My friends seem determined that I shall not lack acquaintances, for I only decided today to go, and they have already sent me letters of introduction to everybody down there worth knowing. I am to remain there a month and ransack the islands, the great cataracts and the volcanoes completely, and write twenty or thirty letters to the Sacramento Union--for which they pay me as much money as I would get if I staid at home.

If I come back here I expect to start straight across the continent by way of the Columbia river, the Pend d'Oreille Lakes, through Montana and down the Missouri river,--only 200 miles of land travel from San Francisco to New Orleans. Goodbye for the present. Yours, SAM.

His home letters from the islands are numerous enough; everything there being so new and so delightful that he found joy in telling of it; also, he was still young enough to air his triumphs a little, especially when he has dined with the Grand Chamberlain and is going to visit the King!

The languorous life of the islands exactly suited Mask Twain. All his life he remembered them--always planning to return, some day, to stay there until he died. In one of his note-books he wrote: "Went with Mr. Dam to his cool, vine-shaded home; no care-worn or eager, anxious faces in this land of happy contentment. God, what a contrast with California and the Washoe!"

And again:

"Oh, Islands there are on the face of the deep Where the leaves never fade and the skies never weep."

The letters tell the story of his sojourn, which stretched itself into nearly five months.

To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, in St. Louis:

HONOLULU, SANDWICH ISLANDS, April 3, 1866. MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,--I have been here two or three weeks, and like the beautiful tropical climate better and better. I have ridden on horseback all over this island (Oahu) in the meantime, and have visited all the ancient battle-fields and other places of interest. I have got a lot of human bones which I took from one of these battle-fields--I guess I will bring you some of them. I went with the American Minister and took dinner this evening with the King's Grand Chamberlain, who is related to the royal family, and although darker than a mulatto, he has an excellent English education and in manners is an accomplished gentleman. The dinner was as ceremonious as any I ever attended in California--five regular courses, and five kinds of wine and one of brandy. He is to call for me in the morning with his carriage, and we will visit the King at the palace--both are good Masons--the King is a Royal Arch Mason. After dinner tonight they called in the "singing girls," and we had some beautiful music; sung in the native tongue.

The steamer I came here in sails tomorrow, and as soon as she is gone I shall sail for the other islands of the group and visit the great volcano--the grand wonder of the world. Be gone two months. Yrs. SAM.

To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, in St. Louis:

WAILUKU SUGAR PLANTATION, ISLAND OF MAUI, H. I., May 4,1866. MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,--11 O'clock at night.--This is the infernalist darkest country, when the moon don't shine; I stumbled and fell over my horse's lariat a minute ago and hurt my leg, so I must stay here tonight.

I got the same leg hurt last week; I said I hadn't got hold of a spirited horse since I had been on the island, and one of the proprietors loaned me a big vicious colt; he was altogether too spirited; I went to tighten the cinch before mounting him, when he let out with his left leg (?) and kicked me across a ten-acre lot. A native rubbed and doctored me so well that I was able to stand on my feet in half an hour.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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