"A chief of Nandy, in Viti Levu, was very desirous to have a musket which an American captain had shown him. The price of the coveted piece was two hogs. The chief had only one; but he sent on board with it a young woman as an equivalent."
At weddings the prayer is that the bride may "bring forth male children"; and when the son is born, one of the first lessons taught him is "to strike his mother, lest he should grow up to be a coward." When a husband died, it was the national custom to murder his wife, often his mother too, to be his companions. To kill a defenceless woman was an honorable deed.
"I once asked a man why he was called Koroi. 'Because,' he replied, 'I, with several other men, found some women and children in a cave, drew them out and clubbed them and was then consecrated.'"
So far have sympathy and gallantry progressed in Fiji.
"Many examples might be given of most dastardly cruelty, where women and even unoffending children were abominably slain." "I have labored to make the murderers of females ashamed of themselves; and have heard their cowardly cruelty defended by the assertion that such victims were doubly good—because they ate well, and because of the distress it caused their husbands and friends." "Cannibalism does not confine itself to one sex." "The heart, the thigh, and the arm above the elbow, are considered the greatest dainties."
One of these monsters, whom Williams knew, sent his wife to fetch wood and collect leaves to line the oven. When she had cheerfully and unsuspectingly obeyed his orders, he killed her, put her in the oven, and ate her. There had been no quarrel; he was simply hungering for a dainty morsel. Even after death the women are subjected to barbarous treatment.
"One of the corpses was that of an old man of seventy, another of a fine young woman of eighteen.... All were dragged about and subjected to abuse too horrible and disgusting to be described."
FIJIAN MODESTY AND CHASTITY
With these facts in mind the reader is able to appreciate the humor of the suggestion that it is "ideas of delicacy" that prevent Fijian husbands from spending their nights at home. Equally amusing is the blunder of Wilkes, who tells us (III., 356) that
"though almost naked, these natives have a great idea of modesty, and consider it extremely indelicate to expose the whole person. If either a man or woman should be discovered without the 'maro' or 'liku,' they would probably be killed."
Williams, the great authority on Fijians, says that "Commodore Wilkes's account of Fijian marriages seems to be compounded of Oriental notions and Ovalan yarns" (147). Having been a mere globe-trotter, it is natural that he should have erred in his interpretation of Fijian customs, but it is unpardonable in anthropologists to accept such conclusions without examination. As a matter of fact, the scant Fijian attire has nothing to do with modesty; quite the contrary. Williams says (147) "that young unmarried women wear a liku little more than a hand's breadth in depth, which does not meet at the hips by several inches;" and Seeman writes (168) that Fijian girls
"wore nothing but a girdle of hibiscus fibres, about six inches wide, dyed black, red, yellow, white, or brown, and put on in such a coquettish way that one thought it must come off every moment."
Westermarck, with whom for once we can agree, justly observes (190) that such a costume "is far from being in harmony with our ideas of modesty," and that its real purpose is to attract attention. As elsewhere among such peoples the matter is strictly regulated by fashion. "Both sexes," says Williams (143), "go unclad until the tenth year and some beyond that. Chiefs' children are kept longest without dress." Any deviation from a local custom, however ludicrous that custom may be, seems to barbarians punishable and preposterous. Thus, a Fijian priest whose sole attire consisted in a loin-cloth (masi) exclaimed on hearing of the gods of the naked New Hebrideans: "Not possessed of masi and pretend to have gods!"
The alleged chastity of Fijians is as illusive as their modesty. Girls who had been betrothed as infants were carefully guarded, and adultery savagely punished by clubbing or strangling; but, as I made clear in the chapter on jealousy, such vindictive punishment does not indicate a regard for chastity, but is merely revenge for infringement on property rights. The national custom permitting a man whose conjugal property had been molested to retaliate by subjecting the culprit's wife to the same treatment in itself indicates an utter absence of the notion of chastity as a virtue. Like the Papuan, Melanesian, and Polynesian inhabitants of the Pacific Islands in general, the Fijians were utterly licentious. Young women, says Williams (145) are the victims of man's lust;
"all the evils of the most licentious sensuality are found among this people. In the case of the chiefs, these are fully carried out, and the vulgar follow as far as their means will allow. But here, even at the risk of making the picture incomplete, there may not be given a faithful representation" (115).
When a band of warriors returns victorious, they are met by the women; but "the words of the women's song may not be translated; nor are the obscene gestures of their dance, in which the young virgins are compelled to take part, or the foul insults offered to the corpses of the slain, fit to be described.... On these occasions the ordinary social restrictions are destroyed, and the unbridled and indiscriminate indulgence of every evil lust and passion completes the scene of abomination" (43). Yet,
"voluntary breach of the marriage contract is rare in comparison with that which is enforced, as, for instance, when the chief gives up the women of a town to a company of visitors or warriors. Compliance with this mandate is compulsory, but should the woman conceal it from her husband, she would be severely punished" (147).
When Williams adds to the last sentence that "fear prevents unfaithfulness more than affection, though I believe that instances of the latter are numerous," we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by a word. Fijian "affection" is a thing quite different from the altruistic feeling we mean by the word. It may in a wife assume the form of a blind attachment, like that of a dog to a cruel master, but is not likely to go beyond that, since even the most primitive love between parents and children is confessedly shallow, transient, or entirely absent. Williams (154, 142) "noticed cases beyond number where natural affection was wanting on both sides;" two-thirds of the offspring are killed, "such children as are allowed to live are treated with a foolish fondness"—and fondness is, as we have seen, not an altruistic but an egoistic feeling. In writing about Fijian friendships our author says (117):
"The high attainments which constitute friendship are known to very few.... Full-grown men, it is true, will walk about together, hand in hand, with boyish kindliness, or meet with hugs and embraces; but their love, though specious, is hardly real."
Obviously the keen-eyed missionary here had in mind the distinction between sentimentality and sentiment. Sentimentality of a most extraordinary kind is also found in the attitude of sons toward parents. A Fijian considered it a mark of affection to club an aged parent (157), and Williams has seen the breast of a ferocious savage heave and swell with strong emotion on bidding a temporary farewell to his aged father, whom he afterward strangled (117). Such are the emotions of barbarians—shallow, fickle, capricious—as different from our affection as a brook which dries up after every shower is from the deep and steady current of a river which dispenses its beneficent waters even in a drought.
In his article on Fijian poetry, referred to in the chapter on Coyness, Sir Arthur Gordon informs us that among the "sentimental" class of poems "there are not a few which are licentious, and many more which, though not open to that reproach, are coarse and indecent in their plain-spokenness." Others of the love-songs, he declares, have "a ring of true feeling very unlike what is usually found in similar Polynesian compositions, and which may be searched for in vain in Gill's Songs of the Pacific." These songs, he adds, "more nearly resemble European love-songs than any with which I am acquainted among other semi-savage races;" and he finds in them "a ring of true passion as if of love arising not from mere animal instinct but intelligent association." I for my part cannot find in them even a hint at supersensual altruistic sentiment. To give the reader a chance to judge for himself I cite the following:
He.—I seek my lady in the house when the breeze blows, I say to her, "Arrange the house, unfold the mats, bring the pillows, sit down and let us talk together."
I say "Why do you provoke me? Be sure men despise coquetry such as yours, though they disguise from you the scorn they feel. Nay, be not angry; grant me to hold thy fairly tattooed hand. I am distracted with love. I would fain weep if I could move thee to tears."
She.—You are cruel, my love, and perverse. To think thus much of an idle jest. The setting sun bids all repose. Night is nigh.
I lay till dawn of day, peacefully asleep, But when the sun rose, I rose too and ran without. I hastily gathered the sweetest flowers I could find, shaking them from the branches. I came near the dwelling of my love with my sweet scented burden. As I came near she saw me, and called playfully, "What birds are you flying here so early?" "I am a handsome youth and not a bird," I replied, "But like a bird I am mateless and forlorn." She took a garland of flowers off her neck and gave it to me I in return gave her my comb; I threw it to her and ah me! it strikes her face! "What rough bark of a tree are you made from?" she cries. And so saying she turned and went away in anger.
In the mountain war of 1876 there was in the native force on the government side a handsome lad of the name of Naloko, much admired by the ladies. One day, all the camp and the village of Nasauthoko were found singing this song, which someone had composed:
"The wind blows over the great mountain of Magondro, It blows among the rocks of Magondro. The same wind plays in and raises the yellow locks of Naloko. Thou lovest me, Naloko, and to thee I am devoted, Shouldst thou forsake me, sleep would forever forsake me. Shouldst thou enfold another in thine arms, All food would be to me as the bitter root of the via. The world to me would become utterly joyless Without thee, my handsome, slender waisted, Strong-shouldered, pillar-necked lad."
SERENADES AND PROPOSALS
At the time when Williams studied the Fijians, their poetry consisted of dirges, serenades, wake-songs, war-songs, and hymns for the dance (99). Of love-songs addressed to individuals he says nothing. The serenades do not come under that head, since, as he says (140), they are practised at night "by companies of men and women"—which takes all the romance out of them. One detail of the romance of courtship had, however, been introduced even in his time, through European influence. "Popping the question" is, he says, of recent date, "and though for the most part done by the men, yet the women do not hesitate to adopt the same course when so inclined." No violent individual preference seems to be shown. The following is a specimen of a man's proposal.
Simioni Wang Ravou, wishing to bring the woman he wanted to a decision, remarked to her, in the hearing of several other persons:
"I do not wish to have you because you are a good-looking woman; that you are not. But a woman is like a necklace of flowers—pleasant to the eye and grateful to the smell: but such a necklace does not long continue attractive; beautiful as it is one day, the next it fades and loses its scent. Yet a pretty necklace tempts one to ask for it, but, if refused no one will often repeat his request. If you love me, I love you; but if not, neither do I love you: let it be a settled thing" (150).
SUICIDES AND BACHELORS
Hearts are not likely to be broken by a refusal under such circumstances, which bears out Williams's remark (148) that no distinctive preference is apparent among these men and women. Under such circumstances it may appear strange that some widowers should commit suicide upon the death of a wife, as Seernan assures us they do (193). Does not this indicate deep feeling? Not in a savage. In all countries suicide is usually a sign of a weak intellect rather than of strong feelings, and especially is this the case among the lower races, where both men and women are apt to commit suicide in a moment of excitement, often for the most trivial cause, as we shall see in the next chapter. Williams tells us (106) of a chief on Thithia who was addressed disrespectfully by a younger brother and who, rather than live to have the insult made the topic of common talk, loaded his musket, placed the muzzle at his breast, and pushing the trigger with his toe, shot himself through the heart. He knew a similar case on Vanua Levu.
"Pride and anger combined often lead to self-destruction. ... The most common method of suicide in Fiji is by jumping over a precipice. This is, among the women, the fashionable way of destroying themselves; but they sometimes resort to the rope. Of deadly poisons they are ignorant, and drowning would be a difficult thing; for from infancy they learn to be almost as much at home in the water as on dry land."
In his book on the Melanesians Codrington says (243) that
"a wife jealous of her husband, or in any way incensed at him, would in former times throw herself from a cliff or tree, swim out to sea, hang or strangle herself, stab herself with an arrow, or thrust one down her throat; and a man jealous or quarrelling with his wife would do the like; but now it is easy to go off with another's wife or husband in a labor vessel to Queensland or Fiji."
There is one class of men in Fiji who are not likely to commit suicide. They are the bachelors, who, though they are scorned and frowned on in this life, must look forward to a worse fate after death. There is a special god, named Nangganangga—"the bitter hater of bachelors"—who watches for their souls, and so untiring is his watch, as Williams was informed (206), that no unwedded spirit has ever reached the Elysium of Fiji. Sly bachelors sometimes try to dodge him by stealing around the edge of a certain reef at low tide; but he is up to their tricks, seizes them and dashes them to pieces on the large black stone, just as one shatters rotten fire-wood.
Cruel and degraded as the Fijians are, they mark a considerable advance over the Australian savages. A further advance is to be noted as we come to the Samoans. Cannibalism was indulged in occasionally in more remote times, but not, as in Fiji, owing to a relish for human flesh, but merely as a climax of hatred and revenge. To speak of roasting a Samoan chief is a deadly insult and a cause for war (Turner, 108). Sympathy was a feeling known to Samoans; their treatment of the sick was invariably humane (141). And whereas in Australia, Borneo, and Fiji, it is just as honorable to slay a female as a male, Samoans consider it cowardly to kill a woman (196). Nor do they practise infanticide; but this abstinence is counterbalanced by the fact that the custom of destroying infants before birth prevailed to a melancholy extent (79).
Yet here as everywhere we discover that the sexual refinement on which the capacity for supersensual love depends comes last of the virtues. The Rev. George Turner, who had forty years of experience among the Polynesians, writes (125) that at their dances "all kinds of obscenity in looks, language, and gesture prevailed; and often they danced and revelled till daylight." The universal custom of tattooing was connected with immoral practices (90). During the wedding ceremonies of chiefs the friends of the bride
"took up stones and beat themselves until their heads were bruised and bleeding. The ceremony to prove her virginity which preceded this burst of feeling will not bear the light of description.... Night dances and the attendant immoralities wound up the ceremonies."
The same obscene ceremonies, he adds, were gone through, and this custom, he thinks, had some influence in cultivating chastity, especially among young women of rank who feared the disgrace and beating that was the lot of faithless brides. Presents were also given to those who had preserved their virtue; but the result of these efforts is thus summed up by Turner (91):
"Chastity was ostensibly cultivated by both sexes; but it was more a name than a reality. From their childhood their ears were familiar with the most obscene conversation; and as a whole family, to some extent, herded together, immorality was the natural and prevalent consequence. There were exceptions, especially among the daughters of persons of rank; but they were the exceptions, not the rule. Adultery, too, was sadly prevalent, although often severely punished by private revenge."
When a chief took a wife, the bride's uncle or other relative had to give up a daughter at the same time to be his concubine; to refuse this, would have been to displease the household god. A girl's consent was a matter of secondary importance: "She had to agree if her parents were in favor of the match." Many marriages were made chiefly for the sake of the attendant festivities, the bride being compelled to go whether or not she was willing. In this way a chief might in a short time get together a harem of a dozen wives; but most of them remained with him only a short time:
"If the marriages had been contracted merely for the sake of the property and festivities of the occasion, the wife was not likely to be more than a few days or weeks with her husband."
Elopements occur in Samoa in some cases where parental consent is refused. A vivid description of the pantomimic courtship preceding an elopement has been given by Kubary (Globus, 1885). A young warrior is surrounded by a bevy of girls. Though unarmed, he makes various gestures as if spearing or clubbing an enemy, for which the girls cheer him.
He then selects one, who at first seems coyly unwilling, and begins a dance with her. She endeavors to look indifferent and forbidding, while he, with longing looks and words, tries to win her regard. Presently, yielding to his solicitations, she smiles, and opens her arms for him. But he, foolishly, stops to reproach her for holding him off so long. He shakes his head, rolls his eyes, and lo! when he gets ready to grasp her at last, she eludes him again, with a mocking laugh.
It is now his turn to be perverse. Revenge is in his mind and mien. All his looks and gestures indicate contempt and malice, and he keeps turning his back to her. She cannot endure this long; his scorn overcomes her pride, and when he changes his attitude and once more begins to entreat, she at last allows him to seize her and they dance wildly. When finally the company separates for the evening meal, one may hear the word toro whispered. It means "cane," and indicates a nocturnal rendezvous in the cane-field, where lovers are safe from observation. They find each other by imitating the owl's sound, which excites no suspicion.
When they have met, the girl says: "You know that my parents hate you; nothing remains but awenga." Awenga means flight; three nights later they elope in a canoe to some small island, where they remain for a few weeks till the excitement over their disappearance has subsided in the village and their parents are ready to pardon them.
TWO SAMOAH LOVE-STORIES
Turner devotes six pages (98-104) to two Samoan love-stories. One of them illustrates the devotion of a wife and her husband's ingratitude and faithlessness, as the following summary will show:
There was a youth called Siati, noted for his singing. A serenading god came along, threw down a challenge, and promised him his fair daughter if he was the better singer. They sang and Siati beat the god. Then he rode on a shark to the god's home and the shark told him to go to the bathing-place, where he would find the god's daughters. The girls had just left the place when Siati arrived, but one of them had forgotten her comb and came back to get it. "Siati," said she, "however have you come here?" "I've come to seek the song-god and get his daughter to wife." "My father," said she, "is more of a god than man—eat nothing he hands you, never sit on a high seat lest death should follow, and now let us unite."
The god did not like his son-in-law and tried various ways to destroy him, but his wife Puapae always helped him out of the scrape, one time even making him cut her into two and throw her into the sea to be eaten by a fish and find a ring the god had lost and asked him to get. She was afterward cast ashore with the ring; but Siati had not even kept awake, and she scolded him for it. To save his life, she subsequently performed several other miracles, in one of which her father and sister were drowned in the sea. Then she said to Siati: "My father and sister are dead, and all on account of my love to you; you may go now and visit your family and friends while I remain here, but see that you do not behave unseemly." He went, visited his friends, and forgot Puapae. He tried to marry again, but Puapae came and stood on the other side. The chief called out, "Which is your wife, Siati?" "The one on the right side." Puapae then broke silence with, "Ah, Siati, you have forgotten all I did for you;" and off she went. Siati remembered it all, darted after her crying, and then fell down dead.
Apart from the amusing "suddenness" of the proposal and the marriage, this tale is of interest as indicating that among the lower races woman has—as many observations indicate—a greater capacity for conjugal attachment than man.
The courtship scene cited above indicates an instinctive knowledge of the strategic value of coyness and feigned displeasure. The following story, which I condense from the versified form in which Turner gives it, would seem to be a sort of masculine warning to women against the danger and folly of excessive coyness, so inconvenient to the men:
Once there were two sisters, Sinaleuuna and Sinaeteva, who wished they had a brother. Their wish was gratified; a boy was born to their parents, but they brought him up apart, and the sisters never saw him till one day, when he had grown up, he was sent to them with some food. The girls were struck with his beauty.
Afterwards they sat down and filled into a bamboo bottle the liquid shadow of their brother. A report had come to them of Sina, a Fijian girl who was so beautiful that all the swells were running after her. Hearing this, and being anxious to get a wife for their brother, they dressed up and went to Fiji, intending to tell Sina about their brother. But Sina was haughty; she slighted the sisters and treated them shamefully. She had heard of the beauty of the young man, whose name was Maluafiti ("Shade of Fiji"), and longed for his coming, but did not know that these were his sisters.
The slighted girls got angry and went to the water when Sina was taking her bath. From the bottle they threw out on the water the shadow of their brother. Sina looked at the shadow and was struck with its beauty. "That is my husband," she said, "wherever I can find him." She called out to the villagers for all the handsome young men to come and find out of whom the figure in the water was the image. But the shadow was more beautiful than any of these young men and it wheeled round and round in the water whenever Maluafiti, in his own land, turned about. All this time the sisters were weeping and exclaiming:
"Oh, Maluafiti! rise up, it is day; Your shadow prolongs our ill-treatment. Maluafiti, come and talk with her face to face, Instead of that image in the water."
Sina had listened, and now she knew it was the shadow of Maluafiti. "These are his sisters too," she thought, "and I have been ill-using them; forgive me, I've done wrong," But the ladies were angry still. Maluafiti came in his canoe to court Lady Sina, and also to fetch his sisters. When they told him of their treatment he flew into an implacable rage. Sina longed to get him; he was her heart's desire and long she had waited for him. But Maluafiti frowned and would return to his island, and off he went with his sisters. Sina cried and screamed, and determined to follow swimming. The sisters pleaded to save and to bring her, but Maluafiti relented not and Sina died in the ocean.
PERSONAL CHARMS OF SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS
"Falling in love" with a person of the other sex on the mere report of his or her beauty is a very familiar motive in the literature of Oriental and mediaeval nations in particular. It is, therefore, interesting to find such a motive in the Samoan story just cited. In my view, as previously explained, beauty, among the lower races, means any kind of attractiveness, sensual more frequently than esthetic. The South Sea Islanders have been credited with considerable personal charms, although it is now conceded that the early voyagers (to whom, after an absence from shore of several months, almost any female must have seemed a Helen) greatly exaggerated their beauty.
Captain Cook kept a level head. He found Tongan women less distinguished from the men by their features than by their forms, while in the case of Hawaiians even the figures were remarkably similar (II., 144, 246). In Tahitian women he saw "all those delicate characteristics which distinguish them from the men in other countries." The Hawaiians, though far from being ugly, are "neither remarkable for a beautiful shape, nor for striking features" (246).
The indolent, open-air, amphibious life led by the South Sea Islanders was favorable to the development of fine bodies. Cook saw among the Tongans "some absolutely perfect models of the human figure." But fine feathers do not make fine birds. The nobler phases of love are not inspired by fine figures so much as by beautiful and refined faces. Polynesian and Melanesian features are usually coarse and sensual. Hugo Zoller says that "the most beautiful Samoan woman would stand comparison at best with a pretty German peasant girl;" and from my own observations at Honolulu, and a study of many photographs, I conclude that what he says applies to the Pacific Islanders in general. Edward Reeves, in his recent volume on Brown Men and Women (17-22), speaks of "that fraud—the beautiful brown woman." He found her a "dream of beauty and refinement" only in the eyes of poets and romancers; in reality they were malodorous and vulgar. "All South Sea Island women are very much the same."
"To compare the prettiest Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, or even Rotuman, to the plainest and most simply educated Irish, French, or Colonial girl that has been decently brought up is an insult to one's intelligence."
Wilkes (II., 22) hesitated to speak of the Tahitian females because he could not discover their much-vaunted beauty:
"I did not see among them a single woman whom I could call handsome. They have, indeed, a soft sleepiness about the eyes, which may be fascinating to some, but I should rather ascribe the celebrity their charms have obtained among navigators to their cheerfulness and gaiety. Their figures are bad, and the greater part of them are parrot-toed."
TAHITIANS AND THEIR WHITE VISITORS
Tongan girls are referred to in Reeves's book as "bundles of blubber." It is not necessary to refer once more to the fact that "blubber" is the criterion and ideal of "beauty" among the Pacific Islanders, as among barbarians in general. Consequently their love cannot have been ennobled by any of the refined, esthetic, intellectual, and moral qualities which are embodied in a refined face and a daintily modelled figure.
Coarsest of all the Polynesians were the Tahitians; yet even here efforts have been made to convey the impression that they owed their licentious practices to the influence of white visitors. The grain of truth in this assertion lies in the undoubted fact that the whites, with their rum and trinkets and diseases, aggravated the evil; but their contribution was but a drop in the ocean of iniquity which existed ages before these islands were discovered by whites. Tahitian traditions trace their vilest practices back to the earliest times known. (Ellis, I., 183.) The first European navigators found the same vices which later visitors deplored. Bougainville, who tarried at Tahiti in 1767, called the island Nouvelle Cythere, on account of the general immorality of the natives. Cook, when he visited the island in the following year, declined to make his journal "the place for exhibiting a view of licentious manners which could only serve to disgust" his readers (212). Hawkesworth relates (II., 206) that the Tahitians offered sisters and daughters to strangers, while breaches of conjugal fidelity are punished only by a few hard words or a slight beating:
"Among other diversions there is a dance called Timorodee, which is performed by young girls, whenever eight or ten of them can be collected together, consisting of motions and gestures beyond imagination wanton, in the practice of which they are brought up from their earliest childhood, accompanied by words which, if it were possible, would more explicitly convey the same ideas." "But there is a scale in dissolute sensuality, which these people have ascended, wholly unknown to every other nation whose manners have been recorded from the beginning of the world to the present hour, and which no imagination could possibly conceive."
This is the testimony of the earliest explorers who saw the natives before whites could have possibly corrupted them. The later missionaries found no change for the better. Captain Cook already referred to the Areois who made a business of depravity (220). "So agreeable," he wrote,
"is this licentious plan of life to their disposition, that the most beautiful of both sexes thus commonly spend their youthful days, habituated to the practice of enormities which would disgrace the most savage tribes."
Ellis, who lived several years on this island, declares that they were noted for their humor and their jests, but the jests
"were in general low and immoral to a disgusting degree.... Awfully dark, indeed, was their moral character, and notwithstanding the apparent mildness of their disposition, and the cheerful vivacity of their conversation, no portion of the human race was ever, perhaps, sunk lower in brutal licentiousness and moral degradation than this isolated people" (87).
He also describes the Areois (I., 185-89) as "privileged libertines," who travelled from place to place giving improper dances and exhibitions, "addicted to every kind of licentiousness," and "spreading a moral contagion throughout society," Yet they were "held in the greatest respect" by all classes of the population. They had their own gods, who were "monsters in vice," and "patronized every evil practice perpetrated during such seasons of public festivity."
Did the white sailors also give the Tahitians their idea of Tahitian dances, and professional Areois, and corrupt gods? Did they teach them customs which Hawkesworth, himself a sailor, and accustomed to scenes of low life, said "no imagination could possibly conceive?" Did the European whites teach these natives to regard men as ra (sacred) and women as noa (common)? Did they teach them all those other customs and atrocities which the following paragraphs reveal?
HEARTLESS TREATMENT OF WOMEN
It can be shown that quite apart from their sensuality, the Tahitians were too coarse and selfish to be able to entertain any of those refined sentiments of love which the sentimentalists would have us believe prevailed before the advent of the white man.
Love is often compared to a flower; but love cannot, like a flower, grow on a dunghill. It requires a pure, chaste soul, and it requires the fostering sunshine of sympathy and adoration. To a Tahitian a woman was merely a toy to amuse him. He liked her as he liked his food and drink, or his cool plunge into the waves, for the reason that she pleased his senses. He could not feel sentimental love for her, since, far from adoring her, he did not even respect or well-treat her. Ellis (I., 109) relates that
"The men were allowed to eat the flesh of the pig, and of fowls, and a variety of fish, cocoanuts, and plantains, and whatever was presented as an offering to the gods; these the females, on pain of death, were forbidden to touch, as it was supposed they would pollute them. The fires at which the men's food was cooked were also sacred, and were forbidden to be used by the females. The baskets in which their provision was kept, and the house in which the men ate, were also sacred, and prohibited to the females under the same cruel penalty. Hence the inferior food, both for wives, daughters, etc., was cooked at separate fires, deposited in distinct baskets, and eaten in lonely solitude by the females, in little huts erected for the purpose."
Not content with this, when one man wished to abuse another in a particularly offensive way he would use some expression referring to this degraded condition of the women, such as "mayst thou be baked as food for thy mother." Young children were deliberately taught to disregard their mother, the father encouraging them in their insults and violence (205). Cook (220) found that Tahitian women were often treated with a degree of harshness, or rather "brutality," which one would scarcely suppose a man would bestow on an object for whom he had the least affection. Nothing, however, is more common than "to see the men beat them without mercy" (II., 220). They killed more female than male infants, because, as they said, the females were useless for war, the fisheries, or the service of the temple. For the sick they had no sympathy; at times they murdered them or buried them alive. (Ellis, I., 340; II., 281.) In battle they gave no quarter, even to women or children. (Hawkesworth, II., 244.)
"Every horrid torture was practised. The females experienced brutality and murder, and the tenderest infants were perhaps transfixed to the mother's heart by a ruthless weapon—caught up by ruffian hands, and dashed against the rocks or the trees—or wantonly thrown up into the air, and caught on the point of the warrior's spear, where it writhed in agony, and died, ... some having two or three infants hanging on the spear they bore across their shoulders" (I., 235-36). The bodies of females slain in war were treated with "a degree of brutality as inconceivable as it was detestable."
TWO STORIES OF TAHITIAN INFATUATION
While ferocity, cruelty, habitual wantonness and general coarseness are fatal obstacles to sentimental love, they may be accompanied, as we have seen, by the violent sensual infatuation which is so often mistaken for love. Unsuccessful Tahitian suitors have been known to commit suicide under the influence of revenge and despair, as is stated by Ellis (I., 209), who also notes two instances of violent individual preference.
The chief of Eimeo, twenty years old, of a mild disposition, became attached to a Huahine girl and tendered proposals of marriage. She was a niece of the principal roatira in the island, but though her family was willing, she declined all his proposals. He discontinued his ordinary occupations, and repaired to the habitation of the individual whose favor he was so anxious to obtain. Here he appeared subject to the deepest melancholy, and from morning to night, day after day, he attended his mistress, performing humiliating offices with apparent satisfaction. His disappointment finally became the topic of general conversation. At length the girl was induced to accept him. They were publicly married and lived very comfortably together for a few months, when the wife died.
In the other instance the girl was the lover and the man unwilling. A belle of Huahine became exceedingly fond of the society of a young man who was temporarily staying on the island and living in the same house. It was soon intimated to him that she wished to become his companion for life. The intimation, however, was disregarded by the young man, who expressed his intention to prosecute his voyage. The young woman became unhappy, and made no secret of the cause of her distress. She was assiduous in redoubling her efforts to please the individual whose affection she was desirous to retain. At this period Ellis never saw him either in the house of his friend or walking abroad without the young woman by his side. Finding the object of her attachment, who was probably about eighteen years of age, unmoved by her attentions, she not only became exceedingly unhappy, but declared that if she continued to receive the same indifference and neglect, she would either strangle or drown herself. Her friends now interfered, using their endeavors with the young man. He relented, returned the attentions he had received, and the two were married. Their happiness, however, was of short duration. The attachment which had been so ardent in the bosom of the young woman before marriage was superseded by a dislike as powerful, and though he seemed not unkind to her, she not only treated him with insult but finally left him.
"The marriage tie," says Ellis (I., 213),
"was probably one of the weakest and most brittle that existed among them; neither party felt themselves bound to abide by it any longer than it suited their convenience. The slightest cause was often sufficient to occasion or justify the separation."
CAPTAIN COOK ON TAHITIAN LOVE
It has been said of Captain Cook that his maps and topographical observations are characterized by remarkable accuracy. The same may be said in general of his observations regarding the natives of the islands he visited more than a century ago. He, too, noted some cases of strong personal preference among Tahitians, but this did not mislead him into attributing to them a capacity for true love:
"I have seen several instances where the women have preferred personal beauty to interest, though I must own that, even in these cases, they seem scarcely susceptible of those delicate sentiments that are the result of mutual affection; and I believe that there is less Platonic love in Otaheite than in any other country."
Not that Captain Cook was infallible. When he came across the Tonga group he gave it the name of "Friendly Islands," because of the apparently amicable disposition of the natives toward him; but, as a matter of fact, their intention was to massacre him and his crew and take the two ships—a plan which would have been put in execution if the chiefs had not had a dispute as to the exact mode and time of making the assault. Cook was pleased with the appearance and the ways of these islanders; they seemed kind, and he was struck at seeing "hundreds of truly European faces" among them. He went so far as to declare that it was utterly wrong to call them savages, "for a more civilized people does not exist under the sun." He did not stay with them long enough to discover that they were morally not far above the other South Sea Islanders.
WERE THE TONGANS CIVILIZED?
Mariner, who lived among the Tongans four years, and whose adventures and observations were afterward recorded by Martin, gives information which indicates that Cook was wrong when he said that a more civilized people does not exist under the sun. "Theft, revenge, rape and murder," Mariner attests (II., 140), "under many circumstances are not held to be crimes." It is considered the duty of married women to remain true to their husbands and this, Mariner thinks, is generally done. Unmarried women "may bestow their favors upon whomsoever they please, without any opprobrium" (165). Divorced women, like the unmarried, may admit temporary lovers without the least reproach or secresy.
"When a woman is taken prisoner (in war) she generally has to submit; but this is a thing of course, and considered neither an outrage nor dishonor; the only dishonor being to be a prisoner and consequently a sort of servant to the conqueror. Rape, though always considered an outrage, is not looked upon as a crime unless the woman be of such rank as to claim respect from the perpetrator" (166).
Many of their expressions, when angry, are
"too indelicate to mention." "Conversation is often intermingled with allusions, even when women are present, which could not be allowed in any decent society in England."
Two-thirds of the women
"are married and are soon divorced, and are married again perhaps three, four, or five times in their lives." "No man is understood to be bound to conjugal fidelity; it is no reproach to him to intermix his amours." "Neither have they any word expressive of chastity except nofo mow, remaining fixed or faithful, and which in this sense is only applied to a married woman to signify her fidelity to her husband."
Even the married women of the lower classes had to yield to the wishes of the chiefs, who did not hesitate to shoot a resisting husband. (Waitz-Gerland, VI., 184.)
While these details show that Captain Cook overrated the civilization of the Tongans, there are other facts indicating that they were in some respects superior to other Polynesians, at any rate. The women are capable of blushing, and they are reproached if they change their lovers too often. They seem to have a dawning sense of the value of chastity and of woman's claims to consideration. In Mariner's description (I., 130) of a chief's wedding occurs this sentence:
"The dancing being over, one of the old matabooles (nobles) addressed the company, making a moral discourse on the subject of chastity—advising the young men to respect, in all cases, the wives of their neighbors, and never to take liberties even with an unmarried woman against her free consent."
The wives of chiefs must not go about without attendants. Mariner says, somewhat naively, that when a man has an amour, he keeps it secret from his wife,
"not out of any fear or apprehension, but because it is unnecessary to excite her jealousy, and make her perhaps unhappy; for it must be said, to the honor of the men, that they consult in no small degree, and in no few respects, the happiness and comfort of their wives."
If Mariner tells the truth, it must be said in this respect that the Tongans are superior to all other peoples we have so far considered in this book. Though the husband's authority at home is absolute, and though one girl in every three is betrothed in her infancy, men do not, he says, make slaves or drudges of their wives, or sell their daughters, two out of every three girls being allowed to choose their own husbands—"early and often." The men do most of the hard work, even to the cooking. "In Tonga," says Seemann (237), "the women have been treated from time immemorial with all the consideration demanded by their weaker and more delicate constitution, not being allowed to perform any hard work." Cook also found (II., 149) that the province allotted to the men was "far more laborious and extensive than that of the women," whose employments were chiefly such as may be executed in the house.
LOVE OF SCENERY
If we may rely on Mariner there is still another point in which the Tongans appear to be far above other Polynesians, and barbarians in general. He would have us believe that while they seldom sing about love or war, they evince a remarkable love of nature (I., 293). He declares that they sometimes ascend a certain rock to "enjoy the sublime beauty of the surrounding scenery," or to reflect on the deeds of their ancestors. He cites a specimen of their songs, which, he says, is often sung by them; it is without rhymes or regular measure, and is given in a sort of recitative beginning with this highly poetic passage:
"Whilst we were talking of Vavaoo tooa Licoo, the women said to us, let us repair to the back of the island to contemplate the setting sun: there let us listen to the warbling of the birds and the cooing of the wood-pigeon. We will gather flowers ... and partake of refreshments ... we will then bathe in the sea and ... anoint our skins in the sun with sweet-scented oil, and will plait in wreaths the flowers gathered at Matawlo. And now, as we stand motionless on the eminence over Ana Manoo, the whistling of the wind among the branches of the lofty toa shall fill us with a pleasing melancholy; or our minds shall be seized with astonishment as we behold the roaring surf below, endeavoring but in vain to tear away the firm rocks. Oh! how much happier shall we be thus employed, than when engaged in the troublesome and insipid affairs of life."
Inasmuch as Mariner did not take notes on the spot, but relied on his memory after an absence of several years, it is to be feared that the above passage may not be unadulterated Tongan. The rest of the song has a certain Biblical tone and style in a few of the sentences which arouse the suspicion (remember Ossian!) that a missionary may have edited, if not composed, this song. However that may be, the remainder of it gives us several pretty glimpses of Tongan amorous customs and may therefore be cited, omitting a few irrelevant sentences:
"Alas! how destructive is war!—Behold! how it has rendered the land productive of weeds, and opened untimely graves for departed heroes! Our chiefs can now no longer enjoy the sweet pleasure of wandering alone by moonlight in search of their mistresses: but let us banish sorrow from our hearts: since we are at war, we must think and act like the natives of Fiji, who first taught us this destructive art. Let us therefore enjoy the present time, for to-morrow perhaps or the next day we may die. We will dress ourselves with chi coola, and put bands of white tappa round our waists: we will plait thick wreaths of jiale for our heads, and prepare strings of hooni for our necks, that their whiteness may show off the color of our skins. Mark how the uncultivated spectators are profuse of their applause!—But now the dance is over: let us remain here to-night, and feast and be cheerful, and to-morrow we will depart for the Mooa. How troublesome are the young men, begging for our wreaths of flowers, while they say in their flattery, 'See how charming these young girls look coining from Licoo!—how beautiful are their skins, diffusing around a fragrance like the flowery precipice of Mataloco:' Let us also visit Licoo; we will depart to-morrow."
A CANNIBAL BARGAIN
This story intimates, what may be true, that the Fijians first taught the Tongans the art of war, and if the Tongans were not originally a warlike people, we would have in that significant fact alone an explanation of much of their superiority to other Pacific islanders. The Fijians also appear to have taught them cannibalism, to which, however, they never became so addicted as their teachers. Mariner (I., 110-111) tells a story of two girls who, in a time of scarcity, agreed to play a certain game with two young men on these conditions: if the girls won, they were to divide a yam belonging to them and give half to the men; if the two men won they were still to have their share of the yam, but they were to go and kill a man and give half his body to the girls. The men won and promptly proceeded to carry out their part of the contract. Concealing themselves near a fortress, they soon saw a man who came to fill his cocoanut shells with water. They rushed on him with their clubs, brought the body home at the risk of their lives, divided it and gave the young women the promised half.
THE HANDSOME CHIEFS
To Captain Cook the muscular Tongan men conveyed the suggestion of strength rather than of beauty. They have, however, a legend which indicates that they had a high opinion of their personal appearance. It is related by Mariner (II., 129-34).
The god Langai dwelt in heaven with his two daughters. One day, as he was going to attend a meeting of the gods, he warned the daughters not to go to Tonga to gratify their curiosity to see the handsome chiefs there. But hardly had he gone when they made up their minds to do that very thing. "Let us go to Tonga," they said to each other; "there our celestial beauty will be appreciated more than here where all the women are beautiful." So they went to Tonga and, arm in arm, appeared before the feasting nobles, who were astounded at their beauty and all wanted the girls. Soon the nobles came to blows, and the din of battle was so great that it reached the ears of the gods. Langai was despatched to bring back and punish the girls. When he arrived, one of them had already fallen a victim to the contending chiefs. The other he seized, tore off her head, and threw it into the sea, where it was transformed into a turtle.
HONEYMOON IN A CAVE
On the west coast of the Tongan Island of Hoonga there is a peculiar cave, the entrance to which is several feet beneath the surface of the sea, even at low water. It was first discovered by a young chief, while diving after a turtle. He told no one about it, and luckily, as we shall see. He was secretly enamoured of a beautiful young girl, the daughter of a certain chief, but as she was betrothed to another man, he dared not tell her of his love. The governor of the islands was a cruel tyrant, whose misdeeds at last incited this girl's father to plot an insurrection. The plot unfortunately was discovered and the chief with all his relatives, including the beautiful girl, condemned to be taken out to sea in a canoe and drowned.
No time was to be lost. The lover hastened to the girl, informed her of her danger, confessed his love, and begged her to come with him to a place of safety. Soon her consenting hand was clasped in his; the shades of evening favored their escape; while the woods afforded her concealment until her lover had brought a canoe to a lonely part of the beach. In this they speedily embarked, and as he paddled her across the smooth water he related his discovery of the cavern destined to be her asylum till an opportunity offered of conveying her to the Fiji Islands.
When they arrived at the rock he jumped into the water, and she followed close after; they rose into the cavern, safe from all possibility of discovery, unless he should be watched. In the morning he returned to Vavaoo to bring her mats to lie on, and gnatoo (prepared bark of mulberry-tree) for a change of dress. He gave her as much of his time as prudence allowed, and meanwhile pleaded his tale of love, to which she was not deaf; and when she confessed that she, too, had long regarded him with a favorable eye (but a sense of duty had caused her to smother her growing fondness), his measure of happiness was full.
This cave was a very nice place for a honeymoon, but hardly for a permanent residence. So the young chief contrived a way of getting her out of the cavernous prison. He told his inferior chiefs that he wanted them to take their families and go with him to Fiji. A large canoe was soon got ready, and as they embarked he was asked if he would not take a Tongan wife with him. He replied, No! but that he should probably find one by the way. They thought this a joke, but when they came to the spot where the cave was, he asked them to wait while he went into the sea to fetch his wife. As he dived, they began to suspect he was insane, and as he did not soon reappear they feared he had been devoured by a shark.
While they were deliberating what to do, all at once, to their great surprise, he rose to the surface and brought into the canoe a beautiful young woman who, they all supposed, had been drowned with her family. The chief now told the story of the cave, and they proceeded to Fiji, where they lived some years, until the cruel governor of Tonga died, whereupon they returned to that island.
A HAWAIIAN CAVE-STORY
In an interesting book called The Legends and Myths of Hawaii, by King Kalakaua, there is a tale called "Kaala, the Flower of Lanai; A Story of the Spouting Cave of Palikaholo," which also involves the use of a submarine cave, but has a tragic ending. It takes the King fifteen pages to tell it, but the following condensed version retains all the details of the original that relate directly to love:
Beneath a bold rocky bluff on the coast of Lanai there is a cave whose only entrance is through the vortex of a whirlpool. Its floor gradually rises from the water, and is the home of crabs, polypi, sting-rays, and other noisome creatures of the deep, who find here temporary safety from their larger foes. It was a dangerous experiment to dive into this cave. One of the few who had done it was Oponui, a minor chief of Lanai Island. He had a daughter named Kaala, a girl of fifteen, who was so beautiful that her admirers were counted by the hundreds.
It so happened that the great monarch Kamehameha I. paid a visit to Lanai about this time (near the close of the eighteenth century). He was received with enthusiasm, and among those who brought offerings of flowers was the fair Kaala. As she scattered the flowers she was seen by Kaaialii, one of the King's favorite lieutenants. "He was of chiefly blood and bearing" with sinewy limbs and a handsome face, and when he stopped to look into the eyes of Kaala and tell her that she was beautiful, she thought the words, although they had been frequently spoken to her by others, had never sounded so sweetly to her before. He asked her for a simple flower and she twined a lei for his neck. He asked her for a smile, and she looked up into his face and gave him her heart.
After they had seen each other a few times the lieutenant went to his chief and said:
"I love the beautiful Kaala, daughter of Oponui. Give her to me for a wife."
"The girl is not mine to give," replied the King. "We must be just. I will send for her father. Come to-morrow."
Oponui was not pleased when he was brought before the King and heard his request. He had once, in war, narrowly escaped death at the hand of Kaaialii and now felt that he would rather feed his daughter to the sharks than give her to the man who had sought his life. Still, as it would have been unwise to openly oppose the King's wishes, he pretended to regard the proposal with favor, but regretted that his daughter was already promised to another man. He was, however, willing, he added, to let the girl go to the victor in a contest with bare hands between the two suitors.
The rival suitor was Mailou, a huge, muscular savage known as the "bone breaker." Kaala hated and feared him and had taken every occasion to avoid him; but as her father was anxious to secure so strong an ally, his desire finally had prevailed against her aversion.
Kaaialii was less muscular than his rival, but he had superior cunning, and thus it happened that in the fierce contest which followed he tripped up the "bone-breaker," seized his hair as he fell, placed his knees against his back, and broke his spine.
Breaking away from her disappointed father Kaala sprang through the crowd and threw herself into the victor's arms. The king placed their hands together and said: "You have won her nobly. She is now your wife. Take her with you."
But Oponui's wrath was greater than before, and he plotted revenge. On the morning after the marriage he visited Kaala and told her that her mother was dangerously ill at Mahana and wanted to see her before she died. The daughter followed him, though her husband had some misgivings. Arriving at the seashore, the father told her, with a wild glare in his eyes, that he had made up his mind to hide her down among the gods of the sea until the hated Kaaialii had left the island, when he would bring her home again. She screamed and tried to escape, but he gathered the struggling girl in his arms and jumped with her into the circling waters above the Spouting Cave. Sinking a fathom or so, they were sucked upward into the cave, where he placed her just above the reach of the water among the crabs and eels, with scarcely light enough to see them. He offered to take her back if she would promise to accept the love of the chief of Olowalu and allow Kaaialii to see her in the embrace of another. But she declared she would sooner perish in the cave. Having warned her that if she attempted to escape she would surely be dashed against the rocks and become the food of the sharks, he returned to the shore.
Kaaialii awaited his wife's return with his heart aching for her warm embrace. He recalled the sullen look of Oponui, and panic seized him. He climbed a hill to watch for her return and his heart beat with joy when he saw a girl returning toward him. He thought it was Kaala, but it was Ua, the friend of Kaala and almost her equal in beauty. Ua told him that his wife had not been seen at her mother's, and as her father had been seen taking her through the forest, it was feared she would not be allowed to return.
With an exclamation of rage Kaaialii started down toward the coast. Here he ran across Oponui and tried to seize him by the throat; but Oponui escaped and ran into a temple, where he was safe from an attack. In a paroxysm of rage and disappointment Kaaialii threw himself upon the ground cursing the tabu that barred him from his enemy. His friends took him to his hut, where Ua sought to soothe and comfort him. But he talked and thought alone of Kaala, and after partaking hastily of food, started out to find her. Of every one he met he inquired for Kaala, and called her name in the deep valleys and at the hilltops.
Near the sacred spring of Kealia he met a white-haired priest who took pity on him and told him where Kaala had been hidden. "The place is dark and her heart is full of terror. Hasten to her, but tarry not, or she will be the food of the creatures of the sea."
Thanking the priest, Kaaialii hastened to the bluff. With the words "Kaala, I come!" he sprang into the whirlpool and disappeared. The current sucked him up and suddenly he found himself in a chilly cave, feeling his way on the slimy floor by the dim light. Suddenly a low moan reached his ear. It was the voice of Kaala. She was lying near him, her limbs bruised with fruitless attempts to leave the cave, and no longer strong enough to drive away the crabs that were feeding upon her quivering flesh. He lifted her up and bore her toward the light. She opened her eyes and whispered, "I am dying, but I am happy, for you are here." He told her he would save her, but she made no response, and when he put his hand on her heart he found she was dead.
For hours he held her in his arms. At length he was aroused by the splashing of water. He looked up and there was Ua, the gentle and beautiful friend of Kaala, and behind her the King Kamehameha. Kaaialii rose and pointed to the body before him. "I see," said the King, softly, "the girl is dead. She could have no better burial-place. Come, Kaaialii, let us leave it." But Kaaialii did not move. For the first time in his life he refused to obey his King. "What! would you remain here?" said the monarch. "Would you throw your life away for a girl? There are others as fair. Here is Ua; she shall be your wife, and I will give you the valley of Palawai. Come, let us leave at once lest some angry god close the entrance against us!"
"Great chief," replied Kaaialii, "you have always been kind and generous to me, and never more so than now. But hear me; my life and strength are gone. Kaala was my life, and she is dead. How can I live without her? You are my chief. You have asked me to leave this place and live. It is the first request of yours I have ever disobeyed. It shall be the last!" Then seizing a stone, with a swift, strong blow he crushed in brow and brain, and fell dead upon the body of Kaala.
A wail of anguish went up from Ua. Kamehameha spoke not, moved not. Long he gazed upon the bodies before him; and his eye was moist and his strong lips quivered as, turning away at last, he said: "He loved her indeed!"
Wrapped in kapa, the bodies were laid side by side and left in the cavern; and there to-day may be seen the bones of Kaala, the flower of Lanai, and of Kaaialii, her knightly lover, by such as dare seek the passage to them through the whirlpool of Palikaholo.
IS THIS ROMANTIC LOVE?
These two Polynesian cave-stories are of interest from several points of view. In Waitz-Gerland (VI., 125), the Tongan tale is referred to as "a very romantic love-story," and if the author had known the Hawaiian story he would have had even more reason to call it romantic. But is either of these tales a story of romantic love? Is there evidence in them of anything but strong selfish passion or eagerness to possess one of the other sex? Is there any trace of the higher phases of love—of unselfish attachment, sympathy, adoration, as of a superior being, purity, gallantry, self-sacrifice? Not one. The Hawaiian Kaaialii does indeed smash his own skull when he finds his bride is dead. But that is a very different thing from sacrificing himself to save or please her. We have seen, too, on how slight a provocation these islanders will commit suicide, an act which proves a weak intellect rather than strong feeling. A man capable of feeling true love would have brains enough to restrain himself from committing such a silly and useless act in a fit of disappointment.
There is every reason to believe, moreover, that these stories have been embroidered by the narrators. In the vast majority of cases the men who have had an opportunity to note down primitive love-stories unfortunately did not hesitate to disguise their native flavor with European sauce in order to make them more palatable to the general public. This makes them interesting stories, made realistic by the use of local color, but utterly mars them for the scientific epicure who often relishes most what is caviare to the general. Take that Hawaiian story. It is supposed to be told by King Kalakaua himself. At least, the book of Legend and Myths has "By His Hawaiian Majesty" on the title page. Beneath those words we read that the book was edited by the Hon. E.M. Daggett; and in the preface acknowledgment is made to as many as eight persons "for material in the compilation of many of the legends embraced in this volume." Thus there are ten cooks, and the question arises, "did they carefully and conscientiously tell these stories exactly as related to them by aboriginal Hawaiians, free from missionary influences, or did they flavor the broth with European condiments?" To this question no answer is given in the book, but there is plenty of evidence that either the King himself, in order to make his people as much like ours as possible, or his foreign assistants, embellished them with sentimental details. To take only two significant points: it sounds very sentimental to be told that the girl Ua, after Kaaialii had jumped into the vortex "wailed upon the winds a requiem of love and grief," but a native Hawaiian has no more notion of the word requiem than he has of a syllogism. Then again, the story is full of expressions like this: "His heart beat with joy, for he thought she was Kaala;" or "He asked her for a smile and she gave him her heart." Such phrases mislead not only the general reader but careless anthropologists into the belief that the lower races feel and express their love just as we do. As a matter of fact, Polynesians do not attribute feelings to the heart. Ellis (II., 311), could not even make them understand what he was talking about when he tried to explain to them our ideas regarding the heart as a seat of moral feeling. The fact that our usage in this respect is a mere convention, not based on physiological facts, makes it all the more reprehensible to falsify psychology by adorning aboriginal tales with the borrowed plumes and phrases of civilization.
VAGARIES OF HAWAIIAN FONDNESS
It is quite possible that the events related in the cave-story did occur; but a Hawaiian, untouched by missionary influences, would have told them very differently. It is very much more likely, however, that if a Hawaiian had found himself in the predicament of Kaaialii, he would have sympathized with the king's contemptuous speech: "What! would you throw your life away for a girl? There are others as fair. Here is Ua; she shall be your wife." This would have been much more in accordance with what observers have told us of Hawaiian "heart-affairs." "The marriage tie is loose," says Ellis (IV., 315), "and the husband can dismiss his wife on any occasion." "The loves of the Hawaiians are usually ephemeral," says "Haeole," the author of Sandwich Island Notes (267). The widow seldom or never plants a solitary flower over the grave of her lord. She may once visit the mound that marks the repose of his ashes, but never again, unless by accident. It not unfrequently happens that a second husband is selected while the remains of the first are being conveyed to his "long home." Hawaiian women seem more attached to pigs and puppies than to their husbands or even their children. The writer just quoted says whole volumes might be written concerning the "silly affection" of the women for animals. They carry them in their bosoms, and do not hesitate to suckle them. It is one of their duties to drive pigs to the market, and one day "Haeole" came across a group of native women who had taken off their only garments and soaked them in water to cool their dear five hundred-pounder, while others were fanning him! As late as 1881 Isabella Bird wrote (213) that
"the crime of infanticide, which formerly prevailed to a horrible extent, has long been extinct; but the love of pleasure and the dislike of trouble which partially actuated it are apparently still stronger among the women than the maternal instinct, and they do not take the trouble necessary to rear infants.... I have nowhere seen such tenderness lavished upon infants as upon the pet dogs that the women carry about with them."
Hawaiians did not treat women as brutally as Fijians do; yet how far they were from respecting, not to speak of adoring, them, is obvious from the contemptuous and selfish taboos which forbade women, on penalty of death, to eat any of the best and commonest articles of food, such as bananas, cocoanuts, pork, turtle; or refused them permission to eat with their lords and masters, or to share in divine worship, because their touch would pollute the offerings to the gods.
The grossness of the Hawaiian erotic taste is indicated by "Haeole's" reference (123) to "the immense corpulency of some of the old Hawaiian queens, a feature which, in those days, was deemed the ne plus ultra of female beauty." Incest was permitted to the chiefs, and the people vied with their rulers in the grossest sensuality.
"Nearly every night, with the gathering darkness, crowds would retire to some favorite spot, where, amid every species of sensual indulgence, they would revel until the morning twilight" (412).
"In Hawaii, whether the woman was married or single, she would have been thought very churlish and boorish if she refused any favor asked by a male friend of the family,"
says E. Tregear; and in Dibble's History of the Sandwich Islands (126-27) we read:
"For husbands to interchange wives, or for wives to interchange husbands, was a common act of friendship, and persons who would not do this were not considered on good terms of sociability. For a man or a woman to refuse a solicitation for illicit intercourse was considered an act of meanness, and so thoroughly was this sentiment wrought into their minds that, even to the present day, they seem not to rid themselves of the feeling of meanness in making a refusal."
The Hawaiian word for marriage is hoao, meaning "trial." It was also customary for a married woman to have an acknowledged lover known as punula. The word hula hula is familiar the world over as the name of an improper dance, but it is nothing to what it used to be. The famous cave Niholua was consecrated to it. In past generations
"warriors came here to revel with their paramours. The Tartarean gloom was slightly relieved by torches ingeniously formed of strings of the candle-nut. Beneath this rugged roof, and amid this darkness—their faces strangely reflecting the feeble torch-light—and divested of every particle of apparel, they promiscuously united in dancing the hula hula (the licentious dance).... Wives were exchanged, and so were concubines; fathers despoiled their own daughters, and brothers deemed it no crime to perpetrate incest."
Waitz-Gerland (VI., 459) cite Wise as attesting that "in 1848 the missionaries gave up a girls' school, because it was impossible to preserve the virtue of their pupils," and Steen Bill wrote that in 1846 seventy per cent of all the crimes punished were of a lewd character, and that on the whole island there was not a chaste girl of eleven years of age. Isabella Bird wrote (169) that "the Hawaiian women have no notions of virtue as we understand it, and if there is to be any future for this race it must come through a higher morality."
THE HELEN OF HAWAII
As there was practically no difference between married and unmarried women in Hawaii, it is not strange that cases of abduction of wives should have occurred. The following story, related in Kalakana's book, probably suffered no great change at the hands of the recorder. I give a condensed version of it:
In the twelfth century, the close of the second era of migration from Tahiti and Samoa, there lived a girl named Hina, noted as the most beautiful maiden on the islands. She married the chief Hakalanileo, and had two children by him. Reports of her beauty had excited the fancy of Kaupeepee, the chief of Haupu. He went to test the reports with his own eyes, and saw that they were not exaggerated. So he hovered around the coast of Hilo watching for a chance to abduct her. It came at last. One day, after sunset, when the moon was shining, Hina repaired to the beach with her women to take a bath. A signal was given—it is thought by the first wife of Hina's husband—and, not long after, a light but heavily manned canoe dashed through the surf and shot in among the bathers. The women screamed and started for the shore. Suddenly a man leaped from the canoe into the water. There was a brief struggle, a stifled scream, a sharp word of command, and a moment later Kaupeepee was again in the canoe with the nude and frantic Hina in his arms. The boatmen lost no time to start; they rowed all night and in the morning reach Haupu.
Hina had been wrapped in folds of soft kapa, and she spent the night sobbing, not knowing what was to become of her. When shore was reached she was borne to the captor's fortress and given an apartment provided with every luxury. She fell asleep from fatigue, and when she awoke and realized where she was it was not without a certain feeling of pride that she reflected that her beauty had led the famous and mighty Kaupeepee to abduct her.
After partaking of a hearty breakfast, she sent for him and he came promptly. "What can I do for you ?" he asked. "Liberate me!" was her answer. "Return me to my children!" "Impossible!" was the firm reply. "Then kill me," she exclaimed. The chief now told her how he had left home specially to see her, and found her the most beautiful woman in Hawaii. He had risked his life to get her. "You are my prisoner," he said, "but not more than I am yours. You shall leave Haupu only when its walls shall have been battered down and I lie dead among the ruins."
Hina saw that resistance was useless. He had soothed her with flattery; he was a great noble; he was gentle though brave. "How strangely pleasant are his words and voice," she said to herself. "No one ever spoke so to me before. I could have listened longer." After that she hearkened for his footsteps and soon accepted him as her lover and spouse.
For seventeen years she remained a willing prisoner. In the meantime her two sons by her first husband had grown up; they ascertained where their mother was, demanded her release, and on refusal waged a terrible war which at last ended in the death of Kaupeepee and the destruction of his walls.
The Rev. H.T. Cheever prints in his book on the Sandwich Islands (226-28) a few amusing specimens of the love-letters exchanged between the native lads of the Lahainaluna Seminary and certain lasses of Lahaina. The following ones were intercepted by the missionaries. The first was penned by a girl:
"Love to you, who speakest sweetly, whom I did kiss. My warm affections go out to you with your love. My mind is oppressed in consequence of not having seen you these times. Much affection for thee dwelling there where the sun causeth the head to ache. Pity for thee in returning to your house, destitute as you supposed. I and she went to the place where we had sat in the meeting-house, and said she, Let us weep. So we two wept for you, and we conversed about you.
"We went to bathe in the bread-fruit yard; the wind blew softly from Lahainaluna, and your image came down with it. We wept for you. Thou only art our food when we are hungry. We are satisfied with your love.
"It is better to conceal this; and lest dogs should prowl after it, and it should be found out, when you have read this letter, tear it up."
The next letter is from one of the boys to a girl:
"Love to thee, thou daughter of the Pandanus of Lanahuli. Thou hina hina, which declarest the divisions of the winds. Thou cloudless sun of the noon. Thou most precious of the daughters of the earth. Thou beauty of the clear nights of Lehua. Thou refreshing fountain of Keipi. Love to thee, O Pomare, thou royal woman of the Pacific here. Thou art glorious with ribbons flying gracefully in the gentle breeze of Puna. Where art thou, my beloved, who art anointed with the fragrance of glory? Much love to thee, who dost draw out my soul as thou dwellest in the shady bread-fruits of Lahaina. O thou who art joined to my affection, who art knit to me in the hot days of Lahainaluna!
"Hark! When I returned great was my love. I was overwhelmed with love like one drowning. When I lay down to sleep I could not sleep; my mind floated after thee. Like the strong south wind of Lahaina, such is the strength of my love to thee, when it comes. Hear me; at the time the bell rings for meeting, on Wednesday, great was my love to you. I dropped my hoe and ran away from my work. I secretly ran to the stream of water, and there I wept for my love to thee. Hearken, my love resembles the cold water far inland. Forsake not thou this our love. Keep it quietly, as I do keep it quietly here."
Here is another from one of the students in the missionary school:
"Love to thee, by reason of whom my heart sleeps not night nor day, all the days of my dwelling here. O thou beautiful one, for whom my love shall never cease. Here also is this—at the time I heard you were going to Waihekee, I was enveloped in great love. And when I had heard you had really gone, great was my regret for you, and exceeding great my love. My appearance was like a sick person who cannot answer when spoken to. I would not go down to the sea again, because I supposed you had not returned. I feared lest I should see all the places where you and I conversed together, and walked together, and I should fall in the streets on account of the greatness of my love to you. I however did go down, and I was continually longing with love to you. Your father said to me, Won't you eat with us? I refused, saying I was full. But the truth was I had eaten nothing. My great love to you, that was the thing which could alone satisfy me. Presently, however, I went to the place of K——, and there I heard you had arrived. I was a little refreshed by hearing this. But my eyes still hung down. I longed to see you, but could not find you, though I waited till dark. Now, while I am writing, my tears are dropping down for you; now my tears are my friends, and my affection to you, O thou who wilt forever be loved. Here, also is this: consent thou to my desire, and write me, that I may know your love. My love to you is great, thou splendid flower of Lana-kahula."
Cheever seems to accept these letters as proof that love is universal, and everywhere the same. He overlooks several important considerations. Were these letters penned by natives or by half-castes, with foreign blood in their veins and inherited capacities of feeling? Unless we know that, no scientific deduction is allowable. These natives are very imitative. They learn our music easily and rapidly, and with the art of writing and reading they readily acquire our amorous phrases. A certain Biblical tone, suggesting the Canticles, is noticeable. The word "heart" is used in a way foreign to Polynesian thought, and apart from these details, is there anything in these letters that goes beyond selfish longing and craving for enjoyment? Is there anything in them that may not be summed up in the language of appetite: "Thou art very desirable—I desire thee—I grieve, and weep, and refuse to eat, because I cannot possess thee now?" Such longing, so intense and fiery that it seems as if all the waters of the ocean could not quench it, constitutes a phase of all amorous passion, from the lowest up to the highest. Philosophers have, indeed, disputed as to which is the more violent and irrepressible, animal passion or sentimental love. Schopenhauer believed the latter, Lichtenberg the former.
MAORIS OF NEW ZEALAND
Hawaii has brought us quite near the coast of America, whose red men will form the subject of our next chapter. But, before passing on to the Indians, we must once more return to the neighborhood of Australia, to the island of New Zealand, which offers some points of great interest to a student of love and a collector of love-stories. We have seen that the islands of Torres Straits, north of Australia, have natives and customs utterly unlike those of Australia. We shall now see that south of Australia, too, there is an island (or rather two islands), whose inhabitants are utterly un-Australian in manners and customs, as well as in origin. The Maoris (that is, natives) of New Zealand have traditions that their ancestors came from Hawaii (Hawaiki), disputes about land having induced them to emigrate. They may have done so by way of other islands, on some of their large canoes, aided by the trade winds. The Maoris are certainly Polynesians, and they resemble Hawaiians and Tongans in many respects. Their ferocity and cannibalism put them on a level with Fijians, making them a terror to navigators, while in some other respects they appear to have been somewhat superior to most of their Polynesian cousins, the Tongans excepted. The Maoris and Tongans best bear out Waitz-Gerland's assertion that "the Polynesians rank intellectually considerably higher than all other uncivilized peoples." The same authorities are charmed by the romantic love-stories of the Maoris, and they certainly are charming and romantic. Sir George Grey's Polynesian Mythology contains four of these stories, of which I will give condensed versions, taking care, as usual, to preserve all pertinent details and intimations of higher qualities.
THE MAIDEN OF ROTORUA
There was a girl of high rank named Hine-Moa. She was of rare beauty, and was so prized by her family that they would not betroth her to anyone. Such fame attended her beauty and rank that many of the men wanted her; among them a chief named Tutanekai and his elder brothers.
Tutanekai had built an elevated balcony where, with his friend Tiki, he used to play the horn and the pipe at night. On calm nights the music was wafted to the village and reached the ears of the beautiful Hine-Moa, whose heart was gladdened by it, and who said to herself, "Ah, that is the music of Tutanekai which I hear."
She and Tutanekai had met each other on those occasions when all the people of Eotorua come together. In those great assemblies they had often glanced each at the other, to the heart of each of them the other appeared pleasing, and worthy of love, so that in the breast of each there grew up a secret passion for the other. Nevertheless, Tutanekai could not tell whether he might venture to approach Hine-Moa to take her hand, to see would she press his in return, because, said he, "Perhaps I may be by no means agreeable to her;" on the other hand, Hine-Moa's heart said to her, "If you send one of your female friends to tell him of your love, perchance he will not be pleased with you."
However, after they had thus met for many, many days, and had long fondly glanced at each other, Tutanekai sent a messenger to Hine-Moa, to tell of his love; and when Hine-Moa had seen the messenger, she said, "Eh-hu! have we then each loved alike?"
Some time after this, a dispute arose among the brothers as to which of them the girl loved. Each one claimed that he had pressed the hand of Hine-Moa and that she had pressed his in return. But the elder brothers sneered at Tutanekai's claims (for he was an illegitimate son), saying, "Do you think she would take any notice of such a lowborn fellow as you?" But in reality Tutanekai had already arranged for an elopement with the girl, and when she asked, "What shall be the sign by which I shall know that I should then run to you?" he said to her, "A trumpet will be heard sounding every night, it will be I who sound it, beloved—paddle then your canoe to that place."
Now always about the middle of the night Tutanekai and his friend went up into their balcony and played. Hine-Moa heard them and vastly desired to paddle over in her canoe; but her friends suspecting something, had all the canoes on the shore of the lake. At last, one evening, she again heard the horn of Tutanekai, and the young and beautiful chieftainess felt as if an earthquake shook her to make her go to the beloved of her heart. At last she thought, perhaps I might be able to swim across. So she took six large, dry, empty gourds as floats, lest she should sink in the water, threw oft her clothes, and plunged into the water. It was dark, and her only guide was the sound of her lover's music. Whenever her limbs became tired she rested, the gourds keeping her afloat. At last she reached the island on which her lover dwelt. Near the shore there was a hot spring, into which she plunged, partly to warm her trembling body, and partly also, perhaps, from modesty, at the thoughts of meeting Tutanekai.
Whilst the maiden was thus warming herself in the hot spring, Tutanekai happened to feel thirsty and sent his servant to fetch him a calabash of water. The servant came to dip it from the lake near where the girl was hiding. She called out to him in a gruff voice, like that of a man, asking him for some to drink, and he gave her the calabash, which she purposely threw down and broke. The servant went back for another calabash and again she broke it in the same way. The servant returned and told his master that a man in the hot spring had broken all his calabashes. "How did the rascal dare to break my calabashes?" exclaimed the young man. "Why, I shall die of rage."
He threw on some clothes, seized his club, and hurried to the hot spring, calling out "Where's that fellow who broke my calabashes?" And Hine-Moa knew the voice, and the sound of it was that of the beloved of her heart; and she hid herself under the overhanging rocks of the hot spring; but her hiding was hardly a real hiding, but rather a bashful concealing of herself from Tutanekai, that he might not find her at once, but only after trouble and careful searching for her; so he went feeling about along the banks of the hot spring, searching everywhere, whilst she lay coyly hid under the ledges of the rock, peeping out, wondering when she would be found. At last he caught hold of a hand, and cried out "Hollo, who's this?" And Hine-Moa answered, "It's I, Tutanekai;" And he said, "But who are you?—who's I?" Then she spoke louder and said., "It's I, 'tis Hine-Moa." And he said "Ho! ho! ho! can such in very truth be the case? Let us two then go to the house." And she answered, "Yes," and she rose up in the water as beautiful as the wild white hawk, and stepped upon the edge of the bath as the shy white crane; and he threw garments over her and took her, and they proceeded to his house, and reposed there; and thenceforth, according to the ancient laws of the Maori, they were man and wife.
THE MAN ON THE TREE
A young man named Maru-tuahu left home in quest of his father, who had abandoned his mother before the son was born because he had been unjustly accused of stealing sweet potatoes from another chief. Maru-tuahu took along a slave, and they carried with them a spear for killing birds for food on the journey through the forest. One morning, after they had been on the way a month, he happened to be up in a forest tree when two young girls, daughters of a chief, came along. They saw the slave sitting at the root of the tree, and sportively contested with each other whose slave he should be.
All this time Maru-tuahu was peeping down at the two girls from the top of the tree; and they asked the slave, saying, "Where is your master?" He answered, "I have no master but him," Then the girls looked about, and there was a cloak lying on the ground, and a heap of dead birds, and they kept on asking, "Where is he?" but it was not long before a flock of Tuis settled on the tree where Maru-tuahu was sitting; he speared at them and struck one of the birds, which made the tree ring with its cries; the girls heard it, and looking up, the youngest saw the young chief sitting in the top boughs of the tree; and she at once called up to him, "Ah! you shall be my husband;" but the eldest sister exclaimed, "You shall be mine," and they began jesting and disputing between themselves which should have him for a husband, for he was a very handsome young man.
Then the two girls called up to him to come down from the tree, and down he came, and dropped upon the ground, and pressed his nose against the nose of each of the young girls. They then asked him to come to their village with them; to which he consented, but said, "You two go on ahead, and leave me and my slave, and we will follow you presently;" and the girls said, "Very well, do you come after us." Maru-tuahu then told his slave to make a present to the girls of the food they had collected, and he gave them two bark baskets of pigeons, preserved in their own fat, and they went off to their village with these.
As soon as the girls were gone, Maru-tuahu went to a stream, washed his hair, and combed it carefully, tied it in a knot, and stuck fifty red Kaka feathers and other plumes in his head, till he looked as handsome as the large-crested cormorant. The young girls soon came back from the village to meet their so-called husband, and when they saw him in his new head-dress and attired in a chief's cloak they felt deeply in love with him and they said, "Come along to our father's village with us." On the way they found out from the slave that his master was the far-famed Maru-tuahu, and they replied: "Dear, dear, we had not the least idea that it was he," Then they ran off to tell his father (for this was the place where his father had gone and married again) that he was coming. The son was warmly welcomed. All the young girls ran outside, waved the corners of their cloaks and cried out, "Welcome, welcome, make haste."
Then there was a great feast, at which ten dogs were eaten. But all this time the two girls were quarrelling with each other as to which of them should have the young chief for a husband. The elder girl was plain, but thought herself pretty, and could not see the least reason why he should be frightened at her; but Maru-tuahu did not like her on account of her plainness, and her pretty sister kept him as her husband.
LOVE IN A FORTRESS
A chief named Rangirarunga had a daughter so celebrated for her beauty that the fame of it had reached all parts of these islands. A young hero named Takarangi also heard of her beauty, and it may be that his heart sometimes dwelt long on the thoughts of such loveliness. They belonged to different tribes, and war broke out between them, during which the fortress of the girl's father was besieged. Soon the inhabitants were near dying from want of food and water. At last the old chief Rangirarunga, overcome by thirst, stood on the top of the defences and cried out to the enemy: "I pray you to give me one drop of water." Some were willing, and got calabashes of water, but others were angry thereat and broke them in their hands. The old chief then appealed to the leader of the enemy, who was Takarangi, and asked him if he could calm the wrath of these fierce men. Takarangi replied: "This arm of mine is one which no dog dares to bite." But what he was really thinking was, "That dying old man is the father of Rau-mahora, of that lovely maid. Ah, how should I grieve if one so young and innocent should die tormented with the want of water." Then he filled a calabash with fresh cool water, and the fierce warriors looked on in wonder and silence while he carried it to the old man and his daughter. They drank, both of them, and Taka-rangi gazed eagerly at the young girl, and she too looked eagerly at Takarangi; long time gazed they each one at the other; and as the warriors of the army of Takarangi looked on, lo, he had climbed up and was sitting at the young maiden's side; and they said, amongst themselves, "O comrades, our lord Takarangi loves war, but one would think he likes Rau-mahora almost as well."
At last a sudden thought struck the heart of the aged chief; so he said to his daughter, "O my child, would it be pleasing to you to have this young chief for a husband?" And the young girl said, "I like him." Then the old man consented that his daughter should be given as a bride to Takarangi, and he took her as his wife. Thence was that war brought to an end, and the army of Takarangi dispersed.
STRATAGEM OF AN ELOPEMENT
Two tribes had long been at war, but as neither gained a permanent victory peace was at last concluded. Then one day the chief Te Ponga, with some of his followers, approached the fortress of their former enemies. They were warmly welcomed, ovens were heated, food cooked, served in baskets and distributed. But the visitors did not eat much, in order that their waists might be slim when they stood up in the ranks of the dancers, and that they might look as slight as if their waists were almost severed in two.
As soon as it began to get dark the villagers danced, and whilst they sprang nimbly about, Puhihuia, the young daughter of the village chief, watched them till her time came to enter the ranks. She performed her part beautifully; her fall-orbed eyes seemed clear and brilliant as the full moon rising in the horizon, and while the strangers looked at the young girl they all were quite overpowered with her beauty; and Te Ponga, their young chief, felt his heart grow wild with emotion when he saw so much loveliness before him.
Then up sprang the strangers to dance in their turn. Te Ponga waited his opportunity, and when the time came, danced so beautifully that the people of the village were surprised at his agility and grace, and as for the young girl, Puhihuia, her heart conceived a warm passion for Te Ponga.
When the dance was concluded, everyone, overcome with weariness, went to sleep—all except Te Ponga, who lay tossing from side to side, unable to sleep, from his great love for the maiden, and devising scheme after scheme by which he might have an opportunity of conversing with her alone. At last he decided to carry out a plan suggested by his servant. The next night, when he had retired in the chief's house, he called this servant to fetch him some water; but the servant, following out the plot, had concealed himself and refused to respond. Then the chief said to his daughter, "My child, run and fetch some water for our guest." The maiden rose, and taking a calabash, went off to fetch some water, and no sooner did Te Ponga see her start off than he too arose and went out, feigning to be angry with his slave and going to give him a beating; but as soon as he was out of the house he went straight off after the girl. He did not well know the path to the well, but was guided by the voice of the maiden, who sang merrily as she went along.
When she arrived at the fountain she heard someone behind her, and turning suddenly around she beheld the young chief. Astonished, she asked, "What can have brought you here?" He answered, "I came here for a draught of water." But the girl replied, "Ha, indeed! Did not I come here to draw water for you? Could not you have remained at my father's house until I brought the water for you?" Then Te Ponga answered, "You are the water that I thirsted for." And as the maiden listened to his words, she thought within herself, "He, then, has fallen in love with me," and she sat down, and he placed himself by her side, and they conversed together, and to each of them the words of the other seemed most pleasant and engaging. Before they separated they arranged a time when they might escape together, and then they returned to the village.
When the time came for Te Ponga to leave his host he directed some dozen men of his to go to the landing-place in the harbor, prepare one large canoe in which he and his followers might escape, and then to take the other canoes and cut the lashings which made the top sides fast to the hulls. The next morning he announced that he must return to his own country. The chief and his men accompanied him part of the way to the harbor. Puhihuia and the other girls had stolen a little way along the road, laughing and joking with the visitors. The chief, seeing his daughter going on after he had turned back, called out, "Children, children, come back here!" Then the other girls stopped and ran back toward the village, but as to Puhihuia, her heart beat but to the one thought of escaping with her beloved Te Ponga. So she began to run. Te Ponga and his men joined in the swift flight, and as soon as they had reached the water they jumped into their canoe, seized their paddles and shot away, swift as a dart from a string. When the pursuing villagers arrived at the beach they laid hold of another canoe, but found that the lashings of all had been cut, so that pursuit was impossible. Thus the party that had come to make peace returned joyfully to their own country, with the enemy's young chieftainess, while their foes stood like fools upon the shore, stamping with rage and threatening them in vain.
These stories are undoubtedly romantic; but again I ask, are they stories of romantic love? There is romance and quaint local color in the feat of the girl who, reversing the story of Hero and Leander, swam over to her lover; in the wooing of the two girls proposing to an unseen man up a tree; in the action of the chief who saved the beautiful girl and her father from dying of thirst, and acted so that his men came to the conclusion he must love her "almost as well" as war; in the slyly planned elopement of Te Ponga. But there is nothing to indicate the quality of the love—to show an "illumination of the senses by the soul," or a single altruistic trait. Even such touches of egoistic sentimentality as the phrase "To the heart of each of them the other appeared pleasing and worthy, so that in the breast of each there grew up a secret passion for the other;" and again, "he felt his heart grow wild with emotion, when he saw so much loveliness before him," are quite certainly a product of Grey's fancy, for Polynesians, as we have seen, do not speak of the "heart" in that sense, and such a word as "emotions" is entirely beyond their powers of abstraction and conception. Grey tells us that he collected different portions of his legends from different natives, in very distant parts of the country, at long intervals, and afterward rearranged and rewrote them. In this way he succeeded in giving us some interesting legends, but a phonographic record of the fragments related to him, without any embroidering of "heart-affairs," "wild emotions," and other adornments of modern novels, would have rendered them infinitely more valuable to students of the evolution of emotions. It is a great pity that so few of the recorders of aboriginal tales followed this principle; and it is strange that such neatly polished, arranged, and modernized tales as these should have been accepted so long as illustrations of primitive love.