Skip to main content

Full text of "Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 


^^"iq.s- 19 





of Worcester 

The Gift of 



Digitized by 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


" A party of girls tossing their arms about and splashing water 

like porpoises." 
Frontispiece, — Page 20. 

Digitized by 






Author of 
**Typee," "Moby Dick," "White Jacket," etc 



Digitized by 


A U^jfV^^. 6- i/^ 



Girrof ^ 

KAY 2V, !&22 

I^PYRIGHT, 189ft, 


Digitized by 

Google ^' 


f)erman (3andevoott 




Vbc Butbot 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Nowhere, perhaps, are the proverbial characteristics 
of sailors shown under wilder aspects than in the South 
Seas. For the most part, the vessels navigating those 
remote waters are engaged in the Sperm Whale Fish- 
ery; a business which is not only peculiarly fitted to 
attract the most reckless seamen of all nations, but in 
various ways is calculated to foster in them a spirit of 
the utmost license. These voyages, also, are unusually 
long and perilous; the only harbours accessible are 
among the barbarous or semi-civilized islands of Poly- 
nesia, or along the lawless western coast of South 
America. Hence, scenes the most novel, and not 
directly connected with the business of whaling, fre- 
quently occur among the crews of ships in the Pacific. 

Without pretending to give any account of the 
whale-fishery (for the scope of the narrative does not 
embrace the subject), it is partly the object of this work 
to convey some idea of the kind of life to which allu- 
sion is made, by means of a circumstantial history of 
adventures befalling the author. 

Another object proposed is, to give a familiar ac- 
count of the present condition of the converted Poly- 
nesians, as affected by thek promiscuous intercourse 


Digitized by 



with foreigners, and the teachings of the missionaries, 

As a roving sailor, the author spent about three 
months in various parts of the islands of Tahiti and 
Imeeo, and under circumstances most favorable for cor- 
rect observations on the social condition of the natives. 

In every statement connected with missionary opera- 
tions, a strict adherence to facts has, of course, been 
scrupulously observed ; and in some instances, it has 
even been deemed advisable to quote previous voyages, 
in corroboration of what is offered as the fruit of the 
author's own observations. Nothing but an earnest de- 
sire for truth and good has led him to touch upon this 
subject at all. And if he refrains from offering hints 
as to the best mode of remedying the evils which are 
pointed out, it is only because he thinks, that after 
being made acquainted with the facts, others are bet- 
ter qualified to do so. 

Should a little jocoseness be shown upon some curi- 
ous traits of the Tahitians, it proceeds from no inten- 
tion to ridicule : things are merely described as, from 
their entire novelty, they first struck an unbiased ob- 

The present narrative necessarily begins where 
"Typee" concludes, but has no further connection 
with the latter work. All, therefore, necessary for 
the reader to understand, who has not read " Typee," 
is given in a brief introduction. 

No journal was kept by the author during his wan- 
derings in the South Seas; so that, in preparing the 

Digitized by 


PBEFACK ' vii 

ensuing chapters for the press, precision with re- 
spect to dates would have been impossible ; and every 
occurrence has been put down from simple recollection. 
The frequency, however, with which these incidents 
have been verbally related, has tended to stamp them 
upon the memory. 

Although it is believed that one or two imperfect 
Polynesian vocabularies have been published, none of 
the Tahitian dialect has as yet appeared. At any rate, 
the author has had access to none whatever. In the 
use of the native words, therefore, he has been mostly 
governed by the bare recollection of sounds. 

Upon several points connected with the history and 
ancient customs of Tahiti, collateral information has been 
obtained from the oldest books of South Sea voyages, 
and also from the " Polynesian Researches " of Ellis. 

The title of the work — Omoo — is borrowed from | 
the dialect of the Marquesas Islands, where, among 
other uses, the word signifies a rover, or rather, a 
person wandering from one island to another, like 
some of the natives known among their countrymen 
as " Taboo kanakes." 

In no respect does the author make pretensions to 
philosophic research. In a familiar way, he has merely 
described what he has seen; and if reflections are 
occasionally indulged in, they are spontaneous, and 
such as would very probably suggest themselves to the 
most casual observer. 

^BW YoBK, January 28, 1847. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




Intboductiow xi 

I. My Reception Aboard 1 

II. Some Account of the Ship 6 

III. Further Account of the Julia 11 

IV. A Scene in tlie Forecastle 15 

V. What happened at Hytyhoo 19 

VI. We touch at La Dominica 23 

VII. What happened at Hannamanoo 26 

VIII. The Tattooers of La Dominica 30 

IX We steer to the Westward. — State of Affairs . . 34 

X. A Sea-Parlour described, with some of its Tenants, 40 

XI. Doctor Long Ghost a Wag. — One of his Capers . 44 

XII. Death and Burial of two of the Crew 47 

XIII. Our Destination changed 54 

XIV. Kope-Yarn 56 

XV. Chips and Bungs 61 

XVI. We encounter a Gale 63 

XVIL The Coral Islands 66 

XVIII. Tahiti 71 

XIX. A Surprise. — More about Bembo ...... 74 

XX. TheRound-Robin.— Visitors from Shore. ... 80 

XXL Proceedings of the Consul 87 

XXII. Tlie Consul's Departure 93 

XXIIL The Second Night off Papeetee 96 

XXIV. Outbreak of the Crew 102 

XXV. Jermin encounters an Old Shipmate . . • , . 105 

Digitized by 
































We enter the Harbour.— Jim the Pilot . . . . lOB 
A Glance at Papeetee. — We are sent aboard the 

Frigate 114 

Reception from the Frenchman 119 

The Reine Blanche .121 

They take us Ashore. — What happened there . . 126 

The Calabooza Beretanee . 130 

Proceedings of tlie French at Tahiti 137 

We receive Calls at the Hotel de Calabooza ... 143 

Life at the Calabooza 148 

Visit from an Old Acquaintance ....... 151 

We are carried before the Consul and Captain . . 157 

The French Priests pay their Respects 161 

Little Jule sails without us 166 

Jermin serves us a Good Turn. — Friendships in 

Polynesia 172 

We take unto ourselves Friends 177 

We levy Contributions on the Shipping .... 180 

Motoo-Otoo. — A Tahitian Casuist 184 

One is judged by the Company he keeps .... 188 
Cathedral of Papoar. — The Chm*ch of the Cocoa 

Nuts 190 

A Missionary's Sermon; with some Reflections . . 195 

Something about the Kannakippers 201 

How they dress in Tahiti 206 

Tahiti as it is 210 

Same Subject continued 217 

Something happens to Long Ghost ...... 222 

Wilson gives us the Cut. — Departure for Imeeo . 226 

The Valley of Martair 281 

Farming in Polynesia 235 

Some Account of the Wild Cattle in Polynesia . . 240 

A Hunting Ramble with Zeke 244 

Musquitoes 248 

Digitized by 





LYII. The Second Hunt in the MounUins 251 

LVIII. The Hunting-Feast; and a Visit to Afrehitoo . . 257 

LIX. The Murphies 260 

LX. What they thouglit of us in MarUir 264 

LXI. Preparing for the Journey 268 

LXII. Tamai 272 

LXIII. A Dance in the Valley 275 

LXIV. Mysterious 278 

LXV. The Hegira, or Flight 280 

LXVI. How we were to get to Taloo 286 

LXVII. Tlie Journey round the Beach 288 

LXVIII. A Dinner-Party in Imeiyi 2J>5 

LXIX. The Cocoa-Palm 300 

LXX. Life at Loohooloo 305 

LXXI. We start for Taloo 307 

LXXII. A Dealer in the Contraband 3U 

LXXIII. Our Reception in Partoowy^ 317 

LXXIV. Retiring for the Night. — The Doctor grows devout 323 

LXXV. A Ramble through the Settlement 326 

LXXVI. An Island Jilt. —We visit the Ship 330 

LXXVII. A Party of Rovers. — Little Loo and tht Doctor . 335 

LXXVin. Mrs. Bell 339 

LXXIX. Taloo Chapel. — Holding Court in Polynesia . . 341 

LXXX. Queen Pomaree 347 

LXXXI. We visit the Court 353 

LXXXIL Which ends the Book 359 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




20) Frontispiece 

" Rushing in all around, they hauled the 

savage off " 98 

c( With the stock of his gun, the old warder 

PEARED " 245 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



In the summer of 1842, the author of this narrative, 
as a sailor before the mast, visited the Marquesas Islands 
in an American South-Seaman. At the island of Nuku- 
heva he left his vessel, which afterwards sailed without 
him. Wandering in the interior, he came upon the val- 
ley of Typee, inhabited by a primitive tribe of savages, 
from which valley a fellow-sailor who accompanied him 
soon afterward effected his escape. The author, how- 
ever, was detained in an indulgent captivity for about 
the space of four months ; at the end of which period he 
escaped in a boat which visited the bay. 

This boat belonged to a vessel in need of men, which 
had recently touched at a neighbouring harbour of the 
same island, where the captain had been informed of the 
author's detention in Typee. Desirous of adding to his 
crew, he sailed round thither, and "hove to" off the 
mouth of the bay. As the Typees were considered hos- 
tile, the boat, manned by taboo natives from the other 
harbour, was then sent in, with an interpreter at their 
head, to procure the author's release. This was finally 
accomplished, though not without peril to all concerned. 
At the time of his escape, the author was suffering 
severely from lameness. 

The boat having gained the open sea, the ship 
appeared in the distance. Here the present narrative 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 





It was in the middle of a bright tropical afternoon 
that we made good our escape from the bay. The ves- 
sel that we sought lay with her main top^sail aback about 
a league from the land, and was the only object that 
broke the broad expanse of the ocean. 
\y On approaching, she turned out to be a small, slat- 
ternly looking craft, her hull and spars a dingy black, 
rigging all slack and bleached nearly white, and every- 
thing 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 

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 advanced. 

When we came alongside, a low cry ran fore and aft 
the deck, and everybody gazed at us with inquiring 

Digitized by 


2 OMOO. 

eye^. 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 

As an instance of the curious coincidences which often 
befall the sailor, I must here mention, that two counte- 
nances 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, truckmen, stevedores, beg- 
gars, and the like. And here we are again: — years 
had rolled by, many a league of ocean had been tray- 
ersed, and we were thrown together under circum- 
stances which almost made me doubt my own existence. 

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

He was quite a young man, pale and slender, more 
like a sickly counting-house clerk than a bluflf sea-cap- 
tain. Bidding me be seated, he ordered the steward to 
hand me a glass of Pisco.^ In the state I was, this 

1 This spirituous liquor deriyes its name from a considerable town in 
Peru, where it is manufactured in large quantities. It is well known 
along the whole western coast of South America, whence some of it has 
been exported to Australia. It is very cheap. 

Digitized by 



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 

The mate was now called below, and charged to make 
a " well mkn " 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 

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, some one removing 
my tappa cloak slipped on a blue frock in its place ; 
and another, actuated by the same desire to make a 
civilised mortal of me, flourished about my head a 
great pair of sheep-shears, to the imminent jeopardy 
of both ears, and the certain destruction of hair and 

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 ^^^e most ardent hopes ! 
Safe aboard of a ship — so lon^'my earnest prayer — 
with home and friends once more in prospect, I never- 

Digitized by 


4 OMOO. 

I theless 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 re- 
tain me a captive, had, upon the whole, treated me so 
kindly. I was leaving them forever. 

So unforeseen and sudden had been my escape, so ex- 
cited had I been through it all, and so great the con- 
trast 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 morn- 
ing 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 wa3 
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 de- 
serves that title, is a matter all ship-owners 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, ri(5f man who has lived in forecastles 
is at all fastidious ; and so, after a few vigorous whiffs to 

Digitized by 



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 deg^e, 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 some one 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 ? 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 sharpen- 
ing the handsaw: hope he won't have the carving of 


Long before daylight we arrived off the bay of Nuku- 
heva, 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, that, 
as soon as I breathed it, my spirits rose at once. 

Seated upon the windlass the greater portion of the 

Digitized by 



day, and* chatting freely with the men, I learned the 
history of the voyage thus far, and everything respects 
ing the ship and its present condition. 

These matters I will now throw together in the next 



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, some- 
thing 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 soils 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, 
despatched her on the present voyage. 

Notwithstanding the repairs, she was still in a misier- 
able 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 ordi- 
nary 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 Wow low, she was always ready for the 

Digitized by 



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 de- 
serted. Even the three junior mates who had headed 
the whale-boats 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 sea- 
men remaining were more or less unwell from a long 
sojourn in a dissipated poi"t ; some of them wholly unfit 
for duty, one or two dangerously ill, and the rest man- 
aging to stand their watch, though they could do but 

Digitized by 


8 OMOO. 

The captain was a young cockney, who, a few years 
before, had emigrafed to Australia, and, by some favour- 
itism 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 hair-dresser. Hence every- 
body 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 deris- 
ion 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 in- 
tercourse with them as possible, he left everthing to 
the chief mate, who, as the stoiy went, had been given 
his captain in charge. Yet, despite his 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 tool of ; and some obnoxious meas- 
ures 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 

Digitized by 



rings of iron grey 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 if 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 ab* 
horred 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 

Digitized by 


10 OMOd, 

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 iBagged. 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 stateroom 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 cap- 
tain, 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 fig- 
ures largely in the narrative. His early history, like 
that of many other heroes, was enveloped in the pro- 
foundest 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 a doctor aboard of the Julia. 

His personal appearance was remarkable. He was 
over six feet high — a tower of bones, with a complex- 
ion absolutely colourless, fair hair, and a light, unscrupu- 
lous grey eye, twinkling occasionally with the very 

Digitized by 



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, drank Burgundy, 
and associated with gentlemen. 

As for his learning, he quoted Virgil, and talked of 
Hobbes of Malmsbury, besides 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 anec- 
dotes 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 «uch 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 dis- 
cipline, 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 

Digitized by 


12 OMOO, 

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 &r from being harmless. 

Doctor Long Ghost, having sent in a written resigna- 
tion as the ship's doctor, gave himself out as a passen- 
ger 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 license, 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, honey-combed 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 sailor's 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. 
Besides this, every other day we had what English sea- 
men call "shot soup" — great round peas, polishing 
themselves like pebbles by rolling about in tepid water. 

It was afterwards told me, that all our provisions had 

Digitized by 



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 de- 
sertion : and as it was, he still feared that, in some out- 
landish bay or other, he might one day find his anchor 
down, and no crew to weigh it. 

With judicious oflBcera 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 an 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 sav- 
ages of the islands. Like galleynslaves, they are only 
to be governed by scourges and chains. Their oflBcers 
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 

Digitized by 


14 OMOO, 

energies of Jermin 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 cuflEs right 
and left, and " creating a sensation " in every direc- 
tion. 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 over-board. 

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 cr/ew, 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 

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 Mendafia — 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 retui-n 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. 

Digitized by 





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 it. 

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 sym- 
metrically ugly. But ill-favoured as he was in person. 
Beauty was none the less ugly in temper ; but no one 
could blame him ; h is cou ntenance had soured his heart. 
Now Jermin and Beauty were always at sword*s 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 tran- 

Digitized by 


16 OMOO. 

quillity 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 con- 
tented himself with looking down the scuttle and storm- 
ing. 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 car- 
penter begged him to go about it at once. 

No sooner said than done ; prudence forgotten, Jer- 
min 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 boa-constrictor. 

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 recov- 
ered 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 

Digitized by 



the first favourable opportunity that offered. Unfortu- 
nately, 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 coun- 
sel, 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 strug- 
gling 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 pre- 
vented 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 began, 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 I 
unhand me, I say! Oh! I'll pay you for this, some 
day I Come on, Captain Guy I " 

Digitized by 


18 OMOO. 

At tliis 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. Jermin 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 bis- 
cuit and tea-leaves. The doctor was not far oflE just 
then. Without waiting for anything more, the discom- 
fited gentleman, with both hands to his streaming face, 
retreated to the quarter-deck. 

A few moments more, and Jermin, forced to a com- 
promise, followed after, in his torn frock and scarred 
face, looking for all the world as if he had just disen- 
tangled himself from some intricate piece of machinery. 
For about half an Ijour 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 proportion- 
ably 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 was done with her, if that was the way he 
allowed his oflScers 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 Jerwin reluc- 
tantly consented to drop the matter for the present ; and 
he soon drowned all thoughts of it in a can of flip, 

Digitized by 



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 
d^ck, 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 oflf to pay his respects to the 
commander, and, moreover, as we supposed, to concert 
measures for the apprehension of the runaways. 

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 

Digitized by 


20 OMOO. 

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 oflE to us 

There was little ceremony about the matter. The 
chiefs 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 towards 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 fortius proceed- 
ing. 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 (mid- 
night) — 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 scuttle. 

Thus prepared, he doubtless meant to stay awake ; but 
for all that, before long he fell asleep ; and slept with 

Digitized by 



such hearty good-will too, that the men who left us that 
night might have been waked up by his snoring. Cer- 
tain 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 
t ,p show two boats gone from the side, ^n an instant he 
, ."^ \ Iknew 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 dived down into the fore- 
castle 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, some one 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 ascer- 
tained his specific gravity to a fibre of hemp. There 
was another boat remaining : but it was as well to ex- 
amine 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 tlirough his trumpet, and men to go 

Digitized by 


.22 OMOO, 

in pursuit were instantly promised. There was a whis- 
tling of a boatswain's pipe, an order or two, and then a 
large cutter pulled out from the man-of-war's stem, 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 fol- 

In an hour's time the first returned, towing the two 
whale boats, which had been found turned up like tor- 
toises 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 irom 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 as- 
sured 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 — bare- 
headed — 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,, 

Digitized by 



The bonus of a musket to the king of the Bay, and 
the promise of a tumbler full 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 the night in Hytyhoo, Captain 
Guy caused the ship to be got under way shortly after 

The next morning, when all supposed that we were 
fairly embarked for a long cruise, our course was sud- 
denly 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 Ameri- 
can whaler, and were desirous of shipping aboard of one 
of their own country vessels. 

We made the land in the afternoon, coming abreast of 
^ shady glen opening from a deep bay, and winding by 

Digitized by 


24 OMOO. 

green defiles far out of sight. " Hands by the weather- 
main-brace ! " roared the mate, jumping upon the bul- 
warks ; 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 

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 off. 

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 pygmies. 

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 pygmies stepped 
ashore, looking about them very circumspectly, pausing 
now and then hand to ear, and peering under a dense 

Digitized by 



grove, which swept down within a few paces of the sea. 
No one came, and to all appearances everything was a& 
still as the grave. Presently, he with the pistols, fol- 
lowed by the rest flouftshing 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 ; where- 
upon 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 schoonera 

Digitized by 



26 OMoO. 

passing through their narrow channels J 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 h'feathens. They hardly 
consider them human. But it is a curious fact, that the 
more ignorant and degraded men are, the more con- 
temptuously they look upon those whom they deem 
their inferiors. 

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 ofif-shore 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 hun- 
dreds of feet high, the white huts of the natives here 
and there nestling like birds' nests in deep clefts gush- 
ing 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 em- 

Digitized by 



bayed waters were gentle as a lake, and every blue 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 roimd. 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 mast-head. Notwithstanding the speechless fright 
of the captain, and the hoarse shouts of the unappalled 
Jermin, 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. Unexpect- 
edly 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 
nipt in the bud. 

Soon after, the canoe came alongside. In it were 
eight or ten natives, comely, vivacious-looking youths, 

Digitized by 


28 OMOO. 

all gesture and exclamation ; the red feathers in their 
headbands perpetually nodding. With them also came 
a stranger, a renegado from Christendom and humanity 
— a white man in 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 sljark, nothing but fins from head to tail. 

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 trad- 
ing 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 at the feet of his royal 

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 

Digitized by 



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 ior- 

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 found- 
ling, 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 forever. 

And for the most part, it is just this sort of men — so 
many of whom are f oimd among sailors — uncared for 
by a single soul, without ties, reckless, and impatient 
of the restraints of civilisation, who are occasionally 
foimd 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 afterwards came in with a 

Digitized by 


30 OMOO. 

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 symmet- 
rically straight nails, and one jackknife. 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 shipmate 
and Ills 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 liis other 
pangs, was terribly seasick. 




For a while leaving Little Jule to sail away by her- 
self, 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, 

Digitized by 



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, dif- 
fered 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 island. 

Throughout the entire cluster the tattooers of Hivar- 
hoo 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 apart- 
ments, 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 the 
tattooer. For 4he 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. 

Digitized by 


82 OMOO. 

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. 

Besides 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 reproaqh to 

Digitized by 



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 gentle- 
men of the faculty. 

All professors of the arts love to fraternize ; and so, 
in Hannamanoo, the tattooers come together in the 
chapters of their worshipful order. In this society, duly 
organized, and conferring degrees. Hardy, from his influ- 
ence 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 bread-fruit 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 his 
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 com- 
mon, and formed an extensive encampment. 

Digitized by 


34 • OMOO, 

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, h^ 
translated nearly thus : — 

" Where is that sound ? 
In Hanuamanoo. 
And wherefore that sound ? 
The sound of a hundred hammers 
Tapping, tapping, tapping 
The shark teeth.i 

"Where is that light? 
Round about the king's house. 
And tlie 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. 

Towards 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 

1 The colouring matter is inserted hy means of a shark's tooth 
attached to the end of a short stick, which is struck upon the other 
end with a small mallet of wood. 

Digitized by 



^. v ^ 

_ ^ tr^ afEEtt To The Westward. S5 

i I // C \^ ru dder , even the man at the helm nodded, and the mate 
himself, with arms folded, was leaning against the 

On such a night, and all alone, revery was inevitable. 
1 1 leaned over the side, and could not help thinking of 
I the strange objects we might be sailing over. 

But my meditations were soon interrupted by a grey, 
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 gleam- 
ings of Guy Fawkes's lantern in the vaults of the Parlia- 
ment 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 appella- 
tion. 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 dis- 
cussion 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 
tlius — gradually relapsed into his former mood, and be- 

Digitized by 


36 OMOO. 

came very melancholy. Often I noticed him crouching 
apart in the forecastle, his strange eyes gleaming rest- 
lessly, 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- 

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 " lookouts " 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 runa- 
ways. To crown all, the captain again relapsed, and 
became quite ill. 

The men fit for duty were divided into two small 
watches, headed respectively by the mate and the Mow- 
ree ; the latter, by virtue of his being a harpooner, 
succeeding to the place of the second mate, who had 

In this state of things, whaling was out of the ques- 
tion ; but in the face of everything, Jermin maintained 
that the invalids would soon be well. However that 
might be, with the same pale blue 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 gre y alb atross, 
peculiai: to these seas, came flapping his immense wings 

Digitized by 



over us, and then skimmed away silently as if from a 
plaguenship ; 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 forget. 

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 whalei*s, 
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 
no 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 un- 
easy. 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 shorl>-handed, 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, 

Digitized by 


88 OMOO. 

scarcely known to other whalemen, which he had him- 
self 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 
any one 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 haying 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 con 
tents 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 com- 
fortably 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 occa- 
sional "trick" at the helm. It was in the forecastle 
chiefly that I spent my time, in company with the Long 
PoQtor, who was at great pains to make himself agree- 

Digitized by 



able. His books, though sadly torn and battered, 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 re- 
spects. 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 asso- 
ciate, 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 jackknife, we carved the pieces quite tastefuUy^ut of 
bits of wood, and our board was the middle of a chest- 
lid, chalked into squares, which, in playing, we (traddled 
at either end. Having no other suitable way ei distin- 
guishing the sets, I marked mine by tying round them 
little scarfs of black silk, torn from an old neck hand- 
kerchief. Putting them in mourning, this way, the doc- 
tor 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 

Digitized by 


40 OMOO, 

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 MAY 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 
sailor's sleeping-quarters, which occupy a space immedi- 
ately 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 de- 
plorable 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 

Rude hammocks made out of old sails were in many 
cases u^ed £^ substitutes for the demolished bunks ; but 

Digitized by 



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 en- 
croached upon by two outlandish cross-timbers bittcing 
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 col- 
umns, denominated in marine architecture "Bowsprit 
Bitts." They were about a foot apart, and between 
them, by a rusty chain, swung the forecastle lamp, burn- 
ing day and night, and forever casting two long black 
shadows. Lower down, between the bitts, was a locker, 
or sailoi*s' pantry, kept in abominable disorder, and some- 
times requiring a vigorous cleaning and fumigation. 

All over, the ship was in a most dilapidated condi- 
tion ; 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 cleats, 
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 miser- 

Digitized by 


4S okod. 

ably wet. In a squall, the water fairly poured down 
in sheets like a cascade, swashing about, and after- 
wards spirting up between the chests like the jets of a 

Such were our accommodations aboard of the Julia ; 
but, bad as they were, we had not the undisputed posses- 
sion of them. Myriads of cockroaches, and regiments 
of rats, disputed the place with us. A greater calam- 
ity 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 extraordi- 
nary phenomenon, for which none of us could ever 

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 

Digitized by 



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 hap- 
pened 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 peer- 
ing 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, becomming 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 grave. 

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 comer 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 cant- 

Digitized by 


44 OMOO, 

ing it over in the dark, something besides the molas- 
ses slipped out How long it had been there, kind 
Providence never revealed; nor were we over anx- 
ious 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. 

Every one 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. Who 
ever thought of taking liberties with gruff Black 

The most curious of the doctor's jokes, was hoisting 

1 Me was so called from the place of his hirth, heing a runaway Mary< 
land slave. 

Digitized by 



the men aloft by the foot or shoulder, when they fell 
asleep on deck during the night-watches. 

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 con- 
ducted 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 

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, look- 
ing 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 

Supper ended, he proceeded to load his pipe. Now, 

Digitized by 


46 OMOO, 

for a good comfortable smoke at sea, tjhere 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 revery, 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 awhile Bob's head sunk 
upon his breast; presently his hat fell off, the ex- 
tinguished pipe dropped from his mouth, and the 
next moment he lay out on the chest as tranquil as an 

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 

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 deck. 

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 

Scarcely was the thing done, when lo ! with a thun- 
dering bound, the clumsy box was torn from its fasten- 
ings, and banging from side to side, flew towards the 
scuttle. Here it jammed; and thinking that Bob, who 
was as strong as a windlass, was grappling a beam and 

Digitized by 



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 the party a 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, look- 
ing aghast at its scattered contents, and with one wan- 
dering* hand taking the altitude of a bump on his 



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 subse- 
quent 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 

Digitized by 


48 OMOO, 

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 then called, and prepa- 
rations made for an instantaneous burial. Laying the 
body out on the fore hatch, it was stitched up in one 
of the hammocks, some "kentlege" 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 main-top-sail. 

The mate, who was far from being sober, then stag- 
gered up, and holding onto 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 noth- 
ing more was seen. 

"Brace forward! " The main-yard swung round to 
its place, and the ship glided on, while 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 noAv 
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. Some one volunteered 
to break it open, and distribute its contents, clothing 
and all, before the captain should demand it. 

Digitized by 



While myself and others were endeavouring to dis- 
suade them from this, all started at a cry from the fore- 
castle. 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 falleA 
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 before. Some additional cere- 
mony, 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, muttered something over the corpse of his country- 
man, and, with his finger, described upon the back of 
the hammock the figure of a large cross ; whereupon it 
received the dead-launch. 

These two men both perished from the proverbial in- 
discretions 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 carpenter's. 


Digitized by 


60 . OMOO. 

On a voyage to India, they had a fever aboard, which 
carried o£E 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 top-sails 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, Finlanders, 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 supernat- 
ural vengeance upon those who offend them. On this 
account they have great influence among the 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 hith- 
erto 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. 

Digitized by 



The night of the burial he laid his hand on the old 
horse-shoe 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 forever. 

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 

Our keeping the sea under these circumstances, a 
matter strange enough at first, now seemed wholly un- 
warranted; 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 knowl- 
edge 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 con- 

Digitized by 


62 OMOO. 

tradiction to the Finn's prophecy, the sick men rallied 
a little, thiBy 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 be- 
ings 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 «ea, 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 any- 
thing 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.'^ 

Digitized by 



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 thorough-bred 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 serv^ed out even in times of 
the greatest hardships. All Sydney whalemen, how- 
ever, 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 land. 

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 fore- 
castle, 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 pres- 

But where were the sperm whales all this time ? In 

Digitized by 


54 OMOO, 

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 reliev- 
ing each other every two hours. They swore they 
would go there no more. Upon this, the mate care- 
lessly 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 this 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 com- 
ing forward to the windlass, where we were lounging, 

Digitized by 



summoned aft the doctor, myseK, 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 
mpming. 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 again." 

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 

Doctor Long Ghost at once broke in. He said that 
such a thing was not to be dreamt of; that if the cap- 
tain died, the mate was in duty bound to navigate the 
ship to the nearest civilised port, and deliver her up 
into an English consul's hands; when, in all proba- 
bility, 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 

1 The men were shipped " by the lay ; " in other words, they received 
no wages ; but, by the articles, were entitled to a certain portion of the 
profits of the voyage. 

Digitized by 


56 OMoo, 

it out, stick it out say I ; but in that case, tiie 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 allud- 
ing 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 hap- 
pened to go on deck in the middle watch, and found 
the yards braced sharp upon 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 Ropey. 

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 

Digitized by 


nop^ tAttN. St 

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 ofiScers 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 pusillani- 
mous, 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 levex; every one 
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 hunt- 
ing 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 I if he should 
happen to be anything of a droll ; or in an evil hour 
should he perpetrate a joke, he would never know the 
last of iU 

Digitized by 


6g 0M66. 

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 ac- 
knowledge; thus taking the place of that sneaking 
rascal, nobody, ashore. In short, there is no end to 
his tribulations. 

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 toilet. 

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 Rope Yarn ; of all land-lubbei-s, the most lubberly 
and the 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 Holbom ; and on Sundays wore a blue coat and 
metal buttons, and spent his afternoons in a tavern, 

Digitized by 



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 busi- 
ness. 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 comer, is disconsolately partaking of its delicacies. 
Now, sailors newly waked are no cherubs ; and there- 
fore not a word is spoken, everybody munching his 
biscuit, grim and unshaven. At this juncture an af- 
fable-looking scamp — Flash Jack — crosses the fore- 
castle, tin can in hand, and seats himself beside the 

Digitized by 


60 OMOO, 

"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, eh? " 

"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 savagely. 

"Oh, nothing, nothing," said Jack; and then, lean- 
ing over to Rope Yarn, he bade him go on, but speak 

"Well, then," said he, in a smugged tone, his eyes 
lighting up like two lanterns, "well, then, I'd go to 
Mother Moll's that makes the great mufiSns: I'd go 
there, you know, and cock my foot on the 'ob, and 
call for a noggin o' somethink to begin with." 

" And 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 momin'; give me a nice rasher of bacon 
and heggs, Betty, my love ; and I wants a pint of 
hale, and three nice 'ot mufiSns and butter — and a 
slice of Cheshire ; and Betty, I wants — " 

" A shark-steak, and be hanged to you 1 " 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. 

Digitized by 





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 allow- 
ance 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. Sometime after, 
however, their secret leaked out. 

The casks of Pisco were kept down the after-hatch- 
way, 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 stowed. 

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 ab- 
sorbed liquor being deliberately squeezed into a small 

Bungs was a man after a bar-keeper's own heart. 

Digitized by 


62 OMOO. 

Drinking steadily, until just manageably tipsy, he con- 
trived to continue so ; getting neither more nor less in- 
ebriated, 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 patri- 
otic ; 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 by, that the cooper 
had a true sailor admiration for Lord Nelson. But he 
entertained a very erroneous idea of the personal ap- 
pearance 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 carcass, 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 any- 
thing further. \ 

Digitized by 





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 our- 
selves 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 — drive into it, sweetheart! 

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 

Digitized by 


64 OMOO. 


the sails streamed in ribbons, and the loose ropes^^ 
coiled, and thrashed the air., like whip-lashes. " Stand 
from under 1 " 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 more. 

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 firmly lashed down to 
its place — served as a sort of breakwater to the 

About these times, Baltimore always wore what he 
called his "gale-suit;" among other things, compris- 
ing 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^r^ufS 
/<nilmary ^gh-priest drew to the slides of his temple,/ 
I and performed his sooty rites in s ecre t. """^ 

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 ring-bolt 
in the deck ; so that if chance sea washed him off hii^ 
feet, it could do nothing more. 

Digitized by 



One evening, just as he was getting supper, the Julia 
reared upon 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 poipoise. 

Striking the taffrail, the wave subsided, and, wash- 
ing 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 

The same night, our flying-gib-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 meas- 
ure 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. 

Digitized by 



66 OMOO. 



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 longi- 
tude he must either have obtained by the rule of three, 
or else by special revelation. Not that the chronom- 
eter 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 its stopping, at least — was 
preserved to a second. 

The mate, however, in addition to his " dead reckon- 
ing," pretended to ascertain his meridian distance from 
Bow bells by an occasional lunar observation. This, I 
believe, consists in obtaining, with the proper instru- 
ments, the angular distance between the moon and 

Digitized by 


__ THE COBAL 18LAKD8. 67 

some one of the stars. The operation generally re- 
quires two observers to take sights, at one and the 
same time. 

Now, though the mate alone might have been thought 
well calculated for this, inasmuch as he generally saw 
:^ings 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 catcb. 
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 clap- 
ping 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 

Digitized by 


68 OMOO. 

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 enclosing 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 other. 

The origin of the entire group is generally ascribed 
to the coral insect. 

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 inequali- 
ties 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 

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 

1 The above is the popular idea on the subject. But of late a theory 
directly the reverse has been started. Instead of regarding the phenom- 
ena last described as indicating anything like an active, creative power 
now in operation, it is maintained that, together with the entire group, 
they are merely the remains of a continent, long ago worn away, and 
broken up by the action of the sea. 

Digitized by 



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 south-easterly clusters — concerning whom, how- 
ever, but little is known — have a bad name as canni- 
bals; 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 instruc- 
tors, no doubt, a short time since came under the 
allegiance of Pomaree, the Queen of Tahiti; with 
which island they always carried on considerable in- 

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 Mer- 
enhout, the French consul at Tahiti, but a l)utchman 
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 compen- 
sation still less, the natives are hired to dive after 

A' great deal of cocoa-nut oil is also obtained in vari- 
ous 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, 

Digitized by 


70 OMOO. 

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 traflBc 
carried on with trading vessels. A considerable quan- 
tity 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 Tahiti. 

To return to the ship. The wind dying away^ even- 
ing came on before we drew near the island. But we 
had it in view during the whole afternoon. 

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 its 
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 cases. 

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 th^ msqrin^r's 

Digitized by 




And what strange shapes were lurking there I 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 run- 
ning 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 promon- 
tories, 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. 

Digitized by 


72 OMOO, 

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 moun- 
tain 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 water-falls 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 attrac- 
tions. 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 exist- 
ence. No wonder that the French bestowed upon the 
island the appellation of the New Cytherea. " Often," 
says De Bougainville, " 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 admira- 
tion of the voyager. Their physical beauty and amiable 
dispositions harmonized completely with the softness of 
their clime. In truth, everything about them was calcu- 
lated to awaken the liveliest interest. Glance at their 
civil and religious institutions. To their king, divine 
j rites were paid; while, for poetry, their mythology 
' riva-Ued that of ancient Greece, 

Digitized by 



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 sympa- 
thies 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 tiuoughout Europe; and 
when the first Tahitiaus 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 Bougainville,^ 
Vancouver, La Perouse, and other illustrious navigators, 
refitted their vessels in its harbours. Here the famous 
Transit of Venus was observed in 1769. Here the 
memoittble mutiny of the Bounty afterward 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 mis- 
sions 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. 

Digitized by 


74 OMOO. 



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 jiot 
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 holydays in Tahiti, were confidently predicted. 

Everybody was in high spirits. The sick, who had 
been improving day by day since the change in our des- 
tination, 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 con- 
trast 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 

Digitized by 



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 

The cannonading had hardly died away, when Jer- 
min's voice was heard giving an order so unexpected 
that every oiie started. "Stand by to haul back the 
main-yard ! " 

" What's that mean ? " shouted the men, " are we not 
going into port ? " 

" Tumble aft 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 

This was enough. A slight hint suffices for a 

Still adhering to his resolution to keep the ship at 
sea in spite of everything, the captain, doubtless, in- 
tended to set himself ashore, leaving the vessel under 
the mate, to resume her voyage at once; but after a 

Digitized by 


76 OMOO, 

certain period agreed upon, to touch at the island and 
take him oflf. 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 resolu- 
tion showed more hardihood than he had ever been 
given credit for, it at the same time argued an unaccount- 
able 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 sus- 
picions ; 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 
council upon the forecastle. 

It was with much diflBculty 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 any one getting into 
trouble. Still they told us, up and down, that if peace- 
able means failed, they would seize Little Jule, and 

Digitized by 



cany 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 Payta 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 lower- 
ing 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, con- 
trary 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 com- 
mand as any one. In truth, a better seaman never 
swore. This accomplishment, by the by, together with a 
surprising familiarity with most nautical names and 
phrases, comprised about all the English he knew. 

Digitized by 


78 OMOO, 

Being a harpooner, and, as such, having access to the 
cabin, this man, though not yet civilised, 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 dis- 
trusted or feared him. Nor were these feelings unre- 
ciprocated. Unless duty called, he seldom went among 
the crew. Hard stories, too, were told about him ; some- 
thing, 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 com- 
pact, 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 eflfeminate 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 entered 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. 

Digitized by 



Some queer things this fellow told me. The follow- 
ing 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 

As may be believed, Bembo was a wild one after a 
fish ; indeed, all New Zealanders engaged in this busi- 
ness 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 har- 
pooners ; 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 gunwale. 

But to my story. One morning, at daybreak, they 
brought him up to a large lone 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 under- 
gone, there is no giving up, except when night comes ; 
and nowadays, when whales are so hard to be got, fre- 
quently, not even then. At last, Bembo's whale was 
alongside for the second time. He darted both har- 
poons ; 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 timeSv 

Digitized by 


80 OMOO. 

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 sailor. 

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 boimded 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 oflf, flinging overboard the line 
as fast as they could ; while a-head, 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 

Such a man, or devil, if you will, was Bembo. 



After the captain left, the*land-bree2e died away; 
and, as is usual about these islands, towards noon it fell 
a dead calm. There was nothing to do but haul up the 
courses, run down the jib, and lie and roll up the swells. 

Digitized by 



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 sympathise 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 
Cjptain 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 stmin : — 

" 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." 

Digitized by 


82 OMOO. 

Whereupon, he sat down amid a universal pounding of 
chest-lids, and cymballing 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 were 
also 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 quiet. 

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's 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. 
Right 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. 

Digitized by 



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. The annexed, therefore, as nearly as I can 
recall it, is something like a correct representation of 
the signatures. 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, some time 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 gossipping. 

Owing to the proceedings of the French, everything 
in Tahiti was in an uproar. Pritchard, the missionary 
consul, was absent in England ; but his place was tem- 
porarily 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 

Digitized by 


84 OMOO. 

to the duties of his office, had occasioned general dis- 
satisfaction ashore. 

Though never in Europe or America, the acting ' 
consul had been sevei*al 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 acquaint- 
ances, 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 in- 
spection, 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 

Digitized by 



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 mainmast 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 enlar- 
ging 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, so soon as the consul 
should see fit to address us. The selection was made 
contrary to mine and the doctor's advice ; however, all 

Digitized by 




aissured 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 
Jermin at once sung out for the ship's company to 
muster on the quarter-deck. 


Digitized by 





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 sjonpathies 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-ham- 
mer-jacket," or swallow-tail coat, formerly belonging to 
Captain Guy, and which had formed one of his per- 
quisites when steward. 

By the side of Wilson was the mate, bareheaded, his 
grey 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 un- 

Digitized by 


88 OMOO, 

rolled 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 liter- 
ary 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 
^e 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, 
"yow 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 respec- 
tive cases to me. Such as he pronounces in a dying 
state I shall have sent ashore ; the rest will be provided 
witii 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 re- 

Digitized by 



solved to assume as dying un 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 deci- ^ 
dedly worse. 

The invalids disposed of for the present, and one 
of them having gone below to be examined, the con- 
sul turned round to the rest, and addressed them as 
follows: — 

" Men, Fm going to ask you two or three questions — 
let 6ne 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 eying. 

" Well, sir," faltered Bungs, " we can't say anything 
against Mr. Jermin's seamanship, but — " 

"I want no 6w^«," 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 — " Hfere the mate looked marlingspikes 
at Bungs ; and Bungs, after stammering out something, 
looked straight down to a seam in the deck, and stopped 

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," ex- 

Digitized by 


do OMOO. 

claimed 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 before." 

" 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 you." 

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 extraordinaiy 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 

1 So caUed from the place he hailed from; a well-known seaport on 
the coast of Massachusetts. 

Digitized by 



present to "look out;" and'then repeated the question, 
whether there was enough to eat aboard. Every one 
now turned spokesman ; and he was assailed by a per- 
fect hurricane of yells, in which the oaths fell like hail- 

" 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 some one'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 heachrcoTnher^^^ ^ re- 
torted Salem, stepping forward piratically and eying 
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 voy- 
age ; " and the consul made a dash at looking furious, 
but failed. "Let me hear no more from you^ sir. 
Where's that respectable, grey-headed man, the cooper? 
he's the one to answer my questions." 

"There's no 'spectable, grey-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. 

1 This is a term much in vogue among sailors in the Pacific. It is 
applied to certain roving characters, who, without attaching themselves 
permanently to any vessel, ship now and then for a short cruise in a 
whaler ; hut upon the condition only of heing honourably discharged the 
very next time the anchor takes hold of the bottom ; no matter where. 
They are, mostly, a reckless, rollicking set, wedded to the Pacific, and 
never dreaming of ever doubling Cape Horn again on a homeward- 
bound passage. Hence their reputation is a bad one. 

Digitized by 


92 OMoo. 

Returning to the cabimscuttle, after a close convei-sa' 
tion, 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 har- 
pooners, 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 too, 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 o£f and on the harbour. I will 
send 3^ou fresh provisions as soon as I can get them. 
There : I've nothing more to say ; go forward to your 

And, without another word, he wheeled round to de- 
scend 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. 

Digitized by 



men ; I'm through with you : you should have men- 
tioned these matters before : my aiTangements are con- 
cluded : go forward, I say ; I've nothing more to say to 
you." And, drawing over the slide of the scuttle, he 

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. 


THE consul's departure. 

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 meas- 
ure, 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 cer- 
tain 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 ; enter- 

Digitized by 


94 OMOO, 

taining 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 my- 
self 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 con- 
jecture what might be the result. 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 de- , 
gree 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 
^as 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 arrange- 
ments are made. Go forward, where you. belong. I'll 
take no insolence ; " and, in a tremor, Wilson hur- 
ried over the side in the midst of a volley of execra- 

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, ptetty close in 

Digitized by 



with the land (having gone about again), our main-top- 
sail 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 taffrail 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 dis- 
tinction 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 intoxi- 
cate othei's, 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 aU, pro- 
nounced 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 
tunnel. " Stand by the stays," roared Flash Jack, 
hauling off with the cook's axe, at the fastenings of 
the main-stay. " Looky out for squalls ! " shrieked the 
Portuguese, Antone, darting a hand-spike through the 
cabin sky-light. And, "Heave round cheerily, men," 
sung out Navy Bob, dancing a hornpipe on the fore- 

Digitized by 


96 OMOO. 



Toward sonset, 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 f^cross 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 for- 
ward among the men. Here, to prepare for what fol- 
lows, 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 recon- 
cile them to a short cruise under him, he had conse- 
quently 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 liCtle 

So on going forward, he put his head down the fore- 
castle scuttle, and hailed us all quite cordially, inviting 
us down into the cabin ; where, he said, he had some- 
thing to make merry withal. Nothing loath, we went ; 
and throwing oui*selves along the transom, waited for 
the steward to serve us. 

As the can circulated, Jermin, leaning on the table 

Digitized by 



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 ; assert- 
ing, what he had often said before, that he was no 

Moreover, and perhaps with special reference to Doc- 
tor 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 ; 
besides throwing out a hint, that I myself was in some 
way or other to be promoted. But it was all to no pur- 
pose ; 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 impreca- 
tions, concluded by driving everybodyout 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- 

Digitized by 


98 OMOO. 

Man,i 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 fre- 
quently 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 sailors to under- 
stand 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 magnets. 

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 wrench- 
ing 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 glar- 
ing, and writhing on the deck, without attempting to 
rise. Cowed, as they supposed he was, from his atti- 
tude, the men, rejoiced at seeing him thus humbled, left 

1 Some of the most promising convicts in New South Wales are hired 
oat to the citizens as servants; thus heiug, in some degree, permitted to 
go at large ; government, however, still claiming them as wards. They 
are provided with tickets, which they are ohliged to show to any one 
who pleases to suspect their heing abroad without warrant. Hence the 
above appellation. This was the doctor's explanation of the term. 

Digitized by 


** Rushing in all around, they hauled the savage off." 

— Page gS. 

Digitized by 


102 OMOO. 

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 half a minute more we were sailing away from the 
land on the other tack, with every sail distended. 

Turning on our 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 ram^ 
part, there are no soundings. 



The purpose of Bembo had been made known to the 
men generally by the watch ; and now that our salva- 
tion 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 sh^ath-knife glittered over hia head. 

Digitized by 


¥Se second night off papeetee. 99 

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 ship. 

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, where 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 pecu- 
liar in the act, but something else about him struck me. 
However, I thought no more of it, but descended tho 

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 morn- 
ing. Here I found the cook and steward, Wymontoo, 
Rope Yarn, and the Dane ; who, being all quiet, man- 
ageable fellows, and holding aloof from the rest since 
the captain's departure, had been ordered by the mate 

Digitized by 


104 OMOO. 

penter, springing forward ; but the rest fell back before 
the courageous front of Jermin, and, with the speed of 
thought, Bembo, unharmed, stood upon deck. 

"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 Mo wree 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, turn- 
ing the key in 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 bloodthirsty pirates I " 

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 for- 
get everything that had happened. 

Though we had no opportunity to hear him confess 
it, Bembo's intention to destroy us was beyond all ques- 
tion. 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. 

Digitized by 


J^nuiir MNCotfNtMRS An old shipmate. 105 

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 lee- 
ward of the harbour, waiting the appearance of the con- 
sul, 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, not- 
withstanding all the dancing and singing, and occasional 
fighting which announced the flow of the Pisco. 

The peaceful influence which the doctor and myself 
had heretofore been exerting was now very nearly at an 

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 cap- 
tain's stateroom, taking the additional precaution of 

Digitized by 


106 OMOO. 

keeping the cabin scuttle secured. From this time for- 
ward 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 

Two or three hours before sundown, a small schooner 
came out of the harbour, and headed over for the adjoin- 
ing island of Imeeo, or Moreea, in plain sight, about fif- 
teen 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 overboard, 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 realised in 
actual lives of adventure. 

Digitized by 



Some fifteen years previous, they had sailed together 
as officers of the bark 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 arti- 
cles. But several of the men were lost before they got 
clear of the wreck. 

The three boats, commanded respectively by the cap- 
tain, 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 over- 
board, 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 in 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 

Digitized by 


108 OMOO, 

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 mas- 
sacred 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 Fapeetee 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 stand- 
ing off shore, under short sail — was to be tacked. 

It was not long after midnight, when we were wak- 
ened in the forecastle by the lion roar of Jermin's voice, 

Digitized by 



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 lend- 
ing a deaf ear. Sink or strike, they swore they would 
have nothing more to do with her. This perverseness 
was to be attributed, in a great measure, to the effects 
of thpir 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 closer under t\^ 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 J, 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 

Digitized by 


110 OMOO. 

close in several times, the ensign was set at the mizen- 
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 responsi- 
bility ; trusting solely to what he remembered of the 
harbour on a visit there many years previous. 

This resolution was characteristic. Even with a com- 
petent pilot, Papeetee Bay is considered a ticklish one 
to enter. Formed by a bold sweep of the shore, it is 
protected seaward by the coml 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 Matavai, eight or nine miles 
distant. Here there is an opening, by which ships enter, 
and glide. down the smooth, deep canal, betweeli the 
reef and the shore to the harbour. But, by seamen gen- 
erally, 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 vil- 
lage 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 run- 
ning 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: 

. 1 The most northerly point of the island ; and so called from Cook's 
observatory being placed there during his first visit. 

Digitized by 



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 min- 
utes 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 of 
capers ; all the while jabbering something which at first 
we could not understand. 

Presently we made out the following : — " Ah ! you 
pe mi^ ah ! — you come ! — What for you come ? — ■ You 
be fine for come no pilot. — I say, you hear ? — I say, 
you ita maitai (no good) — You hear? — You no pilot. 

— Yes, you d me, you no pilot 't all ; I d you ; 

you hearf^ 

This tirade, which showed plainly that, whatever the 
profane rascal was at, he was in right good earnest, pro- 
duced 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 
soimd 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 vehe- 
ment rhetoric was all addressed to the mate, still stand- 
ing conspicuously on the bulwarks. 

Digitized by 


112 OMOO. 

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 civilised being I ever heard. 

" You saibee ^ me ? " he shouted. " You know me, 
ah ? Well : me Jim^ me pilot — been pilot now long 

" 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 sabbee^ — me know — you piratee " (pirate) 
— " see you long time, but no me come — I sabbee you — 
you ita maitai nuee " (superlatively bad). 

" 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 set 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 hi% 
until the anchor was down ; and he should like to hear 
what any one 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 an- 
chor, jumping up between the knight-heads, and bawl- 
ing out, "Luff! luff! keepy off! keepy off!^^ and in- 
sisting upon each time being respectfully responded to 
by the man at the helm. At this time our steerage-way 

1 A corruption of the French word savoir, much in use among sailors of 
»U nations, and hence made familiar to many of the natives of Polynesia. 

Digitized by 



was almost gone ; and yet, in giving his orders, the pas- 
sionate 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 un- 
ceremonious 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. Unusu- 
ally 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 ap- 
proach ; and thunder and lightning, happening so seldom 
as they do, are proof positive that a man-of-war is draw- 
ing 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. 

I For a few years past, more than one hundred and fifty sail have an- 
nually touched at Tahiti. They are principally whalemen, whose cruis- 
ing-grounds lie in the vicinity. The harbour dues — going to the queen — 
are so high, that they have often been protested against. Jim, I believe, 
gets five silver dollars for every ship brought in. 

Digitized by 


114 OMOO. 



The village of Papeetee struck us all very pleasantly. 
Lying in a semicircle round the bay, the tasteful man- 
sions 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 com- 
mon 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 fluctuations of the tides ^ being so incon- 
siderable, that they cause no inconvenience. 

The Pritchard residence — a fine large building — oc- 
cupies 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 tri-colour, 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 

1 The Newtonian theory concerning the tides does not hold good at 
Tahiti ; where, throughout the year, the waters uniformly commence 
ebbing at noon and midnight, and flow about sunset and daybreak. 
Hence the term Tooerar-Po is used alike to express high-water and mid- 

Digitized by 



behind seem 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 imseaworthy, 
however, her oil was taken out and sent home in another 
vessel ; the hull was then stripped and sold for a trifle. 

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 hundied times bathed. In an in- 
stant, palm-trees and elms — canoes and skiffs — church 
spires and bamboos — all minged 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 

The sails were yet unfurled, when a boat came along- 
side 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, th^n when outside the reef. 

Digitized by 


116 OMOO. 

" Muster the mutineers on the quarter-deck," he con- 
tinued. " 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 doc- 
ter 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 himself 
two nights previous, as well as my conduct when he an- 
nounced 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 

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, 

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 

Digitized by 



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, go- 
ing aboard the French frigate, which lay within a cable's 
length. We now suspected his object ; and, since mat- 
ters 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 ex- 
pect, 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 

In an hour's time, ftie 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 con- 
sul 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. 

Digitized by 


118 OMOO. 

Summoned aft again, every one'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 order- 
ing the delinquent into the cutter. As a general thing, 
the order was promptly obeyed — some taking a se- 
quence 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 
they pretended. 

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 repri- 
mand for it from the consul 

" Good-by, Little Jule," cried Navy Bob, as we swept 
under the bows. " Don't fall overboard. Ropey," said 
another to the poor land-lubber, 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 damn ras- 
keel," shouted the lieutenant of the party, bringing the 
flat of his sabre across his shoulders, "you now keepy 

Digitized by 



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 bad 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 — com- 
ing up, and frowning upon us. 

This gentleman's head was a mere bald spot ; his legs, 
sticks ; in short, his whole physical vigour seemed ex- 
hausted in the production of one enormous mustache. 
Old Gamboge, as he was forthwith christened, now 
received a paper from the consul ; and, opening it, pro- 
ceeded to compare the goods delivered with the invoice. 

After being thoroughly counted, a meek little mid- 
shipman 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 func- 
tionary (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, 

Digitized by 


120 OMOO. 

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 per- 
manently 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 
c-,utlass 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-col- 
oured 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 brace- 
lets. The "kids" passed from mouth to mouth, and 
were soon emptied. 

The next morning, when the sentry's back was 
turned, some one, whom we took for an English sailor, 
tossed over a few oranges, the rinds of which we after- 
wards used for cups. 

On the* second day nothing happened worthy of 
record. On the third, we were amused by the follow- 
ing scene. 

A man, whom we supposed a boatswain's mate, fron^ 

Digitized by 



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 com- 
mand 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 midship- 
man, who, with a great air, orders the man on deck, and 
running in among the boys, set them to scampering in 
all directions. 

The whole of this proceeding was regarded with infi- 
nite scorn by Navy Bob, who, years before, had been 
captain of the fore top, 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 



I CANNOT forbear a brief reflection upon the scene 
ending the last chapter. 

The ratanning of the young culprits, although sig- 
nificant of the imperfect discipline of a French man- 
of-war, may also be considered as in some measure 
characteristic of the nation. 

Digitized by 


122 oMoO. 

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 crj'^, they are pretty sure to give him 
afterwards 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 beat. 

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 English- 
man's, is the downright Waterloo " game." The French 
fight better on land ; and, not being essentially a mari- 
time people, they ought to stay there. The best of 
shipwrights, they are no sailors. 

1 I do not wish to be understood as applauding the flogging system 
practised in men-of-war. As long, however, as navies are needed, there 
is no substitute for it.' War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories 
necessarily partake of the same character ; and this is about all that can 
be said in defence of flogging. 

Digitized by 



And this carries me back to Reine Blanche, as noble 
a specimen of what wood and iron can make as ever 

She was a new ship ; the present her maiden cruise. 
The greatest pains having been taken in her construc- 
tion, 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 launched. 

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 flummeiy about her — 
brass-plates and other gewgaws, stuck on all over, like 
baubles on a handsome woman. 

Among other things, she carries a stem gallery rest- 
ing 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 thunder- 
bolt hurlers ! with a sixty-eight-pounder or two thrown 
in as make-weights. On the spar-deck, also, are carron- 
ades of enonnous 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 I In exchan- 

Digitized by 


124 OMOO. 

ging naval courtesies, I have known a French band play 
" Yankee Doodle " with such a string of variations, that 
no one butr a " pretty 'cute " Yankee could tell what 
they weVe 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 
admii-al'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 sailor. 

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 sailoi*s 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, per- 
haps, 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 six-fold its real 

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 manoeuvring 

Digitized by 



with the boats ; and at sea, they were forever at quar- 
ters ; 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 pater- 
nal 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 Chan- 
nel 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. 

Digitized by 


126 OMOO. 



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 Val- 
paraiso. Rejoiced at this, we prayed for a speedy pas- 
sage. 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 con- 
sul 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 

Digitized by 



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 a full face only made out to 
look stupid. 

It was this individual who condescended to take a 
paternal interest in myself. After declaring my reso- 
lution with respect to the ship unalterable, I was pro- 
ceeding to withdraw, in compliance with a sign from 
the consul, when the stranger turned round to him, say- 
ing, " 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 bows. 

The evident prejudice of Wilson against both the doc- 
tor 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 oflBcers. 

Little as I had seen of Captain Guy, the few glances 
cast upon me after being on board a week or so, were 
suflBcient 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, Wilsop and his friends ad- 

Digitized by 


128 oMoo. 

vanced to the doorway ; when the former, assuming a 
severe expression, pronounced our perverseness infatua- 
tion 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 permitted. 

" Oh ! get along with your gammon, counsellor^^^ ex- 
claimed Black Dan, absolutely indignant that his under- 
standing 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 hun- 
dred 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 ; 
I green boughs were rocking ; and far inland, all sunset 
flushed, rose the still, steep peaks of the island. 

As we proceeded, I was more and more struck by the 
picturesqueness of the wide shaded road. In several 

Digitized by 



places, durable bridges of wood were thrown over large 
watercourses ; others were spanned by a single arch oi 
stone. In any part of the road three horsemen might 
have ridden abreast. 

This beautiful avenue — by far the best thing which 
civilisation has done for the island — is called by for- 
eigners " 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 in- 
troduced from Chili; and, possessing all the gayety, 
fleetness, and docility of the Spanish breed, are admi- 
rably adapted to the tastes of the higher classes, who as 
equestrians have become very expert. The missionaries 

1 Concerning the singular ignorance of the natives respecting their 
own country, it may be here observed, that a considerable inland lake 
— Waiherea by name — is known to exist, although their accounts 
of it strangely vary. Some told me it had no bottom, no outlet, and no 
inlet ; others, that it fed all the streams on the island. A sailor of my 
acquaintance said that he once visited this marvellous lake, as one of an 
exploring party from an Bnglish sloop-of-war. It was found to be a great 
curiosity ; very small, deep, and green ; a choice well of water bottled 
up among the mountains, and abounding with delicious fish. 

Digitized by 


130 OMOO, 

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 pur- 
sued a gleaming, sinuous thread, lost in shade and 

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 daz- 
zling 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 con- 
sul as a house of confinement for his refractory sailors, 

Digitized by 



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 but 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 be- 
lieve, 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 bor- 
rowed 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 rest- 
ing 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 cocoanut-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 head- 

These arrangements completed. Captain Bob pro- 
ceeded to "hannapar," or secure us, for the night. The 

Digitized by 


132 OMOO, 

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 boister- 
ous mirth of the natives, and diverted ourselves not a 

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 revery into another, I started, 
and gave the doctor a pinch. He was dreaming, how- 
ever; 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 asleep. The conscious- 
ness 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. 

Digitized by 



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 some one 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 

Finding everybody awake, he set us at liberty ; and, 
leading us down to the stream, ordered every man to 
strip and bathe. 

"All ban'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 afterward 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 would 
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 w^re, 

Digitized by 


134 OMOO, 

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 
gormandising, I would have matched him against any 
three common-councilmen at a civic feast. 

A friend of Bob's told me, that, owing to his vora- 
ciousness, his visits to other parts of the island were much 
dreaded ; for, according to Tahitian customs, hospitality 
without charge is enjoined upon every one ; 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 hi 
made good by his entertainer's spending the holidays 
with him. 

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 enough. 

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 Capiu 
Tootee (Captain Cook) heavey in sight" (in sea par- 
lance, came into view). 

This was a thing impossible; but adapting my dis- 
course 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 

On my assuring him strongly, that he could not have 

Digitized by 



been bom 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 cuiious fact, that all these people, young and 
old, will tell you that they have enjoyed the honour of 
a pei"8onal 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 them. 

After our sunrise bath. Bob once more placed us in 
the stocks, almost moved to teai*s 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 visi- 
ble, some one 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 Yam with a 
wooden bucket of the Julia's villanous 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 he had a pair of 
legs, and the men could not use theii*s. 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 

Digitized by 


186 OMOO. 

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 

Our exceedingly frugal meal of bread-fruit over. Cap- 
tain Bob waddled up to us with a couple of long poles 
hooked at one end, and several large baskets of woven 
cocoanut 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, spread- 
ing 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 
jihs 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 hearts' 
content. Heaping up the baskets afterwards, we re- 
turned 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 th^ 

Digitized by 



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 heall^h. 

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, 
pine-apple, 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 has of late years 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 inter- 
esting 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 infor- 
mation 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. 

Digitized by 


138 OMOO. 

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 enter- 
prise 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 

Now, that the resident English missionaries author- 
ised 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 re- 
cent 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 princi- 
pal ground (and the only justifiable one) upon which 
Du Petit Thouars demanded satisfaction ; and which 
subsequently led to his seiztire of the island. In addi- 

Digitized by 



tion 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 traflBc 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 forfeit. 

For these, and similar alleged outrages, a large pecu- 
niary restitution was demanded (flO,000), 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 Thouar's frigate. 
But, notwithstanding this formality, there now seems 
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 Poraaree, in her letter to Louis 
Philippe, " fetch away this man ; I and my people can- 
not endure his evil doings. He is a shameless man." 

Although the excitement among the natives did not 

Digitized by 


140 OMOO. 

wholly subside upon the rear-admirars 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 mis- 
sionaries, 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 independence. 

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, St. George and St. Denis were hand and 
glove ; and they were not going to cross sabres about 

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 every- 
where prevailed. Nevertheless, I sometimes heard the 
natives inveighing against the French (no favourites, 
by the by, throughout Polynesia), and bitterly regret- 
ting that the queen had not, at the outset, made a 

In the house of the chief Adea, 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 pro- 
priety of fortifying several heights overlooking Papee- 

Digitized by 



tee. 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 use- 
less warfare, so soon to follow my departure. 

At a period subsequent to my first visit, the island, 
which before was divided into nineteen districts, with a 
native cliief 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 $1,000 each, to secui-e 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 ves- 
sels of war. In this affair, the islanders fought desper- 
ately, killing about fifty of the enemy, and losing ninety 
of their own number. 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 Lafevre, 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 vio- 
lently 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 

Digitized by 


142 OMoo. 

were invited. The governor's object was to gain ovei 
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 ancient 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 bad." 

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 ofiScers left by Du Petit Thouars, 
were several French priests, for whose unobstructed 
exertions in the dissemination of their faith, the strong- 
est 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 min- 
utes 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 canoni- 
cals — what islander would venture to jeopardise his 
soul, and call down a blight upon his bread-iruit, by 
holding any intercourse with them? Th^-t morning the 
priests actually picknicked in a grove of cocoa-nut trees ; 
but, before night. Christian hospitality — in exchange 
for a commercial equivalent of hard dollars — was given 
tiiem in an adjoining house. 

Digitized by 



Wanting in civility, as the conduct of tiie- 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 
ihe 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 neigh- 
bourhood; 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 obser- 
vations. 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 

Digitized by 


144 OMOO. 

a distortion of the back, most unsightly to behold, 
originating in a horrible form of the malady. 

Although this, and other bodily afflictions, were un- 
known before the discovery of the islands by the whites, 
there are several cases found of the Fa-Fa, or elephan- 
tiasis — 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 cheer- 
fulness 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 FarFa, reminds me of a poor fellow, 
a sailor, ivhom I afterward saw at Roorootoo, a lone 
island, some two days' sail from Tahiti. 

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 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 


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 symp- 
toms, 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 callous. 

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 afterward heard of this melancholy object, from 
two seamen. His attempts to leave were still unavail- 
ing, 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 cen- 
tury 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 ; 

Digitized by 


146 ojfoo. 

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 
regard 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 Scandi- 
navians turning people's skulls into cups and saucers. 

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 dan- 
cing 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 mpidity. 
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 

Digitized by 



sympathy. Many of them laughed outright at us, not- 
ing only what was ridiculous in our plight. 

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 o£f, 
and gazed at us. She was a heartless one : — ^ tickled to 
death with Black Dan's nui-sing his chafed ankle, and 
indulging in certain moral reflections on the consul and 
Captain Guy. After laughing her fill at him, she con- 
descended to notice the rest; glancing from one to 
another, in the most methodical and provoking manner 
imaginable. Whenever anything struck lier comically, 
you saw it like a flash — her finger levelled instanta- 
neously, 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 laughter. 

Digitized by 


14g OMOO. 

Delicious thought ! she was moved at the sight of me. 
I could stand it no longer, but started up. Lo ! there 
she WHS ; her great hazel eyes rounding and rounding in 
her liead, like two stars, her whole frame in a meiTy 
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 Cala- 
booza ; 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 

He allowed the whole 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 trav- 
eller 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 

Digitized by 



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 ; beside, 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 a scarcity of 
edibles ; yet, so destitute are many of the common peo- 
ple, that this most distressing consequence of civilisation 
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- 
fniit 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 for 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 tlie death of a chief's 
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 dir^Qtiou, 

Digitized by 


160 OMOO^ 

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 LongGhost 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 inconven- 
ience 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 poor opinion," said Long Ghost, as he tucked 
the wallet out of sight, "it behooves a stranger in 
Tahiti to have a knife in readiness, and his caster 

Digitized by 





Wb 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 till with him. True, it was rather awk- 
ward 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 some one 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 

Very bland and amiable. Dr. 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 com- 
pany. 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 afeared, doctor^ I'll soon be losing the 

Digitized by 


162 OMOO, 

number of my mess I " (a sea phrase, for departing this 
life), and he closed his eyes, and moaned. 

" What does he say ? " said Johnson, turning round 

" Why," exclaimed Flash Jack, who volunteered as 
interpreter, " he means he's going to eroak " (die). 

" Croak! and what does that mean, applied to a 
patient ? " 

" Oh I 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 sail- 
ors ; 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, John^ou must hj^ve had gom^ id^a 

Digitized by 



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 powdera, 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 inter- 
nal application of its contents. The doctor looked 

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 sus- 
pected. Certain it was, every one 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 hav- 
ing 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 
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 fruit. , 

Digitized by 


164 OMOO, 

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 eflficacious, 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 

Thus far, our own M.D., Doctor Long Ghost, after 
starting the frolic, had taken no f urtlier 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 symp- 
toms of some mysterious disorganisation of the vitals, 
which must have come on within the hour. Assisted 
by his familiarity with medical terms, he seemed to pro- 
duce 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 dispased 
of by some one pouring the contents, little by little, into 
the half of a cocoa-nut shell, and so giving all who de- 
sired, 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 

Digitized by 



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. Tliinking that, as a matter 
of course, they must at once become insensible, each 
man, upon taking his sip, fell back, and closed his 

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 sur- 
prised to find every one quiet. Still, in one or two 
instances, I thought I detected a little peeping. 

Presently, I heard a footstep, and saw Dr. Johnson 

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 hear? " 

Digitized by 


156 OMOO. 

But Black Dan was immovable; and he poked the 
next sleeper. 

"Joseph, Joseph! come, wake up I it's me, Doctor 

But Jingling Joe, with mouth open, and eyes shut, 
was not to be started. 

" Bless my soul ! " he exclaimed, with uplifted hands 
and cane, "what's got into 'era? 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. 

Digitized by 





We had been inmates of the Calabooza Beretanee 
about two weeks, when one morning, Captain Bob, 
coining 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 opei-ation was quite simple. The tappa — of the 
coarsest kind — was in one long, heavy piece; and, 
fastening one end to a column of hibiscus wood, sup- 
porting 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 bulk ; 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 kipee, or big girdle, 
was quite the mode for both sexes. Bob, despising 
recent innovations, still clung to it. He was a gentle- 
man of the old school — one of the last of the Kihees. 

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 labour- 
ing 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. 

Digitized by 


158 OMOO. 

He looked convalescent ; and, as we found out, intended 
soon to go aboard his ship. He said nothing, but left 
every thing to the consul. 

The latter now rose, and drawing forth a paper from 
a large roll, tied with red tape, commenced reading 

It purported to be, "The affidavit of John Jermin, 
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 
details; excepting, that it was wholly silent as to the 
manifold derelictions of the mate himself — a fact which 
imparted unusual significance to the concluding sen- 
tence, " 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 would have authorized this use of his name. But he 
was not present. 

The next document produced was the (Reposition of 
the captain himself. As on all other occasions, however, 
he had very little to say for himself, and it was soon set 

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 dur- 
ing the reading of this paper ; comments were shouted 
out upon every paragraph. 

The affidavits read, Wilson, who, all the while, looked 

Digitized by 



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 

"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 pro- 
duce 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 follows : — 

" 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 

" Was it not you that was taken off the island ? " 

"It was." 

Digitized by 


160 OMOO, 

" It is y<m, 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 send- 
ing 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 deliver- 
ance, and no thanks to the benevolence of its cap- 

Doctor Long Ghost, also, had a word to say. In two 
masterly sentences he summed up Captain Guy's char- 
acter, to the complete satisfaction of every seaman 

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 

The other judges fidgeted, and loudly commanded 
silence. It was at length restored ; when Wilson, for 
the last time addiessing us, said something more about 
the Rosa and Sydney, and concluded by reminding us, 
that a week would elapse ere the Julia sailed. 

Leaving these hints to operate for themselves, he dis- 
missed the party, ordering Captain Bob and his friends 
to escort us back whence we came. 

Digitized by 




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 bread- 
fruit 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. 

Cl6se by the chapel, was a range of native houses, 
rented from a chief, and handsomely furnished. Here 

Digitized by 


162 OMOO. 

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 

The priests, as I said before, were accounted necro- 
mancers : the appearance of two of our three visitors 
might have justified the conceit. 

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 rev- 
^ erend fathers seemed extinguishing themselves. 

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, hand- 
some 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 settle- 
ments in Polynesia. In early youth, he had been sent to 
a religious seminary in France ; and, taking orders there, 
had but once or twice afterward revisited his native land. 

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 ras- 
cal — and, being a young Irishman, of course his name 

Digitized by 



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 

In most of my shipmates were some redeeming quali- 
ties ; but about M'Gee there was nothing of the kind ; 
and, forced to consort with him, I could not help regret- 
ting, 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 ensure 
his being taken for what he was. About the eyes there 
was no mistaking him ; with a villanous 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 enor- 
mous 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 much. 

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. 

Digitized by 


164 OMOO. 

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 to escape 
the punishment which, it seems, Wilson had been hint- 
ing at to his intercessor. Pat, however, was staunch 
against entreaties ; and, with all the ardour of a sopho- 
morean 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 speak- 
ing 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 clasped 
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 

Digitized by 



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 favorites 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 ^s 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 some- 
times 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 ! 

Digitized by 


166 OMOO. 



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 speci- 

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 youra. 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 dream- 
ing 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 Jiilia, 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 

Digitized by 



the captain's quarter-casks, playing cards on the tran- 
som, 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 drank still 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 him- 
self, 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 
left. A crowd soon collected; and the "Karhowree 
toonee," or crazy stranger, was quickly taken before 

Now, it so chanced, that nn a native house hard by, 
the consul and Captain Guy were having a quiet game 
at cribbage by themselves, a decanter on the table stand- 
ing 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 English woman, knowa 

Digitized by 


168 OMOO. 

among sailors as " Old Mother Tot." From New Zea- 
land 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, wher- 
ever 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 when- 
ever he had leisure, and his mistress's 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 recipro- 

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. 


zed by Google 


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 counsellors^' she shrieked ; " ye perse- 
cute 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 
believei'S 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 revel- 
lers 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 dol- 
lars, with the Julia's articles ready for signing, was laid 
on the capstan-head. 

Now there was no lack of idle sailors ashore, mostly 
" Beach-combers," 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 ; in- 
deed, they had several times called to see us; and of 

Digitized by 


170 OMoo, 

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 any one. In short, 
every inducement we could think of was presented; 
and Flash Jack ended by assuring the beach-combers 
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- 

Digitized by 



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 a 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, harree — maky sail ! " In other words, the Julia 
was off. 

The beach was quite near,* and in this quarter alto- 
gether uninhabited ; so down we ran, and, at a 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 I" as they catted the anchor; and 
the gallant Jermin, bareheaded as his wont, standing up 
on the bowsprit, and issuing his orders. By the man at 
the helm, stood Captain Guy, very quiet and gentle- 

Digitized by 


172 OMOO. 

manly, and smoking a cigar. Soon the ship drew neai 
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 respon- 
sible 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 prot^g^s of the Calabooza Beretanee. 

As we were wholly without resources, so long as we 
remained on the island no better place than Captain 

Digitized by 



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 be quite at ease 
on the score of our clothing and food, we resolved, by 
extending and systematising our foraging operations, 
to provide for oui*selves. 

We were greatly assisted by a parting legacy of Jer- 
min'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 pleased. 

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 lean- 
ing over the stocks as from a gallery, the worshipful 
crew of the Julia looked on, and canvassed the pro- 

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 re- 
solved to be more provident. 

Digitized by 


174 OMOO. 

The contents of the chests were of the most miscellar 
neous description : — sewing-utensils, marling-spikes, 
strips of calico, bits of rope, jack-knives ; nearly every- 
thing, in^hort, that a seaman could think of. But of 
wearing apparel, there was little but old frocks, rem- 
nants 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 enough. 

The chests themselves were deemed exceedingly pre- 
cious, especially those with unfractured locks, 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 by), 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 furni- 
ture in his hut, that the women are incessantly torment- 
ing 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 pos- 
session of our estate at this time, was an important 

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. 

Digitized by 



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 in- 
stances, heroic sentiment, formerly entertained by their 

In the annals of the island are examples of extrava- 
gant friendships, unsurpassed by the story of Damon 
and Pythias : in truth, much more wonderful ; for, not- 
withstanding 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 
that came among them, the Polynesians could not testify 
the warmth of their emotions more strongly, than by 
instantaneously making their abrupt proffer of friend- 
ship. Hence, in old voyages we read of chiefs coming 
off from the shore in their canoes, and going through 
with strange antics, expressive of this 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 forme. 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 

Digitized by 


176 OMoo. 

long, ready at any time to cany its owner ashore on an 

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, every one was stopped and cere- 
moniously introduced to Poky's " tayo karhowree nuee," 
or his particular white friend. 

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 neighboring islands, and even brought 
suitors therefrom. Among these was Tooboi, the heir 
of Tamatoy, King of Raiatea, 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 

Digitized by 



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 hand- 

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 as long as I could see him at 
all, there was Poky standing alone and motionless in 
the bow of his canoe. 



The arrrival of the chests made my friend, the doc- 
tor, 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 favor almost as much as his. 

Among others, Kooloo was a candidate for my friend- 
ship ; and being a comely youth, quite a buck in his way, 
I accepted his overtures. By this, I escaped the impor- 
tunities 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 fiiend, 
first of all informed me that he was a " Mickonaree," 
thus declaring his communion with the church. 

Digitized by 


178 OMOO. 

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. Ail over these seas the word " nuee " is sig- 
nificant 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 
professions 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 doc- 
tor 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 prom- 

As for Kooloo, after sponging me well, he one morn- 
ing 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- 

It was a touching interview, and with it our connec- 
tion 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 

Digitized by 



me pleasantly in the eye, and merely exchanging the cold 
salute of the road : — " Yar onor, boyoee," a mere side- 
\/dlk 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 pur- 
pose 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 un- 
attended by an escort. 

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 flag-staff, was our beloved guardian, Wilson. 
I shall never forget his look of wonder when his interest- 
ing wards filed in at the doorway, and took up a seat 
directly facing him. 

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. 

Digitized by 


180 oiiod. 



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 Bere- 
tanee, 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 beach-combers, in the end they 
were invariably told by the captains" to whom they ap- 
plied, 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 some- 
thing 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 invaluable. 

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 cor- 
dially applauded our conduct. Besides, they invariably 
brought along something in the way of refreshments; 

Digitized by 



occasionally smuggling in a little Pisco. Upon one 
occasion, when there was quite a number present, a cala- 
bash was passed round, and a pecuniary collection taken 
up for our benefit 

One day a new comer 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. Night 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 fur- 
ther. 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 qannot be overturned, unless you overcome 

Digitized by 


182 OMOO, 

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 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 by, 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 great part of its contents ; 
so that we easily bailed out the remainder, and again 
embarked. This time, my comrade coiled himself 
awav in a very small space ; and enjoining upon him 

Digitized by 



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. " Brown- 
ing'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 any one 
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 impatiently. 

The bag turned out to be well filled with sweet pota- 
toes 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 pic- 

Digitized by 


184 OMOO. 



The Pill-Box was sometimes employed for other pur- 
poses than that described in the last chapter. We some- 
times 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 forma- 
tion ; 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 Motoo-Otoo ; and around Motoo- 
Otoo have I often paddled of a white moonlight night, 
pausing now and then to admire the marine gardens 

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 
doue all sh^ could to make a fortress of th^ island. Th^ 

Digitized by 


" With the stock of his gun, the old warder fetched a tremen- 
dous blow." 

—Page i8s. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


MoTOO-OfOO. A fAtilTIAN CASXflST. 18^ 

margin has been raised and levelled, and built up with 
a low parapet of hewn blocks 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 any one 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 Motoo-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 mus- 
ket. As my canoe drew scarcely three inches of water, 
I could paddle close up to the parapet without ground- 
ing ; but. every time I came near, the old man ran 
towards me, pushing his piece forward, but never clap- 
ping 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 demol- 
ished 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 reach. 

He must have been dumb ; for never a word did he 
utter ; but, grinning from ear to ear, and with his white 

Digitized by 


l86 dmo. 

cotton robe streaming in the moonlight, he looked more 
like the spook of the island than any thing mortal. 

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 wher- 
ever 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 Motoo-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 
any one 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 

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 east- 
ward, 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 

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 few of the words employed, 

Digitized by 



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 ban- 
dy-legged native to travel round with it in a contraiy 
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 atmos- 
phere ; for it was a traditionary fact, that the people 
from the Duff came ashore when the sun was high over 
head. And here the old gentleman, being a very good 
sort of a 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 " mickonaree " (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 ship- 
ping for their washing ; and the competition being very 
great (the proudest chiefs not disdaining to solicit cus- 
tom in person, though the work is done by their depend- 

Digitized by 


188 OMOO. 

ents), 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, that 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, any thing but agreeable 
to a "soul of sensibility." 

Prejudiced against us by the malevolent representa- 
tions 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. 

Digitized by 



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, oft- 
ener 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 
by, they take horse, and ride down to Point Venus and 
back ; a distance of several miles. At this place is set- 
tled 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 recollec- 
tions 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 any thing 
but a cavalier, by the ringletted one, was absolutely 

Digitized by 


190 OMOO. 

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 
any thing like dignity. At any rate, then, here goes a 
bow. But another diflSculty presented itself: my loose 
frock was so voluminous, that I doubted whether any 
spinal curvature would be perceptible. 

"Good-evening, ladies,*' exclaimed I, at last, advan- 
cing 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 Calabooza Beretanee. It was esteemed 
the best specimen of architecture in Tahiti. 

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 

Digitized by 



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 
around, 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 depend- 
ents, the labour, though immense, was greatly facilitated 
by every one's bringing his post, or his rafter, or his 
pole strung with thatching, ready for instant use. The 
materials thus prepared being afterward secured to- 
gether 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 

Digitized by 


192 oMoo, 

and watering the valley, was bridged over in ihree 
places, and swept clean through the chapel. 

Flowing waters ! what an acompaniment to the songs 
of the sanctuary ; mingling with them the pmises and 
thanksgivings of the green solitudes inland. 

But the chapel of the Polynesian Solomon has long 
since been deserted. Its thousand rafters of hibiscus 
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 dimen- 
sions, 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 wood-work was all done by foreign carpenters, of 
whom there are always several about Papeetee. 

Within, its aspect is unique, and cannot fail to inter- 
est a stranger. The rafters overhead are bound round 
with fine matting of variegated dyes ; and all along the 
ridge-pole, these strappings 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 

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 
su nun it. 

Nor does the church lack a gallery, which runs round 
on three sides, and is supported by columns of the cocoa- 
nut tree. 

Digitized by 



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 

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 sti-ange, 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 inferioi-s are to other places of worship ; 
on the contrary, capable of maintaining a handsome 
exterior, and possessing greater intelligence, they go 

In respect of the woodland colonnade supporting its 
galleries, I called this chapel the Church of the Cocoa- 

It was the first place for Christian worship in Poly- 
nesia that I had seen ; and the impression upon entering 

Digitized by 


194 OMOO, 

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 meet the eye 
the gay calico draperies worn on great occasions by the 
higher classes, and forming a strange contrast of pat- 
terns 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 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 impro- 
priety of making a noise, by creating a most unneces- 
sary racket themselves. This part of the service was 
quite comical. 

There is a most interesting Sabbath school connected 
with the church; and the scholara, a vivacious, mis- 
chievous set, were in one part of the gallery. I was 
amused by a party in a corner. The teacher sat at one 

Digitized by 



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 mend. 

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 

During all this, the old missionary in the pulpit — as 
well as his associates beneath, never ventured to inter- 
fere — leaving everything to native management. With 
South Sea islanders, assembled in any numbers, there is 
no other way of getting along. 


A missionary's sermon; with some reflections. 

^ 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 con- 
gregation joined in. 

Digitized by 


196 OMOO. 

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 com- 
pass. The singers, also, seemed to enjoy themselves 
mightily ; some of them pausing, now and then, and 
looking round, as if to realise the scene more fully. In 
truth, they sang right joyously, despite the solemnity of 
the tune. 

The Tahitians have much natural talent for singing; 
and, on all occasions, are exceedingly fond of it. 1 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 skid rather 
to bleat than sing. 

The psalm concluded, a prayer followed. Very con- 
siderately, 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 anticipated. 

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 
mayors' coaches, and the way fires are put out in Lon- 
don, I had taken care to provide myself with a good in- 
terpreter, in the person of an intelligent Hawaiian sailor, 
whose acquaintance I had made. 

Digitized by 



"Now, Jack," said I, before entering, '*hear every 
word, and tell me what you can, as the missionaly goes 

Jack's was not, perhaps, a critical version of the dis- 
course ; 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 phrase- 
ology, 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-Wee's 
(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 goi 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 

1 Meaning the snowy image of the Virgin in the little Catholic chapel. 

2 The word ** arva," as here employed, means brandy. Poofai was one 
of the highest chief? on the island, and a jolly companion^ 

Digitized by 



198 OMOO, 

mickonaree ^ to poor kanaka? In Beretanee, every man 
rich : plenty things to buy ; and plenty things to sell. 
Houses bigger than Pomaree's, and more grand. Every- 
body, too, ride about in coaches, bigger than hers ; ^ and 
wear fine tappa every day. (Several luxurious appli- 
ances of civilisation were here enumerated, and de- 

" Good friends, little to eat left at my house. Schooner 
from Sydney no bring bag of flour ; and kanaka no bring 
pig and fruit enough. Mickonaree do great deal for 
kanaka; kanaka 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 suscepti- 
ble to no impressions, except from things palpable, or 
novel and striking. To them, a dry sermon would be 
dry indeed. 

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, any 
thing like a permanent religious impression is seldom or 
never produced. 

In fact, there is, perhaps, no race upon earth less dis- 
posed by nature to the monitions of Christianity than 

1 This word, evidently a corruption of ** missionary," is used under 
various significations by the natives. Sometimes, it is applied to a com- 
municant of the Church. But, above, it has its original meaning. 

2 A word generally used by foreigners to designate the natives of Poly- 

' Pomaree, some time previous, had received a present of a chariot 
from Queen Victoria. It was afterwards sent to Oahu (Sandwich Islands), 
mi4 there sold to pay l^er debts. 

Digitized by 



the people of the South Sea. And this assertion is made 
with full knowledge of what is called the " Great Revi- 
val 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 convic- 
tions; as an almost instantaneous relapse into every 
kind of licentiousness soon afterwards 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.^ 
y 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 con- 
version, and which led, moreover, to the selection of their 
island as the very first field for missionary labour, event- 
ually 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 any thing 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 

1 At this period^ many of the population were npon the verpje of starv^- 

Digitized by 


200 OMOO, 

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 as- 
sumed 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 obser- 

The following is an illustration of the trait alluded to, 
as occasionally manifested among the converted Polyne- 

At one of the Society Islands — Raiatea, 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 be- 
haved in a manner otherwise unaccountable, and pre- 
cisely 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 her- 
alded abroad. 

But, to return to the Church of the Cocoa-nuts. The 
blessing pronounced, the congregation disperse ; enliv- 
ening 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 
th^ beach. There is considerably hilarity; and you 

Digitized by 



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 sinuate. 

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 congrega- 
tion in all the bravery of a striped calico shirt, with the 
skirts rakishly adjusted over a pair of white sailor 

Digitized by 


202 OMOO, 

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 coarse, soiled sheet- 
ing, 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 derelictions. 

Puzzled by these things, I resolved to find out, if pos- 
sible, 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. 

Famow, an old native who had recently retired from 
active pui-suits, 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 (com- 
municants, be it remembered) kindly extended to him 
free permission to visit them sociably whenever he 

We dropped in one evening, and found the ladies at 

Digitized by 



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 

" Ah, Ideea, mickonaree oee ? " the same as drawling 
out — "By the by. Miss Ideea, do you belong to the 

" Yes, me mickonaree," was the reply. 

But the assertion was at once qualified by certain 
reservations ; so curious, that I cannot forbear their 

" Mickonaree ena " (church member here)^ exclaimed 
she, laying her hand upon her mouth, and a strong em- 
phasis on the adverb. In the same way, and with simi- 
lar 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 " micko- 
naree." In short, Ideea was 

"A sad good Christian at the heart — 
A very heathen in the carnal part." ^ 

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, 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 

1 Pope (Epistle to a Lad^). 

Digitized by 


204 OMOO, 

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 rattans into the high- 
ways and byways as whippera-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 Avickedness thereof. 

Moreover, the}^ 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 missionaries. 

Old Bob called these fellows " kannakippers," a cor- 
ruption, 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 intru- 
ders were out of sight, applauded Captain Bob's spirit in 
no measured terms ; the ladies present vehemently join- 
ing in. Indeed, the kannakippers have no greater ene- 
mies than the latter. And no wonder : the impertinent 
varlets, popping into their houses at all hours, are for- 
ever prying into their peccadilloes. 

^ With abhorrence and disgust the custom is alluded to by a late 
benevolent visitor at the island. See page 763 of the ** Memoirs of the 
Life and Gospel Liabonrs of the late Daniel Wheeler.*' A work hereafter 
to be more particularly alluded to, 

Digitized by 



Kooloo, who at times was patriotic and pensive, and 
mourned the evils under which his country was groan- 
ing, frequently inveighed against the statute which thus 
authorised an utter stranger to interfere with domestic 
arrangements. He himself — quite a ladies' man — had 
often been annoyed thereby. He considered the kanna- 
kippers a bore. 

Besides 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, 
some one's husband ajid 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 en- 
closing the lovers, and escorting them for trial to the 

Their appearance was most singular. The girdle ex- 
cepted, they were quite naked ; their hair was long, 
burned yellow at the ends, and entangled with burs ; 
and their bodies scratched and scarred in all directions. 
It seems, that acting upon the " love-in-a-cottage " prin- 
ciple, they had gone right into the interior ; and throw- 
ing up a hut in an uninhabited valley, had lived there, 

Digitized by 


206 OMOO, 

until in an unlucky stroll, they were observed and cap- 

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 kannakip- 
per'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 phansaical 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 pimishment, the echoes of the cloth-mal- 
let 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 by, being 
entitled to the credit of teaching them to sew. 

Digitized by 



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 skut- 
tle, 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 es- 
teemed 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 gar- 
ments seem to have no perception of the relation sub- 
sisting between the various parts of a gentleman's 
costume. To the wearer of a coat, for instance, panta- 
loons 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, 

Digitized by 


208 OMoo. 

ran away with the idea that he was under medical treat- 
ment at the time — in the act of taking, what the 
quaeks call, a " sweat." 

A bachelor friend of Captain Bob rejoiced in the pos- 
session 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 par- 
cel 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 dress- 
ing 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 ap- 
pearance 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 arti- 
cles formerly worn, are, at the present day, prohibited 
by law as indecorous. For what reason necklaces and 
garlands of flowers, among the women were also forbid- 
den, I never could learn ; but it is said that they were 
associated, in some way, with a forgotten heathen 

Digitized by 



Many pleasant and seemingly innocent sports and 
pastimes are likewise interdicted. In old times, there 
were several athletic games practised, «uch as wrestling, 
foot-racing, throwing the javelin, and archery. In all 
th6se they greatly excelled; and, for some, splendid 
festivals were instituted. Among their everyday amuse- 
ments, 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 forgotten. 

In the same way, the " Opio," or festive harvest home 
of the bread-fruit, has been suppressed ; though, as de- 
scribed 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 denationalising 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 peo- 
ple, have sunk into a listlessness, or indulge in sensuali- 
ties, a hundred times more pernicious than all the games 
ever celebrated in the Temple of Tanee. 

Digitized by 


210 ^ OMOO. 



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, there- 
fore, 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 actu- 
ally exist. 

Of the results which have flowed from the inter- 
course of foreigners with the Polynesians, including 
the attempts to civilise and christianise them by the 
missionaries, Tahiti, on many accounts, is obviously 
the fairest practical example. Indeed, it may now be 
asserted, that the experiment of christianising the Tahi- 
tians, and improving their social condition by the intro- 
duction 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 illus- 
tration ; for, with obstacles like these, the missionaries 
in Polynesia must always and everywhere struggle. 

Nearly sixty years have elapsed since the Tahitian 
mission was started; and during this period it has 

Digitized by 


fABtfi AS IT is, 2ii 

received the unceasing prayers and contributions of its 
friends abroad. Nor has any enterprise of the kind 
called foi-th 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, characterised 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 charge. 

Let us now glance at the most obvious changes 
wrought in their condition. 

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 civilising 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 missiona- 
ries among them. 

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, recognising 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, ves- 

Digitized by 


•212 oidoo, 

sels of all kinds now enter their harbours with perfect 

But let us consider what results are directly ascriba- 
ble 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 mo* 
rality of the islanders is, upon the whole, improved by 
the presence of the missionaries. 

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 neg- 
lected ; which must be ascribed, in a great measure, to 
the disorders growing out of the proceedings of the 

It were unnecessary here to enter diffusely into mat- 
ters connected with the internal government of the 
Tahitian churches and schools. Nor, upon this head, 
is my information copious enough to warrant me in pre- 
senting 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 

Upon a subject like this, however, it would be alto- 
gether 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 

Digitized by 


TAHITI AS IT 13. 213 

several known authors, made under various circum-c/^ 
stances, at different periods, and down to a compara- 
tively late date. A few very brief extracts will enable 
the reader to mark for himself what progressive im- 
provement, 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. Russell, 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 annihi- 
lates 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 greatest sceptic 
of the thoroughly immoral condition of the people, and 

1 ** Polynesia ; or an Historical Account of the Principal Islands of the 
South Sea: '' By the Bight Bey. M. Bussell, LL.D. (Harpers' Family 
Library Edition), p. 96. 

« " A new Voyage round the World in the years 182^-24-25-26: " By 
Otto Von Kotzebue, Post Captain in the Bussian Imperial Service (Lon- 
don, 1830; 2 YoU* 8yo), Yol. i. p. 169* 

Digitized by 



214 OMOO, 

which would force him to conclude, as TurnbuU ^ did 
many years previous, that their intercourse with the 
Europeans had tended to debase rather than exalt their 
condition." 2 

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 hospitali- 
ties 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 th^ 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 mis- 
sionaiy labours by the number of heathens who have 
actually been made to understand and practise (in some 
measure at least) the precepts of Christianity, tKis 
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 idol- 
atry and conform to certain outward observances. 

By authority of some kind or other, exerted upon 
the natives through their chiefs, and promoted by the 

1 The author of a Voyage round the World, in the years 1800-1804 (3 
vols. 8vo, London, 1805). 

2 Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Bhering's Straits, under the 
command of Captain F. W. Beechy, R. N. (London, 1831), vol. i. p. 287. 

* Memoirs of the Life and Gospel Labours of the late Daniel Wheeler, 
a minister of the Society of Friends (London, 1842, 8vo), p. 757. 

Digitized by 


TAHITI AS IT 18, 215 

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 assem- 
bled, and solemnly revived all their heathen customs. 

All the world over, facts are more eloquent than 
words ; and the following will show in what estimation 
the missionaries themselves hold the present state of 
Christianity and morals among the converted Polynesians. 

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 rea- 
son being, to preserve the young whites from moral con- 
tamination. The better to insure this end, every effort 
is made to prevent them from acquiring the native lan- 

They went even further at the Sandwich Islands*, 
where, a few years ago, a play-ground for the children 
of the missionaries was enclosed with a fence many feet 
high, the more effectually to exclude the wicked little 

And yet, strange as it may seem, the depravity among 

Digitized by 


216 OMOO. 

the Poljmesians, which renders precautions like these 
necessary, was in a measure unknown before their inter- 
course with the whites. The excellent Captain Wilson, 
who took the first missionaries out to Tahiti, afiBrms, 
that the people of that island had, in many things, 
" more refined ideas of decency than ourselves." * Van- 
couver, also has some noteworthy ideas on this subject, re- 
upecting the Sandwich Islanders.^ 

That the immorality alluded to is continually increas- 
ing, is plainly shown in the numerous severe, and per- 
petually 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 civilisa- 
tion to which they have attained, than they deserve ; or, 
at least, than the facts which came under his observa- 
tion authorised. 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 feelings ; so that he was the better enabled to 
obtain a correct knowledge of their real disposition and 

From my own familiar intercourse with the natives, 
this last reflection still more forcibly applies to my- 

1 A Missioiiary Yoyuge to the South Pacific Ocean, Appendix, pp. 336, 842. 
* See Vancoaver*8 Voyages, 4 to edition, toI. i. p. 172. 
s Beechy't Narratiye, p. 269. 

Digitized by 


SAiii: SUBJECT continued. iil 



We have glanced at their moral and religious condi- 
tion ; let us see how it is with them socially, and in other 

It has been said that the only way to civilise a people 
is to form in them habits of industry. Judged by this 
principle, the Tahitians are less civilised now than for- 
merly. True, their constitutional indolence is exces- 
sive; but surely, if the spirit of Christianity is. among 
them, so unchristian a vice ought to be, at least, par- 
tially remedied. But the reverse is the fact. Instead 
of acquiring new occupations, old ones have been dis- 

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 supe- 
riority 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 
Hfe 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 ; noi: could I 

Digitized by 


:il8 OMOO. 

avoid a comparison, immeasurably to Jhe disadvantage 
of these partially civilised islanders. 

In Tahiti the people have nothing to do; and idle- 
ness, 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 Save 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 Afrehi- 
too, 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 ofif 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 prodi- 
gious stir. What few plantations now remain, are owna^* 
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 taro." 

It is well worthy remark here, that every evidence of 
civilisation among the South Sea Islands directly per- 
tains to foreigners; though the fact of such evidence 
existing at all is usually urged as a proof of the elevated 

Digitized by 



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 car- 
penters also ; but not one of them is a native. 

The fact is, that the mechanical and agricultural em- 
ployments of civilised 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 can- 
not 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 them. 

1 " I was convinced," he adds, " that from the vast swarms that every- 
where appeared, this estimate was not at aU too great." 

2 For an allusion to this census, see one of the chapters on Tahiti, in 
tKfr volumes of the U. S. Exploring Expedition. And, for the almost 
incredible depopulation of the Sandwich Islands, in recent years, see the 
same work. The progressive decrease, in certain districts, for a consider- 
able period, is there marked. 

Buschenherger, an intelligent surgeon in the United States Navy, 
takes the following instance from the records kept on the islands. This 
district of Kohala, in Hawaii, at one time numbered 8,679 souls: four 
years after, the population was 0,175 : decrease, in that time, 2,504. N6 
extraordinary cause is assigned for this depopulation — Vide A Voyage 
round the World in the years 1835-36-37. By W. S. Buschenherger, M.D. 
(Philadelphia, 1838. 8vo.) The chapter on the Sandwich Islands. 

Digitized by 


220 ojtfoo. 

V These evils, of course, are solely of foreign origiiL 
To say nothing of the effects of drunkenness, the occa- 
sional inroads of the small-pox, and other things which 
might be mentioned, it is sufficient to allude to a viru- 
lent 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 

Their first horror and consternation at the earlier rav- 
ages of this scourge were pitiable in the extreme. The 
very name bestowed upon it, is a combination of all that 
u 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 bet- 
tered by the presence of the missionaries, the benefits 
conferred by the latter become utterly insignificant when 

Digitized by 



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 civilisation 
unite, to the exclusion of the virtues of either state ; like 
other uncivilised beings, brought into contact with Euro- 
peans, they must here remain stationary until utterly 

The islanders themselves are mournfully watching 
their doom. Several years since, Pomaree II. said to 
Tyerman and Bennet, the deputies of the London Mis- 
sionary 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 people." . 

Of like .import, was the prediclion 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 Tahitians : — 

" A harree ta fow, 
A toro ta farraro, 
A now ta tararta.'' 

The palm-tree shall grow. 
The coral shall spread, 
But man sbaU cease. 

Digitized by 


222 OMOO. 



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 time. 

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 fool- 
ish it ii^ to be bitter against any one. 

For my own paii;, I merely felt a cool — purely inci- 
dental — 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 l^rother's presence, however, he never 
acted thus; maintaining an amiable exterior, to help 
along the jokes which were played. 

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 hill^ sis above 

Digitized by 



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 mak- 
ing this observation. Doctor Long Ghost himself fell 
down in an unaccountable fit ; and without asking any* 
body's leave. Captain Bob, who was by, at once de- 
spatched a boy, hot foot, for Johnson. 

Meanwhile, we carried him into the Calabooza ; and 
the natives, who assembled in numbers, suggested vari- 
ous modes of treatment. One rather energetic practi- 
tioner was for holding the patient by the shoulders, while 
somebody tugged at his feet. This resuscitatory opera- 
tion was called the " Potata ; " but thinking our long 
comrade sufficiently lengthy without additional stretch- 
ing, we declined potataing him. 

Presently the physician was spied coming along the 
Broom Road at a great rate, and so absorbed in the busi- 
ness 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, imder certain 
circumstances, sailors, generally so frolicsome, are ex- 
ceedingly particular in having everything conducted 
with the strictest propriety. Accordingly, they deputed 
me, as his intimate friend, to sit at Long Ghost's head, 
BO as to be ready to officiate as " spokesman ; " and 

Digitized by 


224 OMOO, 

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 I " and he looked at Long 

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 con- 
tinued ; " and, bless me ! look at the abdomen ! " 

The region thus denominated exhibited the most 
unaccountable symptoms. A low, rumbling sound was 
heard ; and a sort of undulation was discernible beneath 
the thin cotton frock. 

" Colic, sir ? " suggested a by-stander. 

" Colic be hanged ! " shouted the physician ; " who 
ever heard of any body 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 

" I'll bleed him 1 " cried Johnson at last — " run for a 
calabash, one of you ! " 

" 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. 

" P'r'aps it's St. Witus's hornpipe," suggested Bob. 

" Hold the calabash ! " — and the lancet was out in a 

But before the deed could be done, the face became 
natural ; — a sigh was heaved;: — the eyelids quivered, 

Digitized by 



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 scien- 
tific 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 de- 
plored the hardship of being an invalid in such a place, 
where there was not the slightest provision for his com- 
fort. 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 ac(iount 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 decid- 
edly 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 val- 
ley, and left me in a hut, where an old woman lived by 
herself. This must be the nurse, thought I ; and so 1 
asked her to kill a pig, and bake it; for I felt my appe- 

Digitized by 


^6 OMOO. 

tite returning. ^ Ita! ita! — oee mattee — mattee nuee'— 
(no, no ; you too sibk.) ^ 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 comer, 
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 morcj, nor ever had a second fit. 



About three weeks after th^ Julia's sailing, our con- 
dition 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 ajs 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 starti'qg. Captain Bob's menraisedthe 

Digitized by 



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 par- 
ticular expedition, seemed to alarm them. But we as- 
sured 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 windowsj and other appurtenances of a civilised 
mansion. Upon the lawn in front are palm-trees stand- 
ing erect here and there, like sentinels. The Consular 
Office, a small building by itself, is enclosed by the same 
picket which fences in the lawn. 

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 Euro- 
pean, 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 

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 walk- 
ing towards 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 ^-^ 

Digitized by 


228 OMOO. 

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 towards 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 unwill- 
ing 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 prin- 
ciple 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 to- 
gether ; 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 Fanning'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- adjoinii;ig — 

Digitized by 



where they had been in the employ of two foreigners, 
who had recently started a plantation there. These per- 
sons, they said, had charged them to send over from 
Papeetee, if they could, two white men for field- 

Now, all but the prospect of digging and delving, 
suited as exactly ; but the opportunity for leaving the 
island was not to be slighted; and so we held our- 
selves in readiness to return with the planters ; who, in 
a day or two, were expected to visit Papeetee in their 

At the interview which ensued, we were introduced 
to them as Peter and Paul ; and they agreed to give 
Peter iind Paul fifteen silver dollars a month, promising 
something more, should we remain with them perma- 
nently. 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 piirpose. 

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 jackknif e, 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 Tmeeo. 

It was a pleasant trip. The moon was up — the air, 

Digitized by 


230 OMOO. 

warm — the waves, musical — and all above ^as 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 gxeat 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-spike," §hot 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 oursfelves, 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. 

Digitized by 





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 plantei-s' 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 ha.sty meal was prepared, and after it we essayed a 
nap ; but, alas ! a plague, little anticipated, prevented. 
Unknown in Tahiti, the musquitoes 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 
cliJBfs, gay with flowering shrubs, or hung with pendu- 
lous vines, swinging blossoms in the air. Of consider- 
able 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 

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 ses^. 

Digitized by 


232 OMOO, 

The cleared tmct 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 pali- 
sade 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 ripening. 

On the side of the enclosure 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 
boi, a few cooking utensils, and agricultui-al tools ; to- 
gether with three fowling-pieces, hanging from a rafter; 
and two enormous hammocks, swinging in opposite 
comers, 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. 

1 Perhaps the finest sweet potato in the world. It derives its name 
from a district of Peru, near Cape Blanco, very favorable to its growth ; 
where, also, it is extensively cultivated : the root is ver^ large, sometimes 
as big as a good-sized n^elon, 

Digitized by 



During the repast, our new friends were quite sociable 
and communicative. It seems that, like nearly all un- 
educated 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 em- 
barking 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 fisher- 
men, 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 lin- 
eage ! 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 equiv- 
alent, he received from the strangers two or three rheu- 
matic 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 cozy 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 ministra- 
tions of the missionaries, they gave themselves up to all 

Digitized by 


234 OMOO, 

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 
under a tree smoking ; or, more frequently still, gam- 
bling 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 

Tonoi, the old sinner, leaning against the fallen trunk 
of a cocoa-nut tree, invariably squandered his mornings at 
pebbles ; a grey-headed rook of a native regularly pluck- 
ing 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 

On the whole, the valley of Martair was the quietest 
place imaginable. Could the musquitoes 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 

Digitized by 





The planters were both whole-souled fellows ; but, in 
other respects, as unlike as possible. 

One was a tall, robiist Yankee, born 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 eyes opened well, 
and a profusion of fair hair curled over a well-shaped 

But Zeke was no beauty. A strong, ugly man, he 
was well adapted for manual labor ; and that was all. 
His eyes were made to see with, and not for ogling. 
Compared with the Cockney, he was grave, and rather 
tacitura ; 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 
hia own way. Shorty, too, had imbibed from him a 

Digitized by 


236 OMOO. 

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 agree- 
able. 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 fortli three of the implements ; and dis- 
tributing them impartially, trudged on after his partner, 
who took the lead with something in the shape of an 

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 

" What's to be done with them ? " inquired I of 

*' Lift them up and down," he replied ; " or put them 

Digitized by 



in motion some way or other. Paul, we are in a scrape 
— but hark ! they are calling ; " and shouldering the 
hoes, ofif we marched. 

Our destination was the farther side of the plantation, 
where the ground, cleared in part, had not jet 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 pai-t of Poly- 
nesia. 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 advan- 
tage. The heavy Sydney hoes were the only thing for 
such land. 

Our work was now before us ; but, previous to com- 
mencing 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 Mar- 
tair 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 advan- 
tage, he fell to himself ; and Shorty, who had been look- 
ing on, followed suit. 

The surface, here and there, presented closely ampu- 
tated 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 

Digitized by 


238 OMOO. 

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 I " 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 'vj?- ' 
lass 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 ex- 
hausted, 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 

Digitized by 



together, as occasion required, until " nooning time " 

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 hot enough to melt the nose h'off a brass 

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 musquitoes, managed to fall into a 
doze. As for the planters, more accustomed to " Noon- 
ing," 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 oiir 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 recog- 
nizing the fact, that my comrade claimed to be actually 
unwell — he simply suggested, that, since he was so 

Digitized by 


240 OMOO. 

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 ex- 
cursion, 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 am- 
munition were forthwith got down from overhead ; and, 
everything being then ready, Zeke cried out, "Tonoi! 
come ; aramai I (get up) we want you for pilot. Shorty, 
my lad, look arter things, you know ; and, if you likes, 
why, there's them roots infthe 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 concern- 
ing these wild cattle, and the way they came on the 

Some fifty years ago, Vancouver left several bullocks, 
sheep, and goats, at various places in the Society group. 

Digitized by 



He instructed ihe natives to look after the animals care- 
fully ; and by no means to slaughter any, until a con- 
siderable stock had accumulated. 

The sheep must have died off ; for I never saw a soli- 
tary 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 consider- 
able 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 vil- 
lage in their canoes. 

Tonoi abounded in bullock stories ; most of which, by 
the by, 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 bel- 
lowing 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 under foot. The un- 

Digitized by 


242 OMOO. 

happy 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 pos- 
sible, 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 a 
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 corncerning 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 square 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 
ctrtain strange superstitions. Pele, the terrific goddess 
of the volcanoes Mauna Roa and Mauna Kea,i was sup- 
posed 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, 

1 Perhaps the most remarkable volcanoes in the world. For very in- 
teresting accounts of three adventurous expeditions to their summits 
(fourteen thousand feet above the level of the sea), see Lord Byron's Voy- 
age of H. B. M. Ship Blonde; Ellis's Journal of a Visit to the Sandwich 
Islands ; and Wilkes's Narrative of the U. S. Exploring Expedition. 

Digitized by 



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, losing 
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 Cali- 
fornia, 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 prof oundest solitudes 
ring with their shouts, and flinging the lasso under the 
very nose of the vixen goddess Pele. 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 dissi- 
pated 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, 
Kamehameha 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 bul- 
locks were slain, almost entirely upon the single island 
of Hawaii. 

The herds being thus nearly destroyed, the sagacious 

Digitized by 


244 OMOO. 

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 quartilia^ 
or a shilling sterling, apiece. 

After this digression, it is time to run on after Tonoi 
and the Yankee. 



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 val- 
leys, 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. 

Digitized by 


' I saluted him with a charge as he disappeared." 

—Page 24s. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



small groups of bullocks were seen ; some quietly brows- 
ing ; others slowly winding into the valleys. 

We went on, directing our course for a slope of the 
hills, a mile or two further, where the nearest bullocks 
were seen. 

We were cautious in keeping to 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 warily. 

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 

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 shoul- 

"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 opj)osite 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. 

Digitized by 


246 OMOO, 

" Aramai ! come down, you old fool ! " cried the Yankee ; 
" the pesky critter's on t'other side of the island afore 

" I rayther guess," he continued, as we began reload- 
ing, " that we've spoiled sport by firing at that ere 'tarnal 
hog. Them bullocks .heard the racket, and is 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 plantation. 

Following another path, in descending into the valley, 
we passed thi-ough 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 per- 
fectly 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 nat- 
ural 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 wood is 
still used. Being extremely dense, and impervious to 
worms, it is very durable. 

Emerging from the forest, when half-way down the 

Digitized by 



hillside, we came upon an open apace, 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 bram- 
bles, and sounding hollow to the tread, was enclosed 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 de- 
serted. There was nothing but stone walls, and rude 
dismantled foundations of houses, constructed of the 
same material. Large trees and brushwood were grow- 
ing rankly among them. 

I asked Tonoi how long it was since anjr one had lived 
here. " Me, tamaree (boy) — plenty kanaka (men) 
Martair," he replied. " Now, only poor pehe kanaka 
(fishermen) left — me bom here." 

Going down the valley, vegetation of every kind pre- 
sented a different aspect from that of the high land. 

Chief among the trees of the plain on this island, is 
the At% 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 Ati you may see the 

Digitized by 


248 OMOO. 

beautiful flowering ITotoo ; 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 hun- 
dred was a cocoa-nut or bread-fruit tree. 

But here Tonoi again enlightened me. In the san- 
guinary religious hostilities which ensued upon the con- 
version to Christianity of the first Pomaree, a war party 
from Tahiti destroyed (by girdling the bark) entire 
groves of these invaluable trees. For some time after- 
ward, they stood stark and leafless in the sun ; sad monu- 
ments of the fate which befell the inhabitants of the 



The night following the hunting trip, Long Ghost 
and myself, after a valiant defence, had to fly the house 
on account of the musquitoes. 

And here I cannot avoid relating a story, rife among 
the natives, concerning the manner in which these in- 
sects were introduced upon the island. 

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 re- 
venge. One night, he towed a rotten old water-cask 
ashore, and left it in a neglected Taro patch, wherQ 

Digitized by 



the ground was warm and moist. Hence the musqui- 

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 Coleman. The ship belonged to 

When tormented by the musquitoes, I found much 
relief in coupling the word " Coleman " ^th another of 
one syllable, and pronouncing them together energeti- 

The doctor suggested a walk to the beach, where there 
was a long, low shed tumbling to pieces, but open length- 
wise to a Current of air which he thought might keep 
off the musquitoes. So thither we went. 

The ruin partially sheltered a relic of times gone by, 
which, a few days after, we examined with much curi- 
osity. 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 
stem 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 sinuate — had in 
many places fallen off, and lay decajdng upon the ground. 
StiU, there were ample accommodations left for sleeping; 

Digitized by 


266 oMoo. 

and in we sprang — the doctor into the bow, and I into 
the stem. 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 prema- 
turely screwed down in my coffin. 

Presenting my compliments to Long Ghost, I asked 
how it fared with him. 

" Bad enougfi," he replied, as he tossed about in the 
outlandish rubbish lying in the bottom of our couch. 
"Pah! how those old mats smell!" 

As he continued talking in this exciting strain for 
some time, I at last made no reply, having resumed cer- 
tain mathematical reveries to induce repose. But find- 
ing the multiplication-table of no avail, I summoned up 
a grejrish 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 sword-fish ; 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 canoe. 

*It was now proposed to try the water ; so a small fish- 
ing canoe, hauled up near by, was quickly launched ; 
and paddling a good distance off, we dropped over- 
board 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 

It was a blessed thought ! We knew nothing till sun- 
rise, when the motion of our aquatic cot awakened us. 

Digitized by 



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 hunt. 

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 return. 

Apprised, the evening previous, of the meditated sport, 
the doctor had announced his willingness to take part 

Now, subsequent events made us regard this expedi- 
tion as a shrewd device of the Yankee's. Once get us 
off on a pleasure trip, and with what face could we after- 
wards refuse to work? Besides, he enjoyed all the 
credit of giving us a holiday. Nor did he omit assur- 
ing 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 

Digitized by 


262" OMOO. 

trigger. On trying the piece, by firing at a mark, Long 
Ghost was satisfied that it could not fail of doing execu- 
tion : 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 

I soon found myself in a dense covert; and, after look- 
ing 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 towards the 
spot where myBclf and three of the islanders were stand- 

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 hang- 
ing 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 'oms ! " 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 

Digitized by 



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. 
In 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 his blunderbuss. 

" Where are they ? " he cried, out of breath. 

" A mile or two hoff, by this time," replied the Cock- 
ney. " Lord, Paul ! you ought toVe sent an 'ail stone 
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 ? " 

Peter, incensed at our ill luck, and ignorantly imput- 
ing 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. From this place, 
we beheld three cattle, quietly browsing in a green open- 
ing of a wood below; the trees shutting them in all 

Digitized by 


264 OMOO. 

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 mountain-side, 
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 con- 
jugally 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 lev- 
elled 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 fore knees, pitched 
forward alarmedly, 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. 

Digitized by 



Soon, another shot was fired, and the cow fell. Leav- 
ing some of the natives to look after the dead cattle, the 
rest of us hurried on after the bull ; his dreadful bellow- 
ings 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 fore legs crouching under him, fell dead. 

Our island friends wei;e now in high spirits ; all cour- 
age 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, skin- 
ning 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 pieces. 

As only one shot at these creatures could be relied on, 
we intended firing simultaneously ; but, some how 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, fol- 
lowed by a quick cry. On running up, we saw our com- 
rade doing battle with a young devil of a boar, as black 

Digitized by 


256 OMOO. 

88 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 supei-stition 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 com- 
menced 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, notwithstand- 
ing they bent forward under their loads. Their naked 
backs were stained with blood ; and occasionally, run- 
ning by each other, they raised wild cries, which startled 
the hillsides. 

Digitized by 





Two bullocks and a boar ! No bad trophies of our 
day's sport. So by torchlight we marched into the plan- 
tation, the wild hog rocking from its pole, and the doc- 
tor 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, every- 
one 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 " maitai." 

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. 

Digitized by 


268 OMOO, 

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 Afrebitoo is a large church and school- 
house, both quite dilapidated ; and planted amid shrub- 
bery on a fine knoll, stands a^very tasteful cottage, com- 
manding 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 resi- 
dence of the missionary. 

A trim little sail-boat was dancing out at her mooi> 
ings, 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 Tahiti. 

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 

It seemed that there lived an Englishman in the dis- 
trict, 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 enclosure, and 
carrying off the potatoes. One night he fired a fowl- 
ing-piece, charged with pepper and salt, at several 
shadows which he discovered stealing across his prem- 
ises. 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 

Digitized by 



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 Maitair; 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 tur- 
nip, 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 grill- 
ing, and devilling 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 

" 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 

Digitized by 


260 OMoo. 

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 



Dozing in our canoe the next morning about day- 
break, we were wakened by Zeke's hailing us loudly 
from the beach. 

Upon paddling up, he told us that a canoe had anived 
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 
nothiug 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 git 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 

Digitized by 



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 enclosure, 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 loads. 

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 

Digitized by 


262 OMOO, 

our employers, ben>t, 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 work- 
ing, 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 

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 away. 

" 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 

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 sedbsin-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; 

Digitized by 



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 quite 
relish the blade of the stick, which was cutting into the 
blade of his shoulder. 

A last, by stages short and frequent, we managed to 
shamble down to the beach, where we again dumped 
our cargo, in something of a pet. 

"Why not make the natives help?" asked Long 
Ghost, rubbing his shoulder. 

" 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, 

Digitized by 


264 OMOO. 

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- 

After making these fellows load their baskets to- 
gether, 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 road from Callao to 

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 suflBciently to sharpen our appetites ; the 
planters leniently exempting us from any severe toil. 

Their desire to retain us became more and more evi- 
dent; 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 

Digitized by 



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, illitei-ate 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 Cock- 
ney 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 arith- 
metical 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 emplojdng 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 na- 
tive crew, we would then take turns cruising over the 
tranquil Pacific ; touching here and there, as caprice sug- 
gested, and collecting romantic articles of commerce ; — 
biche-de-mer, the pearl-oyster, arrow-root, ambergris, 
sandal-wood, cocoa-nut oil, and edible birds' ne^ts. 

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 en- 
larged upon the science of navigation ; treated us to a 

Digitized by 


266 okod. 

dissertation on Mercator's Sailing, and the Azimuth com- 
pass; 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 in- 
terfered ; 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 re- 
spective 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 con- 
cerning 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 undis- 
guised disinclination for work became venial; and en- 
tertaining 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 humourous doctor forbear to foster an 
opinion every way so advantageous to himself ; at times 
for the sake of the joke, assuming aii"S of superiority over 
myself, which, though laughable enough, were sometimes 

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. 

Digitized by 



At supper, therefore, the same evening, the doctor 
hinted at our intention. 

Thoiigh 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 f 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 exces- 
sively 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 ! " 

Digitized by 


268 OMOO. 

Vain as the aspiration was for this proposed improve- 
ment upon our species, I cordially responded thereto ; 
for every vertebra in my spine was articulating its 

Presently, the sun rose over the mountains, inducing 
that deadly morning languour 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 leav- 
ing ; 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. 




\ ^^Dttring the remainder of the day we loitered about, 
talking over our plans. 

The doctor was all eagerness to visit Tamai, a solitary 
inland village, standing upon the banks of a consider- 
able 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 

Digitized by 



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) ; en- 
grafting 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 i*agged ; but the 

Digitized by 


270 OMOO. 

alms was proudly refused ; Long Ghost preferring to as- 
sume the ancient costume of Tahiti — the " Roora.^^ 

This garment, once worn as a festival dress, is now 
seldom met witl) ; 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 '•'ponchoy' 
worn by the South American Spaniards. The head be- 
ing slipped through a slit in the middle, the robe hangs 
about the person in ample drapery. Tonoi obtained suf- 
ficient coarse brown tappa to make a short mantle of 
this description ; and in five minutes the doctor was 
equipped. Zeke, eying his toga critically, reminded its 
proprietor that there were many streams to ford, and pre- 
cipices 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 saddle-bag, the doctor suc- 
ceeded in exchanging for them a case-knife, the last val- 
uable 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. 

Qur 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 

Digitized by 



jaunty slouch of this Spanish sombrero, Doctor Long 
Ghost, in this and his Roora, looked like a mendicant 

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 be- 
fore reaching Papeetee, I was obliged to mount an 
abominable wad of parti-coloured worsted — what sailors 
call a Scotch cap. Every one knows the elasticity of 
knit wool; and this Caledonian head-dress crowned my 
temples so effectually, that the confined atmosphere en- 
gendered 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 origi- 
nal 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 de- 
fence against the sun, though in a shower it was best 
off. The pendent sleeves adding much to the effect, the 
doctor always called me the Bashaw with Two Tails. 

Thus arrayed, we were ready for Tamai ; in whose 
green saloons, we counted upon creating no small sen- 

Digitized by 


272 OMOO. 



Long before sunrise the next morning, ray sandals 
were laced on, and the doctor had vaulted into Zeke's 

Expecting to see us again before we went to Taloo, 
the planters wished us a pleasant journey ; and on part- 
ing, 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 leaves. The utter solitude 

Digitized by 


TAMAL 278 

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 pleas- 
ant 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 oui-selves 
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 
W3 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 reflect- 
ing 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 

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 " karhowries " into their quiet 
country. The doctor contriving to make them under- 

Digitized by 


274 OMOO, 

stand 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 re- 

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 

That night we abode in the house of Rartoo, a hospit- 
able 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 water. 

The next day we rambled about, and found a happy lit- 
tle community, comparatively free from many deplorable 
evils to which the rest of their countrymen are subject. 
Their time, too, was more occupied. To my sur- 
prise, the manufacture of tappa was going on in several 
buildings. European calicoes were seldom seen, 
and not many articles of foreign origin of any descrip- 

The people of Tamai were nomitially 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 libera^ in 
his religious ideas, we disclosed our desire. At firsc, he 
demurred; and shrugging his shoulders like a French- 

Digitized by 



Inan, declared it could not be brought about — was a dan- 
gerous 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. 



Thebe 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 car- 
peted 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 ^Happa 
herree ; " or house for making the native cloth. 

Here we saw lights gleaming from between the bam- 
boos, and casting long, rod-like shadows upon the ground 

Digitized by 


^76 oMoO. 

without. Voices also were heard. We went up, and 
had a peep at the dancei-s, who were getting ready for 
the ballet. They were some twenty in number; waited 
upon by hideous old crones, who might have been du- 
ennas. Long Ghost proposed to send the latter packing ; 
but Rai-too said it would never do, and so they were per- 
mitted 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 recognised. 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 over head ; and, 
crying out, " Ahloo ! ahloo ! " wave them to and fro. 
Upon which, the ring begins to circle slowly ; the dan- 
cers moving sideways, with their arras 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 incessantly. Inclining sideways, so that 

Digitized by 



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 I " again cry the dance queens ; and, 
coming together in the middle of the ring, they once 
more lift up the arch, and stand motionless. 

" 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 xecede, 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 moon- 
light, like a circle of fairies. Presently, raising a strange 
chant, they softly sway themselves, gradually quicken- 
ing 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 subsid- 
ing 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 

Digitized by 


278 OMOO. 

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 
eldera from Afrehitoo, perhaps), and the girls looked 
embarrassed; but parried the charge most skilfully. 

Though soft as doves, in general, the ladies of Taniai 
are, nevertheless, flavoured with a slight tincture of 
what we very 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 something. 

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 

Digitized by 



to rid us of him ; but they only laughed ; so we were 
forced to endure the dispensation as well as we could. 

On the foui-th night of our visit, returning home late 
fiom 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 as- 
cended the hill. 

Presently we came to a wretched hut, barely distin- 
guishable 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 as dark as pitch ; so I gave him to understand 
that he must strike a light, and go in before me. With- 
out 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, 

Digitized by 


280 OMOO. 

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 a 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 be- 
sought me to enlighten him : I preserved a mysterious 

The occurrence served me a good turn, however, so 
long as we abode in Tamai ; for the old clothe&man 
never afterward 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 adven- 
ture 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 ? " 

'Digitized by 



"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 physician from London — 
deliver lectures on Polynesian antiquities — teach Eng- 
lish 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 hur- 
riedly besought us to heree ! heree ! (make our escape), 
crying out something about the mickonares. 

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. 

Digitized by 


28S 6Mo6. 

Having fled the village, we could not think of prowl- 
ing 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 set- 
ting our faces thitherward, we reached the planters' 
house about nightfall. They gave us a cordial recep- 
tion, 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 eveiy 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 for- 
eigners were living ashore. A solitary whaler, however, 
was reported to be lying in the harbour, wooding and 
watering, and said to be in want of men. 

All things considered, I could not help looking upon 
Taloo as offering " a splendid opening " for us adven- 
turers. 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 

Digitized by 



to be entertatined 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 : gentlemen pensioners of state, bask- 
ing 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 art§ and sciences, he 
instructs them in the use of the jack-knife, and the best 
way of shaping bits of iron hoop into spearheads ; 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 blood 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 morn- 
ing 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 

Digitized by 


284 omOo. 

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 Kamehameha, 
for the purpose of ministering to his ease or enjoy- 

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 drum- 
mer 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 villanous- 
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 Kamehameha 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 on 
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 his 
profession, 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 

Digitized by 



But it was not as strolling players, nor as footmen 
out of employ, that the doctor and myself looked for- 
ward 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 addi- 
tional ground for our anticipating a favourable recep- 
tion. Zeke had informed us, moreover, that by the 
queen's counsellors at Partoovvye, a war of aggression 
against the invaders at Papeetee had been seriously 
thought of. Should this prove true, a surgeon's com- 
mission for the doctor, and a lieutenancy for myself, 
were certainly counted upon in our sanguine expec- 

Such, then, were our views, and such our hopes in 
projecting a trip to Taloo. But in our most lofty aspi- 
rations, 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, throw- 

Digitized by 


286 OMOO, 

iiig 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 become a sort of Rizzio to the Tahitian 
princess ? " 



The inglorious circumstances of our somewhat pre- 
mature departure from Tamai, filled the sagacious doc- 
tor and myself with sundry misgivings for the future. 

Under Zeke's protection, we were secure from all im- 
pertinent 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 re- 
wards constantly offered for the apprehension of desert- 
ers from ships, induce some of the natives to eye all 
strangers suspiciously. 

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 certify- 
ing 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, 

Digitized by 



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 reputa- 
tion 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 ac- 
customed to composition ; for his literary throes were so 
violent, that the doctor suggested that some sort of a 
Caesarian operation niight be necessary. 

The precious paper was at last finished ; and a great 
curiosity it was. We were much diverted with his rea- 
sons for not dating it. 

" In this here dumned climate," he observed, " a feller 
can't keep the run of the months, no how ; 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 passpoii; provided, we cast about for some means of 
getting to Taloo. 

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 set- 
tlements ; 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 

Digitized by 


288 oMoo. 

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 f ui-ther 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 
sti-ay 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 with- 
out 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 host farewell overnight ; and then, re- 
pairing 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 Martair, before the fisher- 
men even were stirring. 

Digitized by 



It was the earliest dawo. 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 E^ast 
with a bound — darting its bright beams hither a^d 
thither, higher and higher, and sending them, broadcast, 
over the face of the heavens. 

All balmy from the groves of Tahiti, came an indo- 
lent air, cooled by its transit over the waters; and grate- 
ful under foot was the damp and slightly yielding 
beach, from which the waves seemed just retired. 

The doctor was in famous spirits ; removing his Roora, 
he weiit splashing into the sea ; and, after swimming a 
few yards, waded ashore, hopping, skipping, and jump- 
ing along the beach ; but very careful to cut all his ca- 
pers 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 supe- 
rior 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 entii-ely dispensed 

How different, our hard northern latitudes ! Alas ! 

Digitized by 


290 03ioo\ 

the lot of a " poor devil," twenty degrees north o£ the 
tropic of Cancer, is indeed pitiable. 

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 ti-avelling exceedingly un- 
pleasant. " Lord ! my foot ! " roared the doctor, fetch- 
ing 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 up6n. 

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 workman- 
ship, 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 

" 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 pre- 
sently became quiet ; and after staring hard, and asking 

Digitized by 



some unintelligible questions, she proceeded to rouse 
her still slumbering mate. 

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, and snoring away like a cavalry trumpeter. 

" 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 cor- 
ner, from which place we became the objects of his earn- 
est 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 im- 
aginable. Upon this. Darby began to recover his fac- 
ulties, 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 den- 
izen 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 in- 
forms 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 

Digitized by 


292 OMoo. 

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 way that some 
young couples do at home. 

They gave us a hearty meal ; and, while we were dis- 
cussing its merits, they assured us, over and over again, 
that they expected nothing in return for their atten- 
tions ; more : we were at libei-ty 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 Pai- 
toowye, the most easternly village of Imeeo, though a 
perfect stranger, the inhabitants on all sides accost him 
at their doorways, inviting him to enter, and make him- 
self 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, ena 
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 bread-fruit, sliced thin, 
and done brown. 

Curious to relate, however, should a stranger carrying 
it thus bravely, be afterward 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 is it precisely as in 

Digitized by 



civilised 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 

In Polynesia it is esteemed a great hit, if a man suc- 
ceed in marrying into a family, to which the best part 
of the community is related(Heaven knows it is other- 
wise with us). The reason is, that when he goes a-trav- 
elling, the greater number of houses are the more com- 
pletely 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 with 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 dan- 
cing up and down. A few paces distant, on a natural 
terrace overlooking the sea, were several native dwell- 
ings, 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 injmense trusses, joined 

Digitized by 


294 OMOO, 

together at the ends, and wreathed with the green ten- 
drils 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 dishev- 
elled ; and, though very pretty, they betrayed the re- 
serve and embarrassment chaiacteristic of the provinces. 

The little gypsy 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 a 
joke, accepted the civility. 

The names of these three damsels were at once made 
known by themselves; and being so exceedingly ro- 
mantic, I cannot forbear particularising them. Upon 
my commde's arms, then, were hanging Night and 
Morning, in the persons of Farnowar, or the Day-born, 
and Farnoopoo, or the Night-born. She with the tresses 
was very appropriately styled Marhar-Rarrar, the Wake- 
ful, 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 recog- 
nised the boots worn by the doctor. " Keekee (Zeke) 
maitai," they cried, " nuee nuee hanna hanna portarto " 
— - (^makes plenty of potatoes). 

Digitized by 



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 dVelling. 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 bread-fruit, a few whiffs of a pipe, and 
some lively chatting, our host admonished the company 
to lie down, and take the everlasting siesta. We com- 
plied ; and had a social nap all round. 



It was just in the middle of the merry, mellow after- 
noon, 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 under foot, 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 skii-ted the island, that the view of Tahiti 
WtV3 now intercepted. 

Digitized by 


296 OMOO. 

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 rus- 
tic 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 pyiamid of a dish was flanked on either 
side by an ornamental calabash. One was brimming 
with the golden-liued " 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 
cocoaruut, 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 ; 

Digitized by 



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 Miss 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 vege- 
table wine of the- cocoa-nut ; merely repeating the ordi- 
naiy 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, Marhiirvai opened it, and com- 
mended 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 indefi- 
nite number of " pehee lee lees " (small fish), his own 
and his next neighbour's bread-fruit ; and helped him- 
self, to right and left, with all the ease of an accom- 
plished diner-out. 

" Paul," said he, at last, " you don't seem to be get- 
ting along ; why don't you try the pepper sauce ? " and, 
by way of example, he steeped a moi-sel of food into his 
nutful of searwater. 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 ex- 
pensive one. 

Digitized by 


298 OMOO. 

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 pud- 
ding was almost cloying ; the cakes of Indian turnip, 
quite palatable ; and the roasted bread-fruit, crisp as 

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 fermentation. 

Throughout the repast there was much lively chat- 
ting 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 

Nor did these lively nymphs suffer the meal to lan- 
guish ; 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 Roora combined. The latter, by the 
by, never failed to excite the remark of every body we 

The giving of nicknames is quite a passion with the 
people of Tahiti and Imeeo. No one, with any peculi- 

Digitized by 



arity, 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 vulgarise 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." 

Digitized by 


300 OMOO. 



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 

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 ram- 
bles 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 Mar- 
tair, of inexhaustible fertility, are abandoned to all the 
rankness of untamed vegetation. Alluvial flats border- 
ing the sea, and watered by streams from the mountains, 
are overgrown with a wild, scrub guava-bush, introduced 
by foreigners, and which spreads with such fatal rapid- 
ity, that the natives, standing still while it grows, anti- 
cipate 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 consider their unequalled soil and climate, 
thus unaccountably slighted, T often- turned in amaze- 

Digitized by 



ment 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 
wliolly 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 considera- 
tions which render the remissness alluded to still more 
unaccountable. The cocoa-palm is an example ; a tree 
by far the most important production of Nature in the 
Tropics. To the Polynesian, it is emphatically the Tree 
of Life ; transcending even the bread-fruit in the multi- 
farious 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. Year after 
year, the islanders repose beneath its shade, both eating 
and drinking of its fmit ; 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 leaf- 
lets, 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 com- 
pounded from the juice of the nut ; and with the oil ex- 
tracted from its meat, embalms the bodies of the dead. 

Digitized by 


302 OMOO. 

The noble trunk itself is far from being valueless. 
Sawn into posts, it upholds the islander's dwelling ; con- 
verted into charcoal, it cooks his food ; and supported 
on blocks of stones, 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 

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 

The cocoa-nut is planted as follows : Selecting a suita- 
ble 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, a:-, i 
the shell and husk, which in the last and germinatiii-^ 
stage of the nut, are so hard that a knife will scarce 
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 

Digitized by 


tut: COCOA-PALM, 303 

any sort, rapidly arrives at 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 century. 

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 

The fruitfulness of the tree is remarkable. As long 
as it lives, it bears ; and without intermission. T^o 
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 sea- 
shore, 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 per- 
ceptible 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 valleys, its tall 
stem inclines seaward, as if pining after a more genial 

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 abort 
period, becomes dust. This is, perhaps, partly owing 

Digitized by 


304 oMoo. 

to the peculiar constitution of the trunk, a mfere cylin- 
der of minute hollow reeds, closely packed, and very 
hard; but when exposed at top, peculiai-ly 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 over- 
head 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, inter- 
secting 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 thou- 
sand 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. 
Towards 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 throifgh the air, ring- 
ing like jugglers' balls; and often bound along the 
ground for many rods. 

Digitized by 





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 neighboring 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 man- 
ners 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 

Digitized by 


806 OMoo. 

specimens; while I, for the most part, kept near the 
sea ; sometimes taking the girls on aquatic excursions 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, spigar in hand. 

Spearing fish is glorious sport. The Imeeose, all 
round the island, catch them iu 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 pui*suing their sport ; with loud 
halloes, brandishing their speara, 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 speai-s. 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 extinguish- 
ing 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, 

Digitized by 



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 breakers. 

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 con- 
structed 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, 

Digitized by 


308 OM(W. 

" Aroha ! aroha! " (Farewell I farewell !) as long as we 
were within hearing. 

Very sad at parting with them, we endeavoured, nev- 
ertheless, 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 com- 
fortable old island gondola, I have a great deal to say. 

In the first place, one of them was Marhar-RaiTar, 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 in- 
tention ; 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 assum- 
ing the pai-t 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 ip epaulets ; but among the Polynesians, your 
best dress in courting is motley. 

A fresh breeze springing up, we set our sail of mat- 
ting, 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 

Digitized by. 



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, for- 
cing 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 

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. Eying 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. Un- 
willing, therefore, to stay where our company was dis- 
agreeable, we resolved to depart, without even eating 
a meal. 

Informed of this, Marhar-Rarrar and her companions 
evinced the most lively concern ; and equally unmind- 
ful of their former spirits, and the remonstrances of the 
old ladies, broke forth into sobs and lamentations, which 

Digitized by 


310 OMOO, 

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 

When the hour arrived, after much leave-taking, we 
saw them safely embarked. As the canoe turned a bluflf, 
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 

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, 
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 for ever against their coral rampart, the break- 
ers 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 de- 
signed for the protection of this land. Nearly all the 
Society Islands are defended by them. Were the v^t 
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. 

Digitized by 



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 ves- 
sels 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 beau- 
tifully diversifying the long line of breakers, no objects 
can strike the fancy niore 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 adventuTes 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 Taloo. 

Digitized by 


312 OMOO. 

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 de- 
pending 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 6n 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 sun- 
set. But at length we concluded to stay where we 

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 

Digitized by 



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 dimen- 
sions, and furnished with a long hooked neck, the mouth 
of which was stopped with a wooden plug. It was cov- 
ered with particles of earth, and looked as if just taken 
from some place under ground. 

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 prohib- 
ited to the natives, we now watched our entertainer with 
much interest. Charging a cocoa-nut shell he tossed it 
off, and then filling it 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 

We could not have been more startled, had a frog 
leaped from his mouth. For an instant, he looked con- 
fused enough himself ; and then, placing a finger myste- 
riously upon his mouth, he contrived to make us under- 

Digitized by 


314 oMoo. 

stand, 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 refused. 

This occurrence made us rather suspicious of our host ; 
nor could we afterwards account for his conduct, except 
by supposing that his feigning deafness 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 satisfac- 

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 im- 
mediately clapped on 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 cala- 
bash under the further end of the bamboo. 

Digitized by 



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 
a^ to say, " 2%is, you see, is the way it's done." 

His contrivance was nothing less than a native still, 
where he manufactured his island " poteen." The dis- 
array 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 missiona- 
ries among the natives : who, presuming that all for- 
eigners are opposed to the ascendency 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 a yam, but smaller. In its green state, it is exceed- 
ingly acrid ; but boiled or baked has the sweetness of 
the sugar-cane. After being subjected to the fire, ma- 
cerated, 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 fii-st, had relished the 
"Arva Tee " as little as myself, to my surprise, began 
to wax sociable over it with Varvy ; and before long ab- 
solutely got mellow, the old toper keeping him com- 

It was a curious sight. Every one 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 

Digitized by 


316 OMoo. 

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 ac- 
quainted ; the doctor politely bent upon carrying on the 
conversation in the language of his host, and the old 
hermit pei-sisting 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 

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 an 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 miss- 
ing ; 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 hos- 
pitality, I thought this extremely inprobable, though 
to whom else to impute the theft I knew not. The doc- 
tor 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. 

Digitized by 



Were it not for this mysterious occurrence, and 
Varvy's detestable liquors, I would here recommend 
all tmvellers 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 de- 
cidely manly. 

This was said, be it observed, while strolling along 
over a soft carpet of grass ; a little moist, even at mid- 
day, from the shade of the wood through which we were 

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 towards 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 
necessaiy in selecting your bush ; for if not chosen judi- 
ciously, the chances were, that on springing forward 
again, and finding the next bush so far oflf that an inter- 

Digitized by 


818 OMOO. 

mediate cooling was indispensable, you would have to 
run back 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 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 anticipated. 

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, intro- 
duced himself as Ereemear Po-Po ; or to render the 
Christian name back again into English — Jeremiah Po- 

These curious combinations of names, among the peo- 
ple 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 gentle- 
man officiating told him that such a heathenish appella- 

Digitized by 



tion 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 lib- 
erty 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 cogomen. 

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, 
bur host's wife, a large, benevolent-looking women, up- 
wards 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 ex- 

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 only daughter of Po-Po ; and a very beau- 
tiful little daughter she was ; not more than fourteen ; 
with the most delightful shape — like a bud just blown ; 
and large hazel eyes. They called her Loo : a name 
rather pretty and genteel, and, therefore, quite appropri- 
ate ; 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 

Digitized by 


320 OMOO. 

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 sob- 
bing upon our shoulders, this contemptuous treatment 
stung us not a little. 

When we fii-st 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 bread- 
fruit 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, some- 
what 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 Mar- 
tair, they were veiy 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 coming. 

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 shady pool, bathed, and re- 
turned 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 

Digitized by 



word "nuee" is so familiar to foreigners throughout 
Polynesia, and is so often used by them in their inter- 
course with the natives, that the latter suppose it to be 
common to all mankind. " Olee manee " is the native 
pronunciation of "oZd maw," 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 fas- 
tidious 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 di-awing 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 can- 
not be excelled ; a soft dreamy light being shed through 
the transparent rind. 

As the evening advanced, other members of the house- 
hold, 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 none. 

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. 

Digitized by 


322 OMOO. 

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- 
civilisation 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 oflfered up a prayer. Upon its conclusion, all 

Digitized by 



separated without speaking. These devotions took place 
regularly every night and morning. Gi^ace, too, was 
invariably said by this family both before and after 

After becoming familiarised 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 ex- 
cepted, whom I personally knew to be such, among all 
the natives of Polynesia. 



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 net-work, form- 
ing 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 comer of the old butler's pallet, who 
snored away by the open door. After all had retired, 

Digitized by 


324 OMOO. 

Po-Po placed the illuminated melon in the middle of 
the apartment ; and so, we all slumbered till morning. 

Upon awaking, the sun was streaming brightly through 
the open bamboos, but no one was stirring. After sur- 
veying 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 ridge-pole was per- 
haps twenty feet from the ground. There was no foun- 
dation 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 it is in the huts of the poorer 

Beside 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 chil- 
dren, 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 va- 
riously 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 

Digitized by 



our meals before the rest of the family were served ; and 
the doctor, who was very discerning in such matters, 
declared that w.e fared much better than they. Certain 
it was, that had Ereemear's guests travelled with purses, 
portmanteaux, 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, sur- 
rounded by roasted hemispheres of the bread-fruit. A 
large calabash, filled with taro pudding, or poee, fol- 
lowed ; and the young dandy, overcoming his customary 
languor, threw down our cocoa-nuts from an adjoining 

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 ad- 
dressing the doctor with much warmth; and Arfretee, 
regarding him with almost maternal affection, exclaimed 
delightedly, "Ah! mickonaree tata maitai!" in other 
words, " What a pious young man ! " 

It was just after this meal, that she brought me a roll 
of grass sinuate (of the kind which sailors sew into the 
frame of their tarpaulins), and then, handing me a 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 orna- 
mented 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. 

Digitized by 


326 OMOO. 



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 else- 

But first, to give some little description of the 

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 man- 
ners, turning their backs. Occasionally, you observe a 
rural retreat, enclosed by a picket of bamboos, or with 
a solitary pane of glass massively framed in the broad- 
side of the dwelling, or with a rude, strange-looking 

Digitized by 



door, swinging upon dislocated wooden hinges. Other- 
wise, 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 peoplie 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 disha- 
bille. However, they in all cases 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 foreign- 

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 door- 
ways, 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 nor 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 unboarded timbers to the roof ; where rays 
of light, glinunering through many a chink, illuminated 
the cobwebs which swung all round. 

The whole interior was dark and close. Burrowing 

Digitized by 


328 OMOO. 

among some old mats in one corner, like a parcel of 
gypsies 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 yeai*s pre- 
vious, the block had been thrown up by a verit- 
able Yankee (one might have known that),' a house 
carpenter by trade, and a bold enterprising fellow by 

. 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 be easily morticed 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 be- 
yond 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; 

Digitized by 



and often lounged by, wagging their heads, and jeer- 

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 
councilloi*ships were vacant. 

Now, although there was a good deal of my waggish 
comrade's nonsense about what has been said concern- 
ing our expectations of court preferment, we, nevei-the- 
less, really thought that something to our advantage 
might turn up in that quarter. 

On approacliing 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 hand- 
somest style, and enclosed 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 

Digitized by 


880 okod, 

we could not enter. We stated our earnest desire to 
see the queen ; hinting that we were bearers of impor- 
tant 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 ad- 
vice. 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 lee- 
ward islands of the group, were at that very time tak- 
ing counsel with her, as to the expediency of organising 
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 actu- 
ally 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 

Digitized by 



to receiving calls. Previous to her misfortunes, how- 
ever, no one, however humble, was denied admittance to 
her presence ; sailors, even, attended her levees. 

. 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 LuUee 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 prohib- 
iting, 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. 

Digitized by 


332 OMOO, 

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 be« 
come less loving and more giddy, particularly with the 
strangers from Tahar. Desperately smitten, and de- 
sirous of securing her at all hazards, he had proposed to 
the damsel's friends a nice little arrangement, introduc- 
tory to marriage; but they would not hear of it; be- 
sides, if the pair were discovered living together upon 
such a footing, they would be liable to a degrading pun- 
ishment, — 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 LuUee, we went on 
our way. How his suit prospered in the end, we never 

Going from Po-Po's house towards 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. Cap- 
tain 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 

Digitized by 



by which ships enter, and beyond, the sea. To the 
right, the inlet, sweeping boldly round the promontoiy, 
runs far away into the land ; where, save in one direc- 
tion, the hills close in on every side, knee-deep in ver- 
dure, 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 planta- 
tion 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 came 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 devil of a skipper will carry yees both to 

Digitized by 


334 OMOO, 

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, harl the poor divils' 
canow alongside ; and paddle away wid yees for dear 

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 glaes ; and there 
was plenty of both. 

While we were below, the mate of the vessel called 
out for some one to come on deck. I liked his voice. 
Hearing it was as good as a look at his face. It beto- 
kened a true sailor, and no taskmaster. 

The appearance of the Leviathan herself was quite 
pleasing. Like all large, comfortable old whalemen, 
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 
rope* 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. 

Digitized by 





While in Partoowye, we fell in with a band of six 
yeteran rovera, prowling about the village and harbour, 
who had just come overland from another part of the 

A few weeks previous, they had been paid ofif, 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 inland, concerning which 
they had heard strange and golden stories. Of course, 
they never could think of going to sea without a med- 
icine-chest filled with flasks of spirits, and a small cask 
of the same in the hold, in case the chest should give 

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" 

Digitized by 


336 OMoo, 

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 a 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 
smooth. 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 adven- 
turers sold the boat for a trifle to the chief of the dis- 
trict, 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 naught 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 

Digitized by 



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 island. 

Amelia ! — Peregrine I — you hero of rogues, Count 
Fathom, — what a debt do we owe you I 

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 any- 
thing 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 pro- 
ceeded to open his batteries in form. v 

The damsel was reclining on the ferns ; one hand sup 

Digitized by 


838 OMOO, 

porting 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 vocabu- 
lary 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 micko- 
naree ? oee ready Biblee ? " 

No answer ; not even a look. 

" Ah ! maitai ! very goody ready Biblee mickonaree." 

Loo, without stirring, began reading, in a low tone, to 

" 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 percepti- 
ble, and then fumbling something in her hand, lay per- 
fectly 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 

Digitized by Google 

Mrs. bell. SS9 

occurrence to her father, who came in shortly afterward; 
for he looked queerly at the doctor. But he isaid noth- 
ing, and in ten minutes was quite affable as ever. As 
for Loo, there was not the slightest change in her ; and 
the doctor, of course, for ever afterwards held his 



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 towards me. 

I looked round me 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 mak- 
ing such a pattering among the dry leaves, that pur- 
suit would have been useless. 

So I went straight home to Po-Po's, and related my 
adventure to the doctor. 

The next day, our inquiries resulted in finding out, 
that the stranger had been in the island about two 

Digitized by 


U6 oMOo. 

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 are about one hundred 
acres, in various stages of cultivation — looked thiif ty . 
A considerable tract of land, however, which seemed to 
have been formerly tilled, was now abandoned. 

The place where they extracted the saccharine mat- 
ter 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, play- 
ing 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 wine. 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 gob- 

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 

Digitized by 



Papeetee, on a visit to one of the missionaries' wives 

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, 1 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 iti 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 expo- 
sure 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 

Digitized by 


342 OMOO. 

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. Go- 
ing in the family suite of Po-Po, we, of courae, main- 
tained 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 ; point- 
ing out, and giggling at the queer-looking old ladies in 
dowdy bonnets and scant tunics. But Loo herself was 
never guilty of these improprieties. 

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 under- 
stood some of his impassioned bursts ; when he tossed 

Digitized by 



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 
night-cap 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 emphasise 
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 oc- 
cupied. 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 naugh- 
tiness, 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 

Digitized by 


344 OMOO. 

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 admiralty. 

For some time past, this extremely suspicious charac- 
ter had been carrying on an illicit trade in French wines 
and brandies, smuggled osrer 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 af temoops, pipe in mouth ; 
thinking, perhaps, over old times, and occasionally feel- 
ing 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 quarrel- 
ling together, as sociably as you please. 

Upon one of these occasions, the crew of the Levia- 
than made so prodigious a tumult, that the natives, in- 
dignant 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 Cap- 
tain Crash, who was asserted to be the author of the 

Upon this charge, then, he had been placed in con- 
finement 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, numer- 
ous additional offences were preferred against the culprit 
(mostly by the old women) ; among others was the bit 

Digitized by 


fALOO cMapel. S46 

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 witness- 
ing 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; seem- 
ingly resigned with all Christian submission to the up- 
roar. He was an hereditary chief in this quarter of the 
island, and judge for life in the district of Partoowye. 

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 afterward turned out 
that every one, no matter who, had a right to address 
the court, for aught we knew they might have been ar- 
guing their own case. At what precise moment the 
trial began, it would be hard to say. There was no 
swearing of witnesses, and no regula^ 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 

1 This anomaly exists, notwithstanding that, in other respects, the 
missionaries have endeavoured to organise the native courts upon the 
English model. 

Digitized by 


346 OMOO. 

judicial uproar, in which his fate was about being 

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 cata- 
logue. 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 delin- 
quents 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 princi- 
ple, that every man should be tried by his peers. 

They were all found guilty. 

Digitized by 





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 family. 

Every reader of Cook's Voyages must remember 
" Otoo," 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 Otoo, before his death, had 
his name changed into Pomaree, which has ever since 
been the royal patronymic. 

He was succeeded by his son, Pomaree H., the most 
famous prince in the annals of Tahiti. Though a sad 
debauchee and drunkard, and even charged with unnat- 
ural crimes, he was a great friend of the missionaries, 
and one of their very first proselytes. During the reli- 
gious wars into which he was hurried by his zeal for 
the new faith, he was defeated, and expelled fioni 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 re-established himself upon the throne. 
Thus, by force of arms was Christianity finally triumph- 
ant 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 yeai-s ; and the gov- 
ernment then descended to his elder sister, Aimata, 
the present queen, who is commonly called Pomaree 

Digitized by 


348 OMOO. 

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 after 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. In- 
deed, it was upon this ground chiefly that she was 
excluded from the communion of the Church. 

Previous to her misfortunes, she spent the greater 
portion of her time ijailing about from one island to an- 
other, attended by a licentious court ; and wherever she 
went, all manner of games and festivities celebi*ated her 

She was always given to display. For several years 
the maintep'^,nce of a regiment of household troops drew 
largely upon the royal exchequer. They were trouser- 
less 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 when- 
ever she went abroad. 

Some time ago, the queen received from her English 
sister, Victoria, a very showy, though uneasy, headdress 
— a crown ; probably made to order, at some tinman's 
in London. Having no idea of reserving so pretty a 
bauble for coronation days, w^ich come so seldom, her 
majesty sported it whenever she appeared in public; 
and, to show her familiarity with European customs, 

Digitized by 



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 per- 
spii-ation, 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 ad- 
dressed is rather significant — " Pomaree-Tanee " (Po- 
maree's man). All things considered, as appropriate a 
title for a king-consort as could be hit upon. 

If ever there was a henpecked husband, that man is 
the prince. One day, his cara-sposa, 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 intoxi- 
cated 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 accompanjdng action: myself being proxy 
for the Queen of Tahiti. 

Digitized by 


350 OMOO. 

It seems, that on a Sunday morning, being dismissed 
contemptuously from the royal presence, Tanee was 
accosted by certain good fellows, friends and boon com- 
panions, who condoled with him on his misfortunes — 
railed against the queen, and finally dragged him away 
to an illicit vender 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 af tei her. 

Near the outskirts of the town, a cavalcade of women 
came cantering towards 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. 

Digitized by 



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 banish- 
ment 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, dethrdned 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 

Digitized by 


352 oMoo. 

refusing to pay the customary tribute due from them as 

The truth is, that with the ascendency of the mission- 
aries, the regal office in Tahiti lost much of its dignity 
and influence. In the days of paganism, it was sup- 
ported 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 by-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 dwell- 
ing, never mind for how short a time, it was demolished 
when he left ; no common mortal being thought worthy 
to inhabit it afterwards. 

"I'm a greater man than King George," said the in- 
corrigible young Otoo, to the fii'st 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 immortal 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 Sand- 
wich Islands has been purposely exerted to bring about 
a contrary result. 

Digitized by 





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 nui*se to her chil- 
dren. 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 Mar- 
bonna was just the man for this — large and muscular, 
well made as a statue, and with an arm like a degener- 
ate Tahitian's thigh. 

Embarking at his native island, as a sailor, on board 
of a French whaler, he afterwards ran away from the 
ship at Tahiti ; where, being seen and admired by Po- 
maree, he had been prevailed upon to enlist in her 

Often, when visiting the grounds, we saw him walk- 
ing 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 
pei-son so speaking should be a stranger. He proved to 

Digitized by 


864 OMoo, 

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 friends. 

In my frequent conversations with him over the bam- 
boo picket, I found this islander a philosopher of nature 
— a wild heathen, momlising 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 sit- 
ting ; to whom he introduced us as a couple of " kar- 
howrees " 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 in- 
gratiating, 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 ex- 
pected, accosted us as cordially as if we had called to 

Digitized by 



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 ba- 
nanas. Pipes were then lighted, and a brisk conversa- 
tion ensued. 

These ladies of the court, if not very polished, were 
surprisingly free and easy in their manuers ; 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 cicerone. 

As such, she turned out be every thing we could de- 
sire. 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's signet, that every 
thing 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 oflEering civilities, he went on 

Digitized by 


366 oMOO. 

talking and smoking, without even condescending to 
look at us. 

" His Highness feels his poee^^^ carelessly observed 
the doctor. The rest of the company gave us the ordi- 
nary 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 enclosure. 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. Be- 
tween 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 

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 

The whole scene was a strange one; but what 
most excited our surprise, was the incongruous assem- 
blage 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. 

Digitized by 



Superb writing-desks of rosewood, inlaid with silver 
and mother-of-pearl ; decanters and goblets of cut glass ; 
embossed volumes of plates; gilded candelabras; 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 

All the articles first mentioned were, doubtless, pres- 
ents from foreign powers. They were more or less in- 
jured: 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 ! aramai kow kow." 

" She is coming to sup, then," said the doctor, staring 
in the direction indicated. " What say you, Paul, sup- 
pose 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 barefooted. 

She was about the ordinary size, rather matronly ; her 
features not very handsome ; her mouth, voluptuous ; 
but there was a careworn expression in her face, prob- 
ably attributable to her late misfortunes. From her 

Digitized by 


368 OMOO, 

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 mistriess's repast; and then, 
surrounded by cut glass and porcelain, and jars of sweet- 
meats 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 intro- 
ducing 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 time. 

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 grounds 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 ordera 
had been issued to admit no strangers within the palace 

Digitized by 





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 

Now, if her crew were to be credited, the Leviathan 
was not the craft to our mind. But I had seen the cap- 
tain, 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 sun- 
burnt cheek, doubtless the eflfect 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 Levia- 
than's men, when they came ashore ; but now, we pur- 
posely threw ourselves in their way, in order to learn 
more of the vessel. 

We became acquainted with the third mate, a Prus- 
sian, 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 bread-fruit; 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 wj^a thi? : sh^ h^d 

Digitized by 


360 . OMOO. 

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 inva- 
riably " drew " when darted by the men of the Levia- 
than. But what of that? We should have all the 
sport of chasing the monstere, with none of the detest- 
able 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 
fii-st 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 pleas- 
ant harbour. 

The next time the Vineyarder came ashore, we flung 
oui-selves 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 coun- 
try, 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 exces- 
sively bad odour. Is there a mutiny on board a ship in 
the South Seas, ten to one a Sydney man is the ring- 
leader. Ashore, these fellows are equally riotous. 

It was on this account, that we were anxious to con- 
ceal the fj^ct of our having belonged to the Julia ; 

Digitized by 



though it annoyed me much, thus to deny the dashing 
little craft. For the same reason, also, the doctor fibbed 
about his birth-place. 

Unfortunately, one part of our raiment — Arfretee's 
blue frocks — was 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 bli^e 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 latter's pretensions, I was 
throwing out a hint concerning Kentucky, as a land of 
tall men, when our Vineyarder 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 compensa- 
tion, did the honours of Partoowye, to illustrious 

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 con- 
cerning the place of my nativity : I was an American, 

Digitized by 


362 OMOO. 

thank Heaven! and wanted to conyince him of the 

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 ejirth 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 
the ship's articles on the cabin transom. 

This was getting along famously. But what was to 
become of the doctor? 

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 leave. 

Upon informing the doctor of the result of the inter- 
view, 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 
^^Uandsmen " very often compose part of a whaler's 

Digitized by 



crew, he did not quite relish the idea 6t 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 Levia- 
than was 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 un- 
restrained ; 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 oflf to the ship, signed and 
sealed, and stepped ashore with my " advance " — 
fifteen Spanish dollars, tasselling the ends of my neck- 

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 deter- 
mined upon sailing with the land-breeze at dawn the 
following morning. These tidings were received in the 
afternoon. The doctor immediately disappeared, re- 
turning soon after with a couple of flasks of wine, con- 
cealed in the folds of his frock. Through the agency 

Digitized by 


864 OMOO. 

of the Marquesan, he had purchased them from an 
understmpper 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 
hei-self paddle me oflE to the ship. 

But this I would not consent to ; and so, as some- 
thing to remember her by, she presented me with a roll 
of fine matting, and another of tappa. These gifts 
placed in my hammock, I afterwards found very agi*ee- 
able 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 noise- 
less; but when the first streak of the dawn showed 
itself over the mountains, a sharp voice hailed the fore- 
castle, 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 
oflE the islanders who had accompanied us thus far. As 
he stepped over the side, I shook the doetor long and 
heartily by the hand. I have never seen or heard of 
him since. 

Digitized by 



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 gait. 

By noon, the island had gone down in the horizon ; 
and all before us was the wide Pacific. 


Digitized by 




Digitized by 

Google , 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


This book should be returned to 
the Library on or before the last date 
stamped below. 

A fine is incurred by retaining it 
beyond the specified time. 

Please return promptly. -^ 

— ^~»