Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/229

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probably uncultivated. The himènes at Tautira were exceedingly pretty, and we left that pleasant "world's end" with much regret. The carriage-road does not extend round the peninsula, so we had to return to the isthmus to start afresh. We reached Taravou in time for dinner, and found the roses beautiful as before.

In a Native House, Teahaupoo,
Saturday, 20th.

Early this morning we were once more en route, and drove to the other side of the peninsula, which is, if possible, even lovelier than what we saw yesterday. Marau and the king had preceded us to the village of Vairao, where the ladies had employed the morning in preparing garlands of a white flower, like jessamine, with which they crowned us. This village is poor; so instead of receiving us in a fine district house, the people had erected very picturesque booths on three sides of a square. The chorus-singers were grouped on the grass in the centre, where were also heaped up the usual ceremonial offerings of fruit and pigs—apparently for show—as there is always an ample supply of food on the tables.

Here, in addition to the usual vegetables, yams, and taro, sweet-potatoes, bread-fruit, and faees roasted in wood-ashes, we had calabashes of sticky poi, which is a preparation of ripe bread-fruit, greatly in favour with the natives, and which in old times was the principal food of this island, as it still is in Hawaii. I do not think it was ever used in the isles further west, where the bread-fruit is a very inferior tree to what it is in this, its native home. Most of the poi which is consumed in Hawaii is made from taro, and is of a pinkish colour. Here taro is the luxury, bread-fruit the staff of life, so it alone is used. When eaten fresh with milk it tastes rather like gooseberry-fool; but the natives prefer it fermented, and consequently sour.

The pulpy fruit is first pounded with a stone pestle in a wooden bowl, till it attains the consistency of dough. It is then wrapped in leaves and baked in an earth-oven over red-hot stones. Finally,