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       Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas, p.1

           Herman Melville
 
Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas


  Produced by David Moynihan. HTML version by Al Haines.

  Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas

  by

  Herman Melville

  PART I

  CHAPTER I. MY RECEPTION ABOARD CHAPTER II. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE SHIP CHAPTER III. FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE JULIA CHAPTER IV. A SCENE IN THE FORECASTLE CHAPTER V. WHAT HAPPENED AT HYTYHOO CHAPTER VI. WE TOUCH AT LA DOMINICA CHAPTER VII. WHAT HAPPENED AT HANNAMANOO CHAPTER VIII. THE TATTOOERS OF LA DOMINICA CHAPTER IX. WE STEER TO THE WESTWARD--STATE OF AFFAIRS CHAPTER X. A SEA-PARLOUR DESCRIBED, WITH SOME OF ITS TENANTS CHAPTER XI. DOCTOR LONG GHOST A WAG--ONE OF HIS CAPERS CHAPTER XII. DEATH AND BURIAL OF TWO OF THE CREW CHAPTER XIII. OUR DESTINATION CHANGED CHAPTER XIV. ROPE YARN CHAPTER XV. CHIPS AND BUNGS CHAPTER XVI. WE ENCOUNTER A GALE CHAPTER XVII. THE CORAL ISLANDS CHAPTER XVIII. TAHITI CHAPTER XIX. A SURPRISE--MORE ABOUT BEMBO CHAPTER XX. THE ROUND ROBIN--VISITORS FROM SHORE CHAPTER XXI. PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONSUL CHAPTER XXII. THE CONSUL'S DEPARTURE CHAPTER XXIII. THE SECOND NIGHT OFF PAPEETEE CHAPTER XXIV. OUTBREAK OF THE CREW CHAPTER XXV. JERMIN ENCOUNTERS AN OLD SHIPMATE CHAPTER XXVI. WE ENTER THE HARBOUR--JIM THE PILOT CHAPTER XXVII. A GLANCE AT PAPEETEE--WE ARE SENT ABOARD THE FRIGATE CHAPTER XXVIII. RECEPTION FROM THE FRENCHMAN CHAPTER XXIX. THE REINE BLANCHE CHAPTER XXX. THEY TAKE US ASHORE--WHAT HAPPENED THERE CHAPTER XXXI. THE CALABOOZA BERETANEE CHAPTER XXXII. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FRENCH AT TAHITI CHAPTER XXXIII. WE RECEIVE CALLS AT THE HOTEL DE CALABOOZA CHAPTER XXXIV. LIFE AT THE CALABOOZA CHAPTER XXXV. VISIT FROM AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE CHAPTER XXXVI. WE ARE CARRIED BEFORE THE CONSUL AND CAPTAIN CHAPTER XXXVII. THE FRENCH PRIESTS PAY THEIR RESPECTS CHAPTER XXXVIII. LITTLE JULIA SAILS WITHOUT US CHAPTER XXXIX. JERMIN SERVES US A GOOD TURN--FRIENDSHIPS IN POLYNESIA

  PART II

  CHAPTER XL. WE TAKE UNTO OURSELVES FRIENDS CHAPTER XLI. WE LEVY CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE SHIPPING CHAPTER XLII. MOTOO-OTOO A TAHITIAN CASUIST CHAPTER XLIII. ONE IS JUDGED BY THE COMPANY HE KEEPS CHAPTER XLIV. CATHEDRAL OF PAPOAR--THE CHURCH OP THE COCOA-NUTS CHAPTER XLV. MISSIONARY'S SERMON; WITH SOME REFLECTIONS CHAPTER XLVI. SOMETHING ABOUT THE KANNAKIPPERS CHAPTER XLVII. HOW THEY DRESS IN TAHITI CHAPTER XLVIII. TAHITI AS IT IS CHAPTER XLIX. SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED CHAPTER L. SOMETHING HAPPENS TO LONG GHOST CHAPTER LI. WILSON GIVES US THE CUT--DEPARTURE FOR IMEEO CHAPTER LII. THE VALLEY OF MARTAIR CHAPTER LIII. FARMING IN POLYNESIA CHAPTER LIV. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE WILD CATTLE IN POLYNESIA CHAPTER LV. A HUNTING RAMBLE WITH ZEKE CHAPTER LVI. MOSQUITOES CHAPTER LVII. THE SECOND HUNT IN THE MOUNTAINS CHAPTER LVIII. THE HUNTING-FEAST; AND A VISIT TO AFREHITOO CHAPTER LIX. THE MURPHIES CHAPTER LX. WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF US IN MARTAIR CHAPTER LXI. PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY CHAPTER LXII. TAMAI CHAPTER LXIII. A DANCE IN THE VALLEY CHAPTER LXIV. MYSTERIOUS CHAPTER LXV. THE HEGIRA, OR FLIGHT CHAPTER LXVI. HOW WE WERE TO GET TO TALOO CHAPTER LXVII. THE JOURNEY ROUND THE BEACH CHAPTER LXVIII. A DINNER-PARTY IN IMEEO CHAPTER LXIX. THE COCOA-PALM CHAPTER LXX. LIFE AT LOOHOOLOO CHAPTER LXXI. WE START FOR TALOO CHAPTER LXXII. A DEALER IN THE CONTRABAND CHAPTER LXXIII. OUR RECEPTION IN PARTOOWYE CHAPTER LXXIV. RETIRING FOR THE NIGHT--THE DOCTOR GROWS DEVOUT CHAPTER LXXV. A RAMBLE THROUGH THE SETTLEMENT CHAPTER LXXVI. AN ISLAND JILT--WE VISIT THE SHIP CHAPTER LXXVII. A PARTY OF ROVERS--LITTLE LOO AND THE DOCTOR CHAPTER LXXVIII. MRS. BELL CHAPTER LXXIX. TALOO CHAPEL--HOLDING COURT IN POLYNESIA CHAPTER LXXX. QUEEN POMAREE CHAPTER LXXXI. WE VISIT THE COURT CHAPTER LXXXII. WHICH ENDS THE BOOK

  PART I

  CHAPTER I.

  MY RECEPTION ABOARD

  IT WAS the middle of a bright tropical afternoon that we made good ourescape from the bay. The vessel we sought lay with her main-topsailaback about a league from the land, and was the only object thatbroke the broad expanse of the ocean.

  On approaching, she turned out to be a small, slatternly-lookingcraft, her hull and spars a dingy black, rigging all slack andbleached nearly white, and everything denoting an ill state ofaffairs aboard. The four boats hanging from her sides proclaimed hera whaler. Leaning carelessly over the bulwarks were the sailors,wild, haggard-looking fellows in Scotch caps and faded blue frocks;some of them with cheeks of a mottled bronze, to which sickness soonchanges the rich berry-brown of a seaman's complexion in the tropics.

  On the quarter-deck was one whom I took for the chief mate. He wore abroad-brimmed Panama hat, and his spy-glass was levelled as weadvanced.

  When we came alongside, a low cry ran fore and aft the deck, andeverybody gazed at us with inquiring eyes. And well they might. Tosay nothing of the savage boat's crew, panting with excitement, allgesture and vociferation, my own appearance was calculated to excitecuriosity. A robe of the native cloth was thrown over my shoulders,my hair and beard were uncut, and I betrayed other evidences of myrecent adventure. Immediately on gaining the deck, they beset me onall sides with questions, the half of which I could not answer, soincessantly were they put.

  As an instance of the curious coincidences which often befall thesailor, I must here mention that two countenances before me werefamiliar. One was that of an old man-of-war's-man, whose acquaintanceI had made in Rio de Janeiro, at which place touched the ship inwhich I sailed from home. The other was a young man whom, four yearsprevious, I had frequently met in a sailor boarding-house inLiverpool. I remembered parting with him at Prince's Dock Gates, inthe midst of a swarm of police-officers, trackmen, stevedores,beggars, and the like. And here we were again:--years had rolled by,many a league of ocean had been traversed, and we were throwntogether under circumstances which almost made me doubt my ownexistence.

  But a few moments passed ere I was sent for into the cabin by thecaptain.

  He was quite a young man, pale and slender, more like a sicklycounting-house clerk than a bluff sea-captain. Bidding me be seated,he ordered the steward to hand me a glass of Pisco. In the state Iwas, this stimulus almost made me delirious; so that of all I thenwent on to relate concerning my residence on the island I canscarcely remember a word. After this I was asked whether I desired to"ship"; of course I said yes; that is, if he would allow me to enterfor one cruise, engaging to discharge me, if I so desired, at thenext port. In this way men are frequently shipped on board whalemenin the South Seas. My stipulation was acceded to, and the ship'sarticles handed me to sign.

  The mate was now called below, and charged to make a "well man" of me;not, let it be borne in mind, that the captain felt any greatcompassion for me, he only desired to have the benefit of my servicesas soon as possible.

  Helping me on deck, the mate stretched me out on the windlass andcommenced examining my limb; and then doctoring it after a fashionwith something from the medicine-chest, rolled it up in a piece of anold sail, making so big a bundle that, with my feet resting on thewindlass, I might have been taken for a sailor with the gout. Whilethis was going on, someone removing my tappa cloak slipped on a bluefrock in its place, and another, actuated by the same desire to makea civilized mortal of me, flourished about my head a great pair lieimminent jeopardy of both ears, and the certain destruction of hairand beard.

  The day was now drawing to a close, and, as the land faded from mysight, I was all alive to the change in my condition. But how farshort of our expectations is oftentimes the fulfilment of the mostardent hopes. Safe aboard of a ship--so long my earnest prayer--withhome and friends once more in prospect, I nevertheless felt weigheddown by a melancholy that could not be shaken off. It was the thoughtof never more seeing those who, notwithstanding their desire toretain me a captive, had, upon the whole, treated me so kindly. I wasleaving them for ever.

  So unforeseen and sudden had been my escape, so excited had I beenthrough it all, an
d so great the contrast between the luxuriousrepose of the valley, and the wild noise and motion of a ship at sea,that at times my recent adventures had all the strangeness of adream; and I could scarcely believe that the same sun now settingover a waste of waters, had that very morning risen above themountains and peered in upon me as I lay on my mat in Typee.

  Going below into the forecastle just after dark, I was inducted into awretched "bunk" or sleeping-box built over another. The ricketybottoms of both were spread with several pieces of a blanket. Abattered tin can was then handed me, containing about half a pint of"tea"--so called by courtesy, though whether the juice of such stalksas one finds floating therein deserves that title, is a matter allshipowners must settle with their consciences. A cube of salt beef,on a hard round biscuit by way of platter, was also handed up; andwithout more ado, I made a meal, the salt flavour of which, after theNebuchadnezzar fare of the valley, was positively delicious.

  While thus engaged, an old sailor on a chest just under me was puffingout volumes of tobacco smoke. My supper finished, he brushed the stemof his sooty pipe against the sleeve of his frock, and politely wavedit toward me. The attention was sailor-like; as for the nicety of thething, no man who has lived in forecastles is at all fastidious; andso, after a few vigorous whiffs to induce repose, I turned over andtried my best to forget myself. But in vain. My crib, instead ofextending fore and aft, as it should have done, was placed athwartships, that is, at right angles to the keel, and the vessel, goingbefore the wind, rolled to such a degree, that-every time my heelswent up and my head went down, I thought I was on the point ofturning a somerset. Beside this, there were still more annoyingcauses of inquietude; and every once in a while a splash of watercame down the open scuttle, and flung the spray in my face.

  At last, after a sleepless night, broken twice by the merciless callof the watch, a peep of daylight struggled into view from above, andsomeone came below. It was my old friend with the pipe.

  "Here, shipmate," said I, "help me out of this place, and let me goon deck."

  "Halloa, who's that croaking?" was the rejoinder, as he peered intothe obscurity where I lay. "Ay, Typee, my king of the cannibals, isit you I But I say, my lad, how's that spar of your'n? the mate saysit's in a devil of a way; and last night set the steward tosharpening the handsaw: hope he won't have the carving of ye."

  Long before daylight we arrived off the bay of Nukuheva, and makingshort tacks until morning, we then ran in and sent a boat ashore withthe natives who had brought me to the ship. Upon its return, we madesail again, and stood off from the land. There was a fine breeze; andnotwithstanding my bad night's rest, the cool, fresh air of amorning at sea was so bracing, mat, as soon as I breathed it, myspirits rose at once.

  Seated upon the windlass the greater portion of the day, and chattingfreely with the men, I learned the history of the voyage thus far,and everything respecting the ship and its present condition.

  These matters I will now throw together in the next chapter.

  CHAPTER II.

  SOME ACCOUNT OF THE SHIP

  FIRST AND foremost, I must give some account of the Julia herself; or"Little Jule," as the sailors familiarly styled her.

  She was a small barque of a beautiful model, something more than twohundred tons, Yankee-built and very old. Fitted for a privateer outof a New England port during the war of 1812, she had been capturedat sea by a British cruiser, and, after seeing all sorts of service,was at last employed as a government packet in the Australian seas.Being condemned, however, about two years previous, she was purchasedat auction by a house in Sydney, who, after some slight repairs,dispatched her on the present voyage.

  Notwithstanding the repairs, she was still in a miserable plight. Thelower masts were said to be unsound; the standing rigging was muchworn; and, in some places, even the bulwarks were quite rotten.Still, she was tolerably tight, and but little more than the ordinarypumping of a morning served to keep her free.

  But all this had nothing to do with her sailing; at that, brave LittleJule, plump Little Jule, was a witch. Blow high, or blow low, she wasalways ready for the breeze; and when she dashed the waves from herprow, and pranced, and pawed the sea, you never thought of herpatched sails and blistered hull. How the fleet creature would flybefore the wind! rolling, now and then, to be sure, but in veryplayfulness. Sailing to windward, no gale could bow her over: withspars erect, she looked right up into the wind's eye, and so she went.

  But after all, Little Jule was not to be confided in. Lively enough,and playful she was, but on that very account the more to bedistrusted. Who knew, but that like some vivacious old mortal all atonce sinking into a decline, she might, some dark night, spring aleak and carry us all to the bottom. However, she played us no suchugly trick, and therefore, I wrong Little Jule in supposing it.

  She had a free roving commission. According to her papers she might gowhither she pleased--whaling, sealing, or anything else. Spermwhaling, however, was what she relied upon; though, as yet, only twofish had been brought alongside.

  The day they sailed out of Sydney Heads, the ship's company, all told,numbered some thirty-two souls; now, they mustered about twenty; therest had deserted. Even the three junior mates who had headed thewhaleboats were gone: and of the four harpooners, only one was left,a wild New Zealander, or "Mowree" as his countrymen are more commonlycalled in the Pacific. But this was not all. More than half theseamen remaining were more or less unwell from a long sojourn in adissipated port; some of them wholly unfit for duty, one or twodangerously ill, and the rest managing to stand their watch thoughthey could do but little.

  The captain was a young cockney, who, a few years before, hademigrated to Australia, and, by some favouritism or other, hadprocured the command of the vessel, though in no wise competent.He was essentially a landsman, and though a man of education, no moremeant for the sea than a hairdresser. Hence everybody made fun ofhim. They called him "The Cabin Boy," "Paper Jack," and half a dozenother undignified names. In truth, the men made no secret of thederision in which they held him; and as for the slender gentlemanhimself, he knew it all very well, and bore himself with becomingmeekness. Holding as little intercourse with them as possible, heleft everything to the chief mate, who, as the story went, had beengiven his captain in charge. Yet, despite his apparent unobtrusiveness,the silent captain had more to do with the men than they thought. Inshort, although one of your sheepish-looking fellows, he had a sortof still, timid cunning, which no one would have suspected, and which,for that very reason, was all the more active. So the bluff mate,who always thought he did what he pleased, was occasionally made afool of; and some obnoxious measures which he carried out, in spiteof all growlings, were little thought to originate with the dapperlittle fellow in nankeen jacket and white canvas pumps. But, to allappearance, at least, the mate had everything his own way; indeed,in most things this was actually the case; and it was quite plainthat the captain stood in awe of him.

  So far as courage, seamanship, and a natural aptitude for keepingriotous spirits in subjection were concerned, no man was betterqualified for his vocation than John Jermin. He was the verybeau-ideal of the efficient race of short, thick-set men. His haircurled in little rings of iron gray all over his round bullet head. Asfor his countenance, it was strongly marked, deeply pitted with thesmall-pox. For the rest, there was a fierce little squint out of oneeye; the nose had a rakish twist to one side; while his large mouth,and great white teeth, looked absolutely sharkish when he laughed. Ina word, no one, after getting a fair look at him, would ever think ofimproving the shape of his nose, wanting in symmetry as it was.Notwithstanding his pugnacious looks, however, Jermin had a heart asbig as a bullock's; that you saw at a glance.

  Such was our mate; but he had one failing: he abhorred all weakinfusions, and cleaved manfully to strong drink.. At all times he wasmore or less under the influence of it. Taken in moderate quantities,I believe, in my soul, it did a man like him good; brightened hiseyes, swept the cobwebs out of his b
rain, and regulated his pulse.But the worst of it was, that sometimes he drank too much, and a moreobstreperous fellow than Jermin in his cups, you seldom came across.He was always for having a fight; but the very men he flogged lovedhim as a brother, for he had such an irresistibly good-natured way ofknocking them down, that no one could find it in his heart to bearmalice against him. So much for stout little Jermin.

  All English whalemen are bound by-law to carry a physician, who, ofcourse, is rated a gentleman, and lives in the cabin, with nothingbut his professional duties to attend to; but incidentally he drinks"flip" and plays cards with the captain. There was such a worthyaboard of the Julia; but, curious to tell, he lived in the forecastlewith the men. And this was the way it happened.

  In the early part of the voyage the doctor and the captain livedtogether as pleasantly as could be. To say nothing of many a can theydrank over the cabin transom, both of them had read books, and one ofthem had travelled; so their stories never flagged. But once on atime they got into a dispute about politics, and the doctor,moreover, getting into a rage, drove home an argument with his fist,and left the captain on the floor literally silenced. This wascarrying it with a high hand; so he was shut up in his state-room forten days, and left to meditate on bread and water, and theimpropriety of flying into a passion. Smarting under his disgrace, heundertook, a short time after his liberation, to leave the vesselclandestinely at one of the islands, but was brought backignominiously, and again shut up. Being set at large for the secondtime, he vowed he would not live any longer with the captain, andwent forward with his chests among the sailors, where he was receivedwith open arms as a good fellow and an injured man.

 
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