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Holidays In Hawaii
by [?]

On shore we were greeted with the music of the Royal Hawaiian Band, and a motley crowd of Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Americans, bearing colored leis, or wreaths of flowers, which they waved at friends on board, and with which they bedecked them as soon as they came off the gangplank. It was a Babel of tongues in which the strange, vowel-choked language of the Hawaiians was conspicuous.

Honolulu is a beautiful city, clean, bright, well ordered, and well appointed,–electric lights, good streets, electric cars, fine hotels and clubs, excellent fire protection, mountain water, libraries, parks, handsome buildings, attractive homes,–in fact, all that we boast of in our home cities. Embosomed in palms, with mangoes, and other tropical trees, with a profusion of gorgeously colored vines and hedges, with spacious, well-kept grounds about the large and comfortable houses in the residential portion–these features, with the ready hospitality of the people, made our hearts warm towards it at once.

Volcanic heights on all the land side look down upon the city. Mount Tantalus, rising four thousand feet above the sea, is just back of it, with its long slopes of volcanic ash and sand now clothed by forests and fertile fields, and a huge ancient crater called the Punch Bowl, born probably on the selfsame day, the geologists think, as Diamond Head, dominates the city in the immediate foreground. If the Punch Bowl were again to overflow with the fiery liquid, the city would soon go up in smoke. But its bowl-like interior is now covered with grass and trees, and presents a scene of the most peaceful, rural character.

The Orient and the Occident meet in Honolulu. There Asia and America join hands. The main features of the city are decidedly American, but the people seen upon the street and at work indoors and out are more than half Oriental. The native population cuts only a small figure. The real workers–carpenters, masons, field hands, and house servants–are mostly Japanese. Virtually all the work of the immense sugar plantations is done by the little brown men and women, while China supplies some of the merchants in the city and the sailors and stewards on the ocean steamers. What admirable servants the Chinese make, so respectful, so prompt, so silent, so quick to comprehend! The Japanese house servants on the islands also give efficient and gracious service.

I had gone to Honolulu reluctantly, but tarried there joyfully. The fine climate, with its even temperature of about eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and with all that is enervating or oppressive in that degree of heat winnowed out of it by the ceaseless trade winds; the almost unbroken sunshine, perfumed now and then by a sprinkle of sunlit rain from the mountains; the wonderful sea laving the shores on the one hand and the cool, cloud-capped, and rain-drenched heights within easy reach on the other; the green, cozy valleys; the broad sweep of plain; the new, strange nature on every side; the novel and delicious fruits; the pepsin-charged papaya, or tree melon, which tickles the palate while it heals and renews the whole digestive system; the mangoes (oh, the mangoes!); the cordiality of the people; the inviting bungalows; the clean streets; the good service everywhere–all made me feel how mistaken was my reluctance.

Most of the Americans one meets there are descendants of the missionaries who went out from New England and New York early in the last century, and one feels at home with them at once. Many of the residents there have been educated in the States. The Governor, Mr. Frear, is a graduate of Yale; his wife is a graduate of Wellesley. One day a charming Southern woman, president of the College Club, invited us to meet the college women of the city. The gathering took place under the trees upon the lawn of one of the older homesteads. There were forty college women present, many of them teachers, from Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard. Among them were two girls who had visited me at my cabin, “Slabsides,” while they were at Vassar.