APRIL 9.--On this day the "Southern Cross" left Norfolk Island on her first voyage of the year, having on board her, besides myself, the Revs. R. B. Comins, A. Brittain, C. W. Browning, R. P. Wilson, P. T. Williams, Simon Qalges, and Dr. Williams. There were also forty-one boys, eight women, and four children. Of these some had finished their education at Norfolk Island, and were now going to begin work as teachers; some were going down for a few months holiday, and would return in September. The school at Norfolk Island was left in the charge of Archdeacon Palmer, the Revs. T. C. Cullwick and W. G. Ivens. The Revs. H. Welchman and L. P. Robin had spent the summer in the islands--one at Siota, and the other with his people in the Torres Islands, and in these places we looked forward to meeting them, picking them up and sending them back to Norfolk Island for rest and change.
Arrival on the Field.
April 16.--Having run our usual course to the eastward of the Loyalties, and through the southernmost islands of the New Hebrides we reached Raga (Pentecost Island) at the north end of the group, about 800 miles to the north of Norfolk Island. This is the limit of the Mission's field of work to the south; the northern limit includes the Solomon Islands, so that from Raga we have 800 miles to travel amongst islands which we call "ours."
"The Labourers are Few."
I went ashore at Raga and made inquiries about the state of affairs. Everything seemed to be well. The old schools were doing good work, so far as I could hear, and there were many new ones, sprung up in the last year. The difficulty was not to get the people to school, but to find teachers for them; quite second-rate boys having to take first-class positions for lack of better men.
At Opa things were not very prosperous. The death of one teacher, and the failure of another, had upset our work very much. This is a difficult island to win. Our advance is very slow, neither the people nor their teachers showing any stability or strength of character.
 Mr. Brittain went ashore at Maewo, our third and last island in the New Hebrides, with the intention of staying five months or more in these islands. I examined the school register at Tanrig and at Naru. The Tanrig people seemed to attend school rather poorly, but it was accounted for by the teacher's (Arthur Aru) illness. Poor fellow, his legs were in a terrible condition, and a few months afterwards he died. At Naru the attendance was much better, and I gave prizes.
In the Banks Islands.
April 18.--Entered upon the Banks Group of Islands (nine altogether), went ashore on the rocks of Merelava, where the Rev. W. Vaget and many people were awaiting us. The island is an extinct volcano, rising to 3,000 ft. above the sea. Its sides are covered with gardens and trees, although the slope makes an angle of 48°. We climbed up a gully, down which, in rainy weather, the water runs at such a pace that no one can wade it. This brought us to the ledge which the people had formed on the mountain side to carry the new stone church which they had just completed. A considerable number of Christians had come together from all parts of the island for the dedication. They were very hearty in their worship, and they appeared to me to be very sincere. I afterwards confirmed ten men and six women, who had been ready to receive Confirmation for two years, but had been prevented owing to my being unable to land through rough weather two years ago, and owing to the sickness of the crew last year, when we arrived home without calling here. It speaks well for the sincerity of the people that these disappointments did not discourage them or check their enthusiasm.
Merig lies about fifteen miles from Merelava. It is very small, fairly lofty, green and tree-covered. The surf breaks all round it. I scrambled ashore over great black slippery rocks with a big wave in full pursuit of me. I reached the rocks, on which the people were gathered, fairly dry. They are visited by no white people besides ourselves, and they were very pleased to see us. They had built a stone church; and I dedicated it, and then confirmed two women and a man. The people in the island number 52 all told. They gave me many presents, and I gave them some, and we came away very happy.
April 19.--I spent Sunday ashore at Mota, and on the following day sailed for Motalava and Ureparapara. Mr. Wilson was left in charge of Mota. His report, and that of Mr. Cullwick, on the condition of affairs in that island, will be read with interest.* [*See Reports of Messrs. Cullwick and Wilson herewith.] The native priest, Henry Tagalad, and the Deacon Sogovman, came off to us at Motalava. All was well, and as we wanted to anchor in the crater at Ureparapara for the night, we did not go ashore. Sogovman, when I had last seen him, had seemed to be dying. He was now perfectly recovered, and soon afterwards he returned to his work at Pek.
 Stones for the Temple.
Rowa lies a few miles beyond Motalava. It is smaller than Merig, with only forty people living, they say, in five different settlements. I went ashore and found that they were building quite a large stone church. The materials have to be brought in canoes from Motalava, a long journey for such small craft. Anchored in the crater at Ureparapara.
April 21.--I inducted the Rev. Simon Qalges to his charge in Ureparapara. He answered my questions very plainly, and his people were much impressed. He is the latest addition to our staff of native clergy; there are now two priests and nine deacons.
In the Torres Islands.
April 22.--Off Loh in the Torres Islands in early morning. Rev. L. P. Robin came on board in good health, and with an excellent report to give of his people. Went ashore and confirmed four men and a woman. The people were very bright and friendly.
Steamed on to the next island, Tegoa, and dropped anchor in Hayter Bay. A rough walk of three miles over sharp coral and slippery roots brought us to the Christian village, which is well placed about 100 feet above the level of the sea. The villagers from all around gave us welcome, one and all shaking hands with us. I confirmed twenty-four of them, sexes equally divided. Preached on "Not having spot or wrinkle." The Mota is, Tagai ran o malaqo si o mirmirgogo. The teacher, Ernest, my interpreter, was silent when I announced my text. He had forgotten the meaning of these long Mota words. As the sermon went on he guessed they were something pretty bad, and Robin says he gave a fair general account of my address. Some interpreters make me miserable, for I know that they are not following me. Others turn a bad address into a good one by putting the badly-expressed thoughts into new words which their people will understand.
April 23.--Dedicated the church to St. Cuthbert. I carried away very pleasant recollections of these Teguans. They are wonderfully friendly. Everyone gave me a present of some sort, mostly food, knives, and small baskets.
At Santa Cruz.
April 25.--Anchored at Nelua, Santa Cruz. Sad news was in store for us here. The natives had been in an excitable and unsettled condition for some time, and had lately burned down the school house at Taape. But, worse than this, I discovered that the missionary in charge had fallen into the evils out of which he should have led his people, and it was necessary for me to send him away. This was a fearful blow for the church in Santa Cruz, and for all the Mission. May God help us and deliver us from the Evil One, who goes about seeking whom he may devour. Dr. Williams, who was on his way to Guadalcanar, offered to stay at this difficult post, and I [3/4] accepted his offer, thankful that I had such a man to put there. The doctor knew nothing of the language, and had never stayed ashore in the island before. The Church was probably rent in pieces.* [*See Doctor Williams' Report herewith.]
"Hearts Bereaved and Sore Distressed."
April 27.--Ashore at Nifuloli and Pileni. At the first the head teacher was ill, but the people were schooling. They reported that the next island to them wanted to have a teacher. At Pileni our arrival caused great grief, for little Sifa, the pretty little fellow whom they had given us last year, had died at Norfolk Island. The women wailed, and the men made a demonstration with bows and arrows. The poor father and mother came to the house where we were, and threw themselves on the ground and writhed in grief. I spoke to them, and the woman gave me her hand and let me comfort her. It was very sad. Sifa was a most loveable boy, and the Reef Islanders, like all Polynesians, are extraordinarily affectionate.
The Duff Islands.
April 28.--Reached the Duff Islands early in the morning. I went ashore with the two Williamses. George Sarawia Domo, the teacher, and a lot of very friendly people, met us and conducted us across the reef to the village. They gave us two boys to take with us; however one was said to cough at times, and so I rejected him and was content with one, a lad of about eighteen. He was the first scholar we had ever had from this island. As the ship was going north he was left at Nelua, in Santa Cruz, until her return. Here he became home-sick, and returned home in a canoe on the first opportunity which occurred.
The Solomon Islands.
May 2.--Off Ulawa early. Ashore at Suholu, Marata, and Matoa. At the first, a great many people are schooling vigorously, and the heathen have become very quiet and well disposed. At the second, a good new schoolhouse was approaching completion. The third is the Rev. C. Marau's village. It is a model of cleanliness, and built in good taste. The church which Clement and his people are building is of coral, cut out o£ the reef and sawn square. When finished it will be the finest piece of native or European work in the Solomons. He says that the heathen have not hindered the building of it, but have marvelled, admired, and occasionally grumbled because they had not been called in to help. The Christians have made it their work alone. There are eighty children and young people, and fifty adults going to school here. In August I returned from further north and examined the school, and found that the scholars had never missed attendance. They write very well, read fairly, and say long pieces of Scripture by heart wonderfully well. As I had been giving prizes chiefly for good attendance in my school examinations, I was faced here with the necessity of giving eighty prizes. I was almost ruined.
 Halting Between Two Opinions.
Christianity is certainly in possession in Matoa, but the island generally is only in a transition stage, and walking the street of this village, amongst its clean, nicely-clothed people, are naked visitors from other places, some utterly regardless of their nakedness, others ashamed of it, and trying to hide themselves behind trees and in houses when the people come together. If they could be baptised and become Christians at once they would do so, but they dread the interval between renouncing their present gods and being received into the kingdom of the true God. During this time, when they are nobodies, their forsaken gods might catch and punish them for their desertion. Hence, they remain where they are, and are naked. The first step a man takes towards becoming a Christian is to put on a loin cloth. Then he attends classes for a year or more, after which he is baptised.
May 4.--We paid visits to three San Cristoval schools, and one heathen village, on this day. Heura is the brightest spot here. Samuel Gedi is a painstaking teacher, and he receives much help from old Bou, the chief, who has lately been baptised. We heard here of three Bugotu men who had run away from a trading vessel, and were staying at a heathen village some distance up the coast, but came regularly to service at Heuru on Sundays. We called at the village and found them, and carried them to their homes in Bugotu.
May 5.--Went ashore at Saa, in Mala, and found everything going on satisfactorily. There has been peace, now for two years, the school people being allowed to follow their religion without persecution. About sixty names are on the school register, and at the service we held on our arrival over 100 took part very heartily. At Pwaloto a school had been commenced only a week before our arrival, making the sixth school in Mala. There are now twelve miles of coast in this island where the people are influenced by schools, and bloodshed is not the rule, and landing and travelling are safe.* [*See Mr. Ivens' report on Mala herewith.]
S. Luke's, Siota.
May 7.--Went ashore early at Siota, the new Mission station in Florida. I was quite surprised at the work that has been done. On the shore are three boat-houses, with quite an imposing show of boats and canoes in them. A large wooden house has been built on the hill behind, and is surrounded with smaller native-built houses, one of which serves as a temporary chapel, another as a carpenter's shop, another as a dispensary, and others as kitchen, store-house, club-house, etc. There were several small boys already schooling here under Dr. Welchman, and we had brought with us a good many more. They now numbered about thirty-five in all.
May 11.--Sailed from Florida to Bugotu, stopping at the little island of Nagotana on the way to pick up Confirmation candidates. I had decided to confirm these at Perihadi with the Bugotu people.
 We tried to make Saileu Harbour on the northern side of Bugotu, and at 6 o'clock, in a squall of rain, we had the unpleasant experience of running our ship on one of the thousand shoals which make navigation in these waters so difficult. The sea was very smooth, and it was only when rollers came in that the ship moved at all. With a kedge and our engine every effort was made to get the vessel off, but our steam power was not great enough. By a happy circumstance it was low tide when we ran aground; at midnight the tide had come in, and we made a great effort, and the little ship slipped off the reef and was in deep water again. I was very much afraid that we should have to lighten the ship, which would have wasted a lot of valuable time. Worse still, we might have lost the ship, and then much of our work would have come to a standstill. We were all very thankful to come out of the adventure so well. I not think that any blame could be attached to anyone for the accident. The squall caught us and ruffled the surface of the water, hiding the shoals and patches just as we were following a zig-zag course into the harbour.
An Unexpected Reprieve.
May 12. --We are often called on to administer rude justice in our islands. At Sepi, in Bugotu, a man was brought before me charged with murder. There was no doubt that he had committed the crime, and he made no effort to hide it. The question was, what should be done with him. Soga, the chief, had in old days shed so much blood that he hated the notion of shedding more by taking this man's life, and he had kept him until my arrival that his blood might be on me if on anyone. After going into his case with Dr. Welchman and Soga, I suggested that he should be banished for five years to a distant island, and that notice should be given that, in future murderers should be hanged. The man rejoiced at what he considered a reprieve, and said that I had given him back his life. On the next morning he started on his long cruise to the isle of banishment, in one of the chief's large canoes, with a guard of twenty men. Mr. Woodford, the new Deputy Commissioner, asked me what we did with murderers in Florida. I said we had only had one since the island became Christian, fifteen years ago. Such is the power of the Gospel in lands which once ran with blood.
May l6.--The ship put me down at Siota, in Florida, and returned to Norfolk Island. My first object in staying at Siota was to become intimately acquainted with the working of this new Missionary College for the Solomons, and see how much remained yet to be done to make its influence felt throughout the whole Solomon group. A number of little boys from many islands had been gathered together, sharp little fellows whom it was a pleasure to teach. There was plenty of work to be done with them. These were some of the rays of light which were in future days to lighten the darkness of the Solomons. Help might also be given during my visit to the Florida teachers; so these I gathered together on four successive Fridays, and we [6/7] schooled in the afternoons, and we prayed, and I preached to them as practically as I could in the evenings. They came in increasing numbers until on the last occasion sixty were present. These classes have since been continued by the Rev. R. B. Comins.
A Dedication Festival.
May 24.--Whit Sunday. I dedicated the new church at Belaga. There were about 300 people present, and the church was packed. It is a very pretty structure, built in the best Florida style of bamboo, and thatched with sago palm leaves.
May 25.--Village festival at Belaga to celebrate the completion of the church. Great feast, cricket, and races.
June 7.--A large canoe from Mala arrived in the afternoon, and was beached on our shore at Siota. A second canoe from the same place reached Vuturua later in the day. The Mala men looked rather wild, but they seemed peaceably disposed enough. I found our small Siota boys making friends with them. There seemed to be some dialect which both parties knew. Their news was that there was nothing but fighting in their country. The chief of Manoba was dead, and his people imagined that his death had been caused by the charms of the people living nearest to them; they had simply wiped out two whole villages. Besides, the small islands (lying off the mainland) in which they lived could grow no food, and the islanders on the mainland would not give them any, nor buy their fish or their shell-money, and so they were well-nigh starving. Hence their journey across the channel which divides Mala from Siota, about 35 miles of rough water.
Shopping under Difficulties.
Relations between the main islanders and the little islanders are generally rather strained. It is said that, when there is peace, a market is held on the beach of the mainland. The fish caught by the islanders is carried forward by their women, who are met by the women of the country carrying yams and other food. The men on either side stand back and cover one another with their rifles whilst the exchange of goods goes on between them. The ladies here, too, then do the shopping, but it is not under quite the happiest conditions. If the two parties have quarrelled, the islanders must come across to Florida or starve. They have come in increasing numbers of late years. At first the Florida people rather disliked their visits, as they stole their property, and they were rough customers at their best. Now, however, they behave themselves, and cause little trouble. They buy a great deal, and bring into the country the precious red shell money which every Florida man loves. I saw two large canoes returning, after a fortnight's stay, with forty pigs and 5,000 cocoanuts. These Mala visitors have, up to now, shown no signs of a desire to have schools themselves. They generally say that the teaching suits Florida, but it would not suit them unless the mainland people accepted it first. I suppose the two parties must learn peace together.
 Cricket.--H.M.S. "Pylades" v. S. Luke's.
June 11.--S. Barnabas' Day. I held my last teachers' class on the eve of S. Barnabas. Sixty came to it, and on S. Barnabas' Day we had sixty-three communicants in the little church as Siota. Comins and Browning then distributed the teachers' stores. After this we fell to and played cricket together until Captain Adams and the officers of H.M.S. "Pylades," with Mr. Woodford, appeared on the scene. Shore then played a match with the ship, and the shore won after great excitement. Captain Adams had brought with him all sorts of good things, and he invited us to picnic with him under the shade of the cocoanut trees by the sea shore.
June 13.--Began a round of inspection of schools with Browning. Found the "Pylades" still at anchor at Gavutu. Went on board and stayed the night so that I might take the service and preach to the crew the following morning.
June 24.--Reached Siota again, having examined twelve schools and as many villages. I think the schools are up to the level of most of the Banks Islands schools which I examined last year, but none of them are so good as Henry Tagalad's, at Ra. This was my first experience of having to manage my own boat, and I could not have begun boat-sailing in a better place. The sea was never rough, and the wind was a steady "trade." The travelling from place to place, and the meetings every day with new people was very enjoyable. We always found a comfortable house to sleep in, and one of my boat's crew never failed to bring in for supper some pigeons or ducks which he had brought down with my gun. How often did we say, as the fragrant smell of stew percolated through the bamboo floor from the kitchen beneath us into the room in which we were resting after our day's work, "Oh, if only we could live like this at Norfolk Island!"
We found wonderfully little sickness amongst the people. Everyone has occasional attacks of ague or fever. The only remedy they have for this is to lie quietly in their houses, wrapped in a blanket--if they have one--until the attack passes away. Most of the children were suffering from "yellow-eye." I doctored hundreds of them with Cockle's Pills, of which, by some mistake in making my orders, I had sent me a gross of boxes. Although living in the Solomon Islands--islands with a very unenviable reputation, where cannibalism and everything dreadful is supposed to be the vogue of every man, woman, and child--we found ourselves moving amongst friends, who helped us at every turn, and always seemed pleased to have us going about them. It is true we were attacked one night, but it was only by a centipede, and Mr. Browning beat off the invasion single-handed. These centipedes, nine inches long, and as thick in the body as your middle finger, are terrible fellows, stinging fearfully. And they are as common as bumble-bees in an English summer.
 Old Things Passed Away.
July 2.--The people seem to have left their old religion for good, and to be ashamed of ever having been satisfied with it. Yet I found one man, an ex-teacher named Ambrose, at Rara, who was said to have gone back to it, and to be terrifying the people with the notion that the forsaken tidalos were going to vent their displeasure on the village. When questioned, the man said that it was all a mistake; he knew no tidalo. I spoke to the people on the subject, and Ambrose listened quietly.
A Hard Case.
July 9.--Visited Gavuhoho, the Rev. A. Lobu's village, and found the people in the greatest distress. A Queensland labour ship had carried off seven of their boys. I tried to comfort them, and apologised as best I could for the "white man" who did such things. I told them that so long as their children were so ready to run away to the white man's country he would send his ships to fetch them. They must do something to prevent their boys going. It is the same everywhere in Florida; every schoolboy wants to go to Queensland, and every parent, and every chief, and indeed nearly the whole adult population want to stop them, knowing that the island is becoming depopulated by the "traffic." The captain of the labour ship sent £2 worth of trade to the parents of each of the boys who had run away. There was little consolation in this as the chief, Tabukoro, demands a £2 fine from everyone whose son goes away. The people, therefore, lose their children and have to pay a heavy fine as well.
July 22.--I confirmed eighteen persons at Gavuhoho, and felt rather done up afterwards. The little house we stayed in was draughty and uncomfortable.
July 16.--The labour vessel recruited, amongst others at Gavuhoho, the son of the chief. His name was Koete, and he happened to be a scholar at Norfolk Island. I decided to make an effort to get him back again; and so with the chief, and his belts and knives and other presents the captain had given him, we ran down the coast to Vura, and there found the "Rhoderick Dhu" lying at anchor. On my explaining to the captain the position of Koete he at once gave him up to us, and the boy was only too thankful to come. The other boys who had joined with him would gladly have come too, but they were not Norfolk Island boys, and so I could not ask for their release. The ship was filled with young men and boys, mostly from Guadalcanar. The captain was good enough to let me speak to them all, and the "boys" seemed glad to be spoken to.
July 18.--I had now visited nearly all the schools in Florida, and I was anxious to get away to Ulawa to wait for the "Southern Cross" there. The S.S. "Titus" was expected daily at Gavutu, and I rowed through the Ututha to join her on her arrival. Capt. Adams was there once more with the "Pylades," and he asked me to stay on board. I had a most happy time whilst I waited three or four days [9/10] for the vessel which never came. On Sunday I preached to the crew, and passed one of the most restful and refreshing days it has ever been my lot to know. There is a smack of the old world about a British man-o'-war, and I almost believed myself in the Old Country whilst I stayed aboard her.
July 23.--I brought an eleven of Florida men, mostly from the village of Belaga, through the Ututha to play a cricket match against the "Pylades" team. After a most exciting match the Solomon Islands won by one run. Alas for the Old Country!
July 26.--I confirmed fifty-two persons at Belaga. A bright, happy service in Reuben Bula's beautiful new church.
July 28.--Began a third tour of inspection. Examined school at Taonaiha and found it quite advanced. The smallest child could read the Lord's Prayer.
August 2.--I confirmed thirty people at Boromoli.
Return of the Ship.
August 4.--"Southern Cross" appeared at daybreak. I left Florida in her and headed for Guadalcanar. Ellison Gura, a Florida teacher, was with us. He said that Sake, the chief of a large district in Guadalcanar, had sent for him to stay and teach his people.
Our three boys working in this island met us at Vaturanga, where we went ashore. George Basile and David have been here now for two years; the Rev. Hugo Gorovaka joined them this year. They had won the affection of many of the bush people, and after planting was finished they were coming down to the coast to build a village in which there would be a school. A large clearing for gardens had already been made, and a good house built. George came across to Savo with us to meet a chief who was breathing out threatenings and slaughter against him. Leaving him there we made for Tetere, where Sake, the chief who had sent for Ellison Gura, lived. In looking for the village we were bound for we went ashore twice and talked to natives. They were quite friendly, but much opposed to the notion of schooling.
The Austrian Man-of-war "Albatross."
Aug. 6.--At Tetere (native name is Gavogo, I think). The Austrian man-of-war "Albatross" at anchor in the bay. Sake came alongside, very smart in Austrian sailor's clothes. On hearing Ellison say what he had come for, his face fell, and he seemed rather frightened. On going ashore his people seemed to be no better pleased than their chief was. They took a few presents, but with evident misgivings, Sake asking me if what I had given him was charmed. Two returned labourers, who were Christians, were present. One seemed inclined to help us in founding a school; the other seemed rather to be ashamed of his religion, and to join the heathen in repelling us. We left Ellison amongst them, but he rejoined us in Florida five days later. The chief and his people would have no school, and said that they had never asked him to come and start one. Their message had been changed.
 I called on Captain Mauler and the officers of the "Albatross." The ill-fated expedition in which Baron Norbeck and others lost their lives, had already left the ship four days, and was well on its way towards the Lion's Head. There is little doubt in my mind that the attacks by the bushmen was made because the expedition was led by the coast men of Tetere, these and the bushmen being hereditary foes. The disaster occurred on August 10.
Santa Cruz.--Successful Mediation.
Aug. 26.--At Santa Cruz. I had hoped to dedicate the Te Motu church and baptise some of the people. However, on our arrival. we found that a battle was imminent between the village in which our school is and a neighbouring one. It was 2 o'clock in the morning before I went ashore with Dr. Williams, and we spent a large part of the night trying to make peace. Thank God, we succeeded, and on the following morning had the satisfaction of seeing the belligerents like a swarm of bees round the "Southern Cross," whilst we were at liberty to proceed with the Dedication Service and Baptisms. The church was dedicated to S. Andrew, and seventeen persons were baptised.
Sept. 1.--At Vureas, Vanua Lava, I dedicated the new church (S. Peter's) which I had watched being built last year. In the evening I baptised fifty-nine people in it, and was tired out.
Sept. 2.--Dedicated new church (to S. John) at Var, in Motalava, and confirmed thirty people at Nerinigman, in the afternoon.
Sept. 4.--In the New Hebrides again. The blow which had fallen upon us at Santa Cruz had been repeated here, and it was my very sad duty to have to declare vacant a position which had been occupied with much devotion for many years. I baptised no one in this district, and I dedicated no churches. We tried to comfort Tom Ulgau and some other teachers. It was all that we could do at the time. It is my hope to spend nearly four months in this district in 1897.
Sept. 14.--Reached Norfolk Island. Our voyage had been in many ways a very sad one. Never had such trouble fallen upon our Mission as fell in 1896. Yet as we look back over the year we can see very plainly that a Father's hand was over us. The unknown evil which lay hid was brought to light, not in one or two cases, but in many, and we were able to cast it out. If it was a year of sorrow, it was also a year of purification; and the trials through which the Mission passed, and the troubles which fell equally upon all, white and black alike, drew all more closely together, and brought us, I think, nearer to the Saviour, "forgiven greatly; greatly to love." With our disappointments we had also our encouragements. In most of the districts real progress was made, and in the devotion and earnestness of the teachers there was much cause for thankfulness. Whilst there has been much to grieve over, there has been more to praise God for, as the narratives which follow will show.
REV. C. W. BROWNING.
MY stay in Florida, this year, covered exactly six months, May 6th to Nov. 6th. This long visit, during which I was never hindered by serious illness, or any other untoward accident, gave me an opportunity for continuous work, and for watching the progress of affairs throughout the district, which is a cause for abundant thankfulness.
On Wednesday evening, May 6th, we arrived at Siota, where we found Dr. Welchman and the boys looking out for us. The general state of affairs seemed to be very satisfactory on the whole, though, latterly, various cases of illness among the boys had added much to Dr. Welchman's work and anxieties. On the following day we admired the many improvements which had taken place in the house and its surroundings since our departure six months before. Judging from appearances there seemed every prospect of Siota becoming a small Norfolk Island in the Solomon Islands.
A Bird's-eye View.
Leaving Mr. Comins at Siota, the Bishop and I then went the round of the principal stations in the "Southern Cross," landing our Melanesian passengers from Norfolk Island at their various destinations, and getting a bird's-eye view of the different schools. At Halavo and Lonapolo (Gaeta) we found fine new churches being built, though, as yet, at some distance from completion. At Haleta, a village only removed by three years from total heathenism, William Keda and his people had completed a very nice new building, faced with boards and whitewashed, serving at present the purpose both of church and school, but soon, it is hoped, to be set apart entirely for public worship. In the North we found a somewhat troubled state of things. The Ravu people were, as usual, in some alarm about the intentions of their heathen neighbour Lipa, the Olevuga chief. He had, according to his custom, been bullying them about money for some time past on various pretexts, and now the presence of above eighty Mala men with war-canoes, as Lipa's guests at Olevuga, seemed to give grounds for apprehension of more violent measures. This assemblage, with their handsome canoes, certainly had a warlike look, unusual in peaceful Florida, but on inquiry we found that their visit had more to do with money questions between themselves and Lipa than with any projected descent on Ravu. The Bishop and I had some talk with Lipa, who disclaimed any intention of injuring the Ravu people, but declared, with evident terror, that there was a man at Ravu who had already taken the life of Dikea, the chief who died last year, by magic, and who would, before long, compass his own destruction, and that the Bishop ought to drive him out of the country.
 We reassured the Ravu people by a visit, telling them of the English Commissioner who was shortly to be put in authority, who would effectually prevent any possibility of recurring to violent methods of settling disputes. On Saturday, May 9th, we anchored in Boli harbour again.
Rogation Sunday, May 10th.--After an early celebration at Siota, the Bishop and I walked to Belaga for Matins, where the Bishop preached. We found the new church finished, and a very pretty bit of native work it was, with a nicely planted little garden enclosure round it, and a neat fence, already festooned with climbing plants. Three very good steps had been made up to the altar with coral sand, held in place by boards, and matted over. We had a very enjoyable service, the singing of the Te Deum in parts, a notable feature of the Belaga Sunday Matins, having in no way fallen off. In the evening; I made my way across to Boromoli for Evensong, finding a hearty service, but a building in its untidiness and want of repair offering an unpleasant contrast to the one I had worshipped in already. The accomplishment of this work at Belaga does great credit to Reuben Bula, the native deacon, who has put his whole heart into it.
On Monday, May 11th, the "Southern Cross" sailed for Bugotu and Guadalcanar with the Bishop, Dr. Welchman, and the Rev. P. Williams, returning on her homeward voyage on the following Saturday, and leaving us the same day. I spent the interval between Belaga and Boromoli, giving instruction to candidates for Baptism and Confirmation. On Ascension Day we had the first celebration of Holy Communion for the season in the new church at Belaga, with forty-three communicants. The day was also signalised by cricket under the cocoanut trees, some of the boys returned from Norfolk Island being very keen to introduce the game, a new sight in Florida.
The Bishop and Mr. Comins took up their quarters at Siota, and I had many times occasion to be grateful for the increased comfort of a long stay in the islands owing to the hospitality of this establishment. Before long we had a visit from H.M.S. "Pylades," bringing Mr. Woodford, the Deputy Commissioner of the Solomon Islands, who eventually decided to fix his head-quarters on an island which he purchased, off the west coast of Florida. Moreover a steamer arrived from Sydney at intervals of from six weeks to two months, sometimes bringing me letters and newspapers, less than two months old, from England, so that altogether Florida is now very much "in the world," and my stay this year was in some respects a curious contrast to my first long season in '94, when I spent five months ashore and scarcely heard a rumour of anything that was taking place in the outer world during nearly the whole time.
A most important feature of the Florida work this year was the Teachers' Class started by the Bishop at Siota. Every Friday, teachers from the various Florida schools had the opportunity of meeting for [13/14] instruction in matters likely to be helpful to them in their work. A class was held in the afternoon, and those who liked to stay could have tea, followed by Evensong and an address from the Bishop, sleeping at Siota, and returning next day to their homes to be ready for Sunday. During the month which the Bishop remained at Siota, teachers from all parts of the district were invited to come every Friday (arranging, of course, not to leave their schools wholly destitute of teachers). After the Bishop's departure, Mr. Comins and I shared the class between us from week to week, as could most conveniently be arranged, but dividing the district into circles, so that those in the near neighbourhood were invited to come every week, those in a somewhat remoter circle, twice a month; and those in the farthest circle, once a month only. The special Evensong and Address were dropped, except on the first Friday of the month, when the largest number were expected, and a celebration of Holy Communion then took place on the following morning. These gatherings were certainly a great benefit to the teachers, and the regularity with which many of them attended proved their appreciation.
Whitsun Day, May 24th, was a great day at Belaga, when the Bishop dedicated the new church of St. John the Evangelist. The day began with an early Celebration at which forty-eight communicated. Then at 10.30 we formed in order for a procession round the church, singing Psalm CXXII. This was headed by the Bishop and Clergy (Mr. Comins, Reuben Bula, Alfred Lobu, and myself) and the teachers and people of the place, as well as of many neighbouring villages. Then came the Dedication Service, which had been rendered into the native language for the occasion. This was followed by Matins, with sermon by the Bishop. The Siota boys in their red shirts were conspicuous in the congregation. The Bishop and Mr. Comins returned to Siota in the afternoon, I remaining for Evensong. I think we all felt at the close of the day that we had really gained something of the beauty of holiness for our Florida services. Later in the season the people placed a handsome font in the church, consisting of a large clam-shell raised on a shaft of dark wood, cut in panels and inlaid with crosses in mosaic shell work. This font was dedicated by the Bishop shortly before his departure.
A School Feast.
Whitsun Monday was observed as a general holiday and day of festivity. The Bishop and the Siota boys joined us again, and cricket was played until the ball burst, when a feast of various native dainties was spread under the cocoanut trees, and partaken of by all. Afterwards the children of Belaga and other neighbouring schools ran races along the beach, the Bishop distributing knives, fishing-lines, Jews' harps, etc., to the successful competitors. The girls organised a dance to a rather pretty native air. A three-legged race caused [14/15] great amusement, and the whole proceedings were entered into by the elders with great interest and wonder. Nothing so like the familiar English School Feast had ever been seen in Florida before.
A Tour of Inspection.
During the interval between the departure of the "Southern Cross" and S. Barnabas' Day, when the teachers met for a festive gathering at Siota, and also received their stores for the year, which had been brought down from Auckland, I made my first circuit of the district, staying a few days at each of the principal places.
In the Hogo region I found things going on very satisfactorily at Gavuhoho, under Alfred Lobu's able management. At Vonuha, John Pegoni was doing well, though the small proportion of males to females in his school, owing to the numbers carried off by the labour traffic, was all too conspicuous. At Ninsoo I had closed the school altogether the previous year, on account of the ruinous state into which the building had been allowed to fall, and the slackness of the people in replacing it. They were now at work in earnest, erecting a very nice schoolhouse at a spot called Koilavala, a short distance from the old one, and more central. At Guba, matters were far from satisfactory. The site of this village, once the capital of the Hogo district, is certainly unhealthy, and the population are not to be blamed for having many of them sought quarters elsewhere; some of them northwards towards Koilavala, others southwards at Vatave, on the edge of the Gaeta district. There remained, however, a moderate number, with one of the best school buildings in Florida. The relations of the teachers among themselves, and of the head teacher with Tabukoro and the people, were decidedly strained, as they have been several times of late years, and I became convinced that a change was necessary. The attendance at prayers and school was becoming sadly irregular.
In Gaeta, besides the new church at Lonapolo, the people were busy on a new schoolhouse at Vuranimala, nearly completed. John Sara, whom I put there last year, had not been working quite so well as might be wished, owing to the frequency of his visits to his aged parents at Boromoli. They depend very much on him and his wife, and though not satisfied with his performance as a teacher, I had to make some allowance for the difficulty of reconciling conflicting duties.
At Vuturua, the school was in a languishing state, owing to the head teacher having, unhappily, fallen into disgrace, as was mentioned last year, and his colleague who took his place having great difficulties to contend with, owing to ill-health. Patrick Parapolo, the chief Gaeta teacher, returned from a visit to Norfolk Island with his family, and this enabled me to put Herbert Kulai in charge for a time at Vuturua, and under his management a great improvement took place. I found, however, that it was impossible to leave him there permanently, as he was much needed at Lonapolo. At last, towards the [15/16] end of the season, I was able to put Arthur Brittain Haleta, of Belaga, at Vuturua as head teacher. I saw him started with the evident goodwill of the people, with whom he has family ties, and feeling satisfied that I could trust him to do good work. A. B. Haleta went down from Norfolk Island last year with his newly-married wife, who has since died (to his great sorrow), leaving a little child.
A Restored Penitent.
With regard to the disgraced teacher at Vuturua, I may mention here that at a later period of the season, after having had several serious talks with him, and believing him to be truly penitent, I removed the excommunication under which he lay. He stood up before the congregation at Evensong, and expressed his sorrow for his sin, and the offence it had caused to the people; after which I publicly absolved him. He afterwards further retrieved his character by making himself useful for a time to Mr. Comins, at Siota, and before leaving the district I put him on his trial again by giving him work as assistant teacher at Lonapolo.
At Gole I found a dilapidated state of things. The school was disgracefully dirty, and half in ruins. The teacher, James Porotuana, said that the people had agreed to build a new one, but that they didn't care for anything he said. Unhappily, though he is a man much to be respected in many ways, he and his people do not agree well together. The want of a recognised chief was also felt, the old chief having died some years before and no one taken his place. I spoke to the people very strongly about the state of the school at Evensong, and from talk we had afterwards on the beach it appeared that they were stirred up on the subject. Shortly afterwards they made the old school somewhat more decent, and set about collecting materials for a new one.
A Political Meeting.
We also had quite a lively political meeting, to arrange preliminaries for the election of a chief. Various citizens were nominated, and their friends freely exchanged remarks as to their suitability for the post or otherwise. I thought it best to leave the actual choice to take place in my absence, as it would be more free, so agreed with them that they should consider the matter, and have a chief elected by the time the Bishop and I visited the place later on. Their choice eventually fell on one Joseph, Koruko, a returned labourer from Queensland.
At Salisapa, I visited the colony of refugees from Guadalcanar, who have now been settled there for the last two years at a short distance from the school village. Though they have had a practical proof of the advantages of Christianity, in the fact that they owe the security of their own lives to its prevalence in Florida, they have, as yet, shown little desire to appropriate its benefits personally, only two children and no adults having joined the school at the time of my visit; I had some talk with the chiefs, and they agreed, though by no [16/17] means enthusiastically, to do what they could to get the children of the settlement sent to school. I heard before the end of the season that a few children had presented themselves, and also two or three adults at the Sunday morning teaching.
The Boli schools were in a rather depressed state, partly owing to want of zeal and capacity in some of the teachers; partly to illness and infirmity in others. A small new school was begun by Patrick Pai, at Borohinaba, a place on the coast not within easy reach of other schools, close to the village where old Takua, the lately deceased heathen chief, used to dwell. But illness compelled Pai to give up his work, and the school could only be carried on by makeshift arrangements.
At Haleta, I found a Baptismal Class waiting my arrival, who had been prepared for Baptism the preceeding year, but had to wait, owing to the arrival of the ship before I had completed my programme. I found them well taught, and apparently in earnest, and at Evensong, on June 3rd, I baptised thirty-five adults.
A Town in a Swamp.
At Nago, Ellison Gura and Clement Kelo were carrying on the large school satisfactorily. Numbers had somewhat fallen off since last year, owing to removals and the labour traffic. This place is certainly not attractive to appearance, being in the midst of the filthiest and blackest swamps in Florida. It is, however, the largest centre of population in the whole district; the only place, perhaps, where one encounters something of the bustle and life associated with towns. The people are very lively, notwithstanding their depressing surroundings, and I could never find any proof of their suffering in health from them, though strangers who settle there do. At the evening of June 5th, I had a great baptism of fifty-two adults.
Cricket: Florida v. H. M.S. "Pylades."
On St. Barnabas' Day (June 11th), we had a great gathering of teachers at Siota. They arrived the previous evening, when the Bishop gave them a missionary address, pointing out to them the various ways in which they might help to evangelise the heathen in surrounding countries. In the morning we had a celebration of the Holy Communion, the Bishop celebrating. After breakfasting together on the verandah of the house, we distributed the teachers' stores for the year. Meanwhile a steam launch had appeared from H.M.S. ''Pylades" which had arrived at Gavutu, bringing Captain Adams, Mr. Woodford, the new Deputy-Commissioner, and some of the officers. A cricket match was organised between the teachers and the white men, in which the former, to their great exultation, were victorious. Lunch was spread under the trees on the shore, at which beefsteak [17/18] pie, Devonshire cider, and other unwonted luxuries were produced by the naval party. The teachers left to return to their homes during the afternoon and evening.
The greater part of the following month was spent by the Bishop and myself in making the round of the Florida schools. The Bishop inspected every school except Binu, which unfortunately had to be left out, as the Bishop was suffering from ague at the time arranged for his visit, and a steep climb up the hills was necessary to reach it. Of the results of his tour the Bishop will no doubt give his own report.
This period closed with a Confirmation on Sunday, July 12th, at Gavuhoho, in Alfred Lobu's nicely-built new school-house. The candidates were mostly (fourteen of them) from Halavo, having been prepared by Alfred at Gavuhoho. There were two from Binu, and two Gavuhoho women, Alfred's mother-in-law and sister.
A Grave Disappointment.
The Bishop and I returned to Siota on July 13th, and I remained there for about three weeks, giving special instruction to one of the teachers whom the Bishop proposed to admit to Deacon's Orders before his departure from the district, and also availing myself of the teacher's help in translating the Ordinal and part of the Old 'Testament into Florida. It was a bright time, and full of hope, but at the end of it came one of those disappointments that sometimes overtake us when we are most inclined to think that all is well. The teacher returned to his home at Gumulagi a few days before the date fixed for his Ordination, and there he confessed to his people that he had fallen into grievous sin, which rendered him not only unfit for Ordination, but also an excommunicate person. This was a heavy blow not only to the Bishop and myself and the people of Gumulagi, but to the whole Church in Florida. The one thing we felt thankful for was that he did confess in time to prevent a profanation of Holy Orders. This calamity brought home to me forcibly how difficult it is for us to understand anything of the native character, and of the manner in which temptation presents itself to our people.
On Sunday, July 26th, the Bishop held a Confirmation at Belaga for that place and other villages southwards as far as Gole, and on August 2nd at Boromoli for the Boli district.
Return of the Ship. Visit to Guadalcanar.
On Tuesday, August 4th, the Siota boys raised a shout at daybreak, and presently we saw the "Southern Cross" coming round the point into Boli harbour. We were soon on board to get our news from Norfolk Island. The same day the Bishop and I started in the ship for Guadalcanar. Ellison Gura had had what he considered to be an invitation from a chief named Seki, at Tetere (Guadalcanar), to pay a visit there, and he was sanguine as to the possibility of opening [18/19] missionary operations. We thought such zeal ought to have an opportunity, so although there was some difficulty about leaving the Nago school without a head teacher, it was arranged that Ellison should be taken over to Guadalcanar and left there for three months, until the next visit of the "Southern Cross," to see what the prospects were. Accordingly we embarked Ellison off Nago.
Our first destination in Guadalcanar was Vaturana, to find out how Hugo Gorovaka and George Basilei had fared in their venture. We found them well and hopeful, though they had not yet been able to begin school. They had, however, built a house on the shore, and enclosed a garden, and had good hope that next year the people would gather round them and school might be opened. We saw only a few of the natives, who appeared to be friendly, but in great terror of their neighbours. Visiting such a country from Florida, one realises very vividly the most conspicuous differences between heathenism and Christianity as they must strike the native mind.
Our Vaukolu, the Florida Parliament, was held in an open space under the cocoa-nut trees, near the beach at Lonapolo, on August 8th. The Bishop presided, and Mr. Comins and I were also present. The Siota boys were given a holiday, and a trip round to Gaeta in the "Southern Cross" for the occasion. Most unfortunately, we were so delayed by a contrary wind, that we could not reach Lonapolo till late in the morning of the day fixed, and we were not able to begin with the usual celebration of Holy Communion. The fall of the Ordination candidate, which was announced to us as we entered Lonapolo, also threw a cloud over the proceedings, and the hearts of many of us were much more full of this sorrow than of the business on hand. The attendance was not so good as usual; some staying away on the shock of hearing the bad news, and others finding the journey too long. Gaeta being in the South, is not convenient as a place of meeting for the people in the North; but David Tutikiri and his people had so set their hearts on receiving the Vaukolu this year, that it was thought best not to disappoint them. We got through some useful business. The Bishop announced the appointment of Mr. Woodford as Deputy Commissioner of the Solomon Islands, and explained how this would effect Florida. Mr. Comins explained the purpose of Siota, to be a centre of educational and missionary work for the whole Solomon Islands, as far as the Mission could penetrate; and he told the people that, though the institution was distinct from the organisation of the Florida district, it would always be the wish of those in charge to cultivate good relations with their neighbours, and help them by every means in their power. I may mention, incidentally, that one invaluable benefit bestowed by Siota on the Florida Church is the provision of regular celebrations of Holy Communion, whilst [19/20] the Missionary in charge is absent from the district, especially at the Christmas and Easter seasons; the Communicants of each section being invited in rotation. I found that this privilege was highly appreciated by the people, and I could see its good results in an increased reverence and devoutness on the part of our Communicants. It was further proposed at the Vaukolu that monthly offertories for the support of the Mission should be instituted in the Florida schools. In several places, this proposal was afterwards well taken up. The Bishop also gave some useful advice about letter writing, with especial reference to the teachers writing letters for chiefs and others. Rather loose ideas had been found, to prevail on this subject. The Bishop explained that whenever a letter was written in the name of another person, that person must at least affix his mark, as a guarantee that it was authorised by him.
On Sunday, August 9th, we had a great Baptism at Boronioli, fifty-eight adults in all, belonging to Boli, and also to Arulagia, Taoneiha, Toa, and Bagekama. I baptised them at Evensong, and it was an inspiriting service.
Before the Bishop left us to return to Norfolk Island, we visited Gumulagi, the place where the teacher had fallen, of whom I have before spoken. We did not see the teacher himself, as he had gone off to the bush on our approach.
The Austrian Man-of-War.
We then made for Tetere, the place where we were to land Ellison Gura, much further to the south-east. Here we found the Austrian man-of-war "Albatross" at anchor, and called on the captain, who received us with great cordiality. We little thought what a tragedy was to occur a few days' later, when a scientific exploring party from the same ship were attacked by the bush natives at a place about twelve miles inland, and five white men, including the eminent scientist, Baron Norbeck, and two native guides, were murdered.
We put Ellison Gura ashore at Seki's village. This chief and his people were evidently much disconcerted at our appearance, and by no means so anxious to welcome Ellison as he had expected. They feared that any friendly relations with missionary people would bring upon them the vengeance of their neighbours. We hoped that by staying there for a time as a visitor, without mentioning the subject of school, Ellison might succeed in gaining the confidence of the people. But the result was that after three days they told him that, if he chose to remain in the place, they would all remove somewhere else and leave him in solitary possession. Mr. Woodford happening to arrive in the "Narevo" at the same time, Ellison asked him to take him back to Florida, which he did. Thus ended, for the present, our Florida venture in Guadalcanar.
 "Cloud and Sunshine."
The people seemed to feel deeply the trouble which had befallen them; I never saw such solemnity prevailing in a Melanesian village. We did our best to exhort them to hope and to keep steadfast. The same evening, August 11th, the "Southern Cross" put me ashore at Gole, and proceeded with the Bishop on board, homeward bound.
The latter period of my stay in Florida was occupied in making my circuits and concluding the business of the season, with occasional intervals of a few days at Siota, when I was able to take the Friday afternoon teachers' class and help in the school work. There were several questions to be settled, which gave me considerable anxiety, with regard to some of the schools. At Vuturua I was able to make a satisfactory settlement by placing Arthur Brittain Haleta in charge, as before mentioned. Herbert Kulai I put in charge at Lonapolo on the completion of the new church. Unfortunately, he has nearly lost his voice through an affection of the throat, so that his excellent abilities are almost unavailable for public teaching. The position of affairs at Gumulagi, where the head-teacher had fallen, was an anxious one. The people, however, were disposed to rally round Harper Sesaka, the second teacher, and I left him in charge. A new school-house and a house for a teacher had been built on a site chosen the year before in the district of Gela, hitherto a heathen neighbourhood, and the people had been promised that Harper should take up his abode there and teach them. Having built their school, the people were naturally eager to have this promise made good. Owing to the calamity at Gumulagi, however, it was impossible to do so at present. I had to do the best I could by arranging that the junior teachers from Halavo and Gumulagi should each spend a week there by turns until a permanent teacher could be found.
Humility of a Christian Chief.
In the Gaeta district the Church sustained a real loss in the death of Paul Kulaga, the local chief of Vuranimala, on September 24th. I also felt his loss as that of a dear personal friend. He always seemed to me a model of what a Christian chief should be; quiet and unassuming, while always setting a consistently good example to his people, ever anxious to learn what was right, and to lead them accordingly. In all work that was going on he always took the lion's share of labour for himself; thus, in the most practical way recommending industry and discouraging idleness. Of his kindness to me during my visits to his village I shall always retain most grateful recollections; he constituted himself my personal attendant, always saw to everything that concerned my comfort himself, and considered no office too menial for him to discharge. I shall never forget my last visit during his lifetime, when I arrived wet and aguish, and he busied himself with building up a fire-place on my bamboo floor, and kindling a glorious fire on it. He was planning a new house which he was going to build for me, to be ready next season. I little thought [21/22] then that within a month I should hear of his death while I was on my travels in the North, apparently from rapid inflammation of the lungs, resulting from a chill while at work. He was in the prime of life, and a son of the celebrated Kalekona, whose fame, however, was of a less desirable kind. When he was first taken ill, he summoned the people round him, told them that he did not expect to recover, and exhorted them to continue in the right way, as he had endeavoured to lead them.
In the Hogo district I had intended to remove Gilbert Pae from Guba, as his relations with the people were always unsatisfactory, and he had, himself, asked for a change. It was not easy, however, to find a suitable place for him. Pae himself made difficulties when the time for removal came, while Tabukoro and others, who had seemed most aggrieved by his presence among them, came to me expressing sorrow that I should be taking him away, saying that their past disagreements were mere trifles, and that they did not wish to lose him. In the end I left him at Guba with Peter Pitia for his colleague, cautioning him never to talk to me again about wishing to leave. The new school at Vatave, whither a considerable part of the Guba population had migrated, had made a good start under the management of Alfred Tabu, a young teacher, who though he never had the advantage of a Norfolk Island training, deserves great credit for his zeal and conscientious work. The time had come when the staff required to be strengthened, so I put Nathaniel Bunutia in charge, removing him from Bagekama, which was almost entirely depopulated by the migration of the people to a new village called Taoneiha, where a very good school had been started under Clement Berebere. Tabu continues at Vatave as Bunutia's colleague.
Added to the Church Daily.
On Sunday, August 23rd, I baptised eight male and five female adults from Vatave, at Guba. The school at Koilavala, replacing the old one at Niusoo, was opened and Stephen Soni put in charge, assisted by Dudley Belokake. At Vonuha, John Pegoni's school, I found a well-prepared baptismal class, and on August 5th I baptised four males and twelve females. At Gavuhoho I baptised seven males and ten females, among the former, Nelesi, the chief, who took the name of David, as indeed most Florida chiefs do.
In the north I baptised six women at Ravu, and a man and his wife at Boroni, together with the wife's aged and invalid mother. The married couple were two of the best prepared candidates I had ever met with, and they had done their schooling mostly by themselves, so there could be no doubt of their earnestness. We had the baptism in the open air, outside the old mother's house, as she could not be moved to the school, some heathen looking wonderingly on. At Olevuga, things were still far from satisfactory, though the school holds together, and a new school building has been begun, which looks rather more hopeful. The place wants badly a more capable teacher [22/23] at the head than at present, but I am as yet unable to find one. At Mage, things were in a torpid state. A new school had been begun on the opposite (south-eastern) side of Sandfly Passage at Toga, and I put Reuben Sulu in charge of this. He came down from Norfolk Island this season, and as he is conscientious, though not brilliant, and has much influence with the people, I hope his presence may re-act favourably on the old school at Mage, as well as the new one. A young lady of Toga had become his affianced wife, and seemed likely to be a suitable partner for him; at any rate, she was undoubtedly very much attached to him. My last ecclesiastical acts in Florida were to baptise her on November 4th, and unite the happy pair in wedlock on the following day.
This brought me to the end of the season, the last three months of which had been such a perpetual deluge of rain that I had almost forgotten what it was to be dry. The people were prevented by the wet from burning off the bush to clear ground for planting, and great anxiety was felt in some places about food prospects. After this it was strange to return to Norfolk Island and find everything parched up by drought.
The First White Lady.
Meanwhile the "Southern Cross" arrived in Boli Harbour, on October 25th, with Dr. and Mrs. Welchman on board, as well as Mr. Ivens, who was making the round. A great sensation was created all through Florida by the arrival of the first white lady who had ever come to live among them, and crowds assembled to welcome her. The ship and her passengers continued the voyage to Bugotu and Guadalcanar, and returning picked me up at Mage on November 5th. We spent that night at Siota, and the memory of Guy Fawkes was duly honoured by a pyrotechnic display which astonished the natives. Next day Dr. and Mrs. Welchman went ashore to settle in their home at Siota, accompanied by many good wishes, and the ship with Mr. Comins, Mr. Ivens, and myself on board, sailed homeward bound. We reached Norfolk Island on December 6th.
__________ St. Luke's Siota.
REV. R. B. COMINS.
ON May 6th, the "Southern Cross" dropped anchor off Siota, and the Bishop and party landed and found all well at our central training school here. Dr. Welchman had had a busy and successful time during the summer season, and, considering the small number of boys with him, they accomplished a great deal of good work, bringing land under cultivation, and putting up buildings of various kinds for the purposes of the Mission station. The dwelling-house was finished last year, but much remained to be done in laying out the grounds [23/24] and building workshops, out-houses, etc. The temporary school chapel is built just below the house, and is already too small for our numbers whenever any Florida people happen to be visiting us. It is proposed to enlarge this forthwith, but next year, if all is well, the foundations of a stone church will be laid. It is a matter of great thankfulness that Dr. Welchman was able to report that he had had very little sickness among the boys at S. Luke's, and no death had taken place. The Florida people had availed themselves to some extent of the medical help offered them at our dispensary.
An Extensive View.
This station is a very central one, and all parts of Florida are easily reached in a few hours. From the verandah of the house there may be seen, on one side, the long island of Malata, as far as Cape Astrolabe; on the opposite side are the hills of Guadalcanar, with the peaks of Mt. Lamma 8,000 feet high. Immediately at the back of the house, from our flagstaff hill, the end of the island of Ysabel is clearly seen. At the sides in the near fore-ground, lies the sheltered anchorage of Boli harbour, protected from the sea by a long reef reaching out over a mile, and forming the entrance to the harbour. Here the "Southern Cross" rides safely at anchor, near a sand beach, where boats land at all times of tide. Here are two boat houses, and a large kiala or native canoe house some sixty feet long. Here, last year, we camped out while the dwelling house was being erected, and now it comes in for a shelter for stores, tanks, timber, etc.
Dr. Welchman left Siota to go round the Bugotu district, and then returned to Norfolk Island for a change, leaving me in charge for the winter season. The Bishop also took up his quarters at Siota, and spent a month here before going for some rounds with Mr. Browning in the Florida district. The scholars under instruction at Siota are taught in the Mota language to fit them for going to Norfolk Island some day to continue their studies. As they are all Solomon Island boys, speaking a variety of dialects, and as there is no Mota man here to secure that that language is properly represented, the Mota spoken here is very limited. As the school has only been in existence a year, the attainments of the scholars are not great, but the senior class read the New Testament fairly, and write legibly upon slates. They all learn English every day and are getting on nicely with that language. Their arithmetical knowledge is very elementary; very few of them have mastered simple addition. There seems to be something about the Melanesian mind which resents exact mathematical precision. On the other hand, music appeals to them, and they are quick at picking up a new tune. The singing lessons are some of the best appreciated work which is done here.
S. LUKE'S, SIOTA. Melanesian Recreations.
In play hours the favourite amusements are fishing in the harbour, sometimes with a rod and line, but more frequently the fish are speared as they swim past, or are shot with bow and arrows [24/25] in the shallow water--considerable ingenuity is shown over this--but the palm is carried off by those who catch garfish, 2 ft. and 3 ft. long, with a kite which is worked from a small canoe paddled quickly up against the wind. A crusade is constantly being waged against the green and red parrots and the white cockatoos, which abound here, and parties armed with bows and arrows spend much of their time in the garden ground amongst the bananas and papaw trees, where they find considerable sport. The game of cricket has been introduced, but has not, so far, gained much favour amongst our small boys. The want of a suitable ground may have something to do with this, and measures are now being taken to lay down some grass which will, it is hoped, make a firm pitch some day. Of indoor amusements the game of draughts takes first place. There is only one board, but there is generally a crowd round the players, who give them advice and take the liveliest interest in the contest. Many of them play quickly and well. It is interesting, also, to observe the thorough good feeling that exists amongst these boys, who come from islands where feuds are constant, but here they agree wonderfully well, and it is the rarest thing possible for a boy to lose his temper over any game or excitement. And yet they know how to be severe on each other when necessary.
Disobedience: "A Little Fire."
On one occasion an elder lad disobeyed an express order about lighting a fire amongst fallen timber, which was not ready yet for burning off. He thought to save himself some trouble by setting a match to some rubbish, thinking he could easily control any fire which arose. In this he was mistaken, for there was a high wind blowing and the flames spread in all directions. Unfortunately, the wind blew the sparks down upon our boat houses and the kiala, where much of our stock of provisions was stored, and as these were thatched in native style with sago palm leaves, which were very dry and inflammable, the risk of their destruction was very great. We sat up all one night with boys posted on the roofs, with buckets of water within reach, and we had a most anxious time while it lasted. The next day the worst of the danger was over, but several large trees were smouldering for a fortnight. The delinquent who was the cause of all this was boycotted by the rest of the school, who showed him plainly that they had no sympathy with disobedience and wilful ways.
The Bishop's Visit; Organisation.
The stay made by the Bishop at Siota was of the greatest importance. He was able to see on what lines the school work was being done, and suggested various improvements calculated to increase the efficiency of the establishment. He taught regularly each of the classes, and took the greatest interest in the boys' games and play-hour occupation, so that he won all hearts around him. Another important branch of work planned out for Siota was satisfactorily started by the Bishop. This was the establishment of regular classes [25/26] every Friday afternoon for the teachers of the Florida schools. An hour's instruction was given them on some Scripture subject bearing on their work, which would probably be helpful to them in their future dealings with their people. Later on the Gospel for the following Sunday was taken and explained, and a suitable lesson drawn from it. At these gatherings the teachers were able to take counsel together over their work. Those who came from a distance stayed over night, and about once a month an opportunity was given them of partaking of the Holy Communion the next morning before dispersing to their homes for their Sunday duties. After the Bishop left, these classes were kept on by Mr. Browning and myself, and Dr. Welchman has undertaken to keep them going all the summer season.
In yet another way, Siota has become an important factor in the Church life of Florida. There is no native priest to celebrate the Holy Communion for the people when the Rev. C. W. Browning is away at Norfolk Island, so Dr. Welchman provides this spiritual privilege for them on alternate Sundays. It is not convenient for him to leave Siota for any length of time, so the communicants of the different Florida villages take it in turns to assemble at Siota on alternate Saturday evenings. They attend a devotional service at the school Chapel, and listen to an address intended to prepare them for the solemn service next morning. They camp out all night on our beach, in our boat houses, or in the large canoe house; and they assemble to the number of sixty at a time at the early morning service. They bring their own food and look after themselves altogether, and seem to feel it the highest of privileges to do so in this way. Only a few Florida boys have joined the school so far; the scholars in residence being mostly from Ysabel, Mala, Ulawa, and San Cristoval.
Plans for Extension.
We are hoping to enlarge our boys' quarters, and find accommodation before long for sixty or seventy scholars. At present the numbers stand at about forty. The Florida people keep us fairly supplied with food, and from time to time parties of them volunteer for work on the station, which mostly consists of felling timber and preparing the land for cultivation. The latest addition to the completeness of the establishment is a nice harmonium, which has been sent out from England, provided by funds raised by friends at Grantham. It is a continual source of comfort and strength that we have so many friends who remember us in our work, and are determined that it shall not flag for want of funds.
Our Pioneer Lady Missionary.
In conclusion I must not omit to mention that our pioneer lady missionary in the islands has taken up her residence at Siota. Dr. Welchman returned from Norfolk Island in November with his bride, and she received a hearty welcome at her new home, where a great [26/27] future lies before her in paving the way for other ladies to undertake mission work in the islands, and in giving women's work amongst women its due importance in Melanesia. I am sure that all friends of the Mission will unite in praying that she may have health and strength to make the most of the opportunities that lie before her.
__________ Ulawa and Mala.
REV. W. G. IVENS.
WE left Norfolk Island on July 7th, by the second trip of the "Southern Cross." Our voyage north was uneventful; we paid the New Hebrides and Banks' teachers in due course; landed Mr. Brittain and Mr. Cullwick in their respective districts; picked up Mr. Wilson at Mota, and then made off for Torres. We paid the teachers there, and then left for Santa Cruz, where we found Dr. Williams well and glad to see us. I hope somebody else will tell of the wonderful trading at Santa Cruz; of the people with their trade of bows and arrows, mats, kits, cloth, fish-lines, shells, ornaments, cocoanuts, fowls, etc.; of their awful language; of their betel-chewing propensities; and last, but not least, of their, insatiable rapacity and desire for more, more!
From Santa Cruz a three days' journey to Ulawa, my first station. What a time we have been reaching it! We made it on the south-east side, and we saw the landing place at Suholu, our only school, on the weather side.
Methods of Fishing.
There were many canoes out fishing and we could not help admiring the neat workmanship displayed in them, and the grace with which they sat in the water, and the rapidity and skill in which they were urged along. Some of these fishermen were catching gar-fish by means of a kind of kite, flown from the canoe and kept up by paddling; at the end of the kite's tail, and floating on the top of the water, is a big spider's web (or rather two or three put together); this the fish make for, and their long snout-like projection running up into it they are held firmly by the teeth. Sometimes in fishing for a particular kind of fish one is previously caught, and then he is made fast to a line and used as a decoy, and his chums who come sympathetically to witness his struggles, are entrapped in a small hand-net.
In old days the great fishing feat was to catch bonitos; these go in a shoal, and their presence is usually indicated by a circle of birds flying overhead, and now and then darting down to secure for themselves some of the small fish which the bonitos are chasing. As soon as the fish were espied--either by means of the accompanying birds or through bright lines left on the water as they leapt here and there [27/28] in chase after their smaller brethren--then down would go the canoes, two men to each, and then began the race to get up first. The canoes almost flew along, so eager were their owners to excel in this the greatest of sports.
As the canoes neared the fish the bow-man ceased paddling and began to cast with his rod and line in amongst the fish, while his companion kept the canoe going, and also looked after a line that trailed astern. The hooks used are made of pearl or clam shell, or of tortoise shell, and serve for both hooks and bait in one. Those cast with the rod are of ordinary hook-shape, and have an imitation fish cut on them; those dragged astern are made of a straight piece of clam or pearl shell with the downward side carved to imitate the look of a small fish, and on the upward side as it floats is fastened a hooked piece of tortoise shell. Both these big bonito hooks, and also the small hooks, used when fishing from the rocks, exhibit the most perfect workmanship. An infinitude of time must have been expended over their making, and yet a stick or so of tobacco will purchase the best of them. The bonito was a sacred fish, and when caught they were cooked and eaten in the places sacred to the spirits, where the women might not enter. It looks like a touch of the old selfish nature which makes us all akin. I have also seen turtles killed and divided up in these sacrificing places, thus ensuring the absence and also the abstinence of the women. But the Gospel teaching is shewing that in Christ there is neither male nor female, and that holy things can be shared in by women as well as by men.
We Reach Our Destinations.
It was on Saturday, August 1st, that we landed at Matoa, Clement's village in Ulawa, and since, contrary to our expectations, we did not find the Bishop there, we went straight over to Wango, and were there for Sunday. Mr. Wilson went on shore to stop there and visit his schools, and on Monday we were at Saa, in Mala, just a month after leaving Norfolk Island. Two boat-loads took my things ashore, and by 11 o'clock the ship was heading away for Florida, leaving me ashore in Mala, the land that had witnessed many a deed of evil, the land whose people are far-famed for their daring and hardihood, qualities which, turned into the right channel through. Divine Grace, will convert the slave of sin and self into the eager, energetic, fearless, and devoted servant of God.
Between the 3rd and the 12th of August I took the opportunity of visiting four out of the six Mala schools, and then on the 12th the ship returned and took my boat's crew and myself over to Ulawa. On Tuesday, the 18th, the ship left me for good, and set out for Santa Cruz in the teeth of a strong trade wind. The skipper had promised to be back in ten weeks; and so I would be kept busy, as I meant to cross to Mala, and, after seeing things there, to visit Ulawa a second time.
 Hopeful Prospects.
In writing both of Ulawa and Mala one can find good reason to thank God for the present condition of the schools there. Ulawa has had its time of fighting and persecution, and those who began the work there can tell a tale of spears quivering in excited hands, of arrows drawn to the barb, of tomahawks and clubs dashed on the ground in blind anger; but now the whole island wears a peaceful aspect, and out of its nine villages four have schools, and of these Matoa has nearly all its people baptised, and Suholu is two-thirds Christian.
I went to two other of the villages and tried to get boys, but I was unsuccessful. How ready of excuse the heathen are; they remind one of people in Christian lands. At Ehia they wanted to begin a school first, and then they would give me a boy. At Moute they were waiting for one of their number to return from Fiji, and to teach them, and after that they might let a boy go. Harainia, another heathen village, is being gradually drained of its people, who are going to Matoa by twos and threes that they may share in the new teaching. The Harainia people are favourably disposed to us, but with them, as with heathen elsewhere, the cry is "by and bye." Nevertheless a good time seems to be coming for Ulawa. Fighting as a whole has passed away, and men are beginning to see the advantages of living in peace. Witchcraft, rain-making, "doing to death" are still regarded as actual facts by the heathen, and herein is a likely source of trouble and bloodshed; but as schools are set up so must heathen ignorance and darkness flee before the Gospel knowledge and light.
Inspection: A Good Report.
At Matoa the Rev. Clement Marau is devoting himself heart and soul to the work, and his enthusiasm has been infused into his people. The school register shows a very good percentage of attendances, and the Bishop, in examining the school, found out that he had to select for special mention the names of those who had attended badly, since they were decidedly in the minority, and their absences had been caused by sickness. The writing, too, at Matoa was far above the average, and the Bishop said it was better than any he had seen in the Solomons. But here, as everywhere else, I found a deficiency in answering viva voce. True, I had to speak through an interpreter, but the teachers themselves failed to elicit answers to their questions. Our teachers do not understand the art of catechising in order to impart knowledge; they go in for too much preaching. How I longed at times to be able to talk in the native language; I felt sure I could have got answers out of them in some way. The women seem to pay the most attention to school work. They read and wrote nicely, and what questions were answered were answered mostly by the women. The men could do just as well, but they seem lazy. Women, then, in Ulawa, as well as elsewhere, have a "genius for religion."
Clement is very busy now cutting trees and sawing timbers for his church, and herein his people's love for him and for the work is clearly shewn; one man readily gave the site for the church, and allowed his cocoanuts and bread-fruit to be chopped down, nor did he ask for any remuneration; and the men of the village will all readily in turn give gratis a day or two days of their time in helping in any part of the church building that may be going on. The church walls are 72 ft. long by 36 ft. wide, and are of sawn coral, cut and placed by Clement; they are about 3 ft. wide at the bottom and slope up from both sides to about 9 in. The whole is 8 ft. high. The east end has an apse. It is the timber for the roof that Clement is now cutting. He wants to put an iron roof on, but I am afraid the cost will be too much, £40 at the least, and where is this to come from? Would that some kind friend with a long purse would come our way.
At Ripu, two miles from Matoa, things are going on slowly; but now that the teacher, Samuel Masiaro, has such a good help-meet in Alice Qalohu, Mrs. Comins' old and trusted girl, I expect to hear a much brighter account of the work.
E. Haununu, spurred on by his wife Mary, is beginning to effect something at Marata; he has just built a big new, school-house and seems more hopeful of making an impression on the heathen element. On the weather side of the island we have a school at Suholu. Here, for many years, the heathen were very strong, and a trace of the old ways can still be seen. But now the baptised people are in the majority, and the last of the head men still remaining heathen, promised me that he would come into the school as soon as his daughter Mweo returned from Norfolk Island. Mweo was betrothed to Andrew Awao, the head-teacher, and she and Alice Qalohu, with their respective bridegrooms, were taken to Siota and married there on October 27th. Awao had a baptism class in preparation at Suholu, and on August 25th I baptised thirty-five people.
And now for Mala. We crossed over from Ulawa to Saa on Friday, August 28th. The distance is twenty-six miles; the wind was very light, and with rowing and sailing we did it in 7 1/2 hours. Joe Wate had seen us coming, and he had a big fire on the beach to welcome us and to keep us straight as evening came on.
How quiet and peaceful it all is now in the Mala schools. The old days of persecution seem to be over, for the present at least. It was old Dorawewe, the Saa chief, who caused so much trouble. He did not favour the new teaching; but, like all his sort, he would not oppose it openly, but hired ruffians from down the coast to come and "do" for the school people. So in the event of any reprisals he could at once protest his innocence: "It was they, not he." And people, too, came from Lalosuu to Saa seeking a life in exchange for [30/31] the life of one of their people who had drowned himself through fear when impressed as a guide by the man-of-war that was inquiring into Fred Howard's murder. Saa people had directed the man-of-war captain, and so they were responsible for the man's death.
But the old chief is now dead, and the Lalosuu people (precious rogues they are) are content with quartering themselves at Saa, and stealing pigs.
Further North, at Port Adam, there are still fears of invasion from the North, the slightest excuse would bring down dozens of heathen from (bigger) Mala all armed with rifles, and all ready to take life on the smallest provocation. As we were coming away in November, I heard that some of these Northern ruffians had paddled down the coast, and, together with some Port Adam bravos, had gone up inland and shot a man.
But throughout the six schools there is peace. The Saa people have been several years preparing for baptism; but of late there has been no one resident there who could baptise, and so to me it was granted to reap the first fruits of Saa (two of Joe's children, however, had been baptised by Mr. Comins at Saa). But I was only reaping that which had been sown and watered through long and troublous seasons of toil; and the word of the master is indeed true: "I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour."
Thirty years ago, Bishop Patteson took Joe Wate away from Saa; and just now the first baptism has been held there. Truly a long sowing time. Fifty people were also waiting for baptism at Sulu. Luke Masuraa is teaching there; the school was founded during the troubles at Saa, and thither some of the Saa teachers and scholars betook themselves. Mr Comins held the first baptism there two years ago.
At Ramoramo, one of the two villages in Port Adam, ten miles from Saa, a school has been established for some years, and several boys taken from it have been trained at Norfolk Island; but the heathen have been in the ascendancy till lately, and not much has been effected. But now brighter things seem to be in store; the Christian party are in the majority, and some of the elders who had formerly stood aloof from the new way have (under pressure of the iron hand of sickness) joined the school, while many of the children are anxious to be allowed to attend. I baptised seventeen people here, mostly younger ones, for I wished to further prove the elders. Fakaia the chief also desired baptism; but that I could not allow as yet.
The other three schools are all of quite recent growth. Johnson and Andrew Dora have been doing a good work at Roas, and the people are now going to make a settled village on a hill overlooking the bay at Mapo. Our Mala people, in their heathenism, lived all over the place, and to visit a village of a dozen houses would take half a day. One house will be here at the head of a gully, another [31/32] here on the side of a ridge, another hidden away somewhere else, etc, etc., and one of the first advantages gained by any chief having a school is that his people are all gathered together comfortably in one place.
James Iumane has the beginnings of a good school at Pwaloto. He only began this year, and already he has gathered a goodly number around him, and in time I hope they will come out of their fastnesses and will build a village in a decent place. It is the children who generally are the first agitators; they worry the parents till they are allowed to go to school, and in due course the parents themselves also follow. Pwaloto should have a great influence for good, as the head man is well disposed to us, and his dependents are many in number and are scattered over a considerable area. Pou, the remaining school, has quite a history of its own. The "good news" first found its way there through the instrumentality of a returned Fiji labourer. He seems to have joined with an old sorcerer who had religious and "spiritual" notions of his own, and he grafted a good deal on to the Fiji man's teaching. The head man there had heard enough of Christianity to know that he was being somewhat "done," and so they sent to Port Adam and then to Saa asking for a teacher. And now the two "ways" are being taught almost side by side, and at present the false one has more of a following than the true. The old sorcerer poured water from a bamboo on to the heads of all his people, and then changed their names. Himself he called Man-o-war! The water sprinkling goes on and seems to be a bit of Roman Catholicism, imported possibly from Fiji. They also fasted on Wednesdays and Sundays, and formerly they had three days of rest in the week, men and women having different days.
Old Mwake, as he is named (he is an old man), has evidently gathered together all the folk-lore of his country, and with additions from Christian and other teaching has made a kind of religious system. He can rattle you off the names of a hundred spirits with all of whom he is chummy, and who are his servants and guides in anything that he undertakes. But some of his practices are immoral, and though in many things he is blindly followed, yet many are becoming disgusted with his evil ways and are coming over little by little to the other side. I am afraid the teacher there is not able to cope with the question, and indeed it would puzzle a white man to deal with it. Whoever would expect to find a kind of Eastern fanaticism base among our Melanesians? unable, as they seem to be, to reason out anything abstract, and to put to a definite concrete use anything they may have seen or may have been taught.
In all of the Mala schools I have a good report to make of the teachers. Instruction is being imparted, though not of course as one could wish; they have no idea of leading up to and drawing out answers, and the scholars themselves do not know how to answer a [32/33] question. The need of catechising is strongly felt. But one could see in them an evident desire for knowledge, and a determination to put off the old man and to be clothed in the new. As yet all the schools are on the weather side, but some of the villages on the lee side are favourable to us, and through relationship, trade, etc., there seems to be a likelihood of our intimacy with them increasing, and so of schools being begun. God grant that we may see the light shine in this great darkness.
__________ Santa Cruz.
DR. J. W. WILLIAMS.
THE "Southern Cross" arrived at Santa, Cruz on St. Mark's Day, 1896, and it was discovered that Mr. Forrest was leaving the Mission immediately. So the Bishop put me in temporary charge of the district, instead of taking me on to Guadalcanar as had been originally proposed.
Sunday, April 26.--The Bishop preached in the large and beautiful church at Nelua, the head station. He introduced me to the people, who were very sad at losing Mr. Forrest.
April 27.--We visited the Reef Islands in the ship, and paid the teachers at Pileni and Nufiloli. At the former place we had to report the death of a boy at Norfolk Island. The father and mother were quite overcome with grief, and everybody seemed sorry. They are an affectionate people.
On the 28th we called at the Duff group, and landed at Tomako, the biggest island, to visit the school started by Forrest in 1895. The teacher, George Domo, gave a fairly good account, but said the people were very fond of fighting, a failing common to all Cruzians. The people gave us a boy to take to Norfolk Island, a great, big boy of about 16 or 17. He was to stay with me at Nelua till I went south again in August, but, as it happened, he got tired and made off home very soon after I got back to Nelua.
Wednesday, 29th.--The ship arrived back at Nelua, and after putting me ashore sailed for the Solomons.
"Sound Learning" Postponed for "Useful Industry."
April 30th.--The people started building a new schoolhouse, as the old one had collapsed. The men spent the time they would otherwise have given to schooling in cutting timber in the bush. James Goodenough Meluakana, the head teacher, gave them a good lead. This building occupied some time, as the work was rather desultory, and we did not begin to use the new schoolhouse for some weeks.
 The following week I went to Te Motu, the other school, which is situated on a small island off the Santa Cruz mainland. We sailed the eight miles before a nice trade wind, and reached our destination early in the afternoon. I was introduced to Daniel Melmakavle and Bertie Baton, the two principal teachers. There is a nice house here also, but the great want of the place is good water.
On Saturday, May 9th, we returned to Nelua, halting half-way to wait till the trade wind had moderated a bit.
The Doctor Wanted: Liberal Fees.
One morning, at Nelua, I was "sent for" to go and see the big man at Taape, a neighbouring village. As it would have taken some time to get the boat down and manned, I went in a small canoe, with two natives to paddle. Taape is about three miles by sea from Nelua, and we soon got there. I saw the patient and prescribed, and then we set about returning, loaded up with fees in the shape of yams, and mats, and native money. All went well until we were about halfway home to Nelua, when suddenly, without the slightest warning, the canoe canted up and upset us and our belongings into the sea. My immediate thought was "Sharks," and I climbed on board that canoe again in record time. The two Cruzians thoroughly enjoyed the joke, and swam about collecting our goods and chattels. I utterly ruined my hypodermic case with the salt water, but I saved everything else, including my only pipe, which, with great presence of .mind, I kept in my mouth all the time. Our arrival at Nelua was the signal for roars of derisive laughter at my expense.
Ascension Day was observed just as a Sunday, and the people decorated the church very nicely with palms and greenery. Decoration in Santa Cruz is very easy to accomplish; you only have to go twenty yards from the church to get abundance of material.
On May 19th the "Southern Cross" came back from the Solomons and left again for the south the same day. The next day it rained in torrents, and continued to do so for several days, blowing very hard at the same time. The "Southern Cross" had a very rough trip, as I afterwards heard.
Sunday, May 24.--Whit Sunday; as it was also the Queen's Birthday we hoisted the flag. The weather was much better. On the following Wednesday I made my first trip to Te Motu. It was rather a lively experience, as the boat's crew didn't know a word I spoke, and I was equally unable to understand them. However, by dint of much yelling we got along all right and reached Te Motu in three hours. The landing here is a little exciting. You have to take the boat right in through the surf on to the reef. If you don't seize the right moment, or if a big roller catches you as you go in, you will certainly upset. I had been in several times but had never myself held the steer oar. Now it was quite a different affair. However, we got through and landed without mishap.
 At Te Motu: Women Teachers Wanted.
Next day I had a full muster of the school. The people here are much keener than at Nelua, and the outlook is promising. The difficulty is the women teachers. There was only one Christian woman at Te Motu at that time, Clara, the wife of Daniel, who had only had three months' schooling at Norfolk Island. The women are keen to learn but there is no one to teach them. However, I have arranged to put Simon Manotea in charge, and he is about to marry a girl who has been three or four years at Norfolk Island, and is well spoken of by Mrs. Colenso, so I hope things will improve in this respect. Her name is Mary Inavlo, and she is probably going down to marry Simon in April. I visited a heathen village close to the school, and was hospitably entertained in the Club-house. There was a man weaving a mat, and I watched him a long time. They are very clever at it. This village swarms with small boys, with whom I tried to make friends, but they fled in all directions. I returned to Nelua on the eve of Trinity Sunday, and we had two good services next day, besides school.
A Father's Gratitude.
During the following week a large number of Pileni people arrived in their big sailing canoes. Among them came the father of the boy Sipa, who died at Norfolk Island in the beginning of the year, He was most demonstrative in his gratitude to me for taking care of his boy. He brought me a big fish as a present, and told me when I again visited Pileni his wife was going to make me a large present. The affection shown by this man was most striking. The Pileni people are almost purely Polynesian, and their language is closely akin to Maori, so much so that I was able to make myself understood bespeaking to them in that language. They are very keen on school, and are anxious to have a book in their own language, but I told them they would have to wait. We shall get some reading sheets printed for them this year, I hope.
Honorary Physician to the Court.
About this time I had a morning call from Natei, the big chief of Nelua. He brought me a basket of bananas, with a request that I would go and see his wife, who was sick; that is, one of his wives, for he has six or eight. I accordingly paid her a visit and found the poor woman very ill with pleurisy. She got well again in about three weeks. I attended Natei himself, and various members of his family, at different times, but the old man was very mean, according to native ideas, and only gave me a dirty betel-nut bag. The school people said he ought to have given much more. On the other hand, the Taape chief, who had speedily recovered from his indisposition, was most generous in his gratitude, and was constantly bringing and sending me presents.
 St. Barnabas' Day was marked by a family feud in the school village, which it took some little trouble to quell. Some of them got out their bows and arrows, which had to be taken from them. The culprits professed great repentance and sorrow when it was all over, and I believe it was genuine, at any rate they didn't offend again while I was there. I had to employ myself as mediator between man and wife in two cases, and succeeded in reconciling them, though with some little difficulty in one case.
On Tuesday, June 16th, I again went to Te Motu, this time taking Fanny Itamia, the head woman teacher at Nelua, to stay a few weeks at Te Motu and teach the women there. It blew pretty hard, and we had an adventurous journey, and, to wind up with, we nearly upset on the reef while lauding. I stayed at Te Motu a week on this occasion, and was very pleased with the way the people attended church and school. We had a fine weather passage back, and arrived to find the place full of Reef Islanders, who had come to buy provisions. My friend, the father of Sipa, was again very much in evidence, and renewed his protestations of gratitude. The weather, which had been very fine, changed at this time and they were wind-bound with us for a fortnight. I employed the time in trying to pick up their language. On Thursday, July 2nd, the Taape people gave a great feast, to which I received a pressing invitation. But the rain stopped my going, so in the afternoon they turned up in swarms to my house, bringing quantities of food and presents of all kinds. Of course it was my bounden duty to give equivalent presents, so everybody was pleased. On July 9th I paid a flying visit to Te Motu in the boat to bring back Fanny, whose absence was badly felt at Nelua.
A Woman's Good Work.
She had done good work during her short stay in preparing some women for baptism. I found Clara, Daniel's wife, very ill with rheumatic fever, and in great pain, which I was fortunately able to relieve somewhat. We returned to Nelua for Sunday. The following week there was a large native dance at Nelua, a most extraordinary spectacle. They began at 3 p.m. and kept it up until daylight next morning, in consequence of which they were all very sleepy and did not want to school. A man pricked himself with an arrow and the point broke off. He would not allow me to extract it, and I was anticipating a case of tetanus, but he got well with no more than a small abscess, from which the arrow tip was discharged. On Sunday, July 19th, just as we were going to Matins, the cry of "the ship" was raised. She had been away nearly nine weeks, and was not due; but I was none the less glad. Consequently my disappointment was great when I discovered that it was a false alarm. Some of the heathen were having a joke with us.
 "Come and See a White Woman."
During the following days another fleet of sailing canoes arrived from the Reef Islands. The whole male population of Nufiloli, and a great number from Pileni, came over. They knew the "Southern Cross" was due, and that Mrs. Welchman was expected to be on board, and so they came to see a white woman. Some of them had seen Mrs. Selwyn when she visited Santa Cruz with the Bishop some years ago, but the majority were all agog with expectation. I found my teachers in the Reef Islands had all come, too, and when I scolded them for leaving their schools they replied that there was no one left to be taught.
On Wednesday, July 29th, the ship did come, and I was never before so glad to see a white face, and hear my own language again. She stayed twenty-four hours with me, and then went on to the Solomons. She brought back Monika, James Goodenough's wife, and her baby, as well as Benjamin Menimata, Nelson Banina, and Samuel Tuena, so there were great rejoicings. James had built a new house in honour of his wife's return, and it is really quite a civilized dwelling, having two rooms, which is a distinct advance in Cruzian architecture. But there was much disappointment on all sides when it became known that Dr. and Mrs. Welchman were not on board.
Death of a Christian Child.
I spent a week more at Nelua after the departure of the ship, and then went to Te Motu to await her return there. I went before I had intended, owing to the illness of Daniel Melmakavle's little girl. They sent a message begging me to come quickly. I found the poor child suffering from inflammation of the brain, and was only able to soothe its pain, for the case was hopeless. It died on August 8th, and there was great crying and grief. They agreed to send the body to Nelua for burial, as there is no cemetery at Te Motu, and we could not allow a Christian child to be buried in heathen fashion. So next day they took it in a canoe, two others following in procession. I offered to lend them my boat, but they said it was too heavy to pull against the strong trade wind. The heathen relatives did not much like the idea of taking the child away, but they did not oppose us actively. The poor mother was only just recovering from rheumatic fever, and could not go, which distressed her very much; so Daniel stayed with her, for he said, "It would not be good for one of us to see the child buried, and the other not," so he got his friends to go instead.
I spent three weeks at Te Motu waiting for the "Southern Cross" and the Bishop, and we were busily occupied in getting the new church ready for its dedication. The ship was ten days overdue, and my supply of provisions ran very short. I visited the neighbouring village, called Nimbi, several times, to see a sick man, but the people there do not yet want any teaching.
 A Critical Juncture.
Things went on quietly till August 26th, when there was trouble that might have ended badly. A heathen man living in the village near the school got embroiled with the people of a village on the other side, and everybody prepared to fight. I found our people were in the wrong, and told them they must pay up a fine, as the alternative to having a fight. After some demur they consented to do so, but now the question arose: Would they pay enough to satisfy the aggrieved party's demands? We were in the middle of the discussion when the "Southern Cross" hove in sight, and I was very thankful to see her lights coming round the point. It was 10 o'clock at night, but broad moonlight. I went off to the ship and brought the Bishop ashore. The people had not yet settled their differences, and for some time it was an open question whether we should have a fight in the morning or a dedication and baptism. After waiting till 3 a.m., we were at length informed that milder counsels had prevailed, and there would be no fighting; so we went to bed in peace. Next day the Bishop dedicated the beautiful new church to St. Andrew, and baptised twelve adults (all women) and five infants. We went on to Nelua the same afternoon, and on Friday, August 28th, the Bishop baptised one infant and married a couple. That was the conclusion of my stay in Santa Cruz. We left that evening, and called the next day at the Reef Islands, landing at Nufiloli and Pileni. At the former island we found one of the teachers, Samuel Telimbla, very sick indeed. It was doubtful whether he would recover. We did all we could for him, but it was not very much. At Pileni, the people were very enthusiastic. We settled a site for the school-house, and brought Alan Mele back with us to Norfolk Island for further training, putting Samuel Tuena in his place. My friend, the father of Sipa, and his wife, were most generous, and overwhelmed Mr. Wilson and myself with gifts. It shows a very good feeling. We left the Santa Cruz group finally at noon on August 29th, for the Banks Islands.
__________ Torres Islands.
REV. L. P. ROBIN.
MY stay at Torres extended from November 6th, 1895, to May 25th, 1896. It is the first time that a white Missionary has stayed here for the great fasts and festivals, also the first time that the Native Church has had a priest to minister to them continuously for some months. It is difficult now to give a report upon the work, because very sad news has recently come which throws back a great gloom over much that seemed, at the time, bright, encouraging, and progressive. Yet I believe I may say that though one has been [38/39] roughly shaken from a too sanguine position of confidence and satisfaction--though the conclusion is forced on one that a still greater care must be taken, however difficult it may be to do so, in admission to Holy Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion--there are nevertheless good reasons to hope that, on the whole, there is a fuller appreciation of Christianity, a deeper knowledge of what a profession of it demands, and a more earnest desire and endeavour to live in accordance with it.
Roughly speaking, my time was divided between Loh and Tegua, as follows:--From time of arrival till Christmas at Loh. S. Stephen's Day to the Circumcison at Tegua. January 2nd to Sexagesima at Loh. February 10th to March 23rd at Tegua. Holy Week and Easter at Loh. April 7th (Easter Tuesday) to 13th at Tegua. April 14th to 26th at Loh. April 27th to May 11th at Tegua. May 12th to 25th at Loh. During the long stays at Loh, I paid several short visits to Toga, and ran over to Tegua for a night now and then. From Tegua I visited Hiw twice, spending two nights there each time.
A Good Woman.
LOH.--We had a time of much sickness to begin with; and to everyone's great grief, Nesta, the faithful wife of William Wulenew, and the only woman teacher we had, died on the even of Advent Sunday. Three weeks' mourning was decreed for the two schools, and the chiefs proclaimed the same period for everyone. She is much missed by all, as her influence was very good, and she was always, cheerful, and willing, and gentle.
How we kept Christmas Tide.
During Advent I had classes for the Baptismal candidates whom William and Ernest have been preparing for some time. The Baptism took place on Christmas Eve, at evensong. There were nineteen men and nineteen women. There were nineteen more who wished to be baptised, but for various reasons I postponed baptising them till Easter. The church, having been decorated for Christmas, looked unusually bright and pretty, and the service was hearty and impressive. On Christmas Day we had Matins and celebration of Holy Eucharist at 7 a.m. In the afternoon there was an archery match; the shooting at first was decidedly poor, but as soon as they got the range it was better. The sickness, which has been troubling us so much, seemed to gradually pass away at this time. I did not find the weather so oppressively hot as I had expected, and altogether I was pleasantly surprised as regards the summer climate.
"Proselytes of the Gate."
A party of people from Toga came over while I was at Tegua for my Christmas visit, and stayed till I returned. They were people from the northern district, all well disposed towards us, and anxious to have a school started. William told me that, during their visit, they used to come morning and evening and stand outside the church [39/40] during the services, carefully observing everything, in order, they said, that they might know how to behave when we began school there; this is an encouraging sign that they do want what they are asking for. I had paid them a visit soon after my arrival in November, and arranged to go and see them again about the middle of January, when the first public feast would be held.
At the Epiphany we had grand festal services. It is a great help to have our new Hymn Book. It contains only fifty-eight hymns, translations of well-known ones in the Ancient and Modern Book; but it makes all the difference when our services are complete in the vulgar tongue. The Mission Press being fully occupied, this edition of hymns was printed in Sydney last year, the expense being defrayed by kind friends in England.
On January 22nd an event of great importance occurred: we decided to make an attempt to dig a well near the school village, at Vipaka. I felt sure that with perseverance we could hit a place where one might get down deep enough. The great difficulty has always been the coral, which lies close beneath the surface; and cutting through or blasting it is beyond our power. After two tries, we did hit a hole, and after digging down about five feet found damp; another two feet gave us a nice spring. So now we are beyond the danger of absolute drought, I hope, after the well had been deepened, fenced, and a shed erected over it. We cut an absolutely straight path through the bush from it to the village, by compass. This work was completed by a suggestive coincidence--on St. Paul's Day, the chief worker being Paul Tegemvin, one of the first baptised here. Between the Epiphany and Sexagesima, I had a course of classes for Confirmation; candidates to be in readiness for the Bishop in April. On my return from Tegua, just before Holy week, these were continued, and a final course was held for the Baptismal candidates during Passion and Holy weeks. Holy week was, I think, a time of great helpfulness to all of us. Celebrations of Holy Communion were held on Palm Sunday and the four days following; the communicants so dividing themselves as to receive once during the week. This service was at 7 a.m. each day. At 10.45 there was Matins, with a short address on the events of the day. At 6.30, we had Evensong with an additional address. On Good Friday, the Ante-Communion was at 7; Matins and address at 10.45; Litany, hymns, and addresses at 2; Evensong and addresses at 6.30. On Holy Saturday, we had Matins and Ante-Communion at 6.30. I was thankfully surprised to see wonderfully full attendances at all the services, and am sure that our efforts to make it a time of realization of, and thought upon the Passion, were not unsuccessful. On Saturday evening we had a festive and choral Easter Evensong, with the baptism of nineteen more adults. We had been having wet weather for about a month, but it cleared up on Good Friday, and we had it bright and fine for Easter.
 Easter Gladness.
Easter was happier for us than Christmas, when we had all been more or less ailing, or anxious, or sorrowful. All our communicants were present for the Eucharist on Easter morning, and the services throughout were very hearty and bright. On Easter Tuesday I went to Tegua, and on the Wednesday fifty-four visitors arrived from Toga. I got back on the following Monday and found preparations going on for an Easter feast to the visitors. This took place on the Wednesday, and for the occasion sixteen pigs were slain and disposed of. There were about 240 people present.
Visit of the Bishop.
Early on the morning of the 22nd (April) the "Southern Cross" arrived with the Bishop on board. A Confirmation was held at 10.30 when five people were admitted to the full privileges of the Church. We left for Tegua about 1.30, and had to land in Hayter Bay, the landing place nearest to the school being impracticable through surf. This involved a long wet walk, for it had been raining here. There was a very hearty reception ready for the Bishop on his arrival at the school. At Evensong the Bishop confirmed twenty-four people. The Bishop slept there that night, also the Rev. C. Browning and the Rev. Percy Williams. My small mansion was not calculated to accommodate so many distinguished visitors in comfort. Mr. Williams and I made ourselves as comfortable as we could on the floor by the aid of some Santa Cruz mats. He is a person of lengthy proportions, as some of our readers know. I placed myself at as great a distance from him as the available space would permit, but sustained some severe contusions in the course of the night. He remarked in the morning that the rats were very troublesome. There are a good number; still, to kick one's host's ribs-- these, doubtless, are among the romantic experiences which one is supposed to meet with.
On April 23rd the Bishop consecrated the church at 7.15 a.m., and dedicated it to St. Cuthbert. Matins followed, and the visitors left about 11. I returned to Loh the same day, and stayed there over the Sunday, returning to Tegua for a fortnight on the Monday. I got back again to Loh on May 11th. On the 13th I married William Wulenew to his second wife. The time since Nesta's death was very short from our point of view, but the native is not to be judged in quite the same way. I gave the wedding-breakfast in the afternoon; there were twenty-four guests. The following day was Ascension Day, which was duly observed. In the afternoon there was a more general wedding feast in William's honour. On the 17th I baptized fifteen "infants," that is, children of Christian parents not yet old enough for instruction. This formed the conclusion of the work at this island.
A Noble Fane: St. Cuthbert's.
TEGUA.--The chief events during this year have been the erection of a grand church, a large baptism of adults, and a Confirmation. The [41/42] church, which was opened for Divine Service on December 29th, reflects very great credit on the people. It is 70 ft. long, 30 ft. wide, and 21 ft. high. They had the Vipaka pattern to improve upon, and have done so, getting greater height and a closer thatch. The centre aisle is very much wider too, and the general effect of the building is spacious and dignified. The sanctuary is well raised, and also the altar; and the chancel, which is 9 ft. narrower than the body of the church, includes seats for teachers and choir, If Toga and Hiw, in the future, advance as much upon this pattern as the Teguans have upon that of St. Aidan's, at Vipaka, we shall have no reason to be ashamed of our ecclesiastical buildings in Torres. The church was consecrated by the Bishop on April 23rd, and dedicated to St. Cuthbert. On Low Sunday there was a baptism of adults, the first held in Tegua since in 1894 the Teguan adults were baptized at Loh. There were forty-one persons baptised.
An Unique Offertory.
On this day also the first offertory was received. It was, of course, entirely in kind, and consisted of various native productions, such as pestles, food-knives, arrows, mats, fans, shell ornaments, and the like. There is now no native currency in Torres, such as the shell money in other parts of Melanesia, and the difficulty will be to realise these offertories, as curios are not things for which there is a general demand. They might meet with ready purchasers in England, but the expense of packing and freight render it a risk to send them on the chance.
On the 22nd of April the Bishop confirmed the first body of Teguans. Twenty-four persons received the rite, and were admitted to their first Communion on May 3rd, the 4th Sunday after Easter. On the same day, at Matins, I baptised twelve "infants." It was a much more trying service than the baptism of the forty-one adults. The infants all howled at the top of their voices the whole time, and some of them kicked violently too. I should be glad if any authority on the subject could inform me whether it would be a very unorthodox proceeding to administer a gentle narcotic beforehand in such cases. It would certainly conduce very much to a more seemly administration of the rite, though I will do the congregation the justice of admitting that they witnessed the whole ceremony with a perfectly serious demeanour. Had I been in their place I fear I should hardly have behaved as well. On May 9th I married James Gieh and Mark Tuwuwi to their respective wives, who had arrived from Norfolk Island in the "Southern Cross."
The Dark Side.
I found it necessary to transfer Ernest Tughur and his wife from the hill school at Loh to take the charge of the school at Tegua, neither of the teachers there being fit for the responsibility of head-teachership of an important place like this. I believe Ernest has [42/43] been working hard and getting things into a satisfactory state. He will probably become a permanency there, as circumstances have since occurred which render it an unwise proceeding to take him back to Loh. It is to these circumstances that I referred at the commencement of my paper. I deeply grieve to say that Ernest has confessed to having come to terrible trouble and sin, and this confession is unfortunately forced upon him by events which have made further concealment impossible. I only received the news on the return of the ship from the last voyage, and consequently can do nothing in the matter till I go down in April, 1897. I can only say that I had placed implicit trust in Ernest, and he has been my dear friend and helper hitherto. His brother, William, is the only other first-grade teacher in the district. The blow, therefore, to the work, and to myself personally, is a terribly heavy one, and the outlook is rendered gloomy indeed. I need hardly ask for the prayers of our readers on behalf of the young Church thus crippled, of myself for "a right judgment in all things," and of the teachers for support and help in their time of great trial.
Waiting for a Teacher.
TOGA.--In the northern district the iron is hot, but, alas, we have still no one to place there to strike at once. A space has been cleared for a Mission Settlement in a lovely situation on a terrace facing north; and a hut has been built there. The people are very keen, and only await the appointment of a teacher to come from their present villages and settle near the place. They scrupulously observe Sundays by assembling there, and they sit there quietly in the morning and evening at the time they think we are having Matins and Evensong at Loh; and looking out across the passage they talk about the service they have seen there and wonder when they will have the same. It is a touching repetition of the old Macedonian cry, "Come over and help us." On one of their visits to Loh, they begged a very small boy from the school, and took him and a few letter sheets back with them to be doing something. It is heart-breaking that one can not do anything but pay them a flying visit now and then; I dread lest a reaction should set in, and they lose hope of anyone ever coming to them.
The southern district is as strongly opposed to the new teaching as their northern neighbours are in favour of it. They sent a message to me saying that they would like me to come over and see them that they might tell me their final word on the matter. They asked that I should go alone, but the northern people would not hear of my doing so, being convinced that some mischief was intended. "We will all go with you," they said to me, "and if they kill us, well, they can kill us," which was philosophic, no doubt, but not altogether encouraging; except in so far as their own unselfishness and kindly anxiety for me was concerned; that was most cheering. We fixed a [43/44] day, and I went over with a party of about fifteen, who were willing to go unarmed. There were about fifty or sixty ready to go, fully equipped with bows, arrows, and guns, but I said I would go with an absolutely unarmed party or alone. About twenty of them at once put away their arms and came, and more would have done so had I wanted more. We got there, and saw and talked with a good many people, but those who had been readiest with threats of violence were not there--why, I don't know, unless they thought- we should not come, or had been merely vapouring, which is quite likely. Our talk was quite pacific, but not, I fear, very candid on their parts. They pressed us to sleep there, but that I would not do. I said we had paid them a friendly visit; when they returned it then we would talk about sleeping in each other's villages. So back we went the same night. The fact I think is that there is a feeling in our favour among the younger folk, but the men of rank, as usual. fear to lose influence, and are therefore strongly opposed. When we do get our school started in the Northern district I think the Southerners will follow before very long.
HUO.--I paid two visits of two nights each to this island, and succeeded in reaching and visiting the villages in the northern part of the island which I had not seen before. I liked the people there very much. They seemed a hearty, bright, open-faced lot, and were very friendly. But here, as everywhere, the head men oppose a firm front. It is the Southern ones here too that are the obstructionists. But whereas at Toga the Southerners are on the side of the island furthest from Loh, and have never had any communication with the Loh people, and may therefore be excused from ignorance, at Huo the Southerners are often paying visits to Tegua and see the school there, but their visits have not resulted so far in anything more than a rather amused contempt; while the Northerners, who have not seen the school, are well disposed towards us. They, however, cannot receive us till we have the consent of the Southerners, because the only landing places are in the territory of the latter. However, I am not by any means despondent about being able to start here as soon as we have a teacher to spare for them.
 Banks Islands.
T. C. CULLWICK.
AFTER a busy time distributing the teachers' trade, the ship put me ashore at Nuras, where the people were awaiting my arrival to help them in completing the interior of the new church. They had burnt two big kilns of lime, and were thoroughly in earnest, so that the work commenced without delay. The people were told off for their particular work according to their villages, and when the work began they vied with one another in friendly rivalry to get their work completed.
"They shall Renew their Strength."
Benjamin Virsal, who, since being here, has twice been taken back to Mota to die, appeared to have become quite a young man again, and, heading a band of workers, stimulated them to continuous hard work. Marion, Benjamin's wife, looked after the women, who were told off to prepare food for all the workers. Raymond Woqat and Philip Mumeg picked out the young men who were the most apt at carpentering, and undertook to adze the boards for the seats.
The Wasaga people, who are about four miles up the coast, with Joseph Sovlumagav at their head, came and finished the front of the church, the upper part of which was very neatly done in bamboo work. The floor of the sacrarium was laid down in concrete, the chancel and altar steps being formed by laying down boards, making a sort of trough to be filled in by a mixture of lime, sand, and rubble; this secured smoothness and evenness of surface and straightness of lines, so difficult for the native workers to accomplish.
An Encouraging Class.
Besides the work of church building, a large class of catechumens had to receive constant attention. The same degree of earnestness, which characterized those baptised by the Bishop last year, seemed to be present with them. There were a great number of elderly and middle-aged people among them, and the praiseworthy way in which they knew their catechism testified to their constant attendance and earnestness.
Having spent a week at the work on the new church, we started on a round of visits to some of the other islands. Rowing up the coast we reached Mosina, and spent the night. Unfortunately our visit clashed with a big dance that was on the following day, and this means, as a rule, a general holiday, the work of cooking food and the preparation for the dance demanding all their time.
It was gratifying to see most of the elders turn up to prayers and school, only a few remaining to fulfil some indispensable duties connected with the cooking. The general attendance of the children was very unsatisfactory, and they had very little to show for the past year's [45/46] teaching. This school is one among the many isolated places, and the teacher labours under a good many disadvantages, one of them being the inability of receiving the requisite amount of help from the white Missionary.
Manlea, a Mota man, is here, and has certainly improved the appearance of the school inclosure. It is now very nicely kept, and they are building a school-house, so that the building in which they now assemble may be used exclusively for a church. Next year it is hoped the Bishop will dedicate this and confirm a class of candidates.
From Mosina we went our way to Motalava and Ra. The Rev. Henry Tagalad had been helped during the summer by the Rev. Sogovman. He was taken back here at the end of the last trip, last year, in a very delicate state of health, from Vanua Lava, so here he remained for some time and did very good work visiting the more distant places. This had done a great deal of good, and the people of Motalava proper spoke warmly of the regular pastoral work he had carried on among them.
At Saa, the church building was nearly completed. They had been left to themselves, and had failed somewhat in the straightness of their lines, and the general work was less satisfactory than it ought to be, considering that they had the other recently-built churches for a guide.
The Zeal of a Teacher Reflected in his Pupils.
The school at Narenigman had made very laudable progress since last year, under the head teachership of Benjamin Qorig. Last year it was arranged for the Rev. Walter Woser to go to Norfolk Island for a change. He had been down the islands for the last ten years, and had begun to show some signs of slackness in his work. It was thought that a trip to Norfolk Island would enable him to recruit some spiritual energy, as the helpful associations of the life there is the common experience of both black and white. Benjamin Qorig was chosen to take Walter's place. He was quite a junior teacher, but had shown signs of much trustworthiness, which placed him above some of his seniors, and the satisfactory results of his work have thoroughly justified the choice. The rapid way in which some of the youngsters learnt to read was astonishing He appears to have gone out of the ordinary way and to have helped the little ones out of school hours. It was told me by some of the Ra people, how enthusiastic these youngsters were, and how they were to be seen in the gamals and houses with their reading books, making them out by themselves.
A Change from Old Times.
This visit to Motalava was only intended to be a very short one, but I was detained through stress of weather, and had to spend two days to get a possible passage to Mota. I got there on Saturday and found the people all away in the gardens; there wasn't a single soul to receive us, which was a marked contrast to our receptions of old. At one time the sight of a boat caused great excitement, and a crowd [46/47] was generally found waiting our arrival at the landing place; but boats have now become very common, and have ceased to cause any sensation. There are no less than five boats on Mota which have been bought with copra, and as these, as well as the traders' boats, are continually going about, the people are not able to distinguish the Missionary's boat from among them. Of old, the sight of a boat meant the Missionary for a certainty, and that meant in turn the only chance of getting some small portion of a commodity, which, at times, used to run very short, and they had, as it has often been plaintively stated, to make use of the taro leaf as a substitute for the fragant weed.
Most of their wants are now supplied by the trader, and the "Southern Cross," as well as the Missionary's boat, fails to create the sensation it used to, very few people frequently taking the place of the big crowd that used to invariably greet us. One cannot help but feel these receptions very chilly compared with what they were, and there is a proneness to feel that the means of trade has in part estranged them; but looking at matters in their natural light, it is nothing but what must be expected, and the way in which they respond to do anything that is necessary, shows most of the people to be still the same.
This visit to Mota was only intended to be a very short one, and was made with the object of following up the work of the Rev. R. P. Wilson, who made a long stay here at the beginning of the season.
He had worked very hard to amend the irregular attendance, and, from what the teachers told me, they had appreciated his help, and that the people had responded to his efforts. This seemed to be an opportune time to stir up the people to build a new church.
Inauguration of Building of New Church.
On the Sunday, I spoke very earnestly to the people upon the absolute necessity of beginning to build in earnest, and on the expediency of building a church worthy of the early associations of their island, and, after the service, I went the round of the island with the same object. All the districts round the island agreed to take their part, and so we arranged for a service on the following day with which to begin the work. It took place round the first tree to be cut down, and representatives from all the villages round the island stood near with axes to drive in as the tree was set apart for the sacred purpose.
This seemed to impress them greatly with a sense of the responsibility of their undertaking, and it is hoped that the same spirit of earnestness which seemed present at the commencement will characterise the whole work.
Unfortunately, this took place at a very busy time in the yam gardens, but another visit to Mota being uncertain, it was thought better to take advantage of the present opportunity notwithstanding.
 After the service we sailed to Gaua, and reached Masevunu just as night came on. Here George Matagan and his wife, Ropistuka, had taken up their work. The people, through the bad conduct and indifference of past teachers, have become very lukewarm.
Their solicitations for a Mota teacher led one to believe that they would come together and begin school in earnest, but there was nothing but disappointment, and they had to be given to understand that the teacher could not possibly remain if they did not become more regular in their attendance.
Friends Estranged: a Sad Relapse.
From here we rowed up to Tarasaz, and found the greater part of the district unsettled. The people had broken the taboo on firearms and poisoned arrows, which were very much in evidence.
The cause of all this was traced back to a charm procured by one man over another. The two had at one time been fast friends, and they together had helped greatly to restore order and keep the peace for a comparatively long time. For some reason one of the men got tired of their friendship, which eventually ended in dislike. This led him to seek the aid of a renowned charmer, living some distance away, to charm away the life of his late friend, and procured a small portion of the stick of tobacco from which he had filled his pipe. After this had been passed on to be professionally dealt with, it came to the ears of the unfortunate man, who immediately began to feel a little "off colour," and this increased his determination to avenge himself. He dogged the steps of his enemy for a favourable opportunity, and managed to waylay him coming back from the taro gardens. The marvellous way in which the man escaped shows the alertness of these people in getting out of the way. The man heard the click of the hammer, twisted himself round, and escaped with only a flesh wound in his shoulder, in spite of the fact that he was shot at by a man only a few yards away. The school village became deserted, the people themselves divided for and against the wounded man, and the whole place was in a ferment of excitement, and, the sad thing of all, the teachers showed their utter incapacity to help the people. Walsham Wagotu made some efforts, but they were met by failure in the first instance, so he gave it up in despair, and went back to his own village. This state of things in Gaua generally drags out for a long time, and instead of having a good pitched battle to settle their grievances, they prefer to let it stand over and murder somebody of the opposite side in cold blood; thus keeping the whole district in a state of fever while any outstanding trouble exists.
Robert Pantutun, who was to have gone here last year, became very ill and could not keep to this arrangement; thus the teachers are still without a leader, and the work remains in the same unsatisfactory state. Peter Wownt, at Vilis, appears incapable of attracting the people around him; there seems to be very little earnestness among them, which, in a great measure, can be traced to the fact that there is so little existing among the teachers themselves.
 A General Disarming.
The best way of relieving the present disturbed state of things was discussed with the teachers and other responsible men, and it was thought that if the firearms were collected, it would in a great measure restore the public confidence. Accordingly, the teachers and some of the head men, with myself, set out on an expedition, taking each village in turn. We made first of all for the man who shot the other; knowing very well that if he didn't give up his musket in the first place, our efforts would be fruitless. He still claimed to be a great friend of mine, as, in his own mind, he had shot the man in self defence, and so had not forfeited my friendship; and, during our interview, he stated that those who died by the musket were few, while those who died by means of the charm were many; thus showing the strong belief these people have in the power of charms. When asked for his musket, he agreed to give it up if the other side gave up theirs, and on our promising to return it in case they didn't, he gave it up straight away. On our arrival at the bush villages, we were invariably met by the question, "Have you got Wekir's musket," and when they were told we had, they seemed pretty willing to give up theirs. We were nevertheless frequently deceived, and it was only by persistent efforts we managed to get them all in.
In this matter one village policed the other, and in several instances we had to tramp a long way back on learning at one village that we had not got all at the village just left. After much trouble we succeeded very well on the whole, but a few still remaining in possession of their owners the question of dealing with these had to stand over for a future visit.
From Gaua we had to return to Vureas to await the return of the "Southern Cross" from the north, and to prepare for the consecration of the new church. We got out of the lagoon, as the tide was falling, very early in the morning, and by daylight we were well on our way to Vanua Lava. They hadn't done very much since we left them, as there was an accumulation of garden work after the busy time we had had there.
"The People had a Mind to Work."
We commenced again at the concrete work still left to be done, and to provide for the seating in the body of the church. The people once more responded, and the work went on apace. A big clam shell from the Solomons had been procured for a font, and this was mounted on a pedestal of concrete, with a big base of the same material. The ship was a little late, so we were enabled to have everything ready for consecration some days before the Bishop arrived.
The excitement of welcoming the vessel came at last, and the day long desired and looked for to crown the hard and continuous work of the past two years brought with it many feelings of thankfulness.
 Consecration of S. Peter's Church.
The church was dedicated to S. Peter, and the village is now called S. Peter by the people. It is none too large for the congregation, as it was more than full at the consecration service, and also at Evensong, when a large class of catechumens with their families, numbering sixty, were baptised. Raymond Woqat has begun very well indeed in his work here. He is enthusiastic himself and inspires others, but he is very sensitive and often impulsive, and has a great deal to learn of how to work in spite of difficulties.
On leaving Vureas the ship put me on Merelava. The Bishop on his way down on his first voyage had consecrated the church and confirmed seventeen people, and this, I am sure, had very much gladdened their hearts.
Choosing a Wife.
The first thing to be told on settling down was the contemplated marriage of the Rev. William Vaget. He had become engaged to the lady on the condition that it recommended itself to the whole people. He had searched for a wife to go to Norfolk Island to be educated, but had searched in vain; consequently, he had to choose a partner much below the standard which is so requisite for such a position. From what he told me he seems to have been guided in his choice by a consideration for his work, and to have chosen a very good woman. On the day of the wedding the whole of the Merelava people came together, most of them having arrived the day before with food of various kinds as wedding presents. The wedding feast was prepared the night before, ready to be opened after the return from church. The grating of yams and nuts, and the cheery prattle of the busybodies throughout the night made things very lively.
"To Make the Money Jump."
After the ceremony was over all the relations and friends made a sort of pool for the bridegroom. One after another came in and threw down their piece of money as a sort of present, in addition to what they might have given before, the whole pile amounting to about forty fathoms of native money. This, however, turned out to be a sort of lucky bag. It has now become a custom, and seems to be made with ulterior motives, to make, as the people say, the money jump (circulate). If anyone receives a present of money on his wedding day, he must return the compliment when the giver's happy day arrives, and many of these gifts are made by already engaged young people who will expect it back with interest in the not very distant future. The people had finished the school-house at Sarei, so I was enabled to get the school into better order, for lack of which it had suffered considerably.
At Leqil, Samuel Sagler and his wife, Emily Roget, were helping the head teacher. All their people are very fond of him, and are very sorrowful about his having taken up work on Gaua. The first class [50/51] of middle-aged people is not so strong as it used to be, and its present members are irregular in their attendance. Samuel Sagler undertook to work them up specially, and, as he failed to get to Gaua, they will have the benefit of his teaching for part of a year.
A Rising Man.
At Matlewag, Joseph Qea is doing very good work, but he has lost his second teacher through bad conduct. It is hoped that Joseph will come up to Norfolk Island next year, as he has shown himself a capable teacher, and is likely to become a rising man.
At Lewotnok, Arthur Dimboe has not been successful in his work. The school is unsatisfactory, not so much on account of any negligence as the want of tact and system.
Towards the end of my stay the weather became very bad, and we were unable to leave for Merig, fearing our inability to land on getting there. After a few days it became better, and we determined to try. On reaching Merig we found rather bad landing, but managed to get the boat ashore with the help of the whole population; but the following day we found ourselves surfed up, and were obliged to stay for four days.
The Bishop had dedicated the church and confirmed three people on the way down. They were delighted to find that we could not leave, and seemed to think that it was a very good thing for them in spite of our expressed disappointment. Lina Esu, the teacher's wife, is the life and soul of the women folk, and has taught them to sew very nicely.
After spending four days here, and being behind time, we determined to try and get the boat out in spite of the surf, which had subsided since the day before. We succeeded, and got away for Gaua early in the morning. Things had quieted down here, and all the muskets, excepting two, had been collected; these we got in on the following day, which really settled the business of this particular visit, and we set sail again for Ladona after three days.
At Lakona the work seems to have a bright future. There is an earnest band of workers, and the education of the people is progressing rapidly. John Qilgaltok has been in charge, and has since come up to Norfolk Island for a change. At Vurein, Mesak Sisis and John Lin, from Motalava, seem to have taken the work up permanently. They very much wanted to return to their own island during my visit, but it required very little argument to show them how selfish it was to ask it, and I think they have now made up their minds to make this their work. The people there are all very fond of them, and this is so well known that all the other villages are asking for Motalava teachers. "Give us Motalava men" is the request everywhere. The school had made good progress since last year, but it did not come up to our expectations; perhaps it is the natural inaptness of the people.
 At Beat of Drum.
The people at a village called Qetemaru had built a schoolhouse, and the head man, with all his people, were most enthusiastic about getting a Motalava teacher. We paid them an unexpected visit--the people were all away in their gardens, but a vigorous drumming called some of them together. As they didn't all turn up so quickly as they might have done, it was suggested that the drum signal for a fight would have an instantaneous effect, but this I wouldn't allow, so we waited patiently as they returned in their own leisurely way, not knowing who it was that was there. At last the head man arrived and gave directions for another vigorous drumming, which brought the people together in no time. He is a powerful muscular fellow, a well-known fearless warrior, and also a rich man. He has more power among his own people than any chief I know about here. Very generous in many respects, and most hospitable, he is given to a great deal of boasting, which is apt to create a prejudice against him on first acquaintance. He proffered his hospitality very lavishly, which meant their devoting the whole day for cooking, and is expressed by the phrase "to light a fire." This was declined, and caused so much disappointment that we submitted to be entertained with a fowl and a roasted yam. While this was being cooked we got the people together in the schoolhouse. I spoke to them on their apparent earnestness in building a schoolhouse without any prospect of getting a teacher, and also on the eagerness with which they asked for one.
"None Shall Make Them Afraid."
I told them they must not ask for the Gospel simply because it was something new, but because it would help them, when they had received it, to live better and happier lives. An opportunity had been given me that morning of seeing the influence of a school extending far beyond the limits of its own sphere proper. We came across a man and his wife in their garden without a weapon of any description, far away from their own village, working in the security of the peace which a neighbouring school guaranteed. Twelve months ago such a thing was never heard of, and this served to show them the dreadful yoke, of every man's hand being against his brother, from which Christianity delivered them.
I am very glad to say that my appeal for help to the Motalava teachers was responded to by Rupert Dinisem, and that he is now at this particular village (Qetemaru) as teacher.
My visit to Koru was a very painful one. During the earlier part of the year Edmund Qarat, the teacher, had disgraced himself, and afterwards so incensed the whole people by procuring charms to charm their lives away, that he barely escaped with his life with the aid of some sympathisers belonging to a neighbouring settlement. On my visit in the ship I found the people much scattered, the building of the church at a standstill, and the people still very much disgusted with their teacher. I was apprehensive of their saying that they did [52/53] not want the school again, but this was far from the case; and I was entreated to try and find another teacher, but not a Mota man. A youth, named Arthur, from the Ulrat school, on the other side, had done his best to keep the people together, and had prayers regularly, but the greater part of the people kept to themselves.
Wanted Back Again.
On my visiting the place from Lakona, the people seemed to be in real earnest about commencing school again, and begged me to ask Edgar Darag, of Motalava, to come to their rescue. He had helped here for a year some little time ago, but had returned, and was teaching at his own island. He seems to have endeared himself to many and as we came away the teacher who was with me was charged to write a most urgent letter, and the last words of them all to me were, "Bring Edgar back." At the end of the year we put him ashore here with two boys from his own school, and a very warm welcome the people gave him.
During my next stay at Mota a good many things came to light which showed a very unhappy state of affairs. Much unfaithfulness to their Christian calling was evidently existing, and by the lax way in which some of these cases were treated there seemed to be an inclination on the part of many to condone sin; or a not sufficient interest in the cause of righteousness to try and remedy the evil. Several of these cases remain for the Bishop to deal with next year.
The time spent at Motalava and Ra was full of encouragement. The schools here, with one exception, are very good. At Ra, Caleb Wotan is assisting his father-in-law, the Rev. Henry Tagalad. He is an earnest sort of fellow, but as he did not receive much teaching at Norfolk Island he is unable to take a very prominent place. In all probability he will come up next year to Norfolk Island for further instruction.
Favourable Impressions of a French Trader.
The church here is very well looked after, and it is very gratifying to arrive and always find the same care and attention bestowed on it, and the same routine of school work going regularly on as if the white Missionary was present. An old French trader, not by any means partial to missions, who spent some time here, expressed himself very much surprised at the systematic round of prayers and school which went on day by day.
At Motalava, I am sorry to say, there appeared some show of slackness in the work of the Rev. Walter Woser, the success of the teacher who was left in charge during his absence at Norfolk Island making it all the more noticeable. The growing needs of a growing Church increase the necessity for thorough pastoral work. The people had, in some instances, been neglected--especially the sick--and were loud in their complaints about it. A change has been made in the assignation of the pastoral work, which, it is hoped, will ensure the people being properly visited.
 At Totoglag, Bartholomew Malolno had worked very well as the assistant of L. Wevhog, the head teacher; a certain amount of friction had taken place between them, about the ringing of the bell for prayers before some of the people arrived, and prayers had been said twice over on one or two mornings. This, however, was soon put right, and the state of the school testifies to good teaching.
On the Valua side of Motalava, there is an absence of earnestness on the part of the people; excepting at Leharlob, where the people had made a fair amount of progress with the building of their church in spite of the difficulty in procuring materials. It is much too low for a model, which is greatly to be lamented, as, with a very little more labour it would have made a good building.
Collecting Funds for an Organ.
At Pek, the Rev. Sogovman was busy with his people building a new church which they had commenced in earnest. They have been making copra for some time to get an harmonium, and have sold already 1,536 lbs., representing about £4 in cash, towards it.
At Ureparapara, the Rev. Simon Qalges has been successful in reviving the work at Tekel. He told me the people commenced in earnest on his return to attend regularly, and had made up their minds to live down at the school village. He had also gained some victories over the "Suqe," which had been reformed by the apparently free consent of those responsible.
On the other side we met with very bad news. George Nara, who had done such good work, and is really a good fellow at heart, had fallen under temptation. Pelham Tutun, a Mota man, is now in charge of the school, which will require a great deal of labour to repair the misfortune which has overwhelmed it.
An Alarming Invader.
At Rowa, William Qasvar has made some good progress with his new church, which is of a most fantastic architecture. This small community was very much troubled at the appearance of a crocodile, a visitor almost unknown in these parts, and the people are still much concerned about their safety. It has to some extent spoiled their industry, for he has taken up his abode very near to their fishing ground, and they are all frightened out of their lives at the sight of him.
At Tes, Vanua Lava, the people have migrated to a more healthy spot, and have completed their church, built of stone, but were awaiting the appointment of a teacher. Arthur Qules, their late teacher, died at Ra after a long and trying sickness. He stayed at his post among his people as long as he possibly could, and would not have left them only it was thought that he might benefit by the change. We have also lost two other Motalava teachers: Esnun and Muriel Salrig. They are very much missed at their respective villages, for they have both done good work in the past.
 During the past year many disappointments have been experienced, but, surveying the work as a whole, we can readily find an abundance of encouragement and many reasons for thanksgiving to God for giving us assurances that He is working with us.
SUMMARY OF STATISTICS, 1896. Mota.
THE REV. R. PALEY WILSON.
THE Bishop arranged that I should remain at Mota the greater part of this my first stay down the islands. We arrived there on Sunday morning, the 19th April, when the Bishop, Rev. Percy Williams, Dr. Williams, and myself, went ashore. We found George well, but Robert suffering from a large swelling in his groin. It was decided that he should go North in the ship, so that Dr. Williams might consult with Dr. Welchman upon the case. We had a celebration, followed subsequently by school and matins, at which the Bishop preached. George preached in the evening. The ship sailed the following morning, and I found myself embarked upon work very little different from that of an English parish without the aid of a School Board officer.
Old World Features Reproduced in Melanesia.
The people don't attend church as they ought, and many of the children are irregular in their attendance at school. They know that it is not right, but, like thousands of people in England and the colonies, are slow to act according to their knowledge. I stayed most of my time at Kohimarama, but visited all the schools in rotation.
The children at Kohimarama were very irregular, and on one or two occasions I had to go out to the outlying parts in the morning and drive them into school.
 The older people don't insist on their attendance, but connive at it. I should judge that things are better at Navqoe than they were last year, and the children attend school fairly well. A young teacher named Gatapeva should have gone there last year to help Marsden, the head teacher, but he has not obeyed his instructions, and remains at Tasmate. He does not appear to do anything there in helping the teachers, for though both Arthur and John were ill he would not assist, either by reading prayers or teaching in the school.
I stayed two nights at Parira with Charles, and liked what I saw there. They have not, however, yet completed the new school-house which has been on hand some time. They made a start while I was there, but soon gave up.
At Gatava there is great indifference, and, consequently, the attendance at church and school is very far from what it ought to be. The teachers here in Mota are, in many cases, old, and have come to accept the situation as inevitable, without trying very hard to grapple with it.
Indifference to Death.
While I was on the island, Alfred Rowosal died. He was a regular attendant at church at Kohimarama; took his turn at lighting the lamps, and assisted in the singing. He had a good deal of pain during his illness, which seized him during the week I arrived in Mota. Edwin, the carpenter, was most kind and attentive to him. I suppose the natives naturally think little of death; but I was surprised to see how utterly indifferent they were to the death of Alfred, as though it was no concern of theirs.
The ship returned to Mota on Tuesday morning, the 26th May, having on board Dr. Welchman, Revs. L. P. Robin, Percy Williams, and Robert Pantutun. The latter was better, but not well. The ship was sighted early in the morning, and we were surprised she made straight for Mota instead of calling at Motalava first. We soon heard the reason, namely, that she had run on a rock at Bugotu, and then had been caught in a storm, and was hastening back to Auckland for repairs. She only made a short stay, and then sailed for Port Patteson.
My First Boat Journey.
I stayed on until Friday, the 5th June, and then started on my boat journey, my first experience of that nature. We made first for Vureas, calling in at Pakea, where I procured some newspapers from Whitford, the trader, which were very acceptable. We arrived all right at Vureas, after encountering the usual swell off Mosena and the big rock. I found all the teachers well there except Peter. He was very ill, and on the night before we started I was called up to pray with him, and it was doubtful whether he would live until the morning; he was still alive, however, when we sailed. I heard subsequently that he died the following day. He seemed quite happy and peaceful, as one who had trusted in God in the past and was being supported in his dying hours by Him who said "I will never [56/57] leave thee nor forsake thee." We were to have sailed on Tuesday, 9th June, but on launching the boat again we found that she leaked so badly that it was out of the question to start that day, so we drew her up again, and did our best to stop the leaks with gum from the dila-nut tree growing near, and then I walked over to Wasaga and bought some tar which I heard the people there had purchased. With this we thoroughly tarred the old tub, and on the following day gave her another coating. As, however, St. Barnabas' Day was on the morrow, and I did not wish to sail on that day, we stayed on until Friday. I enjoyed my stay there very much. There is a large population, and the people seem in earnest. On St. Barnabas' Day we had early Celebration at which there were twenty-four communicants. Then after breakfast we had athletic sports-races for boys, young men, and old men; long jumping, canoe races (sculls and pairs) so to speak, and finally a shooting competition, first for boys and then for men. The boys shot at a banana stump for fish hooks, and the men at pieces of tobacco, the men who hit carrying off the tobacco. The canoe race for two men in each canoe proved very exciting, Philip Nunieg and Walter just winning on the post. We were to have held a concert in the open air by the light of a bonfire and lamps, but rain came on and so we had it in the schoolhouse instead. Thus was spent an exceedingly pleasant St. Barnabas' Day.
We sailed for Pek, on Friday, 12th June, and after resting for a short time in that half-way-house, the cave, and making ourselves a nuisance to the bats residing there, we safely reached our destination to find the village empty, and so we had to drag the boat up ourselves. Some men appeared on the scene shortly, and I soon had my things safely stowed in Mr. Cullwick's house. The church here is well-kept and in good order; the village is clean, and the school seemed in a satisfactory state. The people were suffering from an epidemic of what appeared to be influenza. Harry, the head teacher, was still weak from the effects of an attack; he had also lost his wife about three months before. I had a Communicants' class on the Saturday evening and celebrated on Sunday morning--thirty-seven communicants, some being away owing to illness.
On Monday, the 15th June, we sailed for Ureparapara, taking Gor and Matrig on our way. I had already seen Rupert and Charles Pini, the respective teachers at Pek.
We reached Tekel inside the crater safely. We could not, however, land opposite the village on account of the surf, but made for the opening in the reef lower down. Simon Qalges, the newly-ordained deacon, had been suffering from a bad foot, which had swelled terribly and had compelled him to lie down for a fortnight. When we arrived it had broken and the swelling gone down, but he was still lame.
Here, as might be expected from the character of the deacon in charge, quiet solid work is being done for God, which is bound in time to bear fruit. We had a celebration on Wednesday, at which there were ten communicants.
 Restoration of Penitents.
Simon brought before me the case of a Christian, named Philip, who had been living in adultery with a woman who previously had sought baptism, and had been admitted to prayers. They were now sorry for their sin and had been living apart, and were anxious to be married. I pointed out to Philip that it would be bad both for him and his offspring if he was married to a heathen wife, and as she intended coming forward again, I advised them to wait until she had received further instruction and had been baptised. To this they consented, and so before the commencement of Evensong I re-admitted him to the church and her to prayers.
Thursday, 18th.--Reached Leha, outside the crater, after a hard row against the wind which blew into the crater. George Nara is in charge here. Nothing in particular to report with regard to this village, the church being in good order, and the school in a satisfactory state.
Saturday, 20th.--We hoped to reach Tes to-day, but the wind dropped and we were carried down by the current, so we had to put into Pek again for Sunday, where we arrived after dark after a long, tiring day.
Monday, 22nd.--Reached Tes, a place I was anxious to see, as I had heard that the teacher had been irregular in holding school since Christmas, and that he had gone nearly three weeks ago to Motalava and had not returned. I found that this was the case, but that he had been ill, and, as was evident when I saw him at Motalava, he was still very weak and ill and unfit for work. I slept in the new schoolhouse, which is not yet finished, and so had abundance of room, anyhow, and plenty of publicity as well. The first thing I did after I arrived was to have a bathe in the beautiful river. Who can adequately describe the joy of a swim in fresh water after a boat journey in the hot sun? A man named Walter, from Pek, is temporarily in charge here, but he is not satisfactory. The school is in a very backward state, none of them being able to read, but struggling still with letters and syllables. With a good teacher, however, they would soon get on.
A Model Priest.
Festival of S. John the Baptist.--Rowed across to Motalava and found Henry Tagalad and Sogovman in good health, and everything, of course, in capital order. I was exceedingly struck by Henry and his bearing towards his people; he is a real power amongst them and. a man whom they have to obey, being kind and very firm at the same time. The pleasantest event I remember in connection with my boat voyage is the meeting of the teachers, which was held as usual here on Friday morning. After prayers, and the lesson on the Collect and Gospel for the following Sunday, the teachers brought forward any difficulties they had in connection with their schools, for discussion and advice. It was most instructive to hear Henry deal with these eases, and the deference with which his advice was received. He was quite the priest amongst his helpers.
 Friday, 26th. Returned to Mota, very thankful at having completed this, my first boat voyage.
With regard to the journey generally; my feeling is that though I may not have been able to help the people much, yet I myself have gained in experience, and it has enabled me to understand some of the difficulties of the teachers, isolated as they often are from month to month, with little or no communication with the outer world.
Native Teachers and Spiritual Life.
My sympathies go out very much to our black teachers. The week after my return to Mota was the week for the communicants' preparation class for the Holy Communion, and I took advantage of their meeting together to question them as to the general position of Mota as regards Church life. It is clear that there are one or two chief causes for the want of vitality in the island. I pointed out the importance of their setting a good example of church and school attendance. I questioned them also on the subject of private prayers, and I found that in the "gamals" they never prayed. No wonder the island is lukewarm. The fact of the people not praying is undoubtedly the reason why there is so much deadness and indifference. I exhorted those who were present at the meeting to begin at once to set an example in that respect.
Good Tidings from a Far Country. I proceed to the Solomon Islands.
The ship arrived from Norfolk Island on the 21st July, bringing most welcome letters from England. I went on board, and after going the round of the Banks Islands, and calling in at the Torres group, Santa Cruz and Ulawa, we arrived on Saturday evening, 1st August, at Wano, San Cristoval. On Sunday morning I went ashore for school and Matins, when I preached, Maurice Oha interpreting. Then in the afternoon I was rowed up to Haani, where I intended first to stay. It was with a full heart that I saw the people assembled on the shore to meet us, for these were the people committed to my care, and for whom I was to be responsible. Then also I looked along the coast and saw this huge island stretching away in the distance, ridge after ridge, with the inhabitants given up to heathendom, and there was I, one man only, whose duty it was to go forth to them and bring them to the knowledge of Christ. Thanks to those who have gone before, the Mission has got a foothold on the island, and has already five schools established there.
Inspection under Difficulties.
The head teacher at Haani, Baewa, is ill and confined to the house; I don't think he will ever be able to teach again. Harper Masiawa is acting head teacher. I was pleased with their attendance at church and school, but the teachers are inferior, and I doubt whether they impart much knowledge to their pupils when there is no [59/60] white man to superintend. I was under the disadvantage of not knowing the language, so I always had to have an interpreter, but whether he faithfully discharged his duties or not I haven't the faintest notion. During the time I stayed at Haani the people were preparing for a huge feast to which a large number of people from many villages, near and distant, had been or were about to be invited. The quantity of food preparing was prodigious; I counted twenty huge wooden bowls full of yams worked to a pulp, and grated nuts mixed with them. This food was prepared too soon, consequently, as I heard afterwards, it went bad before the day arrived. However, my informant said there was plenty of other food, comprising, no doubt, all the delicacies of the season, so the visitors didn't go away empty. Unfortunately I couldn't possibly stay for the feast as my time was short, and I had to visit the other schools. It would have been a grand opportunity, for people were to come from Ugi and heathen villages in San Cristoval, and I might have made friends with them.
On Wednesday, the 5th, I chartered a canoe and made my way back to Wano. The canoe carried my boxes and goods comfortably, though it was not a very seaworthy craft in a choppy sea, as I subsequently discovered. On that day, however, the sea was like a mill pond, and I and my things arrived quite dry. It is a very pretty sight to watch the boys paddling; their motions are very graceful, and they keep good time. They paddle with a double stroke--first a deep one, when the paddle is nearly perpendicular in the water, and most of the work is done; and secondly, a lighter stroke, when the paddle strikes the water in a more horizontal position. I reached Wano just after midday, in time to escape a heavy fall of rain which came on shortly after. There didn't seem to be much life in this village; there was a deadness which was exceedingly depressing. Things, no doubt, are better now than when Taki the old chief was opposed to Christianity. He is now baptised and supports the Church, but I have my doubts as to the depth of his sincerity. He has become old and decrepit, bowed down with age, and can hardly live much longer. I was engaged the following morning in arranging a new scheme of work so that the scholars might be taught, systematically, Scripture knowledge, Catechism, reading, writing, and arithmetic.
An Outpost of Importance.
In the afternoon I walked over with Peter Wakiri, one of the teachers, to Waitaa, where there is a small school.
This school, though small, is important as being an out-post, and in communication with some heathen villages inland. I had heard that the teacher there was unsatisfactory, so I wanted to see him and investigate matters. When I arrived there after a hot walk along a loose sandy beach, I found that he had been absent from his school three days, having gone inland on a bit of business of his own. I [60/61] left a message that he was to come and see me at Wano on his arrival. He came over that same evening, when I reprimanded him and said I should depose him as soon as I could find a substitute.
San Cristoval is different from Mota, in that it has plenty of water, and so, after my walk to Waitaa, I was glad of a bathe in the river at Wano, which is now free of crocodiles. The natives say that these unpleasant bathing companions are afraid of man, but I should prefer not to put this to the test.
The following morning, 7th August, I left for Heuru in a native canoe, the distance being about eight miles. It was very calm when we started, but after a time the wind got up and I found I had plenty to do baling out the water. Then, as the sea got more rough, and there was a decided probability of our being swamped as we rounded the last headland before Heuru, we decided to put ashore and carry my chattels by land the rest of the way.
On my way to the village I met Samuel Gede, the head teacher, and then Bo, the old chief, both of whom I was very glad to see again. The latter is the father of Basil Horohenua, who is a scholar at Norfolk Island. I have no house here, so I slept in the school. In the latter part of the afternoon there was a dance in which twenty or thirty men and boys took part, old Bo amongst the rest. The dancers, when once they are fairly on the dancing ground, don't move from their stations, but go through various steps and motions of their bodies and clubs to the accompaniment of a monotonous chant. The dance seems to be dying out, for the old men performed much better than the young ones.
Proposed New Church: Hopes of Improvement.
Samuel Gede is doing good work here, and there seems to be more life is this school than in the other two. There are no churches at present on the island, so we hope to build one at Heuru next year, the teachers and Bo being very keen to make a beginning at once.
Here, as elsewhere, I found that the teaching was not systematic, and that the junior teachers knew very little themselves (not having been at Norfolk Island), and had, therefore, but little to impart. This defect will gradually be remedied as better educated teachers in greater quantities are sent out.
The ship arrived on the 13th August with the Bishop and Mr. Ivens on board, when, after packing up my things, we sailed up the coast and again visited Wano and Haani. I then arranged for Robert Waumi to go to Waitaa and supersede the present teacher there, whose conduct has been unsatisfactory as stated above. The following day we sailed for Ulawa, and so closed my first stay in the islands.
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