Mystic Isles of the South Seas


Frederick O'Brien

Ia Ora Na!

This is a simple record of my days and nights, my thoughts and dreams,

in the mystic isles of the South Seas, written without authority

of science or exactitude of knowledge. These are merely the vivid

impressions of my life in Tahiti and Moorea, the merriest, most

fascinating world of all the cosmos; of the songs I sang, the dances

I danced, the men and women, white and tawny, with whom I was joyous

or melancholy; the adventures at sea or on the reef, upon the sapphire

lagoon, and on the silver beaches of the most beautiful of tropics.

In this volume are no discoveries unless in the heart of the human. I

went to the islands below the equator with one thought--to play. All

that I have set down here is the profit of that spirit.

The soul of man is afflicted by the machine he has fashioned through

the ages to achieve his triumph over matter. In this light chronicle

I would offer the reader an anodyne for a few hours, of transport

to the other side of our sphere, where are the loveliest scenes the

eyes may find upon the round of the globe, the gentlest climate of

all the latitudes, the most whimsical whites, and the dearest savages

I have known.

"Mystic Isles of the South Seas" precedes in experience my former book,

"White Shadows in the South Seas," and will be followed by "Atolls of

the Sun," which will be the account of a visit to, and a dwelling on,

the blazing coral wreaths of the Dangerous Archipelago, where the

strange is commonplace, and the marvel is the probability of the hour.

These three volumes will cover the period I spent during three

journeys with the remnants of the most amazing of uncivilized races,

whose discovery startled the old world, and whom another generation

will cease to know.



Kaoha, Sausalito, California.

In this book the reader may be tempted to stumble over some foreign

words. I have put them in only when necessary, to give the color and

rhythm of Tahiti. The Tahitian words are very easily pronounced and

they are music in the mouth of any one who sounds them properly. Every

letter and syllable is pronounced plainly. The letters have the Latin

value and if one will remember this in reading, the Tahitian words

will flow mellifluously. For instance, "tane" is pronounced "tah-nay,"

"maru" is pronounced "mah-ru." "Tiare" is "tee-ah-ray." The Tahitian

language is dying fast, as are the Tahitians. Its beauties are worth

the few efforts necessary for the reader to scan them.

Frederick O'Brien.


Chapter I

Departure from San Francisco--Nature man left behind--Fellow-passengers

on the Noa-Noa--Tragedy of the Chinese pundit--Strange stories of

the South Seas--The Tahitian Hula

Chapter II

The Discovery of Tahiti--Marvelous isles and people--Hailed by a

wind-jammer--Middle of the voyage--Tahiti on the horizon--Ashore

in Papeete

Chapter III

Description of Tahiti--A volcanic rock and coral reef--Beauty of

the scenery--Papeete the center of the South Seas--Appearance of

the Tahitians

Chapter IV

The Tiare Hotel--Lovaina the hostess, the best-known woman in the

South Seas--Her strange menage--The Dummy--A one-sided tryst--An

old-fashioned cocktail--The Argentine training ship

Chapter V

The Parc de Bougainville--Ivan Stroganoff--He tells me the history

of Tahiti--He berates the Tahitians--Wants me to start a newspaper

Chapter VI

The Cercle Bougainville--Officialdom in Tahiti--My first visit to the

Bougainville--Skippers and merchants--A song and a drink--The flavor

of the South Seas--Rumors of war

Chapter VII

The Noa-Noa comes to port--Papeete en fete--Rare scene at the Tiare

Hotel--The New Year celebrated--Excitement at the wharf--Battle of

the Limes and Coal

Chapter VIII

Gossip in Papeete--Moorea, a near-by island--A two-days' excursion

there--Magnificent scenery from the sea--Island of fairy folk--Landing

and preparation for the feast--The First Christian Mission--A canoe

on the lagoon--Beauties of the sea-garden

Chapter IX

The Arearea in the pavilion--Raw fish and baked feis--Llewellyn,

the Master of the Revel; Kelly, the I. W. W. and his himene--The

Upaupahura--Landers and Mamoe prove experts--The return to Papeete

Chapter X

The storm on the lagoon; making safe the schooners--A talk on missing

ships--A singular coincidence--Arrival of three of the crew of the

shipwrecked El Dorado--The Dutchman's Story--Easter Island

Chapter XI

I move to the Annexe--Description of the building--The baroness

and her baby--Evoa and Poia--The corals of the lagoon--The Chinese

shrine--The Tahitian sky

Chapter XII

The princess suggests a walk to the falls of Fautaua, where Loti went

with Rarahu--We start in the morning--The suburbs of Papeete--The Pool

of Loti--The birds, trees and plants--A swim in a pool--Arrival at

the cascade--Luncheon and a siesta--We climb the height--The princess

tells of Tahitian women--The Fashoda fright

Chapter XIII

The beach-combers of Papeete--The consuls tell their troubles--A bogus

lord--The American boot-blacks--The cowboy in the hospital--Ormsby,

the supercargo--The death of Tahia--The Christchurch Kid--The Nature

men--Ivan Stroganoff's desire for a new gland

Chapter XIV

The market in Papeete--Coffee at Shin Bung Lung's with a prince--Fish

the chief item--Description of them--The vegetables and fruits--The

fish strike--Rumors of an uprising--Kelly and the I. W. W.--The

mysterious session at Fa'a--Hallelujah! I'm a Bum!--the strike

is broken

Chapter XV

A drive to Papenoo--The chief of Papenoo--A dinner and poker on the

bench--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

Chapter XVI

A journey to Mataiea--I abandon city life--Interesting sights on the

route--The Grotto of Maraa--Papara and the Chief Tati--The plantation

of Atimaono--My host, the Chevalier Tetuanui

Chapter XVII

My life in the house of Tetuanui--Whence came the Polynesians--A

migration from Malaysia--Their legends of the past--Condition of

Tahiti when the white came--The great navigator, Cook--Tetuanui tells

of old Tahiti

Chapter XVIII

The reef and the lagoon--Wonders of marine life--Fishing with spears

and nets--Sponges and hermit crabs--Fish of many colors--Ancient

canoes of Tahiti--A visit to Vaihiria and legends told there

Chapter XIX

The Arioi, minstrels of the tropics--Lovaina tells of the

infanticide--Theories of depopulation--Methods of the Arioi--Destroyed

by missionaries

Chapter XX

Rupert Brooke and I discuss Tahiti--We go to a wedding feast--How the

cloth was spread--What we ate and drank--A Gargantuan feeder--Songs

and dances of passion--The royal feast at Tetuanui's--I leave for

Vairao--Butscher and the Lermantoffs

Chapter XXI

A heathen temple--The great Marae of Oberea--I visit it with Rupert

Brooke and Chief Tetuanui--The Tahitian religion of old--The wisdom

of folly

Chapter XXII

I start for Tautira--A dangerous adventure in a canoe--I go by land

to Tautira--I meet Choti and the Greek god--I take up my home where

Stevenson lived

Chapter XXIII

My life at Tautira--The way I cook my food--Ancient Tahitian

sports--Swimming and fishing--A night hunt for shrimp and eels

Chapter XXIV

In the days of Captain Cook--The first Spanish

missionaries--Difficulties of converting the heathens--Wars over

Christianity--Ori-a-Ori, the chief, friend of Stevenson--We read the

Bible together--The church and the himene

Chapter XXV

I meet a sorcerer--Power over fire--The mystery of the fiery

furnace--The scene in the forest--Walking over the white-hot

stones--Origin of the rite

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


Chapter I

Departure from San Francisco--Nature man left behind--Fellow-passengers

on the Noa-Noa--Tragedy of the Chinese pundit--Strange stories of

the South Seas--The Tahitian Hula.

The warning gong had sent all but crew and passengers ashore, though

our ship did not leave the dock. Her great bulk still lay along the

piling, though the gangway was withdrawn. The small groups on the

pier waited tensely for the last words with those departing. These

passengers were inwardly bored with the prolonged farewells, and

wanted to be free to observe their fellow-voyagers and the movement

of the ship. They conversed in shouts with those ashore, but most of

the meanings were lost in the noise of the shuffling of baggage and

freight, the whistling of ferries, and the usual turmoil of the San

Francisco waterfront. I was glad that none had come to see me off,

for I was curious about my unknown companions upon the long traverse

to the South Seas, and I had wilfully put behind me all that America

and Europe held to adventure in the vasts of ocean below the equator.

But the whistle I awaited to sound our leaving was silent. Officers

of the ship rushed about as if bent on relieving her of some

pressing danger, and I caught fragments of orders and replies which

indicated that until a search was completed she could not stir on

her journey. Then I heard cries of anger and protest, and caught

a glimpse of a man whose appearance provoked confusing emotions of

astonishment, admiration, and laughter. He was dressed in a Roman

toga of rough monk's-cloth, and had on sandals. He was being hustled

bodily over the restored gangway, and was resisting valiantly the

second officer, purser, and steward, who were hardly able to move him,

so powerfully was he made. One of his sandals suddenly fell into the

bay. He had seized hold of the rail of the gangway, and the leather

sandal dropped into the water with a slight splash. His grasp of the

rail being broken, he was gradually being pushed, limping, to the

dock. His one bare foot and his half-exposed and shapely body caused

a gale of laughter from the docks and the wharf.

The gangway was quickly withdrawn, and our ship began to move from

the shore. The ejected one stood watching us with sorrow shadowing

his large eyes. He was of middle size; with the form of a David

of Michelangelo, though lithe, and he wore no hat, but had a long,

brown beard, which, with his brown hair, parted in the middle and

falling over his shoulders, and his archaic garb, gave me a singular

shock. It was as if a boyhood vision, or something seen in a painting,

was made real. His eyes were the deepest blue, limpid and appealing,

and I felt like shouting out that if it was a matter of money,

I would aid the man in the toga.

"Christ!" yelled the frantic dock superintendent. "Get that line cast

off and let her go! Are you ceemented to that hooker?"

Instantly before me came Munkacsy's picture of the Master before

Pilate, evoked by the profanity of the wharf boss, but explaining

the vision of a moment ago. The Noa-Noa emitted a cry from her iron

throat. The engines started, and the distance between our deck and

the pier grew as our bow swung toward the Golden Gate. The strange

man who had been put ashore, with his one sandal in his hand, and

holding his torn toga about him, hastened to the nearest stringer of

the wharf and waved good-by to us. It was as if a prophet, or even

Saul of Tarsus, blessed us in our quest. He stood on a tall group of

piles, and called out something indistinguishable.

The passengers hurried below, to return in coats and caps to meet the

wind that blows from China, and the second officer and the surgeon

came by, talking animatedly.

"Oh, yus," said the seaman, chuckling, "'e wuz 'auled out finally. The

beggar 'ad 'id 'imself good and proper this time. 'E wuz in the

linen-closet, and 'ad disguised 'imself as a bundle o' bloomin'

barth-towels. 'E wuz a reg'lar grand Turk, 'e wuz. Blow me, if you'd

'a' knowed 'im from a bale of 'em, 'e wuz so wrapped up in 'em. 'E

almost 'ad us 'ull down this time. The blighter made a bit of a

row, and said as 'ow he just could n't 'elp stowin' aw'y every boat

for T'iti."

"He's a bally nut," said the surgeon. "I say, though, he did take me

back to Sunday school."

I recalled a man who walked the streets of San Francisco carrying a

small sign in his upraised hand, "Christ has come!" He looked neither

to the right nor the left, but bore his curious announcement among the

crowds downtown, which smiled jestingly at him, or looked frightened

at the message. If many had believed him, the panic would have been

illimitable. He was dressed in a brown cassock, and looked like the

blue-eyed man who had been refused passage to my destination. Probably,

that American in the toga and sandals, exiled from the island he loved

so well, had a message for the Tahitians or others of the Polynesian

tribes of the South Seas; Essenism, maybe, or something to do with

virginal beards and long hair, or sandals and the simple life. I

wished he were with us.

We were in the Golden Gate now, that magnificentopening in the

California shores, riven in the eternalconflict of land and water,

and the rending of which made the bay of San Francisco the mightiest

harbor of America. Before our bows lay the immenseexpanse of the

mysterious Pacific.

The second officer was directing sailors who were snugging down

the decks.

"What did the queer fellow want to go to Tahiti for?" I asked him.

He regarded me a moment in the stolid way of seamen.

  • volume [´vɔlju:m, ´vɑljəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.卷;书籍;体积;容量   (初中英语单词)
  • achieve [ə´tʃi:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.完成;达到;获得   (初中英语单词)
  • triumph [´traiəmf] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.胜利 vi.得胜,战胜   (初中英语单词)
  • climate [´klaimit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.气候;特殊气候地带   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • dwelling [´dweliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.住所;寓所   (初中英语单词)
  • marvel [´mɑ:vəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.令人惊异的事;奇迹   (初中英语单词)
  • amazing [ə´meiziŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.惊人的;惊奇的   (初中英语单词)
  • stumble [´stʌmbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.摔倒;失足;弄错   (初中英语单词)
  • properly [´prɔpəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.适当地;严格地   (初中英语单词)
  • plainly [´pleinli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.平坦地;简单地   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • instance [´instəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.例子,实例,例证   (初中英语单词)
  • preparation [,prepə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.准备;预习(时间)   (初中英语单词)
  • princess [,prin´ses] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.公主;王妃;亲王夫人   (初中英语单词)
  • abandon [ə´bændən] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.抛弃,放弃,离弃   (初中英语单词)
  • wedding [´wediŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.婚礼,结婚   (初中英语单词)
  • mystery [´mistəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.神秘;秘密;故弄玄虚   (初中英语单词)
  • ashore [ə´ʃɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.向岸上   (初中英语单词)
  • whistle [´wisəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.吹哨 n.口哨;汽笛   (初中英语单词)
  • glimpse [glimps] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.瞥见   (初中英语单词)
  • admiration [,ædmə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.赞赏,钦佩   (初中英语单词)
  • laughter [´lɑ:ftə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.笑,笑声   (初中英语单词)
  • splash [splæʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.溅水声;涉水而进   (初中英语单词)
  • vision [´viʒən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.视觉;想象力;幻影   (初中英语单词)
  • prophet [´prɔfit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.预言家;先知;提倡者   (初中英语单词)
  • bundle [´bʌndl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.包,捆;包袱(裹)   (初中英语单词)
  • magnificent [mæg´nifisənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.壮丽的;豪华的   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • eternal [i´tə:nəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.永远的;永恒的   (初中英语单词)
  • conflict [´kɔnflikt, kən´flikt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.战斗;抵触   (初中英语单词)
  • immense [i´mens] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.广大的,无限的   (初中英语单词)
  • melancholy [´melənkəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.忧郁 a.忧郁的   (高中英语单词)
  • sphere [sfiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.圆体;天体;范围   (高中英语单词)
  • probability [,prɔbə´biliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.或有;可能性   (高中英语单词)
  • pronounced [prə´naunst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发出音的;显著的   (高中英语单词)
  • syllable [´siləbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.音节;只言片语   (高中英语单词)
  • hostess [´həustis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.女主人;旅馆女老板   (高中英语单词)
  • near-by [´niə-bai] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.附近的 ad.在附近   (高中英语单词)
  • scenery [´si:nəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.舞台布景   (高中英语单词)
  • singular [´siŋgjulə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.单一的;非凡的   (高中英语单词)
  • session [´seʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.会议;会期;(开庭)期   (高中英语单词)
  • marine [mə´ri:n] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.海的 n.海军陆战队   (高中英语单词)
  • hermit [´hə:mit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.隐士   (高中英语单词)
  • heathen [´hi:ðən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.异教徒   (高中英语单词)
  • baggage [´bægidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.行李   (高中英语单词)
  • steward [´stju:əd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.管家;服务员   (高中英语单词)
  • boyhood [´bɔihud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.少年时代(期)   (高中英语单词)
  • frantic [´fræntik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发狂的;急忙的   (高中英语单词)
  • superintendent [,su:pərin´tendənt, ,sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.管理人,负责人   (高中英语单词)
  • hurried [´hʌrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.仓促的,慌忙的   (高中英语单词)
  • surgeon [´sə:dʒən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.外科医生;军医   (高中英语单词)
  • announcement [ə´naunsmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.通告;宣布;言谈   (高中英语单词)
  • destination [,desti´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.目标地   (高中英语单词)
  • equator [i´kweitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.赤道   (英语四级单词)
  • commonplace [´kɔmənpleis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.平凡的;常见的   (英语四级单词)
  • volcanic [vɔl´kænik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.(象)火山的;爆发的   (英语四级单词)
  • argentine [´ɑ:dʒəntain] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.阿根廷人(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • navigator [´nævigeitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.航行者;航海员   (英语四级单词)
  • warning [´wɔ:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.警告;前兆 a.预告的   (英语四级单词)
  • withdrawn [wið´drɔ:n] 移动到这儿单词发声  withdraw过去分词   (英语四级单词)
  • blessed [´blesid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.享福的;神圣的   (英语四级单词)
  • downtown [,daun´taun] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&a.在商业区   (英语四级单词)
  • mystic [´mistik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.神秘的;难以理解的   (英语六级单词)
  • lagoon [lə´gu:n] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.濒海湖,泻湖   (英语六级单词)
  • cowboy [´kaubɔi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.牧童;牛仔   (英语六级单词)
  • grotto [´grɔtəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.岩穴;洞室   (英语六级单词)
  • inwardly [´inwədli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.内向;独自地   (英语六级单词)
  • turmoil [´tə:mɔil] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.骚动;混乱   (英语六级单词)
  • valiantly [´væljəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.勇敢地,英勇地   (英语六级单词)
  • sandal [´sændl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.凉鞋;便鞋   (英语六级单词)
  • seaman [´si:mən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海员,水手   (英语六级单词)
  • expanse [ik´spæns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.广阔;宽阔的区域   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:50:20
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