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The captain with whom we descended the river Parana was an old Spaniard, and had been many years in South America. He professed a great liking for the English, but stoutly maintained that the battle of Trafalgar was merely won by the Spanish captains having been all bought over, and that the only really gallant action on either side was performed by the Spanish admiral. It struck me as rather characteristic that this man should prefer his countrymen being thought the worst of traitors, rather than unskilful or cowardly.
AT Tahiti I was pleased with nothing so much as with the inhabitants. There is a mildness in the expression of their countenances which at once banishes the idea of a savage, and an intelligence which shows that they are advanc ing in civilization. The common people, when working, keep the upper part of their bodies quite naked; and it is then that the Tahitians are seen to advantage. They are very tall, broad-shouldered, athletic, and well-proportioned. It has been remarked that it requires little habit to make a dark skin more pleasing and natural to the eye of a European than his own color. A white man, bathing by the side of a Tahitian, was like a plant bleached by the gardener's art compared with a fine dark green one, growing vigorously in the open fields. Most of the men are tattooed, and the ornaments follow the curves of the body so gracefully that they have a very elegant effect. One common pattern, varying in
its details, is somewhat like the crown of a palm-tree. It springs from the central line of the back, and gracefully curls round both sides. Many of the elder people had their feet covered with small figures, so placed as to resemble a sock. This fashion, however, is partly gone by. The women are tattooed in the same manner as the men, and very commonly
NATIVE BAMBOO HOUSE, TAHITI, SOCIETY ISLANDS.
on their fingers. They are far inferior, in every respect, to the men.
On a short excursion into the mountains our line of march was the valley of Tia-auru, down which a river flows into the sea by Point Venus. We bivouacked for the night on a flat little spot on the bank of one of the streams into which the river divided itself at its head. The Tahitians, in a few minutes, built us an excellent house, and then proceeded to make a fire and cook our evening meal. A light was pro
cured by rubbing a bluntpointed stick in a groove made in another, as if in order to deepen it, until by the friction the dust was ignited. A peculiarly white and very light wood is alone used for this purpose. The fire was produced in a few seconds; but, to a person who does not understand the art, it requires, as I found, the greatest exertion;
but at last, to my great pride, I succeeded in igniting the
BANANA LEAVES AND FRUIT-STALK.
dust. The Gaucho in
the Pampas uses a dif ferent method: taking an elastic stick, about eighteen inches long, he presses one end on his breast, and the other pointed end into a hole in a piece of wood, and then rapidly turns the curved part, like a car penter's centre-bit. The Tahitians, having made a small fire of sticks, placed a score of stones,
of about the size of cricket-balls, on the burning wood. In about ten minutes the sticks were consumed, and the stones hot. They had previously folded up in small parcels of leaves pieces of beef, fish, ripe and unripe bananas, and the tops of the wild arum. These green parcels were laid in a layer be tween two layers of the hot stones, and the whole then covered up with earth, so that no smoke or steam could escape. In about a quarter of an hour the whole was most deliciously cooked. The choice green parcels were now laid on a cloth of banana leaves, and with a cocoa-nut shell we drank the cool water of the running stream; and thus we enjoyed our rustic meal.
THE AUSTRALIAN NEGRO.
A LARGE tribe of natives, called the White Cockatoo men, happened to pay a visit to the settlement at King George's Sound while we were there. These men, as well as those of the tribe belonging to the Sound, being tempted by the offer of some tubs of rice and sugar, were persuaded to hold a "corrobery," or great dancing-party. As soon as it grew dark, small fires were lighted and the men commenced their toilet, which consisted in painting themselves white in spots and lines. As soon as all was ready, large fires were kept blazing, round which the women and children were collected as spectators. The Cockatoo and King George's men formed