Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/26

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6
A LADYS CRUISE.

curiosity prevails concerning its ingredients, which I, unfortunately, am not able to satisfy.

We are now about 250 miles east of Fiji, and sighted land this afternoon; we have just anchored off Tonga, which certainly compares unfavourably with our beautiful Fijian isles. This is the dullest, flattest land I have yet seen—a low shore, fringed with long lines of cocoa-palm, which, seen from the sea, are singularly monotonous. The king's town, Nukualofa, consists of a long row of more or less ugly villas, stores, and barracks, built of wood and painted white: one is bright green. The houses are roofed with zinc or shingle, and the general effect is that of a new English watering-place. King George's palace is a rather handsome wooden building like a hotel, and is reserved for his guests. The Government offices occupy another wooden building, and just beyond them is the printing-office, in which a few books, a magazine, and an almanac, are printed in the native tongue. A large Wesleyan church, painted white, and with a very small steeple, stands on a green hill on the site of an old fortification, and close to it is the house of Mr Baker, Wesleyan missionary.

About a mile and a half along the shore is another village called Maofanga, where there is another Wesleyan church, but it is chiefly a Roman Catholic settlement; and near a neat thatched chapel of the true Tongan type, I see a long pleasant-looking bungalow, which I am told is a convent, the home of a society of French Sisters. To-morrow morning I hope to go ashore and see everything.


Saturday Night,
In my Cell, Convent of the Immaculate
Conception, Maofanga.

You see my experiences are rapidly enlarging. I have to-day made my very first acquaintance with conventual life, and am greatly interested by it, and by the exceedingly ladylike kind women who, at a hint from the bishop, invited me to stay with them as long as the ship is in harbour, and have given me this clean, tidy wee room, which, though not luxurious, is some degrees