A Woman's Journey Round the World
by Ida Pfeiffer
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16th December. After having completely recovered ourselves from the fatigues of our yesterday's ride, our first thought was to view the curiosities of the town. We asked our hospitable host for information on this point, but he merely shrugged his shoulders, and said, that he knew of no curiosities, unless, indeed, we chose to look upon the Botanical Garden in the light of one.

We went out, therefore, after breakfast, and first of all viewed the town: where we found that the number of large and well-built houses was, in comparison to the size of the two places, greater than in Rio Janeiro, although even here, there was nothing like taste or peculiar architectural style. The streets are tolerably wide, but present an extraordinarily deserted appearance, the universal silence being broken only by the insupportable creaking of the country people's carts. These carts rest upon two wheels, or rather two wooden disks, which are often not even hooped with iron to keep them together. The axle, which is likewise of wood, is never greased, and thus causes the demoniacal kind of music to which I alluded.

A peculiarity of dress, very remarkable in this hot climate, is here prevalent: all the men, with the exception of the slaves, wear large cloth cloaks, one half of which they throw over their shoulder; I even saw a great many women enveloped in long, broad cloth capes.

In St. Paulo there is a High School. Those who study there, and come from the country or the smaller towns, are exposed to the inconvenience of being refused lodgings under any one's roof. They are obliged to hire and furnish houses for themselves, and be their own housekeepers.

We visited several churches which possess very little worth looking at, either inside or out, and then concluded by proceeding to the Botanical Garden, which also contains no object of any interest, with the exception of a plantation of Chinese teas.

All our sight-seeing did not occupy us more than a few hours, and we could very conveniently have begun our journey back to Santos the next morning; but the Frenchman, who, on account of the great fatigue he had suffered, had not accompanied us in our walk, begged us to put off our return for half a day longer, and to arrange it in such a manner, that we should pass the night in Rio Grande. We willingly acceded to his wish, and set out upon the afternoon of the 17th, after thanking our kind host most cordially for his hospitable entertainment. In Rio Grande we found an excellent supper, convenient sleeping apartments, and a good breakfast the next morning. About 12 o'clock on the 18th of December, we arrived safely in Santos, and the Frenchman then confessed to us he had felt so fatigued on arriving at St. Paulo, from his long ride, that he was afraid of being seriously ill. However, he recovered himself completely in a few days, but assured us, that it would be some time before he again accompanied us on one of our trips.

The first question we put to the captain was: "When do you weigh anchor?" to which he very politely replied, that as soon as he had cleared out 200 tons of coal, and shipped 6,000 sacks of sugar, he should be ready to set sail, and in consequence of this we had to remain three whole weary weeks in Santos.

We were still in Santos when we celebrated New-Year's Day, 1847, and at last, on the 2nd of January, were lucky enough to bid the town adieu; but did not proceed far, for in the first bay the wind fell, and did not spring up again till after midnight. It was now Sunday, and no true Englishman will set sail on a Sunday; we remained, therefore, lying at anchor the whole of the 3rd of January, looking with very melancholy feelings after two ships, whose captains, in spite of the holiness of the day, had profited by the fresh breeze, and sailed gaily past us.

On the same evening we saw a vessel, which our captain affirmed was a slaver, run into the bay. It kept as far as possible from the fort, and cast anchor at the most outward extremity of the bay. As the night was clear and moonlight we walked late upon deck, when, true enough, we saw little boats laden with negroes pulling in shore. An officer, indeed, came from the fort to inquire into the doings of this suspicious craft; but the owner seemed to afford him a satisfactory account, for he left the ship, and the slaves continued during the whole night to be quietly and undisturbedly smuggled in as before.

On the morning of the 4th of January, as we sailed past the vessel, we beheld a great number of the poor creatures still standing upon the deck. Our captain inquired of the slave-dealer how many slaves he had had on board, and we learned with astonishment that the number amounted to 670. Much has already been said and written upon this horrible trade; it is everywhere execrated, and looked upon as a blot on the human race, and yet it still continues to flourish.

This day promised to turn out a very melancholy one in many respects. We had hardly lost sight of the slaver before one of our own crew had nearly committed suicide. The steward, a young mulatto, had contracted the bad habit of indulging too much in liquor. The captain had often threatened to punish him severely, but all to no purpose; and this morning he was so intoxicated that the sailors were obliged to lay him in a corner of the forecastle, where he might sleep himself sober. Suddenly, however, he leapt up, clambered on to the forepart of the ship, and threw himself into the sea. Luckily, it was almost a calm, the water was quite still, and we had hopes of saving him. He soon reappeared at the side of the vessel, and ropes were thrown him from every side. The love of life was awakened in his breast, and caused him to grasp involuntarily at the ropes, but he had not strength enough to hold on. He again sank, and it was only after great exertion that the brave sailors succeeded in rescuing him from a watery grave. Hardly had he recovered his senses ere he endeavoured to throw himself in again, exclaiming that he had no wish to live. The man was raving mad, and the captain was obliged to have him bound hand and foot, and chained to the mast. On the following day he was deprived of his office, and degraded to the rank of subordinate to a new steward.

5th January. Mostly calms. Our cook caught, today, a fish three feet long, and remarkable for the manner in which it changed colour. When it came out of the water it was a bright yellow, to which colour it owes its name of Dorado. At the expiration of one or two minutes the brilliant yellow changed into a light sky-blue, and after its death its belly again turned to a beautiful light yellow, but the back was a brownish green. It is reckoned a great delicacy, but, for my own part, I found its flesh rather dry.

On the 9th of January we were off the Rio Grande. In the evening everything seemed to promise a violent storm; the captain consulted his barometer every second almost, and issued his orders according to its indications. Black clouds now began to drive towards us, and the wind increased to such a pitch that the captain had all the hatchways carefully fastened down, and the crew ready to reef the sails at a moment's notice. At a little past 8, the hurricane broke forth. Flash after flash of lightning darted across the horizon from every side, and lighted the sailors in their work; the agitated waves being illuminated with the most dazzling brilliancy. The majestic rolling of the thunder drowned the captain's voice, and the white foaming billows broke with such terrific force over the deck, that it appeared as if they would carry everything with them into the depths of the ocean. Unless there had been ropes stretched on each side of the ship for the sailors to catch hold of, the latter would most certainly have been washed away. Such a storm as this affords much food for reflection. You are alone upon the boundless ocean, far from all human help, and feel more than ever that your life depends upon the Almighty alone. The man who, in such a dreadful and solemn moment, can still believe there is no God, must indeed be irretrievably struck with mental blindness. A feeling of tranquil joy always comes over me during such great convulsions of Nature. I very often had myself bound near the binnacle, and let the tremendous waves break over me, in order to absorb, as it were, as much of the spectacle before me as possible; on no occasion did I ever feel alarmed, but always confident and resigned.

At the expiration of four hours the storm had worn itself out, and was succeeded by a perfect calm.

On the 10th of January we caught sight of several sea-turtles and a whale. The latter was only a young one, about forty feet long.

11th January. We were now off the Rio Plata, {59} and found the temperature very perceptibly cooler.

Up to the present time we had seen no signs of sea-tangle or molluscae, but during the night we beheld some molluscae for the first time, shining like stars at a great depth below the surface of the water.

In these latitudes the constellation of the southern cross keeps increasing in brilliancy and beauty, though it is far from being as wonderful as it is said to be. The stars in it, four in number, and disposed somewhat in the following manner, **** are, it is true, large and splendid; but they did not excite, either in myself or any other person of our company, much more admiration than the other constellations.

As a general rule, many travellers exaggerate a great deal. On the one hand, they often describe things which they have never seen themselves, and only know from hearsay; and, on the other, they adorn what they really have seen with a little too much imagination.

16th January. In 37 degrees South lat. we fell in with a strong current, running from south to north, and having a yellow streak down the middle of it. The captain said that this streak was caused by a shoal of small fishes. I had some water drawn up in a bucket, and really found a few dozen living creatures, which, in my opinion, however, belonged rather to some species of molluscae than to any kind of fish. They were about three-quarters of an inch long, and as transparent as the most delicate water-bubbles; they were marked with white and light yellow spots on the forepart of their bodies, and had a few feelers underneath.

In the night of the 20th to 21st of January we were overtaken by a very violent storm, which so damaged our mainmast that the captain determined on running into some haven on the first opportunity, and putting in a new one. For the present the old one was made fast with cables, iron chains, and braces.

In 43 degrees North lat. we saw the first sea-tangle. The temperature had by this time very perceptibly decreased in warmth, the glass often standing no higher than 59 or 63 degrees Fah.

23rd January. We were so near Patagonia that we could distinctly make out the outline of the coast.

26th January. We still kept near the land. In 50 degrees South lat. we saw the chalky mountains of Patagonia. Today we passed the Falkland Islands, which stretched from 51 to 52 degrees South lat. We did not see them, however, as we kept as near the land as possible, in order not to miss the Straits of Magellan. For some days the captain had been studying an English book, which, in his opinion, clearly proved that the passage through the Straits of Magellan was far less dangerous and far shorter than that round Cape Horn. I asked him how it happened that other sailors knew nothing of this valuable book, and why all vessels bound for the western coast of America went round Cape Horn? He could give me no other answer than that the book was very dear, and that that was the reason no one bought it. {60}

To me this bold idea of the captain's was extremely welcome. I already pictured in my mind the six-feet tall Patagonians putting off to us in their boats; I saw myself taking their mussels, plants, ornaments, and weapons in exchange for coloured ribbons and handkerchiefs; while, to render my satisfaction complete, the captain said that he should land at Port Famine (a Patagonian haven) to supply the injured portion of our mainmast. How thankful was I, in secret, to the storm for having reduced our ship to her present condition.

Too soon, however, were all my flattering hopes and dreams dispelled. On the 27th of January the latitude and longitude were taken, and it was then found that the Straits of Magellan were twenty-seven minutes (or nautical miles) behind us, but as we were becalmed, the captain promised, in case a favourable wind should spring up, to endeavour to return as far as the Straits.

I placed no more confidence in this promise, and I was right. About noon a scarcely perceptible breeze sprang up, which the captain, in high spirits, pronounced a favourable one—for rounding Cape Horn. If he had ever really intended to pass through the Straits, he would only have had to cruise about for a few hours, for the wind soon changed and blew directly in the desired direction.

28th January. We were constantly so near Terra del Fuego that we could make out every bush with the naked eye. We could have reached the land in an hour, without retarding our voyage in the least, for we were frequently becalmed; but the captain would not consent, as the wind might spring up every instant.

The coast appeared rather steep, but not high; the foreground was composed of meagre pasture alternating with tracts of sand, and in the background were ranges of woody hills, beyond which rose snow- covered mountains. On the whole, the country struck me as being much more inhabitable than the Island of Iceland, which I had visited a year and a half previously. The temperature, too, must here be higher, as even at sea we had 54 degrees 5' and 59 degrees Fah.

I saw three kinds of sea-tangle, but could only obtain a specimen of one, resembling that which I had seen in 44 degrees South lat. The second kind was not very different, and it was only the third that had pointed leaves, several of which together formed a sort of fan several feet long and broad.

On the 30th of January we passed very near the Staten Islands, lying between 56 and 57 degrees South lat. They are composed of bare high mountains, and separated from Terra del Fuego by an arm of the sea, called Le Maire, only seven miles long and about the same distance across.

The captain told us, seaman-like, that on one occasion of his sailing through these Straits, his ship had got into a strong current, and regularly danced, turning round during the passage at least a thousand times! I had already lost a great deal of confidence in the captain's tales, but I kept my eye steadily fixed upon a Hamburgh brig, that happened to be sailing ahead, to see whether she would dance; but neither she nor our own bark was so obliging. Neither vessels turned even once, and the only circumstance worthy of remark was the heaving and foaming of the waves in the Strait, while at both ends the sea lay majestically calm before our eyes. We had passed the Strait in an hour, and I took the liberty of asking the captain why our ship had not danced, to which he replied that it was because we had had both wind and current with us. It is, perhaps, possible that under other circumstances the vessel might have turned round once or twice, but I strongly doubt its doing so a thousand times. This was, however, a favourite number with our worthy captain. One of the gentlemen once asked him some question about the first London hotels, and was told that it was impossible to remember their names, as there were above a thousand of the first class.

Near the Strait Le Maire begins, in the opinion of seamen, the dangerous part of the passage round Cape Horn, and ends off the Straits of Magellan. Immediately we entered it we were greeted with two most violent bursts of wind, each of which lasted about half an hour; they came from the neighbouring icy chasms in the mountains of Terra del Fuego, and split two sails, and broke the great studding sail-yard, although the sailors were numerous and quick. The distance from the end of the Strait Le Maire to the extreme point of the Cape is calculated to be not more than seventy miles, and yet this trifling passage cost us three days.

At last, on the 3rd of February, we were fortunate enough to reach the southernmost point of America, so dreaded by all mariners. Bare, pointed mountains, one of which looks like a crater that has fallen in, form the extremity of the mighty mountain-chain, and a magnificent group of colossal black rocks (basalt?), of all shapes and sizes, are scattered at some distance in advance, and are separated only by a small arm of the sea. The extreme point of Cape Horn is 600 feet high. At this spot, according to our works on geography, the Atlantic Ocean changes its name and assumes that of the Pacific. Sailors, however, do not give it the latter designation before reaching the Straits of Magellan, as up to this point the sea is continually stormy and agitated, as we learned to our cost, being driven by violent storms as far back as 60 degrees South lat. Besides this, we lost our top-mast, which was broken off, and which, in spite of the heavy sea, had to be replaced; the vessel, meanwhile, being so tossed about, that we were often unable to take our meals at the table, but were obliged to squat down upon the ground, and hold our plates in our hands. On one of these fine days the steward stumbled with the coffee-pot, and deluged me with its burning contents. Luckily, only a small portion fell upon my hands, so that the accident was not a very serious one.

After battling for fourteen days with winds and waves, with rain and cold, {62} we at last arrived off the western entrance to the Straits of Magellan, having accomplished the most dangerous portion of our voyage. During these fourteen days we saw very few whales or albatrosses, and not one iceberg.

We thought that we should now quietly pursue our way upon the placid sea, trusting confidently in its peaceful name. For three whole days we had nothing to complain of; but in the night of the 19th to the 20th of February, we were overtaken by a storm worthy of the Atlantic itself, which lasted for nearly twenty-four hours, and cost us four sails. We suffered most damage from the tremendous waves, which broke with such fury over the ship, that they tore up one of the planks of the deck, and let the water into the cargo of sugar. The deck itself was like a lake, and the portholes had to be opened in order to get rid of the water more quickly. The water leaked in the hold at the rate of two inches an hour. We could not light any fire, and were obliged to content ourselves with bread and cheese and raw ham, which we with great difficulty conveyed to our mouth as we sat upon the ground.

The last cask of lamp oil, too, fell a sacrifice to this storm, having been torn from its fastenings, and broken into pieces. The captain was very apprehensive of not having enough oil to light the compass till we arrived at Valparaiso; and all the lamps on the ship were, in consequence, replaced by candles, and the small quantity of oil remaining kept for the compass. In spite of all these annoyances, we kept up our spirits, and even, during the storm, we could scarcely refrain from laughing at the comical positions we all fell into whenever we attempted to stand up.

The remainder of the voyage to Valparaiso was calm, but excessively disagreeable. The captain wished to present a magnificent appearance on arriving, so that the good people might believe that wind and waves could not injure his fine vessel. He had the whole ship painted from top to bottom with oil colours; even the little doors in the cabins were not spared this infliction. Not content with creating a most horrible disturbance over our heads, the carpenter invaded even our cabins, filling all our things with sawdust and dirt, so that we poor passengers had not a dry or quiet place of refuge in the whole ship. Just as much as we had been pleased with Captain Bell's politeness during all the previous part of the voyage, were we indignant at his behaviour during the last five or six days. But we could offer no resistance, for the captain is an autocrat on board his own ship, knowing neither a constitution nor any other limit to his despotic power.

At 6 o'clock in the morning of the 2nd of March, we ran into the port of Valparaiso.



The appearance of Valparaiso is dull and monotonous. The town is laid out in two long streets at the foot of dreary hills, which look like gigantic masses of sand, but which really consist of large rocks covered with thin layers of earth and sand. On some of these hills are houses, and on one of them is the churchyard, which, combined with the wooden church towers, built in the Spanish style, relieves, in a slight degree, the wearisome uniformity of the prospect. Not less astounding than the deserted look of the port, was the miserably wretched landing-place, which is composed of a high wooden quay, about 100 feet long, stretching out into the sea, with narrow steps, like ladders, against the side. It was a most pitiable sight to see a lady attempting to go up or down: all persons who were in the least weak or awkward, had to be let down with ropes.

The two principal streets are tolerably broad, and very much frequented, especially by horsemen. Every Chilian is born a horseman; and some of their horses are such fine animals, that you involuntarily stop to admire their proud action, their noble bearing, and the nice symmetry of their limbs.

The stirrups are curiously formed, consisting of long, heavy pieces of wood, hollowed out, and into which the rider places the tips of his feet. The spurs are remarkably large, and are often about four inches in diameter.

The houses are constructed completely in the European style, with flat Italian roofs. The more ancient buildings have only a ground floor, and are small and ugly, while most of the modern ones have a spacious and handsome first floor. The interior, too, of the latter is generally very tasty. Large steps conduct into a lofty well- ventilated entrance-hall on the first floor, from which the visitor passes, through large glass doors, into the drawing-room and other apartments. The drawing-room is the pride, not only of every European who has settled in the country, but also of the Chilians, who often spend very large sums in the decorations. Heavy carpets cover all the floor; rich tapestry hangs against the walls; furniture and mirrors of the most costly description are procured from Europe; and on the tables are strewed magnificent albums, adorned with the most artistic engravings. The elegant fire-places, however, convinced me that the winters here are not as mild as the inhabitants would fain have had me believe.

Of all the public buildings, the Theatre and the Exchange are the finest. The interior of the former is very neat, and contains a roomy pit and two galleries, portioned off as boxes. The inhabitants of the town patronise the theatre a great deal, but not so much on account of the Italian operas played there, as for the sake of possessing a common place of meeting. The ladies always come in full dress, and mutual visits are made in the boxes, all of which are very spacious, and beautifully furnished with mirrors, carpets, sofas, and chairs.

The second fine building, the Exchange, comprises a good-sized, cheerful hall, with convenient rooms adjoining. From the hall there is a pleasant view over the town and sea. The building belonging to the "German Club" contains some fine apartments, with reading and card rooms.

The only thing that pleased me about the churches were the towers, which consist of two or three octagons, placed one above the other, and each one supported by eight columns. They are composed of wood, the altars and pillars of the nave being of the same material. The nave itself presents rather a poor and naked appearance, occasioned in a great degree by the absence of sittings. The men stand, and the women bring with them little carpets, which they spread before them, and on which they either kneel or sit. Ladies in easy circumstances have their carpets brought by their maids. The cathedral is called La Matriza.

The public promenades of Valparaiso are not very pleasant, as most of the side-walks and roads are covered almost a foot deep with sand and dust, which the slightest breath of wind is sufficient to raise in thick clouds. After 10 o'clock in the morning, when the sea- breeze begins blowing, the whole town is very often enveloped by it. A great many persons are said to die here from diseases of the chest and lungs. The most frequented places of resort are Polanka and the lighthouse. Near the latter, especially, the prospect is very beautiful, extending, as it does, on a clear day, as far as some of the majestic snow-covered spurs of the Andes.

The streets, as I have already mentioned, are tolerably lively: peculiar omnibuses and cabriolets traverse them frequently. The fare from one end of the town to the other is one real (2.5d.) There are also a great number of asses, mostly employed in carrying water and provisions.

The lower classes are remarkably ugly. The Chilians have a yellowish brown complexion, thick black hair, most unpleasant features, and such a peculiarly repulsive cast of countenance, that any physiognomist would straightway pronounce them to be robbers or pickpockets at the least. Captain Bell had told me a great deal of the extraordinary honesty of these people; and, in his usual exaggerated manner, assured us that a person might leave a purse of gold lying in the street, with the certainty of finding it the next day on the same spot; but, in spite of this, I must frankly confess, that for my own part, I should be rather fearful of meeting these honest creatures, even by day, in a lonely spot, with the money in my pocket.

I had subsequently opportunities of convincing myself of the fallaciousness of the captain's opinion, for I often met with convicts, chained together, and employed in the public buildings and cleaning the roads. The windows and doors, too, are secured with bolts and bars in a manner almost unknown in any town of Europe. At night, in all the streets, and on all the hills which are inhabited, are parties of police, who call out to one another in exactly the same manner that the advanced posts do during a campaign. Mounted patrols also traverse the town in every direction, and persons returning alone from the theatre or from a party, often engage their services to conduct them home. Burglariously entering a house is punished with death. All these precautions do not, most decidedly, argue much for the honesty of the people.

I will take this opportunity of mentioning a scene, of which I was myself an eye-witness, as it happened before my window. A little boy was carrying a number of plates and dishes on a board, when the latter unluckily slipped from his grasp, and all the crockery lay in fragments at his feet. At first, the poor fellow was so frightened that he stood like a column, gazing with a fixed look at the pieces, and then began to cry most bitterly. The passers-by stopped, it is true, to look at the unfortunate child, but did not evince the least compassion; they laughed, and went on. In any other place, they would have raised a little subscription, or at least pitied and consoled him, but certainly would not have seen anything to laugh at. The circumstance is of itself a mere trifle, but it is exactly by such trifles that we are often enabled to form a true estimate of people's real characters.

Another adventure, also, but of quite a different and most horrible kind, happened during my stay in Valparaiso.

As I have already remarked, it is the custom here, as well as in many countries of Europe, to sentence criminals to hard labour on public works. One of the convicts endeavoured to bribe his gaoler to let him escape, and so far succeeded that the latter promised on his paying an ounce (17 Spanish dollars—3 pounds 8s.) to give him an opportunity for flight. The prisoners are allowed every morning and afternoon to receive the visits of their friends and relations, and likewise to accept provisions from them. The wife of the convict in question profited by this regulation to bring her husband the necessary money; and on receiving this, the gaoler arranged matters so that on the next morning the convict was not fastened to the same chain with a fellow-criminal, as is usually the case, but could walk alone, and thus easily get clear off, more especially as the spot in which they worked was a very lonely one.

The whole affair was very cunningly arranged, but either the gaoler changed his mind, or, perhaps, from the beginning had intended to act as he did—he fired at the fugitive, and shot him dead.

It is very seldom that any pure descendants of the original inhabitants are to be seen; we met with only two. They struck me as very similar to the Puris of Brazil, except that they have not such small ugly-shaped eyes. In this country there are no slaves.

The dress of the Chilians is quite in the European taste, especially as regards the women. The only difference with the men is that, instead of a coat, they frequently wear the Poncho, which is composed of two pieces of cloth or merino, each about one ell broad and two ells long. The two pieces are sewn together, with the exception of an opening in the middle for the head to pass through; the whole garment reaches down to the hips, and resembles a square cape. The Poncho is worn of all colours, green, blue, bright red, etc., and looks very handsome, especially when embroidered all round with coloured silk, which is the case when the wearer is opulent. In the streets, the women invariably wear large scarfs, which they draw over their heads in church.

My intention, on coming to Chili, was to stop for a few weeks in order to have time for an excursion to the capital, Santiago, and after that to proceed to China, as I had been told in Rio Janeiro that there was a ship from Valparaiso to China every month. Unfortunately this was not the case. I found that vessels bound to that country were very seldom to be met with, but that there happened to be one at that moment, which would sail in five or six days. I was generally advised not to lose the opportunity, but rather to abandon my design of visiting Santiago. I reflected for a little, and agreed to do so, although with a heavy heart; and in order to avoid all disappointment, immediately went to the captain, who offered to take me for 200 Spanish dollars (40 pounds). I agreed, and had five days left, which I determined to spend in carefully examining Valparaiso and its environs. I should have had plenty of time to pay Santiago a flying visit, since it is only 130 miles from Valparaiso, but the expenses would have been very heavy, as there is no public conveyance, and consequently I should have been obliged to hire a carriage for myself. Besides this, I should have derived but little satisfaction from the mere superficial impressions which would have been all I could have obtained of either town.

I contented myself, therefore, with Valparaiso alone. I toiled industriously up the surrounding hills and mountains, visited the huts of the lower classes, witnessed their national dances, etc., determined that here at least I would become acquainted with everything.

On some of the hills, especially on the Serra Allegri, there are the most lovely country-houses, with elegant gardens, and a most beautiful view over the sea. The prospect inland is not so fine, as chains of tall, naked, ugly mountains rise up behind the hills, and completely shut in the scene.

The huts of the poor people are miserably bad, being mostly built of clay and wood, and threatening to fall down every moment. I hardly ventured to enter them, thinking that the interior was of a piece with the exterior, and was consequently astonished at seeing not only good beds, chairs, and tables, but very often elegant little altars adorned with flowers. The inmates, too, were far from being badly dressed, and the linen hung out before many of these hovels struck me as superior to much that I had seen at the windows of some of the most elegant houses situated in the principal streets of the towns of Sicily.

A very good idea of the manners and customs of the people may be easily obtained by strolling, on Sundays and fete days, near Polanka, and visiting the eating-houses.

I will introduce my reader to one of these places. In one corner, on the ground, burns a fierce fire, surrounded by innumerable pots and pans, between which are wooden spits with beef and pork, simmering and roasting in the most enticing manner. An ungainly wooden framework, with a long broad plank on it, occupies the middle of the room, and is covered with a cloth whose original colour it would be an impossibility to determine. This is the table at which the guests sit. During the dinner itself the old patriarchal customs are observed, with this difference, that not only do all the guests eat out of one dish, but that all the eatables are served up in one, and one only. Beans and rice, potatoes and roast beef, Paradise apples and onions, etc., etc., lie quietly side by side, and are devoured in the deepest silence. At the end of the repast, a goblet, filled with wine, or sometimes merely water, is passed from hand to hand, and after this had gone round, the company begin to talk. In the evening dancing is vigorously pursued to the music of a guitar; unfortunately, it was Lent during my visit, when all public amusements are prohibited. The people themselves, however, were not so particular, and were only too ready, for a few reaux, to go through the Sammaquecca and Refolosa—the national dances of the country. I had soon seen sufficient; the gestures and movements of the dancers were beyond all description unbecoming, and I could but pity the children, whose natural modesty cannot fail to be nipped in the bud by witnessing the performance of these dances.

I was equally displeased with a remarkable custom prevalent here, in accordance with which the death of a little child is celebrated by its parents as a grand festival. They name the deceased child an angelito, (little angel), and adorn it in every possible way. Its eyes are not closed, but, on the contrary, opened as wide as possible, and its cheeks are painted red; it is then dressed out in the finest clothes, crowned with flowers, and placed in a little chair in a kind of niche, which also is ornamented with flowers. The relations and neighbours then come and wish the parents joy at possessing such an angel; and, during the first night, the parents, relations, and friends execute the wildest dances, and feast in the most joyous fashion before the angelito. I heard that in the country it was not unusual for the parents to carry the little coffin to the churchyard themselves, followed by the relations with the brandy bottle in their hands, and giving vent to their joy in the most outrageous manner.

A merchant told me that one of his friends, who holds a judicial appointment, had, a short time previous, been called to decide a curious case. A grave-digger was carrying one of these deceased angels to the churchyard, when he stept into a tavern to take a dram. The landlord inquired what he had got under his poncho, and on learning that it was an angelito, offered him two reaux for it. The gravedigger consented; the landlord quickly arranged a niche with flowers in the drinking-room, and then hastened to inform the whole neighbourhood what a treasure he had got. They all came, admired the little angel, and drank and feasted in its honour. But the parents also soon heard of it, hurried down to the tavern, took away their child, and had the landlord brought before the magistrate. On hearing the case, the latter could scarcely restrain from laughing, but arranged the matter amicably, as such a crime was not mentioned in the statute book.

The manner in which patients are conveyed to the hospital here is very remarkable. They are placed upon a simple wooden armchair, with one band fastened in front of them to prevent their falling off, and another beneath for them to place their feet on—a most horrible sight when the sick person is so weak that he can no longer hold himself in an upright posture.

I was not a little astonished on hearing that, in this country, where there is yet no post, or, indeed, any regular means of conveyance from one place to another, that a railroad was about being constructed from here to Santiago. The work has been undertaken by an English company, and the necessary measurements already begun. As the localities are very mountainous, the railroad will have to make considerable windings, in order to profit by the level tracts, and this will occasion an enormous outlay, quite out of proportion to the present state of trade or the amount of passenger traffic. At present, there are not more than two or three vehicles a day from one place to the other, and if by chance ten or fifteen passengers come from Santiago to Valparaiso, the thing is talked of over the whole town. This has given rise to the belief that the construction of a railroad has merely been seized on as an excuse, in order to enable those concerned to search about the country undisturbed for gold and silver.

Persons discovering mines are highly favoured, and have full right of property to their discovery, being obliged merely to notify the same to the government. This licence is pushed to such an extent, that if, for instance, a person can advance any plausible grounds for asserting that he has found a mine in a particular spot, such as under a church or house, etc., he is at liberty to have either pulled down, provided he is rich enough to pay for the damage done.

About fifteen years ago, a donkey driver accidentally hit upon a productive silver mine. He was driving several asses over the mountain, when one of them ran away. He seized a stone, and was about to throw it after the animal, but stumbled and fell to the ground, while the stone escaped from his grasp, and rolled away. Rising in a great passion, he snatched a second from the earth, and had drawn his arm to throw the stone, when he was struck by its uncommon weight. He looked at it more closely, and perceived that it was streaked with rich veins of pure silver. He preserved the stone as a treasure, marked the spot, drove his asses home, and then communicated his important discovery to one of his friends, who was a miner. Both of them then returned to the place, which the miner examined, and pronounced the soil full of precious ore. Nothing was now wanting save capital to carry on their operations. This they procured by taking the miner's employer into partnership, and in a few years all three were rich men.

The six days had now elapsed, and the captain sent me a message to be on board with my bag and baggage the next day, as he intended putting out to sea in the evening; but on the morning of his intended departure, my evil genius conducted a French man-of-war into the harbour. Little imagining that this was destined to overturn all my plans, I proceeded very tranquilly to the landing- place, where I met the captain hastening to meet me, with a long story about his half-cargo, and the necessity he was under of completing his freight with provisions for the use of the French garrison at Tahiti, and so forth: in a word, the end of the matter was, that I was informed we should have to stop another five days.

In the first burst of my disappointment, I paid a visit to the Sardinian Consul, Herr Bayerbach, and told him of the position in which I was placed. He consoled me, in a most kind and gentlemanly manner, as well as he could; and on learning that I had already taken up my quarters on board, insisted on my occupying a chamber in his country-house in the Serra Allegri. Besides this, he introduced me to several families, where I passed many very pleasant hours, and had the opportunity of inspecting some excellent collections of mussel-shells and insects.

Our departure was again deferred from day to day; so that, although, in this manner, I spent fifteen days in Chili, I saw nothing more of it than Valparaiso and its immediate neighbourhood.

As Valparaiso is situated to the south of the Equator, and, as is well known, the seasons of the southern hemisphere are exactly the contrary of those of the northern, it was now autumn. I saw (34 degrees South latitude) almost the same kinds of fruits and vegetables as those we have in Germany, especially grapes and melons. The apples and pears were not so good nor so abundant as with us.

In conclusion, I will here give a list of the prices which travellers have to pay for certain things:—

A room that is at all decent in a private house costs four or five reaux (2s.) a day; the table d'hote a piaster (4s.); but washing is more expensive than anything else, on account of the great scarcity of water, for every article, large or small, costs a real (6d.). A passport, too, is excessively dear, being charged eight Spanish dollars (1 pounds 12s.).



On the 17th of March, Captain Van Wyk Jurianse sent me word that his ship was ready for sea, and that he should set sail the next morning. The news was very unwelcome to me, as, for the last two days, I had been suffering from English cholera, which on board ship, where the patient cannot procure meat broth or any other light nourishment, and where he is always more exposed to the sudden changes of the weather than he is on shore, is very apt to be attended with grave results. I did not, however, wish to miss the opportunity of visiting China, knowing how rarely it occurred, nor was I desirous of losing the two hundred dollars (40 pounds) already paid for my passage, and I therefore went on board, trusting in my good luck, which had never forsaken me on my travels.

During the first few days, I endeavoured to master my illness by observing a strict diet, and abstaining from almost everything, but to no purpose. I still continued to suffer, until I luckily thought of using salt-water baths. I took them in a large tub, in which I remained a quarter of an hour. After the second bath, I felt much better, and after the sixth, I was completely recovered. I merely mention this malady, to which I was very subject in warm climates, that I may have the opportunity of remarking, that sea-baths or cooling drinks, such as buttermilk, sour milk, sherbet, orangeade, etc., are very efficacious remedies.

The ship in which I made my present voyage, was the Dutch barque Lootpuit, a fine, strong vessel, quite remarkable for its cleanliness. The table was pretty good, too, with the exception of a few Dutch dishes, and a superfluity of onions. To these, which played a prominent part in everything that was served up, I really could not accustom myself, and felt greatly delighted that a large quantity of this noble production of the vegetable kingdom became spoilt during the voyage.

The captain was a polite and kind man, and the mates and sailors were also civil and obliging. In fact, as a general rule, in every ship that I embarked in, I was far from finding seamen so rough and uncivil as travellers often represent them to be. Their manners are certainly not the most polished in the world, neither are they extraordinarily attentive or delicate, but their hearts and dispositions are mostly good.

After three days' sailing, we saw, on the 21st March, the island of St. Felix, and on the morning following, St. Ambrosio. They both consist of naked, inhospitable masses of rock, and serve at most as resting places for a few gulls.

We were now within the tropics, but found the heat greatly moderated by the trade wind, and only unbearable in the cabin.

For nearly a month did we now sail on, without the slightest interruption, free from storms, with the same monotonous prospect of sky and water before us, until, on the 19th of April, we reached the Archipelago of the Society Islands. This Archipelago, stretching from 130 to 140 degrees longitude, is very dangerous, as most of the islands composing it scarcely rise above the surface of the water; in fact, to make out David Clark's Island, which was only twelve miles distant, the captain was obliged to mount to the shrouds.

During the night of the 21st to the 22nd of April we were overtaken by a sudden and violent storm, accompanied by heavy thunder; this storm our captain termed a thunder-gust. While it lasted flashes of lightning frequently played around the mast-top, occasioned by electricity. They generally flutter for two or three minutes about the most elevated point of any object, and then disappear.

The night of the 22nd to the 23rd of April was a very dangerous one; even the captain said so. We had to pass several of the low islands in dark rainy weather, which completely concealed the moon from us. About midnight our position was rendered worse by the springing up of a strong wind, which, together with incessant flashes of lightning, caused us to expect another squall; luckily, however, morning broke, and we escaped both the storm and the islands.

In the course of the day we passed the Bice Islands, and two days later, on the 25th of April, we beheld one of the Society Islands, Maithia.

On the following morning, being the thirty-ninth of our voyage, we came in sight of Tahiti, and the island opposite to it, Emao, also called Moreo. The entrance into Papeiti, the port of Tahiti, is exceedingly dangerous; it is surrounded by reefs of coral as by a fortress, while wild and foaming breakers, rolling on every side, leave but a small place open through which a vessel can steer.

A pilot came out to meet us, and, although the wind was so unfavourable that the sails had to be trimmed every instant, steered us safely into port. Afterwards, when we had landed, we were congratulated heartily on our good fortune; every one had watched our course with the greatest anxiety, and, at the last turn the ship took, expected to see her strike upon a coral reef. This misfortune had happened to a French man-of-war, that at the period of our arrival had been lying at anchor for some months, engaged in repairing the damage done.

Before we could come to an anchor we were surrounded by half-a-dozen pirogues, or boats, manned by Indians, who climbed up from all sides upon the deck to offer us fruit and shell-fish, but not as formerly for red rags or glass beads—such golden times for travellers are over. They demanded money, and were as grasping and cunning in their dealings as the most civilized Europeans. I offered one of them a small bronze ring; he took it, smelt it, shook his head, and gave me to understand that it was not gold. He remarked another ring on my finger, and seizing hold of my hand, smelt this second ring as well, then twisted his face into a friendly smile, and made signs for me to give him the ornament in question. I afterwards had frequent opportunities of remarking that the natives of these islands have the power of distinguishing between pure and counterfeit gold by the smell.

Some years ago the island of Tahiti was under the protection of the English, but at present it is under that of the French. It had long been a subject of dispute between the two nations, until a friendly understanding was at last come to in November, 1846. Queen Pomare, who had fled to another island, had returned to Papeiti five weeks before my arrival. She resides in a four-roomed house, and dines daily, with her family, at the governor's table. The French government is having a handsome house built for her use, and allows her a pension of 25,000 francs per annum (1 pounds,041 13s. 4d.). No stranger is allowed to visit her without the governor's permission, but this is easily obtained.

Papeiti was full of French troops, and several men-of-war were lying at anchor.

The place contains three or four thousand inhabitants, and consists of a row of small wooden houses, skirting the harbour, and separated by small gardens. In the immediate background is a fine wood, with a number of huts scattered about in different parts of it.

The principal buildings are—the governor's house, the French magazines, the military bakehouse, the barracks, and the queen's house, which however is not quite completed. Besides these, a number of small wooden houses were in the course of erection, the want of them being greatly felt; at the time of my visit even officers of high rank were obliged to be contented with the most wretched huts.

I went from hut to hut in the hopes of being able to obtain some small room or other; but in vain, all were already occupied. I was at last obliged to be satisfied with a small piece of ground, which I found at a carpenter's, whose room was already inhabited by four different individuals. I was shown a place behind the door, exactly six feet long and four broad. There was no flooring but the earth itself; the walls were composed of wicker work; a bed was quite out of the question, and yet for this accommodation I was obliged to pay one florin and thirty kreutzers a-week (about 7s.)

The residence or hut of an Indian consists simply of a roof of palm- trees, supported on a number of poles, with sometimes the addition of walls formed of wicker-work. Each hut contains only one room, from twenty to fifty feet long, and from ten to thirty feet broad, and is frequently occupied by several families at the same time. The furniture is composed of finely woven straw mats, a few coverlids, and two or three wooden chests and stools; the last, however, are reckoned articles of luxury. Cooking utensils are not wanted, as the cookery of the Indians does not include soups or sauces, their provisions being simply roasted between hot stones. All they require is a knife, and a cocoa shell for water.

Before their huts, or on the shore, lie their piroques, formed of the trunks of trees hollowed out, and so narrow, small, and shallow, that they would constantly be overturning, if there were not on one side five or six sticks, each about a foot long, fastened by a cross-bar to preserve the equilibrium. In spite of this, however, one of these boats is very easily upset, unless a person steps in very cautiously. When, on one occasion, I proceeded in a piroque to the ship, the good-hearted captain was horror-struck, and, in his concern for my safety, even reprimanded me severely, and besought me not to repeat the experiment a second time.

The costume of the Indians has been, since the first settlement of the missionaries (about fifty years ago), tolerably becoming, especially in the neighbourhood of Papeiti. Both men and women wear round their loins a kind of apron, made of coloured stuff, and called a pareo; the women let it fall as low down as their ancles; the men not farther than the calf of the leg. The latter have a short coloured shirt underneath it, and again beneath that, large flowing trousers. The women wear a long full blouse. Both sexes wear flowers in their ears, which have such large holes bored in them that the stalk can very easily be drawn through. The women, both old and young, adorn themselves with garlands of leaves and flowers, which they make in the most artistic and elegant manner. I have often seen men, too, weaving the same kind of ornament.

On grand occasions, they cast over their ordinary dress an upper garment, called a tiputa, the cloth of which they manufacture themselves from the bark of the bread and cocoa trees. The bark, while still tender, is beaten between two stones, until it is as thin as paper; it is then coloured yellow and brown.

One Sunday I went into the meeting-house to see the people assembled there. {73} Before entering they all laid aside their flowers, with which they again ornamented themselves at their departure. Some of the women had black satin blouses on, and European bonnets of an exceedingly ancient date. It would not be easy to find a more ugly sight than that of their plump, heavy heads and faces in these old- fashioned bonnets.

During the singing of the psalms there was some degree of attention, and many of the congregation joined in very becomingly; but while the clergyman was performing the service, I could not remark the slightest degree of devotion in any of them; the children played, joked, and ate, while the adults gossiped or slept; and although I was assured that many could read and even write, I saw only two old men who made any use of their Bibles.

The men are a remarkably strong and vigorous race, six feet being by no means an uncommon height amongst them. The women, likewise, are very tall, but too muscular—they might even be termed unwieldy. The features of the men are handsomer than those of the women. They have beautiful teeth and fine dark eyes, but generally a large mouth, thick lips, and an ugly nose, the cartilage being slightly crushed when the child is born, so that the nose becomes flat and broad. This fashion appears to be most popular with the females, for their noses are the ugliest. Their hair is jet black and thick, but coarse; the women and girls generally wear it plaited in two knots. The colour of their skin is a copper-brown. All the natives are tattooed, generally from the hips half down the legs, and frequently this mode of ornamenting themselves is extended to the hands, feet, or other parts of the body. The designs resemble arabesques; they are regular and artistic in their composition, and executed with much taste.

That the population of this place should be so vigorous and well- formed is the more surprising, if we reflect on their depraved and immoral kind of life. Little girls of seven or eight years old have their lovers of twelve or fourteen, and their parents are quite proud of the fact. The more lovers a girl has the more she is respected. As long as she is not married she leads a most dissolute life, and it is said that not all the married women make the most faithful wives possible.

I had frequent opportunities of seeing the national dances, which are the most unbecoming I ever beheld, although every painter would envy me my good fortune. Let the reader picture to himself a grove of splendid palms, and other gigantic trees of the torrid zone, with a number of open huts, and a crowd of good-humoured islanders assembled beneath, to greet, in their fashion, the lovely evening, which is fast approaching. Before one of the huts a circle is formed, and in the centre sit two herculean and half-naked natives, beating time most vigorously on small drums. Five similar colossi are seated before them, moving the upper parts of their bodies in the most horrible and violent manner, and more especially the arms, hands, and fingers; the latter they have the power of moving in every separate joint. I imagine, that by these gestures they desired to represent how they pursue their enemy, ridicule his cowardice, rejoice at their victory, and so forth. During all this time they howl continually in a most discordant manner, and make the most hideous faces. At the commencement, the men appear alone upon the scene of action, but after a short time two female forms dart forward from among the spectators, and dance and rave like two maniacs; the more unbecoming, bold, and indecent their gestures, the greater the applause. The whole affair does not, at most, last longer than two minutes, and the pause before another dance is commenced not much longer. An evening's amusement of this description often lasts for hours. The younger members of society very seldom take any part in the dances.

It is a great question whether the immorality of these islanders has been lessened by French civilization. From my own observations, as well as from what I was told by persons well informed on the subject, I should say that this has not yet been the case, and that, for the present, there is but little hope of its being so: while, on the other side, the natives have acquired a number of useless wants, in consequence of which, the greed for gold has been fearfully awakened in their breasts. As they are naturally very lazy, and above all things disinclined to work, they have made the female portion of the community the means of gaining money. Parents, brothers, and even husbands, offer to their foreign masters those belonging to them, while the women themselves offer no opposition, as in this manner they can obtain the means for their own display, and money for their relations without trouble. Every officer's house is the rendezvous of several native beauties, who go out and in at every hour of the day. Even abroad they are not particular; they will accompany any man without the least hesitation, and no gentleman ever refuses a conductress of this description.

As a female of an advanced age, I may be allowed to make a few observations upon such a state of things, and I frankly own that, although I have travelled much and seen a great deal, I never witnessed such shameful scenes of public depravity.

As a proof of what I assert, I will mention a little affair which happened one day before my hut.

Four fat graces were squatted on the ground smoking tobacco, when an officer, who happened to be passing, caught a glimpse of the charming picture, rushed up at double quick pace and caught hold of one of the beauties by the shoulder. He began by speaking softly to her, but as his anger increased, he changed his tone to one of loud abuse. But neither entreaties nor threats produced the slightest effect upon the delicate creature to whom they were addressed; she remained coolly in the same position, continuing to smoke with the greatest indifference, and without deigning even to cast upon her excited swain a look, far less answer him a word. He became enraged to such a pitch, that he so far forgot himself as to loosen the golden ear-rings from her ears, and threatened to take away all the finery he had given her. Even this was not sufficient to rouse the girl from her stolid calmness, and the valiant officer was, at last, obliged to retreat from the field of battle.

From his conversation, which was half in French and half in the native dialect, I learned that in three months the girl had cost him about four hundred francs in dress and jewellery. Her wishes were satisfied, and she quietly refused to have anything more to say to him.

I very often heard the feeling, attachment, and kindness of this people spoken of in terms of high praise, with which, however, I cannot unreservedly agree. Their kindness I will not precisely dispute; they readily invite a stranger to share their hospitality, and even kill a pig in his honour, give him a part of their couch, etc.; but all this costs them no trouble, and if they are offered money in return, they take it eagerly enough, without so much as thanking the donor. As for feeling and attachment, I should almost be inclined to deny that they possessed them in the slightest degree; I saw only sensuality, and none of the nobler sentiments. I shall return to this subject when describing my journey through the island.

On the 1st of May I witnessed a highly interesting scene. It was the fete of Louis Philippe, the King of the French; and the governor, Monsieur Bruat, exerted himself to the utmost to amuse the population of Tahiti. In the forenoon, there was a tournament on the water, in which the French sailors were the performers. Several boats with lusty oarsmen put out to sea. In the bows of each boat was a kind of ladder or steps, on which stood one of the combatants with a pole. The boats were then pulled close to one another, and each combatant endeavoured to push his antagonist into the water. Besides this, there was a Mat de Cocagne, with coloured shirts, ribbons, and other trifles fluttering at the top, for whoever chose to climb up and get them. At 12 o'clock the chiefs and principal personages were entertained at dinner. On the grass plot before the governor's house were heaped up various sorts of provisions, such as salt meat, bacon, bread, baked pork, fruits, etc.; but instead of the guests taking their places all around, as we had supposed they would have done, the chiefs divided everything into different portions, and each carried his share home. In the evening there were fireworks, and a ball.

No part of the entertainment amused me more than the ball, where I witnessed the most startling contrasts of art and nature. Elegant Frenchwomen side by side with their brown, awkward sisters, and the staff officers in full uniform, in juxta-position with the half- naked islanders. Many of the natives wore, on this occasion, broad white trousers, with a shirt over them; but there were others who had no other garments than the ordinary short shirt and the pareo. One of the chiefs who appeared in this costume, and was afflicted with Elephantiasis, {76} offered a most repulsive spectacle.

This evening I saw Queen Pomare for the first time. She is a woman of 36 years of age, tall and stout, but tolerably well preserved—as a general rule, I found that the women here fade much less quickly than in other warm climates—her face is far from ugly, and there is a most good-natured expression round her mouth, and the lower portion of her face. She was enveloped in a sky-blue satin gown, or rather, sort of blouse, ornamented all round with two rows of rich black blond. She wore large jessamine blossoms in her ears, and a wreath of flowers in her hair, while in her hand she carried a fine pocket handkerchief beautifully embroidered, and ornamented with broad lace. In honour of the evening, she had forced her feet into shoes and stockings, though on other occasions she went barefoot. The entire costume was a present from the King of the French.

The queen's husband, who is younger than herself, is the handsomest man in Tahiti. The French jokingly call him the Prince Albert of Tahiti, not only on account of his good looks, but because, like Prince Albert in England, he is not named "the king," but simply, "the queen's consort." He had on the uniform of a French general, which became him very well; the more so, that he was not in the least embarrassed in it. The only drawback were his feet, which were very ugly and awkward.

Besides these two high personages, there was in the company another crowned head, namely, King Otoume, the owner of one of the neighbouring islands. He presented a most comical appearance, having put on, over a pair of full but short white trousers, a bright yellow calico coat, that most certainly had not been made by a Parisian artiste, for it was a perfect model of what a coat ought not to be. This monarch was barefoot.

The queen's ladies of honour, four in number, as well as most of the wives and daughters of the chiefs, were dressed in white muslin. They had also flowers in their ears, and garlands in their hair. Their behaviour and deportment were surprising, and three of the young ladies actually danced French quadrilles with the officers, without making a fault in the figures. I was only anxious for their feet, as no one, save the royal couple, wore either shoes or stockings. Some of the old women had arrayed themselves in European bonnets, while the young ones brought their children, even the youngest, with them, and, to quiet the latter, suckled them without ceremony before the company.

Before supper was announced, the queen disappeared in an adjoining room to smoke a cigar or two, while her husband passed the time in playing billiards.

At table I was seated between Prince Albert of Tahiti and the canary-coloured King Otoume. They were both sufficiently advanced in the rules of good breeding to show me the usual civilities; that is, to fill my glass with water or wine, to hand me the various dishes, and so on; but it was evident that they were at great trouble to catch the tone of European society. Some of the guests, however, forgot their parts now and then: the queen, for instance, asked, during the dessert, for a second plate, which she filled with sweetmeats, and ordered to be put on one side for her to take home with her. Others had to be prevented from indulging too much in the generous champagne; but, on the whole, the entertainment passed off in a becoming and good-humoured manner.

I subsequently dined with the royal family several times at the governor's. The queen then appeared in the national costume, with the coloured pareo and chemise, as did also her husband. Both were barefoot. The heir apparent, a boy of nine years old, is affianced to the daughter of a neighbouring king. The bride, who is a few years older than the prince, is being educated at the court of Queen Pomare, and instructed in the Christian religion, and the English and Tahitian languages.

The arrangements of the queen's residence are exceedingly simple. For the present, until the stone house which is being built for her by the French government is completed, she lives in a wooden one containing four rooms, and partly furnished with European furniture.

As peace was now declared in Tahiti, there was no obstacle to my making a journey through the whole island. I had obtained a fortnight's leave of absence from the captain, and was desirous of devoting this time to a trip. I imagined that I should have been able to join one or other of the officers, who are often obliged to journey through the island on affairs connected with the government. To my great surprise I found, however, that they had all some extraordinary reason why it was impossible for me to accompany them at that particular time. I was at a loss to account for this incivility, until one of the officers themselves told me the answer to the riddle, which was this: every gentleman always travelled with his mistress.

Monsieur —-, {78} who let me into the secret, offered to take me with him to Papara, where he resided; but even he did not travel alone, as, besides his mistress, Tati, the principal chief of the island, and his family, accompanied him. This chief had come to Papeiti to be present at the fete of the 1st of May.

On the 4th of May we put off to sea in a boat, for the purpose of coasting round to Papara, forty-two miles distant. I found the chief Tati to be a lively old man nearly ninety years of age, who remembered perfectly the second landing of the celebrated circumnavigator of the globe, Captain Cook. His father was, at that period, the principal chief, and had concluded a friendly alliance with Cook, and, according to the custom then prevalent at Tahiti, had changed names with him.

Tati enjoys from the French government a yearly pension of 6,000 francs (240 pounds), which, after his death, will fall to his eldest son.

He had with him his young wife and five of his sons; the former was twenty-three years old, and the ages of the latter varied from twelve to eighteen. The children were all the offspring of other marriages, this being his fifth wife.

As we had not left Papeiti till nearly noon, and as the sun sets soon after six o'clock, and the passage between the numberless rocks is highly dangerous, we landed at Paya (22 miles), where a sixth son of Tati's ruled as chief.

The island is intersected in all directions by noble mountains, the loftiest of which, the Oroena, is 6,200 feet high. In the middle of the island the mountains separate, and a most remarkable mass of rock raises itself from the midst of them. It has the form of a diadem with a number of points, and it is to this circumstance that it owes its name. Around the mountain range winds a forest girdle, from four to six hundred paces broad; it is inhabited, and contains the most delicious fruit. Nowhere did I ever eat such bread-fruit, mangoes, oranges, and guavas, as I did here. As for cocoa-nuts, the natives are so extravagant with them, that they generally merely drink the water they contain, and then throw away the shell and the fruit. In the mountains and ravines there are a great quantity of plantains, a kind of banana, which are not commonly eaten, however, without being roasted. The huts of the natives lie scattered here and there along the shore; it is very seldom that a dozen of these huts are seen together.

The bread-fruit is somewhat similar in shape to a water-melon, and weighs from four to six pounds. The outside is green, and rather rough and thin. The natives scrape it with mussel-shells, and then split the fruit up long ways into two portions, which they roast between two heated stones. The taste is delicious; it is finer than that of potatoes, and so like bread that the latter may be dispensed with without any inconvenience. The South Sea Islands are the real home of the fruit. It is true that it grows in other parts of the tropics, but it is very different from that produced here. In Brazil, for instance, where the people call it monkeys' bread, it weighs from five to thirty pounds, and is full inside of kernels, which are taken out and eaten when the fruit is roasted. These kernels taste like chestnuts.

The mango is a fruit resembling an apple, and of the size of a man's fist; both the rind and the fruit itself are yellow. It tastes a little like turpentine, but loses this taste more and more the riper it gets. This fruit is of the best description; it is full and juicy, and has a long, broad kernel in the middle. The bread and mango trees grow to a great height and circumference. The leaves of the former are about three feet long, a foot and a-half broad, and deeply serrated; while those of the latter are not much larger than the leaves of our own apple-trees.

Before reaching Paya, we passed several interesting places, among which may be mentioned Foar, a small French fort, situated upon a hill. Near Taipari it is necessary to pass between two rows of dangerous breakers, called the "Devil's Entrance." The foaming waves rose in such volume and to so great a height, that they might almost be mistaken for walls. In the plain near Punavia is a large fort supported by several towers, built upon the neighbouring hills. At this point the scenery is beautiful. The mountain range breaks here, so that the eye can follow for a long distance the windings of a picturesque valley, with the black and lofty mountain Olofena in the background.

Delighted as I was, however, with the beauty of the objects around me, I was no less pleased with those beneath. Our boat glided along over countless shallows, where the water was as clear as crystal, so that the smallest pebble at the bottom was distinctly visible. I could observe groups and clusters of coloured coral and madrepore- stone, whose magnificence challenges all description. It might be said that there was a quantity of fairy flower and kitchen gardens in the sea, full of gigantic flowers, blossoms, and leaves, varied by fungi and pulse of every description, like open arabesque work, the whole interspersed with pretty groups of rocks of every hue. The most lovely shell-fish were clinging to these rocks, or lying scattered on the ground, while endless shoals of variegated fish darted in and out between them, like so many butterflies and humming-birds. These delicate creatures were scarcely four inches long, and surpassed in richness of colour anything I had ever seen. Many of them were of the purest sky-blue, others a light yellow, while some, again, that were almost transparent, were brown, green, etc.

On our arrival at Paya, about 6 in the evening, the young Tati had a pig, weighing eighteen or twenty pounds, killed and cooked, after the fashion of Tahiti, in honour of his father. A large fire was kindled in a shallow pit, in which were a number of stones. A quantity of bread-fruit (majore), that had been first peeled and split into two portions with a very sharp wooden axe, was then brought. When the fire had gone out, and the stones heated to the requisite degree, the pig and the fruit were laid upon them, a few other heated stones placed on the top, and the whole covered up with green branches, dry leaves, and earth.

During the time that the victuals were cooking, the table was laid. A straw mat was placed upon the ground, and covered with large leaves. For each guest there was a cocoa-nut shell, half-filled with miti, a sourish beverage extracted from the cocoa-palm.

In an hour and a half the victuals were dug up. The pig was neither very artistically cooked nor very enticing, but cut up as quick as lightning, being divided by the hand and knife into as many portions as there were guests, and each person had his share, together with half a bread-fruit, handed to him upon a large leaf. There was no one at our rustic table besides the officer, his mistress, the old Tati, his wife, and myself, as it is contrary to the custom of the country for the host to eat with his guests, or the children with their parents. With the exception of this ceremony, I did not observe any other proof of love or affection between the father and son. The old man, for instance, although ninety years of age, and suffering besides from a violent cough, was obliged to pass the night under nothing but a light roof, open to the weather, while his son slept in his well-closed huts.

On the 5th of May, we left Taipari with empty stomachs, as old Tati was desirous of entertaining us at one of his estates about two hours' journey distant.

On our arrival, and as soon as the stones were heated for our meal, several of the natives out of the neighbouring huts hastened to profit by the opportunity to cook their provisions as well, bringing with them fish, pieces of pork, bread-fruit, plantains, and so on. The fish and meat were enveloped in large leaves. For our use, besides bread-fruit and fish, there was a turtle weighing perhaps more than twenty pounds. The repast was held in a hut, to which the whole neighbourhood also came, and forming themselves into groups a little on one side of us principal guests, eat the provisions they had brought with them. Each person had a cocoa-nut shell full of miti before him; into this he first threw every morsel and took it out again with his hand, and then what remained of the miti was drunk at the end of the meal. We had each of us a fresh cocoa-nut with a hole bored in it, containing at least a pint of clear, sweet- tasting water. This is erroneously termed by us "Milk," but it only becomes thick and milky when the cocoa-nut is very stale, in which condition it is never eaten in these islands.

Tati, with his family, remained here, while we proceeded to Papara, an hour's walk. The road was delightful, leading mostly through thick groves of fruit-trees; but it would not suit a person with a tendency to hydrophobia, for we were obliged to wade through more than half a dozen streams and brooks.

At Papara, Monsieur —- possessed some landed property, with a little wooden four-roomed house, in which he was kind enough to give me a lodging.

We here heard of the death of one of Tati's sons, of which he numbered twenty-one. He had been dead three days, and his friends were awaiting Tati to pay the last honours to the deceased. I had intended to make an excursion to the Lake Vaihiria, but deferred doing so, in order to be present at the burial. On the following morning, 6th May, I paid a visit to the hut of the deceased. Monsieur —- gave me a new handkerchief to take with me as a present—a relic of the old superstition which the people of this island have introduced into Christianity. These presents are supposed to calm the soul of the deceased. The corpse was lying in a narrow coffin, upon a low bier, both of which were covered with a white pall. Before the bier were hung two straw mats, on which were spread the deceased's clothes, drinking vessels, knives, and so forth, while on the other, lay the presents, making quite a heap, of shirts, pareos, pieces of cloth, etc., all so new and good that they might have served to furnish a small shop.

Old Tati soon entered the hut, but quickly returned into the open air, stopping only a few instants, as the corpse was already most offensive. He sat down under a tree, and began talking very quietly and unconcernedly with the neighbours, as if nothing had happened. The female relatives and neighbours remained in the hut; they, too, chatted and gossiped very contentedly, and moreover ate and smoked. I was obliged to have the wife, children, and relations of the deceased pointed out to me, for I was unable to recognise them by their demeanour. In a little time, the stepmother and wife rose, and throwing themselves on the coffin, howled for half an hour; but it was easy to see that their grief did not come from the heart. Their moaning was always pitched in the same monotonous key. Both then returned with smiling faces and dry eyes to their seats, and appeared to resume the conversation at the point at which they had broken it off. The deceased's canoe was burnt upon the shore.

I had seen enough, and returned to my quarters to make some preparations for my trip to the lake the next day. The distance is reckoned to be eighteen miles, so that the journey there and back may be performed in two days with ease, and yet a guide had the conscience to ask ten dollars (2 pounds) for his services. With the assistance of old Tati, however, I procured one for three dollars (12s.).

Pedestrian trips are very fatiguing in Tahiti, since it is so richly watered that the excursionist is constantly obliged to wade through plains of sand and rivers. I was very suitably clothed for the purpose, having got strong men's shoes, without any stockings, trousers, and a blouse, which I had fastened up as high as my hips. Thus equipped I began, on the 7th of May, my short journey, in company with my guide. In the first third of my road, which lay along the coast, I counted about thirty-two brooks which we were obliged to walk through. We then struck off, through ravines, into the interior of the island, first calling, however, at a hut to obtain some refreshment. The inmates were very friendly, and gave us some bread-fruit and fish, but very willingly accepted a small present in exchange.

In the interior, the fine fruit-trees disappear, and their place is supplied by plantains, tarros, and a kind of bush, growing to the height of twelve feet, and called Oputu (Maranta); the last, in fact, grew so luxuriantly, that we frequently experienced the greatest difficulty in making our way through. The tarro, which is planted, is from two to three feet high, and has fine large leaves and tubercles, similar to the potato, but which do not taste very good when roasted. The plantain, or banana, is a pretty little tree, from fifteen to twenty feet high, with leaves like those of the palm, and a stem which is often eight inches in diameter, but is not of wood, but cane, and very easily broken. It belongs properly to the herbiferous species, and grows with uncommon rapidity. It reaches its full growth the first year: in the second it bears fruit, and then dies. It is produced from shoots, which generally spring up near the parent tree.

Through one mountain stream, which chafed along the ravine over a stony bed, and in some places was exceedingly rapid, and, in consequence of the rain that had lately fallen, was frequently more than three feet deep, we had to wade sixty-two times. My guide caught hold of me by the hand whenever we passed a dangerous spot, and dragged me, often half swimming, after him. The water constantly reached above my hips, and all idea of getting dry again was totally out of the question. The path also became at every step more fatiguing and dangerous. I had to clamber over rocks and stones covered to such an extent with the foliage of the oputu that I never knew with any degree of certainty where I was placing my foot. I received several severe wounds on my hands and feet, and frequently fell down on the ground, when I trusted for support to the treacherous stem of a banana, which would break beneath my grasp. It was really a breakneck sort of excursion, which is very rarely made even by the officers, and certainly never by ladies.

In two places the ravine became so narrow, that the bed of the stream occupied its whole extent. It was here that the islanders, during the war with the French, built stone walls five feet in height to protect them against the enemy, in case they should have attacked them from this side.

In eight hours' time we had completed the eighteen miles, and attained an elevation of 1,800 feet. The lake itself was not visible until we stood upon its shores, as it lies in a slight hollow; it is about 800 feet across. The surrounding scenery is the most remarkable. The lake is so closely hemmed in by a ring of lofty and precipitous green mountains, that there is no room even for a footing between the water and the rocks, and its bed might be taken for an extinguished volcano filled with water—a supposition which gains additional force from the masses of basalt which occupy the foreground. It is plentifully supplied with fish, one kind of which is said to be peculiar to the locality; it is supposed that the lake has a subterranean outlet, which as yet remains undiscovered.

To cross the lake, it is either necessary to swim over or trust oneself to a dangerous kind of boat, which is prepared by the natives in a few minutes. Being desirous of making the attempt, I intimated this by signs to my guide. In an instant he tore off some plantain-branches, fastened them together with long, tough grass, laid a few leaves upon them, launched them in the water, and then told me to take possession of this apology for a boat. I must own that I felt rather frightened, although I did not like to say so. I stept on board, and my guide swam behind and pushed me forward. I made the passage to the opposite side and back without any accident, but I was in truth rather alarmed the whole time. The boat was small, and floated under rather than upon the water—there was nothing I could support myself with, and every minute I expected to fall into the lake. I would not advise any one who cannot swim ever to follow my example.

After I had sufficiently admired the lake and the surrounding scenery, we retraced our way for some hundred yards, until we reached a little spot roofed over with leaves. Here my guide quickly made a good fire, after the Indian fashion. He took a small piece of wood, which he cut to a fine point, and then selecting a second piece, he made in it a narrow furrow not very deep. In this he rubbed the pointed stick until the little particles which were detached during the operation began to smoke. These he threw into a quantity of dry leaves and grass which he had got together for the purpose, and swung the whole several times round in the air, until it burst out into flames. The entire process did not take more than two minutes.

For our supper, he gathered a few plantains and laid them on the fire. I profited by the opportunity to dry my clothes, by sitting down near the fire, and turning first one side towards it, and then the other. Half wet through, and tolerably fatigued, I retired to my couch of dry leaves immediately after partaking of our scanty meal.

It is a fortunate circumstance that in these wild and remote districts neither men nor beasts afford the slightest grounds for apprehension; the former are very quiet and peaceably inclined, and, with the exception of a few wild boars, the latter are not dangerous. The island is especially favoured; it contains no poisonous or hurtful insects or reptiles. It is true there are a few scorpions, but so small and harmless, that they may be handled with impunity. The mosquitoes alone were the source of very considerable annoyance, as they are in all southern countries.

8th May. It began to rain very violently during the night, and in the morning I was sorry to see that there was not much hope of its clearing up; on the contrary, the clouds became blacker and blacker, and collecting from all sides, like so many evil spirits, poured down in torrents upon the innocent earth. Nevertheless, in spite of this, there was no other course open to us but to bid defiance to the angry water deity, and proceed upon our journey. In half an hour I was literally drenched; this being the case, I went on uncomplainingly, as it was impossible for me to become wetter than I was.

On my return to Papara, I found that Tati's son was not buried, but the ceremony took place the next day. The clergyman pronounced a short discourse at the side of the grave; and, as the coffin was being lowered, the mats, straw hat, and clothes of the deceased, as well as a few of the presents, were thrown in with it. The relations were present, but as unconcerned as I was myself.

The graveyard was in the immediate vicinity of several murais. The latter are small four-cornered plots of ground surrounded by stone walls three or four feet high, where the natives used to deposit their dead, which were left exposed upon wooden frames until the flesh fell from the bones. These were then collected and buried in some lonely spot.

The same evening I witnessed a remarkable mode of catching fish. Two boys waded out into the sea, one with a stick, and the other with a quantity of burning chips. The one with the stick drove the fish between the rocks, and then hit them, the other lighting him in the meanwhile. They were not very fortunate, however. The more common and successful manner of fishing is with nets.

Almost every day Monsieur —- had visits from officers who were passing, accompanied by their mistresses. The reader may easily imagine that the laws of propriety were not, however, always strictly observed, and as I had no desire to disturb the gentlemen in their intellectual conversation and amusement, I retired with my book into the servants' room. They, too, would laugh and joke, but, at least, in such a manner that there was no occasion to blush for them.

It was highly amusing to hear Monsieur —- launch out in praise of the attachment and gratitude of his Indian beauty; he would have altered his tone had he seen her behaviour in his absence. On one occasion I could not help telling one of the gentlemen my opinion of the matter, and expressing my astonishment that they could treat these grasping and avaricious creatures with such attention and kindness, to load them with presents, anticipate their every wish, and forgive and put up with their most glaring faults. The answer I received was: that these ladies, if not so treated and loaded with presents, would quickly run off, and that, in fact, even by the kindest attentions they never allowed themselves to be influenced very long.

From all I saw, I must repeat my former assertion, that the Tahitian people are endowed with none of the more noble sentiments of humanity, but that their only pleasures are merely animal. Nature herself encourages them to this in an extraordinary manner. They have no need to gain their bread by the sweat of their brow; the island is most plentifully supplied with beautiful fruit, tubercles of all descriptions, and tame pigs, so that the people have really only to gather the fruit and kill the pigs. To this circumstance is to be attributed the difficulty that exists of obtaining any one as servant or in any other capacity. The most wretched journeyman will not work for less than a dollar a-day; the price for washing a dozen handkerchiefs, or any other articles, is also a dollar (4s.), not including soap. A native, whom I desired to engage as guide, demanded a dollar and a half a day.

I returned from Papara to Papeiti in the company of an officer and his native beauty; we walked the thirty-six miles in a day. On our way, we passed the hut of the girl's mother, where we partook of a most splendid dish. It was composed of bread-fruit, mangoes, and bananas, kneaded together into a paste, and cooked upon hot stones. It was eaten, while warm, with a sauce of orange juice.

On taking leave, the officer gave the girl a present of a dollar to give her mother; the girl took it as indifferently as if it were not of the slightest value, and her mother did exactly the same, neither of them pronouncing one word of thanks, or manifesting the least sign of satisfaction.

We now and then came upon some portions of the road, the work of public offenders, that were most excellently constructed. Whenever an Indian is convicted of a crime, he is not chained in a gang, like convicts in Europe, but condemned to make or mend a certain extent of road, and the natives fulfil the tasks thus imposed with such punctuality, that no overseer is ever necessary. This kind of punishment was introduced under King Pomare, and originated with the natives themselves—the Europeans have merely continued the practice.

At Punavia we entered the fort, where we refreshed ourselves, in military fashion, with bread, wine, and bacon, and reached our journey's end at 7 o'clock in the morning.

Besides Papara, I visited also Venus Point, a small tongue of land where Cook observed the transit of Venus. The stone on which he placed his instruments still remains. On my way, I passed the grave, or murai, of King Pomare I. It consists of a small piece of ground, surrounded by a stone wall, and covered with a roof of palm- leaves. Some half-decayed pieces of cloth and portions of wearing apparel were still lying in it.

One of my most interesting excursions, however, was that to Fantaua and the Diadem. The former is a spot which the Indians considered impregnable; but where, nevertheless, they were well beaten by the French during the last war. Monsieur Bruat, the governor, was kind enough to lend me his horses, and to allow me the escort of a non- commissioned officer, who could point out to me each position of the Indians and French, as he had himself been in the engagement.

For more than two hours, we proceeded through horrible ravines, thick woods, and rapid mountain torrents. The ravines often became so narrow as to form so many defiles, with such precipitous and inaccessible sides, that here, as at Thermopylae, a handful of valiant warriors might defy whole armies. As a natural consequence, the entrance of Fantaua is regarded as the real key to the whole island. There was no other means of taking it than by scaling one of its most precipitous sides, and pressing forward upon the narrow ledge of rock above, so as to take the enemy in the rear. The governor, Monsieur Bruat, announced that he would confide this dangerous enterprise to volunteers, and he soon had more than he could employ. From those chosen, a second selection of only sixty- two men was made: these divested themselves of every article of clothing save their shoes and drawers, and took no other arms save their muskets.

After clambering up for twelve hours, and incurring great danger, they succeeded, by the aid of ropes, and by sticking pointed iron- rods and bayonets into the rock, in reaching the crest of the mountain, where their appearance so astonished the Indians, that they lost all courage, threw down their arms, and surrendered. They said that those who were capable of deeds like this, could not be men but spirits, against whom all hopes of resistance were out of the question altogether.

At present, there is a small fort built at Fantaua, and on one of its highest points stands a guard-house. The path leading to it is over a small ledge of rock, skirted on each side by a yawning abyss. Persons affected with giddiness can only reach it with great difficulty, if indeed they can do so at all. In this last case, they are great losers, for the prospect is magnificent in the extreme, extending over valleys, ravines, and mountains without number (among the latter may be mentioned the colossal rock called the "Diadem"), thick forests of palms and other trees; and beyond all these, the mighty ocean, broken into a thousand waves against the rocks and reefs, and in the distance mingling with the azure sky.

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