« PreviousContinue »
"Life is far better fun than people dream who fall asleep among the chimney stacks and telegraph wires."
HY IT SHOULD be alloted to me to write of Hawaii as a tourist's Paradise is more than I can tell, for every time that I have visited Hawaii has been for me a time of Once the alarums of war were in the air, and I came on a transport as a war correspondent; at another time I was sent to the land of Aloha as a commissioner for the Southern Pacific Company to gather together specimens of all the magnificent hardwoods of the islands, and at no time have I ever visited them as a tourist.
"I will never leave the sea, I think; it is only there that a Briton lives: my poor grandfather, it is from him that I inherit the taste, I fancy, and he was round. many islands in his day; but I, please God, shall beat him at that before the recall is sounded-"
it must be remembered that in order to do justice to a land one must love it, and I do love Hawaii. I found on its shores the only unalloyed hospitality I have ever found in the wide, wide world, and departing left behind the keenest regrets of a long life of globe trotting. There must, indeed, be a wonderful charm in a land, entirely apart from its people, which beckons to you across the intervening years in subtle allurement and calls to you in startling clearness in moments when your mind is receptive to waves of reminiscence. Then again there must be a remarkable tenacity in the love given such a land when, upon recurrent visits, expecting to find mighty changes, not in the physical aspect of town and country so much as in the people themselves, and when knowing one is to be disappointed: that the whole picture has been spoiled, that a jarring rift will be found in the lute, and your imaginings and fond remembrances will find no counterpart in the reality. Then imagine your joy at finding no change, that Hawaii is still Hawaii, that the American, the foreign interloper, has not spoiled it all. To be sure, there are changes, but these are greatest where they have wrought miracles in making humans of the money-grubbing new-comers, in innoculating them with the virus of the isles of the Blessed which will never leave them and which will haunt them wherever they may roam as a scented wind from the gardens of Araby.
Where does the tourist find his desire to roam, and where did the wander-lust spring from originally? Was it at the mother's knee, when lisping tongue and lip
The sunsets of Hawaii are world famed, and the Overland Monthly photographer has caught in black and white a beautiful picture in which it is not difficult to imagine all the delights of a sunset sky. Cocoanut Island near Hilo
first heard of tales of lands of the faraway, of fairies who dwelt in islands so fair as to test the powers of imagination? Or was it later when the boy and girl were at one with the Swiss Family in that mythical island so blessed with all the necessities of man; did it come from reading of the sea and land in books by the more romantic novelists?
Hawaii is the epitome of these dreams of youth. It is a land of perpetual wonder, and everywhere you turn you come upon some strange thing, some scene not known before, some subtle scent of flower, some strange sound so softly sweet it seems to you the birds had never sung before. There are splashes of color, an iridescence of water never seen elsewhere, and everywhere the soft, sad note predominant. It is not a sadness that jars but which comes as part of the picture. It is probably due to the sweet stillness prevailing, to the mild winds and the balm that is in the air. Mayhap the sadness is not there at all, for I have felt it when I have stood face to face with one of
the old heathen gods and heard in the distance born on the moonlit air the soft croonings of an Hawaiian woman to the mellow notes of the ukulele. It was so still that before the singing began I thought I could hear my heart beat and the light of the moon shone on the queer god, perched up among the ferns and a sort of reed grass, near the shores of a lagoon. The romance of the land was upon me, and while I gazed at the inscrutable and grotesque features of the effigy, I seemed to hear the war cries of ancient heroes, the Kamehamehas of old, the Kainas, the warriors who fought and bled on these shores in ancient times. I thought of the Great Conqueror as he drove his enemies over the Pali and brought peace to the land.
It seemed to me that out of all this array of warriors, out of all the magnificence of conflict a poet must be born; some one man who would fashion a crashing ode in heroic lines to tell the deeds of a wonderful people. As I mused, it seemed as though all thought of strife had passed