Years following years, steal something every day; 
    At last they steal us from ourselves away.

Monday, January 1st, 1877. - At midnight we were awakened by our ship's bell, and that of the 'Fantome,' being struck violently sixteen times. For the moment I could not imagine what it meant, and thought it must be an alarm of fire; indeed, it was not until Tom and I reached the deck, where we found nearly all the ship's company assembled at the top of the companion, and were greeted with wishes for 'A happy New Year, and many of them,' that we quite realised that nothing serious was the matter. Soon the strains of sweet music, proceeding from the Honolulu choirs, which had come out in boats to serenade us, fell upon our ears The choristers remained alongside for more than an hour, singing English and American sacred and secular hymns and songs, and then went off to the 'Fantome,' where they repeated the performance. The moon shone brightly; not a ripple disturbed the surface of the water; the cocoa-trees at Waikiki, and the distant mountains near the Pali, were all clearly defined against the dark blue sky. It was altogether a romantic and delicious scene, and we found it difficult to tear ourselves away from the sweet sounds which came floating over the sea.

When I again went on deck, at half-past six, there was a large double canoe close to the yacht, crowded with people. It was difficult to make out what they were doing, for they appeared to be sitting on a great heap of something, piled up between the two canoes. Our sailors suggested that it must be 'some sort of a New Year's set out.' I ordered the 'Flash' to be got ready, and went with the children to make a closer investigation; and, as we approached, we could see that the pile that had puzzled us was a huge fishing-net. The tide here is very uncertain; but as soon as the water is low enough, they stretch the long net right across the narrow mouth of the harbour, and so secure an enormous quantity of fish of various kinds. It was a really good New Year's haul, and provided a hearty meal for a great many people.

Mabelle and I went at twelve o'clock to the Queen's New Year's reception, held in the other wing of the palace. Having driven through the pretty gardens, we were received at the entrance by the Governor, and ushered through two reception rooms into the royal presence. The Queen was dressed in a European court-dress, of blue and white material, with the Hawaiian Order of the Garter across her breast. Two maids of honour were also in court-dress. Of the other ladies, some were in evening, some in morning dress, some with bonnets and some without; but their costumes were all made according to the European fashion, except that of her Highness Ruth, the Governess of Hawaii, who looked wonderfully well in a rich white silk native dress, trimmed with white satin. She had a necklace of orange-coloured oo feathers round her neck, and dark yellow alamanda flowers in her hair. This native costume is a most becoming style of dress, especially to the chiefs and chiefesses, who are all remarkably tall and handsome, with a stately carriage and dignified manner. The Queen stood in front of the throne, on which were spread the royal robes, a long mantle of golden feathers, without speck or blemish. On each side stood two men, dressed in black, wearing frock-coats, and capes of red, black, and yellow feathers over their shoulders, and chimney-pot hats on their heads. In their hands they held two enormous kahilis of black oofeathers, with handsome tortoise-shell and ivory handles. They were at least eight feet high altogether, and the feathers were about six inches across.

The Princess presented Mabelle and me to her Majesty, and we had a short conversation through a lady interpreter. It is always an embarrassing thing to carry on a conversation in this way, especially when you find yourself in the midst of a square formed by a large crowd of ladies, who you fancy are all gazing at you, the one stranger present, and I was glad when fresh people arrived, and her Majesty's attention was claimed elsewhere.

Queen Kapiolani is a nice-looking woman, with a very pleasing expression of countenance. She is the granddaughter of the heroic Princess Kapiolani, who, when the worship and fear of the goddess Pele were at their height, walked boldly up to the crater of Kilauea, in defiance of the warnings and threats of the high-priestess of the idolatrous rites, proclaiming her confidence in the power of her God, the God of the Christians, to preserve her. This act did much to assist in the establishment of Christianity in the Island of Hawaii, and to shake the belief of the native worshippers of Pele in the power of the fearful goddess.

The Princess showed me round the room which contains the portraits of the kings and queens of the Sandwich Islands for many generations, the early ones attired in their feather capes, the later ones dressed in European costumes. Most of them were the work of native artists, but the portraits of Kamehameha II. and his queen were painted, during their visit to England, by a good artist. Their Majesties are depicted in the height of the fashion of the day, the king wearing a blue coat and brass buttons, with many orders on his breast, the queen having on a very short-waisted, tight-fitting white satin dress, a turban surmounted by a tremendous plume of white feathers, and a pearl necklace and bracelets: rather a trying costume for a handsome woman with a dark complexion and portly figure. They both died in England, and their remains were brought back here for burial, in H.M.S. 'Blonde,' commanded by Lord Byron. There was also a portrait of Admiral Thomas, whose memory is highly reverenced here for the happy way in which he succeeded in terminating the disputes arising out of our claim to the island in 1843, and in restoring King Kamehameha III. to his own again.

The collection likewise included excellent portraits of Louis Philippe and Napoleon III. Curiously enough, each of these was sent off from France to the Sandwich Islands, by way of Cape Horn, while the original was in the zenith of his power and fame; and each reached its destination after the original had been deposed and had fled to England for refuge.

But the most interesting object of all was still to come - the real feather cloak, cape, and girdle of the Kamehamehas, not generally to be seen, except at a coronation or christening, but which the Princess Kamakaeha, in her capacity of Mistress of the Robes, had kindly ordered to be put out for my inspection. The cloak, which is now the only one of the kind in existence, is about eleven feet long by five broad, and is composed of the purest yellow, or rather golden, feathers, which, in the sunlight, are perfectly gorgeous, as they have a peculiar kind of metallic lustre, quite independent of their brilliant colour.

On leaving the palace I had intended to get some lunch at the hotel, but found that establishment was closed to the general public, and was in the possession of a native teetotal society; so I was obliged to return to the yacht. At half-past three, however, we all went ashore again, and set out on horseback, a large party, for an excursion to the Pali, the children, servants, and provisions preceding us in a light two-horse American wagon. We rode through the Nuuanu Avenue, and then up the hills, along a moderately good road, for about seven miles and a half. This, brought us into a narrow gorge in the midst of the mountains, from which we emerged on the other side of the central range of hills, forming the backbone of the island. The view from this point was beautiful, though I think that the morning would be a better time to enjoy it, as, with a setting sun, the landscape was all in shadow. The change of temperature, too, after the heat of Honolulu, was quite astonishing, considering the short distance we had come - about eight miles only. The carriage could not go quite to the top of the mountain, and after descending a short distance to where it had been left, we dismounted and spread our dinner on the ground; but darkness overtook us before we had finished. Matches and lamps had of course been forgotten; so that the business of packing up was performed under circumstances of great difficulty. The ride down, in the light of the almost full moon, was delightful.

We were on board by half-past seven, and went ashore to a ball at nine o'clock. The dance took place in the large room of the Hawaiian Hotel, and was a great success. The Royal band played for us, and there was neither stuffiness nor crowding, nor were there any regulations as to dress, gentlemen and ladies coming in evening or morning dress, as it suited them best. The Governor and most of the English present, including our own party, wore evening dress, and the officers of the 'Fantome' were in uniform. Every door and window was open, there was a large verandah to sit in, a garden to stroll about in between the dances, and an abundance of delicious iced lemonade - very different from the composition thus named which is generally met with in London assemblies - to drink. At half-past twelve, when people were beginning to disperse, we took our departure, Captain Long taking us off to the yacht in his boat.

There is to be another ball on Thursday night, for which everybody is most anxious that we should stay, as it is to be rather a large affair. In order that you may see the Hawaiian fashion of sending out cards, I copy the form of invitation we received: -

The pleasure of the company of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Brassey is requested at a Subscription Ball, at the Hawaiian Hotel,


  Respectfully, H.A. Widemann,

                     FOR THE COMMITTEE.

  Mrs. Jas. Makee and Mrs. J.S. McGrew will kindly act as matrons 
  of the evening.

Tuesday, January 2nd. - At eleven o'clock, the King, who was rather better, went on board the 'Fantome,' saw the men at quarters, and witnessed the firing of a couple of shots at a target, and shortly before twelve paid us a visit, accompanied by the Prince Leleiohoku and others. His Majesty is a tall, fine-looking man, with pleasant manners, and speaks English perfectly and fluently. He and the Prince visited and examined every corner of the yacht, and looked, I think, at almost every object on board. The pictures, curiosities, engines, and our various little contrivances for economising space, seemed to interest them the most. The inspection occupied at least an hour and a half; and when it was over, we had a long chat on deck on various subjects. The Prince of Wales's visit to India, and the Duke of Edinburgh's voyage round the world, were much discussed, I think the King would like to use them as a precedent, and see a little more of the world himself. His voyage to, and stay in America, he thoroughly enjoyed.

It was two o'clock before our visitors left; and a quarter of an hour later the Queen and her sister arrived. Her Majesty and her sister made quite as minute an inspection of the yacht as her royal consort and his brother had done before them. We had arranged to be 'at home' to all our kind friends in Honolulu at four o'clock, at which hour precisely the Governor sent the Royal band on board to enliven the proceedings. Soon our other visitors began to arrive; but the Queen appeared to be so well amused that she did not leave until five o'clock. By-half-past six, the last of our guests (over 150 in number) had said farewell, and there only remained the band to be shown round and feasted after their labours. Tom went on board the 'Fantome' to dine, and to meet the British, French, German, and American representatives. We went to the hotel; and I must say that I never in my life felt more thoroughly worn out than I did that night, after standing about and receiving and entertaining all the day.

Wednesday, January 3rd. - This was sure to be a disagreeable day, since it was to be the concluding one of our short stay in this pleasant place. The final preparations for a long voyage had also to be made; stores, water, and live stock to be got on board, bills to be paid, and adieux to be made to kind friends.

I was on deck at six o'clock, in order to take some photographs and to stow away the coral, shells, curiosities, and presents of various kinds, that the King, Queen, Prince and Princess, as well as other kind friends, had sent us. Before seven the yacht was surrounded by boats, and the deck was quite impassable, so encumbered was it with all sorts of lumber, waiting to be stowed away, until the boats could be hoisted on board and secured for the voyage. The large mizen-sail, which had just been repaired and sent on board, looked enormous as it lay on the deck, surrounded by hen-coops, sheep, geese, sacks of coal, and baskets and parcels of every size and shape. One really began to wonder whether space could possibly be found on board for such a miscellaneous collection. Several visitors, who had been unable to come yesterday, arrived in the midst of the confusion. They must have carried away in their minds a different impression of the yacht from what they would have done had they seen her looking as trim and smart as she did yesterday. It could not, however, be helped; for the departure of a small vessel, with forty people on board, on a voyage of a month's duration, is a matter requiring considerable preparation.

At eleven o'clock we landed and went to see the interior of the Queen's Hospital. It is a fine and well-kept building, containing, at the time of our visit, about ninety patients, the men occupying the lower, the women the upper story. Each ward is tastefully decorated with bouquets, and the name is written up in bright mauve bougainvillea or scarlet hibiscus, tacked on to white calico. Many of the convalescents wore wreaths and garlands of flowers, and even those in bed had a few beside them, or in some cases a single spray laid on the coverlet. The effect was bright and cheerful; and it seemed a kind and sensible idea to endeavour to gratify, instead of to repress, the instinctive love of flowers universally felt by the natives of these and of the South Sea Islands.

From the hospital we went to pay farewell visits, to lunch at the hotel, and to settle sundry bills. At three we were to go to the Royal Mausoleum. This was a special privilege, and, I believe, the greatest compliment that has been paid to us anywhere. No foreigners are allowed to enter, except admirals on the station; and very few inhabitants of Honolulu have ever seen the interior. The King has one key, the Dowager Queen Emma another, and the Minister of the Interior the third.

On our way up the hill to the Mausoleum, there was a funeral going on, very much after the style of an Irish wake in one of the dwellings of the poorer class. The house was decorated with flags, and was crowded with people, all dressed in black, and generally with bright yellow leis over their heads and necks. They had evidently come from some distance, judging by the number of carts and wagons drawn up outside the door. Several people were sitting in an upper verandah. The corpse was laid out in the lower room, facing the road, as we could see through the open windows and door. It was surrounded by mourners, and four women were waving large kahilis slowly backwards and forwards in front of it.

The Princess herself met us at the Mausoleum, which is a small but handsome stone Gothic building, situated above the Nuuanu Avenue, on the road to the Pali. It commands a fine view over land and sea, and the gentle breezes waft through the open windows sweet scents from the many fragrant trees and flowers by which it is surrounded. There lay the coffins of all the kings of Hawaii, their consorts, and their children, for many generations past. The greater part were of polished koa wood, though some were covered with red velvet ornamented with gold. Many of them appeared to be of an enormous size; for, as I have already observed, the chiefs of these islands have almost invariably been men of large and powerful frames. The bones of Kamehameha I. were in a square oak chest. At the foot of the coffin of Kamehameha IV. there were two immense kahilis about twelve feet high, one of rose-coloured, the other of black feathers, with tortoise-shell handles. The remains of King Luna'ilo are not here, having been buried just outside the native church in the town. In the vestibule to the tombs of the kings rests the coffin of Mr. Wylie, described as 'the greatest European benefactor of the Hawaiian people.' A ship now in the harbour bears his name, and one constantly meets with proofs of the respect and reverence in which his name is held.

The Princess drove us down to the wharf, where we said good-bye to her with feelings of the greatest regret. I cannot express the sorrow that we all feel at leaving the many kind friends we have met with in 'dear Honolulu,' as Muriel calls it. But the farewells were at last over, the anchor was weighed, and the yacht, which was by this time once more in apple-pie order, began slowly to move ahead. Suddenly we heard shouts from the shore, and saw a boat pursuing us in hot haste. We stopped, and received on board a basket of beautiful ferns and other parcels from different friends. A second boat was then seen coming off to us, which contained a fine dish of delicious honey and some flowers. The order to go ahead again was scarcely given, before a third boat, in, if possible, hotter haste than the two previous ones, put off after us, bringing some things the laundress had forgotten.

Now we are fairly off; and now surely the last link that binds us to the shore is broken. But no! there are farewell signals and hearty cheers yet to come from the officers and men of the 'Fantome;' and, still further out, on the top of the tiny lighthouse at the mouth of the narrow passage through the reef, stand other friends, cheering and waving their handkerchiefs. They had rowed out thither, being determined to give us really the parting cheer, and till the shades of twilight fell we could see their white handkerchiefs fluttering, and hear their voices borne on the evening breeze, as we meandered slowly through the tortuous channels into deep water.

Once outside we found there was plenty of wind and a heavy roll, which sent me quickly to bed.