Herman Melville


Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas



































































































IT WAS the middle of a bright tropical afternoon that we made good our

escape from the bay. The vessel we sought lay with her main-topsail

aback about a league from the land, and was the only object that

broke the broad expanse of the ocean.


On approaching, she turned out to be a small, slatternly-looking

craft, her hull and spars a dingy black, rigging all slack and

bleached nearly white, and everything denoting an ill state of

affairs aboard. The four boats hanging from her sides proclaimed her

a whaler. Leaning carelessly over the bulwarks were the sailors,

wild, haggard-looking fellows in Scotch caps and faded blue frocks;

some of them with cheeks of a mottled bronze, to which sickness soon

changes the rich berry-brown of a seaman's complexion in the tropics.


On the quarter-deck was one whom I took for the chief mate. He wore a

broad-brimmed Panama hat, and his spy-glass was levelled as we


When we came alongside, a low cry ran fore and aft the deck, and

everybody gazed at us with inquiring eyes. And well they might. To

say nothing of the savage boat's crew, panting with excitement, all

gesture and vociferation, my own appearance was calculated to excite

curiosity. A robe of the native cloth was thrown over my shoulders,

my hair and beard were uncut, and I betrayed other evidences of my

recent adventure. Immediately on gaining the deck, they beset me on

all sides with questions, the half of which I could not answer, so

incessantly were they put.


As an instance of the curious coincidences which often befall the

sailor, I must here mention that two countenances before me were

familiar. One was that of an old man-of-war's-man, whose acquaintance

I had made in Rio de Janeiro, at which place touched the ship in

which I sailed from home. The other was a young man whom, four years

previous, I had frequently met in a sailor boarding-house in

Liverpool. I remembered parting with him at Prince's Dock Gates, in

the midst of a swarm of police-officers, trackmen, stevedores,

beggars, and the like. And here we were again:--years had rolled by,

many a league of ocean had been traversed, and we were thrown

together under circumstances which almost made me doubt my own


But a few moments passed ere I was sent for into the cabin by the


He was quite a young man, pale and slender, more like a sickly

counting-house clerk than a bluff sea-captain. Bidding me be seated,

he ordered the steward to hand me a glass of Pisco. In the state I

was, this stimulus almost made me delirious; so that of all I then

went on to relate concerning my residence on the island I can

scarcely remember a word. After this I was asked whether I desired to

"ship"; of course I said yes; that is, if he would allow me to enter

for one cruise, engaging to discharge me, if I so desired, at the

next port. In this way men are frequently shipped on board whalemen

in the South Seas. My stipulation was acceded to, and the ship's

articles handed me to sign.


The mate was now called below, and charged to make a "well man" of me;

not, let it be borne in mind, that the captain felt any great

compassion for me, he only desired to have the benefit of my services

as soon as possible.


Helping me on deck, the mate stretched me out on the windlass and

commenced examining my limb; and then doctoring it after a fashion

with something from the medicine-chest, rolled it up in a piece of an

old sail, making so big a bundle that, with my feet resting on the

windlass, I might have been taken for a sailor with the gout.  While

this was going on, someone removing my tappa cloak slipped on a blue

frock in its place, and another, actuated by the same desire to make

a civilized mortal of me, flourished about my head a great pair lie

imminent jeopardy of both ears, and the certain destruction of hair

and beard.


The day was now drawing to a close, and, as the land faded from my

sight, I was all alive to the change in my condition. But how far

short of our expectations is oftentimes the fulfilment of the most

ardent hopes. Safe aboard of a ship--so long my earnest prayer--with

home and friends once more in prospect, I nevertheless felt weighed

down by a melancholy that could not be shaken off. It was the thought

of never more seeing those who, notwithstanding their desire to

retain me a captive, had, upon the whole, treated me so kindly. I was

leaving them for ever.


So unforeseen and sudden had been my escape, so excited had I been

through it all, and so great the contrast between the luxurious

repose of the valley, and the wild noise and motion of a ship at sea,

that at times my recent adventures had all the strangeness of a

dream; and I could scarcely believe that the same sun now setting

over a waste of waters, had that very morning risen above the

mountains and peered in upon me as I lay on my mat in Typee.


Going below into the forecastle just after dark, I was inducted into a

wretched "bunk" or sleeping-box built over another. The rickety

bottoms of both were spread with several pieces of a blanket. A

battered tin can was then handed me, containing about half a pint of

"tea"--so called by courtesy, though whether the juice of such stalks

as one finds floating therein deserves that title, is a matter all

shipowners must settle with their consciences. A cube of salt beef,

on a hard round biscuit by way of platter, was also handed up; and

without more ado, I made a meal, the salt flavour of which, after the

Nebuchadnezzar fare of the valley, was positively delicious.


While thus engaged, an old sailor on a chest just under me was puffing

out volumes of tobacco smoke. My supper finished, he brushed the stem

of his sooty pipe against the sleeve of his frock, and politely waved

it toward me. The attention was sailor-like; as for the nicety of the

thing, no man who has lived in forecastles is at all fastidious; and

so, after a few vigorous whiffs to induce repose, I turned over and

tried my best to forget myself. But in vain. My crib, instead of

extending fore and aft, as it should have done, was placed athwart

ships, that is, at right angles to the keel, and the vessel, going

before the wind, rolled to such a degree, that-every time my heels

went up and my head went down, I thought I was on the point of

turning a somerset.  Beside this, there were still more annoying

causes of inquietude; and every once in a while a splash of water

came down the open scuttle, and flung the spray in my face.


At last, after a sleepless night, broken twice by the merciless call

of the watch, a peep of daylight struggled into view from above, and

someone came below. It was my old friend with the pipe.


"Here, shipmate," said I, "help me out of this place, and let me go

on deck."


"Halloa, who's that croaking?" was the rejoinder, as he peered into

the obscurity where I lay. "Ay, Typee, my king of the cannibals, is

it you I But I say, my lad, how's that spar of your'n? the mate says

it's in a devil of a way; and last night set the steward to

sharpening the handsaw: hope he won't have the carving of ye."


Long before daylight we arrived off the bay of Nukuheva, and making

short tacks until morning, we then ran in and sent a boat ashore with

the natives who had brought me to the ship. Upon its return, we made

sail again, and stood off from the land. There was a fine breeze; and

notwithstanding my bad night's rest, the cool, fresh air of a

morning at sea was so bracing, mat, as soon as I breathed it, my

spirits rose at once.


Seated upon the windlass the greater portion of the day, and chatting

freely with the men, I learned the history of the voyage thus far,

and everything respecting the ship and its present condition.


These matters I will now throw together in the next chapter.








FIRST AND foremost, I must give some account of the Julia herself; or

"Little Jule," as the sailors familiarly styled her.


She was a small barque of a beautiful model, something more than two

hundred tons, Yankee-built and very old. Fitted for a privateer out

of a New England port during the war of 1812, she had been captured

at sea by a British cruiser, and, after seeing all sorts of service,

was at last employed as a government packet in the Australian seas.

Being condemned, however, about two years previous, she was purchased

at auction by a house in Sydney, who, after some slight repairs,

dispatched her on the present voyage.


Notwithstanding the repairs, she was still in a miserable plight. The

lower masts were said to be unsound; the standing rigging was much

worn; and, in some places, even the bulwarks were quite rotten.

Still, she was tolerably tight, and but little more than the ordinary

pumping of a morning served to keep her free.


But all this had nothing to do with her sailing; at that, brave Little

Jule, plump Little Jule, was a witch. Blow high, or blow low, she was

always ready for the breeze; and when she dashed the waves from her

prow, and pranced, and pawed the sea, you never thought of her

patched sails and blistered hull. How the fleet creature would fly

before the wind! rolling, now and then, to be sure, but in very

playfulness. Sailing to windward, no gale could bow her over: with

spars erect, she looked right up into the wind's eye, and so she went.


But after all, Little Jule was not to be confided in. Lively enough,

and playful she was, but on that very account the more to be

distrusted. Who knew, but that like some vivacious old mortal all at

once sinking into a decline, she might, some dark night, spring a

leak and carry us all to the bottom. However, she played us no such

ugly trick, and therefore, I wrong Little Jule in supposing it.


She had a free roving commission. According to her papers she might go

whither she pleased--whaling, sealing, or anything else. Sperm

whaling, however, was what she relied upon; though, as yet, only two

fish had been brought alongside.


The day they sailed out of Sydney Heads, the ship's company, all told,

numbered some thirty-two souls; now, they mustered about twenty; the

rest had deserted. Even the three junior mates who had headed the

whaleboats were gone: and of the four harpooners, only one was left,

a wild New Zealander, or "Mowree" as his countrymen are more commonly

called in the Pacific. But this was not all. More than half the

seamen remaining were more or less unwell from a long sojourn in a

dissipated port; some of them wholly unfit for duty, one or two

dangerously ill, and the rest managing to stand their watch though

they could do but little.


The captain was a young cockney, who, a few years before, had

emigrated to Australia, and, by some favouritism or other, had

procured the command of the vessel, though in no wise competent.

He was essentially a landsman, and though a man of education, no more

meant for the sea than a hairdresser. Hence everybody made fun of

him. They called him "The Cabin Boy," "Paper Jack," and half a dozen

other undignified names. In truth, the men made no secret of the

derision in which they held him; and as for the slender gentleman

himself, he knew it all very well, and bore himself with becoming

meekness. Holding as little intercourse with them as possible, he

left everything to the chief mate, who, as the story went, had been

given his captain in charge. Yet, despite his apparent unobtrusiveness,

the silent captain had more to do with the men than they thought. In

short, although one of your sheepish-looking fellows, he had a sort

of still, timid cunning, which no one would have suspected, and which,

for that very reason, was all the more active. So the bluff mate,

who always thought he did what he pleased, was occasionally made a

fool of; and some obnoxious measures which he carried out, in spite

of all growlings, were little thought to originate with the dapper

little fellow in nankeen jacket and white canvas pumps. But, to all

appearance, at least, the mate had everything his own way; indeed,

in most things this was actually the case; and it was quite plain

that the captain stood in awe of him.


So far as courage, seamanship, and a natural aptitude for keeping

riotous spirits in subjection were concerned, no man was better

qualified for his vocation than John Jermin. He was the very

beau-ideal of the efficient race of short, thick-set men. His hair

curled in little rings of iron gray all over his round bullet head. As

for his countenance, it was strongly marked, deeply pitted with the

small-pox. For the rest, there was a fierce little squint out of one

eye; the nose had a rakish twist to one side; while his large mouth,

and great white teeth, looked absolutely sharkish when he laughed. In

a word, no one, after getting a fair look at him, would ever think of

improving the shape of his nose, wanting in symmetry as it was.

Notwithstanding his pugnacious looks, however, Jermin had a heart as

big as a bullock's; that you saw at a glance.


Such was our mate; but he had one failing: he abhorred all weak

infusions, and cleaved manfully to strong drink.. At all times he was

more or less under the influence of it. Taken in moderate quantities,

I believe, in my soul, it did a man like him good; brightened his

eyes, swept the cobwebs out of his brain, and regulated his pulse.

But the worst of it was, that sometimes he drank too much, and a more

obstreperous fellow than Jermin in his cups, you seldom came across.

He was always for having a fight; but the very men he flogged loved

him as a brother, for he had such an irresistibly good-natured way of

knocking them down, that no one could find it in his heart to bear

malice against him. So much for stout little Jermin.


All English whalemen are bound by-law to carry a physician, who, of

course, is rated a gentleman, and lives in the cabin, with nothing

but his professional duties to attend to; but incidentally he drinks

"flip" and plays cards with the captain. There was such a worthy

aboard of the Julia; but, curious to tell, he lived in the forecastle

with the men.  And this was the way it happened.


In the early part of the voyage the doctor and the captain lived

together as pleasantly as could be. To say nothing of many a can they

drank over the cabin transom, both of them had read books, and one of

them had travelled; so their stories never flagged. But once on a

time they got into a dispute about politics, and the doctor,

moreover, getting into a rage, drove home an argument with his fist,

and left the captain on the floor literally silenced. This was

carrying it with a high hand; so he was shut up in his state-room for

ten days, and left to meditate on bread and water, and the

impropriety of flying into a passion. Smarting under his disgrace, he

undertook, a short time after his liberation, to leave the vessel

clandestinely at one of the islands, but was brought back

ignominiously, and again shut up. Being set at large for the second

time, he vowed he would not live any longer with the captain, and

went forward with his chests among the sailors, where he was received

with open arms as a good fellow and an injured man.


I must give some further account of him, for he figures largely in the

narrative. His early history, like that of many other heroes, was

enveloped in the profoundest obscurity; though he threw out hints of

a patrimonial estate, a nabob uncle, and an unfortunate affair which

sent him a-roving. All that was known, however, was this. He had gone

out to Sydney as assistant-surgeon of an emigrant ship. On his

arrival there, he went back into the country, and after a few months'

wanderings, returned to Sydney penniless, and entered as doctor

aboard of the Julia.


His personal appearance was remarkable. He was over six feet high--a

tower of bones, with a complexion absolutely colourless, fair hair,

and a light unscrupulous gray eye, twinkling occasionally at the very

devil of mischief. Among the crew, he went by the name of the Long

Doctor, or more frequently still, Doctor Long Ghost.  And from

whatever high estate Doctor Long Ghost might have fallen, he had

certainly at some time or other spent money, drunk Burgundy, and

associated with gentlemen.


As for his learning, he quoted Virgil, and talked of Hobbs of

Malmsbury, beside repeating poetry by the canto, especially Hudibras.

He was, moreover, a man who had seen the world. In the easiest way

imaginable, he could refer to an amour he had in Palermo, his

lion-hunting before breakfast among the Caffres, and the quality of

the coffee to be drunk in Muscat; and about these places, and a

hundred others, he had more anecdotes than I can tell of. Then such

mellow old songs as he sang, in a voice so round and racy, the real

juice of sound. How such notes came forth from his lank body was a

constant marvel.


Upon the whole, Long Ghost was as entertaining a companion as one

could wish; and to me in the Julia, an absolute godsend.








OWING to the absence of anything like regular discipline, the vessel

was in a state of the greatest uproar. The captain, having for some

time past been more or less confined to the cabin from sickness, was

seldom seen. The mate, however, was as hearty as a young lion, and

ran about the decks making himself heard at all hours.  Bembo, the

New Zealand harpooner, held little intercourse with anybody but the

mate, who could talk to him freely in his own lingo. Part of his time

he spent out on the bowsprit, fishing for albicores with a bone hook;

and occasionally he waked all hands up of a dark night dancing some

cannibal fandango all by himself on the forecastle. But, upon the

whole, he was remarkably quiet, though something in his eye showed he

was far from being harmless.


Doctor Long Ghost, having sent in a written resignation as the ship's

doctor, gave himself out as a passenger for Sydney, and took the

world quite easy. As for the crew, those who were sick seemed

marvellously contented for men in their condition; and the rest, not

displeased with the general licence, gave themselves little thought

of the morrow.


The Julia's provisions were very poor. When opened, the barrels of

pork looked as if preserved in iron rust, and diffused an odour like

a stale ragout. The beef was worse yet; a mahogany-coloured fibrous

substance, so tough and tasteless, that I almost believed the cook's

story of a horse's hoof with the shoe on having been fished up out of

the pickle of one of the casks. Nor was the biscuit much better;

nearly all of it was broken into hard, little gunflints, honeycombed

through and through, as if the worms usually infesting this article

in long tropical voyages had, in boring after nutriment, come out at

the antipodes without finding anything.


Of what sailors call "small stores," we had but little. "Tea,"

however, we had in abundance; though, I dare say, the Hong merchants

never had the shipping of it.  Beside this, every other day we had

what English seamen call "shot soup"--great round peas, polishing

themselves like pebbles by rolling about in tepid water.


It was afterward told me, that all our provisions had been purchased

by the owners at an auction sale of condemned navy stores in Sydney.


But notwithstanding the wateriness of the first course of soup, and

the saline flavour of the beef and pork, a sailor might have made a

satisfactory meal aboard of the Julia had there been any side

dishes--a potato or two, a yam, or a plantain. But there was nothing

of the kind. Still, there was something else, which, in the estimation

of the men, made up for all deficiencies; and that was the regular

allowance of Pisco.


It may seem strange that in such a state of affairs the captain should

be willing to keep the sea with his ship. But the truth was, that by

lying in harbour, he ran the risk of losing the remainder of his men

by desertion; and as it was, he still feared that, in some outlandish

bay or other, he might one day find his anchor down, and no crew to

weigh it.


With judicious officers the most unruly seamen can at sea be kept in

some sort of subjection; but once get them within a cable's length of

the land, and it is hard restraining them. It is for this reason that

many South Sea whalemen do not come to anchor for eighteen or twenty

months on a stretch. When fresh provisions are needed, they run for

the nearest land--heave to eight or ten miles off, and send a boat

ashore to trade. The crews manning vessels like these are for the most

part villains of all nations and dyes; picked up in the lawless ports

of the Spanish Main, and among the savages of the islands. Like

galley-slaves, they are only to be governed by scourges and chains.

Their officers go among them with dirk and pistol--concealed, but

ready at a grasp.


Not a few of our own crew were men of this stamp; but, riotous at

times as they were, the bluff drunken energies of Jennin were just

the thing to hold them in some sort of noisy subjection. Upon an

emergency, he flew in among them, showering his kicks and cuffs right

and left, and "creating a sensation" in every direction. And as

hinted before, they bore this knock-down authority with great

good-humour. A sober, discreet, dignified officer could have done

nothing with them; such a set would have thrown him and his dignity


Matters being thus, there was nothing for the ship but to keep the

sea. Nor was the captain without hope that the invalid portion of his

crew, as well as himself, would soon recover; and then there was no

telling what luck in the fishery might yet be in store for us. At any

rate, at the time of my coming aboard, the report was, that Captain

Guy was resolved upon retrieving the past and filling the vessel with

oil in the shortest space possible.


With this intention, we were now shaping our course for Hytyhoo, a

village on the island of St. Christina--one of the Marquesas, and so

named by Mendanna--for the purpose of obtaining eight seamen, who,

some weeks before, had stepped ashore there from the Julia. It was

supposed that, by this time, they must have recreated themselves

sufficiently, and would be glad to return to their duty.


So to Hytyhoo, with all our canvas spread, and coquetting with the

warm, breezy Trades, we bowled along; gliding up and down the long,

slow swells, the bonettas and albicores frolicking round us.








I HAD scarcely been aboard of the ship twenty-four hours, when a

circumstance occurred, which, although noways picturesque, is so

significant of the state of affairs that I cannot forbear relating


In the first place, however, it must be known, that among the crew was

a man so excessively ugly, that he went by the ironical appellation

of "Beauty." He was the ship's carpenter; and for that reason was

sometimes known by his nautical cognomen of "Chips." There was no

absolute deformity about the man; he was symmetrically ugly. But ill

favoured as he was in person, Beauty was none the less ugly in

temper; but no one could blame him; his countenance had soured his

  1. Now Jermin and Beauty were always at swords' points. The

truth was, the latter was the only man in the ship whom the mate had

never decidedly got the better of; and hence the grudge he bore him.

As for Beauty, he prided himself upon talking up to the mate, as we

shall soon see.


Toward evening there was something to be done on deck, and the

carpenter who belonged to the watch was missing. "Where's that skulk,

Chips?" shouted Jermin down the forecastle scuttle.


"Taking his ease, d'ye see, down here on a chest, if you want to

know," replied that worthy himself, quietly withdrawing his pipe from

his mouth. This insolence flung the fiery little mate into a mighty

rage; but Beauty said nothing, puffing away with all the tranquillity

imaginable. Here it must be remembered that, never mind what may be

the provocation, no prudent officer ever dreams of entering a ship's

forecastle on a hostile visit. If he wants to see anybody who happens

to be there, and refuses to come up, why he must wait patiently until

the sailor is willing. The reason is this. The place is very dark:

and nothing is easier than to knock one descending on the head,

before he knows where he is, and a very long while before he ever

finds out who did it.


Nobody knew this better than Jermin, and so he contented himself with

looking down the scuttle and storming. At last Beauty made some cool

observation which set him half wild.


"Tumble on deck," he then bellowed--"come, up with you, or I'll jump

down and make you." The carpenter begged him to go about it at once.


No sooner said than done: prudence forgotten, Jermin was there; and by

a sort of instinct, had his man by the throat before he could well

see him. One of the men now made a rush at him, but the rest dragged

him off, protesting that they should have fair play.


"Now come on deck," shouted the mate, struggling like a good fellow to

hold the carpenter fast.


"Take me there," was the dogged answer, and Beauty wriggled about in

the nervous grasp of the other like a couple of yards of



His assailant now undertook to make him up into a compact bundle, the

more easily to transport him. While thus occupied, Beauty got his

arms loose, and threw him over backward. But Jermin quickly recovered

himself, when for a time they had it every way, dragging each other

about, bumping their heads against the projecting beams, and

returning each other's blows the first favourable opportunity that

  1. Unfortunately, Jermin at last slipped and fell; his foe

seating himself on his chest, and keeping him down. Now this was one

of those situations in which the voice of counsel, or reproof, comes

with peculiar unction. Nor did Beauty let the opportunity slip. But

the mate said nothing in reply, only foaming at the mouth and

struggling to rise.


Just then a thin tremor of a voice was heard from above. It was the

captain; who, happening to ascend to the quarter-deck at the

commencement of the scuffle, would gladly have returned to the cabin,

but was prevented by the fear of ridicule. As the din increased, and

it became evident that his officer was in serious trouble, he thought

it would never do to stand leaning over the bulwarks, so he made his

appearance on the forecastle, resolved, as his best policy, to treat

the matter lightly.


"Why, why," he begun, speaking pettishly, and very fast, "what's all

this about?--Mr.  Jermin, Mr. Jermin--carpenter, carpenter; what are

you doing down there? Come on deck; come on deck."


Whereupon Doctor Long Ghost cries out in a squeak, "Ah! Miss Guy, is

that you?  Now, my dear, go right home, or you'll get hurt."


"Pooh, pooh! you, sir, whoever you are, I was not speaking to you;

none of your nonsense. Mr. Jermin, I was talking to you; have the

kindness to come on deck, sir; I want to see you."


"And how, in the devil's name, am I to get there?" cried the mate,

furiously. "Jump down here, Captain Guy, and show yourself a man. Let

me up, you Chips! unhand me, I say! Oh! I'll pay you for this, some

day! Come on, Captain Guy!"


At this appeal, the poor man was seized with a perfect spasm of

fidgets. "Pooh, pooh, carpenter; have done with your nonsense! Let

him up, sir; let him up! Do you hear?  Let Mr. Jermm come on deck!"


"Go along with you, Paper Jack," replied Beauty; "this quarrel's

between the mate and me; so go aft, where you belong!"


As the captain once more dipped his head down the scuttle to make

answer, from an unseen hand he received, full in the face, the

contents of a tin can of soaked biscuit and tea-leaves. The doctor

was not far off just then. Without waiting for anything more, the

discomfited gentleman, with both hands to his streaming face,

retreated to the quarter-deck.


A few moments more, and Jermin, forced to a compromise, followed

after, in his torn frock and scarred face, looking for all the world

as if he had just disentangled himself from some intricate piece of

machinery. For about half an hour both remained in the cabin, where

the mate's rough tones were heard high above the low, smooth voice of

the captain.


Of all his conflicts with the men, this was the first in which Jermin

had been worsted; and he was proportionably enraged. Upon going

below--as the steward afterward told us--he bluntly informed Guy

that, for the future, he might look out for his ship himself; for his

part, he had done with her, if that was the way he allowed his

officers to be treated. After many high words, the captain finally

assured him that, the first fitting opportunity, the carpenter should

be cordially flogged; though, as matters stood, the experiment would

be a hazardous one. Upon this Jermin reluctantly consented to drop

the matter for the present; and he soon drowned all thoughts of it in

a can of flip, which Guy had previously instructed the steward to

prepare, as a sop to allay his wrath.


Nothing more ever came of this.








LESS than forty-eight hours after leaving Nukuheva, the blue, looming

island of St.  Christina greeted us from afar. Drawing near the

shore, the grim, black spars and waspish hull of a small man-of-war

craft crept into view; the masts and yards lined distinctly against

the sky. She was riding to her anchor in the bay, and proved to be a

French corvette.


This pleased our captain exceedingly, and, coming on deck, he examined

her from the mizzen rigging with his glass. His original intention

was not to let go an anchor; but, counting upon the assistance of the

corvette in case of any difficulty, he now changed his mind, and

anchored alongside of her. As soon as a boat could be lowered, he

then went off to pay his respects to the commander, and, moreover, as

we supposed, to concert measures for the apprehension of the


Returning in the course of twenty minutes, he brought along with him

two officers in undress and whiskers, and three or four drunken

obstreperous old chiefs; one with his legs thrust into the armholes

of a scarlet vest, another with a pair of spurs on his heels, and a

third in a cocked hat and feather. In addition to these articles,

they merely wore the ordinary costume of their race--a slip of native

cloth about the loins.  Indecorous as their behaviour was, these

worthies turned out to be a deputation from the reverend the clergy

of the island; and the object of their visit was to put our ship

under a rigorous "Taboo," to prevent the disorderly scenes and

facilities for desertion which would ensue, were the natives--men and

women--allowed to come off to us freely.


There was little ceremony about the matter. The priests went aside for

a moment, laid their shaven old crowns together, and went over a

little mummery. Whereupon, their leader tore a long strip from his

girdle of white tappa, and handed it to one of the French officers,

who, after explaining what was to be done, gave it to Jermin. The

mate at once went out to the end of the flying jib boom, and fastened

there the mystic symbol of the ban. This put to flight a party of

girls who had been observed swimming toward us. Tossing their arms

about, and splashing the water like porpoises, with loud cries of

"taboo! taboo!" they turned about and made for the shore.


The night of our arrival, the mate and the Mowree were to stand "watch

and watch," relieving each other every four hours; the crew, as is

sometimes customary when lying at an anchor, being allowed to remain

all night below. A distrust of the men, however, was, in the present

instance, the principal reason for this proceeding.  Indeed, it was

all but certain, that some kind of attempt would be made at

desertion; and therefore, when Jermin's first watch came on at eight

bells (midnight)--by which time all was quiet--he mounted to the deck

with a flask of spirits in one hand, and the other in readiness to

assail the first countenance that showed itself above the forecastle


Thus prepared, he doubtless meant to stay awake; but for all that, he

before long fell asleep; and slept with such hearty good-will too,

that the men who left us that night might have been waked up by his

snoring. Certain it was, the mate snored most strangely; and no

wonder, with that crooked bugle of his. When he came to himself it

was just dawn, but quite light enough to show two boats gone from the

side. In an instant he knew what had happened.


Dragging the Mowree out of an old sail where he was napping, he

ordered him to clear away another boat, and then darted into the

cabin to tell the captain the news.  Springing on deck again, he

drove down into the forecastle for a couple of oarsmen, but hardly

got there before there was a cry, and a loud splash heard over the

side. It was the Mowree and the boat--into which he had just leaped

to get ready for lowering--rolling over and over in the water.


The boat having at nightfall been hoisted up to its place over the

starboard quarter, someone had so cut the tackles which held it

there, that a moderate strain would at once part them. Bembo's weight

had answered the purpose, showing that the deserters must have

ascertained his specific gravity to a fibre of hemp. There was

another boat remaining; but it was as well to examine it before

attempting to lower.  And it was well they did; for there was a hole

in the bottom large enough to drop a barrel through: she had been

scuttled most ruthlessly.


Jermin was frantic. Dashing his hat upon deck, he was about to plunge

overboard and swim to the corvette for a cutter, when Captain Guy

made his appearance and begged him to stay where he was. By this time

the officer of the deck aboard the Frenchman had noticed our

movements, and hailed to know what had happened.  Guy informed him

through his trumpet, and men to go in pursuit were instantly

promised. There was a whistling of a boatswain's pipe, an order or

two, and then a large cutter pulled out from the man-of-war's stern,

and in half a dozen strokes was alongside. The mate leaped into her,

and they pulled rapidly ashore.


Another cutter, carrying an armed crew, soon followed.


In an hour's time the first returned, towing the two whale-boats,

which had been found turned up like tortoises on the beach.


Noon came, and nothing more was heard from the deserters. Meanwhile

Doctor Long Ghost and myself lounged about, cultivating an

acquaintance, and gazing upon the shore scenery. The bay was as calm

as death; the sun high and hot; and occasionally a still gliding

canoe stole out from behind the headlands, and shot across the water.


And all the morning long our sick men limped about the deck, casting

wistful glances inland, where the palm-trees waved and beckoned them

into their reviving shades.  Poor invalid rascals! How conducive to

the restoration of their shattered health would have been those

delicious groves! But hard-hearted Jermin assured them, with an oath,

that foot of theirs should never touch the beach.


Toward sunset a crowd was seen coming down to the water. In advance of

all were the fugitives--bareheaded--their frocks and trousers hanging

in tatters, every face covered with blood and dust, and their arms

pinioned behind them with green thongs.  Following them up, was a

shouting rabble of islanders, pricking them with the points of their

long spears, the party from the corvette menacing them in flank with

their naked cutlasses.


The bonus of a musket to the King of the Bay, and the promise of a

tumblerful of powder for every man caught, had set the whole

population on their track; and so successful was the hunt, that not

only were that morning's deserters brought back, but five of those

left behind on a former visit. The natives, however, were the mere

hounds of the chase, raising the game in their coverts, but leaving

the securing of it to the Frenchmen. Here, as elsewhere, the

islanders have no idea of taking part in such a scuffle as ensues

upon the capture of a party of desperate seamen.


The runaways were at once brought aboard, and, though they looked

rather sulky, soon came round, and treated the whole affair as a

frolicsome adventure.








FEARFUL of spending another night at Hytyhoo, Captain Guy caused the

ship to be got under way shortly after dark.


The next morning, when all supposed that we were fairly embarked for a

long cruise, our course was suddenly altered for La Dominica, or

Hivarhoo, an island just north of the one we had quitted. The object

of this, as we learned, was to procure, if possible, several English

sailors, who, according to the commander of the corvette, had

recently gone ashore there from an American whaler, and were desirous

of shipping aboard one of their own country vessels.


We made the land in the afternoon, coming abreast of a shady glen

opening from a deep bay, and winding by green denies far out of

sight. "Hands by the weather-main-brace!" roared the mate, jumping up

on the bulwarks; and in a moment the prancing Julia, suddenly

arrested in her course, bridled her head like a steed reined in,

while the foam flaked under her bows.


This was the place where we expected to obtain the men; so a boat was

at once got in readiness to go ashore. Now it was necessary to

provide a picked crew--men the least likely to abscond. After

considerable deliberation on the part of the captain and mate, four

of the seamen were pitched upon as the most trustworthy; or rather

they were selected from a choice assortment of suspicious characters

as being of an inferior order of rascality.


Armed with cutlasses all round--the natives were said to be an ugly

set--they were followed over the side by the invalid captain, who, on

this occasion, it seems, was determined to signalize himself.

Accordingly, in addition to his cutlass, he wore an old boarding

belt, in which was thrust a brace of pistols. They at once shoved


My friend Long Ghost had, among other things which looked somewhat

strange in a ship's forecastle, a capital spy-glass, and on the

present occasion we had it in use.


When the boat neared the head of the inlet, though invisible to the

naked eye, it was plainly revealed by the glass; looking no bigger

than an egg-shell, and the men diminished to pigmies.


At last, borne on what seemed a long flake of foam, the tiny craft

shot up the beach amid a shower of sparkles. Not a soul was there.

Leaving one of their number by the water, the rest of the pigmies

stepped ashore, looking about them very circumspectly, pausing now

and then hand to ear, and peering under a dense grove which swept

down within a few paces of the sea. No one came, and to all

appearances everything was as still as the grave. Presently he with

the pistols, followed by the rest flourishing their bodkins, entered

the wood and were soon lost to view. They did not stay long; probably

anticipating some inhospitable ambush were they to stray any distance

up the glen.


In a few moments they embarked again, and were soon riding pertly over

the waves of the bay. All of a sudden the captain started to his

feet--the boat spun round, and again made for the shore. Some twenty

or thirty natives armed with spears which through the glass looked

like reeds, had just come out of the grove, and were apparently

shouting to the strangers not to be in such a hurry, but return and

be sociable. But they were somewhat distrusted, for the boat paused

about its length from the beach, when the captain standing up in its

head delivered an address in pantomime, the object of which seemed to

be, that the islanders should draw near.  One of them stepped forward

and made answer, seemingly again urging the strangers not to be

diffident, but beach their boat. The captain declined, tossing his

arms about in another pantomime. In the end he said something which

made them shake their spears; whereupon he fired a pistol among them,

which set the whole party running; while one poor little fellow,

dropping his spear and clapping his hand behind him, limped away in a

manner which almost made me itch to get a shot at his assailant.


Wanton acts of cruelty like this are not unusual on the part of sea

captains landing at islands comparatively unknown. Even at the Pomotu

group, but a day's sail from Tahiti, the islanders coming down to the

shore have several times been fired at by trading schooners passing

through their narrow channels; and this too as a mere amusement on

the part of the ruffians.


Indeed, it is almost incredible, the light in which many sailors

regard these naked heathens. They hardly consider them human. But it

is a curious fact, that the more ignorant and degraded men are, the

more contemptuously they look upon those whom they deem their


All powers of persuasion being thus lost upon these foolish savages,

and no hope left of holding further intercourse, the boat returned to

the ship.








ON the other side of the island was the large and populous bay of

Hannamanoo, where the men sought might yet be found. But as the sun

was setting by the time the boat came alongside, we got our offshore

tacks aboard and stood away for an offing.  About daybreak we wore,

and ran in, and by the time the sun was well up, entered the long,

narrow channel dividing the islands of La Dominica and St. Christina.


On one hand was a range of steep green bluffs hundreds of feet high,

the white huts of the natives here and there nestling like birds'

nests in deep clefts gushing with verdure. Across the water, the

land rolled away in bright hillsides, so warm and undulating that

they seemed almost to palpitate in the sun. On we swept, past bluff

and grove, wooded glen and valley, and dark ravines lighted up far

inland with wild falls of water. A fresh land-breeze filled our

sails, the embayed waters were gentle as a lake, and every wave broke

with a tinkle against our coppered prow.


On gaining the end of the channel we rounded a point, and came full

upon the bay of Hannamanoo. This is the only harbour of any note

about the island, though as far as a safe anchorage is concerned it

hardly deserves the title.


Before we held any communication with the shore, an incident occurred

which may convey some further idea of the character of our crew.


Having approached as near the land as we could prudently, our headway

was stopped, and we awaited the arrival of a canoe which was coming

out of the bay. All at once we got into a strong current, which swept

us rapidly toward a rocky promontory forming one side of the harbour.

The wind had died away; so two boats were at once lowered for the

purpose of pulling the ship's head round. Before this could be done,

the eddies were whirling upon all sides, and the rock so near that it

seemed as if one might leap upon it from the masthead. Notwithstanding

the speechless fright of the captain, and the hoarse shouts of the

unappalled Jennin, the men handled the ropes as deliberately as

possible, some of them chuckling at the prospect of going ashore, and

others so eager for the vessel to strike, that they could hardly

contain themselves. Unexpectedly a countercurrent befriended us, and

assisted by the boats we were soon out of danger.


What a disappointment for our crew! All their little plans for

swimming ashore from the wreck, and having a fine time of it for the

rest of their days, thus cruelly nipped in the bud.


Soon after, the canoe came alongside. In it were eight or ten natives,

comely, vivacious-looking youths, all gesture and exclamation; the

red feathers in their head-bands perpetually nodding. With them also

came a stranger, a renegade from Christendom and humanity--a white

man, in the South Sea girdle, and tattooed in the face. A broad blue

band stretched across his face from ear to ear, and on his forehead

was the taper figure of a blue shark, nothing but fins from head to


Some of us gazed upon this man with a feeling akin to horror, no ways

abated when informed that he had voluntarily submitted to this

embellishment of his countenance.  What an impress! Far worse than

Cain's--his was perhaps a wrinkle, or a freckle, which some of our

modern cosmetics might have effaced; but the blue shark was a mark

indelible, which all the waters of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of

Damascus, could never wash out. He was an Englishman, Lem Hardy he

called himself, who had deserted from a trading brig touching at the

island for wood and water some ten years previous. He had gone ashore

as a sovereign power armed with a musket and a bag of ammunition, and

ready if need were, to prosecute war on his own account.  The country

was divided by the hostile kings of several large valleys. With one

of them, from whom he first received overtures, he formed an

alliance, and became what he now was, the military leader of the

tribe, and war-god of the entire island.


His campaigns beat Napoleon's. In one night attack, his invincible

musket, backed by the light infantry of spears and javelins,

vanquished two clans, and the next morning brought all the others to

the feet of his royal ally.


Nor was the rise of his domestic fortunes at all behind the

Corsican's: three days after landing, the exquisitely tattooed hand

of a princess was his; receiving along with the damsel as her

portion, one thousand fathoms of fine tappa, fifty double-braided

mats of split grass, four hundred hogs, ten houses in different parts

of her native valley, and the sacred protection of an express edict

of the Taboo, declaring his person inviolable for ever.


Now, this man was settled for life, perfectly satisfied with his

circumstances, and feeling no desire to return to his friends.


"Friends," indeed, he had none. He told me his history. Thrown upon

the world a foundling, his paternal origin was as much a mystery to

him as the genealogy of Odin; and, scorned by everybody, he fled the

parish workhouse when a boy, and launched upon the sea. He had

followed it for several years, a dog before the mast, and now he had

thrown it up for ever.


And for the most part, it is just this sort of men--so many of whom

are found among sailors--uncared for by a single soul, without ties,

reckless, and impatient of the restraints of civilization, who are

occasionally found quite at home upon the savage islands of the

Pacific. And, glancing at their hard lot in their own country, what

marvel at their choice?


According to the renegado, there was no other white man on the island;

and as the captain could have no reason to suppose that Hardy

intended to deceive us, he concluded that the Frenchmen were in some

way or other mistaken in what they had told us. However, when our

errand was made known to the rest of our visitors, one of them, a

fine, stalwart fellow, his face all eyes and expression, volunteered

for a cruise. All the wages he asked was a red shirt, a pair of

trousers, and a hat, which were to be put on there and then; besides

a plug of tobacco and a pipe. The bargain was struck directly; but

Wymontoo afterward came in with a codicil, to the effect that a

friend of his, who had come along with him, should be given ten whole

sea-biscuits, without crack or flaw, twenty perfectly new and

symmetrically straight nails, and one jack-knife. This being agreed

to, the articles were at once handed over; the native receiving them

with great avidity, and in the absence of clothing, using his mouth as

a pocket to put the nails in. Two of them, however, were first made

to take the place of a pair of ear-ornaments, curiously fashioned out

of bits of whitened wood.


It now began breezing strongly from seaward, and no time was to be

lost in getting away from the land; so after an affecting rubbing of

noses between our new shipmate and his countrymen, we sailed away

with him.


To our surprise, the farewell shouts from the canoe, as we dashed

along under bellied royals, were heard unmoved by our islander; but

it was not long thus. That very evening, when the dark blue of his

native hills sunk in the horizon, the poor savage leaned over the

bulwarks, dropped his head upon his chest, and gave way to

irrepressible emotions. The ship was plunging hard, and Wymontoo, sad

to tell, in addition to his other pangs, was terribly sea-sick.








FOR a while leaving Little Jule to sail away by herself, I will here

put down some curious information obtained from Hardy.


The renegado had lived so long on the island that its customs were

quite familiar; and I much lamented that, from the shortness of our

stay, he could not tell us more than he did.


From the little intelligence gathered, however, I learned to my

surprise that, in some things, the people of Hivarhoo, though of the

same group of islands, differed considerably from my tropical friends

in the valley of Typee.


As his tattooing attracted so much remark, Hardy had a good deal to

say concerning the manner in which that art was practised upon the


Throughout the entire cluster the tattooers of Hivarhoo enjoyed no

small reputation.  They had carried their art to the highest

perfection, and the profession was esteemed most honourable. No

wonder, then, that like genteel tailors, they rated their services

very high; so much so that none but those belonging to the higher

classes could afford to employ them. So true was this, that the

elegance of one's tattooing was in most cases a sure indication of

birth and riches.


Professors in large practice lived in spacious houses, divided by

screens of tappa into numerous little apartments, where subjects were

waited upon in private. The arrangement chiefly grew out of a

singular ordinance of the Taboo, which enjoined the strictest privacy

upon all men, high and low, while under the hands of a tattooer.  For

the time, the slightest intercourse with others is prohibited, and the

small portion of food allowed is pushed under the curtain by an

unseen hand. The restriction with regard to food, is intended to

reduce the blood, so as to diminish the inflammation consequent upon

puncturing the skin. As it is, this comes on very soon, and takes

some time to heal; so that the period of seclusion generally embraces

many days, sometimes several weeks.


All traces of soreness vanished, the subject goes abroad; but only

again to return; for, on account of the pain, only a small surface

can be operated upon at once; and as the whole body is to be more or

less embellished by a process so slow, the studios alluded to are

constantly filled. Indeed, with a vanity elsewhere unheard of, many

spend no small portion of their days thus sitting to an artist.


To begin the work, the period of adolescence is esteemed the most

suitable. After casting about for some eminent tattooer, the friends

of the youth take him to his house to have the outlines of the

general plan laid out. It behoves the professor to have a nice eye,

for a suit to be worn for life should be well cut.


Some tattooers, yearning after perfection, employ, at large wages, one

or two men of the commonest order--vile fellows, utterly regardless

of appearances, upon whom they first try their patterns and practise

generally. Their backs remorselessly scrawled over, and no more

canvas remaining, they are dismissed and ever after go about, the

scorn of their countrymen.


Hapless wights! thus martyred in the cause of the Fine Arts.


Beside the regular practitioners, there are a parcel of shabby,

itinerant tattooers, who, by virtue of their calling, stroll

unmolested from one hostile bay to another, doing their work

dog-cheap for the multitude. They always repair to the various

religious festivals, which gather great crowds. When these are

concluded, and the places where they are held vacated even by the

tattooers, scores of little tents of coarse tappa are left standing,

each with a solitary inmate, who, forbidden to talk to his unseen

neighbours, is obliged to stay there till completely healed. The

itinerants are a reproach to their profession, mere cobblers, dealing

in nothing but jagged lines and clumsy patches, and utterly incapable

of soaring to those heights of fancy attained by the gentlemen of the


All professors of the arts love to fraternize; and so, in Hannamanoo,

the tattooers came together in the chapters of their worshipful

order. In this society, duly organized, and conferring degrees,

Hardy, from his influence as a white, was a sort of honorary Grand

Master. The blue shark, and a sort of Urim and Thummim engraven upon

his chest, were the seal of his initiation. All over Hivarhoo are

established these orders of tattooers. The way in which the renegado's

came to be founded is this. A year or two after his landing there

happened to be a season of scarcity, owing to the partial failure of

the breadfruit harvest for several consecutive seasons. This brought

about such a falling off in the number of subjects for tattooing that

the profession became quite needy. The royal ally of Hardy, however,

hit upon a benevolent expedient to provide for their wants, at the

same time conferring a boon upon many of his subjects.


By sound of conch-shell it was proclaimed before the palace, on the

beach, and at the head of the valley, that Noomai, King of

Hannamanoo, and friend of Hardee-Hardee, the white, kept open heart

and table for all tattooers whatsoever; but to entitle themselves to

this hospitality, they were commanded to practise without fee upon

the meanest native soliciting their services.


Numbers at once flocked to the royal abode, both artists and sitters.

It was a famous time; and the buildings of the palace being "taboo"

to all but the tattooers and chiefs, the sitters bivouacked on the

common, and formed an extensive encampment.


The "Lora Tattoo," or the Time of Tattooing, will be long remembered.

An enthusiastic sitter celebrated the event in verse. Several lines

were repeated to us by Hardy, some of which, in a sort of colloquial

chant he translated nearly thus:


    "Where is that sound?

    In Hannamanoo.

    And wherefore that sound?

    The sound of a hundred hammers,

    Tapping, tapping, tapping

    The shark teeth."


    "Where is that light?

    Round about the king's house,

    And the small laughter?

    The small, merry laughter it is

    Of the sons and daughters of the tattooed."








THE night we left Hannamanoo was bright and starry, and so warm that,

when the watches were relieved, most of the men, instead of going

below, flung themselves around the foremast.


Toward morning, finding the heat of the forecastle unpleasant, I

ascended to the deck where everything was noiseless. The Trades were

blowing with a mild, steady strain upon the canvas, and the ship

heading right out into the immense blank of the Western Pacific. The

watch were asleep. With one foot resting on the rudder, even the man

at the helm nodded, and the mate himself, with arms folded, was

leaning against the capstan.


On such a night, and all alone, reverie was inevitable. I leaned over

the side, and could not help thinking of the strange objects we might

be sailing over.


But my meditations were soon interrupted by a gray, spectral shadow

cast over the heaving billows. It was the dawn, soon followed by the

first rays of the morning. They flashed into view at one end of the

arched night, like--to compare great things with small--the gleamings

of Guy Fawkes's lantern in the vaults of the Parliament House.

Before long, what seemed a live ember rested for a moment on the rim

of the ocean, and at last the blood-red sun stood full and round in

the level East, and the long sea-day began.


Breakfast over, the first thing attended to was the formal baptism of

Wymontoo, who, after thinking over his affairs during the night,

looked dismal enough.


There were various opinions as to a suitable appellation. Some

maintained that we ought to call him "Sunday," that being the day we

caught him; others, "Eighteen Forty-two," the then year of our Lord;

while Doctor Long Ghost remarked that he ought, by all means, to

retain his original name,--Wymontoo-Hee, meaning (as he maintained),

in the figurative language of the island, something analogous to one

who had got himself into a scrape. The mate put an end to the

discussion by sousing the poor fellow with a bucket of salt water,

and bestowing upon him the nautical appellation of "Luff."


Though a certain mirthfulness succeeded his first pangs at leaving

home, Wymontoo--we will call him thus--gradually relapsed into his

former mood, and became very melancholy. Often I noticed him

crouching apart in the forecastle, his strange eyes gleaming

restlessly, and watching the slightest movement of the men.  Many a

time he must have been thinking of his bamboo hut, when they were

talking of Sydney and its dance-houses.


We were now fairly at sea, though to what particular cruising-ground

we were going, no one knew; and, to all appearances, few cared. The

men, after a fashion of their own, began to settle down into the

routine of sea-life, as if everything was going on prosperously.

Blown along over a smooth sea, there was nothing to do but steer the

ship, and relieve the "look-outs" at the mast-heads. As for the sick,

they had two or three more added to their number--the air of the

island having disagreed with the constitutions of several of the

runaways. To crown all, the captain again relapsed, and became quite


The men fit for duty were divided into two small watches, headed

respectively by the mate and the Mowree; the latter by virtue of his

being a harpooner, succeeding to the place of the second mate, who

had absconded.


In this state of things whaling was out of the question; but in the

face of everything, Jermin maintained that the invalids would soon be

well. However that might be, with the same pale Hue sky overhead, we

kept running steadily to the westward. Forever advancing, we seemed

always in the same place, and every day was the former lived over

again. We saw no ships, expected to see none. No sign of life was

perceptible but the porpoises and other fish sporting under the bows

like pups ashore. But, at intervals, the gray albatross, peculiar to

these seas, came flapping his immense wings over us, and then skimmed

away silently as if from a plague-ship. Or flights of the tropic

bird, known among seamen as the "boatswain," wheeled round and round

us, whistling shrilly as they flew.


The uncertainty hanging over our destination at this time, and the

fact that we were abroad upon waters comparatively little traversed,

lent an interest to this portion of the cruise which I shall never


From obvious prudential considerations the Pacific has been

principally sailed over in known tracts, and this is the reason why

new islands are still occasionally discovered by exploring ships and

adventurous whalers notwithstanding the great number of vessels of

all kinds of late navigating this vast ocean. Indeed, considerable

portions still remain wholly unexplored; and there is doubt as to the

actual existence of certain shoals, and reefs, and small clusters of

islands vaguely laid down in the charts. The mere circumstance,

therefore, of a ship like ours penetrating into these regions, was

sufficient to cause any reflecting mind to feel at least a little

uneasy. For my own part, the many stories I had heard of ships

striking at midnight upon unknown rocks, with all sail set, and a

slumbering crew, often recurred to me, especially, as from the

absence of discipline, and our being so shorthanded, the watches at

night were careless in the extreme.


But no thoughts like these were entertained by my reckless shipmates;

and along we went, the sun every evening setting right ahead of our

jib boom.


For what reason the mate was so reserved with regard to our precise

destination was never made known. The stories he told us, I, for one,

did not believe; deeming them all a mere device to lull the crew.


He said we were bound to a fine cruising ground, scarcely known to

other whalemen, which he had himself discovered when commanding a

small brig upon a former voyage. Here, the sea was alive with large

whales, so tame that all you had to do was to go up and kill them:

they were too frightened to resist. A little to leeward of this was a

small cluster of islands, where we were going to refit, abounding with

delicious fruits, and peopled by a race almost wholly unsophisticated

by intercourse with strangers.


In order, perhaps, to guard against the possibility of anyone finding

out the precise latitude and longitude of the spot we were going to,

Jermin never revealed to us the ship's place at noon, though such is

the custom aboard of most vessels.


Meanwhile, he was very assiduous in his attention to the invalids.

Doctor Long Ghost having given up the keys of the medicine-chest,

they were handed over to him; and, as physician, he discharged his

duties to the satisfaction of all. Pills and powders, in most cases,

were thrown to the fish, and in place thereof, the contents of a

mysterious little quarter cask were produced, diluted with water from

the "butt." His draughts were mixed on the capstan, in cocoa-nut

shells marked with the patients' names. Like shore doctors, he did

not eschew his own medicines, for his professional calls in the

forecastle were sometimes made when he was comfortably tipsy: nor did

he omit keeping his invalids in good-humour, spinning his yarns to

them, by the hour, whenever he went to see them.


Owing to my lameness, from which I soon began to recover, I did no

active duty, except standing an occasional "trick" at the helm. It

was in the forecastle chiefly, that I spent my time, in company with

the Long Doctor, who was at great pains to make himself agreeable.

His books, though sadly torn and tattered, were an invaluable

resource. I read them through again and again, including a learned

treatise on the yellow fever. In addition to these, he had an old

file of Sydney papers, and I soon became intimately acquainted with

the localities of all the advertising tradesmen there. In particular,

the rhetorical flourishes of Stubbs, the real-estate auctioneer,

diverted me exceedingly, and I set him down as no other than a pupil

of Robins the Londoner.


Aside from the pleasure of his society, my intimacy with Long Ghost

was of great service to me in other respects. His disgrace in the

cabin only confirmed the good-will of the democracy in the

forecastle; and they not only treated him in the most friendly

manner, but looked up to him with the utmost deference, besides

laughing heartily at all his jokes. As his chosen associate, this

feeling for him extended to me, and gradually we came to be regarded

in the light of distinguished guests. At meal-times we were always

first served, and otherwise were treated with much respect.


Among other devices to kill time, during the frequent calms, Long

Ghost hit upon the game of chess. With a jack-knife, we carved the

pieces quite tastefully out of bits of wood, and our board was the

middle of a chest-lid, chalked into squares, which, in playing, we

straddled at either end. Having no other suitable way of

distinguishing the sets, I marked mine by tying round them little

scarfs of black silk, torn from an old neck-handkerchief. Putting

them in mourning this way, the doctor said, was quite appropriate,

seeing that they had reason to feel sad three games out of four. Of

chess, the men never could make head nor tail; indeed, their wonder

rose to such a pitch that they at last regarded the mysterious

movements of the game with something more than perplexity; and after

puzzling over them through several long engagements, they came to the

conclusion that we must be a couple of necromancers.








I MIGHT as well give some idea of the place in which the doctor and I

lived together so sociably.


Most persons know that a ship's forecastle embraces the forward part

of the deck about the bowsprit: the same term, however, is generally

bestowed upon the sailors' sleeping-quarters, which occupy a space

immediately beneath, and are partitioned off by a bulkhead.


Planted right in the bows, or, as sailors say, in the very eyes of the

ship, this delightful apartment is of a triangular shape, and is

generally fitted with two tiers of rude bunks. Those of the Julia

were in a most deplorable condition, mere wrecks, some having been

torn down altogether to patch up others; and on one side there were

but two standing. But with most of the men it made little difference

whether they had a bunk or not, since, having no bedding, they had

nothing to put in it but themselves.


Upon the boards of my own crib I spread all the old canvas and old

clothes I could pick up. For a pillow, I wrapped an old jacket round

a log. This helped a little the wear and tear of one's bones when the

ship rolled.


Rude hammocks made out of old sails were in many cases used as

substitutes for the demolished bunks; but the space they swung in was

so confined that they were far from being agreeable.


The general aspect of the forecastle was dungeon-like and dingy in the

extreme. In the first place, it was not five feet from deck to deck

and even this space was encroached upon by two outlandish

cross-timbers bracing the vessel, and by the sailors' chests, over

which you must needs crawl in getting about. At meal-times, and

especially when we indulged in after-dinner chat, we sat about the

chests like a parcel of tailors.


In the middle of all were two square, wooden columns, denominated in

marine architecture "Bowsprit Bitts." They were about a foot apart,

and between them, by a rusty chain, swung the forecastle lamp,

burning day and night, and forever casting two long black shadows.

Lower down, between the bitts, was a locker, or sailors' pantry, kept

in abominable disorder, and sometimes requiring a vigorous cleaning

and fumigation.


All over, the ship was in a most dilapidated condition; but in the

forecastle it looked like the hollow of an old tree going to decay.

In every direction the wood was damp and discoloured, and here and

there soft and porous. Moreover, it was hacked and hewed without

mercy, the cook frequently helping himself to splinters for

kindling-wood from the bitts and beams. Overhead, every carline was

sooty, and here and there deep holes were burned in them, a freak of

some drunken sailors on a voyage long previous.


From above, you entered by a plank, with two elects, slanting down

from the scuttle, which was a mere hole in the deck. There being no

slide to draw over in case of emergency, the tarpaulin temporarily

placed there was little protection from the spray heaved over the

bows; so that in anything of a breeze the place was miserably wet.

In a squall, the water fairly poured down in sheets like a cascade,

swashing about, and afterward spirting up between the chests like the

jets of a fountain.


Such were our accommodations aboard of the Julia; but bad as they

were, we had not the undisputed possession of them. Myriads of

cockroaches, and regiments of rats disputed the place with us. A

greater calamity than this can scarcely befall a vessel in the South


So warm is the climate that it is almost impossible to get rid of

them. You may seal up every hatchway, and fumigate the hull till the

smoke forces itself out at the seams, and enough will survive to

repeople the ship in an incredibly short period. In some vessels, the

crews of which after a hard fight have given themselves up, as it

were, for lost, the vermin seem to take actual possession, the

sailors being mere tenants by sufferance. With Sperm Whalemen,

hanging about the Line, as many of them do for a couple of years on a

stretch, it is infinitely worse than with other vessels.


As for the Julia, these creatures never had such free and easy times

as they did in her crazy old hull; every chink and cranny swarmed

with them; they did not live among you, but you among them. So true

was this, that the business of eating and drinking was better done in

the dark than in the light of day.


Concerning the cockroaches, there was an extraordinary phenomenon, for

which none of us could ever account.


Every night they had a jubilee. The first symptom was an unusual

clustering and humming among the swarms lining the beams overhead,

and the inside of the sleeping-places. This was succeeded by a

prodigious coming and going on the part of those living out of sight

Presently they all came forth; the larger sort racing over the chests

and planks; winged monsters darting to and fro in the air; and the

small fry buzzing in heaps almost in a state of fusion.


On the first alarm, all who were able darted on deck; while some of

the sick who were too feeble, lay perfectly quiet--the distracted

vermin running over them at pleasure.  The performance lasted some

ten minutes, during which no hive ever hummed louder. Often it was

lamented by us that the time of the visitation could never be

predicted; it was liable to come upon us at any hour of the night, and

what a relief it was, when it happened to fall in the early part of

the evening.


Nor must I forget the rats: they did not forget me. Tame as Trenck's

mouse, they stood in their holes peering at you like old grandfathers

in a doorway. Often they darted in upon us at meal-times, and nibbled

our food. The first time they approached Wymontoo, he was actually

frightened; but becoming accustomed to it, he soon got along with

them much better than the rest. With curious dexterity he seized the

animals by their legs, and flung them up the scuttle to find a watery


But I have a story of my own to tell about these rats. One day the

cabin steward made me a present of some molasses, which I was so

choice of that I kept it hid away in a tin can in the farthest corner

of my bunk.. Faring as we did, this molasses dropped upon a biscuit

was a positive luxury, which I shared with none but the doctor, and

then only in private. And sweet as the treacle was, how could bread

thus prepared and eaten in secret be otherwise than pleasant?


One night our precious can ran low, and in canting it over in the

dark, something beside the molasses slipped out. How long it had been

there, kind Providence never revealed; nor were we over anxious to

know; for we hushed up the bare thought as quickly as possible. The

creature certainly died a luscious death, quite equal to Clarence's

in the butt of Malmsey.








GRAVE though he was at times, Doctor Long Ghost was a decided wag.


Everyone knows what lovers of fun sailors are ashore--afloat, they are

absolutely mad after it. So his pranks were duly appreciated.


The poor old black cook! Unlashing his hammock for the night, and

finding a wet log fast asleep in it; and then waking in the morning

with his woolly head tarred. Opening his coppers, and finding an old

boot boiling away as saucy as could be, and sometimes cakes of pitch

candying in his oven.


Baltimore's tribulations were indeed sore; there was no peace for him

day nor night.  Poor fellow! he was altogether too good-natured. Say

what they will about easy-tempered people, it is far better, on some

accounts, to have the temper of a wolf. Whoever thought of taking

liberties with gruff Black Dan?


The most curious of the doctor's jokes, was hoisting the men aloft by

the foot or shoulder, when they fell asleep on deck during the



Ascending from the forecastle on one occasion, he found every soul

napping, and forthwith went about his capers. Fastening a rope's end

to each sleeper, he rove the lines through a number of blocks, and

conducted them all to the windlass; then, by heaving round cheerily,

in spite of cries and struggles, he soon had them dangling aloft in

all directions by arms and legs. Waked by the uproar, we rushed up

from below, and found the poor fellows swinging in the moonlight from

the tops and lower yard-arms, like a parcel of pirates gibbeted at

sea by a cruiser.


Connected with this sort of diversion was another prank of his. During

the night some of those on deck would come below to light a pipe, or

take a mouthful of beef and biscuit. Sometimes they fell asleep; and

being missed directly that anything was to be done, their shipmates

often amused themselves by running them aloft with a pulley dropped

down the scuttle from the fore-top.


One night, when all was perfectly still, I lay awake in the

forecastle; the lamp was burning low and thick, and swinging from its

blackened beam; and with the uniform motion of the ship, the men in

the bunks rolled slowly from side to side; the hammocks swaying in


Presently I heard a foot upon the ladder, and looking up, saw a wide

trousers' leg.  Immediately, Navy Bob, a stout old Triton, stealthily

descended, and at once went to groping in the locker after something

to eat.


Supper ended, he proceeded to load his pipe. Now, for a good

comfortable smoke at sea, there never was a better place than the

Julia's forecastle at midnight. To enjoy the luxury, one wants to

fall into a kind of dreamy reverie, only known to the children of the

weed. And the very atmosphere of the place, laden as it was with the

snores of the sleepers, was inducive of this. No wonder, then, that

after a while Bob's head sunk upon his breast; presently his hat fell

off, the extinguished pipe dropped from his mouth, and the next

moment he lay out on the chest as tranquil as an infant.


Suddenly an order was heard on deck, followed by the trampling of feet

and the hauling of rigging. The yards were being braced, and soon

after the sleeper was missed: for there was a whispered conference

over the scuttle.


Directly a shadow glided across the forecastle and noiselessly

approached the unsuspecting Bob. It was one of the watch with the end

of a rope leading out of sight up the scuttle. Pausing an instant,

the sailor pressed softly the chest of his victim, sounding his

slumbers; and then hitching the cord to his ankle, returned to the


Hardly was his back turned, when a long limb was thrust from a hammock

opposite, and Doctor Long Ghost, leaping forth warily, whipped the

rope from Bob's ankle, and fastened it like lightning to a great

lumbering chest, the property of the man who had just disappeared.


Scarcely was the thing done, when lo! with a thundering bound, the

clumsy box was torn from its fastenings, and banging from side to

side, flew toward the scuttle. Here it jammed; and thinking that Bob,

who was as strong as a windlass, was grappling a beam and trying to

cut the line, the jokers on deck strained away furiously. On a

sudden, the chest went aloft, and striking against the mast, flew

open, raining down on the heads of a party the merciless shower of

things too numerous to mention.


Of course the uproar roused all hands, and when we hurried on deck,

there was the owner of the box, looking aghast at its scattered

contents, and with one wandering hand taking the altitude of a bump

on his head.








THE mirthfulness which at times reigned among us was in strange and

shocking contrast with the situation of some of the invalids. Thus at

least did it seem to me, though not to others.


But an event occurred about this period, which, in removing by far the

most pitiable cases of suffering, tended to make less grating to my

feelings the subsequent conduct of the crew.


We had been at sea about twenty days, when two of the sick who had

rapidly grown worse, died one night within an hour of each other.


One occupied a bunk right next to mine, and for several days had not

risen from it.  During this period he was often delirious, starting

up and glaring around him, and sometimes wildly tossing his arms.


On the night of his decease, I retired shortly after the middle watch

began, and waking from a vague dream of horrors, felt something

clammy resting on me. It was the sick man's hand. Two or three times

during the evening previous, he had thrust it into my bunk, and I had

quietly removed it; but now I started and flung it from me.  The arm

fell stark and stiff, and I knew that he was dead.


Waking the men, the corpse was immediately rolled up in the strips of

blanketing upon which it lay, and carried on deck. The mate was then

called, and preparations made for an instantaneous' burial. Laying

the body out on the forehatch, it was stitched up in one of the

hammocks, some "kentledge" being placed at the feet instead of shot.

This done, it was borne to the gangway, and placed on a plank laid

across the bulwarks. Two men supported the inside end. By way of

solemnity, the ship's headway was then stopped by hauling aback the



The mate, who was far from being sober, then staggered up, and holding

on to a shroud, gave the word. As the plank tipped, the body slid off

slowly, and fell with a splash into the sea. A bubble or two, and

nothing more was seen.


"Brace forward!" The main-yard swung round to its place, and the ship

glided on, whilst the corpse, perhaps, was still sinking.


We had tossed a shipmate to the sharks, but no one would have thought

it, to have gone among the crew immediately after. The dead man had

been a churlish, unsocial fellow, while alive, and no favourite; and

now that he was no more, little thought was bestowed upon him. All

that was said was concerning the disposal of his chest, which, having

been always kept locked, was supposed to contain money. Someone

volunteered to break it open, and distribute its contents, clothing

and all, before the captain should demand it.


While myself and others were endeavouring to dissuade them from this,

all started at a cry from the forecastle. There could be no one there

but two of the sick, unable to crawl on deck. We went below, and

found one of them dying on a chest. He had fallen out of his hammock

in a fit, and was insensible. The eyes were open and fixed, and his

breath coming and going convulsively. The men shrunk from him; but

the doctor, taking his hand, held it a few moments in his, and

suddenly letting it fall, exclaimed, "He's gone!" The body was

instantly borne up the ladder.


Another hammock was soon prepared, and the dead sailor stitched up as

  1. Some additional ceremony, however, was now insisted upon,

and a Bible was called for. But none was to be had, not even a Prayer

Book. When this was made known, Antone, a Portuguese, from the

Cape-de-Verd Islands, stepped up, muttering something over the corpse

of his countryman, and, with his finger, described upon the back of

the hammock the figure of a large cross; whereupon it received the



These two men both perished from the proverbial indiscretions of

seamen, heightened by circumstances apparent; but had either of them

been ashore under proper treatment, he would, in all human

probability, have recovered.


Behold here the fate of a sailor! They give him the last toss, and no

one asks whose child he was.


For the rest of that night there was no more sleep. Many stayed on

deck until broad morning, relating to each other those marvellous

tales of the sea which the occasion was calculated to call forth.

Little as I believed in such things, I could not listen to some of

these stories unaffected. Above all was I struck by one of the



On a voyage to India, they had a fever aboard, which carried off

nearly half the crew in the space of a few days. After this the men

never went aloft in the night-time, except in couples. When topsails

were to be reefed, phantoms were seen at the yard-arm ends; and in

tacking ship, voices called aloud from the tops. The carpenter

himself, going with another man to furl the main-top-gallant-sail in a

squall, was nearly pushed from the rigging by an unseen hand; and his

shipmate swore that a wet hammock was flirted in his face.


Stories like these were related as gospel truths, by those who

declared themselves eye-witnesses.


It is a circumstance not generally known, perhaps, that among ignorant

seamen, Philanders, or Finns, as they are more commonly called, are

regarded with peculiar superstition. For some reason or other, which

I never could get at, they are supposed to possess the gift of second

sight, and the power to wreak supernatural vengeance upon those who

offend them. On this account they have great influence among sailors,

and two or three with whom I have sailed at different times were

persons well calculated to produce this sort of impression, at least

upon minds disposed to believe in such things.


Now, we had one of these sea-prophets aboard; an old, yellow-haired

fellow, who always wore a rude seal-skin cap of his own make, and

carried his tobacco in a large pouch made of the same stuff. Van, as

we called him, was a quiet, inoffensive man, to look at, and, among

such a set, his occasional peculiarities had hitherto passed for

nothing. At this time, however, he came out with a prediction, which

was none the less remarkable from its absolute fulfilment, though not

exactly in the spirit in which it was given out.


The night of the burial he laid his hand on the old horseshoe nailed

as a charm to the foremast, and solemnly told us that, in less than

three weeks, not one quarter of our number would remain aboard the

ship--by that time they would have left her for ever.


Some laughed; Flash Jack called him an old fool; but among the men

generally it produced a marked effect. For several days a degree of

quiet reigned among us, and allusions of such a kind were made to

recent events, as could be attributed to no other cause than the

Finn's omen.


For my own part, what had lately come to pass was not without its

influence. It forcibly brought to mind our really critical condition.

Doctor Long Ghost, too, frequently revealed his apprehensions, and

once assured me that he would give much to be safely landed upon any

island around us.


Where we were, exactly, no one but the mate seemed to know, nor

whither we were going. The captain--a mere cipher--was an invalid in

his cabin; to say nothing more of so many of his men languishing in

the forecastle.


Our keeping the sea under these circumstances, a matter strange enough

at first, now seemed wholly unwarranted; and added to all was the

thought that our fate was absolutely in the hand of the reckless

Jermin. Were anything to happen to him, we would be left without a

navigator, for, according to Jermin himself, he had, from the

commencement of the voyage, always kept the ship's reckoning, the

captain's nautical knowledge being insufficient.


But considerations like these, strange as it may seem, seldom or never

occurred to the crew. They were alive only to superstitious fears;

and when, in apparent contradiction to the Finn's prophecy, the sick

men rallied a little, they began to recover their former spirits, and

the recollection of what had occurred insensibly faded from their

minds. In a week's time, the unworthiness of Little Jule as a sea

vessel, always a subject of jest, now became more so than ever. In the

forecastle, Flash Jack, with his knife, often dug into the dank,

rotten planks ribbed between us and death, and flung away the

splinters with some sea joke.


As to the remaining invalids, they were hardly ill enough to occasion

any serious apprehension, at least for the present, in the breasts of

such thoughtless beings as themselves. And even those who suffered

the most, studiously refrained from any expression of pain.


The truth is, that among sailors as a class, sickness at sea is so

heartily detested, and the sick so little cared for, that the

greatest invalid generally strives to mask his sufferings. He has

given no sympathy to others, and he expects none in return. Their

conduct, in this respect, so opposed to their generous-hearted

behaviour ashore, painfully affects the landsman on his first

intercourse with them as a sailor.


Sometimes, but seldom, our invalids inveighed against their being kept

at sea, where they could be of no service, when they ought to be

ashore and in the way of recovery. But--"Oh! cheer up--cheer up, my

hearties!"--the mate would say. And after this fashion he put a stop

to their murmurings.


But there was one circumstance, to which heretofore I have but barely

alluded, that tended more than anything else to reconcile many to

their situation. This was the receiving regularly, twice every day, a

certain portion of Pisco, which was served out at the capstan, by the

steward, in little tin measures called "tots."


The lively affection seamen have for strong drink is well known; but

in the South Seas, where it is so seldom to be had, a thoroughbred

sailor deems scarcely any price too dear which will purchase his

darling "tot." Nowadays, American whalemen in the Pacific never think

of carrying spirits as a ration; and aboard of most of them, it is

never served out even in times of the greatest hardships. All Sydney

whalemen, however, still cling to the old custom, and carry it as a

part of the regular supplies for the voyage.


In port, the allowance of Pisco was suspended; with a view,

undoubtedly, of heightening the attractions of being out of sight of


Now, owing to the absence of proper discipline, our sick, in addition

to what they took medicinally, often came in for their respective

"tots" convivially; and, added to all this, the evening of the last

day of the week was always celebrated by what is styled on board of

English vessels "The Saturday-night bottles." Two of these were sent

down into the forecastle, just after dark; one for the starboard

watch, and the other for the larboard.


By prescription, the oldest seaman in each claims the treat as his,

and, accordingly, pours out the good cheer and passes it round like a

lord doing the honours of his table. But the Saturday-night bottles

were not all. The carpenter and cooper, in sea parlance, Chips and

Bungs, who were the "Cods," or leaders of the forecastle, in some way

or other, managed to obtain an extra supply, which perpetually kept

them in fine after-dinner spirits, and, moreover, disposed them to

look favourably upon a state of affairs like the present.


But where were the sperm whales all this time? In good sooth, it made

little matter where they were, since we were in no condition to

capture them. About this time, indeed, the men came down from the

mast-heads, where, until now, they had kept up the form of relieving

each other every two hours. They swore they would go there no more.

Upon this, the mate carelessly observed that they would soon be where

look-outs were entirely unnecessary, the whales he had in his eye

(though Flash Jack said they were all in his) being so tame that they

made a practice of coming round ships, and scratching their backs

against them.


Thus went the world of waters with us, some four weeks or more after

leaving Hannamanoo.








IT was not long after the death of the two men, that Captain Guy was

reported as fast declining, and in a day or two more, as dying. The

doctor, who previously had refused to enter the cabin upon any

consideration, now relented, and paid his old enemy a professional


He prescribed a warm bath, which was thus prepared. The skylight being

removed, a cask was lowered down into the cabin, and then filled with

buckets of water from the ship's coppers. The cries of the patient,

when dipped into his rude bath, were most painful to hear. They at

last laid him on the transom, more dead than alive.


That evening, the mate was perfectly sober, and coming forward to the

windlass, where we were lounging, summoned aft the doctor, myself,

and two or three others of his favourites; when, in the presence of

Bembo the Mowree, he spoke to us thus:


"I have something to say to ye, men. There's none but Bembo here as

belongs aft, so I've picked ye out as the best men for'ard to take

counsel with, d'ye see, consarning the ship. The captain's anchor is

pretty nigh atrip; I shouldn't wonder if he croaked afore morning. So

what's to be done? If we have to sew him up, some of those pirates

there for'ard may take it into their heads to run off with the ship,

because there's no one at the tiller. Now, I've detarmined what's

best to be done; but I don't want to do it unless I've good men to

back me, and make things all fair and square if ever we get home



We all asked what his plan was.


"I'll tell ye what it is, men. If the skipper dies, all agree to obey

my orders, and in less than three weeks I'll engage to have five

hundred barrels of sperm oil under hatches:  enough to give every

mother's son of ye a handful of dollars when we get to Sydney.  If ye

don't agree to this, ye won't have a farthing coming to ye."


Doctor Long Ghost at once broke in. He said that such a thing was not

to be dreamt of; that if the captain died, the mate was in duty bound

to navigate the ship to the nearest civilized port, and deliver her

up into an English consul's hands; when, in all probability, after a

run ashore, the crew would be sent home. Everything forbade the

mate's plan. "Still," said he, assuming an air of indifference, "if

the men say stick it out, stick it out say I; but in that case, the

sooner we get to those islands of yours the better."


Something more he went on to say; and from the manner in which the

rest regarded him, it was plain that our fate was in his hands. It

was finally resolved upon, that if Captain Guy was no better in

twenty-four hours, the ship's head should be pointed for the island

of Tahiti.


This announcement produced a strong sensation--the sick rallied--and

the rest speculated as to what was next to befall us; while the

doctor, without alluding to Guy, congratulated me upon the prospect

of soon beholding a place so famous as the island in question.


The night after the holding of the council, I happened to go on deck

in the middle watch, and found the yards braced sharp up on the

larboard tack, with the South East Trades strong on our bow. The

captain was no better; and we were off for Tahiti.








WHILE gliding along on our way, I cannot well omit some account of a

poor devil we had among us, who went by the name of Rope Yarn, or


He was a nondescript who had joined the ship as a landsman. Being so

excessively timid and awkward, it was thought useless to try and make

a sailor of him; so he was translated into the cabin as steward; the

man previously filling that post, a good seaman, going among the crew

and taking his place. But poor Ropey proved quite as clumsy among the

crockery as in the rigging; and one day when the ship was pitching,

having stumbled into the cabin with a wooden tureen of soup, he

scalded the officers so that they didn't get over it in a week. Upon

which, he was dismissed, and returned to the forecastle.


Now, nobody is so heartily despised as a pusillanimous, lazy,

good-for-nothing land-lubber; a sailor has no bowels of compassion

for him. Yet, useless as such a character may be in many respects, a

ship's company is by no means disposed to let him reap any benefit

from his deficiencies. Regarded in the light of a mechanical power,

whenever there is any plain, hard work to be done, he is put to it

like a lever; everyone giving him a pry.


Then, again, he is set about all the vilest work. Is there a heavy job

at tarring to be done, he is pitched neck and shoulders into a

tar-barrel, and set to work at it.  Moreover, he is made to fetch and

carry like a dog. Like as not, if the mate sends him after his

quadrant, on the way he is met by the captain, who orders him to pick

some oakum; and while he is hunting up a bit of rope, a sailor comes

along and wants to know what the deuce he's after, and bids him be

off to the forecastle.


"Obey the last order," is a precept inviolable at sea. So the

land-lubber, afraid to refuse to do anything, rushes about

distracted, and does nothing: in the end receiving a shower of kicks

and cuffs from all quarters.


Added to his other hardships, he is seldom permitted to open his mouth

unless spoken to; and then, he might better keep silent. Alas for

him! if he should happen to be anything of a droll; for in an evil

hour should he perpetrate a joke, he would never know the last of it.


The witticisms of others, however, upon himself, must be received in

the greatest good-humour.


Woe be unto him, if at meal-times he so much as look sideways at the

beef-kid before the rest are helped.


Then he is obliged to plead guilty to every piece of mischief which

the real perpetrator refuses to acknowledge; thus taking the place of

that sneaking rascal nobody, ashore. In short, there is no end to his


The land-lubber's spirits often sink, and the first result of his

being moody and miserable is naturally enough an utter neglect of his


The sailors perhaps ought to make allowances; but heartless as they

are, they do not. No sooner is his cleanliness questioned than they

rise upon him like a mob of the Middle Ages upon a Jew; drag him into

the lee-scuppers, and strip him to the buff. In vain he bawls for

mercy; in vain calls upon the captain to save him.


Alas! I say again, for the land-lubber at sea. He is the veriest

wretch the watery world over. And such was Bope Tarn; of all

landlubbers, the most lubberly and most miserable. A forlorn,

stunted, hook-visaged mortal he was too; one of those whom you know

at a glance to have been tried hard and long in the furnace of

affliction. His face was an absolute puzzle; though sharp and sallow,

it had neither the wrinkles of age nor the smoothness of youth; so

that for the soul of me, I could hardly tell whether he was

twenty-five or fifty.


But to his history. In his better days, it seems he had been a

journeyman baker in London, somewhere about Holborn; and on Sundays

wore a Hue coat and metal buttons, and spent his afternoons in a

tavern, smoking his pipe and drinking his ale like a free and easy

journeyman baker that he was. But this did not last long; for an

intermeddling old fool was the ruin of him. He was told that London

might do very well for elderly gentlemen and invalids; but for a lad

of spirit, Australia was the Land of Promise. In a dark day Ropey

wound up his affairs and embarked.


Arriving in Sydney with a small capital, and after a while waxing snug

and comfortable by dint of hard kneading, he took unto himself a

wife; and so far as she was concerned, might then have gone into the

country and retired; for she effectually did his business. In short,

the lady worked him woe in heart and pocket; and in the end, ran off

with his till and his foreman. Ropey went to the sign of the Pipe and

Tankard; got fuddled; and over his fifth pot meditated suicide--an

intention carried out; for the next day he shipped as landsman aboard

the Julia, South Seaman.


The ex-baker would have fared far better, had it not been for his

heart, which was soft and underdone. A kind word made a fool of him;

and hence most of the scrapes he got into. Two or three wags, aware

of his infirmity, used to "draw him out" in conversation whenever the

most crabbed and choleric old seamen were present.


To give an instance. The watch below, just waked from their sleep, are

all at breakfast; and Ropey, in one corner, is disconsolately

partaking of its delicacies.  "Now, sailors newly waked are no

cherubs; and therefore not a word is spoken, everybody munching his

biscuit, grim and unshaven. At this juncture an affable-looking

scamp--Flash Jack--crosses the forecastle, tin can in hand, and seats

himself beside the land-lubber.


"Hard fare this, Ropey," he begins; "hard enough, too, for them that's

known better and lived in Lun'nun. I say now, Ropey, s'posing you

were back to Holborn this morning, what would you have for breakfast,



"Have for breakfast!" cried Ropey in a rapture. "Don't speak of it!"


"What ails that fellow?" here growled an old sea-bear, turning round


"Oh, nothing, nothing," said Jack; and then, leaning over to Rope

Yarn, he bade him go on, but speak lower.


"Well, then," said he, in a smuggled tone, his eyes lighting up like

two lanterns, "well, then, I'd go to Mother Moll's that makes the

great muffins: I'd go there, you know, and cock my foot on the 'ob,

and call for a noggin o' somethink to begin with."


"What then, Ropey?"


"Why then, Flashy," continued the poor victim, unconsciously warming

with his theme:  "why then, I'd draw my chair up and call for Betty,

the gal wot tends to customers.  Betty, my dear, says I, you looks

charmin' this mornin'; give me a nice rasher of bacon and h'eggs,

Betty my love; and I wants a pint of h'ale, and three nice h'ot

muffins and butter--and a slice of Cheshire; and Betty, I wants--"


"A shark-steak, and be hanged to you!" roared Black Dan, with an oath.

Whereupon, dragged over the chests, the ill-starred fellow is

pummelled on deck.


I always made a point of befriending poor Ropey when I could; and, for

this reason, was a great favourite of his.








BOUND into port, Chips and Bungs increased their devotion to the

bottle; and, to the unspeakable envy of the rest, these jolly

companions--or "the Partners," as the men called them--rolled about

deck, day after day, in the merriest mood imaginable.


But jolly as they were in the main, two more discreet tipplers it

would be hard to find.  No one ever saw them take anything, except

when the regular allowance was served out by the steward; and to make

them quite sober and sensible, you had only to ask them how they

contrived to keep otherwise. Some time after, however, their secret

leaked out.


The casks of Pisco were kept down the after-hatchway, which, for this

reason, was secured with bar and padlock. The cooper, nevertheless,

from time to time, effected a burglarious entry, by descending into

the fore-hold; and then, at the risk of being jammed to death,

crawling along over a thousand obstructions, to where the casks were


On the first expedition, the only one to be got at lay among others,

upon its bilge with the bung-hole well over. With a bit of iron hoop,

suitably bent, and a good deal of prying and punching, the bung was

forced in; and then the cooper's neck-handkerchief, attached to the

end of the hoop, was drawn in and out--the absorbed liquor being

deliberately squeezed into a small bucket.


Bungs was a man after a barkeeper's own heart. Drinking steadily,

until just manageably tipsy, he contrived to continue so; getting

neither more nor less inebriated, but, to use his own phrase,

remaining "just about right." When in this interesting state, he had

a free lurch in his gait, a queer way of hitching up his waistbands,

looked unnecessarily steady at you when speaking, and for the rest,

was in very tolerable spirits. At these times, moreover, he was

exceedingly patriotic; and in a most amusing way, frequently showed

his patriotism whenever he happened to encounter Dunk, a

good-natured, square-faced Dane, aboard.


It must be known here, by the bye, that the cooper had a true sailor

admiration for Lord Nelson. But he entertained a very erroneous idea

of the personal appearance of the hero. Not content with depriving

him of an eye and an arm, he stoutly maintained that he had also lost

a leg in one of his battles. Under this impression, he sometimes

hopped up to Dunk with one leg curiously locked behind him into his

right arm, at the same time closing an eye.


In this attitude he would call upon him to look up, and behold the man

who gave his countrymen such a thrashing at Copenhagen. "Look you,

Dunk," says he, staggering about, and winking hard with one eye to

keep the other shut, "Look you; one man--hang me, half a man--with

one leg, one arm, one eye--hang me, with only a piece of a carcase,

flogged your whole shabby nation. Do you deny it you lubber?"


The Dane was a mule of a man, and understanding but little English,

seldom made anything of a reply; so the cooper generally dropped his

leg, and marched off, with the air of a man who despised saying

anything further.








THE mild blue weather we enjoyed after leaving the Marquesas gradually

changed as we ran farther south and approached Tahiti. In these

generally tranquil seas, the wind sometimes blows with great

violence; though, as every sailor knows, a spicy gale in the tropic

latitudes of the Pacific is far different from a tempest in the

howling North Atlantic. We soon found ourselves battling with the

waves, while the before mild Trades, like a woman roused, blew

fiercely, but still warmly, in our face.


For all this, the mate carried sail without stint; and as for brave

little Jule, she stood up to it well; and though once in a while

floored in the trough of a sea, sprang to her keel again and showed

play. Every old timber groaned--every spar buckled--every chafed cord

strained; and yet, spite of all, she plunged on her way like a racer.

Jermin, sea-jockey that he was, sometimes stood in the fore-chains,

with the spray every now and then dashing over him, and shouting out,

"Well done, Jule--dive into it, sweetheart. Hurrah!"


One afternoon there was a mighty queer noise aloft, which set the men

running in every direction. It was the main-t'-gallant-mast. Crash!

it broke off just above the cap, and held there by the rigging,

dashed with every roll from side to side, with all the hamper that

belonged to it. The yard hung by a hair, and at every pitch, thumped

against the cross-trees; while the sail streamed in ribbons, and the

loose ropes coiled, and thrashed the air, like whip-lashes. "Stand

from under!" and down came the rattling blocks, like so many shot.

The yard, with a snap and a plunge, went hissing into the sea,

disappeared, and shot its full length out again. The crest of a great

wave then broke over it--the ship rushed by--and we saw the stick no


While this lively breeze continued, Baltimore, our old black cook, was

in great tribulation.


Like most South Seamen, the Julia's "caboose," or cook-house, was

planted on the larboard side of the forecastle. Under such a press of

canvas, and with the heavy sea running the barque, diving her bows

under, now and then shipped green glassy waves, which, breaking over

the head-rails, fairly deluged that part of the ship, and washed

clean aft. The caboose-house--thought to be fairly lashed down to its

place--served as a sort of breakwater to the inundation.


About these times, Baltimore always wore what he called his "gale

suit," among other things comprising a Sou'-wester and a huge pair of

well-anointed sea-boots, reaching almost to his knees. Thus equipped

for a ducking or a drowning, as the case might be, our culinary

high-priest drew to the slides of his temple, and performed his sooty

rites in secret.


So afraid was the old man of being washed overboard that he actually

fastened one end of a small line to his waistbands, and coiling the

rest about him, made use of it as occasion required. When engaged

outside, he unwound the cord, and secured one end to a ringbolt in

the deck; so that if a chance sea washed him off his feet, it could

do nothing more.


One evening just as he was getting supper, the Julia reared up on her

stern like a vicious colt, and when she settled again forward, fairly

dished a tremendous sea.  Nothing could withstand it. One side of the

rotten head-bulwarks came in with a crash; it smote the caboose, tore

it from its moorings, and after boxing it about, dashed it against

the windlass, where it stranded. The water then poured along the deck

like a flood rolling over and over, pots, pans, and kettles, and even

old Baltimore himself, who went breaching along like a porpoise.


Striking the taffrail, the wave subsided, and washing from side to

side, left the drowning cook high and dry on the after-hatch: his

extinguished pipe still between his teeth, and almost bitten in two.


The few men on deck having sprung into the main-rigging, sailor-like,

did nothing but roar at his calamity.


The same night, our flying-jib-boom snapped off like a pipe-stem, and

our spanker-gaff came down by the run.


By the following morning, the wind in a great measure had gone down;

the sea with it; and by noon we had repaired our damages as well as

we could, and were sailing along as pleasantly as ever.


But there was no help for the demolished bulwarks; we had nothing to

replace them; and so, whenever it breezed again, our dauntless craft

went along with her splintered prow dripping, but kicking up her

fleet heels just as high as before.








HOW far we sailed to the westward after leaving the Marquesas, or what

might have been our latitude and longitude at any particular time, or

how many leagues we voyaged on our passage to Tahiti, are matters

about which, I am sorry to say, I cannot with any accuracy enlighten

the reader. Jermin, as navigator, kept our reckoning; and, as hinted

before, kept it all to himself. At noon, he brought out his quadrant,

a rusty old thing, so odd-looking that it might have belonged to an


Sometimes, when rather flustered from his potations, he went

staggering about deck, instrument to eye, looking all over for the

sun--a phenomenon which any sober observer might have seen right

overhead. How upon earth he contrived, on some occasions, to settle

his latitude, is more than I can tell. The longitude he must either

have obtained by the Rule of Three, or else by special revelation. Not

that the chronometer in the cabin was seldom to be relied on, or was

any ways fidgety; quite the contrary; it stood stock-still; and by

that means, no doubt, the true Greenwich time--at the period of

stopping, at least--was preserved to a second.


The mate, however, in addition to his "Dead Reckoning," pretended to

ascertain his meridian distance from Bow Bells by an occasional lunar

observation. This, I believe, consists in obtaining with the proper

instruments the angular distance between the moon and some one of the

stars. The operation generally requires two observers to take sights,

and at one and the same time.


Now, though the mate alone might have been thought well calculated for

this, inasmuch as he generally saw things double, the doctor was

usually called upon to play a sort of second quadrant to Jermin's

first; and what with the capers of both, they used to furnish a good

deal of diversion. The mate's tremulous attempts to level his

instrument at the star he was after, were comical enough. For my own

part, when he did catch sight of it, I hardly knew how he managed to

separate it from the astral host revolving in his own brain.


However, by hook or by crook, he piloted us along; and before many

days, a fellow sent aloft to darn a rent in the fore-top-sail, threw

his hat into the air, and bawled out "Land, ho!"


Land it was; but in what part of the South Seas, Jermin alone knew,

and some doubted whether even he did. But no sooner was the

announcement made, than he came running on deck, spy-glass in hand,

and clapping it to his eye, turned round with the air of a man

receiving indubitable assurance of something he was quite certain of

before. The land was precisely that for which he had been steering;

and, with a wind, in less than twenty-four hours we would sight

Tahiti. What he said was verified.


The island turned out to be one of the Pomotu or Low Group--sometimes

called the Coral Islands--perhaps the most remarkable and interesting

in the Pacific. Lying to the east of Tahiti, the nearest are within a

day's sail of that place.


They are very numerous; mostly small, low, and level; sometimes

wooded, but always covered with verdure. Many are crescent-shaped;

others resemble a horse-shoe in figure. These last are nothing more

than narrow circles of land surrounding a smooth lagoon, connected by

a single opening with the sea. Some of the lagoons, said to have

subterranean outlets, have no visible ones; the inclosing island, in

such cases, being a complete zone of emerald. Other lagoons still,

are girdled by numbers of small, green islets, very near to each


The origin of the entire group is generally ascribed to the coral


According to some naturalists, this wonderful little creature,

commencing its erections at the bottom of the sea, after the lapse of

centuries, carries them up to the surface, where its labours cease.

Here, the inequalities of the coral collect all floating bodies;

forming, after a time, a soil, in which the seeds carried thither by

birds germinate, and cover the whole with vegetation. Here and there,

all over this archipelago, numberless naked, detached coral

formations are seen, just emerging, as it were from the ocean. These

would appear to be islands in the very process of creation--at any

rate, one involuntarily concludes so, on beholding them.


As far as I know, there are but few bread-fruit trees in any part of

the Pomotu group.  In many places the cocoa-nut even does not grow;

though, in others, it largely flourishes. Consequently, some of the

islands are altogether uninhabited; others support but a single

family; and in no place is the population very large. In some

respects the natives resemble the Tahitians: their language, too, is

very similar. The people of the southeasterly clusters--concerning

whom, however, but little is known--have a bad name as cannibals; and

for that reason their hospitality is seldom taxed by the mariner.


Within a few years past, missionaries from the Society group have

settled among the Leeward Islands, where the natives have treated

them kindly. Indeed, nominally, many of these people are now

Christians; and, through the political influence of their

instructors, no doubt, a short time since came tinder the allegiance

of Pomaree, the Queen of Tahiti; with which island they always

carried on considerable intercourse.


The Coral Islands are principally visited by the pearl-shell

fishermen, who arrive in small schooners, carrying not more than five

or six men.


For a long while the business was engrossed by Merenhout, the French

Consul at Tahiti, but a Dutchman by birth, who, in one year, is said

to have sent to France fifty thousand dollars' worth of shells. The

oysters are found in the lagoons, and about the reefs; and, for

half-a-dozen nails a day, or a compensation still less, the natives

are hired to dive after them.


A great deal of cocoa-nut oil is also obtained in various places. Some

of the uninhabited islands are covered with dense groves; and the

ungathered nuts which have fallen year after year, lie upon the

ground in incredible quantities. Two or three men, provided with the

necessary apparatus for trying out the oil, will, in the course of a

week or two, obtain enough to load one of the large sea-canoes.


Cocoa-nut oil is now manufactured in different parts of the South

Seas, and forms no small part of the traffic carried on with trading

vessels. A considerable quantity is annually exported from the

Society Islands to Sydney. It is used in lamps and for machinery,

being much cheaper than the sperm, and, for both purposes, better

than the right-whale oil. They bottle it up in large bamboos, six or

eight feet long; and these form part of the circulating medium of


To return to the ship. The wind dying away, evening came on before we

drew near the island. But we had it in view during the whole


It was small and round, presenting one enamelled level, free from

trees, and did not seem four feet above the water. Beyond it was

another and larger island, about which a tropical sunset was throwing

its glories; flushing all that part of the heavens, and making it

flame like a vast dyed oriel illuminated.


The Trades scarce filled our swooning sails; the air was languid with

the aroma of a thousand strange, flowering shrubs. Upon inhaling it,

one of the sick, who had recently shown symptoms of scurvy, cried out

in pain, and was carried below. This is no unusual effect in such


On we glided, within less than a cable's length of the shore which was

margined with foam that sparkled all round. Within, nestled the

still, blue lagoon. No living thing was seen, and, for aught we

knew, we might have been the first mortals who had ever beheld the

spot. The thought was quickening to the fancy; nor could I help

dreaming of the endless grottoes and galleries, far below the reach of

the mariner's lead.


And what strange shapes were lurking there! Think of those arch

creatures, the mermaids, chasing each other in and out of the coral

cells, and catching their long hair in the coral twigs!








AT early dawn of the following morning we saw the Peaks of Tahiti. In

clear weather they may be seen at the distance of ninety miles.


"Hivarhoo!" shouted Wymontoo, overjoyed, and running out upon the

bowsprit when the land was first faintly descried in the distance.

But when the clouds floated away, and showed the three peaks standing

like obelisks against the sky; and the bold shore undulating along

the horizon, the tears gushed from his eyes. Poor fellow! It was not

Hivarhoo. Green Hivarhoo was many a long league off.


Tahiti is by far the most famous island in the South Seas; indeed, a

variety of causes has made it almost classic. Its natural features

alone distinguish it from the surrounding groups. Two round and lofty

promontories, whose mountains rise nine thousand feet above the level

of the ocean, are connected by a low, narrow isthmus; the whole being

some one hundred miles in circuit. From the great central peaks of

the larger peninsula--Orohena, Aorai, and Pirohitee--the land radiates

on all sides to the sea in sloping green ridges. Between these are

broad and shadowy valleys--in aspect, each a Tempe--watered with fine

streams, and thickly wooded. Unlike many of the other islands, there

extends nearly all round Tahiti a belt of low, alluvial soil, teeming

with the richest vegetation. Here, chiefly, the natives dwell.


Seen from the sea, the prospect is magnificent. It is one mass of

shaded tints of green, from beach to mountain top; endlessly

diversified with valleys, ridges, glens, and cascades. Over the

ridges, here and there, the loftier peaks fling their shadows, and

far down the valleys. At the head of these, the waterfalls flash out

into the sunlight, as if pouring through vertical bowers of verdure.

Such enchantment, too, breathes over the whole, that it seems a fairy

world, all fresh and blooming from the hand of the Creator.


Upon a near approach, the picture loses not its attractions. It is no

exaggeration to say that, to a European of any sensibility, who, for

the first time, wanders back into these valleys--away from the haunts

of the natives--the ineffable repose and beauty of the landscape is

such, that every object strikes him like something seen in a dream;

and for a time he almost refuses to believe that scenes like these

should have a commonplace existence. No wonder that the French

bestowed upon the island the appellation of the New Cytherea.

"Often," says De Bourgainville, "I thought I was walking in the

Garden of Eden."


Nor, when first discovered, did the inhabitants of this charming

country at all diminish the wonder and admiration of the voyager.

Their physical beauty and amiable dispositions harmonized completely

with the softness of their clime. In truth, everything about them was

calculated to awaken the liveliest interest. Glance at their civil

and religious institutions. To their king, divine rights were paid;

while for poetry, their mythology rivalled that of ancient Greece.


Of Tahiti, earlier and more full accounts were given, than of any

other island in Polynesia; and this is the reason why it still

retains so strong a hold on the sympathies of all readers of South

Sea voyages. The journals of its first visitors, containing, as they

did, such romantic descriptions of a country and people before

unheard of, produced a marked sensation throughout Europe; and when

the first Tahitiana were carried thither, Omai in London, and

Aotooroo in Paris, were caressed by nobles, scholars, and ladies.


In addition to all this, several eventful occurrences, more or less

connected with Tahiti, have tended to increase its celebrity. Over

two centuries ago, Quiros, the Spaniard, is supposed to have touched

at the island; and at intervals, Wallis, Byron, Cook, De

Bourgainville, Vancouver, Le Perouse, and other illustrious

navigators refitted their vessels in its harbours. Here the famous

Transit of Venus was observed, in 1769. Here the memorable mutiny of

the Bounty afterwards had its origin. It was to the pagans of Tahiti

that the first regularly constituted Protestant missionaries were

sent; and from their shores also, have sailed successive missions to

the neighbouring islands.


These, with other events which might be mentioned, have united in

keeping up the first interest which the place awakened; and the

recent proceedings of the French have more than ever called forth the

sympathies of the public.








THE sight of the island was right welcome. Going into harbour after a

cruise is always joyous enough, and the sailor is apt to indulge in

all sorts of pleasant anticipations.  But to us, the occasion was

heightened by many things peculiar to our situation.


Since steering for the land, our prospects had been much talked over.

By many it was supposed that, should the captain leave the ship, the

crew were no longer bound by her articles. This was the opinion of

our forecastle Cokes; though, probably, it would not have been

sanctioned by the Marine Courts of Law. At any rate, such was the

state of both vessel and crew that, whatever might be the event, a

long stay, and many holidays in Tahiti, were confidently predicted.


Everybody was in high spirits. The sick, who had been improving day by

day since the change in our destination, were on deck, and leaning

over the bulwarks; some all animation, and others silently admiring

an object unrivalled for its stately beauty--Tahiti from the sea.


The quarter-deck, however, furnished a marked contrast to what was

going on at the other end of the ship. The Mowree was there, as

usual, scowling by himself; and Jermin walked to and fro in deep

thought, every now and then looking to windward, or darting into the

cabin and quickly returning.


With all our light sails wooingly spread, we held on our way, until,

with the doctor's glass, Papeetee, the village metropolis of Tahiti,

came into view. Several ships were descried lying in the harbour, and

among them, one which loomed up black and large; her two rows of

teeth proclaiming a frigate. This was the Reine Blanche, last from

the Marquesas, and carrying at the fore the flag of Rear-Admiral Du

Petit Thouars. Hardly had we made her out, when the booming of her

guns came over the water. She was firing a salute, which afterwards

turned out to be in honour of a treaty; or rather--as far as the

natives were concerned--a forced cession of Tahiti to the French,

that morning concluded.


The cannonading had hardly died away, when Jermin's voice was heard

giving an order so unexpected that everyone started. "Stand by to

haul back the main-yard!"


"What's that mean?" shouted the men, "are we not going into port?"


"Tumble after here, and no words!" cried the mate; and in a moment the

main-yard swung round, when, with her jib-boom pointing out to sea,

the Julia lay as quiet as a duck. We all looked blank--what was to

come next?


Presently the steward made his appearance, carrying a mattress, which

he spread out in the stern-sheets of the captain's boat; two or three

chests, and other things belonging to his master, were similarly

disposed of.


This was enough. A slight hint suffices for a sailor.


Still adhering to his resolution to keep the ship at sea in spite of

everything, the captain, doubtless, intended to set himself ashore,

leaving the vessel, under the mate, to resume her voyage at once; but

after a certain period agreed upon, to touch at the island, and take

him off. All this, of course, could easily be done without

approaching any nearer the land with the Julia than we now were.

Invalid whaling captains often adopt a plan like this; but, in the

present instance, it was wholly unwarranted; and, everything

considered, at war with the commonest principles of prudence and

humanity. And, although, on Guy's part, this resolution showed more

hardihood than he had ever been given credit for, it, at the same

time, argued an unaccountable simplicity, in supposing that such a

crew would, in any way, submit to the outrage.


It was soon made plain that we were right in our suspicions; and the

men became furious. The cooper and carpenter volunteered to head a

mutiny forthwith; and while Jermin was below, four or five rushed aft

to fasten down the cabin scuttle; others, throwing down the

main-braces, called out to the rest to lend a hand, and fill away for

the land. All this was done in an instant; and things were looking

critical, when Doctor Long Ghost and myself prevailed upon them to

wait a while, and do nothing hastily; there was plenty of time, and

the ship was completely in our power.


While the preparations were still going on in the cabin, we mustered

the men together, and went into counsel upon the forecastle.


It was with much difficulty that we could bring these rash spirits to

a calm consideration of the case. But the doctor's influence at last

began to tell; and, with a few exceptions, they agreed to be guided

by him; assured that, if they did so, the ship would eventually be

brought to her anchors without anyone getting into trouble. Still

they told us, up and down, that if peaceable means failed, they would

seize Little Jule, and carry her into Papeetee, if they all swung for

it; but, for the present, the captain should have his own way.


By this time everything was ready; the boat was lowered and brought to

the gangway; and the captain was helped on deck by the mate and

steward. It was the first time we had seen him in more than two

weeks, and he was greatly altered. As if anxious to elude every eye,

a broad-brimmed Payata hat was pulled down over his brow; so that his

face was only visible when the brim flapped aside. By a sling, rigged

from the main-yard, the cook and Bembo now assisted in lowering him

into the boat. As he went moaning over the side, he must have heard

the whispered maledictions of his crew.


While the steward was busy adjusting matters in the boat, the mate,

after a private interview with the Mowree, turned round abruptly, and

told us that he was going ashore with the captain, to return as soon

as possible. In his absence, Bembo, as next in rank, would command;

there being nothing to do but keep the ship at a safe distance from

the land. He then sprang into the boat, and, with only the cook and

steward as oarsmen, steered for the shore.


Guy's thus leaving the ship in the men's hands, contrary to the mate's

advice, was another evidence of his simplicity; for at this

particular juncture, had neither the doctor nor myself been aboard,

there is no telling what they might have done.


For the nonce, Bembo was captain; and, so far as mere seamanship was

concerned, he was as competent to command as anyone. In truth, a

better seaman never swore.  This accomplishment, by the bye, together

with a surprising familiarity with most nautical names and phrases,

comprised about all the English he knew.


Being a harpooner, and, as such, having access to the cabin, this man,

though not yet civilized, was, according to sea usages, which know no

exceptions, held superior to the sailors; and therefore nothing was

said against his being left in charge of the ship; nor did it

occasion any surprise.


Some additional account must be given of Bembo. In the first place, he

was far from being liked. A dark, moody savage, everybody but the

mate more or less distrusted or feared him. Nor were these feelings

unreciprocated. Unless duty called, he seldom went among the crew.

Hard stories too were told about him; something, in particular,

concerning an hereditary propensity to kill men and eat them. True, he

came from a race of cannibals; but that was all that was known to a


Whatever unpleasant ideas were connected with the Mowree, his

personal appearance no way lessened them. Unlike most of his

countrymen, he was, if anything, below the ordinary height; but then,

he was all compact, and under his swart, tattooed skin, the muscles

worked like steel rods. Hair, crisp and coal-black, curled over

shaggy brows, and ambushed small, intense eyes, always on the glare.

In short, he was none of your effeminate barbarians.


Previous to this, he had been two or three voyages in Sydney whalemen;

always, however, as in the present instance, shipping at the Bay of

Islands, and receiving his discharge there on the homeward-bound

passage. In this way, his countrymen frequently enter on board the

colonial whaling vessels.


There was a man among us who had sailed with the Mowree on his first

voyage, and he told me that he had not changed a particle since then.


Some queer things this fellow told me. The following is one of his

stories. I give it for what it is worth; premising, however, that

from what I know of Bembo, and the foolhardy, dare-devil feats

sometimes performed in the sperm-whale fishery, I believe in its

substantial truth.


As may be believed, Bembo was a wild one after a fish; indeed, all New

Zealanders engaged in this business are; it seems to harmonize

sweetly with their blood-thirsty propensities. At sea, the best

English they speak is the South Seaman's slogan in lowering away, "A

dead whale, or a stove boat!" Game to the marrow, these fellows are

generally selected for harpooners; a post in which a nervous, timid

man would be rather out of his element.


In darting, the harpooner, of course, stands erect in the head of the

boat, one knee braced against a support. But Bembo disdained this;

and was always pulled up to his fish, balancing himself right on the


But to my story. One morning, at daybreak, they brought him up to a

large, long whale. He darted his harpoon, and missed; and the fish

sounded. After a while, the monster rose again, about a mile off, and

they made after him. But he was frightened, or "gallied," as they

call it; and noon came, and the boat was still chasing him. In

whaling, as long as the fish is in sight, and no matter what may have

been previously undergone, there is no giving up, except when night

comes; and nowadays, when whales are so hard to be got, frequently

not even then. At last, Bembo's whale was alongside for the second

time. He darted both harpoons; but, as sometimes happens to the best

men, by some unaccountable chance, once more missed. Though it is

well known that such failures will happen at times, they,

nevertheless, occasion the bitterest disappointment to a boat's crew,

generally expressed in curses both loud and deep. And no wonder. Let

any man pull with might and main for hours and hours together, under

a burning sun; and if it do not make him a little peevish, he is no


The taunts of the seamen may have maddened the Mowree; however it was,

no sooner was he brought up again, than, harpoon in hand, he bounded

upon the whale's back, and for one dizzy second was seen there. The

next, all was foam and fury, and both were out of sight. The men

sheered off, flinging overboard the line as fast as they could; while

ahead, nothing was seen but a red whirlpool of blood and brine.


Presently, a dark object swam out; the line began to straighten; then

smoked round the loggerhead, and, quick as thought, the boat sped

like an arrow through the water.  They were "fast," and the whale was


Where was the Mowree? His brown hand was on the boat's gunwale; and he

was hauled aboard in the very midst of the mad bubbles that burst

under the bows.


Such a man, or devil, if you will, was Bembo.








AFTER the captain left, the land-breeze died away; and, as is usual

about these islands, toward noon it fell a dead calm. There was

nothing to do but haul up the courses, run down the jib, and lay and

roll upon the swells. The repose of the elements seemed to

communicate itself to the men; and for a time there was a lull.


Early in the afternoon, the mate, having left the captain at Papeetee,

returned to the ship. According to the steward, they were to go

ashore again right after dinner with the remainder of Guy's effects.


On gaining the deck, Jermin purposely avoided us and went below

without saying a word. Meanwhile, Long Ghost and I laboured hard to

diffuse the right spirit among the crew; impressing upon them that a

little patience and management would, in the end, accomplish all that

their violence could; and that, too, without making a serious matter

of it.


For my own part, I felt that I was under a foreign flag; that an

English consul was close at hand, and that sailors seldom obtain

justice. It was best to be prudent. Still, so much did I sympathize

with the men, so far, at least, as their real grievances were

concerned; and so convinced was I of the cruelty and injustice of what

Captain Guy seemed bent upon, that if need were, I stood ready to

raise a hand.


In spite of all we could do, some of them again became most

refractory, breathing nothing but downright mutiny. When we went

below to dinner these fellows stirred up such a prodigious tumult

that the old hull fairly echoed. Many, and fierce too, were the

speeches delivered, and uproarious the comments of the sailors. Among

others Long Jim, or--as the doctor afterwards called him--Lacedaemonian

Jim, rose in his place, and addressed the forecastle parliament in the

following strain:


"Look ye, Britons! if after what's happened, this here craft goes to

sea with us, we are no men; and that's the way to say it. Speak the

word, my livelies, and I'll pilot her in.  I've been to Tahiti before

and I can do it." Whereupon, he sat down amid a universal pounding of

chest-lids, and cymbaling of tin pans; the few invalids, who, as yet,

had not been actively engaged with the rest, now taking part in the

applause, creaking their bunk-boards and swinging their hammocks.

Cries also were heard, of "Handspikes and a shindy!" "Out

stun-sails!" "Hurrah!"


Several now ran on deck, and, for the moment, I thought it was all

over with us; but we finally succeeded in restoring some degree of


At last, by way of diverting their thoughts, I proposed that a "Round

Robin" should be prepared and sent ashore to the consul by Baltimore,

the cook. The idea took mightily, and I was told to set about it at

once. On turning to the doctor for the requisite materials, he told

me he had none; there was not a fly-leaf, even in any of his books.

So, after great search, a damp, musty volume, entitled "A History of

the most Atrocious and Bloody Piracies," was produced, and its two

remaining blank leaves being torn out, were by help of a little pitch

lengthened into one sheet. For ink, some of the soot over the lamp

was then mixed with water, by a fellow of a literary turn; and an

immense quill, plucked from a distended albatross' wing, which,

nailed against the bowsprit bitts, had long formed an ornament of the

forecastle, supplied a pen.


Making use of the stationery thus provided, I indited, upon a

chest-lid, a concise statement of our grievances; concluding with the

earnest hope that the consul would at once come off, and see how

matters stood for himself. Eight beneath the note was described the

circle about which the names were to be written; the great object of

a Round Robin being to arrange the signatures in such a way that,

although they are all found in a ring, no man can be picked out as

the leader of it.


Few among them had any regular names; many answering to some familiar

title, expressive of a personal trait; or oftener still, to the name

of the place from which they hailed; and in one or two cases were

known by a handy syllable or two, significant of nothing in

particular but the men who bore them. Some, to be sure, had, for the

sake of formality, shipped under a feigned cognomen, or "Purser's

name"; these, however, were almost forgotten by themselves; and so,

to give the document an air of genuineness, it was decided that every

man's name should be put down as it went among the crew.


It is due to the doctor to say that the circumscribed device was his.


Folded, and sealed with a drop of tar, the Round Robin was directed to

"The English Consul, Tahiti"; and, handed to the cook, was by him

delivered into that gentleman's hands as soon as the mate went


On the return of the boat, sometime after dark, we learned a good deal

from old Baltimore, who, having been allowed to run about as much as

he pleased, had spent his time gossiping.


Owing to the proceedings of the French, everything in Tahiti was in an

  1. Pritchard, the missionary consul, was absent in England; but

his place was temporarily filled by one Wilson, an educated white

man, born on the island, and the son of an old missionary of that

name still living.


With natives and foreigners alike, Wilson the younger was exceedingly

unpopular, being held an unprincipled and dissipated man, a character

verified by his subsequent conduct. Pritchard's selecting a man like

this to attend to the duties of his office, had occasioned general

dissatisfaction ashore.


Though never in Europe or America, the acting consul had been several

voyages to Sydney in a schooner belonging to the mission; and

therefore our surprise was lessened, when Baltimore told us, that he

and Captain Guy were as sociable as could be--old acquaintances, in

fact; and that the latter had taken up his quarters at Wilson's

house. For us this boded ill.


The mate was now assailed by a hundred questions as to what was going

to be done with us. His only reply was, that in the morning the

consul would pay us a visit, and settle everything.


After holding our ground off the harbour during the night, in the

morning a shore boat, manned by natives, was seen coming off. In it

were Wilson and another white man, who proved to be a Doctor Johnson,

an Englishman, and a resident physician of Papeetee.


Stopping our headway as they approached, Jermin advanced to the

gangway to receive them. No sooner did the consul touch the deck,

than he gave us a specimen of what he was.


"Mr. Jermin," he cried loftily, and not deigning to notice the

respectful salutation of the person addressed, "Mr. Jermin, tack

ship, and stand off from the land."


Upon this, the men looked hard at him, anxious to see what sort of a

looking "cove" he was. Upon inspection, he turned out to be an

exceedingly minute "cove," with a viciously pugged nose, and a

decidedly thin pair of legs. There was nothing else noticeable about

him. Jermin, with ill-assumed suavity, at once obeyed the order, and

the ship's head soon pointed out to sea.


Now, contempt is as frequently produced at first sight as love; and

thus was it with respect to Wilson. No one could look at him without

conceiving a strong dislike, or a cordial desire to entertain such a

feeling the first favourable opportunity. There was such an

intolerable air of conceit about this man that it was almost as much

as one could do to refrain from running up and affronting him.


"So the counsellor is come," exclaimed Navy Bob, who, like all the

rest, invariably styled him thus, much to mine and the doctor's

diversion. "Ay," said another, "and for no good, I'll be bound."


Such were some of the observations made, as Wilson and the mate went

below conversing.


But no one exceeded the cooper in the violence with which he inveighed

against the ship and everything connected with her. Swearing like a

trooper, he called the main-mast to witness that, if he (Bungs) ever

again went out of sight of land in the Julia, he prayed Heaven that a

fate might be his--altogether too remarkable to be here related.


Much had he to say also concerning the vileness of what we had to

eat--not fit for a dog; besides enlarging upon the imprudence of

intrusting the vessel longer to a man of the mate's intemperate

habits. With so many sick, too, what could we expect to do in the

fishery? It was no use talking; come what come might, the ship must

let go her anchor.


Now, as Bungs, besides being an able seaman, a "Cod" in the

forecastle, and about the oldest man in it, was, moreover, thus

deeply imbued with feelings so warmly responded to by the rest, he

was all at once selected to officiate as spokesman, as soon as the

consul should see fit to address us. The selection was made contrary

to mine and the doctor's advice; however, all assured us they would

keep quiet, and hear everything Wilson had to say, before doing

anything decisive.


We were not kept long in suspense; for very soon he was seen standing

in the cabin gangway, with the tarnished tin case containing the

ship's papers; and Jennin at once sung out for the ship's company to

muster on the quarter-deck.








THE order was instantly obeyed, and the sailors ranged themselves,

facing the consul.


They were a wild company; men of many climes--not at all precise in

their toilet arrangements, but picturesque in their very tatters. My

friend, the Long Doctor, was there too; and with a view, perhaps, of

enlisting the sympathies of the consul for a gentleman in distress,

had taken more than ordinary pains with his appearance. But among the

sailors, he looked like a land-crane blown off to sea, and consorting

with petrels.


The forlorn Rope Yarn, however, was by far the most remarkable figure.

Land-lubber that he was, his outfit of sea-clothing had long since

been confiscated; and he was now fain to go about in whatever he

could pick up. His upper garment--an unsailor-like article of dress

which he persisted in wearing, though torn from his back twenty times

in the day--was an old "claw-hammer jacket," or swallow-tail coat,

formerly belonging to Captain Guy, and which had formed one of his

perquisites when steward.


By the side of Wilson was the mate, bareheaded, his gray locks lying

in rings upon his bronzed brow, and his keen eye scanning the crowd

as if he knew their every thought. His frock hung loosely, exposing

his round throat, mossy chest, and short and nervous arm embossed

with pugilistic bruises, and quaint with many a device in India ink.


In the midst of a portentous silence, the consul unrolled his papers,

evidently intending to produce an effect by the exceeding bigness of

his looks.


"Mr. Jermin, call off their names;" and he handed him a list of the

ship's company.


All answered but the deserters and the two mariners at the bottom of

the sea.


It was now supposed that the Round Robin would be produced, and

something said about it. But not so. Among the consul's papers that

unique document was thought to be perceived; but, if there, it was

too much despised to be made a subject of comment. Some present, very

justly regarding it as an uncommon literary production, had been

anticipating all sorts of miracles therefrom; and were, therefore,

much touched at this neglect.


"Well, men," began Wilson again after a short pause, "although you all

look hearty enough, I'm told there are some sick among you. Now then,

Mr. Jermin, call off the names on that sick-list of yours, and let

them go over to the other side of the deck--I should like to see who

they are."


"So, then," said he, after we had all passed over, "you are the sick

fellows, are you?  Very good: I shall have you seen to. You will go

down into the cabin one by one, to Doctor Johnson, who will report

your respective cases to me. Such as he pronounces in a dying state I

shall have sent ashore; the rest will be provided with everything

needful, and remain aboard."


At this announcement, we gazed strangely at each other, anxious to see

who it was that looked like dying, and pretty nearly deciding to stay

aboard and get well, rather than go ashore and be buried. There were

some, nevertheless, who saw very plainly what Wilson was at, and they

acted accordingly. For my own part, I resolved to assume as dying an

expression as possible; hoping that, on the strength of it, I might

be sent ashore, and so get rid of the ship without any further


With this intention, I determined to take no part in anything that

might happen until my case was decided upon. As for the doctor, he

had all along pretended to be more or less unwell; and by a

significant look now given me, it was plain that he was becoming

decidedly worse.


The invalids disposed of for the present, and one of them having gone

below to be examined, the consul turned round to the rest, and

addressed them as follows:--


"Men, I'm going to ask you two or three questions--let one of you

answer yes or no, and the rest keep silent. Now then: Have you

anything to say against your mate, Mr.  Jermin?" And he looked

sharply among the sailors, and, at last, right into the eye of the

cooper, whom everybody was eyeing.


"Well, sir," faltered Bungs, "we can't say anything against Mr.

Jermin's seamanship, but--"


"I want no buts," cried the consul, breaking in: "answer me yes or

no--have you anything to say against Mr. Jermin?"


"I was going on to say, sir; Mr. Jermin's a very good man; but then--"

Here the mate looked marlinespikes at Bungs; and Bungs, after

stammering out something, looked straight down to a seam in the deck,

and stopped short.


A rather assuming fellow heretofore, the cooper had sported many

feathers in his cap; he was now showing the white one.


"So much then for that part of the business," exclaimed Wilson,

smartly; "you have nothing to say against him, I see."


Upon this, several seemed to be on the point of saying a good deal;

but disconcerted by the cooper's conduct, checked themselves, and the

consul proceeded.


"Have you enough to eat, aboard? answer me, you man who spoke



"Well, I don't know as to that," said the cooper, looking excessively

uneasy, and trying to edge back, but pushed forward again. "Some of

that salt horse ain't as sweet as it might be."


"That's not what I asked you," shouted the consul, growing brave quite

fast; "answer my questions as I put them, or I'll find a way to make



This was going a little too far. The ferment, into which the cooper's

poltroonery had thrown the sailors, now brooked no restraint; and one

of them--a young American who went by the name of Salem--dashed out

from among the rest, and fetching the cooper a blow that sent him

humming over toward the consul, flourished a naked sheath-knife in

the air, and burst forth with "I'm the little fellow that can answer

your questions; just put them to me once, counsellor." But the

"counsellor" had no more questions to ask just then; for at the

alarming apparition of Salem's knife, and the extraordinary effect

produced upon Bungs, he had popped his head down the companion-way,

and was holding it there.


Upon the mate's assuring him, however, that it was all over, he looked

up, quite flustered, if not frightened, but evidently determined to

put as fierce a face on the matter as practicable. Speaking sharply,

he warned all present to "look out"; and then repeated the question,

whether there was enough to eat aboard. Everyone now turned

spokesman; and he was assailed by a perfect hurricane of yells, in

which the oaths fell like hailstones.


"How's this! what d'ye mean?" he cried, upon the first lull; "who told

you all to speak at once? Here, you man with the knife, you'll be

putting someone's eyes out yet; d'ye hear, you sir? You seem to have

a good deal to say, who are you, pray; where did you ship?"


"I'm nothing more nor a bloody beach-comber," retorted Salem, stepping

forward piratically and eyeing him; "and if you want to know, I

shipped at the Islands about four months ago."


"Only four months ago? And here you have more to say than men who have

been aboard the whole voyage;" and the consul made a dash at looking

furious, but failed.  "Let me hear no more from you, sir. Where's

that respectable, gray-headed man, the cooper? he's the one to answer

my questions."


"There's no 'spectable, gray-headed men aboard," returned Salem;

"we're all a parcel of mutineers and pirates!"


All this time, the mate was holding his peace; and Wilson, now

completely abashed, and at a loss what to do, took him by the arm,

and walked across the deck. Returning to the cabin-scuttle, after a

close conversation, he abruptly addressed the sailors, without taking

any further notice of what had just happened.


"For reasons you all know, men, this ship has been placed in my hands.

As Captain Guy will remain ashore for the present, your mate, Mr.

Jermin, will command until his recovery. According to my judgment,

there is no reason why the voyage should not be at once resumed;

especially, as I shall see that you have two more harpooners, and

enough good men to man three boats. As for the sick, neither you nor I

have anything to do with them; they will be attended to by Doctor

Johnson; but I've explained that matter before. As soon as things can

be arranged--in a day or two, at farthest--you will go to sea for a

three months' cruise, touching here, at the end of it, for your

captain. Let me hear a good report of you, now, when you come back.

At present, you will continue lying off and on the harbour. I will

send you fresh provisions as soon as I can get them. There: I've

nothing more to say; go forward to your stations."


And, without another word, he wheeled round to descend into the cabin.

But hardly had he concluded before the incensed men were dancing

about him on every side, and calling upon him to lend an ear. Each

one for himself denied the legality of what he proposed to do;

insisted upon the necessity for taking the ship in; and finally gave

him to understand, roughly and roundly, that go to sea in her they

would not.


In the midst of this mutinous uproar, the alarmed consul stood fast by

the scuttle. His tactics had been decided upon beforehand; indeed,

they must have been concerted ashore, between him and the captain;

for all he said, as he now hurried below, was, "Go forward, men; I'm

through with you: you should have mentioned these matters before: my

arrangements are concluded: go forward, I say; I've nothing more to

say to you." And, drawing over the slide of the scuttle, he

disappeared. Upon the very point of following him down, the attention

of the exasperated seamen was called off to a party who had just then

taken the recreant Bungs in hand. Amid a shower of kicks and cuffs,

the traitor was borne along to the forecastle, where--I forbear to

relate what followed.








DURING THE scenes just described, Doctor Johnson was engaged in

examining the sick, of whom, as it turned out, all but two were to

remain in the ship. He had evidently received his cue from Wilson.


One of the last called below into the cabin, just as the quarter-deck

gathering dispersed, I came on deck quite incensed. My lameness,

which, to tell the truth, was now much better, was put down as, in a

great measure, affected; and my name was on the list of those who

would be fit for any duty in a day or two. This was enough. As for

Doctor Long Ghost, the shore physician, instead of extending to him

any professional sympathy, had treated him very cavalierly. To a

certain extent, therefore, we were now both bent on making common

cause with the sailors.


I must explain myself here. All we wanted was to have the ship snugly

anchored in Papeetee Bay; entertaining no doubt that, could this be

done, it would in some way or other peaceably lead to our

emancipation. Without a downright mutiny, there was but one way to

accomplish this: to induce the men to refuse all further duty, unless

it were to work the vessel in. The only difficulty lay in restraining

them within proper bounds. Nor was it without certain misgivings,

that I found myself so situated, that I must necessarily link myself,

however guardedly, with such a desperate company; and in an

enterprise, too, of which it was hard to conjecture what might be the

  1. But anything like neutrality was out of the question; and

unconditional submission was equally so.


On going forward, we found them ten times more tumultuous than ever.

After again restoring some degree of tranquillity, we once more urged

our plan of quietly refusing duty, and awaiting the result. At first,

few would hear of it; but in the end, a good number were convinced by

our representations. Others held out. Nor were those who thought with

us in all things to be controlled.


Upon Wilson's coming on deck to enter his boat, he was beset on all

sides; and, for a moment, I thought the ship would be seized before

his very eyes.


"Nothing more to say to you, men: my arrangements are made. Go

forward, where you belong. I'll take no insolence;" and, in a tremor,

Wilson hurried over the side in the midst of a volley of execrations.


Shortly after his departure, the mate ordered the cook and steward

into his boat; and saying that he was going to see how the captain

did, left us, as before, under the charge of Bembo.


At this time we were lying becalmed, pretty close in with the land

(having gone about again), our main-topsail flapping against the mast

with every roll.


The departure of the consul and Jermin was followed by a scene

absolutely indescribable. The sailors ran about deck like madmen;

Bembo, all the while leaning against the taff-rail by himself,

smoking his heathenish stone pipe, and never interfering.


The cooper, who that morning had got himself into a fluid of an

exceedingly high temperature, now did his best to regain the favour

of the crew. "Without distinction of party," he called upon all hands

to step up, and partake of the contents of his bucket.


But it was quite plain that, before offering to intoxicate others, he

had taken the wise precaution of getting well tipsy himself. He was

now once more happy in the affection of his shipmates, who, one and

all, pronounced him sound to the kelson.


The Pisco soon told; and, with great difficulty, we restrained a party

in the very act of breaking into the after-hold in pursuit of more.

All manner of pranks were now played.


"Mast-head, there! what d'ye see?" bawled Beauty, hailing the

main-truck through an enormous copper funnel. "Stand by for stays,"

roared Flash Jack, bawling off with the cook's axe, at the fastening

of the main-stay. "Looky out for 'quails!" shrieked the Portuguese,

Antone, darting a handspike through the cabin skylight. And "Heave

round cheerly, men," sung out Navy Bob, dancing a hornpipe on the








TOWARD sunset, the mate came off, singing merrily, in the stern of his

boat; and in attempting to climb up the side, succeeded in going

plump into the water. He was rescued by the steward, and carried

across the deck with many moving expressions of love for his bearer.

Tumbled into the quarter-boat, he soon fell asleep, and waking about

midnight, somewhat sobered, went forward among the men. Here, to

prepare for what follows, we must leave him for a moment.


It was now plain enough that Jermin was by no means unwilling to take

the Julia to sea; indeed, there was nothing he so much desired;

though what his reasons were, seeing our situation, we could only

conjecture. Nevertheless, so it was; and having counted much upon his

rough popularity with the men to reconcile them to a short cruise

under him, he had consequently been disappointed in their behaviour.

Still, thinking that they would take a different view of the matter,

when they came to know what fine times he had in store for them, he

resolved upon trying a little persuasion.


So on going forward, he put his head down the forecastle scuttle, and

hailed us quite cordially, inviting us down into the cabin; where, he

said, he had something to make merry withal. Nothing loth, we went;

and throwing ourselves along the transom, waited for the steward to

serve us.


As the can circulated, Jermin, leaning on the table and occupying the

captain's arm-chair secured to the deck, opened his mind as bluntly

and freely as ever. He was by no means yet sober.


He told us we were acting very foolishly; that if we only stuck to the

ship, he would lead us all a jovial life of it; enumerating the casks

still remaining untapped in the Julia's wooden cellar. It was even

hinted vaguely that such a thing might happen as our not coming back

for the captain; whom he spoke of but lightly; asserting, what he had

often said before, that he was no sailor.


Moreover, and perhaps with special reference to Doctor Long Ghost and

myself, he assured us generally that, if there were any among us

studiously inclined, he would take great pleasure in teaching such

the whole art and mystery of navigation, including the gratuitous use

of his quadrant.


I should have mentioned that, previous to this, he had taken the

doctor aside, and said something about reinstating him in the cabin

with augmented dignity; beside throwing out a hint that I myself was

in some way or other to be promoted. But it was all to no purpose;

bent the men were upon going ashore, and there was no moving them.


At last he flew into a rage--much increased by the frequency of his

potations--and with many imprecations, concluded by driving everybody

out of the cabin. We tumbled up the gangway in high good-humour.


Upon deck everything looked so quiet that some of the most pugnacious

spirits actually lamented that there was so little prospect of an

exhilarating disturbance before morning. It was not five minutes,

however, ere these fellows were gratified.


Sydney Ben--said to be a runaway Ticket-of-Leave-Man, and for reasons

of his own, one of the few who still remained on duty--had, for the

sake of the fun, gone down with the rest into the cabin; where Bembo,

who meanwhile was left in charge of the deck, had frequently called

out for him. At first, Ben pretended not to hear; but on being sung

out for again and again, bluntly refused; at the same time, casting

some illiberal reflections on the Mowree's maternal origin, which the

latter had been long enough among the sailors to understand as in the

highest degree offensive. So just after the men came up from below,

Bembo singled him out, and gave him such a cursing in his broken

lingo that it was enough to frighten one. The convict was the worse

for liquor; indeed the Mowree had been tippling also, and before we

knew it, a blow was struck by Ben, and the two men came together like


The Ticket-of-Leave-Man was a practised bruiser; but the savage knew

nothing of the art pugilistic: and so they were even. It was clear

hugging and wrenching till both came to the deck. Here they rolled

over and over in the middle of a ring which seemed to form of itself.

At last the white man's head fell back, and his face grew purple.

Bembo's teeth were at his throat. Rushing in all round, they hauled

the savage off, but not until repeatedly struck on the head would he

let go.


His rage was now absolutely demoniac; he lay glaring and writhing on

the deck, without attempting to rise. Cowed, as they supposed he was,

from his attitude, the men, rejoiced at seeing him thus humbled, left

him; after rating him, in sailor style, for a cannibal and a coward.


Ben was attended to, and led below.


Soon after this, the rest also, with but few exceptions, retired into

the forecastle; and having been up nearly all the previous night,

they quickly dropped about the chests and rolled into the hammocks.

In an hour's time, not a sound could be heard in that part of the


Before Bembo was dragged away, the mate had in vain endeavoured to

separate the combatants, repeatedly striking the Mowree; but the

seamen interposing, at last kept him off.


And intoxicated as he was, when they dispersed, he knew enough to

charge the steward--a steady seaman be it remembered--with the

present safety of the ship; and then went below, when he fell

directly into another drunken sleep.


Having remained upon deck with the doctor some time after the rest had

gone below, I was just on the point of following him down, when I saw

the Mowree rise, draw a bucket of water, and holding it high above

his head, pour its contents right over him.  This he repeated several

times. There was nothing very peculiar in the act, but something else

about him struck me. However, I thought no more of it, but descended

the scuttle.


After a restless nap, I found the atmosphere of the forecastle so

close, from nearly all the men being down at the same time, that I

hunted up an old pea-jacket and went on deck; intending to sleep it

out there till morning. Here I found the cook and steward, Wymontoo,

Hope Yarn, and the Dane; who, being all quiet, manageable fellows,

and holding aloof from the rest since the captain's departure, had

been ordered by the mate not to go below until sunrise. They were

lying under the lee of the bulwarks; two or three fast asleep, and

the others smoking their pipes, and conversing.


To my surprise, Bembo was at the helm; but there being so few to stand

there now, they told me, he had offered to take his turn with the

rest, at the same time heading the watch; and to this, of course,

they made no objection.


It was a fine, bright night; all moon and stars, and white crests of

waves. The breeze was light, but freshening; and close-hauled, poor

little Jule, as if nothing had happened, was heading in for the land,

which rose high and hazy in the distance.


After the day's uproar, the tranquillity of the scene was soothing,

and I leaned over the side to enjoy it.


More than ever did I now lament my situation--but it was useless to

repine, and I could not upbraid myself. So at last, becoming drowsy,

I made a bed with my jacket under the windlass, and tried to forget


How long I lay there, I cannot tell; but as I rose, the first object

that met my eye was Bembo at the helm; his dark figure slowly rising

and falling with the ship's motion against the spangled heavens

behind. He seemed all impatience and expectation; standing at arm's

length from the spokes, with one foot advanced, and his bare head

thrust forward. Where I was, the watch were out of sight; and no one

else was stirring; the deserted decks and broad white sails were

gleaming in the moonlight.


Presently, a swelling, dashing sound came upon my ear, and I had a

sort of vague consciousness that I had been hearing it before. The

next instant I was broad awake and on my feet. Eight ahead, and so

near that my heart stood still, was a long line of breakers, heaving

and frothing. It was the coral reef girdling the island. Behind it,

and almost casting their shadows upon the deck, were the sleeping

mountains, about whose hazy peaks the gray dawn was just breaking.

The breeze had freshened, and with a steady, gliding motion, we were

running straight for the reef.


All was taken in at a glance; the fell purpose of Bembo was obvious,

and with a frenzied shout to wake the watch, I rushed aft. They

sprang to their feet bewildered; and after a short, but desperate

scuffle, we tore him from the helm. In wrestling with him, the

wheel--left for a moment unguarded--flew to leeward, thus, fortunately,

bringing the ship's head to the wind, and so retarding her progress.

Previous to this, she had been kept three or four points free, so as

to close with the breakers. Her headway now shortened, I steadied the

helm, keeping the sails just lifting, while we glided obliquely

toward the land. To have run off before the wind--an easy

thing--would have been almost instant destruction, owing to a curve of

the reef in that direction. At this time, the Dane and the steward

were still struggling with the furious Mowree, and the others were

running about irresolute and shouting.


But darting forward the instant I had the helm, the old cook thundered

on the forecastle with a handspike, "Breakers! breakers close

aboard!--'bout ship! 'bout ship!"


Up came the sailors, staring about them in stupid horror.


"Haul back the head-yards!" "Let go the lee fore-brace!" "Beady about!

about!" were now shouted on all sides; while distracted by a thousand

orders, they ran hither and thither, fairly panic-stricken.


It seemed all over with us; and I was just upon the point of throwing

the ship full into the wind (a step, which, saving us for the

instant, would have sealed our fate in the end), when a sharp cry

shot by my ear like the flight of an arrow.


It was Salem: "All ready for'ard; hard down!"


Round and round went the spokes--the Julia, with her short keel,

spinning to windward like a top. Soon, the jib-sheets lashed the

stays, and the men, more self-possessed, flew to the braces.


"Main-sail haul!" was now heard, as the fresh breeze streamed fore and

aft the deck; and directly the after-yards were whirled round.


In a half-a-minute more, we were sailing away from the land on the

other tack, with every sail distended.


Turning on her heel within little more than a biscuit's toss of the

reef, no earthly power could have saved us, were it not that, up to

the very brink of the coral rampart, there are no soundings.








THE purpose of Bembo had been made known to the men generally by the

watch; and now that our salvation was certain, by an instinctive

impulse they raised a cry, and rushed toward him.


Just before liberated by Dunk and the steward, he was standing

doggedly by the mizzen-mast; and, as the infuriated sailors came on,

his bloodshot eye rolled, and his sheath-knife glittered over his


"Down with him!" "Strike him down!" "Hang him at the main-yard!" such

were the shouts now raised. But he stood unmoved, and, for a single

instant, they absolutely faltered.


"Cowards!" cried Salem, and he flung himself upon him. The steel

descended like a ray of light; but did no harm; for the sailor's

heart was beating against the Mowree's before he was aware.


They both fell to the deck, when the knife was instantly seized, and

Bembo secured.


"For'ard! for'ard with him!" was again the cry; "give him a sea-toss!"

"Overboard with him!" and he was dragged along the deck, struggling

and fighting with tooth and nail.


All this uproar immediately over the mate's head at last roused him

from his drunken nap, and he came staggering on deck.


"What's this?" he shouted, running right in among them.


"It's the Mowree, zur; they are going to murder him, zur," here sobbed

poor Rope Yarn, crawling close up to him.


"Avast! avast!" roared Jermin, making a spring toward Bembo, and

dashing two or three of the sailors aside. At this moment the wretch

was partly flung over the bulwarks, which shook with his frantic

struggles. In vain the doctor and others tried to save him: the men

listened to nothing.


"Murder and mutiny, by the salt sea!" shouted the mate; and dashing

his arms right and left, he planted his iron hand upon the Mowree's


"There are two of us now; and as you serve him, you serve me," he

cried, turning fiercely round.


"Over with them together, then," exclaimed the carpenter, springing

forward; but the rest fell back before the courageous front of

Jermin, and, with the speed of thought, Bembo, unharmed, stood upon


"Aft with ye!" cried his deliverer; and he pushed him right among the

men, taking care to follow him up close. Giving the sailors no time

to recover, he pushed the Mowree before him, till they came to the

cabin scuttle, when he drew the slide over him, and stood still.

Throughout, Bembo never spoke one word.


"Now for'ard where ye belong!" cried the mate, addressing the seamen,

who by this time, rallying again, had no idea of losing their victim.


"The Mowree! the Mowree!" they shouted.


Here the doctor, in answer to the mate's repeated questions, stepped

forward, and related what Bembo had been doing; a matter which the

mate but dimly understood from the violent threatenings he had been


For a moment he seemed to waver; but at last, turning the key of the

padlock of the slide, he breathed through his set teeth--"Ye can't

have him; I'll hand him over to the consul; so for'ard with ye, I

say: when there's any drowning to be done, I'll pass the word; so

away with ye, ye blood-thirsty pirates."


It was to no purpose that they begged or threatened: Jermin, although

by no means sober, stood his ground manfully, and before long they

dispersed, soon to forget everything that had happened.


Though we had no opportunity to hear him confess it, Bembo's intention

to destroy us was beyond all question. His only motive could have

been a desire to revenge the contumely heaped upon him the night

previous, operating upon a heart irreclaimably savage, and at no time

fraternally disposed toward the crew.


During the whole of this scene the doctor did his best to save him.

But well knowing that all I could do would have been equally useless,

I maintained my place at the wheel. Indeed, no one but Jermin could

have prevented this murder.








DURING the morning of the day which dawned upon the events just

recounted, we remained a little to leeward of the harbour, waiting

the appearance of the consul, who had promised the mate to come off

in a shore boat for the purpose of seeing him.


By this time the men had forced his secret from the cooper, and the

consequence was that they kept him continually coming and going from

the after-hold. The mate must have known this; but he said nothing,

notwithstanding all the dancing and singing, and occasional fighting

which announced the flow of the Pisco.


The peaceable influence which the doctor and myself had heretofore

been exerting, was now very nearly at an end.


Confident, from the aspect of matters, that the ship, after all, would

be obliged to go in; and learning, moreover, that the mate had said

so, the sailors, for the present, seemed in no hurry about it;

especially as the bucket of Bungs gave such generous cheer.


As for Bembo, we were told that, after putting him in double irons,

the mate had locked him up in the captain's state-room, taking the

additional precaution of keeping the cabin scuttle secured. From this

time forward we never saw the Mowree again, a circumstance which will

explain itself as the narrative proceeds.


Noon came, and no consul; and as the afternoon advanced without any

word even from the shore, the mate was justly incensed; more

especially as he had taken great pains to keep perfectly sober

against Wilson's arrival.


Two or three hours before sundown, a small schooner came out of the

harbour, and headed over for the adjoining island of Imeeo, or

Moreea, in plain sight, about fifteen miles distant. The wind

failing, the current swept her down under our bows, where we had a

fair glimpse of the natives on her decks.


There were a score of them, perhaps, lounging upon spread mats, and

smoking their pipes. On floating so near, and hearing the maudlin

cries of our crew, and beholding their antics, they must have taken

us for a pirate; at any rate, they got out their sweeps, and pulled

away as fast as they could; the sight of our two six-pounders, which,

by way of a joke, were now run out of the side-ports, giving a fresh

impetus to their efforts. But they had not gone far, when a white

man, with a red sash about his waist, made his appearance on deck,

the natives immediately desisting.


Hailing us loudly, he said he was coming aboard; and after some

confusion on the schooner's decks, a small canoe was launched

over-hoard, and, in a minute or two, he was with us. He turned out to

be an old shipmate of Jermin's, one Viner, long supposed dead, but

now resident on the island.


The meeting of these men, under the circumstances, is one of a

thousand occurrences appearing exaggerated in fiction; but,

nevertheless, frequently realized in actual lives of adventure.


Some fifteen years previous, they had sailed together as officers of

the barque Jane, of London, a South Seaman. Somewhere near the New

Hebrides, they struck one night upon an unknown reef; and, in a few

hours, the Jane went to pieces. The boats, however, were saved; some

provisions also, a quadrant, and a few other articles. But several of

the men were lost before they got clear of the wreck.


The three boats, commanded respectively by the captain, Jermin, and

the third mate, then set sail for a small English settlement at the

Bay of Islands in New Zealand. Of course they kept together as much

as possible. After being at sea about a week, a Lascar in the

captain's boat went crazy; and, it being dangerous to keep him, they

tried to throw him overboard. In the confusion that ensued the boat

capsized from the sail's "jibing"; and a considerable sea running at

the time, and the other boats being separated more than usual, only

one man was picked up. The very next night it blew a heavy gale; and

the remaining boats taking in all sail, made bundles of their oars,

flung them overboard, and rode to them with plenty of line. When

morning broke, Jermin and his men were alone upon the ocean: the

third mate's boat, in all probability, having gone down.


After great hardships, the survivors caught sight of a brig, which

took them on board, and eventually landed them at Sydney.


Ever since then our mate had sailed from that port, never once hearing

of his lost shipmates, whom, by this time, of course, he had long

given up. Judge, then, his feelings when Viner, the lost third mate,

the instant he touched the deck, rushed up and wrung him by the hand.


During the gale his line had parted; so that the boat, drifting fast

to leeward, was out of sight by morning. Reduced, after this, to

great extremities, the boat touched, for fruit, at an island of which

they knew nothing. The natives, at first, received them kindly; but

one of the men getting into a quarrel on account of a woman, and the

rest taking his part, they were all massacred but Viner, who, at the

time, was in an adjoining village. After staying on the island more

than two years, he finally escaped in the boat of an American whaler,

which landed him at Valparaiso. From this period he had continued to

follow the seas, as a man before the mast, until about eighteen

months previous, when he went ashore at Tahiti, where he now owned the

schooner we saw, in which he traded among the neighbouring islands.


The breeze springing up again just after nightfall, Viner left us,

promising his old shipmate to see him again, three days hence, in

Papeetee harbour.








EXHAUSTED by the day's wassail, most of the men went below at an early

hour, leaving the deck to the steward and two of the men remaining on

duty; the mate, with Baltimore and the Dane, engaging to relieve them

at midnight. At that hour, the ship--now standing off shore, under

short sail--was to be tacked.


It was not long after midnight, when we were wakened in the forecastle

by the lion roar of Jermin's voice, ordering a pull at the

jib-halyards; and soon afterwards, a handspike struck the scuttle,

and all hands were called to take the ship into port.


This was wholly unexpected; but we learned directly that the mate, no

longer relying upon the consul, and renouncing all thought of

inducing the men to change their minds, had suddenly made up his own.

He was going to beat up to the entrance of the harbour, so as to show

a signal for a pilot before sunrise.


Notwithstanding this, the sailors absolutely refused to assist in

working the ship under any circumstances whatever: to all mine and

the doctor's entreaties lending a deaf ear. Sink or strike, they

swore they would have nothing more to do with her. This perverse-ness

was to be attributed, in a great measure, to the effects of their

late debauch.


With a strong breeze, all sail set, and the ship in the hands of four

or five men, exhausted by two nights' watching, our situation was bad

enough; especially as the mate seemed more reckless than ever, and we

were now to tack ship several times close under the land.


Well knowing that if anything untoward happened to the vessel before

morning, it would be imputed to the conduct of the crew, and so lead

to serious results, should they ever be brought to trial; I called

together those on deck to witness my declaration;--that now that the

Julia was destined for the harbour (the only object for which I, at

least, had been struggling), I was willing to do what I could toward

carrying her in safely. In this step I was followed by the doctor.


The hours passed anxiously until morning; when, being well to windward

of the mouth of the harbour, we bore up for it, with the union-jack

at the fore. No sign, however, of boat or pilot was seen; and after

running close in several times, the ensign was set at the

mizzen-peak, union down in distress. But it was of no avail.


Attributing to Wilson this unaccountable remissness on the part of

those ashore, Jermin, quite enraged, now determined to stand boldly

in upon his own responsibility; trusting solely to what he remembered

of the harbour on a visit there many years previous.


This resolution was characteristic. Even with a competent pilot,

Papeetee Bay, is considered a ticklish, one to enter. Formed by a

bold sweep of the shore, it is protected seaward by the coral reef,

upon which the rollers break with great violence.  After stretching

across the bay, the barrier extends on toward Point Venus, in the

district of Matavia, eight or nine miles distant. Here there is an

opening, by which ships enter, and glide down the smooth, deep canal,

between the reef and the shore, to the harbour. But, by seamen

generally, the leeward entrance is preferred, as the wind is

extremely variable inside the reef. This latter entrance is a break in

the barrier directly facing the bay and village of Papeetee. It is

very narrow; and from the baffling winds, currents, and sunken rocks,

ships now and then grate their keels against the coral.


But the mate was not to be daunted; so, stationing what men he had at

the braces, he sprang upon the bulwarks, and, bidding everybody keep

wide awake, ordered the helm up. In a few moments, we were running

in. Being toward noon, the wind was fast leaving us, and, by the time

the breakers were roaring on either hand, little more than

steerage-way was left. But on we glided--smoothly and deftly; avoiding

the green, darkling objects here and there strewn in our path; Jermin

occasionally looking down in the water, and then about him, with the

utmost calmness, and not a word spoken. Just fanned along thus, it

was not many minutes ere we were past all danger, and floated into

the placid basin within. This was the cleverest specimen of his

seamanship that he ever gave us.


As we held on toward the frigate and shipping, a canoe, coming out

from among them, approached. In it were a boy and an old man--both

islanders; the former nearly naked, and the latter dressed in an old

naval frock-coat. Both were paddling with might and main; the old

man, once in a while, tearing his paddle out of the water; and, after

rapping his companion over the head, both fell to with fresh vigour.

As they came within hail, the old fellow, springing to his feet and

flourishing his paddle, cut some of the queerest capers; all the

while jabbering something which at first we could not understand.


Presently we made out the following:--"Ah! you pemi, ah!--you

come!--What for you come?--You be fine for come no pilot.--I say, you

hear?--I say, you ita maitui (no good).--You hear?--You no

pilot.--Yes, you d---- me, you no pilot 't all; I d---- you; you



This tirade, which showed plainly that, whatever the profane old

rascal was at, he was in right good earnest, produced peals of

laughter from the ship. Upon which, he seemed to get beside himself;

and the boy, who, with suspended paddle, was staring about him,

received a sound box over the head, which set him to work in a

twinkling, and brought the canoe quite near. The orator now opening

afresh, it turned out that his vehement rhetoric was all addressed to

the mate, still standing conspicuously on the bulwarks.


But Jermin was in no humour for nonsense; so, with a sailor's

blessing, he ordered him off. The old fellow then flew into a regular

frenzy, cursing and swearing worse than any civilized being I ever


"You sabbee me?" he shouted. "You know me, ah? Well; me Jim, me

pilot--been pilot now long time."


"Ay," cried Jermin, quite surprised, as indeed we all were, "you are

the pilot, then, you old pagan. Why didn't you come off before this?"


"Ah! me scibbee,--me know--you piratee (pirate)--see you long time,

but no me come--I sabbee you--you ita maitai nuee (superlatively



"Paddle away with ye," roared Jermin, in a rage; "be off! or I'll dart

a harpoon at ye!"


But, instead of obeying the order, Jim, seizing his paddle, darted the

canoe right up to the gangway, and, in two bounds, stood on deck.


Pulling a greasy silk handkerchief still lower over his brow, and

improving the sit of his frock-coat with a vigorous jerk, he then

strode up to the mate; and, in a more flowery style than ever, gave

him to understand that the redoubtable "Jim," himself, was before

him; that the ship was his until the anchor was down; and he should

like to hear what anyone had to say to it.


As there now seemed little doubt that he was all he claimed to be, the

Julia was at last surrendered.


Our gentleman now proceeded to bring us to an anchor, jumping up

between the knight-heads, and bawling out "Luff! luff! keepy off!

leeepy off!" and insisting upon each time being respectfully

responded to by the man at the helm. At this time our steerage-way

was almost gone; and yet, in giving his orders, the passionate old

man made as much fuss as a white squall aboard the Flying Dutchman.


Jim turned out to be the regular pilot of the harbour; a post, be it

known, of no small profit; and, in his eyes, at least, invested with

immense importance. Our unceremonious entrance, therefore, was

regarded as highly insulting, and tending to depreciate both the

dignity and lucrativeness of his office.


The old man is something of a wizard. Having an understanding with the

elements, certain phenomena of theirs are exhibited for his

particular benefit. Unusually clear weather, with a fine steady

breeze, is a certain sign that a merchantman is at hand; whale-spouts

seen from the harbour are tokens of a whaling vessel's approach; and

thunder and lightning, happening so seldom as they do, are proof

positive that a man-of-war is drawing near.


In short, Jim, the pilot, is quite a character in his way; and no one

visits Tahiti without hearing some curious story about him.








THE village of Papeetee struck us all very pleasantly. Lying in a

semicircle round the bay, the tasteful mansions of the chiefs and

foreign residents impart an air of tropical elegance, heightened by

the palm-trees waving here and there, and the deep-green groves of

the Bread-Fruit in the background. The squalid huts of the common

people are out of sight, and there is nothing to mar the prospect.


All round the water extends a wide, smooth beach of mixed pebbles and

fragments of coral. This forms the thoroughfare of the village; the

handsomest houses all facing it--the fluctuation of the tides being

so inconsiderable that they cause no inconvenience.


The Pritchard residence--a fine large building--occupies a site on one

side of the bay: a green lawn slopes off to the sea: and in front

waves the English flag. Across the water, the tricolour also, and the

stars and stripes, distinguish the residences of the other consuls.


What greatly added to the picturesqueness of the bay at this time was

the condemned hull of a large ship, which, at the farther end of the

harbour, lay bilged upon the beach, its stern settled low in the

water, and the other end high and dry.  From where we lay, the trees

behind seemed to lock their leafy boughs over its bowsprit; which,

from its position, looked nearly upright.


She was an American whaler, a very old craft. Having sprung a leak at

sea, she had made all sail for the island, to heave down for repairs.

Found utterly unseaworthy, however, her oil was taken out and sent

home in another vessel; the hull was then stripped and sold for a


Before leaving Tahiti, I had the curiosity to go over this poor old

ship, thus stranded on a strange shore. What were my emotions, when I

saw upon her stern the name of a small town on the river Hudson! She

was from the noble stream on whose banks I was born; in whose waters

I had a hundred times bathed. In an instant, palm-trees and

elms--canoes and skiffs--church spires and bamboos--all mingled in one

vision of the present and the past.


But we must not leave little Jule.


At last the wishes of many were gratified; and like an aeronaut's

grapnel, her rusty little anchor was caught in the coral groves at

the bottom of Papeetee Bay. This must have been more than forty days

after leaving the Marquesas.


The sails were yet unfurled, when a boat came alongside with our

esteemed friend Wilson, the consul.


"How's this, how's this, Mr. Jermin?" he began, looking very savage as

he touched the deck. "What brings you in without orders?"


"You did not come off to us, as you promised, sir; and there was no

hanging on longer with nobody to work the ship," was the blunt reply.


"So the infernal scoundrels held out--did they? Very good; I'll make

them sweat for it," and he eyed the scowling men with unwonted

intrepidity. The truth was, he felt safer now, than when outside the


"Muster the mutineers on the quarter-deck," he continued. "Drive them

aft, sir, sick and well: I have a word to say to them."


"Now, men," said he, "you think it's all well with you, I suppose. You

wished the ship in, and here she is. Captain Guy's ashore, and you

think you must go too: but we'll see about that--I'll miserably

disappoint you." (These last were his very words.) "Mr.  Jermin, call

off the names of those who did not refuse duty, and let them go over

to the starboard side."


This done, a list was made out of the "mutineers," as he was pleased

to call the rest.  Among these, the doctor and myself were included;

though the former stepped forward, and boldly pleaded the office held

by him when the vessel left Sydney. The mate also--who had always

been friendly--stated the service rendered by myself two nights

previous, as well as my conduct when he announced his intention to

enter the harbour. For myself, I stoutly maintained that, according

to the tenor of the agreement made with Captain Guy, my time aboard

the ship had expired--the cruise being virtually at an end, however

it had been brought about--and I claimed my discharge.


But Wilson would hear nothing. Marking something in my manner,

nevertheless, he asked my name and country; and then observed with a

sneer, "Ah, you are the lad, I see, that wrote the Round Robin; I'll

take good care of you, my fine fellow--step back, sir."


As for poor Long Ghost, he denounced him as a "Sydney Flash-Gorger";

though what under heaven he meant by that euphonious title is more

than I can tell. Upon this, the doctor gave him such a piece of his

mind that the consul furiously commanded him to hold his peace, or he

would instantly have him seized into the rigging and flogged.  There

was no help for either of us--we were judged by the company we kept.


All were now sent forward; not a word being said as to what he

intended doing with us.


After a talk with the mate, the consul withdrew, going aboard the

French frigate, which lay within a cable's length. We now suspected

his object; and since matters had come to this pass, were rejoiced at

it. In a day or two the Frenchman was to sail for Valparaiso, the

usual place of rendezvous for the English squadron in the Pacific;

and doubtless, Wilson meant to put us on board, and send us thither to

be delivered up. Should our conjecture prove correct, all we had to

expect, according to our most experienced shipmates, was the fag end

of a cruise in one of her majesty's ships, and a discharge before

long at Portsmouth.


We now proceeded to put on all the clothes we could--frock over frock,

and trousers over trousers--so as to be in readiness for removal at a

moment's warning. Armed ships allow nothing superfluous to litter up

the deck; and therefore, should we go aboard the frigate, our chests

and their contents would have to be left behind.


In an hour's time, the first cutter of the Reine Blanche came

alongside, manned by eighteen or twenty sailors, armed with cutlasses

and boarding pistols--the officers, of course, wearing their

side-arms, and the consul in an official cocked hat borrowed for the

occasion. The boat was painted a "pirate black," its crew were a

dark, grim-looking set, and the officers uncommonly fierce-looking

little Frenchmen. On the whole they were calculated to intimidate--the

consul's object, doubtless, in bringing them.


Summoned aft again, everyone's name was called separately; and being

solemnly reminded that it was his last chance to escape punishment,

was asked if he still refused duty. The response was instantaneous:

"Ay, sir, I do." In some cases followed up by divers explanatory

observations, cut short by Wilson's ordering the delinquent to the

cutter. As a general thing, the order was promptly obeyed--some

taking a sequence of hops, skips, and jumps, by way of showing not

only their unimpaired activity of body, but their alacrity in

complying with all reasonable requests.


Having avowed their resolution not to pull another rope of the

Julia's--even if at once restored to perfect health--all the

invalids, with the exception of the two to be set ashore, accompanied

us into the cutter: They were in high spirits; so much so that

something was insinuated about their not having been quite as ill as


The cooper's name was the last called; we did not hear what he

answered, but he stayed behind. Nothing was done about the Mowree.


Shoving clear from the ship, three loud cheers were raised; Flash Jack

and others receiving a sharp reprimand for it from the consul.


"Good-bye, Little Jule," cried Navy Bob, as we swept under the bows.

"Don't fall overboard, Ropey," said another to the poor landlubber,

who, with Wymontoo, the Dane, and others left behind, was looking

over at us from the forecastle.


"Give her three more!" cried Salem, springing to his feet and whirling

his hat round.  "You sacre dam raakeel," shouted the lieutenant of

the party, bringing the flat of his sabre across his shoulders, "you

now keepy steel."


The doctor and myself, more discreet, sat quietly in the bow of the

cutter; and for my own part, though I did not repent what I had done,

my reflections were far from being enviable.








IN a few moments, we were paraded in the frigate's gangway; the first

lieutenant--an elderly yellow-faced officer, in an ill-cut coat and

tarnished gold lace--coming up, and frowning upon us.


This gentleman's head was a mere bald spot; his legs, sticks; in

short, his whole physical vigour seemed exhausted in the production

of one enormous moustache.  Old Gamboge, as he was forthwith

christened, now received a paper from the consul; and, opening it,

proceeded to compare the goods delivered with the invoice.


After being thoroughly counted, a meek little midshipman was called,

and we were soon after given in custody to half-a-dozen

sailor-soldiers--fellows with tarpaulins and muskets. Preceded by a

pompous functionary (whom we took for one of the ship's corporals,

from his ratan and the gold lace on his sleeve), we were now escorted

down the ladders to the berth-deck.


Here we were politely handcuffed, all round; the man with the bamboo

evincing the utmost solicitude in giving us a good fit from a large

basket of the articles of assorted sizes.


Taken by surprise at such an uncivil reception, a few of the party

demurred; but all coyness was, at last, overcome; and finally our

feet were inserted into heavy anklets of iron, running along a great

bar bolted down to the deck. After this, we considered ourselves

permanently established in our new quarters.


"The deuce take their old iron!" exclaimed the doctor; "if I'd known

this, I'd stayed behind."


"Ha, ha!" cried Flash Jack, "you're in for it, Doctor Long Ghost."


"My hands and feet are, any way," was the reply.


They placed a sentry over us; a great lubber of a fellow, who marched

up and down with a dilapidated old cutlass of most extraordinary

dimensions. From its length, we had some idea that it was expressly

intended to keep a crowd in order--reaching over the heads of

half-a-dozen, say, so as to get a cut at somebody behind.


"Mercy!" ejaculated the doctor with a shudder, "what a sensation it

must be to be killed by such a tool."


We fasted till night, when one of the boys came along with a couple of

"kids" containing a thin, saffron-coloured fluid, with oily particles

floating on top. The young wag told us this was soup: it turned out

to be nothing more than oleaginous warm water. Such as it was,

nevertheless, we were fain to make a meal of it, our sentry being

attentive enough to undo our bracelets. The "kids" passed from mouth

to mouth, and were soon emptied.


The next morning, when the sentry's back was turned, someone, whom we

took for an English sailor, tossed over a few oranges, the rinds of

which we afterward used for cups.


On the second day nothing happened worthy of record. On the third, we

were amused by the following scene.


A man, whom we supposed a boatswain's mate, from the silver whistle

hanging from his neck, came below, driving before him a couple of

blubbering boys, and followed by a whole troop of youngsters in

tears. The pair, it seemed, were sent down to be punished by command

of an officer; the rest had accompanied them out of sympathy.


The boatswain's mate went to work without delay, seizing the poor

little culprits by their loose frocks, and using a ratan without

mercy. The other boys wept, clasped their hands, and fell on their

knees; but in vain; the boatswain's mate only hit out at them; once

in a while making them yell ten times louder than ever.


In the midst of the tumult, down comes a midshipman, who, with a great

air, orders the man on deck, and running in among the bows, sets them

to scampering in all directions.


The whole of this proceeding was regarded with infinite scorn by Navy

Bob, who, years before, had been captain of the foretop on board a

line-of-battle ship. In his estimation, it was a lubberly piece of

business throughout: they did things differently in the English navy.








I CANNOT forbear a brief reflection upon the scene ending the last


The ratanning of the young culprits, although significant of the

imperfect discipline of a French man-of-war, may also be considered

as in some measure characteristic of the nation.


In an American or English ship, a boy when flogged is either lashed to

the breech of a gun, or brought right up to the gratings, the same

way the men are. But as a general rule, he is never punished beyond

his strength. You seldom or never draw a cry from the young rogue. He

bites his tongue and stands up to it like a hero. If practicable

(which is not always the case), he makes a point of smiling under the

operation. And so far from his companions taking any compassion on

him, they always make merry over his misfortunes. Should he turn baby

and cry, they are pretty sure to give him afterward a sly pounding in

some dark corner.


This tough training produces its legitimate results. The boy becomes,

in time, a thoroughbred tar, equally ready to strip and take a dozen

on board his own ship, or, cutlass in hand, dash pell-mell on board

the enemy's. Whereas the young Frenchman, as all the world knows,

makes but an indifferent seaman; and though, for the most part, he

fights well enough, somehow or other he seldom fights well enough to


How few sea-battles have the French ever won! But more: how few ships

have they ever carried by the board--that true criterion of naval

courage! But not a word against French bravery--there is plenty of

it; but not of the right sort. A Yankee's, or an Englishman's, is the

downright Waterloo "game." The French fight better on land; and not

being essentially a maritime people, they ought to stay there. The

best of shipwrights, they are no sailors.


And this carries me back to the Reine Blanche, as noble a specimen of

what wood and iron can make as ever floated.


She was a new ship: the present her maiden cruise. The greatest pains

having been taken in her construction, she was accounted the "crack"

craft in the French navy.  She is one of the heavy sixty-gun frigates

now in vogue all over the world, and which we Yankees were the first

to introduce. In action these are the most murderous vessels ever


The model of the Reine Blanche has all that warlike comeliness only to

be seen in a fine fighting ship. Still, there is a good deal of

French flummery about her--brass plates and other gewgaws stuck on

all over, like baubles on a handsome woman.


Among other things, she carries a stern gallery resting on the

uplifted hands of two Caryatides, larger than life. You step out upon

this from the commodore's cabin. To behold the rich hangings, and

mirrors, and mahogany within, one is almost prepared to see a bevy of

ladies trip forth on the balcony for an airing.


But come to tread the gun-deck, and all thoughts like these are put to

flight. Such batteries of thunderbolt hurlers! with a

sixty-eight-pounder or two thrown in as make-weights. On the spar-deck,

also, are carronades of enormous calibre.


Recently built, this vessel, of course, had the benefit of the latest

improvements. I was quite amazed to see on what high principles of

art some exceedingly simple things were done. But your Gaul is

scientific about everything; what other people accomplish by a few

hard knocks, he delights in achieving by a complex arrangement of the

pulley, lever, and screw.


What demi-semi-quavers in a French air! In exchanging naval

courtesies, I have known a French band play "Yankee Doodle" with such

a string of variations that no one but a "pretty 'cute" Yankee could

tell what they were at.


In the French navy they have no marines; their men, taking turns at

carrying the musket, are sailors one moment, and soldiers the next; a

fellow running aloft in his line frock to-day, to-morrow stands

sentry at the admiral's cabin door. This is fatal to anything like

proper sailor pride. To make a man a seaman, he should be put to no

other duty. Indeed, a thorough tar is unfit for anything else; and

what is more, this fact is the best evidence of his being a true


On board the Reine Blanche, they did not have enough to eat; and what

they did have was not of the right sort. Instead of letting the

sailors file their teeth against the rim of a hard sea-biscuit, they

baked their bread daily in pitiful little rolls. Then they had no

"grog"; as a substitute, they drugged the poor fellows with a thin,

sour wine--the juice of a few grapes, perhaps, to a pint of the juice

of water-faucets.  Moreover, the sailors asked for meat, and they

gave them soup; a rascally substitute, as they well knew.


Ever since leaving home, they had been on "short allowance." At the

present time, those belonging to the boats--and thus getting an

occasional opportunity to run ashore--frequently sold their rations

of bread to some less fortunate shipmate for sixfold its real value.


Another thing tending to promote dissatisfaction among the crew was

their having such a devil of a fellow for a captain. He was one of

those horrid naval bores--a great disciplinarian. In port, he kept

them constantly exercising yards and sails, and maneuvering with the

boats; and at sea, they were forever at quarters; running in and out

the enormous guns, as if their arms were made for nothing else. Then

there was the admiral aboard, also; and, no doubt, he too had a

paternal eye over them.


In the ordinary routine of duty, we could not but be struck with the

listless, slovenly behaviour of these men; there was nothing of the

national vivacity in their movements; nothing of the quick precision

perceptible on the deck of a thoroughly-disciplined armed vessel.


All this, however, when we came to know the reason, was no matter of

surprise; three-fourths of them were pressed men. Some old merchant

sailors had been seized the very day they landed from distant

voyages; while the landsmen, of whom there were many, had been driven

down from the country in herds, and so sent to sea.


At the time, I was quite amazed to hear of press-gangs in a day of

comparative peace; but the anomaly is accounted for by the fact that,

of late, the French have been building up a great military marine, to

take the place of that which Nelson gave to the waves of the sea at

Trafalgar. But it is to be hoped that they are not building their

ships for the people across the channel to take. In case of a war,

what a fluttering of French ensigns there would be!


Though I say the French are no sailors, I am far from seeking to

underrate them as a people. They are an ingenious and right gallant

nation. And, as an American, I take pride in asserting it.








FIVE days and nights, if I remember right, we were aboard the frigate.

On the afternoon of the fifth, we were told that the next morning she

sailed for Valparaiso.  Rejoiced at this, we prayed for a speedy

passage. But, as it turned out, the consul had no idea of letting us

off so easily. To our no small surprise, an officer came along toward

night, and ordered us out of irons. Being then mustered in the

gangway, we were escorted into a cutter alongside, and pulled ashore.


Accosted by Wilson as we struck the beach, he delivered us up to a

numerous guard of natives, who at once conducted us to a house near

by. Here we were made to sit down under a shade without; and the

consul and two elderly European residents passed by us, and entered.


After some delay, during which we were much diverted by the hilarious

good-nature of our guard--one of our number was called out for,

followed by an order for him to enter the house alone.


On returning a moment after, he told us we had little to encounter. It

had simply been asked whether he still continued of the same mind; on

replying yes, something was put down upon a piece of paper, and he

was waved outside. All being summoned in rotation, my own turn came

at last.


Within, Wilson and his two friends were seated magisterially at a

table--an inkstand, a pen, and a sheet of paper lending quite a

business-like air to the apartment. These three gentlemen, being

arrayed in coats and pantaloons, looked respectable, at least in a

country where complete suits of garments are so seldom met with. One

present essayed a solemn aspect; but having a short neck and full

face, only made out to look stupid.


It was this individual who condescended to take a paternal interest in

myself. After declaring my resolution with respect to the ship

unalterable, I was proceeding to withdraw, in compliance with a sign

from the consul, when the stranger turned round to him, saying, "Wait

a minute, if you please, Mr. Wilson; let me talk to that youth.  Come

here, my young friend: I'm extremely sorry to see you associated with

these bad men; do you know what it will end in?"


"Oh, that's the lad that wrote the Round Robin," interposed the

consul. "He and that rascally doctor are at the bottom of the whole

affair--go outside, sir."


I retired as from the presence of royalty; backing out with many


The evident prejudice of Wilson against both the doctor and myself was

by no means inexplicable. A man of any education before the mast is

always looked upon with dislike by his captain; and, never mind how

peaceable he may be, should any disturbance arise, from his

intellectual superiority, he is deemed to exert an underhand

influence against the officers.


Little as I had seen of Captain Guy, the few glances cast upon me

after being on board a week or so were sufficient to reveal his

enmity--a feeling quickened by my undisguised companionship with Long

Ghost, whom he both feared and cordially hated. Guy's relations with

the consul readily explains the latter's hostility.


The examination over, Wilson and his friends advanced to the doorway;

when the former, assuming a severe expression, pronounced our

perverseness infatuation in the extreme. Nor was there any hope left:

our last chance for pardon was gone. Even were we to become contrite

and crave permission to return to duty, it would not now be


"Oh! get along with your gammon, counsellor," exclaimed Black Dan,

absolutely indignant that his understanding should be thus insulted.


Quite enraged, Wilson bade him hold his peace; and then, summoning a

fat old native to his side, addressed him in Tahitian, giving

directions for leading us away to a place of safe keeping.


Hereupon, being marshalled in order, with the old man at our head, we

were put in motion, with loud shouts, along a fine pathway, running

far on through wide groves of the cocoa-nut and bread-fruit.


The rest of our escort trotted on beside us in high good-humour;

jabbering broken English, and in a hundred ways giving us to

understand that Wilson was no favourite of theirs, and that we were

prime, good fellows for holding out as we did. They seemed to know

our whole history.


The scenery around was delightful. The tropical day was fast drawing

to a close; and from where we were, the sun looked like a vast red

fire burning in the woodlands--its rays falling aslant through the

endless ranks of trees, and every leaf fringed with flame. Escaped

from the confined decks of the frigate, the air breathed spices to

us; streams were heard flowing; green boughs were rocking; and far

inland, all sunset flushed, rose the still, steep peaks of the


As we proceeded, I was more and more struck by the picturesqueness of

the wide, shaded road. In several places, durable bridges of wood

were thrown over large water-courses; others were spanned by a single

arch of stone. In any part of the road, three horsemen might have

ridden abreast.


This beautiful avenue--by far the best thing which civilization has

done for the island--is called by foreigners "the Broom Road," though

for what reason I do not know. Originally planned for the convenience

of the missionaries journeying from one station to another, it almost

completely encompasses the larger peninsula; skirting for a distance

of at least sixty miles along the low, fertile lands bordering the

sea. But on the side next Taiarboo, or the lesser peninsula, it

sweeps through a narrow, secluded valley, and thus crosses the island

in that direction.


The uninhabited interior, being almost impenetrable from the

densely-wooded glens, frightful precipices, and sharp mountain ridges

absolutely inaccessible, is but little known, even to the natives

themselves; and so, instead of striking directly across from one

village to another, they follow the Broom Road round and round.


It is by no means, however, altogether travelled on foot; horses being

now quite plentiful. They were introduced from Chili; and possessing

all the gaiety, fleetness, and docility of the Spanish breed, are

admirably adapted to the tastes of the higher classes, who as

equestrians have become very expert. The missionaries and chiefs

never think of journeying except in the saddle; and at all hours of

the day you see the latter galloping along at full speed. Like the

Sandwich Islanders, they ride like Pawnee-Loups.


For miles and miles I have travelled the Broom Road, and never wearied

of the continual change of scenery. But wherever it leads

you--whether through level woods, across grassy glens, or over hills

waving with palms--the bright blue sea on one side, and the green

mountain pinnacles on the other, are always in sight.








ABOUT a mile from the village we came to a halt.


It was a beautiful spot. A mountain stream here flowed at the foot of

a verdant slope; on one hand, it murmured along until the waters,

spreading themselves upon a beach of small, sparkling shells,

trickled into the sea; on the other was a long defile, where the eye

pursued a gleaming, sinuous thread, lost in shade and verdure.


The ground next the road was walled in by a low, rude parapet of

stones; and, upon the summit of the slope beyond, was a large, native

house, the thatch dazzling white, and in shape an oval.


"Calabooza! Calabooza Beretanee!" (the English Jail), cried our

conductor, pointing to the building.


For a few months past, having been used by the consul as a house of

confinement for his refractory sailors, it was thus styled to

distinguish it from similar places in and about Papeetee.


Though extremely romantic in appearance, on a near approach it proved

hut ill adapted to domestic comfort. In short, it was a mere shell,

recently built, and still unfinished. It was open all round, and

tufts of grass were growing here and there under the very roof. The

only piece of furniture was the "stocks," a clumsy machine for

keeping people in one place, which, I believe, is pretty much out of

date in most countries. It is still in use, however, among the

Spaniards in South America; from whom, it seems, the Tahitians have

borrowed the contrivance, as well as the name by which all places of

confinement are known among them.


The stocks were nothing more than two stout timbers, about twenty feet

in length, and precisely alike. One was placed edgeways on the

ground, and the other, resting on top, left, at regular intervals

along the seam, several round holes, the object of which was evident

at a glance.


By this time, our guide had informed us that he went by the name of

"Capin Bob" (Captain Bob); and a hearty old Bob he proved. It was

just the name for him. From the first, so pleased were we with the

old man that we cheerfully acquiesced in his authority.


Entering the building, he set us about fetching heaps of dry leaves to

spread behind the stocks for a couch. A trunk of a small cocoa-nut

tree was then placed for a bolster--rather a hard one, but the

natives are used to it. For a pillow, they use a little billet of

wood, scooped out, and standing on four short legs--a sort of



These arrangements completed, Captain Bob proceeded to "hanna-par," or

secure us, for the night. The upper timber of the machine being

lifted at one end, and our ankles placed in the semicircular spaces

of the lower one, the other beam was then, dropped; both being

finally secured together by an old iron hoop at either extremity.

This initiation was performed to the boisterous mirth of the natives,

and diverted ourselves not a little.


Captain Bob now bustled about, like an old woman seeing the children

to bed. A basket of baked "taro," or Indian turnip, was brought in,

and we were given a piece all round. Then a great counterpane of

coarse, brown "tappa," was stretched over the whole party; and, after

sundry injunctions to "moee-moee," and be "maitai"--in other words,

to go to sleep, and be good boys--we were left to ourselves, fairly

put to bed and tucked in.


Much talk was now had concerning our prospects in life; but the doctor

and I, who lay side by side, thinking the occasion better adapted to

meditation, kept pretty silent; and, before long, the rest ceased

conversing, and, wearied with loss of rest on board the frigate, were

soon sound asleep.


After sliding from one reverie into another, I started, and gave the

doctor a pinch. He was dreaming, however; and, resolved to follow his

example, I troubled him no more.


How the rest managed, I know not; but for my own part, I found it very

hard to get to sleep. The consciousness of having one's foot pinned;

and the impossibility of getting it anywhere else than just where it

was, was most distressing.


But this was not all: there was no way of lying but straight on your

back; unless, to be sure, one's limb went round and round in the

ankle, like a swivel. Upon getting into a sort of doze, it was no

wonder this uneasy posture gave me the nightmare. Under the delusion

that I was about some gymnastics or other, I gave my unfortunate

member such a twitch that I started up with the idea that someone was

dragging the stocks away.


Captain Bob and his friends lived in a little hamlet hard by; and when

morning showed in the East, the old gentleman came forth from that

direction likewise, emerging from a grove, and saluting us loudly as

he approached.


Finding everybody awake, he set us at liberty; and, leading us down to

the stream, ordered every man to strip and bathe.


"All han's, my boy, hanna-hanna, wash!" he cried. Bob was a linguist,

and had been to sea in his day, as he many a time afterwards told us.


At this moment, we were all alone with him; and it would have been the

easiest thing in the world to have given him the slip; but he seemed

to have no idea of such a thing; treating us so frankly and

cordially, indeed, that even had we thought of running, we should

have been ashamed of attempting it. He very well knew, nevertheless

(as we ourselves were not slow in finding out), that, for various

reasons, any attempt of the kind, without some previously arranged

plan for leaving the island, would be certain to fail.


As Bob was a rare one every way, I must give some account of him.

There was a good deal of "personal appearance" about him; in short,

he was a corpulent giant, over six feet in height, and literally as

big round as a hogshead. The enormous bulk of some of the Tahitians

has been frequently spoken of by voyagers.


Beside being the English consul's jailer, as it were, he carried on a

little Tahitian farming; that is to say, he owned several groves of

the bread-fruit and palm, and never hindered their growing. Close by

was a "taro" patch of his which he occasionally visited.


Bob seldom disposed of the produce of his lands; it was all needed for

domestic consumption. Indeed, for gormandizing, I would have matched

him against any three common-council men at a civic feast.


A friend of Bob's told me that, owing to his voraciousness, his visits

to other parts of the island were much dreaded; for, according to

Tahitian customs, hospitality without charge is enjoined upon

everyone; and though it is reciprocal in most cases, in Bob's it was

almost out of the question. The damage done to a native larder in one

of his morning calls was more than could be made good by his

entertainer's spending the holidays with them.


The old man, as I have hinted, had, once upon a time, been a cruise or

two in a whaling-vessel; and, therefore, he prided himself upon his

English. Having acquired what he knew of it in the forecastle, he

talked little else than sailor phrases, which sounded whimsically


I asked him one day how old he was. "Olee?" he exclaimed, looking very

profound in consequence of thoroughly understanding so subtile a

question--"Oh! very olee--'tousand 'ear--more--big man when Capin

Tootee (Captain Cook) heavey in sight." (In sea parlance, came into



This was a thing impossible; but adapting my discourse to the man, I

rejoined--"Ah!  you see Capin Tootee--well, how you like him?"


"Oh! he maitai: (good) friend of me, and know my wife."


On my assuring him strongly that he could not have been born at the

time, he explained himself by saying that he was speaking of his

father, all the while. This, indeed, might very well have been.


It is a curious fact that all these people, young and old, will tell

you that they have enjoyed the honour of a personal acquaintance with

the great navigator; and if you listen to them, they will go on and

tell anecdotes without end. This springs from nothing but their great

desire to please; well knowing that a more agreeable topic for a

white man could not be selected. As for the anachronism of the thing,

they seem to have no idea of it: days and years are all the same to


After our sunrise bath, Bob once more placed us in the stocks, almost

moved to tears at subjecting us to so great a hardship; but he could

not treat us otherwise, he said, on pain of the consul's displeasure.

How long we were to be confined, he did not know; nor what was to be

done with us in the end.


As noon advanced, and no signs of a meal were visible, someone

inquired whether we were to be boarded, as well as lodged, at the

Hotel de Calabooza?


"Vast heavey" (avast heaving, or wait a bit)--said Bob--"kow-kow"

(food) "come ship by by."


And, sure enough, along comes Rope Tarn with a wooden bucket of the

Julia's villainous biscuit. With a grin, he said it was a present

from Wilson: it was all we were to get that day. A great cry was now

raised; and well was it for the land-lubber that lie had a pair of

legs, and the men could not use theirs. One and all, we resolved not

to touch the bread, come what come might; and so we told the natives.


Being extravagantly fond of ship-biscuit--the harder the better--they

were quite overjoyed; and offered to give us, every day, a small

quantity of baked bread-fruit and Indian turnip in exchange for the

bread. This we agreed to; and every morning afterward, when the

bucket came, its contents were at once handed over to Bob and his

friends, who never ceased munching until nightfall.


Our exceedingly frugal meal of bread-fruit over, Captain Bob waddled

up to us with a couple of long poles hooked at one end, and several

large baskets of woven cocoa-nut branches.


Not far off was an extensive grove of orange-trees in full bearing;

and myself and another were selected to go with him, and gather a

supply for the party. When we went in among the trees, the

sumptuousness of the orchard was unlike anything I had ever seen;

while the fragrance shaken from the gently waving boughs regaled our

senses most delightfully.


In many places the trees formed a dense shade, spreading overhead a

dark, rustling vault, groined with boughs, and studded here and there

with the ripened spheres, like gilded balls. In several places, the

overladen branches were borne to the earth, hiding the trunk in a

tent of foliage. Once fairly in the grove, we could see nothing else;

it was oranges all round.


To preserve the fruit from bruising, Bob, hooking the twigs with his

pole, let them fall into his basket. But this would not do for us.

Seizing hold of a bough, we brought such a shower to the ground that

our old friend was fain to run from under. Heedless of remonstrance,

we then reclined in the shade, and feasted to our heart's content.

Heaping up the baskets afterwards, we returned to our comrades, by

whom our arrival was hailed with loud plaudits; and in a marvellously

short time, nothing was left of the oranges we brought but the rinds.


While inmates of the Calabooza, we had as much of the fruit as we

wanted; and to this cause, and others that might be mentioned, may be

ascribed the speedy restoration of our sick to comparative health.


The orange of Tahiti is delicious--small and sweet, with a thin, dry

rind. Though now abounding, it was unknown before Cook's time, to

whom the natives are indebted for so great a blessing. He likewise

introduced several other kinds of fruit; among these were the fig,

pineapple, and lemon, now seldom met with. The lime still grows, and

some of the poorer natives express the juice to sell to the shipping.

It is highly valued as an anti-scorbutic. Nor was the variety of

foreign fruits and vegetables which were introduced the only benefit

conferred by the first visitors to the Society group. Cattle and

sheep were left at various places. More of them anon.


Thus, after all that of late years has been done for these islanders,

Cook and Vancouver may, in one sense at least, be considered their

greatest benefactors.








AS I happened to arrive at the island at a very interesting period in

its political affairs, it may be well to give some little account

here of the proceedings of the French, by way of episode to the

narrative. My information was obtained at the time from the general

reports then rife among the natives, as well as from what I learned

upon a subsequent visit, and reliable accounts which I have seen

since reaching home.


It seems that for some time back the French had been making repeated

ineffectual attempts to plant a Roman Catholic mission here. But,

invariably treated with contumely, they sometimes met with open

violence; and, in every case, those directly concerned in the

enterprise were ultimately forced to depart. In one instance, two

priests, Laval and Caset, after enduring a series of persecutions,

were set upon by the natives, maltreated, and finally carried aboard

a small trading schooner, which eventually put them ashore at Wallis'

island--a savage place--some two thousand miles to the westward.


Now, that the resident English missionaries authorized the banishment

of these priests is a fact undenied by themselves. I was also

repeatedly informed that by their inflammatory harangues they

instigated the riots which preceded the sailing of the schooner. At

all events, it is certain that their unbounded influence with the

natives would easily have enabled them to prevent everything that

took place on this occasion, had they felt so inclined.


Melancholy as such an example of intolerance on the part of Protestant

missionaries must appear, it is not the only one, and by no means the

most flagrant, which might be presented. But I forbear to mention any

others; since they have been more than hinted at by recent voyagers,

and their repetition here would perhaps be attended with no good

effect. Besides, the conduct of the Sandwich Island missionaries in

particular has latterly much amended in this respect.


The treatment of the two priests formed the principal ground (and the

only justifiable one) upon which Du Petit Thouars demanded

satisfaction; and which subsequently led to his seizure of the

island. In addition to other things, he also charged that the flag of

Merenhout, the consul, had been repeatedly insulted, and the property

of a certain French resident violently appropriated by the

government. In the latter instance, the natives were perfectly in the

right. At that time, the law against the traffic in ardent spirits

(every now and then suspended and revived) happened to be in force;

and finding a large quantity on the premises of Victor, a low,

knavish adventurer from Marseilles, the Tahitians pronounced it


For these, and similar alleged outrages, a large pecuniary restitution

was demanded (10,000 dollars), which there being no exchequer to

supply, the island was forthwith seized, under cover of a mock

treaty, dictated to the chiefs on the gun-deck of Du Petit Thouars'


But, notwithstanding this formality, there seems now little doubt that

the downfall of the Pomarees was decided upon at the Tuilleries.


After establishing the Protectorate, so called, the rear-admiral

sailed; leaving M. Bruat governor, assisted by Reine and Carpegne,

civilians, named members of the Council of Government, and Merenhout,

the consul, now made Commissioner Royal. No soldiers, however, were

landed until several months afterward. As men, Reine and Carpegne

were not disliked by the natives; but Bruat and Merenhout they

bitterly detested. In several interviews with the poor queen, the

unfeeling governor sought to terrify her into compliance with his

demands; clapping his hand upon his sword, shaking his fist in her

face, and swearing violently. "Oh, king of a great nation," said

Pomaree, in her letter to Louis Philippe, "fetch away this man; I and

my people cannot endure his evil doings. He is a shameless man."


Although the excitement among the natives did not wholly subside upon

the rear-admiral's departure, no overt act of violence immediately

followed. The queen had fled to Imeeo; and the dissensions among the

chiefs, together with the ill-advised conduct of the missionaries,

prevented a union upon some common plan of resistance. But the great

body of the people, as well as their queen, confidently relied upon

the speedy interposition of England--a nation bound to them by many

ties, and which, more than once, had solemnly guaranteed their


As for the missionaries, they openly defied the French governor,

childishly predicting fleets and armies from Britain. But what is the

welfare of a spot like Tahiti to the mighty interests of France and

England! There was a remonstrance on one side, and a reply on the

other; and there the matter rested. For once in their brawling lives,

  1. George and St. Denis were hand and glove; and they were not

going to cross sabres about Tahiti.


During my stay upon the island, so far as I could see, there was

little to denote that any change had taken place in the government.


Such laws as they had were administered the same as ever; the

missionaries went about unmolested, and comparative tranquillity

everywhere prevailed. Nevertheless, I sometimes heard the natives

inveighing against the French (no favourites, by the bye, throughout

Polynesia), and bitterly regretting that the queen had not, at the

outset, made a stand.


In the house of the chief Adeea, frequent discussions took place

concerning the ability of the island to cope with the French: the

number of fighting men and muskets among the natives were talked of,

as well as the propriety of fortifying several heights overlooking

Papeetee. Imputing these symptoms to the mere resentment of a recent

outrage, and not to any determined spirit of resistance, I little

anticipated the gallant, though useless warfare, so soon to follow my


At a period subsequent to my first visit, the island, which before was

divided into nineteen districts, with a native chief over each, in

capacity of governor and judge, was, by Bruat, divided into four.

Over these he set as many recreant chiefs, Kitoti, Tati, Utamai, and

Paraita; to whom he paid 1000 dollars each, to secure their

assistance in carrying out his evil designs.


The first blood shed, in any regular conflict, was at Mahanar, upon

the peninsula of Taraiboo. The fight originated in the seizure of a

number of women from the shore by men belonging to one of the French

vessels of war. In this affair, the islanders fought desperately,

killing about fifty of the enemy, and losing ninety of their own

  1. The French sailors and marines, who, at the time, were

reported to be infuriated with liquor, gave no quarter; and the

survivors only saved themselves by fleeing to the mountains.

Subsequently, the battles of Hararparpi and Fararar were fought, in

which the invaders met with indifferent success.


Shortly after the engagement at Hararparpi, three Frenchmen were

waylaid in a pass of the valleys, and murdered by the incensed

natives. One was Lefevre, a notorious scoundrel, and a spy, whom

Bruat had sent to conduct a certain Major Fergus (said to be a Pole)

to the hiding-place of four chiefs, whom the governor wished to seize

and execute. This circumstance violently inflamed the hostility of

both parties.


About this time, Kitoti, a depraved chief, and the pliant tool of

Bruat, was induced by him to give a great feast in the Vale of Paree,

to which all his countrymen were invited. The governor's object was

to gain over all he could to his interests; he supplied an abundance

of wine and brandy, and a scene of bestial intoxication was the

natural consequence. Before it came to this, however, several speeches

were made by the islanders. One of these, delivered by an aged

warrior, who had formerly been at the head of the celebrated Aeorai

Society, was characteristic. "This is a very good feast," said the

reeling old man, "and the wine also is very good; but you evil-minded

Wee-Wees (French), and you false-hearted men of Tahiti, are all very



By the latest accounts, most of the islanders still refuse to submit

to the French; and what turn events may hereafter take, it is hard to

predict. At any rate, these disorders must accelerate the final

extinction of their race.


Along with the few officers left by Du Petit Thouars were several

French priests, for whose unobstructed exertions in the dissemination

of their faith, the strongest guarantees were provided by an article

of the treaty. But no one was bound to offer them facilities; much

less a luncheon, the first day they went ashore. True, they had

plenty of gold; but to the natives it was anathema--taboo--and, for

several hours and some odd minutes, they would not touch it.

Emissaries of the Pope and the devil, as the strangers were

considered--the smell of sulphur hardly yet shaken out of their

canonicals--what islander would venture to jeopardize his soul, and

call down a blight on his breadfruit, by holding any intercourse with

them! That morning the priests actually picknicked in grove of

cocoa-nut trees; but, before night, Christian hospitality--in

exchange for a commercial equivalent of hard dollars--was given them

in an adjoining house.


Wanting in civility, as the conduct of the English missionaries may be

thought, in withholding a decent reception to these persons, the

latter were certainly to blame in needlessly placing themselves in

so unpleasant a predicament. Under far better auspices, they might

have settled upon some one of the thousand unconverted isles of the

Pacific, rather than have forced themselves thus upon a people

already professedly Christians.








OUR place of confinement being open all round, and so near the Broom

Road, of course we were in plain sight of everybody passing; and,

therefore, we had no lack of visitors among such an idle, inquisitive

set as the Tahitians. For a few days, they were coming and going

continually; while, thus ignobly fast by the foot, we were fain to

give passive audience.


During this period, we were the lions of the neighbourhood; and, no

doubt, strangers from the distant villages were taken to see the

"Karhowrees" (white men), in the same way that countrymen, in a city,

are gallanted to the Zoological Gardens.


All this gave us a fine opportunity of making observations. I was

painfully struck by the considerable number of sickly or deformed

persons; undoubtedly made so by a virulent complaint, which, under

native treatment, almost invariably affects, in the end, the muscles

and bones of the body. In particular, there is a distortion of the

back, most unsightly to behold, originating in a horrible form of the


Although this, and other bodily afflictions, were unknown before the

discovery of the islands by the whites, there are several cases found

of the Pa-Fa, or Elephantiasis--a native disease, which seems to have

prevailed among them from the earliest antiquity. Affecting the legs

and feet alone, it swells them, in some instances, to the girth of a

man's body, covering the skin with scales. It might be supposed that

one, thus afflicted, would be incapable of walking; but, to all

appearance, they seem to be nearly as active as anybody; apparently

suffering no pain, and bearing the calamity with a degree of

cheerfulness truly marvellous.


The Fa-Fa is very gradual in its approaches, and years elapse before

the limb is fully swollen. Its origin is ascribed by the natives to

various causes; but the general impression seems to be that it

arises, in most cases, from the eating of unripe bread-fruit and

Indian turnip. So far as I could find out, it is not hereditary. In no

stage do they attempt a cure; the complaint being held incurable.


Speaking of the Fa-Fa reminds me of a poor fellow, a sailor, whom I

afterward saw at Roorootoo, a lone island, some two days' sail from


The island is very small, and its inhabitants nearly extinct. We sent

a boat off to see whether any yams were to be had, as, formerly, the

yams of Roorootoo were as famous among the islands round about, as

Sicily oranges in the Mediterranean.  Going ashore, to my surprise, I

was accosted, near a little shanty of a church, by a white man, who

limped forth from a wretched hut. His hair and beard were unshorn,

his face deadly pale and haggard, and one limb swelled with the Fa-Fa

to an incredible bigness. This was the first instance of a foreigner

suffering from it that I had ever seen, or heard of; and the

spectacle shocked me accordingly.


He had been there for years. From the first symptoms, he could not

believe his complaint to be what it really was, and trusted it would

soon disappear. But when it became plain that his only chance for

recovery was a speedy change of climate, no ship would receive him as

a sailor: to think of being taken as a passenger was idle.  This

speaks little for the humanity of sea captains; but the truth is that

those in the Pacific have little enough of the virtue; and, nowadays,

when so many charitable appeals are made to them, they have become


I pitied the poor fellow from the bottom of my heart; but nothing

could I do, as our captain was inexorable. "Why," said he, "here we

are--started on a six months' cruise--I can't put back; and he is

better off on the island than at sea. So on Roorootoo he must die."

And probably he did.


I afterwards heard of this melancholy object, from two seamen. His

attempts to leave were still unavailing, and his hard fate was fast

closing in.


Notwithstanding the physical degeneracy of the Tahitians as a people,

among the chiefs, individuals of personable figures are still

frequently met with; and, occasionally, majestic-looking men, and

diminutive women as lovely as the nymphs who, nearly a century ago,

swam round the ships of Wallis. In these instances, Tahitian beauty

is quite as seducing as it proved to the crew of the Bounty; the

young girls being just such creatures as a poet would picture in the

tropics--soft, plump, and dreamy-eyed.


The natural complexion of both sexes is quite light; but the males

appear much darker, from their exposure to the sun. A dark

complexion, however, in a man, is highly esteemed, as indicating

strength of both body and soul. Hence there is a saying, of great

antiquity among them.


"If dark the cheek of the mother, The son will sound the war-conch; If

strong her frame, he will give laws."


With this idea of manliness, no wonder the Tahitians regarded all pale

and tepid-looking Europeans as weak and feminine; whereas, a sailor,

with a cheek like the breast of a roast turkey, is held a lad of

brawn: to use their own phrase, a "taata tona," or man of bones.


Speaking of bones recalls an ugly custom of theirs, now obsolete--that

of making fish-hooks and gimlets out of those of their enemies. This

beats the Scandinavians turning people's skulls into cups and


But to return to the Calabooza Beretanee. Immense was the interest we

excited among the throngs that called there; they would stand talking

about us by the hour, growing most unnecessarily excited too, and

dancing up and down with all the vivacity of their race. They

invariably sided with us; flying out against the consul, and

denouncing him as "Ita maitai nuee," or very bad exceedingly. They

must have borne him some grudge or other.


Nor were the women, sweet souls, at all backward in visiting. Indeed,

they manifested even more interest than the men; gazing at us with

eyes full of a thousand meanings, and conversing with marvellous

rapidity. But, alas! inquisitive though they were, and, doubtless,

taking some passing compassion on us, there was little real feeling

in them after all, and still less sentimental sympathy. Many of them

laughed outright at us, noting only what was ridiculous in our


I think it was the second day of our confinement that a wild,

beautiful girl burst into the Calabooza, and, throwing herself into

an arch attitude, stood afar off, and gazed at us. She was a

heartless one:--tickled to death with Black Dan's nursing his chafed

ankle, and indulging in certain moral reflections on the consul and

Captain Guy. After laughing her fill at him, she condescended to

notice the rest; glancing from one to another in the most methodical

and provoking manner imaginable. Whenever anything struck her

comically, you saw it like a flash--her finger levelled

instantaneously, and, flinging herself back, she gave loose to

strange, hollow little notes of laughter, that sounded like the bass

of a music-box, playing a lively air with the lid down.


Now, I knew not that there was anything in my own appearance

calculated to disarm ridicule; and indeed, to have looked at all

heroic, under the circumstances, would have been rather difficult.

Still, I could not but feel exceedingly annoyed at the prospect of

being screamed at, in turn, by this mischievous young witch, even

though she were but an islander. And, to tell a secret, her beauty

had something to do with this sort of feeling; and, pinioned as I was

to a log, and clad most unbecomingly, I began to grow sentimental.


Ere her glance fell upon me, I had, unconsciously, thrown myself into

the most graceful attitude I could assume, leaned my head upon my

hand, and summoned up as abstracted an expression as possible. Though

my face was averted, I soon felt it flush, and knew that the glance

was on me; deeper and deeper grew the flush, and not a sound of


Delicious thought! she was moved at the sight of me. I could stand it

no longer, but started up. Lo! there she was; her great hazel eyes

rounding and rounding in her head, like two stars, her whole frame in

a merry quiver, and an expression about the mouth that was sudden and

violent death to anything like sentiment.


The next moment she spun round, and, bursting from peal to peal of

laughter, went racing out of the Calabooza; and, in mercy to me,

never returned.








A FEW days passed; and, at last, our docility was rewarded by some

indulgence on the part of Captain Bob.


He allowed the entire party to be at large during the day; only

enjoining upon us always to keep within hail. This, to be sure, was

in positive disobedience to Wilson's orders; and so, care had to be

taken that he should not hear of it. There was little fear of the

natives telling him; but strangers travelling the Broom Road might. By

way of precaution, boys were stationed as scouts along the road. At

sight of a white man, they sounded the alarm! when we all made for

our respective holes (the stocks being purposely left open): the beam

then descended, and we were prisoners. As soon as the traveller was

out of sight, of course, we were liberated.


Notwithstanding the regular supply of food which we obtained from

Captain Bob and his friends, it was so small that we often felt most

intolerably hungry. We could not blame them for not bringing us more,

for we soon became aware that they had to pinch themselves in order

to give us what they did; besides, they received nothing for their

kindness but the daily bucket of bread.


Among a people like the Tahitians, what we call "hard times" can only

be experienced in the scarcity of edibles; yet, so destitute are many

of the common people that this most distressing consequence of

civilization may be said, with them, to be ever present. To be sure,

the natives about the Calabooza had abundance of limes and oranges;

but what were these good for, except to impart a still keener edge to

appetites which there was so little else to gratify? During the height

of the bread-fruit season, they fare better; but, at other times, the

demands of the shipping exhaust the uncultivated resources of the

island; and the lands being mostly owned by the chiefs, the inferior

orders have to suffer for their cupidity. Deprived of their nets, many

of them would starve.


As Captain Bob insensibly remitted his watchfulness, and we began to

stroll farther and farther from the Calabooza, we managed, by a

systematic foraging upon the country round about, to make up some of

our deficiencies. And fortunate it was that the houses of the

wealthier natives were just as open to us as those of the most

destitute; we were treated as kindly in one as the other.


Once in a while, we came in at the death of a chiefs pig; the noise of

whose slaughtering was generally to be heard at a great distance. An

occasion like this gathers the neighbours together, and they have a

bit of a feast, where a stranger is always welcome. A good loud

squeal, therefore, was music in our ears. It showed something going

on in that direction.


Breaking in upon the party tumultuously, as we did, we always created

a sensation.  Sometimes, we found the animal still alive and

struggling; in which case, it was generally dropped at our approach.


To provide for these emergencies, Flash Jack generally repaired to the

scene of operations with a sheath-knife between his teeth, and a club

in his hand. Others were exceedingly officious in singeing off the

bristles, and disembowelling. Doctor Long Ghost and myself, however,

never meddled with these preliminaries, but came to the feast itself

with unimpaired energies.


Like all lank men, my long friend had an appetite of his own. Others

occasionally went about seeking what they might devour, but he was

always on the alert.


He had an ingenious way of obviating an inconvenience which we all

experienced at times. The islanders seldom use salt with their food;

so he begged Rope Yarn to bring him some from the ship; also a little

pepper, if he could; which, accordingly, was done. This he placed in

a small leather wallet--a "monkey bag" (so called by sailors)--usually

worn as a purse about the neck.


"In my opinion," said Long Ghost, as he tucked the wallet out of

sight, "it behooves a stranger, in Tahiti, to have his knife in

readiness, and his castor slung."








WE had not been many days ashore, when Doctor Johnson was espied

coming along the Broom Road.


We had heard that he meditated a visit, and suspected what he was

after. Being upon the consul's hands, all our expenses were of course

payable by him in his official capacity; and, therefore, as a friend

of Wilson, and sure of good pay, the shore doctor had some idea of

allowing us to run up a bill with him. True, it was rather awkward to

ask us to take medicines which, on board the ship, he told us were

not needed. However, he resolved to put a bold face on the matter, and

give us a call.


His approach was announced by one of the scouts, upon which someone

suggested that we should let him enter, and then put him in the

stocks. But Long Ghost proposed better sport. What it was, we shall

presently see.


Very bland and amiable, Doctor Johnson advanced, and, resting his cane

on the stocks, glanced to right and left, as we lay before him.

"Well, my lads"--he began--"how do you find yourselves to-day?"


Looking very demure, the men made some rejoinder; and he went on.


"Those poor fellows I saw the other day--the sick, I mean--how are

they?" and he scrutinized the company. At last, he singled out one

who was assuming a most unearthly appearance, and remarked that he

looked as if he were extremely ill. "Yes," said the sailor dolefully,

"I'm afeard, doctor, I'll soon be losing the number of my mess!" (a

sea phrase, for departing this life) and he closed his eyes, and


"What does he say?" said Johnson, turning round eagerly.


"Why," exclaimed Flash Jack, who volunteered as interpreter, "he

means he's going to croak" (die).


"Croak! and what does that mean, applied to a patient?"


"Oh! I understand," said he, when the word was explained; and he

stepped over the stocks, and felt the man's pulse.


"What's his name?" he asked, turning this time to old Navy Bob.


"We calls him Jingling Joe," replied that worthy.


"Well then, men, you must take good care of poor Joseph; and I will

send him a powder, which must be taken according to the directions.

Some of you know how to read, I presume?"


"That ere young cove does," replied Bob, pointing toward the place

where I lay, as if he were directing attention to a sail at sea.


After examining the rest--some of whom were really invalids, but

convalescent, and others only pretending to be labouring under divers

maladies, Johnson turned round, and addressed the party.


"Men," said he, "if any more of you are ailing, speak up, and let me

know. By order of the consul, I'm to call every day; so if any of you

are at all sick, it's my duty to prescribe for you. This sudden

change from ship fare to shore living plays the deuce with you

sailors, so be cautious about eating fruit. Good-day! I'll send you

the medicines the first thing in the morning."


Now, I am inclined to suspect that with all his want of understanding,

Johnson must have had some idea that we were quizzing him. Still,

that was nothing, so long as it answered his purpose; and therefore,

if he did see through us, he never showed it.


Sure enough, at the time appointed, along came a native lad with a

small basket of cocoa-nut stalks, filled with powders, pill-boxes,

and-vials, each with names and directions written in a large, round

hand. The sailors, one and all, made a snatch at the collection,

under the strange impression that some of the vials were seasoned

with spirits. But, asserting his privilege as physician to the first

reading of the labels, Doctor Long Ghost was at last permitted to

take possession of the basket.


The first thing lighted upon was a large vial, labelled--"For

William--rub well in."


This vial certainly had a spirituous smell; and upon handing it to the

patient, he made a summary internal application of its contents. The

doctor looked aghast.


There was now a mighty commotion. Powders and pills were voted mere

drugs in the market, and the holders of vials were pronounced lucky

dogs. Johnson must have known enough of sailors to make some of his

medicines palatable--this, at least, Long Ghost suspected. Certain it

was, everyone took to the vials; if at all spicy, directions were

unheeded, their contents all going one road.


The largest one of all, quite a bottle indeed, and having a sort of

burnt brandy odour, was labelled--"For Daniel, drink freely, and

until relieved." This Black Dan proceeded to do; and would have made

an end of it at once, had not the bottle, after a hard struggle, been

snatched from his hands, and passed round, like a jovial decanter.

The old tar had complained of the effects of an immoderate eating of


Upon calling the following morning, our physician found his precious

row of patients reclining behind the stocks, and doing "as well as

could be expected."


But the pills and powders were found to have been perfectly inactive:

probably because none had been taken. To make them efficacious, it

was suggested that, for the future, a bottle of Pisco should be sent

along with them. According to Flash Jack's notions, unmitigated

medical compounds were but dry stuff at the best, and needed

something good to wash them down.


Thus far, our own M.D., Doctor Long Ghost, after starting the frolic,

had taken no further part in it; but on the physician's third visit,

he took him to one side, and had a private confabulation. What it

was, exactly, we could not tell; but from certain illustrative signs

and gestures, I fancied that he was describing the symptoms of some

mysterious disorganization of the vitals, which must have come on

within the hour. Assisted by his familiarity with medical terms, he

seemed to produce a marked impression. At last, Johnson went his way,

promising aloud that he would send Long Ghost what he desired.


When the medicine boy came along the following morning, the doctor was

the first to accost him, walking off with a small purple vial. This

time, there was little else in the basket but a case-bottle of the

burnt brandy cordial, which, after much debate, was finally disposed

of by someone pouring the contents, little by little, into the half of

a cocoa-nut shell, and so giving all who desired a glass. No further

medicinal cheer remaining, the men dispersed.


An hour or two passed, when Flash Jack directed attention to my long

friend, who, since the medicine boy left, had not been noticed till

now. With eyes closed, he was lying behind the stocks, and Jack was

lifting his arm and letting it fall as if life were extinct. On

running up with the rest, I at once connected the phenomenon with the

mysterious vial. Searching his pocket, I found it, and holding it up,

it proved to be laudanum. Flash Jack, snatching it from my hand in a

rapture, quickly informed all present what it was; and with much

glee, proposed a nap for the company. Some of them not comprehending

him exactly, the apparently defunct Long Ghost--who lay so still that

I a little suspected the genuineness of his sleep--was rolled about as

an illustration of the virtues of the vial's contents. The idea

tickled everybody mightily; and throwing themselves down, the magic

draught was passed from hand to hand.  Thinking that, as a matter of

course, they must at once become insensible, each man, upon taking

his sip, fell back, and closed his eyes.


There was little fear of the result, since the narcotic was equally

distributed. But, curious to see how it would operate, I raised

myself gently after a while, and looked around. It was about noon,

and perfectly still; and as we all daily took the siesta, I was not

much surprised to find everyone quiet. Still, in one or two instances,

I thought I detected a little peeping.


Presently, I heard a footstep, and saw Doctor Johnson approaching.


And perplexed enough did he look at the sight of his prostrate file of

patients, plunged, apparently, in such unaccountable slumbers.


"Daniel," he cried, at last, punching in the side with his cane the

individual thus designated--"Daniel, my good fellow, get up! do you



But Black Dan was immovable; and he poked the next sleeper.


"Joseph, Joseph! come, wake up! it's me, Doctor Johnson."


But Jingling Joe, with mouth open, and eyes shut, was not to be


"Bless my soul!" he exclaimed, with uplifted hands and cane, "what's

got into 'em? I say, men"--he shouted, running up and down--"come to

life, men! what under the sun's the matter with you?" and he struck

the stocks, and bawled with increased vigour.


At last he paused, folded his hands over the head of his cane, and

steadfastly gazed upon us. The notes of the nasal orchestra were

rising and falling upon his ear, and a new idea suggested itself.


"Yes, yes; the rascals must have been getting boozy. Well, it's none

of my business--I'll be off;" and off he went.


No sooner was he out of sight, than nearly all started to their feet,

and a hearty laugh ensued.


Like myself, most of them had been watching the event from under a sly

eyelid. By this time, too, Doctor Long Ghost was as wide awake as

anybody. What were his reasons for taking laudanum,--if, indeed, he

took any whatever,--is best known to himself; and, as it is neither

mine nor the reader's business, we will say no more about it.








WE HAD been inmates of the Calabooza Beretanee about two weeks, when,

one morning, Captain Bob, coming from the bath, in a state of utter

nudity, brought into the building an armful of old tappa, and began

to dress to go out.


The operation was quite simple. The tappa--of the coarsest kind--was

in one long, heavy piece; and, fastening one end to a column of

Habiscus wood supporting the Calabooza, he went off a few paces, and

putting the other about his waist, wound himself right up to the

post. This unique costume, in rotundity something like a farthingale,

added immensely to his large hulk; so much so that he fairly waddled

in his gait. But he was only adhering to the fashion of his fathers;

for, in the olden time, the "Kihee," or big girdle, was quite the

mode for both sexes. Bob, despising recent innovations, still clung

to it. He was a gentleman of the old school--one of the last of the


He now told us that he had orders to take us before the consul.

Nothing loth, we formed in procession; and, with the old man at our

head, sighing and labouring like an engine, and flanked by a guard of

some twenty natives, we started for the village.


Arrived at the consular office, we found Wilson there, and four or

five Europeans, seated in a row facing us; probably with the view of

presenting as judicial an appearance as possible.


On one side was a couch, where Captain Guy reclined. He looked

convalescent; and, as we found out, intended soon to go aboard his

ship. He said nothing, but left everything to the consul.


The latter now rose, and, drawing forth a paper from a large roll tied

with red tape, commenced reading aloud.


It purported to be, "the affidavit of John Jennin, first officer of

the British Colonial Barque Julia; Guy, Master;" and proved to be a

long statement of matters, from the time of leaving Sydney, down to

our arrival in the harbour. Though artfully drawn up so as to bear

hard against every one of us, it was pretty correct in the de-.

tails; excepting that it was wholly silent as to the manifold

derelictions of the mate himself--a fact which imparted unusual

significance to the concluding sentence, "And furthermore, this

deponent sayeth not."


No comments were made, although we all looked round for the mate to

see whether it was possible that he could have authorized this use of

his name. But he was not present.


The next document produced was the deposition of the captain himself.

As on all other occasions, however, he had very little to say for

himself, and it was soon set aside.


The third affidavit was that of the seamen remaining aboard the

vessel, including the traitor Bungs, who, it seemed, had turned

ship's evidence. It was an atrocious piece of exaggeration, from

beginning to end; and those who signed it could not have known what

they were about. Certainly Wymontoo did not, though his mark was

there. In vain the consul commanded silence during the reading of this

paper; comments were shouted out upon every paragraph.


The affidavits read, Wilson, who, all the while, looked as stiff as a

poker, solemnly drew forth the ship's articles from their tin case.

This document was a discoloured, musty, bilious-looking affair, and

hard to read. When finished, the consul held it up; and, pointing to

the marks of the ship's company, at the bottom, asked us, one by one,

whether we acknowledged the same for our own.


"What's the use of asking that?" said Black Dan; "Captain Guy there

knows as well as we they are."


"Silence, sir!" said Wilson, who, intending to produce a suitable

impression by this ridiculous parade, was not a little mortified by

the old sailor's bluntness.


A pause of a few moments now ensued; during which the bench of judges

communed with Captain Guy, in a low tone, and the sailors canvassed

the motives of the consul in having the affidavits taken.


The general idea seemed to be that it was done with a view of

"bouncing," or frightening us into submission. Such proved to be the

case; for Wilson, rising to his feet again, addressed us as



"You see, men, that every preparation has been made to send you to

Sydney for trial.  The Rosa (a small Australian schooner, lying in

the harbour) will sail for that place in the course of ten days, at

farthest. The Julia sails on a cruise this day week. Do you still

refuse duty?"


We did.


Hereupon the consul and captain exchanged glances; and the latter

looked bitterly disappointed.


Presently I noticed Guy's eye upon me; and, for the first time, he

spoke, and told me to come near. I stepped forward.


"Was it not you that was taken off the island?"


"It was."


"It was you then who owe your life to my humanity. Yet this is the

gratitude of a sailor, Mr. Wilson!"


"Not so, sir." And I at once gave him to understand that I was

perfectly acquainted with his motives in sending a boat into the bay;

his crew was reduced, and he merely wished to procure the sailor whom

he expected to find there. The ship was the means of my deliverance,

and no thanks to the benevolence of its captain.


Doctor Long Ghost also had a word to say. In two masterly sentences he

summed up Captain Guy's character, to the complete satisfaction of

every seaman present.


Matters were now growing serious; especially as the sailors became

riotous, and talked about taking the consul and the captain back to

the Calabooza with them.


The other judges fidgeted, and loudly commanded silence. It was at

length restored; when Wilson, for the last time addressing us, said

something more about the Rose and Sydney, and concluded by reminding

us that a week would elapse ere the Julia sailed.


Leaving these hints to operate for themselves, he dismissed the party,

ordering Captain Bob and his friends to escort us back whence we








A DAY or two after the events just related, we were lounging in the

Calabooza Beretanee, when we were honoured by a visit from three of

the French Priests; and as about the only notice ever taken of us by

the English missionaries was their leaving their cards for us, in the

shape of a package of tracts, we could not help thinking that the

Frenchmen, in making a personal call, were at least much better bred.


By this time they had settled themselves down quite near our

habitation. A pleasant little stroll down the Broom Road, and a

rustic cross peeped through the trees; and soon you came to as

charming a place as one would wish to see: a soft knoll, planted with

old breadfruit trees; in front, a savannah, sloping to a grove of

palms, and, between these, glimpses of blue, sunny waves.


On the summit of the knoll was a rude chapel, of bamboos; quite small,

and surmounted by the cross. Between the canes, at nightfall, the

natives stole peeps at a small portable altar; a crucifix to

correspond, and gilded candlesticks and censers.  Their curiosity

carried them no further; nothing could induce them to worship there.

Such queer ideas as they entertained of the hated strangers. Masses

and chants were nothing more than evil spells. As for the priests

themselves, they were no better than diabolical sorcerers; like those

who, in old times, terrified their fathers.


Close by the chapel was a range of native houses; rented from a chief,

and handsomely furnished. Here lived the priests; and very

comfortably, too. They looked sanctimonious enough abroad; but that

went for nothing; since, at home, in their retreat, they were a club

of Friar Tucks; holding priestly wassail over many a good cup of red

brandy, and rising late in the morning.


Pity it was they couldn't marry--pity for the ladies of the island, I

mean, and the cause of morality; for what business had the

ecclesiastical old bachelors with such a set of trim little native

handmaidens? These damsels were their first converts; and devoted

ones they were.


The priests, as I have said before, were accounted necromancers: the

appearance of two of our three visitors might have justified the


They were little, dried-up Frenchmen, in long, straight gowns of black

cloth, and unsightly three-cornered hats--so preposterously big that,

in putting them on, the reverend fathers seemed to extinguish


Their companion was dressed differently. He wore a sort of yellow,

flannel morning gown, and a broad-brimmed Manilla hat. Large and

portly, he was also hale and fifty; with a complexion like an

autumnal leaf--handsome blue eyes--fine teeth, and a racy Milesian

brogue. In short, he was an Irishman; Father Murphy, by name; and, as

such, pretty well known, and very thoroughly disliked, throughout all

the Protestant missionary settlements in Polynesia. In early youth,

he had been sent to a religious seminary in France; and, taking

orders there, had but once or twice afterwards revisited his native


Father Murphy marched up to us briskly; and the first words he uttered

were, to ask whether there were any of his countrymen among us.

There were two of them; one, a lad of sixteen--a bright, curly-headed

rascal--and, being a young Irishman, of course, his name was Pat. The

other was an ugly, and rather melancholy-looking scamp; one M'Gee,

whose prospects in life had been blasted by a premature

transportation to Sydney. This was the report, at least, though it

might have been scandal.


In most of my shipmates were some redeeming qualities; but about

M'Gee, there was nothing of the kind; and forced to consort with him,

I could not help regretting, a thousand times, that the gallows had

been so tardy. As if impelled, against her will, to send him into the

world, Nature had done all she could to insure his being taken for

what he was. About the eyes there was no mistaking him; with a

villainous cast in one, they seemed suspicious of each other.


Glancing away from him at once, the bluff priest rested his gaze on

the good-humoured face of Pat, who, with a pleasant roguishness, was

"twigging" the enormous hats (or "Hytee Belteezers," as land beavers

are called by sailors), from under which, like a couple of snails,

peeped the two little Frenchmen.


Pat and the priest were both from the same town in Meath; and, when

this was found out, there was no end to the questions of the latter.

To him, Pat seemed a letter from home, and said a hundred times as


After a long talk between these two, and a little broken English from

the Frenchmen, our visitors took leave; but Father Murphy had hardly

gone a dozen rods when back he came, inquiring whether we were in

want of anything.


"Yes," cried one, "something to eat." Upon this he promised to send us

some fresh wheat bread, of his own baking; a great luxury in Tahiti.


We all felicitated Pat upon picking up such a friend, and told him his

fortune was made.


The next morning, a French servant of the priest's made his appearance

with a small bundle of clothing for our young Hibernian; and the

promised bread for the party. Pat being out at the knees and elbows,

and, like the rest of us, not full inside, the present was acceptable

all round.


In the afternoon, Father Murphy himself came along; and, in addition

to his previous gifts, gave Pat a good deal of advice: said he was

sorry to see him in limbo, and that he would have a talk with the

consul about having him set free.


We saw nothing more of him for two or three days; at the end of which

time he paid us another call, telling Pat that Wilson was inexorable,

having refused to set him at liberty, unless to go aboard the ship.

This, the priest now besought him to do forthwith; and so escape the

punishment which, it seems, Wilson had been hinting at to his

intercessor. Pat, however, was staunch against entreaties; and, with

all the ardour of a sophomorean sailor, protested his intention to

hold out to the last. With none of the meekness of a good little boy

about him, the blunt youngster stormed away at such a rate that it

was hard to pacify him; and the priest said no more.


How it came to pass--whether from Murphy's speaking to the consul, or

otherwise, we could not tell--but the next day, Pat was sent for by

Wilson, and being escorted to the village by our good old keeper,

three days elapsed before he returned.


Bent upon reclaiming him, they had taken him on board the ship;

feasted him in the cabin; and, finding that of no avail, down they

thrust him into the hold, in double irons, and on bread and water.

All would not do; and so he was sent back to the Calabooza.  Boy that

he was, they must have counted upon his being more susceptible to

discipline than the rest.


The interest felt in Pat's welfare, by his benevolent countryman, was

very serviceable to the rest of us; especially as we all turned

Catholics, and went to mass every morning, much to Captain Bob's

consternation. Upon finding it out, he threatened to keep us in the

stocks if we did not desist. He went no farther than this, though;

and so, every few days, we strolled down to the priest's residence,

and had a mouthful to eat, and something generous to drink. In

particular, Dr. Long Ghost and myself became huge favourites with

Pat's friend; and many a time he regaled us from a quaint-looking

travelling case for spirits, stowed away in one corner of his

dwelling. It held four square flasks, which, somehow or other, always

contained just enough to need emptying. In truth, the fine old

Irishman was a rosy fellow in canonicals. His countenance and his

soul were always in a glow. It may be ungenerous to reveal his

failings, but he often talked thick, and sometimes was perceptibly

eccentric in his gait.


I never drink French brandy but I pledge Father Murphy. His health

again! And many jolly proselytes may he make in Polynesia!








TO MAKE good the hint thrown out by the consul upon the conclusion of

the Farce of the Affidavits, we were again brought before him within

the time specified.


It was the same thing over again: he got nothing out of us, and we

were remanded; our resolute behaviour annoying him prodigiously.


What we observed led us to form the idea that, on first learning the

state of affairs on board the Julia, Wilson must have addressed his

invalid friend, the captain, something in the following style:


"Guy, my poor fellow, don't worry yourself now about those rascally

sailors of yours.  I'll dress them out for you--just leave it all to

me, and set your mind at rest."


But handcuffs and stocks, big looks, threats, dark hints, and

depositions, had all gone for nought.


Conscious that, as matters now stood, nothing serious could grow out

of what had happened; and never dreaming that our being sent home for

trial had ever been really thought of, we thoroughly understood

Wilson, and laughed at him accordingly.


Since leaving the Julia, we had caught no glimpse of the mate; but we

often heard of him.


It seemed that he remained on board, keeping house in the cabin for

himself and Viner; who, going to see him according to promise, was

induced to remain a guest.  These two cronies now had fine times;

tapping the captain's quarter-casks, playing cards on the transom,

and giving balls of an evening to the ladies ashore. In short, they

cut up so many queer capers that the missionaries complained of them

to the consul; and Jermin received a sharp reprimand.


This so affected him that he still drank more freely than before; and

one afternoon, when mellow as a grape, he took umbrage at a canoe

full of natives, who, on being hailed from the deck to come aboard

and show their papers, got frightened, and paddled for the shore.


Lowering a boat instantly, he equipped Wymontoo and the Dane with a

cutlass apiece, and seizing another himself, off they started in

pursuit, the ship's ensign flying in the boat's stern. The alarmed

islanders, beaching their canoe, with loud cries fled through the

village, the mate after them, slashing his naked weapon to right and

  1. A crowd soon collected; and the "Karhowree toonee," or crazy

stranger, was quickly taken before Wilson.


Now, it so chanced that, in a native house hard by, the consul and

Captain Guy were having a quiet game at cribbage by themselves, a

decanter on the table standing sentry. The obstreperous Jermin was

brought in; and finding the two thus pleasantly occupied, it had a

soothing effect upon him; and he insisted upon taking a hand at the

cards, and a drink of the brandy. As the consul was nearly as tipsy as

himself, and the captain dared not object for fear of giving offence,

at it they went--all three of them--and made a night of it; the

mate's delinquencies being summarily passed over, and his captors

sent away.


An incident worth relating grew out of this freak.


There wandered about Papeetee, at this time, a shrivelled little

fright of an Englishwoman, known among sailors as "Old Mother Tot."

From New Zealand to the Sandwich Islands, she had been all over the

South Seas; keeping a rude hut of entertainment for mariners, and

supplying them with rum and dice. Upon the missionary islands, of

course, such conduct was severely punishable; and at various places,

Mother Tot's establishment had been shut up, and its proprietor made

to quit in the first vessel that could be hired to land her

elsewhere. But, with a perseverance invincible, wherever she went she

always started afresh; and so became notorious everywhere.


By some wicked spell of hers, a patient, one-eyed little cobbler

followed her about, mending shoes for white men, doing the old

woman's cooking, and bearing all her abuse without grumbling. Strange

to relate, a battered Bible was seldom out of his sight; and whenever

he had leisure, and his mistress' back was turned, he was forever

poring over it. This pious propensity used to enrage the old crone

past belief; and oftentimes she boxed his ears with the book, and

tried to burn it. Mother Tot and her man Josy were, indeed, a curious


But to my story.


A week or so after our arrival in the harbour, the old lady had once

again been hunted down, and forced for the time to abandon her

nefarious calling. This was brought about chiefly by Wilson, who, for

some reason unknown, had contracted the most violent hatred for her;

which, on her part, was more than reciprocated.


Well: passing, in the evening, where the consul and his party were

making merry, she peeped through the bamboos of the house; and

straightway resolved to gratify her spite.


The night was very dark; and providing herself with a huge ship's

lantern, which usually swung in her hut, she waited till they came

forth. This happened about midnight; Wilson making his appearance,

supported by two natives, holding him up by the arms. These three

went first; and just as they got under a deep shade, a bright light

was thrust within an inch of Wilson's nose. The old hag was kneeling

before him, holding the lantern with uplifted hands.


"Ha, ha! my fine counsellor," she shrieked; "ye persecute a lone old

body like me for selling rum--do ye? And here ye are, carried home

drunk--Hoot! ye villain, I scorn ye!" And she spat upon him.


Terrified at the apparition, the poor natives--arrant believers in

ghosts--dropped the trembling consul, and fled in all directions.

After giving full vent to her rage, Mother Tot hobbled away, and left

the three revellers to stagger home the best way they could.


The day following our last interview with Wilson, we learned that

Captain Guy had gone on board his vessel for the purpose of shipping

a new crew. There was a round bounty offered; and a heavy bag of

Spanish dollars, with the Julia's articles ready for signing, were

laid on the capstan-head.


Now, there was no lack of idle sailors ashore, mostly "Beachcombers,"

who had formed themselves into an organized gang, headed by one Mack,

a Scotchman, whom they styled the Commodore. By the laws of the

fraternity, no member was allowed to ship on board a vessel unless

granted permission by the rest. In this way the gang controlled the

port, all discharged seamen being forced to join them.


To Mack and his men our story was well known; indeed, they had several

times called to see us; and of course, as sailors and congenial

spirits, they were hard against Captain Guy.


Deeming the matter important, they came in a body to the Calabooza,

and wished to know whether, all things considered, we thought it best

for any of them to join the Julia.


Anxious to pack the ship off as soon as possible, we answered, by all

means. Some went so far as to laud the Julia to the skies as the best

and fastest of ships. Jermin too, as a good fellow, and a sailor

every inch, came in for his share of praise; and as for the

captain--quiet man, he would never trouble anyone. In short, every

inducement we could think of was presented; and Plash Jack ended by

assuring the beachcombers solemnly that, now we were all well and

hearty, nothing but a regard to principle prevented us from returning

on board ourselves.


The result was that a new crew was finally obtained, together with a

steady New Englander for second mate, and three good whalemen for

harpooners. In part, what was wanting for the ship's larder was also

supplied; and as far as could be done in a place like Tahiti, the

damages the vessel had sustained were repaired. As for the Mowree,

the authorities refusing to let him be put ashore, he was carried to

sea in irons, down in the hold. What eventually became of him we

never heard.


Ropey, poor poor Ropey, who a few days previous had fallen sick, was

left ashore at the sailor hospital at Townor, a small place upon the

beach between Papeetee and Matavai. Here, some time after, he

breathed his last. No one knew his complaint: he must have died of

hard times. Several of us saw him interred in the sand, and I planted

a rude post to mark his resting-place.


The cooper, and the rest who had remained aboard from the first, of

course, composed part of the Julia's new crew.


To account for the conduct, all along, of the consul and captain, in

trying so hard to alter our purpose with respect to the ship, the

following statement is all that is requisite. Beside an advance of

from fifteen to twenty-five dollars demanded by every sailor shipping

at Tahiti, an additional sum for each man so shipped has to be paid

into the hands of the government, as a charge of the port. Beside

this, the men--with here and there an exception--will only ship for

one cruise, thus becoming entitled to a discharge before the vessel

reaches home; which, in time, creates the necessity of obtaining

other men, at a similar cost. Now, the Julia's exchequer was at

low-water mark, or rather, it was quite empty; and to meet these

expenses, a good part of what little oil there was aboard had to be

sold for a song to a merchant of Papeetee.


It was Sunday in Tahiti and a glorious morning, when Captain Bob,

waddling into the Calabooza, startled us by announcing "Ah--my

boy--shippy you, harre--maky sail!" In other words, the Julia was


The beach was quite near, and in this quarter altogether uninhabited;

so down we ran, and, at cable's length, saw little Jule gliding

past--top-gallant-sails hoisting, and a boy aloft with one leg thrown

over the yard, loosing the fore-royal. The decks were all life and

commotion; the sailors on the forecastle singing "Ho, cheerly men!"

as they catted the anchor; and the gallant Jennin, bare-headed as his

wont, standing up on the bowsprit, and issuing his orders. By the man

at the helm stood Captain Guy, very quiet and gentlemanly, and

smoking a cigar.


Soon the ship drew near the reef, and, altering her course, glided out

through the break, and went on her way.


Thus disappeared little Jule, about three weeks after entering the

harbour: and nothing more have I ever heard of her.








THE ship out of the way, we were quite anxious to know what was going

to be done with us. On this head, Captain Bob could tell us nothing;

no further, at least, than that he still considered himself

responsible for our safe-keeping. However, he never put us to bed any

more; and we had everything our own way.


The day after the Julia left, the old man came up to us in great

tribulation, saying that the bucket of bread was no longer

forthcoming, and that Wilson had refused to send anything in its

place. One and all, we took this for a hint to disperse quietly, and

go about our business. Nevertheless, we were not to be shaken off so

easily; and taking a malicious pleasure in annoying our old enemy, we

resolved, for the present, to stay where we were. For the part he had

been acting, we learned that the consul was the laughing-stock of all

the foreigners ashore, who frequently twitted him upon his hopeful

proteges of the Calabooza Beretanee.


As we were wholly without resources, so long as we remained on the

island no better place than Captain Bob's could be selected for an

abiding-place. Beside, we heartily loved the old gentleman, and could

not think of leaving him; so, telling him to give no thought as to

wherewithal we should be clothed and fed, we resolved, by extending

and systematizing our foraging operations, to provide for ourselves.


We were greatly assisted by a parting legacy of Jermin's. To him we

were indebted for having all our chests sent ashore, and everything

left therein. They were placed in the custody of a petty chief living

near by, who was instructed by the consul not to allow them to be

taken away; but we might call and make our toilets whenever we


We went to see Mahinee, the old chief; Captain Bob going along, and

stoutly insisting upon having the chattels delivered up. At last this

was done; and in solemn procession the chests were borne by the

natives to the Calabooza. Here, we disposed them about quite

tastefully; and made such a figure that, in the eyes of old Bob and

his friends, the Calabooza Beretanee was by far the most sumptuously

furnished saloon in Tahiti.


Indeed, so long as it remained thus furnished, the native courts of

the district were held there; the judge, Mahinee, and his associates,

sitting upon one of the chests, and the culprits and spectators

thrown at full length upon the ground, both inside of the building

and under the shade of the trees without; while, leaning over the

stocks as from a gallery, the worshipful crew of the Julia looked on,

and canvassed the proceedings.


I should have mentioned before that, previous to the vessel's

departure, the men had bartered away all the clothing they could

possibly spare; but now, it was resolved to be more provident.


The contents of the chests were of the most miscellaneous

description:--sewing utensils, marling-spikes, strips of calico, bits

of rope, jack-knives; nearly everything, in short, that a seaman

could think of. But of wearing apparel, there was little but old

frocks, remnants of jackets, and legs of trousers, with now and then

the foot of a stocking.


These, however, were far from being valueless; for, among the poorer

Tahitians, everything European is highly esteemed. They come from

"Beretanee, Fenooa Pararee" (Britain, Land of Wonders), and that is


The chests themselves were deemed exceedingly precious, especially

those with unfractured looks, which would absolutely click, and

enable the owner to walk off with the key. Scars, however, and

bruises, were considered great blemishes. One old fellow, smitten

with the doctor's large mahogany chest (a well-filled one, by the

bye), and finding infinite satisfaction in merely sitting thereon,

was detected in the act of applying a healing ointment to a shocking

scratch which impaired the beauty of the lid.


There is no telling the love of a Tahitian for a sailor's trunk. So

ornamental is it held as an article of furniture in the hut, that the

women are incessantly tormenting their husbands to bestir themselves

and make them a present of one. When obtained, no pier-table just

placed in a drawing-room is regarded with half the delight. For these

reasons, then, our coming into possession of our estate at this time

was an important event.


The islanders are much like the rest of the world; and the news of our

good fortune brought us troops of "tayos," or friends, eager to form

an alliance after the national custom, and do our slightest bidding.


The really curious way in which all the Polynesians are in the habit

of making bosom friends at the shortest possible notice is deserving

of remark. Although, among a people like the Tahitians, vitiated as

they are by sophisticating influences, this custom has in most cases

degenerated into a mere mercenary relation, it nevertheless had its

origin in a fine, and in some instances, heroic sentiment, formerly

entertained by their fathers.


In the annals of the island are examples of extravagant friendships,

unsurpassed by the story of Damon and Pythias: in truth, much more

wonderful; for, notwithstanding the devotion--even of life in some

cases--to which they led, they were frequently entertained at first

sight for some stranger from another island.


Filled with love and admiration for the first whites who came among

them, the Polynesians could not testify the warmth of their emotions

more strongly than by instantaneously making their abrupt proffer of

friendship. Hence, in old voyages we read of chiefs coming off from

the shore in their canoes, and going through with strange antics,

expressive of the desire. In the same way, their inferiors accosted

the seamen; and thus the practice has continued in some islands down

to the present day.


There is a small place, not many days' sail from Tahiti, and seldom

visited by shipping, where the vessel touched to which I then

happened to belong.


Of course, among the simple-hearted natives, We had a friend all

round. Mine was Poky, a handsome youth, who never could do enough for

me. Every morning at sunrise, his canoe came alongside loaded with

fruits of all kinds; upon being emptied, it was secured by a line to

the bowsprit, under which it lay all day long, ready at any time to

carry its owner ashore on an errand.


Seeing him so indefatigable, I told Poky one day that I was a virtuoso

in shells and curiosities of all kinds. That was enough; away he

paddled for the head of the bay, and I never saw him again for

twenty-four hours. The next morning, his canoe came gliding slowly

along the shore with the full-leaved bough of a tree for a sail. For

the purpose of keeping the things dry, he had also built a sort of

platform just behind the prow, railed in with green wicker-work; and

here was a heap of yellow bananas and cowree shells; young cocoa-nuts

and antlers of red coral; two or three pieces of carved wood; a

little pocket-idol, black as jet, and rolls of printed tappa.


We were given a holiday; and upon going ashore, Poky, of course, was

my companion and guide. For this, no mortal could be better

qualified; his native country was not large, and he knew every inch

of it. Gallanting me about, everyone was stopped and ceremoniously

introduced to Poty's "tayo karhowree nuee" or his particular white


He showed me all the lions; but more than all, he took me to see a

charming lioness--a young damsel--the daughter of a chief--the

reputation of whose charms had spread to the neighbouring islands,

and even brought suitors therefrom. Among these was Tooboi, the heir

of Tamatory, King of Eaiatair, one of the Society Isles. The girl was

certainly fair to look upon. Many heavens were in her sunny eyes; and

the outline of that arm of hers, peeping forth from a capricious

tappa robe, was the very curve of beauty.


Though there was no end to Poky's attentions, not a syllable did he

ever breathe of reward; but sometimes he looked very knowing. At last

the day came for sailing, and with it, also, his canoe, loaded down

to the gunwale with a sea stock of fruits. Giving him all I could

spare from my chest, I went on deck to take my place at the windlass;

for the anchor was weighing. Poky followed, and heaved with me at the

same handspike.


The anchor was soon up; and away we went out of the bay with more than

twenty shallops towing astern. At last they left us; but long as I

could see him at all, there was Poky, standing alone and motionless

in the bow of his canoe.










THE arrival of the chests made my friend, the doctor, by far the

wealthiest man of the party. So much the better for me, seeing that I

had little or nothing myself; though, from our intimacy, the natives

courted my favour almost as much as his.


Among others, Kooloo was a candidate for my friendship; and being a

comely youth, quite a buck in his way, I accepted his overtures. By

this, I escaped the importunities of the rest; for be it known that,

though little inclined to jealousy in love matters, the Tahitian will

hear of no rivals in his friendship.


Kooloo, running over his qualifications as a friend, first of all

informed me that he was a "Mickonaree," thus declaring his communion

with the church.


The way this "tayo" of mine expressed his regard was by assuring me

over and over again that the love he bore me was "nuee, nuee, nuee,"

or infinitesimally extensive.  All over these seas, the word "nuee"

is significant of quantity. Its repetition is like placing ciphers at

the right hand of a numeral; the more places you carry it out to, the

greater the sum. Judge, then, of Kooloo's esteem. Nor is the allusion

to the ciphers at all inappropriate, seeing that, in themselves,

Kooloo's profession turned out to be worthless. He was, alas! as

sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; one of those who make no music

unless the clapper be silver.


In the course of a few days, the sailors, like the doctor and myself,

were cajoled out of everything, and our "tayos," all round, began to

cool off quite sensibly. So remiss did they become in their

attentions that we could no longer rely upon their bringing us the

daily supply of food, which all of them had faithfully promised.


As for Kooloo, after sponging me well, he one morning played the part

of a retrograde lover; informing me that his affections had undergone

a change; he had fallen in love at first sight with a smart sailor,

who had just stepped ashore quite flush from a lucky whaling-cruise.


It was a touching interview, and with it, our connection dissolved.

But the sadness which ensued would soon have been dissipated, had not

my sensibilities been wounded by his indelicately sporting some of my

gifts very soon after this transfer of his affections. Hardly a day

passed that I did not meet him on the Broom Road, airing himself in a

regatta shirt which I had given him in happier hours.


He went by with such an easy saunter too, looking me pleasantly in the

eye, and merely exchanging the cold salute of the road:--"Yar onor,

boyoee," a mere sidewalk how d'ye do. After several experiences like

this, I began to entertain a sort of respect for Kooloo, as quite a

man of the world. In good sooth, he turned out to be one; in one

week's time giving me the cut direct, and lounging by without even

nodding. He must have taken me for part of the landscape.


Before the chests were quite empty, we had a grand washing in the

stream of our best raiment, for the purpose of looking tidy, and

visiting the European chapel in the village. Every Sunday morning it

is open for divine service, some member of the mission officiating.

This was the first time we ever entered Papeetee unattended by an


In the chapel there were about forty people present, including the

officers of several ships in harbour. It was an energetic discourse,

and the pulpit cushion was well pounded. Occupying a high seat in the

synagogue, and stiff as a flagstaff, was our beloved guardian,

Wilson. I shall never forget his look of wonder when his interesting

wards filed in at the doorway, and took up a seat directly facing


Service over, we waited outside in hopes of seeing more of him; but

sorely annoyed at the sight of us, he reconnoitred from the window,

and never came forth until we had started for home.








SCARCELY a week went by after the Julia's sailing, when, with the

proverbial restlessness of sailors, some of the men began to grow

weary of the Calabooza Beretanee, and resolved to go boldly among the

vessels in the bay, and offer to ship.


The thing was tried; but though strongly recommended by the commodore

of the beachcombers, in the end they were invariably told by the

captains to whom they applied that they bore an equivocal character

ashore, and would not answer. So often were they repulsed that we

pretty nearly gave up all thoughts of leaving the island in this way;

and growing domestic again, settled down quietly at Captain Bob's.


It was about this time that the whaling-ships, which have their

regular seasons for cruising, began to arrive at Papeetee; and of

course their crews frequently visited us.  This is customary all over

the Pacific. No sailor steps ashore, but he straightway goes to the

"Calabooza," where he is almost sure to find some poor fellow or other

in confinement for desertion, or alleged mutiny, or something of that

sort. Sympathy is proffered, and if need be, tobacco. The latter,

however, is most in request; as a solace to the captive, it is


Having fairly carried the day against both consul and captain, we were

objects of even more than ordinary interest to these philanthropists;

and they always cordially applauded our conduct. Besides, they

invariably brought along something in the way of refreshments;

occasionally smuggling in a little Pisco. Upon one occasion, when

there was quite a number present, a calabash was passed round, and a

pecuniary collection taken up for our benefit.


One day a newcomer proposed that two or three of us should pay him a

sly, nocturnal visit aboard his ship; engaging to send us away well

freighted with provisions. This was not a bad idea; nor were we at

all backward in acting upon it.  Right after night every vessel in

the harbour was visited in rotation, the foragers borrowing Captain

Bob's canoe for the purpose. As we all took turns at this--two by

two--in due course it came to Long Ghost and myself, for the sailors

invariably linked us together. In such an enterprise, I somewhat

distrusted the doctor, for he was no sailor, and very tall; and a

canoe is the most ticklish of navigable things.  However, it could

not be helped; and so we went.


But a word about the canoes before we go any further. Among the

Society Islands, the art of building them, like all native

accomplishments, has greatly deteriorated; and they are now the most

inelegant, as well as the most insecure of any in the South Seas. In

Cook's time, according to his account, there was at Tahiti a royal

fleet of seventeen hundred and twenty large war canoes, handsomely

carved, and otherwise adorned. At present, those used are quite

small; nothing more than logs hollowed out, sharpened at one end, and

then launched into the water.


To obviate a certain rolling propensity, the Tahitians, like all

Polynesians, attach to them what sailors call an "outrigger." It

consists of a pole floating alongside, parallel to the canoe, and

connected with it by a couple of cross sticks, a yard or more in

length. Thus equipped, the canoe cannot be overturned, unless you

overcome the buoyancy of the pole, or lift it entirely out of the


Now, Captain Bob's "gig" was exceedingly small; so small, and of such

a grotesque shape, that the sailors christened it the Pill Box; and

by this appellation it always went.  In fact, it was a sort of

"sulky," meant for a solitary paddler, but, on an emergency, capable

of floating two or three. The outrigger was a mere switch, alternately

rising in air, and then depressed in the water.


Assuming the command of the expedition, upon the strength of my being

a sailor, I packed the Long Doctor with a paddle in the bow, and then

shoving off, leaped into the stern; thus leaving him to do all the

work, and reserving to myself the dignified sinecure of steering. All

would have gone on well, were it not that my paddler made such clumsy

work that the water spattered, and showered down upon us without

ceasing. Continuing to ply his tool, however, quite energetically, I

thought he would improve after a while, and so let him alone. But by

and bye, getting wet through with this little storm we were raising,

and seeing no signs of its clearing off, I conjured him, in mercy's

name, to stop short, and let me wring myself out. Upon this, he

suddenly turned round, when the canoe gave a roll, the outrigger flew

overhead, and the next moment came rap on the doctor's skull, and we

were both in the water.


Fortunately, we were just over a ledge of coral, not half-a-fathom

under the surface.  Depressing one end of the filled canoe, and

letting go of it quickly, it bounced up, and discharged a great part

of its contents; so that we easily baled out the remainder, and again

embarked. This time, my comrade coiled himself away in a very small

space; and enjoining upon him not to draw a single unnecessary

breath, I proceeded to urge the canoe along by myself. I was

astonished at his docility, never speaking a word, and stirring

neither hand nor foot; but the secret was, he was unable to swim, and

in case we met with a second mishap, there were no more ledges

beneath to stand upon. "Crowning's but a shabby way of going out of

the world," he exclaimed, upon my rallying him; "and I'm not going to

be guilty of it."


At last, the ship was at hand, and we approached with much caution,

wishing to avoid being hailed by anyone from the quarter-deck.

Dropping silently under her bows, we heard a low whistle--the signal

agreed upon--and presently a goodly-sized bag was lowered over to us.


We cut the line, and then paddled away as fast as we could, and made

the best of our way home. Here, we found the rest waiting


The bag turned out to be well filled with sweet potatoes boiled, cubes

of salt beef and pork, and a famous sailors' pudding, what they call

"duff," made of flour and water, and of about the consistence of an

underdone brick. With these delicacies, and keen appetites, we went

out into the moonlight, and had a nocturnal picnic.








THE Pill Box was sometimes employed for other purposes than that

described in the last chapter. We sometimes went a-pleasuring in it.


Right in the middle of Papeetee harbour is a bright, green island, one

circular grove of waving palms, and scarcely a hundred yards across.

It is of coral formation; and all round, for many rods out, the bay

is so shallow that you might wade anywhere. Down in these waters, as

transparent as air, you see coral plants of every hue and shape

imaginable:--antlers, tufts of azure, waving reeds like stalks of

grain, and pale green buds and mosses. In some places, you look

through prickly branches down to a snow-white floor of sand,

sprouting with flinty bulbs; and crawling among these are strange

shapes:--some bristling with spikes, others clad in shining coats of

mail, and here and there, round forms all spangled with eyes.


The island is called Hotoo-Otoo; and around Hotoo-Otoo have I often

paddled of a white moonlight night, pausing now and then to admire

the marine gardens beneath.


The place is the private property of the queen, who has a residence

there--a melancholy-looking range of bamboo houses--neglected and

falling to decay among the trees.


Commanding the harbour as it does, her majesty has done all she could

to make a fortress of the island. The margin has been raised and

levelled, and built up with a low parapet of hewn Hocks of coral.

Behind the parapet are ranged, at wide intervals, a number of rusty

old cannon, of all fashions and calibres. They are mounted upon lame,

decrepit-looking carriages, ready to sink under the useless burden of

bearing them up. Indeed, two or three have given up the ghost

altogether, and the pieces they sustained lie half buried among their

bleaching bones. Several of the cannon are spiked; probably with a

view of making them more formidable; as they certainly must be to

anyone undertaking to fire them off.


Presented to Pomaree at various times by captains of British armed

ships, these poor old "dogs of war," thus toothless and turned out to

die, formerly bayed in full pack as the battle-hounds of Old England.


There was something about Hotoo-Otoo that struck my fancy; and I

registered a vow to plant my foot upon its soil, notwithstanding an

old bareheaded sentry menaced me in the moonlight with an unsightly

musket. As my canoe drew scarcely three inches of water, I could

paddle close up to the parapet without grounding; but every time I

came near, the old man ran toward me, pushing his piece forward, but

never clapping it to his shoulder. Thinking he only meant to frighten

me, I at last dashed the canoe right Up to the wall, purposing a

leap. It was the rashest act of my life; for never did cocoa-nut come

nearer getting demolished than mine did then. With the stock of his

gun, the old warder fetched a tremendous blow, which I managed to

dodge; and then falling back, succeeded in paddling out of harm's


He must have been dumb; for never a word did he utter; but grinning

from ear to ear, and with his white cotton robe streaming in the

moonlight, he looked more like the spook of the island than anything


I tried to effect my object by attacking him in the rear--but he was

all front; running about the place as I paddled, and presenting his

confounded musket wherever I went. At last I was obliged to retreat;

and to this day my vow remains unfulfilled.


It was a few days after my repulse from before the walls of Hotoo-Otoo

that I heard a curious case of casuistry argued between one of the

most clever and intelligent natives I ever saw in Tahiti, a man by

the name of Arheetoo, and our learned Theban of a doctor.


It was this:--whether it was right and lawful for anyone, being a

native, to keep the European Sabbath, in preference to the day set

apart as such by the missionaries, and so considered by the islanders

in general.


It must be known that the missionaries of the good ship Duff, who more

than half-a-century ago established the Tahitian reckoning, came

hither by the way of the Cape of Good Hope; and by thus sailing to

the eastward, lost one precious day of their lives all round, getting

about that much in advance of Greenwich time. For this reason,

vessels coming round Cape Horn--as they most all do nowadays--find it

Sunday in Tahiti, when, according to their own view of the matter, it

ought to be Saturday. But as it won't do to alter the log, the

sailors keep their Sabbath, and the islanders theirs.


This confusion perplexes the poor natives mightily; and it is to no

purpose that you endeavour to explain so incomprehensible a

phenomenon. I once saw a worthy old missionary essay to shed some

light on the subject; and though I understood but a few of the words

employed, I could easily get at the meaning of his illustrations.

They were something like the following:


"Here," says he, "you see this circle" (describing a large one on the

ground with a stick); "very good; now you see this spot here"

(marking a point in the perimeter):  "well; this is Beretanee

(England), and I'm going to sail round to Tahiti. Here I go, then

(following the circle round), and there goes the sun (snatching up

another stick, and commissioning a bandy-legged native to travel

round with it in a contrary direction). Now then, we are both off,

and both going away from each other; and here you see I have arrived

at Tahiti (making a sudden stop); and look now where Bandy Legs is!"


But the crowd strenuously maintained that Bandy Legs ought to be

somewhere above them in the atmosphere; for it was a traditionary

fact that the people from the Duff came ashore when the sun was high

overhead. And here the old gentleman, being a very good sort of man,

doubtless, but no astronomer, was obliged to give up.


Arheetoo, the casuist alluded to, though a member of the church, and

extremely conscientious about what Sabbath he kept, was more liberal

in other matters.  Learning that I was something of a "mick-onaree"

(in this sense, a man able to read, and cunning in the use of the

pen), he desired the slight favour of my forging for him a set of

papers; for which, he said, he would be much obliged, and give me a

good dinner of roast pig and Indian turnip in the bargain.


Now, Arheetoo was one of those who board the shipping for their

washing; and the competition being very great (the proudest chiefs

not disdaining to solicit custom in person, though the work is done

by their dependants), he had decided upon a course suggested by a

knowing sailor, a friend of his. He wished to have manufactured a set

of certificates, purporting to come from certain man-of-war and

merchant captains, known to have visited the island; recommending him

as one of the best getters up of fine linen in all Polynesia.


At this time, Arheetoo had known me but two hours; and, as he made the

proposition very coolly, I thought it rather presumptuous, and told

him so. But as it was quite impossible to convey a hint, and there

was a slight impropriety in the thing, I did not resent the insult,

but simply declined.








ALTHOUGH, from its novelty, life at Captain Bob's was pleasant enough,

for the time; there were some few annoyances connected with it

anything but agreeable to a "soul of sensibility."


Prejudiced against us by the malevolent representations of the consul

and others, many worthy foreigners ashore regarded us as a set of

lawless vagabonds; though, truth to speak, better behaved sailors

never stepped on the island, nor any who gave less trouble to the

natives. But, for all this, whenever we met a respectably-dressed

European, ten to one he shunned us by going over to the other side of

the road. This was very unpleasant, at least to myself; though,

certes, it did not prey upon the minds of the others.


To give an instance.


Of a fine evening in Tahiti--but they are all fine evenings there--you

may see a bevy of silk bonnets and parasols passing along the Broom

Road: perhaps a band of pale, little white urchins--sickly

exotics--and, oftener still, sedate, elderly gentlemen, with canes;

at whose appearance the natives, here and there, slink into their

huts. These are the missionaries, their wives, and children, taking a

family airing. Sometimes, by the bye, they take horse, and ride down

to Point Venus and back; a distance of several miles. At this place

is settled the only survivor of the first missionaries that

landed--an old, white-headed, saint-like man, by the name of Wilson,

the father of our friend, the consul.


The little parties on foot were frequently encountered; and,

recalling, as they did, so many pleasant recollections of home and

the ladies, I really longed for a dress coat and beaver that I might

step up and pay my respects. But, situated as I was, this was out of

the question. On one occasion, however, I received a kind, inquisitive

glance from a matron in gingham. Sweet lady! I have not forgotten

her: her gown was a plaid.


But a glance, like hers, was not always bestowed.


One evening, passing the verandah of a missionary's dwelling, the

dame, his wife, and a pretty, blonde young girl, with ringlets, were

sitting there, enjoying the sea-breeze, then coming in, all cool and

refreshing, from the spray of the reef. As I approached, the old lady

peered hard at me; and her very cap seemed to convey a prim rebuke.

The blue, English eyes, by her side, were also bent on me. But, oh

Heavens! what a glance to receive from such a beautiful creature! As

for the mob cap, not a fig did I care for it; but, to be taken for

anything but a cavalier, by the ringleted one, was absolutely


I resolved on a courteous salute, to show my good-breeding, if nothing

more. But, happening to wear a sort of turban--hereafter to be

particularly alluded to--there was no taking it off and putting it on

again with anything like dignity. At any rate, then, here goes a how.

But, another difficulty presented itself; my loose frock was so

voluminous that I doubted whether any spinal curvature would be


"Good evening, ladies," exclaimed I, at last, advancing winningly; "a

delightful air from the sea, ladies."


Hysterics and hartshorn! who would have thought it? The young lady

screamed, and the old one came near fainting. As for myself, I

retreated in double-quick time; and scarcely drew breath until safely

housed in the Calabooza.








ON Sundays I always attended the principal native church, on the

outskirts of the village of Papeetee, and not far from the Calabooza

Beretanee. It was esteemed the best specimen of architecture in


Of late, they have built their places of worship with more reference

to durability than formerly. At one time, there were no less than

thirty-six on the island--mere barns, tied together with thongs,

which went to destruction in a very few years.


One, built many years ago in this style, was a most remarkable

structure. It was erected by Pomaree II., who, on this occasion,

showed all the zeal of a royal proselyte. The building was over seven

hundred feet in length, and of a proportionate width; the vast

ridge-pole was at intervals supported by a row of thirty-six

cylindrical trunks of the bread-fruit tree; and, all round, the

wall-plates rested on shafts of the palm. The roof--steeply inclining

to within a man's height of the ground--was thatched with leaves, and

the sides of the edifice were open. Thus spacious was the Royal

Mission Chapel of Papoar.


At its dedication, three distinct sermons were, from different

pulpits, preached to an immense concourse gathered from all parts of

the island.


As the chapel was built by the king's command, nearly as great a

multitude was employed in its construction as swarmed over the

scaffolding of the great temple of the Jews. Much less time, however,

was expended. In less than three weeks from planting the first post,

the last tier of palmetto-leaves drooped from the eaves, and the work

was done.


Apportioned to the several chiefs and their dependants, the labour,

though immense, was greatly facilitated by everyone's bringing his

post, or his rafter, or his pole strung with thatching, ready for

instant use. The materials thus prepared being afterwards secured

together by thongs, there was literally "neither hammer, nor axe, nor

any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building."


But the most singular circumstance connected with this South Sea

cathedral remains to be related. As well for the beauty as the

advantages of such a site, the islanders love to dwell near the

mountain streams; and so, a considerable brook, after descending from

the hills and watering the valley, was bridged over in three places,

and swept clean through the chapel.


Flowing waters! what an accompaniment to the songs of the sanctuary;

mingling with them the praises and thanksgivings of the green

solitudes inland.


But the chapel of the Polynesian Solomon has long since been deserted.

Its thousand rafters of habiscus have decayed, and fallen to the

ground; and now, the stream murmurs over them in its bed.


The present metropolitan church of Tahiti is very unlike the one just

described. It is of moderate dimensions, boarded over, and painted

white. It is furnished also with blinds, but no sashes; indeed, were

it not for the rustic thatch, it would remind one of a plain chapel

at home.


The woodwork was all done by foreign carpenters, of whom there are

always several about Papeetee.


Within, its aspect is unique, and cannot fail to interest a stranger.

The rafters overhead are bound round with fine matting of variegated

dyes; and all along the ridge-pole these trappings hang pendent, in

alternate bunches of tassels and deep fringes of stained grass. The

floor is composed of rude planks. Regular aisles run between ranges

of native settees, bottomed with crossed braids of the cocoa-nut

fibre, and furnished with backs.


But the pulpit, made of a dark, lustrous wood, and standing at one

end, is by far the most striking object. It is preposterously lofty;

indeed, a capital bird's-eye view of the congregation ought to be had

from its summit.


Nor does the church lack a gallery, which runs round on three sides,

and is supported by columns of the cocoa-nut tree.


Its facings are here and there daubed over with a tawdry blue; and in

other places (without the slightest regard to uniformity), patches of

the same colour may be seen.  In their ardour to decorate the

sanctuary, the converts must have borrowed each a brush full of

paint, and zealously daubed away at the first surface that offered.


As hinted, the general impression is extremely curious. Little light

being admitted, and everything being of a dark colour, there is an

indefinable Indian aspect of duskiness throughout. A strange, woody

smell, also--more or less pervading every considerable edifice in

Polynesia--is at once perceptible. It suggests the idea of worm-eaten

idols packed away in some old lumber-room at hand.


For the most part, the congregation attending this church is composed

of the better and wealthier orders--the chiefs and their retainers;

in short, the rank and fashion of the island. This class is

infinitely superior in personal beauty and general healthfulness to

the "marenhoar," or common people; the latter having been more

exposed to the worst and most debasing evils of foreign intercourse.

On Sundays, the former are invariably arrayed in their finery; and

thus appear to the best advantage. Nor are they driven to the chapel,

as some of their inferiors are to other places of worship; on the

contrary, capable of maintaining a handsome exterior, and possessing

greater intelligence, they go voluntarily.


In respect of the woodland colonnade supporting its galleries, I

called this chapel the Church of the Cocoa-nuts.


It was the first place for Christian worship in Polynesia that I had

seen; and the impression upon entering during service was all the

stronger. Majestic-looking chiefs whose fathers had hurled the

battle-club, and old men who had seen sacrifices smoking upon the

altars of Oro, were there. And hark! hanging from the bough of a

bread-fruit tree without, a bell is being struck with a bar of iron by

a native lad. In the same spot, the blast of the war-conch had often

resounded. But to the proceedings within.


The place is well filled. Everywhere meets the eye the gay calico

draperies worn on great occasions by the higher classes, and forming

a strange contrast of patterns and colours. In some instances, these

are so fashioned as to resemble as much as possible European

garments. This is in excessively bad taste. Coats and pantaloons,

too, are here and there seen; but they look awkwardly enough, and take

away from the general effect.


But it is the array of countenances that most strikes you. Each is

suffused with the peculiar animation of the Polynesians, when thus

collected in large numbers. Every robe is rustling, every limb in

motion, and an incessant buzzing going on throughout the assembly.

The tumult is so great that the voice of the placid old missionary,

who now rises, is almost inaudible. Some degree of silence is at

length obtained through the exertions of half-a-dozen strapping

fellows, in white shirts and no pantaloons.  Running in among the

settees, they are at great pains to inculcate the impropriety of

making a noise by creating a most unnecessary racket themselves. This

part of the service was quite comical.


There is a most interesting Sabbath School connected with the church;

and the scholars, a vivacious, mischievous set, were in one part of

the gallery. I was amused by a party in a corner. The teacher sat at

one end of the bench, with a meek little fellow by his side. When the

others were disorderly, this young martyr received a rap; intended,

probably, as a sample of what the rest might expect, if they didn't


Standing in the body of the church, and leaning against a pillar, was

an old man, in appearance very different from others of his

countrymen. He wore nothing but a coarse, scant mantle of faded

tappa; and from his staring, bewildered manner, I set him down as an

aged bumpkin from the interior, unaccustomed to the strange sights

and sounds of the metropolis. This old worthy was sharply reprimanded

for standing up, and thus intercepting the view of those behind; but

not comprehending exactly what was said to him, one of the

white-liveried gentry made no ceremony of grasping him by the

shoulders, and fairly crushing him down into a seat.


During all this, the old missionary in the pulpit--as well as his

associates beneath, never ventured to interfere--leaving everything

to native management. With South Sea islanders, assembled in any

numbers, there is no other way of getting along.








SOME degree of order at length restored, the service was continued, by

singing. The choir was composed of twelve or fifteen ladies of the

mission, occupying a long bench to the left of the pulpit. Almost the

entire congregation joined in.


The first air fairly startled me; it was the brave tune of Old

Hundred, adapted to a Tahitian psalm. After the graceless scenes I

had recently passed through, this circumstance, with all its

accessories, moved me forcibly.


Many voices around were of great sweetness and compass. The singers,

also, seemed to enjoy themselves mightily; some of them pausing, now

and then, and looking round, as if to realize the scene more fully.

In truth, they sang right joyously, despite the solemnity of the


The Tahitians have much natural talent for singing; and, on all

occasions, are exceedingly fond of it. I have often heard a stave or

two of psalmody, hummed over by rakish young fellows, like a snatch

from an opera.


With respect to singing, as in most other matters, the Tahitians

widely differ from the people of the Sandwich Islands; where the

parochial flocks may be said rather to Heat than sing.


The psalm concluded, a prayer followed. Very considerately, the good

old missionary made it short; for the congregation became fidgety and

inattentive as soon as it commenced.


A chapter of the Tahitian Bible was now read; a text selected; and the

sermon began.  It was listened to with more attention than I had


Having been informed, from various sources, that the discourses of the

missionaries, being calculated to engage the attention of their

simple auditors, were, naturally enough, of a rather amusing

description to strangers; in short, that they had much to say about

steamboats, lord mayor's coaches, and the way fires are put out in

London, I had taken care to provide myself with a good interpreter, in

the person of an intelligent Hawaiian sailor, whose acquaintance I

had made.


"Now, Jack," said I, before entering, "hear every word, and tell me

what you can as the missionary goes on."


Jack's was not, perhaps, a critical version of the discourse; and at

the time, I took no notes of what he said. Nevertheless, I will here

venture to give what I remember of it; and, as far as possible, in

Jack's phraseology, so as to lose nothing by a double translation.


"Good friends, I glad to see you; and I very well like to have some

talk with you to-day. Good friends, very bad times in Tahiti; it make

me weep. Pomaree is gone--the island no more yours, but the Wee-wees'

(French). Wicked priests here, too; and wicked idols in woman's

clothes, and brass chains.


"Good friends, no you speak, or look at them--but I know you

won't--they belong to a set of robbers--the wicked Wee-wees. Soon these

bad men be made to go very quick. Beretanee ships of thunder come and

away they go. But no more 'bout this now. I speak more by by.


"Good friends, many whale-ships here now; and many bad men come in

'em. No good sailors living--that you know very well. They come here,

'cause so bad they no keep 'em home.


"My good little girls, no run after sailors--no go where they go; they

harm you. Where they come from, no good people talk to 'em--just like

dogs. Here, they talk to Pomaree, and drink arva with great Poofai.


"Good friends, this very small island, but very wicked, and very poor;

these two go together. Why Beretanee so great? Because that island

good island, and send mickonaree to poor kannaka In Beretanee, every

man rich: plenty things to buy; and plenty things to sell. Houses

bigger than Pomaree's, and more grand. Everybody, too, ride about in

coaches, bigger than hers; and wear fine tappa every day. (Several

luxurious appliances of civilization were here enumerated, and



"Good friends, little to eat left at my house. Schooner from Sydney no

bring bag of flour: and kannaka no bring pig and fruit enough.

Mickonaree do great deal for kannaka; kannaka do little for

mickonaree. So, good friends, weave plenty of cocoa-nut baskets, fill

'em, and bring 'em to-morrow."


Such was the substance of great part of this discourse; and, whatever

may be thought of it, it was specially adapted to the minds of the

islanders: who are susceptible to no impressions, except from things

palpable, or novel and striking. To them, a dry sermon would be dry


The Tahitians can hardly ever be said to reflect: they are all

impulse; and so, instead of expounding dogmas, the missionaries give

them the large type, pleasing cuts, and short and easy lessons of the

primer. Hence, anything like a permanent religious impression is

seldom or never produced.


In fact, there is, perhaps, no race upon earth, less disposed, by

nature, to the monitions of Christianity, than the people of the

South Seas. And this assertion is made with full knowledge of what is

called the "Great Revival at the Sandwich Islands," about the year

1836; when several thousands were, in the course of a few weeks,

admitted into the bosom of the Church. But this result was brought

about by no sober moral convictions; as an almost instantaneous

relapse into every kind of licentiousness soon after testified. It

was the legitimate effect of a morbid feeling, engendered by the

sense of severe physical wants, preying upon minds excessively prone

to superstition; and, by fanatical preaching, inflamed into the belief

that the gods of the missionaries were taking vengeance upon the

wickedness of the land.


It is a noteworthy fact that those very traits in the Tahitians, which

induced the London Missionary Society to regard them as the most

promising subjects for conversion, and which led, moreover, to the

selection of their island as the very first field for missionary

labour, eventually proved the most serious obstruction. An air of

softness in their manners, great apparent ingenuousness and docility,

at first misled; but these were the mere accompaniments of an

indolence, bodily and mental; a constitutional voluptuousness; and an

aversion to the least restraint; which, however fitted for the

luxurious state of nature, in the tropics, are the greatest possible

hindrances to the strict moralities of Christianity.


Added to all this is a quality inherent in Polynesians; and more akin

to hypocrisy than anything else. It leads them to assume the most

passionate interest in matters for which they really feel little or

none whatever; but in which, those whose power they dread, or whose

favour they court, they believe to be at all affected. Thus, in their

heathen state, the Sandwich Islanders actually knocked out their

teeth, tore their hair, and mangled their bodies with shells, to

testify their inconsolable grief at the demise of a high chief, or

member of the royal family. And yet, Vancouver relates that, on such

an occasion, upon which he happened to be present, those apparently

the most abandoned to their feelings, immediately assumed the utmost

light-heartedness on receiving the present of a penny whistle, or a

Dutch looking-glass. Similar instances, also, have come under my own


The following is an illustration of the trait alluded to, as

occasionally manifested among the converted Polynesians.


At one of the Society Islands--Baiatair, I believe--the natives, for

special reasons, desired to commend themselves particularly to the

favour of the missionaries.  Accordingly, during divine service, many

of them behaved in a manner, otherwise unaccountable, and precisely

similar to their behaviour as heathens. They pretended to be wrought

up to madness by the preaching which they heard. They rolled their

eyes; foamed at the mouth; fell down in fits; and so were carried

home. Yet, strange to relate, all this was deemed the evidence of the

power of the Most High; and, as such, was heralded abroad.


But, to return to the Church of the Cocoa-nuts. The blessing

pronounced, the congregation disperse; enlivening the Broom Road with

their waving mantles. On either hand, they disappear down the shaded

pathways, which lead off from the main route, conducting to hamlets

in the groves, or to the little marine villas upon the beach. There

is considerable hilarity; and you would suppose them just from an

old-fashioned "hevar," or jolly heathen dance. Those who carry Bibles

swing them carelessly from their arms by cords of sinnate.


The Sabbath is no ordinary day with the Tahitians. So far as doing any

work is concerned, it is scrupulously observed. The canoes are hauled

up on the beach; the nets are spread to dry. Passing by the hen-coop

huts on the roadside, you find their occupants idle, as usual; but

less disposed to gossip. After service, repose broods over the whole

island; the valleys reaching inland look stiller than ever.


In short, it is Sunday--their "Taboo Day"; the very word formerly

expressing the sacredness of their pagan observances now proclaiming

the sanctity of the Christian Sabbath.








A WORTHY young man, formerly a friend of mine (I speak of Kooloo with

all possible courtesy, since after our intimacy there would be an

impropriety in doing otherwise)--this worthy youth, having some

genteel notions of retirement, dwelt in a "maroo boro," or

bread-fruit shade, a pretty nook in a wood, midway between the

Calabooza Beretanee and the Church of Cocoa-nuts. Hence, at the latter

place, he was one of the most regular worshippers.


Kooloo was a blade. Standing up in the congregation in all the bravery

of a striped calico shirt, with the skirts rakishly adjusted over a

pair of white sailor trousers, and hair well anointed with cocoa-nut

oil, he ogled the ladies with an air of supreme satisfaction. Nor

were his glances unreturned.


But such looks as the Tahitian belles cast at each other: frequently

turning up their noses at the advent of a new cotton mantle recently

imported in the chest of some amorous sailor. Upon one occasion, I

observed a group of young girls, in tunics of course, soiled

sheeting, disdainfully pointing at a damsel in a flaming red one.

"Oee tootai owree!" said they with ineffable scorn, "itai maitai!"

(You are a good-for-nothing huzzy, no better than you should be).


Now, Kooloo communed with the church; so did all these censorious

young ladies.  Yet after eating bread-fruit at the Eucharist, I knew

several of them, the same night, to be guilty of some sad


Puzzled by these things, I resolved to find out, if possible, what

ideas, if any, they entertained of religion; but as one's spiritual

concerns are rather delicate for a stranger to meddle with, I went to

work as adroitly as I could.


Farnow, an old native who had recently retired from active pursuits,

having thrown up the business of being a sort of running footman to

the queen, had settled down in a snug little retreat, not fifty rods

from Captain Bob's. His selecting our vicinity for his residence may

have been with some view to the advantages it afforded for

introducing his three daughters into polite circles. At any rate, not

averse to receiving the attentions of so devoted a gallant as the

doctor, the sisters (communicants, be it remembered) kindly extended

to him free permission to visit them sociably whenever he pleased.


We dropped in one evening, and found the ladies at home. My long

friend engaged his favourites, the two younger girls, at the game of

"Now," or hunting a stone under three piles of tappa. For myself, I

lounged on a mat with Ideea the eldest, dallying with her grass fan,

and improving my knowledge of Tahitian.


The occasion was well adapted to my purpose, and I began.


"Ah, Ideea, mickonaree oee?" the same as drawling out--"By the bye,

Miss Ideea, do you belong to the church?"


"Yes, me mickonaree," was the reply.


But the assertion was at once qualified by certain, reservations; so

curious that I cannot forbear their relation.


"Mickonaree ena" (church member here), exclaimed she, laying her hand

upon her mouth, and a strong emphasis on the adverb. In the same way,

and with similar exclamations, she touched her eyes and hands. This

done, her whole air changed in an instant; and she gave me to

understand, by unmistakable gestures, that in certain other respects

she was not exactly a "mickonaree." In short, Ideea was


"A sad good Christian at the heart--A very heathen in the carnal



The explanation terminated in a burst of laughter, in which all three

sisters joined; and for fear of looking silly, the doctor and myself.

As soon as good-breeding would permit, we took leave.


The hypocrisy in matters of religion, so apparent in all Polynesian

converts, is most injudiciously nourished in Tahiti by a zealous and

in many cases, a coercive superintendence over their spiritual

well-being. But it is only manifested with respect to the common

people, their superiors being exempted.


On Sunday mornings, when the prospect is rather small for a full house

in the minor churches, a parcel of fellows are actually sent out with

ratans into the highways and byways as whippers-in of the

congregation. This is a sober fact.


These worthies constitute a religious police; and you always know them

by the great white diapers they wear. On week days they are quite as

busy as on Sundays; to the great terror of the inhabitants, going all

over the island, and spying out the wickedness thereof.


Moreover, they are the collectors of fines--levied generally in grass

mats--for obstinate non-attendance upon divine worship, and other

offences amenable to the ecclesiastical judicature of the


Old Bob called these fellows "kannakippers" a corruption, I fancy, of

our word constable.


He bore them a bitter grudge; and one day, drawing near home, and

learning that two of them were just then making a domiciliary visit

at his house, he ran behind a bush; and as they came forth, two green

bread-fruit from a hand unseen took them each between the shoulders.

The sailors in the Calabooza were witnesses to this, as well as

several natives; who, when the intruders were out of sight, applauded

Captain Bob's spirit in no measured terms; the ladies present

vehemently joining in. Indeed, the kannakippers have no greater

enemies than the latter. And no wonder: the impertinent varlets,

popping into their houses at all hours, are forever prying into their


Kooloo, who at times was patriotic and pensive, and mourned the evils

under which his country was groaning, frequently inveighed against

the statute which thus authorized an utter stranger to interfere with

domestic arrangements. He himself--quite a ladies' man--had often

been annoyed thereby. He considered the kannakippers a bore.


Beside their confounded inquisitiveness, they add insult to injury, by

making a point of dining out every day at some hut within the limits

of their jurisdiction. As for the gentleman of the house, his meek

endurance of these things is amazing. But "good easy man," there is

nothing for him but to be as hospitable as possible.


These gentry are indefatigable. At the dead of night prowling round

the houses, and in the daytime hunting amorous couples in the groves.

Yet in one instance the chase completely baffled them.


It was thus.


Several weeks previous to our arrival at the island, someone's husband

and another person's wife, having taken a mutual fancy for each

other, went out for a walk. The alarm was raised, and with hue and

cry they were pursued; but nothing was seen of them again until the

lapse of some ninety days; when we were called out from the Calabooza

to behold a great mob inclosing the lovers, and escorting them for

trial to the village.


Their appearance was most singular. The girdle excepted, they were

quite naked; their hair was long, burned yellow at the ends, and

entangled with burrs; and their bodies scratched and scarred in all

directions. It seems that, acting upon the "love in a cottage"

principle, they had gone right into the interior; and throwing up a

hut in an uninhabited valley, had lived there, until in an unlucky

stroll they were observed and captured.


They were subsequently condemned to make one hundred fathoms of Broom

Road--a six months' work, if not more.


Often, when seated in a house, conversing quietly with its inmates, I

have known them betray the greatest confusion at the sudden

announcement of a kannakipper's being in sight. To be reported by one

of these officials as a "Tootai Owree" (in general, signifying a bad

person or disbeliever in Christianity), is as much dreaded as the

forefinger of Titus Gates was, levelled at an alleged papist.


But the islanders take a sly revenge upon them. Upon entering a

dwelling, the kannakippers oftentimes volunteer a pharisaical

prayer-meeting: hence, they go in secret by the name of

"Boora-Artuas," literally, "Pray-to-Gods."








EXCEPT where the employment of making "tappa" is inflicted as a

punishment, the echoes of the cloth-mallet have long since died away

in the listless valleys of Tahiti.  Formerly, the girls spent their

mornings like ladies at their tambour frames; now, they are lounged

away in almost utter indolence. True, most of them make their own

garments; but this comprises but a stitch or two; the ladies of the

mission, by the bye, being entitled to the credit of teaching them to


The "kihee whihenee," or petticoat, is a mere breadth of white cotton,

or calico; loosely enveloping the person, from the waist to the feet.

Fastened simply by a single tuck, or by twisting the upper corners

together, this garment frequently becomes disordered; thus affording

an opportunity of being coquettishly adjusted. Over the "kihee," they

wear a sort of gown, open in front, very loose, and as negligent as

you please. The ladies here never dress for dinner.


But what shall be said of those horrid hats! Fancy a bunch of straw,

plaited into the shape of a coal-scuttle, and stuck, bolt upright, on

the crown; with a yard or two of red ribbon flying about like

kite-strings. Milliners of Paris, what would ye say to them!  Though

made by the natives, they are said to have been first contrived and

recommended by the missionaries' wives; a report which, I really

trust, is nothing but scandal.


Curious to relate, these things for the head are esteemed exceedingly

becoming. The braiding of the straw is one of the few employments of

the higher classes; all of which but minister to the silliest vanity.


The young girls, however, wholly eschew the hats; leaving those dowdy

old souls, their mothers, to make frights of themselves.


As for the men, those who aspire to European garments seem to have no

perception of the relation subsisting between the various parts of a

gentleman's costume. To the wearer of a coat, for instance,

pantaloons are by no means indispensable; and a bell-crowned hat and

a girdle are full dress. The young sailor, for whom Kooloo deserted

me, presented him with a shaggy old pea-jacket; and with this buttoned

up to his chin, under a tropical sun, he promenaded the Broom Road,

quite elated.  Doctor Long Ghost, who saw him thus, ran away with the

idea that he was under medical treatment at the time--in the act of

taking, what the quacks call, a "sweat."


A bachelor friend of Captain Bob rejoiced in the possession of a full

European suit; in which he often stormed the ladies' hearts. Having a

military leaning, he ornamented the coat with a great scarlet patch

on the breast; and mounted it also, here and there, with several

regimental buttons, slyly cut from the uniform of a parcel of drunken

marines sent ashore on a holiday from a man-of-war. But, in spite of

the ornaments, the dress was not exactly the thing. From the

tightness of the cloth across the shoulders, his elbows projected

from his sides, like an ungainly rider's; and his ponderous legs were

jammed so hard into his slim, nether garments that the threads of

every seam showed; and, at every step, you looked for a catastrophe.


In general, there seems to be no settled style of dressing among the

males; they wear anything they can get; in some cases, awkwardly

modifying the fashions of their fathers so as to accord with their

own altered views of what is becoming.


But ridiculous as many of them now appear, in foreign habiliments, the

Tahitians presented a far different appearance in the original

national costume; which was graceful in the extreme, modest to all

but the prudish, and peculiarly adapted to the climate. But the short

kilts of dyed tappa, the tasselled maroes, and other articles

formerly worn, are, at the present day, prohibited by law as

indecorous. For what reason necklaces and garlands of flowers, among

the women, are also forbidden, I never could learn; but, it is said,

that they were associated, in some way, with a forgotten heathen


Many pleasant, and, seemingly, innocent sports and pastimes, are

likewise interdicted. In old times, there were several athletic games

practised, such as wrestling, foot-racing, throwing the javelin, and

archery. In all these they greatly excelled; and, for some, splendid

festivals were instituted. Among their everyday amusements were

dancing, tossing the football, kite-flying, flute-playing, and

singing traditional ballads; now, all punishable offences; though

most of them have been so long in disuse that they are nearly


In the same way, the "Opio," or festive harvest-home of the

breadfruit, has been suppressed; though, as described to me by

Captain Bob, it seemed wholly free from any immoral tendency. Against

tattooing, of any kind, there is a severe law.


That this abolition of their national amusements and customs was not

willingly acquiesced in, is shown in the frequent violation of many

of the statutes inhibiting them; and, especially, in the frequency

with which their "hevars," or dances, are practised in secret.


Doubtless, in thus denationalizing the Tahitians, as it were, the

missionaries were prompted by a sincere desire for good; but the

effect has been lamentable. Supplied with no amusements in place of

those forbidden, the Tahitians, who require more recreation than

other people, have sunk into a listlessness, or indulge in

sensualities, a hundred times more pernicious than all the games ever

celebrated in the Temple of Tanee.








AS IN the last few chapters, several matters connected with the

general condition of the natives have been incidentally touched upon,

it may be well not to leave so important a subject in a state

calculated to convey erroneous impressions. Let us bestow upon it,

therefore, something more than a mere cursory glance.


But in the first place, let it be distinctly understood that, in all I

have to say upon this subject, both here and elsewhere, I mean no

harm to the missionaries nor their cause; I merely desire to set

forth things as they actually exist.


Of the results which have flowed from the intercourse of foreigners

with the Polynesians, including the attempts to civilize and

Christianize them by the missionaries, Tahiti, on many accounts, is

obviously the fairest practical example.  Indeed, it may now be

asserted that the experiment of Christianizing the Tahitians, and

improving their social condition by the introduction of foreign

customs, has been fully tried. The present generation have grown up

under the auspices of their religious instructors. And although it

may be urged that the labours of the latter have at times been more

or less obstructed by unprincipled foreigners, still, this in no wise

renders Tahiti any the less a fair illustration; for, with obstacles

like these, the missionaries in Polynesia must always, and everywhere


Nearly sixty years have elapsed since the Tahitian mission was

started; and, during this period, it has received the unceasing

prayers and contributions of its friends abroad. Nor has any

enterprise of the kind called forth more devotion on the part of

those directly employed in it.


It matters not that the earlier labourers in the work, although

strictly conscientious, were, as a class, ignorant, and, in many

cases, deplorably bigoted: such traits have, in some degree,

characterized the pioneers of all faiths. And although in zeal and

disinterestedness the missionaries now on the island are, perhaps,

inferior to their predecessors, they have, nevertheless, in their own

way at least, laboured hard to make a Christian people of their


Let us now glance at the most obvious changes wrought in their


The entire system of idolatry has been done away; together with

several barbarous practices engrafted thereon. But this result is not

so much to be ascribed to the missionaries, as to the civilizing

effects of a long and constant intercourse with whites of all

nations; to whom, for many years, Tahiti has been one of the principal

places of resort in the South Seas. At the Sandwich Islands, the

potent institution of the Taboo, together with the entire paganism of

the land, was utterly abolished by a voluntary act of the natives

some time previous to the arrival of the first missionaries among


The next most striking change in the Tahitians is this. From the

permanent residence among them of influential and respectable

foreigners, as well as from the frequent visits of ships-of-war,

recognizing the nationality of the island, its inhabitants are no

longer deemed fit subjects for the atrocities practised upon mere

savages; and hence, secure from retaliation, vessels of all kinds now

enter their harbours with perfect safety.


But let us consider what results are directly ascribable to the

missionaries alone.


In all cases, they have striven hard to mitigate the evils resulting

from the commerce with the whites in general. Such attempts, however,

have been rather injudicious, and often ineffectual: in truth, a

barrier almost insurmountable is presented in the dispositions of the

people themselves. Still, in this respect, the morality of the

islanders is, upon the whole, improved by the presence of the


But the greatest achievement of the latter, and one which in itself is

most hopeful and gratifying, is that they have translated the entire

Bible into the language of the island; and I have myself known

several who were able to read it with facility. They have also

established churches, and schools for both children and adults; the

latter, I regret to say, are now much neglected: which must be

ascribed, in a great measure, to the disorders growing out of the

proceedings of the French.


It were unnecessary here to enter diffusely into matters connected

with the internal government of the Tahitian churches and schools.

Nor, upon this head, is my information copious enough to warrant me

in presenting details. But we do not need them. We are merely

considering general results, as made apparent in the moral and

religious condition of the island at large.


Upon a subject like this, however, it would be altogether too assuming

for a single individual to decide; and so, in place of my own random

observations, which may be found elsewhere, I will here present those

of several known authors, made under various circumstances, at

different periods, and down to a comparative late date. A few very

brief extracts will enable the reader to mark for himself what

progressive improvement, if any, has taken place.


Nor must it be overlooked that, of these authorities, the two first in

order are largely quoted by the Right Reverend M. Kussell, in a work

composed for the express purpose of imparting information on the

subject of Christian missions in Polynesia.  And he frankly

acknowledges, moreover, that they are such as "cannot fail to have

great weight with the public."


After alluding to the manifold evils entailed upon the natives by

foreigners, and their singularly inert condition; and after somewhat

too severely denouncing the undeniable errors of the mission,

Kotzebue, the Russian navigator, says, "A religion like this, which

forbids every innocent pleasure, and cramps or annihilates every

mental power, is a libel on the divine founder of Christianity. It is

true that the religion of the missionaries has, with a great deal of

evil, effected some good. It has restrained the vices of theft and

incontinence; but it has given birth to ignorance, hypocrisy, and a

hatred of all other modes of faith, which was once foreign to the

open and benevolent character of the Tahitian."


Captain Beechy says that, while at Tahiti, he saw scenes "which must

have convinced the great sceptic of the thoroughly immoral condition

of the people, and which would force him to conclude, as Turnbull

did, many years previous, that their intercourse with the Europeans

had tended to debase, rather than exalt their condition."


About the year 1834, Daniel Wheeler, an honest-hearted Quaker,

prompted by motives of the purest philanthropy, visited, in a vessel

of his own, most of the missionary settlements in the South Seas. He

remained some time at Tahiti; receiving the hospitalities of the

missionaries there, and, from time to time, exhorting the natives.


After bewailing their social condition, he frankly says of their

religious state, "Certainly, appearances are unpromising; and however

unwilling to adopt such a conclusion, there is reason to apprehend

that Christian principle is a great rarity."


Such, then, is the testimony of good and unbiassed men, who have been

upon the spot; but, how comes it to differ so widely from impressions

of others at home?  Simply thus: instead of estimating the result of

missionary labours by the number of heathens who have actually been

made to understand and practise (in some measure at least) the

precepts of Christianity, this result has been unwarrantably inferred

from the number of those who, without any understanding of these

things, have in any way been induced to abandon idolatry and conform

to certain outward observances.


By authority of some kind or other, exerted upon the natives through

their chiefs, and prompted by the hope of some worldly benefit to the

latter, and not by appeals to the reason, have conversions in

Polynesia been in most cases brought about.


Even in one or two instances--so often held up as wonderful examples

of divine power--where the natives have impulsively burned their

idols, and rushed to the waters of baptism, the very suddenness of

the change has but indicated its unsoundness. Williams, the martyr of

Erromanga, relates an instance where the inhabitants of an island

professing Christianity voluntarily assembled, and solemnly revived

all their heathen customs.


All the world over, facts are more eloquent than words; the following

will show in what estimation the missionaries themselves hold the

present state of Christianity and morals among the converted


On the island of Imeeo (attached to the Tahitian mission) is a

seminary under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Simpson and wife, for the

education of the children of the missionaries, exclusively. Sent

home--in many cases, at a very early age--to finish their education,

the pupils here are taught nothing but the rudiments of knowledge;

nothing more than may be learned in the native schools.

Notwithstanding this, the two races are kept as far as possible from

associating; the avowed reason being to preserve the young whites

from moral contamination. The better to insure this end, every effort

is made to prevent them from acquiring the native language.


They went even further at the Sandwich Islands; where, a few years

ago, a playground for the children of the missionaries was inclosed

with a fence many feet high, the more effectually to exclude the

wicked little Hawaiians.


And yet, strange as it may seem, the depravity among the Polynesians,

which renders precautions like these necessary, was in a measure

unknown before their intercourse with the whites. The excellent

Captain Wilson, who took the first missionaries out to Tahiti,

affirms that the people of that island had, in many things, "more

refined ideas of decency than ourselves." Vancouver, also, has some

noteworthy ideas on this subject, respecting the Sandwich Islanders.


That the immorality alluded to is continually increasing is plainly

shown in the numerous, severe, and perpetually violated laws against

licentiousness of all kinds in both groups of islands.


It is hardly to be expected that the missionaries would send home

accounts of this state of things. Hence, Captain Beechy, in alluding

to the "Polynesian Researches" of Ellis, says that the author has

impressed his readers with a far more elevated idea of the moral

condition of the Tahitians, and the degree of civilization to which

they have attained, than they deserve; or, at least, than the facts

which came under his observation authorized. He then goes on to say

that, in his intercourse with the islanders, "they had no fear of

him, and consequently acted from the impulse of their natural

feeling; so that he was the better enabled to obtain a correct

knowledge of their real disposition and habits."


Prom my own familiar intercourse with the natives, this last

reflection still more forcibly applies to myself.








WE have glanced at their moral and religious condition; let us see how

it is with them socially, and in other respects.


It has been said that the only way to civilize a people is to form in

them habits of industry. Judged by this principle, the Tahitians are

less civilized now than formerly.  True, their constitutional

indolence is excessive; but surely, if the spirit of Christianity is

among them, so unchristian a vice ought to be, at least, partially

remedied. But the reverse is the fact. Instead of acquiring new

occupations, old ones have been discontinued.


As previously remarked, the manufacture of tappa is nearly obsolete in

many parts of the island. So, too, with that of the native tools and

domestic utensils; very few of which are now fabricated, since the

superiority of European wares has been made so evident.


This, however, would be all very well were the natives to apply

themselves to such occupations as would enable them to supply the few

articles they need. But they are far from doing so; and the majority

being unable to obtain European substitutes for many things before

made by themselves, the inevitable consequence is seen in the present

wretched and destitute mode of life among the common people. To me so

recently from a primitive valley of the Marquesas, the aspect of most

of the dwellings of the poorer Tahitians, and their general habits,

seemed anything but tidy; nor could I avoid a comparison,

immeasurably to the disadvantage of these partially civilized


In Tahiti, the people have nothing to do; and idleness, everywhere, is

the parent of vice. "There is scarcely anything," says the good old

Quaker Wheeler, "so striking, or pitiable, as their aimless,

nerveless mode of spending life."


Attempts have repeatedly been made to rouse them from their

sluggishness; but in vain. Several years ago, the cultivation of

cotton was introduced; and, with their usual love of novelty, they

went to work with great alacrity; but the interest excited quickly

subsided, and now, not a pound of the article is raised.


About the same time, machinery for weaving was sent out from London;

and a factory was started at Afrehitoo, in Imeeo. The whiz of the

wheels and spindles brought in volunteers from all quarters, who

deemed it a privilege to be admitted to work: yet, in six months, not

a boy could be hired; and the machinery was knocked down, and packed

off to Sydney.


It was the same way with the cultivation of the sugar-cane, a plant

indigenous to the island; peculiarly fitted to the soil and climate,

and of so excellent a quality that Bligh took slips of it to the West

Indies. All the plantations went on famously for a while; the natives

swarming in the fields like ants, and making a prodigious stir. What

few plantations now remain are owned and worked by whites; who would

rather pay a drunken sailor eighteen or twenty Spanish dollars a

month, than hire a sober native for his "fish and tarro."


It is well worthy remark here, that every evidence of civilization

among the South Sea Islands directly pertains to foreigners; though

the fact of such evidence existing at all is usually urged as a proof

of the elevated condition of the natives. Thus, at Honolulu, the

capital of the Sandwich Islands, there are fine dwelling-houses,

several hotels, and barber-shops, ay, even billiard-rooms; but all

these are owned and used, be it observed, by whites. There are

tailors, and blacksmiths, and carpenters also; but not one of them is

a native.


The fact is, that the mechanical and agricultural employment of

civilized life require a kind of exertion altogether too steady and

sustained to agree with an indolent people like the Polynesians.

Calculated for a state of nature, in a climate providentially adapted

to it, they are unfit for any other. Nay, as a race, they cannot

otherwise long exist.


The following statement speaks for itself.


About the year 1777, Captain Cook estimated the population of Tahiti

at about two hundred thousand. By a regular census, taken some four

or five years ago, it was found to be only nine thousand. This

amazing decrease not only shows the malignancy of the evils necessary

to produce it; but, from the fact, the inference unavoidably follows

that all the wars, child murders, and other depopulating causes,

alleged to have existed in former times, were nothing in comparison to


These evils, of course, are solely of foreign origin. To say nothing

of the effects of drunkenness, the occasional inroads of the

small-pox, and other things which might be mentioned, it is

sufficient to allude to a virulent disease which now taints the blood

of at least two-thirds of the common people of the island; and, in

some form or other, is transmitted from father to son.


Their first horror and consternation at the earlier ravages of this

scourge were pitiable in the extreme. The very name bestowed upon it

is a combination of all that is horrid and unmentionable to a

civilized being.


Distracted with their sufferings, they brought forth their sick before

the missionaries, when they were preaching, and cried out, "Lies,

lies! you tell us of salvation; and, behold, we are dying. We want no

other salvation than to live in this world. Where are there any saved

through your speech? Pomaree is dead; and we are all dying with your

cursed diseases. When will you give over?"


At present, the virulence of the disorder, in individual cases, has

somewhat abated; but the poison is only the more widely diffused.


"How dreadful and appalling," breaks forth old Wheeler, "the

consideration that the intercourse of distant nations should have

entailed upon these poor, untutored islanders a curse unprecedented,

and unheard of, in the annals of history."


In view of these things, who can remain blind to the fact that, so far

as mere temporal felicity is concerned, the Tahitians are far worse

off now, than formerly; and although their circumstances, upon the

whole, are bettered by the presence of the missionaries, the benefits

conferred by the latter become utterly insignificant when confronted

with the vast preponderance of evil brought about by other means.


Their prospects are hopeless. Nor can the most devoted efforts now

exempt them from furnishing a marked illustration of a principle

which history has always exemplified. Years ago brought to a stand,

where all that is corrupt in barbarism and civilization unite, to the

exclusion of the virtues of either state; like other uncivilized

beings, brought into contact with Europeans, they must here remain

stationary until utterly extinct.


The islanders themselves are mournfully watching their doom.


Several years since, Pomaree II. said to Tyreman and Bennet, the

deputies of the London Missionary Society, "You have come to see me

at a very bad time. Your ancestors came in the time of men, when

Tahiti was inhabited: you are come to behold just the remnant of my



Of like import was the prediction of Teearmoar, the high-priest of

Paree; who lived over a hundred years ago. I have frequently heard it

chanted, in a low, sad tone, by aged Tahitiana:--


    "A harree ta fow,

     A toro ta farraro,

     A now ta tararta."


    "The palm-tree shall grow,

     The coral shall spread,

     But man shall cease."








WE will now return to the narrative.


The day before the Julia sailed, Dr. Johnson paid his last call. He

was not quite so bland as usual. All he wanted was the men's names to

a paper, certifying to their having received from him sundry

medicaments therein mentioned. This voucher, endorsed by Captain Guy,

secured his pay. But he would not have obtained for it the sailors'

signs manual, had either the doctor or myself been present at the


Now, my long friend wasted no love upon Johnson; but, for reasons of

his own, hated him heartily: all the same thing in one sense; for

either passion argues an object deserving thereof. And so, to be

hated cordially, is only a left-handed compliment; which shows how

foolish it is to be bitter against anyone.


For my own part, I merely felt a cool, purely incidental, and passive

contempt for Johnson, as a selfish, mercenary apothecary, and hence,

I often remonstrated with Long Ghost when he flew out against him,

and heaped upon him all manner of scurrilous epithets. In his

professional brother's presence, however, he never acted thus;

maintaining an amiable exterior, to help along the jokes which were


I am now going to tell another story in which my long friend figures

with the physician:  I do not wish to bring one or the other of them

too often upon the stage; but as the thing actually happened, I must

relate it.


A few days after Johnson presented his bill, as above mentioned, the

doctor expressed to me his regret that, although he (Johnson) 'had

apparently been played off for our entertainment, yet, nevertheless,

he had made money out of the transaction. And I wonder, added the

doctor, if that now he cannot expect to receive any further pay, he

could be induced to call again.


By a curious coincidence, not five minutes after making this

observation, Doctor Long Ghost himself fell down in an unaccountable

fit; and without asking anybody's leave, Captain Bob, who was by, at

once dispatched a boy, hot foot, for Johnson.


Meanwhile, we carried him into the Calabooza; and the natives, who

assembled in numbers, suggested various modes of treatment. One

rather energetic practitioner was for holding the patient by the

shoulders, while somebody tugged at his feet. This resuscitatory

operation was called the "Potata"; but thinking our long comrade

sufficiently lengthy without additional stretching, we declined

potataing him.


Presently the physician was spied coming along the Broom Road at a

great rate, and so absorbed in the business of locomotion, that he

heeded not the imprudence of being in a hurry in a tropical climate.

He was in a profuse perspiration; which must have been owing to the

warmth of his feelings, notwithstanding we had supposed him a man of

no heart. But his benevolent haste upon this occasion was

subsequently accounted for: it merely arose from professional

curiosity to behold a case most unusual in his Polynesian practice.

Now, under certain circumstances, sailors, generally so frolicsome,

are exceedingly particular in having everything conducted with the

strictest propriety. Accordingly, they deputed me, as his intimate

friend, to sit at Long Ghost's head, so as to be ready to officiate

as "spokesman" and answer all questions propounded, the rest to keep


"What's the matter?" exclaimed Johnson, out of breath, and bursting

into the Calabooza: "how did it happen?--speak quick!" and he looked

at Long Ghost.


I told him how the fit came on.


"Singular"--he observed--"very: good enough pulse;" and he let go of

it, and placed his hand upon the heart.


"But what's all that frothing at the mouth?" he continued; "and bless

me! look at the abdomen!"


The region thus denominated exhibited the most unaccountable

  1. A low, rumbling sound was heard; and a sort of undulation

was discernible beneath the thin cotton frock.


"Colic, sir?" suggested a bystander.


"Colic be hanged!" shouted the physician; "who ever heard of anybody

in a trance of the colic?"


During this, the patient lay upon his back, stark and straight,

giving no signs of life except those above mentioned.


"I'll bleed him!" cried Johnson at last--"run for a calabash, one of



"Life ho!" here sung out Navy Bob, as if he had just spied a sail.


"What under the sun's the matter with him!" cried the physician,

starting at the appearance of the mouth, which had jerked to one

side, and there remained fixed.


"Pr'aps it's St. Witus's hornpipe," suggested Bob.


"Hold the calabash!"--and the lancet was out in a moment.


But before the deed could be done, the face became natural;--a sigh

was heaved;--the eyelids quivered, opened, closed; and Long Ghost,

twitching all over, rolled on his side, and breathed audibly. By

degrees, he became sufficiently recovered to speak.


After trying to get something coherent out of him, Johnson withdrew;

evidently disappointed in the scientific interest of the case. Soon

after his departure, the doctor sat up; and upon being asked what

upon earth ailed him, shook his head mysteriously. He then deplored

the hardship of being an invalid in such a place, where there was not

the slightest provision for his comfort. This awakened the compassion

of our good old keeper, who offered to send him to a place where he

would be better cared for. Long Ghost acquiesced; and being at once

mounted upon the shoulders of four of Captain Bob's men, was marched

off in state, like the Grand Lama of Thibet.


Now, I do not pretend to account for his remarkable swoon; but his

reason for suffering himself to be thus removed from the Calabooza

was strongly suspected to be nothing more than a desire to insure

more regularity in his dinner-hour; hoping that the benevolent native

to whom he was going would set a good table.


The next morning, we were all envying his fortune; when, of a sudden,

he bolted in upon us, looking decidedly out of humour.


"Hang it!" he cried; "I'm worse off than ever; let me have some

breakfast!" We lowered our slender bag of ship-stores from a rafter,

and handed him a biscuit. While this was being munched, he went on

and told us his story.


"After leaving here, they trotted me back into a valley, and left me

in a hut, where an old woman lived by herself. This must be the

nurse, thought I; and so I asked her to kill a pig, and bake it; for

I felt my appetite returning. 'Ha! Hal--oee mattee--mattee

nuee'--(no, no; you too sick). 'The devil mattee ye,' said I--'give me

something to eat!' But nothing could be had. Night coming on, I had

to stay. Creeping into a corner, I tried to sleep; but it was to no

purpose;--the old crone must have had the quinsy, or something else;

and she kept up such a wheezing and choking that at last I sprang up,

and groped after her; but she hobbled away like a goblin; and that was

the last of her. As soon as the sun rose, I made the best of my way

back; and here I am." He never left us more, nor ever had a second








ABOUT three weeks after the Julia's sailing, our conditions began to

be a little precarious. We were without any regular supply of food;

the arrival of ships was growing less frequent; and, what was worse

yet, all the natives but good old Captain Bob began to tire of us.

Nor was this to be wondered at; we were obliged to live upon their

benevolence, when they had little enough for themselves. Besides, we

were sometimes driven to acts of marauding; such as kidnapping pigs,

and cooking them in the groves; at which their proprietors were by no

means pleased.


In this state of affairs, we determined to march off to the consul in

a body; and, as he had brought us to these straits, demand an

adequate maintenance.


On the point of starting, Captain Bob's men raised the most outrageous

cries, and tried to prevent us. Though hitherto we had strolled about

wherever we pleased, this grand conjunction of our whole force, upon

one particular expedition, seemed to alarm them. But we assured them

that we were not going to assault the village; and so, after a good

deal of gibberish, they permitted us to leave.


We went straight to the Pritchard residence, where the consul dwelt.

This house--to which I have before referred--is quite commodious. It

has a wide verandah, glazed windows, and other appurtenances of a

civilized mansion. Upon the lawn in front are palm-trees standing

erect here and there, like sentinels. The Consular Office, a small

building by itself, is inclosed by the same picket which fences in the


We found the office closed; but, in the verandah of the

dwelling-house, was a lady performing a tonsorial operation on the

head of a prim-looking, elderly European, in a low, white

cravat;--the most domestic little scene I had witnessed since leaving

home. Bent upon an interview with Wilson, the sailors now deputed the

doctor to step forward as a polite inquirer after his health.


The pair stared very hard as he advanced; but no ways disconcerted, he

saluted them gravely, and inquired for the consul.


Upon being informed that he had gone down to the beach, we proceeded

in that direction; and soon met a native, who told us that, apprised

of our vicinity, Wilson was keeping out of the way. We resolved to

meet him; and passing through the village, he suddenly came walking

toward us; having apparently made up his mind that any attempt to

elude us would be useless.


"What do you want of me, you rascals?" he cried--a greeting which

provoked a retort in no measured terms. At this juncture, the natives

began to crowd round, and several foreigners strolled along. Caught

in the very act of speaking to such disreputable acquaintances,

Wilson now fidgeted, and moved rapidly toward his office; the men

following. Turning upon them incensed, he bade them be off--he would

have nothing more to say to us; and then, hurriedly addressing Captain

Bob in Tahitian, he hastened on, and never stopped till the postern

of Pritchard's wicket was closed behind him.


Our good old keeper was now highly excited, bustling about in his huge

petticoats, and conjuring us to return to the Calabooza. After a

little debate, we acquiesced.


This interview was decisive. Sensible that none of the charges brought

against us would stand, yet unwilling formally to withdraw them, the

consul now wished to get rid of us altogether; but without being

suspected of encouraging our escape. Thus only could we account for

his conduct.


Some of the party, however, with a devotion to principle truly heroic,

swore they would never leave him, happen what might. For my own part,

I began to long for a change; and as there seemed to be no getting

away in a ship, I resolved to hit upon some other expedient. But

first, I cast about for a comrade; and of course the long doctor was

chosen. We at once laid our heads together; and for the present,

resolved to disclose nothing to the rest.


A few days previous, I had fallen in with a couple of Yankee lads,

twins, who, originally deserting their ship at Tanning's Island (an

uninhabited spot, but exceedingly prolific in fruit of all kinds),

had, after a long residence there, roved about among the Society

group. They were last from Imeeo--the island immediately

adjoining--where they had been in the employ of two foreigners who had

recently started a plantation there. These persons, they said, had

charged them to send over from Papeetee, if they could, two white men

for field-labourers.


Now, all but the prospect of digging and delving suited us exactly;

but the opportunity for leaving the island was not to be slighted;

and so we held ourselves in readiness to return with the planters;

who, in a day or two, were expected to visit Papeetee in their boat.


At the interview which ensued, we were introduced to them as Peter and

Paul; and they agreed to give Peter and Paul fifteen silver dollars a

month, promising something more should we remain with them

permanently. What they wanted was men who would stay. To elude the

natives--many of whom, not exactly understanding our relations with

the consul, might arrest us, were they to see us departing--the

coming midnight was appointed for that purpose.


When the hour drew nigh, we disclosed our intention to the rest. Some

upbraided us for deserting them; others applauded, and said that, on

the first opportunity, they would follow our example. At last, we

bade them farewell. And there would now be a serene sadness in

thinking over the scene--since we never saw them again--had not all

been dashed by M'Gee's picking the doctor's pocket of a jack-knife, in

the very act of embracing him.


We stole down to the beach, where, under the shadow of a grove, the

boat was waiting. After some delay, we shipped the oars, and pulling

outside of the reef, set the sail; and with a fair wind, glided away

for Imeeo.


It was a pleasant trip. The moon was up--the air, warm--the waves,

musical--and all above was the tropical night, one purple vault hung

round with soft, trembling stars.


The channel is some five leagues wide. On one hand, you have the three

great peaks of Tahiti lording it over ranges of mountains and

valleys; and on the other, the equally romantic elevations of Imeeo,

high above which a lone peak, called by our companions, "the

Marling-pike," shot up its verdant spire.


The planters were quite sociable. They had been sea-faring men, and

this, of course, was a bond between us. To strengthen it, a flask of

wine was produced, one of several which had been procured in person

from the French admiral's steward; for whom the planters, when on a

former visit to Papeetee, had done a good turn, by introducing the

amorous Frenchman to the ladies ashore. Besides this, they had a

calabash filled with wild boar's meat, baked yams, bread-fruit, and

Tombez potatoes.  Pipes and tobacco also were produced; and while

regaling ourselves, plenty of stories were told about the

neighbouring islands.


At last we heard the roar of the Imeeo reef; and gliding through a

break, floated over the expanse within, which was smooth as a young

girl's brow, and beached the boat.






WE went up through groves to an open space, where we heard voices, and

a light was seen glimmering from out a bamboo dwelling. It was the

planters' retreat; and in their absence, several girls were keeping

house, assisted by an old native, who, wrapped up in tappa, lay in

the corner, smoking.


A hasty meal was prepared, and after it we essayed a nap; but, alas! a

plague, little anticipated, prevented. Unknown in Tahiti, the

mosquitoes here fairly eddied round us. But more of them anon.


We were up betimes, and strolled out to view the country. We were in

the valley of Martair; shut in, on both sides, by lofty hills. Here

and there were steep cliffs, gay with flowering shrubs, or hung with

pendulous vines, swinging blossoms in the air. Of considerable width

at the sea, the vale contracts as it runs inland; terminating, at the

distance of several miles, in a range of the most grotesque

elevations, which seem embattled with turrets and towers, grown over

with verdure, and waving with trees.  The valley itself is a

wilderness of woodland; with links of streams flashing through, and

narrow pathways fairly tunnelled through masses of foliage.


All alone, in this wild place, was the abode of the planters; the only

one back from the beach--their sole neighbours, the few fishermen and

their families, dwelling in a small grove of cocoa-nut trees whose

roots were washed by the sea.


The cleared tract which they occupied comprised some thirty acres,

level as a prairie, part of which was under cultivation; the whole

being fenced in by a stout palisade of trunks and boughs of trees

staked firmly in the ground. This was necessary as a defence against

the wild cattle and hogs overrunning the island.


Thus far, Tombez potatoes were the principal crop raised; a ready sale

for them being obtained among the shipping touching at Papeetee.

There was a small patch of the taro, or Indian turnip, also; another

of yams; and in one corner, a thrifty growth of the sugar-cane, just


On the side of the inclosure next the sea was the house; newly built

of bamboos, in the native style. The furniture consisted of a couple

of sea-chests, an old box, a few cooking utensils, and agricultural

tools; together with three fowling-pieces, hanging from a rafter; and

two enormous hammocks swinging in opposite corners, and composed of

dried bullocks' hides, stretched out with poles.


The whole plantation was shut in by a dense forest; and, close by the

house, a dwarfed "Aoa," or species of banian-tree, had purposely been

left twisting over the palisade, in the most grotesque manner, and

thus made a pleasant shade. The branches of this curious tree

afforded low perches, upon which the natives frequently squatted,

after the fashion of their race, and smoked and gossiped by the hour.


We had a good breakfast of fish--speared by the natives, before

sunrise, on the reef--pudding of Indian turnip, fried bananas, and

roasted bread-fruit.


During the repast, our new friends were quite sociable and

communicative. It seems that, like nearly all uneducated foreigners,

residing in Polynesia, they had, some time previous, deserted from a

ship; and, having heard a good deal about the money to be made by

raising supplies for whaling-vessels, they determined upon embarking

in the business. Strolling about, with this intention, they, at last,

came to Martair; and, thinking the soil would suit, set themselves to

work. They began by finding out the owner of the particular spot

coveted, and then making a "tayo" of him.


He turned out to be Tonoi, the chief of the fishermen: who, one day,

when exhilarated with brandy, tore his meagre tappa from his loins,

and gave me to know that he was allied by blood with Pomaree herself;

and that his mother came from the illustrious race of pontiffs, who,

in old times, swayed their bamboo crosier over all the pagans of

Imeeo. A regal, and right reverend lineage! But, at the time I speak

of, the dusky noble was in decayed circumstances, and, therefore, by

no means unwilling to alienate a few useless acres. As an equivalent,

he received from the strangers two or three rheumatic old muskets,

several red woollen shirts, and a promise to be provided for in his

old age: he was always to find a home with the planters.


Desirous of living on the cosy footing of a father-in-law, he frankly

offered his two daughters for wives; but as such, they were politely

declined; the adventurers, though not averse to courting, being

unwilling to entangle themselves in a matrimonial alliance, however

splendid in point of family.


Tonoi's men, the fishermen of the grove, were a sad set. Secluded, in

a great measure, from the ministrations of the missionaries, they

gave themselves up to all manner of lazy wickedness. Strolling among

the trees of a morning, you came upon them napping on the shady side

of a canoe hauled up among the bushes; lying on a tree smoking; or,

more frequently still, gambling with pebbles; though, a little

tobacco excepted, what they gambled for at their outlandish games, it

would be hard to tell.  Other idle diversions they had also, in which

they seemed to take great delight. As for fishing, it employed but a

small part of their time. Upon the whole, they were a merry,

indigent, godless race.


Tonoi, the old sinner, leaning against the fallen trunk of a cocoa-nut

tree, invariably squandered his mornings at pebbles; a gray-headed

rook of a native regularly plucking him of every other stick of

tobacco obtained from his friends, the planters.  Toward afternoon,

he strolled back to their abode; where he tarried till the next

morning, smoking and snoozing, and, at times, prating about the

hapless fortunes of the House of Tonoi. But like any other easy-going

old dotard, he seemed for the most part perfectly content with

cheerful board and lodging.


On the whole, the valley of Martair was the quietest place imaginable.

Could the mosquitoes be induced to emigrate, one might spend the

month of August there quite pleasantly. But this was not the case

with the luckless Long Ghost and myself; as will presently be seen.








THE planters were both whole-souled fellows; but, in other respects,

as unlike as possible.


One was a tall, robust Yankee, hern in the backwoods of Maine, sallow,

and with a long face;--the other was a short little Cockney, who had

first clapped his eyes on the Monument.


The voice of Zeke, the Yankee, had a twang like a cracked viol; and

Shorty (as his comrade called him), clipped the aspirate from every

word beginning with one. The latter, though not the tallest man in

the world, was a good-looking young fellow of twenty-five. His cheeks

were dyed with the fine Saxon red, burned deeper from his roving

life: his blue eye opened well, and a profusion of fair hair curled

over a well-shaped head.


But Zeke was no beauty. A strong, ugly man, he was well adapted for

manual labour; and that was all. His eyes were made to see with, and

not for ogling. Compared with the Cockney, he was grave, and rather

taciturn; but there was a deal of good old humour bottled up in him,

after all. For the rest, he was frank, good-hearted, shrewd, and

resolute; and like Shorty, quite illiterate.


Though a curious conjunction, the pair got along together famously.

But, as no two men were ever united in any enterprise without one

getting the upper hand of the other, so in most matters Zeke had his

own way. Shorty, too, had imbibed from him a spirit of invincible

industry; and Heaven only knows what ideas of making a fortune on

their plantation.


We were much concerned at this; for the prospect of their setting us,

in their own persons, an example of downright hard labour, was

anything but agreeable. But it was now too late to repent what we had


The first day--thank fortune--we did nothing. Having treated us as

guests thus far, they no doubt thought it would be wanting in

delicacy to set us to work before the compliments of the occasion

were well over. The next morning, however, they both looked

business-like, and we were put to.


"Wall, b'ys" (boys), said Zeke, knocking the ashes out of his pipe,

after breakfast--"we must get at it. Shorty, give Peter there (the

doctor), the big hoe, and Paul the other, and let's be off." Going to

a corner, Shorty brought forth three of the implements; and

distributing them impartially, trudged on after his partner, who took

the lead with something in the shape of an axe.


For a moment left alone in the house, we looked at each other,

quaking. We were each equipped with a great, clumsy piece of a tree,

armed at one end with a heavy, flat mass of iron.


The cutlery part--especially adapted to a primitive soil--was an

importation from Sydney; the handles must have been of domestic

manufacture. "Hoes"--so called--we had heard of, and seen; but they

were harmless in comparison with the tools in our hands.


"What's to be done with them?" inquired I of Peter.


"Lift them up and down," he replied; "or put them in motion some way

or other. Paul, we are in a scrape--but hark! they are calling;" and

shouldering the hoes, off we marched.'


Our destination was the farther side of the plantation, where the

ground, cleared in part, had not yet been broken up; but they were

now setting about it. Upon halting, I asked why a plough was not

used; some of the young wild steers might be caught and trained for


Zeke replied that, for such a purpose, no cattle, to his knowledge,

had ever been used in any part of Polynesia. As for the soil of

Martair, so obstructed was it with roots, crossing and recrossing

each other at all points, that no kind of a plough could be used to

advantage. The heavy Sydney hoes were the only thing for such land.


Our work was now before us; but, previous to commencing operations, I

endeavoured to engage the Yankee in a little further friendly chat

concerning the nature of virgin soils in general, and that of the

valley of Martair in particular. So masterly a stratagem made Long

Ghost brighten up; and he stood by ready to join in.  But what our

friend had to say about agriculture all referred to the particular

part of his plantation upon which we stood; and having communicated

enough on this head to enable us to set to work to the best

advantage, he fell to, himself; and Shorty, who had been looking on,

followed suit.


The surface, here and there, presented closely amputated branches of

what had once been a dense thicket. They seemed purposely left

projecting, as if to furnish a handle whereby to drag out the roots

beneath. After loosening the hard soil, by dint of much thumping and

pounding, the Yankee jerked one of the roots this way and that,

twisting it round and round, and then tugging at it horizontally.


"Come! lend us a hand!" he cried, at last; and running up, we all four

strained away in concert. The tough obstacle convulsed the surface

with throes and spasms; but stuck fast, notwithstanding.


"Dumn it!" cried Zeke, "we'll have to get a rope; run to the house,

Shorty, and fetch one."


The end of this being attached, we took plenty of room, and strained

away once more.


"Give us a song, Shorty," said the doctor; who was rather sociable, on

a short acquaintance. Where the work to be accomplished is any way

difficult, this mode of enlivening toil is quite efficacious among

sailors. So willing to make everything as cheerful as possible,

Shorty struck up, "Were you ever in Dumbarton?" a marvellously

inspiring, but somewhat indecorous windlass chorus.


At last, the Yankee cast a damper on his enthusiasm by exclaiming, in

a pet, "Oh!  dumn your singing! keep quiet, and pull away!" This we

now did, in the most uninteresting silence; until, with a jerk that

made every elbow hum, the root dragged out; and most inelegantly, we

all landed upon the ground. The doctor, quite exhausted, stayed

there; and, deluded into believing that, after so doughty a

performance, we would be allowed a cessation of toil, took off his

hat, and fanned himself.


"Rayther a hard customer, that, Peter," observed the Yankee, going up

to him: "but it's no use for any on 'em to hang back; for I'm dumned

if they hain't got to come out, whether or no. Hurrah! let's get at

it agin!"


"Mercy!" ejaculated the doctor, rising slowly, and turning round.

"He'll be the death of us!"


Falling to with our hoes again, we worked singly, or together, as

occasion required, until "Nooning Time" came.


The period, so called by the planters, embraced about three hours in

the middle of the day; during which it was so excessively hot, in

this still, brooding valley, shut out from the Trades, and only open

toward the leeward side of the island, that labour in the sun was out

of the question. To use a hyperbolical phrase of Shorty's, "It was

'ot enough to melt the nose h'off a brass monkey."


Returning to the house, Shorty, assisted by old Tonoi, cooked the

dinner; and, after we had all partaken thereof, both the Cockney and

Zeke threw themselves into one of the hammocks, inviting us to occupy

the other. Thinking it no bad idea, we did so; and, after skirmishing

with the mosquitoes, managed to fall into a doze. As for the

planters, more accustomed to "Nooning," they, at once, presented a

nuptial back to each other; and were soon snoring away at a great

rate. Tonoi snoozed on a mat, in one corner.


At last, we were roused by Zeke's crying out, "Up b'ys; up! rise, and

shine; time to get at it agin!"


Looking at the doctor, I perceived, very plainly, that he had decided

upon something.


In a languid voice, he told Zeke that he was not very well: indeed,

that he had not been himself for some time past; though a little

rest, no doubt, would recruit him. The Yankee thinking, from this,

that our valuable services might be lost to him altogether, were he

too hard upon us at the outset, at once begged us both to consult our

own feelings, and not exert ourselves for the present, unless we felt

like it. Then--without recognizing the fact that my comrade claimed

to be actually unwell--he simply suggested that, since he was so

tired, he had better, perhaps, swing in his hammock for the rest of

the day. If agreeable, however, I myself might accompany him upon a

little bullock-hunting excursion in the neighbouring hills. In this

proposition, I gladly acquiesced; though Peter, who was a great

sportsman, put on a long face. The muskets and ammunition were

forthwith got from overhead; and, everything being then ready, Zeke

cried out, "Tonoi! come; aramai! (get up) we want you for pilot.

Shorty, my lad, look arter things, you know; and if you likes, why,

there's them roots in the field yonder."


Having thus arranged his domestic affairs to please himself, though

little to Shorty's satisfaction, I thought, he slung his powder-horn

over his shoulder, and we started.  Tonoi was, at once, sent on in

advance; and leaving the plantation, he struck into a path which led

toward the mountains.


After hurrying through the thickets for some time, we came out into

the sunlight, in an open glade, just under the shadow of the hills.

Here, Zeke pointed aloft to a beetling crag far distant, where a

bullock, with horns thrown back, stood like a statue.








BEFORE we proceed further, a word or two concerning these wild cattle,

and the way they came on the island.


Some fifty years ago, Vancouver left several bullocks, sheep and

goats, at various places in the Society group. He instructed the

natives to look after the animals carefully; and by no means to

slaughter any until a considerable stock had accumulated.


The sheep must have died off: for I never saw a solitary fleece in any

part of Polynesia. The pair left were an ill-assorted couple,

perhaps; separated in disgust, and died without issue.


As for the goats, occasionally you come across a black, misanthropic

ram, nibbling the scant herbage of some height inaccessible to man,

in preference to the sweet grasses of the valley below. The goats are

not very numerous.


The bullocks, coming of a prolific ancestry, are a hearty set, racing

over the island of Imeeo in considerable numbers, though in Tahiti

but few of them are seen. At the former place, the original pair must

have scampered off to the interior since it is now so thickly

populated by their wild progeny. The herds are the private property

of Queen Pomaree; from whom the planters had obtained permission to

shoot for their own use as many as they pleased.


The natives stand in great awe of these cattle; and for this reason

are excessively timid in crossing the island, preferring rather to

sail round to an opposite village in their canoes.


Tonoi abounded in bullock stories; most of which, by the bye, had a

spice of the marvellous. The following is one of these.


Once upon a time, he was going over the hills with a brother--now no

more--when a great bull came bellowing out of a wood, and both took

to their heels. The old chief sprang into a tree; his companion,

flying in an opposite direction, was pursued, and, in the very act of

reaching up to a bough, trampled underfoot. The unhappy man was then

gored--tossed in the air--and finally run away with on the bull's

horns. More dead than alive, Tonoi waited till all was over, and then

made the best of his way home. The neighbours, armed with two or

three muskets, at once started to recover, if possible, his

unfortunate brother's remains. At nightfall, they returned without

discovering any trace of him; but the next morning, Tonoi himself

caught a glimpse of the bullock, marching across the mountain's brow,

with a long dark object borne aloft on his horns.


Having referred to Vancouver's attempts to colonize the islands with

useful quadrupeds, we may as well say something concerning his

success upon Hawaii, one of the largest islands in the whole

Polynesian Archipelago; and which gives the native name to the

well-known cluster named by Cook in honour of Lord Sandwich.


Hawaii is some one hundred leagues in circuit, and covers an area of

over four thousand miles. Until within a few years past, its interior

was almost unknown, even to the inhabitants themselves, who, for

ages, had been prevented from wandering thither by certain strange

superstitions. Pelee, the terrific goddess of the volcanoes Mount Eoa

and Mount Kea, was supposed to guard all the passes to the extensive

valleys lying round their base. There are legends of her having chased

with streams of fire several impious adventurers. Near Hilo, a

jet-black cliff is shown, with the vitreous torrent apparently

pouring over into the sea: just as it cooled after one of these

supernatural eruptions.


To these inland valleys, and the adjoining hillsides, which are

clothed in the most luxuriant vegetation, Vancouver's bullocks soon

wandered; and unmolested for a long period, multiplied in vast herds.


Some twelve or fifteen years ago, the natives lost sight of their

superstitions, and learning the value of the hides in commerce, began

hunting the creatures that wore them; but being very fearful and

awkward in a business so novel, their success was small; and it was

not until the arrival of a party of Spanish hunters, men regularly

trained to their calling upon the plains of California, that the work

of slaughter was fairly begun.


The Spaniards were showy fellows, tricked out in gay blankets,

leggings worked with porcupine quills, and jingling spurs. Mounted

upon trained Indian mares, these heroes pursued their prey up to the

very base of the burning mountains; making the profoundest solitudes

ring with their shouts, and flinging the lasso under the very nose of

the vixen goddess Pelee. Hilo, a village upon the coast, was their

place of resort; and thither flocked roving whites from all the

islands of the group. As pupils of the dashing Spaniards, many of

these dissipated fellows, quaffing too freely of the stirrup-cup, and

riding headlong after the herds, when they reeled in the saddle, were

unhorsed and killed.


This was about the year 1835, when the present king, Tammahamaha III.,

was a lad.  With royal impudence laying claim to the sole property of

the cattle, he was delighted with the idea of receiving one of every

two silver dollars paid down for their hides; so, with no thought for

the future, the work of extermination went madly on. In three years'

time, eighteen thousand bullocks were slain, almost entirely upon the

single island of Hawaii.


The herds being thus nearly destroyed, the sagacious young prince

imposed a rigorous "taboo" upon the few surviving cattle, which was

to remain in force for ten years. During this period--not yet

expired--all hunting is forbidden, unless directly authorized by the


The massacre of the cattle extended to the hapless goats. In one year,

three thousand of their skins were sold to the merchants of Honolulu,

fetching a quartila, or a shilling sterling apiece.


After this digression, it is time to run on after Tonoi and the








AT THE foot of the mountain, a steep path went up among rocks and

clefts mantled with verdure. Here and there were green gulfs, down

which it made one giddy to peep. At last we gained an overhanging,

wooded shelf of land which crowned the heights; and along this, the

path, well shaded, ran like a gallery.


In every direction the scenery was enchanting. There was a low,

rustling breeze; and below, in the vale, the leaves were quivering;

the sea lay, blue and serene, in the distance; and inland the surface

swelled up, ridge after ridge, and peak upon peak, all bathed in the

Indian haze of the Tropics, and dreamy to look upon. Still valleys,

leagues away, reposed in the deep shadows of the mountains; and here

and there, waterfalls lifted up their voices in the solitude. High

above all, and central, the "Marling-spike" lifted its finger. Upon

the hillsides, small groups of bullocks were seen; some quietly

browsing; others slowly winding into the valleys.


We went on, directing our course for a slope of these hills, a mile or

two further, where the nearest bullocks were seen.


We were cautious in keeping to the windward of them; their sense of

smell and hearing being, like those of all wild creatures,

exceedingly acute.


As there was no knowing that we might not surprise some other kind of

game in the coverts through which we were passing, we crept along


The wild hogs of the island are uncommonly fierce; and as they often

attack the natives, I could not help following Tonoi's example of

once in a while peeping in under the foliage. Frequent retrospective

glances also served to assure me that our retreat was not cut off.


As we rounded a clump of bushes, a noise behind them, like the

crackling of dry branches, broke the stillness. In an instant,

Tonoi's hand was on a bough, ready for a spring, and Zeke's finger

touched the trigger of his piece. Again the stillness was broken; and

thinking it high time to get ready, I brought my musket to my


"Look sharp!" cried the Yankee; and dropping on one knee, he brushed

the twigs aside. Presently, off went his piece; and with a wild

snort, a black, bristling boar--his cherry red lip curled up by two

glittering tusks--dashed, unharmed, across the path, and crashed

through the opposite thicket. I saluted him with a charge as he

disappeared; but not the slightest notice was taken of the civility.


By this time, Tonoi, the illustrious descendant of the Bishops of

Imeeo, was twenty feet from the ground. "Aramai! come down, you old

fool!" cried the Yankee; "the pesky critter's on t'other side of the

island afore this."


"I rayther guess," he continued, as we began reloading, "that we've

spoiled sport by firing at that 'ere tarnal hog. Them bullocks heard

the racket, and are flinging their tails about now on the keen jump.

Quick, Paul, and let's climb that rock yonder, and see if so be

there's any in sight."


But none were to be seen, except at such a distance that they looked

like ants.


As evening was now at hand, my companion proposed our returning home

forthwith; and then, after a sound night's rest, starting in the

morning upon a good day's hunt with the whole force of the


Following another pass in descending into the valley, we passed

through some nobly wooded land on the face of the mountain.


One variety of tree particularly attracted my attention. The dark

mossy stem, over seventy feet high, was perfectly branchless for many

feet above the ground, when it shot out in broad boughs laden with

lustrous leaves of the deepest green. And all round the lower part of

the trunk, thin, slab-like buttresses of bark, perfectly smooth, and

radiating from a common centre, projected along the ground for at

least two yards. From below, these natural props tapered upward until

gradually blended with the trunk itself. There were signs of the wild

cattle having sheltered themselves behind them. Zeke called this the

canoe tree; as in old times it supplied the navies of the Kings of

Tahiti. For canoe building, the woods is still used. Being extremely

dense, and impervious to worms, it is very durable.


Emerging from the forest, when half-way down the hillside, we came

upon an open space, covered with ferns and grass, over which a few

lonely trees were casting long shadows in the setting sun. Here, a

piece of ground some hundred feet square, covered with weeds and

brambles, and sounding hollow to the tread, was inclosed by a ruinous

wall of stones. Tonoi said it was an almost forgotten burial-place, of

great antiquity, where no one had been interred since the islanders

had been Christians.  Sealed up in dry, deep vaults, many a dead

heathen was lying here.


Curious to prove the old man's statement, I was anxious to get a peep

at the catacombs; but hermetically overgrown with vegetation as they

were, no aperture was visible.


Before gaining the level of the valley, we passed by the site of a

village, near a watercourse, long since deserted. There was nothing

but stone walls, and rude dismantled foundations of houses,

constructed of the same material. Large trees and brushwood were

growing rankly among them.


I asked Tonoi how long it was since anyone had lived here. "Me,

tammaree (boy)--plenty kannaker (men) Martair," he replied. "Now,

only poor pehe kannaka (fishermen) left--me born here."


Going down the valley, vegetation of every kind presented a different

aspect from that of the high land.


Chief among the trees of the plain on this island is the "Ati," large

and lofty, with a massive trunk, and broad, laurel-shaped leaves. The

wood is splendid. In Tahiti, I was shown a narrow, polished plank fit

to make a cabinet for a king. Taken from the heart of the tree, it

was of a deep, rich scarlet, traced with yellow veins, and in some

places clouded with hazel.


In the same grove with the regal "AH" you may see the beautiful

flowering "Hotoo"; its pyramid of shining leaves diversified with

numberless small, white blossoms.


Planted with trees as the valley is almost throughout its entire

length, I was astonished to observe so very few which were useful to

the natives: not one in a hundred was a cocoa-nut or bread-fruit


But here Tonoi again enlightened me. In the sanguinary religious

hostilities which ensued upon the conversion of Christianity of the

first Pomaree, a war-party from Tahiti destroyed (by "girdling" the

bark) entire groves of these invaluable trees. For some time

afterwards they stood stark and leafless in the sun; sad monuments of

the fate which befell the inhabitants of the valley.








THE NIGHT following the hunting trip, Long Ghost and myself, after a

valiant defence, had to fly the house on account of the mosquitoes.


And here I cannot avoid relating a story, rife among the natives,

concerning the manner in which these insects were introduced upon the


Some years previous, a whaling captain, touching at an adjoining bay,

got into difficulty with its inhabitants, and at last carried his

complaint before one of the native tribunals; but receiving no

satisfaction, and deeming himself aggrieved, he resolved upon taking

signal revenge. One night, he towed a rotten old water-cask ashore,

and left it in a neglected Taro patch where the ground was warm and

moist. Hence the mosquitoes.


I tried my best to learn the name of this man; and hereby do what I

can to hand it down to posterity. It was Coleman--Nathan Cole-man.

The ship belonged to Nantucket.


When tormented by the mosquitoes, I found much relief in coupling the

word "Coleman" with another of one syllable, and pronouncing them

together energetically.


The doctor suggested a walk to the beach, where there was a long, low

shed tumbling to pieces, but open lengthwise to a current of air

which he thought might keep off the mosquitoes. So thither we went.


The ruin partially sheltered a relic of times gone by, which, a few

days after, we examined with much curiosity. It was an old war-canoe,

crumbling to dust. Being supported by the same rude blocks upon

which, apparently, it had years before been hollowed out, in all

probability it had never been afloat.


Outside, it seemed originally stained of a green colour, which, here

and there, was now changed into a dingy purple. The prow terminated

in a high, blunt beak; both sides were covered with carving; and upon

the stern, was something which Long Ghost maintained to be the arms

of the royal House of Pomaree. The device had an heraldic look,

certainly--being two sharks with the talons of hawks clawing a knot

left projecting from the wood.


The canoe was at least forty feet long, about two wide, and four deep.

The upper part--consisting of narrow planks laced together with cords

of sinnate--had in many places fallen off, and lay decaying upon the

ground. Still, there were ample accommodations left for sleeping; and

in we sprang--the doctor into the bow, and I into the stern. I soon

fell asleep; but waking suddenly, cramped in every joint from my

constrained posture, I thought, for an instant, that I must have been

prematurely screwed down in my coffin.


Presenting my compliments to Long Ghost, I asked how it fared with


"Bad enough," he replied, as he tossed about in the outlandish rubbish

lying in the bottom of our couch. "Pah! how these old mats smell!"


As he continued talking in this exciting strain for some time, I at

last made no reply, having resumed certain mathematical reveries to

induce repose. But finding the multiplication table of no avail, I

summoned up a grayish image of chaos in a sort of sliding fluidity,

and was just falling into a nap on the strength of it, when I heard a

solitary and distinct buzz. The hour of my calamity was at hand. One

blended hum, the creature darted into the canoe like a small

swordfish; and I out of it.


Upon getting into the open air, to my surprise, there was Long Ghost,

fanning himself wildly with an old paddle. He had just made a

noiseless escape from a swarm which had attacked his own end of the


It was now proposed to try the water; so a small fishing canoe, hauled

up near by, was quickly launched; and paddling a good distance off,

we dropped overboard the native contrivance for an anchor--a heavy

stone, attached to a cable of braided bark. At this part of the

island the encircling reef was close to the shore, leaving the water

within smooth, and extremely shallow.


It was a blessed thought! We knew nothing till sunrise, when the

motion of our aquatic cot awakened us. I looked up, and beheld Zeke

wading toward the shore, and towing us after him by the bark cable.

Pointing to the reef, he told us we had had a narrow escape.


It was true enough; the water-sprites had rolled our stone out of its

noose, and we had floated away.








FAIR dawned, over the hills of Martair, the jocund morning of our


Everything had been prepared for it overnight; and, when we arrived at

the house, a good breakfast was spread by Shorty: and old Tonoi was

bustling about like an innkeeper. Several of his men, also, were in

attendance to accompany us with calabashes of food; and, in case we

met with any success, to officiate as bearers of burdens on our


Apprised, the evening previous, of the meditated sport, the doctor had

announced his willingness to take part therein.


Now, subsequent events made us regard this expedition as a shrewd

device of the Yankee's. Once get us off on a pleasure trip, and with

what face could we afterward refuse to work? Beside, he enjoyed all

the credit of giving us a holiday. Nor did he omit assuring us that,

work or play, our wages were all the while running on.


A dilapidated old musket of Tonoi's was borrowed for the doctor. It

was exceedingly short and heavy, with a clumsy lock, which required a

strong finger to pull the trigger.  On trying the piece by firing at

a mark, Long Ghost was satisfied that it could not fail of doing

execution: the charge went one way, and he the other.


Upon this, he endeavoured to negotiate an exchange of muskets with

Shorty; but the Cockney was proof against his blandishments; at last,

he intrusted his weapon to one of the natives to carry for him.


Marshalling our forces, we started for the head of the valley; near

which a path ascended to a range of high land, said to be a favourite

resort of the cattle.


Shortly after gaining the heights, a small herd, some way off, was

perceived entering a wood. We hurried on; and, dividing our party,

went in after them at four different points; each white man followed

by several natives.


I soon found myself in a dense covert; and, after looking round, was

just emerging into a clear space, when I heard a report, and a bullet

knocked the bark from a tree near by. The same instant there was a

trampling and crashing; and five bullocks, nearly abreast, broke into

View across the opening, and plunged right toward the spot where

myself and three of the islanders were standing.


They were small, black, vicious-looking creatures; with short, sharp

horns, red nostrils, and eyes like coals of fire. On they came--their

dark woolly heads hanging down.


By this time my island backers were roosting among the trees. Glancing

round, for an instant, to discover a retreat in case of emergency, I

raised my piece, when a voice cried out, from the wood, "Right

between the 'orns, Paul! right between the 'orns!" Down went my

barrel in range with a small white tuft on the forehead of the

headmost one; and, letting him have it, I darted to one side. As I

turned again, the five bullocks shot by like a blast, making the air

eddy in their wake.


The Yankee now burst into view, and saluted them in flank. Whereupon,

the fierce little bull with the tufted forehead flirted his long tail

over his buttocks; kicked out with his hind feet, and shot forward a

full length. It was nothing but a graze; and, in an instant, they

were out of sight, the thicket into which they broke rocking

overhead, and marking their progress.


The action over, the heavy artillery came up, in the person of the

Long Doctor with the blunderbuss.


"Where are they?" he cried, out of breath.


"A mile or two h'off, by this time," replied the Cockney. "Lord, Paul

I you ought to've sent an 'ailstone into that little black 'un."


While excusing my want of skill, as well as I could, Zeke, rushing

forward, suddenly exclaimed, "Creation! what are you 'bout there,



Peter, incensed at our ill luck, and ignorantly imputing it to the

cowardice of our native auxiliaries, was bringing his piece to bear

upon his trembling squire--the musket-carrier--now descending a tree.


Pulling trigger, the bullet went high over his head; and, hopping to

the ground, bellowing like a calf, the fellow ran away as fast as his

heels could carry him. The rest followed us, after this, with fear

and trembling.


After forming our line of march anew, we went on for several hours

without catching a glimpse of the game; the reports of the muskets

having been heard at a great distance. At last, we mounted a craggy

height, to obtain a wide view of the country.  Prom this place, we

beheld three cattle quietly browsing in a green opening of a wood

below; the trees shutting them in all round.


A general re-examination of the muskets now took place, followed by a

hasty lunch from the calabashes: we then started. As we descended the

mountainside the cattle were in plain sight until we entered the

forest, when we lost sight of them for a moment; but only to see them

again, as we crept close up to the spot where they grazed.


They were a bull, a cow, and a calf. The cow was lying down in the

shade, by the edge of the wood; the calf, sprawling out before her in

the grass, licking her lips; while old Taurus himself stood close by,

casting a paternal glance at this domestic little scene, and

conjugally elevating his nose in the air.


"Now then," said Zeke, in a whisper, "let's take the poor creeturs while

they are huddled together. Crawl along, b'ys; crawl along. Fire

together, mind; and not till I say the word."


We crept up to the very edge of the open ground, and knelt behind a

clump of bushes; resting our levelled barrels among the branches. The

slight rustling was heard. Taurus turned round, dropped his head to

the ground, and sent forth a low, sullen bellow; then snuffed the

air. The cow rose on her foreknees, pitched forward alannedly, and

stood upon her legs; while the calf, with ears pricked, got right

underneath her. All three were now grouped, and in an instant would be


"I take the bull," cried our leader; "fire!"


The calf fell like a clod; its dam uttered a cry, and thrust her head

into the thicket; but she turned, and came moaning up to the lifeless

calf, going round and round it, snuffing fiercely with her bleeding

nostrils. A crashing in the wood, and a loud roar, announced the

flying bull.


Soon, another shot was fired, and the cow fell. Leaving some of the

natives to look after the dead cattle, the rest of us hurried on

after the bull; his dreadful bellowing guiding us to the spot where

he lay. Wounded in the shoulder, in his fright and agony he had

bounded into the wood; but when we came up to him, he had sunk to the

earth in a green hollow, thrusting his black muzzle into a pool of his

own blood, and tossing it over his hide in clots.


The Yankee brought his piece to a rest; and, the next instant, the

wild brute sprang into the air, and with his forelegs crouching under

him, fell dead.


Our island friends were now in high spirits; all courage and alacrity.

Old Tonoi thought nothing of taking poor Taurus himself by the horns,

and peering into his glazed eyes.


Our ship knives were at once in request; and, skinning the cattle, we

hung them high up by cords of bark from the boughs of a tree.

Withdrawing into a covert, we there waited for the wild hogs; which,

according to Zeke, would soon make their appearance, lured by the

smell of blood. Presently we heard them coming, in two or three

different directions; and, in a moment, they were tearing the offal to


As only one shot at these creatures could be relied on, we intended

firing simultaneously; but, somehow or other, the doctor's piece went

off by itself, and one of the hogs dropped. The others then breaking

into the thicket, the rest of us sprang after them; resolved to have

another shot at all hazards.


The Cockney darted among some bushes; and, a few moments after, we

heard the report of his musket, followed by a quick cry. On running

up, we saw our comrade doing battle with a young devil of a boar, as

black as night, whose snout had been partly torn away. Firing when

the game was in full career, and coming directly toward him, Shorty

had been assailed by the enraged brute; it was now crunching the

breech of the musket, with which he had tried to club it; Shorty

holding fast to the barrel, and fingering his waist for a knife.

Being in advance of the others, I clapped my gun to the boar's head,

and so put an end to the contest.


Evening now coming on, we set to work loading our carriers. The cattle

were so small that a stout native could walk off with an entire

quarter; brushing through thickets, and descending rocks without an

apparent effort; though, to tell the truth, no white man present

could have done the thing with any ease. As for the wild hogs, none

of the islanders could be induced to carry Shorty's; some invincible

superstition being connected with its black colour. We were,

therefore, obliged to leave it. The other, a spotted one, being slung

by green thongs to a pole, was marched off with by two young natives.


With our bearers of burdens ahead, we then commenced our return down

the valley.  Half-way home, darkness overtook us in the woods; and

torches became necessary.  We stopped, and made them of dry palm

branches; and then, sending two lads on in advance for the purpose of

gathering fuel to feed the flambeaux, we continued our journey.


It was a wild sight. The torches, waved aloft, flashed through the

forest; and, where the ground admitted, the islanders went along on a

brisk trot, notwithstanding they bent forward under their loads.

Their naked backs were stained with blood; and occasionally, running

by each other, they raised wild cries which startled the hillsides.








TWO BULLOCKS and a boar! No bad trophies of our day's sport. So by

torchlight we marched into the plantation, the wild hog rocking from

its pole, and the doctor singing an old hunting-song--Tally-ho! the

chorus of which swelled high above the yells of the natives.


We resolved to make a night of it. Kindling a great fire just outside

the dwelling, and hanging one of the heifer's quarters from a limb of

the banian-tree, everyone was at liberty to cut and broil for

himself. Baskets of roasted bread-fruit, and plenty of taro pudding;

bunches of bananas, and young cocoa-nuts, had also been provided by

the natives against our return.


The fire burned bravely, keeping off the mosquitoes, and making every

man's face glow like a beaker of Port. The meat had the true

wild-game flavour, not at all impaired by our famous appetites, and a

couple of flasks of white brandy, which Zeke, producing from his

secret store, circulated freely.


There was no end to my long comrade's spirits. After telling his

stories, and singing his songs, he sprang to his feet, clasped a

young damsel of the grove round the waist, and waltzed over the grass

with her. But there's no telling all the pranks he played that night.

The natives, who delight in a wag, emphatically pronounced him



It was long after midnight ere we broke up; but when the rest had

retired, Zeke, with the true thrift of a Yankee, salted down what was

left of the meat.


The next day was Sunday; and at my request, Shorty accompanied me to

Afrehitoo--a neighbouring bay, and the seat of a mission, almost

directly opposite Papeetee. In Afrehitoo is a large church and

school-house, both quite dilapidated; and planted amid shrubbery on a

fine knoll, stands a very tasteful cottage, commanding a view across

the channel. In passing, I caught sight of a graceful calico skirt

disappearing from the piazza through a doorway. The place was the

residence of the missionary.


A trim little sail-boat was dancing out at her moorings, a few yards

from the beach.


Straggling over the low lands in the vicinity were several native

huts--untidy enough--but much better every way than most of those in


We attended service at the church, where we found but a small

congregation; and after what I had seen in Papeetee, nothing very

interesting took place. But the audience had a curious, fidgety look,

which I knew not how to account for until we ascertained that a

sermon with the eighth commandment for a text was being preached.


It seemed that there lived an Englishman in the district, who, like

our friends, the planters, was cultivating Tombez potatoes for the

Papeetee market.


In spite of all his precautions, the natives were in the habit of

making nocturnal forays into his inclosure, and carrying off the

potatoes. One night he fired a fowling-piece, charged with pepper and

salt, at several shadows which he discovered stealing across his

premises. They fled. But it was like seasoning anything else; the

knaves stole again with a greater relish than ever; and the very next

night, he caught a party in the act of roasting a basketful of

potatoes under his own cooking-shed. At last, he stated his

grievances to the missionary; who, for the benefit of his

congregation, preached the sermon we heard.


Now, there were no thieves in Martair; but then, the people of the

valley were bribed to be honest. It was a regular business

transaction between them and the planters. In consideration of so

many potatoes "to them in hand, duly paid," they were to abstain from

all depredations upon the plantation. Another security against roguery

was the permanent residence upon the premises of their chief, Tonoi.


On our return to Martair in the afternoon, we found the doctor and

Zeke making themselves comfortable. The latter was reclining on the

ground, pipe in mouth, watching the doctor, who, sitting like a Turk,

before a large iron kettle, was slicing potatoes and Indian turnip,

and now and then shattering splinters from a bone; all of which, by

turns, were thrown into the pot. He was making what he called

"Bullock broth."


In gastronomic affairs, my friend was something of an artist; and by

way of improving his knowledge, did nothing the rest of the day but

practise in what might be called Experimental Cookery: broiling and

grilling, and deviling slices of meat, and subjecting them to all

sorts of igneous operations. It was the first fresh beef that either

of us had tasted in more than a year.


"Oh, ye'll pick up arter a while, Peter," observed Zeke toward night,

as Long Ghost was turning a great rib over the coals--"what d'ye

think, Paul?"


"He'll get along, I dare say," replied I; "he only wants to get those

cheeks of his tanned." To tell the truth, I was not a little pleased

to see the doctor's reputation as an invalid fading away so fast;

especially as, on the strength of his being one, he had promised to

have such easy times of it, and very likely, too, at my expense.








DOZING in our canoe the next morning about daybreak, we were awakened

by Zeke's hailing us loudly from the beach.


Upon paddling up, he told us that a canoe had arrived overnight, from

Papeetee, with an order from a ship lying there for a supply of his

potatoes; and as they must be on board the vessel by noon, he wanted

us to assist in bringing them down to his sail-boat.


My long comrade was one of those who, from always thrusting forth the

wrong foot foremost when they rise, or committing some other

indiscretion of the limbs, are more or less crabbed or sullen before

breakfast. It was in vain, therefore, that the Yankee deplored the

urgency of the case which obliged him to call us up thus early:--the

doctor only looked the more glum, and said nothing in reply.


At last, by way of getting up a little enthusiasm for the occasion,

the Yankee exclaimed quite spiritedly, "What d'ye say, then, b'ys,

shall we get at it?"


"Yes, in the devil's name!" replied the doctor, like a snapping

turtle; and we moved on to the house. Notwithstanding his ungracious

answer, he probably thought that, after the gastronomic performance

of the day previous, it would hardly do to hang back. At the house,

we found Shorty ready with the hoes; and we at once repaired to the

farther side of the inclosure, where the potatoes had yet to be taken

out of the ground.


The rich, tawny soil seemed specially adapted to the crop; the great

yellow murphies rolling out of the hills like eggs from a nest.


My comrade really surprised me by the zeal with which he applied

himself to his hoe.  For my own part, exhilarated by the cool breath

of the morning, I worked away like a good fellow. As for Zeke and the

Cockney, they seemed mightily pleased at this evidence of our

willingness to exert ourselves.


It was not long ere all the potatoes were turned out; and then came

the worst of it:  they were to be lugged down to the beach, a

distance of at least a quarter of a mile.  And there being no such

thing as a barrow, or cart, on the island, there was nothing for it

but spinal-marrows and broad shoulders. Well knowing that this part of

the business would be anything but agreeable, Zeke did his best to

put as encouraging a face upon it as possible; and giving us no time

to indulge in desponding thoughts, gleefully directed our attention

to a pile of rude baskets--made of stout stalks--which had been

provided for the occasion. So, without more ado, we helped ourselves

from the heap: and soon we were all four staggering along under our


The first trip down, we arrived at the beach together: Zeke's

enthusiastic cries proving irresistible. A trip or two more, however,

and my shoulders began to grate in their sockets; while the doctor's

tall figure acquired an obvious stoop. Presently, we both threw down

our baskets, protesting we could stand it no longer. But our

employers, bent, as it Were, upon getting the work out of us by a

silent appeal to our moral sense, toiled away without pretending to

notice us. It was as much as to say, "There, men, we've been boarding

and lodging ye for the last three days; and yesterday ye did nothing

earthly but eat; so stand by now, and look at us working, if ye

dare." Thus driven to it, then, we resumed our employment. Yet, in

spite of all we could do, we lagged behind Zeke and Shorty, who,

breathing hard, and perspiring at every pore, toiled away without

pause or cessation. I almost wickedly wished that they would load

themselves down with one potato too many.


Gasping as I was with my own hamper, I could not, for the life of me,

help laughing at Long Ghost. There he went:--his long neck thrust

forward, his arms twisted behind him to form a shelf for his basket

to rest on; and his stilts of legs every once in a while giving way

under him, as if his knee-joints slipped either way.


"There! I carry no more!" he exclaimed all at once, flinging his

potatoes into the boat, where the Yankee was just then stowing them


"Oh, then," said Zeke, quite briskly, "I guess you and Paul had better

try the 'barrel-machine'--come along, I'll fix ye out in no time";

and, so saying, he waded ashore, and hurried back to the house,

bidding us follow.


Wondering what upon earth the "barrel-machine" could be, and rather

suspicious of it, we limped after. On arriving at the house, we found

him getting ready a sort of sedan-chair. It was nothing more than an

old barrel suspended by a rope from the middle of a stout oar. Quite

an ingenious contrivance of the Yankee's; and his proposed

arrangement with regard to mine and the doctor's shoulders was

equally so.


"There now!" said he, when everything was ready, "there's no

back-breaking about this; you can stand right up under it, you see:

jist try it once"; and he politely rested the blade of the oar on my

comrade's right shoulder, and the other end on mine, leaving the

barrel between us.


"Jist the thing!" he added, standing off admiringly, while we remained

in this interesting attitude.


There was no help for us; with broken hearts and backs we trudged back

to the field; the doctor all the while saying masses.


Upon starting with the loaded barrel, for a few paces we got along

pretty well, and were constrained to think the idea not a bad one.

But we did not long think so. In less than five minutes we came to a

dead halt, the springing and buckling of the clumsy oar being almost


"Let's shift ends," cried the doctor, who did not relish the blade of

the stick, which was cutting into the blade of his shoulder.


At last, by stages short and frequent, we managed to shamble down the

beach, where we again dumped our cargo, in something of a pet.


"Why not make the natives help?" asked Long Ghost, rubbing his


"Natives be dumned!" said the Yankee, "twenty on 'em ain't worth one

white man.  They never was meant to work any, them chaps; and they

knows it, too, for dumned little work any on 'em ever does."


But, notwithstanding this abuse, Zeke was at last obliged to press a

few of the bipeds into service. "Aramai!" (come here) he shouted to

several, who, reclining on a bank, had hitherto been critical

observers of our proceedings; and, among other things, had been

particularly amused by the performance with the sedan-chair.


After making these fellows load their baskets together, the Yankee

filled his own, and then drove them before him down to the beach.

Probably he had seen the herds of panniered mules driven in this way

by mounted Indians along the great Callao to Lima. The boat at last

loaded, the Yankee, taking with him a couple of natives, at once

hoisted sail, and stood across the channel for Papeetee.


The next morning at breakfast, old Tonoi ran in, and told us that the

voyagers were returning. We hurried down to the beach, and saw the

boat gliding toward us, with a dozing islander at the helm, and Zeke

standing up in the bows, jingling a small bag of silver, the proceeds

of his cargo.








SEVERAL quiet days now passed away, during which we just worked

sufficiently to sharpen our appetites; the planters leniently

exempting us from any severe toil.


Their desire to retain us became more and more evident; which was not

to be wondered at; for, beside esteeming us from the beginning a

couple of civil, good-natured fellows, who would soon become quite

at-home with them, they were not slow in perceiving that we were far

different from the common run of rovers; and that our society was

both entertaining and instructive to a couple of solitary, illiterate

men like themselves.


In a literary point of view, indeed, they soon regarded us with

emotions of envy and wonder; and the doctor was considered nothing

short of a prodigy. The Cockney found out that he (the doctor) could

read a book upside down, without even so much as spelling the big

words beforehand; and the Yankee, in the twinkling of an eye,

received from him the sum total of several arithmetical items, stated

aloud, with the view of testing the extent of his mathematical lore.


Then, frequently, in discoursing upon men and things, my long comrade

employed such imposing phrases that, upon one occasion, they actually

remained uncovered while he talked.


In short, their favourable opinion of Long Ghost in particular rose

higher and higher every day; and they began to indulge in all manner

of dreams concerning the advantages to be derived from employing so

learned a labourer. Among other projects revealed was that of

building a small craft of some forty tons for the purpose of trading

among the neighbouring islands. With a native crew, we would then

take turns cruising over the tranquil Pacific; touching here and

there, as caprice suggested, and collecting romantic articles of

commerce;--beach-de-mer, the pearl-oyster, arrow-root, ambergris,

sandal-wood, cocoa-nut oil, and edible birdnests.


This South Sea yachting was delightful to think of; and straightway,

the doctor announced his willingness to navigate the future schooner

clear of all shoals and reefs whatsoever. His impudence was

audacious. He enlarged upon the science of navigation; treated us to

a dissertation on Mercator's Sailing and the Azimuth compass; and

went into an inexplicable explanation of the Lord only knows what

plan of his for infallibly settling the longitude.


Whenever my comrade thus gave the reins to his fine fancy, it was a

treat to listen, and therefore I never interfered; but, with the

planters, sat in mute admiration before him. This apparent

self-abasement on my part must have been considered as truly

indicative of our respective merits; for, to my no small concern, I

quickly perceived that, in the estimate formed of us, Long Ghost

began to be rated far above myself.  For aught I knew, indeed, he

might have privately thrown out a hint concerning the difference in

our respective stations aboard the Julia; or else the planters must

have considered him some illustrious individual, for certain

inscrutable reasons, going incog. With this idea of him, his

undisguised disinclination for work became venial; and entertaining

such views of extending their business, they counted more upon his

ultimate value to them as a man of science than as a mere ditcher.


Nor did the humorous doctor forbear to foster an opinion every way so

advantageous to himself; at times, for the sake of the joke, assuming

airs of superiority over myself, which, though laughable enough, were

sometimes annoying.


To tell the plain truth, things at last came to such a pass that I

told him, up and down, that I had no notion to put up with his

pretensions; if he were going to play the gentleman, I was going to

follow suit; and then there would quickly be an explosion.


At this he laughed heartily; and after some mirthful chat, we resolved

upon leaving the valley as soon as we could do so with a proper

regard to politeness.


At supper, therefore, the same evening, the doctor hinted at our


Though much surprised, and vexed, Zeke moved not a muscle. "Peter,"

said he at last--very gravely--and after mature deliberation, "would

you like to do the cooking?  It's easy work; and you needn't do

anything else. Paul's heartier; he can work in the field when it

suits him; and before long, we'll have ye at something more

agreeable:--won't we, Shorty?"


Shorty assented.


Doubtless, the proposed arrangement was a snug one; especially the

sinecure for the doctor; but I by no means relished the functions

allotted to myself--they were too indefinite. Nothing final, however,

was agreed upon;--our intention to leave was revealed, and that was

enough for the present. But, as we said nothing further about going,

the Yankee must have concluded that we might yet be induced to remain.

He redoubled his endeavours to make us contented.


It was during this state of affairs that, one morning, before

breakfast, we were set to weeding in a potato-patch; and the planters

being engaged at the house, we were left to ourselves.


Now, though the pulling of weeds was considered by our employers an

easy occupation (for which reason they had assigned it to us), and

although as a garden recreation it may be pleasant enough, for those

who like it--still, long persisted in, the business becomes

excessively irksome.


Nevertheless, we toiled away for some time, until the doctor, who,

from his height, was obliged to stoop at a very acute angle, suddenly

sprang upright; and with one hand propping his spinal column,

exclaimed, "Oh, that one's joints were but provided with holes to

drop a little oil through!"


Vain as the aspiration was for this proposed improvement upon our

species, I cordially responded thereto; for every vertebra in my

spine was articulating in sympathy.


Presently, the sun rose over the mountains, inducing that deadly

morning languor so fatal to early exertion in a warm climate. We

could stand it no longer; but, shouldering our hoes, moved on to the

house, resolved to impose no more upon the good-nature of the

planters by continuing one moment longer in an occupation so

extremely uncongenial.


We freely told them so. Zeke was exceedingly hurt, and said everything

he could think of to alter our determination; but, finding all

unavailing, he very hospitably urged us not to be in any hurry about

leaving; for we might stay with him as guests until we had time to

decide upon our future movements.


We thanked him sincerely; but replied that, the following morning, we

must turn our backs upon the hills of Martair.








DURING the remainder of the day we loitered about, talking over our


The doctor was all eagerness to visit Tamai, a solitary inland

village, standing upon the banks of a considerable lake of the same

name, and embosomed among groves.  From Afrehitoo you went to this

place by a lonely pathway leading through the wildest scenery in the

world. Much, too, we had heard concerning the lake itself, which

abounded in such delicious fish that, in former times, angling parties

occasionally came over to it from Papeetee.


Upon its banks, moreover, grew the finest fruit of the islands, and in

their greatest perfection. The "Ve," or Brazilian plum, here attained

the size of an orange; and the gorgeous "Arheea," or red apple of

Tahiti, blushed with deeper dyes than in any of the seaward valleys.


Beside all this, in Tamai dwelt the most beautiful and unsophisticated

women in the entire Society group. In short, the village was so

remote from the coast, and had been so much less affected by recent

changes than other places that, in most things, Tahitian life was

here seen as formerly existing in the days of young Otoo, the

boy-king, in Cook's time.


After obtaining from the planters all the information which was

needed, we decided upon penetrating to the village; and after a

temporary sojourn there, to strike the beach again, and journey round

to Taloo, a harbour on the opposite side of the island.


We at once put ourselves in travelling trim. Just previous to leaving

Tahiti, having found my wardrobe reduced to two suits (frock and

trousers, both much the worse for wear), I had quilted them together

for mutual preservation (after a fashion peculiar to sailors);

engrafting a red frock upon a blue one, and producing thereby a

choice variety in the way of clothing. This was the extent of my

wardrobe. Nor was the doctor by any means better off. His

improvidence had at last driven him to don the nautical garb; but by

this time his frock--a light cotton one--had almost given out, and he

had nothing to replace it. Shorty very generously offered him one

which was a little less ragged; but the alms were proudly refused;

Long Ghost preferring to assume the ancient costume of Tahiti--the



This garment, once worn as a festival dress, is now seldom met with;

but Captain Bob had often shown us one which he kept as an heirloom.

It was a cloak, or mantle, of yellow tappa, precisely similar to the

"poncho" worn by the South-American Spaniards. The head being slipped

through a slit in the middle, the robe hangs about the person in

ample drapery. Tonoi obtained sufficient coarse brown tappa to make a

short mantle of this description; and in five minutes the doctor was

equipped. Zeke, eyeing his toga critically, reminded its proprietor

that there were many streams to ford, and precipices to scale,

between Martair and Tamai; and if he travelled in petticoats, he had

better hold them up.


Besides other deficiencies, we were utterly shoeless. In the free and

easy Pacific, sailors seldom wear shoes; mine had been tossed

overboard the day we met the Trades; and except in one or two tramps

ashore, I had never worn any since. In Martair, they would have been

desirable: but none were to be had. For the expedition we meditated,

however, they were indispensable. Zeke, being the owner of a pair of

huge, dilapidated boots, hanging from a rafter like saddlebags, the

doctor succeeded in exchanging for them a case-knife, the last

valuable article in his possession. For myself, I made sandals from a

bullock's hide, such as are worn by the Indians in California. They

are made in a minute; the sole, rudely fashioned to the foot, being

confined across the instep by three straps of leather.


Our headgear deserves a passing word. My comrade's was a brave old

Panama hat, made of grass, almost as fine as threads of silk; and so

elastic that, upon rolling it up, it sprang into perfect shape again.

Set off by the jaunty slouch of this Spanish sombrero, Doctor Long

Ghost, in this and his Eoora, looked like a mendicant grandee.


Nor was my own appearance in an Eastern turban less distinguished. The

way I came to wear it was this. My hat having been knocked overboard

a few days before reaching Papeetee, I was obliged to mount an

abominable wad of parti-coloured worsted--what sailors call a Scotch

cap. Everyone knows the elasticity of knit wool; and this Caledonian

head-dress crowned my temples so effectually that the confined

atmosphere engendered was prejudicial to my curls. In vain I tried to

ventilate the cap: every gash made seemed to heal whole in no time.

Then such a continual chafing as it kept up in a hot sun.


Seeing my dislike to the thing, Kooloo, my worthy friend, prevailed

upon me to bestow it upon him. I did so; hinting that a good boiling

might restore the original brilliancy of the colours.


It was then that I mounted the turban. Taking a new Regatta frock of

the doctor's, which was of a gay calico, and winding it round my head

in folds, I allowed the sleeves to droop behind--thus forming a good

defence against the sun, though in a shower it was best off. The

pendent sleeves adding much to the effect, the doctor called me the

Bashaw with Two Tails.


Thus arrayed, we were ready for Tamai; in whose green saloons we

counted upon creating no small sensation.








LONG before sunrise the next morning my sandals were laced on, and the

doctor had vaulted into Zeke's boots.


Expecting to see us again before we went to Taloo, the planters wished

us a pleasant journey; and, on parting, very generously presented us

with a pound or two of what sailors call "plug" tobacco; telling us

to cut it up into small change; the Virginian weed being the

principal circulating medium on the island.


Tamai, we were told, was not more than three or four leagues distant;

so making allowances for a wild road, a few hours to rest at noon,

and our determination to take the journey leisurely, we counted upon

reaching the shores of the lake some time in the flush of the


For several hours we went on slowly through wood and ravine, and over

hill and precipice, seeing nothing but occasional herds of wild

cattle, and often resting; until we found ourselves, about noon, in

the very heart of the island.


It was a green, cool hollow among the mountains, into which we at last

descended with a bound. The place was gushing with a hundred springs,

and shaded over with great solemn trees, on whose mossy boles the

moisture stood in beads. Strange to say, no traces of the bullocks

ever having been here were revealed. Nor was there a sound to be

heard, nor a bird to be seen, nor any breath of wind stirring the

  1. The utter solitude and silence were oppressive; and after

peering about under the shades, and seeing nothing but ranks of dark,

motionless trunks, we hurried across the hollow, and ascended a steep

mountain opposite.


Midway up, we rested where the earth had gathered about the roots of

three palms, and thus formed a pleasant lounge, from which we looked

down upon the hollow, now one dark green tuft of woodland at our

feet. Here we brought forth a small calabash of "poee" a parting

present from Tonoi. After eating heartily, we obtained fire by two

sticks, and throwing ourselves back, puffed forth our fatigue in

wreaths of smoke. At last we fell asleep; nor did we waken till the

sun had sunk so low that its rays darted in upon us under the


Starting up, we then continued our journey; and as we gained the

mountain top--there, to our surprise, lay the lake and village of

Tamai. We had thought it a good league off. Where we stood, the

yellow sunset was still lingering; but over the valley below long

shadows were stealing--the rippling green lake reflecting the houses

and trees just as they stood along its banks. Several small canoes,

moored here and there to posts in the water, were dancing upon the

waves; and one solitary fisherman was paddling over to a grassy

point. In front of the houses, groups of natives were seen; some

thrown at full length upon the ground, and others indolently leaning

against the bamboos.


With whoop and halloo, we ran down the hills, the villagers soon

hurrying forth to see who were coming. As we drew near, they gathered

round, all curiosity to know what brought the "karhowrees" into their

quiet country. The doctor contriving to make them understand the

purely social object of our visit, they gave us a true Tahitian

welcome; pointing into their dwellings, and saying they were ours as

long as we chose to remain.


We were struck by the appearance of these people, both men and women;

so much more healthful than the inhabitants of the bays. As for the

young girls, they were more retiring and modest, more tidy in their

dress, and far fresher and more beautiful than the damsels of the

coast. A thousand pities, thought I, that they should bury their

charms in this nook of a valley.


That night we abode in the house of Rartoo, a hospitable old chief. It

was right on the shore of the lake; and at supper we looked out

through a rustling screen of foliage upon the surface of the starlit


The next day we rambled about, and found a happy little community,

comparatively free from many deplorable evils to which the rest of

their countrymen are subject.  Their time, too, was more occupied. To

my surprise, the manufacture of tappa was going on in several

buildings. European calicoes were seldom seen, and not many articles

of foreign origin of any description.


The people of Tamai were nominally Christians; but being so remote

from ecclesiastical jurisdiction, their religion sat lightly upon

them. We had been told, even, that many heathenish games and dances

still secretly lingered in their valley.


Now the prospect of seeing an old-fashioned "hevar," or Tahitian reel,

was one of the inducements which brought us here; and so, finding

Rartoo rather liberal in his religious ideas, we disclosed our

desire. At first he demurred; and shrugging his shoulders like a

Frenchman, declared it could not be brought about--was a dangerous

matter to attempt, and might bring all concerned into trouble. But we

overcame all this, convinced him that the thing could be done, and a

"hevar," a genuine pagan fandango, was arranged for that very night.








THERE were some ill-natured people--tell-tales--it seemed, in Tamai;

and hence there was a deal of mystery about getting up the dance.


An hour or two before midnight, Rartoo entered the house, and,

throwing robes of tappa over us, bade us follow at a distance behind

him; and, until out of the village, hood our faces. Keenly alive to

the adventure, we obeyed. At last, after taking a wide circuit, we

came out upon the farthest shore of the lake. It was a wide, dewy,

space; lighted up by a full moon, and carpeted with a minute species

of fern growing closely together. It swept right down to the water,

showing the village opposite, glistening among the groves.


Near the trees, on one side of the clear space, was a ruinous pile of

stones many rods in extent; upon which had formerly stood a temple of

Oro. At present, there was nothing but a rude hut, planted on the

lowermost terrace. It seemed to have been used as a "tappa herree,"

or house for making the native cloth.


Here we saw lights gleaming from between the bamboos, and casting

long, rod-like shadows upon the ground without. Voices also were

heard. We went up, and had a peep at the dancers who were getting

ready for the ballet. They were some twenty in number;-waited upon by

hideous old crones, who might have been duennas. Long Ghost proposed

to send the latter packing; but Rartoo said it would never do, and so

they were permitted to remain.


We tried to effect an entrance at the door, which was fastened; but,

after a noisy discussion with one of the old witches within, our

guide became fidgety, and, at last, told us to desist, or we would

spoil all. He then led us off to a distance to await the performance;

as the girls, he said, did not wish to be recognized. He,

furthermore, made us promise to remain where we were until all was

over, and the dancers had retired.


We waited impatiently; and, at last, they came forth. They were

arrayed in short tunics of white tappa; with garlands of flowers on

their heads. Following them were the duennas, who remained clustering

about the house, while the girls advanced a few paces; and, in an

instant, two of them, taller than their companions, were standing,

side by side, in the middle of a ring formed by the clasped hands of

the rest. This movement was made in perfect silence.


Presently the two girls join hands overhead; and, crying out, "Ahloo!

ahloo!" wave them to and fro. Upon which the ring begins to circle

slowly; the dancers moving sideways, with their arms a little

drooping. Soon they quicken their pace; and, at last, fly round and

round: bosoms heaving, hair streaming, flowers dropping, and every

sparkling eye circling in what seemed a line of light.


Meanwhile, the pair within are passing and repassing each other

  1. Inclining sideways, so that their long hair falls far

over, they glide this way and that; one foot continually in the air,

and their fingers thrown forth, and twirling in the moonbeams.


"Ahloo! ahloo!" again cry the dance queens; and coming together in the

middle of the ring, they once more lift up the arch, and stand


"Ahloo! ahloo!" Every link of the circle is broken; and the girls,

deeply breathing, stand perfectly still. They pant hard and fast a

moment or two; and then, just as the deep flush is dying away from

their faces, slowly recede, all round; thus enlarging the ring.


Again the two leaders wave their hands, when the rest pause; and now,

far apart, stand in the still moonlight like a circle of fairies.

Presently, raising a strange chant, they softly sway themselves,

gradually quickening the movement, until, at length, for a few

passionate moments, with throbbing bosoms and glowing cheeks, they

abandon themselves to all the spirit of the dance, apparently lost to

everything around. But soon subsiding again into the same languid

measure as before, they become motionless; and then, reeling forward

on all sides, their eyes swimming in their heads, join in one wild

chorus, and sink into each other's arms.


Such is the Lory-Lory, I think they call it; the dance of the

backsliding girls of Tamai.


While it was going on, we had as much as we could do to keep the

doctor from rushing forward and seizing a partner.


They would give us no more "hevars" that night; and Rartoo fairly

dragged us away to a canoe, hauled up on the lake shore; when we

reluctantly embarked, and paddling over to the village, arrived there

in time for a good nap before sunrise.


The next day, the doctor went about trying to hunt up the overnight

dancers. He thought to detect them by their late rising; but never

was man more mistaken; for, on first sallying out, the whole village

was asleep, waking up in concert about an hour after. But, in the

course of the day, he came across several whom he at once charged

with taking part in the "hevar." There were some prim-looking fellows

standing by (visiting elders from Afrehitoo, perhaps), and the girls

looked embarrassed; but parried the charge most skilfully.


Though soft as doves, in general, the ladies of Tamai are,

nevertheless, flavoured with a slight tincture of what we queerly

enough call the "devil"; and they showed it on the present occasion.

For when the doctor pressed one rather hard, she all at once turned

round upon him, and, giving him a box on the ear, told him to "hanree

perrar!" (be off with himself.)








THERE was a little old man of a most hideous aspect living in Tamai,

who, in a coarse mantle of tappa, went about the village, dancing,

and singing, and making faces. He followed us about wherever we went;

and, when unobserved by others, plucked at our garments, making

frightful signs for us to go along with him somewhere, and see


It was in vain that we tried to get rid of him. Kicks and cuffs, even,

were at last resorted to; but, though he howled like one possessed,

he would not go away, but still haunted us. At last, we conjured the

natives to rid us of him; but they only laughed; so we were forced to

endure the dispensation as well as we could.


On the fourth night of our visit, returning home late from paying a

few calls through the village, we turned a dark corner of trees, and

came full upon our goblin friend: as usual, chattering, and motioning

with his hands. The doctor, venting a curse, hurried forward; but,

from some impulse or other, I stood my ground, resolved to find out

what this unaccountable object wanted of us. Seeing me pause, he crept

close up to me, peered into my face, and then retreated, beckoning me

to follow; which I did.


In a few moments the village was behind us; and with my guide in

advance, I found myself in the shadow of the heights overlooking the

farther side of the valley. Here my guide paused until I came up with

him; when, side by side, and without speaking, we ascended the hill.


Presently, we came to a wretched hut, barely distinguishable in the

shade cast by the neighbouring trees. Pushing aside a rude sliding

door, held together with thongs, the goblin signed me to enter.

Within, it looked dark as pitch; so I gave him to understand that he

must strike a light, and go in before me. Without replying, he

disappeared in the darkness; and, after groping about, I heard two

sticks rubbing together, and directly saw a spark. A native taper was

then lighted, and I stooped, and entered.


It was a mere kennel. Foul old mats, and broken cocoa-nut shells, and

calabashes were strewn about the floor of earth; and overhead I

caught glimpses of the stars through chinks in the roof. Here and

there the thatch had fallen through, and hung down in wisps.


I now told him to set about what he was going to do, or produce

whatever he had to show without delay. Looking round fearfully, as if

dreading a surprise, he commenced turning over and over the rubbish

in one corner. At last, he clutched a calabash, stained black, and

with the neck broken off; on one side of it was a large hole.

Something seemed to be stuffed away in the vessel; and after a deal of

poking at the aperture, a musty old pair of sailor trousers was drawn

forth; and, holding them up eagerly, he inquired how many pieces of

tobacco I would give for them.


Without replying, I hurried away; the old man chasing me, and shouting

as I ran, until I gained the village. Here I dodged him, and made my

way home, resolved never to disclose so inglorious an adventure.


To no purpose, the next morning, my comrade besought me to enlighten

him; I preserved a mysterious silence.


The occurrence served me a good turn, however, so long as we abode in

Tamai; for the old clothesman never afterwards troubled me; but

forever haunted the doctor, who, in vain, supplicated Heaven to be

delivered from him.








"I SAY, doctor," cried I, a few days after my adventure with the

goblin, as, in the absence of our host, we were one morning lounging

upon the matting in his dwelling, smoking our reed pipes, "Tamai's a

thriving place; why not settle down?"


"Faith!" said he, "not a bad idea, Paul. But do you fancy they'll let

us stay, though?"


"Why, certainly; they would be overjoyed to have a couple of

Karhowrees for townsmen."


"Gad! you're right, my pleasant fellow. Ha! ha! I'll put up a

banana-leaf as a physician from London--deliver lectures on

Polynesian antiquities--teach English in five lessons, of one hour

each--establish power-looms for the manufacture of tappa--lay out a

public park in the middle of the village, and found a festival in

honour of Captain Cook!"


"But, surely, not without stopping to take breath," observed I.


The doctor's projects, to be sure, were of a rather visionary cast;

but we seriously thought, nevertheless, of prolonging our stay in the

valley for an indefinite period; and, with this understanding, we

were turning over various plans for spending our time pleasantly,

when several women came running into the house, and hurriedly

besought us to heree! heree! (make our escape), crying out something

about the Mickonarees.


Thinking that we were about to be taken up under the act for the

suppression of vagrancy, we flew out of the house, sprang into a

canoe before the door, and paddled with might and main over to the

opposite side of the lake.


Approaching Rartoo's dwelling was a great crowd, among which we

perceived several natives, who, from their partly European dress, we

were certain did not reside in Tamai.


Plunging into the groves, we thanked our stars that we had thus

narrowly escaped being apprehended as runaway seamen, and marched off

to the beach. This, at least, was what we thought we had escaped.


Having fled the village, we could not think of prowling about its

vicinity, and then returning; in doing so we might be risking our

liberty again. We therefore determined upon journeying back to

Martair; and setting our faces thitherward, we reached the planters'

house about nightfall. They gave us a cordial reception, and a hearty

supper; and we sat up talking until a late hour.


We now prepared to go round to Taloo, a place from which we were not

far off when at Tamai; but wishing to see as much of the island as we

could, we preferred returning to Martair, and then going round by way

of the beach.


Taloo, the only frequented harbour of Imeeo, lies on the western side

of the island, almost directly over against Martair. Upon one shore

of the bay stands the village of Partoowye, a missionary station. In

its vicinity is an extensive sugar plantation--the best in the South

Seas, perhaps--worked by a person from Sydney.


The patrimonial property of the husband of Pomaree, and every way a

delightful retreat, Partoowye was one of the occasional residences of

the court. But at the time I write of it was permanently fixed there,

the queen having fled thither from Tahiti.


Partoowye, they told us, was by no means the place Papeetee was. Ships

seldom touched, and very few foreigners were living ashore. A

solitary whaler, however, was reported to be lying in the harbour,

wooding and watering, and to be in want of men.


All things considered, I could not help looking upon Taloo as offering

"a splendid opening" for us adventurers. To say nothing of the

facilities presented for going to sea in the whaler, or hiring

ourselves out as day labourers in the sugar plantation, there were

hopes to be entertained of being promoted to some office of high

trust and emolument about the person of her majesty, the queen.


Nor was this expectation altogether Quixotic. In the train of many

Polynesian princes roving whites are frequently found: gentleman

pensioners of state, basking in the tropical sunshine of the court,

and leading the pleasantest lives in the world. Upon islands little

visited by foreigners the first seaman that settles down is generally

domesticated in the family of the head chief or king; where he

frequently discharges the functions of various offices, elsewhere

filled by as many different individuals. As historiographer, for

instance, he gives the natives some account of distant countries; as

commissioner of the arts and sciences, he instructs them in the use of

the jack-knife, and the best way of shaping bits of iron hoop into

spear-heads; and as interpreter to his majesty, he facilitates

intercourse with strangers; besides instructing the people generally

in the uses of the most common English phrases, civil and profane;

but oftener the latter.


These men generally marry well; often--like Hardy of Hannamanoo--into

the Wood royal.


Sometimes they officiate as personal attendant, or First Lord in

Waiting, to the king.  At Amboi, one of the Tonga Islands, a vagabond

Welshman bends his knee as cupbearer to his cannibal majesty. He

mixes his morning cup of "arva," and, with profound genuflections,

presents it in a cocoa-nut bowl, richly carved. Upon another island

of the same group, where it is customary to bestow no small pains in

dressing the hair--frizzing it out by a curious process into an

enormous Pope's head--an old man-of-war's-man fills the post of

barber to the king. And as his majesty is not very neat, his mop is

exceedingly populous; so that, when Jack is not engaged in dressing

the head intrusted to his charge, he busies himself in gently

titillating it--a sort of skewer being actually worn about in the

patient's hair for that special purpose.


Even upon the Sandwich Islands a low rabble of foreigners is kept

about the person of Tammahammaha for the purpose of ministering to

his ease or enjoyment.


Billy Loon, a jolly little negro, tricked out in a soiled blue jacket,

studded all over with rusty bell buttons, and garnished with shabby

gold lace, is the royal drummer and pounder of the tambourine. Joe, a

wooden-legged Portuguese who lost his leg by a whale, is violinist;

and Mordecai, as he is called, a villainous-looking scamp, going

about with his cups and balls in a side pocket, diverts the court with

his jugglery.  These idle rascals receive no fixed salary, being

altogether dependent upon the casual bounty of their master. Now and

then they run up a score at the Dance Houses in Honolulu, where the

illustrious Tammahammaha III afterwards calls and settles the bill.


A few years since an auctioneer to his majesty came near being added

to the retinue of state. It seems that he was the first man who had

practised his vocation in the Sandwich Islands; and delighted with

the sport of bidding upon his wares, the king was one of his best

customers. At last he besought the man to leave all and follow him,

and he should be handsomely provided for at court. But the auctioneer

refused; and so the ivory hammer lost the chance of being borne

before him on a velvet cushion when the next king went to be crowned.


But it was not as strolling players, nor as footmen out of employ,

that the doctor and myself looked forward to our approaching

introduction to the court of the Queen of Tahiti. On the contrary, as

before hinted, we expected to swell the appropriations of bread-fruit

and cocoa-nuts on the Civil List by filling some honourable office in

her gift.


We were told that, to resist the usurpation of the French, the queen

was rallying about her person all the foreigners she could. Her

partiality for the English and Americans was well known; and this was

an additional ground for our anticipating a favourable reception.

Zeke had informed us, moreover, that by the queen's counsellors at

Partoowye, a war of aggression against the invaders of Papeetee had

been seriously thought of. Should this prove true, a surgeon's

commission for the doctor, and a lieutenancy for myself, were

certainly counted upon in our sanguine expectations.


Such, then, were our views, and such our hopes in projecting a trip to

Taloo. But in our most lofty aspirations we by no means lost sight of

any minor matters which might help us to promotion. The doctor had

informed me that he excelled in playing the fiddle. I now suggested

that, as soon as we arrived at Partoowye, we should endeavour to

borrow a violin for him; or if this could not be done, that he should

manufacture some kind of a substitute, and, thus equipped, apply for

an audience of the queen. Her well-known passion for music would at

once secure his admittance; and so, under the most favourable

auspices, bring about our introduction to her notice.


"And who knows," said my waggish comrade, throwing his head back and

performing an imaginary air by briskly drawing one arm across the

other, "who knows that I may not fiddle myself into her majesty's

good graces so as to became a sort of Rizzio to the Tahitian









THE inglorious circumstances of our somewhat premature departure from

Tamai filled the sagacious doctor, and myself, with sundry misgivings

for the future.


Under Zeke's protection, we were secure from all impertinent

interference in our concerns on the part of the natives. But as

friendless wanderers over the island, we ran the risk of being

apprehended as runaways, and, as such, sent back to Tahiti.  The

truth is that the rewards constantly offered for the apprehension of

deserters from ships induce some of the natives to eye all strangers


A passport was therefore desirable; but such a thing had never been

heard of in Imeeo. At last, Long Ghost suggested that, as the Yankee

was well known and much respected all over the island, we should

endeavour to obtain from him some sort of paper, not only certifying

to our having been in his employ, but also to our not being

highwaymen, kidnappers, nor yet runaway seamen. Even written in

English, a paper like this would answer every purpose; for the

unlettered natives, standing in great awe of the document, would not

dare to molest us until acquainted with its purport.  Then, if it

came to the worst, we might repair to the nearest missionary, and have

the passport explained.


Upon informing Zeke of these matters, he seemed highly flattered with

the opinion we entertained of his reputation abroad; and he agreed to

oblige us. The doctor at once offered to furnish him with a draught

of the paper; but he refused, saying he would write it himself. With

a rooster's quill, therefore, a bit of soiled paper, and a stout

heart, he set to work. Evidently he was not accustomed to composition;

for his literary throes were so violent that the doctor suggested

that some sort of a Caesarian operation might be necessary.


The precious paper was at last finished; and a great curiosity it was.

We were much diverted with his reasons for not dating it.


"In this here dummed eliminate," he observed, "a feller can't keep the

run of the months, nohow; cause there's no seasons; no summer and

winter, to go by. One's etarnally thinkin' it's always July, it's so

pesky hot."


A passport provided, we cast about for some means of getting to


The island of Imeeo is very nearly surrounded by a regular breakwater

of coral extending within a mile or less of the shore. The smooth

canal within furnishes the best means of communication with the

different settlements; all of which, with the exception of Tamai, are

right upon the water. And so indolent are the Imeeose that they think

nothing of going twenty or thirty miles round the island in a canoe in

order to reach a place not a quarter of that distance by land. But as

hinted before, the fear of the bullocks has something to do with


The idea of journeying in a canoe struck our fancy quite pleasantly;

and we at once set about chartering one, if possible. But none could

we obtain. For not only did we have nothing to pay for hiring one,

but we could not expect to have it loaned; inasmuch as the

good-natured owner would, in all probability, have to walk along the

beach as we paddled in order to bring back his property when we had no

further use for it.


At last, it was decided to commence our journey on foot; trusting that

we would soon fall in with a canoe going our way, in which we might

take passage.


The planters said we would find no beaten path: all we had to do was

to follow the beach; and however inviting it might look inland, on no

account must we stray from it.  In short, the longest way round was

the nearest way to Taloo. At intervals, there were little hamlets

along the shore, besides lonely fishermen's huts here and there,

where we could get plenty to eat without pay; so there was no

necessity to lay in any store.


Intending to be off before sunrise the next morning, so as to have the

benefit of the coolest part of the day, we bade our kind hosts

farewell overnight; and then, repairing to the beach, we launched our

floating pallet, and slept away merrily till dawn.








IT was on the fourth day of the first month of the Hegira, or flight

from Tamai (we now reckoned our time thus), that, rising bright and

early, we were up and away out of the valley of Hartair before the

fishermen even were stirring.


It was the earliest dawn. The morning only showed itself along the

lower edge of a bank of purple clouds pierced by the misty peaks of

Tahiti. The tropical day seemed too languid to rise. Sometimes,

starting fitfully, it decked the clouds with faint edgings of pink

and gray, which, fading away, left all dim again. Anon, it threw out

thin, pale rays, growing lighter and lighter, until at last, the

golden morning sprang out of the East with a bound--darting its

bright beams hither and thither, higher and higher, and sending them,

broadcast, over the face of the heavens.


All balmy from the groves of Tahiti came an indolent air, cooled by

its transit over the waters; and grateful underfoot was the damp and

slightly yielding beach, from which the waves seemed just retired.


The doctor was in famous spirits; removing his Koora, he went

splashing into the sea; and, after swimming a few yards, waded

ashore, hopping, skipping, and jumping along the beach; but very

careful to cut all his capers in the direction of our journey.


Say what they will of the glowing independence one feels in the

saddle, give me the first morning flush of your cheery pedestrian!


Thus exhilarated, we went on, as light-hearted and care-free as we

could wish.


And here I cannot refrain from lauding the very superior inducements

which most intertropical countries afford, not only to mere rovers

like ourselves, but to penniless people generally. In these genial

regions one's wants are naturally diminished; and those which remain

are easily gratified; fuel, house-shelter, and, if you please,

clothing, may be entirely dispensed with.


How different our hard northern latitudes! Alas! the lot of a "poor

devil," twenty degrees north of the tropic of Cancer, is indeed


At last, the beach contracted to hardly a yard's width, and the dense

thicket almost dipped into the sea. In place of the smooth sand, too,

we had sharp fragments of broken coral, which made travelling

exceedingly unpleasant. "Lord! my foot!" roared the doctor, fetching

it up for inspection, with a galvanic fling of the limb. A sharp

splinter had thrust itself into the flesh through a hole in his boot.

My sandals were worse yet; their soles taking a sort of fossil

impression of everything trod upon.


Turning round a bold sweep of the beach, we came upon a piece of fine,

open ground, with a fisherman's dwelling in the distance, crowning a

knoll which rolled off into the water.


The hut proved to be a low, rude erection, very recently thrown up;

for the bamboos were still green as grass, and the thatching fresh

and fragrant as meadow hay. It was open upon three sides; so that,

upon drawing near, the domestic arrangements within were in plain

sight. No one was stirring; and nothing was to be seen but a clumsy

old chest of native workmanship, a few calabashes, and bundles of

tappa hanging against a post; and a heap of something, we knew not

what, in a dark corner. Upon close inspection, the doctor discovered

it to be a loving old couple, locked in each other's arms, and rolled

together in a tappa mantle.


"Halloa! Darby!" he cried, shaking the one with a beard. But Darby

heeded him not; though Joan, a wrinkled old body, started up in

affright, and yelled aloud. Neither of us attempting to gag her, she

presently became quiet; and, after staring hard and asking some

unintelligible questions, she proceeded to rouse her still slumbering


What ailed him we could not tell; but there was no waking him. Equally

in vain were all his dear spouse's cuffs, pinches, and other

endearments; he lay like a log, face up, snoring away like a cavalry


"Here, my good woman," said Long Ghost, "just let me try"; and, taking

the patient right by his nose, he so lifted him bodily into a sitting

position, and held him there until his eyes opened. When this event

came to pass, Darby looked round like one stupefied; and then,

springing to his feet, backed away into a corner, from which place we

became the objects of his earnest and respectful attention.


"Permit me, my dear Darby, to introduce to you my esteemed friend and

comrade, Paul," said the doctor, gallanting me up with all the

grimace and flourish imaginable.  Upon this, Darby began to recover

his faculties, and surprised us not a little by talking a few words

of English. So far as could be understood, they were expressive of

his having been aware that there were two "karhowrees" in the

neighbourhood; that he was glad to see us, and would have something

for us to eat in no time.


How he came by his English was explained to us before we left. Some

time previous, he had been a denizen of Papeetee, where the native

language is broidered over with the most classic sailor phrases. He

seemed to be quite proud of his residence there; and alluded to it in

the same significant way in which a provincial informs you that in

his time he has resided in the capital. The old fellow was disposed to

be garrulous; but being sharp-set, we told him to get breakfast;

after which we would hear his anecdotes. While employed among the

calabashes, the strange, antiquated fondness between these old

semi-savages was really amusing. I made no doubt that they were

saying to each other, "yes, my love"--"no, my life," just in the same

way that some young couples do, at home.


They gave us a hearty meal; and while we were discussing its merits,

they assured us, over and over again, that they expected nothing in

return for their attentions; more: we were at liberty to stay as long

as we pleased; and as long as we did stay, their house and everything

they had was no longer theirs, but ours; still more: they themselves

were our slaves--the old lady, to a degree that was altogether

superfluous. This, now, is Tahitian hospitality! Self-immolation upon

one's own hearthstone for the benefit of the guest.


The Polynesians carry their hospitality to an amazing extent. Let a

native of Waiurar, the westernmost part of Tahiti, make his

appearance as a traveller at Partoowye, the most easterly village of

Imeeo; though a perfect stranger, the inhabitants on all sides accost

him at their doorways, inviting him to enter, and make himself at

home. But the traveller passes on, examining every house attentively;

until, at last, he pauses before one which suits him, and then

exclaiming, "ah, eda maitai" (this one will do, I think), he steps

in, and makes himself perfectly at ease; flinging himself upon the

mats, and very probably calling for a nice young cocoa-nut, and a

piece of toasted breadfruit, sliced thin, and done brown.


Curious to relate, however, should a stranger carrying it thus bravely

be afterwards discovered to be without a house of his own, why, he

may thenceforth go a-begging for his lodgings. The "karhowrees," or

white men, are exceptions to this rule. Thus it is precisely as in

civilized countries, where those who have houses and lands are

incessantly bored to death with invitations to come and live in other

people's houses; while many a poor gentleman who inks the seams of

his coat, and to whom the like invitation would be really acceptable,

may go and sue for it. But to the credit of the ancient Tahitians, it

should here be observed that this blemish upon their hospitality is

only of recent origin, and was wholly unknown in old times. So told

me, Captain Bob.


In Polynesia it is esteemed "a great hit" if a man succeed in marrying

into a family to which the best part of the community is related

(Heaven knows it is otherwise with us). The reason is that, when he

goes a-travelling, the greater number of houses are the more

completely at his service.


Receiving a paternal benediction from old Darby and Joan, we continued

our journey; resolved to stop at the very next place of attraction

which offered.


Nor did we long stroll for it. A fine walk along a beach of shells,

and we came to a spot where, trees here and there, the land was all

meadow, sloping away to the water, which stirred a sedgy growth of

reeds bordering its margin. Close by was a little cove, walled in

with coral, where a fleet of canoes was dancing up and down. A few

paces distant, on a natural terrace overlooking the sea, were several

native dwellings, newly thatched, and peeping into view out of the

foliage like summer-houses.


As we drew near, forth came a burst of voices, and, presently, three

gay girls, overflowing with life, health, and youth, and full of

spirits and mischief. One was arrayed in a flaunting robe of calico;

and her long black hair was braided behind in two immense tresses,

joined together at the ends, and wreathed with the green tendrils of

a vine. From her self-possessed and forward air, I fancied she might

be some young lady from Papeetee on a visit to her country relations.

Her companions wore mere slips of cotton cloth; their hair was

dishevelled; and though very pretty, they betrayed the reserve and

embarrassment characteristic of the provinces.


The little gipsy first mentioned ran up to me with great cordiality;

and, giving the Tahitian salutation, opened upon me such a fire of

questions that there was no understanding, much less answering them.

But our hearty welcome to Loohooloo, as she called the hamlet, was

made plain enough. Meanwhile, Doctor Long Ghost gallantly presented

an arm to each of the other young ladies; which, at first, they knew

not what to make of; but at last, taking it for some kind of joke,

accepted the civility.


The names of these three damsels were at once made known by

themselves: and being so exceedingly romantic, I cannot forbear

particularizing them. Upon my comrade's arms, then, were hanging

Night and Morning, in the persons of Farnowar, or the Day-Born, and

Earnoopoo, or the Night-Born. She with the tresses was very

appropriately styled Marhar-Rarrar, the Wakeful, or Bright-Eyed.


By this time, the houses were emptied of the rest of their inmates--a

few old men and women, and several strapping young fellows rubbing

their eyes and yawning. All crowded round, putting questions as to

whence we came. Upon being informed of our acquaintance with Zeke,

they were delighted; and one of them recognized the boots worn by the

doctor. "Keekee (Zeke) maitai," they cried, "nuee nuee hanna hanna

portarto"--(makes plenty of potatoes).


There was now a little friendly altercation as to who should have the

honour of entertaining the strangers. At last, a tall old gentleman,

by name Marharvai, with a bald head and white beard, took us each by

the hand, and led us into his dwelling.  Once inside, Marharvai,

pointing about with his staff, was so obsequious in assuring us that

his house was ours that Long Ghost suggested he might as well hand

over the deed.


It was drawing near noon; so after a light lunch of roasted

breadfruit, a few whiffs of a pipe, and some lively chatting, our

host admonished the company to lie down, and take the everlasting

siesta. We complied; and had a social nap all round.








IT WAS just in the middle of the merry, mellow afternoon that they

ushered us to dinner, underneath a green shelter of palm boughs; open

all round, and so low at the eaves that we stooped to enter.


Within, the ground was strewn over with aromatic ferns--called

"nahee"--freshly gathered; which, stirred underfoot, diffused the

sweetest odour. On one side was a row of yellow mats, inwrought with

fibres of bark stained a bright red. Here, seated after the fashion

of the Turk, we looked out, over a verdant bank, upon the mild, blue,

endless Pacific. So far round had we skirted the island that the view

of Tahiti was now intercepted.


Upon the ferns before us were laid several layers of broad, thick

"pooroo" leaves; lapping over, one upon the other. And upon these

were placed, side by side, newly-plucked banana leaves, at least two

yards in length, and very wide; the stalks were withdrawn so as to

make them lie flat. This green cloth was set out and garnished in the

manner following:--


First, a number of "pooroo" leaves, by way of plates, were ranged

along on one side; and by each was a rustic nut-bowl, half-filled

with sea-water, and a Tahitian roll, or small bread-fruit, roasted

brown. An immense flat calabash, placed in the centre, was heaped up

with numberless small packages of moist, steaming leaves: in each was

a small fish, baked in the earth, and done to a turn. This pyramid of

a dish was flanked on either side by an ornamental calabash. One was

brimming with the golden-hued "poee," or pudding, made from the red

plantain of the mountains: the other was stacked up with cakes of the

Indian turnip, previously macerated in a mortar, kneaded with the

milk of the cocoa-nut, and then baked. In the spaces between the

three dishes were piled young cocoa-nuts, stripped of their husks.

Their eyes had been opened and enlarged; so that each was a

ready-charged goblet.


There was a sort of side-cloth in one corner, upon which, in bright,

buff jackets, lay the fattest of bananas; "avees," red-ripe: guavas

with the shadows of their crimson pulp flushing through a transparent

skin, and almost coming and going there like blushes; oranges,

tinged, here and there, berry-brown; and great, jolly melons, which

rolled about in very portliness. Such a heap! All ruddy, ripe, and

round--bursting with the good cheer of the tropical soil from which

they sprang!


"A land of orchards!" cried the doctor, in a rapture; and he snatched

a morsel from a sort of fruit of which gentlemen of the sanguine

temperament are remarkably fond; namely, the ripe cherry lips of Misa

Day-Born, who stood looking on.


Marharvai allotted seats to his guests; and the meal began. Thinking

that his hospitality needed some acknowledgment, I rose, and pledged

him in the vegetable wine of the cocoa-nut; merely repeating the

ordinary salutation, "Yar onor boyoee." Sensible that some

compliment, after the fashion of white men, was paid him, with a

smile, and a courteous flourish of the hand, he bade me be seated. No

people, however refined, are more easy and graceful in their manners

than the Imeeose.


The doctor, sitting next our host, now came under his special

protection. Laying before his guest one of the packages of fish,

Marharvai opened it; and commended its contents to his particular

regards. But my comrade was one of those who, on convivial occasions,

can always take care of themselves. He ate an indefinite number of

"Pee-hee Lee Lees" (small fish), his own and next neighbour's

bread-fruit; and helped himself, to right and left, with all the ease

of an accomplished diner-out.


"Paul," said he, at last, "you don't seem to be getting along; why

don't you try the pepper sauce?" and, by way of example, he steeped a

morsel of food into his nutful of sea-water. On following suit, I

found it quite piquant, though rather bitter; but, on the whole, a

capital substitute for salt. The Imeeose invariably use sea-water in

this way, deeming it quite a treat; and considering that their

country is surrounded by an ocean of catsup, the luxury cannot be

deemed an expensive one.


The fish were delicious; the manner of cooking them in the ground

preserving all the juices, and rendering them exceedingly sweet and

tender. The plantain pudding was almost cloying; the cakes of Indian

turnip, quite palatable; and the roasted bread-fruit, crisp as toast.


During the meal, a native lad walked round and round the party,

carrying a long staff of bamboo. This he occasionally tapped upon the

cloth, before each guest; when a white clotted substance dropped

forth, with a savour not unlike that of a curd. This proved to be

"Lownee," an excellent relish, prepared from the grated meat of ripe

cocoa-nuts, moistened with cocoa-nut milk and salt water, and kept

perfectly tight until a little past the saccharine stage of


Throughout the repast there was much lively chatting among the

islanders, in which their conversational powers quite exceeded ours.

The young ladies, too, showed themselves very expert in the use of

their tongues, and contributed much to the gaiety which prevailed.


Nor did these lively nymphs suffer the meal to languish; for upon the

doctor's throwing himself back, with an air of much satisfaction,

they sprang to their feet, and pelted him with oranges and guavas.

This, at last, put an end to the entertainment.


By a hundred whimsical oddities, my long friend became a great

favourite with these people; and they bestowed upon him a long,

comical title, expressive of his lank figure and Koora combined. The

latter, by the bye, never failed to excite the remark of everybody we


The giving of nicknames is quite a passion with the people of Tahiti

and Imeeo. No one with any peculiarity, whether of person or temper,

is exempt; not even strangers.


A pompous captain of a man-of-war, visiting Tahiti for the second

time, discovered that, among the natives, he went by the dignified

title of "Atee Poee"--literally, Poee Head, or Pudding Head. Nor is

the highest rank among themselves any protection.  The first husband

of the present queen was commonly known in the court circles as "Pot

Belly." He carried the greater part of his person before him, to be

sure; and so did the gentlemanly George IV.--but what a title for a

king consort!


Even "Pomaree" itself, the royal patronymic, was, originally, a mere

nickname; and literally signifies, one talking through his nose. The

first monarch of that name, being on a war party, and sleeping

overnight among the mountains, awoke one morning with a cold in his

head; and some wag of a courtier had no more manners than to

vulgarize him thus.


How different from the volatile Polynesian in this, as in all other

respects, is our grave and decorous North American Indian. While the

former bestows a name in accordance with some humorous or ignoble

trait, the latter seizes upon what is deemed the most exalted or

warlike: and hence, among the red tribes, we have the truly patrician

appellations of "White Eagles," "Young Oaks," "Fiery Eyes," and

"Bended Bows."








WHILE the doctor and the natives were taking a digestive nap after

dinner, I strolled forth to have a peep at the country which could

produce so generous a meal.


To my surprise, a fine strip of land in the vicinity of the hamlet,

and protected seaward by a grove of cocoa-nut and bread-fruit trees,

was under high cultivation.  Sweet potatoes, Indian turnips, and yams

were growing; also melons, a few pine-apples, and other fruits. Still

more pleasing was the sight of young bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees

set out with great care, as if, for once, the improvident Polynesian

had thought of his posterity. But this was the only instance of native

thrift which ever came under my observation. For, in all my rambles

over Tahiti and Imeeo, nothing so much struck me as the comparative

scarcity of these trees in many places where they ought to abound.

Entire valleys, like Martair, of inexhaustible fertility are

abandoned to all the rankness of untamed vegetation. Alluvial flats

bordering the sea, and watered by streams from the mountains, are

over-grown with a wild, scrub guava-bush, introduced by foreigners,

and which spreads with such fatal rapidity that the natives, standing

still while it grows, anticipate its covering the entire island. Even

tracts of clear land, which, with so little pains, might be made to

wave with orchards, lie wholly neglected.


When I considered their unequalled soil and climate, thus

unaccountably slighted, I often turned in amazement upon the natives

about Papeetee; some of whom all but starve in their gardens run to

waste. Upon other islands which I have visited, of similar fertility,

and wholly unreclaimed from their first-discovered condition, no

spectacle of this sort was presented.


The high estimation in which many of their fruit-trees are held by the

Tahitians and Imeeose--their beauty in the landscape--their manifold

uses, and the facility with which they are propagated, are

considerations which render the remissness alluded to still more

unaccountable. The cocoa-palm is as an example; a tree by far the

most important production of Nature in the Tropics. To the

Polynesians it is emphatically the Tree of Life; transcending even

the bread-fruit in the multifarious uses to which it is applied.


Its very aspect is imposing. Asserting its supremacy by an erect and

lofty bearing, it may be said to compare with other trees as man with

inferior creatures.


The blessings it confers are incalculable. Tear after year, the

islander reposes beneath its shade, both eating and drinking of its

fruit; he thatches his hut with its boughs, and weaves them into

baskets to carry his food; he cools himself with a fan platted from

the young leaflets, and shields his head from the sun by a bonnet of

the leaves; sometimes he clothes himself with the cloth-like

substance which wraps round the base of the stalks, whose elastic

rods, strung with filberts, are used as a taper; the larger nuts,

thinned and polished, furnish him with a beautiful goblet: the

smaller ones, with bowls for his pipes; the dry husks kindle his

fires; their fibres are twisted into fishing-lines and cords for his

canoes; he heals his wounds with a balsam compounded from the juice

of the nut; and with the oil extracted from its meat embalms the

bodies of the dead.


The noble trunk itself is far from being valueless. Sawn into posts,

it upholds the islander's dwelling; converted into charcoal, it cooks

his food; and supported on blocks of stone, rails in his lands. He

impels his canoe through the water with a paddle of the wood, and

goes to battle with clubs and spears of the same hard material.


In pagan Tahiti a cocoa-nut branch was the symbol of regal authority.

Laid upon the sacrifice in the temple, it made the offering sacred;

and with it the priests chastised and put to flight the evil spirits

which assailed them. The supreme majesty of Oro, the great god of

their mythology, was declared in the cocoa-nut log from which his

image was rudely carved. Upon one of the Tonga Islands, there stands

a living tree revered itself as a deity. Even upon the Sandwich

Islands, the cocoa-palm retains all its ancient reputation; the

people there having thought of adopting it as the national emblem.


The cocoa-nut is planted as follows: Selecting a suitable place, you

drop into the ground a fully ripe nut, and leave it. In a few days, a

thin, lance-like shoot forces itself through a minute hole in the

shell, pierces the husk, and soon unfolds three pale-green leaves in

the air; while originating, in the same soft white sponge which now

completely fills the nut, a pair of fibrous roots, pushing away the

stoppers which close two holes in an opposite direction, penetrate

the shell, and strike vertically into the ground. A day or two more,

and the shell and husk, which, in the last and germinating stage of

the nut, are so hard that a knife will scarcely make any impression,

spontaneously burst by some force within; and, henceforth, the hardy

young plant thrives apace; and needing no culture, pruning, or

attention of any sort, rapidly advances to maturity. In four or five

years it bears; in twice as many more, it begins to lift its head

among the groves, where, waxing strong, it flourishes for near a


Thus, as some voyager has said, the man who but drops one of these

nuts into the ground may be said to confer a greater and more certain

benefit upon himself and posterity than many a life's toil in less

genial climes.


The fruitfulness of the tree is remarkable. As long as it lives it

bears, and without intermission. Two hundred nuts, besides

innumerable white blossoms of others, may be seen upon it at one

time; and though a whole year is required to bring any one of them to

the germinating point, no two, perhaps, are at one time in precisely

the same stage of growth.


The tree delights in a maritime situation. In its greatest perfection,

it is perhaps found right on the seashore, where its roots are

actually washed. But such instances are only met with upon islands

where the swell of the sea is prevented from breaking on the beach by

an encircling reef. No saline flavour is perceptible in the nut

produced in such a place. Although it bears in any soil, whether

upland or bottom, it does not flourish vigorously inland; and I have

frequently observed that, when met with far up the valley, its tall

stem inclines seaward, as if pining after a more genial region.


It is a curious fact that if you deprive the cocoa-nut tree of the

verdant tuft at its head, it dies at once; and if allowed to stand

thus, the trunk, which, when alive, is encased in so hard a bark as

to be almost impervious to a bullet, moulders away, and, in an

incredibly short period, becomes dust. This is, perhaps, partly owing

to the peculiar constitution of the trunk, a mere cylinder of minute

hollow reeds, closely packed, and very hard; but, when exposed at

top, peculiarly fitted to convey moisture and decay through the

entire stem.


The finest orchard of cocoa-palms I know, and the only plantation of

them I ever saw at the islands, is one that stands right upon the

southern shore of Papeetee Bay.  They were set out by the first

Pomaree, almost half a century ago; and the soil being especially

adapted to their growth, the noble trees now form a magnificent

grove, nearly a mile in extent. No other plant, scarcely a bush, is

to be seen within its precincts. The Broom Road passes through its

entire length.


At noonday, this grove is one of the most beautiful, serene, witching

places that ever was seen. High overhead are ranges of green rustling

arches; through which the sun's rays come down to you in sparkles.

You seem to be wandering through illimitable halls of pillars;

everywhere you catch glimpses of stately aisles, intersecting each

other at all points. A strange silence, too, reigns far and near; the

air flushed with the mellow stillness of a sunset.


But after the long morning calms, the sea-breeze comes in; and

creeping over the tops of these thousand trees, they nod their

plumes. Soon the breeze freshens; and you hear the branches brushing

against each other; and the flexible trunks begin to sway. Toward

evening the whole grove is rocking to and fro; and the traveller on

the Broom Road is startled by the frequent falling of the nuts,

snapped from their brittle stems. They come flying through the air,

ringing like jugglers' balls; and often bound along the ground for

many rods.








FINDING the society at Loohooloo very pleasant, the young ladies, in

particular, being extremely sociable; and, moreover, in love with the

famous good cheer of old Marharvai, we acquiesced in an invitation of

his to tarry a few days longer. We might then, he said, join a small

canoe party which was going to a place a league or two distant. So

averse to all exertion are these people that they really thought the

prospect of thus getting rid of a few miles' walking would prevail

with us, even if there were no other inducement.


The people of the hamlet, as we soon discovered, formed a snug little

community of cousins; of which our host seemed the head. Marharvai,

in truth, was a petty chief who owned the neighbouring lands. And as

the wealthy, in most cases, rejoice in a numerous kindred, the family

footing upon which everybody visited him was, perhaps, ascribable to

the fact of his being the lord of the manor. Like Captain Bob, he was,

in some things, a gentleman of the old school--a stickler for the

customs of a past and pagan age.


Nowhere else, except in Tamai, did we find the manners of the natives

less vitiated by recent changes. The old-fashioned Tahitian dinner

they gave us on the day of our arrival was a fair sample of their

general mode of living.


Our time passed delightfully. The doctor went his way, and I mine.

With a pleasant companion, he was forever strolling inland,

ostensibly to collect botanical specimens; while I, for the most

part, kept near the sea; sometimes taking the girls on an aquatic

excursion in a canoe.


Often we went fishing; not dozing over stupid hooks and lines, but

leaping right into the water, and chasing our prey over the coral

rocks, spear in hand.


Spearing fish is glorious sport. The Imeeose, all round the island,

catch them in no other way. The smooth shallows between the reef and

the shore, and, at low water, the reef itself, being admirably

adapted to this mode of capturing them. At almost any time of the

day--save ever the sacred hour of noon--you may see the fish-hunters

pursuing their sport; with loud halloos, brandishing their spears, and

splashing through the water in all directions. Sometimes a solitary

native is seen, far out upon a lonely shallow, wading slowly along,

with eye intent and poised spear.


But the best sport of all is going out upon the great reef itself by

torch-light. The natives follow this recreation with as much spirit

as a gentleman of England does the chase; and take full as much

delight in it.


The torch is nothing more than a bunch of dry reeds, bound firmly

together: the spear, a long, light pole, with an iron head, on one

side barbed.


I shall never forget the night that old Marharvai and the rest of us,

paddling off to the reef, leaped at midnight upon the coral ledges

with waving torches and spears. We were more than a mile from the

land; the sullen ocean, thundering upon the outside of the rocks,

dashed the spray in our faces, almost extinguishing the flambeaux;

and, far as the eye could reach, the darkness of sky and water was

streaked with a long, misty line of foam, marking the course of the

coral barrier. The wild fishermen, flourishing their weapons, and

yelling like so many demons to scare their prey, sprang from ledge to

ledge, and sometimes darted their spears in the very midst of the


But fish-spearing was not the only sport we had at Loohooloo. Right on

the beach was a mighty old cocoa-nut tree, the roots of which had

been underwashed by the waves so that the trunk inclined far over its

base. From the tuft of the tree a stout cord of bark depended, the

end of which swept the water several yards from the shore. This was a

Tahitian swing. A native lad seizes hold of the cord, and, after

swinging to and fro quite leisurely, all at once sends himself fifty

or sixty feet from the water, rushing through the air like a rocket.

I doubt whether any of our rope-dancers would attempt the feat. For

my own part, I had neither head nor heart for it; so, after sending a

lad aloft with an additional cord, by way of security, I constructed a

large basket of green boughs, in which I and some particular friends

of mine used to swing over sea and land by the hour.








BRIGHT was the morning, and brighter still the smiles of the young

ladies who accompanied us, when we sprang into a sort of family

canoe--wide and roomy--and bade adieu to the hospitable Marharvai and

his tenantry. As we paddled away, they stood upon the beach, waving their

hands, and crying out, "aroha! aroha!" (farewell! farewell!) as long

as we were within hearing.


Very sad at parting with them, we endeavoured, nevertheless, to

console ourselves in the society of our fellow-passengers. Among

these were two old ladies; but as they said nothing to us, we will

say nothing about them; nor anything about the old men who managed

the canoe. But of the three mischievous, dark-eyed young witches who

lounged in the stern of that comfortable old island gondola, I have a

great deal to say.


In the first place, one of them was Marhar-Rarrar, the Bright-Eyed;

and, in the second place, neither she nor the romps, her companions,

ever dreamed of taking the voyage until the doctor and myself

announced our intention; their going along was nothing more than a

madcap frolic; in short, they were a parcel of wicked hoydens, bent

on mischief, who laughed in your face when you looked sentimental, and

only tolerated your company when making merry at your expense.


Something or other about us was perpetually awaking their mirth.

Attributing this to his own remarkable figure, the doctor increased

their enjoyment by assuming the part of a Merry Andrew. Yet his cap

and bells never jingled but to some tune; and while playing the

Tom-fool, I more than suspected that he was trying to play the rake.

At home, it is deemed auspicious to go a-wooing in epaulets; but

among the Polynesians, your best dress in courting is motley.


A fresh breeze springing up, we set our sail of matting, and glided

along as tranquilly as if floating upon an inland stream; the white

reef on one hand, and the green shore on the other.


Soon, as we turned a headland, we encountered another canoe, paddling

with might and main in an opposite direction; the strangers shouting

to each other, and a tall fellow in the bow dancing up and down like

a crazy man. They shot by us like an arrow, though our fellow-voyagers

shouted again and again for them to cease paddling.


According to the natives, this was a kind of royal mail-canoe,

carrying a message from the queen to her friends in a distant part of

the island.


Passing several shady bowers which looked quite inviting, we proposed

touching, and diversifying the monotony of a sea-voyage by a stroll

ashore. So, forcing our canoe among the bushes, behind a decayed palm

lying partly in the water, we left the old folks to take a nap in the

shade, and gallanted the others among the trees, which were here

trellised with vines and creeping shrubs.


In the early part of the afternoon, we drew near the place to which

the party were going. It was a solitary house inhabited by four or

five old women, who, when we entered, were gathered in a circle about

the mats, eating poee from a cracked calabash. They seemed delighted

at seeing our companions, but rather drew up when introduced to

ourselves. Eyeing us distrustfully, they whispered to know who we

were. The answers they received were not satisfactory; for they

treated us with marked coolness and reserve, and seemed desirous of

breaking off our acquaintance with the girls. Unwilling, therefore,

to stay where our company was disagreeable, we resolved to depart

without even eating a meal.


Informed of this, Marhar-Rarrar and her companions evinced the most

lively concern; and equally unmindful of their former spirits, and

the remonstrances of the old ladies, broke forth into sobs and

lamentations which were not to be withstood. We agreed, therefore, to

tarry until they left for home; which would be at the "Aheharar," or

Falling of the Sun; in other words, at sunset.


When the hour arrived, after much leave-taking, we saw them safely

embarked. As the canoe turned a bluff, they seized the paddles from

the hands of the old men, and waved them silently in the air. This

was meant for a touching farewell, as the paddle is only waved thus

when the parties separating never more expect to meet.


We now continued our journey; and, following the beach, soon came to a

level and lofty overhanging bank, which, planted here and there with

trees, took a broad sweep round a considerable part of the island.


A fine pathway skirted the edge of the bank; and often we paused to

admire the scenery. The evening was still and fair, even for so

heavenly a climate; and all round, as far as the eye could reach, was

the blending blue sky and ocean.


As we went on, the reef-belt still accompanied us; turning as we

turned, and thundering its distant bass upon the ear, like the

unbroken roar of a cataract. Dashing forever against their coral

rampart, the breakers looked, in the distance, like a line of rearing

white chargers, reined in, tossing their white manes, and bridling

with foam.


These great natural breakwaters are admirably designed for the

protection of the land. Nearly all the Society Islands are defended

by them. Were the vast swells of the Pacific to break against the

soft alluvial bottoms which in many places border the sea, the soil

would soon be washed away, and the natives be thus deprived of their

most productive lands. As it is, the banks of no rivulet are firmer.


But the coral barriers answer another purpose. They form all the

harbours of this group, including the twenty-four round about the

shores of Tahiti. Curiously enough, the openings in the reefs, by

which alone vessels enter to their anchorage, are invariably opposite

the mouths of running streams: an advantage fully appreciated by the

mariner who touches for the purpose of watering his ship.


It is said that the fresh water of the land, mixing with the salts

held in solution by the sea, so acts upon the latter as to resist the

formation of the coral; and hence the breaks. Here and there, these

openings are sentinelled, as it were, by little fairy islets, green

as emerald, and waving with palms. Strangely and beautifully

diversifying the long line of breakers, no objects can strike the

fancy more vividly. Pomaree II., with a taste in watering-places

truly Tahitian, selected one of them as a royal retreat. We passed it

on our journey.


Omitting several further adventures which befell us after leaving the

party from Loohooloo, we must now hurry on to relate what happened

just before reaching the place of our destination.








IT MUST have been at least the tenth day, reckoning from the Hegira,

that we found ourselves the guests of Varvy, an old hermit of an

islander who kept house by himself perhaps a couple of leagues from


A stone's-cast from the beach there was a fantastic rock, moss-grown

and deep in a dell. It was insulated by a shallow brook, which,

dividing its waters, flowed on both sides until united below.

Twisting its roots round the rock, a gnarled "Aoa" spread itself

overhead in a wilderness of foliage; the elastic branch-roots

depending from the larger boughs insinuating themselves into every

cleft, thus forming supports to the parent stem. In some places these

pendulous branches, half-grown, had not yet reached the rock;

swinging their loose fibrous ends in the air like whiplashes.


Varvy's hut, a mere coop of bamboos, was perched upon a level part of

the rock, the ridge-pole resting at one end in a crotch of the "Aoa,"

and the other propped by a forked bough planted in a fissure.


Notwithstanding our cries as we drew near, the first hint the old

hermit received of our approach was the doctor's stepping up and

touching his shoulder, as he was kneeling over on a stone cleaning

fish in the brook. He leaped up, and stared at us. But with a variety

of uncouth gestures, he soon made us welcome; informing us, by the

same means, that he was both deaf and dumb; he then motioned us into

his dwelling.


Going in, we threw ourselves upon an old mat, and peered round. The

soiled bamboos and calabashes looked so uninviting that the doctor

was for pushing on to Taloo that night, notwithstanding it was near

sunset. But at length we concluded to stay where we were.


After a good deal of bustling outside under a decrepit shed, the old

man made his appearance with our supper. In one hand he held a

flickering taper, and in the other, a huge, flat calabash, scantily

filled with viands. His eyes were dancing in his head, and he looked

from the calabash to us, and from us to the calabash, as much as to

say, "Ah, my lads, what do ye think of this, eh? Pretty good cheer,

eh?" But the fish and Indian turnip being none of the best, we made

but a sorry meal. While discussing it, the old man tried hard to make

himself understood by signs; most of which were so excessively

ludicrous that we made no doubt he was perpetrating a series of

pantomimic jokes.


The remnants of the feast removed, our host left us for a moment,

returning with a calabash of portly dimensions and furnished with a

long, hooked neck, the mouth of which was stopped with a wooden plug.

It was covered with particles of earth, and looked as if just taken

from some place underground.


With sundry winks and horrible giggles peculiar to the dumb, the

vegetable demijohn was now tapped; the old fellow looking round

cautiously, and pointing at it; as much as to intimate that it

contained something which was "taboo," or forbidden.


Aware that intoxicating liquors were strictly prohibited to the

natives, we now watched our entertainer with much interest. Charging

a cocoa-nut shell, he tossed it off, and then filling up again,

presented the goblet to me. Disliking the smell, I made faces at it;

upon which he became highly excited; so much so that a miracle was

wrought upon the spot. Snatching the cup from my hands, he shouted

out, "Ah, karhowree sabbee lee-lee ena arva tee maitai!" in other

words, what a blockhead of a white man! this is the real stuff!


We could not have been more startled had a frog leaped from his mouth.

For an instant, he looked confused enough himself; and then placing a

finger mysteriously upon his mouth, he contrived to make us

understand that at times he was subject to a suspension of the powers

of speech.


Deeming the phenomenon a remarkable one, every way, the doctor desired

him to open his mouth so that he might have a look down. But he


This occurrence made us rather suspicious of our host; nor could we

afterward account for his conduct, except by supposing that his

feigning dumbness might in some way or other assist him in the

nefarious pursuits in which it afterwards turned out that he was

engaged. This conclusion, however, was not altogether satisfactory.


To oblige him, we at last took a sip of his "arva tee," and found it

very crude, and strong as Lucifer. Curious to know whence it was

obtained, we questioned him; when, lighting up with pleasure, he

seized the taper, and led us outside the hut, bidding us follow.


After going some distance through the woods, we came to a dismantled

old shed of boughs, apparently abandoned to decay. Underneath,

nothing was to be seen but heaps of decaying leaves and an immense,

clumsy jar, wide-mouthed, and by some means, rudely hollowed out from

a ponderous stone.


Here, for a while, we were left to ourselves; the old man placing the

light in the jar, and then disappearing. He returned, carrying a

long, large bamboo, and a crotched stick. Throwing these down, he

poked under a pile of rubbish, and brought out a rough block of wood,

pierced through and through with a hole, which was immediately

clapped on the top of the jar. Then planting the crotched stick

upright about two yards distant, and making it sustain one end of the

bamboo, he inserted the other end of the latter into the hole in the

block: concluding these arrangements by placing an old calabash under

the farther end of the bamboo.


Coming up to us now with a sly, significant look, and pointing

admiringly at his apparatus, he exclaimed, "Ah, karhowree, ena

hannahanna arva tee!" as much as to say, "This, you see, is the way

it's done."


His contrivance was nothing less than a native still, where he

manufactured his island "poteen." The disarray in which we found it

was probably intentional, as a security against detection. Before we

left the shed, the old fellow toppled the whole concern over, and

dragged it away piecemeal.


His disclosing his secret to us thus was characteristic of the "Tootai

Owrees," or contemners of the missionaries among the natives; who,

presuming that all foreigners are opposed to the ascendancy of the

missionaries, take pleasure in making them confidants, whenever the

enactments of their rulers are secretly set at nought.


The substance from which the liquor is produced is called "Tee," which

is a large, fibrous root, something like yam, but smaller. In its

green state, it is exceedingly acrid; but boiled or baked, has the

sweetness of the sugar-cane. After being subjected to the fire,

macerated and reduced to a certain stage of fermentation, the "Tee"

is stirred up with water, and is then ready for distillation.


On returning to the hut, pipes were introduced; and, after a while,

Long Ghost, who, at first, had relished the "Arva Tee" as little as

myself, to my surprise, began to wax sociable over it, with Varvy;

and, before long, absolutely got mellow, the old toper keeping him


It was a curious sight. Everyone knows that, so long as the occasion

lasts, there is no stronger bond of sympathy and good feeling among

men than getting tipsy together.  And how earnestly, nay, movingly, a

brace of worthies, thus employed, will endeavour to shed light upon,

and elucidate their mystical ideas!


Fancy Varvy and the doctor, then, lovingly tippling, and brimming over

with a desire to become better acquainted; the doctor politely bent

upon carrying on the conversation in the language of his host, and

the old hermit persisting in trying to talk English. The result was

that, between the two, they made such a fricassee of vowels and

consonants that it was enough to turn one's brain.


The next morning, on waking, I heard a voice from the tombs. It was

the doctor solemnly pronouncing himself a dead man. He was sitting

up, with both hands clasped over his forehead, and his pale face a

thousand times paler than ever.


"That infernal stuff has murdered me!" he cried. "Heavens! my head's

all wheels and springs, like the automaton chess-player! What's to be

done, Paul? I'm poisoned."


But, after drinking a herbal draught concocted by our host, and eating

a light meal, at noon, he felt much better; so much so that he

declared himself ready to continue our journey.


When we came to start, the Yankee's boots were missing; and, after a

diligent search, were not to be found. Enraged beyond measure, their

proprietor said that Varvy must have stolen them; but, considering

his hospitality, I thought this extremely improbable; though to whom

else to impute the theft I knew not. The doctor maintained, however,

that one who was capable of drugging an innocent traveller with "Arva

Tee" was capable of anything.


But it was in vain that he stormed, and Varvy and I searched; the

boots were gone.


Were it not for this mysterious occurrence, and Varvy's detestable

liquors, I would here recommend all travellers going round by the

beach to Partoowye to stop at the Rock, and patronize the old

gentleman--the more especially as he entertains gratis.








UPON starting, at last, I flung away my sandals--by this time quite

worn out--with the view of keeping company with the doctor, now

forced to go barefooted. Recovering his spirits in good time, he

protested that boots were a bore after all, and going without them

decidedly manly.


This was said, be it observed, while strolling along over a soft

carpet of grass; a little moist, even at midday, from the shade of

the wood through which we were passing.


Emerging from this we entered upon a blank, sandy tract, upon which

the sun's rays fairly flashed; making the loose gravel under foot

well nigh as hot as the floor of an oven. Such yelling and leaping as

there was in getting over this ground would be hard to surpass. We

could not have crossed at all--until toward sunset--had it not been

for a few small, wiry bushes growing here and there, into which we

every now and then thrust our feet to cool. There was no little

judgment necessary in selecting your bush; for if not chosen

judiciously, the chances were that, on springing forward again, and

finding the next bush so far off that an intermediate cooling was

indispensable, you would have to run hack to your old place again.


Safely passing the Sahara, or Fiery Desert, we soothed our

half-blistered feet by a pleasant walk through a meadow of long

grass, which soon brought us in sight of a few straggling houses,

sheltered by a grove on the outskirts of the village of Partoowye.


My comrade was for entering the first one we came to; but, on drawing

near, they had so much of an air of pretension, at least for native

dwellings, that I hesitated; thinking they might be the residences of

the higher chiefs, from whom no very extravagant welcome was to be


While standing irresolute, a voice from the nearest house hailed us:

"Aramai! aramai, karhowree!" (Come in! come in, strangers!)


We at once entered, and were warmly greeted. The master of the house

was an aristocratic-looking islander, dressed in loose linen drawers,

a fine white shirt, and a sash of red silk tied about the waist,

after the fashion of the Spaniards in Chili. He came up to us with a

free, frank air, and, striking his chest with his hand, introduced

himself as Ereemear Po-Po; or, to render the Christian name back again

into English--Jeremiah Po-Po.


These curious combinations of names among the people of the Society

Islands originate in the following way. When a native is baptized,

his patronymic often gives offence to the missionaries, and they

insist upon changing to something else whatever is objectionable

therein. So, when Jeremiah came to the font, and gave his name as

Narmo-Nana Po-Po (something equivalent to The-Darer-of-Devils-by-Night),

the reverend gentleman officiating told him that such a heathenish

appellation would never do, and a substitute must be had; at least

for the devil part of it. Some highly respectable Christian

appellations were then submitted, from which the candidate for

admission into the church was at liberty to choose. There was Adamo

(Adam), Nooar (Noah), Daveedar (David), Earcobar (James), Eorna (John),

Patoora (Peter), Ereemear (Jeremiah), etc. And thus did he come to

be named Jeremiah Po-Po; or, Jeremiah-in-the-Dark--which he certainly

was, I fancy, as to the ridiculousness of his new cognomen.


We gave our names in return; upon which he bade us be seated; and,

sitting down himself, asked us a great many questions, in mixed

English and Tahitian. After giving some directions to an old man to

prepare food, our host's wife, a large, benevolent-looking woman,

upwards of forty, also sat down by us. In our soiled and

travel-stained appearance, the good lady seemed to find abundant

matter for commiseration; and all the while kept looking at us

piteously, and making mournful exclamations.


But Jeremiah and his spouse were not the only inmates of the mansion.


In one corner, upon a large native couch, elevated upon posts,

reclined a nymph; who, half-veiled in her own long hair, had yet to

make her toilet for the day. She was the daughter of Po-Po; and a

very beautiful little daughter she was; not more than fourteen; with

the most delightful shape--like a bud just blown; and large hazel

  1. They called her Loo; a name rather pretty and genteel, and

therefore quite appropriate; for a more genteel and lady-like little

damsel there was not in all Imeeo.


She was a cold and haughty young beauty though, this same little Loo,

and never deigned to notice us; further than now and then to let her

eyes float over our persons, with an expression of indolent

indifference. With the tears of the Loohooloo girls hardly dry from

their sobbing upon our shoulders, this contemptuous treatment stung

us not a little.


When we first entered, Po-Po was raking smooth the carpet of dried

ferns which had that morning been newly laid; and now that our meal

was ready, it was spread on a banana leaf, right upon this fragrant

floor. Here we lounged at our ease, eating baked pig and breadfruit

off earthen plates, and using, for the first time in many a long

month, real knives and forks.


These, as well as other symptoms of refinement, somewhat abated our

surprise at the reserve of the little Loo; her parents, doubtless,

were magnates in Partoowye, and she herself was an heiress.


After being informed of our stay in the vale of Martair, they were

very curious to know on what errand we came to Taloo. We merely

hinted that the ship lying in the harbour was the reason of our


Arfretee, Po-Po's wife, was a right motherly body. The meal over, she

recommended a nap; and upon our waking much refreshed, she led us to

the doorway, and pointed down among the trees; through which we saw

the gleam of water. Taking the hint, we repaired thither; and finding

a deep shaded pool, bathed, and returned to the house.  Our hostess

now sat down by us; and after looking with great interest at the

doctor's cloak, felt of my own soiled and tattered garments for the

hundredth time, and exclaimed plaintively--"Ah nuee nuee olee manee!

olee manee!" (Alas! they are very, very old! very old!)


When Arfretee, good soul, thus addressed us, she thought she was

talking very respectable English. The word "nuee" is so familiar to

foreigners throughout Polynesia, and is so often used by them in

their intercourse with the natives, that the latter suppose it to be

common to all mankind. "Olee manee" is the native pronunciation of

"old man," which, by Society Islanders talking Saxon, is applied

indiscriminately to all aged things and persons whatsoever.


Going to a chest filled with various European articles, she took out

two suits of new sailor frocks and trousers; and presenting them with

a gracious smile, pushed us behind a calico screen, and left us.

Without any fastidious scruples, we donned the garments; and what

with the meal, the nap, and the bath, we now came forth like a couple

of bridegrooms.


Evening drawing on, lamps were lighted. They were very simple; the

half of a green melon, about one third full of cocoa-nut oil, and a

wick of twisted tappa floating on the surface. As a night lamp, this

contrivance cannot be excelled; a soft dreamy light being shed

through the transparent rind.


As the evening advanced, other members of the household, whom as yet

we had not seen, began to drop in. There was a slender young dandy in

a gay striped shirt, and whole fathoms of bright figured calico

tucked about his waist, and falling to the ground. He wore a new

straw hat also with three distinct ribbons tied about the crown; one

black, one green, and one pink. Shoes or stockings, however, he had


There were a couple of delicate, olive-cheeked little

girls--twins--with mild eyes and beautiful hair, who ran about the

house, half-naked, like a couple of gazelles. They had a brother,

somewhat younger--a fine dark boy, with an eye like a woman's. All

these were the children of Po-Po, begotten in lawful wedlock.


Then there were two or three queer-looking old ladies, who wore shabby

mantles of soiled sheeting, which fitted so badly, and withal had

such a second-hand look that I at once put their wearers down as

domestic paupers--poor relations, supported by the bounty of My Lady

Arfretee. They were sad, meek old bodies; said little and ate less;

and either kept their eyes on the ground, or lifted them up

deferentially. The semi-civilization of the island must have had

something to do with making them what they were.


I had almost forgotten Monee, the grinning old man who prepared our

meal. His head was a shining, bald globe. He had a round little

paunch, and legs like a cat. He was Po-Po's factotum--cook, butler,

and climber of the bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees; and, added to all

else, a mighty favourite with his mistress; with whom he would sit

smoking and gossiping by the hour.


Often you saw the indefatigable Monee working away at a great rate;

then dropping his employment all at once--never mind what--run off to

a little distance, and after rolling himself away in a corner and

taking a nap, jump up again, and fall to with fresh vigour.


From a certain something in the behaviour of Po-Po and his household,

I was led to believe that he was a pillar of the church; though, from

what I had seen in Tahiti, I could hardly reconcile such a

supposition with his frank, cordial, unembarrassed air.  But I was

not wrong in my conjecture: Po-Po turned out to be a sort of elder,

or deacon; he was also accounted a man of wealth, and was nearly

related to a high chief.


Before retiring, the entire household gathered upon the floor; and in

their midst, he read aloud a chapter from a Tahitian Bible. Then

kneeling with the rest of us, he offered up a prayer. Upon its

conclusion, all separated without speaking. These devotions took

place regularly, every night and morning. Grace too was invariably

said, by this family, both before and after eating.


After becoming familiarized with the almost utter destitution of

anything like practical piety upon these islands, what I observed in.

our host's house astonished me much.  But whatever others might have

been, Po-Po was, in truth, a Christian: the only one, Arfretee

excepted, whom I personally knew to be such, among all the natives of








THEY put us to bed very pleasantly.


Lying across the foot of Po-Po's nuptial couch was a smaller one made

of Koar-wood; a thin, strong cord, twisted from the fibres of the

husk of the cocoa-nut, and woven into an exceedingly light sort of

network, forming its elastic body. Spread upon this was a single,

fine mat, with a roll of dried ferns for a pillow, and a strip of

white tappa for a sheet. This couch was mine. The doctor was provided

for in another corner.


Loo reposed alone on a little settee with a taper burning by her side;

the dandy, her brother, swinging overhead in a sailor's hammock The

two gazelles frisked upon a mat near by; and the indigent relations

borrowed a scant corner of the old butler's pallet, who snored away

by the open door. After all had retired, Po-Po placed the illuminated

melon in the middle of the apartment; and so, we all slumbered till


Upon awaking, the sun was streaming brightly through the open bamboos,

but no one was stirring. After surveying the fine attitudes into

which forgetfulness had thrown at least one of the sleepers, my

attention was called off to the general aspect of the dwelling, which

was quite significant of the superior circumstances of our host.


The house itself was built in the simple, but tasteful native style.

It was a long, regular oval, some fifty feet in length, with low

sides of cane-work, and a roof thatched with palmetto-leaves. The

ridgepole was, perhaps, twenty feet from the ground. There was no

foundation whatever; the bare earth being merely covered with ferns; a

kind of carpeting which serves very well, if frequently renewed;

otherwise, it becomes dusty, and the haunt of vermin, as in the huts

of the poorer natives.


Besides the couches, the furniture consisted of three or four sailor

chests; in which were stored the fine wearing-apparel of the

household--the ruffled linen shirts of Po-Po, the calico dresses of

his wife and children, and divers odds and ends of European

articles--strings of beads, ribbons, Dutch looking-glasses, knives,

coarse prints, bunches of keys, bits of crockery, and metal buttons.

One of these chests--used as a bandbox by Arfretee--contained

several of the native hats (coal-scuttles), all of the same pattern,

but trimmed with variously-coloured ribbons. Of nothing was our good

hostess more proud than of these hats, and her dresses. On Sundays,

she went abroad a dozen times; and every time, like Queen Elizabeth,

in a different robe.


Po-Po, for some reason or other, always gave us our meals before the

rest of the family were served; and the doctor, who was very

discerning in such matters, declared that we fared much better than

they. Certain it was that, had Ereemear's guests travelled with

purses, portmanteau, and letters of introduction to the queen, they

could not have been better cared for.


The day after our arrival, Monee, the old butler, brought us in for

dinner a small pig, baked in the ground. All savoury, it lay in a

wooden trencher, surrounded by roasted hemispheres of the breadfruit.

A large calabash, filled with taro pudding, or poee, followed; and

the young dandy, overcoming his customary languor, threw down our

cocoa-nuts from an adjoining tree.


When all was ready, and the household looking on, Long Ghost, devoutly

clasping his hands over the fated pig, implored a blessing. Hereupon,

everybody present looked exceedingly pleased; Po-Po coming up and

addressing the doctor with much warmth; and Arfretee, regarding him

with almost maternal affection, exclaimed delightedly, "Ah!

mickonaree tata matai!" in other words, "What a pious young man!"


It was just after this meal that she brought me a roll of grass

sinnate (of the kind which sailors sew into the frame of their

tarpaulins), and then, handing me needle and thread, bade me begin at

once, and make myself the hat which I so much needed. An accomplished

hand at the business, I finished it that day--merely stitching the

braid together; and Arfretee, by way of rewarding my industry, with

her own olive hands ornamented the crown with a band of

flame-coloured ribbon; the two long ends of which streaming behind,

sailor-fashion, still preserved for me the Eastern title bestowed by

Long Ghost.








THE following morning, making our toilets carefully, we donned our

sombreros, and sallied out on a tour. Without meaning to reveal our

designs upon the court, our principal object was, to learn what

chances there were for white men to obtain employment under the

queen. On this head, it is true, we had questioned Po-Po; but his

answers had been very discouraging; so we determined to obtain

further information elsewhere.


But, first, to give some little description of the village.


The settlement of Partoowye is nothing more than some eighty houses,

scattered here and there, in the midst of an immense grove, where the

trees have been thinned out and the underbrush cleared away. Through

the grove flows a stream; and the principal avenue crosses it, over

an elastic bridge of cocoa-nut trunks, laid together side by side.

The avenue is broad, and serpentine; well shaded from one end to the

other, and as pretty a place for a morning promenade as any lounger

could wish. The houses, constructed without the slightest regard to

the road, peep into view from among the trees on either side: some

looking you right in the face as you pass, and others, without any

manners, turning their backs. Occasionally you observe a rural

retreat, inclosed by a picket of bamboos, or with a solitary pane of

glass massively framed in the broadside of the dwelling, or with a

rude, strange-looking door, swinging upon dislocated wooden hinges.

Otherwise, the dwellings are built in the original style of the

natives; and never mind how mean and filthy some of them may appear

within, they all look picturesque enough without.


As we sauntered along the people we met saluted us pleasantly, and

invited us into their houses; and in this way we made a good many

brief morning calls. But the hour could not have been the fashionable

one in Partoowye, since the ladies were invariably in dishabille. But

they always gave us a cordial reception, and were particularly polite

to the doctor; caressing him, and amorously hanging about his neck;

wonderfully taken up, in short, with a gay handkerchief he wore there.

Arfretee had that morning bestowed it upon the pious youth.


With some exceptions, the general appearance of the natives of

Partoowye was far better than that of the inhabitants of Papeetee: a

circumstance only to be imputed to their restricted intercourse with


Strolling on, we turned a sweep of the road, when the doctor gave a

start; and no wonder. Right before us, in the grove, was a block of

houses: regular square frames, boarded over, furnished with windows

and doorways, and two stories high. We ran up and found them fast

going to decay: very dingy, and here and there covered with moss; no

sashes, no doors; and on one side, the entire block had settled down

nearly a foot. On going into the basement we looked clean up through

the unbearded timbers to the roof; where rays of light, glimmering

through many a chink, illuminated the cobwebs which swung all round.


The whole interior was dark and close. Burrowing among some old mats

in one corner, like a parcel of gipsies in a ruin, were a few

vagabond natives. They had their dwelling here.


Curious to know who on earth could have been thus trying to improve

the value of real estate in Partoowye, we made inquiries; and learned

that some years previous the block had been thrown up by a veritable

Yankee (one might have known that), a house-carpenter by trade, and a

bold, enterprising fellow by nature.


Put ashore from his ship, sick, he first went to work and got well;

then sallied out with chisel and plane, and made himself generally

useful. A sober, steady man, it seems, he at last obtained the

confidence of several chiefs, and soon filled them with all sorts of

ideas concerning the alarming want of public spirit in the people of

Imeeo. More especially did he dwell upon the humiliating fact of

their living in paltry huts of bamboo, when magnificent palaces of

boards might so easily be mortised together.


In the end, these representations so far prevailed with one old chief

that the carpenter was engaged to build a batch of these wonderful

palaces. Provided with plenty of men, he at once set to work: built a

saw-mill among the mountains, felled trees, and sent over to Papeetee

for nails.


Presto! the castle rose; but alas, the roof was hardly on, when the

Yankee's patron, having speculated beyond his means, broke all to

pieces, and was absolutely unable to pay one "plug" of tobacco in the

pound. His failure involved the carpenter, who sailed away from his

creditors in the very next ship that touched at the harbour.


The natives despised the rickety palace of boards; and often lounged

by, wagging their heads, and jeering.


We were told that the queen's residence was at the extreme end of the

village; so, without waiting for the doctor to procure a fiddle, we

suddenly resolved upon going thither at once, and learning whether

any privy counsellorships were vacant.


Now, although there was a good deal of my waggish comrade's nonsense

about what has been said concerning our expectations of court

preferment, we, nevertheless, really thought that something to our

advantage might turn up in that quarter.


On approaching the palace grounds, we found them rather peculiar. A

broad pier of hewn coral rocks was built right out into the water;

and upon this, and extending into a grove adjoining, were some eight

or ten very large native houses, constructed in the handsomest style

and inclosed together by a low picket of bamboos, which embraced a

considerable area.


Throughout the Society Islands, the residences of the chiefs are

mostly found in the immediate vicinity of the sea; a site which gives

them the full benefit of a cooling breeze; nor are they so liable to

the annoyance of insects; besides enjoying, when they please, the

fine shade afforded by the neighbouring groves, always most luxuriant

near the water.


Lounging about the grounds were some sixty or eighty

handsomely-dressed natives, men and women; some reclining on the

shady side of the houses, others under the trees, and a small group

conversing close by the railing facing us.


We went up to the latter; and giving the usual salutation, were on the

point of vaulting over the bamboos, when they turned upon us angrily,

and said we could not enter.  We stated our earnest desire to see the

queen; hinting that we were bearers of important dispatches. But it

was to no purpose; and not a little vexed, we were obliged to return

to Po-Po's without effecting anything.








UPON arriving home we fully laid open to Po-Po our motives in visiting

Taloo, and begged his friendly advice. In his broken English he

cheerfully gave us all the information we needed.


It was true, he said, that the queen entertained some idea of making a

stand against the French; and it was currently reported also that

several chiefs from Borabora, Huwyenee, Raiatair, and Tahar, the

leeward islands of the group, were at that very time taking counsel

with her as to the expediency of organizing a general movement

throughout the entire cluster, with a view of anticipating any further

encroachments on the part of the invaders. Should warlike measures be

actually decided upon, it was quite certain that Pomaree would be

glad to enlist all the foreigners she could; but as to her making

officers of either the doctor or me, that was out of the question;

because, already, a number of Europeans, well known to her, had

volunteered as such. Concerning our getting immediate access to the

queen, Po-Po told us it was rather doubtful; she living at that time

very retired, in poor health, and spirits, and averse to receiving

calls. Previous to her misfortunes, however, no one, however humble,

was denied admittance to her presence; sailors, even, attended her


Not at all disheartened by these things, we concluded to kill time in

Partoowye until some event turned up more favourable to our projects.

So that very day we sallied out on an excursion to the ship which,

lying land-locked far up the bay, yet remained to be visited.


Passing on our route a long, low shed, a voice hailed us--"White men

ahoy!" Turning round, who should we see but a rosy-cheeked Englishman

(you could tell his country at a glance), up to his knees in

shavings, and planing away at a bench. He turned out to be a runaway

ship's carpenter, recently from Tahiti, and now doing a profitable

business in Imeeo, by fitting up the dwellings of opulent chiefs with

cupboards and other conveniences, and once in a while trying his hand

at a lady's work-box. He had been in the settlement but a few months,

and already possessed houses and lands.


But though blessed with prosperity and high health, there was one

thing wanting--a wife. And when he came to speak of the matter, his

countenance fell, and he leaned dejectedly upon his plane.


"It's too bad!" he sighed, "to wait three long years; and all the

while, dear little Lullee living in the same house with that infernal

chief from Tahar!"


Our curiosity was piqued; the poor carpenter, then, had been falling

in love with some island coquette, who was going to jilt him.


But such was not the case. There was a law prohibiting, under a heavy

penalty, the marriage of a native with a foreigner, unless the

latter, after being three years a resident on the island, was willing

to affirm his settled intention of remaining for life.


William was therefore in a sad way. He told us that he might have

married the girl half-a-dozen times, had it not been for this odious

law: but, latterly, she had become less loving and more giddy,

particularly with the strangers from Tahar. Desperately smitten, and

desirous of securing her at all hazards, he had proposed to the

damsel's friends a nice little arrangement, introductory to marriage;

but they would not hear of it; besides, if the pair were discovered

living together upon such a footing, they would be liable to a

degrading punishment:--sent to work making stone walls and opening

roads for the queen.


Doctor Long Ghost was all sympathy. "Bill, my good fellow," said he,

tremulously, "let me go and talk to her." But Bill, declining the

offer, would not even inform us where his charmer lived.


Leaving the disconsolate Willie planing a plank of New Zealand pine

(an importation from the Bay of Islands), and thinking the while of

Lullee, we went on our way. How his suit prospered in the end we

never learned.


Going from Po-Po's house toward the anchorage of the harbour of Taloo,

you catch no glimpse of the water until, coming out from deep groves,

you all at once find yourself upon the beach. A bay, considered by

many voyagers the most beautiful in the South Seas, then lies before

you. You stand upon one side of what seems a deep green river,

flowing through mountain passes to the sea. Right opposite a majestic

promontory divides the inlet from another, called after its

discoverer, Captain Cook.  The face of this promontory toward Taloo

is one verdant wall; and at its base the waters lie still and

fathomless. On the left hand, you just catch a peep of the widening

mouth of the bay, the break in the reef by which ships enter, and,

beyond, the sea.  To the right, the inlet, sweeping boldly round the

promontory, runs far away into the land; where, save in one

direction, the hills close in on every side, knee-deep in verdure and

shooting aloft in grotesque peaks. The open space lies at the head of

the bay; in the distance it extends into a broad hazy plain lying at

the foot of an amphitheatre of hills. Here is the large sugar

plantation previously alluded to. Beyond the first range of hills,

you descry the sharp pinnacles of the interior; and among these, the

same silent Marling-spike which we so often admired from the other

side of the island.


All alone in the harbour lay the good ship Leviathan. We jumped into

the canoe, and paddled off to her. Though early in the afternoon,

everything was quiet; but upon mounting the side we found four or

five sailors lounging about the forecastle, under an awning. They

gave us no very cordial reception; and though otherwise quite hearty

in appearance, seemed to assume a look of ill-humour on purpose to

honour our arrival. There was much eagerness to learn whether we

wanted to "ship"; and by the unpleasant accounts they gave of the

vessel, they seemed desirous to prevent such a thing if possible.


We asked where the rest of the ship's company were; a gruff old fellow

made answer, "One boat's crew of 'em is gone to Davy Jones's

locker:--went off after a whale, last cruise, and never come back

agin. All the starboard watch ran away last night, and the skipper's

ashore kitching 'em."


"And it's shipping yer after, my jewels, is it?" cried a curly-pated

little Belfast sailor, coming up to us, "thin arrah! my livelies,

jist be after sailing ashore in a jiffy:--the divil of a skipper will

carry yees both to sea, whether or no. Be off wid ye thin, darlints,

and steer clear of the likes of this ballyhoo of blazes as long as ye

live. They murther us here every day, and starve us into the bargain.

Here, Dick, lad, har! the poor divil's canow alongside; and paddle

away wid yees for dear life."


But we loitered awhile, listening to more inducements to ship; and at

last concluded to stay to supper. My sheath-knife never cut into

better sea-beef than that which we found lying in the kid in the

forecastle. The bread, too, was hard, dry, and brittle as glass; and

there was plenty of both.


While we were below, the mate of the vessel called out for someone to

come on deck. I liked his voice. Hearing it was as good as a look at

his face. It betokened a true sailor, and no taskmaster.


The appearance of the Leviathan herself was quite pleasing. Like all

large, comfortable old whalers, she had a sort of motherly

look:--broad in the beam, flush decks, and four chubby boats hanging

at the breast. Her sails were furled loosely upon the yards, as if

they had been worn long, and fitted easy; her shrouds swung

negligently slack; and as for the "running rigging," it never worked

hard as it does in some of your "dandy ships," jamming in the sheaves

of blocks, like Chinese slippers, too small to be useful: on the

contrary, the ropes ran glibly through, as if they had many a time

travelled the same road, and were used to it.


When evening came, we dropped into our canoe, and paddled ashore;

fully convinced that the good ship never deserved the name which they

gave her.








WHILE IN Partoowye, we fell in with a band of six veteran rovers,

prowling about the village and harbour, who had just come overland

from another part of the island.


A few weeks previous, they had been paid off, at Papeetee, from a

whaling vessel, on board of which they had, six months before,

shipped for a single cruise; that is to say, to be discharged at the

next port. Their cruise was a famous one; and each man stepped upon

the beach at Tahiti jingling his dollars in a sock.


Weary at last of the shore, and having some money left, they clubbed,

and purchased a sail-boat; proposing a visit to a certain uninhabited

island, concerning which they had heard strange and golden stories.

Of course, they never could think of going to sea without a

medicine-chest filled with flasks of spirits, and a small cask of the

same in the hold in case the chest should give out.


Away they sailed; hoisted a flag of their own, and gave three times

three, as they staggered out of the bay of Papeetee with a strong

breeze, and under all the "muslin" they could carry.


Evening coming on, and feeling in high spirits and no ways disposed to

sleep, they concluded to make a night of it; which they did; all

hands getting tipsy, and the two masts going over the side about

midnight, to the tune of


  "Sailing down, sailing down, On the coast of Barbaree."


Fortunately, one worthy could stand by holding on to the tiller; and

the rest managed to crawl about, and hack away the lanyards of the

rigging, so as to break clear from the fallen spars. While thus

employed, two sailors got tranquilly over the side, and went plumb to

the bottom, under the erroneous impression that they were stepping

upon an imaginary wharf to get at their work better.


After this, it blew quite a gale; and the commodore, at the helm,

instinctively kept the boat before the wind; and by so doing, ran

over for the opposite island of Imeeo.  Crossing the channel, by

almost a miracle they went straight through an opening in the reef,

and shot upon a ledge of coral, where the waters were tolerably

  1. Here they lay until morning, when the natives came off to

them in their canoes. By the help of the islanders, the schooner was

hove over on her beam-ends; when, finding the bottom knocked to

pieces, the adventurers sold the boat for a trifle to the chief of

the district, and went ashore, rolling before them their precious cask

of spirits. Its contents soon evaporated, and they came to Partoowye.


The day after encountering these fellows, we were strolling among the

groves in the neighbourhood, when we came across several parties of

natives armed with clumsy muskets, rusty cutlasses, and outlandish

clubs. They were beating the bushes, shouting aloud, and apparently

trying to scare somebody. They were in pursuit of the strangers, who,

having in a single night set at nought all the laws of the place, had

thought best to decamp.


In the daytime, Po-Po's house was as pleasant a lounge as one could

wish. So, after strolling about, and seeing all there was to be seen,

we spent the greater part of our mornings there; breakfasting late,

and dining about two hours after noon. Sometimes we lounged on the

floor of ferns, smoking, and telling stories; of which the doctor had

as many as a half-pay captain in the army. Sometimes we chatted, as

well as we could, with the natives; and, one day--joy to us!--Po-Po

brought in three volumes of Smollett's novels, which had been found

in the chest of a sailor, who some time previous had died on the


Amelia!--Peregrine!--you hero of rogues, Count Fathom!--what a debt do

we owe you!


I know not whether it was the reading of these romances, or the want

of some sentimental pastime, which led the doctor, about this period,

to lay siege to the heart of the little Loo.


Now, as I have said before, the daughter of Po-Po was most cruelly

reserved, and never deigned to notice us. Frequently I addressed her

with a long face and an air of the profoundest and most distant

respect--but in vain; she wouldn't even turn up her pretty olive

nose. Ah! it's quite plain, thought I; she knows very well what

graceless dogs sailors are, and won't have anything to do with us.


But thus thought not my comrade. Bent he was upon firing the cold

glitter of Loo's passionless eyes.


He opened the campaign with admirable tact: making cautious

approaches, and content, for three days, with ogling the nymph for

about five minutes after every meal.  On the fourth day, he asked her

a question; on the fifth, she dropped a nut of ointment, and he

picked it up and gave it to her; on the sixth, he went over and sat

down within three yards of the couch where she lay; and, on the

memorable morn of the seventh, he proceeded to open his batteries in


The damsel was reclining on the ferns; one hand supporting her cheek,

and the other listlessly turning over the leaves of a Tahitian Bible.

The doctor approached.


Now the chief disadvantage under which he laboured was his almost

complete ignorance of the love vocabulary of the island. But French

counts, they say, make love delightfully in broken English; and what

hindered the doctor from doing the same in dulcet Tahitian. So at it

he went.


"Ah!" said he, smiling bewitchingly, "oee mickonaree; oee ready



No answer; not even a look.


"Ah I matai! very goody ready Biblee mickonaree."


Loo, without stirring, began reading, in a low tone, to herself.


"Mickonaree Biblee ready goody maitai," once more observed the doctor,

ingeniously transposing his words for the third time.


But all to no purpose; Loo gave no sign.


He paused, despairingly; but it would never do to give up; so he threw

himself at full length beside her, and audaciously commenced turning

over the leaves.


Loo gave a start, just one little start, barely perceptible, and then,

fumbling something in her hand, lay perfectly motionless; the doctor

rather frightened at his own temerity, and knowing not what to do

next. At last, he placed one arm cautiously about her waist; almost

in the same instant he bounded to his feet, with a cry; the little

witch had pierced him with a thorn. But there she lay, just as

quietly as ever, turning over the leaves, and reading to herself.


My long friend raised the siege incontinently, and made a disorderly

retreat to the place where I reclined, looking on.


I am pretty sure that Loo must have related this occurrence to her

father, who came in shortly afterward; for he looked queerly at the

doctor. But he said nothing; and, in ten minutes, was quite as

affable as ever. As for Loo, there was not the slightest change in

her; and the doctor, of course, for ever afterwards held his peace.








ONE DAY, taking a pensive afternoon stroll along one of the many

bridle-paths which wind among the shady groves in the neighbourhood

of Taloo, I was startled by a sunny apparition. It was that of a

beautiful young Englishwoman, charmingly dressed, and mounted upon a

spirited little white pony. Switching a green branch, she came

cantering toward me.


I looked round to see whether I could possibly be in Polynesia. There

were the palm-trees; but how to account for the lady?


Stepping to one side as the apparition drew near, I made a polite

obeisance. It gave me a bold, rosy look; and then, with a gay air,

patted its palfrey, crying out, "Fly away, Willie!" and galloped

among the trees.


I would have followed; but Willie's heels were making such a pattering

among the dry leaves that pursuit would have been useless.


So I went straight home to Po-Po's, and related my adventure to the


The next day, our inquiries resulted in finding out that the stranger

had been on the island about two years; that she came from Sydney;

and was the wife of Mr. Bell (happy dog!), the proprietor of the

sugar plantation to which I have previously referred.


To the sugar plantation we went, the same day.


The country round about was very beautiful: a level basin of verdure,

surrounded by sloping hillsides. The sugar-cane--of which there was

about one hundred acres, in various stages of cultivation--looked

thrifty. A considerable tract of land, however, which seemed to have

been formerly tilled, was now abandoned.


The place where they extracted the saccharine matter was under an

immense shed of bamboos. Here we saw several clumsy pieces of

machinery for breaking the cane; also great kettles for boiling the

sugar. But, at present, nothing was going on. Two or three natives

were lounging in one of the kettles, smoking; the other was occupied

by three sailors from the Leviathan, playing cards.


While we were conversing with these worthies, a stranger approached.

He was a sun-burnt, romantic-looking European, dressed in a loose

suit of nankeen; his fine throat and chest were exposed, and he

sported a Guayaquil hat with a brim like a Chinese umbrella. This was

Mr. Bell. He was very civil; showed us the grounds, and, taking us

into a sort of arbour, to our surprise, offered to treat us to some

  1. People often do the like; but Mr. Bell did more: he produced

the bottle. It was spicy sherry; and we drank out of the halves of

fresh citron melons. Delectable goblets!


The wine was a purchase from, the French in Tahiti.


Now all this was extremely polite in Mr. Bell; still, we came to see

Mrs. Bell. But she proved to be a phantom, indeed; having left the

same morning for Papeetee, on a visit to one of the missionaries'

wives there.


I went home, much chagrined.


To be frank, my curiosity had been wonderfully piqued concerning the

lady. In the first place, she was the most beautiful white woman I

ever saw in Polynesia. But this is saying nothing. She had such eyes,

such moss-roses in her cheeks, such a divine air in the saddle, that,

to my dying day, I shall never forget Mrs. Bell.


The sugar-planter himself was young, robust, and handsome. So, merrily

may the little Bells increase, and multiply, and make music in the

Land of Imeeo.








IN Partoowye is to be seen one of the best-constructed and handsomest

chapels in the South Seas. Like the buildings of the palace, it

stands upon an artificial pier, presenting a semicircular sweep to

the bay. The chapel is built of hewn blocks of coral; a substance

which, although extremely friable, is said to harden by exposure to

the atmosphere. To a stranger, these blocks look extremely curious.

Their surface is covered with strange fossil-like impressions, the

seal of which must have been set before the flood. Very nearly white

when hewn from the reefs, the coral darkens with age; so that several

churches in Polynesia now look almost as sooty and venerable as famed

St. Paul's.


In shape, the chapel is an octagon, with galleries all round. It will

seat, perhaps, four hundred people. Everything within is stained a

tawny red; and there being but few windows, or rather embrasures, the

dusky benches and galleries, and the tall spectre of a pulpit look

anything but cheerful.


On Sundays we always went to worship here. Going in the family suite

of Po-Po, we, of course, maintained a most decorous exterior; and

hence, by all the elderly people of the village, were doubtless

regarded as pattern young men.


Po-Po's seat was in a snug corner; and it being particularly snug, in

the immediate vicinity of one of the Palm pillars supporting the

gallery, I invariably leaned against it:  Po-Po and his lady on one

side, the doctor and the dandy on the other, and the children and

poor relations seated behind.


As for Loo, instead of sitting (as she ought to have done) by her good

father and mother, she must needs run up into the gallery, and sit

with a parcel of giddy creatures of her own age; who, all through the

sermon, did nothing but look down on the congregation; pointing out,

and giggling at the queer-looking old ladies in dowdy bonnets and

scant tunics. But Loo, herself, was never guilty of these


Occasionally during the week they have afternoon service in the

chapel, when the natives themselves have something to say; although

their auditors are but few. An introductory prayer being offered by

the missionary, and a hymn sung, communicants rise in their places,

and exhort in pure Tahitian, and with wonderful tone and gesture.

And among them all, Deacon Po-Po, though he talked most, was the one

whom you would have liked best to hear. Much would I have given to

have understood some of his impassioned bursts; when he tossed his

arms overhead, stamped, scowled, and glared, till he looked like the

very Angel of Vengeance.


"Deluded man!" sighed the doctor, on one of these occasions, "I fear

he takes the fanatical view of the subject." One thing was certain:

when Po-Po spoke, all listened; a great deal more than could be said

for the rest; for under the discipline of two or three I could

mention, some of the audience napped; others fidgeted; a few yawned;

and one irritable old gentleman, in a nightcap of cocoa-nut leaves,

used to clutch his long staff in a state of excessive nervousness,

and stride out of the church, making all the noise he could, to

emphasize his disgust.


Right adjoining the chapel is an immense, rickety building, with

windows and shutters, and a half-decayed board flooring laid upon

trunks of palm-trees. They called it a school-house; but as such we

never saw it occupied. It was often used as a court-room, however;

and here we attended several trials; among others, that of a decayed

naval officer, and a young girl of fourteen; the latter charged with

having been very naughty on a particular occasion set forth in the

pleadings; and the former with having aided and abetted her in her

naughtiness, and with other misdemeanours.


The foreigner was a tall, military-looking fellow, with a dark cheek

and black whiskers.  According to his own account, he had lost a

colonial armed brig on the coast of New Zealand; and since then, had

been leading the life of a man about town among the islands of the


The doctor wanted to know why he did not go home and report the loss

of his brig; but Captain Crash, as they called him, had some

incomprehensible reasons for not doing so, about which he could talk

by the hour, and no one be any the wiser.  Probably he was a discreet

man, and thought it best to waive an interview with the lords of the


For some time past, this extremely suspicious character had been

carrying on the illicit trade in French wines and brandies, smuggled

over from the men-of-war lately touching at Tahiti. In a grove near

the anchorage he had a rustic shanty and arbour, where, in quiet

times, when no ships were in Taloo, a stray native once in a while

got boozy, and staggered home, catching at the cocoa-nut trees as he

went. The captain himself lounged under a tree during the warm

afternoons, pipe in mouth; thinking, perhaps, over old times, and

occasionally feeling his shoulders for his lost epaulets.


But, sail ho! a ship is descried coming into the bay. Soon she drops

her anchor in its waters; and the next day Captain Crash entertains

the sailors in his grove. And rare times they have of it:--drinking

and quarrelling together as sociably as you please.


Upon one of these occasions, the crew of the Leviathan made so

prodigious a tumult that the natives, indignant at the insult offered

their laws, plucked up a heart, and made a dash at the rioters, one

hundred strong. The sailors fought like tigers; but were at last

overcome, and carried before a native tribunal; which, after a mighty

clamour, dismissed everybody but Captain Crash, who was asserted to be

the author of the disorders.


Upon this charge, then, he had been placed in confinement against the

coming on of the assizes; the judge being expected to lounge along in

the course of the afternoon.  While waiting his Honour's arrival,

numerous additional offences were preferred against the culprit

(mostly by the old women); among others was the bit of a slip in

which he stood implicated along with the young lady. Thus, in

Polynesia as elsewhere;--charge a man with one misdemeanour, and all

his peccadilloes are raked up and assorted before him.


Going to the school-house for the purpose of witnessing the trial, the

din of it assailed our ears a long way off; and upon entering the

building, we were almost stunned.  About five hundred natives were

present; each apparently having something to say and determined to

say it. His Honour--a handsome, benevolent-looking old man--sat

cross-legged on a little platform, seemingly resigned, with all

Christian submission, to the uproar. He was an hereditary chief in

this quarter of the island, and judge for life in the district of


There were several cases coming on; but the captain and girl were

first tried together. They were mixing freely with the crowd; and as

it afterwards turned out that everyone--no matter who--had a right to

address the court, for aught we knew they might have been arguing

their own case. At what precise moment the trial began it would be

hard to say. There was no swearing of witnesses, and no regular jury.

Now and then somebody leaped up and shouted out something which might

have been evidence; the rest, meanwhile, keeping up an incessant

jabbering. Presently the old judge himself began to get excited; and

springing to his feet, ran in among the crowd, wagging his tongue as

hard as anybody.


The tumult lasted about twenty minutes; and toward the end of it,

Captain Crash might have been seen, tranquilly regarding, from his

Honour's platform, the judicial uproar, in which his fate was about

being decided.


The result of all this was that both he and the girl were found

guilty. The latter was adjudged to make six mats for the queen; and

the former, in consideration of his manifold offences, being deemed

incorrigible, was sentenced to eternal banishment from the island.

Both these decrees seemed to originate in the general hubbub. His

Honour, however, appeared to have considerable authority, and it was

quite plain that the decision received his approval.


The above penalties were by no means indiscriminately inflicted. The

missionaries have prepared a sort of penal tariff to facilitate

judicial proceedings. It costs so many days' labour on the Broom Road

to indulge in the pleasures of the calabash; so many fathoms of stone

wall to steal a musket; and so on to the end of the catalogue. The

judge being provided with a book in which all these matters are

cunningly arranged, the thing is vastly convenient. For instance: a

crime is proved,--say bigamy; turn to letter B--and there you have

it. Bigamy:--forty days on the Broom Road, and twenty mats for the

queen. Read the passage aloud, and sentence is pronounced.


After taking part in the first trial, the other delinquents present

were put upon their own; in which, also, the convicted culprits

seemed to have quite as much to say as the rest. A rather strange

proceeding; but strictly in accordance with the glorious English

principle, that every man should be tried by his peers. They were all

found guilty.








IT is well to learn something about people before being introduced to

them, and so we will here give some account of Pomaree and her


Every reader of Cook's Voyages must remember "Otto," who, in that

navigator's time, was king of the larger peninsula of Tahiti.

Subsequently, assisted by the muskets of the Bounty's men, he

extended his rule over the entire island. This Otto, before his

death, had his name changed into Pomaree, which has ever since been

the royal patronymic.


He was succeeded by his son, Pomaree II., the most famous prince in

the annals of Tahiti. Though a sad debauchee and drunkard, and even

charged with unnatural crimes, he was a great friend of the

missionaries, and one of their very first proselytes. During the

religious wars into which he was hurried by his zeal for the new

faith, he was defeated and expelled from the island. After a short

exile he returned from Imeeo, with an army of eight hundred warriors,

and in the battle of Narii routed the rebellious pagans with great

slaughter, and reestablished himself upon the throne. Thus, by force

of arms, was Christianity finally triumphant in Tahiti.


Pomaree II., dying in 1821, was succeeded by his infant son, under the

title of Pomaree III. This young prince survived his father but six

years; and the government then descended to his elder sister, Aimata,

the present queen, who is commonly called Pomaree Vahinee I., or the

first female Pomaree. Her majesty must be now upwards of thirty years

of age. She has been twice married. Her first husband was a son of

the old King of Tahar, an island about one hundred miles from Tahiti.

This proving an unhappy alliance, the pair were soon afterwards

divorced. The present husband of the queen is a chief of Imeeo.


The reputation of Pomaree is not what it ought to be. She, and also

her mother, were, for a long time, excommunicated members of the

Church; and the former, I believe, still is. Among other things, her

conjugal fidelity is far from being unquestioned. Indeed, it was upon

this ground chiefly that she was excluded from the communion of the


Previous to her misfortunes she spent the greater portion of her time

sailing about from one island to another, attended by a licentious

court; and wherever she went all manner of games and festivities

celebrated her arrival.


She was always given to display. For several years the maintenance of

a regiment of household troops drew largely upon the royal exchequer.

They were trouserless fellows, in a uniform of calico shirts and

pasteboard hats; armed with muskets of all shapes and calibres, and

commanded by a great noisy chief, strutting it in a coat of fiery

red. These heroes escorted their mistress whenever she went abroad.


Some time ago, the queen received from her English sister, Victoria, a

very showy, though uneasy, head-dress--a crown; probably made to

order at some tinman's in London. Having no idea of reserving so

pretty a bauble for coronation days, which come so seldom, her

majesty sported it whenever she appeared in public; and, to show her

familiarity with European customs, politely touched it to all

foreigners of distinction--whaling captains, and the like--whom she

happened to meet in her evening walk on the Broom Road.


The arrival and departure of royalty were always announced at the

palace by the court artilleryman--a fat old gentleman who, in a

prodigious hurry and perspiration, discharged minute fowling-pieces

as fast as he could load and fire the same.


The Tahitian princess leads her husband a hard life. Poor fellow! he

not only caught a queen, but a Tartar, when he married her. The style

by which he is addressed is rather significant--"Pomaree-Tanee"

(Pomaree's man). All things considered, as appropriate a title for a

king-consort as could be hit upon.


If ever there were a henpecked husband, that man is the prince. One

day, his carasposa giving audience to a deputation from the captains

of the vessels lying in Papeetee, he ventured to make a suggestion

which was very displeasing to her. She turned round and, boxing his

ears, told him to go over to his beggarly island of Imeeo if he

wanted to give himself airs.


Cuffed and contemned, poor Tanee flies to the bottle, or rather to the

calabash, for solace. Like his wife and mistress, he drinks more than

he ought.


Six or seven years ago, when an American man-of-war was lying at

Papeetee, the town was thrown into the greatest commotion by a

conjugal assault and battery made upon the sacred person of Pomaree

by her intoxicated Tanee.


Captain Bob once told me the story. And by way of throwing more spirit

into the description, as well as to make up for his oral

deficiencies, the old man went through the accompanying action:

myself being proxy for the Queen of Tahiti.


It seems that, on a Sunday morning, being dismissed contemptuously

from the royal presence, Tanee was accosted by certain good fellows,

friends and boon companions, who condoled with him on his

misfortunes--railed against the queen, and finally dragged him away

to an illicit vendor of spirits, in whose house the party got

gloriously mellow. In this state, Pomaree Vahinee I. was the topic

upon which all dilated--"A vixen of a queen," probably suggested one.

"It's infamous," said another; "and I'd have satisfaction," cried a

third. "And so I will!"--Tanee must have hiccoughed; for off he went;

and ascertaining that his royal half was out riding, he mounted his

horse and galloped after her.


Near the outskirts of the town, a cavalcade of women came cantering

toward him, in the centre of which was the object of his fury.

Smiting his beast right and left, he dashed in among them, completely

overturning one of the party, leaving her on the field, and

dispersing everybody else except Pomaree. Backing her horse

dexterously, the incensed queen heaped upon him every scandalous

epithet she could think of; until at last the enraged Tanee leaped

out of his saddle, caught Pomaree by her dress, and dragging her to

the earth struck her repeatedly in the face, holding on meanwhile by

the hair of her head. He was proceeding to strangle her on the spot,

when the cries of the frightened attendants brought a crowd of natives

to the rescue, who bore the nearly insensible queen away.


But his frantic rage was not yet sated. He ran to the palace; and

before it could be prevented, demolished a valuable supply of

crockery, a recent present from abroad.  In the act of perpetrating

some other atrocity, he was seized from behind, and carried off with

rolling eyes and foaming at the mouth.


This is a fair example of a Tahitian in a passion. Though the mildest

of mortals in general, and hard to be roused, when once fairly up, he

is possessed with a thousand devils.


The day following, Tanee was privately paddled over to Imeeo in a

canoe; where, after remaining in banishment for a couple of weeks, he

was allowed to return, and once more give in his domestic adhesion.


Though Pomaree Vahinee I. be something of a Jezebel in private life,

in her public rule she is said to have been quite lenient and

forbearing. This was her true policy; for an hereditary hostility to

her family had always lurked in the hearts of many powerful chiefs,

the descendants of the old Kings of Taiarboo, dethroned by her

grandfather Otoo. Chief among these, and in fact the leader of his

party, was Poofai; a bold, able man, who made no secret of his enmity

to the missionaries, and the government which they controlled. But

while events were occurring calculated to favour the hopes of the

disaffected and turbulent, the arrival of the French gave a most

unexpected turn to affairs.


During my sojourn in Tahiti, a report was rife--which I knew to

originate with what is generally called the "missionary party"--that

Poofai and some other chiefs of note had actually agreed, for a

stipulated bribe, to acquiesce in the appropriation of their country.

But subsequent events have rebutted the calumny. Several of these

very men have recently died in battle against the French.


Under the sovereignty of the Pomarees, the great chiefs of Tahiti were

something like the barons of King John. Holding feudal sway over

their patrimonial valleys, and on account of their descent, warmly

beloved by the people, they frequently cut off the royal revenues by

refusing to pay the customary tribute due from them as vassals.


The truth is, that with the ascendancy of the missionaries, the regal

office in Tahiti lost much of its dignity and influence. In the days

of Paganism, it was supported by all the power of a numerous

priesthood, and was solemnly connected with the entire superstitious

idolatry of the land. The monarch claimed to be a sort of bye-blow of

Tararroa, the Saturn of the Polynesian mythology, and cousin-german to

inferior deities. His person was thrice holy; if he entered an

ordinary dwelling, never mind for how short a time, it was demolished

when he left; no common mortal being thought worthy to inhabit it


"I'm a greater man than King George," said the incorrigible young Otoo

to the first missionaries; "he rides on a horse, and I on a man."

Such was the case. He travelled post through his dominions on the

shoulders of his subjects; and relays of mortal beings were provided

in all the valleys.


But alas! how times have changed; how transient human greatness. Some

years since, Pomaree Vahinee I., the granddaughter of the proud Otoo,

went into the laundry business; publicly soliciting, by her agents,

the washing of the linen belonging to the officers of ships touching

in her harbours.


It is a significant fact, and one worthy of record, that while the

influence of the English missionaries at Tahiti has tended to so

great a diminution of the regal dignity there, that of the American

missionaries at the Sandwich Islands has been purposely exerted to

bring about a contrary result.








IT WAS about the middle of the second month of the Hegira, and

therefore some five weeks after our arrival in Partoowye, that we at

last obtained admittance to the residence of the queen.


It happened thus. There was a Marquesan in the train of Pomaree who

officiated as nurse to her children. According to the Tahitian

custom, the royal youngsters are carried about until it requires no

small degree of strength to stand up under them. But Marbonna was

just the man for this--large and muscular, well made as a statue, and

with an arm like a degenerate Tahitian's thigh.


Embarking at his native island as a sailor on board of a French

whaler, he afterward ran away from the ship at Tahiti; where, being

seen and admired by Pomaree, he had been prevailed upon to enlist in

her service.


Often, when visiting the grounds, we saw him walking about in the

shade, carrying two handsome boys, who encircled his neck with their

arms. Marbonna's face, tattooed as it was in the ornate style of his

tribe, was as good as a picture-book to these young Pomarees. They

delighted to trace with their fingers the outlines of the strange

shapes there delineated.


The first time my eyes lighted upon the Marquesan, I knew his country

in a moment; and hailing him in his own language, he turned round,

surprised that a person so speaking should be a stranger. He proved

to be a native of Tior, a glen of Nukuheva.  I had visited the place

more than once; and so, on the island of Imeeo, we met like old


In my frequent conversations with him over the bamboo picket, I found

this islander a philosopher of nature--a wild heathen, moralizing

upon the vices and follies of the Christian court of Tahiti--a

savage, scorning the degeneracy of the people among whom fortune had

thrown him.


I was amazed at the national feelings of the man. No European, when

abroad, could speak of his country with more pride than Marbonna. He

assured me, again and again, that so soon as he had obtained

sufficient money to purchase twenty muskets, and as many bags of

powder, he was going to return to a place with which Imeeo was not

worthy to be compared.


It was Marbonna who, after one or two unsuccessful attempts, at last

brought about our admission into the queen's grounds. Through a

considerable crowd he conducted us along the pier to where an old man

was sitting, to whom he introduced us as a couple of "karhowrees" of

his acquaintance, anxious to see the sights of the palace.  The

venerable chamberlain stared at us, and shook his head: the doctor,

thinking he wanted a fee, placed a plug of tobacco in his hand. This

was ingratiating, and we were permitted to pass on. Upon the point of

entering one of the houses, Marbonna's name was shouted in

half-a-dozen different directions, and he was obliged to withdraw.


Thus left at the very threshold to shift for ourselves, my companion's

assurance stood us in good stead. He stalked right in, and I

followed. The place was full of women, who, instead of exhibiting the

surprise we expected, accosted us as cordially as if we had called to

take our Souchong with them by express invitation. In the first

place, nothing would do but we must each devour a calabash of "poee,"

and several roasted bananas. Pipes were then lighted, and a brisk

conversation ensued.


These ladies of the court, if not very polished, were surprisingly

free and easy in their manners; quite as much so as King Charles's

beauties. There was one of them--an arch little miss, who could

converse with us pretty fluently--to whom we strove to make ourselves

particularly agreeable, with the view of engaging her services as


As such, she turned out to be everything we could desire. No one

disputing her will, every place was entered without ceremony,

curtains brushed aside, mats lifted, and each nook and corner

explored. Whether the little damsel carried her mistress' signet,

that everything opened to her thus, I know not; but Marbonna himself,

the bearer of infants, could not have been half so serviceable.


Among other houses which we visited, was one of large size and fine

exterior; the special residence of a European--formerly the mate of a

merchant vessel,--who had done himself the honour of marrying into

the Pomaree family. The lady he wedded being a near kinswoman of the

queen, he became a permanent member of her majesty's household. This

adventurer rose late, dressed theatrically in calico and trinkets,

assumed a dictatorial tone in conversation, and was evidently upon

excellent terms with himself.


We found him reclining on a mat, smoking a reed-pipe of tobacco, in

the midst of an admiring circle of chiefs and ladies. He must have

noticed our approach; but instead of rising and offering civilities,

he went on talking and smoking, without even condescending to look at


"His Highness feels his 'poee,'" carelessly observed the doctor. The

rest of the company gave us the ordinary salutation, our guide

announcing us beforehand.


In answer to our earnest requests to see the queen, we were now

conducted to an edifice, by far the most spacious, in the inclosure.

It was at least one hundred and fifty feet in length, very wide, with

low eaves, and an exceedingly steep roof of pandannas leaves. There

were neither doors nor windows--nothing along the sides but the

slight posts supporting the rafters. Between these posts, curtains of

fine matting and tappa were rustling, all round; some of them were

festooned, or partly withdrawn, so as to admit light and air, and

afford a glimpse now and then of what was going on within.


Pushing aside one of the screens, we entered. The apartment was one

immense hall; the long and lofty ridge-pole fluttering with fringed

matting and tassels, full forty feet from the ground. Lounges of

mats, piled one upon another, extended on either side:  while here

and there were slight screens, forming as many recesses, where groups

of natives--all females--were reclining at their evening meal.


As we advanced, these various parties ceased their buzzing, and in

explanation of our appearance among them, listened to a few

cabalistic words from our guide.


The whole scene was a strange one; but what most excited our surprise

was the incongruous assemblage of the most costly objects from all

quarters of the globe.  Cheek by jowl, they lay beside the rudest

native articles, without the slightest attempt at order. Superb

writing-desks of rosewood, inlaid with silver and mother-of-pearl;

decanters and goblets of cut glass; embossed volumes of plates; gilded

candelabra; sets of globes and mathematical instruments; the finest

porcelain; richly-mounted sabres and fowling-pieces; laced hats and

sumptuous garments of all sorts, with numerous other matters of

European manufacture, were strewn about among greasy calabashes

half-filled with "poee," rolls of old tappa and matting, paddles and

fish-spears, and the ordinary furniture of a Tahitian dwelling.


All the articles first mentioned were, doubtless, presents from

foreign powers. They were more or less injured: the fowling-pieces

and swords were rusted; the finest woods were scratched; and a folio

volume of Hogarth lay open, with a cocoa-nut shell of some musty

preparation capsized among the miscellaneous furniture of the Rake's

apartment, where that inconsiderate young gentleman is being measured

for a coat.


While we were amusing ourselves in this museum of curiosities, our

conductor plucked us by the sleeve, and whispered, "Pomaree! Pomaree!

armai kow kow."


"She is coming to sup, then," said the doctor, staring in the

direction indicated. "What say you, Paul, suppose we step up?" Just

then a curtain near by lifted, and from a private building a few

yards distant the queen entered, unattended.


She wore a loose gown of blue silk, with two rich shawls, one red and

the other yellow, tied about her neck. Her royal majesty was


She was about the ordinary size, rather matronly; her features not

very handsome; her mouth, voluptuous; but there was a care-worn

expression in her face, probably attributable to her late

misfortunes. From her appearance, one would judge her about forty;

but she is not so old.


As the queen approached one of the recesses, her attendants hurried

up, escorted her in, and smoothed the mats on which she at last

reclined. Two girls soon appeared, carrying their mistress' repast;

and then, surrounded by cut-glass and porcelain, and jars of

sweetmeats and confections, Pomaree Vahinee I., the titular Queen of

Tahiti, ate fish and "poee" out of her native calabashes, disdaining

either knife or spoon.


"Come on," whispered Long Ghost, "let's have an audience at once;" and

he was on the point of introducing himself, when our guide, quite

alarmed, held him back and implored silence. The other natives also

interfered, and, as he was pressing forward, raised such an outcry

that Pomaree lifted her eyes and saw us for the first.


She seemed surprised and offended, and, issuing an order in a

commanding tone to several of her women, waved us out of the house.

Summary as the dismissal was, court etiquette, no doubt, required our

compliance. We withdrew; making a profound inclination as we

disappeared behind the tappa arras.


We departed the ground without seeing Marbonna; and previous to

vaulting over the picket, feed our pretty guide after a fashion of

our own. Looking round a few moments after, we saw the damsel

escorted back by two men, who seemed to have been sent after her. I

trust she received nothing more than a reprimand.


The next day Po-Po informed us that strict orders had been issued to

admit no strangers within the palace precincts.








DISAPPOINTED in going to court, we determined upon going to sea. It

would never do, longer to trespass on Po-Po's hospitality; and then,

weary somewhat of life in Imeeo, like all sailors ashore, I at last

pined for the billows.


Now, if her crew were to be credited, the Leviathan was not the craft

to our mind. But I had seen the captain, and liked him. He was an

uncommonly tall, robust, fine-looking man, in the prime of life.

There was a deep crimson spot in the middle of each sunburnt cheek,

doubtless the effect of his sea-potations. He was a Vineyarder, or

native of the island of Martha's Vineyard (adjoining Nantucket),

and--I would have sworn it--a sailor, and no tyrant.


Previous to this, we had rather avoided the Leviathan's men, when they

came ashore; but now, we purposely threw ourselves in their way, in

order to learn more of the vessel.


We became acquainted with the third mate, a Prussian, and an old

merchant-seaman--a right jolly fellow, with a face like a ruby. We

took him to Po-Po's, and gave him a dinner of baked pig and

breadfruit; with pipes and tobacco for dessert. The account he gave

us of the ship agreed with my own surmises. A cosier old craft never

floated; and the captain was the finest man in the world. There was

plenty to eat, too; and, at sea, nothing to do but sit on the windlass

and sail. The only bad trait about the vessel was this: she had been

launched under some baleful star; and so was a luckless ship in the

fishery. She dropped her boats into the brine often enough, and they

frequently got fast to the whales; but lance and harpoon almost

invariably "drew" when darted by the men of the Leviathan. But what of

that?  We would have all the sport of chasing the monsters, with none

of the detestable work which follows their capture. So, hurrah for

the coast of Japan! Thither the ship was bound.


A word now about the hard stories we heard the first time we visited

the ship. They were nothing but idle fictions, got up by the sailors

for the purpose of frightening us away, so as to oblige the captain,

who was in want of more hands, to lie the longer in a pleasant


The next time the Vineyarder came ashore, we flung ourselves in his

path. When informed of our desire to sail with him, he wanted to know

our history; and, above all, what countrymen we were. We said that we

had left a whaler in Tahiti, some time previous; and, since then, had

been--in the most praiseworthy manner--employed upon a plantation. As

for our country, sailors belong to no nation in particular; we were,

on this occasion, both Yankees. Upon this he looked decidedly

incredulous; and freely told us that he verily believed we were both

from Sydney.


Be it known here that American sea captains, in the Pacific, are

mortally afraid of these Sydney gentry; who, to tell the truth,

wherever known, are in excessively bad odour. Is there a mutiny on

board a ship in the South Seas, ten to one a Sydney man is the

ringleader. Ashore, these fellows are equally riotous.


It was on this account that we were anxious to conceal the fact of our

having belonged to the Julia, though it annoyed me much, thus to deny

the dashing little craft. For the same reason, also, the doctor

fibbed about his birthplace.


Unfortunately, one part of our raiment--Arfretee's blue frocks--we

deemed a sort of collateral evidence against us. For, curiously

enough, an American sailor is generally distinguished by his red

frock; and an English tar by his blue one: thus reversing the

national colours. The circumstance was pointed out by the captain; and

we quickly explained the anomaly. But, in vain: he seemed

inveterately prejudiced against us; and, in particular, eyed the

doctor most distrustfully.


By way of propping the tatter's pretensions, I was throwing out a hint

concerning Kentucky, as a land of tall men, when our Vine-yarder

turned away abruptly, and desired to hear nothing more. It was

evident that he took Long Ghost for an exceedingly problematical


Perceiving this, I resolved to see what a private interview would do.

So, one afternoon, I found the captain smoking a pipe in the dwelling

of a portly old native--one Mai-Mai--who, for a reasonable

compensation, did the honours of Partoowye to illustrious strangers.


His guest had just risen from a sumptuous meal of baked pig and taro

pudding; and the remnants of the repast were still visible. Two

reeking bottles, also, with their necks wrenched off, lay upon the

mat. All this was encouraging; for, after a good dinner, one feels

affluent and amiable, and peculiarly open to conviction. So, at all

events, I found the noble Vineyarder.


I began by saying that I called for the purpose of setting him right

touching certain opinions of his concerning the place of my

nativity:--I was an American--thank heaven!--and wanted to convince

him of the fact.


After looking me in the eye for some time, and, by so doing, revealing

an obvious unsteadiness in his own visual organs, he begged me to

reach forth my arm. I did so; wondering what upon earth that useful

member had to do with the matter in hand.


He placed his fingers upon my wrist; and holding them there for a

moment, sprang to his feet, and, with much enthusiasm, pronounced me

a Yankee, every beat of my pulse!


"Here, Mai-Mai!" he cried, "another bottle!" And, when it came, with

one stroke of a knife, he summarily beheaded it, and commanded me to

drain it to the bottom. He then told me that if I would come on board

his vessel the following morning, I would find the ship's articles on

the cabin transom.


This was getting along famously. But what was to become of the



I forthwith made an adroit allusion to my long friend. But it was

worse than useless.  The Vineyarder swore he would have nothing to do

with him--he (my long friend) was a "bird" from Sydney, and nothing

would make him (the man of little faith) believe otherwise.


I could not help loving the free-hearted captain; but indignant at

this most unaccountable prejudice against my comrade, I abruptly took


Upon informing the doctor of the result of the interview, he was

greatly amused; and laughingly declared that the Vineyarder must be a

penetrating fellow. He then insisted upon my going to sea in the

ship, since he well knew how anxious I was to leave. As for himself,

on second thoughts, he was no sailor; and although "lands--' men"

very often compose part of a whaler's crew, he did not quite relish

the idea of occupying a position so humble. In short, he had made up

his mind to tarry awhile in Imeeo.


I turned the matter over: and at last decided upon quitting the

island. The impulse urging me to sea once more, and the prospect of

eventually reaching home, were too much to be resisted; especially as

the Leviathan, so comfortable a craft, was now bound on her last

whaling cruise, and, in little more than a year's time, would be

going round Cape Horn.


I did not, however, covenant to remain in the vessel for the residue

of the voyage; which would have been needlessly binding myself. I

merely stipulated for the coming cruise, leaving my subsequent

movements unrestrained; for there was no knowing that I might not

change my mind, and prefer journeying home by short and easy stages.


The next day I paddled off to the ship, signed and sealed, and stepped

ashore with my "advance"--fifteen Spanish dollars--tasseling the ends

of my neck-handkerchief.


I forced half of the silver on Long Ghost; and having little use for

the remainder, would have given it to Po-Po as some small return for

his kindness; but, although he well knew the value of the coin, not a

dollar would he accept.


In three days' time the Prussian came to Po-Po's, and told us that the

captain, having made good the number of his crew by shipping several

islanders, had determined upon sailing with the land breeze at dawn

the following morning. These tidings were received in the afternoon.

The doctor immediately disappeared, returning soon after with a

couple of flasks of wine concealed in the folds of his frock. Through

the agency of the Marquesan, he had purchased them from an

understrapper of the court.


I prevailed upon Po-Po to drink a parting shell; and even little Loo,

actually looking conscious that one of her hopeless admirers was

about leaving Partoowye for ever, sipped a few drops from a folded

leaf. As for the warm-hearted Arfretee, her grief was unbounded. She

even besought me to spend my last night under her own palm-thatch;

and then, in the morning, she would herself paddle me off to the


But this I would not consent to; and so, as something to remember her

by, she presented me with a roll of fine matting, and another of

tappa. These gifts placed in my hammock, I afterward found very

agreeable in the warm latitudes to which we were bound; nor did they

fail to awaken most grateful remembrances.


About nightfall, we broke away from this generous-hearted household,

and hurried down to the water.


It was a mad, merry night among the sailors; they had on tap a small

cask of wine, procured in the same way as the doctor's flasks.


An hour or two after midnight, everything was noiseless; but when the

first streak of the dawn showed itself over the mountains, a sharp

voice hailed the forecastle, and ordered the ship unmoored.


The anchors came up cheerily; the sails were soon set; and with the

early breath of the tropical morning, fresh and fragrant from the

hillsides, we slowly glided down the bay, and were swept through the

opening in the reef. Presently we "hove to," and the canoes came

alongside to take off the islanders who had accompanied us thus far.

As he stepped over the side, I shook the doctor long and heartily by

the hand. I have never seen or heard of him since.


Crowding all sail, we braced the yards square; and, the breeze

freshening, bowled straight away from the land. Once more the

sailor's cradle rocked under me, and I found myself rolling in my


By noon, the island had gone down in the horizon; and all before us

was the wide Pacific.