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table,” a pile of large bread-fruit leaves are laid before each person to act as plates, and to be changed as often as may be desired. Also, in lieu of tumblers, wine-glasses, and cruet-stands, each guest is provided with a half cocoa-nut shell, full of drinking water, and one of milk, a third with chopped cocoa-nut, and a fourth with salt water. The two latter are mixed together to make a sauce in which to dip the good things that are coming. This done, the fourth shell is filled with fresh water to act as a finger-glass. Half a bread-fruit, nicely cooked, is laid beside each place in lieu of bread. I fear, if I must confess the truth, that certain dainties in the way of creams and jellies, and tipsycakes, such as were not common in Tahiti in the days of Captain Cook, did find their way to our leafy bower, and were by no means despised. Afterwards the band took up a good position outside the house, and a right merry dance ensued. As the gentlemen considerably outnumbered the ladies, great satisfaction was expressed when two very lady-like white girls suddenly arrived, robed in loose white sacques, and of course crowned with flowers. These turned out to be two of the middies, who kept up their part admirably throughout the evening. The Shah musters a first-rate theatrical corps, and they say they would gladly act for the amuse
ment of their Tahitian friends, but unfortunately their stay is too short to admit of any such ploy. We are all going to lunch on board to-day.
We have had a very pleasant afternoon on the great ship. Soon after twelve we joined the royal party, for whom the admiral's barge was waiting, the blue-jackets receiving the king with uplifted oars. (I believe “tossed” is the correct expression.) He was treated throughout with full royal honours—twenty-one guns on arrival and departure, yards manned, marines and crew on parade, and all the officers in the agonies of full uniform, with which, however, they soon contrived to dispense. I think that as soon as Captain Bedford had got over his surprise at being asked by the queen where she might smoke, he realised that gold lace was superfluous ! Tahitian ladies can never be happy for long without their cigarettes, and the queen has recently received a present of an enormous supply, which are fast disappearing in faint films of smoke I
Our first introduction was to a large, very tame, black bear, which the sailors captured as a baby on Vancouver's Isle, and which now plays with them like a very gentle big dog. It is a much nicer beast than the Russian bears brought by the Limier.
We were formally conducted all over the huge ship, and duly wondered at the length of the lower deck, with the row of great guns on either side; in short, we felt exceedingly proud of our British representative, and the French officers and their Peruvian friends kindly abstained from invidious comments on the recent “ Huascar’ affair, which had been freely discussed here before the arrival of the giant Shah. Now all allusion to that pugnacious little vessel was studiously avoided, and everything connected with the big ship called forth a chorus of undivided admiration.
King Ariiaue was requested to touch an electric battery, and quick as lightning a whole broadside went off. In like manner Queen Marau fired a torpedo, which threw up the water in a gigantic fountain. We went through the ward-room, the large airy gun-room, and the officers' daintily fitted-up cabins, exquisite in their neatness. The admiral has a most charming bedroom, drawing-room, and dining-room. In the latter we sat down to luncheon, about twenty-four persons, including the commanders of the other vessels.
When we returned on deck we found it transformed into a brilliant ball-room, all draped with flags, and full of people from Papeete. As we looked down from the upper decks and bridge, a prettier scene could not be imagined. The danc
ing folk did dance to their hearts' content; and those who, like myself, hold the Eastern creed, that all such hard work should be done by proxy, held possession of the higher levels, and sometimes varied the picture by turning to the beautiful panorama on every side of the harbour. To rest the band, there were two interludes, when the sailors danced hornpipes, and sang capital songs with choruses, which some of us enjoyed so much that we would fain have prolonged the concert. Unfortunately the king was tired of the proceedings, and wanted to hurry through the dances for which the queen had already engaged herself; so the singing was soon stopped, and the ball resumed till the sun had almost set behind Moorea, bathing its mountains in dreamy gold. A few minutes later the island stood out in clear-cut lilac, floating between a sea and sky of pale daffodil. Then we all returned ashore, and in the evening went to hear some himènes, specially got up for the edification of the strangers, who, however, by some unlucky misunderstanding, failed to appear. But as compared with those I had previously heard, these were very poor himènes, and I was almost glad that they were not taken as samples of what those charming glees can be. To-morrow morning the little Daring sails for Honolulu and the great Shah for Valparaiso. Every one regrets so speedy a departure, but the admiral says he dares not risk remaining with 700 Englishmen in this port, over Christmas Day, as it would be impossible to keep the men on board, with the tempting shore so close, and that if they once landed, some would inevitably get drunk, and have a row with the French authorities. Our good consul is evidently much relieved by this wise, though unpopular decision. It certainly is grievous that the jolly tars, of whom Britain is so justly proud, contrive to do such scant credit to their nation or themselves when they land in any foreign port. Here, for instance, day after day, among the crowds who land on the shore just under my verandah, I never hear a voice which seems to be raised in anger-all seem bright and happy. I wish I could say the sounds are equally pleasant when a party of British sailors go past ! Then the echoes that linger on the ear are sanguinary and repulsive ; a painful contrast to the musical speech of the natives. The Shah is fortunate in possessing, in the Rev. — Reed, a chaplain who is exceedingly popular with all on board, and who takes an immense interest in all that concerns his flock. Besides the regular band, he has trained one specially to accompany sacred music ; and the church choir is said to be excellent. It would have been really pleasant