Asi, Maunga, Tuiletu-funga, had followed him in that new path of doom. We have seen how carefully Mataafa still walked, how he dared not set foot on the neutral territory till assured it was no longer sacred, how he withdrew from it again as soon as its sacredness had been restored, and at the bare word of a consul (however gilded with ambiguous promises) paused in his course of victory and left his rival unassailed in Mulinuu. And now it was the rival's turn. Hitherto happy in the continued support of one of the white Powers, he now found himself--or thought himself--threatened with war by no less than two others.

Tamasese boats as they passed Matautu were in the habit of firing on the shore, as like as not without particular aim, and more in high spirits than hostility. One of these shots pierced the house of a British subject near the consulate; the consul reported to Admiral Fairfax; and, on the morning of the 10th, the admiral despatched Captain Kane of the Calliope to Mulinuu. Brandeis met the messenger with voluble excuses and engagements for the future. He was told his explanations were satisfactory so far as they went, but that the admiral's message was to Tamasese, the de facto king. Brandeis, not very well assured of his puppet's courage, attempted in vain to excuse him from appearing. No de facto king, no message, he was told: produce your de facto king. And Tamasese had at last to be produced. To him Kane delivered his errand: that the Lizard was to remain for the protection of British subjects; that a signalman was to be stationed at the consulate; that, on any further firing from boats, the signalman was to notify the Lizard and she to fire one gun, on which all boats must lower sail and come alongside for examination and the detection of the guilty; and that, "in the event of the boats not obeying the gun, the admiral would not be responsible for the consequences." It was listened to by Brandeis and Tamasese "with the greatest attention." Brandeis, when it was done, desired his thanks to the admiral for the moderate terms of his message, and, as Kane went to his boat, repeated the expression of his gratitude as though he meant it, declaring his own hands would be thus strengthened for the maintenance of discipline. But I have yet to learn of any gratitude on the part of Tamasese. Consider the case of the poor owlish man hearing for the first time our diplomatic commonplaces. The admiral would not be answerable for the consequences. Think of it! A devil of a position for a de facto king. And here, the same afternoon, was Leary in the Scalon house, mopping it out for unknown designs by the hands of an old woman, and proffering strange threats of bloodshed. Scanlon and his pigs, the admiral and his gun, Leary and his bombardment,--what a kettle of fish!

I dwell on the effect on Tamasese. Whatever the faults of Becker, he was not timid; he had already braved so much for Mulinuu that I cannot but think he might have continued to hold up his head even after the outrage of the pigs, and that the weakness now shown originated with the king. Late in the night, Blacklock was wakened to receive a despatch addressed to Leary. "You have asked that I and my government go away from Mulinuu, because you pretend a man who lives near Mulinuu and who is under your protection, has been threatened by my soldiers. As your Excellency has forbidden the man to accept any satisfaction, and as I do not wish to make war against the United States, I shall remove my government from Mulinuu to another place." It was signed by Tamasese, but I think more heads than his had wagged over the direct and able letter. On the morning of the 11th, accordingly, Mulinuu the much defended lay desert. Tamasese and Brandeis had slipped to sea in a schooner; their troops had followed them in boats; the German sailors and their war-flag had returned on board the Adler; and only the German merchant flag blew there for Weber's land-claim. Mulinuu, for which Becker had intrigued so long and so often, for which he had overthrown the municipality, for which he had abrogated and refused and invented successive schemes of neutral territory, was now no more to the Germans than a very unattractive, barren peninsula and a very much disputed land-claim of Mr.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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