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Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/265

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which are sold at a trifling price to the public, and numbers of foreign trees and vegetables have been successfully introduced. The result is that hundreds of thousands of trees and plants of all descriptions have been dispersed throughout the island, at a very moderate cost to the Government. Dr. Gardner is likewise engaged in the preparation of a Flora Ceylanica, a work which will contain descriptions of all the plants indigenous to the island, so far as he can obtain them, and thus make known to the scientific world, the history and uses of the vegetable productions of a region, with which the botanists of Europe are less acquainted than any other portion of India of equal extent.


On the Native Cloth and on the Kava of the South Sea Islanders.
(In a letter from Capt. Sir EVERARD HOME, Bart.. R.N.)

The Plantations in the Island of Tongataboo, the largest of the Friendly group, consist principally of Yams, Taro, and the Paper Mulberry. From the bark of the latter, taken when the stem is about two inches in diameter, the cloth is prepared with which both sexes of the inhabitants are clothed; and it is thus made. After being soaked in water it is laid upon a log of wood, which is about as large as the axle-tree of a large cart, small at each end, both extremities supported on the ground by three small pieces of wood, two being laid parallel to each other and to the main log, the third is laid across; the ends of the log thus rest upon the cross pieces, which raise it three or four inches from the ground, according to the thickness of the pieces of wood which support it. The bark, when placed upon the log, is beaten out by the women with an instrument made of heavy wood, something like a rolling-pin, except that it is square from the handle, which is round. The beating commences at daylight in the morning and continues, without ceasing, until three in the afternoon, unless the women are working against time, some great event, such as a marriage, causing increased exertion, when they go on until dark. The noise caused by the beaters is loud and musical; they keep time in the operation; two or four beaters are usually at work in every house, or under a shed formed for the purpose in the enclosed courtyard which surrounds each dwelling, so that the women of Tonga make more noise than those of any place I ever visited.