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Did you say “A woman cannot keep a secret?” I will keep hers. But, let me whisper in your ear that he told her as they entered the carriage, “ That no other gift on earth could have begun to equal it in his eyes, or suited him even half so well.”
ALOHA, HAWAII! ALOHA NUI!
I l This cry can be heard from early to late summer, in and about Honolulu, from the native boys, who tramp from place to place, wherever a mango tree can be seen.
As these trees, when full grown, are as large as oaks, it is not difficult to see them! They are so high no one but a native can climb them, with immense crowns, and fruit enough to feed an army! When the fruit is ripe, it will drop from its own weight, a large one being “as heavy as a stone.” In color they are of a rich, deep green, with a reddish cheek. The skin is thick and smooth, and can be pulled or stripped off, leaving exposed the deep yellow, golden, juicy fruit, which clings tightly to the large, coarse pit, in color of a squash seed. This fruit is in season for several months, beginning in June—for while some on a tree are ripe, others are but just “coming on,” and there is the new leaf to be seen, and the fruit ! It is little used for dessert, as it is a very uncomfortable and awkward fruit to handle. While green it can be made into sauce, and tastes not unlike green apples. When ripe, the proper way to enjoy mangoes, I know, is to take a dozen or more, a big bowl of water and a couple of towels; sit down composedly and complacently, with plenty of time at your elbow, and make a business of it. You can take a bite of one, and if you do not fancy the flavor (for no two are the same), you can try another. And when you have tried them all, while you feel that you have made quite a pig of yourself, you will not have overeaten. They are so juicy, so light, and there is so little food in a single mango. But they are very tempting and delicious! “I'll try one more,” is apt to be the thought. They need to be fresh picked; the fruit of to-day is not so desirable to-morrow. The boys can be seen at 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning, going in and out, to pick up the fruit that has fallen during the night.
In an ordinary sunshiny shower, and there may be twenty in a day, like to a gauze veil in appearance, you would not care much for an umbrella, for now it rains and now it doesn't; and in five minutes, even, a white dress is perfectly dry! The natives, in a rain, run from tree to tree.
Bananas can be had all the year round, and are about as cheap as anything on these islands; two dozen for five cents! The small, apple-flavored banana is a favorite. I doubt if any are exported. It is almost an insult to offer a banana to a native, so little do they care for them, and the foreigner, in a short time, seeks other and more tempting fruit. Limes are often plentiful and cheap.
Oranges (Kona) and alligator pears can always command a good price. The latter are as appetizing as olives. Tamarinds and guavas, again, are very common. The strawberries and melons, together with nearly all the vegetables, excepting cauliflower, celery and Irish potatoes, are raised by the Chinese in great quantities. The best potatoes are from New Zealand. Fresh salmon, poultry, vegetables and fruits are from California, on the arrival of every steamer. Canned, and bottled and sealed food, of all kinds, are imported, together with smoked and dried fish and meats. It is quite easy to keep house in Honolulu; but far harder and more expensive in the outlying districts, or at the other islands. At the same time, all is far more convenient now than a few years since. There are the plantations, the rice swamps, taro patches, Chinese vegetable gardens, pasture for wild cattle; not a farm, a New England farm, for instance, oh! no, but at the Hawaiian Islands, for a surety! “Sugar!” “Sugar!” “Sugar plantation!" is the burden of every human cry, the refrain of every song, in this island kingdom! Yes, Sugar is king indeed in Hawaii, and no one disputes his sway. And money is made in sugar-and sometimes money is lost! There is often a great stretch of country-hill and valley, and pasturage, between the plantations. One can ride for miles over roads and pasturage, and only infrequently past a human habitation. Then it may be a Chinese place, or a native home, here and there; possibly a foreigner's, with a native wife and children.
All Nature will seem as beautiful to you as Paradise-so quiet is it, so peaceful, so warm; the clouds lying low over the hills, the rich valleys, with their hundred shades of green, and the cattle wandering about, with now and then a look at the sea.
The natives are “the soul of hospitality” and kindness—unselfishness, as well. But, unless you went provided, or could eat poi (the native food, and it is an acquired taste), there are places on the Island of Hawaii where you might almost starve before you could get away. Particularly if a long rainstorm came on, and the streams and gulleys were overflowed, and roads and gulches a good deal more than ankle deep in mud, bridges broken down and fords unfordable! while the horse you depended upon had suddenly turned lame! Then, if you did not like poi, if the very thought of it was distasteful to you, you might learn to eat it, and be perfectly willing to accept the dried fish with it. Should you get benighted anywhere on these islands, and come to a native house of one room, the natives will take their mats and lie outside and give you their “castle.” Maybe, in the morning they will find a little tea or coffee, and, making a fire on the ground, for they have a world of skill, will make you as nice a cup as you ever drank, and so unexpected will it be to you that it will taste like ambrosial nectar! They will, perchance, if you notice, unroll a paper which was tucked away, and give you a clean knife, fork and spoon. “There is much in the native” is a proverb, I repeat! Young taro leaves (luau) are as