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The Cruise of the Snark by Jack London

Part 2 out of 4

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whose back I was? It looked like a dead woman. The board weighed
seventy-five pounds, I weighed a hundred and sixty-five. The added
weight had a velocity of fifteen miles per hour. The board and I
constituted a projectile. I leave it to the physicists to figure
out the force of the impact upon that poor, tender woman. And then
I remembered my guardian angel, Ford. "Steer with your legs!" rang
through my brain. I steered with my legs, I steered sharply,
abruptly, with all my legs and with all my might. The board sheered
around broadside on the crest. Many things happened simultaneously.
The wave gave me a passing buffet, a light tap as the taps of waves
go, but a tap sufficient to knock me off the board and smash me down
through the rushing water to bottom, with which I came in violent
collision and upon which I was rolled over and over. I got my head
out for a breath of air and then gained my feet. There stood the
woman before me. I felt like a hero. I had saved her life. And
she laughed at me. It was not hysteria. She had never dreamed of
her danger. Anyway, I solaced myself, it was not I but Ford that
saved her, and I didn't have to feel like a hero. And besides, that
leg-steering was great. In a few minutes more of practice I was
able to thread my way in and out past several bathers and to remain
on top my breaker instead of going under it.

"To-morrow," Ford said, "I am going to take you out into the blue

I looked seaward where he pointed, and saw the great smoking combers
that made the breakers I had been riding look like ripples. I don't
know what I might have said had I not recollected just then that I
was one of a kingly species. So all that I did say was, "All right,
I'll tackle them to-morrow."

The water that rolls in on Waikiki Beach is just the same as the
water that laves the shores of all the Hawaiian Islands; and in
ways, especially from the swimmer's standpoint, it is wonderful
water. It is cool enough to be comfortable, while it is warm enough
to permit a swimmer to stay in all day without experiencing a chill.
Under the sun or the stars, at high noon or at midnight, in
midwinter or in midsummer, it does not matter when, it is always the
same temperature--not too warm, not too cold, just right. It is
wonderful water, salt as old ocean itself, pure and crystal-clear.
When the nature of the water is considered, it is not so remarkable
after all that the Kanakas are one of the most expert of swimming

So it was, next morning, when Ford came along, that I plunged into
the wonderful water for a swim of indeterminate length. Astride of
our surf-boards, or, rather, flat down upon them on our stomachs, we
paddled out through the kindergarten where the little Kanaka boys
were at play. Soon we were out in deep water where the big smokers
came roaring in. The mere struggle with them, facing them and
paddling seaward over them and through them, was sport enough in
itself. One had to have his wits about him, for it was a battle in
which mighty blows were struck, on one side, and in which cunning
was used on the other side--a struggle between insensate force and
intelligence. I soon learned a bit. When a breaker curled over my
head, for a swift instant I could see the light of day through its
emerald body; then down would go my head, and I would clutch the
board with all my strength. Then would come the blow, and to the
onlooker on shore I would be blotted out. In reality the board and
I have passed through the crest and emerged in the respite of the
other side. I should not recommend those smashing blows to an
invalid or delicate person. There is weight behind them, and the
impact of the driven water is like a sandblast. Sometimes one
passes through half a dozen combers in quick succession, and it is
just about that time that he is liable to discover new merits in the
stable land and new reasons for being on shore.

Out there in the midst of such a succession of big smoky ones, a
third man was added to our party, one Freeth. Shaking the water
from my eyes as I emerged from one wave and peered ahead to see what
the next one looked like, I saw him tearing in on the back of it,
standing upright on his board, carelessly poised, a young god
bronzed with sunburn. We went through the wave on the back of which
he rode. Ford called to him. He turned an airspring from his wave,
rescued his board from its maw, paddled over to us and joined Ford
in showing me things. One thing in particular I learned from
Freeth, namely, how to encounter the occasional breaker of
exceptional size that rolled in. Such breakers were really
ferocious, and it was unsafe to meet them on top of the board. But
Freeth showed me, so that whenever I saw one of that calibre rolling
down on me, I slid off the rear end of the board and dropped down
beneath the surface, my arms over my head and holding the board.
Thus, if the wave ripped the board out of my hands and tried to
strike me with it (a common trick of such waves), there would be a
cushion of water a foot or more in depth, between my head and the
blow. When the wave passed, I climbed upon the board and paddled
on. Many men have been terribly injured, I learn, by being struck
by their boards.

The whole method of surf-riding and surf-fighting, learned, is one
of non-resistance. Dodge the blow that is struck at you. Dive
through the wave that is trying to slap you in the face. Sink down,
feet first, deep under the surface, and let the big smoker that is
trying to smash you go by far overhead. Never be rigid. Relax.
Yield yourself to the waters that are ripping and tearing at you.
When the undertow catches you and drags you seaward along the
bottom, don't struggle against it. If you do, you are liable to be
drowned, for it is stronger than you. Yield yourself to that
undertow. Swim with it, not against it, and you will find the
pressure removed. And, swimming with it, fooling it so that it does
not hold you, swim upward at the same time. It will be no trouble
at all to reach the surface.

The man who wants to learn surf-riding must be a strong swimmer, and
he must be used to going under the water. After that, fair strength
and common-sense are all that is required. The force of the big
comber is rather unexpected. There are mix-ups in which board and
rider are torn apart and separated by several hundred feet. The
surf-rider must take care of himself. No matter how many riders
swim out with him, he cannot depend upon any of them for aid. The
fancied security I had in the presence of Ford and Freeth made me
forget that it was my first swim out in deep water among the big
ones. I recollected, however, and rather suddenly, for a big wave
came in, and away went the two men on its back all the way to shore.
I could have been drowned a dozen different ways before they got
back to me.

One slides down the face of a breaker on his surf-board, but he has
to get started to sliding. Board and rider must be moving shoreward
at a good rate before the wave overtakes them. When you see the
wave coming that you want to ride in, you turn tail to it and paddle
shoreward with all your strength, using what is called the windmill
stroke. This is a sort of spurt performed immediately in front of
the wave. If the board is going fast enough, the wave accelerates
it, and the board begins its quarter-of-a-mile slide.

I shall never forget the first big wave I caught out there in the
deep water. I saw it coming, turned my back on it and paddled for
dear life. Faster and faster my board went, till it seemed my arms
would drop off. What was happening behind me I could not tell. One
cannot look behind and paddle the windmill stroke. I heard the
crest of the wave hissing and churning, and then my board was lifted
and flung forward. I scarcely knew what happened the first half-
minute. Though I kept my eyes open, I could not see anything, for I
was buried in the rushing white of the crest. But I did not mind.
I was chiefly conscious of ecstatic bliss at having caught the wave.
At the end, of the half-minute, however, I began to see things, and
to breathe. I saw that three feet of the nose of my board was clear
out of water and riding on the air. I shifted my weight forward,
and made the nose come down. Then I lay, quite at rest in the midst
of the wild movement, and watched the shore and the bathers on the
beach grow distinct. I didn't cover quite a quarter of a mile on
that wave, because, to prevent the board from diving, I shifted my
weight back, but shifted it too far and fell down the rear slope of
the wave.

It was my second day at surf-riding, and I was quite proud of
myself. I stayed out there four hours, and when it was over, I was
resolved that on the morrow I'd come in standing up. But that
resolution paved a distant place. On the morrow I was in bed. I
was not sick, but I was very unhappy, and I was in bed. When
describing the wonderful water of Hawaii I forgot to describe the
wonderful sun of Hawaii. It is a tropic sun, and, furthermore, in
the first part of June, it is an overhead sun. It is also an
insidious, deceitful sun. For the first time in my life I was
sunburned unawares. My arms, shoulders, and back had been burned
many times in the past and were tough; but not so my legs. And for
four hours I had exposed the tender backs of my legs, at right-
angles, to that perpendicular Hawaiian sun. It was not until after
I got ashore that I discovered the sun had touched me. Sunburn at
first is merely warm; after that it grows intense and the blisters
come out. Also, the joints, where the skin wrinkles, refuse to
bend. That is why I spent the next day in bed. I couldn't walk.
And that is why, to-day, I am writing this in bed. It is easier to
than not to. But to-morrow, ah, to-morrow, I shall be out in that
wonderful water, and I shall come in standing up, even as Ford and
Freeth. And if I fail to-morrow, I shall do it the next day, or the
next. Upon one thing I am resolved: the Snark shall not sail from
Honolulu until I, too, wing my heels with the swiftness of the sea,
and become a sun-burned, skin-peeling Mercury.


When the Snark sailed along the windward coast of Molokai, on her
way to Honolulu, I looked at the chart, then pointed to a low-lying
peninsula backed by a tremendous cliff varying from two to four
thousand feet in height, and said: "The pit of hell, the most
cursed place on earth." I should have been shocked, if, at that
moment, I could have caught a vision of myself a month later, ashore
in the most cursed place on earth and having a disgracefully good
time along with eight hundred of the lepers who were likewise having
a good time. Their good time was not disgraceful; but mine was, for
in the midst of so much misery it was not meet for me to have a good
time. That is the way I felt about it, and my only excuse is that I
couldn't help having a good time.

For instance, in the afternoon of the Fourth of July all the lepers
gathered at the race-track for the sports. I had wandered away from
the Superintendent and the physicians in order to get a snapshot of
the finish of one of the races. It was an interesting race, and
partisanship ran high. Three horses were entered, one ridden by a
Chinese, one by an Hawaiian, and one by a Portuguese boy. All three
riders were lepers; so were the judges and the crowd. The race was
twice around the track. The Chinese and the Hawaiian got away
together and rode neck and neck, the Portuguese boy toiling along
two hundred feet behind. Around they went in the same positions.
Halfway around on the second and final lap the Chinese pulled away
and got one length ahead of the Hawaiian. At the same time the
Portuguese boy was beginning to crawl up. But it looked hopeless.
The crowd went wild. All the lepers were passionate lovers of
horseflesh. The Portuguese boy crawled nearer and nearer. I went
wild, too. They were on the home stretch. The Portuguese boy
passed the Hawaiian. There was a thunder of hoofs, a rush of the
three horses bunched together, the jockeys plying their whips, and
every last onlooker bursting his throat, or hers, with shouts and
yells. Nearer, nearer, inch by inch, the Portuguese boy crept up,
and passed, yes, passed, winning by a head from the Chinese. I came
to myself in a group of lepers. They were yelling, tossing their
hats, and dancing around like fiends. So was I. When I came to I
was waving my hat and murmuring ecstatically: "By golly, the boy
wins! The boy wins!"

I tried to check myself. I assured myself that I was witnessing one
of the horrors of Molokai, and that it was shameful for me, under
such circumstances, to be so light-hearted and light-headed. But it
was no use. The next event was a donkey-race, and it was just
starting; so was the fun. The last donkey in was to win the race,
and what complicated the affair was that no rider rode his own
donkey. They rode one another's donkeys, the result of which was
that each man strove to make the donkey he rode beat his own donkey
ridden by some one else, Naturally, only men possessing very slow or
extremely obstreperous donkeys had entered them for the race. One
donkey had been trained to tuck in its legs and lie down whenever
its rider touched its sides with his heels. Some donkeys strove to
turn around and come back; others developed a penchant for the side
of the track, where they stuck their heads over the railing and
stopped; while all of them dawdled. Halfway around the track one
donkey got into an argument with its rider. When all the rest of
the donkeys had crossed the wire, that particular donkey was still
arguing. He won the race, though his rider lost it and came in on
foot. And all the while nearly a thousand lepers were laughing
uproariously at the fun. Anybody in my place would have joined with
them in having a good time.

All the foregoing is by way of preamble to the statement that the
horrors of Molokai, as they have been painted in the past, do not
exist. The Settlement has been written up repeatedly by
sensationalists, and usually by sensationalists who have never laid
eyes on it. Of course, leprosy is leprosy, and it is a terrible
thing; but so much that is lurid has been written about Molokai that
neither the lepers, nor those who devote their lives to them, have
received a fair deal. Here is a case in point. A newspaper writer,
who, of course, had never been near the Settlement, vividly
described Superintendent McVeigh, crouching in a grass hut and being
besieged nightly by starving lepers on their knees, wailing for
food. This hair-raising account was copied by the press all over
the United States and was the cause of many indignant and protesting
editorials. Well, I lived and slept for five days in Mr. McVeigh's
"grass hut" (which was a comfortable wooden cottage, by the way; and
there isn't a grass house in the whole Settlement), and I heard the
lepers wailing for food--only the wailing was peculiarly harmonious
and rhythmic, and it was accompanied by the music of stringed
instruments, violins, guitars, ukuleles, and banjos. Also, the
wailing was of various sorts. The leper brass band wailed, and two
singing societies wailed, and lastly a quintet of excellent voices
wailed. So much for a lie that should never have been printed. The
wailing was the serenade which the glee clubs always give Mr.
McVeigh when he returns from a trip to Honolulu.

Leprosy is not so contagious as is imagined. I went for a week's
visit to the Settlement, and I took my wife along--all of which
would not have happened had we had any apprehension of contracting
the disease. Nor did we wear long, gauntleted gloves and keep apart
from the lepers. On the contrary, we mingled freely with them, and
before we left, knew scores of them by sight and name. The
precautions of simple cleanliness seem to be all that is necessary.
On returning to their own houses, after having been among and
handling lepers, the non-lepers, such as the physicians and the
superintendent, merely wash their faces and hands with mildly
antiseptic soap and change their coats.

That a leper is unclean, however, should be insisted upon; and the
segregation of lepers, from what little is known of the disease,
should be rigidly maintained. On the other hand, the awful horror
with which the leper has been regarded in the past, and the
frightful treatment he has received, have been unnecessary and
cruel. In order to dispel some of the popular misapprehensions of
leprosy, I want to tell something of the relations between the
lepers and non-lepers as I observed them at Molokai. On the morning
after our arrival Charmian and I attended a shoot of the Kalaupapa
Rifle Club, and caught our first glimpse of the democracy of
affliction and alleviation that obtains. The club was just
beginning a prize shoot for a cup put up by Mr. McVeigh, who is also
a member of the club, as also are Dr. Goodhue and Dr. Hollmann, the
resident physicians (who, by the way, live in the Settlement with
their wives). All about us, in the shooting booth, were the lepers.
Lepers and non-lepers were using the same guns, and all were rubbing
shoulders in the confined space. The majority of the lepers were
Hawaiians. Sitting beside me on a bench was a Norwegian. Directly
in front of me, in the stand, was an American, a veteran of the
Civil War, who had fought on the Confederate side. He was sixty-
five years of age, but that did not prevent him from running up a
good score. Strapping Hawaiian policemen, lepers, khaki-clad, were
also shooting, as were Portuguese, Chinese, and kokuas--the latter
are native helpers in the Settlement who are non-lepers. And on the
afternoon that Charmian and I climbed the two-thousand-foot pali and
looked our last upon the Settlement, the superintendent, the
doctors, and the mixture of nationalities and of diseased and non-
diseased were all engaged in an exciting baseball game.

Not so was the leper and his greatly misunderstood and feared
disease treated during the middle ages in Europe. At that time the
leper was considered legally and politically dead. He was placed in
a funeral procession and led to the church, where the burial service
was read over him by the officiating clergyman. Then a spadeful of
earth was dropped upon his chest and he was dead-living dead. While
this rigorous treatment was largely unnecessary, nevertheless, one
thing was learned by it. Leprosy was unknown in Europe until it was
introduced by the returning Crusaders, whereupon it spread slowly
until it had seized upon large numbers of the people. Obviously, it
was a disease that could be contracted by contact. It was a
contagion, and it was equally obvious that it could be eradicated by
segregation. Terrible and monstrous as was the treatment of the
leper in those days, the great lesson of segregation was learned.
By its means leprosy was stamped out.

And by the same means leprosy is even now decreasing in the Hawaiian
Islands. But the segregation of the lepers on Molokai is not the
horrible nightmare that has been so often exploited by YELLOW
writers. In the first place, the leper is not torn ruthlessly from
his family. When a suspect is discovered, he is invited by the
Board of Health to come to the Kalihi receiving station at Honolulu.
His fare and all expenses are paid for him. He is first passed upon
by microscopical examination by the bacteriologist of the Board of
Health. If the bacillus leprae is found, the patient is examined by
the Board of Examining Physicians, five in number. If found by them
to be a leper, he is so declared, which finding is later officially
confirmed by the Board of Health, and the leper is ordered straight
to Molokai. Furthermore, during the thorough trial that is given
his case, the patient has the right to be represented by a physician
whom he can select and employ for himself. Nor, after having been
declared a leper, is the patient immediately rushed off to Molokai.
He is given ample time, weeks, and even months, sometimes, during
which he stays at Kalihi and winds up or arranges all his business
affairs. At Molokai, in turn, he may be visited by his relatives,
business agents, etc., though they are not permitted to eat and
sleep in his house. Visitors' houses, kept "clean," are maintained
for this purpose.

I saw an illustration of the thorough trial given the suspect, when
I visited Kalihi with Mr. Pinkham, president of the Board of Health.
The suspect was an Hawaiian, seventy years of age, who for thirty-
four years had worked in Honolulu as a pressman in a printing
office. The bacteriologist had decided that he was a leper, the
Examining Board had been unable to make up its mind, and that day
all had come out to Kalihi to make another examination.

When at Molokai, the declared leper has the privilege of re-
examination, and patients are continually coming back to Honolulu
for that purpose. The steamer that took me to Molokai had on board
two returning lepers, both young women, one of whom had come to
Honolulu to settle up some property she owned, and the other had
come to Honolulu to see her sick mother. Both had remained at
Kalihi for a month.

The Settlement of Molokai enjoys a far more delightful climate than
even Honolulu, being situated on the windward side of the island in
the path of the fresh north-east trades. The scenery is
magnificent; on one side is the blue sea, on the other the wonderful
wall of the pali, receding here and there into beautiful mountain
valleys. Everywhere are grassy pastures over which roam the
hundreds of horses which are owned by the lepers. Some of them have
their own carts, rigs, and traps. In the little harbour of
Kalaupapa lie fishing boats and a steam launch, all of which are
privately owned and operated by lepers. Their bounds upon the sea
are, of course, determined: otherwise no restriction is put upon
their sea-faring. Their fish they sell to the Board of Health, and
the money they receive is their own. While I was there, one night's
catch was four thousand pounds.

And as these men fish, others farm. All trades are followed. One
leper, a pure Hawaiian, is the boss painter. He employs eight men,
and takes contracts for painting buildings from the Board of Health.
He is a member of the Kalaupapa Rifle Club, where I met him, and I
must confess that he was far better dressed than I. Another man,
similarly situated, is the boss carpenter. Then, in addition to the
Board of Health store, there are little privately owned stores,
where those with shopkeeper's souls may exercise their peculiar
instincts. The Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Waiamau, a finely
educated and able man, is a pure Hawaiian and a leper. Mr.
Bartlett, who is the present storekeeper, is an American who was in
business in Honolulu before he was struck down by the disease. All
that these men earn is that much in their own pockets. If they do
not work, they are taken care of anyway by the territory, given
food, shelter, clothes, and medical attendance. The Board of Health
carries on agriculture, stock-raising, and dairying, for local use,
and employment at fair wages is furnished to all that wish to work.
They are not compelled to work, however, for they are the wards of
the territory. For the young, and the very old, and the helpless
there are homes and hospitals.

Major Lee, an American and long a marine engineer for the Inter
Island Steamship Company, I met actively at work in the new steam
laundry, where he was busy installing the machinery. I met him
often, afterwards, and one day he said to me:

"Give us a good breeze about how we live here. For heaven's sake
write us up straight. Put your foot down on this chamber-of-horrors
rot and all the rest of it. We don't like being misrepresented.
We've got some feelings. Just tell the world how we really are in

Man after man that I met in the Settlement, and woman after woman,
in one way or another expressed the same sentiment. It was patent
that they resented bitterly the sensational and untruthful way in
which they have been exploited in the past.

In spite of the fact that they are afflicted by disease, the lepers
form a happy colony, divided into two villages and numerous country
and seaside homes, of nearly a thousand souls. They have six
churches, a Young Men's Christian Association building, several
assembly halls, a band stand, a race-track, baseball grounds,
shooting ranges, an athletic club, numerous glee clubs, and two
brass bands.

"They are so contented down there," Mr. Pinkham told me, "that you
can't drive them away with a shot-gun."

This I later verified for myself. In January of this year, eleven
of the lepers, on whom the disease, after having committed certain
ravages, showed no further signs of activity, were brought back to
Honolulu for re-examination. They were loath to come; and, on being
asked whether or not they wanted to go free if found clean of
leprosy, one and all answered, "Back to Molokai."

In the old days, before the discovery of the leprosy bacillus, a
small number of men and women, suffering from various and wholly
different diseases, were adjudged lepers and sent to Molokai. Years
afterward they suffered great consternation when the bacteriologists
declared that they were not afflicted with leprosy and never had
been. They fought against being sent away from Molokai, and in one
way or another, as helpers and nurses, they got jobs from the Board
of Health and remained. The present jailer is one of these men.
Declared to be a non-leper, he accepted, on salary, the charge of
the jail, in order to escape being sent away.

At the present moment, in Honolulu, there is a bootblack. He is an
American negro. Mr. McVeigh told me about him. Long ago, before
the bacteriological tests, he was sent to Molokai as a leper. As a
ward of the state he developed a superlative degree of independence
and fomented much petty mischief. And then, one day, after having
been for years a perennial source of minor annoyances, the
bacteriological test was applied, and he was declared a non-leper.

"Ah, ha!" chortled Mr. McVeigh. "Now I've got you! Out you go on
the next steamer and good riddance!"

But the negro didn't want to go. Immediately he married an old
woman, in the last stages of leprosy, and began petitioning the
Board of Health for permission to remain and nurse his sick wife.
There was no one, he said pathetically, who could take care of his
poor wife as well as he could. But they saw through his game, and
he was deported on the steamer and given the freedom of the world.
But he preferred Molokai. Landing on the leeward side of Molokai,
he sneaked down the pali one night and took up his abode in the
Settlement. He was apprehended, tried and convicted of trespass,
sentenced to pay a small fine, and again deported on the steamer
with the warning that if he trespassed again, he would be fined one
hundred dollars and be sent to prison in Honolulu. And now, when
Mr. McVeigh comes up to Honolulu, the bootblack shines his shoes for
him and says:

"Say, Boss, I lost a good home down there. Yes, sir, I lost a good
home." Then his voice sinks to a confidential whisper as he says,
"Say, Boss, can't I go back? Can't you fix it for me so as I can go

He had lived nine years on Molokai, and he had had a better time
there than he has ever had, before and after, on the outside.

As regards the fear of leprosy itself, nowhere in the Settlement
among lepers, or non-lepers, did I see any sign of it. The chief
horror of leprosy obtains in the minds of those who have never seen
a leper and who do not know anything about the disease. At the
hotel at Waikiki a lady expressed shuddering amazement at my having
the hardihood to pay a visit to the Settlement. On talking with her
I learned that she had been born in Honolulu, had lived there all
her life, and had never laid eyes on a leper. That was more than I
could say of myself in the United States, where the segregation of
lepers is loosely enforced and where I have repeatedly seen lepers
on the streets of large cities.

Leprosy is terrible, there is no getting away from that; but from
what little I know of the disease and its degree of contagiousness,
I would by far prefer to spend the rest of my days in Molokai than
in any tuberculosis sanatorium. In every city and county hospital
for poor people in the United States, or in similar institutions in
other countries, sights as terrible as those in Molokai can be
witnessed, and the sum total of these sights is vastly more
terrible. For that matter, if it were given me to choose between
being compelled to live in Molokai for the rest of my life, or in
the East End of London, the East Side of New York, or the Stockyards
of Chicago, I would select Molokai without debate. I would prefer
one year of life in Molokai to five years of life in the above-
mentioned cesspools of human degradation and misery.

In Molokai the people are happy. I shall never forget the
celebration of the Fourth of July I witnessed there. At six o'clock
in the morning the "horribles" were out, dressed fantastically,
astride horses, mules, and donkeys (their own property), and cutting
capers all over the Settlement. Two brass bands were out as well.
Then there were the pa-u riders, thirty or forty of them, Hawaiian
women all, superb horsewomen dressed gorgeously in the old, native
riding costume, and dashing about in twos and threes and groups. In
the afternoon Charmian and I stood in the judge's stand and awarded
the prizes for horsemanship and costume to the pa-u riders. All
about were the hundreds of lepers, with wreaths of flowers on heads
and necks and shoulders, looking on and making merry. And always,
over the brows of hills and across the grassy level stretches,
appearing and disappearing, were the groups of men and women, gaily
dressed, on galloping horses, horses and riders flower-bedecked and
flower-garlanded, singing, and laughing, and riding like the wind.
And as I stood in the judge's stand and looked at all this, there
came to my recollection the lazar house of Havana, where I had once
beheld some two hundred lepers, prisoners inside four restricted
walls until they died. No, there are a few thousand places I wot of
in this world over which I would select Molokai as a place of
permanent residence. In the evening we went to one of the leper
assembly halls, where, before a crowded audience, the singing
societies contested for prizes, and where the night wound up with a
dance. I have seen the Hawaiians living in the slums of Honolulu,
and, having seen them, I can readily understand why the lepers,
brought up from the Settlement for re-examination, shouted one and
all, "Back to Molokai!"

One thing is certain. The leper in the Settlement is far better off
than the leper who lies in hiding outside. Such a leper is a lonely
outcast, living in constant fear of discovery and slowly and surely
rotting away. The action of leprosy is not steady. It lays hold of
its victim, commits a ravage, and then lies dormant for an
indeterminate period. It may not commit another ravage for five
years, or ten years, or forty years, and the patient may enjoy
uninterrupted good health. Rarely, however, do these first ravages
cease of themselves. The skilled surgeon is required, and the
skilled surgeon cannot be called in for the leper who is in hiding.
For instance, the first ravage may take the form of a perforating
ulcer in the sole of the foot. When the bone is reached, necrosis
sets in. If the leper is in hiding, he cannot be operated upon, the
necrosis will continue to eat its way up the bone of the leg, and in
a brief and horrible time that leper will die of gangrene or some
other terrible complication. On the other hand, if that same leper
is in Molokai, the surgeon will operate upon the foot, remove the
ulcer, cleanse the bone, and put a complete stop to that particular
ravage of the disease. A month after the operation the leper will
be out riding horseback, running foot races, swimming in the
breakers, or climbing the giddy sides of the valleys for mountain
apples. And as has been stated before, the disease, lying dormant,
may not again attack him for five, ten, or forty years.

The old horrors of leprosy go back to the conditions that obtained
before the days of antiseptic surgery, and before the time when
physicians like Dr. Goodhue and Dr. Hollmann went to live at the
Settlement. Dr. Goodhue is the pioneer surgeon there, and too much
praise cannot be given him for the noble work he has done. I spent
one morning in the operating room with him and of the three
operations he performed, two were on men, newcomers, who had arrived
on the same steamer with me. In each case, the disease had attacked
in one spot only. One had a perforating ulcer in the ankle, well
advanced, and the other man was suffering from a similar affliction,
well advanced, under his arm. Both cases were well advanced because
the man had been on the outside and had not been treated. In each
case. Dr. Goodhue put an immediate and complete stop to the ravage,
and in four weeks those two men will be as well and able-bodied as
they ever were in their lives. The only difference between them and
you or me is that the disease is lying dormant in their bodies and
may at any future time commit another ravage.

Leprosy is as old as history. References to it are found in the
earliest written records. And yet to-day practically nothing more
is known about it than was known then. This much was known then,
namely, that it was contagious and that those afflicted by it should
be segregated. The difference between then and now is that to-day
the leper is more rigidly segregated and more humanely treated. But
leprosy itself still remains the same awful and profound mystery. A
reading of the reports of the physicians and specialists of all
countries reveals the baffling nature of the disease. These leprosy
specialists are unanimous on no one phase of the disease. They do
not know. In the past they rashly and dogmatically generalized.
They generalize no longer. The one possible generalization that can
be drawn from all the investigation that has been made is that
leprosy is FEEBLY CONTAGIOUS. But in what manner it is feebly
contagious is not known. They have isolated the bacillus of
leprosy. They can determine by bacteriological examination whether
or not a person is a leper; but they are as far away as ever from
knowing how that bacillus finds its entrance into the body of a non-
leper. They do not know the length of time of incubation. They
have tried to inoculate all sorts of animals with leprosy, and have

They are baffled in the discovery of a serum wherewith to fight the
disease. And in all their work, as yet, they have found no clue, no
cure. Sometimes there have been blazes of hope, theories of
causation and much heralded cures, but every time the darkness of
failure quenched the flame. A doctor insists that the cause of
leprosy is a long-continued fish diet, and he proves his theory
voluminously till a physician from the highlands of India demands
why the natives of that district should therefore be afflicted by
leprosy when they have never eaten fish, nor all the generations of
their fathers before them. A man treats a leper with a certain kind
of oil or drug, announces a cure, and five, ten, or forty years
afterwards the disease breaks out again. It is this trick of
leprosy lying dormant in the body for indeterminate periods that is
responsible for many alleged cures. But this much is certain: AS

Leprosy is FEEBLY CONTAGIOUS, but how is it contagious? An Austrian
physician has inoculated himself and his assistants with leprosy and
failed to catch it. But this is not conclusive, for there is the
famous case of the Hawaiian murderer who had his sentence of death
commuted to life imprisonment on his agreeing to be inoculated with
the bacillus leprae. Some time after inoculation, leprosy made its
appearance, and the man died a leper on Molokai. Nor was this
conclusive, for it was discovered that at the time he was inoculated
several members of his family were already suffering from the
disease on Molokai. He may have contracted the disease from them,
and it may have been well along in its mysterious period of
incubation at the time he was officially inoculated. Then there is
the case of that hero of the Church, Father Damien, who went to
Molokai a clean man and died a leper. There have been many theories
as to how he contracted leprosy, but nobody knows. He never knew
himself. But every chance that he ran has certainly been run by a
woman at present living in the Settlement; who has lived there many
years; who has had five leper husbands, and had children by them;
and who is to-day, as she always has been, free of the disease.

As yet no light has been shed upon the mystery of leprosy. When
more is learned about the disease, a cure for it may be expected.
Once an efficacious serum is discovered, and leprosy, because it is
so feebly contagious, will pass away swiftly from the earth. The
battle waged with it will be short and sharp. In the meantime, how
to discover that serum, or some other unguessed weapon? In the
present it is a serious matter. It is estimated that there are half
a million lepers, not segregated, in India alone. Carnegie
libraries, Rockefeller universities, and many similar benefactions
are all very well; but one cannot help thinking how far a few
thousands of dollars would go, say in the leper Settlement of
Molokai. The residents there are accidents of fate, scapegoats to
some mysterious natural law of which man knows nothing, isolated for
the welfare of their fellows who else might catch the dread disease,
even as they have caught it, nobody knows how. Not for their sakes
merely, but for the sake of future generations, a few thousands of
dollars would go far in a legitimate and scientific search after a
cure for leprosy, for a serum, or for some undreamed discovery that
will enable the medical world to exterminate the bacillus leprae.
There's the place for your money, you philanthropists.


There are hosts of people who journey like restless spirits round
and about this earth in search of seascapes and landscapes and the
wonders and beauties of nature. They overrun Europe in armies; they
can be met in droves and herds in Florida and the West Indies, at
the Pyramids, and on the slopes and summits of the Canadian and
American Rockies; but in the House of the Sun they are as rare as
live and wriggling dinosaurs. Haleakala is the Hawaiian name for
"the House of the Sun." It is a noble dwelling, situated on the
Island of Maui; but so few tourists have ever peeped into it, much
less entered it, that their number may be practically reckoned as
zero. Yet I venture to state that for natural beauty and wonder the
nature-lover may see dissimilar things as great as Haleakala, but no
greater, while he will never see elsewhere anything more beautiful
or wonderful. Honolulu is six days' steaming from San Francisco;
Maui is a night's run on the steamer from Honolulu; and six hours
more if he is in a hurry, can bring the traveller to Kolikoli, which
is ten thousand and thirty-two feet above the sea and which stands
hard by the entrance portal to the House of the Sun. Yet the
tourist comes not, and Haleakala sleeps on in lonely and unseen

Not being tourists, we of the Snark went to Haleakala. On the
slopes of that monster mountain there is a cattle ranch of some
fifty thousand acres, where we spent the night at an altitude of two
thousand feet. The next morning it was boots and saddles, and with
cow-boys and pack-horses we climbed to Ukulele, a mountain ranch-
house, the altitude of which, fifty-five hundred feet, gives a
severely temperate climate, compelling blankets at night and a
roaring fireplace in the living-room. Ukulele, by the way, is the
Hawaiian for "jumping flea" as it is also the Hawaiian for a certain
musical instrument that may be likened to a young guitar. It is my
opinion that the mountain ranch-house was named after the young
guitar. We were not in a hurry, and we spent the day at Ukulele,
learnedly discussing altitudes and barometers and shaking our
particular barometer whenever any one's argument stood in need of
demonstration. Our barometer was the most graciously acquiescent
instrument I have ever seen. Also, we gathered mountain
raspberries, large as hen's eggs and larger, gazed up the pasture-
covered lava slopes to the summit of Haleakala, forty-five hundred
feet above us, and looked down upon a mighty battle of the clouds
that was being fought beneath us, ourselves in the bright sunshine.

Every day and every day this unending battle goes on. Ukiukiu is
the name of the trade-wind that comes raging down out of the north-
east and hurls itself upon Haleakala. Now Haleakala is so bulky and
tall that it turns the north-east trade-wind aside on either hand,
so that in the lee of Haleakala no trade-wind blows at all. On the
contrary, the wind blows in the counter direction, in the teeth of
the north-east trade. This wind is called Naulu. And day and night
and always Ukiukiu and Naulu strive with each other, advancing,
retreating, flanking, curving, curling, and turning and twisting,
the conflict made visible by the cloud-masses plucked from the
heavens and hurled back and forth in squadrons, battalions, armies,
and great mountain ranges. Once in a while, Ukiukiu, in mighty
gusts, flings immense cloud-masses clear over the summit of
Haleakala; whereupon Naulu craftily captures them, lines them up in
new battle-formation, and with them smites back at his ancient and
eternal antagonist. Then Ukiukiu sends a great cloud-army around
the eastern-side of the mountain. It is a flanking movement, well
executed. But Naulu, from his lair on the leeward side, gathers the
flanking army in, pulling and twisting and dragging it, hammering it
into shape, and sends it charging back against Ukiukiu around the
western side of the mountain. And all the while, above and below
the main battle-field, high up the slopes toward the sea, Ukiukiu
and Naulu are continually sending out little wisps of cloud, in
ragged skirmish line, that creep and crawl over the ground, among
the trees and through the canyons, and that spring upon and capture
one another in sudden ambuscades and sorties. And sometimes Ukiukiu
or Naulu, abruptly sending out a heavy charging column, captures the
ragged little skirmishers or drives them skyward, turning over and
over, in vertical whirls, thousands of feet in the air.

But it is on the western slopes of Haleakala that the main battle
goes on. Here Naulu masses his heaviest formations and wins his
greatest victories. Ukiukiu grows weak toward late afternoon, which
is the way of all trade-winds, and is driven backward by Naulu.
Naulu's generalship is excellent. All day he has been gathering and
packing away immense reserves. As the afternoon draws on, he welds
them into a solid column, sharp-pointed, miles in length, a mile in
width, and hundreds of feet thick. This column he slowly thrusts
forward into the broad battle-front of Ukiukiu, and slowly and
surely Ukiukiu, weakening fast, is split asunder. But it is not all
bloodless. At times Ukiukiu struggles wildly, and with fresh
accessions of strength from the limitless north-east, smashes away
half a mile at a time of Naulu's column and sweeps it off and away
toward West Maui. Sometimes, when the two charging armies meet end-
on, a tremendous perpendicular whirl results, the cloud-masses,
locked together, mounting thousands of feet into the air and turning
over and over. A favourite device of Ukiukiu is to send a low,
squat formation, densely packed, forward along the ground and under
Naulu. When Ukiukiu is under, he proceeds to buck. Naulu's mighty
middle gives to the blow and bends upward, but usually he turns the
attacking column back upon itself and sets it milling. And all the
while the ragged little skirmishers, stray and detached, sneak
through the trees and canyons, crawl along and through the grass,
and surprise one another with unexpected leaps and rushes; while
above, far above, serene and lonely in the rays of the setting sun,
Haleakala looks down upon the conflict. And so, the night. But in
the morning, after the fashion of trade-winds, Ukiukiu gathers
strength and sends the hosts of Naulu rolling back in confusion and
rout. And one day is like another day in the battle of the clouds,
where Ukiukiu and Naulu strive eternally on the slopes of Haleakala.

Again in the morning, it was boots and saddles, cow-boys, and
packhorses, and the climb to the top began. One packhorse carried
twenty gallons of water, slung in five-gallon bags on either side;
for water is precious and rare in the crater itself, in spite of the
fact that several miles to the north and east of the crater-rim more
rain comes down than in any other place in the world. The way led
upward across countless lava flows, without regard for trails, and
never have I seen horses with such perfect footing as that of the
thirteen that composed our outfit. They climbed or dropped down
perpendicular places with the sureness and coolness of mountain
goats, and never a horse fell or baulked.

There is a familiar and strange illusion experienced by all who
climb isolated mountains. The higher one climbs, the more of the
earth's surface becomes visible, and the effect of this is that the
horizon seems up-hill from the observer. This illusion is
especially notable on Haleakala, for the old volcano rises directly
from the sea without buttresses or connecting ranges. In
consequence, as fast as we climbed up the grim slope of Haleakala,
still faster did Haleakala, ourselves, and all about us, sink down
into the centre of what appeared a profound abyss. Everywhere, far
above us, towered the horizon. The ocean sloped down from the
horizon to us. The higher we climbed, the deeper did we seem to
sink down, the farther above us shone the horizon, and the steeper
pitched the grade up to that horizontal line where sky and ocean
met. It was weird and unreal, and vagrant thoughts of Simm's Hole
and of the volcano through which Jules Verne journeyed to the centre
of the earth flitted through one's mind.

And then, when at last we reached the summit of that monster
mountain, which summit was like the bottom of an inverted cone
situated in the centre of an awful cosmic pit, we found that we were
at neither top nor bottom. Far above us was the heaven-towering
horizon, and far beneath us, where the top of the mountain should
have been, was a deeper deep, the great crater, the House of the
Sun. Twenty-three miles around stretched the dizzy wells of the
crater. We stood on the edge of the nearly vertical western wall,
and the floor of the crater lay nearly half a mile beneath. This
floor, broken by lava-flows and cinder-cones, was as red and fresh
and uneroded as if it were but yesterday that the fires went out.
The cinder-cones, the smallest over four hundred feet in height and
the largest over nine hundred, seemed no more than puny little sand-
hills, so mighty was the magnitude of the setting. Two gaps,
thousands of feet deep, broke the rim of the crater, and through
these Ukiukiu vainly strove to drive his fleecy herds of trade-wind
clouds. As fast as they advanced through the gaps, the heat of the
crater dissipated them into thin air, and though they advanced
always, they got nowhere.

It was a scene of vast bleakness and desolation, stern, forbidding,
fascinating. We gazed down upon a place of fire and earthquake.
The tie-ribs of earth lay bare before us. It was a workshop of
nature still cluttered with the raw beginnings of world-making.
Here and there great dikes of primordial rock had thrust themselves
up from the bowels of earth, straight through the molten surface-
ferment that had evidently cooled only the other day. It was all
unreal and unbelievable. Looking upward, far above us (in reality
beneath us) floated the cloud-battle of Ukiukiu and Naulu. And
higher up the slope of the seeming abyss, above the cloud-battle, in
the air and sky, hung the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Across the
crater, to the south-east, still apparently looking upward, we saw
ascending, first, the turquoise sea, then the white surf-line of the
shore of Hawaii; above that the belt of trade-clouds, and next,
eighty miles away, rearing their stupendous hulks out of the azure
sky, tipped with snow, wreathed with cloud, trembling like a mirage,
the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa hung poised on the wall of

It is told that long ago, one Maui, the son of Hina, lived on what
is now known as West Maui. His mother, Hina, employed her time in
the making of kapas. She must have made them at night, for her days
were occupied in trying to dry the kapas. Each morning, and all
morning, she toiled at spreading them out in the sun. But no sooner
were they out, than she began taking them in, in order to have them
all under shelter for the night. For know that the days were
shorter then than now. Maui watched his mother's futile toil and
felt sorry for her. He decided to do something--oh, no, not to help
her hang out and take in the kapas. He was too clever for that.
His idea was to make the sun go slower. Perhaps he was the first
Hawaiian astronomer. At any rate, he took a series of observations
of the sun from various parts of the island. His conclusion was
that the sun's path was directly across Haleakala. Unlike Joshua,
he stood in no need of divine assistance. He gathered a huge
quantity of coconuts, from the fibre of which he braided a stout
cord, and in one end of which he made a noose, even as the cow-boys
of Haleakala do to this day. Next he climbed into the House of the
Sun and laid in wait. When the sun came tearing along the path,
bent on completing its journey in the shortest time possible, the
valiant youth threw his lariat around one of the sun's largest and
strongest beams. He made the sun slow down some; also, he broke the
beam short off. And he kept on roping and breaking off beams till
the sun said it was willing to listen to reason. Maui set forth his
terms of peace, which the sun accepted, agreeing to go more slowly
thereafter. Wherefore Hina had ample time in which to dry her
kapas, and the days are longer than they used to be, which last is
quite in accord with the teachings of modern astronomy.

We had a lunch of jerked beef and hard poi in a stone corral, used
of old time for the night-impounding of cattle being driven across
the island. Then we skirted the rim for half a mile and began the
descent into the crater. Twenty-five hundred feet beneath lay the
floor, and down a steep slope of loose volcanic cinders we dropped,
the sure-footed horses slipping and sliding, but always keeping
their feet. The black surface of the cinders, when broken by the
horses' hoofs, turned to a yellow ochre dust, virulent in appearance
and acid of taste, that arose in clouds. There was a gallop across
a level stretch to the mouth of a convenient blow-hole, and then the
descent continued in clouds of volcanic dust, winding in and out
among cinder-cones, brick-red, old rose, and purplish black of
colour. Above us, higher and higher, towered the crater-walls,
while we journeyed on across innumerable lava-flows, turning and
twisting a devious way among the adamantine billows of a petrified
sea. Saw-toothed waves of lava vexed the surface of this weird
ocean, while on either hand arose jagged crests and spiracles of
fantastic shape. Our way led on past a bottomless pit and along and
over the main stream of the latest lava-flow for seven miles.

At the lower end of the crater was our camping spot, in a small
grove of olapa and kolea trees, tucked away in a corner of the
crater at the base of walls that rose perpendicularly fifteen
hundred feet. Here was pasturage for the horses, but no water, and
first we turned aside and picked our way across a mile of lava to a
known water-hole in a crevice in the crater-wall. The water-hole
was empty. But on climbing fifty feet up the crevice, a pool was
found containing half a dozen barrels of water. A pail was carried
up, and soon a steady stream of the precious liquid was running down
the rock and filling the lower pool, while the cow-boys below were
busy fighting the horses back, for there was room for one only to
drink at a time. Then it was on to camp at the foot of the wall, up
which herds of wild goats scrambled and blatted, while the tent
arose to the sound of rifle-firing. Jerked beef, hard poi, and
broiled kid were the menu. Over the crest of the crater, just above
our heads, rolled a sea of clouds, driven on by Ukiukiu. Though
this sea rolled over the crest unceasingly, it never blotted out nor
dimmed the moon, for the heat of the crater dissolved the clouds as
fast as they rolled in. Through the moonlight, attracted by the
camp-fire, came the crater cattle to peer and challenge. They were
rolling fat, though they rarely drank water, the morning dew on the
grass taking its place. It was because of this dew that the tent
made a welcome bedchamber, and we fell asleep to the chanting of
hulas by the unwearied Hawaiian cowboys, in whose veins, no doubt,
ran the blood of Maui, their valiant forebear.

The camera cannot do justice to the House of the Sun. The
sublimated chemistry of photography may not lie, but it certainly
does not tell all the truth. The Koolau Gap may be faithfully
reproduced, just as it impinged on the retina of the camera, yet in
the resulting picture the gigantic scale of things would be missing.
Those walls that seem several hundred feet in height are almost as
many thousand; that entering wedge of cloud is a mile and a half
wide in the gap itself, while beyond the gap it is a veritable
ocean; and that foreground of cinder-cone and volcanic ash, mushy
and colourless in appearance, is in truth gorgeous-hued in brick-
red, terra-cotta rose, yellow ochre, and purplish black. Also,
words are a vain thing and drive to despair. To say that a crater-
wall is two thousand feet high is to say just precisely that it is
two thousand feet high; but there is a vast deal more to that
crater-wall than a mere statistic. The sun is ninety-three millions
of miles distant, but to mortal conception the adjoining county is
farther away. This frailty of the human brain is hard on the sun.
It is likewise hard on the House of the Sun. Haleakala has a
message of beauty and wonder for the human soul that cannot be
delivered by proxy. Kolikoli is six hours from Kahului; Kahului is
a night's run from Honolulu; Honolulu is six days from San
Francisco; and there you are.

We climbed the crater-walls, put the horses over impossible places,
rolled stones, and shot wild goats. I did not get any goats. I was
too busy rolling stones. One spot in particular I remember, where
we started a stone the size of a horse. It began the descent easy
enough, rolling over, wobbling, and threatening to stop; but in a
few minutes it was soaring through the air two hundred feet at a
jump. It grew rapidly smaller until it struck a slight slope of
volcanic sand, over which it darted like a startled jackrabbit,
kicking up behind it a tiny trail of yellow dust. Stone and dust
diminished in size, until some of the party said the stone had
stopped. That was because they could not see it any longer. It had
vanished into the distance beyond their ken. Others saw it rolling
farther on--I know I did; and it is my firm conviction that that
stone is still rolling.

Our last day in the crater, Ukiukiu gave us a taste of his strength.
He smashed Naulu back all along the line, filled the House of the
Sun to overflowing with clouds, and drowned us out. Our rain-gauge
was a pint cup under a tiny hole in the tent. That last night of
storm and rain filled the cup, and there was no way of measuring the
water that spilled over into the blankets. With the rain-gauge out
of business there was no longer any reason for remaining; so we
broke camp in the wet-gray of dawn, and plunged eastward across the
lava to the Kaupo Gap. East Maui is nothing more or less than the
vast lava stream that flowed long ago through the Kaupo Gap; and
down this stream we picked our way from an altitude of six thousand
five hundred feet to the sea. This was a day's work in itself for
the horses; but never were there such horses. Safe in the bad
places, never rushing, never losing their heads, as soon as they
found a trail wide and smooth enough to run on, they ran. There was
no stopping them until the trail became bad again, and then they
stopped of themselves. Continuously, for days, they had performed
the hardest kind of work, and fed most of the time on grass foraged
by themselves at night while we slept, and yet that day they covered
twenty-eight leg-breaking miles and galloped into Hana like a bunch
of colts. Also, there were several of them, reared in the dry
region on the leeward side of Haleakala, that had never worn shoes
in all their lives. Day after day, and all day long, unshod, they
had travelled over the sharp lava, with the extra weight of a man on
their backs, and their hoofs were in better condition than those of
the shod horses.

The scenery between Vieiras's (where the Kaupo Gap empties into the
sea) and Lana, which we covered in half a day, is well worth a week
or month; but, wildly beautiful as it is, it becomes pale and small
in comparison with the wonderland that lies beyond the rubber
plantations between Hana and the Honomanu Gulch. Two days were
required to cover this marvellous stretch, which lies on the
windward side of Haleakala. The people who dwell there call it the
"ditch country," an unprepossessing name, but it has no other.
Nobody else ever comes there. Nobody else knows anything about it.
With the exception of a handful of men, whom business has brought
there, nobody has heard of the ditch country of Maui. Now a ditch
is a ditch, assumably muddy, and usually traversing uninteresting
and monotonous landscapes. But the Nahiku Ditch is not an ordinary
ditch. The windward side of Haleakala is serried by a thousand
precipitous gorges, down which rush as many torrents, each torrent
of which achieves a score of cascades and waterfalls before it
reaches the sea. More rain comes down here than in any other region
in the world. In 1904 the year's downpour was four hundred and
twenty inches. Water means sugar, and sugar is the backbone of the
territory of Hawaii, wherefore the Nahiku Ditch, which is not a
ditch, but a chain of tunnels. The water travels underground,
appearing only at intervals to leap a gorge, travelling high in the
air on a giddy flume and plunging into and through the opposing
mountain. This magnificent waterway is called a "ditch," and with
equal appropriateness can Cleopatra's barge be called a box-car.

There are no carriage roads through the ditch country, and before
the ditch was built, or bored, rather, there was no horse-trail.
Hundreds of inches of rain annually, on fertile soil, under a tropic
sun, means a steaming jungle of vegetation. A man, on foot, cutting
his way through, might advance a mile a day, but at the end of a
week he would be a wreck, and he would have to crawl hastily back if
he wanted to get out before the vegetation overran the passage way
he had cut. O'Shaughnessy was the daring engineer who conquered the
jungle and the gorges, ran the ditch and made the horse-trail. He
built enduringly, in concrete and masonry, and made one of the most
remarkable water-farms in the world. Every little runlet and
dribble is harvested and conveyed by subterranean channels to the
main ditch. But so heavily does it rain at times that countless
spillways let the surplus escape to the sea.

The horse-trail is not very wide. Like the engineer who built it,
it dares anything. Where the ditch plunges through the mountain, it
climbs over; and where the ditch leaps a gorge on a flume, the
horse-trail takes advantage of the ditch and crosses on top of the
flume. That careless trail thinks nothing of travelling up or down
the faces of precipices. It gouges its narrow way out of the wall,
dodging around waterfalls or passing under them where they thunder
down in white fury; while straight overhead the wall rises hundreds
of feet, and straight beneath it sinks a thousand. And those
marvellous mountain horses are as unconcerned as the trail. They
fox-trot along it as a matter of course, though the footing is
slippery with rain, and they will gallop with their hind feet
slipping over the edge if you let them. I advise only those with
steady nerves and cool heads to tackle the Nahiku Ditch trail. One
of our cow-boys was noted as the strongest and bravest on the big
ranch. He had ridden mountain horses all his life on the rugged
western slopes of Haleakala. He was first in the horse-breaking;
and when the others hung back, as a matter of course, he would go in
to meet a wild bull in the cattle-pen. He had a reputation. But he
had never ridden over the Nahiku Ditch. It was there he lost his
reputation. When he faced the first flume, spanning a hair-raising
gorge, narrow, without railings, with a bellowing waterfall above,
another below, and directly beneath a wild cascade, the air filled
with driving spray and rocking to the clamour and rush of sound and
motion--well, that cow-boy dismounted from his horse, explained
briefly that he had a wife and two children, and crossed over on
foot, leading the horse behind him.

The only relief from the flumes was the precipices; and the only
relief from the precipices was the flumes, except where the ditch
was far under ground, in which case we crossed one horse and rider
at a time, on primitive log-bridges that swayed and teetered and
threatened to carry away. I confess that at first I rode such
places with my feet loose in the stirrups, and that on the sheer
walls I saw to it, by a definite, conscious act of will, that the
foot in the outside stirrup, overhanging the thousand feet of fall,
was exceedingly loose. I say "at first"; for, as in the crater
itself we quickly lost our conception of magnitude, so, on the
Nahiku Ditch, we quickly lost our apprehension of depth. The
ceaseless iteration of height and depth produced a state of
consciousness in which height and depth were accepted as the
ordinary conditions of existence; and from the horse's back to look
sheer down four hundred or five hundred feet became quite
commonplace and non-productive of thrills. And as carelessly as the
trail and the horses, we swung along the dizzy heights and ducked
around or through the waterfalls.

And such a ride! Falling water was everywhere. We rode above the
clouds, under the clouds, and through the clouds! and every now and
then a shaft of sunshine penetrated like a search-light to the
depths yawning beneath us, or flashed upon some pinnacle of the
crater-rim thousands of feet above. At every turn of the trail a
waterfall or a dozen waterfalls, leaping hundreds of feet through
the air, burst upon our vision. At our first night's camp, in the
Keanae Gulch, we counted thirty-two waterfalls from a single
viewpoint. The vegetation ran riot over that wild land. There were
forests of koa and kolea trees, and candlenut trees; and then there
were the trees called ohia-ai, which bore red mountain apples,
mellow and juicy and most excellent to eat. Wild bananas grew
everywhere, clinging to the sides of the gorges, and, overborne by
their great bunches of ripe fruit, falling across the trail and
blocking the way. And over the forest surged a sea of green life,
the climbers of a thousand varieties, some that floated airily, in
lacelike filaments, from the tallest branches others that coiled and
wound about the trees like huge serpents; and one, the ei-ei, that
was for all the world like a climbing palm, swinging on a thick stem
from branch to branch and tree to tree and throttling the supports
whereby it climbed. Through the sea of green, lofty tree-ferns
thrust their great delicate fronds, and the lehua flaunted its
scarlet blossoms. Underneath the climbers, in no less profusion,
grew the warm-coloured, strangely-marked plants that in the United
States one is accustomed to seeing preciously conserved in hot-
houses. In fact, the ditch country of Maui is nothing more nor less
than a huge conservatory. Every familiar variety of fern
flourishes, and more varieties that are unfamiliar, from the tiniest
maidenhair to the gross and voracious staghorn, the latter the
terror of the woodsmen, interlacing with itself in tangled masses
five or six feet deep and covering acres.

Never was there such a ride. For two days it lasted, when we
emerged into rolling country, and, along an actual wagon-road, came
home to the ranch at a gallop. I know it was cruel to gallop the
horses after such a long, hard journey; but we blistered our hands
in vain effort to hold them in. That's the sort of horses they grow
on Haleakala. At the ranch there was great festival of cattle-
driving, branding, and horse-breaking. Overhead Ukiukiu and Naulu
battled valiantly, and far above, in the sunshine, towered the
mighty summit of Haleakala.


Sandwich Islands to Tahiti.--There is great difficulty in making
this passage across the trades. The whalers and all others speak
with great doubt of fetching Tahiti from the Sandwich islands.
Capt. Bruce says that a vessel should keep to the northward until
she gets a start of wind before bearing for her destination. In his
passage between them in November, 1837, he had no variables near the
line in coming south, and never could make easting on either tack,
though he endeavoured by every means to do so.

So say the sailing directions for the South Pacific Ocean; and that
is all they say. There is not a word more to help the weary voyager
in making this long traverse--nor is there any word at all
concerning the passage from Hawaii to the Marquesas, which lie some
eight hundred miles to the northeast of Tahiti and which are the
more difficult to reach by just that much. The reason for the lack
of directions is, I imagine, that no voyager is supposed to make
himself weary by attempting so impossible a traverse. But the
impossible did not deter the Snark,--principally because of the fact
that we did not read that particular little paragraph in the sailing
directions until after we had started. We sailed from Hilo, Hawaii,
on October 7, and arrived at Nuka-hiva, in the Marquesas, on
December 6. The distance was two thousand miles as the crow flies,
while we actually travelled at least four thousand miles to
accomplish it, thus proving for once and for ever that the shortest
distance between two points is not always a straight line. Had we
headed directly for the Marquesas, we might have travelled five or
six thousand miles.

Upon one thing we were resolved: we would not cross the Line west
of 130 degrees west longitude. For here was the problem. To cross
the Line to the west of that point, if the southeast trades were
well around to the southeast, would throw us so far to leeward of
the Marquesas that a head-beat would be maddeningly impossible.
Also, we had to remember the equatorial current, which moves west at
a rate of anywhere from twelve to seventy-five miles a day. A
pretty pickle, indeed, to be to leeward of our destination with such
a current in our teeth. No; not a minute, nor a second, west of 130
degrees west longitude would we cross the Line. But since the
southeast trades were to be expected five or six degrees north of
the Line (which, if they were well around to the southeast or south-
southeast, would necessitate our sliding off toward south-
southwest), we should have to hold to the eastward, north of the
Line, and north of the southeast trades, until we gained at least
128 degrees west longitude.

I have forgotten to mention that the seventy-horse-power gasolene
engine, as usual, was not working, and that we could depend upon
wind alone. Neither was the launch engine working. And while I am
about it, I may as well confess that the five-horse-power, which ran
the lights, fans, and pumps, was also on the sick-list. A striking
title for a book haunts me, waking and sleeping. I should like to
write that book some day and to call it "Around the World with Three
Gasolene Engines and a Wife." But I am afraid I shall not write it,
for fear of hurting the feelings of some of the young gentlemen of
San Francisco, Honolulu, and Hilo, who learned their trades at the
expense of the Snark's engines.

It looked easy on paper. Here was Hilo and there was our objective,
128 degrees west longitude. With the northeast trade blowing we
could travel a straight line between the two points, and even slack
our sheets off a goodly bit. But one of the chief troubles with the
trades is that one never knows just where he will pick them up and
just in what direction they will be blowing. We picked up the
northeast trade right outside of Hilo harbour, but the miserable
breeze was away around into the east. Then there was the north
equatorial current setting westward like a mighty river.
Furthermore, a small boat, by the wind and bucking into a big
headsea, does not work to advantage. She jogs up and down and gets
nowhere. Her sails are full and straining, every little while she
presses her lee-rail under, she flounders, and bumps, and splashes,
and that is all. Whenever she begins to gather way, she runs ker-
chug into a big mountain of water and is brought to a standstill.
So, with the Snark, the resultant of her smallness, of the trade
around into the east, and of the strong equatorial current, was a
long sag south. Oh, she did not go quite south. But the easting
she made was distressing. On October 11, she made forty miles
easting; October 12, fifteen miles; October 13, no easting; October
14, thirty miles; October 15, twenty-three miles; October 16, eleven
miles; and on October 17, she actually went to the westward four
miles. Thus, in a week she made one hundred and fifteen miles
easting, which was equivalent to sixteen miles a day. But, between
the longitude of Hilo and 128 degrees west longitude is a difference
of twenty-seven degrees, or, roughly, sixteen hundred miles. At
sixteen miles a day, one hundred days would be required to
accomplish this distance. And even then, our objective, l28 degrees
west longitude, was five degrees north of the Line, while Nuka-hiva,
in the Marquesas, lay nine degrees south of the Line and twelve
degrees to the west!

There remained only one thing to do--to work south out of the trade
and into the variables. It is true that Captain Bruce found no
variables on his traverse, and that he "never could make easting on
either tack." It was the variables or nothing with us, and we
prayed for better luck than he had had. The variables constitute
the belt of ocean lying between the trades and the doldrums, and are
conjectured to be the draughts of heated air which rise in the
doldrums, flow high in the air counter to the trades, and gradually
sink down till they fan the surface of the ocean where they are
found. And they are found where they are found; for they are wedged
between the trades and the doldrums, which same shift their
territory from day to day and month to month.

We found the variables in 11 degrees north latitude, and 11 degrees
north latitude we hugged jealously. To the south lay the doldrums.
To the north lay the northeast trade that refused to blow from the
northeast. The days came and went, and always they found the Snark
somewhere near the eleventh parallel. The variables were truly
variable. A light head-wind would die away and leave us rolling in
a calm for forty-eight hours. Then a light head-wind would spring
up, blow for three hours, and leave us rolling in another calm for
forty-eight hours. Then--hurrah!--the wind would come out of the
west, fresh, beautifully fresh, and send the Snark along, wing and
wing, her wake bubbling, the log-line straight astern. At the end
of half an hour, while we were preparing to set the spinnaker, with
a few sickly gasps the wind would die away. And so it went. We
wagered optimistically on every favourable fan of air that lasted
over five minutes; but it never did any good. The fans faded out
just the same.

But there were exceptions. In the variables, if you wait long
enough, something is bound to happen, and we were so plentifully
stocked with food and water that we could afford to wait. On
October 26, we actually made one hundred and three miles of easting,
and we talked about it for days afterwards. Once we caught a
moderate gale from the south, which blew itself out in eight hours,
but it helped us to seventy-one miles of easting in that particular
twenty-four hours. And then, just as it was expiring, the wind came
straight out from the north (the directly opposite quarter), and
fanned us along over another degree of easting.

In years and years no sailing vessel has attempted this traverse,
and we found ourselves in the midst of one of the loneliest of the
Pacific solitudes. In the sixty days we were crossing it we sighted
no sail, lifted no steamer's smoke above the horizon. A disabled
vessel could drift in this deserted expanse for a dozen generations,
and there would be no rescue. The only chance of rescue would be
from a vessel like the Snark, and the Snark happened to be there
principally because of the fact that the traverse had been begun
before the particular paragraph in the sailing directions had been
read. Standing upright on deck, a straight line drawn from the eye
to the horizon would measure three miles and a half. Thus, seven
miles was the diameter of the circle of the sea in which we had our
centre. Since we remained always in the centre, and since we
constantly were moving in some direction, we looked upon many
circles. But all circles looked alike. No tufted islets, gray
headlands, nor glistening patches of white canvas ever marred the
symmetry of that unbroken curve. Clouds came and went, rising up
over the rim of the circle, flowing across the space of it, and
spilling away and down across the opposite rim.

The world faded as the procession of the weeks marched by. The
world faded until at last there ceased to be any world except the
little world of the Snark, freighted with her seven souls and
floating on the expanse of the waters. Our memories of the world,
the great world, became like dreams of former lives we had lived
somewhere before we came to be born on the Snark. After we had been
out of fresh vegetables for some time, we mentioned such things in
much the same way I have heard my father mention the vanished apples
of his boyhood. Man is a creature of habit, and we on the Snark had
got the habit of the Snark. Everything about her and aboard her was
as a matter of course, and anything different would have been an
irritation and an offence.

There was no way by which the great world could intrude. Our bell
rang the hours, but no caller ever rang it. There were no guests to
dinner, no telegrams, no insistent telephone jangles invading our
privacy. We had no engagements to keep, no trains to catch, and
there were no morning newspapers over which to waste time in
learning what was happening to our fifteen hundred million other

But it was not dull. The affairs of our little world had to be
regulated, and, unlike the great world, our world had to be steered
in its journey through space. Also, there were cosmic disturbances
to be encountered and baffled, such as do not afflict the big earth
in its frictionless orbit through the windless void. And we never
knew, from moment to moment, what was going to happen next. There
were spice and variety enough and to spare. Thus, at four in the
morning, I relieve Hermann at the wheel.

"East-northeast," he gives me the course. "She's eight points off,
but she ain't steering."

Small wonder. The vessel does not exist that can be steered in so
absolute a calm.

"I had a breeze a little while ago--maybe it will come back again,"
Hermann says hopefully, ere he starts forward to the cabin and his

The mizzen is in and fast furled. In the night, what of the roll
and the absence of wind, it had made life too hideous to be
permitted to go on rasping at the mast, smashing at the tackles, and
buffeting the empty air into hollow outbursts of sound. But the big
mainsail is still on, and the staysail, jib, and flying-jib are
snapping and slashing at their sheets with every roll. Every star
is out. Just for luck I put the wheel hard over in the opposite
direction to which it had been left by Hermann, and I lean back and
gaze up at the stars. There is nothing else for me to do. There is
nothing to be done with a sailing vessel rolling in a stark calm.

Then I feel a fan on my cheek, faint, so faint, that I can just
sense it ere it is gone. But another comes, and another, until a
real and just perceptible breeze is blowing. How the Snark's sails
manage to feel it is beyond me, but feel it they do, as she does as
well, for the compass card begins slowly to revolve in the binnacle.
In reality, it is not revolving at all. It is held by terrestrial
magnetism in one place, and it is the Snark that is revolving,
pivoted upon that delicate cardboard device that floats in a closed
vessel of alcohol.

So the Snark comes back on her course. The breath increases to a
tiny puff. The Snark feels the weight of it and actually heels over
a trifle. There is flying scud overhead, and I notice the stars
being blotted out. Walls of darkness close in upon me, so that,
when the last star is gone, the darkness is so near that it seems I
can reach out and touch it on every side. When I lean toward it, I
can feel it loom against my face. Puff follows puff, and I am glad
the mizzen is furled. Phew! that was a stiff one! The Snark goes
over and down until her lee-rail is buried and the whole Pacific
Ocean is pouring in. Four or five of these gusts make me wish that
the jib and flying-jib were in. The sea is picking up, the gusts
are growing stronger and more frequent, and there is a splatter of
wet in the air. There is no use in attempting to gaze to windward.
The wall of blackness is within arm's length. Yet I cannot help
attempting to see and gauge the blows that are being struck at the
Snark. There is something ominous and menacing up there to
windward, and I have a feeling that if I look long enough and strong
enough, I shall divine it. Futile feeling. Between two gusts I
leave the wheel and run forward to the cabin companionway, where I
light matches and consult the barometer. "29-90" it reads. That
sensitive instrument refuses to take notice of the disturbance which
is humming with a deep, throaty voice in the rigging. I get back to
the wheel just in time to meet another gust, the strongest yet.
Well, anyway, the wind is abeam and the Snark is on her course,
eating up easting. That at least is well.

The jib and flying-jib bother me, and I wish they were in. She
would make easier weather of it, and less risky weather likewise.
The wind snorts, and stray raindrops pelt like birdshot. I shall
certainly have to call all hands, I conclude; then conclude the next
instant to hang on a little longer. Maybe this is the end of it,
and I shall have called them for nothing. It is better to let them
sleep. I hold the Snark down to her task, and from out of the
darkness, at right angles, comes a deluge of rain accompanied by
shrieking wind. Then everything eases except the blackness, and I
rejoice in that I have not called the men.

No sooner does the wind ease than the sea picks up. The combers are
breaking now, and the boat is tossing like a cork. Then out of the
blackness the gusts come harder and faster than before. If only I
knew what was up there to windward in the blackness! The Snark is
making heavy weather of it, and her lee-rail is buried oftener than
not. More shrieks and snorts of wind. Now, if ever, is the time to
call the men. I WILL call them, I resolve. Then there is a burst
of rain, a slackening of the wind, and I do not call. But it is
rather lonely, there at the wheel, steering a little world through
howling blackness. It is quite a responsibility to be all alone on
the surface of a little world in time of stress, doing the thinking
for its sleeping inhabitants. I recoil from the responsibility as
more gusts begin to strike and as a sea licks along the weather rail
and splashes over into the cockpit. The salt water seems strangely
warm to my body and is shot through with ghostly nodules of
phosphorescent light. I shall surely call all hands to shorten
sail. Why should they sleep? I am a fool to have any compunctions
in the matter. My intellect is arrayed against my heart. It was my
heart that said, "Let them sleep." Yes, but it was my intellect
that backed up my heart in that judgment. Let my intellect then
reverse the judgment; and, while I am speculating as to what
particular entity issued that command to my intellect, the gusts die
away. Solicitude for mere bodily comfort has no place in practical
seamanship, I conclude sagely; but study the feel of the next series
of gusts and do not call the men. After all, it IS my intellect,
behind everything, procrastinating, measuring its knowledge of what
the Snark can endure against the blows being struck at her, and
waiting the call of all hands against the striking of still severer

Daylight, gray and violent, steals through the cloud-pall and shows
a foaming sea that flattens under the weight of recurrent and
increasing squalls. Then comes the rain, filling the windy valleys
of the sea with milky smoke and further flattening the waves, which
but wait for the easement of wind and rain to leap more wildly than
before. Come the men on deck, their sleep out, and among them
Hermann, his face on the broad grin in appreciation of the breeze of
wind I have picked up. I turn the wheel over to Warren and start to
go below, pausing on the way to rescue the galley stovepipe which
has gone adrift. I am barefooted, and my toes have had an excellent
education in the art of clinging; but, as the rail buries itself in
a green sea, I suddenly sit down on the streaming deck. Hermann
good-naturedly elects to question my selection of such a spot. Then
comes the next roll, and he sits down, suddenly, and without
premeditation. The Snark heels over and down, the rail takes it
green, and Hermann and I, clutching the precious stove-pipe, are
swept down into the lee-scuppers. After that I finish my journey
below, and while changing my clothes grin with satisfaction--the
Snark is making easting.

No, it is not all monotony. When we had worried along our easting
to 126 degrees west longitude, we left the variables and headed
south through the doldrums, where was much calm weather and where,
taking advantage of every fan of air, we were often glad to make a
score of miles in as many hours. And yet, on such a day, we might
pass through a dozen squalls and be surrounded by dozens more. And
every squall was to be regarded as a bludgeon capable of crushing
the Snark. We were struck sometimes by the centres and sometimes by
the sides of these squalls, and we never knew just where or how we
were to be hit. The squall that rose up, covering half the heavens,
and swept down upon us, as likely as not split into two squalls
which passed us harmlessly on either side while the tiny, innocent
looking squall that appeared to carry no more than a hogshead of
water and a pound of wind, would abruptly assume cyclopean
proportions, deluging us with rain and overwhelming us with wind.
Then there were treacherous squalls that went boldly astern and
sneaked back upon us from a mile to leeward. Again, two squalls
would tear along, one on each side of us, and we would get a fillip
from each of them. Now a gale certainly grows tiresome after a few
hours, but squalls never. The thousandth squall in one's experience
is as interesting as the first one, and perhaps a bit more so. It
is the tyro who has no apprehension of them. The man of a thousand
squalls respects a squall. He knows what they are.

It was in the doldrums that our most exciting event occurred. On
November 20, we discovered that through an accident we had lost over
one-half of the supply of fresh water that remained to us. Since we
were at that time forty-three days out from Hilo, our supply of
fresh water was not large. To lose over half of it was a
catastrophe. On close allowance, the remnant of water we possessed
would last twenty days. But we were in the doldrums; there was no
telling where the southeast trades were, nor where we would pick
them up.

The handcuffs were promptly put upon the pump, and once a day the
water was portioned out. Each of us received a quart for personal
use, and eight quarts were given to the cook. Enters now the
psychology of the situation. No sooner had the discovery of the
water shortage been made than I, for one, was afflicted with a
burning thirst. It seemed to me that I had never been so thirsty in
my life. My little quart of water I could easily have drunk in one
draught, and to refrain from doing so required a severe exertion of
will. Nor was I alone in this. All of us talked water, thought
water, and dreamed water when we slept. We examined the charts for
possible islands to which to run in extremity, but there were no
such islands. The Marquesas were the nearest, and they were the
other side of the Line, and of the doldrums, too, which made it even
worse. We were in 3 degrees north latitude, while the Marquesas
were 9 degrees south latitude--a difference of over a thousand
miles. Furthermore, the Marquesas lay some fourteen degrees to the
west of our longitude. A pretty pickle for a handful of creatures
sweltering on the ocean in the heat of tropic calms.

We rigged lines on either side between the main and mizzen riggings.
To these we laced the big deck awning, hoisting it up aft with a
sailing pennant so that any rain it might collect would run forward
where it could be caught. Here and there squalls passed across the
circle of the sea. All day we watched them, now to port or
starboard, and again ahead or astern. But never one came near
enough to wet us. In the afternoon a big one bore down upon us. It
spread out across the ocean as it approached, and we could see it
emptying countless thousands of gallons into the salt sea. Extra
attention was paid to the awning and then we waited. Warren,
Martin, and Hermann made a vivid picture. Grouped together, holding
on to the rigging, swaying to the roll, they were gazing intently at
the squall. Strain, anxiety, and yearning were in every posture of
their bodies. Beside them was the dry and empty awning. But they
seemed to grow limp and to droop as the squall broke in half, one
part passing on ahead, the other drawing astern and going to

But that night came rain. Martin, whose psychological thirst had
compelled him to drink his quart of water early, got his mouth down
to the lip of the awning and drank the deepest draught I ever have
seen drunk. The precious water came down in bucketfuls and tubfuls,
and in two hours we caught and stored away in the tanks one hundred
and twenty gallons. Strange to say, in all the rest of our voyage
to the Marquesas not another drop of rain fell on board. If that
squall had missed us, the handcuffs would have remained on the pump,
and we would have busied ourselves with utilizing our surplus
gasolene for distillation purposes.

Then there was the fishing. One did not have to go in search of it,
for it was there at the rail. A three-inch steel hook, on the end
of a stout line, with a piece of white rag for bait, was all that
was necessary to catch bonitas weighing from ten to twenty-five
pounds. Bonitas feed on flying-fish, wherefore they are
unaccustomed to nibbling at the hook. They strike as gamely as the
gamest fish in the sea, and their first run is something that no man
who has ever caught them will forget. Also, bonitas are the veriest
cannibals. The instant one is hooked he is attacked by his fellows.
Often and often we hauled them on board with fresh, clean-bitten
holes in them the size of teacups.

One school of bonitas, numbering many thousands, stayed with us day
and night for more than three weeks. Aided by the Snark, it was
great hunting; for they cut a swath of destruction through the ocean
half a mile wide and fifteen hundred miles in length. They ranged
along abreast of the Snark on either side, pouncing upon the flying-
fish her forefoot scared up. Since they were continually pursuing
astern the flying-fish that survived for several flights, they were
always overtaking the Snark, and at any time one could glance astern
and on the front of a breaking wave see scores of their silvery
forms coasting down just under the surface. When they had eaten
their fill, it was their delight to get in the shadow of the boat,
or of her sails, and a hundred or so were always to be seen lazily
sliding along and keeping cool.

But the poor flying-fish! Pursued and eaten alive by the bonitas
and dolphins, they sought flight in the air, where the swooping
seabirds drove them back into the water. Under heaven there was no
refuge for them. Flying-fish do not play when they essay the air.
It is a life-and-death affair with them. A thousand times a day we
could lift our eyes and see the tragedy played out. The swift,
broken circling of a guny might attract one's attention. A glance
beneath shows the back of a dolphin breaking the surface in a wild
rush. Just in front of its nose a shimmering palpitant streak of
silver shoots from the water into the air--a delicate, organic
mechanism of flight, endowed with sensation, power of direction, and
love of life. The guny swoops for it and misses, and the flying-
fish, gaining its altitude by rising, kite-like, against the wind,
turns in a half-circle and skims off to leeward, gliding on the
bosom of the wind. Beneath it, the wake of the dolphin shows in
churning foam. So he follows, gazing upward with large eyes at the
flashing breakfast that navigates an element other than his own. He
cannot rise to so lofty occasion, but he is a thorough-going
empiricist, and he knows, sooner or later, if not gobbled up by the
guny, that the flying-fish must return to the water. And then--
breakfast. We used to pity the poor winged fish. It was sad to see
such sordid and bloody slaughter. And then, in the night watches,
when a forlorn little flying-fish struck the mainsail and fell
gasping and splattering on the deck, we would rush for it just as
eagerly, just as greedily, just as voraciously, as the dolphins and
bonitas. For know that flying-fish are most toothsome for
breakfast. It is always a wonder to me that such dainty meat does
not build dainty tissue in the bodies of the devourers. Perhaps the
dolphins and bonitas are coarser-fibred because of the high speed at
which they drive their bodies in order to catch their prey. But
then again, the flying-fish drive their bodies at high speed, too.

Sharks we caught occasionally, on large hooks, with chain-swivels,
bent on a length of small rope. And sharks meant pilot-fish, and
remoras, and various sorts of parasitic creatures. Regular man-
eaters some of the sharks proved, tiger-eyed and with twelve rows of
teeth, razor-sharp. By the way, we of the Snark are agreed that we
have eaten many fish that will not compare with baked shark
smothered in tomato dressing. In the calms we occasionally caught a
fish called "hake" by the Japanese cook. And once, on a spoon-hook
trolling a hundred yards astern, we caught a snake-like fish, over
three feet in length and not more than three inches in diameter,
with four fangs in his jaw. He proved the most delicious fish--
delicious in meat and flavour--that we have ever eaten on board.

The most welcome addition to our larder was a green sea-turtle,
weighing a full hundred pounds and appearing on the table most
appetizingly in steaks, soups, and stews, and finally in a wonderful
curry which tempted all hands into eating more rice than was good
for them. The turtle was sighted to windward, calmly sleeping on
the surface in the midst of a huge school of curious dolphins. It
was a deep-sea turtle of a surety, for the nearest land was a
thousand miles away. We put the Snark about and went back for him,
Hermann driving the granes into his head and neck. When hauled
aboard, numerous remora were clinging to his shell, and out of the
hollows at the roots of his flippers crawled several large crabs.
It did not take the crew of the Snark longer than the next meal to
reach the unanimous conclusion that it would willingly put the Snark
about any time for a turtle.

But it is the dolphin that is the king of deep-sea fishes. Never is
his colour twice quite the same. Swimming in the sea, an ethereal
creature of palest azure, he displays in that one guise a miracle of
colour. But it is nothing compared with the displays of which he is
capable. At one time he will appear green--pale green, deep green,
phosphorescent green; at another time blue--deep blue, electric
blue, all the spectrum of blue. Catch him on a hook, and he turns
to gold, yellow gold, all gold. Haul him on deck, and he excels the
spectrum, passing through inconceivable shades of blues, greens, and
yellows, and then, suddenly, turning a ghostly white, in the midst
of which are bright blue spots, and you suddenly discover that he is
speckled like a trout. Then back from white he goes, through all
the range of colours, finally turning to a mother-of-pearl.

For those who are devoted to fishing, I can recommend no finer sport
than catching dolphin. Of course, it must be done on a thin line
with reel and pole. A No. 7, O'Shaughnessy tarpon hook is just the
thing, baited with an entire flying-fish. Like the bonita, the
dolphin's fare consists of flying-fish, and he strikes like
lightning at the bait. The first warning is when the reel screeches
and you see the line smoking out at right angles to the boat.
Before you have time to entertain anxiety concerning the length of
your line, the fish rises into the air in a succession of leaps.
Since he is quite certain to be four feet long or over, the sport of
landing so gamey a fish can be realized. When hooked, he invariably
turns golden. The idea of the series of leaps is to rid himself of
the hook, and the man who has made the strike must be of iron or
decadent if his heart does not beat with an extra flutter when he
beholds such gorgeous fish, glittering in golden mail and shaking
itself like a stallion in each mid-air leap. 'Ware slack! If you
don't, on one of those leaps the hook will be flung out and twenty
feet away. No slack, and away he will go on another run,
culminating in another series of leaps. About this time one begins
to worry over the line, and to wish that he had had nine hundred
feet on the reel originally instead of six hundred. With careful
playing the line can be saved, and after an hour of keen excitement
the fish can be brought to gaff. One such dolphin I landed on the
Snark measured four feet and seven inches.

Hermann caught dolphins more prosaically. A hand-line and a chunk
of shark-meat were all he needed. His hand-line was very thick, but
on more than one occasion it parted and lost the fish. One day a
dolphin got away with a lure of Hermann's manufacture, to which were
lashed four O'Shaughnessy hooks. Within an hour the same dolphin
was landed with the rod, and on dissecting him the four hooks were
recovered. The dolphins, which remained with us over a month,
deserted us north of the line, and not one was seen during the
remainder of the traverse.

So the days passed. There was so much to be done that time never
dragged. Had there been little to do, time could not have dragged
with such wonderful seascapes and cloudscapes--dawns that were like
burning imperial cities under rainbows that arched nearly to the
zenith; sunsets that bathed the purple sea in rivers of rose-
coloured light, flowing from a sun whose diverging, heaven-climbing
rays were of the purest blue. Overside, in the heat of the day, the
sea was an azure satiny fabric, in the depths of which the sunshine
focussed in funnels of light. Astern, deep down, when there was a
breeze, bubbled a procession of milky-turquoise ghosts--the foam
flung down by the hull of the Snark each time she floundered against
a sea. At night the wake was phosphorescent fire, where the medusa
slime resented our passing bulk, while far down could be observed
the unceasing flight of comets, with long, undulating, nebulous
tails--caused by the passage of the bonitas through the resentful
medusa slime. And now and again, from out of the darkness on either
hand, just under the surface, larger phosphorescent organisms
flashed up like electric lights, marking collisions with the
careless bonitas skurrying ahead to the good hunting just beyond our

We made our easting, worked down through the doldrums, and caught a
fresh breeze out of south-by-west. Hauled up by the wind, on such a
slant, we would fetch past the Marquesas far away to the westward.
But the next day, on Tuesday, November 26, in the thick of a heavy
squall, the wind shifted suddenly to the southeast. It was the
trade at last. There were no more squalls, naught but fine weather,
a fair wind, and a whirling log, with sheets slacked off and with
spinnaker and mainsail swaying and bellying on either side. The
trade backed more and more, until it blew out of the northeast,
while we steered a steady course to the southwest. Ten days of
this, and on the morning of December 6, at five o'clock, we sighted
land "just where it ought to have been," dead ahead. We passed to
leeward of Ua-huka, skirted the southern edge of Nuka-hiva, and that
night, in driving squalls and inky darkness, fought our way in to an
anchorage in the narrow bay of Taiohae. The anchor rumbled down to
the blatting of wild goats on the cliffs, and the air we breathed
was heavy with the perfume of flowers. The traverse was
accomplished. Sixty days from land to land, across a lonely sea
above whose horizons never rise the straining sails of ships.


To the eastward Ua-huka was being blotted out by an evening rain-
squall that was fast overtaking the Snark. But that little craft,
her big spinnaker filled by the southeast trade, was making a good
race of it. Cape Martin, the southeasternmost point of Nuku-hiva,
was abeam, and Comptroller Bay was opening up as we fled past its
wide entrance, where Sail Rock, for all the world like the spritsail
of a Columbia River salmon-boat, was making brave weather of it in
the smashing southeast swell.

"What do you make that out to be?" I asked Hermann, at the wheel.

"A fishing-boat, sir," he answered after careful scrutiny.

Yet on the chart it was plainly marked, "Sail Rock."

But we were more interested in the recesses of Comptroller Bay,
where our eyes eagerly sought out the three bights of land and
centred on the midmost one, where the gathering twilight showed the
dim walls of a valley extending inland. How often we had pored over
the chart and centred always on that midmost bight and on the valley
it opened--the Valley of Typee. "Taipi" the chart spelled it, and
spelled it correctly, but I prefer "Typee," and I shall always spell
it "Typee." When I was a little boy, I read a book spelled in that
manner--Herman Melville's "Typee"; and many long hours I dreamed
over its pages. Nor was it all dreaming. I resolved there and
then, mightily, come what would, that when I had gained strength and
years, I, too, would voyage to Typee. For the wonder of the world
was penetrating to my tiny consciousness--the wonder that was to
lead me to many lands, and that leads and never pails. The years
passed, but Typee was not forgotten. Returned to San Francisco from
a seven months' cruise in the North Pacific, I decided the time had
come. The brig Galilee was sailing for the Marquesas, but her crew
was complete and I, who was an able-seaman before the mast and young
enough to be overweeningly proud of it, was willing to condescend to
ship as cabin-boy in order to make the pilgrimage to Typee. Of
course, the Galilee would have sailed from the Marquesas without me,
for I was bent on finding another Fayaway and another Kory-Kory. I
doubt that the captain read desertion in my eye. Perhaps even the
berth of cabin-boy was already filled. At any rate, I did not get

Then came the rush of years, filled brimming with projects,
achievements, and failures; but Typee was not forgotten, and here I
was now, gazing at its misty outlines till the squall swooped down
and the Snark dashed on into the driving smother. Ahead, we caught
a glimpse and took the compass bearing of Sentinel Rock, wreathed
with pounding surf. Then it, too, was effaced by the rain and
darkness. We steered straight for it, trusting to hear the sound of
breakers in time to sheer clear. We had to steer for it. We had
naught but a compass bearing with which to orientate ourselves, and
if we missed Sentinel Rock, we missed Taiohae Bay, and we would have
to throw the Snark up to the wind and lie off and on the whole
night--no pleasant prospect for voyagers weary from a sixty days'
traverse of the vast Pacific solitude, and land-hungry, and fruit-
hungry, and hungry with an appetite of years for the sweet vale of

Abruptly, with a roar of sound, Sentinel Rock loomed through the
rain dead ahead. We altered our course, and, with mainsail and
spinnaker bellying to the squall, drove past. Under the lea of the
rock the wind dropped us, and we rolled in an absolute calm. Then a
puff of air struck us, right in our teeth, out of Taiohae Bay. It
was in spinnaker, up mizzen, all sheets by the wind, and we were
moving slowly ahead, heaving the lead and straining our eyes for the
fixed red light on the ruined fort that would give us our bearings
to anchorage. The air was light and baffling, now east, now west,
now north, now south; while from either hand came the roar of unseen
breakers. From the looming cliffs arose the blatting of wild goats,
and overhead the first stars were peeping mistily through the ragged
train of the passing squall. At the end of two hours, having come a
mile into the bay, we dropped anchor in eleven fathoms. And so we
came to Taiohae.

In the morning we awoke in fairyland. The Snark rested in a placid
harbour that nestled in a vast amphitheatre, the towering, vine-clad
walls of which seemed to rise directly from the water. Far up, to
the east, we glimpsed the thin line of a trail, visible in one
place, where it scoured across the face of the wall.

"The path by which Toby escaped from Typee!" we cried.

We were not long in getting ashore and astride horses, though the
consummation of our pilgrimage had to be deferred for a day. Two
months at sea, bare-footed all the time, without space in which to
exercise one's limbs, is not the best preliminary to leather shoes
and walking. Besides, the land had to cease its nauseous rolling
before we could feel fit for riding goat-like horses over giddy
trails. So we took a short ride to break in, and crawled through
thick jungle to make the acquaintance of a venerable moss-grown
idol, where had foregathered a German trader and a Norwegian captain
to estimate the weight of said idol, and to speculate upon
depreciation in value caused by sawing him in half. They treated
the old fellow sacrilegiously, digging their knives into him to see
how hard he was and how deep his mossy mantle, and commanding him to
rise up and save them trouble by walking down to the ship himself.
In lieu of which, nineteen Kanakas slung him on a frame of timbers
and toted him to the ship, where, battened down under hatches, even
now he is cleaving the South Pacific Hornward and toward Europe--the
ultimate abiding-place for all good heathen idols, save for the few
in America and one in particular who grins beside me as I write, and
who, barring shipwreck, will grin somewhere in my neighbourhood
until I die. And he will win out. He will be grinning when I am

Also, as a preliminary, we attended a feast, where one Taiara
Tamarii, the son of an Hawaiian sailor who deserted from a
whaleship, commemorated the death of his Marquesan mother by
roasting fourteen whole hogs and inviting in the village. So we
came along, welcomed by a native herald, a young girl, who stood on
a great rock and chanted the information that the banquet was made
perfect by our presence--which information she extended impartially
to every arrival. Scarcely were we seated, however, when she
changed her tune, while the company manifested intense excitement.
Her cries became eager and piercing. From a distance came answering
cries, in men's voices, which blended into a wild, barbaric chant
that sounded incredibly savage, smacking of blood and war. Then,
through vistas of tropical foliage appeared a procession of savages,
naked save for gaudy loin-cloths. They advanced slowly, uttering
deep guttural cries of triumph and exaltation. Slung from young
saplings carried on their shoulders were mysterious objects of
considerable weight, hidden from view by wrappings of green leaves.

Nothing but pigs, innocently fat and roasted to a turn, were inside
those wrappings, but the men were carrying them into camp in
imitation of old times when they carried in "long-pig." Now long-
pig is not pig. Long-pig is the Polynesian euphemism for human
flesh; and these descendants of man-eaters, a king's son at their
head, brought in the pigs to table as of old their grandfathers had
brought in their slain enemies. Every now and then the procession
halted in order that the bearers should have every advantage in
uttering particularly ferocious shouts of victory, of contempt for
their enemies, and of gustatory desire. So Melville, two
generations ago, witnessed the bodies of slain Happar warriors,
wrapped in palm-leaves, carried to banquet at the Ti. At another
time, at the Ti, he "observed a curiously carved vessel of wood,"
and on looking into it his eyes "fell upon the disordered members of
a human skeleton, the bones still fresh with moisture, and with
particles of flesh clinging to them here and there."

Cannibalism has often been regarded as a fairy story by
ultracivilized men who dislike, perhaps, the notion that their own
savage forebears have somewhere in the past been addicted to similar
practices. Captain Cook was rather sceptical upon the subject,
until, one day, in a harbour of New Zealand, he deliberately tested
the matter. A native happened to have brought on board, for sale, a
nice, sun-dried head. At Cook's orders strips of the flesh were cut
away and handed to the native, who greedily devoured them. To say
the least, Captain Cook was a rather thorough-going empiricist. At
any rate, by that act he supplied one ascertained fact of which
science had been badly in need. Little did he dream of the
existence of a certain group of islands, thousands of miles away,
where in subsequent days there would arise a curious suit at law,
when an old chief of Maui would be charged with defamation of
character because he persisted in asserting that his body was the
living repository of Captain Cook's great toe. It is said that the
plaintiffs failed to prove that the old chief was not the tomb of
the navigator's great toe, and that the suit was dismissed.

I suppose I shall not have the chance in these degenerate days to
see any long-pig eaten, but at least I am already the possessor of a
duly certified Marquesan calabash, oblong in shape, curiously
carved, over a century old, from which has been drunk the blood of
two shipmasters. One of those captains was a mean man. He sold a
decrepit whale-boat, as good as new what of the fresh white paint,
to a Marquesan chief. But no sooner had the captain sailed away
than the whale-boat dropped to pieces. It was his fortune, some
time afterwards, to be wrecked, of all places, on that particular
island. The Marquesan chief was ignorant of rebates and discounts;
but he had a primitive sense of equity and an equally primitive
conception of the economy of nature, and he balanced the account by
eating the man who had cheated him.

We started in the cool dawn for Typee, astride ferocious little
stallions that pawed and screamed and bit and fought one another
quite oblivious of the fragile humans on their backs and of the
slippery boulders, loose rocks, and yawning gorges. The way led up
an ancient road through a jungle of hau trees. On every side were
the vestiges of a one-time dense population. Wherever the eye could
penetrate the thick growth, glimpses were caught of stone walls and
of stone foundations, six to eight feet in height, built solidly
throughout, and many yards in width and depth. They formed great
stone platforms, upon which, at one time, there had been houses.
But the houses and the people were gone, and huge trees sank their
roots through the platforms and towered over the under-running
jungle. These foundations are called pae-paes--the pi-pis of
Melville, who spelled phonetically.

The Marquesans of the present generation lack the energy to hoist
and place such huge stones. Also, they lack incentive. There are
plenty of pae-paes to go around, with a few thousand unoccupied ones
left over. Once or twice, as we ascended the valley, we saw
magnificent pae-paes bearing on their general surface pitiful little
straw huts, the proportions being similar to a voting booth perched
on the broad foundation of the Pyramid of Cheops. For the
Marquesans are perishing, and, to judge from conditions at Taiohae,
the one thing that retards their destruction is the infusion of
fresh blood. A pure Marquesan is a rarity. They seem to be all
half-breeds and strange conglomerations of dozens of different
races. Nineteen able labourers are all the trader at Taiohae can
muster for the loading of copra on shipboard, and in their veins
runs the blood of English, American, Dane, German, French, Corsican,
Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Paumotan, Tahitian, and
Easter Islander. There are more races than there are persons, but
it is a wreckage of races at best. Life faints and stumbles and
gasps itself away. In this warm, equable clime--a truly terrestrial
paradise--where are never extremes of temperature and where the air
is like balm, kept ever pure by the ozone-laden southeast trade,
asthma, phthisis, and tuberculosis flourish as luxuriantly as the
vegetation. Everywhere, from the few grass huts, arises the racking
cough or exhausted groan of wasted lungs. Other horrible diseases
prosper as well, but the most deadly of all are those that attack
the lungs. There is a form of consumption called "galloping," which
is especially dreaded. In two months' time it reduces the strongest
man to a skeleton under a grave-cloth. In valley after valley the
last inhabitant has passed and the fertile soil has relapsed to
jungle. In Melville's day the valley of Hapaa (spelled by him
"Happar") was peopled by a strong and warlike tribe. A generation
later, it contained but two hundred persons. To-day it is an
untenanted, howling, tropical wilderness.

We climbed higher and higher in the valley, our unshod stallions
picking their steps on the disintegrating trail, which led in and
out through the abandoned pae-paes and insatiable jungle. The sight
of red mountain apples, the ohias, familiar to us from Hawaii,
caused a native to be sent climbing after them. And again he
climbed for cocoa-nuts. I have drunk the cocoanuts of Jamaica and
of Hawaii, but I never knew how delicious such draught could be till
I drank it here in the Marquesas. Occasionally we rode under wild
limes and oranges--great trees which had survived the wilderness
longer than the motes of humans who had cultivated them.

We rode through endless thickets of yellow-pollened cassi--if riding
it could be called; for those fragrant thickets were inhabited by
wasps. And such wasps! Great yellow fellows the size of small
canary birds, darting through the air with behind them drifting a
bunch of legs a couple of inches long. A stallion abruptly stands
on his forelegs and thrusts his hind legs skyward. He withdraws
them from the sky long enough to make one wild jump ahead, and then
returns them to their index position. It is nothing. His thick
hide has merely been punctured by a flaming lance of wasp virility.
Then a second and a third stallion, and all the stallions, begin to
cavort on their forelegs over the precipitous landscape. Swat! A
white-hot poniard penetrates my cheek. Swat again!! I am stabbed
in the neck. I am bringing up the rear and getting more than my
share. There is no retreat, and the plunging horses ahead, on a
precarious trail, promise little safety. My horse overruns
Charmian's horse, and that sensitive creature, fresh-stung at the
psychological moment, planks one of his hoofs into my horse and the
other hoof into me. I thank my stars that he is not steel-shod, and
half-arise from the saddle at the impact of another flaming dagger.
I am certainly getting more than my share, and so is my poor horse,
whose pain and panic are only exceeded by mine.

"Get out of the way! I'm coming!" I shout, frantically dashing my
cap at the winged vipers around me.

On one side of the trail the landscape rises straight up. On the
other side it sinks straight down. The only way to get out of my
way is to keep on going. How that string of horses kept their feet
is a miracle; but they dashed ahead, over-running one another,
galloping, trotting, stumbling, jumping, scrambling, and kicking
methodically skyward every time a wasp landed on them. After a
while we drew breath and counted our injuries. And this happened
not once, nor twice, but time after time. Strange to say, it never
grew monotonous. I know that I, for one, came through each brush
with the undiminished zest of a man flying from sudden death. No;
the pilgrim from Taiohae to Typee will never suffer from ennui on
the way.

At last we arose above the vexation of wasps. It was a matter of
altitude, however, rather than of fortitude. All about us lay the
jagged back-bones of ranges, as far as the eye could see, thrusting
their pinnacles into the trade-wind clouds. Under us, from the way
we had come, the Snark lay like a tiny toy on the calm water of
Taiohae Bay. Ahead we could see the inshore indentation of
Comptroller Bay. We dropped down a thousand feet, and Typee lay
beneath us. "Had a glimpse of the gardens of paradise been revealed
to me I could scarcely have been more ravished with the sight"--so
said Melville on the moment of his first view of the valley. He saw
a garden. We saw a wilderness. Where were the hundred groves of
the breadfruit tree he saw? We saw jungle, nothing but jungle, with
the exception of two grass huts and several clumps of cocoanuts
breaking the primordial green mantle. Where was the Ti of Mehevi,
the bachelors' hall, the palace where women were taboo, and where he
ruled with his lesser chieftains, keeping the half-dozen dusty and
torpid ancients to remind them of the valorous past? From the swift
stream no sounds arose of maids and matrons pounding tapa. And
where was the hut that old Narheyo eternally builded? In vain I
looked for him perched ninety feet from the ground in some tall
cocoanut, taking his morning smoke.

We went down a zigzag trail under overarching, matted jungle, where
great butterflies drifted by in the silence. No tattooed savage
with club and javelin guarded the path; and when we forded the
stream, we were free to roam where we pleased. No longer did the
taboo, sacred and merciless, reign in that sweet vale. Nay, the
taboo still did reign, a new taboo, for when we approached too near
the several wretched native women, the taboo was uttered warningly.
And it was well. They were lepers. The man who warned us was
afflicted horribly with elephantiasis. All were suffering from lung
trouble. The valley of Typee was the abode of death, and the dozen
survivors of the tribe were gasping feebly the last painful breaths
of the race.

Certainly the battle had not been to the strong, for once the
Typeans were very strong, stronger than the Happars, stronger than
the Taiohaeans, stronger than all the tribes of Nuku-hiva. The word
"typee," or, rather, "taipi," originally signified an eater of human
flesh. But since all the Marquesans were human-flesh eaters, to be
so designated was the token that the Typeans were the human-flesh
eaters par excellence. Not alone to Nuku-hiva did the Typean
reputation for bravery and ferocity extend. In all the islands of
the Marquesas the Typeans were named with dread. Man could not
conquer them. Even the French fleet that took possession of the
Marquesas left the Typeans alone. Captain Porter, of the frigate
Essex, once invaded the valley. His sailors and marines were
reinforced by two thousand warriors of Happar and Taiohae. They
penetrated quite a distance into the valley, but met with so fierce
a resistance that they were glad to retreat and get away in their
flotilla of boats and war-canoes.

Of all inhabitants of the South Seas, the Marquesans were adjudged
the strongest and the most beautiful. Melville said of them: "I
was especially struck by the physical strength and beauty they
displayed . . . In beauty of form they surpassed anything I had ever
seen. Not a single instance of natural deformity was observable in
all the throng attending the revels. Every individual appeared free
from those blemishes which sometimes mar the effect of an otherwise
perfect form. But their physical excellence did not merely consist
in an exemption from these evils; nearly every individual of the
number might have been taken for a sculptor's model." Mendana, the
discoverer of the Marquesas, described the natives as wondrously
beautiful to behold. Figueroa, the chronicler of his voyage, said
of them: "In complexion they were nearly white; of good stature and
finely formed." Captain Cook called the Marquesans the most

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