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greater consciousness, a realization of life around him. His mouth,
like a rent in an old, battered purse, gaped, and though no teeth
were there, the vacuity seemed to smile feebly.

He felt about the litter of paper and leaves and found a dirty
cocoanut-shell and a calabash of water. Shaking and gasping, he
poured the bottle of rum into the shell, mixed water with it and
lifted the precious elixir tremblingly to his lips. He made two
choking swallows, and dropped the shell - empty.

His eyes, that had been lost in their raw sockets, scanned me. Then
in mixed French and English he began to talk of himself. From his
rags he produced a rude diary blocked off on scraps of paper, a
minute record of the river and the weather, covering many years.

"Torrent, torrent, torrent." That word was repeated many tunes.
_Hause_ appeared often, signifying that the brook had risen. Every
day he had noted its state. The river had become his god. Alone among
those shadowing, dripping banana-plants, with no human companionship,
he had made his study of the moods of the stream a worship. Pages
and pages were inscribed with lines upon its state.

"Bacchus," I saw repeated on the dates July 13, 14, 15.

"Another god on the altar then?" I asked. "_Mais, oui_," he answered
in his rusty voice. "The Fall of the Bastile. Le Vergose sent me a
bottle of rum to honor the Republic."

What he had just drunk was seething in him. Little by little he
commanded that long disused throat, he recalled from the depths of
his uncertain mind words and phrases. In short, jerky sentences,
mostly French, he spun his tale.

"Brest is my home, in Finnistere. I have been many years in these
seas. I forget how many. How many years - ? _Sacré!_ I was on the
_Mongol_. She was two thousand tons, clipper, and with skysails.
The captain was Freeman. We brought coals from Boston to San
Francisco. That was long ago. I was young. I was young and handsome.
And strong. Yes, I was strong and young.

"That was it - the _Mongol_. A clipper-ship from Boston, two thousand
tons, and with skysails. Around the Horn it almost blew the sticks
out of that _Mongol_. We froze; we worked day and night. It was
terrible. The seas almost drowned us. Ah, how we cursed! _Tonnerre
de dieu!_ Had we known it we were in Paradise. The inferno - we were
coming to the inferno."

It took him long to tell it. He wanted to talk, but weakness
overcame him often, and the words were almost hushed by his breath
that came short and wheezing.

"One day we opened the hatches to get coal for the galley. The smell
of gas arose. The coal was making gas. No fire. Just gas. If there
was fire we never knew it. We felt no heat. We could find no fire.
But every day the gas got worse.

"It filled the ship. The watch below could not sleep because of it.
If we went aloft, still we smelled it. The food tasted of gas. Our
lungs were pressed down by it. Day after day we sailed, and the gas
sailed with us.

"The bo'sn fell in a fit. A man on the t'gallant yard fell to the
deck and was killed. Three did not awake one morning. We threw their
bodies over the side. The mate spat blood and called on God as he
leaped into the sea. The smell of the gas never left us.

"The captain called us by the poop-rail, and said we must abandon
the ship any time.

"We were twenty men all told. We had four whale-boats and a yawl.
Plenty for all of us. We provisioned and watered the boats. But we
stayed by the _Mongol_. We were far from any port and we dared not
go adrift in open boats.

"Then came a calm. The gas could not lift. It settled down on us. It
lay on us like a weight. It never left us for a moment. Men lay in
the scuppers and vomited. Food went untouched. No man could walk
without staggering. At last we took to the boats. Two thousand miles
from the Marquesas. We lit a fuse, and pushed off. Half a mile away
the _Mongol_ blew up.

"We suffered. _Mon dieu_, how we suffered in those boats! But the
gas was gone. We struck Vait-hua on the island of Tahuata. It was
heaven. Rivers and trees and women. Women! _Sacré!_ How I loved them!

"I came to Taha-Uka with Mathieu Scallamera. We worked for Captain
Hart in the cotton, driving the Chinese and natives. Bill Pincher
was a boy, and he worked there, too. In the moonlight on the beach
there were dances. The women danced naked on the beaches in the
moonlight. And there was rum. Mohuto danced. Ah, she was beautiful,
beautiful! She was a devil.

"Scallamera and I built a house, and put on the door a lock of wood.
It was a big lock, but it had no key. The natives stole everything.
We could keep nothing. Scallamera was angry. One day he hid in the
house while I went to work. When a hand was thrust through the
opening to undo the lock, Scallamera took his brush knife and cut it
off. He threw it through the hole and said, 'That will steal no more.'"

The hermit laughed, a laugh like the snarl of a toothless old tiger.

"That was a joke. Scallamera laughed. By gar! But that without a
hand lived long. He gave back all that he had taken. He smiled at
Scallamera, and laughed, too. He worked without pay for Scallamera.
He became a friend to the man who had cut off his hand. A year went
by and two years and three and that man gave Scallamera a piece of
land by Vai-ae. He helped Scallamera to build a house upon it.

"Land from hell it was, land cursed seven times. Did not Scallamera
become a leper and die of it horribly? And all his twelve children
by that Henriette? It was the ground. It had been leprous since the
Chinese came. Oh, it was a fine return for the cut-off hand!"

Gasping and choking, the ghastly creature paused for breath, and in
the shuddering silence the banana-leaves ceaselessly dripped, and
the hum of innumerable mosquito-wings was sharp and thin.

"I did not become a leper. I was young and strong. I was never sick.
I worked all day, and at night I was with the women. Ah, the
beautiful, beautiful women! With souls of fiends from hell. Mohuto
is not dead yet. She lives too long. She lives and sits on the path
below, and watches. She should be killed, but I have no strength.

"I was young and strong, and loved too many women. How could I know
the devil behind her eyes when she came wooing me again? I had left
her. She was with child, and ugly. I loved beautiful women. But she
was beautiful again when the child was dead. I was with another.
What was her name? I have forgotten her name. Is there no more rum?
I remember when I have rum.

"So I went again to Mohuto. The devil from hell! There was poison in
her embraces. Why does she not die? She knew too much. She was too
wise. It was I who died. No, I did not die. I became old before my
time, but I am living yet. The Catholic mission gave me this land. I
planted bananas. I have never been away. How long ago? _Je ne sais
pas._ Twenty years? Forty? I do not see any one. But I know that
Mohuto sits on the path below and waits. I will live long yet."

He was like a two-days' old corpse. He rose to his feet, staggered,
and lay down on the heap of soggy leaves. The mosquitos circled in
swarms above him. They were devouring us, but the hermit they never
lighted on. Le Vergose and I fled from the hut and the grove.

"He is an example like those in Balzac or the religious books," said
the Breton, crossing himself. "I have been here many years, and
never before did I come here, and again. _Jamais de la vie!_ I must
begin to go to church again."

We said nothing more as we slid and slipped downward on the wet trail,
but when we came again to the straw hut hidden in the trees Mohuto
was still on the _paepae_, watching us, and I paused to speak to her.

"You knew Hemeury Francois when he was young?"

She put her hand over her eyes, and spat.

"He was my first lover. I had a child by him. He was handsome once."
Her eyes, full of malevolence, turned to the dark grove. "He dies
very slowly."

The memory of her face was with me when at midnight I went alone to
my valley. On my pillows I heard again the cracked voice of the
hermit, and saw the blue-white skin upon his shaking bones. He could
not believe in Po, the Marquesan god of Darkness, or in the _Veinehae_,
the Ghost-Woman who watches the dying; nor did I believe in them or
in Satan, but about me in my Golden Bed until midnight was long past
the spirits that hate the light moaned and creaked the hut.


Last days in Atuona; My Darling Hope's letter from her son.

Exploding Eggs was building my fire of cocoanut-husks as usual in
the morning to cook my coffee and eggs, when a whistle split the
sultry air. Far from the bay it came, shrill and demanding; my call
to civilization.

Long expected, the first liner was in the Isles of the Cannibals.
France had begun to make good her promise to expand her trade in
Oceania, and the isolation of the dying Marquesans and empty valleys
was ended. The steamship _Saint François_, from Bordeaux by way of
Tahiti, had come to visit this group and pick up cargo for Papeite
and French ports.

Strange was the sight of her in Taha-Uka Bay where never her like
had been, but stranger still, two aboard her, the only two not French,
were known to me. Here thousands of miles from where I had seen them,
unconnected in any way with each other, were a pair of human beings
I had known, one in China, and the other in the United States, both
American citizens, and sent by fate to replace me as objects of
interest to the natives.

They came up from the beach together, one a small black man, the
other tall and golden brown, led by Malicious Gossip to see the
American who lived in these far-away islands. The black lingered to
talk at a distance, but the golden-brown one advanced.

His figure was the bulky one of the trained athlete, stocky and
tremendously powerful, his hide that of an extreme blond burned by
months of a tropic sun upon salt water. His hair was an aureole,
yellow as a sunflower, a bush of it on a bullet-head. And, incredible
almost - as if made of putty by a joker - his nose stuck out like the
first joint of a thumb, the oddest nose ever on a man. His little
eyes were blue and bright. Barefooted, bare-headed, in the
sleeveless shirt and short trousers of a life-guard, with an
embroidered V on the front of the upper garment, he was radiantly
healthy and happy, a civilized being returned to nature's ways.

Though he did not recognize me, I knew him instantly for a trainer
and beach-patrol of Southern California, a diver for planted shells
at Catalina Island, whom I had first seen plunging from the rafters
of a swimming-tank, and I remembered that he had flattened his nose
by striking the bottom, and that a skilful surgeon had saved him its

He had with him a bundle in a towel, and setting it down on my
_paepae_, introduced himself nonchalantly as Broken Bronck,
"Late manager of the stable of native fighters of the Count de
M - - of the island of Tahaa, near Tahiti."

"I'm here to stay," he said carelessly. "I have a few francs, and I
hear they're pretty hospitable in the Markeesies. I came on the deck
of the _Saint François_, and I've brung my things ashore."

He undid the towel, and there rolled out another bathing-suit and a
set of boxing gloves. These were his sole possessions, he said.

"I hear they're nutty on prizefighting like in Tahiti, and I'll
teach 'em boxing," he explained.

The Marquesan ladies who speedily assembled could not take their
eyes from him. They asked me a score of questions about him, and
were not surprised that I knew him, or even that I called the negro
by name when he sauntered up. We must all be from the same valley,
or at least from the same island, they thought, for were we not all

I kept Broken Bronck to luncheon, and gave him what few household
furnishings I had not promised to Exploding Eggs or to Apporo, who
with the promise of the Golden Bed about to be realized - for I
announced my going - camped upon it, hardly believing that at last
she was to own the coveted marvel. Some keepsakes I gave to
Malicious Gossip, Mouth of God, Many Daughters, Water, Titihuti, and
others, and drank a last shell of _namu_ with these friends.

News of my packing reached far and wide. I had not estimated so
optimistically the esteem in which they held me, these companions of
many months, but they trooped from the farthest hills to say farewell.
Good-byes even to the sons and daughters of cannibals are sorrowful.
I had come to think much of these simple, savage neighbors. Some of
them I shall never forget.

Mauitetai, a middle-aged woman with a kindly face, was long on my
_paepae_. Her name would be in English My Darling Hope, and it
well fitted her mood, for she was all aglow with wonder and joy at
receiving a letter from her son, who three years before had gone
upon a ship and disappeared from her ken. The letter had come upon
the _Saint François_, and it brought My Darling Hope into intimate
relations with me, for I uncovered to her that her wandering boy had
become a resident of my own country, and revealed some of the
mysteries of our polity.

The letter was in Marquesan, which I translate into English, seeking
to keep the flavor of the original, though poorly succeeding:

"I write to you, me, Pahorai Calizte, and put on this paper
greetings to you, my mother, Mauitetai, who are in Atuona.

"_Kaoha nui tuu kui_, Mauitetai, mother of me. Great love to you.

"I have found in Philadelphia work for me; good work.

"I have found a woman for me. She is Jeanette, an artist, a maker of
tattooings on cloth. I am very happy. I have found a house to live in.
I am happy I have this woman. She is rich. I am poor. It is for that
I write to you, to make it known to you that she is rich, and I am
poor. By this paper you will know that I have pledged my word to
this woman. I found her and I won her by my work and by my strength
and my endeavor.

"She is _moi kanahau_; as beautiful as the flowers of the _hutu_ in
my own beloved valley of Atuona. She is not of America. She is of
Chile. She has paid many piasters for the coming here. She has paid
forty piasters. She has been at home in Las Palmas, in the islands
of small golden birds.

"I will write you more in this paper. I seek your permission to
marry Jeanette. She asks it, as I do. Send me your word by the
government that carries words on paper.

"It is three years since I have known of you. That is long.

"Give me that word I ask for this woman. I cannot go to marry in
Atuona. That is what my heart wants, but it is far and the money is
great. The woman would pay and would come with me. I say no. I am
proud. I have shame. I am a Marquesan.

"I live with that woman now. I am not married. It is forbidden. The
American _mutoi_ (policeman) may take hold of me. Five months I am
with this woman of mine. The _mutoi_ has a war-club that is hard as

"Give me quickly the paper to marry her. I await your word.

"My word is done. I am at Philadelphia, New York Hotel. A.P.A. Dieu.
Coot pae, mama."

Mauitetai had read the letter many times. It was wonderful to hear
from her son after three years and pleasant to know he had found a
woman. She must be a _haoe_, a white woman. Were the women of that
island, Chile, white?

I said that they ran the color scale, from blond to brown, from
European to Indian, but that this Jeanette who was a tattooer, a
maker of pictures on canvas, no doubt an artist of merit, must be
pale as a moonbeam. Those red peppers that were hot on the tongue
came from Chile, I said, and there were heaps of gold there in the

My Darling Hope would know what kind of a valley was Philadelphia.

It was the Valley of Brotherly Love. It was a very big valley, with
two streams, and a bay. No, it was not near Tahiti. It was a
breadfruit season away from Atuona, at the very least.

What could a hotel be? The New York hotel in which her poor son lived?

I did not know that hotel, I told her, but a hotel was a house in
which many persons paid to live, and some hotels had more rooms than
there were houses in all the Marquesas.

What! In one house, under one roof? By my tribe, it was true.

Did I know this woman? I was from that island and I had been in that
valley. I must have seen her.

I replied that I knew a Jeanette who answered the description
beautiful, but that she was not from Chile.

Now, My Darling Hope knit her brow. Why would the _mutoi_ take hold
of her son, as he feared?

I soothed her anxiety. The _mutoi_ walked up and down in front of
the hotel, but he would not bother her son as long as her son could
get a few piasters now and then to hand to him. The woman was rich,
and would not miss a trifling sum, five or ten piasters a month for
the _mutoi_.

But why was it forbidden for her son to live with Jeanette, being
not married to her?

That was our law, but it was seldom enforced. The _mutois_ were fat
men who carried war-clubs and struck the poor with them, but her son
was _tapu_ because of Jeanette's money.

She was at ease now, she said. Her son could not marry without her
permission. No Marquesan had ever done so. She would send the word
by the next schooner, or I might take it with me to my own island
and hand it to her son. He could then marry.

I had done her a great kindness, but one thing more. Neither she nor
Titihuti nor Water could make out what Pahorai Calizte meant by
"Coot Pae, Mama." "A.P.A. Dieu." was his commendation of her to God,
but _Coot Pae_ was not Marquesan, neither was it French. She
pronounced the words in the Marquesan way, and I knew at once.
_Coot pae_ is pronounced Coot Pye, and Coot Pye was Pahorai
Calizte's way of imitating the American for _Apae Kaoha_. "Good-by,
mama," was his quite Philadelphia closing of his letter to his mother.

I addressed an envelop to her son with The Iron Fingers That Make
Words, and gave it to My Darling Hope. A tear came in her eye. She
rubbed my bare back affectionately and caressed my nose with hers as
she smelled me solemnly. Then she went up the valley to enlighten
the hill people.


The chants of departure; night falls on the Land of the War Fleet.

On the eve of my going all the youth and beauty of Atuona crowded my
_paepae_. Water brought his _ukulele_, a Hawaiian _taro_-patch
guitar, and sang his repertoire of ballads of Hawaii - "Aloha Oe,"
"Hawaii Ponoi," and "One, Two, Three, Four." Urged by all, I gave
them for the last time my vocal masterpiece, "All Night Long He
Calls Her Snooky-Ukums!" and was rewarded by a clamor of applauding
cries. Marquesans think our singing strange - and no wonder! Theirs
is a prolonged chant, a monotone without tune, with no high notes
and little variance. But loving distraction, they listened with deep
amusement to my rendering of American airs, as we might listen to
Chinese falsettos.

They repaid me by reciting legends of their clans, and Titihuti
chanted her genealogy, a record kept by memory in all families. Water,
her son, who had learned to write, set it down on paper for me. It
named the ancestors in pairs, father and mother, and Titihuti
remembered thirty-eight generations, which covered perhaps a
thousand years.

We sat in a respectful circle about her while she chanted it. An
Amazon in height and weight, nearly six feet tall, body and head
cast in heroic mold, she stood erect, her scarlet tunic gathered to
display her symmetrical legs, tattooed in thought-kindling patterns,
the feet and ankles as if encased in elegant Oriental sandals. Her
red-gold hair, a flame in the flickering light of the torches, was
wreathed with bright-green, glossy leaves, necklaces of peppers and
small colored nuts rose and fell with her deep breathing.

Her voice was melodious, pitched low, and vibrating with the
peculiar tone of the chant, a tone impossible of imitation to one
who has not learned it as a child. Her eyes were kindled with pride
of ancestry as she called the roll of experiences and achievements
of the line that had bred her, and her clear-cut Greek features
mirrored every emotion she felt, emotions of glory and pride, of
sorrow and abasement at the fall of her race, of stoic fortitude in
the dull present and hopeless future of her people. With one shapely
arm upraised, she uttered the names, trumpet-calls to memory and

Enata (Men) Vehine (Women)
Na tupa efitu Metui te vehine
Tupa oa ia fai Puha Momoo
O tupa haaituani O haiko
O nuku Oui aei
O hutu Moeakau
O oko Oinu vaa
O moota O niniauo
O tiu Moafitu otemau
Fekei O mauniua
O tuoa Hotaei
O meae Oa tua hae
O tehu eo Kei pana
O ahunia Tui haa
O taa tini Kei pana
Nohea Tou mata
Tua kina Papa ohe
Tepiu Punoa
Tui feaa Tuhina
Naani Eiva Eio Hoki
Teani nui nei O tapu ohi
Ani hetiti Opu tini
O kou aehitini O take oho
O taupo O te heva
Tui pahu Otiu hoku
O hupe Oahu tupua
O papuaei O honu feti
Pepene tona Honu tona
Haheinutu O taoho
Kotio nui Taihaupu
Motu haa Mu eiamau
Hope taupo Tuhi pahu
Taupo tini Anitia fitu
Ana tete Pa efitu
Kihiputona Tahio paha oho
Taua kahiepo Honu tona
Mahea tete Titihuti
Aino tete tika Tua vahiane
Kui motua Titihuti

Loud sang the names themselves, proclaiming the merits of their
bearers or their fathers in heraldic words, in titles like banners
on castle walls, flying the standard of ideals and attainments of
men and women long since dust.

Masters of Sea and Land, Commander of the Stars, Orderers of the
Waxing and Waning of the Moon, Ten Thousand Ocean Tides, Man of Fair
Countenance, Caller to Myriads, Climber to the Ninth Heaven, Man of
Understanding, Player of the Game of Life, Doer of Deeds of Daring,
Ten Thousand Cocoanut Leaves, The Enclosure of the Whale's Tooth,
Man of the Forbidden Place, The Whole Blue Sky, Player of the War
Drum, The Long Stayer; these were the names that called down the
centuries, bringing back to Titihuti and to us who sat at her feet
in the glow of the torches the fame and glory of her people through
ages past.

How compare such names with John Smith or Henry Wilson? Yet we
ourselves, did we remember it, have come from ancestors bearing
names as resonant. Nero was Ahenobarbus, the Red-Bearded, to his
contemporaries of Rome, at the time when Titihuti's forefathers were
brave and great beneath the cocoanut-palms of Atuona. Our lists of
early European kings carry names as full of meaning as theirs;
Charles the Hammer, Edward the Confessor, Charles the Bold, Richard
the Lion-Hearted, Hereward the Wake.

Titihuti, having gravely finished her chant, stood for a moment in
silence. Then, "_Aue!_" she said with a sigh. "No one will remember
when I am gone. Water, my son, nor Keke, my daughter, have learned
these names of their forefathers and mothers who were noble and
renowned. What does it matter? We will all be gone soon, and the
cocoanut-groves of our islands will know us no more. We come, we do
not know whence, and we go, we do not know where. Only the sea
endures, and it does not remember."

She sat on the mat beside me, and pressed my hand. I had been
adopted as her son, and she was sorry to see me departing to the
unknown island from which I had come, and from which, she knew, I
would never return. She was mournful; she said that her heart was
heavy. But I praised lavishly her beautifully tattooed legs, and
complimented the decoration of her hair until she smiled again, and
when from the shadowy edges of the ring of torch-light voices began
an old chant of feasting, she took it up with the others.

There were Marquesans who could recite one hundred and forty-five
generations of their families, covering more than thirty-six hundred
years. Enough to make family trees that go back to the Norman
conquest appear insignificant. I had known an old Maori priest who
traced his ancestry to Rangi and Papa, through one hundred and
eighty-two generations, 4,550 years. The Easter Islanders spoke of
fifty-seven generations, and in Raratonga ninety pairs of ancestors

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