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shelter among the trees on the shore. When the rain was over, they returned to drink tea.

It may well be asked how could they procure tea ?

A few had obtained a little tea and sugar from the ships, and thought it a very excellent drink, because it was so rare. But even warm water was a luxury to the natives; for as they had formerly no vessels that could bear the fire, they were once unable to boil it.

Many kettles and frying-pans were produced at tea-time. One spoonful of tea was thought sufficient to put in a kettle of water, and sugar alone was used by others, for few persons had both tea and sugar. The chief supply indeed was taken from an immense pan, filled with water, and a little sugar.

The drinking-vessels were also curious. No set of tea-things was to be seen ; but a mixture of teapots, cups, jugs, porringers, glasses, and bottles, with the native drinkingvessel—the cocoa-nut shell.

When tea was over, the assembly began to prepare for their departure, by packing up their things; and then, either bearing their tables and sofas on their shoulders, or placing them in their canoes, they returned home, many of them, no doubt, blessing Him who had given them all things richly to enjoy.

AIMATA'S INTENDED MARRIAGE.

379

From every dwelling the sound of prayer and praise was to be heard ascending, on the evening of this day of innocent pleasure.

After an ungodly entertainment, people are not in a fit state of mind to praise God. At plays and fairs in England, the name of God is profaned, foolish songs are sung, and foolish talking encouraged. At such places the Christian neither dares, nor desires to appear: but he is permitted to eat before the Lord, and rejoice with his household. Deut. xiv. 26.

Nearly at the same time that this feast was given in Raiatea, an event of importance took place in the royal family of Tahiti, namely, the marriage of the princess Aimata. She was still very young—and would only have been counted a child in England, but in Tahiti she was

considered almost grown Some time before, a husband had been chosen for her. He was not himself a king, but was descended from an ancient race of kings, who had once reigned in the island of Taha-a. He was an orphan, and had been committed to the care of the pious king, who then reigned over Tahaa. It was hoped, that as he had received a christian education, and appeared well disposed, that he would prove a worthy husband for Aimata.

The late Pomare, king of Tahiti, had permitted the youth to have the singular ho

380

FIRST INTERVIEW.

honour to be called by his name. We will therefore, to distinguish him from the little king Pomare, call him, Pomare, chief of Tahaa.

It was arranged that this Pomare should meet his betrothed bride in the island of Huahine, which lay between their native islands, and which belonged to Aimata's aunt

Pomare arrived first, attended by many chiefs, and by his respectable guardian, Fe-nu-a-peho, king of Tahaa. Aimata came in a ship belonging to her little brother. She landed in a boat, accompanied by her mother and aunt, and was received on the shore by the regent of Huahine, the excellent Hautia, and other great chiefs. She was conducted by them to a small

open

house where Pomare was waiting to receive her, dressed in native clothing, and a beaver hat. He neither rose nor spoke when Aimata entered. She, for her part, sat down by her aunt and mother, and remained quite silent.

This was the first meeting between Pomare and Aimata. It lasted twenty minutes, during which time not a word was spoken by either of them. Though they were to be married with their mutual consent, yet there was great reason to fear that the marriage would not prove a happy one, for they were both very young, and strangers to each other; and were

THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY.

381

of very opposite characters, Pomare being as grave and reserved, as Aimata was gay and open.

The marriage ceremony took place a few days after their first meeting, and was performed in the chapel at noon.

Mr. Ellis and Mr. Barff (the missionaries at Huahine) took their station behind the communion-table before the pulpit. The youthful pair stood opposite, and the friends of each were ranged on either side. Aimata was dressed in an English white gown, with a pink scarf, and a bonnet made of white bark trimmed with white ribbons. The ladies also who attended her were dressed in the English manner; but the chiefs wore their native clothing. A tear was observed in Aimata's eye during the service, and this tear was a sign of feeling which, had she been a heathen, she would hardly have possessed. But Aimata had often been instructed in the schools, and was aware of the holy nature of a promise. After the vows were made and the blessing pronounced, the marriage was recorded in a book. Guns were then fired by the guards of Hautia, who were drawn up outside the chapel. The day was concluded by a feast, in which God's name was not forgotten, and in which no rioting and excess were permitted.

How different was this christian marriage

382

HEATHEN MARRIAGE CEREMONIES.

from those of the natives in former times! It is true, the heathen used to pronounce vows of fidelity in their temples, but they never kept them ;- although the skulls of their forefathers were often brought out, and ranged before the young couple, and though their mothers wounded themselves with sharks' teeth, and stained a cloth with their blood mingled together.

The religion of Jesus had banished these horrible ceremonies from these lovely isles, and had brought down upon them unnumbered blessings, both in time and in eternity.

The yonthful pair afterwards removed to Tahiti, where they lived in a house of their own at Papao, near the dwellings of the rest of the royal family, and near the Royal Mission Chapel, and the tomb of the late Pomare.

CHAPTER XL.

1823, 1824.

THE CORONATION OF THE LITTLE KING.

The little king Pomare was not brought up in all respects as the missionaries desired,

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