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In fact religious affairs in Typee were at a very low ebb: all such matters sat very lightly upon the thoughtless inhabitants; and, in the celebration of many of their strange rites, they appeared merely to seek a sort of childish amusement.

The long luxuriant and glossy tresses of the Typee damsels often attracted my admiration. A fine head of hair is the pride and joy of every woman鈥檚 heart. Whether against the express will of Providence, it is twisted upon the crown of the head and there coiled away like a rope on a ship鈥檚 deck; whether it be stuck behind the ears and hangs down like the swag of a small window-curtain; or whether it be permitted to flow over the shoulders in natural ringlets, it is always the pride of the owner, and the glory of the toilette..
The artist was not at this time engaged on an original sketch, his subject being a venerable savage, whose tattooing had become somewhat faded with age and needed a few repairs, and accordingly he was merely employed in touching up the works of some of the old masters of the Typee school, as delineated upon the human canvas before him. The parts operated upon were the eyelids, where a longitudinal streak, like the one which adorned Kory-Kory, crossed the countenance of the victim..
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Having assured himself that we were fully enlightened on this point, he proceeded to another branch of his subject. 鈥楢h! Typee mortakee!鈥攏uee, nuee mioree鈥攏uee, nuee wai鈥攏uee, nuee poee-poee鈥攏uee, nuee kokoo鈥攁h! nuee, nuee kiki鈥攁h! nuee, nuee, nuee!鈥 Which literally interpreted as before, would imply, 鈥楢h, Typee! isn鈥檛 it a fine place though!鈥攏o danger of starving here, I tell you!鈥攑lenty of bread-fruit鈥攑lenty of water鈥攑lenty of pudding鈥攁h! plenty of everything! ah! heaps, heaps heaps!鈥 All this was accompanied by a running commentary of signs and gestures which it was impossible not to comprehend..

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It should be noted here that Melville鈥檚 increased reputation in England at the period of this letter was chiefly owing to a series of articles on his work written by Mr. Russell. I am sorry to say that few English papers made more than a passing reference to Melville鈥檚 death. The American press discussed his life and work in numerous and lengthy reviews. At the same time, there always has been a steady sale of his books in England, and some of them never have been out of print in that country since the publication of 鈥楾ypee.鈥 One result of this friendship between the two authors was the dedication of new volumes to each other in highly complimentary terms鈥擬r. Melville鈥檚 鈥楯ohn Marr and Other Sailors,鈥 of which twenty-five copies only were printed, on the one hand, and Mr. Russell鈥檚 鈥楢n Ocean Tragedy,鈥 on the other, of which many thousand have been printed, not to mention unnumbered pirated copies.
A starving man, however, little heeds conventional proprieties, especially on a South-Sea Island, and accordingly Toby and I partook of the dish after our own clumsy fashion, beplastering our faces all over with the glutinous compound, and daubing our hands nearly to the wrist. This kind of food is by no means disagreeable to the palate of a European, though at first the mode of eating it may be. For my own part, after the lapse of a few days I became accustomed to its singular flavour, and grew remarkably fond of it.
Apprehensive of some evil, I roused my comrade, and we were engaged in a whispered conference concerning the unexpected withdrawal of the natives when all at once, from the depths of the grove, in full view of us where we lay, shoots of flame were seen to rise, and in a few moments illuminated the surrounding trees, casting, by contrast, into still deeper gloom the darkness around us.
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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