Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 3 July – 4 August 1916

Venus in Tahiti: 3 July – 4 August 1916

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 04, 2013

(Previous installment)

Papeete, July 3, 1916.

My week in the kitchen. I spent the rest of the day sewing for Sister Compton. In the evening we walked down to see Terai & Tecopu.

July 4, 1916.

The Maitai arrived from America at 12:30 am.

Wed, July 5, 1916.

About 3: am some one knocked at our door, and we went down stairs to find that two new Elders had arrived from America. They were Elders Scott Robertson from Park City & Glenn Hubbard from Willard.

Thurs. July 6, 1916.

We were all kept busy all day getting the boys ready toleavefortheTuamotus.At6: pm. Pres Rossiter & Elder[s] Orton, Robertson and Hubbard & Tubua & Heia left on the “Papeete” for Takaroa. During the day Mohi, one [of] our the native missionaries from Raiaroa arrived so we asked him to come up to the house and stay with us as long as he was in the city.

Fri. July 7, 1916.

Have been troubled for nearly a year with growths in my nose & throat, and those in my nose are getting so large now that they nearly close up the passage. I have also been suffering for several months past with a very severe pain on the top of my head, which is causing me to loose nearly all of my hair.

Sat. July 8, 1916.

Helped with the Sat. cleaning and later Sister Compton and I went shopping.

Sun. July 9, 1916.

We have a pretty good turn out at our S.S. & after noon meeting, Elder Compton presided at both and did very well. Mohi was the speaker at the afternoon meeting. Marie and Mohi had dinner with us. Sister Compton remained in bed all day, being slightly threatened with miscarriage.

Mon. July 10, 1916.

Elder Compton and I washed and ironed, and stretched three pairs of curtains. During the day Mohi left for Takaroa where he had been called on account of the sickness of his daughter Kuraingo. A French cruiser landed at Papeete, & in the evening they gave a band concert which we listened to from our back porch, as sister was still in bed and we couldn’t leave her to go down and hear it.

Tues. July 11, 1916.

I did some sewing for Sister Compton.

Wed. July 12, 1916.

Elder Compton and I house cleaned three bedrooms.

Thurs. July 13.

Made some pretty white net curtains with figured blue side draperies for sisters room and mine.

Fri. July 14.

This is the French national holiday so we went up to the barracks to see the soldiers review and listen to the band concert. Marie Stott gave Sister and I a beautiful photograph of herself. In the afternoon I made a yard of tatting for Zinas baby.

Papeete July 15, 1916.

Did the Saturday cleaning and sewed up a baby mattress and some pillow slips for Sister Compton.

Sun. July 16, 1916.

Held S.S. and sacrament meeting with a small attendance at both. After meeting we all took a walk down to the wharf.

Mon. July 17.

Washed & help prepare the wrappers for the mission paper. Also stretched four pairs of curtains.

Tues to Sat. July 18 to 22.

Housecleaned all week.

Sun. July 23, 1916.

We held S.S. and Sacrament meeting. We called to call on one of our white neighbors who had a little new baby and she asked us to name and bless her baby for her. She was named Stella Williams.

Mon. July 24, 1916.

The “24th” so we stayed home and celebrated by washing & ironing & stretch 2 pairs of curtains. During the day Pani one of our saints from Moorea called to see us.

Tues. July 25.

I sewed & wrote two letters. Late in the afternoon we took our little weekly excursion down to the little Chinese shops & as usual each bought “ten cents” worth of peanuts or common candy.

Wed. July 26, 1916.

I spent most of the day writing letters.

Thurs. July 27.

I sorted out Eras, Young Womans Journals, Juveniles, Childrens Friends & Relief Society Magazines ready to be bound into volumes. Elder Compton bound some of my sheet music into books for me.

Fri. July 28, 1916.

Martha Kausser and her little baby called to see us, and we had a very interesting gospel conversation with her. In the evening we called to see Terai, and she and her daughter Tecopu were eating their supper of hot water & dry bread and enquireing about it we found that it was all that they were able to buy, as neither of them had work & all that they had saved had been consumed during the sickness of Tecopu. To help them I engaged her to make some fans and other native novelties for me until she could get other work, as they are too proud to take help without doing anything in return for it. However when we left I slipped some money in her hand when I shook hands with her to go & she nearly broke down and cried.

Sat. July 29, 1916.

I finished my letters, and helped with the Saturday cleaning. In the evening we went down to the wharf to see the “Maitai” come in.

Sun. July 30.

We held our usual Sunday meetings, with quite an increase in attendance at the afternoon meeting. After which we went with a few of the Saints and friends to see the ship leave for America.

Papeete, July 31, 1916.

We washed and ironed and stretched several pairs of curtains. About eleven o’clock at night I was awakened the bell in the Catholic church loudly ringing, bugles blowing, and people shouting and crying. I jumped out of bed just as a big explosion went off & running to the front door, saw that it was brighter than day, and the streets were filled with people running about madly. Firebrands were falling all around, and the white steeple of the Catholic church shone in the distance like a falling comet. I thought surely it must be either the end of the world or another bombardment by the Germans, so I wakened Elder and Sister Compton. We were all so excited that we all ran out on the back porch together in our night gowns and pajamas. The large new brewery was enveloped in flames & the explosion of tanks kept sending the burning timbers high up into the air which surely looked like falling stars as they came down. Fortunately for Papeete all of the houses have tin roofs or the whole town would have been burned by them. After the fire was partly under control and we felt that our place was safe, we hurried down to see Terai and Timitangi who lived quite near to the place. They with the help of neighbors had carried all of their furniture to a place of safety & were almost insane with fire [fear?]

Tues. Aug. 1, 1916.

We called to see Terai again and the ruins. The side of Terais house had been broken the night before by a large piece of iron tank & there were several other pieces of iron in her yard. After dinner I sat and sang and played the organ for a while and it was not long before the parlor was filled with natives who had come to listen.

Wed. Aug. 2, 1916.

I wrote to my husband at Hikueru, prepared the meals and sewed for a while.

Thurs. Aug 3, 1916.

Went down to see the “Moana” come in at 5: am. We received our mail at 11: am. Terai called to see us. And Mohi came in from Hikueru and brought a letter from my husband. In the afternoon we called on the Louis Drollet family and had a very pleasant time. We had the pleasure of explaining some of the principles of Mormonism to them and they were very much interested. Mrs. Maurice Longomazino, whose husband I sat the front, was living with her parents, also her two children, one of which is a newly born babe. They served us to light refreshments and when we left they gave sister and I each of [a] boquett of roses & pinks. Mrs. Drollett make the remark that all the Mormon women she had ever met had kinder and better looking faces than other women, and that she would like her daughters to marry Mormon boys and go to Utah to live.

Fri. Aug. 4, 1916.

Bro. Nathan Ricks, State Senator from Rexburg Idaho, called at mission headquarters. He was on his way to Australia to meet his son and perform a short mission. He also called at the American Consuls who told him that the Mormon Elders were among the finest young people he had ever met. I also received a letter from my husband saying that he would return to Papeete as quick as possible and for me to prepare to leave on the next ship for America, to have several operations performed and get medical treatment as my health had been very poor for about a year and was now getting serious.

(To be continued)



  1. Well, she certainly isn’t much of a complainer! Isn’t this the first we’ve heard of her health problems, when they’ve gotten severe enough to justify a trip home? What a woman!

    Comment by Amy T — August 4, 2013 @ 8:16 am

  2. That’s my impression, Amy — she has occasionally mentioned spending the morning at home because she didn’t feel well, but doesn’t that describe just about everybody? A brave lady.

    And it’s probably been obvious if unstated that Ernest Rossiter is a doctor — that’s why all the natives keep coming to him to be treated, and why Venus is supplied with the different potions she has used from time to time as she treats people, too. If this was more than Pres. Rossiter could handle, she was ill.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 4, 2013 @ 8:29 am

  3. Oh, no, I hadn’t realized he was a doctor. I’d been interpreting Venus as an Amelia Peabody character, the “Sitt Hakim,” dispensing medicines and advice to the natives, and President Rossiter her Emerson.

    Comment by Amy T — August 4, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  4. I missed the doctor-ness, too.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — August 4, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

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