Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/396

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either of the missing ships, to decide by which route to tear myself away from the Tahitian paradise, and all the kind, kind people in it, to whom it owes half its charm.

March 5th.

Misfortunes never do come singly, and really it seems as if every vessel that has come in of late has brought tidings of some fresh loss. Of those for which we watched so anxiously, the first to arrive was the Paloma, from San Francisco. Great was the joy when she was sighted, great the dismay when it became known that she brought no mails. It appears that she had been becalmed on her voyage to 'Frisco, and so had arrived late. The French consul there, sooner than allow one day's delay in starting the return mail, had chartered another vessel, the Bonanza, to bring it down, at a cost to the Paloma of 2000 dollars. The latter had to wait several days in San Francisco for cargo; and nevertheless, though the Bonanza is accounted a swift sailer, the Paloma reached Honolulu several days before her. She brought news that the Maramma got into so many difficulties at the Hawaiian Isles that Aleck Brander deemed it best to take passage by the mail-steamer up to San Francisco, intending to return thence in the Paloma; but finding that the Bonanza was chartered for an immediate start, he decided to come by her, and so has only just arrived, after both the other ships had been some days in harbour.

The Maramma has had quite a chapter of accidents. After making an excellent run to Honolulu, she went down to Kauai to ship cattle, when it was discovered that she had sprung a serious leak, and had nine feet of water in her hold. Happily she was so close inshore that she landed all her cargo without difficulty. A Government steamer was sent down to tow her back to Honolulu, at a cost of 3000 dollars. Another 1000 dollars were there expended on repairs, and to this must be added 2000 more of dead loss on the voyage,—and all this was due to one rat-hole!

Now she is undergoing further repairs here, and will very likely be despatched to Hawaii in a very few days, in which case she will probably go direct to Kauai, the most beautiful, and least visited,