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The Wrecker - Stevenson and Osbourne

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This etext was prepared by Tony Adam, Prairie View, TX.


 PROLOGUE.


IN THE MARQUESAS.

It was about three o'clock of a winter's afternoon in
Tai-o-hae, the French capital and port of entry of the
Marquesas Islands.  The trades blew strong and squally;
the surf roared loud on the shingle beach; and the fifty-ton 
schooner of war, that carries the flag and influence of 
France about the islands of the cannibal group, rolled at 
her moorings under Prison Hill.  The clouds hung low and 
black on the surrounding amphitheatre of mountains; rain 
had fallen earlier in the day, real tropic rain, a waterspout 
for violence; and the green and gloomy brow of the mountain
was still seamed with many silver threads of torrent.

In these hot and healthy islands winter is but a name.  The 
rain had not refreshed, nor could the wind invigorate, the 
dwellers of Tai-o-hae: away at one end, indeed, the
commandant was directing some changes in the residency
garden beyond Prison Hill; and the gardeners, being all
convicts, had no choice but to continue to obey.  All other folks
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