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Mark Twain
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The Trouble Starts At Eight 1865-1866
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Gathering Materials in the Islands
 
 

“In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea, (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed. I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself.—The board struck the shore in three quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me.”—Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872

Charity School in Honolulu
Charity School in Honolulu
Courtesy of The Bishop Museum
Royal Palace, Hawaii
Royal Palace, Hawaii
Courtesy of The Bishop Museum

Illustration from Roughing It
Illustration from Roughing It
Courtesy of The Mark Twain House, Hartford

“We had an abundance of fruit in Honolulu, of course. Oranges, pine-apples, bananas, strawberries, lemons, limes, mangoes, guavas, melons, and a rare and curious luxury called the chirimoya, which is deliciousness itself. Then there is the tamarind. I thought tamarinds were made to eat, but that was probably not the idea. I ate several, and it seemed to me that they were rather sour that year. They pursed up my lips, till they resembled the stem-end of a tomato, and I had to take my sustenance through a quill for twenty-four hours. They sharpened my teeth till I could have shaved with them, and gave them a “wire edge” that I was afraid would stay; but a citizen said, “No, it will come off when the enamel does”—which was comforting, at any rate. I found, afterward, that only strangers eat tamarinds—but they only eat them once.”—Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872

 
 
We found the fish market crowded; for the native is very fond of fish, and eats the article raw and alive! Let us change the subject. Mark Twain, lecture: Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands, 1866.  
 
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“Native Young Ladies
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