’Your loving and dutiful Son,
‘J. C. Patteson.’
The most present trouble of this summer was the sickness of Simeona. The account of him on Ash Wednesday is: ’He is dying of consumption slowly, and may go back with us two months hence, but I doubt it. Poor fellow, he makes the worst of his case, and is often discontented and thinks himself aggrieved because we cannot derange the whole plan of the school economy for him. I have everything which is good for him, every little dainty, and everyone is most kind; but when it comes to a complaint because one pupil-teacher is not set apart to sit with him all day, and another to catch him fish, of course I tell him that it would be wrong to grant what is so unreasonable. Some one or other of the most stupid of the boys catches his fish just as well as a pupil-teacher, and he is quite able to sit up and read for two or three hours a day, and would only be injured by having another lad in the room on purpose to be the receptacle of all his moans and complaints, yet I know, poor fellow! it is much owing to the disease upon him.’
In spite of his fretfulness and exactions, the young man, meeting not with spoiling, but with true kindness, responded to the touch. Lady Martin tells us: ’I shall never forget dear Mr. Patteson’s thankfulness when, after a long season of reserve, he opened his heart to him, and told him how, step by step, this sinfulness of sin had been brought home to him. He knew he had done wrong in his heathen boyhood, but had put away such deeds when he was baptized, and had almost forgotten the past, or looked on it as part of heathenism. But in his illness, tended daily and hourly by our dear friend, his conscience had become very tender. He died in great peace.’
His death is mentioned in the following letter to Sir John Coleridge:—
’My dear Uncle,—At three this morning died one of my old scholars, by name George Selwyn Simeona, from Nengone. He was here for his third time; for two years a regular communicant, having received a good deal of teaching before I knew him. He was baptized three years ago. I did not wish to bring him this time, for it was evident that he could not live long when we met last at Nengone, and I told him that he had better not come with us; but he said, “Heaven was no farther from New Zealand than from Nengone;” and when we had pulled some little way from shore, he ran down the beach, and made us return to take him in. Gradual decline and chronic bronchitis wore him to a skeleton. On Thursday the Bishop and I administered the Holy Eucharist to him; and he died at 3 A.M. to-day, with his hand in mine, as I was in the act of commending his soul to God. His wife, a sweet good girl, one of Mrs. Selwyn’s pupils from Nengone in old times, died last year. They leave one boy of three years, whom I hope to get hold of entirely, and as it were adopt him.