measures about ninety-seven miles from east to west and sixty-four from north to south, and its area is computed at 4112 square miles. Vanua-Levu, with an area of nearly 2500 miles, is the next largest, and then come Taviuni and Kandavu, the former of 217 square miles, and the latter of 124. None of the other islands have areas equalling one hundred square miles, and it would be tedious to name them all.
Fred was about to write 200,000, taking the figures from a book before him, when he was interrupted by Doctor Bronson.
"Wait a moment," said the Doctor, "and I'll tell you something on that subject.
"Twenty or twenty-five years ago," he continued, "the population was estimated at fully that figure, and some authorities put it as high as 250,000. Of course there has never been a careful census, and in the interior of the larger islands it is not easy to get even a close approximation of the number of inhabitants. Since the occupation of the islands by the whites the population has followed the general law of all Polynesia, and diminished with more or less steadiness.
"In 1874 it was estimated that it had been reduced to 180,000, and in the following year fully one-third of this number died from the scourge of measles."
"Measles!" exclaimed Frank and Fred, in astonishment. "I didn't know," Frank added, "that this disease was a deadly one."
"It is not usually so considered in civilized lands," the Doctor answered, "nor would it have been so here but for the ignorance of the people, and their persistence in doing exactly what they should not have done."In the latter part of 1874 Thakombau, King of Feejee, and his sons went to Sydney in an English man-of-war, to pay their respects to the Governor of Kew South "Wales. At Sydney the two youngest