Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/41

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

is very probable that this may have been the case, as the people would, in heathen days, very naturally retain some tradition of reverence for the trilithon, as the peasants of Brittany, and, I may say, of Britain, do for similar erections to the present day, assembling for annual festivals at "the stones," though the origin of Carnac, Stonehenge, and Stennis, is as unknown as that of Haamonga.

Returning to the village we saw that the church was crowded, and that there were a number of candidates for confirmation. Judging that the service would occupy some time, and being anxious to see as much of the neighbourhood as possible, we drove along the coast to a particularly fine banyan, noted in Captain Cook's chart, and beneath its shadow we rested awhile, and enjoyed a very pleasant half-hour overlooking a calm, beautiful sea.

We reached Mua just as the congregation was dispersing, and were troubled with some qualms on the score of our bad example, but the considerate bishop gave us full absolution, I regret to say that a considerable proportion of the people were like hideously-dressed-up apes, masculine and feminine—many of the former in seedy black clothes, and some of the latter attired in gay flimsy silk gowns, inflated with large crinolines, and with baby hats, trimmed with pink and blue flowers, stuck on the top of their fuzzy heads. Hitherto, as you know, my ideas of Tongans have been derived only from the stately men and women who have settled in Fiji, and there, like their neighbours, have retained the graceful drapery of native cloth. Here the influence of certain persons interested in trade is so strong, that the manufacture of tappa is discouraged by every possible means; and a heavy penalty attaches to making it on any, except one, day in the week. It seems that this law was passed in King George's absence, and I am happy to learn that he was exceedingly angry—though, as yet, the law stands unrepealed, and the manufacture is doomed to cease altogether this year.

Whoever is to blame, the system of taxation and fines is something astounding. A woman who is found without a pinafore, even in her own house, is fined two dollars, no matter how ample