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whose agonies had been soothed by the ritual of the Catholic church.
The bearers were taking her to Calvary cemetery on the hill.

Their cigarettes smoked, they rose and took up the long poles on
which the coffin was swung. Moving with the tread of panthers, firm,
noiseless, and graceful, they disappeared into the forest and I was
left alone with the morning sun and the glistening leaves of the
rain-wet breadfruit-trees.

On the beach an hour later I met Gedge, who asked me with a
quizzical eye how I had enjoyed my first night among the Kanakas. I
replied that I had seldom passed such a night, spoke glowingly of
the forest and the stream, and said that I was still determined to
remain behind when the schooner sailed.

"Well, if you will stay," said he, and the trader's look came into
his eye, "I've got just the thing you want. You don't want to lie
on a mat where the thousand-legs can get you - and if they get you,
you die. You want to live right. Now listen to me; I got the best
brass bed ever a king slept on. Double thickness, heavy brass bed,
looks like solid gold. Springs that would hold the schooner,
double-thick mattress, sheets and pillows all embroidered like it
belonged to a duchess. Fellow was going to be married that I brought
it for, but now he's lying up there in Calvary in a bed they dug for
him. I'll let you have it cheap - three hundred francs. It's worth
double. What do you say?"

A brass bed, a golden bed in the cannibal islands!

"It's a go," I said.

On the deck of the _Morning Star_ I beheld the packing-cases brought
up from the hold, and my new purchase with all its parts and
appurtenances loaded in a ship's boat, with the iron box that held
my gold. So I arrived in Atuona for the second time, high astride the
sewed-up mattress on top of the metal parts, and so deftly did the
Tahitians handle the oars that, though we rode the surf right up to
the creeping jungle flowers that met the tide on Atuona beach, I was
not wet except by spray.

[Illustration: Vai Etienne]

[Illustration: The pool by the Queen's house]

Our arrival was watched by a score of Marquesan chiefs who had been
summoned by Bauda for the purpose, as he told me, of being urged to
thrash the tax-tree more vigorously. The meeting adjourned instantly,
and they hastened down from the frame building that housed the
government offices. Their curiosity could not be restrained. A score
of eager hands stripped the coverings from the brass bed, and
exposed the glittering head and foot pieces in the brilliant sunlight.
Exclamations of amazement and delight greeted the marvel. This was
another wonder from the white men's isles, indicative of wealth and
royal taste.

From all sides other natives came hastening. My brass bed and I were
the center of a gesticulating circle, dark eyes rolled with
excitement and naked shoulder jostled shoulder. Three chiefs,
tattooed and haughty, personally erected the bed, and when I
disclosed the purpose of the mattress, placed it in position. Every
woman present now pushed forward and begged the favor of being
allowed to bounce upon it. It became a diversion attended with high
honor. Controversies meantime raged about the bed. Many voices
estimated the number of mats that would be necessary to equal the
thickness of the mattress, but none found a comparison worthy of its
softness and elasticity.

In the midst of this mêlée one woman, whose eyes and facial contour
betrayed Chinese blood, but who was very comely and neat, pushed
forward and pointing to the glittering center of attraction repeated
over and over.

"_Kisskisskissa? Kisskisskissa?_"

For awhile I was disposed to credit her with a sudden affection for
me, but soon resolved her query into the French "Qu'est-ce que c'est
que ca? What is that?"

She was Apporo, wife of Puhei, Great Fern, she said, and she owned a
house in which her father, a Chinaman, had recently died. This house
she earnestly desired to give me in exchange for the golden bed, and
we struck a bargain. I was to live in the house of Apporo and, on
departing, to leave her the bed. Great Fern, her husband, was called
to seal the compact. He was a giant in stature, dark skinned, with a
serene countenance and crisp hair. They agreed to clean the house
thoroughly and to give me possession at once.

They were really mad to have the bed, in all its shiny golden beauty,
and once the arrangement was made they could hardly give over
examining it, crawling beneath it, smoothing the mattress and
fingering the springs. They shook it, poked it, patted it, and
finally Apporo, filled with feminine pride, arrogated to herself the
sole privilege of bouncing upon it.

Lam Kai Oo wailed his loss of a tenant.

"You savee thlat house belong lep'," he argued earnestly. "My sto'e
littee dirty, but I fixum. You go thlat lep' house, bimeby flinger
dlop, toe dlop, nose he go." He grimaced frightfully, and indicated
in pantomime the ravages of leprosy upon the human form.

His appeal was in vain. The Golden Bed, upraised on the shoulders of
four stalwart chiefs, began its triumphal progress up the valley road.
Behind it officiously walked Exploding Eggs, puffed up with
importance, regarded on all sides with respect as _Tueni Oki Kiki_,
Keeper of the Golden Bed, but jostled for position by Apporo, envied
of women. Behind them up the rough road hastened the rest of the
village, eager to see the installation of the marvel in its new
quarters, and I followed the barbaric procession leisurely.

My new residence was a mile from the beach, and off the main
thoroughfare, though this mattered little. The roads built decades
ago by the French are so ruined and neglected that not a thousand
feet of them remain in all the islands. No wheel supports a vehicle,
not even a wheelbarrow. Trails thread the valleys and climb the hills,
and traffic is by horse and human.

My Golden Bed, lurching precariously in the narrow path, led me
through tangled jungle growth to the first sight of my new home, a
small house painted bright blue and roofed with corrugated iron. Set
in the midst of the forest, it was raised from the ground on a
_paepae_, a great platform made of basalt stones, black, smooth
and big, the very flesh of the Marquesas Islands. Every house built
by a native since their time began has been set on a _paepae_, and
mine had been erected in days beyond the memory of any living man.
It was fifty feet broad and as long, raised eight feet from the earth,
which was reached by worn steps.

Above the small blue-walled house the rocky peak of Temetiu rose
steeply, four thousand feet into the air, its lower reaches clothed
in jungle-vines, and trees, its summit dark green under a clear sky,
but black when the sun was hidden. Most of the hours of the day it
was but a dim shadow above a belt of white clouds, but up to its
mysterious heights a broken ridge climbed sheer from the valley, and
upon it browsed the wild boar and the crag-loving goat.

Beside the house the river brawled through a greenwood of
bread-fruit-, cocoanut-, vi-apple-, mango- and lime-trees. The
tropical heat distilled from their leaves a drowsy woodland odor
which filled the two small whitewashed rooms, and the shadows of the
trees, falling through the wide unglassed windows, made a sun-flecked
pattern on the black stone floor. This was the House of Lepers, now
rechristened the House of the Golden Bed, which was to be my home
through the unknown days before me.

The next day I watched the _Morning Star_ lift her sails and move
slowly out of the Bay of Traitors into the open sea, with less
regret than I have ever felt in that moment of wistfulness which
attends the departure of a sailing-ship. Exploding Eggs, at my side,
read correctly my returning eyes. "Kaoha!" he said, with a wide
smile of welcome, and with him and Vai, my next-door neighbor, I
returned gladly to my _paepae_.

Vai, or in English, Water, was a youth of twenty years, a dandy; on
ordinary occasions naked, except for the _pareu_ about his loins,
but on Sundays or when courting rejoicing in the gayest of
Europeanized clothes. He lived near me in a small house on the
river-bank with his mother and sister. All were of a long line of
chiefs, and all marvelously large and handsome.

The mother, Titihuti, would have been beloved of the ancient artists
who might have drawn her for an Amazon. I have never seen another
woman of such superb carriage. Her hair was blood-red, her brow lofty,
and an indescribable air of majesty and pride spoke eloquently of
her descent from fathers and mothers of power. She had wonderful legs,
statuesque in mold, and tattooed from ankles to thigh in most
amazing patterns. To a Marquesan of her generation the tattooed legs
of a shapely woman were the highest reach of art.

Titihuti was very proud of her legs. Though she was devout Catholic
and well aware of the contempt of the church for such vanities,
religion could not entirely efface her pride. During the first few
days she passed and repassed my cabin in her walks about her
household duties, lifting her tunic each day a little higher. Her
vanity would no doubt have continued this gradual course, but that
one day I came upon her in the river entirely nude. Her
gratification was unconcealed; naively she displayed the innumerable
whirls and arabesques of her adornment for my compliments, and
thereafter she wore only a _pareu_ when at home, entirely dropping
alien standards of modesty and her gown.

She said that people came from far valleys to see her legs, and I
could readily believe it. It was so with the leg of the late Queen
Vaekehu, a leg so perfect in mold and so elaborately and
artistically inked that it distinguished her even more than her rank.
Casual whites, especially, considered it a curiosity, and offended
her majesty by laying democratic hands upon the masterpiece. I had
known a man or two who had seen the queen at home, and who testified
warmly to the harmonious blending of flesh color with the candle-nut
soot. Among my effects in the House of the Golden Bed I had a
photograph showing the multiplicity and fine execution of the
designs upon Vaekehu's leg, yet comparing it with the two realities
of Titihuti I could not yield the palm to the queen.

The legs of Titihuti were tattooed from toes to ankles with a
net-like pattern, and from the ankles to the waistline, where the
design terminated in a handsome girdle, there were curves, circles
and filigree, all in accord, all part of a harmonious whole, and
most pleasing to the eye. The pattern upon her feet was much like
that of sandals or high mocassins, indicating a former use of
leg-coverings in a cold climate. Titihuti herself, after an anxious
inch-for-inch matching of picture and living form, said complacently
that her legs were _meitai ae_, which meant that she would not have
hesitated to enter her own decorations in beauty competition with
those of Vaekehu.

Kake, her daughter, had been christened for her mother's greatest
charm, for her name means Tattooed to the Loins, though there was
not a tattoo mark upon her. She was a beautiful, stately girl of
nineteen or twenty, married to a devoted native, to whom, shortly
after my arrival, she presented his own living miniature. I was the
startled witness of the birth of this babe, the delight of his
father's heart.

My neighbors and I had the same bathing hour, soon after daylight,
and usually chose the same pool in the clear river. Kake was lying
on a mat on their _paepae_ when I passed one morning, and when I
said "Kaoha" to her she did not reply. Her silence caused me to
mount the stairway, and at that moment the child was born.

Half an hour later she joined me in the river, and laughing back at
me over her shoulder as she plunged through the water, called that
she would give the child my name. That afternoon she was sitting on
my _paepae_, a bewitching sight as she held the suckling to her
breast and crooned of his forefather's deeds before the white had
gripped them.


Visit of Chief Seventh Man Who is So Angry He Wallows in the Mire;
journey to Vait-hua on Tahuata island; fight with the devil-fish;
story of a cannibal feast and the two who escaped.

"The Iron Fingers That Make Words," the Marquesans called my
typewriter. Such a wonder had never before been beheld in the islands,
and its fame spread far. From other valleys and even from distant
islands the curious came in threes and fours. They watched the
strange thing write their names and carefully carried away the bits
of paper.

"Aue!" they cried as I showed them my speed, which would be a shame
to a typist.

Chiefs especially were my visitors, thinking it proper to their
estate and to mine that they should call upon me and invite me to
their seats of government.

So it happened that one morning as I sat on my _paepae_ eating a
breakfast of roasted breadfruit prepared for me by Exploding Eggs,
my naked skin enjoying the warmth of the sun and my ears filled with
the bubbling laughter of the brook, I beheld two stately visitors
approaching. Exploding Eggs named them to me as they came up the

Both were leading chiefs of the islands. Katu, Piece of Tattooing,
of Hekeani, led the way. His severe and dignified face was a dark
blue in color. His eyes alone were free from imbedded indigo ink.
They gleamed like white clouds in a blue sky, but their glance was
mild and kindly. Sixty years of age, he still walked with upright
grace, only the softened contours of his face betraying that he was
well in his manhood when his valley was still given over to tribal
warfares, orgies, and cannibalism.

Behind him came Neo Afitu Atrien, of Vait-hua, a stocky brown man
with a lined face, stubby mustache, and brilliant, intelligent eyes.
He mounted the steps, shook hands heartily, and poured out
his informed soul in English.

"Johnny, I spik Ingrish. You Iris'man. You got 'O,' before name. I
know you got tipwrite can make machine do pen. I know Panama Canal.
How is Teddy and Gotali?"

I assured the chief that both Roosevelt and Goethals were well at
last account, and he veered to other topics.

"Before time, come prenty whaleship my place," he said. "I know
geograffy, mappee, grammal. I know Egyptee, Indee, all country; I
know Bufflobillee. Before time, whaleship come America for take
water and wood. Stay two, t'ree week. Every night sailor come ashore
catchee girls take ship. Prenty rum, biskit, molassi, good American
tobbacee. Now all finish. Whaleship no more. That is not good."

His name means The Seventh Man Who Is So Angry He Wallows In The Mire.
"Neo" means all but the number, and for so short a word to be
translated by so detailed a statement would indicate that there were
many Marquesans whose anger tripped them. Else such a word had
hardly been born.

I showed the chiefs the marvels of my typewriter, displayed to their
respectful gaze the Golden Bed, and otherwise did the honors. As
they departed, Neo said earnestly,

"You come see me you have my house. You like, you bring prenty rum,
keep warm if rain."

"A wicked man," said Exploding Eggs in Marquesan when the trail lay
empty before us. "One time he drink much rum, French gendarme go to
arrest him, he bite - " With an eloquent gesture my valet indicated
that Neo's teeth had removed in its entirety the nose of the valiant
defender of morals. "No good go see him," he added with finality.

However, the prospect intrigued my fancy, and finding a few days
later that Ika Vaikoki, whose discerning parents had named him Ugh!
Dried-up Stream! was voyaging toward Vait-hua in a whaleboat, I
offered him ten francs and two litres of rum to take me. Remembering
Neo's suggestion, I took also two other bottles of rum.

While our whaleboat shot across the Bordelaise Channel pursued by a
brisk breeze, Ugh! a wisp of a man of fifty, held the helm. He was
for all the world like a Malay pirate; I have seen his double
steering a proa off the Borneo coast, slim, high-cheeked, with a
sashful of saw-like knives. Ugh! had no weapon, but his eye was a
small flaming coal that made me thankful cannibalism is a thing of
the past. He had been carried through the surf to his perch upon the
stern because one of his legs was useless for walking, but once he
grasped the tiller, he was a seaman of skill.

The oarsmen wore turbans of pink, blue, and white muslin to protect
their heads from the straight rays of the white sun. Bright-colored
_pareus_ were about their loins, and several wore elastic
sleeve-holders as ornaments on tawny arms and legs, while one, the
son of Ugh! sported earrings, great hoops of gold that flashed in
the sunshine. With their dark skins, gleaming eyes, and white teeth,
they were a brilliant picture against the dazzling blue of the sea.
Straight across the channel we steered for Hana Hevane, a little bay
and valley guarded by sunken coral rocks over which the water foamed
in white warning. Two of the men leaped out into the waves and hunted
on these rocks for squids, while we beached the boat on a shore
uninhabited by any living creature but rats, lizards, and centipedes.
Several small octopi were soon brought in, and one of the men placed
them on some boulders where the tide had left pools of water, and
cleaned them of their poison. He rubbed them on the stone exactly as
a washerwoman handles a flannel garment, and out of them came a
lather as though he had soaped them. Suds, bubbles, and froth - one
would have said a laundress had been at work there. He dipped them
often in a pool of salt water, and not until they would yield no
more suds did he give each a final rinsing and throw it on the fire
made on the beach. Suddenly a shout broke my absorption in this task.
The son of Ugh! with the gold earrings, waving his arms from amidst
the surf on the reef, called to me to come and see a big _feke_. As
his companions were dancing about and yelling madly, I left the
laundrying of the small sea-devils and splashed two hundred yards
through the lagoon to the scene of excitement. Four of the crew had
attacked a giant devil-fish, which was hidden in a cave in the rocks.
From the gloom it darted out its long arms and tried to seize the
strange creatures that menaced it. The naked boatsmen, dancing just
out of reach of the writhing tentacles, struck at them with long
knives. As they cut off pieces of the curling, groping gristle, I
thought I heard a horrible groan from the cave, almost like the
voice of a human in agony. I stayed six feet away, for I had no
knife and no relish for the game.

Four of the long arms had been severed at the ends when suddenly the
octopus came out of his den to fight for his life. He was a
reddish-purple globe of horrid flesh, horned all over, with a head
not unlike an elephant's, but with large, demoniacal eyes, bitter,
hating eyes that roved from one to another of us as if selecting his
prey. Eight arms, some shorn of their suckers, stretched out ten
feet toward us.

The Marquesans retreated precipitately, and I led them, laughing
nervously, but not joyously. The son of Ugh! stopped first.

"_Ta! Ta! Ta! Ta!_" he cried. "Are we afraid of that ugly beast? I
have killed many. _Pakeka!_ We will eat him, too!"

He turned with the others and advanced toward the _feke_, shouting
scornful names at him, threatening him with death and being eaten,
warning him that the sooner he gave up, the quicker ended his agony.
But the devilfish was not afraid. His courage shamed mine. I was
behind the barrier of the boatsmen, but once in the throes of the
fight a slimy arm passed between two of them and wound itself around
my leg. I screamed out, for it was icy cold and sent a sickening
weakness all through me, so that I could not have swum a dozen feet
with it upon me. One of the natives cut it off, and still it clung to
my bloodless skin until I plucked it away.

The son of Ugh! had two of the great arms about him at one time, but
his companions hacked at them until he was free. Then, regardless of
the struggles of the maimed devil, they closed in on him and stabbed
his head and body until he died. During these last moments I was
amazed and sickened to hear the octopus growling and moaning in its
fury and suffering. His voice had a curious timbre. I once heard a
man dying of hydrophobia make such sounds, half animal, half human.

"That _feke_ would have killed and eaten any one of us," said the
son of Ugh! "Not many are so big as he, but here in Hana Hevane,
where seldom any one fished, they are the biggest in the world. They
lie in these holes in the rocks and catch fish and crabs as they swim
by. My cousin was taken by one while fishing, and was dragged down
into the hidden caverns. He was last seen standing on a ledge, and
the next day his bones were found picked clean. A shark is easier to
fight than such a devil who has so many arms."

The boatsmen gathered up the remnants of the foe and brought them to
the beach, where the elder Ugh! was tending the fire. Crabs were
broiling upon it, and the pieces of the _feke_ were flung beside
them and the smaller octopi.

When they were cooked, a trough of _popoi_ and one of _feikai_, or
roasted breadfruit mixed with a cocoanut-milk sauce, were placed on
the sand, and all squatted to dine. For a quarter of an hour the
only sounds were the plup of fingers withdrawn from mouths filled
with _popoi_, and the faint creaming of waves on the beach.
Marquesans feel that eating is serious business. The devil-fish and
crabs were the delicacies, and served as dessert. Blackened by the
fire, squid and crustacean were eaten without condiment, the
tentacles being devoured as one eats celery. I was soon satisfied,
and while they lingered over their food and smoked I strolled up the
valley a little way, still feeling the pressure of that severed arm.

Hana Hevane had its people one time. They vanished as from a hundred
other valleys, before the march of progress. The kindly green of the
jungle had hidden the marks of human habitations, where once they had
lived and loved and died.

Only the bones of _La Corse_, the schooner Jerome Capriata had
sailed many years, lay rotting under a grotesque and dark banian,
never more to feel the foot of man upon the deck or to toss upon the
sea. A consoling wave lapped the empty pintles and gave the decaying
craft a caress by the element whose mistress she so long had been.
Her mast was still stepped, but a hundred centipedes crawled over
the hull.

When I returned to the fire, the boatmen were talking. Ugh! Dried-up
Stream! his stomach full and smoke in his mouth, bethought himself
of a tale, an incident of this very spot. In a sardonic manner he

"The men of this island, Tahuata, in the old days descended on
Fatu-hiva to hunt the man-meat. After the battle, they brought their
captives to Hana Hevane to rest, to build a fire and to eat one of
their catch. This they did, and departed again. But when they were in
their canoes, they found they had forgotten a girl whom they had
thrown on the sand, and they returned for her. The sea was rough,
and they had to stay here on the beach for the night.

"As was the custom, they erected a gibbet, two posts and a
horizontal bar, and on the bar they hung the living prisoners, with
a cord of _parau_ bark passed through the scalp and tied around the
hair. Their arms were tied behind them, and they swung in the breeze.

"In the night, when the Tahuata men slept from their gluttony, one
of them arose silently and unbound a prisoner who was his friend,
and told him to run to the mountains. He then lay down and slept,
and in the darkness this man who had been freed returned stealthily
in the darkness, and unloosed a girl, the same who had been
forgotten on the sand. In the morning the other captives were dead,
but those who escaped were months in the fastness of the heights,
living on roots and on birds they snared. In the end they went to
Motopu. They were well received, for the Tahuata warriors thought a
god had aided them, and they and their children lived long there."

Ugh! smiled reminiscently as if his thoughts were returning from
pleasant things, and clapped his hands as a signal for reembarking.

The bowls of food remaining were tied in baskets of leaves and hung
in the banian tree to await the boatsmen's return for the night,
the steersman was carried to his place, and the boat pushed through
the surf.

A gaunt shark swam close to the reefs as we rowed out, a hungry,
ill-looking monster. One of the bottles of rum the oarsmen had drunk
on the way to Hana Hevane, the other was stored for their return,

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