Omoo, a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

By Hermann Melville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX

A SURPRISE—MORE ABOUT BEMBO

THE sight of the island was right welcome. Going into harbour after a cruise is always joyous enough, and the sailor is apt to indulge in all sorts of pleasant anticipations. But to us, the occasion was heightened by many things peculiar to our situation.

Since steering for the land, our prospects had been much talked over. By many it was supposed that, should the captain leave the ship, the crew were no longer bound by her articles. This was the opinion of our forecastle Cokes; though, probably, it would not have been sanctioned by the Marine Courts of Law. At any rate, such was the state of both vessel and crew that, whatever might be the event, a long stay, and many holidays in Tahiti, were confidently predicted.

Everybody was in high spirits. The sick, who had been improving day by day since the change in our destination, were on deck, and leaning over the bulwarks; some all animation, and others silently admiring an object unrivalled for its stately beauty—Tahiti from the sea.

The quarter-deck, however, furnished a marked contrast to what was going on at the other end of the ship. The Mowree was there, as usual, scowling by himself; and Jermin walked to and fro in deep thought, every now and then looking to windward, or darting into the cabin and quickiy returning.

With all our light sails wooingly spread, we held on our way, until, with the doctor's glass, Papeetee, the village metropolis of Tahiti, came into view. Several ships were descried lying in the harbour, and among them, one which loomed up black and large; her two rows of teeth proclaiming a frigate. This was the Reine Blanche, last from

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