Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/157

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133
"CAST THY BREAD UPON THE WATERS."

secure the protection of some chief. One of these men, who made his way to Samoa, was said to have shot 200 persons with his musket, smearing himself with charcoal and oil to enable him to creep within range undetected. His delight at the end of such a day's sport was to seat himself on a sort of litter, smeared with blood, surrounded by the heads of his victims, and so be carried home by his followers, yelling savage songs of triumph. Such men as these were not exactly calculated to improve the morals of the Pacific!

Passing on to beautiful Leone, which bore an evil character for savage cruelty and treachery, and the massacre of various boats' crews, the mission party beheld the people drawn up on the beach, in what appeared a formidable array. They, however, lowered the boat and neared the shore, when the chief, bidding his people sit down, waded up to his neck till he reached the strangers, and explained that he and his followers were no longer savage, but "sons of the word;" and went on to tell how, twenty moons previously, some of his people had been at Savaii when the white chief Williams had arrived there with some tama-fui-lotu, "workers of religion," and having learnt a little, they had returned home with the news, and already fifty of the people had become Christians. Pointing to a group who sat somewhat apart, under the shade of the bread-fruit trees, and who each wore a strip of white native cloth tied round one arm, he said that those were the Christians, who had adopted that badge to distinguish them from the heathen; that they had built a place for prayer, in a thicket of bananas; and that one of their number from time to time crossed over to Savaii in his little canoe, to "get some more religion" from the teachers[1] to bring back to his own people.

On learning that the man he was addressing was the identical

  1. The thought of this poor savage, week by week imperilling his life by crossing that stormy sea in his frail canoe, has often come vividly to my mind as an illustration of the words in Deut. xxx. 11-14: "This commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not .... beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say. Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it."