« ПредишнаНапред »
To poets of renown in song
The nymphs referr'd the cause,
And gave misplaced applause.
The flippant and the scold,
That failing left untold.
Or so resolved to err;
They lavish'd all on her.
Their great inspirer call,
To reprimand them all :
“My fav'rite nymph to slight,
With June's undoubted right;
Still prove herself a shrew,
And pinch your noses blue.”
A STRANGE DREAM.
DREAMED AT THE VOLCANO HOUSE, CRATER OF “KILAUEA," SANDWICH ISLANDS, APRIL 1, 1866.
MARK TWAIN. All day long. I have sat apart and pondered over the mysterious occurrence of last night. There is no link lacking in the chain of incidents; my memory presents each in its proper order with perfect distinctness, but still
However, never mind these reflections—I will drop them and proceed to make a simple statement of the facts.
Towards eleven o'clock, it was suggested that the character of the night was peculiarly suited to viewing the mightiest active volcano on the earth's surface in its most impressive sublimity. There was no light of moon or star in the inky heavens to mar the effect of the crater's gorgeous pyrotechnics.
In due time I stood, with my companion, on the wall of the vast.cauldron which the natives, ages ago, named Hale mau mau—the abyss wherein they were wont to throw the remains of the chiefs to the end that vulgar feet might never tread above them. We stood there, at dead of night, a mile above the level of the sea, and looked down a thousand feet upon a boiling, surging, roaring ocean of fire, started when tremendous thunder-bursts shook the earth, and followed with fasci. nated eyes the grand jets of molten lava that sprang high up toward the zenith and exploded in a world of fiery spray that lit
up the sombre heavens with an infernal splendour. 16 What is
your little bonfire of Vesuvius to this ?" My ejaculation roused my companion from his reverie, and we fell into a conversation appropriate to the occasion and the surroundings. We came at last to speak of the ancient custom of casting the bodies of dead chieftains into this fearful cauldron; and my comrade, who is of the blood royal, mentioned that the founder of his race, old King Kamehameha the Firstthat invincible old pagan Alexander-had found other sepultu re than the burning depths of the Hale mau mau. I grew interested at once; I knew that the mystery of what became of the corpse of the warrior king had never been fathomed; I was aware that there was a legend connected with this matter; and I felt as if there could be no more fitting time to listen to it than the present. The descendant of the Kamehamehas said :
“The dead king was brought in royal state down the long, winding road that descends from the rim of the crater to the scorched and chasm-riven plain that lies between the Hale mau mau and those beetling walls yonder in the distance. The guards were set, and the troops of mourners began the weird wail for the departed. In the middle of the night came a sound of innumerable voices in the air, and the rush of invisible wings; the funeral torches wavered, burned blue, and went out. The mourners and watchers fell to the ground paralysed by fright, and many minutes elapsed before any one dared to move or speak; for they believed that the phantom messengers of the dread Goddess of Fire had been in their midst. When at last a torch . was lighted, the bier was vacant—the dead monarch had been spirited away! Consternation seized upon all, and they fled out of the crater. When day dawned, the multitude returned and began the search for the corpse.
But not a footprint, not a sign was ever found. Day after day the search was continued, and every cave in the great walls, and every chasm in the plain, for miles around, was examined, but all to no purpose; and from that day to this the resting-place of the lion-king's bones is an unsolved mystery. But years afterward, when the grim prophetess Wiahowakawak lay on her death-bed, the goddess Pele appeared to her in a vision, and told her that eventually the secret would be revealed, and in a remarkable manner, but not until the great Kauhuhu, the Shark god, should desert the sacred cavern Aua Puhi, in the island of Molokai, and the waters of the sea should no more visit it, and its floors should become dry. Ever since that time the simple, confiding natives have watched for the sign. And now, after many and many a summer has come and gone, and they who were in the flower of youth then have waxed old and died, the day is at hand! The great Shark god has deserted the Aua Puhi : a month ago, for the first time within the records of the ancient legends, the waters of the sea ceased to flow into the cavern, and its stony pavement
is become dry ! As you may easily believe, the news of this event spread like wildfire through the islands, and now the natives are looking every hour for the miracle which is to unveil the mystery and reveal the secret grave of the dead hero.'
After I had gone to bed I got thinking of the volcanic magnificence we had witnessed, and could not go to sleep. I hunted up a book, and concluded to pass the time in reading. The first chapter I came upon related several instances of remarkable revelations made to men through the agency of dreams—of roads and houses, trees, fences, and all manner of landmarks, shown in visions and recognised afterwards in waking hours, and which served to point the way to some dark mystery or other.
At length I fell asleep, and dreamed that I was abroad in the great plain that skirts the Hale mau mau. I stood in a sort of twilight which softened the outlines of surrounding objects, but still left them tolerably distinct. A gaunt, muffled figure stepped out from the shadow of a rude column of lava, and moved away
with a slow and measured step, beckoning me to follow. I
I marched down, down, down hundreds of feet, upon a narrow trail which wound its tortuous course through piles and pyramids of seamed and blackened lava, and under overhanging masses of sulphur formed by the artist-hand of Nature into an infinitude of fanciful shapes. The thought crossed my mind that possibly my phantom guide might lead me down among the bowels of the crater, and then disappear and leave me to grope my way through its mazes, and work out my deliverance as best I might; and so, with an eye to such contingency, I picked up a stone and "blazed” my course by breaking off a projecting corner, occasionally, from lava walls and festoons of sulphur. Finally we turned into a cleft in the crater's side, and pursued our way through its intricate windings for many a fathom down toward the home of the subterranean fires, our course lighted all the while by
a ruddy glow which filtered up through innumerable cracks and crevices, and which afforded me occasional glimpses of the flood of molten fire boiling and hissing in the profound depths beneath us. The heat was intense, and the sulphurous atmosphere suffocating; but I toiled on in the footsteps of my stately guide, and uttered no complaint. At last we came to a sort of rugged chamber whose sombre and blistered walls spake with mute eloquence of some fiery tempest that had spent its fury here in a bygone age. The spectre pointed to a great boulder at the farther extremitystood and pointed, silent and motionless for a few fleeting moments, and then disappeared! “The grave of the last Kamehameha!" The words swept mournfully by, from an unknown source, and died away in the distant corridors of my prison-house, and I was alone in the bowels of the earth, in the home of desolation, in the presence of death!
My first frightened impulse was to fly, but a stronger impulse arrested me and impelled me to approach the massive boulder the spectre had pointed at. With hesitating step I went forward and stood beside itnothing there. I grew bolder, and walked around and about it, peering shrewdly into the shadowy half-light that surrounded it still nothing. I paused to consider what to do next. While I stood irresolute I chanced to brush the ponderous stone with my elbow, and lo! it vibrated to my touch! I would as soon have thought of starting a kiln of bricks with my feeble hand. My curiosity was excited. I bore against the boulder, and it still yielded; I gave a sudden push with my whole strength, and it toppled from its foundation with a crash that sent the echoes thundering down the avenues and passages of the dismal cavern! And there, in a shallow excavation over which it had rested lay the crumbling skeleton of King Kamehameha the Great, thus sepulchred in long years by supernatural hands! The bones could be none other; for with them lay the rare and priceless crown of pulamalama coral, sacred