Page:Narrative of a Voyage around the World - 1843.djvu/139

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1837.]
87
THE CHIEF'S FAMILY.

the lower lip. It is of wood, and retains its place by the elasticity of the flesh contracting in the groove, substituting larger ornaments as they grow up, or as the aperture elongates. They are as filthy as such tribes usually are, beyond description, and use vermillion, and any paint they can get. I must, however, except the chief's lady and daughters, as not wearing these ornaments, or paint, and exhibiting a dislike to it. The latter I had not the pleasure of seeing, but I am told one is very pretty,—I suppose we may add, "for the tribe."

On the 8th October, after completing our astronomical observations, and swinging the ship for local attraction, we took leave of our friends, and with great difficulty got up our anchor, owing to the tough clay in which it had hooked. Light airs prevented our getting out, although towed by the canoes as well as our own boats; I therefore turned her head to her old anchorage for the night. The chief and his lady, who had come to secure the assistance of their tribe, as soon as they perceived my determination, were quite delighted,—the only time I had seen them relax their features,—and haranguing the canoes, particularly her ladyship, they not only increased in numbers, but also in efforts, which had they applied earlier, we should have gained an offing. We were very soon at anchor. I think they gained a saw and hatchet for this manoeuvre. They well knew every hour of delay would enrich them.