29 JUNE 1956, Page 27

Friendly Islands Six years ago a young American anthropolo- gist

opened Mariner's Tonga. What she read in the old book made her abandon ambition and (to the dismay of her father, a businessman, who wanted her to 'get on') take a job as head- mistress of a mission-run girls' college in Vava'u. 'They've sold you a job,' he wrote in despair, 'no one else wants.' This may well have been so; but while Miss Ledyard found that she had little enough in common with the missionaries, the world of the Tongans, sunny and smiling and open-hearted, offered more than adequate compensation. She married a Scottish doctor in Vava'u and began to sink her roots into the society which had put its spell her before she had set foot on the islands. Priendly Island (Peter Davies, 15s.) is her account of the process. and the easy discursive Pages breathe that relaxed air peculiar to the writings of those who find contentment on islands. It is a book of great charm, and I should be surprised if someone somewhere, opening it in a library, doesn't make a few urgent inquiries about jobs in Tonga. Are reviewers in demand in Polynesia?