Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/119

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

bears the slightest resemblance to any collegiate institution in Europe. It is essentially South Sea, which means that it is suitable to the climate and the people, and it consists of a large village of about sixty neat thatched cottages, laid out in a square, at one side of which stands the large class-room. Each cottage is the home of a student with his wife and family, preference in the filling up of vacancies being given to married men, both as a means of educating the women and children, and also because the people, in applying for teachers, generally ask for one whose wife can teach their wives and daughters.[1]

Each cottage home is embowered in pleasant greenery and bright flowers, for each student is required to cultivate a garden sufficient for the requirements of his family, and to raise a surplus supply, which he may sell to provide them with clothing.

Dr Turner himself founded this college in the year 1844, when the mission began to realise the extreme difficulty of keeping up a supply of trained teachers, not only for two districts in the group itself, but for the numerous other isles to which Samoan teachers had gone forth as pioneers.

Besides, those early days had passed when the foreigners had been received as heaven-sent messengers, and hailed as the Papalangii.e., those who have rent the heavens (the name still applied to all foreigners throughout Polynesia). At first it was enough that a teacher had learnt the leading doctrines of Christianity as opposed to idolatry; but now these were generally accepted by all the people, many of whom took careful notes of every sermon they heard, and were as keen as any old wife in Scotland, in detecting any error in the teaching of their minister.

Small mercy would these Samoan critics have shown to such a preacher as that young curate who, in his anxiety to improve the story of the Prodigal Son, expatiated at such length on the peculiar sacrifice made in the selection of the fatted calf, which

  1. Apparently women are held in higher estimation by the Samoans than by some folk in the British Isles. I have just heard of a Highlander driving a very fierce bull along a highroad. To him, quoth a friend, "That is a dangerous-looking brute!" "Ou na!" replies the owner; "he is just as ceevil as a sheep. He wadna hurt onybody, unless, maybe, weemen and bairns and suchlike!"