Page images
PDF

NOTICES OF THE KINGSHILL GROTTP.

195

most beautiful are those where the lagoon is completely inclosed, and rests within a quiet lake. Maraki, one of the Kingsmill group, is one of the prettiest coral islands of the Pacific. The line of vegetation is unbroken, and seen from the mast-head it lies like a garland thrown upon the waters.

"When first seen from the deck of a vessel, only a series of dark points is descried, just above the horizon. Shortly after the points enlarge into the plumed tops of cocoanut-trees, and a line of green, interrupted at intervals, is traced along the water's surface. Approaching still nearer, the lake and its belt of verdure are spread out before the eye, and a scene of more interest can scarcely be imagined. The surf, beating loud and heavy along the margin of the reef, presents a strange contrast to the prospect beyond—the white coral beach, the massy foliage of the grove, and the embosomed lake, with its tiny islets. The color of the lagoon water is often as blue as the ocean, although but fifteen or twenty fathoms deep; yet shades of green and yellow are intermingled, where patches of sand or coral knolls are near the surface; and the green is a delicate apple shade, quite unlike the usual muddy tint of shallow waters.

"These garlands of verdure seem to stand on the brims of cups, whose bases rest in unfathomable depths. Seven miles east of Clermont Tonnere, the lead ran out to eleven hundred and forty-five fathoms (six thousand eight hundred and seventy feet) without reaching bottom. Within three-quarters of a mile of the southern point of this island, the lead at another throw, after running out for a while, brought up in an instant at three hundred and fifty fathoms, and then dropped off again and descended to six hundred fathoms without reaching bottom. The lagoons are generally shallow, though in the larger islands soundings gave twenty to thirty-five, and even fifty and sixty fathoms."

In observing these vast walls of coral masonry, and in studying the diversities of coral upon them, and the curiously modified forms of beauty they assume, it is natural to ask, What ends do they serve? and what is all this outlay of beauty for? It were a good answer to say, in the words of the Psalmist, when he was attempting to uncover and describe some of the curious processes of Nature :—0 Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.

Aside from the manifest utilitarian ends they serve in building* up beautiful oases from the bed of ocean, as places of habitation for man and beast, and then affording the material in such exhaustless affluence out of which art may construct temples for God's worship and palaces for man's abode, we say of them, as we can of all things in God's Universe, what one of the most eminent American authors has written in the Poem entitled "Factitious Life:"—

These are Earth's uses:—God has framed the whole,
Not mainly for the body, but the soul,
That it might dawn on beauty, and might grow
Noble in thought, from Nature's noble show;

* See Note B.

NATURAL AND -ESTHETIC USES OF CORAL.

197

Might gather from the flowers an humble mind,
And on Earth's ever-varying surface find
Something to win to kind and fresh'ning change,
And give the powers a wide and healthful range;
To furnish man sweet company where'er
He travels on—a something to call dear,
And more his own, because it makes a part
With that fair world that dwells within the heart.
Earth yields to healthful labor meat and drink,
That man may live—for what? To feel and think;
And not to eat and drink, and like the beast,
Sleep, and then wake and get him to his feast.
Over these grosser uses Nature throws
Beauties so delicate, the man foregoes
A while his low intents, to soft delights
Yields up himself; and, lost in sounds and sights,
Forgets that Earth was made for aught beside
His doting; and he woos it as his bride!

[graphic][merged small]

CHAPTER IX.

REMINISCENCES OF LAHAINALUNA, AND SKETCHES OF THE FIRST
HAWAIIAN COLLEGE.

Suave, mari magno turbantibua aequora Tentis,
E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem.

Lucretius.

Sweet, from a post of safety, to review the labors and virtues of other men beyond the seas.

We recross the Molokai channel by canoe—Sketch of an Hawaiian College—Internal economy and discipline—Origin and history—Faculty and course of study—Intention of the founders—Ability and usefulness of the first graduates—Laws ahead of morals—Wisdom not always married to the wise—Prudence not limited to the prudential—A revolution in progress—Signs of the times—Entente cordiale—Natural differences of opinion among missionaries—A pastor's expedient to sound the knowledge of his flock— Great difficulty of being simple enough in the exhibition of truth —Remarkable answers of natives—Heathen destitution of common ideas—Consequent inappreciation of Scripture—Similar experience of missionaries in the east— Remarkable cases in proof—Fruits of the great revival—Reasonings of practical men —Sources of correct information—How to find the meridian of truth—Illustration from the working of longitude by lunars.

It is one of the most grateful recollections of the tonr we have been making through the Hawaiian Heart of the Pacific, that a providential passage across the rude channel between the islands of Maui and Molokai, consigned me over to the very cordial hospitalities of Lahainaluna. The location there of the Mission Seminary, containing one hundred and thirty or forty lads and young men, the college-like aspect of the main building, and frequent sounds of the bell, summoning PANORAMA FROM THE COLLEGE HILL.

199

to some exercise, all invest the place with a literary air that is not to be found elsewhere at the Sandwich Islands.

Persons connected with the Seminary, and the families of the teachers, are the sole residents. It is far enough removed from Lahaina to be retired, while the town and shipping are all in sight two miles below. The panorama it commands of sky, ocean, and island, with their overhanging clouds, especially from a point still higher up the mountain, where Mr. Dibble himself built a house, is very extensive and grand. Four different islands and the magnificent expanse of the Pacific are always there, and sometimes, on a clear day, you can discern Oahu, seventy miles off to the northwest, and Hawaii, still further to the south.

There are three dwelling-houses for teachers, besides a commodious stone printing-house, and the College edifice, which, including its wings, is one hundred and forty feet front, and between thirty and forty feet deep, of two stories high, with attic and cupola. The students' quarters are two ranges of adobe and grass• houses, a little to the south of the College. A brook is always flowing in front, lining itself with verdure, and a row of thrifty trees more than repays, with grateful shade and green, the pains bestowed upon them.

The internal conduct and discipline of the Institution is much after the form of Colleges in America. The students study at their rooms, and recite by divisions. Afternoons, from two to supper-time, are devoted to cultivating food, and other labor, for which they are

« PreviousContinue »