Monday, May 10, 2010

Transcription: Mott Memoir, Part 13

"When the weather became very warm as the rainy season set in, the Turrill family went for awhile to an old house some distance up the valley called the King's place, because at one time the King lived there.  It was a long low building surrounded with trees, a very pretty place.  The air was cooler there and it was so far from the town it was like going into the country and as they only brought the most necessary articles almost like camping.

One afternoon Evy, Fanny and I with the three Judd girls and John Dominis rode out to call on Lizzie Turrill.  When the time came to go home it began to rain violently.  As there was no sign of clearing Mrs. Turrill said the girls would have to stay all night and John could let our mother know where we were.  As there were not enough beds for so many unexpected guests she spread quilts and pillows on the floor of the large room that was living room and dining room both and we all slept together except Evy.  Mrs. Turrill was afraid she might take cold on the floor so made a bed for her on the dining table.  We had a merry time.  I think we talked more than we slept.  In the morning the rain had stopped but the ground was very muddy, still as we wanted to see a little waterfall that came down near the house we decided to go out though Mrs. Turrill would not let Evy go.  Our shoes were thin and would be spoiled in the mud so we took off our shoes and stockings and went bare foot except Lizzie who had a pair of thick shoes.  After we had gone a little way my feet hurt so dreadfully I could hardly walk so Lizzie lent me one of her shoes and we held on to each other and hopped.  The other girls did not seem to mind.  We had to go down a bank to reach the falls by that time the sky became so dark we thought it was going to rain again.  There were some taro patches between the falls and the house  and Lizzie said if we could walk on them it would be nearer than going back to the road. 

The taro plant is used for the native's poi and is planted in thick mud made into squares called patches with ridges of hard earth between each patch, just wide enough for one person to walk on.  We thought we could walk on them and started to go across, but the earth was slippery from the rain and first one fell off and then the other.  The mud was almost to our knees and we were shrieking wildly and struggling to get out we heard sounds of laughter and looking up beheld John Dominis, Mr. Dwight and Horace Crabb, a friend of John's on horseback in the road near the bank watching us with great glee.  We begged them to go away but they only laughed until we declared we would not come out while they were there, so they took pity on us and went on to the house.  We managed to scramble out and go in the back door to the kitchen where we had to take off our dresses and skirts and hang them up to dry and wash the mud off our feet.  While the clothes were drying we were wrapped up in shawls, quilts and everything poor Mrs. Turrill could find.  I expect she wished we had all stayed at home.  By the time our clothes were dry the sun came out so we thought we had better go home while it was pleasant.  Mr. Dwight and John had not remained long as we were not in condition to see them.  Mrs. Turrill kept Evy with her as it might rain again but the Judds, Fanny and I mounted our horses and started off.  Before we reached the Judd's house lower down the valley the rain came again so heavily we were soaked through.  When we came to the house Fanny and I had to go in and take off our ridding habits, even the dresses worn under them were wet.  When the shower was over and our habits were too wet to put on again the girls lent us each a dress and bonnet and we walked home leaving our horses and clothes in the care of Mrs. Judd.  Fortunately the sun stayed out this time and we reached our house without getting wet again.

Evy had seemed well during the voyage though she still had a slight cough, but now sometimes she had pain in her side with a little fever and was obliged to stay in bed for a day or two, but generally she was able to accompany us on the rides or to the parties.  The Doctor said she might dance quadrilles but not round dances, quadrilles were danced then more than waltzes.

Mr. Faulkner an Englishman in business in Honolulu was very attentive to Evy for awhile.  He came to the house frequently and rode and danced with her.  He probably would have been serious in his attentions if her health had not been so delicate.  Perhaps he considered her the daughter of a rich man.  I heard long afterwards that we were supposed to be worth $50,000 apiece at that time.  I never thought about money then.  We were always well dressed and had everything we needed.  I do not think our mother realized in what a precarious condition our father's business was.

Some years afterwards, in San Francisco, my mother and I met Mr. Faulkner as we were coming out of Church.  She went up to him saying "How do you do Mr. Faulkner?  Don't you remember Mrs. Mott?"  He looked at her with a glassy stare, all he said was "Oh-Am" and walked on.  Evidently he had heard of my father's failure and did not wish to continue the acquaintance.  He married Miss Bell, went into business with her father and the firm of Faulkner and Bell was well known in San Francisco at one time.

One morning Fanny and I were up very early.  It was a beautiful clear day so we thought we would take a walk before breakfast.  Mrs. Dominis' house was on the edge of the barren tract that surrounded the extinct volcano called the Punch Bowl, (originally the Devil's Punch Bowl on account of the fiery liquid it once contained.)  The ground was seamed with cracks where the lava had flowed during a former eruption and Fanny and I were childish enough to enjoy jumping over them.  We had ridden to the top of the Punch Bowl several times as on one side the slope was so gradual it was quite easy to go up on horseback.  We thought we would walk up, it did not seem very far, but when we reached the volcano we could not find the sloping side and like foolish children, decided to climb up anyhow as we were determined to reach the top.  We thought it would be fine to say we walked up the Punch Bowl, but the higher we went the steeper it became and when about half way up it was still harder to go back.  We could not stay there clinging like flies to a wall so with desperate courage we kept on and at last reached the top, very tired and hot.  After resting a few minutes we walked around the crater.  Now on firm ground overgrown with grass and weeds, we soon found the slope were we descended with no difficulty.  When we came home it was long past breakfast time.  Our mother was worried and Mrs. Dominis vexed.  Everything had been cleared off the table as she said, she would not keep breakfast waiting for such foolish girls.  She gave us some cold coffee and bread and butter in the pantry.  Our mother was horrified at our appearance.  We were dirty and sun-burned, our clothes were dusty and covered with stickers.  She disliked sun-burn as much as I do and was particularly vexed because a French man-of-war had entered the harbor that morning and she had met some of the officers in Mazatlan, expected them to call them to call on her and wished us to look well.  Mrs. Dominis sent us to the cellar to pick the stickers out of our clothes.  The cellar was clean and cool and felt pleasant after the hot sun.  We sat there on the boxes for some time and when we came upstairs the sunburn was gone.  I suppose we were not really burned, only very hot. When dressed in clean clothes we were quite presentable and when the officers called she was not ashamed of us. 

When we heard the American sloop of war, Prebble was expected Evy and I were much interested as that was the vessel Mr. Lies had sailed on and we were pleased at the prospect of meeting him again, but when she arrived we heard he had left the Prebble at Valpriaso and returned to New York.  I was greatly disappointed, we had been such good friends and his engagement to Emma made him almost a relation.

The purser Henry Wilson was a very pleasant young man.  He was a frequent visitor and when the Prebble went to one of the other Islands for a few days he stayed at Mrs. Dominis' house so we became well acquainted.  He had been married only a short time before going to sea and spoke of his wife very often.  We three girls liked him so much we adopted him for a brother and called him brother Henry.  We were very sorry to, when he had to leave.

There was also a midshipman named Mr. Gunnigale with whom we were friendly.  He was a nice boy about seventeen and danced very well.  He and I danced together frequently at the parties given to the officers of the Prebble.

Years later in San Francisco after I was married, he called at the house one evening.  Of course he was acquainted with Mr. Lies, having been on the same ship.  He must have found me dreadfully changed.  He became Captain of a gunboat during the Civil War and was killed in a Naval battle.

One evening we were invited to the Judd's house to meet some other young people.  Our mother was not going but John accompanied us and we were so used to him, he seemed almost like a brother.  Lizzie Turrill and several other girls were there.  We were not allowed to dance but we played games and had a very pleasant evening.  When we were ready to leave, with our wraps on, John noticed a row of pies on the pantry shelf and saying "These look nice" took one and n spite of protests from the Judd girls walked out of doors with it and as he passed me he said "come along Essie" and I am sorry to say instead of reproving him as I should have done I joined him, thus becoming an accomplice in crime.  We ran down the road until we were some distance ahead of the others.  When we came to the Brewer's house, seeing a light in the windows, John said let's go in so I followed him in.  Uncle Charles was in bed but Kate and her sister were in the parlor.  They laughed at us when we told what we had done.  Kate brought a knife and between us it was all eaten, so we had nothing but an empty plate to take home.  When we got there we were received with reproaches.  We stayed so long at the Brewer's, the other girls were home already having been escorted by Mr. Bishop and no one knew where we were.  My mother and Mrs. Dominis scolded us for staying out so late and Fanny was vexed because she wanted some of the pie.

When we left New York nothing was known there of the discovery of gold in California.  When we arrived in Honolulu we found the people talking of it and some men planning to go to San Francisco.  Also we heard that some one had discovered a drug that could make people insensible to pain so they could have an operation performed without feeling it.  There was much discussion on this subject.  While some said what a blessing to humanity this would be others laughed at the idea and thought it nonsense.  This seems strange now when the use of chloroform is so common."

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