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BALMY MOONLIGHT NIGHTS. 173

But ere the heathen priests could make their choice, the Christian chiefess bade her head man consecrate the whole by thanksgiving to the Almighty. The crowd of bystanders looked on in wonder, and the priests retired, not venturing to claim for idol altars the food which, they felt, had thus been offered to the Most High.

Many such tales might I now hear and preserve for your benefit, could I but find time to listen with an undivided mind.

But there is so much that is new to hear and to see, that I hardly feel able to disentangle the threads of so many subjects, which, apparently, are all interwoven one with another. Doubtless, by degrees, they will arrange themselves in a more orderly fashion.

In the evening we all walked home together, by a pleasant path along the grassy shore, passing through a dark thicket of large hybiscus trees, then beneath tall cocoa-palms, whose every frond lay clearly shadowed by the brilliant light of only a crescent moon. INo full moon in England could shine with so soft a radiance.

The loveliness of the evenings here is indescribable; and well do all the inhabitants know how to enjoy their beauty. Every one saunters forth after dinner,—the general rendezvous being a grassy lawn under the great trees near Government House, where the admiral's excellent band plays divinely, to the great delight of the Tahitians, who are themselves most musical, and who assemble in crowds, listening in rapt delight to the operatic airs, and then, by irresistible impulse, dancing joyously on the turf, as valse and galop succeed one another.

But nothing could be more orderly and respectable than this mirthful crowd, which strikes me the more forcibly from the fact that these are not the characteristics generally ascribed to Papeete, but are in great measure due to the wholesome influence of Admiral Serre and his officers, and to the excellent discipline of the ships now in harbour. Of course when a rowdy ship comes in, it is more difficult to preserve order; and as most accounts are written by travellers who chance on these unlucky times (and perhaps help to cause them), the place has got a worse name than it ever deserved. So say the old inhabitants. Its present condition of extremely orderly good behaviour is, however, undoubtedly an exceptional result of the admiral's iron rule and stringent measures for the general weal. Immediately on his arrival, he gave orders that every damsel whose morals were recognised as lax, should be at once deported from the gay capital. So, without further ado, all such were shipped off to the seclusion of their various country districts, or else to more rigid seclusion, in charge of the police,— only coming forth to sweep the roads, which, consequently, are in a state of exquisite cleanliness and neatness.

It is not to be supposed that the present condition of preternatural goodness will very long survive the departure of the admiral, as many of the governors of the Protectorate seem rather to encourage what the more staid residents deem unseemly frolic. Many of these governors are not Frenchmen,—merely Creoles, whom the Tahitians dislike exceedingly, and contemptuously describe as Paumuto-Frane (Paumuto-men being Queen Pomare's pig-feeders, and Frane being the equivalent of French). Many gross errors and maladministrations have crept in during their rule; and the admiral is now devoting his whole great energies to rectifying all manner of abuses, greatly to the satisfaction of the Tahitians, with whom he is apparently immensely popular. Moreover, he seems determined to deal even-handed justice between the Protestant and Catholic teachers, which the latter by no means appreciate, having so long been greatly favoured by the Creole authorities.

Socially, in his double capacity of admiral and governor, he does all in his power to make things pleasant for every one. For my own part, I am bound to say that, from the very first evening of our arrival, he has been unvaryingly courteous, and in every respect most thoughtful for me. We meet very often, as he and some of bis suite invariably join Mrs Miller's party every evening at the band, after which they walk back with us along the beautiful shore to the British consulate, where we generally have a second concert, and much pleasant chat of the most polyglot order— English, French, and Spanish, in about equal parts—with iced lemonade and liqueurs to help the flow of words!

THE MILITARY MASS. 175

The only drawback to my enjoyment of all this is the feeling that my late most kind camarades are so thoroughly out of it all . Like Rachel bemoaning her little ones, they refuse to be comforted, and nothing will induce any of them to come ashore to any place where they might by any accident meet the admiral. Of course this is rather uncomfortable for me; for though they all declare themselves most anxious that I should be lionised in the best possible manner {i.e., officially), I fear it must seem to them as if I had gone over to the enemy.

Still, there is no alternative; and the kindness which is even now arranging my future plans, is such that I can but accept it gratefully.

Having proclaimed Ariiaue and Marau, King and Queen of the Isles, the admiral is now making arrangements to escort them on a grand ceremonial round of all the districts on each of the principal isles, that they may personally receive the homage of their people. It will be a very interesting occasion, calling forth whatever still remains of old native customs. To my great delight, the admiral has asked me to join this expedition. At first I treated the suggestion as a mere civil faeon de parler, no other lady having been invited; little Vaetua (Moe's daughter, the future queen) being Marau's only companion. However, on the following day an A.D.C. brought me an invitation in due form, and the Millers are delighted, and say it will be the nicest thing possible for me. So of course, now, I have definitely accepted, and am looking forward to the ploy with the greatest possible interest. There are twenty districts in Tahiti, and the intention is to visit two a-day, which will make our picnic expedition a ten days' pleasure; after which we return here to make a fresh start for the beautiful isle of Moorea.

Sunday Evening.

At eight o'clock Madame Fayzeau took me with her to the Roman Catholic cathedral for the military Mass, at which all high officials are expected to be present. Soldiers with fixed bayonets stand on either side of the altar, and others down the aisle, and present amis, kneel, stand up, &c., obedient to a loud word of command, which, indeed, is the only word spoken aloud till the final benediction and short chant. The organ plays the whole time, and the congregation attend to their private devotions, or do not, as the case may be. Apparently the fact of being present is sufficient . Very few Tahitians attend the eight o'clock Mass. The general congregation assemble at nine, when the service is audible, and a sermon is preached, partly in Tahitian, partly in French.

After church we went to see the Sisters, some of whom are engaged in nursing at the hospital, while the others teach in their own school. Returning to the British consulate, we found a pleasant naval breakfast-party; after which we enjoyed a calm peaceful afternoon here, while Mr Green was engaged with some of his teachers and classes. He has the charge of a very large native church here, where he holds forenoon service, but frequently has occasion to visit churches in other parts of the isle; and one of the many irritating French regulations forbids his preaching in any church but his own without a special permit, which has to be applied for, and granted afresh, every week, and is often delayed till the very last moment, so that he has to wait with his horse ready harnessed, and then probably drive much faster than he wishes, to reach his destination in time.

As each member of the mission has his own native work to attend to, and as every one in the island undeistands Tahitian, the only foreign service is one held on alternate Sunday evenings by Mr Green and the French pasteurs. This evening it was in English, according to the Congregational form, and ended with the Holy Communion.

'We had a lovely walk home, but remarked that the Parisian observance of Sunday as a jour de fete has superseded that very sacred reverence for the Lord's Day, which is so striking a feature in most of the Christianised isles. To-night the crowd at the band was larger and noisier than usual, owing to the presence of many French sailors, some of whom were nearly as drunk as an average set of blue-jackets, under similar circumstances, would probably have been.

A SHORT ACCOUNT. 177

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 to-morrow 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 Lovino Sister.

CHAPTER XIL

SHORT SKETCH OP A ROYAL PROGRESS ROUND TAHITL

Chez The Rev. James Greer,
Papeete, l&th October

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 via 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

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