Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/99

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Banks Islands. Lodges.

will succeed and flourish, some will fail; but the whole number in the Banks' Islands and the Torres Islands must be very great. Three or four may be common to all the group, some few common to two or more islands, the rest more or less closely localized. Some are exclusive with heavy entrance payments, and are used by elder men of good position; some are cheap and easy of entrance. I think it probable that where the Great Tamate is powerful, all the members of the other societies belong also to that and work together with it, except the younger members of the least important, the seclusion of which is comparatively little respected.

The lodge or secret resort of the Great Tamate is the salagoro, established in some secluded place, generally amidst lofty trees, in the neighbourhood of every considerable village or group of villages. The path to it is marked where it diverges from the public path by bright orange-coloured fruits stuck on reeds, bunches of flowers, fronds of cycas, and the customary soloi, taboo marks, forbidding entrance. These are repeated at intervals till the winding path comes out into the open space in which the building stands. Such marks are quite sufficient to prevent intrusion, because they represent the whole force of the association, not because they rest on any specially religious sanction. The whole place is not sacred, rongo, it is set apart, tapu, by a sufficient authority. No woman or uninitiated person would think of approaching; foreigners are admitted without difficulty; that is to say, those who do not belong to those neighbouring islands in which the society is known to have a place, Solomon islanders for example. If nothing in the way of initiation or particular celebration should be going on, the visitor will find only a few members in the place; some who use it as a club for their meals, some whose business it is as newly-admitted members to prepare the meals, keep the place swept, and remain within for a fixed number of days. Very likely a cocoa-nut will be pointed out as representing some one whose personal attendance has been excused. The hats and dresses worn at the last dance or public demonstration may be inspected. The hats are really ingenious, and when new are