Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 25 January – 24 February 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 25 January – 24 February 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 20, 2013

(Previous installment)

Thurs. Jan 25, 1917

Got up bright and early & made a floral wreath for Tufe one of our native friends who had died the day before. At 8: am Sister & I attended her funeral. Made new coverings & changed the feathers in all of the pillows.

Fri. Jan 26, 1917

Sewed & wrote letters. Kraithe came over to spend the afternoon.

Sat. Jan 27, 1917

Cleaned house & went to the dentist. I had Elder Orton make a long flower shelf across the front porch, sent Ngatoro for some black soil, & I painted a lot of cans & bin boxes, filled them with beautiful ferns & plants & put them on the new flower shelf. It made the front porch look like a different place, a veritable roof garden where we could sit out and sew & not be seen by the passers by.

Sun. Jan 28, 1917

Held S.S. & Sacrament meeting. had a few more children in the childrens class. Sister and I spent the evening across the street with Martha & Tuko.

Mon. Jan 29, 1917

Wrote letters almost all day. Went shopping with Sister. Bought some raf[f]ia and took it down to Terais to have her weave some native fans & baskets for me. On the way home called in & spent an hour talking with Mahia & Tepo.

Wed. Jan 31, 1917

Elder Alma Burton arrived from Takaroa. He came down on a small sailing vessel that had come all the way from America, and which stopped en route at Takaroa to take some pictures of an American vessel that was wrecked there in the cyclone of 1906. Mrs Lund payed us a visit in the afternoon & we had quite an argument on religious views, she being a Baptist.

Thurs. Feb 1, 1917

It has been raining torrents all week, but to-day is making a faint attempt to shine so we washed & also did up three pairs of curtains. We were very pleased to have a Josephite native from Tikihou, that was so kind to us a year ago when we called at his island, call to see us. He bought some books, and subscribed for the paper, and we have a good talk with him & he seemed to be becoming a little unsettled as to the authority of the Josephites & said he was coming to our meetings next Sunday. He asked to play a him [hymn] for him which seemed to please him very much.

Papeete, Friday Feb. 2, 1917

Ironed in the morning went to town in the afternoon.

Sat. Feb. 2, 1917

Cleaned house. Also went with Elder Burton to help him choose a white em[b]roidered silk shawl to send home for a graduation present to his sweet heart. We met Matiti one of our saints from Apataki on the street. Tahiri gave us a nice leg of pork, that he had brought in from Tautira.

Sun. Feb. 4, 1917

We heard the siren of a steamer at about 6: am so Elder Orton & I got up & went down to see what it was, thinking perhaps it was going to or coming from America, but it was just a tramp steamer. Terai stayed & had dinner with us after fast meeting. I sang and played for several hours for the saints. In the evening we went for a walk & on the way home we bought some ice which we brought home & made some cold limeade. (A sweltering hot day)

Mon. Feb. 5, 191[7]

Went to the dentist. I always take my tatting along with me, so as not to be wasting time while waiting my turn, and the daughter in law of the Tahitian princess became interested in it and asked me if I would teach her how to do it. Called in to see Mrs Lund on the way home to see a picture she had received of her daughter in Frisco. Word was received over the wireless that America had declared war on Germany & every French & English flag in Papeete was hoisted, to show the appreciation of the allies.

Tues. Feb. 6, 1917

Worked most of the day making out the mission Sunday School & Relief society reports.

Wed. Feb 7, 1917

Fina, the young daughter in law of the Princess came up to spend the afternoon and I taught her how to tat. Later one of her cousins called in, and we all went down to Mrs. Foxes store to see what she had. Mrs. Fox is a young American girl who has commenced a little ladies furnishings store in her house just around the corner from us.

Thurs. Feb. 8, 1917

I spent all morning making two childrens dresses for soldiers families, & in the afternoon sister and I took them and a little chemise she had made down to Mrs. Gardellos. then we called to see Eraine Drollett who is leaving on the Moana, for Frisco, where she will live with her brother & his family, but she was not home. From there we called to see Mrs. Talco, a bride of but a few months. Her husband is an Italian lawyer & when they were married, his people sent her loads of elegant hand made Italian laces & she brought them all out to show us. Curtains, door hangings, cushion covers, bed spreads, table covers, collars & an e[x]quisite hand made handkerchief 35 years old that his mother had used when she was married, & ever so many other things that I couldn’t even begin to describe. She served us with syro & cookies & when we left asked us to call again soon. We also called in to see Princess Etwater & later took a run down to see Terai.

Fri. Feb. 9, 1917

Eraine Drollet called to say good-bye before leaving for America, & I gave her a shadow lace camisole.

Sat. Feb 10, 1917

My 26th birthday. Was expecting the doctor so gave my room a thorough cleaning. Sister Compton gave me a pair of pillow slips. Bought some Tahitian scenes from Gauthier.

Sun. Feb 11, 1917

The Moana arrived from New Zealand at 10: am & Elder Burton, sister & I went down to see if Elder Robertsons brother was on board, as he had been released from his labors in New Zealand, but he was not on board. I spoke on the subject of prayer in the afternoon meeting. I furnished a birthday dinner to the elders of roast-beef, gravy, green corn, peas, cake & chocolate sauce & real American butter. After meeting we took our mail down to the post-office & later down to the boat to see Mr. Evans, who showed us a picture of his new bride. Ran over for a while to see Martha & Tuko.

Mon. Feb. 12, 1917

Waited all morning for the doctor to call and see me, but he didn’t come. We all went down to the boat to say good-bye to Eraine Drollet, who left on the Moana for America.

Tues. Feb. 13, 1917

Doctor called in the morning. Went down to Terais, who had a large washing to do, but no soap to do it with, so I went over to the Chinese store & bought her a bar of soap as long as my arm. Returned to the house and mended the cuffs of one of Elder Ortons white coats.

Wed. Feb. 14, 1917

Washed our clothes and made two childrens dresses for the Red Cross sewing circle. The wind has been very strong and changeable this past week & we have had unusually heavy rains. About noon the sea commenced rising & the church bell was rung to warn all the people. We all went down to the sea to see how serious things were & almost the entire population of Papeete was down on the water front. The sea was raging & so high that it nearly came up over the wharf & all of the boats were being tossed around like corks. The wind was very peculiar, first icy cold & in just a few minutes sultry hot again. One could hardly stand up against it unless standing in the protection of a building. It surely looked as though we were going to have a cyclone of some kind, but by night everything was quite peaceful again.

Thurs. Feb. 15, 1917

Went to the dentist. The wind & sea are high again to-day & the rain has been pouring all day. Marere a young native girl from Hickueru came to the mission house & asked to stay here, as she had been having trouble with her tane and didn’t want to live with him. I told her yes, & she stayed around all day, but by night she had relented & asked us to take her back to him again, which we did, & also made them promise they would behave themselves in the future.

Fri. Feb. 16, 1917

the clothes werent dry on account of so much rain, but were beginning to mildew on the line & smell sour, so we had to iron them wet. Madame Drollet & Madame Gass & baby payed us a short visit. Sister and I called over to Terahis to see how Taremana was, & she had gotten out of bed & gone chasing down town. After we returned we sat out on our front porch in the dark, & we and Toais girls, who were on their porch across the street, sang native songs & hymns for an hour or so.

Sat. Feb. 17, 1917

Cleaned house in the morning, went down to the wharf to see Elder Orton off in the afternoon. Came home & prepared some medicine for Pere. I sent a sack of green corn by Elder Orton to Ern, who is up at Rangiroa where they never see any vegetables.

Sun. Feb. 18, 1917

finished writing a letter to mother to send off on the Waikawa. After Sunday school I practised some new songs with the children. Taremana came over for an envelope & stamp to send to her tane (Willie) who had gone to America. Poor girl thinks he will return to her in April. But I doubt if he ever comes back.

Mon. Feb. 19, 1917

A dark drizzly day. Felt very miserable & spent most of the day in my room. Sewed a little in the afternoon.

Papeete, tues. Feb. 20, 1917

Went to the dentist in the morning. In the waiting room I met Mr Talco, the young Italian diamond & pearl merchant, whose wife we had called on the week before, & he said that he wanted us to call on her often as there were so few good people in Tahiti with whom she could associate. I received a letter form Elders Monk & Hubbard form Hikueru. Rivava & her little boy & Marere & Tepifai, some saints from Hikueru, called at the house.

Wed & Thurs Feb 21 & 22, 1917

Mrs. Talco called Wednesday after noon. Sewed mornings on clothes for the Red Cross Society. In the afternoon took them down to Gardellos & called in to see Mrs. Lund. While we were there Mr & Mrs. Talco, who were passing, came in to see Sister Comptons baby.

Fri. Feb. 23, 1917

Went to the dentist. Made a dress for the Red Cross Society & mended garments. Called to see Terai in the afternoon.

Sat. Feb. 24, 1917

Cleaned house & went to the dentist. Elder Burton made baking powder biscuits for breakfast & chop suey & noodles for dinner. The “Flaa” arrived & brought us mail from the states via New Zealand. We all went for a walk in the evening & called in Terais to get the clean clothes.

(To be continued)



  1. Venus sure is keeping busy! Is it possible that she’s feeling better after the — er — health crisis in the last episode?

    “Went to the dentist. I always take my tatting along with me, so as not to be wasting time while waiting my turn”

    So, she is being treated for something, and the treatments are still about every four days.

    Comment by Amy T — October 20, 2013 @ 9:34 am

  2. I’m probably off base, but I find myself wondering if Venus is simply having her teeth cleaned.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — October 20, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  3. Nothing about dentistry or tatting or removal of enormous growths or something, but there is an article about the early missionary efforts in Tahiti, and the encounters with Protestant missionaries from the London Missionary Society, in the latest issue of BYU Studies. It appears that the full article is behind a paywall, but here’s a link to an abstract.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 20, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

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