White Shadows in the South Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 365 pages of information about White Shadows in the South Seas.

So far as I am informed, mankind is the only herd of which this is not true.  Cattle and horses unite in protecting the young and feeble; sheep huddle together against cold and wolves; bees and ants work only for the welfare of the swarm, which is the welfare of all.  This, we are told, is the reason these forms of life have survived.  But ship officers beat sailors because sailors have no firearms and fear charges of mutiny.  Policemen club prisoners who are poorly dressed.  Employees make profits from the toil of children.  Strong nations prey on weak peoples, and the white man kills the white man and the black and brown and yellow man in mine, plantation, and forest the world over.

He defends this murder of his own kind by the pat phrase “survival of the fittest.”  But man is not a solitary animal, he is a herd animal, and within the herd nature’s definition of fitness does not apply.  The herd is a refuge against the law of tooth and fang.  Importing within the herd his own interpretation of that law, man is destroying the strength of his shelter.  By so much as one man preys upon or debases another man, he weakens the strength of the man-herd.  And for man it is the herd, not the individual, that must meet that stern law of “the survival of the fittest” on the vast impersonal arena of the universe.

“Bully ’Ayes was the man to make the Kanakas work!” said Lying Bill Pincher.  “I used to be on Penryn Island and that was ’is old ’ang-out.  ’Ayes was a pleasant man to meet.  ’E was ’orspitable as a ’ungry shark to a swimming missionary.  Bald he was as a bloomin’ crab, stout and smiling.

“’E ’ad two white wives a-setting in his cabin on the schooner, and they called it the parlor.  Smart wimmen they was, and saved ’is life for ’im more ’n once.  ’E ’d get a couple of chiefs on board by deceiving ’em with rum, and hold ’em until ‘is bloomin’ schooner was chock-a-block with copra.  The ’ole island would be working itself to death to free the chiefs.  Then when ’e ’ad got the copra, ’e ’d steal a ’undred or two Kanakas and sell ’em in South America.

“’E was smart, and yet ’e got ’is’n.  ’Is mate seen him coming over the side with blood in his eye, and batted ’im on ’is conch as ’is leg swung over the schooner’s bul’ark.  ’Ayes dropped with ’is knife between ’is teeth and ’is pistols in both ’ands.

“’E’d murdered ’undreds of white and brown and black men, and ’e was smart, and ’e got away with it.  But ’e made the mistake of not having made a friend of ’is right ’and man.”

CHAPTER XXIX

The white man who danced in Oomoa Valley; a wild-boar hunt in the hills; the feast of the triumphant hunters and a dance in honor of Grelet.

Grelet had gone in a whale-boat to Oia, a dozen miles away, to collect copra, and I was left with an empty day to fill as I chose.  The house, the garden, and the unexplored recesses of Oomoa Valley were mine, with whatever they might afford of entertainment or adventure.  Every new day, wherever spent, is an adventure, but when to the enigmatic morning is added the zest of a strange place, it must be a dull man who does not thrill to it.

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White Shadows in the South Seas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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