Great crowds came in from all round on the 31st, and many war canoes. The people were extremely impudent, jumping the fence, and taking no heed of what we said. One of the chief men of the settlement to which the man who was shot belongs returned from Vaare (Teste Island). He seemed friendly, and I gave him a present.
I had an invitation to attend a cannibal feast at one of the settlements. Some said it would consist of two men and a child, others of five and a child.
The people continued troublesome all day, and seemed to think we had nothing else to do than attend to their demands.
January 1_st_, 1878.—We were told we might be attacked. There was a great wailing assembly at the other village. A canoe from Tanosine, with a great many ugly-looking men, passed, and our friends here seemed to fear they would attack us. We thought everything settled, and that we should have no more to pay. The warp belonging to the Mayri was carried past to-day and offered for sale; but I would have nothing to do with it. We have tried the meek and quiet up till now, and they only become more impudent and threatening.
Having tried the peaceful and pleasant, we determined to show the natives that we were not afraid, and resisted every demand, and insisted that there should be no more leaping the fence. On demands being made, I shouted, “No more; wait, and when Beritama fighting canoe comes, then make your demands.” They seemed afraid, and became less troublesome.
In the afternoon of January 2nd, the parties who have the hawser brought it to me; but I would have nothing to do with it. I told them if Pouairo, the settlement of the man who was shot, determines to attack us, let them come, we, too, can fight. One of the teachers fired off his gun at some distance from a bread-fruit tree, and the bullet went clean through a limb of it; it caused great exclamations, and crowds went to look at it.
The hawser was returned and left outside. We took no notice of it. The people were much quieter, and no demands were made. The cannibal feast was held. Some of our friends appeared with pieces of human flesh dangling from their neck and arms. The child was spared for a future time, it being considered too small. Amidst all the troubles Mrs. Chalmers was the only one who kept calm and well.
The Ellengowan arrived on January 20th. The natives were beginning to think no vessel would come; but when it arrived, they were frightened, and willing to forget the Mayri affair. A few days before she arrived some of our friends warned us against going too far away from the house. After her arrival we were able to go about among the people again.