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between Christian culture and the last atrocities of cannibalism itself, I am induced to record some of the circumstances in which I was involved by their antagonism, and to confess experiences so wild, strange, and sometimes criminal, as to make their memory a mixture of horror with a poetic dream.

Looking back over a subsequent period of college-training, of English and of American life, I sometimes doubt whether I was not, during my boyhood, more truly a savage at heart than a youth of tender culture. The adventures of my early life, though I have since learned to regard them as in large part a necessary result of fated circumstances, and on that account admitting of a certain palliation, were yet often of a character so dark and terrible that I have avoided, heretofore, to give them any publicity, and have even refrained from speaking of them in the presence of any but a few intimate friends. The last person, however, upon whom the recital of the following facts would be likely to inflict pain, has now passed away. Since her death, in the early part of the present year, I have no longer felt that any one survived who would gladly forget the occurrences I am about to relate,-fragments of an experience that in all probability has had no fellow in any time or country.

Persons whose memory extends to a time a few years earlier than the commencement of the present generation will remember the first establishment of an English mission upon the Fiji Islands. My parents were members of that mission, which was an offshoot from one already established in the Tonga Islands. In this neighboring group they had been living for sixteen years; and there, under the shadow of the cocoanut-trees, I was born, soon after their arrival upon missionary ground.

I think that something of the wildness of savage life was instilled into my veins by the very scenery and atmosphere of these islands. Their wild beauty, their incessant splendor of surf that foamed like sunny fire upon the coral reef in front of my father's house,

their deep jungles filled with aromatic ferns and riotous luxuriance of all delicious green, their dewy glades, their wonderful starlight over all in the tropi cal nights,—all of these beckoned me "into the breathing wood," and drew me away from the little domestic circle and the kind influences of home. My father, who is still remembered in Wesleyan circles as one of the most active and zealous missionaries that ever left English ground, was constantly called by arduous duties away from home; while my mother was equally busied in the care of native schools. The consequence was that I found a continual opportunity to indulge my love of wild sports and of out-of-door life, and became intimate with field, water, wood, and mountain, to a degree almost unknown in countries of a higher civilization and a bleaker climate. I knew every plant upon the island-hills, every fastness of its cliffs, every secret of its valleys, every passage in its reefs or subterranean cave in its wave-lashed shores.

But this knowledge involved an equal intimacy with the savage natives of Tonga. With them I indulged to the utmost, but not always, as may be supposed, with my parents' knowledge, -my naturally adventurous tastes. I went on long expeditions with the chiefish lads and young men among the remoter hills, which they and I believed to be enchanted, in search of flowers and of sweet-smelling nuts to decorate the grass temples of their gods; I knew their language, at that time, even better than the English, though the latter was the only tongue allowed to be spoken in my father's family; and I was equally familiar with all the traditions, superstitions, and religious observances of the Tongans. I well remember secretly worshipping, on more than one occasion, one of their idols,—an ugly image of wicker-work, plaited around a grotesquely-carved block of thevua, or bastard sandal-work, that bore such a resemblance to humanity as a gargoyle of Salisbury Cathedral may be supposed to bear to an authentic demon.

In this misdemeanor I was more than once detected by my parents, and suffered punishment for sacrilege; yet, though a mere child at the time this occurred, I remember feeling a certain injured sensation, as of religious martyrdom, while under castigation; and punishment only tended to confirm me, as it were, in the heathen church. Thenceforward I led a double life, outwardly conforming to the civilized precepts of home, while at heart I was largely in sympathy with the savages; and in spite of my parents' precautions I found frequent opportunities to slip away and join in the games, festivities, and ceremonials of the natives. But I must not pause to describe more than a single incident of the Tongan days.

On one of these occasions, I had gone out "surf-playing" with a company of twelve or fifteen Tongan youths of the higher rank. The young men and girls of the chiefish families are exclusive in their fellowships, and seldom indulge in sports or games except in the companionship of their own caste. I enjoyed the questionable privilege of that fellowship, however, on account of my foreign blood; for the Tongans hold the whites in much esteem as nganga atamai, skilled or dexterous foreigners; reverencing their mechanical skill, it must be confessed, much more than their civilization, their philosophy, or their religion. Our party was gambolling, as if natives of the element, in the tumbling surf which breaks upon the reefs of Vavau; all was going merrily, and the shouts of our company rang out loudly above the noise of the breakers, as we indulged in contests of speed in swimming, or of endurance in diving, or, poised upon the glittering crest of the billow, rushed shoreward at racehorse speed upon the surf-board.

Suddenly I saw a sight that made my flushed limbs turn cold with a sudden chill, a glistening fin, cutting through the smooth, undulating surface of the billow a few yards seaward, and approaching our party swiftly and silently-a slate-colored sharp fin, rounded like the head of a razor-blade, the edge of it

cutting its way straight toward us without a ripple.

It was the white shark,-the most voracious and terrible variety of his species.

I screamed at the top of my voice, Auwe! te mano! Auwe! te mano! ("Alas! the shark! the shark!") and struck out vigorously for the shore, kicking my heels upon the surface of the water as I swam. The rest of the company followed my example; for the shark is essentially a coward, and will not attack a swimmer as long as he splashes the water actively.

But one of our company, a girl of about my own age, my favorite playmate, had not received any warning of the enemy's approach. She dove, the instant before I gave the alarm, to escape the ardent pursuit of one of the native youths; for the aquatic sports of the Islanders involved a degree of license which will not bear too minute a description. She went under like a water-fowl, and disappeared from him at the instant that she was about to become his captive; but she escaped for the moment, only to be singled out as the object of a more terrible chase.

The shark turned his course toward Melelina-this was the name of the unhappy girl-and pursued her, as, all unconscious, she was still swimming rapidly under water toward the shore. I saw the shark's fin disappear from the surface, and knew that she was ignorant of his approach. I dove instantly, hoping to see her under water, to touch her lithe body, and warn her of the danger before it was too late.

I knew that she must be within a few yards of me; but I could not see her, the agitation of the water at the moment being such as to disperse the light, and render it impossible for the sight to penetrate more than two fathoms in any direction.

In spite of the terrible excitement of the moment, I did not lose presence of mind. Instantly I dove a fathom deeper, and reached the jagged surface of the coral reef; I broke from it, lacerating my hands in the powerful effort,

two dense fragments of the mushroom coral, which abounds in these waters, and struck them sharply together, giving the signal by which the Tongan divers communicate with each other while under water. I knew that the sound, though entirely inaudible above water, would be conveyed with great intensity to a considerable distance beneath the surface. In far less time than it takes to read the account of it, I had made the signal, with two rapid clicks (like the telegraphic signal for the letter A), "Come to the surface of the water!"

As I repeated this signal, employing all the strength of a muscular pair of arms, a shadow passed over me, darkening the broad, fan-like beams of sunlight that now poured down into the sea. I glanced upward. It was the shark!

He dashed over me like a flying spear, apparently intimidated by the sharp clicking of the coral in my hands-a sound that he had never heard before. But I knew that he was in swift pursuit of my beautiful playmate.

I dropped the corals, and rose-for my breath was now almost spent-to the surface of the water.

My companions were by this time making rapid way toward the land, kicking and splashing furiously. But Melelina had not yet appeared. Had she already fallen a prey to this monster, this ravening devil of the sea?

I gasped for breath. But, in a few seconds, the glossy black head of the young girl sprang above the surface of the water, hardly farther from me than her arm's length.

She shook the brine from her curls. Her eyes sparkled. She drew a long breath, and cried,

“Va lilo ia ! ”—“I have escaped him! I swam seaward after diving, and put him off the track!"

She was speaking of the savage, not of that more terrible enemy, of which, as yet, she knew nothing.

Then, glancing shoreward, she saw the whole company in flight, and beating the brine with their feet. She turned toward me my face was as ghastly

as death. The danger flashed upon her at once, and something of its terror was reflected in hers, as I gasped out:

"The shark!-the shark is after you! Swim for your life!"

All this passed in an instant; and, in the same second, we saw the blue dorsal fin of the shark at Melelina's side. Quick as lightning, before we could cry out, he turned and seized her.

I shall never forget that dreadful moment. Her face, just now so smiling, was instantly drawn with sharp pain. A shriek of agony rent the air. She threw her hands wildly toward me, and immediately the water around her turned a frightful crimson. The poor girl moaned a few times in my arms, and died, murmuring a few words of the prayer that the missionaries had taught her (“E tou matou Atua!"- "Our Father!")

I bore the body part of the way to the shore; a broad track of crimson marked our path as I swam. Those of the company who had first reached the shore, hastily pushed off a canoe and came out to us, beating the water with their paddles to scare away the shark. But he, apparently sated with a single life, did not follow us farther. They met us near the landing, for we were not more than half a mile from the shore when the shark attacked us; and, upon arriving with the still warm body of Melelina, the whole village came down to the seaside, with branches of the mourning-tree (dilo, a variety of Calophyllum), and uttered those loud and doleful wails with which all of the South Sea Islanders are accustomed to mourn the dead.




It is not my purpose to dwell further upon the adventures, varied and exciting as they were, which filled up my boyish years. It is sufficient to say that, at the age of fifteen, I had become quite identified in feeling with these natives, and was accustomed to spend at least a half of my time in their company. As the Tongans were a kindly, indolent race, they displayed no traits that alarmed me, or caused me to shrink from their society; but the habits of intimacy with savage life which I then

acquired were to lead me, in another group, into the darker scenes which I am about to describe. Would that the memories of my early years included nothing but the record of those comparatively innocent days spent upon the Tonga Islands!

Few persons, except those who are familiar with the missionary enterprises of the South Pacific, are aware that the Fiji Islanders are the most ferocious and bloodthirsty, and the most open and undisguised in their ferocity, of all Polynesian tribes. It was among this sanguinary people, with whom cannibalism was a public and frequent custom, a settled national institution, that my lot was now to be cast.

In the year 18-, my parents were detached from the Tongan mission, and sent as pioneers to the Fiji Islands.

I need not detail the breaking up of our household, the parting from Tonga, the long and comfortless sea-voyage. Suffice it to say, that we reached our new home in safety, and took up our abode upon the lovely island of Lakem ba, one of the most eastward of the seventy-four inhabited islands which compose the Fiji group. Many and earnest were the injunctions of my parents to avoid, in future, the society of the savages. They painted in vivid terms the fatal consequences that might result, not only to my character, but even to my life, should I continue such habits of intimacy as I had formed with the gentle Tongan Islanders-a wholly different people—with a race so wild and sanguinary as the Fijis.

I heard them with mingled incredulity and apprehension. The latter feeling was considerably heightened, when an old retainer of my father's family, a Tongan, who had been shipwrecked many years before upon Vulanga, one of the Fiji islands, and who had barely escaped with his life from a cruel captivity, assured me that the Fijian cannibals were especially fond of the flesh of young lads. They had been known, continued he, to devour, even after the larder had been amply provided with maturer victims slain in war, boys of

tender age, as delicate appetizers at some great religious or state festival; and, on one occasion, said my informant, they had even kidnapped the child of a foreign resident, much upon my own years, and served him up as a sidedish.

I had not then heard the pleasantries of Sydney Smith about "cold-baked missionary upon the side-board," or of his parting wish, expressed to a controversial young minister who was setting out for some cannibal country, "I hope that you will not disagree with the man who eats you." My early impressions of cannibalism, derived from savages, were not, in consequence, tempered by the grotesque or humorous; they were impressions of unmitigated horror. Yet, I should confess that an uneasy curiosity mingled with my dread, and that I was not without a certain anxiety to see, with my own eyes, something of the sanguinary practices against which I was so earnestly warned. Civilization, in the person of my parents, pointed in one direction; paganism drew me in another.

It was in October that our little company landed upon the white sand-beach of Lakemba. This island contained a population of about 5,000, composed in part of immigrant Tongans, who had three settlements upon it. Though not more than thirty miles in circumference, it presented one of the most perfect specimens of the tropical scenery of the South Seas. Conical hills, clothed with a drapery of the most luxuriant verdure, and fringed with heavy forests, in which birds of Paradise and innumerable parroquets of the most brilliant plumage were constantly flashing to and fro-fantastic turrets of volcanic rock-vast crags that stood sentinels over smiling valleysmountain-peaks carved and rent by geologic forces into the most fantastic outlines-native villages perched upon cliffs which seemed even more inaccessible than the mountain-built cities and monasteries of the Apennines-deep and rocky ravines through which the mountain-streams brawled and spattered, glit

tering down their precipitous channels, or plunging headlong over the steep wall of the cliffs, to fall in foamy cataracts these are but a few of the features which lent their charm to these islands. How can I describe their exquisite and romantic beauty! Nor were the softer features of tropical landscape wanting; here were broad belts of cocoanut-trees, with their feathery plumes fringing the shore; the terraced plantations of the broad-leaved taro-plant rose one above another upon the hillsides; and masses of stately palms appeared among thickets of the quaint pandanus-tree, which sent down its stout aerial roots in such profusion from its trunk and limbs, that they sometimes usurped the office of the original root, and the tree derived its entire support from these props or shores, while its yellow flowers filled the air with a musky fragrance; or the bread-fruit tree showed darkly among the more brilliant greens of the island flora, projecting upward its large-leaved and massy tower of foliage, as a dense cumulus cloud seems to pour itself into the summer air. The forests were draped with climbing vines; and one variety of these, a gigantic woody creeper, wound itself, like a boa-constrictor, around the sturdiest trunks, finally destroying their life in its embrace a symbol of arrested national growth in the too ardent grasp of nature. But I little thought, as I gazed upon this strange conflict of vegetable life, how emblematic it was of the moral death of the savage.

The establishment of our new home was not a matter of delay or difficulty. The king of Lakemba, to whom my father sent greetings immediately upon our arrival, was disposed to be friendly to foreigners; and he detailed a large company of natives to construct the houses that our families required. The workmen laid hold of the task with all the spirit and alacrity that is manifested in a New England house-raising or husking-bee, chattering like macaws, and gesticulating like monkeys as they worked. In three days they had entire

ly finished a couple of pretty thaiched cottages, their frames constructed of the buabua, or Fijian box-wood, with low walls and a high steep roof. To the timbers were fastened, with tough cinet, a lattice-work of bamboo-canes; and the whole buildings were then thatched with grass, and lined with reeds disposed in a pretty reticulated pattern. The dwellings were floored with mats. We made partitions after the Fijian fashion, by hanging up screens of the native cloth or tapa; and, as we had brought furniture and household utensils from our recent home, we soon found ourselves living almost as comfortably in our grass-houses as we had dwelt in the more substantial stone cottages of Tonga. Our native builders felt amply remunerated for their labor by the present of a few adzes, knives, whales' teeth, and patterns of calico-articles which even now form the staple of currency in many of the South Sea Islands.

For a few days all went well in our new home; we conversed fluently with the natives, whose language was not greatly different from that of the Tongans; and, though they did not deny their own habits of cannibalism, yet we were led to think that the ill-fame which they bore in this respect had been much exaggerated; for their manners, under ordinary circumstances, are affable, lively, and even kind.

The disproof of our hopes was not, however, far distant.

But a few days after our oscupation of the grass-houses, a violent storm of wind and rain set in from the northwest-an unusual occurrence in this climate, and especially in the warm days of November.*

"For here great Spring greens all the year,

And fruits and blossoms blush in social sweetness On the self-same bough."

The only suggestion of winter, indeed, was found in the appellation for June and July, which the natives call the vulai lilima, or "cold moons," their minimum temperature being 12° centigrade (63° Fah.). Upon this occasion,

* Lakemba lies in lat. 18° 20' S.

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