In wrestling nimble, and in running swift, 
    In shooting steady, and in swimming strong, 
    Well made to strike, to leap, to throw, to lift, 
    And all the sports that shepherds are among.

Tuesday, December 26th. - We went ashore at eight o'clock, after an early cup of coffee, and found Mr. Lyman already waiting for us. Two baggage-mules were sent off with the photographic apparatus, and all the materials for breakfast, to the Rainbow Falls, where the children are looking forward with intense glee to boiling their own kettle, poaching eggs, and trying other cooking experiments.

Before setting out for the Falls ourselves, we went to see the national sport of surf-swimming, for their skill in which the Hawaiians are so justly famed.

The natives have many other games of which they are very fond, and which they play with great skill, including spear-throwing, transfixing an object with a dart, kona, an elaborate kind of draughts, and talu, which consists in hiding a small stone under one of five pieces of cloth, placed in front of the players. One hides the stone, and the others have to guess where it is; and it generally happens that, however dexterously the hider may put his arm beneath the cloth, and dodge about from one piece to another, a clever player will be able to tell, by the movement of the muscles of the upper part of his arm, when his fingers relax their hold of the stone. Another game, called parua, is very like the Canadian sport of 'tobogging,' only that it is carried on on the grass instead of on the snow. The performers stand bolt upright on a narrow plank, turned up in front, and steered with a sort of long paddle. They go to the top of a hill or mountain, and rush down the steep, grassy, sunburnt slopes at a tremendous pace, keeping their balance in a wonderful manner. There is also a very popular amusement, called pahe, requiring a specially prepared smooth floor, along which the javelins of the players glide like snakes. On the same floor they also play at another game, called maita, or uru maita. Two sticks, only a few inches apart, are stuck into the ground, and at a distance of thirty or forty yards the players strive to throw a stone between them. The uru which they use for the purpose is a hard circular stone, three or four inches in diameter, and an inch in thickness at the edge, but thicker in the middle.

Mr. Ellis, in his 'Polynesian Researches,' states that 'these stones are finely polished, highly valued, and carefully preserved, being always oiled or wrapped up in native cloth after having been used. The people are, if possible, more fond of this game than of the pahe, and the inhabitants of a district not unfrequently challenge the people of the whole island, or the natives of one island those of all the others, to bring a man who shall try his skill with some favourite player of their own district or island. On such occasions seven or eight thousand people, men and women, with their chiefs and chiefesses, assemble to witness the sport, which, as well as the pahe, is often continued for hours together.'

With bows and arrows they are as clever as all savages, and wonderfully good shots, attempting many wonderful feats. They are swift as deer, when they choose, though somewhat lazy and indolent. All the kings and chiefs have been special adepts in the invigorating pastime of surf-swimming, and the present king's sisters are considered first-rate hands at it. The performers begin by swimming out into the bay, and diving under the huge Pacific rollers, pushing their surf-boards - flat pieces of wood, about four feet long by two wide, pointed at each end - edgewise before them. For the return journey they select a large wave; and then, either sitting, kneeling, or standing on their boards, rush in shorewards with the speed of a racehorse, on the curling crest of the monster, enveloped in foarn and spray, and holding on, as it were, by the milk-white manes of their furious coursers. It looked a most enjoyable amusement, and I should think that, to a powerful swimmer, with plenty of pluck, the feat is not difficult of accomplishment. The natives here are almost amphibious. They played all sorts of tricks in the water, some of the performers being quite tiny boys. Four strong rowers took a whale-boat out into the worst surf, and then, steering her by means of a large oar, brought her safely back to the shore on the top of a huge wave.

After the conclusion of this novel entertainment, we all proceeded on horseback to the Falls, Baby going in front of Tom, and Muriel riding with Mr. Freer. After a couple of miles we dismounted, and had a short walk through grass and ferns to a pretty double waterfall, tumbling over a cliff, about 100 feet high, into a glassy pool of the river beneath. It fell in front of a fern-filled black lava cavern, over which a rainbow generally hangs. As it was too wet to sit on the grass after the rain, we took possession of the verandah of a native house, commanding a fine view of the bay and town of Hilo. The hot coffee and eggs were a great success eventually, though the smoke from the wood fire nearly suffocated us in the process of cooking. Excellent also was some grey mullet, brought to us alive, and cooked native fashion, - wrapped up in ti leaves, and put into a hole in the ground.

After taking a few photographs it was time to return; and we next went to a pretty garden, which we had seen on the night of our arrival, and, tying up our horses outside, walked across it to the banks of the river. Here we found a large party assembled, watching half the population of Hilo disporting themselves in, upon, and beneath the water. They climbed the almost perpendicular rocks on the opposite side of the stream, took headers, and footers, and siders from any height under five-and-twenty feet, dived, swam in every conceivable attitude, and without any apparent exertion, deep under the water, or upon its surface. But all this was only a preparation for the special sight we had come to see. Two natives were to jump from a precipice, 100 feet high, into the river below, clearing on their way a rock which projected some twenty feet from the face of the cliff, at about the same distance from the summit. The two men, tall, strong, and sinewy, suddenly appeared against the sky-line, far above our heads, their long hair bound back by a wreath of leaves and flowers, while another garland encircled their waists. Having measured their distance with an eagle's glance, they disappeared from our sight, in order to take a run and acquire the necessary impetus. Every breath was held for a moment, till one of the men reappeared, took a bound from the edge of the rock, turned over in mid-air, and disappeared feet foremost into the pool beneath, to emerge almost immediately, and to climb the sunny bank as quietly as if he had done nothing very wonderful. His companion followed, and then the two clambered up to the twenty-feet projection, to clear which they had had to take such a run the first time, and once more plunged into the pool below. The feat was of course an easier one than the first; but still a leap of eighty feet is no light matter. A third native, who joined them in this exploit, gave one quite a turn as he twisted in his downward jump; but he also alighted in the water feet foremost, and bobbed up again directly, like a cork. He was quite a young man, and we afterwards heard that he had broken several ribs not more than a year ago, and had been laid up for six months in the hospital.

We now moved our position a little higher up the river, to the Falls, over which the men, gliding down the shallow rapids above, in a sitting posture, allowed themselves to be carried. It looked a pleasant and easy feat, and was afterwards performed by many of the natives in all sorts of ways. Two or three of them would hold each other's shoulders, forming a child's train, or some would get on the backs of their companions, while others descended singly in a variety of attitudes. At last a young girl was also persuaded to attempt the feat. She looked very pretty as she started, in her white chemise and bright garland, and prettier still when she emerged from the white foam beneath the fall, and swam along far below the surface of the clear water, with her long black hair streaming out behind her.

No description can give you any idea what an animated and extraordinary scene it was altogether. While our accounts were being settled, preparatory to our departure, I occupied myself in looking at somekahilis and feather leis. The yellow ones, either of Oo or Mamo feathers, only found in this island, are always scarce, as the use of them is a prerogative of royalty and nobility. Just now it is almost impossible to obtain one, all the feathers being 'tabu,' to make a royal cloak for Ruth, half-sister of Kamehameha V., and governess of Hawaii. Mamo feathers are generally worth a dollar a piece, and a good lei or loose necklace costs about five hundred dollars. Kahilis are also an emblem of rank, though many people use them as ornaments in their houses. They are rather like feather-brooms, two or three feet long, and three or four inches across, made of all sorts of feathers, tastefully interwoven. I bought one, and a couple of ordinary leis, which were all I could procure. But, alas! too soon all was over, and time for us to go on board.

On our way off to the yacht we met one of the large double canoes coming in under sail from a neighbouring island. It consisted of two canoes lashed together, with a sort of basket dropped into the water between them, to enable them to carry their fish alive. They are not very common now, and we were therefore fortunate in meeting with one. Mr. Lyman made the men in charge turn her round, so as to afford us an opportunity of thoroughly examining her. In the time of Kamehameha there was a fleet of 10,000 of these canoes, and the king used to send them out in the roughest weather, and make them perform all sorts of manoeuvres.

We found the yacht in the usual state of confusion incidental to a fresh departure, but everything was soon reduced to order, and off we started to steam and sail round the north end of the island, but we could not afford time to visit the place of Captain Cook's death and burial in Keelakeakua Bay. I believe there is not a great deal to see, however, and the spot is chiefly interesting from its associations. For many years a copper plate, fixed to a cocoa-nut tree, marked the spot where Cook fell, but this has now been replaced by a monument, the cost of which was defrayed by subscriptions at Honolulu. Maui is, I believe, a charming place, containing many fine plantations, and several gentlemen's estates, laid out in the English style. Unfortunately, time forbids our accepting some invitations we have received to visit the island, where a great many interesting excursions may be made.

At Kahoolaue there does not seem much to be seen. It was purchased some years ago, and pays well as a sheep-run. Lauai, the next island, is scarcely inhabited, and its scenery is not remarkable.

A sad interest attaches to the island of Molokai, which is situated midway between Maui and Oahu. It is the leper settlement, and to it all the victims of this terrible, loathsome, and incurable disease, unhappily so prevalent in the Hawaiian archipelago, are sent, in order to prevent the spread of the contagion. They are well cared for and looked after in every way; but their life, separated as they inevitably are from all they hold most dear, and with no prospect before them but that of a slow and cruel death, must indeed be a miserable one. In Molokai there are many tiny children, fatherless and motherless, parents without children, husbands without wives, wives without husbands, 'all condemned.' as Miss Bird says, 'to watch the repulsive steps by which each of their doomed fellows goes down to a loathsome death, knowing that by the same they too must pass.' A French priest has nobly devoted himself to the religious and secular instruction of the lepers, and up to the present time has enjoyed complete immunity from the disease; but even if he escapes this danger, he can never return to his country and friends. When one thinks what that implies, and to what a death in life he has condemned himself for the sake of others, it seems impossible to doubt that he will indeed reap a rich reward hereafter.

At two o'clock we saw Diamond Head, the easternmost headland of Oahu, rising from the sea. By four o'clock we were abreast of it, and steaming along the coast. The cape itself rises grandly from the midst of a grove of cocoa-nuts, and the shore all along, with the sharp high mountains of the Pali as a background, is fine and picturesque. A coral reef stretches far into the sea, and outside this we lay waiting for a pilot to take us into Honolulu Harbour.

It was a long business mooring us by hawsers, from our stem and stern, but we were at last safely secured in a convenient place, a short distance from the shore, and where we should be refreshed by the sea breeze and the land breeze alternately. It was six o'clock, and nearly dark, when we reached the shore; the town seemed entirely deserted; all the little wooden houses were shut up, and there were no lights visible. The post-office was closed, but it was a terrible blow to hear there were no letters for us, though we still hoped that there might be some at the British Consulate.

After a short time we returned on board the yacht in time for a late dinner. The first lieutenant of H.M.S. 'Fantome' came on board to pay us a visit during the evening, and told us all the latest English and American news, lending us some files of English papers - a great treat, but no compensation for our disappointment about the letters.

Thursday, December 28th. - Tom and I went ashore at seven o'clock to make arrangements for repairing our mizen-sail. We soon found a sailmaker, who promised to set all hands to work and complete the job as quickly as possible. Being detained by a heavy shower of rain, we occupied the time in a gossip about Honolulu and its sayings and doings. When the shower was over, we walked through the town, which is clean and tidy, being laid out in squares, after the American style. The houses are all of wood, and generally have verandahs overhanging the street. They are seldom more than one story high, and nearly all have a little greenery about them.

We returned to the yacht for breakfast, and, having heard that no sharks ever came into the long, narrow bay, were able to enjoy, in perfect peace of mind, the luxury of a bath overboard. It is a great pity that in the tropics, where bathing is such a delightful occupation, and where one might swim and paddle about for hours without fear of getting cold, it is often impossible even to enter the water for fear of the sharks. The natives are such expert swimmers that they do not seem to think much of this danger. As the shark turns on his back to take a bite at them, they dive underneath him, and he snaps his jaws on emptiness. In fact, sometimes the swimmer will take advantage of the opportunity to stab his enemy as he passes beneath him.

Scarcely was breakfast over when we were inundated with visitors, who kindly came to see what they could do for us to make our stay agreeable. We lunched on shore, and afterwards went to the new Government buildings and museum. From thence we strolled to the various shops where 'curios' and photographs are to be bought, and collected a goodly store, returning on board the yacht to find more visitors.


[Footnote 13: The accompanying sketch is from a necklace that belonged to King Kamehameha I., and was given to me by one of his descendants.]

We lunched on shore, and afterwards went with Mr. Chambre, navigating-lieutenant of the 'Fantome,' to the new Government buildings. There we found an excellent English library, and an interesting collection of books printed in English and Hawaiian, on alternate pages, including alphabets, grammars, the old familiar nursery tales, &c. There is also a good, though small museum, containing specimens of beautiful corals, shells, seaweeds, and fossils; all the ancient native weapons, such as bows, arrows, swords, and spears - now, alas! no longer procurable - sling-stones, and stones used in games, back-scratchers, hair-ornaments made of sharks' teeth, tortoise-shell cups and spoons, calabashes and bowls. There were some most interesting though somewhat horrible necklaces made of hundreds of braids of human hair cut from the heads of victims slain by the chiefs themselves; from these braids was suspended a monstrous hook carved from a large whale's tooth, called a Paloola, regarded by the natives as a sort of idol. There are models of ancient and modern canoes - the difference between which is not very great, - paddles, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, old war-masks, and dresses still in use in the less frequented islands, anklets of human teeth, and many other things far too numerous to mention. The most interesting of all were, perhaps, the old feather war cloaks, like the ancient togas of the Romans. They are made of thousands of yellow, red, and black feathers, of the oo, niamo, and eine, taken singly and fastened into a sort of network of string, so as to form a solid fabric, like the richest velvet or plush, that glitters like gold in the sunlight. The helmets, made of the same feathers, but worked on to a frame of perfect Grecian shape, similar to those seen in the oldest statuary or on the Elgin marbles, are even more artistic and elegant. Whence came the idea and design? Untutored savages could scarcely have evolved them out of their own heads. Some element of civilisation, and of highly artistic civilisation too, must surely have existed among them at some remote period of their history.

Friday, December 29th. - We had a bathe overboard early this morning. The children were ashore at half-past nine, to go and spend the day at a friend's, at the top of the Nuuanu Avenue, on the road to the Pali.

The King's two sisters came to call on us in the morning with their respective husbands. We had a great many visitors all the morning, till it was time to go to lunch; after which we went to call on the Princess Likelike, who drove me to Waikiki, to see her sister, the Princess Kamakaeha, at her country residence, a very large native grass house, with an enormous verandah. Both ladies are married to Englishmen, and live partly in English style. Inside there is a spacious drawing-room, well furnished, with pictures and nick-nacks, where we spent a pleasant half-hour in the gloaming. The sunset, over Diamond Head, and the sea, which was just visible through the cocoa-nut trees, was splendid. Both the Princesses were as kind as they could be. The royal family have formed quite a little colony here. The King's house is next door, and that of the Prince Leleiohoku is not far off. They all come here in the most unpretending way possible, and amuse themselves by fishing and bathing.

It had been quite dark for some time, when the Princess Likelike dropped me at the hotel at half-past seven, where I found Tom and Mr. Freer waiting for me. We had a quiet dinner, and then went for a stroll. It was a fine clear night, with an almost full moon. The streets were full of equestrians, riding about in pairs, for there was to be a great riding party up to the Pali to-night, the rendezvous for which was in Emma Square. Every lady had to select and bring with her an attendant cavalier.[14]

[Footnote 14: The event was thus announced in the 'Hawaiian Gazette:' - 'THE LAST CHANCE. - We are informed that a riding party will come off on Friday evening, when all the young ladies who desire to participate are expected to be on hand, each with the cavalier whom she may invite. As leap-year is drawing to a close it is expected that this opportunity will be extensively embraced. Place of rendezvous, Emma Square: time, seven-thirty; Luminary for the occasion, a full moon.']

There are no side-saddles in any of these islands; all the ladies ride like men, and sit their horses very well. They wear long riding-dresses, cleverly and elegantly adapted to the exigencies of the situation, generally of some light material, and of very bright colours. The effect of a large party galloping along, with wreaths and garlands in their hats and necks, and with their long skirts floating in the wind, is therefore picturesque and strange in the extreme.

Saturday, December 30th. - Mabelle, Muriel, and I, were up early, and went off to the coral-reef before seven in the 'Flash.' It is very beautiful, but not so fine as those we have already seen at Tahiti and other South Sea Islands. We collected four or the distinct varieties of coral, and saw many marvellous creatures swimming about or sticking to the rocks. There were several canoes full of natives fishing, who appeared highly amused when we ran aground on a coral tree, as happened more than once. It was a pleasant way of spending the early morning in the bright sunshine, peering into the dark blue and light green depths below.

Breakfast was ready by the time we returned on board, and soon afterwards I went on shore to pay some visits and to do some shopping. We went first to the fish-market, which presented a most animated scene, owing not only to the abundance of the dead produce of air, earth, and sea, which it contained, but to the large number of gaily attired purchasers.

Saturday is a half-holiday in Oahu, and all the plantation and mill hands came galloping into Honolulu on horseback, chattering and laughing, dressed in the brightest colours, and covered with flowers. The latter are not so plentiful nor so beautiful as in Tahiti, but still, to our English eyes, they appear very choice. For fruit, too, we have been spoilt in the South Seas. The fish-market here, however, is unrivalled.

Fish - raw or cooked - is the staple food of the inhabitants, and almost everybody we saw had half-a-dozen or more brilliant members of the finny tribe, wrapped up in fresh green banana leaves, ready to carry home. Shrimps are abundant and good. They are caught both in salt and fresh water, and the natives generally eat them alive, putting them into their mouths, ana either letting them hop down their throats, or crushing them between their teeth while they are still wriggling about. It looks a very nasty thing to do, but, after all, it is not much worse than our eating oysters alive.

From the fish-market we went to the prison, a large and apparently admirably managed establishment, built of stone, and overlooking the harbour. After a pleasant drive along shady fragrant roads, we returned to Emma Square, to hear the excellent performance of the Saturday afternoon band. There was a good assemblage of people, on horseback, in carriages, and on foot, and crowds of children, all more or less white, languid, and sickly-looking. Poor mites! I suppose the climate is too hot for European constitutions. Still, they abound among the foreigners, while the natives are gradually, but surely, dying out. Among the whole royal family there is only one child, a dear little girl of rather more than a year old. Princess Kauilani ('Sent from Heaven') she is always called, though she has a very long string of additional names. She is heiress-presumptive to the throne, and is thought a good deal of by everybody. Among twenty of the highest chiefs' families there is only one baby. On the other hand, all the foreign consuls, ministers, missionaries, and other white residents, appear to have an average of at least half a dozen in each family.

After the performance was over, we walked to the Princess Likelike's house, where we were entertained at a poi supper. The garden was illuminated, the band played and a choir sang alternately, while everybody sat out in the verandah, or strolled about the garden, or did what they liked best. Prince Leleiohoku took me in to supper, which was served in the native fashion, in calabashes and on leaves, laid on mats on the floor, in the same manner as the feast at Tahiti. The walls of the dining-room were made of palm-leaves and bananas, and the roof was composed of the standards of the various members of the royal family, gracefully draped. At one end of the long table, where the Prince and I sat, there was his special royal standard, as heir-apparent, and just behind us were stationed a couple of women, with two large and handsome kahilis, which they waved incessantly backwards and forwards. The viands were much the same as at Tahiti - raw seaweed, which was eaten with each mouthful, being substituted for the chopped cocoa-nut and salt-water. The carved koa bowls, which were in constant requisition as finger-glasses, were specially elegant and useful-looking articles. Poi is generally eaten from a bowl placed between two people, by dipping three fingers into it, giving them a twirl round, and then sucking them. It sounds rather nasty; but, as a matter of fact, it is so glutinous a mixture that you really only touch the particles that stick to your fingers. The latter you wash after each mouthful, so that there is nothing so very dreadful about it after all. There was a quantity of raw fish, which I did not touch, but which some of our party thought most excellent, besides dried and cooked fish, which seemed very good, fried candle-nuts, baked pig, and many other delicacies. We could get however, nothing to drink. After supper, we returned to the house, where we found an abundance of champagne and other wines, cakes, and biscuits.

About twelve o'clock we thought it was time to say good-bye, as it was Saturday night. Beneath a brilliant full moon the drive to the wharf and row off in the boat were delightful.

Sunday, December 31st. - I was on deck at six o'clock, and saw what I had often heard about - a team of twenty oxen, driven by a man in a cart, drawing by means of a rope, about a quarter of a mile in length, a large ship through the opening in the reef, the man and cattle being upon the coral.[15]

[Footnote 15: The following notice appeared in the Hawaiian Gazette recently: 'TO BE REPAIRED. - That staunch little craft the "Pele," which Capt. Brown has for so long a time successfully commanded, is now being hauled up for the purpose of repairs. She will probably be laid up for six or eight weeks, and in the meantime the antique plan of towing vessels in and out of the harbour with teams of oxen on the reef will be resumed.']

About half-past eight Mabelle and I were just going overboard for a swim, when I thought I saw the upper fin of an old familiar enemy, and directly afterwards the cry was echoed all over the ship, 'A shark, a shark!' It was a ground shark, and very nearly aground in the shallow water. They say this is the worst kind of all, and on making inquiry I was told that the safest way to enjoy a dip here is to bathe with a number of other people. The splashing and noise made by a whole ship's company frighten the sharks away. This discovery puts an end therefore to our hopes of enjoying an occasional peaceful bath.

We went to eleven o'clock service at the cathedral. It is a pleasant small building, beautifully cool, and well adapted to this climate. The Bishop was unfortunately away, but the service was well performed.

Later, Tom read the evening service to the men, and we afterwards landed and dined late at the hotel; so late, indeed, that we could hardly get anything to eat, and they began to shut up the room and put out the lights before we had half done. Luckily, we were a large party, and an indignant protest and threatened appeal to the landlord brought the Chinese waiters to their senses, and induced them to grant us half an hour's law. On our way back to the boat, the streets looked much more lively than they had hitherto done, being full of people returning from rides, drives, and excursions into the country. As a rule, directly after dark not a creature is to be seen about the streets, for every one disappears in the most mysterious manner.

We went on board, and sat in the calm moonlight, thinking and talking over the events of the year, whose end was so swiftly approaching, and wondering what its successor may have in store for us. So ends, with all its joys and sorrows, its pleasures and pains, its hopes and fears, for us, the now old year, 1876.