The World of Waters
Mrs. David Osborne
Part 4 out of 5
of the events which have transpired since our last meeting. I
believe you were aware that it was my intention shortly to visit
Jamaica. During the past week I have been bringing affairs to a
crisis, and it is now finally arranged, that, should nothing
intervene to the prevention of our plans, we sail for that island on
or about the thirtieth of next month. This, of course, will preclude
the possibility of meeting many more times; but I think we may
promise ourselves one farewell debate. I regret our separation
principally on account of our little society, for it has been the
means of passing our evenings, not only agreeably, but profitably.
Should our lives be spared, I trust we shall again assemble under
the same roof and again enjoy the advantages of each other's
This news spread a gloom over the little party, for they could not
contemplate a separation from their kind friends without feelings of
deep regret, and there were more tears than smiles in their usually
Grandy looked from one young face to another: all wore the same
expression. Thoughtful, sorrowful, and silent, they sat around the
table where they had enjoyed so many happy hours; and she, too, felt
that, although it is delightful to possess the affection of friends,
yet too often that affection is the cause of much anxiety and deep
A separation of 5000 miles was not a trifling cause of grief; but it
was a pity to tinge the next month of their existence with
unavailing melancholy: it had been better that it had remained a
secret, than to have caused such unhappiness to cloud their serene
and cheerful days; and Mrs. Wilton endeavored to make them view the
matter in a brighter light. "At all events," she said, "we must not
render each other miserable, because we are called upon to exercise
this self-denial. It is wrong to waste in unavailing regrets the
time we have still to be together, and be gloomy and sad for a whole
month. No! that cannot possibly improve our affairs, and will only
unfit us for the performance of our duty, and increase our misery.
Come, wipe away those glistening tears, my children, or they will
freeze on your cheeks; for, if I mistake not, we are supposed to be
somewhere about the sixtieth parallel of south latitude, and the
thermometer somewhat below Zero. Come, see who will find the
situation first. George, try what you can do."
The children commenced their search, and before George exclaimed
"South Shetland, dear mamma!" every eye, although still dimmed with
tears, was eagerly in quest of the desired parallel.
MRS. WILTON. "Right, George! I fear it will not be prudent to
venture any further south, as we may encounter some ice-islands, for
there are several in this vicinity; but I should like to hear, if
any of you can tell me why Deception Isle (one of the South Shetland
group) is so called?"
DORA. "It is so called from its very exact resemblance to a ship in
full sail, and has deceived many navigators. This island is
inhabited only by penguins, sea-leopards, pintadors, and various
kinds of petrels. It is volcanic, apparently composed of alternate
layers of ashes and ice, as if the snow of each winter, during a
series of years, had been prevented from melting in the following
summer by the ejection of cinders and ashes from some part where
volcanic action is still in progress; and that such is the case
seems probable, from the fact of there being at least one hundred
and fifty holes from which steam issues with a loud hissing noise,
and which are, or were, visible from the top of one of the hills
immediately above the small cone where Lieutenant Kendall's ship was
secured, to whom I am indebted for this information."
MRS. WILTON. "The only habitable islands near here are the Sandwich
Isles (not Captain Cook's) and Georgia; but they are neither large,
numerous, nor important: we will, therefore, round the Cape and
enter the Pacific Ocean."
DORA "According to Emma's chart we are to follow the coast, calling
at as many of the islands as are worthy of notice; but, previously,
here are the bays to be enumerated, and such a number of them! I
could scarcely have imagined it possible for any shores to be so
EMMA. "I need not read all the names, as with your maps you can each
read for yourself; but the following are the largest: Gulf of
Trinidad. Gulf of Penas, Gulf of Ancud by the Island of Chiloe, and
Conception Bay on the coast of Chili."
MRS. WILTON. "Here is a part for me to play, I perceive. The natives
of the coast of the Gulf of Penas are descendants of the
Araucanians, a warlike people, who, observing the great advantages
the Europeans possessed from the use of gunpowder, tried in vain to
learn its composition. They saw negroes among the Spaniards, and
because their color was supposed to resemble that of gunpowder, they
imagined they had discovered the long-wished-for secret. A poor
negro was caught by them and burnt alive, in the full belief that
gunpowder would be obtained from his ashes."
GEORGE. "Poor man! what ignorant people they must be. Are we to stop
at the Island of Chiloe?"
MR. BARRAUD. "Most certainly, as you will agree when you hear what I
have to say. It lies near the south coast of Chili: its length is
120 miles, average breadth 40 miles. It is mountainous and covered
with cedar, which is exported in great quantities to Peru and Chili.
The climate is healthy, but damp, as it rains ten months out of the
year. Money is here almost unknown, and traffic is conducted by
barter, or payment in indigo, tea, salt, or Cayenne pepper. All
these articles are much valued, particularly the indigo for dyeing
woollens, for the weaving of which there is a loom in every house.
According to Captain Blankley, the golden age would seem to be
revived in this part of the world. 'Murders,' says he, 'robbery, or
persons being in debt, are never heard of: drunkenness is only known
or seen when European vessels are in port: not a private dwelling in
the towns or country has a lock on the doors, and the prison is in
disuse.' The inhabitants are cheerful, and passionately fond of
music and dancing."
EMMA. "I think we had better remain at Chiloe: it must be a
delightful place to live in, where all the inhabitants are so
upright and honest."
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; but business must be attended to before
pleasure, and we are bound for Chili.
"Chili is an independent State, and includes the country of those
same ignorant Araucanians; who, notwithstanding their attributed
ignorance, have proved themselves equal in some respects to
Europeans; for _they_ have tried in vain to subdue this warlike race
of men. The shores of Chili are mostly high, steep, and rocky. The
whole country is extremely rich in metals: silver is there found
nearer the surface than in any other country. Nearly all the rivers
wash down gold and there are copper, lead, and even _coal_ mines.
The Chilians are good potters, and make light, strong, earthenware
jars, which ring like metal. Chili is _specially_ subject to
earthquakes; shocks are felt in some parts almost daily, and the
country is continually desolated by them."
MR. WILTON. "The little island of Mocha on this coast was once
celebrated as a resort of buccaneers, and thickly peopled; but it
was found deserted by Captain Strong in 1690; and appears to have
remained uninhabited since."
EMMA. "The most memorable island near our course is Juan Fernandez,
110 miles from the coast. I ought rather to have said islands, for
there are two. The largest was discovered by a Spaniard in 1563, and
has been so much praised by early navigators, that it has been
thought an earthly paradise. Its chief advantages arises from its
being a good resting-place for ships. This island is called
Mas-a-terra, because nearest the continent. There are many Spanish
settlers there, who have erected a battery, and built a town. The
smaller island is generally called Mas-a-fuero, because further from
MR. WILTON. "Juan Fernandez has lately been taken on lease from the
Chilian Government, by an enterprising American, who has taken
thither about 150 families of Tahitians, with the intention of
cultivating the land, rearing cattle, and so improving the port of
Cumberland Bay, that it may become the resort of whalers, and other
vessels navigating the Pacific Ocean."
CHARLES. "Oh! for the imagination of Daniel de Foe to conjure up the
delightful pictures of his Robinson Crusoe. The poet Cowper has done
much towards handing the event down to posterity, in his touching
account of the feelings of the poor outcast when he found himself on
the desolate shore."
GEORGE. "Oh! you mean Alexander Selkirk's soliloquy. I think I can
remember some of the verses:--
"' I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference bee;
They're so unaccustomed to man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.'
"'Religion I what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
More precious than silver or gold,
Or all that this earth can afford;
But the sound of the church-going bell,
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd."
"'Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore,
Some cordial, endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends--do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
Oh! tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see!'"
EMMA. "A life of solitude must be very dreadful: we cannot conceive
such an existence while surrounded by our dear friends, and all the
luxuries of civilized life. How long was Alexander Selkirk on the
CHARLES. "Four years and four months, I believe."
DORA. "In sailing along the coast of Peru we must pass close to
Lima, its capital, which is a magnificent city. Like other Spanish
cities of America it is laid out in quadras or squares of houses,
and through the centre of nearly all the streets runs a stream of
water three feet wide, which carries away a good portion of the
refuse of the city."
MR. BARRAUD. "The ladies of Lima are celebrated for beauty and
fineness of figure. They wear a very remarkable walking dress,
peculiar to this city and Truxillo. It consists of two parts, one
called the _saya_, the other the _manto_. The first is an elastic
dress, fitting close to the figure down to the ankles; the other is
an entire envelope, disclosing scarcely more than one eye to the
most scrutinizing observer. A rich colored handkerchief or a silk
band and tassel are frequently tied around the waist, and hang
nearly to the ground in front."
MRS. WILTON. "The population of Peru consists principally of
Indians, Spaniards and Negroes. The first are represented by
travellers as in the lowest stage of civilization, without any
desire for the comforts of civilized life, immersed in sloth and
apathy, from which they can rarely be roused, except when they have
an opportunity of indulging to excess in ardent spirits, of which
they are excessively fond. They are dirty in the extreme, seldom
taking off their clothes even to sleep, and still more rarely using
water. Their habitations are miserable hovels, destitute of every
convenience and disgustingly filthy."
MR. WILTON. "The Peruvians had at one time a curious contrivance for
crossing their rivers. They did not know how to make a bridge of
wood or stone; but necessity, the parent of invention, supplied that
defect. They formed cables of great strength, by twisting together
some of the pliable withes or osiers with which their country
abounds; six of these cables they stretched across the stream
parallel to one another, and made them fast on each side; these they
bound firmly together, by inter-weaving smaller ropes so close as to
form a compact piece of net-work, which being covered with branches
of trees and earth, they passed along it with tolerable security.
Proper persons were appointed to attend to each bridge, to keep it
in repair, and to assist passengers."
GEORGE. "Almost as clever a contrivance as the bridge of the present
day, although neither so strong nor durable. They were a persevering
EMMA. "The Gulf of Guayaquil is so called from a river of this name
which is famous for its shifting sand-banks, on which as the water
recedes alligators are left in great numbers. The Bay of Choco is on
the same coast (Columbia), and is the scene of continual storms. The
greatest riches in washed gold are deposited in the provinces of
Choco. The largest piece found there weighed twenty-five pounds; but
this country, so rich in gold, is at the same time scourged with
GRANDY. "Proving that gold is only valuable as the means of
procuring the necessaries of life, and enabling its possessor to
benefit his fellow-creatures. 'Whoso seeth his brother have need,
and shutteth up his compassion, how dwelleth the love of God in
him?' The people here value not the gold, for it is unable to buy
them freedom from the awful scourge."
DORA. "Emma, the Bay of Choco is on the coast of Granada, which,
although it is a district of Columbia, is large enough to be
regarded with some attention, particularly as it is actually one of
the three great divisions of Columbia."
CHARLES. "Nearly in the same latitude, just over the equator, are
the Galapagos. They are pretty islands: the cactus and aloe cover
the sides of the rocks, flamingoes and turtle-doves fill the air,
and the beach is covered with enormous turtle. But no trace whatever
indicates the residence of man, and I believe no man has ever landed
on these lonely shores."
MRS. WILTON. "Columbia abounds in stupendous natural wonders;
amongst the rest are the natural bridges of Iconongo, not far from
Bogota; the fall of Tequendama, the loftiest cataract; and the Silla
de Caracas, the loftiest cliff yet discovered. The climate is hot
and unhealthy, and the country subject to earthquakes. It is
inhabited by Indians, Spaniards, and Negroes. The Caribs are the
ruling Indian tribe; they are tall, of a reddish copper-color, with
dark intelligent eyes, and a grave expression of features. They
raise the flesh of their legs and thighs in long stripes, and shave
most of the hair from their heads, but do not flatten the forehead,
as is customary with the other tribes along the Orinoco. Columbia is
a country of great natural riches, but suffered to lie for the most
part waste, for the people are naturally indolent; and Captain Hall
remarks, that the Columbian who can eat beef and plantains, and
smoke cigars as he swings in his hammock, is possessed of almost
everything his habits qualify him to enjoy, or which his ambition
prompts him to attain."
MR. BARRAUD. "Along this coast many of the inhabitants subsist as
fishermen; and the Indians of Cartago have a singular method of
catching wild-fowl, which may here be noticed:--They leave
calabashes continually floating on the water that the birds may be
accustomed to the sight of them. When they wish to catch any of
these wild-fowl, they go into the water with their heads covered
each with a calabash, in which they make two holes for seeing
through; they then swim towards the birds, throwing a handful of
maize on the water from time to time, the grains of which scatter
on the surface. The birds approach to feed on the maize, and at the
moment the swimmer seizes them by the feet, pulls them under water,
and wrings their necks before they can make the least movement, or,
by their noise, spread an alarm among the flock. Many families are
supported in this way by disposing of the birds thus caught at a low
price in the markets."
EMMA. "The next bay is Panama, in which are the Gulf of St. Michael
and Gulf of Parita. There are several islands here, but the largest
is Rey Isle. The Gulf of Dolce runs into Costa Rica, and so does the
Gulf of Nicoya: and the little bays about here must not detain us."
MRS. WILTON. "San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica. There are no
fine buildings in this city, and the churches are inferior to many
erected by the Spaniards in the smallest villages. Nevertheless, the
whole place exhibits a business like appearance, much more so than
most cities in this lethargic part of the world. In Costa Rica is a
volcanic mountain, Cartago (now quiet), from the top of which the
traveller can view the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at one glance. In
a right line over the tops of the mountains, neither is more than
twenty miles distant, and from the great height from which they are
seen they appear to be almost at the traveller's feet. It is the
only point in the world which commands a view of the two Oceans."
GRANDY. "I remember a touching description of a funeral in San
Jose, which will not be out of place here:--
"'While Mr. Stephens (the author of several delightful books) was
standing in a corridor of his friend's house, a man passed with a
child in his arms. He was its father, and with a smile on his face
was carrying it to its grave. He was followed by two boys playing on
violins, and others were laughing around. The child was dressed in
white, with a wreath of roses around its head; and as it lay in its
father's arms, it did not seem dead but sleeping. The grave was not
quite ready, and the boys sat on the heap of dirt thrown out, and
played their violins until it was finished. The father then laid the
child carefully in its final resting-place, with its head to the
rising sun, folded its little hands across its breast, and closed
its fingers around a small wooden crucifix; and it seemed, as they
thought it was, happy at escaping the troubles of an uncertain
world. There were no tears shed; on the contrary, all were cheerful;
and though it appeared heartless, it was not because the father did
not love his child, but because he and all his friends had been
taught to believe, and were firm in the conviction, that, taken away
so young, it was transferred immediately to a better world. The
father sprinkled a handful of dirt over its face; the grave-digger
took his shovel; in a few moments the little grave was filled up,
and, preceded by the boys playing on their violins, they departed.'"
MRS. WILTON. "There is a spirit of thankfulness evinced in that
father's conduct which requires great faith. I fear none of us
would be found to possess as much under such a trial, for the spirit
is, unhappily, at most times under the dominion of the flesh."
GEORGE. "Is not Papagayo Bay close to the Lake of Nicaragua?"
EMMA. "It is only divided from the Ocean by a portion of the
district of Nicaragua. It is a great lake, ninety five miles long,
and thirty broad, and is navigable for ships of the largest class."
DORA. "It is covered with beautiful and populous islands, and two of
them--viz. Isola and Madeira--contain burning mountains. The largest
volcano--Omotepeque--always continues burning, and reminds one of
Mount Etna rising from the water's edge, a smooth unbroken cone to
the height of nearly 1000 feet. The waters of this lake descend by
the river St. John towards the Atlantic; but there is no outlet into
the Pacific Ocean."
GEORGE. "I should like to know why the Pacific is so called?"
[Illustration: THE EARTHQUAKE]
CHARLES. "I can tell you, George. In the year 1520, when Magellan
was on his way to the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, you know), he and
the crew suffered dreadful privations: they were nearly four months
at sea without discovering land. Their stock of provisions was
almost exhausted, the water became putrid, and in consequence the
poor men were attacked with that horrible disease the scurvy. The
only source of consolation, under these troubles, was the
uninterrupted fair weather they enjoyed, and the favorable winds
which wafted them gently onward; so that Magellan was induced to
call the Ocean Pacific: hence the origin of its name."
GEORGE. "Thank you, Charles. How pleasant it is to get all the
information we require, without the trouble of searching in great
dusty books. Now, Emma, will it please you to travel onward?"
EMMA. "What, George! Have you, too, caught the mania, that you are
in such a hurry to get to California?"
GEORGE. "Not to go gold-hunting, indeed; but the Rocky Mountains are
up in the north, and I have a story about them."
EMMA. "Well, to oblige you and ourselves too, we will proceed. The
Gulfs of Fonseca and Conchagua are deep indentations, about the
middle of the coast of Guatemala, to which country Costa Rica
MRS. WILTON. "The city of Guatemala was founded in 1776. It is
situated on table-land, 5000 feet above the sea and enjoys a
delicious climate,--literally, a perpetual spring. Beautiful
churches and buildings adorn this city; but the houses are built
only one story high, in order more effectually to resist the action
of earthquakes; for you must know this city has close to it two
burning mountains--Fuego and Agua, which prove the volcanic nature
of the earth. Among all the phenomena of nature few appear to be
attended with such horrible consequences as earthquakes. Thousands,
who in one moment are full of busy life, are, the next, swallowed up
as if they had never existed, or crushed to death by fragments of
falling buildings. In _six minutes_, by the great earthquake of
Lisbon, in 1755, sixty thousand souls were launched into eternity;
and though none in this city have equalled in destructiveness the
great one at Lisbon, yet Guatemala has been several times nearly
destroyed by earthquakes, combined with the eruptions of the
MR. BARRAUD. "The inhabitants are mostly of Spanish origin;
consequently, mostly Roman Catholics; and a recent traveller says
that from the moment of his arrival, he was struck with the devout
appearance of the city of Guatemala. At matins and vespers, the
churches were all open, and the people, particularly the women, went
regularly to prayers. Every house had its figure of the Virgin, the
Saviour, or some tutelary saint, and on the door were billets of
paper with prayers. You will be surprised to hear that nearly all
the ladies in Central America smoke. The married ladies smoke
_puros_, or all tobacco; the unmarried ladies smoke _cigars_, or
tobacco wrapped in paper or straw."
DORA. "What an odd indulgence for a lady! In England, ladies never
smoke; although I must say I have often seen poor women with pipes
in their mouths, and thought what a dirty habit it was."
MRS. WILTON. "It is the custom of the country, and were you a
Spanish lady, Dora, I have no doubt you would enjoy a cigar as much
as any of the senoritas. We shall next see the shore of Mexico. What
gulfs must we pass to accomplish this?"
EMMA. "Only the Gulf of Tehuantepec which is worth noticing."
MRS. WILTON. "Mexico has been travelled over already; so we will
pass on to the Gulf of California."
GEORGE. "But is there not a place called New Mexico?"
DORA. "Yes, but not near the coast: however, I will tell you all I
know about it. It is mostly inhabited by Christian Indians, of whom
there are no fewer than thirty villages. They are of various tribes,
but all trained to industrial habits, and are in every respect a
worthy set of people. Their clothing is the skin of wild goats;
their women wear mantles of cotton or wool. Their mode of travelling
is on horseback, and the only access to their huts, which are
square, with open galleries on the top, is by a ladder, which is
removed during the night."
CHARLES. "Robinson Crusoe fashion, I presume?"
DORA. "Exactly. 'Now we are in front of the entrance to San
Francisco Bay. The mountains on the northern side are 3000 feet in
height, and come boldly down to the sea As the view opens through
the splendid strait, three or four miles in width, the island rock
of Alcatraz appears, gleaming white in the distance. At last we are
through the Golden Gate--fit name for such a magnificent portal to
the commerce of the Pacific. The Bay is crowded with the shipping of
the world, and the flags of all nations are fluttering in the
breeze.' Before us lies the grand emporium of the Gold
Region--a city which has well nigh realized the extravagance of the
Arabian Nights Entertainments. As if by the touch of a magic wand,
what was five years ago a little Indian village is now a large and
flourishing city, which is increasing at a prodigious rate. From
every nation and people and clime, emigrants have been pressing to
it in pursuit of the precious metal. The golden sands of California,
with their brilliant glitter, have attracted thousands upon
thousands from every land--and there is now arising on the far
distant shores of the Pacific a great Empire destined to exert a
mighty influence in the affairs of the world. The glowing prospect
which the success of the first adventurers had created, soon drew to
her shores the energy and enterprise of the nations of both Europe
and America. 'Around the curving shore of the Bay and upon the sides
of three hills, which rise steeply from the water, the middle one
receding so as to form a bold amphitheatre, the town is planted and
seems scarcely yet to have taken root, for tents, canvass, plank,
mud and adobe houses are mingled together with the least apparent
attempt at order and durability.' However, the appearance of the
city is fast improving--for churches and schools and public
buildings are springing up on every side, and substantial edifices
are fast taking the place of the more temporary erections. The
sudden rush or so many people to one point, and many of them poorly
provided, combined with the abundance of the gold, caused provision,
rents, and labor to rise to enormous prices. A tent for instance,
called Eldorado, fifteen by twenty feet, occupied mostly by gamblers
brought the enormous yearly rent of $40,000. 'Miners' Bank,' used by
Wright & Co., brokers, about half the size of a fire-engine house,
was held at a rent of $75,000. A gentleman who wished to find a law
office, was shown a cellar in the earth, about twelve feet square
and six feet deep, which he could have at $250 _per month_. One of
the common soldiers at the battle of San Pasquale was reputed to be
among the millionaires of the place, and had an income of fifty
thousand dollars monthly.
[Footnote 15: J. Bayard Taylor's 'Eldorado.']
"The prices paid for labor were in proportion to everything else.
The carman of Mellus Howard & Co., had a salary of $6000 a year, and
many others made from fifteen to twenty dollars daily. Servants were
paid from a hundred to two hundred dollars a month. This state of
things, as might have been expected, did not long continue, for all
things soon find their level, and the rapid importation of produce,
materials and laborers, had soon the effect of lowering the prices
to a fair and ordinary scale.
"California territory belongs to the United States of North America,
and will, doubtless, in a short time, form several distinct states
in that already powerful confederacy."
MR. WILTON. "Now, George, we have arrived at the Gulf of
Georgia;--you will not have very far to travel to the Rocky
CHARLES. "The Gulf of Georgia is very considerable: it divides
Quadra or Vancouver's Island from the continent, and communicates
with the Pacific to the south by Claaset's Straits, and to the north
by Queen Charlotte's Sound. Quadra is a large island, and I think
better known by the name of Nootka Sound, which is at the south end
of the island, and contains an English establishment."
MRS. WILTON. "The natives of Nootka Sound are not an interesting
people, and are greatly inferior to the other tribes inhabiting the
continent. They are short, plain-looking people, not unlike the
Esquimaux. Their ordinary dress consists of a mantle edged with fur
at the top, and fringed at the bottom, which is made out of the bark
of the pine, beaten into fibres. Their food is mostly drawn from the
sea. Large stores of fish are dried and smoked, and the roes,
prepared like caviare, form their winter bread. They drink fish-oil,
and mix it with their food. The women go fishing occasionally, and
are as skilful as the men; but their usual occupation is within
doors, preparing the fabric of which their garments are composed.
Captain Cook, in speaking of their houses, says: 'They are as filthy
as hog-sties,--everything in and about them stinking of fish,
train-oil, and smoke.'"
GEORGE. "I shall have to travel upwards of 600 miles to tell my
story; but, as truth is worth seeking, I do not mind the trouble: so
here it is:--
#Story of Boone and the Bear.#
"A young man named Boone, son of the mighty American hunter, made a
settling amongst the Rocky Mountains, and when his hut was erected
he used to leave it for days, out on hunting expeditions. One night,
after returning from one of these enterprises, he retired to rest on
his solitary pallet. The heat was intense, and, as usual in these
countries during summer, he had left his door wide open. It was
about midnight, when he was awakened by the noise of something
tumbling in the room: he rose in a moment, and hearing a short and
heavy breathing, he asked who it was, for the darkness was such that
he could not see two yards before him. No answer being given, except
a kind of half smothered grunt, he advanced,--and, putting out his
hand, he seized the shaggy coat of a BEAR! Surprise rendered him
motionless; and the animal, giving him a blow on the chest with his
terrible paw, threw him down outside the door. Boone could have
escaped, but, maddened with the pain of his fall, he only thought of
vengeance,--and, seizing his knife and tomahawk, which were
fortunately within his reach, he darted furiously at the beast,
dealing blows at random. Great as was his strength, his tomahawk
could not penetrate through the thick coat of the animal, which,
having encircled the body of his assailant with his paws, was
pressing him in one of those deadly embraces which could only have
been resisted by a giant like Boone (who was six feet nine inches
in height and proportionably strong). Fortunately, the Black bear,
unlike the Grizzly, very seldom uses his claws and teeth in
fighting, contenting himself with smothering his victim. Boone
disentangled his left arm, and with his knife dealt a furious blow
upon the snout of the animal, which, smarting with pain, released
his hold. The snout is the only vulnerable part in an old black
bear. Even at forty yards, the ball of a rifle will flatten against
his skull, and if in any other part of the body it will scarcely
produce any serious effect. Boone, aware of this, and not daring to
risk another hug, darted away from the cabin. The bear, now quite
angry, followed and overtook him near the fence. Fortunately, the
clouds were clearing away, and the moon threw light sufficient to
enable the hunter to strike with a more certain aim: he found also
on the ground one of the rails, made of the blue ash, very heavy,
and ten feet in length; he dropped his knife and tomahawk, and,
seizing the rail, he renewed the fight with caution, for it had now
become a struggle for life or death.
"Had it been a bull or a panther, they would have had their bones
shivered to pieces by the tremendous blows which Boone dealt upon
his adversary with all the strength of despair; but Bruin is by
nature an admirable fencer, and, in spite of his unwieldy shape,
there is not in the world an animal whose motions are more rapid in
a close encounter. Once or twice he was knocked down by the force of
the blows, but generally he would parry them with a wonderful
agility. At last he succeeded in seizing the other end of the rail,
and dragged it towards him with irresistible force. Both man and
beast fell, Boone rolling to the place where he had dropped his
arms, while the bear advanced upon him. The moment was a critical
one; but Boone was accustomed to look at and brave death under every
shape,--and, with a steady hand, he buried the tomahawk in the snout
of his enemy, and, turning round, he rushed to his cabin, believing
he would have time to secure the door. He closed the latch, and
applied his shoulders to it; but it was of no avail: the terrible
brute dashed in head foremost, and tumbled into the room, with Boone
and the fragments of the door. The two foes rose and stared at each
other. Boone had nothing left but his knife; but Bruin was tottering
and unsteady, and Boone felt that the match was more equal. Once
more they closed.
"A few hours after sunrise a friend called at the hut,--and, to his
horror, found Boone apparently lifeless on the floor, and alongside
of him the body of the bear. Boone soon recovered, and found that
the timely blow which had saved him from being crushed to death had
buried the whole blade of his knife through the left eye, in the
very brain of the huge animal."
CHARLES. "That is a spirited story, and very well told, George. I
should not like to have been Mr. Boone in such a situation, although
he was a 'mighty hunter;' a bear is an ugly animal to embrace."
DORA. "Yes; and, lest we should meet with any, we will leave the
Rocky Mountains and go on to the north of Quadra, where are situated
King George's Archipelago and the Admiralty Isles. The inhabitants
of the former bear some resemblance to the Esquimaux. The women wear
an extraordinary kind of ornament, which gives them the appearance
of having two mouths: it consists of a small piece of wood, which
they force into the flesh below the under lip."
MR. BARRAUD. "Those are Norfolk Sound people; but they are a kindly
race, notwithstanding their outrageous customs; and, to show you how
readily they are affected for good or evil, I will relate a
circumstance which happened when Captain Cleveland was trading with
them. A canoe containing eleven persons went alongside his vessel,
and raised the screens at the port-holes, to look in on the deck.
Before the captain had time to speak to them, the cook (either by
accident or design) threw a ladleful of hot water over them, which
causing an involuntary and sudden motion of their bodies to the
other side of the boat, immediately upset, and all were immersed in
the water. The confusion was then very great,--as those who at the
time were under the stern, engaged in traffic, fearing some
treachery, made haste to paddle away, without regarding the distress
of their comrades. All of these, however, appeared to be capable of
taking care of themselves; excepting an infant of about a year old,
whose struggles being observed by one of the mates, he jumped
overboard and saved it. The weather was very raw and chilly: the
captain had the child dried and warmed by the fire, then wrapped it
in a blanket, gave it a piece of sugar, and returned it to its
parents, who were exceedingly pleased and grateful; and, as soon as
all had recovered from the effects of their immersion, their
business (which was trading for skins of various kinds) was
conducted throughout the day to the mutual satisfaction of all
MR. WILTON. "As these islands are near the coast of Columbia, I wish
to inform you that here there is an excellent harbor and a navy
yard, to which ships of the largest tonnage may ascend. The yard
covers a space of thirty-seven acres, and in it are made nearly all
the anchors, cables, and blocks required for the service of the
United States' Navy, which, although inconsiderable in point of
numerical strength, is perhaps the best organized and most effective
in the world. The unexpected success of their frigates in contests
with British vessels of the same class has established the
reputation of the American navy for skill and prowess in the eyes of
Europe; and the United States, with comparatively few ships, already
rank high as a naval power."
EMMA. "We now pass Admiralty Bay, go through Cook's Inlet, out by
the Straits of Chilogoff, round by the Aleutian Isles into Bristol
MRS. WILTON. "The Aleutian Isles are very numerous, principally
volcanic: the three largest are Bhering's, Attoo, and Onolaska. The
natives are of a dark brown complexion, and the women disfigure
themselves by cutting an aperture in the under lip, to which various
trinkets are suspended. Their subsistence is principally obtained by
hunting and fishing. The seal is particularly valuable to them,
affording a constant supply of food and clothing. Their dwellings
are spacious excavations in the earth, roofed over with turf, as
many as 150 individuals sometimes residing in the different
GEORGE. "Must we go through Bhering's Straits: they will take us
into such very cold regions?"
EMMA. "We must not mind the cold if we can learn anything by going;
but, as you are afraid of venturing so far, we will leave you at
Point Hope, while we make our way to Point Barrow."
CHARLES. "Appear not at Point Hope. George; for if you do, you must
never hope to see us again. Do you know that the Indians who live in
the mountains not far from the Point are cannibals, and would seize
you for a delicious morsel? They are not at all particular folks;
and when there is a scarcity of food among them, they cast lots for
victims, and eat their relations without the slightest remorse."
MR. BARRAUD. "The fierce and savage propensities of these mountain
Indians have been circumstantially described by an old man, who,
while yet a stripling, fled from the tribe, and joined himself to
another tribe called Dog Ribs, in consequence of his finding his
mother, on his return from a successful day's hunting, employed in
roasting the body of her own child, his youngest brother!"
MRS. WILTON. "Oh! horrible! Let us quit this savage Point, and see
what Point Barrow resembles."
Mr. WILTON. "It is a long spit of land composed of sand and gravel.
When Captain Simpson was on an exploring expedition in the Polar
Seas, he landed there, and one of the first objects that presented
itself was an immense cemetery. There, the miserable remnants of
humanity lay on the ground, in the seal-skin dresses worn when
alive. A few were covered with an old sledge, or some pieces of
wood, but far the greater number were exposed to the voracity of
dogs and wild animals. The inhabitants of this Point are Esquimaux."
EMMA. "Bhering's Straits divide the Old from the New Continent, and
the water to the south beyond the Gulf of Anadir is called Bhering's
or Kamtschatka Sea, and washes the shores of Kamtschatka."
MRS. WILTON. "Kamtschatka is a portion of Asia, about the same size
as Great Britain. It is a cold, foggy country, and subject to sudden
storms of snow and sleet, which the natives call '_poorgas_,' and
when overtaken by one they do not attempt to travel through it, but
suffer the snow to bury them and their dogs, and as soon as it is
over, they extricate themselves as well as they can. The natives
comprising the two tribes of the Kamtschatdales and Koriaks differ
principally in their mode of life. They are all of low stature, and
not remarkable for their beauty. They are shy, averse to strangers,
but honest, and extremely hospitable. They dwell in fixed
habitations, although hunters and fishers; but their dwellings are
low, comfortless, and filthy, sunk in the ground in the winter
months, and raised on posts during summer to facilitate the curing
of fish, which are hung up on lines to dry. In travelling, they use
dogs harnessed to a sledge instead of horses."
DORA. "We are now to leave the coasts, and sail about in search of
the islands in the Pacific Ocean; and, as we happen to be above the
equator, we can more conveniently see those of the North Pacific. We
have each selected our favorite isles for description, and Charles
is at the head of the catalogue."
MRS. WILTON. "To make our remarks better understood, we will, like
scientific geographers, class all these islands under the head of
Polynesia, for the term is applied to the numerous groups, both
above and below the equator, in the Pacific Ocean. The equator
forming a dividing line between North and South Polynesia. Sir
Francis Drake was the first English captain to whom appertained the
honor of sailing on the Pacific Ocean.
"'The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
He was the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.'"
[Footnote 16: Coleridge]
CHARLES. "The Sandwich Islands appear to me one of the most
interesting groups, although the most isolated of all in North
Polynesia. They are ten in number,--eight inhabited,--and were named
by their discoverer, Captain Cook, in honor of the Earl of Sandwich,
a minister who had warmly promoted his labors. The island of Owyhee,
or more properly Hawaii, is the largest, being 415 miles in
circumference. It obtained a celebrity, as the scene of Captain
Cook's death, who was killed by the natives on the 14th of February,
1779. A celebrity of a different kind now awaits it, as the focus of
civilization in Polynesia. The inhabitants have, with the assistance
of the English and Americans, built twenty merchant-ships, with
which they perform voyages to the north-west coast of America, and
even visit Canton. They used to sacrifice human victims, but were
never cannibals; they tattoo their bodies, and the women tattoo the
tips of their tongues. Hawaii contains a tremendous volcano, the top
of which is 16,000 feet above the level of the sea. The whole
island, indeed, is one complete mass of lava. Christianity was
introduced by the American missionaries in 1820, and is now the
religion of the state. Schools have been established, and churches
built. Honoruru, in the Island of Cahu, is the capital of the group.
Some of the houses are built of stone; but the natives still prefer
living in their huts, so that the town is grotesquely irregular. The
principal public building is the English school, where children of
both sexes are taught to read and write. The place is altogether in
a flourishing condition, and so advanced in the refinements of life,
that the news-paper, lately established in the town, sets forth the
following articles for sale:--'Ladies' shoes from Paris, Ices, and
Eau de Cologne.'"
GRANDY. "It is a great cause for thankfulness, that religion is
spreading her benign influence over these volcanic isles. The women
who, truly speaking, were the most callous and obdurate, have
exhibited bright and numerous proofs of that change of heart, which
is the single end and aim of pure Christianity. Kekupuhe, who in
Cook's days was one of the wives of the king of Hawaii, evinced the
sincerity of her conversion, which took place in 1828, by learning
to read when she was more than eighty years of age, and by inditing
hymns in honor of the God of her old age."
GEORGE. "I cannot understand why they killed Captain Cook; and I
have never read the account of his first visit to the Sandwich
Islands: have you, Charles?"
CHARLES. "Yes, and a very interesting account it is. On the first
appearance of the English ships, the chiefs and priests, taking them
for floating islands, imagined that their long-expected guardian
spirit, 'Etuah Orono,' was arrived. Hence Captain Cook was received
with honor approaching to adoration, as they imagined him to be
their 'Orono.' The king was absent at the time of his arrival; but
the chief priest and his son received the captain. Scarcely were the
ships anchored, when a priest went on board, and decorating Cook
with a red cloth, such as adorned their deities, offered him a pig
in the manner of a sacrifice, and pronounced a long harangue. They
chanted hymns before him, and priests, bearing wands, preceded him
on his landing, while the in habitants prostrated themselves on the
ground, as he walked from the beach to the village."
GEORGE. "But if they held him in such reverence, how was it they
MR. WILTON. "His own imprudence brought about his melancholy end.
Some time after his arrival, it appears, that one of his smaller
boats was stolen by some of the natives, for the sake of the nails
in her, and was broken up the very night it was stolen. Captain
Cook, angry at losing his boat, attempted to get the king on board
his ship, to confine him there, until the boat should be restored.
This caused a tumult, and in the tumult, Captain Cook was slain.
There certainly was no malice in the case,--not the slightest
intention of injuring him; and his body was treated in the same
manner as those of their own chiefs, the bones being assigned to
different Eries (chiefs), who, either from affection, or from an
idea of good luck attending them, desired to preserve them. Long
after Captain Cook's death, the natives believed he would re-appear,
and perhaps punish them for their breach of hospitality."
MR. BARRAUD. "They are a most interesting people; and, to prove to
you how they have advanced in civilization, I will give you two
instances of their mode of living and taking their meals. Forty
years ago, the Rev. Mr. Stewart, being then on a mission, visited a
chief, and, when he entered the apartment, one of his queens was
seated on the ground _a la Turc_, with a large wooden tray in her
lap. Upon this a monstrous cuttle-fish had just been placed, fresh
from the sea, and in all its life and vigor. The queen had taken it
up with both hands, and brought its body to her mouth, and, by a
single application of her teeth, the black blood with which it was
filled gushed over her face and neck, while the long sucking arms of
the fish, in the convulsive paroxysm of the operation, were twisting
and writhing about her head, like the snaky hairs of a Medusa.
Occupied as both hands were, she could only give her visitor a nod.
Mr. Stewart remarks, 'It was the first time I had seen her Majesty,
and I soon took my departure, leaving her, as I found her, in the
full enjoyment of her luxurious luncheon.' Now,--observe the
contrast. In 1841, Sir George Simpson and friends visited a chief.
They were received in an immense apartment: several white persons
were there to meet them: all the rules of etiquette were observed on
going to table. The chiefs were all handsomely attired, their
clothes fitting to a hair's breadth, for they had imported a tailor
from England to make them. The dining-room was handsomely furnished,
and lighted with elegant lamps. The dinner was excellent, with fine
pastry and preserves from every country, and the glass and plate on
the table would have been admired even in a London mansion. The
chiefs, especially the host, were men of excellent address, and,
adds Sir George Simpson, 'we soon forgot that we were sipping our
coffee in a country which is deemed uncivilized, and among
individuals who are classed with savages. There were but few
incongruities in the course of the evening's entertainment, such as
could at all mar the effect, excepting that one of the chiefs
frequently inquired, with much solicitude, whether or not we thought
his whiskers handsome.' In conclusion, he says, 'After chatting a
good deal, and smoking a few cigars, we took our leave, highly
gratified with the hospitality and courtesy of the governor and his
DORA. "It must have been a work of time to convert these people; for
their belief in the power of their idols was so strong, and had been
preserved through so many generations."
GRANDY. "The work was of God, my dear, and he made it to prosper.
Civilization once introduced, the way to Christianity was paved; and
the chiefs with their wives setting the example, the mission was
soon full of hopes for the future. The great women of the islands,
when converted themselves, endeavored to propagate the truths of the
Gospel; and amongst them, one of the most justly celebrated
Christians was Kapiolani. She wished to undeceive the natives
concerning their false gods; and knowing in what veneration Peli,
the goddess of the volcano, was held, she determined to climb the
mountain, descend into the crater, and by thus braving the volcanic
deities in their very homes, convince the inhabitants that God is
God alone, and that the false and subordinate deities existed only
in the fancies of their ignorant adorers. Thus determined, and
accompanied by a missionary, she, with part of her family, and a
number of followers, both of her own vassals, and those of other
chiefs, ascended Peli. At the edge of the first precipice that
bounds the sunken plain, many of her followers and companions lost
courage and turned back: at the second, the rest earnestly entreated
her to desist from her dangerous enterprise, and forbear to tempt
the powerful gods of the fires. But she proceeded; and, on the very
verge of the crater, caused a hut to be constructed for herself and
people. Here she was assailed anew by their entreaties to return
home; and their assurances, that, if she persisted in violating the
dwellings of the goddess, she would draw on herself, and those with
her, certain destruction. Her answer was noble:--'I will descend
into the crater,' said she; 'and if I do not return safe, then
continue you to worship Peli; but, if I come back unhurt, you must
learn to adore the God who created Peli.' She accordingly went down
the steep and difficult side of the crater, accompanied by a
missionary, and by some whom love or duty induced to follow her.
Arrived at the bottom, she thrust a stick into the liquid lava, and
stirred the ashes of the burning lake. The charm of superstition was
at that moment broken. Those who had expected to see the goddess,
armed with flames and sulphurous smoke, burst forth and destroy the
daring heroine who thus braved her, in her very sanctuary, were
awe-struck when they saw the fire remain innocuous, and the flames
roll harmless, as though none were present. They acknowledged the
greatness of the God of Kapiolani; and from that time few indeed
have been the offerings, and little the reverence paid to the fires
CHARLES. "What delightful anecdotes concerning my island! but I have
one reserved for the conclusion, which illustrates the truth of the
assertion, that the women of the Sandwich Islands are superior to
the men in many exercises requiring skill, and also in their powers
of endurance. The latter quality may, I believe, be fairly adjudged
to the women of all countries. 'A man and his wife, both Christians,
were passengers in a schooner, which foundered at a considerable
distance from the land. All the natives on board promptly took
refuge in the sea; and the man in question, who had just celebrated
divine service in the ill-fated vessel, called his fellows (some of
them being converts as well as himself) around him, to offer up
another tribute of praise and supplication from the deep; exhorting
them, with a combination of courage and humility rarely equalled, to
worship God in that universal temple, under whose restless pavement
he and most of his hearers were destined to find their graves. It
was done: they called on God from the midst of the waves, and then
each struggled to save the life they valued. The man and his wife
had each succeeded in procuring the support of a covered bucket by
way of a buoy; and away they struck with the rest for Kahoolawe,
finding themselves next morning alone in the ocean, after a whole
afternoon and night of privation and toil. To aggravate their
misfortunes, the wife's bucket went to pieces soon after daylight,
so that she had to make the best of her way without assistance or
relief; and, in the course of the second afternoon, the man became
too weak to proceed; till his wife, to a certain extent, restored
his strength by shampooning him in the water. They had now Kahoolawe
in full view after having been about four-and-twenty hours on their
dreary voyage. In spite, however, of the cheering sight, the man
again fell into such a state of exhaustion, that the woman took his
bucket for herself, giving him at the same time the hair of her head
as a towing-line; and, when even this exertion proved too much for
him, the faithful creature, after trying in vain to rouse him to
prayer, took his arms round her neck, holding them together with one
hand, and making with the other for the shore When a very trifling
distance remained to be accomplished, she discovered that he was
dead, and dropping his corpse she reached the land before night,
having swam upwards of twenty-five miles during an exposure of
thirty hours! The only means of resting from her fatigue being by
floating on the top of the water."
MR. WILTON. "Very good, Charles; but if our notes of all the other
islands in Polynesia be as extensive as those of the Sandwich Isles,
I fear we shall not cross the equator before midnight."
EMMA. "I can soon quiet your fears, dear papa; for the description
of the remaining isles in North Polynesia rests with the elder
members, and of course they are at liberty to abridge them if they
MR. WILTON. "In that case I will undertake to run over the Ladrones,
sometimes called the Marianne Isles. There are twenty of them; but
only five are inhabited, and they lie in the south extremity of the
cluster. They are so close together, and so broken and irregular in
their form and position, as to appear like fragments disjointed from
each other, at remote periods, by some sudden convulsion of nature.
The coasts consist for the most part of dark brown rocks,
honey-combed in many places by the action of the waves. The islands
are fertile, abounding in hogs, cattle, horses, mules, and many
other agreeable things; while in order that, like other countries in
this sublunary world, they may lay claim to a portion of
disagreeables, they are infested with mosquitoes and endless
varieties of loathsome insects; and the fish that are found around
the coasts are not fit for food. So much for the country--now for
the natives:--They are tall, robust, and active; the men wear
scarcely any covering, and the women only a petticoat of matting.
Both sexes stain their teeth black, and many of them tattoo their
bodies. The Ladrone Islands were originally discovered by Magellan,
who called them 'las Islas de las Ladrones' or the islands of
thieves; because the Indians stole everything made of iron within
their reach. At the latter end of the seventeenth century, they
obtained the name of Marianne from the Queen of Spain, who sent
missionaries thither to propagate the Christian religion. Guajan is
the largest island of the group. Near the Ladrones lies the famous
pyramidal rock called 'Lot's wife.' A sea neither broken nor
interrupted for an immense space in all directions, here dashes with
sublime violence on the solid mass which rises almost
perpendicularly to a height of 350 feet. On the south-east side is a
deep cavern, where the waves resound with a prodigious noise."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Philippine Isles fall to my share. They are,
correctly speaking, in the Eastern Archipelago. Luzon, the most
northerly, is the largest: it is a long narrow island, and, like all
the others, abounding in volcanoes. Gold, iron, and copper have been
found in the mountains, and rock salt is so abundant in some parts
as to be an article of export. These islands are exceedingly
mountainous and fertile, but from the large swamps are very
unhealthy. There are no beasts of prey, but numerous herds of
cattle; the inhabitants, however, are too indolent to profit by
these gifts of nature; they are actually too idle to make their
cow's milk into butter, and throughout the islands use hog's lard
instead, because they will not be at the trouble of keeping and
milking the cows. Rice is the chief support of the population.
Sugar, coffee, and many other delightful things grow here, and
cotton shrubs thrive well. Manilla is the only port of trade in the
Philippines: it is a fortified city inhabited by people from all
parts of the world. This city is entered by six gates. The streets
have carriage ways and footpaths, and are lighted at night. The
houses are solidly constructed, but, on account of earthquakes,
seldom more than one story above the ground floor. Most of the
houses are furnished with balconies and verandahs; the place of
glass in the windows is supplied by thin semi transparent pieces of
shell, which though more opaque repel heat better. In the year 1762
Manilla was taken by the English; but ransomed by Spain for 1,000
000_l_. sterling. There! who can compete with my islands in value?"
MRS. WILTON. "Quantity must compensate for the loss of quality. Here
are the Caroline or New Philippines,--forty-six groups of them,
comprising several hundred islands. A few of them are high, rising
in peaks, but by far the greater number are merely volcanic
formations. They were discovered in 1686, by a Spaniard, who named
them after Charles II. of Spain. There are no hogs on these islands,
and the inhabitants subsist chiefly on fish. They are reputed to be
the most expert sailors and fishermen in Polynesia; and,
notwithstanding the tremendous sea by which they are surrounded,
they have a considerable trading intercourse with the Ladrone and
many other islands."
GEORGE. "Papa, it is your turn again.--Pelew Isles."
MR. WILTON. "They are chiefly known from the accounts of Captain
Wilson, who was wrecked on them in 1783. He describes the
inhabitants as hospitable, friendly, and humane; and they are a gay
and comparatively innocent people; but they do not appear to have
any form of religion, although they conceive that the soul survives
the body. These islands are covered with close woods. Ebony grows
in the forests. Bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees are in abundance.
Cattle, goats, poultry, &c., have been sent there and thrive well.
The Pelews have a considerable trade with China.
"Now it seems to me that we had better cross the equator with all
expedition, for there are so many islands up here, we cannot
possibly go to all, and I think we have noticed the most important."
DORA. "South Polynesia then. Papua or New Guinea is my portion, and
it happens to lie near the Pelew Isles. It is supposed to be the
first part of Australia discovered by Europeans, and is the favorite
residence of the superb and singular birds of paradise, of which
there are ten or twelve kinds. There are three kinds reckoned the
most gorgeous: viz., the King, which has two detached feathers
parallel to the tail, ending in an elegant curl with a tuft: the
Magnificent, which has also two detached feathers of the same length
with the body, very slender, and ending in a tuft: the Golden
Throat, which has three long and straight feathers proceeding from
each side of the head. These birds are considered the best, but they
are all arrayed in brilliant colors, and all superbly magnificent.
They are caught chiefly in the Aroo Isles, either by means of
bird-lime, or shot with blunted arrows. After being dried with smoke
and sulphur, they are sold for nuts or pieces of iron and carried to
EMMA. "The New Hebrides are in my course, but the Friendly Isles are
allotted to me."
MRS. WILTON. "Nevertheless, the New Hebrides claim a few words.
They were discovered in 1506, and so named by Captain Cook. They are
considerably hilly, and well clothed with timber. The valleys are
extremely abundant, producing figs, nutmegs, and oranges, besides
the fruits common to the rest of Polynesia. The inhabitants present
the most ugly specimen extant of the Papuan race; the men wear no
covering, and the women, who are used as mere beasts of burden; wear
only a petticoat, made from the plantain leaf. Their canoes are more
rudely constructed than in most of the other islands; and, on the
whole, these people seem to be among the most degraded of the
islanders of the Pacific."
EMMA. "I should not like to live with such people; therefore we will
pass on to my _Friendly_ Islands. They are low and encircled by
dangerous coral reefs; the soil is almost throughout exceedingly
rich, producing with very little care, the banana, bread-fruit, and
yam. The population may amount to about 90,000; but the natives,
though favorably mentioned by Captain Cook, appear to be as
treacherous, savage, and superstitious as any in the worst parts of
Polynesia. The Wesleyan Missionaries established themselves in these
islands in 1821, and are reported to have met with considerable
success. The leading island is that which is called Tongataboo, or
the 'consecrated island.' The name is properly two words 'Tonga
Taboo,' signifying 'Sacred Island,' the reason of which appellative
will appear, when I tell you that the priest of this island, whose
name was Diatonga, was reverenced and resorted to by all the
surrounding islands. Earthquakes are very frequent here; but the
islands display a spectacle of the most abundant fertility. The
foundations of this group are coral rocks, and there is scarcely any
other kind of stone to be found. Tongataboo has a large and
excellent harbor, which admits of being well fortified."
GRANDY. "You wisely passed the Feejees, Emma; and I will explain why
I say _wisely_. They have the reputation of being cannibals; but
they are industrious, and at times kindly; and their islands are
tolerably fertile. A missionary ship was nearly lost here, in broad
daylight and calm weather, by coming in contact with a reef, of
which no previous warning was presented. George, my child, you are
next; what have you selected for your display?"
GEORGE. "The Society Islands, Grandy. They consist of six large and
several smaller islands. The principal is called Otaheite, or more
properly, Tahiti; which is often styled the 'Queen of the Pacific.'
The whole circumference of this royal isle is 180 miles; on all
sides, rivers are seen descending in beautiful cascades, and the
entire land is clothed, from the water's edge to its topmost heights
with continual verdure, which for luxuriance and picturesque effect,
is certainly unparalleled."
CHARLES. "Excuse me interrupting you, George; but how do you
contrive to remember all those long words?"
MR. WILTON. "I have heard of honorable members being taken to task
for ignorance, but never for possessing superior abilities, and I
suggest that the learned member be allowed to proceed with his
account, without further interruption."
GEORGE. "There, Charles, you are called to 'order,' and I hope you
will not commit yourself again, by trying to break the thread of my
CHARLES. "I am full of contrition; pray proceed, and I trust you
will find no great difficulty in joining your _thread_ again. If you
are disposed to retaliate, I give you free permission to criticize
me to any extent when my turn comes."
GEORGE. "Never fear but I will watch for an opportunity. The Society
Islanders are light-hearted, merry, and fond of social enjoyment,
but, at the same time, indolent, deceitful, thievish, and addicted
to the excessive use of ardent spirits. The highest ambition of an
Otaheitan is to have a splendid 'morai,' or family tomb. The
funerals, especially those of the chiefs, have a solemn and
affecting character. Songs are sung; the mourners, with sharks'
teeth, draw blood from their bodies, which, as it flows, mingles
with their tears. An apron, or _maro_ of red feathers, is the badge
of royal dignity, and great deference is paid to the chiefs. These
people manufacture handsome cloths and mats; but the commerce
consisting of pearl-shells, sugar, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root, in
exchange for European manufactures, is carried on chiefly by
foreigners, as the natives have no vessels larger than their double
canoes. Otaheite is a fine place, but not so important a commercial
station as Oahu, in the Sandwich Islands. There, Charles, I am at
the end of my thread."
GRANDY. "And very well you have spun it, George; but as you have not
informed us on the subject of the religion of these islanders, I
presume it is unknown to you. They believe in a sort of deity, that
he resides in the palace of heaven, with a number of other
divinities, who are all designated 'children of the night.' The
forms of Christian worship are enforced here as rigidly as in the
Sandwich Islands; but civilization is considerably less advanced;
although I am happy to add, in conclusion, that the people are
undergoing a remarkable change, and Christianity is certainly
gaining ground; for the idols are being destroyed, and the labors of
the zealous missionaries are now sanctioned by the highest
authorities. We will make no more remarks on the Society Islands;
for they have formed the subject of more writings, perhaps, than
many a kingdom of Europe, and the Otaheitans are positively better
known to us than the inhabitants of Sardinia or Corsica."
GEORGE. "Thanks, dear Grandy, for winding up my subject so
beautifully. Now, friend Charles, perhaps you will spin _your_
CHARLES. "Most willingly; but it will be a short one, as I have very
little material. Pitcairn's Island stands alone near the eastern
extremity of Polynesia. It is chiefly interesting on account of its
having been the refuge of the mutinous crew of Captain Bligh's ship,
the 'Bounty.' The mutineers, after having turned their captain and a
few of the crew out in an open boat, tried to make a settlement in
the Society Islands; but failing, they, accompanied by some
Otaheitans, fixed themselves in this isolated spot. They landed here
in 1790, fifteen men, and twelve women. Nine of the men were
mutineers; all the others were Otaheitans. Captain Beachey visited
the island in 1825, and found about sixty persons on it, the
descendants of Captain Bligh's men. Pitcairn's Isle is a little spot
not more than seven miles in circumference, with an abrupt rocky
coast. I believe the reason there are so few persons on the island,
is accounted for by the dismal fate of the original settlers. The
sailors had married Otaheitan women, whose brothers in one night
murdered them, only one escaping, whose name was Adams. On the
following night, the Otaheitan widows of the English inflicted
dreadful vengeance, by murdering all their brothers who had
committed the first frightful deed. Their children grew up under the
fostering care of Adams, who officiated as a sort of patriarch. The
present population comprises about eighty individuals, who form an
interesting link between the European and Polynesian races."
MR. WILTON. "In a Bermuda paper of August, 1848, there is an
interesting letter from a school-master named Nobbs, which is so
replete with information, that I will read it all to you, as it is
not so remarkable for its length as its interest:--
"More than twenty years ago, I left England for the express purpose
of visiting Pitcairn's Island, and to remain there if I could render
my talents available to the inhabitants. The proprietor of a small
vessel of but eighteen tons' burthen, hearing me express my anxiety
to obtain a passage to Pitcairn's Island, remarked, it was a spot he
had long desired to visit, and if I would assist him in fitting out
his vessel, he would go with me. I accepted his proposal advanced
him what money I could command, and embarked from Callao de Lima,
with no other person than the owner of the little cutter; and in six
weeks arrived here (Pitcairn's Island) in safety.
"'Five months after my arrival, John Adams departed this life. After
his decease, the superintendence of the spiritual affairs of the
island, and the education of the children, devolved on me chiefly;
and from that time to the present (with the exception of ten months,
during which period I was banished from the island by brute force,
and recalled by letters of penitential apology), I have been with
them, and have lived to see the labor of my hands prosper; for there
is not a person on the island, between the ages of six years and
twenty-five, who has not received, or is not receiving, a tolerable
"'There is one untoward but prominent object on the horizon of
paternal affection, and which, though imperceptibly, yet rapidly
approaches our increasing colony, and that is the imperious
necessity of a separation; for so very limited are the available
portions of the island, that some families who number ten or twelve
persons, have not five acres of arable land to divide among them.
"'Animal food is a luxury obtained with difficulty once or twice in
the week; and though we have, by dint of very hard labor, been
enabled to obtain cloth and other indispensable necessaries from
whale-ships, in exchange for potatoes, yet this resource is
beginning to fail us; not from scarcity of visitors, but from
inability on our part to supply them.
"'This is the exact state of affairs at present: how much it will be
aggravated ten years from this, may be imagined, but cannot be fully
realized even by ourselves. Whether the British Government will
again interest itself in our behalf, is doubtful; if it does not,
despite the most assiduous industry, a scanty allowance of potatoes
and salt must be the result, and the "Tibuta" and "Maro," will be
the unchanging food and raiment of the rising generation.'"
GEORGE. "What a pity the coral insects have not been at work there,
and enlarged these poor peoples' island; then they could have all
remained together, and brought up their families. As it is, some
_must_ migrate. Charles, you are very ingenious; cannot you contrive
a plan for overcoming these difficulties."
CHARLES. "Much as I should glory in benefiting mankind, I could not
by any effort or sacrifice ameliorate the condition of these poor
people, although I would willingly do anything in my power to
testify my sorrow for their wretched destitution."
DORA. "I fear none of us can accord them more than our sympathy; so
we must needs journey on to the Marquesas, which were discovered by
the Spaniards in 1595. There are thirteen. The largest, Nukahiva, is
about seventy miles in circumference, and is the only one generally
frequented by shipping. The coast scenery is neither picturesque nor
inviting; its principal features being black, naked cliffs, or
barren hills; but in the interior are grassy plains and forests
filled with birds of elegant plumage. The inhabitants, with regard
to personal beauty, are superior to most of the Polynesian tribes,
some of the women being almost as fair as a European; in
civilization, however, they are far behind the Sandwich Islanders.
They have steadily resisted all attempts to convert them to
Christianity, and have practised cannibalism within a very recent
period. The tattooing of the Marquesans is remarkable for its
regularity and good taste."
CHARLES. "You call them Marquesans, Dora? I thought they were
DORA. "So they denominate themselves: but I have more to tell you
yet. They are all excellent swimmers; men, women, and children. They
throw themselves fearlessly into the water several times a day, and,
although in a state of perspiration, they suffer no harm. They are
also dexterous climbers of trees; making the ascent like monkeys,
with the hands and feet only. But their treatment of their sick is,
in the highest degree, cruel and unnatural. Instead of giving
assistance, every one shuns the invalid; and if he is thought to be
at all in the way, he is taken to some distant spot, whither it is
thought sufficient to carry him food at intervals. It is also their
custom to prepare the dying man's coffin before his eyes; and what
is still more incredible, when they see him about to render up his
last sigh, they place a bit of moistened 'tapa' in his mouth,
whilst the fingers of some _friend_ are employed in closing the lips
[Footnote 17: Tapa is a species of stuff made from the inner bark of
GRANDY. "All this appears very unfeeling to us my dear; but cruelty
is not the intention of the poor Kannaks. They believe that the soul
escapes with the parting breath, and their desire is to secure the
spirit within the body until the body wastes; when, according to
their doctrine, it animates another body, which, during the process
of decomposition in the old one, has been created in a far distant
island, where all the good things of this life are found in
abundance, and the soul flies thither as soon as its old habitation
EMMA. "Poor people! What a lamentable state of ignorance! How I pity
them. Are there any more miserable people to be visited here?"
CHARLES. "Well, here are the Low Islands to the south of the
Marquesans; but I have not the pleasure of an acquaintance with the
people, therefore I cannot say if they be happy or miserable.
Gambia, Crescent, and Clermont Isles are the principal. Gambia
contains upwards of a thousand inhabitants. Crescent Isle is not
very fertile, and occupied by a few natives, who have erected little
huts their, and procure a scanty subsistence."
MR. BARRAUD. "Those islands were discovered by the ship 'Duff,' when
on a missionary voyage in the year 1797. We shall have to retrace
our steps to come to the large islands in our chart; but Easter
Island is so near, it may be as well to call; although we may gain
nothing by the visit, for it is a sterile spot inhabited by
demi-savages, who worship small wooden deities. They tattoo
themselves so as to have the appearance of wearing breeches. Most of
them go naked; some few wear a _maro_ which is made either of fine
Indian cloth of a reddish color, of a wild kind of parsley, or of a
species of sea-weed."
GEORGE. "There are more small islands before we go to New Zealand or
Australia, and I have an account of one,--viz., New Caledonia, lying
south-west of the New Hebrides. It is rather a large island, rocky
for the most part; and there not being much food for animals, very
few are found there. One, however, must be mentioned. It is a spider
called a 'nookee,' which spins a thread so strong, as to offer a
sensible resistance before breaking. This animal (for I have
discovered that a spider is not an insect) constitutes part of the
people's food. The inhabitants are cannibals from _taste_. They eat
with an air of luxurious pleasure the muscular parts of the human
body, and a slice of a child is esteemed a great dainty. Horrible
wretches! They wear no clothes; the women just have a girdle of
fibrous bark, and the men sometimes encircle their heads with a
fillet of sewed net-work or leaves, and the hair of the vampire
bat. Their houses are in the form of beehives, and the door-posts
are of carved planks."
DORA. "New Zealand, almost the antipodes of England, lies in the
South Pacific, and consists of two large islands, the extreme points
of which are called North and South Cape. Near North Cape is Norfolk
Island, where the English, at one time, had a flourishing colony,
now removed to Van Diemen's Land. We must all help to work our ship
round these larger islands, for no individual can be responsible for
the entire management."
MRS. WILTON. "I will set the example. New Zealand was discovered by
Tasman in 1642; but its extent and character were ascertained by
Cook in his voyage of 1774. It is now a regularly established colony
belonging to the British crown. There is a bishop, several clergymen
of the Church of England, and many other missionaries resident
there. It is a fertile group, but contains several active volcanoes.
In the north island, or New Ulster, are various cavities, which
appear to be extinct craters; and in their vicinity numerous hot
springs are to be met with; some of them, as they rise to boiling
point, the natives use for cooking."
GRANDY. "The New Zealanders belong to the Malay family: they are a
fine handsome race, and possess fewer of the vices of the savage
than almost any other savage people. The Missionaries have been
eminently successful in the conversion of the natives to
Christianity. The first establishment formed there, was commenced in
the Bay of Islands, at a village called Rangiona, in 1814. The
persons were sent out by the Church Missionary Society, and have
never relaxed in their endeavors to promote the laudable work of
converting the heathen natives from the error of their
superstitions, although they have had numerous difficulties to
overcome. They went out, in the strength of the Lord, resolved to do
nothing in strife or vain-glory, but all in lowliness of mind,
esteeming others better than themselves: and they succeeded
notwithstanding the numerous hindrances; for the work was of God,
and He gave them power to do all things without murmuring, in order
to attain the salvation of the souls of their fellow-creatures."
MR. BARRAUD. "The Bay of Islands is quite in the north, and has been
for the last thirty years the favorite resort of whale-ships.
Upwards of thirty vessels have been anchored there at the same time;
and at this bay the chief intercourse between European vessels and
New Zealand has principally taken place. Numerous islands are
sprinkled over the space, and several creeks or entrances of rivers
penetrate the surrounding country. It is on the north and west sides
of this bay that the principal territories of Shunghee, the New
Zealand chief who visited this country, are situated; and in these
spots the horrid rites of this superior race of savages have also
MR. WILTON. "It is remarkable that when New Zealand was first
discovered, there were no animals whatever on the islands except a
few species of lizards, which quadrupeds the inhabitants held in
great veneration and terror. Even the rat and dog were introduced
by Europeans; and the rat is at present the principal species of
_game_. A good many parrots, parroquets, wild ducks, pigeons of
large size and fine flavor, inhabit the forests; and poultry are
found to thrive very well, though not yet reared to any great
extent. Indeed, if we except their prisoners of war, (for the New
Zealanders _were_ cannibals,) almost the only animal food hitherto
used by them has been fish, which abounds around their coasts."
GEORGE. "They must be right glad that Europeans have visited them."
CHARLES. "I understand that when pigs were first introduced into New
Zealand, the natives, not knowing what animals they were, nor what
were their uses, mounted two, and forthwith rode them to death! They
had seen some horses on board Captain Cook's vessel, and supposed
the pigs to be for the same purpose."
MRS. WILTON. "The New Zealanders are a fine race, but not exempt
from vice. They do not regard lying or stealing as crimes, and are
remarkable for their propensities to make use of these
qualifications on every available occasion. Captain Cook relates an
instance which will give you a tolerable idea of the native
character:--He had been purchasing a great quantity of fish from the
natives. He says, 'While we were on the traffic, they showed a great
inclination to pick my pockets; and to take away the fish with one
hand which they had just given me with the other. This evil, one of
the chiefs undertook to remove, and with fury in his eyes made a
show of keeping the people at a proper distance. I applauded his
conduct, but at the same time kept so good a look-out as to detect
_him_ picking my pocket of a handkerchief, which I suffered him to
put in his bosom, before I seemed to know anything of the matter,
and then told him what I had lost. He seemed quite ignorant and
innocent, until I took it from him; then he put it off with a laugh,
acting his part with so much address, that it was hardly possible to
be angry with him; so we remained good friends, and he accompanied
me on board to dinner.'"
EMMA. "But they are better now, are they not?"
MRS. WILTON. "Very slightly in these points, my dear; and still less
so as regards their superstitions. Generations to come may be free
from these vices; but at present they are too deeply rooted to be
discarded altogether. They have some curious and simple notions
peculiar to themselves, and some extraordinary legends concerning
natural objects of earth, sea, and sky. They account for the
appearance of the face in the moon thus:--They say, 'A native girl,
named Rona, went with a calabash to fetch water. The moon hid her
pale beams behind dark and sweeping clouds. The maid, vexed at this
uncourteous behavior, pronounced a curse on the celestial orb; but
as a punishment, for so doing, she stumbled and fell. The moon
descended--raised the maid from the ground, and took her to reside
on high, in her realms of silvery light.'"
MR. BARRAUD. "A curious idea: they have many such. I remember an
anecdote of a chief who lost a son for whom he grieved greatly; but
one day a European met him, and observed he was very merry: he
accosted him, and inquired the cause of so sudden a discontinuance
of his grief. The chief replied, he had passed a bush some few days
previously, when his late son, who had inserted himself into the
body of a little Tikan bird, whistled to him, and bade him dry up
his tears, as he felt perfectly satisfied with the quarters he then
occupied. 'Shall I grieve at his happiness?' added the old man."
DORA. "There is a sweet simplicity about that little story which
prepossesses me in favor of these New Zealanders, although they were
once such horrible cannibals. Do they not tattoo very much?"
MR. WILTON. "The art of tattooing has been brought to such
perfection here, that it actually excites admiration. It is looked
upon as answering the same purposes as clothes. When a chief throws
off his mats, he seems as proud of displaying the beautiful
ornaments figured on his skin, as a civilized dandy does of his
fashionable attire. Mr. Earle speaks of a man named Aranghie, a
professor of the art of tattooing, thus:--'He was considered by his
countrymen a perfect master in the art, and men of the highest rank
and importance were in the habit of travelling long journeys, in
order to put their skins under his skilful hands. Indeed, so highly
were his works esteemed, that I have seen many of his drawings
exhibited even after death. A neighbor of mine very lately killed a
chief who had been tattooed by Aranghie, and appreciating the
artist's work so highly, he skinned the chieftain's thighs, and
covered his cartouch box with it!--I was astonished to see with what
boldness and precision Aranghie drew his designs upon the skin, and
what beautiful ornaments he produced: no rule and compasses could be
more exact than the lines and circles he formed. So unrivalled is he
in his profession, that a highly finished face of a chief from the
hands of this artist, is as greatly prized in New Zealand as a head
from the pencil of Sir Thomas Lawrence is amongst us. Such respect
was paid to this man by the natives, that Mr. Earle expresses the
gratification he felt, on seeing the fine arts held in such
estimation by the savages."
MR. BARRAUD. "I do not doubt but the New Zealanders are still
cannibals in heart; for, so late as 1832, when Mr. Earle was there,
he unfortunately had ocular proof of the fact. He had been residing
with them some months, when a chief claimed one of his (Mr. Earle's)
servants, stating she was a runaway slave. He tied her to a tree and
shot her through the heart, and his men prepared an oven and cooked
her. Mr. Earle heard of it, and hastened to the spot. He caught them
in the act of preparing some of the poor girl's flesh, and
endeavored, in vain, to prevent the horrible feast; but to no
purpose; for they assembled at night and devoured every morsel
except the head, which he saw a hungry dog run off with to the
woods. The poor girl was only sixteen years of age, pretty and
well-behaved, and her murderer was one of the aristocracy of New
Zealand, and, as Mr. Earle observes, a remarkably polite savage."
CHARLES. "We must bid adieu to these interesting savages, and pass
on to the last, but certainly not the least, of the Pacific
MR. WILTON. "As all land is surrounded by water, and continents
differ from islands merely in point of size, and as Australia or New
Holland is in extent as large as Europe, and ten times larger than
either Borneo or New Guinea, it is certainly more proportionate with
continents than with islands; and it seems reasonable to class
Australia with the former rather than with the latter."
MRS. WILTON. "With Australia we close our investigations. To use a
nautical expression, it is, compared with Europe and Asia, almost an
iron-bound coast. It possesses only two large indentations,--the
Gulf of Carpentaria on the north, and Spencer's Gulf on the south.
Shark's Bay, on the west, and Hervey's Bay, on the east, are the
next in size."
MR. WILTON. "New Holland was discovered by Paulmyer de Gonville.
That navigator sailed from Honfleur for the East Indies about the
middle of 1503, and experienced a violent storm off the Cape of Good
Hope, during which he lost his reckoning, and was driven into an
unknown sea. After sailing for some time, he observed birds flying
from the south, and, directing his course towards that quarter, he
soon fell in with land. This was thought to have been New Holland or
MR. BARRAUD. "It is remarkable how extremely ignorant the
Australians are: they are certainly the lowest in intellect of the
human creation. The tribes on the western shores of Spencer's Bay
are positively ignorant of any method of obtaining fire: they say
that it originally came down from the north. Like the vestal
virgins, the women keep it constantly lighted, and carry it about
with them in firesticks when they travel: should it happen to go
out, they procure a fresh supply from a neighboring encampment. Then
their manners are so atrociously savage. Their mode of courtship is
one which I fancy would not become popular among English ladies. If
a chief, or any other individual, be in love, with a damsel of a
different tribe, he endeavors to waylay her; and if she be surprised
in any quiet place, the ambushed lover rushes upon her, beats her
about the head with his 'waddie' till she becomes senseless, when he
drags her in triumph to his hut, and thenceforth she is his lawful
GRANDY. "After that, you will readily credit the story I am going to
tell you. A Mr. Meredith went over with his goods to Kangaroo
Island, whence he journeyed across the bay to Yankalilly, where he
built a hut, placed in it a glass window or two, and made it look
snug. As he was a young man of about twenty-one or twenty-two, his
warm, generous spirit had led him into difficulties; and, the
friends of his brief sunshine flying from him in his distress, he
contracted a disgust for the world. He lived some time amongst these
people, acquired their language, and seemed to be beloved by them
all. But volumes might be filled with accounts of their treachery,
and the sequel will sufficiently prove the malignity of these
wretched people. He had adopted one of their sons, and was
endeavoring to instruct him in a few points of education. He had
also taken a native woman to assist him in household matters. One
day he went out in his boat, and his favorite boy went with him.
When in the boat, the boy complained of hunger, and Mr. Meredith
gave him a biscuit. The boy commenced eating it, when Mr. Meredith
(who was a religious man) observed that he had not thanked the Great
God for the food,--a practice which he invariably endeavored to
inculcate. The boy appeared unwilling to do so: Mr. Meredith
insisted, and on his refusal, he boxed his ears. The boy thereupon
leaped out of the boat, and swam ashore, saying, he should repent
"In the evening, Mr. Meredith put his boat ashore, and went to his
hut, had his supper, and was preparing for bed; and taking up a
prayer-book, as was his custom, was reading the prayers before the
fire, with his back to the door, when some natives looked through
the window, saw their advantage, and opened the door silently. The
woman, his attendant, then entered with an axe belonging to him in
her hand, and several men followed her. She approached the
unsuspecting youth, and, while his soul was devoutly engaged in
prayer, she raised the fatal axe, and, with one blow, severed his
skull, and the men with their clubs beat his body into a shapeless
EMMA. "Poor Mr. Meredith! What a frightful murder!"
MRS. WILTON. "The Australians thought nothing of it, for they glory
in the most atrocious deeds. I fear it will be long before they will
be civilized. But let us look at their country, of which, in some
respects, but little can be said; for it is not remarkable for its
fertility, and in many parts exceedingly barren. But few animals
range there, and in the south-west the natives subsist during the
winter chiefly on opossums, kangaroos, and bandicoots, in the summer
upon roots, with occasionally a few fish."
DORA. "Port Adelaide appears to be a neat town. Its harbor is a deep
creek or inlet of the sea, running out of Gulf St. Vincent: it
contains two spacious wharfs, alongside of which, vessels from Great
Britain, Singapore, Manilla, China, Mauritius, Sydney, Hobart Town,
and New Zealand, are continually discharging their cargoes."
MRS. WILTON. "There are many lakes in Australia, but none of them
very large. Lake Alexandria is the largest, but it is very shallow;
and Lake St. George, the second in size, which, in 1828, was a sheet
of water 17 miles long by 7 broad, was said by an old native female
to have been a forest within her memory, and in 1836 it was dried up
to a grassy plain."
EMMA. "Does not Van Diemen's Land belong to New Holland, mamma?"
MRS. WILTON. "Yes, my dear; and the part nearest to it is New South
Wales, from which it is separated by Bass's Straits, which are 100
miles broad, and contain a great many small islands. Van Diemen's
Land was discovered by Tasman, in 1644, and named by him in honor of
the Dutch Governor-General of the East Indies: but it is now more
appropriately called Tasmania. This island contains several
mountains of considerable elevation. The highest is ascertained to
be 3964 feet in height. Hobart Town is the capital. The population
of Tasmania has of late years much increased, for, owing to its
eligibility, the tide of emigration has been strong. For many years,
three or four vessels have annually sailed from Great Britain, laden
with emigrants possessed of more or less capital, and they have, in
most cases, prospered equal to their expectations."
GEORGE. "Are there not more coral reefs about Australia than in any
other part of the Ocean?"
MR. WILTON. "It is generally supposed so; but, in asking that
question, do you know what coral reefs are?"
GEORGE. "Yes, papa; they are the work of insects, who build them for
their habitations; but it is very wonderful."
GRANDY. "It is wonderful, my dear; and there are many other
marvellous productions of the Most High God, so infinitely beyond
the power of man to produce, that, in meditating on them, the mind
is lost in wonder and surprise. 'The most powerful, acutest, and
holiest mind,' says a learned divine, 'will eternally be unable
fully to find out God, or perfectly to comprehend Him.' May these
wonders then increase our reverence, and humble us before the mighty
Creator of all things."
MR. WILTON. "Captain Hall examined some coral reefs during the
different stages of one tide, and gives the following description as
the result:--'When the tide has left it for some time, it becomes
dry, and appears to be a compact rock, exceedingly hard and rugged;
but as the tide rises, and the waves begin to wash over it, the
coral worms protrude themselves from holes that were before
invisible. These animals are of a great variety of shapes and sizes,
and, in such prodigious numbers, that, in a short time, the whole
surface of the rock appears to be alive and in motion. The most
common worm is in the form of a star, with arms from four to six
inches long, which are moved about with a rapid motion, in all
directions, probably to catch food. Others are so sluggish, that
they may be mistaken for pieces of rock; and are generally of a dark
color, from four to five inches long, and two or three round. When
the coral is broken about high-water mark, it is a solid hard stone;
but if any part of it be detached at a spot where the tide reaches
every day, it is found to be full of worms of different lengths and
colors, some being as fine as a thread and several feet long, of a
bright yellow, and sometimes of a blue color; others resemble
snails, and some are not unlike lobsters in shape, but soft, and
not above two inches long.'"
DORA. "We must be content to see these in imagination. But sometimes
I feel disposed to regret that we are not _really_ afloat in the
'Research;' and at other times I congratulate myself that the voyage
is only imaginary; for in Polynesia particularly, we have met with
so many ignorant, savage people, it is well for us that we can, if
we choose, steer clear of them. I suppose it would not be possible
in all Europe to find a country where such unreasonable things were
done from religious superstition?"
GRANDY. "My dear Dora, you are very much mistaken. Europe has been,
and still is in many parts, a slave to superstition; and, although
not savages, there are many vices and iniquitous deeds committed in
civilized Europe, which no temptation would induce the savages of
Polynesia to commit. But, to assure your mind that horrible crimes
were perpetrated from zeal in the doctrines of their religion, I
will give you an instance connected with Sweden in olden time. The
story is told by a slave girl named Kumba, thus:--'My mother was
amongst the slaves of Queen Gunnild: she was the most faithful of
her servants. Poor and heavy was her lot, yet did she wish to live.
My father was a free-born person, who thought little of forsaking
the woman who loved him, and the child she had nursed for him. I
remember a night--that night has stretched itself over my whole
life. Flames arose from a pile: they ascended high into heaven. It
was the corpse of the Queen which was burned. My mother was amongst
those who tended the pile: she with many others was cast alive into
the flames. The Queen, it was said, needed her attendance in another
world. I stood amongst the people, still a child, and heard my
mother's cry, and saw her burn! Fatherless and motherless, I went
thence into the world alone, and wandered in the woods without
knowing whither. There came people who seized me, and carried me
back to the Court of King Atle. They said that I wished to run away,
and I was conducted to the presence of the king. I answered
haughtily to his questions, and he caused me to be whipped till the
blood came: in punishment, as he said, of my disobedience.' Is not
that barbarous enough for a savage land, Dora?"
DORA. "Oh yes, madam, that is very shocking. Poor, unhappy Kumba!
What a life of wretchedness was hers."
MR. WILTON. "Grandy's story must conclude our conversation to-night.
At the next meeting we will endeavor to explore the coast of Africa,
and visit the islands of the Indian Ocean. Carry away the books,
boys: I am sure you must all be hungry, and tired too, for we have
been over an immense space of water.
"Right gaily our bark's glided over the ocean,
Bright nature we've viewed in majestic array;
But our own native shores we greet with emotion,
For the heart of a Briton exults in her sway."
They journeyed at night
In the pale moonlight,
'Mid sunshine and storm on they sail'd;
Baffling winds and still calms
Caused our friends no alarms,
For Faith ever fearless prevail'd.
"It is of no use, Emma: I cannot do it. Girls are certainly a most
persevering race of beings, and you deserve to be at the top of the
class; for, if you determine to accomplish anything, I believe not
even Mr. Stanley's knock at the door, or, what would be more to you,
Dora Leslie's loving kiss, would make you swerve from your purpose.
Ah well! You are quite welcome to the work; and if you are not
tired, I know _I_ am, and these very _important_ articles may remain
unpacked for the trouble I shall take. I wonder you are so
particular about them: what signifies how they are put in, if you
can but shut the box? It can be of no consequence; and yet you have
been on your knees for the last two hours, arranging and placing,
until I am positively weary with watching you."
"George! George! Where is your boasted patience? Your fellow
traveller in your anticipated voyage? Only see what a trifling
exertion makes you weary and complaining. Now, suppose I act
according to your sage proposition, and merely fill the trunk; we
can then both jump on the lid, and _make_ it shut--what think you
would be the effect?"
GEORGE. "Well, my most patient sister, I think it very probable that
my microscope would be smashed to atoms, and all your little knick
knacks reduced to a similar condition. But surely there is no
necessity for such violent means to secure the lid: let me see, I
have no doubt it will shut quite easily."
"There, you see it will not shut," said Emma, as George in vain
endeavored, by moderate pressure, to bring the lid to its proper
place. "Now the things _must_ be arranged differently; and, if you
will only help me this once, we shall have done before Dora or Mr.
Stanley or any one else knocks at the door: come, be my own good
brother, and lay all these parcels carefully on the floor while I
find places for them."
Emma looked so irresistibly kind and coaxing, that George once more
good humoredly set to work; and presently the carpet was strewed
with packages, apparently sufficient to fill three such trunks, but
which Emma was determined should be snugly packed into one.
The articles might almost be arranged alphabetically, there was such
a miscellaneous collection; but the variety in their size and shape
rendered it actually a puzzle to dispose them so as to allow space
for all, without the hazard of any portion being crushed.
"Perseverance overcomes difficulties," said Emma, as she carefully
deposited the last paper, and turned the key in the lock.
"Hurrah!" shouted George. "Now we have done it. Well, really, I did
not think it possible: only imagine the number of parcels in that
one trunk, Emma! What a treat it will be when we get to Jamaica to
unpack it all again. Oh dear! how I wish we were there!"
"Miss Emma, you are wanted," said Hannah, entering the room;
"Mistress cannot find the books that came to-day, and she wants to
pack them up."
"Ah! it is nothing but _pack up_ now all day, and every room is in
confusion," said George, wearily. "Well, I am glad our share is at
an end for _this_ day, for I am heartily tired of the business, and
shall be thoroughly glad when there is nothing more left to _pack
"Oh! master George, how impatient you are," exclaimed Hannah. "But
come, you have no time to be grumbling now. Only look at your dirty
fingers, and dinner will be ready in five minutes: why, you will
scarcely be washed before the bell rings;" and the anxious maid
bustled out of the room with her weary charge.
The mention of Mr. Stanley's name requires an explanation. On the
previous evening, when Mr. Wilton returned from his office, he
brought with him a letter, which he put into George's hand after
tea, desiring him to read it aloud. It was from Mr. Stanley, and
George almost shouted for joy, when he read that his dear, dear
friend was then at Liverpool, and hoped to be with them the next
day to dinner.
"What a grand muster we shall have to-night, George," said Mr.
Wilton, while they were waiting the arrival of their expected guest.
"Why, we shall not find sufficient subject for so many speakers,
"Oh yes! papa. Emma and I have been too busy, _packing up_, to
prepare much. Besides, Mr. Stanley is sure to have a great deal to
tell: he has been away so long, and seeing strange countries all the
while. But there he is! I saw him pass the window;" and away ran
George to embrace his beloved friend.
"What bright eyes and rosy cheeks!" exclaimed Mr. Stanley, kissing
his pet. "My boy has indeed grown since I was here: why you will
soon reach my shoulder. I suppose, when next I come, I must inquire
for Mr. Wilton, junior. But where is sister Emma, and mamma and
papa, and dear, kind Grandy?"
"Oh! they are all in the dining-room," replied George: "we were only
waiting for you, sir."
Into the dining-room they went accordingly; and the welcome guest
was soon engaged, equally with the rest of the party, in discussing
a hearty meal, and the various events that had taken place during
The hours flew like moments; and the arrival of the other members
quite astonished George, who had no idea it was so near seven
o'clock. He was in high glee, as he assisted Charles in placing the
chairs and books. But when Mr. Stanley, taking his hand, requested
_permission_ to sit by his side, the proud and happy boy looked
doubtingly into his face, not thoroughly comprehending the drift of
"I am anxious to have the services of an experienced pilot through
the stormy seas," said Mr. Stanley; "and if you are by my side,
George, to direct me, I think I can manage to steer clear of
"Now, you are joking," returned George: "why, you have positively
been to these very countries, and yet apply to _me_ for directions!
But I understand the reason. You intend to make observations on
subjects _not_ geographical, and I expect you will be keeping a
sharp look-out on _my_ observations, to discover what progress I
have made lately."
MR. STANLEY. "I perceive already that there is a decided
improvement, my boy; and I candidly aver that I expect to be edified
by these juvenile discoveries. Now to business--weigh anchor and
start. Who is pilot?"
CHARLES. "I have charge of the 'Research' for the present; but I am
not an experienced navigator, and if I happen to run you on a shoal,
I hope all hands will help to get the vessel clear off?"
MR. BARRAUD. "We will make due allowance for your youth and
inexperience, Charles. Now give your orders."
CHARLES. "The first voyage, we are to navigate the Indian Ocean,
calling on as many Robinson Crusoes as we can find in the various
little islands: our second voyage is to explore the whole coast of
"Our ship was last at anchor off the coast of New Holland, and our
next stoppage will be at the Moluccas. The name signifies 'Royal
Islands,' and was given by the Arabs in the days of their maritime
prosperity. The principal are Celebes, Gililo, and Ceram. Dora,
Emma, and George have patronized those isles, and will set forth
their various qualifications."
DORA. "Celebes is the largest of the Moluccas, and is a ragged,
irregular-looking island, in shape similar to a star-fish. The
inhabitants are rendered active, industrious, and robust by an
austere education. At all hours of the day, the mothers rub their
children with oil or water, and thus assist nature in forming their
constitutions. At the age of five or six, the male children of
persons of rank are put in charge of a friend, that their courage
may not be weakened by the caresses of relatives, and habits of
reciprocal tenderness. They do not return to their families until
they attain the age at which the law declares them fit to marry.
Celebes was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1512; but the
Dutch expelled them in 1660, and it now belongs to them. Unlike most
of the other islands, it abounds in extensive grassy plains, free
from forests, which are looked upon as the common property of the
tribes who dwell thereon, and are carefully guarded from the
intrusion of aliens. The people are Mohammedans."
GEORGE. "Gililo is Celebes in miniature, being of the same singular
shape, and producing similar fruits. I have little more of its
advantages to set forth. But near here is a portion of the Ocean
called Molucca Sea, which possesses a strange peculiarity. It is the
periodical appearance of a current of opaque white water, like milk,
which, from June to August or September, covers the surface of the
basin in which the Banda Islands are situated. During the night it
is somewhat luminous, which makes the spectator confound it with the
horizon. It is dangerous for vessels, for the sea seems to undergo
an inward boiling agitation wherever it passes. During its
prevalence the fish disappear. This white water is supposed to come
from the shores of New Guinea and the Gulf of Carpentaria."
MR. STANLEY. "You are slightly wrong, George, in stating this
curious sea to be near Gililo. Gililo is _on_, the equator, and the
Molucca Sea is at least 5 deg. _below_ the equator, and directly south
EMMA. "Ceram produces quantities of sago, and contains large forests
of those trees: they are extremely profitable, for one tree will
sometimes yield as much as five or six hundred pounds of sago! The
original inhabitants were called Alfoors, and, as some of the race
still exist, I will introduce them. The only dress of the men is a
girdle encircling the loins. They fix bunches of palm leaves to
their heads, shoulders, and knees, and wear square bucklers, which
they ornament with considerable taste. The eyesight of these people
is uncommonly acute; and their swiftness is such as to enable them
to chase the wild hog with success. Rats and serpents form part of
their food. This island is equally fertile with the other Moluccas,
and produces spices of all kinds, but particularly cloves and
nutmegs. There are, happily, more Christians now to be found in
Ceram than there were a few years since: nevertheless the majority
are still Mohammedans, and barbarous in their habits."
MR. BARRAUD. "Yes. Very little improvement has taken place in the
manners of the Alfoors. The young men, even to this day, adhere to
the savage practice of propitiating their intended wives, by
presenting them with the heads of five or six of their enemies. In
order to seize their victims by surprise, they lie in ambush in the
woods, cover themselves with moss, and hold branches of trees in
their hands, which they shake in a manner so natural, that they have
the appearance of real trees: they then allow the enemy to pass,
assassinate him by coming up behind him, and, cutting off his head,
carry it away as a trophy. These murderers are received by the
people of the village with all the honors of a barbarous triumph."
MR. STANLEY. "These identical Alfoors have a singular method of
evincing their respect for friends or visitors: as an instance: One
of the kings (for the nation has _three_ to share the government)
invited a Dutch missionary to an entertainment. When Mr. Montarnes
arrived, he was received with great demonstrations of joy, and
treated by the king with the most splendid repast that the
resources of the country could afford. When the meal was over, the
king ordered a number of men armed with swords to step forward. They
performed a war-dance, and, after a few feats of this sort,
commenced a serious fight: their swords clashed, blood flowed, and
some of their bodies were laid dead on the ground. The peaceful
minister of religion, shocked at the horrid spectacle, entreated the
king to put a stop to it. 'It is nothing,' was the reply: 'they are
my slaves! it is only the death of a few dogs! Happy shall I be if
this mark of my high respect convinces you of my eager desire to
GRANDY. "Astonishing! that people with any belief in a superior
power, should hold life in such low estimation; and, simply for
amusement, deprive a fellow-creature of that which their utmost
stretch of power cannot restore. Oh! may God, in his mercy, soon
enlighten these wretched Alfoors, and write in plain characters on
the tables of their hearts--'Thou shalt do no murder.'"
CHARLES. "We now come to Java, one of the finest and most
flourishing colonies in the world. It is about 600 miles in length,
and 90 miles average breadth; almost entirely volcanic; therefore,
metals and precious stones are not to be expected. Iron is not to be
found in Java; indeed, it is extremely rare in the whole
Archipelago; consequently it bears a high price, and the art of the
blacksmith is held in a sort of reverence. The term for a son of the
anvil signifies 'learned.' The inhabitants of this island trace
their origin to a monkey, which they call 'woo-woo.' They are, for
the most part, Mohammedans, but not strict, as they will not
hesitate to drink wine at the religious festivals."
MRS. WILTON. "The Javanese are remarkable for their veracity and
love of music: their ear is so delicate, that they readily learn to
play the most difficult and complex airs on any instrument. They are
remarkable also for their superstition, and people their forests,
caves, and mountains with numerous invisible beings of their own
creation. I will quote two instances of whimsical superstition,
which took place in Java about thirty years ago. The skull of a
buffalo was conducted from one end of the island to the other; this
skull was to be kept in constant motion, for a dreadful fate was to
await the individual who detained it in his possession, or allowed
it to rest. After travelling many hundred miles, it reached
Samarang, where the Dutch governor caused it to be thrown into the
sea. No person could tell how this originated; but no person refused
to obey while the skull was on _terra firma_. Again, in 1814, a
smooth road, fifty or sixty miles long, and twenty feet broad,
leading to the top of an inland mountain, called Sumbong, was
suddenly formed, crossing no rivers, but passing in an undeviating
line through private property of all descriptions. The population of
whole districts was employed in the labor, and all because an old
woman dreamed that a divine personage was to descend on the
"Oh! how very ridiculous!" exclaimed Charles. "Such silly people
deserve to be imposed upon, for not using the faculties they
possess, to greater advantage."
GRANDY. "When once superstition usurps the throne of reason,
Charles, it is a difficult task to displace her. There are so many
pleasing fallacies connected with her sway over the naturally
indolent mind of man, that reason is altogether banished, and
superstition's authority knows no bounds."
MR. STANLEY. "Java produces, in great abundance, the _Hirundo
esculenta_, a species of swallow, whose nests are used as an article
of luxurious food among the Chinese. This nest has the shape of a
common swallow's nest, and the appearance of ill-connected
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