Project Canterbury

Last Cruise of the Second Southern Cross.

By C. H. Brooke.

From Mission Life, Vol. IV (new series) (1873), pages 593-602;
Mission Life, Vol. V (new series) (1874), pages 190-196;
Mission Life, Vol. V (new series) (1874), pages 256-264.
Mission Life, Vol. V (new series) (1874), pages 289-298.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2007





IF nothing unforeseen should happen, this will be the last time that I shall address the readers of Mission Life from this close little cabin, where the thermometer marks 89° this evening, and where lively cockroaches are scampering many and loud over brown paper parcels, like mice for noise and destructiveness, and very harpies in their powers of defilement. Stoutly bound books, boots, flannel shirts, food of all kinds, the human toe nails, and the human hair, are the chief delights of these omnivorous scavengers, whom one would like to see scavenged in their turn. Vessels have been scuttled in order to get rid of them, but that process only helps to hatch the hundreds of thousands of lurking eggs. To me they are the chief discomfort of the voyage, for, in addition to the loathing with which unseen they fill me, they rob me, either by direct contact or by their foul neighbourhood, of my most precious and most coy treasure--sleep. At the present moment a busy cricket (objectionable when off the hearth), which flew on board at Kohimarama, is chirping loud and long, so as to be a serious distraction, he is so near and yet so far; for move in the direction of the chirp, and it dies at once; [593/594] retire, and the rapid, shrill, metallic rr-rr-rr-rr revives, like the r in an excited Frenchman's " Saprrristi!" only without the Frenchman.

I feel quite at home in this cabin, or indeed anywhere on board this good little vessel. For seven successive winters (with one exception) our daily life has centred here. One takes one's regular seat year after year; the shore life since last voyage drops out of mind, and the ship, the weather, and the islands, become our all in all. This little cabin is full of old associations. In the berth opposite--the Bishop's--died Edwin Nobbs and Fisher Young nearly two years ago, from arrow wounds at fatal Santa Cruz. On the floor at my feet Joseph Atkin fought hard for his latest breath. From off this table whereon I am writing the Bishop snatched his satchel, posting to Nukapu, but on his way to heaven.

With all its discomforts, this second Southern Cross is to me a part of this distant home of mine, connected with my first experiences of this Mission, and full of memories of Bishop Patteson, whom I first learnt to know and love as we walked up and down its deck, and whose lifeless body I helped to lay upon the skylight overhead, where Stephen also, having fought, and struggled, and died, left his racked limbs at rest.

To mention any detail of that terrible time is to bring it back again in all its distinctness. How well I recollect going crazily on deck in the night after all had happened, but momentarily forgetful of it, and, being startled, as I was about thoughtlessly to lie on that same skylight, a favourite resting-place, by the sudden sight of its silent occupant, banished for ever from the vacant berth below. It was bright moonlight, and intensely calm and still, and I remember remarking how wonderfully pitiful in its wild disorder on the hard couch and on the strange winding-sheet seemed the glossy long black hair, always so carefully brushed, but now so dishevelled, sodden, and lank with the laving of the sea as he had floated in the canoe, and afterwards had lain in the leakings of the boat. The universal silence was very awful. One looked in vain to the dumb, placid moon, the fleecy, fleeting clouds, the melancholy sea, for any explanation of the sudden buffeting administered. There was no voice, neither any that answered. Most silent of all lay the dead body, breaking one's heart with its poor, poor helplessness, and turning it to bitter tears with the vestige of that sweet heavenward smile upon its moonlit face, which seemed to be in answer to some kind message from above.

To-day is Maundy Thursday, 1873, and from our rainy decks the following islands are to be clearly seen: the pastile-like Star Island, forty miles astern, and ruined, battlemented Ureparapara, thirty miles ahead; sulphurous, steamy, rain-sodden Vanua Lava, or Great Banks' Island, with its four great cones piercing the lowering clouds [594/595] in search of light and life beyond; Mota, squat and like a dozing cat, our present destination; and Saddle Island, fringed with the flying foam of the thundering surf. We left Norfolk Island on the 31t of March, much earlier than usual, as we have a long cruise before us, of which this is the scheme:--Go north, landing Melanesians in New Hebrides, Banks, and Solomons, and taking on board Sarawia, making Florida the last station. Thence direct to New Zealand. Sarawia to be ordained priest; Rev. J. R. Selwyn and party to be embarked, and en route for Florida viâ Norfolk Island, &c. Should I be well and inclined for longer stay, vessel go south and pick up New Hebrides and Banks' Island parties, again making Florida the last place of call, whence we should return direct to Norfolk Island.

The most important visit we have yet paid was to Leper's Island (or Opa), where you will remember there was misunderstanding last year. Before we went ashore we had about fifteen canoes off with very friendly visitors, and among them an aggrieved chief, who had lost a relative in the drowning accident of last year. To him due compensation was given, and he retired, paddling his own canoe, and singing loudly and lustily. We landed at Walurigi--that is to say, Mr. Codrington and the Rev. Robert Pantutun did, for Joseph Wate, Thomas Stevenson Ulgan, my companion this year at Florida, and I, remained to look after the boat. We pulled the boat outside the surf and lay on our oars, watching the sports of a "school" of little Opese swimmers, whom we enticed to race out to us by holding fish-hooks on a level with the water. Every now and then we pulled in, to do a little trade in the way of fresh cocoa-nuts, called vusa, and then pulled out again, to eat in peace. After an absence of two hours our party returned, reporting everything satisfactory. The chief of the place appeared simultaneously on the black sandy beach, nursing a little pig, which, with pity proportioned to the size of the creature, he threw bodily into the boat, as it floated outside the surf. Walurigi is Mr. Bice's station, where he has already paid several short visits, and whence he went up the great dome of the island, and discovered a sulphur volcano and a curious lake. His absence on the present occasion was relieved very efficiently by Garovrogi, his most promising scholar, who settled everything apparently to the satisfaction of everybody.

Leaving Leper's Island at about 4.30 P.M., we dropped anchor at midnight by moonlight over the way at our watering-place in the island of Aurora. Here, as at Leper's Island, traces of a tremendous hurricane are seen, food and vegetation being sadly damaged and destroyed. Next day we watered, Mr. Codrington and I each taking a boat with canvas tank and buckets. The boats pull into a fierce mountain stream, which leaps bubbling forth overhead from among [595/596] the deep green foliage, almost quenching one's thirst with the sight of its foam and the sound of its downpour. A crowd of ready natives hold the boat in position, and prevent her being stove amongst the frequent boulders, while the pure sparkling water is bucketed into the canvas tanks. Many hands made light and quick work, which when finished left us all free to wash our clothes and bathe.

Good Friday brought us a little diversion, not altogether foreign, however, in its influence to the spirit of the day. In the morning we were obliged to land our eight Santa Maria lads. On shore, among other things, Mr. Codrington discovered the dead body of an old scholar of ours lying in state--and that a very bad state--in his own house, surrounded by his surviving relatives and friends; and there he will lie till rapid decomposition shall have done its worst, and the more enduring substance only remains, which will be put away in urn or box. Another old scholar, Oliver Wong, was brought off silk and unhappy.

Early in the morning we had seen two topsail schooners, "labourers," as we supposed; and at half-past two one of them was bearing down upon us. As she came nearer it became evident that something was wrong, for up went a knotted ensign, half-mast; and at length, when within speaking distance, we saw her master gesticulating freely aft, his action conveying as clearly as words, the commission to "Round-to!" which we did, our own anti-slavery skipper being asleep below. Great was his disgust when coming on deck, rather owlish from his interrupted nap, he found the yards backed, and us literally dancing attendance on what he called, "only an old slaver!" Being sufficiently close now, we procured silence in the Melanesian Babel around us, and the mate* [* The "Tim" (Jim) of South Sea Bubbles.] bawled out, with a hand to the corner of his mouth, "What's the matter?" To which the answer came faintly, "All sick!" At last, with much lumbering weakness, their boat was launched from their deck, and before long the captain and two black hands were alongside. The former was a very stout, cheek-shaven, foreign-looking person, evidently very sick with fever and ague; his legs much swollen, and his talk scarcely coherent from weakness. The sea was confused, and he was got on board with difficulty. His vessel was the Rifle, of nowhere in particular, supposed to belong to some one in the Line Islands, but engaged in the Fiji labour trade. He reported the loss of the Presbyterian Mission vessel, Day Spring, in the hurricane of January last, whose ravages are in all these islands, and also of the Jason, labourer, eleven of whose returned hands were then on board the Rifle, whom, as a friendly act, he was endeavouring to land, five belonging to Vanua Lava, the others to Saddle Island. But the white party were "all sick," and the Rifle, twenty-five tons, [596/597] and a flat bottom, would not beat, and so it ended in our offering to take his passengers on. Notwithstanding the jumbled sea, curiosity induced me to pull across to the drifting Rifle, the two deacons and Joseph Wate going with me. What, a galère! Guiltless of paint or tar, without a single taut rope, or well-set sail, a broomstick for a topmast, the compass card copied by hand in bad ink which had run, the rudder-head bandaged as if it had got the toothache; filthy, foul, a makeshift from stem to stern, her crew and captain all sick; perils from the sea, perils from the heathen, perils from sickness, staring them in, the face,--such are 'the ventures men will make rather than follow some honest calling! The first thing we saw as we stepped on board, our boat seeming disposed to follow us as if it was afraid of being drowned alongside, was a woman's head poking out of a small hatchway, peeping into which I discovered a baby whining on the woman's lap, dirty and miserable to see. The woman was draped in a fine gown, and was as dirty as everything around. The shallowness of the craft was wonderful, it being impossible to sit upright in the hold as fitted for the labourers. Ten chests filled the gangway between the sleeping-places from end to end and side to side of this hold, the property of the returned passengers.

Besides these there were thirteen newly-taken labourers, who were having everything their own way, and seemed very contented, but as innocent of any agreement as the ocean waves. So violent was the pounding going on between the Rifle and our boat, which was decidedly getting the worst of it, that Robert and Henry and I determined to pack off as many of the passengers as possible at once, and wait for orders concerning the chests and a pile of rusty muskets. The woman and child and eight men went off, and I remained on the "lively" Rifle, her captain being still on board the Southern Cross. Lying on the top of the little roundhouse aft was Walter Stonehewer Cowper, with whom I fell into conversation, assisted also by another hand, Antonio Frank, a native of the Western Isles, and thick of speech. They had mistaken us for one of these new cruisers, "three of which are now being built in Sydney," but determined to signal anything! Cowper, Frank, and the captain had given in at the tiller one after another, and so they had had to heave her to, and let her drift.

A glance down the little hatch near above which I was sitting, revealed the unfortunate mate lying on a filthy sheet in a little den, whose length he measured as he lay, and whose width admitted on one side a shelf, littered with various simple vessels, &c., and on the other, placed just below the hatch, a "tub," into which I nearly stepped on lowering myself down from the outer world, in order to try and comfort one so wretched and far from the ways of pleasantness and peace. Cowper had been reading to me his well-written log, in which [597/598] constantly recurred the entry, "Bill very sick." This was Bill, then (William Doughty), with dysentery and fever, his whole body as yellow as bile, and looking like a dirty waxwork. He had just strength enough to crawl and drag himself from his board till he fell upon the tub, which he did, groaning, directly I had got into the only available corner, whence my most desired retreat was cut off by the interposition of his body, which sprawled partly on the tub and partly against the wall of the hatch down which I had entered. The stench was horrible. At last he dragged himself back again, and sank on his face, with none to care for or tend him. I spoke to him, but he was too dull to give much heed. I urged upon him that he should persuade the captain, of whose sanity they seemed to entertain doubts, to clear away at once, for nothing but a thorough change would save them. But, alas! their craft was as crazy as her crew. It certainly did seem a most hopeless case. Cowper and Frank said they were sick and weary of the whole concern, and that it was the last time they would ever join such a venture, adding that would I be sure to send the captain back at once, as they couldn't make him out at all.

Presently the boat returned, but without the captain. Mr. Codrington wrote a line to say that, having taken the men, we must take their property also. So we had, staggering about like drunken men, to get up those chests. They were as heavy as lead, being filled with axes, powder, shot, and iron; and I refused to store our boat with them in so bad a sea. Wherefore we turned custom-house officers, broke them open, and stowed their contents in the boat. The hosts of cockroaches and enormous long-legged spiders which rushed forth nearly drove me backwards and overboard. Then the muskets, about twenty, and the rest of the men, were embarked, and the boat put off, leaving me, as before, to converse with my new companions. The utter vagueness of their ideas concerning what they were going to do next was very surprising. I asked them what they would have done, supposing we had been a cruiser? They answered that Captain Whyte had all the necessary papers. Among the entries in the log was: "Received--labourers." Who was the giver? Some man who steps forward and says he is king, and who is paid for allowing the men to go; whereas there is no such thing as a chief, in the Polynesian sense, to be found in this group. The labourers are bought, therefore; and Henry Tagalana, the fellow-countryman of some of them, and able to talk to all, received in every case for answer to questions proposed by Mr. Codrington that "three months" was the only thing they understood when they were taken, and that as they did not know where they were going, so was there no mention either of work or wages. Their appearance is anything but good; they look like [598/599] worn-out hacks, and neither smile nor speak. They have been absent three years.

One more boat trip put me on board the Southern Cross; but we had to pull off again with the captain, whose boat had gone already. Mr. Codrington had given him what wine and tonics we could spare. As we pulled across, he said to me, speaking very deliberately, "Do--you--pull--sometimes--for--a--leetle--exercise--sir?" He was too ill to notice how he was spoiling the boat's trim with his heavy weight. Alongside, the sea was worse than ever, and we resolved to bring no more baggage. I thought we should have taken the Rifle on board once or twice. It was absurd to see Antonio Frank trying to catch the bottle of wine held out by the captain, as if he was trying to catch a butterfly. Now far over his head, now under the Rifle's keel, and then suddenly in old Antonio's eye. Several bottles having been well played, we prepared to heave, and Frank and Cowper to haul up the captain, who performed the same antics as the bottles; now he was up in the shrouds (a single frayed rope), anon the Rifle's stern was descending on his devoted head. But at last we launched him successfully on board, and, with a hasty good-bye, pushed off, and were soon on board too--the schooner having followed us in case of accident.

Next day calms and rain set in; but in the evening Mr. Codrington pulled ashore at Mota, leaving me on board. That night another little incident happened to relieve the monotony of our existence. Heat and multitudes of cockroaches, together with the whining baby, rendering sleep impossible below, I lay on the skylight, but was awakened about 2 A.M. by the mate telling me that the baby was dying. "Impossible," I said; "it was squalling too vigorously for that." It was quite quiet, at all events, and there stood the woman forward, balancing it on the bulwark. When I got up to her I saw by the moonlight that the finger and thumb of this lady, who had been "in contact with civilisation," were in murderous contact with her baby's windpipe. "Don't you do that," said I, plucking them away. "Me kill it! me kill it!" she cried, English being among her new accomplishments; "Dem men," the sleep-bereft male contagions within, " dey too much blow me up!" she added. "Don't you listen to them," said I, adding a hint about hanging. To which the tender mother said, "Me don't care, me pitch him in de sea!" "I'll pitch you in the sea," I replied, more forcibly than politely, taking the baby from her dangerous embrace, and giving it to the mate, while I fetched a dose of chlorodyne to send it to sleep. Fearing to trust the little bundle of kicks and struggles to the wild beast who stood robbed of her prey, I awoke Henry, who confided it to his wife Joanna's care. This woman, who has been three years in a Christian country, has, of [599/600] course, never heard of baptism; but by means of Henry as interpreter we obtained her assent to her child being made a Christian. "Mary" is blind, one eye being quite closed, the other open only to exhibit a monstrous cataract. There are now hopes of her living, since she has become teetotal, brandy having been the babe's beverage on board the Rifle. I found this out by a question put by the civilised mother as to whether I was giving it "brandy," pronouncing the word boldly and with a good courage, a striking contrast to her profound ignorance of the other B. The husband of this woman died in Maryborough, Queensland, on the plantation of Mr. Tooth, whose extract of meat is widely known,--a well-conducted establishment, where Mr. Codrington had seen (now recognising them) all these new passengers of ours on his late visit to Queensland. We have had the felicity of landing the whole party this morning at Saddle Island. Sarawia is on board, and Robert Pantutun takes his place at Mota. Henry has taken charge at Ara, part of Saddle Island, where we found all well, but suffering from the effects of the hurricane, which blew down the stately palace of William Qasfor, whom we nickname "Commodore" from his sailor propensities, and who, being ambitious, is supposed to have built that architectural wonder after the commodore's house in Auckland. All the other pretentious edifices fell, which is a pity, as being likely to discourage improvements in domestic architecture; but it explains the remarkable lowness of native houses, which always appear to be squatting and hiding from some expected blow.

Yesterday, April 25th, we landed Joseph Wate at the southern end of the great island of Malanta, over 100 miles long, and thickly inhabited by an intelligent, energetic people. This dear lad is the hope of the southern Solomon Islands, and a kind of memento of his martyred namesake, Atkin. It is an event of no small magnitude to have landed in that totally heathen place a lad of so much promise, a communicant, affectionate, strong of limb, and determined in heart to work for the spiritual good of his fellow-islanders. With him we landed a sweet little fellow, called Doraädi, whose father waded out to the boat, his eye having singled out his son from far, and with many smiles and much delight he clasped him in his dusky arms, lifted him out of the boat, and walked triumphantly ashore. No tender-hearted paterfamilias could have welcomed home from Dr. Blimber's his little Paul with more evident and touching pleasure than did this savage his. But imagine his feelings, and say, could we expect them to have been governed or controlled had that little object of his affection been kidnapped by strangers?

From Saä to Florida we experienced calms and great heat, relieved from dead monotony by the visits of hardy peddlers from Malanta as we drifted slowly along the coast a long distance from the land. Among [600/601] them was one who announced himself as Seeósee (George), an old scholar of St. John's College, Auckland. He had been a fellow-passenger with Mr. Codrington in this vessel ten years ago. Another recognised Sarawia, and proved to be Latewaria, who had spent a winter with Sarawia and Bishop (then Mr.) Patteson at Lifu, Loyalty Islands, in 1856. We reached Florida on the 28th, and canoes of course came out. Everybody of note was away. They had gone in two large dancing-parties--the Beloga people to Guadalcanar, the Boli and Ravu to Savo; none but women and children were ashore. This led to the most gratifying announcement that the Hongo* [* n = ng in singer.] and the Boli had come to terms, and that peace reigned throughout the. island--a state of things not known since the Bishop first visited the island ten years ago. As if to show this feeling of security, all the fighting-men had gone away and left the land to the care of the women and children. The peace was made at the entrance to Scudamore Passage, where a nightly watch for the Hongo used to be kept.

We were gravely told that the dancing-party had made these calms for their own convenience, because their canoes do not like rough weather. The theory of the dancing-parties is this: during the trades, when canoe travelling is difficult, the dancers practise every day, being criticised by the chiefs. About fifteen make up a dance, each playing a musical instrument, producing a very powerful, sonorous effect. Then when the calm weather sets in the chief take round his dancers to all the neighbouring places at peace with him, performing, and receiving money and food in return. The present tour promises to be a long one. Several parts of Savo have first to be visited, then Visale; the northern end of Guadalcanar; afterwards, the other side (from Boli) of Florida, which is very populous, including (this year for the first time for ten years) the hitherto hostile territories of the teeming Hongo.

We were becalmed for three days off Florida, and pulled in some five miles with part of my luggage, I having to visit Savo first before finally landing at Florida. A tidal wave, or very high tide, has washed away Takua's coral promontory where I have spent so many pleasant hours; and a new and spacious seraglio has been built athwart the shore end of the great canoe-house, into which it opens.

I found a letter written at my table by some officers of H.M.S. Rosario in December last. A more important document, however, awaits me, I believe, in the text of the "treaty" concluded between Takua and Captain Simpson, of H.M.S. Blanche, which all the Mrs. T.'s together could not lay their hands upon in the absence of their lord and master. The kindness of our reception was most pleasing. Rev. George Sarawia landed, and we had a delightful bathe in my [601/602] accustomed. spot, the ladies meanwhile having set to work to clear the overgrown path approaching it. It is gratifying to feel so utterly at home in so unhomely a place.

Dudley Lankona invited us to dinner, consisting of fish-soup in a wooden bowl with hot stones at the bottom of it, which surprised the uninitiated, and yam and almond cake, washed down with green cocoa-nuts. We left the stagnant vessel at half-past 10 A.M., and got on board again at about half-past three, having had a pull of an hour and a-half each way.

It is May Day to-day, and we are sailing quietly to Savo, which is ahead, in spite of the calm-makers, though the breeze is not to be depended upon; a thought now and then flying off at a tangent from the desert sea and barren deck to wild flowers, Maypoles, and Jacks-in-the-green.

May 2nd.--Our visit to Savo, the climax of this first cruise, is over, and well over. Wadrokal and wife well, and the state of his party as satisfactory as can be expected, considering the elements of which it is composed and the rule by which it is governed. W. tendered to Mr. Codrington what he calls a "Report" of his beings, doings, and sufferings, which shows a great deal of fierce evangelisation. It is written in the Mota language, and consists chiefly of repetitions at short intervals of two words, Vus and Gol, meaning respectively, Beat and Scold.
A large Loyalty Island canoe, a new house, and extensive cultivation, are among the fruits of our friend's vigorous system, and his own muscular Christianity. While Mr. Codrington and he conferred, I walked about three miles along a rough beach to meet Takua and his Boli people, my object being to ascertain in the reticule of which Mrs. T. lay the text of our treaty, and to obtain authority to take and peruse it, that I might write to Captain Simpson if necessary. He assented at once and added, "Yes, write and tell them to come back with you and trade." I asked him if the men-of-war were kind. "Kind," he repeated; "yes, they're kind; they gave us words, words, words, and nothing more." I was sorry to hear that Takua had brought two heads with him as a present for a friendly chief- at Savo. The dance turns out to be no dance, but merely the inaugurating tour of the great Peko canoe lately built at Boli.

I bid them good-bye, saying, I would go on and keep house for them at Boli till they should arrive; and, now, here we lie becalmed ignominiously, while old Kalevita grins on shore, and the awful thought agitates my mind, What if they should up paddle and get to Boli before us!


By Rev. C. H. BROOKE.





THE first glow of delight and thankfulness is on me as I write of our safe arrival at Norfolk Island, after a five months' absence, two of which were consumed in sea voyaging, and three spent in Florida.

It is with difficulty that I can refrain from writing at length on the contrast between the life of the past five months and that which I have now resumed. I will only say that all the discomfort, risk, &c., of the former is amply repaid. by the inexpressible joy of meeting again with dear friends, both white and black, and the re-enjoyment [190/191] of those associations and comforts which distinguish "living" from "existing."

My stay this year at Florida was altogether successful, and presents sufficient novelty to justify me in giving you a somewhat detailed account of its principal incidents.

It is the morning of Friday, 16th May, and we are packed up for Höngo, but can scarcely believe it. A very threatening morning indeed; although Kalevitu has had due notice to make fair weather. Our final starting point is Port Wiseman,* [* After Commodore Sir William Wiseman, H.M.S. Curaçoa, 1865 (my first visit).] which is at the mouth of the narrow strait called Scudamore Passage,+ [+ After Lieutenant Scudamore, of the same vessel. See Brenchley's Cruise of Curaçoa, &c. End of chap. xix.] about an hour's walk from my house. The baggage was put on board; but Takua and I, and the majority of the party, walked along the beach. Little lame Talisi, Takua's pet child, whom he carries long distances on his back rather than go without him, limped along with us. It soon became evident that it was going to rain, and happening to meet Kalevitu, his face deeply-lined and very dismal--weather-beaten in a new sense--we asked him what was the matter? His explanation was to the effect that some one must have removed his Tidalo paddle from the head of the canoe, where he had stuck it, pointing skyward. On we went; and presently the rain came down in gloomy torrents, with the darkness of night. We sheltered for a time under a bough of a gigantic tree; but deemed it best to push on to Kovánga" the rendezvous, where was a shed. Rain, rain, rain; a very nasty walk we had of it, the latter part through a mixture of saltwater and slimy black mud, because of an inconvenient tapu, which drove us off the sand. My feet began to blister, for my boots were like boards, from constant wetting and drying. Our bivouac at Kovánga was very. uncomfortable. The shed was much too small to accommodate our large party, who were chilly with the rain, and lighted countless fires of damp firewood. Damp, dirty, and half suffocated, I lay on a waterproof sheet, tightly jammed between my immediate bedfellows, The rain clearing somewhat, my friends went out to fish in a little creek a few yards from the mouth of the shed. It is the habitat of Koisalimbago, a very exemplary crocodile, whom the natives feed, and who has saved several people from drowning--so it is said. On the opposite side of the creek (about twenty yards wide), lies a mangrove swamp, the most awful solitude imaginable; and out of the curved roots of these trees they make the ribs of the canoes. Night came on, not much darker than the dark day had been. The fish had to be cooked, and the furnace was heated hotter than before, so that our pungent atmosphere acquired the density of a London fog. The [191/192] smoke gave me a sick headache, and violent smarting pains in the chest. I felt wet and miserable. Takua had opposed my coming, knowing what lay before us, and to his "I told you so," I answered "All right. My fault. No, I won't go back. But it is this smoke, and not the journey, which kills me." In the middle of the night I thought my chest would burst. I poked my head out under the eaves, but only to encounter the white stifling fumes blown in from the watch-fires by the creek. Difficult task as it was, I scrambled out, over a superficies of bodies and smouldering embers, and went and sat by the creek, my weary head resting upon my knees. Our common friend, Dikea, followed me out, and Kalevitu was already there. The former warned me against catching cold. I told him that of two deaths I was choosing the least painful. Ill as I was, I could not help admiring the singular splendour of the scene, for the trees and leaves across the creek appeared to have stiffened into frosted silver. But as I gazed, lazily and dreamily, thinking of Norfolk Island, the Southern Cross, and (recalled by a passing figure) of that hive of heathen men behind me, wondering how their conversion was to be brought about, and what a miraculous success Missions are even if only one soul--one stubborn human will--be bowed down to kiss the lowly Saviour's feet, the moon began to pale, and a faint chilly air was breathed upon the night. It was the sigh of awaking Nature; the dawn was at hand, and the burden of existence would soon have to be resumed. I went into our shed, hoping to sleep a little before day, and a truly delicious plunge did I make into the sweet depths of oblivion. My first return of consciousness made me aware that a very early move was the order of the day, for every one was already astir, rolling up his mat, or smoking his morning pipe, or munching a cold breakfast. Never was a more reluctant riser than myself that morning. Trifle as it may appear, the anticipation of wet shoes and sodden socks made me quite low-spirited. A cup of weak tea and a biscuit was my breakfast, excitement being my real support.

We were off without delay. There were thirteen canoes in all: the Peko holding forty, and each of the others about twenty men; some more, none less. The pure, sweet morning air soon dispelled the fumes from my head and chest; and the lovely scenery through which we were passing made me forget my late discomforts. The sunlight was bright on the forest-crowned hill-tops, whence peeped, in some places, eagle-eyed little houses, looking up into the far east. To one of these eyries I had climbed some years ago; and thence first gained an idea of the meandering course of the water over which we were now swiftly gliding, still enveloped with the lingering shadows of the night. I recollect that on that very occasion a great alarm was raised at the sight of a canoe, paddling as if from Hongo. All the changes of [192/193] paddling, nearly as numerous as those of bell-ringing, were rung to relieve the monotony of the labour, and sometimes our progress was almost noiseless, the paddles being held out from the canoe side, and coming in contact with nothing but the water. I was able to write, with a paddler on either side of me, so roomy was our fine vessel! and scarcely ever received a splash or spray, even when we were going so fast that I could scarcely help slipping off my seat into the lap of the paddler behind me. The quick progress caused the hills and trees on either side to whirl past us with ever-varying grace. Headlands and bays, and lovely grottoed islets, piled with green, relieved by the dazzling flights of cockatoos, swam by us like arms ever opening to embrace us, and ever receding as we eluded their embrace.

At last we got to the limit of my past travels up the straits--the mouth of a dismal swamp, whose chill will, I believe, never quit my bones. Black, soft mud, in which I saw natives sink up to their breasts, is the foundation (if it will bear the name); overhead, dense, sun-proof shade of twigs and leaves; and, between the yielding floor and impenetrable roof, a dazzling maze of mangrove roots and branches; roots coming up serpent-like out of the mud, and turning into branches; branches going down, like grasping fingers, into the mud, and becoming roots. The only foothold is on the serpentine roots, to slip from which. is to sink knee-deep into the stinking mud. Will you please to imagine your Missionary stumbling over such a superficies, with a German concertina in one hand and a tin canister in the other! But why didn't your companions carry them for you? Why! because they were lifting their own heavy canoes over this amazing entanglement, as dazzling to the eye as it is perplexing to the foot; an intricacy so consummate as to suggest the idea that all the old ladders, stiles, hurdles, five-barred gates, scaffolding, wreck-gear, and latticework in general, of the universe, had been shot here. It added not a little to my delight to know that my way did not lie there now.

A little further on, off a pretty point, our fleet drew up into line, and their occupants became completely silent. Something evidently was about to happen. Suddenly, but gently, all the canoes began to sway slowly from side to side. This was the work of Tidalos, and, the silence remaining still unbroken, Takua exclaimed, "Now! inquire of the spirits; shall we go up, or shall we forbear? Now! inquire of this one! (as a strong spirit-wave rocked our Peko). Why are you all silent?" Then rose their old Guavi, and cried: "Ai huatigo! Ai huatigo! Huatigo! tigo! tigo! tigotigotigo!!!"* [* "We inquire of thee! Inquire of Thee! 'Quire of thee! Of Thee! Of Thee-of thee-of thee!!!" &c.] And no response (that is, no swaying) being forthcoming, he added: "Do you see? He [193/194] forbids us." Then several names of Tidalos were proposed: Keramo, the general name for Tidalos of war; Padagi, &c., &c. I was quite uneasy lest the Tidalos should not relent. At last Hauri was inquired of, and a wave of assent bowed our tall poop and prow, and Guavi interpreted: "Let us go up to Hongo; let us dance, and eat, and pipe, and betel, and," etc.

Kirigi was passed at ten minutes past 10, and not very long afterwards we entered a wide sound, with beautiful receding bays, full of natural rockeries and aquariums on every hand.

The Hongo hills were now on our left; but it would have been neither etiquette, nor considered safe, to go straight ashore. We therefore landed on the opposite side of the sound at a place called Paripura, or White Beach, from the whiteness of its sand. Takua sent a party over to Hongo (men of the same tribe as they) to know what was to be done. Meanwhile, the tide being low, our whole party, with the exception of Kalevitu and myself--both with headaches--went to fish; for we had to feed ourselves on whatever Nature pleased to provide for us of her own free gift. There was no village anywhere near, our great object being to keep out of Charn's way; and, until the Hongo feed us, we must pick up our food for ourselves. I at last succumbed to sick and nervous headache, my foot also causing me sharp pain, and making me feel crippled. Towards evening we raised our own village of wattle booths. I lay down wanting only one thing--SLEEP. Oh for the drowsiness of only too many a Sunday afternoon! Oh for the privacy of my bedroom at Norfolk Island, or even of my little house at Boli! Instead of which, imagine our clustering camp of about three hundred lively, merry savages, children of the woods and shore, perfectly at home, enjoying the fun of cooking their day's sport. My Mota companion, Thomas S. Ulgau, came to ask me some question, I have no idea what, but I recollect that I answered him in French. Noise was the occupation of our camp, as a means of keeping themselves awake, and letting the enemy over the way know that we were not to be surprised.

The last sound I was conscious of was the hoarse bellowing of the conch, which at length, homopathically, acted as a lullaby, and when I awoke it was day--SUNDAY. It was a most lovely morning. The sweet, cool trade wind was blowing upon us from over the opposite Hongo hills, rippling gently the blue waters at our feet. Having bathed and breakfasted, Thomas Ulgau, Richard Maru, and myself, formed a little congregation, and we had morning prayers. This was the first time the sound of Christian prayer had ever stirred the echoes of this heathen haunt, and a great crowd surrounded us. Takua was too ill to rise. After prayers, I took a stroll through the camp. It was a curious scene: a collection of about one hundred small huts, [194/195] clustering closely together, but facing in all directions, reminding me, as I passed quickly from one variety of attitudes and occupation to another, of looking through a series of facetious stereoscopic views. My successive sudden and unexpected appearances were always hailed with pleasure, and interest was further excited by means of a picture of Her Majesty, which I happened to have with me; and I venture to think that it would not be a matter of indifference to that gracious lady to learn that the late measures taken by her Government for the suppression of the slave trade have earned for herself, and for the great nation which she represents, the regard and reverence of these people. For they are not ungrateful; but the services rendered them are very often not appreciated by them--are not of a kind which they can yet appreciate: which want of appreciation is apt to disappoint the zealous yet unsympathetic benefactor.

Let us sit together on this white beach; forest behind us, the blue waters of the sound at our feet, and the Hongo hills opposite. We are expecting momentarily to see a file of people serpentine down yon grassy spur, which will be our signal for launching our fleet, and crossing over to Hongo, hitherto unvisited by any white man. "A Ngaira tua!" "There they are!" "Ngatu! Hageda!" Off! on board with us all!" These are the shouts which ring in my ears, and appropriate action meets our eyes. But Takua is lame in our hut, and cannot go, so I go to bid him good-bye. " Go; but don't go ashore, Piku and Galaigo will say for you what you want to say and point out those to whom it is fitting to give presents. But don't go ahore and don't give 'em too many things." Therefore and I sat amidship in the Peko, and were paddled over to Hongo. The canoes grounded; our party got out and stood in a double line in front of the canoes across the mouth of a break in the belt of bush which lies at the foot of the spur aforesaid. Manaria and I stood up in the Peko, he holding me tightly by the wrist, lest I should disregard Takua's advice, which I fully meant to do as soon as an opportunity offered. My Mota companion stood behind us, much interested. The order issued to our double line was to stand as still and emotionless as death, happen what might. I observed that out great orator, Sauvui, was gorgeously arrayed in rings and suns and moons on his forehead and his breast, bearing a splendid shield, with a cross of tufts of red, blue, and yellow parrots' feathers in the middle (the figure accidental, of course), together with a tomahawk glitteringly inlaid, and a long spear of ebony, with point of elaborately carved and splintered human shin-bone. A most military spectacle truly. He was horribly afraid; but his look was imposing in the extreme. Each individual of our double lines stood on guard, with shield up, and spear held back at arm's length. It would have been more graphic to have [195/196] said that a spear and shield were attached to each post of our double fence.

After a short interval, a rustling was heard in the cover to the left, whence defiled a company of the Hongo, about one hundred strong, armed with tomahawks and spears, bearing shields. I could not compliment them on their erect, military bearing, for they were all stooping so low that each man's body was covered by this shield (as a good cricketer's wicket is by his bat), the bottom of which nearly touched the ground, the warrior's nose resting on the top. This fierce, grotesque array of swaying bodies, wagging heads, rolling eyes, dancing legs, hanging shields, and quivering spears, passed so perilously close to our line, that at one dreadful moment a Hongo spear caught in a Boli shield; but the shield might have been hanging on a post for any emotion discernible in its bearer. My Mota companion makes an entry in his diary to the effect that at this juncture he though that a fight must have broken out. It was like watching sparks falling among barrels of gunpowder. Scarcely had the novelty of this troop worn off, when there emerged a second from the right, and, lastly, a third marched down the opening in the middle, each of which went through exactly the same performance as the first; all forming into a line a few yards from ours, the numbers on either hand being nearly equal. After much fierce bo-peep behind their shields, and threatening our unwinking eyes with their spear-points, the Hongo line broke up and retired. Then came to the front old Begoni, the chief of Hongo, a smiling child-like man, who had to deliver the speech of the afternoon; but his memory proving inconstant, he laboured under great difficulties, and had to be prompted from behind. He was understood to say: "Takua! Manaria! Sauvui! &c. &c. Come on shore here! we are all cousins, and brothers, and uncles, and aunts, and mothers-in-law, and fathers-in-law; this is no strange land to my friends the Boli; come on shore, say I, this bachelor here!" And away he walked, a bachelor by poetical or rhetorical license only, since Mrs. Begoni was introduced to me afterwards, to receive a present, "that I might know her by means of beads," in the technical phraseology of the locality. Several other speakers followed on either side, and guns were let off [unclear] party; after which a small Hongo band but through out line, and cast ome baskets of food into the nearest canoe.

(To be continued.)


By Rev. C. H. BROOKE.




(Continued from page 196.)

NO longer able to resist the temptation of going on shore, I broke away from Manaria's grip, but was prevented by our line, three hands suddenly seizing hold of me in a very determined manner. Seeing this, I called out to Begoni, who came over to me, and finding that I was not to be thwarted, my handcuffs were removed, and I walked freely ashore at Hongo, and shook the good-natured looking, beaming, and exceedingly hirsute Begoni by the hand, adding a Florida cheek-scrub, and telling him how proud and pleased I felt at being the first white man to tread his land, hoping I should often do so in the future, &c., &c., and dilating on the blessings of peace. The principal magnates of the place were then pointed out to me, to whom I gave a few presents of very trifling description, but with which they were more than satisfied. While thus engaged, and so utterly surrounded by Hongo people that my Mota friend endeavoured vainly [256/257] to get at me, and began to have doubts as to my safety, up pushed two old scholars, Danivulu and Sulupia, finding fault with me for being too liberal: a piece of selfishness which disgusted me very much, and I at once doubled the length of my strings of beads, &c., wanting to know whose property it was which I was distributing; immediately after, Dudley Lankona called my name over the heads of the intervening press, saying that "we were off, it being already night." In which haste, also, Boli selfishness and jealousy had part. When we were again seated in the canoes, Rasa, Begoni's son, stood at the water's edge, and exclaimed: "Ko tona, arovigo Boorookoo! E arovigo Boorookoo!" "Go, poor Brooke! poor Brooke!"

I stood up and shouted " Kabu! Kabu!" "Stay! Stay!" which is the correct response to the valedictory "Go!" Just then we let off a gun, which made every one, Boli and Hongo, jump; but we good-naturedly explained, that it was only our way of saying "Goodbye." With much conch-blowing we departed, and soon got back to Paripura, having performed a very appropriate act for a Sunday afternoon--helped forward peace on earth. It remained in the evening to give glory to God in the Highest, and to declare His goodwill to these wild men, a large crowd of whom assembled round us, the five only representatives of Christianity in the whole island. It was quite dark, and I read by the light of my lantern hanging at the entrance of our hut. I was moved to offer an extempore prayer for blessing upon our afternoon's visit, and for lasting peace, and for the final conversion of Florida to the truth: which prayer I now ask the reader of this page to echo from his heart. For these are a most religious people, but in their spiritual destitution they have fed upon swine husks. It is our comfort to know that some of them already hunger after, some have already partaken of, the Bread of Life. After prayer, I was asked to take my concertina through the camp, and play a few tunes, which I did, preceded by a lantern-bearer. My programme was sufficiently secular to include Home! Sweet Home! Conversation was kept up late that night, and the sum of it appeared to be: "The Hongo will rave and dream about Boorookoo this night."

After a perfect night's sleep, I awoke at dawn to hear Takua laying the plan for the day in a murmuring whisper: " If we were alone, we should start early; but we are not alone: we must wait for Brooke to wash, and eat, and pray."

"Not so," I exclaimed, jumping up; "we will go! I am bathed already."

While they were getting ready, I accomplished the three functions above-mentioned, and we started for the mouth of the sound, our destination being Halavo, some distance along the outer coast to the right. The morning was lovely--a lark at heaven's gate singing. [257/258] would have made it spring. We had already entered the solitude and calm of the bay in which the village lies to which we were bound, when a canoe was observed paddling out to us. Its only occupant, a young lad, unawed by our numbers and imposing array, lay alongside Manaria's tola (a kind of canoe with low stem and stern), and told us to go away--that they could not receive us, because they were busy feasting their own Atoato, "says the mouth of the chief."

"There's not a word wrong in all he says," cried Takua; "Ngatu! Pulolai!" "Off! Back!"

So we swung round, and in a moment were paddling back for the opening of the sound, en route for Boli. We made only one stoppage, at noon, at the mouth of the dismal swamp, where we lunched: I in the canoe, on lobster potted and preserved by Messrs. Fortnum and Mason; my friends in the mud, on various shell-fish provided by mother Nature. I became very much cramped, and my foot felt on fire, on account of sitting so many hours in almost the same position. Takua goaded on his crew, and paddled in the most furious manner possible, bouncing up and down upon his seat beside me, in the vehemence of his exertion and his desire to get home. To my disappointment, but quite in accordance with native caution, we first landed on the wrong side of Port Wiseman, where we waited a long time for bathing and drinking. Towards 5 P.M. we crossed, and, to my renewed disappointment, I found that they were going to pass the night at Kovánga, of suffocating memory. Lame as I was, I preferred limping three miles home to remaining longer on the way; so I took my leave; and departed, arriving quite crippled at my dear little quiet house about sundown. A bathe, clean clothes, tea, and slippers, completed one's bodily comfort; while a brief but earnest thanksgiving service, for preservation and peace, with my Mota friend; bright candle-light, a cosy chair, and a volume of Middlemarch afforded refreshment spiritual and mental.

Next day my companions arrived, and Takua came to see me. Our conversation turned upon our late trip.

"When I heard you calling upon your Tidalos," I said to him, "I thought, why should you not call upon God?"

"And will He give a sign? will He swing the canoe?" asked Takua.

I told him that the heart (literally, stomach) is the seat of the knowledge of God. But that he had not yet accepted His religion, not being baptized.

"Ah! first I must learn to read, and the English language, and then let me glorify Him!"

"No," I said; "begin with earnestly wishing to know Him, and the rest will follow."

"Yes?" he exclaimed.

[259] "Yes," I' replied; "that is the reason, the only reason He has sent me to you, to tell you of Him."

"Yes, but I never understood before. And will He hear?"

I then repeated to him the Lord's Prayer.

Our talk then went on to the subject of my buying some land, and building a house, to be set apart for school and worship; my present house being too small, and on a tapu. We were then interrupted by the arrival of chief Etevalua and a hundred Malantese; but it was finally settled that the purchase should be made and a building erected. I had already a predilection in favour of Marevo's deserted place, on account of its associations with the family and home I loved best in Boli, now scattered; and moreover, because it was midway between Takua and Sauvui, and belonged partly to each. But I found that Takua is the true representative of the people, and that the wisest plan is to follow his advice.

"You are foolish, Brooke," he said to me a few days later; "you want to buy a piece of land owned by a great many people."

"I want to buy a piece that will suit me," I replied, "whether it be owned by one or one hundred." Because I knew he wanted me to buy a place owned by himself, on the other side of the kiala, close to his domestic village. I sent for Dudley Lankona, whom I had determined not to take back to Norfolk Island, but who, if he behaved properly, might be at the head of my little school. He came, after much delay, and declared himself against Polomuhu (Marevo's place), on the ground of its being deserted, and haunted, and full of charms and sorceries. I found out afterwards that the majority of the proprietors also would not sell; so that I abandoned the idea, and, on an early occasion, went with Takua and Subosi (the former in shirt and trousers, full dress) to view the site proposed by our great and grasping potentate. The recommendation of this place was that it suited everybody. I therefore decided at once to take it, and we three went in solemn file round it, determining its boundaries, of which I made notes. I wish the reader could see the handsome grove of elm-like nalis, of which I am now the proprietor. These majestic trees grow to so great a height, and often on places so precipitous, and have, moreover, a crown of foliage so ponderous and so dense, that Nature has established them with buttresses, springing about ten feet up the trunk. They are seldom more than three or four inches thick, and serpentine in a remarkable manner, often enclosing large natural water-tanks, or chambers. The natives cut door shutters out of them, and some are quite large enough to supply a round slab for a full-sized drawing-room table. Their fruit is a small almond-like nut, hanging at the end of a thread about four inches long. The nali is constantly used in native cookery, most of their "made dishes" swimming in its oil.

[260] About. this time I began to urge the people to begin school, saying that if there were no school I should not be allowed to come and idle here, but should be called elsewhere. The effect was rather ludicrous and inconvenient; for every one, dunce and genius alike, at Takua's order, began to learn his letters, insomuch that I frequently became light-headed in endeavouring to reduce to order the chaotic Babel. It was like a whole parish beginning to learn music, with one discord, ear or no ear, at the arbitrary command of some village magnate. Takua was not behindhand, and now can read a sheet of easy syllables, which in size resembles a magazine or small newspaper; he often cons by himself in a low murmur, smoking his pipe the while in an attitude of the most supreme comfort and enjoyment, like an elderly gentleman reading the Times.


Our Malanta, or, as they are shortly called in Florida, Mala friends, of whose advent I have already spoken, come periodically to buy food with the fathoms upon fathoms of money which they manufacture in their utterly sterile coral islet, off the great mainland. I trust next year to introduce the reader to their extraordinary abode. At present let us be content with a look at the amount of money which they have brought, and which I am called out to see. There it hangs in pearl and ruby rows from a kind of extempore gallows. There were sixty coils: one of four strings, and twelve fathoms in length, the majority two strings and four fathoms, amounting in all to several hundred fathoms. This public exhibition of the money enables the Boli people to form an idea [260/261] of the amount of food and number of pigs, &c., &c., which will have to be got together for their visitors, whose presence is the source of intense gratification to Takua, who is great at a bargain, and is, moreover, by extraction and in his tastes, a Malanta man. To myself they become a great inconvenience; their talk is always to this effect: "These Boli people don't feed you, never kill a pig or mash a mash for you; Mala is the place: there you shall eat pig every day, and mash, and fish. This is a hungry place. Come and stay at Mala!" They are very different in appearance to the Florida natives, with long bodies and short thick legs. In their own land they wear nothing; but when staying at Florida they adopt the decencies of the place. The Floridans shave off their hair, all but a little round mat at the top of their heads; whereas the softer featured Malantese have fine full, bushy, well-combed heads of hair.

Speaking of them reminds me of my efforts to learn a little of their dialect, and particularly of one moonlight night when I was sitting out on the beach, just in front of my house, with three of them, trying to pronounce properly "Golu mosu" (Go to sleep), with a Hebrew "G," and other difficulties. Suddenly a shower of heavy pieces of coral rock began to bound along the sand, nearer and nearer to our devoted heads. I was soon alone, and perceived a man following the flying missiles from his hands. One fell alarmingly near me, which I picked up to show as a curiosity. The man I discovered to be Sauvui, evidently not himself; but whether from anger or madness I could not tell, having seen him quite mad with rage in old days.. He left off heaving his deadly missiles, and then raised his arms in the air as if trying to lift some heavy weight from off his head. I asked him who he was: "Inau! Inau!" (I! I!) he whispered, hoarsely, and kept on groping, as if in the dark, which he really was, for his eyes were firmly closed--he was fast asleep. By this time Takua and a crowd had assembled, but kept at a very respectful distance. My three Malanta friends were the only men who did anything but give impracticable advice. Every now and then a dreadful paroxysm would come over Sauvui, during which he cast off his three holders like Samson snapping the withes. Takua and I stood conveniently near the door of the kiala. The somnambulist once more shook off the three Malanta men, trembled violently all over, and ran off along the rocky beach to the left. The active Malantese bolted off after him and brought him back still asleep. "Possessed by Besu," was the local verdict: to exorcise whom certain leaves are necessary, which are not easily obtained at dead of night. I felt it was time to distinguish myself, so, issuing, from our ignominy, I went up to Sauvui, telling the three Mala men to be sure and hold him very tight. I shouted loudly, "Do you know me?" "No," was the murmured answer. "Brooke, who gave you [261/262] the tobacco yesterday morning!" After an apparent struggle between haze and clearness, as when sunshine is breaking through a mist, he opened his eyes, heaved one deep sigh, and changed instantaneously from a dangerous madman to a helpless child. He held out his hand for me to grasp, which I was rather afraid of doing, but did, and I quietly walked him off to his village, Koda, he laughing in a weak, childish way, as I told him of his late performances. I never walked so far nor forded so many streamlets before in slippers, and generally light attire. His people had only just become aware of his absence, for he had been sleeping in a little shed on the beach by himself. Next day I paid a visit, but his shamefaced manner prevented my referring to the adventure of the night. On my leaving he made me a present of a parcel of fish, without note or comment.

I single out Whit Sunday as a remarkable day, and will devote a few lines to it. Referring to my diary, I find that my Mota companion was very ill, but better than he had been. It is a curious thing that every Banks Islander whom I have taken to Florida has suffered more or less severely from ague; Walter and Thomas Stevenson had it there for the first time, Florida being so much more dry and healthy than their own humid native islands, where elephantiasis and rheumatism are common. Unfortunately all my little flock was scattered: Dudley Lankona and Montagu Maru were weather-bound at Olevuga on their way to Savo; Richard Maru was ill at Koda and John Takisi was tabued, as I afterwards found out. So that we were only four: Mondé, a clean, picturesque, fine-eyed youth; Vili, a little sharp lad, whose reading is like music; Thomas S. Ulgau (the only baptized Melanesian of our congregation), and myself. After service, which I held in my little house, I spoke to them concerning that Great Day, and told them that if our vessel had reached New Zealand in time, this would be the day for George Sarawia's ordination, I also sent word to Takua and party, eager to clear the site for our future church and school, that they must not work for me on Sunday. Thenceforward, Takua always knew how many days it wanted to "Sangay," and allotted out the work accordingly. The Bishop was always careful not to be rigid about the observance of the Lord's Day by people to whom its observance could but be a piece of formality, the form generally taken being sleep; and I endeavoured to act as I thought he would have acted. But these extreme people, anxious to do something according to the new teaching, fixed upon this idea of Sunday, and in the afternoon of that precious day, should I see a group of idle sitters, and ask them what they were doing, the answer would probably be, "We are Sundaying!" "Why did you not tell me before?" was the message sent back by Takua, "and I would have put off the Hiohio; the fault is yours," Later he came [262/263] and invited me to go and see Manaria, who had been confined to the house for some days. We went at once, his village being within call of my house, and found him very weak but without fever. I returned to fetch a dose of quinine. There were several people in the small, dark house, among them Koinini, Manaria's wife, with a terrible cataract in her eye, but, notwithstanding this disfigurement, one of the pleasantest women on the island, and a most faithful wife. Holding up the tumbler containing the dose, I took the opportunity of delivering a little sermon to the effect that this water of itself was powerless, and moreover, that the stomach of the patient must be prepared to receive it: wherefore "let us pray for this water, that it may be mana." In the midst of complete silence I delivered the following extempore prayer: "Ngote (God) Igoe to logoa na vola ma na mate; Igoe to lubatia Manaria eni nge vahagi, me ke va pukua na ladamu To hanga volaa: ko manania na beti eni, nge ke nia uto, ke nia kakatuga na hulina kulamami eni; nia Jesus Christ, A nimami na Lord. Amen. (Thou that possessest the life and the death; Thou hast let Manaria here be ill, but that he may see the power Thy, Thou wilt save him; do Thou empower it, the water here, that by it may be cured, may be by it strengthened the body, the friend of us here; because Jesus Christ of us the Lord.)

I then told them that this life was open to them all, and that if I were away and their children were sick (Takua had lost a very dear boy last summer), and there was no medicine and "no nothing," let them pray to Him and say:--(I here repeated a short form of prayer.) "But will he understand the language of Boli? If we only knew the language of Sydney!" [Sydney=English, European; being the town whose name is most familiar to them.] Touching my tongue, I told them that He who made the tongue knew all languages, and did I not pray daily in Boli words? And thus ended an interesting visit.

Next day Takua with a hundred men and women set to work at clearing a site for our house. I had scarcely returned from looking on, and was congratulating myself on the ease with which my cherished object was to be accomplished, and the general favour with which it was regarded, when one of Takua's wives came to say that her husband wanted to see me before he went down west--to his farm, a mile or two to the left (looking seaward) of my house. I went; and dark clouds gathered around the bright prospect of five minutes ago. Muavagaa, the mother of a lad in Norfolk Island, and who lives close to Subasi and me, had been reported to say (as it had been before said to Subasi) that Boorookoo would not live in the house nor go on the land, and that it would be a house of desolation. Owing to this, every one had knocked off work, and gone away, and Takua, prepared to abandon the whole affair, was going off to his farm, where he [263/264] always goes when he is in a bad humour. This was the jealousy of Subasi and wife lest I should forsake my present abode with them and go over to this new establishment. I confess that I was very much disgusted both at the mean jealousy of the Subasis and at Takua's inability to believe that I meant what I had said. "I have spoken one word," I said, "and there is no other behind it; believe it or not as you like." Then suddenly bounced in Muavagaa, and swore by all the demons that she had never said such a thing in her life, and let those who accuse her come forward!--Which they didn't. So I got up and said: "We never take any notice of women's gossip, and I am surprised at your doing so, Takua. My word still is: build the house, and it shall not be desolate." The price of the land, a very miscellaneous lot, was laid out ready for me to take back again. "So we had agreed thoroughly yesterday," returned Takua; "we two have been friends from the beginning until now, and now they're trying to sunder us." "Well," I rejoined, "it is our fault if they succeed. Good-bye!" "Good-bye! I'm off down west. You keep house!" and so we parted.

(To be continued.)


By Rev. C. H. Brooke.




(Continued from page 264.)


THURSDAY, 5th June.--Calm, quick silver sea. All the women busily preparing food to feed the Belaga dancers, lately arrived. There are now eighty Mala and forty Belaga in the kiala. Schooled with Buddha'-whom I will introduce to the reader. His name is pronounced exactly like that of the Hindoo divinity. He was born at Leno, at the neighbouring north end of Guadalcanar, but was taken away when quite a child to Savo, where I first met him. I was about to step into the boat returning to the vessel, when a lad came up and said, laconically, "Rogita " (You and I). In answer to my surprised look, he explained that he wanted to go wherever I happened to be going, Nin Salana, Novokailana, or anywhere. On hearing that I was going to stay at Boli, he said again "I Rogita" and we have never been separated from that day to this. He is a most promising, nice-looking, honest lad. Kikoa, chief of Belaga, came in with Takua. The latter displayed his learning by reading through his syllable sheet, eyeing some of the tougher morsels of orthography as a caged bird will eye a caterpillar, before finally attacking it. Then followed this [289/290] charming conversation about the building of the house:--Takua, loq. "You are chief of Boli; you speak, and it shall be done." Kikoa then proposed to come and help forward the work. "There's not a single chief all round who will not help. They help that lesser personage, Wadrokal, at Savo, and why should our friend be unprovided for?" He then went on to give most interesting and gratifying details concerning the two man-of-war visits, whose officers I desire to thank warmly for their kindness and consideration towards these people. From the anchorage at Port Wiseman they had bombarded a pretty islet at a convenient distance, having given due notice to the natives, and sent messengers to clear them from the reef beyond, where they were fishing. A Palliser shot is carefully housed and exhibited. Their visits, so beneficial socially, proved vain judicially, for want of an interpreter. Captain Challis made Takua understand that he or a representative would call again in ten months; but that interval expired during my three months' stay, and I regret to say that the appointment had not been kept when I came away. The chief murderer of the Lavinia victims, therefore, is still at large, beginning to think very lightly of European threats and judgments.

Sunday, 15th.--A very trying day. The sun alarmingly hot. Up and out at six, with plaid on, for it was not warm then. The tide full in; every one astir, and arriving with bundles of food or pigs for the Malanta people, whose fleet was getting under way. Immense shouting. Bathing impossible in the sea, so I walked ashore to the water. Breakfast. The Malanta party off, when a louder shout announced something new. It was the sudden and awful capsize of one of their over-loaded canoes, some little way out. Takua and many others paddled and swam off to their rescue. The mash was lost, but the cocoa-nuts, pigs, and human beings escaped. So even had been the balance between life and death on board that canoe that the catastrophe was brought about simply by the action of an old man, who was sitting on board, reaching behind him for a bunch of cocoa-nuts. We were all very thankful that the accident had not happened out in the middle of the Straits, Malanta being about twenty-five miles from Florida. The incident afforded a good sermon. My lad, Richard Maru, was one of those who assisted in the rescue. The rescued and party went to Port Wiseman, there to vegetate until their loss should be made good. All to prayers. Lankona and Biker (his betrothed wife) looked quite bright and clean in well-washed and neatly worn clothes. Sang Canticles and Hymn. More dead than alive with dazzling white heat all the morning; not good, clear sunshine, but hazy, what the natives call aho lupa, watery or dropsical sun. Buddha' gone to Annha (an islet about four or five miles along [290/291] the N.E. coast), but left word with Huga and Kuta, who cooked. Ulgau still ill, and utterly dismal. He adds to the oppressiveness of the weather, and makes me wish for the vessel.

It must be confessed that the Floridans at least are not a very hospitable people: food is scarce and the result of hard work, which are sufficient reasons. Subasi is often glad to have a yam out of my purchased store, and if I have a bunch of Sandana bananas--the best for cooking are very rare and dear--hanging in my verandah (my only larder) on a Sunday morning, the members of my congregation (with exceptions) pluck them freely. Had I been dependent on the liberality of my Boli lads, I should have starved long ago. I have known Sauvui, Dudley Lankona's elder brother, when he was aware that I was pining for a hen's egg, prevent Dudley from bringing me one because he was hoarding them up to sell to the cook when the vessel came. They were all rotten, of course, by that time! Takua happened to come in one day when I was protesting against my bananas being plucked in this way; for my biscuit this year was uneatable, being full of weevils. He was vastly indignant, saying, "Let him bring bunches of bananas till he can't get into the house, and let them heap up firewood to the top of the piles. It angers me to think of it. If you wouldn't scold, I'd kill one of them, and let the rest take warning! You ship them, feed them, fatten them, learn them, give them everything they want, and then they leave you alone here, in their own land. Let them come and school and sing and pray by day; and then let them go home to their own people; let them chat with their parents and frolic with their cousins. But let them come here by day. You are great, and they little; and yet you go in search of them; you go to Koda, you go right away to Tanahinea--let, them, the little ones, come to you; the great one!," "But," I began, wishing to excuse them, "hitherto this tabu, &c., has prevented them----" "Lie! lie! They come when they want. They are mean and low!" I made exception to this, and craftily mentioned the names of Dudley and Richard." Ah, they are gentlemen," he said. "We think that they are the reverse," I almost too bitterly answered. "Those two are the ABOMINATION of my friends at Norfolk Island. I am forbidden to take back those two, they give us so much trouble. One Sapi or one Lobu is worth a hundred such! If they want to help us, they must help here. It is a miniature Norfolk Island which I wish to introduce; at the place I have bought." I also told him that our religion taught us to endure neglect; that such thoughts as he mentioned had risen in my mind, but that I had kept silence. "I won't keep silence!" he rejoined. "It pities me to think of it!"

I must remind the reader that this year is what I call my sinister [291/292] year, because my party on shore contains no one who merits a much better character than that given them by Takua. Next year I shall rejoice in the companionship of Sapi, Lobu, and several others who do show one some affection.

And now we must prepare for another tour.

On Tuesday, June 17th, at twenty minutes to twelve, we are again seated in the peko, on the leaf-spread bottom of which old Kakopu has carefully packed my baggage--Items: 1. Black waterproof bag, containing change of clothes and blanket. 2. Tin canister containing chocolate, biscuit, tea, quinine, &c. 3. Tin tea-kettle. 4. Lantern. 5. Waterproof sheet. 6. Satchel, with a handy lunch of biscuit and chocolate, a flask, Jeremy Taylor, and a note-book. We got on board in front of my house, and were thus saved our former long walk. The weather was beautiful. Takua sent on before by land to announce our approach. We are going to paddle along the coast towards the. S.E.; but must, of course, delay by a precautionary stoppage at the mouth of our strait to inquire of the spirits.

Off Belaga, again, we inquired of the spirits. They were propitious, to my great contentment. Our canoes were only four in number this time, but one of them was a new small peko, bought by Sauvui at Savo. She was a beauty. No swan's neck ever surpassed in graceful symmetry her prettily inlaid prow and poop: the former exhibiting a feature new to naval architecture namely, a round looking-glass eye, the eye of a bird outlined in mother-of-pearl and placed a little above water mark. I asked the meaning of other mother-of-pearl ornamental figures embedded in the plaster of the sides, and was told they represented the piled masses of the evening clouds.

Just before sunset, we reached the Ass's Ears, intending to spend the night on the low point off which they stand; but the surf obliged us to go round to the more sheltered side, where we landed on the peninsula of Vuleni, where the Mala had left some ruined shanties. Having spread out my waterproof sheet, and taking one of my bags for a bolster, I reclined, painfully sensible of the coral formation underneath. There was no thicket of any kind to raise shelter with or to repair the wretched frames and tatters already there. The Malanta people always carry thatch about with them; their spears affording a sufficient framework for such small shelters as are absolutely necessary. Takua's mind was exercised concerning the security and well-being of three things: myself, Talisi, and the money-bags; and now a thunderstorm if as evidently approaching! One by one the bright stars were swallowed up by the rising darkness, and the ruddy fires showed clearer and brighter. We were utterly exposed to the mercy of the elements. The first threatening drop sent us all into whatever shelter we could find. Talisi, the money-bags, and I were [292/293] fortunate enough to get the best which was to be had. It was like a ruined pig-sty, and I could never accommodate my head and my feet simultaneously. A fine young man named Konaulu, Takua's righthand, lighted a small fire close beside me. Having sacrificed a small piece of mash in the fire, saying: "Thine is this mash, O Tanomonde!" he began to pray:--"Thine is the dirt up above! Roll it up! Turn it away! Hear these hundred chiefs and warriors, and help us; for if it rains what have I to lie upon or to cover myself with save this coral!"

Then old Luga and others took up the strain, louder and louder, till the air thrummed with the sound of prayer, with ever and anon a very high-pitched piercing cry of "Lokna! Rina!" Thus did we pray to merciful Heaven to protect us from the hungry surf and threatening clouds. Our prayers were heard. The awfully dark cloud passed safely over us, as I felt it must do, for here was man in distress calling with faith to Heaven. I slept a dead sleep, my face pleasantly fanned by the cool breeze. What a friend a blanket is on these occasions! In the early morning a chilly easterly squall, with rain, came down, which blew right through our shanty, and would, I thought, have carried it away, but I blocked it out with my umbrella, which I held firmly to windward. We cuddled together for warmth, and the good ventilation carried off the smoke of the inevitable fire.

The morning of the famous 18th of June dawned dark and stormy, but we preserved dry skins nevertheless. We embarked at 7 o'clock. Our friend Guavi prayed for fair weather, to which supplication. I could say, earnestly, Amen.

Saturday, 21st.--Off at daybreak. Hurrah! Swell, but no break, except at headlands. The smaller canoes were sent on ahead, and we followed in case of accident. A cloudy, untrustworthy morning. I wish we could go right through; did not land at Vuturna; sat in our canoes in the rain for ages, holding a parley with a group of worthies on the reef. The dreariness of the scene is only to be equalled by the view from a railway-carriage window of a dripping country railway-station on a soaking day. Tall, picturesque Rogani, very black Bibili, and comical, fat, ever broadly grinning Gauratu, were the most striking figures in the group. Our difficulty about going ashore is this: Subori must first pay a fine for a man he killed when they were last quarrelling, and the nature and amount of the fine have yet to be settled. It is now twenty minutes to 9 A.M. . . . . . . and now it is near sunset. We passed our time over the way at Lio, where the Lavinia smoke-house is, which we passed the other day. The melancholy tale was retold, with additional evidence of the friendliness which had marked their stay at this place. The large stones which they had brought with them to support the coppers with were [293/294] still there, together with other relics of our murdered fellow-countrymen. I had been warned by all parties, especially Charles Sapi, not to venture here at Vuturna, lest they should avenge the death of Tani, who died last year at Norfolk Island, for he was wonderfully beloved; but I soon found myself installed in the house of Bibili, Tani's uncle, to the general disgust of my Boli friends, who had to rough it in a large kiala, or canoe-house, nearly as large and more neatly finished than the Boli one. In Bibili's house I met an old friend of ours, Balatu, the first girl ever taken from Florida to Norfolk, who took great care of me, and for the first time during my trip did I find myself comfortably housed and fed. I spent as much of my time as I could with Takua, who complained of my deserting him and of feeling lonely. In the evening we all sat together on the beach. Takua bid me talk to the people about the new religion, which I did, trying as well as I could to use their own technical words. Their double use of the word fault in both a good and bad sense is very happy, and enabled me to say clearly how the fault of Adam kills us, and the fault of the second Adam saves us, and how that in baptism the fault of the former is washed away, and the fault of the second becomes our fault instead. I spoke of Satan as the Tidalo ni kibo, the spirit of spoiling and destruction, to whom they attribute blight, blasting, headwinds, and accidents; and told them how the first Adam me gania na butona, ate his abomination, and therefore brought death upon us, and how his fault is our fault, and kills us. Then they were interested to hear how the second Adam withstood and overcame Satan, and how in baptism HIS fault (merit) becomes our fault and saves us. I found, when I had concluded my discourse, that I had reared a little Stonehenge of elongated pieces of coral, which I had unconsciously employed to represent the various personages I had mentioned. I also discovered that immediately behind me had been sitting a San Cristoval man, one of the twain who escaped from the Lavinia massacre, and had swam and paddled back from the scene of the murder to their first anchorage at Lio. Pomo saw him go ashore there, and went over to fetch him. He was wounded, faint, and hungry. He has been the guest of the Vuturna people since that time, and they will not let him return home, which he much desires to do. My quarters were a large, wide, roomy house with many ovens, shelves, and sleeping-places, and countless rats, one of which, in scampering over my face at night, caught his foot in my beard, to our mutual inconvenience. One of the sleeping-places I shared with Bibili.

Sunday, 22nd.--Calm! and we unable to go. Up at daylight, and went with Bibili to bathe round a neighbouring point where the water was sufficiently deep. On my return I found that Balatu had warmed up some of my last evening's mash, and had the kettle boiling in the [294/295] most domestic manner. Then out to see Takua and party in the kiala, the floor of which was strewed with their still sleeping forms. This place Vuturna is altogether second only to Boli. Its situation is perfect, and its population numerous and very friendly. Lay down in Bibili's house and tried to "Sunday," as the people say. Then out with Bibili and a very tall, remarkably massive-featured man, named Nau. We went along the beach into the next bay, to a place called Dha (where I saw Lankona and Mondé, whom I bade to evening prayers). On, up to the top of the steep slippery hills, seeing a convert named Dhoresi on our way. Sironi was the name of the village we reached, where I sat on a plank given them by Captain Brodie, and looked giddily around me on hill and dale and sea. Going down again was a very slippery task, and Bibili and I nearly sat down in the mud several times. We came down right upon our quarters, where I entered just comfortably tired, and lay down and slept sweetly in the cool, quiet house, while an old woman kindly boiled my kettle--for these savages showed me no little kindness. Being refreshed, I sallied forth to see Takua and my other friends. I lay beside Takua for a long while in the kiala, when suddenly an earthquake nearly rolled me from my place. I was just going to catch hold of something to steady myself, when all was still again, and the treacherous sun shone serenely all the time as if nothing had happened. The shock was severe and sudden. Poor little Talisi was lying on his hollow stomach to still its gnawings. Takua was rather wretched, and quite glad of my company. I lay down till it was time for tea, when Balatu cooked, and supplied me with a Florida Prayer-book from her small library. In came Lankona, Mondé, John Takisi, but Montague was unwell. Prayers in the house. This was the first time Christian prayer had ever been offered in Vuturna, the first time that this people had heard the name of God and of his Son Jesus Christ. Now, there are a great many people here in Bibili's house. . . . I write this by lantern-light, far away from kith and kin, in a strange interior, with queer surroundings, wishing myself literally in the middle of next week, but perfectly comfortable in mind, though somewhat seedy in wardrobe and suffering from want of a comb, which I forgot to bring, and conveniences for washing one's hands, which get very dirty. I lay as if asleep, and the talk turned on Deesasa (Jesus), and Satana, and on the whole, what I had said was fairly reproduced by Bibili. He asked Richard Maru, who had come in since service, if that was our prayers he had heard, "asking God to have mercy upon us, and so forth. Oh, I heard it quite plainly, for sure it was all in the Boli tongue." Then the talk turned on Tani, and I suddenly found myself sitting up. Here was I in his house! Bibili, who lay beside me, told me how much little Tani was thought of, and how all [295/296] the world could have come to cry for him, if he had died in his own home. I then, with Maru as parish clerk, told them the story of Tani's illness and death: how that he is not lost or gone astray, but, being a little innocent child, has gone (we trust) to Him who calls little children to Him, to Jesus, and Bishop; and that if they wanted to see Tani and Bishop again, they must embrace the religion which has landed Tani and Bishop where they are. "Let us cry for ourselves, and not for Tani. Tani's state is better than ours," &c., until Bibili said, "Now is my heart comforted; it is well; he left me, and went to you, and he has stayed for ever! Now for the first time is our mind easy, now that you have come and talked to us; for at first we were very sorry and very angry."

Once at Belaga, I was at home, having had a small house built there to ensure a little privacy in my frequent visits; so again I fared better than my companions, whom I bade good-night, and walked along the beach to my house.

The whole population now set to work to build my school-house. A great many days were spent in obtaining a sufficient quantity of sago palm leaves for the thatch, which leaves are bent over a reed and stitched together with a long brittle needle--the backbone of some leaf--a piece of which is broken off at each stitch. These materials are admirably adapted for the purpose. To get bamboos was a very hard piece of work, and great was the breath and perspiration expended. My agreement with Takua was that I had nothing to do with the paying of the labourers, as he had taken the contract but every now and again I appeared on the busy scene, and doled out one fish-hook all round, to the intense satisfaction of the populace, who numbered from thirty to one hundred. Sunday was always observed, and Takua, in laying out the daily work for the community, always made his arrangements with reference to it.

On Sunday, 29th June, the Christian marriage rite was for the first time performed in Florida, when Richard Maru, already married in the eyes of his people, took unto him for better or for worse Arukomba, daughter of our pushing, managing, tidy friend, Mrs. Muavagaa, whom I invited to be present on the occasion. Ulgau gave the young lady away, who behaved with becoming self-possession, and the ring which I had brought with me fitted perfectly. She is not yet baptized, but will, I hope, be one of the first three baptized in Florida, Mrs. Lankona, and a lad named Nelesi, who spoke to me on the subject, being the two others. This interesting ceremony I look forward to performing next year in our own large building.

The Southern Cross returned from New Zealand on July 25th. Revs. R. H. Codrington and J. Still were in the boat, Mr. John Selwyn having been laid up with rheumatism on the voyage out. [296/297] They had brought a loaf of bread, &c., with them, and proposed to spend the night on shore. I will leave to your imagination the indescribable delight of these meetings and inter-congratulations.

The news from Mota was distressing. The Rev. George Sarawia on landing was received by a weeping party of friends, announcing the death of Sarah, his wife, and the prevalence of sickness and scarcity.

On the return of the Cross from Savo, I embarked, and we proceeded south. I never left Florida with so much regret before. We were disappointed at being unable to visit Malanta, where lads are waiting for us. The long coast of Guadalcanar too will, I hope, next year be broken. We spent some time about the south end of Malanta and S. Christoval, for Joseph Wate, the hope of this part of our Mission field, lives at the former place, which is very much exposed to the high winds and heavy surf which are frequent at this time of year. At the latter place some spears were pointed unpleasantly at us, but meant nothing more than intimidation, lest we should take away Sumarua, whom they wanted to remain. I forgot to say that at Belaga Reuben Bula deserted us. Here, likewise, Stephen Ruta did not appear, and after long pulls and walks in search of him, we had most reluctantly to desist, and came away. We took on board, however, Samuel Raumarau, who left us a year or two ago, and has been crippled with a loathsome disease. Things were going on better when we arrived at Mota, on Saturday, August 23rd. A very sudden and severe blow off Tanna was the only incident which served to relieve the exceeding monotony of our existence between that date and Norfolk Island. We had every sail set, trying to woo the languishing breeze, when suddenly, just at dark, we were stripped, and lost the end of the fore gaff. Storm trysails were set, and we were delivered from danger, although one of our Melanesians went on deck with the intention of saving his life by jumping overboard!

We arrived in Norfolk Island early in September. All was well there; and to-day, October 23rd, I can endorse that statement with the addendum that yesterday the Southern Cross returned from her last trip, bringing home Messrs. Codrington and Still from Mota, Bice from Leper's Island, and Kenny from Ambrym, where the party spent two days and nights. This last cruise has been devoted to the New Hebrides and Banks group. Messrs. Codrington and Still restored, cheered, and ordered the state of affairs at Mota, whence the latest reports are favourable. The Rev. George Sarawia is now assisted by the Rev. Edward Wogale, Thomas Stevenson (my late companion), and others. Our two friends were away for thirteen days on a boating expedition, to visit Edwin, who is the most Missionary-minded of our teachers, and who has established a school on [297/298] the farther side of the great island of Vanua Lava. At Ara, as usual, order, progress, and general activity are to be seen. The Rev. Henry Tagalana is the Missionary here, assisted by William Qasfar who leads the singing in an effective manner. The Norfolk Island system is more fully reproduced here than even at Mota. It is a centre of great influence. Mr. Bice stayed ten days at Leper's Island, and has nothing but friendliness and the wettest of weather to report. Concerning his reception it will be remembered there was ground for misgiving. All our friends have returned well, but heartily sick of the sea, Mr. Codrington having been moving about since April 1st. The number of new Melanesians is fifty-seven, of whom about twenty are females; the whole party at S. Barnabas now amounting to 200.

I have also to announce the safe arrival here of Mr. and Mrs. John Selwyn, only a few days before the Southern Cross. Mr: Selwyn is now in good health, and evidently ready for work. Our chapel last night was crowded to the doors, and there are, besides, many who would attend our daily services but for the want of room. May we never have a worse grievance than "The Breaking Net "!

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