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Nature in the tropics, left to herself, is harsh, aggressive, savage; looks as though she wanted to hang you with her dangling ropes, or impale you on her thorns, or engulf you in her ranks of gigantic ferns. Her mood is never as placid and sane as in the North. There is a tree in the Hawaiian woods that suggests a tree gone mad. It is called the hau-tree.

The silent witness to these festivities of years ago, the great hau-tree, still stands. It was at this time that Stevenson began work on the scheme of his book on the South Seas. This was one of the rare occasions when he and his wife reached a deadlock in their opinions, and, unfortunately for the success of the book, he refused to accept her advice.

Under a great hau-tree that stood in the garden a birthday-party was given to Austin Strong, the little son of Mrs. Stevenson's daughter. Just as though it had been prearranged, in the midst of the party who should come along but an Italian with a performing bear, the first that any of the children had ever seen!

It was, first of all, say her legs; or, first of all, say the totality of her, the sweet and brilliant jewel of her femininity bursting upon them. Dowager, matron, and maid, conserving their soft-fat muscles or protecting their hot-house complexions in the shade of the hau-tree arbour, felt the immediate challenge of her.