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THE MARKET. 289
The fish here offered for sale are of every sort and size and colour. Large silvery fish, flat fish; long narrow fish with prolonged snouts, excellent to eat; the au or needle-fish, with long sharp-pointed head; and gay scarlet and green and blue fishes of every colour of the rainbow. I have seen gaudy fish in many tropical seas, but nowhere such brilliancy as here. There are rockiish of all sorts, bonito, good fresh-water salmon with white flesh, eels, mussels, turtle, clams, echini, prawns, red and white cray-fish, &c., &c . Sometimes the market has a fair supply of poultry, turkeys, fowls, pigeons, and wild duck,—generally a few live pigs, which are carried hanging from a polo and squealing pitifully. They are very good, and clean feeders, being allowed to wander at large, and find themselves in cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit. The enterprising Chinamen, as usual, improve the vegetable supply, especially in the matter of what I venture to call Christian potatoes, in opposition to the indigenous potato, alias yam.
Every one brings to the morning market whatever he happens to have for sale. Some days he has a large stock-in-trade, sometimes next to nothing. But, bo it little or be it much, he divides it into two lots, and slings his parcels or baskets from a light bamboo-pole which rests across bis shoulder, and, light as it is, often weighs more than the trifles suspended from it,—perhaps a few shrimps in a green leaf are slung from one end, and a lobster from the other, or, it may be, a tiny basket of new-laid eggs balanced by half-a-dozen silvery fishes.
But often the burden is so heavy that the pole bends with the weight—of perhaps two huge bunches of mountain bananas—and you think how that poor fellow's shoulder must have ached as he carried his spoil down the steep mountain-path from the cleft in the rugged rock where the faees had contrived to take root. These resemble bunches of gigantic golden plums. As a bit of colour they are glorious, but as a vegetable I cannot learn to like them, —which is perhaps as well, as the native proverb says that the foreigner who does appreciate faees, can never stay away from Tahiti.
As you entor the cool shady market you see hundreds of those
golden clusters hanging from ropes stretched across the building, and great bunches of mangoes and oranges. These last lie heaped in baskets, among cool green leaves. Sometimes a whole laden bough has been recklessly cut off. Pine-apples, bread-fruit, cocoanuts, all are there, and baskets of scarlet tomatoes, suggestive of cool salads.
But tempting above all are the luscious mangoes, whose thin skins are ready to burst at a touch, and yield their treasure of delight to thirsting lips. Purple, or golden, or pale yellow, longshaped or egg-shaped, I know not which to prefer; each in turn seems more delicious than any other, and the only difficulty is to stop feasting before the basket is empty! If Tahiti owns no other debt of gratitude to France, she at least has to thank a French governor for this excellent fruit, which is now so thoroughly acclimatised, that it has attained a perfection rarely equalled in any other country, and, moreover, grows so luxuriantly and bears fruit so abundantly, as to form an important item in the food of the people.
Returning from the market to a pleasant early breakfast on the cool verandah, I rested in luxurious quiet till the bells of the Roman church close by, summoned the faithful to the nine o'clock service, which I generally attend, in preference to walking in the heat to the large native Congregational church—" le temple Protectant "—where the long service, in a tongue to me unknown, is a weariness of flesh and spirit . Moreover, it lacks the picturesque element which was to me so attractive in the simple Fijian churches, where soft mats are the only furnishings required. Here the congregation are penned in hideous pews, which make it difficult, if not impossible, to kneel — a natural attitude of worship, which, in the early days of Tahitian Christianity, was as common as it now is in Fiji, but from which the modern Tahitian? refrain in church, as savouring of Romish ritual!
At the Catholic church, the bishop preaches half in French, hali in Tahitian, that all his hearers may carry away some message ia their own tongue; and the singing by the French Sisters and their school-children is always sweet and harmonious. I cannot say the SUNDAY EVENING. 291
congregation is largo—merely a small handful of natives; such of the French as are compelled to be present at all, having already been in official attendance at the eight o'clock military Mass, which is to me a very distasteful form of worship. I think that good Pere Collet looks on me as rather a hopeful convert; but I tell him I only appear as the representative of my naval friends, who all consider church-going in any form as altogether unnecessary, neither officers nor sailors ever attending service since our arrival here.
After church, we went to breakfast on board Le Seignelay, and then to see Queen Marau, whom we escorted to the Government House gardens, where we were joined by several friends. The great attractions there are two newly arrived Kussian bears, passengers by Le Limier—nice brown beasts, and very tame.
We returned here just in time for the family dinner, from which, as usual, Mrs Brander and I made our way to the evening service at the little Congregational chapel, at which only a tiny handful of the foreign residents assemble. All the members of the Protestant mission officiate by turns, in French or English; and this evening M Vernier conducted the service in admirable English. But a strong counter-attraction is offered by the pleasant gardens, where the band always reserves its most attractive programme for Sunday night; and we catch tempting snatches of lovely operatic airs as we walk homeward by the hybiscus-shaded lanes.
Fautawa Valley, Thursday, 6th Dec.
Last Monday the whole party moved out from Papeete to this lovely country-home. It is a delightful bungalow, built by Mr Brander—a cool one-storeyed house, with wide shady verandahs; a pleasant garden, bright with summer flowers; masses of cool shade . and a clear, beautiful river, which affords a dozen delightful bathing-places of varied depth, so that every one can select a spot according to his own heart's desire. All the family and their friends can swim like fishes, so of course they prefer the deep pools, and have a favourite spot just below the house, where they disport 292
themselves joyously at all hours of the day; and the first hospitable offer made to callers, is that of a pareo and towels, that they may at once enjoy this most refreshing luxury.
I, being a foolish non-swimmer, and moreover somewhat ungregarious, have discovered a bathing paradise for myself some way further up the stream, where the interlacing boughs of cool bluegrey hybiscus foliage form an immense arbour—a dressing-room of leafy shade, through which the gurgling waters flow gently, with rippling, liquid, most musical tones—the voice of hidden streams. Here a rivulet leaves the main river, and its sparkling waters play over a thick velvety carpet of the softest, greenest mosses, forming the most delightful couch you can imagine; while from the leafy canopy overhead drop pale lemon-coloured blossoms, which float idly down the stream; and from the wild guava bushes I can pluck any number of ripe guavas, or, to be still more luxurious, I may gather luscious mangoes on my way from the house. Can you wonder that so fascinating a bower is not only my first attraction at early dawn, but a favourite retreat at all hours 1 Sometimes I end the evening with a moonlight bathe, but am inclined to think that this is imprudent, as it is always followed by a feeling of chill, though the water and air both feel warm and delicious.
My hostess has presented me with a couple of sacques like those worn by all Tahitian ladies. They are the perfection of dress in this climate, being so delightfully cool. They are literally flowing garments, for they only touch you at the shoulders, and thence fall in long loose folds. So when the first ray of light gilds the high mountains in which this lovely valley lies embosomed, I slip on one of those simple dresses, and start barefoot across the dewy lawn and by the grassy paths that lead to the stream. Going barefoot is only a preliminary stage of bathing, for the grass is saturated with moisture, and an early walk across a field is about equivalent to walking knee-deep through a river.
Curiously enough, it is to this heavy night-dew that the royal family of Tahiti owe their name of Pomare, which literally means "night cough." About four generations back the king chanced to be sleeping on the mountains and exposed to the penetrating dew A HAPPY' VALLEY. 293
which brought on a troubl&some cough. His followers spoko of the jxi mare, and the sound of the words pleased the royal ear; and thenceforth the king adopted this euphonious but singular surname, which has since been borne by each crowned head.
This very odd custom of adopting a name to commemorate some simple event, was common to a good many of the isles. Mr Gill mentions such names as "Lost son," adopted by the king of Mangaia when his son had been stolen; a title retained long after the lad had been restored. Another man took the name of "Dealcoffin," because a relation had been buried in a sailor's chest. One chief desired to be always called " Press me," because those words had been uttered by a dying grandchild when in pain; and another was called " l)im-sight," because his grandfather suffered from weak eyes.
This pleasant country-home is about three miles from Papeete, and various carriages are ready after early breakfast to convey the gentlemen to town, whence some return to late breakfast, others not till dinner-time. But all day long, people come and go on divers errands of business or pleasure; and the drive is so pretty as to be in itself quite an enjoyment. In short, life here is altogether easy and luxurious, combined with most captivating simplicity.
The already large family party has been increased by the arrival of a third big brother, Ariipaea, who has been for some time living on another of the islands. Mrs Salmon and the pretty young sisters, and several friends, are also staying here, a most loving "family-pie." To Narii this happy valley has an additional charm, for it is also the home of a certain charming " Mademoiselle Cecile," whom he hopes ere long to include in the family circle.
Cha The Rev. James Green, Papeete,
This morning early, Ariipaea drove me here, where it had been arranged that I should meet M. Brun, the pasteur of Moorea, and accompany him to his beautiful isle. We were to have taken passage in one of a small fleet of Moorea boats, which arrived here some days ago in order to build a district house, which shall henco