Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/231

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PITILESS RAIN.

have yet heard, and you can understand that we are by this time quite connoisseurs in this peculiar music. The Upa-upa was danced with unusual zest, but was none the less ungraceful.

Another most exquisite drive brought us to Teahaupoo, where we wandered about, lost in admiration, while the king and the admiral were undergoing the usual official speeches. The feast this evening was rather dull, being spread along one side of a very long and dimly lighted table. Of course we always require artificial light for dinner, as, in the tropics, the sun sets all the year round at about six o'clock, rising at about the same hour in the morning. We often think enviously of your long summer twilight. But then, on the other hand, we have no short, dark, winter days. Again to-night the himène singing was unusually fascinating. It varies much, and the most charming glees are those which are most suggestive of musical chimes.

Queen Marau offered me quarters in the large native house awarded to her and Ariiaue. It consisted of one large room without divisions, containing several good beds, with the usual pretty bright quilts and mosquito-nets. We curtained off one end of the room for the king and an old chief, and they are now sleeping peacefully, as we should also be doing—so good-night.


Taravou, Sunday, 21st.

Being a light sleeper, I was awakened long before dawn by hearing Ariiaue and his companion astir, and soon after 4 a.m. they started for Afaahiti, the king's own village. The rain was pouring in a pitiless, relentless fashion; and beat in beneath the wide eaves against the open walls of our bird-cage house. Still we would fain have stayed where we were, and reluctantly obeyed the order to be en voiture at seven o'clock, to return to the isthmus. The rain never ceased, and all the beauty which gladdened us yesterday was invisible. Only sheets of grey drifting cloud, and dripping trees, dripping carriages, horses, and umbrellas. We left Marau at Afaahiti, while we drove on to these now familiar quarters, where I have the luxury of a large, good room. Of