Hawaii in the Words of Mark Twain
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
- Samuel M. Clemens (Mark Twain), Paradise of the Pacific, April 1910
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"
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
is the most magnificent, balmy atmosphere in the world- ought to take
dead men out of grave.
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
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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