Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/49

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27
WANTED, A DOCTOR.

The present "governor" is a fine tall young chief, rejoicing in the name of Wellington. He is acting for his father, Unga, King George's illegitimate son, whom he has declared heir to the throne, but who is at present in very bad health. The young chief seems inclined to hold the reins firmly and well. But at present the Vavau chiefs are in some disgrace with King George, as they are suspected of plotting against Unga, in favour of Maafu.[1]

Having eaten oranges to our hearts' content, we continued our walk to the Wesleyan Mission, and on our way thither met the Rev.—— Fox on his way to the ship, to see if we had a doctor on board. The latter having already gone ashore, we returned together to the house—a quiet pleasant home, but for the present saddened by the serious illness of the young wife, who, a few weeks ago, gave birth to her first child. As Vavau can furnish neither nurse nor doctor, the wife of the missionary in Happai had, at great personal inconvenience, come thence in an open canoe to officiate on the occasion. She had, however, been compelled to return soon afterwards to her own nurslings, leaving the young mother and her baby in charge of native women. A very slow recovery, accompanied with some unfavourable symptoms, had produced such depression and alarm, that just before our arrival, the poor husband had actually been making arrangements for his wife's return to Sydney for proper medical care. But, to get there, involved, in the first instance, a journey of about 200 miles in an open canoe to reach Tonga, whence she would have to proceed alone, in a wretched little sailing vessel, on a voyage of upwards of 2000 miles (as the crow flies)—a serious undertaking for a woman in robust health, but a terrible prospect for an invalid with a young baby.

Happily the timely arrival of the Seignelay dispelled this nightmare. M. Thoulon, the good kind doctor (himself père de famille), at once vetoed the rash arrangement, and his well-applied wisdom, and kind encouraging words, have already restored heart to the

  1. A great Tongan chief, settled in Fiji, who, up to the time of annexation, contested with Thakombau for the supremacy. I have just received news of his death.