The House of Pride and Other Tales of Hawaii HTML version

Southern Cross burning low on the horizon. He was irritat ed by the
bare shoulders and arms of the women. If he had a daughter he would
never permit it, never. But his hypothesis was the sheerest
abstraction. The thought process had been accompanied by no inner
vision of that daughter. He did not see a daughter with arms and
shoulders. Instead, he smiled at the remote contingency of
marriage. He was thirty-five, and, having had no personal
experience of love, he looked upon it, not as mythical, but as
bestial. Anybody could marry. The Japanese and Chinese coolies,
toiling on the sugar plantations and in the rice -fields, married.
They invariably married at the first opportunity. It was because
they were so low in the scale of life. There was nothing else for
them to do. They were like the army men and women. But for him
there were other and higher things. He was dierent from them–
from all of them. He was proud of how he happened to be. He had
come of no petty love-match. He had come of lofty conception of
duty and of devotion to a cause. His father had not married for
love. Love was a madness that had never perturbed Is aac Ford. When
he ans wered the call to go to the heathen with the message of life,
he had had no thought and no desire for marriage. In this they were
alike, his father and he. But the Board of Missions was economical.
With New England thrift it weighed and measured and decided that
married missionaries were less expensive per capita and more
ecacious. So the Board commanded Is aac Ford to marry.
Furthermore, it furnished him with a wife, another zealous soul with
no thought of marriage, intent only on doing the Lord’s work among
the heathen. They saw each other for the first time in Boston. The
Board brought them together, arranged everything, and by the end of
the week they were married and started on the long voyage around the
Percival Ford was proud that he had come of such a union. He had
been born high, and he thought of hims elf as a spiritual aristocrat.
And he was proud of his father. It was a passion with him. The
erect, austere figure of Isaac Ford had burned itself upon his
pride. On his desk was a miniatur e of that soldier of the Lord. In
his bedroom hung the portrait of Isaac Ford, paint ed at the time
when he had served under the Monarchy as prime minister. Not that
Isaac Ford had coveted place and worldly wealth, but that, as prime
minister, and, later, as banker, he had been of greater service to
the missionary cause. The German crowd, and the English crowd, and
all the rest of the trading crowd, had sneered at Isaac Ford as a
commercial soul -saver; but he, his son, knew dierent. When the
natives, emerging abruptly from their feudal system, with no
conception of the nature and significance of property in land, were
letting their broad acres slip through their fingers, it was Isaac
Ford who had stepped in bet ween the trading crowd and its prey and
taken possession of fat, vast holdings. Small wonder the trading
crowd did not like his memory. But he had never looked upon his
enormous wealth as his own. He had considered himself God’s
steward. Out of the revenues he had built schools, and hospitals,
and churches. Nor was it his fault that sugar, after the slump, had
paid forty per cent; that the bank he founded had prospered into a
railroad; and that, among ot her things, fifty thousand acres of Oahu
pasture land, which he had bought for a dollar an acre, grew eight
tons of sugar to the acre every eighteen months. No, in all truth,