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
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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