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CHARACTERISTICS IN COMMON. 171
where a coarse meal, prepared from the woody fruit of the pandanus, is the only edible form of vegetable, has in due time produced this result. Therefore it seems perfectly reasonable to infer that the converse occurred when an under-fed aggressive race, engaged from their cradles in piracy and strife, found themselves at rest in these Capuan isles, and there yielded to the habits of indolent ease, which they so naturally engender. Yet to this day the chief characteristics of the Malays are common throughout Polynesia. In each of these groups a truly Asiatic code of wearisome, elaborate ceremonial is observed on every possible occasion; the smallest breach of etiquette is considered a crime; a joke of any sort, especially of the nature of “chaff,” is an unpardonable offence; in speech, flowery compliments which mean nothing and veil thought are the rule—slow, deliberate oratory, in which the best speaker is he who can talk for hours without touching his point, and then condense all he wishes to say, in a few pithy words. All these islanders are distinguished by a natural grace and courtesy of manner—sometimes dignified, at others most winning; yet under extreme external politeness they have often nursed schemes of cold treachery and cruelty, which they have carried out unscrupulously to the bitter end. (I speak, of course, of the islanders as they were by nature, ere the mellowing, transforming influence of Christianity had dawned on the South Seas.) But to this hour the Polynesians, like the Malays, are, as a rule, careless, easy-going, impassive beings, generally light-hearted; all fatalists, as a matter of course; strangely indifferent to physical pain, whether endured by themselves or inflicted on others; but when once roused to fighting-pitch, wholly uncontrollable in their blind mad fury. But the strongest proof of their Malay descent lies in the similarity of their various languages, both to one another and to the mother tongue. It is not merely a likeness in general construction, but many words are almost identical, as you may gather at a glance from the following vocabulary. In short, the whole subject is extremely interesting, but is one which I must leave to the discussion of learned folk, whose wise disquisitions you can study at your leisure.
English. Vaté, New Zealand Rotumah. Fiji. Tonga. Samoa. Raratonga. | Marquesas. Tahiti. Hawaii.
Head Ulu Uru Matenga | Filou Ndluna | Ulu Ulu Mimiti | Upoko | Upoo Po'o
Man Orang Tangata Tangata Tha Tamata Tangata | Tangata | Tangata | Enata Tane Kanaka
HERE ARE THE NUMERALs.
Malay. Samoa. Fiji. Rarotonga. Marquesas. Tahiti. Hawaii.
LIFE IN PAPEETE–THE MARKET-CHURCHES-COUNTRY LIFE IN THE SOUTH SEAS.
THE RED Hous E, PAPEETE,
WE have had a very gay week, including several festivities on board the three French men-of-war now in harbour. On Saturday I was invited to dine on board Le Limier, with the Greens, Viennots, and Werniers. (In case your French fails you, I may remind you that a limier is a blood-hound; a fact which I only recollected on seeing canine heads on all the boats.) M. Puéch is a good friend of the French Protestant Mission, and his visit to Tahiti is a happy event for all its members. After a pleasant dinner, we sat on deck to hear the sailors sing, and then went off in small canoes for a nearer sight of the péche à flambeaua, which was going on in every direction near the reef-the flashing torches and dark figures of the fishermen forming a most picturesque Scene.