Then-Princess Liliʻuokalani was on a tour around Oʻahu. “I was accompanied by my sister, the Princess Likelike, who had with her the little child-princess Kaʻiulani, and that infant’s governess, Miss Barnes; Mr. JH Boyd was of the number of our attendants.”
“After a generous lunch at Waimanalo, on the estate of Mr. Cummins, we left for Maunawili, the country-place of Mr. and Mrs. Boyd”. (On a prior trip to that house, Liliʻuokalani was inspired to write ‘Aloha ʻOe;’ when leaving, she witnessed a particularly affectionate farewell between a gentleman and a young.)
This trip, on October 6, 1881, was different.
“We were descending the steep side of a hill, (in some unaccountable manner the reins of one of the horses became entangled in the bit of another) and the result was that the driver had no longer control of the animals.”
“Consequently the carriage came down the hill with such velocity that I was thrown violently out, and landed between two rocks; but fortunately there was a bit of marshy ground where I struck.”
“(T)he vehicle was overturned, falling upon the Princess who had been previously thrown out and furthermore, the royal lady was precipitated down a steep embankment a distance of about 50 yards. When the rest of the party joined the suffering lady, she was speechless for some length of time.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, October 8, 1881)
“Certainly no one could have been nearer to instant death.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“At first it was thought my back was broken by my fall; for when I endeavored to rise after recovering from the first shock, it was impossible to do so, nor could I change in any way my position until assisted by my followers”.
“Even then, when depending upon their strength of arm as they tried to raise me, the least exertion or motion gave me the greatest pain.”
“It was a matter of immediate wonder that my life had been spared.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“This had been witnessed from the homestead of our hosts; and Mr. Cummins, arriving on the scene almost immediately, sent for a stretcher, which was sent at once from the residence of Mrs. Boyd. On this I was placed, and the litter raised upon the shoulders of four men; thus was I carried all the way to Waimanalo.”
“Mr. Cummins, having preceded the sad procession, met us at the foot of the hill with a wagon.” (Liliʻuokalani) “Cummings, who was aware that the steamer Waimanalo, then anchored about four miles distant, was about to start for Honolulu. He dispatched a messenger to delay her.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, October 8, 1881)
“When all had been made ready, the word was given to proceed, and the procession started. To me it was a solemn moment, one which can never be forgotten, (the throngs of people watched in) respectful silence broken only by their smothered sobs or subdued weeping, and with it all the steady, measured tread of the soldiers who were drawing the wagon on which I had been laid by my devoted friends.”
“(U)nder the kind care of Mr. Cummins and Mrs. Kaae, the wagon was driven to the wharf, where the little steamer Waimanalo, belonging to Mr. Cummins, awaited me. All that tenderest care and kindest heart could suggest was done to make me comfortable by my kind hosts; and the cavalcade of retainers, with which I had come out so gayly, followed in demure silence.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“My return, thus to my people and my family from the very border of death left an impression upon me which is too sacred for any description.” (Liliʻuokalani)
“My physician, Dr. Webb … made a careful examination of my condition, and was relieved to find that the injuries to my back were no more serious than a very severe wrench and strain.”
“At the end of three weeks I was not yet able to raise myself, or even sit up in my bed; so finally it was the opinion of my medical advisers that I should make a great effort and persevere in spite of the pain, lest I should become bedridden.”
“These instructions were followed out with a result which proved the wisdom of the course recommended; for I was soon able to ride about in my buggy, still weak, but improving slowly.”
“But the process of recovery was very gradual, and only successful by the most constant care and great patience of my attendants. These were divided into watches of three hours each, and three persons were always at my bedside.”
“To one of these was assigned the duty of waving the kahili … to another that of using the fan for my comfort, both of these being women; while to the third, a male attendant, belonged the duty of doing any necessary errands, and of making my female attendants comfortable in whatever way their needs might require.”
“Whenever I was lifted, or even turned, it was done by the strong yet tender hands of six men, three on each side. Had these been nurses trained by years of experience to manage the sick they could not have proceeded with more skill and gentleness; so quietly and gradually was my position changed that I could scarcely perceive the movements, which were such as to give me the least pain.”
“All classes of adherents had been represented in the watchers about my bedside. … Most of these gentlemen were accompanied by their wives as assistants in their kind offices. Princess Ruth and my sister, the Princess Likelike, were daily visitors.” (Liliʻuokalani) The image shows then-Princess Liliʻuokalani.