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10. CHAPTER TEN
THE HEAD OF THE VALLEY--CAUTIOUS ADVANCE--A PATH--FRUIT--DISCOVERY OF TWO OF THE NATIVES--THEIR SINGULAR CONDUCT--APPROACH TOWARDS THE INHABITED PARTS OF THE VALE--SENSATION PRODUCED BY OUR APPEARANCE--RECEPTION AT THE HOUSE OF ONE OF THE NATIVES
HOW to obtain the fruit which we felt convinced must grow near at hand was our first thought.
Typee or Happar? A frightful death at the hands of the fiercest of cannibals, or a kindly reception from a gentler race of savages? Which? But it was too late now to discuss a question which would so soon be answered.
The part of the valley in which we found ourselves appeared to be altogether uninhabited. An almost impenetrable thicket extended from side to side, without presenting a single plant affording the nourishment we had confidently calculated upon; and with this object, we followed the course of the stream, casting quick glances as we proceeded into the thick jungles on each hand. My companion--to whose solicitations I had yielded in descending into the valley--now that the step was taken, began to manifest a degree of caution I had little expected from him. He proposed that in the event of our finding an adequate supply of fruit, we should remain in this unfrequented portion of the country--where we should run little chance of being surprised by its occupants, whoever they might be--until sufficiently recruited to resume our journey; when laying a store of food equal to our wants, we might easily regain the bay of Nukuheva, after the lapse of a sufficient interval to ensure the departure of our vessel.
I objected strongly to this proposition, plausible as it was, as the difficulties of the route would be almost insurmountable, unacquainted as we were with the general bearings of the country, and I reminded my companion of the hardships which we had already encountered in our uncertain wanderings; in a word, I said that since we had deemed it advisable to enter the valley, we ought manfully to face the consequences, whatever they might be; the more especially as I was convinced there was no alternative left us but to fall in with the natives at once, and boldly risk the reception they might give us; and that as to myself, I felt the necessity of rest and shelter, and that until I had obtained them, I should be wholly unable to encounter such sufferings as we had lately passed through. To the justice of these observations Toby somewhat reluctantly assented.
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