Abbildungen der Seite
[graphic][merged small]


trip of inspection, recognized several of When it came down the street flying the his employees dead among

a dozen

Red Cross flags, it gave new hope. This native victims who were left unburied, as flag meant much to those of us who knew none of their friends was able to look what the Red Cross signifies, and it came after them. Dozens increased to scores to mean much to the natives as well. and hundreds as a day's total of fatal Though not directed by the Red Cross

Trucks, rushing through the society, the work of relief was neverthestreets, carrying loads of dead wrapped less worthy of praise. only in mats, became an almost hourly The clergy, including the head of the occurrence.

French Protestant Chapel, as well as the What was done to control the epidemic? head of the native Protestant organizaSome of us attended a meeting at the

tion, were indefatigable in their efforts to office of the colonial doctor, and found

relieve the sick. there the doctor, the mayor, the bishop By a strange trick of fate, there came, of the Roman Catholic church, some of at almost the outbreak of the epidemic, a the Mormon missionaries, and a few series of earthquakes, something almost Americans, including Mr. Layton, the unknown in Tahiti. No damage was done United States consul. Mr. Layton's wife to property by the quakes, yet their frewas very ill, and he had also at the con quent occurrence alarmed the natives, sulate, Dr. Williams (American dentist if not Californians. Coming almost hourly and vice-consul for Great Britain) and for a few days, they then subsided graduMrs. Williams, both stricken by the epi- ally. Our hotel proprietor did not abate demic. Though thus handicapped, Mr. uneasiness by stating that such shocks Layton was very energetic in the work of occurred at intervals for a few months relief.

prior to the awful catastrophe of Saint At this meeting the town was districted,

Pierre. He, a native of Martinique, had each of us being assigned to certain

left that Island not long before the destreets. We called on the people, and,

struction of its capital by the eruption of where they were not being cared for

Mont Pelee. properly, we left the medicine secured On the mountainside at Papeete is the from the hospital, with directions in the lookout station where, from dawn to dark, native language as to use of same. We Patrick Burns watched for passing vessels. also gave orders on the stores for con Thither we had often strolled and, sitting densed milk. Later on, the citizens, on the veranda of the station, talked with among whom Americans were especially Patrick in a mixture of English and the active, distributed great quantities of food native. To hear him describe, and see throughout the islands. This was paid for him explain in pantomime, the incidents by donations of individuals, Chinese mer of the German bombardment of Papeete chants among them, and on the order of was a treat never to be forgotten. the mayor. Only the best things are said He fell ill of the "Au,” and no more of the work of the mayor throughout the signals were raised to tell that a steamer whole campaign of relief.

or schooner of this or that nationality On the theory that certain cases could was now sighted in the North or South, or be better cared for in a hospital, Lieu now had entered the passage. Indeed, tenant McCreery, a New Zealander who ships were few and no one thought much was in Tahiti for the benefit of his health of their coming or going, except us fitted up beds in the old barracks, where stranded Americans who vainly hoped for he, with the assistance of several Ameri news of some steamer (passenger or cans, cared for upward of two hundred cargo) bound for San Francisco. With natives. The government physician visited us, this was a topic of daily, even hourly, the place at intervals. That the sick conversation. natives benefited greatly by the energetic, One day, when it seemed that the epiunselfish work of Lieutenant McCreery demic had about spent its fury, it occurred and his aides, is beyond question. An to some official to raise a yellow flag ambulance was fitted up on a small truck. where we had so often turned our eyes

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

OW and again we hear a great hue Inside, a slant-eyed Oriental, who looked NI and cry that Romance has been a thousand years old and was probably

destroyed in the rising flood of thirty-five, presided over the conglomeraCommercialism. Fine old gentlemen, they tion of bamboo tables, grinning idols, tea of the old school who remember as well sets, tapestries, and various other paraas if it were only yesterday when Robert phernalia of Chinese origin. Gardner Louis Stevenson was wont to drop in the paused in front of a section of the counter Bank Exchange for a half hour's chat

upon which rested a display of carvings. over a glass of wine—these gentlemen, I “How much for that?” he asked, pointsay, will tell you with something akin to ing to a dragon cut out of a soft, jadea sob that “San Francisco isn't what it

green stone. used to be before the fire.” Coffee Dan's, The wily Chinese gave it a dextrous China Town, the Coast, the Latin Quarter, touch which showed it to the best adall the old land marks of the days of vantage before replying. Romance have fallen into the sordid “It worth ten dollars, sir. Don't you hands of money-grubbing profiteers. The think that is very cheap?" good old days are past. What nonsense! "Twice too much," Gardner objected, “The good old days are past," has been "I'll give you five." the slogan since Adam's time. Romance The clerk shook his head, smiling still exists. There is a little Chinese shop blandly. “Ten dollar." just off Grant avenue—Ah, that's a story "Make it eight," Gardner persisted. for you!

This time the clerk laughed outright. Gregory Gardner was a man to whom His oblique eyes almost closed, his yellow sufficient money and twenty-four hours cheeks puckered like frosted persimmons. of leisure per day had introduced a With deliberation he placed the dragon variety of experiences. In consequence back among the other carvings. "Ten thereof, by the time he had reached the dollar." thirty mark, he had reconciled himself "Well, confound your impudence," to the fact that Life had a tendency to Gardner laughed. "Here's your ten, let repeat itself. It was from sheer ennui, no me have it.' doubt, that he strayed into the little He counted out the sum

-a bill and Chinese curio store late one December five silver dollars—and laid it on the edge afternoon. Why he selected that particu- of the counter. When he looked up, the lar shop is a question. Certainly it bore clerk was staring at the dragon in a no distinguishing characteristics from any curious manner, his lower jaw hanging other shop along Grant avenue. There open, his skin taking on a dull green was the usual display of Chinese lanterns, color in the dim, afternoon sunlight that ivory carvings, and vases in the window. filtered through the crowded window.

« ZurückWeiter »