Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/99

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75
CIVIL WAR.

Certainly the hills do gradually ascend to a height of fully 4000 feet, so they are not to be despised; but our eyes are satiated with the beauty of volcanic peaks and crags, rising from an ocean of foliage wellnigh as rich as this. Doubtless if we have time to explore the interior, we shall find no lack of loveliness; indeed even from the harbour we could distinguish one grand waterfall, like a line of flashing quicksilver on the dark-green mountain. But to reach it, would involve a long day of hard walking, such as I could not attempt, even were the sun less powerful than it is to-day. This town, which is the capital of Samoa, consists of about two hundred houses and stores—German, English, and American consulates, a Roman Catholic college and cathedral, a Congregational chapel, and two newspaper offices, representing the stormy politics of the isles—namely the 'Samoan Times' and the 'South Sea Gazette.'

The strong point of Apia is the excellence of its harbour—a point which the German traders have made good use of, in securing their own right to a large part of it.

As soon as we anchored, M. Pinart escorted me, first to call on Dr and Mrs G. A. Turner of the London Medical Mission, and then to H.B.M. Consulate, which was my destination—the wife of the consul, Mrs Liardet, and her mother, Mrs Bell, having been our friends in Fiji, before they were sent to this place. We found that Mr L. had just sailed for Fiji to consult Sir Arthur Gordon on the best course to follow in the present critical state of affairs, when every man's hand is seemingly against his neighbour, and each trying to induce the natives to espouse his individual quarrels as well as their own. So the whole community are at loggerheads. The whites are mostly riff-raff of a very low order; and in short, the Samoa of to-day is simply a reproduction of what Fiji was before annexation. Many of the scamps who are now working its strings are the identical men who, finding Fiji no longer a happy land of misrule, have just moved on to the next group, there to repeat the intrigues of their previous life.

As I have explained to you, the Samoans are divided into two great factions, betwixt whom there is war to the death; and, un-