Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 6 July – 7 August 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 6 July – 7 August 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 01, 2013

(Previous installment)

Fri. July 6, 1917

Wrote letters. Were expecting the steamer so walked down to the wharf at night, but no sight of it. Received news that Mr Gardello the mayor of Papeete had passed away. Aged 79 yrs.

Sat. July [6], 1917

Attended Mr Gardellos funeral & called to see the American Consul in the evening.

Sun. July [8], 1917

S.S. & Sacrament meeting. Sister Compton gave her farewell speech in the afternoon & did very well. Paloana arrived at daybreak & was to leave early next morning. So Sister went aboard to sleep & I went down to keep her company. I hid a beautiful embroidered Chinese red shawl in her cabin for her to find after she had set sail.

Mon. July 9, 1917

The Paloana sailed away at 7: am with Sister & Marama on it, & as soon as it had cleared the wharf, the Moana pulled up, with Elder Eugene Tillotson of Ogden on it. I received a large box of candy an apron & a purse with some new American dimes in it from Sister Evans.

Sat. July 14, 1917

the French national holiday. In the morning the elders called to see the governor & the afternoon we attended a band concert & at night a picture show at the Palais to assist the French Orphans of the war.

Sun. July 15, 1917

S.S. and Sacrament meeting as usual.

Mon. July 16, 1917

Washed. Called to see Lena & the baby.

Tues. July 17, 1917

Ironed. Visited Terai & Tindalls.

Wed. July 18, 1917

Made 14 new pillow slips. Called to see Martha Krassers baby & came home & packed my boxes to leave on the Propatria with Elder Davis.

Thurs. July 19, 1917

Made some new night gowns & wrote letters.

Fri. July 20, 1917

Left for Takaroa & Takume at 4 p.m. on the Propatria.

Mon. July 23, 1917

Arrived at Takaroa in the late afternoon after a fairly pleasant trip. Only sick the first day. Mr Luka the captain & Mr Mervin the super-cargo both had their families on board. The cabin they gave me was so filthy that I dare not go in it so I slept on a bundle of clothes & bedding on the floor in the dining room. I also took my meals there, for the super cargo who had terrible running sores on his feet & legs, would prop them up on the table every morning & evening to have his wife dress them & plug up the holes with cotton batten & the meals were served on the self same table & on the self same oil cloth cover. There was a young girl on board by the name of Ruita with whom I had several Gospel conversations.

The people at Takaroa, whom we had come to take the Takume for the diving season, were all ready & had all their canoes, boxes lumber & cocoanut thatches to build houses of, piled up & waiting on the wharf ready to load on to the ship. The whole population was out to meet us & after shaking hands with them all, we went up to Mapuhi’s house, where Elder Burton & Robertson and a nice big pot of boiled chicken & baking powder biscuits that they had prepared, waiting for us. At night we held a spirited song practice & all of the people from the ship came up to hear us.

Tues. July 24, 1917

Visited among the saints. Washed my hair & a few clothes & bathed. It being the “24th” we went down to the ship to celebrate & bought a can of pork & beans, vermicello & some beef for our dinner.

Wed. July 25, 1917

I prepared the meals over a camp fire. Mrs. Luko & Ruita came up from the ship to visit me & we had another long gospel conversation. Attended a gospel class at night.

Thurs. July 26, 1917

We left Takaroa for Takume with the ship loaded to capacity with canoes, lumber niaus, water tank, bedding, boxes, pigs etc. etc. besides about 120 people. There wasn’t an inch of unused space left on the boat & the natives were packed into every niche & corner. They ate slept & lived on top of the piles of cargo, pulling an extra canvas sail over them when it rained, or crawled under neath some canoe. We had a very heavy sea & a head-on wind all the way & besides towing two small gasoline launches we made very slow progress. I was sick all the way, and the 120 natives living on deck made the ship smell like a large magpie cage, which didn’t make a sea sick person feel any better. Elder Davis was also sick all the way & even Elders Burton & Robertson, who had never been sick before, couldn’t withstand the bad smell & the rough seas.

Mon. July 30, 1917

Arrived at Takume and landed all of the people & part of the cargo. Pres. & the other elders had arrived one week before us & were busy building the store, shell house & a house for the Elders. They were very much surprised to see me, for that was the very last thing they ever expected. When I arrived at the place they had chosen for our camp, Pres. was busy poulticing a young natives diseased hand. That night they slept on the ground, under bushes or under shelter of a few pieces of tin & wood or an old sail. It reminded me of a camp of gypsies. The Elders slept on the bare ground in the store & Pres. arranged for us to sleep in a house that was simply a 2×4 framework & a tin roof, but we hung a piece of canvas up on the wind side so that we didn’t get wet by the rain that fell during the night.

Tues. July 31, 1917

Elder Monk & the people from Hickueru arrived on the “Zelee.” We are building our village in a regular little wilderness for we are all clearing the land today for places to build our houses, cutting out & burning the under brush & pulling weeds & raking up rubbish.

Since our Takaroa & Hikueru branches were so late in arriving, they asked that the day for diving, which is to-morrow, be postponed until they could get their houses finished & their families made comfortable before they started & so the Governor called a meeting to see what could be done. While this meeting was in session we missionaries gathered together & held a secret prayer circle, that their hearts would be softened towards our people & the request desired, as the first day of the diving season is usually the most successful day of all the season. When the committee returned with the word that the opening date would be postponed we were over joyed to know that the Lord had heard & answered our prayers in behalf of our peoples welfare. Held a meeting at 7: pm.

Wed. August 1, 1917

Continued clearing off our land to-day. Kiriana & his wife helped me around our place a little & every once in a while they would [sit] down in the shade, taking their little girl, Tukua on their laps & hunt for lice which they both ate with a relish. Held meeting at 7: pm.

Thurs. Aug. 2, 1917

I guess cutting out underbrush is a little too heavy work for me, & besides living in our house consisting of a tin roof & a strip of Canvas on one side, I was taken ill with an attack of la grippe & neuralgia. Face all swollen up.

Fri & Sat. Aug 3 & 4, 1917

In bed all day, felt very miserable.

Sun. Aug 5.

Felt a little better so attended the meting & bore my testimony.

Mon. Aug. 6, 1917

Caught fresh cold so had to stay in bed all day again.

Tues. Aug 7, 1917

The Takaroa sisters came over & wove niaus for our house & Elder Burton made some tables, a platform for a bed & partitioned our house off into two rooms, one for a kitchen & the other a living room, so our little place is real cosy & warm now.

(To be continued)


1 Comment »

  1. Well, that has to tie for one of the top most — er — nauseating of all of the installments of Venus’s diary. And to have to see Sister Compton off! That must have been difficult.

    Comment by Amy T — December 1, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

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