Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/267

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235
A REPRIEVE.

in Eighty Days.' They say that to attempt fitting the Sandwich Isles volcanoes into the time is preposterous folly. I think they are right, but it is too late to change now. What further concerns me is the thought, which had not previously presented itself, that very likely, after all this pushing and scrambling, and spoiling everything by useless hurry, Lady Gordon may have given up the idea, and may stay quietly in Fiji till she is obliged to take the children direct to England,[1] and I may never know this till I reach Sydney.


Saturday, 10th.

Another weary night—perplexing and conflicting suggestions—the horrid feeling of being disloyal to a tryst, yet the certainty that nowhere else shall I find such beauty as I am leaving. Those unsketched dolomites of Moorea—those ferny ravines all unexplored—those glorious valleys of bread-fruit—the himènes that I shall never hear again! And every one agrees in telling me that the Hawaiian Isles are not to compare with these in beauty,—that the hills are comparatively shapeless, the foliage poor, the bread-fruit sickly and blighted, the cocoa-palms mere ghosts of their southern relations, and the mangoes miserable fruits, not worthy to bear the same name as the luscious mangoes of Tahiti. They tell me, too, that the people are much less attractive; that they have taken on so much blunt civilisation, that they have lost whatever native grace they may have once possessed. Even the same garment—the flowing sacque—is there worn so short and full that it is scarcely to be recognised, and instead of floating drapery it becomes a mere dress.[2]

Well, I must now begin my packing. There will be time enough for writing before we reach Honolulu.


Papeete, Saturday Afternoon.

Jubilate! Jubilate! The Maramma is to start in an hour, but will leave me to revel in South Sea loveliness till her next trip.

  1. Which proved to be the exact state of the case.
  2. " All of which I found to be strictly true. Undoubtedly, the ideal Pacific Isles lie south of the equator.