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Mystic Isles of the South Seas.   By: (1869-1932)

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Mystic Isles of the South Seas


Frederick O'Brien

Ia Ora Na!

This is a simple record of my days and nights, my thoughts and dreams, in the mystic isles of the South Seas, written without authority of science or exactitude of knowledge. These are merely the vivid impressions of my life in Tahiti and Moorea, the merriest, most fascinating world of all the cosmos; of the songs I sang, the dances I danced, the men and women, white and tawny, with whom I was joyous or melancholy; the adventures at sea or on the reef, upon the sapphire lagoon, and on the silver beaches of the most beautiful of tropics.

In this volume are no discoveries unless in the heart of the human. I went to the islands below the equator with one thought to play. All that I have set down here is the profit of that spirit.

The soul of man is afflicted by the machine he has fashioned through the ages to achieve his triumph over matter. In this light chronicle I would offer the reader an anodyne for a few hours, of transport to the other side of our sphere, where are the loveliest scenes the eyes may find upon the round of the globe, the gentlest climate of all the latitudes, the most whimsical whites, and the dearest savages I have known.

"Mystic Isles of the South Seas" precedes in experience my former book, "White Shadows in the South Seas," and will be followed by "Atolls of the Sun," which will be the account of a visit to, and a dwelling on, the blazing coral wreaths of the Dangerous Archipelago, where the strange is commonplace, and the marvel is the probability of the hour.

These three volumes will cover the period I spent during three journeys with the remnants of the most amazing of uncivilized races, whose discovery startled the old world, and whom another generation will cease to know.


Maru tané.

Kaoha, Sausalito, California.

In this book the reader may be tempted to stumble over some foreign words. I have put them in only when necessary, to give the color and rhythm of Tahiti. The Tahitian words are very easily pronounced and they are music in the mouth of any one who sounds them properly. Every letter and syllable is pronounced plainly. The letters have the Latin value and if one will remember this in reading, the Tahitian words will flow mellifluously. For instance, "tane" is pronounced "tah nay," "maru" is pronounced "mah ru." "Tiare" is "tee ah ray." The Tahitian language is dying fast, as are the Tahitians. Its beauties are worth the few efforts necessary for the reader to scan them.

Frederick O'Brien.


Chapter I

Departure from San Francisco Nature man left behind Fellow passengers on the Noa Noa Tragedy of the Chinese pundit Strange stories of the South Seas The Tahitian Hula

Chapter II

The Discovery of Tahiti Marvelous isles and people Hailed by a wind jammer Middle of the voyage Tahiti on the horizon Ashore in Papeete

Chapter III

Description of Tahiti A volcanic rock and coral reef Beauty of the scenery Papeete the center of the South Seas Appearance of the Tahitians

Chapter IV

The Tiare Hotel Lovaina the hostess, the best known woman in the South Seas Her strange ménage The Dummy A one sided tryst An old fashioned cocktail The Argentine training ship

Chapter V

The Parc de Bougainville Ivan Stroganoff He tells me the history of Tahiti He berates the Tahitians Wants me to start a newspaper

Chapter VI

The Cercle Bougainville Officialdom in Tahiti My first visit to the Bougainville Skippers and merchants A song and a drink The flavor of the South Seas Rumors of war

Chapter VII

The Noa Noa comes to port Papeete en fête Rare scene at the Tiare Hotel The New Year celebrated Excitement at the wharf Battle of the Limes and Coal

Chapter VIII

Gossip in Papeete Moorea, a near by island A two days' excursion there Magnificent scenery from the sea Island of fairy folk Landing and preparation for the feast The First Christian Mission A canoe on the lagoon Beauties of the sea garden

Chapter IX

The Arearea in the pavilion Raw fish and baked feis Llewellyn, the Master of the Revel; Kelly, the I... Continue reading book >>

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