Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/21

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A LADY'S CRUISE
IN A FRENCH MAN-OF-WAR.

CHAPTER I.

LETTER TO ENGLAND ANNOUNCING START FROM FIJI—VAGUE PLANS.

Nasova, Fiji, 5th Sept. 1877.

My dear Eisa,—I have only time for a line, to enclose a packet of seed of a lovely shrub which bears clusters of golden bells. Also to tell you that I am just starting for a cruise in a French man-of-war, the Seignelay, commanded by Captain Aube, who is taking Monseigneur Elloi, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Samoa, a round of his diocese. Both are exceedingly pleasant, and have made themselves much liked here. The officers are a particularly gentleman-like set. Judge of my amazement (accustomed to the rigid regulations of the English navy), when these, as one man, echoed an invitation given to me by the commander, to go for a cruise over half the South Seas, where they purpose touching at many isles, which I could by no possibility have any other chance of seeing. Several of these most kind friends had placed their cabins at the disposal of the captain, that he might offer me whichever he considered most suitable. For the first day or two after this invitation was made, we all treated it as a pleasant joke, never