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The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands) 1856-1888, October 21, 1884, WEEKLY EDITION, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015418/1884-10-21/ed-1/seq-4/

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Fmni faltln to Tanpatues.
Amongst other articles of domestic
use that were brought to us were
some curious weapons with which
the women fight. They may be
called 'scatchers,,, and are made by
inserting two shark teeth in one end
of a handle of wood about four inches
Jong and an inch in diameter. The
teeth are &et at right angles to the
length of the stick, aud when the
weapon is used it is grasped firmly
and. drawn vigorously over the back
and limbs of the combatants. Tho
teeth project about half an inch from
the handle, and their finely-toothed
edges, like saws, can inflict a severe
flesh wound. A loop of cord is at
tached to the handle, so that the
weapon can be suspended from the
waist girdle, it being concealed by
the grass fringe.
Seeing a couple of women begin a
fight, it looked quite natural to see
them grope in what might be called
their 'hip pockets" for their
"weapons," and when they did close
with each other they scratched each
other up in a scientific manner. A
large proportion of the women, and
men, too, bear on their bodies ugly
cicitraces of what must have been
serious cuts and scratchec. The old
women, especially, are seamed all
over with scars, showing that they
fight desperately when they set out
to settle soine differences.
.Leaving Butaritari (or Mukins), it
became necessary for us to go to the
northward and eastward again, o as
to get a breeze to take us to tbe other
islands we had to toucli at. For two
or three days we knocked about after
a wind, and during that time per
fected ourselves in the art of opening
cocoanuts. We never tired of the
rich, sweet "milk," though we grew
fastidious in regard to its quality. It
was proposed to try and churn some
of the milk, so as to get some fresh
butter, but we had no churn on board
and had to give up the idea. The
pulp of the nut, mixed with the milk
and heated, made a sort of cheese, of
which we were very fond. 'Twas
better than the goat's milk cheese, so
popular in the Western Islands, but
not calculated to keep as well. There
is probably nothing in the food line
that will "keep'' (if kept dry) as well
as 'Portagee goat's milk cheese."
They have been known to last from
the Cape de Verds all the way
around Cape Horn, up into the
Arctic, and. back to New Bedford,
where they resembled the dry re
.mainder biscuit that Shakespeare
mentions. They are very palatable
when fresh, and great favorites with
green hands in the forecastle of
whalers. Captain T. related how,
when at Fayal once, he traded off all
his clothes for . fifty-four of these
cheeses (some of which you could
strike fire with), and when he left
Fayal he hadn't any clothes except
what he stood in but a chest full of
cheeses. By and by the other fellows
wanted cheese, but T. represented to
them that he had paid money, (or
what was the same thing clothes),
for those cheese, and if they wanted
any he would trade with them. The
resnlt was, that by the time the vessel
reached Cape Horn, T. had "two
chests of clothes, two boxes tobacco,
four razors, and "enough matches to
last the voyage."
We were down on the line now,
and the sea at night seemed filled
with phosphorous. Every wavelet
that broke against the vessel's sides
seemed to be charged with liquid fire.
It was as if there was intimately
mingled with the water a luminous oil
clnging to any object against which
the water dashed. The foamy crests
of the waves breaking about us fairly
glittered with bluish white light, and
even in the smooth hollows of the
undulating ocean there would break
patches and involved whirls of in
tense flame, as if morsels of sodium
had been scattered on the water.
Fish, little ana big, moved about in a
radiant envelope ; and a huge shark
that haunted our vessel's keel occa
sionally darted into sight with a
cometary tail streaming behind him.
At sunset of September 5th, we
were close to Byron's Island, a small
ear-shaped patch of sand, without
any lagoon, but with a good anchor
age on the lee-side. We had no
people for this place, and so we made
no stop here at this time (though
some months afterwards we remained
there some time). Canoes built after
the model of a whaleboat, and having
oars instead of paddles, came along
side the Julia, and brought a few
things that we wanted. Night came
on by the time the last boat left ns,
and then all along the beach gleamed
out the light from dozens of palm
branch torches. The people wished
us to remain until morning, hence
the many lights to tell us where the
land was. But we took advantage of
the fair wind that was blowing.
and ran across to Onotua Island,
some fifty or sixty miles, where the
next morning we landed a few peo
ple, and then started for Taupatuea,
lying to the N.W. of us. Off the
south point of this island is an im
mense reef, lying near the surface
and called Nautilas shoal. It is
marked as "dangerous" on the charts
and is so, as at night nothing betrays
its presence but huge rollers breaking
now and then. Our course was shaped
so as to go clear of the shoal, and we
did so just before daylight. We were
close enough to see the white breakers
and hear their thunderous roar, and
after we had swung off and left them
astern of us, the horizon was ever
and again lit up by a line of white,
with a faint reflection above like an
Aurora Boreal is caused by the long
lines of waves breaking into foam on
the shoal.
Early in the day we wTere off the
anchorage at Taupatuea, and by
noon on shore. We found here the
residence of Rev. Mr. Kapu, and
were well entertained by his daughter,
who had just returned from Honolulu
with her husband, a young Hawaiian
primer who had come out here to as
sist in getting up a reading book for
the people. Near the house stood an
enormous tree whose trunk, which
we measured, was 35 feet in circum
ference, and from it sprang five or
six huge branches, each a tree in
bulk in itself. This tree was in
former times an object of worship of
the people, but now it is deserted.
Near it stands the finest church
building that we saw in the group.
It is built iii regular primitive style;
that is of logs of cocoauut and pan
danus trees neatly smoothed aud
lashed together, the ' whole covered
with a neat thatch. In size it was
120 feet long, GQ feet wide, and in the
centre 50 feet high. On one side
stood the pulpit, framed about with
spears and clubs that had been
thrown aside by the people when
they became Christians. Neat mats
covered the entire floor, on which
could be seated at least a thousand
people without crowding.
Our visit to this island was very
brief, nor did one see or hear any
thing new save that Kapu's daughter
called together her school of young
girls who sang several songs for us in
a sweet, expressive manner. Return
ing to the Julia in the afternoon, we
were soon on our way to Apamama
and Kuria, the last islands to be vis
ited ere setting sail for the Fijis.
Getting under way at daylight of
Sept. 8th, with a light breeze, we
shaped our course for Apamama and
Kuria. We all noticed that the sun
presented a curiously dull and sickly
appearance. This had been observable
for several days, and now was so
marked as to excite surprise, and, on
the part of the natives, not a little
apprehension. At no time during
the day was the disc of the sun so
bright but that it could be viewed
with the naked eye without incon
venience. Another very striking
and beautiful phenomena was pre
sented by the clouds. A large portion
of the sky was covered with cirrus
arranged in thin parallel lines, across
which, nearly at right angles, was
disposed another layer so as to form a
checkered pattern of great regularity.
The peculiar appearance of the sun
lasted for some time two weeks at
least and after inquiry disclosed the
fact that throughout the entire group
the natives had seen the same thing,
and thought the sun was "sick."
During the next twenty-four hours
the wind remained light, but fair, and
Ave slowly moved along to the N W
and N, passing over a shoal to the
westward of Taupatuea. Here we
saw a very large school of porpoises
on the hunt for fish. They were ar
ranged in a line half a mile long, and
they rushed forward shoulder to
shoulder, springing, a hundred at a
time, from the water, dashing here
and there in the wildest manner,
tumbling over each other, aud mak
ing the water foam about them.
Ahead of them we could see the
frightened flying-fish darting from
the waves, and using every expedient
known to them to escape from the
"wolves of the sea'' that pursued them
so relentlesslv.
By morning we were close up to
Apamama, and a native came otT in
a canoe to tell us that King Tembe
nuku, whom we wished to see, was
at the small island of Kuria, some 12
miles distant, and to leeward. The
wind remained very light, so that it
was not until near sunset that the
Julia was ofi the north point of the
island. A long shoal stretches out
from this point, and as we could see
the bottom very plainly, and night
was coming on, with no wmd to
speak of, our only safe plan was to
head away from the laud and en
deavor to get hold of it again in the
morning. Our after experience illus
trated the uncertainty of navigation
in this group; for, by the shortest
available route, we were just lour-
teen days getting back to the north
point of Kuria!
No sooner were we anchored than
King Tembenuku came alongside
and was "boosted'' on board; that is,
his three hundred pounds of flesh was
assisted up the ladder and over the
bulwarks by three or four of his re
tainers. He cordially welcomed
Capt. T as an old 'acquaintance,
and insisted upon our going ashore
with him that night in his boat. As
we wished to have an interview with
him and his peeple the next morn
ing, we packed ourselves into his
boat and "pulled for the shore."
The night came on dark but clear,
and our boat slowly moved along near
a line of breakeis fringing the shore.
After we had gone some distance, the
King asked us to take off our hats.
The men ceased rowing, and then
one of them in the bow of the boat
lifted up fiis voice in prayer. At
first we were a little startled, not
knowing but that we, were "lost
(that is on the oceau) and this cere
mony was a last resort.
The prayer continued, while the
boat slowly drifted closer and closer
to the breakers. The man's voice
rose and fell in union with the in
creasing swell. Finally he ceased
just as we thought we were going
into the breakers, and the King com
menced. His invocation, however,
was short, aud the order to "pull
ahead again" followed very quickly
upon the "Amen." Afterwards we
learned that at a certain hour of the
night, be the Kurians at sea or
ashore, they pray.
Xiandiug upon the smooth white
beach, we were escorted to the
King's house, and enjoyed a comfort
able night's rest. Early the next
morning we were told that the peo
ple had assembled in the Council
House, and that the King was ready
to receive us. :
As wre were about to. enter the
Council House we noticed that near
at hand a deep grave had been dug
in the soft sand, and now that we
were about to return to the King's
house he requested us to wait a short
time and witness a funeral.
Accordingly we seated ourselves
with him in chairs placed near the
grave, around which on three sides
was gathered a large number of the
people. Soon a procession', headed
by a native missionary, . moved
slowly along and halted at the grave
side. The body of the deceased a
native woman neatly enveloped in
mats, which were bound tightly
around it, was borne in the arms of
four friends, behind whom walked
the husband with his head bowed in
The body was laid by the side of
the grave, and then a short prayer
was said and a choir of females joined
in singing. a sweet hymn to one of
our old-fashioned plaintive melodies.
After the singing the missionary de
livered a short but impressive ad
dress. He spoke of the deceased, say
ing that she had been a good wife and
mother and, as they all knew, a
Christian, "Where is she now?" he
said. "This bodv rolled in tnese
mats is not her. Yesterday there
was in that body that that spoke, that
saw and knew us, that moved her
limbs. Where has that gone? We
believe it has left this home to go an
other, where this one is not needed.
She was good, here; she will be happy
now always. .Let us uo as sue did,
and we shall live with her again."
The body was then lowered into the
grave, and the King stepped forward
and dropped a handful of sand upon
it, motioning to us to do the same.
Then the grave was rapidly filled up,
the sand leveled oflT, and the next
time we found the spot we saw that a
large, heavy slab of coral rock had
been placed over it. This grave was
but one of a long row that encircled
the Council-house; it being the cus
torn of the people to bury their dead
near their dwellings.
In former times the practice
throughout this group was to keep
the bodies of the dead in the houses.
Immediately after death the remains
were carefully rubbed with cocoanut
oil and wrapped in mats. Every day
it was unrobed and oiled, and envel
oped again in fresh mats, and in
course of time, became mummified,
when it was finally done up in a neat
package and put away under the roof.
In case of the death of a high chief
the body was sometimes placed in a
large dish or tray, made of plates of
tortoise shell, and this was held on
the knees of women, who relieved
each other at frequent intervals, un
til decomposition had ceased. In
stances have been know where. the
body has been carried for two years
before being finally reduced to dry
skin and bones. On some of the
islands the bodies were buried in
very shallow graves, which were un
covered after a while, the head
twisted off and hung from the inside
of the house roof, where the smoke
fzt&m the fire, that is always kept
smouldering, soon cured it. After
the missionaries came amongst these
people they strongly objected to the
sight of these ghastly relics, and per
suaded the people to bury them,
which they did, each family placing
all the skulls it had accumulated in
one grave, and covering them with
a slab of coral. I found several of
these collections, but did not disturb
After the funeral we went to
look at the pile of presents
that the King had ordered to be
brought for us. We found them to
consist of body-armor, helmets, clubs,
spears and swords; also large wrooden
fish-hooks, lines, snares for fish, a
huge living turtle, a number of fowls
and a large pile of ' cocoanuts.
The armor was particularly curious,
being made - of cocoa fibre cord,
very closely woven over a frame-work
of the slender elastic mid-ribs of the
cocoanut pinule. It was so shaped
as to fit snugly around the body, the
back being prolonged so as to com
pletely protect the head from a blow
from behind. It opened on either
side, and the arm-holes were formed
by two stout flat straps interwoven
into the back and front piece. Vhen
worn it was securely lashed together
by cords passing across the chest,
forming an effective defense against
the spears, knives, and clubs used by
the natives. Into the back was woven
figures that answered lor heraldic
symbols, inasmuch as different de
vices were used by different families.
Under this was worn a short jacket
with long sleeves, : woven from the
same material, but loosely. Panta
loons, or drawers rather, of the same
protected the lower limbs, and to still
further guard the warriors from in
injury around the waist, was tied a
belt with long, fluttering jjoints made
from the stiff leaves of the pandanus.
Finally, the head was surmounted by
a helmet mads from the skin of the
porcupine-fish, which, upon being
inflated while still freshly-caught,
swelled into a globular form. A por
tion of the head was then cut away
so as to admit the head of the warrior;
and as the whole surface of this cu
rious head-piece bristled with sharp
spines about an inch and a half in
length, and was very light, it made a
most efficient head-covering
The clubs used are of a va
riety of shapes, and when a fight
ing man is ready for an attack he has
one thrust between his back and his
armor, another hanging from the left
wrist, and a double-pointed one in his
right hand. A long spear is held in
the left hand with which to ward off
blows and he is really well protected
from his enemy. The double-pointed
club is generally about three feet long,
and being grasped by the middle, is
brandished vigorously for a while and
then goes hurling through the air,
spinning end over end in a very be
wildering manner.
Another style of club is about two
feet in length, and is pointed, with a
cutting edge on each side, resembling
somewhat a Roman sword. Still
another is round and short, like a
policeman's truncheon, and as they
are all made of close, heavy pandanus
or cocoanut wood, they are murderous
weapons at close quarters.
The spears are sometimes made
long and heavy these being intended
to fend off blows, and also to be used
in charging in a body on tho enemy.
Others are much shorter and lighter,
and are darted in the ordinary fash
ion. All of these, together with
swords and knives, are armed with
sharks7 teeth set in two, three, and
sometimes four rows for some dis
tance along one end of the weapon.
None of these ever have the point
sharpened, so that they are not fitted
for stabbing. In fact most of them
have the tips finished with a short,
stiff' tuft of cocoanut leaf, as if to
guard against the possibility of a
wound being inflicted by a thrust.
. Most formidable flesh wounds are,
however, given by the keen saw-edges
of the sharks' teeth. One old man
who had been a noted fighter in his
day, had the cicatrice of what must
have been a frightful flesh-wound ex
tending from the right shoulder diag
onally across and down tho back to
his left side, and another in tho same
manner across his chest, so that he
looked as though he had been cut
fairly in two at some time, aud then
put together again in an unscientific
EXCHANGE, San Francisco. California, is.
authorized to receive advertisements for the col
umns of this roper.
Rterms 20 and 21, Merchants .Exchange
California Street, Han Fra&cisco.
13T i. C Advertising Solicited for all
Newspapers Pnblishcd on the Pacific toast.
the Sandwich Islands, Polynesia, Mexican
Ports, Panama, Valparaiso, Japan, China,
New Zealand, the Australian Colonies, the
Eastern States and Europe. Flics of nearly
every Newspaper Published on the Pacific
oast are kept Constantly on Hand, and all
advertisers are allowed free access to them
dnrlns Business Honrs. The PACIFIC C03I-
the Office of L. P. FISHER.
"By a thorough knowledge of the natural laws
whicb govern the operations of digestion and nu
trition, and by a careful application of tho fine
properties of well-selected cocoa, Mr. Kpps has
provided our breakfast tables with a delicately
flavoured beverage which may have u.s many
heavy doctor's bills. It Is by the Judicious use of
such articles of diet that a constitution may be
gradually built up until strong enough to resist
every tendency to disease. Hundreds of subtle
maladies are floating around us ready to attack
wherever there is a w?ak point. We may escape
many a fatal shaft by keeping onrselves well
fortified with pure blood and a properly nourished
frame." See article In the Civil Service Gazette.
Made simply with boiling water or.milk.
Sold in Mlb. packets by grocers labelled thus
JAMES' 66 CO.,
John Daniel & Co.,
Importers and Dealers in
Italian EUIarble
And Scotch Granite
. Manufacturers of g
Monuments, Head Stone.
Plumber's Slabs,
Table and Counter Tot,
Imposing Stones, de.
Granite "Worlc of all Ivincln
Manufactured to order.
Plans and specifications furnished free of charge
upon application. ADDRESS,
my24-w3ni San Francisco, CaJ.
-g p 1 Villi DA V IS TO BE MA BE
I I fpn I .1 by persons Gf either hex, In
1". I 1U F i-their own localities, at work
W-- cW -Lfor us New business. All
meet with wonderful success. Any one can dothe
work. .Capital not required.- We will stat you.
Outfit worth 1 mailed free. The employment is
particularly adapted to the region in which this
publication circulates. Hoys and girls earn nearly
as much as men. Full particulars and instructions
mailed free. Now is the time don't delay, but
to us at once. Address Stinsou & Co. Port
Maine, United States. - ly

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