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Endeavour journal, 12 May 1769 (Series 03.259)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Otahite'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 12 May 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 12. Cocoa nuts very plentifull this morning. About breakfast time Dootahah visits us. Immediately after while I sat trading in the boat at the door of the fort a double Canoe came with several women and one man under the awning. The Indians round me made signs that I should go out and meet them, by the time I had got out of the boat they were within ten yards of me. The people made a lane from them to me. They stopd and made signs for me to do the same. The man in company with them had in his hand a large bunch of boughs; he advancd towards me bringing two, one a young plantain the other [ ]. Tupia who stood by me acted as my deputy in receiving them and laying them down in the boat: 6 times he passd backwards and forwards in the same manner and bringing the same present. Another man than came forward having in his arms a large bundle of cloth, this he opend out and spread it peice by peice on the ground between the women and me, it consisted on nine peices. Three were first laid. The foremost of the women, who seemd to be the principal, then stepd upon them and quickly unveiling all her charms gave me a most convenient opportunity of admiring them by turning herself gradualy round: 3 peices more were laid and she repeated her part of the ceremony: the other three were then laid which made a treble covering of the ground between her and me, she then once more displayd her naked beauties and immediately marchd up to me, a man following her and doubling up the cloth as he came forwards which she immediately made me understand was intended as a present for me. I took her by the hand and led her to the tents acompanied by another woman her freind, to both of them I made presents but could not prevail upon them to stay more than an hour. In the evening Oborea and her favourite attendant Othéothéa pay us a visit, much to my satisfaction as the latter (my flame) has for some days been reported either ill or dead.