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than two foot of blubber that stops my iron from reaching the life of any whale that ever sculled the ocean!"
"I believe you have saved yourself the trouble of using the bayonet you have rigged for a lance," said his commander, who entered into the sport with all the ardor of one whose youth had been chiefly passed in such pursuits; "feel your line, Master Coffin; can we haul alongside of our enemy? I like not the course is steering, as he tows us from the schooner."
""Tis the creater's way, sir," said the cockswain; "you know they need the air in the nostrils when they run, the same as a man; but lay hold, boys, and let us haul up to him."
The seamen now seized their whale-line, and slowly drew their boat to within a few feet of the tail of the fish, whose progress became sensibly less rapid as he grew weak with the loss of blood. In a few minutes he stopped running, and appeared to roll uneasily on the water, as if suffering the agony of death.
"Shall we pull in and finish him, Tom?" cried Barnstable; a few sets from your bayonet would do it."
The cockswain stood examining his game with cool discretion, and replied to this interrogatory
"No, sir, no-he's going into his flurry; there's no occasion for disgracing ourselves by using a soldier's weapon in taking a whale. Starn off, sir, starn off! the creater's in his flurry!
The warning of the prudent cockswain was promptly obeyed, and the boat cautiously drew off to a distance, leaving to the animal a clear space while under its dying agonies. From a state of perfect rest, the terrible monster threw its tail on high as when in sport, but its blows were trebled in rapidity and violence, till all was hid from view by a pyramid of foam that was deeply dyed with blood. The roarings of the fish were like the bellowings of a herd of bulls, and, to one who was ignorant of the fact, it would have appeared as if a thousand monsters were engaged in deadly combat behind the bloody mist that obstructed the view. Gradually these effects subsided, and when the discolored water again settled down to the long and regular swell of the ocean, the fish was seen exhausted, and yielding passively to its fate. As life departed, the enormous black mass rolled to one side, and when the white and glistening skin of the belly became apparent, the seamen well knew that their victory was achieved.
LXXVIII-A NIGHT AMONG THE CANNIBALS.
[The author visited the Marquesas Islands as a sailor before the mast, in an American vessel, brought thither by the attractions of the sperm-whale fishery. He left his ship on reaching the isle of Nukuheva, in company with another sailor, named Toby, and both went in search of adventure. Having crossed the mountain, and descended into the valley, they suddenly fell in with a tribe of savages called Typees, who, with their neighbors, the Happars, were said to be cannibals of the worst kind. Contrary to their expectations, they met with a most cordial welcome from the natives, especially from their chief, Mehevi. It was on a visit to the latter, accompanied by KoriKori, a native assigned to their service, that the following incident occurred.]
IMMEDIATELY after our arrival, Mehevi seated us upon some mats, and Kory-Kory gave utterance to some unintelligible gibberish. In a few moments a boy entered with a wooden trencher of poee-poee, an article of food manufactured from the produce of the bread-fruit tree. Various other dishes followed, the chief manifesting the most hospitable importunity in pressing us to partake, and, to remove all bashfulness on our part, set us no despicable example in his own person.
The repast concluded, a pipe was lighted, which passed from mouth to mouth, and yielding to its soporific influence, the quiet of the place, and the deepening shadows of approaching night, my companion and I sank into a kind of drowsy repose, while the chief and Kory-Kory seemed to be slumbering beside us.
I awoke from an uneasy nap, about midnight, as I supposed; and, raising myself partly from the mat, became sensible that we were enveloped in utter darkness. Toby lay still asleep, but our late companions had disappeared.
Apprehensive of some evil, I roused my comrade, and we were engaged in a whispered conference concerning the unexpected withdrawal of the natives, when all at once, from the depths of the grove, in full view of us where we lay, shoots of flame were seen to rise, and in a few moments illuminated the surrounding trees, casting, by contrast, into still deeper gloom the darkness around us.
While we continued gazing at this sight, dark figures appeared moving to and fro before the flames; while others, dancing and capering about, looked like so many demons.
Regarding this new phenomenon with no small degree of trepidation, I said to my companion, "What can all this mean, Toby?"
Oh, nothing," replied he; "getting the fire ready, I suppose."
"Fire!" exclaimed I, while my heart took to beating like a trip-hammer, "what fire?"
Why, the fire to cook us, to be sure; what else would the cannibals be kicking up such a row about if it were not for that?"
Oh, Toby! have done with your jokes; this is no time for them; something is about to happen, I feel confident." "Jokes, indeed!" exclaimed Toby, indignantly. "Did you ever hear me joke? Why, for what do you suppose the devils have been feeding us up in this kind of style during the last three days, unless it were for something that you are too much frightened to talk about? Look at that Kory-Kory there! has he not been stuffing you with his confounded mushes, just in the way they treat swine before they kill them? Depend upon it, we will be eaten this blessed night, and there is the fire we shall be roasted by."
This view of the matter was not at all calculated to allay my apprehensions, and I shuddered when I reflected that we were indeed at the mercy of a tribe of cannibals, and that the dreadful contingency to which Toby had alluded was by no means removed beyond the bounds of possibility.
"There! I told you so! they are coming for us!" exclaimed my companion the next moment, as the forms of four of the islanders were seen in bold relief against the illuminated background, mounting the pi-pi (hillock), and approaching towards us.
They came on noiselessly, nay, stealthily, and glided along through the gloom that surrounded us as if about to spring upon some object they were fearful of disturbing before they should make sure of it. Gracious heaven! the horrible reflections which crowded upon me at that moment. A cold sweat, stood upon my brow, and, spell-bound with terror, I awaited my fate!
Suddenly the silence was broken by the well-remembered tones of Mehevi, and at the kindly accents of his voice my fears were immediately dissipated. "Tommo, Toby, ki ki!" (eat). He had waited to address us, until he had assured himself that we were both awake, at which he seemed some
what surprised. "Kiki! is it?" said Toby, in his gruff tones; "well, cook us first, will you-but what's this?" he added, as another savage appeared, bearing before him a large trencher of wood, containing some kind of steaming meat, as appeared from the odors it diffused, and which he deposited at the feet of Mehevi. "A baked baby, I dare say; but I will have none of it, never mind what it is. A pretty fool I should make of myself, indeed, waked up here in the middle. of the night, stuffing and guzzling, and all to make a fat meal for a parcel of bloody-minded cannibals one of these mornings! No, I see what they are at very plainly, so I am resolved to starve myself into a bunch of bones and gristle, and then, if they serve me up, they are welcome! But I say, Tommo, you are not going to eat any of that mess there, in the dark, are you? Why, how can you tell what it is?"
"By tasting it, to be sure," said I, masticating a morsel that Kory-Kory had just put in my mouth; "and excellently good it is, too, very much like veal."
"A baked baby, by the soul of Captain Cook!" burst forth Toby, with amazing vehemence; "Veal? why there never was a calf on the island till you landed. I tell you, you are bolting down mouthfuls from a dead Happar's carcass, as sure as you live, and no mistake!"
Emetics and lukewarm water! What a sensation in the abdominal regions! Sure enough, where could the fiends incarnate have obtained meat? But I resolved to satisfy my. self at all hazards; and turning to Mehevi, I soon made the ready chief understand that I wished a light to be brought. When the taper came, I gazed eagerly into the vessel, and recognized the mutilated remains of a juvenile porker! "Puarkee!" exclaimed Kory-Kory, looking complacently at the dish; and from that day to this I have never forgotten that such is the designation of a pig in the Typee lingo.
LXXIX.-A NUKUHEVAN NOBLEMAN.
THE next morning I went on shore, but duties of the garrison prevented the officers from leaving until the morning was somewhat advanced-too late to cross the dividing ridges to the adjacent glens, and we accordingly changed the destination, for an excursion up the valley at the head of the harbor.
A pair of native boys preceded us, with baskets. Walking briskly through paths lined with a thick, wild undergrowth of tobacco, arrow-root, ginger, and guavas, we mounted a number of acclivities, and then striking the bed of a water-course, in two hours reached a comparatively level space, which my friend, a Frenchman, informed me was la cour de l'ancienne Noblesse, and the spot where high festivals of the Nukuhevans were held. The court was a parallelogram, paved with smooth, round stones, and on three sides surrounded by native-built houses, unoccupied, but very large and commodious, all in good repair, and ready for a perspective feast. At the lower ends of the square coursed a little stream, and the place was dark with shade of lofty cocoanuts, bread-fruit, iron-wood, maple and gigantic hibiscus. All was silent, gloomy and deserted; the imperative decrees of Taboo preserved it sacred from native footsteps during the intervals between their sacrifices and feasts—even our cumulees-boys, made a wide cir cuit, with bowed heads and averted faces.
Closely scrutinizing this field of heathenish revels, we continued on up the ravine, and in a few minutes familiarly paid our respects to the king's father, by unceremoniously bobbing through his doorway, and slapping him smartly on the back. The hut was large, in accordance with the position, rank and wealth of the owner. A trickling rivulet in front filled a scooped-out bowl in the rocks, some yards in diameter, and then flowed over a little natural channel, worn at the side, like the gutter to a fountain. Around and above, the cocoanuts were rustling in the sea-breeze.
We were cordially greeted by the host, who was seated on his hams and heels, with no other apparel than a maro wound around the loins, and a necklace of straggling, snow-white hairs hanging on his meagre breast; it was the honored beard of his ancestors, which was, I suppose, retained merely to swear by, as it did not appear either valuable or ornamental. He was a remarkable and venerable Goblin, and he informed us that his existence comprised nine hundred moons. This would have made him somewhere verging on eighty years; but he appeared as aged as Saturn.
He was tatooed all over the body and limbs, face alone exempted. It must have occupied as much time to delineate him as it did Rafael to fresco the galleries of the Vatican! But his hide was so ancient and worm-eaten, that many fine touches were almost illegible. Around his knees were play