Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/80

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top of his head, but it would be considered gross disrespect to appear thus in presence of a superior or at a religious service. He must then untie the string and let his hair fall on his shoulders. Rather odd, is it not, that they should have exactly the same idea on this subject as a Chinaman, who dares not venture to appear in presence of a superior with his pigtail twisted round his head?

To-day the great chief's half-caste secretary asked me most anxiously when "Arthur Gordon" was coming from Fiji, and whether it was really certain that he would endeavour to force the Samoans to reinstate King Malietoa. I ventured to answer for Sir Arthur having no such intention, which seemed to soothe the inquirer and all his anxious surroundings. You may remember that we have twice had Samoan chiefs in Fiji. Once when they were brought as hostages on board the Barracouta, and once as a deputation to the British Government, to claim a protectorate from England. In each case, though the protectorate was refused, they were most kindly received by Sir Arthur Gordon, and amongst other attentions, were invited to dine at Government House. So several of those here assembled now recognised me as an old acquaintance, and are very friendly in consequence.

It really is too sad to see those fine manly fellows, who, if they could but work in concert, might be such a powerful little community, now all torn by internal conflicts and jealousies, continually fanned by the unprincipled whites, who hope to reap their harvest in the troubles of their neighbours. I fear it would be difficult in a few words to explain the position of affairs, but I must give you a rough outline.

The old original Tui Samoai.e., kings—were of the dynasty of Tupua. Some generations back the Tongans came and invaded Samoa, whose people resisted bravely, and finally expelled the foe. The Wellington of that day was a brave chief, who was thenceforth known as Malietoa, the "Good Warrior," a title which from that day has been borne by the chief ruler of the isles, even if not in the direct lineal descent. The chiefs of Savaii, and of part of Upolu, with the lesser isles of Manono and Apolima, elected Malietoa their king. The isles of Auna and Atua remained loyal to the