Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/268

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near enough flung in what they had chewed, and those who sat farther off put their morsels into small dishes made of Banana leaves, which were handed round to receive them, and their contents being all collected in the bowl, water was brought in calabashes, about six in number, containing together about two gallons, or perhaps more. The water being poured into the bowl, the young man with his hands commenced mixing the masticated mash with the water; when this was thoroughly done, he took a large bunch of fibres of the bark of a tree called Fow (a Hibiscus?), resembling coarse tow: this he spread with both his hands along the margin of the bowl opposite to him, and drew it through the liquor, which had the effect of straning it, bringing away all broken fibres and pieces of the root, these being retained in the Fow, which was well wrung over the bowl, and the process was repeated until the liquor was free from fragments, which were all retained in the centre of the Fow. All this was done slowly, and with an air of ceremony. Small square cups, which would contain about half a pint or less, made of the leaf of the Banana, were then produced, and the Fow being filled with Kava from the bowl, over which the cup is held, the liquor ran from it into the vessel. The first dish was brought to me. Etiquette, of which I was ignorant, requires that it should be drunk off, and the cup thrown into the centre of the room. I tasted it, and handed the cup to Tue Tonga, who immediately sent it to be filled up, as if that which I had taken had diminished the quantity: he then drank it off, and threw the cup towards the bowl. Others were served, a person calling out to whom it was to be carried; otherwise, the whole was performed in silence. Each, as he drank off his cup, threw it into the middle of the floor, towards the bowl; they were all served sitting. There is, I believe, in all things respecting Kava, as much etiquette as in any ceremonies in the stiffest court in Europe; and we, who do not know and follow them, are by these people considered as deficient in politeness and refinement as they would be at London or Paris in the best societies. This, however, is to be said, that in decency and propriety of manners, if not to say elegance, some of these natives would set an example which might be followed with advantage by many at the above-named places. When the Kava was finished, the bowl was wiped with Fow, which was frequently wrung. With it the young man wiped his hands and arms, and then, having shaken it well, hung it up to dry, and the bowl resumed its station against the pillar of the house.

There is a property in this vegetable, which, after frequent