Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/46

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24
A LADY'S CRUISE.

The king and his chiefs were in council over church matters in a small room adjoining the queen's, so we had to talk in whispers. Various female relations were grouped round the door, making the hot room still hotter. I am much struck by the fact that these proud Tongans make use of no titles. The Fijians always prefix the word Andii.e., Lady—to the name of a woman of rank; but here the name is used bluntly, whether in addressing a princess or her handmaid.

Hearing of the grave assembly of the chiefs to discuss the affairs of the Wesleyan Church, brought back vividly to my mind all that I had heard in former days of this very King George, and of the prominent part taken by him in rousing these islanders to abandon their gross heathenism and cannibalism. So effectual has been his work, that now not one trace of these old evils remains, and these islanders are looked upon as old-established Christians.

I had a pleasant walk back in the twilight, along the broad grass road which runs parallel with the sea, and am now spending my last evening in this peaceful convent. I am truly sorry that it is the last, for it will feel like leaving real friends to part from these kind Sisters, who make much of me, and do enjoy coming to sit with me in the evenings for a little quiet chat. They bring all my meals in here, as it is against their rules to allow me to feed with them in the refectory. In this respect they are far more rigorous than the Fathers, who, as you know, have invited me to supper and breakfast at their house.




CHAPTER III.


SAIL FROM TONGA TO VAVAU—VOLCANO OF TOFUA—WESLEYAN MISSION—TWO THOUSAND MILES FROM A DOCTOR—ORANGE-GROVES—A LOVELY SEA-LAKE—CORAL CAVES.
On Board Le Seignelay,
Wednesday, 12th September 1877.

Here I am once more safely ensconced in my favourite niche, which is the carriage of a big gun. Filled with red cushions, it makes a capital sofa, and is a cosy, quiet corner, and a capital