Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/148

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so long revered. Many were rescued as museum curiosities, and the mission-ship sailed onward with those grotesque monsters hanging from her yard-arms, and otherwise displayed as trophies, leaving in their stead earnest converts, from Raiatea and Tahiti, to instruct these willing hearers.

When they had almost given up in despair their search for Rarotonga, one of the new converts told them that if they would sail to a given point on the isle of Atiu, he could thence take bearings which would enable him to find it. So for this starting-point they made; and, true to his word, the islesman directed them how to steer, and after several days they reached the beautiful isle they sought. Here they were received in the most friendly manner; and the young king, Makea (an exceedingly handsome man, six feet high, and beautifully tattooed), came on board himself, and agreed to take the native teachers ashore, with their wives and the six Christian natives who had been brought back to their own isle. This promising beginning was, however, not without a check; for in the early dawn the teachers returned to the ship, bringing back their wives with garments all tattered and torn, telling of the grievous treatment they had endured. The chiefs were exceedingly anxious that the teachers should remain on the isle to teach them the Word of God, but wished to annex their wives.

It was therefore decided that, for the present, only one fine old teacher should be left, with the six Rarotongans who had first suggested the commencement of the mission, on their unknown isle. So well did their work progress, that within a year the whole population had renounced idolatry. Makea, the king, was among the earliest converts; and when, in 1827, Mr Williams and Mr Pitman arrived with their wives and families to settle in Rarotonga, they were received by an enthusiastic crowd of about 3000 persons, each of whom insisted on shaking hands so heartily, that their arms ached severely for several hours after. All these were professedly Christians; and the new-comers learnt that there was not a house on the isle in which the family did not assemble morning and evening for family worship. A few days after their