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getting some better specimens, which were carefully stowed away by some of the old people in the recesses of their homes.
What miraculous patience it must have required, first to make these stone implements, and then to work with them I They were generally made from basaltic stones, which were dug out of the earth with strong sticks, and then roughly chipped into shape with a heavy flint. Perhaps after many hours of severe labour the stone would break in two, and the workman had to select another and begin again. This time he might progress swimmingly, and spend perhaps whole days in carefully chipping, till the rough stone began to take shape. Then he would substitute a lighter flint, and work with still greater care, only chipping off the first fragments,—and after all his labour, perhaps one sharp tap would prove fatal, and the carefully chiselled axe would split in two, revealing an unsuspected flaw in the centre. So the work must all be begun again, and the patient, persevering savage go on with his chipping till he succeeded in producing a perfect axe.
Then came the slow process of smoothing it by such delicate strokes as only removed a fine white dust, and last of all came laborious polishing with rough coral and water and fine sand, till the axe at length became a serviceable tool, ready to be bound with strongly plaited fibre to the bent wooden handle.
After this it had to be periodically ground by rubbing it on a very hard rock. We saw several rocks in Fiji scored with deep grooves from having constantly been used for this purpose; and of course they must exist in all countries in which stone celts have been in use, which, I suppose, means all corners of the round world, Britain included. I greatly doubt, however, whether the ancient Britons ever produced such artistic carved bowls and spears with their stone implements as these Pacific Islanders have done.
The men who worked with these tools needed wellnigh as much patience as those who manufactured them. Imagine a squad of men taking from fifteen to thirty days to fell a tree! Saith the old proverb, " Little strokes fell great oaks," and these were little strokes indeed! Of course a more rapid process was to make a slow fire all round the base of the tree, and so burn it down; but the fire so often ran up the heart of the tree, destroying it altogether, that the slower process proved best in the long-run. However, as a good-sized tree could thus be felled in three or four days, the rafters of houses were often thus prepared, and the branches burnt off. Once down, fire could be better used to divide the tree into useful lengths; and if a canoe
were required, a long narrow line of fire was allowed to burn the whole length, its progress being regulated by the slow dripping of water. Thus the work left for the stone axe was considerably lessened, though it would still have puzzled a British carpenter to work with such tools.
We are enjoying the most perfect weather—a calm sea and a faint sweet breeze. The vessel glides on her way so smoothly that we scarcely perceive any motion, and all yesterday I was able to work up my sketch of the grotto, sitting in a delightful improvised studio on the tiny bridge (la passerelk). We are not making much way, as we are sailing to economise fuel; but the days pass pleasantly, and there is always some ship-life going on, which to me has all the interest of novelty— either parade, or fire-stations, or fighting-stations, or cannon practice (mercifully done in dumb show 1)
We are passing through a great shoal of jelly-fish —I suppose I ought to say medusae—filmy, transparent creatures of very varied form. Some are like mushrooms, some like great bells, with delicately marked patterns of pale green or pink, and long fringe of feelers. They are beautiful by day, and at night gleam like balls of white fire. They are here in myriads, and are of all sizes, from a teacup to a cart-wheel. There are also a great number of flying-fish skimming on the surface of the glassy sea.
I am told that we are now 630 miles from Levuka in a direct line; but our detour in the Friendly Isles has made our voyage thence amount to about 1100 miles.
We have just sighted Mount Matafae, the highest point in the isle Tutuila. It is a conical mountain 2300 feet high, and lies just above Pango-Pango, the most perfect land-locked harbour in all the Samoan group, with water six or eight fathoms deep close in shore, and surrounded by luxuriantly wooded hills. At present we are steering straight for Leone, where the bishop has work awaiting him. The place had an evil name in old days, as that where M. de Laugle, who accompanied La Perouse on his expedition in 1787, was barbarously murdered, with eleven men of his boat's crew,—hence the name of "Massacre Bay," and the character of treacherous and bloodthirsty savages which for so many years clung to the people, till Messrs Williams and Barff arrived here in 1830 with their trained Tahitian teachers, and made friends with them. Then they learnt the native version of the fray, and heard the invariable story of innocence suffering for guilt,—namely, that a poor fellow who had
gone off to the ship to trade had been detected in some trifling act of pilfering, when he was immediately shot and carried ashore mortally wounded. Of course his friends determined to avenge his death, and so assembled on the beach, armed with stones and clubs, ready to attack the invaders the moment they attempted to land. They were only carrying out the example given to them, and combined revenge for evil done, with prevention of further assault.
Pango-paxoo Harbour, Tuesday Night.
After all, we did come here, for the anchorage at Leone is simply an open roadstead, and is not safe in a strong southerly gale. Captain Aube feared the wind might shift, so the vessel merely lay to, to allow a young priest, Pere Vidal, to leap on board from his canoe, and then we ran right to this lovely spot, where we anchored at sunset.
It is indeed a perfect harbour. We are lying close to the shore, in water twenty-one fathoms deep, clear as crystal, and calm as any inland lake. Steep, richly wooded hills rise round us on every side to a height of about 1000 feet, and you can discern no entrance from the sea. It seems like living in a vast cup. The hills all round are covered with bread-fruit trees, oranges, limes, pine