Project Canterbury

Letter in Mota

By R. H. Codrington

[Conjectural publication at Norfolk Island: Melanesian Mission Press, c. 1887]

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2006

Transcriber's Note

Letter in Mota, dated New York, August 17, 1887, from R. H. Codrington apparently to community at S. Barnabas School, Norfolk Island, describing his travel to the USA via Auckland, Samoa, and Honolulu, including his trip across the USA by train and visit to Niagara Falls. Letter is typeset and printed, probably by Melanesian Mission Press on Norfolk Island, probably for distribution to the community. (From Church of Melanesia Archives, Honiara, Solomon Islands.)

NEW YORK, August 17, 1887

Ragai, ratatasik, ratutuak, wa rananatuk mulan, sin a gaganag qatutui momiu at ape nau me nina ma iake, me aras veta ma nan kamiu nava mun o nonom ran ma apen kamiu. We nun me tole aneane veta nok o vanoga ma, pa gate paso tiqa qale toga si nalevegao tavala lama ilo vanuak i England.

Nau me toga lolowono a Auckland o qon gate purat qara vega vawo stima liwoa, wa tasin Mrs. Bice mulan amen kamam. O lan qara vus maremare wa o rep me kalo ran ape tano as; paso nan me wia, wa me ilo paso Tatuila arivtag Samoa me mano maul alo masaoi we tutun. Pa nau we nonom mok si na me ilo mok o tuan tanun talo vanuamiu vawo boat, neira me gamo lue a Samoa. Paso nan me ilo o vanua we wia Honolulu, pa gate wia aneane; si sei mi ilo navanuamiu ni tete nonom aneane ape vanua ilone, o sokore matig gai! Pa I Kapten me gale kamam si gate mule aras lai, paso nan me maul aneane vawo aka, we iloilo o reremera we manmanig ape som. Pa me tavaraka nan aia qara toga mulan o wik tuwale, paso nan me ilo o vanua we poa aneane iloke Amerika, me olo alo Sunday. Wa alo Monday mulan we tak o vanoga alo railway. Wa iloke o vasasa gai me lagao o masao lama alo taplagolago tama o takele matesala me ris stima nia wa we levegao. O masaoi wun tama a taun wa Nepean I. nau me mamakei apena. Paso nan alo qon me lagau avune tauwe pa gate ilo mantag; paso nan me siwo ilo vanua vanameag, we tatas aneane gai o vanua ilone, o gene tama o nawo aia we ilo tama o one, we log si alkali, o maran nol we valvalago alo vanua vanameag ilone, wa o qon nol mulan, wa tavala maran we rowolue a pan qilo. O qilo iloke tama o Qilo Matea, o nawo alolona we gogona aneane, wa o tauwe we tingoro we eleele, o snow avunana. Paso nan we kalo mulan we kalokalo we kalokalo we lagau o tauwe we eleele tamaike, o vara 10,000, wa Mt. Pitt iloke o vara 1,000. Wa a matesala me ilo o vasasa gai, o qarana wa o vat, tavala tauwe wa tavala tauwe ilone mulan. Ilo we tamaike vagama. O qarana we roro aneane wa ape kere qarana o pei salesale, wa pan qarana o nua wa o tauwe we eleele aneane. Ape kere qarana tama o siliga tete ilo lait o loa. Wa o nua nan iloke tama o vara 2000, si 1000, si o tauwe we sasargava tama 3000. Pa we [front page/back page] wurvag o matesala ape railway apan pei, o takele matesala me vur wia si me tit o nua apena. Wa we valvalago gaplot gate nonom apen mateaweta, nava o salavano te gogolo aneane apena. Pa avunana ran alo tano laglagau avune tauwe ilone we eleele tama we vara vaga 10,000, o railway me valvalago tama alo ima, me taur goro mun o ima nan o snow wa savrag siwo o taplagolago. Pa gate wia aneane o masaoi ilone, gate ilo aras, ape tauwe nan wawaliog gese we eleele tama o vara 13,000 si 14,000. Wa o tuara tauwe o snow we toga avuna tamaike wa we log si o Tauwe Wolowolo we Rono.

Pa me valago lue nan o qarana nan ilone wa me lagau paso o tauwe ilone, qara rowolue nan alo rata liwoa. Wa me toga veta alo taplagolago o qon wa o maran 5, wa me asau nau o lama o mile 2,000, qara rowolue alo rata liwoa ilone. Gate wia aneane o rata, gate tantangae aia, pa o ima gap wa o tuqei. Paso nan me lagau o pei liwoa nirua tuwale Misouri, tuara Misisipi, ilo o totogale vanua. Paso nan me nina mulan o qilo liwoa tama o lama pa o pei, paso nan o tuara Lake Erie, wa nau me ilo navanuan Nat, pa o takele gap, Pensylvania, wa nau we nonom ape neia, wa kamiu te gaganag munia. Paso nan nau me ilo o tur vasasa o siriv liwoa ilone Niagara. I Bishop me ilo mona veta wa ni te kakakae lai mun o kamiu. Pa ke! o siriv ilone tama avea gai! we eleele wun tama o siriv ilone arivtag Pek, pa iloke we rowo rua, wa tuwale tama, o siriv ilone wun a Vanua Lava vaga 500. Pa nau me mule mok lai ape kule siriv, nanagok ape pei, wa nakulak ape vat, pa nau me gogolo. Wa o pelagolago mulan aia we ilo si tama I Marawa ilone me tia o talau apena, wa we ilo o taplagolago we lagau tama si o lano. Wa o siriv ilone ragai Ke-e-e-e-e-i-i-i!!!! tete vava tete reve lai.

Qarig nau we vega mulan vawo stima o qon 6 ti nau qara ilo mulan navanuak. Pa mun nalolok we savai? gate mun o lolo masekeseke, tete lai mun o nonom apen kamiu, ape nau me toa nan kamiu. Nau we iloilo o vasasa nan, o tauwe, o qarana, o pei, o siriv, o vanua nau we nonom apen kamiu, wa nalolok we wono gese. Ape nau me toga malakalaka amen kamiu, wa we maros ran we pirin kamiu, wa ilokenake me aseg wora nina. Pa iloke nau we paere vagae amen kamiu si nipea loloqon inau, pr tur nonom ape nau wa we rave o letas num nau, si nina pul lai tamaike.

Good-bye kamiu nol, mun o tapeva we poa inau,


Translation by Thorgeir Kolshus with further revision by Derek Rawcliffe and Terry Brown.

NEW YORK, August 18, 1887.

Folks, my brothers, my sisters, my children,

This is a short note to inform you that I have arrived here. I am already far away from you but all my thoughts remain with you. Truly, it has already been a long journey, but it is not over yet, I must still cross the sea to reach my country, England.

I remained sad during the few days I spent in Auckland before we embarked on the large steamer, together with Mrs Bice's sister. The wind was very strong and the waves reached the funnel. Eventually things were fine. With Tatuila out of sight and Samoa rather a long way off, we had some hot weather. I believe I saw some people from your islands on board, they sailed out at Samoa. After this we saw the wonderful place, Honolulu, but it is not all that wonderful; no one who has seen your islands will give this place a second thought, poor coconuts indeed! The captain lied to us that we could not go very far, so we spent most of the time on board the ship looking at the children diving for money. We left that island and sailed for yet another week, after which we saw the huge country America where we reached shore on a Sunday. On Monday we continued our journey on the railway. And what a marvellous thing, we passed over the water on board the train as if part of the road had changed into a steamer and was crossing over a shallow ford. The place was probably like the size of Nepean Island [near Norfolk Island]. I was astonished at it. After this we crossed the mountain in the night, but I did not get a proper view of it. Then we descended to a wasteland, until we reached that place. There is something like salt water there that looks like sand. It is called alkali. Every day it runs into that waste land and every night too, and next day it comes out alongside the saltwater pool. This pool is like the Dead Sea, the saltwater in it is very bitter, and the mountain that bounds it is high with snow on the top. After this we again climbed higher and higher, crossing a mountain as high as 10,000 feet, while Mt Pitt is a mere 1,000 feet. On the road we saw a genuine marvel, a gorge and a rock, across mountain after mountain. Truly, it was like a vagama [?]. The canyons were very deep and in the bottom rivers were running and beside the canyon were very high cliffs and mountains. At the bottom of the canyon it was like night time, one cannot see the sun. The cliffs there are about 2,000 or 1,000 feet, if the mountain is 3,000 feet high. But a way for the railroad had been cleared at the side of the river, a part of the road to split the cliffs [i.e. a cutting]. We speeded seemingly without thinking about accidents, but one's fellow travellers were something to be very frightened of. But up above on the mountain pass reaching a height of 10,000 feet, the railway ran on as if one was in a house, a house protecting snow being thrown down on the train [a snow shed]. But the place was not very pleasant, one could not see far because of the many mountains surrounding it reaching heights of 13,000 or 14,000 feet. On another mountain snow was staying on the top, and it was called Mount of the Holy Cross.

We came out from those canyons and finished crossing the mountains, only to arrive at a great plain. We had already spent five days and nights on the train, and the ocean was 2,000 miles away, when we finally arrived at that great plain. It was not a very fine plain, there were no trees there, only houses and gardens. After this, we crossed two large rivers, one Missouri, the other the Mississippi (see the picture of the place). After this we again reached a large lake, like the ocean, except that it was fresh water, then another, Lake Erie, and I saw Nat's town, but only a little part of it, Pennsylvania, and I thought of him. Make sure you tell him about it. After this I saw a true marvel, the great Niagara waterfall. The Bishop has already seen it and he will be able to tell you about it. But oh, that waterfall is like nothing else, it is maybe as high as the waterfall close to Pek, but this springs forth double and is perhaps five hundred times the Vanua Lava waterfall. I went behind the falls, my face towards the water and my back towards the stone, but I was afraid. The bridge there was as if a spider had woven a web and it seemed as if the train went across it like a fly. And that waterfall, wooooow, it is impossible to describe.

Today I shall embark on the steamer and in six days' time I shall see my country again. But how do I feel? It is not with happy feelings; that's not possible because my thoughts stay with you, because I deserted you. I keep on seeing all kinds of wonders, mountains, canyons, lakes, waterfalls, places, yet I keep on thinking about you and I feel sad. Because I was always happy when I stayed with you, and I really want to help you, and now we are split apart. Only this, I always implore you not to forget me, but to think about me and write me letters, so that we in that way can remain friends.

Goodbye all of you, with much love.


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