Omoo, a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

By Hermann Melville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LI

WILSON GIVES US THE CUT—DEPARTURE FOR IMEEO

ABOUT three weeks after the Julia's sailing, our condition began to be a little precarious. We were without any regular supply of food; the arrival of ships was growing less frequent; and, what was worse yet, all the natives but good old Captain Bob began to tire of us. Nor was this to be wondered at; we were obliged to live upon their benevolence, when they had little enough for themselves. Beside, we were sometimes driven to acts of marauding; such as kidnapping pigs, and cooking them in the groves; at which their proprietors were by no means pleased.

In this state of affairs, we determined to march off to the consul in a body; and, as he had brought us to these straits, demand an adequate maintenance.

On the point of starting, Captain Bob's men raised the most outrageous cries, and tried to prevent us. Though hitherto we had strolled about wherever we pleased, this grand conjunction of our whole force, upon one particular expedition, seemed to alarm them. But we assured them that we were not going to assault the village; and so, after a good deal of gibberish, they permitted us to leave.

We went straight to the Pritchard residence, where the consul dwelt. This house—to which I have before referred—is quite commodious. It has a wide verandah, glazed windows, and other appurtenances of a civilized mansion. Upon the lawn in front are palm-trees standing erect here and there, like sentinels. The Consular Office, a small building by itself, is inclosed by the same picket which fences in the lawn.

We found the office closed; but, in the verandah of the dwelling-house, was a lady performing a tonsorial opera

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