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same number of boys, from the ages of nine to sixteen, were taken and circumcised. For this ceremony long strips of white native cloth were prepared to catch the blood when the foreskin was cut. These strips, when sprinkled with blood, were tied to a stake, and stuck up in the market-place. Here the boys assembled to dance, for six or seven nights, a number of men being placed near the stakes, with a native horn (a conch-shell), which they blew, while the boys danced around the stake for two or three hours together. This dance consisted of walking, jumping, singing, shouting, yelling, &c., in the most savage and furious manner, throwing themselves into all manner of attitudes. The blowing of the conch was any thing but musical; but this is not always the case, for some of their performances have a kind of rude music in them, which the missionaries thought was not unlike in sound to that which is made in a Jewish synagogue, which certainly gives the best idea of the music of a Feejee dance-song.
After the circumcision of the boys, many of the female children had the first joint of their little fingers cut off. The ceremonies ended by the chiefs and people being assembled in the market-place to witness the institution of the circumcised boys to manhood. In doing this, a large leaf is taken, of which they make a water-vessel, which is placed in the branches of a tree. The boys are then blindfolded very closely, and armed with clubs or sticks; they are then led about until they have no recollection of the situation of the tree, after which they seek the vessel, and endeavour to strike it. The first who succeeds in knocking it down was to be considered as the future great warrior. Two or three managed to hit the vessel, amid shouts and applause of the concourse. The sticks were afterwards thrown on the graves of the wives of Katu Mbithi.
Katu Mbithi was considered the finest man in the group, and the favourite of his father, the old king, who in passing an eulogy upon him, ascribed to him all the beauty that a man could possess in the eyes of a Feejee man. He concluded by speaking of his daring spirit and consummate cruelty, and said that he would kill his own wives if they offended him, and would afterwards eat them!
On the 8th of August, 1839, seventeen of the wives of Mbithi were strangled, very near the houses of the missionaries, who heard their groans and saw the whole ceremony. They considered it a privilege to be strangled as the wives of the great chief.
The feast made on this occasion was said to have surpassed any thing that had before taken place in Somu somu. Immense quantities of food were prepared for it; one hundred baked hogs were given to the people of one town alone; and it is said that after such occurrences
it becomes necessary to lay a taboo, in order that a famine may not be the result of so much waste.
To give some idea of what the ladies of the missionaries here have to endure from such a savage as Tui Illa-illa, he will at times come into their house and walk directly into any room he pleases, take up any thing he has a fancy to, and endeavour to carry it off. He has not unfrequently been found by them before their dressing-cases fixing and arranging himself. He carries off spoons, knives, and forks, which, on being sent for, are returned. One thing may be said in his favour, that he has never attempted any rudeness to the ladies, farther than a desire to make use of their dressing-cases. The very sight of such a savage, six feet three inches in height, and proportionately stout, and the thought of his cannibal appetite, are calculated to intimidate persons with stronger nerves than these ladies. How they are enabled to endure it, I am at a loss to understand.
I paid several visits to the old king, and every time with more interest. He looks as if he were totally distinct from the scenes of horror that are daily taking place around him, and his whole countenance has the air and expression of benevolence. The picture of him sitting plaiting his sennit, surrounded by his wives and family, all engaged in some kind of work, was truly pleasing, and they would frequently feed him with the care of love and affection. Such cheerfulness as reigns among them is quite remarkable. He was very desirous of making me presents, and among the curiosities I accepted was a huge head-dress, in shape somewhat like a cocked-hat. It is represented in the wood-cut at the end of this chapter.
I met his son Tui Illa-illa, and having understood that he was the cause of his father's not having come on board, I took care to show him that I was not afraid of coming among them, however much they feared to trust themselves on board the vessel. He said he understood I had a brother of the king of Rewa prisoner, which afforded me an opportunity of letting the interpreter give the account of the Vendovi transaction, and to say, that although many years might pass over, yet any one who committed an act of the kind would be sure to meet with punishment sooner or later, and that he himself would be punished if any disturbance or harm happened to the whites, particularly the missionaries. It seemed to have its effect upon both the old and young king, and I took advantage of the moment to make them both promise to protect the missionaries and their families against any harm.
The tender having returned with the boats of the Porpoise from surveying the straits opposite Goat Island, we received on board Tubou Totai and Corodowdow, together with their suites; and I was
happy to be able to give the Rev. Mr. Hunt a passage to Rewa, whither I intended proceeding on my return to Levuka. Mr. Hunt was going for the purpose of offering to take the charge of the children of the Rev. Mr. Cargill, who had met with the melancholy loss of his wife shortly after the Peacock had left Rewa. From this gentleman I obtained much information, and found that he confirmed a great deal of that which I have already given. He was obliging enough to act as my interpreter on many occasions afterwards.
THE PORPOISE PARTS COMPANY-HER VISIT TO ONGEA-FULANGA-CANOES BUILDING AT FULANGA— MORAMBA—ENKABA-KAMBARA-TABANAIELLI-NAMUKA-ANGASAKOMO- — MOTHA—ONEATA-FIRST VISIT TO LAKEMBA― MR. CALVERT-TUI NEAU — THAKI-DEPARTURE OF THE PORPOISE FROM LAKEMBA-THE TWO AIVAS-ARGO REEF-ONEATA-OBSERVATORY ISLAND-SECOND VISIT TO LAKEMBA-ASCENT OF KENDI-KENDI-WORSHIP AT THE MISSION CHURCH-VISIT OF LIEUTENANT RINGGOLD TO TUI NEAU-ESCAPES FROM BEING BURIED ALIVE-EXTENT OF TUI NEAU'S AU THORITY-NATIVE DANCE- HARBOURS OF LAKEMBA - LEVUKIANS- - GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF LAKEMBA-ISLAND OF NAIAU-TABUTHA-ARO-CHICHIA-MANGOVEKAJ-KATAFANGA-EXPLORING ISLES-VANUA-VALAVO — MUNIA - ITS HIGHEST PEAK ASCENDED-TICUMBIA-SUSUI-ITS FINE HARBOUR-MALATTA-AVIA-OKIMBO -NAITAMBA-KAMIA AND VUNA-PORPOISE ARRIVES AT SOMU-SOMU-FLYING-FISH LEAVES SOMU-SOMU-STRAITS OF SOMU-SOMU-HARBOUR OF BAINO-FAWN HARBOUR -NABOUNI-RATIVA-RETURN TO LEVUKA-H. B. M. SCHOONER STARLING-VISIT TO CAPTAIN BELCHER-HIS OPINION OF THE REGULATIONS-TUI NDRAKETI'S LETTERNUKALOU-OPERATIONS OF LIEUTENANT UNDERWOOD-NAIRAI-HARBOUR OF VENEMOLE-MANUFACTURES OF NAIRAI-TOWN OF COROBAMBA-COBU ROCK-REMARK. ABLE LOCAL MAGNETIC ATTRACTION-ANGAU-RETURN OF LIEUTENANT UNDERWOOD-DESERTION OF MURRAY - REEF OF ANGAU - ESCAPE OF THE FLYING-FISH FROM WRECK-CLUB-DANCE-FEEJEE CLOWN-MUSIC-FEEJEE FLUTE AND PANDEAN PIPE-ALARM AT OBSERVATORY-VISIT FROM TUI LEVUKA-ASCENT OF UNDERWOOD TOWER-ATTACK THREATENED BY THE NATIVES-VISIT FROM NGARANINGIOUVISIT OF THE QUEEN OF AMBAU-MR. WALDRON PURCHASES GROUND FOR A SCHOOL -VINCENNES LEAVES LEVUKA-DIRECTION ISLAND-FAILURE OF THE FLYING-FISH TO PROCEED ON A SURVEY-DANGERS OF THE PASSAGE TO SAVU-SAVU-AMBUSH OF THE NATIVES-DANGEROUS ANCHORAGE-BAY OF SAVU-SAVU-HOT SPRINGS-ABOR. TIVE OPERATIONS OF THE LAUNCH AND FIRST CUTTER - ISLAND OF GORO AND HORSESHOE REEF-NATIVES OF SAVU-SAVU-DANCE OF THE FEMALES-SCARCITY OF AGED PERSONS. DISTRICT OF SAVU-SAVU - OF WAILEVU — CURIOSITY OF THE NATIVES-PEOPLE OF THE INTERIOR-TENDER SENT ON A SURVEY-VINCENNES SAILS FOR MBUA-MEETING WITH THE PEACOCK-MBUA OR SANDALWOOD BAY.