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became a resident of Oomoa until such time as chance should give me
passage to my own island.

Twenty years before my host had planted the trees that embowered his
home. With the Swiss farmer's love of order, he had neglected
nothing to make neat, as nature had made beautiful, his surroundings.

"I learned agriculture and dairying on my father's farm in
Switzerland," said Grelet. "At school I learned more of their theory,
and when I had seen the gay cities of Europe, I went to the new
world to live. I was first at Pecos City, New Mexico, where I had
several hundred acres' of government land. I brought grape-vines
from Fresno, in California, but the water was insufficient for the
sterile soil, and I was forced to give up my land. From San
Francisco I sailed on the brig _Galilee_ for Tahiti. I have never
finished the journey, for when the brig arrived at Tai-o-hae I left
her and installed myself on the _Eunice_, a small trading-schooner,
and for a year I remained aboard her, visiting all the islands of
the Marquesas and becoming so attached to them that I bought land
and settled down here."

Grelet looked about him and smiled.

"It isn't bad, _hein_?"

It was not. From the little cove where his boat-house stood a road
swept windingly to his house through a garden of luxuriant verdure.
Mango and limes, breadfruit and cocoanut, _pomme de Cythère_, orange
and papaws, banana and alligator-pear, candlenut and chestnut,
mulberry and sandalwood, _tou_, the bastard ebony, and rosewood, the
rose-apple with purple tasseled flowers and delicious fruit, the
pistachio and the _badamier_, scores of shrubs and bushes and
magnificent tree-ferns, all on a tangled sward of white spider-lilies,
great, sweet-smelling plants, an acre of them, and with them other
ferns of many kinds, and mosses, the nodding _taro_ leaves and the
_ti_, the leaves which the Fatu-hivans make into girdles and
wreaths; all grew luxuriantly, friendly neighbors to the Swiss, set
there by him or volunteering for service in the generous way of the

The lilies, oranges, and pandanus trees yielded food for the bees,
whose thatched homes stood thick on the hillside above the house.
Grelet was a skilled apiarist, and replenished his melliferous
flocks by wild swarms enticed from the forests. The honey he
strained and bottled, and it was sought of him by messengers from
all the islands.

Orchard and garden beyond the house gave us Valencia and Mandarin
oranges, lemons, _feis_, Guinea cherries, pineapples, Barbadoes
cherries, sugar-cane, sweet-potatoes, watermelons, cantaloups, Chile
peppers, and pumpkins. Watercress came fresh from the river.

Cows and goats browsed about the garden, but Grelet banned pigs to a
secluded valley to run wild. One of the cows was twenty-two years old,
but daily gave brimming buckets of milk for our refreshment. Beef
and fish, breadfruit and _taro_, good bread from American flour, rum,
and wine both red and white, with bowls of milk and green cocoanuts,
were always on the table, a box of cigars, packages of the veritable
Scaferlati Supérieur tobacco, and the Job papers, and a dozen pipes.
No king could fare more royally than this Swiss, who during twenty
years had never left the forgotten little island of Fatu-hiva.

His house, set in this bower of greenery, of flowers and perfumes,
was airy and neat, whitewashed both inside and out, with a broad
veranda painted black. Two bedrooms, a storeroom in which he sold
his merchandise, and a workroom, sufficed for all his needs. The
veranda was living-room and dining-room; raised ten feet from the
earth on breadfruit-tree pillars placed on stone, it provided a roof
for his forge, for his saddle-and-bridle room, and for the small

The ceilings in the house were of wood, but on the veranda he had
cleverly hung a canvas a foot below the roof. The air circulated
above it, bellying it out like a sail and making the atmosphere cool.
Under this was his dining-table, near a very handsome buffet, both
made by Grelet of the false ebony, for he was a good carpenter as he
was a crack boatsman, farmer, cowboy, and hunter. Here we sat over
pipe and cigarette after dinner, wine at our elbows, the garden
before us, and discussed many things.

Grelet had innumerable books in French and German, all the great
authors old and modern; he took the important reviews of Germany and
France, and several newspapers. He knew much more than I of history
past and present, of the happenings in the great world, art and
music and invention, finances and politics. He could name the
cabinets of Europe, the characters and records of their members, or
discuss the quality of Caruso's voice as compared with Jean de
Reszke's, though he had heard neither. Twenty-two years ago he had
left everything called civilization, he had never been out of the
Marquesas since that time; he lived in a lonely valley in which
there was no other man of his tastes and education, and he was

"I have everything I want; I grow it or I make it. My horses and
cattle roam the hills; if I want meat, beef or goat or pig, I go or
I send a man to kill an animal and bring it to me. Fish are in the
river and the bay; there is honey in the hives; fruit and vegetables
in the garden, wood for my furniture, bark for the tanning of hides.
I cure the leather for saddles or chair-seats with the bark of the
rose-wood. Do you know why it is called rose-wood? I will show you.
Its bark has the odor of roses when freshly cut. Yes, I have all
that I want. What do I need from the great cities?"

He tamped down the tobacco in his pipe and puffed it meditatively.

"A man lives only a little while, _hein_? He should ask himself what
he wants from life. He should look at the world as it is. These
traders want money, buying and selling and cheating to get it. What
is money compared to life? Their life goes in buying and selling and
cheating. Life is made to be lived pleasantly. Me, I do what I want
to do with mine, and I do it in a pleasant place."

His pipe went out while he gazed at the garden murmurous in the
twilight. He knocked out the dottle, refilled the bowl and lighted
the tobacco.

"You should have seen this island when I came. These natives die too
fast. Ah, if I could only get labor, I could make this valley
produce enough for ten thousand people. I could load the ships with
copra and cotton and coffee."

He was twenty-two years and many thousands of miles from the great
cities of Europe, but he voiced the wail of the successful man the
world over. If he could get labor, he could turn it into building
his dreams to reality, into filling his ships with his goods for his
profit. But he had not the labor, for the fruits of a commercial
civilization had killed the islanders who had had their own dreams,
their own ships, and their own pleasures and profits in life.


Labor in the South Seas; some random thoughts on the "survival of the

"I pictured myself cultivating many hundreds of acres when I first
came here," said Grelet. "I laid out several plantations, and once
shipped much coffee, as good, too, as any in the world. I gather
enough now for my own use, and sell none. I grew cotton and
cocoanuts on a large scale. I raise only a little now.

"There were hundreds of able-bodied men here then. I used to buy
opium from the Chinese labor-contractors and from smugglers, and
give it to my working people. A pill once a day would make the
Marquesans hustle. But the government stopped it. They say that the
book written by the Englishman, Stevenson, did it. We must find
labor elsewhere soon, Chinese, perhaps. Those two Paumotans brought
by Begole are a godsend to me. I wish some one would bring me a

The two Paumotan youths, Tennonoku and Kedeko-lio, lay motionless on
the floor of the veranda twenty feet away. They had been sold to
Grelet for a small sum by Begole, captain of a trading-schooner. In
passing the Paumotan Islands, many hundred miles to the south,
Begole had forgotten to leave at Pukatuhu, a small atoll, a few bags
of flour he had promised to bring the chief on his next voyage, and
the chief, seeing the schooner a mile away, had ordered these boys to
swim to it and remind the skipper of his promise. Begole meanwhile
had caught a wind, and the first he knew of the message was when the
boys climbed aboard the schooner many miles to sea. He did not
trouble to land them, but brought them on to the Marquesas and sold
them to Grelet.

They spoke no Marquesan, and Grelet had difficulty in making them
understand that they must labor for him, and in enforcing his orders,
which they could not comprehend. There was little copra being made
in the rainy weather, and they lay about the veranda or squatted
on the _paepae_ of the laborers' cookhouse, making a fire of
cocoanut-husks twice a day to roast their breadfruit. Their savage
hearts were ever in their own atoll, the home to which the native
clings so passionately, and their eyes were dark with hopeless
longing. No doubt they would die soon, as so many do when exiled,
but Grelet's copra crop would profit first.

The dire lack of labor for copra-making, tree-planting, or any form
of profitable activity is lamented by all white men in these
depopulated islands. Average wages were sixty cents a day, but even
a dollar failed to bring adequate relief. The Marquesan detests labor,
which to him has ever been an unprofitable expenditure of life and
did not gain in his eyes even when his toil might enrich white
owners of plantations. Since every man had a piece of land that
yielded copra enough for his simple needs, and breadfruit and fish
were his for the taking, he could not be forced to work except for
the government in payment for taxes.

The white men in the islands, like exploiters of weaker races
everywhere in the world, were unwilling to share their profits with
the native. They were reduced to pleading with or intoxicating the
Marquesan to procure a modicum of labor. They saw fortunes to be
made if they could but whip a multitude of backs to bending for them,
but they either could not or would not perceive the situation from
the native's point of view.

In America I often heard men who were out of employment,
particularly in bad seasons, in big cities or in mining camps, argue
the right to work. They could not enforce this alleged natural right,
and in their misery talked of the duty of society or the state in
this direction. But they were obliged to content themselves with the
thin alleviation of soup-kitchens, charity wood-yards, and other
easers of hard times, and with threats of sabotage or other violence.

Here in the islands, where work is offered to unwilling natives, the
employers curse their lack of power to drive them to the copra
forests, the kilns and boats. Thus, as in highly civilized countries
we maintain that a man has no inherent or legal right to work, in
these islands the employer has no weapon by which to enforce toil.
But had the whites the power to order all to do their bidding, they
would create a system of peonage as in Mexico.

An acquaintance of mine in these seas took part in, and profited
largely by, the removal to a distant place of the entire population
of an island on which the people had led the usual life of the
Polynesian. He and his associates sold three hundred men to
plantation labor, which they hated and to which they were
unaccustomed. Within a year two hundred and fifty of them had died
as fast as disease could sap their grief-stricken bodies. Their
former home, which they died longing to see again, was made a
feeding-place for sheep. The merchants reaped a double toll. They
were paid well for delivering the owners of the land to the
plantations, and in addition they got the land.

Now, my acquaintance is a man of university education, a quoter of
Haeckel and Darwin, with "survival of the fittest" as his guiding
motto since his Jena days. Says he, quoting a Scotchman:

"Tone it down as you will, the fact remains that Darwinism regards
animals as going up-stairs, in a struggle for individual ends, often
on the corpses of their fellows, often by a blood-and-iron
competition, often by a strange mixture of blood and cunning, in
which each looks out for himself and extinction besets the hindmost."

Further says my stern acquaintance, specially when in his cups:

"The whole system of life-development is that of the lower providing
food for the higher in ever-expanding circles of organic existence,
from protozoea to steers, from the black African to the educated and
employing man. We build on the ribs of the steers, and on the backs
of the lower grade of human."

Scientific books have taken the place of the Bible as a
quotation-treasury of proof for whatever their reader most desires
to prove. Now I am no scientist and take, indeed, only the casual
interest of the average man in the facts and theories of science.
But it appears to me that in his theory of the survival of the
fittest my acquaintance curiously overlooks the question of man's
own survival as a species.

If we are to base our actions upon this cold-blooded and inhuman
view of the universe, let us consider that universe as in fact
inhuman, and having no concern for man except as a species of animal
very possibly doomed to extinction, as many other species of animal
have been doomed in the past, unless he proves his fitness to
survive not as an individual, but as a species.

Now man is a gregarious animal; he lives in herds. The
characteristic of the herd is that within it the law of survival of
the fittest almost ceases to operate. The value of a herd is that
its members protect each other instead of preying upon each other.
Nor, in what we are pleased to call the animal kingdom, do herds of
the same species prey upon each other. They rather unite for the
protection of their weaker members.

So far as I am informed, mankind is the only herd of which this is
not true. Cattle and horses unite in protecting the young and feeble;
sheep huddle together against cold and wolves; bees and ants work
only for the welfare of the swarm, which is the welfare of all. This,
we are told, is the reason these forms of life have survived. But
ship officers beat sailors because sailors have no firearms and fear
charges of mutiny. Policemen club prisoners who are poorly dressed.
Employees make profits from the toil of children. Strong nations
prey on weak peoples, and the white man kills the white man and the
black and brown and yellow man in mine, plantation, and forest the
world over.

He defends this murder of his own kind by the pat phrase "survival
of the fittest." But man is not a solitary animal, he is a herd
animal, and within the herd nature's definition of fitness does not
apply. The herd is a refuge against the law of tooth and fang.
Importing within the herd his own interpretation of that law, man is
destroying the strength of his shelter. By so much as one man preys
upon or debases another man, he weakens the strength of the man-herd.
And for man it is the herd, not the individual, that must meet that
stern law of "the survival of the fittest" on the vast impersonal
arena of the universe.

"Bully 'Ayes was the man to make the Kanakas work!" said Lying Bill
Pincher. "I used to be on Penryn Island and that was 'is old 'ang-out.
'Ayes was a pleasant man to meet. 'E was 'orspitable as a 'ungry
shark to a swimming missionary. Bald he was as a bloomin' crab,
stout and smiling.

"'E 'ad two white wives a-setting in his cabin on the schooner, and
they called it the parlor. Smart wimmen they was, and saved 'is life
for 'im more 'n once. 'E 'd get a couple of chiefs on board by
deceiving 'em with rum, and hold 'em until 'is bloomin' schooner was
chock-a-block with copra. The 'ole island would be working itself to
death to free the chiefs. Then when 'e 'ad got the copra, 'e 'd
steal a 'undred or two Kanakas and sell 'em in South America.

"'E was smart, and yet 'e got 'is'n. 'Is mate seen him coming over
the side with blood in his eye, and batted 'im on 'is conch as 'is
leg swung over the schooner's bul'ark. 'Ayes dropped with 'is knife
between 'is teeth and 'is pistols in both 'ands.

"'E'd murdered 'undreds of white and brown and black men, and 'e was
smart, and 'e got away with it. But 'e made the mistake of not
having made a friend of 'is right 'and man."


The white man who danced in Oomoa Valley; a wild-boar hunt in the
hills; the feast of the triumphant hunters and a dance in honor of

Grelet had gone in a whale-boat to Oia, a dozen miles away, to
collect copra, and I was left with an empty day to fill as I chose.
The house, the garden, and the unexplored recesses of Oomoa Valley
were mine, with whatever they might afford of entertainment or
adventure. Every new day, wherever spent, is an adventure, but when
to the enigmatic morning is added the zest of a strange place, it
must be a dull man who does not thrill to it.

I began the day by bathing in the river with the year-old Tamaiti,
Grelet's child. Her mother was Hinatiaiani, a laughing, beautiful
girl of sixteen years, and the two were cared for by Pae, a woman of
forty, ugly and childless. Hinatiaiani was her adopted daughter, and
Pae had been sorely angered when Grelet, whose companion she had
been for eighteen years, took the girl. But with the birth of Tamaiti,
Pae became reconciled, and looked after the welfare of the infant
more than the volatile young mother.

Tamaiti had never had a garment upon her sturdy small body, and
looked a plump cherub as she played about the veranda, crawling in
the puddles when the rain drove across the floor.

"The infant has never been sick," Grelet had said. "One afternoon I
was starting for the river to bathe, when that girl was making
herself a bed of cocoanut-leaves under the house. She said she
expected the baby, as, when she climbed a cocoanut-tree a moment
earlier, she had felt a movement. She would not lie in a bed, but,
like her mother before her, must make her a nest of cocoanut-leaves.
When I returned from my bath, Tamaiti was born. She was chopping
wood next day - the mother, I mean."

Though scarcely a twelve-month old, the baby swam like a frog in the
clear water of the river, gurgling at intervals scraps of what must
have been Marquesan baby-talk, unintelligible to me, but showing
plainly her enjoyment. Something of European caution, however, still
remained with me and, perhaps unnecessarily, I picked up the
dripping little body and carried her up the garden path to the house
when I returned for breakfast. Pae received her with no concern, and
gave her a piece of cocoanut to suck. I saw the infant, clutching it
in one hand, toddling and stumbling river-ward again when after
breakfast I set out for a walk up Oomoa Valley.

Oomoa was far wilder than Atuona, more lonely, with hundreds of
vacant _paepaes_. Miles of land, once cultivated, had been taken
again by the jungle, as estates lapsed to nature after thousands of
years of man. Still, even far from the houses, delicate trees had
preserved themselves in some mysterious way, and oranges and limes
offered themselves to me in the thickets.

The river that emptied into the bay below Grelet's plantation flowed
down the valley from the heights, and beside it ran the trail, a
road for half a mile, then a track growing fainter with every mile,
hardly distinguishable from the tangle of trees and bushes on either
side. Here and there I saw a native house built of bamboo and matting,
very simple shelters with an open space for a doorway, but wholesome,
clean, and, to me, beautiful. I met no one, and most of the huts
were on the other side of the river, but from one nearer the track a
voice called to me, "_Kaoha! Manihii, a tata mai!_ Greeting, stranger,
come to us!"

The hut, which, by measurement, was ten feet by six, held six women
and girls, all lying at ease on piles of mats. It was a rendezvous
of gossips, a place for siestas and scandal. One had seen and hailed
me, and when I came to their _paepae_, they all filed out and
surrounded me, gently and politely, but curiously. Obviously they
had seen few whites.

The six were from thirteen to twenty years of age, four of them
strikingly beautiful, with the grace of wild animals and the bright,
soft eyes of children. Smiling and eager to be better acquainted
with me, they examined my puttees of spiral wool, my pongee shirt,
and khaki riding-breeches, the heavy seams of which they felt and
discussed. They discovered a tiny rip, and the eldest insisted that
I take off the breeches while she sewed it.

As this was my one chance to prevent the rip growing into a gulf
that would ultimately swallow the trousers, I permitted the stitch
in time, and having nothing in my pockets for reward, I danced a jig.
I cannot dance a step or sing a note correctly, but in this
archipelago I had won inter-island fame as a dancer of strange and
amusing measures, and a singer of the queer songs of the whites.

Recalling the cake-walks, sand-sifting, pigeon-winging, and
Juba-patting of the south, the sailor's hornpipe, the sword-dance of
the Scotch, and the metropolitan version of the tango, I did my best,
while the thrilled air of Oomoa Valley echoed these words, yelled to
my fullest lung capacity:

"There was an old soldier and he had a wooden leg,
And he had no tobacco, so tobacco did he beg.
Said the soldier to the sailor, 'Will you give me a chew?'
Said the sailor to the soldier, 'I'll be damned if I do!
Keep your mind on your number and your finger on your rocks,
And you'll always have tobacco in your old tobacco box.'"

Dancing and singing thus on the flat stones of the _paepae_ of the
six Fatu-hiva ladies, I gave back a thousand-fold their aid to my
disordered trousers. They laughed till they fell back on the rocks,
they lifted the ends of their _pareus_ to wipe their eyes, and they
demanded an encore, which I obligingly gave them in a song I had
kept in mind since boyhood. It was about a young man who took his
girl to a fancy ball, and afterward to a restaurant, and though he
had but fifty cents and she said she was not hungry, she ate the menu
from raw oysters to pousse-café, and turned it over for more.

It went with a Kerry jig that my grandfather used to do, and if
grandfather, with his rare ability, ever drew more uproarious
applause than I, it must have been a red-letter day for him, even in
Ireland. My hearers screamed in an agony of delight, and others
dwelling far away, or passing laden with breadfruit and bananas,
gathered while I chortled and leaped, and made the mountain-side
ring with Marquesan bravos.

With difficulty I made my escape, but my success pursued me.
"_Menike haka!_" came the cry from each house I passed, for the news
had been called over the distance, and to the farthest reaches of
the valley it was known that an American, the American who had come
on the _Roberta_, with a box that wrote, was dancing along the route.

As in the old days of war or other crisis, the cry had been raised,
and was echoed from all directions, and from hut to cocoanut-tree to
crag the call was heard, growing fainter and more feeble, dying
gradually from point to point, echoing farther and yet farther in the
distance. This was the ancient telegraph-system of the islanders, by
which an item of information sped in a moment to the most remote
edges of the valley. Unwittingly, in my gratitude, I had raised it,
and now I pursued my way in the glare of a pitiless publicity.

I was met almost immediately by a score of men and women who had
left the gathering of fruit or the duties of the household to greet
me. Fafo, the leader, besought me earnestly to accompany them to a
neighboring _paepae_ and dance for them.

He had the finest eyes I have ever seen in a man's head, dark brown,
almond-shaped, large and lustrous, wells of melancholy. There was
something exquisite about the young man, his lemon-colored skin, his
delicate hands and feet, his slender, though strong, body, and his
regular, brilliant teeth. Some Spanish don had bred him, or some
moody Italian with music in his soul, for he was a Latin in face and
figure. His eyes had that wistfulness as they sought mine which the
Tahitians have put well in one of their picture-words, _ano-ano'uri_,
"the yearning, sorrowful gaze of a dog watching his master at dinner."

A belated shrinking from renown, however, made me reject his pleas,
and perceiving a pool near at hand, I softened refusal by a

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