Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/374

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Miscellaneous.

root is chewed by the drinker; when the fibres are separated a little water is taken into the mouth to assist in squeezing out the saliva, water is added again in the cocoa-nut-shell cup, and the fibres being removed and well squeezed over the cup the potion is ready. In Aurora the malowo is pounded with a rough coral pestle and mortar. The moderate use of this narcotic has no bad effect; excess, which is more common perhaps in the New Hebrides, makes a man listless and stupid. The plant used is not indigenous; there is indeed a pepper of the same species very common, but it will not do for the woana. There is a certain sacred character about the plant, as has been shewn, and the use of it is confined to men. The introduction of tobacco into common use in the Northern New Hebrides and Banks' Islands is quite recent, but the people are now given up to the use of it. Smoking was universal in the Solomon Islands, at Florida, Ysabel, and San Cristoval, thirty years ago, with men, women, and infant children, and the tobacco was grown and prepared by the natives; yet it was not known at Saa at that time, where it has since been introduced from Arosi in San Cristoval, and the elder men at Florida remember when it was a new thing in their childhood. There has been for many years a good deal of intercourse with whalers at San Cristoval; they have no native name for tobacco there, and I believe never grew it; its introduction then is readily accounted for. In Florida the native-grown tobacco, now discarded for the far stronger tambaika, was called vavuru and the dried leaves were made up in twists; the pipe, formerly made of a shell and a reed in evident imitation of the European pipe, is still pipiala; the old people say that the seed had come from a ship[1].

  1. Logana at Florida, whom I should not take to be more than 60 years old, was grown up when he first saw a ship. The first he saw had two masts; the people on board traded well and fairly, giving a piece of iron for a big yam, a hatchet for a cockatoo. This was probably the Southern Cross. The name given at first was ungaungau, not vaka as now. Ships were thought to belong to tindalo ghosts, and to portend a famine; those who saw them ran away and hid themselves in their houses. Tobacco appears to have been introduced