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Old 23 August 2014, 02:08 PM
Brad from Georgia's Avatar
Brad from Georgia Brad from Georgia is offline
Join Date: 21 June 2000
Location: Snellvile, GA
Posts: 13,195

He wasn't old and white-haired at the time....

Yes, it's humorous throughout and obviously exaggerated for comic effect. He notes that after an hour of watching the girls, he turned to leave and discovered that his horse had gone to sleep. He observes that this is a crucial difference between man and the horse: "You cannot depend on a horse to gather news."

The piece leads into a discussion of the civilizing efforts of missionaries, who were distressed that so many of their women parishioners wore so few clothes. They arranged to import clothes to teach them the value of modesty, and then during the next Sunday's services,

a brown, stately dame would sweep up the aisle with a world of airs, with nothing in the world on but a "stovepipe" hat and a pair of cheap gloves; another dame would follow, tricked out in a man's shirt, and nothing else; another one would enter with a flourish, with simply the sleeves of a bright calico dress tied around her waist and the rest of the garment dragging behind like a peacock's tail off duty....They gazed at each other with happy admiration, and it was plain to see that the young girls were taking note of what each other had on, as naturally as if they had always lived in a land of Bibles and knew what churches were made for; here was the evidence of a dawning civilization.
It's pretty clear that Twain was being satirical, and not just of the Hawaiians.
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