Project Canterbury

The Isles That Wait

By A Lady Member of the Melanesian Mission [Ellen Wilson]

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1911.


IN close proximity to Gela, only thirteen miles distant lies the beautiful but little-known island of Guadalcanar, "the Queen of the Solomons." Although the natives were at first eager to come on board the Mission ship, and even to send their boys to Norfolk Island, it was found that after the first novelty wore off they tired of the life, and the teaching seemed to make no impression. Nor did their communication with Gela lead them to wish to participate in the new life that was pulsing through the land. In Guadalcanar more than elsewhere the influence of the trader was brought successfully to bear on the natives, and the ill-gotten gains acquired through the labour traffic outweighed the less immediately evident gain to be derived from the new teaching. So while the other islands were coming into light, Guadalcanar preferred to remain in darkness. This is the island of ghost deities and the Vele magic. In addition to the ordinary deities any corpse may become an object of worship, the bones being dug up after some months of burial, and then sacrificed to in the ghost-house, pigs being fattened for the purpose. The Adam's apple is regarded as the most sacred part of the body.

Bishop Wilson, writing of Guadalcanar, says: "By far the worst feature is the Vele magic. Some one working in a lonely place hears a sudden hiss, and looking up, sees a man standing with left arm outstretched towards him, on the little finger of his hand a small wicker charm-bag about three inches long, containing bones or leaves. The charm works at once and the person falls to the ground helpless. Then comes the man with the charm and touches his victim's legs just [83/84] above the feet, then his knees and thighs, the joints of his arms, his forehead, neck, chest and stomach. He tells him he must die, and leaves him and hides. There is no violence, only magic, but the person dies on the day that the Vele man has named. Through all the thirty miles which lie between the shore and the high mountains, the people live in daily terror of the Vele. No wonder frequent attempts are made upon the school-people on the coast to bewitch them in the same way; but happily so far every attempt has failed. As the faith of the heathen in the Vele can cause his death, so the faith of the Christian in God can prevent it.

"While I was at Savo, Rosi, the self-appointed 'policeman,' had brought over to him a schoolboy who had been bewitched, and also the young man from the bush who had practised 'Vele' on him. I questioned the schoolboy as to his feelings, and he said it was as though a heavy weight were over him; his head went round and he nearly fell. I asked him if he had not remembered that God was stronger than the Vele and could protect him. He answered, 'Yes, I remembered it; if I had not I should have died.' Who can say how many people succumb to the Vele charm every year in Guadalcanar? But how many more before a new faith had come to destroy its power? No one dies because of it now in the Christian parts of the island, and the news of the many failures to bewitch those who believe in God must be common talk now far back amongst the mountains. It is said, too, that those who try the charm and fail, go home and die themselves."

Very wonderful is it, this inability in every island for the old charms to work any harm on the Christians. One is reminded of the scene on Melita when the natives, seeing a viper on St. Paul's hand, expected to see him fall down dead, smitten by the power of their gods, and to their amazement he "took no harm."

Eighteen years ago there came to this island a teacher from Gela, Alfred Lobu, in the hope that, having relations in the place, he might obtain a footing and get a hearing, but when the ship called three months later it [84/85] was found that he had been unable to do anything. The chief had plainly told him, on his arrival, that while he was welcome to stay with them on the ordinary footing of a visitor and with a certain claim of relationship, he must clearly understand that they would have none of his teaching. No sooner did Alfred open a book than society vanished, and so long as the chief maintained that attitude there was no use in Alfred staying. So from an apparently deserted village his belongings were removed and put on board, while gratified eyes watched his departure from behind the bushes. Another teacher begged to be put down at a village where he had made a pleasant stay before, and was sanguine as to his reception. But a visitor was one thing and a preacher quite another, as he learned to his disappointment; and he too had to retreat before the force of public opinion. The new religion might be all very well for Gela, but they of Guadalcanar had their own ghost deities which suited them, and they were not going to give them up. So failed the first effort to evangelise Guadalcanar.

But light was to penetrate in time, carried to them by two of their own people. Long ago two boys had been carried off to Bugotu, and from thence taken up later to Norfolk Island: their names were George Basilei and Hugo Goravaka. In 1894 George was put down at Savulei, his native village on Guadalcanar, and was accepted as a fellow townsman. But there the hospitality ended, for the chief robbed George of all his property and set him to work in his gardens on a starvation allowance of food. Yet George, though robbed and starved, was not discouraged, having a consuming thirst for the souls of his countrymen; he merely resolved to try new tactics. Retiring into the bush, he lived for two years among the tiny settlements there, not attempting to teach or preach, but simply living a Christian life among them. And presently the people, reading this strange "epistle," which needed no book-learning to master, began to wonder and to ask why George was so different to themselves, why he did not murder or lie or steal. Not being able to solve the [85/86] riddle they came to George, who thankfully seized the long-waited-for opportunity, and told them what power had changed his spirit, and they, always ready to hear of ghosts and spirits, listened to him eagerly. By and by they asked him to teach them more of this wonderful news, and George agreed to do so if they would settle round him. In 1898 Hugo joined him with his wife and children, his wife Isabella being a very rare type of woman and a true mother in Israel. It is interesting to read a letter from Hugo written not long after he had arrived.

"We are well, but the manner of the heathen remains the same; some love us, and some hate us, and would like to kill us, vexing us with their heathen words. And besides this the Savo men row over here and spread lies among these people; also the men of Laube and Marovo come hunting here as they do in Bugotu, and because of them the people are scattered. But truly, Father, I told you it would be rather difficult, and not done quickly. We must try this place for two or three years, then we shall see more clearly. At present they are very wild, and will not say much, but we are waiting with them."

In 1897 they moved down on to the seashore in the district of Vaturana, but their stay was not a long one. Only a few weeks after their settlement a head-hunting raid was made from Rubiana in search of a life to bless the completion of a war-canoe. The party was led by one Nauli, a native of Vaturana, who himself had been carried off to Laube and was now brought as guide. It was a treacherous, dastardly attack. Arrived at Kojuju, half-a-mile from Vaturana, Nauli told the party to wait till he gave the signal, and going on alone found Biru the chief sitting by the riverside with his little son Bola, one of Hugo's scholars. "Are you come in peace?" asked Biru. "Yes," was the reply. "If you are come in peace it is well," said Biru, and sent Bola to tell the women to provide food for his guest. The ground was wet, and the courteous old chief rose to fetch a mat for Nauli to sit on. But as he turned Nauli [86/87] gave the signal, and Biru was cut over the ear with a tomahawk. "Are you going to kill me?" he cried. "I thought you were come in peace," and turning, he ran towards the beach, but was cut down and killed, Bola made prisoner, and a poor old woman beheaded. Nauli then proposed to go on to the school village. "I will show you the way, let us go there and kill." But his followers are doubtful. "We have heard that there is a teacher there, we will not go; you can go if you like, but you will go alone." For the heathen acknowledge that the power of the Christians is greater than theirs. So God saved the little colony from destruction, yet the terror of the raid broke up the school and the people fled back to Tapau in the bush. One wonders what became of Bola, that bright little pupil of Hugo Goravaka. Taken back by his captors, fed and cared for in order that he too might act as guide in a future raid on his own country, would he forget entirely the teaching he had received, or did his tiny lamp illuminate the dark places of Rubiana?

So for a time the school continued at Tapau. Perhaps George's constitution never recovered that first year of hardship and starvation, for, three years later, he died. Not, however, before he had seen the fruits of his labour and seven boys sent to Norfolk Island, nor before he and Hugo had selected Maravovo as the site of their new school, and where they planted a large wooden cross, still to be seen, as a sign that they claimed the place for Christ. This opening enabled Mr. Williams to come in 1901, and other teachers gradually opened schools. Among them one was opened at Savulei, where George Basilei had tried to make a beginning years ago and been frustrated by the chief, a man with so much blood upon his hands that he dared not sleep two nights running in the same house, lest he should be killed by the avengers of his victims. He was no more favourable than before to the new teaching, and sent a message to say that if the teacher did not leave he would come and cut off his head and hands and nail them to the wall of the school-house. [87/88] But it proved an empty threat, and the teacher, trusting in a higher Power, stayed on and experienced once more the incapacity of man to frustrate the purpose of God.

At Maravovo stormy days were in store for Mr. Williams, who, with Hugo Goravaka (now a deacon), had gathered together a Christian community consisting of young teachers to be trained and natives to be taught. The little settlement had an implacable enemy in the bush chief Sulukavo, who bribed natives to go and spy in the village and report to him, with a view to finding how best to wipe it out. Charms were first tried, but were of no avail, and Sulukavo then proceeded to bloodier methods, burning a neighbouring village, Komabulu, and threatening Maravovo itself. His motive was one of revenge for interference with what he would no doubt consider his own concerns. In Guadalcanar wife-beating seems to have been carried on with special cruelty, and one day Sulukavo beat a member of his harem most brutally. Later in the day another of Sulukavo's wives found the poor creature lying on the ground covered with blood. The sight filled her with fear lest she might find herself soon in a similar plight, and when darkness fell she fled out into the bush. There she hid for four weeks, till, half-starved and desperate, she took refuge in her father's house, not far from Maravovo. But her father was in far too great a fright at the possible consequences to himself to render her any help, and promptly conducted the hapless girl back to her tyrant. Sulukavo, however, was not going to lose the chance of making a little profit out of the temporary inconvenience. "Oh no," he said, "not so fast; a chief's wife does not run away for nothing. You shall bring me a man's head in a basket, and a lot of money, and then I will take her back." On hearing this the whole countryside was thrown into a state of great perturbation, for no one knew but what his own head might be the one selected to place in the basket. The matter coming to the ears of Mr. Williams, he set off at once with. Hugo [88/89] Goravaka, and, meeting one of Sulukavo's head men, sent a message by him to the chief saying that blood must not be shed for such a cause. Sulukavo was furious at this interference, and there is little doubt that he merely bided his time to take his revenge. On Easter Monday he came down the coast and sent one of his canoes ashore at Maravovo to say that he would call in on his return in a week's time. He would hear in return, no doubt, that Mr. Williams and a party were leaving for Florida that night, and so would be safely out of the way. When Mr. Williams returned a few days later it was to receive bad news. The day after his departure, fifty bushmen, most of them Sulukavo's men, arrived at Komabulu, describing themselves as friends on a musical expedition. Expeditions of this sort were common enough; parties going round and giving concerts for which they expected to be paid. On this occasion, however, the Komabulu people felt suspicious as to the quality of the music, and their suspicions were increased by the evident annoyance of the band at finding both teachers absent. So doubtful did they feel that the whole population turned out at night into the bush for safety, leaving their unwelcome visitors in possession. In the morning two of them unwisely returned; one was pursued along the shore and paid for his venture with his head, the body being thrown into the sea. The bushmen then proceeded to plunder and burn the village; after which they went along the beach till they were within a short distance of the village where Sulukavo was staying, held up the head for him to see, and then turned off into the bush.

Mr. Williams set off at once for Komabulu and found the village deserted, the poor widow sitting wailing by the roadside, and the body of her husband lying on the seashore, washed up by the tide. They had no spades, but they managed to dig a hole with sticks above high-water mark, and there buried the ghastly evidence of Sulukavo's revenge. But it did not end there: Maravovo itself was threatened, and friends came in secretly from the bush to give warning of the danger. For [89/90] months watch had to be kept night and day, and so grave was the peril that the commissioner wrote to say that in case of Mr. Williams having to leave, native police would have to be stationed there or the whole party be removed. It was a weary, anxious time as the months of May, June and July went by. At length a message came from Sulukavo to say that if they desired peace they must send him a present, having the wit, no doubt, to see that he was playing a losing game. Upon this Mr. Williams went himself to interview the chief, "Who," writes Mr. Williams, "is a splendid liar, declared he had done nothing and would do nothing, but only desired to live a peaceful life and attend to his gardens." Mr. Williams spoke out very plainly to Sulukavo, who promised amendment and sent a sovereign as a pledge of his good conduct to the Resident. In 1902 a final effort was made to expel the Christians. This time it was the rainmaker of the district whose powers came into play. "We have tried many ways of getting rid of you," they said, "now you shall see a flood." And, sure enough, it being the wet season of the year to aid the powers, tremendously heavy rain and thunderstorms occurred, though no actual flood. But these heavy rains suited the heathen no better than the Christians, and the bush people, whose gardens were getting spoiled, grew annoyed, and one day they appeared at Maravovo, bearing a present, and begging Mr. Williams not to be angry, as they had nothing to do with the scheme, and suggesting that they should go and tie up the rainmaker. Mr. Williams replied that he was not angry, as he did not dwell in the dark, but in the light, and knew who sent the rain. Sulukavo also was very angry, and sent a message to the rainmaker to say that if he did not stop his ridiculous proceedings he would be fined. So the rainmaker forfeited favour all round. Sulukavo's final step was to send his own son to school at Maravovo, so completely had he been won round to see that the coming of Christianity was no evil thing, but a great influence for good. Unfortunately Mr. Williams was obliged to leave on [90/91] account of his health in 1904, and Mr. Steward, and afterwards Mr. Bollen, succeeded him. Hugo still lives at Maravovo, having sustained a terrible loss in the death of his wife, a loss he has never got over. His son Alfred has volunteered for work at a distant outpost called Mole, where the heathen element is strong and where he has a hard fight before him.

Hugo has many tales to tell of the past, and one story of the first grace said at Tiaro is worth recording. As Hugo and Peo the chief were sitting alone one day in the school-house, Peo began, " My heart is troubled, my brother. We are all hungry now, and eat only the nuts. The food we have dug is all finished, but there are other gardens where the food is fit to eat, and we know not what to do. Formerly we used to dig the food and, before we ate of it, we sacrificed to the sharks, and spirits and ghosts. What are we to do now? My thought is this: I shall send the people to-morrow, and they shall dig the food and prepare it for eating, and shall prepare also four pigs. I do not wish that we should do as we have done before. You have given us a new sign--the cross. You have put the sign in this school-house, and I wish to follow it. My thought is that on Sunday all the food shall be brought to this house, where you have placed the sign, and when you have prayed to our Father, then we will eat." So they did. "At seven o'clock on Sunday," says Hugo, "I rang the bell and we all went to wash, and Peo led us to the washing-place, and he washed first and was very cold after it; and we all washed and cleaned our heads, and then we returned, and I rang the bell, and all the women and children, who had also washed, came together, and we had school and prayers, and I told them about the food and why they should not sacrifice to sharks and spirits and ghosts, but only to God our Father, who made all things. And when we had finished school and prayers the women brought all the food and placed it at the door of the school-house, and we all stood up and looked upon the ground, and I blessed the food, and it was divided out and they ate. [91/92] And presently one man said, 'What is this which I feel? Before I used to eat very much indeed, and it seemed always to be lost in my inside, and now I have not eaten nearly so much, and behold I feel as if I had had already enough.' And then another said he had been wondering also, as he felt just like that; and then another was astonished, and another, and some of the women also; and the food was not nearly finished, and they were amazed. And I said, 'Perhaps it is because now you have for the first time given thanks to God, the true Person, who has given you all your food.' So we smoked and ate betel-nuts and drank water, and by and by they finished the food, for they said, 'Let us not take it back to our houses for it is holy food.' But alas!" added Hugo, "the people who had made this good beginning in following the ways of God were living in fear; for the heathen, indignant at the insult to the native spirits, were threatening them on every side, and 'their words were many and very bad indeed.'"

In 1903 a request came to Mr. Williams from the people at Luga, on the north side of Guadalcanar, for a teacher to be sent them. Also the chief of Lego, who had gone over to Gela to see whether the air of a Christian country would restore him to health and found it beneficial, said he would like a school. The chief of Tasiboko also declared his willingness to have a teacher. That district is just opposite Gela, and Gela promptly responded to the demand, both Alfred Lobu and Reuben Bula leaving their villages for a time. Alfred Lobu has written an account of their going. "This is the account of my journey. But first I had asked the teachers about it and they agreed, and I asked Gorosi of Hogo for his big canoe, and he agreed that we should all gather at Hogo and start from there. I then arranged with the teachers to meet me at Hogo on Sept. 27 that we might have the Holy Communion. There were thirty-six who received together, and on the 29th we started for Savo. We went to Mononago and saw Ben Tiaku and Francis Qat, and all belonging to the school. On October 1 we went on to Maravovo, and we saw Tumu and Toke [92/93] and all belonging to the school. The Rev. Hugo Goravaka was with them; he had just come on from Tiaro. Hugo told me all about the schools and that everything was going on well. They asked me to have a Celebration of the Holy Communion. So we stayed two days with them. I went all round the place and saw all the houses and gardens. Everything was very good. In the evening I had a class of preparation for the Holy Communion, and the next morning seventeen of us received together the holy food. Alfred Manoga remained with them to help. The rest of us started to continue our journey, but the wind kept us back, and we had to go ashore and sleep at Benena, a place like a desert. On October 4 we went on and came to Bonege. The people had just come there and were not living yet in proper houses. Two chiefs were with them, and they received us kindly. They wished for a school, and I placed H. Sasaka there. I heard there that the chief of Poga, named Tura, wished for a school also. On October 5 I walked to see Tura and saw with him another chief, named Pati. They both wished for a school, and I said, 'When Williams returns we will give you a teacher.' On October 6 we went to Papagu and saw Vuhaa. I wished to place A. Vego and Verava there, but Vuhaa refused, and said if Saki agreed he would have a school; so Vego went with us to Tasiboko till they had decided. We then went to Tasiboko, where they received us with great joy. I asked Logotala if he would receive Belakake, and he agreed to do so. On October 9 we were still at Tasiboko and heard that two chiefs were angry that Logotala had received a teacher, and said they would depart from the place. Logotala said, 'It is all the same if they depart or stay, I shall not give up the teacher or the school you have brought to me. I have promised, and I shall not depart from my word.' On Sunday, October 12 we were still at Tasiboko, and on this day men, women and children came down from the bush, and there were three chiefs with them. Logotala said, 'This evening we will all come to see you at your prayers, and when [93/94] you have finished you may speak to us.' We did so, and I spoke to them of God, who created the world and all things in it. On October 13 we departed for Gela, leaving four teachers with these people, and since then I have received a letter asking me to return and see them before Christmas; and this I will do if I am still living and if it is possible." The account reads almost like a chapter out of the Acts. This journey must have been one of intense interest to Alfred Lobu, whose vain effort to carry the gospel message to Guadalcanar eleven years previously has been already told. One can imagine how Hugo and he would recall and compare their difficulties in the past, and marvel at the change that had taken place since then.

The beginning thus made at Tasiboko has developed steadily though slowly. It is uphill work, as Mr. Moir, who was put down in 1908, has found. Yet villages are continuing to ask for teachers, and Gela has answered well to the call. Gilbert Pae, who has been working in the district of Tasiboko for the last three years, and who has many relations there, has told of some of the old beliefs and customs. "Of old," he says, "the people believed that when a man died he went down into the earth and his life was finished, he never lived again. If a man sought a woman in marriage he would come to her mother's house, and a mat would be given to him on which he would sit down. If the girl were unwilling to accept him she remained hidden, but if she liked him she would come forward and offer him water or food. He then bought her for a price varying from twenty to a hundred strings of money. At present the school villages are mostly along the coast, but the people from the bush are beginning to ask for teachers, 'and yesterday' a party of seventeen came from the other side of the mountains to see me. They left their weapons of war in the bush to show that it was a peaceful visit, and said that before long they too might desire a school." Gilbert Pae also tells of a people living in the bush whose religion was ancestor-worship. Gilbert's account is given as far as possible in his own [94/95] words. "The other day we had a visit from the bush-folk at Goro. What a strange folk they are. They are so fat you can scarcely see their eyes. That is because they never eat dry food: if they eat anything they dip it in water. But oh, they are dirty! They had not washed for a year. When they do have a bath it is different to ours: theirs is an air-bath. They work very hard in their gardens; they get very hot; they perspire and perspire; then they sit in a tree or in the middle of the path in a draught; that is their bath. They smell very unpleasantly. When they were still a long way off our village the dogs and pigs smelled a strange smell, and howled and were frightened. Presently these people came in sight: they were very friendly. They wanted much to see a white man; they asked me if I were one. I gave them pipes and tobacco; they were very pleased. They pressed me to go and see them, so one day I went. They have a great many strange customs. When they met me they threw their axes, or whatever they carried, into the air and into the trees to show that they would not hurt me. Then I reached the village. It was well cleared, but the space was small, and thick bush came right up to the back of the houses. They took me into a house and asked me if I would like to lie down. 'All right,' I said. So they told me I could lie on a mat in the corner. It was very dirty, and many pigs and dogs were lying on it. If I had lain down I should have had to wash several times before I was clean. While I was in the house no one, else might enter, even the chiefs sat outside; but then they are all chiefs! When they begin to eat they taste a small piece, then mumble under their breath a prayer, or something. They don't pray to images and they don't sacrifice, they just worship their fathers and grandfathers. These ancestors can hear them even if they don't speak out loud; if they just think it is enough. It is this way: there is no place of the departed, the spirits just stay near, only they are not seen; but they can see and hear. And so they save the hair of the dead, or a piece of bone, and fix it in [95/96] their shields to ensure the help of the being to whom it belonged.

"But their hair is beautiful. It is straight and soft and very black, like white people's, not curly like ours. They don't let it hang down, but cut it short. But they don't cut it with scissors or knives; they chip off a piece of hard black stone and use that as a knife.

"When I came away they would not say 'good-bye'; that would bring bad luck, and they think you would die. So when any one goes away all the people hide and he goes quickly away. That is the way I came away. They asked me to go again, but I have been ill and could not."

The last custom of not bidding farewell recalls the old saying that "It is unlucky to watch any one out of sight," but the manner of going sounds somewhat forlorn to us.

In 1909 the ship took from Guadalcanar its first missionary to a foreign land in the person of Simon Peter Odakaki, who had volunteered for work on Mala. The service of dismissal was very impressive, and it must have been with great thankfulness in his heart that Mr. Bollen blessed the lad as he knelt before him. He was the boy who, when asked what name he would take at his baptism, said he thought he would like to be called Saint Peter. It was suggested to him that Simon would be more suitable perhaps, and he was quite content: it may be he will yet earn his right to the other title. Little did Mr. Bollen guess that morning how nearly his own work in Gaudalcanar was at an end. In less than two months, literally worn out by hard work and anxiety, he succumbed to a short attack of illness and passed away, surrounded by his boys, to his well-earned rest. His death will do as much as his life, for the natives realise that he gave his life for them. "He never took any thought for his body," said one of his teachers, "he only thought of the work." Mr. Andrews temporarily took his place. From Vuleni on the north coast to Mole on the south-east, a distance of 150 miles, there is a line of Christian villages, but [96/97] heathenism still holds its fortress in the bush where few white men have penetrated.

Mention has already been made of Savo, a small island near to Guadalcanar, which Alfred Lobu's party visited on their way to Maravovo. Savo did all it could to hinder Christianity from gaining an entrance on Guadalcanar. They assiduously spread lies about the new teaching, and even crossed over to threaten and to forbid the reception of any teachers, warning the people of the wrath of their great spirit, which would surely fall on them--and the Savo influence was very great all along the north and west coast of Guadalcanar. It seemed hopeless to attempt any invasion of Savo itself; yet in 1901 two boys, Ben Tiaku, a Gela boy, and Francis Qat, who had been in Queensland previous to going to Norfolk Island, started eagerly to carry the good news into the enemy's country. In a month they were back again. "The Savo people," they said, "have driven us two away. On the 9th day of January they all collected at the village where we were; there were about three or four hundred, and they had guns and axes and were very angry. They had sent before to tell us to be judged, but we said, 'No! if you want to judge us you can come to the place where we live. We will not go away from this our village.' And so they came. The chiefs were all there, and they sat down in a semicircle, and all their men sat down, forming two long lines, and an open space between. And first they called one by one the true men of the place, and asked them why they had done this thing, to begin this evil custom in Savo? Why had they brought these two men to cause the people of Savo to stumble? And one answered one way, and one another through fear. But one said he had been to Norfolk Island and knew this custom; that it was not evil, but good, and when he saw these people he would seek to pray with them. And then they called us two. First Tiaku stood in the midst, and Francis sat down and wrote down all their words, which made them fear greatly. But to us two they spoke most evil slanderings with great anger. They spoke [97/98] bad words and slandered the Bishop and the people of our ship, and the Church in Gela and Bugotu. And then Tiaku waved his hand and spoke to them face to face without fear. He said they two came there because the Bishop wanted the Savo people to know this new way, and they were now all one people under one King. He spoke of this way of God and said it was true that there was still evil in Bugotu and Gela, but that was not because of this custom, which was altogether good, but because Satan made people to sin. He said if they wished to kill them they were not afraid to die. They kept silence while he spoke to them, because his words had power, and then they called Francis, and then each chief declared one by one that he did not want this evil thing in Savo, and that we two were to go away and return no more. We were not afraid to stop, but the men, our friends, said, 'We wish you to go back for a time to Vaturana, and soon, when the Bishop comes, and the Governor, they two will say what is to be done.' But they said it with great grief, and the women and children shed tears, and we were altogether sad." And those at Guadalcanar, although sorrowful over the failure, did not lose heart, knowing that "He who gave victory in the past can give victory still in His own good time and way." Nor had they to wait long, for the end of that same year saw the teachers back again at Savo, the Governor having decided that if a certain number of the people desired the new teaching, the majority had no right to prevent them. As we have seen, Alfred Lobu visited the school in 1903, when the numbers had increased since the start with seven scholars was made. A Gela teacher named William Keda has been working on Savo for the last three years, and the results of his teaching lead us to hope that it will not be very long now before the twilight on Savo will break into the true dawn.

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