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us, even following us on our way. Finally we landed, and walked the last two miles to Papetoai, on Opunohu Bay, where the Seignelay anchored last night .
Mrs Simpson's body was brought ashore this morning, and as the people were all too much fussed to mourn their old friend and clerical mother (at least externally), the coffin was carried to the church by French sailors; and they and their officers were the only persons present, besides the immediate relations, at a sort of preliminary service held by M. Brun, the Protestant pastor.
Breakfast, chiefly consisting of omelets which had been cooked at 7 A.M., was not served till noon; and as I had only succeeded in securing a bit of biscuit before starting, I was so famished that one of the officers went to forage on my account, and returned in triumph with a yard of bread! This proved so satisfying, that, craving permission to escape from the formal meal, I returned on board with my old shipmates, and secured a careful drawing of the wonderfully lovely mountains ere the rest of the party came on board. One young sailor came to great grief in trying to climb a cocoa-nut tree—an operation which appears very easy to the expert islanders, but sorely puzzles a foreigner. This poor lad fell from a considerable height, breaking his arm and severely injuring his head. So the kind doctor had his hands full, and no time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
We steamed round to Pao Pao, commonly known as Cook's Bay, which is also very fine. Here we left the steamer, and, taking to the boats, rowed four miles to Tiaia, which is a pretty village by the sea. On one side of it there is a splendid grove of glossyleaved tamanu trees, and a few fine old iron-wood trees—the casuarina—all that now remains of what was once a very sacred grove surrounding the ancient marae. Now the Christian church occupies the site where formerly human sacrifices were offered to the cruel gods. At a distance of about two miles from this village there is a brackish lake—Lake Temae—about a mile in length. It contains good fish, and many wild-duck haunt its sedgy and very muddy shores. Under the impression that it was very much nearer, I joined the exploring party. "VVe had to make a ditour of
FAREWELL TO TAHITI. 231
some length, and found no beauty to compensate for a very fatiguing walk of upwards of four miles, which, combined with that of the morning, quite finished me. I could not even sit up for the evening himknes, which was a matter of real regret, as the singers here are considered the very best in the group. Several of the women have very fine falsetto voices.
To my great delight, in apportioning our quarters, M. Hardouin, A.D.C., awarded me a tiny house all to myself—the owners kept only the outer room; and when they went off to join the himenes they locked the door to keep their charge safe. Happily one of my friends on the Seignelay had lent me a mosquito-net, so I slept the blessed, dreamless sleep of the weary.
In the morning at 6 A.m., as I was dressing leisurely for 7 o'clock coffee, Queen Marau rushed in to say the admiral was all ready for a 6 o'clock start. Thereupon followed a horrid hurry-scurry to get ready, and a four miles' row back to the vessel. At 7.30 she was under way, and at 10 A.m. we were at anchor in Papeete harbour.
Altogether this has been a most tantalising expedition, an unsatisfactory hurrying over scenes of surpassing beauty. Mrs Brandor says that if I will stay some time longer in Tahiti she will take me back there and let me pasture at leisure in that artists' paradise. Fain would I linger,—indeed all manner of delightful ploys are proposed, but all involve time, and I have promised to meet Lady Gordon at Christmas, either at Auckland or Sydney, according to what I hear at Honolulu, so I must not lose the chance of the first vessel to the Sandwich Islo?.
Tuesday, Clh. He
It has been decided that one of Mrs Brander's vessels, the Mararama (i.e., the Moon), is to start for Honolulu on Saturday, so that settles the time of my departure from Tahiti. It is also announced that on Thursday the Seignelay is to be sent off to the Marquesas, to convey a force of gendarmes to inquire into some recent outbreaks of cannibalism. Mrs Brander has been most kindly renewing her invitation to me to stay with her till the next trip of the Maramma to Honolulu—a matter of two months! It is most tempting, but I feel bound to go. At the band to-night, Mr Darsie, manager of the Maison Brandhre, expressed his astonishment that I should lose such a chance of seeing the Marquesas and the Paumotus, adding that the manager of the business for those groups was going to take the trip, and would enable me to see everything to the greatest advantage, and the ship is to return here in a fortnight. Certainly it would be quite delightful, but what is the use of suggesting the impossible?
Early this morning we went on board the Maramma to see the cabin which Mrs Brander has kindly reserved for me—the best in the ship. It made me sad to look at it and to think that it is to carry me away for ever from this supremely lovely South Sea paradise. All to-day we have had a succession of visits from my kind friends of the Seignelay, to urge my giving up Honolulu in favour of Les Marquises, or, if that could not be, to faire les adieux. At the very last came M de Gironde, who is always my good genius, to try and prove that it was not too late to change my mind, and that his cabin was at my disposal as before. Surely there never was a ship full of such kind people. Of course it would be quite delightful to go and see another lot of beautiful isles; but after alL I suppose they are very much like these, and my brain already feels overcrowded with pictures, each lovelier than the last. So, for every reason, it seems best to stand true to my tryst, and be content with a run to the volcanoes, and then drop down to the comparatively commonplace scenes of Australia or New Zealand.
This has been quite a sad day of farewells. We dined with the Verniers and afterwards went to the admiral's reception—a verypretty and animated dance.
At nine this morning the Seignelay steamed close past our windows, and great was the farewell waving of hats and handkerchiefs. I grieve to part from the many kind companions of so