Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/109

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85
A SAMOAN VILLAGE.

observance of the Sabbath, on which day the belligerents, by common consent, abstain from fighting, and allow teachers and missionaries to pass freely in and out of their camps, holding religious services in which all join, each no doubt invoking the aid of the God of battles on his own behalf. I doubt whether many of the nations among whom Christianity has been long established, would pause in their battling from any deference to the day of rest. And though these raids and distributions of heads savour rather of Jewish than of Christian practices, I think the British Isles could have furnished pretty close parallels in the days of Border forays, when a foeman's head, stuck on a halbert, was reckoned no mean trophy ; or when one who was considered a traitor had fallen by the headsman's axe, and his head and quartered body were stuck on pikes—a ghastly spectacle for all men—while his entrails were thrown into the fire. So you need not decry the Christianity of these poor Samoans, because the old war-spirit still stirs in their veins.

I have just had a visit from Mrs G. A. Turner, who most kindly called to ask whether I would like to accompany her husband to a lovely place, twelve miles from here, where he expects to have a large meeting of the people. It is very tempting, and being a three days' trip, would give me time for some sketches; but there is so much that is interesting here, that I have reluctantly declined.

After luncheon Mr Pritchard took me along the shore to Malinunu, the village on a peninsula, where the unfortunate skirmish occurred between the Samoans and the men of the Barracouta. It is now the seat of government, and here the Taimua and the Faipule, who are the triumphant faction, reign. One of their English instigators occupies the house of Malietoa, the conquered king, and lives under the special protection of the men whom he has beguiled. It is a tidy village of thatched houses, smothered in bananas and tall sugar-cane.

Wednesday Night.

We have been exploring all the near neighbourhood. Passing through the grounds of the Fathers' house (where the good bishop