Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/154

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they retired, discomfited. Having given this proof of his sincerity, Taufaahau next sent his best canoe to Tonga, to bring Mr Thomas, the missionary whose teaching had so impressed him; and who, in answer to this summons, started with his wife to make the journey of 200 miles in this open canoe, in order to follow up the work thus begun on Happai.

At Vavau, the third group, the work seemed to have little prospect of success, so virulent was the opposition of Finau the high chief, who threatened death to any of his people who listened to the teachers. Yet within two years he was himself a zealous convert, and upwards of 2000 of his followers were in the habit of assembling for the Sunday services.

The teachers of the Tonga lotu—i.e., the Wesleyans—continued steadily working, and their influence spread as a leaven of good from isle to isle. At Tonga the Samoan party received an unlooked-for reinforcement in the person of Fauea, a Samoan chief, who had for some time been living in Tonga, and had there become a Christian. He requested Mr Williams to give him a passage in his ship, and proved an invaluable helper, directing him to steer for Savaii, the principal isle, of which he himself proved to be a high chief, and related to Malietoa, the greatest chief of all.

Fauea was a man of sound judgment and of most persuasive eloquence. But he was greatly troubled lest they should meet with violent opposition from Tamafainga, whom the people obeyed with trembling, believing that in him dwelt the spirit of the gods. It was therefore with unmixed relief that he heard, on his arrival, that this dreaded opponent had been killed a few days previously, and that there had not yet been time for the chiefs of all the isles to meet and elect his successor in the office of spiritual ruler.

So the Messenger of Peace was found to have arrived in the very nick of time, and all the people received Fauea and his papalangi[1] friends with open arms. Malietoa indeed, declared that he was engaged in a war of vengeance, in which he could not stay his hand, but that it should be the last; and that when peace was restored he would himself lotu—that is, become a

  1. Foreign