The Hawaiian Archipelago
by Isabella L. Bird
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Near the Anuenue Fall we stopped at a native house, outside which a woman, in a rose-coloured chemise, was stringing roses for a necklace, while her husband pounded the kalo root on a board. His only clothing was the malo, a narrow strip of cloth wound round the loins, and passed between the legs. This was the only covering worn by men before the introduction of Christianity. Females wore the pau, a short petticoat made of tapa, which reached from the waist to the knees. To our eyes, the brown skin produces nearly the effect of clothing.

Everything was new and interesting, but the ride was spoiled by my insecure seat in my saddle, and the increased pain in my spine which riding produced. Once in crossing a stream the horses have to make a sort of downward jump from a rock, and I slipped round my horse's neck. Indeed on the way back I felt that on the ground of health I must give up the volcano, as I would never consent to be carried to it, like Lady Franklin, in a litter. When we returned, Mr. Severance suggested that it would be much better for me to follow the Hawaiian fashion, and ride astride, and put his saddle on the horse. It was only my strong desire to see the volcano which made me consent to a mode of riding against which I have so strong a prejudice, but the result of the experiment is that I shall visit Kilauea thus or not at all. The native women all ride astride, on ordinary occasions in the full sacks, or holukus, and on gala days in the pau, the gay, winged dress which I described in writing from Honolulu. A great many of the foreign ladies on Hawaii have adopted the Mexican saddle also, for greater security to themselves and ease to their horses, on the steep and perilous bridle-tracks, but they wear full Turkish trowsers and jauntily-made dresses reaching to the ankles.

It appears that Hilo is free from the universally admitted nuisance of morning calls. The hours are simple—eight o'clock breakfasts, one o'clock dinners, six o'clock suppers. If people want anything with you, they come at any hour of the day, but if they only wish to be sociable, the early evening is the recognized time for "calling." After supper, when the day's work is done, people take their lanterns and visit each other, either in the verandahs or in the cheerful parlours which open upon them. There are no door-bells, or solemn announcements by servants of visitors' names, or "not-at- homes." If people are in their parlours, it is presumed that they receive their friends. Several pleasant people came in this evening. They seem to take great interest in two ladies going to the volcano without an escort, but no news has been received from it lately, and I fear that it is not very active as no glare is visible to-night. Mr. Thompson, the pastor of the small foreign congregation here, called on me. He is a very agreeable, accomplished man, and is acquainted with Dr. Holland and several of my New England friends. He kindly brought his wife's riding-costume for my trip to Kilauea. The Rev. Titus Coan, one of the first and most successful missionaries to Hawaii, also called. He is a tall, majestic-looking man, physically well fitted for the extraordinary exertions he has undergone in mission work, and intellectually also, I should think, for his face expresses great mental strength, and nothing of the weakness of a sanguine enthusiast. He has admitted about 12,000 persons into the Christian Church. He is the greatest authority on volcanoes on the islands, and his enthusiastic manner and illuminated countenance as he spoke of Kilauea, have raised my expectations to the highest pitch. We are prepared for to-morrow, having engaged a native named Upa, who boasts a little English, as our guide. He provides three horses and himself for three days for the sum of thirty dollars. I.L.B.



Bruised aching bones, strained muscles, and overwhelming fatigue, render it hardly possible for me to undergo the physical labour of writing, but in spirit I am so elated with the triumph of success, and so thrilled by new sensations, that though I cannot communicate the incommunicable, I want to write to you while the impression of Kilauea is fresh, and by "the light that never was on sea or shore."

By eight yesterday morning our preparations were finished, and Miss Karpe, whose conversance with the details of travelling I envy, mounted her horse on her own side-saddle, dressed in a short grey waterproof, and a broad-brimmed Leghorn hat tied so tightly over her ears with a green veil as to give it the look of a double spout. The only pack her horse carried was a bundle of cloaks and shawls, slung together with an umbrella on the horn of her saddle. Upa, who was most picturesquely got up in the native style with garlands of flowers round his hat and throat, carried our saddle-bags on the peak of his saddle, a bag with bananas, bread, and a bottle of tea on the horn, and a canteen of water round his waist. I had on my coarse Australian hat which serves the double purpose of sunshade and umbrella, Mrs. Thompson's riding costume, my great rusty New Zealand boots, and my blanket strapped behind a very gaily ornamented brass-bossed demi-pique Mexican saddle, which one of the missionary's daughters had lent me. It has a horn in front, a low peak behind, large wooden stirrups with leathern flaps the length of the stirrup-leathers, to prevent the dress from coming in contact with the horse, and strong guards of hide which hang over and below the stirrup, and cover it and the foot up to the ancles, to prevent the feet or boots from being torn in riding through the bush. Each horse had four fathoms of tethering rope wound several times round his neck. In such fashion must all travelling be done on Hawaii, whether by ladies or gentlemen.

Upa supplied the picturesque element, we the grotesque. The morning was moist and unpropitious looking. As the greater part of the thirty miles has to be travelled at a foot's-pace the guide took advantage of the soft grassy track which leads out of Hilo, to go off at full gallop, a proceeding which made me at once conscious of the demerits of my novel way of riding. To guide the horse and to clutch the horn of the saddle with both hands were clearly incompatible, so I abandoned the first as being the least important. Then my feet either slipped too far into the stirrups and were cut, or they were jerked out; every corner was a new terror, for at each I was nearly pitched off on one side, and when at last Upa stopped, and my beast stopped without consulting my wishes, only a desperate grasp of mane and tethering rope saved me from going over his head. At this ridiculous moment we came upon a bevy of brown maidens swimming in a lakelet by the roadside, who increased my confusion by a chorus of laughter. How fervently I hoped that the track would never admit of galloping again!

Hilo fringes off with pretty native houses, kalo patches and mullet ponds, and in about four miles the track, then formed of rough hard lava, and not more than 24 inches wide, enters a forest of the densest description, a burst of true tropical jungle. I could not have imagined anything so perfectly beautiful, nature seemed to riot in the production of wonderful forms, as if the moist hot-house air encouraged her in lavish excesses. Such endless variety, such depths of green, such an impassable and altogether inextricable maze of forest trees, ferns, and lianas! There were palms, breadfruit trees, ohias, eugenias, candle-nuts of immense size, Koa (acacia), bananas, noni, bamboos, papayas (Carica papaya), guavas, ti trees (Cordyline terminalis), treeferns, climbing ferns, parasitic ferns, and ferns themselves the prey of parasites of their own species. The lianas were there in profusion climbing over the highest trees, and entangling them, with stems varying in size from those as thick as a man's arm to those as slender as whipcord, binding all in an impassable network, and hanging over our heads in rich festoons or tendrils swaying in the breeze. There were trailers, i.e., (Freycinetia scandens) with heavy knotted stems, as thick as a frigate's stoutest hawser, coiling up to the tops of tall ohias with tufted leaves like yuccas, and crimson spikes of gaudy blossom. The shining festoons of the yam and the graceful trailers of the maile (Alyxia Olivaeformis), a sweet scented vine, from which the natives make garlands, and glossy leaved climbers hung from tree to tree, and to brighten all, huge morning glories of a heavenly blue opened a thousand blossoms to the sun as if to give a tenderer loveliness to the forest. Here trees grow and fall, and nature covers them where they lie with a new vegetation which altogether obliterates their hasty decay. It is four miles of beautiful and inextricable confusion, untrodden by human feet except on the narrow track. "Of every tree in this garden thou mayest freely eat," and no serpent or noxious thing trails its hideous form through this Eden.

It was quite intoxicating, so new, wonderful, and solemn withal, that I was sorry when we emerged from its shady depths upon a grove of cocoanut trees and the glare of day. Two very poor-looking grass huts, with a ragged patch of sugar-cane beside them, gave us an excuse for half an hour's rest. An old woman in a red sack, much tattooed, with thick short grey hair bristling on her head, sat on a palm root, holding a nude brown child; a lean hideous old man, dressed only in a malo, leaned against its stem, our horses with their highly miscellaneous gear were tethered to a fern stump, and Upa, the most picturesque of the party, served out tea. He and the natives talked incessantly, and from the frequency with which the words "wahine haole" (foreign woman) occurred, the subject of their conversation was obvious. Upa has taken up the notion from something Mr. S—- said, that I am a "high chief," and related to Queen Victoria, and he was doubtlessly imposing this fable on the people. In spite of their poverty and squalor, if squalor is a term which can be applied to aught beneath these sunny skies, there was a kindliness about them which they made us feel, and the aloha with which they parted from us had a sweet friendly sound.

From this grove we travelled as before in single file over an immense expanse of lava of the kind called pahoehoe, or satin rock, to distinguish it from the a-a, or jagged, rugged, impassable rock. Savants all use these terms in the absence of any equally expressive in English. The pahoehoe extends in the Hilo direction from hence about twenty-three miles. It is the cooled and arrested torrent of lava which in past ages has flowed towards Hilo from Kilauea. It lies in hummocks, in coils, in rippled waves, in rivers, in huge convolutions, in pools smooth and still, and in caverns which are really bubbles. Hundreds of square miles of the island are made up of this and nothing more. A very frequent aspect of pahoehoe is the likeness on a magnificent scale of a thick coat of cream drawn in wrinkling folds to the side of a milk-pan. This lava is all grey, and the greater part of its surface is slightly roughened. Wherever this is not the case the horses slip upon it as upon ice.

Here I began to realize the universally igneous origin of Hawaii, as I had not done among the finely disintegrated lava of Hilo. From the hard black rocks which border the sea, to the loftiest mountain dome or peak, every stone, atom of dust, and foot of fruitful or barren soil bears the Plutonic mark. In fact, the island has been raised heap on heap, ridge on ridge, mountain on mountain, to nearly the height of Mont Blanc, by the same volcanic forces which are still in operation here, and may still add at intervals to the height of the blue dome of Mauna Loa, of which we caught occasional glimpses above the clouds. Hawaii is actually at the present time being built up from the ocean, and this great sea of pahoehoe is not to be regarded as a vindictive eruption, bringing desolation on a fertile region, but as an architectural and formative process.

There is no water, except a few deposits of rain-water in holes, but the moist air and incessant showers have aided nature to mantle this frightful expanse with an abundant vegetation, principally ferns of an exquisite green, the most conspicuous being the Sadleria, the Gleichenia Hawaiiensis, a running wire-like fern, and the exquisite Microlepia tenuifolia, dwarf guava, with its white flowers resembling orange flowers in odour, and ohelos (Vaccinium reticulatum), with their red and white berries, and a profusion of small-leaved ohias (Metrosideros polymorpha), with their deep crimson tasselled flowers, and their young shoots of bright crimson, relieved the monotony of green. These crimson tassels deftly strung on thread or fibres, are much used by the natives for their leis, or garlands. The ti tree (Cordyline terminalis) which abounds also on the lava, is most valuable. They cook their food wrapped up in its leaves, the porous root when baked, has the taste and texture of molasses candy, and when distilled yields a spirit, and the leaves form wrappings for fish, hard poi, and other edibles. Occasionally a clump of tufted coco-palms, or of the beautiful candle-nut rose among the smaller growths. To our left a fringe of palms marked the place where the lava and the ocean met, while, on our right, we were seldom out of sight of the dense timber belt, with its fringe of tree-ferns and bananas, which girdles Mauna Loa.

The track, on the whole, is a perpetual upward scramble; for, though the ascent is so gradual, that it is only by the increasing coolness of the atmosphere that the increasing elevation is denoted, it is really nearly 4,000 feet in thirty miles. Only strong, sure-footed, well-shod horses can undertake this journey, for it is a constant scramble over rocks, going up or down natural steps, or cautiously treading along ledges. Most of the track is quite legible owing to the vegetation having been worn off the lava, but the rock itself hardly shows the slightest abrasion.

Upa had indicated that we were to stop for rest at the "Half Way House;" and, as I was hardly able to sit on my horse owing to fatigue, I consoled myself by visions of a comfortable sofa and a cup of tea. It was with real dismay that I found the reality to consist of a grass hut, much out of repair, and which, bad as it was, was locked. Upa said we had ridden so slowly that it would be dark before we reached the volcano, and only allowed us to rest on the grass for half-an-hour. He had frequently reiterated "Half Way House, you wear spur;" and, on our remounting, he buckled on my foot a heavy rusty Mexican spur, with jingling ornaments and rowels an inch and a half long. These horses are so accustomed to be jogged with these instruments that they won't move without them. The prospect of five hours more riding looked rather black, for I was much exhausted, and my shoulders and knee-joints were in severe pain. Miss K.'s horse showed no other appreciation of a stick with which she belaboured him than flourishes of his tail, so, for a time, he was put in the middle, that Upa might add his more forcible persuasions, and I rode first and succeeded in getting my lazy animal into the priestly amble known at home as "a butter and eggs trot," the favourite travelling pace, but this not suiting the guide's notion of progress, he frequently rushed up behind with a torrent of Hawaiian, emphasized by heavy thumps on my horse's back, which so sorely jeopardised my seat on the animal, owing to his resenting the interference by kicking, that I "dropped astern" for the rest of the way, leaving Upa to belabour Miss K.'s steed for his diversion.

The country altered but little, only the variety of trees gave place to the ohia alone, with its sombre foliage. There were neither birds nor insects, and the only travellers we encountered in the solitude compelled us to give them a wide berth, for they were a drove of half wild random cattle, led by a lean bull of hideous aspect, with crumpled horns. Two picturesque native vaccheros on mules accompanied them, and my flagging spirits were raised by their news that the volcano was quite active. The owner of these cattle knows that he has 10,000 head, and may have a great many more. They are shot for their hides by men who make shooting and skinning them a profession, and, near settlements, the owners are thankful to get two cents a pound for sirloin and rump-steaks. These, and great herds which are actually wild and ownerless upon the mountains, are a degenerate breed, with some of the worst peculiarities of the Texas cattle, and are the descendants of those which Vancouver placed on the islands and which were under Tabu for ten years. They destroy the old trees by gnawing the bark, and render the growth of young ones impossible.

As it was getting dark we passed through a forest strip, where tree- ferns from twelve to eighteen feet in height, and with fronds from five to seven feet long, were the most attractive novelties. As we emerged, "with one stride came the dark," a great darkness, a cloudy night, with neither moon nor stars, and the track was further obscured by a belt of ohias. There were five miles of this, and I was so dead from fatigue and want of food, that I would willingly have lain down in the bush in the rain. I most heartlessly wished that Miss K. were tired too, for her voice, which seemed tireless as she rode ahead in the dark, rasped upon my ears. I could only keep on my saddle by leaning on the horn, and my clothes were soaked with the heavy rain. "A dreadful ride," one and another had said, and I then believed them. It seemed an awful solitude full of mystery. Often, I only knew that my companions were ahead by the sparks struck from their horse's shoes.

It became a darkness which could be felt.

"Is that possibly a pool of blood?" I thought in horror, as a rain puddle glowed crimson on the track. Not that indeed! A glare brighter and redder than that from any furnace suddenly lightened the whole sky, and from that moment brightened our path. There sat Miss K. under her dripping umbrella as provokingly erect as when she left Hilo. There Upa jogged along, huddled up in his poncho, and his canteen shone red. There the ohia trees were relieved blackly against the sky. The scene started out from the darkness with the suddenness of a revelation. We felt the pungency of sulphurous fumes in the still night air. A sound as of the sea broke on our ears, rising and falling as if breaking on the shore, but the ocean was thirty miles away. The heavens became redder and brighter, and when we reached the crater-house at eight, clouds of red vapour mixed with flame were curling ceaselessly out of a huge invisible pit of blackness, and Kilauea was in all its fiery glory. We had reached the largest active volcano in the world, the "place of everlasting burnings."

Rarely was light more welcome than that which twinkled from under the verandah of the lonely crater-house into the rainy night. The hospitable landlord of this unique dwelling lifted me from my horse, and carried me into a pleasant room thoroughly warmed by a large wood fire, and I hastily retired to bed to spend much of the bitterly cold night in watching the fiery vapours rolling up out of the infinite darkness, and in dreading the descent into the crater. The heavy clouds were crimson with the reflection, and soon after midnight jets of flame of a most peculiar colour leapt fitfully into the air, accompanied by a dull throbbing sound.

This morning was wet and murky as many mornings are here, and the view from the door was a blank up to ten o'clock, when the mist rolled away and revealed the mystery of last night, the mighty crater whose vast terminal wall is only a few yards from this house. We think of a volcano as a cone. This is a different thing. The abyss, which really is at a height of nearly 4,000 feet on the flank of Mauna Loa, has the appearance of a great pit on a rolling plain. But such a pit! It is nine miles in circumference, and its lowest area, which not long ago fell about 300 feet, just as ice on a pond falls when the water below it is withdrawn, covers six square miles. The depth of the crater varies from 800 to 1,100 feet in different years, according as the molten sea below is at flood or ebb. Signs of volcanic activity are present more or less throughout its whole depth, and for some distance round its margin, in the form of steam cracks, jets of sulphurous vapour, blowing cones, accumulating deposits of acicular crystals of sulphur, etc., and the pit itself is constantly rent and shaken by earthquakes. Grand eruptions occur at intervals with circumstances of indescribable terror and dignity, but Kilauea does not limit its activity to these outbursts, but has exhibited its marvellous phenomena through all known time in a lake or lakes in the southern part of the crater three miles from this side.

This lake, the Hale-mau-mau, or House of Everlasting Fire of the Hawaiian mythology, the abode of the dreaded goddess Pele, is approachable with safety except during an eruption. The spectacle, however, varies almost daily, and at times the level of the lava in the pit within a pit is so low, and the suffocating gases are evolved in such enormous quantities, that travellers are unable to see anything. There had been no news from it for a week, and as nothing was to be seen but a very faint bluish vapour hanging round its margin, the prospect was not encouraging.

When I have learned more about the Hawaiian volcanoes, I shall tell you more of their phenomena, but tonight I shall only write to you my first impressions of what we actually saw on this January 31st. My highest expectations have been infinitely exceeded, and I can hardly write soberly after such a spectacle, especially while through the open door I see the fiery clouds of vapour from the pit rolling up into a sky, glowing as if itself on fire.

We were accompanied into the crater by a comical native guide, who mimicked us constantly, our Hilo guide, who "makes up" a little English, a native woman from Kona, who speaks imperfect English poetically, and her brother who speaks none. I was conscious that we foreign women with our stout staffs and grotesque dress looked like caricatures, and the natives, who have a keen sense of the ludicrous, did not conceal that they thought us so.

The first descent down the terminal wall of the crater is very precipitous, but it and the slope which extends to the second descent are thickly covered with ohias, ohelos (a species of whortleberry), sadlerias, polypodiums, silver grass, and a great variety of bulbous plants many of which bore clusters of berries of a brilliant turquoise blue. The "beyond" looked terrible. I could not help clinging to these vestiges of the kindlier mood of nature in which she sought to cover the horrors she had wrought. The next descent is over rough blocks and ridges of broken lava, and appears to form part of a break which extends irregularly round the whole crater, and which probably marks a tremendous subsidence of its floor. Here the last apparent vegetation was left behind, and the familiar earth. We were in a new Plutonic region of blackness and awful desolation, the accustomed sights and sounds of nature all gone. Terraces, cliffs, lakes, ridges, rivers, mountain sides, whirlpools, chasms of lava surrounded us, solid, black, and shining, as if vitrified, or an ashen grey, stained yellow with sulphur here and there, or white with alum. The lava was fissured and upheaved everywhere by earthquakes, hot underneath, and emitting a hot breath.

After more than an hour of very difficult climbing we reached the lowest level of the crater, pretty nearly a mile across, presenting from above the appearance of a sea at rest, but on crossing it we found it to be an expanse of waves and convolutions of ashy-coloured lava, with huge cracks filled up with black iridescent rolls of lava, only a few weeks old. Parts of it are very rough and ridgy, jammed together like field ice, or compacted by rolls of lava which may have swelled up from beneath, but the largest part of the area presents the appearance of huge coiled hawsers, the ropy formation of the lava rendering the illusion almost perfect. These are riven by deep cracks which emit hot sulphurous vapours. Strange to say, in one of these, deep down in that black and awful region, three slender metamorphosed ferns were growing, three exquisite forms, the fragile heralds of the great forest of vegetation, which probably in coming years will clothe this pit with beauty. Truly they seemed to speak of the love of God. On our right there was a precipitous ledge, and a recent flow of lava had poured over it, cooling as it fell into columnar shapes as symmetrical as those of Staffa. It took us a full hour to cross this deep depression, and as long to master a steep hot ascent of about 400 feet, formed by a recent lava-flow from Hale-mau-mau into the basin. This lava hill is an extraordinary sight—a flood of molten stone, solidifying as it ran down the declivity, forming arrested waves, streams, eddies, gigantic convolutions, forms of snakes, stems of trees, gnarled roots, crooked water-pipes, all involved and contorted on a gigantic scale, a wilderness of force and dread. Over one steeper place the lava had run in a fiery cascade about 100 feet wide. Some had reached the ground, some had been arrested midway, but all had taken the aspect of stems of trees. In some of the crevices I picked up a quantity of very curious filamentose lava, known as "Pele's hair." It resembles coarse spun glass, and is of a greenish or yellowish- brown colour. In many places the whole surface of the lava is covered with this substance seen through a glazed medium. During eruptions, when fire-fountains play to a great height, and drops of lava are thrown in all directions, the wind spins them out in clear green or yellow threads two or three feet long, which catch and adhere to projecting points.

As we ascended, the flow became hotter under our feet, as well as more porous and glistening. It was so hot that a shower of rain hissed as it fell upon it. The crust became increasingly insecure, and necessitated our walking in single file with the guide in front, to test the security of the footing. I fell through several times, and always into holes full of sulphurous steam, so malignantly acid that my strong dog-skin gloves were burned through as I raised myself on my hands.

We had followed a lava-flow for thirty miles up to the crater's brink, and now we had toiled over recent lava for three hours, and by all calculation were close to the pit, yet there was no smoke or sign of fire, and I felt sure that the volcano had died out for once for our especial disappointment. Indeed, I had been making up my mind for disappointment since we left the crater-house, in consequence of reading seven different accounts, in which language was exhausted in describing Kilauea.

Suddenly, just above, and in front of us, gory drops were tossed in air, and springing forwards we stood on the brink of Hale-mau-mau, which was about 35 feet below us. I think we all screamed, I know we all wept, but we were speechless, for a new glory and terror had been added to the earth. It is the most unutterable of wonderful things. The words of common speech are quite useless. It is unimaginable, indescribable, a sight to remember for ever, a sight which at once took possession of every faculty of sense and soul, removing one altogether out of the range of ordinary life. Here was the real "bottomless pit"—the "fire which is not quenched"—"the place of hell"—"the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone"— the "everlasting burnings"—the fiery sea whose waves are never weary. There were groanings, rumblings, and detonations, rushings, hissings, and splashings, and the crashing sound of breakers on the coast, but it was the surging of fiery waves upon a fiery shore. But what can I write! Such words as jets, fountains, waves, spray, convey some idea of order and regularity, but here there was none. The inner lake, while we stood there, formed a sort of crater within itself, the whole lava sea rose about three feet, a blowing cone about eight feet high was formed, it was never the same two minutes together. And what we saw had no existence a month ago, and probably will be changed in every essential feature a month hence.

What we did see was one irregularly-shaped lake, possibly 500 feet wide at its narrowest part and nearly half a mile at its broadest, almost divided into two by a low bank of lava, which extended nearly across it where it was narrowest, and which was raised visibly before our eyes. The sides of the nearest part of the lake were absolutely perpendicular, but nowhere more than 40 feet high; but opposite to us on the far side of the larger lake they were bold and craggy, and probably not less than 150 feet high. On one side there was an expanse entirely occupied with blowing cones, and jets of steam or vapour. The lake has been known to sink 400 feet, and a month ago it overflowed its banks. The prominent object was fire in motion, but the surface of the double lake was continually skinning over for a second or two with a cooled crust of a lustrous grey- white, like frosted silver, broken by jagged cracks of a bright rose-colour. The movement was nearly always from the sides to the centre, but the movement of the centre itself appeared independent and always took a southerly direction. Before each outburst of agitation there was much hissing and a throbbing internal roaring, as of imprisoned gases. Now it seemed furious, demoniacal, as if no power on earth could bind it, then playful and sportive, then for a second languid, but only because it was accumulating fresh force. On our arrival eleven fire fountains were playing joyously round the lakes, and sometimes the six of the nearer lake ran together in the centre to go wallowing down in one vortex, from which they reappeared bulging upwards, till they formed a huge cone 30 feet high, which plunged downwards in a whirlpool only to reappear in exactly the previous number of fountains in different parts of the lake, high leaping, raging, flinging themselves upwards. Sometimes the whole lake, abandoning its usual centripetal motion, as if impelled southwards, took the form of mighty waves, and surging heavily against the partial barrier with a sound like the Pacific surf, lashed, tore, covered it, and threw itself over it in clots of living fire. It was all confusion, commotion, force, terror, glory, majesty, mystery, and even beauty. And the colour! "Eye hath not seen" it! Molten metal has not that crimson gleam, nor blood that living light! Had I not seen this I should never have known that such a colour was possible.

The crust perpetually wrinkled, folded over, and cracked, and great pieces were drawn downwards to be again thrown up on the crests of waves. The eleven fountains of gory fire played the greater part of the time, dancing round the lake with a strength of joyousness which was absolute beauty. Indeed after the first half hour of terror had gone by, the beauty of these jets made a profound impression upon me, and the sight of them must always remain one of the most fascinating recollections of my life. During three hours, the bank of lava which almost divided the lakes rose considerably, owing to the cooling of the spray as it dashed over it, and a cavern of considerable size was formed within it, the roof of which was hung with fiery stalactites, more than a foot long. Nearly the whole time the surges of the further lake taking a southerly direction, broke with a tremendous noise on the bold craggy cliffs which are its southern boundary, throwing their gory spray to a height of fully forty feet. At times an overhanging crag fell in, creating a vast splash of fire and increased commotion.

Almost close below us there was an intermittent jet of lava, which kept cooling round what was possibly a blowhole forming a cone with an open top, which when we first saw it was about six feet high on its highest side, and about as many in diameter. Up this cone or chimney heavy jets of lava were thrown every second or two, and cooling as they fell over its edge, raised it rapidly before our eyes. Its fiery interior, and the singular sound with which the lava was vomited up, were very awful. There was no smoke rising from the lake, only a faint blue vapour which the wind carried in the opposite direction. The heat was excessive. We were obliged to stand the whole time, and the soles of our boots were burned, and my ear and one side of my face were blistered. Although there was no smoke from the lake itself, there was an awful region to the westward, of smoke and sound, and rolling clouds of steam and vapour whose phenomena it was not safe to investigate, where the blowing cones are, whose fires last night appeared stationary. We were able to stand quite near the margin, and look down into the lake, as you look into the sea from the deck of a ship, the only risk being that the fractured ledge might give way.

Before we came away, a new impulse seized the lava. The fire was thrown to a great height; the fountains and jets all wallowed together; new ones appeared, and danced joyously round the margin, then converging towards the centre they merged into one glowing mass, which upheaved itself pyramidally and disappeared with a vast plunge. Then innumerable billows of fire dashed themselves into the air, crashing and lashing, and the lake dividing itself recoiled on either side, then hurling its fires together and rising as if by upheaval from below, it surged over the temporary rim which it had formed, passing downwards in a slow majestic flow, leaving the central surface swaying and dashing in fruitless agony as if sent on some errand it failed to accomplish.

Farewell, I fear for ever, to the glorious Hale-mau-mau, the grandest type of force that the earth holds! "Break, break, break," on through the coming years,

"No more by thee my steps shall be, No more again for ever!"

It seemed a dull trudge over the black and awful crater, and strange, like half-forgotten sights of a world with which I had ceased to have aught to do, were the dwarf tree-ferns, the lilies with their turquoise clusters, the crimson myrtle blossoms, and all the fair things which decked the precipice up which we slowly dragged our stiff and painful limbs. Yet it was but the exchange of a world of sublimity for a world of beauty, the "place of hell," for the bright upper earth, with its endless summer, and its perennial foliage, blossom, and fruitage.

Since writing the above I have been looking over the "Volcano Book," which contains the observations and impressions of people from all parts of the world. Some of these are painstaking and valuable as showing the extent and rapidity of the changes which take place in the crater, but there is an immense quantity of flippant rubbish, and would-be wit, in which "Madam Pele," invariably occurs, this goddess, who was undoubtedly one of the grandest of heathen mythical creations, being caricatured in pencil and pen and ink, under every ludicrous aspect that can be conceived. Some of the entries are brief and absurd, "Not much of a fizz," "a grand splutter," "Madam Pele in the dumps," and so forth. These generally have English signatures. The American wit is far racier, but depends mainly on the profane use of certain passages of scripture, a species of wit which is at once easy and disgusting. People are all particular in giving the precise time of the departure from Hilo and arrival here, "making good time" being a thing much admired on Hawaii, but few can boast of more than three miles an hour. It is wonderful that people can parade their snobbishness within sight of Hale-mau-mau.

This inn is a unique and interesting place. Its existence is strikingly precarious, for the whole region is in a state of perpetual throb from earthquakes, and the sights and sounds are gruesome and awful both by day and night. The surrounding country steams and smokes from cracks and pits, and a smell of sulphur fills the air. They cook their kalo in a steam apparatus of nature's own work just behind the house, and every drop of water is from a distillery similarly provided. The inn is a grass and bamboo house, very beautifully constructed without nails. It is a longish building with a steep roof divided inside by partitions which run up to the height of the walls. There is no ceiling. The joists which run across are concealed by wreaths of evergreens, from among which peep out here and there stars on a blue ground. The door opens from the verandah into a centre room with a large open brick fire place, in which a wood fire is constantly burning, for at this altitude the temperature is cool. Some chairs, two lounges, small tables, and some books and pictures on the walls give a look of comfort, and there is the reality of comfort in perfection. Our sleeping-place, a neat room with a matted floor opens from this, and on the other side there is a similar room, and a small eating-room with a grass cookhouse beyond, from which an obliging old Chinaman who persistently calls us "sir," brings our food. We have had for each meal, tea, preserved milk, coffee, kalo, biscuits, butter, potatoes, goats' flesh, and ohelos. The charge is five dollars a day, but everything except the potatoes and ohelos has to be brought twenty or thirty miles on mules' backs. It is a very pretty picturesque house both within and without, and stands on a natural lawn of brilliant but unpalatable grass, surrounded by a light fence covered with a small trailing double rose. It is altogether a most magical building in the heart of a formidable volcanic wilderness. Mr. Gilman, our host, is a fine picturesque looking man, half Indian, and speaks remarkably good English, but his wife, a very pretty native woman, speaks none, and he attends to us entirely himself.

A party of native travellers rainbound are here, and the native women are sitting on the floor stringing flowers and berries for leis. One very attractive-looking young woman, refined by consumption, is lying on some blankets, and three native men are smoking by the fire. Upa attempts conversation with us in broken English, and the others laugh and talk incessantly. My inkstand, pen, and small handwriting amuse them very much. Miss K., the typical American travelling lady, who is encountered everywhere from the Andes to the Pyramids, tireless, with an indomitable energy, Spartan endurance, and a genius for attaining everything, and myself, a limp, ragged, shoeless wretch, complete the group, and our heaps of saddles, blankets, spurs, and gear tell of real travelling, past and future. It is a most picturesque sight by the light of the flickering fire, and the fire which is unquenchable burns without.

About 300 yards off there is a sulphur steam vapour-bath, highly recommended by the host as a panacea for the woeful aches, pains, and stiffness produced by the six-mile scramble through the crater, and I groaned and limped down to it: but it is a truly spasmodic arrangement, singularly independent of human control, and I have not the slightest doubt that the reason why Mr. Gilman obligingly remained in the vicinity was, lest I should be scalded or blown to atoms by a sudden freak of Kilauea, though I don't see that he was capable of preventing either catastrophe! A slight grass shed has been built over a sulphur steam crack, and within this there is a deep box with a sliding lid and a hole for the throat, and the victim is supposed to sit in this and be steamed. But on this occasion the temperature was so high, that my hand, which I unwisely experimented upon, was immediately peeled. In order not to wound Mr. Gilman's feelings, which are evidently sensitive on the subject of this irresponsible contrivance, I remained the prescribed time within the shed, and then managed to limp a little less, and go with him to what are called the Sulphur Banks, on which sulphurous vapour is perpetually depositing the most exquisite acicular sulphur crystals; these, as they aggregate, take entrancing forms, like the featherwork produced by the "frost-fall" in Colorado, but, like it, they perish with a touch, and can only be seen in the wonderful laboratory where they are formed.

In addition to the natives before mentioned, there is an old man here who has been a bullock-hunter on Hawaii for forty years, and knows the island thoroughly. In common with all the residents I have seen, he takes an intense interest in volcanic phenomena, and has just been giving us a thrilling account of the great eruption in 1868, when beautiful Hilo was threatened with destruction. Three weeks ago, he says, a profound hush fell on Kilauea, and the summit crater of Mauna Loa became active, and amidst throbbings, rumblings, and earthquakes, broke into such magnificence that the light was visible 100 miles at sea, a burning mountain 13,750 feet high! The fires after two days died out as suddenly, and from here we can see the great dome-like top, snow-capped under the stars, serene in an eternal winter. I.L.B.



My plans are quite overturned. I was to have ridden with the native mail-carrier to the north of the island to take the steamer for Honolulu, but there are freshets in the gulches on the road, making the ride unsafe. There is no steamer from Hilo for three weeks, and in the meantime Mr. and Mrs. S. have kindly consented to receive me as a boarder; and I find the people, scenery, and life so charming, that I only regret my detention on Mrs. Dexter's account. I am already rested from the great volcano trip.

We left Kilauea at seven in the morning of the 1st Feb. in a pouring rain. The natives decorated us with leis of turquoise and coral berries, and of crimson and yellow ohia blossoms. The saddles were wet, the crater was blotted out by mist, water dripped from the trees, we splashed through pools in the rocks, the horses plunged into mud up to their knees, and the drip, drip, of vertical, earnest, tepid, tropical rain accompanied us nearly to Hilo. Upa and Miss K. held umbrellas the whole way, but I required both hands for holding on to the horse whenever he chose to gallop. As soon as we left the crater-house Upa started over the grass at full speed, my horse of course followed, and my feet being jerked out of the stirrups, I found myself ignominiously sitting on the animal's back behind the saddle, and nearly slid over his tail, before, by skilful efforts, I managed to scramble over the peak back again, when I held on by horn and mane until the others stopped. Happily I was last, and I don't think they saw me. Upa amused me very much on the way; he insists that I am "a high chief." He said a good deal about Queen Victoria, whose virtues seem well known here: "Good Queen make good people," he said, "English very good!" He asked me how many chiefs we had, and supposing him to mean hereditary peers, I replied, over 500. "Too many, too many!" he answered emphatically— "too much chief eat up people!" He asked me if all people were good in England, and I was sorry to tell him that this was very far from being the case. He was incredulous, or seemed so out of flattery, and said, "You good Queen, you Bible long time, you good!" I was surprised to find how much he knew of European politics, of the liberation of Italy, and the Franco-German war. He expressed a most orthodox horror of the Pope, who, he said, he knew from his Bible was the "Beast!" He said, "I bring band and serenade for good Queen sake," but this has not come off yet.

We straggled into Hilo just at dusk, thoroughly wet, jaded, and satisfied, but half-starved, for the rain had converted that which should have been our lunch into a brownish pulp of bread and newspaper, and we had subsisted only on some half-ripe guavas. After the black desolation of Kilauea, I realized more fully the beauty of Hilo, as it appeared in the gloaming. The rain had ceased, cool breezes rustled through the palm-groves and sighed through the funereal foliage of the pandanus. Under thick canopies of the glossy breadfruit and banana, groups of natives were twining garlands of roses and ohia blossoms. The lights of happy foreign homes flashed from under verandahs festooned with passion-flowers, and the low chant, to me nearly intolerable, but which the natives love, mingled with the ceaseless moaning of the surf and the sighing of the breeze through the trees, and a heavy fragrance, unlike the faint sweet odours of the north, filled the evening air. It was delicious.

I suffered intensely from pain and stiffness, and was induced to try a true Hawaiian remedy, which is not only regarded as a cure for all physical ills, but as the greatest of physical luxuries; i.e. lomi- lomi. This is a compound of pinching, pounding, and squeezing, and Moi Moi, the fine old Hawaiian nurse in this family, is an adept in the art. She found out by instinct which were the most painful muscles, and subjected them to a doubly severe pounding, laughing heartily at my groans. However, I must admit that my arms and shoulders were almost altogether relieved before the lomi-lomi was finished. The first act of courtesy to a stranger in a native house is this, and it is varied in many ways. Now and then the patient lies face downwards, and children execute a sort of dance upon his spine. {95} Formerly, the chiefs, when not engaged in active pursuits, exacted lomi-lomi as a constant service from their followers.

A number of Hilo folk came in during the evening to inquire how we had sped, and for news of the volcano. I think the proximity of Kilauea gives sublimity to Hilo, and helps to lift conversation out of common-place ruts. It is no far-off spectacle, but an immediate source of wonder and apprehension, for it rocks the village with earthquakes, and renders the construction of stone houses and plastered ceilings impossible. It rolls vast tidal waves with infinite destruction on the coast, and of late years its fiery overflowings have twice threatened this paradise with annihilation. Then there is the dead volcano of Mauna Loa, from whose resurrection anything may be feared. Even last night a false rumour that a light was to be seen on its summit brought everyone out, but it was only an increased glare from the pit of Hale-mau-mau. It is most interesting to be in a region of such splendid possibilities. I.L.B.



The white population here, which constitutes "society," is very small. There are two venerable missionaries "Father Coan" and "Father Lyman," the former pastor of a large native congregation, which, though much shrunken, is not only self-sustaining, but contributes $1200 a year to foreign missions, and the latter, though very old and frail, the indefatigable head of an industrial school for native young men. Their houses combine the trimness of New England, with the luxuriance of the tropics; they are cool retreats, embowered among breadfruit, tamarind, and bamboo, through whose graceful leafage the blue waters of the bay are visible. Innumerable exotics are domesticated round these fair homesteads. Two of "Father Lyman's" sons are influential residents, one being the Lieutenant-Governor of the island. Other sons of former missionaries are settled here in business, and there are a few strangers who have been attracted hither. Dr. Wetmore, formerly of the mission, is a typical New Englander of the old orthodox school. It is pleasant to see him brighten into almost youthful enthusiasm on the subject of Hawaiian ferns. My host, a genial, social, intelligent American, is sheriff of Hawaii, postmaster, etc., and with his charming wife (a missionary's daughter), and some friends who live with them, make their large house a centre of kindliness, friendliness, and hospitality. Mr. Thompson, pastor of the foreign church, is a man of very liberal culture, as well as wide sympathies. The lady principal of the Government school is a handsome, talented Vermont girl, and besides being an immense favourite, well deserves her unusual and lucrative position.

There are hardly any young ladies, and very few young men, but plenty of rosy, blooming children, who run about barefoot all the year. Besides the Hilo residents, there are some planters' families within seven miles, who come in to sewing circles, church, etc. There is a small class of reprobate white men who have ostracized themselves by means of drink and bad morals, and are a curse to the natives. The half whites, among whom "Bill Ragsdale" is the leading spirit, are not numerous. Hilo has no carriage roads and no carriages: every one must ride or travel in a litter. People are very kind to each other. Horses, dresses, patterns, books, and articles of domestic use, are lent and borrowed continually. The smallness of the society and the close proximity are too much like a ship. People know everything about the details of each other's daily life, income, and expenditure, and the day's doings of each member of the little circle are matters for conversation. Indeed, were it not for the volcano and its doings, conversation might degenerate into gossip. There is an immense deal of personal talk; the wonder is that there is so little ill-nature. Not only is what everybody does here common property, but the sayings, doings, goings, comings, and purchases of every one in all the other islands are common property also, made so by letters and oral communication. It is all very amusing, and on the whole very kindly, and human interests are always interesting; but it has its perilous side. They are very kind to each other. There is no distress which is not alleviated. There is no nurse, and in cases of sickness the ladies take it by turns to wait on the sufferer by day and night for weeks, and even months. Such inevitable mutual dependence of course promotes friendliness.

The foreigners live very simply. The eating-rooms are used solely for eating, the "parlours" are always cheerful and tasteful, and the bedrooms very pretty, adorned with all manner of knick-knacks made by the ladies, who are indescribably deft with their fingers. Light Manilla matting is used instead of carpets. A Chinese man-cook, who leaves at seven in the evening, is the only servant, except in one or two cases, where, as here, a native woman condescends to come in during the day as a nurse. In the morning the ladies, in their fresh pretty wrappers and ruffled white aprons, sweep and dust the rooms, and I never saw women look more truly graceful and refined than they do, when engaged in the plain prose of these domestic duties. They make all their own dresses, and when any lady is busy and wants a dress in a hurry, two or three of them meet and make it for her. I never saw people live such easy pleasant lives. They have such good health, for one thing, partly no doubt because their domestic duties give them wholesome exercise without pressing upon them. They have abounding leisure for reading, music, choir practising, drawing, fern-printing, fancy work, picnics, riding parties, and enjoy sociability thoroughly. They usually ride in dainty bloomer costumes, even when they don't ride astride. All the houses are pretty, and it takes little to make them so in this climate. One novel fashion is to decorate the walls with festoons of the beautiful fern Microlepia tenuifolia, which are renewed as soon as they fade, and every room is adorned with a profusion of bouquets, which are easily obtained where flowers bloom all the year. Many of the residents possess valuable libraries, and these, with cabinets of minerals, volcanic specimens, shells, and coral, with weapons, calabashes, ornaments, and cloth of native manufacture, almost furnish a room in themselves. Some of the volcanic specimens and the coral are of almost inestimable value, as well as of exquisite beauty.

The gentlemen don't seem to have near so much occupation as the ladies. There are two stores on the beach, and at these and at the Court-house they aggregate, for lack of club-house and exchange. Business is not here a synonym for hurry, and official duties are light; so light, that in these morning hours I see the governor, the sheriff, and the judge, with three other gentlemen, playing an interminable croquet game on the Court-house lawn. They purvey gossip for the ladies, and how much they invent, and how much they only circulate can never be known!

There is a large native population in the village, along the beach, and on the heights above the Wailuku River. Frame houses with lattices, and grass houses with deep verandahs, peep out everywhere from among the mangoes and bananas. The governess of Hawaii, the Princess Keelikalani, has a house on the beach shaded by a large umbrella-tree and a magnificent clump of bamboos, 70 feet in height. The native life with which one comes constantly in contact, is very interesting.

The men do whatever hard work is done in cultivating the kalo patches and pounding the kalo. Thus kalo, the Arum esculentum, forms the national diet. A Hawaiian could not exist without his calabash of poi. The root is an object of the tenderest solicitude, from the day it is planted until the hour when it is lovingly eaten. The eating of poi seems a ceremony of profound meaning; it is like the eating salt with an Arab, or a Masonic sign. The kalo root is an ovate oblong, as bulky as a Californian beet, and it has large leaves, shaped like a broad arrow, of a singularly bright green. The best kinds grow entirely in water. The patch is embanked and frequently inundated, and each plant grows on a small hillock of puddled earth. The cutting from which it grows is simply the top of the plant, with a little of the tuber. The men stand up to their knees in water while cultivating the root. It is excellent when boiled and sliced; but the preparation of poi is an elaborate process. The roots are baked in an underground oven, and are then laid on a slightly hollowed board, and beaten with a stone pestle. It is hard work, and the men don't wear any clothes while engaged in it. It is not a pleasant-looking operation. They often dip their hands in a calabash of water to aid them in removing the sticky mass, and they always look hot and tired. When it is removed from the board into large calabashes, it is reduced to paste by the addition of water, and set aside for two or three days to ferment. When ready for use it is either lilac or pink, and tastes like sour bookbinders' paste. Before water is added, when it is in its dry state, it is called paiai, or hard food, and is then packed in ti leaves in 20 lb. bundles for inland carriage, and is exported to the Guano Islands. It is a prolific and nutritious plant. It is estimated that forty square feet will support an Hawaiian for a year.

The melon and kalo patches represent a certain amount of spasmodic industry, but in most other things the natives take no thought for the morrow. Why should they indeed? For while they lie basking in the sun, without care of theirs, the cocoanut, the breadfruit, the yam, the guava, the banana, and the delicious papaya, which is a compound of a ripe apricot with a Cantaloupe melon, grow and ripen perpetually. Men and women are always amusing themselves, the men with surf-bathing, the women with making leis—both sexes with riding, gossiping, and singing. Every man and woman, almost every child, has a horse. There is a perfect plague of badly bred, badly developed, weedy looking animals. The beach and the pleasant lawn above it are always covered with men and women riding at a gallop, with bare feet, and stirrups tucked between the toes. To walk even 200 yards seems considered a degradation. The people meet outside each others' houses all day long, and sit in picturesque groups on their mats, singing, laughing, talking, and quizzing the haoles, as if the primal curse had never fallen. Pleasant sights of out-door cooking gregariously carried on greet one everywhere. This style of cooking prevails all over Polynesia. A hole in the ground is lined with stones, wood is burned within it, and when the rude oven has been sufficiently heated, the pig, chicken, breadfruit, or kalo, wrapped in ti leaves is put in, a little water is thrown on, and the whole is covered up. It is a slow but sure process.

Bright dresses, bright eyes, bright sunshine, music, dancing, a life without care, and a climate without asperities, make up the sunny side of native life as pictured at Hilo. But there are dark moral shadows, the population is shrinking away, and rumours of leprosy are afloat, so that some of these fair homes may be desolate ere long. However many causes for regret exist, one must not forget that only forty years ago the people inhabiting this strip of land between the volcanic wilderness and the sea were a vicious, sensual, shameless herd, that no man among them, except their chiefs, had any rights, that they were harried and oppressed almost to death, and had no consciousness of any moral obligations. Now, order and external decorum at least, prevail. There is not a locked door in Hilo, and nobody makes anybody else afraid.

The people of Hawaii-nei are clothed and civilized in their habits; they have equal rights; 6,500 of them have kuleanas or freeholds, equable and enlightened laws are impartially administered; wrong and oppression are unknown; they enjoy one of the best administered governments in the world; education is universal, and the throne is occupied by a liberal sovereign of their own race and election.

Few of them speak English. Their language is so easy that most of the foreigners acquire it readily. You know how stupid I am about languages, yet I have already picked up the names of most common things. There are only twelve letters, but some of these are made to do double duty, as K is also T, and L is also R. The most northern island of the group, Kauai, is as often pronounced as if it began with a T, and Kalo is usually Taro. It is a very musical language. Each syllable and word ends with a vowel, and there are none of our rasping and sibilant consonants. In their soft phraseology our hard rough surnames undergo a metamorphosis, as Fisk into Filikina, Wilson into Wilikina. Each vowel is distinctly pronounced, and usually with the Italian sound. The volcano is pronounced as if spelt Keel-ah-wee-ah, and Kauai as if Kah-wye-ee. The name Owhyhee for Hawaii had its origin in a mistake, for the island was never anything but Hawaii, pronounced Hah-wye-ee, but Captain Cook mistook the prefix O, which is the sign of the nominative case, for a part of the word. Many of the names of places, specially of those compounded with wai, water, are very musical; Wailuku, "water of destruction;" Waialeale, "rippling water;" Waioli, "singing water;" Waipio, "vanquished water;" Kaiwaihae, "torn water." Mauna, "mountain," is a mere prefix, and though always used in naming the two giants of the Pacific, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa, is hardly ever applied to Hualalai, "the offspring of the shining sun;" or to Haleakala on Maui, "the house of the sun."

I notice that the foreigners never use the English or botanical names of trees or plants, but speak of ohias, ohelos, kukui (candle- nut), lauhala (pandanus), pulu (tree fern), mamane, koa, etc. There is one native word in such universal use that I already find I cannot get on without it, pilikia. It means anything, from a downright trouble to a slight difficulty or entanglement. "I'm in a pilikia," or "very pilikia," or "pilikia!" A revolution would be "a pilikia." The fact of the late king dying without naming a successor was pre-eminently a pilikia, and it would be a serious pilikia if a horse were to lose a shoe on the way to Kilauea. Hou- hou, meaning "in a huff," I hear on all sides; and two words, makai, signifying "on the sea-side," and mauka, "on the mountain side." These terms are perfectly intelligible out of doors, but it is puzzling when one is asked to sit on "the mauka side of the table." The word aloha, in foreign use, has taken the place of every English equivalent. It is a greeting, a farewell, thanks, love, goodwill. Aloha looks at you from tidies and illuminations, it meets you on the roads and at house-doors, it is conveyed to you in letters, the air is full of it. "My aloha to you," "he sends you his aloha," "they desire their aloha." It already represents to me all of kindness and goodwill that language can express, and the convenience of it as compared with other phrases is, that it means exactly what the receiver understands it to mean, and consequently, in all cases can be conveyed by a third person. There is no word for "thank you." Maikai "good," is often useful in its place, and smiles supply the rest. There are no words which express "gratitude" or "chastity," or some others of the virtues; and they have no word for "weather," that which we understand by "weather" being absolutely unknown.

Natives have no surnames. Our volcano guide is Upa, or Scissors, but his wife and children are anything else. The late king was Kamehameha, or the "lonely one." The father of the present king is called Kanaina, but the king's name is Lunalilo, or "above all." Nor does it appear that a man is always known by the same name, nor that a name necessarily indicates the sex of its possessor. Thus, in signing a paper the signature would be Hoapili kanaka, or Hoapili wahine, according as the signer was man or woman. I remember that in my first letter I fell into the vulgarism, initiated by the whaling crews, of calling the natives Kanakas. This is universally but very absurdly done, as Kanaka simply means man. If an Hawaiian word is absolutely necessary, we might translate native and have maole, pronounced maori, like that of the New Zealand aborigines. Kanaka is to me decidedly objectionable, as conveying the idea of canaille.

I had written thus far when Mr. Severance came in to say that a grand display of the national sport of surf-bathing was going on, and a large party of us went down to the beach for two hours to enjoy it. It is really a most exciting pastime, and in a rough sea requires immense nerve. The surf-board is a tough plank shaped like a coffin lid, about two feet broad, and from six to nine feet long, well oiled and cared for. It is usually made of the erythrina, or the breadfruit tree. The surf was very heavy and favourable, and legions of natives were swimming and splashing in the sea, though not more than forty had their Papa-he-nalu, or "wave sliding boards," with them. The men, dressed only in malos, carrying their boards under their arms, waded out from some rocks on which the sea was breaking, and, pushing their boards before them, swam out to the first line of breakers, and then diving down were seen no more till they re-appeared as a number of black heads bobbing about like corks in smooth water half a mile from shore.

What they seek is a very high roller, on the top of which they leap from behind, lying face downwards on their boards. As the wave speeds on, and the bottom strikes the ground, the top breaks into a huge comber. The swimmers but appeared posing themselves on its highest edge by dexterous movements of their hands and feet, keeping just at the top of the curl, but always apparently coming down hill with a slanting motion. So they rode in majestically, always just ahead of the breaker, carried shorewards by its mighty impulse at the rate of forty miles an hour, yet seeming to have a volition of their own, as the more daring riders knelt and even stood on their surf-boards, waving their arms and uttering exultant cries. They were always apparently on the verge of engulfment by the fierce breaker whose towering white crest was ever above and just behind them, but just as one expected to see them dashed to pieces, they either waded quietly ashore, or sliding off their boards, dived under the surf, taking advantage of the undertow, and were next seen far out at sea, preparing for fresh exploits.

The great art seems to be to mount the roller precisely at the right time, and to keep exactly on its curl just before it breaks. Two or three athletes, who stood erect on their boards as they swept exultingly shorewards, were received with ringing cheers by the crowd. Many of the less expert failed to throw themselves on the crest, and slid back into smooth water, or were caught in the combers which were fully ten feet high, and after being rolled over and over, ignominiously disappeared amidst roars of laughter, and shouts from the shore. At first I held my breath in terror, thinking the creatures were smothered or dashed to pieces, and then in a few seconds I saw the dark heads of the objects of my anxiety bobbing about behind the rollers waiting for another chance. The shore was thronged with spectators, and the presence of the elite of Hilo stimulated the swimmers to wonderful exploits.

These people are truly amphibious. Both sexes seem to swim by nature, and the children riot in the waves from their infancy. They dive apparently by a mere effort of the will. In the deep basin of the Wailuku River, a little below the Falls, the maidens swim, float, and dive with garlands of flowers round their heads and throats. The more furious and agitated the water is, the greater the excitement, and the love of these watery exploits is not confined to the young. I saw great fat men with their hair streaked with grey, balancing themselves on their narrow surf-boards, and riding the surges shorewards with as much enjoyment as if they were in their first youth. I enjoyed the afternoon thoroughly.

Is it "always afternoon" here, I wonder? The sea was so blue, the sunlight so soft, the air so sweet. There was no toil, clang, or hurry. People were all holidaymaking (if that can be where there is no work), and enjoying themselves, the surf-bathers in the sea, and hundreds of gaily-dressed men and women galloping on the beach. It was so serene and tropical. I sympathize with those who eat the lotus, and remain for ever on such enchanted shores.

I am gaining health daily, and almost live in the open air. I have hired the native policeman's horse and saddle, and with a Macgregor flannel riding costume, which my kind friends have made for me, and a pair of jingling Mexican spurs am quite Hawaiianised. I ride alone once or twice a day exploring the neighbourhood, finding some new fern or flower daily, and abandon myself wholly to the fascination of this new existence. I.L.B.



Mrs. A. has been ill for some time, and Mrs. S. her sister and another friend "plotted" in a very "clandestine" manner that I should come here for a few days in order to give her "a little change of society," but I am quite sure that under this they only veil a kind wish that I should see something of plantation life. There is a plan, too, that I should take a five days' trip to a remarkable valley called Waipio, but this is only a "castle in the air."

Mr. A. sent in for me a capital little lean rat of a horse which by dint of spirit and activity managed to keep within sight of two large horses, ridden by Mr. Thompson, and a very handsome young lady riding "cavalier fashion," who convoyed me out. Borrowed saddle- bags, and a couple of shingles for carrying ferns formed my outfit, and were carried behind my saddle. It is a magnificent ride here. The track crosses the deep, still, Wailuku River on a wooden bridge, and then after winding up a steep hill, among native houses fantastically situated, hangs on the verge of the lofty precipices which descend perpendicularly to the sea, dips into tremendous gulches, loses itself in the bright fern-fringed torrents which have cleft their way down from the mountains, and at last emerges on the delicious height on which this house is built.

This coast looked beautiful from the deck of the Kilauea, but I am now convinced that I have never seen anything so perfectly lovely as it is when one is actually among its details. Onomea is 600 feet high, and every yard of the ascent from Hilo brings one into a fresher and purer air. One looks up the wooded, broken slopes to a wild volcanic wilderness and the snowy peaks of Mauna Kea on one side, and on the other down upon the calm blue Pacific, wrinkled by the sweet trade-wind, till it blends in far-off loveliness with the still, blue, sky; and heavy surges break on the reefs, and fritter themselves away on the rocks, tossing their pure foam over ti and lauhala trees, and the exquisite ferns and trailers which mantle the cliffs down to the water's edge. Here a native house stands, with passion-flowers clustering round its verandah, and the great solitary red blossoms of the hibiscus flaming out from dark surrounding leafage, and women in rose and green holukus, weaving garlands, greet us with "Aloha" as we pass. Then we come upon a whole cluster of grass houses under lauhalas and bananas. Then there is the sugar plantation of Kaiwiki, with its patches of bright green cane, its flumes crossing the track above our heads, bringing the cane down from the upland cane-fields to the crushing-mill, and the shifting, busy scenes of the sugar-boiling season.

Then the track goes down with a great dip, along which we slip and slide in the mud to a deep broad stream. This is a most picturesque spot, the junction of two clear bright rivers, and a few native houses and a Chinaman's store are grouped close by under some palms, with the customary loungers on horseback, asking and receiving nuhou, or news, at the doors. Our accustomed horses leaped into a ferry-scow provided by Government, worked by a bearded female of hideous aspect, and leaped out on the other side to climb a track cut on the side of a precipice, which would be steep to mount on one's own feet. There we met parties of natives, all flower- wreathed, talking and singing, coming gaily down on their sure- footed horses, saluting us with the invariable "Aloha." Every now and then we passed native churches, with spires painted white, or a native schoolhouse, or a group of scholars all ferns and flowers. The greenness of the vegetation merits the term "dazzling." We think England green, but its colour is poor and pale as compared with that of tropical Hawaii. Palms, candlenuts, ohias, hibiscus, were it not for their exceeding beauty, would almost pall upon one from their abundance, and each gulch has its glorious entanglement of breadfruit, the large-leaved ohia, or native apple, a species of Eugenia (Eugenia Malaccensis), and the pandanus, with its aerial roots, all looped together by large sky-blue convolvuli and the running fern, and is marvellous with parasitic growths.

The distracting beauty of this coast is what are called gulches— narrow deep ravines or gorges, from 100 to 2,000 feet in depth, each with a series of cascades from 10 to 1,800 feet in height. I dislike reducing their glories to the baldness of figures, but the depth of these clefts (originally, probably, the seams caused by fire torrents), cut and worn by the fierce streams fed by the snows of Mauna Kea, and the rains of the forest belt, cannot otherwise be expressed. The cascades are most truly beautiful, gleaming white among the dark depths of foliage far away, and falling into deep limpid basins, festooned and overhung with the richest and greenest vegetation of this prolific climate, from the huge-leaved banana and shining breadfruit to the most feathery of ferns and lycopodiums. Each gulch opens on a velvet lawn close to the sea, and most of them have space for a few grass houses, with cocoanut trees, bananas, and kalo patches. There are sixty-nine of these extraordinary chasms within a distance of thirty miles!

I think we came through eleven, fording the streams in all but two. The descent into some of them is quite alarming. You go down almost standing in your stirrups, at a right angle with the horse's head, and up, grasping his mane to prevent the saddle slipping. He goes down like a goat, with his bare feet, looking cautiously at each step, sometimes putting out a foot and withdrawing it again in favour of better footing, and sometimes gathering his four feet under him and sliding or jumping. The Mexican saddle has great advantages on these tracks, which are nothing better than ledges cut on the sides of precipices, for one goes up and down not only in perfect security but without fatigue. I am beginning to hope that I am not too old, as I feared I was, to learn a new mode of riding, for my companions rode at full speed over places where I should have picked my way carefully at a foot's pace; and my horse followed them, galloping and stopping short at their pleasure, and I successfully kept my seat, though not without occasional fears of an ignominious downfall. I even wish that you could see me in my Rob Roy riding dress, with leather belt and pouch, a lei of the orange seeds of the pandanus round my throat, jingling Mexican spurs, blue saddle blanket, and Rob Roy blanket strapped on behind the saddle!

This place is grandly situated 600 feet above a deep cove, into which two beautiful gulches of great size run, with heavy cascades, finer than Foyers at its best, and a native village is picturesquely situated between the two. The great white rollers, whiter by contrast with the dark deep water, come into the gulch just where we forded the river, and from the ford a passable road made for hauling sugar ascends to the house. The air is something absolutely delicious; and the murmur of the rollers and the deep boom of the cascades are very soothing. There is little rise or fall in the cadence of the surf anywhere on the windward coast, but one even sound, loud or soft, like that made by a train in a tunnel.

We were kindly welcomed, and were at once "made at home." Delicious phrase! the full meaning of which I am learning on Hawaii, where, though everything has the fascination of novelty, I have ceased to feel myself a stranger. This is a roomy, rambling frame-house, with a verandah, and the door, as is usual here, opens directly into the sitting-room. The stair by which I go to my room suggests possibilities, for it has been removed three inches from the wall by an earthquake, which also brought down the tall chimney of the boiling-house. Close by there are small pretty frame-houses for the overseer, bookkeeper, sugar boiler, and machinist; a store, the factory, a pretty native church near the edge of the cliff, and quite a large native village below. It looks green and bright, and the atmosphere is perfect, with the cool air coming down from the mountains, and a soft breeze coming up from the blue dreamy ocean. Behind the house the uplands slope away to the colossal Mauna Kea. The actual, dense, impenetrable forest does not begin for a mile and a half from the coast, and its broad dark belt, extending to a height of 4,000 feet, and beautifully broken, throws out into greater brightness the upward glades of grass and the fields of sugar-cane.

This is a very busy season, and as this is a large plantation there is an appearance of great animation. There are five or six saddled horses usually tethered below the house; and with overseers, white and coloured, and natives riding at full gallop, and people coming on all sorts of errands, the hum of the crushing-mill, the rush of water in the flumes, and the grind of the waggons carrying cane, there is no end of stir.

The plantations in the Hilo district enjoy special advantages, for by turning some of the innumerable mountain streams into flumes the owners can bring a great part of their cane and all their wood for fuel down to the mills without other expense than the original cost of the woodwork. Mr. A. has 100 mules, but the greater part of their work is ploughing and hauling the kegs of sugar down to the cove, where in favourable weather they are put on board of a schooner for Honolulu. This plantation employs 185 hands, native and Chinese, and turns out 600 tons of sugar a year. The natives are much liked as labourers, being docile and on the whole willing; but native labour is hard to get, as the natives do not like to work for a term unless obliged, and a pernicious system of "advances" is practised. The labourers hire themselves to the planters, in the case of natives usually for a year, by a contract which has to be signed before a notary public. The wages are about eight dollars a month with food, or eleven dollars without food, and the planters supply houses and medical attendance. The Chinese are imported as coolies, and usually contract to work for five years. As a matter of policy no less than of humanity the "hands" are well treated; for if a single instance of injustice were perpetrated on a plantation the factory might stand still the next year, for hardly a native would contract to serve again.

The Chinese are quiet and industrious, but smoke opium, and are much addicted to gaming. Many of them save money, and, when their turn of service is over, set up stores, or grow vegetables for money. Each man employed has his horse, and on Saturday the hands form quite a cavalcade. Great tact, firmness, and knowledge of human nature are required in the manager of a plantation. The natives are at times disposed to shirk work without sufficient cause; the native lunas, or overseers, are not always reasonable, the Chinamen and natives do not always agree, and quarrels and entanglements arise, and everything is referred to the decision of the manager, who, besides all things else, must know the exact amount of work which ought to be performed, both in the fields and factory, and see that it is done. Mr. A. is a keen, shrewd man of business, kind without being weak, and with an eye on every detail of his plantations. The requirements are endless. It reminds me very much of plantation life in Georgia in the old days of slavery. I never elsewhere heard of so many headaches, sore hands, and other trifling ailments. It is very amusing to see the attempts which the would-be invalids make to lengthen their brief smiling faces into lugubriousness, and the sudden relaxation into naturalness when they are allowed a holiday. Mr. A. comes into the house constantly to consult his wife regarding the treatment of different ailments.

I have made a second tour through the factory, and am rather disgusted with sugar making. "All's well that ends well," however, and the delicate crystalline result makes one forget the initial stages of the manufacture. The cane, stripped of its leaves, passes from the flumes under the rollers of the crushing-mill, where it is subjected to a pressure of five or six tons. One hundred pounds of cane under this process yield up from sixty-five to seventy-five pounds of juice. This juice passes, as a pale green cataract, into a trough, which conducts it into a vat, where it is dosed with quicklime to neutralize its acid, and is then run off into large heated metal vessels. At this stage the smell is abominable, and the turbid fluid, with a thick scum upon it, is simply disgusting. After a preliminary heating and skimming it is passed off into iron pans, several in a row, and boiled and skimmed, and ladled from one to the other till it reaches the last, which is nearest to the fire, and there it boils with the greatest violence, seething and foaming, bringing all the remaining scum to the surface. After the concentration has proceeded far enough, the action of the heat is suspended, and the reddish-brown, oily-looking liquid is drawn into the vacuum-pan till it is about a third full; the concentration is completed by boiling the juice in vacuo at a temperature of 150 degrees, and even lower. As the boiling proceeds, the sugar boiler tests the contents of the pan by withdrawing a few drops, and holding them up to the light on his finger; and, by certain minute changes in their condition, he judges when it is time to add an additional quantity. When the pan is full, the contents have thickened into the consistency of thick gruel by the formation of minute crystals, and are then allowed to descend into an heater, where they are kept warm till they can be run into "forms" or tanks, where they are allowed to granulate. The liquid, or molasses, which remains after the first crystallization is returned to the vacuum pan and reboiled, and this reboiling of the drainings is repeated two or three times, with a gradually decreasing result in the quality and quantity of the sugar. The last process, which is used for getting rid of the treacle, is a most beautiful one. The mass of sugar and treacle is put into what are called "centrifugal pans," which are drums about three feet in diameter and two feet high, which make about 1,000 revolutions a minute. These have false interiors of wire gauze, and the mass is forced violently against their sides by centrifugal action, and they let the treacle whirl through, and retain the sugar crystals, which lie in a dry heap in the centre.

The cane is being flumed in with great rapidity, and the factory is working till late at night. The cane from which the juice has been expressed, called "trash," is dried and used as fuel for the furnace which supplies the steam power. The sugar is packed in kegs, and a cooper and carpenter, as well as other mechanics, are employed.

Sugar is now the great interest of the islands. Christian missions and whaling have had their day, and now people talk sugar. Hawaii thrills to the news of a cent up or a cent down in the American market. All the interests of the kingdom are threatened by this one, which, because it is grievously depressed and staggers under a heavy import duty in the American market, is now clamorous in some quarters for "annexation," and in others for a "reciprocity treaty," which last means the cession of the Pearl River lagoon on Oahu, with its adjacent shores, to America, for a Pacific naval station. There are 200,000 acres of productive soil on the islands, of which only a fifteenth is under cultivation, and of this large area 150,000 is said to be specially adapted for sugar culture. Herein is a prospective Utopia, and people are always dreaming of the sugar- growing capacities of the belt of rich disintegrated lava which slopes upwards from the sea to the bases of the mountains. Hitherto, sugar growing has been a very disastrous speculation, and few of the planters at present do more than keep their heads above water.

Were labour plentiful and the duties removed, fortunes might be made; for the soil yields on an average about three times as much as that of the State of Louisiana. Two and a half tons to the acre is a common yield, five tons, a frequent one, and instances are known of the slowly matured cane of a high altitude yielding as much as seven tons! The magnificent climate makes it a very easy crop to grow. There is no brief harvest time with its rush, hurry, and frantic demand for labour, nor frost to render necessary the hasty cutting of an immature crop. The same number of hands is kept on all the year round. The planters can plant pretty much when they please, or not plant at all, for two or three years, the only difference in the latter case being that the rattoons which spring up after the cutting of the former crop are smaller in bulk. They can cut when they please, whether the cane be tasselled or not, and they can plant, cut, and grind at one time!

It is a beautiful crop in any stage of growth, especially in the tasselled stage. Every part of it is useful—the cane pre- eminently—the leaves as food for horses and mules, and the tassels for making hats. Here and elsewhere there is a plate of cut cane always within reach, and the children chew it incessantly. I fear you will be tired of sugar, but I find it more interesting than the wool and mutton of Victoria and New Zealand, and it is a most important item of the wealth of this toy kingdom, which last year exported 16,995,402 lbs. of sugar and 192,105 gallons of molasses. {121} With regard to molasses, the Government prohibits the manufacture of rum, so the planters are deprived of a fruitful source of profit. It is really difficult to tear myself from the subject of sugar, for I see the cane waving in the sun while I write, and hear the busy hum of the crushing-mill. I.L.B.



This is such a pleasant house and household, Mrs. A. is as bright as though she were not an invalid, and her room, except at meals, is the gathering-place of the family. The four boys are bright, intelligent beings, out of doors, barefooted, all day, and with a passion for horses, of which their father possesses about thirty. The youngest, Ephy, is the brightest child for three years old that I ever saw, but absolutely crazy about horses and mules. He talks of little else, and is constantly asking me to draw horses on his slate. He is a merry, audacious little creature, but came in this evening quite subdued. The sun was setting gloriously behind the forest-covered slopes, flooding the violet distances with a haze of gold, and, in a low voice, he said, "I've seen God."

There is the usual Chinese cook, who cooks and waits and looks good- natured, and of course has his own horse, and his wife, a most minute Chinese woman, comes in and attends to the rooms and to Mrs. A., and sews and mends. She wears her native dress—a large, stiff, flat cane hat, like a tray, fastened firmly on or to her head; a scanty loose frock of blue denim down to her knees, wide trousers of the same down to her ancles, and slippers. Her hair is knotted up; she always wears silver armlets, and would not be seen without the hat for anything. There is not a bell in this or any house on the islands, and the bother of servants is hardly known, for the Chinamen do their work like automatons, and disappear at sunset. In a land where there are no carpets, no fires, no dust, no hot water needed, no windows to open and shut—for they are always open—no further service is really required. It is a simple arcadian life, and people live more happily than any that I have seen elsewhere. It is very cheerful to live among people whose faces are not soured by the east wind, or wrinkled by the worrying effort to "keep up appearances," which deceive nobody; who have no formal visiting, but real sociability; who regard the light manual labour of domestic life as a pleasure, not a thing to be ashamed of; who are contented with their circumstances, and have leisure to be kind, cultured, and agreeable; and who live so tastefully, though simply, that they can at any time ask a passing stranger to occupy the simple guest chamber, or share the simple meal, without any of the soul-harassing preparations which often make the exercise of hospitality a thing of terror to people in the same circumstances at home.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse