Not being wanted at home (in fact, I never had any), I was sent as far away as the limits of this planet permit. But the immediate prospect of the voyage so delighted me that what would happen at the end of it did not trouble me at all.
And this sets me wondering why the mere sense of adventure fails to lure more of our younger generation to the far-off Mission Fields. There was only one person I shed a tear to part from, and that was my stepmother's sister, who saw me off at Gravesend, giving me a Bible and a Shakespeare as keepsakes.
Poor me! An only child, too! One would have imagined that being so I ought to have been of a little more importance; insomuch that a very dear and equally candid friend who knew my history once said: "I wonder you're as good as you are!"
Off the pier lay "The Empress," one of the many clipper-built sailing vessels which the American Civil War had made us the proud possessors of. She had already three hundred emigrants on board, and so hurried had the decision for my departure been that a special bunk had to be constructed for me between decks and, alas! athwart-ships.
My solitary heart followed my gentle aunt as she walked sorrowfully back along the pier.
The deck above me leaked so that I had to hang my waterproof tent-wise from the wall over the side of the bunk to slide the drips off. But there was worse to come. I was down on the same deck as the store closet, and in the famous Bay of Biscay the rolling and pitching were so awful that I often found myself standing on my head. One of our lifeboats was carried away, and next door to me there burst a huge cask of treacle. Just then the bottom of my hastily constructed bunk fell through, and I found myself in a sea of that sticky compound! I had the privilege of meals in the first cabin--a privilege heavily discounted by the disgusting quality of the food. There was soup-and-bully, which, owing to its stringiness, we sarcastically termed "Ragout." There was what looked and felt like putty, but which was really preserved mashed potatoes; another was an oily substance, which we styled "desecrated milk."
 I was at that time a serious reader of Dr. Cumming's sermons forecasting the exact date of the end of the world, and I firmly believed Napoleon III. to be the Anti-Christ. Indeed, with reprehensible boldness I used to argue the point with Bishop Patteson, who knew only too well how to deal calmly and finally with all such; and "Stale text" was often what I had to go away with!
Behold me, then, aged about twenty, holding forth to the assembled emigrants on deck on Sunday mornings, being reprimanded on more than one occasion for trespassing beyond that awful nautical no thoroughfare of "eight bells"!
It was February, 1865, when we sailed, and calm weather brought out some of our less attractive characteristics, for we were a very much mixed lot, most of us leaving our country for our country's good. There were free fights, in which certain ex-policemen readily joined. There were four brawny athletes trying to get into a bunk only made to hold one, with the result that the bunk gave way beneath the load, which mightily amused them. There were robberies, births, deaths, while many marriages were planned to take place on shore. Becalmed in the Doldrums, the captain said he should turn grey-headed if we didn't get a breeze to keep this motley multitude from playing all their pranks. We spoke no vessel, and, of course, saw no land on the way.
At length, after some four months' battling with troublesome waves and still more troublesome humanity, we sighted land--New Zealand, aptly termed "the Britain of the South." It was already the end of May, the beginning of their autumn; yet, notwithstanding our lengthy stay on board ship, I don't think there was much jubilation amongst us at the prospect of resuming the duties and demands of shore life. On board "The Empress" we had never seen mud. On shore there seemed to be nothing else, and trench boots were much in vogue; while we thus unprovided progressed much as flies do under similar adhesive circumstances.
Our first quest was: Letters! These were delivered out of a window in a kind of wooden shanty to applicants ranged alphabetically in queues outside. As my initial letter comes early in the alphabet, I had not long to wait; but it must have been rather tantalising for Messrs. X., Y., Z.
Auckland was then mainly a wooden city, and, to the uninitiated, living in a wooden house seemed like living in a box where everybody could overhear what everybody else was saying. St. Matthew's Church, where I went eagerly to hear Bishop Selwyn preach, was of wood. The strength and dignity of the Bishop's bearing struck me much, and I could well understand how, having swum ashore, he stood upon the beach, overawing the savage crowd by his commanding presence.
 I had brought two letters of introduction with me: one to the Governor and the other to Bishop Patteson. The Governor not being in Auckland at the time, I made my way out to the charming suburb of Parnell, partaking en route of a glass of beer at an old-countrified inn, "The Windsor."
Bishop's Court, a stately wooden structure, stood on a hill, and, after waiting a short time and rather nervously, a side door of the spacious apartment in which I was sitting opened, and Bishop Patteson gave me his first kindly greeting.
The Bishop's examination consisted of two practical questions: "Can you row?" and "Can you swim?" To both of which I answered "Yes," without committing myself as to how much I could do of either! "Well," continued his Lordship, "there is a boat down there at the end of a little pier, and you had better go and take an oar."
(To be continued.)
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, August 1923, pages 118-119.]  REMINISCENCES. By Rev. C. H. BROOKE. Author of "Percy Pomo." II.--"Joining Up."
I forgot to say that during the voyage out I, seated, weather permitting, at my little writing-slope in a dark corner of the "Empress's" 'tween decks, translated in my Protestant zeal a damnatory history of the Jesuits entitled "La Croisade Noir." On arriving in Auckland I hurried to a publisher and offered him the writing for, I think--I am not quite sure--£500. This magnificent offer being declined, I sent the MSS. home to be dealt with by my trusty literary friend, Mr. J. F. Smith, then writing romances for Messrs. Cassell's famous "Saturday Magazine." Unfortunately for me, Mr. Smith was a Roman Catholic, so that I heard nothing further of my unlucky militant manuscript.
On arriving at the boat I found that it was manned by a black crew under the command of Lieutenant Tilly, R.N., Master of our Mission Vessel, and employed by the Admiralty to re-chart this part of the Pacific Ocean, where navigators had had to trust to old Spanish charts; for almost every island we visited with its sacred name (Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Espiritu Santo, etc.), was a fragment of the mighty sea-power of old Spain, while the surrounding waters still bear the title of "The Spanish Main."
We have entered into her inheritance, to be, perhaps, in our turn ousted by some modern Power. Who can tell? One thing, however, is certain, namely, that the surest way of securing the permanence of our sea-power is to preach the Gospel to every creature who has come under our sway; for it is Missionary enterprise which has already won for us the control of vast Commonwealths and Dominions, whose possession fills an astonished world with envy at our success.
Stepping into the boat I took an oar and managed to keep stroke with the rest. After about an hour's pull we landed at Kohimarama (how sweetly these native names do sound!), the Mission Headquarters, a group of stone buildings, comprising the Bishop's room, a dining hall, and lay-workers' quarters.
Next door was a Maori settlement which excited my interest and curiosity. My slight intercourse with these neighbours of ours enabled me in 1914 to greet the dusky warriors who came over to fight for us (and not against us as in the early 'forties) with "Tenakoe," their usual form of salutation.
Bishop Patteson's right-hand man at this time was the Reverend (afterwards Archdeacon) Pritt, whose brusque manner [118/119] rather frightened me; though his silvery voice, delightful to hear, softened the tone of his commands.
Alfred Nobbs, son of the Patriarch of the Pitcairn Settlement in Norfolk Island, helped in our farm work, and I recollect driving the cows in for him of an early morning when he was ill.
My own special department was that of Organist and Lamp-cleaner. Bishop Selwyn used often to pay us a visit, and my glittering lamp-glasses and reflectors elicited his warm approbation, which was worth having.
On the fifth anniversary of Bishop Patteson's consecration, the Bishop baptized nine lads; among whom, Robert Pantutun, Edwin Fisher, and Edward Wogale, are familiar to all acquainted with the earlier days of the Mission.
And here I must introduce two most faithful self-sacrificing and untiring workers: the Rev. John Palmer, and Joseph Atkin, who managed the boats on the voyage, and who was killed with the Bishop at Nukapu.
He was an only son, and his parents lived close by In their orchard I often ate more than my fill of peaches; the pigs (ought I to say the other pigs?) coming in for their share of this super-abundance!
Surely this report will set the mouths of some of our younger generation watering, and cause a rush of volunteers!
About this time I entered the Printing Office under Mr. Palmer, being proud to print what I had already translated; but it required considerable skill, accompanied by a nervous whistle, to tie a pageful of loose type with a piece of string without at the same time producing a heap of metal spilikins!
We were then engaged on a vocabulary of the language of Mahaga, Ysabel, Solomon Sas, prepared by Bishop Patteson, who certainly possessed the Pentecostal gift of diverse languages.
A sadly tattered copy of this vocabulary now lies before me, bearing the date 1866.
These vocabularies were based upon Bishop Selwyn's "Analysis of the Holy Bible."
"The Bishop saw that by means of Captain Marryatt's international code of signals, ships were enabled to communicate by symbol; and thus he conceived the idea of attaching to each word in the Bible its numerical symbol."* [*See page 320, Vol. I, "Preb. Tucker's Life," to be had at the office.]
Truly a marvellous man! A Crusader in addition to all his other activities.
(To be continued.)
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, September 1923, pages 130-132.]  REMINISCENCES. By Rev. C. H. BROOKE. III.--My First Voyage.
In the last line of my latest contribution the printer has challenged the intellectual capacity of his readers by printing "a Crusader" instead of "a Cruden." There have been many Crusaders, but only one Cruden, unless we reckon our Bishop as a second; and, indeed, "a work so original and a monument of such ungrudging labour," as Prebendary Tucker justly describes [130/131] The Analysis, would seem almost to justify such a classification.* [*The allusion, of course, is to Cruden's Concordance of the Bible, to which Mr. Brooke compares Bishop Selwyn's plan for indicating each word by a numerical symbol. The name was erroneously printed "Crusader" in the August Log--see p. 119.]
Off Kohimarama lay the first "Southern Cross," of 92 tons burden, about that of a Thames barge, being also the tonnage of Christopher Columbus's vessel of discovery. This little vessel sailed out from England under the command of Lieut. Tilly, who had superintended her construction, establishing her character as a good sea boat by crossing the Atlantic, notwithstanding the danger and disadvantage of a large unprotected skylight, necessary for lighting the schoolroom below, which took the place of the hold, round which were removable bunks and long lockers, which served also as seats.
The vessel's prow resembled that of one of our modern warships--straight up and down, like a knife--with which she used to cut deep into the severed waves, causing a later skipper to declare that she was a "regular pile-driver"; and I quite agree, for on one occasion she tossed me out of a top bunk on to the floor!
Of Bishop Selwyn, it has been said that he thought it a sin to be comfortable, and that while visitors feasted on turkey, his Lordship would be discussing "salt junk."
I much fear he would not feel at home on these modern mission vessels, which resemble miniature liners; for being, like Bishop Patteson, a thorough seaman, he never wished to forget that he was at sea.
It was also said of him that if any of his highly imaginative schemes failed, it was simply because they needed a staff of Bishop Selwyns to carry them out.
Modern Bishops of Melanesia no longer sit on the foreyard of some small hired schooner, dictating the vessel's course to a half-mutinous sailing-master at the helm, who on one occasion, lashed to fury by what seemed to him the rash and extraordinary orders given by the Right Reverend Landsman up aloft, cried out: "If you weren't a Bishop, I'd fight you!" Whereupon the episcopal coat was flung upon the deck, with the challenge "There lies the Bishop! Come on!"
He rationed both himself and his crew. When, therefore, they came aft, announcing that their stock of sugar was exhausted, the Bishop handed them over his own, and went without.
On May the 28th, 1866, I started for my first island voyage. Bishop Selwyn took an oar in one of the boats going off to the [130/131] "Southern Cross"; and, having seen us all safe on board, he led off with three cheers and "Up oars!"
We were, of course, returning to their several islands lads who had been staying at Kohimarama for instruction.
It had been a great triumph when the Founder of the Mission first persuaded some of these timid folk to come on board his canoe and sail away with him beyond the sky. In fact, this mutual confidence became so strong that one day a chief proposed to "swap" canoes with his visitor!
History fails to record either the feelings or the expressions of his Lordship's waiting helpmeet when the cry rang down the corridor at midnight: "I've got them! and a hasty light revealed their dusky presence.
Like all successful missionaries--and, indeed, all who hope to convert the dark races--both Bishop Selwyn and Bishop Patteson were colour-blind.
At St. John's College, near Auckland, Europeans, Maoris, and Melanesians were expected to live and work together, all alike, according to age and ability, labouring at the cultivation of the College estate, no task being considered menial, for it is the motive which sanctifies the work.
But here I fancy I can see the Editor's blue pencil getting fidgetty, for the first entry in my diary which I venture to give is: "Feel sea-dy! followed by: "'Foul wind; good for the pheasant," of which kind of bird we evidently had a specimen on board. But judgment speedily ensued, the next entry being: Wretchedly uncomfortable; very ill."
And no wonder! For a heavy swell was setting in three different directions, and she was taking water over everywhere.
(To be continued.)
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, October 1923, pages 144-149.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. IV.--"Black and White."
Would it be fanciful to behold in Frank, Bishop of Zanzibar--rather too frank sometimes! as Canon Scott Holland playfully described him at one of those ever-memorable Meetings of U.M.C.A. in Holborn Town Hall--a strong resemblance to this other great Missionary Bishop?
Is there not a Selwyn-"touch" in the following farewell words of Zanzibar? "We have to discover somehow how a man cultured and educated and coming of a race that is accustomed to rule; a man who by his very racial characteristics assumes on entering Africa that he is going to be top-dog always; is to work side by side with an uncultured man, an ignorant man, a sensitive, touchy man, and a secretive man. . . . Look at the African from the Heart of Christ, and all will be well. It really is no good, I warn you, you people living at home in small compartments" (rich and poor, labour and capital, class distinctions) "and sending us out to preach brotherhood. It simply can't be done!" The African judges by what he sees, "and when he sees the flower of the British race coming out to Africa in trade or government; and when he sees, moreover, each one of those men holding his skirts, as it were, when he comes near the coloured people, then the African knows that Christianity is a thing of the lips and not of the life."
Marching through the streets of Sydney with Bishop Patteson and a, large party of Melanesians on our way to Government House, where these wild lads moved so tactfully among a maze of little tables and priceless pieces of ornamental furniture without a single collision or any awkwardness, a critical observer standing on a doorstep remarked: "Ah! They do a deal more for the blacks than they do for the whites." The Bishop's reply was ready: "I find that it is the same people who care for the blacks that care for the whites. It is the same spirit and a similar good work."
Sydney! That meant sleeping between sheets instead of in [144/145] a narrow bunk, and eating deliciously soft bread and butter instead of hard ship's biscuit which we often had to break with a tomahawk. Talking of ship's biscuits, they were the size of a small plate and half an inch thick. Upon three of these daily I lived in robust health: one in the morning, with fried bananas and coffee, which I called breakfast: one about noon with more bananas and cocoa, which I styled dinner: and one at eventide with more bananas and tea, which was my tea and supper. I suppose some credit must be given to supplementary heavy doses of quinine. All that I know is that on one occasion, when Dr. Codrington called to pick me up after a three months' stay, he declared that I was "a thing of beauty! and he certainly was no flatterer.
Luxury is evidently, like hot and cold, a relative term; for sheets and bread and butter were luxuries to us.
Bishop Patteson was never one for advertisement, either of our sufferings or of our delights. As for the former, has not every soldier of an earthly king to face them? But I do recollect one occasion when the Bishop was more strongly than usual against publicity. It was when we had bought a whole live turtle for a tenpenny hatchet, and had turtle soup all round! "Tell it not in Gath nor in the streets of Askelon!" In other words, don't put it into the Report! "What! Missionaries feasting like so many Lord Mayors on turtle soup! Well that Mission evidently doesn't need much support."
Luxury and Idleness found no place in Bishop Selwyn's vocabulary.
This great man lavished all that he had and all that he was; all his powers of heart, brain and muscle, body, soul and spirit in his Apostolic zeal and energy for the spread of Christ's Kingdom and the greater glory of God There was no reserve here; for it was from off what was practically his bed of death that he rose to "go and confirm those dear boys at Shrewsbury." This iron will carried him through; but, fainting in the vestry, he murmured: "I believe I have come to the end of my tether."
"The hand that held the pastoral staff,
That traced the Cross on infant's brow,
Had hewn the oak, had furled the sail.
Had reaped the corn and held the plough.
"The voice that soothed with tender words
The mourner and the little child,
In stern, brief accents of command
Was heard above the tempest wild.
"His life was work . . . . . . "* [*Page 375, Vol. II., of Life, by Prebendary Tucker.]
 Surely it is wholesome "to praise famous men" in order that we may catch some of their spirit and follow their good examples; and well indeed would it be if in our Elementary Schools the lives of such great self-sacrificing men as George Augustus Selwyn were set before the children, as a lesson in Empire-building, a soul-stirring Romance, and an Antidote to the commercial spirit of the day.
"Work your work betimes, and in His time He will give you your reward."--Ecclees. xliv., 1.
I think that one of the first things that endeared me to Bishop Patteson was that before giving a shirt to one of the boys I darned all the holes in it.
Warriors and head-hunters as these lads were in their own islands, and accustomed to regard the life of a man as of less value than that of a pig, they became singularly shy and timid when face to face with their white teachers in class assembled.
To conquer this shyness and sense of inferiority was Bishop Patteson's chief aim in dealing with his protégés.
I recollect a young gentleman from Melbourne objecting to sit at table below George Sarawia.* [*First native priest of Melanesia. "He is indeed all that I can desire."--Bishop Patteson.] The Bishop soon made this young gentleman aware that should he return to Melbourne there would simply be one mouth less to feed; but that without George Sarawia the work of translation and the Mission in the Island of Mote could not be carried on, and he would certainly have backed up the French Government in their stern dealing with certain visitors who complained to the police that persons of colour presumed to sit on the same bench beside them. These objectionable persons were reminded that these men of colour were French subjects, many of whom had votes in Colonial Legislatures, and that any such intolerance would be severely dealt with.
Are we quite free from these prejudices?
An Indian once remarked to a Missionary: "Yes, you like to convert us; but you don't like us."
An alleged reason for the more rapid spread of Mahomedanism in Africa than that of Christianity is that when a native becomes a Mahomedan he is at once received into the fullest fellowship with all classes of Mahomedans; but when he becomes a Christian he is never quite allowed to forget his inferiority as a "black man."
The verse in Bishop Heber's beautiful Mission hymn, "From [146/147] Greenland's icy mountains," which declares that "every prospect pleases and only man is vile," was taboo with us.
"But believe me," wrote Bishop Selwyn to a friend in England, "that it is not true that 'only man is vile.' This race of men are not vile. . . . How could they be vile for whom Christ paid the price of His blood? How can they be vile to us who have been taught by God not to call any man common or unclean? I quarrel with the current phrases of the 'poor heathen,' and 'the perishing savages'; et id genus omne. . . . To go among the heathen as an equal and a brother is far more profitable than to risk that subtle self-righteousness which creeps into the Mission work, akin to the thanking God that we are not as other men are."* [*Preb. Tucker's Life, Vol. I., p. 329.]
And this principle of equality was certainly realised when in the little cabin of the "Undine," 12 feet by 8, the Bishop found himself in company with five and twenty natives from some ten islands; as he himself puts it:
"Five and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
And when the pie was opened the birds began to sing--a literal fact, for twenty-five 'black birds,' with ten white ones were boiled, baked, and stewed in the 'Undine' for two days between Tanna and Aneiteum in bad weather!"
This colour-bar is becoming an Imperial question in Central Africa, and all Missionaries are indebted to the Bishop of Zanzibar for upholding the rights of the native, whose country we have invaded and whose land we have taken, by way of doing him a kindness.
A Maori chief once said to Bishop Selwyn: "Ah! Bishop you tell us to look up to Heaven, but while we look up to Heaven you take away the land from under our feet."
In the Melanesian Mission black and white are turned out together to hoe the corn or plant the kumara, under the direction of the Rev. John Palmer; our watchword being always "Come!" and never, "Go!"
I have seen Bishop Patteson guiding the plough; though when once the principle of equality had been established, it was explained to the boys that some division of labour was necessary, and that the Bishop with his white colleagues could do work which they could not do, and that he was going to do it; but John Palmer, Joseph Atkin, Bice and I always went to work with the native lads, till the welcome sound of Bell tuwale--first bell--bade us leave off. The Melanesians were divided into weekly gangs of ten, each under a native leader (whom we called Cookee) for all the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc.; Dr. Codrington himself being head cook!
 Bishop Patteson gave up all the claims of English society, rejoicing in the anticipated seclusion of Norfolk Island, where he would be free from the interruptions of visitors; nor could he favour the coming out of his sisters who would naturally entertain preconceived ideas of missionary life and procedure; but there was the pang of parting from Sir William Martin and Lady Martin, bosom friends; while Sir William and the Bishop were fellow-students in Hebrew and other erudite subjects; Sir William being Chief Justice of New Zealand at that time.
One of Bishop Selwyn's famous sayings was: "Let's knock off work, and carry deals!" The move from Kohimarama to S. Barnabas, Norfolk Island, had been decided upon (1867), and the "Southern Cross" left with 14,000 feet of timber and 6,000 shingles (thin slices of wood) for roofing.
The leader of our building party was the Rev. John Palmer, assisted by our never-to-be-forgotten carpenter and colleague, Thomas Kendal, of whom Dr. Codrington used playfully to say that while he read all his books but forgot their contents, Kendal not only read all the books but remembered what was inside them as well.
It was therefore to carrying deal that we devoted most of our energies on first landing; uphill, too, for the plateau which forms the centre of the island is much higher than the sea-level.
By degrees walls grew, and finally we found a roof over our heads; three whites and forty-five blacks occupying a spacious half-finished wooden structure, making the best of a rather crowded existence.
It being very far indeed from the intention of the present unworthy scribe to figure as the immaculate hero of these reminiscences, he feels obliged to chronicle the unwelcome fact of having been called to order by the said Rev. John Palmer for chanting all too vigorously the objectionable chorus of "Ole John Brown goes marchin' on" to the accompaniment of a small shrieky harmonium! Our apartment was not without echoes. It sheltered, moreover, more than one variety of mood and temperament; but, in common, as I have read, with Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, and other intolerant geniuses, I always desired that my mood and temperament should be the prevailing ones. Out with me, therefore, as a public nuisance!
The carrying of deals made me acquainted with a skinny little Florida lad, struggling, bravely with rather a heavier load than he could manage. His name was Sapimbuana, afterwards the Rev. Charles Sapimbuana, first native priest of Florida Island, Solomon Group, and a special protégé of mine.
If ever there was a saint, Charles Sapimbuana was one: sans peur et sans reproche; for, single-handed, he fought the aggressive heathenism of his village and district under the heathen [148/149] leadership of his powerful brother, the native chief. He challenged them to practise upon him all their charms and wizardry, convincing them by his immunity of their impotence when concentrated on one filled with the Holy Spirit given through the Means of Grace. And, equally, sans reproche. More than once have I benefited by following his godly counsel and advice. His warm affection and deep gratitude are among the most precious treasures of my life.
Miss Armstrong, in her history of the Mission, thus speaks of him on the occasion of his ordination: "Few certainly in modern times have been ordained so completely in the midst of their work, and with the proof of their fitness around them, as he was. From the time that, as a lad of ten or twelve, he had, some fifteen years before, first come to the Mission, his had been an ever rising life, reaching more and more into the perfect light. And now, these people by whom he was surrounded--he had gathered them together by his influence and example; the voices which sang over him as he knelt beneath the ordaining hands had been trained by him; and the peace which reigned in the district was brought about by his fearlessness and considerateness."* [*Page 224.] He died during an outbreak of influenza in Norfolk Island, October 24th, 1882, "taking with him one of the strongest powers for good the Mission possessed. [Page 247.]
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, December 1923, pages 176-182.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. V.--Norfolk Island.
Scarcely was the ink dry on my last contribution: "Black and White," than I read in the columns of my daily Paper what seemed like a postscript; an article headed: "Black or White?"
For that is the Question! Especially in Africa where the Blacks are six to one. And does Black include Yellow? In California it would appear to do so, for there a Japanese child was not allowed to sit on the same bench with an American child; of which circumstance Japan took due notice, declaring that "they refused to be treated like niggers."
 But we are already off Norfolk Island; and the weather being rough and the coast inhospitable we are obliged to do all our landing by whale-boat; a Norfolk Islander standing at the end of the little stone pier ready to tell us "When!"
For huge mountainous billows are rolling up in murderous masses hissing and foaming as if they resented the sudden hindrance to their wild career. The lookout on the pier is watching for a moderate moment, when he gives us the signal and we pull for dear life, wafted perilously along on the bosom of the following billow, for if we do not keep pace with this hurrying watery mountain we shall be swamped. Seldom did landing occur without a capsize, and ladies and luggage have been seen floating about in gurgite vasto! A rudder would have been useless in such a sea, since prow and stern were as often in the air as in the water! Only a long strong steer-oar wielded by stalwart arms could save us, and these the whaling experience of the Norfolkers readily supplied.
Once ashore we found ourselves amid ruins; for here stood the great convict prisons, where sinful man endeavoured to terrorize his fellow-sinners into being good, where the iron entered into their souls, where insubordination was wilfully resorted to as a means of escape out of that hell, at the risk of getting into another, which however could not be worse, and where thirteen have been hanged before the Governor had had his breakfast.
But, "we believe that Thou shaft come to be our judge." Let us fall into the hands of the Living God rather than into those of our fellow-man!
We stumbled among heavy chains, leg-irons, handcuffs, and various other incentives to good behaviour. We could examine at our leisure those living tombs, the solitary cells, where in outer darkness and amid crackling silence the sinner had himself for company with room and time for reflection; but where after all, in spite of thickest walls and stoutest locks, Jesus who saves us from our sins could find His way in, for He tells us that He was in prison--and I do hope some of us went to see Him there; remembering that but for God's grace, we, too, might have been shut out from the light of day.
But here is the Chapel, within whose walls we are to worship this Sunday morning. In this Chapel there are two different levels; the lower one where sat the Convicts immediately in front of the Ten Commandments, of which, on the higher level, the Governor and his Officials only permitted themselves a side-view; and whence a shot or two could quiet any disturbance down below.
I wonder what that Inferior Congregation, which had come direct from the plank-bed, the loathsome food, the hard ropes [177/178] shredded by human hands into oakum till their fingers grew dull with pain, the harsh orders which routine seemed to necessitate, the dreadful dress which makes misery look grotesque--the silence, the shame, the solitude--thought of the Christian Religion?
But a very different congregation assembled here to-day, and not without some difficulty in accommodating itself to the awkward surroundings.
A great grief had lately fallen upon the Pitcairn Community .now gathered there. Two of its members had lost their lives in an attack on the Bishop's boat near Santa Cruz of fateful memory. One of these was Edwin Nobbs, son of the venerable Patriarch of Pitcairn, for such he may justly be styled. Bishop Patteson, who had had the melancholy task of breaking the news to the bereaved parent, preached a most touching sermon; while one o£ the hymns we sang was composed by the Chief Mourner himself as a resigned expression of his grief:
I can only remember its opening lines:
"O Lord, the heathen's madness
Hath caused our tears to flow--"
Let us hear the Bishop's own account of the matter:* [*Grudgingly condensed. C. H. B.]
I went off in the boat with Atkin (his fellow-martyr afterwards) Edwin Nobbs, Fisher Young and Hunt Christian, the three last, Norfolk Islanders; Fisher perhaps the dearest of all to me; about eighteen.
When the boat was about fifteen yards from the reef they began to shoot at us. I had not shipped the rudder, so I held it up, hoping it might shield off any arrows corning straight, the boat being end on. When I looked round after a minute, I saw Edwin with an arrow in his left eye. Suddenly Fisher Young, pulling the stroke oar, gave a faint scream; he was shot through the left wrist. Once dear Edwin, with the fragment of the arrow sticking in his cheek, and the blood streaming down, thinking then even more of me than of himself called out, "Look out, Sir! Close to you!" But indeed on all sides they were close to us. How any of us escaped I can't tell. Fisher's wrist was shot through, but the upper part of the arrow was broken off and deep down. At length, getting a firm hold of the projecting point of the arrow on the lower side of his wrist, I pulled it through; it came out clean. I poulticed the wound and went to Edwin. On Saturday morning Fisher said to me: "I can't make out what "makes my jaw feel so stiff."
Then my heart sank down within me, and I prayed [178/179] earnestly, earnestly to God. I talked to the lad of his danger, day and night we prayed and read. A dear, guileless spirit indeed. I not only loved but respected him. The jaws became tightly locked, the whole body rigid like a bar of iron. How good he was in his very agony, in his fearful spasms, thanking God, pressing my hand when I prayed and comforted him with holy words of Scripture. He never for a moment lost his hold upon God.
At one a.m. on Monday, he said faintly: "Kiss me, I am very glad that I was doing my duty. Tell my father that I was, in the path of duty, and he will be so glad. Poor Santa Cruz people!" Ah! my dear boy, you will do more for their conversion by your death than ever we shall by our lives, As I lay down almost convulsed with sobs he said (so Mr. Tilly told me) "Poor Bishop! Oh! what love!" The last night, he said (his body being then rigid as a bar of iron), "Kiss me, Bishop." He had been wandering a good deal, but all his words even then were of things pure and holy. His eyes met mine, and I saw the consciousness gradually coming back into them. "They never stop singing there, Sir, do they?"--for his thoughts were with the angels in heaven. Then came the last struggle.
About five days after this Edwin's jaws began to stiffen.* [*Lock-jaw often follows these arrow wounds.] The death struggle was very terrible. Three of us could hardly hold him. Then he sank on my arm, and his spirit passed away as I commended his soul to God. I never felt so utterly broken down when I thought of the earthly side of it all; never perhaps so much realized the comfort of His Presence, when I have had grace to dwell upon the heavenly and abiding side of it. I do with my better part heartily and humbly thank Him that he has so early taken these dear ones by a straight and short path to their everlasting home. I think of them with blessed Saints, our own dear ones, in Paradise, and in the midst of my tears I bless and praise God.
But Fisher most of all supplied to me the absence of earthly friends and relations. He was my boy; I loved him as I think I never loved anyone else. I don't mean more than you all+ [+ His sister Fanny.] but in a different way; not as one loves another of equal age, but as a parent loves a child.
I can hardly think of my little room at Kohimarama without him. I long for the sight of his dear face, the sound of his voice. It was my delight to teach him, and he was clever and so thoughtful and industrious. And now I must land at Norfolk [179/180] Island. Mr. Nobbs (Edwin's father) will be there, his brothers and sisters, and the uncles and aunts of Fisher."
Miss Young says: "The fate of these two youths . . . had a lasting effect. It seemed to take away his youthful buoyancy, and marked lines of care in his face that were never effaced."* [*Life of Bishop Patteson. Vol, ii, p. 189.]
Behold! how he loved them! And, indeed, he himself had had a very narrow escape; for Fisher's wrist had almost rested on the Bishop's knee; but his time was not yet fully come, it being 1864 and not 1871.
Norfolk Island! An English Park. That was the first impression. Not a large Island; being but eighteen miles round about, and some four miles across, Mount Pitt rising over one thousand feet. There are but two landing places to break the monotony of its walls of lofty cliffs. Oranges, lemons, guavas (add cream, and the strawberry is beaten hollow); cinnamon, coffee, and pineapples, of which (instead of gazing helplessly at rows of them in shop windows) I used to bring up dozens in my zinc wheel-barrow--all these flourished luxuriously. Lemons we used to whiten our tables and benches with.
We were a thousand miles from Australia and some six hundred from New Zealand. The move to this milder climate and the possession of two thousand acres of land were much in favour of Melanesian health and afforded an opportunity of supplying our own food. The famous Norfolk Island Pines (for outdoor specimens of which the reader is referred to the Isles of Scilly) grew in monotonous regularity; a noble avenue of them leading up to the gates of St. Barnabas.
On the sea shore, and dwelling in the houses of departed officials of the condemned Penal Settlement was the Pitcairn Community, whose .romantic history is too will-known to be recorded here, but which is paralleled in the life story of its worthy Pastor, The Rev. George Hunn Nobbs, a Man of Mystery, until the penetrating observation of Dr. Codrington lighted upon a certain ring bearing the name Rawdon on its inner circumference, thus identifying him as a member of the ill-fated family of Hastings.
He had fought under Lord Dundonald as a dashing young lieutenant in the war between Chili and Peru, had gone home to touch his prize money, and had been bidden by his mother, who had only too good cause to rue the circumstances of his birth, to go hide himself in the remotest and obscurest corner of the earth.
So we see him with another solitude-hunter, together with [180/181] big dog, stepping on board a scanty sloop at Valparaiso in search of their desired Ultima Thule.
Either by accident or design, having cruised a thousand miles of evidently favouring ocean, they reached the Island of Pitcairn, where our hero's companion shortly died, and where they found old John Adams, the sole survivor of the mutinous crew of the "Bounty" and the Tahitian women, over whom they had fought to the death.
This veteran mutineer had found himself in the midst of a rising generation, offspring of their ill-assorted parents, and conscience began to demand some responsibility for their up-bringing.
The terrors of a fearful thunderstorm endorsed the awakening pricks of conscience. Awestruck the aged mariner set to work. Finding an old forgotten Prayer Book in a corner of his sea-chest, he taught the youngsters out of it how to read and how to pray.
At his death, "Mr. Nobbs" took his place, whose wider experience and superior education enabled him to complete the good work John Adams had begun. This quaint wild story I had from the lips of Mrs. Nobbs, his daughter, who well remembered the terrors of that reforming thunderstorm.
Increase and multiplication finally rendered Pitcairn too small for the whole Community, of whom, therefore, a majority were conveyed in 1856 to vacant Norfolk Island whose comparative vastness perplexed and bewildered them altogether. They were always getting lost!
Mr. Nobbs' Sermons were remarkably original, lit up by flashes of wit and humour, a spark of which I catch in the following note addressed to me on my recovery from a severe attack of ague:
"All Saints" Church,
Wednesday, 17th Jan., '72.
Dear Mr. Brooke,
I trust you are in reality no great shakes, and that there is more of fear than trembling about you.
The books are at home and I will send them this evening or tomorrow morning. We are all well, and Fairfax rapidly recovering.
Respects to everybody, ladies first, of course.
Yours in verity,
G. H. NOBBS.
To Pioneers of the Mission, St. Barnabas, Norfolk Island, is hallowed ground echoing with the footsteps of the beloved departed, and it was not without a pang that they heard of its [181/182] abandonment; nevertheless, as the move thither from Kohimarama had become advisable, so, probably, this further move, nearer to the Islands, will prove equally advantageous.
It is some consolation to learn that the Dear Deserted Home is in the careful keeping of a faithful Norfolk-Islander.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, January 1924, pages 8-13.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. VI.--In The Islands.
In the early days there was, of course, more roughing it than there is now. The first "Southern Cross" was simply a good sea-going boat with no luxury whatever about her. Her crew consisted of two men and a boy. We all had to turn-to; haul ropes, lower boats, get water in canvas tanks up handy creeks, and help with our mighty square sail which depended from the fore-yard to the deck, and which threatened to smother us all like so many cats in a bag, when it came down with a run; but for the encouragement of Volunteers I may add that all this muscular exercise and fresh air transformed the present writer from a pigeon-breasted delicate youth into a broad-chested consumptive-proof young man.
As stated in a former number, I have had to scrub the cabin floor while it had all the movements of a Japanese earthquake, sending me, the soap and bucket, sliding about in all directions, and bringing us up sharp against the front of the lockers, where we stuck until released for the next slide, by the latest gambol of this lively little vessel.
Joseph Atkin and I had to carry down the breakfast and other meals on the narrow footing of our steep companion-ladder, a performance which demanded a good deal of Blondinism when attempted in a gale of wind which often left us with nothing but the bare plates or dishes in our hands, and standing on one leg as acrobats do in circuses, but lacking the applause. These dishes, always curry and rice in the morning, we had received from our bare-footed Black cook who was by no means particular in his methods. He was not one of our lads, but a professional with an inexhaustible store of "Pigeon English"* [* Supposed corruption of "Business English."] at his command, which he used with a comical air of superiority when defending his galley with a big lump of firewood against a crowd of curious and incursive visitors clamouring for pipe-lights.
Young Mr. Patteson, fresh from the refinements of civilized society, had to lend a hand in getting off the Bishop's luggage as well as his own from the "Duke of Portland," which had been their home for five months. The cart from St. John's College drawn by three valuable horses went into the water, while the two new arrivals stood on the shore. The horses lost their footing and were in great danger of hurting themselves. "Instanter," says Mr. Patteson, "the Bishop and I had our coats off, my trousers were rolled up over my knees, in we rushed to the horses. Such a plunging and splashing! But they were all got up safe. [8/9] Imagine an English Bishop with attending parson, cutting into the water up to their knees to disentangle their cart-horses from the harness, in full view of every person on the beach. "This is your first lesson in mud-larking, Coley," said the Bishop as we laughed over our respective appearances.
The food in those days was such as seafaring folk were generally supposed to have; nor shall I easily forget our sensations one day when a cask of imperfectly preserved salt-junk was opened. It suggested a long deferred exhumation. But, never having experienced home-life, boarding-school fare had provided a merciful preparation for the worst. The acorns we gathered, ostensibly for the pigs, were roasted and served up for us boys as coffee for breakfast and later on as tea; while the Norfolk dumplings intended (as we inferred) to keep the keen edge of our appetites off the meat, might (so we sarcastically suggested) have served as ammunition for our troops then waging that deplorable and disastrous Crimean War; my father and stepmother being quartered in a wooden hut at Scutari, where it blew, hailed, rained, and snowed incessantly across a liquid wilderness of mud!
And here it may be as well to give Bishop's Patteson's estimate of the necessary equipment of a complete missionary; for we noticed in Bishop Steward's address at what should have been his farewell Meeting, the same uncompromising statement of the difficulties, the dangers and the trials which awaited those young recruits gathered round him on the platform.
"Every Missionary ought to be a carpenter, a mason, something of a butcher, and a good deal of a cook."
Now cooking includes baking, and we did make and bake our own bread at S. Barnabas. Yes! and we ate it too! with direful results to our inner man! It was one of the least successful achievements of this splendid Mission.
When living in Mota, Bishop Patteson made and baked his own bread. Of the culinary art, the native mind, wherever that might be situated, had decided that the greatest triumph was summed up in the word "Pudding." So one day, when they were eating together, dear faithful George Sarawia, anxious to compliment the Bishop on his success, cried in a gluey rapture: Tam o pudding, gai!" "Why, it's just like pudding!"
In those early days when the Bishop and his companions were the first white men the natives had ever seen, and supposing them to be the returned ghosts of their ancestors, naturally thought they needed nothing to eat; there were only ourselves, the Islanders, a few daring traders, some of a most unscrupulous sort, and the kidnapping vessels.
The government of any island lay exclusively in the hands of the Chief; the man that is, who had the most wives (our unmarried [9/10] condition sadly diminished our prestige) and who had accumulated the largest number of human heads.
Takua, the Chief of Boli, Florida I. had eight wives, whom he pleasantly styled my mothers, who made us delicious shell-fish soup with scraped cocoanut sauce, which we two Great Ones devoured by means of shells scooping up the dainty morsels from among the stones at the bottom of the wooden bowl between us. Having no metal vessels they made stones red-hot upon which they poured the soup. The meal ended, one of my mothers in true oriental style, poured water over my fingers from a bamboo water-bottle.
One day some very injudicious person had spoken evil of one of the female members of Takua's household. The next, the head of that same injudicious person, still bleeding and hanging by its hair, was deposited at my friend's feel: while I was sitting beside him. It was accepted with the haughtiest indifference. As for his head-hunting raids they were without excuse, except, perhaps, when he had a new canoe to be baptized, which must be done with human blood.
On my remonstrating with him; reminding him that the Creator of these dead men and of himself might have something to say in the matter; he replied: "When I was a young man I made up my mind to have my thousand heads and to be a great Chief. Then you and Bishop came and scolded me, and now I am turned old woman and no good!" Whereupon he would scornfully point to a heap of some five hundred heads--not a pleasant sight!
Yet I liked Takua and he liked me. We ruled the Island between us. Because a man is a cannibal and a head-hunter, he need not be either a disagreeable or dishonourable individual. Personally, I much prefer him to any Profiteer. Neither does the wearing of a shirt make a man a Christian.
There was I, the only white man on the Island, without so much as a pop-gun to defend myself with, dwelling amidst that crowd of eager blood-thirsty savages, but without the slightest fear or misgiving. I thoroughly liked the people and trusted them absolutely. The romance of the life appealed to me strongly.
But I often wondered why they did not knock me on the head and seize what they wanted, without taking the trouble to ask for it (I have felt like that in lonely parts of Italy!). For, in their eyes, my ample stock of beads, tobacco and fish-hooks was as the wealth of the Bank of England in weaponless hands. My own friends were all afar off or perhaps dead! But these rough folk were very fond of me and treated me very kindly.
I was, of course, an inexperienced stranger, knowing nothing whatever of Tribal Life, to which the family evidently bears some [10/11] resemblance; for I notice that when some young friend comes to see me, he often brings back the book I gave him for me to take care of, as it would not be safe at home from the communal instincts of younger brothers and sisters!
For instance, if my belt disappeared and I perceived it clothing one of my multitudinous brethren, who wore nothing else, I ought to have felt happy and proud. People at home talk of Brotherhood, but here it was in action. He would pat it smilingly as being "the belt of you and me." Live and Learn! To learn being exactly what the newly fledged Missionary must do. Otherwise in his well-intentioned endeavour to root up the tares, he may unwittingly pull up the wheat also.
Now, although this modern practice of teaching the Natives English releases the teacher from that most interesting and instructive labour of learning the native languages thoroughly, yet it introduces a great difficulty should it be used as a medium for imparting dogmatic instructions in the Christian religion, since the native mind would be set the task of translating our complicated sentences into his own simple and direct idiom--innocent of inflexions, declensions, conjugations; and possessing neither cases, nor gender and, excepting pronouns, no number nor person and, therefore, no parts of speech. I think I hear some schoolboy-reader exclaim: "Oh! Why wasn't I born a Melanesian!''* [* See Dr. Codrington's The Melanesian Languages, p. 102.
But no one will deny that a knowledge of English is useful now that Melanesia has become the headquarters of so many traders and manufacturers whose English, it must be admitted, is too often of an imprecatory character.
It is sad to think that this teaching of English may perhaps lessen the demand for Dr. Codrington's glorious volume on "The Melanesian Languages"; a study of primeval mind and thought; yet every missionary should be equipped with its companion volume, "Melanesians, their Anthropology and Folk Lore," which takes us into the common nursery of the human race.+ [+ In a footnote on page 9 of this vol. the learned and lamented author has earned my gratitude by saying: "There is no picture of native life so good as that given in Percy Pomo."]
Moreover, it is impossible for any teacher to deal efficiently with a mind whose attitude and movement he is ignorant of.
Take my own case for example. 'I was growing impatient with a native lad, it may have been Sapibuana, for not realizing that t o spells to; until I discovered that to him it was not t o at all, but o t; for his mind was travelling in an opposite direction to my own, so that if left to themselves they will begin their page on the right hand side, as in Hebrew; esteeming our plan a very left-handed procedure. Neither will they make any division between [11/12] the words, a feature characteristic, I believe, of all early writing.
My relation with Takua may not inaptly be likened to our Entente with France. It was sufficiently strong to allow of quarrels, discussions, and differences; nay, of defiance! For being of a jealous disposition, like many others, he publicly forbade my going to Sapi's islet, for fear of his people getting too large a share of beads, fish-hooks, and tobacco. The penalty for paddling me across was death! But I went all the same; reminding him that the Bishop was my master and not he, and that if he tried to keep me altogether at Boli the vessel would anchor off Sapi's place and they would get all the trade. We understood each other perfectly, and were right good friends.
The relations of Bishop Patteson with the Presbyterian Missions to the south were of the most cordial description. Bishop Selwyn had determined not to begin work where they had already established themselves, remarking that there was plenty of room to the north, and I recollect so well the kindly welcome Mr. Creagh, the Presbyterian missionary at Aneiteum gave our party, and how after a pleasant meal we all knelt down at the same table to pray for God's blessing on what was common in our work.
As to roughing it, let us hear our Bishop's own account of himself in these early days of 1856, when acting master of the "Southern Cross."
Now, in those gold mining times when fortunes were made in a minute by picking up a nugget of alluvial gold, it was very easy for skippers to get a crew outward bound, who disappeared on arrival; but as usual the difficulty was Revocare gradum; insomuch that in San Francisco it was dangerous for an able-bodied man to linger on the wharves lest he should fall into the hands of the "pimps" and be handed over, bound and drugged, to some homeward bound captain who payed a good price per man.
Having obtained a crew for the "Southern Cross" lying off Kohimarama on the eve of sailing, the difficulty was to keep them. So we find young Mr. Patteson spending a dismal Christmas Eve in seeing that his half-drunken sailormen did not escape to shore.
"My housekeeping affairs on board take up a deal of time" he says "for I have not only to order things but to weigh them out, help to weigh and cut the meat, etc., and am quite learned in the mysteries of the store-room, which to be sure is a curious place on board ship. I hope you are well suited with a housekeeper: if I were at home I could fearlessly advertise for such a situation."
Formerly, in the days of "No Enthusiasm," the fool of the family was considered good enough for the Mission Field, and it must be confessed that until quite lately a returned missionary (Colonial Bishops were dubbed: "Returned Empties") was [12/13] regarded as an inferior article, being, coldly if politely received even by Secretaries of Missionary Societies, who certainly had never tasted the luxury of roughing it, themselves.
But Selwyns and Pattesons have changed all that! Therefore let us for a moment realize what manner of man this server of stores and guard over drunken seamen was.
"Among the many remarkable points in this very eminent life, not the least noteworthy of all is its many-sidedness. There seems to have been no office or function however high or however humble, to which Bishop Patteson could not turn and turn effectively, his mind or hand. There is one characteristic of the old-fashioned Public School and College education of England, in cases where it has been heartily and genially received, for which in our judgment it has never yet had sufficient credit: its tendency to give suppleness and elasticity of mind; to produce the readiest and surest learners of the various occupations of life in all their shapes. In the case of Bishop Patteson the difficulty really is to point out not all the things he did, but anything which he was not able or wont to do. Of his purely intellectual gifts there can be little doubt that one was pre-eminent. He possessed in a degree that must have placed at his command the highest distinction, had he remained in Europe--the gift of languages (including Arabic) " [W. E. Gladstone, The Quarterly Review, October, 1874.]
The highest distinction, had he remained in Europe! The world knows not its greatest men. Here is one of them serving out stores to rough seamen in a small schooner.
"The three highest titles that can be given to man are those of Martyr, Hero, Saint; and would it be irrational to attach them to the name of John Coleridge Patteson?"
"To the country that owned him he was an honour; for the Church that formed him he was a token of high powers and a pledge of noble destinies." [The same.]
"A wise a holy and a humble man." [From his Epitaph.]
And, therefore, a Server.
As I read my November "Log" I bitterly lament that so few should be found to follow in his train! Bishop Steere's forceful argument should still hold good: "I will go, because no one else will!"
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, March 1924, pages 37-41.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. VII. Incidents and Adventures.
A certain member of the Mission Party on the first Southern Cross was heard to complain of the "encroachments of the cockroaches." Let us charitably suppose that it was in order to save himself from thinking or uttering something worse! He was certainly justified. But they soon got the better of him. That very night they so gnawed his finger-nails and his toe-nails that the surrounding flesh was bleeding. They honeycombed the binding of his most valuable books, and left gaping holes, the size of half-a-crown, in his new flannel shirts. Their filthy odour, their elusive powers of flight, and their diabolical destructiveness rendered them potent enemies of peace and quietness.
The very thought of them would keep one awake. You could hear them scamper across paper. I could tell if one had walked over the fork I was using at dinner, while it was in the drawer.
At school we had rat-hunts. Here in the confined cabin of the first Southern Cross we had cockroach chases. Armed with slippers we rushed wildly about--"'Tis here! 'Tis here! 'Tis gone!" I much preferred the rat; a wholesome creature of flesh and blood and bone like ourselves. But these squashy insects were as disgusting in their death as they were loathsome in their lives.
Poison? Ha! ha! Why, they feasted on the cork of the bottle and got drunk on its contents. Had you sunk the vessel for a twelvemonth and then refloated her, their secretive eggs would hatch out and the whole vile army be on its legs [37/38] and wings again in no time; infantry and air force combined!
The only parallel horror I can recollect was when two of us Norfolk (not Norfolk Island yet!) school boys, on arriving at Shoreditch (there was no "Liverpool Street" in those days) missed our Schoolmaster and were conveyed just across the road, but at a phenomenal cost, by some paternal cabby to a small coffee house "kept by a friend of his," and next door to the Standard Theatre. No sleep for us that night--and I was supposed to be in charge of my young and innocent companion, whose scrupulously clean north-country mother would have fainted at a flea!--because of the multitudinous population of those (pace Hamlet). Infectious Sheets! But, Horresco referens! With one stroke of my pen, mightier than many slippers, I here dismiss them, every one! And I can only hope that modern Southern Crosses are free from this southern cross.
Then there were the snakes. Waking one morning as I lay on the cool bamboo floor of my little hut, I beheld one of these reptiles hanging out of the thatch just above me. It was a long. thin specimen, with a head the size of a penny piece, and a mouth sticking out of it, whence flashed a little wiry tongue. A Que faire! In plain English, what to do? I noticed that when I looked at it, it closed its sleepy eyes, as if it would say in schoolboy fashion, "Please, Sir, it wasn't me."
Crawling steadily on my hands and knees to where my frying-pan was likewise hanging from the thatch, I seized that unwonted weapon and, with a sudden swinging blow, cut him in two.
Centipedes were about half-an-inch broad and six inches long. Their bite meant agony for three or four days, and sometimes proved fatal. They were brought in rotten bits of firewood.
The long-legged audible spiders I looked upon as friends and allies, for they devoured the ants which would otherwise have devoured the house. I am not exaggerating when I say that in Norfolk Island there are spider-webs so tough that, avoiding jerks, you could gently sway a thin branch of a Norfolk Island pine with them.
What is wrong, then, I ask, with this much-abused English climate of ours, whose kind inclemency protects us from all these pests? But, then, of course, I am no entomologist.
I did all my own washing in those days, carrying my wardrobe down to the water, as in most continental countries. Flannel shirts and trousers were the toughest morsels, but when they were thoroughly soaped, I anchored them by means of big stones, in the swift-flowing stream, whence they emerged as clean and soft as one could wish; in fact I felt rather proud of the snow-white, dangling array on my improvised clothes-line. But I never got
the length of ironing.
 Often did the majestic Takua appear on such occasions, carrying a bundle. This contained odds and ends of wearing apparel, some gifts, others appropriations from wardrobes of returned scholars, but each and all useful in "making the wash great--that the god might be pleased," and "would I give him some of the tindalo (charm) for washing clothes?" commonly called a piece of soap.
He evidently supposed this washing to be a function of a sacrificial character. These garments he never wore, except on ceremonial occasions, such as selling land to the Mission, or special "Sandaying," by which he meant Sundaying; for if you asked an idler what he was doing he would say he was "Sandaying." Now the aforesaid garments being mostly of schoolboy dimensions, it took the combined skill and energy of all the Mrs. Takuas to get him into them.
With regard to these eight wives of his, they were really not at all of a bad sort. They did almost all of the farm work, and were to be met carrying water-gourds and bamboo water bottle on their heads as in the east. They had a hard life of it, but would occasionally combine in self-defence, when one felt the great advantages of monogamy!
One day he was very urgent that I should bring him a pair of leathern boots, "to make them move more quickly with," a suggestion which raised a loud and general protest. But, after all, there was a not unpleasing air of domesticity about it. No woman could be without a protector. She must belong to somebody; and as there were no streets, so there were no women on them.
The interested reader is referred to Dr. Codrington's The Melanesians if he would realize the amazing strictness and severity of all social and sexual regulations. For a young man to marry a woman of his own tribe, though she might be on another island, was death. Every tribe had its forbidden, or unclean food, to eat which was to forfeit one's life. So, as St. Paul says, being without law, they were a law unto themselves. Mother Nature is an apt governess, or rather, as I told Takua when he asked me where they got all these ideas from, "God wrote them in your hearts."
I am here reminded of an illuminating experience. It was a question of finding a wife for Alfred Lombu, the pendant of Charles Sapimbuana, in faithful friendship. I set my eyes on the daughter of a Chief, thinking it would be a good match, and might lead indirectly to the conversion of the Chief himself.
Imagine my astonishment on receiving the following letter from Alfred, which I here translate:--
"This letter is for you, written to you by your son, who wants to tell you what his mind is. You spoke to him of his sister" [39/40] (the girl in question, who lived in another island). "I mean when you and I were walking to and fro on the grass, and you spoke to me of her, and I opposed you, you know, and it was at an end, and you wouldn't think of it any more, said I to myself.
"But after awhile you spoke again to one or two others, and now there is not any one but who has heard it all, and they talk to me about it, and I am ashamed; for the little girl you mentioned to me for a wife is my sister--we are both of the same tribe. And hanging upon your words is my life or death, for if they were to hear the words which you have spoken they would hunt me and drive me away, they would point me out, and they would kill me for it. But let me tell you that I have no desire to die for a girl, for what reward should I get? If they hunt and drive me away, if they should kill me because of any one thing belonging to this Religion, that would suit me--therein would lie a reward, and I should be quite willing, but to die for a girl, or for stealing, or for what is unlawful, that I am unwilling to do.
"And you--you don't cease to speak to me about, my betrothal; but what have I, a vile and worthless person to do with marriage? They who are great men and well favoured and strong, for them it is to marry. And if there should be any word in this letter which is not plain, do not ask me, ask some other person, for I decline to speak any more about this matter.
As I have already hinted above, perfect harmony did not always reign in the Takuan household. One day, in a fit of temper or jealousy, the Chief sorely knocked about the youngest and nicest of his wives. She was a relative of Charles Sapimbuana. Having left the poor wounded thing in his rage, he started off to a distant plantation of his to sulk and work it off, having perched on his shoulder his little lame nephew--a great pet--for the nephew was nearer and often dearer than the son, being of the same tribe; while the son would follow the alien tribe of the mother, another little complication.
I was very, very sorry for the suffering woman, and I followed the wrathful husband down to his retreat, where I quietly reasoned with him, and got him to return in a softened humour. Besides, it is very difficult to come out of sulks without loss of dignity, and he was glad of my help, perhaps.
On reaching home I made a cup of chocolate, which I persuaded the penitent Chief to carry across the court to the wounded wife's hut. A most unwonted spectacle, truly! What Transit of Venus could equal it?
 Yes, there is good in the worst of us, and bad in the best of us; the Missionary's special task being to discover the good. As Mr. G. K. Chesterton paradoxically remarks: "We look for the honest man among the honest men. Our Blessed Lord found him in a thief."
It is pleasant to be assured that the use of English as a teaching medium was never seriously entertained by the responsible Heads of the Mission. The sources of my misapprehension were letters from Dr. Codrington, in which he anticipated the scheme as a regrettable certainty; as, indeed, it at one time appeared to be.
The only English-speaking native encountered by the present writer, was a big, bumptious, very black person, airily clad in a paper collar and a tall hat, who rushed into the Bishop's presence exclaiming "Me no dam fool!"; which doubtless he had every good reason to believe was classical English, for he had worked on some Brisbane plantation, and--breathe it reverently, Oh reader--"had been in contact with Civilization," which generally meant coming back armed with a gun, plenty of powder and shot, and a packet of arsenic, wherewith to remove all objectionable persons; a terror to his island, and a striking example of what a great danger Civilization may become if divorced from Christianity.
May I take this opportunity of establishing my innocence of any such pointless expression as "Infectious Sheets" when describing the beds of Shoreditch in our last number, which would have demanded no apology to Hamlet, but only to my readers! What I did do, however, was to change his "Incestuous Sheets [53/54] for my Insectuous ones; involving both a point and an apology. Further down on the same page I am made to crawl steadily instead of stealthily in attacking my snake.
When examining a picture or model of Nelson's great sea-fights, the lay mind wonders how, wind or no wind, those cumbersome craft were ever got into their desired position or got out of it again.
Similar difficulties confronted the Commander of the first Southern Cross; and of the second, until she was fitted with an auxiliary screw.
Kindly conceive of us, then, helplessly drifting into the arms of a deep bay in a dead calm, soon to be surrounded by a solid platform of canoes. Our skipper of that moment had no faith whatever in our dear dark protégés, declaring with his fascinating Irish brogue that he believed they would steal the very teeth out of his head if he wasn't looking! And when visitors came on board the little vessel as she lay off Kohimarama, N.Z., asking what ammunition we carried, he would sarcastically indicate rows of Bibles and Hymn Books as being all the shot we had in our locker.
He is now standing on the "round-house" endeavouring to make himself heard amid a babel of yells uttered by hundreds of eager natives swarming on to his decks and rendering locomotion impossible; each carrying a bundle of poisoned arrows under his arm, whose points threatened all and sundry.
All of these merry savages had something to sell, and I doubt if the New York Stock Exchange itself could have made more noise than uprose from this floating market of ours.
Pictures have appeared in Missionary Magazines of a faultlessly attired Bishop distributing Bibles to eager natives thronging round.
As for Bishop Patteson, he has been heard to value his complete wardrobe at eighteenpence; and. he would doubtless have offered it at a lower figure after tearing off a yard or two of alpaca to give to an importunate chief; not that it is necessary here to add to the Bishop's spiritual panoply the charitable act of a St. Martin, which, under the circumstances would have been indeed a work of supererogation!
The Bibles would come in due time when an appetite had been created for them.
The question was how to get into mental and spiritual touch with these wild, harum-scarum, swarming visitors of ours who were taking us by storm.
Trading was the means adopted; and it would have been difficult to decide which showed the keener shop-keeping instinct [54/55] on these occasions, the White Islanders or the Black. Pandemonium was the result.
Vainly might Captain Jacob with his speaking trumpet, endeavour to give orders to the crew, accompanied by the wildest gesticulations, for the only part of them visible was that which no Briton ever presents to the enemy. They were hanging in a row over the bulwarks, clamouring for valuables in the canoes in return for which, after tremendous haggling, they would hand down tobacco, fishhooks, beads or little flat bits of iron--the inauguration of the Iron Age in Melanesia! The rule was that the crew should not trade, but when they were good, trustworthy fellows, the rule was ignored, as on the present occasion.
It was a very profitable speculation, too, in those early days when curios had a special value owing to their novelty.
And what, I should like to know, was the safety of any number of Southern Crosses compared with the chance of buying a live Cockatoo for a clay pipe and a plug of tobacco which, rich in fo'castle lore, would fetch thirty shillings in Sydney!
The difficult moment arrived when all the fun was over, and it became necessary to disentangle the vessel, and get her out of the bay. Very often we had to lower the boats and tow her into the nearest breeze, presenting meanwhile a very vulnerable object to any chafing chief who had unsold property on his hands, and whose first impulse would be to let fly an arrow.
The Florida people were the noisiest and most difficult to manage; the immediate problem on these occasions being how to make oneself heard, and how to rid our decks of our reluctant visitors who lingered to discuss their bargains or on the chance for more.
It was then that Bishop Patteson would come to me and say: "We must get rid of this lot now."
Among the struggling crowd would be the self-important Takua and Sauvui, who, on one occasion when something was missing (not Captain Jacob's teeth anyway) stopped the Sambeeree, or trade; Takua having delivered a lofty homily on the wickedness of stealing; jealous, perhaps, that the wicked act had enriched somebody else; for human nature, black or white, is a strange mixture.
Accosting, therefore, these two dignitaries, I said: "Here is an opportunity for you to show your power and authority. Sambeeree is over and the Bishop wants you to clear our decks for us."
Thereupon more noise ensued as the two chiefs set their not undisputed power in motion; the Bishop himself not hesitating to use pressure in pushing some obstinate lingerers into their canoes, in order that the Captain might regain some mastery [55/56] over the vessel; an action rendered possible by the small size of the first Southern Cross, whose deck was only some three or four feet above the water.
The Bishop could be as firm and forceful as he could be gentle; a characteristic indispensable when dealing with such a turbulent world as this, though the reader will appreciate the risks we ran at such times.
Sweating at every pore, stained with iron-rust, and all but deafened by the din, how welcome were a wash and a quiet deck, accompanied with a feeling of gratitude that all had passed off without accident or misadventure.
"Sailing" must include my trips in my little boat some eight feet long, and of rather tubbular construction; whose painting afforded an artistic delight, in spite of a tendency to painters' colic in the tropical heat: salmon colour underwater, dark green above, and white inside.
She had a lug-sail, incapable of capsize if the sheet (or rope) were held in the hand to be let go in case of a squall, and not fastened. The mast being set right in the bows, had but a slight leverage. So out on the open bosom of the ocean, Alfred Lombu and I would venture, often landing on snow-white coral beaches whereon the foot of a white man had never trod. One felt a little bit of a Christopher Columbus sometimes.
There was quite a small island not far off full of turtle (Lord Mayors please copy) to which Alfred and I would often resort, inhabited, also, by a Sacred Alligator whose whereabouts we ascertained by the direction of his handlike footprints on the sand. If they pointed to the sea, no bathe! If inshore we knew that he was lounging in his reedy swamp which occupied the interior of the island. Then we risked it. I had read a good deal about crocodiles and alligators, and I had made up my mind that I would have an oar ready so that if he dared to open his hideous jaws on me, I could ram it down his throat and choke him. Fortunately, or otherwise, he never gave me an opportunity of applying my heroic remedy.
The boughs of the primeval forest hung out over the beach as if athirst for the waters of the Blue Lagoon. They were very tempting to hang one's clothes on while bathing. What was my surprise and horror on one occasion when I had yielded to this temptation, to find them swarming with large white ants, when I wanted to put them on again! How gladly would I at that moment have accepted the much abused, but insecticidal climate of Old England in exchange for these Anty-podes!
Meanwhile, oblivious of sleepy, creepy alligators, Alfred, with a firebrand which (matches being useless) we had stuck in the bows of our boat; O sitima gai!--"A regular steamer!" being [56/57] his playful comment--had lighted a fire, boiled our kettle, and made tea, coffee or cocoa as required.
But I am more especially thinking of a visit paid to Ravu, the northermost of the three islands of which Florida is composed, the domain of a redoubtable head-hunter named Dikéa, of whose mentality I was a little doubtful, seeing that he was avowedly jealous of Takua and Sauvui, who had the vessel all to themselves. Our outward voyage was well enough, the hustling Trade Wind carrying us gallantly along.
On arrival we waded ashore and sat down on a fallen tree-trunk, where we were shortly joined by a tall and stately figure slowly and solemnly advancing out of the forest at his side. The long light hair (whitened with quicklime) fell on broad black shoulders like the mane of a German professor. A beautiful oval cane-work shield, glittering with mother-of-pearl and gay with tufts of red feathers arranged (accidentally, of course) in the form of a cross, swung from one shoulder, while a long ebony spear tipped with human shin-bone was balanced on the other. There was grace and dignity in every movement.
This was Dikéa, a rather formidable host. He sat down at my side, but, without breaking silence; which I did by telling him that it gave me pleasure to tread his land for the first time; "although," I added "I don't feel quite comfortable about my head, which, being a white man's, might be a valuable addition to your collection."
"We do not take the heads of our friends," replied the stately figure, and relapsed into silence. "What had these men done to you that you should kill them?" I asked, pointing to a heap of skulls. "They had done nothing. I did not want them, I wanted their heads for my canoe-house, they're a vile lot."
Then, of course, came the capital grievance of the Vessel's never coming to anchor off his place, of the others getting everything and he nothing. "Let her float just off there and Sambeeree." A network of coral reefs! I thought of Captain Jacob. If I wanted any of his boys I was to come and fetch them, for he would not go to Boli to be shouldered out of the way by them. "Besides, they don't heed your words. They lie! It was your friend Takua himself that told me to go and take those heads," pointing to eight dead faces with their solemn eyelids, frowning in silent judgment upon their destroyer.
In answer to my further remonstrances he curtly remarked that "our abomination was his daily bread."
I found out afterwards that he sent Takua a fine fat pig for "allowing his white man to come and be seen."
The return voyage was tedious and tiring in the extreme. The monotony of the Trade Wind, fair or foul, was always [57/58] irritating. It blew like a thorough draught, raising a short choppy sea, which just blocked every stroke of the oar, like a cautious batter at cricket. "Will that headland never drop astern?" was our constant lament, as we toiled with our oars for the best part of a long day.
Tea, made by Alfred; for I would not allow anyone else to do it; slippers, a deck chair, and a volume of Middlemarch formed a welcome ending to a day that had certainly not been wasted.
So sailing had finally to be supplemented by steaming, which both ensured safety and saved time.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, May 1924, pages 71-76.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. IX.--Life Ashore.
To go ashore alone and unarmed among a dusky multitude of the wildest savages in the South Pacific, who think far less of killing a man than of killing a pig, and whose one ambition it was to raid and murder their neighbours--did require some pluck, though I was never conscious of ever showing any; for my blood tingled at the Risk and Romance of it all.
We were the first White Men that they had ever seen, and I soon felt several inquisitive little fingers turning up the bottoms of my trousers, while others rolled back my shirt-sleeves to make sure that I was white all over; a suspicion akin to that which we ourselves have entertained with regard to certain Christy Minstrels as to their uniformity of colour!
On my first visit in 1865, the Bishop and I went ashore together, soon, however, to be separated; for Takua took possession of his Lordship while I fell into the hands of Sauvui.
He ushered me into a spacious apartment, pungent, of course, with smoke of wood fires, which the squatting natives don't come in contact with, the smoke rising above their heads.
The Melanesian house in those days was literally "a roof" which sloped to the ground, rendering walls unnecessary.
Stretched between two crooked tree-stems, was a bamboo couch on which I had to lie, as evening was already drawing in; but which the warmth of native hospitality forbade me to occupy alone, for after a while my richly-oiled host tumbled in alongside me.
And if the indulgent Editor will waive that censorious pencil of his for a moment I should like to ask my equally indulgent reader a riddle "of my own composure," as the Parish Clerk said when giving out an original hymn: "Why is early Mission work like Poverty?" Ans.: "Because it makes you acquainted with strange bedfellows."
Well, the creaking of the bamboo couch under this additional pressure just prevented my falling off into the most delicious slumber. A concert, moreover, had been arranged in my honour and I must listen to it, although its soothing strains made me [71/72] more sleepy than ever, a nudge from my immediate neighbour's elbow recalling my vanishing consciousness.
And really the music had a weird fascination about it, rising and falling with the glow of the fitful firelight.
The voices of children in a whining chant were interrupted at regular intervals by a deep "AH-MEN!" which I soon knew when to expect.
Before lying down I had hung my satchel on a handy projecting knob on the post at my head. It contained a bottle of beads, some plugs of tobacco, and fishhooks. Another creak of our bamboo resting-place announced the rising of my host and bedfellow, who evidently thought I was now asleep. I heard him fiddling with my satchel, being evidently busy with its contents, for he gave a kind of stifled whistle when his fingers got among the fishhooks!
In the morning both he and the beads were gone.
Now what should I do? Noblesse oblige, on my side at all events. Should I accuse my host of theft? Scarcely. Well, when he came back I mentioned that a bottle of beads which I had intended as a present for him had disappeared. "The beads of you and me!" he exclaimed. "I am taking care of them for us two." And he produced them, with an air of rather more than semi-proprietorship, as I then thought; but which I determined not to notice. Was it not, moreover, an approach to the ideal of the early Christian Church, where the disciples had all things common; for most certainly during my earliest residence among these interesting people I could never say that anything I possessed was my own!
When I met the Bishop he was just going off to the vessel, leaving me alone for a day or two; and I will confess that when having said Good-bye, I watched the boat go off to the "Southern Cross," and saw it hauled up, and the vessel setting sail, turning her back upon me and gradually diminishing to a speck on the horizon--well I felt that my communications were cut; and after straining with my hand shading my eyes, I failed to catch any sight of her, I turned shoreward with a crowd of my new companions towards whom an ever-increasing feeling of friendliness and comradeship was growing at my heart.
There was no difficulty whatever in carrying out the Bishop's injunction to move about and if possible not to become the property of any one chief; for I was marched from village to village by Sauvui, always the centre of a surging crowd, as if I were either a great hero or a notorious criminal.
How I managed to brew cups of cocoa I quite forget, but when I sat down to drink it I thought I should have swallowed a dozen or two of my curious friends, so closely and narrowly did they watch my proceedings, as if they had been a mob of [72/73] competing dentists anxious for my custom; while they all wanted to lick the teaspoon when I scraped up the sugar at the bottom of the cup with it.
It was hot work, just ten degrees south of the equator. And oh for a wash! But no, on we must march, for multitudes were eager to see us. Privacy, either by night or by day was not to be had or thought of. Even Royalty has Policemen to keep the crowd off, and a Palace to retire to when the day is over.
I was the Island's New Toy, and it could think of nothing else. If I went to bathe, then It went to bathe. If I went inshore, then It went inshore. If I sat down, It sat down. The only thing it would not do was to go to sleep when I wanted to go to sleep.
I found out afterwards that Sauvui had laid a heavy entertainment tax of dog's (canine) teeth on each village we had visited, for the privilege of beholding his White Man. I had not realized that I was "on show" all the time!
My next stay was of ten days' duration with much the same routine, which it was afterwards discovered had reduced my weight considerably.
After that my stay extended to three months, a very brief visit, I fancy, compared with what we read of in "The Log" to-day; whose pages deal in undreamed of wonders such as Hospitals, Colleges, Industrial Colonies, and Steam Launches, not to mention White Ladies, and Native Parliaments; things absolutely unheard of in these early days.
When the present writer stepped ashore he knew that he was at least two thousand miles from the nearest doctor; but we didn't get ill in those days. Directly a doctor came to Norfolk Island accidents happened. Fisher, one of the Bishop's dearest lads, twisted his foot and ankle in a tow-rope, and his leg had to be amputated, the only surgical operation I have ever assisted at. Rough and ready as our appliances were it was successfully accomplished by Dr. Watling with the help of our old friend Mr. Nobbs; my humble function being to hold a newspaper funnel containing a sponge of chloroform to the patient's nostrils. My hand must have been very unsteady, for Dr. Codrington, who was present, bantered me on having administered chloroform to him. With one quick circular swoop of the knife the flesh was severed; then the ends of the arteries had to be got hold of and tied, a most fidgety and anxious moment for the Chaplain and the doctor, and one which very nearly unnerved the present writer. Perhaps I had taken more than my share of the chloroform, but the sawing of the bone finished me off and I had to retire; for when I was only six or seven years old, I fell off the form at school when the teacher was describing the action of the heart.
But failing a doctor I was provided with a little medicine [73/74] chest, containing pills, powders, plasters, ointments, lotions, besides internal medicines; quite an embarras de richesses. Now what shall we have to-clay? Shall it be black draught, castor oil, or seidlitz powder?
Attacks of fever and ague were part of our programme. We expected them and bore them--the burning headache, the cold sweat, the shaking, and the utter lack of interest in anything or anybody--as philosophically as we could. I have had to hold on tightly to the pulpit in St. Matthew's, Auckland, to prevent collapse.
But my worst experience ashore was when, for ten days I lay helpless. The people were very kind, bringing me all sorts of oily messes which it made one sick to think of; while Rukomba, Bimbi's wife, who lived below, kept the children quiet, because "The Great Man's head was bad."
Takua came to see me, and was evidently rather alarmed at my condition; for he sent Kalevitu, his Medicine-man and Weather-manager, to cure me.
Students of Dr. Codrington's The Melanesians need not he reminded that with these people there is nothing natural. Nobody dies a natural death, but is the victim of an unexorcised evil spirit or demon who has bitten or possessed you. Should a wooden bowl slip off a shelf, then some spirit has dislodged it. Anyone can bewitch you if he or she can get hold of a crumb you let fall, or if the rigid leaf with whose edge (in the absence of towels and handkerchiefs) you scraped the sweat from your brow or dried yourself after bathing; wherefore Takua established himself on a little coral peninsular whence he could throw his crumbs, etc., into the sea.
It was a world of witchcraft and uncanny influences always at work. Besides it would be useless to deny that dwelling alone in the midst of a thoroughly organized and all-pervading system of superstitious fear, one felt the influence of this ghostly environment, as well as the pressure of the constant spectacle of a powerful and undisputed religious system in full working order, independent of and indifferent to Christianity; of which religion I was the sole representative.
So the strong man armed kept his palace; but "The Stronger than he" was at hand. One baptized Christian, Charles Sapimbuana, defied their whole infernal panoply and remained immune; an event which led to their ultimate downfall.
Nevertheless, the question would arise in my mind: Has the Holy Spirit of God as much power for good in modern Christendom as these Powers of Darkness possess here in Heathendom? The present condition of a so-called Christian world suggests an answer in the negative. But how can that Blessed Spirit work effectively through a divided Church?
 So Kalevitu duly came and commenced my cure. I was too feeble to resist. First of all he placed a large ball of leaves at my feet and then began a kind of forceful massage, beginning at the very crown of my head and proceeding all down my body. I rather liked it. He was thus driving the evil spirit out of my body into the bundle of leaves, and when it got there, of course I recovered, because it had gone out of me into the leaves, which were burnt; just as the evil spirits left the possessed men and went into the swine. The provoking part of the matter was that Kalevitu looked upon me with an air of proprietorship after this, pointing me out as a triumph of his medical skill!
But we need not go to Melanesia or to Palestine for witchcraft. Did not my housekeeper, in my Vicarage, when a very important key had been lost, advise me to send over to Oswestry for the "Wise Woman" to come and find it? Did not the wife of one of my Parishioners who had the toothache write a text of Scripture on a slip of paper and tie it round the tooth? And was not the Family Bible placed as a pillow (not a very soft one!) under an aching head? While everyone knows how in the Middle Ages the Witch could make a doll to represent her victim, and practise upon it the mischief intended, identifying absolutely the two objects.
Finally I should like to say a word in favour of a much abused and criticized little creature, the common house fly. At the Natural History Museum it is represented as walking over slices of ham; but it is not corrupting or petrifying the ham; it is sucking it, absorbing it. The Blue-bottle fly does, of course, lay its eggs in food, corrupting and petrifying it. Not so the household fly. All travellers know that the slightest scratch or wound, is apt in the Tropics to become malignant. Some insect had stung me and the result was a festering sore full of matter. My friends the flies soon found it out, and while I read my book they tussled and tickled and pricked, until they had cleansed it of every vestige of matter; after which it quickly healed up; thus amply atoning for all their teasing on many a slumbrous afternoon.
The return of the Vessel was always a thrillingly delightful moment; when Takua would be lost in astonishment as, rapt in silence, I kept my eyes intently fixed on pieces of paper covered with crooked lines. To hear a word, that was common enough; but to see a word--to see sound! What is wireless to that! I fear he was a bit of a Modernist, and would probably have been made a Canon or even a Dean had he been in Holy Orders; for one day he scrawled a lot of crooked lines with a piece of charcoal on a board, which he presented to me saying: "If you can read writing, read this of mine!" I was never very good at passing examinations; but this--to the great glee of my Dusky Examiner--completely floored me!
 When reading became the vogue he would borrow a sheet of words and sit looking intently at it like an elderly gentleman reading The Times. This sheet, moreover, was always brought out to astonish and confound all illiterate visitors.
But here--if, that is, "my communication has not been already cut!" we must leave Takua and all his belongings for a month's rest.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, June 1924, pages 89-93.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. X.--Raiding and Slaving.
During the Sixties there had grown up a system of kidnapping. South Sea Islanders for "Labour" on the Plantations of New Caledonia and elsewhere. I myself have seen natives disposed of for ten or twelve pounds a head in Nouméa, its Chief Town. There was no Slave Market, just a bargain between Skipper and Planter.
The results of this traffic were the depopulation of the islands and the murder of Bishop Patteson.
Let us hear Percy Pomo's account of the visit of one of these raiders. [Percy Pomo is now out of print. The highest enconium pronounced upon the book is that of the Edinburgh Courant: "Strongly reminds us of Defoe"; a very high compliment indeed. The names are all fictitious: Aurora stands for the Southern Cross; Happy Island for Norfolk Island; Pombuana for Florida, etc.]
 CHAPTER XXXIII. A Very Inferior Race.
Not many days after the events I have related in the last Chapter, there was the shout of a Vessel. Could it be the Aurora come back again? What a joy if it were!
Having lost all I deserted them for * [*Pomo is represented as having deserted from the Mission for the sake of a girl, who had been carried off by somebody else.] I would graciously have condescended to rejoin my ill-treated friends. But no such convenient opportunity was offered me. It was a strange vessel.
Passing us by, she made for the great Bay of Lalo. Seeing, this, Diara and I, and a large party started off for Matanga, which was among the hills.
She had not anchored, but was drifting along with her sails aback, looking as though she wanted to communicate with us. A host of canoes, of course, flew off to her, among which was one containing Diara and me, and three others. We had taken off some articles to sell, but they wouldn't trade; and there was a bamboo railing above the bulwark to keep anyone from going on board. The white faces which looked down upon us were the sickliest I had ever seen, and Diara said to me: "These are no true white men. They are of a different white from Bishop and all our friends. What have they come after, Pomo, and why won't they trade? They are no good."
"I think they are men-stealers," said I, feeling no disinclination to be stolen if such was to be my fate; but I added at the same time, "Don't let us go too near."
So we paddled up under her stern where we could see without being seen; though we were in danger of being swamped by the playful gambols of the rudder, to whose chains we held on.
As I was busily spelling out the name painted on the stern, and had got as far as S-A-U-C-Y J-A----we were startled by a splash and a confused shouting. Looking out round the fat hams of the vessel we saw that there were several canoes broken, and their paddlers swimming about among the wrecks. Then a boat was lowered on the other side, which rowed round, smashing more canoes (the rudder saving ours) and belabouring the heads of the swimmers with the oars till they were stunned and exhausted; and then they gave them their choice of being shot or being taken aboard the boat. After a great splashing and struggling they got a boatful, and took them on board the vessel, which was a brig, by the way, and painted black.
This scattered the canoes of course, and then guns were fired at them, which made the frightened fellows jump into the water, which was exactly what the men of the vessel wanted; for another boat came round the bow, and after belabouring them with oars and threatening them with muskets they got another boat load.
 Imagine our fright when, without a moment's warning, we five were flung into the sea and saw our canoe run up the side of the vessel. While we had been looking at our unfortunate friends the nose of our canoe had shot out from the shelter of the stern, and a noose had been lowered and drawn tight round it. Down clattered the canoe again nearly on our heads, for there was such an eddy about the rudder that it sucked us close to the ships barnacled copper. While we were in this predicament, a man slid down the rope into the boat which was at hand to receive him, and to our affright they made for us. Diara and I were farthest off and they first attacked our friends--how I pitied poor Tolosi as they savagely beat him insensible, and his brave efforts to save his life from those cowardly brutes ended in a swoon back into the water, whence they hauled him into the boat and kicked him out of the way. There were black men, too, among that boat's crew.
Diara, full of life and power, had by this time got the start of them and swam gallantly for the shore. I followed, but the life I had led lately had consumed my strength, and I felt very doubtful if I could escape safe to the fleet of canoes which had clustered at a distance, watching the fray and counting their loss.
As we got nearer to them they began to encourage us and to threaten the boat.
"Come on, Diara! Come on, Pomo! Let the boat come too! Consume it, O Dowlah! It is thy portion. To-day they die! On we swam, we two; Diara ahead, and I following, my breath and body fast giving out, and the boat gaining on me.
Nearest to us of our fleet were two formidable canoes holding five-and-twenty each, while the boat, which was overcrowded, had but two or three men at liberty to fight.
The boat was so close to my heels that I could hear them talking. I heard them say with an oath which I shall not repeat:
"Those devils mean fight. Ugly customers too they are!
"I believe you," answered a harsh cruel voice; "that lubber Bill swamped his musket in hauling that lump of a porpoise aboard. They're too many for us, Joe."
"We'll have the young'un yet," replied the first man, "he's dead beat. Pull, you chicken, or I'll chuck you overboard! Now, then, with your oar, dot his 'i' for him!"
The boat's bow gazed me, but I no sooner felt the cool iron against my skin than I dived beneath her, being careful to lure them in the direction of our fleet. They got up with me again, but catching sight of the butt-end of a musket overhanging the stern, and seeing that they were all in confusion I up arm and dragged off the musket with the intention of presenting it to Dowlah!
That time I felt alarmingly faint when I came to the surface, and I lost my senses for a moment, but the boat was on me once [91/92] more, and what little life I had left revived. A little accident (if I may say so without irreverence) saved me out of their hands.
They seized me by my belt--my Happy Island belt--which I still wore, the only outward relic left of my contact with civilization, and had nearly got me on board, when the belt broke and I fell back in the water.
Diara had reached the fleet, and in another moment there was a general tumult The two big canoes, the one commanded by the dripping Diaa and the other by Tila, rushed upon the boat. Spears flew, clubs "battered, pistols were fired, there were yells for vengeance, shouts of triumph (as I tumbled head-foremost on board "Dolo" at Diara's feet) and howls of pain and discomfiture.
By this time the Brig was bearing down upon the scene of slaughter, and the boat disengaged itself and got away, followed by the curses and denunciations of our outraged people, and attended by the groans of two dying men on board.
We had some wounded, but none mortally so, for our fellows had fairly smothered them with a heavy shower of blows, and frightened them out of their wits with their tremendous shouts and ferocious aspect.
I did not thoroughly regain my senses until evening, when I heard *[*The local chief.] Tila say:
"Those white villains shall yet pay for those thirty men of ours and my own two boys. A treacherous, bloody, brutal race! It is the Bishop and Wakefield who are angry because you did not go with them, Pomo, and, who send these stealers and killers here."
"Oh, no," said I, "that cannot be."
"How could they know the way if Bisopé, who came first, had not told them?"
"That I don't know. But I know that Bishop and Wakefield"--my voice faltered at mention of his name, and to think of their being accused of sending these treacherous butchers--"I know Bishop and Wakefield would never hurt us. They are trying to stop these bad men from coming, and have told Manawa (Man-of-War) about it. Their religion says 'Thou shall do no murder.' "
"Say, then, Pomo, have these men received the religion of Bisopé and Wakefield?" enquired Tila.
"How should I know? I have never seen these men before. They never come to Happy Island." Happy Island! How far away it seemed! And what had I gained by all my disobedience and heartless disregard? Not much surely, but a wounded heart and a sore head.
 "Would then Bisopé be angry if I slew these butchers?"
"Yes; for God says, 'Thou shall do no murder.'"
"Am I, then, to sit still and be killed? First come Wakefield and Bisopé, saying, 'Lay down your spears and clubs, and cease from fighting and bloodshed.' Then come these white
traitors with their guns to snatch and kill us."
"A treacherous, lying race!" exclaimed Tila's new favourite, Taorémbé.* [*Padhea or Porokasu, taken away on the Bishop's first visit and dismissed for bad conduct.]
"Olékama!--But you name them well," cried Tila.
"I know them," continued Taorémbé. "Have I not lived their houses, and sailed in their ships?
"How many did you say, Tila?" asked some insignificant person, anxious to remind the world of his existence.
Twenty-nine, and the saved Pomo--thirty."
"And how many before?"
"Twenty-five stolen and four killed," answered Tila, holding up four fingers emphatically.
"How many is that altogether?" asked the same person, deficient in mental arithmetic.
Fifty-nine," said I, quickly, the result of my Happy Island education.
"And how many from Uri and Bokona, say?"
"Thousands!" cried someone at a venture.
They were all warriors, save Tolosi, who was trash!"
"All warriors!" exclaimed Tila. "Have they not slain my two sons, Rova and Pira, and we are left behind--a few old women and weak children! May I feed on offal if I be not avenged! If not to-day, then to-morrow!" . . .
The Tragic Sequel shall form the subject of our next Reminiscence.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, September 1924, pages 131-135.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. XI.--The Tragic Sequel.
In those days a deserted beach was a bad omen.
Shortly after the visit of the Black Brig described in the June number; on arriving off Boli on Florida I. we saw no one on the beach a great Kiata (canoe house) stood on the sand. It was fifty feet high and 150 feet long, a magnificent building, worthy of Wembley! Its shore end was fortified and barricaded.
There had been terrible foul play--a schooner had been attacked about four days ago by the people of Matérago in the next bay, and seven of her crew killed; so that they thought we might be the same vessel. She was not a headhunter; though they tried to make out that they saw skulls on board, which may have been the case; but it was very imprudent of the captain to display them as he was reported to have done. She was a trader in Bêche-de-mer--sea-slugs.
The following particulars I learnt from Simeon Nongia of Gaeta, who had not come away with us to Norfolk Island last year.
The Schooner, the Lavinia, anchored for 20 days at Vuturua, the port of Simeon's inland village. They were on shore every day, and he mixed freely with them, for they were very kind: the natives collecting the fish for the vessel; while one party smoked them in the smokehouse built by the crew on the shore.
Having exhausted the supply of fish or the energy of the natives, the captain took the vessel round into the next bay and cast anchor at Timba, the port of the people of Matérago. There Simeon's information ends, and I become indebted to Tonisi of that same place. Two boats went ashore with about ten men. Orders were given for building two smoke-houses for the curing of the fish; which were finished in as many days. The white people came ashore unarmed, and were evidently most friendly and well-disposed. But we must recollect that these natives were in no mood to brook any injury at the hands of strange vessels, having had over one hundred of their people kidnapped and eighteen murdered for the sake of their heads quite recently. These combustibles were perfectly safe so, long as no sparks of fire fell among them.
The greatest freedom of intercourse prevailed between Whites and Blacks.
 Tonisi had many of the names of the Europeans quite to his own satisfaction: Cappy Bossy, Jayoahsy, Cooky, Matey, Saiymanny and Loey. There were three parties of seven on board, seven Europeans, seven from San Cristoval, and seven from Simbo, wherever that might be.
For two days the loading went on without any hitch, but on the next the spark of fire fell. Kaléa (the Tila of Percy Pomo) Chief of Matérago, collected fish but was not properly paid. He repeatedly asked for the price of the fish, but was as repeatedly put off with a point to the vessel. Night fell and the fish were still unpaid for. Kaléa was in a very bad humour, and all his own grievances and those of his neighbours crowded his memory.
"Yes! These are they," cried he, "who steal us and kill us. Good! Let them have the fish for nothing. To-morrow they shall die! "
It was arranged that Tonisi and others should get up a dance on the beach, and that those in charge of the boat should be clubbed as they looked on.
That horrible wretch Padhea or Porokasu, who had been taken away by Bishop Patteson on his first visit and had been got rid of for bad conduct, undertook to manage the massacre on board; for which villainy his superior knowledge of European habits and the internal economy of European vessels specially fitted him. So the Satanic Council broke up.
It was hard to hide my emotion as Tonisi related with savage glee and triumph his share in the bloody work, but my object was to learn all. The mate was in charge of the boat that day. He had one white companion and some Blacks.
The Dance began; a very Dance of Death! Suddenly the mate was killed by the blow of a club behind, dealt by a man named Kono. Vidhia dispatched his companion while Kaléa (Tila) and Turua killed the two Blacks in the smoke-house.
Then, with a whoop and halloo the boat was seized, occupied, and paddled off to the vessel; those unable to obtain a seat, swimming, or going off in their own canoes. The moment of attack was opportunely chosen, for the captain and "Loey" had gone off in the other boat to find another anchorage, and were already in sight of my house at Boll. Treachery was again employed. Our viper with his wheedling tones persuaded the people on board that their object was Sambeeree, or trade, and slew the man whom Tonisi called Jayoahsy before the little bargain was concluded. Talenga killed one of the crew (Sailymanny), and, I grieve to say it, Musua, Charles Sapimbuana's elder brother, murdered the cook. This butchery being over, the vessel was plundered completely under the enlightened direction of Porokasu.
Let us hear Percy Pomo again;
 "Tila will rejoice to-night," said I sadly, as we shouldered the canoe, "over his guns and clocks."
"The clock frightened them out of their wits, for it ticked, ticked, ticked all the way up to Matenga, and there they stoned it to death, for they said there must be a white demon inside it."
"Taorémbé should have known better than that--the traitor!"
"He wasn't there."
"What was he doing not to be there?"
"Why, brother, he and Tila were busy with the spoil he values most of all--you know I suppose?"
"The guns I should have thought."
"No no, my brother; not the guns--but the white man's head!"
Captain Brodie, for that is the name and title of which Cappy Bossy was the corruption, on his return from his quest, saw there was something wrong and pulled back in haste to his vessel.
In his statement made in Sydney, he describes the sight which met his bewildered eyes on board as the most horrible he had ever seen. Not a living soul remained on the vessel; but three corpses lay on the deserted deck--one forward, the second amidships; and the third fallen down by the wheel. The skulls of the three were cloven, one nearly severed from the body. George Sellars (Jayoahsy), of Driffield, Yorkshire, had evidently had a hard struggle with his murderer, Porokasu. There remained only one thing to be done, to bury the dead and depart. When this was accomplished, the ship's company numbered fourteen, of whom two only were Europeans, the Captain and Mr. Louis Nixon, the "Loey" of Simeon and his co-narrators.
This was the story I heard briefly told on first landing which I developed from time to time.
Musua and Simeon Nongia came to Boli with Sapimbuana on his return from a visit to his friends at Gaeta, and it was distressing to see in the fine dashing young man (the Diara of Percy Pomo) own brother of our friend; a murderer! Sapi felt it keenly.
I was in the dilemma of not wishing to encourage him, being full of abhorrence of the vile deed and the doers of it, and at the same time desiring to hear from his own lips the true account of it which he gave with considerable exultation.
Tonisi, too, a dancer in that Dance of Death, was on a visit to Sumbasi (my housekeeper), and he with ghastly glee went into all the details of their horrible treachery; enlarging on the part played therein by Tonisi; the words, Inau Tonisi eni, "I, this Tonisi here," occurring frequently.
Simeon Nongia had seen the abundant booty carried off by [133/134] the natives, and among the books, had perceived a written one, which he bought and brought with him. What was my astonishment and interest, when, on taking off the elastic band and opening the first page, I read the name of the writer, Louis Nixon--Lavinia. It was a diary kept regularly since the Lavinia had sailed from Sydney, on January 12th, and clearly showed the nature and proceedings of the vessel and her crew. They first went to San Cristoval, anchoring in the Bay of Makéra, well known to the logs of whalers. If Missionary Bishops have their system and their residents, so also has the Trader, and it must be acknowledged that Mammon is often more enterprising than Missions are.
Mr. Nixon says: "This is a beautiful little harbour in the eastern end of San Cristoval. There is a white man called Mr. Perry stationed here by Captain Brodie. Whalers, when cruising off the place, put in here to refit. As soon as we got in, the mate and George went ashore to build a smoke-house. For five days we did exceedingly well here, the natives bringing in from 1,200 to 1,500 fishes a day, but on the sixth day the schooner Invincible came in, and she was going to leave a man there to fish and cure cocoanuts. The natives after she came in would not work any more. This Morrow Point ("Marau Sound"* [*A large landlocked sheet of very deep water. The Bishop visited here and had boys from the place, but had no station.]) was one of the stations of the late Bishop Patteson and he appears to have been exceedingly well liked here. He has done good to some extent. The women were tabooed from the ship.
After a fruitless search for fish at Malanta, we stood over to the Floridas. Nickol, George and I went ashore and fixed a house, also sent off the Florida natives for fish. Three thousand came in the day. The next day there were 6,000. The fish were plenty, and we were kept at work from 5 a.m. till 9 or 10 at night, and sometimes later. We stopped here just a fortnight ("Simeon says about twenty days") and during that time I suppose we cured about four tons of Bêche-de-mer. The captain having gone round the coast for about five miles and found a good harbour, we shifted round there on May 5th. The same four went on shore at once to put up the smoke-house. We found a lot of natives on the beach. They were very civil to its for the first two days; during which time we had two smoke-houses put up, and the next day we gave the natives to understand that we were ready to buy the fish. We went ashore the next day as usual, unarmed. Hardly had we landed when there was a tremendous jabbering. There are four kings here, and they came up with some others and made us to understand that some natives were coming round the point to kill us----."
 Thus abruptly ends the interesting story; and, with it alas! the career of its youthful writer.
Bishop Patteson when his turn came, anticipated trouble at Santa Cruz.
"I hear," he writes, "that a vessel has gone to Santa Cruz, and I must be very cautious there, for there has been some disturbance almost to a certainty."
And again when off the island just before his death:
"I pray God that if it be His Will, and if it be the appointed time, He may enable us in His own way to begin some little work among these very wild but vigorous and energetic islanders. I am fully alive to the possibility that some outrage has been committed here by one or more vessels. The master of the vessel that Atkin saw did not deny his intention of taking away from this or from any other island, any men or boys he could induce to come on board. I am quite sure that on this account we may be exposed to considerable risk. I trust that all may be well; that if it be His will that any trouble should come upon us, dear Joseph Atkin, his father and mother's only son, may be spared. But I don't think there is much cause for fear; first, because at these small reef islands they know me pretty well, though they do not understand as yet our object in coming among them, and they may very easily connect us white people with the other white people who have been ill-using them;* [*Exactly what happened, as shown above.] second, last year I was on shore at Nukapu and Pileni for some time, and I can talk somewhat with the people; third, I think that if any violence has been used to the natives of the north face of the large island, Santa Cruz, I shall hear of it from the inhabitants of the small islets to the north, Nukapu and Pileni, and so be forewarned."+ [+ See The Passing of the Bishop, Sept. Log, 1921.]
The fears, alas! and not the hopes were to be realised in a few hours.
Thus do the Innocent suffer for the Guilty.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, November 1924, pages 171-175.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. XII--Making Peace.
Having written lately of Raiding and Slaving the following statement of Dr. Codrington on his return from a visit to Queensland is to the point.
On the several Plantations he had visited the natives were kindly treated, but were without Christian teaching. The medium of communication used was a caricature of English, which indeed could hardly be made the means of imparting religious knowledge. Mr. Codrington was amazed to find that the Church in Queensland had no organization for the evangelization of these heathen thousands, who, as he justly said in a memorandum on this subject which he addressed to the Synod, "are still untaught," simply because they have been taken to that Christian land for the profit of the inhabitants."
It is the 16th of May, 1872, and we are packed up for Hongo, but can scarcely believe it for the Hongo People and the Boli have been hitherto sworn enemies. Our object was to make peace.
A very threatening morning indeed; although Kalevitu has had due notice to make fine weather. Our final starting point is Port Wiseman (after the Commodore of that name), which is at the mouth of the narrow Strait called Scudamore Passage (after Lieut. Scudamore of the same vessel); about an hour's walk from [171/172] my house. The baggage was put on board but Takua and I and the majority of the party walked along the beach. Little lame Talisi,* [*See the Log for March, 1924, page 40.] Takua's pet nephew, whom he carried long distances rather than part with him, limped along with us.
It soon became evident that it was going to rain, and happening to meet Kalevitu, his face deeply lined and very dismal--weather-beaten in a new sense--we asked him what was the matter? His explanation was to the effect that someone must have removed his Tindalo (magic) paddle from the head of the canoe, where he had stuck it, pointing skyward. On we went; and presently the rain came down in gloomy torrents, with the darkness of night. We sheltered for a time under a bough of a gigantic tree; but deemed it best to push on to Kovanga, the rendezvous, where there was a shed.
Rain, rain, rain; a very nasty walk we had of it--the latter part through a mixture of salt water and black mud, because of an inconvenient tapu (or tamboo) which drove us off the sand. My feet began to blister, for my boots were like boards from constant wetting and drying. Our bivouac at Kovanga was very uncomfortable. The shed was much too small to accommodate our large party, who were chilly with the rain, and lighted countless fires of damp firewood!
Damp, dirty, and half suffocated, I lay on a waterproof sheet tightly jammed between my immediate bedfellows. The rain clearing a little, my friends went out to fish in a little creek a few yards from the mouth of the shed. On the opposite side of the creek (about twenty yards wide) lies a mangrove swamp, the most awful solitude imaginable. Out of the curved roots of these trees they made the ribs of their canoes.
Night came on, not much darker than the day had been. The fish had to be cooked, and the furnace was heated hotter than before so that the pungent atmosphere acquired the density of a London fog. The smoke gave me a sick headache and violent smarting pains in my chest. I felt wet and miserable. Takua had vehemently opposed my coming, knowing what lay before us, but to his "I told you so!" I answered, "All right. My fault. No. I won't go back. But it is the smoke and not the journey which kills me."
In the middle of the night I thought my chest would burst. I poked my head out under the eaves, but only to encounter the stifling fumes blown in from the watch-fires by the creek. Difficult task as it was I scrambled out over a superficies of bodies and smouldering embers, and went and sat by the creek, my weary head resting upon my knees. Our common friend Dikea [172/173] followed me out and warned me against catching cold. I told him that of two deaths I was choosing the less painful.
Ill as I was I could not help admiring the singular splendour of the scene, for the trees appeared to have stiffened into frosted silver in the moonlight. But as I gazed, lazily and dreamily, thinking of Norfolk Island, the Southern Cross, and (recalled by a passing figure) of that hive of heathen men behind me, wondering how their conversion was to be brought about, and what a miraculous success Missions are if only one soul--one stubborn human will--be bowed down to kiss the lowly Saviour's feet--the moon began to pale, and a faint chilly air was breathed upon the night. It was the sigh of awaking Nature; the dawn was at hand, and the burden of existence would soon have to be resumed.
I went into our shed, hoping to sleep a little before day, and a truly delicious plunge did I make into the sweet depths of oblivion. Me first return of consciousness made me aware that a very early move was the order of the day, for everyone was already astir, rolling up his mat, smoking his morning pipe, or munching a cold breakfast. Never was there a more reluctant riser than myself that morning. Trifle as it may appear, the anticipation of wet shoes and sodden socks made me quite low-spirited. A cup of weak tea and a biscuit was my breakfast, excitement being my real support. We were off without delay. There were thirteen canoes in all; the Peko holding forty, and each of the others about twenty men, some more, some less.
We were evidently:
"Pursuing Peace with unsurrendered Power."
The pure sweet morning air soon dispelled the fumes from my head and chest; and the lovely scenery through which we were passing made me forget my late discomforts. The sunlight was bright on the forest-covered hill-tops, whence peeped m some places eagle-eyed little houses, looking up into the far east. To one of these eyries I had climbed some years ago, and thence first gained an idea of the meandering course of the narrow water, over which we were now so swiftly gliding, still enveloped with the lingering shadows of the night. I recollect that on that very occasion a great alarm was raised at the mere sight of a canoe paddling as if from Hongo! Paddling (by the way) has nearly as many changes as bell-ringing, which relieve the monotony of the labour--sometimes the stroke of the paddle is followed by one or more taps on the gunwale of the canoe, at others our progress was noiseless, the paddles being held out at arms' length. The natives consider paddling much more practical than rowing, because you can see where you are going.
 I was able to write comfortably with an active paddler on each side of me, so wide was our beautiful vessel, and so smooth our way, and so swift too, that often, I nearly slipped off my seat into the lap of the man behind me.
She was no dug-out; but a plank-built canoe, whose planks had been cleft and hewn with stone adzes; thin strips of cane were passed through holes drilled in their edges and tightly placed together, the seam being covered with the soft core of a nut which hardens on exposure to the air.
Glittering with inlaid mother-of-pearl, her towering prow and poop flutttering with long red streamers, we might have graced some Lord Mayor's River Pageant of the good old times.
Our quick progress caused the hills and trees on either side to whirl past us with ever-varying grace. Headlands and bays and lovely grottoed islets, piled with green, relieved by the starlike flight of cockatoos, swam by us like arms ever opening to embrace us, ever receding as we eluded their embrace.
At last we got to the limit of my past travels up the Strait--the mouth of a Dismal Swamp, whose chill will, I believe, never quit my bones. Black, soft mud, in which I saw natives sink up to their breasts is the foundation (if it will bear the name): overhead, dense sunproof shade of matted twigs and leaves; and between the yielding floor and impenetrable roof, a bewildering maze of mangrove roots and branches; roots twisting serpent-like out of the mud and turning into branches; branches coming clown like groping fingers into the mud and becoming roots. The only foothold is on the slanting serpentine roots, to slip from which is to sink knee-deep into the stinking mud. Over this surface of would-be boot-jacks out of which one had to extricate one's shoes at every step, behold me staggering and stumbling, with my German Concertina in one hand and. a tin canister in the other!
My companions were busy lifting their long heavy canoe over this amazing entanglement, as distracting to the eye as it is perplexing to the foot; an intricacy so consummate as to suggest the idea that all the old ladders, stiles, hurdles, five-barred gates, scaffolding, wreck-gear and lattice work in general of the universe had been shot there!
A little farther on, off a pretty point, our fleet drew up in a line, its occupants becoming completely silent. Something, evidently was about to happen. Suddenly but gently, all the canoes began to sway slowly from side to side. This was the work of Tindalos, and the silence remaining still unbroken, Takuu exclaimed: "Now! inquire of the Spirits; shall we go up or shall we forbear? Now! inquire of this one as a strong spirit-wave rocked our Peko) "Why are you all silent?" Then rose old [174/175] Gauvi and cried: "Ai huatigo! Ai huatigo! Huatigo! tigo! tigo! tigo! tigo, tigo."* [*We inquire of thee! Inquire of thee! 'quire of thee! Of thee! Of thee! Of thee! etc.]
And no response (that is no swaying) being forthcoming, he added: "Do you see? He forbids us." Then several names of other Tindalos were proposed, Keramo the general name for Tindalos of war; Padigi, &c., &c. I felt very uneasy lest the Spirits should not relent. At last Hauri was inquired of, and a wave of assent bowed our tall poop and prow, which Gauvi interpreted: "Let us go up to Hongo! Let us dance and eat and smoke and chew betel, and,"--well, I will leave the rest out!
How we fared at Hongo shall be chronicled in our next.
[From The Southern Cross Log, English edition, December 1924, pages 184-188.]  REMINISCENCES. By the Rev. C. H. BROOKE. No. XIII.--Our Reception at Hongo.
The Tindidos having given a favourable answer to the incantations of. Guavi, we pursued our peaceful way.
My little brass clock (watches being impossible through lack of pockets and an all-pervading moisture) announced ten o'clock as we passed Kirigi, and not long afterwards we entered a wide sound with beautiful receding bays, full of natural rockeries and aquariums on every hand.
Mention of clocks and watches reminds me of my Crusoe-like difficulty of holding on to time in those parts, especially if I travelled continuously night as well as day; for when once you have let slip the hour or the day you have no means whatever of picking it up again.
It is what actually happened to me on one occasion. Travelling continuously through the twenty-four hours, one failed to realize that one had entered on another day; and for the life of me I could not tell what day it was (hours and days are not counted by the natives), nor could any of my companions either! So we said we would call it Thursday and start fresh; but on the arrival of the Southern Cross we found that we were a day out. So very artificial a thing is Time! When whalers called at Norfolk Island it was often Sunday aboard and Saturday ashore; for as they were making a round trip they would regain the day they had lost or lose the day they had gained, and did not trouble to change. It was once suggested that when they gained a whole day (which of course did not exist in any almanack) it should be called "Star-Day." So very artificial a thing is Time!
Meanwhile we have got in sight of the Hongo Hills on our left, but it would have been neither "good form" nor considered safe to go straight ashore. Therefore we landed on this side of the sound at a place called Paripura or White Beach, from the whiteness of its sand.
Takua sent a party over to Hongo (of the same tribe as they) to enquire what should be done. Meanwhile the tide being low, our whole party, with the exception of Kalevitu and myself--both with headaches--went to fish, for we had to live on whatsoever Nature was pleased to provide for us of her own free gift.
There was no village near; our great object being to keep out of Charm's way, for our crumbs, or any of our refuse could be used to bewitch us with; and until the Hongo feed us we must [184/185] pick up our food for ourselves. I at last succumbed to sick and nervous headache, my foot also causing me much pain and making me feel crippled.
Towards evening we raised our village of about one hundred lean-tos. A couple of spears were stuck into the ground and a third fastened across the top in order to support a sloping roof of boughs and branches.
I lay down, wanting only one thing-sleep! Oh! for the drowsiness of too many a Sunday afternoon! Oh! for the privacy of my bedroom at Norfolk Island, or even that of my little bamboo house at Boli! Instead of which, imagine our clustering, roaring camp of lively merry savages, children of the woods and shore, perfectly at home, and enjoying the fun of cooking their day's sport.
My Mota companion, Thomas Ulgau, came to ask me some question, I have no idea what, but I recollect answering him in French, which language often slipt in when local words failed and yet I knew I must not talk English. Noise was the occupation of our camp as a means of keeping themselves awake and of letting the enemy (I beg pardon! our friends) over the way know that we were not to be taken by surprise.
The last sound I heard was the hoarse bellowing of the conch, which at length acted homeopathically as a lullaby, and when I awoke it was day--Sunday.
It was a most lovely morning. The sweet cool trade-wind was blowing upon us from the opposite Hongo Hills, rippling gently the blue waters at our feet. Having bathed and breakfasted, Thomas Ulgau, Richard Maru, and myself, formed a little congregation and we had Morning Prayer.
This was the first time that the sound of Christian Prayer had ever roused the echoes of those hills, and a great crowd surrounded us.
Takua was too ill to rise. After prayers I took a stroll through the camp. It was a very curious, animated scene; a collection of about one hundred of these small huts, clustering close together, but facing in all directions, reminding me as I passed quickly from one variety of movement and occupation to another, of looking through; a series of facetious stereoscopic slides. My sudden and unexpected appearances were always hailed with pleasure, while interest was further excited by means of a large, picture of Her Majesty Queen Victoria which I happened to have with me; and I ventured to think that it would not have been a matter of indifference to that Gracious Lady to learn that the measures lately taken by her Government for the suppression of the Slave Trade had earned for herself and for the Great Nation she represented, the regard and reverence of these people; for they are not ungrateful, but the services rendered to them are [185/186] often of a character they cannot yet appreciate, which lack of appreciation is apt to disappoint the zealous, but unsympathetic benefactor.
Now, let us sit together on this white beach; forest behind us, the blue waters of the sound at our feet; and the Hongo Hills opposite.
We are expecting momentarily to see a file of people serpentine down yonder grassy slope, which will be the signal for launching our canoes and going over to Hongo, hitherto unvisited by any white man.
"A Ngaira tua! There they are!" "Ngatu! Hagenda! Off and on board with us all!"
These are the shouts which assail my ears while appropriate action meets my eyes.
But Takua is lame in our hut, and cannot go, so I go to bid him farewell. "Go!" says he, "But don't go ashore! Piku and Galaiga will say for you what you want to say, and point out those to whom it is fitting to give presents. But don't go ashore, and don't give 'em too many things!"
Therefore Manaria, Takua's deputy, and I took our seats amidships in the Peko, and were paddled over to Hongo.
The canoes grounded. Our party got out and stood in a double line in front of our canoes, across the mouth of a break in the belt of bush which lay at the bottom of the aforesaid spur. Manaria and I stood up in the Peko, he holding me tightly by the wrist lest I should disregard Takua's counsel, which I fully intended to do as soon as the opportunity offered. My Mota companion stood behind us, much interested. The order issued to our double line was to stand as still as death, happen what might. I noticed that our great orator Sauvui was gorgeously arrayed with rings and suns and moons of white shell on his forehead and his breast, bearing a splendid shield, with a cross of red, blue, and yellow parrot-feathers down the middle (the figure accidental of course), together with a tomahawk glitteringly inlaid, and a long ebony spear pointed with elaborately carved and splintered human shin-bone. He looked extremely imposing, being horribly afraid.
Each individual of our double lines stood on guard, with shield up, and spear held back at arm's length. It would have been more graphic to have said that a spear and shield were hung on each post of our double fence.
After a short interval a rustling was heard in the cover to our left, whence defiled a company of the Hongo, about one hundred strong, armed with tomahawks and spears and bearing shields. It would have been impossible to compliment them on their erect military bearing, for they were all stooping so low [186/187] that each man's body was covered by his shield (as a good cricketer's wicket is by his bat) the bottom of which nearly touched the ground, while the warrior's nose rested on the top. This fierce grotesque array of swaying bodies, wagging heads, rolling eyes, dancing legs, hanging shields, and quivering spears, passed so close to our front line that at one dreadful moment a Hongo spear caught in a Boli shield; but the shield might have been hanging on a post for any motion or emotion discernible in its bearer.
My Mota companion makes an entry in his diary that at this juncture he thought a fight must have broken out. It was like watching sparks of fire falling among barrels of gunpowder. Scarcely had the novelty of this troop worn off than a second emerged from the right, and lastly a third marched down the opening in the middle, each of which went through the same performance as the first; all forming up into line a few yards from ours, the numbers on either side being about equal.
After much bo-peep behind the shields, and threatening our unwinking eyes with their spear-points, the Hongo line broke up and retired.
Then came to the front old Begoni, the chief of Hongo, a smiling, childlike man, who had to deliver the speech of the afternoon; but his memory proving inconstant, and being without any notes, he laboured under great difficulties, having to be prompted from behind. He was understood to say:
"Takua, Manaria, Sauvui, etc., etc., come ashore here! We are all cousins and brothers and uncles and aunts and mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law. This is no strange land to my friends the Boli. Come ashore! say I, this Bachelor, here!" And away he walked, a bachelor merely in the rhetorical Eastern sense of being "a dog" etc.; since I was afterwards introduced to Mrs. Begoni: as an opportunity of offering her some present, or in the technical phraseology of the locality: "That I might know her by the means of beads."
Several other speakers followed on either side, and guns were fired by our party (gifts of thoughtless Commodores and others) after which a small Hongo band burst through our lines and cast some baskets of yams into the nearest canoe.
No longer able to resist the temptation of going ashore, I broke away from Manaria's grip, but was prevented by our line, three hands suddenly seizing hold of me in a most determined manner. Seeing this, I called out to Begoni who came over to me, and finding that I was not to be thwarted my handcuffs were removed and I walked freely ashore at Hongo. I shook the good-natured looking, beaming, and exceedingly hirsute Begoni by the hand, adding a Florida cheek-scrub, and telling him how [187/188] proud I felt at being the first white man to tread his land, hoping I should often do so again in the future. The principal magnates of the place were then pointed out to me, to whom I gave a few trifling presents, but with which they were more than satisfied.
While thus engaged, and so utterly surrounded by Hongo people that my Mota friend endeavoured vainly to get at me, and having doubts as to my safety, up came two old scholars, Danivulu and Sulupia, finding fault with me for being too liberal; a piece of selfishness which disgusted me very much, and I at once doubled the length of my strings of beads, etc., wanting to know whose property it was that I was distributing. Immediately afterwards Dudley Laukona called my name over the heads of the intervening press, saying that "we were off, it being already night"; in which haste Boll selfishness and jealousy again had part.
When we were re-seated in our canoes, Rasa, Begoni's son, stood at the water's edge exclaiming: "Ko tona, arovigo Boorookoo! E arovigo Boorookoo!" "Go poor Brooke! Poor Brooke!"
So I stood up and shouted: "Kambu! Kambu! Stay! Stay!" which is the correct response to their valedictory "Go!" Just then we let off a gun, which made everybody, Boli and Hongo, jump; but we good-naturedly explained that it was only our little way of saying good-bye.
With much conch-blowing we departed, crossing over again to the other side; having, I think, performed an act well becoming a Sunday afternoon--namely to set forward Peace on Earth and Good Will among Men.
And here, with this seasonable Christmas note, it has been decided that these Reminiscences must cease; but not without a hope that the Future, with its wider outlook and increasing burdens, may inherit or revive the vigour and enthusiasm of the Past.