Page images
PDF
EPUB

MAGNIFICENT CASCADE.

257

with all the “ blessings” which the dying Jacob prayed might be the portion of his beloved Joseph—“ blessings of the heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb; blessings-******” which have prevailed above the blessings of (their) progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.” Gen. xlix. 25, 26. How literally, how locally, how spiritually, these have been verified in reference to Tahiti, Huahine, and their adjacencies, must be manifest to every one who has heard or read what God hath wrought for them, by the gospel of his Son, within the last ten years : how much more evident must it be to us, whose eyes have seen all these things, and whose hearts have thrilled with delight at the contemplation of so much bliss, where so much misery lately reigned! Here, truly, “ where sin hath abounded, grace doth much more abound.” So be it, till the end of days !

The queen was in the boat with us as we sailed into this harbour, and, part of the district belonging to her, we determined to rest a few hours for refreshment. While dinner was preparing, on shore, we proceeded along the coast towards the western side of the bay to examine the site of a cascade, whose waters we had, for some time, observed flowing down a steep channel. When we had approached it at the nearest point, the stream appeared to fall from the height of little more than a hundred feet; but what much more powerfully arrested our curiosity was the columnar formation of the face of the rock over a section of which the water was precipitated. We landed, and were detained a considerable time by a heavy shower of rain. We gathered some small oysters, of a very delicate flavour, on the beach here; they were attached to the stones and trees which were at the edge of the water.

in

[blocks in formation]

258

PRINTING WITH LEAVES OF PLANTS.

source.

ascending the mountain we experienced great difficulty on account of the steepness and slipperiness of the ground; the latter inconvenience being much increased by the recent shower, which had saturated the herbage and made the clay (a red loam) like mortar under our feet. The sides of this eminence were overrun with forests of tall fern and dwarf ito shrubs. When we reached the

When we reached the top, which may be calculated at two thousand feet, we had to descend into a glen beyond, where the stream that supplies the fall has its

The spring is strong and sallies out of the earth at all times abundantly, but in consequence of the late rains it was unusually swollen and vigorous when we were there. The water thus projected pours at once over the verge of a precipice of chert-stone, to look over which makes the head swim, and the nerves instinctively recoil with horror, the abyss being so profound, when contemplated from this point, that the whole height of the mountain itself seems to be the leap of the cataract from its summit to the sea. The actual fall we ascertained to be three hundred and fifty feet. Of course, in its headlong career, the rounded volume, that rolls over the

like molten crystal, expands into azure sheets or darts in silver streams on its middle passage, tumbles into foam a little lower, and resolves into spray towards the bottom, so widely scattered that a bath may be taken under the affusion without any inconvenience. The face of the crags down which it rushes, and leaps, and spreads, and sparkles in the sunbeams, being quite black, gives intensity of brilliance to the many-coloured waters, under all their changes of form, from the torrent above to the shower of dew-drops below. Here we gathered specimens of the elegant small ferns, with which the native women impress figures, in divers colours, upon their cloth,—-literally a method of printing,

verge

PLANTING MEMORIAL-TREES.

259

which is but one remove below the boasted invention of the Chinese by means of engraven blocks, before the art was discovered in Europe. It is true that the delicate patterns of leaves and flowers, taken from living plants, upon their

apparel, may be said to teach these ingenious females only so many letters of the alphabet of nature; yet, though incapable of instructing them in any thing else, they do always remind them of some of her most exquisite productions; and may often revive in recollection the places where such are to be found, as well as the circumstances under which particular specimens were gathered upon the spot—the weather, the company, the pleasures, or the disappointments of the day on which they were sought.--Here each of us left a memorial of our visit, by planting a cocoa-nut; and though the future trees may not, indeed cannot, tell the story of their birth,” to those who sit under their shadow, and find their fruit sweet to their taste, yet to ourselves they will be mnemonics of the mind; and, when in distant regions we picture the scenery of this sequestered spot, we shall add to the beautiful objects which we saw here the images of those which we left, though but in their germs; and these will be endeared by the thought that they are our representatives, flourishing and fulfilling, in solitude, the

purposes for which the Lord God caused them to grow out of the ground. Would that we were ever doing the same, our emigrations ! Mr. Ellis and Mr. Barff planted two on the one side of the stream, and we (the Deputation) two on the other.

But, as we have intimated, it was the columnar structure of the face of the rock itself that excited our most curious attention. The stone is chert and not basalt, being in this respect essentially different from the singular specimen of the latter in Matavai valley. The columns here are generally

in

[blocks in formation]

large; in form a great part are pentagonal, in a few instances they are only quadrate, some again approach to the triangle, while others are nearly hexagons. One of them measured four feet four inches. Those of the foursided pillars varied from a foot and a half to thirty inches. The same shafts also differ often in diameter, in their several parts, as much as they do from each other. The divisions of the pentagons and the hexagons are also much at variance; a side, in some cases, being not more than an inch or two, in others upwards of a foot, wide. The whole colonnade declines from the perpendicular towards the east, at an angle of seventy-five degrees with the horizon. The height of this naked front of rock is three hundred and fifty feet, and the length a quarter of a mile. But, from small denuded patches on other parts of the mountain, where similar phenomena are discernible, it is probable that the whole mass is of the same formation. The lower extremities of many of the columns, near the waterfall, having been broken off, the stumps above jut out and shew their respective shapes. When wet the stones are deep black, but when dry a light blue, exceedingly agreeable to the eye.

Reluctantly descending from this secluded spot, so interesting to the traveller in search of rarities, and the philosopher in quest of geological data, we arrived at our boat. It was then near six o'clock in the evening. We had previously heard distant thunder, and now, in the course of a few minutes, we were thoroughly drenched with rain, from which neither umbrellas nor wrapping could protect

The torrents continued to fall till we had reached our party on shore. Here, having changed our clothes and dined, the house being very dirty and uncomfortable we resolved to proceed to our next station at the foot of the

us.

VIOLENT THUNDER-STORM.

261

Sacred Mountain, called Mow, about four miles off. We accordingly set out for the desired haven some time after sunset, the glimpses of the moon affording us precarious but welcome assistance in exploring our way. Incessant lightnings and the perturbed state of the clouds, meanwhile, excited apprehensions which were soon realized. On our passage the utmost caution was requisite in steering the boat, the sea, to the distance of two miles from the shore, being so covered with coral-rocks and their spiky ramifications, as, in many places, to be unnavigable, and in all very shallow; hence we were, every few minutes, aground and afloat alternately; nor was this to be wondered at, for our boat having on board, in all, sixty persons, was much too heavily laden for such a perilous cruise, especially after nightfall, when the depths and shoals could not be distinguished. Thus, when we struck upon the reef, all the native men were obliged to jump out into the water to lighten the vessel and heave her over the obstruction. But they were invariably cheerful, and worked with all their might, so that by fits and starts, as it were, we at length landed at the destined point. Before, however, we could reach shelter, the long-threatening clouds poured down all their

vengeance upon us, and we were a second time soaked through all our apparel, as though we had been dragged through the sea. Our female companions, with their infants, suffered much from the pitiless pelting of this storm, there being violent wind as well as rain, while, in the midst of all, they were compelled to be carried on shore upon the backs of our men, and afterwards had to run to the distance of a quarter of a mile before they could get under cover.

The place provided for our reception was a large chapel built in the native style, on pillars, and open on all sides, Here, then, we were at last-threescore of us !--comfortless

« EelmineJätka »