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rear his offspring. Celibacy was by no means enjoined—very much the reverse; indeed each Areoi had an acknowledged wife, who was a member of the society: but of the innumerable children of these favoured sinners, not one was ever suffered to live; and any person desiring to enter the holy brotherhood, was required in the first instance to murder any children he might already have. The sect was supposed to have been divinely instituted, and its members were sure of admission to the Rohutu moa-noa, or fragrant paradise, in which the blessed were to spend an eternity of feasting, with every delight that heart or flesh could desire. The total extinction of this society was one of the most marked triumphs of Christianity in this group; and the early missionaries record with thankful wonder, that many Areois were among their earliest and most zealous converts and steady adherents, and became hard-working and successful teachers and native missionaries, striving with their whole energy to counteract the evils in which they had hitherto been prime movers. Such being the associations connected with this most unattractive dance, it certainly is strange to read the regrets, expressed by various travellers, that the missionaries should have seen fit to discourage it, as if in so doing they had deprived the
TRUE WINDFALLS. 25
people of some delightful pleasure. It is a very different thing from the beautiful and artistic dances of Fiji, which the Wesleyan Mission have so wisely encouraged the people to retain, even at their school and church festivals. This afternoon was clear and bright, and the drive to the isthmus and then up the ridge was very beautiful. Part of the road lay through a real jungle of large orange-trees laden with ripe fruit. I need not say how we feasted; as did also herds of many pigs, that wander at large through these enchanting thickets, and find an ample supply of fruit which falls unheeded on the grass—true windfalls It is from these groves that cargoes of several hundred thousand oranges are carried to San Francisco by every opportunity. Imagine the joy of some poor ragged-school child, whose one treat is an orange at Christmas, and whose home is in the slums of any of our horrible cities, could it but wake to find itself in this elysium. I remember Dr Guthrie's ragged schools coming to spend one day at Winton Castle with dear old Lady Ruthven, and the teachers told me that there were many children present who had never before in their short lives set foot in the country. Would that they could all be transported for a while to the orange-groves of Tahitil To-day we also passed some large vanilla plantations, in admirable order. The vanilla is a creeper, and is planted at the foot of some shady shrub, up which it climbs and twines among the branches. To economise labour and space, two crops are combined, by training the vanilla over either coffee-bushes or the vermilion-tree, which carries its bright seeds in small pods. The vanilla itself is a precarious crop, requiring much watchful care at each stage of its growth, which, however, it well repays, as it fetches four dollars per pound. Moreover, it is a fragrant harvest. This place is a military station; the French have a fort here, and some soldiers. I believe that political offenders are sent to Taravou to expiate their supposed misdeeds within its walls. M. de Damian, commandant of the fort, had provided comfortable quarters for the admiral and his party at his own house, and an excellent room was most kindly assigned to me. Marau and Ariiaue have gone on to another village, where we are to join them in the morning. The French soldiers here employ some of their leisure hours in the care of a garden, which rewards them with excellent vegetables and glorious roses. I had the delight of arranging delicious nosegays for the dinner-table this evening, and have a lovely bunch of roses now beside me.
CLEAR SHINING AFTER RAIN. 27
It is again raining heavily, but we rejoice thereat, for generally a deluge of rain at night is followed by a clear balmy morning, and all the lovely vegetation appears in its freshest glory.
Now I must bid you good-night.
THE ROYAL PROGRESS Round TAHITI (continued)—FRENCH FoRT AT TARAWOU —THE PENINSULA—LIFE IN BIRD-CAGE HOUSES —TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION.—RETURN TO PAPEETE.
WE woke this morning to find this beautiful world bathed in sunshine, and I slipped out for a lovely early stroll along the shore. There was a great calm, the sea literally without a ripple, reflecting the mellow tones of the sky. I followed a wide grass road passing through a cocoa plantation— luxuriant young palms of all ages, the ground beneath them carpeted with succulent grasses; a combination of fresh greens delightful to the eye. I think the heavy rain must have driven all the land-crabs out of their holes, for truly they were legion, and all were busily feeding, till, aware of a footstep, they darted back to their burrows. In some spots they clustered in such numbers that the whole bank seemed in motion. Some of these are as large as a good Scotch “parten; ” but there