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Title: A Boy's Voyage Round the World
Author: Smiles, Samuel, 1852?-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A BOY'S VOYAGE
ROUND THE WORLD


EDITED
BY SAMUEL SMILES, LL.D.

AUTHOR OF 'SELF-HELP,' ETC.


LONDON
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET

1905


[Illustration: OUTWARD BOUND. _See_ p. 27.]



PREFACE.


I have had pleasure in editing this little book, not only because it
is the work of my youngest son, but also because it contains the
results of a good deal of experience of life under novel aspects, as
seen by young, fresh, and observant eyes.

How the book came to be written is as follows: The boy, whose two
years' narrative forms the subject of these pages, was at the age of
sixteen seized with inflammation of the lungs, from which he was
recovering so slowly and unsatisfactorily, that I was advised by
London physicians to take him from the business he was then learning
in Yorkshire, and send him on a long sea voyage. Australia was
recommended, because of the considerable time occupied in making the
voyage by sailing ship, and also because of the comparatively genial
and uniform temperature while at sea.

He was accordingly sent out to Melbourne by one of Money Wigram's
ships in the winter of 1868-9, with directions either to return by the
same ship or, if the opportunity presented itself, to remain for a
time in the colony. It will be found, from his own narrative that,
having obtained some suitable employment, he decided to adopt the
latter course; and for a period of about eighteen months he resided at
Majorca, an up-country township situated in the gold-mining district
of Victoria.

When his health had become re-established, he was directed to return
home, about the beginning of the present year; and he resolved to make
the return voyage by the Pacific route, _viâ_ Honolulu and San
Francisco, and to proceed from thence by railway across the Rocky
Mountains to New York.

While at sea, the boy kept a full log, intended for the perusal of his
relatives at home; and while on land, he corresponded with them
regularly and fully, never missing a mail. He had not the remotest
idea that anything which he saw and described during his absence would
ever appear in a book. But since his return, it has occurred to the
Editor of these pages that the information they contain will probably
be found interesting to a wider circle of readers than that to which
the letters were originally addressed; and in that belief, the
substance of them is here reproduced, the Editor's work having
consisted mainly in arranging the materials, leaving the writer to
tell his own story as much as possible in his own way, and in his own
words.

                                                       S. S.

   _London, November_, 1871.



CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE
CHAPTER I.

DOWN CHANNEL.                                                       1

AT GRAVESEND--TAKING IN STORES--FIRST NIGHT ON BOARD--"THE
ANCHOR'S UP"--OFF BRIGHTON--CHANGE OF WIND--GALE
IN THE CHANNEL--THE ABANDONED SHIP--THE EDDYSTONE--PLYMOUTH
HARBOUR--DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND


CHAPTER II.

FLYING SOUTH.                                                      10

FELLOW-PASSENGERS--LIFE ON BOARD SHIP--PROGRESS OF THE
SHIP--HER HANDLING--A FINE RUN DOWN TO THE LINE--SHIP'S
AMUSEMENTS--CLIMBING THE MIZEN--THE CAPE DE VERD
ISLANDS--SAN ANTONIO


CHAPTER III.

WITHIN THE TROPICS.                                                22

INCREASE OF TEMPERATURE--FLYING FISH--THE MORNING BATH
ON BOARD--PAYING "FOOTINGS"--THE MAJOR'S WONDERFUL
STORIES--ST. PATRICK'S DAY--GRAMPUSES--A SHIP IN
SIGHT--THE 'LORD RAGLAN'--RAIN-FALL IN THE TROPICS--TROPICAL
SUNSETS--THE YANKEE WHALER


CHAPTER IV.

THE 'BLUE JACKET.'                                                 32

APRIL FOOLS' DAY--A SHIP IN SIGHT--THE 'PYRMONT'--THE
RESCUED 'BLUE JACKET' PASSENGERS--STORY OF THE BURNT
SHIP--SUFFERING OF THE LADY PASSENGERS IN AN OPEN
BOAT--THEIR RESCUE--DISTRESSING SCENE ON BOARD THE 'PYRMONT'


CHAPTER V.

IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC.                                             41

PREPARING FOR ROUGH WEATHER--THE 'GEORGE THOMPSON' CLIPPER--A
RACE AT SEA--SCENE FROM 'PICKWICK' ACTED--FISHING FOR
ALBATROSS--DISSECTION AND DIVISION OF THE BIRD--WHALES--STRONG
GALE--SMASH IN THE CABIN--SHIPPING A GREEN SEA--THE SEA BIRDS
IN OUR WAKE--THE CROZET ISLANDS


CHAPTER VI.

NEARING AUSTRALIA--THE LANDING.                                    54

ACTING ON BOARD--THE CYCLONE--CLEANING THE SHIP FOR
PORT--CONTRARY WINDS--AUSTRALIA IN SIGHT--CAPE OTWAY--PORT
PHILLIP HEADS--PILOT TAKEN ON BOARD--INSIDE THE
HEADS--WILLIAMSTOWN--SANDRIDGE--THE LANDING


CHAPTER VII.

MELBOURNE.                                                         60

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MELBOURNE--SURVEY OF THE CITY--THE
STREETS--COLLINS STREET--THE TRAFFIC--NEWNESS AND YOUNGNESS
OF MELBOURNE--ABSENCE OF BEGGARS--MELBOURNE AN ENGLISH
CITY--THE CHINESE QUARTER--THE PUBLIC LIBRARY--PENTRIDGE
PRISON--THE YARRA RIVER--ST. KILDA--SOCIAL EXPERIENCES IN
MELBOURNE--A MARRIAGE BALL--MELBOURNE LADIES--VISIT TO A
SERIOUS FAMILY


CHAPTER VIII.

UP COUNTRY.                                                        76

OBTAIN A SITUATION IN AN UP-COUNTRY BANK--JOURNEY BY
RAIL--CASTLEMAINE--FURTHER JOURNEY BY COACH--MARYBOROUGH--FIRST
SIGHT OF THE BUSH--THE BUSH TRACKS--EVENING PROSPECT OVER THE
COUNTRY--ARRIVAL AT MY DESTINATION


CHAPTER IX.

MAJORCA.                                                           85

MAJORCA FOUNDED IN A RUSH--DESCRIPTION OF A RUSH--DIGGERS
CAMPING OUT--GOLD-MINING AT MAJORCA--MAJORCA HIGH
STREET--THE PEOPLE--THE INNS--THE CHURCHES--THE BANK--THE
CHINAMEN--AUSTRALIA THE PARADISE OF WORKING MEN--"SHOUTING"
FOR DRINKS--ABSENCE OF BEGGARS--NO COPPERS UP COUNTRY


CHAPTER X.

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD AND NEIGHBOURS.                                   96

"DINING OUT"--DIGGERS' SUNDAY DINNER--THE OLD WORKINGS--THE
CHINAMEN'S GARDENS--CHINAMEN'S DWELLINGS--THE CEMETERY--THE
HIGH PLAINS--THE BUSH--A RIDE THROUGH THE BUSH--THE SAVOYARD
WOODCUTTER--VISIT TO A SQUATTER


CHAPTER XI.

AUSTRALIAN WINTER--THE FLOODS.                                    107

THE VICTORIAN CLIMATE--THE BUSH IN WINTER--THE EUCALYPTUS
OR AUSTRALIAN GUM-TREE--BALL AT CLUNES--FIRE IN THE MAIN
STREET--THE BUGGY SAVED--DOWN-POUR OF RAIN--GOING HOME BY
WATER--THE FLOODS OUT--CLUNES SUBMERGED--CALAMITY AT
BALLARAT--DAMAGE DONE BY THE FLOOD--THE CHINAMEN'S GARDENS
WASHED AWAY


CHAPTER XII.

SPRING, SUMMER, AND HARVEST.                                      116

SPRING VEGETATION--THE BUSH IN SPRING--GARDEN FLOWERS--AN
EVENING WALK--AUSTRALIAN MOONLIGHT--THE HOT NORTH WIND--THE
PLAGUE OF FLIES--BUSH FIRES--SUMMER AT CHRISTMAS--AUSTRALIAN
FRUITS--ASCENT OF MOUNT GREENOCK--AUSTRALIAN WINE--HARVEST--A
SQUATTER'S FARM--HARVEST HOME CELEBRATION--AURORA
AUSTRALIS--AUTUMN RAINS


CHAPTER XIII.

BUSH ANIMALS--BIRDS--SNAKES.                                      131

THE 'POSSUM--A NIGHT'S SPORT IN THE BUSH--MUSQUITOES--WATTLE
BIRDS--THE PIPING-CROW--"MINERS"--PAROQUET-HUNTING--THE
SOUTHERN CROSS--SNAKES--MARSUPIAL ANIMALS


CHAPTER XIV.

GOLD-BUYING AND GOLD-MINING.                                      140

HOW THE GOLD IS FOUND--GOLD-WASHING--QUARTZ-CRUSHING--BUYING
GOLD FROM CHINAMEN--ALLUVIAL COMPANIES--BROKEN-DOWN
MEN--UPS AND DOWNS IN GOLD-MINING--VISIT TO A GOLD
MINE--GOLD-SEEKING--DIGGERS' TALES OF LUCKY FINDS


CHAPTER XV.

ROUGH LIFE AT THE DIGGINGS--"STOP THIEF!"                         153

GOLD-RUSHING--DIGGERS' CAMP AT HAVELOCK--MURDER OF
LOPEZ--PURSUIT AND CAPTURE OF THE MURDERER--THE THIEVES
HUNTED FROM THE CAMP--DEATH OF THE MURDERER--THE
POLICE--ATTEMPTED ROBBERY OF THE COLLINGWOOD BANK--ANOTHER
SUPPOSED ROBBERY--"STOP THIEF!"--SMART USE OF THE TELEGRAPH


CHAPTER XVI.

PLACES ABOUT.                                                     163

VISIT TO BALLARAT--THE JOURNEY BY COACH--BALLARAT
FOUNDED ON GOLD--DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN--BALLARAT
"CORNER"--THE SPECULATIVE COBBLER--FIRE BRIGADES--RETURN
JOURNEY--CRAB-HOLES--THE TALBOT BALL--THE TALBOT
FÊTE--THE AVOCA RACES--SUNRISE IN THE BUSH


CHAPTER XVII.

CONCLUSION OF MAJORCAN LIFE.                                      179

VICTORIAN LIFE ENGLISH--ARRIVAL OF THE HOME MAIL--NEWS OF
THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR--THE GERMAN SETTLERS IN MAJORCA--THE
SINGLE FRENCHMAN--MAJORCAN PUBLIC TEAS--THE CHURCH--THE
RANTERS--THE TEETOTALLERS--THE COMMON SCHOOL--THE ROMAN
CATHOLICS--COMMON SCHOOL FÊTE AND ENTERTAINMENT--THE
MECHANICS' INSTITUTE--FUNERAL OF THE TOWN CLERK--DEPARTURE
FROM MAJORCA--THE COLONY OF VICTORIA


CHAPTER XVIII.

ROUND TO SYDNEY.                                                  190

LAST CHRISTMAS IN AUSTRALIA--START BY STEAMER FOR SYDNEY--THE
'GREAT BRITAIN'--CHEAP TRIPS TO QUEENSCLIFFE--ROUGH
WEATHER AT SEA--MR. AND MRS. C. MATHEWS--BOTANY BAY--OUTER
SOUTH HEAD--PORT JACKSON--SYDNEY COVE--DESCRIPTION OF
SYDNEY--GOVERNMENT HOUSE AND DOMAIN--GREAT FUTURE EMPIRE OF
THE SOUTH


CHAPTER XIX.

TO AUCKLAND, IN NEW ZEALAND.                                      202

LEAVING SYDNEY--ANCHOR WITHIN THE HEADS--TAKE IN MAILS
AND PASSENGERS FROM THE 'CITY OF ADELAIDE'--OUT TO SEA
AGAIN--SIGHT NEW ZEALAND--ENTRANCE TO AUCKLAND HARBOUR--THE
'GALATEA'--DESCRIPTION OF AUCKLAND--FOUNDING OF
AUCKLAND DUE TO A JOB--MAORI MEN AND WOMEN--DRIVE TO
ONEHUNGA--SPLENDID VIEW--AUCKLAND GALA--NEW ZEALAND
DELAYS--LEAVE FOR HONOLULU


CHAPTER XX.

UP THE PACIFIC.                                                   212

DEPARTURE FOR HONOLULU--MONOTONY OF A VOYAGE BY
STEAM--DÉSAGRÉMENS--THE "GENTLEMEN" PASSENGERS--THE ONE
SECOND CLASS "LADY"--THE RATS ON BOARD--THE SMELLS--FLYING
FISH--CROSS THE LINE--TREATMENT OF NEWSPAPERS ON
BOARD--HAWAII IN SIGHT--ARRIVAL AT HONOLULU


CHAPTER XXI.

HONOLULU AND THE ISLAND OF OAHU.                                  220

THE HARBOUR OF HONOLULU--IMPORTANCE OF ITS SITUATION--THE
CITY--CHURCHES AND THEATRES--THE POST OFFICE--THE
SUBURBS--THE KING'S PALACE--THE NUUANU VALLEY--POI--PEOPLE
COMING DOWN THE VALLEY--THE PALI--PROSPECT FROM THE
CLIFFS--THE NATIVES (KANAKAS)--DIVERS--THE WOMEN--DRINK
PROHIBITION--THE CHINESE--THEATRICALS--MUSQUITOES


CHAPTER XXII.

HONOLULU TO SAN FRANCISCO.                                        237

DEPARTURE FROM HONOLULU--WRECK OF THE 'SAGINAW'--THE 'MOSES
TAYLOR'--THE ACCOMMODATION--THE COMPANY ON BOARD--BEHAVIOUR
OF THE SHIP--DEATH OF A PASSENGER--FEELINGS ON LANDING IN A
NEW PLACE--APPROACH THE GOLDEN GATE--CLOSE OF THE PACIFIC
LOG--FIRST SIGHT OF AMERICA


CHAPTER XXIII.

SAN FRANCISCO TO SACRAMENTO.                                      244

LANDING AT SAN FRANCISCO--THE GOLDEN CITY--THE STREETS--THE
BUSINESS QUARTER--THE CHINESE QUARTER--THE TOUTERS--LEAVE
SAN FRANCISCO--THE FERRY-BOAT TO OAKLAND--THE BAY OF SAN
FRANCISCO--LANDING ON THE EASTERN SHORE--AMERICAN RAILWAY
CARRIAGES--THE PULLMAN'S CARS--SLEEPING BERTHS--UNSAVOURY
CHINAMEN--THE COUNTRY--CITY OF SACRAMENTO


CHAPTER XXIV.

ACROSS THE SIERRA NEVADA.                                         255

RAPID ASCENT--THE TRESTLE-BRIDGES--MOUNTAIN
PROSPECTS--"PLACERS"--SUNSET--CAPE HORN--ALTA--THE SIERRAS
BY NIGHT--CONTRAST OF TEMPERATURES--THE SNOW-SHEDS--THE
SUMMIT--RENO--BREAKFAST AT HUMBOLDT--THE SAGE-BRUSH--BATTLE
MOUNT--SHOSHONIE INDIANS--TEN MILE CAÑON--ELKO STATION--GREAT
AMERICAN DESERT--ARRIVAL AT OGDEN


CHAPTER XXV.

ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.                                       265

START BY TRAIN FOR OMAHA--MY FELLOW-PASSENGERS--PASSAGE
THROUGH THE DEVIL'S GATE--WEBER CAÑON--FANTASTIC
ROCKS--"THOUSAND MILE TREE"--ECHO CAÑON--MORE
TRESTLE-BRIDGES--SUNSET AMIDST THE BLUFFS--A WINTRY NIGHT
BY RAIL--SNOW-FENCES AND SNOW-SHEDS--LARAMIE CITY--RED
BUTTES--THE SUMMIT AT SHERMAN--CHEYENNE CITY--THE WESTERN
PRAIRIE IN WINTER--PRAIRIE DOG CITY--THE VALLEY OF THE
PLATTE--GRAND ISLAND--CROSS THE NORTH FORK OF THE
PLATTE--ARRIVAL IN OMAHA


CHAPTER XXVI.

OMAHA TO CHICAGO.                                                 275

OMAHA TERMINUS--CROSS THE MISSOURI--COUNCIL BLUFFS--THE
FOREST--CROSS THE MISSISSIPPI--THE CULTIVATED PRAIRIE--THE
FARMSTEADS AND VILLAGES--APPROACH TO CHICAGO--THE
CITY OF CHICAGO--ENTERPRISE OF ITS MEN--THE WATER TUNNELS
UNDER LAKE MICHIGAN--TUNNELS UNDER THE RIVER CHICAGO--UNION
OF LAKE MICHIGAN WITH THE MISSISSIPPI--DESCRIPTION OF THE
STREETS AND BUILDINGS OF CHICAGO--PIGS AND CORN--THE
AVENUE--SLEIGHING--THEATRES AND CHURCHES


CHAPTER XXVII.

CHICAGO TO NEW YORK.                                              287

LEAVE CHICAGO--THE ICE HARVEST--MICHIGAN CITY--THE
FOREST--A RAILWAY SMASHED--KALAMAZOO--DETROIT--CROSSING
INTO CANADA--AMERICAN MANNERS--ROEBLING'S SUSPENSION
BRIDGE--NIAGARA FALLS IN WINTER--GOAT ISLAND--THE
AMERICAN FALL--THE GREAT HORSE-SHOE FALL--THE RAPIDS
FROM THE LOVERS' SEAT--AMERICAN COUSINS--ROCHESTER--NEW
YORK--A CATASTROPHE--RETURN HOME


INDEX                                                             301



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


The 'Yorkshire,' Outward Bound                          _Frontispiece_

Map of the Ship's Course, Plymouth to Melbourne          _Page_ 50-51

View of Melbourne, Victoria                                        60

Map of the Gold-Mining District, Victoria                          78

View of Sydney, Port Jackson                                      190

View of Auckland, New Zealand                                     202

Map of the Ship's Course up the Pacific                           213

Maps of Auckland, and Sydney, Port Jackson                        213

View of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands                                220

Map of Oahu, Sandwich Islands                                     222

Maps of Atlantic and Pacific Railways                248-249; 276-277

View of Niagara Falls--American side                              287



ROUND THE WORLD.

CHAPTER I.

DOWN CHANNEL.

AT GRAVESEND--TAKING IN STORES--FIRST NIGHT ON BOARD--"THE ANCHOR'S
UP"--OFF BRIGHTON--CHANGE OF WIND--GALE IN THE CHANNEL--THE ABANDONED
SHIP--THE EDDYSTONE--PLYMOUTH HARBOUR--DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND.


_20th February: At Gravesend._--My last farewells are over, my last
adieus are waved to friends on shore, and I am alone on board the ship
'Yorkshire,' bound for Melbourne. Everything is in confusion on board.
The decks are littered with stores, vegetables, hen-coops, sheep-pens,
and coils of rope. There is quite a little crowd of sailors round the
capstan in front of the cabin door. Two officers, with lists before
them, are calling over the names of men engaged to make up our
complement of hands, and appointing them to their different watches.

Though the ship is advertised to sail this evening, the stores are by
no means complete. The steward is getting in lots of cases; and what a
quantity of pickles! Hens are coming up to fill the hen-coops. More
sheep are being brought; there are many on board already; and here
comes our milk-cow over the ship's side, gently hoisted up by a rope.
The animal seems amazed; but she is in skilful hands. "Let go!" calls
out the boatswain, as the cow swings in mid-air; away rattles the
chain round the wheel of the donkey-engine, and the break is put on
just in time to land Molly gently on the deck. In a minute she is snug
in her stall "for'ard," just by the cook's galley.

Passengers are coming on board. Here is one mounting the ship's side,
who has had a wet passage from the shore. A seaman lends him a hand,
and he reaches the sloppy, slippery deck with difficulty.

It is a dismal day. The sleet and rain come driving down. Everything
is raw and cold; everybody wet or damp. The passengers in wet
mackintoshes, and the seamen in wet tarpaulins; Gravesend, with its
dirty side to the river, and its dreary mud-bank exposed to sight; the
alternate drizzle and down-pour; the muddle and confusion of the
deck;--all this presented anything but an agreeable picture to look
at. So I speedily leave the deck, in order to make a better
acquaintance with what is to be my home for the next three months.

First, there is the saloon--long and narrow--surrounded by the cabins.
It is our dining-room, drawing-room, and parlour, all in one. A long
table occupies the centre, fitted all round with fixed seats and
reversible backs. At one end of the table is the captain's chair, over
which hangs a clock and a barometer. Near the after end of the saloon
is the mizen-mast, which passes through into the hole below, and rests
on the keelson.

The cabins, which surround the saloon, are separated from it by open
woodwork, for purposes of ventilation. The entrances to them from the
saloon are by sliding doors. They are separated from each other by
folding-doors, kept bolted on either side when one cabin only is
occupied; but these can be opened when the neighbours on both sides
are agreeable.

My own little cabin is by no means dreary or uninviting. A window,
with six small panes, lets in light and air; and outside is a strong
board, or "dead-light," for use in rough weather, to protect the
glass. My bunk, next to the saloon, is covered with a clean white
counterpane. A little wash-stand occupies the corner; a shelf of
favourite books is over my bed-head; and a swing-lamp by its side.
Then there is my little mirror, my swing-tray for bottles, and a
series of little bags suspended from nails, containing all sorts of
odds and ends. In short, my little chamber, so fitted up, looks quite
cheerful and even jolly.

It grows dusk, and there is still the same bustle and turmoil on deck.
All are busy; everybody is in a hurry. At about nine the noise seems
to subside; and the deck seems getting into something like order. As
we are not to weigh anchor until five in the morning, some of the
passengers land for a stroll on shore. I decide to go to bed.

And now begins my first difficulty. I cannot find room to extend
myself, or even to turn. I am literally "cribbed, cabined, and
confined." Then there are the unfamiliar noises outside,--the cackling
of the ducks, the baa-ing of the sheep, the grunting of the
pigs,--possibly discussing the novelty of their position. And, nearly
all through the night, just outside my cabin, two or three of the
seamen sit talking together in gruff undertones.

I don't think I slept much during my first night on board. I was lying
semi-conscious, when a loud voice outside woke me up in an
instant--"The anchor's up! she's away!" I jumped up, and, looking out
of my little cabin window, peered out into the grey dawn. The shores
seemed moving, and we were off! I dressed at once, and went on deck.
But how raw and chill it felt as I went up the companion-ladder. A
little steam-tug ahead of us was under weigh, with the 'Yorkshire' in
tow. The deck was now pretty well cleared, but white with frost; while
the river banks were covered with snow.

Other ships were passing down stream, each with its tug; but we soon
distanced them all, especially when the men flung the sails to the
wind, now blowing fresh. At length, in about three-quarters of an
hour, the steamer took on board her tow-rope, and left us to proceed
on our voyage with a fair light breeze in our favour, and all our
canvas set.

When off the Nore, we hailed the 'Norfolk,' homeward bound--a fast
clipper ship belonging to the same firm (Money Wigram's line),--and a
truly grand sight she was under full sail. There were great cheerings
and wavings of hats,--she passing up the river and we out to sea.

I need not detain you with a description of my voyage down Channel. We
passed in succession Margate, Ramsgate, and Deal. The wind kept
favourable until we sighted Beachy Head, about half-past five in the
evening, and then it nearly died away. We were off Brighton when the
moon rose. The long stretch of lights along shore, the clear star-lit
sky, the bright moon, the ship gently rocking in the almost calm sea,
the sails idly flapping against the mast,--formed a picture of quiet
during my first night at sea, which I shall not soon forget.

But all this, I was told, was but "weather-breeding;" and it was
predicted that we were to have a change. The glass was falling and we
were to look out for squalls. Nor were the squalls long in coming.
Early next morning I was roused by the noise on deck and the rolling
of things about my cabin floor. I had some difficulty in dressing, not
having yet found my sea legs; but I succeeded in gaining the
companion-ladder and reaching the poop.

I found the wind had gone quite round in the night, and was now
blowing hard in our teeth, from the south-west. It was to be a case of
tacking down Channel,--a slow and, for landsmen, a very trying
process. In the midst of my first _mal de mer_, I was amused by the
appearance on board of one of my fellow-passengers. He was a small, a
very small individual, but possessed of a large stock of clothes,
which he was evidently glad to have an opportunity of exhibiting. He
first came up with a souwester on his head, the wrong end foremost,
and a pair of canvas shoes on his feet,--a sort of miniature Micawber,
or first-class cockney "salt," about to breast the briny. This small
person's long nose, large ears, and open mouth added to the
ludicrousness of his appearance. As the decks were wet and the morning
cold, he found the garb somewhat unsuitable, and dived below, to come
up again in strong boots and a straw hat. But after further
consideration, he retired again, and again he appeared in fresh
headgear--a huge seal-skin cap with lappets coming down over his ears.
This important and dressy little individual was a source of
considerable amusement to us; and there was scarcely an article in his
wardrobe that had not its turn during the day.

All night it blew a gale; the wind still from the same quarter. We
kept tacking between the coast of England and the opposite coast of
France, making but small way as regards mileage,--the wind being right
in our teeth. During the night, each time that the ship was brought
round on the other tack, there was usually a tremendous lurch; and
sometimes an avalanche of books descended upon me from the shelf
overhead. Yet I slept pretty soundly. Once I was awakened by a
tremendous noise outside--something like a gun going off. I afterwards
found it had been occasioned by the mainsail being blown away to sea,
right out of the bolt-ropes, the fastenings of which were immediately
outside my cabin window.

When I went on deck the wind was still blowing hard, and one had to
hold on to ropes or cleats to be able to stand. The whole sea was
alive, waves chasing waves and bounding over each other, crested with
foam. Now and then the ship would pitch her prow into a wave, even to
the bulwarks, dash the billow aside, and buoyantly rise again, bowling
along, though under moderate sail, because of the force of the gale.

The sea has some sad sights, of which one shortly presented itself.
About midday the captain sighted a vessel at some distance off on our
weather bow, flying a flag of distress--an ensign upside down. Our
ship was put about, and as we neared the vessel we found she had been
abandoned, and was settling fast in the water. Two or three of her
sails were still set, torn to shreds by the storm. The bulwarks were
pretty much gone, and here and there the bare stanchions, or posts,
were left standing, splitting in two the waves which broke clear over
her deck, lying almost even with the sea. She turned out to be the
'Rosa,' of Guernsey, a fine barque of 700 tons, and she had been
caught and disabled by the storm we had ourselves encountered. As
there did not seem to be a living thing on board, and we could be of
no use, we sailed away; and she must have gone down shortly after we
left her. Not far from the sinking ship we came across a boat bottom
upwards, most probably belonging to the abandoned ship. What of the
poor seamen? Have they been saved by other boats, or been taken off by
some passing vessel? If not, alas for their wives and children at
home! Indeed it was a sad sight.

But such things are soon forgotten at sea. We are too much occupied
by our own experiences to think much of others. For two more weary
days we went tacking about, the wind somewhat abating. Sometimes we
caught sight of the French coast through the mist; and then we tacked
back again. At length Eddystone light came in view, and we knew we
were not far from the entrance to Plymouth Sound. Once inside the
Breakwater, we felt ourselves in smooth water again.

Going upon deck in the morning, I found our ship anchored in the
harbour nearly opposite Mount Edgcumbe. Nothing could be more lovely
than the sight that presented itself. The noble bay, surrounded by
rocks, cliffs, cottages--Drake's Island, bristling with cannon,
leaving open a glimpse into the Hamoaze studded with great hulks of
old war-ships--the projecting points of Mount Edgcumbe Park, carpeted
with green turf down to the water and fringed behind by noble woods,
looking like masses of emerald cut into fret-work--then, in the
distance, the hills of Dartmoor, variegated with many hues, and swept
with alternations of light and shade--all these presented a picture,
the like of which I had never before seen and feel myself quite
incompetent to describe.

As we had to wait here for a fair wind, and the gale was still blowing
right into the harbour's mouth, there seemed no probability of our
setting sail very soon. We had, moreover, to make up our complement of
passengers, and provisions. Those who had a mind accordingly went on
shore, strolled through the town, and visited the Hoe, from which a
magnificent view of the harbour is obtained, or varied their bill of
fare by dining at an hotel.

We were, however, cautioned not to sleep on shore, but to return to
the ship for the night, and even during the day to keep a sharp
look-out for the wind; for, immediately on a change to the nor'ard, no
time would be lost in putting out to sea. We were further informed
that, in the case of nearly every ship, passengers, through their own
carelessness and dilly-dallying on shore, had been left behind. I
determined, therefore, to stick to the ship.

After three days' weary waiting, the wind at last went round; the
anchor was weighed with a willing "Yo! heave ho!" and in a few hours,
favoured by a fine light breeze, we were well out to sea, and the
brown cliffs of Old England gradually faded away in the distance.



CHAPTER II.


FLYING SOUTH.

FELLOW-PASSENGERS--LIFE ON BOARD SHIP--PROGRESS OF THE SHIP--HER
HANDLING--A FINE RUN DOWN TO THE LINE--SHIP'S AMUSEMENTS--CLIMBING THE
MIZEN--THE CAPE DE VERD ISLANDS--SAN ANTONIO.


_3rd March._--Like all passengers, I suppose, who come together on
board ship for a long voyage, we had scarcely passed the Eddystone
Lighthouse before we began to take stock of each other. Who is this?
What is he? Why is he going out? Such were the questions we inwardly
put to ourselves and sought to answer.

I found several, like myself, were making the voyage for their health.
A long voyage by sailing ship seems to have become a favourite
prescription for lung complaints; and it is doubtless an honest one,
as the doctor who gives it at the same time parts with his patient and
his fees. But the advice is sound; as the long rest of the voyage, the
comparatively equable temperature of the sea air, and probably the
improved quality of the atmosphere inhaled, are all favourable to the
healthy condition of the lungs as well as of the general system.

Of those going out in search of health, some were young and others
middle-aged. Amongst the latter was a patient, gentle sufferer,
racked by a hacking cough when he came on board. Another, a young
passenger, had been afflicted by abscess in his throat and incipient
lung-disease. A third had been worried by business and afflicted in
his brain, and needed a long rest. A fourth had been crossed in love,
and sought for change of scene and occupation.

But there were others full of life and health among the passengers,
going out in search of fortune or of pleasure. Two stalwart,
outspoken, manly fellows, who came on board at Plymouth, were on their
way to New Zealand to farm a large tract of land. They seemed to me to
be models of what colonial farmers should be. Another was on his way
to take up a run in Victoria, some 250 miles north of Melbourne. He
had three fine Scotch colley dogs with him, which were the subject of
general admiration.

We had also a young volunteer on board, who had figured at Brighton
reviews, and was now on his way to join his father in New Zealand,
where he proposed to join the colonial army. We had also a Yankee
gentleman, about to enter on his governorship of the Guano Island of
Maldon, in the Pacific, situated almost due north of the Society
Islands, said to have been purchased by an English company.

Some were going out on "spec." If they could find an opening to
fortune, they would settle; if not, they would return. One gentleman
was taking with him a fine portable photographic apparatus, intending
to visit New Zealand and Tasmania, as well as Australia.

Others were going out for indefinite purposes. The small gentleman,
for instance, who came on board at Gravesend with the extensive
wardrobe, was said to be going out to Australia to grow,--the
atmosphere and climate of the country being reported as having a
wonderful effect on growth. Another entertained me with a long account
of how he was leaving England because of his wife; but, as he was of a
somewhat priggish nature, I suspect the fault may have been his own as
much as hers.


And then there was the Major, a military and distinguished-looking
gentleman, who came on board, accompanied by a couple of shiny new
trunks, at Plymouth. He himself threw out the suggestion that the
raising of a colonial volunteer army was the grand object of his
mission. Anyhow, he had the manners of a gentleman. And he had seen
service, having lost his right arm in the Crimea and gone all through
the Indian Mutiny war with his left. He was full of fun, always in
spirits, and a very jolly fellow, though rather given to saying things
that would have been better left unsaid.

Altogether, we have seventeen saloon passengers on board, including
the captain's wife, the only lady at the poop end. There were also
probably about eighty second and third-class passengers in the forward
parts of the ship.

Although the wind was fair, and the weather fine, most of the
passengers suffered more or less from seasickness; but at length,
becoming accustomed to the motion of the ship, they gradually emerged
from their cabins, came on deck, and took part in the daily life on
board. Let me try and give a slight idea of what this is.

At about six every morning we are roused by the sailors holystoning
the decks, under the superintendence of the officer of the watch. A
couple of middies pump up water from the sea, by means of a pump
placed just behind the wheel. It fills the tub until it overflows,
running along the scuppers of the poop, and out on to the main-deck
through a pipe. Here the seamen fill their buckets, and proceed with
the scouring of the main-deck. Such a scrubbing and mopping!

I need scarcely explain that holystone is a large soft stone, used
with water, for scrubbing the dirt off the ship's decks. It rubs down
with sand; the sand is washed off by buckets of water thrown down, all
is well mopped, and the deck is then finished off with India-rubber
squilgees.

The poop is always kept most bright and clean. Soon after we left port
it assumed a greatly-improved appearance. The boards began to whiten
with the holystoning. Not a grease-mark or spot of dirt was to be
seen. All was polished off with hand-scrapers. On Sundays the ropes on
the poop were all neatly coiled, man-of-war fashion--not a bight out
of place. The brasswork was kept as bright as a gilt button.

By the time the passengers dressed and went on deck the cleaning
process was over, and the decks were dry. After half an hour's pacing
the poop the bell would ring for breakfast, the appetite for which
would depend very much upon the state of the weather and the lurching
of the ship. Between breakfast and lunch, more promenading on the
poop; the passengers sometimes, if the weather was fine, forming
themselves in groups on deck, cultivating each other's acquaintance.

During our first days at sea we had some difficulty in finding our sea
legs. The march of some up and down the poop was often very irregular,
and occasionally ended in disaster. Yet the passengers were not the
only learners; for, one day, we saw one of the cabin-boys, carrying a
heavy ham down the steps from a meat-safe on board, miss his footing
in a lurch of the ship, and away went our fine ham into the
lee-scuppers, spoilt and lost.

We lunched at twelve. From thence, until dinner at five, we mooned
about on deck as before, or visited sick passengers, or read in our
respective cabins, or passed the time in conversation; and thus the
day wore on. After dinner the passengers drew together in parties and
became social. In the pleasantly-lit saloon some of the elder subsided
into whist, while the juniors sought the middies in their cabin on the
main-deck, next door to the sheep-pen; there they entertained
themselves and each other with songs, accompanied by the concertina
and clouds of tobacco-smoke.

The progress of the ship was a subject of constant interest. It was
the first thing in the morning and the last at night; and all through
the day, the direction of the wind, the state of the sky and the
weather, and the rate we were going at, were the uppermost topics of
conversation.

When we left port the wind was blowing fresh on our larboard quarter
from the north-east, and we made good progress across the Bay of
Biscay; but, like many of our passengers, I was too much occupied by
private affairs to attend to the nautical business going on upon deck.
All I know was, that the wind was fair, and that we were going at a
good rate. On the fourth day, I found we were in the latitude of Cape
Finisterre, and that we had run 168 miles in the preceding 24 hours.
From this time forward, having got accustomed to the motion of the
ship, I felt sufficiently well to be on deck early and late, watching
the handling of the ship.

It was a fine sight to look up at the cloud of canvas above, bellied
out by the wind, like the wings of a gigantic bird, while the ship
bounded through the water, dashing it in foam from her bows, and
sometimes dipping her prow into the waves, and sending aloft a shower
of spray.

There was always something new to admire in the ship, and the way in
which she was handled: as, for instance, to see the topgallant sails
hauled down when the wind freshened, or a staysail set as the wind
went round to the east. The taking in of the mainsail on a stormy
night was a thing to be remembered for life: twenty-four men on the
great yard at a time, clewing it in to the music of the wind
whistling through the rigging. The men sing out cheerily at their
work, the one who mounts the highest, or stands the foremost on the
deck; usually taking the lead--

  Hawl on the bowlin,
    The jolly ship's a-rollin--
  Hawl on the bowlin,
    And we'll all drink rum.

In comes the rope with a "Yo! heave ho!" and a jerk, until the "belay"
sung out by the mate signifies that the work is done. Then, there is
the scrambling on the deck when the wind changes quarter, and the
yards want squaring as the wind blows more aft. Such are among the
interesting sights to be seen on deck when the wind is in her tantrums
at sea.

On the fifth day the wind was blowing quite aft. Our run during the
twenty-four hours was 172 miles. Thermometer 58°. The captain is in
hopes of a most favourable run to the Cape. It is our first Sunday on
board, and at 10.30 the bell rings for service, when the passengers of
all classes assemble in the saloon. The alternate standing and
kneeling during the service is rather uncomfortable, the fixed seats
jamming the legs, and the body leaning over at an unpleasant angle
when the ship rolls, which she frequently does, and rather savagely.

Going upon deck next morning, I found the wind blowing strong from the
north, and the ship going through the water at a splendid pace. As
much sail was on as she could carry, and she dashed along, leaving a
broad track of foam in her wake. The captain is in high glee at the
speed at which we are going. "A fine run down to the Line!" he says,
as he walks the poop, smiling and rubbing his hands; while the middies
are enthusiastic in praises of the good ship, "walking the waters like
a thing of life." The spirits of all on board are raised by several
degrees. We have the pleasure of feeling ourselves bounding forward,
on towards the sunny south. There is no resting, but a constant
pressing onward, and, as we look over the bulwarks, the waves, tipped
by the foam which our ship has raised, seem to fly behind us at a
prodigious speed. At midday we find the ship's run during the
twenty-four hours has been 280 miles--a splendid day's work, almost
equal to steam!

We are now in latitude 39° 16', about due east of the Azores. The air
is mild and warm; the sky is azure, and the sea intensely blue. How
different from the weather in the English Channel only a short week
ago! Bugs are now discarded, and winter clothing begins to feel almost
oppressive. In the evenings, as we hang over the taffrail, we watch
with interest the bluish-white sparks mingling with the light blue
foam near the stern--the first indications of that phosphorescence
which, I am told, we shall find so bright in the tropics.

An always interesting event at sea is the sighting of a distant ship.
To-day we signalled the 'Maitland,' of London, a fine ship, though she
was rolling a great deal, beating up against the wind that was
impelling us so prosperously forward. I hope she will report us on
arrival, to let friends at home know we are so far all right on our
voyage.

The wind still continues to blow in our wake, but not so strongly; yet
we make good progress. The weather keeps very fine. The sky seems to
get clearer, the sea bluer, and the weather more brilliant, and even
the sails look whiter, as we fly south. About midday on the eighth day
after leaving Plymouth we are in the latitude of Madeira, which we
pass about forty miles distant.

As the wind subsides, and the novelty of being on shipboard wears off,
the passengers begin to think of amusements. One cannot be always
reading; and, as for study, though I try Spanish and French
alternately, I cannot settle to them, and begin to think that life on
shipboard is not very favourable for study. We play at quoits--using
quoits of rope--on the poop, for a good part of the day. But this soon
becomes monotonous; and we begin to consider whether it may not be
possible to get up some entertainment on board to make the time pass
pleasantly. We had a few extempore concerts in one of the middies'
berths. The third-class passengers got up a miscellaneous
entertainment, including recitals, which went off very well. One of
the tragic recitations was so well received that it was encored. And
thus the time was whiled away, while we still kept flying south.

On the ninth day we are well south of Madeira. The sun is so warm at
midday that an awning is hung over the deck, and the shade it affords
is very grateful. We are now in the trade-winds, which blow pretty
steadily at this part of our course in a south-westerly direction, and
may generally be depended upon until we near the Equator. At midday of
the tenth day I find we have run 180 miles in the last twenty-four
hours, with the wind still steady on our quarter. We have passed
Teneriffe, about 130 miles distant--too remote to see it--though I am
told that, had we been twenty miles nearer, we should probably have
seen the famous peak.

To while away the time, and by way of a little adventure, I determined
at night to climb the mizen-mast with a fellow-passenger. While
leaving the deck I was chalked by a middy, in token that I was in for
my footing, so as to be free of the mizen-top. I succeeded in reaching
it safely, though to a green hand, as I was, it looks and really feels
somewhat perilous at first. I was sensible of the feeling of fear or
apprehension just at the moment of getting over the cross-trees. Your
body hangs over in mid-air, at a terrible incline backwards, and you
have to hold on like anything for just one moment, until you get your
knee up into the top. The view of the ship under press of canvas from
the mizen-top is very grand; and the phosphorescence in our wake,
billow upon billow of light shining foam, seemed more brilliant than
ever.

The wind again freshens, and on the eleventh day we make another fine
run of 230 miles. It is becoming rapidly warmer, and we shall soon be
in the region of bonitos, albatrosses, and flying fish--only a
fortnight after leaving England!

Our second Sunday at sea was beautiful exceedingly. We had service in
the saloon as usual; and, after church, I climbed the mizen, and had
half an hour's nap on the top. Truly this warm weather, and monotonous
sea life, seems very favourable for dreaming, and mooning, and
loafing. In the evening there was some very good hymn-singing in the
second-class cabin.

Early next morning, when pacing the poop, we were startled by the cry
from the man on the forecastle of "Land ho!" I found, by the direction
of the captain's eyes, that the land seen lay off our weather-beam.
But, though I strained my eyes looking for the land, I could see
nothing. It was not for hours that I could detect it; and then it
looked more like a cloud than anything else. At length the veil
lifted, and I saw the land stretching away to the eastward. It was the
island of San Antonio, one of the Cape de Verds.

As we neared the land, and saw it more distinctly, it looked a grand
object. Though we were then some fifteen miles off, yet the highest
peaks, which were above the clouds, some thousands of feet high, were
so clear and so beautiful that they looked as if they had been stolen
out of the 'Arabian Nights,' or some fairy tale of wonder and beauty.

The island is said to be alike famous for its oranges and pretty
girls. Indeed the Major, who is very good at drawing the long bow,
declared that he could see a very interesting female waving her hand
to him from a rock! With the help of the telescope we could certainly
see some of the houses on shore.

As this is the last land we are likely to see until we reach
Australia, we regard it with all the greater interest; and I myself
watched it in the twilight until it faded away into a blue mist on the
horizon.



CHAPTER III.

WITHIN THE TROPICS.

INCREASE OF TEMPERATURE--FLYING FISH--THE MORNING BATH ON
BOARD--PAYING "FOOTINGS"--THE MAJOR'S WONDERFUL STORIES--ST. PATRICK'S
DAY--GRAMPUSES--A SHIP IN SIGHT--THE 'LORD RAGLAN'--RAIN-FALL IN THE
TROPICS--TROPICAL SUNSETS--THE YANKEE WHALER.


_17th March_.--We are now fairly within the tropics. The heat
increases day by day. This morning, at eight, the temperature was 87°
in my cabin. At midday, with the sun nearly overhead, it is really
hot. The sky is of a cloudless azure, with a hazy appearance towards
the horizon. The sea is blue, dark, deep blue--and calm.

Now we see plenty of flying-fish. Whole shoals of the glittering
little things glide along in the air, skimming the tops of the waves.
They rise to escape their pursuers, the bonitos, which rush after
them, showing their noses above the water now and then. But the poor
flying-fish have their enemies above the waters as well as under them;
for they no sooner rise than they risk becoming the prey of the ocean
birds, which are always hovering about and ready to pounce upon them.
It is a case of "out of the frying-pan into the fire." They fly
further than I thought they could. I saw one of them to-day fly at
least sixty yards, and sometimes they mount so high as to reach the
poop, some fifteen feet from the surface of the water.

One of the most pleasant events of the day is the morning bath on
board. You must remember the latitude we are in. We are passing along,
though not in sight of, that part of the African coast where a
necklace is considered full dress. We sympathise with the natives, for
we find clothes becoming intolerable; hence our enjoyment of the
morning bath, which consists in getting into a large tub on board and
being pumped upon by the hose. Pity that one cannot have it later, as
it leaves such a long interval between bath and breakfast; but it
freshens one up wonderfully, and is an extremely pleasant operation. I
only wish that the tub were twenty times as large, and the hose twice
as strong.

The wind continues in our favour, though gradually subsiding. During
the last two days we have run over 200 miles each day; but the captain
says that by the time we reach the Line the wind will have completely
died away. To catch a little of the breeze, I go up the rigging to the
top. Two sailors came up mysteriously, one on each side of the
ratlines. They are terrible fellows for making one pay "footings," and
their object was to intercept my retreat downwards. When they reached
me, I tried to resist; but it was of no use. I must be tied to the
rigging unless I promised the customary bottle of rum; so I gave in
with a good grace, and was thenceforward free to take an airing
aloft.

The amusements on deck do not vary much. Quoits, cards, reading, and
talking, and sometimes a game of romps, such as "Walk, my lady, walk!"
We have tried to form a committee, with a view to getting up some
Penny Reading or theatrical entertainment, and to ascertain whether
there be any latent talent aboard; but the heat occasions such a
languor as to be very unfavourable for work, and the committee lay
upon their oars, doing nothing.

One of our principal sources of amusement is the Major. He is
unfailing. His drawings of the long bow are as good as a theatrical
entertainment. If any one tells a story of something wonderful, he at
once "caps it," as they say in Yorkshire, by something still more
wonderful. One of the passengers, who had been at Calcutta, speaking
of the heat there, said it was so great as to make the pitch run out
of the ship's sides. "Bah!" said the Major, "that is nothing to what
it is in Ceylon; there the heat is so great as to melt the soldiers'
buttons off on parade, and then their jackets all get loose."

It seems that to-day (the 17th) is St. Patrick's Day. This the Major,
who is an Irishman, discovered only late in the evening, when he
declared he would have "given a fiver" if he had only known it in the
morning. But, to make up for lost time, he called out forthwith,
"Steward! whisky!" and he disposed of some seven or eight glasses in
the saloon before the lamps were put out; after which he adjourned to
one of the cabins, and there continued the celebration of St.
Patrick's Day until about two o'clock in the morning. On getting up
rather late, he said to himself, loud enough for me to overhear in my
cabin, "Well, George, my boy, you've done your duty to St. Patrick;
but he's left you a horrible bad headache!" And no wonder.

At last there is a promised novelty on board. Some original Christy's
Minstrels are in rehearsal, and the Theatrical Committee are looking
up amateurs for a farce. Readings from Dickens are also spoken of. An
occasional whale is seen blowing in the distance, and many grampuses
come rolling about the ship,--most inelegant brutes, some three or
four times the size of a porpoise. Each in turn comes up, throws
himself round on the top of the sea, exposing nearly half his body,
and then rolls off again.

To-day (the 20th March) we caught our first fish from the
forecastle,--a bonito, weighing about seven pounds. Its colour was
beautifully variegated: on the back dark blue, with a streak of light
blue silver on either side, and the belly silvery white. These fish
are usually caught from the jiboom and the martingale, as they play
about the bows of the ship. The only bait is a piece of white rag,
which is bobbed upon the surface of the water to imitate a
flying-fish.

But what interests us more than anything else at present is the
discovery of some homeward-bound ship, by which to despatch our
letters to friends at home. The captain tells us that we are now
almost directly in the track of vessels making for England from the
south; and that if we do not sight one in the course of a day or two,
we may not have the chance of seeing another until we are far on our
way south--if it all. We are, therefore, anxiously waiting for the
signal of a ship in sight; and, in the hope that one may appear, we
are all busily engaged in the saloon giving the finishing touches to
our home letters.

Shortly after lunch the word was given that no less than three ships
were in sight. Immense excitement on board! Everybody turned up on
deck. Passengers who had never been seen since leaving Plymouth, now
made their appearance to look out for the ships. One of them was a
steamer, recognizable by the line of smoke on the horizon, supposed to
be the West India mail-boat; another was outward-bound, like
ourselves; and the third was the homeward-bound ship for which we were
all on the look-out. She lay right across our bows, but was still a
long way off. As we neared her, betting began among the passengers,
led by the Major, as to whether she would take letters or not. The
scene became quite exciting. The captain ordered all who had letters
to be in readiness. I had been scribbling my very hardest ever since
the ships came in sight, and now I closed my letter and sealed it up.
Would the ship take our letters? Yes! She is an English ship, with an
English flag at her peak; and she signals for newspapers, preserved
milk, soap, and a doctor!

I petitioned for leave to accompany the doctor, and, to my great
delight, was allowed to do so. The wind had nearly gone quite down,
and only came in occasional slight gusts. The sea was, therefore,
comparatively calm, with only a long, slow swell; yet, even though
calm, there is some little difficulty in getting down into a boat in
mid-ocean. At one moment the boat is close under you, and at the next
she is some four yards down, and many feet apart from the side of the
ship; you have, therefore, to be prompt in seizing an opportunity, and
springing on board just at the right moment.

As we moved away from the 'Yorkshire,' with a good bundle of
newspapers and the other articles signalled for, and looked back upon
our ship, she really looked a grand object on the waters. The sun
shone full upon her majestic hull, her bright copper now and then
showing as she slowly rose and sank on the long swell. Above all were
her towers of white canvas, standing out in relief against the
leaden-coloured sky. Altogether, I don't think I have ever seen a more
magnificent sight. As we parted from the ship, the hundred or more
people on board gave us a ringing cheer.

Our men now pulled with a will towards the still-distant ship. As we
neared her, we observed that she must have encountered very heavy
weather, as part of her foremast and mainmast had been carried away.
Her sides looked dirty and worn, and all her ironwork was rusty, as if
she had been a long time at sea. She proved to be the 'Lord Raglan,'
of about 800 tons, bound from Bankok, in Siam, to Yarmouth.

The captain was delighted to see us, and gave us a most cordial
welcome. He was really a very nice fellow, and was kindness itself.
He took us down to his cabin, and treated us to Chinese beer and
cigars. The place was cheerful and comfortable-looking, and fitted up
with Indian and Chinese curiosities; yet I could scarcely reconcile
myself to living there. There was a dreadful fusty smell about, which,
I am told, is peculiar to Indian and Chinese ships. The vessel was
laden with rice, and the fusty heat which came up from below was
something awful.

The 'Lord Raglan' had been nearly two years from London. She had run
from London to Hong-Kong, and had since been engaged in trading
between there and Siam. She was now eighty-three days from Bankok. In
this voyage she had encountered some very heavy weather, in which she
had sprung her foremast, which was now spliced up all round. What
struck me was the lightness of her spars and the smallness of her
sails, compared with ours. Although her mainmast is as tall, it is not
so thick as our mizen, and her spars are very slender above the first
top. Yet the 'Raglan,' in her best days, used to be one of the crack
Melbourne clipper ships.

The kindly-natured captain was most loth to let us go. It was almost
distressing to see the expedients he adopted to keep us with him for a
few minutes longer. But it was fast growing dusk, and in the tropics
it darkens almost suddenly; so we were at last obliged to tear
ourselves away, and leave him with his soap, milk, and newspapers. He,
on his part, sent by us a twenty-pound chest of tea, as a present for
the chief mate (who was with us) and the captain. As we left the
ship's side we gave the master and crew of the 'Raglan' a hearty
"three times three." All this while the two vessels had been lying
nearly becalmed, so that we had not a very long pull before we were
safely back on board our ship.

For about five days we lie nearly idle, making very little progress,
almost on the Line. The trade-winds have entirely left us. The heat is
tremendous--130° in the sun; and at midday, when the sun is right
overhead, it is difficult to keep the deck. Towards evening the
coolness is very pleasant; and when rain falls, as it can only fall in
the tropics, we rush out to enjoy the bath. We assume the thinnest of
_bizarre_ costumes, and stand still under the torrent, or vary the
pleasure by emptying buckets over each other.

We are now in lat. 0° 22', close upon the Equator. Though our sails
are set, we are not sailing, but only floating: indeed, we seem to be
drifting. On looking round the horizon, I count no fewer than sixteen
ships in sight, all in the same plight as ourselves. We are drawn
together by an under-current or eddy, though scarcely a breath of wind
is stirring. We did not, however, speak any of the ships, most of them
being comparatively distant.

We cross the Line about 8 P.M. on the twentieth day from Plymouth. We
have certainly had a very fine run thus far, slow though our progress
now is, for we are only going at the rate of about a mile an hour; but
when we have got a little further south, we expect to get out of the
tropical calms and catch the southeast trade-winds.

On the day following, the 24th March, a breeze sprang up, and we made
a run of 187 miles. We have now passed the greatest heat, and shortly
expect cooler weather. Our spirits rise with the breeze, and we again
begin to think of getting up some entertainments on board; for, though
we have run some 4,800 miles from Plymouth, we have still some fifty
days before us ere we expect to see Melbourne.

One thing that strikes me much is the magnificence of the tropical
sunsets. The clouds assume all sorts of fantastic shapes, and appear
more solid and clearly defined than I have ever seen before. Towards
evening they seem to float in colour--purple, pink, red, and yellow
alternately--while the sky near the setting sun seems of a beautiful
green, gradually melting into the blue sky above. The great clouds on
the horizon look like mountains tipped with gold and fiery red. One of
these sunsets was a wonderful sight. The sun went down into the sea
between two enormous clouds--the only ones to be seen--and they blazed
with the brilliant colours I have described, which were constantly
changing, until the clouds stood out in dark relief against the still
delicately-tinted sky. I got up frequently to see the sun rise, but in
the tropics it is not nearly so fine at its rising as at its setting.

A ship was announced as being in sight, with a signal flying to speak
with us. We were sailing along under a favourable breeze, but our
captain put the ship about and waited for the stranger. It proved to
be a Yankee whaler. When the captain came on board, he said "he
guessed he only wanted newspapers." Our skipper was in a "roaring wax"
at being stopped in his course for such a trivial matter, but he said
nothing. The whaler had been out four years, and her last port was
Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands. The Yankee captain, amongst other
things, wanted to know if Grant was President, and if the 'Alabama'
question was settled; he was interested in the latter question, as the
'Alabama' had burnt one of his ships. He did not seem very comfortable
while on board, and when he had got his papers he took his leave. I
could not help admiring the whale-boat in which he was rowed back to
his own vessel. It was a beautiful little thing, though dirty; but, it
had doubtless seen much service. It was exquisitely modelled, and the
two seamen in the little craft handled it to perfection. How they
contrived to stand up in it quite steady, while the boat, sometimes
apparently half out of the water, kept rising and falling on the long
ocean-swell, seemed to me little short of marvellous.



CHAPTER IV.

THE 'BLUE JACKET.'

APRIL FOOLS' DAY--A SHIP IN SIGHT--THE 'PYRMONT'--THE RESCUED 'BLUE
JACKET' PASSENGERS--STORY OF THE BURNT SHIP--SUFFERING OF THE LADY
PASSENGERS IN AN OPEN BOAT--THEIR RESCUE--DISTRESSING SCENE ON BOARD
THE 'PYRMONT.'


_1st. April_.--I was roused early this morning by the cry outside of
"Get up! get up! There is a ship on fire ahead!" I got up instantly,
dressed, and hastened on deck, like many more. But there was no ship
on fire; and then we laughed, and remembered that it was All Fools'
Day.

In the course of the forenoon we descried a sail, and shortly after we
observed that she was bearing down upon us. The cry of "Letters for
home!" was raised, and we hastened below to scribble a few last words,
close our letters, and bring them up for the letter-bag.

By this time the strange ship had drawn considerably nearer, and we
saw that she was a barque, heavily laden. She proved to be the
'Pyrmont,' a German vessel belonging to Hamburg, but now bound for
Yarmouth from Iquique, with a cargo of saltpetre on board. When she
came near enough to speak to us, our captain asked, "What do you
want?" The answer was, "'Blue Jacket' burnt at sea; her passengers on
board. Have you a doctor?" Here was a sensation! Our April Fools'
alarm was true after all. A vessel _had_ been on fire, and here were
the poor passengers asking for help. We knew nothing of the 'Blue
Jacket,' but soon we were to know all.

A boat was at once lowered from the davits, and went off with the
doctor and the first mate. It was a hazy, sultry, tropical day, with a
very slight breeze stirring, and very little sea. Our main-yard was
backed to prevent our further progress, and both ships lay-to within a
short distance of each other. We watched our boat until we saw the
doctor and officer mount the 'Pyrmont,' and then waited for further
intelligence.

Shortly after we saw our boat leaving the ship's side, and as it
approached we observed that it contained some strangers, as well as
our doctor, who had returned for medicines, lint, and other
appliances. When the strangers reached the deck we found that one of
them was the first officer of the unfortunate 'Blue Jacket,' and the
other one of the burnt-out passengers. The latter, poor fellow, looked
a piteous sight. He had nothing on but a shirt and pair of trowsers;
his hair was matted, his face haggard, his eyes sunken. He was without
shoes, and his feet were so sore that he could scarcely walk without
support.

And yet it turned out that this poor suffering fellow was one of the
best-conditioned of those who had been saved from the burnt ship. He
told us how that the whole of the fellow-passengers whom he had just
left on board the 'Pyrmont' wanted clothes, shirts, and shoes, and
were in a wretched state, having been tossed about at sea in an open
boat for about nine days, during which they had suffered the
extremities of cold, thirst, and hunger.

We were horrified by the appearance, and still more by the recital, of
the poor fellow. Every moment he astonished us by new details of
horror. But it was of no use listening to more. We felt we must do
something. All the passengers at once bestirred themselves, and went
into their cabins to seek out any clothing they could spare for the
relief of the sufferers. I found I could give trowsers, shirts, a pair
of drawers, a blanket, and several pocket-handkerchiefs; and as the
other passengers did likewise, a very fair bundle was soon made up and
sent on board the 'Pyrmont.'

Of course we were all eager to know something of the details of the
calamity which had befallen the 'Blue Jacket.' It was some time before
we learnt them all; but as two of the passengers--who had been
gold-diggers in New Zealand--were so good as to write out a statement
for the doctor, the original of which now lies before me, I will
endeavour, in as few words as I can, to give you some idea of the
burning of the ship and the horrible sufferings of the passengers.

The 'Blue Jacket' sailed from Port Lyttleton, New Zealand, for London
on the 13th February, 1869, laden with wool, cotton, flax, and 15,000
ounces of gold. There were seven first-cabin passengers and seventeen
second-cabin. The ship had a fine run to Cape Horn and past the
Falkland Islands. All went well until the 9th March, when in latitude
50° 26' south, one of the seamen, about midday, observed smoke issuing
from the fore-hatchhouse. The cargo was on fire! All haste was made to
extinguish it. The fire-engines were set to work, passengers as well
as crew working with a will, and at one time it seemed as if the fire
would be got under. The hatch was opened and the second mate attempted
to go down, with the object of getting up and throwing overboard the
burning bales, but he was drawn back insensible. The hatch was again
closed, and holes were cut in the deck to pass the water down; but the
seat of the fire could not be reached. The cutter was lowered,
together with the two lifeboats, for use in case of need. About 7.30
P.M. the fire burst through the decks, and in about half an hour the
whole forecastle was enveloped in flames, which ran up the rigging,
licking up the foresail and fore-top. The mainmast being of iron, the
flames rushed through the tube as through a chimney, until it became
of a white heat. The lady-passengers in the after part of the ship
must have been kept in a state of total ignorance of the ship's
danger, otherwise it is impossible to account for their having to rush
on board the boats, at the last moment, with only the dresses they
wore. Only a few minutes before they left the ship, one of the ladies
was playing the 'Guards' Waltz on the cabin piano!

There was no hope of safety but in the boats, which were hurriedly got
into. On deck, everything was in a state of confusion. Most of the
passengers got into the cutter, but without a seaman to take charge
of it. When the water-cask was lowered, it was sent bung downwards,
and nearly half the water was lost. By this time the burning ship was
a grand but fearful sight, and the roar of the flames was frightful to
hear. At length the cutter and the two lifeboats got away, and as they
floated astern the people in them saw the masts disappear one by one
and the hull of the ship a roaring mass of fire.

In the early grey of the morning the three boats mustered, and two of
the passengers, who were on one of the lifeboats, were taken on board
the cutter. It now contained 37 persons, including the captain, first
officer, doctor, steward, purser, several able-bodied seamen, and all
the passengers; while the two lifeboats had 31 of the crew. The boats
drifted about all day, there being no wind, and the burning ship was
still in sight. On the third day the lifeboats were not to be seen;
each had a box of gold on board, by way of ballast.

A light breeze having sprung up, sail was made on the cutter, the
captain intending to run for the Falkland Islands. The sufferings of
the passengers increased from day to day; they soon ran short of
water, until the day's allowance was reduced to about two
tablespoonfuls for each person. It was pitiful to hear the little
children calling for more, but it could not be given them: men, women,
and children had to share alike. Provisions failed. The biscuit had
been spoiled by the salt water; all that remained in the way of food,
was preserved meat, which was soon exhausted, after which the only
allowance, besides the two tablespoonfuls of water, was a
tablespoonful of preserved soup every twenty-four hours. Meanwhile the
wind freshened, the sea rose, and the waves came dashing over the
passengers, completely drenching them. The poor ladies, thinly clad,
looked the pictures of misery.

Thus seven days passed--days of slow agony, such as words cannot
describe--until at last the joyous words, "A sail! a sail," roused the
sufferers to new life. A man was sent to the masthead with a red
blanket to hoist by way of signal of distress. The ship saw the signal
and bore down upon the cutter. She proved to be the 'Pyrmont,' the
ship lying within sight of us, and between which and the 'Yorkshire'
our boat kept plying for the greater part of the day.

Strange to say, the rescued people suffered more after they had got on
board the 'Pyrmont' than they had done during their period of
starvation and exposure. Few of them could stand or walk when taken on
board, all being reduced to the last stage of weakness. Scarcely had
they reached the 'Pyrmont' ere the third steward died; next day the
ship's purser died insane; and two days after, one of the second-cabin
passengers died. The others, who recovered, broke out in sores and
boils, more particularly on their hands and feet; and when the
'Yorkshire' met them, many of the passengers as well as the crew of
the burnt 'Blue Jacket' were in a most pitiable plight.

I put off with the third boat which left our ship's side for the
'Pyrmont.' We were lying nearly becalmed all this time, so that
passing between the ships by boat was comparatively easy. We took with
us as much fresh water as we could spare, together with provisions and
other stores. I carried with me a few spare books for the use of the
'Blue Jacket' passengers.

On reaching the deck of the 'Pyrmont,' the scene which presented
itself was such as I think I shall never forget. The three rescued
ladies were on the poop; and ladies you could see they were, in spite
of their scanty and dishevelled garments. The dress of one of them
consisted of a common striped man's shirt, a waterproof cloak made
into a skirt, and a pair of coarse canvas slippers, while on her
finger glittered a magnificent diamond ring. The other ladies were no
better dressed, and none of them had any covering for the head. Their
faces bore distinct traces of the sufferings they had undergone. Their
eyes were sunken, their cheeks pale, and every now and then a sort of
spasmodic twitch seemed to pass over their features. One of them could
just stand, but could not walk; the others were comparatively
helpless. A gentleman was lying close by the ladies, still suffering
grievously in his hands and feet from the effects of his long exposure
in the open boat, while one side of his body was completely paralysed.
One poor little boy could not move, and the doctor said he must lose
one or two of his toes through mortification.

One of the ladies was the wife of the passenger gentleman who had
first come on board of our ship. She was a young lady, newly married,
who had just set out on her wedding trip. What a terrible beginning of
married life! I found she had suffered more than the others through
her devotion to her husband. He was, at one time, constantly employed
in baling the boat, and would often have given way but for her. She
insisted on his taking half her allowance of water, so that he had
three tablespoonfuls daily instead of two; whereas she had only one!

While in the boat the women and children were forced to sit huddled up
at one end of it, covered with a blanket, the seas constantly breaking
over them and soaking through everything. They had to sit upright, and
in very cramped postures, for fear of capsizing the boat; and the
little sleep they got could only be snatched sitting. Yet they bore
their privations with great courage and patience, and while the men
were complaining and swearing, the women and children never uttered a
complaint.

I had a long talk with the ladies, whom I found very resigned and most
grateful for their deliverance. I presented my books, which were
thankfully received, and the newly-married lady, forgetful of her
miseries, talked pleasantly and intelligently about current topics,
and home news. It did seem strange for me to be sitting on the deck of
the 'Pyrmont,' in the middle of the Atlantic, talking with these
shipwrecked ladies about the last new novel!

At last we took our leave, laden with thanks, and returned on board
our ship. It was now growing dusk. We had done all that we could for
the help of the poor sufferers on board the 'Pyrmont,' and, a light
breeze springing up, all sail was set, and we resumed our voyage
south.

Two of the gold-diggers, who had been second-class passengers by the
'Blue Jacket,' came on board our ship with the object of returning
with us to Melbourne, and it is from their recital that I have
collated the above account of the disaster.



CHAPTER V.

IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC.

PREPARING FOR ROUGH WEATHER--THE 'GEORGE THOMPSON' CLIPPER--A RACE AT
SEA--SCENE FROM 'PICKWICK' ACTED--FISHING FOR ALBATROSS--DISSECTION
AND DIVISION OF THE BIRD--WHALES--STRONG GALE--SMASH IN THE
CABIN--SHIPPING A GREEN SEA--THE SEA BIRDS IN OUR WAKE--THE CROZET
ISLANDS.


_11th April_.--We are now past the pleasantest part of our voyage, and
expect to encounter much rougher seas. Everything is accordingly
prepared for heavy weather. The best and newest sails are bent; the
old and worn ones are sent below. We may have to encounter storms or
even cyclones in the Southern Ocean, and our captain is now ready for
any wind that may blow. For some days we have had a very heavy swell
coming up from the south, as if there were strong winds blowing in
that quarter. We have, indeed, already had a taste of dirty weather
to-day--hard rain, with a stiffish breeze; but as the ship is still
going with the wind and sea, we do not as yet feel much inconvenience.

A few days since, we spoke a vessel that we had been gradually coming
up to for some time, and she proved to be the 'George Thompson,' a
splendid Aberdeen-built clipper, one of the fastest ships out of
London. No sooner was this known, than it became a matter of great
interest as to whether we could overhaul the clipper. Our ship,
because of the height and strength of her spars, enables us to carry
much more sail, and we are probably equal to the other ship in lighter
breezes; but she, being clipper-built and so much sharper, has the
advantage of us in heavier winds. The captain was overjoyed at having
gained upon the other vessel thus far, for she left London five days
before we sailed from Plymouth. As we gradually drew nearer, the
breeze freshened, and there became quite an exciting contest between
the ships. We gained upon our rival, caught up to her, and gradually
forged ahead, and at sundown the 'George Thompson' was about six miles
astern. Before we caught up to her she signalled to us, by way of
chaff, "Signal us at Lloyd's!" and when we had passed her, we
signalled back, "We wish you a good voyage!"

The wind having freshened during the night, the 'George Thompson' was
seen gradually creeping up to us with all her sail set. The wind was
on our beam, and the 'George Thompson's' dark green hull seemed to us
sometimes almost buried in the sea, and we only saw her slanting deck
as she heeled over from the freshening breeze. What a cloud of canvas
she carried! The spray flew up and over her decks, as she plunged
right through the water.

The day advanced; she continued to gain, and towards evening she
passed on our weather-side. The captain, of course, was savage; but
the race was not lost yet. On the following day, with a lighter wind,
we again overhauled our rival, and at night left her four or five
miles behind. Next day she was not to be seen. We had thus far
completely outstripped the noted clipper.[1]

We again begin to reconsider the question of giving a popular
entertainment on board. The ordinary recreations of quoit-playing, and
such like, have become unpopular, and a little variety is wanted. A
reading from 'Pickwick' is suggested; but cannot we contrive to _act_
a few of the scenes! We determine to get up three of the most
attractive:--1st. The surprise of Mrs. Bardell in Pickwick's arms;
2nd. The notice of action from Dodson and Fogg; and 3rd. The Trial
scene. A great deal of time is, of course, occupied in getting up the
scenes, and in the rehearsals, which occasion a good deal of
amusement. A London gentleman promises to make a capital Sam Weller;
our clergyman a very good Buzfuz; and our worthy young doctor the
great Pickwick himself.

At length all is ready, and the affair comes off in the main-hatch,
where there is plenty of room. The theatre is rigged out with flags,
and looks quite gay. The passengers of all classes assemble, and make
a goodly company. The whole thing went off very well--indeed, much
better than was expected--though I do not think the third-class
passengers quite appreciated the wit of the piece. Strange to say,
the greatest success of the evening was the one least expected--the
character of Mrs. Cluppins. One of the middies who took the part, was
splendid, and evoked roars of laughter.

Our success has made us ambitious, and we think of getting up another
piece--a burlesque, entitled 'Sir Dagobert and the Dragon,' from one
of my Beeton's 'Annuals.' There is not much in it; but, _faute de
mieux_, it may do very well. But to revert to less "towny" and much
more interesting matters passing on board.

We were in about the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope when we saw our
first albatross; but as we proceeded south, we were attended by
increasing numbers of those birds as well as of Mother Carey's
chickens, the storm-birds of the South Seas. The albatross is a
splendid bird, white on the breast and the inside of the wings, the
rest of the body being deep brown and black.

One of the most popular amusements is "fishing" for an albatross,
which is done in the following manner. A long and stout line is let
out, with a strong hook at the end baited with a piece of meat, buoyed
up with corks. This is allowed to trail on the water at the stern of
the ship. One or other of the sea-birds wheeling about, seeing the
floating object in the water, comes up, eyes it askance, and perhaps
at length clumsily flops down beside it. The line is at once let out,
so that the bait may not drag after the ship. If this be done
cleverly, and there be length enough of line to let out quickly, the
bird probably makes a snatch at the meat, and the hook catches hold of
his curved bill. Directly he grabs at the pork, and it is felt that
the albatross is hooked, the letting out of the line is at once
stopped, and it is hauled in with all speed. The great thing is to
pull quickly, so as to prevent the bird getting the opportunity of
spreading his wings, and making a heavy struggle as he comes along on
the surface of the water. It is a good heavy pull for two men to get
up an albatross if the ship is going at any speed. The poor fellow,
when hauled on deck, is no longer the royal bird that he seemed when
circling above our heads with his great wings spread out only a few
minutes ago. Here he is quite helpless, and tries to waddle about like
a great goose; the first thing he often does being to void all the
contents of his stomach, as if he were seasick.

The first albatross we caught was not a very large one, being only
about ten feet from tip to tip of the wings; whereas the larger birds
measure from twelve to thirteen feet. The bird, when caught, was held
firmly down, and despatched by the doctor with the aid of prussic
acid. He was then cut up, and his skin, for the sake of the feathers
and plumage, divided amongst us. The head and neck fell to my share,
and, after cleaning and dressing it, I hung my treasure by a string
out of my cabin-window; but, when I next went to look at it, lo! the
string had been cut, and my albatross's head and neck were gone.

All day the saloon and various cabins smelt very fishy by reason of
the operations connected with the dissecting and cleaning of the
several parts of the albatross. One was making a pipe-stem out of one
of the long wing-bones. Another was making a tobacco pouch out of the
large feet of the bird. The doctor's cabin was like a butcher's shop
in these bird-catching times. Part of his floor would be occupied by
the bloody skin of the great bird, stretched out upon boards, with the
doctor on his knees beside it working away with his dissecting
scissors and pincers, getting the large pieces of fat off the skin.
Esculapius seemed quite to relish the operation; whilst, on the other
hand the clergyman, who occupied the same cabin, held his handkerchief
to his nose, and regarded the débris of flesh and feathers on the
floor with horror and dismay.

Other birds, of a kind we had not before seen shortly made their
appearance, flying round the ship. There is, for instance, the
whale-bird, perfectly black on the top of the wings and body, and
white underneath. It is, in size, between a Mother Carey and a
Molly-hawk, which latter is very nearly as big as an albatross.
Ice-birds and Cape-pigeons also fly about us in numbers; the latter
are about the size of ordinary pigeons, black, mottled with white on
the back, and grey on the breast.

A still more interesting sight was that of a great grampus, which rose
close to the ship, exposing his body as he leapt through a wave.
Shortly after, a few more were seen at a greater distance, as if
playing about and gambolling for our amusement.

_17th April_.--The weather is growing sensibly colder. Instead of
broiling under cover, in the thinnest of garments, we now revert to
our winter clothing for comfort. Towards night the wind rose, and
gradually increased until it blew a heavy gale, so strong that all the
sails had to be taken in--all but the foresail and the main-topsail
closely reefed. Luckily for us, the wind was nearly aft, so that we
did not feel its effects nearly so much as if it had been on our beam.
Tonight we rounded the Cape, twenty-four days from the Line and
forty-five from Plymouth.

On the following day the wind was still blowing hard. When I went on
deck in the morning, I found that the mainsail had been split up the
middle, and carried away with a loud bang to sea. The ship was now
under mizen-topsail, close-reefed main-topsail, and fore-topsail and
foresail, no new mainsail having been bent. The sea was a splendid
sight. Waves, like low mountains, came rolling after us, breaking
along each side of the ship. I was a personal sufferer by the gale. I
had scarcely got on deck when the wind whisked off my Scotch cap with
the silver thistle in it, and blew it away to sea. Then, in going down
to my cabin, I found my books, boxes, and furniture lurching about;
and, to wind up with, during the evening I was rolled over while
sitting on one of the cuddy chairs, and broke it. Truly a day full of
small misfortunes for me!

In the night I was awakened by the noise and the violent rolling of
the ship. The mizen-mast strained and creaked; chairs had broken loose
in the saloon; crockery was knocking about and smashing up in the
steward's pantry. In the cabin adjoining, the water-can and bath were
rambling up and down; and in the midst of all the hubbub the Major
could be heard shouting, "Two to one on the water-can!" "They were
just taking the fences," he said. There were few but had some mishap
in their cabins. One had a hunt after a box that had broken loose;
another was lamenting the necessity of getting up after his
washhand-basin and placing his legs in peril outside his bunk. Before
breakfast I went on deck to look at the scene. It was still blowing a
gale. We were under topsails and mainsail, with a close-reefed
top-sail on the mizen-mast. The sight from the poop is splendid. At
one moment we were high up on the top of a wave, looking into a deep
valley behind us; at another we were down in the trough of the sea,
with an enormous wall of water coming after us. The pure light-green
waves were crested with foam, which curled over and over, and never
stopped rolling. The deck lay over at a dreadful slant to a landsman's
eye; indeed, notwithstanding holding on to everything I could catch, I
fell four times during the morning.

With difficulty I reached the saloon, where the passengers had
assembled for breakfast. Scarcely had we taken out seats when an
enormous sea struck the ship, landed on the poop, dashed in the saloon
skylight, and flooded the table with water. This was a bad event for
those who had not had their breakfast. As I was mounting the cuddy
stairs, I met the captain coming down thoroughly soaked. He had been
knocked down, and had to hold on by a chain to prevent himself being
washed about the deck. The officer of the watch afterwards told me
that he had seen his head bobbing up and down amidst the water, of
which there were tons on the poop.

This was what they call "shipping a green sea,"--so called because so
much water is thrown upon the deck that it ceases to have the frothy
appearance of smaller seas when shipped, but looks a mass of solid
green water. Our skipper afterwards told us at dinner that the captain
of the 'Essex' had not long ago been thrown by such a sea on to one of
the hen-coops that run round the poop, breaking through the iron bars,
and that he had been so bruised that he had not yet entirely recovered
from his injuries. Such is the tremendous force of water in violent
motion at sea.[2]

When I went on deck again, the wind had somewhat abated, but the sea
was still very heavy. While on the poop, one enormous wave came
rolling on after us, seeming as if it must engulf the ship. But the
stern rose gradually and gracefully as the huge wave came on, and it
rolled along, bubbling over the sides of the main-deck, and leaving it
about two feet deep in water. As the day wore on the wind gradually
went down, and it seemed as if we were to have another spell of fine
weather.

[Illustration: (Map of the Ship's Course, Plymouth to Melbourne)]

Next morning the sun shone clear; the wind had nearly died away,
though a heavy swell still crossed our quarter. Thousands of sea-birds
flew about us, and clusters were to be seen off our stern, as far as
the eye could reach. They seemed, though on a much larger scale, to be
hanging upon our track, just as a flock of crows hang over the track
of a plough in the field, and doubtless for the same reason--to pick
up the food thrown up by the mighty keel of our ship. Most of them
were ice-birds, blue petrels, and whale-birds, with a large admixture
of albatrosses and Mother Carey's chickens. One of the passengers
caught and killed one of the last-named birds, at which the captain
was rather displeased, the sailors having a superstition about these
birds, that it is unlucky to kill them. An ice-bird was caught, and a
very pretty bird it is, almost pure white, with delicate blue feet and
beak. Another caught a Cape pigeon, and I caught a stink-pot, a large
bird measuring about eight feet from wing to wing. The bird was very
plucky when got on deck, and tried to peck at us; but we soon had him
down. As his plumage was of no use, we fastened a small tin-plate to
his leg, with 'Yorkshire' scratched on it, and let him go. But it was
some time before he rose from his waddling on the deck, spread his
wings, and sailed into the air.

Some of the passengers carry on shooting at the numerous birds from
the stern of the ship; but it is cruel sport. It may be fun to us, but
it is death to the birds. And not always death. Poor things! It is a
pitiful sight to see one of them, pricked or winged, floating away
with its wounds upon it, until quite out of sight. Such sport seems
cruel, if it be not cowardly.

_23rd April_.--We are now in latitude 45.16° south, and the captain
tells us that during the night we may probably sight the Crozet
Islands. It seems that these islands are inaccurately marked on the
charts, some of even the best authorities putting them from one and a
half to two degrees out both in latitude and longitude, as the captain
showed us by a late edition of a standard work on navigation. Once he
came pretty well south on purpose to sight them; but when he reached
the precise latitude in which, according to his authority, they were
situated, they were not to be seen.

At 8 P.M. the man on the look-out gave the cry of "Land ho!" "Where
away?" "On the lee beam." I strained my eyes in the direction
indicated, but could make out nothing like land. I could see
absolutely nothing but water all round. Two hours passed before I
could discern anything which could give one the idea of land--three
small, misty, cloud-looking objects, lying far off to the south, which
were said to be the islands. In about an hour more we were within
about five miles of Les Apôtres, part of the group, having passed
Cochon in the distance. Cochon is so called because of the number of
wild pigs on the island. The largest, Possession Island, gave refuge
to the shipwrecked crew of a whaler for about two years, when they
were at length picked off by a passing ship. The Crozets are of
volcanic origin, and some of them present a curious, conical, and
sometimes fantastic appearance, more particularly Les Apôtres. The
greater number of them are quite barren, the only vegetation of the
others consisting of a few low stunted bushes.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: It may, however, be added, that though we did not again
sight the 'George Thompson' during our voyage, she arrived at
Melbourne about forty-eight hours before our ship.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. G. Stevenson registered a force of three tons per
square foot at Skerryvore during a gale in the Atlantic, when the
waves were supposed to be twenty feet high.]



CHAPTER VI.

NEARING AUSTRALIA--THE LANDING.

ACTING ON BOARD--THE CYCLONE--CLEANING THE SHIP FOR PORT--CONTRARY
WINDS--AUSTRALIA IN SIGHT--CAPE OTWAY--PORT PHILLIP HEADS--PILOT TAKEN
ON BOARD--INSIDE THE HEADS--WILLIAMSTOWN--SANDRIDGE--THE LANDING.


More theatricals! 'Sir Dagobert and the Dragon' is played, and comes
off very well. The extemporised dresses and "properties" are the most
amusing of all. The company next proceed to get up 'Aladdin and the
Wonderful Scamp' to pass the time, which hangs heavy on our hands. We
now begin to long for the termination of our voyage. We have sailed
about 10,000 miles, but have still about 3000 more before us.

_30th April_.--To-day we have made the longest run since we left
Plymouth, not less than 290 miles in twenty-four hours. We have before
made 270, but then the sea was smooth, and the wind fair. Now the wind
is blowing hard on our beam, with a heavy sea running. About 3 P.M. we
sighted a barque steering at right angles to our course. In a short
time we came up with her, and found that she was the Dutch barque
'Vrede,' ninety-eight days from Amsterdam and bound for Batavia. She
crossed so close to our stern that one might almost have pitched a
biscuit on board.

During the night the sea rose, the wind blowing strong across our
beam, and the ship pitched and rolled as she is said never to have
done since she was built. There was not much sleep for us that night.
The wind increased to a strong gale, until at length it blew quite a
hurricane. It was scarcely possible to stand on deck. The wind felt as
if it blew solid. The ship was driving furiously along under
close-reefed topsails. Looking over the side, one could only see the
black waves, crested with foam, scudding past.

It appears that we are now in a cyclone--not in the worst part of it,
but in the inner edge of the outside circle. Skilful navigators know
by experience how to make their way out of these furious ocean winds,
and our captain was equal to the emergency. In about seven hours we
were quite clear of it, though the wind blew fresh, and the ship
rolled heavily, the sea continuing for some time in a state of great
agitation.

For some days the wind keeps favourable, and our ship springs forward
as if she knew her port, and was eager to reach it. A few more days
and we may be in sight of Australia. We begin almost to count the
hours. In anticipation of our arrival, the usual testimonial to the
captain is set on foot, all being alike ready to bear testimony to his
courtesy and seamanship. On deck, the men began to holystone the
planks, polish up the brasswork, and make everything shipshape for
port. The middies are at work here on the poop, each "with a sharp
knife and a clear conscience," cutting away pieces of tarry rope. New
ratlines are being fastened up across the shrouds. The standing
rigging is re-tarred and shines black. The deck is fresh scraped as
well as the mizen-mast, and the white paint-pot has been used freely.

_9th May._--We are now in Australian waters, sailing along under the
lee of Cape Leeuwin, though the land is not yet in sight. Australian
birds are flying about our ship, unlike any we have yet seen. We beat
up against the wind which is blowing off the land, our yards slewed
right round. It is provoking to be so near the end of our voyage, and
blown back when almost in sight of port.

_14th May._--After four days of contrary wind, it changed again, and
we are now right for Melbourne. Our last theatrical performance came
off with great _éclat_. The captain gave his parting supper after the
performance; and the _menu_ was remarkable, considering that we had
been out eighty-one days from Gravesend. There were ducks, fowls,
tongues, hams, with lobster-salads, oyster pattés, jellies,
blanc-manges, and dessert. Surely the art of preserving fresh meat and
comestibles must have nearly reached perfection. To wind up, songs
were sung, toasts proposed, and the captain's testimonial was
presented amidst great enthusiasm.

_18th May._--We sighted the Australian land to-day about thirteen
miles off Cape Otway. The excitement on board was very great; and no
wonder, after so long a voyage. Some were going home there, to rejoin
their families, relatives, and friends. Others were going there for
pleasure or for health. Perhaps the greater number regarded it as the
land of their choice--a sort of promised land--where they were to make
for themselves a home, and hoped to carve out for themselves a road to
competency if not to fortune.

We gradually neared the land, until we were only about five miles
distant from it. The clouds lay low on the sandy shore; the dark-green
scrub here and there reaching down almost to the water's edge. The
coast is finely undulating, hilly in some places, and well wooded.
Again we beat off the land, to round Cape Otway, whose light we see.
Early next morning we signal the lighthouse, and the news of our
approaching arrival will be forthwith telegraphed to Melbourne. The
wind, however, dies away when we are only about thirty miles from Port
Phillip Heads, and there we lie idly becalmed the whole afternoon, the
ship gently rolling in the light-blue water, the sails flapping
against the masts, or occasionally drawing half full, with a fitful
puff of wind. Our only occupation was to watch the shore, and with the
help of the telescope we could make out little wooden huts half hidden
in the trees, amidst patches of cultivated land. As the red sun set
over the dark-green hills, there sprang up the welcome evening breeze,
which again filled our canvas, and the wavelets licked the ship's
sides as she yielded to the wind, and at last sped us on to Port
Phillip.

At midnight we are in sight of the light at the entrance of the bay.
Then we are taken in tow by a tug, up to the Heads, where we wait
until sunrise for our pilot to come on board. The Heads are low necks
of sandy hillocks, one within another, that guard the entrance to the
extensive bay of Port Phillip. On one side is Point Lonsdale, and on
the other Point Nepean.

_21st May._--Our pilot comes on board early, and takes our ship in
charge. He is a curious-looking object, more like a Jew bailiff than
anything else I can think of, and very unlike an English "salt." But
the man seems to know his work, and away we go, tugged by our steamer.

A little inside the Heads, we are boarded by the quarantine officer,
who inquires as to the health of the ship, which is satisfactory, and
we proceed up the bay. Shortly after, we pass, on the west,
Queenscliffe, a pretty village built on a bit of abrupt headland, the
houses of which dot the green sward. The village church is a pleasant
object in the landscape. We curiously spy the land as we pass. By the
help of the telescope we can see signs of life on shore. We observe,
amongst other things, an early tradesman's cart, drawn by a
fast-trotting pony, driving along the road. More dwellings appear,
amidst a pretty, well cultivated, rolling landscape.

At length we lose sight of the shore, proceeding up the bay towards
Melbourne, which is nearly some 30 miles distant, and still below the
horizon. Sailing on, the tops of trees rise up; then low banks of
sand, flat tracts of bush, and, slightly elevated above them,
occasional tracts of clear yellow space. Gradually rising up in the
west, distant hills come in sight; and, towards the north, an
undulating region is described, stretching round the bay inland.

We now near the northern shore, and begin to perceive houses, and
ships, and spires. The port of Williamstown comes in sight, full of
shipping, as appears by the crowd of masts. Outside of it is Her
Majesty's ship 'Nelson,' lying at anchor. On the right is the village
or suburb of St. Kilda, and still further round is Brighton.
Sandridge, the landing-place of Melbourne, lies right ahead of us, and
over the masts of shipping we are pointed to a mass of houses in the
distance, tipped with spires and towers, and are told, "There is the
city of Melbourne!"

At 5 P.M. we were alongside the large wooden railway-pier of
Sandridge, and soon many of our fellow-passengers were in the arms of
their friends and relatives. Others, of whom I was one, had none to
welcome us; but, like the rest, I took my ticket for Melbourne, only
some three miles distant; and in the course of another quarter of an
hour I found myself safely landed in the great city of the Antipodes.

[Illustration: (View of Melbourne, Victoria)]



CHAPTER VII.

MELBOURNE.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MELBOURNE--SURVEY OF THE CITY--THE
STREETS--COLLINS STREET--THE TRAFFIC--NEWNESS AND YOUNGNESS OF
MELBOURNE--ABSENCE OF BEGGARS--MELBOURNE AN ENGLISH CITY--THE CHINESE
QUARTER--THE PUBLIC LIBRARY--PENTRIDGE PRISON--THE YARRA RIVER--ST.
KILDA--SOCIAL EXPERIENCES IN MELBOURNE--A MARRIAGE BALL--MELBOURNE
LADIES--VISIT TO A SERIOUS FAMILY.


I arrive in Melbourne towards evening, and on stepping out of the
railway-train find myself amidst a glare of gas lamps. Outside the
station the streets are all lit up, the shops are brilliant with
light, and well-dressed people are moving briskly about.

What is this large building in Bourke Street, with the crowd standing
about? It is the Royal Theatre. A large stone-faced hall inside the
portico, surrounded by bars brilliantly lit, is filled with young men
in groups lounging about, talking and laughing. At the further end of
the vestibule are the entrances to the different parts of the house.

Further up the same street, I come upon a large market-place, in a
blaze of light, where crowds of people are moving about, buying
vegetables, fruit, meat, and such like. At the further end of the
street the din and bustle are less, and I see a large structure
standing in an open space, looking black against the starlit sky. I
afterwards find that it is the Parliament House.

Such is my first introduction to Melbourne. It is evidently a place
stirring with life. After strolling through some of the larger
streets, and everywhere observing the same indications of wealth, and
traffic, and population, I took the train for Sandridge, and slept a
good sound sleep in my bunk on board the 'Yorkshire' for the last
time.

Next morning I returned to Melbourne in the broad daylight, when I was
able to make a more deliberate survey of the city. I was struck by the
width and regularity of some of the larger streets, and by the
admirable manner in which they are paved and kept. The whole town
seems to have been laid out on a systematic plan, which some might
think even too regular and uniform. But the undulating nature of the
ground on which the city is built serves to correct this defect, if
defect it be.

The streets are mostly laid out at right angles; broad streets one
way, and alternate broad and narrow streets crossing them. Collins and
Bourke Streets are, perhaps, the finest. The view from the high
ground, at one end of Collins Street, looking down the hollow of the
road, and right away up the hill on the other side, is very striking.
This grand street, of great width, is probably not less than a mile
long. On either side are the principal bank buildings, tall and
handsome. Just a little way up the hill, on the further side, is a
magnificent white palace-like structure, with a richly ornamented
façade and tower. That is the New Town Hall. Higher up is a fine
church spire, and beyond it a red brick tower, pricked out with
yellow, standing in bold relief against the clear blue sky. You can
just see Bourke and Wills' monument there, in the centre of the
roadway. And at the very end of the perspective, the handsome grey
front of the Treasury bounds the view.

Amongst the peculiarities of the Melbourne streets are the deep, broad
stone gutters, on either side of the roadway, evidently intended for
the passage of a very large quantity of water in the rainy season.
They are so broad as to render it necessary to throw little wooden
bridges over them at the street-crossings. I was told that these open
gutters are considered by no means promotive of the health of the
inhabitants, which one can readily believe; and it is probable that
before long they will be covered up.

Walk over Collins and Bourke Street at nine or ten in the morning, and
you meet the business men of Melbourne on their way from the
railway-station to their offices in town: for the greater number of
them, as in London, live in the suburbs. The shops are all open,
everything looking bright and clean. Pass along the same streets in
the afternoon, and you will find gaily-dressed ladies flocking the
pathways. The shops are bustling with customers. There are many
private carriages to be seen, with two-wheeled cars, on which the
passengers sit back to back, these (with the omnibuses) being the
public conveyances of Melbourne. Collins Street may be regarded as the
favourite promenade; more particularly between three and four in the
afternoon, when shopping is merely the excuse of its numerous
fashionable frequenters.

One thing struck me especially--the very few old or grey-haired people
one meets with in the streets of Melbourne. They are mostly young
people; and there are comparatively few who have got beyond the middle
stage of life. And no wonder. For how young a city Melbourne is! Forty
years since there was not a house in the place.

Where the Melbourne University now stands, a few miserable Australian
blacks would meet and hold a corroboree; but, except it might be a
refugee bush-ranger from Sydney, there was not a white man in all
Victoria. The first settler, John Batman,[3] arrived in the harbour
of Port Phillip as recently as the year 1835, since which time the
colony has been planted, the city of Melbourne has been built, and
Victoria covered with farms, mines, towns, and people. When Sir Thomas
Mitchell first visited the colony in 1836, though comprehending an
area of more than a hundred thousand square miles, it did not contain
200 white people. In 1845 the population had grown to 32,000;
Melbourne had been founded, and was beginning to grow rapidly; now it
contains a population of about 200,000 souls, and is already the
greatest city in the Southern Hemisphere.

No wonder, therefore, that the population of Melbourne should be
young. It consists for the most part of immigrants from Great Britain
and other countries,--of men and women in the prime of life,--pushing,
enterprising, energetic people. Nor is the stream of immigration
likely to stop soon. The land in the interior is not one-tenth part
occupied; and "the cry is, still they come." Indeed many think the
immigrants do not come quickly enough. Every ship brings a fresh
batch; and the "new chums" may be readily known, as they assemble in
knots at the corners of the streets, by their ruddy colour, their
gaping curiosity, and their home looks.

Another thing that strikes me in Melbourne is this,--that I have not
seen a beggar in the place. There is work for everybody who will work;
so there is no excuse for begging. A great many young fellows who come
out here no doubt do not meet with the fortune they think they
deserve. They expected that a few good letters of introduction were
all that was necessary to enable them to succeed. But they are soon
undeceived. They must strip to work, if they would do any good. Mere
clerks, who can write and add up figures, are of no use; the colony is
over-stocked with them. But if they are handy, ready to work, and
willing to turn their hand to anything, they need never be without the
means of honest living.

In many respects Melbourne is very like home. It looks like a slice of
England transplanted here, only everything looks fresher and newer. Go
into Fitzroy or Carlton Gardens in the morning, and you will see
almost the self-same nurses and children that you saw in the Parks in
London. At dusk you see the same sort of courting couples mooning
about, not knowing what next to say. In the streets you see a corps of
rifle volunteers marching along, just as at home, on Saturday
afternoons. Down at Sandridge you see the cheap-trip steamer, decked
with flags, taking a boat-load of excursionists down the bay to some
Australian Margate or Ramsgate. On the wooden pier the same
steam-cranes are at work, loading and unloading trucks.

One thing, however, there is at Melbourne that you cannot see in any
town in England, and that is the Chinese quarter. There the streets
are narrower and dirtier than anywhere else, and you see the
yellow-faced folks stand jabbering at their doors--a very novel sight.
The Chinamen, notwithstanding the poll-tax originally imposed on them
of 10_l._ a head, have come into Victoria in large and increasing
numbers, and before long they threaten to become a great power in the
colony. They are a very hardworking, but, it must be confessed, a very
low class, dirty people.

Though many of the Chinamen give up their native dress and adopt the
European costume, more particularly the billycock hat, there is one
part of their belongings that they do not part with even in the last
extremity--and that is their tail. They may hide it away in their
billycock or in the collar of their coat; but, depend upon it, the
tail is there. My friend, the doctor of the 'Yorkshire,' being a
hunter after natural curiosities, had, amongst other things, a great
ambition to possess himself of a Chinaman's tail. One day, walking up
Collins Street, I met my enthusiastic friend. He recognised me, and
waved something about frantically that he had in his hand. "I've got
it! I've got it!" he exclaimed, in a highly excited manner. "What have
you got?" I asked, wondering. "Come in here," said he, "and I'll show
it you." We turned into a bar, when he carefully undid his parcel, and
exposed to view a long black thing. "What _is_ it?" I asked. "A
Chinaman's pigtail, of course," said he, triumphantly; "and a very
rare curiosity it is, I can assure you."

Among the public institutes of Melbourne one of the finest is the
Public Library, already containing, I was told, about 80,000 volumes.
It is really a Library for the People, and a noble one too. So far as
I can learn, there is nothing yet in England that can be compared
with it.[4] Working men come here, and read at their leisure
scientific books, historical books, or whatever they may desire. They
may come in their working dress, signing their names on entering, the
only condition required of them being quietness and good behaviour.
About five hundred readers use the library daily.

Nor must I forget the Victorian collection of pictures, in the same
building as the Public Library. The galleries are good, and contain
many attractive paintings. Amongst them I noticed Goodall's 'Rachel at
the Well,' Cope's 'Pilgrim Fathers' (a replica), and some excellent
specimens of Chevalier, a rising colonial artist.

The Post Office is another splendid building, one of the most
commodious institutions of the kind in the world. There the arrival of
each mail from England is announced by the hoisting of a large red
flag, with the letter A (arrival).

In evidence of the advanced "civilization" of Melbourne, let me also
describe a visit which I paid to its gaol. But it is more than a gaol,
for it is the great penal establishment of the colony. The prison at
Pentridge is about eight miles from Melbourne. Accompanied by a
friend, I was driven thither in a covered car along a very dusty but
well-kept road. Alighting at the castle-like entrance to the
principal courtyard, we passed through a small doorway, behind which
was a strong iron-bar gate, always kept locked, and watched by a
warder. The gate was unlocked, and we shortly found ourselves in the
great prison area, in the presence of sundry men in grey prison
uniform, with heavy irons on. Passing across the large clean yard, we
make for a gate in the high granite wall at its further side. A key is
let down to us by the warder, who is keeping armed watch in his
sentry-box on the top of the wall. We use it, let ourselves in, lock
the door, and the key is hauled up again.

We enter the female prison, where we are shown the cells, each with
its small table and neatly-folded mattress. On the table is a Bible
and Prayer-book, and sometimes a third book for amusement or
instruction. In some of the cells, where the inmates are learning to
read and write, there is a spelling primer and a copybook for
pothooks. The female prisoners are not in their cells, but we shortly
after find them assembled in a large room above, seated and at work.
They all rose at our entrance, and I had a good look at their faces.
There was not a single decent honest face amongst them. They were
mostly heavy, square-jawed, hard-looking women. Judging by their
faces, vice and ugliness would seem to be pretty nearly akin.

We were next taken to the centre of the prison, from which we looked
down upon the narrow, high-walled yards, in which the prisoners
condemned to solitary confinement take their exercise. These yards
all radiate from a small tower, in which a warder is stationed,
carefully watching the proceedings below.

We shortly saw the prisoners of Department A coming in from their
exercise in the yard. Each wore a white mask on his face with eyeholes
in it; and no prisoner must approach another nearer than five yards,
at risk of severe punishment. The procession was a very dismal one. In
the half-light of the prison they marched silently on one by one, with
their faces hidden, each touching his cap as he passed.

Department B came next. The men here do not work in their separate
cells, like the others, but go out to work in gangs, guarded by armed
warders. The door of each cell throughout the prison has a small hole
in it, through which the warders, who move about the galleries in list
shoes, can peep in, and, unknown to the prisoner, see what he is
about.

Both male and female prisons have Black Holes attached to them for the
solitary confinement of the refractory. Dreadful places they look:
small cells about ten feet by four, into which not a particle of light
is admitted. Three thick doors, one within another, render it
impossible for the prisoner inside to make himself heard without.

Next comes Department C, in which the men finish their time. Here many
sleep in one room, always under strict watch, being employed during
the day at their respective trades, or going out in gangs to work in
the fields connected with the establishment. Connected with this
department is a considerable factory, with spinning-machines,
weaving-frames, and dye vats; the whole of the clothes and blankets
used in the gaol being made by the prisoners, as well as the blankets
supplied by the Government to the natives. Adjoining are blacksmiths'
shops, where manacles are forged; shoemakers' shops; tailors' shops; a
bookbinder's shop, where the gaol books are bound; and shops for
various other crafts.

The prison library is very well furnished with books. Dickens's and
Trollope's works are there, and I saw a well-read copy of 'Self-Help,'
though it was doubtless through a very different sort of self-help
that most of the prisoners who perused it had got there.

Last of all, we saw the men searched on coming in from their work in
the fields, or in the different workshops. They all stood in a line
while the warder passed his hands down their bodies and legs, and
looked into their hats. Then he turned to a basin of water standing
by, and carefully washed his hands.

There were about 700 prisoners of both sexes in the gaol when we
visited it. I was told that the walls of the prison enclose an area of
132 acres, so that there is abundance of space for all kinds of work.
On the whole it was a very interesting, but at the same time a sad
sight.

I think very little of the River Yarra Yarra, on which Melbourne is
situated. It is a muddy, grey-coloured stream, very unpicturesque. It
has, however, one great advantage over most other Australian rivers,
as indicated by its name, which in the native language means the
"ever-flowing;" many of the creeks and rivers in Australia being dry
in summer. I hired a boat for the purpose of a row up the Yarra. A
little above the city its banks are pretty and ornamental, especially
where it passes the Botanic Gardens, which are beautifully laid out,
and well stocked with India-rubber plants, gum-trees, and magnificent
specimens of the Southern fauna. Higher up, the river--though its
banks continue green--becomes more monotonous, and we soon dropped
back to Melbourne with the stream.

It is the seaside of Melbourne that is by far the most
interesting,--Williamstown, with its shipping; but more especially the
pretty suburbs, rapidly growing into towns, along the shores of the
Bay of Port Phillip--such as St. Kilda, Elsternwick, Brighton, and
Cheltenham. You see how they preserve the old country names. St. Kilda
is the nearest to Melbourne, being only about three miles distant by
rail, and it is the favourite resort of the Melbourne people. Indeed,
many of the first-class business men reside there, just as Londoners
do at Blackheath and Forest Hill. The esplanade along the beach is a
fine promenade, and the bathing along shore is exceedingly good. There
are large enclosures for bathers, surrounded by wooden piles; above
the enclosure, raised high on platforms, are commodious
dressing-rooms, where, instead of being cooped up in an uncomfortable
bathing-machine, you may have a lounge outside in the bright sunshine
while you dress. The water is a clear blue, and there is a sandy
bottom sloping down from the shore into any depth,--a glorious
opportunity for swimmers!

I must now tell you something of my social experiences in Melbourne.
Thanks to friends at home, I had been plentifully supplied with
letters of introduction to people in the colony. When I spoke of these
to old colonials in the 'Yorkshire,' I was told that they were "no
good"--no better than so many "tickets for soup," if worth even that.
I was, therefore, quite prepared for a cool reception; but,
nevertheless, took the opportunity of delivering my letters shortly
after landing.

So far from being received with coldness, I was received with the
greatest kindness wherever I went. People who had never seen me
before, and who knew nothing of me or my family, gave me a welcome
that was genuine, frank, and hearty in the extreme. My letters, I
found, were far more than "tickets for soup." They introduced me to
pleasant companions and kind friends, who entertained me hospitably,
enabled me to pass my time pleasantly, and gave me much practical good
advice. Indeed, so far as my experience goes, the hospitality of
Victoria ought to become proverbial.

One of the first visits I made was to a recent school-fellow of mine
at Geneva. I found him at work in a bank, and astonished him very much
by the suddenness of my appearance. He was most kind to me during my
stay in Melbourne, as well as all his family, to whom I owed a
succession of kindnesses which I can never forget.

I shall always retain a pleasant recollection of a marriage festivity
to which I was invited within a week after my arrival. A ball was
given in the evening, at which about 300 persons were present--the
_elite_ of Melbourne society. It was held in a large marquee, with a
splendid floor, and ample space for dancing. Everything was ordered
very much the same as at home. The dresses of the ladies seemed more
costly, the music was probably not so good, though very fair, and the
supper rather better. I fancy there was no "contract champagne" at
that ball.

One thing I must remark about the ladies--they seemed to me somehow a
little different in appearance. Indeed, when I first landed, I fancied
I saw a slightly worn look, a want of freshness, in the people
generally. They told me there that it is the effect of the dry
Australian climate and the long summer heat, native-born Australians
having a tendency to grow thin and lathy. Not that there was any want
of beauty about the Melbourne girls, or that they were not up to the
mark in personal appearance. On the contrary, there was quite a bevy
of belles, some of them extremely pretty girls, most tastefully
dressed, and I thought the twelve bridesmaids, in white silk trimmed
with blue, looked charming.

I spent a very pleasant evening with this gay company, and had my fill
of dancing after my long privation at sea. When I began to step out,
the room seemed to be in motion. I had got so accustomed to the roll
of the ship that I still felt unsteady, and when I put my foot down it
went further than I expected before it touched the floor. But I soon
got quit of my sea legs, which I had so much difficulty in finding.

Before concluding my few Melbourne experiences, I will mention another
of a very different character from the above. I was invited to spend
the following Saturday and Sunday with a gentleman and his family. I
was punctual to my appointment, and was driven by my carman up to the
door of a new house in a very pretty situation. I was shown into the
drawing-room, where I waited some time for the mistress of the house
to make her appearance. She was a matronly person, with a bland smile
on her countenance. Her dress was of a uniform grey, with trimmings of
the same colour. We tried conversation, but somehow it failed. I fear
my remarks were more meaningless than usual on such occasions.
Certainly the lady and I did not hit it at all. She asked me if I had
heard such and such a Scotch minister, or had read somebody's sermons
which she named? Alas! I had not so much as heard of their names.
Judging by her looks, she must have thought me an ignoramus. For a
mortal hour we sat together, almost in silence, her eyes occasionally
directed full upon me. We were for the moment relieved by the entrance
of a young lady, one of the daughters of the house, who was introduced
to me. But, alas! we got on no better than before. The young lady sat
with downcast eyes, intent upon her knitting, though I saw that her
eyes were black, and that she was pretty.

Then the master of the house came home, and we had dinner in a quiet,
sober fashion. In the evening the lady and I made a few further
efforts at conversation. I was looking at the books on the
drawing-room table, when she all at once brightened up, and
asked--"Have you ever heard of Robbie Burns?" I answered (I fear
rather chaffingly) that "I had once heard there was such a person."
"Have you, tho'?" said the lady, relapsing into crochet. The gentleman
went off to sleep, and the young lady continued absorbed in her
knitting. A little later in the evening the hostess made a further
effort. "Have you ever tasted whisky toddy?" To which I answered,
"Yes, once or twice," at which she seemed astonished. But the whisky
toddy, which might have put a little spirit into the evening, did not
make its appearance. The subject of the recent marriage festivity
having come up, the lady was amazed to find I had been there, and that
I was fond of dancing! I fear this sent me down a great many more pegs
in her estimation. In fact, my evening was a total failure, and I was
glad to get to bed--though it was an immense expanse of bed, big
enough for a dozen people.

To make a long story short, next morning I went with the family to
"the kirk," heard an awfully long sermon, during which I nipped my
fingers to keep myself awake; and as soon as I could I made my escape
back to my lodgings, very well pleased to get away, but feeling that I
must have left a very unfavourable impression upon the minds of my
worthy entertainers.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: Mr. Batman died in September, 1869, at the age of 77, and
his funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Melbourne. This
"father of Melbourne" kept the first store, and published the first
newspaper in the settlement.]

[Footnote 4: The public library was inaugurated under Mr. La Trobe's
Government in 1853, when 4,000_l._ was voted for books and an edifice.
The sum was doubled in the following year, and greatly increased in
succeeding years. In 1863, 40,000_l._ of public money had been
expended on the building, and 30,000_l._ on the library.]



CHAPTER VIII.

UP COUNTRY.

OBTAIN A SITUATION IN AN UP-COUNTRY BANK--JOURNEY BY
RAIL--CASTLEMAINE--FURTHER JOURNEY BY COACH--MARYBOROUGH--FIRST SIGHT
OF THE BUSH--THE BUSH TRACKS--EVENING PROSPECT OVER THE
COUNTRY--ARRIVAL AT MY DESTINATION.


I had now been in Melbourne some weeks, and the question arose--What
next? I found the living rather expensive, and that it was making a
steady drain upon my funds. I had the option of a passage home, or of
staying in the colony if I could find some employment wherewith to
occupy myself profitably in the meanwhile. But I could not remain much
longer idle, merely going about visiting and enjoying myself.

I took an opportunity of consulting the eminent physician, Dr.
Halford, who pronounced my lungs sound, but recommended me, because of
the sudden changes of temperature to which Melbourne is liable, either
to return home immediately, in order to establish the benefit I had
derived from the voyage, or, if I remained, to proceed up country,
north of the Dividing Range, where the temperature is more equable.

I accordingly determined to make the attempt to obtain some settled
employment in the colony that might enable me to remain in it a
little longer. I found that there were many fellows, older and more
experienced than myself, who had been knocking about Melbourne for
some time, unable to find berths. It is quite natural that the young
men of the colony, desirous of entering merchants' houses, banks, or
insurance offices, should have the preference over new comers; and
hence those young men who come here, expecting to drop into clerk's
offices, soon find themselves _de trop_, and that they are a drug in
the market.

The prospect of obtaining such employment in my own case did not,
therefore, look very bright; yet I could but try and fail, as others
had done. In the last event there was the passage home, of which I
could avail myself. Well, I tried, and tried again, and at last
succeeded, thanks to the friendly gentlemen in Melbourne who so kindly
interested themselves in my behalf. In my case luck must have helped
me: for I am sure I did not owe my success to any special knowledge.
But happy I was when, after a great deal of running about, it was at
length communicated to me that there was a vacancy in an up-country
branch of one of the principal colonial banking companies, which was
open to my acceptance.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE GOLD-MINING DISTRICT, VICTORIA.]

I took the position at once, and made my arrangements for starting to
enter upon the duties of the office forthwith. I of course knew
nothing of the country in which the branch bank was situated,
excepting that it was in what is called a digging township--that is,
a township in which digging for gold is the principal branch of
industry. When I told my companions what occupation I had before me,
and where I was going, they tried to frighten me. They pictured to me
a remote place, with a few huts standing on a gravelly hill,
surrounded by holes and pools of mud. "A wretched life you will lead
up there," they said; "depend upon it, you will never be able to bear
it, and we shall see you back in Melbourne within a month, disgusted
with up-country life." "Well, we shall see," I said: "I am resolved to
give it a fair trial, and in the worst event I can go home by the next
Money Wigram."

After the lapse of two days from the date of my appointment, I was at
the Spencer Street Station of the Victoria Railway, and booked for
Castlemaine, a station about eighty miles from Melbourne. Two of my
fellow-passengers by the 'Yorkshire' were there to see me off, wishing
me all manner of kind things. Another parting, and I was off
up-country. What would it be like? What sort of people were they
amongst whom I was to live? What were to be my next experiences?

We sped rapidly over the flat, lowly-undulating, and comparatively
monotonous country north of Melbourne, until we reached the Dividing
Range, a mountainous chain, covered with dark-green scrub, separating
Bourke from Dalhousie County, where the scenery became more varied and
interesting.

In the railway-carriage with me was a boy of about twelve or
fourteen, who at once detected in me a "new chum," as recent arrivals
in the colony are called. We entered into conversation, when I found
he was going to Castlemaine, where he lived. He described it as a
large up-country town, second only to Ballarat and Melbourne. But I
was soon about to see the place with my own eyes, for we were already
approaching it; and before long I was set down at the Castlemaine
Station, from whence I was to proceed to my destination by coach.

The town of Castlemaine by no means came up to the description of my
travelling companion. Perhaps I had expected too much, and was
disappointed. The place is built on the site of what was once a very
great rush, called Forest Creek. Gold was found in considerable
abundance, and attracted a vast population into the neighbourhood. But
other and richer fields having been discovered, the rush went
elsewhere, leaving behind it the deposit of houses now known as
Castlemaine.[5] It contains but few streets, and those not very good
ones. The houses are mostly small and low; the greater number are only
one-storied erections. Everything was quiet, with very little traffic
going on, and the streets had a most dead-alive look.

The outskirts of the town presented a novel appearance. Small heaps of
gravelly soil, of a light-red colour, lying close to each other,
covered the ground in all directions, almost as far as the eye could
reach. The whole country seemed to have been turned over, dug about,
and abandoned; though I still observed here and there pools of red
muddy water, and a few men digging, searching for gold amongst the old
workings.

I put up at one of the hotels, to wait there until the coach started
at midnight. The place was very dull, the streets were very dull, and
everybody seemed to have gone to bed. At length the hours passed, and
the coach drew up. It was an odd-looking vehicle, drawn by four
horses. The body was simply hung on by straps, innocent of springs.
There were no windows to the carriage, but only leather aprons in
their place. This looked rather like rough travelling.

Away we went at last, at a good pace, over a tolerably good road.
Soon, however, we began to jolt and pitch about, the carriage rolling
and rocking from side to side. There was only one passenger besides
myself, a solitary female, who sat opposite to me. I held on tight to
the woodwork of the coach, but, notwithstanding all my efforts, I got
pitched into the lady's lap more than once. She seemed to take it all
very coolly, however, as if it were a mere matter of course.

After changing horses twice, and after a good deal more jolting, the
road became better and smoother; and then I observed, from the signs
outside, that we were approaching a considerable place. I was told
that it was Maryborough, and shortly after the coach pulled up at the
door of an hotel and I alighted. It was now between four and five in
the morning, so I turned into bed and had a sound sleep.

I was wakened up by a young gentleman, who introduced himself to me as
one of my future "camarades" in the bank, to whom my arrival had been
telegraphed. After making a good breakfast I stepped on to the
verandah in front of the hotel, and the high street of Maryborough lay
before me. It seemed a nice, tidy town. The streets were white and
clean; the shops, now open, were some of brick, and others of wood.
The hotel in which I had slept was a two-storied brick building. Two
banks were in the main street, one of them a good building. Everything
looked spic-and-span new, very unlike our old-fashioned English
country towns.

The township to which I was destined being distant about six miles
from Maryborough, I was driven thither in the evening,--full of
wonderment and curiosity as to the place to which I was bound. As we
got outside Maryborough into the open country, its appearance struck
me very much. It was the first time I had been amongst the gum-trees,
which grow so freely in all the southern parts of Australia.

For a short distance out of the town the road was a made one, passing
through some old workings, shown by the big holes and heaps of gravel
that lay about. Further on, it became a mere hardened track, through
amongst trees and bushes, each driver choosing his own track. As soon
as one becomes the worse for wear, and the ruts in it are worn too
deep, a new one is selected. Some of these old ruts have a very ugly
look. Occasionally we pass a cottage with a garden, but no village is
in sight. The brown trees have a forlorn look; the pointed leaves seem
hardly to cover them. The bushes, too, that grow by the road-side,
seem straggling and scraggy: but, then, I must remember that it is
winter-time in Australia.

At length we reach the top of a hill, from which there is a fine view
of the country beyond. I have a vivid recollection of my first glimpse
of a landscape which afterwards became so familiar to me. The dark
green trees stretched down into the valley and clothed the undulating
ground which lay toward the right. Then, on the greener and
flatter-looking country in front, there seemed to extend a sort of
whitish line--something that I could not quite make out. At first I
thought it must be a town in the distance, with its large white
houses. In the blue of the evening I could not then discern that what
I took to be houses were simply heaps of pipeclay. Further off, and
beyond all, was a background of brown hills, fading away in the
distance. Though it was winter time, the air was bright and clear, and
the blue sky was speckled with fleecy clouds.

But we soon lose sight of the distant scene, as we rattle along
through the dust down-hill. We reach another piece of made road,
indicating our approach to a town; and very shortly we arrive at a
small township close by a creek. We pass a shed, in which stampers are
at work, driven by steam,--it is a quartz-mill; then a blacksmith's
shop; then an hotel, and other houses. I supposed this was to be my
location; but, no! The driver turns sharp off the high road down
towards the creek. It is a narrow stream of dirty-coloured water,
trickling along between two high banks. We drive down the steep on one
side and up the other with a tremendous pull, the buggy leaning
heavily to one side. On again, over a crab-holey plain, taking care to
avoid the stumps of trees and bad ground. Now we are in amongst the
piles of dirt which mark abandoned diggings.

Another short bit of made road, and we are in the township. It is
still sufficiently light to enable me to read "Council Chambers" over
the door of a white-painted, shed-like, wooden erection of one story.
Then up the street, past the shops with their large canvas signs,
until at length we pull up alongside a wooden one-storied house,
roofed with iron, and a large wooden verandah projecting over the
pathway in front. The signboard over the door tells me this is the
Bank. I have reached my destination, and am safely landed in the town
of Majorca.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: Before railways were introduced, the town was a great
depôt for goods going up-country to the different diggings.]



CHAPTER IX.

MAJORCA.

MAJORCA FOUNDED IN A RUSH--DESCRIPTION OF A RUSH--DIGGERS CAMPING
OUT--GOLD-MINING AT MAJORCA--MAJORCA HIGH STREET--THE PEOPLE--THE
INNS--THE CHURCHES--THE BANK--THE CHINAMEN--AUSTRALIA THE PARADISE OF
WORKING MEN--"SHOUTING" FOR DRINKS--ABSENCE OF BEGGARS--NO COPPERS UP
COUNTRY.


In my school-days Majorca was associated in my mind with "Minorca and
Ivica," and I little thought to encounter a place of that name in
Australia. It seems that the town was originally so called because of
its vicinity to a rocky point called Gibraltar, where gold had been
found some time before. Like many other towns up country, the founding
of Majorca was the result of a rush.

In the early days of gold-digging, when men were flocking into the
colony to hunt for treasure, so soon as the news got abroad of a great
nugget being found by some lucky adventurers, or of some rich
gold-bearing strata being struck, there was a sudden rush from all
quarters to the favoured spot. Such a rush occurred at Majorca in the
year 1863.

Let me try to describe the scene in those early days of the township,
as it has been related to me by those who witnessed it. Fancy from
fourteen to fifteen thousand diggers suddenly drawn together in one
locality, and camped out in the bush within a radius of a mile and a
half.

A great rush is a scene of much bustle and excitement. Long lines of
white tents overtop the heaps of pipeclay, which grow higher from day
to day. The men are hard at work on these hills of "mullock," plying
the windlasses by which the stuff is brought up from below, or
puddling and washing off "the dirt." Up come the buckets from the
shafts, down which the diggers are working, and the dirty yellow water
is poured down-hill to find its way to the creek as it best may.
Unmade roads, or rather tracks, run in and out amongst the claims,
knee-deep in mud; the ground being kept in a state of constant
sloppiness by the perpetual washing for the gold. Perhaps there is a
fight going on over the boundary-pegs of a claim which have been
squashed by a heavy dray passing along, laden with stores from
Castlemaine.

The miners are attended by all manner of straggling followers, like
the sutlers following a camp. The life is a very rough one: hard work
and hard beds, heavy eating and heavy drinking. The diggers mostly
live in tents, for they are at first too much engrossed by their
search for gold to run up huts; but many of them sleep in the open air
or under the shelter of the trees. A pilot-coat or a pea-jacket is
protection enough for those who do not enjoy the luxury of a tent; but
the dryness and geniality of the climate are such that injury is very
rarely experienced from the night exposure. There are very few women
at the first opening of new diggings, the life is too rough and rude;
and some of those who do come, rock the cradle--but not the household
one--with the men. The diggers, however genteel the life they may have
led before, soon acquire a dirty, rough, unshaven look. Their coarse
clothes are all of a colour, being that of the clay and gravel in
which they work, and the mud with which they become covered when
digging.

There is a crowd of men at an open bar drinking. Bar, indeed! It is
but a plank supported on two barrels; and across this improvised
counter the brandy bottle and glasses are eagerly plied. A couple of
old boxes in front serve for seats, while a piece of canvas, rigged on
two poles, shades off the fierce sun. Many a large fortune has been
made at a rude bar of this sort. For too many of the diggers, though
they work like horses, spend like asses. Here, again, in the long main
street of tents, where the shafts are often uncomfortably close to the
road, the tradesmen are doing a roaring business. Stalwart men, with
stout appetites, are laying in their stores of grocery, buying pounds
of flour, sugar, and butter--meat and bread in great quantities. The
digger thrusts his parcels indiscriminately into the breast of his
dirty jumper, a thick shirt; and away he goes, stuffed with groceries,
and perhaps a leg of mutton over his shoulder. In the evening some
four thousand camp fires in the valleys, along the gullies, and up the
sides of the hills, cast a lurid light over a scene, which, once
witnessed, can never be forgotten.

There were, of course, the usual rowdies at Majorca as at other
rushes. But very soon a rough discipline was set up and held them in
check; then a local government was formed; and eventually order was
established. Although the neighbouring towns look down on "little
Majorca"--say it is the last place made--and tell of the riotous
doings at its first settlement, Majorca is quoted by Brough Smyth,
whose book on the gold-fields is the best authority on the subject, as
having been a comparatively orderly place, even in the earliest days
of the rush. He says, "Shortly after the workings were opened, it
presented a scene of busy industry, where there was more of order,
decency, and good behaviour than could probably be found in any mining
locality in England, or on the Continent of Europe."[6]

The contrast, however, must be very great between the Majorca of
to-day and the Majorca of seven years since, when it was a great
gold-diggers' camp. It had its first burst, like all other celebrated
places in the gold-fields. As the shallower and richer ground became
worked out, the diggers moved off to some new diggings, and the first
glories of the Majorca rush gradually passed away. Still, the place
continued prosperous. The mining was carried down into deeper strata.
But after a few years, the yield fell off, and the engines were
gradually withdrawn. Some few claims are doing well in new offshoots
of the lead, and the miners are vigorously following it up. Two engine
companies are pushing ahead and hoping for better things. Over at the
other side of the creek, in amongst the ranges, there is still plenty
of fair yielding quartz, which is being got out of mother earth; and
the miners consider that they have very fair prospects before them.[7]

Indeed, Majorca has subsided into a comparatively quiet country place,
containing about 800 inhabitants. It is supported in a great measure
by the adjoining farming population. And I observed, during my stay at
the place, that the more prudent of the miners, when they had saved a
few hundred pounds--and some saved much more--usually retired from
active digging, and took to farming. The town consists, for the most
part, of one long street, situated on a rising ground. There are not
many buildings of importance in it. The houses are mostly of wood,
one-storied, and roofed with corrugated iron. There is only one brick
shop-front in the street, which so over-tops the others, that
malicious, perhaps envious, neighbours say it is sure to topple down
some day on to the footway. The shops are of the usual description,
grocers, bakers, butchers, and drapers; and the most frequent style of
shop is a store, containing everything from a pickaxe and tin dish
(for gold washing) to Perry Davis's patent Pain-killer. We have of
course our inns--the Imperial, where the manager of the bank and
myself lived; the Harp of Erin, the Irish rendezvous, as its name
imports, even its bar-room being papered with green; the German Hotel,
where the Verein is held, and over which the German tri-coloured flag
floats on fête-days; and there is also a Swiss restaurant, the
Guillaume Tell, with the Swiss flag and cap of liberty painted on its
white front.

I must also mention the churches, standing off the main street, which
are the most prominent buildings in Majorca. The largest is the
Wesleyan Chapel, a substantial brick building, near which still stands
the old wooden shanty first erected and used in the time of the rush.
Then there is the Church of England, a neat though plain edifice, well
fitted and arranged. The Presbyterians worship in a battered-looking
wooden erection; and the Roman Catholics have a shed-like place, which
in week days is used as a school.

Our inns and our churches will give you some idea of the population of
Majorca. I should say the most of it--the substance--is English. The
Irish are hard workers, but generally spendthrifts, though there are
some excellent exceptions. The Irish hold together in religion,
politics, and drink. The Scotch are not so numerous as the Irish, but
somehow they have a knack of getting on. They are not clannish like
the Irish. Each hangs by his own hook. Then there are the Germans, who
are pretty numerous, a very respectable body of men, with a sprinkling
of Italians and Swiss. The Germans keep up their old country fashions,
hold their Verein, meet and make speeches, sing songs, smoke pipes,
and drink thin wine. Lager-beer has not reached them yet.

The building in Majorca in which I am, of course, most of all
interested, is that in which I officiate as "Accountant," the only
other officer in the bank being the "Manager." You will thus observe
that there are only officers in our establishment--all rank and no
file. Let me give you an idea of our building. Its walls are wooden,
with canvas inside, and its roof is of corrugated iron. The office
fronts the main street, and is fitted with a plain counter facing the
door, at one end of which are the gold-weighing scales, and at the
other the ledger-desk. Two rooms are attached to the office, in which
we sleep,--one behind, the other at the side. There is a pretty
little garden in the rear, a verandah covered with a thickly growing
Australian creeper (the Dolichos), sheltering us as we sit out there
occasionally, enjoying the quiet cool of the evenings, reading or
talking.

You will thus observe that our establishment is by no means of a
stately order.[8] Indeed the place is not weather-proof. When the wind
blows, the canvas inside the boards flaps about, and, in my queer
little sleeping-room, when the rain falls it runs down the sides of
the canvas walls, and leaves large stains upon the gay paper. But I
contrived to make the little place look tolerably comfortable; hung it
round with photographs reminding me of relations and friends at home,
and at length I came quite to enjoy my little retreat.

A look up and down the main street of Majorca is not particularly
lively at any time. Some of the shop-keepers are in front of their
stores, standing about under the verandahs which cover the pathway,
and lazily enjoying a pipe. At the upper end of the town the
blacksmith is busily at work shoeing some farmer's horses, in front of
the blazing smithy fire. Five or six diggers come slouching along,
just from their work, in their mud-bespattered trowsers and their
shirt sleeves, a pick or spade over their shoulders, and a tin "billy"
in their hands. But for the occasional rattle of a cart or buggy down
the street, the town would be lapped in quiet.

Here comes a John Chinaman with his big basket of vegetables. And let
me tell you that the Chinamen, who live in the neighbourhood of the
town, form no unimportant part of our community. But for them where
should we be for our cabbages, cauliflowers, and early potatoes? They
are the most indefatigable and successful of gardeners. Every morning
three or four of them are seen coming into the town from their large
gardens near the creek, each with a pole across his shoulders, and a
heavily laden basket hanging from each end. What tremendous loads they
contrive to carry in this way! Try to lift one of their baskets, and
you will find you can hardly raise it from the ground. Then you see
the "Johns" moving along from house to house, selling their stuffs. It
takes a very clever woman to get the better of one of the Chinamen in
a bargain. I found, by watching closely, that those got best off who
chose what they wanted out of the basket, paid what they thought a
fair price, and stuck to their purchase. John would at last agree, but
go away grumbling.

Of course there is not much in the way of what is called "society" at
this place. Like all the new towns in Australia, it consists for the
most part of a settlement of working people. Australia may, however,
be regarded as the paradise of working men, when they choose to avail
themselves of the advantages which it offers. Here there is always
plenty of profitable work for the industrious. Even Chinamen get
rich. The better sort of working families live far more comfortably
than our clerking or business young men do at home. The respectable
workman belongs to the Mechanics' Institute, where there is a very
good circulating library; he dresses well on Sundays, and goes to
church; hires a horse and takes a pleasure ride into the bush on
holidays; puts money in the bank, and when he has accumulated a fund,
builds a house for himself, or buys a lot of land and takes to
farming. Any steady working man can do all this here, and without any
difficulty.

Where the digger or mechanic does not thrive and save money, the fault
is entirely due to his own improvidence. Living is cheap. Clothes are
dear, but the workman does not need to wear expensive clothes; and
food is reasonable. Good mutton sells at 3_d._ a pound, and bread at
6_d._ the four pound loaf. Thanks to the Chinamen also, vegetables are
moderate in price. Every one may, therefore, save money if he has the
mind to do so. But many spendthrifts seem to feel it a sort of
necessity to throw away their money as soon as they have earned it. Of
course, the chief source of waste here, as at home, is drink. There is
constant "shouting" for drinks--that is, giving drinks all round to my
acquaintances who may be present. And as one shouts, so another
follows with his shout, and thus a great deal of drink is swallowed.
Yet, I must say that, though there may be more drinking here than in
England, there is much less drunkenness. I have very seldom seen a man
really drunk during my stay in Majorca. Perhaps the pure dry
atmosphere may have something to do with it. But often, also, when
there is a shout, the call of many may be only for lemonade, or some
simple beverage of that sort. It must also be stated, as a plea for
men resorting so much as they do to public-houses, that there are few
other places where they can meet and exchange talk with each other.

That everybody may thrive here who will, is evident from the utter
absence of beggars in Australia. I have not seen one regular
practitioner. An occasional "tramp" may be encountered hard up, and in
search of work. He may ask for assistance. He can have a glass of beer
at a bar, with a crust of bread, by asking for it. And he goes on his
way, most likely getting the employment of which he is in search at
the next township. The only beggars I ever encountered at Majorca are
genteel ones--the people who come round with lists, asking for
subscriptions in aid of bazaars for the building of churches and the
like. Nor did I find much of that horrid "tipping" which is such a
nuisance in England. You may "shout" a liquor if you choose, but
"tipping" would be considered an insult.

There is an almost entire absence of coppers up country; the lowest
change is a threepenny bit, and you cannot well spend anything under a
sixpence. I never had any copper in my pocket, except only a lucky
farthing. Many asked me for it, to keep as a curiosity, saying they
had never seen one since they left home. But I would not part with my
farthing.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: The following is from Mr. Brough Smyth's book:--

     "I need only now speak of Majorca. Here a prospecting shaft
     was bottomed in the beginning of March, 1863, in the middle
     of a very extensive plain, known as M'Cullum's Creek Plain.
     The depth of the shaft was 85 feet, through thick clay,
     gravel, and cement. The wash-dirt was white gravel,
     intermixed with heavy boulders, on a soft pipeclay bottom;
     its thickness being from 2 to 3 feet. It averaged in some
     places 3 oz. to the load. Finally, a rush set in, and before
     three months had elapsed there were more than 15,000 miners
     on the ground. The sinking became deeper as the work went
     on, and was so wet that whims had to be erected; and at one
     time, in 1865, over 170 might have been seen at work, both
     night and day. Subsequently steam machinery was procured,
     and now no less than ten engines, varying from 15- to
     20-horse power, are constantly employed in pumping, winding,
     and puddling. The lead in its lower part is 160 feet in
     depth, and is evidently extending towards the Carisbrook,
     Moolart, and Charlotte plains, where so much is expected by
     all scientific men."--_Mr. E. O'Farrell, formerly Chairman
     of the Mining Board of the Maryborough District.--Brough
     Smyth_, pp. 98, 99.
]

[Footnote 7: Since my return home, letters from Majorca inform me that
things have recently taken a turn for the better. Several of the
alluvial mining companies are getting gold in increased quantities.
New shafts have been bottomed on rich ground, and the remittances of
gold are gradually on the increase.]

[Footnote 8: Since I left Majorca a neat and substantial brick
building has been erected for the purposes of the bank, in lieu of the
former wooden structure.]



CHAPTER X.

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD AND NEIGHBOURS.

"DINING OUT"--DIGGERS' SUNDAY DINNER--THE OLD WORKINGS--THE CHINAMEN'S
GARDENS--CHINAMEN'S DWELLINGS--THE CEMETERY--THE HIGH PLAINS--THE
BUSH--A RIDE THROUGH THE BUSH--THE SAVOYARD WOODCUTTER--VISIT TO A
SQUATTER.


There is no difficulty in making friends in Victoria. New chums from
home are always made welcome. They are invited out and hospitably
entertained by people of all classes. But for the many kind friends I
made in Majorca and its neighbourhood I should doubtless have spent a
very dull time there. As it was, the eighteen months I lived up
country passed pleasantly and happily.

The very first Sunday I spent in Majorca I "dined out." I had no
letters of introduction, and therefore did not owe my dinner to
influence, but to mere free-and-easy hospitality. Nor did the party
with which I dined belong to the first circles, where letters of
introduction are of any use; for they were only a party of diggers. I
will explain how it happened.

After church my manager invited me to a short walk in the
neighbourhood. We went in the direction of M'Cullum's Creek, about a
mile distant. This was the village at the creek which I passed on the
evening of my first drive from Maryborough. Crossing the creek, we
went up into the range of high ground beyond; and from the top of the
hill we had a fine view of the surrounding country. Majorca lay below,
glistening amidst its hillocks of pipeclay. The atmosphere was clear,
and the sky blue and cloudless. Though the town was two miles distant,
I could read some of the names on the large canvas sign-boards over
the hotel doors; and with the help of an opera-glass, I easily
distinguished the windows of a house six miles off. The day was fine
and warm, though it was mid-winter in June; for it must be borne in
mind that the seasons are reversed in this southern hemisphere.

Descending the farther side of the hill, we dropped into a gully,
where we shortly came upon a little collection of huts roofed with
shingle. The residents were outside, some amusing themselves with a
cricket-ball, while others were superintending the cooking of their
dinners at open fires outside the huts. One of the men having
recognized my companion, a conversation took place, which was followed
by an invitation to join them at dinner. As we were getting rather
peckish after our walk, we readily accepted their offered hospitality.
The mates took turn and turn about at the cooking, and when dinner was
pronounced to be ready, we went into the hut.

The place was partitioned off into two rooms, one of which was a
sleeping apartment, and the other the dining-room. It was papered with
a gay-coloured paper, and photographs of friends were stuck up
against the wall. We were asked to be seated. To accommodate the
strangers, an empty box and a billet of wood were introduced from the
outside. I could not say the table was laid, for it was guiltless of a
table-cloth; indeed all the appointments were rather rough. When we
were seated, one of the mates, who acted as waiter, brought in the
smoking dishes from the fire outside, and set them before us. The
dinner consisted of roast beef and cauliflower, and a capital dinner
it was, for our appetites were keen, and hunger is the best of sauces.
We were told that on Sundays the men usually had pudding; but "Bill,"
who was the cook that week, was pronounced to be "no hand at a plum
duff." We contrived, however, to do very well without it.

I afterwards found that the men were very steady fellows--three of
them English and one a German. They worked at an adjoining claim; and
often afterwards I saw them at our bank, selling their gold, or
depositing their savings.

After dinner we had a ramble through the bush with our hosts, and
then, towards dusk, we wended our way back to the township. Such was
my first experience of diggers' hospitality in Australia, and it was
by no means the last.

Another afternoon we made an excursion to the Chinamen's gardens,
which lie up the creek, under the rocky point of Gibraltar, about a
mile and a half distant from the township. We went through the
lead--that is, the course which the gold takes underground, and which
can be traced by the old workings. Where the gold lies from five to
seven feet beneath the surface, the whole ground is turned over to get
at it. But where the gold-bearing stratum lies from fifty to two
hundred feet deep, and shafts have to be sunk, the remains of the old
workings present a very different appearance. Then mounds of white
clay and gravel, from twenty to forty feet high, lie close
together--sometimes not more than fifteen feet apart. Climb up to the
top of one of these mounds, and you can see down the deserted shaft
which formerly led to the working ground below. Look round; see the
immense quantity of heaps, and the extent of ground they cover, almost
as far as the eye can reach up the lead, and imagine the busy scene
which the place must have presented in the earlier days of the rush,
when each of these shafts was fitted with its windlass, and each mound
was covered with toiling men. In one place a couple of engine-sheds
still remain, a gaunt erection supporting the water-tanks; the
poppet-heads towering above all, still fitted with the wheels that
helped to bring the gold to the surface. How deserted and desolate the
place looks! An abandoned rush must be as melancholy a sight to a
miner as a deserted city to a townsman. But all is not dead yet. Not
far off you can see jets of white steam coming up from behind the high
white mounds on the new lead, showing that miners are still actually
at work in the neighbourhood; nor are they working without hope.

Passing through the abandoned claims, we shortly found ourselves on
the brow of the hill overlooking the Chinamen's gardens, of which we
had come in search, and, dipping into the valley, we were soon in
front of them. They are wonderfully neat and well kept. The oblong
beds are raised some ten inches above the level of the walks, and the
light and loamy earth is kept in first-rate condition. The Chinamen
are far less particular about their huts, which are both poor and
frail. Some of them are merely of canvas, propped up by gum-tree
branches, to protect them from the wind and weather. But John has more
substantial dwellings than these, for here, I observe, is a neat
little cluster of huts, one in the centre being a well-constructed
weatherboard, with a real four-paned glass window in it.

Crossing the ditch surrounding the gardens upon a tottering plank, and
opening the little gate, we went in. The Chinamen were, as usual,
busily at work. Some were hoeing the light soil, and others, squatted
on their haunches, were weeding. They looked up and wished us "Good
evening" as we passed along. Near the creek, which bounded one end of
the ground, a John was hauling up water from the well; I took a turn
at the windlass, and must confess that I found the work very hard.

The young vegetables are reared with the greatest care, and each plant
is sedulously watched and attended to. Here is a John, down on his
haunches, with a pot of white mixture and a home-manufactured brush,
painting over the tender leaves of some young cabbages, to save them
from blight. He has to go through some hundreds of them in this way.
Making our way into one of the larger huts, we stroll into the open
door, and ask a more important-looking man if he has any water-melon?
We get a splendid one for "four-pin," and have a delicious "_gouter_."
Our host--a little, dry, withered-up fellow, dressed in a soiled blue
cotton jacket, and wide trowsers which flap about his ankles--collects
the rind for his fowls. The hard-beaten ground is the only flooring of
the hut, and the roof is simply of bark.

In one of the corners of the cabin was a most peculiar-looking affair,
very like a Punch and Judy show. On the proscenium, as it were, large
Chinese letters were painted. Inside was an image or idol (the joss),
carved in wood, with gorgeous gilded paper stuck all round him. A
small crowd of diminutive Chinamen knelt before him, doing homage. On
the ledge before the little stage was a glass of _porter_ for the idol
to drink, and some rice and fruit to satisfy his appetite. Numerous
Chinese candles, like our wax tapers, were put up all round inside,
and the show, when lit up, must have looked very curious.

The Chinamen are always pleased at any notice taken of their houses,
so we penetrated a little further into the dwelling. In one little
room we found a young fellow reading a Chinese book with English words
opposite the characters. It seemed a sort of primer or word-book. My
friend having asked the Chinaman to give us some music on an
instrument hanging above him, which looked something like our banjo,
he proceeded to give us some celestial melodies. The tunes were not
bad, being in quick time, not unlike an Irish jig, but the chords were
most strange. He next played a tune on the Chinese fiddle, very thin
and squeaky. The fiddle consists of a long, straight piece of wood,
with a cross-piece fixed on to the end of it. Two strings stretch from
the tip of the cross-piece to the end of the long piece. The
instrument is rested on the knee, and the gut of the bow, which is
between the two strings, is drawn first across one and then the other.
An invisible vocalist, in the adjoining cabin, gave us a song to the
accompaniment of the violin. I should imagine that it was a
sentimental song, as it sounded very doleful; it must surely have been
the tune that the old cow died of!

We were now in the bedroom, which was a most quaint affair. You must
not imagine that the Chinamen sleep on beds at all--at least the
Chinamen here do not. A wooden stretcher, covered with fine straw
matting, is sufficient for their purpose. The room was lit by a small
window; the walls were decorated with a picture or two from the
'Illustrated London News,' placed side by side with Chinese likenesses
of charming small-footed ladies, gaudily dressed in blues and yellows.

In another adjoining hut we found a Chinaman whom we knew,--a man who
comes to the bank occasionally to sell us gold. He was cooking his
supper, squatting over the fire, with an old frying-pan containing
something that looked very like dried worms frizzling in fat. "Welly
good" he told us it was; and very good he seemed to be making it, as
he added slice after slice of cucumber to the mixture. John showed us
the little worm-like things before they were put in the pan, and he
told us they came "all the way Canton." He offered us, by way of
refreshment, his very last drop of liquor from a bottle that was
labelled, "Burnett's Fine Old Tom," which he kept, I suppose, for his
private consumption. John's mates shortly after came in to their meal,
when we retired--I with a cucumber in my pocket, which he gave me as a
present, and a very good one it was. I often afterwards went over to
see the Chinamen, they were so quaint and funny in their ways.

I observe that in the cemetery the Chinamen have a separate piece of
burying-ground apportioned to them. There their bodies are interred;
but only to be dug up again, enclosed in boxes, and returned to China
for final burial; the prejudice said to prevail amongst them being
that if their bones do not rest in China their souls cannot enter
Paradise. Not only are they careful that their bodies, but even that
bits of their bodies, should be returned to their native land. There
was a Chinaman in Majorca whom I knew well, that had his finger taken
off by an accident. Shortly after, he left the township; but, three
months after, he one day made his appearance at our bank. I asked him
where he had been, and why he had come back to Majorca? "Oh!" said
he, holding up his hand, "me come look after my finger." "Where is
it?" I asked.

"Oh! me put 'em in the ground in bush--me know." And I have no doubt
he recovered his member, and went away happy.

My greatest pleasure, while at Majorca, was in riding or walking
through the bush--that is, the country as Nature made it and left
it--still uncleared and unoccupied, except by occasional flocks of
sheep, the property of the neighbouring squatters. North of Majorca
lies a fine tract of country which we call the high plains, for we
have to cross a creek and climb a high hill before we get on to them.
Then for an invigorating gallop over the green turf, the breeze
freshening as we pace along. These plains are really wonderful. They
look like a large natural amphitheatre, being level for about fifteen
miles in every direction and encircled all round by high hills. There
is very little timber on the plains.

The bush covers the ranges of hills between Majorca and these plains
or lower grounds, amidst which the creeks run. Here, in some places,
the trees grow pretty thickly; in others, the country is open and
naturally clear. There is, however, always enough timber about to
confuse the traveller unless he knows the track.

Shortly after my settling in Majorca, having heard that one of my
fellow-passengers by the 'Yorkshire' was staying with a squatter about
fourteen miles off, I determined to pay him a visit. I thought I knew
the track tolerably well; but on my way through the bush I got
confused, and came to the conclusion that I had lost my way. When
travellers get lost, they usually "_coo-ee_" at the top of their
voice, and the prolonged note, rising at the end, is heard at a great
distance in the silence of the bush. I _coo-ied_ as loud as I could,
and listened; but there was no response. I rode on again, and at
length I thought I heard a sort of hammering noise in the distance. I
proceeded towards it, and found the noise occasioned by a man chopping
wood. Glad to find I was not yet lost, I went up to him to ask my way.
To my surprise, he could not speak a word of English. I tried him in
German, I tried him in French. No! What was he, then? I found, by his
_patois_, a few words of which I contrived to make out, that he was a
Savoyard, who had only very recently arrived in the colony. By dint of
signs, as much as words, I eventually made out the direction in which
I was to go in order again to find the track that I had missed, and I
took leave of my Savoyard with thanks.

I succeeded in recovering the track, and eventually reached the
squatter's house in which my friend resided. It was a large stone
building, erected in the modern style of villa architecture. Beside it
stood the original squatter's dwelling. What a contrast they
presented! The one a tall, handsome house; the other a little,
one-storied, shingle-roofed hut, with queer little doors and windows.
My friend, as he came out and welcomed me, asked me to guess what he
had been just doing. He had been helping to put in the new stove in
the kitchen, for the larger house is scarcely yet finished. He told
me what a good time he was having: horses to ride, doing whatever he
liked, and enjoying a perfect Liberty Hall.

The host himself shortly made his appearance, and gave me a cordial
welcome. After dinner we walked round and took a view of the place.
Quite a little community, I found, lived about; for our host is a
large squatter, farmer, and miller; all the people being supplied with
rations from the station store. There is even a station church
provided by the owner, and a clergyman comes over from Maryborough
every Sunday afternoon to hold the service and preach to the people.
After a very pleasant stroll along the banks of the pretty creek which
runs near the house, I mounted my nag, and rode slowly home in the
cool of the evening.



CHAPTER XI.

AUSTRALIAN WINTER--THE FLOODS.

THE VICTORIAN CLIMATE--THE BUSH IN WINTER--THE EUCALYPTUS, OR
AUSTRALIAN GUM-TREE--BALL AT CLUNES--FIRE IN THE MAIN STREET--THE
BUGGY SAVED--DOWN-POUR OF RAIN--GOING HOME BY WATER--THE FLOODS
OUT--CLUNES SUBMERGED--CALAMITY AT BALLARAT--DAMAGE DONE BY THE
FLOOD--THE CHINAMEN'S GARDENS WASHED AWAY.


I was particularly charmed with the climate of Victoria. It is really
a pleasure to breathe the air: it is so pure, dry, and exhilarating.
Even when the temperature is at its highest, the evenings are
delightfully cool. There is none of that steamy, clammy, moist heat
during the day, which is sometimes so difficult to bear in the English
summer; and as for the spring of Australia, it is simply perfection.

It was mid-winter when I arrived in Majorca--that is, about the end of
June, corresponding with our English December. Although a wood-fire
was very pleasant, especially in the evenings, it was usually warm at
midday. The sky was of a bright, clear blue, and sometimes the sun
shone with considerable power. No one would think of going out with a
great coat in winter, excepting for a long drive through the bush or
at night. In fact, the season can scarcely be termed winter; it is
rather like a prolonged autumn; extending from May to August. Snow
never falls,--at least, I never saw any during the two winters I spent
in the colony; and although there were occasional slight frosts at
night in the month of August, I never observed the ice thicker than a
wafer. I once saw a heavy shower of hail, as it might fall in England
in summer; but it melted off the ground directly.

In proof of the mildness of the climate, it may further be mentioned
that the Australian vegetation continues during the winter months. The
trees remain clothed in their usual garb, though the leaves are of a
somewhat browner hue than in the succeeding seasons.

The leaves of the universal gum-tree, or Eucalyptus of Australia, are
pointed, each leaf seeming to grow separately, and they are so
disposed as to give the least possible shade. Instead of presenting
one surface to the sky and the other to the earth, as is the case with
the trees of Europe, they are often arranged vertically, so that both
sides are equally exposed to the light. Thus the gum-tree has a
pointed and sort of angular appearance, the leaves being thrust out in
all directions and at every angle. The blue-gum and some others have
the peculiarity of throwing off their bark in white-grey longitudinal
strips or ribands, which, hanging down the branches, give them a
singularly ragged look, more particularly in winter. From this
description, it will be gathered that the gum-tree is not a very
picturesque tree; nevertheless, I have seen some in the far bush which
were finely proportioned, tall, and might even be called handsome.

The fine winter weather continues for months, the days being dry and
fine, with clear blue sky overhead, until about the end of August,
when rain begins to fall pretty freely. During the first winter I
spent at Majorca, very little rain fell during two months, and the
country was getting parched, cracked, and brown. Then everybody prayed
for rain, for the sake of the flocks and herds, and the growing crops.
At last the rain came, and it came with a vengeance.

It so happened that about the middle of October I was invited to
accompany a friend to a ball given at Clunes, a township about fifteen
miles distant; and we decided to accept the invitation. As there had
been no rain to speak of for months, the tracks through the bush were
dry and hard. We set off in the afternoon in a one-horse buggy, and
got down to Clunes safely before it was dark.

Clunes is a rather important place, the centre of a considerable
gold-mining district. Like most new up-country towns, it consists of
one long street; and this one long street is situated in a deep
hollow, close to a creek. The creek was now all but dry, like the
other creeks or rivers in the neighbourhood.

The ball was given, in a large square building belonging to the
Rechabites, situated in the upper part of the town. The dancing began
about half-past nine, and was going on very briskly, when there was a
sudden cry of "fire." All rushed to the door; and sure enough there
was a great fire raging down the street, about a quarter of a mile
off. A column of flames shot up behind the houses, illuminating the
whole town. The gentlemen of the place hastened away to look after
their property, and the dance seemed on the point of breaking up. I
had no property to save, and I remained. But the news came from time
to time that the fire was spreading; and here, where nearly every
house was of wood, the progress of a fire, unless checked, is
necessarily very rapid. Fears now began to be entertained for the
safety of the town.

The fire was said to be raging in the main street, quite close to the
principal inn. Then suddenly I remembered that I, too, had something
to look after. There was the horse and buggy, for which my friend and
I were responsible, as well as our changes of clothes. I ran down the
street, elbowing my way through the crowd, and reached close to where
the firemen were hard at work plying their engines. Only two small
wooden houses intervened between the fire and the inn. I hastened into
the stable, but found my companion had been there before me. He had
got out the horse and buggy, and our property was safe. Eight houses
had been burnt down along one side of the street, before the fire was
got under.

After this excitement, nothing remained but to go back and finish the
dance. Our local paper at Majorca--for you must know we have "an
organ"--gave us a hard hit, comparing us to Nero who fiddled while
Rome was burning, whereas _we_ danced while Clunes was burning. But we
did not resume the dance till the fire was extinguished. However,
everything must come to an end, and so did the dance at about five
o'clock in the morning.

Shortly after the fire, the rain had begun to fall; and it was now
coming down steadily. We had nothing for it but to drive back the
fifteen miles to Majorca, as we had to be at business by 10 o'clock.
We put on our heaviest things, and set off just as the first streaks
of daylight appeared. As we drove down the street, we passed the
smouldering remains of the fire. Where, the night before, I had been
talking to a chemist across his counter, there was nothing but ashes;
everything had been burnt to the ground. Further on were the charred
timbers and smoking ruins of the house at which the fire had been
stayed.

The rain came down heavier and heavier. It seemed to fall solid, in
masses, soaking through rugs, top-coats, and waterproofs, that we had
before deemed impervious. However, habit is everything, and when once
we got thoroughly soaked we became comparatively indifferent to the
rain, which never ceased falling. We were soon in the bush, where
there was scarcely a track to guide us. But we hastened on, knowing
that every moment increased the risk of our missing the way or being
hindered by the flood. We splashed along through the mud and water. As
we drove through a gully, we observed that what had before been a dry
track was now changed into a torrent. Now hold the mare well in! We
are in the water, and it rushes against her legs as if striving to
pull her down. But she takes willingly to the collar again, and with
one more good pull lands us safely on the other side, out of reach of
the ugly, yellow, foaming torrent.

By the grey light of the morning, we saw the water pouring down the
sides of the high ground as we passed. It was clear that we must make
haste if we would reach Majorca before the waters rose. We knew that
at one part of the road we should have to drive near the bank of the
creek, which was sure to be flooded very soon. Our object accordingly
was, to push on so as to pass this most perilous part of our journey.

On we drove, crossing dips in the track where foaming streams were now
rushing along, while they roared down the gullies on either side. It
was fortunate that my companion knew the road so well: as, in trying
to avoid the deeper places, we might have run some risk from the
abandoned shafts which lay in our way. At last we got safely across
the water, alongside the swollen creek, now raging in fury; and glad I
was when, rising the last hill, and looking down from the summit, I
saw the low-roofed houses of Majorca before me.

I found that we had been more fortunate than a party that left Clunes
a little later, who had the greatest difficulty in reaching home by
reason of the flood. At some places the gentlemen had to get out of
the carriages into the water, up to their middle, and sound the
depths of the holes in advance, before allowing the horses to proceed.
And hours passed before they succeeded in reaching their destination.

During the course of the day we learnt by telegraph--for telegraphs
are well established all over the colony--that the main street of
Clunes had become turned into a river. The water was seven feet deep
in the very hotel where we had dressed for the ball! All the back
bed-rooms, stables, and outbuildings had been washed away, and carried
down the creek; and thousands of pounds' worth of damage had been done
in the lower parts of the town.

A few days later, when the rain had ceased, and the flood had
subsided, I went down to Deep Creek to see something of the damage
that had been done. On either side, a wide stretch of ground was
covered by a thick deposit of sludge, from one to four feet deep. This
was the débris or crushings which the rain had washed down from the
large mining claims above: and as it was barren stuff, mere crushed
quartz, it ruined for the time every bit of land it covered. The scene
which the track along the creek presented was most pitiable. Fences
had been carried away; crops beaten down; and huge logs lay about,
with here and there bits of furniture, houses, and farm-gear.

I find the floods have extended over the greater part of the colony.
Incalculable damage has been done, and several lives have been lost.
The most painful incident of all occurred at Ballarat, where the
miners were at work on one of the claims, when a swollen dam burst
its banks and suddenly flooded the workings. Those who were working on
the top of the shaft fled; but down below, ten of the miners were at
work at a high level, in drives many feet above the bottom of the
claim. The water soon filling up the drives through which they had
passed from the main shaft, the men were unable to get out. They
remained there, cooped up in their narrow dark workings, without food,
or drink, or light for three days; until at last the water was got
under by the steam-pumps, and they were reached. Two had died of sheer
privation, and the rest were got out more dead than alive.

The poor Chinamen's gardens down by the creek, under Gibraltar, had
also suffered severely by the flood. MacCullum's Creek, in ordinary
seasons, is only a tiny stream, consisting of water-holes
communicating with each other by a brook. But during a flood it
becomes converted into a raging torrent, and you can hear its roar a
mile off. Within about five hours the water in it had risen not less
than twenty feet! This will give you an idea of the tremendous force
and rapidity of the rainfall in this country. Of course the damage
done was great, in MacCullum's as in Deep Creek. A heavy timber bridge
had been carried quite away, not a trace of it remaining. Many miners'
huts in the low ground had been washed away; while others, situated in
more sheltered places, out of the rush of the torrent, had been quite
submerged, the occupants saving themselves by hasty flight in the
early morning; some of them having been only wakened up by the water
coming into their beds.

One eccentric character, a Scotchman, who determined to stick to his
domicile, took refuge on his parlour table as the water was rising.
Then, as it got still higher, he placed a chair upon the table, and
stood up on it, the water continuing to rise, over his legs, then up
and up; yet still he stuck to his chair. His only regret, he
afterwards said, was that he could not get at his whisky bottle, which
he discerned upon a high shelf temptingly opposite him, but beyond his
reach. The water at last began to fall; he waded up to his neck for
the bottle; and soon the water was out of the house; for its fall is
almost as sudden as its rise.

I was sorry for the poor Chinamen, whom I found, two days later, still
wandering about amidst the ruins of their gardens. Their loamy beds
had been quite washed away, and their fences and some of their huts
carried clean down the creek. One of them told me he had lost 30_l._
in notes, which he had concealed in his cabin; but the flood had risen
so quickly that he had been unable to save it. I picked up a
considerable-sized stone that had been washed on to the Chinamen's
ground; it was a piece of lava thrown from one of the volcanic hills
which bound the plain,--how many thousands of years ago! These
volcanic stones are so light and porous that they swim like corks, and
they abound in many parts of this neighbourhood.



CHAPTER XII.

SPRING, SUMMER, AND HARVEST.

SPRING VEGETATION--THE BUSH IN SPRING--GARDEN FLOWERS--AN EVENING
WALK--AUSTRALIAN MOONLIGHT--THE HOT NORTH WIND--THE PLAGUE OF
FLIES--BUSH FIRES--SUMMER AT CHRISTMAS--AUSTRALIAN FRUITS--ASCENT OF
MOUNT GREENOCK--AUSTRALIAN WINE--HARVEST--A SQUATTER'S FARM--HARVEST
HOME CELEBRATION--AURORA AUSTRALIS--AUTUMN RAINS.


After a heavy rainfall, the ground becomes well soaked with water, and
vegetation proceeds with great rapidity. Although there may be an
occasional fall of rain at intervals, there is no recurrence of the
flood. The days are bright and clear, the air dry, and the weather
most enjoyable. It is difficult to determine when one season begins
and another ends here; but I should say that spring begins in
September. The evenings are then warm enough to enable us to dispense
with fires, while at midday it is sometimes positively hot.

Generally speaking, spring time is the most delightful season in
Australia. The beautiful young vegetation of the year is then in full
progress; the orchards are covered with blossom; the fresh, bright
green of the grass makes a glorious carpet in the bush, when the trees
put off their faded foliage of the previous year, and assume their
bright spring livery. In some places the bush is carpeted with
flowers--violet flowers of the pea and vetch species. There is also a
beautiful plant, with flowers of vivid scarlet, that runs along the
ground; and in some places the sarsaparillas, with their violet
flowers, hang in festoons from the gum-tree branches. And when the
wattle-bushes (a variety of the acacia tribe) are covered over with
their yellow bloom, loading the air with their peculiarly sweet
perfume, and the wild flowers are out in their glory, a walk or a ride
through the bush is one of the most enjoyable of pleasures.

I must also mention that all kinds of garden flowers, such as we have
at home, come to perfection in our gardens here,--such as anemones,
ranunculuses, ixias, and gladiolas. All the early spring
flowers--violets, lilacs, primroses, hyacinths, and tulips--bloom most
freely. Roses also flower splendidly in spring, and even through the
summer, when not placed in too exposed situations. At Maryborough our
doctor had a grand selection of the best roses--Lord Raglan, John
Hopper, Marshal Neil, La Reine Hortense, and such like--which, by
careful training and good watering, grew green, thick, and strongly,
and gave out a good bloom nearly all the summer through.

By the beginning of November, full summer seems already upon us, it is
so hot at midday. Only towards the evening, when the sun goes down--as
it does almost suddenly, with very little twilight--it feels a little
chilly and even cold. By the middle of the month, however, it has
grown very warm indeed, and we begin to have a touch of the hot wind
from the north. I shall not soon forget my first experience of walking
in the face of that wind. It was like encountering a blast from the
mouth of a furnace; it made my cheeks quite tingle, and it was so dry
that I felt as if the skin would peel off.

On the 16th of November I found the thermometer was 98° in the shade.
Try and remember if you ever had a day in England when it was so hot,
and how intolerable it must have been! Here, however, the moisture is
absent, and we are able to bear the heat without much inconvenience,
though the fine, white dust sometimes blows in at the open door,
covering ledger, cash-book, and everything. On the 12th of December I
wrote home: "The weather is frightfully hot; the ledger almost
scorches my hands as I turn over the leaves." Then again, on the 23rd,
I wrote that "the heat has risen to 105°, and even 110°, in the shade;
yet, in consequence of the dryness and purity of the atmosphere, I
bear it easily, and even go out to walk."

My favourite walk in the bush, in early summer, is towards the summit
of a range of hills on the south of the township. I set out a little
before sunset, when the heat of the day is well over, and the evening
begins to feel deliciously cool. All is quiet; there is nothing to be
heard but the occasional note of the piping-crow, and the chatter of a
passing flock of paroquets. As I ascend the hill, passing an abandoned
quartz-mine, even these sounds are absent, and perfect stillness
prevails. From the summit an immense prospect lies before me. Six
miles away to the south, across the plain, lies the town of Talbot;
and beyond it the forest seems to extend to the foot of the Pyrenees,
standing up blue in the distance some forty miles away. The clouds
hang over the mountain summits, and slowly the monarch of day descends
seemingly into a dark rift, leaving a track of golden light behind
him. The greeny-blue sky above shines and glows for a few minutes
longer, and then all is suffused in a soft and mournful grey. The
change is almost sudden. The day is over, and night has already come
on. Darkness follows daylight so suddenly that in nights when there is
no moon, and it is cloudy, one has to hasten homeward, so as not to
miss the track or run the risk of getting benighted in the bush.

But, when the moon is up, the nights in Australia are as brilliant as
the days. The air is cool, the sky cloudless, and walking in the bush
is then most delightful. The trees are gaunt and weird-like, the
branches standing in bold relief against the bright moonlight. Yet all
is so changed, the distant landscape is so soft and lovely, that one
can scarcely believe that it is the same scene we have so often looked
upon in broad daylight. It is no exaggeration to say that the
Australian moonlight is so bright that one may easily read a book by
it of moderately-sized type.

But Australian summer weather has also its _désagrémens_. The worst of
these is the hot north wind, of which I have already described my
foretaste; though old colonists tell me that these have become much
less intolerable, and occur much seldomer, since the interior of the
country has been settled and comparatively cultivated. But the hot
winds are still bad to bear, as I can testify. They blow from the
parched lands of Central Australia, and bring with them clouds of dust
and insects. I should think they must resemble the African simoom. The
Melbourne people call these burning blasts the "brick-fielders." The
parching wind makes one hot and feverish, and to fly to the bar for
cooling drinks; but there even the glasses are hot to the touch. Your
skin becomes so dry and crisp that you feel as if it would crackle
off. The temperature rises to 120°--a pretty tidy degree of heat!
There is nothing for it but to fly within doors, shut up every cranny
to keep out the hot dust, and remain in darkness.

While the hot wind lasts, the air is of a heavy copper colour.
Everything looks yellow and withered. The sun appears through the dust
dull red, and no bigger than the moon, just as it does on a foggy
morning in London. Perhaps after an hour or two of this choking heat
the hot wind, with its cloud of dust, passes away southward, and we
have a deliciously cool evening, which we enjoy all the more
contrasted with the afternoon's discomfort. The longest time I have
known the hot wind to last was two days, but it is usually over in a
few hours. The colonials say that these winds are even of use, by
blowing the insect tribes out to sea; and that but for them the crops
would, in summer time, be completely eaten away.

Another source of discomfort is the flies in summer. They abound
everywhere. They fill the rooms, and as you pass along the streets
they rise in clouds. The ceilings are sometimes black with them, and
no food can be left exposed for an instant without the certainty of
its being covered with them. There is one disgusting yellow-bodied
blow-fly, which drops his maggots with extraordinary fecundity. The
flies are also a nuisance in the bush, where veils are usually worn
when driving, to prevent their annoyance. And in the swamps there are
vigorous and tormenting musquitoes, as I have elsewhere described.

After the parching heat of summer, and especially after the excessive
dryness occasioned by the hot winds, the whole face of the country
becomes, as it were, combustible, and bush-fires have at such times
burst forth apparently spontaneously, and spread with great rapidity.
The "Black Thursday" of the colony, some fifteen years since, when
fire covered many hundreds of miles, is still remembered with horror;
but, as settlement and cultivation have extended, these sudden
outbreaks of fire have become comparatively rare.

When Christmas arrives, summer is at its height. It finds us perhaps
gasping with heat, sitting in our shirt-sleeves for coolness, and
longing for the cool evening. Yet there are few who do not contrive to
have their Christmas roast and plum-pudding, as at home. As
strawberries are then in their prime and in great abundance, many hold
strawberry picnics on Christmas Day; while sober church-goers enjoy
them at home.

The abundance of fruits of all kinds affords one of the best proofs of
the geniality of the climate. First come strawberries, followed by
abundance of plums, peaches, and apricots, and afterwards by pears and
apples in plenty. Our manager's garden at Maryborough is a sight worth
seeing in summer time. Having a plentiful supply of water, he is able
to bring his fruit to great perfection. The plum and peach trees
seemed almost overburdened with their delicious loads. Through the
centre of the garden is a cool green alley, shaded with a vine-covered
trellis. The bunches of fast-ripening grapes are hanging on all sides,
and promise an abundant crop.

Some of my pleasantest associations are connected with the January
afternoons spent in the orchards about Majorca. One day a party of us
drove out in search of a good fruit-garden. We went over the hill to
the south, and down the long valley on the Talbot road, raising clouds
of white dust as we went; then up another hill, from the summit of
which, down by the banks of the creek, and almost close to the foot of
Mount Greenock, we discovered the garden of which we had come in
search. We descended and entered the garden, still covered with
greenery, notwithstanding the tremendous heat, and there found the
fruit in perfection.

Mount Greenock is one of the many volcanic hills which abound in this
neighbourhood. It is almost a perfect cone, some eight or nine
hundred feet high. "What a splendid prospect from the summit!" said
one of my companions. "Well, let us go up--there will probably be a
fine breeze on the top." "Too hot by far," was the answer. "Not at
all," said I, "the thing is to be done." "Well," said my friend, "you
may go if you like; but if you do, and are back in three-quarters of
an hour, I'll undertake to shout fruits and drinks for the remainder
of the afternoon."

A noble offer! So I immediately stripped, took one look at the steep
hill above, the withered grass upon it almost glittering in the sun,
and started. I was soon across the nearly-dry creek, and, beginning
the ascent, I went on pretty steadily until I was within about two
hundred feet of the summit, when the great heat began to tell upon me.
I stopped, looked down the steep hill up which I had come, saw what a
little way further comparatively I had to go, and clambered upward
again. It was still a long and fatiguing pull, mostly over loose lava
stones; but at last I reached the top, panting and out of breath.
After such a tremendous pull as that, I do not think any one will
venture to say that my lungs can be unsound.

I looked round at the magnificent view. It was indeed well worth
climbing the hill to see. I first turned my eyes northward towards
Majorca. There it was, with its white streak of pipeclay above it.
Beyond, in the distance, lay Carisbrook, with the bald hill standing
out in bold relief behind it. Nearer at hand are the mining works of
several companies, with their engine-sheds surrounded by huge piles
of refuse. Turning my eyes southward, I saw Talbot, about a mile off,
looking quite an important place, with its numerous red-brick
buildings and clusters of comfortable-looking houses. On the west,
towards Maryborough, lay a wide extent of bush, clad in its never
varying dark green verdure. The sky was clear, blue, and cloudless;
and though the sun was in all his strength, the light breeze that
played round the top of the mount made the air pleasant and
exhilarating to breathe.

I shortly turned my steps down-hill, tacking and zigzagging in the
descent because of the steepness. I was soon at the foot of the mount,
across the brook, and seated in the garden, enjoying the fresh fruit,
with an occasional draught of colonial wine.

Apropos of wine and grapes. It is anticipated by those who have had
the longest experience of the climate and soil of Victoria, that it is
not unlikely before long to become one of the principal wine-growing
countries in the world. The vine grows luxuriantly, and the fruit
reaches perfection in all parts of the colony, but more particularly
in the fine district situated along the River Murray. Most of the
farmers up country make their own wines for home use. It is a rough,
wholesome sort of claret. But when the Germans, who are well
accustomed to the culture of the vine, give the subject their
attention, a much finer quality is produced. There are already several
vineyard associations at work, who expect before long to export
largely to England, though at present the greater part of the wine
grown is consumed in the colony. A friend of mine at Melbourne has
planted an extensive vineyard at Sunbury, some thirty miles north of
the city, cultivated by Swiss vignerons; and, though I am no judge of
wine, the Burgundy which I tasted at his table was very grateful to my
inexperienced palate, and I was told that it was of very superior
quality.[9]

After summer comes harvest, when the farmer gathers in the produce of
his year's industry, takes stock, and counts his gains. Harvest is
well over by the end of February. When I rode out to Perry's Farm, on
the second day of March, I found the fields already cleared, and the
grain housed. All the extra hands had gone. Only a week before, the
fields had been busy with reapers, binders, and machine-men, for whom
enormous meat pies had to be cooked and great joints of meat
roasted,--for labouring men in Australia are accustomed to consume
much larger quantities of flesh meat than at home.

The scene is now perfectly quiet. The cows are coming in to be milked,
and a very fine lot they are--fifteen or more. The great stacks of
straw are shining in the red sunlight, for the sun is getting low,
though it is still warm. We go up to the farmhouse, having hung our
horses' reins over the rail, and saunter in through the back door.
Here no handing in of cards is required, for we know we are sure of
being made welcome; and in Australia hospitality is boundless. We
taste the grapes, which are just ripe, and wash them down with a glass
of home-brewed mead. But beware of that mead! Though it looks very
innocent, it is really very strong and heady.

The farmer then took us into his barn, and proudly pointed with his
heavy whip to the golden grain piled up on the floor; then over his
stable, to look at his horses. There we found our own nags, which had
been taken in for a feed. Bringing them out, and mounting again, we
rode on a little further to another farm situated on a hill-side a
little higher up the valley.

The farmhouse here is a little gem of a dwelling, situated in a nice
shady place, in the midst of a luxurious garden. Here, too, we
dismounted and entered the house, for we knew the host--a most genial
fellow, whose honest English face it was always a pleasure to see: it
was so full of kindness and good humour. We took a stroll round the
garden while the sun was setting, and then turned in for a cup of good
tea, which "missus" had got ready for us.

One of our entertainer's greatest delights was in talking about "old
times"--though they were only a year or two old after all,--yet "new
chums" were always ready to sit listening to his tales open-mouthed.
He had been a digger, like most of the farmers hereabout, and he told
us how he was the first to find the gold at the great rush at
Maryborough; how he saw the gold glistening in the gravel one day
that he was out in the bush; how, for weeks, he lived quietly, but
digging and gathering gold early and late, until, having made his
little golden harvest, enough to buy and stock a farm, he went and
gave information to the commissioner as to the find, and then what a
rush of thousands of diggers there was to the ground! how streets
sprang up, stores were opened, hotels were built, and at last
Maryborough became the great place that it is--the thriving centre of
a large mining as well as agricultural district.

In such old diggers' talk two hours had passed almost before we were
aware; and then we rose to go. The horses were brought out, and we
mounted and rode cautiously home, for it was now quite dark. It was a
fine mild night, and we had plenty of time; so we talked and laughed
our way through the bush--our voices the only sounds to be heard,
except it might be the noise of a bird rising on the wing, startled
from its perch by our merry laughter or the clatter of our horses'
hoofs on the hard ground as we trotted along.

Another day, I drove out with one of the neighbouring farmers to his
place on the other side of the Deep Creek. At this late season the
bush is dried up and melancholy-looking; very different from what it
is in the lovely spring time. Now the bush seems dead-alive, fast
putting on its winter garb, while withered stalks of grass cover the
plains. We pass the neighbourhood of a large squatter's station, the
only one about here,--the run being very large, extending for a great
distance over the plains. It consists of not less than 60,000 acres
of purchased land and 60,000 acres of government land, on which the
squatter exercises the usual rights of pasturage.

Crossing the creek by a wooden bridge, we were shortly at my friend's
farm. We heard the buzzing noise of the threshing-machine in the
adjoining fields. There was the engine busily at work, just as at
home. Steam penetrates everywhere,--across the seas, over the
mountains, and into the bush. We soon came up to the engine, where the
men were at work. It was pretty severe under a hot sun, amidst clouds
of dust and bits of chaff flying about from the thresher. Many of the
men wore spectacles to protect their eyes from the glare of the sun's
heat.

The engine was just about to stop, to allow the men to have their
midday spell of rest; and they were soon at their meal of meat and
cold tea. The farmer came upon some of the men smoking quite
unconcernedly beside the great piles of straw; and wroth he was at
their carelessness, as well he might be, for had a fire burst out, it
would have destroyed straw, wheat, engine, and all. The wheat seemed
of excellent quality, and the farmer was quite pleased with his crop,
which is not always the case with farmers.

We afterwards went over the farm buildings, which are neat and
substantial. A large stone barn has at one end of it a kitchen
attached, where the men's victuals are cooked during harvest time;
and, close at hand, is a comfortable stone cottage for the
accommodation of the manager and his family.

After going over the farm, I had a refreshing bathe in the creek, at a
convenient place; though I have heard that it is not unusual for
bathers who get into a muddy water-hole to be startled by a sudden
sting, and when they emerge from the water, to find half a dozen
hungry leeches hanging on to their skin. For leeches are plentiful in
Australia, and even form an article of considerable export to England.

We afterwards went out to Perry's harvest dance and supper, with which
the gathering in of the crops is usually celebrated, as at home. The
wheat had by this time all been sold and cleared out of the barn, and
it was now rigged up as a ball-room. We had a good long spell of
dancing, to the music of a violin and a bush piano. Perhaps you don't
know what a bush piano is? It consists of a number of strings arranged
on a board, tightened up and tuned, upon which the player beats with a
padded hammer, bringing out sounds by no means unmusical. At all
events, the bush piano served to eke out the music of our solitary
violin.

After the dance there was the usual bounteous supper, with plenty to
eat and drink for all; and then our horses were brought out and we
rode homeward. It was the end of harvest, just the time of the year
when, though the days were still warm, the nights were beginning to be
cool and sharp, as they are about the beginning of October in England.
One night there was a most splendid Aurora, one of the finest, it is
said, that had been seen, even in Australia. A huge rose-coloured
curtain seemed to be let down across half the sky, striped with bright
golden colour, shaded off with a deeper yellow. Beneath the red
curtain, close to the horizon, was a small semicircle of bright
greenish yellow, just as if the sun were about to rise; and bright
gleams of light shot up from it far into the sky, making the
rose-coloured clouds glow again. The brilliancy extended upwards
almost to the zenith, the stars glimmering through the darker or less
bright part of the sky. Though I have mentioned "clouds," there was
not a cloud to be seen; the clouds I name were really masses of
brilliant light, obscuring the deep blue beyond. I feel the utter
powerlessness of words to describe the magnificence of the scene.

The weather-wise people predicted a change of weather; and sure enough
a change shortly followed. We had had no rain for weeks; but early on
the second morning after the appearance of the Aurora, I was awakened
by the noise of heavy rain falling upon our slight iron roof. I found
a tremendous storm raging and the rain falling in masses. Our large
iron tank was completely filled in half an hour; and, overflowing, it
ran in upon our bank floor and nearly flooded us out. We had an
exciting time of it, baling out the water as fast as it ran in; for
somehow, the drain running underneath our boarded house had got
stopped. At last the rainfall ceased and the water was got rid of,
leaving everything in a state of damp--damp stools and chairs, damp
sheets, damp clothes, damp books, damp paper, damp everything.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 9: The kinds of wine principally produced in the colony are
Burgundy, Claret, white wine of the Sauterne kind, and a very
excellent sort of still Champagne. There are now regular autumn wine
sales at Melbourne and Geelong, at which large quantities are sold and
good prices realised. The total quantity produced in 1870 was 629,219
gallons.]



CHAPTER XIII.

BUSH ANIMALS--BIRDS--SNAKES.

THE 'POSSUM--A NIGHT'S SPORT IN THE BUSH--MUSQUITOES--WATTLE
BIRDS--THE PIPING-CROW--"MINERS"--PAROQUET-HUNTING--THE SOUTHERN
CROSS--SNAKES--MARSUPIAL ANIMALS.


A favourite sport in Australia is 'possum-shooting. The Australian
opossum is a marsupial quadruped, living in trees and feeding on
insects, eggs, and fruits. Its body is about twenty-five inches in
length, besides which it has a long prehensile tail, with which it
clings to the branches of the trees in which it lives. Its skin is
covered with thick fur, of a uniform smoky-black colour, tinged with
chestnut, and it is very much sought after because of its warmth and
beauty.

The proper time for 'possum-shooting is at night, when the moon is
nearly at her full, and one can see about almost as well as in the
daytime. Even Venus is so bright that, on a night when the moon was
absent, I have seen her give light enough to drive by.

A well-trained dog is almost indispensable for scenting the 'possums
and tracking them to their tree, beneath which he stands and gives
tongue. When the dog stands and barks, you may be sure there is the
"'possum up a gum-tree." I never had the good fortune to be
accompanied by a well-trained dog; but only by young ones new to the
sport.

We had, therefore, to find and sight our own game. This is done by
looking carefully along each branch, with the tree between you and the
bright moonlight; and if there be a 'possum there, you will see a
little black furry-like ball, motionless in the fork of a limb. On the
first night that I went out 'possum-shooting with a party of friends,
we trudged a good way into the bush, and searched the trees for a long
time in vain.

At length the old colonial who accompanied us, coming up to a large
tree, said, "Ah! here is a likely place;" and we began carefully to
spy the branches; "There he is," said the colonial, pointing to a limb
where he said the 'possum was. At first I could make out nothing. But
at last I spied the little round ball. He fired, and the animal fell
to the ground dead.

A little further on we searched again and found another. Now it was my
turn. I took steady aim at the black object between me and the moon,
and fired. Looking through the smoke, I saw Joey hanging on to the
branch by his tail; and in half a minute more he dropped to the
ground. I found that this was one of the ring-tailed species, the top
of the tail being bare for about two inches, and formed like a white
ring. 'Possums of this sort use their tails for climbing, like the
spider-monkey of Africa. I found I could carry my ring-tailer hanging
on to my finger, even after he was quite dead.

The next 'possum fell wounded from the tree, and took to his heels,
with the little dogs after him; and they settled him after a short
fight. Sometimes the 'possum, after being hit, will cling a long time
to the tree by his tail, with his body hanging down. Then the best and
lightest climber goes up to shake him down, and he soon drops among
the dogs, which are all excitement and ready to fall upon him.
Occasionally he will give them a good run, and then the object is to
prevent him getting up another tree.

Proceeding on our search, we found ourselves on some low swampy
ground, where there were said to be abundance of 'possums. But I had
no sooner entered the swamp than I was covered with musquitoes of the
most ravenous character. They rose from the ground in thousands, and
fastened on my "new chum" skin, from which the odour of the lime-juice
had not yet departed;[10] and in a few minutes I was literally in
torment, and in full retreat out of the swamp. Not even the prospect
of a full bag of 'possums would tempt me again in that direction.

In all, we got seven 'possums, which is considered a very small bag.
There is a practised sportsman in the town who goes out with a
well-trained dog, accompanied by a horse and cart; and he is
disappointed if he does not bring home quite a cart-load of fur.

When we had got done with our sport, and resolved on wending our way
homewards, I had not the faintest idea where we were, or of the
direction in which we were to proceed. Of course, near the town there
are plenty of tracks, but here there were none; and there is such a
complete sameness in the bush that I wondered that even my experienced
friend should be able to guide us back. But he had no difficulty in
finding the way, and we were soon tramping steadily along under the
bright moonlight, the straggling gum-trees looking more gaunt and
unshapely than usual,--the dry twigs crackling under our feet; and we
reached the township long after midnight.

On another occasion I accompanied the Maryborough doctor into the bush
to shoot wattle birds for a pie; but we did not succeed in getting a
pieful. I have an idea that the gay-coloured dress of a young lady who
accompanied us frightened the birds away. There were plenty of birds
about, but very few of the sort we wanted--a bird as large as a
pigeon, plump and tender to eat. The doctor drove us in and out among
the trees, and had once nearly turned us all perforce out of the
buggy, having got his wheels locked in the stump of a tree.

The speckled honey-suckers, yellow and black, chirped and gabbled up
among the trees. The leather-heads, with their bare neck and ruffle of
white feathers, almost like so many vultures in miniature, gave out
their loud and sudden croak; then lazily flapped their wings and flew
away to the next tree. Suddenly there is heard the single cry of the
bell-bird, just like the ringing of a glass bell; while far off in
the bush you could hear the note of the Australian magpie or
piping-crow, not unlike that of a silver flute, clear, soft, and
musical. The piping-crow is, indeed, a clever bird, imitating with
wonderful accuracy the cries of other birds; and when tamed it is
exceedingly amusing, readily learning to whistle tunes, which it does
extremely well.

Another day, I went out shooting with the Presbyterian minister, an
enthusiastic taxidermist, now occupied in making a very nice
collection of Australian birds. We had a gay time of it in the bush
that day. There were plenty of grey and black mina-birds, or "miners,"
as they are called here, chattering away in the trees in groups of
four or five. They are a species of grakle, and are lively and
intelligent birds, some of them possessing a power of imitating human
speech equal to any of the parrot tribe. They are very peculiar
looking, grey in the body, with a black dab on the head, and a large
bright yellow wattle just behind the eye. We pass the "miners"
unmolested, for the minister tells me they are "no good" if you want
eating, whilst as specimens they are too common.

Then there are the tiny grey wrens, sitting about in scores,--so small
that an English wren looks monstrous beside them. Across the sunlight,
and away over a hollow, there flies a flock of green and yellow
paroquets, screaming as they fly. The brilliant colours of their wings
flash and glitter as they come from under the shadow of the trees. Now
we stalk a solitary piping-crow from tree to tree; but no sooner do
you get near enough to take a pot shot at him than he pipes his note,
and is off. The only way of getting at him is to proceed cautiously
from bush to bush; but even then, so shy a bird is he, that it is very
difficult to bag him.

There is a flock of great white sulphur-crested cockatoos clustered up
in a high tree. Can we get a shot? They seem to anticipate our design,
for on the moment they rise and wheel overhead with elevated crests,
uttering their shrill hoarse cries. These are the fellows that
occasion our farmers so much trouble by eating the freshly-sown grain.

Then look! on that branch are twenty or thirty lovely little swift
paroquets, with green and dark blue wings tipped with yellow. They are
climbing in and out of the scant leafage, under and over the limbs of
the tree, hanging on by their claws; and they only rise if they see us
near enough to take a shot at them, when they take to wing screaming,
and fly away in a flock.

Once, when I had gone out parrot-potting, with another young fellow
almost as green as myself, we had very nearly got bushed. We had been
following up a flock of Blue Mountain parrots--handsome birds--of
which we wanted specimens for our collection. After some slight
success, we turned our way homewards. The sun was just setting.
Marking its position in the heavens, we took what we thought was the
right direction. There were no tracks to guide us--no
landmarks--nothing but bush. After walking for some time, and looking
again at the light of the sky where the sun had gone down, we found
that we had made a circuit upon our track, and were walking exactly in
the opposite direction to our township. We hastily retraced our steps,
for we knew that it would soon be dark, as the twilight is so short in
Australia. Fortunately for us, it was a very clear night, and as the
stars came brightly out we saw before us the Southern Cross high up on
our left, which guided us on our way. Had it been a cloudy night, most
probably we should have had to spend it in the bush; but, thanks to
the Southern Cross and good legs, we at length, though late, reached
our township in safety.

There are sometimes snakes met with in the bush, though I saw but few
of them, and these are always ready to get out of your way. The
largest fellow I saw was drawn out from under the flooring of a
weather-boarded hut on the hill-side above Majorca. I was coming down
early one morning from the school-house, when I stopped at the hut to
speak with the occupant. It is a very tidy little place, divided into
two rooms--parlour and bedroom. The parlour was pasted all over with
cheap prints reminding one of home, mostly taken from 'Punch' and the
'Illustrated London News.' Photographs of old friends were also hung
over the mantel-shelf. The floor was neat and clean; the little pot
was simmering over the little fire, and all was getting ready for
breakfast. A very pleasant picture of a thriving emigrant's home.

As I was standing outside, about to take my leave, casting my eyes on
the ground, I saw beneath the bench close to the door a long
brownish-grey thing lying quite still. I at once saw that it was a
snake, and snatched up a billet of wood to make a blow at him; but my
friend, who had more experience in such matters, held me back. "Just
wait a moment," said he, "and let me get hold of him." Quick as
thought he stooped down, seized firm hold of the snake by the tail,
and, whirling him rapidly round his head three or four times, he
dashed him against the boards of the hut and let him drop, crushing
the reptile's head with his boot-heel. The snake was four feet six
inches in length, and said to be of a very poisonous sort.

Snakes are much more common in the less cleared parts of the colony,
and fatal snake-bites are not infrequent. The most successful method
of treatment is that invented by Dr. Halford, of Melbourne, which
consists in injecting a solution of ammonia into a vein dissected out
and opened for the purpose. This is said at once and almost completely
to destroy the effects of the poison. Since my return home I observe
that Dr. Halford has been publicly rewarded for his discovery.

Kangaroo-hunting is one of the great sports of Victoria, but it was
not my fortune to see a hunt of this sort. There are now very few, if
any, kangaroo in this immediate neighbourhood.[11] Yet there is no
lack of marsupial animals of the same character: the opossum is one
of these. There is also a small kind of kangaroo, called the wallaby,
which, though I have not hunted, I have eaten. And wallaby stew is by
no means a bad dish: the flesh tastes very much like venison. Indeed,
the marsupial animals of Australia are of almost endless variety,
ranging from a very tiny animal, no bigger than our field-mouse, to
the great old-man kangaroo, which measures between seven and eight
feet from the nose to the tip of the tail. The peculiarity of all this
class of animals, from the smallest to the largest, is the marsupium,
or pouch, in which the females carry their immature young until they
are old enough to shift for themselves. The kangaroo is almost
confined to Australia, though several species are also to be met with
in the neighbouring islands.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: It is said in the colony that the musquitoes scent out
each "new chum," or fresh importation, by the lime-juice he has taken
on board ship; and that, being partial to fresh blood, they attack the
"new chums" in preference to the seasoned inhabitants.]

[Footnote 11: There is a Hunt Club at Avoca, that hunts kangaroo. The
animals abound north of the Murray River; and some parts of the
unsettled country in Gipps Land still swarm with them.]



CHAPTER XIV.

GOLD-BUYING AND GOLD-MINING.

HOW THE GOLD IS FOUND--GOLD-WASHING--QUARTZ-CRUSHING--BUYING GOLD FROM
CHINAMEN--ALLUVIAL COMPANIES--BROKEN-DOWN MEN--UPS AND DOWNS IN
GOLD-MINING--VISIT TO A GOLD MINE--GOLD-SEEKING--DIGGERS' TALES OF
LUCKY FINDS.


I must now be excused if I talk a little "shop." Though my
descriptions hitherto have, for the most part, related to up-country
life, seasons, amusements, and such like, my principal concern, while
living in Majorca, was with bank business and gold-buying. The
ordinary business of a banking office is tolerably well known, but the
business of gold-buying is a comparatively new feature, peculiar to
the gold-producing districts, and is, therefore, worthy of a short
description.

The gold is found and brought to us in various forms. The Majorca gold
is generally alluvial, consisting of coarse gold-dust and small
nuggets washed out from the gravel. There are also some quartz reef
mining companies, whose gold is bought in what we call a retorted
state. Let me explain. The quartz containing the gold is stamped and
broken up by heavy iron hammers falling upon it; and a stream of
water constantly running down into the box in which the stampers work,
the soluble dirt is washed away, while the particles of quartz and
gold are carried forward over boards, in which, at intervals, are
small ripples containing quicksilver. The quicksilver clings to the
gold and forms an amalgam with it. This is collected, taken out, and
squeezed in bags of chamois leather,--by which the greater part of the
quicksilver is pressed out and saved for a repetition of the process.
The residue is placed in a retort, and exposed to heat, by which the
remainder of the quicksilver is driven off by evaporation, leaving the
gold in a solid lump. There are, however, various other processes by
which the gold is separated from the quartz.

Sometimes the gold is offered for sale in a very imperfectly separated
state, and then considerable judgment is required in deciding as to
its value. In alluvial gold there is always a certain proportion of
chips of iron, which have flown from the picks used in striking and
turning up the gravel. These pieces of iron are carefully extracted by
means of a magnet. The larger bits of gold, if there be any, are then
taken out and put to one side. The remainder is put into a shallow tin
dish, which is shaken with a peculiar turn of the wrist, and all the
sand and dirt thus turned to the point of the dish. This is blown off;
then up goes the gold again, and you blow and blow until all the sand
is blown off. If there remain any gold with quartz still adhering to
it, the particles are put into a big iron mortar and well beaten, and
the process above described is repeated. The gold is then ready for
weighing and buying, and there is usually no difficulty in settling
the price with English diggers, the price varying according to the
assay of the gold.[12]

Our great difficulty is with the Chinamen, who are very close-fisted
fellows. They mostly work at sludge, which Englishmen have already
washed; and they are found hanging on to the tailings of old workings,
washing the refuse in order to extract the gold that had been missed.
Old tailings are often thus washed several times over, and never
without finding gold to a greater or less amount. When a party of
Chinamen think they can do better elsewhere, they may be seen moving
off, carrying their whole mining apparatus on their backs, consisting
of tubs, blankets, tin scoops, and a small washing-cradle.

The Chinamen get their gold in a very rude way, though it seems to
answer their purpose. They put the stuff to be washed on to their
cradle, and by scooping water over it and keeping the cradle going
they gradually rinse it away, the fluid running over two or three
ledges of blankets, and leaving the fine gold remaining behind
adhering to the wool. After the process has been continued
sufficiently long, the gold-dust is collected from the blankets, and
is retorted by the Chinamen themselves, and then they bring it for
sale. The retorting has usually been badly done, and there remains a
good deal of quicksilver and nitric acid adhering to the gold. The
only way of dealing with it is to put the whole into a crucible, then
make it red hot, and keep the gold at the melting-point for five or
ten minutes.

As we have got no furnace of our own on the premises, I have
frequently to march up the street to the blacksmith's shop, to put
John Chinaman's gold to the test. If John is allowed to go by himself,
he merely waits till the gold gets warm, takes it out again, and
brings it back, saying, "All light; welly good, welly good gole; no
gammon." But you should see John when I go up to the blacksmith's
myself, put the crucible into the hottest part of the fire, and begin
to blow the bellows! When the gold begins to glow with heat, and he
knows the weight is diminishing by the quicksilver and dirt that are
flying off, he cries, "Welly hot! too muchee fire; me losem too muchee
money!" But the thing must be done, and John must take the choice of
his dirty gold or the regular price for it when cleaned. I have known
it lose, by this process of purifying, as much as from five to six
pennyweights in the ounce.

Sometimes he will bring only a few shillings' worth, and, when the
money is tendered for it, he will turn it over in his hand, like a
London cabman when his regular fare is given him. One man, who almost
invariably brought only a very small quantity, would begin his
conversation with, "No more money now--no more chow-chow (dinner)--no
more opium!" Sometimes matters come to a climax, and he tells us that
we "too much lie and cheatem;" on which we send him out at the door.

The lower orders of Chinamen are almost invariably suspicious that
Englishmen cheat them, although some of them are very decent fellows,
and, indeed, kind and even polite. Several times I have asked them how
they were going to spend the money for which they had sold their
gold--say five shillings; and they would answer, ingenuously enough,
"Two shillings for opium, three shillings for chow-chow;" leaving no
margin for sundries.

We buy from the Chinamen as little as three shillings' worth of gold,
and from the mining companies up to any amount. Some of the latter
bring in hundreds of pounds' worth of gold at a time. The quartz
companies bring theirs in large yellow lumps, of over 200 ounces,
fresh from the retort; and the alluvial companies generally deposit
theirs in leather bags containing their washings, until the end of the
week or fortnight, when they sell the accumulated product.

There is, of course, a good deal of excitement and anxiety about
gold-digging. When men get into good gold-yielding ground, by steady
work they contrive to make fair earnings, and sometimes a good deal of
money; but they have usually to work pretty hard for it. Of course,
the most successful men are working miners, men who understand the
business; for gold-mining is a business, like any other. The amateur
men, who come in search of lucky finds and sudden fortunes, rarely do
any good. Nearly all the young fellows, sons of gentlemen, who could
do no good at home and came out here during the "rushes," are still in
no better position than they were at starting. A few of them may have
done well; but the greater number are bullock-drivers in the country,
cab-drivers in Melbourne, shepherds in the bush, or, still worse,
loafers hanging about the drinking-bars.

I know many men, of good family and education, still working as common
miners in this neighbourhood. Although their life is a rough one, they
themselves think it is better than a struggling clerk's life at home;
and perhaps they are right. I know one young man, formerly a medical
student in England, digging for weekly wages, hired by a company of
miners at 2_l._ 10_s._ a week; but he is not saving money. He came out
with two cousins, one of whom broke away and pursued his profession;
he is now the head of a military hospital in India. The other cousin
remained in the colony, and is now a hanger-on about up-country
stations. There is also the son of a baronet here, who came out in the
time of the gold-fever. He has never advanced a step, but is
wood-cutting and rail-splitting in the bush, like a poor Savoyard.
Still the traces of his education can be seen through the "jumper"
shirt and moleskin trousers, in spite of rough ways and hard work.

There are many ups and downs in gold-mining. Sometimes men will work
long and perseveringly, and earn little more than their food; but,
buoyed up by hope, they determine to go on again, and at last,
perhaps, they succeed. One day two men came into the bank with 120_l._
worth of gold, the proceeds of four days' mining on a new claim. They
had been working for a long time without finding anything worth their
while, and at last they struck gold. The 120_l._ had to be divided
amongst six men, and out of it they had to pay towards the cost of
sinking their shaft and maintaining their three horses which worked
the "whip" for drawing up the water and dirt out of the mine. When
they brought in their gold in a little tin billy, the men did not seem
at all elated by their good fortune. They are so accustomed to a
sudden turn of luck--good or ill, as the case may be--that the good
fortune on this occasion seemed to be taken as a matter of course.

One day, the manager and I went out to see a reef where some men had
struck gold. It lay across the bare-looking ranges at the north of the
township, in a pretty part of the bush, rather more wooded than usual.
The reef did not look a place for so much gold to come out of. There
were a couple of shafts, small windlasses above them, and two or three
heaps of dirty-looking brown quartz and refuse. I believe the reef is
very narrow--only from eight inches to a foot in width; the quartz
yielding from eight to twelve ounces of gold per ton. Thus, ten tons
crushed would give a value of about 400_l._ Though this may seem a
good yield, it is small compared with richer quartz. I have heard of
one mine which gave 200 ounces, or 800_l._, to the ton of quartz
crushed, but this was unusually rich.

At some of the larger claims the works are carried on upon a large
scale with the aid of complete machinery. Let me describe one of the
mines, close to Majorca, down which I went one day to inspect the
operations. It is called the Lowe Kong Meng mine, and was formerly
worked by Chinamen, but had to be abandoned because of the great
quantity of water encountered, as well as the accidents which
constantly happened to the machinery. The claim was then taken up by
an English company of Tributors, who pay a percentage of the proceeds
of the mine to the proprietor, the large Chinese merchant, Mr. Lowe
Kong Meng, who resides in Melbourne.

In some of the shallower workings the men go down the shaft with their
feet in a noose at the end of the rope; or, in some small and narrow
shafts, by holding on to the sides with their knees and feet. But in
large workings, such as this (which is about 150 feet deep), we
descend in a bucket, as in ordinary mines. What a speed we go down at!
We seem to shoot down into darkness. There--bump! we are at the
bottom. But I can see nothing; I only hear the drip, drip, and
splashing of water.

In a few minutes my eyes get accustomed to the darkness: then I see
the dim light of a candle held by some one not far off. "Come up
here," says the guide; and we shortly find ourselves in a somewhat
open space, more light than the actual bottom of the shaft. We are
each supplied with a dip tallow candle, by means of which we see where
we are. The two drives branch off from this space: the main is 6 feet
3 inches in height, broad, and splendidly timbered with stout wood all
the way along. The Chinamen did this work.

Water is running everywhere. We try to walk upon the rails on which
the trucks run, to keep our feet dry. But it is of no use, as there is
more water in our way to get through. Every now and then we slipped
off the rail and down into the water. As we got into the narrower and
lower drives I was continually coming to grief, my head bumping
against the dirty top, my hat coming off, or my candle getting
extinguished.

We were taken first up to the place where the water had broken in so
heavily upon the Chinamen, and in which direction the mine could not
be worked. Strong supports of wood held up the gravel, through which
the water poured in, running down the drives of the well underneath
the shaft. What a labyrinth all these different passages seemed to me!
yet I suppose this claim is a small one compared with many others in
the gold-mining districts.

Then we were shown a monkey--not the animal, but a small upright shaft
leading into a drive above, where the wash-dirt was being got out.
Should the course of the wash-dirt, in which the gold is, go downward
below the level of the well or the drives for draining the mine, the
shaft must then be sunk deeper down. The monkey was rather difficult
for me to scramble up. However, by holding on, and using the niches at
the sides, I managed to mount, as usual with the loss of my light.

Along the drive we went, waiting in a corner until a truck of dirt
passed by, and its contents were shot down the monkey into the tram
waiting for it below. Now we creep up from the drive into a narrower
space, where we crawl along upon our hands and knees. We shortly came
upon four men getting out the wash-dirt, using their picks while
squatting or lying down, and in all sorts of uncomfortable positions.
The perspiration was steaming down the men's faces as they worked, for
the heat was very great.

We did not stay long in that hot place, and I did _not_ take a pick
and happen to strike upon a nugget, as it is said the Duke of
Edinburgh did, though I saw a small dish of the dirt washed when we
reached the top, and it yielded a speck or two. We saw "the colour,"
as the expression is. I felt quite relieved at last to find myself at
the top of the shaft, and in the coolness and freshness of the open
air. Here the dirt raised from the mine is put into the iron
puddling-machine, and worked round and round with water. The water
carries off the mud, the large stones are picked out, and the gold in
the bottom of the machine is cradled off. Such was my little
experience in mine-prospecting.

I must also tell of my still smaller experience in gold-seeking. One
morning a little boy brought in a nugget for sale, which he had picked
up from a heap of dirt, while he was strolling down the lead outside
the town. After a heavy washing fall of rain, it is not unusual for
small bits of gold to be exposed to sight; and old diggers often take
a ramble amongst the mullock after rain, to make a search amongst the
heaps. A piece of gold was once brought to us for sale, weighing about
two ounces, that had been thus washed up by a heavy shower of rain.
Inspired by the success of the little boy, I went out in the afternoon
in a pair of thick boots, and with a pair of sharp eyes, to search for
treasure! It had been raining hard for several days, and it was a good
time for making an inspection of the old washed-out dirt-heaps. After
a long search I found only one speck of gold, of the value of about
4_d._ This I was showing with pride to a young lady friend, who, being
playfully inclined, gave my hand a shake, and my microscopical speck
was gone, the first and last fruits of my gold-seeking.

Some of the tales told by the old diggers of their luck in the early
days of gold-finding are very interesting. One of these I can relate
almost in the very words of the man himself to whom the incident
occurred; and it was only an ordinary digger's tale.

"My mates and I," he said, "were camped in a gully with some forty or
fifty other miners. It was a little quiet place, a long way from any
township. We had been working some shallow ground; but as the
wash-dirt when reached only yielded about three-quarters of a
pennyweight (about 3_s._) to the dish, we got sick of it, left our
claim, and went to take up another not far off. About a day or two
after we had settled upon our new ground an old acquaintance of mine
looked in upon us by chance. He was hard up--very hard up--and wanted
to know whether we could give him anything to do. 'Well, there is our
old place up there,' said I, 'it is not much good, but you can find
enough to keep body and soul together.' So he went up to our old
place, and kept himself in tucker. A few days after he had been at
work, he found that the further down he dug in one direction the more
gold the soil yielded. At one end of the ground a reef cropped up,
shelving inwards very much. He quickly saw that against the reef,
towards which the gold-yielding gravel lay, the ground sloping
downwards towards the bottom must be still richer. He got excited,
threw aside the gravel with his shovel, to come at the real treasure
he expected to find. Down he went, till he reached the slope of the
reef, where the gravel lay up against it. There, in the corner of the
ground, right in the angle of the juncture, as it were, lay the rich
glistening gold, all in pure particles, mixed with earth and pebbles.
He filled his tin dish with the precious mixture, bore it aloft, and
brought it down to our tent, where, aided by the mates, he washed off
the dirt, and obtained as the product of his various washings about
1000 ounces of pure gold! The diggers who were camped about in the
gully being a rough lot, we were afraid to let them know anything of
the prize that had been found. So, without saying anything, two of us,
late one night, set out with the lucky man and his fortune to the
nearest township, where he sold his gold and set out immediately for
England, where, I believe, he is now. He left us the remainder of his
dirt, which he did not think anything of, compared with what he had
got; and three of us obtained from it the value of 600_l._, or 200_l._
a man."

The same digger at another time related to us how and when he had
found his first nugget. He declared that it was all through a dream,
"I dreamt," he said, "that I sunk a shaft down by the side of a pretty
creek, just under a gum-tree, and close to the water; that I worked
down about ten feet there, put in a drive, and, whilst I was working,
chanced to look up, and there, sticking in the pipeclay, was a piece
of gold as big as my fist. Such was my dream. It took complete
possession of me. I could think of nothing else. Some weeks after, I
selected just such a site for a shaft as that I had dreamt of, under a
gum-tree, close by a creek; and there, new-chum like, I put in the
drive at the wrong depth. But, one day, when I had got quite sick at
fruitlessly working in the hole, on accidentally looking up, sure
enough there was my nugget sticking up in the pipeclay, just as I had
dreamt of it. I took out the gold, sat with it in my hand, and thought
the thing over, but couldn't make it out at all."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: The ordinary price of good gold is 3_l._ 19_s._ 6_d._
the ounce. In the early days of gold-digging, the gold was never
cleaned, but bought right off at a low price, 2_l._ 15_s._ or 2_l._
17_s._ 6_d._ an ounce; the bankers thus often realizing immense
profits.]



CHAPTER XV

ROUGH LIFE AT THE DIGGINGS--"STOP THIEF!"

GOLD-RUSHING--DIGGERS' CAMP AT HAVELOCK--MURDER OF LOPEZ--PURSUIT AND
CAPTURE OF THE MURDERER--THE THIEVES HUNTED FROM THE CAMP--DEATH OF
THE MURDERER--THE POLICE--ATTEMPTED ROBBERY OF THE COLLINGWOOD
BANK--ANOTHER SUPPOSED ROBBERY--"STOP THIEF!"--SMART USE OF THE
TELEGRAPH.


In the times of the early rushes to the gold-fields there was, as
might be expected, a good deal of disorder and lawlessness. When the
rumour of a new gold-field went abroad, its richness was, as usual,
exaggerated in proportion to the distance it travelled; and men of all
classes rushed from far and near to the new diggings. Melbourne was
half emptied of its labouring population; sailors deserted their
ships; shepherds left their flocks, and stockmen their cattle; and,
worst of all, there also came pouring into Victoria the looser part of
the convict population of the adjoining colonies. These all flocked to
the last discovered field, which was invariably reputed the richest
that had yet been discovered.

Money was rapidly made by some where gold was found in any abundance;
but when the soil proved comparatively poor, the crowd soon dispersed
in search of other diggings. A population so suddenly drawn together
by the fierce love of gain, and containing so large an admixture of
the desperado element, could scarcely be expected to be very orderly.
Yet it is astonishing how soon, after the first rush was over, the
camp would settle down into a state of comparative order and
peaceableness. For it was always the interest of the majority to put
down plundering and disorder. Their first concern was for the security
of their lives, and their next for the security of the gold they were
able to scrape together.

When the lawless men about a camp were numerous, and robberies became
frequent, the diggers would suddenly extemporise a police, rout out
the thieves, and drive them perforce from the camp. I may illustrate
this early state of things by what occurred at Havelock, a place about
seven miles from Majorca. The gully there was "rushed" about nine
years since, when some twenty thousand diggers were drawn together,
with even more than the usual proportion of grog-shanty keepers,
loafers, thieves, and low men and women of every description. In fact,
the very scum of the roving population of the colony seems to have
accumulated in the camp; and crime upon crime was committed, until at
length an affair occurred, more dreadful and outrageous than anything
that had preceded it, which thoroughly roused the digger population,
and a rising took place, which ended in their hunting the whole of the
thieves and scoundrels into the bush.

The affair has been related to me by three of the persons who were
themselves actors in it, and it is briefly as follows:--At the corner
of one of the main thoroughfares of the camp, composed of canvas tents
and wooden stores, there stood an extemporized restaurant, kept by a
Spaniard named Lopez. A few yards from his place was a store occupied
by a Mr. S----, now a storekeeper in Majorca, and a customer at our
bank. Opposite to S----'s store stood a tent, the occupants of which
were known to be among the most lawless ruffians in the camp. S----
had seen the men more than once watching his store, and he had formed
the conviction that they meant at some convenient opportunity to rob
him, so he never slept without a loaded revolver under his pillow. One
night in particular he was very anxious. The men stood about at the
front of his store near closing time, suspiciously eyeing his
premises, as he thought. So he put a bold face on, came to the door
near where they were standing, discharged his pistol in the air--a
regular custom in the diggings at night--reloaded, entered his store,
and bolted himself in. He went to bed at about ten o'clock, and lay
awake listening, for he could not sleep. It was not very long before
he heard some person's steps close by his hut, and a muttering of
smothered voices. The steps passed on; and then; after the lapse of
about ten minutes, he heard a shot--a scream--and hurried footsteps
running close past his hut. He lay in bed, determined not to go out,
as he feared that this was only a _ruse_ on the part of the thieves to
induce him to open his door. But soon he heard shouts outside, as of
persons in pursuit of some one, and jumping out of bed, he ran out
half dressed and joined in the chase.

Now, this is what had happened during the ten minutes that he had lain
in bed listening. The thieves had stolen past his store, as he had
heard them, and gone forward to the restaurant kept by the Spaniard.
They looked into the bar, and through the chinks of the wood they saw
Lopez counting over the money he had taken during the day. The bar was
closed, but the men knocked at the door for admission. Lopez asked
what they wanted; the reply was that they wished for admission to have
a drink. After some demur, Lopez at last opened the door, and the men
entered. Nobblers were ordered, and while Lopez was reaching for a
bottle, one of the thieves, named Brooke, made a grab at the money
lying in the open drawer. The landlord saw his hand, and instantly
snatching up a large Spanish knife which lay behind the counter, he
made a lunge at Brooke, and so fiercely did he strike that the knife
ripped up the man's abdomen. With a yell of rage, Brooke drew his
revolver, instantly shot Lopez through the head, and he fell dead
without a groan.

Meanwhile the other thieves had fled; and now Brooke himself, holding
his wound together with his hand, ran out of the house, through the
street of tents, across the lead, and into the bush. But the hue and
cry had been raised; the diggers bundled out of their tents, and
before the murderer had reached the cover of the bush, already a dozen
men were on his track. It was full moon, and they could see him
clearly, holding on his way, avoiding the crab-holes, and running at a
good speed notwithstanding his fearful wound. Among the foremost of
the pursuers were a trooper and an active little fellow who is now
living in Majorca. They got nearer and nearer to Brooke, who turned
from time to time to watch their advance. The trooper was gaining upon
him fast; but when within about fifteen yards of him Brooke turned,
took aim with his revolver, and deliberately fired. The aim was too
true: the trooper fell dead, shot right through the heart. Brooke
turned to fly immediately he had fired his shot, but the root of a
tree behind him tripped him up, and the little man who followed close
behind the trooper was upon him in an instant, with his knee upon his
body holding him down. Brooke managed to turn himself half round,
presented his revolver at his captor, and fired. The cap snapped on
the nipple! My friend says he will never forget the look the wretch
gave him when his pistol missed fire. A few minutes--long, long
minutes--passed, and at length help arrived and the murderer was
secured. The number shortly increased to a crowd of angry diggers. At
first they wished to hang Brooke at once upon the nearest tree; but
moderate counsels prevailed, and at last they agreed to take him into
Havelock and send for a doctor.

When the crowd got back to Havelock their fury broke out. They
determined to level the thieves' tents and the grog-shanties that had
harboured them. What a wild scene it must have been! Two or three
thousand men pulling down huts and tents, smashing crockery and
furniture, ripping up beds, and levelling the roosts of infamy to the
ground. When Dr. Laidman, the doctor sent for from Maryborough,
arrived to attend the dying man, he saw a cloud of "white things" in
the air, and could not make out what they were. They turned out to be
the feathers of the numerous feather-beds, which the diggers had torn
to pieces, that were flying about. The diggers' blood was fairly up,
and they were determined to make "a clean job of it" before they had
done. And not only did they thoroughly root out and destroy all the
thieves' dens and low grog-shops and places of ill-fame, but they
literally hunted the owners and occupants of them right out into the
bush.

I must now tell you of the murderer's end. He was taken to the rude
theatre of the place, and laid down upon the stage, with his two
victims beside him--the dead Lopez on one side and the dead trooper on
the other. When the doctor arrived, he examined Brooke, and told him
he would try to keep him alive, so that justice might be done. And the
doctor did his best. But the Spaniard's wound had been terrible and
deadly. Brooke died in about half an hour from the time of the
doctor's arrival The murderer remained impenitent to the last, and
opened his mouth only once to utter an oath. Such was the horrible
ending of this digger's tragedy.

Cases such as this are, however, of rare occurrence. So soon as a
digging becomes established, a regular police is employed to ensure
order, and local self-government soon follows. We had often occasion
to ride over to Maryborough, taking with us gold; but though we were
well known in the place, and our errand might be surmised, we were
never molested, nor, indeed, entertained the slightest apprehension of
danger. It is true that in the bank we usually had a loaded revolver
lying in the drawer ready at hand, in case it should be needed; but we
had never occasion to use it.

Some years ago, however, an actual attempt was openly made to rob a
bank in Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, which was very gallantly
resisted. The bank stood in a well-frequented part of the town, where
people were constantly passing to and fro. One day two men entered it
during office hours. One of them deliberately bolted the door, and the
other marched up to the counter and presented a pistol at the head of
the accountant who stood behind it. Nothing daunted, the young man at
once vaulted over the counter, calling loudly to the manager for help,
and collared the ruffian, whose pistol went off as he went down. The
manager rushed out from his room, and tackled the other fellow. Both
the robbers were strong, powerful men, but they fought without the
courage of honesty. The struggle was long and desperate, until at last
assistance came, and both were secured. A presentation of plate was
made to the two officials who had so courageously done their duty,
and they are still in the service of the same bank.

In direct contrast to this case, I may mention a rather mysterious
circumstance which occurred at an up-country bank, situated in a
quartz-mining district. I must first explain that the bank building is
situated in a street, with houses on both sides, and that any noise in
it would readily be heard by the neighbours. One young fellow only was
in charge of the place. The manager of a neighbouring branch called
weekly for the surplus cash and the gold bought during the week. The
youth in charge suddenly reported one day that he had been "stuck up,"
as the colonial phrase is for being robbed. He said that one night, as
he was going into the bank, where he slept--in fact just as he was
putting the key into the lock--a man came up to him, and, clapping a
pistol to his head, demanded the key of the safe. He gave it him,
showed him where the gold and notes were kept, and, in fact, enabled
the robber to make up a decent "swag." The man, whoever he was, got
away with all the money. The bank thought it their duty to proceed
against the clerk himself for appropriating the money. But the proof
was insufficient, and the verdict brought in was "Not guilty."

We were one day somewhat alarmed at Majorca by a letter received from
our manager at Maryborough, informing us that a great many bad
characters were known to be abroad and at work--and cautioning us to
be particularly upon our guard. We were directed to discharge our
firearms frequently and keep them in good order, so that in case of
need they should not miss fire. We were also to give due notice when
we required notes from Maryborough, so that the messenger appointed to
bring them over should be accompanied by a complete escort, _i.e._, a
mounted trooper. All this was very alarming, and we prepared for
events accordingly.

A few nights after, as we were sitting under the manse verandah, we
heard a loud cry of "Stop thief!" The robbers, then, were already in
the township! We jumped up at once, looked round the corner of the
house, and saw two men running off as fast as they could, followed at
some distance by another man shouting frantically, "Stop thief!" We
immediately started in pursuit of the supposed thieves. We soon came
up with the man who had been robbed, and whom we found swearing in a
most dreadful way. This we were very much astonished at, as we
recognised in him one of the most pious Wesleyans in the township. But
we soon shot ahead of him, and gradually came up with the thieves,
whom we at first supposed to be Chinamen. As we were close upon them,
they suddenly stopped, turned round, and burst out laughing! Surely
there must be some mistake! We recognised in the "thieves" the son of
the old gentleman whom we had just passed, with one of his companions,
who had pretended to steal his fowls, as Chinamen are apt to do:
whereas they had really carried off nothing at all. In short, we, as
well as our respected Wesleyan friend, felt ourselves completely
"sold."

The only attempt at dishonesty practised upon our branch which I can
recollect while at Majorca was one of fraud and not of force. We had
just been placed in telegraphic communication with the other towns in
the colony. The opening of the telegraph was celebrated, as usual, by
the Town Council "shouting" champagne. Some time before, a
working-man, who had some money deposited with us, called in a fluster
to say his receipts had been stolen. This was noted. Now came a
telegram from Ballarat, saying that a receipt of our branch had been
presented for payment, and asking if it was correct. We answered
sharp, ordering the man to be detained. He was accordingly taken into
custody, handed over to the police, and remanded to Newstead, where
the receipt had been stolen. Newstead is a long way from Majorca, but
our manager drove over with a pair of horses to give his evidence. It
turned out that our customer's coat, containing the receipt, had been
stolen while he was at his work. The thief was identified as having
been seen hanging about the place; and the result was that he was
committed, tried, and duly convicted. So you see that we are pretty
smart out here, and not a long way behind the old country after all.



CHAPTER XVI.

PLACES ABOUT.

VISIT TO BALLARAT--THE JOURNEY BY COACH--BALLARAT FOUNDED ON
GOLD--DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN--BALLARAT "CORNER"--THE SPECULATIVE
COBBLER--FIRE BRIGADES--RETURN JOURNEY--CRAB-HOLES--THE TALBOT
BALL--THE TALBOT FÊTE--THE AVOCA RACES--SUNRISE IN THE BUSH.


One of the most interesting visits to places that I made while staying
at Majorca was to Ballarat, the mining capital of the colony,
sometimes called here the Victorian Manchester. The time of my visit
was not the most propitious, for it was shortly after a heavy fall of
rain, which had left the roads in a very bad state. But I will
describe my journey.

Three of us hired a one-horse buggy to take us on to Clunes, which lay
in our way. The load was rather too much for the horse, but we took
turn and turn about at walking, and made it as light for the animal as
possible. At Clunes I parted with my companions, who determined to
take the buggy on to Ballarat. I thought it preferable to wait for the
afternoon coach; and after being hospitably entertained at dinner by
the manager of our Branch Bank at Clunes, I took my place in the coach
for Ballarat.

We had not gone more than about a mile when the metalled road ended,
and the Slough of Despond began,--the road so called, though it was
little more than a deep mud-track, winding up a steepish ascent. All
the passengers got out and walked up the hill. In the distance we saw
a buggy in difficulties. I had already apprehended the fate of my
mates who had gone on before me, and avoided sharing it by taking my
place in the coach. But we were in little better straits ourselves.
When we got up to the buggy, we found it fairly stuck in the mud, in
one of the worst parts of the road, with a trace broken. I got under
the rails of the paddock in which the coach passengers were
walking--for it was impossible to walk in the road--and crossed over
to where my former mates were stuck. They were out in the deep mud,
almost knee-deep, trying to mend the broken trace. Altogether they
looked in a very sorry plight.

At the top of the hill we again mounted the coach, and got on very
well for about three miles, until we came to another very bad piece of
road. Here we diverged from it altogether, and proceeded into an
adjoining field, so as to drive alongside the road, and join it a
little further on. The ground looked to me very soft, and so it was.
For we had not gone far when the coach gave a plunge, and the wheels
sank axle-deep in a crab-hole. All hands had now to set to work to
help the coach out of the mud; while the driver urged his horses with
cries and cracks of his long whip. But it was of no use. The two
wheelers were fairly exhausted, and their struggling only sent them
deeper into the mud. The horses were then unharnessed, and the three
strongest were yoked in a line, so as to give the foremost of them a
better foot-hold. But it was still of no use. It was not until the mud
round the wheels had been all dug out, and the passengers lifted the
hind wheels and the coach bodily up, that the horses were at last able
to extricate the vehicle. By this time we were all in a sad state of
dirt and wet, for the rain had begun to fall quite steadily.

Shortly after, we reached the half-way house and changed horses. We
now rattled along at a pretty good pace. But every now and then the
driver would shout, "Look out inside!" and there would be a sudden
roll, followed by a jerk and pitch combined, and you would be thrown
over upon your opposite neighbour, or he upon you. At last, after a
rather uncomfortable journey, we reached the outskirts of a large
town, and in a few minutes more we found ourselves safely jolted into
Ballarat.

I am not at all up in the statistics of the colony, and cannot tell
the population or the number of inhabited houses in Ballarat.[13] But
it is an immense place, second in importance in the colony only to
Melbourne. Big though it be, like most of these up-country towns,
Ballarat originated in a rush. It was only in September, 1851, that a
blacksmith at Buningong, named Hiscocks, who had long been searching
for gold, traced a mountain-torrent back into the hills towards the
north, and came upon the rich lode which soon became known as the
"Ballarat Diggings." When the rumour of the discovery got abroad,
there was a great rush of people to the place, accompanied by the
usual disorders; but they gradually settled down, and Ballarat was
founded. The whole soil of the place was found to contain more or less
gold. It was gathered in the ranges, on the flats, in the
water-courses, and especially in the small veins of blue clay, lying
almost above the so-called "pipeclay." The gold was to all appearance
quite pure, and was found in rolled or water-course irregular lumps of
various sizes, from a quarter or half an ounce in weight, sometimes
incorporated with round pebbles of quartz, which appeared to have
formed the original matrix.

The digging was at first for the most part alluvial, but when skilled
miners arrived from England, operations were begun on a much larger
scale, until now it is conducted upon a regular system, by means of
costly machinery and highly-organised labour. To give an idea of the
extensive character of the operations, I may mention that one company,
the Band of Hope, has erected machinery of the value of 70,000_l._ The
main shaft, from which the various workings branch out, is 420 feet
deep; and 350 men are employed in and about the mine. It may also be
mentioned that the deeper the workings have gone, the richer has been
the yield of gold. This one company has, in a comparatively short
time, raised gold worth over half a million sterling; the quantity
produced by the Ballarat mines, since the discovery of gold in
September, 1851, to the end of 1866, having been worth about one
hundred and thirty millions sterling.

The morning after my arrival in Ballarat I proceeded to survey the
town, I was certainly surprised at the fine streets, the large
buildings, and the number of people walking along the broad pathways.
Perhaps my surprise was magnified by the circumstance that nearly
fifteen months had passed since I had been in a large town; and, after
Majorca, Ballarat seemed to me like a capital. After wandering about
the streets for half an hour, I looked into the Court-house, where an
uninteresting case of drunkenness was being heard. I next went into
the adjoining large building, which I found to be the Public Library.
The commodious reading-room was amply supplied with books, magazines,
and newspapers; and here I amused myself for an hour in reading a new
book. Over the mantel-piece of the large room hangs an oil painting of
Prince Alfred, representing him and his "mates" after the visit they
had made to one of the Ballarat mines. This provision of excellent
reading-rooms--free and open to all--seems to me an admirable feature
of the Victorian towns. They are the best sort of supplement to the
common day-schools; and furnish a salutary refuge for all sober-minded
men, from the temptations of the grog-shops. But besides the Public
Library, there is also the Mechanics' Institute, in Sturt Street; a
fine building, provided also with a large library, and all the latest
English newspapers, free to strangers.

The features of the town that most struck me in the course of the day
were these. First, Sturt Street: a fine, broad street, at least three
chains wide. On each side are large handsome shops, and along the
middle of the road runs a broad strip of garden, with large trees and
well-kept beds of flowers. Sturt Street is on an incline; and at the
top of it runs Ledyard Street, at right angles, also a fine broad
street. It contains the principal banks, of which I counted nine, all
handsome stone buildings, the London Chartered, built on a foundation
of blue-stone, being perhaps the finest of them in an architectural
point of view. Close to it is the famous "Corner." What the Bourse is
in Paris, Wall Street in New York, and the Exchange in London--that is
the "Corner" at Ballarat. Under the verandah of the Unicorn Hotel, and
close to the Exchange Buildings, there is a continual swarm of
speculators, managers of companies, and mining men, standing about in
groups, very like so many circles of betting-men on a race-course.
Here all the mining swindles originate. Specimens of gold-bearing
quartz are shown, shares are bought and sold, new schemes are
ventilated, and old ones revived. Many fortunes have been lost and won
on that bit of pavement.

One man is reckoned as good as another in Ballarat. Even the cad of a
baker's boy has the chance of making "a pile," while the swell broker,
who dabbles in mines and reefs, may be beggared in a few days. As one
of the many instances of men growing suddenly rich by speculation
here, I may mention the following. A short time since, a cobbler at
Ballarat had a present made to him of twenty scrip in a company that
was looking so bad that the shares had become unsaleable. The cobbler
knew nothing of the mine, but he held the scrip. Not only so, but he
bought more at a shilling or two apiece, and he went on accumulating
them, until at the end of the year he had scraped together some two or
three hundred. At length he heard that gold had been struck. He went
to a bank, deposited his scrip certificates, and raised upon them all
the money he could borrow. He bought more shares. They trebled in
value. He held on. They trebled again. At last, when the gold was
being got almost by the bucket, and a great mania for the shares had
set in, the cobbler sold out at 250_l._ a share, and found himself a
rich man. The mine was, I think, the Sir William Don, one of the most
successful in Ballarat, now yielding a dividend of about 2_l._ per
share per month, or a return of about 500 per cent. on the paid-up
capital.

But to return to my description of Ballarat. The town lies in a valley
between two slopes, spreading up on both sides and over the summits.
Each summit is surmounted by a lofty tower, built by the Eastern and
Western Fire Brigades. These towers command a view of the whole place,
and are continually occupied by watchmen, who immediately give the
alarm on the outbreak of fire. The people here say that the Ballarat
Fire Brigade is the smartest in the southern hemisphere; though the
engines are all manned by volunteers. And a fire must be a serious
matter in Ballarat, where so many of the buildings--stores as well as
dwellings--are built entirely of wood. Many of the streets are even
paved with wood.

In the afternoon I ascended the western hill, from which I obtained a
fine bird's-eye view of the town. The large, broad streets, at right
angles to each other, looked well laid out, neat, and clean looking.
What seemed strangest of all was the lazy puffing of the engines over
the claims, throwing out their white jets of steam. But for the width
of the streets, and the cleanness of the place, one might almost have
taken Ballarat for a manufacturing town in Yorkshire, though they have
no flower gardens along the middle of their streets!

In the evening I went to the opera--for Ballarat has an opera! The
piece was 'Faust,' and was performed by Lyster and Smith's company
from Melbourne. The performers did their best, but I cannot say they
are very strong in opera yet at the Antipodes.

After thoroughly doing Ballarat, I set out on my return to Majorca.
There was the same jolting as before, but this time the coach did not
stick in the mud. On reaching Clunes, I resolved to walk straight to
Majorca across the plain, instead of going the roundabout way by the
road. But the straightest route is not always the shortest, as my
experience on this occasion proved. I had scarcely got fairly into the
plain before I found myself in the midst of a succession of
crab-holes. These are irregular depressions, about a yard or so apart,
formed by the washing up of the soil by eddies during floods, and now
the holes were all full of water. It was a difficult and tedious
process to work one's way through amongst them, for they seemed to
dovetail into one another, and often I had to make a considerable
détour to get round the worst of them. This crab-holey ground
continued for about four miles, after which I struck into the bush,
making for the ranges, and keeping Mount Greenock and Mount Glasgow
before me as landmarks. Not being a good bushman, I suspect I went
several miles out of my way. However, by dint of steady walking, I
contrived to do the sixteen miles in about four hours; but if I have
ever occasion to walk from Clunes again, I will take care to take the
roundabout road, and not to make the journey _en zigzag_ round
crab-holes and through the bush.

Among the other places about here that I have visited were Talbot,
about seven miles distant, and Avoca, about twenty. One of the
occasions of my going to Talbot was to attend a ball given there, and
another to attend a great fête for the benefit of the Amherst
Hospital. Talbot gives its name to the county, though by no means the
largest town in it. The town is very neat and tidy, and contains some
good stone and brick buildings. It consists of one principal street,
with several little offshoots.

The ball was very like a ball at home, though a little more mixed. The
young ladies were some of them very pretty, and nicely dressed--some
in dresses "direct from London"--while a few of the elder ladies were
gorgeous but incongruous. One old lady, in a juvenile dress, wore an
enormous gold brooch, large enough to contain the portraits of several
families. I was astonished to learn the great distances that some of
the ladies and gentlemen had come to be present at the ball. Some had
driven through the bush twenty and even thirty miles; but distance is
thought nothing of here, especially when there is a chance of "meeting
company." The ball was given in the Odd Fellows' Hall, a large square
room. One end of it was partitioned off as a supper-room, and on the
partition was sewn up in large letters this couplet from 'Childe
Harold:'--

"No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet,
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."

And, to speak the truth, the young ladies, as well as the young
gentlemen present, did ample justice to the text. The dancing
continued until daybreak, and we drove back to Majorca as the sun was
rising; but remember it was summer time, in November, when the sun
rises very early.

One little event arose out of this ball which may serve to illustrate
the comparative freeness of up-country manners. A nice young lady,
with whom I danced, asked me if I would not like to be very great
friends with her. "Oh, yes! certainly." And great friends we became at
once. Perhaps she took pity on the stranger boy so far from home. She
asked if I was fond of riding. "Very fond." "Then I will come over to
Majorca, and call upon you, and we shall have a ride in the bush
together." And I was to be sure and have some sweets ready for her, as
she was very fond of them. I took this to be merely a little ball-room
chaff; but judge my surprise when, next afternoon, the young lady rode
up to the bank door and called on me to fulfil my promise,--which I
did, lollipops and all.

A great event in Talbot is the Annual Fête, held on the Prince of
Wales's birthday, which is observed as a public holiday in Victoria.
The fête this year was held in aid of the funds of the Amherst
Hospital, a valuable local institution. At this affair the whole
population of the neighbourhood turned out. It began at midday with a
grand procession through the town. Let me endeavour to give you an
idea of the pageant. First came the well-mounted Clunes Lancers, in
their light blue and white uniforms, 150 strong, blue and white
pennons fluttering from their long lances. Then came lines of members
of Friendly Societies, in gay scarfs, accompanied by banners. Then a
good band of music. The Talbot 42nd Sectional Lancers next turn the
corner of the street, gorgeous in scarlet and white. Then comes
something comic--a Welsh lady and gentleman riding a pony barebacked.
These are followed by an Irish couple, also mounted. Then comes a
Highlandman, in a vehicle such as the Highlands never saw, discoursing
music from his bagpipes. A large open boat follows, mounted on a car;
it is filled with sailor-boys in blue and white. This boat is a model
of the 'Cerberus,' the turret-ship that Mr. Reed is building in
England for the defence of Port Phillip. A genuine old salt, with long
white hair, plays the part of admiral. In cocked hat, blue admiral's
coat, and white ducks, he waves his sword frantically, and gives the
word of command to repel boarders; all the while two little cannons in
the model are being constantly fired, reloaded, and fired again. This
noisy exhibition having passed, a trophy representing the Australian
chase appears. A huntsman, dressed in green, blowing his horn, stands
amidst some bushes, holding a handsome leash of hounds; dead kangaroos
and other Australian animals lie around him. Then follow more lancers.
After this comes a huge car, two stories high, with all sorts of odd
characters in it: a clown, with his "Here we are again!" playing
pranks on two sedate-looking Chinamen; a little fairy boy or girl,
flirting with a magician; dragons snapping; strange birds screeching;
three bears, one playing a violin, but the tune it plays is drowned by
the hubbub of noise and bands. A lady, of the time of Elizabeth,
gorgeous in ruffles, follows on horseback. Then knights in armour, one
of them with a stuffed 'possum snarling on the top of his helmet.
Another band. Then the solemn brethren of the Order of Druids, in
white gowns, bald heads, and grey beards. A company of sweeps comes
next, attended by an active Jack-in-the-Green. Now an Indian doctor
appears, smoking a long pipe in his chariot, drawn by a Brahmin bull.
Another band, and then the rear is brought up by more cavalry. There
were seven bands--good ones, too--in the procession, which took full
twenty minutes to pass the hotel, on the balcony of which I stood. I
have seen the London Lord Mayor's Show, but must confess the Talbot
procession beats it hollow.

After the procession, we all adjourned to the race-course, where the
collection for the hospital was to be made. The admission was
eighteen-pence; a good sum for working people to give, yet everybody
was there. There was an amateur Richardson's show, a magician's tent,
Cheap John's merry-go-rounds, and all sorts of amusements to be had by
paying for them; and, above all, there was the bazaar, presided over
by the ladies of Talbot, who succeeded in selling a large quantity of
useless things at the usual exorbitant prices. There was also a large
dancing-platform roofed with canvas, which was very well frequented.
Most popular of all, perhaps, were the refreshment-bars, where the
publicans gave the liquor free, but charged the usual prices for the
good of the hospital fund; and the teetotallers, not to be outdone,
managed a very comfortable tea-room. In short, all the usual
expedients for raising money were cleverly resorted to, and the result
was that between 1400_l._ and 1500_l._ was added to the funds of the
hospital, about 500_l._ of which was taken at the ladies' bazaar.
Altogether, there were not less than 5000 people on the ground, though
I believe the newspapers gave a considerably higher number.

The Avoca races were not very different from races in England. Every
town hereabouts has its races, even Majorca. The Carrisbrook
race-course, about four miles from our town, is considered second to
none in the colony. Avoca, however, is a bigger place, and the races
there draw a much larger crowd. We drove the twenty miles thither by
road and bush-track. The ground was perfectly dry, for there had been
no rain for some time; and, as the wind was in our faces, it drove the
clouds of dust behind us. I found the town itself large and
well-built. What particularly struck me was the enormous width of the
main street,--at least three chains wide. The houses on either side of
the road were so remote from each other that they might have belonged
to different townships. I was told that the reason of this great width
of street was, that the Government had reserved this broad space of
ground, the main street of Avoca forming part of the road to Adelaide,
which may at some future time become a great and crowded highway. One
of the finest buildings in the town is a handsome hotel, built of
stone and brick, provided with a ball-room, billiard-rooms, and such
like. It is altogether the finest up-country place of the kind that I
have seen. Here we put up, and join the crowd of loungers under the
verandah. Young swells got up in high summer costume--cutaway coats,
white hats, and blue net veils--just as at Epsom on the Derby Day.
There are also others, heavy-looking colonials, who have come out
evidently to make a day of it, and are already freely imbibing cold
brandy and water. Traps and cars are passing up and down the street,
in quest of passengers for the race-course, about two miles from the
town.

There we find the same sort of entertainments provided for the public
as on like occasions at home. The course is about a mile and a half in
extent, with the ground well cleared. There is the saddling paddock,
in which the "knowing ones" take great interest; and there are the
usual booths for the sale of refreshments, and especially of drink. In
front of the Grand Stand the betting-men from Melbourne are pointed
out to me,--a sharp, rough-looking set they are, dressed in Tweed
suits and flash ties, wearing diamond rings. One of them, a
blear-eyed, tall, strong man, with bushy brown whiskers, bawling out
his "two to one" on such and such a horse--an ugly-looking
customer--was described to me as "the _second_ biggest blackguard in
Victoria; give him a wide berth." Another of the betting-men was
pointed out to me as having been a guard on the South-Eastern Railway
some ten years ago. I need not describe the races: they were like most
others. There were flat races and hurdle races. Six horses ran for the
District Plate. Four of them came in to the winning-post, running neck
and neck. The race was won by only a head.

My friend remained on the course until it was too late to return to
Majorca that night. As the moon did not rise until towards morning, we
were under the necessity of waiting until then, otherwise we might get
benighted in the bush. We tried to find a bed in the hotel, but in
vain. All the beds and sofas in Avoca were occupied. Even the billiard
tables were engaged for the night.

We set out on our return journey to Majorca just as the moon was
rising. She was only in her second quarter, and did not yet give light
enough to enable us to see the road very clearly, so that we went very
cautiously at first. While my companion drove, I snatched the
opportunity for a sleep. I nodded and dozed from time to time,
wakening up suddenly to find a large bright star blinking before my
eyes. The star sank lower and lower towards the horizon. The
green-gold rays of the morning sun rose up to meet it. The star
hovered between the pale growing light below and the dark blue sky
above. Then it melted away in the glow of sunrise. The half-moon still
cast our shadow on the dusty track. But not for long. The zone of
yellow light in the east grows rapidly larger and brighter. The
brilliant edge of the god of day tips the horizon; a burst of light
follows; and now the morning sun, day's harbinger, "comes dancing up
the east." The summits of the trees far away in the silent bush are
bathed in gold. The near trees, that looked so weird-like in the
moon's half light, are now decked in green. The chill of the night has
departed. It is already broad day. By the time we reach Amherst, eight
miles from Majorca, we are glad to shade ourselves from the blazing
sun. In an hour more we reach our destination, and after breakfast and
a bath, are ready to begin the day's duties.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 13: The population, in 1857, was 4971; in 1861, 21,104. It
is now nearly 50,000.]



CHAPTER XVII.

CONCLUSION OF MAJORCAN LIFE.

VICTORIAN LIFE ENGLISH--ARRIVAL OF THE HOME MAIL--NEWS OF THE
FRANCO-GERMAN WAR--THE GERMAN SETTLERS IN MAJORCA--THE SINGLE
FRENCHMAN--MAJORCAN PUBLIC TEAS--THE CHURCH--THE RANTERS--THE
TEETOTALLERS--THE COMMON SCHOOL--THE ROMAN CATHOLICS--COMMON SCHOOL
FÊTE AND ENTERTAINMENT--THE MECHANICS' INSTITUTE--FUNERAL OF THE TOWN
CLERK--DEPARTURE FROM MAJORCA--THE COLONY OF VICTORIA.


The reader will observe, from what I have above written, that life in
Victoria is very much like life in England. There are the same people,
the same callings, the same pleasures and pursuits, and, as some would
say, the same follies and vices. There are the same religious bodies,
the same political movements, the same social agencies--Teetotal
Societies, Mechanics' Institutes, Friendly Societies, and such like.
Indeed, Victoria is only another England, with a difference, at the
Antipodes. The character, the habits of life, and tone of thought of
the people, are essentially English.

You have only to see the interest with which the arrival of every mail
from England is watched, to recognise the strength of the tie that
continues to unite the people of the colony with those of the Old
Country. A flag is hoisted over the Melbourne Post Office to announce
its coming, and soon the news is flashed by telegraph all over the
colony. Every local post-office is eagerly besieged by the expecters
of letters and newspapers. Speaking for myself, my most exciting day
in the month was that on which my home letters arrived; and I wrote at
intervals all through the month against the departure of the outgoing
mail.

The excitement throughout the colony became intense when the news
arrived from England of the defeat of the French before Metz. The
first news came by the 'Point de Galle,' and then, six days later,
intelligence was received _viâ_ San Francisco, of the disaster at
Sedan. Crowds besieged the office of the local paper at Talbot when
the mail was telegraphed; and the doors had to be shut to keep them
out until the telegram could be set up in type and struck off. At
first the news was not believed, it was so extraordinary and
unexpected; but the Germans in the town accepted it at once as true,
and began their rejoicings forthwith. The Irish at Talbot were also
very much excited, and wished to have a fight, but they did not
exactly know with whom.

There are considerable numbers of Germans settled throughout the
colony, and they are a very useful and industrious class of settlers.
They are for the most part sober and hard-working men. I must also add
that they minister in no small degree to the public amusement. At
Maryborough they give very good concerts. Here, the only band in the
town is furnished by the German settlers, and being a very good one,
it is in request on all public occasions. The greater number of the
Germans live at MacCullum's Creek, about a mile distant, where they
have recently opened a Verein or Club, celebrating the event, as
usual, by a dance. It was a very gay affair. The frantic Deutschers
and their Fraus danced like mad things--Tyrolese waltzes and
old-fashioned quadrilles. There was a great deal of singing in praise
of Vaterland and Freundschaft, with no end of "Hochs!" They kept it
up, I was told, until broad daylight, dispersing about eight o'clock
in the morning.

The Germans also give an annual picnic, which is a great event in the
place. There is a procession in the morning, headed by their band and
the German tri-colour flag. In the afternoon there are sports; and in
the evening continuous dancing in a large marquee. One of the chief
sports of the afternoon is "Shooting at the Eagle" with a cross-bow,
and trying to knock off the crown or sceptre from the effigy of a
bird, crowned with an eagle and holding a sceptre, stuck up on the top
of a high pole. The crown or the sceptre represents a high prize, and
each feather struck off represents a prize of some value or other.

The French have only one representative in the town. As I soon got to
know everybody in the place, dropping in upon them in their houses,
and chatting with them about the last news from home, I also made the
acquaintance of the Frenchman. He had last come from Buenos Ayres,
accompanied by Madame. Of course the news about the defeat of the
French army was all false--merely a vile _canard_. We shall soon know
all. I confess I like this French couple very much. Their little house
is always so trim and neat. Fresh-plucked flowers are usually set out
on the mantel-piece, on the arrangement and decoration of which Madame
evidently prides herself. Good taste is so cheap and so pleasant a
thing, that I wish it were possible for these French people to
inoculate their neighbours with a little of it. But rough plenty seems
to be sufficient for the Anglo-Saxon.

I must tell you of a few more of the doings of the place, to show how
very much life here resembles life in England. The place is of course
newer, the aggregation of society is more recent, life is more rough
and ready, more free and easy, and that is nearly all the difference.
The people have brought with them from the old country their habits of
industry, their taste for holidays, their religious spirit, their
desire for education, their love of home life.

Public Teas are an institution in Majorca, as at home. There being but
little provision for the maintenance of religious worship, there is a
constant whipping up for money; and tea-meetings are usually resorted
to for the purpose of stimulating the flagging energies of the people.
Speakers from a distance are advertised, provisions and hot water are
provided in abundance; and after a gorge of tea and buns, speeches are
fired off, and the hat goes round.

We had a great disappointment on one occasion, when the Archdeacon of
Castlemaine was advertised to preach a sermon in aid of our church
fund, and preside at the subsequent tea-meeting. Posters were stuck
up; great preparatory arrangements were made; but the Archdeacon did
not come. Some hitch must have occurred. But we had our tea
nevertheless.

The Ranters also are great at tea-meetings, but still greater at
revival meetings. Matthew Burnett, "the great Yorkshire evangelist,"
came to our town to rouse us from our apathy, and he certainly
contrived to work up many people, especially women, to a high pitch of
excitement. The meetings being held in the evenings, and continued far
into the nights, the howling, shouting, and groaning were by no means
agreeable noises to such sinners in their immediate neighbourhood as
slept lightly,--of whom I was one.

Burnett was at the same time the great star of the Teetotallers, who
held him in much esteem. He was a man of a rough sort of eloquence,
probably the best suited for the sort of people whom he came to
address and sought to reclaim; for fine tools are useless for doing
rough work. Another very good speaker at their meetings was known as
Yankee Bill, whose homely appeals were often very striking, and even
affecting in a degree. At intervals they sang hymns, and sang them
very well. They thus cultivated some taste for music. They also kept
people for the time being out of their favourite "publics." Like many
teetotallers, however, they were very intolerant of non-teetotallers.
Some even went so far as to say that one must be a teetotaller to get
to heaven. Yet, notwithstanding all their exaggerations, the
teetotallers do much good; and their rough appeals often penetrate
hearts and heads that would be impervious to gentler and finer
influences.

Let me not forget to mention the public entertainments got up for the
benefit of the common school of the town. The existing schools being
found too small for the large number of children who attend, it was
proposed to erect another wing for the purposes of an infant school.
With this object, active efforts were made to raise subscriptions; the
understanding being that the Government gives a pound for every pound
collected in the district.

The difficulties in managing these common schools seem to be
considerable, where members of different religious persuasions sit on
the Managing Committee. At Majorca the principal difficulty seemed to
be with the Roman Catholics; and it was said that their priest had
threatened to refuse absolution to such parents as allowed their
children to attend the common school. Whatever truth there might be in
this story, it is certain that about thirty-six children _were_
withdrawn, and instead of continuing to receive the elements of a good
education, they were entrusted to the care of an old man quite
incompetent for the office, but who was of the right faith.

I was enlisted as a collector for the school fund, and went round
soliciting subscriptions; but I found it up-hill work. My district lay
in the suburbs, and I was by no means successful. A good many of
those I called upon were Ranters; and I suspect that the last
sensation preacher had carried off what otherwise might have fallen to
my share. I was tolerably successful with the diggers working at their
claims. At least they always gave me a civil answer. One of them said,
"Well, if our washing turns out well on Saturday, you shall have five
shillings." And the washing must have turned out well, for on Saturday
evening the digger honestly brought me the sum he had named.

Further to help the fund, a fête was held in the open air, and an
entertainment was given by amateurs in the Prince of Wales's
Theatre,--for our little town also boasts of its theatre. The fête was
held on Easter Monday, which was kept as a holiday; and it commenced
with a grand procession of Odd Fellows, Foresters, German Verein,
Rechabites, and other clubs, all in their Sunday clothes, and many of
them wearing very gorgeous scarfs. The German band headed the
procession, which proceeded towards the paddock at MacCullum's Creek
used on such festive occasions. There all the contrivances usually
adopted for extracting money from the pockets of the visitors were in
full operation. There was a bazaar, in which all manner of useless
things were offered for sale; together with raffles, bowls, croquet,
dancing, shooting at the eagle, tilting at the ring, and all sorts of
sports; a small sum being paid on entry. I took up with a forlorn Aunt
Sally, standing idle without customers, and by dint of sedulous
efforts, contrived to gather about a pound in an hour and a half. All
did their best. And thus a pleasant day was spent, and a good round
sum of money was collected for the fund.

The grand miscellaneous entertainment was also a complete success. The
theatre was filled with a highly-respectable audience, including many
gaily-dressed ladies, and all the belles of Majorca and the
neighbourhood. Indeed I wondered where they could all come from. The
performances excited the greater interest, as the whole of them were
by amateurs, well known in the place. The songs went off well; and
several of them were encored. After the concert, the seats were
cleared away, and the entertainment wound up with the usual dance. And
thus did we each endeavour to do our share of pleasant labour for the
benefit of the common school.

The reading-room of the Mechanics' Institute is always a source of
entertainment when nothing else offers. The room is small but
convenient, and it contains a fair collection of books. The Telegraph
Office, the Post Office, Council Chamber, and Mechanics' Institute,
all occupy one building,--not a very extensive one,--being only a
one-storied wooden erection. One of the chief attractions of the
reading-room is a collection of Colonial papers, with 'Punch,' 'The
Illustrated News,' and the 'Irish Nation.' On Saturday nights, when
the diggers wash up and come into town, the room is always well filled
with readers. The members of the Committee are also very active in
getting up entertainments and popular readings; and, in short, the
Mechanics' Institute may be regarded as one of the most civilising
institutions in the place.

But my time in Majorca was drawing to an end. One of the last public
events in which I took part was attending the funeral of our town
clerk, the first funeral I have ever had occasion to be present at. A
long procession followed his remains to the cemetery. Almost all the
men in the township attended, for the deceased was highly respected.
The service was very solemn, held under the bright, clear, blue
Australian sky. Poor old man! I knew him well. I had seen him so short
a time ago in the hospital, where, three hours before he died, he gave
me his blessing. He was then lying flushed, and in great pain. All
that is over now. "Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes." The earth
sounded as it fell upon his coffin; and now the good man sleeps in
peace, leaving a blessed memory behind him.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was now under orders for home! My health was completely
re-established. I might have remained, and perhaps succeeded in the
colony. As it was, I carried with me the best wishes of my employers.
But I had no desire to pursue the career of bank-clerk further. I was
learning but little, and had my own proper business to pursue. So I
made arrangements for leaving Australia. Enough money had been
remitted me from England, to enable me to return direct by first-class
ship, leaving me free to choose my own route. As I might never have
another opportunity of seeing that great new country the United States
of America, the question occurred, whether I might not be able to
proceed up the Pacific to San Francisco, _viâ_ Honolulu, and cross
America by the Atlantic and Pacific Railway. On inquiry, I found it
would be practicable, but not by first-class. So I resolved to rough
it a little, and proceed by that route second class, for which purpose
my funds would be sufficient. I accordingly took my final leave of
Majorca early in December--just as summer was reaching its height; and
after spending three more pleasant weeks with my hospitable and kind
friends in Melbourne, took my passage in the steamer for Sydney, and
set sail the day after Christmas.

       *       *       *       *       *

On looking over what I have above written about my life in Victoria, I
feel how utterly inadequate it is to give the reader an idea of the
country as a whole. All that I have done has merely been to write down
my first impressions, unpremeditatedly and faithfully, of what I saw,
and what I felt and did while there. Such a short residence in the
colony, and such a limited experience as mine was, could not have
enabled me--no matter what my faculty of observation, which is but
moderate--to convey any adequate idea of the magnitude of the colony
or its resources. To pretend to write an account of Victoria and
Victorian life from the little I saw, were as absurd as it would be
for a native-born Victorian, sixteen years old, to come over to
England, live two years in a small country town, and then write a book
of his travels, headed "England." And yet this is the way in which the
Victorians complain, and with justice, that they are treated by
English writers. Some eminent man arrives in the colony, spends a few
weeks in it, perhaps rushes through it by railway, and hastens home to
publish some contemptuous account of the people whom he does not
really know, or some hasty if not fallacious description of the
country which he has not really seen. I am sure that, however crude my
description may be, Victorians will not be offended with what I have
said of themselves and their noble colony; for, small though the
sphere of my observation was, they will see that I have written merely
to the extent of my knowledge, and have related, as faithfully as I
was able, the circumstances that came within the range of my own
admittedly limited, but actual experience of colonial life.

[Illustration: SYDNEY, PORT JACKSON.]



CHAPTER XVIII.

ROUND TO SYDNEY.

LAST CHRISTMAS IN AUSTRALIA--START BY STEAMER FOR SYDNEY--THE 'GREAT
BRITAIN'--CHEAP TRIPS TO QUEENSCLIFFE--ROUGH WEATHER AT SEA--MR. AND
MRS. C. MATHEWS--BOTANY BAY--OUTER SOUTH HEAD--PORT JACKSON--SYDNEY
COVE--DESCRIPTION OF SYDNEY--GOVERNMENT HOUSE AND DOMAIN--GREAT FUTURE
EMPIRE OF THE SOUTH.


I spent my last Australian Christmas with my kind entertainers in
Melbourne. Christmas scarcely looks like Christmas with the
thermometer at 90° in the shade. But there is the same roast beef and
plum-pudding nevertheless, reminding one of home. The immense
garnishing of strawberries, however, now in season--though extremely
agreeable--reminds us that Christmas at the Antipodes must necessarily
differ in many respects from Christmas in England.

The morning after Christmas Day saw me on board the steamer
'Raugatira,' advertised to start for Sydney at eleven. Casting off
from our moorings at the Sandridge pier, the ship got gradually under
weigh; and, waving my last adieu to friends on shore, I was again at
sea.

We steamed close alongside the 'Great Britain'--which has for some
time been the crack ship between Australia and England. She had just
arrived from Liverpool with a great freight of goods and passengers,
and was lying at her moorings--a splendid ship. As we steamed out into
Hobson's Bay, Melbourne rose up across the flats, and loomed large in
the distance. All the summits seemed covered with houses--the towers
of the fine Roman Catholic Cathedral, standing on the top of a hill to
the right, being the last building to be seen distinctly from the bay.

In about two hours we were at Queenscliffe, inside the Heads--at
present the fashionable watering place of Melbourne. Several excursion
steamers had preceded us, taking down great numbers of passengers, to
enjoy Boxing Day by the sea-side. The place looked very pretty indeed
from our ship's deck. Some of the passengers, who had taken places for
Sydney, were landed here, fearing lest the sea should be found too
rough outside the Heads.

There had been very little wind when we left Sandridge, and the waters
of Port Phillip were comparatively smooth. But as we proceeded, the
wind began to rise, and our weather-wise friends feared lest they
should have to encounter a gale outside. We were now in sight of the
white line of breakers running across the Heads. There was still a
short distance of smooth water before us; but that was soon passed;
and then our ship dashed her prow into the waves and had to fight her
way as for very life against the heavy sea that rolled in through
Bass's Straits from the South Pacific.

The only distinguished passengers on board are Mr. and Mrs. Charles
Mathews, who have been "starring" it in Victoria to some purpose. A
few nights ago, Mr. Mathews took his leave in a characteristic speech,
partly humorous and partly serious; but the enthusiastic audience
laughed and cheered him all the way through; and it was rather comic
to read the newspaper report of next morning, and to find that the
actor's passages of the softest pathos had been received with "roars
of laughter."

Mr. Mathews seems to be one of the most perennially juvenile of men.
When he came on board at Sandridge, he looked as frisky and larky as a
boy. He skipped up and down the deck, and took an interest in
everything. This lasted so long as the water was smooth. When he came
in sight of the broken water at the Heads, I fancy his spirit
barometer went down a little. But when the ship began to put her nose
into the waves freely, a total change seemed to pass over him. I very
soon saw his retreating skirts. For the next three days--three long,
rough, wave-tossing days--very little was seen of him, and when he at
length did make his appearance on deck, alas! he seemed no longer the
brisk and juvenile passenger that had come on board at Sandridge only
a few days before.

Indeed, it was a very rough and "dirty" passage. The passengers were
mostly prostrate during the whole of the voyage. The sea was rolling
in from the east in great billows, which our little boat breasted
gallantly; but it was tossed about like a cork, inclining at all sorts
of angles by turns. It was not much that I could see of the coast,
though at some places it is bold, at others beautiful. We passed very
near to it at Ram Head and Cape Howe--a grand promontory forming the
south-west point of Australia.

On the third day from Melbourne, about daybreak, I found we were
steaming close along shore, under dark brown cliffs, not very high,
topped with verdure. The wind had gone down, but the boat was pitching
in the heavy sea as much as ever. The waves were breaking with fury
and noise along the beach under the cliffs. At 9 A.M. we passed Botany
Bay--the first part of New South Wales sighted by Captain Cook just a
hundred years ago. It was here that he first landed, and erected a
mound of stones and a flag to commemorate the event.[14] Banks and
Solander, who were with him, found the land covered with new and
beautiful flowers, and hence the name which was given it, of "Botany
Bay"--afterwards a name of terror, associated only with crime and
convict life.

We steamed across the entrance to the bay, until we were close under
the cliffs of the outer South Head, guarding the entrance to Port
Jackson. The white Macquarie lighthouse on the summit of the Head is
seen plainly at a great distance. Steaming on, we were soon under the
inner South Head, and at the entrance to the famous harbour, said to
be the finest in the world.

The opening into Port Jackson is comparatively narrow,--so much so,
that when Captain Cook first sailed past it, he considered it to be
merely a boat entrance, and did not examine it. While he was at
breakfast, the look-out man at the mast-head--a man named
Jackson--reported that he saw the entrance to what seemed a good
anchorage; and so the captain, half in derision, named it "Port
Jackson." The Heads seemed to me only about four hundred feet apart
from each other, the North Head somewhat overlapping the South. The
rocks appear to have broken off abruptly, and stand up perpendicularly
over against each other, about three hundred feet high, leaving a
chasm or passage between them which forms the entrance to Port
Jackson. When the Pacific rolls in full force against the Heads, the
waves break with great violence on the cliffs, and the spray is flung
right over the lighthouse on the South Head. Now that the sea has gone
somewhat down, the waves are not so furious, and yet the dash of the
spray half-way up the perpendicular cliffs is a grand sight.

Once inside the Heads, the water becomes almost perfectly calm; the
scenery suddenly changes; the cliffs subside into a prettily-wooded
country, undulating and sloping gently to the water's edge.
Immediately within the entrance, on the south side, is a pretty little
village--the pilot station in Watson's Bay. After a few minutes' more
steaming, the ship rounds a corner, the open sea is quite shut out
from view, and neither Heads nor pilot station are to be seen.

My attention is next drawn to a charming view on the north shore--a
delicious little inlet, beautifully wooded, and surrounded by a
background of hills, rising gradually to their highest height behind
the centre of the little bay. There, right in amongst the bright green
trees, I observe a gem of a house, with a broad terrace in front, and
steps leading down to the clear blue water. A few minutes more, and we
have lost sight of the charming nook, having rounded the headland of
the inlet--a rocky promontory covered with ferns and mosses.

But our attention is soon absorbed by other beauties of the scene.
Before us lies a lovely island prettily wooded, with some three or
four fine mansions and their green lawns sloping down to the water's
edge; while on the left, the hills are constantly varying in aspect as
we steam along. At length, some seven miles up Port Jackson, the
spires and towers and buildings of Sydney come into sight; at first
Wooloomooloo, and then in ten minutes more, on rounding another point,
we find ourselves in Sydney Cove, alongside the wharf. Here we are in
the midst of an amphitheatre of beauty,--a wooded island opposite
covered with villas and cottages; with headlands, coves and bays, and
beautiful undulations of lovely country as far as the eye can reach.
Altogether, I think Port Jackson is one of the most charming pieces of
water and landscape that I have ever seen.

After our three days tossing at sea, I was, however, glad to be on
shore again; so, having seen my boxes safely deposited in the
Californian baggage depôt, I proceeded into the town and secured
apartments for the few days I was to remain in Sydney.

From what I have already said of the approach to the landing, it will
be inferred that the natural situation of Sydney is very fine. It
stands upon a ridge of sandstone rock, which runs down into the bay in
numerous ridges or spines of land or rock, between which lie the
natural harbours of the place; and these are so deep, that vessels of
almost any burden may load and unload at the projecting wharves. Thus
Sydney possesses a very large extent of deep water frontage, and its
wharfage and warehouse accommodation is capable of enlargement to
almost any extent. Of the natural harbours formed by the projecting
spines of rock into the deep water, the most important are
Wooloomooloo Bay, Farm Cove, Sydney Cove, and Darling Harbour.

From the waterside, the houses, ranged in streets, rise like so many
terraces up to the crown of the ridges,--the main streets occupying
the crests and flanks of two or three of the highest. One of these,
George Street, is a remarkably fine street, about two miles long,
containing many handsome buildings.

My first knowledge of Sydney was acquired in a stroll up George
Street. We noticed the original old market-place, bearing the date of
1793; a quaint building, with queer old-fashioned domes, all
shingle-roofed. A little further on, we came to a large building in
course of erection--the new Town Hall, built of a yellowish sort of
stone. Near it is the English Cathedral--a large and elegant
structure. Further on, is the new Roman Catholic Cathedral,--the
original cathedral in Hyde Park having been burnt down some time ago.

Altogether, Sydney has a much older look than Melbourne. It has grown
up at longer intervals, and does not look so spic and span new. The
streets are much narrower and more irregular--older-fashioned, and
more English in appearance--occasioned, doubtless, by its slower
growth and its more hilly situation. But it would also appear as if
there were not the same go-ahead spirit in Sydney that so
pre-eminently characterises her sister city. Instead of the
splendidly broad, well-paved, and well-watered streets of Melbourne,
here they are narrow, ill-paved, and dirty. Such a thing as the
miserable wooden hut which serves for a post-office would not be
allowed to exist for a day at Melbourne. It is the original office,
and has never been altered or improved since it was first put up. I
must, however, acknowledge that a new post-office is in course of
erection; but it shows the want of public spirit in the place that the
old shanty should have been allowed to stand so long.

The railway terminus, at the end of George Street, is equally
discreditable. It is, without exception, the shabbiest, dirtiest shed
of the kind I have ever seen. They certainly need a little of the
Victorian spirit in Sydney. The Melbourne people, with such a site for
a city, would soon have made it one of the most beautiful places in
the world. As it is, nothing can surpass its superb situation; the
view over the harbour from some of the higher streets being
unequalled,--the numerous ships lying still, as if asleep on the calm
waters of the bay beneath, whilst the rocky promontories all round it,
clothed with verdure, are dotted with the villas and country mansions
of the Sydney merchants.

One of the busiest parts of Sydney is down by the quays, where a great
deal of shipping business is carried on. There are dry docks, patent
slips, and one floating dock; though floating docks are of minor
importance here, where the depth of water along shore is so great, and
the rise and fall of the tide is so small. Indeed, Sydney Harbour may
be regarded as one immense floating dock. The Australasian Steam
Navigation Company have large ship-building and repairing premises at
Pyrmont, which give employment to a large number of hands. Certainly,
the commanding position of Sydney, and the fact of its being the chief
port of a great agricultural and pastoral country in the interior,
hold out the promise of great prosperity for it in the future.

Every visitor to Sydney of course makes a point of seeing the
Government House and the Domain, for it is one of the principal sights
of the place. The Government buildings and park occupy the
double-headed promontory situated between Wooloomooloo Bay and Sydney
Cove. The Government House is a handsome and spacious castellated
building, in every way worthy of the colony; the views from some parts
of the grounds being of almost unparalleled beauty. There are nearly
four miles of drives in the park, through alternate cleared and wooded
grounds,--sometimes opening upon cheerful views of the splendid
harbour, then skirting the rocky shores, or retreating inland amidst
shadowy groves and grassy dells. The grounds are open to the public,
and the entrances being close upon the town and suburbs, this public
park of Sydney is one that for convenience and beauty, perhaps no
capital in the world surpasses.

The Botanical Gardens are situated in what is called the outer Domain.
We enter the grounds under a long avenue of acacias and sycamores,
growing so close together as to afford a complete shade from the
noonday heat. At the end of the avenue, we came upon a splendid
specimen of the Norfolk Island pine, said to be the largest and finest
tree out of the island itself. After resting for a time under its
delicious shade, we strolled on through other paths overhung with all
sorts of flowering plants; then, passing through an opening in the
wall, a glorious prospect of the bay suddenly spread out before us.
The turf was green down to the water's edge, and interspersed with
nicely-kept flower beds, with here and there a pretty clump of trees.

Down by the water side is a broad esplanade--the most charming of
promenades--running all round the beautiful little bay which it
encloses. Tropical and European shrubs grow in profusion on all sides;
an English rose-tree in full bloom growing alongside a bamboo; while,
at another place, a banana throws its shadow over a blooming bunch of
sweet pea, and a bell-flowered plant overhangs a Michaelmas daisy. A
fine view of the harbour and shipping is obtained from a part of the
grounds where Lady Macquarie's chair--a hollow place in a rock--is
situated;--itself worth coming a long way to see. Turning up the
gardens again, we come upon a monkey-house, an aviary, and--what
interested me more than all--an enclosed lawn in which were numerous
specimens of the kangaroo tribe, from the "Old Boomer" standing six
feet high, down to the Rock kangaroo not much bigger than a hare. We
hung about, watching the antics of the monkeys and the leapings of the
kangaroos until it was time to take our departure.

The country inland, lying to the south of Sydney, is by no means
picturesque. Much of it consists of sandy scrub, and it is by no means
fertile, except in the valleys. But nothing can surpass the beauty of
the shores of the bay as far up as Paramatta, about twenty miles
inland. The richest land of the colony lies well into the interior,
but the time at my disposal was too short to enable me to do more than
visit the capital, with which the passing stranger cannot fail to be
greatly pleased.

Altogether, it seems a wonderful thing that so much should have been
done within so short a time towards opening up the resources of this
great country. And most wonderful of all, that the people of a small
island like Britain, situated at the very opposite side of the globe,
some sixteen thousand miles off, should have come hither, and within
so short a time have built up such cities as Sydney and
Melbourne,--planted so large an extent of territory with towns, and
villages, and farmsteads--covered its pastures with cattle and
sheep--opened up its mines--provided it with roads, railroads, and
telegraphs, and thereby laid the firm foundations of a great future
empire in the south. Surely these are things of which England, amidst
all her grumblings, has some reason to be proud!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: The Honourable Thomas Holt, on whose property the
landing-place is situated, last year erected an obelisk on the spot,
with the inscription "Captain Cook landed here 28th April, A.D. 1770,"
with the following extract from Captain Cook's Journal: "At day-break
we discovered a bay, and anchored under the south shore, about two
miles within the entrance, in six fathom water, the south point
bearing S.E., and the north point east. Latitude 43° S., Longitude
208° 37' W."]

[Illustration: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND.]



CHAPTER XIX.

TO AUCKLAND, IN NEW ZEALAND.

LEAVING SYDNEY--ANCHOR WITHIN THE HEADS--TAKE IN MAILS AND PASSENGERS
FROM THE 'CITY OF ADELAIDE'--OUT TO SEA AGAIN--SIGHT NEW
ZEALAND--ENTRANCE TO AUCKLAND HARBOUR--THE 'GALATEA'--DESCRIPTION OF
AUCKLAND--FOUNDING OF AUCKLAND DUE TO A JOB--MAORI MEN AND
WOMEN--DRIVE TO ONEHUNGA--SPLENDID VIEW--AUCKLAND GALA--NEW ZEALAND
DELAYS--LEAVE FOR HONOLULU.


On the last day of December, 1870, I set out for Honolulu, in the
Sandwich Islands, embarking as second-class passenger on board the
'City of Melbourne.' Our first destination was Auckland, in New
Zealand, where we were to stop for a few days to take in passengers
and mails.

I had been so fortunate as accidentally to encounter a friend, whom I
knew in Maryborough, in the streets of Sydney. He was out upon his
summer holiday, and when he understood that I was bound for New
Zealand, he determined to accompany me, and I had, therefore, the
pleasure of his society during the earlier part of my voyage.

As we steamed down the harbour I had another opportunity of admiring
the beautiful little bays, and sandy coves, and wooded islets of Port
Jackson. The city, with its shipping, and towers, and spires,
gradually receded in the distance, and as we rounded a headland Sydney
was finally shut out from further view.

We were soon close to the abrupt headlands which guard the entrance to
the bay, and letting drop our anchor just inside the southern head, we
lay safely sheltered from the gale which began to blow from the east.
There we waited the arrival of the 'City of Adelaide' round from
Melbourne, with the last mails and passengers for England by the
California route.

But it was some time before the 'Adelaide' made her appearance. Early
next morning, hearing that she was alongside, I hurried on deck. The
mails were speedily brought off from the inward-bound ship, together
with seven more passengers. Our anchor was at once weighed, and in ten
more minutes we are off. We are soon at the entrance to the Heads; and
I see by the scud of the clouds, and the long line of foaming breakers
driving across the entrance, that before long we shall have the spray
flying over our hurricane deck. Another minute and we are outside,
plunging into the waves and throwing the water in foam from our bows.

I remain upon deck, holding on as long as I can. Turning back, I see a
fine little schooner coming out of the Heads behind us, under a good
press of sail. On she came, dipping her bows right under the water,
but buoyant as a cork. Her men were aloft reefing a sail, her yards
seeming almost to touch the water as she leaned over to leeward.
Passing under our stern, she changed her course, and the plucky little
schooner held up along the coast, making for one of the northern
ports.

Taking a last look at the Sydney Heads, I left the further navigation
of the ship in the hands of the captain, and retired below. I was too
much occupied by private affairs to see much more of the sea during
the next twenty-four hours. New Year's Day though it was, there was
very little jollity on board; indeed, as regarded the greater number
of the passengers, it was spent rather sadly.

The weather, however, gradually moderated, until, on the third day of
our voyage, it became fine, such wind as there was being well aft. On
the fifth day, the wind had gone quite down, and there only remained
the long low roll of the Pacific; but the ship rolled so heavily that
I suspect there must have been a very strong under-current somewhere
about. Early in the forenoon we sighted the "Three Kings' Island," off
the extreme north coast of New Zealand. At first they seemed to
consist of three detached rocks; but as we neared them, they were
seen to be a number of small rocky islands, with very little
vegetation on them. The mainland shortly came in sight, though it was
still too distant to enable us to recognise its features.

Early next morning, we found ourselves steaming close in shore past
Cape Brett, near the entrance to the Bay of Islands. The high cliffs
along the coast are bold and grand; here and there a waterfall is
seen, and occasionally an opening valley, showing the green woods
beyond. In the distance are numerous conical hills, showing the
originally volcanic character of the country. During the forenoon we
passed a huge rock that in the distance had the appearance of being a
large ship in full sail; hence its name of the "Sail Rock."

The entrance to the harbour of Auckland, though by no means equal to
Port Jackson, is yet highly picturesque. On one side is the city of
Auckland, lying in a hollow, and extending up the steep hills on
either side; while opposite to it, on the north shore of the Frith of
Thames, is a large round hill, used as a pilot signal station.
Situated underneath it are many nice little villas, with gardens close
to the sea. The view extends up the inlets, which widens out and
terminates in a background of high blue mountains. From Auckland, as
from Sydney, the open sea is not to be seen--there are so many
windings in and out before the harbour is reached.

A fine Queen's ship was lying at anchor in the bay, which, on inquiry,
we found to be the 'Galatea,' commanded by the Duke of Edinburgh. The
'Clio' also was anchored not far off. We were soon alongside the long
wooden pier, to which were also moored several fine clipper ships, and
made our way into the town. As the principal street continued straight
in from the pier, we were shortly enabled to see all the principal
buildings of the place.

Though a small shipping town, there seems to be a considerable amount
of business doing at Auckland. There is a good market-place, some
creditable bank buildings, and some three or four fine shops, but the
streets are dirty and ill-paved. The Supreme Court and the Post
Office--both fine buildings--lie off the principal street. The
Governor's house, which occupies a hill to the right, commands a fine
view of the bay, as well as of the lovely green valley behind it.

Auckland, like Sydney, being for the most part built upon high land,
is divided by ravines, which open out towards the sea in little coves
or bays--such as Mechanics' Bay, Commercial Bay, and Official Bay. The
buildings in Mechanics' Bay, as the name imports, are principally
devoted to ship-building, boat-building, and rope-making. The shore of
Commercial Bay is occupied by the store and shop-keeping people, while
Official Bay is surrounded by the principal official buildings, the
Government storehouses, and such like.

I have been told here that Auckland is completely out of place as the
capital of the colony, being situated at the narrowest part of the
island, far away from the principal seats of population, which are in
Cook's Straits and even further south. The story is current that
Auckland is due to an early job of Government officials, who combined
to buy up the land about it and when it had been fixed upon as the
site of the capital, sold out their lots at fabulous prices, to the
feathering of their own nests.

A great many natives, or Maoris, are hanging about the town. It seems
that they are here in greater numbers than usual, their votes being
wanted for the passing or confirmation of some land measure. Groups of
them stand about the streets talking and gesticulating; a still
greater number are hanging round the public-houses, which they enter
from time to time to have a drink. I cannot say I like the look of the
men; they look very ugly customers indeed--beetle-browed and
down-looking, "with foreheads villanous low." Their appearance is all
the more revolting by reason of the large blue circles of tattoo on
their faces. Indeed, when the New Zealander is fully tattooed, which
is the case with the old aristocrats, there is very little of his
original face visible, excepting perhaps his nose and his bright black
eyes.

Most of the men were dressed in the European costume, though some few
were in their native blankets, which they wear with grace and even
dignity. The men were of fine physique--tall, strong, and
well-made--and, looking at their keen fierce eyes, I do not wonder
that they have given our soldiers so much trouble. I could not help
thinking, as I saw them hanging about the drinking-shops, some half
drunk, that English drink will in the long run prove their conquerors
far more than English rifles.

There were many Maori women mingled with the men. Some of them were
good looking. Their skin is of a clear dark olive; their eyes dark
brown or black; their noses small and their mouths large. But nearly
all of them have a horrid blue tattoo mark on their lips, that serves
to give them--at least to European eyes--a repulsive look.

Many of the women, as well as the men, wear a piece of native
greenstone hanging from their ears, to which is attached a long piece
of black ribbon. This stone is supposed by the Maoris to possess some
magical virtue. Others of them--men, as well as girls--have sharks'
teeth hanging from their ears and dangling about their faces,--the
upper part of the teeth being covered with bright red wax.

Mixed with the Maoris were the sailors of the 'Galatea,' rolling about
the streets, and, like them, frequent customers of the public-houses.
In fact, the sailors and the Maoris seemed to form a considerable
proportion of the population of the place.

The landlord of the hotel at which we stayed--the 'Waitemata'--having
recommended us to take a drive into the interior, we set out at midday
by stage coach for Onehunga. Auckland being situated at the narrowest
part of the North Island, Onehunga, which is on the west coast, is
only seven miles distant by land, though five hundred by water.

The coach started at noon, and it was hard work for the four horses
to drag the vehicle up the long steep hill at the back of the town.
Nice country-houses stood on both sides of the road, amidst fresh
green gardens; the houses almost buried in foliage.

From the high road a magnificent landscape stretched before us. It
reminded me very much of a particular view of the Lake of Geneva,
though this was even more grand and extensive. The open sea was at
such a distance, and so shut out by intervening high land, that it was
scarcely visible. The lovely frith or bay, with its numerous inlets,
islands, and surrounding bright green hills, lay at our feet. The blue
water wound in and out amongst the hills on our right for a distance
of about fifteen miles. There was a large open stretch of water,
surrounded by high mountains, towards the west. Right before us was
the entrance to the bay, with the pilot-station hill on one side and
Mount Victoria on the other. Between these two hills, high land stood
up in the distance, so that the whole gave one the impression of a
beautiful inland lake rather than of a sea view. It was, without
exception, the most magnificent prospect I had ever looked upon. Yet
they tell me this is surpassed by the scenery in other parts of New
Zealand; in which case it must indeed be an exceedingly picturesque
country.

We drove along through a pretty green country, with fine views of the
plains toward the right, bounded by distant blue mountains. In about
another quarter of an hour, after passing through the village of
Epsom, we came in sight of the sea on the west coast, and were
shortly set down at Onehunga, on the shore of Manukau Bay. Onehunga is
a small township, containing a few storehouses, besides
dwelling-houses, with an hotel or two. The view here was also fine,
but not so interesting as that on the eastern side of the island.
Plains, bounded by distant mountains, extended along the coast on one
side, and high broken cliffs ran along the shore and bounded the sea
in front of us. After an hour's rest, at Onehunga, we returned to
Auckland, enjoying the drive back very much, in spite of the
inconveniently-crowded coach.

There was a sort of gala in Auckland that evening. A promenade concert
was given on the parade-ground at the barracks, at which the band of
the 'Galatea' played to the company. The Prince himself, it was
announced, would perform on the occasion. It was a fine moonlight
night, and the inhabitants of Auckland turned out in force. There must
have been at least two thousand well-dressed people promenading about,
listening to the music. The Prince's elephant was there too, and
afforded a good deal of amusement. How the poor brute was slung out of
the 'Galatea,' got on shore, and got back on ship-board again, was to
me a mystery.

I went down to the steamer at the appointed time of sailing, but found
that the 'City' was not to leave for several hours after time. The
mail express was to wait until Mr. and Mrs. Bandman--who had been
acting in Auckland--had received some presentation from the officers
of the 'Galatea'! It seemed odd that a mail steamer should be delayed
some hours to suit the convenience of a party of actors. But there
are strange doings connected with this mail line. Time is of little
moment here; and, in New Zealand, I suspect time is even less valued
than usual. They tell me that few mails leave New Zealand without
having to wait, on some pretext or another. There does not seem to be
the same activity, energy, and business aptitude that exists in the
Australian colonies. The Auckland people seem languid and half asleep.
Perhaps their soft, relaxing, winterless climate has something to do
with it.

Having nothing else to occupy me before the ship sailed, I took leave
of my Australian friend, gave him my last messages for Maryborough and
Majorca, and went on board. I was wakened up about midnight by the
noise of the anchor coming up; and, in a few minutes more, we were off
and on our way to Honolulu up the Pacific.



CHAPTER XX.

UP THE PACIFIC.

DEPARTURE FOR HONOLULU--MONOTONY OF A VOYAGE BY
STEAM--DÉSAGRÉMENS--THE "GENTLEMEN" PASSENGERS--THE ONE SECOND CLASS
"LADY"--THE RATS ON BOARD--THE SMELLS--FLYING FISH--CROSS THE
LINE--TREATMENT OF NEWSPAPERS ON BOARD--HAWAII IN SIGHT--ARRIVAL AT
HONOLULU.


When I went on deck next morning, we had left New Zealand far behind
us; not a speck of land was to be seen, and we were fairly on our way
to Honolulu. We have before us a clear run of about four thousand
miles, and if our machinery and coal keep good, we know that we shall
do it easily in about seventeen days.

Strange though it may seem, there is much greater monotony in a voyage
on board a steamer than there is on board a sailing vessel. There is
nothing like the same interest felt in the progress of the ship, and
thus one unfailing topic of conversation and speculation is shut out.
There are no baffling winds, no sleeping calms, alternating with a
joyous and invigorating run before the wind, such as we had when
coming out, from Plymouth to the Cape. We only know that we shall do
our average ten miles an hour, be the weather what it may. If the wind
is blowing astern, we run before it; if ahead, we run through it.
Fair or foul it matters but little.

[Illustration: (Maps of the Ship's Course up the Pacific, Auckland,
and Sydney, Port Jackson)]

A voyage by a steamer, compared with one by sailing ship, is what a
journey by railway train is to a drive across country in a well-horsed
stage coach. There is, however, this to be said in favour of the
former,--we know that, monotonous though it be, it is very much sooner
over; and on a voyage of some thousands of miles, we can calculate to
a day, and almost to an hour, when we shall arrive at our
destination.

But, to be set against the shorter time consumed on the voyage, there
are numerous little _désagrémens_. There is the dismal, never-ending
grind, grind of the screw, sometimes, when the ship rolls, and the
screw is out of the water, going round with a horrible _birr_. At such
times, the vessel has a double motion, pitching and rolling, and
thereby occasioning an inexpressibly sickly feeling. Then, when the
weather is hot, there is the steam of heated oil wafted up from the
engine-room, which, mingled with the smell of bilge, and perhaps
cooking, is anything but agreeable or appetizing. I must also
acknowledge that a second-class berth, which I had taken, is not
comparable in point of comfort to a first; not only as regards the
company, but as regards smells, food, and other surroundings.

There are not many passengers at my end, and the few there are do not
make themselves very agreeable. First, there are two German Jews,
grumbling and growling at everything. They are a couple of the most
cantankerous fellows I ever came across; never done knagging,
swearing, grunting, and bellowing. They keep the steward, who is an
obliging sort of fellow, in a state of constant "wax;" which, when I
want anything done for me, I have to remedy by tipping. So that they
are likely to prove somewhat costly companions, though in a peculiar
way.

Next, there is a German Yankee, a queer old fellow, who came on board
at Auckland. He seems to have made some money at one of the New
Zealand gold fields called "The Serpentine," somewhere near Dunedin.
This old fellow and I cotton together very well. He is worth a dozen
of the other two Germans. He had been all through the American war
under Grant, and spins some long yarns about the Northerners and the
"cussed rebs."

As there are twenty-seven bunks in our cabin, and only four
passengers, there is of course plenty of room and to spare. But there
is also a "lady" passenger at our end of the ship, and she has all the
fifteen sleeping-places in her cabin to herself. It might be supposed
that, there being only one lady, she would be in considerable demand
with her fellow-passengers. But it was quite the contrary. Miss
Ribbids, as I will call her, proved to be a most uninteresting
individual. I am sorry to have to confess to so much ungallantry; but
the only effort which I made, in common with the others, was to avoid
her--she was so hopelessly dense. One night she asked me, quite
seriously, "If that was the same moon they had at Sydney?"! I am sure
she does not know that the earth is round. By stretching a hair across
the telescope glass, I made her look in and showed her the Line, but
she did not see the joke. She gravely asked if we should not land at
the Line: she understood there was land there! Her only humour is
displayed at table, when anything is spilt by the rolling of the ship,
when she exclaims, "Over goes the apple-cart!" But enough of the awful
Miss Ribbids.

There are, however, other passengers aboard that must not be
forgotten--the rats! I used to have a horror of rats, but here I soon
became used to them. The first night I slept on board I smelt
something very disgusting as I got into my bunk; and at last I
discovered that it arose from a dead rat in the wainscot of the ship.
My nose being somewhat fastidious as yet, I moved to the other side of
the cabin. But four kegs of strong-smelling butter sent me quickly out
of that. I then tried a bunk next to the German Jews, but I found
proximity to them was the least endurable of all; and so, after many
changes, I at last came back and slept contentedly beside my unseen
and most unsavoury companion, the dead rat.

But there are plenty of living and very lively rats too. One night a
big fellow ran over my face, and in a fright I cried out. But use is
everything, and in the course of a few more nights I got quite rid of
my childish astonishment and fear at rats running over my face. Have
you ever heard rats sing? I assure you they sing in a very lively
chorus; though I confess I have heard much pleasanter music in my
time.

Amidst all these little troubles, the ship went steadily on. During
the second night, after leaving Auckland, the wind began to blow
pretty fresh, and the hatch was closed. It felt very close and stuffy
below, that night. The light went out, and the rats had it all their
own way. On the following day, it was impossible to go on deck without
getting wet through, so we were forced to stick down below. The
rolling of the ship was also considerable.

Next day was fine, but hot. The temperature sensibly and even rapidly
increases as we approach the Line. We see no land, though we have
passed through amongst the Friendly Islands, with the Samoa or
Navigator's Islands lying to the west. It is now a clear course to
Honolulu. Not being able to go on deck in the heat of the day, at risk
of sun-stroke, I wait until the sun has gone down, and then slip on
deck with my rug and pillow, and enjoy a siesta under the stars. But
sometimes I am disturbed by a squall, and have to take refuge below
again.

As the heat increases, so do the smells on board. In passing from the
deck to our cabin, I pass through seven distinct perfumes:--1st, the
smell from the galley smoke; 2nd, the perfume of decaying vegetables
stored on the upper deck; 3rd, fowls; 4th, dried fish; 5th, oil and
steam from the engine-room; 6th, meat undergoing the process of
cooking; 7th, the galley by which I pass; until I finally enter No. 8,
our own sweet cabin, with the butter, the rats, and the German Jews.

We are again in the midst of the flying fish; but they interest me
nothing like so vividly as they did when I first saw them in the
Atlantic. Some of them take very long flights, as much as thirty or
forty yards. Whole shoals of them fly away from the bows of the ship
as she presses through the water.

On the 19th of January we crossed the Line, in longitude about 160°.
We continue on a straight course, making an average of about 240 miles
a day. It already begins to get cooler, as we are past the sun's
greatest heat. It is a very idle, listless life; and I lie about on
the hen-coops all day, reading, or sitting down now and then to write
up this log, which has been written throughout amidst discomfort and
under considerable difficulties.

One of my fellow-passengers is enraged at the manner in which
newspapers are treated while in transit. If what he says be true, I
can easily understand how it is that so many newspapers miscarry--how
so many numbers of 'Punch' and the 'Illustrated News' never reach
their destination. My informant says that when an officer wants a
newspaper, the mail-bag is opened, and he takes what he likes. He
might just as well be permitted to have letters containing money. Many
a poor colonial who cannot write a letter, buys and despatches a
newspaper to his friends at home, to let them know he is alive; and
this is the careless and unfaithful way in which the missive is
treated by those to whom its carriage is entrusted. I heard many
complaints while in Victoria, of newspapers containing matter of
interest never reaching their address; from which I infer that the
same practice more or less prevails on the Atlantic route. It is
really too bad.

As we steam north, the weather grows fine, and we begin to have some
splendid days and glorious sunsets. But we are all longing eagerly to
arrive at our destination. At length, on the morning of the 24th of
January, we discerned the high land of the island of Hawaii, about
seventy miles off, on our beam. That is the island where Captain Cook
was murdered by the natives, in 1779. We saw distinctly the high
conical volcanic mountain of Mauna Loa, 14,000 feet high, its peak
showing clear above the grey clouds.

We steamed on all day, peering ahead, looking out for the land. Night
fell, and still our port was not in sight. At length, at about ten,
the lighthouse on the reef which stretches out in front of Honolulu,
shone out in the darkness. Then began a little display of fireworks,
and rockets and blue lights were exchanged between our ship and the
shore. A rocket also shot up from a steamer to seaward, and she was
made out to be the 'Moses Taylor,' the ship that is to take us on to
San Francisco.

At about one in the morning, we take our pilot on board, and shortly
after, my German friends rouse me with the intelligence that we are
alongside the wharf. I am now, however, getting an "old bird;" my
enthusiasm about novelty has gone down considerably; and I decline the
pleasure of accompanying them on shore at this early hour. Honolulu
will doubtless wait for me until morning.

[Illustration: HONOLULU, SANDWICH ISLANDS.]



CHAPTER XXI.

HONOLULU AND THE ISLAND OF OAHU.

THE HARBOUR OF HONOLULU--IMPORTANCE OF ITS SITUATION--THE
CITY--CHURCHES AND THEATRES--THE POST OFFICE--THE SUBURBS--THE KING'S
PALACE--THE NUUANU VALLEY--POI--PEOPLE COMING DOWN THE VALLEY--THE
PALI--PROSPECT FROM THE CLIFFS--THE NATIVES (KANAKAS)--DIVERS--THE
WOMEN--DRINK PROHIBITION--THE CHINESE--THEATRICALS--MUSQUITOES.


When I came on deck in the early morning, the sun was rising behind
the mountains which form the background of Honolulu as seen from the
harbour, tipping them with gold and red, and bathing the landscape in
beauty. I could now survey at leisure the lovely scene.

I found we had entered a noble harbour, round which the town of
Honolulu is built, with its quays, warehouses and shipyards. Looking
seaward, I observe the outer bay is nearly closed in at its lower
extremity by the long ridge-like hill, called Diamond Head. Nearer at
hand, behind the town, is a remarkable eminence called Punchbowl Hill,
evidently of volcanic origin, crowned with a battery, and guarding the
entrance to the smaller bay which forms the harbour.

The entrance to the harbour is through a passage in one of the coral
reefs which surround the island, the coral insects building upwards
from the submerged flanks of the land, until the reefs emerge from the
waves, more or less distant from the shore. As the water at the
shallowest part of the entrance is only about twenty-two feet, vessels
of twenty-feet draught and over have to remain outside, where,
however, there is good anchorage and shelter, unless when the wind
blows strong from the south. The water inside the reefs is usually
smooth, though the waves outside may be dashing themselves to foam on
their crests.

A glance at the situation of the Sandwich Islands on the map will
serve to show the important part they are destined to play in the
future commerce of the Pacific. They lie almost directly in the course
of all ships passing from San Francisco and Vancouver to China and
Japan, as well as to New Zealand and Australia. They are almost
equidistant from the coasts of Russia and America, being rather
nearer to the American coast, from which they are distant about 2100
miles. They form, as it were, a stepping-stone on the great ocean
highway of the Pacific between the East and the West--between the old
world and the new--as well as between the newest and most prosperous
settlements in the Western States of America and Australia. And it is
because Honolulu--the principal town in the island of Oahu, and the
capital of the Sandwich Islands--possesses by far the best, most
accessible, and convenient harbour, that it is a place likely to
become of so much importance in the future. It has not been unusual to
see as many as from a hundred to a hundred and fifty sail riding
securely at anchor there.

[Illustration: (Map of Oahu, Sandwich Islands)]

As seen from the harbour, Honolulu is an extremely pretty place. It
lies embowered in fresh green foliage, the roofs of the houses peeping
up here and there from amongst the trees, while the waving fronds of
the cocoa-nut palms rise in some places majestically above them,
contrasting strangely with the volcanic crags and peaks which form the
distant background. In the older part of the town, to the right, the
houses are more scattered about; and from the first appearance of the
place, one would scarcely suppose that it contained so large a
population as twelve thousand, though many of the houses are
doubtless hidden by the foliage and the undulations of the ground on
which the place is built.

Behind the town, a plain of about two miles in width extends to the
base of the mountain range which forms its background. The
extraordinary shapes of the mountains--their rugged ravines and
precipitous peaks--unmistakably denote the volcanic agencies that have
been at work in forming the islands, and giving to the scenery its
most marked features. Just at the back of the town, a deep valley, or
rather gorge, runs through a break in the hills, the sides of which
are covered with bright green foliage. The country, which rises
gradually up to this break in the mountains, is exceedingly
picturesque. Altogether, the first sight of the place came fully up to
my anticipations of the beauty of a tropical town in the Pacific.

I proceeded to take my first walk through Honolulu at half-past five
in the morning. It was the 25th of January--the dead of winter; but
there is no winter in Honolulu. It is as warm as August is in England;
and the warmth of the place all the year through is testified by the
fact that there is not a dwelling-house chimney in the town. I walked
along the shady streets up to the market-place, and there I found a
number of the natives squatted on their haunches, selling plantains,
oranges, bananas, fruits, and vegetables. I invested sixpence in an
enormous bunch of bananas, which I carried back with me to the ship
for the use of our party, very much to their enjoyment, for the fruit
was in perfection.

In the course of the forenoon I proceeded to explore Honolulu at
greater leisure. I found the central portion of the town consisted of
regularly laid out streets, many of the houses enclosed within
gardens. The trees standing here and there amongst the shops and
warehouses give them a fresh and primitive look. I pass several places
of worship in going to the Post Office,--the English Cathedral,
chapels of American Congregationalists, Wesleyan Methodists, and Roman
Catholics. There is also the Royal Hawaiian Theatre, and an Equestrian
Circus, as well as a Police Office. Police? "Yes; bless you, sir, we
are civilised!"

I could see the Post Office a long way off before I reached it,
standing in a small square at the head of one of the principal
streets. It was easily known by the crowd of people, both natives and
foreigners, on the steps. For the mail had just come in by the 'Moses
Taylor,' and everybody was anxious to know what had been the upshot of
the European war and the siege of Paris. That war even threatens to
disturb the peace of Honolulu itself; for there is now a French
man-of-war at anchor in the harbour, the 'Hamelin,' watching a fine
German merchant ship, the 'Count Bismarck,' that arrived a few days
before the Frenchman. The Germans have taken the precaution to paint
"Honolulu" on the stern of their vessel, and to place themselves under
the protection of the Hawaiian Government. So the commander of the
French ship, finding he can make no capture here, has weighed anchor
and steamed out of port, doubtless to lie in wait for the German
vessel outside should she venture to put to sea.

I found the Post Office a sort of joint post-office and stationer's
shop, the principal business consisting in the sale of newspapers. I
was amazed to find that though a steamer runs regularly from Honolulu
to Australia there is no postal communication with Victoria, except
_viâ_ America and England! This is on account of the Victorian
Government refusing to subsidize the new Californian and Australian
mail line. Should such a line become established and prosper, the
Victorians fear that an advantage would be given to Sydney, and that
Melbourne, instead of being on the main line of mail communication, as
it now is, would be shunted on to a branch. But surely there is room
enough for a mail line by both the Atlantic and Pacific routes,
without occasion for jealousy either on the part of Sydney or
Melbourne.

After settling my business at the Post Office, accompanied by my
German-Yankee fellow-passenger, I took a stroll round the town and
suburbs; though it is so open and green that it seems _all_ suburbs.
We invested a small sum in oranges, which we found in perfection, and
sucked them as we went along in the most undignified way possible. We
directed our steps to that part of the town where the better class
seemed to reside, in cool, shady lanes, the houses embowered in
large-leaved tropical trees, cocoa-nut, banana, bread-fruit, calabash,
and other palms, with cycas and tree-ferns with stems some fifteen
feet high. Flower-bearing shrubs also abounded, such as the Hibiscus,
Mairi, of which the women make wreaths, and Gardenia, with the flowers
of which they also adorn themselves. In some of the gardens water was
laid on, and pretty fountains were playing, from which it would appear
that the water supply is good, and that there is a good head of it in
some mountain reservoir above.

We strolled along to the right of the town, towards the high volcanic
mountain on which the fort is situated, the long extinct crater
showing plainly on its summit. Some years since, when a French ship
bombarded the town, the Kanakas who manned the fort, threw down their
sponges, rammers, and all, directly the first shot was fired, leaving
the fort to take care of itself.

We returned to the harbour by way of the King's palace, which is in
the centre of the town, and may be known by the royal flag floating
over it. The palace is built of coral stone, and is an unpretending
building, reminding one of a French _maison de campagne_. It stands in
about an acre of ground, ornamented with flowers, shrubs, and an
avenue of kukui and koa-trees. A native sentry stood at the gate in
his uniform of blue coat and white trousers, and with his musket duly
shouldered in regulation style.

On the following day I made an excursion with an American gentleman,
who is something of a naturalist, to the remarkable valley, or gorge,
in the mountains at the back of the town, which had so attracted my
notice when I first saw it from the deck of our ship. It is called the
Nuuanu Valley, and is well worthy of a visit. The main street of the
town leads directly up to the entrance to the valley; and on the road
we passed many pretty low-roofed houses surrounded by beautifully-kept
gardens, the houses being those of the chief merchants and consuls of
the port. They looked quite cool and pleasant, embowered in green
papyrus, tamarind, and palm-trees, which shaded them from the hot
tropical sun with their large-leaved foliage. I find the sun now, in
winter-time, so hot that it is almost intolerable. What must it be in
summer?

As we proceed, we reach the fertile land, which nearly all lies at the
foot of the mountains, the long disintegration of the high ground
having left a rich deposit for vegetable growth. Some patches of
arrowroot lie close to the road, irrigated by the streams that run
down from the mountain above. But the principal crop is the taro-plant
(_Arum esculentum_), from which the native food of _poi_ is made. Let
me say a few words about this _poi_, as it forms the main staple of
Hawaiian food. The taro is grown in pits or beds, kept very wet,--in
which case, urged by the natural heat of the climate, it grows with
immense rapidity and luxuriance. It is the succulent root which is
used for food. It is pounded into a semi-fluid mess, after which it is
allowed to stand a few days and ferment; it is then worked about with
the hands until it acquires the proper consistency for eating, when it
is stored in gourds and calabashes. It must be of a certain thickness,
neither too soft nor too firm, something of the consistency of thick
flour-paste, though glutinous, and it is eaten in the following
manner. Two fingers are dipped into the pot containing the _poi_, and
turned rapidly round until a sufficient quantity of the paste adheres
to them; then, by a rapid motion, the lot is wriggled out of the pot,
conveyed into the mouth, and the fingers are sucked clean. Young girls
dip in only one finger at a time, the men two fingers. I was
frequently invited to dip my fingers into the _poi_ and try it, being
told that it was very good; but I had not the courage.[15]

But to proceed on my walk up the Nuuanu Valley. About two miles from
the town, we came to a very pretty villa on one side of the
road,--with some large native huts, in a shady garden, on the other.
We find that this villa is the country residence of Queen Emma.
Looking in through the gate of the garden opposite, who should I see
but our quondam lady passenger from Sydney, Miss Ribbids, reclining on
a bank in the most luxurious fashion! She had walked up the valley
alone, she informed us, and the natives had been most kind to her,
giving her fruits, and wreaths of flowers for her adornment.

Proceeding up the valley, we find ourselves on high ground, our road
having been for the most part up-hill. Looking back, a charming view
lies spread before us. The sky is brilliant and unclouded. Below us
lie the town and harbour, the blue sea as smooth as a mirror,
shipping dotting the bay, and a silvery line of water breaking along
the distant reef. We begin to catch the breeze blowing from the upper
part of the valley, and it feels fresh and invigorating after toiling
under the noonday sun.

As we ascend the road we meet several of the native girls coming down
on horseback. They seem to have quite a passion for riding in the
island, and have often to be prevented racing through the streets of
Honolulu. The horses are of a poor breed; but the women, who sit
astride like the men, seem plucky riders, their long, flowing dresses
making respectable riding-habits. Most of the girls wore garlands of
_ohelo_ and other flowers round their heads, being very fond of
ornament.

Shortly after meeting the girls, a man passed us, at the usual jog
canter, with a coffin slung on the saddle in front of him, and after
him followed another rider with the lid. We remarked upon the strange
burden, and I asked of the first man, who was going to be buried? "My
wife," he replied; "me pay seventy-five dollars for um coffin." He
grinned, and seemed quite pleased with his coffin, which was really a
handsome one.

As we ascend, we seem to get quite into the bush. Thick vegetation
spreads up the steep hills on each side of us. I can now understand
how difficult it must be to travel through a tropical forest. The
brushwood grows so close together, and is so intertwined, that it
would appear almost impossible to force one's way through it. The
mountains rise higher and higher as we advance, and are covered with
lovely light-green foliage. The hills seem to have been thrown up
evenly in ridges, each ridge running up the mountain-side having its
separate peak. Here and there a small cataract leaps down the face of
a rock, shining like a silver thread, and disappearing in the
brushwood below until it comes down to swell the mountain-torrent
running by our side close to the road.

At a turn of the road, we suddenly encountered a number of men coming
down from some cattle ranches in the hills, mounted _à la Mexicaine_,
with lassoes on their saddles and heavy whips in their hands, driving
before them a few miserable cattle. There seemed to be about eighteen
men to a dozen small beasts. I guess that a couple of Australian
stockmen, with their whips, could easily have driven before them the
whole lot--men, horses, and cattle.

We were now about seven miles from Honolulu, and very near the end of
our up-hill journey. After walking up a steeper ascent than usual, the
scenery becoming even more romantic and picturesque, we pass through a
thicket of hibiscus and other trees, when suddenly, on turning round a
small pile of volcanic rocks, we emerge on an open space, and the
grand precipice or Pali, of the Nuuanu Valley bursts upon us with
startling effect.

Here, in some tremendous convulsion of Nature, the mountain-ridge
seems to have been suddenly rent and burst through towards its
summit, and we look down over a precipice some five hundred feet deep.
It is possible to wind down the face of the rock by a narrow path;
but, having no mind to make the descent, we rest and admire the
magnificent prospect before and below us. Under the precipice is a
forest, so near to the foot of the rock that one might easily pitch a
stone into it. Over the forest stretches a lovely country, green and
fresh, dotted with hills and woods. The sea, about seven miles off,
bounds the view, with its silver line of breakers on the outer reef.
The long line of white looks beautiful on the calm blue sea, with the
sun shining on it. The country before us did not seem to be much
cultivated. Here and there, below us, a native hut might be discerned
amidst the trees, but no large dwelling or village was in sight.

The rent in the mountain, through which we have passed, is torn and
rugged. Immense masses of black rock, several hundred feet in height,
and nearly perpendicular, form the two sides of the rift. On one side,
the mountain seems to rise straight up into the air, until it is lost
in a white cloud; on the other, the rock is equally precipitous, but
not quite so high. From this last the range stretches away in a
semicircle, ending along the coast some twenty miles distant.

A few more words about the natives, whom I have as yet only
incidentally alluded to. Of course, I saw a good deal of them, in one
way or another, during my brief stay at Honolulu. We had scarcely got
alongside the wharf, ere the Kanakas--as they are called--came
aboard, popping their heads in and out of the cabins, some selling
bananas and oranges, others offering coral and curiosities, but most
of them to examine the ship out of mere curiosity. From what I
observed, I should say that the Kanakas are of the same stock as the
Maoris, not so much tattoo-marked, much more peacefully inclined, and
probably more industrious. Some of the men are tall and handsome,
which is more than I can say of the women. The men do not work very
heartily on day wages, but well enough when paid by the piece. Here,
on the wharf, they get a dollar for a day's work, and a
dollar-and-a-half for night-work. They are employed in filling the
coal-bunkers and unloading the ship.

The Kanakas are capital divers, and work almost as well in the water
as out of it. I saw one of them engaged in repairing the bottom of the
'Moses Taylor,' by which I am to sail for San Francisco. He is paid
three dollars for a general inspection, or five dollars for a day's
work. I saw him go down to nail a piece of copper-sheathing on the
bottom, where it had been damaged in grounding upon a rock, when last
coming out of San Francisco harbour. He took down about thirty copper
nails in his mouth, with the hammer and sheet of copper in his hand,
coming up to breathe after each nail was knocked in. I could hear the
loud knocking as he drove the nails into the ship's side. At the same
time, some Kanaka boys were playing about in the water near at hand,
diving for stones or bits of money. The piece was never allowed to
sink more than a few feet before a boy was down after it and secured
it. They never missed the smallest silver-bit. It seemed to me as if
some of them could swim before they could walk.

As for the women, although travellers have spread abroad reports of
their beauty, I was unable to see it. While the 'Moses Taylor' lay in
the harbour, the saloon was sometimes full of native girls, who came
down from the country to see the ship and admire themselves in the two
large saloon mirrors, before which they stood laughing and giggling.
Their usual dress consists of a long, loose gown, reaching down to the
ancles, with no fastening round the waist; and their heads and necks
are usually adorned with leaves or flowers of some sort. They seem to
me very like the Maori women, but without the blue tattoo-mark on the
lips; nor are their features so strongly marked, though they had the
same wide faces, black eyes, full nostrils, and large lips. Their
skins are of various hues, from a yellow to a dusky-brown. Their feet
and hands are usually small and neat.

I am told that the race is degenerating and dying out fast. The
population of the islands is said to be little more than one-tenth of
what it was when Captain Cook visited them; and this falling off is
reported to be mainly due to the unchaste habits of the women. The
missionaries have long been trying to make a salutary impression on
them; but, though the natives profess Christianity in various forms,
it is to be feared that it is a profession, and little more. The King,
also, has tried to make them more moral, by putting in force a sort
of Maine liquor-law; but every ship that enters the harbour is beset
by natives wanting drink, and they adopt various methods of evading
the law. The licence charged by the Government to a retailer of
spirits is a thousand dollars a year; but he must not sell liquor to
any foreigner on a Sunday, nor to any native at any time, under a
penalty of five hundred dollars. This penalty is rigidly exacted; and
if the spirit-dealer is unable to pay the fine, he is put on the
coral-reefs, to work at twenty-five cents a day until he has worked
off the amount. Accordingly, the liquor-trade is followed by very few
persons, and the consumption of drink by the natives is very much
curtailed,--compared, for instance, with what it is among the
drink-consuming natives of New Zealand, who are allowed to swallow the
"fire-water," to the great profit of the publicans and to their own
demoralization, without any restriction whatever.

I find the Government here also levies a very considerable sum from
the Chinese, for the privilege of selling opium. It is put up annually
to auction, and in some years as much as forty-five thousand dollars
have been paid for the monopoly, though this year it has brought
considerably less in consequence of the dulness of trade. From this
circumstance it will be inferred that there is a considerable Chinese
population in the place. Indeed, some of the finest stores in Honolulu
are kept by Chinamen. I did not at first observe many of these people
about; but afterwards, when exploring, I found whole back-streets
full of Chinamen's huts and houses.

From the announcements of theatrical and other entertainments I see
about, the people here must be very fond of amusement. Indeed,
Honolulu seems to be one of the great centres of pleasure in the
Pacific. All wandering "stars" come hither. When I was at Auckland, in
New Zealand, I went to the theatre to see a troupe of Japanese
jugglers. I had seen the identical troupe in London, and "All Right"
was amongst them. They were on their way to Honolulu, to star it here
before returning to Japan. Charles Mathews, with whom I made the
voyage from Melbourne to Sydney, is also advertised to appear, "for a
few nights only," at the Royal Hawaiian Theatre.[16] And now here is
The Bandman, my fellow-passenger from Auckland, advertised, in big
placards, as "The World-renowned Shaksperian Player," &c., who is
about to give a series of such and such representations at the same
place.

Beautiful though the island of Oahu may be, I soon found that I could
not live there. Even in winter it was like living in a hothouse. The
air was steamy with heat, and frightfully relaxing. At intervals my
nose streamed with blood, and I grew sensibly thinner. Then I suffered
terribly from the musquitoes; my ankles were quite swollen with their
bites, and in a day or two more I should have been dead-lame. There
are, besides, other tormentors--small flies, very like the Victorian
sand-flies, that give one a nasty sting. I was very glad, therefore,
after four days' stay at Honolulu, to learn that the 'Moses Taylor'
was ready to sail for San Francisco.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: The poi is said to grow so abundantly and with so little
labour in the Sandwich Islands, that it tends to encourage the natural
indolence of the people. A taro pit no bigger than an ordinary
drawing-room will keep a man in food a whole year. Nature is so
prolific that labour is scarcely requisite in these hot climates. Thus
the sun may be a great demoralizer.]

[Footnote 16: I find in a Californian paper the following amusing
account by Mr. Mathews himself, of his appearance before a Honolulu
audience:--

"At Honolulu, one of the loveliest little spots upon earth, I acted
one night 'by command, and in the presence of his Majesty Kamehameha
V., King of the Sandwich Islands' (not 'Hoky Poky Wonky Fong,' as
erroneously reported), and a memorable night it was. On my way to the
quaint little Hawaiian Theatre, situated in a rural lane, in the midst
of a pretty garden, glowing with gaudy tropical flowers, and shaded by
cocoa-trees, bananas, banyans, and tamarinds, I met the playbill of
the evening. A perambulating Kanaka (or native black gentleman),
walking between two boards (called in London, figuratively, 'a
sandwich man,' but here, of course literally so), carried aloft a
large illuminated white lantern, with the announcement in the Kanaka
language to catch the attention of the coloured inhabitants: 'Charles
Mathews; Keaka Keia Po (Theatre open this evening). Ka uku o Ke Komo
ana (reserved seats, dress circle), $2.50; Nohi mua (Parquette), $1;
Noho ho (Kanaka pit), 75c.' I found the theatre (to use the technical
expression) 'crammed to suffocation,' which merely means 'very full,'
though from the state of the thermometer on this occasion,
'suffocation' was not so incorrect a description as usual. A really
elegant-looking audience (tickets 10_s._ each), evening dresses,
uniforms of every cut and every country. 'Chieftesses' and ladies of
every tinge, in dresses of every colour, flowers and jewels in
profusion, satin playbills, fans going, windows and doors all open, an
outside staircase leading straight into the dress circle, without
lobby, check-taker, or money-taker. Kanaka women in the garden below
selling bananas and pea-nuts by the glare of flaring torches on a
sultry tropical moonlight night. The whole thing was like nothing but
a midsummer-night's dream. And was it nothing to see a pit full of
Kanakas, black, brown, and whitey-brown (till lately cannibals),
showing their white teeth, grinning and enjoying 'Patter _v._ Clatter'
as much as a few years ago they would have enjoyed the roasting of a
missionary or the baking of a baby? It was certainly a page in one's
life never to be forgotten."]



CHAPTER XXII.

HONOLULU TO SAN FRANCISCO.

DEPARTURE FROM HONOLULU--WRECK OF THE 'SAGINAW'--THE 'MOSES
TAYLOR'--THE ACCOMMODATION--THE COMPANY ON BOARD--BEHAVIOUR OF THE
SHIP--DEATH OF A PASSENGER--FEELINGS ON LANDING IN A NEW
PLACE--APPROACH THE GOLDEN GATE--CLOSE OF THE PACIFIC LOG--FIRST SIGHT
OF AMERICA.


The departure of the 'Moses Taylor' was evidently regarded as a great
event at Honolulu. At the hour appointed for our sailing, a great
crowd had assembled on the wharf. All the notabilities of the place
seemed to be there. First and foremost was the King of the Sandwich
Islands himself, Kamehameha V.--a jolly-looking, portly old fellow,
standing about six feet high, and weighing over five-and-twenty
stone--every inch and ounce a king. Then there were the chief
ministers of his court, white, yellow, and dusky. There were also
English, Americans, and Chinese, with a crowd of full-blooded
Kanakas--all very orderly and admiring. And round the outskirts of the
throng were several carriages filled with native ladies.

Punctually at half-past 4 P.M., we got away from our moorings, with
"three cheers for Honolulu," which were raised by a shipwrecked crew
we had on board. Leaving the pier, we shortly passed through the
opening in the reef which forms the entrance to the harbour, and
steamed steadily eastward in the direction of San Francisco.

I must explain how it was that the "three cheers for Honolulu" were
raised. The 'Saginaw' was an American war-ship that had been sent with
a contract party to Midway Island in the North Pacific--some fifteen
hundred miles west-north-west of the Sandwich Islands--to blast the
coral-reef there, in order to provide a harbourage for the line of
large steamers running between San Francisco and China. The money
voted for the purpose by the Government having been spent, the
'Saginaw' was on its return voyage from the island, when the captain
determined to call at Ocean Island to see if there were any
shipwrecked crews there; but in a fog, the ship ran upon a coral-reef,
and was itself wrecked. The men, to the number of ninety-three,
contrived to reach the island, where they remained sixty-nine days,
during which they lived mostly on seal meat and the few stores they
had been able to save from their ship. The island itself is entirely
barren, containing only a few bushes and a sort of dry grass, with
millions of rats--supposed to have bred from rats landed from
shipwrecked vessels. Strict military discipline was preserved by the
officers, and the men as a body behaved remarkably well.

At length, no vessel appearing in sight, four of the sailors
volunteered to row in an open boat to the Sandwich Islands--more than
a thousand miles distant--for the purpose of reporting the wreck of
the ship, and sending relief to those on the island. The boat
departed, reached the reef which surrounds Kauai, an island to the
north-west of Oahu, and was there wrecked, only one of the men
succeeding in reaching the shore. So soon as the intelligence of the
wreck of the 'Saginaw' reached Honolulu, the Government immediately
dispatched a steamer to take the men off the desert island; and hence
the enthusiastic cheers for Honolulu, raised by the rescued officers
and men of the American ship, who are now all on board the 'Moses
Taylor,' on their way back to San Francisco.

I must now describe my new ship. She is called the 'Rolling Moses;'
but with what justice I am as yet unable to say. She certainly looks
singularly top-hampered,--altogether unlike any British ship that I
have ever seen. She measures twice as much in the beam as the 'City of
Melbourne;' is about 2000 tons register; is flat-bottomed, and draws
about fourteen feet of water when laden. She looks like a great big
house afloat, or rather a row of houses more than thirty feet high.
The decks seemed piled one a-top of the other, quite promiscuously.
First there is the dining-saloon, with cabins all round it; above is
the drawing-room, with more cabins; then above that is the hurricane
deck, with numerous deck-houses for the captain and officers; and
then, towering above all, there is the large beam-engine right between
the paddle-boxes. Altogether it looks a very unwieldy affair, and I
would certainly much rather trust myself to such a ship as the 'City
of Melbourne.' It strikes me that in a heavy sea, 'Moses's' hull would
run some risk of parting company with the immense structure above.

The cabin accommodation is, however, greatly superior to that of my
late ship,--there is so much more room, and the whole arrangements for
the comfort of the passengers are all that could be desired. The
Americans certainly do seem to understand comfort in travelling. The
stewards and people about are civil and obliging, and don't seem to be
always looking for a "tip," as is so customary on board an English
boat. This ship also is cleaner than the one I have left--there are
none of those hideous smells that so disgusted me on board 'The City.'
The meals are better, and there is much greater variety--lots of
different little dishes--of meat, stews, mashed potatoes, squashes,
hominy or corn-cake, and such like. So far as the living goes,
therefore, I think I shall get on very well on board the 'Moses
Taylor.'

The weather is wet and what sailors call "dirty," and it grows
sensibly colder. As there is no pleasure in remaining on deck, I keep
for the most part below. I like my company very much--mostly
consisting of the shipwrecked men of the 'Saginaw.' They are nice,
lively fellows; they encourage me to talk, and we have many a hearty
laugh together. Some of them give me no end of yarns about the late
war, in which they were engaged; and they tell me (whether true or
not, I have no means of knowing), that the captain of the ship we are
in was first lieutenant of the "pirate" ship 'Florida.' I have not
found amongst my companions as yet any of that self-assertion or pride
of nationality said to distinguish the Yankee; nor have I heard a word
from them of hostility to John Bull. Indeed, for the purpose of
drawing them out, I began bragging a little about England, but they
let me have my own way without contradiction. They say nothing about
politics, or, if they allude to the subject, express very moderate
opinions. Altogether, I get on with them; and like them very much.

The 'Moses Taylor' proves a steadier sea-boat than I expected from her
built-up appearance. She certainly gives many a long steady roll; but
there is little pitching or tossing. When the sea strikes her, she
quivers all over in a rather uncomfortable way. She is rather an old
ship; she formerly ran between Vancouver and San Francisco, and is
certainly the worse for wear. The huge engine-shafts shake the beams
which support them; the pieces of timber tremble under the heavy
strokes of the engine, and considerable apertures open from time to
time in the deck as she heaves to and fro. The weather, however, is
not stormy; and the ship will doubtless carry us safely to the end of
our voyage,--going steadily, as she does, at the rate of about eight
knots an hour. And as the distance between Honolulu and the American
coast is about 2100 miles, we shall probably make the voyage in about
ten days.

On the eighth day after leaving Honolulu, an incident occurred which
made a startling impression on me. While we were laughing and talking
in the cabin--kept down there by the rain--we were told that a poor
man, who had been ailing since we left port, had breathed his last. It
seemed that he had some affection of the gullet which prevented his
swallowing food. The surgeon on board did not possess the necessary
instrument to enable him to introduce food into his stomach, so that
he literally died of starvation. He occupied the berth exactly
opposite mine, and though I knew he was ill, I had no idea that his
end was so near. He himself; however, had been aware of it, and
anxiously wished that he might survive until he reached San Francisco,
where his wife was to meet him at the landing. But it was not to be;
and his sudden decease gave us all a great shock.

We had our breakfast and dinner that day whilst the body was lying in
the cabin. We heard the carpenter busy on the main deck knocking
together a coffin for its reception. Every time he knocked a nail in,
I thought of the poor dead fellow who lay beside us. I began to
speculate as to the various feelings with which passengers land in a
new place. Some are mere passing visitors like myself, bent on seeing
novel sights; some are going thither, full of hope, to make a new
settlement in life; some are returning home, expecting old friends
waiting on the pier-head to meet and welcome them. But there are sad
meetings, too; and here there will be an anxious wife waiting at the
landing-place, only to receive the dead body of her husband.

But a truce to moralizing; for we are approaching the Golden Gate. I
must now pack up my things, and finish my log. I have stuck to it at
all hours and in all weathers; jotted down little bits from time to
time in the intervals of sea-sickness, toothache, and tic douloureux;
written under a burning tropical sun, and amidst the drizzle and
down-pour of the North Pacific; but I have found pleasure in keeping
it up, because I know that it will be read with pleasure by those for
whom it is written, and it will serve to show that amidst all my
wanderings, I have never forgotten the Old Folks at Home.

At half-past four on the morning of the tenth day from our leaving
Honolulu, we sighted the lighthouse at the Golden Gate, which forms
the entrance to the spacious bay or harbour of San Francisco.
Suddenly, there is a great scampering about of the passengers, a
general packing up of baggage; a brushing of boots, hats, and clothes;
and a dressing up in shore-going "togs." The steward comes round to
look after his perquisites, and every one is in a bustle about
something or other.

I took a last rest in my bunk--for it was still early morning--until I
was told that we were close along-shore; and then I jumped up, went on
deck, and saw America for the first time.



CHAPTER XXIII.

SAN FRANCISCO TO SACRAMENTO.

LANDING AT SAN FRANCISCO--THE GOLDEN CITY--THE STREETS--THE BUSINESS
QUARTER--THE CHINESE QUARTER--THE TOUTERS--LEAVE SAN FRANCISCO--THE
FERRY-BOAT TO OAKLAND--THE BAY OF SAN FRANCISCO--LANDING ON THE
EASTERN SHORE--AMERICAN RAILWAY CARRIAGES--THE PULLMAN'S
CARS--SLEEPING BERTHS--UNSAVOURY CHINAMEN--THE COUNTRY--CITY OF
SACRAMENTO.


We have passed in from the Pacific through the Golden Gate, swung
round towards the south, and then, along the eastern margin of the
peninsula which runs up to form the bay, the City of San Francisco
lies before me! A great mass of houses and warehouses, fronted by a
long line of wharves, extends along the water's edge. Masses of
houses, tipped with occasional towers and spires, rise up on the high
ground behind, crowning the summits of Telegraph, Russian, and Clay
Street Hills.

But we have little time to take note of the external features of the
city, for we are already alongside the pier. Long before the gangways
can be run out and laid between the ship and the wharf, there is a
rush of hotel runners on board, calling out the names of their
respective hotels and distributing their cards. There is a tremendous
hurry-scurry. The touters make dashes at the baggage and carry it off,
sometimes in different directions, each hoping to secure a customer
for his hotel. Thus, in a very few minutes, the ship was cleared; all
the passengers were bowling along towards their several destinations;
and in a few minutes I found myself safely deposited in "The
Brooklyn," a fine large hotel in Bush Street, situated in the business
part of the town, with dwellings interspersed amongst the business
houses.

It is not necessary to describe San Francisco. Travellers have done
that over and over again. Indeed, there is not so much about it that
is of any great interest except to business men. One part of the city
is very like another. I was told that some of the finest buildings
were of the Italian order; but I should say that by far the greater
number were of the Ramshackle order. Although the first house in the
place was only built in 1835, the streets nearest to the wharves look
already old and worn out. They are for the most part of wood, and
their paint is covered with dirt. But though prematurely old, they are
by no means picturesque. Of course, in so large a place, with a
population of 150,000, and already so rich and prosperous, though so
young, there are many fine buildings and some fine streets. The hotels
carry away the palm as yet,--the Grand Hotel at the corner of Market
and New Montgomery Streets being the finest. There are also churches,
theatres, hospitals, markets, and all the other appurtenances of a
great city.

I had not for a long time seen such a bustle of traffic as presented
itself in the streets of San Francisco. The whole place seemed to be
alive. Foot passengers jostled each other; drays and waggons were
rolling about; business men were clustered together in some streets,
apparently "on change;" with all the accompaniments of noise, and
bustle, and turmoil of a city full of life and traffic. The money
brokers' shops are very numerous in the two finest streets--Montgomery
and California Streets. Nearly every other shop there belongs to a
money broker or money changer. Strange to see the piles of glistening
gold in the windows--ten to twenty dollar pieces, and heaps of
greenbacks.

John Chinaman is here, I see, in great force. There are said to be as
many as 30,000 in the city and neighbourhood. I wonder these people do
not breed a plague. I went through their quarter one evening, and was
surprised and disgusted with what I saw. Chinese men and women of the
lowest class were swarming in their narrow alleys. Looking down into
small cellars, I saw from ten to fifteen men and women living in
places which two white men would not sleep in. The adjoining streets
smelt most abominably. The street I went through must be one of the
worst; and I was afterwards told that it was "dangerous" to pass
through it. I observed a large wooden screen at each end of it, as if
for the purpose of shutting it off from the white people's quarter.

One of the nuisances we had to encounter in the streets was that of
railway touters. No sooner did we emerge from the hotel door, than
men lying in wait pounced upon us, offering tickets by this route,
that route, and the other route to New York. I must have had a very
"new chum" sort of look, for I was accosted no less than three times
one evening by different touting gentlemen. One wished to know if I
had come from Sydney, expressing his admiration of Australia
generally. Another asked if I was "going East," offering to sell me a
through ticket at a reduced price. The third also introduced the
Sydney topic, telling me, by way of inducement to buy a ticket of him,
that he had "worked there." I shook them all off, knowing them to be
dangerous customers. I heard some strange stories of young fellows
making friends with such strangers, and having drinks with them. The
drink is drugged, and the Sydney swell, on his way to New York, finds
himself next morning in the streets, minus purse, watch, and
everything of value about him.

There is only one railway route as yet across the Rocky Mountains, by
the Western, Central, and Union Pacific, as far as Omaha; but from
that point there are various lines to New York, and it was to secure
passengers by these respective routes that the touters were so busily
at work. All the hotels, bars, and stores, are full of their
advertisements:--"The Shortest Route to the East"--"Pullman's Palace
Cars Run on this Line"--"The Route of all Nations"--"The Grand Route,
_viâ_ Niagara," such are a few specimens of these urgent
announcements. I decided to select the route _viâ_ Chicago, Detroit,
Niagara, and down the Hudson river to New York; and made my
arrangements accordingly.

[Illustration: (Map of Atlantic and Pacific Railways) _Reduced from a
Map in Mr. Rae's_]

I left San Francisco on the morning of the 8th of February. The
weather was cold compared with that of the Sandwich Islands; yet there
were few signs of winter. There was no snow on the ground; and at
midday it was agreeable and comparatively mild. I knew, however, that
as soon as we left the shores of the Pacific, and ascended the western
slopes of the Rocky Mountains, if not before, we should encounter
thorough winter weather, and I prepared myself with coats and wrappers
as a defence from the cold.

My fellow-voyager from New Zealand, the German-American of whom I have
spoken above, and who seemed to take quite a liking for me,
accompanied me down to the wharf, where we parted with mutual regret.
It was necessary for me to cross the bay by a ferry-boat to Oakland,
where the train is made up and starts for Sacramento. There was a
considerable crowd round the baggage-office, where I gave up my
trunks, and obtained, in exchange, two small brass checks which will
enable me to reclaim them on the arrival of the train at Omaha. I
proceeded down the pier and on to the ferry-boat. Indeed, I was on it
before I was aware. It looked so like a part of the wharf, and was so
surrounded by piles and wooden erections, that I did not know I was on
its deck, and was inquiring about its arrival to take us off, when I
found the huge boat gradually moving away from the pier!

[Illustration: _'Westward by Rail.' Longmans._ 1871.]

It was a regular American ferry-boat, of the same build fore and aft,
capable of going alike backwards or forwards, and with a long bridge
at each end, ready to be let down at the piers on either side of the
bay, so as to enable carts or carriages to be driven directly on to
the main deck, which was just like a large covered yard, standing
level with the wharf. Over this was an upper deck with a nice saloon,
where I observed notices stuck up of "No spitting allowed;" showing
that there was greater consideration for the ladies here than there
was on board the 'Moses Taylor,' where spittle and quids were
constantly shooting about the decks, with very little regard for
passers-by, whether ladies or gentlemen.

Steaming away from the pier, we obtained a splendid view of the city
behind us. The wharves along its front were crowded with shipping of
all sorts; amongst which we could observe the huge American
three-decker river steamers, Clyde-built clippers, brigs, schooners,
and a multitude of smaller craft. Down the bay we see the green hills
rising in the distance, fading away in the grey of the morning. Close
on our left is a pretty island, about half-way across the bay, in the
centre of which is a green hill,--what seemed to Australian eyes good
pasture ground; and I could discern what I took to be a station or
farmhouse.

In about an hour we found ourselves nearing the land on the eastern
shore of the bay, where we observe the railway comes out to meet us.
The water on this side is so shoal for a distance from the shore that
no ships of any considerable burden can float in it, so that the
railway is carried out on piles into the deep water for a distance of
nearly a mile. Here we land, and get into the train waiting alongside;
then the engine begins to snort, and we are away. As we move off from
the waters of San Francisco Bay, I feel I have made another long
stride on the road towards England.

We continue for some time rolling along the rather shaky timber pier
on which the rails are laid. At last we reach the dry land, and speed
through Oakland--a pretty town--rattling through the streets just like
an omnibus or tramway car, ringing a bell to warn people of the
approach of the cars. We stop at nearly every station, and the local
traffic seems large. Farm land and nice rolling country stretches away
on either side of the track.

From looking out of the carriage windows, I begin to take note of the
carriage itself--a real American railway carriage. It is a long car
with a passage down the middle. On each side of this passage are seats
for two persons, facing the engine; but the backs being reversible, a
party of four can sit as in an English carriage, face to face. At each
end of the carriage is a stove, and a filter of iced water. The door
at each end leads out on to a platform, enabling the conductor to walk
through the train from one end to the other.

This arrangement for the conductor, by the way, is rather a nuisance.
He comes round six or seven times during the twenty-four hours, often
during the night, perhaps at a time when you are trying to snatch a
few minutes' nap, and you find your shoulder tapped, and a bull's-eye
turned full upon you, with a demand for "tickets." This, however, is
to be avoided by affixing a little card in your hat, which the
conductor gives you, so that by inspection he knows at once whether
his passenger is legitimate or not.

I did not travel by one of "Pullman's Silver Palace Drawing-room
Cars," though I examined them, and admired their many comforts. By
day they afford roomy accommodation, with ample space for walking
about, or for playing at cards or chess on the tables provided for the
purpose. At night a double row of comfortable-looking berths are made
up, a curtain being drawn along the front to render them as private as
may be, and leaving only a narrow passage along the centre of the car.
At the end of the car are conveniences for washing, iced water, and
the never-failing stove.

The use of the sleeping-cars costs about three or four dollars extra
per night. I avoided this expense, and contrived a very good
substitute in my second-class car. Fortunately we were not very full
of passengers; and by making use of four seats, or two benches,
turning one of the seat-backs round, and placing the seat-bottoms
lengthwise, I arranged a tolerably good sleeping-place for the night.
But had the carriage been full, and the occupants been under the
necessity of sitting up during the six days the journey lasted, I
should imagine that it must have become almost intolerable by the time
we reached Omaha.

There were some rather unpleasant fellow-travellers in my
compartment--several unsavoury Chinamen, smoking very bad tobacco; and
other smoking gentlemen, who make the second-class compartments their
rendezvous. But for the thorough draught we obtained from time to time
on the passage of the conductor, the atmosphere would be, as indeed it
often was, of a very disagreeable character.

About forty-two miles from San Francisco, I find we are already in
amongst the hills of a range, and winding in and out through pretty
valleys, where all available land is used for farming purposes. We
round some curves that look almost impossible, and I begin to feel the
oscillation of the carriages, by no means unlike the rolling of a ship
at sea. I often wished that it had been summer instead of winter, that
I might better have enjoyed the beauty of the scenery as we sped
along. As it was, I could see that the country must be very fine under
a summer sky. We have met with no snow at present, being still on the
sunny slopes of the Pacific; nor have we as yet mounted up to any very
high elevation.

We were not long in passing through the range of hills of which I have
spoken, and then we emerged upon the plains, which continued until we
reached Sacramento, the capital of the State. The only town of any
importance that we have yet passed was Stockton, a place about midway
between San Francisco and Sacramento, where we now are. Down by the
riverside I see some large lumber-yards, indicative of a considerable
timber trade. The wharves were dirty, as wharves generally are; but
they were busy with traffic. The town seemed well laid out, in broad
streets; the houses being built widely apart, each with its garden
about it; while long lines of trees run along most of the streets.
Prominent amongst the buildings is the large new Senate House or
Capitol, a really grand feature of the city. The place having been
originally built of wood, it has been liable to conflagrations, which
have more than once nearly destroyed it. Floods have also swept over
the valley, and carried away large portions of the town; but having
been rebuilt on piles ten feet above the original level, it is now
believed to be secure against injury from this cause.

Sacramento is the terminus of the Western Pacific Railway, from which
the Central Pacific extends east towards the Rocky Mountains. The
railway workshops of the Company are located here, and occupy a large
extent of ground. They are said to be very complete and commodious.

Many of the passengers by the train, whom we had brought on from San
Francisco, or picked up along the road, descended here; and I was very
glad to observe that amongst them were the Chinamen, who relieved us
from their further most disagreeable odour. After a short stoppage,
and rearrangement of the train, we were off again, toiling up the
slopes of the Sierra Nevada--the Switzerland of California.



CHAPTER XXIV.

ACROSS THE SIERRA NEVADA.

RAPID ASCENT--THE TRESTLE-BRIDGES--MOUNTAIN
PROSPECTS--"PLACERS"--SUNSET--CAPE HORN--ALTA--THE SIERRAS BY
NIGHT--CONTRAST OF TEMPERATURES--THE SNOW-SHEDS--THE
SUMMIT--RENO--BREAKFAST AT HUMBOLDT--THE SAGE-BRUSH--BATTLE
MOUNT--SHOSHONIE INDIANS--TEN MILE CAÑON--ELKO STATION--GREAT AMERICAN
DESERT--ARRIVAL AT OGDEN.


We had now begun the ascent of the difficult mountain country that
separates the Eastern from the Western States of the Union, and
through which the Central Pacific Railway has been recently
constructed and completed--one of the greatest railway works of our
time. As we advance, the scenery changes rapidly. Instead of the flat
and comparatively monotonous country we have for some time been
passing through, we now cross deep gullies, climb up steep ascents,
and traverse lovely valleys. Sometimes we seem to be enclosed in
mountains with an impenetrable barrier before us. But rushing into a
tunnel, we shortly emerge on the other side, to find ourselves
steaming along the edge of a precipice.

What struck me very much was the apparent slimness of the
trestle-bridges over which we were carried across the gullies, in the
bottom of which mountain torrents were dashing, some fifty or a
hundred feet below us. My first experience of such a crossing was
quite startling. I was standing on the platform of the last car,
looking back at the fast vanishing scene--a winding valley shut in by
pine-clad mountains which we had for some time been ascending,--when,
glancing down on the track, instead of solid earth, I saw the ground,
through the open timbers of the trestle-bridge, at least sixty feet
below me! The timber road was only the width of the single iron track;
so that any one looking out of the side carriage-windows would see
sixty feet down into space. The beams on which the trestle-bridge is
supported, are, in some cases, rested on stone; but oftener they are
not. It is not easy to describe the sensation first felt on rattling
over one of these trembling viaducts, with a lovely view down some
mountain gorge, and then, perhaps, suddenly plunging into a dark
cutting on the other side of the trestle. But use is everything; and
before long I got quite accustomed to the sensation of looking down
through the open woodwork of the line on to broken ground and mountain
torrents rushing a hundred feet or more below me.

We left Sacramento at 2 P.M., and evening was coming on as we got into
the mountains. Still, long before sunset we saw many traces of large
"placers," where whole sides of the hills had been dug out and washed
away in the search for gold; the water being brought over the
hill-tops by various ingenious methods. Sometimes, too, we came upon
signs of active mining, in the water-courses led across valleys at
levels above us, consisting of wooden troughs supported on trestles
similar to those we are so frequently crossing. In one place I saw a
party of men busily at work along the mountain side, preparatory to
letting the water in upon the auriferous ground they were exploring.

I stood for more than two hours on the platform at the rear of the
train, never tired of watching the wonderful scenery that continually
receded from my gaze,--sometimes the track suddenly disappearing as we
rounded a curve; and then looking ahead, I would find that an entirely
new prospect was opening into view.

Never shall I forget the lovely scene that evening, when the golden
sun was setting far away on the Pacific coast. The great red orb sank
slowly behind a low hill at the end of the valley which stretched away
on our right far beneath us. The pine-trees shone red in the departing
sunlight for a short time; then the warm, dusky glimmer gradually
faded away on the horizon, and all was over. The scene now looked more
dreary, the mountains more rugged, and everything more desolate than
before.

Up we rushed, still ascending the mountain slopes, winding in and
out--higher and higher--the mountains becoming more rugged and wild,
and the country more broken and barren-looking. Crossing slowly
another trestle-bridge seventy-five feet high, at the upper part of a
valley, we rounded a sharp curve, and found ourselves on a lofty
mountain-side along which the road is cut, with a deep glen lying 2500
feet below us wrapped in the shades of evening. It seems to be quite
night down there, and the trees are so shrouded in gloom that I can
scarcely discern them in the bottom of that awful chasm. I can only
clearly see defined against the sky above me, the rugged masses of
overhanging rock, black-looking and terrible.

I find, on inquiry, that this part of the road is called "Cape Horn,"
The bluffs at this point are so precipitous, that when the railroad
was made, the workmen had to be lowered down the face of the rock by
ropes and held on by men above, until they were enabled to blast for
themselves a foot-hold on the side of the precipice. We have now
ascended to a height of nearly 3200 feet above the level of the sea;
and, as may be inferred, the night air grows sharp and cold. As little
more can be seen for the present, I am under the necessity of taking
shelter in the car.

At half-past six we stopped for tea at Alta, 207 miles from San
Francisco, at an elevation of 3600 feet above the sea. Here I had a
good meal for a dollar--the first since leaving 'Frisco. Had I known
of the short stoppages and the distant refreshing places along the
route, I would certainly have provided myself with a well-stored
luncheon-basket before setting out; but it is now too late.

After a stoppage of twenty minutes, the big bell tolled, and we seated
ourselves in the cars again; and away we went as before, still toiling
up-hill. We are really climbing now. I can hear it by the strong
snorts of the engine, and see it by the steepness of the track. I long
to be able to see around me, for we are passing some of the grandest
scenery of the line. The stars are now shining brightly over head, and
give light enough to show the patches of snow lying along the
mountain-sides as we proceed. The snow becomes more continuous as we
mount the ascent, until only the black rocks and pine-trees stand out
in relief against their white background.

I was contrasting the sharp cold of this mountain region with the
bright summer weather I had left behind me in Australia only a few
weeks ago, and the much more stifling heat of Honolulu only some ten
days since, when the engine gave one of its loud whistles, like the
blast of a fog-horn, and we plunged into darkness. Looking through the
car window, I observed that we were passing through a wooden
framework--in fact a snow-shed, the roof sloping from the
mountain-side, to carry safely over the track the snow and rocky
_débris_ which shoot down from above. I find there are miles upon
miles of these snow-sheds along our route. At the Summit we pass
through the longest, which is 1700 feet in length.

We reached the Summit at ten minutes to ten, having ascended 3400 feet
in a distance of only thirty-six miles. We are now over 7000 feet
above the level of the sea, travelling through a lofty mountain
region. In the morning, I was on the warm shores of the Pacific; and
now at night I am amidst the snows of the Sierras. After passing the
Summit, we had some very tortuous travelling; going very fast during
an hour, but winding in and out, as we did, following the contour of
the hills, I found that we had only gained seven geographical miles in
an hour. We then reached the "City" of Truckee, principally supported
by lumbering. It is the last place in California, and we shall very
soon be across the State boundary into the territory of Nevada.

After passing this station, I curled up on my bench, wrapped myself in
my rugs, and had a snatch of sleep. I was wakened up by the stoppage
of the train at the Reno station, when I shook myself up, and went out
to have a look round me. As I alighted from the train, I had almost
come to the ground through the slipperiness of the platform, which was
coated with ice. It was a sharp frost, and the ground was covered with
snow. At the end of the platform, the snow was piled up in a drift
about twenty feet high on the top of a shed outside the station. I
find there are two kinds of snow-sheds,--one sort used on the plains,
with pointed roofs, from which the snow slides down on either side,
thereby preventing the blocking of the line; the other, used along the
mountain-sides, sloping over the track, so as to carry the snow-shoots
clear over it down into the valley below.

I soon turned in again, wrapped myself up, and slept soundly for some
hours. When I awoke, it was broad daylight; the sun was shining in at
the car windows; and on looking out, I saw that we were crossing a
broad plain, with mountains on either side of us. The conductor,
coming through the car, informs us that we shall soon be at Humboldt,
where there will be twenty minutes' stoppage for breakfast. I find
that we are now 422 miles on our way, and that during the night we
have crossed the great sage-covered Nevada Desert, on which so many
travellers left their bones to bleach in the days of the overland
journey to California, but which is now so rapidly and safely
traversed by means of this railway. The train draws up at Humboldt at
seven in the morning; and on descending, I find a large,
well-appointed refreshment room, with the tables ready laid; and a
tempting array of hot tea and coffee, bacon, steaks, eggs, and other
eatables. "I guess" I had my full dollar's worth out of that Humboldt
establishment--a "regular square meal," to quote the language of the
conductor.

We mount again, and are off across the high plains. The sage-brush is
the only vegetation to be seen, interspersed here and there with large
beds of alkali, on which not even sage-brush will grow. The sage
country extends from Wadsworth to Battle Mount Station, a distance of
about two hundred miles. Only occasionally, by the river-sides, near
the station, small patches of cultivated land are to be seen; but,
generally speaking, the country is barren, and will ever remain so. We
are still nearly 5000 feet above the level of the sea. There is no
longer any snow on the ground alongside us, but the mountains within
sight are all covered. Though the day is bright and sunshiny, and the
inside of the car warm, with the stove always full of blazing wood or
coke, the air outside is cold, sharp, and nipping.

At Battle Mount--so called because of a severe engagement which
occurred here some years since between the Indians and the white
settlers--the plains begin to narrow, and the mountains to close in
again upon the track. Here I saw for the first time a number of
Shoshonie Indians--the original natives of the country--their faces
painted red, and their coarse black hair hanging down over their
shoulders. Their squaws, who carried their papooses in shawls slung
over their backs, came alongside the train to beg money from the
passengers. The Indian men seemed to be of a very low type--not for a
moment to be compared with the splendid Maoris of New Zealand. The
only fine tribe of Indians left, are said to be the Sioux; and these
are fast dying out. In the struggle of races for life, savages nowhere
seem to have the slightest chance when they come in contact with what
are called "civilized" men. If they are not destroyed by our diseases
or our drink, they are by our weapons.

We are now running along the banks of the sluggish Humboldt river, up
to almost its source in the mountains near the head of the Great Salt
Lake. We cross the winding river from time to time on trestle-bridges;
and soon we are in amongst the mountains again, penetrating a gorge,
where the track is overhung by lofty bluffs; and climbing up the
heights, we shortly leave the river, foaming in its bed, far beneath
us. Steeper and higher rise the sides of the gorge, until suddenly
when we round a curve in the cañon, I see the Devil's Peak, a large
jagged mass of dark-brown rock, which, rising perpendicularly, breaks
up into many points, the highest towering majestically above us to a
height of 1400 feet above the level of the track. This is what is
called the "Ten Mile Cañon;" and the bold scenery continues until we
emerge from the top of the gorge. At last we are in the open sunlight
again, and shortly after we draw up at the Elko station.

We are now evidently drawing near a better peopled district than that
we have lately passed through. Two heavy stage coaches are drawn up
alongside the track, to take passengers to Hamilton and Treasure City
in the White Pine silver-mining district, about 126 miles distant. A
long team of mules stand laden with goods, destined for the diggers of
the same district. Elko is "not much of a place," though I should not
wonder if it is called a "City" here. It mostly consists of what in
Victoria would be called shanties--huts built of wood and canvas--some
of the larger of them being labelled "Saloon," "Eating-house,"
"Drug-store," "Paint-shop," and such like. If one might judge by the
number of people thronging the drinking-houses, the place may be
pronounced prosperous.

Our course now lies through valleys, which look more fertile, and are
certainly much more pleasant to pass along than those dreary Nevada
plains. The sun goes down on my second day in the train; as we are
traversing a fine valley with rolling hills on either side. The ground
again becomes thickly covered with snow, and I find we are again
ascending a steepish grade, rising a thousand feet in a distance of
about ninety miles, where we again reach a total altitude of 6180 feet
above the sea.

At six next morning, I found we had reached Ogden in the territory of
Utah. During the night we had passed "The Great American Desert,"
extending over an area of sixty square miles--an utterly blasted
place--so that I missed nothing by passing over it wrapped in sleep
and rugs. The country about Ogden is well-cultivated and pleasant
looking. Ogden itself is a busy place, being the terminus of the
Central Pacific Railroad, and the junction for trains running down to
Salt Lake City. From this point the Union Pacific commences, and runs
eastward as far as Omaha.



CHAPTER XXV.

ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

START BY TRAIN FOR OMAHA--MY FELLOW-PASSENGERS--PASSAGE THROUGH THE
DEVIL'S GATE--WEBER CAÑON--FANTASTIC ROCKS--"THOUSAND MILE TREE"--ECHO
CAÑON--MORE TRESTLE-BRIDGES--SUNSET AMIDST THE BLUFFS--A WINTRY NIGHT
BY RAIL--SNOW-FENCES AND SNOW-SHEDS--LARAMIE CITY--RED BUTTES--THE
SUMMIT AT SHERMAN--CHEYENNE CITY--THE WESTERN PRAIRIE IN
WINTER--PRAIRIE DOG CITY--THE VALLEY OF THE PLATTE--GRAND
ISLAND--CROSS THE NORTH FORK OF THE PLATTE--ARRIVAL IN OMAHA.


I decided not to break the journey by visiting Utah--about which so
much has already been written--but to go straight on to Omaha; and I
accordingly took my place in the train about to start eastward. Here I
encountered quite a new phase of American railroad society. One of my
fellow-passengers was a quack doctor, who contemplated depositing
himself in the first populous place he came to on the track-side, for
the purpose of picking up some "'tarnal red cents." A colonel and a
corporal in the American army were on their way home from some post in
the Far West, where they had been to keep the Indians in order. There
were several young commercial travellers, some lucky men returning
from the silver-mines in Idaho, a steward of one of the Pacific mail
steamers returning to England, and an iron-moulder with his wife and
child on their way to Chicago.

The train soon started, and for some miles we passed through a
well-cultivated country, divided into fields and orchards, looking
pretty even under the thick snow, and reminding me of the vales of
Kent. But we very soon left the cultivated land behind us, and were
again in amongst the mountain gorges. I got out on to the platform to
look around me, and, though the piercing cold rather chilled my
pleasure, I could not help enjoying the wonderful scenery that we
passed through during the next three hours. We are now entering the
Wahsatch Mountains by the grand chasm called the Devil's Gate. We
cross a trestle-bridge fifty feet above the torrent which boils
beneath; and through the black, frowning rocks that guard the pass, I
catch the last glimpse of the open sunlit plain below.

We are now within the wild Weber Cañon, and the scene is changing
every moment. On the right, we pass a most wonderful sight, the
Devil's slide. Two ridges of grey rock stand some ten feet out from
the snow and brushwood; and they run parallel to each other for about
150 feet, right away up the mountain side. For a distance of
thirty-five miles we run along the dark, deep cleft, the rocks
assuming all sorts of fantastic shapes; and the river Weber running
almost immediately beneath us, fretting and raging against the
obstacles in its course. Sometimes the valley widens out a little, but
again to force us against a cliff, where the road has been hewn out
of the solid bluff. In the cañon we pass a pine-tree standing close to
the track, with a large board hung upon it bearing the words, "1000
miles from Omaha." It is hence named the "Thousand Mile Tree." We have
all that long way before us to travel on this Union Pacific Railway.

At last we emerge from Weber Cañon, and pull up at Echo City, a small
place, chiefly inhabited by railway employés. We start again, and are
soon plunged amidst red, rocky bluffs, more fantastic than any we have
yet passed. We pass the Mormon fortifications at a place where a
precipitous rock overhangs the narrowing cañon. Here, on the top of
the rock, a thousand feet above us, are piled huge stones, placed
close to the brink of the precipice: once ready to be hurled down upon
the foes of Mormonism--the army sent out against them in 1857. The
stones were never used, and are to be seen there yet. The rocks in the
cañon are of a different colour from those we passed an hour ago. The
shapes that they take are wonderful. Now I could fancy that I saw a
beautiful cathedral, with spires and windows; then a castle,
battlements and bastions, all complete; and more than one amphitheatre
fit for a Cæsar to have held his sports in. What could be more
striking than these great ragged masses of red rock, thrown one upon
another, and mounting up so high above us? Such fantastical and
curious shapes the weather-worn stone had taken! Pillars, columns,
domes, arches, followed one another in quick succession. Bounding a
corner, a huge circle of rocks comes into sight, rising story upon
story. There, perched upon the top of the rising ground, is a natural
castle, complete with gateway and windows. Indeed, the hour passed
quickly, in spite of the cold, and I felt myself to have been in
fairyland for the time. The whole seemed to be some wild dream. But
dream it could not be. There was the magnificence of the solid
reality--pile upon pile of the solid rock frowning down upon me; great
boulders thrown together by some giant force; perpendicular heights,
time-worn and battered by the elements. All combined to produce in me
a feeling of the utmost wonder and astonishment.

Emerging from Echo Cañon and the Castle Rocks, we enter a milder
valley, where we crawl over a trestle-bridge 450 feet long and 75 feet
high. Shortly after passing Wahsatch Station, we cross the Aspen
Summit and reach an opener country. Since we left Ogden, we have, in a
distance of ninety-three miles, climbed an ascent of 2500 feet, and
are now in a region of frost and snow. After another hour's
travelling, the character of the scenery again changes, and it becomes
more rugged and broken. The line crosses the Bear River on another
trestle-bridge 600 feet long; and following the valley, we then strike
across the higher ground to the head of Ham's Fork, down which we
descend, following the valley as far as Bryan or Black's Fork, 171
miles from Ogden.

As the day is drawing to a close, I take a last look upon the scene
outside before turning in for the night. The sun is setting in the
west, illuminating with its last rays the red sandstone bluffs; the
light contrasting with the deep-blue sky overhead, and presenting a
most novel and beautiful effect. We are now traversing a rolling
desert, sometimes whirling round a bluff in our rapid descent, or
crossing a dry water-course on trestles, the features of the scenery
every moment changing. Then I would catch a glimpse of the broken,
rolling prairies in the distance, covered with snow; and anon we were
rounding another precipitous bluff. The red of the sunlight grows dull
against the blue sky, until night gradually wraps the scene in her
mantle of grey. Then the moon comes out with her silvery light, and
reveals new features of wondrous wildness and beauty. I stood for
hours leaning on the rail of the car, gazing at the fascinating
vision, and was only reminded by the growing coldness of the night
that it was time to re-enter the car and prepare for my night's rest.

After warming myself by the stove, I arranged my extemporised couch
between the seats as before, but was wakened up by the conductor, who
took from me a cushion more than was my due; so I had to spend the
rest of the night nodding on a box at the end of the car. However,
even the longest and most comfortless night will come to an end; and
when at last the morning broke, I went out to ascertain whereabouts we
were. I found that it had snowed heavily during the night; and we now
seemed to be in a much colder and more desolate country. The wind
felt dreadfully keen as I stood on the car platform and looked about;
the dry snow whisking up from the track as the train rushed along. The
fine particles somehow got inside the thickest comforter and wrapper,
and penetrated everywhere. So light and fine were the particles that
they seemed to be like thick hoar-frost blowing through the air.

We have, I observe, a snow-plough fixed on the front of the engine;
and, from the look of the weather, it would appear as if we should
have abundant use for it yet. Snow-fences and snow-sheds are numerous
along the line we are traversing, for the purpose of preventing the
cuts being drifted up by the snow. At first, I could not quite make
out the nature of these fences, standing about ten yards from the
track, and in some parts extending for miles. They are constructed of
woodwork, and are so made as to be capable of being moved from place
to place, according as the snow falls thick or is drifting. That is
where the road is on a level, with perhaps an opening amidst the
rolling hills on one side or the other; but when we pass through a
cutting we are protected by a snow-shed, usually built of boards
supported on poles.

At Laramie City, we stop for breakfast. The name of "City" is given to
several little collections of houses along the line. I observe that
the writer of the 'Trans-Continental Guide-book' goes almost into fits
when describing the glories of these "Cities," which, when we come up
to them, prove to be little more than so many clusters of sheds. I
was not, therefore, prepared to expect much from the City of Laramie;
and the more so as I knew that but a few years since the original Fort
Laramie consisted of only a quadrangular enclosure inhabited by
trappers, who had established it for trading purposes with the
Indians. I was accordingly somewhat surprised to find that the modern
Laramie had suddenly shot up into a place of some population and
importance. The streets are broad and well laid out; the houses are
numerous, and some of them large and substantial. The place is already
provided with schools, hotels, banks, and a newspaper. The Railway
Company have some good substantial shops here, built of stone; and
they have also provided a very commodious hospital for the use of
their employés when injured or sick--an example that might be followed
with advantage in places of even greater importance.

After a stoppage of about half an hour, we were again careering
up-hill past Fort Saunders and the Red Buttes, the latter so-called
from the bold red sandstone bluffs, in some places a thousand feet
high, which bound the track on our right. Then still up-hill to
Harney, beyond which we cross Dale Creek Bridge--a wonderful
structure, 650 feet long and 126 feet high, spanning the creek from
bluff to bluff. Looking down through the interstices of the wooden
road, what a distance the thread of water in the hollow seemed to be
below us!

At Sherman, some two hours from Laramie, we arrived at the Summit of
the Rocky Mountain ridge, where we reached the altitude of about 8400
feet above the sea-level. Of course it was very cold, hill and dale
being covered with snow as far as the eye could reach. Now we rush
rapidly down-hill, the brakes screwed tightly down, the cars whizzing
round the curves, and making the snow fly past in clouds. We have now
crossed the backbone of the continent, and are speeding on towards the
settled and populous country in the East.

At Cheyenne, we have another stoppage for refreshment. This is one of
the cities with which our guidebook writer falls into ecstasies. It is
"The Magic City of the Plains"--a place of which it "requires neither
a prophet nor the son of a prophet to enumerate its resources or
predict its future!" Yet Cheyenne is already a place of importance,
and likely to become still more so,--being situated at the junction
with the line to Denver, which runs along the rich and lovely valley
of the Colorado. Its population of 8000 seems very large for a place
that so short a time ago was merely the haunt of Red Indians. Already
it has manufactures, warehouses, wharves, and stores of considerable
magnitude; with all the usual appurtenances of a place of traffic and
business.

Before leaving Cheyenne, I invested in some hung buffalo steak for
consumption at intervals between meals. It is rather tough and
salt,--something like Hamburg beef; but seasoned with hunger, and with
the appetite sharpened by the cold and frost of these high regions,
the hung buffalo proved useful and nutritious.

For several hundred miles, our track lay across the
prairie--monotonous, and comparatively uninteresting now, in its
covering of white--but in early summer clad in lively green and
carpeted with flowers. I read that this fine cultivable well-watered
country extends seven hundred miles north and south, along the eastern
base of the Rocky Mountains, with an average width of two hundred
miles. It is said to be amongst the finest grazing land in the world,
with pasturage for millions of cattle and sheep.

Shortly after passing Antelope Station, the track skirts the "Prairie
Dog City," which I knew at once by its singular appearance. It
consists of hundreds of little mounds of soil, raised about a foot and
a half from the ground. There were, however, no dogs about at the
time. The biting cold had doubtless sent them within doors. Indeed, I
saw no wild animals on my journey across the continent, excepting only
some black antelopes with white faces, that I saw on the plains near
this Prairie Dog City.

For a distance of more than five hundred miles--from leaving Cheyenne
until our arrival in Omaha--the railway held along the left bank of
the Lodge Pole Creek, then along the South Fork or Platte river, and
finally along the main Platte river down to near its junction with the
Missouri. When I went to sleep on the night of the 11th of
February--my fourth night in the railway train--we were travelling
through the level prairie; and when I woke up on the following
morning, I found we were on the prairie still.

At seven in the morning, we halted at the station of Grand Island--so
called from the largest island in the Platte river, near at hand. Here
I had breakfast, and a good wash in ice-cold water. Although the snow
is heavier than ever, the climate seems already milder. Yet it is very
different indeed from the sweltering heat of Honolulu only some twelve
days ago. At about 10 A.M., we bid adieu to the uninhabited
prairie--though doubtless before many years are over, it will be
covered with farms and homesteads--and approached the fringe of the
settled country; patches of cultivated land and the log huts of the
settlers beginning to show themselves here and there alongside the
track.

Some eighty miles from Omaha, we cross the north fork of the Platte
river over one of the usual long timber bridges on piles,--and
continue to skirt the north bank of the Great Platte,--certainly a
very remarkable river, being in some places three-quarters of a mile
broad, with an average depth of only six inches! At length, on the
afternoon of the fifth day, the engine gives a low whistle, and we
find ourselves gliding into the station at Omaha.



CHAPTER XXVI.

OMAHA TO CHICAGO.

OMAHA TERMINUS--CROSS THE MISSOURI--COUNCIL BLUFFS--THE FOREST--CROSS
THE MISSISSIPPI--THE CULTIVATED PRAIRIE--THE FARMSTEADS AND
VILLAGES--APPROACH TO CHICAGO--THE CITY OF CHICAGO--ENTERPRISE OF ITS
MEN--THE WATER TUNNELS UNDER LAKE MICHIGAN--TUNNELS UNDER THE RIVER
CHICAGO--UNION OF LAKE MICHIGAN WITH THE MISSISSIPPI--DESCRIPTION OF
THE STREETS AND BUILDINGS OF CHICAGO--PIGS AND CORN--THE
AVENUE--SLEIGHING--THEATRES AND CHURCHES.


I have not much to tell about Omaha, for I did not make any long stay
in the place, being anxious to get on and finish my journey. It was
now my fifth day in the train, having come a distance of 1912 miles
from San Francisco; and I had still another twenty-four hours' travel
before me to Chicago. There was nothing to detain me in Omaha. It is
like all places suddenly made by railway, full of bustle and business,
but by no means picturesque. How can it be? The city is only seventeen
years old. Its principal buildings are manufactories, breweries,
warehouses, and hotels.

Omaha has been made by the fact of its having been fixed upon as the
terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad, and by its convenient position
on the great Missouri river. It occupies a sloping upland on the
right bank, about fifty feet above the level of the stream; and behind
it stretches the great Prairie country we have just traversed. On the
opposite bank of the Missouri stands Council Bluffs, from which
various railroad lines diverge north, south, and east, to all parts of
the Union. It is probable, therefore, that before many years have
passed, big though Omaha may now be--and it already contains 20,000
inhabitants--the advantages of its position will tend greatly to swell
its population, and perhaps to render it in course of time one of the
biggest cities of the West.

[Illustration: (Map of Atlantic and Pacific Railways) _Reduced from a
Map in Mr. Rae's_]

Having arranged to proceed onwards to Chicago by the North-Western
line, I gave up my baggage in exchange for the usual check, and took
my place in the train. We rolled down a steepish incline, on to the
"mighty Missouri," which we crossed upon a bridge of boats. I should
not have known that I was upon a deep and rapid river, but for the
huge flat-bottomed boats that I saw lying frozen in along the banks.
It was easy to mistake the enormous breadth of ice for a wide field
covered with snow. As we proceeded across we met numbers of sledges,
coaches, and omnibuses driving over the ice along a track made in the
deep snow not far from our bridge.

[Illustration: _'Westward by Rail.' Longmans._ 1871.]

After passing through Council Bluffs, we soon lost sight of the town
and its suburbs, and were again in the country. But how different the
prospect from the car window, compared with the bare and unsettled
prairies which we had traversed for so many hundred miles west of
Omaha! Now, thick woods extend on both sides of the track, with an
occasional cleared space for a township, where we stop to take up and
set down passengers. But I shall not proceed further with my
description of winter scenery as viewed from a passing railway train.
Indeed, I fear that my descriptions heretofore, though rapid, must be
felt somewhat monotonous, for which I crave the reader's forgiveness.

I spent my fifth night in the train pretty comfortably, having
contrived to makeup a tolerable berth. Shortly after I awoke, we
crossed the Mississippi on a splendid bridge at Fulton. What a noble
river it is! Here, where it must be fifteen hundred miles from its
mouth, it seemed to me not less than a mile across. Like the Missouri,
however, it is now completely frozen over and covered with thick snow.

We are again passing through a prairie country, the fertile land of
upper Illinois, all well settled and cultivated. We pass a succession
of fine farms and farmsteads. The fields are divided by rail fences;
and in some places stalks of maize peep up through the snow. The
pretty wooden houses are occasionally half hidden by the snow-laden
trees amidst which they stand. These Illinois clusters of
country-houses remind one very much of England, they look so snug and
homelike; and they occupy a gently undulating country,--lovely, no
doubt, in summer time. But the small towns we passed could never be
mistaken for English. They are laid out quite regularly, each house
with its little garden surrounding it; the broad streets being planted
with avenues of trees.

The snow is lying very heavy on the ground; and there are drifts we
pass through full twenty feet deep on either side the road. But the
day is fine, the sky is clear and blue, the sun shines brightly, and
the whole scene looks much more cheerful than the Rocky Mountain
region in the west.

Very shortly, evidences appear of our approach to a considerable
place. In fact, we are nearing Chicago. But long before we reach it,
we pass a succession of pretty villas and country-houses, quite in the
English suburban style, with gardens, shrubberies, and hothouses.
These are the residences of the Chicago merchants. The houses become
more numerous, and before long we are crossing streets and
thoroughfares, the engine snorting slowly along, and the great bell
ringing to warn all foot-passengers off the track.

What an immense smoky place we have entered: so different from the
pure snow-white prairie country we have passed. It looks just like
another Manchester. But I suspect we have as yet traversed only the
manufacturing part of the city, as the only buildings heretofore
visible are small dwelling-houses and manufactories. At length we pull
up in the station, and find ourselves safely landed in Chicago.

Oh, the luxury of a good wash after a continuous journey of two
thousand four hundred miles by rail! What a blessing cold water is,
did we but know it. The luxury, also, of taking off one's clothes to
sleep in a bed, after five nights' rolling about in railway
cars,--that also is a thing to be enjoyed once in a lifetime! But, for
the sake of the pleasure, I confess I have no particular desire to
repeat the process.

And now for the wonders of Chicago. It is really a place worth going a
long way to see. It exhibits the enterprise of the American people in
its most striking light. Such immense blocks of buildings forming fine
broad streets, such magnificent wharves and warehouses, such splendid
shops, such handsome churches, and such elegant public buildings! One
can scarcely believe that all this has been the work of little more
than thirty years.

It is true, the situation of Chicago at the head of Lake Michigan,
with a great fertile country behind it, has done much for the place;
but without the _men_, Chicago would have been nothing. It is human
industry and energy that have made it what it is. Nothing seems too
bold or difficult for the enterprise of Chicago men. One of their most
daring but successful feats was in altering the foundation level of
the city. It was found that the business quarter was laid too
low--that it was damp, and could not be properly drained. It was
determined to raise the whole quarter bodily from six to eight feet
higher! And the extraordinary feat was accomplished with the help of
screw-jacks, safely and satisfactorily.

With the growth of population--and its increase was most rapid (from
4000 persons in 1837 to about 350,000 at the present time)--the
difficulty of obtaining pure water steadily increased. There was pure
water enough in the lake outside, but along shore it was so polluted
by the sewage that it could not be used with safety. Two methods were
adopted to remedy this evil. One was, to make Artesian wells 700 feet
deep, which yield about a million gallons of pure water per day; but
another, and much bolder scheme, was undertaken, that of carrying a
tunnel under the bed of the lake, two miles out, into perfectly pure
water; and this work was successfully accomplished and completed on
the 25th of March, 1867, when the water was let into the tunnel to
flow through the pipes and quadrants of the city. Thus 57 million
gallons of water per day could be supplied to the inhabitants.

Another important and daring work was that involved in carrying the
traffic of the streets from one side of the Chicago river (which flows
through the city) to the other, without the interference of bridges.
This was accomplished by means of tunnels constructed beneath the bed
of the river. The first tunnel was carried across from Washington
Street to the other side some years since; it was arched with brick,
floored with timber, and lighted with gas. The second, lower down the
same river, was still in progress at the period of my visit to the
city in March last, and is not yet completed. By means of these
tunnels the traffic of the streets will be sufficiently accommodated,
without any interruption by the traffic of the river,--large ships
proceeding directly up to the wharves above to load and unload their
cargoes.

But the boldest project of all remains to be mentioned. It is neither
more nor less than the cutting down of the limestone ridge which
intervenes between the head-waters of the River Chicago and those of
the River Illinois, which flows into the Mississippi. The water supply
being still found insufficient, the carrying out of a second tunnel
into deep water under the bed of the lake was projected. It then
occurred to the Chicago engineers that a more simple method would be,
instead of going out into the lake for the pure water, to make the
pure water come to them. The sewage-laden stream of the Chicago river
now flowed north into the lake; would it not be practicable, by
cutting down the level inland, to make it flow south, and thus bring
the pure water of the lake in an abundant stream past their very
doors?

This scheme has actually been carried out! The work was in progress
while I was there, and I observe that it has since been completed. The
limestone plateau to the south of Chicago has been cut down at a cost
of about three millions of dollars; and an abundant supply of pure
water has thus been secured to the town for ever. But the cutting of
this artificial river for the purpose of water supply has opened up
another and a much larger question. It is, whether by sufficiently
deepening the bed, a channel may not be formed for large ocean-going
ships, so that Chicago may be placed in direct water communication
with the Gulf of Mexico, as it now is with the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Should this project, which was freely spoken of when I was at Chicago,
be carried out, it may lead to very important consequences. While it
may have the effect of greatly promoting the prosperity of Chicago, it
may also have an altogether different result. "The letting out of
waters" is not always a safe thing; and the turning of the stream, or
any considerable part of the stream which now passes over the falls of
Niagara, into the bed of the Mississippi--whose swollen waters are
sometimes found sufficiently unmanageable as it is--might have a very
extraordinary and even startling effect upon the low-lying regions at
the mouth of that great river. But this is a point that must be left
for geologists and engineers to speculate about and to settle.

Shortly after my arrival in Chicago, I went out for a wander in the
streets. I was accompanied by the Hotel "tout" who soon gave me his
history. He had been a captain in the English army, had run through
all his money, and come here to make more. He had many reminiscences
to relate of his huntings in Leicestershire, of his life in the army,
of his foolish gamblings, of his ups and downs in America, and his
present prospects. Nothing daunted by his mishaps, he was still full
of hope. He was an agent for railways, agent for a billiard-table
manufacturer and for several patents, and believed he should soon be a
rich man again. But no one, he said, had any chance in Chicago, unless
he was prepared to work, and to work hard. "A man," he observed, "must
have his eyes peeled to make money; as for the lazy man, he hasn't the
ghost of a chance here."

My guide took me along the principal streets, which were full of
traffic and bustle, the men evidently intent upon business, pushing
on, looking neither to the right hand nor the left. The streets are
mostly stone-paved, and, in spite of the heavy snow which has fallen,
they are clean and well kept. We passed the City Hall, the Chamber of
Commerce, and the Post Office--all fine buildings. In the principal
streets, the houses are five stories high, with handsome marble
fronts. The office of the 'Chicago Tribune,' situated at the corner of
one of the chief thoroughfares, is a splendid pile with a spacious
corner entrance. The Potter Palmer block, chiefly occupied as a
gigantic draper's shop--here called a Dry Goods' Store--is an immense
pile of buildings, with massive marble front handsomely carved. But
the building which promises shortly to overtop all others in Chicago,
is the Pacific Hotel, now in course of erection,--an enormous
structure, covering an acre and a half of ground, with a frontage of
325 feet, and a height of 104 feet. It is expected to be the largest
and finest building in the city, until something else is projected to
surpass and excel it.

In my progress through the streets I came upon two huge steam cranes
at work, hoisting up stuff from a great depth below. I was told that
this was the second tunnel in course of construction underneath the
bed of the river to enable the traffic to pass across without the
necessity for bridges. The stream over the tunnel was busy with
shipping. In one street I passed a huge pile of dead pigs in front of
a sausage shop. They go in pigs and come out sausages. Pork is one of
the great staples of the place; the number of pigs slaughtered in
Chicago being something enormous. The pig-butcheries and pork stores
are among the largest buildings in the city. My guide assures me that
at least a pig a second is killed and dressed in Chicago all the year
through. Another street was occupied by large stores of grain, fruit,
and produce of all kinds. The pathways were filled with farmers and
grain brokers, settling bargains and doing business. And yet it was
not market day, when the streets are far more crowded and full of
bustle.

Some idea of the enormous amount of business in grain done in Chicago
may be formed from the fact that in one year, 1868, sixty-eight
million bushels of grain were shipped from its wharves. It is the
centre of the grain trade of the States; lines of railway concentre
upon it from all parts of the interior; and, by means of shipping, the
produce is exported to the Eastern States, to Great Britain, or to any
other part of the world where it is needed.

The street cars go jingling along with their heavy loads of
passengers. A continual stream of people keeps coming and going. There
are many young ladies afoot, doing their shopping; enveloped in furs,
and some with white scarfs--or "clouds" as they are called--round
their heads. Loud advertisements, of all colours, shapes, and sizes,
abound on every side. Pea-nut sellers at their stands on the pavement
invite the passers-by to purchase, announcing that they roast fresh
every half-hour. What amused me, in one of the by-streets from which
the frozen snow had not been removed, was seeing a number of boys
skating along at full speed.

Fronting the lake is the fashionable avenue of the city. Here, nice
detached houses range along the broad road for miles. Trees shade the
carriage-way, which in summer must look beautiful. Now all is covered
with hard-frozen snow, over which the sleigh-bells sound merrily as
the teams come dashing along. Here comes a little cutter with a pretty
black pony, which trots saucily past, and is followed by a grand
double-seated sleigh drawn by three splendid greys. Other sleighs,
built for lightness and speed, are drawn by fast-trotting horses, in
which the Americans take so much delight. The object of most of the
young men who are out sleighing seems to be to pass the sleigh in
front of them, so that some very smart racing is usually to be seen
along the Avenue drive.

As might be expected from the extent and wealth of its population,
Chicago is well supplied with places of amusement. I observe that
Christine Nilsson is here at present, and she is an immense favourite.
There are also many handsome stone churches in the city, which add
much to the fine appearance of the place. But I had neither time to
visit the theatres nor the churches, as my time in Chicago was already
up, and I, accordingly, made arrangements for pursuing my journey
eastward.[17]

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 17: It will be observed that the above summary description
applies to Chicago as it was seen by the writer in February last.
While these sheets are passing through the press, the appalling
intelligence has arrived from America that the magnificent city has
been almost entirely destroyed by fire!]

[Illustration: NIAGARA FALLS--AMERICAN SIDE.]



CHAPTER XXVII.

CHICAGO TO NEW YORK.

LEAVE CHICAGO--THE ICE HARVEST--MICHIGAN CITY--THE FOREST--A RAILWAY
SMASHED--KALAMAZOO--DETROIT--CROSSING INTO CANADA--AMERICAN
MANNERS--ROEBLING'S SUSPENSION BRIDGE--NIAGARA FALLS IN WINTER--GOAT
ISLAND--THE AMERICAN FALL--THE GREAT HORSE-SHOE FALL--THE RAPIDS FROM
THE LOVERS' SEAT--AMERICAN COUSINS--ROCHESTER--NEW YORK--A
CATASTROPHE--RETURN HOME.


For some distance out of Chicago, the railway runs alongside the fine
avenue fronting Lake Michigan. We pass a long succession of villas
amidst their gardens and shrubberies, now white with snow and frost.
Then we cross an inlet on a timber viaduct laid on piles driven into
the bed of the lake. The ice at some parts is thrown up irregularly in
waves, and presents a strange aspect. It looks as if it had been
frozen solid in one moment at a time when the wind was blowing pretty
hard.

At another part, where the ice is smoother, men were getting in the
ice harvest between us and the shore. The snow is first cleared from
the surface by means of a snow plane. Then the plough, drawn by a
horse, with a man guiding the sharp steel cutter, makes a deep groove
into the ice. These grooves are again crossed by others at right
angles, until the whole of the surface intended to be gathered in is
divided into sections of about four feet square. When that is done,
several of the first blocks taken out are detached by means of
hand-saws; after which the remainder are easily broken off with
crow-bars. The blocks are then stored in the large ice-houses on
shore, several of which are so large as to be each capable of holding
some 20,000 tons of ice.

The consumption of ice in the States is enormous. Every one takes ice
in their water, in winter as well as in summer. Even the commonest
sort of people consume it largely; and they send round to the store
for ten cents' worth of ice, just as our people send round to the
nearest public for six penny worth of beer. I have heard Americans who
have been in London complain of the scarcity of ice with us, and the
parsimonious way in which it is used. But then we have not the
enormous natural stores of ice close to our doors, as they have at
Chicago and many other of the large American towns.

Meanwhile we have skirted the shores of the lake, and shot into the
country, the snow lying deep in the fields, in some places quite
covering the tops of the fences. After passing through a rather
thickly-wooded country, we came to Michigan city, which stands close
to the lake, with a river flowing past it, on which large barges piled
high with timber are now completely frozen up. What a pretty place
this Michigan must be in summer time, when the trees which line the
streets, and all the shady gardens about it, are clad in green. Even
now the town has a brisk, cheerful look. The sleighs are running
merrily over the snow, and the omnibuses glide smoothly along the
streets on their "runners."

Taking one last look of the great inland sea, we struck across the
broad peninsula formed by Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on
the other, to the town of Detroit. The country was very thickly wooded
in some places,--apparently the remains of the old primeval forest.
Yet there were towns and villages at frequent intervals along the
route. The deer have not yet been extirpated, for often and again I
saw their tracks in the snow along the banks of the railway.

At one part of the road the speed of the train slackened, and the
engine moved along slowly, whistling as it went. What was wrong? I got
out on to the platform to see. We soon came up to a smashed train;
frames of cars, wrecks of cases, wheels, axles, and _débris_, lying
promiscuously tumbled together. I asked the conductor what had
happened? He answered quite coolly, "Guess the express ran into the
goods train!" It looked very much like it!

In the course of the day we passed several small manufacturing towns.
It seemed so odd, when we appeared as if travelling through the back
woods, to see above the trees, not far off, a tall red chimney, where
not long before we had passed the track of the wild deer. There was
one very large manufactory--so large that it had a special branch to
itself connecting it with the main track--at a place called Kalamazoo,
reminding one of Red Indians and war trails over this ground not so
very long ago. The town of Kalamazoo itself is a large and busy place:
who knows but that it may contain the embryo of some future Leeds or
Manchester?

It was dark when the train reached Detroit, where we had to cross the
river which runs between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie by ferry-boat
into Canada. The street being dark, I missed my way, and at last found
myself on the edge of the water when I least expected it. I got on
board just as the last bell was sounding before the boat put off from
the quay. I then had my baggage checked on to Niagara, a custom-house
officer on board marking all the pieces intended only to pass through
Canada, thereby avoiding examination. All the arrangements of the
American railways with respect to luggage seem to me excellent, and
calculated greatly to promote the convenience of the travelling
public.

We were not more than a quarter of an hour on board the ferry-boat,
during which I found time to lay in a good supper in the splendid
saloon occupying the upper story of the vessel. Arrived at the
Canadian side, there was a general rush to the train; and the
carriages were soon filled. There were great complaints amongst some
of the passengers that the Pullman's cars were all full, and that no
beds were to be had; there being usually a considerable run upon these
convenient berths, especially in the depth of winter.

My next neighbour during the night was a very pleasant gentleman--an
American. I must here confess to the agreeable disappointment I have
experienced with respect to the Americans I have hitherto come in
contact with. I have as yet met with no specimens of the typical
Yankee depicted by satirists and novelists. In my innocence I expected
to be asked in the cars such questions as "I guess you're a Britisher,
Sir?" "Where do you come from, Stranger?" "Where are you going to,
Sir?" "What are you going to do when you get there?" and such like. It
is true that at San Francisco I encountered a few of such questions,
but the persons who put them were for the most part only hotel
touters. Among the Americans of about my own condition with whom I
travelled, I met with nothing but politeness and civility. I will go
further, and say that the generality of Americans are more ready to
volunteer a kindness than is usual in England. They are always ready
to answer a question, to offer a paper, to share a rug, or perhaps
tender a cigar. They are generally easy in manner, yet unobtrusive. I
will also add, that so far as my experience goes, the average
intelligence of young men in America is considerably higher than it is
in England. They are better educated and better informed; and I met
few or none who were not able to enter into any topic of general
conversation, and pursue it pleasantly.

I saw but little of Canada, for I passed through what is called the
"London district" of it in the night. It was about four in the morning
when the train reached the suspension bridge which crosses from Canada
into the States, about a mile and a half below the Falls of Niagara.
We were soon upon the bridge,--a light, airy-looking structure, made
principally of strong wire,--and I was out upon the carriage platform,
looking down into the gorge below. It was bright moonlight, so that I
could see well about me. There were the snow-covered cliffs on either
side, and the wide rift between them two hundred and fifty feet deep,
in the bottom of which ran the river at a speed of about thirty miles
an hour. It almost made the head dizzy to look down. But we were soon
across the bridge, and on solid land again. We were already within
hearing of the great roar of the Falls, not unlike the sound of an
express train coming along the track a little distance of. Shortly
after, we reached our terminus and its adjoining hotel, in which for a
time I forgot the Falls and everything else in a sound sleep.

The first thing that struck me on wakening was the loud continuous
roar near at hand. I was soon up and out, and on my way to the Falls,
seated in a grand sleigh drawn by a pair of fine black horses.
Remember it was the dead of winter, the fifteenth of February, not by
any means the time of the year for going about sight-seeing; and yet I
fancy the sight of Niagara in mid-winter must be quite as astonishing,
and perhaps even more picturesque, than at any other season.

Over the crisp snow, and through the clean little town, the sleigh
went flying, the roar of the water growing louder as we neared the
Falls. Soon we are at the gates of a bridge, where a toll is charged
for admission to the island from which the great Falls are best seen.
Crossing the bridge, we reach the small island, on which a large paper
mill has been erected; and I am pointed to a rock to which last winter
a poor fellow--beyond the reach of safety, though in sight--clung for
hours, until, unable to hold on any longer, he was finally swept away
down the torrent.

We cross another small bridge, and are on the celebrated Goat Island,
which divides the great Canadian from the smaller American fall. My
driver first took me to a point on the American side of this island,
from which a fine view is to be obtained. The sight is certainly most
wonderful. I walked down a steep pathway slippery with ice, with steps
cut here and there in the rock, and suddenly found myself on the brink
of the precipice. Close to my left, the water was pouring down into a
chasm a hundred and sixty feet below, disappearing in a great blue
cavern of ice that seemed to swallow it up. By the continual freezing
of the spray, this great ice-cave reaches higher and higher during
winter time. Immense icicles, some fifty feet long, hang down the
sides of the rock immediately over the precipice. The trees on the
island above were bent down with the weight of the frozen spray, which
hung in masses from their branches. The blending of the ice and water
far beneath my feet was a remarkable sight. As the spray and mist from
time to time cleared off, I looked deep down into the dark icy abyss,
in which the water roared, and foamed, and frothed, and boiled again.

Then I went to the other side of the island, quite fairy-like as it
glistened in the sunlight, gemmed with ice-drops, and clad in its
garment of white. And there I saw that astounding sight, the great
Horse-shoe Fall, seven hundred feet across, over which the enormous
mass of water pours with tremendous force. As the water rolled over
the cliff, it seemed to hang like a green curtain in front of it,
until it reached half-way down; then gradually breaking, white streaks
appeared in it, broadening as they descended, until at length the
mighty mass sprouted in foam, and fell roaring into the terrific gulf
some hundred and fifty feet below. A great ice bridge stretched across
the river beyond the boiling water at the bottom of the Fall, rough
and uneven like some of the Swiss glaciers. Clouds of spray flew
about, seemingly like smoke or steam. Words fail to describe a scene
of such overpowering grandeur as this.

I was next driven along Goat Island to a small suspension bridge, some
distance above the Falls, where I crossed over to one of the three
Sister Islands--small bits of land jutting right out into the middle
of the rapids. The water passes between each of these islands. I went
out to the extreme point of the furthest. The sight here is perhaps
second only to the great Fall itself. The river, about a mile and a
quarter wide, rushes down the heavy descent, contracting as it goes,
before leaping the precipice below. The water was tossing and foaming
like an angry sea, reminding me of the ocean when the waves are
running high and curling their white crests after a storm.

These rapids had far more fascination for me than the Falls
themselves. I could sit and watch for hours the water rushing past;
and it was long before I could leave them, though my feet were in deep
snow. It must be very fine to sit out at that extreme point in summer
time, shaded by the rich foliage of the trees, and dream away the
hours. The seat is known as the Lovers' seat, but lovers would need to
have strong lungs to shout their whispers to each other there, if they
wished them to be heard.

At length I turned my back upon the foaming torrent, and resumed the
road to my hotel. On my way back, I stopped at the genuine Niagara
curiosity-shop, where photographs, Indian bead and feather work, and
articles manufactured out of the "real Niagara spar," are sold. Only
the photographs are really genuine and good. The bead-work is a
manufacture, and probably never passed through Indian hands; while the
Niagara spar is imported from Matlock, much of it doubtless returning
to England in the form of curious specimens of workmanship from the
Great Falls.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have very little more to add relating to my journey through the
States. I was not making a tour, but passing through America at
railway speed on my way home to England; and I have merely described,
in the most rapid and cursory way, the things that struck me along my
route. All that remained for me to do between Niagara and New York,
was to call at Rochester, and pay an unheralded visit to my American
cousins there. What English family has not got relations in the
States? I find that I have them living in Rochester, Boston, and St.
Louis. It is the same blood, after all, in both countries--in Old and
New England.

After travelling through the well-cultivated, well-peopled country
that extends eastward from Niagara to Rochester, I arrived at my
destination about four in the afternoon, and immediately went in
search of my American cousins. I was conscious of being a rather
untidy sight to look at, after my long railway journey of nearly three
thousand miles, and did not know what, in my rough travelling guise,
my reception might be. But any misgivings on that point were soon set
at rest by the cordiality of my reception. I was at once made one of
the family, and treated as such. I enjoyed with my new-found relatives
four delightful days of recruiting rest and friendly intercourse. To
use the common American phrase, I had a "real good time."

The town of Rochester is much bigger than the English city of the same
name. It is a place of considerable trade and importance, with a
population of about 60,000. Some of the commercial buildings are very
fine; and I was told of one place, that it was "the finest fire-proof
establishment in the world." Possibly the American world was meant,
and that is by no means a small one. Rochester is especially famous
for its nurseries, where trees of all kinds are reared and sent far
and near; its principal nursery firms being known all over Europe.

There are some fine waterfalls near Rochester--the falls of the
Genesee. Had I not seen Niagara, I should have doubtless wondered at
their beauty. Their height is as great, but the quantity of water is
wanting. After Niagara, all other falls must seem comparatively tame.

My short stay in Rochester was made most pleasant. I felt completely
at home and at my ease in the American household I had so suddenly
entered. I also accompanied my cousins to two evening entertainments,
one a fancy dress ball, and the other a _soirée dansante_, where I
made the passing acquaintance of some very agreeable American ladies
and gentlemen. I was really sorry to leave Rochester; and as the
carriage drove me along the pretty avenue to the station, I felt as if
I were just leaving a newly-found home.

I travelled from Rochester to New York during the night, passing
several large towns, and at some places iron-furnaces at work,
reminding one of the "Black country" in England by night. The noble
Hudson was hard bound in ice as we passed along its banks, so that I
missed the beautiful sight that it presents in summer time. But it is
unnecessary for me to dwell either upon the Hudson or the city of New
York, about which most people are in these days well read up. As for
New York, I cannot say that I was particularly struck by it, except by
its situation, which is superb, and by its magnitude, which is
immense. It seemed to me only a greater Manchester, with larger
signboards, a clearer atmosphere, and a magnificent river front. It
contains no great buildings of a metropolitan character, unless
amongst such buildings are to be included hotels, newspaper offices,
and dry goods stores, some of which are really enormous piles.
Generally speaking, New York may be described as a city consisting of
comparatively insignificant parts greatly exaggerated, and almost
infinitely multiplied. It may be want of taste; but on the whole, I
was better pleased with Chicago. The season of my visit was doubtless
unpropitious. Who could admire the beauties of the noble Central Park
in the dead of winter? Perhaps, too, I was not in a good humour to
judge of New York, as it was there that I met with my first and only
misfortune during my two years' absence from home. For there I was
robbed.

I had been strongly urged by my friends at Rochester to go to Booth's
Theatre to see Mr. Booth play in 'Richelieu,' as a thing not to be
seen in the same perfection anywhere else. I went accordingly, enjoyed
Booth's admirable acting, and returned to my hotel. When I reached
there, on feeling my pocket, lo! my purse was gone! I had been
relieved of it either in the press at the theatre exit, or in entering
or leaving the tramway car on my return.

I had my ticket for Liverpool safe in my waistcoat pocket; but there
was my hotel bill to pay, and several necessaries to purchase for use
during the voyage home. What was I to do? I knew nobody in New York.
It was too far from home to obtain a remittance from thence, and I was
anxious to leave without further delay. I bethought me of the kind
friends I had left at Rochester, acquainted them with my misfortune,
and asked for a temporary loan of twenty dollars. By return post an
order arrived for a hundred. "A friend in need is a friend indeed."

The same post brought two letters from my Rochester friends, in one of
which my correspondent said that my misfortune was one that few
escaped in New York. He himself had been robbed of his purse in a
Broadway stage; his father had been robbed of a pocket-book containing
money; and his father-in-law of a gold watch. My other kind
correspondent, who enclosed me his cheque, said, by way of caution,
"You must bear in mind that the principal streets of New York are
full of pickpockets and desperadoes. They will recognize you as a
stranger, so you must be wary. You may be 'spotted' as you go into or
come out of the banking office. It often happens that a man is robbed
in Wall Street in open day,--is knocked down and his money 'grabbed'
before his eyes. So be very careful and trust nobody. Go alone to the
banking office, or get a trusty servant from the house to go with you.
But let no outsider see cheque or money."

Of course I took very good care not to be robbed in New York a second
time, and I got away from it in safety next morning by the 'City of
Brooklyn,' taking with me the above very disagreeable reminiscence of
my New York experience. It is not necessary to describe the voyage
home,--the passage from New York to Liverpool being now as familiar an
event as the journey from London to York. At Queenstown I telegraphed
my arrival to friends at home, and by the time the ship entered the
Mersey there were those waiting at the landing-place to give me a
cordial welcome back. I ran up to town by the evening train, and was
again at home. Thus I completed my Voyage Round the World, in the
course of which I have gained health, knowledge, and experience, and
seen and learnt many things which will probably furnish me with matter
for thought in all my future life.



INDEX.

Albatross, 45, 51.

Alta, Central Pacific Railway, 258.

American cousins, 296;
  Indians, 262;
  manners, 291;
  railway cars, 251.

Amusements onboard ship, 18, 24, 25, 43, 54, 56.

Arrival of Home Mail, Majorca, 179.

Arum esculentum, Honolulu, 227.

Atlantic and Pacific Railway, 250-274;
  the railway cars, 251;
  Sacramento city, 253;
  scenery of the Sierra Nevada, 255;
  Cape Horn, 258;
  snow-sheds, 259, 270;
  the Summit, 259;
  the Sage desert, 261;
  Shoshonie Indians, 262;
  Devil's Peak, 263;
  Weber Cañon, 266;
  Laramie City, 270;
  Cheyenne, 272;
  Prairie Dog City, 273;
  River Platte, 273;
  arrival at Omaha, 274.

Auckland, New Zealand, 205-211.

Aurora Australis, 129.

Australia, first sight of, 56;
  last, 204.

Autumn rains, Majorca, 130.

Avoca, 176.

Azores, 17.


Ballarat, visit to, 163-170.

Bank, at Majorca, 91, 130.

Bank-robbing, 159.

Bar at a Gold-rush, 87.

Batman, first settler in Victoria, 63.

Battle Mount, Nevada, 262.

Becalmed on the Line, 29.

Beggars, absence of in Victoria, 64, 95.

Bell-bird, 134.

Birds in South Atlantic, 50.

Black Thursday in Victoria, 121.

'Blue Jacket,' burning of, 32-38.

Bonitos, 22, 25.

Booth's Theatre, New York, 299.

Botanic Gardens Melbourne, 71.

Botany Bay, 193.

Bourke Street, Melbourne, 61.

Brighton, 59, 71.

Brooke, the murderer, 156-158.

Bush-Animals:--marsupials, 131, 132, 138, 139;
  reptiles, 137;
  birds, 134-136.

Bush-fires, 121.

Bush, the, 104;
  in summer, 118, 127;
  by moonlight, 178.

Bush-piano, 129.


Calms on the Line, 29.

Cape Brett, 205.

Cape de Verd Islands, 21.

Cape Horn, Central Pacific Railway, 258.

Cape Leeuwin, 56.

Cape of Good Hope, 44, 47.

Cape Otway, 56, 57.

Cape-pigeons, 46, 51.

Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, 65.

Castlemaine, 80.

Castle Rocks, Rocky Mountains, 267.

Cautions against robbers, 160, 299.

Central Pacific Railway, 255-264.

Channel, in the, 5, 6.

Cheltenham, Australia, 71.

Cheyenne, U.S., 272.

Chicago, arrival at, 279;
  enterprise of, 280;
  water-supply, 280-281;
  tunnels under river, 281, 284;
  buildings, 283, 284;
  pigs and pork, 284;
  grain-trade of, 285;
  sleighs, 286;
  departure from, 287.

Chinese, character, 65-66;
  gardens and gardeners, 93, 110, 115;
  music, 102;
  burials, 103;
  gold-diggers, 142-144, 148;
  at Honolulu, 234;
  at San Francisco, 246.

Christmas, in Victoria, 121, 190.

'City of Melbourne,' s.s., 202-19.

Climate of Victoria:
  winter, 107;
  spring, 116;
  summer, 117;
  autumn, 125, 130.

Clunes, 109-111, 170.

Coach, journeys by:
  Castlemaine to Majorca, 81;
  Clunes to Ballarat, 164;
  Auckland to Onehunga, 208.

Cochon Islands, 53.

Collingwood Bank, attempt to rob, 159.

Collins Street, Melbourne, 62.

Cook, Capt., in New South Wales, 193.

Corner, the, Ballarat, 168.

Council Bluffs, U.S., 276.

Crab-holes, 171.

Crozet Islands, 52.


Dale Creek Bridge, U.S., 271.

Death on board ship, 242.

Deck-bath in Tropics, 23.

Descent into a gold-mine, 147.

Detroit, U.S., 290;
  to Niagara, 290-292.

Devil's Peak, Rocky Mountains, 263;
  Gate, 266.

Diggers,
  at a gold-rush, 86, 87, 88;
  amateur, 145;
  Chinese, 142, 148;
  hospitality of, 97, 98.

Diggers' tales, 126, 150, 155.

Divers, Honolulu, 232.

Drink-licence, Honolulu, 234.

Drunkenness, absence of, in Majorca, 94.

Dust-winds in Victoria, 128.


Echo City and Cañon, U.S., 267.

Elsternwick, 71.

Elko, Nevada, 263.

Epsom, New Zealand, 209.

Eucalyptus, 108.


Farms, near Majorca, 125, 126, 128.

Ferry-boat, San Francisco, 249.

Fête at Talbot, 173-175;
  at Majorca, for School-fund, 185.

Fires in the Bush, 121.

Fire-brigade, Ballarat, 169.

Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne, 65.

Flies in Majorca, 121.

Floods, about Majorca, 111;
  at Ballarat, 113-114;
  at Clunes, 113.

Flowers, Majorca, 117.

Flying-fish, 22, 217.

Frenchman in Majorca, 181.

Fruits, Majorca, 122.

Funeral of Majorca Town Clerk, 187.


'Galatea,' H.M.S., 205, 210.

'George Thompson,' of London, 41.

Germans, in Victoria, 90, 91, 180, 181.

Genesee Falls, U.S., 297.

Goat Island, Niagara, 293.

Gold: buying, 140-144;
  finding, 150-152;
  mining, 145-152, 166, 256;
  purifying, 141-142;
  rushing, 85-88, 153, 165, 166.

Grain-trade, Chicago, 285.

Grapes, in Victoria, 124.

'Great Britain,' of Liverpool, 191.

Green sea, shipping a, 49.

Gum-tree, Australian, 83, 108.


Harvest-time, Majorca, 125.

Havelock rush, 154.

Hawaii, 218.

Heat in summer, Australia, 118.

Holystoning, 13.

Honey suckers, 134.

Honolulu: arrival at, 219;
  the harbour, 220;
  commercial importance of, 222;
  description of, 223;
  churches, 224;
  Post Office, 224;
  King's Palace at, 226;
  visit to the Nuuanu Valley, 226-231;
  Poi, 227;
  Queen Emma's villa, 228;
  the Pali, 230;
  the natives, 231;
  the women, 233;
  liquor-licences, 234;
  Chinese opium-licence, 234;
  theatricals at, 235;
  climate of, 227, 236.

Honolulu to San Francisco, 237-243.

Horse-shoe Fall, Niagara, 294.

Hudson River, 298.

Humboldt, U.S., 261.


Ice-Bird, 51.

Ice consumption in U.S., 288.

Ice harvest, Lake Michigan, 288.

Illinois Prairie, 278.

Irish in Majorca, 91.


Kalamazoo, U.S., 290.

Kamehameha V., 237.

Kanakas, Honolulu, 229-233.

Kangaroo, 138, 200.


Landing in Australia, 59.

Laramie City, U.S., 270.

Leatherheads, 134.

Leeches in Victoria, 129.

Les Apôtres Islands, 53.

Libraries, Public, in Australia,--Melbourne, 66;
  Ballarat, 167;
  Majorca, 186.

Line, cross the, 29, 217.

Liquor-law, Honolulu, 234.

Lowe Kong Meng Mine, 147.

'Lord Raglan,' 26, 27.

Lovers' Seat, Niagara, 295.

Luggage, on American Railways, 290.

Lung complaints, sea voyage in, 10.


MacCullum's Creek, 114.

Macquarie Lighthouse, 194.

Magpie, Australian, 135.

Mails: Victoria and Honolulu, 225;
  delays of, New Zealand, 210;
  newspapers by Ocean mail, treatment of, 218;
  arrival at Majorca, 179.

Majorca, life in, 84-188.

Manukau Bay, New Zealand, 210.

Maoris, 207.

Marsupials, 138, 139.

Maryborough, 81;
  rush at, 126.

Mathews, Mr. Charles, 192, 235.

Mauna Loa, Sandwich Islands, 219.

Melbourne, arrival at, 60;
  description of, 62;
  youth of, 63;
  rapid growth of, 64;
  absence of beggars, 64;
  the Chinese quarter, 65;
  public library, 67;
  visit to Pentridge Prison, 67-70;
  Botanic Gardens, 71;
  the Yarra, 71;
  the sea suburbs of, 71;
  hospitality of, 72;
  Christmas in, 190.

Michigan City, U.S., 289.

Michigan, Lake, 280-282, 285, 287.

Mina Birds, 135.

Mississippi River, 228.

Missouri River, 276.

Monument to Cook, 193 (_note_) (now Page 201, _footnote_ 14).

Moonlight in Victoria, 119, 178.

Mormon fortifications, 267.

'Moses Taylor,' s.s., 232, 239, 241.

Mount Greenock, Australia, 122.

Musquitoes 133, 236.


New chums, 64, 247.

New York, 298.

New Zealand, 202-211.

Niagara Falls in winter, 292-296.

Nursery Gardens, Rochester, 297.

Nuuanu Valley, Honolulu, 226.


Oahu Island, 222.

Oakland, California, 251.

Ogden, Utah, 264.

Onehunga, New Zealand, 208-210.

Opium-licence, Honolulu, 234.

Opossum-shooting, 131-133.


Pacific, up the, 212-243.

Pali, of the Nuuanu Valley, 230.

Paroquets, 135, 136.

Parliament House, Melbourne, 61.

'Patter _v._ Clatter,' at Honolulu, 235 (_note_) (now Page 236,
  _footnote 16_).

Pentridge Prison, 67-70.

Phosphorescence, 17.

Pigtail, Chinese, 66.

Piping-Crow, 135, 136.

Platte River, U.S., 274.

Plymouth Harbour, 8.

Poi, 227, 228.

Port Jackson, 194-196, 203.

Port Phillip Heads, 57.

Possession Island, 53.

'Pyrmont,' of Hamburg, 32, 38.


Queenscliffe, Australia, 58, 191.


Race with 'George Thompson,' 42.

Railway: Atlantic and Pacific, _see Atlantic_;
  to Castlemaine, 79;
  carriage, American, 251;
  smash, 289;
  touters at S. Francisco, 247.

Rain in Victoria, 109, 111.

Robbed in New York, 299.

Rochester, U.S., 296.

'Rosa' of Guernsey, abandoned, 7.

Rough life at the Diggings, 153.

Rushes, gold, 85, 86, 153, 165, 166.


Sacramento, California, 254.

Sage-bush, 261.

'Saginaw,' wreck of the, 238.

Sail Rock, New Zealand, 205.

St. Kilda, Victoria, 59, 71.

San Antonio, 21.

Sandridge, Victoria, 59, 61, 65, 191.

Sandwich Islands, 221.

San Francisco, 243-250;
  arrival at, 243;
  Bay of, 250;
  buildings, 245;
  Chinese quarter, 246;
  ferry-boat, 249;
  money-brokers, 246;
  railway touters, 247;
  railway terminus, 250;
  streets, 246.

Schools, Majorca, 184.

Scotch at Majorca, 91.

Serious family, visit to a, 74.

Shipping a green sea, 49.

Shooting sea-birds, 52;
  opossums, 131-133.

Shoshonie Indians, 262.

"Shouting" for drinks, 94.

Sierra Nevada, 255-264.

Sister Islands, Niagara, 295.

Snakes in the Bush, 137.

Snow-sheds and fences, Atlantic
  and Pacific Railway, 259, 260, 270.

South Atlantic, 41.

Spring at Majorca, 116.

Squatters, 105, 127, 128.

Steam-voyage, monotony of, 212.

Stevenson, on power of waves, 49 (_note_) (now Page 53, _footnote_ 2).

Stink-pot, 51.

Stockton, California, 253.

Summer in Victoria, 117.

Sunrise in the Bush, 178.

Sunset in the Tropics, 30.

Suspension Bridge, Niagara, 292.

Sydney, 196-202;
  age of, 197;
  animals in Botanic Gardens, 200;
  Botanic Gardens, 199, 200;
  compared with Melbourne, 197, 198;
  Cove, 196;
  description of, 197;
  domain, 199;
  harbours, 197;
  public buildings, 197, 199;
  suburbs, 201.

Sydney to New Zealand, 202-211.


Talbot, 171-175.

Taro-plant, 227.

Tea-meetings, Majorca, 182.

Teetotallers, 183.

Telegraph, Victoria, 113, 162.

Theatres: Honolulu, 224;
  Melbourne, 61;
  New York, 299.

Theatricals on board ship, 54, 56.

Thieves, New York, 299.

Thousand-mile Tree, 267.

Three King's Island, New Zealand, 204.

Trade winds, 19.

Trestle-bridges, Atlantic and Pacific Railway, 256.


Union Pacific Railway, 265-274.


Verein, opening of, Majorca, 181.

Victoria, when colonized, 63, 64.

Victorian climate, _see Climate_.

Victorian life, 179, 182, 188.

Vineyards, Australia, 125.


Wahsatch Mountains, U.S., 266.

Wallaby, 139.

Water-supply, Chicago, 280, 281.

Wattle-birds, 134.

Weber Cañon, 266.

Western Pacific Railway, 250, 254.

Whale-bird, 46.

Williamstown, Victoria, 59, 71.

Wine in Victoria, 124.

Winter in Majorca, 107.

Wooloomooloo, Sydney, 196.

Work in Victoria, 64, 65, 94.

Wreck of 'Saginaw,' 238.

Wrens, Victorian, 135.


Yarra-Yarra River, 70.

'Yorkshire,' 1-59.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Some of the maps have been moved slightly to avoid breaking up the
paragraphs. The map on page 50 was originally split across pages
50-51.

Minor punctuation corrections and the following changes have been
made:

CONTENTS: These changes were made to match the chapter headings:

  Under CHAPTER II: The Cape de Verde changed to The Cape de Verd.

  Under CHAPTER III: Paying my "Footing" changed to Paying "Footings".
    The Major's Wonderful Story "Capped" changed to The Major's
    Wonderful Stories.

  Under CHAPTER XIII: The Piping Crow changed to The Piping-Crow.

  Under CHAPTER XXII: Behavior changed to Behaviour (of the Ship).

  Under CHAPTER XXVII: A Railway Smash changed to A Railway Smashed.

Pages 2 and 48: mizenmast changed to mizen-mast.

Page 8: probabilty changed to probability (probability of our).

Page 13: india-rubber changed to India-rubber.

Page 16: Repeating "a" removed (water at a splendid pace).

Page 83: back-ground changed to background.

Page 88: Footnote 1 in original book, now Page 95: Footnote 6, loss
changed to less (no less than ten engines).

Pages 118 and 303: Piping crow changed to piping-crow.

Page 125: sun-light changed to sunlight (the red sunlight).

Page 137: where changed to were (our track, and were walking exactly).

Page 137: hillside changed to hill-side (the hill-side above Majorca).

Page 192: weatherwise changed to weather-wise.

Page 194: Footnote 1 in original book, now Page 201: Footnote 14,
nscription changed to inscription (inscription "Captain Cook landed).

Page 196: desposited changed to deposited (safely deposited).

Page 230: ranche changed to ranches (some cattle ranches).

Page 235: Janpanese changed to Japanese (Japanese jugglers).

Page 235: indentical changed to identical (identical troupe).

Page 235: Footnote 1 in original book, now Page 236: Footnote 16:
$2 50c changed to $2.50.

Page 241: in changed to is (coast is about 2100 miles).

Page 243: downpour changed to down-pour.

Page 248: mid-day changed to midday.

Page 287: (Chapter heading): The Fortes changed to The Forest.

Page 303 (Index): Oaku changed to Oahu (Oahu Island, 222).





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