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do enjoy coming to sit with me in the evenings for a little quiet chat. They bring all my meals in here, as it is against their rules to allow me to feed with them in the refectory. In this respect they are far more rigorous than the Fathers, who, as you know, have invited me to supper and breakfast at their house.
SAIL FROM TONGA TO VAVAU—VOLCANO OF TOFtIA—WESLEYAN msaios TWO THOUSAND Miles From A DOCTOR—ORANGEGROVES—A LOVELY Sea-lake—Coral Caves.
On Boaed Le Seionelay, Wednesday, 12th September 1877.
Hebe I am once more safely ensconced in my favourite niche, which is the carriage of a big gun. Filled with red cushions, it makes a capital sofa, and is a cosy, quiet corner, and a capital point of observation, whence, without being in the way, I can look down on the various manoeuvres on deck— parades, gun-practice, fire-parade, and so forth. We embarked this morning early, the four Sisters, by special sanction of the bishop, coming to see the last of me, and to breakfast with M. Aube ;—an outrageous piece of dissipation, they said, but almost like once again setting foot in France. Four of the priests likewise escorted the bishop, and we had an exceedingly cheerful ecclesiastical breakfast-party, after which came a sorrowful parting, and then we sailed away from Tonga, taking with us the Pere Padel, a fine old Breton Father.
We are now passing through the Happai group, and hope to-night to catch a glimpse of the volcano of Tofua, or, as it is also called by the natives, Coe afi a Devolo (the Devil's fire). It is a perfect volcanic cone 2500 feet in height, densely wooded to the edge of the crater. Strange to say, though the isle simply consists of this one active volcano, there is said to be a lake on the summit of the mountain. It is not stated to be a geyser; but the Tongans who visit it bring back small black pebbles, which they strew on the graves of their dead.
The Happai group consists of about forty small isles, some purely volcanic, and others, as usual, combining coral on a volcanic foundation. About twenty of these are inhabited.
Neiafu, Vavau, Thursday Evening.
The volcano proved to be quiescent. Not even a curl of luminous smoke betrayed its character. The sea, however, made amends by the brilliancy of its phosphoric lights. It was a dead calm, and from beneath the surface shone a soft mellow glow, caused, I am told, by vast shoals of Uving creatures, as though the mermaids were holding revel beneath the waves, and had summoned all their luminous
subjects to join in the dance. I know few things in nature more fascinating than this lovely fairylike illumination. Its tremulous glow and occasional brilliant shooting flashes are to me always suggestive of our own northern lights—a sort of marine aurora.
Our course this morning was very pretty, steaming for many miles through narrow and intricate passages between the richly wooded headlands of Vavau, the great island, and many outlying islets. Finally, we anchored in what seemed like a quiet land-locked lake, at the village of Neiafu.
The bishop went ashore at once, and was reverently welcomed by two priests, one of whom, Pere Bre'ton, has been here for about thirty years, living a hfe so ascetic as to amaze even his brethren, so completely does mind appear to have triumphed over matter. We sinners all agree that having each been intrusted with the care of an excellent animal, we are only doing our duty by feeding and otherwise caring for it to the best of our ability. So the ascetic example is one which we reverence, but have no intention of following, cold water and yam, day after day, being truly uninviting. But the old man has not forgotten how to be genial and kind to others, and is a general favourite.
The Roman Catholic flock here is small, as is also the church, which, however, is very neat. The Wesleyan Mission flourishes here, as it does throughout these Friendly Isles. In the three groups— namely, Tonga, Happai, and Vavau, it has 125 chapels, with an average attendance of 19,000 persons, of whom 8000 are church members. Four white missionaries superintend the work of 13 native ministers, upwards of 100 schoolmasters, and above 150 local preachers. At the Tubou Theological College—so named in honour of King George Tubou—there are about 100 students preparing for work as teachers or pastors.
I landed with M. Pinart, and a half-caste Samoan woman, who could talk some English, acted as our interpreter with the widow of the late "governor," a large comely woman, who invited us to her cool Tongan house, where friendly, pleasant-looking girls peeled delicious oranges faster than we could eat them. This whole village and district is one orange-grove; every house is embowered in large orange-trees—the earth is strewn with their fruit, the air fragrant. What an enchanting change after Tonga, where there are no orange-trees, and where a sense of stiffness and over-regulation seemed to pervade life!
The present "governor" is a fine tall young chief, rejoicing in the name of Wellington. He is acting for his father, Unga, King George's illegitimate son, whom he has declared heir to the throne,