Honolulu 

Honolulu

THE first great event of the week was a dinner-party at Mr. Wyllie's, the minister of foreign affairs. He is a Scotchman, and wore his official badges: a broad blue band crossing his vest, with the royal coat of arms fastening it together on the hip just below the waist of his dress-coat; also a star on his breast, and two long streamers of crape hanging from his left arm in memory of the young Prince of Hawaii who died last year.

At either end of the dining-hall hung three banners from a standard,—his Scottish manorial flags, I presume; they gave a showy look to the room. On the center of the table was a magnificent standard of silver with a lovely bouquet of flowers. When the dessert was brought in, this was replaced by a branching standard filled with fruit, more elegant still. After the dessert, came a rich and chaste drinking-bowl of silver lined with gold, from which each was desired to sip a little wine to the health of Lady Franklin, who had once been his guest, and who presented him the cup.

In the evening, about a dozen young people took a moonlight walk up Punchbowl, the extinct volcano just back of Honolulu. It is apparently a round cone, about five or six hundred feet high. The side we ascended was steep, ragged, and rocky; but the view of Honolulu from that elevation is very fine. The taro patches were of a deep green, the coral reefs in the harbor snowy white. The town with its thatched houses lay quiet beneath us, while old Diamond Head loomed up in solitary and barren grandeur in the distance. We had some fine singing from members of the party, and the air was so clear and the night so still that it was heard at a long distance.

"Taro patches, aunty? What are they?"

Taro is a vegetable somewhat resembling the calla-lily, the roots of which are good for food.

There are two kinds of it,—wet and dry. The wet is grown under water. Square beds are made, two or more feet deep, in which the taro is planted; then the water is let in at one end, and flows out of the other, thus keeping running water upon the bed all the time. It requires about a year for the plant to get its growth. The natives bake the root in their stone ovens, which are large holes in the ground. They place at the bottom of the oven a quantity of wood and over it a heap of stones, which are heated thoroughly by the burning wood; then the pig, chicken, potatoes, or whatever else they wish to cook, are laid on the stones, leaves being wrapped around them to keep them clean, a little water is thrown on, and the whole is covered with earth. The water comes gradually in contact with the stones, and is converted into steam, which, with the heat of the stones, in a few hours cooks the food.

After the taro is baked, they peel it with a shell, and pound it with a stone pestle in wooden trays, mixing with it water; then they set it away to ferment. When ready for use, it has a sort of lavender color, and is acid. They call it poi ; it tastes like yeast or sour flour paste, and is eaten with coarse salt. The natives eat with it raw fish. This is the favorite Hawaiian dish.

"Raw  fish, aunty?" said Carrie.

Yes, raw fish; they say raw fish tastes much better than cooked; but I could not believe it. Yet we eat raw oysters; perhaps that is no worse. Taro-tops are very good greens. The natives usually sit round a large calabash, and dip one, two, or three fingers, according to the consistency of the poi ; then by a peculiar movement they take it from the calabash, and convey it to the mouth. That is their favorite mode of eating, and they say it does not taste so well when eaten with a spoon.

Next morning, some native women called on us. There were about twenty of them. They were cordial and kind, and their "aloha" was very hearty as we shook hands with each. Some were fine-looking, tall and portly. A few could talk English a little. They welcomed grandpa, making a short speech in Hawaiian, and presented us with some fowls, onions, cabbages, potatoes, eggs, squashes, and taro. Grandpa thanked them, and spoke of the interest he and Christians in America had always felt in them. Mr. Clark was interpreter, and their faces lighted up with evident joy.

The following day we called on Prince William Lunalilo, and his father Kanaina. Prince William is one of the highest chiefs in the kingdom, the rank here being determined by the mother. In the reception-room was a beautiful table, inlaid with specimens of native woods. The furniture was covered with red plush. On the walls were oil paintings of the prince and his father and mother, taken about fifteen years ago.

Prince William took us to the royal cemetery, a small square stone building in the spacious yard. In the center of the one room on a table, was a crimson velvet cushion trimmed with gold fringe, on which lay the Hawaiian crown. Unfortunately, I did not notice it particularly. On either side were enormous coffins, that of Kamehameha II. being the handsomest, and covered with a pall of green brocaded silk; others were covered also with silk palls, or draped in black. Some of the coffins were long and large, the high chiefs having been, as a general thing, tall and stout. One could not help thinking that here was the end of earthly grandeur; the monarch and his lowest subject must alike die.

We went to a prayer-meeting at Oahu College, Punahou, on Wednesday night. It was a pleasant thing to meet with twenty or thirty missionary children for prayer and praise.

Thursday morning we listened to some very creditable recitations, and examined some beautiful drawings by the young ladies and gentlemen, and after lunch heard compositions, and saw the ladies practice calisthenics; all of which would have done honor to one of our home institutions. In the afternoon, we drove back to Honolulu, and attended a sewing-circle at the house of one of the foreign residents. It really seemed like one of our home circles, the profusion of exquisite flowers and the absence of our cold March weather only dispelling the illusion. We reveled in the lovely roses, our green-house favorites blooming here with such rank luxuriance. I saw here for the first time in my life a green  rose.

"Green rose?" asked little Alice. "I never heard of such a thing."

Yes, a veritable green rose of just the same shape as the common rose, only a deep genuine green. It had a very odd look. Many of our green-house plants grow to be extremely large here, as there is no chilling wind or snow to nip their growth.

That night our first letters came, two months after we left home. What joy to hear from the dear ones, even though the letters were written only a fortnight after our departure. It takes six weeks for letters to go from New York to Honolulu.

Friday morning, her majesty the queen gave us a private reception; the king was out of town. We were notified, the day before, that the queen would be pleased to see us informally, and would send her carriage for us. So at eleven o'clock a barouche was before the door, drawn by a span of dark horses. A coachman and footman in a livery of green and gold completed the establishment. When we arrived at the palace gates, the guard opened them wide for us, and we passed on to the rear of the palace where was the queen's own suite of rooms. On the steps we were met by the minister of foreign affairs, who escorted us to a reception-room, and a few minutes later to the drawing-room. There we were met by the queen in a ladylike manner, she taking our hand, and expressing pleasure at meeting us. She was in deep mourning for the prince, her only son, who died last year. Her dress was black, trimmed half-way up the skirt with a heavy fold of crape, headed by a box-plaiting of the same. We here met the Princess Victoria, a sister of the king. The queen gave to each of us a lithograph likeness of the late King Kamehameha III. The chancellor of the kingdom, Chief Justice Allen and his lady were present. We returned home in the queen's carriage.

In the afternoon, we had a very pleasant dinner-party at the chief justice's. In the evening, I accepted an invitation to ride with a large party of young people, all on horseback; there were seventeen couples, composed entirely of foreigners, more than half of whom belonged to mission families. You would be amused to see the native women ride like the men, with a strip of bright calico wound round their waist and limbs, falling off like a skirt on each side; the color is usually red, or red and yellow, and they look decidedly gay, sitting so erect in the saddle, and riding at full gallop.

On Sabbath morning we attended at Mr. Smith's church, a large square hall, with a thatched roof. We sat in a wealthy native lady's pew. It was painted a brilliant scarlet, and the cushion was covered with a striped magenta-and-yellow calico. The one in front of us was painted an intense green. Grandpa made an address during service, and afterward, to the children of the Sabbath-school. Every seat was full, and the people very attentive. There was an old native man, with only one arm, who acted the part of sexton, and sometimes waked people up. I fancy there would be fewer sleepers in American churches, if there was anybody to perform a similar office. We shook hands with a great many natives after service. They are very fond of this ceremony, and we were glad to give them that expression of our good-will. Three of them, as they shook hands, left a quarter of a dollar each in mine. I could not return them, for that would give offense, and as I was unwilling to keep them, I put them into the missionary-box.

To-morrow we will leave Honolulu.