A Yachting Cruise in the South Seas

Author: C. F. Wood

Publisher: Theclassics.Us

ISBN: 1230221808


Page: 42

View: 710

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1875 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER III. May the 29th, at daylight, we sighted the lofty island of Futuna, but the wind was very light, and not until next morning could we enter the harbour of Singavi. Very few of the natives came off to us, and those who did seemed not to care about selling any provisions or trading in any way. High up on a cliff on the east side of this little bay we could see a number of natives at work. We were informed that they were quarrying stone for their new church, which is being built under the direction of a French priest. Every now and then, mingled with the shouts of the quarriers, could be heard the crash of some large mass of stone as it tore its way down through the tropical jungle to the beach below. In the evening I took a stroll on shore, and was not much comforted by the fact that nearly all the houses were built, or partly built, of wrecks of vessels, which does not speak well for the security of the harbour. The natives are taller and darker than the Rotumans, and their hair has a tendency to become frizzly. They have a custom of flattening the backs of their heads, considering that this improves their personal appearance; this is done by placing a heavy roll of tappa on the sleeping baby's head. Marsden mentions that this was a custom with the Sumatrans; it was also noticed by Captain Cook at Ulietea. The Futuna people have embraced Roman Catholicism, and are certainly the most uninteresting race I ever met with. All life and native humour has left them, and they appear to have handed themselves over body and soul to the French priest, who may now be said to be king of the island; the two native kings possessing little but the empty title. Perhaps phrenologists would be able to pronounce an opinion as to whether the...