A Memory Of The Southern Seas - 1904
by Louis Becke
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"Are you sure he is the man?" asked the American.

"Quite. He settled in the Colony and married there. I have heard of him from time to time for many years."

* * * * *

Before midnight the three white men, with twenty-five of their native followers armed with muskets and cutlasses, were following the coastline in the direction of Gape Stephens. The night was dark and rainy, but the route was familiar to both Adams and Stenhouse. All night they marched steadily onward, and only when daylight broke did they halt on the banks of a stream to rest and eat. Then, crossing the stream, they struck a native path which led to the shore.

"There she is," said Ford.

The ship lay about a mile from the shore. Stenhouse looked at her earnestly, and then abruptly told his comrades his plans, which were daring but simple. He would await the landing of the boat bringing the dead men ashore for burial, and take them prisoners. In all probability the captain would be in charge, and it was Stenhouse's intention to hold him and his boat's crew as ransom for the man he wanted. He intended no harm to them, but was determined to achieve his object if he had to carry his prisoners off to the mountains, and keep them there till Fullerton was given up to him.

Immediately after breakfast, the watchers saw two boats leave the ship, and pull in towards a creek which debouched into a sandy cove situated immediately under Gape Stephens. The coastline here was uninhabited, and except for the banks of the creek, which were heavily timbered, presented a succession of rolling, grassy downs, and here and there clumps of vi (wild mango) and cedar trees, and Stenhouse felt pretty certain that the burying party would pick upon one of these spots to inter the bodies, and that he could easily cut them off from the boats.

Swiftly and silently they took up a position on the banks of the creek, Stenhouse with his two friends keenly watching the advancing boats from behind the buttressed roots of a giant Indian fig-tree. In a few minutes, the leading boat, in which were six men and an officer, entered the creek, but the water being shallow, grounded on the bar, and the crew got out. The second boat contained four seamen, and three or four persons who were seated aft, and she too took the ground, and then, as her crew stepped out into the water, Stenhouse gripped Adams by the shoulder.

"See, Tom, there he is! The man himself. Look! that big fellow with the white whiskers, sitting between the others." He held a hurried consultation with his comrades, and quickly decided on his course of action.

Both crews were now endeavouring to drag the boats across the shallow bar into the deeper water beyond, but the task was too much for them, and presently the captain, who was in the second boat, ordered them to cease, and said something to the big, white-whiskered man, who nodded his head in approval.

Four seamen then lifted two coffins from the first boat, and, followed by four others carrying their own and their shipmates' arms and some spades, began wading through the water to the shore, directly to where the unseen watchers lay awaiting; and the remainder of the party, leaving the boats with two men on guard, came slowly after them.

Stenhouse pointed to the two boat-keepers, and said something to Ford, who, with half-a-dozen natives, quickly disappeared.

In a few minutes the bearers of the coffins reached the shore, and placed their burdens on the ground to await further orders.

"We shall find clear ground, sir, within a few yards from the bank," began the captain, addressing the tall man, who with bared head and slow step walked by his side, when suddenly there came a rush of a score of half-naked figures, who threw themselves silently upon the party, and overcame them almost without a sound.

"Surrender, or you are all dead men," cried a hoarse voice.

There was no need for the stern summons, for not only were the astonished sailors terrified by the extraordinary suddenness of the attack and the savage appearance of their captors, but their captain, the surgeon, and the big man had their pistols taken from their belts so quickly that resistance was utterly out of the question, covered as they were by half-a-dozen muskets pointed at their breasts.

Then Adams stepped out and addressed the captain. 804

"No harm will be done to you and yonr men, but you must remain our prisoners for awhile. Then your arms will be returned to you, and you can go back to your ship. Your boat-keepers are secured."

"What in God's name does this mean?" cried the unfortunate officer.

"Silence, if you value yonr life," cried the same stern voice that had called upon them to surrender.

The captain turned and sought to discern the speaker, but the muzzle of a pistol was placed menacingly against his chest, and he was again ordered to be silent.

Then at a sign from Adams all the crews' and officers' arms were carried off to the boats by two natives, and the wondering seamen were bidden by Adams to lift the coffins and follow him.

"Do not attempt to escape," he said, speaking to the whole party generally; "if you do you will be shot down without mercy."

As he spoke Ford, with five armed natives, silently joined the rest of the captors. Follerton, the captain, and the surgeon all looked at him curiously.

"March, gentlemen," he said, pointing with his drawn cutlass to the bearers of the coffins, who were now, guided by Adams, pushing their way through the timber, surrounded by their native guards with muskets cocked.

In ten minutes the belt of timber had been passed through, and captors and captured emerged upon a grassy sward.


Again that hoarse, strange voice sounded from somewhere near, and the seamen shuddered as they gently laid their burdens on the ground.

"Bury your dead, sir, and have no fear," said Adams to the captain.

Then he and Ford spoke to their followers, who silently drew back and permitted the seamen who carried shovels to advance. The ground was soft and moist, and their task was soon accomplished, and the coffins lowered into their graves.

Then the captain, followed by the surgeon and Roger Fullerton, advanced, prayer-book in hand, and read the burial service, and Adams and Ford wondered somewhat when, at its conclusion, a heavy sob burst from Fullerton.

Quickly the earth was shovelled in, and soon two mounds showed on the sward. Then came the clank of arms, and the mourners were again surrounded by their half-nude guards.

"Follow," said Adams shortly.

He led them for a distance of about a hundred yards, then halted, and the prisoners found themselves in a hollow square.

"Are you going to slaughter unarmed men?" cried the surgeon, who was terrified at the very appearance of the wild-looking Caroline Islanders and their grim, silent leaders.

Adams shook his head, but made no reply.

A heavy footstep sounded in the jungle near them, and Stenhouse, carrying two cutlasses under his arm, strode into the square and stood before Fullerton.

For a moment or two their eyes met, and then Stenhouse raised his hand and touched his distorted face.

"You know me, Mr. Fullerton?"

"I know you. You have come to kill me."

"Yes, unless you kill me." He drew a cutlass from its leather sheath and held its hilt out to the man he hated. Fullerton folded his arms across his chest.

"Take it," said Stenhouse slowly, "or, by Heavens! I'll cut you down as you stand."

"As you will," replied the old man steadily, "but fight you I will not. My life is in your hands. Take it. I am not afraid to die."

Stenhouse drew his cutlass slowly, his one eye shining with a deadly hatred.

"For God's sake, man, whoever you are, whatever your injuries may be, do not shed the blood of an old man on his son's grave!" and the captain sprang forward with outspread, appealing hands.

"His son!" and the point of the gleaming weapon drooped.

"His only son. Have mercy on him, as you hope for mercy yourself."

"Stop, Captain Marsland. Do not ask for mercy for me. I did this man a grievous wrong. My life is his. Let him have his due."

Stenhouse threw down his cutlass with an oath, turned his back on his enemy, and put his hand to his forehead.

Then he faced round sharply, and once more he looked into Fullerton's unmoved face.

"Go," he said.

And without another word he strode away, followed by his comrades and his savage companions.


Saunderson was one of those men who firmly believed that he knew everything, and exasperated people by telling them how to do things; and Denison, the supercargo of the Palestine, hated him most fervently for the continual trouble he was giving to every one, and also because he had brought a harmonium on board, and played dismal tunes on it every night and all day on Sundays. But, as Saunderson was one of the partners in the firm who owned the Palestine, Denison, and Packenham the skipper, had to suffer him in silence, and trust that something might happen to him before long. What irritated Denison more than anything else was that Saunderson frequently expressed the opinion that supercargoes were superfluous luxuries to owners, and that such work "as they tried to do could well be done by the captains, provided the latter were intelligent men."

"Never mind, Tom," said Packenham hopefully, one day, "he's a big eater, and is bound to get the fever if we give him a fair show in the Solomons. Then we can dump him ashore at some missionary's—he and his infernal groan-box—and go back to Sydney without the beast."

When the Palestine arrived at Leone Bay, in Tutuila, Saunderson dressed himself beautifully and went ashore to the mission-house, and in the evening Mrs. O——— (the missionary's wife), wrote Denison a note and asked if he could spare a cheese from the ship's stores, and added a P.S., "What a terrible bore he is!" This made the captain and himself feel better.

The next morning Saunderson came on board. Denison was in the cabin, showing a trader named Rigby some samples of dynamite; the trader wanted a case or two of the dangerous compound to blow a boat passage through the reef opposite his house, and Denison was telling him how to use it. Of course Saunderson must interfere, and said he would show Rigby what to do. He had never fired a charge of dynamite in his life, nor even seen one fired or a cartridge prepared, but had listened carefully to Denison. Then he sarcastically told Denison that the cheese he had sent Mrs. O——— might have passed for dynamite, it was so dry and tasteless.

"Well, dynamite is made from cheese, you know," said the supercargo deferentially, "just cheese slightly impregnated with picric acid, gastrito-nepenthe, and cubes of oxalicogene."

Saunderson said he knew that, and after telling Rigby that he would walk over to his station before dinner, and show him where to begin operations on the reef, went on shore again.

About twelve o'clock Denison and Rigby went on shore to test the dynamite, fuse, and caps—first in the water and then on the reef. Just abreast of the mission-house they saw a big school of grey mullet swimming close in to the beach, and Denison quickly picked up a stone, tied it with some string round a cartridge, cut the fuse very short, lit it, and threw it in. There was a short fizz, then a dull, heavy thud, and up came hundreds of the beautiful fish stunned or dead. Saunderson came out of the mission-house and watched the natives collecting them. Denison had half-a-dozen cartridges in his hand; each one was tightly enveloped in many thicknesses of paper, seized round with twine, and had about six inches of fuse, with the ends carefully frayed out so as to light easily.

"Give me some of those," said Saunderson.

The supercargo reluctantly handed him two, and Saunderson remarked that they were very clumsily covered, but he would fix some more himself "properly" another time. Denison sulkily observed that he had no time to waste in making dynamite cartridges look pretty. Then, as Saunderson walked off, he called out and told him that if he was going to shoot fish he would want to put a good heavy stone on the cartridges. Saunderson said when he wanted advice from any one he would ask for it. Then he sent word by a native to Mrs. O———that he would send her along some fish in a few minutes.

Now within a few hundred yards of the mission-house there was a jetty, and at the end of the jetty was Her Majesty's gunboat Badger, a small schooner-rigged wooden vessel commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Muddle, one of the most irascible men that ever breathed, and who had sat on more Consuls than any one else in the service.

Sannderson went on the jetty followed by a crowd of natives, and looked over into the water. There were swarms of fish, just waiting to be dynamited. He told a native to bring him a stone, and one was brought—a nice round, heavy stone as smooth as a billiard ball—just the very wrong kind of stone. He tied it on the cartridge at last, after it had fallen off four or five times; then, as he did not smoke, and carried no matches, he lit it from a native woman's cigarette, and let it drop into the water. The stone promptly fell off, but the cartridge floated gaily, and drifted along fizzing in a contented sort of way. Sannderson put his hands on his hips, and watched it nonchalantly, oblivious of the fact that all the natives had bolted back to the shore to be out of danger, and watch things.

There was a bit of a current, and the cartridge was carried along till it brought up gently against the Badger—just in a nice cosy place between the rudder bearding and the stern-post. Then it went off with a bang that shook the universe, and ripped off forty-two sheets of copper from the Badger; and Saunderson fell off the jetty into the water; and the bluejackets who were below came tumbling up on deck; and the gunner, seeing Lieutenant-Commander Muddle rush up from his cabin in his shirt-sleeves with a razor in his hand, thought that he had gone queer again in his head, and had tried to blow up the ship, and was going to out his throat, and so he rushed at him, and knocked him down and took his razor away, and begged him to be quiet; and Muddle, thinking it was a mutiny, nearly went into a fit, and straggled so desperately, and made such awful choking noises that two more men sat on him; and the navigating midshipman, thinking it was fire, told the bugler to sound to quarters, and then, seeing the captain being held down by three men, rushed to his assistance, but tripped over something or somebody and fell down and nearly broke his nose; and all the time Saunderson who was clinging to one of the jetty piles, was yelling pitifully for help, being horribly afraid of sharks.

At last he was fished out by Bigby and some natives and carried up to the mission-house and then, when he was able to talk coherently, he sent for Denison, who told him that Commander Muddle was coming for him presently with a lot of armed men and a boatswain with a green bag in which was a "cat," and that he (Saunderson) would first be flogged and then hanged at the Badger's yard-arm, and otherwise treated severely, for an attempt to blow up one of Her Majesty's ships; and then Saunderson shivered all over, and staggered out of the mission-house in a suit of Mr. O———'s pyjamas, much too large for him, and met Commander Muddle on the jetty and tried to explain how it occurred, and Muddle called him an infernal, drivelling idiot, and knocked him clean off the jetty into the water again, and used awful language, and told Denison that his chronometers were ruined, and the ship's timbers started, and that he had had a narrow escape from cutting his own throat when the dynamite went off, as he had just begun to shave.

Saunderson was very ill after that, and was in such mortal terror that Muddle and every one else on board the gunboat meant to kill, wound, or seriously damage him, that he kept inside the mission-house, and said he felt he was dying, and that Mr. O——— would prepare him for the end. So Denison and Paekenham, who were now quite cheerful again, sent his traps and his harmonium ashore, and sailed without him, a great peace in their bosoms.


One dull rainy morning, soon after daybreak, as the ship St. George of New Bedford was cruising for sperm whales between the islands of Tucopia and Vanikoro, the look-out hailed the deck and reported a boat in sight. The captain was called, and a few minutes later appeared and went aloft.

The boat was about three miles distant to leeward, and Captain Elphinstone at once kept the ship away. The wind, however, was so light that it took her some time to get within hailing distance, and then it was discovered that the boat contained three natives—a man and two young girls—who appeared to be greatly exhausted, for after feebly raising their heads for a moment and putting out their hands imploringly, they fell back again.

A boat was quickly lowered from the ship, and the sufferers brought on board, and their own boat, which was a small, native-built craft much like a whale-boat, but with an outrigger attached, was hoisted on board, for she was too good to be turned adrift.

On board the St. George was a Samoan named Falaoa. He was a native of the island of Manua, and at once recognised the unfortunates as country-people of his own. The man, who was in a dreadful state of emaciation, and barely able to raise his voice above a whisper, was over six feet in height, and appeared to be about five-and-twenty years of age; his companions had evidently not undergone as much suffering and did not present the same shocking appearance as he, for the sun had burnt his skin to such a degree that that part of his tattooing which was not covered by the scanty lava lava of tappa cloth around his loins had become almost black.

Under the kind and careful treatment they received from Captain Elphinstone and his officers, all three soon recovered, and ten days after they had been rescued, the following entry was made in the ship's log:—"This day, at their own request, we landed the three Samoans at the island of Nufilole, one of the Swallow Group, where they were well received by the natives and a white trader. They were accompanied by one of my crew named Falaoa, who begged me to let him go with them, having become much attached to one of the young women. We gave them some arms and ammunition, and some clothing and tobacco. They all behaved with the greatest propriety during their stay on the ship. From where they started in Samoa to where we picked them up in 12 deg. S. is a distance of 1,800 miles."

And here is their story, told by Sa Luia to the wife of Frank Chesson, a white trader then living on the Santa Cruz Islands, in which the Swallow Group is included. Chesson himself had lived in Samoa, and spoke the language well, and the four people remained in his house for many months as welcome guests. A strong and lasting friendship was formed, and resulted in the trader, his wife and family, and the four Samoans removing to the little island of Fenua-loa, and there founding what is now a colony of Polynesians with language, customs and mode of life generally entirely distinct from their Melanesian neighbours.

* * * * *

I am Sa Luia. I come from Mulifanua, at the lee end of Upolu in Samoa. My father was not only the chief of Mulifanua, but has great lands in the Atua district on the north side of Upolu—lands which came to him through my mother, who died when I was but a week old—and from these lands he had his name, Pule-o-Vaitafe (Lord of many Rivers).

Now it is not well for a daughter to speak unkindly of her father; but this what I now say is true. My father, though he was so rich a man, was very cruel to those who crossed his path, and though he was a brave man in battle, his heart was shrunken up by reason of his avarice and his desire to grow richer, and all Samoa, from Manna in the east to Falealupo in the west, spoke of him as Pule-lima-vale—"Pule the close-fisted"—or Pule fata-ma'a—"Pule the stony-hearted." Yet all this gave him no concern.

"What does it matter to me?" he said to his brother Patiole one day, when Patiole, who was a chief of Manono, reproached him for his meanness in sending away some visitors from Tutuila with such scanty presents that all the people of Mulifanua were ashamed. "What does it matter to me what people say of me? This malaga (party of visitors) from Tutuila are eaten up with poverty. Why should I give them fine mats, and muskets and powder and bullets? Am I a fool? What return can they make to me?"

"They came to do thee honour," said my uncle, putting his hand across his eyes out of respect to my father, who was of higher rank than he, and speaking softly. "They are thy dead wife's relatives, and are of good blood. And thou hast shamed them—and thyself as well—by sending them away empty-handed."

My father laughed scornfully. "What care I for my dead wife's relatives! I have no need of them, and want them not. When I took the daughter of Mauga to wife, Mauga was a great man. Now he and his people are broken and dispersed. Let them go and eat grass or wild yams like pigs. I, Pule-o-Vaitafe, want no needy dependents."

"Thou art a hard man," said my uncle, bending his forehead to the mat on which he sat.

"And thou art a fool," replied my father; "if thy heart pains thee of this, why dost thou not give them all that they wish?"

"Because for me, thy brother, to do so, would put shame on thee, for 'tis thy place and thy honour as head of our family to help these people who have fallen on evil days through warfare," said my uncle sadly.

"Thine then be the place and the honour," said my father scornfully. "I will not begrudge thee either. Naught will I have to do with broken men. Farewell."

That was my father's way. That was his hard, hard heart, which knew neither pity nor remorse. This is how my mother died:

When I was seven days old, she took me, as is customary with a woman of chiefly rank, to the fale siva (town dance house), where I had to be shown to the people, who brought fine mats and tappa cloth, and many other presents. Now my father was filled with anger that my mother had not borne him a male child, for a male child would have meant richer presents—not only from his own people, but from towns and villages far away. So when he saw that instead of such gifts as a new canoe or some very old, rare mats, or muskets, or such other things as would have been given were the child a boy, there were but the usual presents for a girl-child, his lips turned down with scorn, and he muttered a curse. My mother heard him and the tears flowed down her cheeks.

"It may be that my next child will be a boy," she whispered, and then she held me up to my father. "See, Pule, though a girl, she hath thy features, and thou wilt come to love her."

"Tah!" said my father in angry contempt; and without another word he rose and went away.

Then my mother wept silently over me for a long time, for the shame put upon her was very great, and not to be endured. So, with some of her women, she took me to a place called Falema'a, where the cliffs rise up straight from the sea. Her hair was then oiled and dressed, and then she made gifts of her rings of gold and tortoise-shell to her women, and bade them farewell. Then she took me in her arms, and leapt over the cliff into the sea.

It so happened that half-way down the cliff, which is twelve fathoms high, there was a boy named Manaia. He was collecting the eggs of the sea-bird called Kanapu and his canoe was anchored just in front of the base of the cliff. He was a brave boy, and being of a very poor family, had clambered up the steep side of the wall of rock, so that he might find the kanapu eggs in the clefts and holes, and sell them to people in exchange for food for his mother and sisters. As he clung to the jagged face of the rock, he saw my mother falling through the air, and in an instant he sprang after her. When she came to the surface, I was still clasped tightly in her arms, and Manaia cried to her to swim to the canoe.

"Nay," she cried, "but take my babe."

And so Manaia took me, and my mother threw up her arms and sank and died.

When my uncle heard of this, he sent a party of his people over from Manono for me, and I was taken to live with him. My father did not interfere, for the manner of my mother's death had made the people murmur, and he was afraid that they might rise in rebellion, and kill or banish him. But yet he tried to get another rich wife, and sent a deputation of his chiefs to Seu Manu of Apia asking for his daughter Sina; and Sina sent him back a piece of wood carved in the semblance of a woman, together with a stone shaped like a heart, with this message—

"This is a good wife for Pule-o-Vaitafe. If she displease him, he can sink her in the sea with a heart of stone."

After that my father tried no more, for the people all round about were murmuring, and he began to feel afraid.

But in no other way did he change, and although Manono is but two leagues distant from Mulifanua, he never came to see me till I was in my fifteenth year, and when I was chosen by the people of Aana to be Taupo{*} of Mulifanua. Then I had to leave my uncle, which made me weep, for although I was proud of the honour done me, I did not wish to leave him and go back to my father. But I had no choice but to obey, and so I was taken back to Mulifanua by a fleet of canoes and taumualua (native boats), with great ceremony, and then followed many meetings and much feasting and dancing. I was put under the care of two women, who attended me day and night, as is the custom; they walked, ate, and slept with me, and every day I was taught how to dance, and how to wear my fine mats and long train of tappa, so as to receive or call upon visitors who came to the town from other places in Samoa.

* Taupo, the town maid. This distinction is usually conf erred on a girl of good family, and has many honours and emoluments in the way of presents attached to it. In some cases a taupo will not marry till she reaches middle age, and occasionally will remain single.

In all the many years that I had spent on Manono, I had not once seen the boy Manaia—he who had taken me from the water—though I had heard of him as having been tattooed and grown into a tall man. But on the same day that I returned and was taken to the fale taupule (council house) to be received by the people as their taupo, a girl named Selema who attended me whispered his name, and pointed him out to me. He was sitting with the other young men, and like them, dressed in his best, and carrying a musket and the long knife called nifa oti. I saw that he was very, very tall and strong, and Selema told me that there were many girls who desired him for a husband, though he was poor, and, it was known, was disliked by my father.

Now this girl Selema, who was of my own age, was given to me as my especial tavini (maid) and I grew to like her as my own sister. She told me that already my father was casting about in his mind for a rich husband for me, and that the man he most favoured was old Tamavili, chief of Tufa, in Savai'i, who would soon be sending messengers with presents to him, which if they were accepted, would mean that my father was inclined to his suit, and that he, Tamavili, would follow himself and pay court to me.

All this frightened me, and I told Selema I would escape to my uncle in Manono, but she said that that would not do, as if he tried to protect me it would mean war. So I said nothing more, though much was in my mind, and I resolved to run away to the mountains, rather than be made to marry Tamavili, who was a very old man.

One day Selema and I went to the river to wash our hair with the pith of the wild oranges. We sat on the smooth stones near the water, and had just begun to beat the oranges with pieces of wood to soften them, when we saw a man come down the bank and enter a deep pool further up the stream.

"'Tis Manaia," said Selema; "he hath come to drag the pool for fish." Then she called out to him, "Ola, Manaia," and he looked at us and laughed as he spun his small hand-net into the pool. We sat and watched him and admired his strength and skill and the clever way in which he dived and took the fish from his net. In a little while he had caught seven—beautiful fish, such as are in all the mountain streams of Samoa. Then he came out of the water, made a basket of leaves, and approached me, and without a word, laid them at my feet. This pleased me, so I put out my hand and touched one of the fish—meaning that one only would I take.

"They are all for thee, lady," he said in a low voice.

Selema laughed and urged me to accept the gift; so I took the basket, and then, when I looked at his face and saw that his eyes were still turned down, I took courage and said—

"Thou art Manaia. Dost thou remember me?"

"How could I forget thee?" he replied; and then he raised his eyes to my face, and I felt glad, for they were like unto those of my uncle Patiole—kind and soft when they looked into those of a woman or child, but steady and bold to those of a man.

"I am glad to see thee, Manaia," I said, "for I owe thee my life," and as he took my hand and pressed it to his forehead, Selema stole away and left us together.

Now I know not what he said to me, except that when he spoke the name of Tamavili of Tufa, I wept, and said that I would I were back at Manono, and that I was but a child, and had no desire to be wedded to any man. Then he lifted me up in his great arms, and said—

"I love thee, Sa Luia, I love thee! And even if thou canst not love me, yet shall I save thee from wedding this old dotard. Aye, I shall save thee from him as I saved thee from the boiling serf of Falema'a when thy mother, who was a great lady, cried out to me, 'Take my babe.'"

So that is how Manaia my husband wooed me, and when Selema came back and saw us seated together, she laughed again, though tears were in her eyes when she took my feet and pressed them to her cheeks, for she feared that when we fled, she would be left behind. Then Manaia whispered to me and asked me if it was to my mind to take her.

"Ay," I said; "else will my father kill her when we are gone."

So we made our plans, and when the messengers of Tamavili came and laid their presents before me, I said I was content, and that they could go back to their master, and tell him that in a month's time I would be ready and that he could come for me. This pleased my father, and although at night time I always slept between the two women, as is customary for a taupo, with a mat over me, and they lay on the outside, one on each side, yet in the day time I often met my lover in the forest, whilst Selema kept watch.

"We shall go to Uea,"{*} he said; "'tis but seventy leagues away, and so soon as the rainy season is ended we shall start. I have bought a small but good boat and have strengthened it for the voyage with an outrigger, and in my mother's house is hidden all the food we can carry. In eight days more the westerly winds will cease, and we shall start, for then we shall have the Matagi Toe'lau (trade wind) and at Uea we shall be safe and live in peace. Then some day I shall send for my mothers and sisters, for on the night that we escape, they too must flee for their lives to Sen Mann, of Apia, who will protect them from thy father's wrath."

* Wallis Island, two hundred miles from Samoa. Many Samoans fled there for refuge after a reverse in battle or for other causes.

On the morning of the fourth day after this, there came a strange messenger to the town to see my father, who in a little time appeared at his door with a smiling face and bade the conch be blown to summon the people together.

"Here is news, O people," he said. "Manka,{*} the white trader of Tufa, also seeketh my daughter, Sa Luia, in marriage. He and Tamayili have quarrelled—why, it matters not to me, or thee—and Manka, who is a very rich man, hath sent me word that he will compete with Tamayili. Whatever he offers for dowry and for presents to me, the white man will give double. This is a good day for me."

* Monk.

But the people were silent, for they knew that he was breaking his pledged word with Tamavili, and was setting at naught the old customs and the honour of the town. So, as he looked at them, he scowled; then he held out his hand, on the palm of which were ten American gold coins, each of twenty dollars.

"Two hundred dollars hath this white man, Manka, sent to my daughter Sa Luia as a present, with these words: 'If she cares not for my suit, well and good—let her have them made into bracelets for her pretty arms."

Now this was a great gift, and it came with such generous words that the people applauded, and my father smiled, as his long thin fingers closed around the heap of gold; but suddenly his face darkened as Manaia spoke.

"'Tis a free gift to the lady Sa Luia. Therefore, O Pule-o-Vaitafe, give it to her."

"Aye, aye! 'tis hers, 'tis hers," cried the people.

My father sent a glance of bitter hatred to my lover, and his lips twitched, but without a word he came to me, and bending low before me, put the money on the ground at my feet, and I, his daughter, heard his teeth grinding with rage, and as I felt his hot breath on my hand, I knew that murder was in his heart. It is easy for a chief such as was my father, to have a man who displeases him killed secretly.

My father went away in anger, and then the chiefs decided that although the white man could not wed me, he should be received with great honour, and be given many presents; for he was known to us as a man of great strength and daring, and was tattooed like a Samoan, which is a great thing to the mind of a Samoan woman, who loathes an untattooed man as unworthy of all that a woman can give, for without tattooing a young man hath no manhood, and his children are weak of body and poor of mind.

That night my father asked me for the money, which I gave him unwillingly, for I wished to send it back to the white man. He took it and placed it in a great box, which contained such things as guns, pistols, and powder and ball, and the key of which he always wore around his neck.

When the eighth day dawned, the sea was very smooth, and our hearts were gladdened by seeing that the wind was from the south-east, and as the day wore on, it increased in strength. When night fell, and the evening fires were lit, Manaia, saying he was going to fish for malau, launched his boat and sailed along the shore for a league to the mouth of a small stream. Here he was met by his mother and sisters, who were awaiting him with baskets of cooked food, young coconuts and calabashes of water for the voyage. Then they put their arms around him, and wept as they bade him farewell, for seventy leagues is a long voyage for a small boat not intended for rough seas. Then they went into the forest and fled for their lives to Sen Manu of Apia, and Manaia waited for me.

When the town was buried in slumber, Selema, who lay near me, touched my head with her foot, and then asked me if I slept.

"Nay," I replied in a loud voice, and speaking with pretended anger, so as to awaken the two women between whom I lay. "How can I sleep? 'Tis too hot. Let us go to the beach awhile and feel the cool wind."

The two women grumbled a little at being disturbed, and Selema and I rose and went out of the house. Then, once we were at a safe distance, we ran swiftly to the beach, and then onwards to where Manaia awaited us.

Selema took her seat on the foremost thwart, Manaia at the stern, and I in the centre, and then we pushed off, and using canoe paddles, made for the passage through the reef out into the open sea. When the dawn broke, we were half-way across the straits which divide Savai'i from Upolu, and only two leagues away we saw the clustering houses of Tufa on the iron-bound coast. We did not dare to hoist the sail for fear of being seen, so continued to paddle, keeping well into the middle of the straits. Only that the current was so fierce, Manaia would have steered north, and gone round the great island of Savai'i and then made westward, but the current was setting against the wind, and we should have all perished had we tried to go the north way.

Presently Manaia turned and looked astern, and there we saw the great mat sail of my father's double canoe, just rising above the water, and knew that we were pursued. So we ceased paddling, and hoisted our own sail, which made us leap along very quickly over the seas, though every now and then the outrigger would lift itself out of the water, and we feared that we might capsize. But we knew that Death was behind us, and so sat still, and no one spoke but in a whisper as we looked astern, and saw the sail of the great canoe growing higher and higher. It was a very large canoe and carried a hundred men, and on the raised platform was a cannon which my father had bought from a whale-ship when it was in his mind to fight against Tamalefaiga, who was the king of Upolu.

Suddenly Selema cried out that she saw a taumualua{*} and a boat with a sail coming towards us from Tufa, and my heart sank within me, for I knew that if they saw we were pursued by Pule-o-Vaitafe, they would, out of respect for him, stop us from escaping. Still there was naught for us to do but go on, and so we leapt and sprang from sea to sea, and Manaia bade us be of good heart, as he turned the head of the canoe toward the land.

* A large native-built boat

"If this taumualua and the boat seek to stay us, I shall run ashore," he said, "and we will take to the mountains. It is Manka's boat, for now I can see the flag from the peak—the flag of America." "And the taumualua is that of Tamavili of Tufa," said Selema quietly, for she is a girl of great heart, "and it races with the white man's boat."

I, who was shaking with fear, cannot now well remember all that followed, after Manaia headed our canoe for the shore, and tried to escape, but suddenly, it seemed to me, the white man's boat, with flapping sail, was upon as, and Manka was laughing loudly.

"Ho, ho!" he cried, pulling his long white moustache, "so this is the way the wind bloweth! The old dotard Tamavili and I race together for a bride, and the bride is for neither of us, but for the man who saved her from the sea. Ha, ha! Thou art a fine fellow, Manaia, and I bear thee no ill will, even though the girl hath my good golden money."

"Nay, Manka," cried Selema quickly, and taking something from her girdle she held it up to the white man; "see, here is thy gift to the lady Sa Luia. We meant to give it back to thee with all good will, for Sa Luia loves no man but this her lover Manaia, who held her up from the angry sea when her mother died. And so when Pule-o-Vaitafe took the money from her—which was thy free gift—I waited till he slept, and stole the key of his treasure-chest, and took the money so that it might be returned to thee."

"Is this true?" asked the white man of Manaia. "The money is thine," said Manaia, who knew not what else to say, "but the woman is mine. So let us depart, for Tamavili and his men—whom no one in Malifanua thought to see for three days yet—are drawing near, and we may escape by running the canoe through the surf, and taking to the mountains."

The white man swore an oath. "Thou art a fine fellow, and I bear no ill will, but will help thee to outwit that old dodderer who tried to steal away three days before me. I will put my boat between he and thee and keep him off. Whither wouldst land?"

"Not here, unless we are pressed. But we are in bad case; for see, on the one side comes Pule-o-Vaitafe, and on the other Tamavili. Yet if thou wilt be the good friend to us, we may escape both, and keep on our way to the open sea."

"The open sea!" cried Manka quickly—"and whither to?"

"To Uea."

"Thou art a bold fellow," said the white man again, "and shalt have the girl, for thou art worthy of her. And she shall keep the money for her dowry. I am no man to go back on my word, even though I lose so fair a bride. As for Pule-o-Vaitafe, I care not a blade of grass, and for Tamavili even less. And see, take this rifle, and if Tamavili cometh too close to thee, how can I help thee defending thyself and the women?"

With that he gave Manaia one of six rifles in his boat and two score and ten cartridges, some tobacco, matches, and a pipe; then he pressed our hands and wished us God-speed, and we parted, he sailing towards the taumualua, which was crowded with men, and we following. When he came within speaking distance of Tamavili, he again brought his boat to the wind and mocked at the old man.

"Ho, ho! Tamavili. Whither goest in such a hurry? See, there in the canoe is the little bird we both sought, and there following comes her father. But she is neither for me nor thee. Is not her lover there, a fine man—nearly as handsome as I am, and big enough to make ten such rats as thee."

Tamavili was mad with rage, and did not answer. There were with Manka six men—all armed with rifles which loaded at the breech like that which he had given Manaia, and Manka was too great a man for even Tamavili to hurt. But suddenly, as we in the canoe sailed in between the boat and the taumualua, the old chief found his voice, and called out to Manaia to lower his sail.

"Give me the lady Sa Luia," he said, "and I will let thee and the girl Selema go," and as he spoke, the crew turned the taumualua round and came after us, twenty men paddling on each side.

"Keep back!" cried Manaia fiercely, as he changed seats with me, and giving me the steering paddle, he took up the rifle and loaded it.

"Beware, old man!" shouted Manka, "'tis a dog that bites!"

But Tamavili was too hot with anger to take heed, and shouted to his men to go on, and then Manaia took aim and fired, and two men went down.

"Ho, ho!" and Manka's voice again mocked, "did I not say 'twas a dog that bit?"

There was great commotion in the taumualua for a moment or two, but Tamavili shouted to his men to go on; he would have ordered some of them to cease paddling and try and shoot Manaia, but feared to hurt or perhaps kill me, and that would have meant war between Tufa and Mulifanua.

"Alo, alo foe!"{*} he cried, standing up on the stem and brandishing his death-knife at Manaia. "I shall give thy head to the children of the village for a football ere the sun is in mid-heaven."

* "Paddle, paddle hard!"

That was a foolish boast, for once more Manaia knelt and shot, and I turned my head and saw the blood spurt from Tamavili's naked chest as he fell down without a sound among the paddlers and a loud cry of anger and sorrow burst from his men. But in a moment a young sub-chief of Tufa named Lau Aula (the Golden-haired) took command and shouted to the crew to press on, and leaping to the bow, he began firing at us with a short gun (revolver) and one of the bullets struck the girl Selema on the leg and tore a hole through the fleshy part. Now this Lau Aula was a blood relative of Manaia, who called out to him to cease firing, but Lau Aula took no heed, and began shooting at us with muskets loaded with round bullets, which were handed to him by some of his people.

Then Manaia's face was evil to look at; his lips were drawn back, and his teeth showed like those of an angry dog, for the blood which flowed from Selema's wound was creeping around his naked feet. Yet once more he cried out to Lau Aula to beware ere it was too late; but the young chief called him a thief, and bade him bring the boat to the wind.

"This for thee, then," cried Manaia, and once more he raised his rifle and fired, and Lan Anla spun round and fell over into the sea, for the bullet had struck him in the throat and his life was gone.

That was the last of the fight, for when Lau Aula fell, the rest of Tamavili's men threw down their paddles and let us sail on without further pursuit.

Then, whilst I steered, Manaia tied strips of tappa around Selema's leg so as to stay the bleeding.

"We are safe," cried the girl bravely through her tears, for the pain was very great. "See, lady, the wind is not strong enough for the big double canoe to pursue us."

But yet, in his rage, when my father saw that we were escaping, he lowered the mat sail and fired two shots at us with the cannon, and the great heavy balls roared over our heads and fell into the sea with a heavy splash not fifty fathoms away. But cannon-balls cost much money, and so, when a third shot was fired, and it fell astern of our boat, my father wasted no more, and we saw the sail again hoisted and the canoe go slowly down towards the taumualua of Tamavili, to which the white man was already rendering succour, for Manka, although he had quarrelled with the old chief of Tufa, was yet a man of a kind heart.

And so we sailed on before a fair, soft breeze, and by sunset the great mountain peaks of Savai'i had sunk beneath the sea rim, and we were steering westward by the bright stars with a great joy filling our hearts.

For four days we sailed steadily onwards, and Selema's wound soon began to heal. On the evening of the fourth day we saw the land of Uea just showing above the sea rim, and thought to place our feet on the shore in the morning. But now came sorrow, for in the night it began to blow strongly from the north-east, and heavy rain squalls drove us past the land. In the morning there was but the open sea, and the waves were white and angry, and all that day and the next Manaia kept the boat to the wind, hoping that it would change and let us sail back to Uea. But we hoped vainly; and then, on the third day, there came such a furious storm that we could do naught but drive before it, and go on and on into the great unknown western ocean, whither so many have gone, and have been no more known of men. For many, many days we sailed on, and then, although we had much rain and so suffered no thirst, our food began to fail, and had not Manaia one day caught a sleeping turtle, we should have perished. Some time about the fourteenth day, we saw the jagged peaks of an island against the sky, and steered for it. It was the island called Rotumah—a fine, fair country, with mountains and valleys and running streams, and on it dwell people who are like unto us Samoans in appearance and manners and language. We sailed the boat into a bay on which stood a village of many houses, and the people made us welcome and gave us much food, and besought us to stay there, for their island was, they said, a better place than Uea. And this we should have done and been content, but in the night, as I slept in the house of the unmarried women, a girl whispered in my ear—

"Get thee away with thy lover and the girl Selema. Felipa, the head chief of Fao, hath been told of thy beauty, and hath sent word here that the man Manaia must be killed to-night, and thou and Selema be sent to him. This is wrong for even a chief to do, and we of this place would aid thee to escape."

So Manaia and I and Selema stole away to the boat, and the people of the village, who pitied us, pretended not to hear or see us. They were very kind, and had put baskets of cooked food and other things into the boat; and so we pushed off, and stood out to sea once more. They had told us to go round to the north end of the island, where there was a chief named Loli, who would protect us and give us a home.

But again evil fortune befell us, for the chief of Fao, hearing of our escape, sent a messenger overland to Loli, claiming us as mea tafea i moana—gifts sent to him by the sea—and asking him to hold us for him. And so Loli, who would have welcomed us, was afraid, and begged us not to land and so bring about bloodshed.

"Great is my sorrow, O wanderers," he cried to us, as we sat in the boat a little distance from the beach, "but ye must not land. Steer to the west, and a little to the south, where there is a great land—many, many islands which trend north and south."{*}

* The New Hebrides Group.

"Is it far?" asked Manaia scornfully.

"Four days for a ship, longer for a boat," replied Loli shamefacedly; "the gods go with thee, farewell."

Once again we sailed towards the setting sun, steering by the stars at night time, and for seven days all went well. Then after that there came calms, and the hot sun beat upon us and ate its way into our hearts, and we saw no sign of land, and only now and then did a seabird come near us. And then came the time when all our food was gone, and we waited for death to come. Manaia had eaten no food for five days when it came to this, for he said he was feeling quite strong, and divided his share between us. Once as he and I slept Selema put a little piece of old coconut—the last that was left—into my hand, and slipped over the side to die, but Manaia heard her, and, although he was very weak, he roused and caught her as she sank.

Two days before that on which the ship found us Manaia shot a small shark which was following the boat. It was not as long as a man's arm nor as thick as a woman's, but it kept us alive. Manaia gave us all the flesh, and kept only the head and skin for himself; after that all the world became dark to me, and we lay together in the boat to die.

The captain of the whale-ship was very kind to us, and when he found that the sailor named Falaoa did not wish to part from us on account of Selema, whom he wished to marry, he gave his consent, and said he would land us all here at Nufilole, where there was a white man who would be kind to us.

That is all, and now my husband Manaia and I, and Falaoa and his wife Selema are well content to live here always. For even now, after many months have passed, do Selema and I cry out in our slumbers, and when we awaken our hair lies wet upon our foreheads; but soon all these bad dreams will pass away from us for ever.


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