Methinks it should have been impossible 
    Not to love all things in a world so filled, 
    Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air 
    Is music, slumbering on her instrument.

Saturday, December 9th. - After leaving the harbour of Papeete we passed close to the island of Eimeo, on which we have gazed so often and with so much pleasure during the past week. It is considered the most beautiful island of the Georgian group, and we all regretted that we were unable to spare the time to visit it. From afar it is rather like the dolomite mountains in the Tyrol, and it is said that the resemblance is even more striking on a near approach. The harbour is a long narrow gorge between high mountains, clothed with palms, oranges, and plantains, and is one of the most remarkable features of the place. Huahine is the island of which the Earl and the Doctor speak, in 'South Sea Bubbles,' in terms of such enthusiasm, and Rarotonga is the head and centre of all the missionary efforts of the present time in these parts.

The weather to-day was fine, though we had occasional squalls of wind and rain. We were close-hauled, and the motion of the vessel was violent and disagreeable. I was very sea-sick, and was consoled to find that several of the men were so too. A head sea - or nearly so - is quite a novel experience for us of late, and we none of us like the change.

Sunday, December 10th. - Another squally day. Still close-hauled, and even then not on our course. We had a short service at eleven, but it was as much as I could do to remain on deck.

Monday, December 11th. - Very like yesterday. We passed close to Flint and Vostok Islands, at the former of which I should have much liked to land. But it was a good deal to leeward of us; there is no anchorage, and the landing, which is always difficult and sometimes impossible, has to be effected in native surf-boats. It would have been interesting to see a guano island, of which this is a perfect specimen.

We had hoped to make the Caroline Islands before dark (not the Caroline Islands proper, but a group of low islets, whose position is very uncertainly indicated in the different charts and books); but the wind fell light, and as we could see nothing of them at sunset, although the view from the masthead extended at least fifteen miles in every direction, it was decided at eight o'clock to put the ship about, to insure not running on them or any of the surrounding reefs in the night. The currents run very swiftly between these islands, and it is impossible to tell your exact position, even a few hours after having taken an observation.

Tuesday, December 12th. - The wind freshened immediately after we had changed our course last night, and fell light directly we had put about again this morning, so that it was fully 9 a.m. before we had regained our position of yesterday evening.

Our compass-cards were getting worn out, and Tom gave out new ones before leaving Tahiti. I was very much amused to-night, when, as usual, just before going to bed, I went to have a look at the compass and see how the yacht was lying, and asked the man at the wheel what course he was steering. 'North and by west, half-east, ma'am,' he replied. 'That's a funny course,' I said; 'tell me again.' He repeated his statement; whereupon I remarked that the course was quite a new one to me. 'Oh, yes, ma'am,' he answered, 'but them's the new compass-cards.' This man is one of the best helmsmen in the ship, but certainly seems to be an indifferent scholar.

Friday, December 15th. - We crossed the line at half-past four this morning. Father Neptune was to have paid us another visit in the evening, but the crew were busy, and there were some difficulties about arranging the details of the ceremony. The children were obliged, therefore, to be content with their usual game of drilling every one that they were able to muster for soldiers, after the fashion of Captain Brown's 'rifle practice,' or marching up and down the decks to the strains of Jem Butt's fiddle playing 'Tommy make room for your Uncle,' accompanied by the somewhat discordant noise of their own drums. These amusements after sunset, and scrubbing decks and working at the pumps before sunrise, give us all the much-needed exercise it is impossible to take in the heat of the daytime.

Saturday, December 16th. - At 1.30 a.m. I was awoke by the strains of sweet music, and could not at first imagine where I could be, or whence the sounds came. It proved to be the performance of some 'waits' on board. I do not know who originated the idea, but it was a very good one, and was excellently carried out. Everybody assembled on deck by degrees, and the songsters enjoyed a glass of grog when their labours were finished, after which we all went to bed again.

It had fallen calm yesterday evening, and the funnel was raised at midnight, but the breeze sprang up again to-day, and at noon the fires were banked and the sails were set. Of course it then fell calm again, and at six o'clock we were once more proceeding under steam. There was one squall in the night, accompanied by the most tremendous rain I ever saw or heard. We talk of tropical rain in England, but the real thing is very different. It seemed just as if the bottom of an enormous cistern overhead had suddenly been removed, allowing the contents to fall exactly on the spot where we were. The water came down in sheets, and was soon three or four inches deep on the deck, though it was pouring out of the scuppers all the time as fast as possible.

Sunday, December 17th. - A showery morning. We had Communion Service and hymns at eleven. In the afternoon it was too rough for 'church,' and Tom was unable to deliver his intended address to the men.

Monday, December 18th. - We were close-hauled, with a strong north-east wind, and heavy squalls and showers at intervals. We saw several flying-fish and a good many birds, apparently hovering over a shoal of whales or grampuses. It is wonderful how little life we have seen on this portion of our voyage.

Tuesday, December 19th. - A fine day - wind rather more fair - sea still rough and disagreeable. I tried to work hard all day, but found it very difficult.

Thursday, December 21st. - Wind variable and baffling - sometimes calm, sometimes squally, sometimes a nice breeze. Sails were hoisted and lowered at least a dozen times, and fires were banked more than once.

Friday, December 22nd. - At 6.30 a.m. we made the island of Hawaii, rather too much to leeward, as we had been carried by the strong current at least eighteen miles out of our course. We were therefore obliged to beat up to windward, in the course of which operation we passed a large barque running before the wind - the first ship we had seen since leaving Tahiti - and also a fine whale, blowing, close to us. We could not see the high land in the centre of the island, owing to the mist in which it was enveloped, and there was great excitement and much speculation on board as to the principal points which were visible. At noon the observations taken proved that Tom was right in his opinion as to our exact position. The wind dropped as we approached the coast, where we could see the heavy surf dashing against the black lava cliffs, rushing up the little creeks, and throwing its spray in huge fountain-like jets high above the tall cocoa-nut trees far inland.

We sailed along close to the shore, and by two o'clock were near the entrance to the Bay of Hilo. In answer to our signal for a pilot a boat came off with a man who said he knew the entrance to the harbour, but informed us that the proper pilot had gone to Honolulu on a pleasure trip.

It was a clear afternoon. The mountains, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, could be plainly seen from top to bottom, their giant crests rising nearly 14,000 feet above our heads, their tree and fern clad slopes seamed with deep gulches or ravines, down each of which a fertilising river ran into the sea. Inside the reef, the white coral shore, on which the waves seemed too lazy to break, is fringed with a belt of cocoa-nut palms, amongst which, as well as on the hill-sides, the little white houses are prettily dotted. All are surrounded by gardens, so full of flowers that the bright patches of colour were plainly visible even from the deck of the yacht. The harbour is large, and is exposed only to one bad wind, which is most prevalent during the winter months. Still, with good ground-tackle, there is not much to be feared, and there is one particular spot, sheltered by the Blonde reef, which is almost always safe. Here, accordingly, we have taken up our station, though it is rather far from the town. Sometimes it is impossible to land at Hilo itself for days together, but there is fortunately a little creek behind Cocoa-nut Island which is always accessible.

This afternoon the weather was all that could be desired, and at three o'clock we landed and went straight to Mr. Conway's store to make arrangements for going to the volcano of Kilauea to-morrow. Mr. Conway sent a man off at once on horseback to warn the people at the 'Half-way House' and at 'Volcano House' to make preparations to receive our party - a necessary precaution, as visitors to the island are not numerous, and can only arrive by the monthly steamer from Honolulu.

Having arranged this matter, we went for a stroll, among neat houses and pretty gardens, to the suspension-bridge over the river, followed by a crowd of girls, all decorated with wreaths and garlands, and wearing almost the same dress that we had seen at Tahiti - a coloured long-sleeved loose gown reaching to the feet. The natives here appear to affect duller colours than those we have lately been accustomed to, lilac, drab, brown, and other dark prints being the favourite tints. Whenever I stopped to look at a view, one of the girls would come behind me and throw a lei of flowers over my head, fasten it round my neck, and then run away laughing, to a distance, to judge of effect. The consequence was that, before the end of our walk, I had about a dozen wreaths, of various colours and lengths, hanging round me, till I felt almost as if I had a fur tippet on, they made me so hot; and yet I did not like to take them off for fear of hurting the poor girls' feelings.

We walked along the river bank, and crossed to the other side just below the rapids, jumping over the narrow channels through which the water hurried and rushed. Some of our attendant girls carried Muriel and the dogs, and, springing barefooted from rock to rock, led us across the stream and up the precipitous banks on the other side. There is a sort of hotel here, kept by a Chinaman, where everything is scrupulously clean, and the food good though plain. It is rather more like a lodging-house than an hotel, however. You hire your rooms, and are expected to make special arrangements for board. Before we got back to the yacht it had become dark, the moon had risen, and we could see the reflection in the sky of the fires in the crater of Kilauea. I do hope the volcano will be active to-morrow. It is never two days in the same condition, and visitors have frequently remained in the neighbourhood of the crater for a week without seeing an eruption.

The starlit sky, the bright young moon, and the red cloud from Kilauea, floating far above our heads, made up a most beautiful scene from the deck of the 'Sunbeam.'

Saturday, December 23rd. - The boatman who brought us off last night had told us that Saturday was market-day at Hilo, and that at five o'clock the natives would come in from the surrounding country in crowds to buy their Sunday and Christmas Day provisions, and to bring their own produce for sale. We accordingly gave orders that the boat should come for us at a quarter to five, shortly before which we got up and went on deck. We waited patiently in the dark until half-past five, when, no boat appearing from the shore, the dingy was manned and we landed. The lights in the town were all out, the day had hardly dawned, and there were no signs of life to be seen. At last we met two men, who told us we should find the market near the river, and offered to show us the way; but when we arrived at the spot they had indicated we found only a large butcher's shop, and were informed that the regular market for fish, fruit, and other things was held at five o'clock in the afternoon instead of in the morning. We had thus had all our trouble for nothing, and the non-appearance of the boat was fully explained.

Presently we met a friend who took us to his home. It was a pretty walk, by the side of the river and through numerous gardens, fresh with the morning dew. He gave us the latest news from the United States, and presented us with oranges and flowers, with which we returned to the yacht. We were on board again by seven, and, having packed up our things and sent them ashore, had an early breakfast, and landed, in readiness for our excursion to Kilauea. The baggage animals ought already to have started, but we found they had been kept back, in case we should happen to forget anything. Quite a crowd assembled to see us off, and a good deal of gossip had to be got through, so that it was half-past nine before we were all mounted and fairly off.

The first part of our way lay along the flat ground, gay with bright scarlet Guernsey lilies, and shaded by cocoa-nut trees, between the town and the sea. Then we struck off to the right, and soon left the town behind us, emerging into the open country. At a distance from the sea, Hilo looks as green as the Emerald Isle itself; but on a closer inspection the grass turns out to be coarse and dry, and many of the trees look scrubby and half dead. Except in the 'gulches' and the deep holes between the hills, the island is covered with lava, in many places of so recent a deposit that it has not yet had time to decompose, and there is consequently only a thin layer of soil on its surface. This soil being, however, very rich, vegetation flourishes luxuriantly for a time; but as soon as the roots have penetrated a certain depth, and have come into contact with the lava, the trees wither up and perish, like the seed that fell on stony ground.

The ohia trees form a handsome feature in the landscape, with their thick tall stems, glossy foliage, and light crimson flowers. The fruit is a small pink waxy-looking apple, slightly acid, pleasant to the taste when you are thirsty. The candle-nut trees attain to a large size, and their light green foliage and white flowers have a very graceful appearance. Most of the foliage, however, is spoiled by a deposit of black dust, not unlike what one sees on the leaves in a London garden. I do not know whether this is caused by the fumes of the not far-distant volcano, or whether it is some kind of mould or fungus.

After riding about ten miles in the blazing sun we reached a forest, where the vegetation was quite tropical, though not so varied in its beauties as that of Brazil, or of the still more lovely South Sea Islands. There were ferns of various descriptions in the forest, and many fine trees, entwined, supported, or suffocated by numerous climbing plants, amongst which were blue and lilac convolvulus, and magnificent passion-flowers. The protection from the sun afforded by this dense mass of foliage was extremely grateful; but the air of the forest was close and stifling, and at the end of five miles we were glad to emerge once more into the open. The rest of the way lay over the hard lava, through a sort of desert of scrubby vegetation, occasionally relieved by clumps of trees in hollows. More than once we had a fine view of the sea, stretching away into the far distance, though it was sometimes mistaken for the bright blue sky, until the surf could be seen breaking upon the black rocks, amid the encircling groves of cocoa-nut trees.

The sun shone fiercely at intervals, and the rain came down several times in torrents. The pace was slow, the road was dull and dreary, and many were the inquiries made for the 'Half-way House,' long before we reached it. We had still two miles farther to go, in the course of which we were drenched by a heavy shower. At last we came to a native house, crowded with people, where they were making tappa orkapa - the cloth made from the bark of the paper-mulberry. Here we stopped for a few minutes until our guide hurried us on, pointing out the church and the 'Half-way House' just ahead.

We were indeed glad to dismount after our weary ride, and rest in the comfortable rocking-chairs under the verandah. It is a small white wooden building, overhung with orange-trees, with a pond full of ducks and geese outside it, and a few scattered outbuildings, including a cooking hut, close by. A good-looking man was busy broiling beef-steaks, stewing chickens, and boiling taro, and we had soon a plentiful repast set before us, with the very weakest of weak tea as a beverage. The woman of the house, which contained some finely worked mats and clean-looking beds, showed us some tappa cloth, together with the mallets and other instruments used in its manufacture, and a beautiful orange-coloured lei, or feather necklace, which she had made herself. The cloth and mallets were for sale, but no inducement would persuade her to part with the necklace. It was the first she had ever made, and I was afterwards told that the natives are superstitiously careful to preserve the first specimen of their handiwork, of whatever kind it may be.

A woman dressed in a pink holoku and a light green apron had followed us hither from the cottages we had first stopped at, and I noticed at the time that, though she was chatting and laughing with a female companion, she did not seem very well. Whilst we were at lunch a sudden increase to her family took place, and before we were ready to start I paid her and her infant a visit. She was then sitting up, apparently as well as ever, and seemed to look upon the recent event as a very light matter.

Directly we had finished our meal - about three o'clock - the guide came and tried to persuade us that, as the baggage-mules had not yet arrived, it would be too late for us to go on to-day, and that we had better spend the night where we were, and start early in the morning. We did not, however, approve of this arrangement, so the horses were saddled, and, leaving word that the baggage-mules were to follow on as soon as possible, we mounted, and set off for the 'Volcano House.' We had not gone far before we were again overtaken by a shower, which once more drenched us to the skin.

The scene was certainly one of extreme beauty. The moon was hidden by a cloud, and the prospect lighted only by the red glare of the volcano, which hovered before and above us like the Israelites' pillar of fire, giving us hopes of a splendid spectacle when we should at last reach the long-wished-for crater. Presently the moon shone forth again, and gleamed and glistened on the rain-drops and silver-grasses till they looked like fireflies and glowworms. At last, becoming impatient, we proceeded slowly on our way, until we met a man on horseback, who hailed us in a cheery voice with an unmistakable American accent. It was the landlord of the 'Volcano House,' Mr. Kane, who, fearing from the delay that we had met with some mishap, had started to look for us. He explained that he thought it was only his duty to look after and help ladies visiting the volcano, and added that he had intended going down as far as the 'Half-way House' in search of us. It was a great relief to know that we were in the right track, and I quite enjoyed the gallop through the dark forest, though there was barely sufficient light to enable me to discern the horse immediately in front of me. When we emerged from the wood, we found ourselves at the very edge of the old crater, the bed of which, three or four hundred feet beneath us, was surrounded by steep and in many places overhanging sides. It looked like an enormous cauldron, four or five miles in width, full of a mass of cooled pitch. In the centre was the still glowing stream of dark red lava, flowing slowly towards us, and in every direction were red-hot patches, and flames and smoke issuing from the ground. A bit of the 'black country' at night, with all the coal-heaps on fire, would give you some idea of the scene. Yet the first sensation is rather one of disappointment, as one expects greater activity on the part of the volcano; but the new crater was still to be seen, containing the lake of fire, with steep walls rising up in the midst of the sea of lava.

Twenty minutes' hard riding brought us to the door of the 'Volcano House,' from which issued the comforting light of a large wood fire, reaching halfway up the chimney. Native garments replaced Mabelle's and my dripping habits, and we sat before the fire in luxury until the rest of the party arrived. After some delay supper was served, cooked by our host, and accompanied by excellent Bass's beer, no wine or spirits being procurable on the premises. Mr. Kane made many apologies for shortcomings, explaining that his cook had run away that morning, and that his wife was not able to do much to assist him, as her first baby was only a week old.

Everything at this inn is most comfortable, though the style is rough and ready. The interior is just now decorated for Christmas, with wreaths, and evergreens, and ferns, and bunches of white plumes, not unlike reva-reva, made from the pith of the silver-grass. The beds and bedrooms are clean, but limited in number, there being only three of the latter altogether. The rooms are separated only by partitions of grass, seven feet high, so that there is plenty of ventilation, and the heat of the fire permeates the whole building. But you must not talk secrets in these dormitories or be too restless. I was amused to find, in the morning, that I had unconsciously poked my hand through the wall of our room during the night.

The grandeur of the view in the direction of the volcano increased as the evening wore on. The fiery cloud above the present crater augmented in size and depth of colour; the extinct crater glowed red in thirty or forty different places; and clouds of white vapour issued from every crack and crevice in the ground, adding to the sulphurous smell with which the atmosphere was laden. Our room faced the volcano: there were no blinds, and I drew back the curtains and lay watching the splendid scene until I fell asleep.

Sunday, December 24th (Christmas Eve). - I was up at four o'clock, to gaze once more on the wondrous spectacle that lay before me. The molten lava still flowed in many places, the red cloud over the fiery lake was bright as ever, and steam was slowly ascending in every direction, over hill and valley, till, as the sun rose, it became difficult to distinguish clearly the sulphurous vapours from the morning mists. We walked down to the Sulphur Banks, about a quarter of a mile from the 'Volcano House,' and burnt our gloves and boots in our endeavours to procure crystals, the beauty of which generally disappeared after a very short exposure to the air. We succeeded, however, in finding a few good specimens, and, by wrapping them at once in paper and cotton-wool and putting them into a bottle, hope to bring them home uninjured.

On our return we found a gentleman who had just arrived from Kau, and who proposed to join us in our expedition to the crater, and at three o'clock in the afternoon we set out, a party of eight, with two guides, and three porters to carry our wraps and provisions, and to bring back specimens. Before leaving the inn the landlord came to us and begged us in an earnest and confidential manner to be very careful, to do exactly what our guides told us, and especially to follow in their footsteps exactly when returning in the dark. He added, 'There never has been an accident happen to anybody from my house, and I should feel real mean if one did: but there have been a power of narrow escapes.'

First of all we descended the precipice, 300 feet in depth, forming the wall of the old crater, but now thickly covered with vegetation. It is so steep in many places that flights of zig-zag wooden steps have been inserted in the face of the cliff in some places, in order to render the descent practicable. At the bottom we stepped straight on to the surface of cold boiled lava, which we had seen from above last night. Even here, in every crevice where a few grains of soil had collected, delicate little ferns might be seen struggling for life, and thrusting out their green fronds towards the light. It was the most extraordinary walk imaginable over that vast plain of lava, twisted and distorted into every conceivable shape and form, according to the temperature it had originally attained, and the rapidity with which it had cooled, its surface, like half-molten glass, cracking and breaking beneath our feet. Sometimes we came to a patch that looked like the contents of a pot, suddenly petrified in the act of boiling; sometimes the black iridescent lava had assumed the form of waves, or more frequently of huge masses of rope, twisted and coiled together; sometimes it was piled up like a collection of organ-pipes, or had gathered into mounds and cones of various dimensions. As we proceeded the lava became hotter and hotter, and from every crack arose gaseous fumes, affecting our noses and throats in a painful manner; till at last, when we had to pass to leeward of the molten stream flowing from the lake, the vapours almost choked us, and it was with difficulty we continued to advance. The lava was more glassy and transparent-looking, as if it had been fused at a higher temperature than usual; and the crystals of sulphur, alum, and other minerals, with which it abounded, reflected the light in bright prismatic colours. In places it was quite transparent, and we could see beneath it the long streaks of a stringy kind of lava, like brown spun glass, called 'Pele's hair.'

At last we reached the foot of the present crater, and commenced the ascent of the outer wall. Many times the thin crust gave way beneath our guide, and he had to retire quickly from the hot, blinding, choking fumes that immediately burst forth. But we succeeded in reaching the top; and then what a sight presented itself to our astonished eyes! I could neither speak nor move at first, but could only stand and gaze at the horrible grandeur of the scene.

We were standing on the extreme edge of a precipice, overhanging a lake of molten fire, a hundred feet below us, and nearly a mile across. Dashing against the cliffs on the opposite side, with a noise like the roar of a stormy ocean, waves of blood-red, fiery, liquid lava hurled their billows upon an iron-bound headland, and then rushed up the face of the cliffs to toss their gory spray high in the air. The restless, heaving lake boiled and bubbled, never remaining the same for two minutes together. Its normal colour seemed to be a dull dark red, covered with a thin grey scum, which every moment and in every part swelled and cracked, and emitted fountains, cascades, and whirlpools of yellow and red fire, while sometimes one big golden river, sometimes four or five, flowed across it. There was an island on one side of the lake, which the fiery waves seemed to attack unceasingly with relentless fury, as if bent on hurling it from its base. On the other side was a large cavern, into which the burning mass rushed with a loud roar, breaking down in its impetuous headlong career the gigantic stalactites that overhung the mouth of the cave, and flinging up the liquid material for the formation of fresh ones.

It was all terribly grand, magnificently sublime; but no words could adequately describe such a scene. The precipice on which we were standing overhung the crater so much that it was impossible to see what was going on immediately beneath; but from the columns of smoke and vapour that arose, the flames and sparks that constantly drove us back from the edge, it was easy to imagine that there must have been two or three grand fiery fountains below. As the sun set, and darkness enveloped the scene, it became more awful than ever. We retired a little way from the brink, to breathe some fresh air, and to try and eat the food we had brought with us; but this was an impossibility. Every instant a fresh explosion or glare made us jump up to survey the stupendous scene. The violent struggles of the lava to escape from its fiery bed, and the loud and awful noises by which they were at times accompanied, suggested the idea that some imprisoned monsters were trying to release themselves from their bondage, with shrieks and groans, and cries of agony and despair, at the futility of their efforts.

Sometimes there were at least seven spots on the borders of the lake where the molten lava dashed up furiously against the rocks - seven fire-fountains playing simultaneously. With the increasing darkness the colours emitted by the glowing mass became more and more wonderful, varying from the deepest jet black to the palest grey, from darkest maroon, through cherry and scarlet, to the most delicate pink, violet, and blue; from the richest brown, through orange and yellow, to the lightest straw-colour. And there was yet another shade, only describable by the term 'molten-lava colour.' Even the smokes and vapours were rendered beautiful by their borrowed lights and tints, and the black peaks, pinnacles, and crags, which surrounded the amphitheatre, formed a splendid and appropriate background. Sometimes great pieces broke off and tumbled with a crash into the burning lake, only to be remelted and thrown up anew. I had for some time been feeling very hot and uncomfortable, and on looking round the cause was at once apparent. Not two inches beneath the surface, the grey lava on which we were standing and sitting was red-hot. A stick thrust through it caught fire, a piece of paper was immediately destroyed, and the gentlemen found the heat from the crevices so great that they could not approach near enough to light their pipes.

One more long last look, and then we turned our faces away from the scene that had enthralled us for so many hours. The whole of the lava we had crossed, in the extinct crater, was now aglow in many patches, and in all directions flames were bursting forth, fresh lava was flowing, and steam and smoke were issuing from the surface. It was a toilsome journey back again, walking as we did in single file, and obeying the strict injunctions of our head guide to follow him closely, and to tread exactly in his footsteps. On the whole it was easier by night than by day to distinguish the route to be taken, as we could now see the dangers that before we could only feel; and many were the fiery crevices we stepped over or jumped across. Once I slipped, and my foot sank through the thin crust. Sparks issued from the ground, and the stick on which I leant caught fire before I could fairly recover myself.

Either from the effects of the unaccustomed exercise after our long voyage, or from the intense excitement of the novel scene, combined with the gaseous exhalations from the lava, my strength began to fail, and before reaching the side of the crater I felt quite exhausted. I struggled on at short intervals, however, collapsing several times and fainting away twice; but at last I had fairly to give in, and to allow myself to be ignominiously carried up the steep precipice to the 'Volcano House' on a chair, which the guides went to fetch for me.

It was half-past eleven when we once more found ourselves beneath Mr. Kane's hospitable roof; he had expected us to return at nine o'clock, and was beginning to feel anxious about us.

Monday, December 25th (Christmas Day). - Turning in last night was the work of a very few minutes, and this morning I awoke perfectly refreshed and ready to appreciate anew the wonders of the prospect that met my eyes. The pillar of fire was still distinctly visible when I looked out from my window, though it was not so bright as when I had last seen it; but even as I looked it began to fade, and gradually disappeared. At the same moment a river of glowing lava issued from the side of the bank we had climbed with so much difficulty yesterday, and slowly but surely overflowed the ground we had walked over. I woke Tom, and you may imagine the feelings with which we gazed upon this startling phenomenon, which, had it occurred a few hours earlier, might have caused the destruction of the whole party. If our expedition had been made to-day instead of yesterday, we should certainly have had to proceed by a different route to the crater, and should have looked down on the lake of fire from a different spot.

I cannot hope that in my attempt to give you some idea of Kilauea as we beheld it, I shall be successful in conveying more than a very faint impression of its glories. I feel that my description is so utterly inadequate, that, were it not for the space, I should be tempted to send you in full the experiences of previous visitors, as narrated in Miss Bird's 'Six Months in the Sandwich Islands,' and Mr. Bodham Whetham's 'Pearls of the Pacific.' The account contained in the former work I had read before arriving here; the latter I enjoyed at the 'Volcano House.' Both are well worth reading by any one who feels an interest in the subject.

It would, I think, be difficult to imagine a more interesting and exciting mode of spending Christmas Eve than yesterday has taught us, or a stranger situation in which to exchange our Christmas greetings than beneath the grass roof of an inn on the edge of a volcano in the remote Sandwich Islands. They were certainly rendered none the less cordial and sincere by the novelty of our position, and I think we are all rather glad not to have in prospect the inevitable feastings and ceremonies, without which it seems to be impossible to commemorate this season in England. If we had seen nothing but Kilauea since we left home, we should have been well rewarded for our long voyage.

At six o'clock we were dressed and packed. Breakfast followed at half-past, and at seven we were prepared for a start. Our kind, active host, and his wife and baby, all came out to see us off. The canter over the dewy grass, in the fresh morning air, was most invigorating. It was evident that no one had passed along the road since Saturday night, for we picked up several waifs and strays dropped in the dark on our way up - a whip, a stirrup, mackintosh hood, &c.

By half-past ten we had reached the 'Half-way House,' where we were not expected so early, and where we had ample opportunity to observe the native ways of living, while waiting for our midday meal - an uninteresting mess of stewed fowl and taro, washed down with weak tea. After it was over I made an unsuccessful attempt to induce the woman of the house to part with her orange-coloured lei. I bought some tappa and mallets, however, with some of the markers used in colouring the cloth, and a few gourds and calabashes, forming part of the household furniture. While the horses were being saddled preparatory to our departure, Mabelle and I went to another cottage close by, to see the mother of the baby that had been born while we were here on Saturday. She was not at home; but we afterwards found her playing cards with some of her friends in a neighbouring hut. Quite a large party of many natives were gathered together, not the least cheerful of whom was the young mother whose case had interested me so much.

The rest of the ride down to Hilo was as dull and monotonous as our upward journey had been, although, in order to enable us to get over it as quickly as possible, fresh horses had been sent to meet us. At last we reached the pier, where we found the usual little crowd waiting to see us off. The girls who had followed us when we first landed came forward shyly when they thought they were unobserved, and again encircled me with leis of gay and fragrant flowers. The custom of decorating themselves with wreaths on every possible occasion is in my eyes a charming one, and I like the inhabitants of Polynesia for their love of flowers. They are as necessary to them as the air they breathe, and I think the missionaries make a mistake in endeavouring to repress so innocent and natural a taste.

The whole town was en fete to-day. Natives were riding about in pairs, in the cleanest of bright cotton dresses and the freshest of leis and garlands. Our own men from the yacht contributed not a little to the gaiety of the scene. They were all on shore, and the greater part of them were galloping about on horseback, tumbling off, scrambling on again, laughing, flirting, joking, and enjoying themselves generally after a fashion peculiar to English sailors. As far as we know the only evil result of all this merriment was that the doctor received a good many applications for diachylon plaster in the course of the evening, to repair various 'abrasions of the cuticle,' as he expressed it.

I think at least half the population of Hilo had been on board the yacht in the course of the day, as a Christmas treat. At last we took a boat and went off too, accompanied by Mr. Lyman. The appearance of the 'Sunbeam' from the shore was very gay, and as we approached it became more festive still. All her masts were tipped with sugar-canes in bloom. Her stern was adorned with flowers, and in the arms of the figure-head was a large bouquet. She was surrounded with boats, the occupants of which cheered us heartily as we rowed alongside. The gangway was decorated with flowers, and surmounted by a triumphal arch, on which were inscribed 'Welcome Home,' 'A Merry Christmas,' 'A Happy New Year,' and other good wishes. The whole deck was festooned with tropical plants and flowers, and the decorations of the cabins were even more beautiful and elaborate. I believe all hands had been hard at work ever since we left to produce this wonderful effect, and every garden in Hilo had furnished a contribution to please and surprise us on our return.

The choir from Hilo came out in boats in the evening, sang all sorts of songs, sacred and secular, and cheered everybody till they were hoarse. After this, having had a cold dinner, in order to save trouble, and having duly drunk the health of our friends at home, we all adjourned to the saloon, to assist in the distribution of some Christmas presents, a ceremony which afforded great delight to the children, and which was equally pleasing to the elder people and to the crew, if one may judge from their behaviour on the occasion.

Then we sat on deck, gazing at the cloud of fire over Kilauea, and wondering if the appearance of the crater could ever be grander than it was last night, when we were standing on its brim.

So ended Christmas Day, 1876, at Hilo, in Hawaii. God grant that there may be many more as pleasant for us in store in the future!