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Title: Typee: A Romance of the South Seas
Author: Melville, Herman
Language: English
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By Herman Melville


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

In his account of the singular and interesting people among whom he was
thrown, it will be observed that he chiefly treats of their more obvious
peculiarities; and, in describing their customs, refrains in most cases
from entering into explanations concerning their origin and purposes.
As writers of travels among barbarous communities are generally very
diffuse on these subjects, he deems it right to advert to what may be
considered a culpable omission. No one can be more sensible than the
author of his deficiencies in this and many other respects; but when the
very peculiar circumstances in which he was placed are understood, he
feels assured that all these omissions will be excused.

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

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

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

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

There are some things related in the narrative which will be sure to
appear strange, or perhaps entirely incomprehensible, to the reader;
but they cannot appear more so to him than they did to the author at the
time. He has stated such matters just as they occurred, and leaves every
one to form his own opinion concerning them; trusting that his anxious
desire to speak the unvarnished truth will gain for him the confidence
of his readers. 1846.


By Arthur Stedman

OF the trinity of American authors whose births made the year 1819 a
notable one in our literary history,--Lowell, Whitman, and Melville,--it
is interesting to observe that the two latter were both descended, on
the fathers’ and mothers’ sides respectively, from have families of
British New England and Dutch New York extraction. Whitman and Van
Velsor, Melville and Gansevoort, were the several combinations which
produced these men; and it is easy to trace in the life and character
of each author the qualities derived from his joint ancestry. Here,
however, the resemblance ceases, for Whitman’s forebears, while worthy
country people of good descent, were not prominent in public or private
life. Melville, on the other hand, was of distinctly patrician birth,
his paternal and maternal grandfathers having been leading characters in
the Revolutionary War; their descendants still maintaining a dignified
social position.

Allan Melville, great-grandfather of Herman Melville, removed from
Scotland to America in 1748, and established himself as a merchant
in Boston. His son, Major Thomas Melville, was a leader in the famous
‘Boston Tea Party’ of 1773 and afterwards became an officer in the
Continental Army. He is reported to have been a Conservative in all
matters except his opposition to unjust taxation, and he wore the
old-fashioned cocked hat and knee-breeches until his death, in 1832,
thus becoming the original of Doctor Holmes’s poem, ‘The Last Leaf’.
Major Melville’s son Allan, the father of Herman, was an importing
merchant,--first in Boston, and later in New York. He was a man of much
culture, and was an extensive traveller for his time. He married Maria
Gansevoort, daughter of General Peter Gansevoort, best known as ‘the
hero of Fort Stanwix.’ This fort was situated on the present site of
Rome, N.Y.; and there Gansevoort, with a small body of men, held in
check reinforcements on their way to join Burgoyne, until the disastrous
ending of the latter’s campaign of 1777 was insured. The Gansevoorts, it
should be said, were at that time and subsequently residents of Albany,

Herman Melville was born in New York on August 1,1819, and received
his early education in that city. There he imbibed his first love of
adventure, listening, as he says in ‘Redburn,’ while his father ‘of
winter evenings, by the well-remembered sea-coal fire in old Greenwich
Street, used to tell my brother and me of the monstrous waves at sea,
mountain high, of the masts bending like twigs, and all about Havre
and Liverpool.’ The death of his father in reduced circumstances
necessitated the removal of his mother and the family of eight brothers
and sisters to the village of Lansingburg, on the Hudson River. There
Herman remained until 1835, when he attended the Albany Classical School
for some months. Dr. Charles E. West, the well-known Brooklyn educator,
was then in charge of the school, and remembers the lad’s deftness in
English composition, and his struggles with mathematics.

The following year was passed at Pittsfield, Mass., where he engaged in
work on his uncle’s farm, long known as the ‘Van Schaack place.’ This
uncle was Thomas Melville, president of the Berkshire Agricultural
Society, and a successful gentleman farmer.

Herman’s roving disposition, and a desire to support himself
independently of family assistance, soon led him to ship as cabin boy
in a New York vessel bound for Liverpool. He made the voyage, visited
London, and returned in the same ship. ‘Redburn: His First Voyage,’
published in 1849, is partly founded on the experiences of this trip,
which was undertaken with the full consent of his relatives, and which
seems to have satisfied his nautical ambition for a time. As told in the
book, Melville met with more than the usual hardships of a sailor-boy’s
first venture. It does not seem difficult in ‘Redburn’ to separate the
author’s actual experiences from those invented by him, this being the
case in some of his other writings.

A good part of the succeeding three years, from 1837 to 1840, was
occupied with school-teaching. While so engaged at Greenbush, now
East Albany, N.Y., he received the munificent salary of ‘six dollars
a quarter and board.’ He taught for one term at Pittsfield, Mass.,
‘boarding around’ with the families of his pupils, in true American
fashion, and easily suppressing, on one memorable occasion, the efforts
of his larger scholars to inaugurate a rebellion by physical force.

I fancy that it was the reading of Richard Henry Dana’s ‘Two Years
Before the Mast’ which revived the spirit of adventure in Melville’s
breast. That book was published in 1840, and was at once talked of
everywhere. Melville must have read it at the time, mindful of his
own experience as a sailor. At any rate, he once more signed a ship’s
articles, and on January 1, 1841, sailed from New Bedford harbour in the
whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific Ocean and the sperm fishery.
He has left very little direct information as to the events of this
eighteen months’ cruise, although his whaling romance, ‘Moby Dick; or,
the Whale,’ probably gives many pictures of life on board the Acushnet.
In the present volume he confines himself to a general account of
the captain’s bad treatment of the crew, and of his non-fulfilment of
agreements. Under these considerations, Melville decided to abandon the
vessel on reaching the Marquesas Islands; and the narrative of ‘Typee’
begins at this point. However, he always recognised the immense
influence the voyage had had upon his career, and in regard to its
results has said in ‘Moby Dick,’--

‘If I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed
world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I
shall do anything that on the whole a man might rather have done than to
have left undone... then here I prospectively ascribe all the honour
and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my

The record, then, of Melville’s escape from the Dolly, otherwise the
Acushnet, the sojourn of his companion Toby and himself in the Typee
Valley on the island of Nukuheva, Toby’s mysterious disappearance, and
Melville’s own escape, is fully given in the succeeding pages; and rash
indeed would he be who would enter into a descriptive contest with these
inimitable pictures of aboriginal life in the ‘Happy Valley.’ So great
an interest has always centred in the character of Toby, whose actual
existence has been questioned, that I am glad to be able to declare him
an authentic personage, by name Richard T. Greene. He was enabled to
discover himself again to Mr. Melville through the publication of the
present volume, and their acquaintance was renewed, lasting for quite
a long period. I have seen his portrait,--a rare old daguerrotype,--and
some of his letters to our author. One of his children was named for the
latter, but Mr. Melville lost trace of him in recent years.

With the author’s rescue from what Dr. T. M. Coan has styled his
‘anxious paradise,’ ‘Typee’ ends, and its sequel, ‘Omoo,’ begins. Here,
again, it seems wisest to leave the remaining adventures in the South
Seas to the reader’s own discovery, simply stating that, after a sojourn
at the Society Islands, Melville shipped for Honolulu. There he remained
for four months, employed as a clerk. He joined the crew of the American
frigate United States, which reached Boston, stopping on the way at one
of the Peruvian ports, in October of 1844. Once more was a narrative
of his experiences to be preserved in ‘White Jacket; or, the World in
a Man-of-War.’ Thus, of Melville’s four most important books, three,
‘Typee,’ ‘Omoo,’ and ‘White-Jacket,’ are directly auto biographical,
and ‘Moby Dick’ is partially so; while the less important ‘Redburn’ is
between the two classes in this respect. Melville’s other prose works,
as will be shown, were, with some exceptions, unsuccessful efforts at
creative romance.

Whether our author entered on his whaling adventures in the South Seas
with a determination to make them available for literary purposes, may
never be certainly known. There was no such elaborate announcement or
advance preparation as in some later cases. I am inclined to believe
that the literary prospect was an after-thought, and that this insured
a freshness and enthusiasm of style not otherwise to be attained.
Returning to his mother’s home at Lansingburg, Melville soon began the
writing of ‘Typee,’ which was completed by the autumn of 1845. Shortly
after this his older brother, Gansevoort Melville, sailed for England
as secretary of legation to Ambassador McLane, and the manuscript was
intrusted to Gansevoort for submission to John Murray. Its immediate
acceptance and publication followed in 1846. ‘Typee’ was dedicated to
Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw of Massachusetts, an old friendship between
the author’s family and that of Justice Shaw having been renewed about
this time. Mr. Melville became engaged to Miss Elizabeth Shaw, the only
daughter of the Chief Justice, and their marriage followed on August 4,
1847, in Boston.

The wanderings of our nautical Othello were thus brought to a
conclusion. Mr. and Mrs. Melville resided in New York City until 1850,
when they purchased a farmhouse at Pittsfield, their farm adjoining that
formerly owned by Mr. Melville’s uncle, which had been inherited by the
latter’s son. The new place was named ‘Arrow Head,’ from the numerous
Indian antiquities found in the neighbourhood. The house was so situated
as to command an uninterrupted view of Greylock Mountain and the
adjacent hills. Here Melville remained for thirteen years, occupied
with his writing, and managing his farm. An article in Putnam’s Monthly
entitled ‘I and My Chimney,’ another called ‘October Mountain,’ and the
introduction to the ‘Piazza Tales,’ present faithful pictures of Arrow
Head and its surroundings. In a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, given
in ‘Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife,’ his daily life is set forth. The
letter is dated June 1, 1851.

‘Since you have been here I have been building some shanties of houses
(connected with the old one), and likewise some shanties of chapters and
essays. I have been ploughing and sowing and raising and printing and
praying, and now begin to come out upon a less bristling time, and to
enjoy the calm prospect of things from a fair piazza at the north of the
old farmhouse here. Not entirely yet, though, am I without something to
be urgent with. The ‘Whale’ is only half through the press; for, wearied
with the long delays of the printers, and disgusted with the heat
and dust of the Babylonish brick-kiln of New York, I came back to the
country to feel the grass, and end the book reclining on it, if I may.’

Mr. Hawthorne, who was then living in the red cottage at Lenox, had
a week at Arrow Head with his daughter Una the previous spring. It is
recorded that the friends ‘spent most of the time in the barn, bathing
in the early spring sunshine, which streamed through the open doors,
and talking philosophy.’ According to Mr. J. E. A. Smith’s volume on the
Berkshire Hills, these gentlemen, both reserved in nature, though near
neighbours and often in the same company, were inclined to be shy of
each other, partly, perhaps, through the knowledge that Melville had
written a very appreciative review of ‘Mosses from an Old Manse’ for the
New York Literary World, edited by their mutual friends, the Duyckincks.
‘But one day,’ writes Mr. Smith, ‘it chanced that when they were out on
a picnic excursion, the two were compelled by a thundershower to take
shelter in a narrow recess of the rocks of Monument Mountain. Two hours
of this enforced intercourse settled the matter. They learned so much
of each other’s character,... that the most intimate friendship for
the future was inevitable.’ A passage in Hawthorne’s ‘Wonder Book’
is noteworthy as describing the number of literary neighbours in

‘For my part, I wish I had Pegasus here at this moment,’ said the
student. ‘I would mount him forthwith, and gallop about the country
within a circumference of a few miles, making literary calls on my
brother authors. Dr. Dewey would be within ray reach, at the foot of
the Taconic. In Stockbridge, yonder, is Mr. James [G. P. R. James],
conspicuous to all the world on his mountain-pile of history and
romance. Longfellow, I believe, is not yet at the Oxbow, else the winged
horse would neigh at him. But here in Lenox I should find our most
truthful novelist [Miss Sedgwick], who has made the scenery and life
of Berkshire all her own. On the hither side of Pittsfield sits Herman
Melville, shaping out the gigantic conception of his ‘White Whale,’
while the gigantic shadow of Greylock looms upon him from his study
window. Another bound of my flying steed would bring me to the door of
Holmes, whom I mention last, because Pegasus would certainly unseat me
the next minute, and claim the poet as his rider.’

While at Pittsfield, Mr. Melville was induced to enter the lecture
field. From 1857 to 1860 he filled many engagements in the lyceums,
chiefly speaking of his adventures in the South Seas. He lectured
in cities as widely apart as Montreal, Chicago, Baltimore, and San
Francisco, sailing to the last-named place in 1860, by way of Cape
Horn, on the Meteor, commanded, by his younger brother, Captain Thomas
Melville, afterward governor of the ‘Sailor’s Snug Harbor’ at Staten
Island, N.Y. Besides his voyage to San Francisco, he had, in 1849 and
1856, visited England, the Continent, and the Holy Land, partly to
superintend the publication of English editions of his works, and partly
for recreation.

A pronounced feature of Melville’s character was his unwillingness to
speak of himself, his adventures, or his writings in conversation. He
was, however, able to overcome this reluctance on the lecture platform.
Our author’s tendency to philosophical discussion is strikingly set
forth in a letter from Dr. Titus Munson Coan to the latter’s mother,
written while a student at Williams College over thirty years ago,
and fortunately preserved by her. Dr. Coan enjoyed the friendship and
confidence of Mr. Melville during most of his residence in New York. The
letter reads:--

‘I have made my first literary pilgrimage, a call upon Herman Melville,
the renowned author of ‘Typee,’ etc. He lives in a spacious farmhouse
about two miles from Pittsfield, a weary walk through the dust. But it
as well repaid. I introduced myself as a Hawaiian-American, and soon
found myself in full tide of talk, or rather of monologue. But he would
not repeat the experiences of which I had been reading with rapture in
his books. In vain I sought to hear of Typee and those paradise islands,
but he preferred to pour forth his philosophy and his theories of
life. The shade of Aristotle arose like a cold mist between myself and
Fayaway. We have quite enough of deep philosophy at Williams College,
and I confess I was disappointed in this trend of the talk. But what
a talk it was! Melville is transformed from a Marquesan to a gypsy
student, the gypsy element still remaining strong within him. And this
contradiction gives him the air of one who has suffered from opposition,
both literary and social. With his liberal views, he is apparently
considered by the good people of Pittsfield as little better than a
cannibal or a ‘beach-comber.’ His attitude seemed to me something like
that of Ishmael; but perhaps I judged hastily. I managed to draw him out
very freely on everything but the Marquesas Islands, and when I left him
he was in full tide of discourse on all things sacred and profane. But
he seems to put away the objective side of his life, and to shut himself
up in this cold north as a cloistered thinker.’

I have been told by Dr. Coan that his father, the Rev. Titus Coan, of
the Hawaiian Islands, personally visited the Marquesas group, found
the Typee Valley, and verified in all respects the statements made
in ‘Typee.’ It is known that Mr. Melville from early manhood indulged
deeply in philosophical studies, and his fondness for discussing such
matters is pointed out by Hawthorne also, in the ‘English Note Books.’
This habit increased as he advanced in years, if possible.

The chief event of the residence in Pittsfield was the completion and
publication of ‘Moby Dick; or, the Whale,’ in 1851. How many young men
have been drawn to sea by this book is a question of interest. Meeting
with Mr. Charles Henry Webb [‘John Paul’) the day after Mr. Melville’s
death, I asked him if he were not familiar with that author’s writings.
He replied that ‘Moby Dick’ was responsible for his three years of life
before the mast when a lad, and added that while ‘gamming’ on board
another vessel he had once fallen in with a member of the boat’s crew
which rescued Melville from his friendly imprisonment among the Typees.

While at Pittsfield, besides his own family, Mr. Melville’s mother
and sisters resided with him. As his four children grew up he found
it necessary to obtain for them better facilities for study than the
village school afforded; and so, several years after, the household was
broken up, and he removed with his wife and children to the New York
house that was afterwards his home. This house belonged to his brother
Allan, and was exchanged for the estate at Pittsfield. In December,
1866, he was appointed by Mr. H. A. Smyth, a former travelling companion
in Europe, a district officer in the New York Custom House. He held the
position until 1886, preferring it to in-door clerical work, and then
resigned, the duties becoming too arduous for his failing strength.

In addition to his philosophical studies, Mr. Melville was much
interested in all matters relating to the fine arts, and devoted most of
his leisure hours to the two subjects. A notable collection of etchings
and engravings from the old masters was gradually made by him, those
from Claude’s paintings being a specialty. After he retired from the
Custom House, his tall, stalwart figure could be seen almost daily
tramping through the Fort George district or Central Park, his roving
inclination leading him to obtain as much out-door life as possible.
His evenings were spent at home with his books, his pictures, and his
family, and usually with them alone; for, in spite of the melodramatic
declarations of various English gentlemen, Melville’s seclusion in his
latter years, and in fact throughout his life, was a matter of personal
choice. More and more, as he grew older, he avoided every action on his
part, and on the part of his family, that might tend to keep his name
and writings before the public. A few friends felt at liberty to visit
the recluse, and were kindly welcomed, but he himself sought no one. His
favorite companions were his grandchildren, with whom he delighted to
pass his time, and his devoted wife, who was a constant assistant and
adviser in his literary work, chiefly done at this period for his
own amusement. To her he addressed his last little poem, the touching
‘Return of the Sire de Nesle.’ Various efforts were made by the New York
literary colony to draw him from his retirement, but without success.
It has been suggested that he might have accepted a magazine editorship,
but this is doubtful, as he could not bear business details or routine
work of any sort. His brother Allan was a New York lawyer, and until his
death, in 1872, managed Melville’s affairs with ability, particularly
the literary accounts.

During these later years he took great pleasure in a friendly
correspondence with Mr. W. Clark Russell. Mr. Russell had taken many
occasions to mention Melville’s sea-tales, his interest in them, and his
indebtedness to them. The latter felt impelled to write Mr. Russell in
regard to one of his newly published novels, and received in answer the
following letter:

July 21, 1886.

MY DEAR Mr. MELVILLE, Your letter has given me a very great and singular
pleasure. Your delightful books carry the imagination into a maritime
period so remote that, often as you have been in my mind, I could
never satisfy myself that you were still amongst the living. I am glad,
indeed, to learn from Mr. Toft that you are still hale and hearty, and I
do most heartily wish you many years yet of health and vigour.

Your books I have in the American edition. I have ‘Typee, ‘Omoo,’
‘Redburn,’ and that noble piece ‘Moby Dick.’ These are all I have been
able to obtain. There have been many editions of your works in this
country, particularly the lovely South Sea sketches; but the editions
are not equal to those of the American publishers. Your reputation here
is very great. It is hard to meet a man whose opinion as a reader is
worth leaving who does not speak of your works in such terms as he
might hesitate to employ, with all his patriotism, toward many renowned
English writers.

Dana is, indeed, great. There is nothing in literature more remarkable
than the impression produced by Dana’s portraiture of the homely inner
life of a little brig’s forecastle.

I beg that you will accept my thanks for the kindly spirit in which you
have read my books. I wish it were in my power to cross the Atlantic,
for you assuredly would be the first whom it would be my happiness to

The condition of my right hand obliges me to dictate this to my son;
but painful as it is to me to hold a pen, I cannot suffer this letter
to reach the hands of a man of so admirable genitis as Herman Melville
without begging him to believe me to be, with my own hand, his most
respectful and hearty admirer, W. Clark Russell.

It should be noted here that Melville’s increased reputation in England
at the period of this letter was chiefly owing to a series of articles
on his work written by Mr. Russell. I am sorry to say that few English
papers made more than a passing reference to Melville’s death. The
American press discussed his life and work in numerous and lengthy
reviews. At the same time, there always has been a steady sale of his
books in England, and some of them never have been out of print in that
country since the publication of ‘Typee.’ One result of this friendship
between the two authors was the dedication of new volumes to each other
in highly complimentary terms--Mr. Melville’s ‘John Marr and Other
Sailors,’ of which twenty-five copies only were printed, on the one
hand, and Mr. Russell’s ‘An Ocean Tragedy,’ on the other, of which many
thousand have been printed, not to mention unnumbered pirated copies.

Beside Hawthorne, Mr. Richard Henry Stoddard, of American writers,
specially knew and appreciated Herman Melville. Mr. Stoddard was
connected with the New York dock department at the time of Mr.
Melville’s appointment to a custom-house position, and they at once
became acquainted. For a good many years, during the period in which
our author remained in seclusion, much that appeared in print in America
concerning Melville came from the pen of Mr. Stoddard. Nevertheless,
the sailor author’s presence in New York was well known to the literary
guild. He was invited to join in all new movements, but as often felt
obliged to excuse himself from doing so. The present writer lived for
some time within a short distance of his house, but found no opportunity
to meet him until it became necessary to obtain his portrait for an
anthology in course of publication. The interview was brief, and the
interviewer could not help feeling although treated with pleasant
courtesy, that more important matters were in hand than the perpetuation
of a romancer’s countenance to future generations; but a friendly family
acquaintance grew up from the incident, and will remain an abiding

Mr. Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of
September 28, 1891. His serious illness had lasted a number of
months, so that the end came as a release. True to his ruling passion,
philosophy had claimed him to the last, a set of Schopenhauer’s works
receiving his attention when able to study; but this was varied with
readings in the ‘Mermaid Series’ of old plays, in which he took much
pleasure. His library, in addition to numerous works on philosophy and
the fine arts, was composed of standard books of all classes, including,
of course, a proportion of nautical literature. Especially interesting
are fifteen or twenty first editions of Hawthorne’s books inscribed to
Mr. and Mrs. Melville by the author and his wife.

The immediate acceptance of ‘Typee’ by John Murray was followed by an
arrangement with the London agent of an American publisher, for its
simultaneous publication in the United States. I understand that Murray
did not then publish fiction. At any rate, the book was accepted by him
on the assurance of Gansevoort Melville that it contained nothing not
actually experienced by his brother. Murray brought it out early in
1846, in his Colonial and Home Library, as ‘A Narrative of a Four
Months’ Residence among the Natives of a Valley of the Marquesas
Islands; or, a Peep at Polynesian Life,’ or, more briefly, ‘Melville’s
Marquesas Islands.’ It was issued in America with the author’s own
title, ‘Typee,’ and in the outward shape of a work of fiction. Mr.
Melville found himself famous at once. Many discussions were carried on
as to the genuineness of the author’s name and the reality of the events
portrayed, but English and American critics alike recognised the book’s
importance as a contribution to literature.

Melville, in a letter to Hawthorne, speaks of himself as having no
development at all until his twenty-fifth year, the time of his return
from the Pacific; but surely the process of development must have been
well advanced to permit of so virile and artistic a creation as ‘Typee.’
While the narrative does not always run smoothly, yet the style for the
most part is graceful and alluring, so that we pass from one scene of
Pacific enchantment to another quite oblivious of the vast amount of
descriptive detail which is being poured out upon us. It is the varying
fortune of the hero which engrosses our attention. We follow his
adventures with breathless interest, or luxuriate with him in the leafy
bowers of the ‘Happy Valley,’ surrounded by joyous children of nature.
When all is ended, we then for the first time realise that we know these
people and their ways as if we too had dwelt among them.

I do not believe that ‘Typee’ will ever lose its position as a classic
of American Literature. The pioneer in South Sea romance--for
the mechanical descriptions of earlier voyagers are not worthy of
comparison--this book has as yet met with no superior, even in French
literature; nor has it met with a rival in any other language than the
French. The character of ‘Fayaway,’ and, no less, William S. Mayo’s
‘Kaloolah,’ the enchanting dreams of many a youthful heart, will retain
their charm; and this in spite of endless variations by modern explorers
in the same domain. A faint type of both characters may be found in the
Surinam Yarico of Captain John Gabriel Stedman, whose ‘Narrative of a
Five Years’ Expedition’ appeared in 1796.

‘Typee,’ as written, contained passages reflecting with considerable
severity on the methods pursued by missionaries in the South Seas. The
manuscript was printed in a complete form in England, and created much
discussion on this account, Melville being accused of bitterness; but he
asserted his lack of prejudice. The passages referred to were omitted in
the first and all subsequent American editions. They have been restored
in the present issue, which is complete save for a few paragraphs
excluded by written direction of the author. I have, with the consent
of his family, changed the long and cumbersome sub-title of the book,
calling it a ‘Real-Romance of the South Seas,’ as best expressing its

The success of his first volume encouraged Melville to proceed in his
work, and ‘Omoo,’ the sequel to ‘Typee,’ appeared in England and America
in 1847. Here we leave, for the most part, the dreamy pictures of island
life, and find ourselves sharing the extremely realistic discomforts of
a Sydney whaler in the early forties. The rebellious crew’s experiences
in the Society Islands are quite as realistic as events on board ship
and very entertaining, while the whimsical character, Dr. Long Ghost,
next to Captain Ahab in ‘Moby Dick,’ is Melville’s most striking
delineation. The errors of the South Sea missions are pointed out with
even more force than in ‘Typee,’ and it is a fact that both these books
have ever since been of the greatest value to outgoing missionaries on
account of the exact information contained in them with respect to the

Melville’s power in describing and investing with romance scenes and
incidents witnessed and participated in by himself, and his frequent
failure of success as an inventor of characters and situations, were
early pointed out by his critics. More recently Mr. Henry S. Salt
has drawn the same distinction very carefully in an excellent article
contributed to the Scottish Art Review. In a prefatory note to ‘Mardi’
(1849), Melville declares that, as his former books have been received
as romance instead of reality, he will now try his hand at pure fiction.
‘Mardi’ may be called a splendid failure. It must have been soon after
the completion of ‘Omoo’ that Melville began to study the writings of
Sir Thomas Browne. Heretofore our author’s style was rough in places,
but marvellously simple and direct. ‘Mardi’ is burdened with an
over-rich diction, which Melville never entirely outgrew. The scene
of this romance, which opens well, is laid in the South Seas, but
everything soon becomes overdrawn and fantastical, and the thread of the
story loses itself in a mystical allegory.

‘Redburn,’ already mentioned, succeeded ‘Mardi’ in the same year, and
was a partial return to the author’s earlier style. In ‘White-Jacket;
or, the World in a Man-of-War’ (1850), Melville almost regained it. This
book has no equal as a picture of life aboard a sailing man-of-war, the
lights and shadows of naval existence being well contrasted.

With ‘Moby Dick; or, the Whale’ (1851), Melville reached the topmost
notch of his fame. The book represents, to a certain extent, the
conflict between the author’s earlier and later methods of composition,
but the gigantic conception of the ‘White Whale,’ as Hawthorne expressed
it, permeates the whole work, and lifts it bodily into the highest
domain of romance. ‘Moby Dick’ contains an immense amount of information
concerning the habits of the whale and the methods of its capture, but
this is characteristically introduced in a way not to interfere with
the narrative. The chapter entitled ‘Stubb Kills a Whale’ ranks with the
choicest examples of descriptive literature.

‘Moby Dick’ appeared, and Melville enjoyed to the full the enhanced
reputation it brought him. He did not, however, take warning from
‘Mardi,’ but allowed himself to plunge more deeply into the sea of
philosophy and fantasy.

‘Pierre; or, the Ambiguities’ (1852) was published, and there ensued
a long series of hostile criticisms, ending with a severe, though
impartial, article by Fitz-James O’Brien in Putnam’s Monthly. About the
same time the whole stock of the author’s books was destroyed by fire,
keeping them out of print at a critical moment; and public interest,
which until then had been on the increase, gradually began to diminish.

After this Mr. Melville contributed several short stories to Putnam’s
Monthly and Harper’s Magazine. Those in the former periodical were
collected in a volume as Piazza Tales (1856); and of these ‘Benito
Cereno’ and ‘The Bell Tower’ are equal to his best previous efforts.

‘Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile’ (1855), first printed as a
serial in Putnam’s, is an historical romance of the American Revolution,
based on the hero’s own account of his adventures, as given in a little
volume picked up by Mr. Melville at a book-stall. The story is well
told, but the book is hardly worthy of the author of ‘Typee.’ ‘The
Confidence Man’ (1857), his last serious effort in prose fiction, does
not seem to require criticism.

Mr. Melville’s pen had rested for nearly ten years, when it was again
taken up to celebrate the events of the Civil War. ‘Battle Pieces and
Aspects of the War’ appeared in 1866. Most of these poems originated,
according to the author, in an impulse imparted by the fall of Richmond;
but they have as subjects all the chief incidents of the struggle. The
best of them are ‘The Stone Fleet,’ ‘In the Prison Pen,’ ‘The College
Colonel,’ ‘The March to the Sea,’ ‘Running the Batteries,’ and ‘Sheridan
at Cedar Creek.’ Some of these had a wide circulation in the press, and
were preserved in various anthologies. ‘Clarel, a Poem and Pilgrimage
in the Holy Land’ (1876), is a long mystical poem requiring, as some one
has said, a dictionary, a cyclopaedia, and a copy of the Bible for its
elucidation. In the two privately printed volumes, the arrangement of
which occupied Mr. Melville during his last illness, there are several
fine lyrics. The titles of these books are, ‘John Marr and Other
Sailors’ (1888), and ‘Timoleon’ (1891).

There is no question that Mr. Melville’s absorption in philosophical
studies was quite as responsible as the failure of his later books for
his cessation from literary productiveness. That he sometimes realised
the situation will be seen by a passage in ‘Moby Dick’:--

‘Didn’t I tell you so?’ said Flask. ‘Yes, you’ll soon see this right
whale’s head hoisted up opposite that parmacetti’s.’

‘In good time Flask’s saying proved true. As before, the Pequod steeply
leaned over towards the sperm whale’s head, now, by the counterpoise of
both heads, she regained her own keel, though sorely strained, you may
well believe. So, when on one side you hoist in Locke’s head, you go
over that way; but now, on the other side, hoist in Kant’s and you
come back again; but in very poor plight. Thus, some minds forever keep
trimming boat. Oh, ye foolish! throw all these thunderheads overboard,
and then you will float right and light.’

Mr. Melville would have been more than mortal if he had been indifferent
to his loss of popularity. Yet he seemed contented to preserve an
entirely independent attitude, and to trust to the verdict of the
future. The smallest amount of activity would have kept him before the
public; but his reserve would not permit this. That reinstatement of his
reputation cannot be doubted.

In the editing of this reissue of ‘Melville’s Works,’ I have been
much indebted to the scholarly aid of Dr. Titus Munson Coan, whose
familiarity with the languages of the Pacific has enabled me to
harmonise the spelling of foreign words in ‘Typee’ and ‘Omoo,’ though
without changing the phonetic method of printing adopted by Mr.
Melville. Dr. Coan has also been most helpful with suggestions in other
directions. Finally, the delicate fancy of La Fargehas supplemented the
immortal pen-portrait of the Typee maiden with a speaking impersonation
of her beauty.

New York, June, 1892.




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

Oh! for a refreshing glimpse of one blade of grass--for a snuff at the
fragrance of a handful of the loamy earth! Is there nothing fresh around
us? Is there no green thing to be seen? Yes, the inside of our bulwarks
is painted green; but what a vile and sickly hue it is, as if nothing
bearing even the semblance of verdure could flourish this weary way from
land. Even the bark that once clung to the wood we use for fuel has been
gnawed off and devoured by the captain’s pig; and so long ago, too, that
the pig himself has in turn been devoured.

There is but one solitary tenant in the chicken-coop, once a gay and
dapper young cock, bearing him so bravely among the coy hens.

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

‘Why d’ye see, Captain Vangs,’ says bold Jack, ‘I’m as good a helmsman
as ever put hand to spoke; but none of us can steer the old lady now. We
can’t keep her full and bye, sir; watch her ever so close, she will fall
off and then, sir, when I put the helm down so gently, and try like to
coax her to the work, she won’t take it kindly, but will fall round off
again; and it’s all because she knows the land is under the lee, sir,
and she won’t go any more to windward.’ Aye, and why should she, Jack?
didn’t every one of her stout timbers grow on shore, and hasn’t she
sensibilities; as well as we?

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

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

        . . . . . .

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

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

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

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

Of this interesting group, but little account has ever been given, if
we except the slight mention made of them in the sketches of South-Sea
voyages. Cook, in his repeated circumnavigations of the globe, barely
touched at their shores; and all that we know about them is from a few
general narratives.

Among these, there are two that claim particular notice. Porter’s
‘Journal of the Cruise of the U.S. frigate Essex, in the Pacific,
during the late War’, is said to contain some interesting particulars
concerning the islanders. This is a work, however, which I have never
happened to meet with; and Stewart, the chaplain of the American sloop
of war Vincennes, has likewise devoted a portion of his book, entitled
‘A Visit to the South Seas’, to the same subject.

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

The Protestant Missions appear to have despaired of reclaiming these
islands from heathenism. The usage they have in every case received from
the natives has been such as to intimidate the boldest of their number.
Ellis, in his ‘Polynesian Researches’, gives some interesting accounts
of the abortive attempts made by the ‘’Tahiti Mission’’ to establish a
branch Mission upon certain islands of the group. A short time before
my visit to the Marquesas, a somewhat amusing incident took place in
connection with these efforts, which I cannot avoid relating.

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

Not thus shy of exhibiting her charms was the Island Queen herself, the
beauteous wife of Movianna, the king of Nukuheva. Between two and three
years after the adventures recorded in this volume, I chanced, while
aboard of a man-of-war to touch at these islands. The French had
then held possession of the Marquesas some time, and already prided
themselves upon the beneficial effects of their jurisdiction, as
discernible in the deportment of the natives. To be sure, in one of
their efforts at reform they had slaughtered about a hundred and fifty
of them at Whitihoo--but let that pass. At the time I mention, the
French squadron was rendezvousing in the bay of Nukuheva, and during an
interview between one of their captains and our worthy Commodore, it
was suggested by the former, that we, as the flag-ship of the American
squadron, should receive, in state, a visit from the royal pair. The
French officer likewise represented, with evident satisfaction, that
under their tuition the king and queen had imbibed proper notions of
their elevated station, and on all ceremonious occasions conducted
themselves with suitable dignity. Accordingly, preparations were made to
give their majesties a reception on board in a style corresponding with
their rank.

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

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

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

The ship’s company, crowding into the gangway to view the sight, soon
arrested her majesty’s attention. She singled out from their number an
old salt, whose bare arms and feet, and exposed breast, were covered
with as many inscriptions in India ink as the lid of an Egyptian
sarcophagus. Notwithstanding all the sly hints and remonstrances of the
French officers, she immediately approached the man, and pulling further
open the bosom of his duck frock, and rolling up the leg of his wide
trousers, she gazed with admiration at the bright blue and vermilion
pricking thus disclosed to view. She hung over the fellow, caressing
him, and expressing her delight in a variety of wild exclamations and
gestures. The embarrassment of the polite Gauls at such an unlooked-for
occurrence may be easily imagined, but picture their consternation, when
all at once the royal lady, eager to display the hieroglyphics on her
own sweet form, bent forward for a moment, and turning sharply round,
threw up the skirt of her mantle and revealed a sight from which the
aghast Frenchmen retreated precipitately, and tumbling into their boats,
fled the scene of so shocking a catastrophe.



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

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

Although I could not avoid yielding in a great measure to the general
languor, still at times I contrived to shake off the spell, and to
appreciate the beauty of the scene around me. The sky presented a
clear expanse of the most delicate blue, except along the skirts of the
horizon, where you might see a thin drapery of pale clouds which never
varied their form or colour. The long, measured, dirge-like well of
the Pacific came rolling along, with its surface broken by little tiny
waves, sparkling in the sunshine. Every now and then a shoal of flying
fish, scared from the water under the bows, would leap into the air,
and fall the next moment like a shower of silver into the sea. Then you
would see the superb albicore, with his glittering sides, sailing aloft,
and often describing an arc in his descent, disappear on the surface of
the water. Far off, the lofty jet of the whale might be seen, and nearer
at hand the prowling shark, that villainous footpad of the seas, would
come skulking along, and, at a wary distance, regard us with his evil
eye. At times, some shapeless monster of the deep, floating on the
surface, would, as we approached, sink slowly into the blue waters, and
fade away from the sight. But the most impressive feature of the
scene was the almost unbroken silence that reigned over sky and water.
Scarcely a sound could be heard but the occasional breathing of the
grampus, and the rippling at the cut-water.

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

The captain, darting on deck from the cabin, bawled lustily for his
spy-glass; the mate in still louder accents hailed the masthead with a
tremendous ‘where-away?’ The black cook thrust his woolly head from the
galley, and Boatswain, the dog, leaped up between the knight-heads, and
barked most furiously. Land ho! Aye, there it was. A hardly perceptible
blue irregular outline, indicating the bold contour of the lofty heights
of Nukuheva.

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

Nukuheva is the most important of these islands, being the only one
at which ships are much in the habit of touching, and is celebrated as
being the place where the adventurous Captain Porter refitted his ships
during the late war between England and the United States, and whence he
sallied out upon the large whaling fleet then sailing under the enemy’s
flag in the surrounding seas. This island is about twenty miles in
length and nearly as many in breadth. It has three good harbours on its
coast; the largest and best of which is called by the people living
in its vicinity ‘Taiohae’, and by Captain Porter was denominated
Massachusetts Bay. Among the adverse tribes dwelling about the shores of
the other bays, and by all voyagers, it is generally known by the name
bestowed upon the island itself--Nukuheva. Its inhabitants have become
somewhat corrupted, owing to their recent commerce with Europeans, but
so far as regards their peculiar customs and general mode of life, they
retain their original primitive character, remaining very nearly in the
same state of nature in which they were first beheld by white men. The
hostile clans, residing in the more remote sections of the island, and
very seldom holding any communication with foreigners, are in every
respect unchanged from their earliest known condition.

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

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

Towards noon we drew abreast the entrance go the harbour, and at last
we slowly swept by the intervening promontory, and entered the bay of
Nukuheva. No description can do justice to its beauty; but that beauty
was lost to me then, and I saw nothing but the tri-coloured flag of
France trailing over the stern of six vessels, whose black hulls and
bristling broadsides proclaimed their warlike character. There they
were, floating in that lovely bay, the green eminences of the shore
looking down so tranquilly upon them, as if rebuking the sternness of
their aspect. To my eye nothing could be more out of keeping than the
presence of these vessels; but we soon learnt what brought them
there. The whole group of islands had just been taken possession of
by Rear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars, in the name of the invincible French

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

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

As we slowly advanced up the bay, numerous canoes pushed off from the
surrounding shores, and we were soon in the midst of quite a flotilla
of them, their savage occupants struggling to get aboard of us, and
jostling one another in their ineffectual attempts. Occasionally the
projecting out-riggers of their slight shallops running foul of one
another, would become entangled beneath the water, threatening to
capsize the canoes, when a scene of confusion would ensue that baffles
description. Such strange outcries and passionate gesticulations I never
certainly heard or saw before. You would have thought the islanders were
on the point of flying at each other’s throats, whereas they were only
amicably engaged in disentangling their boats.

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

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

We had approached within a mile and a half perhaps of this foot of
the bay, when some of the islanders, who by this time had managed to
scramble aboard of us at the risk of swamping their canoes, directed our
attention to a singular commotion in the water ahead of the vessel. At
first I imagined it to be produced by a shoal of fish sporting on the
surface, but our savage friends assured us that it was caused by a shoal
of ‘whinhenies’ (young girls), who in this manner were coming off from
the shore to welcome is. As they drew nearer, and I watched the rising
and sinking of their forms, and beheld the uplifted right arm bearing
above the water the girdle of tappa, and their long dark hair trailing
beside them as they swam, I almost fancied they could be nothing else
than so many mermaids--and very like mermaids they behaved too.

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

Their appearance perfectly amazed me; their extreme youth, the
light clear brown of their complexions, their delicate features, and
inexpressibly graceful figures, their softly moulded limbs, and free
unstudied action, seemed as strange as beautiful.

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

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



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

At Nukuheva, there were about one hundred soldiers ashore. They were
encamped in tents, constructed of the old sails and spare spars of
the squadron, within the limits of a redoubt mounted with a few
nine-pounders, and surrounded with a fosse. Every other day, these
troops were marched out in martial array, to a level piece of ground
in the vicinity, and there for hours went through all sorts of military
evolutions, surrounded by flocks of the natives, who looked on with
savage admiration at the show, and as savage a hatred of the actors.
A regiment of the Old Guard, reviewed on a summer’s day in the Champs
Elysees, could not have made a more critically correct appearance. The
officers’ regimentals, resplendent with gold lace and embroidery as if
purposely calculated to dazzle the islanders, looked as if just unpacked
from their Parisian cases.

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

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

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

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

The frigate, immediately upon coming to an anchor, got springs on her
cables, and with her guns cast loose and her men at their quarters, lay
in the circular basin of Papeete, with her broadside bearing upon the
devoted town; while her numerous cutters, hauled in order alongside,
were ready to effect a landing, under cover of her batteries. She
maintained this belligerent attitude for several days, during which time
a series of informal negotiations were pending, and wide alarm spread
over the island. Many of the Tahitians were at first disposed to resort
to arms, and drive the invaders from their shores; but more pacific and
feebler counsels ultimately prevailed. The unfortunate queen Pomare,
incapable of averting the impending calamity, terrified at the arrogance
of the insolent Frenchman, and driven at last to despair, fled by night
in a canoe to Emio.

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

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



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

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

Having settled the principle, then, let me apply it to the particular
case in question. In numberless instances had not only the implied but
the specified conditions of the articles been violated on the part of
the ship in which I served. The usage on board of her was tyrannical;
the sick had been inhumanly neglected; the provisions had been doled out
in scanty allowance; and her cruises were unreasonably protracted. The
captain was the author of the abuses; it was in vain to think that he
would either remedy them, or alter his conduct, which was arbitrary
and violent in the extreme. His prompt reply to all complaints and
remonstrances was--the butt-end of a handspike, so convincingly
administered as effectually to silence the aggrieved party.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I heard of one whaler, which after many years’ absence was given up for
lost. The last that had been heard of her was a shadowy report of her
having touched at some of those unstable islands in the far Pacific,
whose eccentric wanderings are carefully noted in each new edition
of the South-Sea charts. After a long interval, however, ‘The
Perseverance’--for that was her name--was spoken somewhere in the
vicinity of the ends of the earth, cruising along as leisurely as ever,
her sails all bepatched and be quilted with rope-yarns, her spars fished
with old pipe staves, and her rigging knotted and spliced in every
possible direction. Her crew was composed of some twenty venerable
Greenwich-pensioner-looking old salts, who just managed to hobble about
deck. The ends of all the running ropes, with the exception of the
signal halyards and poop-down-haul, were rove through snatch-blocks, and
led to the capstan or windlass, so that not a yard was braced or a sail
set without the assistance of machinery.

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

Such was the account I heard of this vessel and the remembrance of it
always haunted me; what eventually became of her I never learned; at
any rate: he never reached home, and I suppose she is still regularly
tacking twice in the twenty-four hours somewhere off Desolate Island, or
the Devil’s-Tail Peak.

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

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

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

The bay of Nukuheva in which we were then lying is an expanse of
water not unlike in figure the space included within the limits of a
horse-shoe. It is, perhaps, nine miles in circumference. You approach
it from the sea by a narrow entrance, flanked on each side by two small
twin islets which soar conically to the height of some five hundred
feet. From these the shore recedes on both hands, and describes a deep

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

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

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

Besides this bay the shores of the island are indented by several other
extensive inlets, into which descend broad and verdant valleys. These
are inhabited by as many distinct tribes of savages, who, although
speaking kindred dialects of a common language, and having the same
religion and laws, have from time immemorial waged hereditary warfare
against each other. The intervening mountains generally two or three
thousand feet above the level of the sea geographically define the
territories of each of these hostile tribes, who never cross them, save
on some expedition of war or plunder. Immediately adjacent to Nukuheva,
and only separated from it by the mountains seen from the harbour, lies
the lovely valley of Happar, whose inmates cherish the most friendly
relations with the inhabitants of Nukuheva. On the other side of Happar,
and closely adjoining it, is the magnificent valley of the dreaded
Typees, the unappeasable enemies of both these tribes.

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

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

Although I was convinced that the inhabitants of our bay were as arrant
cannibals as any of the other tribes on the island, still I could not
but feel a particular and most unqualified repugnance to the aforesaid
Typees. Even before visiting the Marquesas, I had heard from men who
had touched at the group on former voyages some revolting stories in
connection with these savages; and fresh in my remembrance was the
adventure of the master of the Katherine, who only a few months
previous, imprudently venturing into this bay in an armed boat for the
purpose of barter, was seized by the natives, carried back a little
distance into their valley, and was only saved from a cruel death by the
intervention of a young girl, who facilitated his escape by night along
the beach to Nukuheva.

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

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

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

On that occasion I have been told that a considerable detachment of
sailors and marines from the frigate Essex, accompanied by at least two
thousand warriors of Happar and Nukuheva, landed in boats and canoes at
the head of the bay, and after penetrating a little distance into the
valley, met with the stoutest resistance from its inmates. Valiantly,
although with much loss, the Typees disputed every inch of ground, and
after some hard fighting obliged their assailants to retreat and abandon
their design of conquest.

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

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

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

Sometimes vague accounts of such thing’s reach our firesides, and
we coolly censure them as wrong, impolitic, needlessly severe, and
dangerous to the crews of other vessels. How different is our tone when
we read the highly-wrought description of the massacre of the crew of
the Hobomak by the Feejees; how we sympathize for the unhappy victims,
and with what horror do we regard the diabolical heathens, who, after
all, have but avenged the unprovoked injuries which they have received.
We breathe nothing but vengeance, and equip armed vessels to traverse
thousands of miles of ocean in order to execute summary punishment upon
the offenders. On arriving at their destination, they burn, slaughter,
and destroy, according to the tenor of written instructions, and sailing
away from the scene of devastation, call upon all Christendom to applaud
their courage and their justice.

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

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

The glen of the Tior will furnish a curious illustration of this.

The inhabited part is not more than four miles in length, and varies
in breadth from half a mile to less than a quarter. The rocky vine-clad
cliffs on one side tower almost perpendicularly from their base to
the height of at least fifteen hundred feet; while across the vale--in
striking contrast to the scenery opposite--grass-grown elevations rise
one above another in blooming terraces. Hemmed in by these stupendous
barriers, the valley would be altogether shut out from the rest of the
world, were it not that it is accessible from the sea at one end, and by
a narrow defile at the other.

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

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

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

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

It so happened that the very day I was in Tior the French admiral,
attended by all the boats of his squadron, came down in state from
Nukuheva to take formal possession of the place. He remained in the
valley about two hours, during which time he had a ceremonious interview
with the king. The patriarch-sovereign of Tior was a man very far
advanced in years; but though age had bowed his form and rendered him
almost decrepid, his gigantic frame retained its original magnitude and
grandeur of appearance.

He advanced slowly and with evident pain, assisting his tottering steps
with the heavy warspear he held in his hand, and attended by a group of
grey-bearded chiefs, on one of whom he occasionally leaned for support.
The admiral came forward with head uncovered and extended hand, while
the old king saluted him by a stately flourish of his weapon. The
next moment they stood side by side, these two extremes of the social
scale,--the polished, splendid Frenchman, and the poor tattooed savage.
They were both tall and noble-looking men; but in other respects how
strikingly contrasted! Du Petit Thouars exhibited upon his person
all the paraphernalia of his naval rank. He wore a richly decorated
admiral’s frock-coat, a laced chapeau bras, and upon his breast were
a variety of ribbons and orders; while the simple islander, with the
exception of a slight cincture about his loins, appeared in all the
nakedness of nature.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

I had determined not to communicate my design of withdrawing from the
vessel to any of my shipmates, and least of all to solicit any one to
accompany me in my flight. But it so happened one night, that being upon
deck, revolving over in my mind various plans of escape, I perceived one
of the ship’s company leaning over the bulwarks, apparently plunged in a
profound reverie. He was a young fellow about my own age, for whom I
had all along entertained a great regard; and Toby, such was the name
by which he went among us, for his real name he would never tell us, was
every way worthy of it. He was active, ready and obliging, of dauntless
courage, and singularly open and fearless in the expression of his
feelings. I had on more than one occasion got him out of scrapes into
which this had led him; and I know not whether it was from this cause,
or a certain congeniality of sentiment between us, that he had always
shown a partiality for my society. We had battled out many a long watch
together, beguiling the weary hours with chat, song, and story, mingled
with a good many imprecations upon the hard destiny it seemed our common
fortune to encounter.

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

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

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

No one ever saw Toby laugh. I mean in the hearty abandonment of
broad-mouthed mirth. He did smile sometimes, it is true; and there was
a good deal of dry, sarcastic humour about him, which told the more from
the imperturbable gravity of his tone and manner.

Latterly I had observed that Toby’s melancholy had greatly increased,
and I had frequently seen him since our arrival at the island gazing
wistfully upon the shore, when the remainder of the crew would be
rioting below. I was aware that he entertained a cordial detestation
of the ship, and believed that, should a fair chance of escape present
itself, he would embrace it willingly.

But the attempt was so perilous in the place where we then lay, that
I supposed myself the only individual on board the ship who was
sufficiently reckless to think of it. In this, however, I was mistaken.

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

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

The next day the starboard watch, to which we both belonged, was to be
sent ashore on liberty; and, availing ourselves of this opportunity,
we determined, as soon after landing as possible, to separate ourselves
from the rest of the men without exciting their suspicions, and strike
back at once for the mountains. Seen from the ship, their summits
appeared inaccessible, but here and there sloping spurs extended from
them almost into the sea, buttressing the lofty elevations with which
they were connected, and forming those radiating valleys I have before
described. One of these ridges, which appeared more practicable than the
rest, we determined to climb, convinced that it would conduct us to
the heights beyond. Accordingly, we carefully observed its bearings and
locality from the ship, so that when ashore we should run no chance of
missing it.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

It may appear singular that we should have been thus on our guard with
our own shipmates; but there were some among us who, had they possessed
the least inkling of our project, would, for a paltry hope of reward,
have immediately communicated it to the captain.

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

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

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

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

It continued, however, without cessation; and the monotonous beating of
the rain over head began to exert a drowsy influence upon the men, who,
throwing themselves here and there upon the large war-canoes, after
chatting awhile, all fell asleep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half wild with meeting an obstacle we had so little anticipated, I threw
myself desperately against it, crushing to the ground the canes with
which I came in contact, and, rising to my feet again, repeated the
action with like effect. Twenty minutes of this violent exercise almost
exhausted me, but it carried us some way into the thicket; when Toby,
who had been reaping the benefit of my labours by following close at my
heels, proposed to become pioneer in turn, and accordingly passed ahead
with a view of affording me a respite from my exertions. As however
with his slight frame he made but bad work of it, I was soon obliged to
resume my old place again. On we toiled, the perspiration starting from
our bodies in floods, our limbs torn and lacerated with the splintered
fragments of the broken canes, until we had proceeded perhaps as far
as the middle of the brake, when suddenly it ceased raining, and the
atmosphere around us became close and sultry beyond expression. The
elasticity of the reeds quickly recovering from the temporary pressure
of our bodies, caused them to spring back to their original position;
so that they closed in upon us as we advanced, and prevented the
circulation of little air which might otherwise have reached us.
Besides this, their great height completely shut us out from the view of
surrounding objects, and we were not certain but that we might have been
going all the time in a wrong direction.

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

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

I began to think we were fairly snared, and had almost made up my mind
that without a pair of wings we should never be able to escape from the
toils; when all at once I discerned a peep of daylight through the canes
on my right, and, communicating the joyful tidings to Toby, we both fell
to with fresh spirit, and speedily opening the passage towards it we
found ourselves clear of perplexities, and in the near vicinity of the
ridge. After resting for a few moments we began the ascent, and after
a little vigorous climbing found ourselves close to its summit. Instead
however of walking along its ridge, where we should have been in full
view of the natives in the vales beneath, and at a point where they
could easily intercept us were they so inclined, we cautiously advanced
on one side, crawling on our hands and knees, and screened from
observation by the grass through which we glided, much in the fashion of
a couple of serpents. After an hour employed in this unpleasant kind
of locomotion, we started to our feet again and pursued our way boldly
along the crest of the ridge.

This salient spur of the lofty elevations that encompassed the bay rose
with a sharp angle from the valleys at its base, and presented, with the
exception of a few steep acclivities, the appearance of a vast inclined
plane, sweeping down towards the sea from the heights in the distance.
We had ascended it near the place of its termination and at its lowest
point, and now saw our route to the mountains distinctly defined along
its narrow crest, which was covered with a soft carpet of verdure, and
was in many parts only a few feet wide.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

What was to be done? The Dolly would not sail perhaps for ten days, and
how were we to sustain life during this period? I bitterly repented our
improvidence in not providing ourselves, as we easily might have done,
with a supply of biscuits. With a rueful visage I now bethought me of
the scanty handful of bread I had stuffed into the bosom of my frock,
and felt somewhat desirous to ascertain what part of it had weathered
the rather rough usage it had experienced in ascending the mountain.
I accordingly proposed to Toby that we should enter into a joint
examination of the various articles we had brought from the ship.

With this intent we seated ourselves upon the grass; and a little
curious to see with what kind of judgement my companion had filled
his frock--which I remarked seemed about as well lined as my own--I
requested him to commence operations by spreading out its contents.

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

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

Another dive into the frock brought to view some four or five yards of
calico print, whose tasteful pattern was rather disfigured by the yellow
stains of the tobacco with which it had been brought in contact. In
drawing this calico slowly from his bosom inch by inch, Toby reminded
me of a juggler performing the feat of the endless ribbon. The next
cast was a small one, being a sailor’s little ‘ditty bag’, containing
needles, thread, and other sewing utensils, then came a razor-case,
followed by two or three separate plugs of negro-head, which were fished
up from the bottom of the now empty receptacle. These various matters,
being inspected, I produced the few things which I had myself brought.

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

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

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

When the division was accomplished, we found that a day’s allowance for
the two was not a great deal more than what a table-spoon might hold.
Each separate portion we immediately rolled up in the bit of silk
prepared for it, and joining them all together into a small package, I
committed them, with solemn injunctions of fidelity, to the custody of
Toby. For the remainder of that day we resolved to fast, as we had been
fortified by a breakfast in the morning; and now starting again to our
feet, we looked about us for a shelter during the night, which, from the
appearance of the heavens, promised to be a dark and tempestuous one.

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

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

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

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

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

‘And so,’ said Toby, peering down into the chasm, ‘everyone that travels
this path takes a jump here, eh?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As soon as I had satisfied my curiosity by gazing at this scene, I fell
to wondering how it was that what we had taken for a path should have
conducted us to so singular a place, and began to suspect that after all
I might have been deceived in supposing it to have been a trick
formed by the islanders. This was rather an agreeable reflection than
otherwise, for it diminished our dread of accidentally meeting with any
of them, and I came to the conclusion that perhaps we could not have
selected a more secure hiding-place than this very spot we had so
accidentally hit upon.

Toby agreed with me in this view of the matter, and we immediately began
gathering together the limbs of trees which lay scattered about, with
the view of constructing a temporary hut for the night. This we were
obliged to build close to the foot of the cataract, for the current of
water extended very nearly to the sides of the gorge. The few moments
of light that remained we employed in covering our hut with a species of
broad-bladed grass that grew in every fissure of the ravine. Our hut,
if it deserved to be called one, consisted of six or eight of the
straightest branches we could find laid obliquely against the steep wall
of rock, with their lower ends within a foot of the stream. Into the
space thus covered over we managed to crawl, and dispose our wearied
bodies as best we could.

Shall I ever forget that horrid night! As for poor Toby, I could
scarcely get a word out of him. It would have been some consolation to
have heard his voice, but he lay shivering the live-long night like a
man afflicted with the palsy, with his knees drawn up to his head, while
his back was supported against the dripping side of the rock. During
this wretched night there seemed nothing wanting to complete the perfect
misery of our condition. The rain descended in such torrents that our
poor shelter proved a mere mockery. In vain did I try to elude the
incessant streams that poured upon me; by protecting one part I only
exposed another, and the water was continually finding some new opening
through which to drench us.

I have had many a ducking in the course of my life, and in general
cared little about it; but the accumulated horrors of that night, the
deathlike coldness of the place, the appalling darkness and the dismal
sense of our forlorn condition, almost unmanned me.

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

‘Nonsense!’ exclaimed I; ‘You are not awake yet.’

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

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

Accordingly our day’s ration was brought out, and seating ourselves on a
detached fragment of rock, we proceeded to discuss it. First we divided
it into two equal portions, and carefully rolling one of them up for our
evening’s repast, divided the remainder again as equally as possible,
and then drew lots for the first choice. I could have placed the morsel
that fell to my share upon the tip of my finger; but notwithstanding
this I took care that it should be full ten minutes before I had
swallowed the last crumb. What a true saying it is that ‘appetite
furnishes the best sauce.’ There was a flavour and a relish to this
small particle of food that under other circumstances it would have
been impossible for the most delicate viands to have imparted. A copious
draught of the pure water which flowed at our feet served to complete
the meal, and after it we rose sensibly refreshed, and prepared for
whatever might befall us.

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

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

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

With this view, after exploring without success a little glen near us,
we crossed several of the ridges of which I have before spoken; and
about noon found ourselves ascending a long and gradually rising slope,
but still without having discovered any place adapted to our purpose.
Low and heavy clouds betokened an approaching storm, and we hurried on
to gain a covert in a clump of thick bushes, which appeared to terminate
the long ascent. We threw ourselves under the lee of these bushes, and
pulling up the long grass that grew around, covered ourselves completely
with it, and awaited the shower.

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

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

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

As the feverish sensation increased upon me I tossed about, still
unwilling to disturb my slumbering companion, from whose side I removed
two or three yards. I chanced to push aside a branch, and by so doing
suddenly disclosed to my view a scene which even now I can recall with
all the vividness of the first impression. Had a glimpse of the gardens
of Paradise been revealed to me, I could scarcely have been more
ravished with the sight.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

On the other hand, the very name of Typee struck a panic into my heart
which I did not attempt to disguise. The thought of voluntarily throwing
ourselves into the hands of these cruel savages, seemed to me an act
of mere madness; and almost equally so the idea of venturing into the
valley, uncertain by which of these two tribes it was inhabited. That
the vale at our feet was tenanted by one of them, was a point that
appeared to us past all doubt, since we knew that they resided in this
quarter, although our information did not enlighten us further.

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

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

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

A weary journey! But we decided to undertake it, though, for my own
part, I felt little prepared to encounter its fatigues, shivering and
burning by turns with the ague and fever; for I know not how else to
describe the alternate sensations I experienced, and suffering not
a little from the lameness which afflicted me. Added to this was the
faintness consequent on our meagre diet--a calamity in which Toby
participated to the same extent as myself.

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

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

Toby earnestly conjured me to continue the ascent, assuring me that a
little more exertion would bring us to the summit, and that then in less
than five minutes we should find ourselves at the brink of the stream,
which must necessarily flow on the other side of the ridge.

‘Do not,’ he exclaimed, ‘turn back, now that we have proceeded thus far;
for I tell you that neither of us will have the courage to repeat the
attempt, if once more we find ourselves looking up to where we now are
from the bottom of these rocks!’

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is scarcely anything when a man is in difficulties that he is
more disposed to look upon with abhorrence than a rightabout retrograde
movement--a systematic going over of the already trodden ground:
and especially if he has a love of adventure, such a course appears
indescribably repulsive, so long as there remains the least hope to be
derived from braving untried difficulties.

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

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

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

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

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

These deep recesses, though protected from the winds that assail the
summits of their lofty sides, are damp and chill to a degree that one
would hardly anticipate in such a climate; and being unprovided with
anything but our woollen frocks and thin duck trousers to resist the
cold of the place, we were the more solicitous to render our habitation
for the night as comfortable as we could. Accordingly, in addition to
what we had already done, we plucked down all the leaves within our
reach and threw them in a heap over our little hut, into which we now
crept, raking after us a reserved supply to form our couch.

That night nothing but the pain I suffered prevented me from sleeping
most refreshingly. As it was, I caught two or three naps, while Toby
slept away at my side as soundly as though he had been sandwiched
between two Holland sheets. Luckily it did not rain, and we were
preserved from the misery which a heavy shower would have occasioned
us. In the morning I was awakened by the sonorous voice of my companion
ringing in my ears and bidding me rise. I crawled out from our heap of
leaves, and was astonished at the change which a good night’s rest had
wrought in his appearance. He was as blithe and joyous as a young bird,
and was staying the keenness of his morning’s appetite by chewing the
soft bark of a delicate branch he held in his hand, and he recommended
the like to me as an admirable antidote against the gnawings of hunger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Amen to all that, and much more,’ shouted Toby, rushing forward; ‘but
Happar it is, for nothing else than Happar can it be. So glorious a
valley--such forests of bread-fruit trees--such groves of cocoanut--such
wilderness of guava-bushes! Ah! shipmate! don’t linger behind: in the
name of all delightful fruits, I am dying to be at them. Come on, come
on; shove ahead, there’s a lively lad; never mind the rocks; kick them
out of the way, as I do; and tomorrow, old fellow, take my word for
it, we shall be in clover. Come on;’ and so saying, he dashed along the
ravine like a madman, forgetting my inability to keep up with him. In a
few minutes, however, the exuberance of his spirits abated, and, pausing
for a while, he permitted me to overtake him.



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

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

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

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

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

‘Why,’ rejoined he, ‘as we cannot retreat, I suppose we must keep
shoving along.’

‘Very true, my dear Toby; but how do you purpose accomplishing that
desirable object?’

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

And, so saying, he crept cautiously along and peered over into the
abyss, while I remained wondering by what possible means we could
overcome this apparently insuperable obstruction. As soon as my
companion had completed his survey, I eagerly inquired the result.

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

‘Then it is an impossible thing, is it?’ inquired I gloomily.

‘No, shipmate; on the contrary, it is the easiest thing in life: the
only awkward point is the sort of usage which our unhappy limbs may
receive when we arrive at the bottom, and what sort of travelling trim
we shall be in afterwards. But follow me now, and I will show you the
only chance we have.’ With this he conducted me to the verge of the
cataract, and pointed along the side of the ravine to a number of
curious looking roots, some three or four inches in thickness, and
several feet long, which, after twisting among the fissures of the rock,
shot perpendicularly from it and ran tapering to a point in the air,
hanging over the gulf like so many dark icicles. They covered nearly
the entire surface of one side of the gorge, the lowest of them
reaching even to the water. Many were moss grown and decayed, with their
extremities snapped short off, and those in the immediate vicinity of
the fall were slippery with moisture.

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

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

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

After I had signified my assent, Toby, without uttering a a single word,
crawled along the dripping ledge until he gained a point from whence
he could just reach one of the largest of the pendant roots; he shook
it--it quivered in his grasp, and when he let it go it twanged in the
air like a strong, wire sharply struck. Satisfied by his scrutiny, my
light limbed companion swung himself nimbly upon it, and twisting his
legs round it in sailor fashion, slipped down eight or ten feet, where
his weight gave it a motion not un-like that of a pendulum. He could not
venture to descend any further; so holding on with one hand, he with the
other shook one by one all the slender roots around him, and at last,
finding one which he thought trustworthy, shifted him self to it and
continued his downward progress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Another precipice for us, Toby.’

‘Very good; we can descend them, you know--come on.’

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

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

Toby, who invariably acted as pioneer, now proceeded to reconnoitre.
On his return, he reported that the shelves of rock on our right
would enable us to gain with little risk the bottom of the cataract.
Accordingly, leaving the bed of the stream at the very point where it
thundered down, we began crawling along one of those sloping ledges
until it carried us to within a few feet of another that inclined
downwards at a still sharper angle, and upon which, by assisting each
other we managed to alight in safety. We warily crept along this,
steadying ourselves by the naked roots of the shrubs that clung to every
fissure. As we proceeded, the narrow path became still more contracted,
rendering it difficult for us to maintain our footing, until suddenly,
as we reached an angle of the wall of rock where we had expected it to
widen, we perceived to our consternation that a yard or two further on
it abruptly terminated at a place we could not possibly hope to pass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That evening we stood on the brink of a precipice, over which the dark
stream bounded in one final leap of full 300 feet. The sheer descent
terminated in the region we so long had sought. On each side of the
fall, two lofty and perpendicular bluffs buttressed the sides of the
enormous cliff, and projected into the sea of verdure with which the
valley waved, and a range of similar projecting eminences stood disposed
in a half circle about the head if the vale. A thick canopy of trees
hung over the very verge of the fall, leaving an arched aperture for the
passage of the waters, which imparted a strange picturesqueness to the

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

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

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

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

At length the day dawned upon us, and rising from our miserable pallet,
we stretched our stiffened joints, and after eating all that remained
of our bread, prepared for the last stage of our journey. I will not
recount every hair-breadth escape, and every fearful difficulty that
occurred before we succeeded in reaching the bosom of the valley. As I
have already described similar scenes, it will be sufficient to say that
at length, after great toil and great dangers, we both stood with no
limbs broken at the head of that magnificent vale which five days before
had so suddenly burst upon my sight, and almost beneath the shadow of
those very cliffs from whose summits we had gazed upon the prospect.



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

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

The part of the valley in which we found ourselves appeared to be
altogether uninhabited. An almost impenetrable thicket extended
from side to side, without presenting a single plant affording the
nourishment we had confidently calculated upon; and with this object, we
followed the course of the stream, casting quick glances as we
proceeded into the thick jungles on each hand. My companion--to whose
solicitations I had yielded in descending into the valley--now that
the step was taken, began to manifest a degree of caution I had little
expected from him. He proposed that in the event of our finding an
adequate supply of fruit, we should remain in this unfrequented portion
of the country--where we should run little chance of being surprised by
its occupants, whoever they might be--until sufficiently recruited to
resume our journey; when laying a store of food equal to our wants, we
might easily regain the bay of Nukuheva, after the lapse of a sufficient
interval to ensure the departure of our vessel.

I objected strongly to this proposition, plausible as it was, as the
difficulties of the route would be almost insurmountable, unacquainted
as we were with the general bearings of the country, and I reminded
my companion of the hardships which we had already encountered in our
uncertain wanderings; in a word, I said that since we had deemed
it advisable to enter the valley, we ought manfully to face the
consequences, whatever they might be; the more especially as I was
convinced there was no alternative left us but to fall in with the
natives at once, and boldly risk the reception they might give us; and
that as to myself, I felt the necessity of rest and shelter, and that
until I had obtained them, I should be wholly unable to encounter such
sufferings as we had lately passed through. To the justice of these
observations Toby somewhat reluctantly assented.

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

What furtive and anxious glances we cast into those dim-looking shadows!
With what apprehensions we proceeded, ignorant at what moment we might
be greeted by the javelin of some ambushed savage. At last my companion
paused, and directed my attention to a narrow opening in the foliage. We
struck into it, and it soon brought us by an indistinctly traced path to
a comparatively clear space, at the further end of which we descried
a number of the trees, the native name of which is ‘annuee’, and which
bear a most delicious fruit. What a race! I hobbling over the ground
like some decrepid wretch, and Toby leaping forward like a greyhound. He
quickly cleared one of the trees on which there were two or three of
the fruit, but to our chagrin they proved to be much decayed; the rinds
partly opened by the birds, and their hearts half devoured. However, we
quickly despatched them, and no ambrosia could have been more delicious.

We looked about us uncertain whither to direct our steps, since the path
we had so far followed appeared to be lost in the open space around us.
At last we resolved to enter a grove near at hand, and had advanced a
few rods, when, just upon its skirts, I picked up a slender bread-fruit
shoot perfectly green, and with the tender bark freshly stripped from
it. It was still slippery with moisture, and appeared as if it had been
but that moment thrown aside. I said nothing, but merely held it up to
Toby, who started at this undeniable evidence of the vicinity of the

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

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

My mind was at once made up. Dropping my staff, and tearing open the
package of things we had brought from the ship, I unrolled the cotton
cloth, and holding it in one hand picked with the other a twig from the
bushes beside me, and telling Toby to follow my example, I broke through
the covert and advanced, waving the branch in token of peace towards
the shrinking forms before me. They were a boy and a girl, slender and
graceful, and completely naked, with the exception of a slight girdle of
bark, from which depended at opposite points two of the russet leaves of
the bread-fruit tree. An arm of the boy, half screened from sight by
her wild tresses, was thrown about the neck of the girl, while with the
other he held one of her hands in his; and thus they stood together,
their heads inclined forward, catching the faint noise we made in our
progress, and with one foot in advance, as if half inclined to fly from
our presence.

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

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

‘Typee or Happar, Toby?’ asked I as we walked after them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

At last we reached a large and handsome building of bamboos, and were by
signs told to enter it, the natives opening a lane for us through which
to pass; on entering without ceremony, we threw our exhausted frames
upon the mats that covered the floor. In a moment the slight tenement
was completely full of people, whilst those who were unable to obtain
admittance gazed at us through its open cane-work.

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

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

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

In my previous intercourse with the natives of Nukuheva and Tior, I had
found that the present of a small piece of tobacco would have rendered
any of them devoted to my service. Was this act of the chief a token of
his enmity? Typee or Happar? I asked within myself. I started, for at
the same moment this identical question was asked by the strange being
before me. I turned to Toby, the flickering light of a native taper
showed me his countenance pale with trepidation at this fatal question.
I paused for a second, and I know not by what impulse it was that I
answered ‘Typee’. The piece of dusky statuary nodded in approval, and
then murmured ‘Motarkee!’ ‘Motarkee,’ said I, without further hesitation
‘Typee motarkee.’

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

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

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

An exchange of names is equivalent to a ratification of good will and
amity among these simple people; and as we were aware of this fact, we
were delighted that it had taken place on the present occasion.

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

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

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

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

As soon as their merriment had somewhat subsided, Mehevi, motioning us
to be attentive, dipped the forefinger of his right hand in the dish,
and giving it a rapid and scientific twirl, drew it out coated smoothly
with the preparation. With a second peculiar flourish he prevented the
poee-poee from dropping to the ground as he raised it to his mouth, into
which the finger was inserted and drawn forth perfectly free from any
adhesive matter.

This performance was evidently intended for our instruction; so I
again essayed the feat on the principles inculcated, but with very ill

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

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

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

Their singular behaviour almost led me to imagine that they never before
had beheld a white man; but a few moments’ reflection convinced me that
this could not have been the case; and a more satisfactory reason for
their conduct has since suggested itself to my mind.

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

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

A ‘Tabooed Kanaka’ is an islander whose person has been made to a
certain extent sacred by the operation of a singular custom hereafter to
be explained.

The intercourse occurring with Europeans being so restricted, no wonder
that the inhabitants of the valley manifested so much curiosity with
regard to us, appearing as we did among them under such singular
circumstances. I have no doubt that we were the first white men who ever
penetrated thus far back into their territories, or at least the first
who had ever descended from the head of the vale. What had brought us
thither must have appeared a complete mystery to them, and from our
ignorance of the language it was impossible for us to enlighten them. In
answer to inquiries which the eloquence of their gestures enabled us to
comprehend, all that we could reply was, that we had come from Nukuheva,
a place, be it remembered, with which they were at open war. This
intelligence appeared to affect them with the most lively emotions.
‘Nukuheva motarkee?’ they asked. Of course we replied most energetically
in the negative.

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

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



VARIOUS and conflicting were the thoughts which oppressed me during the
silent hours that followed the events related in the preceding chapter.
Toby, wearied with the fatigues of the day, slumbered heavily by my
side; but the pain under which I was suffering effectually prevented
my sleeping, and I remained distressingly alive to all the fearful
circumstances of our present situation. Was it possible that, after all
our vicissitudes, we were really in the terrible valley of Typee, and
at the mercy of its inmates, a fierce and unrelenting tribe of savages?
Typee or Happar? I shuddered when I reflected that there was no longer
any room for doubt; and that, beyond all hope of escape, we were now
placed in those very circumstances from the bare thought of which I had
recoiled with such abhorrence but a few days before. What might not
be our fearful destiny? To be sure, as yet we had been treated with no
violence; nay, had been even kindly and hospitably entertained. But what
dependence could be placed upon the fickle passions which sway the bosom
of a savage? His inconstancy and treachery are proverbial. Might it
not be that beneath these fair appearances the islanders covered some
perfidious design, and that their friendly reception of us might only
precede some horrible catastrophe? How strongly did these forebodings
spring up in my mind as I lay restlessly upon a couch of mats surrounded
by the dimly revealed forms of those whom I so greatly dreaded!

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

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

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

These lively young ladies were at the same time wonderfully polite
and humane; fanning aside the insects that occasionally lighted on our
brows; presenting us with food; and compassionately regarding me in the
midst of my afflictions. But in spite of all their blandishments, my
feelings of propriety were exceedingly shocked, for I could but consider
them as having overstepped the due limits of female decorum.

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

At last, when their numbers began to diminish, a superb-looking warrior
stooped the towering plumes of his head-dress beneath the low portal,
and entered the house. I saw at once that he was some distinguished
personage, the natives regarding him with the utmost deference, and
making room for him as he approached. His aspect was imposing. The
splendid long drooping tail-feathers of the tropical bird, thickly
interspersed with the gaudy plumage of the cock, were disposed in an
immense upright semicircle upon his head, their lower extremities being
fixed in a crescent of guinea-heads which spanned the forehead. Around
his neck were several enormous necklaces of boar’s tusks, polished like
ivory, and disposed in such a manner as that the longest and largest
were upon his capacious chest. Thrust forward through the large
apertures in his ears were two small and finely-shaped sperm whale
teeth, presenting their cavities in front, stuffed with freshly-plucked
leaves, and curiously wrought at the other end into strange little
images and devices. These barbaric trinkets, garnished in this manner at
their open extremities, and tapering and curving round to a point behind
the ear, resembled not a little a pair of cornucopias.

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

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

This warlike personage, upon entering the house, seated himself at some
distance from the spot where Toby and myself reposed, while the rest of
the savages looked alternately from us to him, as if in expectation of
something they were disappointed in not perceiving. Regarding the chief
attentively, I thought his lineaments appeared familiar to me. As
soon as his full face was turned upon me, and I again beheld its
extraordinary embellishment, and met the strange gaze to which I had
been subjected the preceding night, I immediately, in spite of the
alteration in his appearance, recognized the noble Mehevi. On addressing
him, he advanced at once in the most cordial manner, and greeting me
warmly, seemed to enjoy not a little the effect his barbaric costume had
produced upon me.

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

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

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

After the lapse of a few moments the stripling re-entered the house with
an aged islander, who might have been taken for old Hippocrates himself.
His head was as bald as the polished surface of a cocoanut shell, which
article it precisely resembled in smoothness and colour, while a long
silvery beard swept almost to his girdle of bark. Encircling his temples
was a bandeau of the twisted leaves of the Omoo tree, pressed closely
over the brows to shield his feeble vision from the glare of the sun.
His tottering steps were supported by a long slim staff, resembling the
wand with which a theatrical magician appears on the stage, and in
one hand he carried a freshly plaited fan of the green leaflets of the
cocoanut tree. A flowing robe of tappa, knotted over the shoulder, hung
loosely round his stooping form, and heightened the venerableness of his

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

Almost frantic with rage and pain, I yelled like a bedlamite; while
Toby, throwing himself into all the attitudes of a posture-master,
vainly endeavoured to expostulate with the natives by signs and
gestures. To have looked at my companion, as, sympathizing with my
sufferings, he strove to put an end to them, one would have thought
that he was the deaf and dumb alphabet incarnated. Whether my tormentor
yielded to Toby’s entreaties, or paused from sheer exhaustion, I do not
know; but all at once he ceased his operations, and at the same time the
chief relinquishing his hold upon me, I fell back, faint and breathless
with the agony I had endured.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stooping a little, you passed through a narrow aperture in its front;
and facing you, on entering, lay two long, perfectly straight, and
well-polished trunks of the cocoanut tree, extending the full length of
the dwelling; one of them placed closely against the rear, and the other
lying parallel with it some two yards distant, the interval between
them being spread with a multitude of gaily-worked mats, nearly all of a
different pattern. This space formed the common couch and lounging place
of the natives, answering the purpose of a divan in Oriental countries.
Here would they slumber through the hours of the night, and recline
luxuriously during the greater part of the day. The remainder of the
floor presented only the cool shining surfaces of the large stones of
which the ‘pi-pi’ was composed.

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

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

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

But now to sketch the inmates; and here I claim for my tried servitor
and faithful valet Kory-Kory the precedence of a first description. As
his character will be gradually unfolded in the course of my narrative,
I shall for the present content myself with delineating his personal
appearance. Kory-Kory, though the most devoted and best natured
serving-man in the world, was, alas! a hideous object to look upon. He
was some twenty-five years of age, and about six feet in height, robust
and well made, and of the most extraordinary aspect. His head was
carefully shaven with the exception of two circular spots, about the
size of a dollar, near the top of the cranium, where the hair, permitted
to grow of an amazing length, was twisted up in two prominent knots,
that gave him the appearance of being decorated with a pair of horns.
His beard, plucked out by the root from every other part of his face,
was suffered to droop in hairy pendants, two of which garnished his
under lip, and an equal number hung from the extremity of his chin.

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

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

The father of my attached follower was a native of gigantic frame, and
had once possessed prodigious physical powers; but the lofty form was
now yielding to the inroads of time, though the hand of disease seemed
never to have been laid upon the aged warrior. Marheyo--for such was
his name--appeared to have retired from all active participation in the
affairs of the valley, seldom or never accompanying the natives in
their various expeditions; and employing the greater part of his time
in throwing up a little shed just outside the house, upon which he was
engaged to my certain knowledge for four months, without appearing
to make any sensible advance. I suppose the old gentleman was in his
dotage, for he manifested in various ways the characteristics which mark
this particular stage of life.

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

But despite his eccentricities, Marheyo was a most paternal and
warm-hearted old fellow, and in this particular not a little resembled
his son Kory-Kory. The mother of the latter was the mistress of the
family, and a notable housewife, and a most industrious old lady she
was. If she did not understand the art of making jellies, jams, custard,
tea-cakes, and such like trashy affairs, she was profoundly skilled in
the mysteries of preparing ‘amar’, ‘poee-poee’, and ‘kokoo’, with other
substantial matters.

She was a genuine busy-body; bustling about the house like a country
landlady at an unexpected arrival; for ever giving the young girls tasks
to perform, which the little hussies as often neglected; poking into
every corner, and rummaging over bundles of old tappa, or making a
prodigious clatter among the calabashes. Sometimes she might have been
seen squatting upon her haunches in front of a huge wooden basin, and
kneading poee-poee with terrific vehemence, dashing the stone pestle
about as if she would shiver the vessel into fragments; on other
occasions, galloping about the valley in search of a particular kind
of leaf, used in some of her recondite operations, and returning home,
toiling and sweating, with a bundle of it, under which most women would
have sunk.

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

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

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

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

From the rest of these, however, I must except the beauteous nymph
Fayaway, who was my peculiar favourite. Her free pliant figure was the
very perfection of female grace and beauty. Her complexion was a rich
and mantling olive, and when watching the glow upon her cheeks I could
almost swear that beneath the transparent medium there lurked the
blushes of a faint vermilion.

The face of this girl was a rounded oval, and each feature as perfectly
formed as the heart or imagination of man could desire.

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

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

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

The females are very little embellished in this way, and Fayaway, and
all the other young girls of her age, were even less so than those of
their sex more advanced in years. The reason of this peculiarity will
be alluded to hereafter. All the tattooing that the nymph in question
exhibited upon her person may be easily described. Three minute dots, no
bigger than pin-heads, decorated each lip, and at a little distance were
not at all discernible. Just upon the fall of the shoulder were drawn
two parallel lines half an inch apart, and perhaps three inches in
length, the interval being filled with delicately executed figures.
These narrow bands of tattooing, thus placed, always reminded me of
those stripes of gold lace worn by officers in undress, and which are in
lieu of epaulettes to denote their rank.

Thus much was Fayaway tattooed. The audacious hand which had gone so far
in its desecrating work stopping short, apparently wanting the heart to

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

Fayaway--I must avow the fact--for the most part clung to the primitive
and summer garb of Eden. But how becoming the costume!

It showed her fine figure to the best possible advantage; and nothing
could have been better adapted to her peculiar style of beauty. On
ordinary occasions she was habited precisely as I have described the two
youthful savages whom we had met on first entering the valley. At other
times, when rambling among the groves, or visiting at the houses of her
acquaintances, she wore a tunic of white tappa, reaching from her waist
to a little below the knees; and when exposed for any length of time to
the sun, she invariably protected herself from its rays by a floating
mantle of--the same material, loosely gathered about the person. Her
gala dress will be described hereafter.

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

Flora was their jeweller. Sometimes they wore necklaces of small
carnation flowers, strung like rubies upon a fibre of tappa, or
displayed in their ears a single white bud, the stem thrust backward
through the aperture, and showing in front the delicate petals folded
together in a beautiful sphere, and looking like a drop of the purest
pearl. Chaplets too, resembling in their arrangement the strawberry
coronal worn by an English peeress, and composed of intertwined leaves
and blossoms, often crowned their temples; and bracelets and anklets
of the same tasteful pattern were frequently to be seen. Indeed, the
maidens of the island were passionately fond of flowers, and never
wearied of decorating their persons with them; a lovely trait in their
character, and one that ere long will be more fully alluded to.

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



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

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

The next morning, on waking, I found Kory-Kory stretched out on one side
of me, while my companion lay upon the other. I felt sensibly refreshed
after a night of sound repose, and immediately agreed to the proposition
of my valet that I should repair to the water and wash, although
dreading the suffering that the exertion might produce. From this
apprehension, however, I was quickly relieved; for Kory-Kory, leaping
from the pi-pi, and then backing himself up against it, like a porter
in readiness to shoulder a trunk, with loud vociferations and a
superabundance of gestures, gave me to understand that I was to mount
upon his back and be thus transported to the stream, which flowed
perhaps two hundred yards from the house.

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

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

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

From the verdant surfaces of the large stones that lay scattered about,
the natives were now sliding off into the water, diving and ducking
beneath the surface in all directions--the young girls springing
buoyantly into the air, and revealing their naked forms to the waist,
with their long tresses dancing about their shoulders, their eyes
sparkling like drops of dew in the sun, and their gay laughter pealing
forth at every frolicsome incident. On the afternoon of the day that I
took my first bath in the valley, we received another visit from Mehevi.
The noble savage seemed to be in the same pleasant mood, and was quite
as cordial in his manner as before. After remaining about an hour, he
rose from the mats, and motioning to leave the house, invited Toby and
myself to accompany him. I pointed to my leg; but Mehevi in his turn
pointed to Kory-Kory, and removed that objection; so, mounting upon the
faithful fellow’s shoulders again--like the old man of the sea astride
of Sindbad--I followed after the chief.

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

Such was the grand thoroughfare of Typee. After proceeding a little
distance along it--Kory-Kory panting and blowing with the weight of
his burden--I dismounted from his back, and grasping the long spear of
Mehevi in my hand, assisted my steps over the numerous obstacles of
the road; preferring this mode of advance to one which, from the
difficulties of the way, was equally painful to myself and my wearied

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

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

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

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

Access was had to the enclosure through an embowered entrance, on one
side, facing a number of towering cocoanut trees, planted at intervals
along a level area of a hundred yards. At the further extremity of this
space was to be seen a building of considerable size, reserved for the
habitation of the priests and religious attendants of the groves.

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

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

On entering the house, I was surprised to see six muskets ranged against
the bamboo on one side, from the barrels of which depended as many small
canvas pouches, partly filled with powder.

Disposed about these muskets, like the cutlasses that decorate the
bulkhead of a man-of-war’s cabin, were a great variety of rude spears
and paddles, javelins, and war-clubs. This then, said I to Toby, must be
the armoury of the tribe.

As we advanced further along the building, we were struck with the
aspect of four or five hideous old wretches, on whose decrepit forms
time and tattooing seemed to have obliterated every trace of humanity.
Owing to the continued operation of this latter process, which only
terminates among the warriors of the island after all the figures
stretched upon their limbs in youth have been blended together--an
effect, however, produced only in cases of extreme longevity--the bodies
of these men were of a uniform dull green colour--the hue which the
tattooing gradually assumes as the individual advances in age. Their
skin had a frightful scaly appearance, which, united with its singular
colour, made their limbs not a little resemble dusty specimens of
verde-antique. Their flesh, in parts, hung upon them in huge folds, like
the overlapping plaits on the flank of a rhinoceros. Their heads were
completely bald, whilst their faces were puckered into a thousand
wrinkles, and they presented no vestige of a beard. But the most
remarkable peculiarity about them was the appearance of their feet;
the toes, like the radiating lines of the mariner’s compass, pointed
to every quarter of the horizon. This was doubtless attributable to
the fact, that during nearly a hundred years of existence the said toes
never had been subjected to any artificial confinement, and in their
old age, being averse to close neighbourhood, bid one another keep open

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

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

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

I awoke from an uneasy nap, about midnight, as I supposed; and, raising
myself partly from the mat, became sensible that we were enveloped
in utter darkness. Toby lay still asleep, but our late companions had
disappeared. The only sound that interrupted the silence of the place
was the asthmatic breathing of the old men I have mentioned, who reposed
at a little distance from us. Besides them, as well as I could judge,
there was no one else in the house.

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

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

Regarding this new phenomenon with no small degree of trepidation, I
said to my companion, ‘What can all this mean, Toby?’

‘Oh, nothing,’ replied he; ‘getting the fire ready, I suppose.’

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

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

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

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

This view of the matter was not at all calculated to allay my
apprehensions, and I shuddered when I reflected that we were indeed at
the mercy of a tribe of cannibals, and that the dreadful contingency
to which Toby had alluded was by no means removed beyond the bounds of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Astonished as I was at this exhibition, I could not avoid smiling at
its grotesque appearance, and the associations it naturally called
up. Mehevi, it seemed, was bent on replenishing old Marheyo’s larder,
fearful perhaps that without this precaution his guests might not fare
as well as they could desire.

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

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



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

We were fairly puzzled. But despite the apprehensions I could not
dispel, the horrible character imputed to these Typees appeared to be
wholly undeserved.

‘Why, they are cannibals!’ said Toby on one occasion when I eulogized
the tribe. ‘Granted,’ I replied, ‘but a more humane, gentlemanly and
amiable set of epicures do not probably exist in the Pacific.’

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

But how was this aid to be procured? From the surgeons of the French
fleet, which probably still lay in the bay of Nukuheva, it might easily
have been obtained, could I have made my case known to them. But how
could that be effected?

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

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

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

As soon as we succeeded in making the natives understand our intention,
they broke out into the most vehement opposition to the measure, and
for a while I almost despaired of obtaining their consent. At the bare
thought of one of us leaving them, they manifested the most lively
concern. The grief and consternation of Kory-Kory, in particular, was
unbounded; he threw himself into a perfect paroxysm of gestures which
were intended to convey to us not only his abhorrence of Nukuheva
and its uncivilized inhabitants, but also his astonishment that after
becoming acquainted with the enlightened Typees, we should evince the
least desire to withdraw, even for a time, from their agreeable society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sounds grew louder and nearer, and gradually the whole valley rang
with wild outcries. The sleepers around me started to their feet in
alarm, and hurried outside to discover the cause of the commotion.
Kory-Kory, who had been the first to spring up, soon returned almost
breathless, and nearly frantic with the excitement under which he seemed
to be labouring. All that I could understand from him was that some
accident had happened to Toby. Apprehensive of some dreadful calamity,
I rushed out of the house, and caught sight of a tumultuous crowd, who,
with shrieks and lamentations, were just emerging from the grove
bearing in their arms some object, the sight of which produced all this
transport of sorrow. As they drew near, the men redoubled their
cries, while the girls, tossing their bare arms in the air, exclaimed
plaintively, ‘Awha! awha! Toby mukee moee!’--Alas! alas! Toby is killed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘My first impulse was to run for it; but, in endeavouring to rise, I
fell back, and rolled down a little grassy precipice. The shock seemed
to rally my faculties; so, starting to my feet, I fled down the path I
had just ascended. I had no need to look behind me, for, from the yells
I heard, I knew that my enemies were in full pursuit. Urged on by their
fearful outcries, and heedless of the injury I had received--though
the blood flowing from the wound trickled over into my eyes and almost
blinded me--I rushed down the mountain side with the speed of the wind.
In a short time I had descended nearly a third of the distance, and the
savages had ceased their cries, when suddenly a terrific howl burst upon
my ear, and at the same moment a heavy javelin darted past me as I fled,
and stuck quivering in a tree close to me. Another yell followed, and
a second spear and a third shot through the air within a few feet of my
body, both of them piercing the ground obliquely in advance of me. The
fellows gave a roar of rage and disappointment; but they were afraid, I
suppose, of coming down further into the Typee valley, and so abandoned
the chase. I saw them recover their weapons and turn back; and I
continued my descent as fast as I could.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

These tidings operated upon me like magic. The hour of our deliverance
was at hand, and starting up, I was soon convinced that something
unusual was about to occur. The word ‘botee! botee!’ was vociferated in
all directions; and shouts were heard in the distance, at first
feebly and faintly; but growing louder and nearer at each successive
repetition, until they were caught up by a fellow in a cocoanut tree a
few yards off, who sounding them in turn, they were reiterated from a
neighbouring grove, and so died away gradually from point to point, as
the intelligence penetrated into the farthest recess of the valley. This
was the vocal telegraph of the islanders; by means of which condensed
items of information could be carried in a very few minutes from the
sea to their remotest habitation, a distance of at least eight or nine
miles. On the present occasion it was in active operation; one piece of
information following another with inconceivable rapidity.

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

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

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

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

From all that we could gather, it appeared that the natives were fearful
of arriving too late upon the beach, unless they made extraordinary
exertions. Sick and lame as I was, I would have started with Toby at
once, had not Kory-Kory not only refused to carry me, but manifested
the most invincible repugnance to our leaving the neighbourhood of the
house. The rest of the savages were equally opposed to our wishes, and
seemed grieved and astonished at the earnestness of my solicitations.
I clearly perceived that while my attendant avoided all appearance of
constraining my movements, he was nevertheless determined to thwart my
wishes. He seemed to me on this particular occasion, as well as often
afterwards, to be executing the orders of some other person with regard
to me, though at the same time feeling towards me the most lively

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

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

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

The islanders were now to be seen hurrying along the path which led to
the sea. I shook Toby warmly by the hand, and gave him my Payta hat
to shield his wounded head from the sun, as he had lost his own. He
cordially returned the pressure of my hand, and solemnly promising to
return as soon as the boats should leave the shore, sprang from my side,
and the next minute disappeared in a turn of the grove.

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

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

Towards sunset the islanders in small parties began to return from
the beach, and among them, as they drew near to the house, I sought to
descry the form of my companion. But one after another they passed the
dwelling, and I caught no glimpse of him. Supposing, however, that he
would soon appear with some of the members of the household, I quieted
my apprehensions, and waited patiently to see him advancing in company
with the beautiful Fayaway. At last, I perceived Tinor coming forward,
followed by the girls and young men who usually resided in the house of
Marheyo; but with them came not my comrade, and, filled with a thousand
alarms, I eagerly sought to discover the cause of his delay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes; thought I, gloomily, he has secured his own escape, and cares not
what calamity may befall his unfortunate comrade. Fool that I was,
to suppose that any one would willingly encounter the perils of this
valley, after having once got beyond its limits! He has gone, and has
left me to combat alone all the dangers by which I am surrounded. Thus
would I sometimes seek to derive a desperate consolation from dwelling
upon the perfidity of Toby: whilst at other times I sunk under the
bitter remorse which I felt as having by my own imprudence brought upon
myself the fate which I was sure awaited me.

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

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

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

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

Here I often lay for hours, covered with a gauze-like veil of tappa,
while Fayaway, seated beside me, and holding in her hand a fan woven
from the leaflets of a young cocoanut bough, brushed aside the insects
that occasionally lighted on my face, and Kory-Kory, with a view of
chasing away my melancholy, performed a thousand antics in the water
before us.

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

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

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

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

Having perfected his arrangements, he would get my pipe, and, lighting
it, would hand it to me. Often he was obliged to strike a light for the
occasion, and as the mode he adopted was entirely different from what I
had ever seen or heard of before I will describe it.

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

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

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

This operation appeared to me to be the most laborious species of work
performed in Typee; and had I possessed a sufficient intimacy with the
language to have conveyed my ideas upon the subject, I should certainly
have suggested to the most influential of the natives the expediency of
establishing a college of vestals to be centrally located in the valley,
for the purpose of keeping alive the indispensable article of fire; so
as to supersede the necessity of such a vast outlay of strength and
good temper, as were usually squandered on these occasions. There might,
however, be special difficulties in carrying this plan into execution.

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



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

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

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

How true it is, that the rarity of any particular article enhances
its value amazingly. In some part of the valley--I know not where, but
probably in the neighbourhood of the sea--the girls were sometimes in
the habit of procuring small quantities of salt, a thimble-full or
so being the result of the united labours of a party of five or six
employed for the greater part of the day. This precious commodity they
brought to the house, enveloped in multitudinous folds of leaves; and
as a special mark of the esteem in which they held me, would spread
an immense leaf on the ground, and dropping one by one a few minute
particles of the salt upon it, invite me to taste them.

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

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

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

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

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

The fruit somewhat resembles in magnitude and general appearance one of
our citron melons of ordinary size; but, unlike the citron, it has no
sectional lines drawn along the outside. Its surface is dotted all over
with little conical prominences, looking not unlike the knobs, on an
antiquated church door. The rind is perhaps an eighth of an inch in
thickness; and denuded of this at the time when it is in the greatest
perfection, the fruit presents a beautiful globe of white pulp, the
whole of which may be eaten, with the exception of a slender core, which
is easily removed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At a certain season of the year, when the fruit of the hundred groves
of the valley has reached its maturity, and hangs in golden spheres from
every branch, the islanders assemble in harvest groups, and garner in
the abundance which surrounds them.

The trees are stripped of their nodding burdens, which, easily freed
from the rind and core, are gathered together in capacious wooden
vessels, where the pulpy fruit is soon worked by a stone pestle,
vigorously applied, into a blended mass of a doughy consistency, called
by the natives ‘Tutao’. This is then divided into separate parcels,
which, after being made up into stout packages, enveloped in successive
folds of leaves, and bound round with thongs of bark, are stored away in
large receptacles hollowed in the earth, from whence they are drawn as
occasion may require. In this condition the Tutao sometimes remains for
years, and even is thought to improve by age. Before it is fit to be
eaten, however, it has to undergo an additional process. A primitive
oven is scooped in the ground, and its bottom being loosely covered
with stones, a large fire is kindled within it. As soon as the requisite
degree of heat is attained, the embers are removed, and the surface of
the stones being covered with thick layers of leaves, one of the large
packages of Tutao is deposited upon them and overspread with another
layer of leaves. The whole is then quickly heaped up with earth, and
forms a sloping mound.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

It was at this moment, when fifty savage countenances were glaring upon
me, that I first truly experienced I was indeed a captive in the
valley. The conviction rushed upon me with staggering force, and I was
overwhelmed by this confirmation of my worst fears. I saw at once that
it was useless for me to resist, and sick at heart, I reseated myself
upon the mats, and for the moment abandoned myself to despair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The implement they usually employ is a shark’s tooth, which is about as
well adapted to the purpose as a one-pronged fork for pitching hay. No
wonder, then, that the acute Narmonee perceived the advantage my razor
possessed over the usual implement. Accordingly, one day he requested as
a personal favour that I would just run over his head with the razor. In
reply, I gave him to understand that it was too dull, and could not be
used to any purpose without being previously sharpened. To assist my
meaning, I went through an imaginary honing process on the palm of my
hand. Narmonee took my meaning in an instant, and running out of the
house, returned the next moment with a huge rough mass of rock as big
as a millstone, and indicated to me that that was exactly the thing
I wanted. Of course there was nothing left for me but to proceed to
business, and I began scraping away at a great rate. He writhed and
wriggled under the infliction, but, fully convinced of my skill, endured
the pain like a martyr.

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



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

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

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

The green and precipitous elevations that stood ranged around the
head of the vale where Marheyo’s habitation was situated effectually
precluded all hope of escape in that quarter, even if I could have
stolen away from the thousand eyes of the savages.

But these reflections now seldom obtruded upon me; I gave myself up to
the passing hour, and if ever disagreeable thoughts arose in my mind, I
drove them away. When I looked around the verdant recess in which I was
buried, and gazed up to the summits of the lofty eminence that hemmed me
in, I was well disposed to think that I was in the ‘Happy Valley’,
and that beyond those heights there was naught but a world of care
and anxiety. As I extended my wanderings in the valley and grew more
familiar with the habits of its inmates, I was fain to confess that,
despite the disadvantages of his condition, the Polynesian savage,
surrounded by all the luxurious provisions of nature, enjoyed an
infinitely happier, though certainly a less intellectual existence than
the self-complacent European.

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

In a primitive state of society, the enjoyments of life, though few
and simple, are spread over a great extent, and are unalloyed; but
Civilization, for every advantage she imparts, holds a hundred evils in
reserve;--the heart-burnings, the jealousies, the social rivalries,
the family dissentions, and the thousand self-inflicted discomforts of
refined life, which make up in units the swelling aggregate of human
misery, are unknown among these unsophisticated people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the altered frame of mind to which I have referred, every object that
presented itself to my notice in the valley struck me in a new light,
and the opportunities I now enjoyed of observing the manners of its
inmates, tended to strengthen my favourable impressions. One peculiarity
that fixed my admiration was the perpetual hilarity reigning through the
whole extent of the vale.

There seemed to be no cares, griefs, troubles, or vexations, in all
Typee. The hours tripped along as gaily as the laughing couples down a
country dance.

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

In this secluded abode of happiness there were no cross old women, no
cruel step-dames, no withered spinsters, no lovesick maidens, no sour
old bachelors, no inattentive husbands, no melancholy young men, no
blubbering youngsters, and no squalling brats. All was mirth, fun and
high good humour. Blue devils, hypochondria, and doleful dumps, went and
hid themselves among the nooks and crannies of the rocks.

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

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

With the young men there seemed almost always some matter of diversion
or business on hand that afforded a constant variety of enjoyment. But
whether fishing, or carving canoes, or polishing their ornaments, never
was there exhibited the least sign of strife or contention among them.
As for the warriors, they maintained a tranquil dignity of demeanour,
journeying occasionally from house to house, where they were always sure
to be received with the attention bestowed upon distinguished guests.
The old men, of whom there were many in the vale, seldom stirred from
their mats, where they would recline for hours and hours, smoking and
talking to one another with all the garrulity of age.

But the continual happiness, which so far as I was able to judge
appeared to prevail in the valley, sprang principally from that
all-pervading sensation which Rousseau has told us be at one time
experienced, the mere buoyant sense of a healthful physical existence.
And indeed in this particular the Typees had ample reason to felicitate
themselves, for sickness was almost unknown. During the whole period of
my stay I saw but one invalid among them; and on their smooth skins you
observed no blemish or mark of disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

During this interval I had remained standing on the piazza of the ‘Ti,’
which directly fronted the Happar mountain, and with no one near me
but Kory-Kory and the old superannuated savages I have described. These
latter never stirred from their mats, and seemed altogether unconscious
that anything unusual was going on.

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

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

But here I was again mistaken; for Mehevi, in conducting his warlike
operations, rather inclined to the Fabian than to the Bonapartean
tactics, husbanding his resources and exposing his troops to no
unnecessary hazards. The total loss of the victors in this obstinately
contested affair was, in killed, wounded, and missing--one forefinger
and part of a thumb-nail (which the late proprietor brought along with
him in his hand), a severely contused arm, and a considerable effusion
of blood flowing from the thigh of a chief, who had received an ugly
thrust from a Happar spear. What the enemy had suffered I could not
discover, but I presume they had succeeded in taking off with them the
bodies of their slain.

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

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



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

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

I remember upon one occasion plunging in among a parcel of these
river-nymphs, and counting vainly on my superior strength, sought to
drag some of them under the water, but I quickly repented my temerity.
The amphibious young creatures swarmed about me like a shoal of
dolphins, and seizing hold of my devoted limbs, tumbled me about and
ducked me under the surface, until from the strange noises which rang in
my ears, and the supernatural visions dancing before my eyes, I thought
I was in the land of the spirits. I stood indeed as little chance among
them as a cumbrous whale attacked on all sides by a legion of swordfish.
When at length they relinquished their hold of me, they swam away in
every direction, laughing at my clumsy endeavours to reach them.

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

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

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

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

The first day after Fayaway’s emancipation, I had a delightful little
party on the lake--the damsels’ Kory-Kory, and myself. My zealous
body-servant brought from the house a calabash of poee-poee, half a
dozen young cocoanuts--stripped of their husks--three pipes, as many
yams, and me on his back a part of the way. Something of a load; but
Kory-Kory was a very strong man for his size, and by no means brittle in
the spine. We had a very pleasant day; my trusty valet plied the paddle
and swept us gently along the margin of the water, beneath the shades
of the overhanging thickets. Fayaway and I reclined in the stern of
the canoe, on the very best terms possible with one another; the gentle
nymph occasionally placing her pipe to her lip, and exhaling the mild
fumes of the tobacco, to which her rosy breath added a fresh perfume.
Strange as it may seem, there is nothing in which a young and beautiful
female appears to more advantage than in the act of smoking. How
captivating is a Peruvian lady, swinging in her gaily-woven hammock of
grass, extended between two orange-trees, and inhaling the fragrance of
a choice cigarro!

But Fayaway, holding in her delicately formed olive hand the long yellow
reed of her pipe, with its quaintly carved bowl, and every few moments
languishingly giving forth light wreaths of vapour from her mouth and
nostrils, looked still more engaging.

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

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

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

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

If the reader has not observed ere this that I was the declared admirer
of Miss Fayaway, all I can say is that he is little conversant with
affairs of the heart, and I certainly shall not trouble myself to
enlighten him any farther. Out of the calico I had brought from the ship
I made a dress for this lovely girl. In it she looked, I must confess,
something like an opera-dancer.

The drapery of the latter damsel generally commences a little above
the elbows, but my island beauty’s began at the waist, and terminated
sufficiently far above the ground to reveal the most bewitching ankle in
the universe.

The day that Fayaway first wore this robe was rendered memorable by a
new acquaintance being introduced to me. In the afternoon I was lying
in the house when I heard a great uproar outside; but being by this time
pretty well accustomed to the wild halloos which were almost continually
ringing through the valley, I paid little attention to it, until old
Marheyo, under the influence of some strange excitement, rushed into my
presence and communicated the astounding tidings, ‘Marnoo pemi!’ which
being interpreted, implied that an individual by the name of Marnoo was

My worthy old friend evidently expected that this intelligence would
produce a great effect upon me, and for a time he stood earnestly
regarding me, as if curious to see how I should conduct myself, but as
I remained perfectly unmoved, the old gentleman darted out of the house
again, in as great a hurry as he had entered it.

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

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

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

The tattooing on his back in particular attracted my attention. The
artist employed must indeed have excelled in his profession. Traced
along the course of the spine was accurately delineated the slender,
tapering and diamond checkered shaft of the beautiful ‘artu’ tree.
Branching from the stem on each side, and disposed alternately, were
the graceful branches drooping with leaves all correctly drawn and
elaborately finished. Indeed the best specimen of the Fine Arts I had
yet seen in Typee. A rear view of the stranger might have suggested the
idea of a spreading vine tacked against a garden wall. Upon his breast,
arms and legs, were exhibited an infinite variety of figures; every
one of which, however, appeared to have reference to the general
effect sought to be produced. The tattooing I have described was of the
brightest blue, and when contrasted with the light olive-colour of the
skin, produced an unique and even elegant effect. A slight girdle of
white tappa, scarcely two inches in width, but hanging before and behind
in spreading tassels, composed the entire costume of the stranger.

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

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

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

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

Tinor placed before him a calabash of poee-poee, from which the stranger
regaled himself, alternating every mouthful with some rapid exclamation,
which was eagerly caught up and echoed by the crowd that completely
filled the house. When I observed the striking devotion of the natives
to him, and their temporary withdrawal of all attention from myself, I
felt not a little piqued. The glory of Tommo is departed, thought I, and
the sooner he removes from the valley the better. These were my feelings
at the moment, and they were prompted by that glorious principle
inherent in all heroic natures--the strong-rooted determination to have
the biggest share of the pudding or to go without any of it.

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

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

Never, certainly, had I beheld so powerful an exhibition of natural
eloquence as Marnoo displayed during the course of his oration. The
grace of the attitudes into which he threw his flexible figure, the
striking gestures of his naked arms, and above all, the fire which shot
from his brilliant eyes, imparted an effect to the continually changing
accents of his voice, of which the most accomplished orator might have
been proud. At one moment reclining sideways upon the mat, and leaning
calmly upon his bended arm, he related circumstantially the aggressions
of the French--their hostile visits to the surrounding bays, enumerating
each one in succession--Happar, Puerka, Nukuheva, Tior,--and then
starting to his feet and precipitating himself forward with clenched
hands and a countenance distorted with passion, he poured out a tide of
invectives. Falling back into an attitude of lofty command, he exhorted
the Typees to resist these encroachments; reminding them, with a fierce
glance of exultation, that as yet the terror of their name had preserved
them from attack, and with a scornful sneer he sketched in ironical
terms the wondrous intrepidity of the French, who, with five war-canoes
and hundreds of men, had not dared to assail the naked warriors of their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This explanation would have been altogether unintelligible to me, had
it not recalled to my mind something I had previously heard concerning
a singular custom among these islanders. Though the country is possessed
by various tribes, whose mutual hostilities almost wholly prelude any
intercourse between them; yet there are instances where a person having
ratified friendly relations with some individual belonging longing to
the valley, whose inmates are at war with his own, may, under particular
restrictions, venture with impunity into the country of his friend,
where, under other circumstances, he would have been treated as an
enemy. In this light are personal friendships regarded among them, and
the individual so protected is said to be ‘taboo’, and his person, to a
certain extent, is held as sacred. Thus the stranger informed me he had
access to all the valleys in the island.

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

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

Marnoo now sought to learn my version of the story as to how I came
to be an inmate of the Typee valley. When I related to him the
circumstances under which Toby and I had entered it, he listened
with evident interest; but as soon as I alluded to the absence, yet
unaccounted for, of my comrade, he endeavoured to change the subject, as
if it were something he desired not to agitate. It seemed, indeed, as
if everything connected with Toby was destined to beget distrust and
anxiety in my bosom. Notwithstanding Marnoo’s denial of any knowledge
of his fate, I could not avoid suspecting that he was deceiving me; and
this suspicion revived those frightful apprehensions with regard to my
own fate, which, for a short time past, had subsided in my breast.

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

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

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

Thus repulsed, in a manner which only served, by arousing the most
dreadful forebodings, to excite me to renewed attempts, I conjured him
to intercede for me with the natives, and endeavour to procure their
consent to my leaving them. To this he appeared strongly averse; but,
yielding at last to my importunities, he addressed several of the
chiefs, who with the rest had been eyeing us intently during the whole
of our conversation. His petition, however, was at once met with the
most violent disapprobation, manifesting itself in angry glances and
gestures, and a perfect torrent of passionate words, directed to both
him and myself. Marnoo, evidently repenting the step he had taken,
earnestly deprecated the resentment of the crowd, and, in a few moments
succeeded in pacifying to some extent the clamours which had broken out
as soon as his proposition had been understood.

With the most intense interest had I watched the reception his
intercession might receive; and a bitter pang shot through my heart
at the additional evidence, now furnished, of the unchangeable
determination of the islanders. Marnoo told me with evident alarm in his
countenance, that although admitted into the bay on a friendly footing
with its inhabitants, he could not presume to meddle with their
concerns, as such procedure, if persisted in, would at once absolve
the Typees from the restraints of the ‘taboo’, although so long as
he refrained from such conduct, it screened him effectually from the
consequences of the enmity they bore his tribe. At this moment, Mehevi,
who was present, angrily interrupted him; and the words which he uttered
in a commanding tone, evidently meant that he must at once cease talking
to me and withdraw to the other part of the house. Marnoo immediately
started up, hurriedly enjoining me not to address him again, and as I
valued my safety, to refrain from all further allusion to the subject of
my departure; and then, in compliance with the order of the determined
chief, but not before it had again been angrily repeated, he withdrew to
a distance.

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

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

It required no reflection to convince me, from what was going on, that
the injunction of Marnoo was not to be rashly slighted; and accordingly,
great as was the effort to suppress my feelings, I accosted Mehevi in
a good-humoured tone, with a view of dissipating any ill impression
he might have received. But the ireful, angry chief was not so easily
mollified. He rejected my advances with that peculiarly stern expression
I have before described, and took care by the whole of his behaviour
towards me to show the displeasure and resentment which he felt.

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



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

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

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

In vain I racked my invention to find out some motive for them, but I
could discover none.

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

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

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

One day I was frolicking with a little spirited urchin, some six years
old, who chased me with a piece of bamboo about three feet long, with
which he occasionally belaboured me. Seizing the stick from him, the
idea happened to suggest itself, that I might make for the youngster,
out of the slender tube, one of those nursery muskets with which I had
sometimes seen children playing.

Accordingly, with my knife I made two parallel slits in the cane several
inches in length, and cutting loose at one end the elastic strip between
them, bent it back and slipped the point into a little notch made for
the purse. Any small substance placed against this would be projected
with considerable force through the tube, by merely springing the bent
strip out of the notch.

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

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

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

Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop! green guavas, seeds, and berries were flying about
in every direction, and during this dangerous state of affairs I was
half afraid that, like the man and his brazen bull, I should fall
a victim to my own ingenuity. Like everything else, however, the
excitement gradually wore away, though ever after occasionally pop-guns
might be heard at all hours of the day.

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

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

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

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

I immediately comprehended his desire, and very generously gave him the
shoes, which had become quite mouldy, wondering for what earthly purpose
he could want them. The same afternoon I descried the venerable warrior
approaching the house, with a slow, stately gait, ear-rings in ears, and
spear in hand, with this highly ornamental pair of shoes suspended from
his neck by a strip of bark, and swinging backwards and forwards on
his capacious chest. In the gala costume of the tasteful Marheyo, these
calf-skin pendants ever after formed the most striking feature.

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

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

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

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

The notable wife of Kamehameha, the renowned conqueror and king of the
Sandwich Islands, used to pride herself in the skill she displayed in
dyeing her tappa with contrasting colours disposed in regular figures;
and, in the midst of the innovations of the times, was regarded, towards
the decline of her life, as a lady of the old school, clinging as she
did to the national cloth, in preference to the frippery of the
European calicoes. But the art of printing the tappa is unknown upon the
Marquesan Islands. In passing along the valley, I was often attracted by
the noise of the mallet, which, when employed in the manufacture of
the cloth produces at every stroke of its hard, heavy wood, a clear,
ringing, and musical sound, capable of being heard at a great distance.
When several of these implements happen to be in operation at the same
time, near one another, the effect upon the ear of a person, at a little
distance, is really charming.



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

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

Our morning meal was soon prepared. The islanders are somewhat
abstemious at this repast; reserving the more powerful efforts of
their appetite to a later period of the day. For my own part, with the
assistance of my valet, who, as I have before stated, always officiated
as spoon on these occasions, I ate sparingly from one of Tinor’s
trenchers, of poee-poee; which was devoted exclusively for my own use,
being mixed with the milky meat of ripe cocoanut. A section of a roasted
bread-fruit, a small cake of ‘Amar’, or a mess of ‘Cokoo,’ two or three
bananas, or a mammee-apple; an annuee, or some other agreeable and
nutritious fruit served from day to day to diversify the meal, which was
finished by tossing off the liquid contents of a young cocoanut or two.

While partaking of this simple repast, the inmates of Marheyo’s house,
after the style of the ancient Romans, reclined in sociable groups upon
the divan of mats, and digestion was promoted by cheerful conversation.

After the morning meal was concluded, pipes were lighted; and among them
my own especial pipe, a present from the noble Mehevi.

The islanders, who only smoke a whiff or two at a time, and at long
intervals, and who keep their pipes going from hand to hand continually,
regarded my systematic smoking of four or five pipefuls of tobacco in
succession, as something quite wonderful. When two or three pipes had
circulated freely, the company gradually broke up. Marheyo went to the
little hut he was forever building. Tinor began to inspect her rolls of
tappa, or employed her busy fingers in plaiting grass-mats. The girls
anointed themselves with their fragrant oils, dressed their hair, or
looked over their curious finery, and compared together their ivory
trinkets, fashioned out of boar’s tusks or whale’s teeth. The young men
and warriors produced their spears, paddles, canoe-gear, battle-clubs,
and war-conchs, and occupied themselves in carving, all sorts of figures
upon them with pointed bits of shell or flint, and adorning them,
especially the war-conchs, with tassels of braided bark and tufts of
human hair. Some, immediately after eating, threw themselves once more
upon the inviting mats, and resumed the employment of the previous
night, sleeping as soundly as if they had not closed their eyes for a
week. Others sallied out into the groves, for the purpose of gathering
fruit or fibres of bark and leaves; the last two being in constant
requisition, and applied to a hundred uses. A few, perhaps, among the
girls, would slip into the woods after flowers, or repair to the stream
will; small calabashes and cocoanut shells, in order to polish them
by friction with a smooth stone in the water. In truth these innocent
people seemed to be at no loss for something to occupy their time; and
it would be no light task to enumerate all their employments, or rather

My own mornings I spent in a variety of ways. Sometimes I rambled about
from house to house, sure of receiving a cordial welcome wherever I
went; or from grove to grove, and from one shady place to another, in
company with Kory-Kory and Fayaway, and a rabble rout of merry young
idlers. Sometimes I was too indolent for exercise, and accepting one of
the many invitations I was continually receiving, stretched myself out
on the mats of some hospitable dwelling, and occupied myself pleasantly
either in watching the proceedings of those around me or taking part
in them myself. Whenever I chose to do the latter, the delight of the
islanders was boundless; and there was always a throng of competitors
for the honour of instructing me in any particular craft. I soon became
quite an accomplished hand at making tappa--could braid a grass sling as
well as the best of them--and once, with my knife, carved the handle of
a javelin so exquisitely, that I have no doubt, to this day, Karnoonoo,
its owner, preserves it as a surprising specimen of my skill. As noon
approached, all those who had wandered forth from our habitation, began
to return; and when midday was fairly come scarcely a sound was to be
heard in the valley: a deep sleep fell upon all. The luxurious siesta
was hardly ever omitted, except by old Marheyo, who was so eccentric
a character, that he seemed to be governed by no fixed principles
whatever; but acting just according to the humour of the moment,
slept, ate, or tinkered away at his little hut, without regard to the
proprieties of time or place. Frequently he might have been seen taking
a nap in the sun at noon-day, or a bath in the stream of mid-night.
Once I beheld him perched eighty feet from the ground, in the tuft of a
cocoanut tree, smoking; and often I saw him standing up to the waist
in water, engaged in plucking out the stray hairs of his beard, using a
piece of muscle-shell for tweezers.

The noon-tide slumber lasted generally an hour and a half: very often
longer; and after the sleepers had arisen from their mats they again
had recourse to their pipes, and then made preparations for the most
important meal of the day.

I, however, like those gentlemen of leisure who breakfast at home and
dine at their club, almost invariably, during my intervals of health,
enjoyed the afternoon repast with the bachelor chiefs of the Ti, who
were always rejoiced to see me, and lavishly spread before me all the
good things which their larder afforded. Mehevi generally introduced
among other dainties a baked pig, an article which I have every reason
to suppose was provided for my sole gratification.

The Ti was a right jovial place. It did my heart, as well as my body,
good to visit it. Secure from female intrusion, there was no restraint
upon the hilarity of the warriors, who, like the gentlemen of Europe
after the cloth is drawn and the ladies retire, freely indulged their

After spending a considerable portion of the afternoon at the Ti, I
usually found myself, as the cool of the evening came on, either sailing
on the little lake with Fayaway, or bathing in the waters of the
stream with a number of the savages, who, at this hour, always repaired
thither. As the shadows of night approached Marheyo’s household were
once more assembled under his roof: tapers were lit, long curious chants
were raised, interminable stories were told (for which one present was
little the wiser), and all sorts of social festivities served to while
away the time.

The young girls very often danced by moonlight in front of their
dwellings. There are a great variety of these dances, in which, however,
I never saw the men take part. They all consist of active, romping,
mischievous evolutions, in which every limb is brought into requisition.
Indeed, the Marquesan girls dance all over, as it were; not only do
their feet dance, but their arms, hands, fingers, ay, their very eyes,
seem to dance in their heads.

The damsels wear nothing but flowers and their compendious gala tunics;
and when they plume themselves for the dance, they look like a band of
olive-coloured Sylphides on the point of taking wing. In good sooth,
they so sway their floating forms, arch their necks, toss aloft their
naked arms, and glide, and swim, and whirl, that it was almost too much
for a quiet, sober-minded, modest young man like myself.

Unless some particular festivity was going forward, the inmates of
Marheyo’s house retired to their mats rather early in the evening; but
not for the night, since, after slumbering lightly for a while, they
rose again, relit their tapers, partook of the third and last meal of
the day, at which poee-poee alone was eaten, and then, after inhaling a
narcotic whiff from a pipe of tobacco, disposed themselves for the great
business of night, sleep. With the Marquesans it might almost most be
styled the great business of life, for they pass a large portion
of their time in the arms of Somnus. The native strength of their
constitution is no way shown more emphatically than in the quantity of
sleep they can endure. To many of them, indeed, life is little else than
an often interrupted and luxurious nap.



ALMOST every country has its medicinal springs famed for their healing
virtues. The Cheltenham of Typee is embosomed in the deepest solitude,
and but seldom receives a visitor. It is situated remote from any
dwelling, a little way up the mountain, near the head of the valley; and
you approach it by a pathway shaded by the most beautiful foliage, and
adorned with a thousand fragrant plants. The mineral waters of Arva Wai*
ooze forth from the crevices of a rock, and gliding down its mossy side,
fall at last, in many clustering drops, into a natural basin of stone
fringed round with grass and dewy-looking little violet-coloured
flowers, as fresh and beautiful as the perpetual moisture they enjoy can
make them.

*I presume this might be translated into ‘Strong Waters’. Arva is the
name bestowed upon a root the properties of which are both inebriating
and medicinal. ‘Wai’ is the Marquesan word for water.

The water is held in high estimation by the islanders, some of whom
consider it an agreeable as well as a medicinal beverage; they bring it
from the mountain in their calabashes, and store it away beneath heaps
of leaves in some shady nook near the house. Old Marheyo had a great
love for the waters of the spring. Every now and then he lugged off to
the mountain a great round demijohn of a calabash, and, panting with his
exertions, brought it back filled with his darling fluid.

The water tasted like a solution of a dozen disagreeable things, and was
sufficiently nauseous to have made the fortune of the proprietor, had
the spa been situated in the midst of any civilized community.

As I am no chemist, I cannot give a scientific analysis of the water.
All I know about the matter is, that one day Marheyo in my presence
poured out the last drop from his huge calabash, and I observed at the
bottom of the vessel a small quantity of gravelly sediment very much
resembling our common sand. Whether this is always found in the water,
and gives it its peculiar flavour and virtues, or whether its presence
was merely incidental, I was not able to ascertain.

One day in returning from this spring by a circuitous path, I came upon
a scene which reminded me of Stonehenge and the architectural labours of
the Druids.

At the base of one of the mountains, and surrounded on all sides by
dense groves, a series of vast terraces of stone rises, step by step,
for a considerable distance up the hill side. These terraces cannot
be less than one hundred yards in length and twenty in width. Their
magnitude, however, is less striking than the immense size of the blocks
composing them. Some of the stones, of an oblong shape, are from ten
to fifteen feet in length, and five or six feet thick. Their sides are
quite smooth, but though square, and of pretty regular formation, they
bear no mark of the chisel. They are laid together without cement, and
here and there show gaps between. The topmost terrace and the lower
one are somewhat peculiar in their construction. They have both a
quadrangular depression in the centre, leaving the rest of the terrace
elevated several feet above it. In the intervals of the stones immense
trees have taken root, and their broad boughs stretching far over, and
interlacing together, support a canopy almost impenetrable to the sun.
Overgrowing the greater part of them, and climbing from one to another,
is a wilderness of vines, in whose sinewy embrace many of the stones
lie half-hidden, while in some places a thick growth of bushes entirely
covers them. There is a wild pathway which obliquely crosses two of
these terraces; and so profound is the shade, so dense the vegetation,
that a stranger to the place might pass along it without being aware of
their existence.

These structures bear every indication of a very high antiquity and
Kory-Kory, who was my authority in all matters of scientific research,
gave me to understand that they were coeval with the creation of the
world; that the great gods themselves were the builders; and that they
would endure until time shall be no more.

Kory-Kory’s prompt explanation and his attributing the work to a
divine origin, at once convinced me that neither he nor the rest of his
country-men knew anything about them.

As I gazed upon this monument, doubtless the work of an extinct and
forgotten race, thus buried in the green nook of an island at the ends
of the earth, the existence of which was yesterday unknown, a stronger
feeling of awe came over me than if I had stood musing at the mighty
base of the Pyramid of Cheops. There are no inscriptions, no sculpture,
no clue, by which to conjecture its history; nothing but the dumb
stones. How many generations of the majestic trees which overshadow them
have grown and flourished and decayed since first they were erected!

These remains naturally suggest many interesting reflections. They
establish the great age of the island, an opinion which the builders
of theories concerning, the creation of the various groups in the South
Seas are not always inclined to admit. For my own part, I think it
just as probable that human beings were living in the valleys of the
Marquesas three thousand years ago as that they were inhabiting the land
of Egypt. The origin of the island of Nukuheva cannot be imputed to the
coral insect; for indefatigable as that wonderful creature is, it would
be hardly muscular enough to pile rocks one upon the other more than
three thousand feet above the level of the sea. That the land may have
been thrown up by a submarine volcano is as possible as anything else.
No one can make an affidavit to the contrary, and therefore I still say
nothing against the supposition: indeed, were geologists to assert that
the whole continent of America had in like manner been formed by the
simultaneous explosion of a train of Etnas laid under the water all the
way from the North Pole to the parallel of Cape Horn, I am the last man
in the world to contradict them.

I have already mentioned that the dwellings of the islanders were almost
invariably built upon massive stone foundations, which they call pi-pis.
The dimensions of these, however, as well as of the stones composing
them, are comparatively small: but there are other and larger erections
of a similar description comprising the ‘morais’, or burying grounds,
and festival-places, in nearly all the valleys of the island. Some of
these piles are so extensive, and so great a degree of labour and skill
must have been requisite in constructing them, that I can scarcely
believe they were built by the ancestors of the present inhabitants. If
indeed they were, the race has sadly deteriorated in their knowledge of
the mechanic arts. To say nothing of their habitual indolence, by what
contrivance within the reach of so simple a people could such enormous
masses have been moved or fixed in their places? and how could they with
their rude implements have chiselled and hammered them into shape?

All of these larger pi-pis--like that of the Hoolah Hoolah ground in the
Typee valley--bore incontestible marks of great age; and I am disposed
to believe that their erection may be ascribed to the same race of men
who were the builders of the still more ancient remains I have just

According to Kory-Kory’s account, the pi-pi upon which stands the Hoolah
Hoolah ground was built a great many moons ago, under the direction of
Monoo, a great chief and warrior, and, as it would appear, master-mason
among the Typees. It was erected for the express purpose to which it is
at present devoted, in the incredibly short period of one sun; and was
dedicated to the immortal wooden idols by a grand festival, which lasted
ten days and nights.

Among the smaller pi-pis, upon which stand the dwelling-houses of the
natives, I never observed any which intimated a recent erection. There
are in every part of the valley a great many of these massive stone
foundations which have no houses upon them. This is vastly convenient,
for whenever an enterprising islander chooses to emigrate a few hundred
yards from the place where he was born, all he has to do in order to
establish himself in some new locality, is to select one of the many
unappropriated pi-pis, and without further ceremony pitch his bamboo
tent upon it.



FROM the time that my lameness had decreased I had made a daily practice
of visiting Mehevi at the Ti, who invariably gave me a most cordial
reception. I was always accompanied in these excursions by Fayaway
and the ever-present Kory-Kory. The former, as soon as we reached the
vicinity of the Ti--which was rigorously tabooed to the whole female
sex--withdrew to a neighbouring hut, as if her feminine delicacy
‘restricted’ her from approaching a habitation which might be regarded
as a sort of Bachelor’s Hall.

And in good truth it might well have been so considered. Although it
was the permanent residence of several distinguished chiefs, and of
the noble Mehevi in particular, it was still at certain seasons the
favourite haunt of all the jolly, talkative, and elderly savages of
the vale, who resorted thither in the same way that similar characters
frequent a tavern in civilized countries. There they would remain hour
after hour, chatting, smoking, eating poee-poee, or busily engaged in
sleeping for the good of their constitutions.

This building appeared to be the head-quarters of the valley, where all
flying rumours concentrated; and to have seen it filled with a crowd
of the natives, all males, conversing in animated clusters, while
multitudes were continually coming and going, one would have thought it
a kind of savage Exchange, where the rise and fall of Polynesian Stock
was discussed.

Mehevi acted as supreme lord over the place, spending the greater
portion of his time there: and often when, at particular hours of the
day, it was deserted by nearly every one else except the verd-antique
looking centenarians, who were fixtures in the building, the chief
himself was sure to be found enjoying his ‘otium cum dignitate’--upon
the luxurious mats which covered the floor. Whenever I made my
appearance he invariably rose, and like a gentleman doing the honours of
his mansion, invited me to repose myself wherever I pleased, and calling
out ‘tamaree!’ (boy), a little fellow would appear, and then retiring
for an instant, return with some savoury mess, from which the chief
would press me to regale myself. To tell the truth, Mehevi was indebted
to the excellence of his viands for the honour of my repeated visits--a
matter which cannot appear singular, when it is borne in mind that
bachelors, all the world over, are famous for serving up unexceptionable

One day, on drawing near to the Ti, I observed that extensive
preparations were going forward, plainly betokening some approaching
festival. Some of the symptoms reminded me of the stir produced among
the scullions of a large hotel, where a grand jubilee dinner is about to
be given. The natives were hurrying about hither and thither, engaged in
various duties, some lugging off to the stream enormous hollow
bamboos, for the purpose of filling them with water; others chasing
furious-looking hogs through the bushes, in their endeavours to capture
them; and numbers employed in kneading great mountains of poee-poee
heaped up in huge wooden vessels.

After observing these lively indications for a while, I was attracted to
a neighbouring grove by a prodigious squeaking which I heard there. On
reaching the spot I found it proceeded from a large hog which a number
of natives were forcibly holding to the earth, while a muscular fellow,
armed with a bludgeon, was ineffectually aiming murderous blows at the
skull of the unfortunate porker. Again and again he missed his
writhing and struggling victim, but though puffing and panting with
his exertions, he still continued them; and after striking a sufficient
number of blows to have demolished an entire drove of oxen, with one
crashing stroke he laid him dead at his feet.

Without letting any blood from the body, it was immediately carried to a
fire which had been kindled near at hand and four savages taking hold of
the carcass by its legs, passed it rapidly to and fro in the flames.
In a moment the smell of burning bristles betrayed the object of this
procedure. Having got thus far in the matter, the body was removed to a
little distance and, being disembowelled, the entrails were laid aside
as choice parts, and the whole carcass thoroughly washed with water. An
ample thick green cloth, composed of the long thick leaves of a species
of palm-tree, ingeniously tacked together with little pins of bamboo,
was now spread upon the ground, in which the body being carefully
rolled, it was borne to an oven previously prepared to receive it. Here
it was at once laid upon the heated stones at the bottom, and covered
with thick layers of leaves, the whole being quickly hidden from sight
by a mound of earth raised over it.

Such is the summary style in which the Typees convert perverse-minded
and rebellious hogs into the most docile and amiable pork; a morsel
of which placed on the tongue melts like a soft smile from the lips of

I commend their peculiar mode of proceeding to the consideration of all
butchers, cooks, and housewives. The hapless porker whose fate I have
just rehearsed, was not the only one who suffered in that memorable day.
Many a dismal grunt, many an imploring squeak, proclaimed what was going
on throughout the whole extent of the valley; and I verily believe the
first-born of every litter perished before the setting of that fatal

The scene around the Ti was now most animated. Hogs and poee-poee were
baking in numerous ovens, which, heaped up with fresh earth into slight
elevations, looked like so many ant-hills. Scores of the savages were
vigorously plying their stone pestles in preparing masses of poee-poee,
and numbers were gathering green bread-fruit and young cocoanuts in the
surrounding groves; when an exceeding great multitude, with a view of
encouraging the rest in their labours, stood still, and kept shouting
most lustily without intermission.

It is a peculiarity among these people, that, when engaged in an
employment, they always make a prodigious fuss about it. So seldom do
they ever exert themselves, that when they do work they seem determined
that so meritorious an action shall not escape the observation of those
around if, for example, they have occasion to remove a stone to a little
distance, which perhaps might be carried by two able-bodied men, a whole
swarm gather about it, and, after a vast deal of palavering, lift it
up among them, every one struggling to get hold of it, and bear it off
yelling and panting as if accomplishing some mighty achievement. Seeing
them on these occasions, one is reminded of an infinity of black ants
clustering about and dragging away to some hole the leg of a deceased

Having for some time attentively observed these demonstrations of good
cheer, I entered the Ti, where Mehevi sat complacently looking out upon
the busy scene, and occasionally issuing his orders. The chief appeared
to be in an extraordinary flow of spirits and gave me to understand that
on the morrow there would be grand doings in the Groves generally, and
at the Ti in particular; and urged me by no means to absent myself. In
commemoration of what event, however, or in honour of what
distinguished personage, the feast was to be given, altogether passed my
comprehension. Mehevi sought to enlighten my ignorance, but he failed as
signally as when he had endeavoured to initiate me into the perplexing
arcana of the taboo.

On leaving the Ti, Kory-Kory, who had as a matter of course accompanied
me, observing that my curiosity remained unabated, resolved to make
everything plain and satisfactory. With this intent, he escorted
me through the Taboo Groves, pointing out to my notice a variety of
objects, and endeavoured to explain them in such an indescribable jargon
of words, that it almost put me in bodily pain to listen to him. In
particular, he led me to a remarkable pyramidical structure some three
yards square at the base, and perhaps ten feet in height, which had
lately been thrown up, and occupied a very conspicuous position. It
was composed principally of large empty calabashes, with a few polished
cocoanut shells, and looked not unlike a cenotaph of skulls. My cicerone
perceived the astonishment with which I gazed at this monument of savage
crockery, and immediately addressed himself in the task of enlightening
me: but all in vain; and to this hour the nature of the monument remains
a complete mystery to me. As, however, it formed so prominent a feature
in the approaching revels, I bestowed upon the latter, in my own mind,
the title of the ‘Feast of Calabashes’.

The following morning, awaking rather late, I perceived the whole of
Marheyo’s family busily engaged in preparing for the festival.

The old warrior himself was arranging in round balls the two grey locks
of hair that were suffered to grow from the crown of his head; his
earrings and spear, both well polished, lay beside him, while the highly
decorative pair of shoes hung suspended from a projecting cane against
the side of the house. The young men were similarly employed; and the
fair damsels, including Fayaway, were anointing themselves with ‘aka’,
arranging their long tresses, and performing other matters connected
with the duties of the toilet.

Having completed their preparations, the girls now exhibited themselves
in gala costume; the most conspicuous feature of which was a necklace
of beautiful white flowers, with the stems removed, and strung closely
together upon a single fibre of tappa. Corresponding ornaments were
inserted in their ears, and woven garlands upon their heads. About their
waist they wore a short tunic of spotless white tappa, and some of them
super-added to this a mantle of the same material, tied in an elaborate
bow upon the left shoulder, and falling about the figure in picturesque

Thus arrayed, I would have matched the charming Fayaway against any
beauty in the world.

People may say what they will about the taste evinced by our fashionable
ladies in dress. Their jewels, their feathers, their silks, and
their furbelows, would have sunk into utter insignificance beside the
exquisite simplicity of attire adopted by the nymphs of the vale on this
festive occasion. I should like to have seen a gallery of coronation
beauties, at Westminster Abbey, confronted for a moment by this band of
island girls; their stiffness, formality, and affectation, contrasted
with the artless vivacity and unconcealed natural graces of these savage
maidens. It would be the Venus de’ Medici placed beside a milliner’s
doll. It was not long before Kory-Kory and myself were left alone in the
house, the rest of its inmates having departed for the Taboo Groves.
My valet was all impatience to follow them; and was as fidgety about my
dilatory movements as a diner out waiting hat in hand at the bottom
of the stairs for some lagging companion. At last, yielding to his
importunities, I set out for the Ti. As we passed the houses peeping out
from the groves through which our route lay, I noticed that they were
entirely deserted by their inhabitants.

When we reached the rock that abruptly terminated the path, and
concealed from us the festive scene, wild shouts and a confused blending
of voices assured me that the occasion, whatever it might be, had
drawn together a great multitude. Kory-Kory, previous to mounting the
elevation, paused for a moment, like a dandy at a ball-room door, to put
a hasty finish to his toilet. During this short interval, the thought
struck me that I ought myself perhaps to be taking some little pains
with my appearance.

But as I had no holiday raiment, I was not a little puzzled to devise
some means of decorating myself. However, as I felt desirous to create a
sensation, I determined to do all that lay in my power; and knowing that
I could not delight the savages more than by conforming to their style
of dress, I removed from my person the large robe of tappa which I was
accustomed to wear over my shoulders whenever I sallied into the open
air, and remained merely girt about with a short tunic descending from
my waist to my knees.

My quick-witted attendant fully appreciated the compliment I was paying
to the costume of his race, and began more sedulously to arrange the
folds of the one only garment which remained to me. Whilst he was doing
this, I caught sight of a knot of young lasses, who were sitting near us
on the grass surrounded by heaps of flowers which they were forming into
garlands. I motioned to them to bring some of their handywork to me;
and in an instant a dozen wreaths were at my disposal. One of them I
put round the apology for a hat which I had been forced to construct for
myself out of palmetto-leaves, and some of the others I converted into a
splendid girdle. These operations finished, with the slow and dignified
step of a full-dressed beau I ascended the rock.



THE whole population of the valley seemed to be gathered within the
precincts of the grove. In the distance could be seen the long front of
the Ti, its immense piazza swarming with men, arrayed in every variety
of fantastic costume, and all vociferating with animated gestures; while
the whole interval between it and the place where I stood was enlivened
by groups of females fancifully decorated, dancing, capering, and
uttering wild exclamations. As soon as they descried me they set up a
shout of welcome; and a band of them came dancing towards me, chanting
as they approached some wild recitative. The change in my garb seemed to
transport them with delight, and clustering about me on all sides, they
accompanied me towards the Ti. When however we drew near it these joyous
nymphs paused in their career, and parting on either side, permitted me
to pass on to the now densely thronged building.

So soon as I mounted to the pi-pi I saw at a glance that the revels were
fairly under way.

What lavish plenty reigned around?--Warwick feasting his retainers with
beef and ale, was a niggard to the noble Mehevi!--All along the piazza
of the Ti were arranged elaborately carved canoe-shaped vessels, some
twenty feet in length, tied with newly made poee-poee, and sheltered
from the sun by the broad leaves of the banana. At intervals were heaps
of green bread-fruit, raised in pyramidical stacks, resembling the
regular piles of heavy shot to be seen in the yard of an arsenal.
Inserted into the interstices of the huge stones which formed the pi-pi
were large boughs of trees; hanging from the branches of which, and
screened from the sun by their foliage, were innumerable little packages
with leafy coverings, containing the meat of the numerous hogs which
had been slain, done up in this manner to make it more accessible to the
crowd. Leaning against the railing on the piazza were an immense
number of long, heavy bamboos, plugged at the lower end, and with their
projecting muzzles stuffed with a wad of leaves. These were filled with
water from the stream, and each of them might hold from four to five

The banquet being thus spread, naught remained but for everyone to
help himself at his pleasure. Accordingly not a moment passed but the
transplanted boughs I have mentioned were rifled by the throng of the
fruit they certainly had never borne before. Calabashes of poee-poee
were continually being replenished from the extensive receptacle in
which that article was stored, and multitudes of little fires were
kindled about the Ti for the purpose of roasting the bread-fruit.

Within the building itself was presented a most extraordinary scene. The
immense lounge of mats lying between the parallel rows of the trunks of
cocoanut trees, and extending the entire length of the house, at least
two hundred feet, was covered by the reclining forms of a host of chiefs
and warriors who were eating at a great rate, or soothing the cares of
Polynesian life in the sedative fumes of tobacco. The smoke was inhaled
from large pipes, the bowls of which, made out of small cocoanut shells,
were curiously carved in strange heathenish devices. These were passed
from mouth to mouth by the recumbent smokers, each of whom, taking two
or three prodigious whiffs, handed the pipe to his neighbour; sometimes
for that purpose stretching indolently across the body of some dozing
individual whose exertions at the dinner-table had already induced

The tobacco used among the Typees was of a very mild and pleasing
flavour, and as I always saw it in leaves, and the natives appeared
pretty well supplied with it, I was led to believe that it must have
been the growth of the valley. Indeed Kory-Kory gave me to understand
that this was the case; but I never saw a single plant growing on the
island. At Nukuheva, and, I believe, in all the other valleys, the weed
is very scarce, being only obtained in small quantities from foreigners,
and smoking is consequently with the inhabitants of these places a very
great luxury. How it was that the Typees were so well furnished with
it I cannot divine. I should think them too indolent to devote any
attention to its culture; and, indeed, as far as my observation
extended, not a single atom of the soil was under any other cultivation
than that of shower and sunshine. The tobacco-plant, however, like the
sugar-cane, may grow wild in some remote part of the vale.

There were many in the Ti for whom the tobacco did not furnish a
sufficient stimulus, and who accordingly had recourse to ‘arva’, as a
more powerful agent in producing the desired effect.

‘Arva’ is a root very generally dispersed over the South Seas, and from
it is extracted a juice, the effects of which upon the system are at
first stimulating in a moderate degree; but it soon relaxes the muscles,
and exerting a narcotic influence produces a luxurious sleep. In
the valley this beverage was universally prepared in the following
way:--Some half-dozen young boys seated themselves in a circle around
an empty wooden vessel, each one of them being supplied with a certain
quantity of the roots of the ‘arva’, broken into small bits and laid
by his side. A cocoanut goblet of water was passed around the juvenile
company, who rinsing their mouths with its contents, proceeded to the
business before them. This merely consisted in thoroughly masticating
the ‘arva’, and throwing it mouthful after mouthful into the receptacle
provided. When a sufficient quantity had been thus obtained water was
poured upon the mass, and being stirred about with the forefinger of the
right hand, the preparation was soon in readiness for use. The ‘arva’
has medicinal qualities.

Upon the Sandwich Islands it has been employed with no small success in
the treatment of scrofulous affections, and in combating the ravages
of a disease for whose frightful inroads the ill-starred inhabitants of
that group are indebted to their foreign benefactors. But the tenants of
the Typee valley, as yet exempt from these inflictions, generally employ
the ‘arva’ as a minister to social enjoyment, and a calabash of the
liquid circulates among them as the bottle with us.

Mehevi, who was greatly delighted with the change in my costume, gave
me a cordial welcome. He had reserved for me a most delectable mess
of ‘cokoo’, well knowing my partiality for that dish; and had likewise
selected three or four young cocoanuts, several roasted bread-fruit,
and a magnificent bunch of bananas, for my especial comfort and
gratification. These various matters were at once placed before me; but
Kory-Kory deemed the banquet entirely insufficient for my wants until
he had supplied me with one of the leafy packages of pork, which,
notwithstanding the somewhat hasty manner in which it had been prepared,
possessed a most excellent flavour, and was surprisingly sweet and

Pork is not a staple article of food among the people of the Marquesas;
consequently they pay little attention to the BREEDING of the swine. The
hogs are permitted to roam at large on the groves, where they obtain
no small part of their nourishment from the cocoanuts which continually
fall from the trees. But it is only after infinite labour and
difficulty, that the hungry animal can pierce the husk and shell so as
to get at the meat. I have frequently been amused at seeing one of
them, after crunching the obstinate nut with his teeth for a long time
unsuccessfully, get into a violent passion with it. He would then root
furiously under the cocoanut, and, with a fling of his snout, toss it
before him on the ground. Following it up, he would crunch at it again
savagely for a moment, and then next knock it on one side, pausing
immediately after, as if wondering how it could so suddenly have
disappeared. In this way the persecuted cocoanuts were often chased half
across the valley.

The second day of the Feast of Calabashes was ushered in by still more
uproarious noises than the first. The skins of innumerable sheep seemed
to be resounding to the blows of an army of drummers. Startled from my
slumbers by the din, I leaped up, and found the whole household engaged
in making preparations for immediate departure. Curious to discover of
what strange events these novel sounds might be the precursors, and not
a little desirous to catch a sight of the instruments which produced
the terrific noise, I accompanied the natives as soon as they were in
readiness to depart for the Taboo Groves.

The comparatively open space that extended from the Ti toward the rock,
to which I have before alluded as forming the ascent to the place, was,
with the building itself, now altogether deserted by the men; the whole
distance being filled by bands of females, shouting and dancing under
the influence of some strange excitement.

I was amused at the appearance of four or five old women who, in a state
of utter nudity, with their arms extended flatly down their sides, and
holding themselves perfectly erect, were leaping stiffly into the
air, like so many sticks bobbing to the surface, after being pressed
perpendicularly into the water. They preserved the utmost gravity of
countenance, and continued their extraordinary movements without
a single moment’s cessation. They did not appear to attract the
observation of the crowd around them, but I must candidly confess that
for my own part, I stared at them most pertinaciously.

Desirous of being enlightened in regard to the meaning of this peculiar
diversion, I turned, inquiringly to Kory-Kory; that learned Typee
immediately proceeded to explain the whole matter thoroughly. But all
that I could comprehend from what he said was, that the leaping figures
before me were bereaved widows, whose partners had been slain in battle
many moons previously; and who, at every festival, gave public evidence
in this manner of their calamities. It was evident that Kory-Kory
considered this an all-sufficient reason for so indecorous a custom; but
I must say that it did not satisfy me as to its propriety.

Leaving these afflicted females, we passed on to the Hoolah Hoolah
ground. Within the spacious quadrangle, the whole population of the
valley seemed to be assembled, and the sight presented was truly
remarkable. Beneath the sheds of bamboo which opened towards the
interior of the square reclined the principal chiefs and warriors, while
a miscellaneous throng lay at their ease under the enormous trees which
spread a majestic canopy overhead. Upon the terraces of the gigantic
altars, at each end, were deposited green bread-fruit in baskets of
cocoanut leaves, large rolls of tappa, bunches of ripe bananas, clusters
of mammee-apples, the golden-hued fruit of the artu-tree, and baked
hogs, laid out in large wooden trenchers, fancifully decorated with
freshly plucked leaves, whilst a variety of rude implements of war were
piled in confused heaps before the ranks of hideous idols. Fruits of
various kinds were likewise suspended in leafen baskets, from the tops
of poles planted uprightly, and at regular intervals, along the lower
terraces of both altars. At their base were arranged two parallel rows
of cumbersome drums, standing at least fifteen feet in height, and
formed from the hollow trunks of large trees. Their heads were covered
with shark skins, and their barrels were elaborately carved with various
quaint figures and devices. At regular intervals they were bound round
by a species of sinnate of various colours, and strips of native cloth
flattened upon them here and there. Behind these instruments were built
slight platforms, upon which stood a number of young men who, beating
violently with the palms of their hands upon the drum-heads, produced
those outrageous sounds which had awakened me in the morning. Every few
minutes these musical performers hopped down from their elevation into
the crowd below, and their places were immediately supplied by fresh
recruits. Thus an incessant din was kept up that might have startled

Precisely in the middle of the quadrangle were placed perpendicularly
in the ground, a hundred or more slender, fresh-cut poles, stripped of
their bark, and decorated at the end with a floating pennon of white
tappa; the whole being fenced about with a little picket of canes. For
what purpose these angular ornaments were intended I in vain endeavoured
to discover.

Another most striking feature of the performance was exhibited by a
score of old men, who sat cross-legged in the little pulpits, which
encircled the trunks of the immense trees growing in the middle of the
enclosure. These venerable gentlemen, who I presume were the priests,
kept up an uninterrupted monotonous chant, which was partly drowned in
the roar of drums. In the right hand they held a finely woven grass fan,
with a heavy black wooden handle curiously chased: these fans they kept
in continual motion.

But no attention whatever seemed to be paid to the drummers or to the
old priests; the individuals who composed the vast crowd present being
entirely taken up in chanting and laughing with one another, smoking,
drinking ‘arva’, and eating. For all the observation it attracted,
or the good it achieved, the whole savage orchestra might with great
advantage to its own members and the company in general, have ceased the
prodigious uproar they were making.

In vain I questioned Kory-Kory and others of the natives, as to the
meaning of the strange things that were going on; all their explanations
were conveyed in such a mass of outlandish gibberish and gesticulation
that I gave up the attempt in despair. All that day the drums resounded,
the priests chanted, and the multitude feasted and roared till sunset,
when the throng dispersed, and the Taboo Groves were again abandoned to
quiet and repose. The next day the same scene was repeated until night,
when this singular festival terminated.



ALTHOUGH I had been baffled in my attempts to learn the origin of
the Feast of Calabashes, yet it seemed very plain to me that it was
principally, if not wholly, of a religious character. As a religious
solemnity, however, it had not at all corresponded with the horrible
descriptions of Polynesian worship which we have received in some
published narratives, and especially in those accounts of the
evangelized islands with which the missionaries have favoured us. Did
not the sacred character of these persons render the purity of their
intentions unquestionable, I should certainly be led to suppose that
they had exaggerated the evils of Paganism, in order to enhance the
merit of their own disinterested labours.

In a certain work incidentally treating of the ‘Washington, or Northern
Marquesas Islands,’ I have seen the frequent immolation of human victims
upon the altars of their gods, positively and repeatedly charged upon
the inhabitants. The same work gives also a rather minute account of
their religion--enumerates a great many of their superstitions--and
makes known the particular designations of numerous orders of the
priesthood. One would almost imagine from the long list that is given
of cannibal primates, bishops, arch-deacons, prebendaries, and other
inferior ecclesiastics, that the sacerdotal order far outnumbered the
rest of the population, and that the poor natives were more severely
priest-ridden than even the inhabitants of the papal states. These
accounts are likewise calculated to leave upon the reader’s mind an
impression that human victims are daily cooked and served up upon the
altars; that heathenish cruelties of every description are continually
practised; and that these ignorant Pagans are in a state of the
extremest wretchedness in consequence of the grossness of their
superstitions. Be it observed, however, that all this information is
given by a man who, according to his own statement, was only at one of
the islands, and remained there but two weeks, sleeping every night on
board his ship, and taking little kid-glove excursions ashore in the
daytime, attended by an armed party.

Now, all I can say is, that in all my excursions through the valley of
Typee, I never saw any of these alleged enormities. If any of them are
practised upon the Marquesas Islands they must certainly have come to
my knowledge while living for months with a tribe of savages, wholly
unchanged from their original primitive condition, and reputed the most
ferocious in the South Seas.

The fact is, that there is a vast deal of unintentional humbuggery
in some of the accounts we have from scientific men concerning the
religious institutions of Polynesia. These learned tourists generally
obtain the greater part of their information from retired old South-Sea
rovers, who have domesticated themselves among the barbarous tribes of
the Pacific. Jack, who has long been accustomed to the long-bow, and
to spin tough yarns on the ship’s forecastle, invariably officiates as
showman of the island on which he has settled, and having mastered a few
dozen words of the language, is supposed to know all about the people
who speak it. A natural desire to make himself of consequence in the
eyes of the strangers, prompts him to lay claim to a much greater
knowledge of such matters than he actually possesses. In reply to
incessant queries, he communicates not only all he knows but a good deal
more, and if there be any information deficient still he is at no
loss to supply it. The avidity with which his anecdotes are noted
down tickles his vanity, and his powers of invention increase with the
credulity auditors. He knows just the sort of information wanted, and
furnishes it to any extent.

This is not a supposed case; I have met with several individuals like
the one described, and I have been present at two or three of their
interviews with strangers.

Now, when the scientific voyager arrives at home with his collection
of wonders, he attempts, perhaps, to give a description of some of the
strange people he has been visiting. Instead of representing them as
a community of lusty savages, who are leading a merry, idle, innocent
life, he enters into a very circumstantial and learned narrative of
certain unaccountable superstitions and practices, about which he knows
as little as the islanders themselves. Having had little time, and
scarcely any opportunity, to become acquainted with the customs he
pretends to describe, he writes them down one after another in an
off-hand, haphazard style; and were the book thus produced to be
translated into the tongue of the people of whom it purports to give the
history, it would appear quite as wonderful to them as it does to the
American public, and much more improbable.

For my own part, I am free to confess my almost entire inability to
gratify any curiosity that may be felt with regard to the theology of
the valley. I doubt whether the inhabitants themselves could do so. They
are either too lazy or too sensible to worry themselves about abstract
points of religious belief. While I was among them, they never held any
synods or councils to settle the principles of their faith by agitating
them. An unbounded liberty of conscience seemed to prevail. Those
who pleased to do so were allowed to repose implicit faith in an
ill-favoured god with a large bottle-nose and fat shapeless arms crossed
upon his breast; whilst others worshipped an image which, having no
likeness either in heaven or on earth, could hardly be called an idol.
As the islanders always maintained a discreet reserve with regard to
my own peculiar views on religion, I thought it would be excessively
ill-bred of me to pry into theirs.

But, although my knowledge of the religious faith of the Typees was
unavoidably limited, one of their superstitious observances with which I
became acquainted interested me greatly.

In one of the most secluded portions of the valley within a stone’s
cast of Fayaway’s lake--for so I christened the scene of our island
yachting--and hard by a growth of palms, which stood ranged in order
along both banks of the stream, waving their green arms as if to do
honour to its passage, was the mausoleum of a deceased, warrior chief.
Like all the other edifices of any note, it was raised upon a small
pi-pi of stones, which, being of unusual height, was a conspicuous
object from a distance. A light thatching of bleached palmetto-leaves
hung over it like a self supported canopy; for it was not until you
came very near that you saw it was supported by four slender columns of
bamboo rising at each corner to a little more than the height of a man.
A clear area of a few yards surrounded the pi-pi, and was enclosed by
four trunks of cocoanut trees resting at the angles on massive blocks of
stone. The place was sacred. The sign of the inscrutable Taboo was seen
in the shape of a mystic roll of white tappa, suspended by a twisted
cord of the same material from the top of a slight pole planted within
the enclosure*. The sanctity of the spot appeared never to have been
violated. The stillness of the grave was there, and the calm solitude
around was beautiful and touching. The soft shadows of those lofty
palm-trees!--I can see them now--hanging over the little temple, as if
to keep out the intrusive sun.

*White appears to be the sacred colour among the Marquesans.

On all sides as you approached this silent spot you caught sight of the
dead chief’s effigy, seated in the stern of a canoe, which was raised on
a light frame a few inches above the level of the pi-pi. The canoe was
about seven feet in length; of a rich, dark coloured wood, handsomely
carved and adorned in many places with variegated bindings of stained
sinnate, into which were ingeniously wrought a number of sparkling
seashells, and a belt of the same shells ran all round it. The body
of the figure--of whatever material it might have been made--was
effectually concealed in a heavy robe of brown tappa, revealing; only
the hands and head; the latter skilfully carved in wood, and surmounted
by a superb arch of plumes. These plumes, in the subdued and gentle
gales which found access to this sequestered spot, were never for one
moment at rest, but kept nodding and waving over the chief’s brow. The
long leaves of the palmetto drooped over the eaves, and through them you
saw the warrior holding his paddle with both hands in the act of rowing,
leaning forward and inclining his head, as if eager to hurry on his
voyage. Glaring at him forever, and face to face, was a polished human
skull, which crowned the prow of the canoe. The spectral figurehead,
reversed in its position, glancing backwards, seemed to mock the
impatient attitude of the warrior.

When I first visited this singular place with Kory-Kory, he told me--or
at least I so understood him--that the chief was paddling his way to
the realms of bliss, and bread-fruit--the Polynesian heaven--where
every moment the bread-fruit trees dropped their ripened spheres to the
ground, and where there was no end to the cocoanuts and bananas: there
they reposed through the livelong eternity upon mats much finer than
those of Typee; and every day bathed their glowing limbs in rivers
of cocoanut oil. In that happy land there were plenty of plumes and
feathers, and boars’-tusks and sperm-whale teeth, far preferable to all
the shining trinkets and gay tappa of the white men; and, best of all,
women far lovelier than the daughters of earth were there in abundance.
‘A very pleasant place,’ Kory-Kory said it was; ‘but after all, not much
pleasanter, he thought, than Typee.’ ‘Did he not then,’ I asked him,
‘wish to accompany the warrior?’ ‘Oh no: he was very happy where he was;
but supposed that some time or other he would go in his own canoe.’

Thus far, I think, I clearly comprehended Kory-Kory. But there was a
singular expression he made use of at the time, enforced by as singular
a gesture, the meaning of which I would have given much to penetrate.
I am inclined to believe it must have been a proverb he uttered; for I
afterwards heard him repeat the same words several times, and in what
appeared to me to be a somewhat: similar sense. Indeed, Kory-Kory had
a great variety of short, smart-sounding sentences, with which he
frequently enlivened his discourse; and he introduced them with an air
which plainly intimated, that in his opinion, they settled the matter in
question, whatever it might be.

Could it have been then, that when I asked him whether he desired to go
to this heaven of bread-fruit, cocoanuts, and young ladies, which he had
been describing, he answered by saying something equivalent to our
old adage--‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’?--if he did,
Kory-Kory was a discreet and sensible fellow, and I cannot sufficiently
admire his shrewdness.

Whenever, in the course of my rambles through the valley I happened to
be near the chief’s mausoleum, I always turned aside to visit it. The
place had a peculiar charm for me; I hardly know why, but so it was. As
I leaned over the railing and gazed upon the strange effigy and watched
the play of the feathery head-dress, stirred by the same breeze which in
low tones breathed amidst the lofty palm-trees, I loved to yield myself
up to the fanciful superstition of the islanders, and could almost
believe that the grim warrior was bound heavenward. In this mood when
I turned to depart, I bade him ‘God speed, and a pleasant voyage.’ Aye,
paddle away, brave chieftain, to the land of spirits! To the material
eye thou makest but little progress; but with the eye of faith, I see
thy canoe cleaving the bright waves, which die away on those dimly
looming shores of Paradise.

This strange superstition affords another evidence of the fact, that
however ignorant man may be, he still feels within him his immortal
spirit yearning, after the unknown future.

Although the religious theories of the islands were a complete mystery
to me, their practical every-day operation could not be concealed. I
frequently passed the little temples reposing in the shadows of the
taboo groves and beheld the offerings--mouldy fruit spread out upon
a rude altar, or hanging in half-decayed baskets around some uncouth
jolly-looking image; I was present during the continuance of the
festival; I daily beheld the grinning idols marshalled rank and file in
the Hoolah Hoolah ground, and was often in the habit of meeting
those whom I supposed to be the priests. But the temples seemed to be
abandoned to solitude; the festival had been nothing more than a jovial
mingling of the tribe; the idols were quite harmless as any other logs
of wood; and the priests were the merriest dogs in the valley.

In fact religious affairs in Typee were at a very low ebb: all such
matters sat very lightly upon the thoughtless inhabitants; and, in the
celebration of many of their strange rites, they appeared merely to seek
a sort of childish amusement.

A curious evidence of this was given in a remarkable ceremony in which I
frequently saw Mehevi and several other chefs and warriors of note take
part; but never a single female.

Among those whom I looked upon as forming the priesthood of the valley,
there was one in particular who often attracted my notice, and whom
I could not help regarding as the head of the order. He was a noble
looking man, in the prime of his life, and of a most benignant aspect.
The authority this man, whose name was Kolory, seemed to exercise over
the rest, the episcopal part he took in the Feast of Calabashes, his
sleek and complacent appearance, the mystic characters which were
tattooed upon his chest, and above all the mitre he frequently wore,
in the shape of a towering head-dress, consisting of part of a cocoanut
branch, the stalk planted uprightly on his brow, and the leaflets
gathered together and passed round the temples and behind the ears, all
these pointed him out as Lord Primate of Typee. Kolory was a sort of
Knight Templar--a soldier-priest; for he often wore the dress of a
Marquesan warrior, and always carried a long spear, which, instead of
terminating in a paddle at the lower end, after the general fashion of
these weapons, was curved into a heathenish-looking little image. This
instrument, however, might perhaps have been emblematic of his double
functions. With one end in carnal combat he transfixed the enemies of
his tribe; and with the other as a pastoral crook he kept in order his
spiritual flock. But this is not all I have to say about Kolory.

His martial grace very often carried about with him what seemed to me
the half of a broken war-club. It was swathed round with ragged bits of
white tappa, and the upper part, which was intended to represent a
human head, was embellished with a strip of scarlet cloth of European
manufacture. It required little observation to discover that this
strange object was revered as a god. By the side of the big and lusty
images standing sentinel over the altars of the Hoolah Hoolah ground, it
seemed a mere pigmy in tatters. But appearances all the world over are
deceptive. Little men are sometimes very potent, and rags sometimes
cover very extensive pretensions. In fact, this funny little image was
the ‘crack’ god of the island; lording it over all the wooden lubbers
who looked so grim and dreadful; its name was Moa Artua*. And it was in
honour of Moa Artua, and for the entertainment of those who believe in
him, that the curious ceremony I am about to describe was observed.

*The word ‘Artua’, although having some other significations, is in
nearly all the Polynesian dialects used as the general designation of
the gods.

Mehevi and the chieftains of the Ti have just risen from their noontide
slumbers. There are no affairs of state to dispose of; and having eaten
two or three breakfasts in the course of the morning, the magnates of
the valley feel no appetite as yet for dinner. How are their leisure
moments to be occupied? They smoke, they chat, and at last one of their
number makes a proposition to the rest, who joyfully acquiescing, he
darts out of the house, leaps from the pi-pi, and disappears in the
grove. Soon you see him returning with Kolory, who bears the god Moa
Artua in his arms, and carries in one hand a small trough, hollowed out
in the likeness of a canoe. The priest comes along dandling his charge
as if it were a lachrymose infant he was endeavouring to put into a
good humour. Presently entering the Ti, he seats himself on the mats as
composedly as a juggler about to perform his sleight-of-hand tricks; and
with the chiefs disposed in a circle around him, commences his ceremony.
In the first place he gives Moa Artua an affectionate hug, then
caressingly lays him to his breast, and, finally, whispers something in
his ear; the rest of the company listening eagerly for a reply. But
the baby-god is deaf or dumb,--perhaps both, for never a word does, he
utter. At last Kolory speaks a little louder, and soon growing angry,
comes boldly out with what he has to say and bawls to him. He put me in
mind of a choleric fellow, who, after trying in vain to communicated a
secret to a deaf man, all at once flies into a passion and screams it
out so that every one may hear. Still Moa Artua remains as quiet as
ever; and Kolory, seemingly losing his temper, fetches him a box over
the head, strips him of his tappa and red cloth, and laying him in
a state of nudity in a little trough, covers him from sight. At this
proceeding all present loudly applaud and signify their approval by
uttering the adjective ‘motarkee’ with violent emphasis. Kolory however,
is so desirous his conduct should meet with unqualified approbation,
that he inquires of each individual separately whether under existing
circumstances he has not done perfectly right in shutting up Moa Artua.
The invariable response is ‘Aa, Aa’ (yes, yes), repeated over again
and again in a manner which ought to quiet the scruples of the most
conscientious. After a few moments Kolory brings forth his doll again,
and while arraying it very carefully in the tappa and red cloth,
alternately fondles and chides it. The toilet being completed, he once
more speaks to it aloud. The whole company hereupon show the greatest
interest; while the priest holding Moa Artua to his ear interprets to
them what he pretends the god is confidentially communicating to him.
Some items intelligence appear to tickle all present amazingly; for one
claps his hands in a rapture; another shouts with merriment; and a third
leaps to his feet and capers about like a madman.

What under the sun Moa Artua on these occasions had to say to Kolory
I never could find out; but I could not help thinking that the former
showed a sad want of spirit in being disciplined into making those
disclosures, which at first he seemed bent on withholding. Whether the
priest honestly interpreted what he believed the divinity said to him,
or whether he was not all the while guilty of a vile humbug, I shall
not presume to decide. At any rate, whatever as coming from the god
was imparted to those present seemed to be generally of a complimentary
nature: a fact which illustrates the sagacity of Kolory, or else the
timeserving disposition of this hardly used deity.

Moa Artua having nothing more to say, his bearer goes to nursing
him again, in which occupation, however, he is soon interrupted by a
question put by one of the warriors to the god. Kolory hereupon snatches
it up to his ear again, and after listening attentively, once more
officiates as the organ of communication. A multitude of questions and
answers having passed between the parties, much to the satisfaction of
those who propose them, the god is put tenderly to bed in the trough,
and the whole company unite in a long chant, led off by Kolory. This
ended, the ceremony is over; the chiefs rise to their feet in high good
humour, and my Lord Archbishop, after chatting awhile, and regaling
himself with a whiff or two from a pipe of tobacco, tucks the canoe
under his arm and marches off with it.

The whole of these proceedings were like those of a parcel of children
playing with dolls and baby houses.

For a youngster scarcely ten inches high, and with so few early
advantages as he doubtless had had, Moa Artua was certainly a precocious
little fellow if he really said all that was imputed to him; but for
what reason this poor devil of a deity, thus cuffed about, cajoled, and
shut up in a box, was held in greater estimation than the full-grown
and dignified personages of the Taboo Groves, I cannot divine. And yet
Mehevi, and other chiefs of unquestionable veracity--to say nothing of
the Primate himself--assured me over and over again that Moa Artua was
the tutelary deity of Typee, and was more to be held in honour than a
whole battalion of the clumsy idols in the Hoolah Hoolah grounds.

Kory-Kory--who seemed to have devoted considerable attention to the
study of theology, as he knew the names of all the graven images in the
valley, and often repeated them over to me--likewise entertained some
rather enlarged ideas with regard to the character and pretensions of
Moa Artua. He once gave me to understand, with a gesture there was no
misconceiving, that if he (Moa Artua) were so minded he could cause a
cocoanut tree to sprout out of his (Kory-Kory’s) head; and that it
would be the easiest thing in life for him (Moa Artua) to take the whole
island of Nukuheva in his mouth and dive down to the bottom of the sea
with it.

But in sober seriousness, I hardly knew what to make of the religion
of the valley. There was nothing that so much perplexed the illustrious
Cook, in his intercourse with the South Sea islanders, as their sacred
rites. Although this prince of navigators was in many instances assisted
by interpreters in the prosecution of his researches, he still frankly
acknowledges that he was at a loss to obtain anything like a clear
insight into the puzzling arcana of their faith. A similar admission has
been made by other eminent voyagers: by Carteret, Byron, Kotzebue, and

For my own part, although hardly a day passed while I remained upon the
island that I did not witness some religious ceremony or other, it was
very much like seeing a parcel of ‘Freemasons’ making secret signs to
each other; I saw everything, but could comprehend nothing.

On the whole, I am inclined to believe, that the islanders in the
Pacific have no fixed and definite ideas whatever on the subject of
religion. I am persuaded that Kolory himself would be effectually posed
were he called upon to draw up the articles of his faith and pronounce
the creed by which he hoped to be saved. In truth, the Typees, so far
as their actions evince, submitted to no laws human or divine--always
excepting the thrice mysterious Taboo. The ‘independent electors’ of the
valley were not to be brow-beaten by chiefs, priests, idol or devils.
As for the luckless idols, they received more hard knocks than
supplications. I do not wonder that some of them looked so grim, and
stood so bolt upright as if fearful of looking to the right or the left
lest they should give any one offence. The fact is, they had to
carry themselves ‘PRETTY STRAIGHT,’ or suffer the consequences. Their
worshippers were such a precious set of fickle-minded and irreverent
heathens, that there was no telling when they might topple one of them
over, break it to pieces, and making a fire with it on the very altar
itself, fall to roasting the offerings of bread-fruit, and at them in
spite of its teeth.

In how little reverence these unfortunate deities were held by the
natives was on one occasion most convincingly proved to me.--Walking
with Kory-Kory through the deepest recesses of the groves, I perceived
a curious looking image, about six feet in height which originally had
been placed upright against a low pi-pi, surmounted by a ruinous bamboo
temple, but having become fatigued and weak in the knees, was now
carelessly leaning against it. The idol was partly concealed by the
foliage of a tree which stood near, and whose leafy boughs drooped over
the pile of stones, as if to protect the rude fane from the decay to
which it was rapidly hastening. The image itself was nothing more than
a grotesquely shaped log, carved in the likeness of a portly naked man
with the arms clasped over the head, the jaws thrown wide apart, and its
thick shapeless legs bowed into an arch. It was much decayed. The
lower part was overgrown with a bright silky moss. Thin spears of grass
sprouted from the distended mouth, and fringed the outline of the head
and arms. His godship had literally attained a green old age. All its
prominent points were bruised and battered, or entirely rotted away.
The nose had taken its departure, and from the general appearance of the
head it might have, been supposed that the wooden divinity, in despair
at the neglect of its worshippers, had been trying to beat its own
brains out against the surrounding trees.

I drew near to inspect more closely this strange object of idolatry, but
halted reverently at the distance of two or three paces, out of regard
to the religious prejudices of my valet. As soon, however, as Kory-Kory
perceived that I was in one of my inquiring, scientific moods, to my
astonishment, he sprang to the side of the idol, and pushing it away
from the stones against which it rested, endeavoured to make it stand
upon its legs. But the divinity had lost the use of them altogether; and
while Kory-Kory was trying to prop it up, placing a stick between it
and the pi-pi, the monster fell clumsily to the ground, and would have
infallibly have broken its neck had not Kory-Kory providentially broken
its fall by receiving its whole weight on his own half-crushed back. I
never saw the honest fellow in such a rage before. He leaped furiously
to his feet, and seizing the stick, began beating the poor image: every
moment, or two pausing and talking to it in the most violent manner, as
if upbraiding it for the accident. When his indignation had subsided
a little he whirled the idol about most profanely, so as to give me an
opportunity of examining it on all sides. I am quite sure I never should
have presumed to have taken such liberties with the god myself, and I
was not a little shocked at Kory-Kory’s impiety.

This anecdote speaks for itself. When one of the inferior order of
natives could show such contempt for a venerable and decrepit God of the
Groves, what the state of religion must be among the people in general
is easy to be imagined. In truth, I regard the Typees as a back-slidden
generation. They are sunk in religious sloth, and require a spiritual
revival. A long prosperity of bread-fruit and cocoanuts has rendered
them remiss in the performance of their higher obligations. The wood-rot
malady is spreading among the idols--the fruit upon their altars
is becoming offensive--the temples themselves need rethatching--the
tattooed clergy are altogether too light-hearted and lazy--and their
flocks are going astray.



ALTHOUGH I had been unable during the late festival to obtain
information on many interesting subjects which had much excited my
curiosity, still that important event had not passed by without adding
materially to my general knowledge of the islanders.

I was especially struck by the physical strength and beauty which
they displayed, by their great superiority in these respects over the
inhabitants of the neighbouring bay of Nukuheva, and by the singular
contrasts they presented among themselves in their various shades of

In beauty of form they surpassed anything I had ever seen. Not a single
instance of natural deformity was observable in all the throng attending
the revels. Occasionally I noticed among the men the scars of wounds
they had received in battle; and sometimes, though very seldom, the loss
of a finger, an eye, or an arm, attributable to the same cause. With
these exceptions, every individual appeared free from those blemishes
which sometimes mar the effect of an otherwise perfect form. But their
physical excellence did not merely consist in an exemption from these
evils; nearly every individual of their number might have been taken for
a sculptor’s model.

When I remembered that these islanders derived no advantage from dress,
but appeared in all the naked simplicity of nature, I could not avoid
comparing them with the fine gentlemen and dandies who promenade such
unexceptionable figures in our frequented thoroughfares. Stripped of
the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb
of Eden--what a sorry, set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked,
crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear! Stuffed calves,
padded breasts, and scientifically cut pantaloons would then avail them
nothing, and the effect would be truly deplorable.

Nothing in the appearance of the islanders struck me more forcibly
than the whiteness of their teeth. The novelist always compares the
masticators of his heroine to ivory; but I boldly pronounce the teeth
of the Typee to be far more beautiful than ivory itself. The jaws of the
oldest graybeards among them were much better garnished than those of
most of the youths of civilized countries; while the teeth of the young
and middle-aged, in their purity and whiteness, were actually dazzling
to the eye. Their marvellous whiteness of the teeth is to be ascribed
to the pure vegetable diet of these people, and the uninterrupted
healthfulness of their natural mode of life.

The men, in almost every instance, are of lofty stature, scarcely
ever less than six feet in height, while the other sex are uncommonly
diminutive. The early period of life at which the human form arrives
at maturity in this generous tropical climate, likewise deserves to be
mentioned. A little creature, not more than thirteen years of age, and
who in other particulars might be regarded as a mere child, is often
seen nursing her own baby, whilst lads who, under less ripening skies,
would be still at school, are here responsible fathers of families.

On first entering the Typee Valley, I had been struck with the marked
contrast presented by its inhabitants with those of the bay I had
previously left. In the latter place, I had not been favourably
impressed with the personal appearance of the male portion of the
population; although with the females, excepting in some truly
melancholy instances, I had been wonderfully pleased. I had observed
that even the little intercourse Europeans had carried on with the
Nukuheva natives had not failed to leave its traces amongst them. One of
the most dreadful curses under which humanity labours had commenced its
havocks, and betrayed, as it ever does among the South Sea islanders,
the most aggravated symptoms. From this, as from all other foreign
inflictions, the yet uncontaminated tenants of the Typee Valley were
wholly exempt; and long may they continue so. Better will it be for them
for ever to remain the happy and innocent heathens and barbarians
that they now are, than, like the wretched inhabitants of the Sandwich
Islands, to enjoy the mere name of Christians without experiencing any
of the vital operations of true religion, whilst, at the same time, they
are made the victims of the worst vices and evils of civilized life.

Apart, however, from these considerations, I am inclined to believe that
there exists a radical difference between the two tribes, if indeed
they are not distinct races of men. To those who have merely touched at
Nukuheva Bay, without visiting other portions of the island, it would
hardly appear credible the diversities presented between the various
small clans inhabiting so diminutive a spot. But the hereditary
hostility which has existed between them for ages, fully accounts for

Not so easy, however, is it to assign an adequate cause for the endless
variety of complexions to be seen in the Typee Valley. During the
festival, I had noticed several young females whose skins were almost as
white as any Saxon damsel’s; a slight dash of the mantling brown being
all that marked the difference. This comparative fairness of complexion,
though in a great degree perfectly natural, is partly the result of an
artificial process, and of an entire exclusion from the sun. The juice
of the ‘papa’ root found in great abundance at the head of the valley,
is held in great esteem as a cosmetic, with which many of the females
daily anoint their whole person. The habitual use of it whitens and
beautifies the skin. Those of the young girls who resort to this method
of heightening their charms, never expose themselves selves to the
rays of the sun; an observance, however, that produces little or no
inconvenience, since there are but few of the inhabited portions of the
vale which are not shaded over with a spreading canopy of boughs, so
that one may journey from house to house, scarcely deviating from the
direct course, and yet never once see his shadow cast upon the ground.

The ‘papa’, when used, is suffered to remain upon the skin for several
hours; being of a light green colour, it consequently imparts for
the time a similar hue to the complexion. Nothing, therefore, can be
imagined more singular than the appearance of these nearly naked damsels
immediately after the application of the cosmetic. To look at one of
them you would almost suppose she was some vegetable in an unripe state;
and that, instead of living in the shade for ever, she ought to be
placed out in the sun to ripen.

All the islanders are more or less in the habit of anointing themselves;
the women preferring the ‘aker’ to ‘papa’, and the men using the oil
of the cocoanut. Mehevi was remarkable fond of mollifying his entire
cuticle with this ointment. Sometimes he might be seen, with his whole
body fairly reeking with the perfumed oil of the nut, looking as if he
had just emerged from a soap-boiler’s vat, or had undergone the process
of dipping in a tallow-chandlery. To this cause perhaps, united to their
frequent bathing and extreme cleanliness, is ascribable, in a great
measure, the marvellous purity and smoothness of skin exhibited by the
natives in general.

The prevailing tint among the women of the valley was a light olive, and
of this style of complexion Fayaway afforded the most beautiful example.
Others were still darker; while not a few were of a genuine golden
colour, and some of a swarthy hue.

As agreeing with much previously mentioned in this narrative I may
here observe that Mendanna, their discoverer, in his account of the
Marquesas, described the natives as wondrously beautiful to behold, and
as nearly resembling the people of southern Europe. The first of these
islands seen by Mendanna was La Madelena, which is not far distant from
Nukuheva; and its inhabitants in every respect resemble those dwelling
on that and the other islands of the group. Figueroa, the chronicler of
Mendanna’s voyage, says, that on the morning the land was descried,
when the Spaniards drew near the shore, there sallied forth, in rude
progression, about seventy canoes, and at the same time many of the
inhabitants (females I presume) made towards the ships by swimming. He
adds, that ‘in complexion they were nearly white; of good stature,
and finely formed; and on their faces and bodies were delineated
representations of fishes and other devices’. The old Don then goes on
to say, ‘There came, among others, two lads paddling their canoe, whose
eyes were fixed on the ship; they had beautiful faces and the most
promising animation of countenance; and were in all things so becoming,
that the pilot-mayor Quiros affirmed, nothing in his life ever caused
him so much regret as the leaving such fine creatures to be lost in that
country.’* More than two hundred years have gone by since the passage of
which the above is a translation was written; and it appears to me
now, as I read it, as fresh and true as if written but yesterday. The
islanders are still the same; and I have seen boys in the Typee Valley
of whose ‘beautiful faces’ and promising ‘animation of countenance’ no
one who has not beheld them can form any adequate idea. Cook, in the
account of his voyage, pronounces the Marquesans as by far the most
splendid islanders in the South Seas. Stewart, the chaplain of the U.S.
ship Vincennes, in his ‘Scenes in the South Seas’, expresses, in more
than one place, his amazement at the surpassing loveliness of the women;
and says that many of the Nukuheva damsels reminded him forcibly of the
most celebrated beauties in his own land. Fanning, a Yankee mariner of
some reputation, likewise records his lively impressions of the physical
appearance of these people; and Commodore David Porter of the U.S.
frigate Essex, is said to have been vastly smitten by the beauty of the
ladies. Their great superiority over all other Polynesians cannot fail
to attract the notice of those who visit the principal groups in the
Pacific. The voluptuous Tahitians are the only people who at all deserve
to be compared with them; while the dark-haired Hawaiians and
the woolly-headed Feejees are immeasurably inferior to them. The
distinguishing characteristic of the Marquesan islanders, and that
which at once strikes you, is the European cast of their features--a
peculiarity seldom observable among other uncivilized people. Many of
their faces present profiles classically beautiful, and in the valley of
Typee I saw several who, like the stranger Marnoo, were in every respect
models of beauty.

* This passage, which is cited as an almost literal translation from the
original, I found in a small volume entitled ‘Circumnavigation of the
Globe, in which volume are several extracts from ‘Dalrymple’s Historical
Collections’. The last-mentioned work I have never seen, but it is said
to contain a very correct English version of great part of the learned
Doctor Christoval Suaverde da Figueroa’s History of Mendanna’s Voyage,
published at Madrid, A.D. 1613.

Some of the natives present at the Feast of Calabashes had displayed a
few articles of European dress; disposed however, about their persons
after their own peculiar fashion. Among these I perceived two pieces of
cotton-cloth which poor Toby and myself had bestowed upon our youthful
guides the afternoon we entered the valley. They were evidently reserved
for gala days; and during those of the festival they rendered the young
islanders who wore them very distinguished characters. The small number
who were similarly adorned, and the great value they appeared to place
upon the most common and most trivial articles, furnished ample evidence
of the very restricted intercourse they held with vessels touching at
the island. A few cotton handkerchiefs, of a gay pattern, tied about the
neck, and suffered to fall over the shoulder; strips of fanciful calico,
swathed about the loins, were nearly all I saw.

Indeed, throughout the valley, there were few things of any kind to
be seen of European origin. All I ever saw, besides the articles just
alluded to, were the six muskets preserved in the Ti, and three or four
similar implements of warfare hung up in other houses; some small
canvas bags, partly filled with bullets and powder, and half a dozen old
hatchet-heads, with the edges blunted and battered to such a degree
as to render them utterly useless. These last seemed to be regarded as
nearly worthless by the natives; and several times they held up, one
of them before me, and throwing it aside with a gesture of disgust,
manifested their contempt for anything that could so soon become

But the muskets, the powder, and the bullets were held in most
extravagant esteem. The former, from their great age and the
peculiarities they exhibited, were well worthy a place in any
antiquarian’s armoury. I remember in particular one that hung in the
Ti, and which Mehevi--supposing as a matter of course that I was able to
repair it--had put into my hands for that purpose. It was one of those
clumsy, old-fashioned, English pieces known generally as Tower Hill
muskets, and, for aught I know, might have been left on the island by
Wallace, Carteret, Cook, or Vancouver. The stock was half rotten and
worm-eaten; the lock was as rusty and about as well adapted to its
ostensible purpose as an old door-hinge; the threading of the screws
about the trigger was completely worn away; while the barrel shook in
the wood. Such was the weapon the chief desired me to restore to its
original condition. As I did not possess the accomplishments of a
gunsmith, and was likewise destitute of the necessary tools, I was
reluctantly obliged to signify my inability to perform the task. At this
unexpected communication Mehevi regarded me, for a moment, as if he half
suspected I was some inferior sort of white man, who after all did not
know much more than a Typee. However, after a most laboured explanation
of the matter, I succeeded in making him understand the extreme
difficulty of the task. Scarcely satisfied with my apologies, however,
he marched off with the superannuated musket in something of a huff, as
if he would no longer expose it to the indignity of being manipulated by
such unskilful fingers.

During the festival I had not failed to remark the simplicity of manner,
the freedom from all restraint, and, to certain degree, the equality
of condition manifested by the natives in general. No one appeared to
assume any arrogant pretensions. There was little more than a slight
difference in costume to distinguish the chiefs from the other natives.
All appeared to mix together freely, and without any reserve; although
I noticed that the wishes of a chief, even when delivered in the mildest
tone, received the same immediate obedience which elsewhere would have
been only accorded to a peremptory command. What may be the extent
of the authority of the chiefs over the rest of the tribe, I will not
venture to assert; but from all I saw during my stay in the valley, I
was induced to believe that in matters concerning the general welfare
it was very limited. The required degree of deference towards them,
however, was willingly and cheerfully yielded; and as all authority is
transmitted from father to son, I have no doubt that one of the effects
here, as elsewhere, of high birth, is to induce respect and obedience.

The civil institutions of the Marquesas Islands appear to be in this,
as in other respects, directly the reverse of those of the Tahitian and
Hawaiian groups, where the original power of the king and chiefs was far
more despotic than that of any tyrant in civilized countries. At Tahiti
it used to be death for one of the inferior orders to approach, without
permission, under the shadow, of the king’s house; or to fail in paying
the customary reverence when food destined for the king was borne past
them by his messengers. At the Sandwich Islands, Kaahumanu, the gigantic
old dowager queen--a woman of nearly four hundred pounds weight, and
who is said to be still living at Mowee--was accustomed, in some of her
terrific gusts of temper, to snatch up an ordinary sized man who had
offended her, and snap his spine across her knee. Incredible as this
may seem, it is a fact. While at Lahainaluna--the residence of this
monstrous Jezebel--a humpbacked wretch was pointed out to me, who, some
twenty-five years previously, had had the vertebrae of his backbone very
seriously discomposed by his gentle mistress.

The particular grades of rank existing among the chiefs of Typee, I
could not in all cases determine. Previous to the Feast of Calabashes
I had been puzzled what particular station to assign to Mehevi. But the
important part he took upon that occasion convinced me that he had no
superior among the inhabitants of the valley. I had invariably noticed a
certain degree of deference paid to him by all with whom I had ever seen
him brought in contact; but when I remembered that my wanderings had
been confined to a limited portion of the valley, and that towards
the sea a number of distinguished chiefs resided, some of whom had
separately visited me at Marheyo’s house, and whom, until the Festival,
I had never seen in the company of Mehevi, I felt disposed to believe
that his rank after all might not be particularly elevated.

The revels, however, had brought together all the warriors whom I had
seen individually and in groups at different times and places. Among
them Mehevi moved with an easy air of superiority which was not to be
mistaken; and he whom I had only looked at as the hospitable host of the
Ti, and one of the military leaders of the tribe, now assumed in my eyes
the dignity of royal station. His striking costume, no less than his
naturally commanding figure, seemed indeed to give him pre-eminence over
the rest. The towering helmet of feathers that he wore raised him
in height above all who surrounded him; and though some others were
similarly adorned, the length and luxuriance of their plumes were
inferior to his.

Mehevi was in fact the greatest of the chiefs--the head of his clan--the
sovereign of the valley; and the simplicity of the social institutions
of the people could not have been more completely proved than by the
fact, that after having been several weeks in the valley, and almost in
daily intercourse with Mehevi, I should have remained until the time of
the festival ignorant of his regal character. But a new light had now
broken in upon me. The Ti was the palace--and Mehevi the king. Both the
one and the other of a most simple and patriarchal nature: it must be
allowed, and wholly unattended by the ceremonious pomp which usually
surrounds the purple.

After having made this discovery I could not avoid congratulating myself
that Mehevi had from the first taken me as it were under his royal
protection, and that he still continued to entertain for me the warmest
regard, as far at least as I was enabled to judge from appearances. For
the future I determined to pay most assiduous court to him, hoping that
eventually through his kindness I might obtain my liberty.



KING MEHEVI!--A goodly sounding title--and why should I not bestow
it upon the foremost man in the valley of Typee? The republican
missionaries of Oahu cause to be gazetted in the Court Journal,
published at Honolulu, the most trivial movement of ‘his gracious
majesty’ King Kammehammaha III, and ‘their highnesses the princes of the
blood royal’.* And who is his ‘gracious majesty’, and what the
quality of this blood royal’?--His ‘gracious majesty’ is a fat, lazy,
negro-looking blockhead, with as little character as power. He has
lost the noble traits of the barbarian, without acquiring the redeeming
graces of a civilized being; and, although a member of the Hawiian
Temperance Society, is a most inveterate dram-drinker.

*Accounts like these are sometimes copied into English and American
journals. They lead the reader to infer that the arts and customs of
civilized life are rapidly refining the natives of the Sandwich Islands.
But let no one be deceived by these accounts. The chiefs swagger about
in gold lace and broadcloth, while the great mass of the common people
are nearly as primitive in their appearance as in the days of Cook. In
the progress of events at these islands, the two classes are receding
from each other; the chiefs are daily becoming more luxurious and
extravagant in their style of living, and the common people more and
more destitute of the necessaries and decencies of life. But the end
to which both will arrive at last will be the same: the one are fast
destroying themselves by sensual indulgences, and the other are
fast being destroyed by a complication of disorders, and the want of
wholesome food. The resources of the domineering chiefs are wrung from
the starving serfs, and every additional bauble with which they bedeck
themselves is purchased by the sufferings of their bondsmen; so that the
measure of gew-gaw refinement attained by the chiefs is only an index
to the actual state in which the greater portion of the population lie

The ‘blood royal’ is an extremely thick, depraved fluid; formed
principally of raw fish, bad brandy, and European sweetmeats, and is
charged with a variety of eruptive humours, which are developed in
sundry blotches and pimples upon the august face of ‘majesty itself’,
and the angelic countenances of the ‘princes and princesses of the blood

Now, if the farcical puppet of a chief magistrate in the Sandwich
Islands be allowed the title of King, why should it be withheld from
the noble savage Mehevi, who is a thousand times more worthy of the
appellation? All hail, therefore, Mehevi, King of the Cannibal Valley,
and long life and prosperity to his Typeean majesty! May Heaven for many
a year preserve him, the uncompromising foe of Nukuheva and the French,
if a hostile attitude will secure his lovely domain from the remorseless
inflictions of South Sea civilization.

Previously to seeing the Dancing Widows I had little idea that there
were any matrimonial relations subsisting in Typee, and I should as soon
have thought of a Platonic affection being cultivated between the sexes,
as of the solemn connection of man and wife. To be sure, there were old
Marheyo and Tinor, who seemed to have a sort of nuptial understanding
with one another; but for all that, I had sometimes observed a
comical-looking old gentleman dressed in a suit of shabby tattooing, who
had the audacity to take various liberties with the lady, and that too
in the very presence of the old warrior her husband, who looked on
as good-naturedly as if nothing was happening. This behaviour, until
subsequent discoveries enlightened me, puzzled me more than anything
else I witnessed in Typee.

As for Mehevi, I had supposed him a confirmed bachelor, as well as most
of the principal chiefs. At any rate, if they had wives and families,
they ought to have been ashamed of themselves; for sure I am, they never
troubled themselves about any domestic affairs. In truth, Mehevi seemed
to be the president of a club of hearty fellows, who kept ‘Bachelor’s
Hall’ in fine style at the Ti. I had no doubt but that they regarded
children as odious incumbrances; and their ideas of domestic felicity
were sufficiently shown in the fact, that they allowed no meddlesome
housekeepers to turn topsy-turvy those snug little arrangements they had
made in their comfortable dwelling. I strongly suspected however, that
some of these jolly bachelors were carrying on love intrigues with
the maidens of the tribe; although they did not appear publicly to
acknowledge them. I happened to pop upon Mehevi three or four times when
he was romping--in a most undignified manner for a warrior king--with
one of the prettiest little witches in the valley. She lived with an
old woman and a young man, in a house near Marheyo’s; and although in
appearance a mere child herself, had a noble boy about a year old, who
bore a marvellous resemblance to Mehevi, whom I should certainly have
believed to have been the father, were it not that the little fellow
had no triangle on his face--but on second thoughts, tattooing is not
hereditary. Mehevi, however, was not the only person upon whom the
damsel Moonoony smiled--the young fellow of fifteen, who permanently
resided in the home with her, was decidedly in her good graces. I
sometimes beheld both him and the chief making love at the same time. Is
it possible, thought I, that the valiant warrior can consent to give
up a corner in the thing he loves? This too was a mystery which, with
others of the same kind, was afterwards satisfactorily explained.

During the second day of the Feast of Calabashes, Kory-Kory--being
determined that I should have some understanding on these matters--had,
in the course of his explanations, directed my attention to
a peculiarity I had frequently remarked among many of the
females;--principally those of a mature age and rather matronly
appearance. This consisted in having the right hand and the left foot
most elaborately tattooed; whilst the rest of the body was wholly free
from the operation of the art, with the exception of the minutely dotted
lips and slight marks on the shoulders, to which I have previously
referred as comprising the sole tattooing exhibited by Fayaway, in
common with other young girls of her age. The hand and foot thus
embellished were, according to Kory-Kory, the distinguishing badge of
wedlock, so far as that social and highly commendable institution is
known among those people. It answers, indeed, the same purpose as the
plain gold ring worn by our fairer spouses.

After Kory-Kory’s explanation of the subject, I was for some time
studiously respectful in the presence of all females thus distinguished,
and never ventured to indulge in the slightest approach to flirtation
with any of their number. Married women, to be sure!--I knew better than
to offend them.

A further insight, however, into the peculiar domestic customs of the
inmates of the valley did away in a measure with the severity of my
scruples, and convinced me that I was deceived in some at least of my
conclusions. A regular system of polygamy exists among the islanders;
but of a most extraordinary nature,--a plurality of husbands, instead of
wives! and this solitary fact speaks volumes for the gentle disposition
of the male population.

Where else, indeed, could such a practice exist, even for a single
day?--Imagine a revolution brought about in a Turkish seraglio, and
the harem rendered the abode of bearded men; or conceive some beautiful
woman in our own country running distracted at the sight of her numerous
lovers murdering one another before her eyes, out of jealousy for the
unequal distribution of her favours!--Heaven defend us from such a state
of things!--We are scarcely amiable and forbearing enough to submit to

I was not able to learn what particular ceremony was observed in forming
the marriage contract, but am inclined to think that it must have been
of a very simple nature. Perhaps the mere ‘popping the question’, as
it is termed with us, might have been followed by an immediate nuptial
alliance. At any rate, I have more than one reason to believe that
tedious courtships are unknown in the valley of Typee.

The males considerably outnumber the females. This holds true of many
of the islands of Polynesia, although the reverse of what is the case in
most civilized countries. The girls are first wooed and won, at a very
tender age, by some stripling in the household in which they reside.
This, however, is a mere frolic of the affections, and no formal
engagement is contracted. By the time this first love has a little
subsided, a second suitor presents himself, of graver years, and carries
both boy and girl away to his own habitation. This disinterested and
generous-hearted fellow now weds the young couple--marrying damsel
and lover at the same time--and all three thenceforth live together
as harmoniously as so many turtles. I have heard of some men who in
civilized countries rashly marry large families with their wives, but
had no idea that there was any place where people married supplementary
husbands with them. Infidelity on either side is very rare. No man
has more than one wife, and no wife of mature years has less than two
husbands,--sometimes she has three, but such instances are not
frequent. The marriage tie, whatever it may be, does not appear to be
indissoluble; for separations occasionally happen. These, however,
when they do take place, produce no unhappiness, and are preceded by no
bickerings; for the simple reason, that an ill-used wife or a henpecked
husband is not obliged to file a bill in Chancery to obtain a divorce.
As nothing stands in the way of a separation, the matrimonial yoke sits
easily and lightly, and a Typee wife lives on very pleasant and sociable
terms with her husband. On the whole, wedlock, as known among these
Typees, seems to be of a more distinct and enduring nature than
is usually the case with barbarous people. A baneful promiscuous
intercourse of the sexes is hereby avoided, and virtue, without being
clamorously invoked, is, as it were, unconsciously practised.

The contrast exhibited between the Marquesas and other islands of the
Pacific in this respect, is worthy of being noticed. At Tahiti the
marriage tie was altogether unknown; and the relation of husband
and wife, father and son, could hardly be said to exist. The Arreory
Society--one of the most singular institutions that ever existed in any
part of the world--spread universal licentiousness over the island. It
was the voluptuous character of these people which rendered the disease
introduced among them by De Bougainville’s ships, in 1768, doubly
destructive. It visited them like a plague, sweeping them off by

Notwithstanding the existence of wedlock among the Typees, the
Scriptural injunction to increase and multiply seems to be but
indifferently attended to. I never saw any of those large families in
arithmetical or step-ladder progression which one often meets with at
home. I never knew of more than two youngsters living together in the
same home, and but seldom even that number. As for the women, it was
very plain that the anxieties of the nursery but seldom disturbed the
serenity of their souls; and they were never seen going about the valley
with half a score of little ones tagging at their apron-strings, or
rather at the bread-fruit-leaf they usually wore in the rear.

The ratio of increase among all the Polynesian nations is very small;
and in some places as yet uncorrupted by intercourse with Europeans,
the births would appear not very little to outnumber the deaths; the
population in such instances remaining nearly the same for several
successive generations, even upon those islands seldom or never
desolated by wars, and among people with whom the crime of infanticide
is altogether unknown. This would seem expressively ordained by
Providence to prevent the overstocking of the islands with a race too
indolent to cultivate the ground, and who, for that reason alone, would,
by any considerable increase in their numbers, be exposed to the most
deplorable misery. During the entire period of my stay in the valley of
Typee, I never saw more than ten or twelve children under the age of six
months, and only became aware of two births.

It is to the absence of the marriage tie that the late rapid decrease
of the population of the Sandwich Islands and of Tahiti is in part to be
ascribed. The vices and diseases introduced among these unhappy people
annually swell the ordinary mortality of the islands, while, from the
same cause, the originally small number of births is proportionally
decreased. Thus the progress of the Hawaiians and Tahitians to utter
extinction is accelerated in a sort of compound ratio.

I have before had occasion to remark, that I never saw any of the
ordinary signs of a pace of sepulture in the valley, a circumstance
which I attributed, at the time, to my living in a particular part
of it, and being forbidden to extend my rambles to any considerable
distance towards the sea. I have since thought it probable, however,
that the Typees, either desirous of removing from their sight the
evidences of mortality, or prompted by a taste for rural beauty, may
have some charming cemetery situation in the shadowy recesses along
the base of the mountains. At Nukuheva, two or three large quadrangular
‘pi-pis’, heavily flagged, enclosed with regular stone walls, and shaded
over and almost hidden from view by the interlacing branches of
enormous trees, were pointed out to me as burial-places. The bodies, I
understood, were deposited in rude vaults beneath the flagging, and were
suffered to remain there without being disinterred. Although nothing
could be more strange and gloomy than the aspect of these places, where
the lofty trees threw their dark shadows over rude blocks of stone,
a stranger looking at them would have discerned none of the ordinary
evidences of a place of sepulture.

During my stay in the valley, as none of its inmates were so
accommodating as to die and be buried in order to gratify my curiosity
with regard to their funeral rites, I was reluctantly obliged to
remain in ignorance of them. As I have reason to believe, however, the
observances of the Typees in these matters are the same with those of
all the other tribes in the island, I will here relate a scene I chanced
to witness at Nukuheva.

A young man had died, about daybreak, in a house near the beach. I had
been sent ashore that morning, and saw a good deal of the preparations
they were making for his obsequies. The body, neatly wrapped in a new
white tappa, was laid out in an open shed of cocoanut boughs, upon a
bier constructed of elastic bamboos ingeniously twisted together. This
was supported about two feet from the ground, by large canes planted
uprightly in the earth. Two females, of a dejected appearance, watched
by its side, plaintively chanting and beating the air with large grass
fans whitened with pipe-clay. In the dwelling-house adjoining a numerous
company we assembled, and various articles of food were being prepared
for consumption. Two or three individuals, distinguished by head-dresses
of beautiful tappa, and wearing a great number of ornaments, appeared
to officiate as masters of the ceremonies. By noon the entertainment had
fairly begun and we were told that it would last during the whole of
the two following days. With the exception of those who mourned by
the corpse, every one seemed disposed to drown the sense of the late
bereavement in convivial indulgence. The girls, decked out in their
savage finery, danced; the old men chanted; the warriors smoked and
chatted; and the young and lusty, of both sexes, feasted plentifully,
and seemed to enjoy themselves as pleasantly as they could have done had
it been a wedding.

The islanders understand the art of embalming, and practise it with such
success that the bodies of their great chiefs are frequently preserved
for many years in the very houses where they died. I saw three of these
in my visit to the Bay of Tior. One was enveloped in immense folds of
tappa, with only the face exposed, and hung erect against the side of
the dwelling. The others were stretched out upon biers of bamboo, in
open, elevated temples, which seemed consecrated to their memory. The
heads of enemies killed in battle are invariably preserved and hung up
as trophies in the house of the conqueror. I am not acquainted with the
process which is in use, but believe that fumigation is the principal
agency employed. All the remains which I saw presented the appearance of
a ham after being suspended for some time in a smoky chimney.

But to return from the dead to the living. The late festival had drawn
together, as I had every reason to believe, the whole population of the
vale, and consequently I was enabled to make some estimate with regard
to its numbers. I should imagine that there were about two thousand
inhabitants in Typee; and no number could have been better adapted to
the extent of the valley. The valley is some nine miles in length,
and may average one in breadth; the houses being distributed at wide
intervals throughout its whole extent, principally, however, towards the
head of the vale. There are no villages; the houses stand here and there
in the shadow of the groves, or are scattered along the banks of the
winding stream; their golden-hued bamboo sides and gleaming white thatch
forming a beautiful contrast to the perpetual verdure in which they are
embowered. There are no roads of any kind in the valley. Nothing but a
labyrinth of footpaths twisting and turning among the thickets without

The penalty of the Fall presses very lightly upon the valley of Typee;
for, with the one solitary exception of striking a light, I scarcely saw
any piece of work performed there which caused the sweat to stand upon
a single brow. As for digging and delving for a livelihood, the thing is
altogether unknown. Nature has planted the bread-fruit and the banana,
and in her own good time she brings them to maturity, when the idle
savage stretches forth his hand, and satisfies his appetite.

Ill-fated people! I shudder when I think of the change a few years
will produce in their paradisaical abode; and probably when the most
destructive vices, and the worst attendances on civilization, shall have
driven all peace and happiness from the valley, the magnanimous
French will proclaim to the world that the Marquesas Islands have been
converted to Christianity! and this the Catholic world will doubtless
consider as a glorious event. Heaven help the ‘Isles of the Sea’!--The
sympathy which Christendom feels for them, has, alas! in too many
instances proved their bane.

How little do some of these poor islanders comprehend when they look
around them, that no inconsiderable part of their disasters originate
in certain tea-party excitements, under the influence of which
benevolent-looking gentlemen in white cravats solicit alms, and old
ladies in spectacles, and young ladies in sober russet gowns, contribute
sixpences towards the creation of a fund, the object of which is to
ameliorate the spiritual condition of the Polynesians, but whose end has
almost invariably been to accomplish their temporal destruction!

Let the savages be civilized, but civilize them with benefits, and not
with evils; and let heathenism be destroyed, but not by destroying the
heathen. The Anglo-Saxon hive have extirpated Paganism from the greater
part of the North American continent; but with it they have likewise
extirpated the greater portion of the Red race. Civilization is
gradually sweeping from the earth the lingering vestiges of Paganism,
and at the same time the shrinking forms of its unhappy worshippers.

Among the islands of Polynesia, no sooner are the images overturned, the
temples demolished, and the idolators converted into NOMINAL Christians,
that disease, vice, and premature death make their appearance. The
depopulated land is then recruited from the rapacious, hordes of
enlightened individuals who settle themselves within its borders,
and clamorously announce the progress of the Truth. Neat villas, trim
gardens, shaven lawns, spires, and cupolas arise, while the poor savage
soon finds himself an interloper in the country of his fathers, and
that too on the very site of the hut where he was born. The spontaneous
fruits of the earth, which God in his wisdom had ordained for the
support of the indolent natives, remorselessly seized upon and
appropriated by the stranger, are devoured before the eyes of the
starving inhabitants, or sent on board the numerous vessels which now
touch at their shores.

When the famished wretches are cut off in this manner from their natural
supplies, they are told by their benefactors to work and earn their
support by the sweat of their brows! But to no fine gentleman born to
hereditary opulence, does this manual labour come more unkindly than
to the luxurious Indian when thus robbed of the bounty of heaven.
Habituated to a life of indolence, he cannot and will not exert himself;
and want, disease, and vice, all evils of foreign growth, soon terminate
his miserable existence.

But what matters all this? Behold the glorious result!--The abominations
of Paganism have given way to the pure rites of the Christian
worship,--the ignorant savage has been supplanted by the refined
European! Look at Honolulu, the metropolis of the Sandwich Islands!--A
community of disinterested merchants, and devoted self-exiled heralds of
the Cross, located on the very spot that twenty years ago was defiled by
the presence of idolatry. What a subject for an eloquent Bible-meeting
orator! Nor has such an opportunity for a display of missionary rhetoric
been allowed to pass by unimproved!--But when these philanthropists send
us such glowing accounts of one half of their labours, why does their
modesty restrain them from publishing the other half of the good they
have wrought?--Not until I visited Honolulu was I aware of the fact that
the small remnant of the natives had been civilized into draught-horses;
and evangelized into beasts of burden. But so it is. They have been
literally broken into the traces, and are harnessed to the vehicles of
their spiritual instructors like so many dumb brutes!

          . . . . . . .

Lest the slightest misconception should arise from anything thrown out
in this chapter, or indeed in any other part of the volume, let me here
observe that against the cause of missions in, the abstract no Christian
can possibly be opposed: it is in truth a just and holy cause. But
if the great end proposed by it be spiritual, the agency employed to
accomplish that end is purely earthly; and, although the object in
view be the achievement of much good, that agency may nevertheless be
productive of evil. In short, missionary undertaking, however it may
blessed of heaven, is in itself but human; and subject, like everything
else, to errors and abuses. And have not errors and abuses crept into
the most sacred places, and may there not be unworthy or incapable
missionaries abroad, as well as ecclesiastics of similar character
at home? May not the unworthiness or incapacity of those who assume
apostolic functions upon the remote islands of the sea more easily
escape detection by the world at large than if it were displayed in
the heart of a city? An unwarranted confidence in the sanctity of its
apostles--a proneness to regard them as incapable of guile--and
an impatience of the least suspicion to their rectitude as men or
Christians, have ever been prevailing faults in the Church. Nor is this
to be wondered at: for subject as Christianity is to the assaults of
unprincipled foes, we are naturally disposed to regard everything like
an exposure of ecclesiastical misconduct as the offspring of malevolence
or irreligious feeling. Not even this last consideration, however shall
deter me from the honest expression of my sentiments.

There is something apparently wrong in the practical operations of
the Sandwich Islands Mission. Those who from pure religious motives
contribute to the support of this enterprise should take care to
ascertain that their donations, flowing through many devious channels,
at last effect their legitimate object, the conversion of the Hawaiians.
I urge this not because I doubt the moral probity of those who disburse
the funds, but because I know that they are not rightly applied. To read
pathetic accounts of missionary hardships, and glowing descriptions of
conversion, and baptisms, taking place beneath palm-trees, is one thing;
and to go to the Sandwich Islands and see the missionaries dwelling
in picturesque and prettily furnished coral-rock villas, whilst the
miserable natives are committing all sorts of immorality around them, is
quite another.

In justice to the missionaries, however, I will willingly admit, that
where-ever evils may have resulted from their collective mismanagement
of the business of the mission, and from the want of vital piety evinced
by some of their number, still the present deplorable condition of the
Sandwich Islands is by no means wholly chargeable against them. The
demoralizing influence of a dissolute foreign population, and the
frequent visits of all descriptions of vessels, have tended not a little
to increase the evils alluded to. In a word, here, as in every case
where civilization has in any way been introduced among those whom we
call savages, she has scattered her vices, and withheld her blessings.

As wise a man as Shakespeare has said, that the bearer of evil tidings
hath but a losing office; and so I suppose will it prove with me, in
communicating to the trusting friends of the Hawiian Mission what has
been disclosed in various portions of this narrative. I am persuaded,
however, that as these disclosures will by their very nature attract
attention, so they will lead to something which will not be without
ultimate benefit to the cause of Christianity in the Sandwich Islands.

I have but one more thing to add in connection with this subject--those
things which I have stated as facts will remain facts, in spite of
whatever the bigoted or incredulous may say or write against them. My
reflections, however, on those facts may not be free from error. If such
be the case, I claim no further indulgence than should be conceded to
every man whose object is to do good.



I HAVE already mentioned that the influence exerted over the people
of the valley by their chiefs was mild in the extreme; and as to any
general rule or standard of conduct by which the commonality were
governed in their intercourse with each other, so far as my observation
extended, I should be almost tempted to say, that none existed on the
island, except, indeed, the mysterious ‘Taboo’ be considered as such.
During the time I lived among the Typees, no one was ever put upon his
trial for any offence against the public. To all appearance there
were no courts of law or equity. There was no municipal police for the
purpose of apprehending vagrants and disorderly characters. In
short, there were no legal provisions whatever for the well-being and
conservation of society, the enlightened end of civilized legislation.
And yet everything went on in the valley with a harmony and smoothness
unparalleled, I will venture to assert, in the most select, refined, and
pious associations of mortals in Christendom. How are we to explain this
enigma? These islanders were heathens! savages! ay, cannibals! and how
came they without the aid of established law, to exhibit, in so eminent
a degree, that social order which is the greatest blessing and highest
pride of the social state?

It may reasonably be inquired, how were these people governed? how were
their passions controlled in their everyday transactions? It must have
been by an inherent principle of honesty and charity towards each other.
They seemed to be governed by that sort of tacit common-sense law which,
say what they will of the inborn lawlessness of the human race, has
its precepts graven on every breast. The grand principles of virtue and
honour, however they may be distorted by arbitrary codes, are the same
all the world over: and where these principles are concerned, the right
or wrong of any action appears the same to the uncultivated as to the
enlightened mind. It is to this indwelling, this universally diffused
perception of what is just and noble, that the integrity of the
Marquesans in their intercourse with each other, is to be attributed.
In the darkest nights they slept securely, with all their worldly wealth
around them, in houses the doors of which were never fastened. The
disquieting ideas of theft or assassination never disturbed them.

Each islander reposed beneath his own palmetto thatching, or sat under
his own bread-fruit trees, with none to molest or alarm him. There was
not a padlock in the valley, nor anything that answered the purpose
of one: still there was no community of goods. This long spear, so
elegantly carved, and highly polished, belongs to Wormoonoo: it is far
handsomer than the one which old Marheyo so greatly prizes; it is the
most valuable article belonging to its owner. And yet I have seen it
leaning against a cocoanut tree in the grove, and there it was found
when sought for. Here is a sperm-whale tooth, graven all over with
cunning devices: it is the property of Karluna; it is the most precious
of the damsel’s ornaments. In her estimation its price is far above
rubies--and yet there hangs the dental jewel by its cord of braided
bark, in the girl’s house, which is far back in the valley; the door is
left open, and all the inmates have gone off to bathe in the stream.*

*The strict honesty which the inhabitants of nearly all the Polynesian
Islands manifest toward each other, is in striking contrast with the
thieving propensities some of them evince in their intercourse with
foreigners. It would almost seem that, according to their peculiar code
of morals, the pilfering of a hatchet or a wrought nail from a European,
is looked upon as a praiseworthy action. Or rather, it may be presumed,
that bearing in mind the wholesale forays made upon them by their
nautical visitors, they consider the property of the latter as a fair
object of reprisal. This consideration, while it serves to reconcile an
apparent contradiction in the moral character of the islanders, should
in some measure alter that low opinion of it which the reader of South
Sea voyages is too apt to form.

So much for the respect in which ‘personal property’ is held in Typee;
how secure an investment of ‘real property’ may be, I cannot take upon
me to say. Whether the land of the valley was the joint property of its
inhabitants, or whether it was parcelled out among a certain number of
landed proprietors who allowed everybody to ‘squat’ and ‘poach’ as
much as he or she pleased, I never could ascertain. At any rate, musty
parchments and title-deeds there were none on the island; and I am half
inclined to believe that its inhabitants hold their broad valleys in fee
simple from Nature herself; to have and to hold, so long as grass grows
and water runs; or until their French visitors, by a summary mode of
conveyancing, shall appropriate them to their own benefit and behoof.

Yesterday I saw Kory-Kory hie him away, armed with a long pole, with
which, standing on the ground, he knocked down the fruit from the
topmost boughs of the trees, and brought them home in his basket of
cocoanut leaves. Today I see an islander, whom I know to reside in a
distant part of the valley, doing the self-same thing. On the sloping
bank of the stream are a number of banana-trees I have often seen a
score or two of young people making a merry foray on the great golden
clusters, and bearing them off, one after another, to different parts
of the vale, shouting and trampling as they went. No churlish old
curmudgeon could have been the owner of that grove of bread-fruit trees,
or of these gloriously yellow bunches of bananas.

From what I have said it will be perceived that there is a vast
difference between ‘personal property’ and ‘real estate’ in the valley
of Typee. Some individuals, of course, are more wealthy than others.
For example, the ridge-pole of Marheyo’s house bends under the weight of
many a huge packet of tappa; his long couch is laid with mats placed one
upon the other seven deep. Outside, Tinor has ranged along in her
bamboo cupboard--or whatever the place may be called--a goodly array of
calabashes and wooden trenchers. Now, the house just beyond the grove,
and next to Marheyo’s, occupied by Ruaruga, is not quite so well
furnished. There are only three moderate-sized packages swinging
overhead: there are only two layers of mats beneath; and the calabashes
and trenchers are not so numerous, nor so tastefully stained and carved.
But then, Ruaruga has a house--not so pretty a one, to be sure--but just
as commodious as Marheyo’s; and, I suppose, if he wished to vie with
his neighbour’s establishment, he could do so with very little trouble.
These, in short, constituted the chief differences perceivable in the
relative wealth of the people in Typee.

Civilization does not engross all the virtues of humanity: she has not
even her full share of them. They flourish in greater abundance and
attain greater strength among many barbarous people. The hospitality
of the wild Arab, the courage of the North American Indian, and the
faithful friendship of some of the Polynesian nations, far surpass
anything of a similar kind among the polished communities of Europe. If
truth and justice, and the better principles of our nature, cannot
exist unless enforced by the statute-book, how are we to account for the
social condition of the Typees? So pure and upright were they in all the
relations of life, that entering their valley, as I did, under the most
erroneous impressions of their character, I was soon led to exclaim in
amazement: ‘Are these the ferocious savages, the blood-thirsty cannibals
of whom I have heard such frightful tales! They deal more kindly with
each other, and are more humane than many who study essays on virtue and
benevolence, and who repeat every night that beautiful prayer breathed
first by the lips of the divine and gentle Jesus.’ I will frankly
declare that after passing a few weeks in this valley of the Marquesas,
I formed a higher estimate of human nature than I had ever before
entertained. But alas! since then I have been one of the crew of a
man-of-war, and the pent-up wickedness of five hundred men has nearly
overturned all my previous theories.

There was one admirable trait in the general character of the Typees
which, more than anything else, secured my admiration: it was the
unanimity of feeling they displayed on every occasion. With them
there hardly appeared to be any difference of opinion upon any subject
whatever. They all thought and acted alike. I do not conceive that they
could support a debating society for a single night: there would be
nothing to dispute about; and were they to call a convention to take
into consideration the state of the tribe, its session would be a
remarkably short one. They showed this spirit of unanimity in every
action of life; everything was done in concert and good fellowship. I
will give an instance of this fraternal feeling.

One day, in returning with Kory-Kory from my accustomed visit to the
Ti, we passed by a little opening in the grove; on one side of which,
my attendant informed me, was that afternoon to be built a dwelling of
bamboo. At least a hundred of the natives were bringing materials to the
ground, some carrying in their hands one or two of the canes which were
to form the sides, others slender rods of the habiscus, strung with
palmetto leaves, for the roof. Every one contributed something to the
work; and by the united, but easy, and even indolent, labours of all,
the entire work was completed before sunset. The islanders, while
employed in erecting this tenement, reminded me of a colony of beavers
at work. To be sure, they were hardly as silent and demure as those
wonderful creatures, nor were they by any means as diligent. To tell the
truth they were somewhat inclined to be lazy, but a perfect tumult of
hilarity prevailed; and they worked together so unitedly, and seemed
actuated by such an instinct of friendliness, that it was truly
beautiful to behold.

Not a single female took part in this employment: and if the degree of
consideration in which the ever-adorable sex is held by the men be--as
the philosophers affirm--a just criterion of the degree of refinement
among a people, then I may truly pronounce the Typees to be as polished
a community as ever the sun shone upon. The religious restrictions of
the taboo alone excepted, the women of the valley were allowed every
possible indulgence. Nowhere are the ladies more assiduously courted;
nowhere are they better appreciated as the contributors to our highest
enjoyments; and nowhere are they more sensible of their power. Far
different from their condition among many rude nations, where the women
are made to perform all the work while their ungallant lords and masters
lie buried in sloth, the gentle sex in the valley of Typee were exempt
from toil, if toil it might be called that, even in the tropical
climate, never distilled one drop of perspiration. Their light household
occupations, together with the manufacture of tappa, the platting of
mats, and the polishing of drinking-vessels, were the only employments
pertaining to the women. And even these resembled those pleasant
avocations which fill up the elegant morning leisure of our fashionable
ladies at home. But in these occupations, slight and agreeable though
they were, the giddy young girls very seldom engaged. Indeed these
wilful care-killing damsels were averse to all useful employment.

Like so many spoiled beauties, they ranged through the groves--bathed
in the stream--danced--flirted--played all manner of mischievous pranks,
and passed their days in one merry round of thoughtless happiness.

During my whole stay on the island I never witnessed a single quarrel,
nor anything that in the slightest degree approached even to a dispute.
The natives appeared to form one household, whose members were bound
together by the ties of strong affection. The love of kindred I did not
so much perceive, for it seemed blended in the general love; and where
all were treated as brothers and sisters, it was hard to tell who were
actually related to each other by blood.

Let it not be supposed that I have overdrawn this picture. I have
not done so. Nor let it be urged, that the hostility of this tribe
to foreigners, and the hereditary feuds they carry on against their
fellow-islanders beyond the mountains, are facts which contradict me.
Not so; these apparent discrepancies are easily reconciled. By many a
legendary tale of violence and wrong, as well as by events which have
passed before their eyes, these people have been taught to look upon
white men with abhorrence. The cruel invasion of their country by Porter
has alone furnished them with ample provocation; and I can sympathize
in the spirit which prompts the Typee warrior to guard all the passes to
his valley with the point of his levelled spear, and, standing upon
the beach, with his back turned upon his green home, to hold at bay the
intruding European.

As to the origin of the enmity of this particular clan towards the
neighbouring tribes, I cannot so confidently speak. I will not say that
their foes are the aggressors, nor will I endeavour to palliate their
conduct. But surely, if our evil passions must find vent, it is far
better to expend them on strangers and aliens, than in the bosom of
the community in which we dwell. In many polished countries civil
contentions, as well as domestic enmities, are prevalent, and the same
time that the most atrocious foreign wars are waged. How much less
guilty, then, are our islanders, who of these three sins are only
chargeable with one, and that the least criminal!

The reader will ere long have reason to suspect that the Typees are not
free from the guilt of cannibalism; and he will then, perhaps, charge me
with admiring a people against whom so odious a crime is chargeable. But
this only enormity in their character is not half so horrible as it
is usually described. According to the popular fictions, the crews of
vessels, shipwrecked on some barbarous coast, are eaten alive like so
many dainty joints by the uncivil inhabitants; and unfortunate voyagers
are lured into smiling and treacherous bays; knocked on the head with
outlandish war-clubs; and served up without any prelimary dressing. In
truth, so horrific and improbable are these accounts, that many sensible
and well-informed people will not believe that any cannibals exist; and
place every book of voyages which purports to give any account of them,
on the same shelf with Blue Beard and Jack the Giant-Killer. While
others, implicitly crediting the most extravagant fictions, firmly
believe that there are people in the world with tastes so depraved that
they would infinitely prefer a single mouthful of material humanity to
a good dinner of roast beef and plum pudding. But here, Truth, who loves
to be centrally located, is again found between the two extremes; for
cannibalism to a certain moderate extent is practised among several of
the primitive tribes in the Pacific, but it is upon the bodies of slain
enemies alone, and horrible and fearful as the custom is, immeasurably
as it is to be abhorred and condemned, still I assert that those who
indulge in it are in other respects humane and virtuous.



THERE was no instance in which the social and kindly dispositions of the
Typees were more forcibly evinced than in the manner the conducted their
great fishing parties. Four times during my stay in the valley the young
men assembled near the full of the moon, and went together on these
excursions. As they were generally absent about forty-eight hours, I was
led to believe that they went out towards the open sea, some distance
from the bay. The Polynesians seldom use a hook and line, almost always
employing large well-made nets, most ingeniously fabricated from the
twisted fibres of a certain bark. I examined several of them which had
been spread to dry upon the beach at Nukuheva. They resemble very much
our own seines, and I should think they were nearly as durable.

All the South Sea Islanders are passionately fond of fish; but none
of them can be more so than the inhabitants of Typee. I could not
comprehend, therefore, why they so seldom sought it in their waters, for
it was only at stated times that the fishing parties were formed, and
these occasions were always looked forward to with no small degree of

During their absence the whole population of the place were in a
ferment, and nothing was talked of but ‘pehee, pehee’ (fish, fish).
Towards the time when they were expected to return the vocal telegraph
was put into operation--the inhabitants, who were scattered throughout
the length of the valley, leaped upon rocks and into trees, shouting
with delight at the thoughts of the anticipated treat. As soon as the
approach of the party was announced, there was a general rush of the
men towards the beach; some of them remaining, however, about the Ti in
order to get matters in readiness for the reception of the fish, which
were brought to the Taboo Groves in immense packages of leaves, each one
of them being suspended from a pole carried on the shoulders of two men.

I was present at the Ti on one of these occasions, and the sight was
most interesting. After all the packages had arrived, they were laid in
a row under the verandah of the building and opened.

The fish were all quite small, generally about the size of a herring,
and of every variety. About one-eighth of the whole being reserved
for the use of the Ti itself, the remainder was divided into numerous
smaller packages, which were immediately dispatched in every direction
to the remotest parts of the valley. Arrived at their destination, these
were in turn portioned out, and equally distributed among the various
houses of each particular district. The fish were under a strict Taboo,
until the distribution was completed, which seemed to be effected in the
most impartial manner. By the operation of this system every man, woman,
and child in the vale, were at one and the same time partaking of this
favourite article of food.

Once I remember the party arrived at midnight; but the unseasonableness
of the tour did not repress the impatience of the islanders. The
carriers dispatched from the Ti were to be seen hurrying in all
directions through the deep groves; each individual preceded by a boy
bearing a flaming torch of dried cocoanut boughs, which from time to
time was replenished from the materials scattered along the path. The
wild glare of these enormous flambeaux, lighting up with a startling
brilliancy the innermost recesses of the vale, and seen moving rapidly
along beneath the canopy of leaves, the savage shout of the excited
messengers sounding the news of their approach, which was answered
on all sides, and the strange appearance of their naked bodies, seen
against the gloomy background, produced altogether an effect upon my
mind that I shall long remember.

It was on this same occasion that Kory-Kory awakened me at the dead
hour of night, and in a sort of transport communicated the intelligence
contained in the words ‘pehee perni’ (fish come). As I happened to have
been in a remarkably sound and refreshing slumber, I could not imagine
why the information had not been deferred until morning, indeed, I felt
very much inclined to fly into a passion and box my valet’s ears; but on
second thoughts I got quietly up, and on going outside the house was not
a little interested by the moving illumination which I beheld.

When old Marheyo received his share of the spoils, immediate
preparations were made for a midnight banquet; calabashes of poee-poee
were filled to the brim; green bread-fruit were roasted; and a huge cake
of ‘amar’ was cut up with a sliver of bamboo and laid out on an immense

At this supper we were lighted by several of the native tapers, held in
the hands of young girls. These tapers are most ingeniously made. There
is a nut abounding in the valley, called by the Typees ‘armor’, closely
resembling our common horse-chestnut. The shell is broken, and the
contents extracted whole. Any number of these are strung at pleasure
upon the long elastic fibre that traverses the branches of the cocoanut
tree. Some of these tapers are eight or ten feet in length; but being
perfectly flexible, one end is held in a coil, while the other is
lighted. The nut burns with a fitful bluish flame, and the oil that it
contains is exhausted in about ten minutes. As one burns down, the next
becomes ignited, and the ashes of the former are knocked into a cocoanut
shell kept for the purpose. This primitive candle requires continual
attention, and must be constantly held in the hand. The person so
employed marks the lapse of time by the number of nuts consumed, which
is easily learned by counting the bits of tappa distributed at regular
intervals along the string.

I grieve to state so distressing a fact, but the inhabitants of
Typee were in the habit of devouring fish much in the same way that
a civilized being would eat a radish, and without any more previous
preparation. They eat it raw; scales, bones, gills, and all the inside.
The fish is held by the tail, and the head being introduced into the
mouth, the animal disappears with a rapidity that would at first nearly
lead one to imagine it had been launched bodily down the throat.

Raw fish! Shall I ever forget my sensations when I first saw my island
beauty devour one. Oh, heavens! Fayaway, how could you ever have
contracted so vile a habit? However, after the first shock had subsided,
the custom grew less odious in my eyes, and I soon accustomed myself to
the sight. Let no one imagine, however, that the lovely Fayaway was in
the habit of swallowing great vulgar-looking fishes: oh, no; with her
beautiful small hand she would clasp a delicate, little, golden-hued
love of a fish and eat it as elegantly and as innocently as though it
were a Naples biscuit. But alas! it was after all a raw fish; and all I
can say is, that Fayaway ate it in a more ladylike manner than any other
girl of the valley.

When at Rome do as the Romans do, I held to be so good a proverb, that
being in Typee I made a point of doing as the Typees did. Thus I
ate poee-poee as they did; I walked about in a garb striking for its
simplicity; and I reposed on a community of couches; besides doing many
other things in conformity with their peculiar habits; but the farthest
I ever went in the way of conformity, was on several occasions to regale
myself with raw fish. These being remarkably tender, and quite small,
the undertaking was not so disagreeable in the main, and after a few
trials I positively began to relish them; however, I subjected them to a
slight operation with a knife previously to making my repast.



I THINK I must enlighten the reader a little about the natural history
of the valley.

Whence, in the name of Count Buffon and Baron Cuvier, came those dogs
that I saw in Typee? Dogs!--Big hairless rats rather; all with smooth,
shining speckled hides--fat sides, and very disagreeable faces. Whence
could they have come? That they were not the indigenous production of
the region, I am firmly convinced. Indeed they seemed aware of their
being interlopers, looking fairly ashamed, and always trying to hide
themselves in some dark corner. It was plain enough they did not feel at
home in the vale--that they wished themselves well out of it, and back
to the ugly country from which they must have come.

Scurvy curs! they were my abhorrence; I should have liked nothing
better than to have been the death of every one of them. In fact, on one
occasion, I intimated the propriety of a canine crusade to Mehevi; but
the benevolent king would not consent to it. He heard me very patiently;
but when I had finished, shook his head, and told me in confidence that
they were ‘taboo’.

As for the animal that made the fortune of the ex-lord-mayor
Whittington, I shall never forget the day that I was lying in the house
about noon, everybody else being fast asleep; and happening to raise
my eyes, met those of a big black spectral cat, which sat erect in the
doorway, looking at me with its frightful goggling green orbs, like one
of those monstrous imps that torment some of Teniers’ saints! I am one
of those unfortunate persons to whom the sight of these animals are, at
any time an insufferable annoyance.

Thus constitutionally averse to cats in general, the unexpected
apparition of this one in particular utterly confounded me. When I had
a little recovered from the fascination of its glance, I started up; the
cat fled, and emboldened by this, I rushed out of the house in pursuit;
but it had disappeared. It was the only time I ever saw one in the
valley, and how it got there I cannot imagine. It is just possible that
it might have escaped from one of the ships at Nukuheva. It was in vain
to seek information on the subject from the natives, since none of them
had seen the animal, the appearance of which remains a mystery to me to
this day.

Among the few animals which are to be met with in Typee, there was none
which I looked upon with more interest than a beautiful golden-hued
species of lizard. It measured perhaps five inches from head to tail,
and was most gracefully proportioned. Numbers of those creatures were
to be seen basking in the sunshine upon the thatching of the houses, and
multitudes at all hours of the day showed their glittering sides as they
ran frolicking between the spears of grass or raced in troops up and
down the tall shafts of the cocoanut trees. But the remarkable beauty
of these little animals and their lively ways were not their only claims
upon my admiration. They were perfectly tame and insensible to fear.
Frequently, after seating myself upon the ground in some shady place
during the heat of the day, I would be completely overrun with them.
If I brushed one off my arm, it would leap perhaps into my hair: when I
tried to frighten it away by gently pinching its leg, it would turn for
protection to the very hand that attacked it.

The birds are also remarkably tame. If you happened to see one perched
upon a branch within reach of your arm, and advanced towards it, it did
not fly away immediately, but waited quietly looking at you, until you
could almost touch it, and then took wing slowly, less alarmed at your
presence, it would seem, than desirous of removing itself from your
path. Had salt been less scarce in the valley than it was, this was the
very place to have gone birding with it. I remember that once, on an
uninhabited island of the Gallipagos, a bird alighted on my outstretched
arm, while its mate chirped from an adjoining tree. Its tameness, far
from shocking me, as a similar occurrence did Selkirk, imparted to
me the most exquisite thrill of delight I ever experienced, and with
somewhat of the same pleasure did I afterwards behold the birds and
lizards of the valley show their confidence in the kindliness of man.

Among the numerous afflictions which the Europeans have entailed upon
some of the natives of the South Seas, is the accidental introduction
among them of that enemy of all repose and ruffler of even tempers--the
Mosquito. At the Sandwich Islands and at two or three of the Society
group, there are now thriving colonies of these insects, who promise ere
long to supplant altogether the aboriginal sand-flies. They sting, buzz,
and torment, from one end of the year to the other, and by incessantly
exasperating the natives materially obstruct the benevolent labours of
the missionaries.

From this grievous visitation, however the Typees are as yet wholly
exempt; but its place is unfortunately in some degree supplied by the
occasional presence of a minute species of fly, which, without stinging,
is nevertheless productive of no little annoyance. The tameness of the
birds and lizards is as nothing when compared to the fearless confidence
of this insect. He will perch upon one of your eye-lashes, and go to
roost there if you do not disturb him, or force his way through your
hair, or along the cavity of the nostril, till you almost fancy he is
resolved to explore the very brain itself. On one occasion I was so
inconsiderate as to yawn while a number of them were hovering around
me. I never repeated the act. Some half-dozen darted into the open
apartment, and began walking about its ceiling; the sensation was
dreadful. I involuntarily closed my mouth, and the poor creatures being
enveloped in inner darkness, must in their consternation have stumbled
over my palate, and been precipitated into the gulf beneath. At any
rate, though I afterwards charitably held my mouth open for at least
five minutes, with a view of affording egress to the stragglers, none of
them ever availed themselves of the opportunity.

There are no wild animals of any kind on the island unless it be decided
that the natives themselves are such. The mountains and the interior
present to the eye nothing but silent solitudes, unbroken by the roar
of beasts of prey, and enlivened by few tokens even of minute animated
existence. There are no venomous reptiles, and no snakes of any
description to be found in any of the valleys.

In a company of Marquesan natives the weather affords no topic of
conversation. It can hardly be said to have any vicissitudes. The rainy
season, it is true, brings frequent showers, but they are intermitting
and refreshing. When an islander bound on some expedition rises from his
couch in the morning, he is never solicitous to peep out and see how the
sky looks, or ascertain from what quarter the wind blows. He is always
sure of a ‘fine day’, and the promise of a few genial showers he hails
with pleasure. There is never any of that ‘remarkable weather’ on the
islands which from time immemorial has been experienced in America, and
still continues to call forth the wondering conversational exclamations
of its elderly citizens. Nor do there even occur any of those eccentric
meteorological changes which elsewhere surprise us. In the valley of
Typee ice-creams would never be rendered less acceptable by sudden
frosts, nor would picnic parties be deferred on account of inauspicious
snowstorms: for there day follows day in one unvarying round of summer
and sunshine, and the whole year is one long tropical month of June just
melting into July.

It is this genial climate which causes the cocoanuts to flourish as they
do. This invaluable fruit, brought to perfection by the rich soil of the
Marquesas, and home aloft on a stately column more than a hundred feet
from the ground, would seem at first almost inaccessible to the simple
natives. Indeed the slender, smooth, and soaring shaft, without a single
limb or protuberance of any kind to assist one in mounting it, presents
an obstacle only to be overcome by the surprising agility and ingenuity
of the islanders. It might be supposed that their indolence would lead
them patiently to await the period when the ripened nuts, slowly parting
from their stems, fall one by one to the ground. This certainly would
be the case, were it not that the young fruit, encased in a soft green
husk, with the incipient meat adhering in a jelly-like pellicle to its
sides, and containing a bumper of the most delicious nectar, is what
they chiefly prize. They have at least twenty different terms to express
as many progressive stages in the growth of the nut. Many of them reject
the fruit altogether except at a particular period of its growth, which,
incredible as it may appear, they seemed to me to be able to ascertain
within an hour or two. Others are still more capricious in their
tastes; and after gathering together a heap of the nuts of all ages, and
ingeniously tapping them, will first sip from one and then from another,
as fastidiously as some delicate wine-bibber experimenting glass in hand
among his dusty demi-johns of different vintages.

Some of the young men, with more flexible frames than their comrades,
and perhaps with more courageous souls, had a way of walking up
the trunk of the cocoanut trees which to me seemed little less than
miraculous; and when looking at them in the act, I experienced that
curious perplexity a child feels when he beholds a fly moving feet
uppermost along a ceiling.

I will endeavour to describe the way in which Narnee, a noble young
chief, sometimes performed this feat for my peculiar gratification; but
his preliminary performances must also be recorded. Upon my signifying
my desire that he should pluck me the young fruit of some particular
tree, the handsome savage, throwing himself into a sudden attitude of
surprise, feigns astonishment at the apparent absurdity of the request.
Maintaining this position for a moment, the strange emotions depicted on
his countenance soften down into one of humorous resignation to my will,
and then looking wistfully up to the tufted top of the tree, he
stands on tip-toe, straining his neck and elevating his arm, as though
endeavouring to reach the fruit from the ground where he stands. As
if defeated in this childish attempt, he now sinks to the earth
despondingly, beating his breast in well-acted despair; and then,
starting to his feet all at once, and throwing back his head, raises
both hands, like a school-boy about to catch a falling ball. After
continuing this for a moment or two, as if in expectation that the fruit
was going to be tossed down to him by some good spirit in the tree-top,
he turns wildly round in another fit of despair, and scampers off to the
distance of thirty or forty yards. Here he remains awhile, eyeing the
tree, the very picture of misery; but the next moment, receiving, as it
were, a flash of inspiration, he rushes again towards it, and clasping
both arms about the trunk, with one elevated a little above the other,
he presses the soles of his feet close together against the tree,
extending his legs from it until they are nearly horizontal, and his
body becomes doubled into an arch; then, hand over hand and foot over
foot, he rises from the earth with steady rapidity, and almost before
you are aware of it, has gained the cradled and embowered nest of nuts,
and with boisterous glee flings the fruit to the ground.

This mode of walking the tree is only practicable where the trunk
declines considerably from the perpendicular. This, however, is almost
always the case; some of the perfectly straight shafts of the trees
leaning at an angle of thirty degrees.

The less active among the men, and many of the children of the valley
have another method of climbing. They take a broad and stout piece of
bark, and secure each end of it to their ankles, so that when the feet
thus confined are extended apart, a space of little more than twelve
inches is left between them. This contrivance greatly facilitates
the act of climbing. The band pressed against the tree, and closely
embracing it, yields a pretty firm support; while with the arms clasped
about the trunk, and at regular intervals sustaining the body, the feet
are drawn up nearly a yard at a time, and a corresponding elevation of
the hands immediately succeeds. In this way I have seen little children,
scarcely five years of age, fearlessly climbing the slender pole of
a young cocoanut tree, and while hanging perhaps fifty feet from the
ground, receiving the plaudits of their parents beneath, who clapped
their hands, and encouraged them to mount still higher.

What, thought I, on first witnessing one of these exhibitions, would
the nervous mothers of America and England say to a similar display of
hardihood in any of their children? The Lacedemonian nation might have
approved of it, but most modern dames would have gone into hysterics at
the sight.

At the top of the cocoanut tree the numerous branches, radiating on
all sides from a common centre, form a sort of green and waving
basket, between the leaflets of which you just discern the nuts thickly
clustering together, and on the loftier trees looking no bigger from
the ground than bunches of grapes. I remember one adventurous little
fellow--Too-Too was the rascal’s name--who had built himself a sort of
aerial baby-house in the picturesque tuft of a tree adjoining Marheyo’s
habitation. He used to spend hours there,--rustling among the branches,
and shouting with delight every time the strong gusts of wind rushing
down from the mountain side, swayed to and fro the tall and flexible
column on which he was perched. Whenever I heard Too-Too’s musical voice
sounding strangely to the ear from so great a height, and beheld him
peeping down upon me from out his leafy covert, he always recalled to my
mind Dibdin’s lines--

    ‘There’s a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
     To look out for the life of poor Jack.’

Birds--bright and beautiful birds--fly over the valley of Typee. You
see them perched aloft among the immovable boughs of the majestic
bread-fruit trees, or gently swaying on the elastic branches of the
Omoo; skimming over the palmetto thatching of the bamboo huts; passing
like spirits on the wing through the shadows of the grove, and sometimes
descending into the bosom of the valley in gleaming flights from the
mountains. Their plumage is purple and azure, crimson and white, black
and gold; with bills of every tint: bright bloody red, jet black, and
ivory white, and their eyes are bright and sparkling; they go sailing
through the air in starry throngs; but, alas! the spell of dumbness is
upon them all--there is not a single warbler in the valley!

I know not why it was, but the sight of these birds, generally the
ministers of gladness, always oppressed me with melancholy. As in their
dumb beauty they hovered by me whilst I was walking, or looked down upon
me with steady curious eyes from out the foliage, I was almost inclined
to fancy that they knew they were gazing upon a stranger, and that they
commiserated his fate.



IN one of my strolls with Kory-Kory, in passing along the border of a
thick growth of bushes, my attention was arrested by a singular noise.
On entering the thicket I witnessed for the first time the operation of
tattooing as performed by these islanders.

I beheld a man extended flat upon his back on the ground, and, despite
the forced composure of his countenance, it was evident that he was
suffering agony. His tormentor bent over him, working away for all the
world like a stone-cutter with mallet and chisel. In one hand he held a
short slender stick, pointed with a shark’s tooth, on the upright end of
which he tapped with a small hammer-like piece of wood, thus puncturing
the skin, and charging it with the colouring matter in which the
instrument was dipped. A cocoanut shell containing this fluid was placed
upon the ground. It is prepared by mixing with a vegetable juice the
ashes of the ‘armor’, or candle-nut, always preserved for the purpose.
Beside the savage, and spread out upon a piece of soiled tappa, were
a great number of curious black-looking little implements of bone and
wood, used in the various divisions of his art. A few terminated in a
single fine point, and, like very delicate pencils, were employed in
giving the finishing touches, or in operating upon the more sensitive
portions of the body, as was the case in the present instance. Others
presented several points distributed in a line, somewhat resembling the
teeth of a saw. These were employed in the coarser parts of the work,
and particularly in pricking in straight marks. Some presented their
points disposed in small figures, and being placed upon the body,
were, by a single blow of the hammer, made to leave their indelible
impression. I observed a few the handles of which were mysteriously
curved, as if intended to be introduced into the orifice of the ear,
with a view perhaps of beating the tattoo upon the tympanum. Altogether
the sight of these strange instruments recalled to mind that display
of cruel-looking mother-of-pearl-handled things which one sees in their
velvet-lined cases at the elbow of a dentist.

The artist was not at this time engaged on an original sketch, his
subject being a venerable savage, whose tattooing had become somewhat
faded with age and needed a few repairs, and accordingly he was merely
employed in touching up the works of some of the old masters of the
Typee school, as delineated upon the human canvas before him. The parts
operated upon were the eyelids, where a longitudinal streak, like the
one which adorned Kory-Kory, crossed the countenance of the victim.

In spite of all the efforts of the poor old man, sundry twitchings and
screwings of the muscles of the face denoted the exquisite sensibility
of these shutters to the windows of his soul, which he was now having
repainted. But the artist, with a heart as callous as that of an army
surgeon, continued his performance, enlivening his labours with a wild
chant, tapping away the while as merrily as a woodpecker.

So deeply engaged was he in his work, that he had not observed our
approach, until, after having, enjoyed an unmolested view of the
operation, I chose to attract his attention. As soon as he perceived me,
supposing that I sought him in his professional capacity, he seized hold
of me in a paroxysm of delight, and was an eagerness to begin the work.
When, however, I gave him to understand that he had altogether mistaken
my views, nothing could exceed his grief and disappointment. But
recovering from this, he seemed determined not to credit my assertion,
and grasping his implements, he flourished them about in fearful
vicinity to my face, going through an imaginary performance of his art,
and every moment bursting into some admiring exclamation at the beauty
of his designs.

Horrified at the bare thought of being rendered hideous for life if the
wretch were to execute his purpose upon me, I struggled to get away
from him, while Kory-Kory, turning traitor, stood by, and besought me
to comply with the outrageous request. On my reiterated refusals the
excited artist got half beside himself, and was overwhelmed with sorrow
at losing so noble an opportunity of distinguishing himself in his

The idea of engrafting his tattooing upon my white skin filled him
with all a painter’s enthusiasm; again and again he gazed into my
countenance, and every fresh glimpse seemed to add to the vehemence
of his ambition. Not knowing to what extremities he might proceed,
and shuddering at the ruin he might inflict upon my figure-head, I now
endeavoured to draw off his attention from it, and holding out my arm
in a fit of desperation, signed to him to commence operations. But he
rejected the compromise indignantly, and still continued his attack on
my face, as though nothing short of that would satisfy him. When his
forefinger swept across my features, in laying out the borders of those
parallel bands which were to encircle my countenance, the flesh fairly
crawled upon my bones. At last, half wild with terror and indignation, I
succeeded in breaking away from the three savages, and fled towards old
Marheyo’s house, pursued by the indomitable artist, who ran after me,
implements in hand. Kory-Kory, however, at last interfered and drew him
off from the chase.

This incident opened my eyes to a new danger; and I now felt convinced
that in some luckless hour I should be disfigured in such a manner as
never more to have the FACE to return to my countrymen, even should an
opportunity offer.

These apprehensions were greatly increased by the desire which King
Mehevi and several of the inferior chiefs now manifested that I should
be tattooed. The pleasure of the king was first signified to me some
three days after my casual encounter with Karky the artist. Heavens!
what imprecations I showered upon that Karky. Doubtless he had plotted a
conspiracy against me and my countenance, and would never rest until his
diabolical purpose was accomplished. Several times I met him in various
parts of the valley, and, invariably, whenever he descried me, he came
running after me with his mallet and chisel, flourishing them about my
face as if he longed to begin. What an object he would have made of me!

When the king first expressed his wish to me, I made known to him my
utter abhorrence of the measure, and worked myself into such a state of
excitement, that he absolutely stared at me in amazement. It evidently
surpassed his majesty’s comprehension how any sober-minded and
sensible individual could entertain the least possible objection to so
beautifying an operation.

Soon afterwards he repeated his suggestion, and meeting with a little
repulse, showed some symptoms of displeasure at my obduracy. On his a
third time renewing his request, I plainly perceived that something must
be done, or my visage was ruined for ever; I therefore screwed up my
courage to the sticking point, and declared my willingness to have both
arms tattooed from just above the wrist to the shoulder. His majesty was
greatly pleased at the proposition, and I was congratulating myself with
having thus compromised the matter, when he intimated that as a thing of
course my face was first to undergo the operation. I was fairly driven
to despair; nothing but the utter ruin of my ‘face divine’, as the
poets call it, would, I perceived, satisfy the inexorable Mehevi and his
chiefs, or rather, that infernal Karky, for he was at the bottom of it

The only consolation afforded me was a choice of patterns: I was at
perfect liberty to have my face spanned by three horizontal bars, after
the fashion of my serving-man’s; or to have as many oblique stripes
slanting across it; or if, like a true courtier, I chose to model my
style on that of royalty, I might wear a sort of freemason badge upon
my countenance in the shape of a mystic triangle. However, I would have
none of these, though the king most earnestly impressed upon my mind
that my choice was wholly unrestricted. At last, seeing my unconquerable
repugnance, he ceased to importune me.

But not so some other of the savages. Hardly a day passed but I was
subjected to their annoying requests, until at last my existence
became a burden to me; the pleasures I had previously enjoyed no longer
afforded me delight, and all my former desire to escape from the valley
now revived with additional force.

A fact which I soon afterwards learned augmented my apprehension. The
whole system of tattooing was, I found, connected with their religion;
and it was evident, therefore, that they were resolved to make a convert
of me.

In the decoration of the chiefs it seems to be necessary to exercise the
most elaborate pencilling; while some of the inferior natives looked
as if they had been daubed over indiscriminately with a house-painter’s
brush. I remember one fellow who prided himself hugely upon a great
oblong patch, placed high upon his back, and who always reminded me of
a man with a blister of Spanish flies, stuck between his shoulders.
Another whom I frequently met had the hollow of his eyes tattooed in two
regular squares and his visual organs being remarkably brilliant, they
gleamed forth from out this setting like a couple of diamonds inserted
in ebony.

Although convinced that tattooing was a religious observance, still the
nature of the connection between it and the superstitious idolatry of
the people was a point upon which I could never obtain any information.
Like the still more important system of the ‘Taboo’, it always appeared
inexplicable to me.

There is a marked similarity, almost an identity, between the religious
institutions of most of the Polynesian islands, and in all exists the
mysterious ‘Taboo’, restricted in its uses to a greater or less extent.
So strange and complex in its arrangements is this remarkable system,
that I have in several cases met with individuals who, after residing
for years among the islands in the Pacific, and acquiring a considerable
knowledge of the language, have nevertheless been altogether unable to
give any satisfactory account of its operations. Situated as I was
in the Typee valley, I perceived every hour the effects of this
all-controlling power, without in the least comprehending it. Those
effects were, indeed, wide-spread and universal, pervading the most
important as well as the minutest transactions of life. The savage, in
short, lives in the continual observance of its dictates, which guide
and control every action of his being.

For several days after entering the valley I had been saluted at least
fifty times in the twenty-four hours with the talismanic word ‘Taboo’
shrieked in my ears, at some gross violation of its provisions, of which
I had unconsciously been guilty. The day after our arrival I happened to
hand some tobacco to Toby over the head of a native who sat between
us. He started up, as if stung by an adder; while the whole company,
manifesting an equal degree of horror, simultaneously screamed out
‘Taboo!’ I never again perpetrated a similar piece of ill-manners,
which, indeed, was forbidden by the canons of good breeding, as well as
by the mandates of the taboo. But it was not always so easy to perceive
wherein you had contravened the spirit of this institution. I was many
times called to order, if I may use the phrase, when I could not for the
life of me conjecture what particular offence I had committed.

One day I was strolling through a secluded portion of the valley, and
hearing the musical sound of the cloth-mallet at a little distance, I
turned down a path that conducted me in a few moments to a house where
there were some half-dozen girls employed in making tappa. This was an
operation I had frequently witnessed, and had handled the bark in all
the various stages of its preparation. On the present occasion the
females were intent upon their occupation, and after looking up and
talking gaily to me for a few moments, they resumed their employment. I
regarded them for a while in silence, and then carelessly picking up a
handful of the material that lay around, proceeded unconsciously to pick
it apart. While thus engaged, I was suddenly startled by a scream, like
that of a whole boarding-school of young ladies just on the point of
going into hysterics. Leaping up with the idea of seeing a score of
Happar warriors about to perform anew the Sabine atrocity, I found
myself confronted by the company of girls, who, having dropped their
work, stood before me with starting eyes, swelling bosoms, and fingers
pointed in horror towards me.

Thinking that some venomous reptile must be concealed in the bark which
I held in my hand, I began cautiously to separate and examine it. Whilst
I did so the horrified girls re-doubled their shrieks. Their wild cries
and frightened motions actually alarmed me, and throwing down the tappa,
I was about to rush from the house, when in the same instant their
clamours ceased, and one of them, seizing me by the arm, pointed to the
broken fibres that had just fallen from my grasp, and screamed in my
ears the fatal word Taboo!

I subsequently found out that the fabric they were engaged in making was
of a peculiar kind, destined to be worn on the heads of the females, and
through every stage of its manufacture was guarded by a rigorous taboo,
which interdicted the whole masculine gender from even so much as
touching it.

Frequently in walking through the groves I observed bread-fruit and
cocoanut trees, with a wreath of leaves twined in a peculiar fashion
about their trunks. This was the mark of the taboo. The trees
themselves, their fruit, and even the shadows they cast upon the ground,
were consecrated by its presence. In the same way a pipe, which the king
had bestowed upon me, was rendered sacred in the eyes of the natives,
none of whom could I ever prevail upon to smoke from it. The bowl was
encircled by a woven band of grass, somewhat resembling those Turks’
heads occasionally worked in the handles of our whip-stalks.

A similar badge was once braided about my wrist by the royal hand
of Mehevi himself, who, as soon as he had concluded the operation,
pronounced me ‘Taboo’. This occurred shortly after Toby’s disappearance;
and, were it not that from the first moment I had entered the valley
the natives had treated me with uniform kindness, I should have supposed
that their conduct afterwards was to be ascribed to the fact that I had
received this sacred investiture.

The capricious operations of the taboo are not its least remarkable
feature: to enumerate them all would be impossible. Black hogs--infants
to a certain age--women in an interesting situation--young men while the
operation of tattooing their faces is going on--and certain parts of the
valley during the continuance of a shower--are alike fenced about by the
operation of the taboo.

I witnessed a striking instance of its effects in the bay of Tior,
my visit to which place has been alluded to in a former part of this
narrative. On that occasion our worthy captain formed one of the party.
He was a most insatiable sportsman. Outward bound, and off the pitch of
Cape Horn, he used to sit on the taffrail, and keep the steward loading
three or four old fowling pieces, with which he would bring down
albatrosses, Cape pigeons, jays, petrels, and divers other marine fowl,
who followed chattering in our wake. The sailors were struck aghast at
his impiety, and one and all attributed our forty days’ beating about
that horrid headland to his sacrilegious slaughter of these inoffensive

At Tior he evinced the same disregard for the religious prejudices of
the islanders, as he had previously shown for the superstitions of the
sailors. Having heard that there were a considerable number of fowls in
the valley the progeny of some cocks and hens accidentally left there by
an English vessel, and which, being strictly tabooed, flew about almost
in a wild state--he determined to break through all restraints, and
be the death of them. Accordingly, he provided himself with a most
formidable looking gun, and announced his landing on the beach by
shooting down a noble cock that was crowing what proved to be his own
funeral dirge, on the limb of an adjoining tree. ‘Taboo’, shrieked the
affrighted savages. ‘Oh, hang your taboo,’ says the nautical sportsman;
‘talk taboo to the marines’; and bang went the piece again, and down
came another victim. At this the natives ran scampering through the
groves, horror-struck at the enormity of the act.

All that afternoon the rocky sides of the valley rang with successive
reports, and the superb plumage of many a beautiful fowl was ruffled by
the fatal bullet. Had it not been that the French admiral, with a large
party, was then in the glen, I have no doubt that the natives, although
their tribe was small and dispirited, would have inflicted summary
vengeance upon the man who thus outraged their most sacred institutions;
as it was, they contrived to annoy him not a little.

Thirsting with his exertions, the skipper directed his steps to
a stream; but the savages, who had followed at a little distance,
perceiving his object, rushed towards him and forced him away from its
bank--his lips would have polluted it. Wearied at last, he sought to
enter a house that he might rest for a while on the mats; its inmates
gathered tumultuously about the door and denied him admittance. He
coaxed and blustered by turns, but in vain; the natives were neither
to be intimidated nor appeased, and as a final resort he was obliged
to call together his boat’s crew, and pull away from what he termed the
most infernal place he ever stepped upon.

Lucky was it for him and for us that we were not honoured on our
departure by a salute of stones from the hands of the exasperated Tiors.
In this way, on the neighbouring island of Ropo, were killed, but a few
weeks previously, and for a nearly similar offence, the master and three
of the crew of the K---.

I cannot determine with anything approaching to certainty, what power
it is that imposes the taboo. When I consider the slight disparity
of condition among the islanders--the very limited and inconsiderable
prerogatives of the king and chiefs--and the loose and indefinite
functions of the priesthood, most of whom were hardly to be
distinguished from the rest of their countrymen, I am wholly at a loss
where to look for the authority which regulates this potent institution.
It is imposed upon something today, and withdrawn tomorrow; while its
operations in other cases are perpetual. Sometimes its restrictions only
affect a single individual--sometimes a particular family--sometimes
a whole tribe; and in a few instances they extend not merely over the
various clans on a single island, but over all the inhabitants of an
entire group. In illustration of this latter peculiarity, I may cite
the law which forbids a female to enter a canoe--a prohibition which
prevails upon all the northern Marquesas Islands.

The word itself (taboo) is used in more than one signification. It
is sometimes used by a parent to his child, when in the exercise
of parental authority he forbids it to perform a particular action.
Anything opposed to the ordinary customs of the islanders, although not
expressly prohibited, is said to be ‘taboo’.

The Typee language is one very difficult to be acquired; it bears a
close resemblance to the other Polynesian dialects, all of which show a
common origin. The duplication of words, as ‘lumee lumee’, ‘poee poee’,
‘muee muee’, is one of their peculiar features. But another, and a more
annoying one, is the different senses in which one and the same word is
employed; its various meanings all have a certain connection, which
only makes the matter more puzzling. So one brisk, lively little word
is obliged, like a servant in a poor family, to perform all sorts of
duties; for instance, one particular combination of syllables expresses
the ideas of sleep, rest, reclining, sitting, leaning, and all other
things anywise analogous thereto, the particular meaning being shown
chiefly by a variety of gestures and the eloquent expression of the

The intricacy of these dialects is another peculiarity. In the
Missionary College at Lahainaluna, on Mowee, one of the Sandwich
Islands, I saw a tabular exhibition of a Hawiian verb, conjugated
through all its moods and tenses. It covered the side of a considerable
apartment, and I doubt whether Sir William Jones himself would not have
despaired of mastering it.



SADLY discursive as I have already been, I must still further entreat
the reader’s patience, as I am about to string together, without any
attempt at order, a few odds and ends of things not hitherto mentioned,
but which are either curious in themselves or peculiar to the Typees.

There was one singular custom observed in old Marheyo’s domestic
establishment, which often excited my surprise. Every night, before
retiring, the inmates of the house gathered together on the mats, and
so squatting upon their haunches, after the universal practice of
these islanders, would commence a low, dismal and monotonous chant,
accompanying the voice with the instrumental melody produced by two
small half-rotten sticks tapped slowly together, a pair of which
were held in the hands of each person present. Thus would they employ
themselves for an hour or two, sometimes longer. Lying in the gloom
which wrapped the further end of the house, I could not avoid looking
at them, although the spectacle suggested nothing but unpleasant
reflection. The flickering rays of the ‘armor’ nut just served to reveal
their savage lineaments, without dispelling the darkness that hovered
about them.

Sometimes when, after falling into a kind of doze, and awaking suddenly
in the midst of these doleful chantings, my eye would fall upon the
wild-looking group engaged in their strange occupation, with their naked
tattooed limbs, and shaven heads disposed in a circle, I was almost
tempted to believe that I gazed upon a set of evil beings in the act of
working at a frightful incantation.

What was the meaning or purpose of this custom, whether it was practiced
merely as a diversion, or whether it was a religious exercise, a sort of
family prayers, I never could discover.

The sounds produced by the natives on these occasions were of a most
singular description; and had I not actually been present, I never would
have believed that such curious noises could have been produced by human

To savages generally is imputed a guttural articulation. This however,
is not always the case, especially among the inhabitants of the
Polynesian Archipelago. The labial melody with which the Typee girls
carry on an ordinary conversation, giving a musical prolongation to the
final syllable of every sentence, and chirping out some of the words
with a liquid, bird-like accent, was singularly pleasing.

The men however, are not quite so harmonious in their utterance, and
when excited upon any subject, would work themselves up into a sort of
wordy paroxysm, during which all descriptions of rough-sided sounds
were projected from their mouths, with a force and rapidity which was
absolutely astonishing.

      . . . . .  .  .  .

Although these savages are remarkably fond of chanting, still they
appear to have no idea whatever of singing, at least as the art is
practised in other nations.

I shall never forget the first time I happened to roar out a stave
in the presence of noble Mehevi. It was a stanza from the ‘Bavarian
broom-seller’. His Typeean majesty, with all his court, gazed upon me in
amazement, as if I had displayed some preternatural faculty which Heaven
had denied to them. The King was delighted with the verse; but the
chorus fairly transported him. At his solicitation I sang it again and
again, and nothing could be more ludicrous than his vain attempts to
catch the air and the words. The royal savage seemed to think that by
screwing all the features of his face into the end of his nose he
might possibly succeed in the undertaking, but it failed to answer the
purpose; and in the end he gave it up, and consoled himself by listening
to my repetition of the sounds fifty times over.

Previous to Mehevi’s making the discovery, I had never been aware that
there was anything of the nightingale about me; but I was now promoted
to the place of court-minstrel, in which capacity I was afterwards
perpetually called upon to officiate.

      . . . . .  .  .  .

Besides the sticks and the drums, there are no other musical instruments
among the Typees, except one which might appropriately be denominated a
nasal flute. It is somewhat longer than an ordinary fife; is made of
a beautiful scarlet-coloured reed; and has four or five stops, with
a large hole near one end, which latter is held just beneath the left
nostril. The other nostril being closed by a peculiar movement of the
muscles about the nose, the breath is forced into the tube, and produces
a soft dulcet sound which is varied by the fingers running at random
over the stops. This is a favourite recreation with the females and one
in which Fayaway greatly excelled. Awkward as such an instrument may
appear, it was, in Fayaway’s delicate little hands, one of the most
graceful I have ever seen. A young lady, in the act of tormenting a
guitar strung about her neck by a couple of yards of blue ribbon, is not
half so engaging.

      . . . . .  .  .  .

Singing was not the only means I possessed of diverting the royal Mehevi
and his easy-going subject. Nothing afforded them more pleasure than to
see me go through the attitude of pugilistic encounter. As not one of
the natives had soul enough in him to stand up like a man, and allow me
to hammer away at him, for my own personal gratification and that of
the king, I was necessitated to fight with an imaginary enemy, whom I
invariably made to knock under to my superior prowess. Sometimes when
this sorely battered shadow retreated precipitately towards a group of
the savages, and, following him up, I rushed among them dealing my
blows right and left, they would disperse in all directions much to the
enjoyment of Mehevi, the chiefs, and themselves.

The noble art of self-defence appeared to be regarded by them as the
peculiar gift of the white man; and I make little doubt that they
supposed armies of Europeans were drawn up provided with nothing else
but bony fists and stout hearts, with which they set to in column, and
pummelled one another at the word of command.

      . . . . .  .  .  .

One day, in company with Kory-Kory, I had repaired to the stream for the
purpose of bathing, when I observed a woman sitting upon a rock in
the midst of the current, and watching with the liveliest interest the
gambols of something, which at first I took to be an uncommonly large
species of frog that was sporting in the water near her. Attracted by
the novelty of the sight, I waded towards the spot where she sat, and
could hardly credit the evidence of my senses when I beheld a little
infant, the period of whose birth could not have extended back many
days, paddling about as if it had just risen to the surface, after being
hatched into existence at the bottom. Occasionally, the delighted parent
reached out her hand towards it, when the little thing, uttering a faint
cry, and striking out its tiny limbs, would sidle for the rock, and the
next moment be clasped to its mother’s bosom. This was repeated again
and again, the baby remaining in the stream about a minute at a time.
Once or twice it made wry faces at swallowing a mouthful of water, and
choked a spluttered as if on the point of strangling. At such times
however, the mother snatched it up and by a process scarcely to be
mentioned obliged it to eject the fluid. For several weeks afterwards
I observed this woman bringing her child down to the stream regularly
every day, in the cool of the morning and evening and treating it to a
bath. No wonder that the South Sea Islanders are so amphibious a race,
when they are thus launched into the water as soon as they see the
light. I am convinced that it is as natural for a human being to swim as
it is for a duck. And yet in civilized communities how many able-bodied
individuals die, like so many drowning kittens, from the occurrence of
the most trivial accidents!

       . . . . .  .  .  .

The long luxuriant and glossy tresses of the Typee damsels often
attracted my admiration. A fine head of hair is the pride and joy of
every woman’s heart. Whether against the express will of Providence, it
is twisted upon the crown of the head and there coiled away like a rope
on a ship’s deck; whether it be stuck behind the ears and hangs down
like the swag of a small window-curtain; or whether it be permitted to
flow over the shoulders in natural ringlets, it is always the pride of
the owner, and the glory of the toilette.

The Typee girls devote much of their time to the dressing of their fair
and redundant locks. After bathing, as they sometimes do five or six
times every day, the hair is carefully dried, and if they have been in
the sea, invariably washed in fresh water, and anointed with a highly
scented oil extracted from the meat of the cocoanut. This oil is
obtained in great abundance by the following very simple process:

A large vessel of wood, with holes perforated in the bottom, is filled
with the pounded meat, and exposed to the rays of the sun. As the
oleaginous matter exudes, it falls in drops through the apertures into a
wide-mouthed calabash placed underneath. After a sufficient quantity has
thus been collected, the oil undergoes a purifying process, and is then
poured into the small spherical shells of the nuts of the moo-tree,
which are hollowed out to receive it. These nuts are then hermetically
sealed with a resinous gum, and the vegetable fragrance of their green
rind soon imparts to the oil a delightful odour. After the lapse of a
few weeks the exterior shell of the nuts becomes quite dry and hard, and
assumes a beautiful carnation tint; and when opened they are found to
be about two-thirds full of an ointment of a light yellow colour and
diffusing the sweetest perfume. This elegant little odorous globe would
not be out of place even upon the toilette of a queen. Its merits as a
preparation for the hair are undeniable--it imparts to it a superb gloss
and a silky fineness.



FROM the time of my casual encounter with Karky the artist, my life was
one of absolute wretchedness. Not a day passed but I was persecuted by
the solicitations of some of the natives to subject myself to the odious
operation of tattooing. Their importunities drove me half wild, for I
felt how easily they might work their will upon me regarding this or
anything else which they took into their heads. Still, however, the
behaviour of the islanders towards me was as kind as ever. Fayaway was
quite as engaging; Kory-Kory as devoted; and Mehevi the king just as
gracious and condescending as before. But I had now been three months in
their valley, as nearly as I could estimate; I had grown familiar with
the narrow limits to which my wandering had been confined; and I began
bitterly to feel the state of captivity in which I was held. There
was no one with whom I could freely converse; no one to whom I could
communicate my thoughts; no one who could sympathize with my sufferings.
A thousand times I thought how much more endurable would have been my
lot had Toby still been with me. But I was left alone, and the thought
was terrible to me. Still, despite my griefs, I did all in my power
to appear composed and cheerful, well knowing that by manifesting any
uneasiness, or any desire to escape, I should only frustrate my object.

It was during the period I was in this unhappy frame of mind that the
painful malady under which I had been labouring--after having almost
completely subsided--began again to show itself, and with symptoms as
violent as ever. This added calamity nearly unmanned me; the recurrence
of the complaint proved that without powerful remedial applications
all hope of cure was futile; and when I reflected that just beyond the
elevations, which bound me in, was the medical relief I needed, and that
although so near, it was impossible for me to avail myself of it, the
thought was misery.

In this wretched situation, every circumstance which evinced the
savage nature of the beings at whose mercy I was, augmented the fearful
apprehensions that consumed me. An occurrence which happened about this
time affected me most powerfully.

I have already mentioned that from the ridge-pole of Marheyo’s house
were suspended a number of packages enveloped in tappa. Many of these I
had often seen in the hands of the natives, and their contents had been
examined in my presence. But there were three packages hanging
very nearly over the place where I lay, which from their remarkable
appearance had often excited my curiosity. Several times I had asked
Kory-Kory to show me their contents, but my servitor, who, in almost
every other particular had acceded to my wishes, refused to gratify me
in this.

One day, returning unexpectedly from the ‘Ti’, my arrival seemed to
throw the inmates of the house into the greatest confusion. They were
seated together on the mats, and by the lines which extended from the
roof to the floor I immediately perceived that the mysterious packages
were for some purpose or another under inspection. The evident alarm
the savages betrayed filled me with forebodings of evil, and with an
uncontrollable desire to penetrate the secret so jealously guarded.
Despite the efforts of Marheyo and Kory-Kory to restrain me, I forced
my way into the midst of the circle, and just caught a glimpse of three
human heads, which others of the party were hurriedly enveloping in the
coverings from which they had been taken.

One of the three I distinctly saw. It was in a state of perfect
preservation, and from the slight glimpse I had of it, seemed to have
been subjected to some smoking operation which had reduced it to the
dry, hard, and mummy-like appearance it presented. The two long scalp
locks were twisted up into balls upon the crown of the head in the same
way that the individual had worn them during life. The sunken cheeks
were rendered yet more ghastly by the rows of glistening teeth which
protruded from between the lips, while the sockets of the eyes--filled
with oval bits of mother-of-pearl shell, with a black spot in the
centre--heightened the hideousness of its aspect.

Two of the three were heads of the islanders; but the third, to my
horror, was that of a white man. Although it had been quickly removed
from my sight, still the glimpse I had of it was enough to convince me
that I could not be mistaken.

Gracious God! what dreadful thoughts entered my head; in solving this
mystery perhaps I had solved another, and the fate of my lost companion
might be revealed in the shocking spectacle I had just witnessed. I
longed to have torn off the folds of cloth and satisfied the awful
doubts under which I laboured. But before I had recovered from the
consternation into which I had been thrown, the fatal packages were
hoisted aloft, and once more swung over my head. The natives now
gathered round me tumultuously, and laboured to convince me that what
I had just seen were the heads of three Happar warriors, who had been
slain in battle. This glaring falsehood added to my alarm, and it was
not until I reflected that I had observed the packages swinging from
their elevation before Toby’s disappearance, that I could at all recover
my composure.

But although this horrible apprehension had been dispelled, I had
discovered enough to fill me, in my present state of mind, with the most
bitter reflections. It was plain that I had seen the last relic of some
unfortunate wretch, who must have been massacred on the beach by the
savages, in one of those perilous trading adventures which I have before

It was not, however, alone the murder of the stranger that overcame me
with gloom. I shuddered at the idea of the subsequent fate his inanimate
body might have met with. Was the same doom reserved for me? Was I
destined to perish like him--like him perhaps, to be devoured and my
head to be preserved as a fearful memento of the events? My imagination
ran riot in these horrid speculations, and I felt certain that the
worst possible evils would befall me. But whatever were my misgivings, I
studiously concealed them from the islanders, as well as the full extent
of the discovery I had made.

Although the assurances which the Typees had often given me, that they
never eat human flesh, had not convinced me that such was the case, yet,
having been so long a time in the valley without witnessing anything
which indicated the existence of the practice, I began to hope that it
was an event of very rare occurrence, and that I should be spared the
horror of witnessing it during my stay among them: but, alas, these
hopes were soon destroyed.

It is a singular fact, that in all our accounts of cannibal tribes we
have seldom received the testimony of an eye-witness account to this
revolting practice. The horrible conclusion has almost always been
derived from the second-hand evidence of Europeans, or else from the
admissions of the savages themselves, after they have in some degree
become civilized. The Polynesians are aware of the detestation in which
Europeans hold this custom, and therefore invariably deny its existence,
and with the craft peculiar to savages, endeavour to conceal every trace
of it.

The excessive unwillingness betrayed by the Sandwich Islanders, even at
the present day, to allude to the unhappy fate of Cook, has often been
remarked. And so well have they succeeded in covering the event with
mystery, that to this very hour, despite all that has been said and
written on the subject, it still remains doubtful whether they wreaked
upon his murdered body the vengeance they sometimes inflicted upon their

At Kealakekau, the scene of that tragedy, a strip of ship’s copper
nailed against an upright post in the ground used to inform
the traveller that beneath reposed the ‘remains’ of the great
circumnavigator. But I am strongly inclined to believe not only the
corpse was refused Christian burial, but that the heart which was
brought to Vancouver some time after the event, and which the Hawaiians
stoutly maintained was that of Captain Cook, was no such thing; and that
the whole affair was a piece of imposture which was sought to be palmed
off upon the credulous Englishman.

A few years since there was living on the island of Maui (one of the
Sandwich group) an old chief, who, actuated by a morbid desire for
notoriety, gave himself out among the foreign residents of the place
as the living tomb of Captain Cook’s big toe!--affirming that at the
cannibal entertainment which ensued after the lamented Briton’s death,
that particular portion of his body had fallen to his share. His
indignant countrymen actually caused him to be prosecuted in the native
courts, on a charge nearly equivalent to what we term defamation of
character; but the old fellow persisting in his assertion, and no
invalidating proof being adduced, the plaintiffs were cast in the suit,
and the cannibal reputation of the defendant firmly established. This
result was the making of his fortune; ever afterwards he was in the
habit of giving very profitable audiences to all curious travellers who
were desirous of beholding the man who had eaten the great navigator’s
great toe.

About a week after my discovery of the contents of the mysterious
packages, I happened to be at the Ti, when another war-alarm was
sounded, and the natives rushing to their arms, sallied out to resist
a second incursion of the Happar invaders. The same scene was again
repeated, only that on this occasion I heard at least fifteen reports of
muskets from the mountains during the time that the skirmish lasted.
An hour or two after its termination, loud paeans chanted through the
valley announced the approach of the victors. I stood with Kory-Kory
leaning against the railing of the pi-pi awaiting their advance, when
a tumultuous crowd of islanders emerged with wild clamours from
the neighbouring groves. In the midst of them marched four men, one
preceding the other at regular intervals of eight or ten feet, with
poles of a corresponding length, extending from shoulder to shoulder,
to which were lashed with thongs of bark three long narrow bundles,
carefully wrapped in ample coverings of freshly plucked palm-leaves,
tacked together with slivers of bamboo. Here and there upon these green
winding-sheets might be seen the stains of blood, while the warriors who
carried the frightful burdens displayed upon their naked limbs similar
sanguinary marks. The shaven head of the foremost had a deep gash upon
it, and the clotted gore which had flowed from the wound remained in dry
patches around it. The savage seemed to be sinking under the weight
he bore. The bright tattooing upon his body was covered with blood
and dust; his inflamed eyes rolled in their sockets, and his whole
appearance denoted extraordinary suffering and exertion; yet sustained
by some powerful impulse, he continued to advance, while the throng
around him with wild cheers sought to encourage him. The other three men
were marked about the arms and breasts with several slight wounds, which
they somewhat ostentatiously displayed.

These four individuals, having been the most active in the late
encounter, claimed the honour of bearing the bodies of their slain
enemies to the Ti. Such was the conclusion I drew from my own
observations, and, as far as I could understand, from the explanation
which Kory-Kory gave me.

The royal Mehevi walked by the side of these heroes. He carried in one
hand a musket, from the barrel of which was suspended a small canvas
pouch of powder, and in the other he grasped a short javelin, which he
held before him and regarded with fierce exultation. This javelin he had
wrested from a celebrated champion of the Happars, who had ignominiously
fled, and was pursued by his foes beyond the summit of the mountain.

When within a short distance of the Ti, the warrior with the wounded
head, who proved to be Narmonee, tottered forward two or three steps,
and fell helplessly to the ground; but not before another had caught the
end of the pole from his shoulder, and placed it upon his own.

The excited throng of islanders, who surrounded the person of the king
and the dead bodies of the enemy, approached the spot where I stood,
brandishing their rude implements of warfare, many of which were bruised
and broken, and uttering continual shouts of triumph. When the crowd
drew up opposite the Ti, I set myself to watch their proceedings most
attentively; but scarcely had they halted when my servitor, who had left
my side for an instant, touched my arm and proposed our returning to
Marheyo’s house. To this I objected; but, to my surprise, Kory-Kory
reiterated his request, and with an unusual vehemence of manner. Still,
however, I refused to comply, and was retreating before him, as in his
importunity he pressed upon me, when I felt a heavy hand laid upon my
shoulder, and turning round, encountered the bulky form of Mow-Mow, a
one-eyed chief, who had just detached himself from the crowd below, and
had mounted the rear of the pi-pi upon which we stood. His cheek had
been pierced by the point of a spear, and the wound imparted a still
more frightful expression to his hideously tattooed face, already
deformed by the loss of an eye. The warrior, without uttering a
syllable, pointed fiercely in the direction of Marheyo’s house, while
Kory-Kory, at the same time presenting his back, desired me to mount.

I declined this offer, but intimated my willingness to withdraw, and
moved slowly along the piazza, wondering what could be the cause of this
unusual treatment. A few minutes’ consideration convinced me that the
savages were about to celebrate some hideous rite in connection with
their peculiar customs, and at which they were determined I should not
be present. I descended from the pi-pi, and attended by Kory-Kory, who
on this occasion did not show his usual commiseration for my lameness,
but seemed only anxious to hurry me on, walked away from the place. As I
passed through the noisy throng, which by this time completely environed
the Ti, I looked with fearful curiosity at the three packages, which now
were deposited upon the ground; but although I had no doubt as to their
contents, still their thick coverings prevented my actually detecting
the form of a human body.

The next morning, shortly after sunrise, the same thundering sounds
which had awakened me from sleep on the second day of the Feast of
Calabashes, assured me that the savages were on the eve of celebrating
another, and, as I fully believed, a horrible solemnity.

All the inmates of the house, with the exception of Marheyo, his son,
and Tinor, after assuming their gala dresses, departed in the direction
of the Taboo Groves.

Although I did not anticipate a compliance with my request, still, with
a view of testing the truth of my suspicions, I proposed to Kory-Kory
that, according to our usual custom in the morning, we should take a
stroll to the Ti: he positively refused; and when I renewed the request,
he evinced his determination to prevent my going there; and, to divert
my mind from the subject, he offered to accompany me to the stream. We
accordingly went, and bathed. On our coming back to the house, I was
surprised to find that all its inmates had returned, and were lounging
upon the mats as usual, although the drums still sounded from the

The rest of the day I spent with Kory-Kory and Fayaway, wandering about
a part of the valley situated in an opposite direction from the Ti,
and whenever I so much as looked towards that building, although it was
hidden from view by intervening trees, and at the distance of more than
a mile, my attendant would exclaim, ‘Taboo, taboo!’

At the various houses where we stopped, I found many of the inhabitants
reclining at their ease, or pursuing some light occupation, as if
nothing unusual were going forward; but amongst them all I did not
perceive a single chief or warrior. When I asked several of the people
why they were not at the ‘Hoolah Hoolah’ (the feast), their uniformly
answered the question in a manner which implied that it was not intended
for them, but for Mehevi, Narmonee, Mow-Mow, Kolor, Womonoo, Kalow,
running over, in their desire to make me comprehend their meaning, the
names of all the principal chiefs.

Everything, in short, strengthened my suspicions with regard to the
nature of the festival they were now celebrating; and which amounted
almost to a certainty. While in Nukuheva I had frequently been informed
that the whole tribe were never present at these cannibal banquets, but
the chiefs and priests only; and everything I now observed agreed with
the account.

The sound of the drums continued without intermission the whole day, and
falling continually upon my ear, caused me a sensation of horror which I
am unable to describe. On the following day, hearing none of those
noisy indications of revelry, I concluded that the inhuman feast was
terminated; and feeling a kind of morbid curiosity to discover whether
the Ti might furnish any evidence of what had taken place there, I
proposed to Kory-Kory to walk there. To this proposition he replied
by pointing with his finger to the newly risen sun, and then up to the
zenith, intimating that our visit must be deferred until noon. Shortly
after that hour we accordingly proceeded to the Taboo Groves, and as
soon as we entered their precincts, I looked fearfully round in, quest
of some memorial of the scene which had so lately been acted there; but
everything appeared as usual. On reaching the Ti, we found Mehevi and a
few chiefs reclining on the mats, who gave me as friendly a reception as
ever. No allusions of any kind were made by them to the recent events;
and I refrained, for obvious reasons, from referring to them myself.

After staying a short time I took my leave. In passing along the piazza,
previously to descending from the pi-pi, I observed a curiously carved
vessel of wood, of considerable size, with a cover placed over it, of
the same material, and which resembled in shape a small canoe. It was
surrounded by a low railing of bamboos, the top of which was scarcely
a foot from the ground. As the vessel had been placed in its present
position since my last visit, I at once concluded that it must have
some connection with the recent festival, and, prompted by a curiosity
I could not repress, in passing it I raised one end of the cover; at the
same moment the chiefs, perceiving my design, loudly ejaculated, ‘Taboo!

But the slight glimpse sufficed; my eyes fell upon the disordered
members of a human skeleton, the bones still fresh with moisture, and
with particles of flesh clinging to them here and there!

Kory-Kory, who had been a little in advance of me, attracted by
the exclamations of the chiefs, turned round in time to witness the
expression of horror on my countenance. He now hurried towards me,
pointing at the same time to the canoe, and exclaiming rapidly,
‘Puarkee! puarkee!’ (Pig, pig). I pretended to yield to the deception,
and repeated the words after him several times, as though acquiescing
in what he said. The other savages, either deceived by my conduct
or unwilling to manifest their displeasure at what could not now be
remedied, took no further notice of the occurrence, and I immediately
left the Ti.

All that night I lay awake, revolving in my mind the fearful situation
in which I was placed. The last horrid revelation had now been made, and
the full sense of my condition rushed upon my mind with a force I had
never before experienced.

Where, thought I, desponding, is there the slightest prospect of escape?
The only person who seemed to possess the ability to assist me was the
stranger Marnoo; but would he ever return to the valley? and if he did,
should I be permitted to hold any communication with him? It seemed as
if I were cut off from every source of hope, and that nothing remained
but passively to await whatever fate was in store for me. A thousand
times I endeavoured to account for the mysterious conduct of the

For what conceivable purpose did they thus retain me a captive? What
could be their object in treating me with such apparent kindness, and
did it not cover some treacherous scheme? Or, if they had no other
design than to hold me a prisoner, how should I be able to pass away my
days in this narrow valley, deprived of all intercourse with civilized
beings, and for ever separated from friends and home?

One only hope remained to me. The French could not long defer a visit
to the bay, and if they should permanently locate any of their troops
in the valley, the savages could not for any length of time conceal my
existence from them. But what reason had I to suppose that I should be
spared until such an event occurred, an event which might be postponed
by a hundred different contingencies?



‘MARNOO, Marnoo pemi!’ Such were the welcome sounds which fell upon my
ear some ten days after the events related in the preceding chapter.
Once more the approach of the stranger was heralded, and the
intelligence operated upon me like magic. Again I should be able to
converse with him in my own language; and I resolve at all hazards to
concert with him some scheme, however desperate, to rescue me from a
condition that had now become insupportable.

As he drew near, I remembered with many misgivings the inauspicious
termination of our former interview, and when he entered the house, I
watched with intense anxiety the reception he met with from its inmates.
To my joy, his appearance was hailed with the liveliest pleasure; and
accosting me kindly, he seated himself by my side, and entered into
conversation with the natives around him. It soon appeared however,
that on this occasion he had not any intelligence of importance to
communicate. I inquired of him from whence he had just come? He replied
from Pueearka, his native valley, and that he intended to return to it
the same day.

At once it struck me that, could I but reach that valley under his
protection, I might easily from thence reach Nukuheva by water; and
animated by the prospect which this plan held, out I disclosed it in
a few brief words to the stranger, and asked him how it could be best
accomplished. My heart sunk within me, when in his broken English he
answered me that it could never be effected. ‘Kanaka no let you go
nowhere,’ he said; ‘you taboo. Why you no like to stay? Plenty moee-moee
(sleep)--plenty ki-ki (eat)--plenty wahenee (young girls)--Oh, very good
place Typee! Suppose you no like this bay, why you come? You no hear
about Typee? All white men afraid Typee, so no white men come.’

These words distressed me beyond belief; and when I had again related to
him the circumstances under which I had descended into the valley, and
sought to enlist his sympathies in my behalf by appealing to the bodily
misery I had endure, he listened with impatience, and cut me short by
exclaiming passionately, ‘Me no hear you talk any more; by by Kanaka
get mad, kill you and me too. No you see he no want you to speak at
all?--you see--ah! by by you no mind--you get well, he kill you, eat
you, hang you head up there, like Happar Kanaka.--Now you listen--but no
talk any more. By by I go;--you see way I go--Ah! then some night Kanaka
all moee-moee (sleep)--you run away, you come Pueearka. I speak Pueearka
Kanaka--he no harm you--ah! then I take you my canoe Nukuheva--and you
run away ship no more.’ With these words, enforced by a vehemence of
gesture I cannot describe, Marnoo started from my side, and immediately
engaged in conversation with some of the chiefs who had entered the

It would have been idle for me to have attempted resuming the interview
so peremptorily terminated by Marnoo, who was evidently little disposed
to compromise his own safety by any rash endeavour to ensure mine.
But the plan he had suggested struck me as one which might possibly be
accomplished, and I resolved to act upon it as speedily as possible.

Accordingly, when he arose to depart, I accompanied him with the natives
outside of the house, with a view of carefully noting the path he
would take in leaving the valley. Just before leaping from the pi-pi he
clasped my hand, and looking significantly at me, exclaimed, ‘Now you
see--you do what I tell you--ah! then you do good;--you no do so--ah!
then you die.’ The next moment he waved his spear to the islanders, and
following the route that conducted to a defile in the mountains lying
opposite the Happar side, was soon out of sight.

A mode of escape was now presented to me, but how was I to avail myself
of it? I was continually surrounded by the savages; I could not stir
from one house to another without being attended by some of them; and
even during the hours devoted to slumber, the slightest movement which I
made seemed to attract the notice of those who shared the mats with me.
In spite of these obstacles, however, I determined forthwith to make the
attempt. To do so with any prospect of success, it was necessary that
I should have at least two hours start before the islanders should
discover my absence; for with such facility was any alarm spread through
the valley, and so familiar, of course, were the inhabitants with the
intricacies of the groves, that I could not hope, lame and feeble as I
was, and ignorant of the route, to secure my escape unless I had this
advantage. It was also by night alone that I could hope to accomplish my
object, and then only by adopting the utmost precaution.

The entrance to Marheyo’s habitation was through a low narrow opening
in its wicker-work front. This passage, for no conceivable reason that I
could devise, was always closed after the household had retired to rest,
by drawing a heavy slide across it, composed of a dozen or more bits of
wood, ingeniously fastened together by seizings of sinnate. When any of
the inmates chose to go outside, the noise occasioned by the removing of
this rude door awakened every body else; and on more than one occasion
I had remarked that the islanders were nearly as irritable as more
civilized beings under similar circumstances.

The difficulty thus placed in my way I, determined to obviate in the
following manner. I would get up boldly in the course of the night, and
drawing the slide, issue from the house, and pretend that my object was
merely to procure a drink from the calabash, which always stood
without the dwelling on the corner of the pi-pi. On re-entering I would
purposely omit closing the passage after me, and trusting that the
indolence of the savages would prevent them from repairing my neglect,
would return to my mat, and waiting patiently until all were again
asleep, I would then steal forth, and at once take the route to

The very night which followed Marnoo’s departure, I proceeded to put
this project into execution. About midnight, as I imagined, I arose and
drew the slide. The natives, just as I had expected, started up, while
some of them asked, ‘Arware poo awa, Tommo?’ (where are you going,
Tommo?) ‘Wai’ (water) I laconically answered, grasping the calabash. On
hearing my reply they sank back again, and in a minute or two I returned
to my mat, anxiously awaiting the result of the experiment.

One after another the savages, turning restlessly, appeared to resume
their slumbers, and rejoicing at the stillness which prevailed, I was
about to rise again from my couch, when I heard a slight rustling--a
dark form was intercepted between me and the doorway--the slide was
drawn across it, and the individual, whoever he was, returned to
his mat. This was a sad blow to me; but as it might have aroused the
suspicions of the islanders to have made another attempt that night, I
was reluctantly obliged to defer it until the next. Several times after
I repeated the same manoeuvre, but with as little success as before.
As my pretence for withdrawing from the house was to allay my thirst,
Kory-Kory either suspecting some design on my part, or else prompted
by a desire to please me, regularly every evening placed a calabash of
water by my side.

Even, under these inauspicious circumstances I again and again renewed
the attempt, but when I did so, my valet always rose with me, as if
determined I should not remove myself from his observation. For
the present, therefore, I was obliged to abandon the attempt; but I
endeavoured to console myself with the idea that by this mode I might
yet effect my escape.

Shortly after Marnoo’s visit I was reduced to such a state that it was
with extreme difficulty I could walk, even with the assistance of a
spear, and Kory-Kory, as formerly, was obliged to carry me daily to the

For hours and hours during the warmest part of the day I lay upon my
mat, and while those around me were nearly all dozing away in careless
ease, I remained awake, gloomily pondering over the fate which it
appeared now idle for me to resist, when I thought of the loved friends
who were thousands and thousands of miles from the savage island in
which I was held a captive, when I reflected that my dreadful fate would
for ever be concealed from them, and that with hope deferred they might
continue to await my return long after my inanimate form had blended
with the dust of the valley--I could not repress a shudder of anguish.

How vividly is impressed upon my mind every minute feature of the scene
which met my view during those long days of suffering and sorrow. At my
request my mats were always spread directly facing the door, opposite
which, and at a little distance, was the hut of boughs that Marheyo was

Whenever my gentle Fayaway and Kory-Kory, laying themselves down beside
me, would leave me awhile to uninterrupted repose, I took a strange
interest in the slightest movements of the eccentric old warrior. All
alone during the stillness of the tropical mid-day, he would pursue his
quiet work, sitting in the shade and weaving together the leaflets of
his cocoanut branches, or rolling upon his knee the twisted fibres of
bark to form the cords with which he tied together the thatching of
his tiny house. Frequently suspending his employment, and noticing my
melancholy eye fixed upon him, he would raise his hand with a gesture
expressive of deep commiseration, and then moving towards me slowly,
would enter on tip-toes, fearful of disturbing the slumbering natives,
and, taking the fan from my hand, would sit before me, swaying it gently
to and fro, and gazing earnestly into my face.

Just beyond the pi-pi, and disposed in a triangle before the entrance
of the house, were three magnificent bread-fruit trees. At this moment I
can recap to my mind their slender shafts, and the graceful inequalities
of their bark, on which my eye was accustomed to dwell day after day in
the midst of my solitary musings. It is strange how inanimate objects
will twine themselves into our affections, especially in the hour of
affliction. Even now, amidst all the bustle and stir of the proud and
busy city in which I am dwelling, the image of those three trees seems
to come as vividly before my eyes as if they were actually present, and
I still feel the soothing quiet pleasure which I then had in watching
hour after hour their topmost boughs waving gracefully in the breeze.



NEARLY three weeks had elapsed since the second visit of Marnoo, and it
must have been more than four months since I entered the valley, when
one day about noon, and whilst everything was in profound silence,
Mow-Mow, the one-eyed chief, suddenly appeared at the door, and leaning
towards me as I lay directly facing him, said in a low tone, ‘Toby pemi
ena’ (Toby has arrived here). Gracious heaven! What a tumult of emotions
rushed upon me at this startling intelligence! Insensible to the pain
that had before distracted me, I leaped to my feet, and called wildly
to Kory-Kory who was reposing by my side. The startled islanders sprang
from their mats; the news was quickly communicated to them; and the
next moment I was making my way to the Ti on the back of Kory-Kory; and
surrounded by the excited savages.

All that I could comprehend of the particulars which Mow-Mow rehearsed
to his audience as we proceeded, was that my long-lost companion had
arrived in a boat which had just entered the bay. These tidings made
me most anxious to be carried at once to the sea, lest some untoward
circumstance should prevent our meeting; but to this they would not
consent, and continued their course towards the royal abode. As we
approached it, Mehevi and several chiefs showed themselves from the
piazza, and called upon us loudly to come to them.

As soon as we had approached, I endeavoured to make them understand that
I was going down to the sea to meet Toby. To this the king objected, and
motioned Kory-Kory to bring me into the house. It was in vain to resist;
and in a few moments I found myself within the Ti, surrounded by a noisy
group engaged in discussing the recent intelligence. Toby’s name was
frequently repeated, coupled with violent exclamations of astonishment.
It seemed as if they yet remained in doubt with regard to the fact of
his arrival, at at every fresh report that was brought from the shore
they betrayed the liveliest emotions.

Almost frenzied at being held in this state of suspense, I passionately
besought Mehevi to permit me to proceed. Whether my companion had
arrived or not, I felt a presentiment that my own fate was about to be
decided. Again and again I renewed my petition to Mehevi. He regarded me
with a fixed and serious eye, but at length yielding to my importunity,
reluctantly granted my request.

Accompanied by some fifty of the natives, I now rapidly continued my
journey; every few moments being transferred from the back of one
to another, and urging my bearer forward all the while with earnest
entreaties. As I thus hurried forward, no doubt as to the truth of the
information I had received ever crossed my mind.

I was alive only to the one overwhelming idea, that a chance of
deliverance was now afforded me, if the jealous opposition of the
savages could be overcome.

Having been prohibited from approaching the sea during the whole of my
stay in the valley, I had always associated with it the idea of escape.
Toby too--if indeed he had ever voluntarily deserted me--must have
effected this flight by the sea; and now that I was drawing near to
it myself, I indulged in hopes which I had never felt before. It was
evident that a boat had entered the bay, and I saw little reason to
doubt the truth of the report that it had brought my companion. Every
time therefore that we gained an elevation, I looked eagerly around,
hoping to behold him. In the midst of an excited throng, who by their
violent gestures and wild cries appeared to be under the influence of
some excitement as strong as my own, I was now borne along at a rapid
trot, frequently stooping my head to avoid the branches which crossed
the path, and never ceasing to implore those who carried me to
accelerate their already swift pace.

In this manner we had proceeded about four or five miles, when we were
met by a party of some twenty islanders, between whom and those who
accompanied me ensued an animated conference. Impatient of the delay
occasioned by this interruption, I was beseeching the man who carried me
to proceed without his loitering companions, when Kory-Kory, running
to my side, informed me, in three fatal words, that the news had all
proved, false--that Toby had not arrived--‘Toby owlee pemi’. Heaven only
knows how, in the state of mind and body I then was, I ever sustained
the agony which this intelligence caused me; not that the news was
altogether unexpected; but I had trusted that the fact might not have
been made known until we should have arrived upon the beach. As it was,
I at once foresaw the course the savages would pursue. They had only
yielded thus far to my entreaties, that I might give a joyful welcome to
my long-lost comrade; but now that it was known he had not arrived they
would at once oblige me to turn back.

My anticipations were but too correct. In spite of the resistance I
made, they carried me into a house which was near the spot, and left me
upon the mats. Shortly afterwards several of those who had accompanied
me from the Ti, detaching themselves from the others, proceeded in
the direction of the sea. Those who remained--among whom were Marheyo,
Mow-Mow, Kory-Kory, and Tinor--gathered about the dwelling, and appeared
to be awaiting their return.

This convinced me that strangers--perhaps some of my own countrymen--had
for some cause or other entered the bay. Distracted at the idea of their
vicinity, and reckless of the pain which I suffered, I heeded not the
assurances of the islanders, that there were no boats at the beach, but
starting to my feet endeavoured to gain the door. Instantly the passage
was blocked up by several men, who commanded me to resume my seat. The
fierce looks of the irritated savages admonished me that I could gain
nothing by force, and that it was by entreaty alone that I could hope to
compass my object.

Guided by this consideration, I turned to Mow-Mow, the only chief
present whom I had been much in the habit of seeing, and carefully
concealing, my real design, tried to make him comprehend that I still
believed Toby to have arrived on the shore, and besought him to allow me
to go forward to welcome him.

To all his repeated assertions, that my companion had not been seen,
I pretended to turn a deaf ear, while I urged my solicitations with an
eloquence of gesture which the one-eyed chief appeared unable to resist.
He seemed indeed to regard me as a forward child, to whose wishes he had
not the heart to oppose force, and whom he must consequently humour. He
spoke a few words to the natives, who at once retreated from the door,
and I immediately passed out of the house.

Here I looked earnestly round for Kory-Kory; but that hitherto faithful
servitor was nowhere to be seen. Unwilling to linger even for a single
instant when every moment might be so important, I motioned to a
muscular fellow near me to take me upon his back; to my surprise he
angrily refused. I turned to another, but with a like result. A third
attempt was as unsuccessful, and I immediately perceived what had
induced Mow-Mow to grant my request, and why the other natives conducted
themselves in so strange a manner. It was evident that the chief had
only given me liberty to continue my progress towards the sea, because
he supposed that I was deprived of the means of reaching it.

Convinced by this of their determination to retain me a captive, I
became desperate; and almost insensible to the pain which I suffered,
I seized a spear which was leaning against the projecting eaves of the
house, and supporting myself with it, resumed the path that swept by
the dwelling. To my surprise, I was suffered to proceed alone; all
the natives remaining in front of the house, and engaging in earnest
conversation, which every moment became more loud and vehement; and to
my unspeakable delight, I perceived that some difference of opinion
had arisen between them; that two parties, in short, were formed, and
consequently that in their divided counsels there was some chance of my

Before I had proceeded a hundred yards I was again surrounded by the
savages, who were still in all the heat of argument, and appeared every
moment as if they would come to blows. In the midst of this tumult
old Marheyo came to my side, and I shall never forget the benevolent
expression of his countenance. He placed his arm upon my shoulder, and
emphatically pronounced the only two English words I had taught him
‘Home’ and ‘Mother’. I at once understood what he meant, and eagerly
expressed my thanks to him. Fayaway and Kory-Kory were by his side, both
weeping violently; and it was not until the old man had twice repeated
the command that his son could bring himself to obey him, and take me
again upon his back. The one-eyed chief opposed his doing so, but he was
overruled, and, as it seemed to me, by some of his own party.

We proceeded onwards, and never shall I forget the ecstasy I felt when I
first heard the roar of the surf breaking upon the beach. Before long
I saw the flashing billows themselves through the opening between the
trees. Oh glorious sight and sound of ocean! with what rapture did I
hail you as familiar friends! By this time the shouts of the crowd
upon the beach were distinctly audible, and in the blended confusion
of sounds I almost fancied I could distinguish the voices of my own

When we reached the open space which lay between the groves and the sea,
the first object that met my view was an English whale-boat, lying with
her bow pointed from the shore, and only a few fathoms distant from it.
It was manned by five islanders, dressed in shirt tunics of calico. My
first impression was that they were in the very act of pulling out from
the bay; and that, after all my exertions, I had come too late. My soul
sunk within me: but a second glance convinced me that the boat was only
hanging off to keep out of the surf; and the next moment I heard my own
name shouted out by a voice from the midst of the crowd.

Looking in the direction of the sound, I perceived, to my indescribable
joy, the tall figure of Karakoee, an Oahu Kanaka, who had often been
aboard the ‘Dolly’, while she lay in Nukuheva. He wore the green
shooting-jacket with gilt buttons, which had been given to him by an
officer of the Reine Blanche--the French flag-ship--and in which I had
always seen him dressed. I now remembered the Kanaka had frequently told
me that his person was tabooed in all the valleys of the island, and the
sight of him at such a moment as this filled my heart with a tumult of

Karakoee stood near the edge of the water with a large roll of
cotton-cloth thrown over one arm, and holding two or three canvas bags
of powder, while with the other hand he grasped a musket, which he
appeared to be proffering to several of the chiefs around him. But they
turned with disgust from his offers and seemed to be impatient at
his presence, with vehement gestures waving him off to his boat, and
commanding him to depart.

The Kanaka, however, still maintained his ground, and I at once
perceived that he was seeking to purchase my freedom. Animated by the
idea, I called upon him loudly to come to me; but he replied, in broken
English, that the islanders had threatened to pierce him with their
spears, if he stirred a foot towards me. At this time I was still
advancing, surrounded by a dense throng of the natives, several of whom
had their hands upon me, and more than one javelin was threateningly
pointed at me. Still I perceived clearly that many of those least
friendly towards me looked irresolute and anxious. I was still some
thirty yards from Karakoee when my farther progress was prevented by the
natives, who compelled me to sit down upon the ground, while they still
retained their hold upon my arms. The din and tumult now became tenfold,
and I perceived that several of the priests were on the spot, all of
whom were evidently urging Mow-Mow and the other chiefs to prevent my
departure; and the detestable word ‘Roo-ne! Roo-ne!’ which I had heard
repeated a thousand times during the day, was now shouted out on every
side of me. Still I saw that the Kanaka continued his exertions in my
favour--that he was boldly debating the matter with the savages, and was
striving to entice them by displaying his cloth and powder, and snapping
the lock of his musket. But all he said or did appeared only to augment
the clamours of those around him, who seemed bent upon driving him into
the sea.

When I remembered the extravagant value placed by these people upon the
articles which were offered to them in exchange for me, and which
were so indignantly rejected, I saw a new proof of the same fixed
determination of purpose they had all along manifested with regard
to me, and in despair, and reckless of consequences, I exerted all my
strength, and shaking myself free from the grasp of those who held me, I
sprang upon my feet and rushed towards Karakoee.

The rash attempt nearly decided my fate; for, fearful that I might slip
from them, several of the islanders now raised a simultaneous shout,
and pressing upon Karakoee, they menaced him with furious gestures, and
actually forced him into the sea. Appalled at their violence, the poor
fellow, standing nearly to the waist in the surf, endeavoured to pacify
them; but at length fearful that they would do him some fatal violence,
he beckoned to his comrades to pull in at once, and take him into the

It was at this agonizing moment, when I thought all hope was ended, that
a new contest arose between the two parties who had accompanied me to
the shore; blows were struck, wounds were given, and blood flowed. In
the interest excited by the fray, every one had left me except Marheyo,
Kory-Kory and poor dear Fayaway, who clung to me, sobbing indignantly.
I saw that now or never was the moment. Clasping my hands together, I
looked imploringly at Marheyo, and move towards the now almost deserted
beach. The tears were in the old man’s eyes, but neither he nor
Kory-Kory attempted to hold me, and I soon reached the Kanaka, who had
anxiously watched my movements; the rowers pulled in as near as they
dared to the edge of the surf; I gave one parting embrace to Fayaway,
who seemed speechless with sorrow, and the next instant I found myself
safe in the boat, and Karakoee by my side, who told the rowers at once
to give way. Marheyo and Kory-Kory, and a great many of the women,
followed me into the water, and I was determined, as the only mark of
gratitude I could show, to give them the articles which had been brought
as my ransom. I handed the musket to Kory-Kory, with a rapid gesture
which was equivalent to a ‘Deed of Gift’; threw the roll of cotton to
old Marheyo, pointing as I did so to poor Fayaway, who had retired from
the edge of the water and was sitting down disconsolate on the shingles;
and tumbled the powder-bags out to the nearest young ladies, all of whom
were vastly willing to take them. This distribution did not occupy ten
seconds, and before it was over the boat was under full way; the Kanaka
all the while exclaiming loudly against what he considered a useless
throwing away of valuable property.

Although it was clear that my movements had been noticed by several of
the natives, still they had not suspended the conflict in which they
were engaged, and it was not until the boat was above fifty yards from
the shore that Mow-Mow and some six or seven other warriors rushed into
the sea and hurled their javelins at us. Some of the weapons passed
quite as close to us as was desirable, but no one was wounded, and the
men pulled away gallantly. But although soon out of the reach of the
spears, our progress was extremely slow; it blew strong upon the shore,
and the tide was against us; and I saw Karakoee, who was steering the
boat, give many a look towards a jutting point of the bay round which we
had to pass.

For a minute or two after our departure, the savages, who had formed
into different groups, remained perfectly motionless and silent. All
at-once the enraged chief showed by his gestures that he had resolved
what course he would take. Shouting loudly to his companions, and
pointing with his tomahawk towards the headland, he set off at full
speed in that direction, and was followed by about thirty of the
natives, among whom were several of the priests, all yelling out
‘Roo-ne! Roo-ne!’ at the very top of their voices. Their intention was
evidently to swim off from the headland and intercept us in our course.
The wind was freshening every minute, and was right in our teeth, and it
was one of those chopping angry seas in which it is so difficult to
row. Still the chances seemed in our favour, but when we came within a
hundred yards of the point, the active savages were already dashing into
the water, and we all feared that within five minutes’ time we should
have a score of the infuriated wretches around us. If so our doom
was sealed, for these savages, unlike the feeble swimmer of civilized
countries, are, if anything, more formidable antagonists in the water
than when on the land. It was all a trial of strength; our natives
pulled till their oars bent again, and the crowd of swimmers shot
through the water despite its roughness, with fearful rapidity.

By the time we had reached the headland, the savages were spread right
across our course. Our rowers got out their knives and held them ready
between their teeth, and I seized the boat-hook. We were all aware that
if they succeeded in intercepting us they would practise upon us the
manoeuvre which has proved so fatal to many a boat’s crew in these seas.
They would grapple the oars, and seizing hold of the gunwhale, capsize
the boat, and then we should be entirely at their mercy.

After a few breathless moments discerned Mow-Mow. The athletic islander,
with his tomahawk between his teeth, was dashing the water before him
till it foamed again. He was the nearest to us, and in another instant
he would have seized one of the oars. Even at the moment I felt horror
at the act I was about to commit; but it was no time for pity or
compunction, and with a true aim, and exerting all my strength, I dashed
the boat-hook at him. It struck him just below the throat, and forced
him downwards. I had no time to repeat the blow, but I saw him rise
to the surface in the wake of the boat, and never shall I forget the
ferocious expression of his countenance.

Only one other of the savages reached the boat. He seized the gunwhale,
but the knives of our rowers so mauled his wrists, that he was forced to
quit his hold, and the next minute we were past them all, and in safety.
The strong excitement which had thus far kept me up, now left me, and I
fell back fainting into the arms of Karakoee.

           . . . . . . . .

The circumstances connected with my most unexpected escape may be very
briefly stated. The captain of an Australian vessel, being in distress
for men in these remote seas, had put into Nukuheva in order to recruit
his ship’s company; but not a single man was to be obtained; and the
barque was about to get under weigh, when she was boarded by Karakoee,
who informed the disappointed Englishman that an American sailor
was detained by the savages in the neighbouring bay of Typee; and he
offered, if supplied with suitable articles of traffic, to undertake his
release. The Kanaka had gained his intelligence from Marnoo, to whom,
after all, I was indebted for my escape. The proposition was acceded to;
and Karakoee, taking with him five tabooed natives of Nukuheva, again
repaired aboard the barque, which in a few hours sailed to that part of
the island, and threw her main-top-sail aback right off the entrance
to the Typee bay. The whale-boat, manned by the tabooed crew, pulled
towards the head of the inlet, while the ship lay ‘off and on’ awaiting
its return.

The events which ensued have already been detailed, and little more
remains to be related. On reaching the ‘Julia’ I was lifted over the
side, and my strange appearance and remarkable adventure occasioned the
liveliest interest. Every attention was bestowed upon me that humanity
could suggest. But to such a state was I reduced, that three months
elapsed before I recovered my health.

The mystery which hung over the fate of my friend and companion Toby has
never been cleared up. I still remain ignorant whether he succeeded in
leaving the valley, or perished at the hands of the islanders.


THE morning my comrade left me, as related in the narrative, he was
accompanied by a large party of the natives, some of them carrying fruit
and hogs for the purposes of traffic, as the report had spread that
boats had touched at the bay.

As they proceeded through the settled parts of the valley, numbers
joined them from every side, running with animated cries from every
pathway. So excited were the whole party, that eager as Toby was to gain
the beach, it was almost as much as he could do to keep up with them.
Making the valley ring with their shouts, they hurried along on a swift
trot, those in advance pausing now and then, and flourishing their
weapons to urge the rest forward.

Presently they came to a place where the paths crossed a bend of the
main stream of the valley. Here a strange sound came through the grove
beyond, and the Islanders halted. It was Mow-Mow, the one-eyed chief,
who had gone on before; he was striking his heavy lance against the
hollow bough of a tree.

This was a signal of alarm;--for nothing was now heard but shouts
of ‘Happar! Happar!’--the warriors tilting with their spears and
brandishing them in the air, and the women and boys shouting to each
other, and picking up the stones in the bed of the stream. In a moment
or two Mow-Mow and two or three other chiefs ran out from the grove, and
the din increased ten fold.

Now, thought Toby, for a fray; and being unarmed, he besought one of the
young men domiciled with Marheyo for the loan of his spear. But he was
refused; the youth roguishly telling him that the weapon was very good
for him (the Typee), but that a white man could fight much better with
his fists.

The merry humour of this young wag seemed to be shared by the rest, for
in spite of their warlike cries and gestures, everybody was capering
and laughing, as if it was one of the funniest things in the world to be
awaiting the flight of a score or two of Happar javelins from an ambush
in the thickets.

While my comrade was in vain trying to make out the meaning of all this,
a good number of the natives separated themselves from the rest and ran
off into the grove on one side, the others now keeping perfectly still,
as if awaiting the result. After a little while, however, Mow-Mow, who
stood in advance, motioned them to come on stealthily, which they did,
scarcely rustling a leaf. Thus they crept along for ten or fifteen
minutes, every now and then pausing to listen.

Toby by no means relished this sort of skulking; if there was going to
be a fight, he wanted it to begin at once. But all in good time,--for
just then, as they went prowling into the thickest of the wood, terrific
howls burst upon them on all sides, and volleys of darts and stones flew
across the path. Not an enemy was to be seen, and what was still more
surprising, not a single man dropped, though the pebbles fell among the
leaves like hail.

There was a moment’s pause, when the Typees, with wild shrieks, flung
themselves into the covert, spear in hand; nor was Toby behindhand.
Coming so near getting his skull broken by the stones, and animated by
an old grudge he bore the Happars, he was among the first to dash at
them. As he broke his way through the underbush, trying, as he did
so, to wrest a spear from a young chief, the shouts of battle all of a
sudden ceased, and the wood was as still as death. The next moment, the
party who had left them so mysteriously rushed out from behind every
bush and tree, and united with the rest in long and merry peals of

It was all a sham, and Toby, who was quite out of breath with
excitement, was much incensed at being made a fool of.

It afterwards turned out that the whole affair had been concerted for
his particular benefit, though with what precise view it would be hard
to tell. My comrade was the more enraged at this boys’ play, since it
had consumed so much time, every moment of which might be precious.
Perhaps, however, it was partly intended for this very purpose; and he
was led to think so, because when the natives started again, he observed
that they did not seem to be in so great a hurry as before. At last,
after they had gone some distance, Toby, thinking all the while that
they never would get to the sea, two men came running towards them,
and a regular halt ensued, followed by a noisy discussion, during which
Toby’s name was often repeated. All this made him more and more anxious
to learn what was going on at the beach; but it was in vain that he now
tried to push forward; the natives held him back.

In a few moments the conference ended, and many of them ran down the
path in the direction of the water, the rest surrounding Toby, and
entreating him to ‘Moee’, or sit down and rest himself. As an additional
inducement, several calabashes of food, which had been brought along,
were now placed on the ground, and opened, and pipes also were lighted.
Toby bridled his impatience a while, but at last sprang to his feet
and dashed forward again. He was soon overtaken nevertheless, and again
surrounded, but without further detention was then permitted to go down
to the sea.

They came out upon a bright green space between the groves and the
water, and close under the shadow of the Happar mountain, where a path
was seen winding out of sight through a gorge.

No sign of a boat, however, was beheld, nothing but a tumultuous crowd
of men and women, and some one in their midst, earnestly talking to
them. As my comrade advanced, this person came forward and proved to
be no stranger. He was an old grizzled sailor, whom Toby and myself had
frequently seen in Nukuheva, where he lived an easy devil-may-care life
in the household of Mowanna the king, going by the name of ‘Jimmy’.
In fact he was the royal favourite, and had a good deal to say in his
master’s councils. He wore a Manilla hat and a sort of tappa morning
gown, sufficiently loose and negligent to show the verse of a song
tattooed upon his chest, and a variety of spirited cuts by native
artists in other parts of his body. He sported a fishing rod in his
hand, and carried a sooty old pipe slung about his neck.

This old rover having retired from active life, had resided in Nukuheva
some time--could speak the language, and for that reason was frequently
employed by the French as an interpreter. He was an arrant old gossip
too; for ever coming off in his canoe to the ships in the bay, and
regaling their crews with choice little morsels of court scandal--such,
for instance, as a shameful intrigue of his majesty with a Happar
damsel, a public dancer at the feasts--and otherwise relating some
incredible tales about the Marquesas generally. I remember in particular
his telling the Dolly’s crew what proved to be literally a cock-and-bull
story, about two natural prodigies which he said were then on the
island. One was an old monster of a hermit, having a marvellous
reputation for sanctity, and reputed a famous sorcerer, who lived away
off in a den among the mountains, where he hid from the world a
great pair of horns that grew out of his temples. Notwithstanding his
reputation for piety, this horrid old fellow was the terror of all the
island round, being reported to come out from his retreat, and go a
man-hunting every dark night. Some anonymous Paul Pry, too, coming down
the mountain, once got a peep at his den, and found it full of bones. In
short, he was a most unheard-of monster.

The other prodigy Jimmy told us about was the younger son of a chief,
who, although but just turned of ten, had entered upon holy orders,
because his superstitious countrymen thought him especially intended
for the priesthood from the fact of his having a comb on his head like
a rooster. But this was not all; for still more wonderful to relate, the
boy prided himself upon his strange crest, being actually endowed with a
cock’s voice, and frequently crowing over his peculiarity.

But to return to Toby. The moment he saw the old rover on the beach, he
ran up to him, the natives following after, and forming a circle round

After welcoming him to the shore, Jimmy went on to tell him how that he
knew all about our having run away from the ship, and being among the
Typees. Indeed, he had been urged by Mowanna to come over to the valley,
and after visiting his friends there, to bring us back with him, his
royal master being exceedingly anxious to share with him the reward
which had been held out for our capture. He, however, assured Toby that
he had indignantly spurned the offer.

All this astonished my comrade not a little, as neither of us had
entertained the least idea that any white man ever visited the Typees
sociably. But Jimmy told him that such was the case nevertheless,
although he seldom came into the bay, and scarcely ever went back
from the beach. One of the priests of the valley, in some way or other
connected with an old tattooed divine in Nukuheva, was a friend of his,
and through him he was ‘taboo’.

He said, moreover, that he was sometimes employed to come round to the
bay, and engage fruit for ships lying in Nukuheva. In fact, he was now
on that very errand, according to his own account, having just come
across the mountains by the way of Happar. By noon of the next day the
fruit would be heaped up in stacks on the beach, in readiness for the
boats which he then intended to bring into the bay.

Jimmy now asked Toby whether he wished to leave the island--if he did,
there was a ship in want of men lying in the other harbour, and he would
be glad to take him over, and see him on board that very day.

‘No,’ said Toby, ‘I cannot leave the island unless my comrade goes with
me. I left him up the valley because they would not let him come down.
Let us go now and fetch him.’

‘But how is he to cross the mountain with us,’ replied Jimmy, ‘even if
we get him down to the beach? Better let him stay till tomorrow, and I
will bring him round to Nukuheva in the boats.’

‘That will never do,’ said Toby, ‘but come along with me now, and let
us get him down here at any rate,’ and yielding to the impulse of the
moment, he started to hurry back into the valley. But hardly was his
back turned, when a dozen hands were laid on him, and he learned that he
could not go a step further.

It was in vain that he fought with them; they would not hear of his
stirring from the beach. Cut to the heart at this unexpected repulse,
Toby now conjured the sailor to go after me alone. But Jimmy replied,
that in the mood the Typees then were they would not permit him so to
do, though at the same time he was not afraid of their offering him any

Little did Toby then think, as he afterwards had good reason to suspect,
that this very Jimmy was a heartless villain, who, by his arts, had just
incited the natives to restrain him as he was in the act of going after
me. Well must the old sailor have known, too, that the natives would
never consent to our leaving together, and he therefore wanted to get
Toby off alone, for a purpose which he afterwards made plain. Of all
this, however, my comrade now knew nothing.

He was still struggling with the islanders when Jimmy again came up to
him, and warned him against irritating them, saying that he was only
making matters worse for both of us, and if they became enraged, there
was no telling what might happen. At last he made Toby sit down on a
broken canoe by a pile of stones, upon which was a ruinous little shrine
supported by four upright poles, and in front partly screened by a net.
The fishing parties met there, when they came in from the sea, for their
offerings were laid before an image, upon a smooth black stone within.
This spot Jimmy said was strictly ‘taboo’, and no one would molest or
come near him while he stayed by its shadow. The old sailor then went
off, and began speaking very earnestly to Mow-Mow and some other chiefs,
while all the rest formed a circle round the taboo place, looking
intently at Toby, and talking to each other without ceasing.

Now, notwithstanding what Jimmy had just told him, there presently came
up to my comrade an old woman, who seated herself beside him on the

‘Typee motarkee?’ said she. ‘Motarkee nuee,’ said Toby.

She then asked him whether he was going to Nukuheva; he nodded yes; and
with a plaintive wail and her eyes filling with tears she rose and left

This old woman, the sailor afterwards said, was the wife of an aged king
of a small island valley, communicating by a deep pass with the country
of the Typees. The inmates of the two valleys were related to each other
by blood, and were known by the same name. The old woman had gone down
into the Typee valley the day before, and was now with three chiefs, her
sons, on a visit to her kinsmen.

As the old king’s wife left him, Jimmy again came up to Toby, and told
him that he had just talked the whole matter over with the natives, and
there was only one course for him to follow. They would not allow him to
go back into the valley, and harm would certainly come to both him and
me, if he remained much longer on the beach. ‘So,’ said he, ‘you and I
had better go to Nukuheva now overland, and tomorrow I will bring Tommo,
as they call him, by water; they have promised to carry him down to the
sea for me early in the morning, so that there will be no delay.’

‘No, no,’ said Toby desperately, ‘I will not leave him that way; we must
escape together.’

‘Then there is no hope for you,’ exclaimed the sailor, ‘for if I leave
you here on the beach, as soon as I am gone you will be carried back
into the valley, and then neither of you will ever look upon the
sea again.’ And with many oaths he swore that if he would only go to
Nukuheva with him that day, he would be sure to have me there the very
next morning.

‘But how do you know they will bring him down to the beach tomorrow,
when they will not do so today?’ said Toby. But the sailor had many
reasons, all of which were so mixed up with the mysterious customs
of the islanders, that he was none the wiser. Indeed, their conduct,
especially in preventing him from returning into the valley, was
absolutely unaccountable to him; and added to everything else, was the
bitter reflection, that the old sailor, after all, might possibly be
deceiving him. And then again he had to think of me, left alone with the
natives, and by no means well. If he went with Jimmy, he might at least
hope to procure some relief for me. But might not the savages who had
acted so strangely, hurry me off somewhere before his return? Then, even
if he remained, perhaps they would not let him go back into the valley
where I was.

Thus perplexed was my poor comrade; he knew not what to do, and his
courageous spirit was of no use to him now. There he was, all by
himself, seated upon the broken canoe--the natives grouped around him at
a distance, and eyeing him more and more fixedly. ‘It is getting late:
said Jimmy, who was standing behind the rest. ‘Nukuheva is far off, and
I cannot cross the Happar country by night. You see how it is;--if you
come along with me, all will be well; if you do not, depend upon it,
neither of you will ever escape.’

‘There is no help for it,’ said Toby, at last, with a heavy heart, ‘I
will have to trust you,’ and he came out from the shadow of the little
shrine, and cast a long look up the valley.

‘Now keep close to my side,’ said the sailor, ‘and let us be moving
quickly.’ Tinor and Fayaway here appeared; the kindhearted old woman
embracing Toby’s knees, and giving way to a flood of tears; while
Fayaway, hardly less moved, spoke some few words of English she had
learned, and held up three fingers before him--in so many days he would

At last Jimmy pulled Toby out of the crowd, and after calling to a
young Typee who was standing by with a young pig in his arms, all three
started for the mountains.

‘I have told them that you are coming back again,’ said the old fellow,
laughing, as they began the ascent, ‘but they’ll have to wait a long
time.’ Toby turned, and saw the natives all in motion--the girls waving
their tappas in adieu, and the men their spears. As the last figure
entered the grove with one arm raised, and the three fingers spread, his
heart smote him.

As the natives had at last consented to his going, it might have been,
that some of them, at least, really counted upon his speedy return;
probably supposing, as indeed he had told them when they were coming
down the valley, that his only object in leaving them was to procure the
medicines I needed. This, Jimmy also must have told them. And as they
had done before, when my comrade, to oblige me, started on his perilous
journey to Nukuheva, they looked upon me, in his absence, as one of two
inseparable friends who was a sure guaranty for the other’s return.
This is only my own supposition, however, for as to all their strange
conduct, it is still a mystery.

‘You see what sort of a taboo man I am,’ said the sailor, after for some
time silently following the path which led up the mountain. ‘Mow-Mow
made me a present of this pig here, and the man who carries it will
go right through Happar, and down into Nukuheva with us. So long as he
stays by me he is safe, and just so it will be with you, and tomorrow
with Tommo. Cheer up, then, and rely upon me, you will see him in the

The ascent of the mountain was not very difficult, owing to its being
near to the sea, where the island ridges are comparatively low; the
path, too, was a fine one, so that in a short time all three were
standing on the summit with the two valleys at their feet. The white
cascade marking the green head of the Typee valley first caught Toby’s
eye; Marheyo’s house could easily be traced by them.

As Jimmy led the way along the ridge, Toby observed that the valley of
the Happars did not extend near so far inland as that of the Typees.
This accounted for our mistake in entering the latter valley as we had.

A path leading down from the mountain was soon seen, and, following it,
the party were in a short time fairly in the Happar valley.

‘Now,’ said Jimmy, as they hurried on, ‘we taboo men have wives in all
the bays, and I am going to show you the two I have here.’

So, when they came to the house where he said they lived,--which was
close by the base of the mountain in a shady nook among the groves--he
went in, and was quite furious at finding it empty--the ladies, had gone
out. However, they soon made their appearance, and to tell the truth,
welcomed Jimmy quite cordially, as well as Toby, about whom they were
very inquisitive. Nevertheless, as the report of their arrival spread,
and the Happars began to assemble, it became evident that the appearance
of a white stranger among them was not by any means deemed so wonderful
an event as in the neighbouring valley.

The old sailor now bade his wives prepare something to eat, as he must
be in Nukuheva before dark. A meal of fish, bread-fruit, and bananas,
was accordingly served up, the party regaling themselves on the mats, in
the midst of a numerous company.

The Happars put many questions to Jimmy about Toby; and Toby himself
looked sharply at them, anxious to recognize the fellow who gave him the
wound from which he was still suffering. But this fiery gentleman, so
handy with his spear, had the delicacy, it seemed, to keep out of view.
Certainly the sight of him would not have been any added inducement to
making a stay in the valley,--some of the afternoon loungers in Happar
having politely urged Toby to spend a few days with them,--there was a
feast coming on. He, however, declined.

All this while the young Typee stuck to Jimmy like his shadow, and
though as lively a dog as any of his tribe, he was now as meek as
a lamb, never opening his mouth except to eat. Although some of the
Happars looked queerly at him, others were more civil, and seemed
desirous of taking him abroad and showing him the valley. But the Typee
was not to be cajoled in that way. How many yards he would have to
remove from Jimmy before the taboo would be powerless, it would be hard
to tell, but probably he himself knew to a fraction.

On the promise of a red cotton handkerchief, and something else which he
kept secret, this poor fellow had undertaken a rather ticklish journey,
though, as far as Toby could ascertain, it was something that had never
happened before.

The island-punch--arva--was brought in at the conclusion of the repast,
and passed round in a shallow calabash.

Now my comrade, while seated in the Happar house, began to feel more
troubled than ever at leaving me; indeed, so sad did he feel that he
talked about going back to the valley, and wanted Jimmy to escort him
as far as the mountains. But the sailor would not listen to him, and, by
way of diverting his thoughts, pressed him to drink of the arva. Knowing
its narcotic nature, he refused; but Jimmy said he would have something
mixed with it, which would convert it into an innocent beverage that
would inspirit them for the rest of their journey. So at last he was
induced to drink of it, and its effects were just as the sailor had
predicted; his spirits rose at once, and all his gloomy thoughts left

The old rover now began to reveal his true character, though he was
hardly suspected at the time. ‘If I get you off to a ship,’ said he,
‘you will surely give a poor fellow something for saving you.’ In short,
before they left the house, he made Toby promise that he would give him
five Spanish dollars if he succeeded in getting any part of his wages
advanced from the vessel, aboard of which they were going; Toby,
moreover, engaging to reward him still further, as soon as my
deliverance was accomplished.

A little while after this they started again, accompanied by many of the
natives, and going up the valley, took a steep path near its head,
which led to Nukuheva. Here the Happars paused and watched them as they
ascended the mountain, one group of bandit-looking fellows, shaking
their spears and casting threatening glances at the poor Typee, whose
heart as well as heels seemed much the lighter when he came to look down
upon them.

On gaining the heights once more, their way led for a time along several
ridges covered with enormous ferns. At last they entered upon a wooded
tract, and here they overtook a party of Nukuheva natives, well armed,
and carrying bundles of long poles. Jimmy seemed to know them all very
well, and stopped for a while, and had a talk about the ‘Wee-Wees’, as
the people of Nukuheva call the Monsieurs.

The party with the poles were King Mowanna’s men, and by his orders they
had been gathering them in the ravines for his allies the French.

Leaving these fellows to trudge on with their loads, Toby and his
companions now pushed forward again, as the sun was already low in the
west. They came upon the valleys of Nukuheva on one side of the bay,
where the highlands slope off into the sea. The men-of-war were still
lying in the harbour, and as Toby looked down upon them, the strange
events which had happened so recently, seemed all a dream.

They soon descended towards the beach, and found themselves in Jimmy’s
house before it was well dark. Here he received another welcome from
his Nukuheva wives, and after some refreshments in the shape of cocoanut
milk and poee-poee, they entered a canoe (the Typee of course going
along) and paddled off to a whaleship which was anchored near the shore.
This was the vessel in want of men. Our own had sailed some time before.
The captain professed great pleasure at seeing Toby, but thought from
his exhausted appearance that he must be unfit for duty. However, he
agreed to ship him, as well as his comrade, as soon as he should arrive.
Toby begged hard for an armed boat, in which to go round to Typee and
rescue me, notwithstanding the promises of Jimmy. But this the captain
would not hear of, and told him to have patience, for the sailor would
be faithful to his word. When, too, he demanded the five silver dollars
for Jimmy, the captain was unwilling to give them. But Toby insisted
upon it, as he now began to think that Jimmy might be a mere mercenary,
who would be sure to prove faithless if not well paid. Accordingly he
not only gave him the money, but took care to assure him, over and over
again, that as soon as he brought me aboard he would receive a still
larger sum.

Before sun-rise the next day, Jimmy and the Typee started in two of the
ship’s boats, which were manned by tabooed natives. Toby, of course, was
all eagerness to go along, but the sailor told him that if he did, it
would spoil all; so, hard as it was, he was obliged to remain.

Towards evening he was on the watch, and descried the boats turning the
headland and entering the bay. He strained his eyes, and thought he saw
me; but I was not there. Descending from the mast almost distracted, he
grappled Jimmy as he struck the deck, shouting in a voice that startled
him, ‘Where is Tommo?’ The old fellow faltered, but soon recovering,
did all he could to soothe him, assuring him that it had proved to be
impossible to get me down to the shore that morning; assigning many
plausible reasons, and adding that early on the morrow he was going to
visit the bay again in a French boat, when, if he did not find me on the
beach--as this time he certainly expected to--he would march right back
into the valley, and carry me away at all hazards. He, however, again
refused to allow Toby to accompany him. Now, situated as Toby was, his
sole dependence for the present was upon this Jimmy, and therefore he
was fain to comfort himself as well as he could with what the old sailor
told him. The next morning, however, he had the satisfaction of seeing
the French boat start with Jimmy in it. Tonight, then, I will see him,
thought Toby; but many a long day passed before he ever saw Tommo again.
Hardly was the boat out of sight, when the captain came forward and
ordered the anchor weighed; he was going to sea.

Vain were all Toby’s ravings--they were disregarded; and when he came to
himself, the sails were set, and the ship fast leaving the land.

... ‘Oh!’ said he to me at our meeting, ‘what sleepless nights were
mine. Often I started from my hammock, dreaming you were before me, and
upbraiding me for leaving you on the island.’

       . . . . . . .

There is little more to be related. Toby left this vessel at New
Zealand, and after some further adventures, arrived home in less than
two years after leaving the Marquesas. He always thought of me as
dead--and I had every reason to suppose that he too was no more; but a
strange meeting was in store for us, one which made Toby’s heart all the


The author was more than two years in the South Seas, after escaping
from the valley, as recounted in the last chapter. Some time after
returning home the foregoing narrative was published, though it was
little thought at the time that this would be the means of revealing
the existence of Toby, who had long been given up for lost. But so it

The story of his escape supplies a natural sequel to the adventure, and
as such it is now added to the volume. It was related to the author by
Toby himself, not ten days since.

New York, July, 1846.

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