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Samoa Under the Sailing Gods

Appendix iii

page 286

Appendix iii

Letter to Author from G. M. Ross, Trader at Salailua

Salailua, Savaii,

9th October, 1925.

Your letters dated 8th and 9th inst. just came to hand (1 p.m.) and I hasten to reply, as I suppose your boy wants to leave after dinner.

Letters for mail received and the one to Pierpont will be registered as requested. I shall enclose receipt for it before closing off this letter.

You ask if there is any news, and my answer is that there is any quantity of it, but I am afraid that I cannot do more than give you a brief outline of some of it as time will not permit of my going into details.

Tafa arrived last Saturday evening, and started work on the Monday. I explained that I could only guarantee him a month's work, but that I would see Jensen when he returned with the idea of getting him something permanent. I am allowing Tafa to have his meals with members of my family and I offered him £7 per month in addition. I shall charge the business with £10 per month and retain the difference, viz. £3 as payment for Tafa's food. I think this is fair under the circumstances and Tafa seems to be well satisfied. He is proving himself a very good salesman and in time he ought to know enough to take a trader's position. Of course he is not responsible for any shortages, hence his salary of £7 per month and keep. I am in the store all day and generally keep an eye on him, as he does not yet know prices of merchandise. Of course, I do all copra-weighing, paying of tickets, etc. etc.

About that amount Tafa owes you, I shall see him and get him to allow me to deduct same from his wages. This amount I shall place to the credit of your account, and will advise you when this has been done.

Did you see a white man from the Education Department named "Smith," who should have passed through Falelima last week, or possibly early this week. I got some very interesting news from him. Mr. Smith is not a New Zealander, and talked page 287pretty freely with me. Some of his news was highly interesting, to say the least about it.

If this young fellow pays you a visit, do not let him know that I have said anything about him in a letter to you. I will explain my reasons personally, but remember that it is very important that he should not think that his name was mentioned in a letter to you.

When Smith arrived here I invited him in for breakfast (he came on the same boat as Mr. Gordon), and later on in the day I had a long conversation with him, and I can tell you that he told me some sensational things about Foster & Co. Ltd., the Savaii B——s. Two more men in Apia in the Gvt. are suspected to be the same, but Smith would not disclose their names. He said there were ugly rumours going about Apia about these two extra-sexual perverts. An old man in the Education Dept. was dismissed by the "Wise Administrator" recently for no apparent reason. This man was not a sexual pervert, by the way. It seems that he would not go out of his way to please and flatter Sir George, hence his dismissal. I understand that this man (Cox is his name, but I am not sure) intends to "raise hell" in New Zealand. I also heard that he will probably be offered a good job in Fiji.

Bishop and Gentles have been sacked. You will see by latest Samoa Times that both were fined for being concerned in whisky smuggling and assaulting a native policeman. I heard that Bishop got another job the next day.

An advertisement in last paper calls for applications for District Inspector for Savaii. Anderson apparently has gone. I wonder who will get the job? I suppose it was all "cut and dried" long before advertisement appeared.

Keep this strictly to yourself, but when Smith got talking to me, he asked where you were. Smith then asked me did I know the reason for your dismissal from Govt., etc.

After hearing what I had to say on the matter (and you can imagine I did not mince matters), Smith said, "I have heard such a lot about Rowe, that I wondered what sort of a chap he was. When I was sent on this malanga, I was warned against two men, and one of these was Mr. Rowe." Smith went on to say that the——1 case was being talked about again in Apia, and that he had heard quite a lot about you. I tried to find out who the man was who warned Smith about you, but he

1 The case mentioned in Chapter xiv.

page 288(Smith) would not say, as he promised to keep the name of his informant secret.

Later in the conversation Smith said, "I know that the General has no time for Rowe. I heard how much he was hurt about that letter which appeared in the Samoa Times and I know that the sting is still being felt." Smith quoted part of the letter which had hurt Sir George.

I might add that Smith told me that he is an Englishman, and has been round the world as a wireless operator on steamers. I rather think that Smith is a very decent fellow, and he told me that he would look you up when he passed through Falelima. Smith denounced Griffin and Ross in particular, and told me how he (Smith) was accused of putting a girl in the family way. On another occasion Smith took a native girl home after a party in Apia. This girl had another woman with her, and the trio were seen going home at about 11 p.m. by "a high Govt. Official." Next day Smith was plainly told that his conduct was unbecoming, and that if the same thing happened again, he would have to leave the service. Smith was so outraged by this that he got a car and went right up to Vailima to see Sir George. After explaining to Sir G. that he was only walking home with two young Samoan women after a party at a white man's house, and that he was not even walking arm in arm with them, Sir G. suddenly said, "But are they both in the family way?"!! I believe Griffin was the Official referred to. Smith told me other tales about Ross and Griffin, but I cannot repeat them here!!!

It seems that things are becoming unbearable in Apia. Certain people are now being afraid of being "fixed" by the "Fixing Committee of Samoa." Smith's talk largely agreed with what Dr. Christie1 had told me concerning affairs in Apia. I heard a sensational story about an official's private papers being gone through….

1 Visiting Medical Officer.