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Primitive Love and Love-Stories by Henry Theophilus Finck

Part 11 out of 19

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I say "Why do you provoke me? Be sure men despise coquetry such as
yours, though they disguise from you the scorn they feel. Nay, be
not angry; grant me to hold thy fairly tattooed hand. I am
distracted with love. I would fain weep if I could move thee to

_She_.--You are cruel, my love, and perverse. To think thus much of an
idle jest.
The setting sun bids all repose. Night is nigh.


I lay till dawn of day, peacefully asleep,
But when the sun rose, I rose too and ran without.
I hastily gathered the sweetest flowers I could find, shaking them
from the branches.
I came near the dwelling of my love with my sweet scented burden.
As I came near she saw me, and called playfully,
"What birds are you flying here so early?"
"I am a handsome youth and not a bird," I replied,
"But like a bird I am mateless and forlorn."
She took a garland of flowers off her neck and gave it to me
I in return gave her my comb; I threw it to her and ah me! it strikes
her face!
"What rough bark of a tree are you made from?" she cries. And so
saying she turned and went away in anger.


In the mountain war of 1876 there was in the native force on the
government side a handsome lad of the name of Naloko, much admired by
the ladies. One day, all the camp and the village of Nasauthoko were
found singing this song, which someone had composed:

"The wind blows over the great mountain of Magondro,
It blows among the rocks of Magondro.
The same wind plays in and raises the yellow locks of
Thou lovest me, Naloko, and to thee I am devoted,
Shouldst thou forsake me, sleep would forever forsake me.
Shouldst thou enfold another in thine arms,
All food would be to me as the bitter root of the via.
The world to me would become utterly joyless
Without thee, my handsome, slender waisted,
Strong-shouldered, pillar-necked lad."


At the time when Williams studied the Fijians, their poetry consisted
of dirges, serenades, wake-songs, war-songs, and hymns for the dance
(99). Of love-songs addressed to individuals he says nothing. The
serenades do not come under that head, since, as he says (140), they
are practised at night "by _companies_ of men and women"--which takes
all the romance out of them. One detail of the romance of courtship
had, however, been introduced even in his time, through European
influence. "Popping the question" is, he says, of recent date, "and
though for the most part done by the men, yet the women do not
hesitate to adopt the same course when so inclined." No violent
individual preference seems to be shown. The following is a specimen
of a man's proposal.

Simioni Wang Ravou, wishing to bring the woman he wanted to a
decision, remarked to her, in the hearing of several other persons:

"I do not wish to have you because you are a good-looking
woman; that you are not. But a woman is like a necklace of
flowers--pleasant to the eye and grateful to the smell: but
such a necklace does not long continue attractive; beautiful
as it is one day, the next it fades and loses its scent. Yet
a pretty necklace tempts one to ask for it, but, if refused
no one will often repeat his request. If you love me, I love
you; but if not, neither do I love you: let it be a settled
thing" (150).


Hearts are not likely to be broken by a refusal under such
circumstances, which bears out Williams's remark (148) that no
distinctive preference is apparent among these men and women. Under
such circumstances it may appear strange that some widowers should
commit suicide upon the death of a wife, as Seernan assures us they do
(193). Does not this indicate deep feeling? Not in a savage. In all
countries suicide is usually a sign of a weak intellect rather than of
strong feelings, and especially is this the case among the lower
races, where both men and women are apt to commit suicide in a moment
of excitement, often for the most trivial cause, as we shall see in
the next chapter. Williams tells us (106) of a chief on Thithia who
was addressed disrespectfully by a younger brother and who, rather
than live to have the insult made the topic of common talk, loaded his
musket, placed the muzzle at his breast, and pushing the trigger with
his toe, shot himself through the heart. He knew a similar case on
Vanua Levu.

"Pride and anger combined often lead to self-destruction.
... The most common method of suicide in Fiji is by jumping
over a precipice. This is, among the women, the fashionable
way of destroying themselves; but they sometimes resort to
the rope. Of deadly poisons they are ignorant, and drowning
would be a difficult thing; for from infancy they learn to
be almost as much at home in the water as on dry land."

In his book on the Melanesians Codrington says (243) that

"a wife jealous of her husband, or in any way incensed at
him, would in former times throw herself from a cliff or
tree, swim out to sea, hang or strangle herself, stab
herself with an arrow, or thrust one down her throat; and a
man jealous or quarrelling with his wife would do the like;
but now it is easy to go off with another's wife or husband
in a labor vessel to Queensland or Fiji."

There is one class of men in Fiji who are not likely to commit
suicide. They are the bachelors, who, though they are scorned and
frowned on in this life, must look forward to a worse fate after
death. There is a special god, named Nangganangga--"the bitter hater
of bachelors"--who watches for their souls, and so untiring is his
watch, as Williams was informed (206), that no unwedded spirit has
ever reached the Elysium of Fiji. Sly bachelors sometimes try to dodge
him by stealing around the edge of a certain reef at low tide; but he
is up to their tricks, seizes them and dashes them to pieces on the
large black stone, just as one shatters rotten fire-wood.


Cruel and degraded as the Fijians are, they mark a considerable
advance over the Australian savages. A further advance is to be noted
as we come to the Samoans. Cannibalism was indulged in occasionally in
more remote times, but not, as in Fiji, owing to a relish for human
flesh, but merely as a climax of hatred and revenge. To speak of
roasting a Samoan chief is a deadly insult and a cause for war
(Turner, 108). Sympathy was a feeling known to Samoans; their
treatment of the sick was invariably humane (141). And whereas in
Australia, Borneo, and Fiji, it is just as honorable to slay a female
as a male, Samoans consider it cowardly to kill a woman (196). Nor do
they practise infanticide; but this abstinence is counterbalanced by
the fact that the custom of destroying infants before birth prevailed
to a melancholy extent (79).

Yet here as everywhere we discover that the sexual refinement on which
the capacity for supersensual love depends comes last of the virtues.
The Rev. George Turner, who had forty years of experience among the
Polynesians, writes (125) that at their dances "all kinds of obscenity
in looks, language, and gesture prevailed; and often they danced and
revelled till daylight." The universal custom of tattooing was
connected with immoral practices (90). During the wedding ceremonies
of chiefs the friends of the bride

"took up stones and beat themselves until their heads
were bruised and bleeding. The ceremony to prove her
virginity which preceded this burst of feeling will not
bear the light of description.... Night dances and the
attendant immoralities wound up the ceremonies."

The same obscene ceremonies, he adds, were gone through, and this
custom, he thinks, had some influence in cultivating chastity,
especially among young women of rank who feared the disgrace and
beating that was the lot of faithless brides. Presents were also given
to those who had preserved their virtue; but the result of these
efforts is thus summed up by Turner (91):

"Chastity was ostensibly cultivated by both sexes; but it
was more a name than a reality. From their childhood their
ears were familiar with the most obscene conversation; and
as a whole family, to some extent, herded together,
immorality was the natural and prevalent consequence. There
were exceptions, especially among the daughters of persons
of rank; but they were the exceptions, not the rule.
Adultery, too, was sadly prevalent, although often severely
punished by private revenge."

When a chief took a wife, the bride's uncle or other relative had to
give up a daughter at the same time to be his concubine; to refuse
this, would have been to displease the household god. A girl's consent
was a matter of secondary importance: "She had to agree if her parents
were in favor of the match." Many marriages were made chiefly for the
sake of the attendant festivities, the bride being compelled to go
whether or not she was willing. In this way a chief might in a short
time get together a harem of a dozen wives; but most of them remained
with him only a short time:

"If the marriages had been contracted merely for the sake of
the property and festivities of the occasion, the wife was
not likely to be more than a few days or weeks with her


Elopements occur in Samoa in some cases where parental consent is
refused. A vivid description of the pantomimic courtship preceding an
elopement has been given by Kubary (_Globus_, 1885). A young warrior
is surrounded by a bevy of girls. Though unarmed, he makes various
gestures as if spearing or clubbing an enemy, for which the girls
cheer him.

He then selects one, who at first seems coyly unwilling, and begins a
dance with her. She endeavors to look indifferent and forbidding,
while he, with longing looks and words, tries to win her regard.
Presently, yielding to his solicitations, she smiles, and opens her
arms for him. But he, foolishly, stops to reproach her for holding him
off so long. He shakes his head, rolls his eyes, and lo! when he gets
ready to grasp her at last, she eludes him again, with a mocking

It is now his turn to be perverse. Revenge is in his mind and mien.
All his looks and gestures indicate contempt and malice, and he keeps
turning his back to her. She cannot endure this long; his scorn
overcomes her pride, and when he changes his attitude and once more
begins to entreat, she at last allows him to seize her and they dance
wildly. When finally the company separates for the evening meal, one
may hear the word _toro_ whispered. It means "cane," and indicates a
nocturnal rendezvous in the cane-field, where lovers are safe from
observation. They find each other by imitating the owl's sound, which
excites no suspicion.

When they have met, the girl says: "You know that my parents hate you;
nothing remains but _awenga_." Awenga means flight; three nights later
they elope in a canoe to some small island, where they remain for a
few weeks till the excitement over their disappearance has subsided in
the village and their parents are ready to pardon them.


Turner devotes six pages (98-104) to two Samoan love-stories. One of
them illustrates the devotion of a wife and her husband's ingratitude
and faithlessness, as the following summary will show:

There was a youth called Siati, noted for his singing. A
serenading god came along, threw down a challenge, and
promised him his fair daughter if he was the better singer.
They sang and Siati beat the god. Then he rode on a shark to
the god's home and the shark told him to go to the
bathing-place, where he would find the god's daughters. The
girls had just left the place when Siati arrived, but one of
them had forgotten her comb and came back to get it.
"Siati," said she, "however have you come here?" "I've come
to seek the song-god and get his daughter to wife." "My
father," said she, "is more of a god than man--eat nothing
he hands you, never sit on a high seat lest death should
follow, and now let us unite."

The god did not like his son-in-law and tried various ways
to destroy him, but his wife Puapae always helped him out of
the scrape, one time even making him cut her into two and
throw her into the sea to be eaten by a fish and find a ring
the god had lost and asked him to get. She was afterward
cast ashore with the ring; but Siati had not even kept
awake, and she scolded him for it. To save his life, she
subsequently performed several other miracles, in one of
which her father and sister were drowned in the sea. Then
she said to Siati: "My father and sister are dead, and all
on account of my love to you; you may go now and visit your
family and friends while I remain here, but see that you do
not behave unseemly." He went, visited his friends, and
forgot Puapae. He tried to marry again, but Puapae came and
stood on the other side. The chief called out, "Which is
your wife, Siati?" "The one on the right side." Puapae then
broke silence with, "Ah, Siati, you have forgotten all I did
for you;" and off she went. Siati remembered it all, darted
after her crying, and then fell down dead.

Apart from the amusing "suddenness" of the proposal and the marriage,
this tale is of interest as indicating that among the lower races
woman has--as many observations indicate--a greater capacity for
conjugal attachment than man.

The courtship scene cited above indicates an instinctive knowledge of
the strategic value of coyness and feigned displeasure. The following
story, which I condense from the versified form in which Turner gives
it, would seem to be a sort of masculine warning to women against the
danger and folly of excessive coyness, so inconvenient to the men:

Once there were two sisters, Sinaleuuna and Sinaeteva, who
wished they had a brother. Their wish was gratified; a boy
was born to their parents, but they brought him up apart,
and the sisters never saw him till one day, when he had
grown up, he was sent to them with some food. The girls were
struck with his beauty.

Afterwards they sat down and filled into a bamboo bottle the
liquid shadow of their brother. A report had come to them of
Sina, a Fijian girl who was so beautiful that all the swells
were running after her. Hearing this, and being anxious to
get a wife for their brother, they dressed up and went to
Fiji, intending to tell Sina about their brother. But Sina
was haughty; she slighted the sisters and treated them
shamefully. She had heard of the beauty of the young man,
whose name was Maluafiti ("Shade of Fiji"), and longed for
his coming, but did not know that these were his sisters.

The slighted girls got angry and went to the water when Sina
was taking her bath. From the bottle they threw out on the
water the shadow of their brother. Sina looked at the shadow
and was struck with its beauty. "That is my husband," she
said, "wherever I can find him." She called out to the
villagers for all the handsome young men to come and find
out of whom the figure in the water was the image. But the
shadow was more beautiful than any of these young men and it
wheeled round and round in the water whenever Maluafiti, in
his own land, turned about. All this time the sisters were
weeping and exclaiming:

"Oh, Maluafiti! rise up, it is day;
Your shadow prolongs our ill-treatment.
Maluafiti, come and talk with her face to face,
Instead of that image in the water."

Sina had listened, and now she knew it was the shadow of
Maluafiti. "These are his sisters too," she thought, "and I
have been ill-using them; forgive me, I've done wrong," But
the ladies were angry still. Maluafiti came in his canoe to
court Lady Sina, and also to fetch his sisters. When they
told him of their treatment he flew into an implacable rage.
Sina longed to get him; he was her heart's desire and long
she had waited for him. But Maluafiti frowned and would
return to his island, and off he went with his sisters. Sina
cried and screamed, and determined to follow swimming. The
sisters pleaded to save and to bring her, but Maluafiti
relented not and Sina died in the ocean.


"Falling in love" with a person of the other sex on the mere report of
his or her beauty is a very familiar motive in the literature of
Oriental and mediaeval nations in particular. It is, therefore,
interesting to find such a motive in the Samoan story just cited. In
my view, as previously explained, beauty, among the lower races, means
any kind of attractiveness, sensual more frequently than esthetic. The
South Sea Islanders have been credited with considerable personal
charms, although it is now conceded that the early voyagers (to whom,
after an absence from shore of several months, almost any female must
have seemed a Helen) greatly exaggerated their beauty.

Captain Cook kept a level head. He found Tongan women less
distinguished from the men by their features than by their forms,
while in the case of Hawaiians even the figures were remarkably
similar (II., 144, 246). In Tahitian women he saw "all those delicate
characteristics which distinguish them from the men in other
countries." The Hawaiians, though far from being ugly, are "neither
remarkable for a beautiful shape, nor for striking features" (246).

The indolent, open-air, amphibious life led by the South Sea Islanders
was favorable to the development of fine bodies. Cook saw among the
Tongans "some absolutely perfect models of the human figure." But fine
feathers do not make fine birds. The nobler phases of love are not
inspired by fine figures so much as by beautiful and refined faces.
Polynesian and Melanesian features are usually coarse and sensual.
Hugo Zoller says that "the most beautiful Samoan woman would stand
comparison at best with a pretty German peasant girl;" and from my own
observations at Honolulu, and a study of many photographs, I conclude
that what he says applies to the Pacific Islanders in general. Edward
Reeves, in his recent volume on _Brown Men and Women_ (17-22), speaks
of "that fraud--the beautiful brown woman." He found her a "dream of
beauty and refinement" only in the eyes of poets and romancers; in
reality they were malodorous and vulgar. "All South Sea Island women
are very much the same."

"To compare the prettiest Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, or even
Rotuman, to the plainest and most simply educated Irish,
French, or Colonial girl that has been decently brought up
is an insult to one's intelligence."

Wilkes (II., 22) hesitated to speak of the Tahitian females because he
could not discover their much-vaunted beauty:

"I did not see among them a single woman whom I could call
handsome. They have, indeed, a soft sleepiness about the
eyes, which may be fascinating to some, but I should rather
ascribe the celebrity their charms have obtained among
navigators to their cheerfulness and gaiety. Their figures
are bad, and the greater part of them are parrot-toed."


Tongan girls are referred to in Reeves's book as "bundles of blubber."
It is not necessary to refer once more to the fact that "blubber" is
the criterion and ideal of "beauty" among the Pacific Islanders, as
among barbarians in general. Consequently their love cannot have been
ennobled by any of the refined, esthetic, intellectual, and moral
qualities which are embodied in a refined face and a daintily modelled

Coarsest of all the Polynesians were the Tahitians; yet even here
efforts have been made[186] to convey the impression that they owed
their licentious practices to the influence of white visitors. The
grain of truth in this assertion lies in the undoubted fact that the
whites, with their rum and trinkets and diseases, aggravated the evil;
but their contribution was but a drop in the ocean of iniquity which
existed ages before these islands were discovered by whites. Tahitian
traditions trace their vilest practices back to the earliest times
known. (Ellis, I., 183.) The first European navigators found the same
vices which later visitors deplored. Bougainville, who tarried at
Tahiti in 1767, called the island Nouvelle Cythere, on account of the
general immorality of the natives. Cook, when he visited the island in
the following year, declined to make his journal "the place for
exhibiting a view of licentious manners which could only serve to
disgust" his readers (212). Hawkesworth relates (II., 206) that the
Tahitians offered sisters and daughters to strangers, while breaches
of conjugal fidelity are punished only by a few hard words or a slight

"Among other diversions there is a dance called Timorodee,
which is performed by young girls, whenever eight or ten of
them can be collected together, consisting of motions and
gestures beyond imagination wanton, in the practice of which
they are brought up from their earliest childhood,
accompanied by words which, if it were possible, would more
explicitly convey the same ideas." "But there is a scale in
dissolute sensuality, which these people have ascended,
wholly unknown to every other nation whose manners have been
recorded from the beginning of the world to the present
hour, and which no imagination could possibly conceive."

This is the testimony of the earliest explorers who saw the natives
before whites could have possibly corrupted them.[187] The later
missionaries found no change for the better. Captain Cook already
referred to the Areois who made a business of depravity (220). "So
agreeable," he wrote,

"is this licentious plan of life to their disposition, that
the most beautiful of both sexes thus commonly spend their
youthful days, habituated to the practice of enormities
which would disgrace the most savage tribes."

Ellis, who lived several years on this island, declares that they were
noted for their humor and their jests, but the jests

"were in general low and immoral to a disgusting degree....
Awfully dark, indeed, was their moral character, and
notwithstanding the apparent mildness of their disposition,
and the cheerful vivacity of their conversation, no portion
of the human race was ever, perhaps, sunk lower in brutal
licentiousness and moral degradation than this isolated
people" (87).

He also describes the Areois (I., 185-89) as "privileged libertines,"
who travelled from place to place giving improper dances and
exhibitions, "addicted to every kind of licentiousness," and
"spreading a moral contagion throughout society," Yet they were "held
in the greatest respect" by all classes of the population. They had
their own gods, who were "monsters in vice," and "patronized every
evil practice perpetrated during such seasons of public festivity."

Did the white sailors also give the Tahitians their idea of Tahitian
dances, and professional Areois, and corrupt gods? Did they teach them
customs which Hawkesworth, himself a sailor, and accustomed to scenes
of low life, said "no imagination could possibly conceive?" Did the
European whites teach these natives to regard men as _ra_ (sacred) and
women as _noa_ (common)? Did they teach them all those other customs
and atrocities which the following paragraphs reveal?


It can be shown that quite apart from their sensuality, the Tahitians
were too coarse and selfish to be able to entertain any of those
refined sentiments of love which the sentimentalists would have us
believe prevailed before the advent of the white man.

Love is often compared to a flower; but love cannot, like a flower,
grow on a dunghill. It requires a pure, chaste soul, and it requires
the fostering sunshine of sympathy and adoration. To a Tahitian a
woman was merely a toy to amuse him. He liked her as he liked his food
and drink, or his cool plunge into the waves, for the reason that she
pleased his senses. He could not feel sentimental love for her, since,
far from adoring her, he did not even respect or well-treat her. Ellis
(I., 109) relates that

"The men were allowed to eat the flesh of the pig, and of
fowls, and a variety of fish, cocoanuts, and plantains, and
whatever was presented as an offering to the gods; these the
females, on pain of death, were forbidden to touch, as it
was supposed they would pollute them. The fires at which the
men's food was cooked were also sacred, and were forbidden
to be used by the females. The baskets in which their
provision was kept, and the house in which the men ate, were
also sacred, and prohibited to the females under the same
cruel penalty. Hence the inferior food, both for wives,
daughters, etc., was cooked at separate fires, deposited in
distinct baskets, and eaten in lonely solitude by the
females, in little huts erected for the purpose."

Not content with this, when one man wished to abuse another in a
particularly offensive way he would use some expression referring to
this degraded condition of the women, such as "mayst thou be baked as
food for thy mother." Young children were deliberately taught to
disregard their mother, the father encouraging them in their insults
and violence (205). Cook (220) found that Tahitian women were often
treated with a degree of harshness, or rather "brutality," which one
would scarcely suppose a man would bestow on an object for whom he had
the least affection. Nothing, however, is more common than "to see the
men beat them without mercy" (II., 220). They killed more female than
male infants, because, as they said, the females were useless for war,
the fisheries, or the service of the temple. For the sick they had no
sympathy; at times they murdered them or buried them alive. (Ellis,
I., 340; II., 281.) In battle they gave no quarter, even to women or
children. (Hawkesworth, II., 244.)

"Every horrid torture was practised. The females experienced
brutality and murder, and the tenderest infants were perhaps
transfixed to the mother's heart by a ruthless
weapon--caught up by ruffian hands, and dashed against the
rocks or the trees--or wantonly thrown up into the air, and
caught on the point of the warrior's spear, where it writhed
in agony, and died, ... some having two or three infants
hanging on the spear they bore across their shoulders" (I.,
235-36). The bodies of females slain in war were treated
with "a degree of brutality as inconceivable as it was


While ferocity, cruelty, habitual wantonness and general coarseness
are fatal obstacles to sentimental love, they may be accompanied, as
we have seen, by the violent sensual infatuation which is so often
mistaken for love. Unsuccessful Tahitian suitors have been known to
commit suicide under the influence of revenge and despair, as is
stated by Ellis (I., 209), who also notes two instances of violent
individual preference.

The chief of Eimeo, twenty years old, of a mild disposition, became
attached to a Huahine girl and tendered proposals of marriage. She was
a niece of the principal roatira in the island, but though her family
was willing, she declined all his proposals. He discontinued his
ordinary occupations, and repaired to the habitation of the individual
whose favor he was so anxious to obtain. Here he appeared subject to
the deepest melancholy, and from morning to night, day after day, he
attended his mistress, performing humiliating offices with apparent
satisfaction. His disappointment finally became the topic of general
conversation. At length the girl was induced to accept him. They were
publicly married and lived very comfortably together for a few months,
when the wife died.

In the other instance the girl was the lover and the man unwilling. A
belle of Huahine became exceedingly fond of the society of a young man
who was temporarily staying on the island and living in the same
house. It was soon intimated to him that she wished to become his
companion for life. The intimation, however, was disregarded by the
young man, who expressed his intention to prosecute his voyage. The
young woman became unhappy, and made no secret of the cause of her
distress. She was assiduous in redoubling her efforts to please the
individual whose affection she was desirous to retain. At this period
Ellis never saw him either in the house of his friend or walking
abroad without the young woman by his side. Finding the object of her
attachment, who was probably about eighteen years of age, unmoved by
her attentions, she not only became exceedingly unhappy, but declared
that if she continued to receive the same indifference and neglect,
she would either strangle or drown herself. Her friends now
interfered, using their endeavors with the young man. He relented,
returned the attentions he had received, and the two were married.
Their happiness, however, was of short duration. The attachment which
had been so ardent in the bosom of the young woman before marriage was
superseded by a dislike as powerful, and though he seemed not unkind
to her, she not only treated him with insult but finally left him.

"The marriage tie," says Ellis (I., 213),

"was probably one of the weakest and most brittle that
existed among them; neither party felt themselves bound to
abide by it any longer than it suited their convenience. The
slightest cause was often sufficient to occasion or justify
the separation."


It has been said of Captain Cook that his maps and topographical
observations are characterized by remarkable accuracy. The same may be
said in general of his observations regarding the natives of the
islands he visited more than a century ago. He, too, noted some cases
of strong personal preference among Tahitians, but this did not
mislead him into attributing to them a capacity for true love:

"I have seen several instances where the women have
preferred personal beauty to interest, though I must own
that, even in these cases, they seem scarcely susceptible of
those delicate sentiments that are the result of mutual
affection; and I believe that there is less Platonic love in
Otaheite than in any other country."

Not that Captain Cook was infallible. When he came across the Tonga
group he gave it the name of "Friendly Islands," because of the
apparently amicable disposition of the natives toward him; but, as a
matter of fact, their intention was to massacre him and his crew and
take the two ships--a plan which would have been put in execution if
the chiefs had not had a dispute as to the exact mode and time of
making the assault.[188] Cook was pleased with the appearance and the
ways of these islanders; they seemed kind, and he was struck at seeing
"hundreds of truly European faces" among them. He went so far as to
declare that it was utterly wrong to call them savages, "for a more
civilized people does not exist under the sun." He did not stay with
them long enough to discover that they were morally not far above the
other South Sea Islanders.


Mariner, who lived among the Tongans four years, and whose adventures
and observations were afterward recorded by Martin, gives information
which indicates that Cook was wrong when he said that a more civilized
people does not exist under the sun. "Theft, revenge, rape and
murder," Mariner attests (II., 140), "under many circumstances are not
held to be crimes." It is considered the duty of married women to
remain true to their husbands and this, Mariner thinks, is generally
done. Unmarried women "may bestow their favors upon whomsoever they
please, without any opprobrium" (165). Divorced women, like the
unmarried, may admit temporary lovers without the least reproach or

"When a woman is taken prisoner (in war) she generally has
to submit; but this is a thing of course, and considered
neither an outrage nor dishonor; the only dishonor being to
be a prisoner and consequently a sort of servant to the
conqueror. Rape, though always considered an outrage, is not
looked upon as a crime unless the woman be of such rank as
to claim respect from the perpetrator" (166).

Many of their expressions, when angry, are

"too indelicate to mention." "Conversation is often
intermingled with allusions, even when women are present,
which could not be allowed in any decent society in

Two-thirds of the women

"are married and are soon divorced, and are married again
perhaps three, four, or five times in their lives." "No man
is understood to be bound to conjugal fidelity; it is no
reproach to him to intermix his amours." "Neither have they
any word expressive of chastity except _nofo mow_, remaining
fixed or faithful, and which in this sense is only applied
to a married woman to signify her fidelity to her husband."

Even the married women of the lower classes had to yield to the wishes
of the chiefs, who did not hesitate to shoot a resisting husband.
(Waitz-Gerland, VI., 184.)

While these details show that Captain Cook overrated the civilization
of the Tongans, there are other facts indicating that they were in
some respects superior to other Polynesians, at any rate. The women
are capable of blushing, and they are reproached if they change their
lovers too often. They seem to have a dawning sense of the value of
chastity and of woman's claims to consideration. In Mariner's
description (I., 130) of a chief's wedding occurs this sentence:

"The dancing being over, one of the old matabooles (nobles)
addressed the company, making a moral discourse on the
subject of chastity--advising the young men to respect, in
all cases, the wives of their neighbors, and never to take
liberties even with an unmarried woman against her free

The wives of chiefs must not go about without attendants. Mariner
says, somewhat naively, that when a man has an amour, he keeps it
secret from his wife,

"not out of any fear or apprehension, but because it is
unnecessary to excite her jealousy, and make her perhaps
unhappy; for it must be said, to the honor of the men, that
they consult in no small degree, and in no few respects, the
happiness and comfort of their wives."

If Mariner tells the truth, it must be said in this respect that the
Tongans are superior to all other peoples we have so far considered in
this book. Though the husband's authority at home is absolute, and
though one girl in every three is betrothed in her infancy, men do
not, he says, make slaves or drudges of their wives, or sell their
daughters, two out of every three girls being allowed to choose their
own husbands--"early and often." The men do most of the hard work,
even to the cooking. "In Tonga," says Seemann (237), "the women have
been treated from time immemorial with all the consideration demanded
by their weaker and more delicate constitution, not being allowed to
perform any hard work." Cook also found (II., 149) that the province
allotted to the men was "far more laborious and extensive than that of
the women," whose employments were chiefly such as may be executed in
the house.


If we may rely on Mariner there is still another point in which the
Tongans appear to be far above other Polynesians, and barbarians in
general. He would have us believe that while they seldom sing about
love or war, they evince a remarkable love of nature (I., 293). He
declares that they sometimes ascend a certain rock to "enjoy the
sublime beauty of the surrounding scenery," or to reflect on the deeds
of their ancestors. He cites a specimen of their songs, which, he
says, is often sung by them; it is without rhymes or regular measure,
and is given in a sort of recitative beginning with this highly poetic

"Whilst we were talking of _Vavaoo tooa Licoo_, the women
said to us, let us repair to the back of the island to
contemplate the setting sun: there let us listen to the
warbling of the birds and the cooing of the wood-pigeon. We
will gather flowers ... and partake of refreshments ... we
will then bathe in the sea and ... anoint our skins in the
sun with sweet-scented oil, and will plait in wreaths the
flowers gathered at _Matawlo_. And now, as we stand
motionless on the eminence over _Ana Manoo_, the whistling
of the wind among the branches of the lofty _toa_ shall fill
us with a pleasing melancholy; or our minds shall be seized
with astonishment as we behold the roaring surf below,
endeavoring but in vain to tear away the firm rocks. Oh! how
much happier shall we be thus employed, than when engaged in
the troublesome and insipid affairs of life."

Inasmuch as Mariner did not take notes on the spot, but relied on his
memory after an absence of several years, it is to be feared that the
above passage may not be unadulterated Tongan. The rest of the song
has a certain Biblical tone and style in a few of the sentences which
arouse the suspicion (remember Ossian!) that a missionary may have
edited, if not composed, this song. However that may be, the remainder
of it gives us several pretty glimpses of Tongan amorous customs and
may therefore be cited, omitting a few irrelevant sentences:

"Alas! how destructive is war!--Behold! how it has rendered
the land productive of weeds, and opened untimely graves for
departed heroes! Our chiefs can now no longer enjoy the
sweet pleasure of wandering alone by moonlight in search of
their mistresses: but let us banish sorrow from our hearts:
since we are at war, we must think and act like the natives
of Fiji, who first taught us this destructive art. Let us
therefore enjoy the present time, for to-morrow perhaps or
the next day we may die. We will dress ourselves with _chi
coola_, and put bands of white _tappa_ round our waists: we
will plait thick wreaths of _jiale_ for our heads, and
prepare strings of _hooni_ for our necks, that their
whiteness may show off the color of our skins. Mark how the
uncultivated spectators are profuse of their applause!--But
now the dance is over: let us remain here to-night, and
feast and be cheerful, and to-morrow we will depart for the
_Mooa_. How troublesome are the young men, begging for our
wreaths of flowers, while they say in their flattery, 'See
how charming these young girls look coining from
_Licoo_!--how beautiful are their skins, diffusing around a
fragrance like the flowery precipice of _Mataloco_:' Let us
also visit _Licoo_; we will depart to-morrow."


This story intimates, what may be true, that the Fijians first taught
the Tongans the art of war, and if the Tongans were not originally a
warlike people, we would have in that significant fact alone an
explanation of much of their superiority to other Pacific islanders.
The Fijians also appear to have taught them cannibalism, to which,
however, they never became so addicted as their teachers. Mariner (I.,
110-111) tells a story of two girls who, in a time of scarcity, agreed
to play a certain game with two young men on these conditions: if the
girls won, they were to divide a yam belonging to them and give half
to the men; if the two men won they were still to have their share of
the yam, but they were to go and kill a man and give half his body to
the girls. The men won and promptly proceeded to carry out their part
of the contract. Concealing themselves near a fortress, they soon saw
a man who came to fill his cocoanut shells with water. They rushed on
him with their clubs, brought the body home at the risk of their
lives, divided it and gave the young women the promised half.


To Captain Cook the muscular Tongan men conveyed the suggestion of
strength rather than of beauty. They have, however, a legend which
indicates that they had a high opinion of their personal appearance.
It is related by Mariner (II., 129-34).

The god Langai dwelt in heaven with his two daughters. One
day, as he was going to attend a meeting of the gods, he
warned the daughters not to go to Tonga to gratify their
curiosity to see the handsome chiefs there. But hardly had
he gone when they made up their minds to do that very thing.
"Let us go to Tonga," they said to each other; "there our
celestial beauty will be appreciated more than here where
all the women are beautiful." So they went to Tonga and, arm
in arm, appeared before the feasting nobles, who were
astounded at their beauty and all wanted the girls. Soon the
nobles came to blows, and the din of battle was so great
that it reached the ears of the gods. Langai was despatched
to bring back and punish the girls. When he arrived, one of
them had already fallen a victim to the contending chiefs.
The other he seized, tore off her head, and threw it into
the sea, where it was transformed into a turtle.


On the west coast of the Tongan Island of Hoonga there is a peculiar
cave, the entrance to which is several feet beneath the surface of the
sea, even at low water. It was first discovered by a young chief,
while diving after a turtle. He told no one about it, and luckily, as
we shall see. He was secretly enamoured of a beautiful young girl, the
daughter of a certain chief, but as she was betrothed to another man,
he dared not tell her of his love. The governor of the islands was a
cruel tyrant, whose misdeeds at last incited this girl's father to
plot an insurrection. The plot unfortunately was discovered and the
chief with all his relatives, including the beautiful girl, condemned
to be taken out to sea in a canoe and drowned.

No time was to be lost. The lover hastened to the girl, informed her
of her danger, confessed his love, and begged her to come with him to
a place of safety. Soon her consenting hand was clasped in his; the
shades of evening favored their escape; while the woods afforded her
concealment until her lover had brought a canoe to a lonely part of
the beach. In this they speedily embarked, and as he paddled her
across the smooth water he related his discovery of the cavern
destined to be her asylum till an opportunity offered of conveying her
to the Fiji Islands.

When they arrived at the rock he jumped into the water, and she
followed close after; they rose into the cavern, safe from all
possibility of discovery, unless he should be watched. In the morning
he returned to Vavaoo to bring her mats to lie on, and _gnatoo_
(prepared bark of mulberry-tree) for a change of dress. He gave her as
much of his time as prudence allowed, and meanwhile pleaded his tale
of love, to which she was not deaf; and when she confessed that she,
too, had long regarded him with a favorable eye (but a sense of duty
had caused her to smother her growing fondness), his measure of
happiness was full.

This cave was a very nice place for a honeymoon, but hardly for a
permanent residence. So the young chief contrived a way of getting her
out of the cavernous prison. He told his inferior chiefs that he
wanted them to take their families and go with him to Fiji. A large
canoe was soon got ready, and as they embarked he was asked if he
would not take a Tongan wife with him. He replied, No! but that he
should probably find one by the way. They thought this a joke, but
when they came to the spot where the cave was, he asked them to wait
while he went into the sea to fetch his wife. As he dived, they began
to suspect he was insane, and as he did not soon reappear they feared
he had been devoured by a shark.

While they were deliberating what to do, all at once, to their great
surprise, he rose to the surface and brought into the canoe a
beautiful young woman who, they all supposed, had been drowned with
her family. The chief now told the story of the cave, and they
proceeded to Fiji, where they lived some years, until the cruel
governor of Tonga died, whereupon they returned to that island.


In an interesting book called _The Legends and Myths of Hawaii,_ by
King Kalakaua, there is a tale called "Kaala, the Flower of Lanai; A
Story of the Spouting Cave of Palikaholo," which also involves the use
of a submarine cave, but has a tragic ending. It takes the King
fifteen pages to tell it, but the following condensed version retains
all the details of the original that relate directly to love:

Beneath a bold rocky bluff on the coast of Lanai there is a
cave whose only entrance is through the vortex of a
whirlpool. Its floor gradually rises from the water, and is
the home of crabs, polypi, sting-rays, and other noisome
creatures of the deep, who find here temporary safety from
their larger foes. It was a dangerous experiment to dive
into this cave. One of the few who had done it was Oponui, a
minor chief of Lanai Island. He had a daughter named Kaala,
a girl of fifteen, who was so beautiful that her admirers
were counted by the hundreds.

It so happened that the great monarch Kamehameha I. paid a
visit to Lanai about this time (near the close of the
eighteenth century). He was received with enthusiasm, and
among those who brought offerings of flowers was the fair
Kaala. As she scattered the flowers she was seen by
Kaaialii, one of the King's favorite lieutenants. "He was of
chiefly blood and bearing" with sinewy limbs and a handsome
face, and when he stopped to look into the eyes of Kaala and
tell her that she was beautiful, she thought the words,
although they had been frequently spoken to her by others,
had never sounded so sweetly to her before. He asked her for
a simple flower and she twined a _lei_ for his neck. He
asked her for a smile, and she looked up into his face and
gave him her heart.

After they had seen each other a few times the lieutenant
went to his chief and said:

"I love the beautiful Kaala, daughter of Oponui. Give her to
me for a wife."

"The girl is not mine to give," replied the King. "We must
be just. I will send for her father. Come to-morrow."

Oponui was not pleased when he was brought before the King
and heard his request. He had once, in war, narrowly escaped
death at the hand of Kaaialii and now felt that he would
rather feed his daughter to the sharks than give her to the
man who had sought his life. Still, as it would have been
unwise to openly oppose the King's wishes, he pretended to
regard the proposal with favor, but regretted that his
daughter was already promised to another man. He was,
however, willing, he added, to let the girl go to the victor
in a contest with bare hands between the two suitors.

The rival suitor was Mailou, a huge, muscular savage known
as the "bone breaker." Kaala hated and feared him and had
taken every occasion to avoid him; but as her father was
anxious to secure so strong an ally, his desire finally had
prevailed against her aversion.

Kaaialii was less muscular than his rival, but he had
superior cunning, and thus it happened that in the fierce
contest which followed he tripped up the "bone-breaker,"
seized his hair as he fell, placed his knees against his
back, and broke his spine.

Breaking away from her disappointed father Kaala sprang
through the crowd and threw herself into the victor's arms.
The king placed their hands together and said: "You have won
her nobly. She is now your wife. Take her with you."

But Oponui's wrath was greater than before, and he plotted
revenge. On the morning after the marriage he visited Kaala
and told her that her mother was dangerously ill at Mahana
and wanted to see her before she died. The daughter followed
him, though her husband had some misgivings. Arriving at the
seashore, the father told her, with a wild glare in his
eyes, that he had made up his mind to hide her down among
the gods of the sea until the hated Kaaialii had left the
island, when he would bring her home again. She screamed and
tried to escape, but he gathered the struggling girl in his
arms and jumped with her into the circling waters above the
Spouting Cave. Sinking a fathom or so, they were sucked
upward into the cave, where he placed her just above the
reach of the water among the crabs and eels, with scarcely
light enough to see them. He offered to take her back if she
would promise to accept the love of the chief of Olowalu and
allow Kaaialii to see her in the embrace of another. But she
declared she would sooner perish in the cave. Having warned
her that if she attempted to escape she would surely be
dashed against the rocks and become the food of the sharks,
he returned to the shore.

Kaaialii awaited his wife's return with his heart aching for
her warm embrace. He recalled the sullen look of Oponui, and
panic seized him. He climbed a hill to watch for her return
and his heart beat with joy when he saw a girl returning
toward him. He thought it was Kaala, but it was Ua, the
friend of Kaala and almost her equal in beauty. Ua told him
that his wife had not been seen at her mother's, and as her
father had been seen taking her through the forest, it was
feared she would not be allowed to return.

With an exclamation of rage Kaaialii started down toward the
coast. Here he ran across Oponui and tried to seize him by
the throat; but Oponui escaped and ran into a temple, where
he was safe from an attack. In a paroxysm of rage and
disappointment Kaaialii threw himself upon the ground
cursing the _tabu_ that barred him from his enemy. His
friends took him to his hut, where Ua sought to soothe and
comfort him. But he talked and thought alone of Kaala, and
after partaking hastily of food, started out to find her. Of
every one he met he inquired for Kaala, and called her name
in the deep valleys and at the hilltops.

Near the sacred spring of Kealia he met a white-haired
priest who took pity on him and told him where Kaala had
been hidden. "The place is dark and her heart is full of
terror. Hasten to her, but tarry not, or she will be the
food of the creatures of the sea."

Thanking the priest, Kaaialii hastened to the bluff. With
the words "Kaala, I come!" he sprang into the whirlpool and
disappeared. The current sucked him up and suddenly he found
himself in a chilly cave, feeling his way on the slimy floor
by the dim light. Suddenly a low moan reached his ear. It
was the voice of Kaala. She was lying near him, her limbs
bruised with fruitless attempts to leave the cave, and
no longer strong enough to drive away the crabs that were
feeding upon her quivering flesh. He lifted her up and bore
her toward the light. She opened her eyes and whispered, "I
am dying, but I am happy, for you are here." He told her he
would save her, but she made no response,
and when he put his hand on her heart he found she was dead.

For hours he held her in his arms. At length he was aroused
by the splashing of water. He looked up and there was Ua,
the gentle and beautiful friend of Kaala, and behind her the
King Kamehameha. Kaaialii rose and pointed to the body
before him. "I see," said the King, softly, "the girl is
dead. She could have no better burial-place. Come, Kaaialii,
let us leave it." But Kaaialii did not move. For the first
time in his life he refused to obey his King. "What! would
you remain here?" said the monarch. "Would you throw your
life away for a girl? There are others as fair. Here is Ua;
she shall be your wife, and I will give you the valley of
Palawai. Come, let us leave at once lest some angry god
close the entrance against us!"

"Great chief," replied Kaaialii, "you have always been kind
and generous to me, and never more so than now. But hear me;
my life and strength are gone. Kaala was my life, and she is
dead. How can I live without her? You are my chief. You have
asked me to leave this place and live. It is the first
request of yours I have ever disobeyed. It shall be the
last!" Then seizing a stone, with a swift, strong blow he
crushed in brow and brain, and fell dead upon the body of

A wail of anguish went up from Ua. Kamehameha spoke not,
moved not. Long he gazed upon the bodies before him; and his
eye was moist and his strong lips quivered as, turning away
at last, he said: "He loved her indeed!"

Wrapped in _kapa_, the bodies were laid side by side and
left in the cavern; and there to-day may be seen the bones
of Kaala, the flower of Lanai, and of Kaaialii, her knightly
lover, by such as dare seek the passage to them through the
whirlpool of Palikaholo.


These two Polynesian cave-stories are of interest from several points
of view. In Waitz-Gerland (VI., 125), the Tongan tale is referred to
as "a very romantic love-story," and if the author had known the
Hawaiian story he would have had even more reason to call it romantic.
But is either of these tales a story of romantic love? Is there
evidence in them of anything but strong selfish passion or eagerness
to possess one of the other sex? Is there any trace of the _higher_
phases of love--of unselfish attachment, sympathy, adoration, as of a
superior being, purity, gallantry, self-sacrifice? Not one. The
Hawaiian Kaaialii does indeed smash his own skull when he finds his
bride is dead. But that is a very different thing from sacrificing
himself to save or please _her_. We have seen, too, on how slight a
provocation these islanders will commit suicide, an act which proves a
weak intellect rather than strong feeling. A man capable of feeling
true love would have brains enough to restrain himself from committing
such a silly and useless act in a fit of disappointment.

There is every reason to believe, moreover, that these stories have
been embroidered by the narrators. In the vast majority of cases the
men who have had an opportunity to note down primitive love-stories
unfortunately did not hesitate to disguise their native flavor with
European sauce in order to make them more palatable to the general
public. This makes them interesting stories, made realistic by the use
of local color, but utterly mars them for the scientific epicure who
often relishes most what is caviare to the general. Take that Hawaiian
story. It is supposed to be told by King Kalakaua himself. At least,
the book of _Legend and Myths_ has "By His Hawaiian Majesty" on the
title page. Beneath those words we read that the book was edited by
the Hon. E.M. Daggett; and in the preface acknowledgment is made to as
many as eight persons "for material in the compilation of many of the
legends embraced in this volume." Thus there are ten cooks, and the
question arises, "did they carefully and conscientiously tell these
stories exactly as related to them by aboriginal Hawaiians, free from
missionary influences, or did they flavor the broth with European
condiments?" To this question no answer is given in the book, but
there is plenty of evidence that either the King himself, in order to
make his people as much like ours as possible, or his foreign
assistants, embellished them with sentimental details. To take only
two significant points: it sounds very sentimental to be told that the
girl Ua, after Kaaialii had jumped into the vortex "wailed upon the
winds a requiem of love and grief," but a native Hawaiian has no more
notion of the word requiem than he has of a syllogism. Then again, the
story is full of expressions like this: "His _heart beat with joy_,
for he thought she was Kaala;" or "He asked her for a smile and she
_gave him her heart_." Such phrases mislead not only the general
reader but careless anthropologists into the belief that the lower
races feel and express their love just as we do. As a matter of fact,
Polynesians do not attribute feelings to the heart. Ellis (II., 311),
could not even make them understand what he was talking about when he
tried to explain to them our ideas regarding the heart as a seat of
moral feeling. The fact that our usage in this respect is a mere
convention, not based on physiological facts, makes it all the more
reprehensible to falsify psychology by adorning aboriginal tales with
the borrowed plumes and phrases of civilization.


It is quite possible that the events related in the cave-story did
occur; but a Hawaiian, untouched by missionary influences, would have
told them very differently. It is very much more likely, however, that
if a Hawaiian had found himself in the predicament of Kaaialii, he
would have sympathized with the king's contemptuous speech: "What!
would you throw your life away for a girl? There are others as fair.
Here is Ua; she shall be your wife." This would have been much more in
accordance with what observers have told us of Hawaiian
"heart-affairs." "The marriage tie is loose," says Ellis (IV., 315),
"and the husband can dismiss his wife on any occasion." "The loves of
the Hawaiians are usually ephemeral," says "Haeole," the author of
_Sandwich Island Notes_ (267). The widow seldom or never plants a
solitary flower over the grave of her lord. She may once visit the
mound that marks the repose of his ashes, but never again, unless by
accident. It not unfrequently happens that a second husband is
selected while the remains of the first are being conveyed to his
"long home." Hawaiian women seem more attached to pigs and puppies
than to their husbands or even their children. The writer just quoted
says whole volumes might be written concerning the "silly affection"
of the women for animals. They carry them in their bosoms, and do not
hesitate to suckle them. It is one of their duties to drive pigs to
the market, and one day "Haeole" came across a group of native women
who had taken off their only garments and soaked them in water to cool
their dear five hundred-pounder, while others were fanning him! As
late as 1881 Isabella Bird wrote (213) that

"the crime of infanticide, which formerly prevailed to
a horrible extent, has long been extinct; but the love
of pleasure and the dislike of trouble which partially
actuated it are apparently still stronger among the
women than the maternal instinct, and they do not take
the trouble necessary to rear infants.... I have
nowhere seen such tenderness lavished upon infants as
upon the pet dogs that the women carry about with


Hawaiians did not treat women as brutally as Fijians do; yet how far
they were from respecting, not to speak of adoring, them, is obvious
from the contemptuous and selfish taboos which forbade women, on
penalty of death, to eat any of the best and commonest articles of
food, such as bananas, cocoanuts, pork, turtle; or refused them
permission to eat with their lords and masters, or to share in divine
worship, because their touch would pollute the offerings to the gods.

The grossness of the Hawaiian erotic taste is indicated by "Haeole's"
reference (123) to "the immense corpulency of some of the old Hawaiian
queens, a feature which, in those days, was deemed the _ne plus ultra_
of female beauty." Incest was permitted to the chiefs, and the people
vied with their rulers in the grossest sensuality.

"Nearly every night, with the gathering darkness,
crowds would retire to some favorite spot, where, amid
every species of sensual indulgence, they would revel
until the morning twilight" (412).

"In Hawaii, whether the woman was married or single,
she would have been thought very churlish and boorish
if she refused any favor asked by a male friend of the

says E. Tregear;[189] and in Dibble's _History of the Sandwich
Islands_ (126-27) we read:

"For husbands to interchange wives, or for wives to
interchange husbands, was a common act of friendship,
and persons who would not do this were not considered
on good terms of sociability. For a man or a woman to
refuse a solicitation for illicit intercourse was
considered an act of meanness, and so thoroughly was
this sentiment wrought into their minds that, even to
the present day, they seem not to rid themselves of the
feeling of meanness in making a refusal."

The Hawaiian word for marriage is _hoao_, meaning "trial." It was also
customary for a married woman to have an acknowledged lover known as
_punula_. The word _hula hula_ is familiar the world over as the name
of an improper dance, but it is nothing to what it used to be. The
famous cave Niholua was consecrated to it. In past generations

"warriors came here to revel with their paramours. The
Tartarean gloom was slightly relieved by torches
ingeniously formed of strings of the candle-nut.
Beneath this rugged roof, and amid this darkness--their
faces strangely reflecting the feeble torch-light--and
divested of every particle of apparel, they
promiscuously united in dancing the _hula hula_ (the
licentious dance).... Wives were exchanged, and so were
concubines; fathers despoiled their own daughters, and
brothers deemed it no crime to perpetrate incest."

Waitz-Gerland (VI., 459) cite Wise as attesting that "in 1848 the
missionaries gave up a girls' school, because it was impossible to
preserve the virtue of their pupils," and Steen Bill wrote that in
1846 seventy per cent of all the crimes punished were of a lewd
character, and that on the whole island there was not a chaste girl of
eleven years of age. Isabella Bird wrote (169) that "the Hawaiian
women have no notions of virtue as we understand it, and if there is
to be any future for this race it must come through a higher


As there was practically no difference between married and unmarried
women in Hawaii, it is not strange that cases of abduction of wives
should have occurred. The following story, related in Kalakana's book,
probably suffered no great change at the hands of the recorder. I give
a condensed version of it:

In the twelfth century, the close of the second era of
migration from Tahiti and Samoa, there lived a girl
named Hina, noted as the most beautiful maiden on the
islands. She married the chief Hakalanileo, and had two
children by him. Reports of her beauty had excited the
fancy of Kaupeepee, the chief of Haupu. He went to test
the reports with his own eyes, and saw that they were
not exaggerated. So he hovered around the coast of Hilo
watching for a chance to abduct her. It came at last.
One day, after sunset, when the moon was shining, Hina
repaired to the beach with her women to take a bath. A
signal was given--it is thought by the first wife of
Hina's husband--and, not long after, a light but
heavily manned canoe dashed through the surf and shot
in among the bathers. The women screamed and started
for the shore. Suddenly a man leaped from the canoe
into the water. There was a brief struggle, a stifled
scream, a sharp word of command, and a moment later
Kaupeepee was again in the canoe with the nude and
frantic Hina in his arms. The boatmen lost no time to
start; they rowed all night and in the morning reach

Hina had been wrapped in folds of soft _kapa_, and she
spent the night sobbing, not knowing what was to become
of her. When shore was reached she was borne to the
captor's fortress and given an apartment provided with
every luxury. She fell asleep from fatigue, and when
she awoke and realized where she was it was not without
a certain feeling of pride that she reflected that her
beauty had led the famous and mighty Kaupeepee to
abduct her.

After partaking of a hearty breakfast, she sent for him
and he came promptly. "What can I do for you ?" he
asked. "Liberate me!" was her answer. "Return me to my
children!" "Impossible!" was the firm reply. "Then kill
me," she exclaimed. The chief now told her how he had
left home specially to see her, and found her the most
beautiful woman in Hawaii. He had risked his life to
get her. "You are my prisoner," he said, "but not more
than I am yours. You shall leave Haupu only when its
walls shall have been battered down and I lie dead
among the ruins."

Hina saw that resistance was useless. He had soothed
her with flattery; he was a great noble; he was gentle
though brave. "How strangely pleasant are his words and
voice," she said to herself. "No one ever spoke so to
me before. I could have listened longer." After that
she hearkened for his footsteps and soon accepted him
as her lover and spouse.

For seventeen years she remained a willing prisoner. In
the meantime her two sons by her first husband had
grown up; they ascertained where their mother was,
demanded her release, and on refusal waged a terrible
war which at last ended in the death of Kaupeepee and
the destruction of his walls.


The Rev. H.T. Cheever prints in his book on the Sandwich Islands
(226-28) a few amusing specimens of the love-letters exchanged between
the native lads of the Lahainaluna Seminary and certain lasses of
Lahaina. The following ones were intercepted by the missionaries. The
first was penned by a girl:

"Love to you, who speakest sweetly, whom I did kiss. My
warm affections go out to you with your love. My mind
is oppressed in consequence of not having seen you
these times. Much affection for thee dwelling there
where the sun causeth the head to ache. Pity for thee
in returning to your house, destitute as you supposed.
I and she went to the place where we had sat in the
meeting-house, and said she, Let us weep. So we two
wept for you, and we conversed about you.

"We went to bathe in the bread-fruit yard; the wind
blew softly from Lahainaluna, and your image came down
with it. We wept for you. Thou only art our food when
we are hungry. We are satisfied with your love.

"It is better to conceal this; and lest dogs should
prowl after it, and it should be found out, when you
have read this letter, tear it up."

The next letter is from one of the boys to a girl:

"Love to thee, thou daughter of the Pandanus of
Lanahuli. Thou _hina hina_, which declarest the
divisions of the winds.[190] Thou cloudless sun of the
noon. Thou most precious of the daughters of the earth.
Thou beauty of the clear nights of Lehua. Thou
refreshing fountain of Keipi. Love to thee, O Pomare,
thou royal woman of the Pacific here. Thou art glorious
with ribbons flying gracefully in the gentle breeze of
Puna. Where art thou, my beloved, who art anointed with
the fragrance of glory? Much love to thee, who dost
draw out my soul as thou dwellest in the shady
bread-fruits of Lahaina. O thou who art joined to my
affection, who art knit to me in the hot days of

"Hark! When I returned great was my love. I was
overwhelmed with love like one drowning. When I lay
down to sleep I could not sleep; my mind floated after
thee. Like the strong south wind of Lahaina, such is
the strength of my love to thee, when it comes. Hear
me; at the time the bell rings for meeting, on
Wednesday, great was my love to you. I dropped my hoe
and ran away from my work. I secretly ran to the stream
of water, and there I wept for my love to thee.
Hearken, my love resembles the cold water far inland.
Forsake not thou this our love. Keep it quietly, as I
do keep it quietly here."

Here is another from one of the students in the missionary school:

"Love to thee, by reason of whom my heart sleeps not
night nor day, all the days of my dwelling here. O thou
beautiful one, for whom my love shall never cease. Here
also is this--at the time I heard you were going to
Waihekee, I was enveloped in great love. And when I had
heard you had really gone, great was my regret for you,
and exceeding great my love. My appearance was like a
sick person who cannot answer when spoken to. I would
not go down to the sea again, because I supposed you
had not returned. I feared lest I should see all the
places where you and I conversed together, and walked
together, and I should fall in the streets on account
of the greatness of my love to you. I however did go
down, and I was continually longing with love to you.
Your father said to me, Won't you eat with us? I
refused, saying I was full. But the truth was I had
eaten nothing. My great love to you, that was the thing
which could alone satisfy me. Presently, however, I
went to the place of K----, and there I heard you had
arrived. I was a little refreshed by hearing this. But
my eyes still hung down. I longed to see you, but could
not find you, though I waited till dark. Now, while I
am writing, my tears are dropping down for you; now my
tears are my friends, and my affection to you, O thou
who wilt forever be loved. Here, also is this: consent
thou to my desire, and write me, that I may know your
love. My love to you is great, thou splendid flower of

Cheever seems to accept these letters as proof that love is universal,
and everywhere the same. He overlooks several important
considerations. Were these letters penned by natives or by
half-castes, with foreign blood in their veins and inherited
capacities of feeling? Unless we know that, no scientific deduction is
allowable. These natives are very imitative. They learn our music
easily and rapidly, and with the art of writing and reading they
readily acquire our amorous phrases. A certain Biblical tone,
suggesting the Canticles, is noticeable. The word "heart" is used in a
way foreign to Polynesian thought, and apart from these details, is
there anything in these letters that goes beyond selfish longing and
craving for enjoyment? Is there anything in them that may not be
summed up in the language of appetite: "Thou art very desirable--I
desire thee--I grieve, and weep, and refuse to eat, because I cannot
possess thee now?" Such longing, so intense and fiery[191] that it
seems as if all the waters of the ocean could not quench it,
constitutes a phase of all amorous passion, from the lowest up to the
highest. Philosophers have, indeed, disputed as to which is the more
violent and irrepressible, animal passion or sentimental love.
Schopenhauer believed the latter, Lichtenberg the former.[192]


Hawaii has brought us quite near the coast of America, whose red men
will form the subject of our next chapter. But, before passing on to
the Indians, we must once more return to the neighborhood of
Australia, to the island of New Zealand, which offers some points of
great interest to a student of love and a collector of love-stories.
We have seen that the islands of Torres Straits, north of Australia,
have natives and customs utterly unlike those of Australia. We shall
now see that south of Australia, too, there is an island (or rather
two islands), whose inhabitants are utterly un-Australian in manners
and customs, as well as in origin. The Maoris (that is, natives) of
New Zealand have traditions that their ancestors came from Hawaii
(Hawaiki), disputes about land having induced them to emigrate. They
may have done so by way of other islands, on some of their large
canoes, aided by the trade winds.[193] The Maoris are certainly
Polynesians, and they resemble Hawaiians and Tongans in many respects.
Their ferocity and cannibalism put them on a level with Fijians,
making them a terror to navigators, while in some other respects they
appear to have been somewhat superior to most of their Polynesian
cousins, the Tongans excepted. The Maoris and Tongans best bear out
Waitz-Gerland's assertion that "the Polynesians rank intellectually
considerably higher than all other uncivilized peoples." The same
authorities are charmed by the romantic love-stories of the Maoris,
and they certainly are charming and romantic. Sir George Grey's
_Polynesian Mythology_ contains four of these stories, of which I will
give condensed versions, taking care, as usual, to preserve all
pertinent details and intimations of higher qualities.


There was a girl of high rank named Hine-Moa. She was of
rare beauty, and was so prized by her family that they would
not betroth her to anyone. Such fame attended her beauty and
rank that many of the men wanted her; among them a chief
named Tutanekai and his elder brothers.

Tutanekai had built an elevated balcony where, with his
friend Tiki, he used to play the horn and the pipe at night.
On calm nights the music was wafted to the village and
reached the ears of the beautiful Hine-Moa, whose heart was
gladdened by it, and who said to herself, "Ah, that is the
music of Tutanekai which I hear."

She and Tutanekai had met each other on those occasions when
all the people of Eotorua come together. In those great
assemblies they had often glanced each at the other, to the
heart of each of them the other appeared pleasing, and
worthy of love, so that in the breast of each there grew up
a secret passion for the other. Nevertheless, Tutanekai
could not tell whether he might venture to approach Hine-Moa
to take her hand, to see would she press his in return,
because, said he, "Perhaps I may be by no means agreeable to
her;" on the other hand, Hine-Moa's heart said to her, "If
you send one of your female friends to tell him of your
love, perchance he will not be pleased with you."

However, after they had thus met for many, many days, and
had long fondly glanced at each other, Tutanekai sent a
messenger to Hine-Moa, to tell of his love; and when
Hine-Moa had seen the messenger, she said, "Eh-hu! have we
then each loved alike?"

Some time after this, a dispute arose among the brothers as
to which of them the girl loved. Each one claimed that he
had pressed the hand of Hine-Moa and that she had pressed
his in return. But the elder brothers sneered at Tutanekai's
claims (for he was an illegitimate son), saying, "Do you
think she would take any notice of such a lowborn fellow as
you?" But in reality Tutanekai had already arranged for an
elopement with the girl, and when she asked, "What shall be
the sign by which I shall know that I should then run to
you?" he said to her, "A trumpet will be heard sounding
every night, it will be I who sound it, beloved--paddle then
your canoe to that place."

Now always about the middle of the night Tutanekai and his
friend went up into their balcony and played. Hine-Moa heard
them and vastly desired to paddle over in her canoe; but her
friends suspecting something, had all the canoes on the
shore of the lake. At last, one evening, she again heard the
horn of Tutanekai, and the young and beautiful chieftainess
felt as if an earthquake shook her to make her go to the
beloved of her heart. At last she thought, perhaps I might
be able to swim across. So she took six large, dry, empty
gourds as floats, lest she should sink in the water, threw
oft her clothes, and plunged into the water. It was dark,
and her only guide was the sound of her lover's music.
Whenever her limbs became tired she rested, the gourds
keeping her afloat. At last she reached the island on which
her lover dwelt. Near the shore there was a hot spring, into
which she plunged, partly to warm her trembling body, and
partly also, perhaps, from modesty, at the thoughts of
meeting Tutanekai.

Whilst the maiden was thus warming herself in the hot
spring, Tutanekai happened to feel thirsty and sent his
servant to fetch him a calabash of water. The servant came
to dip it from the lake near where the girl was hiding. She
called out to him in a gruff voice, like that of a man,
asking him for some to drink, and he gave her the calabash,
which she purposely threw down and broke. The servant went
back for another calabash and again she broke it in the same
way. The servant returned and told his master that a man in
the hot spring had broken all his calabashes. "How did the
rascal dare to break my calabashes?" exclaimed the young
man. "Why, I shall die of rage."

He threw on some clothes, seized his club, and hurried to
the hot spring, calling out "Where's that fellow who broke
my calabashes?" And Hine-Moa knew the voice, and the sound
of it was that of the beloved of her heart; and she hid
herself under the overhanging rocks of the hot spring; but
her hiding was hardly a real hiding, but rather a bashful
concealing of herself from Tutanekai, that he might not find
her at once, but only after trouble and careful searching
for her; so he went feeling about along the banks of the hot
spring, searching everywhere, whilst she lay coyly hid under
the ledges of the rock, peeping out, wondering when she
would be found. At last he caught hold of a hand, and cried
out "Hollo, who's this?" And Hine-Moa answered, "It's I,
Tutanekai;" And he said, "But who are you?--who's I?" Then
she spoke louder and said., "It's I, 'tis Hine-Moa." And he
said "Ho! ho! ho! can such in very truth be the case? Let us
two then go to the house." And she answered, "Yes," and she
rose up in the water as beautiful as the wild white hawk,
and stepped upon the edge of the bath as the shy white
crane; and he threw garments over her and took her, and they
proceeded to his house, and reposed there; and thenceforth,
according to the ancient laws of the Maori, they were man
and wife.


A young man named Maru-tuahu left home in quest of his father, who had
abandoned his mother before the son was born because he had been
unjustly accused of stealing sweet potatoes from another chief.
Maru-tuahu took along a slave, and they carried with them a spear for
killing birds for food on the journey through the forest. One morning,
after they had been on the way a month, he happened to be up in a
forest tree when two young girls, daughters of a chief, came along.
They saw the slave sitting at the root of the tree, and sportively
contested with each other whose slave he should be.

All this time Maru-tuahu was peeping down at the two girls from the
top of the tree; and they asked the slave, saying, "Where is your
master?" He answered, "I have no master but him," Then the girls
looked about, and there was a cloak lying on the ground, and a heap of
dead birds, and they kept on asking, "Where is he?" but it was not
long before a flock of Tuis settled on the tree where Maru-tuahu was
sitting; he speared at them and struck one of the birds, which made
the tree ring with its cries; the girls heard it, and looking up, the
youngest saw the young chief sitting in the top boughs of the tree;
and she at once called up to him, "Ah! you shall be my husband;" but
the eldest sister exclaimed, "You shall be mine," and they began
jesting and disputing between themselves which should have him for a
husband, for he was a very handsome young man.

Then the two girls called up to him to come down from the tree, and
down he came, and dropped upon the ground, and pressed his nose
against the nose of each of the young girls. They then asked him to
come to their village with them; to which he consented, but said, "You
two go on ahead, and leave me and my slave, and we will follow you
presently;" and the girls said, "Very well, do you come after us."
Maru-tuahu then told his slave to make a present to the girls of the
food they had collected, and he gave them two bark baskets of pigeons,
preserved in their own fat, and they went off to their village with

As soon as the girls were gone, Maru-tuahu went to a stream, washed
his hair, and combed it carefully, tied it in a knot, and stuck fifty
red Kaka feathers and other plumes in his head, till he looked as
handsome as the large-crested cormorant. The young girls soon came
back from the village to meet their so-called husband, and when they
saw him in his new head-dress and attired in a chief's cloak they felt
deeply in love with him and they said, "Come along to our father's
village with us." On the way they found out from the slave that his
master was the far-famed Maru-tuahu, and they replied: "Dear, dear, we
had not the least idea that it was he," Then they ran off to tell his
father (for this was the place where his father had gone and married
again) that he was coming. The son was warmly welcomed. All the young
girls ran outside, waved the corners of their cloaks and cried out,
"Welcome, welcome, make haste."

Then there was a great feast, at which ten dogs were eaten. But all
this time the two girls were quarrelling with each other as to which
of them should have the young chief for a husband. The elder girl was
plain, but thought herself pretty, and could not see the least reason
why he should be frightened at her; but Maru-tuahu did not like her on
account of her plainness, and her pretty sister kept him as her


A chief named Rangirarunga had a daughter so celebrated for her beauty
that the fame of it had reached all parts of these islands. A young
hero named Takarangi also heard of her beauty, and it may be that his
heart sometimes dwelt long on the thoughts of such loveliness. They
belonged to different tribes, and war broke out between them, during
which the fortress of the girl's father was besieged. Soon the
inhabitants were near dying from want of food and water. At last the
old chief Rangirarunga, overcome by thirst, stood on the top of the
defences and cried out to the enemy: "I pray you to give me one drop
of water." Some were willing, and got calabashes of water, but others
were angry thereat and broke them in their hands. The old chief then
appealed to the leader of the enemy, who was Takarangi, and asked him
if he could calm the wrath of these fierce men. Takarangi replied:
"This arm of mine is one which no dog dares to bite." But what he was
really thinking was, "That dying old man is the father of Rau-mahora,
of that lovely maid. Ah, how should I grieve if one so young and
innocent should die tormented with the want of water." Then he filled
a calabash with fresh cool water, and the fierce warriors looked on in
wonder and silence while he carried it to the old man and his
daughter. They drank, both of them, and Taka-rangi gazed eagerly at
the young girl, and she too looked eagerly at Takarangi; long time
gazed they each one at the other; and as the warriors of the army of
Takarangi looked on, lo, he had climbed up and was sitting at the
young maiden's side; and they said, amongst themselves, "O comrades,
our lord Takarangi loves war, but one would think he likes Rau-mahora
almost as well."

At last a sudden thought struck the heart of the aged chief; so he
said to his daughter, "O my child, would it be pleasing to you to have
this young chief for a husband?" And the young girl said, "I like
him." Then the old man consented that his daughter should be given as
a bride to Takarangi, and he took her as his wife. Thence was that war
brought to an end, and the army of Takarangi dispersed.


Two tribes had long been at war, but as neither gained a permanent
victory peace was at last concluded. Then one day the chief Te Ponga,
with some of his followers, approached the fortress of their former
enemies. They were warmly welcomed, ovens were heated, food cooked,
served in baskets and distributed. But the visitors did not eat much,
in order that their waists might be slim when they stood up in the
ranks of the dancers, and that they might look as slight as if their
waists were almost severed in two.

As soon as it began to get dark the villagers danced, and whilst they
sprang nimbly about, Puhihuia, the young daughter of the village
chief, watched them till her time came to enter the ranks. She
performed her part beautifully; her fall-orbed eyes seemed clear and
brilliant as the full moon rising in the horizon, and while the
strangers looked at the young girl they all were quite overpowered
with her beauty; and Te Ponga, their young chief, felt his heart grow
wild with emotion when he saw so much loveliness before him.

Then up sprang the strangers to dance in their turn. Te Ponga waited
his opportunity, and when the time came, danced so beautifully that
the people of the village were surprised at his agility and grace, and
as for the young girl, Puhihuia, her heart conceived a warm passion
for Te Ponga.

When the dance was concluded, everyone, overcome with weariness, went
to sleep--all except Te Ponga, who lay tossing from side to side,
unable to sleep, from his great love for the maiden, and devising
scheme after scheme by which he might have an opportunity of
conversing with her alone. At last he decided to carry out a plan
suggested by his servant. The next night, when he had retired in the
chief's house, he called this servant to fetch him some water; but the
servant, following out the plot, had concealed himself and refused to
respond. Then the chief said to his daughter, "My child, run and fetch
some water for our guest." The maiden rose, and taking a calabash,
went off to fetch some water, and no sooner did Te Ponga see her start
off than he too arose and went out, feigning to be angry with his
slave and going to give him a beating; but as soon as he was out of
the house he went straight off after the girl. He did not well know
the path to the well, but was guided by the voice of the maiden, who
sang merrily as she went along.

When she arrived at the fountain she heard someone behind her, and
turning suddenly around she beheld the young chief. Astonished, she
asked, "What can have brought you here?" He answered, "I came here for
a draught of water." But the girl replied, "Ha, indeed! Did not I come
here to draw water for you? Could not you have remained at my father's
house until I brought the water for you?" Then Te Ponga answered, "You
are the water that I thirsted for." And as the maiden listened to his
words, she thought within herself, "He, then, has fallen in love with
me," and she sat down, and he placed himself by her side, and they
conversed together, and to each of them the words of the other seemed
most pleasant and engaging. Before they separated they arranged a time
when they might escape together, and then they returned to the

When the time came for Te Ponga to leave his host he directed some
dozen men of his to go to the landing-place in the harbor, prepare one
large canoe in which he and his followers might escape, and then to
take the other canoes and cut the lashings which made the top sides
fast to the hulls. The next morning he announced that he must return
to his own country. The chief and his men accompanied him part of the
way to the harbor. Puhihuia and the other girls had stolen a little
way along the road, laughing and joking with the visitors. The chief,
seeing his daughter going on after he had turned back, called out,
"Children, children, come back here!" Then the other girls stopped and
ran back toward the village, but as to Puhihuia, her heart beat but to
the one thought of escaping with her beloved Te Ponga. So she began to
run. Te Ponga and his men joined in the swift flight, and as soon as
they had reached the water they jumped into their canoe, seized their
paddles and shot away, swift as a dart from a string. When the
pursuing villagers arrived at the beach they laid hold of another
canoe, but found that the lashings of all had been cut, so that
pursuit was impossible. Thus the party that had come to make peace
returned joyfully to their own country, with the enemy's young
chieftainess, while their foes stood like fools upon the shore,
stamping with rage and threatening them in vain.

These stories are undoubtedly romantic; but again I ask, are they
stories of romantic love? There is romance and quaint local color in
the feat of the girl who, reversing the story of Hero and Leander,
swam over to her lover; in the wooing of the two girls proposing to an
unseen man up a tree; in the action of the chief who saved the
beautiful girl and her father from dying of thirst, and acted so that
his men came to the conclusion he must love her "almost as well" as
war; in the slyly planned elopement of Te Ponga. But there is nothing
to indicate the quality of the love--to show an "illumination of the
senses by the soul," or a single altruistic trait. Even such touches
of egoistic sentimentality as the phrase "To the heart of each of them
the other appeared pleasing and worthy, so that in the breast of each
there grew up a secret passion for the other;" and again, "he felt his
heart grow wild with emotion, when he saw so much loveliness before
him," are quite certainly a product of Grey's fancy, for Polynesians,
as we have seen, do not speak of the "heart" in that sense, and such a
word as "emotions" is entirely beyond their powers of abstraction and
conception. Grey tells us that he collected different portions of his
legends from different natives, in very distant parts of the country,
at long intervals, and afterward rearranged and rewrote them. In this
way he succeeded in giving us some interesting legends, but a
phonographic record of the _fragments_ related to him, without any
embroidering of "heart-affairs," "wild emotions," and other adornments
of modern novels, would have rendered them infinitely more valuable to
students of the evolution of emotions. It is a great pity that so few
of the recorders of aboriginal tales followed this principle; and it
is strange that such neatly polished, arranged, and modernized tales
as these should have been accepted so long as illustrations of
primitive love.[194]


Besides their stories of love, the Maoris of New Zealand also have
poems, some accompanied with (often obscene) pantomimes, others
without accompaniment. Shortland (146-55), Taylor (310), and others
have collected and translated some of these poems, of which the
following are the best. Taylor cites this one:

The tears gush from my eyes,
My eyelashes are wet with tears;
But stay, my tears, within,
Lest you should be called mine.

Alas! I am betrothed (literally, my hands are bound);
It is for Te Maunee
That my love devours me.
But I may weep indeed,
Beloved one, for thee,
Like Tiniran's lament
For his favorite pet Tutunui
Which was slain by Ngae.

Shortland gives these specimens of the songs that are frequently
accompanied by immodest gestures of the body. Some of them are "not
sufficiently decent to bear translating." The one marked (4) is
interesting as an attempt at hyperbole.


Your body is at Waitemata,
But your spirit came hither
And aroused me from my sleep.


Tawera is the bright star
Of the morning.
Not less beautiful is the
Jewel of my heart.


The sun is setting in his cave,
Touching as he descends (the
Land) where dwells my mate,
He who is whirled away
To southern seas.

More utilitarian are (6) and (7), in which a woman asks "Who will
marry a man too lazy to till the ground for food?" And a man wants to
know "Who will marry a woman too lazy to weave garments?" Very
unlover-like is the following:

I don't like the habits of woman.
When she goes out--
She _Kuikuis_
She _Koakoas_
She chatters
The very ground is terrified,
And the rats run away.
Just so.

More poetic are the _waiata_, which are sung without the aid of any
action. The following ode was composed by a young woman forsaken by
her lover:

Look where the mist
Hangs over Pukehina.
There is the path
By which went my love.

Turn back again hither,
That may be poured out
Tears from my eyes.

It was not I who first spoke of love.
You it was who made advances to me
When I was but a little thing.

Therefore was my heart made wild.
This is my farewell of love to thee.

A young woman, who had been carried away prisoner from Tuhua, gives
vent to her longing in these lines:

"My regret is not to be expressed. Tears like a spring
gush from my eyes. I wonder whatever is Te Kaiuku [her
lover] doing: he who deserted me. Now I climb upon the
ridge of Mount Parahaki; from whence is clear the view
of the island Tahua. I see with regret the lofty Taumo,
where dwells Tangiteruru. If I were there, the shark's
tooth would hang from my ear. How fine, how beautiful,
should I look. But see whose ship is that tacking? Is
it yours? O Hu! you husband of Pohiwa, sailing away on
the tide to Europe.

"O Tom! pray give me some of your fine things; for
beautiful are the clothes of the sea-god.

"Enough of this. I must return to my rags, and to my

In this case the loss of her finery seems to trouble the girl a good
deal more than the loss of her lover. In another ode cited by
Shortland a deserted girl, after referring to her tearful eyes, winds
up with the light-hearted

Now that you are absent in your native land,
The day of regret will, perhaps, end.

There is a suggestion of Sappho in the last of these odes I shall

"Love does not torment forever. It came on me like the
fire which rages sometimes at Hukanai. If this
(beloved) one is near me, do not suppose, O Kiri, that
my sleep is sweet. I lie awake the live-long night, for
love to prey on me in secret.

"It shall never be confessed, lest it be heard of by
all. The only evidence shall be seen on my cheeks.

"The plain which extends to Tauwhare: that path I trod
that I might enter the house of Rawhirawhwi. Don't be
angry with me, O madam [addressed to Rawhirawhwi's
wife]; I am only a stranger. For you there is the body
(of your husband). For me there remains only the shadow
of desire."

"In the last two lines," writes Shortland, "the poetess coolly
requests the wife of the person for whom she acknowledges an unlawful
passion not to be angry with her, because 'she--the lawful wife--has
always possession of the person of her husband; while hers is only an
empty, Platonic sort of love.' This is rather a favorite sentiment,
and is not unfrequently introduced similarly into love-songs of this


It is noticeable that these love-poems are all by females, and most
frequently by deserted females. This does not speak well for the
gallantry or constancy of the men. Perhaps they lacked those qualities
to offset the feminine lack of coyness. In the first of our Maori
stories the maiden swims to the man, who calmly awaits her, playing
his horn. In the second, a man is simultaneously proposed to by two
girls, before he has time to come off his perch on the tree. This
arouses a suspicion which is confirmed by E. Tregear's revelations
regarding Maori courtship _(Journ. Anthrop. Inst_., 1889):

"The girl generally began the courting. I have often
seen the pretty little love-letter fall at the feet of
a lover--it was a little bit of flax made into a sort
of half-knot--'yes' was made by pulling the knot
tight--'no' by leaving the matrimonial noose alone.
Now, I am sorry to say, it is often thrown as an
invitation for love-making of an improper character.
Sometimes in the _Whare-Matoro_ (the wooing-house), a
building in which the young of both sexes assemble for
play, songs, dances, etc., there would be at stated
times a meeting; when the fires burned low a girl would
stand up in the dark and say, 'I love So-and-so, I want
him for my husband,' If he coughed (sign of assent), or
said 'yes' it was well; if only dead silence, she
covered her head with her robe and was ashamed. This
was not often, as she generally had managed to
ascertain (either by her own inquiry or by sending a
girl friend) if the proposal was acceptable. On the
other hand, sometimes a mother would attend and say 'I
want So-and-so for my son.' If not acceptable there was
general mocking, and she was told to let the young
people have their house (the wooing-house) to
themselves. Sometimes, if the unbetrothed pair had not
secured the consent of the parents, a late suitor would
appear on the scene, and the poor girl got almost
hauled to death between them all. One would get a leg,
another an arm, another the hair, etc. Girls have been
injured for life in these disputes, or even murdered by
the losing party."


The assertion that "the girl generally began the courting" must not
mislead us into supposing that Maori women were free, as a rule, to
marry the husbands of their choice. As Tregear's own remarks indicate,
the advances were either of an improper character, or the girl had
made sure beforehand that there was no impediment in the way of her
proposal. The Maori proverb that as the fastidious Kahawai fish
selects the hook which pleases it best, so a woman chooses a man out
of many (on the strength of which alone Westermarck, 217, claims
liberty of choice for Maori women) must also refer to such liaisons
before marriage, for all the facts indicate that the original Maori
customs allowed women no choice whatever in regard to marriage. Here
the brother's consent had to be obtained, as Shortland remarks (118).
Many of the girls were betrothed in infancy, and many others married
at an age--twelve to thirteen--when the word choice could have had no
rational meaning. Tregear informs us that if a couple had not been
betrothed as children, everyone in the tribe claimed a right to
interfere, and the only way the couple could get their own way was by
eloping. Darwin was informed by Mantell "that until recently almost
every girl in New Zealand who was pretty or promised to be pretty was
tapu to some chief;" and we further read that

"when a chief desires to take to himself a wife, he fixes
his attention upon her, and takes her, if need be, by force,
without consulting her feelings and wishes or those of
anyone else."

This is confirmed by William Brown, in his book on the aborigines. But
the most graphic and harrowing description of Maori maltreatment of
women is given by the Rev. E. Taylor:

"The _ancient and most general way_ of obtaining a wife
was for the gentleman to summon his friends and make a
regular _taua_, or fight, to carry off the lady by
force, and oftentimes with great violence.... If the
girl had eloped with someone on whom she had placed her
affection, then her father and brother would refuse
their consent," and fight to get her back. "The
unfortunate female, thus placed between two contending
parties, would soon be divested of every rag of
clothing, and would then be seized by her head, hair,
or limbs," her "cries and shrieks would be unheeded by
her savage friends. In this way the poor creature was
often nearly torn to pieces. These savage contests
sometimes ended in the strongest party bearing off in
triumph the naked person of the bride. In some cases,
after a long season of suffering, she recovered, to be
given to a person for whom she had no affection, in
others to die within a few hours or days from the
injuries which she had received. But it was not
uncommon for the weaker party, when they found they
could not prevail, for one of them to put an end to the
contest by suddenly plunging his spear into the woman's
bosom to hinder her from becoming the property of

After giving this account on page 163 of the Maori's "ancient and
_most general_ way" of obtaining a wife--which puts him below the most
ferocious brutes, since those at least spare their females--the same
writer informs us on page 338 that "there are few races who treat
their women with more deference than the Maori!" If that is so, it can
only be due to the influence of the whites, since all the testimony
indicates that the unadulterated Maori--with whom alone we are here
concerned--did not treat them "with great respect," nor pay any
deference to them whatever. The cruel method of capture described
above was so general that, as Taylor himself tells us, the native term
for courtship was _he aru aru_, literally, a following or pursuing
after; and there was also a special expression for this struggling of
two suitors for a girl--_he puna rua_. As for their "great respect"
for women, they do not allow them to eat with the men. A chief, says
Angas (II., 110), "will sometimes permit his favorite wife to eat with
him, though not out of the same dish." Ellis relates (III., 253) that
New Zealanders are "addicted to the greatest vices that stain the
human character--treachery, cannibalism, infanticide, and murder." The
women caught in battle, as well as the men, were, he says, enslaved or
eaten. "Sometimes they chopped off the legs and arms and otherwise
mangled the body before they put the victim to death." Concubines had
to do service as household drudges. A man on dying would bequeath his
wives to his brother. No land was bequeathed to female children. The
real Maori feeling toward women is brought out in the answer given to
a sister who went to her brothers to ask for a share of the lands of
the family: "Why, you're only a slave to blow up your husband's fire."
(Shortland, 119, 255-58.)


When Hawkesworth visited New Zealand with Captain Cook, he one day
came accidentally across some women who were fishing, and who had
thrown off their last garments. When they saw him they were as
confused and distressed as Diana and her nymphs; they hid among the
rocks and crouched down in the sea until they had made and put on
girdles of seaweeds (456). "There are instances," writes William Brown
(36-37), "of women committing suicide from its being said that they
had been seen naked. A chief's wife took her own life because she had
been hung up by the heels and beaten in the presence of the whole

Shall we conclude from this that the Maoris were genuinely modest and
perhaps capable of that delicacy in regard to sexual matters which is
a prerequisite of sentimental love? What is modesty? The _Century
Dictionary_ says it is "decorous feeling or behavior; purity or
delicacy of thought or manner; reserve proceeding from pure or chaste
character;" and the _Encyclopaedic Dictionary_ defines it as
"chastity; purity of manners; decency; freedom from lewdness or
un-chastity." Now, Maori modesty, if such it maybe called, was only
skin deep. Living in a colder climate than other Polynesians, it
became customary among them to wear more clothing; and what custom
prescribes must be obeyed to the letter among all these peoples, be
the ordained dress merely a loin cloth or a necklace, or a cover for

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