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is endeavouring to introduce. It is greatly due to bis care that the mangoes of Tahiti have been brought to such perfection. The conversation turned on many subjects of interest. Amongst other tilings, speaking of the effect of many mingled sounds, he told us of the deafening noise produced by the cries of sea-birds on some of the isles where he has touched, on one of which he witnessed a strange instance of combined action by myriads of sea-birds and herons; the former, diving simultaneously, produced a noise like a thunder-clap as they struck the water. The dignified herons profited by their neighbours' work, and waited on the shore ready to catch the startled fish as they fled affrighted from the divers.
This evening the admiral invited Mrs Miller, Madame Fayzeau, and myself, to dine on board La Magicienne. She is a very fine old fashioned-frigate, with vast accommodation, splendid broad decks of great length. The admiral has a large dining-room, and a sitting-room the size of an average drawing-room, with four large square windows opening into a gallery round the stern—a charming lounge in fine weather. Commandant Be"ique has rooms equally pretty, on the same level, each with a large square window (I cannot call them ports). They are so high above the water that they scarcely ever have to be closed—a true boon in the tropics. I never saw so roomy a ship. With all her big guns, five hundred sailors, and thirty officers, there was no symptom of crowding. Amongst the officers are two belonging to the Peruvian navy, who have come to study the French system of navigation. One of these is remarkable for his diminutive size and extraordinary strength; the biggest men in the ship cannot wrestle with him, nor fight him (in sport).
After dinner we adjourned to Government House grounds to hear the band play, as usual; then all walked back by the shore to the British consulate, for a farewell evening, and finished it here in this sweet home-like nest . I do grieve that it should be the last evening, the more so as I am beginning to believe that what all my friends here agree in saying must be true—namely, that when I made my vague calculation of reaching Sydney for Christmas, it was on the principle of Jules Verne's 'Round the World
A REPRIEVE. 235
in Eighty Days.' They say that to attempt fitting the Sandwich Isles volcanoes into the time is preposterous folly. I think they are right, but it is too late to change now. What further concerns me is the thought, which had not previously presented itself, that very likely, after all this pushing and scrambling, and spoiling everything by useless hurry, Lady Gordon may have given up the idea, and may stay quietly in Fiji till she is obliged to take the children direct to England,1 and I may never know this till I reach Sydney
Another weary night—perplexing and conflicting suggestions—
the horrid feeling of being disloyal to a tryst, yet the certainty that
nowhere else shall I find such beauty as I am leaving. Those un
sketched dolomites of Moorea — those ferny ravines all unexplored
—those glorious valleys of bread-fruit—the himknes that I shall
never hear again! And every one agrees in telling me that the
Hawaiian Isles are not to compare with these in beauty,—that the
hills are comparatively shapeless, the foliage poor, the bread-fruit
sickly and blighted, the cocoa-palms mere ghosts of their southern
relations, and the mangoes miserable fruits,,not worthy to bear
the same name as the luscious mangoes of Tahiti. They tell me,
too, that the people are much less attractive; that they have taken
on so much blunt civilisation, that they have lost whatever native
grace they may have once possessed. Even the same garment—
the flowing eacque — is there worn so short and full that it is
scarcely to be recognised, and instead of floating drapery it becomes
a mere dress.2
Well, I must now begin my packing. There will be time enough for writing before we reach Honolulu.
Pafeete, Saturday Aflernoon.
Jubilate! Jubilate! The Maramma is to start in an hour, but will leave me to revel in South Sea loveliness till her next trip. This morning, just as I was putting the finishing-touches to my packing—I must confess very much contre-cceur, and quite in the vein of Eve's lamentation, "Must I leave thee, Paradise 1"—up drove pretty Queen Marau and her handsome sister Moetia, who carried the position hy assault,—vowed it was not too late to change a foolish plan; so leaving Moetia with her cousin Moe, Marau made me jump into her pony-phaeton and drove me straight off to Fautawa, where her sister Titaua, Mrs Brander, was giving a great entertainment to all her employSs, previous to her son's departure for Honolulu. Then and there she made me recant all my previous protestations and refusals of her most hospitable invitations, and in two seconds all was settled. I am to be her guest till the Maramma returns, and is again sent to Honolulu.
1 Which proved to be the exact state of the case.
3 All of which I found to be strictly true. Undoubtedly, the ideal Pacific Isles lie south of the equator.
Now that it is all settled, I feel quite satisfied and reprieved; so instead of a long letter written on board ship, I must despatch this as it is. We are just hurrying to the wharf to say good-bye to our friends, and then I look forward to a grand night's rest, for I am thoroughly tired.
I have been hoping against hope that a letter might reach me here, via New Zealand; but the schooner thence is about a month overdue, and it is feared she has gone on a reef. Good bye.— Your loving sister.
VAIN REGRETS—SOME ACCOUNT OF THE MARQUESAS AND
Papeete, Novmber lltik.
I am certainly very glad that my good friends here supplied the moral courage which I failed to find, and so enabled me to repent at the eleventh hour. I do rejoice in the sense of repose, knowing that for at least two months I may now explore the many scenes of enchantment which lie on every side, without a thought of hurry. EARLY HISTORY. 237
Yet even this joy is not unmixed. I do find it very hard to be truly philosophical, and not to cry over spilt milk, when I think of the delightful cruise to the Marquesas and Paumotus, which would so admirably have filled up this first fortnight, had I only been able to decide three days earlier.
But it was not till the hospitable ship had sailed, that I found leisure soberly to think the matter over, and to realise how very rare and precious a chance I had so idiotically thrown away. When your eyes are satiated with grand scenery, and each lovely group of isles seems only to differ from the last in its degree of special beauty, you are apt to think that really you have seen enough, and may as well pause and be satisfied with all the exquisite pictures which crowd before your memory. So, when these most kind friends urged me to accompany them on this expedition, I was so absorbed in working up some of the innumerable sketches made on the last trip, that I never took time to think out the subject in all its bearings, and to see how impossible it would be for me to reach Honolulu by sailing-ship, see all the wonders of the Sandwich Isles, and then return to New Zealand or Sydney before Christmas, as I had proposed doing.
Neither did I at all realise how very few travellers have ever seen the Marquesas, and how very little is known about them by the general public, beyond the bare facts of their having been discovered by the Spaniards in 1595, and by them named after the Marquesas de Mendoza, the Viceroy of Peru.
They then seem to have been forgotten till about the year 1777, when they were visited by Captain Cook, who has recorded his admiration of their loveliness, and declared that the inhabitants were the finest race he had seen, "in fine shape and regular features perhaps surpassing all other nations," "as fair as some Europeans, and much tattooed." He found fine harbours, from twenty to thirty fathoms deep, close inshore, with clear sandy bottom; good store of wood and water; and at first the natives seemed inclined to receive the strangers kindly, but became less cordial on further acquaintance.
Soon afterwards the London Mission endeavoured to establish a station in the group, but found the people such savage cannibals, that the position was untenable, and they were forced to abandon it. From that time forward we have only an occasional record of some American man-of-war having touched there, invariably confirming Cook's account of the beauty of the people and of the isles.
In 1837 the French sent out an exploring expedition commanded by D'Urville, whose somewhat remarkable official orders were, "d 'apprivoieer les hommes, et de rendre les femmes un peu pliu sauvages I"
The result of his report was, that the French decided on establishing themselves in the Marquesas, the Society, and the Paumotu Isles. Accordingly, in 1842, an expedition sailed from Brest to effect this purpose, its destination being a secret known only to its commander. The Marquesas were selected as the best centre of operations. A squadron of four heavy frigates and three corvettes, commanded by Rear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars, accordingly astonished the natives by suddenly appearing in the lovely harbour of Taiohae, on the island of Nukuheva; and very soon these simple folk learned the full meaning of the gay tricoloured flags and bris(ling broadsides.
The ostensible pretext for this invasion was that of reinstating Mowanna, the friendly chief of Nukuheva, in what the French thought proper to assume as his ancestral right—namely, that of ruling over the whole group of twelve isles, each of which had hitherto considered itself as a distinct world, subdivided into many antagonistic kingdoms. However, a puppet-king was the pretext required, and Mowanna furnished it, and was rewarded with regal honours and a gorgeous military uniform, rich with gold lace and embroidery.
Of course he and his tribe of Nukuhevans were vastly delighted, perceiving that they had gained omnipotent allies; and when five hundred troops were landed in full uniform, and daily drilled by resplendent officers, their admiration knew no bounds. They recollected how, when in 1814, the U.S. frigate Essex, commanded by Captain Porter, had refitted at Nukuheva, she had lent them a