Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 20, 1909.djvu/178

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Howitt and Fison.

merchants and planters, some of whom at the outset had not been very friendly to the mission, greeted him affectionately and welcomed him to their homes, when his big burly form appeared in Levuka; for he was a man of genial manners and a ready wit, sometimes flavoured with a touch of sarcasm. The natives loved him because they knew that he loved them; and, while he faithfully reproved them for their faults, he was lenient to all mistakes which sprang from ignorance or errors of judgment. A few kindly words, blent with a judicious touch of ridicule and an appeal to common-sense, were often more effectual than a stern reproof or the rigid exercise of Church discipline would have been. This account of Mr. Fison's missionary work in Fiji I have borrowed mainly from an obituary notice by his old and intimate friend, the experienced South Sea missionary, Dr. George Brown, who says of him: "Dr. Fison and I were close friends for many years, and during those years I had the privilege of sharing in his joys and of knowing more of his trials and difficulties perhaps than any other man. He never "wore his heart upon his sleeve," and so his life often appeared to others to be easier and more free from trouble than it really was. He always kept a brave face to the world, and many even of his intimate friends never knew how hard a battle he had sometimes to fight. ... I knew him in the Mission field, and on board ship, in his home at Essendon, about which I cannot trust myself to write, and in my own home. I have met him in counsel, and in our own Conferences; have shared his joys and have been the confidant of his troubles and sorrows, and I always found him to be a devoted Christian, a man with a child-like heart in his relationship to God, a wise counsellor, a true and loyal friend, and one of the best missionaries whom God has ever given to our church." [1]

  1. "Lorimer Fison," by the Rev. George Brown, D.D., Australasian Methodist Missionary Review, Sydney, February 4, 1908, pp. 1, 3.