Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/75

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51
COAST OF SAMOA.

French sailors. The sea was very rough, and we shipped so much water that two men were told off to bale incessantly. Of course our things got very wet. On these occasions the bishop is seen in perfection; he is so cheery and pleasant to every one, sailors and passengers, and makes the best of everything, though himself suffering greatly.

This sort of boating is very different from travelling on our lovely Fijian lagoons, within the shelter of the encircling reef. Here the huge breakers dash madly on the shore, where they spout like geysers through a thousand perforated rocks, and we had to remain fully half a mile from land to avoid their rush. Oh for the calm mirror-like sea-lakes over which we have glided for the last two years, till I, for one, had wellnigh forgotten what boating in rough water means! To-day our ten stout rowers could with difficulty make any way, and our progress was slow.

We saw enough of the island (Tutuila) to agree in the general praise of its green loveliness. Its high volcanic hills are densely wooded, and look more tropical than those of Ovalau (Fiji). But our powers of appreciation were considerably damped by the invading spray, and we watched the rugged coast, chiefly with a view to knowing whether there was one spot where a boat could land in case of need; but in the whole run of twelve miles, there was not a single place where it would have been possible. Even here, at this large native town, there is only a narrow break in the rocks, where landing is tolerably safe in fine weather.

As we drew near we saw a large body of Samoan warriors exercising on the shore, and hear that the people have assembled from far and near to take measures for immediately crushing the rebels at Pango-Pango (our friends of this morning). The chiefs here belong to the Faipule faction.

The good Fathers invited me to tea at their house, and then handed me over to the care of Dorothea, the excellent wife of their catechist, who had prepared the tidy inner room of her house for my reception. Here I am most cosily established. My hostess, with about twenty of her scholars, nice-looking girls, have hung up great screens of tappa to act as mosquito-nets; and under these