Chapter 26

King Mehevi—Allusion to his Hawiian Majesty—Conduct of Marheyo and Mehevi in certain delicate matters—Peculiar system of Marriage—Number of Population—Uniformity—Embalming—Places of Sepulture—Funeral obsequies at Nukuheva-Number of Inhabitants in Typee—Location of the Dwellings—Happiness enjoyed in the Valley—A Warning—Some ideas with regard to the Present state of the Hawiians—Story of a Missionary’s Wife—Fashionable Equipages at Oahu—Reflections

King Mehevi!—A goodly sounding title—and why should I not bestow it upon the foremost man in the valley of Typee? The republican missionaries of Oahu cause to be gazetted in the Court Journal, published at Honolulu, the most trivial movement of ‘his gracious majesty’ King Kammehammaha III, and ‘their highnesses the princes of the blood royal’.1

And who is his ‘gracious majesty’, and what the quality of this blood royal’?—His ‘gracious majesty’ is a fat, lazy, negro-looking blockhead, with as little character as power. He has lost the noble traits of the barbarian, without acquiring the redeeming graces of a civilized being; and, although a member of the Hawiian Temperance Society, is a most inveterate dram- drinker.

The ‘blood royal’ is an extremely thick, depraved fluid; formed principally of raw fish, bad brandy, and European sweetmeats, and is charged with a variety of eruptive humours, which are developed in sundry blotches and pimples upon the august face of ‘majesty itself’, and the angelic countenances of the ‘princes and princesses of the blood royal’!

Now, if the farcical puppet of a chief magistrate in the Sandwich Islands be allowed the title of King, why should it be withheld from the noble savage Mehevi, who is a thousand times more worthy of the appellation? All hail, therefore, Mehevi, King of the Cannibal Valley, and long life and prosperity to his Typeean majesty! May Heaven for many a year preserve him, the uncompromising foe of Nukuheva and the French, if a hostile attitude will secure his lovely domain from the remorseless inflictions of South Sea civilization.

Previously to seeing the Dancing Widows I had little idea that there were any matrimonial relations subsisting in Typee, and I should as soon have thought of a Platonic affection being cultivated between the sexes, as of the solemn connection of man and wife. To be sure, there were old Marheyo and Tinor, who seemed to have a sort of nuptial understanding with one another; but for all that, I had sometimes observed a comical-looking old gentleman dressed in a suit of shabby tattooing, who had the audacity to take various liberties with the lady, and that too in the very presence of the old warrior her husband, who looked on as good-naturedly as if nothing was happening. This behaviour, until subsequent discoveries enlightened me, puzzled me more than anything else I witnessed in Typee.

As for Mehevi, I had supposed him a confirmed bachelor, as well as most of the principal chiefs. At any rate, if they had wives and families, they ought to have been ashamed of themselves; for sure I am, they never troubled themselves about any domestic affairs. In truth, Mehevi seemed to be the president of a club of hearty fellows, who kept ‘Bachelor’s Hall’ in fine style at the Ti. I had no doubt but that they regarded children as odious incumbrances; and their ideas of domestic felicity were sufficiently shown in the fact, that they allowed no meddlesome housekeepers to turn topsy-turvy those snug little arrangements they had made in their comfortable dwelling. I strongly suspected however, that some of these jolly bachelors were carrying on love intrigues with the maidens of the tribe; although they did not appear publicly to acknowledge them. I happened to pop upon Mehevi three or four times when he was romping—in a most undignified manner for a warrior king—with one of the prettiest little witches in the valley. She lived with an old woman and a young man, in a house near Marheyo’s; and although in appearance a mere child herself, had a noble boy about a year old, who bore a marvellous resemblance to Mehevi, whom I should certainly have believed to have been the father, were it not that the little fellow had no triangle on his face—but on second thoughts, tattooing is not hereditary. Mehevi, however, was not the only person upon whom the damsel Moonoony smiled—the young fellow of fifteen, who permanently resided in the home with her, was decidedly in her good graces. I sometimes beheld both him and the chief making love at the same time. Is it possible, thought I, that the valiant warrior can consent to give

  By PanEris using Melati.

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