Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/204

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present arms, kneel, stand up, &c., obedient to a loud word of command, which, indeed, is the only word spoken aloud till the final benediction and short chant. The organ plays the whole time, and the congregation attend to their private devotions, or do not, as the case may be. Apparently the fact of being present is sufficient. Very few Tahitians attend the eight o'clock Mass. The general congregation assemble at nine, when the service is audible, and a sermon is preached, partly in Tahitian, partly in French.

After church we went to see the Sisters, some of whom are engaged in nursing at the hospital, while the others teach in their own school. Returning to the British consulate, we found a pleasant naval breakfast-party; after which we enjoyed a calm peaceful afternoon here, while Mr Green was engaged with some of his teachers and classes. He has the charge of a very large native church here, where he holds forenoon service, but frequently has occasion to visit churches in other parts of the isle; and one of the many irritating French regulations forbids his preaching in any church but his own without a special permit, which has to be applied for, and granted afresh, every week, and is often delayed till the very last moment, so that he has to wait with his horse ready harnessed, and then probably drive much faster than he wishes, to reach his destination in time.

As each member of the mission has his own native work to attend to, and as every one in the island understands Tahitian, the only foreign service is one held on alternate Sunday evenings by Mr Green and the French pasteurs. This evening it was in English, according to the Congregational form, and ended with the Holy Communion.

We had a lovely walk home, but remarked that the Parisian observance of Sunday as a jour de fête has superseded that very sacred reverence for the Lord's Day, which is so striking a feature in most of the Christianised isles. To-night the crowd at the band was larger and noisier than usual, owing to the presence of many French sailors, some of whom were nearly as drunk as an average set of blue-jackets, under similar circumstances, would probably have been.