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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island.

Dimensions 6x3 miles. Shores rocky. Water around it deep. "But within the rocky precipices round the coast are lovely valleys with palm-forests and groves of cocoa-nut, bread and fruit-trees. The climate is delicious and the soil rich. It is the scene of the story of the Mutineers of the Bounty. Life here in the open air among flowers and cocoa-nut trees is Elysian. "The little village of Pitcairn stands on a rock, in the midst of bananas and banyan trees, and surrounded by glorious scenery. The women wear a loose bodice and skirt down to the ankles, and their long black hair twisted into a graceful knot, without any pin or fastening. Their food was pork or fowls, baked between stones, bread-pudding, made of the Taro root, fruit, and vegetables."

In 1829, John Adams, the good patriarch, died; and in 1856, the people migrated to Taihiti; "but a small portion became so home-sick that they made their way back to Pitcairn Island."

The Marquesas—a group of islands discovered in 1595 by a Spanish Marquis. They are numerous, and "vary in size from 10 to 20 miles." The climate is both warm and salubrious. "They are not encircled by coral reefs. The coast is rocky and abrupt, but there are very good harbours, such as Resolution Bay, in Tahuata." The natives have "wonderfully beautiful figures." The women are both "simply and gracefully dressed in tunics of snow-white tapa, and mantles of the same, with necklaces and flowers strung together on fibres of tapa, bracelets and anklets made in the same way, and garlands of flowers on their heads—the perfection of grace and beauty.

Their idols are rough, clumsy, possessed of great power, but often treated disrespectfully. They are splendid swimmers.