Story type: Literature
Behind Apia, on the edge of the Taufusi swamp, was a small collection of huts, jumbled together in squalor and dirt, with pigs dozing in the ooze and slatternly women beating out siapo in the shade. It was a dunghill of out-islanders, Nieues, Uveans, Tongans, Tapatueans, banded together in a common poverty; landless people of other archipelagoes, despised of the Samoans, and paying tribute to the lord of the soil–a few men in war; a grudging hog in times of peace.
Here lived O’olo, a boy of twenty, whose chief-like face, and fine manly bearing marked him as one apart in that nest of outcasts. He was of Tongan blood, though all he knew of his parents was that they had escaped from Nukualofa at the time of the Persecution, and had died in Samoa when he was a child. Old Siosi, who had adopted him, could tell him no more than that; not that O’olo asked many questions, being content to drift on the ocean of life, and careless of anything save what belonged to the day. He weeded taro, occasionally worked for thirty-five cents a day at the unloading of ships; stole bread-fruit and bananas up the mountain, and slept peacefully at night on the stones of Siosi’s floor.
If ever he envied the Samoans, the mood was brief, and seldom darkened his spirits for long. To him the Samoans were a race above, with splendid houses, and spacious lands, and a haughty contempt for such an eat-bush at O’olo, the Tongan; and O’olo looked up at them mightily, and respected them as a dog does a man, though sometimes he said: “I wish God had made me a Samoan”; and then the swamp appeared very dismal to O’olo, and the huts mean and noisome, and the mallets seemed to be pounding on his heart instead of the suddy bark.
Now it happened that a new clergyman came to the coral church on the other side of the coconut grove, and what was more important to O’olo brought with him a lovely daughter. O’olo did not know how important it was till he first met Evanitalina in the path, and was so suddenly stricken with her beauty that he had hardly the sense to make way for her to pass. Slim and graceful, with her glossy hair gathered at the nape with a ribbon, and her bright lavalava kilted to the knee, she gave O’olo a glance as sparkling as moonlight on a pool, all her young womanhood alive to his confusion, and quick to divine its cause. Though her eyes had scarcely dwelt on him an instant, she had seen enough for her heart to say: ” Panga! What a handsome youth”; and was filled with a strange elation in which there was a dart of pain.
On her return O’olo was still where she had left him, though in his hand was a crimson aute blossom that had not been there before; and when she drew close he held it out, saying: “Oh, lady, here is a little worthless gift!” She took it smiling, and put it behind her ear, and had it been a pig or a fine mat no sweeter could have been her words of gratitude, for Evanitalina had been well brought up, and courtesy was as natural to her as breathing.
“I am named O’olo,” said the young man, “and if you like aute blossoms, every day shall I bring you some.”
“I am Evanitalina, the daughter of Samuelu, the clergyman,” she returned, “and I shall be glad of the blossoms, for as yet thy father has tabooed no lands for our garden.”
Then O’olo realized she had mistaken him for the son of Amatuanai, the chief, and while flattered he was also much cast down.
“I am only a Tongan,” he said, deprecatorily, shame halting his tongue, “and I live yonder where you see that nameless-animal rooting in the slough–though to God a Tongan is every bit as good as a Samoan, and the only chiefs are those who are strong in faith.”
Evanitalina hastened to agree with him, though she was very disappointed just the same, for he was so handsome, and had such pleasant manners, and an air so noble and winning that she had never doubted he was of rank. She herself was of the exalted I’i family, of Safotulafai, and her grandfather was Tu’imaleali’ifano, and her great-grandfather had been Tu-ia’ana. Yet as she went on, the memory of O’olo stayed with her like the scent of frangipani, and for all he was a Tongan and without land or position, she felt a great tenderness for him; and taking the crimson flower she pressed it to her bosom, trembling with joy as she did so, and saying to herself: “I love thee, I love thee, I love thee!”
The next day they met again, and the next after that, and soon the village gossips were all of a chatter, though not a word of it reached the Reverend Samuelu nor his wife. But if Evanitalina dared not tell her parents of O’olo, in her conduct at least she was as good as gold, and every time she held a tryst with her sweetheart, she took her little brother with her as convention demands; and Polo, bribed with sugar cane, sucked and chewed at the pieces O’olo peeled for him, his shaven head untroubled by the woes of his elders. They, alas, were very wretched, for O’olo had saved up two dollars, which was what to get married costs, and was urging Evanitalina to run away with him to Atua; while she, with superior wisdom called his proposal that of a delirious person, for how were they to live afterwards except slavelike on the bounty of others? When he answered they could return to Siosi and the swamp, her lip curled scornfully, and she reminded him she was of the renowned I’i family, accustomed to dignity and ease, to whom the settlement of out-islanders was hardly better than a wallow of nameless-animals.
Now, however true this might be, it was hurtful to O’olo’s pride, and he was often goaded into sharp retorts which invited others even sharper, so that their passion might be compared to a mountain, up one side of which they climbed in joy and gladness, to descend on the other in alienation. Not that they loved each other any less; that, indeed, was the most cruel part of it; and when at last they separated it was with breaking hearts.
The days that followed were heavy with sorrow, for each strove ardently to pain the other, and with every stab thus inflicted there were two wounds, one in the giver and one in the stricken person. O’olo spent his two dollars in riot and debauchery, and when released from prison fell into greater evil, so that his communion-ticket was withdrawn, and those who missed taro, or chickens, or run-wild daughters used to say darkeningly: “Lo, it is that Taufusi Tongan,” and sought to waylay him with an ax.
Evanitalina, in her turn, encouraged the wooing of Viliamu, a highly-connected young man, whose father was a Member of Parliament, and who earned a dollar and a half a day in the explosion-water manufactory. In this profession he was wondrous skilful, and could be seen daily under a shed, directing the apparatus, and giving orders to his helpers like a white man. A bottle of explosion-water held no more than half a coconut, yet it was sold for ten cents, and it was a perplexity that anybody liked it, for it shot up your nose like the rush of a bat, and made you choke and sneeze, as Evanitalina discovered when once Viliamu brought her some. But it was a fine thing to be able to make it, and earn a dollar and a half a day, and dress magnificently, and give costly presents; and though Evanitalina did not love Viliamu she admired him, and accepted his gifts, and thought wickedly how it must afflict O’olo to see her and Viliamu seated on the same mat, or with their heads side by side on the same bamboo pillow.
Nor was Viliamu her only suitor, for there was also Carl, the German half-caste, who was captain of a schooner, and wore trousers and a black sash, and owned valuable property in Savaloalo; Carl who called for her almost every Sunday in a buggy, and took her driving like a white lady, to Vailele or Vaitele or Utumapu; Carl of the ringing laugh, and jolly, smiling face, and tattooed girl-fish on his arm, who could sing, and do tricks with cards, and invent the funniest forfeits when they all played games, and yet, who at leave-time never failed to say with seriousness: “Oh, my pigeon, am I to love uselessly forever?”
Again and again was Evanitalina drawn to take Viliamu, and then to take Captain Carl, for Samuelu was always urging that a final decision be come to, knowing the folly of maids, and the lack and fewness of worthy men for husbands. But as she was on the brink, like a diver pausing before the plunge, her eyes would alight on O’olo, smolderingly regarding her from afar, and then her whole strength would turn to water, and not for anything would she have married Carl, though all Savalalo belonged to him, and all the ships of the sea; nor likewise would she have married Viliamu, even had he owned the explosion-water manufactory and been himself a Member of Parliament, for of her heart there was but one master, and that was the Tongan.
But, alas, there was no coming together, for O’olo in his despair had put himself beyond all intercourse with those of honor, becoming a terror and a scourge, and inhabiting the jail more frequently than Siosi’s roof-tree; and nightly, when he was free, he caroused with low companions, drinking gin, and cooking stolen pigs, and eating stolen taro, and saying in his infamy: “Why should I work for thirty-five cents a day when all the Tuamasanga is mine?”
Yet the rich food had no flavor in his mouth, and though the gin maddened his spirit, it could not drown his wretchedness, for deep within him, like a maggot in a bread-fruit, was the torment of love. Sometimes in prison he would lower his head like a cow, and run at the wall, exclaiming: “I will die, I will die!” And then he would fall, with his beautiful hair all matted with blood, and his beautiful body next to lifeless, though with his purpose unattained, owing to the thickness of his skull. Surely no person in hell was ever more unhappy than O’olo, and it is with grief one tells of him, for he was like a child, who, on being refused a mango throws away his banana in wilfulness–and with him, his banana was right conduct, and the respect of others, and the laws of God, leaving him nothing save an aching spirit.
Then the war came, with the Tuamasanga in an uproar from end to end, every young man being called to arms, and troops pouring in from Tutuila and the westward to join in the onslaught against Mataafa. The Taufusi people, as foreigners, were not liable to the levy except for two striplings by way of rent, both of whom were subscribed with unwillingness, though neither was O’olo. This Evanitalina learned with joy, for death was in the air and bloody fighting nigh at hand, and her tenderness for O’olo, lying secret in her bosom, like a red-hot coal, was fanned to the flame of agony. But no, he was fortunately in the lock-up, and it was reported he had said scornfully of the war: “A Tongan gentleman has no concern with the squabbles of dogs”; which, if insulting, was not without the balm of reassurance to Evanitalina, greatly dreading.
One drowsy afternoon, however, as she was sewing under the eaves, alone except for Polo, who had made a Mataafa soldier of the dog, and was pretending, victoriously, to cut the animal’s head off with a piece of wood, as so soon, in reality, would be happening to living men, pierced with wounds, and lying in their blood–one hot afternoon while nothing stirred except the flies, and even these buzzed sleepily, Evanitalina of a sudden was roused by the sound of steps, and looking up, beheld a warrior advancing towards the house. His face was blackened with charcoal, as is the custom, and about his hair was the scarlet scarf of the Government, and against his skin glistened a belt of cartridges; and his walk was fearless and proud, as befitted so handsome a man and one of such noble mien.
” Talofa,” he said, and then Evanitalina gave a cry, for it was O’olo; and with that cry, every thought vanished except her love, which rose tumultuously within her like a wave bursting between rocks, and foaming white over them, so that she could answer not a word to his greeting, but stared uselessly at him like a dead person.
“I am going to the war,” explained O’olo, bending down on his beautiful legs, and bringing his face so close to hers that his breath was on her cheek. “Doubtless I shall die, for with many so brave it will be difficult for me to excel them, though that is my intention at whatever cost.”
“But how is it you are not in prison?” inquired Evanitalina, recovering her voice, and speaking in a tremble. “The judge allotted you two months, and lo, here you are with only sixteen days of it expended.”
At this O’olo’s heart warmed, for it showed him how assiduous had been Evanitalina’s counting of his imprisonment, for it was exactly sixteen days, even as she said, she tallying it every morning with a little stone; and it spoke to him better than words of the endurance and strength of her love, which, like his own, was as fathomless as the sea.
“I was made free on this condition,” he said, touching his rifle, “and though to me the Government is nothing, nor the King, nor the quarrel more than that of gulls on a rock, or the squeals of nameless-animals over carrion, yet I consented for thy sake, Evanitalina.”
“My sake?” she exclaimed, astonished. “Were it to please me I would implore thee to remain behind, though I thought my name had long ceased to be anything to thee, and that I was utterly forgotten and cast aside.”
“So did I try to make it,” he said, “for no shark could have been more cruel than thee to me, nor any bat more blind to worth, and because I had neither lands nor family thou drovest me forth with contempt.”
“It was the insufficiency of the two dollars, O’olo,” she protested, “and not that of my love, which was unbounded; and if I merited punishment for what seemed right to me, have I not received it, and atoned a thousand times over for my fault? Did Viliamu gain me for all his wealth and position, or did Carl the half-caste take me to wife? I was truer to thee than ever thou wast to me, and nightly I wept, and held the memory of thee in my arms, like a mother whose babe is dead. And this I will do, if thou wilt return to jail, and break the covenant of thy freedom–I will marry thee, and go live with thee in Siosi’s house, and forfeit rank and honor and the regard of all, reckoning them as naught in the comparison of thy love.”
At this O’olo could hardly keep back his tears, so greatly was he overcome; and his hand met Evanitalina’s and clasped on hers, and his chest shook like one grief-stricken at the death of a near relation. He had learned many things since he had become bad, and knew better than before the gulf that lay between an eat-bush like himself and a member of the renowned I’i family. Our Lord in the desert was not more tempted by the kingdoms of the world than he at that moment by Evanitalina, who was offering herself in all her young beauty for his delight.
But resolutely he put the devil behind him, saying: “I will not have thee stoop to me, so that persons shall mock at thy choice, and the parable of the pearl and the nameless-animal shall be repeated in the Taufusi swamp. No! I shall make of this war a ladder, and reach glory or die and to that I am determined as never was man before. If I come back it shall be as one famous for prowess, bearing heads that I have taken, and with chiefs eager to adopt me. Thus shall I return, an eat-bush no longer nor despised, but a David who has slain his Goliath, with the multitude applauding, and the greatest of the Tuamasanga vying to give me the title of their son. Or, if not that, then shall I claim the land God withholds not from every man, nay, not from the poorest or the lowest, and the name of that land is the grave.”
At this Evanitalina sobbed, and clung pitifully to O’olo, and pressed his head to her bosom, unmindful of decorum, and so consumed by misery she was like a person in a fit. O’olo, too, was suffocated with sadness, for it seemed a dreadful thing to die and be cast blood-stained into a pit, he that was so handsome, and in the flood of his youth, with perhaps his dissevered head tossing in the air amid shouts and triumph. Indeed, so lost was he in wretchedness that he was taken unawares by Samuelu on his way inland from a deacons’ meeting, who, convulsed, seized a coconut branch, and ran at him, crying: “Let there be a going, thou worthless one! Fly, thou of the Belial family, and be quick with it, else I shall whip thee hence like a cur!” And with that he whipped and whipped at O’olo, departing, for the Tongan was too mannerly to strike a clergyman, and one so greatly his senior, though his spirit smarted worse than his body at the insult. Thus he passed from the sight of Evanitalina, like a horse being chased from a bread-fruit plantation, with no time to look back, or wave with his hand a last greeting.
He marched the same day with the Vaiala contingent under the high-chief Asi, and that night, shivering on the wet ground, O’olo had his first taste of war. As to it he had many misconceptions, not reckoning on the severity of the rule, or the trifling importance attached to a Tongan, however lionlike his heart. He saw that he was one of many, a grain in a heap of sand, who might at an order be kept in the rear, and never hear the whistle of a bullet, or earn the chance of distinction. In the army, too, little thought was taken of food, so that one banana was given for breakfast, and for dinner a coconut, which O’olo found hard, he having always been a hearty eater, and accustomed to palusami and luxuries. The monotony also, was unendurable, especially when the tobacco was gone, and one was forbidden to move, being condemned to sit hungry and distressed for a whole day at a time, sucking a white stone by way of alleviation. To O’olo a white stone was very insufficient for nourishment, and so he tried grass and weeds like Nebuchadnezzar, to the undoing of his stomach, which dissatisfied, was afflicted with cramps, so that he rolled and rolled in pain, and lamented loudly, till Asi cried out: “Make that Tongan to cease from bellowing, or else the enemy will surely discover us!”
But let it not be said that O’olo was womanish or afraid, for on the contrary he thirsted for battle like King David, whom he took for his example, and his repining was due to the backwardness of his rulers and the tightness of their leash. When at last the advance was ordered on the Mataafa stronghold he was noticeable for his leaps of joy; and while others wore an anxious appearance and showed uncertainty in their walk, O’olo sang with exultation, and stepped out as though on his way to a feast.
The stronghold was of stone, and had been used by the Germans for the retaining of cattle, and stood solitary on a hill with the land falling away on every side. As it flashed and sparkled with the Mataafa fire it was seen by O’olo to be a place not easy to capture, with much loss to be experienced before ax could cross ax, and knife meet knife, in the final charge; so that, with wisdom, he shot little in order not to tire himself, and hugged the ground in a manner suggestive of terror rather than boldness, for to be killed here was useless and foreign to his purpose, fame resting in the fort, and there the heads to be taken. Thus, when they sprang up at the call, he was unfatigued, with cartridges still in his gun, and wind in his body, and up the hill he raced with swiftness, so that scarcely two of his companions matched pace with him, and those who had cried: “Coward, coward!” panted in his rear, and perceived it was a hero they had mocked.
Nor at the gateway was there any slackening of Tongan valor, and over it O’olo scrambled, undeterred by rifle and ax, so that it was a miracle that he stayed alive as he dropped within, even as Daniel into the lion’s den, beset by twenty, and he alone. It was like a tempest and he in the center, and for lightning was the flame of the guns, and for thunder the roar of their explosion, and for the raging sea the crash of blows, given and taken, and the sobbing breath of men. Here the Tongan rock withheld the enemy, while the army of the Government rolled over the wall in a resistless torrent, and with tumult and fury beset the Mataafas until they fled. Now, O’olo, with coolness, had already marked an old chief of towering stature and magnificent appearance as the one whose head he would take, unwishful of a boy’s, or that of a person of no importance, and him he pressed hard in the rout, and at last laid low with the butt of his weapon, straddling his body, and prepared to hack at his throat with his knife.
The old chief, whose hurt had not bereft him of his senses, begged piteously for his life in a voice choked by the weight of O’olo on his chest, and troubled by the imminence of death; offering first ten cans of biscuit, and then twenty, and then property and fine mats in quantities unstinted. But O’olo, although it was like a beautiful dream come true, dallied with the killing, being squeamish in regard to it, and needing a space to confirm his resolution, he saying with derision: “Thou pig-faced person, thou hast not the property thou namest, and even wert thou the Lord of the earth, yet still would I take thy head!” To which the fallen warrior made answer: “I am Tangaloa, the high-chief of Leatatafili, in Savai’i, and the property I speak of is no myth, and all of it thine if thou wilt spare me.” To which O’olo replied: “And when I should claim it, verily thou wouldst forget thy covenant, and order thy young men to chastise me forth, they laughing at the cheat, and I with neither head nor property, and the back of me lacerated with blows!” Then the old chief fell into a great tremble, repeating: “No, no,” his flesh shrinking on his bones, and horror in his face; and as O’olo looked down at him, making motions with his knife, the Tongan’s thought was suddenly moved into a new direction, and lo, it was like a burning torch in a cavern, so bright it was in the darkness of his previous purpose, he saying: “Oh, Tangaloa, there is a price, and that is my adoption as thy son, and to that wilt thou pledge thyself in an oath before God?” To which, overjoyed, the venerable warrior consented with impetuosity, crying out that he would do so, and seeing in the proposal the high-chief-hand of God, for had not his own son lately died?
“And cherish me, and love me?” demanded O’olo with renewed motions of his knife, he undesirous of showing too great a willingness, and pretending indecision, besides doubting the chief’s integrity.
“As God sees me that I will perform,” said Tangaloa, “and now in my extremity I perceive the worth of true dealing with every man, for all my past years stand in witness to my honor, and he who trusted me has never been deceived.”
At this O’olo was reassured, and he repeated the oath for Tangaloa to say after him, making it very full and exact, with nothing omitted; and then he kissed the old man, beginning to feel for him the tenderness of a son, he that had never had a father until this moment, and now having gained one of the loftiest rank; and he raised him lovingly, and bound his wound with a strip of cloth, and be-darlinged him, Tangaloa returning his love, and saying again and again: “Blessed be God that He has sent me a son for my protection.”
Nor were these words of empty import, for others of the victorious army were much displeased at O’olo’s clemency, and would have torn away Tangaloa and killed him, had not O’olo resisted with lowered gun and a threatening expression, so that he dared not leave his father for an instant so greedy were the warriors for his head. All that day he crouched beside him, with neither water to drink nor food to eat, guarding Tangaloa preciously; and had it not been for the confusion that attends the finish of a battle, and the lessening of authority that follows, he would have been overpowered by a multitude, and all his bravery wasted. But those who assailed him were without cohesion or settled plan, and they were as dogs, rushing up to affright, and then losing courage at O’olo’s demeanor, which was fierce and unshaken, with his rifle at the cock.
It was a day terrible to remember in its heat and hunger and unbearable thirst, with about them the headless dead, festering in the sun and blackening, and over them the sky without a cloud, and always at their hearts the dread of Asi and the chiefs, returning to kill them both. At dusk it seemed as though O’olo could never get his father to his feet, so destroyed was the old man by weakness and disinclination, and he was as a sinking canoe, or a sting ray flopping on the reef, and abandoned by the tide. But O’olo persevered, dragging and supporting him until coconuts were reached, where he climbed a tree and threw down nui in abundance; and as they drank the water they were greatly refreshed, and with every bite of the rind, vigor returned, and with vigor, boldness. Then Tangaloa said: “Let us pray”; and with that they both went down on their knees, the old chief beseeching God for deliverance, and repeating again and again his thankfulness for O’olo, and for the nuts.
But all was far from finished, and there was much for God to do yet if ever He destined them to gain the security of Savai’i; and O’olo proclaimed his intention of hiding in the mountains, and going eastward circuitously, and making no sign or stir until the close of the war, and the withdrawal of the Tuamasanga from A’ana. To this Tangaloa agreed without argument, resigning himself like a little child to O’olo’s guidance, and making no demur when the Tongan said: “Let us rise and go, for by dawn we must be on the heights, and beyond pursuit.”
Thus determined, they took the plantation road upward, assisted by the moon which was near its full; and toilsomely attaining the limits of the cultivated land, buried themselves in the tomb of the forest. Here, with groping and hurt, and frequent misdirection, they struggled on and on, making of a watercourse their path, and at times so hidden in the defile of rocks that it was as though the earth had closed over them. In this manner were many hours spent until at last Tangaloa fell exhausted on a bank of ferns, saying: “More I cannot do.” Then O’olo built a fire to warm his parent, who was perishing of cold, and rubbed his legs, and shaped a bough for his pillow, and kissed him lovingly; and when the old man said: “I am convinced we shall die”; he answered stoutly, “No, we shall live, for God has not brought us thus far to desert us now”; at which Tangaloa was comforted and went to sleep, while O’olo watched and watched beside him, his heart much troubled by the evil of their situation, and the frailty of the old chief, and the assailing doubts as to whether, after all, they should ever escape.
* * * * *
The news of O’olo’s desertion was variously twisted by the returning troops, so that to Evanitalina, inquiring in anguish, there were as many tales as men. Some would have it that they had seen him die, giving details; others that he had run away from the battle, in wildness and panic; others praised him truthfully for a hero, and as the first to leap the fort. Of these there was a fewness, for the most preferred to laud themselves or their relations rather than another, and accordingly most of the chatter was scornful of O’olo, and to his discredit. But Evanitalina knew that O’olo was no coward, and her misgiving was that he was dead, which deepened with the passing of months, and no sign nor token coming to prove the contrary. Viliamu, too, was assiduous in declaring it, which he did with artfulness and pretended sorrow, urging all the while his own suit, like a squid of apparent harmlessness on the surface, but with its suckers enfolding venomously below.
Never was a maid in sadder straits, widowed before she was a wife, and unceasingly plagued by Samuelu to marry either Viliamu or Carl. She grew thin, and when she walked it was like a sick person, staggeringly, and once of so passionate a temper she changed to a gentleness that nothing could disturb. The compassion of the other maids lavished itself upon her, for they saw that she was dying of grief for her beloved; and at night, when wooed under the stars, they spoke with tenderness of O’olo and Evanitalina, and of their love so cruelly ruptured; so that every one wept, even young men who previously had had neither consideration nor sense, to whom a maid was a maid, were only she pretty, and who would have hastened for another had the first died; which shows that true love is like a seed, growing and becoming a tree, from which others eat the fruit to their own improvement, and increased understanding.
Every day Evanitalina grew more weak, yet unlike most sick persons, she was without fear at her condition, even welcoming it, and saying: “Soon I shall pass beyond the skies on my last malanga “; an once when she saw a wilted aute, she said: “Such am I, once blooming and now a-droop,” and with that she plucked fiercely at the petals, and crushed them in her hand, as though she were hastening her own extinction.
One morning, shortly after prayers, as she reclined on a mat, with her eyes raised to that far-away country of which she often spoke, while Samuelu sat at the table, writing his sermon, there appeared on the village green three old gentlemen of stately and impressive appearance, bearing staves, who, stopping at that distance, inquired loudly whether this was the house of Samuelu, the clergyman? Then being greeted, and answered, “Yes,” the three old gentlemen ceremoniously advanced, and ranged themselves within the eaves, saying that they had come on a wooing-party of sixty boats with Cloud-of-Butterflies, the young chief of Leatatafili, who was seeking a wife. At this, marveling greatly, Samuelu informed them they were mistaken as to the house, since his highness Cloud-of-Butterflies was unknown to him, and he surely unknown to Cloud-of-Butterflies. But the old orators replied, No, they were not mistaken, and asked had he not a daughter named the Lady Evanitalina, for it was for her that Cloud-of-Butterflies, in sixty boats, was at hand to offer marriage.
Then Samuelu’s amazement redoubled, and even Evanitalina, previously languid, looked up surprised, and in her face was a strange expression like that of a startled pigeon; and on being asked in a becoming speech whether she would condescend to receive the visitor and his gifts, she answered with bewilderment that it was as her father wished, at which Samuelu said, “Yes,” with no great willingness, desiring to continue his sermon, and dreading the outlay in ‘ava for the reception of so vast a company. Then the three old gentlemen excused themselves in polished phrases, full of beauty and eloquence, and retired to inform Cloud-of-Butterflies that the Lady Evanitalina was desirous that he should come.
Shortly afterwards there was the beat of drums, and the tramp of multitudes, and the screaming of innumerable pigs borne on poles, and a sound like that of an advancing army, thunderous and roaring. The eaves of every house was black with onlookers, and there were white people, galloping up on horses, astounded, and many others on foot, running. Then, shaking the ground with its progress the procession marched into view; and of pigs there seemed two hundred, and of men a number beyond counting; and at the head were youths, throwing their rifles in the air as they sang and danced. But of these things Evanitalina was scarcely heedful, for with breathless body and quivering heart her whole attention was on Cloud-of-Butterflies in the center of the pageant, who, girded in a priceless mat, and wearing at his throat a whale-tooth necklace, and surrounded with deference and honor, was not to her Cloud-of-Butterflies at all, but O’olo, arisen from the grave, and hastening to claim her for his bride.