On the 17th of March, Captain Van Wyk Jurianse sent me word that his ship was ready for sea, and that he should set sail the next morning. The news was very unwelcome to me, as, for the last two days, I had been suffering from English cholera, which on board ship, where the patient cannot procure meat broth or any other light nourishment, and where he is always more exposed to the sudden changes of the weather than he is on shore, is very apt to be attended with grave results. I did not, however, wish to miss the opportunity of visiting China, knowing how rarely it occurred, nor was I desirous of losing the two hundred dollars (40 pounds) already paid for my passage, and I therefore went on board, trusting in my good luck, which had never forsaken me on my travels.

During the first few days, I endeavoured to master my illness by observing a strict diet, and abstaining from almost everything, but to no purpose. I still continued to suffer, until I luckily thought of using salt-water baths. I took them in a large tub, in which I remained a quarter of an hour. After the second bath, I felt much better, and after the sixth, I was completely recovered. I merely mention this malady, to which I was very subject in warm climates, that I may have the opportunity of remarking, that sea-baths or cooling drinks, such as buttermilk, sour milk, sherbet, orangeade, etc., are very efficacious remedies.

The ship in which I made my present voyage, was the Dutch barque Lootpuit, a fine, strong vessel, quite remarkable for its cleanliness. The table was pretty good, too, with the exception of a few Dutch dishes, and a superfluity of onions. To these, which played a prominent part in everything that was served up, I really could not accustom myself, and felt greatly delighted that a large quantity of this noble production of the vegetable kingdom became spoilt during the voyage.

The captain was a polite and kind man, and the mates and sailors were also civil and obliging. In fact, as a general rule, in every ship that I embarked in, I was far from finding seamen so rough and uncivil as travellers often represent them to be. Their manners are certainly not the most polished in the world, neither are they extraordinarily attentive or delicate, but their hearts and dispositions are mostly good.

After three days' sailing, we saw, on the 21st March, the island of St. Felix, and on the morning following, St. Ambrosio. They both consist of naked, inhospitable masses of rock, and serve at most as resting places for a few gulls.

We were now within the tropics, but found the heat greatly moderated by the trade wind, and only unbearable in the cabin.

For nearly a month did we now sail on, without the slightest interruption, free from storms, with the same monotonous prospect of sky and water before us, until, on the 19th of April, we reached the Archipelago of the Society Islands. This Archipelago, stretching from 130 to 140 degrees longitude, is very dangerous, as most of the islands composing it scarcely rise above the surface of the water; in fact, to make out David Clark's Island, which was only twelve miles distant, the captain was obliged to mount to the shrouds.

During the night of the 21st to the 22nd of April we were overtaken by a sudden and violent storm, accompanied by heavy thunder; this storm our captain termed a thunder-gust. While it lasted flashes of lightning frequently played around the mast-top, occasioned by electricity. They generally flutter for two or three minutes about the most elevated point of any object, and then disappear.

The night of the 22nd to the 23rd of April was a very dangerous one; even the captain said so. We had to pass several of the low islands in dark rainy weather, which completely concealed the moon from us. About midnight our position was rendered worse by the springing up of a strong wind, which, together with incessant flashes of lightning, caused us to expect another squall; luckily, however, morning broke, and we escaped both the storm and the islands.

In the course of the day we passed the Bice Islands, and two days later, on the 25th of April, we beheld one of the Society Islands, Maithia.

On the following morning, being the thirty-ninth of our voyage, we came in sight of Tahiti, and the island opposite to it, Emao, also called Moreo. The entrance into Papeiti, the port of Tahiti, is exceedingly dangerous; it is surrounded by reefs of coral as by a fortress, while wild and foaming breakers, rolling on every side, leave but a small place open through which a vessel can steer.

A pilot came out to meet us, and, although the wind was so unfavourable that the sails had to be trimmed every instant, steered us safely into port. Afterwards, when we had landed, we were congratulated heartily on our good fortune; every one had watched our course with the greatest anxiety, and, at the last turn the ship took, expected to see her strike upon a coral reef. This misfortune had happened to a French man-of-war, that at the period of our arrival had been lying at anchor for some months, engaged in repairing the damage done.

Before we could come to an anchor we were surrounded by half-a-dozen pirogues, or boats, manned by Indians, who climbed up from all sides upon the deck to offer us fruit and shell-fish, but not as formerly for red rags or glass beads - such golden times for travellers are over. They demanded money, and were as grasping and cunning in their dealings as the most civilized Europeans. I offered one of them a small bronze ring; he took it, smelt it, shook his head, and gave me to understand that it was not gold. He remarked another ring on my finger, and seizing hold of my hand, smelt this second ring as well, then twisted his face into a friendly smile, and made signs for me to give him the ornament in question. I afterwards had frequent opportunities of remarking that the natives of these islands have the power of distinguishing between pure and counterfeit gold by the smell.

Some years ago the island of Tahiti was under the protection of the English, but at present it is under that of the French. It had long been a subject of dispute between the two nations, until a friendly understanding was at last come to in November, 1846. Queen Pomare, who had fled to another island, had returned to Papeiti five weeks before my arrival. She resides in a four-roomed house, and dines daily, with her family, at the governor's table. The French government is having a handsome house built for her use, and allows her a pension of 25,000 francs per annum (1 pounds,041 13s. 4d.). No stranger is allowed to visit her without the governor's permission, but this is easily obtained.

Papeiti was full of French troops, and several men-of-war were lying at anchor.

The place contains three or four thousand inhabitants, and consists of a row of small wooden houses, skirting the harbour, and separated by small gardens. In the immediate background is a fine wood, with a number of huts scattered about in different parts of it.

The principal buildings are - the governor's house, the French magazines, the military bakehouse, the barracks, and the queen's house, which however is not quite completed. Besides these, a number of small wooden houses were in the course of erection, the want of them being greatly felt; at the time of my visit even officers of high rank were obliged to be contented with the most wretched huts.

I went from hut to hut in the hopes of being able to obtain some small room or other; but in vain, all were already occupied. I was at last obliged to be satisfied with a small piece of ground, which I found at a carpenter's, whose room was already inhabited by four different individuals. I was shown a place behind the door, exactly six feet long and four broad. There was no flooring but the earth itself; the walls were composed of wicker work; a bed was quite out of the question, and yet for this accommodation I was obliged to pay one florin and thirty kreutzers a-week (about 7s.)

The residence or hut of an Indian consists simply of a roof of palm-trees, supported on a number of poles, with sometimes the addition of walls formed of wicker-work. Each hut contains only one room, from twenty to fifty feet long, and from ten to thirty feet broad, and is frequently occupied by several families at the same time. The furniture is composed of finely woven straw mats, a few coverlids, and two or three wooden chests and stools; the last, however, are reckoned articles of luxury. Cooking utensils are not wanted, as the cookery of the Indians does not include soups or sauces, their provisions being simply roasted between hot stones. All they require is a knife, and a cocoa shell for water.

Before their huts, or on the shore, lie their piroques, formed of the trunks of trees hollowed out, and so narrow, small, and shallow, that they would constantly be overturning, if there were not on one side five or six sticks, each about a foot long, fastened by a cross-bar to preserve the equilibrium. In spite of this, however, one of these boats is very easily upset, unless a person steps in very cautiously. When, on one occasion, I proceeded in a piroque to the ship, the good-hearted captain was horror-struck, and, in his concern for my safety, even reprimanded me severely, and besought me not to repeat the experiment a second time.

The costume of the Indians has been, since the first settlement of the missionaries (about fifty years ago), tolerably becoming, especially in the neighbourhood of Papeiti. Both men and women wear round their loins a kind of apron, made of coloured stuff, and called a pareo; the women let it fall as low down as their ancles; the men not farther than the calf of the leg. The latter have a short coloured shirt underneath it, and again beneath that, large flowing trousers. The women wear a long full blouse. Both sexes wear flowers in their ears, which have such large holes bored in them that the stalk can very easily be drawn through. The women, both old and young, adorn themselves with garlands of leaves and flowers, which they make in the most artistic and elegant manner. I have often seen men, too, weaving the same kind of ornament.

On grand occasions, they cast over their ordinary dress an upper garment, called a tiputa, the cloth of which they manufacture themselves from the bark of the bread and cocoa trees. The bark, while still tender, is beaten between two stones, until it is as thin as paper; it is then coloured yellow and brown.

One Sunday I went into the meeting-house to see the people assembled there. {73} Before entering they all laid aside their flowers, with which they again ornamented themselves at their departure. Some of the women had black satin blouses on, and European bonnets of an exceedingly ancient date. It would not be easy to find a more ugly sight than that of their plump, heavy heads and faces in these old-fashioned bonnets.

During the singing of the psalms there was some degree of attention, and many of the congregation joined in very becomingly; but while the clergyman was performing the service, I could not remark the slightest degree of devotion in any of them; the children played, joked, and ate, while the adults gossiped or slept; and although I was assured that many could read and even write, I saw only two old men who made any use of their Bibles.

The men are a remarkably strong and vigorous race, six feet being by no means an uncommon height amongst them. The women, likewise, are very tall, but too muscular - they might even be termed unwieldy. The features of the men are handsomer than those of the women. They have beautiful teeth and fine dark eyes, but generally a large mouth, thick lips, and an ugly nose, the cartilage being slightly crushed when the child is born, so that the nose becomes flat and broad. This fashion appears to be most popular with the females, for their noses are the ugliest. Their hair is jet black and thick, but coarse; the women and girls generally wear it plaited in two knots. The colour of their skin is a copper-brown. All the natives are tattooed, generally from the hips half down the legs, and frequently this mode of ornamenting themselves is extended to the hands, feet, or other parts of the body. The designs resemble arabesques; they are regular and artistic in their composition, and executed with much taste.

That the population of this place should be so vigorous and well-formed is the more surprising, if we reflect on their depraved and immoral kind of life. Little girls of seven or eight years old have their lovers of twelve or fourteen, and their parents are quite proud of the fact. The more lovers a girl has the more she is respected. As long as she is not married she leads a most dissolute life, and it is said that not all the married women make the most faithful wives possible.

I had frequent opportunities of seeing the national dances, which are the most unbecoming I ever beheld, although every painter would envy me my good fortune. Let the reader picture to himself a grove of splendid palms, and other gigantic trees of the torrid zone, with a number of open huts, and a crowd of good-humoured islanders assembled beneath, to greet, in their fashion, the lovely evening, which is fast approaching. Before one of the huts a circle is formed, and in the centre sit two herculean and half-naked natives, beating time most vigorously on small drums. Five similar colossi are seated before them, moving the upper parts of their bodies in the most horrible and violent manner, and more especially the arms, hands, and fingers; the latter they have the power of moving in every separate joint. I imagine, that by these gestures they desired to represent how they pursue their enemy, ridicule his cowardice, rejoice at their victory, and so forth. During all this time they howl continually in a most discordant manner, and make the most hideous faces. At the commencement, the men appear alone upon the scene of action, but after a short time two female forms dart forward from among the spectators, and dance and rave like two maniacs; the more unbecoming, bold, and indecent their gestures, the greater the applause. The whole affair does not, at most, last longer than two minutes, and the pause before another dance is commenced not much longer. An evening's amusement of this description often lasts for hours. The younger members of society very seldom take any part in the dances.

It is a great question whether the immorality of these islanders has been lessened by French civilization. From my own observations, as well as from what I was told by persons well informed on the subject, I should say that this has not yet been the case, and that, for the present, there is but little hope of its being so: while, on the other side, the natives have acquired a number of useless wants, in consequence of which, the greed for gold has been fearfully awakened in their breasts. As they are naturally very lazy, and above all things disinclined to work, they have made the female portion of the community the means of gaining money. Parents, brothers, and even husbands, offer to their foreign masters those belonging to them, while the women themselves offer no opposition, as in this manner they can obtain the means for their own display, and money for their relations without trouble. Every officer's house is the rendezvous of several native beauties, who go out and in at every hour of the day. Even abroad they are not particular; they will accompany any man without the least hesitation, and no gentleman ever refuses a conductress of this description.

As a female of an advanced age, I may be allowed to make a few observations upon such a state of things, and I frankly own that, although I have travelled much and seen a great deal, I never witnessed such shameful scenes of public depravity.

As a proof of what I assert, I will mention a little affair which happened one day before my hut.

Four fat graces were squatted on the ground smoking tobacco, when an officer, who happened to be passing, caught a glimpse of the charming picture, rushed up at double quick pace and caught hold of one of the beauties by the shoulder. He began by speaking softly to her, but as his anger increased, he changed his tone to one of loud abuse. But neither entreaties nor threats produced the slightest effect upon the delicate creature to whom they were addressed; she remained coolly in the same position, continuing to smoke with the greatest indifference, and without deigning even to cast upon her excited swain a look, far less answer him a word. He became enraged to such a pitch, that he so far forgot himself as to loosen the golden ear-rings from her ears, and threatened to take away all the finery he had given her. Even this was not sufficient to rouse the girl from her stolid calmness, and the valiant officer was, at last, obliged to retreat from the field of battle.

From his conversation, which was half in French and half in the native dialect, I learned that in three months the girl had cost him about four hundred francs in dress and jewellery. Her wishes were satisfied, and she quietly refused to have anything more to say to him.

I very often heard the feeling, attachment, and kindness of this people spoken of in terms of high praise, with which, however, I cannot unreservedly agree. Their kindness I will not precisely dispute; they readily invite a stranger to share their hospitality, and even kill a pig in his honour, give him a part of their couch, etc.; but all this costs them no trouble, and if they are offered money in return, they take it eagerly enough, without so much as thanking the donor. As for feeling and attachment, I should almost be inclined to deny that they possessed them in the slightest degree; I saw only sensuality, and none of the nobler sentiments. I shall return to this subject when describing my journey through the island.

On the 1st of May I witnessed a highly interesting scene. It was the fete of Louis Philippe, the King of the French; and the governor, Monsieur Bruat, exerted himself to the utmost to amuse the population of Tahiti. In the forenoon, there was a tournament on the water, in which the French sailors were the performers. Several boats with lusty oarsmen put out to sea. In the bows of each boat was a kind of ladder or steps, on which stood one of the combatants with a pole. The boats were then pulled close to one another, and each combatant endeavoured to push his antagonist into the water. Besides this, there was a Mat de Cocagne, with coloured shirts, ribbons, and other trifles fluttering at the top, for whoever chose to climb up and get them. At 12 o'clock the chiefs and principal personages were entertained at dinner. On the grass plot before the governor's house were heaped up various sorts of provisions, such as salt meat, bacon, bread, baked pork, fruits, etc.; but instead of the guests taking their places all around, as we had supposed they would have done, the chiefs divided everything into different portions, and each carried his share home. In the evening there were fireworks, and a ball.

No part of the entertainment amused me more than the ball, where I witnessed the most startling contrasts of art and nature. Elegant Frenchwomen side by side with their brown, awkward sisters, and the staff officers in full uniform, in juxta-position with the half- naked islanders. Many of the natives wore, on this occasion, broad white trousers, with a shirt over them; but there were others who had no other garments than the ordinary short shirt and the pareo. One of the chiefs who appeared in this costume, and was afflicted with Elephantiasis, {76} offered a most repulsive spectacle.

This evening I saw Queen Pomare for the first time. She is a woman of 36 years of age, tall and stout, but tolerably well preserved - as a general rule, I found that the women here fade much less quickly than in other warm climates - her face is far from ugly, and there is a most good-natured expression round her mouth, and the lower portion of her face. She was enveloped in a sky-blue satin gown, or rather, sort of blouse, ornamented all round with two rows of rich black blond. She wore large jessamine blossoms in her ears, and a wreath of flowers in her hair, while in her hand she carried a fine pocket handkerchief beautifully embroidered, and ornamented with broad lace. In honour of the evening, she had forced her feet into shoes and stockings, though on other occasions she went barefoot. The entire costume was a present from the King of the French.

The queen's husband, who is younger than herself, is the handsomest man in Tahiti. The French jokingly call him the Prince Albert of Tahiti, not only on account of his good looks, but because, like Prince Albert in England, he is not named "the king," but simply, "the queen's consort." He had on the uniform of a French general, which became him very well; the more so, that he was not in the least embarrassed in it. The only drawback were his feet, which were very ugly and awkward.

Besides these two high personages, there was in the company another crowned head, namely, King Otoume, the owner of one of the neighbouring islands. He presented a most comical appearance, having put on, over a pair of full but short white trousers, a bright yellow calico coat, that most certainly had not been made by a Parisian artiste, for it was a perfect model of what a coat ought not to be. This monarch was barefoot.

The queen's ladies of honour, four in number, as well as most of the wives and daughters of the chiefs, were dressed in white muslin. They had also flowers in their ears, and garlands in their hair. Their behaviour and deportment were surprising, and three of the young ladies actually danced French quadrilles with the officers, without making a fault in the figures. I was only anxious for their feet, as no one, save the royal couple, wore either shoes or stockings. Some of the old women had arrayed themselves in European bonnets, while the young ones brought their children, even the youngest, with them, and, to quiet the latter, suckled them without ceremony before the company.

Before supper was announced, the queen disappeared in an adjoining room to smoke a cigar or two, while her husband passed the time in playing billiards.

At table I was seated between Prince Albert of Tahiti and the canary-coloured King Otoume. They were both sufficiently advanced in the rules of good breeding to show me the usual civilities; that is, to fill my glass with water or wine, to hand me the various dishes, and so on; but it was evident that they were at great trouble to catch the tone of European society. Some of the guests, however, forgot their parts now and then: the queen, for instance, asked, during the dessert, for a second plate, which she filled with sweetmeats, and ordered to be put on one side for her to take home with her. Others had to be prevented from indulging too much in the generous champagne; but, on the whole, the entertainment passed off in a becoming and good-humoured manner.

I subsequently dined with the royal family several times at the governor's. The queen then appeared in the national costume, with the coloured pareo and chemise, as did also her husband. Both were barefoot. The heir apparent, a boy of nine years old, is affianced to the daughter of a neighbouring king. The bride, who is a few years older than the prince, is being educated at the court of Queen Pomare, and instructed in the Christian religion, and the English and Tahitian languages.

The arrangements of the queen's residence are exceedingly simple. For the present, until the stone house which is being built for her by the French government is completed, she lives in a wooden one containing four rooms, and partly furnished with European furniture.

As peace was now declared in Tahiti, there was no obstacle to my making a journey through the whole island. I had obtained a fortnight's leave of absence from the captain, and was desirous of devoting this time to a trip. I imagined that I should have been able to join one or other of the officers, who are often obliged to journey through the island on affairs connected with the government. To my great surprise I found, however, that they had all some extraordinary reason why it was impossible for me to accompany them at that particular time. I was at a loss to account for this incivility, until one of the officers themselves told me the answer to the riddle, which was this: every gentleman always travelled with his mistress.

Monsieur - -, {78} who let me into the secret, offered to take me with him to Papara, where he resided; but even he did not travel alone, as, besides his mistress, Tati, the principal chief of the island, and his family, accompanied him. This chief had come to Papeiti to be present at the fete of the 1st of May.

On the 4th of May we put off to sea in a boat, for the purpose of coasting round to Papara, forty-two miles distant. I found the chief Tati to be a lively old man nearly ninety years of age, who remembered perfectly the second landing of the celebrated circumnavigator of the globe, Captain Cook. His father was, at that period, the principal chief, and had concluded a friendly alliance with Cook, and, according to the custom then prevalent at Tahiti, had changed names with him.

Tati enjoys from the French government a yearly pension of 6,000 francs (240 pounds), which, after his death, will fall to his eldest son.

He had with him his young wife and five of his sons; the former was twenty-three years old, and the ages of the latter varied from twelve to eighteen. The children were all the offspring of other marriages, this being his fifth wife.

As we had not left Papeiti till nearly noon, and as the sun sets soon after six o'clock, and the passage between the numberless rocks is highly dangerous, we landed at Paya (22 miles), where a sixth son of Tati's ruled as chief.

The island is intersected in all directions by noble mountains, the loftiest of which, the Oroena, is 6,200 feet high. In the middle of the island the mountains separate, and a most remarkable mass of rock raises itself from the midst of them. It has the form of a diadem with a number of points, and it is to this circumstance that it owes its name. Around the mountain range winds a forest girdle, from four to six hundred paces broad; it is inhabited, and contains the most delicious fruit. Nowhere did I ever eat such bread-fruit, mangoes, oranges, and guavas, as I did here. As for cocoa-nuts, the natives are so extravagant with them, that they generally merely drink the water they contain, and then throw away the shell and the fruit. In the mountains and ravines there are a great quantity of plantains, a kind of banana, which are not commonly eaten, however, without being roasted. The huts of the natives lie scattered here and there along the shore; it is very seldom that a dozen of these huts are seen together.

The bread-fruit is somewhat similar in shape to a water-melon, and weighs from four to six pounds. The outside is green, and rather rough and thin. The natives scrape it with mussel-shells, and then split the fruit up long ways into two portions, which they roast between two heated stones. The taste is delicious; it is finer than that of potatoes, and so like bread that the latter may be dispensed with without any inconvenience. The South Sea Islands are the real home of the fruit. It is true that it grows in other parts of the tropics, but it is very different from that produced here. In Brazil, for instance, where the people call it monkeys' bread, it weighs from five to thirty pounds, and is full inside of kernels, which are taken out and eaten when the fruit is roasted. These kernels taste like chestnuts.

The mango is a fruit resembling an apple, and of the size of a man's fist; both the rind and the fruit itself are yellow. It tastes a little like turpentine, but loses this taste more and more the riper it gets. This fruit is of the best description; it is full and juicy, and has a long, broad kernel in the middle. The bread and mango trees grow to a great height and circumference. The leaves of the former are about three feet long, a foot and a-half broad, and deeply serrated; while those of the latter are not much larger than the leaves of our own apple-trees.

Before reaching Paya, we passed several interesting places, among which may be mentioned Foar, a small French fort, situated upon a hill. Near Taipari it is necessary to pass between two rows of dangerous breakers, called the "Devil's Entrance." The foaming waves rose in such volume and to so great a height, that they might almost be mistaken for walls. In the plain near Punavia is a large fort supported by several towers, built upon the neighbouring hills. At this point the scenery is beautiful. The mountain range breaks here, so that the eye can follow for a long distance the windings of a picturesque valley, with the black and lofty mountain Olofena in the background.

Delighted as I was, however, with the beauty of the objects around me, I was no less pleased with those beneath. Our boat glided along over countless shallows, where the water was as clear as crystal, so that the smallest pebble at the bottom was distinctly visible. I could observe groups and clusters of coloured coral and madrepore- stone, whose magnificence challenges all description. It might be said that there was a quantity of fairy flower and kitchen gardens in the sea, full of gigantic flowers, blossoms, and leaves, varied by fungi and pulse of every description, like open arabesque work, the whole interspersed with pretty groups of rocks of every hue. The most lovely shell-fish were clinging to these rocks, or lying scattered on the ground, while endless shoals of variegated fish darted in and out between them, like so many butterflies and humming-birds. These delicate creatures were scarcely four inches long, and surpassed in richness of colour anything I had ever seen. Many of them were of the purest sky-blue, others a light yellow, while some, again, that were almost transparent, were brown, green, etc.

On our arrival at Paya, about 6 in the evening, the young Tati had a pig, weighing eighteen or twenty pounds, killed and cooked, after the fashion of Tahiti, in honour of his father. A large fire was kindled in a shallow pit, in which were a number of stones. A quantity of bread-fruit (majore), that had been first peeled and split into two portions with a very sharp wooden axe, was then brought. When the fire had gone out, and the stones heated to the requisite degree, the pig and the fruit were laid upon them, a few other heated stones placed on the top, and the whole covered up with green branches, dry leaves, and earth.

During the time that the victuals were cooking, the table was laid. A straw mat was placed upon the ground, and covered with large leaves. For each guest there was a cocoa-nut shell, half-filled with miti, a sourish beverage extracted from the cocoa-palm.

In an hour and a half the victuals were dug up. The pig was neither very artistically cooked nor very enticing, but cut up as quick as lightning, being divided by the hand and knife into as many portions as there were guests, and each person had his share, together with half a bread-fruit, handed to him upon a large leaf. There was no one at our rustic table besides the officer, his mistress, the old Tati, his wife, and myself, as it is contrary to the custom of the country for the host to eat with his guests, or the children with their parents. With the exception of this ceremony, I did not observe any other proof of love or affection between the father and son. The old man, for instance, although ninety years of age, and suffering besides from a violent cough, was obliged to pass the night under nothing but a light roof, open to the weather, while his son slept in his well-closed huts.

On the 5th of May, we left Taipari with empty stomachs, as old Tati was desirous of entertaining us at one of his estates about two hours' journey distant.

On our arrival, and as soon as the stones were heated for our meal, several of the natives out of the neighbouring huts hastened to profit by the opportunity to cook their provisions as well, bringing with them fish, pieces of pork, bread-fruit, plantains, and so on. The fish and meat were enveloped in large leaves. For our use, besides bread-fruit and fish, there was a turtle weighing perhaps more than twenty pounds. The repast was held in a hut, to which the whole neighbourhood also came, and forming themselves into groups a little on one side of us principal guests, eat the provisions they had brought with them. Each person had a cocoa-nut shell full of miti before him; into this he first threw every morsel and took it out again with his hand, and then what remained of the miti was drunk at the end of the meal. We had each of us a fresh cocoa-nut with a hole bored in it, containing at least a pint of clear, sweet- tasting water. This is erroneously termed by us "Milk," but it only becomes thick and milky when the cocoa-nut is very stale, in which condition it is never eaten in these islands.

Tati, with his family, remained here, while we proceeded to Papara, an hour's walk. The road was delightful, leading mostly through thick groves of fruit-trees; but it would not suit a person with a tendency to hydrophobia, for we were obliged to wade through more than half a dozen streams and brooks.

At Papara, Monsieur - -possessed some landed property, with a little wooden four-roomed house, in which he was kind enough to give me a lodging.

We here heard of the death of one of Tati's sons, of which he numbered twenty-one. He had been dead three days, and his friends were awaiting Tati to pay the last honours to the deceased. I had intended to make an excursion to the Lake Vaihiria, but deferred doing so, in order to be present at the burial. On the following morning, 6th May, I paid a visit to the hut of the deceased. Monsieur - -gave me a new handkerchief to take with me as a present - a relic of the old superstition which the people of this island have introduced into Christianity. These presents are supposed to calm the soul of the deceased. The corpse was lying in a narrow coffin, upon a low bier, both of which were covered with a white pall. Before the bier were hung two straw mats, on which were spread the deceased's clothes, drinking vessels, knives, and so forth, while on the other, lay the presents, making quite a heap, of shirts, pareos, pieces of cloth, etc., all so new and good that they might have served to furnish a small shop.

Old Tati soon entered the hut, but quickly returned into the open air, stopping only a few instants, as the corpse was already most offensive. He sat down under a tree, and began talking very quietly and unconcernedly with the neighbours, as if nothing had happened. The female relatives and neighbours remained in the hut; they, too, chatted and gossiped very contentedly, and moreover ate and smoked. I was obliged to have the wife, children, and relations of the deceased pointed out to me, for I was unable to recognise them by their demeanour. In a little time, the stepmother and wife rose, and throwing themselves on the coffin, howled for half an hour; but it was easy to see that their grief did not come from the heart. Their moaning was always pitched in the same monotonous key. Both then returned with smiling faces and dry eyes to their seats, and appeared to resume the conversation at the point at which they had broken it off. The deceased's canoe was burnt upon the shore.

I had seen enough, and returned to my quarters to make some preparations for my trip to the lake the next day. The distance is reckoned to be eighteen miles, so that the journey there and back may be performed in two days with ease, and yet a guide had the conscience to ask ten dollars (2 pounds) for his services. With the assistance of old Tati, however, I procured one for three dollars (12s.).

Pedestrian trips are very fatiguing in Tahiti, since it is so richly watered that the excursionist is constantly obliged to wade through plains of sand and rivers. I was very suitably clothed for the purpose, having got strong men's shoes, without any stockings, trousers, and a blouse, which I had fastened up as high as my hips. Thus equipped I began, on the 7th of May, my short journey, in company with my guide. In the first third of my road, which lay along the coast, I counted about thirty-two brooks which we were obliged to walk through. We then struck off, through ravines, into the interior of the island, first calling, however, at a hut to obtain some refreshment. The inmates were very friendly, and gave us some bread-fruit and fish, but very willingly accepted a small present in exchange.

In the interior, the fine fruit-trees disappear, and their place is supplied by plantains, tarros, and a kind of bush, growing to the height of twelve feet, and called Oputu (Maranta); the last, in fact, grew so luxuriantly, that we frequently experienced the greatest difficulty in making our way through. The tarro, which is planted, is from two to three feet high, and has fine large leaves and tubercles, similar to the potato, but which do not taste very good when roasted. The plantain, or banana, is a pretty little tree, from fifteen to twenty feet high, with leaves like those of the palm, and a stem which is often eight inches in diameter, but is not of wood, but cane, and very easily broken. It belongs properly to the herbiferous species, and grows with uncommon rapidity. It reaches its full growth the first year: in the second it bears fruit, and then dies. It is produced from shoots, which generally spring up near the parent tree.

Through one mountain stream, which chafed along the ravine over a stony bed, and in some places was exceedingly rapid, and, in consequence of the rain that had lately fallen, was frequently more than three feet deep, we had to wade sixty-two times. My guide caught hold of me by the hand whenever we passed a dangerous spot, and dragged me, often half swimming, after him. The water constantly reached above my hips, and all idea of getting dry again was totally out of the question. The path also became at every step more fatiguing and dangerous. I had to clamber over rocks and stones covered to such an extent with the foliage of the oputu that I never knew with any degree of certainty where I was placing my foot. I received several severe wounds on my hands and feet, and frequently fell down on the ground, when I trusted for support to the treacherous stem of a banana, which would break beneath my grasp. It was really a breakneck sort of excursion, which is very rarely made even by the officers, and certainly never by ladies.

In two places the ravine became so narrow, that the bed of the stream occupied its whole extent. It was here that the islanders, during the war with the French, built stone walls five feet in height to protect them against the enemy, in case they should have attacked them from this side.

In eight hours' time we had completed the eighteen miles, and attained an elevation of 1,800 feet. The lake itself was not visible until we stood upon its shores, as it lies in a slight hollow; it is about 800 feet across. The surrounding scenery is the most remarkable. The lake is so closely hemmed in by a ring of lofty and precipitous green mountains, that there is no room even for a footing between the water and the rocks, and its bed might be taken for an extinguished volcano filled with water - a supposition which gains additional force from the masses of basalt which occupy the foreground. It is plentifully supplied with fish, one kind of which is said to be peculiar to the locality; it is supposed that the lake has a subterranean outlet, which as yet remains undiscovered.

To cross the lake, it is either necessary to swim over or trust oneself to a dangerous kind of boat, which is prepared by the natives in a few minutes. Being desirous of making the attempt, I intimated this by signs to my guide. In an instant he tore off some plantain-branches, fastened them together with long, tough grass, laid a few leaves upon them, launched them in the water, and then told me to take possession of this apology for a boat. I must own that I felt rather frightened, although I did not like to say so. I stept on board, and my guide swam behind and pushed me forward. I made the passage to the opposite side and back without any accident, but I was in truth rather alarmed the whole time. The boat was small, and floated under rather than upon the water - there was nothing I could support myself with, and every minute I expected to fall into the lake. I would not advise any one who cannot swim ever to follow my example.

After I had sufficiently admired the lake and the surrounding scenery, we retraced our way for some hundred yards, until we reached a little spot roofed over with leaves. Here my guide quickly made a good fire, after the Indian fashion. He took a small piece of wood, which he cut to a fine point, and then selecting a second piece, he made in it a narrow furrow not very deep. In this he rubbed the pointed stick until the little particles which were detached during the operation began to smoke. These he threw into a quantity of dry leaves and grass which he had got together for the purpose, and swung the whole several times round in the air, until it burst out into flames. The entire process did not take more than two minutes.

For our supper, he gathered a few plantains and laid them on the fire. I profited by the opportunity to dry my clothes, by sitting down near the fire, and turning first one side towards it, and then the other. Half wet through, and tolerably fatigued, I retired to my couch of dry leaves immediately after partaking of our scanty meal.

It is a fortunate circumstance that in these wild and remote districts neither men nor beasts afford the slightest grounds for apprehension; the former are very quiet and peaceably inclined, and, with the exception of a few wild boars, the latter are not dangerous. The island is especially favoured; it contains no poisonous or hurtful insects or reptiles. It is true there are a few scorpions, but so small and harmless, that they may be handled with impunity. The mosquitoes alone were the source of very considerable annoyance, as they are in all southern countries.

8th May. It began to rain very violently during the night, and in the morning I was sorry to see that there was not much hope of its clearing up; on the contrary, the clouds became blacker and blacker, and collecting from all sides, like so many evil spirits, poured down in torrents upon the innocent earth. Nevertheless, in spite of this, there was no other course open to us but to bid defiance to the angry water deity, and proceed upon our journey. In half an hour I was literally drenched; this being the case, I went on uncomplainingly, as it was impossible for me to become wetter than I was.

On my return to Papara, I found that Tati's son was not buried, but the ceremony took place the next day. The clergyman pronounced a short discourse at the side of the grave; and, as the coffin was being lowered, the mats, straw hat, and clothes of the deceased, as well as a few of the presents, were thrown in with it. The relations were present, but as unconcerned as I was myself.

The graveyard was in the immediate vicinity of several murais. The latter are small four-cornered plots of ground surrounded by stone walls three or four feet high, where the natives used to deposit their dead, which were left exposed upon wooden frames until the flesh fell from the bones. These were then collected and buried in some lonely spot.

The same evening I witnessed a remarkable mode of catching fish. Two boys waded out into the sea, one with a stick, and the other with a quantity of burning chips. The one with the stick drove the fish between the rocks, and then hit them, the other lighting him in the meanwhile. They were not very fortunate, however. The more common and successful manner of fishing is with nets.

Almost every day Monsieur - -had visits from officers who were passing, accompanied by their mistresses. The reader may easily imagine that the laws of propriety were not, however, always strictly observed, and as I had no desire to disturb the gentlemen in their intellectual conversation and amusement, I retired with my book into the servants' room. They, too, would laugh and joke, but, at least, in such a manner that there was no occasion to blush for them.

It was highly amusing to hear Monsieur - -launch out in praise of the attachment and gratitude of his Indian beauty; he would have altered his tone had he seen her behaviour in his absence. On one occasion I could not help telling one of the gentlemen my opinion of the matter, and expressing my astonishment that they could treat these grasping and avaricious creatures with such attention and kindness, to load them with presents, anticipate their every wish, and forgive and put up with their most glaring faults. The answer I received was: that these ladies, if not so treated and loaded with presents, would quickly run off, and that, in fact, even by the kindest attentions they never allowed themselves to be influenced very long.

From all I saw, I must repeat my former assertion, that the Tahitian people are endowed with none of the more noble sentiments of humanity, but that their only pleasures are merely animal. Nature herself encourages them to this in an extraordinary manner. They have no need to gain their bread by the sweat of their brow; the island is most plentifully supplied with beautiful fruit, tubercles of all descriptions, and tame pigs, so that the people have really only to gather the fruit and kill the pigs. To this circumstance is to be attributed the difficulty that exists of obtaining any one as servant or in any other capacity. The most wretched journeyman will not work for less than a dollar a-day; the price for washing a dozen handkerchiefs, or any other articles, is also a dollar (4s.), not including soap. A native, whom I desired to engage as guide, demanded a dollar and a half a day.

I returned from Papara to Papeiti in the company of an officer and his native beauty; we walked the thirty-six miles in a day. On our way, we passed the hut of the girl's mother, where we partook of a most splendid dish. It was composed of bread-fruit, mangoes, and bananas, kneaded together into a paste, and cooked upon hot stones. It was eaten, while warm, with a sauce of orange juice.

On taking leave, the officer gave the girl a present of a dollar to give her mother; the girl took it as indifferently as if it were not of the slightest value, and her mother did exactly the same, neither of them pronouncing one word of thanks, or manifesting the least sign of satisfaction.

We now and then came upon some portions of the road, the work of public offenders, that were most excellently constructed. Whenever an Indian is convicted of a crime, he is not chained in a gang, like convicts in Europe, but condemned to make or mend a certain extent of road, and the natives fulfil the tasks thus imposed with such punctuality, that no overseer is ever necessary. This kind of punishment was introduced under King Pomare, and originated with the natives themselves - the Europeans have merely continued the practice.

At Punavia we entered the fort, where we refreshed ourselves, in military fashion, with bread, wine, and bacon, and reached our journey's end at 7 o'clock in the morning.

Besides Papara, I visited also Venus Point, a small tongue of land where Cook observed the transit of Venus. The stone on which he placed his instruments still remains. On my way, I passed the grave, or murai, of King Pomare I. It consists of a small piece of ground, surrounded by a stone wall, and covered with a roof of palm- leaves. Some half-decayed pieces of cloth and portions of wearing apparel were still lying in it.

One of my most interesting excursions, however, was that to Fantaua and the Diadem. The former is a spot which the Indians considered impregnable; but where, nevertheless, they were well beaten by the French during the last war. Monsieur Bruat, the governor, was kind enough to lend me his horses, and to allow me the escort of a non-commissioned officer, who could point out to me each position of the Indians and French, as he had himself been in the engagement.

For more than two hours, we proceeded through horrible ravines, thick woods, and rapid mountain torrents. The ravines often became so narrow as to form so many defiles, with such precipitous and inaccessible sides, that here, as at Thermopylae, a handful of valiant warriors might defy whole armies. As a natural consequence, the entrance of Fantaua is regarded as the real key to the whole island. There was no other means of taking it than by scaling one of its most precipitous sides, and pressing forward upon the narrow ledge of rock above, so as to take the enemy in the rear. The governor, Monsieur Bruat, announced that he would confide this dangerous enterprise to volunteers, and he soon had more than he could employ. From those chosen, a second selection of only sixty- two men was made: these divested themselves of every article of clothing save their shoes and drawers, and took no other arms save their muskets.

After clambering up for twelve hours, and incurring great danger, they succeeded, by the aid of ropes, and by sticking pointed iron- rods and bayonets into the rock, in reaching the crest of the mountain, where their appearance so astonished the Indians, that they lost all courage, threw down their arms, and surrendered. They said that those who were capable of deeds like this, could not be men but spirits, against whom all hopes of resistance were out of the question altogether.

At present, there is a small fort built at Fantaua, and on one of its highest points stands a guard-house. The path leading to it is over a small ledge of rock, skirted on each side by a yawning abyss. Persons affected with giddiness can only reach it with great difficulty, if indeed they can do so at all. In this last case, they are great losers, for the prospect is magnificent in the extreme, extending over valleys, ravines, and mountains without number (among the latter may be mentioned the colossal rock called the "Diadem"), thick forests of palms and other trees; and beyond all these, the mighty ocean, broken into a thousand waves against the rocks and reefs, and in the distance mingling with the azure sky.

Near the fort, a waterfall precipitates itself perpendicularly down a narrow ravine. Unfortunately, the bottom of it is concealed by jutting rocks and promontories, and the volume of water is rather small; otherwise, this fall would, on account of its height, which is certainly more than 400 feet, deserve to be classed among the most celebrated ones with which I am acquainted.

The road from the fort to the Diadem is extremely fatiguing, and fully three hours are required to accomplish the journey. The prospect here is even more magnificent than from the fort, as the eye beholds the sea over two sides of the island at the same time.

This excursion was my last in this beautiful isle, as I was obliged to embark on the next day, the 17th of May. The cargo was cleared, and the ballast taken on board. All articles to which the French troops are accustomed, such as flour, salted meat, potatoes, pulse, wine, and a variety of others, have to be imported. {86}

I felt extremely reluctant to leave; and the only thing that tended at all to cheer my spirits, was the thought of my speedy arrival in China, that most wonderful of all known countries.

We left the port of Papeiti on the morning of the 17th of May, with a most favourable wind, soon passed in safety all the dangerous coral-reefs which surround the island, and in seven hours' time had lost sight of it altogether. Towards evening, we beheld the mountain ranges of the island of Huaheme, which we passed during the night.

The commencement of our voyage was remarkably pleasant. Besides the favourable breeze, which still continued, we enjoyed the company of a fine Belgian brig, the Rubens, which had put to sea at the same time as ourselves. It was seldom that we approached near enough for the persons on board to converse with each other; but whoever is at all acquainted with the endless uniformity of long voyages, will easily understand our satisfaction at knowing we were even in the neighbourhood of human beings.

We pursued the same track as far as the Philippine Islands, but on the morning of the third day our companion had disappeared, leaving us in ignorance whether she had out-sailed us or we her. We were once more alone on the endless waste of waters.

On the 23rd of May, we approached very near to the low island of Penchyn. A dozen or two of the natives were desirous of honouring us with a visit, and pulled stoutly in six canoes towards our ship, but we sailed so fast that they were soon left a long way behind. Several of the sailors affirmed, that these were specimens of real savages, and that we might reckon ourselves fortunate in having escaped their visit. The captain, too, appeared to share this opinion, and I was the only person who regretted not having formed a more intimate acquaintance with them.

28th May. For some days we had been fortunate enough to be visited, from time to time, with violent showers; a most remarkable thing for the time of year in this climate, where the rainy season commences in January and lasts for three months, the sky for the remaining nine being generally cloudless. This present exception was the more welcome from our being just on the Line, where we should otherwise have suffered much from the heat. The thermometer stood at only 81 degrees in the shade, and 97 degrees in the sun.

Today at noon we crossed the Line, and were once more in the northern hemisphere. A Tahitian sucking-pig was killed and consumed in honour of our successful passage, and our native hemisphere toasted in real hock.

On the 4th of June, under 8 degrees North latitude, we beheld again, for the first time, the lovely polar star.

On the 17th of June, we passed so near to Saypan, one of the largest of the Ladrone Islands, that we could make out the mountains very distinctly. The Ladrone and Marianne Islands are situated between the 13 and 21 degrees North latitude, and the 145 and 146 degrees East longitude.

On the 1st of July we again saw land: this time it was the coast of Lucovia, or Luzon, the largest of the Philippines, and lying between the 18 and 19 degrees North latitude, and the 125 and 119 degrees East longitude. The port of Manilla is situated on the southern coast of the island.

In the course of the day we passed the island of Babuan, and several detached rocks, rising, colossus like, from the sea. Four of them were pretty close together, and formed a picturesque group. Some time afterwards we saw two more.

In the night of the 1st-2nd of July, we reached the western point of Luzon, and entered on the dangerous Chinese Sea. I was heartily glad at last to bid adieu to the Pacific Ocean, for a voyage on it is one of the most monotonous things that can be imagined. The appearance of another ship is a rare occurrence; and the water is so calm that it resembles a stream. Very frequently I used to start up from my desk, thinking that I was in some diminutive room ashore; and my mistake was the more natural, as we had three horses, a dog, several pigs, hens, geese, and a canary bird on board, all respectively neighing, barking, grunting, cackling, and singing, as if they were in a farm-yard.

6th July. For the first few days after entering the Chinese sea, we sailed pretty well in the same fashion we had done in the Pacific - proceeding slowly and quietly on our way. Today we beheld the coast of China for the first time, and towards evening we were not more than thirty-three miles from Macao. I was rather impatient for the following morning. I longed to find my darling hope realized, of putting my foot upon Chinese ground. I pictured the mandarins with their high caps, and the ladies with their tiny feet, when in the middle of the night the wind shifted, and on the 7th of July we had been carried back 115 miles. In addition to this, the glass fell so low, that we dreaded a Tai-foon, which is a very dangerous kind of storm, or rather hurricane, that is very frequent in the Chinese sea during the months of July, August, and September. It is generally first announced by a black cloud on the horizon, with one edge dark red, and the other half-white; and this is accompanied by the most awful torrents of rain, by thunder, lightning, and the violent winds, which arise simultaneously on all sides, and lash the waters up mountains high. We took every precaution in anticipation of our dangerous enemy, but for once they were not needed: either the hurricane did not break out at all, or else it broke out at a great distance from us; for we were only visited by a trifling storm of no long duration.

On the 8th of July we again reached the vicinity of Macao, and entered the Straits of Lema. Our course now lay between bays and reefs, diversified by groups of the most beautiful islands, offering a series of most magnificent and varied views.

On the 9th of July we anchored in Macao Roads. The town, which belongs to the Portuguese, and has a population of 20,000 inhabitants, is beautifully situated on the sea-side, and surrounded by pleasing hills and mountains. The most remarkable objects are the palace of the Portuguese governor, the Catholic monastery of Guia, the fortifications, and a few fine houses which lie scattered about the hills in picturesque disorder.

Besides a few European ships, there were anchored in the roads several large Chinese junks, while a great number of small boats, manned by Chinese, were rocking to and fro around us.