Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/183

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157
SORROWFUL PARTINGS.

I must close this letter, as the little mail-schooner Nautilus sails for San Francisco in the morning, taking as passengers Monseigneur Elloi and M. Pinart. They hope to be able so to represent matters at Washington and in Paris as to put the Samoan episode in the best possible light.

I grieve to say the bishop is very ill; all these worries are very trying to him, and he loses ground daily. The prospect of so long a voyage in a little schooner of about 200 tons, with very mixed society, is anything but pleasant for an invalid, and a trying change from the comforts of the big ship. The actual distance is 4000 miles, and the voyage may be made in twenty-five days. But with contrary winds, the distance is sometimes increased to 6000 miles, and the voyage occupies six weeks! So I cannot tell at what date this letter will reach you.—Good-bye.[1]


Chez the Rev. James Green,
London Mission, 9th Oct.

To-day has concluded the tragedy. Last night (after a farewell dinner with his officers, and a few touching last words to his men, who wept bitterly, sobbing aloud like children, and who cheered him lustily as he left the ship) Commandant Aube came ashore to take leave of his friends here, and at the British consulate. He was accompanied by his faithful dog, Fox, a poor sickly hound, on whom he has lavished infinite care and kindness throughout the voyage, but which he will leave here in charge of a Tahitian; so he starts on this sad voyage without even his dog as a companion. We escorted him to the shore, and sorrowfully watched his boat making for La Loire, the old line-of-battle ship, which sailed this morning with so sad a company. The poor Seignelay had the odious task of towing her out of harbour; and, as the ships parted, all the men burst into uncontrollable shouts of "Vive notre commandant!"—a spontaneous demonstration, which must have been more satisfactory to its hero than to the stern admiral.

  1. The good bishop had the satisfaction of reaching la belle France, and there effectually pleading the cause of his friend, ere he laid down the burden of life, which he had borne with so much anxious care for the weal of his people. He died very shortly after his return to Europe.