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it would certainly entail much present evil, and is therefore not to be desired. A much better means of attaining the wished-for improvement would be to establish for a limited time a foreign protectorate. When a more enlightened system of government could be organised without difficulty, and when it had got into good working order, and all jealousies and heartburnings cooled down, the islands could be left to themselves again. Of the three great maritime powers who, from their interests in the Pacific, are the only nations who have any right to deal with this question, America is too much occupied at home, and, moreover, it is not her policy to interfere in such matters. As to France, the very name is hated by the natives throughout the South Seas on account of their proceedings at Tabiti; and in Samoa this hatred is excited by a dread of French interference, in consequence of the Romish priests constantly threatening them with the occupation of their islands by that nation. To such an extent is this feeling experienced that the Samoans have more than once requested that England should take possession of the group in order that it should not fall into other hands; and nothing would be more pleasing to them than to see the British flag flying on their islands. This request of the Samoans has always been declined, and the idea discouraged. England has possessions enough and to spare, and has no wish to increase her cares and responsibilities. But a protectorate of the islands for a limited period, and for a specific purpose, such as that indicated, could give umbrage to no other nation, and would be the means of bestowing upon this interesting and intelligent people all that they require to complete their prosperity-a more enlightened form of government, and a good system of laws. Little expense would need to be incurred. A Commissioner in Upolu, with a

deputy in the other islands, and regular visits from the vessels of war on the station, is all that would be required, and a very moderate customs duty would cover this small expense. Everything is favourable at the present time in Samoa for such an undertaking; and as there is but little chance of these beautiful islands making much further progress in civilisation without some such aid from without, it will be a pity if the necessary steps be not taken.

It may be asked what England is to gain by such an interference with the domestic concerns of these islanders. The answer is, That apart from the general interest which our country, from her extensive commerce, feels more or less in the material prosperity of all parts of the globe, she has a more direct concern in the wellbeing of the Samoan Islands than would appear at first sight. This group lies exactly in the track between the Australian colonies and Western North America, and it therefore occupies a most convenient position as a port of call for vessels traversing the Pacific. The navigation of the group is perfectly safe and clear of dangers. There are several ports affording good anchorages for the greater part of the year, and one excellent harbourthat of Pango-Pango in the island of Tutuila-which gives complete security from the hurricanes that the Polynesian islands are subject to during the first four months of the year, and which is admirably adapted for a coaling-depot. Moreover, the salubrity of the climate and the abundance of supplies of all sorts are further recommendations. The Fiji and Tonga groups have the disadvantage of a dangerous navigation, owing to the numberless detached shoals and coral-reefs with which they abound. Looking, then, to the probable great increase in the trade of the Pacific, the Samoan Islands cannot fail to become some day of considerable importance.

And if the request of this people to become annexed to Great Britain had been complied with, Samoa would have been far from being the least valuable of her dependencies, while Queen Victoria would have numbered among her subjects one of the finest races of men on the globe.

The Samoans are of average height, or perhaps rather over, but with splendid figures, active and muscular. There is considerable diversity of features, some having the coarse mouth of the negro, while others have well-chiselled features, and all have fine eyes. Some of the young men are perfect specimens of manly beauty, and the sculptor would here be at no loss for models, either for the youthful grace of an Antinous, or the more matured strength of an Achilles. The women are somewhat inferior to the men both in figure and features, and this is observable in most parts of Polynesia. Some handsome individuals of the gentler sex are, however, not unfrequently met with.

The natives of Samoa live always in villages, which are generally on the sea-coast, and are rarely two miles inland. Neatness and scrupulous cleanliness characterise their dwellings as well as their persons; and this, with the politeness of their manners and their frank hospitality, renders them peculiarly attractive to the stranger. The construction of their houses is very elaborate, and is a work of some little time. The ground is first levelled and a broad surface laid with stones, over which is strewed a layer of small pebbles or broken coral, which serves as the floor of the house, and extends a little distance outside, so as to form a sort of terrace. The houses are oval-shaped and of considerable size; fifty feet by thirty being not uncommon; walls, either external or partition, there are none; the whole of the interior is one large apartment, screens being hung up at night for

sleeping purposes. A row of short posts, about six feet apart and from four to five feet high, supports the lower edge of the roof; the intervals between these, which can be closed at will by mats, are generally open during the day, leaving the interior of the dwelling completely exposed. In the centre of the floor three high stout posts are fixed to support the ridge-pole, across which are laid other poles for securing the roof, which is high and sloping, constructed of a very neat kind of lattice-work, thatched with palm-leaves, and presenting quite an ornamental appearance. The roof is made in three parts, which are fastened together, the two ends being in shape like the hood of a gigantic porter's chair. Not a nail or iron-work of any description is used in the construction of the house, every fastening being formed by lashings of cocoa-nut fibre. The floor is covered with coarse mats, and on the entry of a visitor clean mats of a finer material are spread for him to sit upon. Two small fires are kept burning on the ground near the centre posts, to serve for lighting pipes by day and for illuminating purposes at night, all cooking being performed in an outhouse in the rear of the dwelling. There is no furniture— at least as we understand the term. Mats serve as chairs, tables, and beds; and the various articles of clothing are either made up in bundles or deposited in chests, which latter are a recent fashion, but now in general use.

Hospitality is universal and genuine in Samoa. Each village has its fala-tele, or "great house," intended for the accommodation of travellers, and the different families take it in turn to provide food for them. On the arrival of a party of visitors they repair at once to the fala-tele, where preparations are at once actively commenced for their entertainment. The chief makes known what families are to supply food, and cooking is begun without

delay; meanwhile the chief and leading men visit the strangers, the ava-bowl is produced, and pipes and conversation pass the time till the repast is prepared. When the food is ready it is brought in by the young men and women in a sort of procession, and laid before the guests, who are waited upon during their meal by their entertainers. Apologies are made for there being so little provided in consequence of want of time, but that there is a trifle of a pig or two, some poultry, fish, and a few yams, taro, and suchlike; making up a repast sufficient probably for three or four times the number. This profusion is characteristic of all the South Sea Islands, including New Zealand, the natives of which have a close similarity to those of Samoa in language and customs, modified by difference of climate and other causes. If, in passing through a village, one stops to exchange a few words with any of the inhabitants, they are sure to ask if you will not wait until some food is prepared, and express their regret that none is ready.

One mode of cooking prevails throughout Polynesia-that of the native oven. A hollow is made in the earthen floor of the cookinghouse, in which a fire is lighted and a number of stones made hot. The food is meanwhile being prepared in various ways, and wrapped up in green banana or bread-fruit leaves; when the oven is ready the fire is cleared out, a layer of hot stones laid in the hollow, the food wrapped in the leaves laid upon them, another layer of hot stones placed over it, the whole being covered up with a pile of dried leaves and earth to keep in every particle of steam. When the food is sufficiently cooked the oven is uncovered, and the various plats, served up in the leaves in which they were cooked, are carried in in baskets. This style of cooking is

admirably adapted to tropical climates, where meat must be cooked very shortly after being killed, and especially so on such an occasion as the above, when the pigs and poultry are not slaughtered till the arrival of the guests. Fresh green banana-leaves are spread out to serve as dishes and plates, and the fingers of the company do the work of knives and forks-one knife only being used to cut up the pig, which is always the pièce de résistance. All animals are cooked whole; it would be considered ill-breeding not to serve up the pig entire, and a particular part of the back-the chief's portion-is always presented to the principal guest.

The food of the natives consists chiefly of yams, taro, and breadfruit, with fish of all sorts, especially shellfish, of which the coral-reefs afford a never-failing supply. Pigs and poultry are plentiful, but are reserved for guests and for festive occasions, when an enormous quantity of food is prepared-pigs being slaughtered by hundreds on any very great event. Taro is an esculent plant in season all the year, and is their most valuable article of food; the root, which is exceedingly nutritious, is like a small yam, but better flavoured; the young leaves are also eaten, cooked with the pulp of cocoa-nuts, and make an excellent vegetable, not unlike spinach. The breadfruit is also very useful for food; it grows wild as a forest tree, requiring no cultivation, but is not so nutritious as the taro, and is only in season for half the year. The Samoans are a very sober people. Drunkenness is scarcely known amongst them, though they can easily procure the means. Their usual drink, besides water, is cocoanut milk; but they have a sort of beverage called ava, which is common throughout Polynesia, and merits description on account of the peculiarity of its preparation.*

* It is called angona in Fiji, and kava in Tonga and the eastern islands.

This is always in Samoa a matter of some ceremony, as it is not used here as an ordinary drink, but is partaken of at particular times and on special occasions. Let us suppose that a party of visitors of distinction have arrived at the falatele. After the first salutations a piece of ava-root is presented to the principal guest and accepted by him; and when a convenient time has arrived, and the guests are chatting with their entertainers, the ava-bowl is produced. Two or three lads or young girls then make their appearance and sit down beside the bowl, each being supplied with some of the root cut in pieces. After having carefully rinsed out their mouths with clean water they proceed to chew the root, depositing each mouthful in the bowl when properly masticated. When a sufficient quantity has been prepared, one of the party, after washing her hands, mixes up the pulp with water, and then carefully strains it in order to get rid of all the fibrous parts of the root, leaving a liquid which bears a very striking resemblance to dirty water. In the mean time one of the leading men among the hosts has taken his seat near the bowl, and in a loud measured sort of chant has informed the company that the ava is in course of preparation and will soon be ready; though the information is somewhat superfluous, seeing that the whole process of manufacture always takes place within full view of all the assemblage. As soon as the mixer of the ava has given the final squeeze to the strainer, and flung away the last particles of the root, she claps her hands as the announcement that the ava is ready, and this is repeated by every one present; the master of the ceremonies again proclaiming the fact in the same formal tone. Then a young man -generally a chief's son-advances with a cocoa-nut cup in his hand, and presents it to be filled by the mixer, upon which the master of the ceremonies, in his peculiar

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chanting tones, calls out the person to whom the first cup is to be given, who is generally the visitor of highest rank, and who replies by clapping his hands. The cupbearer then advances gracefully, holding the cup as high as his head, and deposits it on the mat before the person to be served, who, after drinking off the contents at a draught, tosses the empty vessel on the ground with a twirl. The cupbearer then returns for another supply, the second cup being given to the person of highest rank among the entertainers, and so on by turns to visitors and hosts, the master of the ceremonies always proclaiming the individual to be served. not, however, the name of the person who is thus chanted forth, but some high-sounding designation applicable to him. Modesty, however, does not permit this in his own case, and when it comes to his turn towards the end, he probably announces that a pig is now to be served! The preparation of the ava is not so disagreeable to witness as might be supposed, from the extreme cleanliness of the Samoans in all their habits; nor is the taste-for we must confess to have tasted it-unpleasant. It is pungent, astringent, and slightly aromatic. It has narcotic properties, but is not intoxicating in the exciting sense of the term. In the New Hebrides, where the natives are dirty and repulsive in their appearance and habits, the preparation is simply disgusting in the extreme.

The original native costume of both sexes in Samoa consisted of the titi for working dress, and the lavalava for ceremonial occasions. The former is a short petticoat or kilt of the long green leaves of the dracæna terminalis, reaching from the waist to about the knee, that for the women being somewhat longer and fuller than for the men, both sexes being naked to the waist. To this day the titi is the usual garment of the men when fishing or working


in their plantations, and in the more remote districts it is still worn occasionally by the females. The lava-lava is made of siapo, or native cloth manufactured from the bark of the paper mulberry, which is the same sort of material as the tapa of the Society Islands. This garment, likewise common to both sexes, is merely a couple of yards of cloth wrapped round the waist and reaching nearly to the ankles. On festive occasions a fine mat is frequently worn as a lava-lava; these mats are very highly prized, and are bestowed upon young women as their marriage dowry. English calico is, however, fast superseding both siapo and fine mats as a material for the lava-lava, a fathom of cloth" being the standard for barter throughout Polynesia; though in Samoa the value and convenience of money is now well known and recognised. The women also generally wear an additional garment called the tiputa—a loose covering for the bosom, being a piece of calico, with a hole in the middle for the head, hanging down before and behind like a poncho. But this is an innovation dating only from the introduction of civilised ideas, and is due to missionary influence; in out-of-the-way localities it is far from being in general use even now, except on Sundays, as it would be held highly indecorous for a female to appear in chapel with uncovered bosom, although she might, with no impropriety to native ideas, be seen so during the remainder of the week. European fashions are, however, now being gradually introduced; and at Apia, the principal town in Upolu, where the consuls and merchants reside, we have seen a Samoan lady walking to church attired in most correct style, with muslin dress, shawl, hat, parasol, gloves, and-crinoline! for this fashionable institution has extended even to the Maori and Polynesian dames.

This reminds us of an adventure which befell us when a "griffin" in

New Zealand. Walking one day along the streets of Auckland, we observed before us a tall gracefullooking female figure, the folds of whose black silk dress were duly distended; a crape shawl and stylish hat making up a perfectly unexceptionable toilette. Involuntarily our pace quickened, and we began to speculate upon the beauty of the countenance which another step or two would doubtless disclose to our glance. Suddenly a shopwindow attracted the fair one's attention; she stopped and turned

ob, horror upon horrors! what a sight met our gaze! A dusky face, very masculine features, tattooed lips, with a short black pipe in the mouth-in short, a Maori belle! Years have elapsed since then, but the shock our feelings then experienced has not yet been forgotten.

Returning, however, to the Samoans. We had occasion one day to witness a review of some native troops, consisting of the contingents of three villages, and numbering about 150 in all. The men were in native fighting costume, clad in lava-lava of gay-coloured siapo, with here and there a fine mat-English cloth not being en règle on this occasion. Their bodies were well oiled and shining, they wore a peculiar white head-dress, something resembling that of the Parsees, and they were armed with muskets of every age and pattern. A variety of manœuvres was gone through, which they executed with admirable precision, being excellent timists, but the purpose of which was quite unintelligible, and an Aldershott drill-sergeant's hair would have stood on end with astonishment at the display. But the most ludicrous part of the affair was the attire of the officers. Despising the grace and freedom of their native costume-which affords full play to the limbs, and sets off their fine proportions to the greatest advantage-they were all buttoned up in coats and trousers, several sizes

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