Oahu

Oahu

THE next day at four, I took my customary seat, surrounded by my little group, and resumed my narrative.

About ten miles from Kahuku, at Hauula, is a church with a native pastor,—Mr. Kuaia. We attended a meeting there, and afterward dined at his house. He is a well-educated and gentlemanly man, and his wife an interesting woman. They live in a neat grass house, furnished simply but comfortably in American style. The dinner passed off in a very satisfactory manner. They had pretty wreaths prepared for us; some were made of a small orange-colored apple, others of yellow marigolds strung on a cord. After dinner we rode another ten miles, and were tired enough with our long day's ride to sleep well.

The next morning we rode over to the house of a friend to see the lassoing of cattle. The house was on quite an eminence, so that we had a good view of a level plain before it. A herd of cattle were driven into the valley, and three gentlemen on trained horses, with lassos in their hands, each selected their animal, and started in pursuit. It seemed as if in an instant the creature knew it was hunted, for it would move from place to place, and then start on a run, endeavoring to elude its pursuers; but the horseman, never for a moment losing sight of his prey, galloped on, turning this way and that as the creature did, until near enough, and then the lasso sped through the air coiling round and round the poor animal's legs, generally throwing him on his knees. Then the hunter leaped from his saddle, the intelligent horse standing still, and the lasso was drawn tighter and tighter until the animal fell on his side. Finally, a rope was tied round the hind legs, and the work was done. It was very exciting, as once in a while a horse would stumble and fall, sometimes throwing his rider; and oftentimes the chase was long, the animal eluding the hunter's grasp just as he thought he had cornered him.

"Oh, I wish I had been there!" said Harry.

Yes, I don't doubt that you would have enjoyed it; but I felt so sorry for the poor cattle that it tired me.

In the afternoon, we young people went on an excursion of about twenty miles on horseback to see the Falls of Ka Liuwaa. After passing about eight miles on the beach, we turned up a mountain ravine; two miles more brought us to the end of our ride. We dismounted and had a lunch, sitting in the branches of a fallen kukui-tree, and drinking water from a cup made of a taro leaf. We took off our riding-skirts, threw them over the saddle, and leaving our horses in the care of a native man, walked up the narrow gorge, or gulch, as they call it here, seldom more than one or two hundred feet wide, with precipitous sides rising sometimes a thousand feet above us. At times we were just on the edge of the stream, but as often jumping from rock to rock in the very bed of the brook. Towards the termination of the gorge, is a place in the rock called "The Canoe," a half-circle gouged right down the precipice as smooth as if chiseled out, about fifty feet wide, and a thousand feet deep.

"Why do they call it 'The Canoe '?" asked Willie.

There is a story connected with it, as with everything on these islands. One of their gods was angry with another god, and sought to kill him. I believe the latter, who was running away, slipped his canoe down the rock, making the groove I have described, and escaped to the sea.

Soon we came to the fall itself, and here the precipices on each side were one and two thousand feet high. The fall is about a hundred feet, running through a narrow gulch from a lake above, and probably never was seen by a foreign eye. It was a lovely and romantic place. The water fell into a small, but deep, circular pond. Exquisite varieties of ferns and mosses grew upon the rocks lining its sides, and no sound was heard but the plashing of water.

Some of the natives are said to have a superstitious fear of the place, the remains of their old religion; and the way up was lined with offerings, consisting of a leaf with a few stones piled on it. I don't believe they are much afraid, for they laughed if the stones were thrown over.

The next day we rode on fifteen miles to Kaneohe. Here we met Rev. Mr. Parker's people. On our way we passed several rice-fields. Rice is grown in wet places, like the taro. It looks very much like grain as you see it in the distance, but it is of a very brilliant green.

Early the next morning we left for Honolulu. Soon after we started, our baggage-horse ran away. One of the bags which he bore got loose and frightened him. Our horses saw him coming with one bag swinging back and forth under his body, and began to be uneasy, so we turned them off to the side of the road, and he rushed past us. The gentlemen and natives started in pursuit. The poor horse crossed a river, and was finally caught in a taro-patch. Our bags were torn to pieces, and many of their contents scattered over the plain; some were wet through or stained with the green mud from the taro-fields.

"Did you find all your things?" asked Harry.

Almost everything; the poor horse looked sadly jaded and tired, but he had to carry the baggage the rest of the way.

We rode up a precipitous ascent two or three thousand feet high, by a zigzag road cut into its sides. The adjacent precipices are some of them much higher. Over one of these Kamehameha I. drove the defeated warriors of Oahu, in his last battle on the island. That was savage warfare. The precipice up which we rode is called "The Pali," or precipice; it is at the head of Nuuanu valley. The finest approach to it is from Honolulu. Masses of rock rise high above you on either side, while a beautiful panorama of hills, valleys, cottages, winding streams, and verdant plantations all opens to your astonished eye, and bounding the distant view is the ocean.

Riding down Nuuanu valley, we were again surrounded by our Honolulu friends. Our tour of the Hawaiian Islands was ended.

The next day, May 30, the steamer Kilauea came into port, bringing missionaries from the other islands to attend the general meeting appointed to be held in Honolulu in the month of June.

The meeting opened June 3, and every morning and afternoon there were business meetings until the 16th, when the examination of Oahu College at Punahou commenced. It was a fine examination,—the same studies as in our New England academies. It lasted through two days, and on the third day there was an exhibition in the evening at the stone church. The house was prettily decorated, the king lending his royal reception-flag for the occasion, an enormous banner forty feet long. This was suspended by the four corners from the ceiling, forming a sort of canopy over the platform. There were also American, French, British, Spanish, and Hawaiian flags, together with wreaths, mottoes, and bouquets. The church was crowded with foreigners and natives. The speeches were good, the young men doing themselves credit, and the singing was fine; indeed, there are some superior singers in Honolulu. Commencement ended, as in our own country, with the president's levee. Everybody seemed to be present, and to enjoy themselves, and did ample justice to the abundant collation spread in the college hall. The evening closed with patriotic songs, and thus ended the college year of 1863.

General meeting was resumed after the exercises at Punahou were concluded. Almost every missionary was present, and had brought a part or the whole of his family. The Pastor of the Foreign Church, the Seamen's Chaplain, President of Oahu College, native pastors and delegates were all present. It was delightful to witness the harmony pervading this large body, and to see how strong the Christian and missionary tie that bound them together. There they sat day after day, exchanging their opinions, discussing questions, and settling matters of great importance to them and the people, meeting and praying together, and it seemed as if the spirit of Christ rested upon them; for no jar or discord was allowed to enter.

The work of the Lord in those islands is very great. There are now only 67,000 inhabitants, and yet in these forty-three years in which the mission has been in operation there have been 52,413 converts, and 19,679 are now connected with the churches. Surely, this may be called a Christian nation. There was another "Cousins' Meeting" on the evening of June 6th. I wish you could peep in upon one of these gatherings. Thirty or forty young people together, all united by the missionary tie, the ladies wearing light or white muslins, with gay belts and sashes, flowers in their hair, and happy, joyous, faces; the gentlemen with a rose in their button-hole, in summer dress; windows, doors, and blinds all open; and after the business of the meeting is over, numerous happy couples promenading to and fro on the piazza. All this gives a festive look, and one has a feeling of interest not felt in gatherings in our own land. At parties there, one never expected a greater variety of refreshments than cake, coffee, and strawberries; so they can be conducted without much expense, and little companies are the order of the day. Then it is so easy getting about; no cold winter snows to trudge through, no chilling wind to guard against; everybody has a horse or vehicle of some kind, or his next neighbor has, and is willing to be neighborly.

But we must leave Honolulu parties, and go to an American supper.