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Title: Wide World Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 129, December, 1908
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wide World Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 129, December, 1908" ***

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Transcriber’s Note: Documents in illustrations, where legible, have
been transcribed for this e-text.


SEE PAGE 215.]


    Vol. XXII.        DECEMBER, 1908.        No. 129

The Terror in the Sanctuary.



    A lady’s account of the fearful ordeal she underwent as a young girl
    on an estate in Natal--locked up in a tiny church, whither she had
    gone to practise a Christmas voluntary, with a huge python!

It was Christmas Eve, and one of the hottest days I remember during my
sojourn in Natal. The recollection of that day, spite of the many years
that have since passed, is so vividly imprinted on my mind that I can
still see the heated atmosphere as it danced and shimmered over the cotton
bushes and the rows of beans down the hillside.

The last stroke of the twelve o’clock gong summoning the gangs of Kaffirs
to their midday repast and siesta had died away, and never a sound broke
the stifling noontide stillness save the booming of the surf on the lonely
sea-shore, three miles distant from my father’s plantation--the Beaumont
Estate, as it is now called. The eye ached as it travelled over the
glaring, sun-dried landscape that lay stretched before me, and sought
grateful relief in the shady depth of the dark orange grove and spreading
loquat trees that sheltered the veranda on which I lounged on my luxurious
cane couch.

My father was a retired Anglo-Indian officer, who, having won distinction
during the Indian Mutiny, had taken up a “military grant” of about two
thousand acres of land in the Colony of Natal. He judged this to be an
excellent opening for my brother Malcolm, who, although showing a strong
desire to follow in his father’s military footsteps, lacked the capability
and application requisite to pass the competitive examinations for the

We had been, by this time, about three years in the Colony, and had half
the estate under cultivation. Whether father was satisfied with the
results I do not know. But, drowsily reviewing the situation on this
particular afternoon, I came to the conclusion that a man who has spent
the best years of his life in the Army cannot metamorphose himself
immediately into an agricultural success.

I was aroused from my cogitations by Malcolm’s voice exclaiming: “Why,
Jessie, I do believe you were asleep!”

“I was, very nearly,” I confessed. “This heat makes the physical exertion
of unclosing my eyelids a task to which I do not feel equal.”

“When are you going down to the church?” he asked, as he tapped his cane
against the leg of his long riding-boot.

“Now,” I declared, sleepily, “if you will come with me. Sam says he has
got enough flowers and greenstuff to fill two churches.” Sam, I should
explain, was the Kaffir boy whose duty it was to ring the bell for
service, hand the collection-bag round, and gather the flowers for the
church decorations. St. John-in-the-Wilderness, as it was called, stood on
my father’s land, a shining beacon of corrugated iron and wood.

Struggling to my feet, I reached for my hat and green-lined umbrella, and
stood ready, waiting to accompany my brother.

“Don’t take Nellie,” I protested, as the fat old bulldog gambolled about,
panting and snorting in spite of the heat, in anticipation of a walk. But
Nellie proved obdurate alike to threats and entreaties, and presently
scampered off down the hill, leaving us to follow.

Half-way across the Flat we came to one of those exquisite little streams
that are so frequently met with on the coast of Natal. Crossing this on
stepping-stones, we reached the opposite bank, whence it was but a few
paces through the narrow bush path to the clearing in the jungle where
stood St. John-in-the-Wilderness.

“Look, Jessie, the door is open!” exclaimed Malcolm. “I suppose that
duffer Sam didn’t lock it properly this morning when he put the flowers

“Probably,” I returned, gaining his side on the vestry steps. “The lock
has got so stiff that I cannot turn the key myself, so I am not

The dim, subdued light inside the church caused us to pause a moment or so
before observing the extravagant profusion of flowers, palms, and ferns
that Sam had gathered--truly more than enough for the decoration of two
churches the size of ours.

“How glorious!” I cried, kneeling by the side of this floral wealth and
picking up a bloom of the delicately-tinted waxen ginger. “What would they
say to Christmas decorations like this in England?”

“I think,” announced my brother, ignoring my ecstasies, “that I will just
run over and inspect a gang at work at the other end of the Flat, and then
I’ll join you and we can work undisturbed.”


_From a Photo. by W. J. Hawker._]

I willingly agreed to this arrangement, as I wanted to practise some hymns
for the morrow. To astonish our scanty congregation I thought I would put
my musical genius to the test and attempt a voluntary.

Picking up his sun helmet and cane, Malcolm prepared to go.

“Don’t be long, there’s a dear,” I said. “And I think you had better lock
the door and take the key, because the door won’t keep shut unless it is
locked, and I do not care to have it open.”

“What are you afraid of?” laughed Malcolm, as he went out once more into
the sunshine.

“Oh, I don’t know, I’m sure, but when I am alone I prefer to have the door
shut.” Still laughing, he turned the key in the lock and went off.

Left by myself in the silent little church, I drew off my gloves and
prepared to open the harmonium.

It occupied a position under a window in the chancel, on the first of the
three wide steps leading to the sanctuary, on the right-hand side of the
church. Immediately opposite was the vestry door by which we had entered,
and between the harmonium and the vestry lay the pile of flowers and
greenstuff for the decorations, so that I, seated at the organ, had my
back towards the flowers. Two rush-bottomed chairs stood near, one bearing
a basket of extra choice white flowers I intended for the altar vases; the
other was on the right side by the harmonium, supporting the small
repertoire of music that I needed for the service.

I took my seat leisurely, thinking over my voluntary for the morrow.

I turned over first one piece of music, then another, finally opening a
tattered sheet of an old copy of “The Blacksmith of Cologne.” I settled on
that; it looked so nice and easy. Played slowly, with a proper amount of
expression and a plentiful addition of the tremolo stop, I thought it
would make a very telling and appropriate beginning to the Christmas

I had barely played a dozen bars of the music when I thought I heard a
rustle of leaves behind me, but attributed the sound to some slight
current of air from an open window. I was too much engrossed to pay the
occurrence much attention, and continued my performance right through to
the end, repeating a passage here and there which I thought required a
different rendering. Then once again I seemed to hear stirring leaves,
and, glancing over my shoulder at the lovely pile of flowers, I noticed
the sound could only have been caused by the spray of wild ginger that I
had carelessly tossed on the top of the other blooms, and which had
apparently rolled down and now lay a few inches apart from the rest.

Rather amused that such a trifle should cause me to interrupt my
practising, I again turned to the instrument, intent upon perfecting my


Suddenly I was overtaken by a feeling of unaccountable apprehension, and,
at the same time, became aware of a slow, continuous, rustling sound.
Turning my head sharply over my shoulder, to my horror and intense
surprise I saw the whole mass of leaves and flowers undulating!

Scarcely daring to breathe or move my fingers from the notes, I
mechanically continued my playing. The fact that I was a prisoner behind a
locked door forced itself on my mind and held me in my place, helpless.
For a moment now and then as I watched the mass of verdure was quiet, only
to begin upheaving again. What could it be? The suspense was becoming more
than I could bear, and I was on the point of shrieking hysterically when
my tongue refused utterance, and I felt as if life and strength were
oozing out of my fingers.

On the farther side of the beautiful, fragrant pile of ferns and flowers
appeared the head of an enormous snake. Slowly, quietly, with a gentle
dipping movement up and down, it raised itself, and I saw that it was a

Then the Kaffirs’ legend was indeed true! They had told us a story which
we had regarded in the light of a fable. In spite of our ridicule, they
had maintained that a serpent of gigantic dimensions had its haunt in the
neighbourhood of our little church. They said that it would suddenly
appear from out the bush when the organ was played and lie in the sun as
if listening to the music. We had naturally received the story as a Kaffir
superstition, and gave it no credence.

But--Heaven help me!--it was no idle tale, but a horrible fact, for there
was the immense snake before me.

A tempest of fear seized me. My heart seemed to beat all over me at once,
and a singing noise in my head drove me nearly distraught. After a while,
however, it appeared to turn into a voice calling upon me to continue
playing. “It is your only chance, your only hope,” it seemed to say.

With a supreme effort of will I controlled myself sufficiently to continue
my performance. I compelled my hands and feet to move and perform their
duty. Never once, however, did I move my eyes from the python, which was
gradually drawing the vast length of its body into view.

A faint hope sprang within me that I might lull its savage proclivities
with the music, and I forced myself to continue a monotonous droning on
the little instrument. Calling to mind the snake-charmers of India, and
imitating to my uttermost the mournful wail they produce on their reed
whistles, I kept this going until the incessant thud, thud of the bellows
seemed to pound on the nerves of my brain and be the only sound I
extracted from the little organ.

Presently, with a fresh horror, I observed that the creature was rearing
itself up, as if endeavouring to locate the direction whence the music
came. Having done so, it gradually made its way round the heap of flowers
and palms towards me.

Once the python reared itself to the level of the back rail of the chair
where lay my choice white flowers, and for a space of time remained poised
in that position, surveying its environment from that improved elevation.
During this time its sinuous form quivered in perpetual vibration, and its
changeful, scintillating eye gave indication of its exceedingly sensitive
nature. It was evidently a creature so susceptible to sound that a human
voice, far away across the Flat, borne on the scented, heat-laden air
through the open window, smote its delicate organization and sent a tremor
through its body, making the exquisite, shaded skin shiver, and bringing
into prominence a wonderful iridescent bloom that glistened along the
smooth surface of its coils.

Once, in its passage towards me, the snake pushed the chair that impeded
its progress an inch or two from its former position, scraping it along
the varnished boards, causing a sharp discordant sound.

Instantly the python drew back its awful head, assuming a swan-like
attitude. The quivering tongue, as sensitive as a butterfly’s feelers,
played and trembled, and its jewelled eyes narrowed and flashed. The
creature’s whole position was one of threatening defence. How deadly it
looked, how awful in its cruel beauty!

“Heaven send me help!” I inwardly prayed. “Oh, for some means of escape!”

Closer and closer the awful creature undulated directly towards me,
pausing now and again as if to prolong my agony of suspense. In reality I
believe it was listening, its sensitive ear--or if, as some scientists
hold, snakes are deaf, then some subtle sixth sense unknown to
us--detecting sounds my dull brain could not catch.

At length it was so close to me I could have stretched out my hand, had I
wished, and touched it, and a coil of its body actually lay on my skirt as
the creature rested at my side, evidently enjoying the mournful music,
which I verily believed to be my funeral dirge. For the end, I thought,
must come soon. With this deadly creature so close to me, and in such a
position that I could not but disturb it if I moved, I was getting cold
and numb with fear. I felt myself getting faint, and realized that I was
going to fall. Desperately I fought against the feeling, struggling
against my growing weakness.

How long the serpent lay, like a watch-dog, at my feet, how long I played
I do not know. I could not measure time; I was in a trance, asphyxiated
with fear.

Suddenly a noise seemed to snap something in my brain, and the spell was
broken. It was a sharp bark from Nellie, just outside the window.

And, coming nearer through the bush, I heard the echo of my music whistled
back to me, as Malcolm, all unconscious of my peril, took up the refrain
with which I was endeavouring to soothe my dread visitant to rest and

And now that help was at hand, a new danger and difficulty confronted me.
How was I to warn Malcolm? How was I to drag my skirt away from under this
monster quickly enough to escape through the open doorway before it struck

Long ere I was aware of the approach of help the serpent had shown signs
of irritation, its intuitive sensibility detecting the advent of danger,
and at the noise of the key grinding in the rusty lock the python gathered
its sinuous body under it, as if to obtain greater support for a forward
stroke. Then, with its head and a portion of its body reared high above
the floor and darting angrily hither and thither, it waited expectantly.

Dazzled with the glaring sunlight outside, Malcolm hesitated on the
threshold for a moment, and in that moment Nellie passed him and ran into
the church. Even then I could not move my gaze from the snake, or speak or
move, or give a symptom of warning But I was aware of poor old Nellie
coming towards me, panting and puffing with the heat and fatigue of her
walk, and with greeting and gladness in her soft brown eyes.

She was scarcely a yard from me, and I heard my brother call to her: “Go
out, Nellie; go out!”

Then there was a sound as if a whip were cutting through the air, and
something passed before my vision like a flash of forked lightning in the
sky, and I knew that the death-blow had fallen--not on me, but on dear,
devoted old Nellie, the bulldog. The python literally leapt at her,
striking again and again, as it endeavoured to seize her in its awful

I waited no longer, but sprang from the chair, upsetting it and the books
in my flight, and fairly flew to the door. I reached Malcolm in safety,
and he dragged me outside, shutting the door behind us, and leaving Nellie
and the python in the church. The dog’s piteous cries of agony and fear
sickened us, and made Malcolm attempt a rescue. He rushed in once again,
calling to the dog, in the vain hope that she might at least die with us
at her side. But she could not see; blinded with fright she ran wildly
about. Her end was horrible to contemplate, and I pressed my hands to my
ears to shut out the sounds, running from the church and close proximity
of the fearful creature under whose spell I had been for so long. I sank
down under the shade of some trees and thanked God I was safe!

But the cries of poor Nellie, the thud, thud of the bellows, and the
mournful dirge I had repeated over and over again banged and clanged
unceasingly in my head, remaining with me through many days of utter
prostration and exhaustion.


The last music that python heard was the crack of Malcolm’s rifle as he
shot it in the church. That same afternoon the Kaffirs, seeing its skin
stretched in the sun to dry, lost their superstitious belief in the magic
powers of the creature, and marvelled at its huge size. The mottled,
shaded skin now hangs, faded, dull, and dusty, after many years, on the
walls of a college museum, amidst other South African trophies. We buried
what remained of poor Nellie in the shadow of St. John-in-the-Wilderness.

Across America by Airship.



    Now that airships are so much to the fore, this account of the
    meteoric career of the largest “dirigible balloon” ever
    constructed--larger even than Count Zeppelin’s unfortunate
    monster--will be read with interest. The inventor had an ambitious
    scheme for running luxuriously-fitted aerial liners between New York
    and San Francisco, but his first ship got no farther than the
    ascension ground. The photographs accompanying the article are
    particularly striking.

Some time last year there came from the windy city of Chicago to the
hardly less breezy San Francisco a man named John A. Morrell, who built a
small airship with a balloon of insufficient size to lift the engines and
netting. The craft got loose before the crew of twelve had taken their
places and rose from a hundred to two hundred feet in the air, floating
away in a southerly direction down the San Francisco peninsula and coming
to rest at Burlingame, in San Mateo County, twenty miles from its

Nothing daunted by this mishap, Morrell organized the “National Airship
Company,” incorporated under the laws of South Dakota, established offices
in a leading street of San Francisco, and put forth a glowing prospectus,
in which people were invited to invest their money in a sure thing--to
wit, an airship a quarter of a mile long, already under construction, and
intended to make regular trips between San Francisco and New York City,
carrying passengers as comfortably as a Pullman car. The chairs in this
remarkable craft were to be made of hollow aluminium tubes and to weigh
only seventeen ounces; the bedsteads, of the same material, weighing
twenty-seven ounces. The mattresses were to be inflated with a very light
gas of a secret nature. Extravagant and fantastic though all this sounds,
Morrell possessed the enthusiasm and glibness of the genuine promoter,
contriving to obtain many thousands of dollars from credulous people in
support of his wild project.


_From a Photograph._]

The National Airship Company established shops in San Francisco, and went
to work upon the airship, which was named “Ariel.” The construction was
under the direction of George H. Loose, who has had considerable
experience in building aeroplanes and airships. It was intended that Loose
should be first officer of the aerial liner, but, when the time for making
the first ascent came, Loose wisely threw up his job, because Morrell had
disregarded his advice in the construction.


_From a Photograph._]

Nearly every well-known principle of airship construction was violated.
The proportions were impracticable, the craft being four hundred and
eighty-five feet long and having a diameter of only thirty-four feet. The
gas-bag was like a huge snake, having no rigidity, either horizontally or
vertically, and not being stiffened by trussing of any adequate sort. A
gas-bag of such length and proportionately small diameter should have been
strengthened by a vertical framework, or by trusswork of rope or wire, so
as to impart rigidity; but nothing of this sort was done. The motive-power
was supplied by six separate four-cylinder forty-horse-power automobile
engines, hung below the balloon at intervals.


_From a Photograph._]

These concentrated weights were carried on a platform, not of planks, but
of mattresses, laid down on mere canvas, supported by the netting which
covered the gas-bag. Ropes placed round the gas-bag at the points where
the engines were situated cut deeply into it, and no arrangements whatever
were made to meet the special stresses caused by the steering of so
long-drawn-out an affair. Loose’s chief reasons for refusing to make the
ascent were that if the envelope were filled with enough gas to render it
rigid the emergency valves would open, and if these were tightened the
envelope was liable to burst.

Serious as the various defects mentioned were, the most fatal one was the
fact that nothing had been done to prevent collapse or deformation caused
by sudden expansion or contraction of the gas from changes of temperature.
The balloon was one great, undivided bag, containing from four hundred
thousand to five hundred thousand cubic feet of gas, but having no
compartments or internal air-bags. Its lifting capacity was from eight to
ten tons, so that it was much the largest airship ever built in America,
even exceeding in dimensions the great “dirigible” of Count von Zeppelin.

It might be supposed that it would be pretty hard to get together a score
of persons who would be willing to risk their lives in such an unpractical
affair as the Morrell airship; but, strangely enough, the greatest
difficulty was experienced in keeping people off the craft. One man, a
well-known aeronaut named Captain Penfold, repeatedly begged Morrell to
let him make the ascent, but his request was flatly refused. Yet so eager
was Penfold that at the last minute he smuggled himself on to the craft
and went up with it and--a few moments later--came down with it.


_From a Photograph._]

Some time before the attempted ascent was made the airship was conveyed
from San Francisco across the Bay to Berkeley, in Alameda County, Cal. The
trial trip was fixed for Saturday, May 23rd, and on that morning thousands
of excited people were on hand to watch the ascent. The airship was
released from its moorings and began to mount into the air, its nose
having a decided tilt downwards. The machine had risen scarcely two or
three hundred feet when the rear of the balloon had an upward inclination
of as much as forty-five degrees.

Morrell shouted to his crew, consisting of engineers and valve-tenders,
numbering fourteen or fifteen, to go aft, so as to depress the stern of
the machine and cause it to resume its equilibrium. But the shouts and
cheers of the people below drowned his voice so that he could not be
heard. A moment later the gas rushed into the after-end of the bag with
great force, bursting the oiled cloth of which the envelope was
constructed, and the cheers had hardly died away before the
horror-stricken crowd saw the great balloon collapse and come headlong to
the ground, with its nineteen passengers, who included Morrell, eight
engineers, five valve-tenders, two photographers with their assistants,
and the aeronaut already mentioned.


_From a Photograph._]

The unfortunate men were entangled in the wreckage of flapping cloth,
network, and machinery, running the danger of being struck by the
propellers of the engines or of being suffocated by the great volumes of
escaping gas. One valve-tender, who was on the top of the great bag, can
be seen in one of the photographs climbing along the netting. His agility
stood him in good stead, for he escaped from the wreck almost uninjured.


_From a Photograph._]

It might be supposed that nearly all the men on the ill-fated craft were
killed; but, remarkable to relate, not one lost his life. Morrell himself
sustained severe lacerations, and had both his legs broken by one of the
propellers; Penfold, the persistent, had his right ankle and left instep
broken; Rogers, an assistant engineer, suffered a broken right ankle; and
another engineer met with broken ribs and ankles. Others were bruised or
rendered unconscious by the gas.

Morrell ascribed the disaster to the fact that he was forced by impatient
stockholders in the National Airship Company to make the attempted flight
before he had worked out certain details of the vessel’s construction
thoroughly. It is believed by those who saw the luckless craft that it was
constructed flimsily of poor materials and not inflated sufficiently. The
ill-starred aeronautic adventure not only cost many broken bones, but some
forty thousand dollars (more than eight thousand pounds) in money.

It would naturally be supposed that so complete and disastrous a failure,
after the expenditure of so large a sum of money, would have destroyed all
confidence in Morrell as a designer of airships, and would have put him
out of the business of aerial navigation for all time. But it was not so;
the enthusiast still asserts that he has discovered the true principle of
the navigation of the air, and that the National Airship Company is ready
to proceed with the construction of another craft, much larger and
costlier than the first one.

The new airship is to be seven hundred and fifty feet long and forty feet
in diameter, equipped with eight gasolene engines, developing nearly three
hundred and fifty horse-power and operating sixteen propellers. The inside
bag will be of light silk and the outside bag of heavy silk interwoven
with a material known as “flexible aluminium,” of which Morrell possesses
the secret. The new balloon is to have more than a hundred compartments,
many of which might be broken without disturbing the buoyancy or
equilibrium of the vessel.

A rigid platform is to be substituted for the canvas and netting cage in
which the unfortunate participants in the attempted ascent of the “Ariel”
rode. The new vessel is to cost one hundred thousand dollars (more than
twenty thousand pounds), and to be capable, if the inventor is to be
believed, of a speed of a hundred miles an hour. The really marvellous
things about the whole business are the unquenchable enthusiasm of the
inventor and the unfailing credulity of those who believe in him.



    The story of the most disastrous voyage in the annals of the United
    States transport service. The steamship “Siam” left San Francisco
    with a cargo of three hundred and seventy three picked army horses
    and mules, destined for “the front” in the Philippines. She landed
    two mules alive at Manila. In this narrative Mr. Taylor, who was a
    passenger on the ill-fated vessel, tells what became of the

When the Japanese Government recently offered for sale the former Austrian
steamship _Siam_, a prize of the late war, there was concluded one of the
most remarkable romances of the United States army transport service. Four
flags have so far flown over this steamer, but her career is not likely to
conclude under the ensign of the Land of the Chrysanthemum.

Christened on the banks of the Clyde in the early ’nineties as the British
tramp steamer _Resolve_, the vessel later passed into the hands of an
Austrian corporation at Fiume, and was renamed the _Siam_. Fate and
charterers sent her to the Pacific Ocean in the second year of the
Filipino insurrection, and she was chartered by an American firm of San
Francisco, and entered the coal trade between Nanaimo and the Bay City.

In the summer of 1899 the United States War Department assembled at
Jefferson City, Missouri, one of the finest trains of experienced army
mules and horses ever organised for foreign service. From Cuba, from the
northern borders of the United States, from frontier army posts, and, in
fact, from every part of the United States where the quartermaster’s
insignia were in evidence, these animals were brought to the common
rendezvous in Missouri. They were the pick of the army--staid old mules
and horses that had been in the service for years, and knew almost as much
of military discipline as the men in blue. Their transhipment to the
Presidio at San Francisco followed in July, and then the War Department
cast about for a vessel in which to ship them to Manila, where General
Otis was even then delaying important army movements in order that these
animals might accompany the troops to “the front.”


_From a Photograph._]

The _Siam_ had just returned from Nanaimo with a cargo of coal. She was a
fine, big, ten-knot boat, with Austrian officers and sailors. The War
Department decided, although she flew the flag of the Emperor Joseph, that
she was just the vessel needed. Early in August, after several weeks of
hammering, sawing, and building of superstructures, three hundred and
seventy-three horses and mules were sent aboard and placed in separate
stalls for the long voyage to Manila. The loading of the animal cargo was
a matter of much concern to the War Department, with the result that
almost the pick of the packers and teamsters of the army--fifty-six in
all--were chosen for the voyage.

In command of these rough-and-ready plainsmen was Captain J. P. O’Neil,
25th Infantry, United States Army. Captain O’Neil was just the sort of man
to deal with the cowboys--no army dandy, but a true-blue soldier, and the
men admired and loved him.

Among the horses was the thoroughbred presented to General “Joe” Wheeler,
United States Army, by the citizens of Alabama after his return from the
Cuban campaign. “Beauty” he was called by the men, and he was given a
place of honour near the officers’ cabin. Yet another splendid animal was
the horse belonging to Miss Wheeler, daughter of the General, who was then
an army nurse in the Philippines.

The officers and crew were all Austrians, with the exception of two
engineers. The commander was Captain Sennen Raicich, sailor, gentleman,
and postage-stamp connoisseur. His hobby was rare stamps, and his cabin
was filled with cases containing valuable specimens. Every day he went
over his collection, labelling, classifying, and docketing the new ones
which he had purchased at the last port. The collection was valued at
about twelve thousand dollars, and was insured. Messrs. Xigga and
Stepanovich were his two officers. Captain, mates, and crew all hailed
from the section of Austria nearest Fiume.

Ten days after leaving San Francisco the _Siam_ reached Honolulu, and the
horses and mules were taken ashore and sent to the Government corrals,
where they recuperated for two days. During this time Captain O’Neil spent
much time considering the arrangement of the stalls. These were arranged
along the main deck and in the first hold below. Over the exposed portions
of the main deck superstructures had been raised to protect the animals
from the elements. The forward deck was loaded with hay and grain for use
during the voyage, while between decks was a stock of forage. Over the
officers’ section a deck-house was built, and used as a sleeping-place for
the cowboys.

The Honolulans took great interest in the horses, and hundreds examined
the stalls, which were arranged along the sides of the steamer, the
animals facing inward. Small chains hasped to the supports on either side
led to the rings of the halters. Cleats were nailed to the flooring to
give the animals a footing during storms. The leisure time of the cowboys
was spent in making canvas “slings,” intended to be placed beneath the
bellies of the animals during bad weather, the ends fastened to rings in
the deck above, to assist the animals in keeping on their feet should the
vessel roll awkwardly. The transport service had much to learn, and the
use of slings was a costly lesson.

For several days the voyage toward the Philippines was delightful.
Half-cloudy days and trade winds maintained an even temperature throughout
the ship. Officers, crew, cowboys, the few passengers, and the animals
were on the best of terms. Captain O’Neil cheerfully looked forward to the
day when the _Siam_ should steam into Manila Bay and he could report the
voyage successfully ended and without the loss of an animal. Captain
O’Neil’s enthusiasm was communicated to the cowboys, and they resolved to
make a reputation for the voyage and land their animals safe and sound.
Alas for human hopes! That voyage was to prove the most disastrous in the
annals of the American transport service.


_From a Photograph._]

On the morning of September 17th came a change in the direction of the
wind. The officers consulted the barometer, and the land-lubbers, taking
amateurist observations of their own, saw that it was falling. Then came a
few gusts, the sky changed, and in a little while a terrific storm burst
over the steamer. The vessel rolled, and the horses, unused to such a
motion, had difficulty in retaining their feet. Clouds of spray dashed
over the bridge and tons of water broke upon the decks. The stalls were
flooded and became slippery, and the animals frequently fell. Sometimes a
lurch threw at least fifty from their feet. Instantly there was a
struggling, kicking mass of horse and mule flesh on the decks. The
cowboys, although experiencing the first real nausea during the voyage,
bravely went among the helpless brutes and assisted them to their feet.
For two days and nights this went on, and few men were able to sleep.
Finally things got so bad that Captain O’Neil sent a written request to
Captain Raicich to change the course of the vessel to any direction that
would give the least motion to the ship.

Those who have never been to sea may not know the danger of putting a
vessel about in a sea which is piling up angrily from every direction. The
order was sent through the ship that she was to go about, and everyone
clung to a support during the manœuvre. Gradually the vessel answered her
helm; the roaring wind beat against her hull, heeling her far over, until
the landsmen clung desperately to anything handy to prevent them sliding
into the boiling sea. At length the manœuvre was safely executed, and all
hands breathed a sigh of relief. The vessel scudded before the wind,
riding more easily, though she was going far out of her course.


When the sun broke through the clouds a tropical-looking island loomed up
on the horizon, which proved to be the island of Saipan, of the Ladrones
group, just to the north of Guam. Whether it was inhabited those aboard
did not know, for there was not on the ship a chart or book bearing upon
the island. A mysterious column of smoke shot up from a grove of trees as
the vessel passed by, followed by a second and a third. A “council of war”
was held. Were the mysterious smoke signals sent up by shipwrecked sailors
or by natives with questionable intentions? Captain Raicich cut the
Gordian knot with the statement that the _Siam_ was under contract to the
United States Government at six hundred dollars a day, and as considerable
time had already been lost he could not for a moment think of detaining
the vessel while an investigating committee went ashore.

After that storm the ship was a hospital, for two hundred and thirty-three
horses and mules were more or less injured, and every man devoted his
whole time to caring for them. Strange to say, many of the cowboys and
mules had been associated for years in Government work, and they were
therefore old friends, and the men were sympathetic veterinarian nurses.
Six animals died of their injuries.

That storm was a heartrending set-back to the ambitions of Captain O’Neil.
However, he made the best of the experience by preparing for similar
episodes. One day the engines gave out, and the vessel lay to for several
hours while the engineers and firemen worked like Trojans to repair the
damage. At first it was decided that the vessel, being then near the
Philippines, could make port with the one uninjured engine, but it was
finally decided that it would be best to repair the damage at sea. It was
well that this decision was arrived at, otherwise the _Siam_ would never
have reached port.

On September 29th the steamer was close to Cape Engano, on the northern
coast of the island of Luzon. On the morning of September 30th the sky
became overcast, the wind freshened, and the barometer fell. In the
afternoon there was a peculiar glow in the clouds, which behaved most
curiously; they seemed caught in currents of wind and were stretched out
across the heavens in orderly lines, parallel with the horizon. To the
landsmen none of the signs were ominous, but the ship’s officers sent
orders quietly among the crew.


_From a Photo. by Antonio Funk._]

A passenger, going into the chart-room, from which an officer had made a
hurried exit, saw a book on navigation lying there. It was open at a
chapter on typhoons, and there were under-scorings where “China Sea,” “The
Philippines,” “Yellow Sea,” etc., occurred in the text. The passenger
looked at the barometer again, saw that it had fallen, and began to
understand. There was an ominous silence throughout the vessel, and a
peculiar stagnant feeling impregnated the air. The growing sense of menace
affected every living thing aboard; the plainsmen had long since stopped
chaffing and the animals stamped uneasily.

Meanwhile the crew were very busy. Canvas shields were taken in, rigging
was examined, and the captain went below to the engine-room and consulted
with the engineers.

Evening came on, the sea began to stir, and the crests of little waves
broke sharply. The _Siam_ was now in sight of the northernmost portion of
Luzon, and as Cape Engano was approached she was slowed down, but the
captain and officers looked in vain for the lighthouse on the cape. At ten
o’clock the commander changed the course of the vessel from west to north,
thereby keeping out of the channel above the cape, for he would not risk
entering the waterway without first picking up the light.

It was well that he formed this decision, for at eleven o’clock the
heavens and the sea seemed to meet in a mighty clash. There was one mighty
reverberating roar, the steamer heeled over, the wind howled through the
rigging, and the stern, lifting high out of the water, permitted the
propeller to race, shaking the vessel from stem to stern. The gong and
bells rang sharply in the engine-room, the propeller stopped racing,
stopped altogether, spun again. The tramping of feet sounded along the
decks; orders were shouted from the bridge in Austrian. The cowboys
gathered on the main deck and waited anxiously--for what, they did not
know. Then the passenger transmitted the knowledge of the open book in the
chart-room to the landsmen. A typhoon was on, perhaps, he suggested.
“Typhoon” in the China Sea, “hurricane” in the Atlantic, “pampero” off the
South American coast, “cyclone” on land--all mean much the same thing. The
most terrifying storm a vessel could encounter held the _Siam_ in its
mighty grip.

Then, almost without warning, a demoniacal sea and a fearful wind, with
legions of horrible, never-to-be-forgotten night terrors, appeared to leap
upon the ship from the darkness.

A sickening dread crept into my heart. In fifteen minutes the whole fury
of the typhoon was upon us. It was almost midnight of September 30th when
we realized, by a glance at the captain’s face as he rushed into the
chart-room, that a battle for our lives was upon us. It was human science
matched against the ungovernable fury of the elements. Which would win?

I made my way to the bridge, clinging now to a rope, and now down upon my
knees with my arms around a stanchion. By main force I held on to the
wheel-house, where the captain and his two mates directed the course of
the stricken ship. Their faces were set with grim determination, their
eyes staring fiercely now at the compass and then at the boiling seas,
which pitched and rolled us about like a paper box. The wheel flew round
from side to side. One end of the bridge rose and towered above me until I
leaned over almost upright against the ascending deck, and as suddenly it
fell until it seemed to plough the water. The wind, blowing at eighty
miles an hour, tore canvas and rigging to shreds.

Suddenly the bow lifted high upon a monster wave. Higher, higher, higher
it rose, while the stern sank down into a yawning chasm. Simultaneously a
huge wave struck us abeam. Down came the bow, and over heeled the steamer
upon her side. From below came the nerve-racking bellowing and screaming
of the terrified animals as they strove madly to keep their feet. Hoarse
shouts came up from the lower decks, where the cowboys were endeavouring
to help their charges. Now and then there was a crash as an animal was
flung bodily out of its stall across the deck, where it smashed stalls and
set other animals loose. Each time the ship rolled I set my teeth, for
each swing seemed about to plunge us into the boiling black abyss below.
Often my heart seemed to stand still, and I waited for the moment when our
devoted band would be hurled into eternity.

Presently half-a-dozen of us descended to the stokehold in order to send
ashes up to the deck to be spread under the hoofs of the struggling
animals. Out of that stifling hole bucketful after bucketful was hoisted
until the deck was strewn with _débris_. But the heat of the stokehold and
the unusual labour caused the amateur stokers to sicken, and, exhausted
and nauseated, we climbed to the deck again and lay there gasping.

With morning the storm grew worse. At nine o’clock Captain Raicich
determined to heave the ship to, but the plan had to be abandoned, owing
to stress of weather. The steamer was compelled to head directly into the
wind, which eddied in dizzy concentric circles around a larger
circumference. My diary contains the following notes jotted down on the
afternoon of October 1st, written mainly in shorthand while I lay ill in
my bunk:--

“Good heavens! Another such day and night as we have been having and I
believe I shall become insane. Buffeted and tossed about like a feather,
careening, rolling, and pitching, the _Siam_ seems ready to take her final
plunge. Just now a great wave lifted the bow until it seemed the vessel
would stand straight upon her stern; the stern went down and threw us up
again with a terrific lift. A wave strikes the bow and races the full
length of the vessel, tearing everything loose it can rip from its
fastenings. It is sickening. I am writing this in the very midst, the
centre, of the worst kind of storm one can encounter at sea. The men are
shouting and cursing, the animals pawing and uttering plaintive sounds.

“We don’t know where we are. We know we are heading north-east to get away
from ragged reefs which lie to the north of Luzon. We are steaming
directly in the face of the typhoon and make no progress. The barometer
has fallen twelve points since noon. May Heaven have mercy on us!

“7 a.m., October 2nd.--What terrible sights I have witnessed during this
awful time! The storm increased every hour of the night, the barometer
going down from 82 to 30, disclosing the fact that we were heading
directly toward the centre of the typhoon. We have rolled so heavily that
the rail goes under at each dip. The men remained at their posts in the
stable division, striving to keep the animals from plunging out of their
stalls from sheer terror. Suddenly a mule falls. Men hurry to raise it. A
return lurch, and down go a score--a mass of maddened, screaming brutes.
From every part of the ship whistle-signals are heard calling for help.
None can be offered, and there the poor beasts lie piled up on each other,
sliding upon their sides and backs from one side of the ship to the other,
tearing strips of flesh from their bodies, causing them to groan piteously
in their helplessness. The ship is tossed every way, up and down, side to
side. Heavy seas break across the decks.

“Crash! There goes the cowboys’ bunk-house on the poop deck. It is
flooded, and the men’s belongings are sweeping into the sea. The water is
pouring down into our cabins. Destruction everywhere. Another crash--the
rending of timbers in the stable sections. I hear the men shouting
warnings and hear their feet tramping across the decks. The stalls have
given way entirely. Horses are plunging through the hatchways into the
lower stable divisions. A thud, a groan, and they are dead. The rest are
piled up in sickening, agonizing masses, rolling, snorting, kicking, and
endeavouring to get upon their feet. No man dare move from his
holding-place. One has to stand almost upon the cabin wall to keep erect.

“There they lie, all our pets, the captain’s thoroughbred, General
Wheeler’s own charger. There are twenty horses dead in one heap. A mule
has plunged right down into the engine-room, breaking its legs. It lay
there for two hours before Captain O’Neil could shoot the suffering beast.
The engineers crawled over the carcass as they stood at the throttles to
ease the engines down as the propeller races.

“The terrific battle of the elements outside beggars any description from
me. Intensify any storm you have experienced on land a couple of thousand
times, add all the terrors that darkness can furnish, add the thoughts of
terrible death staring you in the face every minute, with the sights and
sounds of Dante’s Inferno, and then perhaps you can gain some idea of our


“At daylight the seas swept across and filled up our decks. Then it was
that Spartan measures had to be taken. The hatches were ordered to be
battened down, thus confining in a death-trap nearly two hundred mules. We
knew it meant death by suffocation to those that were still living, but
our own lives were at stake, and to save our own the animals must be

“I am now writing in the chart-room. If we sink, I don’t want to be
caught like a rat down in my cabin, although there will be no chance for
life in any case if we go down.

“To make our terror worse the Austrian firemen have mutinied. They heard
that the captain had given up the ship. They were right, for he told us to
prepare for the worst. Think of knowing that we have got to drown! Our
boats are all smashed and hanging in bits at the davits. The firemen
tumbled up on the deck looking like demons from the underworld. Then
Captain O’Neil showed his true nature. He became the hard, steel-like
soldier. He sternly ordered them below, but the men did not move. The
cowboys knew instinctively that without steam to turn the engines we must
surely founder. Two of the cowboys seized the ringleader, and, placing the
ends of a lasso about his wrists and thumbs, started to draw the rope over
a guy wire, threatening to string him up by the thumbs. Captain O’Neil had
turned away when these men took the prisoner in charge. Immediately the
frightened crew turned and fled down to the stokehold.

“Who can blame the poor beggars? Life is as sweet to them as to us. Two
hours later they came up again, but the display of an army revolver in
Captain O’Neil’s hand caused them to retreat.

“The chief engineer, an Englishman, has gone insane. Thirty-three years at
sea, and now he has gone to pieces! The terror of the long vigils at the
throttle unnerved him. I passed him a little while ago; he was sitting in
his cabin wailing piteously, his face blanched with terror. The little
Scotch second engineer has been on duty almost every hour since the night
of the 30th. His whole back was scalded by steam. Dr. Calkins bound it up
in cotton and oil, and he is working as if nothing had happened, brave
little fellow.

“6 a.m., Tuesday morning, October 3rd.--Another chapter in my experience
of Hades. No one is on duty except the ship’s officers. It is a ship of
the dead. I have just taken a look down the upper stable division, and the
sight sickened me. The poor brutes of horses and mules, mangled and torn,
lay in heaps, the live ones trying to extricate themselves from the dead.

“At last the typhoon has spent itself, and by to-morrow morning we shall
probably be able to get back on our course and make a fresh start for
Manila. Nearly all the horses and about two hundred mules are wounded as
far as we can ascertain. Soon the hatches will be taken off, and we can
learn the horrible truth.

“October 4th.--All morning long the dead animals have been hoisted out and
thrown overboard. How horrible it all is! The men working in the lower
holds are overpowered and compelled to come up on deck every few minutes.
We have three steam-winches going. We found only one live mule in the
lower hold. Captain O’Neil has been shooting most of the live animals, for
they are beyond hope in their terrible condition.

“Captain Raicich told me to-day that for four hours yesterday he did not
know whether the ship would pull through. The _Siam_ got into the trough
and could not be steered. He said he was prepared then for death. He said
he has never before experienced such a terrible storm. We don’t know just
where we are yet, as we can take no observations.

“What a terrible change in Captain Raicich’s appearance! He never left the
bridge for three days and nights. He, as well as the two men at the wheel,
were lashed to stanchions. He wore two oil ‘slickors,’ but they are in
ribbons, and the tar from them has sunk into his hair and beard and deep
into his skin. He is dirty and wretched-looking. His cheeks are sunken and
there is an almost insane glare in his eyes. He looks like a wreck, but in
spite of his terrible ordeal he is as decisive in manner as before. Poor
fellow, he hardly ate anything during the whole of the typhoon. He saved
our lives.

“We have just located our position. We are a hundred miles north of Luzon,
and close by are the dreaded coral-teeth we tried to avoid.

“October 5th.--We are now nearing Manila Bay and have cleared up the
vessel fairly well and thrown most of the carcasses overboard. The ship is
a wreck; everything seems to have been twisted, broken, torn, or damaged
in some way. Up to last night we got overboard three hundred and
fifty-five carcasses. This morning four more were found dead and two
others had to be shot. We now have only twelve animals left, some of which
we may land at Manila alive. This is all we have left out of three hundred
and seventy-three. Dozens of sharks follow in the wake of the vessel. The
_Siam’s_ expedition has been the most disastrous in the transport

As a matter of fact, the _Siam_ actually landed only two animals at
Manila. They were little Spanish mules which had been thrown into the
coal-hold and, strange to say, had not a scratch upon them. They were and
are still known in and about Manila as the “Million-Dollar Beauties” of
the quartermaster’s department.


I accompanied Captain O’Neil to General Otis’s head-quarters in the
ancient Spanish palace in old Manila. When informed of the disaster the
General was greatly grieved, and remarked that it would have a serious
effect on the plans he had made. Captain O’Neil then presented him with
the following report of the voyage, which, although an official document,
contains much of the romance connected with the disastrous expedition:--

                                         UNITED STATES TRANSPORT “SIAM.”

    Adjutant-General Eighth Army Corps, Manila, P.I.

    SIR,--I have the honour to report my arrival with the steamship
    _Siam_, chartered as a United States animal transport. I left San
    Francisco, California, on the night of the 19th of August with three
    hundred and seventy-three animals aboard. We experienced ordinary
    weather, and arrived in Honolulu, H.I., August 29th, leaving there
    September 6th.

    After leaving Honolulu, and until the 17th of September, we had
    fairly good weather, and up to this date (a month away from San
    Francisco) all the animals were in perfect condition. The duties of
    horse veterinary and nurses were then sinecures. On the morning of
    the 17th a heavy swell from E.N.E. and N.N.E. struck the ship and
    made her roll considerably. This swell continued. The next day,
    Monday, the 18th, the wind rose from S.S.E., and continued to
    increase in force until it became a gale, blowing from S. and
    S.S.E., with a big swell from S.S.W. and S.E. This rough sea was
    extremely trying on the animals; as many as fifty would be thrown
    from their feet at the same time, and for forty-eight hours I was
    not able to spare a moment for sleep, and the greatest rest that any
    man of my detachment had was six hours. I, at this time, sent a
    written order to the captain of the ship to change the course of the
    vessel to any direction that would give her the least roll.
    According to this order, he changed the course to S.E. We were
    driven several hundred miles out of our course. Wednesday morning
    the wind abated; we were able to resume our course, and passed the
    Ladrones, north of Saipan. Wednesday morning the storm began to
    abate; Wednesday evening and night we were busy caring for the
    injured and taking stock of our animals. I found two hundred and
    thirty-three animals injured more or less severely; of these, six
    (6) died. The greatest care was given to the injured, and they all
    pulled through remarkably well.

    Everything ran smoothly, fair winds and fair seas, until Saturday
    night, September 30th. We arrived at the head of the island of Luzon
    (Cape Engano). It was after dark--there was no light--the weather
    looked threatening. The captain and I discussed the matter and
    finally decided that it was not safe to try and go through this
    passage on a stormy night without being able to locate any
    landmarks. The captain was directed to cruise outside until
    daylight. About twelve o’clock that night the wind started blowing
    from N.N.W., gradually increasing into a gale; the vessel was headed
    into the wind and sea and rode very smoothly until Sunday morning,
    October 1st, when the wind began to shift, increasing in force, and
    for the next two days continued changing direction. Until the storm
    abated Tuesday morning, the wind was blowing from the S.E. The sea
    raised by this circular wind was tremendous. From Saturday night at
    twelve o’clock, for fifty-six hours, every man on board the vessel
    worked like a Trojan. Animals were continually being thrown from
    their feet, and the men worked getting them to their proper places.
    As the storm increased, so increased the labour--the men, almost
    exhausted, continuing their task. I cannot give them too much praise
    for their utter disregard of danger, and the heroism they displayed
    in trying to save their charges.

    Monday morning, October 2nd, at five o’clock, the captain of the
    ship gave orders to close the hatches to save the ship, and just
    then a tremendous sea swept over the vessel, throwing from their
    feet every animal on the port side of the ship and most of the
    animals on the starboard side; the vessel continued to do sharp
    rolling, so that these animals would shoot from one side of the deck
    to the other. It was absolutely impossible to do anything for them;
    some men had been injured, and I gave up the fight. I ordered every
    man to a place of safety in the forecastle, cabins, and chart-room,
    and we were forced to let the animals stay where they were.

    Three hundred and sixty odd animals shifted from side to side of the
    vessel, and it became too great a risk to make men face it when
    nothing could be accomplished. When I knew the captain had ordered
    the hatches closed (which I felt meant suffocation for those animals
    still alive in the holds), I knew he would not take this step if
    ingenuity or human skill could possibly avoid the danger. For a few
    hours I had no confidence in or hope of saving even the vessel. The
    wind was so strong that she was perfectly helpless; she would not
    mind her helm though going at forced speed, but had to drift
    helplessly in the direction the wind drove her.

    As soon as it was possible to go upon deck, every effort was made to
    rescue those animals still living. A few that were fortunately
    thrown on top of the heap of mangled horses and mules were brought
    out. Many died from their injuries. Six were saved, but I doubt if
    they will be of any service for a long time to come.

    It is my opinion, and also the opinion of everyone on board this
    vessel, that had the weather continued as fair as it was up to
    September 17th, the ship would have arrived in the port of Manila
    without the loss of a single animal. As it was, every animal that
    died on this trip did so from the effect of the storms encountered.

    A detailed report and copy of the orders on which this vessel was
    run, and such suggestions as I have been able to make from the
    experience I had in these two storms, accompany this report.

             I have the honour to remain,

                           Yours respectfully,

                                            (Signed) J. P. O’NEIL.
                                        Capt. 25th Infty., A.Q.M., U.S.A.

    (Dated) Manila Bay, P.I., October 6th, 1899.


Major J. P. O’Neill, 30th Infantry, who was army quartermaster on the
transport Siam in the latter part of 1899, is a passenger aboard the
transport Sherman. Major O’Neill ran across Chief of Detectives Tailor
yesterday, both having been aboard the Siam on her memorable trip to
Manila in October, 1899, when 370 out of the 373 horses and mules
aboard were killed during a four days’ typhoon off the coast of Luzon.
That trip of the Siam was the most disastrous in the transport service
history and the vessel barely weathered the storm. On that trip Captain
O’Neill was called upon to put down two mutinies among the Austrian fire
crew, and at one time he threatened to string up the ringleader by the
thumbs. The English Chief Engineer became unbalanced during the storm
and had to be placed in irons by O’Neill. The Siam arrived at Manila a
perfect charnelship. During the Japan-Russo war the Siam was captured by
the Japanese while carrying coal to Vladivostok and was sold back to the
Austrian company through the prize court.]

A State Trial in Montenegro


    The recent State trial for high treason at Cetinje was a most
    sensational affair, the prisoners--many of them ex-Ministers and
    politicians of high rank being accused of a conspiracy to destroy
    the Montenegrin Royal Family root and branch. Mrs. Vivian was the
    only woman present, and her photographs were the only ones taken.
    Her description of the trial, with its picturesque environment and
    mediæval atmosphere, will be found extremely interesting.

I feel quite spoilt for home-made pageants or foreign processions after
assisting at the sensational State trial for high treason in Montenegro--a
sight which transports one at once into mediæval times again. The ordinary
person may imagine that it is quite an everyday affair, and that
conspirators grow like blackberries on the hedges of Montenegro, but then
the ordinary person knows little about foreign lands apart from Norway,
Switzerland, or Italy, and less than nothing about the Near East. When I
was in Montenegro my family was besieged with inquiries after my safety
and hopes that I might escape unhurt from the brigands and bandits who
must infest the Black Mountains; whereas in Montenegro the remark that
greeted me was that it was very brave of me to pass through so many lands
on the way to the principality, but that now I was there all was well.

I think it is time, therefore, to explain that the trial, far from being
an everyday affair, was something unheard-of in a land where everyone,
though, of course, warring against the fiery Albanian and enjoying a
certain amount of friendly sparring with neighbours, adores his beloved
Prince and looks on him as chieftain, father, and general Providence all
rolled into one.


_From a Photograph._]

Indeed, Prince Nicholas must be counted among the lucky ones of this
earth. He has not only been blessed with talents and tact above those
bestowed on the ordinary man, but he has also been watched over by the
gods and allotted more luck than falls to the lot of most mortals. Like
King Edward, he is popular wherever he goes, and he has a genius for
statecraft. When he came to the throne forty years ago Montenegro was
absolutely unknown; probably barely one in a hundred of educated people
knew that such a place was to be found in the atlas. During those forty
years the Prince has fought successful wars against the Turk, more than
doubled his territory, married his daughters to some of the greatest
_partis_ in Europe, and made the name Montenegro a household word for
valiant men and deeds of daring.

But Prince Nicholas, unluckily for himself, married his eldest daughter to
a certain Prince Peter Karageorgevitch. This lady died many years ago, and
in the course of time Prince Peter was called from his haunts in
Switzerland to take the Crown of Servia from the hands of the regicides.
Whether he knew anything of their evil plans beforehand need not be
discussed here; but, at any rate, ever since the day he entered Belgrade
he has been their tool, and as wax in the hands of the ringleaders.
Nevertheless, people were astonished when it was discovered last October
that bombs were being smuggled over the Turkish frontier, coming from
Servia. A plot was discovered to blow up the whole of the Montenegrin
Royal House--not only the Prince and his two sons, but the Princess and
her two daughters, her daughters-in-law, and even the poor little
grandchildren, so that the entire family might be exterminated root and


_From a Photograph._]

The affair was engineered in Belgrade, and the bombs were manufactured by
a Servian officer at the State Arsenal of Kragujevats. It was also
rumoured by those who might be expected to know that the dreams of the
blood-stained authorities in Belgrade are to unite Montenegro, a Slav
nation speaking the Servian language, with Servia, and the idea was that
if there were no member of the House of Petrovitch left alive the throne
might possibly fall to the share of a Prince Karageorgevitch, one of the
sons of Prince Nicholas’s eldest daughter.

The Crown Prince George of Servia is not exactly one’s ideal of a model
ruler. This young gentleman, whose hobby is said to be to bury cats in the
ground up to their necks and then stamp them to death, is more one’s idea
of a youthful Nero or Caligula, and Heaven help the nation delivered over
to his tender mercies. Before the trial, however, rumours were all that
one heard; so everyone was on tiptoe with expectation, wondering what
sensational revelations would come to light.

By great good luck we happened to arrive in Montenegro just a week before
the trial began. We steamed in one of the excellent boats of the Austrian
Lloyd past the grey mountains of Istria and through the wonderful fjords
of the Bocche di Cattaro till we cast anchor under the peak of Lovcen. In
a victoria drawn by two tough little Dalmatian horses we climbed the
mountain side in zigzags, persevering up the vast rocky wall till we found
ourselves some four thousand feet above the sea below. I have neither time
nor words to describe the view, a task which needs the pen of a poet like
Prince Nicholas himself, but must dash on, like our game little horses, to
Cetinje, down the steep sides of silver mountains, which gleam in the
tropical sun without a vestige of green to relieve their Quaker-like hues.


_From a Photograph._]

As a town Cetinje is not thrilling, but it lies in a lovely neighbourhood
and is peopled with perhaps the most picturesque race in the world. For
the Montenegrins are not only the most magnificent specimens of humanity
in point of size, clad in gorgeous raiment which, I feel sure, Solomon in
all his glory could not have beaten, but they have behind them a past
which can scarcely be beaten by any fighting race on earth.

Some five hundred years ago the Turks defeated all South-Eastern Europe in
the Battle of Kossovo, and Servia and Bulgaria entirely, and Roumania to a
certain extent, fell under the sway of the Ottomans. Then, the story goes,
the bravest and the noblest of those lands, disdaining to live beneath the
banner of the Crescent, withdrew to the eyries of the Black Mountains,
where, thanks partly to their valour and partly to the favourable position
of the land (which is a natural fortress), they defied the Turks. They
never intermarried with the inferior races, and so have preserved the
magnificent physique and extraordinary distinction of bearing which
strikes every stranger who visits Tsernagora. Indeed, if it comes to a
question as to who should be the dominant race in Servia and Montenegro,
it seems more fit that Servia should be taken under the wing of a race
which has done deeds all these centuries instead of merely talking.

We found at the hotel that half the newspapers of the Near East and Vienna
were sending correspondents, and we therefore felt ourselves lucky in
getting a room in the front looking down the main street, where everything
in Cetinje happens, and where, towards sundown, when the siesta is over
and the air becomes cool and pleasant, you may find anyone you want to
see. Half-way down we saw a crowd of people in national costume (for in
Cetinje, thanks to the Prince’s influence, it is universally worn)
standing outside a house. “They are waiting to try and get a seat in court
to-morrow,” I was told, “but only a score or so will succeed, for there
are thirty-two prisoners, each one guarded by a soldier, besides all these
journalists to be made room for.”

Through the good offices of the Prince’s secretary, to whom His Highness
had confided us, we were provided with tickets, which was lucky for us,
for when we arrived within sight of the court-house we found a cordon of
soldiers guarding it. We were stopped and our passes examined before we
were allowed to proceed. When we reached our destination, a long, low,
grey stone building with the Montenegrin two-headed eagle over the door,
an officer took us in hand and led us with ceremony to our places. I
looked round me with great satisfaction from my red velvet arm-chair in
the ranks of the Diplomatic Corps. Not only was I the only English person
there save one, but I was the only woman in the whole place.

It was the most thrilling trial I have ever witnessed. At the top of the
room, behind a long table beneath the picture of Prince Nicholas, sat the
nine judges, all save one in the most gorgeous national costume: long
coats of pale green cloth, heavily braided, with waistcoats of vivid
carnation red, crossing over to one side and covered with beautiful gold
embroidery. Baggy breeches of ultramarine blue and smart top-boots
continued the gay effect, which was completed by a bulky sash of striped
and gold silk wound round the waist, and containing an assortment of
daggers and revolvers; for a good Montenegrin would as soon think of
coming out without them as an Englishman without his collar.

In the middle sat the President, a person of extreme distinction and great
dignity, who conducted the proceedings in an irreproachable manner. A
small table stood before him, on which a pair of high tapers were placed,
and between them was a copy of the Gospels, bound in red velvet and gold
metal-work, and a crucifix. On his left hand sat a Mohammedan judge, with
red Turkish fez and simpler costume than that of the Montenegrins; and on
his right the bombs were all set out on a little table as evidence,
guarded by an immense soldier about six-foot-six in height and of a
forbidding aspect. It gave one a certain creepy sensation to see, only a
few feet away, enough of these infernal machines to send the whole of the
court-house into the clouds, and to know that close by were thirty-two
desperate men who would stick at no kind of devilry. The bombs were little
square flasks of grey metal with screw tops, almost like the fittings of a
common dressing-bag or luncheon hamper, and certainly did not betray by
their appearance what terrible things they really were. For these
particular bombs were manufactured in a very ingenious fashion, and were
enough to make an Anarchist tear his hair with envy. At the foot of the
table was the black bag in which the infernal machines had been smuggled
over the frontier.

A story is told of the conspirator’s journey which brings a touch of
comedy into the affair. When he passed through Austria he had the bag
registered as luggage, for it was so heavy that he feared it might attract
attention if placed in the rack. A mistake was made by the clerk and he
was overcharged. The honest official discovered his mistake directly the
train started, and telegraphed off to the junction to describe the man,
giving orders that the money should be refunded. At the junction the
conspirator was found, and the station-master came up to him to inquire if
he had not registered a black bag. Overcome with terror and dismay, and
thinking he was discovered, the man seized the bag and bolted, leaving the
official greatly perturbed and convinced that he had to do with a madman.

The court-house itself was long, low, and white, with a blue ceiling and a
boarded floor. A long table ran half-way down either side of the hall to
accommodate the journalists, and half-a-dozen arm-chairs were arranged in
a good position for the diplomatists. These were almost empty on the first
day, and my next-door neighbour, a polite young Turkish attaché,
considerately moved out of the way whenever he saw that I was trying to
take a photograph. And, indeed, it was not the easiest task in the world
to get pictures of the proceedings. The prisoners were a restless set of
people, who fidgeted, sprang constantly to their feet, and interrupted the
speakers in a very tantalizing way. As there was not very much light a
fairly long exposure had to be given, and there were difficulties in
propping the camera up satisfactorily and also in disguising my intentions
as much as possible. However, I had the satisfaction of knowing that mine
were the only photographs taken, for the local photographer who had been
commissioned by the authorities to take some pictures declined to try,
owing to the obstacles.

The thirty-two prisoners, guarded by soldiers on either side, occupied
benches all down the centre of the hall. Some of them were in European
dress, thus differing from the majority of Montenegrins. Amongst them were
all sorts and conditions of men, from peasants to ex-Ministers of the
Crown. It is not often one finds a former Prime Minister, four
ex-Ministers, three high State officials, and several Deputies all in one
trial for high treason. As a rule, the accused were puny, furtive-looking
striplings, a contrast to their stalwart compatriots; but their
imprisonment of several months may have had something to do with this.
Many were students who had gone to Belgrade to complete their studies and
had there imbibed Anarchistic and revolutionary principles. The judge
showed great tact and firmness in dealing with them.


_From a Photograph._]

As the long indictment which contained all the particulars of the plot was
being read out by the counsel for the Crown--a handsome man in full
Montenegrin costume--first one prisoner and then another started from his
seat, rudely interrupting and violently contradicting. A clamour then
arose from the whole thirty-two. The judge expostulated, begged them to be
reasonable, and finally touched a silver hand-bell. The soldiers pulled
them down to their seats again, but seemed as gentle in their methods as
policemen with Suffragettes. As names were mentioned now and again in the
indictment, exclamations of derision and protest were heard from the
prisoners. They next complained bitterly that they had no note-books or
pencils with which to take down the points and prepare their defence,
whereupon the President ordered that paper and pencils should be brought
to them at once. The indictment was long, and it finally asked for the
death penalty as punishment. At this loud clamours arose, and the
excitement grew so intense that a nervous feeling communicated itself to
the public. The President by this time despaired of keeping order, and
directed that the prisoners should be taken back to their prisons. One
alone remained, Raikovitch, the man who brought the bombs into Montenegro,
and the principal prisoner.

Raikovitch was a rather good-looking young man, dark and sallow. He had a
large, round nose, a round chin, and even his forehead seemed to bulge.
But his black, beady eyes struck me as shifty, and he appeared somewhat
ill at ease. In spite of his confident manner he would glance round at the
pressmen’s table every few seconds to note what effect his defence was
having on them. But he had an amazing fluency, and his story flowed on
like a river. There was no bullying by Public Prosecutor or judges.

Every now and then the President, tapping his fingers with a pencil, would
interrupt the prisoner with a short, sharp question, evidently very much
to the point, and he pulled up the prisoner’s counsel very sharply on one
occasion for attempting to prompt his client. Presently there was a small
stir, for Raikovitch was heard to denounce Vukotic, the nephew of Princess
Milena, Prince Nicholas’s wife, as having been in communication with and
paid by the conspirators. No one seemed to know who would be accused next,
and the Servian Minister, who was present, must have experienced feelings
of uneasiness. Raikovitch was next led to the table to examine the black
bag, to identify it as his luggage, and acknowledged that those were the
bombs he had brought into the country. His defence lasted for the rest of
the day.

[Illustration: SOME OF THE AUDIENCE.

_From a Photograph._]

Next morning, when the prisoners were brought back, the sitting was even
more agitated. The ex-Deputy Chulavitch was accused. He leapt to his feet,
and in a voice of thunder shouted that he had been betrayed--he had been
sold! Later on, however, he acknowledged that he had received thirteen
napoleons for his help in the plot. Various other prisoners were accused,
but all had answers and excuses at first. Some said they acted on behalf
of others. Others said they had taken no active part, but had only known
of the conspiracy. They would confess one day, and the next flatly deny
everything they had said before. Later on in the trial, however, they
found means of communicating with each other, and arranged on a line of
common action.


_From a Photograph._]

Few documents could be produced in evidence against the accused, but a
great sensation was caused by the reading of a letter from a Montenegrin,
now an officer in the Servian army, to his brother. In it he promised both
moral and material support for the plot and enclosed a thousand francs
from King Peter. At this there was profound silence in the court, and a
deep impression was left on the minds of the public.

A student named Voivoditch then gave the details of the plot. He had
brought bombs from Belgrade with the express intention of killing Prince
Nicholas and Prince Mirko. It was arranged that various Government offices
were to be set on fire and in the confusion bombs were to be thrown
against the palace, a small building which would be easily destroyed.
Then, acting on the lines of the Servian regicides, the Ministers and
principal people in Cetinje were to be assassinated and their houses

The trial lasted several weeks, for with fifty persons accused and
thirty-two prisoners to examine and hear, things cannot be done in a
moment. But the principal witness against the prisoners was a certain
Nastitch, a Servian journalist from Serajevo. He brought the gravest
charges against the Servian Government. As he had been present at the
manufacture of the bombs he said that he was entitled to speak with some
authority. Last year he was sent to Kragujevats State Arsenal by a Captain
Nenadovitch, cousin of King Peter, who gave him a letter to the Commander
from the Servian Crown Prince. In this letter the Prince begged the
Commander to allow Nastitch to stay ten days in the arsenal whilst the
bombs were being made. They were then given to him to be consigned to
Captain Nenadovitch in Belgrade, who told him that they were to be
employed in a patriotic enterprise. A little later he was informed that
the police had sequestrated the bombs, as Pasitch, the Prime Minister, had
been informed of his stay in Kragujevats.

Nastitch then began to perceive that some mischief was being hatched, and
that Nenadovitch was trying to throw dust into his eyes. He put two and
two together and got a shrewd suspicion of what was really up. So he
crossed over to Semlin, in Hungary, from Belgrade, as no letters are safe
from being opened by the Servian secret police, and communicated with
Tomanovitch, Prime Minister of Montenegro. He asserted that he did not
fear denials, since he had documents to prove the truth of what he said.
He next produced specifications of the bombs, and then asked the judges to
have those in their possession examined to see whether they were not
identical. At the conclusion of his evidence Nastitch was applauded loudly
by the public, and was cheered as he left the court.

There were several rather interesting little touches in the evidence of
other prisoners. One was found to be sending secret messages to a friend
written in microscopic handwriting under the postage-stamps of the letter.
Under one was written: “Is it true that Stevo has confessed everything?”
Stevo being Raikovitch.

Raikovitch was brought up a second time and confronted with various
prisoners, who accused him of inventing the whole plot. He met every
accusation with complete calm and cynicism. Indeed, it seemed impossible
to disturb his sang-froid. He proclaimed aloud that he would laugh even
when climbing the steps of the gallows. He was the type of the complete
_poseur_, considering himself the centre of attraction, choosing his
language with the utmost care, and throwing himself into appropriate
attitudes. When asked if he was not a Socialist, he replied, “Of course I
am a Socialist. I must confess, however, that I am not _absolutely_ sure
what Socialism is!”


_From a Photograph._]

The ex-Prime Minister, Radovitch, was the most interesting of the
villains, and was quite a story-book scoundrel. He had enjoyed the favour
of the Prince, and had been Court Chamberlain for some years. It was
expected that he would make a favourable impression on the public, for
when he had come back from Paris to deliver himself up, arriving
dramatically the very morning of the opening of the trial, he had been
cheered all along the streets of Cetinje, and flowers had been thrown at
his feet; but in court he cut a sorry figure indeed. For six weary hours
he spoke unceasingly, and all the time about himself only! According to
his own version he is the cleverest, the most capable of Montenegrins--in
a word, he is the only patriot in the land. He alluded contemptuously to
the judges, and cried theatrically to the President: “I am proud and happy
to stand before you as defendant, for I would not change places with you,
my Lord President!” He boasted of the Prince’s affection for him and
openly betrayed that he expected to be let off easily.

The trial lasted over a month. This is no joke in a sweltering Montenegrin
summer, and both judges and prisoners must have heaved sighs of relief
when every witness was heard and the suspense was nearly over. Six were
condemned to death, but only two of these, Chulavitch and Voivoditch, were
in custody; the others had escaped abroad. Raikovitch and the Minister
Radovitch were sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment. Thirteen others
received sentences varying from two to ten years, and several were
discharged either because they were innocent or from lack of proof.


_From a Photograph._]

I was interested in visiting the prisons of Cetinje and Podgoritza. Both
are very small, which speaks well for the state of the country. Few
murders are committed, and these are rarely for gain, but usually acts of
revenge. The men concerned in the plot were confined at Cetinje, in a
small and somewhat primitive building, but when they had been sentenced
they were removed to Podgoritza. Both prisons are built round a courtyard
in which exercise can be taken, for the doors of the light and roomy cells
were open all day long. Nearly every cell contained an oven, and the
prisoners were allowed to cook their food themselves. The daily rations
consisted of two pounds of bread and the sum of fourpence, with which they
could buy what they liked.

I was taken over the place by the Governor, a very kindly-looking giant,
who seemed as if he could not hurt a fly. If I am ever unlucky enough to
be put under lock and key, I should like to have a jailer just like him.
He and a Montenegrin officer, who spoke most excellent French, were very
kind in helping me to take photographs. Some of the prisoners wore irons
which I rather wanted to photograph, but they thought it might hurt the
men’s feelings, so they offered to lend me a jailer to be manacled and
snap-shotted. He thought it the greatest joke in the world, and quite
entered into the spirit of it all. Just as I was about to press the button
he gesticulated wildly. He had remembered that there was a little
collection of a dozen or so weapons of warfare in his capacious belt, and
these were not at all in keeping with the irons. So he pulled out daggers
and pistols galore, and looked quite thin by the time he had finished.

We also visited the prison at Podgoritza, a large town some forty miles
from Cetinje. Here we found a strange collection of men and women. There
was a saintly-looking pope, who had appropriated the funds of his church.
He was dressed in priest’s robes and did the honours of the place. We saw
several convicts who were being kept in solitary confinement, and pushed
cigarettes to them between the bars. They seemed to feel the boredom most;
otherwise they have an easy time. They do little work in summer and still
less in winter, and a great part, of the day is spent in sleep. The cells
looked far more comfortable than barrack-rooms, and prisoners in
Montenegro evidently have little to complain of.

There were ten or twelve women there. These were nearly all guilty of
infanticide. When I came into their quarters they rushed at me, seized my
hands and kissed them, and tried to make me sit down and talk to them.
But, as I could not understand a word they said, and one of them looked
very mad, I made my escape as soon as possible.

It will be long before I forget that strange trial, which for spectacular
effect might have taken place in Venice in the magnificent Middle Ages.
The splendid figures of the judges rivalled the signori in all their
glory, and the gigantic soldiery in gay and glowing colour made one almost
forget the prisoners, until their primitive, almost savage, behaviour
reminded one of their existence and of the fact that even nowadays in
Europe things happen that eclipse the achievements of mediæval criminals.



    A trader’s story of the appalling catastrophe which, almost in the
    twinkling of an eye, wiped out the fruits of a lengthy and arduous
    expedition and cost him the lives of two faithful “boys.”

It was about the end of October, 1902, when I was returning from a trading
and hunting expedition which had taken me into the wild bush-country lying
to the north-west of the Limpopo valley, that the following incident
occurred--an incident which neither myself nor any of the “boys” who
accompanied me are ever likely to forget. I had started out from
Pietersburg, in the Transvaal, about five months before, taking with me a
good “salted” horse, a wagon and sixteen oxen, and half-a-dozen boys. I
had loaded up with a good deal of the usual trading gear, and had made a
very successful trip.

It was always my rule, on returning from these expeditions, to shoot the
whole of my way back, and I arranged my departure from civilization so
that I could get through with my trading in good time and have the game
season well in hand on the home trek.

The rains had commenced rather earlier than usual, and, although we had
only had a few showers as yet, I felt that there was not much time to lose
if I wished to get back to Pietersburg before they had fairly set in. I
had started out in the morning from a little native village called
M’Sablai, and meant to push on through the day in order to get to a native
“staad” called Wegdraai, which lay on the opposite side of the Limpopo
River, better known as the Crocodile. Everything went well during the day,
and towards five o’clock in the afternoon I sighted the group of kopjes by
which Wegdraai was surrounded. Telling the boys to make all possible haste
and follow me, I spurred my horse and rode forward to find a suitable

The river at this point is about a quarter of a mile in width, and in the
dry season is very shallow, the water usually lying about in pools. It
presents a very pretty appearance at this time of the year, being dotted
with innumerable verdure-clad islands. I did not anticipate much trouble
in crossing, and, on reaching the bank, soon selected a suitable spot.
There was rather more water than usual, but this was only to be expected,
as it had been raining a little the day before.

Having picked out the ford, I watered my horse and rode slowly back to
meet the wagon. When it came in sight, creaking and rumbling, I dismounted
and, throwing the reins over the horse’s head, sat down and lit my pipe
whilst waiting for it to come up. I had been smoking for a few minutes,
thinking of nothing in particular, when my attention was attracted by a
curious murmuring sound, very faint and far away; it sounded like the roar
of a train travelling at a high speed.

I glanced uneasily towards the river, but as far as the eye could reach it
looked peaceful enough. I knew the sound only too well, however--it was
the noise of flood-water coming down stream. When the wagon arrived, my
head boy, Jim, called my attention to the murmur, at the same time
advising me not to attempt to get across. I had half a mind to follow his
advice and outspan then and there, but it occurred to me that the river
might remain “up” for several days, and then, if more rain came, I should
not be able to get across for weeks. It seemed to me to be a case of
getting across at once or waiting for an indefinite period.

We were moving steadily forward all the time, and when we came to the
river-bank I noticed that by this time the water was looking slightly
disturbed, little swirling eddies being plainly visible about half-way
across. I looked doubtfully up the river, which here ran nearly straight
for about a mile, but, seeing nothing of the wall of water which usually
comes down when a river is rising in flood, I threw prudence to the winds
and determined to get across. Tying my horse to the rear of the wagon, and
shouting to the boys to look after the brake, I seized the long whip which
the driver was carrying, and, making it whistle around the ears of the
oxen, urged them down the bank. I could see that the boys were
scared--they knew the treacherous nature of the river only too well--but I
thought that we could gain the opposite bank long before the water reached

Urged on by wild yells and shrieks, such as only a Kaffir wagon-boy can
utter, the team moved slowly on through the river-bed, and in a very short
time were half-way across. It was then that I observed for the first time
that the water was slowly rising, and, looking backward, I saw that what
had been a dry place a few seconds before was now entirely covered.
Glancing down, I saw that the water beneath us, motionless a moment ago,
was now slowly running. Alarmed, we redoubled our efforts, but without
avail. The oxen moved slower and slower as the water increased in volume
and depth, until, the wagon listing slightly in a small hole, they stopped

I could see there was nothing for it now but to cut loose the oxen and
abandon the wagon, so, shouting to the boys to assist me, I loosened the
trek chain and tried to whip the oxen across. By this time, however, the
poor beasts had scented their danger, and lowing piteously they huddled
together and became hopelessly entangled in the long chain. Jim, whipping
out his hunting-knife, shouted, “Sicca, baas, sicca lo n’tambo” (“Cut the
reins”), and immediately began slashing at the reins which bound the yokes
to the oxen. I saw that it was the only thing to do, and promptly followed
suit. We were just then quite close to one of the larger of the islands
which stood well out of the water, and as the leading oxen were freed they
made for this.


We had cut most of them loose and the water had risen above our waists,
when I suddenly heard a wild snort, followed by an agonized scream from
the rear of the wagon, and the next moment my horse was down, and three of
the boys, with yells of terror, were making for the island. “Hurry up,
baas,” remarked Jim, coolly; “lo ingwania” (crocodiles). As he spoke
there was a huge splash alongside me, and down went one of the oxen, the
water round us turning a sickening red.

I must confess that at that moment I lost heart completely, and shouting
to the other two boys, who had climbed on to the wagon, to make for the
island, I grabbed Jim by the arm and literally had to drag him away, the
brave fellow wanting to remain and loosen the remainder of the oxen. We
reached the land in safety, and, turning to look for the other two boys,
saw that they were still on the wagon, being afraid to venture into the
momentarily-deepening water. I shouted to them to come away, but without
avail. Just then Jim touched me on the shoulder and pointed up the river.
Looking in the direction indicated, I beheld a line of foam stretching
from bank to bank, and coming towards us like an express train. The two
boys on the wagon also saw it, and one of them plunged off into the water,
which was now running swiftly, and in a few seconds was carried down to
us, Jim catching hold of him and hauling him up on to the higher ground.
There was not a moment to spare, for we could plainly see that the
onrushing water would overwhelm us where we now stood.

Yelling to the boys to follow my example, I made a rush for a good-sized
tree which stood on the summit of the island--now looking little more than
a large mound. Getting a lift from Jim, I was soon in its topmost
branches. Three of the boys were already perched in trees, but the fourth,
the boy who had swum from the wagon, not having recovered his wind, was
clinging helplessly round a tree-trunk, too exhausted to pull himself up.
Noticing his predicament, Jim rushed across and, giving him a shove, sent
him up on to the lower branches. The water was now almost upon us, and I
shouted to Jim to follow the boy up the tree, but my voice was drowned by
the roar of the flood. He ran towards me, then hesitated, glanced round,
and saw the roaring wall of water within about fifty yards of him. The
sight seemed to paralyze him for a moment; then, with a spring, he reached
a small tree which was within a few yards of him, and, clambering like a
monkey, reached the top just as the water struck the wagon. The heavy
vehicle was picked up in the swirling tide as though it had been a straw,
the boy Zuzi clinging to the top until it was nearly abreast with us. Then
it rolled over and over, and he disappeared from view, never to be seen

I had scarcely had time to realize that the boy was gone when I noticed
that the remainder of the oxen which had been standing beneath us were
adrift. The poor beasts swam desperately, but it was no use--they were
carried away like flies on the raging torrent.

Darkness was now falling fast, and the water had completely covered the
island, while the trees were swaying in a manner which brought my heart
into my mouth; I expected every moment to see them torn out by the roots.
What made matters worse was that pieces of timber, uprooted trees, etc.,
coming down-stream at racing pace, would strike the trunks of the trees we
were sheltered in with terrific force, and the smaller trees were one by
one uprooted and carried away in this manner.

I clung desperately to my perch for about two hours, expecting every
moment that my frail support would give way. By that time it was
pitch-dark, and, feeling cold and stiff in my wet clothes, I shifted my
position a little; I could see nothing of the boys in the darkness, and
shouting brought me no answer. I moved about as carefully as possible,
seeking a better position, and at length found a more comfortable place in
a fork a little lower down. Here--cold, wet, and miserable--I could do
nothing but wait for daylight. I had now lost everything I possessed, my
wagon and oxen representing nearly the whole of my capital. I felt deeply
for the loss of the poor boy Zuzi and my faithful old horse, and would
willingly have sacrificed the wagon and oxen could I have saved these two.
I blamed myself bitterly for having made the foolhardy attempt to cross,
and with these and other equally bitter reflections the long hours of
darkness dragged slowly through. When, after what had seemed ages, the
first faint streaks of dawn appeared, I uttered a prayer of thankfulness;
and as the daylight became clearer and surrounding objects visible, I
looked anxiously round to see how my boys were faring.

I first caught sight of the three boys who had escaped when the crocodiles
pulled my horse down, and a little farther on I saw Pete, who had been
helped up by Jim, but of Jim himself I could see no trace. Trembling with
horror, I began to realize that he had gone. The flood had by now
practically spent itself, and the top of the island was again visible. I
called out to the three boys who were nearest the spot where Jim’s tree
had been, and, in a voice which I could scarcely recognise as my own,
asked them where Jim was. Their answer only confirmed my worst fears.

“Jim hambili, baas, blakla futi” (“Jim gone, master, tree and all”).


This was the worst blow of all, for Jim, though only a raw native when I
had first got him, had been with me for over five years and was deeply
attached to me. Bitterly I cursed my folly in not taking his advice,
trying to console myself with the reflection that he might somehow have
managed to reach the opposite bank, though in my inmost soul I knew this
to be almost an impossibility, as the river was full of crocodiles, who
lurked on the lower side of all the small islands, awaiting their
opportunity to rush out and seize anybody or anything that might be
carried past them by the water. The water was now going down slowly but
surely; and, as it sank, our little island grew larger and larger. It must
have been about nine o’clock when I climbed down out of the tree and
stretched my stiffened limbs once again. I called the boys down, and they
came gladly, but all the time casting anxious glances around them, fearful
of a visit from the crocodiles again. I did not apprehend much danger from
these brutes now, however, as those in the immediate vicinity would
probably have gone farther down the river after the cattle.

The morning passed slowly away and I began to feel hungry, but there was
nothing to eat. About eleven o’clock some natives came down to the
river-bank from the “staad” on the opposite side, and shouted to us to
remain where we were until the afternoon; the river, they thought, would
have gone down sufficiently by that time to enable us to make an attempt
to reach the mainland. The sun had dried the greater part of the island by
this time, and, telling one of the boys to keep a look-out, I lay down
under a tree and was soon fast asleep. I slept on until about four
o’clock, when a boy awakened me, and, glancing round, I saw that the water
had gone down enough to warrant our making an attempt to get across. The
natives who had been on the bank in the morning had meanwhile returned,
and were gesticulating and shouting to us to come away. The boys, whilst I
had been asleep, had made a long strip of “n’tambo” (rope) from the bark
of the trees, and, fastening this around my waist, I secured the others to
it, each boy being as far from the next as the length of the rope would
permit. Then, with myself leading, we started off. The current was still
very strong, and, had we not been roped together, would undoubtedly have
carried us off our feet. We could stand all right in the shallower places,
but when I came to a strip of deep water the boys let out the rope until I
had got over, then I in turn would pull them over. In this manner we
finally reached the bank and were helped out by the natives from the
“staad.” After resting a little I accompanied them to their kraal, where
my boys were fed and rested.

Learning from the headman that he had already sent a number of men down
the river-bank in search of anything that might have been washed up, I
partook of a little mealie meal, which was the best he could offer, and,
having washed it down with copious draughts of new milk, lay down on a
bundle of skins and once more fell asleep, being utterly exhausted by the
previous night’s hardship and the struggle we had made to get out of the

I must have been asleep several hours when I was awakened by a light
touch, and, sitting up, saw the headman, who explained that his boys had
returned, having found several cases of provisions, etc., and asked me if
I would not like some food. I made a good meal and once more retired to
rest, sleeping soundly until sunrise the following morning. Rising early,
I sent a number of men to search the river-banks whilst I was having my
breakfast, telling them that I would follow later. They had been gone
about an hour, and I was preparing to follow them, when one of my own boys
came running towards me from the direction of the river, breathlessly
informing me that they had found Jim, and that he was alive, but had been
badly mauled about by a crocodile. I immediately started off at a run, the
boy leading the way through the bush to a spot where the river turned off
to the left, about a mile farther down. There, under a tree, surrounded by
half-a-dozen natives, lay Jim. He was in a fearful plight, one arm being
almost eaten away and the whole side of his body mangled in an awful
manner; he was still conscious, however, and recognised me immediately. I
at once set to work to construct a kind of litter with branches and
boughs, and, laying him carefully on it, ordered the boys to carry him
back to the kraal. As they were moving off I asked one of the natives
where they had found him. Pointing to what at first sight looked like a
large hole in the ground, the boy answered, “Lapa, baas, hya ka lo
ingwania” (“Here, mas’er, in the crocodile’s house”). I approached the
place and, looking down the hole, was astonished to see a large chamber
beneath and a small tunnel which seemed to lead down to the water. The
ground forming the roof of the chamber had been worn away a good deal, and
the crocodile, in turning round in the hole with his victim, had evidently
broken the crust above, thus exposing his hiding-place.

I followed the boys back to the kraal, and pulling poor Jim in a hut
carefully washed his wounds, doing all I could for him. He remained
conscious the whole morning and told me that during the night, whilst he
was on the island, his tree, which was not a very strong one, had been
struck several times by floating driftwood. Towards midnight, as near as
he could remember, a heavier log than usual had crashed into it, carrying
it away completely. He had clung desperately to the branches in the hope
of reaching the bank when he got to the curve in the river, and had
managed to keep himself above water until he found himself floating in a
place where the water was smoother and running less rapidly. Divining that
he must be near one of the banks, he tried to reach it by swimming, but
had only made a few strokes when he suddenly felt himself seized by one
arm, and was immediately dragged under the water. He had just had time to
realize that it was a crocodile which had got him when he lost
consciousness. When he recovered his senses again he found himself in a
hole, lying on dry ground, with the sunlight streaming in through a small
opening above. There was no sign of the crocodile, and suffering agonies
from his wounds he managed to drag himself up to the orifice, where he at
last gut out his hunting-knife, which still hung on to his belt, and,
digging at the edges of the cavity, tried to enlarge it so that he could
crawl through. Weakness overcame him, however, and he fainted again. At
last, hearing voices above him, he once more tried to get out, and,
managing to put his uninjured arm up through the hole, had attracted the
attention of the boys, who were searching near.


I could plainly see that the poor fellow was past all hope, but I did all
I could to ease his last moments for him. In the afternoon he became
unconscious again, and at about five o’clock passed quietly away. I buried
him under a large tree, near the entrance to the circle of small kopjes by
which the “staad” was surrounded, and, cutting a small wooden cross,
nailed it to the tree, with the simple inscription, “JIM. 21-10-’02.”

Next day, sad at heart, I started off to Pietersburg, having to walk the
whole way. Here I reported the matter to the police, who sent out a patrol
to investigate the affair, and there the matter ended so far as I was
concerned. I never recovered any of the oxen, and the wagon, or the
remains of it, so far as I am aware, still lies in the river-bed. I have
never done any trading in that district since.

A Belgian Smoking Competition.


    There is more tobacco per head consumed in Belgium than in any other
    country in the world. It is therefore fitting, perhaps, that one of
    the favourite pastimes of the menfolk should be smoking
    competitions, at which valuable prizes are awarded to the man who
    can make his pipeful of tobacco last the longest. Our representative
    was recently the guest of honour at a competition held by the
    premier smokers’ club of Belgium, and here describes and illustrates
    what he saw.

                          BRUGSCHE ROOKERSCLUB.

    HONOURED SIR AND MEMBER,--Once more an honour is being bestowed upon
    us. Mr. A. Pitcairn-Knowles, the representative of three journals of
    world-wide reputation, will be present at our general meeting on
    Friday next, and will give an account of this gathering in one or
    perhaps in all of those papers. We have, therefore, decided to
    commence the meeting at an earlier hour. We shall assemble at 8.30
    p.m., and open the entertainment with a grand prize competition, and
    we urgently beg you to put in an appearance, as the reputation of
    our club depends to a great extent upon the success of the fête. As
    true smokers you should look upon it as your duty to join us at 8.30
    p.m. sharp, on Friday, the 11th inst. Accept, honoured Sir and
    Member, the greetings of your devoted committee.--(For the
    President) The Second Secretary, L. MONBALLIU.


_From a Photograph._]

Such were the contents of a printed notice in Flemish sent out to all
members of the Bruges Smoking Club, as a result of my expressing a desire
to the indefatigable secretary of this most famous of all Belgian
“Rookersclubs” to witness one of their quaint smokers’ competitions.

I am glad to be able to state that the invitation issued to the Bruges
devotees of the fragrant weed had the desired effect, and when I reached
the cosy Graenenburg Estaminet of the Grande Place I found the obliging
secretary and the genial president of the Smokers’ Club preparing for a
record attendance, which, judging from the number already present, seemed
assured. My introduction to the assembly was looked upon as needless,
since everyone present was acquainted with the reason for my admission
within the precincts of the club, and the most strenuous efforts were made
to render my visit to the Graenenburg an agreeable one.

In response to the invitation of the secretary, I ascended a steep
staircase leading from the café to a room reserved for the club. It was
there that the solemn function of admitting new members took place, and
general regrets were expressed that my visit had not been made upon a day
which would have presented an opportunity for witnessing such a ceremony.
As it was, I had to content myself with an inspection of the paten, to
which, on such an occasion, the would-be member had to press his lips
after taking an oath in the following words: “I pledge myself solemnly to
be a faithful and honest member of the club, and to conform strictly to
the rules.” Previously to installation, he had to furnish proof of his
suitability for election by smoking a pipe in the presence of the


_From a Photograph._]

Although I had not the good fortune to be present at such an inauguration,
time did not hang heavily on my hands while waiting for the smokers to
prepare for the contest.


_From a Photograph._]

Glancing around the room I noticed with interest a large shield adorning
the wall, upon which was arranged an assortment of most curious pipes,
representing all corners of the globe. In fact, the place was a veritable
museum of pipes, giving silent testimony of the character and degree of
culture attained, as well as of the individual taste of smokers of almost
every nation of the world. The lordly meerschaum, elaborately carved; the
Turkish chibouque; the “hubble-bubble,” in which the fumes pass through
water; the long German pipe, with its china bowl adorned with a gay
picture; the Indian’s pipe of peace--all, their functions finished, now
hang side by side in idle repose. A huge pipe carved from the stump of a
tree and a pipe with a sea-shell for a bowl were conspicuous among the
curiosities of the collection.

After my inspection of the museum the labour of deciphering the rules of
the club, in Flemish, came as a less welcome task, but the secretary,
always ready to be of service, aided my efforts, and I was able to
discover the real objects of the association.

A casual observer might be somewhat surprised to find that a society of
this kind should require numerous laws and regulations, but a glimpse at
the workings behind the scenes of a Belgian “Rookersclub” furnishes
convincing proof that the number of rules is in no way excessive,
considering the importance of the institution, for the strictest
discipline is a _sine quâ non_ in a well-conducted “Rookersclub.”

Many are the duties of the members and the regulations for competitions.
No applicant can be elected unless he has reached the age of eighteen.
Cigars and cigarettes are tabooed, the pipe being looked upon as the only
justifiable means of satisfying that craving which makes us slaves to the
weed. The chief object of the club being to teach, through its disciples,
the world at large the use of tobacco and to guard against its abuse, it
wisely refrains from over-indulgence, and asks no more from its members
than that they should “smoke at least one pipe at every club meeting.”


_From a Photograph._]

The picture the words “smoking competition” call up to the mind’s eye of
the uninitiated, of competitors sitting in a room made almost unbearable
by the dense volumes of smoke they are vigorously puffing from their
pipes, is as far from the reality as it is possible to imagine. When I
stepped into the spick and span Café Graenenburg I was certainly under the
impression that I was conversant with the science of smoking, though I
must own I had up to that time been willing to accept with blind faith its
dictionary definition as “a continuous drawing in and puffing out of the
fumes of burning tobacco,” which is, I assume, what nine hundred and
ninety-nine out of a thousand of my fellow-smokers look upon as the
desideratum of their enjoyment.


_From a Photograph._]

Now, however, after half the term usually allotted for mankind’s existence
upon this earth had run out, the truth dawned upon me that I had hitherto
been chasing shadows, and would have to learn all over again. Smoking was,
I began to realize, not the simple, easy pastime I had considered it to
be, but an art which one might only expect to master after careful study,
silent pondering, and steady practice. In this humble frame of mind I lost
no time in repairing to an expert for instruction in the management of a
pipe, so that all fatal mistakes should be avoided at the outset of my
second schooling; and now that I am on the high road towards experiencing
hitherto dimly-conceived moments of unalloyed bliss, let me impart my
experience as a valuable secret to those who lie under the same mistaken
impression which I once fostered. In the words of my preceptor: “The true
art of smoking consists in reducing the combustion to a minimum, and yet
never allowing the pipe to go out while a particle of tobacco remains in
the bowl. The object is not to smoke quickly or much--we are not
locomotives bent upon producing force, but men on the quest of solace and

But now let us see the outcome of his doctrine, as displayed by the
members of the “Rookersclub” on the occasion of my visit to their

The preliminary arrangements for the battle of pipes having been
completed, I was led back to the café, where the committee were busily
engaged at a table putting the finishing touches to their work. Before
them lay the empty pipes, all of equal length and size. Tobacco taken out
of a jar was being apportioned into little heaps to be weighed on a small
pair of scales. As each competitor’s share, consisting of exactly
forty-five grains, left the scales to replenish the pipe awaiting it, the
eyes of the judge roved anxiously from the balance to the hands of the
colleague to whom the filling of the bowls had been entrusted. Unerring
fairness characterized the operations of the committee. Around another
table the competitors were seated indulging in “bocks” while waiting to
take part in the struggle for supremacy in serious smoking.

At last a general wave of excitement showed that the proceedings were
about to begin. The pipes were placed in the hands of their claimants, the
matches put within easy reach, and the president, in his capacity of
judge, called for attention.

“You have two minutes in which to light your pipes!” he announced, watch
in hand; then, presently, “One minute!” “Half a minute!” “One quarter of
a minute!” These successive announcements were followed by the ringing of
a bell, and then, almost simultaneously, twenty hands holding burning
matches were raised to set the pipes alight. All but one or two, whom
anxiety to be in time had slightly flurried, delayed setting the match to
the tobacco until the very last moment. One unfortunate competitor
procrastinated too long, and was promptly disqualified before he could
apply the light. No time had been wasted in removing the matches from the
table, and as soon as the time-limit had been reached every one but the
disappointed straggler was beginning very slowly to draw short puffs. At
this critical moment, when all the rivals were applying themselves with
slow caution to the initial whiffs, on which the final issue frequently
depends, so complete a silence reigned that one might have heard the
proverbial pin drop. It is said by many that the secret of success is
found in the way of lighting, but as to which is the correct _modus
operandi_ there exists a great diversity of opinion, for while one expert
will attribute his success to the fact that he lights the tobacco nearest
the side of the bowl, another equally practised smoker believes in
applying the match to a central spot. Be that as it may, there is no
denying the fact that to ensure obtaining a satisfactory start both
experience and intelligence are essential factors.

[Illustration: “IN DISTRESS.”

_From a Photograph._]

But to return to our friends of the “Rookersclub.” Ten minutes had
elapsed, and all were still in the running except the disappointed man who
had been ejected at the outset. Some had become quite communicative,
trusting to their pipes to look after themselves while they exchanged
views on politics. Others, not losing for one moment their sense of the
importance of the occasion, kept the stems between their teeth, without
allowing their tense expressions to relax into the faintest suspicion of a
smile. One competitor in particular looked as if he were made of wax, even
the chaffing of his colleagues failing to upset his gravity. He had been
pointed out to me as a winner of many prizes and the fortunate possessor
of a temperament any smoker might envy.

“Ting-a-ling” went the bell, the announcement of the extinction of a
pipe--the first defeat--and this early failure was received with general


_From a Photograph._]


_From a Photograph._]

But hark! The bell was heard again. This time the victim was a man who had
been trying to give me some faint idea of the magnitude of the feats he
intended to accomplish, his loquacity being undoubtedly the cause of his
premature downfall. As he made his exit amid roars of laughter I attempted
to assuage his mortification by promising to convince myself on a future
occasion of the grounds for his self-praise. He was forced to the
indignity of becoming a looker-on, and tried to find consolation by
critically regarding the performance of each candidate. Each time the
judge’s bell gave the signal for the departure of another competitor he
had some infallible theory to expound in regard to the unsuccessful
smoker’s faults and follies, and upon those who still possessed a winning
chance he generously showered well-meant, but unsolicited, counsel.

Slowly but surely the tobacco of the remaining competitors burnt itself
out, and every quarter of an hour, when the clock of the world-famed
belfry on the opposite side of the square pealed forth one of its
melodious airs, the number of the possible victors had diminished.

After the lapse of about three-quarters of an hour the judge’s bell set up
a continuous tinkle. It was now time for those who acted as controllers to
keep a sharp look-out, and every now and then the order “Smoke, please,”
could be heard, as a committee-man pointed at the bowl of an apparently
extinguished pipe, whereupon the faintest cloud of smoke would rise into
the air from the clay of the cunning laggard, or the bell would announce
another failure.


_From a Photograph._]

Presently the fiftieth minute arrived, and the number of smokers had
dwindled down to six. Opinions differed as to which would “live” to bear
the palm. Among the favourites was the amiable secretary himself, one of
the most skilful of the Bruges “Rookers,” who, strange as it may seem, is
practically a non-smoker when outside the precincts of the club. In the
president of the club he possesses a most formidable rival, who enjoys the
reputation of being able to win one of the first prizes whenever he
chooses to do so.

An hour and five minutes had passed when the secretary and three other
members were found to be the sole survivors. Then the unexpected happened.
The secretary was seen to be in distress. His efforts to entertain a guest
of the club--I had been given the honour of sitting beside him--had
diverted his attention from his difficult task; and once more the bell
made itself heard as he laid down his pipe, unable to respond to the
judge’s request of “Smoke, please.”

One hour and ten minutes had run their course, and only two men were
competing. The excitement became intense as the members gathered round the
two valiant champions to get a close view and offer encouragement to the
one or the other. To outward appearance both were calm and confident. They
allowed the tiniest cloud of smoke to escape at intervals from their
pipes, and it looked as if these motionless and imperturbable men might
survive long enough to eclipse the famous club-record achieved by a
champion who succeeded in making sixty grains of tobacco last as long as
one hundred and twenty minutes.


_From a Photograph._]

But suddenly one of the rivals became agitated. He was beginning to
realize that the end of his resources was last approaching, for the spark
in his pipe became more and more difficult to keep alive. Anxiously he
blew into the stem, but only with the wasteful result of dispersing a tiny
particle of fire, the last that remained, as it proved, for the pipe was
empty. Sadly he laid down his clay, leaving the victory to his opponent.
The latter smoked on with an unmoved countenance, allowing not the
smallest sign of elation to escape him, as he continued to foster, by an
almost imperceptible inhalation, the tiny spark in the clay bowl which had
now become the sole object of attention in the crowded room. A hasty
movement on the part of the victor as if to settle himself more
comfortably in his chair to prepare for a long-dreamt-of record, a
slightly more animated whiff to counteract the effect of this incautious
action, and the mischief was done--the smoker drew an extinguished pipe
from his mouth. He had won, sure enough, but only by twelve short seconds.
“One hour twenty-one minutes and thirty-three seconds,” announced the
judge. “And to think that I might have held on another half-hour with a
little more care!” sighed the disappointed winner.

Then followed the ceremony of presenting the prizes, the successful
candidates being allowed to make their choice of rewards in the order in
which they were placed. A bread-basket, a pocket-knife, a flower-vase, and
other useful and ornamental souvenirs were handed over to the fortunate
ones, after which victors and vanquished assembled once more around the
long table to enjoy a pipe in the ordinary way, without restraint or

Nowhere in Belgium are competitions of the kind I have described conducted
in a more correct and business-like manner than in Bruges; in fact, the
“Brugsche Rookersclub” can be considered in every respect as
authoritative and exemplary in matters pertaining to the world of
“pipenrookers,” as the smoker of the pipe is called in Flanders. It is
among the quaint Flemish people that smoking clubs and smoking
competitions enjoy more widespread popularity than in any other part of
King Leopold’s little dominion, and nearly every village, no matter how
small, can boast of a “Rookersmaatschappij,” which almost unpronounceable
word is the equivalent for what we term “smokers’ club.” In the country
districts it is the custom to compete for money prizes, and to decorate
the winner with some floral adornment, which is pinned on his breast as a
visible proof of the honour he has achieved. Many of the _estaminets_,
which thrive in countless numbers in thirsty Flanders, endeavour to
stimulate the desire of customers for refreshment by organizing a
“Prijskamp in Het Rooken,” and offering prizes to those who best
understand the art of making a little tobacco go a very long way.


_From a Photograph._]

Smoking for prizes is a curious way of killing time and may not appeal to
the Anglo-Saxon, who prefers to devote his leisure to more active and
health-giving occupations, but it possesses certain advantages over other
pastimes which must be taken into consideration. It is not costly, it is
not dangerous, it is sociable, and, as my kind hosts of the “Brugsche
Rookersclub” were at pains to convince me, it is a form of rivalry from
which much excitement can be gained. But above all it teaches one the use,
as distinguished from the abuse, of tobacco, which is undoubtedly the best
_raison d’être_ for smokers’ clubs and smokers’ contests in a country
whose army of smokers forms no less than a third of its entire population,
and whose annual consumption of tobacco is six and a quarter pounds per
head. This is more than three times the amount consumed in the United
Kingdom, and six times as much as in Italy. In fact, little Belgium’s
appreciation of tobacco reaches limits unattained in any other part of the


The Adventures of “Wide World” Artists.


    It has always been our rule, in order to obtain accurate pictures,
    to entrust the illustration of our stories only to artists who have
    actually visited or lived in the various countries referred to, and
    are consequently familiar with the conditions of life prevailing
    there. The result of this custom is that our artistic staff is
    composed of men who have travelled extensively, roughing it in many
    remote parts of the world. In the course of their journeyings our
    illustrators have themselves met with exciting and unusual
    experiences, some of the most interesting of which are here given,
    each artist depicting his own adventure.


Mr. Charles M. Sheldon, the well-known war artist, who has done splendid
work for THE WIDE WORLD, has had several exciting experiences in the
course of his career. He was the special artist for _Black and White_
during the Dongola Campaign in 1896, and received the Khedivial medal with
two clasps awarded to the correspondents. He went through the
Spanish-American War in Cuba, was dispatched to South Africa at the time
of the Jameson Raid, and has also represented his paper in India. Mr.
Sheldon has a studio full of interesting souvenirs of his various


_From a Photograph._]

It was during the Dongola Campaign that Mr. Sheldon met with his most
exciting adventure, and the fact that he is alive to-day is more owing to
good fortune, he says, than to any skill on his part on that occasion.

Mr. Sheldon joined the column advancing on Dongola under the command of
the Sirdar, then Sir Herbert Kitchener, at Wadi Halfa, and was present at
the Battle of Firket. After the battle, and while the railway was being
brought up, the army camped for a couple of months at Kosheh, where, in
addition to the terrible heat and sandstorms, cholera broke out, and
threatened at one time to annihilate the camp. When the railway was
completed as far as Kosheh, the force marched across an arm of the desert
to Hafir, where the gunboats drove the dervishes from their forts with
such loss that Dongola fell after very little resistance. The country
being cleared of the enemy, and the war for that year at an end, the
correspondents made hasty preparations for their journey to Cairo on their
way back to England. In order to reach rail-head, they decided to travel
by boat down the Nile to Firket, Mr. Sheldon and Mr. Seppings Wright, the
artist of the _Illustrated London News_, arranging to make the journey
together. Having sold their horses and camels and discharged their native
grooms, with the exception of one camel-man, they packed their baggage and
war-trophies on board a boat--purchased from Mr. H. A. Gwynne, now editor
of the _Standard_--and started down the river. They expected to accomplish
the journey in about six days and nights, and for the first three days the
conditions were delightful, as, floating mainly with the swift current,
they made rapid progress, enjoying to the full their enforced ease after
the hard work of the campaign. As they approached the Hannock, or third
cataract of the Nile, however, the voyage became more exciting, and
extreme caution was necessary on the part of the pilot in charge of the
boat. The Hannock cataract is, indeed, a formidable menace to navigation,
consisting as it does of about sixty miles of shelving ledges of rock and
groups of huge boulders, over and among which the water rushes headlong in
a series of whirlpools and rapids. It was here that several of the boats
taking part in Sir Garnet Wolseley’s campaign were overturned and many
lives lost.


The first few miles of the cataract were negotiated in safety in the early
morning, and Mr. Sheldon had just finished making a sketch of the rapids
when sudden and dire disaster overtook the party. The boat was a stoutly
built, three-quarter-decked craft, with one huge wing-like sail, and the
pilot had given the sheet into the care of the camel-man, who, to save
himself trouble, tied it, unobserved, to one of the seats. Finding it
necessary to tack across the river, to take the boat through a safe
channel between the rocks, the pilot, to bring the sail over, shouted to
the man to let go the rope. As it was securely fastened to the seat,
however, he was unable to do so, and in an instant, as the strong wind
caught the tacking boat, it capsized, flinging its occupants with
startling suddenness into the water.

Mr. Sheldon sank, but, after what seemed to him an interminable time, rose
to the surface, and, dashing the water from his eyes, found himself
battling with the full force of the seething current, which threatened
every instant to hurl him against the rocks. He realized immediately that
he would have a hard fight for his life, and at once struck out for the
boat, which was floating on her side some distance off. The only other
alternative was to swim to the nearest shore, but, as that was a quarter
of a mile or more away, Mr. Sheldon knew that he would be unable to reach
it alive in such a terrific current.

After a desperate struggle he gained the boat and pulled himself up
astride the gunwale. Mr. Seppings Wright had also managed to reach the
boat, which, under their combined weight, was floating but six inches out
of the water; while the pilot and camel-man hung on to the mast and
spar--all of them looking, as Mr. Sheldon says, more like half-drowned
rats than anything else he can think of.

It was quite evident that their position was critical, their one hope
being to cling to the boat, which was being carried down the Nile at an
alarming rate. At any moment it might go to pieces among the great masses
of rock and huge basalt boulders which projected from the surface of the
river throughout the entire length of the cataract. Indeed, their chances
of ever setting foot again on dry land appeared to be well-nigh hopeless.
It was only with extreme difficulty that they managed to cling to the
little craft as it plunged and kicked in the swirling eddies of the
cataract, and, once at the mercy of the furious torrent, they knew full
well that nothing short of a miracle could save them.

Both men discarded most of their clothing, for, as the wreck carried them
down the smooth slides over the ledges of rock--for all the world like
weirs--the boat was continually being sucked under the surface of the
water. When this happened and they were unable to retain their hold, it
was only by swimming with all their strength that they were able to
regain the boat when she rose again. Their baggage and cherished war
trophies had all been thrown into the water, and most of them went
straight to the bottom. But here and there they could see saddles,
valises, boxes, helmets, and other articles bobbing about in the current
until hurled against the rocks and destroyed, or detained far behind in


On and on the boat carried them, seemingly endowed with human intelligence
as it dodged the rocks and found a way for itself through the intricate
channels of the cataract, while the shipwrecked crew could but cling to
the gunwale with all their strength and trust to Providence for their
ultimate safety.

In this way mile after mile of the cataract was passed, with Mr. Sheldon
and his companions hoping against hope that the current would take them
near enough to the shore to swim for it. In this, however, they were
disappointed, for their craft kept well in the middle of the stream.
Presently, moreover, they drifted into another and worse rapid, where,
caught suddenly in a huge eddy, they were carried round and round until
the boat, after twisting and ducking in a manner that threatened to break
it up, incontinently sank beneath them--for good and all, it seemed. This
time it was a swim for life, and they were all but exhausted when, dazed
and spluttering, they succeeded in once more regaining the boat, which had
come up, in this instance, behind them. The principal danger they feared
was that the boat, which was continually swinging round, would drift
broad-side on to the rocks and break up completely.

Again and again, as they continued their mad career, a huge boulder would
loom up threateningly from out a smother of foam, and it looked as though
nothing could save the wreck from final disaster, but invariably the
self-navigated vessel would win a way for itself, at times actually
shaving the very side of the rock.

During their passage down the cataract the artists saw several native
villages and also some large ghyassas (native boats) drawn up on the bank,
but their frantic signals for help were either absolutely ignored, or the
natives, in their usual way, expended their energy in urging one another
to do something until the capsized boat was far out of sight.

Hour after hour they raced along--sometimes for a mile or two in
comparatively easy water, but more often struggling to retain their hold
as the vessel rolled and pitched in the rapids.

The afternoon waned at last, and with evening came a welcome abatement of
the sun’s pitiless rays, but still the anxious journey continued, with
current and rapid in long succession. The strength of the two weary
artists and the natives had by this time all but given out, and,
thoroughly exhausted and battered as they were, it was evident that if
they did not reach the shore before the rapidly-approaching darkness fell
it would certainly be all up with them. Then, providentially, a curve in
the river took the current close into the bank, carrying the boat to
within some thirty yards of the shore. The castaways realized at once that
this was a golden opportunity, but in their weak state it was exceedingly
doubtful if they would be able to swim to the bank. As luck would have it,
however, a number of natives appeared on the spot. They had been watching
the capsized craft with evident curiosity, and now, in response to urgent
signals for help, they put off to the assistance of Mr. Sheldon and his
companions. They easily reached the boat, bringing with them the curious,
wedge-shaped floats, constructed of reed-like sticks of ambatch wood,
which they use in crossing the Nile. With the timely aid of this primitive
form of river craft, Mr. Sheldon, Mr. Seppings Wright, and the natives
reached the bank in safety. Their voyage down the dangerous Hannock
cataract on the side of a derelict boat, lasting as it did from nine
o’clock in the morning until sunset, in the course of which they were
carried through some sixty miles of rock-strewn rapids, is, it is safe to
say, unique as a record of endurance and long-drawn-out peril, fraught
with possibilities of the most alarming description.

On reaching the shore they sank down dead-beat on the bank. Their
condition was most wretched, such little clothing as they retained
consisting of soaked and tattered rags. They had no means of making a
fire, which they badly needed, as, with the setting of the sun, the
terrific heat of the day was succeeded by the chill night air of the
desert. To make matters worse, the natives either could not or would not
give them anything to eat, and the only food they had of their own was a
tin of preserved ginger, found in a valise which one of the natives
rescued from the current.

The night, as may well be imagined, was passed in misery and discomfort,
but with the morning the welcome discovery was made that directly
opposite, a mile away on the farther bank, was one of the hospital camps
established by the Egyptian field force. Mr. Sheldon thereupon bribed a
native at the cost of a razor, also found in the valise, to swim the river
and obtain help for the party.

Now, at length, their troubles were ended. The commandant of the camp
signalled to a steamer, which carried them over to the other side, where
the officer provided them with dry clothes and what they most appreciated,
comfortable beds to sleep in.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are but few artists, even marine artists, who have actually followed
the sea as a profession. A well-known name among the few who have done so
is that of Mr. E. S. Hodgson, whose strong, vigorous illustrations of
seafaring adventures are a familiar feature in The Wide World. A casual
glance at his drawings is sufficient to show that he has an intimate
acquaintance with the life and customs of a sailor, and they are executed
with a realistic touch that could not be attained except by personal

Mr. Hodgson, while on a voyage, once met with a serious accident which
nearly cost him his life; and it was entirely owing to the effects of this
mishap that he gave up the sea and decided to become an artist. Mr.
Hodgson has provided us with the following account of what happened to him
for inclusion in our series of “Adventures of WIDE WORLD Artists.” His
ship, the barque _Her Majesty_, six hundred tons register, sailed from the
London Docks bound for the West Indies with a cargo of bricks and rice for
the prisons in Martinique.

For some weeks nothing out of the ordinary routine of life aboard ship
occurred, _Her Majesty_ bowling along with a favourable wind and making
good headway.

The north-east trades had only just been reached, however, when bad
weather was encountered, storms and squalls succeeding each other day
after day.


_From a Photograph._]

“All hands on deck,” was the order one bleak, dark night when a sudden
blustering gale arose, and Mr. Hodgson, with the rest of the crew who were
keeping their watch below, tumbled up, none too pleased at the prospect of
a night on deck instead of in their bunks.

“Jump up there, my lad, and make fast the fore-royal,” was the skipper’s
order to our artist.

“Aye, aye, sir,” he replied, as he made for the foot of the shrouds. The
gale was blowing at a terrific rate, causing the ship to plunge and roll
heavily, and Mr. Hodgson’s task would have been a dangerous one even for a
much more experienced sailor. The order had been given, however, and up he
had to go.

It was a perilous journey up into the blackness of the night, and he had
literally to feel his way rope by rope, hanging on by hands and toes. The
oscillation of the ship was so violent that he expected every moment to be
flung into the sea, while the thudding of the clewed-up sails threatened
to carry the masts overboard. Higher and higher he climbed until he
reached the top-gallant rigging, where the fury of the gale literally
pinned him to the ropes, but at length he managed to crawl out on to the
yard. The foot-ropes were shallow, making it necessary for him to kneel on
them, but once out on the yard Mr. Hodgson applied himself to the work of
securing the sail with all possible speed, a task which the pitch-darkness
of the night and the plunging of the ship rendered one of extreme
difficulty, perched as he was over a hundred feet above the level of the
deck. He had bent over to gather the madly-slatting canvas when suddenly
it bellied up over the yard and bore him irresistibly backwards with it.
In a flash he saw his danger and, with a frantic clutch, tried to grasp
the sail--missed it--and realized that he was falling! The accident had
happened so suddenly that for the moment he was unconscious of the full
extent of his peril; his brain was unable to take in the terrible
significance of what had occurred, and the situation seemed unreal--a
passing freak of the imagination that would presently be dispelled. Then
the blackness seemed to lessen slightly and, coming slowly towards him, he
could see the top-gallant yard and the men on it busy furling the sail.
Mr. Hodgson says the sensation he experienced was that of floating easily
and gently in the air; he did not seem to be actually falling. Next the
upper topsail yard appeared to pass him, brushing gently by him on its way
“up.” Then, with a vague sense of wonder, he noticed that he could make
out clearly all the details of the deck, which seemed to be rushing up
towards him with a gigantic leap. At once, as his brain cleared, the
appalling truth dawned on him that he was falling down, down, through the
darkness, and with a feeling of unutterable horror he realized that,
powerless to help himself, he must, in the course of the next few seconds,
be dashed to his death on the deck, or to an equally certain fate in the
roaring seas alongside.

The various objects now began to lose their shape and the darkness closed
in again; then came oblivion, for, mercifully, Mr. Hodgson lost
consciousness before he reached the deck.

“Poor laddie! I doot he’s gone. This will be sore news to send home.” This
remark, coming to him as though from far away, was Mr. Hodgson’s first
intimation that he was still alive. He recognised the skipper’s voice,
and, opening his eyes, discovered that he was lying on the deck,
surrounded by the entire ship’s crew, with the captain bending over him.
He was in such frightful agony, however, that he promptly fainted away
again, and did not recover consciousness for a week. He then found out
that his leg was fractured in three places, and as the ship was three
weeks’ journey from the nearest port, and there was no doctor on board,
Mr. Hodgson experienced a long period of excruciating agony, and, in fact,
thought that he was dying.


What doctoring he did get was of an exceedingly rough and ready
description, and was provided by one of the fo’c’s’le hands who had at one
time had his own leg fractured, and on the strength of this claimed to
know all about broken bones. It may have been that he was specially gifted
in this respect, or it may have been sheer luck, but he certainly made a
very fair job of it, all things considered.

Three weeks later, when _Her Majesty_ reached St. Pierre, after an
exceptionally long passage out of ninety-eight days, a medical man was
sent for at once, who was not at all satisfied with the methods of his
unprofessional rival. In fact, he announced that Mr. Hodgson would never
be able to walk again, and advised the immediate amputation of his injured
limb. Mr. Hodgson, however, decided that if he was to return home at all
he would do so as a whole man, and flatly refused his consent. Fearing
that the operation would be performed against his will, he declined, for
days together, to touch any of the food offered him, in case it should
have been “doctored” and he would wake up minus his leg. After _Her
Majesty_ had unloaded her cargo and taken another on board she sailed for
home, and Mr. Hodgson went with her, but his troubles were by no means
over, as the ship foundered in a gale and the crew took to the boats. As
may well be imagined, Mr. Hodgson, in his enfeebled state, was in no fit
condition for such an experience, and during the eight days’ journey in
open boats that followed until the island of Santa Cruz was reached his
sufferings were beyond description.

Mr. Hodgson went to sea for a year or two after his accident, but as the
unskilled treatment of his amateur doctor was not entirely successful the
bones of his leg were never properly set. Although the limb was sound
enough for all ordinary purposes it was not strong enough to stand the
continual strain of a seafaring career, and he accordingly made a fresh
start in life as an artist, with what success is well known to our

Mr. Hodgson says, “Until you have known me quite a long time you would not
think that I was any the worse for my accident,” and as he fell over a
hundred feet the wonder is that he was not killed on the spot. His escape
from death was, in fact, little short of miraculous.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Norman H. Hardy’s record of travel is certainly as extensive as that
of any artist whose work appears in the pages of THE WIDE WORLD--or of any
other magazine, for that matter. He was for seven years in Australia as
the special artist of the _Sydney Mail_, and in the course of his
wanderings has visited the South Sea Islands, New Guinea, Solomon Islands,
New Hebrides, New Britain, China, Siam, India, and Egypt. His latest trip
was on a roving commission to Central Africa during the early part of this


_From a Photograph._]

While in Australia Mr. Hardy met with some exciting experiences in
connection with the New South Wales sheep-shearing strike in 1894, one
which he will always remember as an occasion on which he was lucky to
escape with his life. The strike was brought about by the union
sheep-shearers, who objected to the employment of “free” or non-union men
who were willing to work at a lower rate of pay, and caused wild
excitement throughout New South Wales. The unionists struck work in a body
and resorted to “picketing,” threatening the free labourers with violence
if they persisted in carrying on their work. This affected many thousand
men, as in New South Wales sheep-shearing is a trade of such importance
that the welfare of the entire State was involved. To such a height did
the excitement rise that the bad feeling between the opposing factions
grew to alarming proportions, resulting in serious loss of life, and the
country rang with reports and rumours of outrages perpetrated by the
incensed unionists. The seriousness of the situation was such that the
late Sir George Dibbs, then Premier of New South Wales, issued a
proclamation in which he threatened to call out the military to quell the

Burrowang station, in New South Wales, was regarded as the stronghold of
the unionists, and it was recognised that on the turn of affairs there the
ultimate issue of the strike depended.

Mr. Hardy was accordingly dispatched to Burrowang as the special
correspondent of the _Sydney Mail_, making the journey in the company of
some forty “free” men, under the charge of a Mr. Campbell. The men were a
very mixed lot, drawn from all classes of society, and were sent out by a
non union pastoral organization to take the places of the shearers who
were on strike.

A special train had been chartered, and as, at six o’clock in the evening,
the closely-packed cars left Sydney it was evident that there was a
feeling of uneasiness among the passengers, for it was well known that the
unionists were in strong force at various points along the line. Some of
the younger men had undertaken the journey from pure love of adventure,
but the older men were mostly out-of-luck miners and shearers who were
genuinely in search of work. While on their way to Sydney a number of them
had already come into contact, at Circular Quay railway station, with some
of the unionists, and a fierce fight had ensued; this fact undoubtedly
helped to increase the alarm of the rest of the men in the train.

At Emu Plains station, where the train halted, the less resolute were
seized with an attack of panic, and had literally to be driven back into
the cars when the train was ready to start again, where they sat in gloomy
apprehension of danger as they approached nearer and nearer their

The journey from Sydney to Burrowang is made, in the ordinary course, by
train to Forbes, and thence by horse-buggies. But as at the latter place
an angry mob of unionists was awaiting the arrival of the “free
labourers’” train, it was decided to resort to strategy to avoid the risk
of an ugly fight between the two parties.

Accordingly, although, as a blind, coaches and mounted police were ordered
to meet the special train at Forbes, the driver was instructed to stop at
the small station of Droubalgie, where a second contingent of four-horsed
cars, also guarded by mounted police, were waiting to convey the men to
Burrowang, thus avoiding the unwelcome attentions of the rioters at
Forbes, whose anger, when they found they had been outwitted, speedily
brought them into conflict with the police.

The men were in a tremendous state of excitement as the train drew up at
the station, and many of them were afraid to take their seats in the
buggies; but at length, when it was seen that there were no union men in
sight, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hardy were able to induce them to take their
seats. There was scarcely room for all, and the cars were uncomfortably
crowded, but Mr. Hardy, owing to the fact that he was popularly supposed
to be a detective from Sydney, was given a box-seat. Just as they were
starting two horsemen, who turned out to be union men who had got wind of
the “blacklegs’” arrival, appeared on the scene. They tried hard to induce
the “free” men to join them, but without success, and finally galloped off
to Forbes, after having announced their intention of informing the waiting
crowds of the arrival of the train at Droubalgie and bringing them in
pursuit. The buggies containing Mr. Hardy’s party thereupon started off
with all speed, led by the mounted police. The going was bad, frequently
over long stretches of quagmire and marsh land, occasional stoppages being
necessary when one or other of the coaches became bogged, sinking
axle-deep in the mud and requiring terrific exertion to move it.


_From a Photograph._]

Another uncomfortable night was spent in the bush, the men camping out by
the side of the coaches, strict silence being enforced in order not to
attract the attention of the unionists. Following an early and meagre
breakfast a start was made, and after a journey of some hours the men
became easier in their minds, as it was thought that the pursuit had been
abandoned. Soon after, however, as the coaches emerged from a belt of
timber and scrub into open ground, it was seen that a number of unionists
were waiting for them. The strikers were all mounted and at once charged,
yelling fiercely, and started pelting the coaches with stones. It looked
as though there was bound to be serious trouble, but the mounted police,
with characteristic promptitude, drew their carbines and prepared to open

The attitude of the troopers had its effect on the strikers, who, after a
slight show of resistance, drew off and allowed the coaches to proceed on
their way. Some few of them, however, had managed to get to close
quarters, and hard knocks were exchanged, resulting in injuries to both
sides, happily none of them severe.

As it turned out, this was the only real excitement that occurred during
the journey, and a few hours later Mr. Hardy and the rest of the party
made their entry into Burrowang.

A meeting was at once held at which both sides were well represented, Mr.
Hardy attending in the ranks of the non-unionists. The conference provoked
a considerable amount of bad feeling, and was broken up in wild disorder
by the strikers when they found they could not induce the new arrivals to
join them. The presence of the police, however, prevented any serious
fighting, only one man being badly injured.


_From a Photograph._]

Mr. Hardy soon discovered that he was a marked man, as it was thought that
he was either a detective or else an official of the non-unionist
organization, and for the next few days it was only by seeking police
protection that he avoided bodily harm at the hands of the mob. The whole
place was in a suppressed state of excitement owing to the attitude of the
strikers, who, it was evident, were liable to break out at any moment, and
neither life nor property was regarded as safe. Several attempts were made
to burn down the wool-sheds, but happily they were in every case
discovered before serious damage was done. Under police supervision the
new men started work, but it was at once apparent that they were, in most
cases, absolutely unfitted for the work of sheep-shearing, and as the
season was by now well advanced skilled labour was soon at a premium. The
situation was critical, and at length the union men were approached and
asked to resume work at their own terms. This offer they unanimously
refused unless every “free” man was discharged.

At length, having treated the strike from every possible point of view,
Mr. Hardy decided to return to Sydney, and accordingly booked his place on
the next mail-coach running to Forbes, as it was not possible to get a
conveyance to Droubalgie on his way back. The strike was still at its
height, and the route to Forbes and that town itself were strongly held by
the unionists. Mr. Hardy was prepared for an exciting journey, as all
coaches were subjected to the closest scrutiny, and he himself was
suspected of non-unionist sympathies.

When the Forbes coach drew up at Burrowang for the mails, and the coachman
discovered that he was to have as a passenger Mr. Hardy, who had taken an
active part in the strike, he was in an exceedingly perturbed state of
mind. In spite of his fears, however, the start was made quietly enough.

The day’s journey through bush and scrub proved uneventful, and towards
evening the coach drew up at a small bush station, where a halt was made
for the night.

In the morning three more passengers put in an appearance--all non-union
men--and also a new driver, who was to take the reins as far as Forbes,
where, the latest report had it, the strikers were in an extremely
dangerous mood. The new driver, when he had taken stock of his passengers,
appeared to be even more terror-stricken than his predecessor. He warned
them that there was likely to be serious trouble, as the only practicable
road took them close to the unionist camp just outside Forbes. He was
also particularly anxious to know whether any of the party possessed
unionist passes. These were simply small scraps of paper scrawled over in
a peculiar manner in blue pencil; but, as they enabled their holders to
pass through the camps without molestation, they were extremely useful,
and Mr. Hardy remembered with regret that he had been offered one at
Burrowang. Attaching little importance to the offer at the time, however,
he had declined it.

As the coach neared Forbes two mounted union men were seen, who on the
approach of the vehicle at once turned about and galloped back, with the
object, it was thought, of informing the strikers of its arrival. Their
action proved too much for two of the passengers, who promptly insisted on
being put down. The journey was then resumed with Mr. Hardy and the driver
on the box, and the remaining passenger inside, cowering under the seat.

As the camp came in sight an outburst of shouting gave ample proof of the
hostile attitude of the strikers, a number of whom at once made a rush to
meet the coach.

A short distance along the road was a bridge spanning a small creek, and
at this point a strong guard of strikers was posted to hold up all
traffic. On previous occasions their method of procedure had been to haul
out any passengers who were without passes, rob them of everything they
possessed, and, after treating them with the utmost brutality, set them to
work in a menial capacity about the camp. The driver of the coach, when he
found that he was in actual danger, plucked up his courage and, lashing
his horses into a gallop, made a dash for the bridge at a furious pace.

Mr. Hardy was immediately recognised by the foremost of the strikers, who,
with hoarse cries of rage, shouted to the men on the bridge to stop the
coach at all costs.

The terrific rate at which the horses were travelling showed plainly that
it was the driver’s intention to ride down any opposition, and this action
provoked such an outburst of fury among the mob that it was perfectly
clear that if they did manage to stop the coach both he and Mr. Hardy,
even if they escaped with their lives, would be treated with savage

Mr. Hardy’s presence on the coach--it will be remembered that the men
suspected him of being a detective--had the same effect on the strikers as
a red rag on a bull, and with an ungovernable fury of rage and at imminent
risk of their lives they literally hurled themselves at the horses’ heads,
meanwhile calling on the driver, with the vilest imprecations, to halt.

By way of reply the Jehu applied the whip to his team still more
vigorously, yelling at the same time at the top of his voice that anyone
who dared to stop the Royal Mail would get ten years for his trouble. His
threat, however, was ignored, and presently the sharp crack of a revolver
rang out. Mr. Hardy felt a bullet whiz past his head, missing him by
inches. The shot was followed the next instant by another, and it was only
the celerity with which he ducked down to avoid the bullet that saved his

The sound of the firing caused the frightened horses to rear and kick,
knocking down the men who had seized their bridles and almost stopping the

The check, however, was only momentary, and as the horses plunged forward
again some of the more excited strikers, who, with wild curses, had
endeavoured to climb the side of the coach to get at Mr. Hardy, were flung
back into the roadway.

The panic-stricken horses in their mad struggles had dragged the coach
across the road, and nearly over the side of the bridge into the creek
below, but the driver, applying his whip freely, soon had his team under
control again, and, scattering the crowd to right and left, the flying
coach crossed the bridge, followed by a volley of sticks, bottles, and
stones. Mr. Hardy, crouching low over the seat, was struck with such
violence by a brick on the left shoulder that he at first thought it was
fractured, but happily he escaped further injury. With the horses maddened
and excited, the coach dashed at a furious pace along the short stretch of
road to Forbes, where it drew up at a small hotel. The coachman was white
to the lips from the strain, and the inside passenger alighted trembling
with fright, while Mr. Hardy confesses that he felt more than a little

A large crowd soon collected, anxious to learn the cause of the
excitement, and the hotel-keeper, when he heard the driver’s story,
promptly dragged Mr. Hardy indoors, telling him, if he valued his life, to
keep out of sight. The presence of the police prevented an attack being
made on the place, and when things had quietened down a little our artist
was able to slip out unnoticed. After another coach ride, this time a
peaceful one, he made his way back by rail to Sydney.

In the end the unionists gained the day at Burrowang, going back to work
on their own terms, and thus virtually ending the strike throughout New
South Wales.


       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Inglis Sheldon-Williams is an artist with a grievance. He complains
that, although he has travelled a great deal and roughed it in various
parts of the world--and for so young a man his record is remarkable--he
has not met with a single first-class adventure of a really hair-raising
nature. That he ought to have done so is an obvious fact, he says, and,
indeed, on several occasions he has been perilously near as much
excitement as would last any man a lifetime. In fact, it may be said that
he has been out looking for trouble most of his life, and he is to be
accounted lucky in that he has never found it.

Early in his career he emigrated to Canada, where for some years he lived
the rough-and-tumble life and endured the manifold hardships that fall to
the lot of a farmer in the back-woods. At the call of art, however, he
returned to England to study, but with the longing for adventure strong
upon him he later enlisted in the Imperial Yeomanry and took part in the
South African Campaign, where he saw some considerable amount of fighting.

When the war between Japan and Russia broke out, Mr. Sheldon-Williams was
early in the field as the special artist for the _Sphere_, and was in
China and Manchuria during the earlier stages of the campaign. He has
also visited India and attended the Durbar.


_From a Photograph._]

On numerous occasions he has congratulated himself that he was at last
placed in a critical situation, only to finish up with an anti-climax.

When he was in Canada, for instance, he lost himself on the prairie while
in charge of a team of oxen. A terrific blizzard came on, and, as the snow
was absolutely blinding and the temperature many degrees below
freezing-point, all sorts of unpleasant things might easily have happened.
Mr. Sheldon-Williams had visions of wandering about for days in the snow,
starving and frostbitten, with a mere possibility of rescue when he was in
the last stages of exhaustion. But although _he_ was lost, his oxen were
not, and they took him safely home.

On another occasion he attempted to rescue a duck from the depths of a
well, but fell in himself--into sixteen feet of water. Any other man
placed in this situation would have been drowned without any bother at
all. But Mr. Sheldon-Williams had not been in the water more than a few
minutes before he was discovered and hauled out by the united efforts of
his mother and sister.

It was just the same in South Africa--no luck at all, simply a lot of
dramatic situations which fizzled out miserably. On one occasion Mr.
Sheldon-Williams’s company occupied a farm-house near Johannesburg, and
the very night on which he was absent, having ridden into town to deposit
some money in the bank, was the one selected by the Boers to attack the
place. His bed was close up against a window through which the Boers fired
volley after volley. Had Mr. Sheldon-Williams occupied it as usual, he
would undoubtedly have been shot!

On another occasion he got leave of absence from a patrol, as the
neighbourhood was supposed to be clear of the enemy, in order to do some
sketching. The patrol was, of course, ambushed, and the man who took his
place shot dead.

Another piece of particularly bad luck occurred when Mr.
Sheldon-Williams’s troop was attacking Klip River Kopje. The Boers had
actually been seen on the ridge, and in the morning he was one of the men
selected for scouting purposes. As he rode up the hill it certainly looked
as though he had a fine chance of figuring in the next list of killed and
wounded. But, as Mr. Sheldon-Williams says, “It was not my fault that the
Boers had left overnight!”

At Diamond Hill it was just the same. A mere handful of Yeomanry, Mr.
Sheldon-Williams among them, held an exposed position throughout the night
in the face of the enemy, determined to do or die. As it happened they did
neither, for the next day they were told that there had been an armistice
on all the time.

Before Pretoria Mr. Sheldon-Williams was in the firing-line, which was
strung out on the left of the advance. The Boer shell-fire had set the
grass alight, depriving them of anything like adequate cover, and in the
open the rifle-fire from the Boers was nothing more or less than a leaden
hailstorm, but he was not even wounded. Presently the order to withdraw
was given, but, having fallen asleep, he failed to notice it, and was the
last man to leave. As he thus offered himself as a suitable target for a
little individual sniping, a Boer marksman took careful aim at him and
fired. He was a remarkably good shot, but, needless to say, he missed Mr.
Sheldon-Williams, who at that precise moment stooped down to pick up a
discarded rifle, the bullet passing close over his head! All things
considered, therefore, Mr. Sheldon-Williams has certainly received
exceptional treatment at the hands of Dame Fortune, but so long as she
continues to serve him in the same way it is difficult to see that he has
any just cause for complaint.

_Hunting the Hippopotamus._


    The hippopotamus--that enormous pachydermatous creature whose shape
    reminds us of the antediluvian monsters--was formerly met with over
    a large part of Africa, but it has been so pitilessly pursued by
    hunters that it is every day becoming scarcer and scarcer. Within a
    hundred years, perhaps, the hippopotamus will be numbered among the
    vanished curiosities of the animal world. In this article a French
    sportsman describes his exciting experiences while in quest of
    “river horses,” and furnishes a number of very impressive


_From a Photograph._]

Not many months ago the habitués of the Jardin des Plantes, the Paris
“Zoo,” were much astonished to notice that one of their favourites--Jack,
the hippopotamus--displayed signs of unwonted irritation. The change in
the animal’s temper had been quite sudden. Hitherto Jack had been
extraordinarily docile; now, whenever it became necessary to make him
change his quarters, either for the purpose of cleaning the cage or to
show him off to better advantage to visitors, he yielded with manifest

Then there came a day when the keeper in whose charge Jack had been for a
great number of years found it quite impossible to induce the animal to
leave his bath for the open enclosure, beyond the bars of which a score or
two of nurses and children were eagerly waiting to feast their eyes upon
him. The more insistent the keeper grew, the more did it become evident
that the great, unwieldy beast was determined to try conclusions with its
human tormentor. On his side the keeper was equally obstinate, but
blandishment being clearly of no avail he resorted to more convincing

Poor fellow, he little realized his danger! To the unutterable horror of
those present the animal’s enormous jaws suddenly flew apart, disclosing a
cavernous mouth and throat. By the time those jaws had closed again the
unfortunate keeper had ceased to be numbered among the living!

Appeased, apparently, by this act of savage ferocity, Jack has since been
as docile as he ever was. His diminutive, befogged brain had, no doubt,
suddenly shown him, as in the mirage of fever, some dimly recognisable
vision of the luxuriant African landscapes he was eternally severed from.
He may--who knows?--have thought of other creatures like himself, lazily
enjoying existence in sun-warmed, muddy streams, browsing at will on
unspeakably luscious herbage. Then, perhaps, an illuminating flash of
lightning rage showed him instantaneously the long tale of wrongs
inflicted upon his dull-witted race by the white man. Because his ivory is
finer-grained than that of the elephant and because it does not so easily
become yellow, because his hide--cut into narrow strips--makes
superexcellent sticks, not an instant’s respite from persecution is
accorded to the poor “river horse.” Pitilessly is he harried and
massacred, the hunter’s rifle vomiting forth a constant stream of
bullets--“dum-dum,” explosive, or steel-pointed--to pierce the massive,
narrow skull.

As a consequence of this ceaseless warfare the rivers are so rapidly
becoming depopulated that the day cannot be far distant when, like the
American buffalo, the African hippopotamus will be nothing but a memory.
Possibly the domesticated “dark continent” of to-morrow will piously
preserve in some park, national or international, a model herd of the only
surviving representatives of this once prolific race. Learned men will
then bring forward convincing arguments to prove the propriety of
favouring the propagation of such useful animals; but the useful animals
themselves, wearied out by the last years of their persecuted existence,
will probably refuse to breed. Already the hippopotamus is scarce enough
to make us realize some of the good that is in him. The knowledge has come
too late; the “river horse,” it seems, is doomed to disappear. Under these
circumstances, perhaps, the recital of my own recent experiences while
hunting hippopotami may be found of interest.

To the African traveller the hippopotamus is a species of game
particularly desirable, for its ivory and its hide are both valuable,
while the not inconsiderable danger involved in its pursuit provides the
delicious emotion without which every kind of hunting is tame and insipid.
Moreover, the obligation under which the leader of the expedition lies to
feed his servants and carriers adequately makes one of these enormous
beasts, twelve feet long or so and disproportionately wide, a perfect
godsend. Not only does the hippopotamus furnish a formidable amount of
meat, but that meat has the inestimable merit of keeping fresh much longer
than any other, principally owing to the fact that flies seem to have an
insurmountable horror for it. I must admit that for a long time I
thoroughly sympathized with the flies! Alive, the hippopotamus has a very
peculiar odour, somewhat resembling musk, which discloses the presence of
the animal from afar, when he happens to be to windward of one. In the
flesh of the dead animal this odour--or the taste of it, rather--persists,
and is much appreciated by the natives, though Europeans take a long time
to get accustomed to it; some are never able to support it.

Once, when I was in the neighbourhood of the Chari River, my men informed
me that a herd of hippopotami were in possession of a series of ponds not
far from our camp. I immediately marched in their direction. As we
approached the water we heard the trumpeting of the leader of the herd,
and almost simultaneously caught sight of him. Erect on a small bank, his
formidable mouth widely opened, he was uttering that characteristic
neighing sound in which there are notes that remind one both of the lowing
of a cow and the roar of a lion. On the surface of the ponds, moving
quickly from place to place, were to be seen what appeared to be large
balks of some kind of dark wood; these were the muzzles of the remaining
members of the herd.

I succeeded in getting round the water unobserved to a spot where I was
concealed from the animals by a small islet which occupied the middle of
the pond. To this island I transported myself by means of a small and
primitive canoe, which two of my men had brought on the chance of its
being required.

By this time the old male had taken to the water again. The whole herd
were now vaguely alarmed, for from my place of ambush I could obtain only
fleeting glimpses every now and then of a muzzle momentarily showing
itself on the surface of the water--just long enough for the animal to
take breath--and then disappearing.

After waiting some time I grew impatient and began to salute each of these
distant apparitions with a shot from my Express rifle. Nothing, however,
is so deceptive as to shoot across water, especially when situated, as I
then was, facing the sun; and I was not successful in lodging even one
bullet in the targets I aimed at.

I then made up my mind to lie low for such time as might be necessary to
reassure the animals. I had to wait some considerable time--certainly more
than an hour; but finally my patience was rewarded. The old male, still
swimming, was actually coming in my direction. His head, carried well
clear of the water, presented a marvellous target at a distance of about
twenty-five feet from me--a regular tyro’s shot. And yet something or
other made my hand tremble, and as I pulled the trigger I realized that I
had missed!

I also realized more than this. In order to make the effect of the ball
the surer I had employed my largest gun, and I had given it a full
elephant charge. The shock of the recoil was so tremendous that I was
thrown on my back several paces away, with a feeling as if my shoulder had
been put out of joint. When I got on my feet once more all the natives
were shrieking with laughter, for this misadventure to their white master
appeared to them highly diverting.


_From a Photograph._]

Meanwhile, in the pond a terrible scene was in progress. Maddened with
rage and pain, the old hippopotamus was swimming furiously, first in one
direction, then in another. Now he would mount on a sandbank, now plunge
with a tremendous splash into the water, which was reddened with his
blood. He was seeking an enemy on whom he might be avenged, and blindly
pursued his fellows under the water. The ball had struck him in the chest,
whereas the only immediately vital spot in the hippopotamus is situated
just beneath the eye, the ball thence penetrating the brain. My bullet,
though it had not killed him outright, must have caused terrible internal
injuries, for very soon I saw him turn completely over several times,
displaying successively above the surface of the water his head and his
feet. Then, all at once, he sank and did not again reappear.


_From a Photograph._]


_From a Photograph._]

A dead hippopotamus invariably sinks to the bottom, and it is only after
an interval which varies between two and eight hours that the body rises
and floats on the surface. For this reason, if you kill a hippopotamus in
a river the current of which is at all rapid, you must, in nine cases out
of ten, give up all hope of ever recovering your quarry. The carcass may
be carried a great distance under the water, reappearing at the surface
miles away, where it furnishes a providential feast to the native
inhabitants on the banks, who call down ironical blessings upon the
infallible rifle of the white man.

In the present instance there was no necessity for me to trouble about the
carcass, which by the following morning, if not that very evening, I knew
I should find floating placidly on the surface, waiting to be hauled
ashore. In any case it would have been sheer madness to try to recover it
at that moment, as the pond was infested with crocodiles.


_From a Photograph._]

That day every member of the unfortunate herd--there were six in all--fell
a prey to my rifle; the massacre occupied about two hours in all. When I
returned on the morrow half-a-dozen enormous carcasses lay stretched out
among the aquatic herbs, some floating on the surface of the water, others
stranded on the banks.

It was not without difficulty that I persuaded my men to carry out the
ropes necessary for hauling in the carcasses that were out of reach, the
pond, as I have said, being full of crocodiles. One of their number,
however, at last volunteered to do the job. While he was engaged in his
somewhat perilous undertaking the rest of the natives set up a chorus of
the most atrocious howling it is possible to imagine, meanwhile thrashing
the surface of the water, creating by one means and another so discordant
a concert that the saurians, terrified no doubt out of their wits, must
have sought refuge in the most hidden depths, for we saw nothing of them.

To cut up a hippopotamus is no easy task. In some places the hide is
almost two and a half inches thick, and before you have got through a
hand’s-breadth your knife has completely lost its edge, and requires to be
resharpened. The head and the feet are put on one side to be preserved as
trophies of the chase, while the remainder of the flesh is cut into long,
thin strips which, after they have been dried by hanging them on the
tree-branches, will keep good for a very long time. The ivory of the teeth
and tusks, which is of very fine quality, used to be employed almost
exclusively in the manufacture of false teeth; nowadays it is turned to
all the purposes of ordinary ivory.

As for the hide, cut into strips it is made into sticks, which are as good
defensive weapons as one could wish to possess. Treated with oil they
become as transparent as tortoiseshell, and look quite pretty. Out of
hippopotamus-hide bullock-drivers likewise make thongs for their whips
which are positively everlasting, and fetch, relatively speaking, quite a
good price.

In this particular expedition the only trouble I had was that involved in
shooting the animals. Things do not always go off so smoothly, however,
and hunting hippopotamus may turn out to be a more dangerous sport than
almost any other.

On one occasion, when we were descending the course of the Chari in
canoes, we perceived a number of the great beasts in the river, playing
some clumsy sort of game among themselves and throwing up in the air jets
of water, somewhat similar to those ejected by whales through their
blow-holes. We could distinctly hear the animals’ powerful breathing.

Carried away by the nearness of the game, I forgot entirely how dangerous
the pursuit of the hippopotamus may become when the hunter is in a boat.

Meanwhile we were advancing steadily, and every time a huge frontal bone
or a giant muzzle appeared above the level of the water I pulled trigger.
There were frequently quite long intervals, for the hippopotamus is able
to remain over three minutes under water without coming up for breath.

Presently, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a female and her
little one on the river bank; then I saw her take to the water. My
attention, however, was riveted on a spot in the river where I had seen an
old male plunge. Every instant I expected him to reappear.

Suddenly, ere I fully realized what was occurring, I found myself
projected upwards in the air with incredible violence. Before I descended
I had time to see a gigantic jaw open wide, and then close with a snap on
the unfortunate canoe which followed mine. An instant later I was in the
water, striking out madly for the bank, almost persuaded that I felt the
sharp teeth of a crocodile nipping off a thigh or an arm. I was fortunate
enough to reach the shore, however, without mishap. Then we called over
the roll. At first I supposed nobody was missing, but we soon perceived
that our number was one short. We never saw the poor fellow again.
Doubtless he had been injured when the jaws of the hippopotamus closed
over his canoe, and was thus unable to reach the bank. At that moment,
probably, a crocodile was devouring his body at the bottom of the river.

By dint of a few questions I was able to piece together what had happened.
The female, thinking to defend her young, had thrown herself upon the
canoe behind mine, and almost simultaneously the old male had emerged from
the water with irresistible violence beneath my own craft, pitching me
upwards. It was a very narrow escape, all things considered, and I can
assure you that, for the rest of that day at least, we left the poor
“river horses” in peace.

The Tale the Doctor Told.



    Concerning this narrative, Mr. Wood writes: “I was a boy at the
    time, living with my parents on the plains, the nearest point of
    civilization being Fort Hayes, now Hayes City, Kansas. The doctor
    had occasion to ride out to our place, and told us of his adventure,
    and the sequel, much as I have set it down.”

It was Christmas Eve.

“Hear that wind?” said Dr. McDonnell. “It sounds like a pack of wolves,
the way it howls; and the snow means to keep on coming.”

“Yes, and stayin’,” answered the cow-puncher, nodding gravely at the

“Not a nice night to go walking,” ventured the tenderfoot; “in fact, I
think I’d rather be here. It’d take a bit to get me out--and Christmas
Eve, too. As you say, doctor, the wind _does_ sound like wolves; and no
doubt if one were out they’d find the wolves--or the wolves find them.”

“No doubt whatever, young feller,” remarked the puncher, dryly. “Wolves
_are_ out this weather for grub; and when they’re out for grub they’re out
on a business trip, dead sure.”

The doctor bit the end off a fresh cigar.

“Do you boys want a story?” said he.

“Go ahead, doc,” replied the cow-puncher, proffering a match. And the
doctor, after lighting up, went ahead to the following effect.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, boys, it’s a long time ago now--a Christmas Eve, too--way back in
the ’seventies, when things on the prairies were very different. It was
usual in those days to get a brush with the Utes or the Cheyennes pretty
regularly once or twice a month.

The twenty-third of December was a bright, sunny day, with not more than
three or four inches of snow on the plains. Over the thin snow-crust
galloped Jimmie Dink--“Darky Dink” we called him, because of his swarthy
hair and skin.

“Doc,” said he, pulling his broncho up short before me, “Wolfie Jim’s
about done. Can’t you go to him? He’s ’most busted up.”

Poor old Wolfie! I knew why.

Some time previously he had run in among his dogs, which were attacking a
timber wolf they had turned up on the creek bank. He intended to knife it,
as he had done many a time before, but the old fellow, maybe, was not so
agile as formerly, and things had gone a bit wrong. Anyhow, he’d knifed
the wolf all right, but the wolf bit his foot badly, and Wolfie doctored
it in his own peculiar manner with unlimited bad whisky, taken both
outside and in. Well, the foot didn’t heal, and Wolfie couldn’t understand

He was one of the old fur-cap-and-buckskin-shirt trappers who never
consulted even a medicine-man, let alone a white doctor. I’d stopped at
his shack once or twice and got a liking for the quaint old fellow, so I
told Darky to get one of the boys to put a saddle on my old horse Pete
while I got my “murder-bag,” as they called my medicine outfit, and was
soon ready for Wolfie and his trouble.

Away loped Pete over the beautiful glistening prairie; I could have found
my way to Wolfie’s with my eyes shut.

It occurred to me soon that I was foolish not to have brought a heavier
overcoat, but I knew if I didn’t start on my return journey before sundown
I could either stay with old Wolf or borrow something to make me warm;
besides, although it was December, it was one of those prairie days that
would almost fool a wise man into the belief that it was spring.

I shall never forget the shock I received as I pushed the door of the
little hut open. I had started with my case full of all I thought I
should want--even to vitriol, in case of a last resource. But Wolfie was
beyond my skill. He lay stretched out on his blankets, dead, with his two
dead hounds beside him. There was a half-empty bottle in his left hand and
a big six-shooter in his right. There were three cartridges in the
revolver and three empty shells. The old man and both hounds had each been
killed with a bullet through the head.


I examined the injured foot and understood the whole thing.

Wolfie had doctored himself, but the wound had got worse and worse, and at
last the old fellow, in awful, never-ending pain, had drunk himself
half-dead and completed the work with his trigger finger.

Meanwhile the weather had been growing gradually colder, and the wind
started to moan as I fastened the door from the outside, after quitting
that abode of death. The sky, too, was rapidly darkening, and Pete shook
his head up and down and stamped uneasily.

Mounting, I rode off; but I had not been going long when, away in the
distance, I heard the dismal, long-drawn howl of a prairie wolf, then
another, and another. Not till that moment did it flash upon me what an
all-round fool I was.

I had brought no revolver with me. It had started to snow, evening was
drawing in, and there were those gaunt brutes in the distance--yet I had
no protection against either the weather or the wolves. I touched up old
Pete, and we started to travel fast for home.

We had not gone more than a mile farther before a real, genuine blizzard
sprang up. How it came down! Waves, absolute waves of snow, whirred, cut,
and beat about my face, while the wind howled and shrieked dismally.

Then I did the worst, most foolish thing a man could have done. I tried to
guide old Pete! I steered him, and, though Pete knew better, he obeyed;
and so, between a good old horse and a fool of a young man, we made a fine
mess of it. We got lost, tangled up, with the snow whirling about us in
sheets. Every minute it got deeper and thicker, and at last poor old Pete
staggered, tried vainly to right himself, fell over, and collapsed.

Try as I would I couldn’t get him up, and--well, I fear I lost my nerve,
what with the blinding snow and the distant howl of those wretched wolves.

As the snow beat down upon me, piling up pitilessly over the now
stiffening form of the poor old horse, I thought it time to move on. To
stay where I was meant being frozen to death, to go on might mean the
same; but there was just a chance, and I stumbled forward and took the

Heaven only knows how long I ploughed and pushed through those awful
snow-drifts with the falling flakes eddying about me in clouds; I lost all
account of time. I went stumbling blindly forward until I seemed not to be
myself, but just some machine without feeling or hope, mechanically
pulling one foot before the other, and groping through the freezing dark.

I was just beginning to experience a drowsy, comfortable feeling,
when--bump!--the little sense left in me was nearly knocked out as my head
struck against something hard.

That deadly, comfortable feeling left me at once. I felt about in the
darkness and touched boards. It was a cabin! With my half-frozen hands I
hammered at the woodwork, and I shall never forget my feelings as a door
opened and I was pulled in out of the storm, the door banging to behind

I couldn’t speak for a minute, and my eyes were blurred coming in from the
darkness and snow, but when they got accustomed to what little light there
was I didn’t feel I wanted to say much.

Before me was a giant. He must have stood a good six-foot-six, but all I
could see of his face was his eyes. He was masked in what was called in
those days a “storm-cap,” which completely hid the face of the wearer,
showing only the eyes. A long, heavy overcoat, with collar upturned,
reached to his ankles.

“Having arrived here, stranger,” he remarked, in an unpleasant, metallic
sort of voice, with a half laugh, “and it now being near Christmas Eve,
I’d be interested in knowing how you managed to bump up against this

This was not the sort of greeting one would have expected under the
circumstances, and the man’s language did not smack of the prairie, but I
was too weak after my exertions and too thankful to be out of the storm to
notice trifles, and so I told him as briefly as possible that I was lost,
and should be grateful if he would give me shelter for the night.

“Shelter?” said he. “Shelter? Yes, why not? All the shelter a man could
want. I wouldn’t turn a dog out such a night like this. Yes, stranger, you
can sleep here to-night, nice and quiet. I’ve nothing to give you to eat,
but there’s whisky here. Being nearly Christmas Eve, drink up, and
then--_go_ up!”

As he spoke he poured whisky from a demi-john into two tin mugs and picked
up a lantern. Then, for the first time, I saw there was a rough ladder, up
which he went to a room above.

Now all shacks, dug-outs, and cabins I had seen hitherto were of only one
storey. There was something uncanny about the man and the place, and tired
and knocked up as I was I did _not_ drink the whisky; I just wetted my
lips with it as my host’s feet clumped around above, and ere he descended
I carefully poured the contents of the tin cup into the ramshackle stove.

“Now, up you go and sleep the sleep you’ve asked for,” said he, when he
came down. “A merry Christmas to you!” With that he tossed off his whisky
at a gulp.

Up I went through the rough opening; it was not a trap-door, for there was
no flap to shut down. I found myself in a kind of loft, in which was a
wooden apology for a bed, heaped over with some evil-smelling blankets.
All this I saw by the light of a guttering candle stuck in the neck of a
cracked bottle. Though I was very, very weary, all thoughts of going to
sleep went out of my head. I distrusted that sinister-looking fellow

Pulling my flask from my pocket, I look a long drink, and the neat spirit
gradually warmed me. Then I sat down in the semi-darkness to think.

Suddenly an inspiration came to me. Taking out my medicine-case I quickly
charged a syringe with whisky. This frail thing, in case of attack, was my
only weapon, with the exception of the cracked bottle holding the candle.

As I crouched there in the attic there came crowding into my memory
stories of lonely travellers lost on these plains who had left not even a
button to tell how or where they had gone. There had been talk during the
last month of at least three men, settlers near the Fort, who had
mysteriously vanished, leaving not the faintest clue to their whereabouts.
At first their disappearance had been put down to raiding parties of Utes,
but careful scouting by some of the best men disproved this theory.

Why should these thoughts come to me now? I asked myself, uneasily. Could
that villainous-looking giant below have had anything to do with the
disappearances? Lying prone, I peered cautiously through the trap,
striving to see what was going on below. Indistinctly I saw the big man
fill his tin cup three times and drain it off, muttering the while. Then,
struck by a sudden inspiration, I went back to the bed, pulled off my
coats, and heaped them up in a bundle on the bed to resemble as much as
possible a sleeping form. Next I took off my boots and hat and placed them
also in such a position, partly covered with the blankets, as to suggest
the idea that, worn out with fatigue, I had thrown myself down to sleep
fully clothed. Then I blew out the light and, keeping the bottle in my
hand, crept again to the opening by the ladder head.

What I saw made my blood, which was chilly already, go colder yet.

The big man was taking off his overcoat. He threw it to the floor, and
from his waist detached a belt from which dangled a heavy revolver and a
long bowie-knife. The latter he drew from its sheath, running his thumb
caressingly along the edge; then he laid it on the table.

Crossing the room he returned with an iron bar about three feet long. I
heard it ring as he dumped it down on the table near the knife.

Then, tossing off more whisky--this time from the demi-john--he snatched
up the bar and lantern and unsteadily approached the ladder. So my
half-formed suspicions were correct; he meant to murder me!

With my heart beating like a sledge-hammer, I silently crouched behind the

Never, if I live to be a hundred, shall I forget the next few minutes. He
emerged through the opening, tiptoed to the bed, swung up the bar, and
with a dull thwack brought it down just where my head might have lain.
Again and yet again he thrashed and beat the tumbled clothes. Then, as he
paused, from my place of concealment I squirted the whisky from the
syringe straight into his eyes. Dropping the bar, he staggered and rubbed
at his eyes, swearing horribly. As he reeled, half blinded, I sprang up
and brought the bottle down with all my strength on his head, at the same
time giving him a sideways push that sent him crashing through the opening
to the floor below.


I was trembling in every limb with excitement, but I managed to get my
boots, hat, and coats on.

Then I cautiously descended. I had no doubt that the fall had killed him,
but I felt no pity; it was either his life or mine. Greatly to my
surprise, however, the giant was still breathing. He lay huddled up at the
ladder-foot, with blood on and about him. I tied his hands with a rope,
and then, turning him on his chest, cut away the back part of his flannel
shirt collar with his own villainous bowie-knife. Next, taking the small
phial of vitriol from my case, I spilt a few drops on the back of his bare
neck. The awful burning partly restored his senses, and he moaned. I had
no compunction, but proceeded to tear the visored cap from his head.

I have never seen such a fiendish face in all my wanderings! The lower
part was covered with a thick jet-black beard and moustache, but the face,
taken altogether, was that of a murderer--the most horrible,
wolfish-looking visage I have ever gazed on. Like a cornered wolf, even as
he slowly revived he struggled and snapped to break the cords that bound
him, cursing savagely in his semi-drunken frenzy.

Many a man would have shot him out of hand with his own weapon; but I
could not bring myself to that. I had left an indelible mark on him,
however, that he would carry with him to the grave, and should we ever
meet again there could be no disguising those awful eyes and his enormous
proportions. But, unless I killed or disabled him, it was obviously unsafe
to remain in the cabin. The storm had now ceased, so taking the villain’s
revolver, and leaving him struggling to unfasten his bonds, I set out to
try to find my way to the Fort, hoping against hope that I should soon
sight some familiar landmark.

How long I blundered over the snow before I lost consciousness I do not
know, but I remember it flashed upon me once that this was the dawn of
Christmas Eve! Then I felt myself getting drowsier and drowsier.

When I recovered my senses it had to be explained to me how I came to be
in bed back at my old quarters at Fort Hayes, minus two toes, which I had
bequeathed to “Jack Frost” during my stroll over the snow-clad prairies.

A merciful Providence and three friendly Utes had found me and brought me
in. If it had not been for Black Cloud, one of the three Indians, and a
pretty big chief in his way, this story would never have been told. He was
the means of saving my life, and I thankfully presented him with the big
revolver I had taken from the rascal at the hut.

Guided by Black Cloud, some of the boys and scouts a few days later
located the spot where the Indians had found me unconscious, slowly
freezing to death. From there they hunted in all directions, and at last
found the two-storeyed hut--empty.

It was miles from the way I ought to have taken when I left the trapper’s
shack, which showed that trying to guide my poor old horse was the worst
thing I could have done.

Later, when the weather broke and I was able to get about, I got two of
the boys to ride over to the hut with me.

My tale had sent search-parties scouring the countryside to try to run the
would-be murderer down, but they never got him. What made the settlers and
the sheriff more than keen to catch him was the gruesome discovery the two
scouts and I made at the hut--three male skeletons, with their skulls
smashed in, roughly buried in the earth! I thought of the iron bar and
shuddered at my narrow escape.

Three years after I happened to stroll into a crowded court-house in San
Jaleta, Southern Texas. A man was on trial for the murder of a lonely
rancher, and seemed likely to be acquitted, for the evidence was too
slight to convict him. There was no doubt that the motive of the crime had
been robbery; and there was no doubt, when I’d had a good look at the
prisoner, as to who he was. He was clean-shaven now, but, nevertheless, I
remembered those awful eyes. Making my way to the front, I asked
permission to give evidence for the prosecution.

After I had told my story--although it took five men to master the
prisoner--the sheriff at last laid bare the scar on the neck where my
vitriol had branded him the night of the storm.

Some of the crowd in court were pretty well worked up over the manner in
which the lonely ranchman had been done to death, and the tale I told did
not help to calm them. That night the jail at San Jaleta was “held up” by
an armed mob, and when the sun rose it shone down on the body of a giant
dangling from a telegraph pole at the end of a lariat.

That’s my story, and every word of it is true. I am afraid it’s taken a
bit long in the telling, but I never hear the wind howling and moaning on
a Christmas Eve as it does to-night without thinking of that other
Christmas Eve on the Kansas plains so many years ago.

A White Woman in Cannibal-Land.


    Some incidents of a lady’s life in the wilds of New Guinea. Miss Ker
    went out to Papua--as the country is now called--attached to a
    mission, and describes the many strange, amusing, and exciting
    experiences she encountered during her seven years’ sojourn among
    the natives, who, not so very long ago, were always fighting and
    much addicted to cannibalism--a practice which still prevails among
    the wild tribes of the unexplored interior.


In many Papuan villages the visiting magistrates have raised one of the
chief men to the rank of local policeman, rewarding him with the princely
salary of ten shillings per annum (usually paid in tobacco) and two
uniforms. The latter consist of a neckless tunic with long sleeves, and a
strip of dark blue cloth covering the wearer from waist to knee. A flaming
red belt lends colour to the costume.

The Wedau policeman lived a peaceful life on the whole, though when an
energetic magistrate swooped suddenly down on the village the
functionary’s life was, for the time being, scarcely worth living.
Luckily, the magistrate’s little vessel could be seen directly it rounded
the cape and long before it had crossed the bay, so that there was time
for preparations. Women set frantically to work with handfuls of stiff
stalks, which served as brooms, and swept fallen leaves into heaps, which
were immediately burned. Children buzzed backwards and forwards, carrying
loads of stones and rubbish, which they threw into the swamp on the beach.
“Gabemani” (Government) had ordered it to be filled in long ago, but the
villagers preferred swarms of malaria-disseminating mosquitoes rather than
exerting themselves to do away with the cause of them.


_From a Photograph._]

The magistrate would find the village suspiciously neat and clean, and
after trying a few cases of petty theft would sail away satisfied, leaving
the policeman to distribute small portions of the tobacco he had received
and to enjoy his hard-earned rest.

Another of the officer’s duties was to make journeys into the interior and
capture murderers, when such were heard of, and convey them down the coast
to Samarai to be tried. I saw one insignificant-looking little man on his
way to jail, whom I knew to have committed a cruel murder. A white man
named Sexton, a “fossicker,” whom we had entertained at the mission
station, had gone a few miles inland in quest of gold. One day, while
seated at his midday meal, he was seized from behind and his throat cut.
It seemed that a native of the village had died while working for a white
man; therefore, in accordance with Papuan ideas of justice, the next man
of that race who came along had to be slain in revenge for the native’s

The first photograph shows a house at Wamira where I lived for seven
months soon after my arrival in Papua. The missionary for whom it was
built was going on furlough, and during her absence I was in charge there.
It was situated on the edge of a coral cliff which rose straight up out of
the sea, so that the Pacific Ocean was, so to speak, at the door. Close by
was another house, used as a dormitory for the village girls who came as
boarders to the mission. There was also a boys’ dormitory and a kitchen.
This kitchen one day caught fire and was burnt to the ground in a very
little while. I rushed in and saved the pudding from the oven, while the
pupil-teacher, a Papuan boy, brought out our tin of kerosene before it
ignited. The kitchen was the only building that suffered, and the
villagers promptly built me a new one for five shillings, labour and
materials included! From this it will be obvious that there is not much
scope for a fire-insurance agent in Papua.

My house was divided into two apartments, a bed and a sitting room, and
was built of native timber, the walls being composed of plaited coco-leaf
and the roof of grass. The floor was made of slender strips of wood laid
side by side, and, though airy, was anything but durable. It was slightly
discomposing to see a small boy enter at the doorway and then suddenly
disappear through a gap in the floor, though, having sufficient presence
of mind to spread out his arms, he was able to hold himself in that
position until someone could rescue him. For windows I had openings in the
leaf walls, closed when necessary by means of wooden shutters.

Soon after I took charge the girls became much alarmed on account of some
midnight visitor who, they said, had tried to get into their house. The
natives were inclined to think the intruder was a prowling “bariawa,” or
spirit, and there were frightened faces and hushed voices among them as
night fell. Unfortunately, I was a heavy sleeper, and was usually only
roused by the girls’ shrieks after their mysterious visitor had left. A
few of the elder boys sat up one night, but saw nothing. Some barbed wire
was sent me, and complicated and formidable entanglements were constructed
between the girls’ house and mine. Soon after they had been placed there,
however, when we were congratulating ourselves that we were safe at last,
a little village child who was playing near fell over the wire and
severely injured himself, so I had to order the entanglement to be taken
away. One of the missionaries then lent me a revolver, but I am sure I
should never have been able to use it, even on a spirit. However, I showed
it to the old chief, and published the news of my acquisition, and soon
afterwards we were relieved to find that our mysterious visitor came no

Another source of excitement at Wamira was a kind of madness which
attacked a man now and again, a state of exaltation somewhat resembling
the Malay “amok.” At first the victim only sat in the house suffering from
“heat in the heart.” Then, after muttering unintelligibly, he would seize
a handful of spears, rush out of the house, and career wildly through the
villages, flinging the spears to right and left and shouting as he ran.
Women would come shrieking to my house and take refuge inside the fence,
hoping to be safe with the “foreigner.” Once one of these half-crazed men,
exhausted after an attack, came up the path and demanded water. I gave him
some particularly nauseous medicine, which he drank greedily, afterwards
asking for more. On another occasion one of them, who had already aimed a
spear at a villager, came on to the school, where the pupil teacher and I
had our flock of fifty or sixty children. Seeing him approaching, however,
we hastily closed and barricaded the doors, standing the siege until the
old chief influenced our would-be assailant to withdraw.

When my predecessor returned to her work a somewhat similar house to the
one I have described was built for me at Wedau, where I remained for
nearly two years. Ordinary village houses are built in very much the same
style: they possess only one room, and the supporting piles are higher.
The means of access to the interior is a sloping pole. These odd
“staircases” have slight notches cut in them, which afford very slight
purchase for a shod foot, though the nimble natives run up and down them
easily enough.

While I was living at Wamira news was brought of a murder in the hills.
The girl who came to tell me said that her uncle had taken a journey there
to obtain betel-nut. On the way he heard voices and promptly hid himself.
From his place of concealment he saw two men attacking a third. One held
the victim’s arms while the other cut his throat with a “gatigati” (long
knife). As he did so the dying man cried, “Au dobu, au dobu!” (“Oh, my
home!” or, literally, village). The hidden onlooker, being a Papuan, did
not dream of interfering. His “skin trembled,” he said, and he hastily
made his way back to safety.

[Illustration: A TYPICAL PAPUAN HUT.

_From a Photograph._]

The village policeman went out to capture the miscreants, and was
successful in bringing one to punishment. The crime, it was discovered,
had been committed for a very simple reason. The dead man had been
visiting a sick friend, who was the murderer’s brother. The invalid
received every kindness from his friend, but eventually, in the course of
nature, died. Therefore, argued the murderer, it was clear that the
visitor had bewitched the sick man and caused his death, and his own life
must necessarily be forfeited.

The hill-folk generally only came into prominence through committing
murders or other crimes. Being removed from the coast, and able to hide in
many obscure caves and lurking-places, they naturally stood less in awe of
the power of Government than the coastal tribes.

One day we were visited by two hill-women who had run away from their
husbands. Their bodies were covered with hideous raised scars, the result,
they assured us, of spear-thrusts inflicted on them by their inhuman
partners. They were in much fear of being pursued, but were given shelter
for the night at Dogura, the head station on the hill behind Wedau, where
I was living.

That same evening I was startled by cries from the village. The natives
called to me to bring my lantern, and I ran down to find the place in an
uproar. The men were rushing about, searching and looking up in the trees,
while the women were huddled together, talking excitedly. I managed to
make out that the husbands of the two fugitives had traced them as far as
Wedau. One of the men had lurked outside a house in the village, and, so a
woman averred, would have speared her as she came out, thinking her to be
his missing wife. Fortunately for herself, however, she spoke, and he,
knowing her by her voice to be a Wedauan, ran off in the darkness.

The villagers searched in vain, and the tumult subsided, but rumours soon
reached us that the baffled husbands were collecting a force and intended
to visit the head station at night and carry off the recalcitrant wives by

It was not thought safe for me to sleep alone in the village, so I went up
the hill to add one more to the crowded house. Our girl boarders were
packed in dozens into the different bedrooms, having forsaken their native
dormitories for the night, and I was accommodated with a cane lounge. It
was not furnished with mosquito curtains, and I decided by morning that
even the hill men’s spears could scarcely be sharper than the bites of the
vicious insects. No invaders arrived, however, so we put the story of
their intended raid down as an idle rumour. The women stayed with us for
some weeks and then slipped away. Some months later a policeman from up
the coast told me that the brothers of one of the injured wives had taken
summary vengeance on her husband, who paid for his cruelty with his life.

We got excellent drinking water from a little stream, though care was
necessary in selecting the place from which to draw it, as the village
pigs were only too apt to bathe indiscriminately. The natives used
water-bottles made from hollowed coco-nut shells, fitted with a stopper of
twisted leaves, and carried six or seven at a time in a netted bag
suspended from the head. One of my girls, with a fine disregard for
proportion, styled them “New Guinea tanks.”


_From a Photograph._]

The natives of Papua have some very curious superstitions, giving rise to
barbarous customs. For instance, a woman gave birth to twin boys. The
mother died, and the villagers, coming to the conclusion that the infants
were accursed, decided to bury the hapless babies alive on the woman’s
grave! This terrible deed would actually have been carried out had not a
native who had come under mission influence told his teacher what was
intended before it was too late. The missionary was thus able to save the
little mites, who were taken care of by a nurse. She is seen in the
annexed photograph with “Tommy” and “Teddy” when they were a year or two
old. Other babies, for various superstitious reasons, have been killed at
birth or hung in trees to die a slow and terrible death from starvation.


_From a Photograph._]

A favourite pastime with the village boys was sailing model boats, which
were surprisingly well made. The picture at the bottom of the page shows
lads sailing their “sikunas” (schooners) at a Papuan “Serpentine,” for all
the world like youngsters at home.


_From a Photograph._]

Favourite sports, though their object was utilitarian enough, are
fish-spearing and pig-hunting. The natives are wonderfully quick in
detecting the presence of a fish under the surface, and the many-pronged
fish-spear, shooting violently downwards, is more often than not recovered
with a brightly-coloured victim impaled upon it. The snapshot above shows
a group of Papuans, spear in hand, watching for fish in the shallow

The lower picture shows a number of fishing-nets hung up to dry. These are
made, of course, by the natives themselves. The twine is woven from the
peelings of liquorice-stalks netted together, the floats are light pieces
of wood, and the sinkers are cockle shells in which holes have been bored.


_From a Photograph._]

Pig-hunting is carried out in a very thorough fashion. Stout nets are
placed across the forest paths and clearings, and one party of natives
then beat the jungle, driving the game before them, while the spearmen
wait, as seen in the photograph, for the arrival of the quarry.


_From a Photograph._]

Although stationed in a village, I often took short trips to other places,
travelling either by canoe or whale-boat. The native canoes are made of
logs, hollowed out with much labour, having an outrigger attached and a
small platform lashed between the two at either end. This the
passengers--myself and often Maebo, my little girl friend--shared with the
cargo. Canoes were of many shapes, varying according to the tribe of the
maker. Canoe travelling was idyllic in calm weather. Sometimes a turtle
would lift his lazy head and take a long look at us before diving, and we
could gaze far down into the depths of the crystal water and watch
brilliantly-hued fish disporting themselves among the branches of still
more dazzlingly-tinted coral, while the golden sunlight filtered mistily
down in cloudy rays. The crews paddled well, and we crossed the bay in
fine style, the men being quite content with a penny each as wages.


_From a Photograph._]

But, alas! it was very different in rough weather. Tired and hungry,
perhaps several miles from my destination, the captain would call to me,
“Misika (my native name), you’ll have to get out and go by the beach, for
the wind is rising.” My heart would sink, and I would beseech him to make
the crew paddle on; but the wind caught us up, and the waves broke
mercilessly over the little vessel, which was hugging the shore. Then,
perforce, after a thorough drenching, I got out, the canoe was hauled up,
and we tramped wearily home, the captain carrying me over the streams on
his back. This was rather a pleasant mode of crossing; but when the stream
was very deep I had to sit on the boy’s shoulders and hold on to his chin,
which--I speak from bitter experience--is a very unsafe position. Once,
with myself thus perched on high, we attempted to cross a wide river at
the mouth of which some natives were fishing with a drag-net. It so
happened that when we reached mid-stream--I holding only too insecurely to
a wobbly chin--something very special, I don’t know what, occurred in
connection with the fish, and we were ordered to remain where we were! It
seemed impossible, but there I remained, clinging desperately to my human
steed, until the slow old fishermen had gathered their net in and--to my
rather malicious satisfaction--discovered not a single fish in the meshes.


_From a Photograph._]

My little girl companion, Maebo, who is seen in the annexed photograph,
had much charm of manner, but was not exactly pretty. She wore, as did all
Wedauan woman, several skirts of shredded coco-nut leaf; she had even,
while teeth, pretty hands and arms, and a satiny brown skin. On the many
occasions when she shaved her head, and even her eyebrows, her appearance
was certainly not improved. She was a nice child, however, and accompanied
me on many journeys.

Maebo was betrothed to a village boy by her father when she was only ten
years old, though that did not prevent many others from wishing to marry
her. But she would have none of them, not even the highly educated, who
applied for the honour of her hand by letter. She would not marry out of
her village, she said, for fear of her life being taken by a sorcerer. A
short time ago her _fiancé_ became her husband, and so I lost my
travelling companion.

Suicide is committed in Papua for what would seem very inadequate reasons
to white people. For instance, if a man goes on a long journey without
bidding farewell to his nearest relatives, one of them may feel it
incumbent on him to climb a coco palm and fling himself off it to his
death. A village girl who was very anxious to accompany me on a trip up
the coast finally reluctantly refused to go. If she did, she said, her
father would “throw himself from a high tree.”

Ridicule and opposition are always very trying to a Papuan, and a sad case
of double suicide took place in consequence of the latter.

A girl and a young man became much attached to each other and met
regularly. Each morning, however, the girl’s father and mother would say
to her, “Why do you talk to that boy? He is poor, and has not enough food
to give you.” At the same time the boy’s parents told him continually how
foolish he was to have anything to do with a girl who would never do good
work for him at the gardens. The constant opposition told on the unhappy
couple and at last the girl’s patience wore out. She said to her
lover--the speech is truly characteristic of a Papuan--“The tongues of our
people will never be silent. Let us cease to live, and their talk will be
done!” And the boy agreed.

The next night they decked themselves in their best ornaments--necklaces,
shell armlets, and sweet-scented flowers--so that they appeared as though
dressed for a feast. Then they took a piece of tough jungle creeper and,
having made nooses, bade farewell to each other. They were found when
morning came hanging dead in the same tree.


_From a Photograph._]

The mission launch was, on the whole, my quickest mode of travelling--that
is to say, as long as it was whole. As seen in the accompanying picture,
it is being repaired after one of its many mishaps. It would be quite
beyond me to relate all the adventures that have befallen it during its
period of existence. It has not, I believe, been blown up yet, though it
came perilously near it when on fire once, for an over-zealous native,
imagining the benzine tank to hold water, was only hindered just in time
from chopping it open with an axe!

(_To be concluded._)


    The second instalment of a budget of breezy little
    narratives--exciting, humorous, and curious--hailing from all parts
    of the world. This month we publish a humorous Canadian episode and
    a terrible affair which occurred on an American train.



This amusing little story was told to me by Mr. John Wood, in the Tecumseh
Hotel at Winnipeg. He happened to see there the character I have called
“Slippery Dick,” whom he had known in 1881 or 1882 at a small village near
London, Ontario, where he then lived, and the sight of the man recalled
the facts to his mind. As most of the parties concerned are still living,
I have thought it advisable to alter the names.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dick Small was his name, but we called him “Small Dick,” or “Slippery
Dick,” on account of his small and mean ways. Well, one night Sam Smart
and I and several other boys were in Steve Brown’s bar, “talking horse,”
when old Dick came meandering in, and, of course, chipped in with some of
his usual boasting.

“I’ve got the best little mare in the settlement,” he told us, “and don’t
you forget it. I’m game to back that little bit of horseflesh for fifty
dollars for a mile, twice round the half-mile track, against anything you
can produce in these parts. Who’s got anything to say? I’ll run her now,
to-morrow, or any time.”

“You ain’t produced the collateral,” put in Sam, quietly.

With that old Dick thrust his hand into his back pocket and drew out quite
a wad. Counting out five ten-dollar bills, he put them on the counter.

“Now, Steve, you’re stakeholder,” he said. “Who’s going to cover ’em? It’s
put up or shut up.”

Sam got up, and, putting a fifty-dollar bill on top of Dick’s, replied,
“I’ll jest take that bet. Hold the stakes, Steve.”

“All right,” said Steve, and pushed the money into his safe.

The boys all looked at Sam, puzzled like, and old Slippery was wondering
what it all meant.

“Didn’t know you had a horse, Sam,” he remarked.

“You don’t know everything, Dick,” returned Sam, “but I ain’t surprised,
for I only brought him home to-day. Well, let’s settle the time for the
match. To-morrow morning at eight o’clock will suit me. I don’t want a
crowd to know too much of my horse’s points, so we’ll do it on the quiet.”

The old man agreed to this, and Sam went on: “And now, as I’ve got to see
some business, I’ll say good-bye, boys. Say, Steve, a word with you before
I go.”

Steve and Sam went into the back room, and in about five minutes Sam came
out and walked off.

The boys and Slippery hung around, and you could see the old miser was
uneasy about his fifty dollars. So he began a-trying to pump Steve. “Say,
Steve,” said he, “what kind of a horse has Sam got?”

“Don’t know; ain’t seen him,” replied Steve.

“You don’t know anything about him, I suppose?” inquired Dick.

“Only what Sam told me, and I don’t suppose he wanted me to repeat it. But
as the bet’s made I don’t see that it matters. He told me that he covered
fifteen miles with the horse yesterday in less than three-quarters of an
hour, and he landed it fresh as paint; hadn’t turned a hair.”

“Gee whizz!” ejaculated Slippery, in dismay. “I’m a goner! I don’t know
what I’d better do. I’ve a note to meet at the bank to-morrow, and if Sam
wins my money I sha’n’t be able to come up to time on the note, and it’ll
go to protest. Everybody’ll know it and my credit will be gone. What a
fool I was!”

“Well, Dick,” said Steve, “I’m sorry for you, but it’s your own fault;
nobody asked you to bet. Say, Sam’s not a bad sort when he’s treated
right; couldn’t you tell him you forgot an important engagement for
to-morrow, and ask him to agree to draw the bet? Maybe he would if you put
it to him right.”

“Think he would, Steve?” asked Dick, doubtfully. “Wonder where I could
find him?”

“I think I know where he could be located, and if you like I’ll send my
boy Jim to bring him along.”

“Thanky, Steve. I wish you would,” said old Dick.

Soon after the boy returned, and close behind him came Sam. Looking round,
and seeing old Slippery and nearly all the boys still there, he asked,
“What’s up? Want to double the bet, Dick? If so, you can be accommodated.”

Steve, pretending to side with old Dick, explained that the old man had
forgotten a particular engagement and had to go away for some days. As
accidents might happen, he thought it would be better to cancel the bets
and arrange a fresh match later on.

But Sam took it badly, angrily demanding what sort of idiot they took him
for. “Draw bets? Not much!” he cried. “I’ll double it, if you like.”

Then he turned upon Dick Small, who was looking mighty miserable. “You old
rascal,” he went on, “I know what it is--you’re afraid you’ll lose your
money. Serve you right! You wanted to back your old mare, didn’t you? No
one asked you to. Draw bets, you say? No, siree, not by a jugful!”

“Look here, Sam,” said Steve, “don’t be too hard. You think you’ve got a
sure thing, but accidents might happen even on your side. Why don’t you
two compromise? Supposing Dick allows you something for your trouble and
sets up drinks for the crowd?”

“What do you mean by a compromise?” demanded Sam. “If Dick forfeits half
his bet, that would be about fair, I should say.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that, really,” cried old Slippery, in great distress.

“Very well,” said Sam, “then the bet stands. Good-bye; I’m busy.”

“Hold on a bit,” put in Steve, and, drawing the old man aside, he
whispered to him for a minute or two. You should have seen the different
emotions which chased over old Dick’s face! At last, however, he seemed to
agree with Steve; and then Steve, addressing the crowd, told us that he
quite understood the matter. The proposition he had to make was that Dick
should pay Sam ten dollars and stand a double treat round for the crowd.
If the boys now present considered that fair, he added, he thought Sam, as
a sportsman, should accept.

“Do as you like,” said Sam. “I’m tired of the whole thing.”

So Steve took the votes of the company. A few thought the bet ought to
stand; but the majority, being pretty thirsty, were in favour of the
proposition, and it was finally carried, Sam getting back his fifty
dollars and ten dollars of old Slippery’s. Steve charged three dollars for
the two rounds, and gave the old man back the remaining thirty-seven

“Say, Sam,” said old Dick, just as he was going, “I should like to see
your horse, if you have no objection.”

“Why, certainly,” replied Sam. “Any time you like; if I’m not at home, ask
the missus.”

When Dick had gone the boys all started asking questions about Sam’s
horse, but all he would say was, “You’ll know all about it by and by.”

Next day, as Sam expected, old Dick went up to Sam’s place. There was only
the missus at home; Sam took care to be out of the way.

“Mornin’, Mrs. Smart,” said Slippery, politely.

“Good morning, Mr. Small,” answered Mrs. Smart. “What brings you round
these parts?”

“Why, Sam said I might see the new horse if I came up.”

“I don’t see why you should be interested in such a thing,” said Mrs.
Smart, looking puzzled, “but you can see it if you want to. It’s in the

Old Slippery was taken aback; he thought he must surely have misunderstood

“In the kitchen?” he echoed.

“Yes, in the kitchen, standing by the stove,” replied the woman. “You can
go right in and look at it if you want to, but what there is to see in it
I can’t make out.”

The old man, not comprehending things at all, went through into the
kitchen and looked around. But the only horse he saw there, if he expected
to see any other in such a place, was a new four-legged clothes-horse with
a few articles hanging on it to dry!

In an instant he realized the trick that had been played upon him, and
very nearly went crazy. He stamped and swore, while poor Mrs. Smart
wondered what it all meant, or if the old man had suddenly gone mad.
Presently, however, she commenced to smell a rat.

“What fool trick has that man of mine been up to now?” she asked.

“I don’t know about a fool trick,” screamed the old man, “but I do know
that he has swindled me out of ten good dollars, besides making me pay
three dollars for a double round of drinks for all the thirsty loafers
down at Steve Brown’s saloon. But I’ll get even with him, the swindler,
and with Steve Brown, too, and all his gang! It was a put-up job; I can
see it all now. What a double-dyed fool I’ve been! But I’ll sue him--I’ll
show him up!”

[Illustration: “I’LL SUE HIM--I’LL SHOW HIM UP!”]

And away he went, leaving Mrs. Smart quite in the dark as to the cause of
his wrath.

Still raving, the foolish old man came down town, where he saw Sam and
Steve and some more of the boys. He promptly called them all a lot of
thieves and crooks and swindlers, said it was all a put-up job, and that
he would report Steve to the Licence Commissioners, get his licence
cancelled, and make Sam return the ten dollars and Steve the three dollars
he had for the drinks.

Steve heard him out quietly, and then told him to get out of his house.
Dick would hear from him later, he said.

When Dick had gone, Sam and Steve went over to the town and told the whole
story to Lawyer Harris. Sam said he had never thought of making any bet,
but could not stand the old man’s everlasting boasting, so the idea struck
him that he would work off a “bluff” on Small. He certainly had stated
that he and his “horse” covered fifteen miles under forty-two minutes. It
was quite correct, for he brought it in on the train. Moreover, he had
stated that it landed “as fresh as paint”; that was true again--it had
been freshly painted. He had said, further, that it didn’t turn a hair,
and it didn’t--for the best of reasons.

The lawyer roared with laughter; it was the best joke he had heard for a
long time, he said, and served the old skinflint right. “I’ll write and
claim two hundred and fifty dollars each for Steve and Sam for malicious
slander,” he added, “and threaten him with a writ if he doesn’t pay up.”

The lawyer sent his clerk over to deliver the letter to old Dick, who read
it over two or three times before he understood it. Then he nearly had a
fit, but the clerk advised him to keep quiet and come over and see Mr.
Harris, and perhaps they could settle things.

When Small arrived the lawyer let him have it hot and strong. He told him
he was always thrusting himself in where he wasn’t wanted, and now,
because for once he had overreached himself, he couldn’t take his medicine
quietly, but must go calling people thieves and swindlers, in spite of the
fact that he would have been glad enough to pocket Sam’s fifty dollars. If
he defended the suit, the lawyer said, he would certainly have to pay
damages and costs, besides making himself the laughing-stock of the
country for miles around.

Dick saw the point and began to climb down, and finally Mr. Harris let him
off on paying ten dollars each to Sam and Steve, another ten dollars for
lawyer’s fees, and signing a letter of apology. And that’s the whole
story, but I don’t think old Dick has ever made a bet since.




_From a Photograph._]

Much of the history of railroading in Western America reads like a chapter
from some “penny dreadful,” but none of the thrilling pioneer episodes
surpasses in dramatic interest an incident which occurred a few years ago
on one of the regular passenger trains of the Denver and Rio Grande.

The principal surviving actor in this singular tragedy is John Conlisk,
who has now retired from active railroad service, and is at present living
quietly at 2,717, Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California.

At the time of our story--March, 1892--Mr. Conlisk was a passenger
conductor on the Denver and Rio Grande, running between Ogden, Utah, and
Grand Junction, Colorado, making his home in the Utah city. This brief
introduction is sufficient, however, and the rest may be narrated just as
he told it to the writer recently.

       *       *       *       *       *

The morning was crisp and clear and promised a bright March day. Shortly
after two o’clock I was on the platform at Grand Junction waiting for No.
7, which I was to take back to Ogden. She came in on time, the few
preliminaries attending the exchange of crews were finished as usual, and
at three I was ready to go, when the conductor for the other division ran
across the platform to me.

“Jack,” he said, “there’s a Chinaman in the ladies’ wash-room in the
chair-car. He’s been in there two or three hours, and we can’t get him
out. He’s in an ugly temper, and you may have trouble with him. If I were
you I’d call the station officer.”

So I started on a hunt for that person, but he was not to be found
anywhere, and after delaying the train two or three minutes I concluded to
settle the matter with my own crew and passed the signal to the engineer.
As we swung on board I spoke to my head brakeman, a young fellow named
James Genong.

“There’s a Chinaman in the ladies’ wash-room in the chair-car,” I told
him. “He’s locked himself in, for some heathen reason or other, and I wish
you’d see if you can get him out without making any disturbance.”

I had a heavy load of passengers, probably two hundred in all, and after
making my rounds, of course not disturbing the people in the sleepers, I
went into the coach just ahead of the chair-car, and, with my train-box
before me, sat down to count my tickets.

I had hardly finished my work when the door flew open, as though hurled by
a violent gust of wind. Jim was behind it, with a pale, excited face. “Got
a gun about you?” he asked, in a hoarse, frightened whisper.

“Why?” I asked, in astonishment.

“That Chinaman’s stabbed me!” he replied, looking furtively over his

“Jim,” I said, getting up at once, “this thing may be serious, but it
can’t be settled by indiscriminate shooting in a train-load of passengers.
We’ve got to find another way.”

I must here interrupt my story for a moment to tell you what had actually
happened. Jim, thinking the Celestial an easy conquest, started after him
before the train was fairly under way. In those days chair-cars carried
the time-honoured stove and wood-box, and the brakeman, putting one foot
on the edge of the latter and the other on an opposite ledge, peered down
over the transom and ordered the Chinaman to come out in language that
admitted of no misinterpretation. And the Chinaman _did_ come out, ducking
fairly under Jim in his elevated position. As he ducked he slashed upward
with a great curved hunting-knife. The slash caught the white man on the
inside of the thigh, producing a wound that bled profusely and probably
gave a deal of inconvenience, but which was not really dangerous.

Seeing Jim streaming with blood, and believing that the yellow man was
actually running amok, I started for the door, first telling the
passengers in that car to lie down on the floor if they heard any shooting
going on beyond.

The train was making good speed, but as I stood on the platform I could
hear the culprit jabbering about, “Fiftleen hundled dolla! Me got plenty
monee!” He commanded his end of the car, from which practically all the
passengers had retired panic-stricken. The only exceptions to the general
decampment were a fine-looking young chap from Bunker Hill, Illinois, who
sat in a forward chair reading a book, and an army officer’s wife with a
little baby, bound for Salt Lake City--in the seat opposite. These were
directly under the Chinaman’s eye, and whenever they attempted to move he
waved them back with a ferocious gesture of his great glittering knife.

Going to the door, which was locked, I rapped sharply on it with my
ticket-punch. I had no revolver with me, but I hoped to distract his
attention. And I did! Turning, he saw me, and with his face distorted with
an expression of the most hideous savagery he drew back his arm, and sent
it and the knife through the glass, clear to the shoulder, the blade just
missing me!

Without more ado I pulled the bell-cord and ran into the forward car,
where I borrowed a big Colt’s revolver from a cowboy I knew. Then,
returning to the platform, I waited until the train had almost stopped,
and dropped to the ground, catching the rear platform of the chair-car as
the wheels ground down to their final revolution.

The frightened people were packed so densely against the door that I had
to fight my way in, and then through them. The Chinaman, with his two
quiet prisoners, had the whole front end of the car to himself. I called
to him, exhibiting the pistol.

At the sight of that gun the most awful frenzy blazed in his eyes. He was
a big fellow, and now, with the greatest deliberation, he rolled up his
wide sleeves, disclosing a tremendous pair of arms, covered with heavy
black hair. He looked like a typical Boxer on the war-path.

Then he started in my direction, but in a moment changed his mind about
leaving a foe in his rear, and with the most calculating, revolting
cruelty that I have ever seen swirled his great blade down over the seated
boy’s head, and plunged it to the hilt in his body. Women shrieked and
fainted, and I felt myself all but falling.

Raising my revolver I fired, and the ball broke his legs under him. He
fell, and the army officer’s wife, with a terrible shriek, raised her baby
to her shoulder and started down the car.

But in an instant the Chinaman was on his feet, wounded as he was, and
struck the woman an appalling blow over the shoulder. She dropped like a
stone--apparently stabbed to the heart.

I waited no more on the possibility of a high bullet glancing into the car
ahead, but fired straight at his heart. Even with the crash of my pistol
another sounded just behind me, and the yellow fiend fell headlong between
two chairs.

Someone went over and kicked him, but the body gave no sign of life, and
we devoted our attention to the unfortunate young man, who now lay huddled
in a pathetic and bloody heap in his seat.

Others crowded around us, and at length I saw my cowboy friend
approaching. Just as he reached me I was stooping over the Celestial’s
first victim, in an attempt to raise him, when I heard the puncher yell,
in an agonized voice, “For Heaven’s sake, Jack, look out!”

I glanced backward, and there was that colourless, diabolical countenance
again blazing into mine. He was standing erect, and the knife was poised
for a blow which would have given me my quietus. As I looked, certain that
death was coming, I felt a wrench at my hip-pocket. It was the cowboy
tearing his revolver out of my clothes. Even as the knife descended, my
saviour jammed his weapon squarely into the Chinaman’s ear--and fired.

The big bullet, at that distance, almost tore his head to pieces. Blood
was spattered over all of us, in the most sickening way that could be
imagined. Hating to touch the body, we pushed it under a seat and turned
our whole attention to the wounded.


The officer’s wife, strangely enough, had not a scratch on her. She was in
a dead faint, but both she and the child were practically uninjured. The
explanation of her escape seems to have been that the Chinaman’s wrist
fell with full force on the baby, thus preventing the knife from doing any
damage to either.

The poor boy, though conscious, was plainly mortally wounded. He made no
complaint, and smiled faintly as we carried him back to a vacant berth in
one of the Pullmans.

About daylight, at one of the longer stops, several of the passengers
dragged the murderer’s horribly-battered body forward to the baggage-car.
They did not carry him, but dragged him, and, as it was in the spring, the
road-bed was very muddy. When the body reached the baggage-car the
features were absolutely hidden in a combined coating of dried blood and

Then, as we got under way again, a physician on the train, with myself and
others, searched the remains. The dead man had on two pairs of trousers,
and, sewn inside his shirt, fifteen hundred dollars in greenbacks. In his
purse he had a first-class ticket from Pittsburg to San Francisco and,
what was still more singular, a paid-up life insurance policy for five
thousand dollars in favour of one Ah Say, of Evanston, Wyoming.

We rolled the body into a corner and looked over his few effects.
Presently one of the men, who was sitting on a trunk facing us, gave a
peculiar gasp and turned as white as blotting-paper. His eyes were fixed
staringly on something behind our backs. We turned with one accord.

The supposedly dead Chinaman--a Chinaman with a body as full of holes as a
sieve--was sitting up! I cannot convey in words the indescribably hideous
effect of that face, caked as it was with gore and filth. Only a ghastly
red crack of mouth was visible, grinning in demoniac vacancy, and two
burning black slants which indicated his eyes.

The doctor was the only man who had his nerve in that excruciating moment.

“Well, John, how d’you feel now?” he said, speaking in a tone that was
even jocular.

The Chinaman did not deign to answer, but first felt carefully all over
himself. Then he put his hand to what should have been his trousers
pocket, and at length ran his fingers violently around the place in his
shirt from which we had taken his greenbacks. That frightful malevolence
came back into his eyes, and, never taking those snaky optics from our
faces, he began to hitch painfully across the floor towards a stand in
which were kept guns for emergency use, in case of train robbery. To me,
his actions seemed like those of some dreadful automaton. Every man of us
watched him--held motionless, as a rattlesnake holds its victim, by the
spell of terror.

Slowly, painfully, he progressed. He gained inch by inch, and at last was
almost within reaching distance. He stretched out his arms to the guns,
and partially rose; then he fell over stone-dead--dead this time for good
and all.

The doctor examined him, and reported his survival to be due to opiates,
which he had taken in enormous quantities.

At Salt Lake City I received an order from Mr. W. H. Bancroft, then
receiver of the road, to stop there with the crew, which included James
Donohue, engineer, and Charles Francis, fireman.

We arrived there about three o’clock, and the young man was still alive,
though fast weakening. In an ordinary conversational manner he told us
that his home was in Bunker Hill, Illinois, that his father was a banker,
and that, after leaving school, he had been sent on a Western trip before
assuming the business himself. Informed of his grave condition, he
expressed his best wishes for all of us, and went under the anæsthetic
with a happy smile. He died without ever returning to consciousness.

At the coroner’s inquest it was decided that the Chinaman had suddenly
gone insane from an overdose of opium, for, as the evidence showed, he had
been pleasant enough during the day, and had talked to several ladies in
the car, telling them that he had been recently converted to Christianity
and that he proposed to preach in San Francisco. After his burial expenses
had been paid, the balance of his money was forwarded to the Chinese
Consul in the city toward which he was bound.

There was an amusing sequel to the tragedy, though an exasperating one in
some ways. Some months afterwards the keeper of one of the
eating-stations, calling me to one side, inquired rather pointedly, “Have
you noticed that the Chinese seem to be afraid of you?”

I replied that I hadn’t given the matter any thought, either way.

“Well,” he added, “Agent ----, of the U.P. (an opposition road), has told
all the Chinks in the State that you killed their countryman for his

My Experiences in Algeria.


    The Baroness’s husband, an officer in the French army, was ordered
    to Algeria, and took his wife and children with him. There, located
    at a tiny post far from civilization, in the midst of fierce and
    unruly tribes, the authoress met with some very strange adventures,
    which she here sets forth in a chatty and amusing fashion.


How well I remember the day when my husband, an officer in the French
army, was nominated for service in Algeria! I was still plunged in slumber
when I was suddenly aroused by a diabolical yell (if you ask my husband he
will hotly deny this, but men can never be believed). I sat up, thinking
the end of the world had come, and saw my husband frantically waving a
white paper and shouting: “Named in Algeria--1st Regiment of Spahis! With
a wife and children it’s impossible! Why am I married?”

“Well!” I said, still half asleep, but seizing the sense of the remark
that referred to me. “_You_ ought to know why you are married. What’s the
matter with you? Do you want a divorce?”

“Don’t be frivolous; it is a serious matter,” he groaned, holding out the
paper for my inspection. “Do you understand? I am nominated to an African
regiment, the 1st Spahis, and in a fortnight I must be _there_.”

“Do you mean that we--you and I--are going out to North Africa?” I cried.
“Really? Hip, hip, hurrah!”

“Are you mad?” he demanded, in astonishment.

“Yes; mad with joy,” I replied. “I’m tired to death of poky French
garrison towns. We’ll go out to the sun and be stewed, have our throats
cut by Arabs, and enjoy ourselves down to the ground.”

“My dear girl,” said my husband, with as much calmness as he could muster,
“we are ordered to a post in the mountains, Teniet-el-Haad. In all
probability you will get no servants to go with you, and there may not
even be a fit house to live in. A lady _cannot_ go there!”

“An English one can--_we_ follow our husbands,” I said, stoutly.

“I shall have to go alone,” he said, quietly, “unless I can find some
fellow to exchange.”

“You can do as you like,” I answered, loftily, “but I am going to join!”

And so I did, in his company and that of my three children.

I was sadly disappointed in Algiers; it appeared to my jaundiced eyes
quite an ordinary town. Its arcades, filled with elegant Parisian-looking
women and top-hatted, frock-coated men straight from the Champs Elysées
and Bois de Boulogne, gave me quite a shock. However, I consoled myself
with the thought that our station was far away up in the wild mountains of
the Tell, where real live Arabs, hyenas, jackals, and a panther here and
there would advantageously replace these civilized banalities.


Our journey from Algiers to Affreville was just like any other railway
journey. At the last-named town we got out, had a nice breakfast at the
station buffet, and at twelve got into the coupé of a diligence so
dilapidated and prehistoric in appearance that my heart sank within me;
but that was only the beginning. This vehicle was drawn by eight skinny
white horses, each of whom seemed to have his own private opinion as to
the manner of drawing the vehicle--and all their opinions seemed to differ
vastly from that of the driver, whose face wore an “I give it up” sort of
expression. So bored was the good man by things in general that during
the journey he indulged in sundry snoozes. This was bearable whilst the
road was wide and on the flat, but when it wound like a narrow white
ribbon round and round the mountains, and one gazed up on the left at a
grey wall of rock, and on the right down fathomless precipices, we glanced
at our slumbering Jehu and held on by the skin of our teeth, whilst the
skinny horses dashed headlong round narrow corners and a wheel hung for an
instant over bottomless space. This nightmare ride lasted for eight hours,
during which time I tried hard to feel that I was enjoying myself, despite
the cramp in my legs and the stiffness of my neck--necessarily slightly
bent on account of the lowness of the roof. Finally we arrived at
Teniet-el-Haad, which appeared to be composed of one narrow street hemmed
in abruptly on either side by the mountains. Thankfully we crawled out of
the diligence and walked up the hill to the “bordj,” or fort, where a
flat had been provided for us by the Government. So this was to be my
home! I gazed eagerly round at the small rooms with their bare,
whitewashed walls, and then--when I had a box to sit on--I sat down and

“Nice place, Algeria, isn’t it?” mildly remarked my husband. I felt at
that moment as though I could have throttled him cheerfully.

[Illustration: A VIEW OF TENIET-EL-HAAD.

_From a Photograph._]

Truly my position was not enviable. Accustomed hitherto to be waited on
hand and foot, I now found myself without a servant of any kind, save my
husband’s orderly. I was in a strange country, and was expected to do
everything for myself. However, repining would not help matters, so I set
to work to teach the orderly the rudiments of the culinary art, he knowing
nothing more about it than--than I did. What hard days those were, to be
sure! I wonder my husband survived them. My fried potatoes fell into
greasy bits instead of frying, my scrambled eggs flew up the chimney, my
omelettes were sickening messes, and the meat either would not cook at all
or exaggerated the matter and turned into coal. Then there was the washing
and ironing. I never thought--until I essayed the work--that there was
much difficulty about it; it seemed quite easy. You took soiled things
off, put them in water and soaped them; then you wrung them out, ironed
them, and there you were. Our linen, however, grew greyer and greyer,
yellower and yellower, and I became pensive. “What _do_ you think is wrong
with it?” I asked the orderly, who had become our washerman, there being
no other.

“Well, madam,” he said, diffidently, “I think it wants sort of boiling
gently with something or other. I remember my mother----”

“Oh, what did your mother do?” I asked, eagerly.

“Well, she washed it first, and then put it in a barrel with a hole in the
bottom and--and boiled it, I think. Leastways, it was somehow all right

“But you can’t boil in a barrel; it would catch fire,” I objected. “And
why a hole? Surely the water would run out?”

He looked shy and unhappy.

“Well, there may be something wrong about the boiling in the wooden
barrel. I misremember that, but”--a slow grin spread over his face--“I’m
sure about the hole, because I used to stop it up, and mother was awfully

After some weeks, however, the orderly began to see light, and, helped by
an Arab boy, managed these tiresome domestic matters well enough to allow
of my going out riding and seeing a little of the country.

The mountains, burnt yellow by the hot summer sun when I first saw them,
were growing rapidly green after a few hours’ torrential rain. In the
forest all the spring flowers sprang to life again, flowering hastily on
tiny short stems as though fearing they would not find time before being
cut off by the winter frosts. A carpet of blue and white iris and crocus
spread out under the shade of the mighty cedars, together with all sorts
of bright creeping plants. Orchids and narcissi peeped up from every damp
corner, and in the crevices of the rocks wild carnations and geraniums
made a dash of bright colour.

One day whilst out mushrooming I felt rather thirsty, and proposed to my
husband to go and ask for some goats’ milk at a tent I saw peeping through
the underwood higher up. He acceded, and, talking and picking flowers, we
wandered up slowly. Never in my life have I seen so dilapidated a tent. It
had been mended again and again with rags so various in shape and colour
that little of the original _felidga_ was left. Around it was the
traditional artificial hedge of jujube trees, whose thick, fine, long
thorns protected the inmates from thieves and wild beasts. A sad-looking
donkey and a few goats grazed around, while a particularly savage dog
began barking violently and straining at a very rotten cord at our
approach. Thin and mangy, he looked as if he could thoroughly enjoy a
steak out of my husband’s substantial calves, but he soon retired, with
more haste than dignity, when my better half stooped to pick up a stone.
All Kabyle dogs have a settled opinion about stones, and the gesture is
sufficient for them.

The noise brought out the owner of the tent, and he stood gazing
majestically at us, draped in dirty white rags. A woman followed him. Her
thin, bony, brown face, scraggy neck and shoulders, skinny arms and legs
might have been those of an old woman, yet something told me that she was
young, but worn out by over-work and under-feeding. Such sights are often
seen and fill one with pity. Behind her came five little children, all,
except the two girls--who each modestly wore a red handkerchief on their
curly heads, and a necklet of wooden beads--clothed in sunbeams.

My husband asked if we could have some milk. With a lordly gesture the
Arab signed to the woman, who slowly caught a goat by its hind leg and
began milking it into a broken yet clean-looking earthen bowl.
Nevertheless, I brought out my little picnic mug and made her milk into

My husband offered ten sous to the Arab, but he turned away disdainfully.
“He who drinks at my tent is welcome,” he said. “He is God’s guest, and
between him and me no money can pass.”

And yet how the want of money showed itself on every side!

I made up for it to myself by slipping a few pennies into the brown little
hands of the children, who had finally decided that I was not likely to
bite and had approached me. Delighted, they ran with them to their mother,
who seized them feverishly, with a terrified side-look at her husband.
Filled with pity, I slipped a silver piece into her lean hand--rather too
well rewarded by the ardent kisses she showered on my hands, my shoulders,
and the edge of my dress. I then asked the Arab to show me the interior of
his tent. He seemed pleased at my demand, but I regretted it deeply when I
beheld the dirtiness of it. Dirt was the principal furniture, together
with several wooden spoons, an “aguesseau” for rolling the semolina into
cous-cous, a “kess-kess” for cooking it by vapour, and a heap of
terrible-looking rags. On this heap lay an indistinct form, from which
came slow, painful gasps--the gasps of a departing life. Shuddering, I
bent down and saw a venerable woman--so small, so wizened, so
extraordinarily thin that I could not imagine how there was any life in
her. She opened her eyes and turned them slowly on the Arab; and I read
pitiful supplication, mingled with bitter reproach, in their cavernous

The Arab looked down gloomily, and a wave of emotion swept over his
hitherto impassive face.

“What is the matter with her?” I asked.

“She has not eaten for two days,” he answered.

“But why? Is she ill? Give her some milk at once. At once, do you hear?”

I felt angry at the calmness of these people in the presence of this dying

“She is dying,” he said, obstinately.

“But you are doing nothing to save her,” I cried.

My husband pulled my sleeve.

“Come, come, dear,” he whispered, “you are giving yourself useless pain.”

“But I will make him give this old woman something,” I persisted. “She is
his mother, perhaps, and is trying to ask him for food with all her
strength. Give her some milk,” I cried.

The man mumbled something; I understood that he was telling me she was
old, worn out, and that it was waste to feed her.

Overwhelmed with horror, I gasped: “Then you are letting her die--on
purpose! She--she is dying because you have let her starve to death?”

He bowed his head. Then, as if he felt that some explanation was due to
the _roumia_ who was his guest, he added, in a low voice, “Her children
will have her share. They want it.”

I seized my husband’s arm. “Come--come away from this horror,” I cried;
and quickly we ran down the hill to where the fragrant narcissi grew, and
there I flung myself on the ground and sobbed.

Presently the sweet, balmy air was filled with sharp shrieks and
yells--the cries of mourning of the Arab women as they tear their faces
with their nails. And I knew that the poor old woman had passed away, and
that those who had starved her to death were now bemoaning her loss, and
consoling themselves by saying, “_In cha Allah!_” (“It is the will of

[Illustration: “‘GIVE HER SOME MILK,’ I CRIED.”]

I went home a wiser and a sadder woman; I have never forgotten the horror
of the incident.

From my window in the fort I had a beautiful view. In front was the range
of mountains along which the cedar forest runs. I could just discern the
rock where General M----’s first lion tried to get at him, and the small,
scrubby tree up which the gallant General swarmed just in time. Lions are
very rare nowadays in these parts, though a forester signalled the passage
of one on the other side of the forest during my stay. On the left of my
window I could see the bee-hive habitations of a race of negroes who live
on the hill rising up immediately behind the chief street of Teniet. I
think I have never seen such inhuman-looking, hideous specimens of the
human race. Monkeys are far superior in looks to them, and their utter
malignity and wickedness of expression lent additional ugliness to their
distorted, pointed features. Murders were--well, if not daily occurrences,
at least very frequent among them, and at last I grew quite accustomed to
the diabolical shrieks and shouts which the warm, balmy air wafted to me
from the opposite hill.

More often than not the rows originated over some very trivial matter. No
European would venture for love or money into this negro village, and
several French Spahis told me that they would not guarantee the life of
the white man who dared to enter it even in broad daylight. The Arabs held
the same opinion, and no honest man among them would visit the place on
any account. Thieves and murderers, however, were certain to find a safe
refuge, and many a one, I was informed, had hidden there, married a
negress, and become one of the sinister tribe. The police never thought of
entering the hamlet, and always abandoned pursuit of a criminal at its
boundaries. I cannot imagine why the whole place was not burnt down and
its lawless inhabitants dispersed.

I failed to obtain a photograph of one of these beauties. They objected to
being taken, and no one dared to insist. The next picture, however,
depicts the village itself, as seen from Teniet-el-Haad.


_From a Photograph._]

Talking of murders brings to my mind a double suicide which occurred in
the fort. One night I was awakened by a revolver-shot just outside my
window. I got up and looked out, but at first could see nothing, so black
was the night. After a time, however, I saw a dark mass on the ground and
heard a faint moaning. I was about to give the alarm when the sentry
passed, stooped down, and uttered an exclamation. Then he went away, to
return immediately with others. There was a murmur of voices, and finally
they carried something away. My husband was absent, so I was forced to
await morning in order to ascertain the facts of the matter. “_Cherchez la
femme_” is, alas! a very true adage. The shot was fired by one of our
non-commissioned officers, who had killed himself as he walked to and fro
in the barrack-yard smoking and talking with his best friend, whom he had
just discovered was a successful rival for the heart of the girl he loved
and meant to marry as soon as his service was over. Having had suspicions,
he had determined to draw the truth from his friend, who was perfectly
oblivious of there being any engagement between him and the girl, and
confessed freely when pressed that they loved each other and meant to be
married later on. Drawing a revolver from his pocket, the unhappy
_sous-officier_ cried, “She was to have been my wife!” and, before the
other understood what the phrase meant, pulled the trigger and fell dead
at his horrified comrade’s feet.

The morning after, the friend, another non-commissioned officer, was
raving mad. When the girl learnt of the tragedy she had caused, we learnt
afterwards, she grew very white, but said nothing. All day she sat silent
with fixed eyes, deaf to the reproaches of her parents, who did not spare
their abuse. The next morning they found her asleep in death--she had
poisoned herself!

I noticed here and there whilst riding about the country trees from whose
branches hung long shreds of different-coloured cloth. On making inquiries
I was told they were marabout, or holy, trees. Each district has one or
more of these sacred trees, and to them come all the women to beseech of
Allah to grant their prayers. In order to obtain the intercession of the
holy tree, they hang pieces of their clothing on the branches, which are
sometimes almost entirely covered with coloured rags, fluttering in the
breeze, and giving the tree a most curious appearance.

A marabout is a saint, or holy man, and it is not given to every man to be
a saint, however pious he may be. Real saintship among the Arabs is
hereditary, and is one of the three castes of nobility. The sons are heirs
to the fathers’ piety, and, though often far from worthy, reap the benefit
of their birth-right. This religious nobility has great influence, and can
excite or quell revolts, as, Koran in hand, they preach its precepts,
often explained to satisfy their own wishes.

Apart from the hereditary marabouts there are the “little” marabouts, who
live miserably on public charity beside the tomb of some ancestor who died
in the odour of sanctity. Many of these so-called marabouts manage their
affairs uncommonly well and are really wealthy men. Here is a story I have
been told, which gives one an idea of the way these “little” marabouts set
up in business.

Mohammed ben Mohammed was a marabout whose affairs were in a most
flourishing condition. Pilgrims visited his ancestor’s tomb by hundreds,
leaving many and rich offerings, and Mohammed ben Mohammed grew fatter and
wealthier daily until his servitor, Ali ben Ali, became tired of watching
his master’s increased wealth and bulk, whilst his own pocket was as flat
as his body was thin. So one dark night he silently took his departure,
riding on the back of a young ass belonging to his master.

After a march of about thirty miles the ass had enough of carrying Ali. It
was a young ass, and knew no better, so it went on strike, lay down, and
forthwith died. Thereupon Ali dug a big hole and put the ass in, piling a
great mountain of stones over it. Then, sitting down beside the heap, he
began to pray. A traveller passing inquired by whose tomb he prayed so
fervently. Ali was filled with astonishment. “What! Had he never heard of
the great Saint Amar ben Amar (literally ‘an ass, the son of an ass’)? All
the people of the country round came there to pray.” The traveller did not
fail to mention the Marabout Amar ben Amar’s tomb, and soon pilgrims
flocked to it with offerings, and Ali ben Ali grew fat and rich. The
faithful neglected Mohammed ben Mohammed, who at last, furious, abandoned
his marabout in order to pay a visit to his rival. Great was his
astonishment when he recognised his runaway servitor.

Taking him aside, he whispered, “Tell me the truth. Who is your marabout?”

“The ass I stole from you. And now tell me--who is your marabout?”

“The mother of the ass you stole from me!”

I conclude that the two Arabs chuckled together and continued to exploit
the faithful in common, but history does not relate any more of their
doings--nor, indeed, does it vouch for the complete veracity of the story.
It is, however, to my personal knowledge quite the sort of thing one might
expect to happen.


_From a Photograph._]

(_To be continued._)

My Alaskan Christmas.


    We have published a number of stories of adventure in the icy North,
    but none giving a more realistic impression of the hardships and
    dangers which lie in wait for the traveller and prospector in these
    inhospitable regions than this. Mr. Priestley and his partner set
    out with dog-teams for a new goldfield, but the partner lost heart
    and turned back, leaving him to struggle on alone. Death dogged his
    footsteps through the great white wilderness, and but for the
    intelligence of his leading dog he would undoubtedly have lost his

It was my fortune, or misfortune, to be present in San Francisco at the
time of the earthquake and fire of April 18th, 1906. Although I gained a
good deal of valuable experience as my share of the catastrophe, I lost
all my belongings to offset the bargain.

I stayed in San Francisco until June 1st, and then resolved to try my luck
in another country, where earthquakes and such petty worries are unknown.
Fate directed my roving footsteps to Alaska, glowingly described by the
transportation companies as “The Golden North--the land of fur, fish, and
gold.” I thanked the companies for their information, but did not avail
myself of their kind offer to sell me a ticket. Both Nature and Fate
seemed to have destined me for a rover, and one of the main tenets of a
roving life--to say nothing of my financial status--demanded and ordained
that I must travel at the least possible expense. I accordingly made
arrangements, and worked my passage from San Francisco to St. Michael’s,
_viâ_ Nome, on the ss. _Buckman_. St. Michael’s is a port on the Bering
Sea, and is the principal shipping port for the Yukon River and Central


_From a Photograph._]

From St. Michael’s I found a boat was leaving for the Tanana district, and
again luck favoured me, for I got the chance to work my way up to that
part of the country. We traversed the Yukon River as far as Fort Gibbon,
and from there proceeded up the Tanana River to the mining camp of
Fairbanks, which is situated about four hundred miles up-stream from Fort

I arrived in Fairbanks on July 1st, having travelled nearly four thousand
miles since leaving San Francisco, and found myself about twenty-five
dollars better off than when I started. I stayed in the Fairbanks district
until the end of November. The physical features of this country are best
described as “eight months iceberg and four months swamp.”

Towards the end of November rumour began to circulate reports that a new
goldfield of incredible richness had been discovered. Tales of “eight
dollars to the shovelful” were passed through the camp, and all kinds of
stories, real and imaginary, were discussed with feverish excitement.

The new diggings were known as the Chandelar, and were situated at the
head-waters of the Chandelar River, a tributary of the Yukon, having its
source in the Arctic slope and entering the Yukon River about twenty miles
below Fort Yukon.

I was anxious to try my luck in the newly-discovered country, but this was
a matter that could not be lightly considered. The diggings were about
four hundred miles due north of Fairbanks, and a good deal of preparation
was necessary before a trip of this kind could be undertaken. I was a
new-comer in the country (locally termed a “chechaco”); I was unused to
the ways of the trail; there was no food in the new district, except, of
course, wild game; and, finally, the temperature at that time was about
forty degrees below zero, with every possibility that it would drop to
sixty or seventy below zero by the end of December.

I made up my mind that the first thing I must do would be to get a
travelling partner who could be depended on. I finally made arrangements
with an old-timer in the country, named Bartlett, who was also going up to
the Chandelar. He had been in the Klondike rush of ’98, and as he sat by a
hot stove and related his marvellous exploits on the trail, his thrilling
adventures and hair-breadth escapes, in a state of “chechaco” simplicity
that was almost pitiable I congratulated myself on my choice of a partner.

Finding that I had not enough money to purchase everything necessary, I
spoke to two friends of mine, and they agreed to put seventy-five dollars
each into the trip; in return, they were to have a one-third interest
between them of any mining property that I located in the Chandelar. This
is a common occurrence in Alaska, and is generally known as a “grubstake


of Fairbanks, Alaska, have made constituted and appointed, any by these
presents do hereby make, contribute and appoint, F. Priestley, of the
same place, our true and lawful attorney for us and in our name, place
and stead, and for our use and benefit, to locate stake and record for
us, places mining property in the CHANDELAR DISTRICT, in the Region of
Alaska, North of the Yukon River: [three lines erased here]

hereby giving and granting onto W. PRIESTLEY as said attorney full power
and authority to do and perform all and every act and thing whatsoever
requisite and necessary to be done in and about the premises, as fully
to all intents and purposes as we might or could do if personally
present, hereby ratifying and confirming all that our said Attorney,
W. PRIESTLEY, shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue of these

In WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereupon set our hands and seals this 3rd
day of December, A.D. 1905.


Agreements were drawn up between us, one being styled a “grubstake
agreement” and the other a “power of attorney.” The “grubstake agreement”
stated that in return for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars the
parties of the first part drew up this agreement in order that they might
have legal claim to a one-third interest in all placer and mining ground
staked by party of the second part in the Chandelar district and north of
the Yukon River.

The power of attorney was simply a legal document, giving me permission to
stake ground for the benefit of absent parties.

Having settled all legal matters and received my “grubstake,” I purchased
my outfit--four dogs, a fur robe, a Yukon sled, and a Yukon stove. In
addition I had to purchase dog harness, a gun, ammunition, axe, tent, and
compass, as well as dog-feed, a good supply of provisions, and suitable
clothing for the trip.

My four dogs were of different breeds, only one being a pure native dog or
“malamute.” My leader deserves special mention. The most intelligent dog
is always placed in the lead, as the dogs are not driven by reins, but
simply by word. To tell the dogs to travel straight ahead, the command is
“Mush!” or “Mush on!” which is evidently a corruption of the term used by
the French-Canadian trappers of the Hudson Bay Company, who would
naturally say “Marchez” when ordering their team to travel. To travel to
the right the command is “Gee!” and to the left “Aw!”

My leading dog was born in Circle City and had been christened Nellie. She
had both the native and the outside strain--a dog whose intelligence and
faithfulness cannot be questioned, as after-events will prove.

We left Fairbanks on December 12th, my partner and myself each having four
dogs. We had an outfit consisting of tent, stove, guns, ammunition, robes,
snow-shoes, one hundred pounds of dog-feed, and about five hundred pounds
of food. It was our intention to proceed to Circle City, and there to
complete our outfit.

For the first few miles the trail was in excellent condition and we made
good time. It was rather late when we started, and by the time we had
covered sixteen miles it was already dark. It must be remembered that in
the middle of winter there is only a very short period of daylight in
Alaska. The first night we stayed at a mining camp known as Golden City,
consisting of two saloons and a number of dilapidated cabins, the majority
being minus doors or windows.

Next day we made an early start, as we had a very steep hill to climb,
known as Cleary Dome. There had been a light fall of snow during the
night, and this made the trail very heavy. We found it impossible to get
the loads up the hill, so we hitched the eight dogs on to one sled, and,
having dragged it to the top of the Dome, we took the dogs down again for
the other sled. From the summit there was a steep decline, and it took me
all my time to hold back the sled, to prevent it cutting the hind legs of
the wheeler dog.

The trail was in bad condition, as it had been cut to pieces by some heavy
freight teams. The track at this point ran along the side of a hill down
into the valley, and the sleds were on one runner most of the way. Every
few minutes they would upset, and a good deal of physical energy would be
expended to right them again. The loads were lashed to the sleds, so
little actual damage was done.

That night we stayed at Cleary Creek, having accomplished ten miles as the
result of the day’s trip, but as the greater part of the ten miles
consisted of the ascent and descent already mentioned we were both

Next morning we started off, following the trail down Cleary Creek until
we struck the Chatanika River, and here we met our first big obstacle. Our
course lay up the Chatanika for about seventy miles, but as soon as we
arrived on the banks of this river we found it impossible to travel any
farther, on account of overflows. It may be as well to explain for the
benefit of the uninitiated what is meant by an overflow.

The Chatanika is a river over one hundred miles in length, but is full of
gravel bars. At the beginning of winter the stream, of course, freezes,
and where the gravel bars are situated it freezes solid to the bottom,
owing to the fact that the water is very shallow at these points.

There is always a large body of water flowing from the subterranean
springs at the source of this river, and, as this water cannot make its
way through the barriers of ice and gravel, it forces itself up through
the ice and flows over the top until such time as it freezes or finds its
way under the ice again. In some places the overflows thus formed are
three or four feet deep.

Now, it is a serious matter to wade through water when the thermometer is
a long way below zero. It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to
lose his feet in this way, for as soon as one gets wet the moisture
freezes into a cake of ice, and unless precautions are immediately taken
the limbs may become so badly frozen that amputation is necessary, in
order to prevent mortification.

When we found the river was so full of overflows we judged it best to wait
a few days and give the water a chance to freeze, as the weather was very
cold at this time. We found a deserted cabin, minus door and window, and
proceeded to make ourselves as comfortable as possible under these
circumstances. We had a stove with us, and as there was plenty of wood
handy we soon had the cabin warm.

We stayed at this place over two weeks, waiting for the overflows to close
up. Time began to drag heavily on our hands, for the days were very short
and game scarce, so all we could do was to eat and sleep and wait for the
flood-water to freeze. Our Christmas Day--that day of all the year so
eagerly looked forward to in happier climes--we spent as follows. During
the few hours of daylight I took my gun and went off into the woods. I
found the tracks of a wolverine, but was unable to follow them up, as it
was already getting dark, though I could see that the tracks were newly

That night we did our best to celebrate Christmas properly. We prepared a
feast, which consisted of caribou steak, evaporated potatoes, evaporated
onions, canned butter, canned pears, and baking-powder bread. Such little
luxuries as plum-puddings and mince-pies were chiefly conspicuous by
their absence, and I finished my repast with a bad attack of
home-sickness, which was perhaps natural, but hardly in keeping with my
_rôle_ of dauntless pioneer.

We waited by the banks of the Chatanika until January 1st, and then, as
the overflows still showed no signs of freezing over, we determined to
start the New Year and our trip up the river at the same time, and trust
to that special Providence which is supposed to guard sailors, fools,
drunken men, and little children. The dogs were in good condition, as they
had done nothing for two weeks but eat, sleep, and grow fat. They showed a
distinct dislike to their harness at first, which was perhaps natural, but
after a time resigned themselves to the inevitable.

For the first two miles we managed to pick out a land trail, but after
that we had to take to the river, as the timber became too thick. After we
had travelled about two miles on the river trail, we began to congratulate
ourselves on the condition of the track, for by picking our way carefully
and avoiding the stretches of open water we were making good time.

All at once we saw smoke issuing from a small cabin, so we halted the dogs
in order to make inquiries regarding the overflows higher up the river. We
found the cabin to be occupied by two hunters, who told us that round the
bend of the river there was an overflow over three feet deep, which it was
impossible to get through. They had been waiting for a week to see whether
it would freeze over. We, however, had had enough of delays, so we
determined to see whether we could get through.

Reaching the overflow we found it covered with a thin coating of ice. We
had just succeeded in getting on to this “glare” ice when, with a crack,
it broke under us, and we sank up to our knees in ice-cold water, while
the poor dogs were nearly covered. Having once got wet, we thought we
might as well try to get through; but it was impossible for the dogs to
pull, as they could not get a foothold, and the noses of the sleds were
blocked with “slush” ice. We accordingly hitched our eight dogs on to one
sled, and I walked ahead in order to encourage the animals to follow me.

Every time I put my foot down I broke through the ice, and it was easy to
follow my course by the holes I left behind me in the trail. The farther I
went the deeper the water became, and at last I realized that the only
thing to be done was to return to the cabin, as it was impossible for
either dogs or men to stand the deadly cold of the water much longer. As
soon as I arrived at this decision the two hunters, who had come out to
assist us, went back to the cabin and prepared a big fire and hot coffee.

We succeeded in getting the dogs on to solid ice again, and the water on
the dogs, sleds, and harness--to say nothing of ourselves--immediately
turned to ice.

We reached the cabin in a few minutes, got the dogs inside in order to
thaw them out, and proceeded to change our frozen clothes. The cabin could
hardly be described as pretentious, as the dimensions were only about
eight feet by ten, by five feet in height. Put four men and eight dogs,
all ice-coated, in this space, with a big fire going, and it will be
easily seen that the atmosphere is likely to become somewhat oppressive.
To add to our discomfort, the cabin became so hot that the snow on the
roof commenced to melt and find its way through the numerous cracks. The
floor, consisting as it did of plain mother earth, soon began to take on
the form of a small duck-pond, so we were compelled to make a thick carpet
of spruce boughs.

Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we were ready to try the overflow
again. My partner at this time began to show himself in his true colours.
He was ready to return to Fairbanks, for he had developed a disease
variously termed “cold feet,” “crawfish,” or “white feather.”

Reaching the overflow again, we repeated the previous day’s programme,
with the same result, but we found that the ice was a little thicker than
before. We returned to the cabin, resolved to wait a few days. After
staying two more days in the cabin, in an atmosphere resembling a Hindu
bazaar or a Turkish bath, another man came up the river with four dogs,
and we determined to make a combined attempt to get through.

We therefore hitched the twelve dogs on to one sled, and after a
tremendous effort succeeded in getting the sled through the overflow on to
solid ice. The first sled taken through contained the tent and stove, and
while my partner and myself returned for the other sleds our latest ally
pitched the tent and lit the stove, and by the time we got back with the
second sled a good cup of coffee was waiting for us. We then returned for
the third sled, and having succeeded in dragging it through to the tent we
unanimously decided to knock off work, for, although we had only travelled
about half a mile from the hunters’ cabin, we were all satisfied that we
had done a good day’s work.

Next morning we started before daybreak, determined to put in a long day’s
“mush.” The thermometer was down to forty below zero, and we all had the
hoods of our “parkas” drawn tight.

We passed Kokomo Creek and had travelled for about six miles when to our
dismay we came to a place where the river was open, as far as we could see
it round the bend.

The same dreary programme of Chatanika overflow was repeated. Three
journeys were made through the water, which was in some places waist deep
and was over half a mile long. At the end of the first trip my partner
stayed to light a fire. After we had again succeeded in getting the three
sleds high and dry we changed our clothes in front of the fire, and, after
knocking the ice off the harness and sleds, we made a forced march to an
Indian camp about a mile farther ahead. We stayed here for two days, in
order to rest the dogs, as their feet had been badly cut by the ice.

At the end of two days my partner and myself started on alone and, after a
hard struggle through water and drifts, succeeded in reaching a cabin
known as “Cy’s Place,” which is about thirty miles from Cleary Creek. My
partner here threw up the sponge and said he was going back to Fairbanks.
I told him that I was not in the habit of turning back, so we finally
decided to separate, he to go back to Fairbanks, while I made up my mind
to try and reach Circle City, and there wait for some party going to the

A bad wind-storm had arisen during the night, and up-river no signs of a
trail could be seen, so I left the dogs at “Cy’s Place” and tied on my
snow-shoes. Going ahead I “broke trail” for about six miles, returning at
night to Cy’s. Next morning I started off on my lone trip, and soon came
to the end of my beaten trail. I walked on ahead, wearing my snow-shoes,
and the dogs followed as best they could. Every few yards the nose of the
sled would bury itself in a drift, and the dogs would lie down until I
turned back and dragged it loose.

After I had covered about nine miles in this way the wind began to blow
again. It was getting dark, so I tried to pitch the tent, but found it
impossible on account of the wind. The only thing left for me to do was to
light a big fire and make myself as comfortable as I could until morning.
Fortunately there was a good supply of dry wood handy, and I soon had a
big fire under the trees. I laid spruce boughs on the snow, and, having
fed myself and the dogs, rolled myself in my robe and slept till morning.
Of course I had to replenish the fire two or three times during the night,
and each time I awoke I found the dogs lying almost on the top of me for

Next morning, after a rather cheerless breakfast, I started off again. The
dogs seemed reluctant to travel, as though aware of some danger ahead. I
intended, if possible, to reach a cabin at the mouth of Faith Creek, which
was about twenty miles from my camp. I found the trail very heavy, and the
only way I could make any progress was to fasten a rope to the sled, tie
the other end round my waist, and pull with the dogs. Time and again the
sled would be buried in the drifts; but, notwithstanding this, by about
half-past two in the afternoon I had made some fourteen miles. It was just
commencing to get dark, and the temperature was about forty degrees below
zero. I was hoping to get into Faith Creek before five o’clock, as I had
not been bothered with overflows, when, suddenly turning a bend in the
river, I saw, straight ahead, a stretch of “glare” ice, which warned me to
look out for an overflow. I fully realized my serious position. With the
weather so cold I was running a chance of freezing to death if I got wet,
for the wood all round seemed to be green, and there was now no partner to
help me in case I got stuck.

I walked ahead, with the dogs close at my heels, looking for solid ice.
Presently, without warning, there was a loud crack, and myself, dogs, and
sled were precipitated into the water. The thing happened so suddenly that
almost before I realized what had occurred I found myself standing in four
feet of water, with the dogs struggling to keep themselves afloat.

My first thought was for them, so I drew out my hunting knife and cut them
loose from the sled. They scrambled out as best they could, dragging
themselves to solid ice. I next tried to haul the sled out of the water,
but found it impossible, so I cut the ropes, let the load sink under the
ice, and pulled out the empty sled. With all my food, clothes, dog-feed,
and everything else lost, I managed to flounder through the water with the
sled on my shoulder. When I got to solid ice once more I began to reflect
upon the serious nature of my position. I was at least six miles from any
cabin; from feet to neck I was covered with a solid coat of ice; and when
I tried to light a fire the green wood refused to burn and my fingers
began to freeze. Owing to the ice upon my clothes, I found it impossible
to bend my knees, and I realized that my only chance of salvation lay in
reaching Faith Creek, six miles away.

Without wasting any further time, I fastened the dogs to the sled and
started off. The wind commenced to blow again, and the trail was
completely obliterated. The only thing I could do was to trust to the
instinct of Nellie, my leading dog. She struggled on gamely through drifts
and snow-banks, and the other dogs and myself followed her. The trail was
so bad and my clothes were frozen so stiff that I could only travel at
about a mile an hour.


The night grew darker, and it was soon almost impossible to see the trees
on either side of the river, except at such times as the trail veered to
one side or the other; then the trees would be discernible, standing up
stark and naked, like gigantic skeletons rising from the snow. In the
zenith the Polar star glowed brilliantly, while as far as the eye could
reach the snow lay like a gleaming shroud on the earth. Not a sound was to
be heard save the panting of the dogs, the crunch of snow under my frozen
moccasins, and, somewhere in the distance, the howl of an animal. I cared
for nothing, thought of nothing, desired nothing, save to reach Faith
Creek. Time and again I was ready to drop, but I still kept on, spurred by
the thought that I was fighting for my life, for I knew that once I gave
way to the lassitude that seemed to be gripping my senses, my life would
pay the forfeit. I had heard so much of lone “mushers” on the trail, who
had lain down on the snow for a sleep from which they never awoke, that I
was prepared to struggle on to the last.

Soon the dogs began to tire, and it was only by persistent effort that I
could keep them from lying down in the snow. They were so weary, poor
brutes, that it was cruelty to whip them; all I could do was to pat them
and encourage them with my voice. Nellie tried to lick my frozen gauntlet,
or, half in play, to bite my numbed hand.

Still I kept on, hoping against hope that I should soon see the light in
the Faith Creek cabin. I kept shouting, but all the answer I got was a
mocking echo. Blundering through snow-drifts, with the wind-blown snow
driving against my face like particles of glass, the dogs panting with
exertion or moaning from the pain of their lacerated feet, without a sign
of a trail or landmark, and with my feet in a peculiar condition of
insensibility, still I staggered blindly but persistently towards my goal.

At eight o’clock I was still on the trail; but somehow a doubt began to
take possession of me that perhaps I had missed the cabin altogether and
was wandering towards the Twelve-mile Divide.


All at once the dogs stopped, and on stepping ahead to see what was the
matter I found they were tangled in their harness. I tried to bend over to
release them, but my clothes were so stiff that I found it impossible, and
I lurched over, falling head-foremost into a drift.

I tried to raise myself to a sitting position, only to fall back weakly. A
new sensation seemed to be taking possession of me. I no longer desired to
struggle; a mysterious warmth appeared to surround me, and a drowsiness
stole over my senses. My only wish was to be left alone to sleep. I was
just dozing off when Nellie, my leading dog, lifted up her nose and gave
vent to a weird, wolf-like howl, which she repeated after a few seconds’
interval. I gazed at her with an almost ludicrous amazement, wondering
stupidly why she was making such a noise. Almost simultaneously with her
second howl I heard a shout and, to my amazement, saw a lantern shining
through the trees. I at once realised that help was at hand, and
immediately the desire for sleep left me. A wild longing for life, for
warmth, for food, asserted itself instead, and I gave a yell that must
have sounded like the war-whoop of an Apache Indian. A moment later I saw
two men approaching me, and at once struggled to my feet. Through the
trees came the shouted query, “Are you all right?” “I’m all right,” I
answered. “Where’s the cabin?” By this time the two men had reached me,
and one of them, looking hard into my face, exclaimed, “Why, your nose is

He put his arm round me and helped me to the cabin, while the other man
took charge of my dogs. I found that the cabin was only about a hundred
yards from the place where I had lain down to sleep, but, owing to the
fact that it was built in a grove of trees, it was impossible to see it
until one was close to it. It seems almost ironical that had it not been
for the howl of a dog I would surely have died within a hundred yards of
warmth and shelter.

Once in the cabin the men examined me, and found that my nose, ears, and
fingers were frozen, but not dangerously so. Without any hesitation they
took a knife and cut off my socks and moccasins. My feet, from the toes to
the ankles, were as white and as hard as marble. They thawed them out with
snow, and for three hours I suffered indescribable torment as the
congealed blood began to circulate.

Next morning my feet were so swollen and looked so bad that I was wrapped
in furs, packed in a dog-sled, and taken to the hospital at Fairbanks,
which was reached in three days. I lay in the hospital for three months,
but fortunately did not lose any portion of my feet. It will be many
months, however, before I shall be able to walk as well as formerly, but I
count myself as one of the most fortunate, because I escaped with my life.



_Young Englishman Who Was Frozen on Chatanika, Now at St. Joseph’s
Hospital--No Use of His Feet_

William Priestly, a young English man, was brought to St. Joseph’s
hospital yesterday suffering from frozen feet. It is possible that he may
recover the use of them, but it is more probable, judging from the
diagnosis of the doctors, that he will lose a few toes of both feet.

It was the cursed Chatanika that caused Priestly’s suffering, for it was
in the treacherous overflows of that stream that he got his feet wet while
on the way to the Chandlar strike.

He laid up at Cy’s for some time until he could be brought to the
hospital. Priestly’s feet are in fearful shape, and were frozen far up on
the instep. In fact it seems odd that his toes were not snapped off so
solid were they frozen it is said.

It will be many long days before he can use his feet again, no matter
whether the toes can be saved or not.

Priestly was in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake and fire,
afterward serving on the special police and relief corps. He it was who
last June told what great graft had been carried on in San Francisco and
said the Times was the first paper to publish the corruption, which few
believed at that time existed.]

It only remains for me to add that Nellie is still with me; I intend never
to part with her. Very few men can say that they have cheated death
through the howl of a dog, and I consider it my duty to care for the
animal who, by her devotion and intelligence, saved my life that day on
the Circle trail.


_From a Photograph._]

THE WIDE WORLD: In Other Magazines.



The photograph reproduced herewith is taken from “The Captain,” and shows
a Hindu employed on a farm in British Columbia carrying on his head a load
of boxes of apples over six feet in height and weighing one hundred and
twenty-five pounds. The photograph incidentally gives a very good idea of
the grand scenery in this flourishing colony.


The group of islands known as the Nicobars, about one hundred and fifty
miles south of the Andamans, has been but little explored, though the
manners and customs of the inhabitants offer very interesting
peculiarities to the ethnologist. One of the most noticeable of these is
the passion for old hats. Young and old, chief and subject alike,
endeavour to outvie one another in the singularity of shape, no less than
in the number of old hats they can acquire during their lifetime. On a
fine morning at the Nicobars it is no unusual thing to see the surface of
the ocean in the vicinity of the islands dotted over with canoes, in each
of which the noble savage, with nothing on but the conventional slip of
cloth and a tall white hat with a black band, may be watched catching fish
for his daily meal. Second-hand hats are in most request, new ones being
looked upon with suspicion and disfavour.--“TIT-BITS.”


Numbers of irresponsible men ride along the trails in spring, when the
deer are in deplorable condition after a hard winter, and almost too weak
to get out of the way, taking pot shots at the poor brutes with revolvers,
hardly troubling to see whether they make a kill, and never following a
wounded animal. Almost every district which has had a mining excitement
has had the game almost entirely depleted in this manner. The more
outrageous offences have certainly been stopped to some extent; but there
is still a great deal of this sort of thing going on, and now that the
laws are being more strictly enforced many of these irresponsible persons
take out a miner’s licence so as to render themselves safe from
prosecution.--“COUNTRY LIFE.”


The Chinese are rapidly taking up Western ideas, and translations of
English and French novels are now in increasing demand. Our romantic and
sentimental treatment of love-affairs, however, is a thing so foreign to
Oriental ethics that the hero of the ordinary European novel appears to
the Chinese mind as a person of perverted moral sense and doubtful sanity.
Translations of Dickens, therefore, impress the Chinese reader less than
they amaze him, and detective stories and tales of adventure command a
more sympathetic audience.--“WOMAN’S LIFE.”



The annexed photograph shows a famous tree growing in the little Egyptian
village of Matariyah, which is partly built on the ruins of Heliopolis and
situated about four and a half miles to the north of Cairo. It is usually
called “The Virgin’s Tree,” from the tradition that the Virgin Mary sat
and rested under its shadow during her flight to Egypt. It is also said
that by remaining hidden in the hollow tree by means of a
marvellously-twisted cobweb she succeeded in escaping her
persecutors.--“THE STRAND MAGAZINE.”

Odds and Ends.

    The “Shark Papers”--A Mysterious Archway--British Columbian “Poverty
    Socials,” etc., etc.


_From a Photograph._]

Few exhibits in the Institute of Jamaica, British West Indies, possess a
more curious history than the famous “Shark Papers,” a photograph of which
is reproduced herewith. The story is, briefly, as follows: On August 28th,
1799, a naval officer named Hugh Wylie, in command of H.M. cutter
_Sparrow_, while cruising off the coast of Hayti, gave chase to, and
eventually captured, the American brig _Nancy_. The prize was sent in to
Port Royal, and a fortnight later a suit for salvage was brought on behalf
of Wylie against “a certain brig or vessel called the _Nancy_, her guns,
tackle, furniture, ammunition, and apparel, and the goods, wares,
merchandise, specie, and effects on board her, taken and seized as the
property of some person or persons, being enemies of our Sovereign Lord
and King, and good and lawful prize on the high seas, and within the
jurisdiction of this Court.” A claim for the dismissal of the case with
costs, backed with affidavits, was put in by the owners of the brig, in
which, as it subsequently turned out, they perjured themselves freely.
While the case was proceeding Lieutenant Michael Fitton, in command of the
_Ferret_, and Wylie in command of the _Sparrow_ (both tenders of H.M.S.
_Abergavenny_, the flagship at Port Royal), put out to sea with the object
of earning for the stationary flagship a share of the prizes which were
constantly being taken by the cruisers. On rejoining after an accidental
separation, Fitton invited Wylie by signal to come to breakfast. While
waiting for him to come aboard the _Ferret_ crew captured a huge shark,
which, on being opened, was found to contain a sealed packet of papers.
During the breakfast Wylie mentioned that he had detained an American brig
called the _Nancy_. Fitton thereupon said he had her papers. “Papers?”
answered Wylie. “Why, I sealed up her papers and sent them in with her.”
“Just so,” replied Fitton; “those were her false papers. Here are her real
ones; my men found them in the stomach of a shark!” These papers, together
with others of an incriminating nature found on the _Nancy_ some time
after her capture, carefully concealed in the captain’s cabin, led to the
condemnation of the brig and her cargo on the 25th November, 1799. The
head of the shark which swallowed the papers is still preserved in the
United Service Museum at Whitehall, London, S.W.


_From a Photograph._]

The archway here shown, made of enormous slabs of coral rock neatly
chiselled and mortised, is one of the many interesting problems of the
Pacific. If, as is generally believed, the South Sea Islands are of
comparatively recent volcanic and coralline formation, who built this
archway, which is situated on one of the smallest islands of the Tongan
group? The oldest native inhabitants of the islands know nothing of its
origin, and from its appearance the monument is of great antiquity. From
this and other indications it has been claimed that the “Milky Way” of the
Pacific was in prehistoric times one vast continent, inhabited by peoples
of whom the present-day world has lost all record.


_From a Photograph._]

“Travelling recently on donkey-back across a trackless portion of the
Conchilla Desert in South-Eastern California,” writes a correspondent, “we
sighted ahead of us above the sage-brush a nondescript object which on
nearer approach resolved itself into the two dilapidated tramcars shown in
the next photograph. They formed the equipment of a ‘horse railway’ across
the sands ten or twelve years ago to connect a solitary station on the
Southern Pacific Railway with an agricultural colony several miles
distant. The farming enterprise, however, failed utterly, and the ‘horse
railway’ with it. The incongruous sight of these two abandoned cars in the
midst of drifting sands is all that remains to-day to tell the tale of
shattered hope.”

The amusing handbill shown below refers to a curious function which is
very popular in British Columbia--the “poverty social.” This is an
entertainment of the kind formerly known in more conventional circles as a
“conversazione.” Whereas the latter is chiefly distinguished for its
formality and general uncomfortableness, these “poverty socials” are
delightfully free and easy; indeed, the people attending them are actually
fined if their clothes are considered at all stylish or savouring of
ostentation, the idea, of course, being that everyone--rich and poor
alike--shall feel entirely at their ease. Needless to say, the bad
spelling and the mistakes made in the printing of the bill are all
carefully designed to heighten the homely effect of the gathering.


                   _you air Axed to A Poverty Soshall_


                 _Air A-goin Tu hAve in_ THE SCULE ROOM,

                     _Queen’s Ave. Methodist Church_

                         _NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C._

                      THURSDY NITE, APRIL 26, 1906

                          RULS AND REGELASHUNS

I. All wimmin wil be xpected tu bee togged out in kaliker dresses & good
Gingem apirins: rufles, flounces, etc. air not konsiddered stiLish and
oners aer lible too fyne.

II. Evry man hoo is cawt wearin a biled shiRt or stannup kalar wil bee
find 5 sense. Hum-maid chees-cloth Nektys & ol Kentuk-ky Jeens wyll be
reKkonD senSible aS wel as ornimentl.

                                 A PRYSE

Wil be givn tu the maN & Wuman havin the wurst lukin rig in the rhume.
These RulS wil be enforced tu the Letar. A Kompetent Komitty wil introDuce
Strangirs & Luk after Bashful Fellars. Al extrees & artikles of Adornment
wil Be Find.

_Kum & hav Sum pHun & git sumpn tu eat._

Admishun to the Bilding 15 (fiftene) sense.]


_From a Photograph._]

It is questionable if any animal on earth could duplicate the swallowing
feat that is to be seen daily (or as often as a tourist comes along) at
the Cawston Ostrich Farm in South Pasadena, California. The ostriches on
this farm are veritable giants of their race, having responded generously
to the genial climate, good food, and scientific care. Oranges are one of
their great dainties--the big “navel” oranges of California, measuring
upwards of three and a half inches in diameter. One old patriarch named
“Emperor William” will catch the oranges one after another, full ten feet
above the ground, until an even dozen may be seen at the same time slowly
bumping down his long expanse of neck, to be finally lost in the ruffle of
feathers where neck and body join! “William” has been known to gulp
thirty-five or forty oranges in succession, and the fact that he is in
robust health at twenty-three years of age seems to indicate that
California oranges agree with him.


_From a Photograph._]

An Indian reader writes: “I enclose a photograph which I recently took
whilst paying a visit to the Indian hill station of Darjeeling. The
picture represents a Bhutia, or native of Bhutan, playing ‘Diabolo.’
Although the game has made big strides both at home and abroad, I think
that probably Darjeeling, at an altitude of seven thousand feet,
represents the highest point it has touched at present.”


_From a Photograph._]

In Spanish-speaking countries young women are allowed but little of the
liberty that they enjoy in lands where English is the native tongue. They
rarely meet young men at social entertainments, and are never permitted to
converse with them except in the presence of older people. They do, of
course, contrive to carry on flirtations, but chiefly with the eyes. In
every town in a Spanish-speaking country there is a _plaza_, where a band
plays on one or two evenings of the week. The young men and women
congregate there, the former walking round and round in one direction and
the latter in the opposite direction. Thus they are constantly meeting and
making eyes at each other, but they do not pair off or sit down on the
benches together. When a young man wants to pay his attentions to a girl,
he must get notes smuggled to her or “play the bear”--that is, stand under
the window of her room and try to attract her attention, either by
serenading her with some musical instrument, or, if he has no gift that
way, by simply waiting patiently until she chances to look out and cast
him an encouraging glance. In spite, however, of all difficulties and
obstacles, Cupid contrives to find a way, and young people fall in love
and marry just as in lands where etiquette is less strict and
opportunities for _tête-à-tête_ conversations more frequent.


_From a Photograph._]

The striking little photograph above was sent by Colonel the Hon. H. E.
Maxwell, D.S.O., from the remote post of Cherat, on the North-West
frontier of India. “It was taken during a flight of locusts,” he writes.
“They covered the hills for miles in every direction, and during their two
or three days’ stay caused enormous damage to the few trees and shrubs
with which we are blessed, stripping them entirely of their leaves, and in
some cases even eating away the bark!”


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wide World Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 129, December, 1908" ***

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