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a moment. Then, "My cally!" he said, as he pushed a great heap of
_toendstikkers_ onto the cane mat. The _kava_-drinkers grew black
with excitement.

Kivi hesitated, and then, amid the most frightful curses of his
company, laid down only a pair of kings, a six, a nine, and a jack.
O Lalala, without a smile, disclosed a pair of aces and three
meaningless companions.

The game was over. The men of Hiva-oa had thrown their last spear.
Magic had been unavailing; the demon foreigner could read through
the cards. Kivi fell back helpless, grief and _kava_ prostrating him.
The torches died down as the winner picked up his spoils and
prepared to retire.

At this moment a man dashed madly through the grove, displaying two
boxes and a handful of separate matches. O Lalala at first refused
to play for this trifling stake, but in a storm of menacing cries
consented to cut the pack for double or nothing, and in a twinkling
extinguished the last hope.

The last comer had looted the governor's palace. The ultimate match
in the Marquesas had been lost to the Tahitian. He now had the
absolute monopoly of light and of cooking.

Soberly the rest of the valley dwellers went home to unlighted huts.

Next morning, after a cold breakfast, I was early afoot in the valley.
On the way to the trader's store I beheld the complacent winner in
his cabin. Through the open door I saw that every inch of the walls
was covered with stacked boxes of matches, yellow fronts exposed. On
his mat in the middle of this golden treasury O Lalala reclined,
smoking at his leisure, and smiling the happy smile of Midas.
Outside a cold wind swept down from Calvary Peak, and a gray sky hid
the sun.

I paused in the reek of those innumerable matches, which tainted the
air a hundred feet away, and exchanged morning greetings with their
owner, inquiring about his plans. He said that he would make a three
days' vigil of thanks, and upon the fourth day he would sell matches
at a franc a small box. I bade him farewell, and passed on.

The valley people were coming and going about their affairs, but
sadly and even morosely. There was no match to light the fire for
roasting breadfruit, or to kindle the solacing tobacco. O Lalala
would not give one away, or sell one at any price. Neither would he
let a light be taken from his own fire or pipe.

The next schooner was not expected for two months, as the last was
but a fortnight gone. Le Brunnec had not a match, nor Kriech. The
governor had not returned. The only alternatives were to go
lightless and smokeless or to assault the heartless oppressor. Many
dark threats were muttered on the cheerless _paepaes_ and in the
dark huts, but in variety of councils there was no unity, and none
dared assault alone the yellow-walled hut in which O Lalala smiled
among his gains.

On the second day there was a growing tension in the atmosphere of
the valley. I observed that there were no young men to be seen on
the beach or at the traders' stores. There were rumors, hints hardly
spoken, of a meeting in the hills. The traders looked to their guns,
whistling thoughtfully. There was not a spark of fire set in all
Atuona, save by O Lalala, and that for himself alone.

So matters stood until the second night. Then old Kahuiti, that
handsomest of cannibals, who lived in the valley of Taaoa, strolled
into Atuona and made it known that he would hold a meeting in the
High Place where of old many of his tribe had been eaten by Atuona

Exploding Eggs, Malicious Gossip, and I climbed the mountain early.
The population of the valley, eager for counsel, was gathered on the
old stone benches where half a century earlier their sorcerers had
sat. In the twilight Kahuiti stood before us, his long white beard
tied in a Psyche knot on his broad, tattooed chest. His voice was

We were fools, he said, to be denied food and smoke by the foreigner.
What of matches before the French came? Had he known matches in his
youth? _Aue!_ The peoples of the islands must return to the ways of
their fathers!

He leaped from the top of the Pekia, and seizing his long knife, he
cut a five-foot piece of _parua_-wood and shaped it to four inches
in width. With our fascinated gaze upon him, he whittled sharp a
foot-long piece of the same wood, and straddled the longer stick.
Holding it firmly between his two bare knees he rubbed the shorter,
pointed piece swiftly up and down a space of six inches upon his
mount. Gradually a groove formed, in which the dust collected at one

Soon the wood was smoking hot, and then the old man's hands moved so
rapidly that for several moments I could not follow them with the eye.
The smoke became thicker, and suddenly a gleam of flame arose,
caught the dust, and was fed with twigs and cocoanut-husks by scores
of trembling brown hands. In a few minutes a roaring fire was
blazing on the sward.

Pipes sprang from loin-cloths or from behind ears, and the
incense of tobacco lifted on the still air of the evening.
Brands were improvised and hurried home to light the fires
for breadfruit-roasting, while Kahuiti laughed scornfully.

"A hundred of this tribe I have eaten, and no wonder!" he said as he
strode away toward Taaoa.

The monopoly of O Lalala was no more. Atuona Valley had turned back
the clock of time a hundred years, to destroy the perfect world in
which he sat alone. He heard the news with amazement and
consternation. For a day he sat disconsolate, unable to credit the
disaster that had befallen his carefully made plans. Then he offered
the matches at usual traders' prices, and the people mocked him. All
over the island the fire-ploughs, oldest of fire-making tools in the
world, were being driven to heat the stones for the _mei_. Atuona
had no need of matches.

The governor on his return heard the roars of derision, gathered the
story from a score of mirthful tongues, seized and sold the matches,
and appropriated the funds for a barrel of Bordeaux. And for many
weeks the unhappy O Lalala sat mournfully on the beach, gazing at
the empty sea and longing for a schooner to carry him away.


Mademoiselle N - - .

The _Jeanne d'Arc_, a beautiful, long, curving craft manned by
twelve oarsmen, came like a white bird over the blue waters of the
Bay of Traitors one Saturday afternoon, bringing Père Victorien to
Atuona. He was from Hatiheu, on the island of Nuka-hiva, seventy
miles to the north. A day and a night he had spent on the open sea,
making a slow voyage by wind and oar, but like all these priests he
made nothing of the hardships. They come to the islands to stay
until they die, and death means a crown the brighter for martyrdom.

He looked a tortured man in his heavy and smothering vestments when
I met him before the mission walls next morning. His face and hands
were covered with pustules as if from smallpox.

"The _nonos_ (sand-flies) are so furious the last month," he said
with a patient smile. "I have not slept but an hour at a time. I was
afraid I would go mad."

News of his coming brought all the valley Catholics to eight o'clock
mass. The banana-shaded road and the roots of the old banian were
crowded with worshippers in all their finery, and when they poured
into the mission the few rude benches were well filled. I found a
chair in the rear, next to that of Baufré, the shaggy drunkard, and
as the chanting began, I observed an empty _prie-dieu_, specially
prepared and placed for some person of importance.

"Mademoiselle N - - " said Baufré, noticing the direction of my glance.
"She is the richest woman in all the Marquesas."

At the Gospel she came in, walking slowly down the aisle and taking
her place as though unaware of the hundred covert glances that
followed her. Wealth is comparative, and Mademoiselle N - - , with
perhaps a few hundred thousand dollars in cash and cocoanut-grove,
stood to the island people as Rockefeller to us. Money and lands
were not all her possessions, for though she had never traveled from
her birthplace, she was very different in carriage and costume from
the girls about her.

She wore a black lace gown, clinging, and becoming her slender
figure and delicately charming face. Her features were exquisite,
her eyes lustrous black pools of passion, her mouth a scarlet line
of pride and disdain. A large leghorn hat of fine black straw, with
chiffon, was on her graceful head, and her tiny feet were in silk
stockings and patent leather. She held a gold and ivory prayer-book
in gloved hands, and a jeweled watch hung upon her breast.

She might have passed for a Creole or for one of those beautiful
Filipino _mestizas_, daughters of Spanish fathers and Filipino
mothers. I suppose coquetry in woman was born with the fig-leaf.
This dainty, fetching heiress, born of a French father and a savage
mother, had all the airs and graces of a ballroom belle. Where had
she gained these fashions and desires of the women of cities, of

I had but to look over the church to feel her loneliness. Teata,
Many Daughters, Weaver of Mats, and Flower, savagely handsome,
gaudily dressed, were the only companions of her own age. Flower, of
the red-gold hair, was striking in a scarlet gown of sateen, a
wreath of pink peppers, and a necklace of brass. She had been
ornamented by the oarsmen of the _Jeanne d'Arc_, fortunately without
Père Victorien's knowledge. Teata, in her tight gown with its
insertions of fishnet revealing her smooth, tawny skin, a red scarf
about her waist, straw hat trimmed with a bright blue Chinese shawl
perched on her high-piled hair, was still a picture of primitive and
savage grace. They were handsome, these girls, but they were wild
flowers. Mlle. N - - had the poise and delicacy of the hothouse

Her father had spent thirty years on Hiva-oa, laboring to wring a
fortune from the toil of the natives, and dying, he had left it all
to this daughter, who, with her laces and jewels, her elegant, slim
form and haughty manner, was in this wild abode of barefooted,
half-naked people like a pearl in a gutter. She was free now to do
what she liked with herself and her fortune. What would she do?

It was the question on every tongue and in every eye when, after mass,
she passed down the lane respectfully widened for her in the throng
on the steps and with a black-garbed sister at her side, walked to
the nuns' house.

"If only she had a religious vocation," sighed Sister Serapoline.
"That would solve all difficulties, and save her soul and happiness."

Vainly the nuns and priests had tried during the dozen years of her
tutelage in their hands to direct her aspirations toward this goal,
but one had only to look into her burning eyes or see the supple
movement of her body, to know that she sought her joy on earth.

Liha-Liha, the natives called her father, which means corporal, and
that they had hated and yet feared him when Hiva-oa was still given
over to cannibalism outlined his character. He had lived and died in
his house near the Stinking Springs on the road to Taaoa. The sole
white man in that valley, he had lorded it over the natives more
sternly than had their old chiefs. He had fought down the wilderness,
planted great cocoanut-plantations, forced the unwilling islanders
to work for him, and dollar by dollar, with an iron will, he had
wrung from their labor the fortune now left in the dainty hands of
his half-savage daughter.

Song of the Nightingale, the convict cook of the governor, gave me
light on the man.

"I loved his woman, Piiheana (Climber of Trees Who Was Killed and
Eaten), who was the mother of Mademoiselle N - - ," said Song of the
Nightingale. "One night he found me with her on his _paepae_. He shot
me; then he had me condemned as a robber, and I spent five years in
the prison at Tai-o-hae."

"And Climber of Trees Who Was Killed and Eaten?"

"He beat her till her bones were broken, and sent her from him. Then
he took Daughter of a Piece of Tattooing, to whom he left in his
will thirty-five thousand francs. It was she who brought up

Mademoiselle herself walked daintily down to the road, where her
horse was tied, and I was presented to her. She gave me her hand
with the air of a princess, her scarlet lips quivering into a faint
smile and her smouldering, unsatisfied eyes sweeping my face. With a,
conciliating, yet imperious, air, she suggested that I ride over the
hills with her.

Picking up her lace skirt and frilled petticoat, she vaulted into
the man's saddle without more ado, and took the heavy reins in her
small gloved hands. Her horse was scrubby, but she rode well, as do
all Marquesans, her supple body following his least movement and her
slim, silk-stockinged legs clinging as though she were riding
bareback. When the swollen river threatened to wet her varnished
slippers, she perched herself on the saddle, feet and all, and made
a dry ford.

Over the hills she led the way at a gallop, despite wretched trail
and tripping bushes. Down we went through the jungle, walled in by a
hundred kinds of trees and ferns and vines. Now and then we came
into a cleared space, a native plantation, a hut surrounded by
breadfruit-, mango- and cocoanut-, orange- and lime-trees. No one
called "_Kaoho!_" and Mademoiselle N - - did not slacken her pace.
We swept into the jungle again without a word, my horse following her
mount's flying feet, and I ducking and dodging branches and
noose-like vines.

In a marshy place, where patches of _taro_ spread its magnificent
leaves over the earth, we slowed to a walk. The jungle tangle was
all about us; a thousand bright flowers, scarlet, yellow, purple,
crimson, splashed with color the masses of green; tall ferns
uncurled their fronds; giant creepers coiled like snakes through the
boughs, and the sluggish air was heavy with innumerable delicious
scents. I said to Mademoiselle N - - that the beauty of the islands
was like that of a fantastic dream, an Arabian Night's tale.

"Yes?" she said, with a note of weariness and irony. The feet of the
horses made a sucking sound on the oozy ground. "I am half white,"
she said after a moment, and as the horses' hoofs struck the rocky
trail again, she whipped up her mount and we galloped up the slope.

After a time the trail widened into a road and I saw before us a
queer enclosure. At first sight I thought it a wild-animal park.
There were small houses like cages and a big, box-like structure in
the center, all enclosed in a wire fence, a couple of acres in all.
Drawing nearer, I saw that the houses were cabins painted in gaudy
colors, and that the white box was a marble tomb of great size. Each
slab of marble was rimmed with scarlet cement, and the top of the
tomb, under a corrugated iron roof, was covered with those abominable
bead-wreaths from Paris.

Like the humbler Marquesans who have their coffins made and graves
dug before their passing, Mademoiselle N - - 's father had seen to it
that this last resting-place was prepared while he lived, and he had
placed it here in the center of his plantation, before the house that
had been his home for thirty years. With something of his own crude
strength and barbaric taste, it stood there, the grim reminder of
her white father to the girl in whose veins his own blood mingled
with that of the savage.

She looked at it without emotion, and after I had surveyed it, we
dismounted and she led me into her house. It was a neat and
showily-furnished cottage, whose Nottingham-lace curtains, varnished
golden-oak chairs and ingrain carpet spoke of attempts at mail-order
beautification. Sitting on a horse-hair sofa, hard and slippery, I
drank wine and ate mangoes, while opposite me Mademoiselle N - - 's
mother sat in stiff misery on a chair. She was a withered Marquesan
woman, barefooted and ugly, dressed in a red cotton garment of the
hideous night-gown pattern introduced by the missionaries, and her
eyes were tragedies of bewilderment and suffering, while her
toothless mouth essayed a smile and she struggled with a few words
of bad French.

Though Mademoiselle N - - was most hospitable, she was not at ease,
and I knew it was because of the appearance of her mother, this
woman whom her father had discarded years before, but to whom the
daughter had shown kindness since his death. The mother appeared
more at ease with her successor, a somewhat younger Marquesan woman,
who waited on us as a servant, and seemed contented enough.
Doubtless the two who had endured the moods of Liha-Liha had many
confidences now that he was gone.

I had to describe America to Mademoiselle N - - , and the inventions
and social customs of which she had read. She would not want to live
in such a big country, she said, but Tahiti seemed to combine
comfort with the atmosphere of her birthplace. Perhaps she might go
to Tahiti to live.

As I took my hat to leave, she said:

"I have been told that they are separating the lepers in Tahiti and
confining them outside Papeite in a kind of prison. Is that so?"

"Not a prison," I replied. "The government has built cottages for
them in a little valley. Don't you think it wise to segregate them?"

She did not reply, and I rode away.

A week later I met her one evening at Otupoto, that dividing place
between the valleys of Taaoa and Atuona, where Kahuiti and his
fellow warriors had trapped the human meat. I had walked there to
sit on the edge of the precipice and watch the sun set in the sea.
She came on horseback from her home toward the village, to spend
Sunday with the nuns. She got off her horse when she saw me, and lit
a cigarette.

"What do you do here all alone?" she asked in French. She never used
a word of Marquesan to me. I replied that I was trying to imagine
myself there fifty years earlier, when the meddlesome white sang
very low in the concert of the island powers.

"The people were happier then, I suppose," she said meditatively, as
she handed me her burning cigarette in the courteous way of her
mother's people. "But it does not attract me. I would like to see
the world I read of."

She sat beside me on the rock, her delicately-modeled chin on her
pink palm, and gazed at the colors fading from vivid gold and rose
to yellow and mauve on the sky and the sea. The quietness of the
scene, the gathering twilight, perhaps, too, something in the fact
that I was a white man and a stranger, broke down her reserve.

"But with whom can I see that world?" she said with sudden passion.
"Money - I have it. I don't want it. I want to be loved. I want a man.
What shall I do? I cannot marry a native, for they do not think as I
do. I - I dread to marry a Frenchman. You know _le droit du mari_? A
French wife has no freedom."

I cited Madame Bapp, who chastised her spouse.

"He is no man, that _criquet!_" she said scornfully.

"I would be better off not to marry, if I had a real man who loved me,
and who would take me across the sea! What am I saying? The nuns
would be shocked. I do not know - oh, I do not know what it is that
tears at me! But I want to see the world, and I want a man to love me."

"Your islands here are more beautiful than any of the developed
countries," I said. "There are many thieves there, too, to take your

"I have read that," she answered, "and I am not afraid. I am afraid
of nothing. I want to know a different life than here. I will at
least go to Tahiti. I am tired of the convent. The nuns talk always
of religion, and I am young, and I am half French. We die young,
most of us, and I have had no pleasure."

I saw her black eyes, as she puffed her cigarette, shining with her
vision. Some man would put tears in them soon, I thought, if she
chose that path.

Would she be happy in Tahiti? If she could find one of her own kind,
a half-caste, a paragon of kindness and fidelity, she might be. With
the white she would know only torture. There is but one American that
I know who has made a native girl happy. Lovina, who keeps the Tiare
Hotel in Papeite and who knows the gossip of all the South Seas,
told me the story one day after he had come to the hotel to fetch
two dinners to his home. He had a handsome motor-car, and the man
himself was so clean-looking, so precise in every word and motion,
that I spoke of the contrast to the skippers, officials, and
tourists who lounged about Lovina's bar.

"He is a strange one, that man," said Lovina. "Two years ago I have
nice girl here, wait on bar, look sweet, and I make her jus' so my
daughter. I go America for visit, and when I come back that girl
ruin'. That American take her 'way, and he come tell me straight he
couldn't help it. He jus' love her - mad. He build her fine house,
get automobile. She never work. Every day he come here get meals
take home."

That tall, straight chap, his hair prematurely gray, his face sad,
had made the barmaid the jewel of a golden setting. He devoted
himself and his income solely to her. Stranger still, he had made
her his legal wife.

But she is an exception rare as rain in Aden. These native girls of
mixed blood, living tragedies sprung from the uncaring selfishness
of the whites, struggle desperately to lift themselves above the
mire in which the native is sinking. They throw themselves away on
worthless adventurers, who waste their little patrimony, break their
hearts, and either desert them after the first flush of passion
passes, or themselves sink into a life of lazy slovenliness worse
than that of the native.

All these things I pondered when Mlle. N - - spoke of her hope of
finding happiness in Tahiti. I was sure that, with her wealth, she
would have many suitors, - but what of a tender heart?

"It is love I want," she said. "Love and freedom. We women are used
to having our own way. I know the nuns would be horrified, but I
shall bind myself to no man."

The last colors of the sunset faded slowly on the sea, and the world
was a soft gray filled with the radiance of the rising moon. I rose
and when Mile. N - - had mounted I strolled ahead of her horse in
the moonlight. I was wearing a tuberose over my ear, and she remarked

"You know what that signifies? If a man seeks a woman, he wears a
white flower over his ear, and if his love grows ardent, he wears a
red rose or hibiscus. But if he tires, he puts some green thing in
their place. _Bon dieu!_ That is the depth of ignominy for the woman
scorned. I remember one girl who was made light of that way in church.
She stayed a day hidden in the hills weeping, and then she threw
herself from a cliff."

There was in her manner a melancholy and a longing.

"Tahitians wear flowers all the day," I said. "They are gay, and
life is pleasant upon their island. There are automobiles by the
score, cinemas, singing, and dancing every evening, and many
Europeans and Americans. With money you could have everything."

"It is not singing and dancing I desire!" she exclaimed. "_Pas de
tout!_ I must know more people, and not people like priests and
these copra dealers. I have read in novels of men who are like gods,
who are bold and strong, but who make their women happy. Do you know
an officer of the _Zelee_, with hair like a ripe banana? He is tall
and plays the banjo. I saw him one time long ago when the warship
was here. He was on the governor's veranda. Oh, that was long ago,
but such a young man would be the man that I want."

Her Marquesan blood was speaking in that cry of the heart,
unrestrained and passionate. They are not the cold, chaste women of
other climes, these women of the Marquesas; with blood at fever heat
and hearts beating like wild things against bars, they listen when
love or its counterfeit pours into their ears those soft words with
nothing in them that make a song. They have no barriers of reserve
or haughtiness; they make no bargains; they go where the heart goes,
careless of certified vows.

"_Mon dieu!_" Mademoiselle N - - exclaimed and put her tiny hand to
her red lips. "What if the good sisters heard me? I am bad. I know.
_Eh bien!_ I am Marquesan after all."

We were about to cross the stream by my cabin, and I mounted the
horse behind her to save a wetting. She turned impulsively and
looked at me, her lovely face close to mine, her dark eyes burning,
and her hot breath on my cheek.

"Write to me when you are in Tahiti, and tell me if you think I
would be happy there?" she said imploringly. "I have no friends here,
except the nuns. I need so much to go away. I am dying here."

Coming up my trail a few days later, I found on my _paepae_ a
shabbily dressed little bag-of-bones of a white man, with a dirty

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