Delay now could gain no purpose, and I wished the strife and uncertainty to be put to an end. Nelwang knew our customs. Every worshiper has to be seated, when our Church bell ceases ringing. Aniwans would be ashamed to enter after the Service had actually begun.
He'll not try hurricanes again!" The woman was a Malay, as all the Aniwans were. Had a Papuan woman on Tanna or Erromanga dared such a thing, she would have been killed on the spot. But even on Aniwa, the unwonted spectacle of a wife beating her husband created uproarious amusement. At length I remonstrated, saying, "You had better stop now! You don't want to kill him, do you?
The bereaved Aniwans, hearing his terrible story, were furious for revenge; but the forty-five miles of sea between proving too hard an obstacle, they made a deep cut in the earth and vowed to renew that cut from year to year till the day of revenge came round. Thus the memory of the event was kept alive for nearly eighty years.
To this day, the river there is called "the water of Aniwa" by the inhabitants of both islands; and it is the ambition of all Aniwans to visit Aneityum and drink of that spring and river, as they sigh to each other, "Alas, for the waters of Aniwa!" Their picture of the Flood is equally grotesque.
The circumstances are illustrative of what may be almost called their worship of revenge. Many long years ago, a party of Aniwans had gone to Aneityum on a friendly visit; but the Aneityumese, then all savages, murdered and ate every man of them save one, who escaped into the bush. Living on cocoanuts, he awaited a favorable wind, and, launching his canoe by night, he arrived in safety.
Navalak and Nemeyan; whilst others went forth to Fotuna, Tanna, and Erromanga, as opportunity arose. Namakei, the principal Chief of Aniwa, had promised to protect and be kind to them. But as time went on, it was discovered that the Teachers belonged to the Tribe on Aneityum, and one of them to the very land, where long ago the Aniwans had been murdered.
But the Aniwans, having promised to protect them, shrank from doing it themselves; so they hired two Tanna-men and an Aniwan Chief, one of whose parents had belonged to Tanna, to waylay and shoot the Teachers as they returned from their tour of Evangelism among the villages on Sabbath afternoon. Their muskets did not go off, but the murderers rushed upon them with clubs and left them for dead.
But Miaki was still our evil genius, and every incident seemed to be used by him for one settled purpose of hate. A Kaserumini Chief, for instance, and seven men took away a young girl in a canoe to Aniwa, to be sold to friends there for tobacco leaf, which the Aniwans cultivated extensively.
But on a visit of a Mission vessel, Namakei sent his orator Taia to Aneityum, to tell them that now revenge was satisfied, the cut in the earth filled up, and a cocoanut tree planted and flourishing where the blood of the Teachers had been shed, and that no person from Aneityum would ever be injured by Aniwans.
The Natives were sharp enough to notice that I was not putting up the bell; and suspicions arose that I kept it back in order to take it with me when I returned to Tanna. It was a beautiful Church bell, cast and sent out by our dear friend, James Taylor, Esq., Birkenhead. The Aniwans, therefore, gave me no rest till I agreed to have it hung on their new Church.