Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/141

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
117
"EN AVANT!"

teeth of old women, scattered over a yam plantation, were supposed to secure a good crop; and for the same reason the skulls of all the old village crones were stuck on poles near the gardens.

I wonder if all these distinctions between the manners and customs of the various groups, convey to your untravelled mind one-thousandth part of the interest they possess to us, who have actually lived among so many different races. I fear it is impossible that they should. But you can well understand the thankfulness of such men as Dr Turner and his colleagues, in watching the gradual change from year to year, as the Gospel of mercy takes root in such unpromising soil; and they themselves find loving welcome from the very men who in past years thirsted for their blood, and shed that of so many fellow-workers.

Fain would we have lingered at peaceful Malua, and listened to stories of the South Seas from the lips of those who have themselves been actors in so many thrilling scenes, extending from the far west to this centre. But it was necessary to return to Apia this morning, so we regretfully bade farewell to these kind new friends, who loaded us with gifts of strange things, brought from many isles, and sped us on our way.

Here we found all quiet. The Seignelay has had a long day of entertaining. First the Sisters went on board, with their sixty children, who were duly impressed with the wonders of the great ship; afterwards all the young men from the Catholic College had their turn.

M. de Gironde has just been here, to tell me the vessel sails for Tahiti on Monday. He brings the kindest letters and messages from the captain and all the party, expressive of their true wish that I should proceed with them on the "Tour de la Mission." Indeed the state of affairs here is not such as to invite a prolonged stay. And there might be a detention of months among these discordant elements, ere I found an opportunity to return to Fiji.