Web and Book design,
Copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)
TAHITI, HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, SAN FRANCISCO
Tahiti — Voyage to Hawaiian Islands — Oahu, with its capital Honolulu — Visit to Island of Hawaii — San Francisco — The Author returns to England.
Wallis is the first European known certainly to have seen Tahiti. He visited it in 1767, and was followed two years later by Cook. The predominant chiefs on the island at this time were Amo and his wife Purea, of the district of Paparo on the south coast. They are chiefly notorious as the founders of the great maræ — or "temple" — of Mahaiatea, which they built in honour of their infant son, Teriiere. This work must have been in progress when Wallis anchored on the other side of the island. The demands which they made on their fellow natives in order to secure its erection were so extortionate that a rising took place against them; and by the time Cook made his first appearance they were shorn of much of their glory. Subsequently various other navigators visited the island. Cook anchored there a second time, and H.M.S. Bounty made a prolonged sojourn. In 1797 thirty missionaries arrived, sent from England by the London Missionary Society.
By this time another native family was in the ascendant, whose territory was on the north coast. They have become known as the Pomare, a name crystallised by the missionaries, but which was in reality only one of the minor appellations which had been adopted, native fashion, by the chief of the day. Pomare II. was baptised in 1819.
About forty years later Roman Catholic missionaries arrived, and a struggle for ascendancy took place between them and the London Society. The Home Government refused to support the Protestants. Queen Pomare IV., therefore, though she much preferred the English, was compelled to apply for a French protectorate, which was established in 1843. On the death of the old Queen in 1877, the French recognised her son, Pomare V., who had married his cousin Marau. The new Queen was the daughter of a chiefess known as Arii Taimai, who had married an English Jew named Salmon.1 Miss Gordon Gumming, who visited the island at the time, gives an interesting account of the procession round the island to proclaim the new sovereigns, in which she herself took part. In 1880 Pomare handed over his claims to the French Government, by whom the island was then formally annexed.
We sighted Tahiti on the i6th of September, 1915, sailed along its coast with interest, and anchored in the afternoon at Papeete on the north shore. It was wonderful to return once more to the great world, even in its modified form at Tahiti, and the Rip van Winkle sensation was most curious. The Consul, Mr. H. A. Richards, was early on board with a kind welcome, and sent us round the longed-for sacks containing a year's accumulation of letters and newspapers. The mail, however, brought bad personal news, and though life had to go on as usual, recollections of the island have suffered from every point of view.2
Tahiti, as seen from the sea, with its mass of broken mountains covered with verdure, is undoubtedly very beautiful; and the sunset effects over the neighbouring island of Moorea are particularly striking. The lagoon too is fascinating, and refreshing expeditions were made in the motor launch to study the wonders of its protecting coral reef. When on land, however, the charm of the island is somewhat dissipated. The inhabited strip round the coast, which varies from nothing up to some two miles in width, is covered with bungalows and little native properties, and is so full of coconuts and palms that all effect of the mountains is lost. Though it was only the month of September at the time of our visit it was very hot and airless, making all mental and physical exertion an effort. I went one morning for a walk at 6.30 in the hope of better things, but even then it felt as if Nature had forgotten to open her windows. The wild charm of romance which greeted the early voyagers and which must have assuaged the struggle of the first missionaries is now no more. Papeete is civilised: it is a port for the mail steamers between America and New Zealand. It is under French rule, but a large proportion of business is in the hands of the British and also of the Chinese.
We lived at the hotel, as Mana had to go on the slip, and had an interesting fellow guest in an American geologist. He was travelling in the Pacific with the object of proving that it had never been a continent, but that the islands were sporadic volcanic upheavals from the ocean bed. He had found himself involved in the everlasting quarrel between geologists and biologists, who each want the world constructed to prove their own theories. In this case a biologist wished for continuity of land to account for the presence of the same snail in islands far removed. Our friend had contended that the molluscs might have travelled on drift-wood, but was told in reply that salt water did not “suit their constitution." He had then argued that they could easily have gone with the food in native canoes. "Anyhow," he concluded, with a delightful Yankee drawl, “to have the floor of the ocean raised up fifteen thousand feet, for his snails to crawl over, is just too much."
S. was presented by the Consul to the French Governor, and I called, according to instructions, to pay my respects to his wife, who proved to be both young and charming. She was good enough subsequently to send an invitation to a tea-party, which differed interestingly from similar functions at home. It took place in a large room where twenty chairs, covered with brocade, were arranged in a circle which was broken only by a settee. On this sat the hostess, and by her side, either as the greatest stranger, or as having taken the precaution to be an early arrival, the Stewardess of the Mana. One by one the chairs filled up, and each fresh arrival, after greeting her entertainer, went round and shook hands with every one already there. The hostess retained her seat, from which she conversed across to various points of the circle. No one moved except that when a delightful tea came in, it was handed round by the young girls; no servant appeared — they are almost impossible to get. The Governor earned our particular gratitude by his kindness in sending daily a copy of the war bulletin, which arrived by wireless from Honolulu and New Zealand; though the installation was not at the time sufficiently advanced to be capable of sending out messages.
The Germans were interned in the bay on what was known as Quarantine Island, and were employed to do a certain amount of leisurely work on the roads, at a comparatively high rate of pay; at the same time the French subjects, native and half-caste, had been called up for much harder military service and received the standard remuneration, which was much lower. It was commonly reported that the latter had sent in a petition humbly begging that they might be considered as German prisoners.
During our time on the island the anniversary occurred of the visit of Von Spec's fleet on their way to Easter Island, and the trees were adorned with official notices proclaiming a public holiday in memory of the French victory. What happened on that occasion is not precisely clear, and each person gives a different account. It seems, however, that as the cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau appeared without any proper announcement, the shore batteries fired across their bows to stop them. The Germans replied, and some houses in the town were set on fire. The French gun-boat Zelée was sunk in the harbour, also a German ship which had been taken as a prize. The custodian of the coal supply set it on fire to prevent it from falling into the enemy's hands; this action was subsequently justified, as it transpired that the Germans had given out that they were going to Papeete in order to obtain coal. After a certain number of shots had passed in both directions, the enemy went on their way.
We had particular pleasure in making the acquaintance of the late Queen, widow of Pomare V., an able and cultured lady, who lives in a villa in Papeete, and calls herself simply "Madame Marau Taaroa." She was kind enough to lend us a valuable book written by her mother, Arii Taimai, which tells the history of the island as related by family traditions and combines with this account the information given by the early voyagers. Her charming daughter. Princess Takau Pomare, who had been educated in Paris, placed us under a great obligation by constituting herself our cicerone. She took us to see the monument on Venus Point, erected to mark the spot where Cook observed the transit of Venus; and also the Pomare mausoleum. Miss Gordon Gumming records that it was the ancient habit at Tahiti for the dead to be placed in a house, watched till only dust and ashes remained, and then buried securely in the mountain to guard against possible desecration; this custom, she states, still survived in her day in the case of departed royalty.
FIG. 130. — A TAHITIAN PICTURE POST-CARD.
Used as menu card at a luncheon given by the ex-Queen Marau.
1. Papeete, capital of Tahiti, with the Island of Moorea in the distance. From a sketch by Miss Gordon Gumming. 2. Queen Pomare IV. 3. King Pomarc V. 4.Titaua, sister of Queen Marau. 3. The harbour, "of Papeete. 6. Himène (or chorus) singers: performance in honour of Accession of Pomarc V and Marau. From a sketch by Miss Gordon Cumming, 1877. 7. Queen Marau, with autograph.
We had also a delightful motor drive with the Princess to some family property on the south side of the island, lunching at a small hotel which. was nothing if not up-to-date, being dignified with the name of the Tipperary Hotel. The proprietor, a Frenchman, advertised it by stating that while it was a "long, long way to Tipperary," it was only a short way to his establishment. He had adorned the walls of the dining-room with large frescoes of the flags of the Allies, leaving, as he explained, “plenty of room for Holland, Greece, and America."
The marae of Tahiti have vanished, but on the way back we stopped to see all that remains of a once famous pile. Nothing now exists but a mass of overgrown coral stones, converted into a lime kiln. Fortunately Cook and his companion Banks both visited Mahaiatea in its glory and have left us descriptions, and we have also a drawing of it. It is obvious that these structures in no way resembled the ahu of Easter Island. Mahaiatea was a pyramid of oblong form with a base 267 ft. by 71 ft.; it was composed of squared coral stones and blue pebbles, and consisted of eleven steps each some 4 ft. in height. It impressed Banks as "a most enormous pile, its size and workmanship almost surpassing belief."3 The pyramid formed one side of a court or square, the whole being walled in and paved with flat stones.
Marae, as Arii Taimai explains, were sacred to some god; but the god was only a secondary affair; a man's whole social position depended on his having a stone to sit on within his marae enclosure. Cook was asked for the name of his marae, as it was not supposed possible that a chief could be without one, and took refuge in giving the name of his London parish. Stepney.
Princess Takau kindly acted as interpreter when we went to look up the Easter Islanders who came here to work on the Brander plantation and who still form a little colony. One of our main objects in visiting Tahiti had been to inspect the tablets and Easter Island collection of Bishop Jaussen who died in 1892. In this we met with disappointment; the present authorities, whom we saw more than once, took no interest at all in the subject, and said that on Bishop Jaussen's death, the Brothers had sent the articles home as curios to their friends in Europe. They gave us an address in Lou vain, which it has not of course up to the present been possible to follow up.
FIG. 131. — MARAE MAHAIT
(From A Missionary Voyage in the Ship Duff, 1796-98.)
FIG. 132. — CHARLES AND EDWIN YOUNG.
The great-great-grandsons of Midshipman Young, the only commissioned officer
among the mutineers of the Bounty who took refuge on Pitcairn Island, 1790
Our crew underwent some alterations at Tahiti. The post of engineer had been filled by a Chilean, and one deck hand had already gone home as a reservist; two more now desired to return direct to "serve their country,” one of these was my friend Bailey, the cook. As he had had no opportunity of spending his wages, he was, on being paid off, quite a millionaire. He invested in a number of white washing suits and took up his residence at our hotel. I was presented with his photograph clad in the new raiment. An officer travelling to England from New Zealand was kind enough to undertake to give him some care on the journey, and managed to get him safely home, though most of his fortune had disappeared en route. He took service as a ship's cook, and we saw his name subsequently, with most sincere regret, in a list of "missing."
Bailey's place was taken by an American, who had formed part of the crew which had been discharged from a ship which they had brought to Tahiti from California. He declined to come onboard till just before we sailed, as he was engaged for a prize-fight with a noted coloured champion; the prospective fight excited a good deal of local interest, but ended lamentably in the white man being knocked out at the first blow. As we were still short-handed, we arranged with our two Pitcairn Islanders to come on with us to England; Charles Young was signed on as deck-hand, and Edwin, who was of less strong physique, as steward. They both gave every satisfaction, and Edwin, though he had of course to be taught his duties, was the best steward we ever had.
We had considerable conversation with our Consul, Mr. Richards, on the subject of Pitcairn, in which he has always taken great interest, doing all that he could for the Islanders. He had been anxious if possible to make a stay there of some duration, feeling, no doubt rightly, that the only way to solve its difficulties was for someone to dwell there long enough to see the situation, not as a visitor, but as a resident. Circumstances had not, so far, rendered this feasible, but it is to be hoped it may still be accomplished.
It was impossible to make a direct passage from Tahiti to Panama, as the Trade Wind would have been dead against us, we had, therefore, to turn its flank by going as far north as the Sandwich Group, or, to give them their American name, the Hawaiian Islands. We passed within sight of one or two of the Paumotu group, which was our first introduction to coral atolls; but I do not think we saw a ship during the whole voyage.
It was a long run, as we met with calms in the Doldrums, and were without the use of the motor, which stood in need of some simple repairs, that could not be done in Tahiti, Being becalmed is certainly unpleasant, there is no air, everything hangs loose, rattles and bangs, and cheerful calculations are made as to how much damage per hour is being done to the gear; but on the whole the patience of seamen is marvellous. Occupation happily was provided in the stupendous quantity of arrears of newspapers. We read them most diligently, but it is hardly fair to journalists to deal with their output a year after it is written, the mistakes and false prophecies of even the most sober papers become painfully obvious. We became acquainted, for example, at one and the same time with the birth and death of the "Russian steam-roller" theory, and other similar figments. My diary is diversified by such items of domestic interest as "showed Edwin how to look after the brass." "S. taught Edwin to clean silver."
The group is composed of eight inhabited islands which stretch in a line from north-west to south-east. Hawaii, the most southerly, is the largest, and now gives its name to the whole, but the principal modem town, Honolulu, is on the more northerly island of Oahu, The islands were known to the early Spanish voyagers, but their connection with the civilised world really dates from their rediscovery by Cook. He called them after Lord Sandwich, who was at that time First Lord of the Admiralty. The great navigator was murdered on Hawaii in 1779. Vancouver touched there more than once, and obtained the consent of the natives to a British Protectorate, which he proclaimed on Hawaii in 1794; the action was however ignored by the Home Government.
"At this time a powerful chief of Hawaii, Kamehameha I, rose to pre-eminence. He captured the island of Oahu in 1795, and consolidated the group under one government. Contact with the outside world gradually undermined the native beliefs and the old ceremonial taboos became wearisome. After the death of Kamehameha they were overthrown by his son, in 1819, though not without armed resistance from the more orthodox section. The islands were for a short time "a nation without a religion"; but Christianity was introduced almost immediately by American missionaries.
The group was nominally independent till the time of Queen Lihuokalani, who succeeded in 1891. Her rule roused much resentment among the foreign residents, and during a period of unsettlement she was imprisoned in her palace for nine months. An appeal was made to the United States, and the islands were formally annexed by that power in 1898.
Oahu. — After a five-weeks' voyage, which included an abortive attempt to call at the island of Hawaii, we reached Honolulu, in the island of Oahu, on November 11th, 1915.
From the isolation of Easter we had come to the comparatively busy life of Tahiti, and now at Honolulu we felt once more in touch with the great world. It is a cheerful and up-to-date city in beautiful surroundings. Seen from the harbour it is not unlike Papeete, but the town is bigger, and the mountains more distant. The roads of the suburbs are frequently bordered by large areas of mown grass, which form part of the gardens of the adjacent villas. It is considered a duty to erect no wall or paling, and the custom, while it deprives the residences of privacy, greatly enhances the charm of the highway. The practice is encouraged by a public-spirited society, interested in the beauty of the place. The aquarium contains fish of most gorgeous colouring, and it is well worth while to explore a coral reef on the eastern shore in a glass-bottomed boat.
In addition to the original population, the place swarms with Japanese, and the Americans seem little more than a ruling caste. The natives are reported to be entirely sophisticated, and quite competent to invent folk-tales or anything else to order. The Bishop Museum has an interesting collection of relics and models of the old civilisation, and we are much indebted to the Director, Dr. Brigham, for his kindness in exhibiting them to us. The principal treasures are the wonderful feather cloaks and helmets of the old chiefs. Fifty men were employed for a hundred years in collecting the yellow feathers from which one cloak is made. The birds, which produce only a few feathers each of the desired colour, were caught on branches smeared with gum.
There is also in the museum an excellent model of one "heiau," or temple; it is shown as a rectangular enclosure containing various sacred erections. This form of heiau has no resemblance either to the marae of Tahiti or the ahu of Easter Island; and the art of building never seems to have approached the excellence reached in the latter. Mr. Gordon, the British Consul, gave us much pleasure by taking us in his motor, accompanied by Dr. Brigham, to see the remains of one of these temples on the eastern side of the island. Little now exists save a rough enclosing wall. It is a matter of surprise that, under so enlightened a government as the American, more pains are not taken to preserve the archaeological monuments throughout the islands, which are fast disappearing. Much care is bestowed on attracting visitors, and it would have seemed, even from the financial point of view, that the protection of these objects of interest would have been eminently worth while.
We also visited the famous Pali, the site of a great battle at the time of the conquest of the island by Kamehameha, chief of Hawaii. A range of mountains runs along the eastern side of the island. The visitor, approaching from the west, rises gradually till he reaches the summit, and is then confronted by a sheer drop of many hundreds of feet down to the coast below.
The cliff extends for many miles, and the views over land and sea are most striking. During the invasion, the Hawaiian army pursued the natives up the slope, and drove them headlong over the Pali, or precipice. Kamehameha is the national hero; when a statue was erected in Honolulu, to commemorate the centenary of the discovery of the island by Cook, it was dedicated, not to the navigator, but to the Hawaiian chief.
We were accorded an interview with the ex-queen Liliuokalani. It was a distinctly formal occasion. We were shown into a waiting-room till some previous arrivals had finished their audience, and were then ceremoniously introduced to royalty. The room was furnished after European fashion, but was adorned with feather ornaments. The old lady, who had a tattoo mark on her cheek, sat with quiet dignity in an arm-chair. She was obviously frail, and though she spoke occasionally in good English, her secretary did most of the conversation. She told us that her brother had caused certain native legends and songs to be written down, and she herself, during her imprisonment in 1895, had translated into English an Hawaiian account of the creation of the world. The secretary presented us with a copy of this book. We did not gather that either of them had ever heard of Easter Island. After a short time we took our leave, curtseying again and backing out as we had seen done by our predecessors. It may be remembered that Liliuokalani visited England at the time of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. Since our return we have seen the announcement of her death; so closes the list of the Hawaiian sovereigns.
Being in harbour brought the not unknown domestic excitements. The pugilistic American cook, who had been quite satisfactory on the voyage, proved to be one of those who cannot be in port without going "on the bust." He was rescued once, but he shortly afterwards asked for shore leave at lo o'clock in the morning. This was naturally declined; he then said he wanted to have a tooth out. S. assured him he was quite capable of officiating. Finding he could get neither leave, money, nor a boat, he sprang overboard, and swam ashore in his clothes. His place was taken by a Japanese cook from Honolulu.
Hawaii. — When the repairs to the engine had been accomplished, we sent the yacht ahead to San Francisco, and ourselves made a trip by steamer from the island of Oahu to that of Hawaii. Between the two lies the island of Molokai, on which is the leper settlement, connected with Father Damien's heroic work and death. We did not see the settlement itself, but from its photographs it seems an attractive collection of small houses, in the midst of wonderfully beautiful scenery.
The principal sight on Hawaii is the active crater of Kilauea. Instead of the long ride described by Lady Brassey, visitors, landing at the port of Hilo, are now conveyed in motors to a comfortable hotel, on the edge of the crater. We made a detour on the way to see a genuine native settlement, where the standard of living proved to be much the same as on Easter. The crater itself is a subsidiary one on the side of the great mountain, Mauna Loa; it is 4,000 feet above sea-level, and has a circuit of nearly eight miles. The greater part of the crater is extinct, and its hardened lava can easily be walked over, but one portion is still active, and forms a boiling lake about a thousand feet across. No photograph gives any idea of the impressiveness of the scene, particularly after dark. The floor of the pit is paved with dark but iridescent lava, across which run irregular and ever-varying cracks of glowing gold. First one of these cracks, and then another, bubbles out into a roaring fire, the heat melts the adjacent lava, causing great dark masses to break off and slip into the furnace, where they are devoured by the flames. It is a fascinating spectacle which could be watched for hours. The floor of the pit rises and sinks; when we were there it was some hundreds of feet below the spectator.
Kilauea was considered in olden times to be the special abode of Pele, the goddess of fire; but after the advent of the missionaries, her power was formally defied by Kapiolani, the daughter of a chief who ate the berries consecrated to the deity on the brink of the pit. More than fifty years later, however, in 1880, there was so great an eruption of lava on the other side of Mauna Loa that native royalty had to beseech Pele to stifle her anger and save the people; a prayer which was, it is said, immediately effective.
FIG. 133. — HEIAU PUUKOHOLA, HAWAII.
We decided not to return to Hilo, but to see something more of the island, and catch the steamer at Kawaihae on the western side. We left the hotel at 8 a.m. and motored over a hundred miles, first passing through grass lands and cattle ranches, and then through sugar plantations. The way was diversified by extraordinary flows of lava, through which the road had been cleared: they extended for miles like a great sea; one of the streams was as recent as 1907. The last stage of the drive was through forest growth and coffee plantations. We spent the night at a small hotel, kept by a lady. An interesting fellow-guest was a government entymologist, who was combating a parasite which was injuring the coffee; to this end he had introduced an enemy beast of the same nature brought from Nigeria, which was successfully devouring its natural foe.
Below the hotel was the Bay of Kealekakua, which was the scene of the last great drama in the life of Cook. On its shore are the remains of the building where he was treated as the incarnation of the god Loro. It is now only a mass of stones, but is said to have been a truncated pyramid, which is an old form of heiau. On the top of this temple Cook was robed in red tapa, offered a hog, and otherwise worshipped. The conduct of the white men, however, was such that they soon lost the respect of the natives. An affray occurred over the stealing of one of the ship's boats, and Cook was stabbed in the back by one of the iron daggers which he had himself given in barter. An obelisk has been erected to his memory.
On the opposite side of the bay is a "puuhonua," or place of refuge, by name Honaunau. It corresponded with the cities of refuge in the Old Testament. “Hither," says Ellis, “the manslayer, the man who had broken a tabu, . . . the thief and even the murderer, fled from his incensed pursuer and was secure."4 It covered seven acres, and was enclosed on the landward side by a massive wall 12 ft. high and 15 ft. thick.
In the afternoon we motored on to Waimea by a cornice road, which was bumpy beyond description. The hotel consisted of a few rooms behind the principal store. The next morning, on the way to the steamer, we inspected two heiau, a small one at the foot of a hill, and a large and striking one on its summit known as Puukohola. Tradition says that the hero Kaméhaméha set out to rebuild the former in order to secure success in war, but was told that, if he wished to be victorious, he must erect a temple instead on the higher altitude.
The temple, which adapts itself to the ground, rises on the seaward side by a series of great terraces and culminates on the summit in a levelled area paved with stones. On the landward side the building is enclosed by a great wall, on which stood innumerable wooden idols. It was entered by a narrow passage between high walls. On the area at the top were various sacred buildings, including a wicker tower, out of which the priest spoke; an altar, and certain houses, in one of which the king resided during periods of taboo. Whilst the temple was being built, even the great chiefs assisted in carrying stones, and the day it was completed (1791 c.) eleven men were sacrificed on the altar.5 It is one of the latest, as it is one of the finest of the heiau. From the walls are magnificent views of the two great mountains of Hawaii, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, both over 13,000 ft.
It was interesting to recognise in the Hawaiian language not a few words similar to those which we had learnt on Easter Island. In Polynesian the letters K and T are practically interchangeable. Thus Mauna Kea, meaning Mount White, from its usual covering of snow, is equivalent to Maunga Tea-tea, the hill of white ash in Easter. The same is true of the letters L and R. Mauna Loa is Mount Long just as Hanga Roa is Bay Long. The identification of these last letters is not confined to Polynesia. We made one of the Akikuyu in East Africa repeat the same word over and over again, to see if it had the sound of L or R; he used first one and then the other without any discrimination. The names in Hawaii are said to exist in their present form simply according to the manner in which they have been crystallised in writing.
We duly caught our steamer to Honolulu, and changed there into the boat for San Francisco.
Cortez, Governor of Mexico, was under the impression that America was in close proximity to Asia. Hearing of the success of Magellan in discovering a southern route to the westward, he sent an expedition to the north, with the object of finding a road to India in that direction. The members of this party, which was commanded by Cabrillo, were the first Europeans to discover California (1542). The native Indian population at that time is supposed to have been about seven hundred thousand in number.
For over two hundred years Spain took but little interest in the new country; but in 1769 she began to be alarmed lest the Russians should descend on it from the north, and its occupation was ordered from Mexico. In this movement, not only was the secular power represented, but Catholic missions played an important part. The Franciscan order was first in the field; and the mission station, which gave its name to the Bay of San Francisco, was dedicated in 1776. Later the Dominican order also founded religious establishments. These institutions were finally secularised in 1836, but Californians justly regard the remains as the most romantic as well as historic objects in the country.
A wave of immigrants from the United States began to arrive about 1841; war broke out with the parent country of Mexico in 1846; and in 1848 California was formally transferred to the States. The same year, 1848, the first discovery of gold caused an enormous inrush of population. The journey was no easy one; for twenty years the would-be immigrant from the east had to choose between the dangerous expedition overland, the unhealthy condition of the Panama route, or a voyage round the Horn. The Pacific railway was at last completed in 1869.
The most dramatic event of recent years has been the earthquake of 1906, which was followed by a great fire, when for three days the city was a mass of flames.
We arrived at San Francisco on December 14th, 1915. The bay recalls in some degree that of Rio de Janeiro, the ocean has in the same way penetrated through a narrow channel into a low district surrounded by mountains and formed it into an inland sea. There, however, the resemblance stops. The Bay of San Francisco runs, for its major portion, parallel to the sea, and thus forms a peninsula on either side of the entrance, the well-known Golden Gate. The tract on the southern side is sufficiently level to allow of the site of a town. The main frontage of the city is on the bay, but it extends to the seaward side. The population has also spread across the bay, and the suburbs have attained to the magnitude of towns. The large ferry boats which ply across the water are marked features of San Francisco life.
There was nothing in the present fine city to recall the fact that ten years before it had been laid low by the great fire, but any building dating back more than a score of years is treated with respectful interest. A professional guide, who escorts tourists in a motor char-à-bancs, solemnly stated that such and such houses were "in the style of thirty-five years ago," or that a church was "one hundred years old, but still used for service."
It is not, however, in such matters that the youth of California most strikes a visitor from an older country. Its inhabitants appear to him to resemble children who have discovered a new playground, and who are busily occupied in seeing what each can find there. They seem, with notable exceptions, to have little time to spare for those deeper studies and questionings which form part of life in lands where the earlier stage has long been passed. There are, no doubt, in the gay crowd many profound thinkers, numbers with unsatisfied longings and broken hearts, but they are not obvious in the general cheerful absorption as to how much everything costs and everybody is worth. The stranger also, however much theoretically prepared, experiences a shock in finding how little a population formed from manifold races has as yet amalgamated; the owner of a shop, for instance, may not be able to speak even intelligibly the language of the country of his adoption. Depressing accounts were given of the type of man who thought it worth while to take up political life, and the consequent short-sightedness of some of the legislative measures. We were frankly told that we were much better off with our British monarchy, and once an American-born citizen was even heard to regret the War of Independence.
With regard to the Great War we were told that at that time ninety-five per cent. of the population of San Francisco were pro-Ally, though a few professors still looked to Germany as the home of culture. Conversation on the subject was definitely discouraged, and one man, who spoke to us for a few minutes concerning the struggle, ended by saying, “I have not talked so much about the war for months." It was naturally impossible to appreciate at so great a distance the feeling which pervaded Europe. A high authority, whom we consulted as to where we could see some Indian life, recommended us to go to a certain German mission and "ask for hospitality from the Fathers"; that we should prefer not to do so he obviously thought most narrow-minded. Affairs in Mexico where some Americans had just been killed by the insurgents were much more interesting. Even Japan and Australia appeared more closely connected with everyday life, and not only seemed nearer than Europe, but than the Eastern States themselves. So was brought home the truth of the saying that "oceans unite, not divide"; also that the Pacific and its seaboard are really an entity, however much the atlas may prefer to give a contrary impression. Later it was impossible to think without deep sympathy of this young community plunged whole-heartedly with all its fresh ardour and keen intelligence into the solemn crucible of war.
We received welcome help and hospitality from Mr. Ross, our Consul-General, Mr. Barneson, the Commodore of the leading yacht club, and other kind friends. Mr. Adamson, of Messrs. Balfour & Guthrie, a firm allied to our Chilean friends Williamson & Balfour, came opportunely to our assistance when the censor felt that a cabled draft from England was too dangerous a document to pass without many days of consideration.
We were naturally much interested in making the acquaintance of our anthropological confreres of the University of California, Dr. Waterman and Mr. Gifford, and in hearing of their important work among the surviving Indians. A luncheon party at the University buildings at Berkeley, one of the suburbs on the other side of the bay, was both pleasant and enlarging to the mind. It is a mixed university, with some five or six thousand students; situated in beautiful surroundings and with an enviable library. One of the guests at luncheon was a German professor, who was at work in New Guinea when the war broke out; the account runs that the British troops, hearing there was an expedition in the mountains, went there expecting to encounter an armed force. He was detained in California, unable to get home.
FIG. 134 — SAN FRANCISCO.
From Mount Tamalpais, looking across the Golden Gate.
Christmas, the third since we left England, we spent in an hotel on the top of Mount Tamalpais, which is on the other side of the Golden Gate, and directly opposite to San Francisco. It is reached by a mountain railway, and gives most beautiful panoramic views of ocean, city, and bay. The management have hit on the ingenious plan of pointing out special sights, by placing tubes on the walks round the mountain, at the level of the eye, oriented on particular places and labelled accordingly. At night the scene is marvellous; the city appears as a blaze of illumination, and lights in every direction are reflected in the still water of the Bay. While on Mount Tamalpais we received a telephone message to say that Mana was coming through the Gate. She had taken two days less to do the distance from Honolulu than a four-masted barque which left about the same time. We could not get down before her arrival, so left Mr. Gillam to grapple with the usual officials; and not least with the reporters, seventeen of whom, he declared, came on board.
We had had our share of the representatives of the press, but any temptation to self-complacency would have been quenched by the knowledge that real success in newspaper paragraphs had already been achieved by the American cook who left in so summary a fashion at Honolulu. He had turned up from Hawaii and given out that he had been obliged to quit the yacht because he "could not stand a spook ship with skulls on board." Except by one Christian Science reporter, scientific research was considered dull, but this aspect of our work gave a hope of copy; and we received a request, from more than one agency, that we would pose for moving pictures on the deck of the yacht exhibiting the said skulls to one another.
The Pitcairn Islanders almost rivalled the cook as objects of popular interest; as the men had nothing to gain from notoriety, we fixed a modest sum to be given them by each reporter whom they saw; as might perhaps have been foreseen, an interview then appeared without any such unnecessary preliminary as a previous conversation. Charles and Edwin told us that the life of a great city surpassed even their expectations, but it must be confessed that their most enthusiastic admiration was aroused by Charlie Chaplin as he appeared at the picture palaces.
The Exhibition was just over, and Mana was moored alongside the now deserted buildings, which even in their then condition were well worth seeing. We had understood that there would be no difficulty about our new cook, as he was not Chinese, and came from an American dependency, but he was forbidden by the authorities to go on shore. This ruling we had, of course, no means of enforcing; and we found also that we were liable to a fine of over £100 if we could not produce him when we sailed. It was not encouraging to be told that there were plenty of people who would entice him away for a share in the fine, and it was a relief when Mana at length sailed having all her crew safely on board.
It had been arranged that I was to return home overland, in order to avoid the long hot voyage on the yacht, and to put in hand preliminary arrangements there. I left on January 16th, taking the more southerly route across the continent. A night was spent at Santa Barbara, to see the mission buildings which are in the hands of one of the two remaining San Franciscan communities. The Brother who acted as guide, and who was of Hungarian Polish descent, said that it had been instrumental in converting between 4,000 and 5,000 Indians. From Santa Barbara the route runs to Los Angeles, which forms a winter resort for various Central American millionaires. A detour was made to the Grand Canyon, which is perhaps more impressive than beautiful, and so to Washington. A happy time was spent in seeing the city, and being shown over the National Museum by Dr. Walter Hough. The objects brought from Easter by the Mohican naturally proved of the greatest interest. At New York the beautiful Natural History Museum excited admiration, and gratitude is owed for the kindness of Dr. Lowie. At that time we were considering the question whether, owing to war conditions, to lay up or sell Mana in New York. Nothing could have been kinder than the assistance given in my search for information by more friends than I can mention. It was finally, as will be seen, decided to bring her home. The crossing of the Atlantic in an American vessel was uneventful, and on Sunday, February 6th, 1916, I found myself, with an indescribable thrill, at home once more in the strange new England of time of war; which was yet the dear familiar England for which her sons have found it worth while to fight and if need be to die.
1 Another daughter was the wife of Mr. Brander, the connection of whose firm with Easter Island has already been seen.
2 My budget contained, with over twenty letters from my Mother, the news that she had died suddenly the preceding April; and that the old home no longer existed. The tidings were no surprise. Iliad had the strongest convict-on, dating from about one month after her death, that she v/as no longer here. The realisation came at first with a sense of shock, which was noted in my journal and written to friends in England; afterwards it continued with a quiet persistence which amounted to practical certainty.
3 Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, p. 102.
4 Polynesian Researches, vol. iv. p. 167.
5 Thrum. Hawaiian Annual, 1908.