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for forks. Then all return to the aquatic sports, which are kept up until it is time to return home.
The only industry engaged in by the people, aside from fishing, collecting copra, planting taro, and cultivating fruit, is the making of tapa, or cloth from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, and since the introduction of cotton prints among them its production is annually decreasing.
The various pieces of cloth are glued together with arrowroot paste until pieces sometimes a hundred feet in length by eighteen feet in width are formed, which the old women, who make all the tapa, color and figure into stripes, squares, triangles, etc., according to their wishes. A certain color and figure, however, are set apart for high chiefs and royalties, and are never used by commoners. Until fantastically figured and gorgeously colored prints were imported into the island, a piece of tapa a yard square, worn about the loins and called a "lava-lava," was all the clothing used by the natives. Fine mats of straw and of twisted fiber of the paper mulberry, the elaboration of which frequently consumes years, are considered the most valuable of Samoan possessions, and are handed down from one generation to another. A fictitious value is placed upon these mats, and only occasionally can they be purchased.
The Samoans have not varied the architectural features of their houses for many generations. A fairly correct idea of a Samoan house is represented by a huge beehive, forty feet in diameter, raised from the ground by a number of posts, varying from four to six feet in height, according to the size of the structure, and separated one from another around the circle at intervals of four or five feet. In the center are two and sometimes three main posts sunk into the ground to support the roof, and securely braced to give stability to the structure. To these the rafters are lashed, curving gracefully downwards and outwards to the circle of posts. The rafters are made of pieces of bread-fruit wood, and, in order that
they may have the necessary curves, are made of pieces spliced and lashed together with sennit, a rope made from the twisted fibers of the cocoanut leaf. The rafters are crossed with ribs about two inches wide, made of the same kind of wood, and are lashed to the rafters with sennit.
The roof is thatched with sugar-cane leaves strung on pieces of reed four or five feet long, and secured to it by overlapping one end of the leaves and piercing them with small ribs of cocoanut leaf fiber, the whole being lashed down with sennit. The process is slow, but when properly done a roof is formed which lasts for
years, notwithstanding the heavy rains prevailing at certain seasons. Cocoanut leaves plaited together, forming mats four feet long by eighteen inches wide, fastened with sennit, inclose the sides of the house at night. The floor of the house is made of smooth pebbles and pieces of coral brought from the sea, over which are spread coarse mats for ordinary requirements. The interior of the house is one large apartment used for all purposes except cooking, which is done in an adjoining hut used exclusively for that purpose. For sleeping purposes the room is divided into a number of apartments by means of tapa, swung on sennit ropes, as curtains. Folded tapa and a few mats form a comfortable bed, which is removed in the morning and the curtains lifted. For a pillow, bamboo of various sizes and lengths, raised a few inches on short wooden feet, is used. This crude device serves an admirable purpose in the tropics, but it can, however, during one night's effort to sleep, cause more annoyance to one unaccustomed to its use than anything the writer can recall, unless perhaps it be the indomitable energy of the Polynesian mosquito. Fire being unnecessary for heating purposes, the Samoans never have
fireplaces, but in their stead possess a "family hearth"-a small excavation in the floor, walled with rocks, where formerly flaming fires of dried cocoanut shells and leaves were made as offerings to their gods, and around which, after the evening meal, the family gathered, bowed their heads and prayed to the gods, great and small, for prosperity and happiness.
The negotiations between the skilled and wily carpenter and the prospective Samoan house owner would amuse, but hardly meet the approval of, the business man of to-day. Under the propitiating influences of kava, the necessary presents are produced to induce the carpenter to undertake the construction of a house. It is begun at once, without any terms of agreement, and the work advances until the carpenter thinks more presents necessary, and he ceases work. Additional gifts being made, the carpenter continues the construction until he deems it necessary to demand another contribution, when he again stops work. If the contribution is not forthcoming, labor is suspended on the incompleted house, never to be undertaken for completion by another of the craft; and forever afterwards it remains unfinished and a public reproach to
the good name of the unfortunate owner, who, at the time of its beginning, not knowing what may be the ideas of the car
A SAMOAN CANOE.
penter as to the
cost of its construction, must either call upon the community for aid, which is generally freely extended, or suffer the humiliation of this unfinished monument.
In the construction of their large canoes these people have shown great ingenuity and skill. Their smaller canoes are made after the pattern of outriggers, which is the prevailing form used throughout Polynesia.
The larger canoes, capable of making interisland passages, and carrying from fifty to seventy-five persons, are models of aboriginal skill and patient labor. Unlike the smaller ones, they are made of many small pieces accurately fitted and sewed together with sennit on the inner side by a novel process of sewing which leaves the outer surface perfectly smooth. A small deck in the bow is the seat of honor, and is occupied by chiefs and the pilot, who stands erect and directs the course of the canoe as it passes through the many small and dangerous openings in the coral reefs. The helmsman occupies a corresponding deck in the stern, where, sitting cross-legged, with the aid of a long pole he steers the boat with remarkable accuracy and dexterity. Four persons occupy each thwart of these sea canoes. Sitting cross-legged and fac
ing the bow of the boat, with short, heart-shaped paddles they literally dig their way along at a rate of speed varying from one to five miles an hour, keeping perfect time in stroke to the music of the songs they sing. By lashing together two or more canoes and building a thatched deck-house over them, accommodation for two hundred warriors is secured. In time of war these boats cruise from island to island, using cocoanut leaves woven together for sails.
The government of Samoa is a limited monarchy, presided over by a king and a vice-king, and, since 1873, by a parliament of chiefs, divided into an upper and a lower house which is called the malo. In the year 1873 Malietoa Laupepa, the noblest born of all Samoans, a direct descendant through twentythree generations of Savea Malietoa I., was proclaimed king, and recognized by England, Germany, and the United States. At the same time Tamasese, a high chief, was made viceking.
Malietoa was carefully educated in the mission school. Personally he was retiring and unassuming. He was of studious habits, and among his subjects was considered a man of
There is an established communism among the people. To go among their friends, take up their abode, and remain with them as long as they please is a liberty that all enjoy alike; and with aboriginal naïveté they borrow or beg of one another whatever may please their fancy.
Stingy or disobliging are epithets so opprobrious and insulting to Samoans that they will give almost anything they possess, or will adroitly perpetrate an untruth, rather than acquire so repugnant a distinction. No matter how energetically one may labor, his earnings soon pass from his possession to his family or clan,
hearted people not to feel great sympathy for their future and welfare. "Talofaa" ("Love to you") is their word of greeting to him, always accompanied by a smile and an honest handshake. "Tofaa" ("God be with you") is their parting benediction, the significance of which was never appreciated until the hour arrived when with regret we took leave of our dusky friends who had assembled on the beach and at the boat landing, and heard their gracious last parting, "Tofaa alii, alii tofaa ("Good-bye, chief; chief, good-bye"), which lingers like a melody in our memory after months of separation.
Hervey W. Whitaker.
BY THE COMMISSIONER SENT TO SAMOA BY THE UNITED STATES IN 1886.
ITHIN the last few months the agitation of the subject in Congress and in the press has made known to the country a group of islands superior in location, in natural advantages, and in the character and intelligence of its people to the
rest of Polynesia; and we have learned that we possess treaty rights of the utmost value, including the opportunity to control the most magnificent harbor in the Pacific, the loss of which to the British Empire was long ago bewailed by the most intelligent Englishmen. The change of sentiment in this country on this subject is well reflected by the action of