In the Strange South Seas

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Theclassics Us, 2013 - 106 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1908 edition. Excerpt: ... A LADY CHIEFTAIN 163 I thanked my hosts for their entertainment, in good English, when I left. They understood the words and tone almost as clearly as if I had spoken in their own language, and gave me a ringing salutation that followed me down the road. That a number of Atiuan men, coming up from the shore, burst out laughing when they saw me, and held on to each other in convulsions of merriment at the sight of my absurd white face and ridiculous clothes, did not detract from the real kindliness of the reception the island had given me. The manners of the Atiuan would certainly throw a Tahitian or a courtly Samoan into a fit; but for all that, he is not at bottom a bad sort, and could certainly be made something of with training. One of the Arikis of Atiu--a woman again: there seemed to be very few male chiefs in the islands-- was pointed out to me as I went down to the shore, and I photographed her sitting in her chair. She looked dignified, and her long descent was visible in the pose of her small head, and the delicacy of her hands, but she did not possess much claim to beauty. The Duchess was standing off and on outside the reef when I came out on the beach again, and the barrels were merrily floating out, rolled down into the water by the hands of busy brown men and women. It was a pretty scene in the low yellow sunlight of the waning afternoon, and I carried it away with me, long after we had sailed, as a pleasant recollection of Atiu. REALITY AND SHADOW 165 Cross burned white in the velvet sky, and the coral rocks about the lagoons showed in shimmering pale blue underneath fifty feet or more of clear, moonlit water. Lying on the poop, like seals on sand, the little knot of passengers, captain, and mate, "yarned" for hour after...

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