Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/96

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I grieve to have to record that in leading the procession round the foundations of the new church, he made the turn widdershins.[1] I believe that this is contrary to ecclesiastical custom—and of course to my Scottish mind it suggested grievous misfortunes in store.

An immense crowd of people had assembled, and the influence of European bad taste was too apparent in several cases; as for instance, in the uniform selected by a large college of young men, and provided by themselves—namely, white trousers, magenta blouse, and sky-blue waist-band! The girls wore white calico sulus[2] and pale-green pinafores, which, with their hair dyed yellow, were becoming. But they looked a thousand times better when, at a school-festival held later, they exchanged the white skirts for very fine cream-coloured mats embroidered round the edge with scarlet wool, necklaces of large scarlet berries and green leaves, and scarlet hybiscus and green leaves in their hair. They went through some very pretty school exercises, illustrated by much graceful action.

Then some very fine women came up, wearing handsome new mats of hybiscus fibre, which, when newly prepared, is pure white, and after a while becomes creamy in hue. They presented us all with very pretty fans of woven grass.

Then came a presentation of much food, including about thirty pigs, which were, ere long, devoured by the assembled multitude.

The bishop was terribly exhausted by all this prolonged exertion and much talking; but as an instance of his never-failing kindness to everybody, I may tell you, that when the school-feast was over, I came to this, my special nest, remarking to some one that I was

  1. Or more correctly, in old Celtic parlance, tuaphol—that is to say, a turn contrary to the course of the sun, keeping the left hand towards the centre. It was only used when invoking a curse, as opposed to the turn deisul, which invoked a blessing on the object round which the turn was made. The superstition is common to all lands in whose early mythology sun-worship held a place. See 'From the Hebrides to the Himalayas,' vol. i. p. 203.
  2. The sulu of the Friendly and Fijian Isles, the pareo of Tahiti, the sarong of the Malays, or the comboy of the Singalese, is simply a fathom of cloth wrapped round the lower limbs, and reaching to the knee or the ankle, according to the width of the material.