Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/323

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congregation is large—merely a small handful of natives; such of the French as are compelled to be present at all, having already been in official attendance at the eight o'clock military Mass, which is to me a very distasteful form of worship. I think that good Père Collet looks on me as rather a hopeful convert; but I tell him I only appear as the representative of my naval friends, who all consider church-going in any form as altogether unnecessary, neither officers nor sailors ever attending service since our arrival here.

After church, we went to breakfast on board Le Seignelay, and then to see Queen Marau, whom we escorted to the Government House gardens, where we were joined by several friends. The great attractions there are two newly arrived Russian bears, passengers by Le Limier—nice brown beasts, and very tame.

We returned here just in time for the family dinner, from which, as usual, Mrs Brander and I made our way to the evening service at the little Congregational chapel, at which only a tiny handful of the foreign residents assemble. All the members of the Protestant mission officiate by turns, in French or English; and this evening M. Vernier conducted the service in admirable English. But a strong counter-attraction is offered by the pleasant gardens, where the band always reserves its most attractive programme for Sunday night; and we catch tempting snatches of lovely operatic airs as we walk homeward by the hybiscus-shaded lanes.

Fautawa Valley, Thursday, 6th Dec.

Last Monday the whole party moved out from Papeete to this lovely country-home. It is a delightful bungalow, built by Mr Brander—a cool one-storeyed house, with wide shady verandahs; a pleasant garden, bright with summer flowers; masses of cool shade; and a clear, beautiful river, which affords a dozen delightful bathing-places of varied depth, so that every one can select a spot according to his own heart's desire. All the family and their friends can swim like fishes, so of course they prefer the deep pools, and have a favourite spot just below the house, where they disport