Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/126

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friends with a prolonged and impressive sniff. They touch noses and sniff, and then smell the hand and the garment of the superior.

"Children by adoption" is strangely expressive in isles where every family has adopted children. The term "brothers" includes nephews and cousins in Samoa as in Judea. "Endless genealogies," and reverence for ancestry, are equally marked features in both races.

"Take up thy bed and walk" is easily understood, where a pile of soft mats is the bed of the highest chief.

"They cast off their clothes, and threw dust in the air" is a Samoan expression of great anger. The expressions descriptive of mourning for the dead in Syria might have been written in the South Seas. "They rent their clothes and cut themselves." "They disfigure their faces." Even so, those strange islanders deliberately cut their faces with sharks' teeth and other sharp instruments, and bruised their heads with stones in token of grief. "Cut off thine hair and take up a lamentation;" "Make great wailing for the dead;" "They mourned for him thirty days;" "They ate the offerings of the dead;" They fast "till the sun be down,"—all exactly describe Samoan custom. Further, "They made a very great burning for him." (Here they made great bonfires in honour of the dead and also burned their own flesh with firebrands.)

The custom alluded to by the man of Mount Ephraim, who spoke to his mother of "the shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst," had its counterpart in heathen Samoa, where a man would sit down and deliberately invoke curses on an unknown thief, praying that rats might eat his fine mats and cloth; that fire might blast his eyes and those of his god; that the shark might devour him, or the thunder slay him; or that at least he might be afflicted with sores and ulcers. Even to this day you may sometimes observe a tiny square of matting, with strips of white tappa, hanging from a fruit-tree, or a few reeds stuck into the ground and tied together at the top (clam-shells being buried beneath them), or some similar mark which appeals to the