Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 1 January – 24 January 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 1 January – 24 January 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 13, 2013

(Previous installment)

Mon. Jan 1, 1917

New years day once more. Held meeting in the Church at 8: am, and spent the rest of the day quietly at home. In the evening we called to see Terai & take her a basket of bananas.

Tues. Jan 2, 1917

Did an immense washing. Went to the dentist. Called to see Teata a Toae, who had had a miscarriage. Moupha called in the day to pay back some money she had borrowed, & I gave her a large basket of bananas. Printed pictures.

Papeete, Wed Jan 3, 1917

Ironed all morning & mended in the afternoon. Tarere came over and stayed several hours when we were ironing. Called to see Teata and took her some magazines to look at. We were just preparing for bed, when Tahire came down for us to go see Teatas baby who had the croup. I rubbed its throat and chest with No 6 & oil and gave it a teaspoon of oil, and in a short time it was breathing freely again.

Thurs. Jan 4, 1917

Went shopping with Ern. Was called in at night to see Tarere, who was suffering from injuries of a recent child birth.

Fri. Jan 5, 1917

Elders Davis & Orton left at 7: am for a 10 days trip over to Moorea. Went to the dentist & on the way home called in to see Mrs. Lund. Mrs. Henry was there and I had quite a talk with them about polygamy & the three degrees of glory. January is the cyclone month, & this week the sea has been unusually high & the people are all moving inland from the beach in case anything serious develops & all boats in port have been anchored further out in the bay to keep from tossing on the rocks.

Sat. Jan 6, 1917

I made new sash curtains for all of the French doors down stairs. Went to town in the afternoon.

Papeete Jan 7, 1917

We had good sized crowd at both morning & afternoon meetings. Held a class for the children in the morning & bore my testimony in Fast meeting. Held baptismal services at 12m & Maupha nainai, Pere & Taro, from Takaroa & Vairao a Toae were baptized. In fast meeting Teua one of our old native saints who has been a steady smoker for a good many years got up & said that she had stopped smoking and asked to be able to take the sacrament again, which we readily voted she could do. We were all quite surprised when she got up because she had mentioned it to no one. Every Sunday for the past five months I have talked to her about it & encouraged her to stop it, so I was especially happy to hear of it. Today is the day that the cyclone was to arrive, but everything is peaceful enough. At night there was a total eclipse of the moon & when the natives saw it they came up to the house and woke us up to ask if that wasn’t a sign a cyclone was at hand. We assured them that it wasn’t & they went back home again.

Mon. Jan 8, 1917

My turn at cooking again & I spent most of the day in the kitchen.

Papeete Jan 9, 1917

I sold a Book of Mormon to a young man from Faaa, who came to the house before we were up in the morning. Went to the dentist and commenced making a new dress.

Wed. Jan 10, 1917

Prepared meals & sewed. Moupha & her little girl came in while we were eating dinner, so I gave them a large bowl of food which they took out on the back porch, sat down on the floor & ravenously ate it with their hands. At night we went in a pouring rain to a soiree given by the Mayors wife at the Palais Theatre, for the benefit of the French soldiers. Standing room only.l Came home after the first intermission.

Thurs. Jan 11, 1917

Cooked & mended. Teipo came over for a while in the morning & at night I took a run down to see Terai.

Fri. Jan 12, 1917

Cooked & finished making the curtains for the transoms.

Sat. Jan 13, 1917

Cleaned house & prepared meals. Teata sent for me to come see her baby. He had quite a fever & was upset at the stomach. We received a letter from the governor, asking the name, age, nationality & present locale of all of the elders. When we received our permit to preach the gospel in these islands. How the elders & missions were kept. What we received from the natives, and numerous other questions. Pres. Rossiter answered all the questions & immediately took them personally to the Governor, who received him very kindly & accepted all answers readily & without question excepting whether we practiced polygamy or not. Meanwhile I had gone to the dentist Mr. Williams who is American vice consul & he told me the French governor was closely watching & investigating all about us because a Mr Levey, a Jewish trader here, had gave to the Gove[r]nor with all sorts of lies about us & saying that we were regular parasites off of the people. I was quite upset, but Mr Rossiter called in the office on his way home from the Gove[r]nor to tell us of his successful interview with the gove[r]nor, and that he knew Mr Levey had only come to him with all of those lies because of a personal grievance & that he did not pay any attention to it. Mr Rossiter & I called on the American consul & wife Mr & Mrs Thos B. Layton & took tea with them. We later called in to see Princess Etwater who had been very ill with her heart trouble.

Sun. Jan 14, 1917

We had 18 children to Sunday School so we were able to have a childrens class again. Mrs. Henry came over in the evening to get some literature that she heard that Mormons were circulating, which had an article in it saying that the Pope of Rome was the cause of the war & that the Protestant & Catholic churches held very unfriendly feeling towards one another. We told her that we didn’t know anything about any such a paper, & she seemed very much chagrined at having even supposed that we had circulated any thing like that, and asked us to forgive her. Mrs Henry is the wife of the former Protestant minister here. We all took a walk along the wharf in the evening.

Papeete Mon. Jan 15, 191[7]

I went down to Terais to take Erns soiled white suits, & Terahi & Tufe were there, and nothing would do but that I sing for them. So I sat down with them and we all sang together for about two hours. The Moana arrived from America & on the way home from the wharf we stopped to see the wedding procession at the Catholic church of the Captain of the St Francois & his bride from New Caledonia. At night we went down to the post office to wait for the distribution of the mail. We sat for a long time on the stone steps talking to some French ladies. Mr & Mrs Ellis the Josephite minister and wife, were standing near and when they discovered that we were there, they made a hasty retreat over to a dark corner across the street so they wouldn’t have to talk with us & where they could have a good time looking at us. We received another installment of Christmas X mas, this making the third month. We received a pretty white apron & necktie from Libbie & rose, a beautiful blue crochet boudoir cap, fancy collar & a belt for Ern from Phoebe & Ivy, a lace corset cover & some linen handkerchiefs from Will & Rye, an embroidered corset cover form Irene, a lovely ribbon & tatting cap from Helen & card & handkerchief from Alice Baddley & an extra ten dollars from the 10th Ward Missionary association.

Tues. Jan 16, 1917

Elders Orton & Davis returned from a 11 days trip to Moorea. Called at Temi’s & Terais.

Wed. Jan 17, 1917

Washed. Went to the dentist.

Thurs. Jan 18, 1917

Ironed in the morning. Ern left at 3: pm on the Hinano for Takaroa.

Fri. Jan 20, 1917

The people of Papeete had quite a fright. About a week before, word had been received over the wireless that a German man of war was afloat on the Pacific, & with the memory of the Bombardment of Papeete by the Germans in 1914, they were on the look out for trouble. About 10 pm word scattered like wild fire that the Germans had arrived & had their search lights on the city. the Elders went down to the beach, but could see nothing of it, so came back to the house. The native saints were terrified and some of them came bag & baggage with their eyes nearly out of their heads to see if they couldn’t stay at the mission house, and they made their beds in the spare rooms and on the porches, to await the attack of the enemy. We elders all went to bed & slept soundly & found next morning that the supposed German man of war was only a Japanese coaling vessel.

Sat. Jan 20, 1917

While Elder Compton was busy running off some printing matter, Henere a small native boy, came into the printing room & child like stuck his hand into the cog wheels of the press & had one of his fingers so terribly mutilated that Dr. LaStatte who we called was obliged to cut it off at the second knuckle. Mr. Droullet sent one of his boys with a nice piece of honey comb for us.

Sun. Jan 21, 1917

We had very few people out to church to day and on such days as these, I remind myself of a Salvation Army woman singing on the street corners, in my effort at screeching out, to carry our unaccompanied congregational singing through, without any great accident or breakdown. Im sure all I lack is my tambourine to sound the part perfectly. After church we elders & Terai were sitting out on the lawn & they were eating mangols and they looked so delicious & juicy that I ate one too. It wasn’t long until I was unbearable ill & went upstairs & took a whole package of salts & stuck my finger down my throat to make me throw up. In throwing up most of it went up into my head & in my effort to clear it out again, my blood became congested & my body became number & swollen. sister worked with me faithfully for about two hours & finally [my] blood began working again. But I had such terrible pain in my stomach, caused from the mangol that I could hardly endure it. I drank a cup of warm water and vomited freely which made me feel a little better. Then after thoroughly emptying the bowels with two hot enemas I began to feel a little easy. In my straining to clear out my head, a peculiar gristly growth about an inch wide & two inches long became loosened from in my nose & slipped down into the throat & out of the mouth.

Mon, Tues. Wed. Jan 22, 23, 24

Hadn’t yet gotten over the effects of eating the mangol Sunday, so sat and marked garments & mended, and lay down a great part of the time.

(To be continued)



  1. I think I could have skipped the end of at Jan 21 entry and never missed it in the least.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 13, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  2. I, for one, am interested to see if her health problems clear up a bit after ridding herself of that “grisly growth.” :-)

    Comment by bfwebster — October 13, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

  3. Goodness. Poor woman! And she’s still going to the dentist about every four days.

    Comment by Amy T — October 14, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

  4. Wow. Mangoes are evil, I tell you. They tempt you and then… Jan 21.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — October 14, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

  5. I coulda told you that mangoes were evil. And that’s just their flavor.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 14, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

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