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IN STEVENSON’S SAMOA

CHAPTER I

FIRST DAYS IN SAMOA

• You have taken your amber necklace ? That's right. You will find it most useful. Flowers also are greatly worn.' So said a friend who had visited Samoa, as he bade us adieu on our departure from Sydney for those islands. Our spirits were further cheered by his brother saying, 'I hear any white people who are there live in the most simple manner. All eat out of one large bowl in the middle of the floor, and fight over bones in corners, gnashing their teeth and growling. Then, in a renzy of hospitality, they rush out into the jungle,

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tear up roots with their teeth, and, bringing them in, lay them in front of you!!

So right in the teeth of a N.E. gale we started -my friend and I, the only women on board a little German ship, and, passing out between the Heads of Sydney Harbour, we plunged into the great Pacific Ocean. The hopes of our skipper that the gale we encountered was local, and that when fifty miles beyond the Australian coast we should sail out of it, were not realised, for as we proceeded on our voyage the storm increased, and the height of its fury was reached after we had passed Lord Howe and Norfolk islands. For three days and nights the tempest raged, and it would require a Clark Russell to describe the terrible hurricane that our little ship braved and weathered triumphantly. A marvellous feeling of luxury and peace pervaded our small world when, after about eight days, the winds and waters subsided and, the unholy noises-quite the worst part of a storm at sea -being silenced, our skipper beamingly announced he was going to have a bath. Poor man ! he had not taken his clothes off during those three awful nights.

After several weeks of delightful cruising in the Pacific, visiting beautiful tropic islands, one morning the sun rose like a ball of fire, flooding the world with a golden lustre, and out of the ocean, regal in its colouring of purple and gold in the early light, we saw far away in the distance the rugged outline of the Samoan, or Navigator Islands, a complete contrast to the last group we had visited—the Friendly Islands, with their smooth turf roads, so good for riding and driving, and innumerable atolls, showing only a few feet above the waves and fringed with a continuous line of cocoa palms that turned and ruffled, tossing their feathery branches in the breeze. The Samoan Islands, Savaii, Upolu and Tutuila, rise out of the sea to an altitude of from four to five thousand feet, the great undulating slopes of the mountains densely clothed with forest, which in many places crowns the very topmost ridges and waves clear against the blue sky, while round the base innumerable coral bays gleam white in the fierce

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