Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/23

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ON BOARD LE SEIGNELAY.

Now I must finish my packing, which requires a good deal of consideration in case it should turn out that my locomotive demon urges me onward, and that I do visit the Hawaiian Isles, and then Tasmania, ere returning here.

I wish you could see my room here, now. It really is a museum—the walls covered with trophies of all the strange Fijian things I have collected during the last two years, I have just finished a series of about sixty studies of Fijian pottery, representing a hundred and fifty pieces, all different, and made without any wheel, by the wives of the poor fishermen. Some of the forms are most artistic, and the colour is very rich. No time for more. I will write next from Tonga.




CHAPTER II.

LIFE IN A FRENCH MAN-OF-WAR—CONVENT-LIFE IN TONGA—EARLY MARTYRS—WESLEYAN MISSION—ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSION—CYCLOPEAN TOMBS AT MUA—GIGANTIC TRILITHON—FINES AND TAXES—KING GEORGE TUPOU.
On Board Le Seignelay, off Tongatabu,
Friday, 7th Sept. 1877.

Dear Lady Gordon,—I may as well begin a letter at once, in case of a chance of posting it by some stray ship, but as yet there is none even on the horizon.

Is it possible that it was only last Wednesday afternoon when you and Jack left me on board the Seignelay to try an entirely new experiment in ship-life—only three days since we ate our first méringues in that charming little dining-room, of which I now feel such a thoroughly old inhabitant? I can scarcely believe it.

Still more wonderful, is it scarcely a fortnight since I first met the amethystine bishop, and this extraordinarily kind captain, who both seem like real old friends, as do, indeed, all the people on board, from the officers and quartermasters, down to Antoine, the Italian maître d'hôtel, who takes me under his especial charge, and