Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/42

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16
MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY

hiva the captain of this ship left John Maury and six men on the island to procure sandalwood and other articles of commerce. They were, of course, to be taken off on the return from China; but the war broke out and the ship was blockaded in a Chinese port by the English. Meanwhile the Americans were left to shift for themselves on Nukahiva, and in a war between two tribes, one of which was friendly to them, all the white men were killed except John Maury and another man named Baker. Fortunately, Porter visited the island during the famous cruise of the Essex, and rescued the two survivors. In order that he might learn something about the history of his brother while on the island, Midshipman Maury set about studying the language of the natives, during the three weeks or so of his visit. And shortly before his departure he was able to converse with the old chief who had been his brother's friend. "The Happas and the Typees", Maury wrote, "were at war. The latter having just captured three children from the former, we went to the rescue and recovered two, the third had been eaten. When we returned to the Happa Valley from the expedition—it was the valley where dwelt my brother—the men had liberty and the old Happa chief remained on board as a hostage, for his subjects were all a set of savages and the women literally in the fig leaf state. At night when all the men had come off safe and sound, and a few days only before we left, I was sent to take the old fellow ashore. Going ashore, I made myself known to him. He was the firm and fast friend of my brother. Had saved his life. He was then old. He it was that offered me his scepter, his own wife, and the daughter of a neighboring chief if I would remain".

Needless to say, this flattering offer was rejected, and