« AnteriorContinuar »
tween his toes he will weave it so rapidly that in a few minutes he will hold up, for your admiration, a yard in length with not a straggler in the whole line. “Is it good ?” he will ask, and when you exclaim with delight, he will laugh and show you all his white teeth; and they are very white because his skin is very brown—white by contrast !
When the “Good Queen Emma" went to England, lodging in some castle or palace, she awoke the first morning of her stay there, to the fragrance of newmown hay, on the lawn or terrace. “Oh, maile, maile !” she exclaimed with joy to her attendant-but maile has branches and leaves !
It was always her majesty's delight to trim the roodscreen. “Sisters” undertake the altar, matrons the pulpit, and young girls the font. The windows are outlined with palms, the recesses filled in with masses of flowers and ferns, leis (garlands) are hung from pillar to pillar, and the air is filled with the soft, delicious, lulling, dreamy odor, known only to islands in mid-ocean. But, mark! Even before the Christmas bells have ceased their chiming, or the voices of the boys have died on your ears—days before "Twelfth Night” is come, all this must be pulled down and swept out! The flowers and ferns are quickly gone — the palms, even, are drooping, and “decay” is written on every smallest leaf.
“The night before Christmas" you will hear bandmusic and singing, and the natives with their taropatch fiddles, all through and over the town of Honolulu, far up into the outlying valleys, and down to the beach! Children with their trumpets, bells and whistles, their dolls and rocking-horses, are out at and before the break of day!
At a Sunday-school mass meeting held in Metropolitan Temple, San Francisco, just before Christmas, and where were gathered together hundreds of happy little faces, Bishop Nichols, ip addressing them, said he was sure there was one thing that every little girl and boy who was present knew, and that was that Christmas was coming; and he did not doubt that some of them had already written letters and put them up the chimney, telling Santa Claus just what they wanted him not to forget to bring them! He said Santa Claus had a very mysterious and unearthly way of getting over all the tall buildings; he did not understand it; he was quite sure that bishops could not do it!
At the Sandwich Islands everything is made very easy for “His Majesty,” for very few of the houses are of more than one story, and there are no chimneys, and no fire-places, “excepting," as Paddy would say, "in the cook-house, and that is a stove-pipe and a range!" Santa Claus can put all the large presents quietly on the fine, wide verandas, and fill the stockings hanging at the Venetian-blind doors! And he always does that, for he has no end of good sense and knowledge as well; and he knew, ages ago, that all the dear children in the world did not live at the top of the North Pole, where all the snow and ice is made, and where his home is—a beautiful white castle that never melts, even when once in a great while the sun shines !—where all the beds are made of snow, that always keeps white and fluffy—and the chairs, and tables, and pianos look like crystal, with big icicles for legs; and when Santa Claus is at home in the evening, after Christmas is past, and it is lighted for him, to take a little rest, you know, it looks like a big diamond, with all the colors of a splendid rainbow--just like those seen spanning the sky night and morning, during the rainy season on the Sandwich Islands ! Ah! I tell you, "little folks,” Santa Claus' ice palace, and all that region of cold country round about, that you learn of in your geography, is much fairer than even fairest fairy-land! However, as I said, Santa Claus knows very well that all the children do not live at his home-nor in New York and San Francisco, put together. And so he must hang up his big fur coat for an hour or two, when he comes where it is too warm, for he never forgets to come, even one year!
But I forgot to tell you of the very tall chimneys-oh! as tall as a church-steeple at the sugar-mills, on the plantations. The cane is ground, you know, and the juice is boiled. The man who tends this part of the work is called the “sugar boiler," and a very clever man he must be, and watchful and careful, as well, for, if a “boiling” is spoiled, much sugar and money are lost.
As this man is so good as to make the sugar (and very hard, hot work it is), so that the children can
have candy of all kinds (for Christmas, especially), I do hope that Santa Claus will try to get down even this very high chimney, and leave some of his best presents. But I hope, too, that he will recollect that anything made of ice or snow, however refreshing it might seem in that hot mill, would melt, and even turn into steam, in half a minute, and puff out of the open doors and windows, right up into the sky, and become a cloud, and sail off towards the sea! Then the poor sugar-boiler would not be a bit happier for such a Christmas gift! And, again, all through the winter-the rainy season-particularly in December, there are plenty of clouds, and they do not need any more—not even one! But Santa Claus is very wise, and I am quite sure he will know just what to take to the sugar-boiler to give him joy!
There are no hay-fields in Hawaii; but immense tracts of cane, you may be sure—thousands of acres of it, rice swamps, taro-patches and sweet potato fields. There are also “vegetable gardens” belonging to the Chinese; and there is rich and endless pasturage for the herds of wild cattle which supply beef to the merchant vessels, whalers and others. Time was when at Lahaina, on Maui, the former capital, as well as at Honolulu, fleets of whaling vessels, a hundred and fifty at a time, lay in port, discharging their cargoes and receiving supplies. Lahaina is to-day almost a “deserted village,” and the vessels seek other and more convenient ports. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity.”
The “Good Queen Emma," of whom I write, was the patron of the Anglican Church in Hawaii. She was most lovely and amiable in her nature. I once attended a meeting of a society where “rich and poor meet together," and of which she happened, at the time, to be president. We were told that, should her Majesty arrive, she must have the chair, the only decent one in the room, for we were sitting on “forms,” or benches. She came in due time, and was
going to sit just here, by Miss Prescott.” I had never met the lady, and there was no one present at the time to make us acquainted, but it seemed she had the royal gift of “calling names."
I protested, saying, “You will not really be so comfortable on the hard bench, with no back to it." (The English, I must say, seem to have the faculty of doing penance, and making themselves uncomfortable often, even where there is nothing to be gained by it!) “And, further, your Majesty, permit me to say, I am not used to having royalty near to me in my (ain countree'!” “Ah! my dear! am I so very formidable?” she rejoined-thus making me at home by her winning manners 'and true Christian courtesy. Un bienfait n'est jamais perdu.
So you will learn that the Hawaiians are not possessed of nor do not cultivate the extreme reserve of the English nation. And this calls to my mind a caricature. An Oxford student is represented as standing on the brink of a river, greatly agitated at