White Shadows in the South Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 365 pages of information about White Shadows in the South Seas.

The five men reached another of the ships in the bay, where they learned that Wilson had instigated the mutiny.  The worst had not come, for very soon the natives, perhaps also urged on by the Englishman, murdered all the others but Gamble, one seaman, one midshipman, and five wounded men.  Of the eight survivors, only one was acquainted with the management of a ship, and all were sufferings from wounds or disease.  With these men Lieutenant Gamble put to sea.

After incredible hardship, he succeeded in reaching Hawaii, only to be captured by a British frigate which a few weeks earlier had assisted in the capture of the Essex and Captain Porter.  The United States never ratified Porter’s occupation of Nuka-hiva, and it was left for the French thirty years later to seize the group.  At about the same time Herman Melville, an American sailor, ventured overland into Typee Valley, and was captured and treated as a royal guest by the Typee people.  He lived there many months, and heard no whisper of the havoc wrought by his countrymen a little time before.  The Typees had forgiven and forgotten it; he found them a happy, healthy, beautiful race, living peacefully and comfortably in their communistic society, coveting nothing from each other as there was plenty for all, eager to do honor to a strange guest who, they hoped, would teach them many useful things.

CHAPTER XXVI

A visit to Typee; story of the old man who returned too late.

I said, of course, that I must visit Typee, the scene of Porter’s bloody raid and Herman Melville’s exploits, and while I was making arrangements to get a horse in Tai-o-hae I met Haus Ramqe, supercargo of the schooner Moana, who related a story concerning the valley.

“I was working in the store of the Soceite Comerciale de l’Ocean in Tai-o-hae when the Tropic Bird, a San Francisco mail-schooner, arrived.  That was ten years ago.  An old man, an American, came into our place and asked the way to Typee.

“‘Ah,’ I said, ‘you have been reading that book by Melville.’  He made no reply, but asked me to escort him to the valley.  We set out on horseback, and though he had not said that he had ever been in these islands before, I saw that he was strangely interested in the scenes we passed.  He was rather feeble with age, and he grew so excited as we neared the valley that I asked him what he expected to see there.

“He stopped his horse, and hesitated in his reply.  He was terribly agitated.

“‘I lived in Typee once upon a time,’ he said slowly.  ’Could there by chance be a woman living there named Manu?  That was a long time ago, and I was young.  Still, I am here, and she may be, too.’

“I looked at him and could not tell him the truth.  It was evident he had made no confidant of the captain or crew of the Tropic Bird, for they could have told him of the desolation in Typee.  I hated, though, to have him plump right into the facts.

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White Shadows in the South Seas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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