As he passed, he detached a messenger to Mataafa at the Catholic mission. Mataafa followed by the same road, and the pair met at the river- side and went and sat together in a house. All present were in tears. "Do not let us weep," said the talking man, Lauati. "We have no cause for shame. We do not yield to Tamasese, but to the invincible strangers." The departing king bequeathed the care of his country to Mataafa; and when the latter sought to console him with the commodore's promises, he shook his head, and declared his assurance that he was going to a life of exile, and perhaps to death. About two o'clock the meeting broke up; Mataafa returned to the Catholic mission by the back of the town; and Malietoa proceeded by the beach road to the German naval hospital, where he was received (as he owns, with perfect civility) by Brandeis. About three, Becker brought him forth again. As they went to the wharf, the people wept and clung to their departing monarch. A boat carried him on board the Bismarck, and he vanished from his countrymen. Yet it was long rumoured that he still lay in the harbour; and so late as October 7th, a boy, who had been paddling round the Carola, professed to have seen and spoken with him. Here again the needless mystery affected by the Germans bitterly disserved them. The uncertainty which thus hung over Laupepa's fate, kept his name continually in men's mouths. The words of his farewell rang in their ears: "To all Samoa: On account of my great love to my country and my great affection to all Samoa, this is the reason that I deliver up my body to the German government. That government may do as they wish to me. The reason of this is, because I do not desire that the blood of Samoa shall be spilt for me again. But I do not know what is my offence which has caused their anger to me and to my country." And then, apostrophising the different provinces: "Tuamasanga, farewell! Manono and family, farewell! So, also, Salafai, Tutuila, Aana, and Atua, farewell! If we do not again see one another in this world, pray that we may be again together above." So the sheep departed with the halo of a saint, and men thought of him as of some King Arthur snatched into Avilion.

On board the Bismarck, the commodore shook hands with him, told him he was to be "taken away from all the chiefs with whom he had been accustomed," and had him taken to the wardroom under guard. The next day he was sent to sea in the Adler. There went with him his brother Moli, one Meisake, and one Alualu, half-caste German, to interpret. He was respectfully used; he dined in the stern with the officers, but the boys dined "near where the fire was." They come to a "newly-formed place" in Australia, where the Albatross was lying, and a British ship, which he knew to be a man-of-war "because the officers were nicely dressed and wore epaulettes." Here he was transhipped, "in a boat with a screen," which he supposed was to conceal him from the British ship; and on board the Albatross was sent below and told he must stay there till they had sailed. Later, however, he was allowed to come on deck, where he found they had rigged a screen (perhaps an awning) under which he walked, looking at "the newly-formed settlement," and admiring a big house "where he was sure the governor lived." From Australia, they sailed some time, and reached an anchorage where a consul- general came on board, and where Laupepa was only allowed on deck at night. He could then see the lights of a town with wharves; he supposes Cape Town. Off the Cameroons they anchored or lay-to, far at sea, and sent a boat ashore to see (he supposes) that there was no British man-of-war. It was the next morning before the boat returned, when the Albatross stood in and came to anchor near another German ship. Here Alualu came to him on deck and told him this was the place. "That is an astonishing thing," said he. "I thought I was to go to Germany, I do not know what this means; I do not know what will be the end of it; my heart is troubled." Whereupon Alualu burst into tears.

Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa Page 23

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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