Hawaii in the Words of Mark Twain

Ke'e Beach, Kaua'iNo alien land in all the world has any deep, strong charm for me but that one; no other land could so longingly and beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same. For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surf-beat in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore; its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud rack; I can feel the spirit of its wooded solitudes; I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.
- Samuel M. Clemens (Mark Twain), Paradise of the Pacific, April 1910
Plumeria flowerThe native language is soft and liquid and flexible and in every way efficient and satisfactory- till you get mad; then there you are; there isn't anything in it to swear with. Good judges all say it is the best Sunday language there is. But then all the other six days in the week it just hangs idle on your hands; it isn't any good for business and you can't work a telephone with it. Many a time the attention of the missionaries has been called to this defect, and they are always promising they are going to fix it; but no, they go fooling along and fooling along and nothing is done.
- Mark Twain's Speeches, 1923 ed. "Welcome Home"
West Maui mountainsAdultery they look upon as poetically wrong but practically proper...Kanakas will have horses and saddles and the women will fornicate- two strong characteristics of this people.
- Mark Twain in Hawaii, Walter Francis Frear

This is the most magnificent, balmy atmosphere in the world- ought to take dead men out of grave.
- Mark Twain in Hawaii, Walter Francis Frear

Place of RefugeNearby is an interesting ruin- the meager remains of an ancient temple- a place where human sacrifices were offered up in those old bygone days...long, long before the missionaries braved a thousand privations to come and make [the natives] permanently miserable by telling them how beautiful and how blissful a place heaven is, and how nearly impossible it is to get there; and showed the poor native how dreary a place perdition is and what unnecessarily liberal facilities there are for going to it; showed him how, in his ignorance, he had gone and fooled away all his kinsfolk to no purpose; showed him what rapture it is to work all day long for fifty cents to buy food for next day with, as compared with fishing for a pastime and lolling in the shade through eternal summer, and eating of the bounty that nobody labored to provide but Nature. How sad it is to think of the multitudes who have gone to their graves in this beautiful island and never knew there was a hell.
- Roughing It
Waimea FallsCharles Warren Stoddard has gone to the Sandwich Islands permanently. Lucky devil. It is the only supremely delightful place on earth. It does seem that the more advantages a body doesn't earn here, the more of them God throws at his head. This fellow's postal card has set the vision of those gracious islands before my mind again, with not a leaf withered, nor a rainbow vanished, nor a sun-flash missing from he waves, & now it will be months, I reckon, before I can drive it away again. It is beautiful company, but it makes one restless & dissatisfied.
- Letter to W. D. Howells, 10/26/1881

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