Thus she is apt at Jesuitical mezzo termine, she is a creature of equivocal compromises, of guarded proprieties, of anonymous passions steered between two reef-bound shores. She is as much afraid of her servants as an Englishwoman who lives in dread of a trial in the divorce-court.
"Those fellows have gone to Apia," he said to mate Brant, "and I'll go there and get them if it takes me a month of Sundays." But when the Shawnee dropped anchor in the reef-bound harbour, Captain Lucy found that he had come on a vain quest the mutineers' boat had not been seen.
Occasionally a surveying vessel, and, at longer intervals still, a labour-recruiting ship from Hawaii or Fiji, would call. At such times the monotony of the lives of the white residents of Mayou was pleasantly broken. Once a year, too, a missionary vessel would drop anchor in the little reef-bound port, but her visit was of moment only to the Rev. Mr.
Then as some of the merry-hearted kanaka crew ranged the cable, and others ran aloft to clew-up the sails, Packenham steered the brig between a narrow reef-bound passage till she brought up abreast a sweeping curve of sandy beach, shining white under the wooded spurs of a mountain peak two thousand feet above.
Some of the contiguous islands sank beneath the waves, others changed their shape, and the formation of various banks and shoals added fresh difficulties to the intricate navigation of reef-bound seas.
At length the ship got to the westward of the Cape, but she had been driven far to the south, and it was some time before the wind allowed her to steer a northerly course. She had already got into warm latitudes, when a high, cocoa-nut-covered, reef-bound island was discovered ahead.
A little sandy cove, reef-bound, like those they had seen before, lay under the dark cliffs; and on a water-washed rock, not a hundred yards from him, stood the man they had seen on the downs above, looking steadily seaward. The Doctor slipped over the rocks like an otter, and approached the man across the smooth sand, unheard in the thunder of the surf.
An hour later the two vessels, their decks crowded with three hundred savages, armed with muskets, spears, and clubs, were towed out through the narrow, reef-bound passage, and with the now freshening trade wind filling their sails, set a course along the coast which before sunset would bring them to Leassé, on the lee side of the island.
For several days they sailed over the lake-like stillness of the Barrier reef-bound waters, and past the bold desolations of the Queensland coast, every headland and bay there bearing the names Cook gave them only a few years before, and which still tell us by that nomenclature each its own story of disappointment and hope.