Mystic Isles of the South Seas. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 444 pages of information about Mystic Isles of the South Seas..

Do not introduce the sorcery in the land of the whites!

Do not carry there this custom of lighting the oven!

It is the work of an evil spirit of the night; this act of Tupua.

For that reason I have said little of him in my story.  I have spoken.

—­Taumihau, The Man.

Chapter XXVI

Farewell to Tautira—­My good-bye feast—­Back at the Tiare—­A talk with Lovaina—­The Cercle Bougainville—­Death of David—­My visit to the cemetery—­Off for the Marquesas.

The smell of the burning wood of the Umuti was hardly out of my nostrils before my day of leaving Tautira came.  I had long wanted to visit the Marquesas Islands, and the first communication I had from Papeete in nearly three months was from the owners of the schooner Fetia Taiao, notifying me that that vessel, commanded by Captain William Pincher, would sail for the archipelago in a few days, “crew and weather willing.”  I was eager for the adventure, to voyage to the valley of Typee, where Herman Melville had lived with Fayaway and Kori-Kori, where Captain Porter had erected the American flag a century before, and where cannibalism and tattooing had reached their most artistic development.  But to sever the tie with Tautira was saddening.  Mataiea and the tribe of Tetuanui had won my affections, but at Tautira I had become a Tahitian.  I had lived in every way as if bred in the island, and had fallen so in love with the people and the mode of life, the peace and simplicity of the place, that only the already formed resolution to visit all the seas about stirred me to depart.

The village united to say good-by to me at a feast which was spread in the greenwood of the Greek god along the shore of the lagoon.  T’yonni and Choti, the student and the painter, were foremost in the preparations of the amuraa ma, and many houses supplied the extensive, soft mats which were put on the sward for the table, while the ladies laid the cloth of banana leaves down their center, and adorned it with flowers.

Ori-a-Ori sat at the head and I beside him.  His venerable countenance bore a smile of delight in being in such jovial company, and he answered the quips and drank the toasts as if a youth.  I was leaving early in the afternoon, and the banquet was begun before midday.  We had hardly reached the dessert when the accordions burst into the allegro airs of the adapted songs of America and Europe.  Between them speeches of friendship were addressed to me by the chief and others, and I sorrowfully replied.  Choti gave the key-note to our mutual regrets at my leaving by quoting the letter in Tahitian written by Ori-a-Ori to Rui at Honolulu long ago: 

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