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A Lady's Letter from Tongu.

Miss Wilkinson, who is well known to many Milton people, lias recently been travelling in tho South Sea Islands, and the ' Brueo Herald ' has been allowed to publish the following extracts from a letter received from Iter by last mail :■■-" I got in for all tho trouble/) in' poor little Samoa, and had a bail time of it for three months -never able to I'd, out; no sociability possible between Germans and Kuglbh ; bullets for salutations, 1 got a horse, but wan never able to ride out owing to the dangerous slate of the country, so 1 went to the Tongan group for a mouth, but during thai tinio things in Samoa grew avoisc and worse, .1 had no alternative but to go back to Samoa, on the chance of being shot by the Germans, or leave all my belongings to be returned to Auckland if they escaped fire, sword, and hurricanes. At last, contrary to my usual ill-luck, I found that they had escaped all these hazards. I am now at Fiji, where I mean to stay the winter. Samoa is a lovely country, and I am sure that under other circumstances it would have proved pretty equal to all I expected and hoped, but the war knocked everything on the head. The stores were doing no business. The Natives spend every penny on food or ammunition. Food became scarce; meat rose in price just before Christmas, and became very dear. Milk is sold by the bottle at Gd—a little cheaper by taking regularly by tho mouth. Vegetables are hardly to be got at all. We had imported potatoes ; sometimes we could get a bunch of bananas, and now and again a few pineapples were sent to us from some country plantations. Oranges were out of season, and wo had to send an immense distance to get limes, all near the town having been stripped. Everything went to the camp. It was a curious sight to see the troops going to join Mataafa and Malietoa. Every tribe was headed by the Kapo, or the maid of the village—a most important and higbly-thought-of young woman. Some of them were gorgeous ; some very simply got up; some puffed up with conceit; some modest and pretty. One in particular marched along like a drum - major, bearing a great wand, and wearing skirt upon skirt, stuffs, tappa, and garlands, until they stood out at almost right angles to the body. The special guards of the king—the Tuamas —as a tribe are grand fellows. They wear uniforms of blue with silver buttons, and handle their short carbines as well as any of the New Zealand volunteers. They claimed the right to lead the assaults on the Atua fort, which was so hotly contested and held out so loug. . . . The expense of staying at Tongan hotels—los per day—istoo much for the very miserable accommodation. I shall never care to visit that group again. Tonga and Haapai are flat and ugly, and Vavau, though much prettier, means starvation. In neither is there creek or river. They have to depend entirely on rain water. Vavau is far from one of the pleasant recollections rf my wanderings. Decent society is scarcely obtainable there. I think I liked the solitary sister at the convent better than anybody else I met thcro."

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Bibliographic details

A Lady's Letter from Tongu., Evening Star, Issue 7940, 22 June 1889

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A Lady's Letter from Tongu. Evening Star, Issue 7940, 22 June 1889