Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/398

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as I looked on it all with the sorrowful feeling that it was for the last time.

Several bridges had been washed away during a recent storm—the same which wrought such devastation in the Paumotus—so we had to cross the rivers at the mouth, by driving quite into the sea. It was rather nervous work, as the horses did not like it at all. But otherwise, the beautiful grass roads were in excellent condition, and we had four changes of very good horses, so the drive was most delightful.

Now the beautiful isle lies far behind us, fading into the blue distance, and we are fairly started on our far journey.

Small as is our ship, she is in every respect satisfactory, and as clean and cosy as a gentleman's yacht. I never saw so small a vessel carry so much sail,—truly our Paloma deserves her name, for she is now flying before the breeze like a swift white-winged carrier-pigeon, bearing many a letter.[1]

She also carries 270,000 oranges—a fragrant cargo. They are gathered unripe, to be ready for the market on our arrival. Probably, if we make a slow voyage, we shall seriously diminish their numbers! On their account, every part of the ship is kept as cool and airy as possible.

Our cabins are excellent. Mine is large and comfortable, and has two windows opening on to the deck, so that they need never be shut unless weather is very bad. The table is excellent, the service quiet and attentive. Our Danish captain is an exceedingly good fellow, as is also his wife, who travels with him. The cook and steward, and the two mates, are Swedes and Germans. Seven Rarotongans compose the crew: all are very quiet and silent. So is little Edith, with her cat and kitten. The canary is the only noisy person on board, and sings joyously.

We are starting as it were on a long yachting cruise in summer seas.

Saturday, April 20th,
Still on Board the Paloma.

Our summer cruise has lasted six weeks; we have made about

  1. Paloma—a dove.