Mystic Isles of the South Seas. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Mystic Isles of the South Seas..

When we went outside, I saw that the Dummy who had been a witness of the scene in the hall, had a large package of fish in the surrey, and all around there were other packages of them.  The men had been selling to those who came to Fa’a for them, the law extending only to the market in Papeete.

The strikers hawked the fish in town the next day, but this was immediately forbidden.  Hungry for fish—­the Tahitians have one word meaning all that—­though the people were, few could drive out to Fa’a to fetch them.  Within Papeete fish were mysteriously nailed to the trees at night, and over each was a card with the letters, “I.  W. W.”

Again a meeting of the council of state was called, and at it M. Lontane revealed the meaning of those cabalistic letters and the leadership of Kelly.  He had tracked down the fishermen and found their headquarters at the dance hall.

At the Cercle Bougainville there was an uproar.  Merchants drank twice their stint of liquor in their indignation.  Syndicalism was invading their shores, and their already limited labor supply would be corrupted.

I could not picture too seriously the wrath of the honest traders at the traitorous conduct of Kelly, “a white man,” as told by M. Lontane.  I was upbraided because of Kelly being an American with an Irish name.  Lying Bill said it was “A bloody Guy Fawkes plot.”

M. Lontane took full credit for the discovery of what he termed “A complot that would rival the Dreyfus case.”

He struck his chest, and asked me sternly if I knew of M. LeCoq, the great detective, of Emile Gaboriau.

Kelly was arrested in the midst of his dancing soiree at Fa’a.  He was put in the calaboose, and when he frankly said that he had come to Tahiti to preach the gospel of I. W. W.-ism and that he believed the fishermen had all the right on their side, he was sentenced as “a foreigner without visible means of support, a vagrant, miscreant, vagabond, and dangerous alien,” to a month on the roads, and then to be deported to the United States, whence he had come.

The strike or walk-out was broken.  With the cessation of the direction of Kelly and his heartening song, the fishermen gradually went back to their routine, and their women folk to the market.  The scales were in operation, but the himene, “Hahrayrooyah!  I’m a boom!  Hahrayrooyah!  Boomagay!” was sung from one end of Tahiti to another, and “Ai dobbebelly dobbebelly” was made at the Cercle Bougainville a password to some very old rum said to have belonged to the bishop who wrote the Tahitian dictionary.

Chapter XV

A drive to Papenoo—­The chief of Papenoo—­A dinner and poker on the beach—­Incidents of the game—­Breakfast the next morning—­The chief tells his story—­The journey back—­The leper child and her doll—­The Alliance Francaise—­Bemis and his daughter—­The band concert and the fire—­The prize-fight—­My bowl of velvet.

Project Gutenberg
Mystic Isles of the South Seas. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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