|Home -> Other California History Books -> The Log of the Empire State - Chapter III|
The first day out of Honolulu we were all discussing our impressions. Most of us had passed the Honolulu schools at recess time and had noted only one or two white-skinned children. It was, as Dr. A. W. Morton expressed it, "Looks like a little Japan." Of course, everyone knows of the vividness and great variety of the coloring of the foliage in sharp contrast to the brilliant pink soil, but we could not stop talking about it. Some of us noted the beauty of a little plant, which at home we carefully water and cherish in some tiny pot, only to learn that on the Island it grows in such abundance that it is considered nearly as great a pest as the Mediterranean fly - so it would seem that beauty in the vegetable kingdom does not always mean desirability, any more than it does in the human family.
Many of us had been taken over the sugar-cane plantations, seen the young plants pushing through the paper (put over them to keep out the weeds), gone through the refineries, seeing the cane stalks ground in the huge rollers and had been allowed to taste the sickeningly sweet molasses. Along the roads were Hawaiian huts with octopi drying on the porches, beside the reclining figures of the strong providers of the family, resting up, no doubt, from the task of catching and killing the octopi by hitting the squid's heads.
Some of the party waxed eloquent about the wonderful leprosy cures, recently accomplished in the Islands, through the discoveries of the chemist Dr. Dean, who took the chalmoogra oil used in India over a thousand years ago as a cure (but according to tradition, the sufferers considered the cure worse than the disease) and made it possible to take.
Some of us stopped to investigate the powerful wireless station with the instruments capable of receiving messages at a distance of 5000 miles. Still others told of the island at the Pearl Harbor Naval station being purchased for ten thousand dollars and then being sold to our government for 400,000 dollars.
Many had not only received the leis, but a new native name as well, for, as you know, it is the Hawaiian way of labeling everyone with some name that to the Islander expresses their predominant characteristic.
We were gazing at the magnificent sunset, when someone who seemed to have inside information, repeated the old adage, "A red sky at night is the sailor's delight, but if followed by a red sky in the morning, it's the sailor's warning." We had all found the tranquil waters of the Pacific so refreshing after the rush and excitement of Honolulu sightseeing, and did not know that the worst storm the Empire State had experienced was before us.
Most of us rolled out of bed the next morning, and the only reason some of us did not fall to the floor was because the bureaus stopped us half way, with many a resounding thud. Many of the party did not attempt to get up or out of the staterooms. Will we ever forget the dining tables equipped with metal railings, divided into sections to hold in the dishes? Even then, the eggs and cream rolled over the cloth or into our unreceptive laps, and the way the waiters moistened the cloth in the spots where they set the water glasses in an attempt to make them stay put. But they would not any more than our tummies would "stay put."
We then appreciated the necessity of the railings all over the ship, especially when we commenced to hit each side of the passage way in trying to step forward. Edward C. Wagner was jestingly remarking to Louis Glass that if he should fall, there would be broken "Glass." It was but a short while afterward when an unexpected lurch of the ship threw him to the deck, breaking his glasses.
We all remember that the deck chairs had an unpleasant way of sliding until they hit the opposite wall, bouncing out the sea-sick occupants. Even in getting out of the chairs (tied to the railings) many of us fell. The upper deck looked like the ward of an emergency hospital. Mrs. A. F. Morrison had fallen, breaking a bone in her wrist, Mrs. E. Dinkelspiel had her head injured, Louis Glass had a bandage over his cut face, and scarcely anyone escaped without black and blue marks.
To see one of our capitalists being led weakly by a strong attendant, while grasping his mal de mer tin firmly, was a sight unnoticed, in the tumult of rushing waves. Of course, all portholes were closed, two of the crew narrowly escaped being washed overboard. Their spotless uniform of white had long since been discarded for rain coats and high boots. Some of us slept out on deck rather than negotiate the treacherous stairs to the uncertain joys of a stateroom in which the trunks had to be lashed to the walls to avoid painful contact (you see, many of us had the vivid recollection of the crashes that woke us). In most cases the dainty bureau scarfs upon which reposed the Cologne bottle, mirror, powder, hairpins, etc., etc., had dashed into one conglomerate, broken mass on the floor.
M. A. Gale and Warren Shannon (usually the life of the party) were seen in dejected heaps, with only half-closed eyes visible above the steamer robes.
Mrs. Carrie Schwabacher gathered about the piano those well enough to be about (after the storm had been raging for two days and nights), playing old-fashioned songs, to try to raise the drooping spirits.
Chanticleer never greeted the morning with gayer spirits than this party, when we saw the clouds had rolled away, and when someone repeated, "On the road to Mandilay, where the flying fishes play" (while we watched the flying fishes play), all the old familiar quotations took on a new significance of realty.