Omoo, a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

By Hermann Melville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LXXVI

AN ISLAND JILT—WE VISIT THE SHIP

UPON arriving home we fully laid open to Po-Po our motives in visiting Taloo, and begged his friendly advice. In his broken English he cheerfully gave us all the information we needed.

It was true, he said, that the queen entertained some idea of making a stand against the French; and it was currently reported also that several chiefs from Bora‐ bora, Huwyenee, Raiatair, and Tahar, the leeward islands of the group, were at that very time taking counsel with her as to the expediency of organizing a general movement throughout the entire cluster, with a view of anticipating any further encroachments on the part of the invaders. Should warlike measures be actually decided upon, it was quite certain that Pomaree would be glad to enlist all the foreigners she could; but as to her making officers of either the doctor or me, that was out of the question; because, already, a number of Europeans, well known to her, had volunteered as such. Concerning our getting immediate access to the queen, Po-Po told us it was rather doubtful; she living at that time very retired, in poor health and spirits, and averse to receiving calls. Previous to her misfortunes, however, no one, however humble, was denied admittance to her presence; sailors, even, attended her levees.

Not at all disheartened by these things, we concluded to kill time in Partoowye until some event turned up more favourable to our projects. So that very day we sallied out on an excursion to the ship which, lying land-locked far up the bay, yet remained to be visited.

Passing on our route a long, low shed, a voice hailed us-" White men ahoy! " Turning round, who should

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