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the voyage, were speedily landed. After this, we accompanied our friends to the shore, elated with the anticipated pleasure of intelligence from home. In this respect we were not disappointed. A few letters which were at hand we received on board, and the rest as soon as the boxes containing them were opened. We broke the seals, skimmed the contents, and glanced at the signatures with no common feelings, reserving a more careful perusal for a season of greater leisure.
No opportunity equally favourable for receiving. intelligence from England, had occurred since our arrival. Mr. Hayward had proceeded from the islands to England; he had met our friends and relatives there, and had been enabled to satisfy them in a variety of points, of which, though of confessedly minor importance, they were anxious to be informed. He had left them, and returned direct to us; and the simple fact that we were conversing with one who had traversed scenes long familiar, and vividly present to our recollections, and one who had mingled in the society of those dearest on earth to us, appeared to shorten the distance by which we were separated, and to remove the most formidable barriers to intercourse. We had a thousand questions to ask, and the evening was far too short for the answer of half our inquiries, or the perusal of our letters.
Mingled and intense are the emotions with which a lonely sojourner in a distant and uncivilized part of the world receives a packet from his native land. This is especially the case when the symbol of mourning appears on the exterior of any of his letters. The unfolded sheet is sometimes put aside, as the eye, in its first glance over the Îines, has been arrested by a sentence conveying
tidings of the departure of some dear and valued relative or friend.
Notwithstanding the painful sensations occasioned by the knowledge of the fact, that some dear object of the heart's attachment or esteem has been for some months consigned to the cheerless grave; the arrival of epistles from those we have left in our native land, produces emotions more powerful, and satisfactions more elevated, than any other circumstance. Letters sent home by those in distant climes, may convey all that undiminished affection prompts, but they awaken no recollections connected with the locality, the companions, and the circumstances of those by whom they are written. The scenes and society by which the writers are surrounded, are foreign; and, next to the feeling of curiosity, the greatest interest they excite arises from the connexion with those for whose welfare every concern is felt. Very different are the effects of a letter from home, to residents in a distant land. Every circumstance connected with it awakens emotion; even the name of the place, whence it is dated, recalls a thousand associations of by-gone days. They seem to hear again the familiar voice, and involuntarily mingle once more, in imagination and in feeling, with the circle which friendship and attachment had often drawn round the domestic hearth; and while perusing letters from home, feel all the force of the poet's exclamation,
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Next to the enjoyment of the Divine favour, letters from friends are among the sources of sweetest solace, and most cheering encouragement, to the sojourner in a foreign land. They excite a train of feeling which must be experienced, to be
understood. They cheer the spirits, often fainting under the effects of an insalubrious clime, the silent prostration of debilitating sickness, or the opposition and the trials of situation. They convey to his mind the gratifying conviction, that the individual to whom they are addressed is not forgotten by those in whose enjoyments and pursuits he once participated.
This consideration not only revives his spirit, but imparts a fresh impetus to his movements, and adds new energy to his efforts. Letters from those abroad are gratifying to friends at home; and if they are so, to those who participate the pleasures of sincere, enlightened, and glowing friendship, and who are encircled by a thousand sources of enjoyment, how much more welcome must they be to the distant and often lonely absentee, who, though surrounded by multitudes of human beings, is yet doomed to perfect solitude, in respect to all mutual and reciprocal interchange of sympathy in thought and feeling.
Sure I am, that did the friends of those who have gone to distant, barbarous, and often inhospitable lands, know the alleviation of trials, and the satisfaction of mind, their epistles are adapted to produce, they would not be content with simply answering the letters they may receive, but would avail themselves of every opportunity thus to exchange their sympathies, and impart their pleasures, to those who are cut off from the many sources of enjoyment accessible to them.
Did the friends of the exile abroad also know the painful reflections to which a disappointment, in reference to expected intelligence, gives birth, they would endeavour to spare him that distress. In his lonely, distant, and arduous labours, a
Missionary requires every solace, assistance, and support that his friends can impart. The communications he receives from his patrons are valuable, but they are frequently too much like letters of business, or treat only of general subjects. His communications from his relatives and friends are of a much more touching and interesting character. These, though they deeply affect, do not engross his soul; he feels connected with, and interested in, the general advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the gigantic energies of those institutions of Christian benevolence and enterprise, which, under God, are changing the world's moral aspect. The reports, &c. of these institutions should be sent, and, in addition to these, a regular correspondence should be kept up with the Auxiliary Missionary Societies with which he may have been connected-the Sabbath-schools in which he may, perhaps, have been a teacher-but especially the Christian church of which he may have been a member. It should not be confined to a bare reply to letters, but should be regular and constant.
Sometimes we have been six, nine, or twelve months on the island of Huahine, and during that, or a longer period, have seen no individual, except our own two families, and the natives. At length, the shout, E pahi! e pahi!" A ship! a ship!" has been heard from some of the lofty mountains near our dwelling. The inhabitants on the shore have caught the spirit-stirring sound, and 'A ship! a ship!" has been echoed, by stentorian or juvenile voices, from one end of the valley to the other. Numbers flock to the projecting rocks or the high promontories, others climb the cocoanut tree, to obtain a glance of the desired object.
On looking out, over the wide-spread ocean, to behold the distant sail, our first attempt has been to discover how many masts she carried; and then, what colours she displayed; and it is impossible to describe the sensations excited on such occasions, when the red British banner has waved in the breeze, as a tall vessel, under all her swelling canvass, has moved towards our isolated abode.
We have seldom remained on shore till a vessel has entered the harbour, but have launched our boat, manned with native rowers, and, proceeding to meet the ship, have generally found ourselves alongside, or on deck, before she has reached the anchorage. At the customary salutations, if we have learned that the vessel was direct from England, and, as was frequently the case, from London, our hopes have been proportionably raised; yet we have scarcely ventured to ask the captain if he has brought us any tidings, lest his reply in the negative should dispel the anticipations his arrival had awakened. If he has continued silent, we have inquired whether he had brought any supplies; if he has answered No, a pause has ensued; after which, we have inquired whether he had any letters; and if to this, the same reply has been returned, our disappointment has been as distressing as our former hopes had been exhilarating. We have remarked, that probably our friends in England did not know of his departure. This has been, we believe, the ordinary cause why so many ships have arrived in the islands from England without bringing us any intelligence, except what we could gather from two or three odd newspapers that have been lying about the cabin. Though it has been some alleviation to believe, that, had our friends known of the conveyance,