Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/394

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as grim ornaments for his dining-room. Anaa was the principal settlement in the Paumotu group. The storm did not actually break there till the 7th February, though for some hours previously the barometer had been falling steadily, marking a descent from 30.10 on the morning of the 6th to 29.24 on the afternoon of the 7th.

This so alarmed Mr Boosey that he proceeded to move some of his goods to a large native house built on the highest point of the island, which, however, did not exceed twenty-five feet above the sea-level. His neighbours, like those of Noah of old, somewhat derided his precautions; but even he had saved comparatively little, when the sea came pouring in over the reef in mighty waves, which swept all before them, almost entirely covering the island. When, on the morning of the 8th, the waters receded, a mass of broken timbers and rubbish alone remained to mark where, but a few short hours previously, had stood about 150 buildings of one sort or another. All the boats were destroyed, and the whole land strewn with fallen palms, lying tossed about at every conceivable angle. The destruction of cocoa-palms throughout the group is reckoned at two millions; and as these are the chief wealth, indeed the principal means of subsistence, of the people, and as it takes about eight years for a young palm to attain maturity, you can in a measure realise the loss thus represented, and the time that must elapse ere the poor Paumotus recover from the effects of this terrible storm. The Ségond reports that the sea for many miles around the group is so encumbered with wreckage of every sort, as seriously to endanger navigation.

Papeete, February 26th.

The chief interest of daily life is watching for vessels. The mail from San Francisco is late, and of the long-looked-for ship from the Sandwich Isles nothing further has been heard. Both ships belong to Mrs Brander. The former—the Paloma—is called after her little daughter; the latter—the Maramma—bears one of her own names. A hundred times a-day we look up to the semaphore to see whether the signals reveal any hint of the returning