Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/284

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On the island of Hiva-oa (or Dominica), in the valley of Ta-oa, about one mile and a half from the beach, and about 300 feet above the level of the sea, there is a hole two inches in diameter, from which, when the sea is rough, there rises a strongly sulphurous steam, accompanied by a loud noise, like the steam-pipe of a steamer. When the water is smooth there is only a slight noise and no steam, only a strong smell of sulphur.

My attention has just been called to an exceedingly interesting letter from the Rev. Titus Coan, which appeared ten years ago in a Hawaiian paper. He had just returned to Honolulu after visiting the Marquesas in the little mission-ship Morning Star. He speaks of the foreign settlement at Taiohae or Nukuheva, as having been allowed to fall into great disrepair. The jetty, the forts, the arsenal, the fine road sweeping round the head of the bay—in fact, all the former works and improvements of the French—are fast going to decay, and only a few hundred natives, in place of the thousands of a few years earlier.

He was most courteously received by the French bishop, who gave him much information about the people, and spoke hopefully of progress made on the north-west isles of the group, though the pagan tribes on the windward isles, especially on Dominica and Magdalena, were still wild and defiant.

Mr Coan then visited the convent, where the French Sisters devote their lives to the training of Marquesan girls. About sixty girls board in the large airy house, their ages ranging from four to sixteen—happy, healthy-looking girls, lovingly taught by gentle, highly educated French ladies, and everything done to make their lives so cheery, that there may be no hankering for heathen pleasures. Of these girls, Mr Coan remarks that he has rarely seen more perfect specimens of physical organisation, brighter faces, or more active minds, than among the Marquesan children, many of whom are beautiful, bright, and blithesome.

A corresponding school for boys is established, under a French secular teacher.

Though the settlement of Taiohae cannot be reckoned as very "go-ahead," it certainly sounds as if it might be a singularly attrac-