putterings       229   <   230   >   231       index

who really knows something; the same

...a mysterious ruined city of Lele, a Micronesian Venice, reported to exist in the Island of Ponape, one of the easternmost of the Archipelago.
      ...The author frequently exhibits a dislike for missions and a contempt for their work. Thus he says, “One fine old heathen, who really knows something that the white man has not taught him, is worth a dozen puttering mediocrities who have forgotten their own history and swamped their identity; whose only ideas are to ape their white teachers in sniffling Bible texts and grabbing dollars.” The same hard pagan humor is shown in his comments on the Philippine insurrection against the Spaniards...

ex (a mostly unsympathetic) review of F. W. Christian, The Caroline Islands : Travel in the Sea of the Little Lands (1899), in The Critic (“An illustrated monthly review of literature, art and life”) 37:1 (July 1900) : 55-56 : link
same (via hathitrust) : link

In the (reviewed) source, the word is not “puttering” but “paltering” —
link (Harvard copy, via hathitrust). Why?

several scans of The Caroline Islands are also available via archive.org, including a Boston College copy, opening to map : link

Frederick William Christian (1867-1934)
“Traveler, lexicographer of Polynesian languages,” “Librarian of the Palmerston North Public Library 1923-1933”
link (New Zealand Electronic Text Collection)
link (photo, and other information; Manawatu Heritage, Palmerston North City Library)

three items via his online books page : link

1 January 2023