12th May 1769

Cloudy weather with Showers of rain. This morning a Man and two Young Women, with some others, came to the Fort, whom we had not seen before, and as their manner of introducing themselves was a little uncommon, I shall insert it. Mr. Banks was as usual at the gate of the Fort trading with the people, when he was told that some Strangers were coming, and therefore stood to receive them. The Company had with them about a Dozen young Plantain Trees, and some other small Plants, these they laid down about 20 feet from Mr. Banks; the people then made a Lane between him and them. When this was done the Man (who appeared to be only a Servant to the two Women) brought the young Plantains singly, together with some of the other plants, and gave them to Mr. Banks, and at the delivery of each pronounced a Short sentence which we understood not. After he had thus disposed of all his plantain trees, he took several pieces of Cloth and spread them on the ground. One of the Young women then stepp'd upon the Cloth, and with as much innocency as one could possibly conceive, exposed herself, entirely naked, from the waist downwards; in this manner she turn'd herself once or twice round, I am not certain which, then stepped off the cloth, and dropp'd down her Cloaths. More Cloth was then spread upon the former, and she again performed the same Ceremony. The Cloth was then rowled up and given to Mr. Banks, and the two Young women went and Embraced him, which ended the Ceremony.

Joseph Banks Journal
Cocoa nuts very plentifull this morning. About breakfast time Dootahah visits us. Immediately after while I sat trading in the boat at the door of the fort a double Canoe came with several women and one man under the awning. The Indians round me made signs that I should go out and meet them, by the time I had got out of the boat they were within ten yards of me. The people made a lane from them to me. They stopd and made signs for me to do the same. The man in company with them had in his hand a large bunch of boughs; he advancd towards me bringing two, one a young plantain the other. Tupia who stood by me acted as my deputy in receiving them and laying them down in the boat: 6 times he passd backwards and forwards in the same manner and bringing the same present. Another man than came forward having in his arms a large bundle of cloth, this he opend out and spread it peice by peice on the ground between the women and me, it consisted on nine peices. Three were first laid. The foremost of the women, who seemd to be the principal, then stepd upon them and quickly unveiling all her charms gave me a most convenient opportunity of admiring them by turning herself gradualy round: 3 peices more were laid and she repeated her part of the ceremony: the other three were then laid which made a treble covering of the ground between her and me, she then once more displayd her naked beauties and immediately marchd up to me, a man following her and doubling up the cloth as he came forwards which she immediately made me understand was intended as a present for me. I took her by the hand and led her to the tents acompanied by another woman her freind, to both of them I made presents but could not prevail upon them to stay more than an hour. In the evening Oborea and her favourite attendant Othéothéa pay us a visit, much to my satisfaction as the latter (my flame) has for some days been reported either ill or dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment