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whom were nearly as drunk as an average set of blue-jackets, under similar circumstances, would probably have been.
With some anxiety, I noted a wide halo round the moon, and devoutly trust it may not prove an evil symptom of the coming weather; for tomorrow morning we start on our grand expedition round the isle.
Now I must try to secure a good night's rest, so shall close this letter, which may take its chance of being taken to some point by some vessel in the course of the next ten days.
Your Loving Sister.
SIIORT SKETCH OF A ROYAL PROGRESS ROUND TAHITI.
Chez The Rev. James Green,
Dear Lady Gordon,—I have just heard that a vessel is about to sail, and will carry mails, so, though I have not time to write at length, I must send a few lines by her. Though antagonisms are not perhaps so openly virulent here as in Samoa, there is nevertheless such jealousy among the traders that they often try to sneak out of harbour unknown to their neighbours, and so we have just lost the chance of sending letters vid Auckland by a fine vessel belonging to Godeffroy; but no one knew she was going, till she actually sailed.
We returned last night from the grand tour of this isle on the occasion of King Pomare's accession to the throne. Admiral Serre most kindly arranged that I should be of the party, and really I do not think I ever enjoyed an expedition so much in all my life. It was wonderful luck for me just
to have come in for so exceptional a chance; for, of course, under no other circumstances could I have seen either the country or the people to such advantage. It was really like a bit of a fairy tale, and all fitted in so smoothly and naturally without the smallest trouble or care of any sort, so far as I was concerned. In every respect it has been a most delightful trip,—good weather, good roads, and most agreeable company. I cannot tell you how often I longed to have you with us (remembering how you love driving, and that carriages are an unknown luxury in Fiji)!
The admiral had a capital carriage and excellent horses, and such a jovial great half-caste driver. And the broad grass drives along the shore, generally skirting the sea, or passing through the heavenly orange-groves, are so delicious, and you glide along so silently through ever-changing scenes of beauty. How you would have enjoyed it all!
Besides the royal party and a few native chiefs, there were about twenty French officers and the admiral's excellent brass band, consisting of twenty sailors, who have been trained and are kept well up to the mark by M. D'Oncieue de la Battye, the admiral'3 chefd'etdt-major, who is an excellent musi. cian, and a most agreeable companion—which was fortunate, as either he or M. Hardouin, the A.D.C., always occupied the third seat in the carriage. Everything on the whole expedition was admirably arranged; and although we were such a very large party, there was always good accommodation provided, and everything was done comfortably.
Each district possesses a very large cheferie or fareo,—i.e., a very large native house built for public purposes—meetings, and the accommodation of strangers. Like all the native houses here, they consist chiefly of a heavy thatch-roof, rounded at both ends, supported on a mere framework of posts, and leaving the sides all open, save at night, when they are screened in. They generally have good wooden floors, often smooth enough to dance upon.
The first of these at which we stopped was most beautifully decorated, and tables spread for 300 persons, the chief's family supplying that for les gros bonnets—and each family in the district taking entire charge of one table. At other places we found the feast spread in temporary houses, but everywhere it was gracefully done.
Our night quarters were also most comfortably arranged, and I was especially charmed by the beds provided for us,—very large1 and soft, stuffed with the silky tree-cotton; abundant pillows; real mosquito-nets and light curtains, tied back with gay ribbons; and such pretty coverlets of patchwork, really triumphs of art needle-work. Those most in favour have crimson patterns on a white
ground, but the designs are highly artistic. It seems that a Tahitian housewife prides herself on her snowy linen and downy pillows—a very happy adaptation of foreign customs. Whenever it was possible so to arrange it, Marau and I shared the same room, which was a pleasant arrangement.
Each morning our procession of fifteen wheeled vehicles started at 7 A.m., preceded by native outriders carrying the gay district flag, which made a pretty bit of colour as we passed through the green glades. A drive of seven or eight miles brought us to our halting-point, where we found masses of people assembled to sing himdnes of welcome, all, however, dressed in black, relieved only by crowns and handkerchiefs of yellow, or else a wreath or hat of snowy white bamboo or arrowroot fibre, and in their hair soft plumes of snowy reva-reva,—a filmy ribbon extracted from the cocoa-palm leaf. All the women were supposed to have cut off their beautiful long black hair, as mourning for old Queen Pomare; but happily a good many had only shammed, so now there is no lack of glossy black tresses. Those, however, who affect deep mourning, still wear black straw-hats trimmed with crape, and look most lugubrious, their dark sallow complexions and raven hair giving them such a very sombre appearance.
All the women without exception have their