderer was one of the aristocracy of New Zealand, and, as Mr. Earle observes, a remarkably polite savage."
CHARLES. "We must bid adieu to these interesting savages, and pass on to the last, but certainly not the least, of the Pacific islands.—viz. Australia."
MR. WILTON. "As all land is surrounded by water, and continents differ from islands merely in point of size, and as Australia or New Holland is in extent as large as Europe, and ten times larger than either Borneo or New Guinea, it is certainly more proportionate with continents than with islands; and it seems reasonable to class Australia with the former rather than with the latter."
MRS. WILTON. "With Australia we close our investigations. To use a nautical expression, it is, compared with Europe and Asia, almost an iron-bound coast. It possesses only two large indentations,—the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north, and Spencer's Gulf on the south. Shark's Bay, on the west, and Hervey's Bay, on the east, are the next in size."
MR. WILTON. "New Holland was discovered by Paulmyer de Gonville. That navigator sailed from Honfleur for the East Indies about the middle of 1503, and experienced a violent storm off the Cape of Good Hope, during which he lost his reckoning, and was driven into an unknown sea. After sailing for some time, he observed birds flying from the south, and, directing his course towards that quarter, he soon fell in with land. This was thought to have been New Holland or Australia."
MR. BARRAUD. "It is remarkable how extremely ignorant the Australians are: they are certainly the lowest in intellect of the human creation. The tribes on the western shores of Spencer's Bay are positively ignorant of any method of obtaining fire: they say that it originally came down from the north. Like the vestal virgins, the women keep it constantly lighted, and carry it about with them in firesticks when they travel: should it happen to go out, they procure a fresh supply from a neighboring encampment. Then their manners are so atrociously savage. Their mode of courtship is one which I fancy would not become popular among English ladies. If a chief, or any other individual, be in love, with a damsel of a different tribe, he endeavors to waylay her; and if she be surprised in any quiet place, the ambushed lover rushes upon her, beats her about the head with his 'waddie' till she becomes senseless, when he drags her in triumph to his hut, and thenceforth she is his lawful wife!"
GRANDY. "After that, you will readily credit the story I am going to tell you. A Mr. Meredith went over with his goods to Kangaroo Island, whence he journeyed across the bay to Yankalilly, where he built a hut, placed in it a glass window or two, and made it look snug. As he was a young man of about twenty-one or twenty-two, his warm, generous spirit had led him into difficulties; and, the friends of his brief sunshine flying from him in his distress, he contracted a disgust for the world. He lived some time amongst these people, acquired their language, and seemed to be beloved by them all. But volumes might be filled with accounts of their treachery, and the sequel will sufficiently prove the malignity of these wretched people. He had adopted one of their sons, and was endeavoring to instruct him in a few points of education. He had also taken a native woman to assist him in household matters. One day he went out in his boat, and his favorite boy went with him. When in the boat, the boy complained of hunger, and Mr. Meredith gave him a biscuit. The boy commenced eating it, when Mr. Meredith (who was a religious man) observed that he had not thanked the Great God for the food,—a practice which he invariably endeavored to inculcate. The boy appeared unwilling to do so: Mr. Meredith insisted, and on his refusal, he boxed his ears. The boy thereupon leaped out of the boat, and swam ashore, saying, he should repent it.
"In the evening, Mr. Meredith put his boat ashore, and went to his hut, had his supper, and was preparing for bed; and taking up a prayer-book, as was his custom, was reading the prayers before the fire, with his back to the door, when some natives looked through the window, saw their advantage, and opened the door silently. The woman, his attendant, then entered with an axe belonging to him in her hand, and several men followed her. She approached the unsuspecting youth, and, while his soul was devoutly engaged in prayer, she raised the fatal axe, and, with one blow, severed his skull, and the men with their clubs beat his body into a shapeless mass."
EMMA. "Poor Mr. Meredith! What a frightful murder!"
MRS. WILTON. "The Australians thought nothing of it, for they glory in the most atrocious deeds. I fear it will be long before they will be civilized. But let us look at their country, of which, in some respects, but little can be said; for it is not remarkable for its fertility, and in many parts exceedingly barren. But few animals range there, and in the south-west the natives subsist during the winter chiefly on opossums, kangaroos, and bandicoots, in the summer upon roots, with occasionally a few fish."
DORA. "Port Adelaide appears to be a neat town. Its harbor is a deep creek or inlet of the sea, running out of Gulf St. Vincent: it contains two spacious wharfs, alongside of which, vessels from Great Britain, Singapore, Manilla, China, Mauritius, Sydney, Hobart Town, and New Zealand, are continually discharging their cargoes."
MRS. WILTON. "There are many lakes in Australia, but none of them very large. Lake Alexandria is the largest, but it is very shallow; and Lake St. George, the second in size, which, in 1828, was a sheet of water 17 miles long by 7 broad, was said by an old native female to have been a forest within her memory, and in 1836 it was dried up to a grassy plain."
EMMA. "Does not Van Diemen's Land belong to New Holland, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; and the part nearest to it is New South Wales, from which it is separated by Bass's Straits, which are 100 miles broad, and contain a great many small islands. Van Diemen's Land was discovered by Tasman, in 1644, and named by him in honor of the Dutch Governor-General of the East Indies: but it is now more appropriately called Tasmania. This island contains several mountains of considerable elevation. The highest is ascertained to be 3964 feet in height. Hobart Town is the capital. The population of Tasmania has of late years much increased, for, owing to its eligibility, the tide of emigration has been strong. For many years, three or four vessels have annually sailed from Great Britain, laden with emigrants possessed of more or less capital, and they have, in most cases, prospered equal to their expectations."
GEORGE. "Are there not more coral reefs about Australia than in any other part of the Ocean?"
MR. WILTON. "It is generally supposed so; but, in asking that question, do you know what coral reefs are?"
GEORGE. "Yes, papa; they are the work of insects, who build them for their habitations; but it is very wonderful."
GRANDY. "It is wonderful, my dear; and there are many other marvellous productions of the Most High God, so infinitely beyond the power of man to produce, that, in meditating on them, the mind is lost in wonder and surprise. 'The most powerful, acutest, and holiest mind,' says a learned divine, 'will eternally be unable fully to find out God, or perfectly to comprehend Him.' May these wonders then increase our reverence, and humble us before the mighty Creator of all things."
MR. WILTON. "Captain Hall examined some coral reefs during the different stages of one tide, and gives the following description as the result:—'When the tide has left it for some time, it becomes dry, and appears to be a compact rock, exceedingly hard and rugged; but as the tide rises, and the waves begin to wash over it, the coral worms protrude themselves from holes that were before invisible. These animals are of a great variety of shapes and sizes, and, in such prodigious numbers, that, in a short time, the whole surface of the rock appears to be alive and in motion. The most common worm is in the form of a star, with arms from four to six inches long, which are moved about with a rapid motion, in all directions, probably to catch food. Others are so sluggish, that they may be mistaken for pieces of rock; and are generally of a dark color, from four to five inches long, and two or three round. When the coral is broken about high-water mark, it is a solid hard stone; but if any part of it be detached at a spot where the tide reaches every day, it is found to be full of worms of different lengths and colors, some being as fine as a thread and several feet long, of a bright yellow, and sometimes of a blue color; others resemble snails, and some are not unlike lobsters in shape, but soft, and not above two inches long.'"
DORA. "We must be content to see these in imagination. But sometimes I feel disposed to regret that we are not really afloat in the 'Research;' and at other times I congratulate myself that the voyage is only imaginary; for in Polynesia particularly, we have met with so many ignorant, savage people, it is well for us that we can, if we choose, steer clear of them. I suppose it would not be possible in all Europe to find a country where such unreasonable things were done from religious superstition?"
GRANDY. "My dear Dora, you are very much mistaken. Europe has been, and still is in many parts, a slave to superstition; and, although not savages, there are many vices and iniquitous deeds committed in civilized Europe, which no temptation would induce the savages of Polynesia to commit. But, to assure your mind that horrible crimes were perpetrated from zeal in the doctrines of their religion, I will give you an instance connected with Sweden in olden time. The story is told by a slave girl named Kumba, thus:—'My mother was amongst the slaves of Queen Gunnild: she was the most faithful of her servants. Poor and heavy was her lot, yet did she wish to live. My father was a free-born person, who thought little of forsaking the woman who loved him, and the child she had nursed for him. I remember a night—that night has stretched itself over my whole life. Flames arose from a pile: they ascended high into heaven. It was the corpse of the Queen which was burned. My mother was amongst those who tended the pile: she with many others was cast alive into the flames. The Queen, it was said, needed her attendance in another world. I stood amongst the people, still a child, and heard my mother's cry, and saw her burn! Fatherless and motherless, I went thence into the world alone, and wandered in the woods without knowing whither. There came people who seized me, and carried me back to the Court of King Atle. They said that I wished to run away, and I was conducted to the presence of the king. I answered haughtily to his questions, and he caused me to be whipped till the blood came: in punishment, as he said, of my disobedience.' Is not that barbarous enough for a savage land, Dora?"
DORA. "Oh yes, madam, that is very shocking. Poor, unhappy Kumba! What a life of wretchedness was hers."
MR. WILTON. "Grandy's story must conclude our conversation to-night. At the next meeting we will endeavor to explore the coast of Africa, and visit the islands of the Indian Ocean. Carry away the books, boys: I am sure you must all be hungry, and tired too, for we have been over an immense space of water.
"Right gaily our bark's glided over the ocean, Bright nature we've viewed in majestic array; But our own native shores we greet with emotion, For the heart of a Briton exults in her sway."
They journeyed at night In the pale moonlight, 'Mid sunshine and storm on they sail'd; Baffling winds and still calms Caused our friends no alarms, For Faith ever fearless prevail'd.
"It is of no use, Emma: I cannot do it. Girls are certainly a most persevering race of beings, and you deserve to be at the top of the class; for, if you determine to accomplish anything, I believe not even Mr. Stanley's knock at the door, or, what would be more to you, Dora Leslie's loving kiss, would make you swerve from your purpose. Ah well! You are quite welcome to the work; and if you are not tired, I know I am, and these very important articles may remain unpacked for the trouble I shall take. I wonder you are so particular about them: what signifies how they are put in, if you can but shut the box? It can be of no consequence; and yet you have been on your knees for the last two hours, arranging and placing, until I am positively weary with watching you."
"George! George! Where is your boasted patience? Your fellow traveller in your anticipated voyage? Only see what a trifling exertion makes you weary and complaining. Now, suppose I act according to your sage proposition, and merely fill the trunk; we can then both jump on the lid, and make it shut—what think you would be the effect?"
GEORGE. "Well, my most patient sister, I think it very probable that my microscope would be smashed to atoms, and all your little knick knacks reduced to a similar condition. But surely there is no necessity for such violent means to secure the lid: let me see, I have no doubt it will shut quite easily."
"There, you see it will not shut," said Emma, as George in vain endeavored, by moderate pressure, to bring the lid to its proper place. "Now the things must be arranged differently; and, if you will only help me this once, we shall have done before Dora or Mr. Stanley or any one else knocks at the door: come, be my own good brother, and lay all these parcels carefully on the floor while I find places for them."
Emma looked so irresistibly kind and coaxing, that George once more good humoredly set to work; and presently the carpet was strewed with packages, apparently sufficient to fill three such trunks, but which Emma was determined should be snugly packed into one.
The articles might almost be arranged alphabetically, there was such a miscellaneous collection; but the variety in their size and shape rendered it actually a puzzle to dispose them so as to allow space for all, without the hazard of any portion being crushed.
"Perseverance overcomes difficulties," said Emma, as she carefully deposited the last paper, and turned the key in the lock.
"Hurrah!" shouted George. "Now we have done it. Well, really, I did not think it possible: only imagine the number of parcels in that one trunk, Emma! What a treat it will be when we get to Jamaica to unpack it all again. Oh dear! how I wish we were there!"
"Miss Emma, you are wanted," said Hannah, entering the room; "Mistress cannot find the books that came to-day, and she wants to pack them up."
"Ah! it is nothing but pack up now all day, and every room is in confusion," said George, wearily. "Well, I am glad our share is at an end for this day, for I am heartily tired of the business, and shall be thoroughly glad when there is nothing more left to pack up."
"Oh! master George, how impatient you are," exclaimed Hannah. "But come, you have no time to be grumbling now. Only look at your dirty fingers, and dinner will be ready in five minutes: why, you will scarcely be washed before the bell rings;" and the anxious maid bustled out of the room with her weary charge.
The mention of Mr. Stanley's name requires an explanation. On the previous evening, when Mr. Wilton returned from his office, he brought with him a letter, which he put into George's hand after tea, desiring him to read it aloud. It was from Mr. Stanley, and George almost shouted for joy, when he read that his dear, dear friend was then at Liverpool, and hoped to be with them the next day to dinner.
"What a grand muster we shall have to-night, George," said Mr. Wilton, while they were waiting the arrival of their expected guest. "Why, we shall not find sufficient subject for so many speakers, shall we?"
"Oh yes! papa. Emma and I have been too busy, packing up, to prepare much. Besides, Mr. Stanley is sure to have a great deal to tell: he has been away so long, and seeing strange countries all the while. But there he is! I saw him pass the window;" and away ran George to embrace his beloved friend.
"What bright eyes and rosy cheeks!" exclaimed Mr. Stanley, kissing his pet. "My boy has indeed grown since I was here: why you will soon reach my shoulder. I suppose, when next I come, I must inquire for Mr. Wilton, junior. But where is sister Emma, and mamma and papa, and dear, kind Grandy?"
"Oh! they are all in the dining-room," replied George: "we were only waiting for you, sir."
Into the dining-room they went accordingly; and the welcome guest was soon engaged, equally with the rest of the party, in discussing a hearty meal, and the various events that had taken place during his absence.
The hours flew like moments; and the arrival of the other members quite astonished George, who had no idea it was so near seven o'clock. He was in high glee, as he assisted Charles in placing the chairs and books. But when Mr. Stanley, taking his hand, requested permission to sit by his side, the proud and happy boy looked doubtingly into his face, not thoroughly comprehending the drift of the request.
"I am anxious to have the services of an experienced pilot through the stormy seas," said Mr. Stanley; "and if you are by my side, George, to direct me, I think I can manage to steer clear of difficulties."
"Now, you are joking," returned George: "why, you have positively been to these very countries, and yet apply to me for directions! But I understand the reason. You intend to make observations on subjects not geographical, and I expect you will be keeping a sharp look-out on my observations, to discover what progress I have made lately."
MR. STANLEY. "I perceive already that there is a decided improvement, my boy; and I candidly aver that I expect to be edified by these juvenile discoveries. Now to business—weigh anchor and start. Who is pilot?"
CHARLES. "I have charge of the 'Research' for the present; but I am not an experienced navigator, and if I happen to run you on a shoal, I hope all hands will help to get the vessel clear off?"
MR. BARRAUD. "We will make due allowance for your youth and inexperience, Charles. Now give your orders."
CHARLES. "The first voyage, we are to navigate the Indian Ocean, calling on as many Robinson Crusoes as we can find in the various little islands: our second voyage is to explore the whole coast of Africa.
"Our ship was last at anchor off the coast of New Holland, and our next stoppage will be at the Moluccas. The name signifies 'Royal Islands,' and was given by the Arabs in the days of their maritime prosperity. The principal are Celebes, Gililo, and Ceram. Dora, Emma, and George have patronized those isles, and will set forth their various qualifications."
DORA. "Celebes is the largest of the Moluccas, and is a ragged, irregular-looking island, in shape similar to a star-fish. The inhabitants are rendered active, industrious, and robust by an austere education. At all hours of the day, the mothers rub their children with oil or water, and thus assist nature in forming their constitutions. At the age of five or six, the male children of persons of rank are put in charge of a friend, that their courage may not be weakened by the caresses of relatives, and habits of reciprocal tenderness. They do not return to their families until they attain the age at which the law declares them fit to marry. Celebes was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1512; but the Dutch expelled them in 1660, and it now belongs to them. Unlike most of the other islands, it abounds in extensive grassy plains, free from forests, which are looked upon as the common property of the tribes who dwell thereon, and are carefully guarded from the intrusion of aliens. The people are Mohammedans."
GEORGE. "Gililo is Celebes in miniature, being of the same singular shape, and producing similar fruits. I have little more of its advantages to set forth. But near here is a portion of the Ocean called Molucca Sea, which possesses a strange peculiarity. It is the periodical appearance of a current of opaque white water, like milk, which, from June to August or September, covers the surface of the basin in which the Banda Islands are situated. During the night it is somewhat luminous, which makes the spectator confound it with the horizon. It is dangerous for vessels, for the sea seems to undergo an inward boiling agitation wherever it passes. During its prevalence the fish disappear. This white water is supposed to come from the shores of New Guinea and the Gulf of Carpentaria."
MR. STANLEY. "You are slightly wrong, George, in stating this curious sea to be near Gililo. Gililo is on, the equator, and the Molucca Sea is at least 5 deg. below the equator, and directly south of Ceram."
EMMA. "Ceram produces quantities of sago, and contains large forests of those trees: they are extremely profitable, for one tree will sometimes yield as much as five or six hundred pounds of sago! The original inhabitants were called Alfoors, and, as some of the race still exist, I will introduce them. The only dress of the men is a girdle encircling the loins. They fix bunches of palm leaves to their heads, shoulders, and knees, and wear square bucklers, which they ornament with considerable taste. The eyesight of these people is uncommonly acute; and their swiftness is such as to enable them to chase the wild hog with success. Rats and serpents form part of their food. This island is equally fertile with the other Moluccas, and produces spices of all kinds, but particularly cloves and nutmegs. There are, happily, more Christians now to be found in Ceram than there were a few years since: nevertheless the majority are still Mohammedans, and barbarous in their habits."
MR. BARRAUD. "Yes. Very little improvement has taken place in the manners of the Alfoors. The young men, even to this day, adhere to the savage practice of propitiating their intended wives, by presenting them with the heads of five or six of their enemies. In order to seize their victims by surprise, they lie in ambush in the woods, cover themselves with moss, and hold branches of trees in their hands, which they shake in a manner so natural, that they have the appearance of real trees: they then allow the enemy to pass, assassinate him by coming up behind him, and, cutting off his head, carry it away as a trophy. These murderers are received by the people of the village with all the honors of a barbarous triumph."
MR. STANLEY. "These identical Alfoors have a singular method of evincing their respect for friends or visitors: as an instance: One of the kings (for the nation has three to share the government) invited a Dutch missionary to an entertainment. When Mr. Montarnes arrived, he was received with great demonstrations of joy, and treated by the king with the most splendid repast that the resources of the country could afford. When the meal was over, the king ordered a number of men armed with swords to step forward. They performed a war-dance, and, after a few feats of this sort, commenced a serious fight: their swords clashed, blood flowed, and some of their bodies were laid dead on the ground. The peaceful minister of religion, shocked at the horrid spectacle, entreated the king to put a stop to it. 'It is nothing,' was the reply: 'they are my slaves! it is only the death of a few dogs! Happy shall I be if this mark of my high respect convinces you of my eager desire to please you!'"
GRANDY. "Astonishing! that people with any belief in a superior power, should hold life in such low estimation; and, simply for amusement, deprive a fellow-creature of that which their utmost stretch of power cannot restore. Oh! may God, in his mercy, soon enlighten these wretched Alfoors, and write in plain characters on the tables of their hearts—'Thou shalt do no murder.'"
CHARLES. "We now come to Java, one of the finest and most flourishing colonies in the world. It is about 600 miles in length, and 90 miles average breadth; almost entirely volcanic; therefore, metals and precious stones are not to be expected. Iron is not to be found in Java; indeed, it is extremely rare in the whole Archipelago; consequently it bears a high price, and the art of the blacksmith is held in a sort of reverence. The term for a son of the anvil signifies 'learned.' The inhabitants of this island trace their origin to a monkey, which they call 'woo-woo.' They are, for the most part, Mohammedans, but not strict, as they will not hesitate to drink wine at the religious festivals."
MRS. WILTON. "The Javanese are remarkable for their veracity and love of music: their ear is so delicate, that they readily learn to play the most difficult and complex airs on any instrument. They are remarkable also for their superstition, and people their forests, caves, and mountains with numerous invisible beings of their own creation. I will quote two instances of whimsical superstition, which took place in Java about thirty years ago. The skull of a buffalo was conducted from one end of the island to the other; this skull was to be kept in constant motion, for a dreadful fate was to await the individual who detained it in his possession, or allowed it to rest. After travelling many hundred miles, it reached Samarang, where the Dutch governor caused it to be thrown into the sea. No person could tell how this originated; but no person refused to obey while the skull was on terra firma. Again, in 1814, a smooth road, fifty or sixty miles long, and twenty feet broad, leading to the top of an inland mountain, called Sumbong, was suddenly formed, crossing no rivers, but passing in an undeviating line through private property of all descriptions. The population of whole districts was employed in the labor, and all because an old woman dreamed that a divine personage was to descend on the mountain!"
"Oh! how very ridiculous!" exclaimed Charles. "Such silly people deserve to be imposed upon, for not using the faculties they possess, to greater advantage."
GRANDY. "When once superstition usurps the throne of reason, Charles, it is a difficult task to displace her. There are so many pleasing fallacies connected with her sway over the naturally indolent mind of man, that reason is altogether banished, and superstition's authority knows no bounds."
MR. STANLEY. "Java produces, in great abundance, the Hirundo esculenta, a species of swallow, whose nests are used as an article of luxurious food among the Chinese. This nest has the shape of a common swallow's nest, and the appearance of ill-connected isinglass. The bird always builds in the caves of the rocks, at a distance from any human dwelling. Along the sea-shore, these nests are particularly abundant, the caverns there being more frequent. The finest are those obtained before the nest has been contaminated by young birds. Some of the caverns are very difficult of access, and dangerous to climb; so that none can collect the nests but persons accustomed to the trade from their youth."
GEORGE. "Oh, yes! I remember all the particulars of that business; we were told at one of our meetings; but I do not care to taste them: it is both nasty and cruel to eat bird's-nests."
CHARLES. "Sumatra is, next to Borneo, the largest island in the Eastern seas. It is situated in the midst of the torrid zone, is upwards of 1000 miles long, nearly 200 in breadth, and is divided from Java by the Straits of Sunda.
"The Sumatrans are a well-made people, with yellow complexions, sometimes inclining to white. They have some of the customs of the South Sea Islanders; amongst others, those barbarous practices of flattening the noses, and compressing the heads of children newly-born, whilst the skull is yet soft or cartilaginous. They likewise pull out the ears of infants to make them stand at an angle from the head. They file, blacken, and otherwise disfigure the teeth; and the great men sometimes set theirs in gold, by casing the under row with a plate of that metal."
GEORGE. "Is Sumatra a gold country?"
"Why," said Mr. Wilton, smiling, "have you never heard of the gold of Mount Ophir? Well, that is the name of the highest mountain in Sumatra."
GEORGE. "Then there is gold in Sumatra, and I suppose it is washed down by the rivers. Is there any other metal there?"
MR. WILTON. "Gold is the most abundant; but saltpetre and naphtha are among the products. Quantities of rice are grown here, and a singular method is adopted for separating the grain from the ear. The bunches of paddy are spread on mats, and the Sumatrans rub out the grain under their feet, supporting themselves, for the more easy performance of this labor, by holding with their hands a bamboo placed horizontally over their heads."
CHARLES. "I should hope they wash the rice after this process: although, as rice is so dry, they doubtless consider it unnecessary: I find Sumatra is a foggy island, and contains only one important kingdom.—viz., Acheen."
MR. BARRAUD. "Fogs are not its worst calamities: thunder-storms and water-spouts off the coasts are very frequent."
GEORGE. "What produces water-spouts?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Dr. Franklin supposed that water-spouts and whirlwinds proceed from the same cause. A fluid moving from all parts horizontally towards a centre, must at that centre either mount or descend. If a hole be opened in the bottom of a tub filled with water, the water will flow from all sides to the centre, and there descend in a whirl; but air flowing in or near the surface of land or water, from all sides towards a centre, must at that centre ascend, because the land or water will hinder its descent."
MR. WILTON. "As Charles states, Acheen, with regard to business transactions, is the only place of note in the island of Sumatra. The inhabitants have no coin, but make their payments in gold dust, which they keep in divided parcels, contained in pieces of bladder, and these are weighed by the person who takes them in payment. They have some odd forms about them; for instance, in marriage and burial. The bride is bargained for with the parents, and if settled satisfactorily, the young couple partake together of two different sorts of rice, and the ceremony is concluded by the father of the lady throwing a piece of cloth over them.
"When a man of rank dies, his body is kept in a coffin for several months; the soft parts dissolving during that interval are conveyed in a fluid state by a bamboo tube, from the bottom of the coffin into the earth."
EMMA. "How very disgusting! and how very unwholesome for the relatives of the deceased, in such a hot country too. I wonder the inhabitants do not all die from infection."
MR. STANLEY. "These practices do vastly increase the mortality; but old customs are not easily abolished. Do you sail as far north as the Bay of Bengal, Charles?"
CHARLES. "No, sir, all that portion of the ocean has been navigated: our next island is Borneo."
MR. STANLEY. "But I suppose there would be no objection to my putting in a word on the Burman Empire, which probably you are not much acquainted with. Parts of it are in the same longitude as the north of Sumatra; and I merely wish to mention some peculiarities connected with the Burmese. The government is entirely despotic, and the sovereign almost deified. When anything belonging to him is mentioned, the epithet 'golden' is invariably attached to it. When he is said to have heard anything, 'it has reached the golden ears:' the perfume of roses is described as grateful to the 'golden nose.' The sovereign is sole proprietor of all the elephants in his dominions; and the privilege to keep or ride on one is only granted to men of the first rank. No honors here are hereditary. All officers and dignities depend on the crown. The 'tsaloe,' or chain, is the badge of nobility, and superiority of rank is signified by the number of cords or divisions."
GEORGE. "Is it true that they are a proud, consequential people?"
MR. STANLEY. "Yes, quite true. Men of rank have their barges tugged by war-boats, common watermen not being admitted into the same boat with them.
"A singularly absurd custom takes place in this country, in certain forms of political homage shown to a white elephant,—a preternatural animal kept for the purpose,—superbly lodged near the royal palace, sumptuously dressed and fed, provided with functionaries like a second sovereign, held next in rank to the king, and superior to the queen, and made the recipient of presents, and other tokens of respect from foreign ambassadors."
CHARLES. "Well, that is an odd superstition. I am much obliged to you for going out of the track to tell us these strange 'sayings and doings' of the Burmese. Are we now to resume our station?"
MR. WILTON. "You are pilot. Charles; we rely on your guidance! Go where you please: we are not to control your movements."
CHARLES. "Then, like Sir James Brooke, I will go to Borneo; but I do not expect to be made a rajah for my trouble: indeed I scarcely know if I should like to live there, although it is the largest island in the world, and is very fertile, and contains diamond mines and vast quantities of gold."
MR. STANLEY. "By-the-by, that reminds me of the fact that the petty prince of Mattan, in Borneo, is in possession of one of the largest diamonds in the world. It was obtained a hundred years ago from the mines of Landak, and is worth 269,378l."
EMMA. "Which are the other large diamonds?"
MR. WILTON. "The Great Russian diamond, which is valued at 304,200l.; and the Great Pitt diamond, valued at 149,605l. But we are departing from our subject. Borneo is, next to New Holland, the largest island in the world. It is 900 miles long, and 700 broad."
DORA. "When did Sir James Brooke go to Borneo, and what was his object in going?"
MR. WILTON. "In August, 1839, he anchored off Borneo; and his object was purely philanthropic. He went to spread abroad the glorious truths of Christianity—to arouse the slumbering energies of these interesting people—to increase trade—to suppress piracy,—and to gain information for the profit of his own native land. Such were his principal motives. Particulars of his success, of the benefits he has conferred on thousands of his fellow-creatures, and of his travels and adventures, may be seen in his own published journal, to more advantage than I can possibly set them before you."
MR. BARRAUD. "Since Sir James Brooke's visit, the Dido and several other vessels of war have cruised in the Asiatic Archipelago, all tending to suppress piracy, and encourage native trade and commerce. The island of Labuan, off the north-west of Borneo, has been ceded to England, and Sir James Brooke appointed agent for the British Government,—an appointment which confers on him additional power and influence; besides which, the Sultan has nominated him Rajah of Sarawak. Thus in the course of a few years has a complete revolution been worked in one of the finest portions of our globe, and a new and better system of things been established, all through the enlightened and philanthropic energy of a single individual."
CHARLES. "Borneo is the chief of the Sunda group, is extremely fertile, producing all sorts of tropical fruits, and various spices and drugs. Much of the interior is covered by immense forests, inhabited by wild animals, and aboriginal tribes of human beings almost as wild. It is in Borneo that the largest of the monkey tribe, the ponga, equalling the human race in stature, is to be found; also the ourang-outang, or Simia Satyrus, which comes nearer to man in his looks, manners, and gait. Some writers assert that these animals light fires, at which they broil their fish and rice; but these accounts are not verified by recent observers. Wild bees are so numerous here, that their wax forms a very extensive article of export."
MRS. WILTON. "Borneo is called, by the natives, Pulo Kalamantan. Borneo was the name of a city, the residence of a powerful prince in 1520, when Magellan went there: hence the Spaniards concluded that the whole island belonged to this prince, and they called it all Borneo. There are a great many tribes of Indians in this large island, and the sea-coasts are inhabited by Malayans, of whom Sir James Brooke speaks in the higher terms, as regards honesty, cleanliness, &c. They understand the art of cutting, polishing, and setting their diamonds. Gold and silver filigree works they excel in; and they are otherwise ingenious, but can scarcely be considered industrious."
DORA. "South-west of Sumatra, in latitude 12 deg. south, longitude 97 deg. east, are the Cocos or Keeling Islands, which are entirely coralline in their formation; very fertile, with a salubrious climate. In 1830, Captain Ross and Alexander Hare, Esq., undertook to cultivate these islands, and render them productive. They succeeded, and they now form a fine settlement."
CHARLES. "I shall feel greatly obliged if Mr. Stanley will take the helm, and steer us across the Indian Ocean; for there are such hundreds, I might almost say thousands, of islands, that I feel convinced I shall run you all ashore, where none of you are disposed to go."
MR. STANLEY. "Come, then, I will relieve you for a while, because it would be most unpleasantly awkward for the ladies to be cast ashore on a desert island; and equally so on an inhabited one, if they possessed no letters of introduction to the natives.
"In crossing the Indian Ocean, we must sail by a great many islands; but I do not think it will be prudent to go ashore until we arrive at the Isle of Bourbon, and there we can pass a few days very comfortably before we sail for Madagascar."
EMMA. "Oh, yes! Bourbon is quite a civilized island. It belongs to the French, does it not, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; but the discovery was not theirs. Mascarenhas, a Portuguese navigator, claims the credit. He discovered it in 1545, and it bore his name until the French took possession of it in the next century. When they first occupied it, the sides of the mountains were covered with forests, which reached even to the shores. The whole of the lower lands have since been cleared; but the centre of this island is still covered with its primitive vegetation, which affords forty-one different species of woods serviceable for arts and manufactures. The coasts abound with fish and large turtles, and furnish also coral and ambergris. Bourbon contains a college, and numerous schools, sixteen churches, two hospitals, two establishments for the relief of the poor, and two prisons."
MR. BARRAUD. "Why are we to take no notice of the fine colony of Mauritius, or Isle of France? It is quite as large as Bourbon: moreover it is a British possession."
MR. STANLEY. "I see no just cause or impediment why we should not land there. Let us see, what is its size?"
CHARLES. "Its circumference is about 140 miles. Port Louis is its principal town, and is said to contain 30,000 inhabitants; it has an excellent harbor, capable of containing 50 large vessels; and it is well protected by nature from the violence of the weather, and from the attacks of enemies, by strong fortifications."
GEORGE. "Now to Madagascar. I am longing to go there; for I know nothing about either country or people."
MRS. WILTON. "Madagascar is a large and beautiful island, with mountains, valleys, lakes and streams, diversifying its whole extent. It is between 800 and 900 miles long, and between 200 and 300 broad. The metals dug here, are gold, silver, copper, steel, and iron; and a great variety of precious stones are found in the rivers and brooks of Madagascar. Civet is plentiful, and is taken from the civet cat; and the natives obtain musk from the crocodile, and call it tartave. Tananarievo, the capital, stands on the summit of a lofty hill, and commands an extensive prospect of the surrounding country. The principal houses are of wood, and the palace of the king is about the centre of the town, enclosed in a high palisading of strong poles."
GEORGE. "If the palace be so homely, what can the poor folks' houses be like?"
MR. WILTON. "Oh! they are of wood too, but mere huts; they have no chimneys, and the door and window affording the only means of escape for the smoke arising from the fires, which are kindled on the floor of the house, the soot collects on the inner side of the roofs of their dwellings, where it is never disturbed by the people, who consider it a badge of honorable ancestry to have large quantities of soot hanging in long black shreds from the roof of their dwelling."
EMMA. "What a dirty badge! Are they dirty people?"
MR. STANLEY. "They are not exactly dirty, but very slothful; and when not compelled to exert themselves in husbandry or war, they pass their time in sleep. They have little thought for the morrow; and, in fact, seem to be a thoroughly contented happy race; and so they ought to be, in one sense, for they are surrounded by every comfort, and even luxury, which the hand of nature can produce. Their characteristic feature is simplicity; and they regard the example of their forefathers as authority for every action."
DORA. "They are Christians, I believe?"
MRS. WILTON. "I wish I could say they are, my dear Dora. Some Christians there certainly are in Madagascar; but the majority are ruled by superstition. They acknowledge one only true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and they call him 'Ungharry,' or 'Zanhare,' which signify the 'Highest God,' or 'God above.' They believe him to possess infinite power; but they consider him too great a being to condescend to attend to the concerns of mortals: they therefore suppose that four inferior spirits are appointed, to whom are delegated the affairs of the world. These are denominated the Lords of the North, South, East, and West. The East is supposed to be the dispenser of plagues and miseries to mankind, by the command of the Great God. The other three are employed in the dispensation of benefits. Besides this, they have faith in a world of spirits, and believe that every family has its guardian angel, which is generally supposed to be the soul of a particular ancestor; and, strangely enough, although they believe in the immortality of the soul, they deny that there can be a future punishment, or that the soul can suffer evil after its separation from the body; but they assert that bad men will be punished in this world by a complication of misfortunes, and that the good will be rewarded by health, constancy of friends, increase of fortune, and obedience of children."
GRANDY. "There was at one period great hopes concerning Madagascar. Missionaries went out, and were cordially welcomed by the authorities, although the people, from ignorance, were hostile. But, poor creatures! white men had never visited their shores but to carry away their children and friends to sell them for slaves in different parts of the world; and, of course, they were very suspicious; so much so, that when the missionaries first endeavored to establish schools in Madagascar, the parents refused to allow their children to attend, alleging that the white men wanted them for no other purpose than to eat them; for they attributed all their sorrows to the cannibalism of the white people, believing that the slaves they captured were caught, as wild animals would be, only for food. They carried their antipathy so far, that, rather than permit their little ones to enter the schools, they hid them in rice holes, where they were often suffocated. King Radama reigned at that time, and, being a convert himself, he naturally desired the conversion of his people. He reasoned with them, and prohibited the secretion of the unfortunate children, and after a time, by God's blessing, the people became aware of the advantage of the schools and many were converted from the error of their ways, and died rejoicing in God their Saviour. But Radama died also; and there arose a sovereign who knew not God; enemies crept into the fold, and endeavored to destroy the good work of the pious missionaries. They partially succeeded; and in 1837 these worthy men were obliged to quit Madagascar, and have never since been able to revisit it with any prospect of success. We cannot understand why this great work should be allowed to fall to the ground; but God in His wisdom appears to have withheld his blessing for a season, and we must in patience await the issue."
GEORGE. "The Malagasses were never cannibals, were they?"
MR. WILTON. "No. Their ordinary food consists of the natural produce of the soil; principally rice, dressed in the simplest manner, and seasoned with pepper; and they usually drink hot water or broth from the boiled meats; wines, of which they make several kinds, are reserved for the entertainments of their friends on occasions of festivity or ceremony. Their usual dinner hour is ten in the morning, and that of supper four in the afternoon."
MR. STANLEY. "Although not cannibals, their superstition prompts them to many acts of cruelty; for instance, one half of the infant population is murdered by the misfortune of being born on an unlucky day; and, to prove the truth of the dogma, they are deliberately killed. One mode of perpetrating this unnatural deed, is by taking the infant to a retired spot in the neighborhood of the village, digging a grave sufficiently large to receive it pouring in a quantity of water slightly warmed, putting a piece of cloth upon the infant's mouth, placing it in the grave, filling this up with earth, and leaving the helpless child, thus buried alive, a memorial of their own affecting degradation, and the relentless barbarism of their gloomy superstition, and a painful illustration of the truth of God's word, which declares that 'the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.'"
MR. WILTON. "We cannot enlighten these people without help from on high; and their circumstances are too melancholy to dwell on. Let us continue our voyage, and pray for their conversion. Who can inform me how many bays there are around this great island?"
GEORGE. "I can, papa. There are fourteen on my map; and the Bay of Antongil, up in the north-east, is the largest"
MR. WILTON. "So it is, George; and near it lies the Island of St. Mary, which once formed the principal retreat of the pirates who, in the 17th century, infested the Indian Ocean. It is a delightful island, abounding in every necessary of life. Now, I have a droll story to tell you, and that will conclude our remarks on Madagascar.
Translation of a Malagassy Fable, accounting for the enmity between the Crocodile and the Dog.
"A serpent and a young crocodile dwelt in the same part of the country. The serpent fixed itself in a tree by the water-side; and underneath the same tree the young crocodile watched for prey. After a time a dog came to drink; the crocodile pursued him; down came the serpent to stop the crocodile. "What have you to do with me?" said the crocodile.—"Why, you are seeking to eat everybody that passes this way," replied the serpent—"Be quiet,"—said the crocodile, "lest I give you a blow with my tail, and cut you in two."—"And pray what are you?" asked the serpent: "I suppose you are thinking that, because I have neither hands nor feet, I can do nothing; but, perhaps, you have not looked at my tail, how sharp it is."—"Cease your noise," replied the crocodile, "or I'll just break you in two." The serpent, then becoming excessively angry, struck the crocodile with his tail, and wounded his loins, so as nearly to break his body. All the fish were astonished; and, addressing the crocodile, said, "How is this,—you that can conquer people and cattle, however large, and anything else?" The crocodile, ashamed, dived out of sight; while the serpent resumed his place on the tree. The crocodile, however, hoping to repay him, kept watching for prey. After a time, there came a goose to the water. The crocodile pursued, and got hold of him; when down came the serpent, to stop him, as before. "Where are you going?" cried the crocodile.—"Let that goose alone," said the serpent, "lest I kill you." The crocodile replied contemptuously, and the serpent, enraged, exclaimed, "Well, this time, see if you are not the worse for it;" and then he struck the crocodile, and wounded him on the face, and made him scream again. So he was conquered that, time, and the goose got off. Then all the little fish came again, and said to the crocodile, "How is it that you are beaten by that foolish serpent? You are wise and powerful, and that little fellow conies and beats you." Completely ashamed, again the crocodile hid himself in the water, and began to think by what means he might conquer this serpent upon the tree. After thinking a long time, the crocodile determined on boring a hole through the root of the tree; and for a whole week he kept on boring. Presently, a dog came to drink; afterwards a goose; also a man; but, the crocodile keeping at his work, the serpent exulted in having intimidated his adversary, and said, 'There's nothing so strong, then, as I am." The crocodile heard him, and labored with all his might to finish boring at the root, one branch of which remained to cut. The crocodile then watched at the water-side a good while, when down came the dog to drink: the crocodile pursued him; the serpent, as before, came to oppose him, calling out, "Let that dog alone there, lest you get the worst of it."—"You," said the crocodile, "do not fear God. Yonder dogs deceive us, and that's the reason I pursue them: as to people, I never touch them, unless they are guilty of witchcraft. I only eat the small things,—so just let me alone." When the serpent heard that, he replied, "There is no God; for if there were, I should have had both hands and feet: there is no God at all. But I will have your carcass to-day." Then the dog and the serpent together made an attack on the crocodile; the crocodile got weaker, and dived in the water; when all the little fish came again, and expressed their astonishment, as before, that he should be conquered by that little serpent, "Wait a little," said the crocodile, "and you will see I am not conquered by him." The serpent got up the tree as usual; the crocodile watched,—bored the hole completely,—then looked up, and saw the serpent sound asleep on a branch overhanging the water; then, cutting what remained of the root, the tree broke and fell into the water, the serpent falling with it. Then all the fishes acknowledged that the crocodile was superior, for he had got the serpent into the water, and made him dive in it, and kept him under water half-an-hour. The serpent, however, survived it, and repented of what he had done. "Oh! that I had never opposed you; only let me go, and I will never attack you again."—"Ah!" said the crocodile; "but as often as I pursued the dog, I was pursued by you; so you must suffer in your turn." Thus the crocodile made him heartily repent before he let him go. "Then," said the serpent, "if ever I touch you again, may I be conquered." After that, the crocodile let him go. He was glad to get off; but he had been beaten, and took an oath not to renew the attack when the crocodile went to look out for prey. The crocodile, however, owed the dog a grudge, because he had attacked him, and so laid all his family under a curse to devour the dog whenever opportunity offered. "Unless you do that," said he, "may you die without posterity; for yonder dog took part with the serpent against me."
MR. STANLEY. "Well, George, are you like the serpent? Have you had enough of the water?"
GEORGE. "Oh! no! I shall be very sorry when the voyages are over."
MR. STANLEY. "You have been on the ocean a weary while. Have you, like Sir James Ross, reached either of the Poles?"
GEORGE. "No, sir; but we have been very near the North Pole; have we not, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Yes; in the Arctic Ocean we have been as high as 80 deg. parallel of north latitude to Spitzbergen; and in the Antarctic as high as the 66 deg. parallel of south latitude, to the New South Shetland Isles."
MR. STANLEY. "Well done! You will not then start any objections on the score of cold, to accompany me to Kerguelan's Land?"
"Oh dear, no!" exclaimed the boys. "We do not mind the cold."
MR. STANLEY. "Kerguelan's land was discovered in 1772 by Monsieur de Kerguelan, a French navigator, who took it for a continent, and so reported it to his government. He was sent back the following year to make critical examination. Three years after this, Captain Cook fell in with the island, and, not finding it of any importance, called it Isle of Desolation. But, despite its name, it is not a bad place by any means. It is a safe and commodious harbor, and abundance of fresh water. However, considering its latitude, it is exceedingly bare of vegetation; and there is only one plant which claims attention, that is the famous cabbage discovered by Captain Cook. For 130 days his crew enjoyed the luxury of fresh vegetables, which were served out with their salt beef and pork, and prevented sickness among them."
GEORGE. "Are there any animals on the island?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Numbers of birds; penguins, albatrosses, gulls, ducks, cormorants, &c.; and the island is the resort of seals and sea-elephants."
CHARLES. "It cannot be a very pretty place?"
MR. STANLEY. "Here is an idea of it. The whole island appears to be deeply indented by bays and inlets, the surface intersected by numerous small lakes and water-courses. These becoming swollen by the heavy rains, which alternate with the frost and snow, accompanied by violent gusts of wind, rush down the sides of the mountains and along the ravines in countless impetuous torrents, forming in many places beautiful foaming cascades, wearing away the rocks, and strewing the valleys below with vast fragments."
CHARLES. "That is grand, but decidedly not comfortable."
GRANDY. "Sailors need great powers of endurance to undergo such hardships as they must continually encounter on these voyages of discovery. How grateful we ought to feel towards the brave men who hazard life, property, everything to extend our knowledge! for how many happy hours are we indebted to their researches! how often have we perused with delight, the voyages, the discoveries, the exciting descriptions of enterprising sailors! and all, perhaps, without reflecting that the very adventures which have so much amused us, may have been the ruin of all their hopes, and the destroyer of all their happiness in this world. While you are sipping your wine, preparatory to our last voyage, I will tell you a true
Story of a Sailor as related by himself.
"Four years ago I left the port of Boston, the master of a fine ship bound for China. I was worth ten thousand dollars, and was the husband of a young and handsome wife, whom I married but six months before. When I left her, I promised to return to her in less than a twelvemonth. I took all my money with me, save enough to support my wife in my absence, for the purpose of trading when in China, on my own account. For a long time we were favored with prosperous winds; but when in the China seas a terrible storm came upon us, so that in a short time I saw the vessel must be lost, for we were drifting on the rocks of an unknown shore. I ordered the men to provide each for himself in the best possible manner, and forget the ship, as it was an impossibility to save her. We struck: a sea laid me upon the rocks senseless; and the next would have carried me back to a watery grave, had not one of the sailors dragged me further up the rocks. There were only four of us alive; and when morning came, we found that we were on a small uninhabited island, with nothing to eat but the wild fruit common to that portion of the earth; and there we remained sixty days before we could make ourselves known to any ship. We were at length taken to Canton; and there I had to beg, for my money was at the bottom of the sea, and I had not taken the precaution to have it insured. It was nearly a year before I had an opportunity of coming home; and then I, a captain, was obliged to ship as a common sailor. It was two years from the time I left America that I landed in Boston. I was walking in a hurried manner up one of its streets, when I met my brother-in-law. He could not speak nor move, but he grasped my hand, and tears gushed from his eyes. 'Is my wife alive?' I asked. He said nothing. Then I wished that I had perished with my ship, for I thought my wife was dead; but he very soon said, 'She is alive.' Then it was my turn to cry for joy. He clung to me and said, 'Your funeral sermon has been preached, for we have thought you dead for a long time.' He said that my wife was living in our little cottage in the interior of the state. It was then three o'clock in the afternoon, and I took a train of cars that would carry me within twenty-five miles of my wife. Upon leaving the cars I hired a boy, though it was night, to drive me home. It was about two o'clock in the morning when that sweet little cottage of mine appeared in sight. It was a warm moonlight night, and I remember how like a heaven it looked to me. I got out of the carriage and went to the window of the room where the servant girl slept, and gently knocked. She opened the window and asked, 'Who is there?' 'Sarah, do you not know me?' said I. She screamed with fright, for she thought me a ghost; but I told her to unfasten the door and let me in, for I wished to see my wife. She let me in and gave me a light, and I went up stairs to my wife's room. She lay sleeping quietly. Upon her bosom lay her child, whom I had never seen. She was as beautiful as when I left her; but I could see a mournful expression upon her face. Perhaps she was dreaming of me. I gazed for a long time; I did not make any noise, for I dared not wake her. At length I imprinted a soft kiss upon the cheek of my little child. While doing it a tear dropped from my eye and fell upon her cheek. Her eyes opened as clearly as though she had not been sleeping. I saw that she began to be frightened, and I said, 'Mary, it is your husband!' and she clasped me about my neck, and fainted. But I will not describe that scene. She is now the happy wife of a poor man. I am endeavoring to accumulate a little property, and then I will leave the sea forever."