Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/265

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233
DOUBTS.

many pleasant days (and of sad ones too); and I would fain be going on with the good ship now, for I sorely regret the approaching end of my travels in these parts.

To-night we dined at Mrs Brander's. The party included a large number of officers from the Magicienne. It was a farewell entertainment, as Mrs Brander's son Aleck and Mr Darsie both go to Honolulu in the Maramma (the latter en route to England). They too are going to see the volcanoes; but if they are rightly informed concerning the trips of the little Hawaiian steamer, I begin to have very grave doubts of the possibility of my visiting the southern isles at all, if I attempt to carry out my programme, even supposing we have a fair wind and quick passage to Honolulu, which is more than doubtful.


Friday, 9th.

A wretched sleepless night, worrying over plans. Difficulties always do exaggerate themselves so absurdly if one lies awake. Out at daybreak to get a sketch from the shore. It is all working against time, and my heap of unfinished drawings is a serious nightmare. I have been struggling to get several duplicate sketches finished for various friends, and I feel like a graphic barrel-organ—an unreasoning machine for the multiplication of drawings; and the ever-recurring thought arises, Why not stay and have the delight of working from nature, as the kind friends here advise, when after all it is more than probable that the Christmas tryst will fall through? But anyhow, I have missed the chance of Les Marquises, and it would seem too silly to change my mind now.

Mrs Brander came to-day to say good-bye, but added emphatically, "You're not gone yet, however!" There's no doubt that her invitation to stay on is quite bonâ fide; but for two months at least! What a visitation to inflict on any one!

Mrs Miller drove me to call on the Bishop of Axieri, Monseigneur Tepano Janssen, who is most kind and courteous. He showed us all over his grounds, which are literally a garden of acclimatisation, so numerous are the useful plants of other lands which he