Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/217

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189
ENCHANTING SCENERY.

of the mountain-summits, tells that even there, the same wealth of all things beautiful abounds.

This was the panorama that rose on our left hand as we drove along the shore. On our right, like a silver shield, lay the calm glittering lagoon, reflecting, as in a mirror, the grand masses of white cloud, and bounded by the long line of breakers, flashing as they dashed on the barrier-reef. Beyond these lay outspread the vast Pacific, its deep purple flecked with white crests, telling how briskly the trade-winds blew outside. And far on the horizon, the rugged peaks of Moorea rose, clear and beautiful, robed in ethereal lilac. Far above our heads the light fronds of the cocoa-palm interlaced, forming a fairy canopy, through which we looked up to the clearest blue heaven. I think it must be a cold unthankful heart that could so look up, without some echo of the Benedicite

"O ye mountains and hills, ye seas and floods, all ye green things upon the earth,
Bless ye the Lord! praise Him and magnify Him for ever."

Two hours' drive brought us to Papara, where a very grand reception awaited the young king and queen. Mrs Salmon, the queen's mother, had assembled all her vassals in most imposing array; and a double row of himène singers lined the road, singing choruses of congratulation, taken up alternately on the right hand and on the left. The effect was very pretty. Many relations of the family had also assembled to greet their royal kinsfolk.

Very quaint handsome tiputas were presented to the king and the admiral. These are ceremonial garments, reaching from the neck to the knee, made from the fibre of bread-fruit bark, and covered with flowers and twists of the glossy arrowroot fibre, each stitched on separately. To the queen, the admiral, and myself, were presented most lovely crowns of the same silvery arrowroot; while for the gentlemen were provided garlands and necklaces of fragrant white or yellow blossoms, and charming hats of white bamboo fibre, manufactured by the ladies and their attendants.

I may as well tell you how the lovely arrowroot fibre is obtained.