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- The Hawaiian Archipelago - 40/63 -

Then there are her eldest son, a bachelor, two widowed daughters with six children between them, three of whom are grown up young men, and a tutor, a young Prussian officer, who was on Maximilian's staff up to the time of the Queretaro disaster, and is still suffering from Mexican barbarities. The remaining daughter is married to a Norwegian gentleman, who owns and resides on the next property. So the family is together, and the property is large enough to give scope to the grandchildren as they require it.

They are thoroughly Hawaiianised. The young people all speak Hawaiian as easily as English, and the three young men, who are superb young fellows, about six feet high, not only emulate the natives in feats of horsemanship, such as throwing the lasso, and picking up a coin while going at full gallop, but are surf-board riders, an art which it has been said to be impossible for foreigners to acquire.

The natives on Niihau and in this part of Kauai, call Mrs. --- "Mama." Their rent seems to consist in giving one or more days' service in a month, so it is a revival of the old feudality. In order to patronise native labour, my hosts dispense with a Chinese, and employ a native cook, and native women come in and profess to do some of the housework, but it is a very troublesome arrangement, and ends in the ladies doing all the finer cooking, and superintending the coarser, setting the table, trimming the lamps, cutting out and "fixing" all the needlework, besides planning the indoor and outdoor work which the natives are supposed to do. Having related their proficiency in domestic duties, I must add that they are splendid horsewomen, one of them an excellent shot, and the other has enough practical knowledge of seamanship, as well as navigation, to enable her to take a ship round the world! It is a busy life, owing to the large number of natives daily employed, and the necessity of looking after the native lunas, or overseers. Dr. Smith at Koloa, twenty- two miles off, is the only doctor on the island, and the natives resort to this house in great numbers for advice and medicine in their many ailments. It is much such a life as people lead at Raasay, Applecross, or some other remote Highland place, only that people who come to visit here, unless they ride twenty-two miles, must come to the coast in the Jenny instead of being conveyed by one of David Hutcheson's luxurious steamers. If the Clansman were "put on," probably the great house would not contain the strangers who would arrive!

We were sitting in the library one morning when Mr. M., of Timaru, N.Z., rode up with an introduction, and was of course cordially welcomed. He goes on to England, where you will doubtless cross- question him concerning my statements. During his visit a large party of us made a delightful expedition to the Hanapepe Falls, one of the "lions" of Kauai. It is often considered too "rough" for ladies, and when Mrs. --- and I said we were going, I saw Mr. M. look as if he thought we should be a dependent nuisance; I was amused afterwards with his surprise at Mrs. ---'s courageous horsemanship, and at his obvious confusion as to whether he should help us, which question he wisely decided in the negative.

If "happiness is atmosphere," we were surely happy. The day was brilliant, and as cool as early June at home, but the sweet, joyous trade-wind could not be brewed elsewhere than on the Pacific. The scenery was glorious, and mountains, trees, frolicsome water, and scarlet birds, all rioted as if in conscious happiness. Existence was a luxury, and reckless riding a mere outcome of the animal spirits of horses and riders, and the thud of the shoeless feet as the horses galloped over the soft grass was sweeter than music. I could hardly hold my horse at all, and down hills as steep as the east side of Arthur's Seat, over knife-like ridges too narrow for two to ride abreast, and along side-tracks only a foot wide, we rode at full gallop, till we pulled up at the top of a descent of 2,000 feet with a broad, rapid river at its feet, emerging from between colossal walls of rock to girdle a natural lawn of the bright manienie grass. There had been a "drive" of horses, and numbers of these, with their picturesque saddles, were picketed there, while their yet more picturesque, scarlet-shirted riders lounged in the sun.

It was a difficult two hours' ride from thence to the Falls, worthy of Hawaii, and since my adventures in the Hilo gulches I cannot cross running water without feeling an amount of nervousness which I can conceal, but cannot reason myself out of. In going and returning, we forded the broad, rugged river twenty-six times, always in water up to my horse's girths, and the bottom was so rocky and full of holes, and the torrent so impetuous, that the animals floundered badly and evidently disliked the whole affair. Once it had been possible to ride along the edge, but the river had torn away what there was of margin in a freshet, so that we had to cross perpetually, to attain the rough, boulder-strewn strips which lay between the cliffs and itself. Sometimes we rode over roundish boulders like those on the top of Ben Cruachan, or like those of the landing at Iona, and most of those under the rush of the bright foaming water were covered with a silky green weed, on which the horses slipped alarmingly. My companions always took the lead, and by the time that each of their horses had struggled, slipped, and floundered in and out of holes, and breasted and leapt up steep banks, I was ready to echo Mr. M.'s exclamation regarding Mrs. ---, "I never saw such riding; I never saw ladies with such nerve." I certainly never saw people encounter such difficulties for the sake of scenery. Generally, a fall would be regarded as practically inaccessible which could only be approached in such a way.

I will not inflict another description of similar scenery upon you, but this, though perhaps exceeding all others in beauty, is not only a type, perhaps the finest type, of a species of canon very common on these islands, but is also so interesting geologically that you must tolerate a very few words upon it.

The valley for two or three miles from the sea is nearly level, very fertile, and walled in by palis 250 feet high, much grooved vertically, and presenting fine layers of conglomerate and grey basalt; and the Hanapepe winds quietly through the region which it fertilises, a stream several hundred feet wide, with a soft, smooth bottom. But four miles inland the bed becomes rugged and declivitous, and the mountain walls close in, forming a most magnificent canon from 1,000 to 2,500 feet deep. Other canons of nearly equal beauty descend to swell the Hanapepe with their clear, cool, tributaries, and there are "meetings of the waters" worthier of verse than those of Avoca. The walls are broken and highly fantastic, narrowing here, receding there, their strangely-arched recesses festooned with the feathery trichomanes, their clustering columns and broken buttresses suggesting some old-world minster, and their stately tiers of columnar basalt rising one above another in barren grey into the far-off blue sky. The river in carving out the gorge so grandly has most energetically removed all rubbish, and even the tributaries of the lateral canons do not accumulate any "wash" in the main bed. The walls as a rule rise clear from the stream, which, besides its lateral tributaries, receives other contributions in the form of waterfalls, which hurl themselves into it from the cliffs in one leap.

After ascending it for four miles all further progress was barred by a pali which curves round from the right, and closes the chasm with a perpendicular wall, over which the Hanapepe precipitates itself from a height of 326 feet, forming the Koula Falls. At the summit is a very fine entablature of curved columnar basalt, resembling the clam shell cave at Staffa, and two high, sharp, and impending peaks on the other side form a stately gateway for a stream which enters from another and broader valley; but it is but one among many small cascades, which round the arc of the falls flash out in foam among the dark foliage, and contribute their tiny warble to the diapason of the waterfall. It rewards one well for penetrating the deep gash which has been made into the earth. It seemed so very far away from all buzzing, frivolous, or vexing things, in the cool, dark abyss into which only the noon-day sun penetrates. All beautiful things which love damp; all exquisite, tender ferns and mosses; all shade- loving parasites flourish there in perennial beauty. And high above in the sunshine, the pea-green candle-nut struggles with the dark ohia for precarious roothold on rocky ledges, and dense masses of Eugenia, aflame with crimson flowers, and bananas, and all the leafy wealth born of heat and damp fill up the clefts which fissure the pali. Every now and then some scarlet tropic bird flashed across the shadow, but it was a very lifeless and a very silent scene. The arches, buttresses, and columns suggest a temple, and the deep tone of the fall is as organ music. It is all beauty, solemnity, and worship.

It was sad to leave it and to think how very few eyes can ever feast themselves on its beauty. We came back again into gladness and sunshine, and to the vulgar necessity of eating, which the natives ministered to by presenting us with a substantial meal of stewed fowls and sweet potatoes at the nearest shanty. There must have been something intoxicating in the air, for we rode wildly and recklessly, galloping down steep hills (which on principle I object to), and putting our horses to their utmost speed. Mine ran off with me several times, and once nearly upset Mr. M.'s horse, as he probably will tell you.

The natives annoy me everywhere by their inhumanity to their horses. To-day I became an object of derision to them for hunting for sow- thistles, and bringing back a large bundle of them to my excellent animal. They starve their horses from mere carelessness or laziness, spur them mercilessly, when the jaded, famished things almost drop from exhaustion, ride them with great sores under the saddles, and with their bodies deeply cut with the rough girths; and though horses are not regarded as more essential in any part of the world, they neglect and maltreat them in every way, and laugh scornfully if one shows any consideration for them. Except for short shopping distances in Honolulu, I have never seen a native man or woman walking. They think walking a degradation, and I have seen men take the trouble to mount horses to go 100 yards.

I have no time to tell you of a three days' expedition which five of us made into the heart of the nearer mountainous district, attended by some mounted natives. Mr. K., from whose house we started, has the finest mango grove on the islands. It is a fine foliaged tree, but is everywhere covered with a black blight, which gives the groves the appearance of being in mourning, as the tough, glutinous film covers all the older leaves. The mango is an exotic fruit, and people think a great deal of it, and send boxes of mangoes as presents to their friends. It is yellow, with a reddish bloom, something like a magnum bonum plum, three times magnified. The only way of eating it in comfort is to have a tub of water beside you. It should be eaten in private by any one who wants to retain the admiration of his friends. It has an immense stone, and a disproportionately small pulp. I think it tastes strongly of turpentine at first, but this is a heresy.

Beyond Waielva and its mango groves there is a very curious sand bank about 60 feet high, formed by wind and currents, and of a steep, uniform angle from top to bottom. It is very coarse sand, composed of shells, coral, and lava. When two handfuls are slapped together, a sound like the barking of a dog ensues, hence its name,

The Hawaiian Archipelago - 40/63

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