Material Information

Coralie or, The wreck of the Sybille
Added title page title:
The wreck of the Sybille
Eden, Charles H ( Charles Henry ), 1839-1900
Markus Ward & Co ( Publisher )
Royal Ulster Works ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London (67 Chandos Street)
Marcus Ward
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
323 p., [13] leaves plates : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Shipwrecks -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Oceania ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1877 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1877
Children's literature ( fast )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Northern Ireland -- Belfast


General Note:
Added title page illustrated in color.
General Note:
Published simultaneously by Royal Ulster Works, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Charles H. Eden.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
023844002 ( ALEPH )
05928395 ( OCLC )
AHM3814 ( NOTIS )


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(p. 159) Frontispiece.


HOUGH it would be absurd to say that
the following little romance was descrip-
tive of the loss of the celebrated French navi-
gator La Perouse, and though fiction far pre-
ponderates over fact in the pages of Coralie,
still the idea of the story was undoubtedly
suggested by the wrecks of the frigates Astro-
labe and Boussole; and thinking that a brief
account of all that is actually known con-
cerning the fate of the illustrious Frenchman
and the officers and men under his command
would prove interesting to the reader, I have
ventured to insert the following slight sketch
in the shape of a preface.
Jean Fran ois de Galaup, Comte de la
Pdrouse, was born at Gus, in Languedoc,

8 Preface.

August 22d, 1741. He early entered the
French navy, and distinguished himself on
attaining the rank of captain by the skill
and judgment he displayed when sent to
destroy the British settlements on the shores
of Hudson's Bay.
In 1785 he was appointed to the command
of an expedition, consisting of two frigates,
the Astrolabe and Boussole, fitted out for the
purpose of marine exploration in the Pacific.
Into the details of this it is unnecessary to
follow him, it being sufficient to say that he
performed his dangerous mission with perfect
In February, 1788, La Perouse was at
Botany Bay with his two vessels, from which
place he wrote to the minister of marine
announcing his intention of proceeding to
the Isle of France by way of the Friendly
Islands and New Guinea. Sailing from
Australia shortly afterwards, all further trace
of the expedition was lost for a great number
of years, although d'Entrecasteaux was des-
patched by the French government in 1791

Preface. 9

to clear up the mystery, and a reward of four
hundred pounds offered for any information
on the subject.
In the year 1813 Mr. Peter Dillon was an
officer on board the Bengal ship Hunter
when that ship left, at their own request, on
the island of Tucopia a Prussian named
Martin Bushart and a lascar named Achowlia.
Thirteen years later on Captain Dillon
was in the same locality, and I cannot do
better than to quote from the letter addressed
by him to Mr. Lushington, chief secretary to
the government in Bengal.
"On the I3th of May, 1826, in command
of my own ship, the St. Patrick, bound from
Valparaiso to Pondicherry, I came in sight
of the island of Tucopia. Prompted by curio-
sity as well as regard for an old companion
in danger, I hove my ship to off Tucopia,
with the hope of ascertaining whether the
persons left there in 1813 were still alive.
Shortly a canoe put off from the land and
came alongside; in it was the lascar. Im-
mediately after another canoe came off with

i o Preface.

Martin Bushart, the Prussian. They were
both in sound health, and were exceedingly
rejoiced to see me. They informed me that
the natives had treated them kindly; that
they lived very comfortably among them;
that no ship had touched there from the time
they were first landed until about a twelve-
month previous to my arrival, when an
English whaler visited the island for a short
time, and a little after another whaler touched
there. The lascar had an old silver sword-
guard, which he sold for a few fishing-hooks
to one of my people. I inquired of the
Prussian where it had come from: he told me
that on his first arrival on the island he saw
in the possession of the natives the sword-
guard, several chain-plates belonging to a ship,
also a number of iron bolts, five axes, the handle
of a silver fork, a few knives, tea-cups, glass
beads and bottles, one silver spoon with a crest
and cipher, and a sword, all of French manu-
facture." The Prussian further stated that
the articles in question came from a group of
islands named Malicolo, distant two days'

Preface. 1

canoe sail, and that the inhabitants of those
islands had a number of similar articles in
their possession.
Upon examining the sword-guard min-
utely I discovered, or thought I discovered,
the initials of Perouse stamped upon it, which
excited my suspicion, and made me more
exact in my inquiries. I then, by means of
Bushart and the lascar, questioned some
of the islanders respecting the way in which
their neighbours procured the silver and iron
articles. They told me that the natives of
Malicolo* stated that many years ago two
large ships arrived at their islands; one
anchored at the island of Whanoo, and the
other at the island of Paiou, a little distance
from each other. Some time after they
anchored, and before they had any communi-
cation with the natives, a heavy gale arose,
and both vessels were driven ashore. The
ship that was anchored off Whanoo grounded
"* It will be seen that the manner of spelling the names of the
islands in the letter varies from that employed subsequently by
Dillon; but Mannicolo and Malicolo, Whanoo and Wannow, &c.,
are the same places.

12 Preface.

upon the rocks. The natives came in crowds
to the sea-side, armed with clubs, spears, and
bows and arrows, and shot some arrows into
the ship, and the crew in return fired the guns
and some musketry on them, and killed
several. The vessel continuing to beat vio-
lently against the rocks, shortly went to
pieces. Some of the crew took to their boats,
and were driven on shore, where they were
to a man murdered on landing by the infu-
riated natives; others threw themselves into
the sea, but if they reached the shore it was
only to share the fate of their wretched com-
rades, so that not a single soul escaped out of
this vessel."
"The ship which grounded on Paiou was
driven on a sandy beach, and the natives
came down and also shot their arrows into
her; but the crew prudently did not resent
the aggression, but held up axes, beads, and
other toys as peace-offerings, upon which the
assailants desisted from hostilities. As soon
as the wind moderated an aged chief put off
in a canoe to the ship. He was received

Preface. 13

with caresses, and presents offered him, which
he accepted. He went on shore, pacified his
countrymen, and assured them that the people
on board were good and friendly men; upon
which several of the natives came on board,
and were all presented with toys. They soon
supplied the crew with yams, fowls, bananas,
cocoa-nuts, hogs, &c., and confidence was
established between them.
"The crew of the vessel were obliged to
abandon her, and went on shore, bringing
with them a great part of their stores. They
remained for some time, and built a small
vessel from the wreck of the large one. As
soon as the small craft was ready to sail, as
many as could conveniently get room em-
barked, being plentifully supplied with fresh
provisions by the islanders. Several of their
shipmates were left behind, and the com-
mander promised to return speedily with
presents for the natives, and to bring off
the remainder of his crew: but she was
never heard of afterwards by the islanders.
Those who remained of the crew distributed

14 Preface.

themselves among various chiefs, with whom
they resided until their death. They had
been left several muskets and some gun-
powder by their comrades, and by means
of these were of great service to their friends
in battle with the neighboring islanders."
Owing to the representations made by
Captain Dillon the Indian government fitted
out a vessel, the Research, for the prosecu-
tion of further inquiries, and placed him in
command. He visited Mannicolo and found
abundant proofs that the missing ships had
been wrecked there.
Captain Dillon questioned the leading
chief as follows:-
Q. Have you ever seen any white men
before?"-A. "No."
Q. "Did not you see the people who
built the ship at Paiow?"-A. "No. I live
at this side of the island, and we are con-
stantly at war with the people residing at
Paiow and Wannow. The chief who built
the ship at Paiow wore clothes like you."
The Research, be it recollected, was at this

Preface. I5

time on the east side of Mannicolo; Wannow
"is on the west side.
Q. How were the ships lost?"-A. The
island is surrounded by reefs at a distance
off-shore. They got on the rocks at night,
and one ship grounded near Wannow, and
immediately went to the bottom."
Q. Were none of the people from this ship
saved?"-A. "Those that escaped from the
wreck landed at Wannow, where they were
killed by the natives. Several also were
devoured by the sharks while swimming
from the ship."
Q. How many people were killed' at
Wannow?"-A. "Two at Wannow, two at
Amma, and two more near to Paiow. These
were all the white men who were killed."
Q. "If there were only six white men
killed on shore, how, or from whence, came
the sixty skulls that were in the spirit-house
at Wannow, as described by Ta Fow, the
hump-backed Tucopian, and others?"-A.
"These were the heads of people killed by the

16 Preface.

Q. "But would not the sharks eat the
heads as well as the bodies of the white
men?"-No answer.
Q. "How was the ship lost near Paiow?"
-A. She got on the reef at night, and after-
wards drifted over it into a good place. She
did not immediately break up, for the people
had time to remove things from her, with
which they built a two-masted ship."
Q. How many moons were they in build-
ing it ?"-A. Plenty of moons."
Q. How did they procure anything to
eat ?"-A. They used to go into the tara
fields and pull up the roots, and then plant
the tops for a new crop. After they sailed
away the people put their fields in order
Q. Had these people no friends among
the natives ?"-A. No. They were ship-
spirits; their noses were two hands long before
their faces. Their chief used always to be
looking at the sun and stars, and beckoning
to them. There was one of them who stood
as a watch at their fence, with a bar of iron in

Preface. 17

his hand, which he used to turn round his
head. This man stood only upon one leg."
Dillon says, This last answer imports that
the cocked hats worn by the officers were mis-
taken by the natives for natural appendages
to their heads; the chief beckoning to the sun
and stars, the officer taking astronomical ob-
servations; and the man on one leg at the
fence with the bar of iron in his hand, a sentinel
with his musket."
Another man, examined some days later,
stated "that at daylight one morning the
Wannow people went out from their houses
and found several white men with the kind of
noses before described on the beach, and sup-
posing them to be ghosts, immediately killed
them. At this time the shore was strewed
with dead bodies very much mutilated by the
sharks; some without heads, the bowels of
others torn out, and some with their legs off."
The following statement was also made by
a native named Owallie:-" A long time ago
the people of this island, upon coming out one
morning, saw part of a ship on the reef oppo-


18 Preface.

site to Paiow, where it held together till the
middle of the day, when it was broken by the
sea, fell to pieces, and large parts of it floated
on shore along the coast. The ship got on
the reef in the night, when it blew a tremen-
dous hurricane, which broke down a consider-
able number of our fruit-trees. We had not
seen the ship. the day before. Four men
were saved from her, and were on the beach
at this place, whom we were about to kill, sup-
posing them spirits, when they made a pre-
sent to our chief of something, and he saved
their lives. They lived with us a short time,
and then joined their people at Paiow, who
built a small ship there and went away in it.
None of those four men were chiefs: they
were only subordinate men. Those things
which we sell you now have been procured
from the ship wrecked on that reef, on which,
at low water, our people were in the habit of
diving and bringing up what they could find.
. .We killed none of the ship's people
at this place, but several dead bodies were
cast on shore, with the legs and other mem-

Preface. 19

bers mutilated by the sharks. The same
night another ship struck on a reef near
Whannow and went down. There were
several men saved from her, who built a little
ship, and went away five moons after the big
one was lost. While building it they had a
great fence of trees round them to keep out
the islanders, who, being equally afraid of
them, they kept up but little intercourse. The
white men used often to look at the sun
through something, but we have none of those
things. Two white men remained behind
after the rest went away; the one was a chief
and the other a common man, who used to
attend on the white chief, who died about
three years ago."
To enumerate all the articles found by the
Research would occupy many pages, and any
of my readers who care to follow the subject
further will find every information in Captain
Dillon's most interesting book, entitled Nar-
rative and Successful Result of a Voyage in
the South Seas, performed by order of the
Government of British India, to ascertain the

20 Preface.

Actual Fate -of La Pdrouse's Expedition,
from which I have extracted the above quota-
The French were not slow to acknowledge
Captain Dillon's services. He was admitted
to a private audience by Charles X., who con-
ferred upon him the grade of Chevalier of the
Legion of Honour, together with an annuity
of 4000 francs per annum for his own life, and
half that amount to his family should they sur-
"vive him.
In case natural historians may feel inclined
to question the existence of serpents in the
South Sea Islands, I again quote Dillon, but
for the last time.
"Snakes as long as a Tucopian canoe
(about twenty feet), and as thick as a man's
arm, are numerous in the woods and jungles:
they will boldly attack a man" (vol. ii. page
The description of a fortress similar in con-
struction and size to that mentioned in the
text may be found in Mariner's Tonga Islands,
vol. i. page 97.




fT was midnight in the valley of Quillota,
and perfect silence reigned throughout the
large hacienda of Don Jose Zumala. No
light was visible in all the many casements,
and save the neighing of some wanton colt
galloping playfully round the corral, to the
disturbance of its more sober seniors, no sound
broke the stillness. of the station. Hardly
had the clock in the bell-tower of the small
chapel sounded the last stroke of the hour
when a dark form was seen approaching from
the direction of the yard in which the horses
required for service on the following day
were confined. Stealthily and with bare feet

22 Coralie.
the figure glided on to the broad verandah of
the dwelling, and keeping well within the
shadow of the wall crept cautiously onward
until the centre casement of the left wing of
the straggling mansion-the portion appro-
priated to visitors-was reached. Here the
mysterious intruder paused, listened atten-
tively for a few seconds, and then rapped
gently at the Venetian blinds that shrouded
the entrance to the chamber. A light tap in
reply announced that the occupant of the room
was astir, and with lowered tones the figure
whispered in Spanish, The horses are ready,
"Thanks, Pedro, and the Sefiorita?" replied
a voice from within.
I saw my sister Maria before I went to
the corral, and she assured me her mistress
would be ready. But dress quickly, Senfor,
for time presses. Give me your boots, or carry
them in your hand, for not a footfall must be
heard. The Don sleeps lightly."
Even as Pedro finished his sentence the
Venetian blinds were thrust silently aside and

The Elopement. 23

a young man in the uniform of a French
naval officer stepped noiselessly on to the
verandah, I am quite ready. Do you think
I should need to dress at such a time as this ?"
he whispered.
Pedro made no audible reply, but pressing
his companion's arm to enjoin silence, he
stole away into the darkness closely followed
by the young man.
"Where are they to meet us?" asked the
latter anxiously.
At the three willows by the bank of the
river," answered Pedro, in a more natural
voice, for a hundred yards now separated them
from the silent station; but you can put on
your boots, Sefior, all danger of being over-
heard is past."
Claude de Chateaupre complied, and the
two men then hastened onward. The distance
to the trysting-place was less than a quarter
of a mile, but who can picture the wild thoughts
that ran riot in the young officer's breast dur-
ing the short interval required to traverse
those few hundred yards? His whole future

24 Coralie.

happiness depended on the issue of events
during the next twenty-four hours. Was his
elopement with the young Spaniard even sus-
pected by her fierce guardian, no punishment
short of death would be meted out to him by
the lawless Chilian; or did he escape with life
all prospect of a future union with Dolores de
Llenera would be effectually barred by her
ruthless consignment to a convent. Nor
were these the only obstacles with which he
had to contend. Supposing that he effected
his escape, and could afford to laugh the wrath
of the angry Don to scorn, how would the
Emperor regard his conduct in making one of
the imperial war-vessels a cage for two love-
birds; and how would the stern old Count,
his father, receive a bride entering his family
under such peculiar circumstances? All this
rushed through his brain as he sped over the
well-beaten cattle track, but the sight of two
muffled figures standing beside a group of
horses dispelled all thought of the future,
and outstripping his guide, the eager lover
clasped in his arms the trembling form of the

The Elopement. 25

weeping girl, whose heart he had so truly
won that for the stranger's sake she was will-
ing to leave guardian, country, home, and to
enter upon an existence unknown to her, con-
tent in the thought that it was shared by him
she loved.
Oh! Claude, Claude, is it very wicked?"
"To fly from your uncle who has so ill-
treated you ? No!" but all further conversation
was promptly checked by both Maria and her
brother Pedro, who insisted on the necessity
of immediate flight.
Caramba, Senior," said the latter, "if you
valued the Sefiorita's happiness and your own
safety you would put foot in stirrup and lose
no time. Come, mount; if one of the horses
neighs we are lost."
Claude, whispering a few words of comfort
to the girl, that caused her to smile through
her tears, helped her to the saddle, Pedro
performed the same kind office for his sister,
and in a few minutes the fugitives were has-
tening out of the valley at the utmost speed
of their fiery Chilian steeds. In half an hour

26 Coralie.

the rude, roughly-paved bridge over the river
was reached, and at the summit of its peaked
centre arch the party reined up and surveyed
the level country behind them.
It was a sight on which the artist might
gaze with admiration-overhead sailed the
silvery moon amidst the dense deep-blue
back-ground of the sky, fretted with a myriad
stars, not feebly twinkling as in vapoury nor-
thern climes, but gazing placidly down with
an unbroken radiance from realms so distant
that their immensity was unfathomable and
awe-inspiring. In the rear lay the portion of
the valley they had just traversed, its broad.
expanse broken only by the tall poplars, whose
gaunt forms marked the course of the river;
and beneath them babbled the stream as it
broke against the buttresses of the bridge,
and, ruffled at the obstacle, wreathed itself
into many a curling and foam-flecked eddy,
ere rushing onward to the mountain pass that
led it to the vast Pacific. Overshadowing
the valley stood a range of mountains, the
queens of the Southern Hemisphere-the

The Elopement. 27

giant Andes. Aconcagua thrust its head
proudly aloft into the serene azure, its summit
emitting a thin volume of smoke, which-, to-
gether with its snow-clad sides, caught a lustre
from the moon that tinged the mighty range
with an indescribable splendour.
Oh! Claude, was ever anything so lovely ?"
murmured Dolores, as her lover pressed closer
to her side. Shall I ever see such mountains
in France, eh! Claude?"
The young man was spared a reply, for
Maria's horse suddenly neighed and Pedro's
voice struck in abruptly-" Onward, Sefior el
Capitano, we are pursued."
One long piercing gaze in the direction of
the hacienda revealed a black speck moving
on the plain. It was a band of horsemen on
their trail, and wheeling round, the fugitives
struck home the spur, and clattering down
the steep arch of the bridge, bent low in their
saddles as the headlong gallop towards Val-
paraiso was resumed.
Yes, their flight had been discovered. A
peon roaming about-for what purpose he

28 Coralie.

would probably have been unwilling to say-
had witnessed the elopement, and, in hopes of
a reward, had lost no time in communicating
the discovery to his master. His just recom-
pense he received in the deep curse and heavy
blow with which the enraged haciendero wel-
comed the intelligence, but none the less was
the mischief done, and in less than half an
hour a dozen gauchos were in the saddle,
pricking madly after the fugitives; at their
head, speechless with rage and mortification,
rode Don Jose Zumala.
Onward for many a weary league sped the
lovers and their two faithful attendants. The
Bell of Quillota is rounded and left far behind,
and the sleeping villagers at Pena Blanca
turn in their beds and cross themselves as the
silence of the night is broken by iron-shod
hoofs ringing on the flinty pavement. Still
onward, and now the little posada or roadside
inn kept by Juan Morales, an old friend of
Pedro's, comes in sight.
"Sefior, we must pull up here for ten
minutes, otherwise the horses will never reach

The Elopemenl. 29

the sea," cries the latter, spurring his willing
animal alongside the lovers, who are riding
side by side. "We must wash out their
mouths with some beer, and then they will
carry us through."
"As you please; you know best," replies
Claude, and in a moment more they have
reined in and committed their steeds to the
care of Pedro and the innkeeper.
Dolores is faint with terror and fatigue, but
somewhat reassured by the bold bearing of
her maid Maria, and by the tender encourage-
ment lavished upon her by her lover, she
takes a few mouthfuls of refreshment, and re-
mounts invigorated and hopeful.
Oh Maria! my scarf, I have left it on the
No, Sefiorita, I have got it here."
And now the weary gallop is resumed, the
tension of the riders' minds making each
minute seem an hour. At length the summit
of a small ridge is reached, and before them
lies the sea, the broad bay of Valparaiso, its
surface unruffled by the faintest breeze.

30 Coralie.

Dieu soit bni!" shouts the young man
joyously, inspirited by tlhe sight of his native
element. Now, ma chdrie, we shall soon be
in safety. Pray Heaven that de Kergnac has
attended to my orders and that the boat is in
readiness," he adds to himself as they sweep
onward over the sand of the bay, left firm by
the receding tide.
But soon all uncertainty is cleared away,
for day breaks, and not a mile ahead they see
the frigate's barge. A few minutes more and
they will be safe from the pursuit of the savage
band, the clatter of whose horses' hoofs can be
plainly heard as they rush headlong down the
side of the little ridge fringing the margin of
the sea.
And now the barge is reached, and de Ker-
gnac himself rushes forward to welcome his
Captain's bride.
"Shove off, shove off," cries the latter, after
helping his three companions on board, for
Heaven's sake let us get off before they come
But by some mischance the boat has

The Elopement. 31

grounded, and only by half a dozen of the
crew jumping out can she be lightened suffi-
ciently to move, and during the few seconds
required to perform this Don Jose has reached
the spot, and, livid with passion, has com-
manded his niece to return. Terrified at the
voice of the savage Chilian, both Dolores and
Maria hide their faces; but now the boat yields
to the pressure of the seamen's shoulders, and
she glides out tranquilly into deep water.
Adio, Senor," cries Pedro, waving his
hand to his old master.
With a fearful imprecation the latter draws
a pistol from his holster, and, taking steady
aim at the crouching figure of his niece, pulls
the trigger. A scream of agony follows the
report, but before the smoke has cleared
away the murderer has wrenched his horse's
head round and has joined the gauchos, who,
seeing further pursuit is useless, have reined
up on an adjoining eminence.
Give way, men, for God's sake, give
way, and let us see if the surgeon can be of
any use!" cries Claude, as, assisted by de Ker-

32 Coralie.

gnac and Pedro, he supports the motionless
form of the poor girl.
It is useless," says Pedro, quietly, after
placing his hand on the region of the heart,
"you had better look to the Sefiorita now;
my poor sister is past earthly care."
Two days after the above occurrence
the French twenty-eight gun frigate Sybille
hove-to a couple of hundred miles from the
coast of Chili. A deep gloom pervaded the
vessel, and the mournful tone of the ship's
bell, struck at intervals, announced that a
body was about to be committed to the deep.
Even the rugged seamen could hardly refrain
from tears as the Padre read the funeral ser-
vice, and the good old priest's own voice
shook so that he had great difficulty in con-
cluding the ceremony. At last it was ended,
and the ocean closed over the mortal remains
of Maria Moreno, whom Don Jose had mis-
taken for his niece, owing to the scarf she
carried on her shoulders.
The frigate filled and stood westward,
bound for New Zealand; but long ere she

The Elopement. 33

reached those wild islands the old Padre had
performed another duty,-the marriage of
Dolores de Llenero with the Viscomte de
Chateaupre, Capitaine de Fregate in the
service of his imperial majesty the Emperor
Napoleon Bonaparte, and from this point my
story may be said fairly to begin.

___ --- -




c iITH her white wings expanded to the
favouring breeze the Sybille speeded on-
ward. The warm air was laden with the frag-
rance of sandal-wood wafted across the waters
from the lovely islands amongst which she held
her course, and clouds of flying-fish arising
from the foam under her bows, glittered in
the sun as they skimmed over the tiny waves
closely pursued by rainbow-hued dolphins, to
whose superior swiftness and agility many of
their number fell victims. On the starboard
beam, and distant not more than a mile, lay
an island, on whose rock-bound shore the
surf was beating lazily and dreamily, with a
gentle subdued moan that added not a little
to the enjoyment of the scene. As the vessel
held on her way deep inlets opened to the

The Wreck. 35

view, and the beholders caught glimpses of
valleys thickly covered with tropical vegeta-
tion, amidst whose depths the feathery palms
shot proudly skyward, and tossed their plum-
age in the wind, as though in salutation to
the passing ship. In the rear lay rugged
mountains, clothed with a mantle of emerald
sward, and ever and anon a tiny white streak
would be visible amongst their fastnesses,
where a rivulet leaping from crag to crag
threw itself seaward in a snowy cascade. On
the beach many habitations were seen, clus-
tering amongst the cocoa-nut trees that fringed
the sand, and from these the natives, on per-
ceiving the vessel, came rushing down, waving
green bows in token of friendship and wel-
come, or launching their canoes through the
surf, plied the paddles in the vain hope of
overtaking the stately frigate.
Oh! Claude, how lovely!" exclaimed Do-
lores, who with her husband was leaning
over the lee quarter watching the ever-
changing but ever beautiful scene, "how
lovely! Surely life can offer nothing more

36 Coralie.

enjoyable than a home in one of these secluded
islands. Fancy living in that little valley,
Claude, far from any of the cares and anxieties
of the civilized world; existing on the bread-
fruit and the plantain, and striving to ennoble
the existence of these simple islanders."
"What, dear! and you would give up the
great f6tes at the Tuileries, in which you
formerly professed so deep an interest. Do
you remember one afternoon at the hacienda
-" but a pained expression had passed over
the girl's fair face, and stopping abruptly,
Claude gently encircled her waist, and pro-
ceeded in a lower tone: You are still
grieving, my darling; surely you do not
regret leaving your uncle when-"
"Never name him before me!" she broke
in impetuously. If I am at times sad it is
only that I think of poor Maria, and too
great happiness is always tinged with a
certain melancholy."
As she uttered the last words Dolores
looked up affectionately at her husband and
nestled yet closer to his side.

The Wreck. 37

No, Claude," she continued, "you need
never fear that I shall regret the past, only
the change from despair to perfect happiness
has come so suddenly that I often think it
must all be a dream, and that I shall wake
up some morning to find myself once more
at Quillota. You know how my uncle treated
me; how, to release himself from the results
of his mania for gambling, he insisted on my
marrying Ramon de Ramirez, a man known
throughout the length and breadth of South
America as a gamester and an unprincipled
profligate; and you know how, on my refusal,
he threatened to immure me in a convent.
And those were not vain threats, Claude,
for poor Maria found out that he had written
to the Bishop of Santiago, and obtained an
order for my admittance amongst the Car-
melite sisterhood in case I persisted in disre-
garding his commandment. It was to meet
Ramon de Ramirez that he took me down to
Valparaiso, to appear at the ball where I first
saw you, Claude. From my earliest child-
hood he has treated me with harshness and

38 Coralie.

disregard; even during my poor mother's
lifetime he could not dissemble the dislike he
felt to me as the one obstacle between himself
and the large property left by my father, and
her last hours were embittered by the thought
that she left her only child in the power of
such a man; but there was no alternative, he
was my lawful guardian, and he lost no oppor-
tunity of asserting his authority. Affection
for him I never felt, all respect soon became
lost in disgust at his rapacity, and latterly in
actual fear of his violence. The last dread
deed, to which poor Maria fell a victim, has
severed every tie, and turned my fear to
actual abhorrence. By that cruel act he has
placed a gulf between us which time can
never bridge over: and now, dear, we will
never, if you please, mention his name again."
It would be tedious were I to describe the
daily events on board of the Sybille. In due
course she arrived at New Zealand, and from
thence proceeded to Sydney for the purpose
of taking in provisions and water. Even
then-though it was in the early part of the

The Vreck. 39

present century, and the colony of New South
Wales had been settled less than twenty
years-the town gave some indication of the
eminence to which it was hereafter to attain.
Having laid in the necessary supplies, and
forwarded despatches to the Minister of
Marine, the Sybille sailed for the Coral Seas,
from whence she was to return to Toulon,
having been now absent from France for
more than three years. The whole crew
were in excellent spirits at the thought of
again seeing their native country, and the
most ardent wish of de Chateaupre was to
complete the dangerous surveying service in
an almost unknown sea, on which the vessel
was engaged, in a creditable manner, which
might possibly avert the censure of the
authorities incurred by his having his wife
on board, a proceeding which was contrary
to the rules of the service, but less culpable
on his part from the fact that the Sybille was
employed on a scientific mission, and by mutual
agreement between the governments of Eng-
land and France, then engaged in a deadly

40 Coralie.

warfare, expeditions of this nature were ex-
empted from capture, and might even call at
an enemy's port to refit; a clause of which
the French frigate had taken advantage in
visiting the British colony of New South
In nine months after leaving Sydney the
Sybille's work was nearly done. New Cale-
donia had been carefully surveyed and several
inaccuracies in previous charts corrected; the
Solomon Islands had been visited-those
islands upon whose dangerous shores an old
legend asserts that a noble Spanish galleon,
freighted with gallant cavaliers and fair ladies,
was lost, and proceeds to say that the white
colour of the inhabitants is due to the inter-
marriage of the latter with the natives; several
additions to geographical knowledge had
been made; and now, at an entertainment
given by de Chateaupre to his officers, whilst
the frigate was snugly moored in a quiet
cove at Tonga, he announced that in three
days' time the good ship's prow would be
pointed homeward, and that upon wind and

The Wreck. 41

weather alone depended the date of their
arrival in "la belle France." Cheers, loud
and prolonged, hailed the joyful intelligence,
and as the creamy champagne passed around
the future was largely discounted, and all
the pleasure of meeting wives, friends, and
those most dear to them, talked over ex-
citedly by the happy group.
Will these anticipations of happiness be
fulfilled? Will Paul de Kergnac ever return
to the old Breton chateau, and, saddling the
swiftest horse in his father's stables, ride forth
to meet the fair girl to whom he plighted his
troth four long years ago? or will Raoul
d'Entreville, that handsome lad with the
raven hair and the liquid eyes of the sunny
south, ever embrace the little sister who
counts the days of his absence amidst the
vines of Provence? To answer these ques-
tions here would be out of place; the sequel
will show how their dreams of happiness
were realized.
It had been blowing in sudden squalls for
some days; the barometer had fallen un-

42 Coralie.

usually low, and the leaden sky overhead
looked gloomy and threatening. It was now
a dead calm, and Claude de Chateaupre paced
the deck in manifest uneasiness, for recent
observations had revealed the existence of
an unsuspected current, and the frigate was
traversing a portion of the Coral Seas marked
" unknown in the latest charts.
The glass is going down still, sir," said
de Kergnac, the first lieutenant, "what had
we better do?"
"Nothing more is possible," replied the
Captain; "we have sounded and found no
bottom at 120 fathoms, and all the light
canvas has been taken in. Our only plan
now is to wait and see from what quarter the
wind will spring up."
For several hours the frigate lay rolling
heavily, her yard-arms almost dipping in the
water, but not a breath of air ruffled the
surface of the sea. The atmosphere was
painfully oppressive; the crew, stifled in the
confined region between decks, gathered
themselves in knots upon the forecastle and

The Wreck. 43

gangways, and muttered ominously as they
glanced aloft, where several sea-birds had
perched upon the spars and standing rigging,
terrified at the unwonted stillness reigning
Is there any danger, Claude?" asked
Dolores, who had made her way upon deck,
and joined her husband.
He supported her with one arm whilst he
maintained his position by grasping a belay-
ing pin with the other hand, and answered,
" Danger! how can you think so when there
is no wind?"
But look at the sailors how anxious they
seem; and I am sure M. de Kergnac has
been into the cabin twenty times to look at
the barometer; now I know he would never
do that unless something unusual was ex-
pected, and the ship is rolling so dreadfully
I can neither read nor work down below.
What is that line of white there, Claude? I
hope it is a breeze, and then the ship will be
more steady."
As she spoke Dolores pointed to the dis-

44 Coralie.

tant horizon, where a narrow streak of foam
was faintly visible. Seizing a speaking-trum-
pet the captain thundered out his orders, for
it was now evident from which quarter the
wind was coming, and it would require the
utmost expedition to trim the sails to meet
its fury.
"Go below, Dolores," he said to his wife,
"you can come up again when quiet is
And indeed the bustle of the deck, where
the crew were hauling frantically at the braces,
rendered it a place totally unfitted for a lady.
Round swung the yards, and the lifts and
trusses were barely steadied taut before
the blast was upon them, and even under her
reduced canvas the frigate heeled over until it
seemed improbable that she would ever re-
assume an upright position without sacrificing
one or more of her masts.
Hard a-larboard the helm," cried Claude,
"up with it!" and as the vessel gathered way
her head fell off, and she slowly rose to an
even keel.

The Wreck. 45

"There is nothing left but to run before
it," said de Chateaupre to the first lieutenant.
"To lay to in this unknown sea, where coral
reefs are as thick as herrings in La Maanche
would be madness. We must stand on, keep
a good look-out for breakers, and trust in
Providence. Take in the foretop-sail, de Ker-
gnac, we don't want more way on her than
we can help, and with the close-reefed main-
top-sail and reefed foresail she will be more
As the time drew on towards sunset, the
wind increased rather than abated, and aided
by the heavy swell that had existed before
the arrival of the wind, the waves now ran
very high, threatening at every moment to
break over the frigate's stern and overwhelm
"We must make more sail, de Kergnac,"
said Claude, as a towering sea curled up
under the counter and seemed in the act of
toppling inboard. "Send the men aloft to
loose the mainsail."
The seamen crowded into the main rigging,

46 Coralie.

but before the foremost had reached the fut-
tock-shrouds he stopped abruptly, pointing
ahead, and striving to make his voice audible
amidst the roar of the tempest.
Hard a-starboard," hailed Claude, who
had sprung into the mizzen rigging, and could
make out a long line of breakers towards
which the ship was standing with fearful velo-
Though no sound reached the deck the
motion of his arms denoted the Captain's
wish, and the men at the wheel turned the
spokes hurriedly in the required direction.
As the vessel, answering her helm readily
despite the heavy sea running, came to the
wind, the suspense was awful; but now the
fury of the gale, that had hitherto been felt
only in a modified form owing to their having
scudded before it, broke upon them in all its
intensity, and the canvas that they then carried
with impunity now proved too much for the
standing rigging, rotten and worn out with
nearly four years' exposure to the vicissitudes
of the weather. With a crack that made it-

The Wreck. 47

self heard above the wind the after swifter
of the fore rigging parted. The remaining
shrouds held on bravely for a while, but a
heavy sea struck the weather-bow and poured
a body of water into the belly of the foresail.
The strain was too great for the hemp, and
the foremast went crashing over the side,
dragging with it the jibboom, and leaving' the
unfortunate frigate helpless within a league of
the angry breakers.
Their doom was now sealed, and destruction
inevitable. The men became paralyzed with
fear, and no longer thought of obeying the
orders of their officers. Claude and de Ker-
gnac, rushing forward, seized axes and cut
away the best bower anchor from the bows, but
the depth of water was too great, and it never
reached the bottom. In such a position sea-
manship was of no avail. That the vessel
must go ashore was certain, unless some open-
ing occurred in the reef at the place towards
which she was drifting.
Finding the anchor would not hold Claude
and his first lieutenant made their way aft,

48 Coralie.

and ascending the mizzen rigging anxiously
scanned the line of surf ahead, but no patch
of unbroken water met their expectant eyes.
The darkness which now enshrouded the ves-
sel added to the confusion, and some of the
seamen, rendered desperate by the near ap-
proach of death, broke into the spirit room,
and drowned their fears in helpless intoxica-
I think I can make out a place where the
foam is not quite so continuous as elsewhere,"
said de Kergnac, pointing in the indicated
You are right," replied the Captain, "you
remain here and endeavour to point out the
passage as we near it, and I will try to head
the vessel for it."
Descending upon deck de Chateaupre
rallied his men, and some of the most resolute
went aloft to loose the mainsail, and by that
means endeavour to get some command over
the ship, for the maintop-sail had been blown
out of the bolt-ropes when the foremast went
over the side, and the frigate was now drifting

The Wreck. 49

broadside on to the reef, as helpless as a log
of wood. Placing four men at the helm upon
whom he could depend, the Captain saw the
main-tack and sheet well manned, and the
moment the canvas quitted the yard it was
hauled aboard, and by the mercy of Providence
without splitting. Immediately the frigate
felt its influence, and gathering way, soon be-
came once more obedient to her helm. Stand-
ing on one of the quarter-deck guns the Cap-
tain kept his eyes steadily fixed on de Ker-
gnac, who by motions of either hand indicated
whether the ship's head was to move to star-
board or larboard. The Sybille was now
rushing onward with terrible velocity, and to
all appearance speeding to certain destruction,
for within a mile of her lay a line of jagged
coral breakers, upon which, in five minutes,
the stoutest ship ever launched would be
dashed to atoms. It was an awful sight, and
the men on the forecastle came aft as they
neared the reef, to place a longer distance be-
tween them and destruction. But the gallant
Breton upon whose coolness and self-posses-


50 Coracie.

sion so much depended, never lost nerve.
Seated in the mizzen rigging he fearlessly
surveyed the boiling surge and conned the
ship as calmly as though she were entering
Brest harbour.
God have mercy on Dolores, and upon
us all!" muttered Claude fervently, as the
frigate swooped into the seething foam, amidst
whose fleecy mass her hull was almost en-
For the space of twenty seconds every man
held his breath as he clung to the bitts or bul-
warks in expectation of the coming shock, but
the voice of Claude rang out above the hoarse
breakers, "Stand by the small bower anchor.
Hard a-starboard the helm."
The outer reef was passed by a miracle,
but before the seamen could obey their Cap-
tain's order a sudden shock threw them all
prostrate on the deck, and the mainmast,
which had stood out so gallantly, went crash-
ing over the bows-the Sybille had escaped
destruction on the outer coral barrier, but had
rushed headlong on to the island that lay

The Wreck. 51

within the centre of the reef. That the ship
was lost no one could doubt, but by the
Divine mercy their lives were all secured, and
many heartfelt prayers ascended that night to
the Heavenly Throne from the crew of the
stranded ship, and by no two people were
thanks more humbly offered than by the Cap-
tain, to whose courage they were all indebted
for their lives, and brave little Dolores, whose
keen eyes had first detected the coming hur-
ricane, and thus allowed many extra and valu-
able minutes for the preparations to meet it.

ly 0


"HERE was but little rest for any of the
Sybille's ship's company on that event-
ful night, and daylight was awaited by the
whole crew with the utmost anxiety. The
frigate was perfectly steady, for, though the
hurricane still raged around her, the water
inside the outer reef was smooth, and the
imperfect examination they were enabled to
conduct revealed that the Sybille had been
driven on to the island with a force that pre-
cluded all hope of ever launching her into
deep water again. The velocity at which
she had been moving had firmly imbedded
the fore part of the vessel in the sandy coral,
and a hole was torn in her bows through
which the water rushed impetuously until the

A Friendly Recetion. 53

lower deck and holds were completely sub-
The first step taken by de Chateaupre and
his officers was the restoration of order and
discipline. Some of the men who had shown
themselves most prominent in breaking into
the spirit room were arrested and lodged in
irons; others, less culpable, were simply
exempted from any share of the double allow-
ance of grog which the Captain now ordered
to be served out to the weary crew. Owing
to these vigorous and conciliatory measures
the men soon showed all their customary
alacrity, their confidence in the officers re-
turned tenfold, and the buoyancy of spirit
innate in every Frenchman soon asserted itself
throughout the whole ship's company.
And whilst the men were assembled round
the grog tub, Claude was holding a consulta-
tion in his cabin with de Kergnac and the
second lieutenant.
We must be prepared to meet any attack,"
said the latter, "so ammunition had better be
served out for the small arms."

54 Coralie.

True. But how can we get at the maga-
zine? It is several feet under water."
Oh, we must wait until daylight to manage
that," said Claude; "meanwhile, a skilful diver
can easily recover some of the arms chests.
We must get the boom boats over the side
and then try to stop the leak sufficiently to
admit of our using the pumps and freeing the
ship of some of the water."
Under the directions of de Kergnac the
arms chests were hauled upon deck, their con-
tents distributed, and each man at once set to
work cleaning his musket and rendering it
efficient; whether they would be required or
not daybreak would soon show. A party
under the command of Beaumanoir, the
second lieutenant, cast loose the lashings of
the boom boats, and with axes cut away the
hammock netting on the shore side, so as to
launch them at the earliest opportunity. This
would be a work of considerable difficulty, for
the boats were very heavy, and owing to the
loss of the fore and main masts, derricks were
necessary to get them safely over the side.

A Friendly Reception. 55

And having seen all hands cheerfully at
work Claude entered the cabin in search of
his wife. Any fear she may have felt when
the ship was seemingly speeding to destruc-
tion had now entirely disappeared, and the
young husband gave vent to an expression of
delight on finding his little wife as cheerful as
though the frigate had still a thousand fathoms
of blue water under her keel.
Oh, Claude," she exclaimed as he entered,
"I am so glad to see you at last. I knew
your duty did not permit you to come to me
any sooner, but now you shall tell me every-
"Everything can be told in a very few
words, my darling. The Sybille is a total
wreck, and we shall have to live on the island
until assistance arrives. I shall send Beau-
manoir in the launch to Sydney, and the
governor is sure to despatch a British man-
of-war to our rescue without delay."
"Then we shall picnic on the island for a
few weeks. Do you remember my saying
how delightful it would be to spend one's

56 Coralie.

whole life on one of these lovely spots?
Well, Claude, my wish has been realized.
You will find me no trouble, I assure you."
You are a brave little woman," replied
her husband, affectionately, "and you set me
a noble example by looking at the matter in
its best light. How we shall fare in the
future the dawn of day will show us. Per-
haps the islanders may be hostile, but we are
nearly 200 in number, and have little to fear
on that score. A great load is taken from
my breast at finding my wife so courageous.
But I must go on deck again now; you had
better collect everything of value, and have
your wardrobe ready for transfer to the
On leaving the cabin Claude was met by
de Kergnac, who imparted to him the wel-
come intelligence that the tide was falling,
and that the water in the ship was conse-
quently considerably reduced. I think we
shall soon be able to get at the magazine,"
he added, "but in the meantime the gunner
has drawn the charges from the guns, and

A Friendly Reception. 57

made them up into musket cartridges. The
men have improvised bullets by hammering
their buttons round, and by rolling up pieces
of broken bottle in rags. Altogether, if the
natives venture to attack us we shall be able
to give them a warm reception."
Well, half an hour will clear up all doubts,"
replied the captain, "it is already getting light
to the eastward."
Shortly after the ill-fated Sybille ran upon
the island the wind had sensibly abated, and
from its veering round gradually it became
apparent that she had fallen in with one of
the fearful rotatory storms or cyclones which
occasionally sweep over the Coral Seas.
When the sun arose only a fresh breeze was
blowing, and daylight gave the shipwrecked
men an opportunity of examining the coast
upon which an adverse fate had driven them.
It was then found that the frigate had run
ashore upon a coral island of considerable
extent, surrounded by a reef, from whose
jagged projections she had so narrowly escaped,
and over which the roar of the heavy swell

58 Coralie.

was still audible, affording ample proof how
near they had been to instant destruction.
A closer examination showed that a smaller
reef existed some 300 yards from the beach,
and in this the frigate was firmly imbedded.
As the tide had now fallen several feet, por-
tions of this ledge were visible above the sur-
face, and the lead showed that deep water lay
under the stern of the vessel. This discovery
revealed a new danger, for if the tide fell
much more she might slip back off the reef
and founder before they could get at the
provisions, and land the bare necessaries of
To prevent this the small bower anchor
was dropped under the forefoot, and a kedge
carried out by one of the quarter boats.
These precautionary measures occupied the
attention of the ship's company until eight
o'clock, by which time some fresh water had
been got from the hold, and being mixed with
wine, was served out to the men as some sort
of an apology for breakfast.
Meanwhile Claude and de Kergnac were

A Friendly Reception. 59

scrutinizing the shores of the island, which,
for some months to come, seemed likely to
be their home. It was mountainous on the
east side, where the Sybille had run ashore,
the hills rising straight from the sea, and
covered with dense vegetation to their very
summits. On their right hand a rocky point
jutted out into the sea, over which smoke
arose, denoting that the island was inhabited.
As yet no natives had made their appearance,
so Claude determined to man his gig and
survey the coast beyond this point, for the
mountains rose too abruptly to allow of an
encampment being formed abreast of the
ship, and before landing the men fresh water
must be discovered. Dolores betrayed such
repugnance to being separated from her hus-
band even for a few hours, and begged so
earnestly for permission to accompany him,
that he was quite unable to withstand her
entreaties, and she accordingly took her seat
in the stern-sheets of the gig, which shoved
off after Claude had given directions to the
first lieutenant to get out the boom boats and

60 Coralie.

endeavour to reach the powder in the maga-
Propelled by six sturdy pairs of arms the
boat swept onward, and soon opened to sight
a spacious bay situated on the further side of
the rocky point. Here was seen a large
native village, the inhabitants of which speed-
ily perceived the boat, and rushing into their
huts, shortly afterwards emerged with clubs,
bows, and spears, and running down to the
beach, ranged themselves in a line, brandish-
ing their weapons, pointing their arrows, and
showing every intention to prevent the Euro-
peans from landing. As the gig neared
the shore an opening in the dense foliage
revealed a cascade falling from the hills,
and it became evident that the village was
situated in the immediate vicinity of fresh
water. To open a friendly communication
with the natives now became of the utmost
importance, so, stopping for a moment at
the point to cut down a green palm bough
-the Polynesian flag of truce, or perhaps,
rather, token of friendship-Claude, hold-

A Friendly Recepfion. 61

ing the bough in one hand and his musket
in the other, steered for a small opening
at one end of the village, where he saw
several canoes hauled up on the beach, and
where it seemed probable that the stream
fell into the sea.
On seeing that the Europeans were deter-
mined to land, the islanders divided into two
bodies, which drew up in battle array some
fifty yards apart from each other, on either
side of the spot for which the boat was head-
ing. De Chateaupre had visited many of the
Polynesian Islands, but never had he seen a
more formidable race than those now before
him. The warriors were of great stature,
and every motion marked the deep enmity
with which they regarded the new-comers.
In front of each division stood several chiefs,
who, turning round from time to time, har-
angued their men, and swung their mighty
war-clubs round their heads, as though they
had been no heavier than feathers. But with
a dauntless countenance Claude stood facing
them, waving his bough, and shouting out the

62 Coralie.

customary salutation amongst the islands,
"Ehokia! Ehoa/!"
When the gig was within forty yards of the
beach Claude ordered the men to lay on their
oars, whilst he advanced to the bows, showing
his palm branch. It was a service of great
danger, for the warriors held their bent bows
in readiness to discharge a volley of arrows
.at the slightest sign from their chiefs.
As the boat drifted onward a gigantic
savage, armed with a huge carved club, who
seemed the leader, turned round, and said some-
thing to his men, in a language with which
Claude was utterly unacquainted.
"He is giving the order to fire. For
Heaven's sake do not expose yourself, Claude!"
cried Dolores, and, regardless of the peril to
which she exposed herself, the anxious girl
stood upright in the stern-sheets of the boat,
an easy mark for the missiles of the hostile
At sight of her fair form, clad in thin white
muslin, from which the boat-cloak that Claude
had carefully wrapped round her had slipped

A Friendly Reception. 63

unheeded in her excitement, the savages stood
petrified with awe and astonishment. Pro-
bably they had never seen a white man before,
and this radiant vision visiting them from the
stormy ocean filled them with admiring
wonder. Seeing the impression she had pro-
duced, Dolores remained erect with her arms
extended towards the natives, who were now
within less than twenty yards, for the boat
continued to drift inshore. It was a moment
of intense excitement to the Europeans, who
knew that their safety hung upon a thread,
for retreat was now impossible, and by one dis-
charge of their poisoned arrows the whole of
the occupants of the gig would be doomed to
destruction. Claude continued gently waving
his bough and calling out "Ekiha!" while
the savages remained motionless as though
carved in stone, their eyes fixed upon Dolores.
But suddenly the spell was broken. A native
standing in the rear of the leader stepped
forward, released his bow-string, and the
arrow passed amidst the raven hair flowing
over the girl's shoulder.

64 Coralie.

"Back of all!" thundered Claude, as he
dropped the bough and raised his musket for
the purpose of sending a bullet through the
But there was no need for him to fire.
Quick as lightning the gigantic Chieftain
turned round, and swinging his formidable club
around his head, brought it down with the full
strength of both his arms on the offender's fore-
head. The miserable man fell lifeless to the
sand, his skull crushed as though it had been
no thicker than an egg-shell, whilst the Chief
poured forth a torrent of indignation on the
other warriors, who, throwing down their
weapons, fled precipitately into the jungle,
leaving him alone to receive the Europeans,
who were naturally rather startled at the
sudden alteration in the state of affairs.
A couple of strokes of the oars ran the boat's
bow upon the beach, when Claude immediately
jumping ashore, advanced to meet the Chief,
who had thrown aside the club of whose
destructive powers he had given so recent
a proof. With a dignified and yet respectful

A Friendly Reception. 65

bearing the latter came forward, and to
Claude's astonishment, folded him in a loving
embrace, kissing him on the forehead, and
pronouncing repeatedly the words Moto-
hico" and "Hina-hina." By gestures he
gave de Chateaupre to understand that the
former stood for his name and the latter for
the Chieftain's, since he had taken the new-
comer under his protection, the first assurance
of which was an exchange of titles.
When Dolores came forward to the bows
of the boat Hina-hina prostrated himself upon
the sand with his face hidden by both hands,
and remained in that position until she stepped
ashore, and advancing towards the Chief,
touched him lightly on the shoulder. He
then arose and stood before her in simple
wonderment. Evidently the islander had
never seen a European before, and the fair
form now presented to his view struck his
untutored mind with mingled awe and admir-
ation. Claude was in some doubt as to
whether their new acquaintance would fold
his wife in the same kindly embrace that had


66 Coralie.

been bestowed upon himself, but the Chief's
attitude was one of dignified submission and
respect, and turning round towards the village
he motioned with his hand in token that the
party were to follow his guidance.


ntHE cluster of houses or huts composing
the village stood inside a grove of cocoa-
nuts that grew within a hundred yards of the
sea. The habitations occupied both sides of
the stream, which was here about knee-deep,
and access to either bank of which was gained
by large stepping-stones, evenly laid, and
worn perfectly smooth by the feet of the na-
tives in passing and repassing. The houses
or fallse" were of considerable size, erected
upon piles some three feet high and neatly
thatched with palm leaves. Around each
dwelling was a fenced-in plot of cultivated
land, very carefully tended, and producing
sweet-potatoes, yams, and the cava root. The

68 Coralie.

signs of the hurricane that had proved so dis-
astrous to the Sybille were painfully evident
in every direction, some of the falles were
blown completely down, others had the
thatched roofs displaced and deranged, and
many noble cocoa-nut trees-the main source
of wealth in the South Sea Islands-were
fairly torn up by the roots, and now lay pros-
trate on the ground. Meanwhile the party
advanced, Hina-hina leading the way, closely
followed by Claude and Dolores, behind whom
marched the gig's crew with their muskets
ready in case of treachery, and as they pro-
ceeded the heads of many curious natives
were visible gazing from behind bushes, rocks,
and trunks of trees at the strange visitors.
On perceiving them Hina-hina halted, spoke
several sentences in a tone of command, and
then again led the way onward. The purport
of his speech became speedily apparent, for
the inhabitants, men, women, and children,
at once showed fearlessly in the open, and
crossing the stepping-stones followed in the
rear of the party.

The Chief's Dwelling. 69

"See, Claude," said Dolores, the warriors
have all laid aside their arms, would it not
show greater confidence in our new friends if
you ordered your men to do the same?"
"Of course it would, dear. Your little
head is worth a dozen in an emergency like
the present. But these islanders are terrible
pilferers, and if we stacked the muskets under
a tree we should probably search in vain for
them on our return."
Never mind, you must run a little risk;
the Chief will take care they are left un-
touched; I will try and explain to him our
Stepping forward, Dolores arrested their
guide's attention, and by means of gestures,
and pointing at the unarmed warriors, made
him understand their wishes. He seemed
highly gratified at this mark of confidence,
and prostrated himself upon the ground
whilst the boat's crew were piling their arms,
his recumbent position being immediately fol-
lowed by the whole of the tribe in the rear,
who might now muster over 500 souls.

70 Coralie.

Immediately the clang of iron, arising from
the interlocking of the ramrods, had ceased,
Hina-hina arose, and calling a lad from among
the islanders, gave him some instructions in a
few words, whereupon the little fellow darted
backwards, flew across the stepping-stones,
and was lost to sight only to reappear in a
few moments with a chaplet of leaves twined
together in a peculiar manner, which he handed
to the Chief with marks of great respect.
The latter, advancing towards the stack
of arms, placed the wreath over the muzzles
of the pile of firelocks, smiling pleasantly and
repeating the words taboo," taboo."
"Oh! come, they are safe enough now,"
said Claude, "and the ceremony is good proof
that they entertain no evil intentions. We
can go on fearlessly; all danger of treachery
is at an end."
The word "taboo" is of common use among
ourselves, and may be said to have become
incorporated into the English language as
signifying some object that must be left un-
touched. The custom of setting things apart

The Chief's Dwelling. 71

by this curious rite is common to all the
Polynesian Islands, though entirely unknown
in any other part of the world. The signifi-
cation of the word itself is sacred," and the
prohibitory fillet is usually attached by a
priest, though high chiefs have also the power
of tabooing. The causes giving rise to this
extraordinary custom seem quite inexplicable,
for no two writers agree upon the subject.
Herman Melville says:-
I cannot determine with anything ap-
proaching to certainty what power it is that
imposes the taboo. When I consider the
slight disparity of condition among the island-
ers-the very limited and inconsiderable pre-
rogatives of the king and chiefs-and the
loose and indefinite functions of the priest-
hood, most of whom are hardly to be distin-
guished from the rest of their countrymen, I
am wholly at a loss where to look for the
authority which regulates this potent institu-
tion. It is imposed upon something to-day,
and withdrawn to-morrow; while its opera-
tions in other cases are perpetual. Some-

72 Coralie.

times its restrictions only affect a single indi-
vidual-sometimes a particular family-some-
times a whole tribe; and in a few instances
they extend not merely over the various clans
on a single island, but over all the inhabitants
of an entire group.
The word itself (taboo) is used in more
than one signification. It is sometimes used
by a parent to his child, when in the exercise
of parental authority he forbids it to per-
form a particular action. Anything opposed
to the ordinary custom of the islanders,
although not expressly prohibited, is said to
be 'taboo.'"
The amusing writer from whom I have
quoted the above was on one occasion tabooed
himself when in the Typee Valley at the
Marquesas. The ceremony was performed
by the king, who placed around Mr. Melville's
wrist a band of woven grass resembling the
Turk's heads that in England are often seen
worked on whip handles. This mystic em-
blem secured his life and obtained for him
the greatest kindness and consideration. But

The Chief's Dwelling. 73

I am digressing, and must return to the thread
of my story.
Following closely in the footsteps of Hina-
hina the whole party advanced by a well-
beaten track that ran through the grove of
cocoa-nuts, skirting one side of the stream.
For some time past the sound of falling water
had been audible, and it was apparent that
their course lay in the direction of the cascade
that they had perceived when closing the
shore in the gig, though the thick brushwood
now screened it from the view. At length
an open clearing was reached, and here the
Europeans came to a sudden stand, struck
mute with admiration at the beauty of the
Before them was seen the snow-white tor-
rent of the cascade that threw itself down
from a perpendicular rock in a sheer fall of
seventy feet, sending up clouds of rainbow-
hued spray from the natural basin that received
it. On either side of the stream extended a
clearing of perhaps five or six acres in extent,
palisaded in by a lofty fence, and showing

74 Corale.
evident tokens of most careful cultivation.
Here grew, in all the tropical luxuriance of
that lovely clime, the bread-fruit, the plantain
and banana, the cassava and the yam. The
whole of the level ground outside the palisade
was dense with numberless cocoa-nut trees,
whilst the precipitous sides of the mountain
presented an evergreen mass of tropical vege-
tation, amidst which could be distinguished
the graceful tree-fern, and the gorgeous hues
of many-coloured orchids, which found susten-
ance and life in the forks of the larger trees.
Immediately beneath the basin into which the
cascade fell, and sufficiently distant to avoid
the eternal cloud of spray, a small hand-bridge
traversed the stream and led to the Chief's
house, a larger building than the Europeans
had as yet seen, surrounded and sheltered by
numerous bread-fruit trees
Doubtless the bread-fruit tree is familiar to
all my readers by name, but when its great
utility to the inhabitants of the South Sea
Islands is considered, I feel confident that I
shall not be doing amiss in describing this

The Chief's Dwelling. 75

extraordinary vegetable product a little more
at length.
The bread-fruit tree (Artocarpus incisa)
attains to the height of forty or fifty feet,
throwing out branches of considerable mag-
nitude, and growing in a similar manner to
our English elm, though here all resemblance
ends, for the beauty of the Polynesian tree
exceeds tenfold that of the British. It is
easily known by the size of the leaves, which
are over a foot in length by ten inches in
breadth, and are remarkable for the depth of
the incisions round their edges. Towards
the autumn, when the leaves begin to decay,
they assume a variety of brilliant hues of ex-
quisite beauty, during which period they
are frequently gathered and worked up into
head-dresses by the islanders, who possess the
fondness of children for gorgeous colours.
The fruit, which is commonly of an oval
form, reaches the size of an ostrich egg, and
is covered with little projecting knobs or pro-
tuberances. For immediate consumption the
fruit is usually split in quarters and baked in

76 Coralie.

an oven by means of hot stones, each section
being carefully wrapped in one of its own
leaves to preserve it from dust or other dirt.
In this stage all travellers unite in singing the
praises of the bread-fruit, comparing it to
wheaten bread made with eggs, though pos-
sessing a closer texture.. But one advantage
that the indigenous Polynesian bread can
boast of is that it will keep for several years,
and, indeed, is supposed to become the better
from age. To prepare it for laying up but
little care is necessary. The ripe fruit is
collected, the rind taken off, and the pulp
worked into a.paste in a stone mortar. It is
then divided into parcels, wrapped in leaves,
securely bound with cord, and buried in the
earth until required for use. When mixed
with cocoa-nut milk this material forms an
admirable pudding.
The bark of the artocarpus is sometimes
used in the manufacture of tappa, or native
cloth, but only, of course, where the tree is
very abundant. Some species produce no
seeds, and these are the most highly valued;

The Chief's Dwelling. 77

they are then propagated by means of suckers.
The seeds, when roasted, much resemble the
Spanish chestnut.
Following Hina-hina, who seemed very
proud at the evident admiration of his visitors,
the party soon arrived at the foot-bridge over
which the Chief led the way, after motioning
to his followers to remain on the left bank of
the stream. A hundred yards along a well-
beaten path brought them to the house, into
which, at a sign from its owner, they entered.
The Chief's dwelling was not only of much
larger dimensions than any of the falles they
had passed on their way from the boat, but
was also constructed in a different manner.
Those they had seen in the village were built
upon piles, and access was gained to the floor
by means of a stout stick in which were hewn
notches for the feet, forming a very primitive
kind of ladder. The house in which they
now stood was built in the form of a shed,
having the sides open all around, though the
landscape was shut out by the eaves of the
thatch, which approached within three feet

78 Coralie.

of the ground. The interior of this simple
dwelling was remarkably neat, the floor being
covered with matting, and the same material
hanging down from the wall-plates to the
ground, and so arranged-somewhat on the
same system as a modern Venetian blind-
that it could be hauled up and leave free
access to the breeze, or lowered down and form
an effectual screen, at the pleasure of the pro-
prietor. The house consisted of but one large
apartment, some thirty feet in length by twenty
in breadth, and on the sloping ceiling were
arranged the weapons of the Chief, consisting
of spears jagged with human bones and
shark's teeth, rude hatchets or tomahawks
fashioned from a hard, dull-green coloured
stone, and numerous clubs of immense size
and weight, some carved, others plain, but all
of them fearful-looking instruments, and well
worthy of the powerful warrior to whom they
belonged, whose real name of Motohico sig-
nified, in the native language, "a hard hitter."
Immediately on entering, Dolores and
Claude found themselves face to face with two

The Chief's Dwelling. 79

pretty young women who were seated on the
floor mats weaving baskets, but who at sight
of the Europeans first turned an ashy gray
with surprise and fear, then commenced to
tremble violently, and finally fell down pros-
trate on the ground, where they remained
speechless with terror. Dolores ran forward
and tried to induce them to rise, but all her
efforts were useless until Hina-hina addressed
them in their own tongue, when they precipi-
tately fled out of the opening at the back of
the house, and returned in a few minutes laden
with delicious green cocoa-nuts and ripe
bananas, which they deposited in fear and
trembling at the feet of Dolores, and then
withdrew to the furthest extremity of the hut,
where they remained with their large dark
eyes wistfully fixed upon their guests, who
were doing ample justice to the simple refresh-
ment set before them by the Chief. These
two ladies were Hina-hina's wives.
During his lengthened cruise amongst the
South Sea Islands Claude had acquired a very
fair knowledge of some of the dialects, and he

80 Coralie.

now tried to enter into communication with
the Chief, and was delighted to find that al-
though many of the words he employed were
evidently strange to his host, still a kind of
conversation, helped out by signs and gestures,
could be maintained, thus establishing an-
other bond of union between himself and a
man to gain whose friendship was of the
greatest moment in the unfortunate position
in which de Chateaupre was now placed.
The gig's crew had crossed the bridge, and
were seated on the ground outside the house
regaling themselves on cocoa-nut milk and
bananas, a welcome treat to men so lately
escaped from all the horrors of impending
Claude now attempted to explain to Hina-
hina the circumstances that had brought him
to the island, but the Chief had never seen
any vessel larger than the double canoes in
use amongst his tribe, and was quite at a loss
to understand the Captain's meaning. He,
however, willingly volunteered to launch a
canoe and accompany the gig to the scene of

The Chief's Dwelling. 81

the disaster, and had risen from his squatting
position on the floor for that purpose, when
the dull sound of a heavy gun came booming
over the neck of land beyond which the wreck
lay, on hearing which the warrior and his
wives darted out into the open, displaying
much agitation, and repeating the word,
"AMofooige!" "fMofoozge!!" an earthquake!
an earthquake!!
To the best of his power Claude assured
him that there was no cause for alarm, the
noise proceeding from the lightning-weapon
of the white men, and signifying only that the
Captain's presence was required at the wreck.
Though evidently sorely mystified the Chief
showed no apprehensions, and quitted the
house with Claude and Dolores, who were
both burning with anxiety to know the
cause of the sudden recall.
Seeing Hina-hina in a whispered conversa-
tion with her husband Dolores inquired its
purport, and found that the Chief had pro-
posed her remaining with his wives, whilst he
accompanied the gig.


82 Coralie.

"And what did you reply, Claude?"
I told him that it was impossible, for that
with our nation husband and wife always re-
mained together."
"Then, dear, I think you were a little
wrong, for no harm can happen to me here,
and by leaving me to make friends with the
women you will show a mark of confidence
in Hina-hina that he is not likely to forget."
But I shall be in a state of perpetual
anxiety until I rejoin you again."
Don't be silly," replied brave little Dolores
laughing, "make him taboo me and then
I shall be safe enough."
She said this in jest, but when Claude told
the Chief that his wife would be delighted to
stay, the savage manifested the greatest satis-
faction, and actually did encircle her neck
with the mystic wreath that carried with it
safety and respect in those distant islands.
Bidding Dolores a tender adieu, Claude
started with his host, who directed some of
the warriors to launch and man a canoe, and
the crew having repossessed themselves of

The Chief's Dwelling. 83

their muskets-after the taboo had been re-
moved-the Frenchmen hurried down to the
beach, shoved off their boat, and gave way
with a will for the headland, beyond which
the frigate lay, closely followed by Hina-hina
in a large double canoe manned by twenty


N rounding the point, Claude, who was
standing up in the stern-sheets steering,
ordered the men to lay on their oars, and drop-
ping the yoke-lines, rubbed his eyes in aston-
ishment-only half of the ill-fated Sybille was
visible, the stern portion had disappeared
from view, and a part of the mizen-mast
alone, projecting above the water, indicated
the place in which it had sunk. With a deep
sigh at the total loss of his noble ship, and at
the knowledge that most of the articles need-
ful to lighten their captivity on the island were
now lost for ever, de Chateaupre bid his men
resume their oars, and dropping dejectedly
into the stern-sheets, steered the gig for the
wreck, around which several boats were

A Fresk Disaster. 85

On nearing the remains of the Sybille, de
Kergnac pulled out in one of the cutters to
meet the Captain, and stepping into the gig,
gave him an account of the new disaster.
Although the description of the visit paid
by Claude to the native village has occupied
a considerable space, yet actually the occur-
rences had followed each other with great
rapidity, and not more than an hour and a
half had elapsed from the departure of the
gig to her return. De Kergnac's first ques-
tion was, "Where is Madame?" and this hav-
ing been satisfactorily answered, he inquired
whether the natives in the double canoe were
friendly or the reverse. Claude set the lieu-
tenant's mind at rest on this subject, and the
latter then entered into full particulars of
what had befallen them since the Captain's
Directly you had gone, sir," he proceeded,
" I commenced following out your instructions
regarding the boom boats, but when 'the
tackles were rove and the derricks rigged, I
found that the tide had fallen so considerably

86 Cora/le.

that the fore part of the ship was quite out of
water, and certain ominous cracks in the tim-
bers announced that unless all weights in the
after part of the vessel were removed, she
would either slip backwards into deep water
and founder, or part amidships. To avoid
either of these contingencies I sent Beauma-
noir with every hand I could spare down upon
the main deck to lighten the ship by throwing
the guns overboard and by transferring the
provisions from the after hold to the fore part
of the main deck; the quantity of water in
the hold was now but small, and lessening
every moment owing to the rapid falling of
the tide. Beaumanoir and his party were
busily at work, and already a couple of the
guns had been launched out of the ports,
when, with a fearful crash, the frigate parted
midway between the foremast and main-
mast, and disappeared in the deep water
beyond the reef. I was in the cutter under
the bows at the time, trying to find out what
hold the fore part had on the reef, and
whether another anchor laid out would assist

A Fresk Disaster. 87

in maintaining the ship in position. I had
just ascertained that huge pieces of coral rock
had pierced the sheathing and penetrated so
deeply into the inner skin that all danger of
her sliding backwards was removed, when the
catastrophe occurred. Some few of the poor
fellows were washed up from between decks,
but I fear that Beaumanoir and the greater
portion of the crew have sunk with the wreck.
The crash was so sudden that only one cry of
agony arose from the doomed men, and then
all was silent save the seething of the troubled
waters as the confined air bubbled upwards
to the surface."
"Good God, how horrible !" muttered
Claude, deeply affected at the recital, "my
*ship and all my gallant men gone at one fell
swoop!" and the young man hid his face in
his hands to hide the tears of sorrow that
slowly wound their way through his fingers,
despite his efforts to control his emotion.
The sturdy Breton laid his hand gently on
Claude's shoulder, "We have all sustained a
fearful loss, de Chateaupre, and France may

88 Coralie.

mourn for some of her finest seamen, but one
consolation remains-that they died in the
execution of their duty. Think what it would
have been had Madame remained on board."
Hush, hush, de Kergnac, the idea is too
horrible. Tell me the rest, I can bear it now."
"There is little more to say," replied the
first lieutenant. "After picking up the few
survivors I fired a forecastle gun to attract
your attention, and have since been busied in
rescuing any provisions that came to the sur-
face, and in clearing the fore magazine, think-
ing we might perhaps want powder. When
the after part of the ship parted the boom
boats were carried with it, but being cut
adrift from the lashings the pinnace floated,
though the iron crutch upon which she rested,
on the butt end of a spar, must have stove in
the launch, for she filled rapidly and then
sunk like a stone."
"Well, we will go on board what remains
of the Sybille now, and muster the men.
Order them all on to the forecastle, de Ker-

A Fresk Disaster. 89

The lieutenant stepped into his own boat,
and Claude pulled for Hina-hina's canoe, which
had been made fast to the futtock-shrouds
of the mizen-mast, from whence he and his
followers were gazing in speechless wonder at
the remains of the white man's war-canoe,
whose size and solid framework filled them
with astonishment.
As well as lay in his power de Chateaupre
explained to the Chief how the hurricane had
driven them on to the island, and described
how the recent catastrophe had diminished
their numbers by half. Even as he spoke
some of the islanders pointed to the water,
exclaiming, Vackyange! Vackyange!!-look!
look!! and peering down over the side he saw
a human form entangled in the ratlines of the
mizen rigging. Through the placid water a
golden gleam of lace was plainly visible, show-
ing that the body was that of an officer.
Ordering the bowman to pass the boat-hook
aft, and lashing it to the loom of one of the
oars, Claude bent over the gig's side and
gently guided the corpse clear of the shrouds.

90 Coralie.

The hook caught in some portion of the dress,
and by careful management the body ap-
proached slowly to the surface.
Good Heavens!" he cried, as the features
became visible, "it is poor young Raoul
d'Entreville! If I ever return to France what
shall I say to the old father and the motherless
sister who will ask for tidings of the boy they
committed to my care. But at all events he
shall have Christian burial. I could almost
wish my fate had been his. Were it not for
Dolores I would willingly exchange places with
the drowned lad."
Thus in bitterness muttered Claude as the
corpse came upwards to the surface, but the
horrors of the day were not yet over. Startled
by a cry of "AAnga! anga!" raised by the
islanders, hc slightly jerked the boat-hook,
which at once became disengaged, and the
body slowly sank. Whilst attempting to
regain his hold Claude saw a dusky mass
rush swiftly to the spot, a white gleam was
visible beneath the wave as the monster
turned on his back to seize the prey, then the

A Fresh Disaster. 91

dark form disappeared, and the horror-stricken
beholders knew that no earthly grave would
ever close over the young Provencal, for
Raoul d'Entreville had found his last resting-
place in the maw of the hungry shark.
Look! plenty of them," exclaimed the
Chief in his own language, and glancing round
Claude saw the sinister triangular fins ap-
proaching from every direction, foretelling
too plainly the end that awaited the remains
of his drowned shipmates.
Give way, men, and let us get away from
this accursed spot," and beckoning Hina-hina
to follow him, the Captain steered for the
fore-chains of the frigate, from whence a
Jacob's ladder had been suspended to enable
the boat's crew to ascend, for it must be
remembered that the tide was now very low,
and the wreck stood a great height out of
water. Claude stepped on to the forecastle,
where he was soon joined by the Chief and
some of the most curious or courageous of the
islanders. De Kergnac had drawn the men
up in a compact body, and on their Captain's

92 Coralie.

appearance he was received with as many
marks of respect as when he had first set foot
on board the Sybille in Toulon harbour.
Alas! how different was all now! Then
he had a noble ship under his command, a
gallant crew stood ready to obey his slightest
order, and a mission of great importance had
been confided to his care. Now but a shat-
tered portion of the fine frigate remained,
half of the crew who had accompanied him
throughout so many dangers lay seven fathoms
deep beneath the treacherous waves, and the
surveys and plans obtained at such risk and
trouble were shut out for ever from mortal
De Kergnac came forward and made his
report. Out of a ship's company that two
hours ago mustered, inclusive of officers, one
hundred and seventy men, but eighty-three
now remained. Beaumanoir and Raoul d'En-
treville (the second and third lieutenants), the
sailing-master, the boatswain, three enseignes-de-
vaisseau, seven petty officers, and seventy-three
seamen had perished when the ship parted.

A Fresh Disaster. 93

Bitter indeed was de Chateaupre's grief as he
ran his eye over the diminished band. But
at sight of the resolution and hope displayed
on every countenance, a thrill of pride ran
through his breast, and he addressed the
crew in a few words of encouragement.
Mes braves, you know the position in
which we are all placed as well as I can tell
you. That nobody can feel the loss of our
gallant shipmates more than your Captain
you know me too well to doubt; but the
present is no time for idle lamentation, and we
must look to the preservation of our own lives.
We are so far lucky that I have been able to
gain the good-will of the native chief-the
warrior you now see standing by my side-
but a continuance of his friendship will depend
in a great measure on the way that you con-
duct yourselves towards the islanders when
ashore. My intentions are as follows:-half
of your number will land at the north end of
the village and erect a stockade; the other
half will remain by the wreck and secure such
articles as may float to the surface and are

94 Coralie.

likely to prove useful to us, and I have no
doubt the islanders will assist us in transporting
some of the heavy things to the shore. Water
we shall find in abundance, and food we shall
doubtless obtain in exchange for iron. When
we have settled down I propose building a
small vessel, which I shall despatch to Sydney
with a request for assistance addressed to the
British governor. Only obey your officers
and maintain the same gallant spirit that ani-
mates you now, and all will turn out well in
the end. Luckily the galley is uninjured, and
we have enough provisions at hand to give
us all a good dinner. The cooks can see to
this at once, and meanwhile, M. Pincefromage,
see if you can ferret out a cask of eau-de-vie
and serve out a measure all round. Now,
mes braves, join me in vive l'Empereur, and
then after your grog set about your work
until dinner is ready."
The men responded to this oration by loud
shouts, and declared their readiness to obey
without question any command given by their
officers. When the noise had subsided Claude

A Fresh Disaster. 95

turned to Hina-hina, who was looking on with
a puzzled expression, and asked his permission
to form a camp at a short distance from the
village, explaining that his men would in no
way interfere with the natives, and that their
property should remain perfectly unmolested.
To this the chief willingly acceded, and more-
over offered to transport some of the stores
on shore at once in his canoe, and then send
it back for another load. Accordingly two
brass twelve-pounder howitzers were hoisted
over the side, and carefully placed on piles of
bedding and blankets arranged on the plat-
form between the double boats, from which
the warriors launched their spears when en-
gaged in hostilities with other tribes.
Metal was perfectly unknown to the natives,
and the great weight of the cannons, which
they all in turns attempted to lift, called forth
exclamations of astonishment. When Hina-
hina asked what they were for, Claude deter-
mined to give him a specimen of the power
of gunpowder, and accordingly one of the fore-
castle carronades was loaded and pointed at a

96 Coralie.

bare white rock some three hundred yards
distant. Directing the chief to watch the
rock, and warning him that there would be
another report such as he had before mistaken
for an earthquake, Claude told the gunner to
fire as soon as the carronade was laid. At
the Chief's command all his men left the
canoe and scrambled on board the Sybille to
watch the effect of the shot.
The aim was carefully adjusted, the trigger-
line pulled. A column of white smoke issued
from the muzzle, and the roar of the cannon
rang through the air. It was too much for
the islanders; in the twinkling of an eye every
one of them dived head foremost into the sea
-regardless of sharks-and tumbling on board
their canoe, paddled vigorously away. Hina-
hina alone stood fast, but his ashen hue
betokened the terror that possessed him,
though he was too proud to acknowledge it.
Directly the smoke cleared away Claude
touched him lightly on the arm and pointed
to the rock, whose white surface now pre-
sented a dark coloured patch where the shot