The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 130

saw nothing in the
demeanour of the natives calculated to create suspicion, with the single
exception of the systematic manner in which their party was strengthened
during our route from the schooner to the village.




CHAPTER 20

THE chief was as good as his word, and we were soon plentifully supplied
with fresh provisions. We found the tortoises as fine as we had ever
seen, and the ducks surpassed our best species of wild fowl, being
exceedingly tender, juicy, and well-flavoured. Besides these, the
savages brought us, upon our making them comprehend our wishes, a vast
quantity of brown celery and scurvy grass, with a canoe-load of fresh
fish and some dried. The celery was a treat indeed, and the scurvy grass
proved of incalculable benefit in restoring those of our men who had
shown symptoms of disease. In a very short time we had not a single
person on the sick-list. We had also plenty of other kinds of fresh
provisions, among which may be mentioned a species of shellfish
resembling the mussel in shape, but with the taste of an oyster.
Shrimps, too, and prawns were abundant, and albatross and other birds’
eggs with dark shells. We took in, too, a plentiful stock of the flesh
of the hog which I have mentioned before. Most of the men found it a
palatable food, but I thought it fishy and otherwise disagreeable. In
return for these good things we presented the natives with blue beads,
brass trinkets, nails, knives, and pieces of red cloth, they being fully
delighted in the exchange. We established a regular market on shore,
just under the guns of the schooner, where our barterings were carried
on with every appearance of good faith, and a degree of order which
their conduct at the village of _Klock-klock_ had not led us to expect
from the savages.

Matters went on thus very amicably for several days, during which
parties of the natives were frequently on board the schooner, and
parties of our men frequently on shore, making long excursions into the
interior, and receiving no molestation whatever. Finding the ease with
which the vessel might be loaded with _biche de mer_, owing to the
friendly disposition of the islanders, and the readiness with which they
would render us assistance in collecting it, Captain Guy resolved to
enter into negotiations with Too-wit for the erection of suitable houses
in which to cure the article, and for the services of himself and tribe
in gathering as much as possible, while he himself took advantage of the
fine weather to prosecute his voyage to the southward. Upon mentioning
this

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