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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
27 May 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Another Visit to Tootaha and the Transit of Venus


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CHAP. XIII. Another Visit to Tootahah, with various Adventures: Extraordinary Amusement of the Indians, with Remarks upon it: Preparations to observe the Transit of Venus, and what happened in the mean time at the Fort.

ON the 27th, it was, determined that we should pay our visit to Tootahah, though we were not very confident that we should receive the hogs for our pains. I therefore set out early in the morning, with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, and three others, in the pinnace. He was now removed from Tettahah, where Mr. Hicks had seen him, to a place called ATAHOUROU, about six miles farther, and as we could not go above half way thither in the boat, it was almost evening before we arrived: we found him in his usual state, sitting under a tree, with a great crowd about him. We made our presents in due form, consisting of a yellow stuff petticoat, and some other trifling articles, which were graciously received; a hog was immediately ordered to be killed and dressed for supper, with a promise of more in the morning: however, as we were less desirous of feasting upon our journey than of carrying back with us provisions, which would be more welcome at the fort, we procured a reprieve for the hog, and supped upon the fruits of the country. As night now came on, and the place was crowded with many more than the houses and canoes would contain; there being Oberea with her attendants, and many other travellers whom we knew, we began to look out for lodgings. Our party consisted of six: Mr. Banks thought himself fortunate in being offered a place by Oberea in her canoe, and wishing his friends a good night, took his leave. He went to rest early according to the custom of the country, and taking off his clothes, as was his constant practice, the nights being hot, Oberea kindly insisted upon taking them into her own custody, for otherwise she said they would certainly be stolen. Mr. Banks having such a safeguard, resigned himself to sleep with all imaginable tranquillity: but awaking about eleven o’clock, and wanting to get up, he searched for his clothes where he had seen them deposited by Oberea when he lay down to sleep, and soon perceived that they were missing. He immediately awakened Oberea, who starting up, and hearing his complaint, ordered lights, and prepared in great haste to recover what he had lost: Tootahah himself slept in the next canoe, and being soon alarmed, he came to them and set out with Oberea in search of the thief: Mr. Banks was not in a condition to go with them, for of his apparel scarce any thing was left him but his breeches; his coat, and his waistcoat, with his pistols, powder-horn, and many other things that were in the pockets, were gone. In about half an hour his two noble friends returned, but without having obtained any intelligence of his clothes or of the thief. At first he began to be alarmed, his musquet had not indeed been taken away, but he had neglected to load it; where I and Dr. Solander had disposed of ourselves he did not know; and therefore, whatever might happen, he could not have recourse to us for assistance. He thought it best, however, to express neither fear nor suspicion of those about him, and giving his musquet to Tupia, who had been waked in the confusion and stood by him, with a charge not to suffer it to be stolen, he betook himself again to rest, declaring himself perfectly satisfied with the pains that Tootahah and Oberea had taken to recover his things, though they had not been successful. As it cannot be supposed that in such a situation his sleep was very sound, he soon after heard music, and saw lights at a little distance on shore: this was a concert or assembly, which they call a HEIVA, a common name for every public exhibition; and as it would necessarily bring many people together, and there was a chance of my being among them with his other friends, he rose, and made the best of his way towards it: he was soon led by the lights and the sound to the hut where I lay, with three other Gentlemen of our party; and easily distinguishing us from the rest, he made up to us more than half naked, and told us his melancholy story. We gave him such comfort as the unfortunate generally give to each other, by telling him that we were fellow-sufferers; I showed him that I was myself without stockings, they having been stolen from under my head, though I was sure I had never been asleep, and each of my associates convinced him, by his appearance, that he had lost a jacket. We determined, however, to hear out the concert, however deficient we might appear in our dress; it consisted of three drums, four flutes, and several voices: when this entertainment, which lasted about an hour, was over, we retired again to our sleeping-places; having agreed, that nothing could be done toward the recovery of our things till the morning.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 132 - 134, 2004
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