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In the South Seas - Robert Louis Stevenson

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In the South Seas by Robert Louis Stevenson

PART 1: THE MARQUESAS

CHAPTER I - AN ISLAND LANDFALL



FOR nearly ten years my health had been declining; and for some 
while before I set forth upon my voyage, I believed I was come to 
the afterpiece of life, and had only the nurse and undertaker to 
expect.  It was suggested that I should try the South Seas; and I 
was not unwilling to visit like a ghost, and be carried like a 
bale, among scenes that had attracted me in youth and health.  I 
chartered accordingly Dr. Merrit's schooner yacht, the CASCO, 
seventy-four tons register; sailed from San Francisco towards the 
end of June 1888, visited the eastern islands, and was left early 
the next year at Honolulu.  Hence, lacking courage to return to my 
old life of the house and sick-room, I set forth to leeward in a 
trading schooner, the EQUATOR, of a little over seventy tons, spent 
four months among the atolls (low coral islands) of the Gilbert 
group, and reached Samoa towards the close of '89.  By that time 
gratitude and habit were beginning to attach me to the islands; I 
had gained a competency of strength; I had made friends; I had 
learned new interests; the time of my voyages had passed like days 
in fairyland; and I decided to remain.  I began to prepare these 
pages at sea, on a third cruise, in the trading steamer JANET 
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