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Chapter Thirteen


CHAPTER THIRTEEN

ATTEMPT TO PROCURE RELIEF FROM NUKUHEVA--PERILOUS ADVENTURE OF
TOBY IN THE HAPPAR MOUNTAINS--ELOQUENCE OF KORY-KORY

AMIDST these novel scenes a week passed away almost
imperceptibly.  The natives, actuated by some mysterious impulse,
day after day redoubled their attentions to us.  Their manner
towards us was unaccountable.  Surely, thought I, they would not
act thus if they meant us any harm.  But why this excess of
deferential kindness, or what equivalent can they imagine us
capable of rendering them for it?

We were fairly puzzled.  But despite the apprehensions I could
not dispel, the horrible character imputed to these Typees
appeared to be wholly undeserved.

'Why, they are cannibals!' said Toby on one occasion when I
eulogized the tribe.  'Granted,' I replied, 'but a more humane,
gentlemanly and amiable set of epicures do not probably exist in
the Pacific.'

But, notwithstanding the kind treatment we received, I was too
familiar with the fickle disposition of savages not to feel
anxious to withdraw from the valley, and put myself beyond the
reach of that fearful death which, under all these smiling
appearances, might yet menace us.  But here there was an obstacle
in the way of doing so.  It was idle for me to think of moving
from the place until I should have recovered from the severe
lameness that afflicted me; indeed my malady began seriously to
alarm me; for, despite the herbal remedies of the natives, it
continued to grow worse and worse.  Their mild applications,
though they soothed the pain, did not remove the disorder, and I
felt convinced that without better aid I might anticipate long
and acute suffering.

But how was this aid to be procured?  From the surgeons of the
French fleet, which probably still lay in the bay of Nukuheva, it
might easily have been obtained, could I have made my case known
to them.  But how could that be effected?

At last, in the exigency to which I was reduced, I proposed to
Toby that he should endeavour to go round to Nukuheva, and if he
could not succeed in returning to the valley by water, in one of
the boats of the squadron, and taking me off, he might at least
procure me some proper medicines, and effect his return overland.

My companion listened to me in silence, and at first did not
appear to relish the idea.  The truth was, he felt impatient to
escape from the place, and wished to avail himself of our present
high favour with the natives to make good our retreat, before we
should experience some sudden alteration in their behaviour.  As
he could not think of leaving me in my helpless condition, he
implored me to be of good cheer; assured me that I should soon be
better, and enabled in a few days to return with him to Nukuheva.

Added to this, he could not bear the idea of again returning to
this dangerous place; and as for the expectation of persuading
the Frenchmen to detach a boat's crew for the purpose of rescuing
me from the Typees, he looked upon it as idle; and with arguments
that I could not answer, urged the improbability of their
provoking the hostilities of the clan by any such measure;
especially, as for the purpose of quieting its apprehensions,
they had as yet refrained from making any visit to the bay.  'And
even should they consent,' said Toby, 'they would only produce a
commotion in the valley, in which we might both be sacrificed by
these ferocious islanders.'  This was unanswerable; but still I
clung to the belief that he might succeed in accomplishing the
other part of my plan; and at last I overcame his scruples, and
he agreed to make the attempt.

As soon as we succeeded in making the natives understand our
intention, they broke out into the most vehement opposition to
the measure, and for a while I almost despaired of obtaining
their consent.  At the bare thought of one of us leaving them,
they manifested the most lively concern.  The grief and
consternation of Kory-Kory, in particular, was unbounded; he
threw himself into a perfect paroxysm of gestures which were
intended to convey to us not only his abhorrence of Nukuheva and
its uncivilized inhabitants, but also his astonishment that after
becoming acquainted with the enlightened Typees, we should evince
the least desire to withdraw, even for a time, from their
agreeable society.

However, I overbore his objections by appealing to my lameness;
from which I assured the natives I should speedily recover if
Toby were permitted to obtain the supplies I needed.

It was agreed that on the following morning my companion should
depart, accompanied by some one or two of the household, who
should point out to him an easy route, by which the bay might be
reached before sunset.

At early dawn of the next day, our habitation was astir.  One of
the young men mounted into an adjoining cocoanut tree, and threw
down a number of the young fruit, which old Marheyo quickly
stripped of the green husks, and strung together upon a short
pole.  These were intended to refresh Toby on his route.

The preparations being completed, with no little emotion I bade
my companion adieu.  He promised to return in three days at
farthest; and, bidding me keep up my spirits in the interval,
turned round the corner of the pi-pi, and, under the guidance of
the venerable Marheyo, was soon out of sight.  His departure
oppressed me with melancholy, and, re-entering the dwelling, I
threw myself almost in despair upon the matting of the floor.

In two hours' time the old warrior returned, and gave me to
understand that after accompanying my companion a little
distance, and showing him the route, he had left him journeying
on his way.

It was about noon of this same day, a season which these people
are wont to pass in sleep, that I lay in the house, surrounded by
its slumbering inmates, and painfully affected by the strange
silence which prevailed.  All at once I thought I heard a faint
shout, as if proceeding from some persons in the depth of the
grove which extended in front of our habitation.

The sounds grew louder and nearer, and gradually the whole valley
rang with wild outcries.  The sleepers around me started to their
feet in alarm, and hurried outside to discover the cause of the
commotion.  Kory-Kory, who had been the first to spring up, soon
returned almost breathless, and nearly frantic with the
excitement under which he seemed to be labouring.  All that I
could understand from him was that some accident had happened to
Toby.  Apprehensive of some dreadful calamity, I rushed out of
the house, and caught sight of a tumultuous crowd, who, with
shrieks and lamentations, were just emerging from the grove
bearing in their arms some object, the sight of which produced
all this transport of sorrow.  As they drew near, the men
redoubled their cries, while the girls, tossing their bare arms
in the air, exclaimed plaintively, 'Awha!  awha!  Toby mukee
moee!'--Alas!  alas!  Toby is killed!

In a moment the crowd opened, and disclosed the apparently
lifeless body of my companion home between two men, the head
hanging heavily against the breast of the foremost.  The whole
face, neck, back, and bosom were covered with blood, which still
trickled slowly from a wound behind the temple.  In the midst of
the greatest uproar and confusion the body was carried into the
house and laid on a mat.  Waving the natives off to give room and
air, I bent eagerly over Toby, and, laying my hand upon the
breast, ascertained that the heart still beat.  Overjoyed at
this, I seized a calabash of water, and dashed its contents upon
his face, then wiping away the blood, anxiously examined the
wound.   It was about three inches long, and on removing the
clotted hair from about it, showed the skull laid completely
bare.  Immediately with my knife I cut away the heavy locks, and
bathed the part repeatedly in water.

In a few moments Toby revived, and opening his eyes for a
second--closed them again without speaking.  Kory-Kory, who had
been kneeling beside me, now chafed his limbs gently with the
palms of his hands, while a young girl at his head kept fanning
him, and I still continued to moisten his lips and brow.  Soon my
poor comrade showed signs of animation, and I succeeded in making
him swallow from a cocoanut shell a few mouthfuls of water.

Old Tinor now appeared, holding in her hand some simples she had
gathered, the juice of which she by signs besought me to squeeze
into the wound.  Having done so, I thought it best to leave Toby
undisturbed until he should have had time to rally his faculties.
Several times he opened his lips, but fearful for his safety I
enjoined silence.  In the course of two or three hours, however,
he sat up, and was sufficiently recovered to tell me what had
occurred.

'After leaving the house with Marheyo,' said Toby, 'we struck
across the valley, and ascended the opposite heights.  Just
beyond them, my guide informed me, lay the valley of Happar,
while along their summits, and skirting the head of the vale, was
my route to Nukuheva.  After mounting a little way up the
elevation my guide paused, and gave me to understand that he
could not accompany me any farther, and by various signs
intimated that he was afraid to approach any nearer the
territories of the enemies of his tribe.  He however pointed out
my path, which now lay clearly before me, and bidding me
farewell, hastily descended the mountain.

'Quite elated at being so near the Happars, I pushed up the
acclivity, and soon gained its summit.  It tapered to a sharp
ridge, from whence I beheld both the hostile valleys.  Here I sat
down and rested for a moment, refreshing myself with my
cocoanuts.  I was soon again pursuing my way along the height,
when suddenly I saw three of the islanders, who must have just
come out of Happar valley, standing in the path ahead of me.  
They were each armed with a heavy spear, and one from his
appearance I took to be a chief.  They sung out something, I
could not understand what, and beckoned me to come on.

'Without the least hesitation I advanced towards them, and had
approached within about a yard of the foremost, when, pointing
angrily into the Typee valley, and uttering some savage
exclamation, he wheeled round his weapon like lightning, and
struck me in a moment to the ground.  The blow inflicted this
wound, and took away my senses.  As soon as I came to myself, I
perceived the three islanders standing a little distance off, and
apparently engaged in some violent altercation respecting me.

'My first impulse was to run for it; but, in endeavouring to
rise, I fell back, and rolled down a little grassy precipice.  
The shock seemed to rally my faculties; so, starting to my feet,
I fled down the path I had just ascended.  I had no need to look
behind me, for, from the yells I heard, I knew that my enemies
were in full pursuit.  Urged on by their fearful outcries, and
heedless of the injury I had received--though the blood flowing
from the wound trickled over into my eyes and almost blinded
me--I rushed down the mountain side with the speed of the wind.  
In a short time I had descended nearly a third of the distance,
and the savages had ceased their cries, when suddenly a terrific
howl burst upon my ear, and at the same moment a heavy javelin
darted past me as I fled, and stuck quivering in a tree close to
me.  Another yell followed, and a second spear and a third shot
through the air within a few feet of my body, both of them
piercing the ground obliquely in advance of me.  The fellows gave
a roar of rage and disappointment; but they were afraid, I
suppose, of coming down further into the Typee valley, and so
abandoned the chase.  I saw them recover their weapons and turn
back; and I continued my descent as fast as I could.

'What could have caused this ferocious attack on the part of
these Happars I could not imagine, unless it were that they had
seen me ascending the mountain with Marheyo, and that the mere
fact of coming from the Typee valley was sufficient to provoke
them.

'As long as I was in danger I scarcely felt the wound I had
received; but when the chase was over I began to suffer from it.  
I had lost my hat in the flight, and the run scorched my bare
head.  I felt faint and giddy; but, fearful of falling to the
ground beyond the reach of assistance, I staggered on as well as
I could, and at last gained the level of the valley, and then
down I sank; and I knew nothing more until I found myself lying
upon these mats, and you stooping over me with the calabash of
water.'

Such was Toby's account of this sad affair.  I afterwards learned
that, fortunately, he had fallen close to a spot where the
natives go for fuel.  A party of them caught sight of him as he
fell, and sounding the alarm, had lifted him up; and after
ineffectually endeavouring to restore him at the brook, had
hurried forward with him to the house.

This incident threw a dark cloud over our prospects.  It reminded
us that we were hemmed in by hostile tribes, whose territories we
could not hope to pass, on our route to Nukuheva, without
encountering the effects of their savage resentment.  There
appeared to be no avenue opened to our escape but the sea, which
washed the lower extremities of the vale.

Our Typee friends availed themselves of the recent disaster of
Toby to exhort us to a due appreciation of the blessings we
enjoyed among them, contrasting their own generous reception of
us with the animosity of their neighbours.  They likewise dwelt
upon the cannibal propensities of the Happars, a subject which
they were perfectly aware could not fail to alarm us; while at
the same time they earnestly disclaimed all participation in so
horrid a custom.  Nor did they omit to call upon us to admire the
natural loveliness of their own abode, and the lavish abundance
with which it produced all manner of luxuriant fruits; exalting
it in this particular above any of the surrounding valleys.

Kory-Kory seemed to experience so heartfelt a desire to infuse
into our minds proper views on these subjects, that, assisted in
his endeavours by the little knowledge of the language we had
acquired, he actually made us comprehend a considerable part of
what he said.  To facilitate our correct apprehension of his
meaning, he at first condensed his ideas into the smallest
possible compass.

'Happar keekeeno nuee,' he exclaimed, 'nuee, nuee, ki ki
kannaka!--ah!  owle motarkee!' which signifies, 'Terrible fellows
those Happars!--devour an amazing quantity of men!--ah, shocking
bad!'  Thus far he explained himself by a variety of gestures,
during the performance of which he would dart out of the house,
and point abhorrently towards the Happar valley; running in to us
again with a rapidity that showed he was fearful he would lose
one part of his meaning before he could complete the other; and
continuing his illustrations by seizing the fleshy part of my arm
in his teeth, intimating by the operation that the people who
lived over in that direction would like nothing better than to
treat me in that manner.

Having assured himself that we were fully enlightened on this
point, he proceeded to another branch of his subject.  'Ah!
Typee mortakee!--nuee, nuee mioree--nuee, nuee wai--nuee, nuee
poee-poee--nuee, nuee kokoo--ah!  nuee, nuee kiki--ah!  nuee,
nuee, nuee!' Which literally interpreted as before, would imply,
'Ah, Typee!  isn't it a fine place though!--no danger of starving
here, I tell you!--plenty of bread-fruit--plenty of water--plenty
of pudding--ah!  plenty of everything!  ah!  heaps, heaps heaps!'
All this was accompanied by a running commentary of signs and
gestures which it was impossible not to comprehend.

As he continued his harangue, however, Kory-Kory, in emulation of
our more polished orators, began to launch out rather diffusely
into other branches of his subject, enlarging probably upon the
moral reflections it suggested; and proceeded in such a strain of
unintelligible and stunning gibberish, that he actually gave me
the headache for the rest of the day.


Herman Melville