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66 4 The King Is Dead January 12–April 15, 1891 January 12, 18911 Dearest:The term has opened well and I think I can honestly say I have a little more hold on my girls. My room is full, every seat taken and on account of the numbers and the shortness of the time, it makes rapid work necessary in order to accomplish anything. Your last letter was so full of such good advice I suppose because you know me so well you know just what I will do in a given situation, dearest boy to think I have such a treasure as you! My heart goes out to you especially tonight. What a rapture of happiness I would be in if I could but see your loved face. The King’s funeral, ‘Iolani Palace, 1891. Photo by J. A. Gonsalves. THE KING IS DEAD 67 At the Athertons they have such a pretty family custom and I should like to adopt it into our home. After morning prayers, they kiss each other all around. I understand it is a custom of many of the old missionary families. It was very beautiful to see and in a nervous high-strung family like theirs I should think it would be one of the little things to keep things smooth. They are very wealthy people but about the busiest people you can imagine. We2 occupied May Atherton’s room and a very beautiful one it is too filled with so many pretty things she brought with her from Europe. Saturday evening they showed us the photographs they gathered while they were away. They all took part in telling the story of their travels and it was interesting. They had some large photographs of some of the greatest paintings. It was such a collection as only wealth could gather. We had a call this afternoon from such an interesting lady, a Mrs. Walker who lives the second place above us.3 She had two pretty dogs with her and we were asking her about them and she explained that she was attached to one of them because he was with her when she was wrecked. Naturally we asked about that and she told us quite a story. Her husband is a captain and three years ago they went from Hong Kong to the South Sea Islands on a fishing expedition. They anchored in the lagoon of a barren little island and soon strong winds came up. They wanted to leave but could not and were finally wrecked and lost everything. It was not a Robinson Crusoe experience either, for as she said, this island was a fertile island and many things were washed up from his ship. Their bedding and considerable clothing was cast up but not one bit of food. There was one man on the island in a half-savage condition. Some time before , he had been wrecked there with his ships company and had murdered his captain and mate and when the others left some time after in a small boat, they left him behind. As for the island it was low and barren just dazzling white sand with a few low shrubs and not a tree. Twenty-three years before it had been surveyed and some two or three sheds and huts put up. They took possession of these although they were almost in ruin and dug a well whose water seemed good to them though their rescuers said it was very brackish. Their food was the sea-birds eggs, the birds themselves and rarely a fish. For weeks they would have only eggs and water and often days would pass without food. The murderer kept them in constant fear but he in his turn feared them on account of a gun which would not fire. Nine of their crew deserted them in a small boat and were never heard of again. They reached the Gilbert Islands 68 AN AMERICAN GIRL but did not tell anyone of the others. Three died and all were in a most pitiable condition at the end of the 14 months they passed there. A fishing-ship saw bonfires and brought the survivors to Honolulu. She was the only woman. When they first ate just plain bread and butter it made them very ill. It is quite a story Carl and I am sitting up much too late to write it to you so I will stop now with one of the...


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MARC Record
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