Omoo, a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

By Hermann Melville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LXXIII

OUR RECEPTION IN PARTOOWYE

UPON starting, at last, I flung away my sandals—by this time quite worn out—with the view of keeping company with the doctor, now forced to go barefooted. Recovering his spirits in good time, he protested that boots were a bore after all, and going without them decidedly manly.

This was said, be it observed, while strolling along over a soft carpet of grass; a little moist, even at midday, from the shade of the wood through which we were passing.

Emerging from this we entered upon a blank, sandy tract, upon which the sun's rays fairly flashed; making the loose gravel under foot well nigh as hot as the floor of an oven. Such yelling and leaping as there was in getting over this ground would be hard to surpass. We could not have crossed at all—until toward sunset—had it not been for a few small, wiry bushes growing here and there, into which we every now and then thrust our feet to cool. There was no little judgment necessary in selecting your bush; for if not chosen judiciously, the chances were that, on springing forward again, and finding the next bush so far off that an intermediate cooling was indispensable, you would have to run back to your old place again.

Safely passing the Sahara, or Fiery Desert, we soothed our half-blistered feet by a pleasant walk through a meadow of long grass, which soon brought us in sight of a few straggling houses, shettered by a grove on the outskirts of the village of Partoowye.

My comrade was for entering the first one we came to; but, on drawing near, they had so much of an air of pretension, at least for native dwellings, that I hesitated; thinking they might be the residences of the higher chiefs, from whom no very extravagant welcome was to be anticipated.

While standing irresolute, a voice from the nearest house hailed us: " Aramai! aramai, karhowree! " (Come in! come in, strangers!)

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