Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/326

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294
A LADY'S CRUISE

forth be the regular headquarters of all Mooreans who have occasion to visit Papeete. The house was finished this morning, and the event was notified by a most deafening beating of native drums, after which all the boats set sail, very sensibly objecting to lose the fair breeze by any delay. M. Brun arrived in time to see them flying before the wind, like a flight of white butterflies.

I solaced myself by commencing a careful study of a noble bread-fruit tree, overshadowing Queen Moë's house, when suddenly a cry was raised that an English man-of-war was signalled. Great was the excitement that prevailed, as it is fully four years since the British ensign was last seen in this harbour, and there was a general chorus of disappointment when it was found that the visitor was only a small sloop, H.M.S. Daring; a disappointment, however, which was followed by great rejoicing, when it became known that she was the forerunner of H.M.S. Shah, Admiral de Horsey's flag-ship, which is to arrive here in a few days. Already the small society of the place is in a ferment at the prospect of so important a visitor; and the arrival of about fifty English officers will compensate for the departure of the French flag-ship. So all manner of hospitalities are already under discussion, as we gathered from the general conversation at the band this evening.

I shall leave this letter to go by H.M.S. Daring, in case she sails before I return from Moorea; so shall bid you good-bye for the present.




CHAPTER XX.

VISIT TO THE PROTESTANT MISSION ON MOOREA—A SKETCH OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE MISSION.
Chez Madame Brun, Papetoai, Moorea,
Saturday, 8th.

I am safely ensconced in this most charming little home, and very glad indeed to have reached it, for we have had rather a tiring day. Mrs Green most kindly gave me breakfast at five, that