And all throughout the air there reigned the sense 
    Of waking dream with luscious thoughts o'erladen, 
    Of joy too conscious made and too intense 
    By the swift advent of excessive Aiden, 
    Bewilderment of beauty's affluence.

Tuesday, November 28th. - We passed Anaa, or Chain Island, in the morning watch, before daybreak. I came on deck to try and get a glimpse of it, and was rewarded by a glorious sunrise. We had a nice eight-knot breeze and a strong current in our favour, and just before breakfast Tom descried from the masthead Amanu, or Moeller Island, which we had hardly expected to make before ten or eleven o'clock. Some one remarked that it seemed almost as if it had come out to meet us. The reef encircling this island varies much in height and vegetation. In some places it supports a noble grove of trees, in others the sea breaks over the half-submerged coral-bed, the first obstacle it has met for 4,000 miles, with a roar like thunder.

Before we had lost sight of Amanu, the island of Hao Harpe, or Bow Island, was visible on our port bow. I wished very much to land, and at last persuaded Tom, who was rather anxious on the score of the natives, to allow some of us to make the attempt, us cautioning to turn away from the shore directly, in case the islanders looked at all doubtful in their attitude and intentions. After lunch, therefore, we hove to, and the gig's crew were ordered to arm themselves with revolvers and rifles, which they were not to show unless required to do so. All the gentlemen had revolvers, and Mabelle and I were also provided with two small ones, Phillips and Muriel being the only unarmed members of the party. I took a bag full of beads, knives, looking-glasses, and pictures, for barter and presents, and with these preparations we set off to make our first personal acquaintance with the islanders of the South Pacific. Tom gave us a tow to windward, and we then rowed direct to a point on one side of the entrance to the lagoon, where we saw some natives waving something white. As we approached we could distinguish several figures standing on the point, under the shade of some cocoa-nut trees, and on the opposite side of the entrance some canoes were drawn up on the beach, by the side of a hut, close to a large clump of low trees. We were by this time surrounded by breakers, and it required no little skill to steer the boat safely through the broken water, between the race of the tide on one side, and the overfall from the coral reef on the other. It was successfully done, however, and, having rounded the point, we found ourselves at once in the waters of the tranquil lagoon. We should have preferred to land at the point, had it been possible, as it was doubtful whether it would be safe to go round the corner, and so lose sight of the yacht; but the intentions of the natives seemed peaceable, several of them running into the water up to their waists to meet us, while others could be seen hurrying along the beach, the women carrying what looked like bunches of fruit.

It is really impossible to describe the beauty of the scene before us. Submarine coral forests, of every colour, studded with sea-flowers, anemones, and echinidae, of a brilliancy only to be seen in dreamland, shoals of the brightest and swiftest fish darting and flashing in and out; shells, everyone of which was fit to hold the place of honour in a conchologist's collection, moving slowly along with their living inmates: this is what we saw when we looked down, from the side of the boat, into the depths below. The surface of the water glittered with every imaginable tint, from the palest aquamarine to the brightest emerald, from the pure light blue of the turquoise to the deep dark blue of the sapphire, and was dotted here and there with patches of red, brown, and green coral, rising from the mass below. Before us, on the shore, there spread the rich growth of tropical vegetation, shaded by palms and cocoa-nuts, and enlivened by the presence of native women in red, blue, and green garments, and men in motley costumes, bringing fish, fowls, and bunches of cocoa-nuts, borne, like the grapes brought back from the land of Canaan by the spies, on poles.

As soon as we touched the shore the men rushed forward to meet us, and to shake hands, and, having left the muskets and revolvers judiciously out of sight in the boat, we were conducted to a cluster of huts, made of branches, or rather leaves, of the palm-tree, tied by their foot-stalks across two poles, and hanging down to the ground. Here we were met by the women and children, who, likewise, all went through the ceremony of shaking hands with us, after which the head-woman, who was very good-looking, and was dressed in a cherry-coloured calico gown, with two long plaits of black hair hanging down her back, spread a mat for me to sit upon just outside the hut. By this time there was quite a little crowd of people assembled round, amongst whom I noticed one woman with a baby, who had her hair sticking straight out all round her head, and another who held a portion of her dress constantly before her face. After the gentlemen had walked away she removed the cloth, and I then saw that her nose had been cut off. Most of the women were good-looking, with dark complexions and quantities of well-greased, neatly-plaited black hair, but we did not see a single young girl, though there were plenty of children and babies, and lots of boys, the latter of whom, like some of the older women, had only a piece of palm matting round their loins. We therefore came to the conclusion that the girls must have been sent away intentionally when the approach of the yacht was observed.

As soon as I was seated, the head-woman told one of the men to knock down some cocoa-nuts from the trees close by, and after cutting off the ends she offered us a drink of the fresh cool milk, which was all the sweeter and better for the fact that the nuts were not nearly ripe. While this was going on, the natives brought piles of cocoa-nuts, fish, and fowls, and laid them at our feet as a present. Some of the fish were of a dark brown colour, like bream, others were long and thin, with a pipe-like nose and four fins, somewhat resembling the wings of a flying-fish.

Seeing smoke in the distance, rising from under some high palm-trees, we thought we should like to go and see whence it proceeded, and accordingly set off to walk through a sort of bush, over sharp coral that cut one's boots terribly, the sun blazing down upon us fiercely all the time, until we reached a little settlement, consisting of several huts, the inhabitants of which were absent. Fine plaited mats for beds, cocoa-nut shells for cups, mother-of-pearl shells for plates, and coral, of various kinds and shapes, for dishes and cooking utensils, formed their only furniture. We saw three women, one very old, with nothing but a palm-leaf mat as a covering, the others dressed in the apparently universal costume, consisting of a long bright-coloured gown, put into a yoke at the shoulders, and flowing thence loosely to the ground, which completely conceals the wearer's form, even to the tips of her toes. I think these dresses must come from England or America, for they are evidently machine-made, and the cotton-stuft of which they are composed has the most extraordinary patterns printed on it I ever saw. Cherry and white, dark blue and yellow or white stripes, red with yellow spots, and blue with yellow crosses, appear to be the favourite designs. The women seemed gentle and kind, and were delighted with some beads, looking-glasses, and knives I gave them, in return for which they brought us quantities of beautiful shells.

We saw the large iron knee of a vessel in one spot during our walk, and wondered how it came there. In another place we saw a canoe in process of construction, ingeniously made of boards, sewed together with plaited palm-leaves. The canoes in use here are very high, long, and narrow, and are only kept from upsetting by means of a tremendous outrigger, consisting of a log fastened to the extremity of two bent pieces of wood, projecting sideways from each end of the boat. The only animals we met with in our ramble were four pigs and a few chickens, and no other live stock of any kind was visible. No attempt seemed to be made at the cultivation of the ground; and I think, if there had been, we must have observed it, for our party separated and walked a good distance in various directions.

The natives made us understand that on the other side of the entrance to the lagoon, in the better sort of house we had noticed, there resided a white man. He did not, however, make his appearance during our visit, and I imagine he must have been one of those individuals called 'beach-combers,' referred to in so many of the books that treat of the South Sea Islands, - a sort of ne'er-do-well Englishman or American, rather afraid of meeting any of his own countrymen, but very clever at making a bargain between a ship's crew and the natives, with considerable profit to himself.

Among the bushes we found numbers of large hermit-crabs, crawling, or rather running, about in whelk shells, half a dozen of them occasionally having a grand fight amongst themselves. We picked up at least twenty different sorts of gracefully shaped pieces of coral, and quantities of shells of an infinite variety of form and colour; cowries, helmet-shells, the shells from which cameos are sometimes cut; mother-of-pearl shells, and a large spiral univalve, nearly a foot long, with dark brown spots and stripes on a delicate cream-coloured ground, like the skin of a tiger or leopard. On our way back to the huts we peeped into several of the canoes drawn up on the beach, in which were some fish-spears and a fish-hook, nearly three inches long, made of solid mother-of-pearl, the natural curve of the shell from which it was cut being preserved. A piece of bone was securely fastened to it by means of some pig's hair, but there was no bait, and it seems that the glitter of the mother-of-pearl alone serves as a sufficient allurement to the fish.

In nearly all accounts of voyages in the South Seas much space is devoted to the description of the purchase, or rather barter, of hogs. We thought we could not do better than follow as far as possible the example of our predecessors, and accordingly bought two little pigs for two shillings each. They were evidently quite pets, lying on the mats outside the huts, and coming when called, just like dogs. The one I first bought appeared to be quite happy and content to be carried under my arm. The natives seemed quite to understand the value of money, and did not hesitate to ask for it in return for the cocoa-nuts full of shells which they brought us. I fancy some of the Tahiti schooners trade here for pearl, shells, and beche-de-mer.

The cocoa-nuts, fowls, fish, coral, &c., having been put into our boat, we shook hands with the friendly islanders and embarked, and having rounded the point we soon found ourselves again in the broken water outside the lagoon, where the race of the tide and the overfall were now much more violent than they had been when we landed. If we had once been drawn into the current, we should have stood a good chance of being knocked to pieces on the coral reefs, strong as our boat was; but the danger was happily avoided, and we reached the yacht safely, much to Tom's relief.

The natives did not exhibit the slightest curiosity about us during our visit to the island, and though they received us with courtesy, and assisted us as far as they could on our arrival and departure, they did not follow us about while on shore, nor, with the exception of one or two of them, did they take the trouble to walk across the point to see us get into the open sea and join the yacht. In this respect they might have given a lesson to many civilised people, so gentle, genial, and graceful, yet dignified, were their manners.

The screw having been feathered and the sails set, our voyage was at once resumed. A few miles from where we had landed, we saw, high and dry on the coral reef skirting the island, a large square-built schooner, of about 500 tons, her masts gone, her hull bleached white by the sun, and a great hole in her side. She was on the inside of the reef, and must therefore either have drifted there from the lagoon, or else have been lifted bodily across by one of the big Pacific rollers, in some terrible storm. No doubt the iron knee we had seen on the island originally formed part of this vessel.

Wednesday, November 29th. - We seem to have got into the real south-east trades, just as the chart tells us we ought to expect to lose them; for there was a strong fair breeze all day, which made it very pleasant on deck in the shade of the sails. But it was exceedingly hot in the saloon, where some of the woodwork has been pulled down, in order to secure better ventilation for the galley and the berths of some of the men, who, I hope, appreciate the alteration, for it is a source of considerable discomfort to us.

We had the bigger of our two little pigs for dinner to-day, and a welcome change it was from the salt and potted meats. He was most excellent, and fully corroborated Captain Cook's statement as to the superiority of South Sea Island pork to any other - a fact which is doubtless due to the pigs being fed entirely on cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit. Still it seemed a pity to eat such a tame creature, and I mean to try and preserve the other one's life, unless we are much longer than we expect in reaching Tahiti. He is only about ten inches long, but looks at least a hundred years old, and is altogether the most quaint, old-fashioned little object you ever saw. He has taken a great fancy to the dogs, and trots about after me with them everywhere, on the tips of his little toes, even up and down the steep cabin stairs. I call him Agag, because he walks so delicately, whilst others accost him as Beau, not only on account of his elegant manners, but as being the name of his former home.

The moon was more brilliant this evening than we have yet seen her during our voyage, and we could enjoy sitting on deck reading, and even doing some coarse needlework, without any other light. One splendid meteor flashed across the sky. It was of a light orange colour, with a fiery tail about two degrees in extent, and described in its course an arc of about sixty degrees, from S.S.E. to N.N.W., before it disappeared into space, far above the horizon. If the night had been darker, the spectacle would have been finer; but even as it was, the moon seemed quite paled for a few minutes afterwards. We have seen many meteors, falling-stars, and shooting-stars since we left Valparaiso, but none so fine as the one this evening.

Friday, December 1st. - The sun rose grandly, but the heavy black and red clouds, looking like flames and smoke from a furnace, gave promise of more rain. The heat was greater to-day than any we have yet felt; and it is now nearly mid-winter at home.

At 5 a.m. we made the island of Maitea, and expected to reach it in about an hour and a half; but the wind fell light, and it was a quarter to ten before we got into the gig and set out for the shore. There are not many instructions about landing, either in Captain Cook or Findlay, but the latter mentions that houses are to be found on the south side of the island. We thought, however, we could distinguish from the yacht a little cove, close to some huts, at another part of the shore, where the surf did not break so heavily. We accordingly rowed straight for it, and as we approached we could see the natives coming down from all parts to meet us, the women dressed in the same sort of long, bright, flowing garments we had seen at Hao Harpe, with the addition of garlands round their necks and heads, the men wearing gay-coloured loin-cloths, shirts of Manchester cotton stuff, flying loose in the wind, and sailors' hats with garlands round them, or coloured silk handkerchiefs - red and orange evidently having the preference - tied over their heads and jauntily knotted on one side. Several of the men waded out into the surf to meet us, sometimes standing on a rock two feet above the water, sometimes buried up to their necks by a sudden wave. But the rocks were sharp, the only available passage was narrow, and the rollers long and high; and altogether it looked, upon a closer inspection, too unpromising a place to attempt a landing. Much to the disappointment of the natives, therefore, we decided to go round and try the other side of the island. Seeing us prepare to depart, the people on shore immediately launched a tiny canoe, with an enormous outrigger, and a man dressed in a pale green shirt, dark blue and yellow under garment, and with a silk handkerchief and garland on his head, came alongside and made signs that he would take us ashore one by one in his frail-looking craft. But the heavy Pacific rollers and the sharp rocks daunted us, and we declined his offer with thanks, and rowed off to the southward. Anything more enticing than the cove we were quitting can hardly be imagined. A fringe of cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit trees, overhanging an undergrowth of bright glossy foliage and flowers, a few half-hidden palm-leaf covered huts, from one of which - I suppose the chief's - a tattered Tahitian flag floated in the breeze, a small schooner drawn up among the trees and carefully covered with mats, the steep sugar-loaf point, at the entrance to the cove, clothed to its summit with grass and vegetation: these were the objects which attracted our attention in our hurried survey of the scene.

We had to give the island a wide berth in rowing round it, on account of the heavy rollers, which seemed to come from every side, breaking in surf against the dark brown cliffs, and throwing columns of white spray, from which the brilliant sunshine was reflected in rainbow hues, high into the air. As we proceeded matters looked worse and worse, and the motion of the boat became so disagreeable that both Muriel and I were very ill. At last we came to a spot where we could see some people sitting on the shore, and several others, who had probably come over from the other side to meet us, running swiftly down the sides of the cliffs to the beach. The island was of a different character from the one we had already visited, and was evidently of volcanic origin. No coral was anywhere to be seen, but there were big rocks jutting out at intervals into the sea all round it, one of which seemed large enough to afford us a sort of shelter in landing. The natives waved and pointed towards the channel beyond this rock, and one or two swam out to meet us; but we soon found that the channel would not be wide enough to admit our big boat, though it was no doubt sufficient for a light canoe, drawing some two inches of water. We therefore reluctantly turned away and resumed our uneasy coasting voyage, in the course of which we passed some nearly leafless trees, full of white patches, too large for flowers, which afterwards turned out to be booby-birds, who here find a resting-place. They are so numerous that it is hardly possible to walk beneath the trees without treading on their eggs.

Having completed the circuit of the island, we found ourselves once more opposite the spot where we had first thought of landing, and the tide being by this time a little higher, we decided to make another attempt. Some of the natives, seeing us approach, plunged into the water as before, and seized the gunwale of the boat, while others, on shore, brought down rollers to put beneath our keel. We went in on the top of a big wave, and thus at last found ourselves - boat and all - high and dry on the beach of Maitea.

The people came down to meet us, and conducted us to the house of the chief, who, with his pretty wife, received us kindly, but with much gravity and dignity. Mats were placed for me to sit upon, wreaths were offered me for my head and neck, and cocoa-nut milk to drink. We wished for some bananas, and they immediately cut down a tree in order to obtain a bunch. Cocoa-nuts were at the same time thrown down from the trees, and a collection of fruit, poultry, and meat - the latter consisting of the immemorial hog - was laid at our feet, as a present from the chief. The rest of the natives brought us pearls, shells, mother-of-pearl, small canoes, fish-hooks, young boobies, and all sorts of things, for barter; but the chief himself refused any return for his gift. Perhaps the greatest curiosity they offered us was about six fathoms of fine twine, made from human hair. Before these islands were visited by Europeans, this was the material from which fishing-lines were made; but it is now rarely used, and is consequently very difficult to procure. The young boobies they brought us looked just like a white powder-puff, and were covered with down far thicker and softer than any swan's down I ever saw.

The natives seemed quite au fait in the matter of monetary transactions and exchanges. For an English sovereign they would give you change at the rate of five dollars. Chilian or United States' dollars they accepted readily, but Brazilian currency they would not look at. They were pleased with knives, beads, looking-glasses, and picture papers I had brought on shore, and we did a brisk trade. We experienced great difficulty in explaining to them that we wanted some fresh eggs, Muriel's especial fancy, and a luxury which we have been without for some time. At last, by pointing to the fowls and picking up some small egg-shaped stones, we managed to procure a few, though, from the time it took to collect them, I should think the island must have been scoured in the search for them.

Most of the natives seemed puzzled to comprehend why we had visited the island at all. 'No sell brandy?' - 'No.' 'No stealy men?' - 'No.' 'No do what then?' Their knowledge of English was too limited to enable us to make them understand that we were only making a voyage of circumnavigation in a yacht.

It was now time to bid farewell to our amiable hosts and their beautiful island. As we reached the landing-place, a small schooner, which we had previously noticed in the distance, came close to the shore, and a canoe put off from the island to meet it. We found that the vessel was bringing back from Tahiti and other places some of the inhabitants of the island, who had been away on a visit or in search of work. The meeting of the reunited friends and relatives was in some cases quite touching. Two women, in particular, sat and embraced each other for nearly a quarter of an hour, without moving, but with tears running down their faces.

All our gifts and purchases having been placed in the boat, and one or two of us having embarked, she was shoved out over the wooden rollers into the narrow channel, where she lay-to while the rest of the party were brought alongside, one by one, in a frail canoe - an operation which occupied some time, during which we had leisure once more to admire the little bay I have already attempted to describe. We asked the captain of the schooner, who spoke French, to give us a tow off to the yacht, which he willingly consented to do, chatting cheerfully all the time, but evidently fearful of approaching too close to the yacht, and positively refusing our invitation to him to come on board. There can be little doubt that he mistrusted our intentions, and feared we might attempt to kidnap him and his crew; for the whites have, in too many cases, behaved in a most villanous manner to the inhabitants of these islands, who are, as a rule - to which there are of course exceptions - a kind and gentle people. I think if the many instances of the murder of ships' and boats' crews could be thoroughly sifted to the bottom, it would be found that most of them were acts of reprisal and revenge for brutal atrocities committed on the defenceless natives, who have been kidnapped, plundered, and murdered by unscrupulous traders and adventurers. Unfortunately, the good suffer for the bad, and such lives as those of Captain Goodenough and Bishop Patteson are sacrificed through the unpardonable misconduct of others - perhaps their own countrymen. It is still quite a chance how you may be received in some of the islands; for if the visit of the last ship was the occasion of the murder, plunder, and ill-treatment of the inhabitants, it is not to be wondered at that the next comers should be received with distrust, if not with treachery and violence.

We reached the yacht at four o'clock, rather exhausted by so many hours' exposure to the broiling sun, having had nothing to eat since breakfast, at 7 a.m., except cocoa-nuts and bananas. The ship was put about, the sails filled, and, continuing steadily on our course throughout the evening, we made the smaller of the two peninsulas that form the island of Tahiti at 10.30 p.m.

Saturday, December 2nd. We were dodging on and off all night, and at daybreak the weather was thick and rainy. At 4.30 a.m. we made the land again, and crept slowly along it, past Point Venus and the lighthouse in Matavai Bay (Captain Cook's first anchorage), until we were off the harbour of Papeete.[8] The rain was now descending in torrents, and we lay-to outside the reef for a short time, until a French pilot came on board and took us in through the narrow entrance. It was curious, while we were tumbling about in the rough sea outside, to see the natives placidly fishing in the tiniest of canoes on the lagoon inside the reef, the waves beating all the time furiously on the outer surface of the coral breakwater, as if anxious to seize and engulf them.

[Footnote 8: 'Papiete' or 'Papeete,' a bag of water.]

At nine o'clock we were safely anchored in the chief port of the island of Tahiti.

Perhaps I cannot better bring this account of our long voyage from Valparaiso to a conclusion than by a quotation from a charming book, given to me at Rio, which I have lately been reading Baron de Hubner's 'Promenade autour du Monde:' - 'Les jours se suivent et se ressemblent. Sauf le court episode du mauvais temps, ces trois semaines me font l'effet d'un charmant reve, d'un conte de fee, d'une promenade imaginaire a travers une salle immense, tout or et lapis-lazuli. Pas un moment d'ennui ou d'impatience. Si vous voulez abreger les longueurs d'une grande traversee, distribuez bien votre temps, et observez le reglement que vous vous etes impose. C'est un moyen sur de se faire promptement a la vie claustrale et meme d'en jouir.'

We have been five weeks at sea, and have enjoyed them quite as much as the Baron did his three. We saw but two ships between Valparaiso and Tatakotoroa: he saw only one between San Francisco and Yokohama. It is indeed a vast and lonely ocean that we have traversed.