Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/186

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one storey high, with verandah, on to which all rooms alike open—by far the coolest and most suitable form of building for the tropics. But there are a number of two and three storeyed houses in the town, inhabited by French officials and foreign merchants—notably the French governor's house, and the unfinished "palace," which has been in slow progress for many years.

At the former, Admiral Serre now holds the reins. Stern though he be in public matters, he is wonderfully kind and pleasant socially, and seems to guide his iron hand with much wisdom in carrying out the course of action he has marked out for himself. As you know, he had scarcely determined on taking the government into his own hands when Queen Pomare died quite suddenly, to the exceeding grief of her people. Great was their anxiety as to what course the French would now adopt,—the royal family being so much at sixes and sevens that there was very good reason to fear that even the semblance of the ancient rule would henceforth be dispensed with.

Instead of this, the admiral devoted his whole energies to bringing together its various branches—healing their breaches, inculcating sobriety (with marvellous success so far), and generally getting them into a satisfactory condition. Queen Pomare's two eldest sons, Ariiaue and Tamatoa, have been very naughty boys, in most respects. The former has married a very handsome girl, aged seventeen—Marau Salmon; but hitherto the marriage has not proved happy. Tamatoa was for a while King of Raiatea; but was apt to carry on such dangerous games when he was drunk, that his subjects drove him out of the island. He is, however, very clever and amusing, and is blessed with an adoring wife—a very charming and excellent woman, as good as she is bonnie; Moë is her pretty name. Queen Pomare's third son, Joinville, died leaving a son. The fourth, Tevii Tapunui, is a very good fellow, but sadly lame.

Well, by dint of coaxing and reasoning, and by turns assuming the part of father and "governor," the admiral first of all persuaded Ariiaue and Marau to make up the peace, and then proclaimed them King and Queen as Pomare V. and Marau Pomare—a cere-