Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/336

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to join the king and his party. Finally the weaker tribes fled to rocky fortresses in the mountains, leaving one tribe—the Oropaa—masters of the whole island.

These presently sent messengers to those who had taken refuge in Eimeo, inviting them to return to their homes in Tahiti. This they agreed to do; but, according to native custom, King Pomare accompanied them to reinstate them in their lands. With him came a very large train of followers, who were chiefly Christians, and when they approached the shore of Tahiti, the pagan party refused to let them land. However, that point was yielded.

On the following Sunday, about 800 of the king's party assembled for divine worship. Happily they had taken the precaution of assembling armed, for in the middle of service a firing of muskets was heard, and a large body of men, bearing the flags of the gods, and all emblems of idolatry, were seen marching towards the place where they were assembled. Very striking is the story of that day's contest. When the enemy was seen approaching, King Pomare arose and bade all remember that they were under the special protection of Jehovah, and that, having met to worship Him, they must not be diverted from their purpose. So all stood up to sing the accustomed hymn, then knelt in united prayer. They then formed themselves into three columns, the women taking their place among the men, resolved, like them, to fight with spear and musket. Thus they awaited the attack of the foe. The battle-field was a strip of ground between the sea and the mountains, covered with patches of brushwood. Under cover of these, the Christians again and again throughout the day knelt by twos and by threes to crave the help of the Almighty. After some hours of desperate fighting, Upufara, the highest chief of the heathen, was killed. His party were so disheartened that a panic seized them, and they fled from the field, never pausing till they reached their strongholds in the mountains.

Thus the king's party remained in undisputed possession, and prepared, as in old days, to follow up their victory. But King Pomare had learnt a new lesson in war. He forbade any of his people to pursue the vanquished, or to enter their villages, either