We had breakfasted in the bower at ten o’clock, with the band in attendance. Not one of the musicians had slept except Kelly, who said he had forty winks. When the pastors and their flocks of the various competing churches passed on their way to services, the band was keyed up in G, and was parading the streets, so that the faith of the Tahitians was severely tried. Even the ministers tarried a minute, and had to hold tightly their scriptures to control their legs, which itched to dance.
Aboard the Potii Moorea the bandsmen came sober, a revelation in recuperation. Again we passed the idyllic shores of Moorea, glimpsed the grove of Daphne and McTavish’s bungalow at Urufara, and saw the heights, the desolated castle, the marvels of light and shade upon the hills and valleys, left the silver circlet of the reef, and made the open sea.
The glory of the Diadem, a crown of mountain peaks, stood out above the mists that cover the mountains of Tahiti, and the green carpet of the hills fell from the clouds to the water’s-edge, as if held above by Antaeus and pinned down by the cocoanut-trees.
At landing I discovered that the bandsmen had stolen away the sleeping Mamoe, and had carried her aboard the Potii Moorea, and deposited her in the hold. She emerged fresh from her nap, and apparently ready for an upaupa that night. We marched to the Cercle Bougainville to recall the incidents of the excursion over a comforting Dr. Funk.
The storm on the lagoon; Making safe the schooners—A talk on missing ships—A singular coincidence—Arrival of three of crew of the shipwrecked El Dorado—The Dutchman’s story—Easter Island.
It blew a gale all one day and night from the north, and at break of the second day, when I went down the rue de Rivoli from the Tiare Hotel to the quay, the lagoon was a wild scene. Squall after squall had dashed the rain upon my verandas during the night, and I could faintly hear the voices of the men on the schooners as they strove to fend their vessels from the coral embankment, or hauled at anchor-ropes to get more sea-room.
The sun did not rise, but a gray sky showed the flying scud tearing at the trees and riggings, and the boom of the surf on the reef was like the roaring of a great steelmill at full blast. The roadway was littered with branches and the crimson leaves of the flamboyants. The people were hurrying to and from market in vehicles and on foot, soaked and anxious-looking as they struggled against the wind and rain. I walked the length of the built-up waterfront. The little boats were being pulled out from the shore by the several launches, and were making fast to buoys or putting down two and three anchors a hundred fathoms away from the quays.
The storm increased all the morning, and at noon, when I looked at the barometer in the Cercle Bougainville it was 29.51, the lowest, the skippers said, in seven years. The William Olsen, a San Francisco barkentine, kedged out into the lagoon as fast as possible, and through the tearing sheets of rain I glimpsed other vessels reaching for a holding-ground. The Fetia Taiao had made an anchorage a thousand feet toward the reef. The waves were hammering against the quays, and the lagoon was white with fury.