Page images



[ocr errors]

like what we call fire-stones, that shine

so when we rub them together.-I ::

don't think they would bürn, replied er the Captain; besides, these are of a

darker colour. 1 Well— but their diet too. was re

markable. Some of them ate fish that f had been hung up in the smoke till they ch

were quite dryand hard; and along with dit they ate either the roots of plants,

or a sort of coarse black cake made of i powdered seeds. These were the

poorer class; the richer had a whiter kind of -1 cake, which they were fond of daubing

over with a greasy matter that was the Il product of a large animal among them.

This grease they used, too, in almost all

their dishes, and when fresh, it really ch was not unpalatable. They likewise

devoured the flesh of many birds and

beasts when they could get it; and ate 1

the leaves and other parts of a variety of vegetables growing in the country,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


some absolutely raw, others variously prepared by the aid of fire. Another great article of food was the curd of milk, pressed into a hard mass and salted. This had so rank a smell, that persons of weak stomachs often could not bear to come near it. For drink, they made great use of the water in which certain dry leaves had been steeped. These leaves, I was told, came from a great distance. They had likewise a method of preparing a liquor of the seeds of a grass-like plant steeped in water, with the addition of a bitter herb, and then set to work or ferment. I was prevailed upon to taste it, and thought it at first nauseous enough, but in time I liked it pretty well. When a large quantity of the ingredients is used, it becomes perfectly intoxicating. But what astonished me most, was their use of a liquor so excessively hot and pungent, that it seems like liquid fire, I

[blocks in formation]

once got a mouthful of it by mistake, taking it for water, which it resembles in appearance, but I thought it would instantly have taken away my breath. Indeed, people are not unfrequently killed by it; and yet many of them will swallow it greedily whenever they can get it. This, too, is said to be prepared from the seeds abovementioned, which are innocent and even salutary in their natural state, though made to yield such a pernicious juice. The strangest custom that I believe prevails in any nation I found here, which was, that some take a mighty pleasure in filling their mouths full of stinking smoke; and others, in thrusting a nasty powder up

their nostrils. I should think it would choke them, said Jack. It almost did me, answered his father, only to stand by while they did it-but use, it is truly said, is second nature.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


Bus eir us

1 pul re

I was glad enough to leave this cold climate; and about half a year after, I fell in with a people enjoying a delicious temperature of air, and a country full of beauty and verdure. The trees and shrubs were furnished with a great variety of fruits, which, with other vegetable products, constituted a large part of the food of the inhabitants. I particularly relished certain berries growing in bunches, some white and somered, of a very pleasant sourish taste, and so transparent, that one might see the seeds at their very centre. Here were whole fields full of extremely odoriferous flowers, which they told me were succeeded by pods bearing seeds, that afforded good nourishment to man and beast. A great variety of birds enlivened the groves and woods; among which I was entertained with one, that without any teaching spoke almost as articulately as a parrot, though indeed it

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

was all the repetition of a single word. The people were tolerably gentle and civilized, and possessed many of the arts of life. Their dress was very various. Many were clad only in a thin cloth made of the long fibres of the stalk of a plant cultivated for the purpose, which they prepared by soaking in water, and then beating with large mallets. Others wore cloth woven from a sort of vegetable wool, growing in pods upon bushes. But the most singular material was a fine glossy stuff, uised chiefly by the richer classes, which, as I 'was credibly informed, is manufactured out of the webs of caterpillars-a most wonderful circumstance, if we consider the immense number of caterpillars necessary to the production of so large a quantity of the stuffas I saw used. This people are very fantastic in their dress, especially the wonen, whose apparel consists of a great number of articles impossible to be

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »