The Cruise Of The Snark, By Jack London

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In Every City And County Hospital For Poor People In The United States, Or In Similar Institutions In Other Countries, Sights As Terrible As Those In Molokai Can Be Witnessed, And The Sum Total Of These Sights Is Vastly More Terrible.

For that matter, if it were given me to choose between being compelled to live in Molokai for the rest of my life, or in the East End of London, the East Side of New York, or the Stockyards of Chicago, I would select Molokai without debate.

I would prefer one year of life in Molokai to five years of life in the above- mentioned cesspools of human degradation and misery.

In Molokai the people are happy. I shall never forget the celebration of the Fourth of July I witnessed there. At six o'clock in the morning the "horribles" were out, dressed fantastically, astride horses, mules, and donkeys (their own property), and cutting capers all over the Settlement. Two brass bands were out as well. Then there were the pa-u riders, thirty or forty of them, Hawaiian women all, superb horsewomen dressed gorgeously in the old, native riding costume, and dashing about in twos and threes and groups. In the afternoon Charmian and I stood in the judge's stand and awarded the prizes for horsemanship and costume to the pa-u riders. All about were the hundreds of lepers, with wreaths of flowers on heads and necks and shoulders, looking on and making merry. And always, over the brows of hills and across the grassy level stretches, appearing and disappearing, were the groups of men and women, gaily dressed, on galloping horses, horses and riders flower-bedecked and flower-garlanded, singing, and laughing, and riding like the wind. And as I stood in the judge's stand and looked at all this, there came to my recollection the lazar house of Havana, where I had once beheld some two hundred lepers, prisoners inside four restricted walls until they died.

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