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SCENERY OF HUAHINE.

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above the sea; and, from the champaign below even to the peak, it is clad with copses and woods covering the fissures and ravines which descend along its sides towards a deep valley, that opens to the harbour, and pours into the lagoon its perpetual stream of clear, fresh water. A little below the summit of this mountain juts out the broad face of an immense rock, striped with various strata, some nearly horizontal and others dipping towards the north-west, at an angle of about 45°. The extremity of the subjacent valley forms a vast amphitheatre, crowded with majestic trees. The chain of heights appears continuous with this paramount one, quite round the south to south-west; and, over the hollows of the undulated outline, the sea gleams blue and crystalline beyond. The harbour of Haapape lies at the foot of the hill on which we stood, and which, on this flank, is nearly perpendicular. The basin is deep to the very shores, which are coral-reefs, where ships may lie close and perfectly secure. South-west of this lagoon an eminence, loftier than that which we now occupied, rises, with imposing grandeur of form and ruggedness of character. Instead of being clothed from head to foot, like the former and superior one, on the opposite quarter, with tall groves and verdant thickets--this sterner mass is composed of rocks, of which the abrupt edges and diversified strata, at various degrees of obliquity, break out, at frequent intervals of space, from the top to the bottom. Turning our eyes seaward, the islands of Raiatea and Tahaa, at the distance of thirty miles, lay in miniature-beauty; yet filling the mind with the idea of remote magnificence by the boldness of their contour; while the pyramidal peaks of Borabora, at thrice the breadth of intervening water, were distinctly visible. But words cannot paint images with sufficient accuracy to justify lengthened description; on no subject is

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THE COCOA-NUT TREE.

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the impotence of language so perplexingly felt, by those who best know its utmost capabilities of delineating natural scenery, as when one man, from personal knowledge, endeavours to convey to the apprehension of another the colour, form, arrangement, and effect of fixed and definite objects.

Dec. 25. Being Christmas-day, we were in spirit at home, among our English friends and kindred; and trusted that they would also—though unknowing where we were --remember us, at the ends of the earth,” or “afar off upon the sea.

Next to the bread-fruit, already described, the cocoa-nut tree, cocos nucifera, is the most valuable product of the soil, in these islands. It grows to the height of seventy or eighty feet. The stem tapers from the bottom gradually to the top, without branch or off-set; but at the summit it shoots forth from twenty to thirty vast leaves, some of which are six or seven yards in length. These hang in a graceful tuft all round the crown of the trunk. When young and small the leaves are entire, but as they lengthen they divide into narrow slips, each of which has a wiry rib running up the middle, and diverging from the spinal stalk of the leaf—as it may be called. Though strong at the point of contact with the tree, the weight of this enormous foliage would soon break it off, but, where it branches out, a cloth-like substance, called Aa, whose fibres run at right angles with each other, is formed, and invests the tree with its strong and needful intertexture, running also about twenty-four inches up the leaf, and affording it complete support. From among the junctures of these leaves with the head of the stock spring branches of tendrils, on which grows the fruit, a nut enveloped with a husk about two and a half inches thick, green on the outside, and composed

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VARIOUS USES OF THE COCOA-NUT TREE.

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t of close, tough fibres, which run longitudinally from end to end, presenting an oval shape, rather angular at the sides. The shell is hard and black, the kernel white, lining the shell, and containing the milky water within ; but the nut being often brought to England, no minute description can be necessary in this place. Some trees will produce, at the same time, a hundred nuts, each containing from half a pint to a wine-quart of the liquor; and these noble fruits closely encircle the top of the stem, like a beaded belt, or coronet, beneath the pendent crest of plume-like leaves.

The trunk of this remarkable tree is a bundle of fibres, closely connected by a cementing matter. Within two or three feet of the ground, these fibres spread forth into thousands of small roots, which insinuate themselves through the superficial earth, and spread horizontally twelve or fourteen feet from the bole, in all directions. This cordage must be amazingly strong, for it supports the whole tree, with all its bulk and weight of stem, foliage, and fruit. The bark seems to be of little use in this species, as it generally rots off towards the ground, at an early stage. We have seen cocoa-stocks decayed through the heart, and others of which large portions of the outside had been cut away, to a considerable depth, which yet continued to thrive and bear leaves and nuts. The timber, (if these live faggots of well-packed fibres can be called timber,) is of some value, being used for rafters in sheds and cut into short lengths for fences; spears were formerly made of it. The leaves are turned to better account, being platted into mats, shaped into baskets, and occasionally manufactured into bonnets. The fibres of the husks are twisted into ropes and lines of various sizes, which are exceedingly strong.-The shell of the nut is converted into drinking-cups, lamps, and other small vessels.- The water is a delicious beverage,

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COCOA-NUT OIL, &c.

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always cool and refreshing; those who have only tasted it
in England have no idea what a luxury it is between the
tropics.—The kernel, when scraped out of the shell, is
either eaten raw, or, being squeezed through the fibres of
the husk, yields a pleasant and nutritious milk, which is
sometimes mixed with arrow-root, and a kind of pudding is
compounded of both. The kernel also produces the oil,
now so abundantly made here, by a process formerly
described in this journal.—Thus timber, fuel, mats, baskets,
ropes, drinking-vessels, a wholesome beverage, good food,
liquor-strainers, bonnets, oil, and bowls for lamps-are
produced from this convenient tree; which, with the bread-
fruit, were there no other sources of supply,
nearly meet all the necessities of the people.

The natives distinguish the cocoa-nut by various names according to its various stages of growth.—When young, and before the kernel is formed, they call it orio; when it has only a thin jelly within it is called nina ; when the kernel becomes more palpable, nimaha ; when harder still, omoto ; when quite ripe, opaa ;-afterwards, when the whole interior is filled up with a kernel, from which the young leaves spring, it is called uto; at this time the outside turns brown, and it is from the fruit in this state that the oil is drained. When the nuts are intended for propagation, they are hung, being quite ripe, upon a tree. In about six months a green leaf shoots out of one of the three holes at the smaller end. The nut is then put into the ground, to the depth of the shell, with the sprout upwards, when, from the other two holes, a pair of roots strike downward, and the plant is nourished by the decay of the nut till it can draw its entire sustenance from the soil; and such is its freedom of growth that there is scarcely a spot, however otherwise barren and unpropitious to vegetation, from

COCOA-NUT OIL, &c.

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which this stately plant will not spring up, with its diadem of beauty and girdle of fertility. În about six years it begins to bear; the fruit is nearly twelve months in coming to perfection. Though the cocoa-trees rise to such amazing height, the natives climb them with the facility of cats. This they do, sometimes, by what may be called walking up the stems, the motion of the leg following that of the hand; but more generally they effect their purpose by fastening their legs together, about twenty-four inches apart, with a rope; when, placing a foot on each side of the tree, they draw up their bodies by the action of their arms, without difficulty.

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