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interest, as I stood at his feet, and watched his short and laborious respiration; his restless and feverish head had been long pillowed on the lap of his affectionate wife, whose face, with that of every other friend, was suffused with tears. His
eye rolling its keen fitful glance on every object, but resting on none, spoke a state of feeling remote indeed from tranquillity and ease. I could not help supposing that his agitated soul was, through this her natural window, looking wishfully on all she then was leaving; and as I saw his eye rest on his wife, his father, his friends around, and then glancing to the green boughs that waved gently in the passing breeze, the bright and clear blue sky that appeared at intervals through the foliage, and the distant hills whose summits were burnished with the splendour of the retiring sunI almost imagined the intensity and rapidity of his glance indicated an impression that he would never gaze on them again. Such was the conviction of my own mind; and I reluctantly retired, more deeply than ever impressed with the necessity of early and habitual preparation for death.
O! how different would the scene have been, had this interesting youth, as earth with all its associations receded, experienced the consolations and the hopes of the gospel. I presume not to say that in his last hours, in those emotions of the soul which nature was too much exhausted to allow him to declare, and which were known only to God and to himself, he was not cheered by these anticipations. I would try to hope it was so for indications of such feelings, his sorrowing and surviving friends anxiously waited.
How striking the contrast between his last day
on earth, and that of Teivaiva, another youth of Huahine, and, like Taaroarii, an only son and an only child, who, when he saw his sorrowing parents weeping by the side of the couch on which he lay, collected his remaining strength, and, rousing himself, said "I am in pain, but I am not unhappy; Jesus Christ is with me, and he supports me: we must part, but we shall not be parted long; in heaven we shall meet, and never die. Father, don't weep for me. Mother, don't weep for me. We shall never die in heaven." But the latter of these, while in health and comfort, had been happy in the ways of religion, seeking the favour of God: the former had neglected and departed from those ways, and had lived in the practice of sin.
About nine o'clock in the evening, Mahine sent word that his son was worse. Mr. Barff and myself hastened to the encampment, and found him apparently dying, but quite sensible. We remained with them some time, endeavoured to administer a small portion of medicine, and then returned. A short time before midnight, on the 25th of October, 1821, he breathed his last.
When the messenger brought us the tidings of his death, we repaired to the tent, found his parents, his wife, and an aunt who was exceedingly fond of him, sobbing and weeping bitterly by the side of the corpse. The attendants joined in the lamentation; it was not the wild and frantic grief of paganism, formerly so universal on such occasions, but the expression of deep anguish chastened by submission to the Divine will. We mingled our sympathies with the mourners, spent a considerable time with them, endeavouring to impart consolation to their minds, and then returned to rest, but not to sleep.
The sudden departure of the young chieftain, and the circumstances connected with it, powerfully affected our minds. We had been intimate with him ever since our arrival in the islands, had received many tokens of kindness from him, had watched his progress with no ordinary interest, especially since his removal to Huahine in 1818. We had considered him as the future sovereign of the island in which we should probably spend our days, but he was now for ever removed. We hoped we had been faithful to him. But at times such as this, when one and another was removed from the people amongst whom we laboured, we were led to reflect on the state into which they had entered; and when their prospects had been dark, and their character doubtful, we could not but fear that we perhaps had not manifested all the solicitude which we ought to have done, nor used means available for the purpose of leading them to Him, who alone could deliver from the fear of death, and all the consequences of conscious guilt. Reflections of this kind were now solemn and intense, and I trust profitable.
The funeral was conducted in the Christian manner: a coffin was made for the body, and a new substantial stone vault was built in the southwest angle of the chapel-yard; on account of which, his interment was deferred until five days after his decease.
About three o'clock in the afternoon of the 30th of October, we repaired to the encampment of the king, and found most of the people of the island assembled. About four the procession left the tent. Mr. Barff and myself walked in front, followed by a few of the favourite attendants of the young chief. The coffin was borne by six of his
own men; it was covered with a rich yellow pall, of thick native cloth, with a deep black border. Six young chiefs, in European suits of mourning, bore the pall; amongst them was the son of the king of Raiatea. His wife, his father, and near relations, followed, wearing also deep European mourning. Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis, with our children, walked after these; the tenantry of his own district, and servants of his household, came next; and after them, the greater part of the population of the island.
When we reached the place of sepulture, I turned, and looking towards the valley, beheld, I think, a scene of the most solemn interest that ever I witnessed. Before us stood the bier, on which was laid the corpse of the individual of brightest hopes among all I beheld, destined for the highest distinction the nation knew, whose tall, and, for his years, gigantic form, open and manly brow, had promised fair for many years of most commanding influence, an influence which we once hoped would have advanced his country's welfare. Beside that bier stood his youthful widow, weeping, we have reason to believe, tears of unfeigned sorrow; and who, in addition to the loss she had sustained, was on the eve of becoming a mother. Near her stood his venerable sire, gray with age, and bending with infirmities, taking a last sad look of all that now remained of what had once been the stay of his declining years, his hope and joy; towards whom, in all his wayward courses, he had exercised the affection of a father.
Around them stood the friends, and, along the margin of the placid ocean, and emerging from the shadowy paths that wound along the distant
valley, the mourning tribes, the father, and the mother, with their children, were seen advancing slowly to the spot. Each individual in the whole procession, which, as they walked only two abreast, extended from the sepulchre to the valley, wore some badge of mourning; frequently it was a white tiputa, or mantle, with a wide black fringe.
When the greater part had reached the chapel yard, Mr. Barff addressed the spectators, and I offered a prayer to the Almighty, that the mournful event might be made a blessing to the survivors. The body was then deposited in the tomb-the pall left on the coffin. The father, the widow, and several other friends, entered, took a last glance, and retired in silence, under strong and painful emotion. When we withdrew, the servants placed a large stone against the entrance, and left it till the following day, when it was walled up. The tomb was whitewashed, and a small coral stone placed perpendicularly, at the end towards the sea, on which was inscribed in the native language, this simple epitaph, "Taaroarii died October 25th, 1821." On the following Sabbath, a discourse was delivered from Kings xx. 1. in reference to the solemn event.
I never saw persons more deeply affected than the friends of the deceased had been during his illness, especially his excellent father, and his wife. For many days prior to his death, the latter sat by his couch, supporting his aching head in her lap, wiping the cold perspiration from his brow, or refreshing him with her fan, watching with fondest solicitude his look, and aiming, if possible, to anticipate his wishes. It ended not with his decease. She scarcely left his body until it was interred, sitting on one side, while his aunt,