Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/312

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hitian preserved the ancestral skulls hidden in the roof of his house.

The perch for fowls,[1] so familiar in the neighbourhood of all Shinto temples in Japan, had its counterpart in the homes of the Tahitian chiefs; though the fowls here do not appear to have been consecrated to the gods, but trained for fighting. The native legends assert that cock-fighting was the most ancient native game, and the birds were reared and tended with the utmost care. No artificial spurs were used, and the belligerents were separated before either was injured. The fights came off at break of day, that the birds might be perfectly cool; and large crowds assembled to witness the contests, which sometimes were carried on for several mornings consecutively.

In tracing all manner of kindred customs in the isles of the North and South Pacific, I observe, amongst minor points, how very widespread is the passion for shampooing,—a friendly office which every old woman in the South Seas seems as ready to perform for the wearied wayfarer as is the professional blind man of Japan; involving an amount of manipulation which I should suppose to be truly odious, but to which many foreigners take kindly, and which seems to find favour in all Asiatic countries.

I take an especial interest in all such links as seem to connect these isles with Japan, because I have a pet theory of my own, that all these fair Polynesian islanders have drifted here by a circuitous route via the North Pacific. The commonly accepted notion is, that all the groups in the East Pacific have been peopled by Malays, who found their way here by a directly eastward migration. It is difficult, however, to imagine why they should have come so far, when, in coming from that direction, Australia and New Guinea lay so much nearer to them.

If you open the map of the world and rule a transverse line, passing through the Sandwich Islands in the North Pacific and the Friendly Isles in the South, you will perceive that the groups lying to the east are the Navigators, Fiji, the Hervey Isles, Tahiti, the Paumotu, the Marquesan, the Austral Isles, and New Zealand,

  1. Whence has developed the Torii.