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Title: An Australian Ramble - a Summer in Australia
Author: Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1890 T. Fisher Unwin edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

                             [Picture: Cover]



                                    AN
                            AUSTRALIAN RAMBLE


                         _A SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA_

                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                             J. EWING RITCHIE
                          (_CHRISTOPHER CRAYON_)

                                * * * * *

                                  LONDON
                             T. FISHER UNWIN
                            PATERNOSTER SQUARE
                                   1890

                                * * * * *

                                   _TO_
                      _THE HONOURABLE EDMUND WEBB_,
                      _BATHURST_, _NEW SOUTH WALES_,
              _THE FOLLOWING PAGES_, _MANY OF THEM WRITTEN_
                    _UNDER HIS HOSPITABLE ROOF_, _ARE_
                          _GRATEFULLY INSCRIBED_
                                   _BY_
                              _THE AUTHOR_.



CONTENTS.

                              CHAPTER I.
                          OFF TO AUSTRALIA.
                                                                  PAGE
The _Orizaba_—Reasons for Travelling—The Bishop—Soda and   1–28
Whisky—The Spanish Coast—Heroic
Memories—Gibraltar—Wickedness of Naples—Port Said
                             CHAPTER II.
                          EGYPT TO COLOMBO.
Coaling in Port Said—The Suez Canal—England the Main       29–49
Support—Donkey-drivers—The Electric
Light—Ismailia—Suez—Aden—The Red Sea
                             CHAPTER III.
                          COLOMBO TO ALBANY.
Prosperity of Colombo—Native Extortioners—Buddhist         50–65
Temple—Life in the Streets—On the Indian Ocean—Stormy
Seas guard Australia—English Coolness—Western Australia
                             CHAPTER IV.
                      IN THE COLONY OF VICTORIA.
Melbourne Gleanings—Dr. Bevan—Night at a Bungalow—Cole’s   66–108
Book-shop—A Day at Sorrento—White Cruelty to the
Aborigines—Coffee Palaces—Dr. Strong—The Presbyterian
Church in Collins Street—The Late Peter
Lalor—Ballarat—Romance of Gold Mining—Sydney and
Melbourne compared—Australian Rogues—Suburban
Melbourne—Victorian M.P.’s—Victorian Politics
                              CHAPTER V.
                   A LITTLE ABOUT NEW SOUTH WALES.
Sunny Sydney—Public Buildings—Educational                  109–138
Establishments—Sanitary State—Its Climate—Bathurst—The
Blue Mountains—Romish Aggression—Botany Bay—Old Days—A
Wonderful Change—New South Wales Scenery
                             CHAPTER VI.
                       AMONGST THE BANANA BOYS.
Collision in Sydney Harbour—Brisbane—Queensland—The        139–146
Banana Boys—Sir Samuel Griffith
                             CHAPTER VII.
                           SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
Holy Adelaide—Its Situation—Its Public Buildings—Its       147–165
Mining-market—Dr. Arnold—Australian Plagues—Fleas and
Mosquitoes and Serpents—Sunday Observance—The Macleay
Mission—Number of Churches
                            CHAPTER VIII.
                          LIFE AT A STATION.
Mr. Dooleete’s Station—Sheep-shearing—Patriarchal Life     166–172
Improved—Snakes—Drought
                             CHAPTER IX.
                         THE HEATHEN CHINEE.
His Persecution—His Usefulness—His Intellectual Ability    173–183
                              CHAPTER X.
                      THE LARRIKIN IN AUSTRALIA.
What the Larrikin is—A Social, Moral, and Political        184–191
Danger—A Natural Foe of the Chinaman
                             CHAPTER XI.
                      IN AN AUSTRALIAN VINEYARD.
Fruit Supply—Tintarra Wine—Mr. Thomas Hardy—The            192–205
Temperance Question
                             CHAPTER XII.
                      AN AUSTRALIAN MILLIONAIRE.
Mr. James Tyson                                            206–211
                            CHAPTER XIII.
                    AUSTRALIAN FACTS AND FIGURES.
Increase of the Colonies—Further Emigration required—New   212–223
South Wales and Free Trade—The Australian Type
                             CHAPTER XIV.
                             COMING HOME.
The Sea—Colombo—Arabi—Ceylon Tea—Stoppage in the           224–235
Canal—Tilbury Docks—The Future of Australia—Australia as
a Field for Emigration



CHAPTER I.
OFF TO AUSTRALIA.


The _Orizaba_—Reasons for Travelling—The Bishop—Soda and Whisky—The
Spanish Coast—Heroic Memories—Gibraltar—Wickedness of Naples—Port Said.

I SEND this from the _Orizaba_, one of the finest, if not the finest, of
the fine steamers of the Orient Line that keep open the communication
between this country and Australia; and this is how it came to pass.  One
day last summer I was standing on the deck of a steamer, when a gentleman
remarked to me, ‘I come from a country where they have had no rain for
nine months.’  ‘Where is that?’ said I.  ‘Australia,’ was the reply; and
immediately I made up my mind to go there.  As is the custom of most of
us, I talked the matter over with my friends, some of them in the first
rank of the medical world.  ‘You can’t do better,’ was the unanimous
reply; ‘you will come back ten years younger,’ said they all.  Well,
surely it is worth taking a little trouble and incurring a little
expense, for a man—not to put too fine a point on it—presenting daily a
more venerable appearance, to put back the clock, as it were, and to
regain somewhat of his manly prime.  ‘What can I do for you?’ said the
family doctor to the mother of the Rothschilds, when he was summoned to
her side; ‘I cannot make you grow young again.’  ‘No,’ was her ladyship’s
reply; ‘I know you can’t, doctor; but I wish to continue to grow old.’
And here, just by taking a trip to Australia, and escaping the hardships
of an English winter and spring, actually I shall achieve what the mother
of the Rothschilds did not dare to hope for.  Surely the attempt is worth
an effort, especially when, owing to the kindness of a certain firm of
publishers who shall be nameless, the question of expense was
satisfactorily solved.

In these days of school-boards and universal travel a good deal has yet
to be learned of our colonies.  When I was younger, people in this
country were in the most ludicrous state of ignorance as respects the
size, area, wealth and value of what it is now the fashion to term the
fifth quarter of the globe.  At that time, say about 1830, there were not
much more than 70,000 in all the land.  Then Sydney Smith was writing of
it as a region ‘in which Nature has been so capricious, that she makes
cherries with the stones on the outside, and a monstrous animal, as tall
as a grenadier, with the head of a rabbit and a tail as big as a bedpost,
hopping along at the rate of five hops to a mile.’  Listen to Charles
Lamb, as he writes, in his ‘Essays of Elia,’ to a friend in New South
Wales: ‘What must you be willing by this time to give for the sight of an
honest man?  You must have forgotten how _we_ look.  Do you grow your own
hemp?  What is your staple trade—exclusive of the national profession, I
mean?  Your locksmiths, I take it, are some of your great capitalists.’
It was at that time the popular belief was embodied by Tom Hood as
follows in ‘A Letter from a Settler for Life in Van Diemen’s Land,’
wherein Susan Gale writes to her old friend and fellow-servant in Mount
Street, Grosvenor Square: ‘As soon as ever the Botes rode to Land I don’t
aggrivate the Truth to say their was half duzzen Bows apiece to Hand us
out to shoar; and sum go so far as to say they was offered to through
Speeking Trumpits afore they left the Ship-side.’  There is still a
legend of a Missionary Society at home sending out a representative to
Australia, and so carefully planning his route that he was to preach at
Adelaide on the Sunday morning, and at Melbourne, some hundreds of miles
away, in the afternoon, and that was before they had a railway.  There
are many who still think that a colony is a place where men are
fortunate, as a late colonial governor remarked, if they enjoy three
meals a day and a place to sleep in, where the inhabitants sit down to
dinner in their shirt-sleeves, and think it a hardship if they take off
their boots when they go to bed.  But the greatest fallacy of all is the
supposition that in a colony anyone can get a living, no matter how
incompetent he may have proved himself at home.  We laugh, but are we
much wiser now?  In Fleet Street last week, as I bade good-bye to a
friend, he said to me, ‘I have a boy who will be coming home just as you
land.  I sent him out with the best introductions.  He has been six
months in Melbourne and Sydney and elsewhere, and can find nothing to do,
and now I have to get him home again.’  It will be something if, in the
course of my letters, and as the result of my inquiries, I shall be able
to save fathers and mothers at home the trouble and expense and pain of
such fruitless ventures, and it will be better still if I can help men
and women at home to understand and realize what is being done by our
fellow-subjects on the Australian Continent to plant that great land with
Anglo-Saxon civilization and freedom and religion—if I can duly describe
its cities and their people, their wealth and intelligence, their general
activity and enterprise, their inner and public life.  According to all
accounts a good deal is yet to be told.  Even Mr. Froude has omitted much
that would interest the reader, and Dr. Dale has left something for the
individual who may chance to follow in his steps.  The fact is, the
subject is too big for any one man.

I have said I send this from the _Orizaba_, one of the finest, if not the
finest steamer of the Orient Line.  Then there are the P. and O., who do
not carry third-class passengers, and French and German steamers in
abundance, to say nothing of other firms, who are always sending out
steamers and sailing-vessels as well.  As regards the latter, the firm of
Devitt and Moore, of Fenchurch Street, deserve special mention, as they
are the oldest people in the trade.  Tourists who have the time to spare
say there is nothing like a sailing-vessel for an Australian trip, and of
the ships that sail in that direction, from all I hear, there are none
that can equal the _Sobraon_ (Captain Elmslie), and the _Macquarie_, in
the Sydney trade (Captain Goddard, late of the _Paramatta_).  All the
fleet of this firm, however, bear a high character, and passengers,
whether as regards accommodation or the commissariat, have no occasion to
complain.  The special objects of the managers of the Orient Company are
to increase the facilities for the interchange of communication, and to
promote the speed, safety, and, it may be added, pleasure of the passage.
They are under contract with the Governments of New South Wales and South
Australia to convey the mails fortnightly between England and Australia
by way of Suez, and also run occasional steamers by the Cape of Good
Hope.  Since the Line was opened in 1877, upwards of 150,000 passengers
have been carried to and fro, with all but total immunity from accident
to life or limb.  It cannot be doubted that the facilities thus afforded
have added alike to the welfare and happiness of both the old world and
the new.  At home we are supplied with Australian produce, and Australia
is a good customer in the English market.  The service is performed by
some eleven first-class steamers, varying from 3,000 to 7,000 tons.  An
old stager gave me the hint to choose one of the smaller vessels, on the
plea that I should have better attendance on board.  However, I prefer to
follow the crowd, and have secured my berth on board the _Orizaba_, named
after one of the highest mountains, somewhere, they tell me, in South
America.  Already she has carried the largest number of passengers ever
taken by one vessel to Australia.  She was built and engined by the
Barrow Shipbuilding Company, the builders of the far-famed _City of
Rome_.  In the saloon there are chairs for 130 first-class passengers.
The ship’s company numbers 200.  There are second-class and third-class
passengers on board.  Apparently there is little danger of starvation, as
the provision-chambers of the ship are sufficient to supply fresh
provisions for 1,000 persons from England to Australia.  The promenade
deck is grand; and as to the saloons and drawing-rooms, they are fitted
up in palatial style, and the electric light by night makes the interior
look like fairyland.  I ought to be happy with all the provision made for
comfort on board.  But who can say what may happen when I am in the Bay
of Biscay, or even after I have set foot on _terra firma_?  Strange
things are constantly occurring.  The other day I heard of a good man in
Essex, in one of its small towns, who, as duty required, went to his
favourite chapel on the Sunday morning; on his return to his Sunday
dinner he was rather astonished to find that in his temporary absence his
wife and daughters had packed up and started to join the Mormons on the
other side of the Atlantic.  It is to be hoped that no such calamity may
happen to me.  As to myself, there is little danger of my doing anything
rash, for ‘he that hath wife and children hath given hostages to
fortune,’ as the great Lord Bacon told the world long ago.

It was not till Sunday morning that we left Plymouth, instead of
Saturday.  The fact was we had a tremendous addition in the shape of
passengers and luggage to take on board, as all the people from the North
come _viâ_ Plymouth, besides the London passengers who are glad to escape
the dangers of the Channel.  On Sunday morning we had a short service in
what is termed the drawing-room.  The bishop, of course, was a colonial
(you never go to sea without meeting one), and wore his official robes,
though his reading-desk was but a small table, which was covered by the
British flag.  The bishop followed up the prayers with a five minutes’
address, in which he said that a ship was like the world.  In the world
we were exposed to temptation, and so it was on board a ship.  We were
exposed to temptations from our fellow-passengers—an unkind reflection on
some of us, I thought.  Asking the purser what, from his wide experience
of life on a ship, the peculiar form of temptation to which we were
exposed was, his reply was ‘whisky and soda’—a form of temptation of
which, apparently, the bishop had nothing to say.  The bishop does not
interest me greatly, though he has kindly volunteered to read prayers
every morning.  The air of the bishop’s lady is slightly subdued, as if
the weight of her dignity were too much; _she_ reads Church papers,
whilst _he_ evidently enjoys his novel.

But let me leave the bishop alone, and turn to things of a more worldly
character.  Poor Edgar Poe writes: ‘There are four conditions of
happiness in life, and one of them is life in the open air.’  In this
respect we are especially fortunate.  We are no sooner out of the
Devonshire mists than we are in the Bay of Biscay, calm as an infant on
its mother’s breast.  We live in the open air.  Passed Cape Finisterre
after dark on Monday night, and steamed pleasantly down the Spanish
coast, having an especially fine view of Cintra and the mouth of the
Tagus.  All along the coast were dotted, amongst the foliage, white
villages, and towns, and villas, all basking in the summer sun.  Heroic
memories come to us as we pass over the seas where the _Captain_ was
lost, in consequence, it is to be feared, of defective seamanship, with
her crew of picked men and some of our finest lads of noble birth.  All
along that coast, when Old England was fighting for pre-eminence and
power, and on those far-away hills has the noise of battle rolled, and
not in vain, for the struggle that ended with Waterloo placed England in
the first rank among the nations of the earth.  From Tilbury’s ancient
fort to Gibraltar we are reminded how England, with her wooden walls and
hardy sons, proudly swept the seas, and was a terror to the despots and a
deliverer of the slave.  Plymouth especially calls up a host of glorious
names, as we think of Drake, and Hawkins, and Frobisher, and the Pilgrim
Fathers.  It was from Plymouth that Cook and Vancouver sailed, to give us
New South Wales in the East and British Columbia in the West.  As soon as
we cross the Bay of Biscay we think of Corunna and Sir John Moore.  Afar
off are the heights of Torres Vedras, celebrated in the Peninsular War.
Cape St. Vincent, a bluff 260 feet high, having a convent, on which is
the lighthouse, reminds us of the brilliant victory won by Sir John
Jervis, with Nelson and Collingwood fighting under his flag; and in a
little while we are at Trafalgar, to which sailors still look as the
greatest sea fight in the history of our land, and as the one which saved
our national existence.  And we step on shore at Gibraltar, which rises
out of the water, with its endless rows of barracks and its few scattered
villas, and make our way to the lightning-struck tower known as O’Hara’s
Folly—the O’Hara who was the friend of Johnson, and who ought to have
married either Fanny Burney or Hannah More.

But it is idle to call up what to most of modern readers must be bare
names, so soon, in this age of reading and writing and universal
progress, do we forget the past.  History in these mechanical days is
getting as much out of fashion as theology.  Let me write of living
people; of men and women, poor creatures as they are at the best, to be
brushed away as gossamer.  There are just upon a thousand of us in the
shape of passengers on board the _Orizaba_, and almost all are happy.
The dark figure in the shape of Black Care we have left behind, as we
have slipped out of English fog and cold into the region of cloudless
nights and starry skies.  We smoke, or read, or talk, or walk the deck,
in a climate brighter even than that of an English summer in the leafy
month of June.  The ladies crochet or knit all day long in their
lounging-chairs on deck, while the little ones play as if they had no
fear or thought of the sea and its everlasting hunger for precious human
life, and its cruel storms.  What we should do with this unmanageable
mass if anything were to go wrong no tongue can tell.  All we can do is
to hope for the best, for no Parliament will ever go so far as to order
that no ship should leave an English port without its sufficient
complement of boats; and if they did, no shipowner could carry on a
profitable passenger trade.  It ought not to be so, I know.  What can one
do?  We are bound to travel, and we take the risk, whatever that may be,
and trust to our sailors and captains, who are not half paid for the work
they have to do.  As it is, there is no life so pleasant as that of life
on board one of our great passenger steamships.  The _Orizaba_ never
rolls—well, only a little.  The saloons are beautiful, the living is
first-rate, the waiting is excellent, and the sleeping-berths are all
that can be desired.  By night, with the electric light all along the
deck, the scene reminds you of the Arabian Nights, and mirth and music
are everywhere; I pity the poor people who have to spend their winter at
home.  It is now a real pleasure to live.  The only thing one misses are
the newspapers and the old familiar faces.  Well, I am not sorry to be
out of the way of the papers; they only make me sick and sore as one
reads the daily chronicle of poverty with which no one can grapple, and
of crime which it seems impossible to repress, and the twaddle which
envelops all.  And as to the familiar faces, the further one travels the
more one realizes all their loveliness and charm.  For once the poet is
right; absence does make the heart grow fonder.

‘How do you like our little town?’ said an Englishman to me as I was
about to leave Gibraltar for our good ship, the _Orizaba_.  ‘Well,’ said
I, ‘for a place to spend an hour in I like it amazingly.’  ‘Oh, that’s
about it!’ was his reply.  It seems to me, however, as I plough my way on
the blue waters of the Mediterranean—not bluer, however, at present than
what we have on the English coast—that a couple of days may be agreeably
spent at the far-famed rock, of which, however, you get a very fair idea
without stepping on shore.  As your eye rests on the harbour you see it
full of steamers, which seem to come and go at all hours.  As I write a
French steamer slowly glides by with the yellow flag denoting sickness of
some kind on board.  Before us is the town, on our left the old Moorish
fort—the oldest building in the place—and on our right the hospital, with
houses reaching almost to the end.  All the space between is filled with
yellow or white houses, save where a thick grove indicates the existence
of the Alameda, a public garden, where the band plays, where the
townsfolk promenade, and which, with its cactuses and geraniums in full
bloom, looks bright and gay even in December.  The company have so
arranged that you can step into a boat and get rowed to shore and back
for a shilling each way—an example which I recommend to the corporation
of Gravesend.

I land, and declining a carriage drawn by mules amid the loud
vociferations of the Spanish owners, turn to my left, and find myself in
the main street, the only ugly building in which is the red-brick mansion
in which the British Governor resides.  All the houses are shops—full of
the little trifles of Morocco manufacture, such as pipes and jewellery
and gay mats and carpets, with which we are familiar at home.  There are
20,000 Spanish residents, and the place swarms with them.  There are some
5,000 British soldiers here, and they are _en evidence_, as was to be
expected.  They have five years to stop here at a time, and they
evidently think that—as indeed it is—too long.  One of the first things
to interest you is the little graveyard on your right, in which the
heroes of the siege were buried—shaded by trees, especially by a fig-tree
of gigantic size and very old, as you can tell by the smallness of the
leaf.  A building which attracts your eye just before you enter the busy
street is that of the Soldiers and Sailors’ Institute, which is erected
on a freehold site, and comprises on the ground floor a coffee and
refreshment-bar, dining-room, bath-room, and lavatories; on the first
floor a reading, writing, and recreation-room, with a small library; and
above is a large hall for mission services, public meetings, Bible
classes, and mothers’ meetings.  The soldiers and sailors, I fear, do not
appreciate the advantages as they might, though Mr. Holmes, the
superintendent, tells me at times the hall is more than filled.  It is in
the streets—or rather in the people that crowd them—the chief charm of
Gibraltar lies.

The life of the place is _al fresco_; everyone seems out of doors.  Carts
drawn by mules or donkeys, with country produce, bright little carriages
to hold two or four persons as the case may be, the English officer on
horseback—all these block up the middle of the street; whilst on the
narrow sideway you wind your difficult way amongst monks and nuns and
dark-eyed Spanish women with the national head-dress, and Moors who
shuffle along bare-legged, with slippers to their feet, their whole
person enveloped in their ample, hooded brown or blue cloak, while some
wear the picturesque turban, and others simply rejoice in the well-known
fez.  As I contemplate the motley group a black-eyed and black-bearded,
aristocratic-looking Moor makes a dart at me with a couple of fowls; but,
as I decline to purchase, he manages to ask me for a penny—and, let me
add, in vain, for I could not think of insulting such a gentleman by
offering him so ridiculously small a sum.  But I see no beggars, and if
the common people look dirty, at any rate they appear to be well fed.  I
fancy a good deal of British gold, somehow or other, finds its way into
their pockets.  There are no ragged scoundrels to be seen, such as infest
our London streets and are the terror of suburban residents.  As you
pass, the shopkeeper stands at his door and bids you look at his
miscellaneous wares.

Of British manufactures I see little, except the biscuits of Huntley and
Palmer or Peek and Frean.  I see no shops with books except the depôt of
the British and Foreign Bible Society—but the people manage to live,
nevertheless.  Meat is but sixpence a pound.  You buy beautiful oranges
at a shilling a hundred.  The only dear thing in the place is house-rent.
Not a room is to be had under five shillings a week.  Some of my
fellow-passengers dined at the leading hotel, and they think, and I agree
with them, that the charge was rather high.  Only goats’ milk is to be
had, but as to cheap wine and low-priced spirits, they are to be procured
in abundance, as two of our steerage passengers find out to their cost,
as we leave them behind, and some who do manage to return may be termed
rather fresh.  The one great drawback of Gibraltar, as regards the
resident, is the absence of fresh butter.  Alas! ‘man never is, but
always to be blest.’  Of what avail are cheap cigars and wine and meat
without fresh butter?  Many have their bread buttered on both sides, and
surely the humblest of us have a right to its being buttered on one, at
any rate.  But I may not linger, as I know the _Orizaba_ will sail at the
appointed hour; but we seem long in getting out of the crowd of boats,
full of oranges and cigars, the proprietors of which are doing a roaring
trade with the steerage passengers, who let down the money from the deck
and receive in exchange oranges that will set them up for the rest of
their journey, and away we go, leaving the Rock, at the bottom of which
nestle the yellow rows of streets and houses, all with green or white
lattices, whilst on its lofty head rests a drizzly cloud worthy of
Devonshire itself.  On the other side of us are the brown African
mountains—we steer between them as the day closes in, and early in the
morning I open my eyes to see afar on our left, the rocky outline of
Spain, and then we lose sight of land, and can see nothing but the
Mediterranean till early on Saturday morning we pass the first lighthouse
on the coast of Sardinia.  We are now coming to ancient history, but for
that I refer the reader to Rollin, the terror of British youth in an age
of which the present reader, intelligent though he may be in his way, has
but a faint idea.

People who believe in Italian skies and summer seas ought not to trust
themselves in the Mediterranean in December.  We had what the captain
calls ‘a very heavy gale of wind,’ after we left the ‘Rock,’ which lasted
till we were almost in the Bay of Naples—a gale that sent all the ladies
to bed, and damped the spirits of everyone on board.  I had the full
benefit of all the discomfort, as, instead of choosing a berth for
myself, I left it to the officials, believing that in fine weather any
berth is pleasant, and in bad weather all are equally disagreeable.  But
at any rate I should not have chosen the one allotted me, the very last
of the berths forward (you are aware that in the boats going through the
Red Sea the best berths are all forward, on account of the heat), but in
my case, unfortunately, every wave that fell on the deck all night long
came with a heavy thump overhead, which did not exactly secure me a good
night’s rest.  However, all was forgotten as we steamed on Sunday morning
past rocky Ischia into the famous Bay of Naples, which is far fairer than
that of Swansea—in spite of all that gallant little Wales may say to the
contrary.  As I write the view is simply charming.  All Naples is before
me.  On my left rises the lofty hill on which stands the Castle of St.
Elmo.  On my right are two high mountains—one of them, by the cloud of
smoke hanging over it, and the flame of fire issuing from it, renders it
quite unnecessary that I should ask anyone its name.  You can tell
Vesuvius at a glance.  All the low land gradually rising away from the
sea between them forms the site of delightful but dirty Naples.

I land as soon as the necessary formalities have been gone through—for
they are very particular at Naples, and our purser and medical officer
have first to go ashore in order to satisfy the authorities, a work
sometimes extending over two hours.  Fortunately, however, in a little
while they are back, and we crowd on board the company’s tender, which
for half-a-crown conveys the passengers on shore and returns them safe
and sound as late as eleven or twelve o’clock at night.  Boats of all
kinds are around us.  One contains a bold swimmer, who performs all sorts
of wonderful exploits; others are laden with straw hats and baskets, and
vendors of oranges and cheap jewellery and pipes, lava match-boxes, and
amber mouthpieces.  As I board the tender a pretty, smiling Italian
flower-dealer puts a small camellia in my coat, which, however, I am
ungallant enough to return.  I fear she is like the flower-girls of Paris
of whom Tom Moore writes, that they spoil a romance with pecuniary views.
In a few minutes I am on shore amid a crowd of dirty black-haired and
black-eyed Italians, who offer me carriages and guides with an intensity
of verbosity (recalling that of a certain Grand Old Man) sufficient to
appal the stoutest heart.

I am rather disappointed at first.  Cook’s agents were to come on board,
and one of them did put in an appearance, but that was all, which was a
pity, as many of us were trusting to Cook as a tower of strength.  In one
respect I was especially disappointed.  Cook was to take us all to
Pompeii, give us lunch there, and bring us back for 12s.; but, alas! the
King’s uncle had died, and Pompeii was shut up, and so was the Museum.
What a misfortune it is that royal personages should trouble us so much!
While alive, of course we must do all we can for them; but surely, when
dead, when they have fairly passed to where the wicked cease from
troubling and the weary are at rest, it is hard that they annoy us still.
Many of us may never again have a chance of seeing Pompeii.  But I steer
clear of the guides and start off for a three hours’ prowl.  What strikes
the stranger is the loftiness of the houses, the narrowness of the
streets, and the number of people.  Locomotion in some is almost
impossible, so dense is the crowd; while it is the same in others in
consequence of the number of equipages, chiefly open carriages drawn by
black horses quite overdone with heavily-plated harness.  To add to the
difficulties there has been a slight shower of rain, and as the scavenger
seems to be unknown, the streets are very slippery; I saw one little
child run over in consequence.  Another difficulty of the pedestrian is
the number of stalls on each side, for the sale, apparently, of
everything that can be brought into the street to tempt the purchaser.

Judging by the number of bookstalls, the Neapolitans must be very great
readers, for I never saw so many anywhere else.  In many of the streets
that run between the leading thoroughfares, the passage is so narrow that
it would be almost easy to shake hands across.  All the lofty houses are
yellow, with green latticed windows and balconies.  In many of the
churches into which I peeped Mass was in progress, and the attendance was
large of men as well as women.  In some of the streets the shops were
handsome, though quite small, while in the great arches between were
caves, as it were, where carriages and horses waited, apparently for
hire, while in others the cave had been fitted up as a _café_.  The
further one got from the harbour, the finer were the shops and streets.
In one I saw a statue of Petrarch, and in another of Dante.  The place is
like a rabbit warren, and just as populous.  Priests and policemen were
everywhere.  Here and there was a religious painting on the side of a
house, before which tapers were burning, and in one street I observed a
crucifix, to which the passers-by took off their hats.  I went into a
_café_ and watched some play at a billiard-table, much smaller and with
much bigger balls than those in use among us.  Omnibuses and tramcars
abounded.  Perpetual motion seemed to be the order of the day.  Some of
my friends patronized the English hotels, where the charges seemed to me
dear.  One thing, and one thing only, amused me; I stumbled on a kind of
eating-house; on the outside was inscribed, _Déjeuner à la fourchette_,
which was Englished underneath as follows: ‘Breakfast to the fork.’  I
did not enter.  I feared, as the English was so bad, that the cooking
might be worse.  Altogether, my impression is that Naples looks best at a
distance and by moonlight, when a halo of soft light is thrown over bay
and street and mountain far away, and the hoarse cry of its thousand
street-sellers and cabmen and guides is unheard; when even the distant
tinkling of the bells of its many churches no longer reaches the ear;
when between you and the crowded city is a world of water calm and still.

At Naples we took up more passengers and more mountains of luggage.  Our
captain is in despair.  That luggage question is the terror of his life.
He says that there would be no need of it if the company would but
establish a laundry on board; and why should they not?  It would be a
great convenience to everyone, and save a vast amount of trouble.  The
cabins are choked up with packages.  It would be as pleasant again for
the passengers if they could have their clothes washed on board.

I fear I did injustice to a dead royalty.  I find, after all, it was
simply the fault of the company’s agent at Naples that most of us spent
an idle day in that far-famed city.  The distinguished representative of
the distinguished Cook informed us that the Museum and Pompeii were
closed that day, because the agent of the company with whom he came on
board informed him such was the case.  I find that they were not, and
that a small party of our fellow-travellers visited both places; had
lunch on shore, returned to the ship to dinner, and paid a visit to the
theatre in the evening for a sum under £1 per head.  As you may suppose,
most of us were highly indignant at the conduct of the company’s agent,
and described him in terms that, with the fear of the libel law in view,
it may be dangerous for me to report.  I mention the fact that travellers
may not be deceived by what they hear on board, but go on shore and act
for themselves.  Many of my fellow-travellers are Scotch.  The Scotch,
Mr. Charles Reade tells us, are icebergs with volcanoes underneath, and
we had quite a volcano on board as we summed up the experiences of the
unfortunate day.  I own it served me right, for, as a rule, I only
believe half that I hear.  I ought to have started for Pompeii—by myself,
trusting to luck to get into the place.  I am glad, however, to be able
to do justice to Cook and Sons, the friends of the traveller in every
part of the world.  It is seldom that they make a blunder, or their
agents either.

In another respect I am not disappointed.  ‘The grand object of
travelling,’ wrote Dr. Johnson, ‘is to see the shores of the
Mediterranean.  On those shores were the four great empires of the
world—the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman.  All our
religion—almost all our laws—almost all our arts—almost all that sets us
above savages has come to us from the shores of the Mediterranean.’  To
sail down the Mediterranean, past Capri—a sunburnt rock—past Stromboli,
through the Straits of Messina, over the far-famed Scylla and Charybdis
of the ancients, past Etna, though unfortunately hidden from our vulgar
gaze by the clouds of night, is undoubtedly an immense treat.  But the
rest of the journey is rather monotonous, though we were favoured by fine
weather, a fortunate circumstance, as this part of the Mediterranean is
particularly liable to sudden storms; and if it were not for sea-quoits,
and the still more popular game of dumps, which consists in throwing
small flat balls with lead inside on to a white-painted square board, on
which numerals from one to ten are inscribed, it would be rather hard
work to get through the weary hours.  At Naples an agent came on board
with the London morning papers four days old, which sold readily at half
a franc each, and the perusal of them has helped to kill an idle time,
and, besides, afforded topics for general conversation.  For pedestrian
exercise the _Orizaba_ is admirably adapted, as eleven times round the
promenade deck is supposed to be a mile, and at certain hours every one
is supposed to be doing his or her ‘constitutional;’ thus, what used to
be considered one of the bad effects of life at sea, its confinement, is
entirely got rid of.  Captain Conlan, our commander-in-chief, when off
duty, has a friendly word for us all; but I must say, if tobacco be a
slow poison, some of us are in a bad way, for I think without exception
all the male passengers smoke; and at Gibraltar, where tobacco and cigars
are cheap, most of them replenished their exhausted stores.

The principal event after leaving the Straits of Messina is the
appearance of Crete, by the side of which, with her snowy-capped
mountains, we steamed for about five hours.  From her rocky foreground,
resting on the blue waves, rise three mountain ridges, the chief of which
‘is many-founted Ida,’ towering 8,000 feet above the sea.  As a caution
to travellers, let me assure them how much one of Smith’s dictionaries
would be appreciated.  Smith, it may be, is correct, but he is pedantic.
Lemprière would, perhaps, be better; in the home of legendary lore it is
not wise to be over-critical.  The Orient Company publishes a guide-book,
but it is of little practical use, though it contains an immense amount
of information, some excellent maps, and is a marvel of cheapness.  You
rarely get in such books what you really want to know.  We have a
professor on board, but professors nowadays are somewhat common.  Men who
shave and cut corns—men who examine your head, who risk their necks in
parachutes, who excel in gymnastics, are called, or call themselves,
professors; and I, perhaps because I know no better—probably it is so—may
be a little sceptical as to the class.  I always think of Barry
Cornwall’s lines in which he speaks of

    Professors of hall and college,
    With a great deal of learning and little knowledge.

And, alas! I have known many such.  It amuses me more to talk to some of
the third-class passengers.  ‘Ah, sir,’ said one of them to me, as we
steamed out of Naples Bay—‘ah, sir, that is a very wicked city; it allus
reminds me of Nineveh.’  I was compelled to admit that I did not know
much of the wickedness of either; but that I did happen to know that,
excluding Jack the Ripper, there were not a few wicked people left in
London.  I always like to look at home before I begin censuring other
people.  There is a good deal of truth in the remark of the old
Californian, when Sir Charles Dilke told him ‘Californians in the Empire
City were called the scum of the earth.’  ‘Them New Yorkers,’ was the old
man’s reply, ‘is a sight too fond of looking after other people’s
morals.’

Just as we are nearing the lowlands of Africa, and Port Said—a wretched
place, where we stop a few hours to coal—is in sight, a death occurs on
board; a tiny babe, weary of the world of which it knows so little,
refuses to live any longer.  In the drawing-room few of us know of the
event, and the gaiety goes on much as usual.  I rush on to the deck, and
see a dark cloud of passengers at one end, and there is the Bishop
standing at a red kind of box or reading-desk, repeating that grand
burial service which is nowhere more impressive than when heard in the
ocean’s solitude, with nothing but the wide, wide sea below, and the
clear, moonlight sky above.  The parents are, of course, there to mourn,
and the bearing of the little crowd is sympathetic.  The poor little
corpse, covered by the British flag, is placed on an inclined board,
which is tipped over when the sentence ‘we commit this body to the deep’
is reached, and the sea receives its dead.  I had only asked the doctor
that morning what was the state of health on board the ship, and his
reply was that it was as well as could be.  Perhaps steerage passengers
don’t count, especially when babies.  At any rate, the funeral is over,
and we are taking our evening tea as if nothing of consequence had
occurred—as if no tender mother’s heart had been torn with anguish as she
saw her babe fall a victim to the Reaper whose name is Death.  Not for a
moment did the ship slacken her career, and we press on to Port Said with
all our might.



CHAPTER II.
EGYPT TO COLOMBO.


Coaling in Port Said—The Suez Canal—England the Main
Support—Donkey-drivers—The Electric Light—Ismailia—Suez—Aden—The Red Sea.

UNDER a vermilion sky, as the sun sinks down into the west, we approach
the land of Egypt—a barren land, kindly to neither man nor beast,
fruitful only in sand, and hospitable only to the camel, who seems here
to be a friend in need, patiently following his turbaned leader over the
pathless desert.  We have a little sand near Southport, we have more
still on the Lincolnshire coast at Skegness, we have most of all on the
Dutch coast, from Flushing to Scheveningen, that gay resort of the
Dutchmen and the Germans; but they fail to give you an idea of the dreary
and boundless waste of sand through which that wonderful old man, M. de
Lesseps, cut his grand canal, which ought to have been done by
Englishmen, and which perhaps would have been, had not Lord Palmerston
declared in season and out of season that it could not be done, and that
if it were done it could never pay.  When we stopped at Port Said,
looking as if only artificially raised out of the sea, I landed: partly
to say I had planted the sole of my foot in Egypt—the land of the
Pharaohs, of Joseph and his brothers, of Antony and Cleopatra, of Origen
and Hypatia and early Christian hermits, of grand philosophies and
theologies, which stir the pulses even of to-day—and partly that I might
have an evening stroll in a place not at one time the safest for a white
man to land, but which now is quite as free from danger as any London
neighbourhood—the happy hunting-ground of the burglar and the thief.  The
fact was that at Port Said we had to coal; and as we landed after dinner,
it was a new sensation to be rowed ashore by turbaned sailors, who were
clothed in what seemed to me in the twilight very much like petticoats.
It was rather risky, as the boat was crammed down to the water’s edge.
Nor was I much reassured as, after running up against the ropes and being
nearly capsized, the man at the prow called out in broken English, ‘Never
mind,’ to which I was obliged to reply that I did mind, and that I
ventured to hope he would take care of our precious carcases.  Apparently
the advice was not thrown away, for after a few minutes’ row, and after
an attempt had been made to collect the fare, which we all firmly
resisted till on _terra firma_, we landed where a couple of old women
apparently, in reality sailors, were standing with lanterns ready to
receive us.  As the fare was only sixpence each way, I can’t say that the
Egyptian watermen were quite so exorbitant as some I wot of nearer home.
There was not much to see at Port Said; but it was better to be there
than on board ship while the process of coaling was going on.  While at
dinner there was a sound all round as if a million of monkeys were
screaming and jabbering underneath.  They were the coalheavers, on board
the big barges laden with coal that surrounded us on all sides directly
we had come to anchor.  Each barge had two lights of burning coals, by
the glare of which we could see the porters in strings of fifty at a time
climbing up a ladder that led to the ship’s inside, with coal-sacks on
their shoulders, and streaming back again, all the while screaming, as
seems to be the manner of the Arab tribe all the world over.  They all
scream.  They screamed at us as we stood on the deck; they screamed at us
as they rowed us ashore; they screamed at us as we walked the streets—or,
rather, the one long street which forms the town till it is lost in the
sand of the surrounding waste.  On one side lies the market, and a mile
or two beyond is the old Arabian town.  Men of all nationalities are well
represented in Port Said; but the Greeks have the best shops, where a
fine trade is done in cigarettes, photographs, and richly-worked napkins,
and helmets to keep off the sun in the Red Sea, and the other products to
be met with in Turkish bazaars.  In the street it was difficult to tell
the men from the women, so weird and unearthly seemed their make-up in
the evening gloom.  Two of the dark bundles approaching me were, I
concluded, women, as the faces were concealed—all but the dark, round
eyes, from the dangerous glances of which, happily, my age protected me.
The great attraction of the place was a large _café chantant_, which,
however, I fancy, did duty as a gambling-house as well.  On the bank,
just as you land, is a large building calling itself the Hotel
Continental; but as it was shut up, apparently it has not been a
commercial success.  The houses, or, rather, the shops—for there were
nothing but shops to be seen—were all of wood and painted.  On my return
to the ship, which was covered with coal-dust, I found we had an Egyptian
conjurer, who went through a performance such as we see any day in
England.  But I must not say a word against a gentleman who was so kind
as to intimate that I was ‘a big masher.’

For a real Lotus-land, where it is always afternoon, commend me to the
Suez Canal.  It is a busy spot.  No spot is busier.  Steamers, especially
English ones, are always passing up and down.  It is an expensive spot.
You are fortunate if your steamer has not to pay a thousand or two for
the trip.  The _Orizaba_ has to pay £1,700 for going through; but that
does not concern you, if you have taken your passage to Ismailia or
Colombo, or one or other of the great Australian ports.  All that you
have to do is to sit still and enjoy yourself.  There the good sailor and
the bad one are equal.  There you fear no north or south simoom, no seas
mountains high (I have never yet seen them, and begin to believe in them
only as I do in stories of mermaids and mermen, or in legends of the
sea-serpent ever turning up at unexpected times and in unexpected
quarters), no rough blasts of the winter winds, no equinoctial gales.
The captain comes down from his bridge, the officers take it easy, and
you really need not to drive dull care away.  On that calm water, under
that bright sky, you have no thought of time.  All around you is still
life—the boundless sands, the distant hills, the camels, and the Arabs
encamped far away.  All is repose, in the heavens above, as well as in
the earth beneath.  It is true the beggars here and there on the banks
are a nuisance, but where are they not, either in the Old World or the
New?  For eighteen or twenty hours you are at peace—to read the last
novel, to flirt with the last fancy of the hour; to dream, if you like,
in the broad daylight of other days and other times.  The big ship moves,
but so slowly that you can scarce tell that you are moving at all.  The
stewards bring your meals as usual; your sleep is undisturbed.  There is
your morning bath, your accustomed cigar, your game of chess, or your
rubber of whist.  Ah, you are much to be envied!  The pity of it is that
the trip is so soon over; that the dream is soon dispelled; that the
curtain so soon falls on the scene; that you have to get back again to
the cares, and troubles, and struggles of real life.

In the matter of the Suez Canal, Englishmen are paying rather dearly for
their faith in Lord Palmerston.  It is to the credit of M. de Lesseps
that he conceived the idea, got together the money, and carried it out,
and by that means, as a patriotic Frenchman, secured for France an
influence in Egypt which, not to put too fine a point on it, has not
worked for the advantage of either Egypt or ourselves.  The officials of
the Canal are French, the official language is French, the neat little
stations, with their painted wooden houses, protected here and there by a
palm tree struggling for life, are pre-eminently French.  Fortunately,
Lord Beaconsfield bought some shares for the nation, which gives us a
_locus standi_.  But the Canal, you feel, ought to have been designed by
British engineers and paid for by British gold.  It is emphatically
England that keeps it going.  The stream of steamers ever sailing up and
down by day or by night are chiefly English steamers built in British
shipyards, sailed by British captains and officers, and filled with
British goods.  It is true France subsidizes her steamers to struggle
with England in all parts of the world.  It is equally true that Germany
does the same, but they cannot beat the British merchant and shipowner,
who will not yield without a fierce struggle the supremacy it has taken
them centuries to build up and sustain, and if the Canal manages to pay a
dividend, it is because of the constant passage of British ships.  As we
were steaming along the Canal in one of the finest steamers of the Orient
line, and of any line, we met a French steamer on her homeward trip.
Mounseer looked politely at our crowded deck—his own seemed deserted,
though they do tell me that the accommodation on board the French ships
is remarkably good, and then our steerage commenced singing with heart
and soul ‘Rule, Britannia.’  They ought not to have done it, I know.  It
was a breach of good manners; but if anywhere we may be pardoned for
singing ‘Rule, Britannia,’ it is in the Suez Canal.

On leaving Port Said, in a few minutes you are in the Canal, which has
been here protected from the shifting sand by a breakwater a mile and a
half long.  On Lake Menzaleh, to the westward, are to be seen wonderful
flights and flocks of birds, including pelicans and flamingoes, to detect
which, however, requires an uncommonly strong glass.  Ships are piloted
on the block system, under the control of the head official at Port Said,
who telegraphs the movements of each ship as it slowly makes its way.  At
each of the stations, or ‘gares,’ there are signal-posts, and a ball
above a flag says ‘Go into the siding,’ while a flag above a ball says
‘Go into the Canal.’  You see a good deal of the country, an utter,
miserable desert at first, but soon hidden by the sand-banks.  As you get
nearer to Suez, wandering Arabs and droves of camels may be seen making
their way along the burning waste, under the burning sun.  All day and
all night the heavens are wonderful.  Now and then you meet a ship, and
there is not much room to spare; now and then one is run aground, and it
is often weary waiting, as it is inexpedient to go on shore and take a
donkey-ride, in compliance with the request of the donkey-drivers, who
seem to scent a stoppage from afar, and come to the bank, clamouring
vociferously all the while.  As you proceed you find the boys and girls
on each side keeping you company, in hopes of the copper the kind-hearted
visitor may feel inclined to throw them.  It is needless to add that they
are loosely clad, and are brown and sunburnt to look at.  By night the
electric light on the sandy bank has a singularly strange effect, which
is more particularly apparent as another ship approaches, making the sand
where it catches the light seem as if there were drifts of snow all
round.  As you enter the lakes the waters widen, and the speed is
greater; the scenery is also a little more attractive.  Away on your
right is the land of Goshen, and Ismailia clusters prettily around the
summer palace of the Khedive.  Here you drop the passengers for Cairo,
who are increasing in number every year—that part of Egypt becoming
increasingly a winter resort, essential to the comfort and well-being of
those who do not care for English cold and fog and rain.  It is a
wonderful change and a great relief for the asthmatic to spend a winter
in Egypt.  It is a pity that more cannot do so, but, alas! few of us can
spare the time, and many of us have not the cash, and so a man must live
where his bread is buttered, though to do so prolongs his pains at the
same time that it shortens his life.  As you look at Ismailia it seems a
charming spot; however, the condition of the place is by no means
sanitary, and danger lurks there under those green trees, beside those
still waters.  It has, however, been the scene of high life, as when the
Canal was opened in 1869, when the Empress Eugenie, the Crown Prince of
Prussia and the Empress of Austria took part in the ceremony.  At a later
date there was also exciting work in Ismailia when it became the basis of
‘our only general’s’ brilliant campaign.  The Canal and lakes were filled
with transports and men-of-war, and to the town an army of 20,000 men
looked for supplies.  It was from thence they marched to fight the battle
of Tel-el-Kebir, and to send poor Arabia prisoner for life to Ceylon,
where, perhaps, after all, he is better off than he would have been had
he stopped at home.  His life would have been sacrificed had he remained.

Little of life is to be seen anywhere, but a few men are engaged in
cutting away the sand, while camels bear it far away.  They are ugly
beasts, and never seem happy.  They are, however, docile, and kneel down
while the men fill the panniers with sand, when they rise up and walk
away; or we come to a ferry where they are waiting to cross, and display
the same patient, forbearing, half-starved look.  The Egyptian donkey
seems to me a far livelier animal.  Now and then a dog displays itself on
the bank, but he is rarely a favourable specimen of his race.  Small
steamers and barges, occupied in connection with the improvement of the
canal, are also met, but the crew take little note of the white man, who,
however, after all, has got such a hold on the land that it is
questionable, whatever statesmen say at Westminster, whether it can ever
be removed.  It seems as if Egypt could never be let alone.  True, it was
a great country once, but that was long ago.

Again, we leave the Timseh, or the Crocodile Lake, behind, and make our
way to the Bitter Lakes, through many miles of Canal.  The lakes, history
tells us, are the remains of a dried-up arm of the sea, where once
flourished the ancient port of Arsinoe.  Here we meet the slight tides of
the Red Sea—that awful sea, whose waters at some seasons range to a
temperature of a hundred.  It was hot as we entered Port Said, it is
hotter as we leave the Canal at Suez—the new port of which, with its
modernized hotel, its rows of trees, and its modern warehouses, looks
pretty from the water.  Old Suez, a mile and a half from the new town, is
visible long before we reach the fort.  It is almost a pity that the
steamers do not stay here a day or two.  The old town is the most
characteristic of old Egypt, and the rail will run you up there in a few
minutes.  It was the centre of the highway between Asia and Africa.  All
around is the desert, while mountains famed in history for ages are to be
seen from afar.  Egyptians tell me that Suez is preferable to Cairo as a
health resort.  One gentleman whom I met with told me that he wintered
there every year.  As we picked him up on my return, I was obliged to
tell him that he did not look so well as when he went ashore a few months
previously.  In excuse he owned that he had suffered from a severe attack
of rheumatic fever.  It may be that Suez had nothing to do with that.
Perhaps at Cairo they would have told me Suez was not a good place to go
to.  The water, however, is good, as we took a good many tons of it on
board.  It was well that we did so.  At Aden, our next stopping-place, we
found there had been no rain for nearly three years.

We stop a few hours at Suez, and early in the morning commence steaming
down the Gulf of Suez, ere we float proudly over the waters of the Red
Sea.  At length it seems to me that we realize all that the poets have
sung and painters have drawn of the Bay of Naples—unclouded skies and a
sea of brilliant blue.  All day long we are in sight of a romantic coast
crowned with towering mountains, with diversified peaks that in the sun
seem to glow with light and heat.  As we approach they are brown or white
or red, and then, behind, they seem dark and stern as they rise out of
the sleeping waters.  On our left are the Arabian mountains—Mount Sinai
among them—more or less connected with the religion dear to all men of
Anglo-Saxon race and tongue; the religion that has made modern history
what it is—the religion which they tell us in the pulpit is yet to reign
supreme.  At dark—and it soon gets very dark in these regions, in spite
of the grand stars which shine lustrously on us in a way of which no
untravelled Englishman can form any adequate idea—we are on the Red Sea,
having just passed the wreck of a steamer, as if to remind us that even
in these days of science there are accidents arising from fogs and
currents and hidden rocks and shoals which it is hard for any human
ingenuity to guard against.  Just now a good deal of interest attaches to
the Red Sea.  On our right are Suakim and Massowah, though too far off to
be visible.  Small as the Red Sea looks on the map, it is 1,200 miles
long.  Coral reefs and islands are so numerous that navigation is
difficult and dangerous.  The coast on either side seems deserted, and
only now and then a lighthouse is to be seen, or the black hull of some
small Arabian trader, with the well-known enormous sail from the
yard-arm.  However, there are one or two ports of importance on either
side.  The chief of all is Jeddah—with a population of 40,000—which is
the port of the Mecca pilgrims, and which beside is the chief market for
pearls and the black coffee and aromatic spices from Araby the Blest.
Not far off is Mocha, a name familiar to British ears, though the place
itself has fallen into decay.

So far as we have travelled the Red Sea has behaved uncommonly well.  On
the last voyage the heat was so intense that three times the ship had to
be turned in order that the passengers might have a breath of cool air.
As it is, no one finds the heat overpowering, and to me it yields the
same amount of enjoyment one feels in a Turkish bath after the sweating
process has got into full swing.  We have little walking now except in
the early morning, or after dark, and no gymnastic exercise of any kind.
The little ones have already lost their rosy cheeks.  Sunday is well
observed; one way or another there is a good deal of preaching going on.
The bishop takes in hand the first-class passengers, while in the evening
volunteer preachers look after the souls of the second class.  There was
a special service also in the steerage in the afternoon, when the singing
was at any rate very hearty.

Of course we gaze with no little pleasure at the island of Perim,
standing in the deep water a few miles before we reach Aden.  The French
would have had it, the story goes, had not the Governor of Aden, who had
his suspicions aroused as the French commander, who was sent to plant
there the French flag, sat drinking champagne at his hospitable board,
sent two notes, one to the harbour-master ordering him to delay the
coaling, and another to the commander of a gunboat to sail at once with
some artillerymen for Perim.  Such is the story as told by Sir Charles
Dilke and other clever men; but the real fact is that it had been long
before taken possession of by the old East India Company.  At any rate,
it is of no use to our French neighbours, now that they have lost Egypt,
and that the control of the Canal has passed into English hands.  Now the
French have no Eastern Question.  How we must all envy them!

In a little while we are out of the Red Sea, which at this time of year
is really agreeable.  All day long we have had a strong head wind, which
has rendered the sultry atmosphere quite cool and genial.  Provided an
invalid is a good sailor, I should say, as far as we have gone, it would
be impossible for him to have a more agreeable trip, or one more likely
to return him to his native land of fog and frost and rain a better man.
Everyone tells me that I am looking wonderfully better for my voyage.  I
am glad to hear it, as what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the
gander, and I write in the hope that those who can afford it will follow
in my steps.  I have offered myself as an experiment for the sake of my
asthmatic and elderly friends.  So far as I have gone the experiment has
succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations.

We made rather a long stay at Aden, where most of the party went ashore;
I did not, for of two evils a wise man chooses the least, and it seemed
to me a greater evil to be rowed ashore and landed on a sunburnt rock
where no water is than to fight with the coal-dust on board and to listen
to the perpetual chattering of the natives.  We have to be thankful that
we are safe out of the Red Sea, which is certainly, with its sunken coral
reefs and ragged rocks rising straight out of the water, as difficult a
piece of navigation as any of which I ever heard.  A captain had need be
careful.  The sights of Aden are few—a low building or two on the rocks,
a native town a few miles off (not worth seeing), and water-tanks more
useful than picturesque.  Before we had anchored the Somali boys rowed
round us in their little cockleshell boats, ready to dive for any coin
thrown into the water.  Then came the barges, black with coal, with long,
dark, lightly-dressed natives, to convey the desirable mineral on board.
Their woolly heads seem impervious to the sun’s rays, and if they have
dark skins, it but enhances the effect of their glistening teeth.  The
costume I like best is that of the native policeman, which consists of
what looks to me like a nightgown, a turban, and a black necklace.  A
couple of gentlemen come on board: they wear blue jackets and
rich-coloured silk skirts.  Their hair is done up in a knot behind, and
is kept in good order in front by a tortoise-shell comb.  A few salesmen,
with ostrich-feathers or wicker baskets, come to do a little business,
but overboard the battle rages all day long, as the boys clamour for
coins and imploringly stretch their skinny arms to the upper deck.  A
coin is tossed into the water: in a second they turn heels over head and
disappear, in another second they have found it and are ready for
another.  The boats which take the passengers on shore are large, and
manned by four or five men dressed in blue cotton.  The charge is a
shilling each way.  The landing is easy enough, but in this hot climate I
question whether a visit repays the trouble.  Most of the passengers,
however, seem to be of a contrary opinion; nor is that to be wondered at
when I state that many of them are ladies—or in other words, true
daughters of Eve.  They drive out to the tanks, and come back with
headache and ears aching as well.  In the meanwhile the row on board is
incessant, as the wild Arabs of the sea scream for coins and perform all
sorts of wonderful tricks in the way of diving.  From the deck the scene
is interesting and animated.  Aden, with its brown rocks, is on our
right: and ahead and on the other side of the bay runs the yellow sand,
terminating—as everything does, apparently, on this rugged coast—in a
peak of rocks.  It is only the rock that belongs to us, and what we see
are the offices of the company and the residence of the officials.  The
town is a terrible place to live in.  On your way to the old town you
meet endless strings of camels with the produce of the country, as in
Aden itself not a blade of grass grows.  The harbour is alive with ships,
and steam-tugs towing the barges laden with coal, and native boats.  Over
the water seagulls and a bigger bird, apparently a kind of hawk, fly
ceaselessly in search of their prey, and beneath sharks abound, as a
white man would soon find to his cost were he to attempt a swim.
Apparently the shark prefers the white man to the black, and there I and
the shark agree.  Away from Aden, which looks charming in the warm light
of the setting sun, we pass out to the Indian Ocean, and the transition
is a relief, as we leave behind the perpetual jabber of the natives of
that fortunate district—I write fortunate advisedly, for the English
spend a mint of money there, and the natives, to their credit be it
written, know how to charge.  In one particular case which came under my
knowledge £2 was asked for an article for which ultimately the seller was
content with 2s.  We were to have had an addition to our live cargo in
the shape of a smart little lad, whom an Australian had engaged to
accompany him.  The father was willing, but the brother, a fine-looking
darkey, objected, and the boy was taken off again, apparently much
against his will.  I am told that many of these lads are taken away—they
are apprenticed to the white man for a term of three years, the white
employer agreeing to pay £12 a year in the shape of wages.  As boys, they
seem as active as monkeys.  Whilst I was watching, one of them had his
boat filled with water.  In a moment he was out, and, rocking the boat
till it was free from water, he paddled away with his one oar as if an
upset in the water was an everyday occurrence; and the men seemed as
agile as the boys—tall and muscular, with long arms and legs, and without
an ounce of spare flesh.  I fear by the side of them our Thames watermen
would have but a poor chance.

Our captain tells me he can take a holiday now for the next few days.
Out on the broad expanse of the Indian Ocean we are away from sunken
rocks and coral reefs.  According to Mr. Froude, when he made his way to
Australia, he seems to have got through a good deal of Greek and Latin.
In this delicious climate study of any kind seems quite out of place; but
the sea air makes one hungry and indolent.  We live well, and we have a
library, which yields me a novel a day—of course I skip the descriptive
parts and the sentimental—and as we rush over the blue sea, a cooling
breeze meets us, and it is enough to live.  I feel as if I were Ulysses
and Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook rolled into one.  We see no
land, no ships, no birds in the heavens above, no fish in the water
beneath.  Night comes with its clear stars and its dark waves, and our
pace is still the same.  It is very wonderful, and none the less so that
it is a wonder of everyday occurrence.  Over the ship, in all parts, we
have a perfect blaze of light—nine miles of electric wire! and outside
all is darkness and mystery—a darkness and a mystery man has learned to
master.  Science has done that much for him.  Will science unveil the
darkness and mystery of being in a similar manner?  I fear not.  Happily
there is a Judge

          Who ends the strife
    Where wit and reason fail.



CHAPTER III.
COLOMBO TO ALBANY.


Prosperity of Colombo—Native Extortioners—Buddhist Temple—Life in the
Streets—On the Indian Ocean—Stormy Seas guard Australia—English
Coolness—Western Australia.

A SCENE of Oriental loveliness opens on my dazzled eyes this morning.  On
my right is a fine breakwater, with a lighthouse at the end, which
altogether cost £650,000, and the building of which occupied ten years.
In front of me is the port of Colombo, filled with shipping from every
quarter of the world.  On my left is a long row of cocoa-palms, looking
refreshing and green after the weary waste of waters we have travelled
over.  As I write the catamarans of Ceylon begin to crowd around.  They
are long, narrow boats—a stout Englishman would find it hard to sit in
one of them—rowed by dusky sailors, with long oars, many of which seem to
terminate in a sort of spade.  The men are naked, with the exception of a
cloth round the loins, and are apparently strong and sinewy.  A few feet
off is the outrigger, so formed that the boat never upsets.  They may be
useful, these boats, but have an awkward appearance to an English eye.
They bring on board the men who have come to fetch the washing for the
passengers, which will all be finished and on board before we leave.
Then come the tailors, who will measure you for a suit of white, which
will also be finished ere we depart.  Then come the barges with the coal,
and I get into a tug and go on shore.  We all do it, for the _Orizaba_ is
unbearable while the coal is being put on board.

It is strange to remember that at one time Colombo was so far off, that
the news of her Majesty’s accession to the crown, which occurred on June
20, 1833, did not reach Colombo till some immense time after.  Ceylon was
between ninety and a hundred days from England, now it is only eighteen.
Long after Lieutenant Waghorn had opened up the overland route, her
Majesty’s Government with characteristic stupidity still continued to
send the mails by the Cape of Good Hope.  It was left to the opening of
the Suez Canal to render Ceylon easy of access, and to render it possible
for English men and women to live there with comfort and luxury, in my
humble opinion, far superior to anything we have at home, and Ceylon is
redolent of prosperity, whether we regard its population, its revenue, or
its trade.  Directly the traveller lands at Colombo he feels as if in an
enchanted isle.

As soon as you land in Colombo you are in India, and in, perhaps, its
most attractive part.  There are some 130,000 people in the city, all
mild and gentle, and well-behaved.  At once you are attracted by the
grand Oriental Hotel, which faces the port; you pass on a few steps, and
come to lofty shops, filled with all the dazzling products of the East,
with gardens in the rear, and it is hard to avoid being taken in, for the
swarthy shopkeepers are clamorous, and, in the matter of cheating, quite
the equal of the Heathen Chinee.  A friend of mine purchases a white
sapphire, as it is called, for eighteenpence, for which the owner asked
four pounds, and I much fear my friend has been victimized after all.  An
unfortunate gentleman shows me a gold ring for which more than three
pounds was paid, and which turns out not to be worth a halfpenny.  But it
is too hot to walk and I hire a carriage, and, with a companion, take a
ride of a couple of hours for the small charge of three shillings.  We
start for the Buddhist temple, a whitewashed building about a couple of
miles off.  Externally there is little to see.  It stands in a green
court, surrounded by white walls, and the schoolmaster, after we have
dropped a shilling into the box, and given him a trifle for himself,
takes us round.  The place consists of three courts, but the light is
bad, and the schoolmaster’s English very defective, and I came back
little wiser than when I entered.  The things that principally impressed
me were a recumbent gigantic image of Buddha, a court in which there were
seventy-five painted images of Buddha, and a smaller one in alabaster,
and a long wall covered with representations of Buddhist legends which
the schoolmaster, alas! did not condescend to explain.  The Buddhist
temple is small, and the only sign of its being used are the flowers
scattered before the images, the offerings of his followers.  The
Christians, at any rate, make a good show as far as buildings are
concerned, the Church of England heading the list with Christ Church
Cathedral and nine other churches.  The Presbyterians have two, the
Wesleyans six, the Baptists one, the handsomest place of worship in the
town, to say nothing of the Salvation Army, which has also a station
here.  Some people argue that Buddhism is such an exalted form of worship
that we ought not to interfere with the faith of the people.  That,
however, is not the feeling of the whites in Ceylon, who know Buddhism
best.  To myself, with all my sympathy for Buddhism, the Buddhist temple
seemed a very poor affair.  I should have said there are also many
Mohammedans, and their mosques are numerous.

The streets are an endless delight, as you pass ladies riding in little
hooded chairs on wheels, drawn by men; or swells, native or English, in
broughams with latticed sides, so as to admit the breeze; and cars,
rather rickety, drawn by native ponies and driven by native drivers, whom
you may trust to take you to all the objects of interest to be seen, such
as the hotels, the gardens, the museum, etc.  Then there are native
waggons, thatched with dried leaves, and drawn by little dun-coloured
bulls with humps on their backs—active animals, which trot along with a
swiftness of which a Sussex farmer, who still ploughs with oxen as his
fathers before him, can have no idea.  Under the trees you see the
natives sitting over their dirty rice, which they still eat with unwashed
hands.  Where the natives live the population is almost as dense as in
the East-end of London; and as to the pickaninnies, they are everywhere,
with their little curly heads, sparkling eyes, and half-naked bodies,
their mothers, in coloured dresses, leaving them pretty much to take care
of themselves.  Boys and girls run after us all the way with flowers, or
bright beetles, or packets of cinnamon and other woods.  All is strange,
and all is attractive—the gorgeous butterflies that flit in the sun, the
crowded streets, the native dwellings, with a screen of lath, which
apparently does duty for a door; the tempting bungalows, standing in the
midst of gardens with Oriental flowers, or under the shade of palm-trees,
of which we in England can only dream; the grand promenades, where the
residents walk of an evening to catch the refreshing sea-breeze; and the
handsome parks, where English bands play English airs to the delighted
crowds.  The town is prosperous, undoubtedly.  There are fine English
barracks, and England’s martial sons are to be met with everywhere.  The
whole island prospers under English rule.  Ceylon’s staple products—tea,
coffee, and cinchona—employ hundreds of men, women, and children of
different classes, and now an attempt is being made to introduce
fish-curing.  I could almost envy Arabi his place of banishment.  I felt
inclined to say with the poet, if there be an Elysium on earth, it is
this; but then I was there in the cool time of year, when life is
enjoyable, and when even the white man has a little of his native colour
left.  Yet even enchanting Colombo (I did not realize Heber’s Ceylon’s
spicy breezes, quite the reverse, but perhaps that was my misfortune
rather than my fault) has its drawbacks.  As I am standing opposite the
hotel, a native approaches with a small basket.  He puts the basket on
the ground and begins to pipe.  To my horror, as he does so, a hooded
cobra, lying _perdu_, with its black eyes and silver hood, erects itself
on its tail as if ready to dart on its prey.  Now, as above all things I
hate snakes, and cobras most of all, I fled the spot and at once made for
the tug, leaving the native juggler, I doubt not, not a little astonished
at my want of taste.

Life on the ocean wave is really to be enjoyed on the Indian Ocean—an
immense water, pleasanter to look at and sail on than the Atlantic, of
which no one is sure, and which is variable as woman herself.  It is
impossible to overrate the beauty of the azure waves and skies which
greet us every day.  Nevertheless, we may have too much of a good thing,
and no one regrets that we are approaching the end of our journey.  At
church on Sunday it seemed to me that we are much given to the use of
misleading language.  It was announced that the bishop would hold divine
service, and perhaps he did so; at any rate, the assembly was numerous,
and in appearance devout; but I missed the firemen who kept up the steam,
the men on the outlook, the steersman on the bridge, and the inmates of
the room set apart for the due study of charts.  Were they not engaged in
a service equally divine?

How, one by one, vanish the illusions of youth!  Yesterday I would have
sworn mangoes were delicious eating, for I have read so a thousand times;
but to-day I have discovered the much-talked-of mango to be an impostor,
in shape like a potato, with a great stone inside, only to be thrown
away.  Then what raptures we hear about the Southern Cross!  I have seen
it and it charms no longer, and the beauty of it is that the Australians
who most rejoice in it seem utterly unable to tell you in what part of
the heavens it shines.  Then take the tropics.  What descriptions one
reads of tropical heats: heats fraught with deadly fever—heats so intense
that an old man may well shrink from the danger of encountering them!  I
have been now nearly a week in the tropics, and they are really
delightful.  It is true you are warm; it is true that when the ports are
closed by night the atmosphere in the cabin is apt to be unpleasant—but
then that is of rare occurrence—and the tropics, I hold, so far from
deserving to be run down, are favourably to be compared with London fogs
and cold.  We have now crossed the line, and have sailed for days along
the Indian Ocean.  Not a drop of rain has fallen on the deck, not a touch
of bronchitis is to be met with in anyone aboard, not a ripple is to be
seen on the great blue plain of the sea save that made by the _Orizaba_
as she ploughs her majestic way at the rate of 320 miles a day.  I should
say, as far as my experience goes, any elderly man or woman, who in
London suffers from its uncertain climate, would find the atmosphere of
the Indian Ocean an immense change for the better.  If any such require a
real sanatorium, I would conscientiously recommend them a trip to
Australia and back, if they can stand the sea, and if they have the good
luck to secure a berth in such a ship as the _Orizaba_.  By all means let
them have a chair; I did not take one, as I thought it would not be worth
the trouble, and even at Naples, when an ex-M.P. who went ashore there
kindly offered me his chair as a parting gift, I had not sense enough to
avail myself of the offer; but I have regretted it ever since.  People
who have chairs put them in the best places, where the breeze is most
grateful, and thus enjoy a great advantage over those who can do nothing
of the kind.  By all means also let the tourist have a white dress; it is
the only kind of dress to be tolerated on the Indian Ocean, and, of
course, he must have canvas shoes, which he will find the more useful if
they are soled with indiarubber rather than leather.  You are bound to
take as much exercise as you can, and it is not pleasant to fall on a
slippery deck.

Let the intending traveller choose, if he can, his time.  Between
November and March the ocean is delightful.  If, however, it is entered
between May and September, when the thick weather and fierce winds of the
south-west monsoon prevail, it is very much the reverse.  It is a run of
more than 3,000 miles from Colombo to Cape Leeuwin, the south-west point
of Australia, and this is the most monotonous part of the journey, as
there is nothing to be seen on the sea.  We only met two ships after
leaving Colombo, and people grow sleepy and dull, and the conversation,
at no time brilliant, rather flags.  One can scarcely imagine what the
horror of the passage was in not very remote times.  When the bishop
first went, he tells me, it was in a sailing vessel, and they were three
months on the voyage, revelling on salt pork and beef all the while.  Our
modern bishops don’t care much for that sort of diet, nor, if I may judge
by the way we live, their flocks either, and this, by the way, is the
real difficulty and danger on ship-board.  As a rule, people are ill
because they eat and drink too much.  I have been a teetotaler all the
while and have tried to eat as little as I could, and hence I am at any
rate as well as anyone aboard.  Again, let me caution the traveller to
avoid a ship that rolls.  In this respect we are wonderfully fortunate.
The _Orizaba_ never rolls, and in the worst weather we dine in comfort,
no crockery is smashed, and no steward spills a drop of soup.  In the
dark watches of the night it is the rolling that keeps passengers wide
awake, and if ships can be built like ours it is a shame to send people
on such long voyages in any others.  In the tropics the clouds that come
up as the fiery sun sinks into the blue sea are awful, darker and more
threatening than any I have seen elsewhere.  Then they disappear, and
then again reappear, to fly with the early dawn.  It is a long time
before one can be reconciled to their grandeur.  I am not surprised that
people feel timid.  There is a good deal to make people nervous at sea.
A lady passenger tells me that when she goes to bed in rough weather,
every night she expects to go to the bottom.  I gave her what comfort I
could; but then, as Festus grandly tells us, we live by heart-throbs not
by years, and so the poor woman is to be pitied after all.

Not in summer calm, not when the gentleness of heaven is on the sea, do
we approach the Australian coast.  The garden of the Hesperides was
guarded by dragons; and approach the Australian continent, for such it
really is, which way you will, you find her defended by winds that are
ever howling and seas that never are at rest.  They did their best to
frighten us as we made for the point where first we greet the granite
rocks of the Land of the Golden Fleece; of course, there is no danger,
and everyone pretends to enjoy it.  As to myself, I frankly own—in spite
of Byron and dear old Captain Basil Hall, whose pictures of sea-life,
when I was in jackets, made everyone long to be a sailor—that I prefer
calm to storm, and that never do I love the ocean so much as when it has
ceased to roar.  There are people who feel otherwise, just as there are
people who enjoy the bagpipes, but they are the exception rather than the
rule.  It may be that the danger is little, but the motion of any ship on
a stormy sea is unpleasant.  It is to be questioned, however, whether
there is any other sea-voyage so long, and at the same time attended with
so little inconvenience, as this Australian trip, and I can quite
understand how ready the Australians are to run ‘home,’ as they call it.
They love Old England to the very bottom of their hearts.  Some of them
are quite ready to return and leave their bones amongst us.  But we drive
them away.  One of my companions, for instance, has been spending a few
weeks in London.  He is a lawyer, and has made a lot of money, gotten
chiefly at Ballarat in the good old times, when, instead of the ordinary
six-and-eight, he always pocketed a fiver.  It was his intention to have
bought an estate and settled in England; but then it occurred to him that
if he did no one would ever come to see him—at any rate, such was the
universal testimony of those of his friends who had settled down in the
old country, one of them a gentleman who had done the State some service
and who had been presented at Court; and so my friend returns to
Australia—swearing he will never go to London again—where he seems to
have spent his money like a Nabob.  Another complaint which I hear in
many quarters is that Englishmen are ungrateful.  One gentleman tells me
how he had exerted himself on behalf of a young lad who had come out to
Melbourne friendless, did all he could for him, treated him, in fact, as
his own son, even had a gushing letter of thanks and gratitude from the
mother, and yet when he called upon her in London she did not take the
slightest notice of him; and in another case, where he introduced himself
to the father of two young men to whom he had been the means of rendering
much assistance, and to whom he had extended the utmost hospitality, all
he received was a formal invitation to call when that way, and that only
after he had met the grateful parent twice in the streets of the county
town near which he lived.  Colonials who have been hospitable to English
visitors naturally expect a return of hospitality when they find
themselves strangers in a strange land; and Englishmen should remember
that it is at all times a duty to perpetuate the traditions of old
English hospitality, and to take in the stranger in the Scriptural rather
than in the modern way.

At length I have seen an albatross, and that may be taken as an
indication that we are getting near our journey’s end.  It is a large
bird, as big almost as a turkey, with white body and dark wings, but not
often to be seen at this season of the year.  For awhile we skirted the
Australian coast, and dropped some thirty passengers for Western
Australia at Albany, its chief port.  They were sent ashore in a tug in
rather a primitive fashion, and we had plenty of time to admire the
magnificent harbour surrounded by granite rocks, enclosing a wide expanse
of water, which we enter between two rocks, on one of which is a
lighthouse.  Of human habitations we saw nothing save one or two on the
brow of a hill, at the bottom of which has been built a long railway
pier, which railway, as it is not complete, is only used once a week,
when the steamers arrive, for the purpose of conveying mails and
passengers to Perth.  ‘I suppose the first port you touched at was
Perth?’ said an English M.P. and distinguished educationalist to me.
Alas! it would have been hard work to have taken the _Orizaba_ to Perth.
Perth is the capital of a country eight times as large as the United
Kingdom, which is at present a Crown colony, but which is to be made
directly the home of a self-governing community.  We dropped at Albany a
young man who has been sheep-farming there for fifteen years, and is
quite satisfied with the result.  You could hardly credit how many
thousand acres he has hired of the Government at a rental of 10s. a
thousand acres.  He has no white neighbours, and his labourers are
chiefly native blacks, with whom, he tells me, he gets on very well.  The
country, he says, is well fitted for agricultural purposes, and there is
plenty of good land to be bought at 10s. an acre.  Hitherto the
difficulty has been how to dispose of the produce, but that will shortly
cease, as the district is now being opened up by railways, and from all
that I can hear it is just the country for the British farmer who feels
inclined to clear off before he has lost his last farthing in the vain
attempt to compete with the foreign producer.  In Western Australia, with
a little capital, he may certainly do well.  Everyone says Western
Australia is the country of the future.  As to Albany itself, it is
growing rapidly, and has a population now of about 2,000.  It seems to me
prettily situated, and already people who have made a little money have
fixed upon it as their residence.  There are Church of England, Wesleyan,
and Presbyterian churches there, and it boasts a paper—published weekly
for threepence, and dear at the money—which found a large sale on board,
for the sake mainly of its meagre telegraphic intelligence relating to
English and European affairs.  After the dreary monotony of the sea it
was pleasant to look on the hills which hid Albany and its surrounding
district from the vulgar gaze.  On one hill there was a long trail of
smoke, which indicated that somewhere there was a large bush fire; and
climbing up the sides of all was a scanty undergrowth, which if good for
neither man nor beast, had an appearance of verdure, which, to the eye,
seemed a living green, now and then varied by stretches of yellow or
white sand; and behind, though not visible to us from the deck of the
steamer, stretched a forest, full of a black wood which makes the finest
railway-sleepers in the world.  On the whole, it may be said Western
Australia is bound to go ahead.



CHAPTER IV.
IN THE COLONY OF VICTORIA.


Melbourne Gleanings—Dr. Bevan—Night at a Bungalow—Cole’s Book-shop—A Day
at Sorrento—White Cruelty to the Aborigines—Coffee Palaces—Dr. Strong—The
Presbyterian Church in Collins Street—The Late Peter
Lalor—Ballarat—Romance of Gold Mining—Sydney and Melbourne
compared—Australian Rogues—Suburban Melbourne—Victorian M.P.’s—Victorian
Politics.

THE stranger who makes his first trip to Australia is not a little
astonished by the extreme cold which greets him as he nears his
destination.  You hear so much of Australian heat that you are not a
little astonished to find the nearer you get to your journey’s end the
colder it becomes.  In the tropics we had all given up warm clothing, but
as we reached Western Australia great-coats by day and blankets by night
came into fashion.  People were wrapped up as if we were on the coast of
England rather than of Australia, and as to sleeping with the ports open,
that was quite out of the question.  This is an admirable provision of
Nature.  It gives us the advantage of having the body braced up before it
encounters the formidable heat which, according to all accounts, awaits
us on shore.  Another thing that strikes a stranger, as he studies the
papers from all parts of the country, is the extraordinary difference in
the weather as recorded in different localities.  For instance, I find at
Sydney the weather is described as delightfully cool, while at Adelaide
on the same day it is recorded as the hottest of the season.  In one
district I read how the rain has come down in a perfect deluge, whilst in
another men and vegetables are dying from the want of water.  At a town
in Queensland, the heat is so intense that many are dying daily of
sunstrokes, and the insurance agents have been telegraphed to not to
effect any more insurances, whilst in another locality I read of a heavy
fall of snow.  The fact is, it is impossible to realize the size of the
Australian continent, twenty-six times larger than Great Britain and
Ireland, or the various kinds of weather to be met with, till you are on
the continent itself.

A pleasant trip of a day and a half from Adelaide, most of which time was
passed in sight of land, enabled us to reach Melbourne—marvellous
Melbourne, as it has been called—in time to go on board the _Lusitania_
and bid good-bye to Miss von Finkelstein, who is, she tells me,
wonderfully delighted with her Australian trip, and intends returning
again.  She goes now as far as Port Said, and thence she makes her way to
Jerusalem.  I then get into the train, and after a run of half an hour
along a flat district, partly waste and partly built over with little
wooden villas—prettily painted, each with its tiny garden, which seemed
to me to have a wonderful knack of getting burnt down every night—find
myself landed in the noble thoroughfare, which seems to me to run from
one end of the city to the other, known as Collins Street; and almost the
first person I meet—at any rate, the first one I recognise—is Dr. Hannay,
who is leaving by the next mail steamer, and who is looking very well,
though he tells me he has been much tried by the great heat of the last
fortnight.  The dust and the sun are trying, and I get back to the ship
for dinner.

When next I go on shore it is Sunday morning, and a grateful breeze
awaits me as I make my way along picturesque and stately Collins Street—a
street which would be an ornament to London itself.  The public-houses
are closed, the tramcars have ceased running, and the busy crowds that
block up the footways on the week-day are away.  Instead of them there
are the church-goers—well-dressed, sedate, orderly—just as we may see
anywhere in England on the Sabbath.  And if I miss the sound of the
church-going bell, I know not that that is an unmitigated loss—indeed, as
far as London is concerned in that respect, it always seems to me that we
may have too much of a good thing.  On my left I pass a handsome Baptist
Church, which was crammed to suffocation when a short time since Rev. Dr.
Maclaren, of Manchester, was preaching.  Further on I pass the fine Scots
Church, and on the other side of the crossing is the noble church of
which Dr. Bevan is the popular pastor, and where I tarry to admire the
cool and spacious structure, the appearance of the people, and the
eloquence of the preacher.  It is the premier church of Victoria, and is
in every way worthy of its position.  The people rejoice in an endowment
of £3,700 a year, all of which is turned to good purposes, and they give
at the doors as much as £1,500 a year, to say nothing of pew rents.  It
is not in Victoria that you feel doubts as to the power of the Churches
to evangelize the land.  Here, as all over the colonies, the Church of
England leads the way, and—as was to be expected when you remember what
an adventurous race of men the Scotch are—the Presbyterians occupy the
second place.  The Wesleyans and the Congregationalists come next, and of
the latter body Dr. Bevan is the leader, and he seems to me to enjoy his
position to the utmost.  He is the picture of health and happiness, and,
as I tell him, is to be likened rather to a wealthy archdeacon at home
than to a Congregational minister, as we know him, in a country where he
has to take—thanks to Parliamentary wisdom—rather a place in the second
rank.  He and Mrs. Bevan alike seem to have renewed their youth in this
far-off land.  A dealer in portraits of English celebrities, by-the-bye,
tells me that people often ask him if the portrait of John Bright he
displays is not that of the worthy Doctor.  And, indeed, there is a
breadth and vigour in the Doctor’s sermons which naturally suggests to
the hearer the fiery eloquence of John Bright.  Standing in his gown, on
his platform pulpit, the Doctor certainly carries all before him.  His
audience seems to be wielded at his will, and his audience is a noble
one; men and women to whom the service of the sanctuary is not a form or
conventional observance or symbol of respectability, but a joy and
delight, which reminds one of what church-going was, in what to sceptical
and scientific London seems a far-off time, when Dr. Watts could write:

    At once they sing, at once they pray,
    They hear of heaven and learn the way.

What strikes me as a contrast to congregations I know nearer home is the
power of the audience.  The people are in the prime of life, not decayed
and elderly, and the proportion of young men is great.  In the evening
they make a grand show in the gallery—semi-circular, lofty, and airy.
And this is, remember, the summer season, when families rush off to the
seaside, and corresponds to the period when in London our churches are
thin, and when in New York and Washington, and the other great centres of
American life and energy, it is usual for the pastor to shut up his
church, and for the people to give themselves a Sunday rest—not in the
Jewish, but in the modern acceptation of that term.  In the afternoon I
enjoyed the hospitality of one of the Doctor’s deacons, Mr. Johnson, who
has had the honour of making his handsome house the temporary residence
of Mr. Henry Lee, who is away preaching.

In every direction I look I see capacious streets with handsome houses,
all painted white, and broad streets which are lined for miles with the
dwellings of the Melbournites, while as you wander in wonder, every now
and then, beyond the glitter of the white houses, and the green foliage
of the public gardens, you see a thin silver streak of the blue bay.  In
the evening, the Doctor will have me go home with him.  We stop late, for
there are people waiting to see the Doctor in his private vestry; then we
catch the last tram to Camberwell—how funny the old name seems to us on
this Australian soil!  Then we are driven home by the Doctor’s Jehu—who,
I fancy, has rather a good time of it, though, as a Roman Catholic, he
holds his master to be a heretic—and we have a welcome supper in a
veritable bungalow, large, and occupying its own grounds of thirty acres,
devoted by the Doctor to farming, on an interesting, but, I fear, rather
unprofitable, scale.  At an early hour on Monday morning—for we have much
to talk of over our cigars, uncommonly fine ones, a present to the
Doctor—I am offered a choice of beds, of course all on the ground-floor.
I resolved to sleep in the one which has recently been tenanted by Dr.
Hannay, of whom everyone in Melbourne speaks well.  As the Doctor shows
me to my bed and shuts down the window, I am idiot enough to say, ‘Any
snakes about here, Doctor?’  ‘Only a few black ones now and then,’ he
replies, in a light and airy way.  But, alas! the Doctor’s words kept me
uncommonly wide awake that night.

One of the sights of Melbourne, the most marvellous I have yet seen, is
that known as ‘Cole’s Book Arcade,’ in Bourke Street, which is not merely
a place for the dissemination of knowledge, useful or otherwise, but a
reading-room as well, into which thousands enter, pick up a book, take a
seat, and read as long as they like without spending a farthing.  Mr.
Cole himself, the owner, is a remarkable man.  He hails from Ashford, in
Kent, and had been some time in the colony trying to make a fortune, but
with little success, and now evidently he has, to borrow an Americanism,
‘struck ile.’  As a compiler he has done some good work.  His aim is to
publish the Library of the Future, to be composed entirely of the cream
of human thought and knowledge.  To this scheme he gives the title of
‘The Federation of the World’s Library.’  It is to consist of one hundred
of the best books in the world; one book, the best of its kind, is to be
on astronomy, another on geology, another on geography, and so on.  Each
book is to be complete of its kind, and highly condensed.  It is easily
and perfectly done, he says.  A moderate-sized song-book, he tells us,
holds all the best songs in the world; a moderate-sized wisdom-book—it is
a humiliating reflection—will hold all the wisest sayings in the world; a
moderate-sized book, carefully prepared, of astronomy, geology,
chemistry, botany, or any of the sciences, will give a clear knowledge of
the principles of each.  Such a library, of 100 volumes of 600 pages
each, can be produced to sell at £10, thus bringing all the most
important knowledge and all the most beautiful thoughts within the reach
of every human being.  He calculates that there are a million printed
poems in the world.  The 1,000 best are worth the remaining 999,000 all
put together.  Probably out of the 1,000 best there are 100 first-class,
300 second-class, and 600 third-class.  Amongst the first-class Mr. Cole
reckons Gray’s ‘Elegy,’ Goldsmith’s ‘Deserted Village,’ and Longfellow’s
‘Psalm of Life.’  As a bookseller he asserts—and I am sorry to write
it—that it is read more, verse for verse, than the whole of Milton’s and
Homer’s poems put together.  Mr. Cole tells me that, with the exception
of school books—always in demand—his principal sales are novels and
theological works.  Of the latter he sells most of Talmage.  Ward Beecher
does not go down so well.  Perhaps the Australians in this respect
resemble some of the members of the Christian Young Men’s Association.
When last in London, Mr. Cole went to hear the great American lecture at
Exeter Hall.  ‘Mr. Beecher ought not to be allowed to lecture here,’ said
someone to him.  ‘Why so?’ asked Mr. Cole.  ‘Because he is an infidel,’
was the charitable reply.

And what a sight Mr. Cole’s shop is, to be sure! especially at business
hours, when it swarms with buyers and readers.  It is three stories high,
200 feet deep, and 40 feet wide.  Its walks are a third of a mile long,
and its capacious galleries are supported by 140 brass pillars.  The sign
of the establishment is the rainbow, which is to be seen painted
everywhere.  A gorgeous rainbow ornaments the chief entrance in Bourke
Street.  Inside daily may be seen hundreds of men, women, and children,
who really seem more numerous than they are in consequence of the seventy
mirrors with which the interior is decorated.  There are twenty miles of
boards in the shelving, and 2,800 large cedar drawers.  Altogether there
are 100,000 sorts of books, all well classified, so that the purchaser
can at once secure what he requires, and if he wants a selection he has
probably a million of books to choose from.  New books, music, and
stationery occupy the ground-floor, second-hand books the next floor, and
on the top floor is a fine collection of china, glass, and other house
ornaments and knick-knacks.  This flat is entirely devoted to the sale of
goods to beautify the interiors of houses, as books beautify the mental
interiors of their readers.  If you want to get to the top, and you are
too tired and weary to walk, there is a handsomely-decorated lift at your
service, and if you require the solace of music there are free
performances given every afternoon and evening.  Mr. Cole, to his credit
be it said, has prohibited, as far as he is concerned, the sale of Zola’s
novels, having struck them out of his list.  I asked one of his
_employés_ to what religious body he belonged.  I was amused with this
reply: ‘I don’t know; but he’s a very good man.  I expect he is a
Dissenter.’  It is curious to find people who do not go to Episcopalian
churches spoken of as Dissenters in a land where there is no State
Church, and where all denominations are on an equality; but then this
particular young man had only left the Old Country a year and a half, and
had not got rid of his Old World ideas.  As an illustration of the value
of property in Melbourne, Mr. Cole tells me that his rent is £1,000 a
year, that he has a lease of it for fifteen years, and that the
proprietor nevertheless had had an offer made him for the place of £5,000
a year.  All round Mr. Cole’s premises are what he calls intellect
sharpeners, in the shape of extracts from what wise men have written in
favour of study and reading.  This Australian Cole seems in his way to do
much to advance Australia.

One of the few places in Australia to which interesting associations
attach is Sorrento, and it is one of the places most patronised by the
Melbourne public.  You leave Melbourne Port at half-past eleven, and you
arrive there at two.  As the steamer returns at half-past three, you have
not much time for exploration, and in my own case I admit that time was
curtailed from perfectly natural causes.  As I landed, the announcement
‘hot dinners’ met my eye, and gave me quite an appetite.  I walked up the
cliff, found a comfortable and airy hotel at the top, and did justice to
a good half-crown dinner.  Nor was I singular.  I found many of my
travelling companions similarly disposed.  One must dine, and you may as
well dine in comfort as not.

Everyone in Melbourne goes to Sorrento.  I was in the former city on one
of the days when the heat is tropical, when the hot wind and the dust are
intolerable, when everyone in the city looks parched and weary; while the
wives and mothers and daughters at home draw down the blinds, fasten all
the doors to keep the hot air out, and sit metaphorically in dust and
ashes.  In vain are scanty attire and cooling drinks; in vain are all the
resources of human ingenuity.  The only thing to do is to take the train
to Melbourne Port, and then get on board the steamer for Sorrento, where
the temperature is always twenty degrees lower than in Melbourne.  The
wind blows straight from Port Melbourne to the Heads; it has no heated
land to pass over on its way to Sorrento, and arrives there cool and
bracing from its contact with the salt water.  On one side we have the
Bay, and on the other side the Southern Ocean, only a narrow mile of land
dividing them.  It has a charming locality all round, picturesque cliffs,
and the sea.  Traces of the old settlement are visible still.  One of the
original wells sunk in 1803 has been opened for the use of the public,
and the shade of the scrub gives special advantage to picnic parties, for
which the whole picturesque extent of country round is admirably adapted.
It was here came the original settlers.  One of the oldest, just carried
to his last long home, used to tell terrible stories of them.  ‘Had you
any trouble with the natives in those days?’ asked an anxious inquirer.
‘Trouble!’ was the reply; ‘not me, poor things.  Why, sir, they were as
harmless as babies.  I have seen upwards of a thousand on ’em at a
corroborree on the Meni creek—that was their camping-ground then.  Dear,
dear, poor things, they’re gone now, sir, gone; most on ’em shot off, or
put out of the way somehow else.  If there is any questions asked when we
are dead and gone, some of our big squatting swells ull have some awful
posers to answer.’  Again, added the old man, ‘Take my word for it, sir,
the blacks were a harmless, good-natured lot till the cruelty of the
whites made ’em bad and revengeful, poor things; and who can blame ’em?’
The flour which they used was mixed with arsenic, and thus they lost in
many cases their lives and lands.  In one case it was certain that a
native was shot by a celebrated _savant_ that he might have possession of
the native’s skull.  There are few natives left now.  Such humane
treatment has somewhat diminished their number.  At all times it was a
puzzle what to do with them, as the following well-authenticated anecdote
shows.  Two aboriginal children, separated from babyhood from aboriginal
life, were trained and educated like colonists.  In the earlier years
little difference was noted, but as they advanced into boyhood, some
restlessness became apparent.  Ultimately, when a native tribe happened
to come near, the children escaped, to taste once more the charms of
savage life.  The Australians employ many of them, and make them useful
in many ways, but none of them rise to anything like a position in the
social scale, or evince any capacity of ever rising to become more than
hewers of wood and drawers of water.  I have seen them usefully engaged
at such places as the Point Macleay Mission, in South Australia, but even
there I question whether they earn their own living.  On one occasion I
crossed Lake Alexandrina in a sailing-boat managed by blacks, and I was
not drowned—which, however, does not say much for their nautical skill,
as the lake was as calm as a mill-pond.

But to return to Sorrento.  The history of this place begins with the
discovery of the fine harbour of Port Philip by Lieutenant Murray, a
harbour of some forty miles in extent.  The next year it was made the
site of a convict settlement under Governor Collins, who soon had enough
of the place, and started off for Tasmania.  Eight convicts were missing
within a month of their arrival.  Four were brought back and punished,
one was shot by a constable, and the three others, oppressed with hunger,
after wandering round the western shores of Port Philip, made fires to
attract the attention of their companions, but without success.  Two of
them walked back to surrender themselves into the hands of justice, but
were never heard of after; and for a while the place was left to the
kangaroos and the natives, till there arrived on the scene Hamilton Hume,
a native-born colonist of New South Wales.  In 1834 three gentlemen named
Henty established a whaling station at Portland Bay, and this was the
first settlement in Victoria.  At this time, and for some time
afterwards, the natives were easily beguiled.  As late as 1835 a John
Bateman, of Hobart Town, landed on the western shore of Port Philip, and
entered into a contract with the natives for 1,000 square miles of
territory for a few blankets to be given them every year.  The Government
refused to sanction this iniquitous transaction.  Nevertheless, the
natives were despoiled of their land—Governor Bourke annexed it in the
name of his Majesty.  Melbourne, on the Yarra, was named after the
British Premier of that day, and Williamstown, where the grand boats of
the Orient and P. and O. Companies land and embark their passengers, had
the questionable honour of being named after our Sailor King.

Port Philip was a place rather given to joviality and adventure.  Ladies
and children were rare.  There was a marvellous consumption of brandy.
Manners, when visible, were rough.  ‘The town,’ writes an old settler,
‘was bad, and the bush was worse.’  When a pious missionary of those
early times, prior to adventuring into the interior, inquired of a
squatter if the Sabbath was kept in the bush, ‘Oh yes,’ was the prompt
reply; ‘a clean shirt and a shave.’  ‘At the time of my arrival,’ writes
Mr. Westgarth, ‘all Melbourne-bound passengers were put out by their
respective ship’s boats upon that part of the northern beach of Port
Philip that was nearest to Melbourne, whence in struggling lines, as best
they could, in hot winds, they trod a bush-path of their own making,
which, about a mile and a half long, brought them to a punt or little
boat just above the Falls—which they crossed for the small charge of
threepence.’  There are people who still maintain that Melbourne is
planted on the wrong site, that Williamstown, with its healthful level,
might have been better, or Geelong; with its beautiful ready-made
harbour, and its direct access to all the superior capabilities of the
West and North-west.  The traveller, as he runs down to Sorrento by an
excursion steamer, may, perhaps, agree with the critics.  But, then,
Sorrento would never have had a chance.  Now it is a place to spend a
happy day in, and many are the Melbournites who lodge in the vicinity.  I
would have tarried there longer, but steamers—like time and tide—wait for
no man.

In one thing Melbourne beats London and all Australia put together, and
that is in the number and excellence of its coffee-palaces, which are a
real boon to the travelling public, and which may claim to have solved
the question how, by co-operation, to provide homes of comfort and luxury
for the great middle-class of the community.  The Federal Coffee-Palace
in Melbourne is a remarkable illustration of what may be done in this
way.  Instead of spending three or four pounds a week at an hotel, and
being expected to injure my health for the benefit of my landlord, I pay
half a crown for my bed—it is true it is high up on the sixth floor, but
then I go up and down by the lift, which is in active operation from
seven in the morning till midnight; I get a good breakfast in a handsome
apartment, served up by attractive young maidens in neat black dresses,
for which I pay one-and-threepence; I can have a good lunch for a
shilling; and my evening meal, with fish or flesh, costs about the same
sum.  There is a café attached, in which I can have a cup of coffee or
some light refreshment at any time; a reading-room, if I require it; a
smoking-room, if I am given to that mild form of self-indulgence; and a
billiard-room, if I require a little exercise after the worry of the day.
As soon as I rise I have a comfortable bath, which is not an extra, as in
England.  Nor need I fear being roasted alive, as half a dozen watchmen
perambulate the place all night.  In England we have nothing of this
kind.  We have large and grand hotels, but they are utterly beyond the
reach of persons of moderate means; and it is a question whether, in
these days when it is hard to get a decent servant-girl, something after
the plan of the Federal Palace at Melbourne might not be started in
London and our other big cities, not as a rest for the comfort and
delectation of the weary traveller, but as an associated home.  It is
only in that way that the increasing difficulties connected with houses
and servants, and the cost of living in London, can be met and overcome.
The servant-girl in these coffee-palaces is far superior to her sister
who acts the part of maid-of-all-work in a London suburb.  She is always
civil, always well dressed, always ready to oblige.  She knows when her
work is over, and that is a great consideration.  She has her day out
when she is off duty, and that keeps her in good temper all the rest of
the week.  At all times her appearance and behaviour are respectable.  I
have always found her cheerful and pleasant, much given to devoting her
spare time to novel-reading, which helps to keep alive romance in her
heart and preserve her youth.  It is evident she is not over-worked in
the coffee-palace; she looks too well and flourishing.  I hope she
marries well, and lives happily ever after.  It seems to me that she
deserves a good husband and a good home.

On the Federal Coffee-Palace money has been spent with a liberal hand;
and it is run by a company, who find it, I believe, a commercial success.
All that is wanted is a little better management.  Melbourne is a city of
fine buildings, and the Federal may vie with any of them as regards
external grandeur and internal accommodation.  The freehold alone cost
£48,000, and the building and furniture for 400 sleeping-apartments, to
say nothing of the public rooms, must have cost at least £150,000 more.
Its tower, which is 200 feet high, is a landmark from all quarters.  The
site is happily chosen, as the Federal is not only close to the terminus
of the railways, but is likewise in close proximity to the wharves on the
Yarra, which are now daily crowded with large and powerful steam-vessels
engaged in inter-colonial and foreign trade.  The Custom House is near at
hand, and business-men and visitors can, by means of the cable tramways
in front of the palace, be speedily conveyed to any of the city suburbs.
It has a post and telegraph-office attached, and the popular firm of
Thomas Cook and Son have an agency in connection with it.  Collins
Street, in which it stands, is the centre of trade and commerce.  It is
there all the great companies have their headquarters, the papers are
published, and all the wealth and fashion of the city congregates.  The
foundations of the new building, which enclose an area of half an acre,
were laid at an expense of many thousands of pounds.  The underground
arrangements are admirable.  One apartment is devoted entirely to
pastry-cooks; in another is a freezing-apparatus, in which meat, poultry,
and game may be kept fresh for a month or more.  Another apartment is
devoted to grills; and the kitchens are connected with the floors above
them by several lifts, by which the cooked viands are noiselessly and
rapidly raised to the various sitting-rooms, and the dishes so returned
to the sculleries.  As to the entrance, that must be seen to be
appreciated—wide folding-doors open into a grand marble vestibule, which
extends between massive columns into an interior hall.  In the centre is
the principal staircase, leading to the first-class dining-room and the
upper stories.  The area above is surrounded by galleries which serve as
balconies, where the lady-visitors and their friends may be seen sitting
all day long gazing on the busy crowd of arrivals and departures below.
You may be almost said to sleep in marble halls, and the beauty of it is
that all this splendour is not for the benefit of the bloated capitalist,
but for the comfort of the many.

One Sunday I had rather a strange experience.  I went to the Presbyterian
Church in Collins Street, where there was a large congregation to listen
to a fine sermon by the reverend minister on the custom of the primitive
Church to have all things in common—a custom which the orator
conclusively showed to the satisfaction of his hearers, wealthy
Scotchmen, with few leanings towards Socialism in any form, was quite
exceptional, and was not to be dreamed of in these latter days.  I had a
pair of gloves, which I laid down in the pew.  When half-way out of the
church I recollected that I had left those gloves behind.  I returned to
look for them, mentioning the fact to the gentleman who sat next me.  On
rushing to where I sat I found a pair of gloves exactly similar to my own
at the back of the pew, and, concluding that they were what I sought,
returned in triumph.  Just as I had got to the door a young man came and
claimed the gloves—and I gave them up—when, to my amazement, the same
gentleman (?) who had sat in the pew with me, and to whom I had mentioned
the loss of my gloves, handed my own over to me.  It is true that the
sermon was about having all things in common, but I object to such a
practical application.

In Melbourne Dr. Strong, who was expelled from the Scotch church to which
I have already referred, is making the experiment of carrying on a church
without a creed.  Apparently the attempt is a successful one.  When I
attended the congregation was a large one, and the sermon very
interesting.  It is a fine building in which they meet, and the people
seem to be highly respectable, as much so as I have seen anywhere.  Dr.
Strong calls his place ‘The Australian Church.’  It seems to me, as far
as I can make out, that the wish is father to the thought.  I see no
evidence in Australia that the people are discontented with the old ways,
or are ready for change.  Men immersed in business and money-making as a
rule do not affect heresy; they are mostly conservative in politics and
religion.  From what I hear, it is the personal influence of Dr. Strong
that has built the church and filled it.  He is very popular with his
people.  They followed him from his old church to his new one, but they
are not fanatics in favour of their new denomination, and I question
whether out of Melbourne there is sufficient population to be developed
into anything worthy to take the somewhat ambitious title of the
Australian Church.  The Wesleyans, the Presbyterians, and the Church of
England, have already gone up and taken possession of the land, and they
are organized, which is half the battle.  ‘Our people,’ said a colonial
bishop to me one day, ‘are not likely to be caught by the Salvation
Army.’  The Church has its own organization, and it is that which keeps
the flock from wandering.  As long as they get something in the way of
religious worship they are content.  People who belong to other bodies
tell me that the Church of England parsons are poor preachers, that they
are, many of them, men who have failed in other pulpits, or who have been
unable to pass the requisite examination, or whose characters do not
stand high—and certainly I have seen some queer specimens of the genus.
But then, says the devout worshipper, ‘we go to church to pray and to
worship God.  The sermon is not the main thing with us, as it is amongst
the other religious bodies.’  It may be that he is wrong—I am not about
to contest that matter—but it seems to me that in Melbourne the better
preacher the man is the better does his church fill; and that if the
Church of England, or any other religious body, seeks to be successful,
due care must be taken that there is life in the pulpit.  The stranger
would think Melbourne a very religious city; much more so than London, or
any town or city at home.  The public-houses are strictly closed; the
trains do not run till two o’clock.  There is no Sunday newspaper
published (in Sydney there are two, and both pay well).  Except for the
well-dressed crowds on their way to their favourite church (they are all
churches here—Little Bethels and Mount Zions are unknown), and the church
bell, you would think such places as Sydney and Melbourne on a Sunday
morning the cities of the dead.  Walking along Bourke Street one Sunday
evening—a street always black with pedestrians at that time—I saw a crowd
hanging about the door of a theatre.  I went in and found a place full of
real working men in their working attire, who had come to enjoy a
religious discussion.  I got in only at the end, and heard but the
orthodox reply from a gentleman who talked a good deal about matter and
space, and the operations of the one great God, who had revealed Himself
to man in the person of Jesus Christ.  The crowd sat listening patiently
till nine o’clock, when the gas was turned off, and they lit their pipes
and went home.  I heard some speaking of the objector, whom I was too
late to hear, as a very clever fellow; but the mass seemed quite
indifferent.  I spoke to one or two of the hearers, whose minds seemed a
perfect blank.  There was no praying, no singing, no attempt to attract,
no pale youth with a concertina, no tender maiden to sing a solo.  In
London the thing would have been a failure.  Here the working man has his
beershop and club, and his penny paper.  In Australia he has nothing of
the kind, and he is open to conviction even if it comes to him in a
secularist form.

There has lately passed away a man well known in Victoria as Peter Lalor.
He was an Irishman, and lived to be Speaker of the Victorian Parliament;
but it was as a revolutionist that he gained his true fame.  When the
news of the discovery of gold in Ballarat filled that district with
seekers from every part of the world, Mr. Peter Lalor was one of the
first to put in an appearance.  Melbourne and Geelong were almost emptied
of their male inhabitants.  Government was at its wit’s end how to
preserve order among the young community.  In 1855, the Government
promulgated the right of the Crown to the gold, and issued licenses to
the diggers.  With a view to keep back the crowd, the license fee was
increased from £1 10s. to £3 a month.  This was more than the hardy
gold-diggers could stand.  They were not represented in Parliament, and
they took the law into their own hands after their patience had been
exhausted by the insults of the martinets in office, who were sent to see
that they had all the requisite licenses, and to whom hunting the diggers
was a pleasant sport.  The Gold Commissioners, as they were called, were
frequently corrupt, and always insolent and overbearing.  At length
matters came to a crisis.  A digger got killed in a house that did not
bear a good character, and the landlord was considered to have been a
participator in the murder.  The man was tried with others, and
discharged.  In their indignation over the untimely end of a chum, the
diggers subscribed, and had a new trial.  It was while holding a meeting
for this purpose that they came into collision with the police, who were
guarding the hotel.  The place was burnt down, and three of the
incendiaries were imprisoned.  Another meeting was then held to demand
the release of the prisoners, and at the same time to claim manhood
suffrage, and other political and social reforms.  Soon, losing all
confidence in the Government, they began to drill and arm.  Fighting
commenced in real earnest under the flag of the Southern Cross.  They
were attacked, and amongst the wounded was their general, the late
Speaker, Peter Lalor.  The eyes of the blind were opened.  Government, in
time, learned to act rationally, and the result was, Ballarat became the
centre of a law-abiding people—a people, nevertheless, given over to the
worship of the golden calf.  ‘I remember it,’ said a man to me yesterday,
as I wandered along its streets, down which a whirlwind of white dust was
unpleasantly blowing, ‘when there was only one house in the town; when it
was all gum-trees and tents.  There,’ said he, pointing to a particular
spot at the entrance of the town—‘is where the Welcome Nugget was found;
it was worth £5,000, and was discovered by a couple of diggers who had
barely been earning their living for months.  There,’ he continued, ‘I
had a miner’s right; I sold it for £50 to the present owner, of whom a
syndicate has been trying to buy it for £40,000.  Them was hard times.  I
remember when I walked twelve miles to a store, and could only bring back
a pound of butter, and that was a favour.’  But most of the miners lost
their money as quickly as they made it.  ‘In 1860,’ he added, ‘I was
ready to go home, but in 1861 I was up a tree.’

Ballarat has now settled down into a rather humdrum sort of city, with a
population of about 50,000.  The diggers are mostly dead or gone, and few
traces of them remain, save in the turned-up earth outside the town,
where there are traces still remaining of what they called shallow
digging.  On a hill just outside, also, it is evident that there has been
a good deal of soil turned up, or turned out, in the search for gold, but
no alluvial deposits exist; gold, if found, is only found in quartz, and
that has to be crushed, and the gold eliminated by machinery of a very
complicated and costly character, to secure which a company has to be
formed, and then the returns, in the shape of dividends, are generally
small.  It is unhealthy work, too, in the mines, and I was not surprised
to find that many of the men had left, and taken to farming instead.  Any
morning in the week you will find a lot of agents and brokers in the
Ballarat Mining Exchange, ready to do a little business in the way of
speculation, and that is, perhaps, all that remains to testify as to what
Ballarat was in its golden age.  As to the riotous living of the past,
that is a matter of tradition.  The fact is, Ballarat has had its day.
Where the carcase is, there the eagles gather, and little of the carcase
is left in Ballarat.  Mount Morgan and Broken Hill are now names of
greater power.  Ballarat has an Episcopalian bishop.  The Wesleyans and
Presbyterians are very strong in the town.  The Roman Catholics and the
Congregationalists are also in evidence.  Somehow or other I missed the
Episcopalian place of worship; but with its schools and other buildings,
with its wood warehouses and stores, I felt how great had been the
change, how sober and quiet had become the Ballarat of to-day.  ‘We shall
meet again, sir,’ said my unknown friend, in a tone the honesty of which
deeply affected me—‘we shall meet again, sir, some day.  Let us hope it
will be in the right place.’

Of the romance of Ballarat one gets a good idea from a story which I
found in a newspaper which will certainly interest the general reader.
The history of one of the Ballarat claims, called the Blacksmith’s Claim
because its first owner belonged to this craft, reads like a page of
romance.  The blacksmith, with a party of eight, all novices, sank the
shaft in so irregular and unworkmanlike a manner, that it was absolutely
at the risk of his life that a man made the descent to the bottom.
Without opening out a regular drive they washed all the stuff within
reach, and after realising £12,800 offered it for sale, but so wet and
rotten was the ground, so badly sunk the shaft, that at first no
purchaser could be found.  At last a party of ten plucked up courage and
bought all right and title to the claim and tools for £77.  They entered
into possession at noon on Saturday, and long before the sun had set had
in their possession £2,000 worth of gold.  By working day and night in
spells till the following Monday they raised this to £10,000.  Then,
after the usual reckless manner of lucky diggers, they left this mine of
wealth, and went on the spree for a week.  Their tenants made good use of
the time at their disposal; they opened up two drives; and before the
week was out were the happy possessors of £14,400, all taken out of the
claim.  The other party then returned, and after a week’s work, during
which they realized £9,000, they sold out to a storekeeper for £100, who
put in a gang to work on shares, and these, labouring in a desultory
fashion for a fortnight, took but £5,000.  At the end of that time, one
of the party, an old hand from Van Diemen’s Land, undermined the props,
and next morning on returning to work the men found the whole of the
workings had fallen in.  The rest of the party appeared to have taken
this misfortune very calmly, and to have completely abandoned the claim,
for no mention is made of their further proceedings; but it is related
how the author of the mischief coolly marked out a claim 24 feet square
on the top of the ruin, and working with a hired party, sunk a shaft
straight as a die for the gutter.  The first tubful of wash dirt they
found turned out 40 lb. weight of gold, and the next two averaged 10 lb.
each, and as Ballarat gold was and is superior to any other at all times,
fetching at least £4 an ounce, those three bucketfuls of earth were worth
£2,880 to their fortunate possessor.  Altogether, out of that small area,
hardly larger than a good-sized room, was taken in a few weeks gold worth
nearly £30,000.

Round Ballarat the country is rather prettier than is the average of
Australian scenery.  All the way from Geelong, situated rather charmingly
at the bend of a pretty bay, which is bound to become a fashionable
watering-place, the land rises till you nearly reach Ballarat, when you
go down a slight incline.  The soil is good, and there are many
twenty-acre farms, and the heat is not so great as in Melbourne.  Out of
the town there is a fine sheet of water, devoted to boating and black
swans, and there is a botanical garden, in which I own I was somewhat
disappointed, though everyone (perhaps it was for that very reason) said
it was one of the places which I was bound to go and see, and which would
delight me greatly.  The Ballarat people, I was told in the train, were
hospitable.  It may be so, but I can bear no testimony on that point, as
none of their hospitality was extended to me.  My only experience of them
was at an ordinary at the principal hotel, and there I was not
particularly gratified, as conversation seemed quite out of the question.
Now I come to think of it, that must have been through fear of the head
waiter, who certainly was a very superior personage indeed, and was much
better got up than any of his guests.  Be this as it may, it was with
little regret that I got on board the train and left the Golden City,
with its green foliage, its red-brick houses, its white town-hall, its
awful dust, its broad streets, and its rough pedestrians, far behind.

Anthony Trollope tells us that no one who has ever paid Sydney a visit
will leave it without a tear or a regret.  I confess I had no such
feeling as I got into a hansom and drove down to the _Liguria_—a ship
dear to many—which is to be known no more to Australian friends, as her
destination henceforth is to be South America; but she took me safely to
Melbourne, where I landed, to be more than ever charmed with the busy
city and its people, a city and a people who believe themselves destined
to the leadership of these sunny lands.  Sydney is too old, they say,
handsome as it is in parts, and Brisbane is too hot, to be in the
running.  As long as Sydney is faithful to Free Trade she will be a great
emporium of commerce; but the democracy rule in Sydney, and the democracy
all the world over have lost faith in Free Trade.  Sydney has little to
boast of besides its unrivalled harbour, lined with health resorts where
wealth, and beauty, and fashion congregate, and where all the residences
are of the most captivating character—white villas with verandas, rising
out of green lawns shaded by tropical plants, and gorgeous with tropical
flowers, in bloom, at any rate, the greater part of the year—where the
blue waves ever murmur underneath.  I must own, too, that some of the
shops in Sydney are far finer than any to be seen in Melbourne; and the
post-office at Sydney is, perhaps, the noblest building of the kind to be
seen anywhere.  A similar remark applies to the Town Hall, completed
after I left.  But Melbourne has, in Collins Street, a unique and stately
thoroughfare, such as can be seen nowhere else—a street as gay of an
afternoon as Regent Street, and as difficult in crossing, owing to its
swarming traffic, almost as Cheapside.  Sydney has no such show; and the
Melbourne ladies tell me that it is to that place that the Sydney drapers
come for the latest fashions.  It seems to me that there is a great deal
more drinking in Sydney than in Melbourne.  Almost every other house you
come to is an hotel, and it has its bar, where, under the presidency of
two or three rather showy damsels, the drinking goes on all day.  In both
cities there is apparently more drinking than in London, except in the
poorest quarters, affected by the beggar, and the pauper, and the tramp,
by depraved men, and women infinitely worse.  But for Melbourne and
Sydney a defence may be made which is not available at home.  The
population in both cities is of a very migratory character; a large
number of men spend their time in passing from one colony to another, and
in this way they make many acquaintances, and when they meet they have a
drink.  In Sydney the fashion is to hand you the bottle and let you help
yourself.  The landlord finds it to his interest to do so.  The customer
takes less than the landlord would give him for his sixpence.  The
customer knows that he has the day before him, and that it will not do to
get exhilarated too soon.  There are drinks awaiting him with other
friends at other bars and at other hours, and so he takes as little
whisky as he can in his glass.  Superficially, Melbourne seems the more
moral town, but so far as my experience goes all cities are much alike.
Chicago proudly boasts that it is the wickedest city in the world, but I
much doubt its claim to that bad pre-eminence.  I only met one shady
character there, and he was an Englishman.  That there are rogues in
Melbourne I readily admit.  As I was passing up Bourke Street looking for
a place to rest in till my friend’s carriage, with his lady, was to call
for me to take me to his handsome suburban residence, a well-dressed man
accosted me with an inquiry as to how I had been enjoying myself since I
landed from the _Liguria_.  Having replied, I said I was going to have a
cup of coffee and a cigar in a handsome _café_ just opposite where we
were standing.  After I had been seated a few minutes he made his
appearance to tell me that he was staying at the Melbourne Club,
membership of which is the sign and seal of the most extreme
respectability; that he was going to England in the _Austral_ (I had told
him I was going in that ship to Adelaide) in consequence of the delicacy
of his wife’s health, and that he wished me to come along with him to
introduce me to a few friends.  I went with him, and in a few minutes was
seated in the bar-room of an adjoining hotel, refusing every offer to
have a drink.  A man came up to my friend with a bill, requesting
payment, as he was hard up.  Accordingly my gentleman put his hand in his
pocket, pulling out three or four sovereigns.  Alas! he was a sovereign
short.  Could I lend him one?  Unfortunately I could not.  ‘Could I lend
him half-a-sovereign?’ I again deplored my inability to do anything of
the kind.

‘It does not matter,’ he said.  Turning to the man he continued, ‘Come
over the way and I will get the money,’ and away he went, telling me he
would be back in five minutes.  I waited ten, but it is needless to say I
saw him no more.  Leaving the pub, I met a policeman.

‘Have you any rogues about here?’ I asked.

‘I should say we had,’ replied the policeman, with a grin; ‘why, last
month we had one out here from New York.  He said he thought he knew the
ropes pretty well, but he felt like a child out here.’

If this policeman’s tale be true, Melbourne must indeed be marvellous in
more senses than one.  To my mind the most marvellous part of Melbourne
is to be found in its suburbs.  Melbourne is fortunate in this respect.
All along the seashore the coast is lined with handsome residences, quite
equal in every respect to those of our London merchant princes.  At one
of them, where I spent a couple of happy days, I found residing in wealth
and comfort a son of the well-known and still-lamented, in Nonconformist
and Liberal circles, Mr. Grimwade, of Ipswich.  He calls his place
Harleston, the name of the little sleepy East Anglian town in which he
was born.  The colonists love the old English names.  In the aristocratic
quarter known as Toorak I spent a pleasant day with Mr. Murray Smith, the
one man whom all the Victorians regard as the most refined of gentlemen,
and most able of politicians.  In London, as some of my readers may
remember, Mr. Murray Smith, as Agent General, was quite as much a social
success as he is at home.  He calls his place Repton, in memory of his
old Derbyshire Grammar School.  I discovered the Rev. J. J. Halley, the
energetic secretary of the Australian Congregational Union, living in a
pretty villa at Camberwell, which he ventures to call Irwell, a stream to
most Englishmen who have ever been at Manchester, somewhat dark and
malodorous.  It is thus the colonists keep up the tender memories of
their far-off native land.  As in New South Wales, so in Victoria, a good
deal of attention is turned to politics.  In the latter colony the
Parliament lasts three years, and a general election was at hand; but the
worst of it is, that while the people are in many quarters determined to
have a fight, in reality there is nothing to fight about.  I attended
what was advertised as a monster meeting of the Liberal party, but the
attendance did not consist of more than 400, and the speaking was, at any
rate, not up to the English level, though one speaker did somehow manage
to close with an irrelevant peroration, in which he invoked the spirit
which in England had carried Catholic emancipation, had removed the Test
and Corporation Acts, and was prepared to do justice to Ireland—and this
was in connection with a meeting called to support the Liberal platform,
the main article of which is protection to native industry and a stock
tax for the farmer, who complains bitterly of the way in which New South
Wales and Queensland beef is poured into the home market.  It seems
strange to read of a candidate appealing to the electors for support as
‘A Liberal and Protectionist.’  But the fact is, in Victoria everyone is
a Protectionist, and on the vital issues of the past the community is now
at one.  A coalition Government is in office, and it is hard to see how
any other can exist.  A nationalist party is now in course of formation,
which has for its object Australian unity, to be accomplished by free
inter-colonial interchange.  In the meanwhile the Liberals seem to have
only, to fight about the constitution of the present Government—their
chief complaint being that the Liberal element in it is not sufficiently
strong.

Zeno tells us that a man has two ears and one mouth, that he may say
little and hear much.  Australian M.P.’s are quite of a different way of
thinking.  Of the late Victorian Parliament, a critic in _The Melbourne
Argus_ writes that during its existence ‘the worst elements in the
Assembly have had sway instead of the better.’  Of all methods of
blocking business, none is so plausible as that of moving the adjournment
of the House.  In nine cases out of ten, a review says, such motions
result in a mere waste of time.  Another nuisance is the habit of
speaking often and long, as every member is entitled to speak once on
every question before the House, and as often as he likes when in
Committee.  This kind of obstruction is raised into an art, and is called
‘stonewalling.’  As to indecent language, I find one M.P. calling a judge
of a neighbouring colony ‘a ruffian and a scoundrel, and a bloody-minded
man,’ referring to the Chief Secretary as being ‘as ignorant as a pig on
the subject,’ and, in short, acting as much like an Irish patriotic M.P.
at home as was possible.  Again, I found a gentleman who was afflicted
with heart disease, and whom nothing but a sense of duty kept at his
post, is referred to by an honourable M.P. as follows: ‘But nobody takes
any notice of a dying man.  He is going to be wafted aloft.’  Again, a
Mr. Jones, referring to a Mr. Reid, said: ‘The Hon. Member for Fitzroy
with his cavernous mouth could laugh louder than the rest of the
Assembly.  That cavernous mouth of his was the only thing the hon. member
had to connect him with other people.  He had a mouth to laugh at a joke,
but no brains to originate one.’  Again, another M.P. spoke of Sir Graham
Berry as ‘that miserable old counterfeit, that white-haired political
rogue, that bandy-legged old schemer.’  After this it is not surprising
to read how the same orator, in the course of a scene which occurred on
his being called to order, spoke of a fellow M.P. as one who had tried to
diddle a barmaid out of threepence!  It really seems as if Parliamentary
institutions had become effete.  In New South Wales the Dibbs Ministry
has already been hurled from office.  I have seen alike its rise and
fall, and it is evident that at Sydney, as in Melbourne, the
obstructionists will be strong enough, not to do any good themselves, but
to interfere with anyone wishing to achieve any good for the colony
whatever.

The Trades Political Platform made its appearance at Melbourne when I was
there.  It consists of fifteen planks, the chief of which are the
maintenance and extension of protection to local industries, the
extension of the same principle to the farming and grazing industry by an
adequate increase in the duty on imported cereals and stock, the
representation of labour on public boards and the commission of the
peace, an Eight Hours Legislation Bill (in Victoria the shops are closed
at an early hour by Act of Parliament), the abolition of plural voting,
the introduction of a Bill to prevent criminal and pauper labour in the
community—rather hard this, in a colony where the pauper desires to work,
and, able-bodied as many of her paupers are, is really qualified for
labour—the extension of the franchise to seamen.  Women voters are
favoured by the Liberals, though there is a good deal to be said on the
other side of the question.  As it is, the women do interfere.  For
instance, amongst the Melbourne candidates is a gentleman who has
unfortunately acquired an undesirable reputation.  The ladies have met,
and resolved that he is not a fit and proper person to represent a
respectable constituency.  The gentleman in question sneers at the
meeting as a hole-and-corner one, but I find several ministers of
religion took part in it.  Indeed, I think all denominations were
represented with the exception of the clergy of the Church of England,
who are as little inclined to co-operate with other bodies out here as
they are at home.  As a further indication of the political opinion
forming in the Australian colonies, I note that many of the candidates
for Parliamentary election are in favour of a tax on absentees, which,
however, is but a small matter after all, as there is a growing tendency
on the part of wealthy colonists to remain out here rather than settle in
the old country.  I question whether in the colonies there is much chance
of the ‘One man one vote’ being carried.  It finds no favour in the
Second Chamber, to which here, as at home, many sober people look as the
bulwark of constitutional freedom.  The worst thing I know about
Melbourne is its gambling.  _The Melbourne Daily Telegraph_, writing of
the last grand race—the race which the ladies make the occasion of the
display of all that is novel or charming in toilettes, estimates the bets
made with the bookmakers between Derby Day and Steeplechase Day as
amounting to £700,000, and calculates that ‘the stakes, the cost and keep
of the horses, the revenues of the _five hundred racing clubs_ of the
colony, the expenditure of its army of bookmakers, and other forms of
expenditure,’ will bring the racing budget for the year up to £800,000
sterling.  We in England are bad enough in this respect I admit, but
there is no reason whatever why Australia should follow a bad example.



CHAPTER V.
A LITTLE ABOUT NEW SOUTH WALES.


Sunny Sydney—Public Buildings—Educational Establishments—Sanitary
State—Its Climate—Bathurst—The Blue Mountains—Romish Aggression—Botany
Bay—Old Days—A Wonderful Change—New South Wales Scenery.

IF you feel disposed to have a look at Sydney, respected reader, do not
go there when an election is on.  Last night, till eleven, the street in
which I have found a temporary residence was filled with an excited
crowd, hooting and cheering, as from time to time great placards were
posted up as to the result of the day’s elections.  Wherever I have been,
the talk has been of Free Trade or Protection.  The farmers want
Protection; the towns are averse to it.  High railway charges deprive the
farmer of his Sydney market, and he is undersold by the foreigner.  The
Free Traders are obliged to hedge to satisfy the workman.  He can’t stand
the Chinese, and more than one Free Trade candidate has had to promise to
vote for prohibitory duties on articles of Chinese manufacture.  Another
one declared that he was against Protection, but would be quite ready to
tax foreign goods for fiscal purposes—that is, for protection for the New
South Wales manufacturer.  The Free Traders have won, but they will go to
Parliament with diminished force.  There is a good deal of nonsense
talked here as well as in England.  One M.P. complained recently ‘about
the absence of his name _appearing_ in the Sydney morning papers.’  Said
another, as he banged the balcony bar with his fist, ‘Don’t you think,
gentlemen, that there was some grave _misapprehension_ of the public
money during the time that the Parkes party was in power.’  Another had
the hardihood to venture on the use of a French term, as he dilated on
what he called ‘the scandalis doin’s of the Parkes _rejamey_.’  But a
certain candidate who shall be nameless heads the list (or, as they say
out here, the ‘bunch’) of blundering orators when he remarked that ‘If
the days of miracles were as common as in the days of Ananias, they might
expect to see three of the finest pillars of salt that ever were on
view.’  One lesson we may learn—that is, the advantage of having the
elections all over on the same day, and that is how it is done in
Victoria.  Here the struggle continues for three weeks, and a good deal
of bad feeling is engendered in consequence.

In spite of the dust and the heat—to change my theme—there is much to
admire in Sydney, and I have had a fine look at the town from the lofty
tower of the new Post Office, a tower some 260 feet above the level of
George Street, where it stands.  Afar off are the Heads, into which the
great steamers come and go.  At your feet lies the city, with its fine
public buildings, all of yellow sandstone; its narrow streets, its busy
crowds.  Far as the eye can reach in every direction spread pretty
suburbs, and there the foliage begins to mingle with the gray roofs and
white chimneys of the suburban houses, and you realize the fact how great
is the population outside the city itself.  The harbour is a thing of
beauty and a joy for ever; how Cook could have missed it seems a mystery.
Over that harbour the fine river steamers—of American fashion, far
superior to anything we have on the Thames—ferry backwards and forwards
all day long.  On a Saturday it is alive with yachts—little
cockle-shells, with two great sails, that soon upset.  I saw one capsize
in a sudden squall as I was crossing to Manly Beach—the Brighton of
Sydney, as they call it here, but it is no more like our Brighton than a
rustic maiden resembles a society beauty.  All along the harbour are
fairy villas, green foliage, miniature bays, rivers, and all that can
give life and warmth to the landscape in the shape of holiday-makers.
That harbour, with its Botanical Gardens on one side, alone would
compensate for a good deal, and reconcile one even to the crowds of
Sydney who fill up the streets at night and prevent all enjoyment.
Sunday is quite a relief.  It is a day of rest indeed, far more so than
in England.  In the morning, instead of going to the noble cathedral, I
turned into the Congregational Church in Pitt Street, but the minister
was away, and so I fancy were his people, as the place was but half full;
but I am told on a Sunday night there is a very fine congregation.  Four
or five hundred young men were met in the fine building known as the
Y.M.C.A., where they listened with much interest to the address delivered
by the Secretary, Mr. Walker, and at a temperance hall near there was a
service fairly attended; while close by, the New Church were meeting for
public worship.  In the evening there was a good deal of open-air
preaching.  In one quarter I heard so much from a young man about the
‘’oly hangels’ that I was compelled to retreat.  Christian effort is not
out of place anywhere in Australia, and apparently in Sydney least of
all.  The churches have quite as much to contend against there as at
home.  Crime and pauperism and vice, strange as it may seem, are quite as
plentiful in this land of gold and milk and honey as at home.  Alas! you
may change the climate, but the man remains the same.

One of the blots of Sydney is the street tramcar, drawn by a snorting
engine, which makes night and day hideous.  As a nuisance and a means of
getting rid of the surplus population it seems an admirable contrivance.
The cabs are not bad, and the drivers quite as civil as those at home,
which, however, is not saying much; but the omnibuses are very old and
shaky, and at times the noise they make is so great that conversation is
quite out of the question.  The Chinese are everywhere, and when they are
driven away it is hard to see how the townspeople will get their fruit or
their vegetables—as the Anglo-Saxons, whether native or Australian, seem
to hold gardening in contempt, whereas the heathen Chinee will get hold
of a bit of waste land which no one would ever think of tilling, and
straightway it rejoices and blossoms as the rose.  Many of them are
tradesmen, and have shops in the best streets in the place.  For
cabinet-making of all kinds they have quite a talent, but they have few
friends, although, as a tradesman in Sydney remarked to me, ‘They are a
good deal better than the people who find fault with them.’

Sydney, like Melbourne and Adelaide, rejoices in a university based on
the model of University College, London, and established by the State in
1850.  Its buildings are magnificent, and a portion of them are set apart
for the School of Medicine attached.  The prospects of the university are
excellent, and it cannot fail to exert a most beneficial influence on the
future of Australia.  The Australian Museum, which is the oldest
institution of the kind in Australia, occupies a conspicuous site in
Sydney, facing one of the principal parks; it is open on Sundays.  One of
the most popular institutions of the town is the Free Public Library,
which, in 1877, had a lending branch attached to it to meet the wants of
country residents.  The National Art Gallery, established in 1880, is
also open on Sundays.  It contains an excellent collection of paintings
and statuary, comprising some of the most famous works of the best modern
artists of the old world, and includes several very valuable gifts from
private persons.  The extent of streets and lanes within the boundaries
of the city is 105 miles, and they are mostly in good order, many of them
being laid with wood blocks.  Its new Town Hall, opened since I left, is
the finest on the continent.  The great difficulty in Sydney, and all
over New South Wales, seems to be house accommodation.  The poor have a
hard time of it as regards sleeping apartments, and one does not envy the
occupiers of the little corrugated iron-roofed shanties in which, as a
rule, the workman hides his diminished head.  In all our great towns the
artisans have better homes than they have in Sydney and the other
Australian towns.  Then there is the drought to make everything in the
shape of agricultural produce or garden stuff dear, with the exception of
meat, which is about half the price that it is at home.  Eggs are scarce,
milk is fourpence a quart, and, as far as I can learn, other provisions
are very little cheaper than in London.  In sanitary arrangements the
colonies are far behind the old country.  In his retiring address, the
President of the Victorian Branch of the Medical Association, Dr. Rowan,
denounces the ‘infamous’ acts committed by land syndicates, who, in
laying out their townships, acted as if they considered drainage a
prejudice, sunlight a delusion, and ventilation a weakness to be treated
with derision.  If ever, said he, a city rendered itself liable to be
plague-stricken, it was Melbourne.  I don’t know whether a similar remark
applies to Sydney, but I do know that there the rate of infant mortality
is alarmingly high.  In Australia, as in the old country, they have not
yet learned what to do with their sewage.  In Sydney they laid out a
million of money, and then discovered that they had simply poured all
their filth into the harbour; but Sydney has now seen the error of its
ways, and at enormous expense constructed a tunnel many miles long to
take the sewage right away to the sea.  At Melbourne the smell from the
Yarra river is overpowering.  In Adelaide they have solved the
difficulty, and have a sewage farm that pays well; but Adelaide is a
small place when compared with Sydney or Melbourne.  A good deal remains
to be done if the health of the great colonial towns is to be preserved.
Equally important is the water question.  What is wanted are tanks that
shall conserve the rainwater when it falls.  I have ridden miles and
miles and seen great rivers nothing but beds of sand, and creeks, where
the winter torrents flow, nothing but great fissures in the parched
plains, in which the cattle hide themselves from the blazing sun.  New
South Wales can never prosper till it has a proper water supply.  To
provide this should be the first duty of the Government.  I suppose it is
because people make their money quickly that the Government grant so many
holidays.  It is a great nuisance this to merchants and traders.  You
rush off to the bank, and find it shut up, and on the door a notice to
the effect that it is Bank-holiday.  The mass of the people work on all
the same.  A Bank-holiday in no way concerns them, and consequently a
Bank-holiday here has little likeness to the similar function at
home—when all our big cities empty their living crowds to be a wonder and
a terror to all the country round.  The public offices are always being
closed on some pretence or another.  Sometimes it is an agricultural
show, sometimes it is a race; any excuse does.  And the bankers’ clerks,
as regards hours, are much better off than their brethren at home; in all
parts of Australia the banks are closed at three.

It is a fair land, this new Australian continent, and well worthy to be
inhabited by the energetic Anglo-Saxon race.  The whole mountain system
of New South Wales lies below the limit of perpetual snow.  The grandeur
of the scenery is not to be compared with that of the Alps or the Rocky
Mountains.  On the contrary, from the plains, the mountains look rather
insignificant; but once on them, and looking into the gorges below,
clothed with verdure, or on the broad plains far beyond, you are struck
with the magnificent scale on which Nature has worked in these solitudes.
Over all is a mantle of blue haze, which makes the whole effect most
striking, and has given to the range of hills visible from Sydney the
appropriate name of the Blue Mountains.  However, there is nothing
equalling the view you get as you enter Sydney through Port Jackson.  It
is needless to say a word of Sydney harbour.  It holds the first place
amongst the harbours of the world for convenience of entrance, depth of
water, and natural shipping facilities.  The area of water surface of the
harbour proper is 15 square miles, and the shore line is reckoned to
extend 165 miles.  Along it are the homes of many of the well-to-do of
Sydney, which is the metropolis of New South Wales, and the mother city
of the Australians.  The city and its suburbs occupy 100 square miles,
and accommodate about 350,000 people.  I am agreeably disappointed with
Sydney.  Its shops and public buildings and hotels are handsomer, and its
streets broader, than I had anticipated.  I was frightened, I own, by
what Mr. Froude has written about its mosquitoes.  Perhaps mosquitoes do
not like me; I am not sorry.  Coming to Sydney by sea you feel, on the
whole, that Eden cannot be far off.

Nor is the climate so bad as some people fancy.  In Naples, where so many
English go, the summer is warmer and the winter much colder than at
Sydney.  The famed resorts on the Mediterranean seaboard, it is now
confessed, bear no comparison with the Pacific slope of New South Wales,
either for natural salubrity or the comparative mildness of the summer
and winter; while the epidemics and pestilences which have devastated the
regions of ancient civilization have never made their appearance on
Australian shores.  The Hawkesbury formation over which the city of
Sydney is built provides it with an inexhaustive supply of sandstone of
the highest quality for building purposes.  The beauty of Sydney street
architecture owes much to it, as it is a material admirably adapted for
architectural effect, being of a pleasant colour, fine grain, and easily
worked.

Sydney is not only the metropolis, but the chief shipping port of the
colony, its trade being larger than that of any city in the southern
hemisphere.  All the necessary tools and appliances for the repairing of
ships are found in dockyards.  The new graving dock, now being completed
by the Government, will be the largest single dock in the world, and
capable of receiving vessels drawing 32 feet of water.  For natural
facilities for shipping Sydney stands unrivalled.  The water deepens
abruptly from the shores, so that the largest vessels may be berthed
alongside the wharves and quays.  The Sydneyites love their harbour, and
well may they do so, for none fairer is to be found under the sun.  ‘What
do you think of our harbour?’ is the first question asked a stranger.  A
tale is told of the captain of an English man-of-war which was at anchor
here, that he was so tired of the question being constantly put that he
had a blackboard hung over the side of his ship, on which he had chalked
up, with a view to save trouble and prevent further inquiries: ‘We admire
your harbour very much.’

It is a curious fact how little the cry of the ‘three acres and a cow’
seems to affect the people.  They will flock to large towns.  In England
they all go to London.  It is the same in America.  Land is to be had in
abundance, but, nevertheless, the town offers greater inducements than
the country.  In New South Wales, as in Victoria, this is everywhere the
case.  The increase of the population of Sydney during the seventeen
years which closed with 1887 has been 67 per cent., and that of the
suburbs 280 per cent., while that of the country districts amounted to 90
per cent.  As usual in a dense city crowd, there are a good many black
sheep.  A leading police official stated recently that he believed fully
70 per cent. of the inhabitants of the city were directly or indirectly
affected by the gambling clubs that obtained amongst them.
Public-houses, tobacconists’ shops, and clubs were in a vast number of
cases but gambling houses in disguise.  In Sydney there is consequently a
good deal of poverty, and last winter relief works were established for
the benefit of some three thousand unemployed; yet the skilled artisan
gets good wages, and as I write the plasterers are out on strike for an
advance of 1s. per day as wages, the present rate being 10s.—not bad when
one remembers Sydney enjoys free-trade prices, and that there is no
protracted winter to interfere with building operations.  These
unemployed had as rations ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of meat, two
pounds of sugar and a quarter of a pound of tea, with a minimum wage of
3s. per day, and that day, it must be remembered, is but eight hours’
work.  The result of this kindness was that Sydney, as long as the work
lasted, was filled with idle loafers and vagabonds from all the country
round.  Charity seems to do a deal of mischief abroad as well as at home.

Of the original inhabitants of the country you see few traces, either in
New South Wales or in Victoria.  It is in Queensland and South Australia
that they most abound.  They have been badly treated by the whites, and
in many cases they took a horrible revenge.  They now give little
trouble, and work peacefully for their former enemies.  Amongst their
good qualities are a love of religious mystery, a stoical contempt for
pain, and a deep reverence for their departed friends and ancestors.  The
only unpleasant characteristic of the present inhabitants of New South
Wales is the broad line of demarcation between Churchmen and Dissenters.
Often the Church of England man in the colonies looks upon all Dissenters
with aversion.  The other day I heard of a little girl who was forbidden
to play with the intelligent and pretty daughter of a wealthy colonist on
the plea that she was a Dissenter, and consequently not a fitting
associate for the daughter of a Church of England lady.  Let me give
another illustration.  I have just heard of a clergyman who told a mother
that it would be better to have her child baptized by a Roman priest than
by a Dissenting minister!

I am staying in a gentleman’s house.  No sooner had the _Orizaba_ dropped
anchor than it was boarded by a gentleman, who kindly took me off, and
away to the railway station, and personally conducted me over the Blue
Mountains by the celebrated Zigzag Railway, which deserves all that can
be said in its favour.  It is a wonderful achievement in the way of
engineering, as it climbs the Blue Mountains, that favourite health
resort of Sydney, on one side, and descends on the other.  In one place
you catch sight of the track three times; you see the line you have left,
you see that on which you travel, and you see, lower down, that on which,
in another moment, you will be travelling.  It is wonderful, but not
quite up to the trip over the Alleghanies, and I enjoyed it, though the
heat was great, and the rocks and valleys seemed as much burnt up as
those of Aden itself.

In due time we reached Bathurst, where I was met by a joyous party of
youngsters, who bundled me into a carriage drawn by a couple of handsome
horses, and in a little while I found myself seated in the charming
country residence of the Hon. E. Webb, a member of the Upper House, who
came from Saltash, and who has certainly gained here both fame and
fortune.  Bathurst, I take it, may be considered a fair specimen of an
Australian county town, and the Bathurst people are certainly more
devoted to its welfare than are people at home to that of the localities
in which they reside.  The place is laid out with an eye to the future,
and the streets are a great deal broader than our Portland Place.  The
houses and shops are rather mixed, some of them being built of brick,
lofty and commodious, while others are wooden shanties which would not be
tolerated at home.  The public buildings are fine.  The town is governed
by a mayor and corporation.  It has a very handsome court-house, a
magnificent hospital, which is not in debt, and has—how unlike our
English ones!—£3,000 to its credit in the treasurer’s hands.  Its
churches of all kinds are good; and even the little churches in which the
Baptists and Independents meet are clean and comfortable.  Out here one
would have thought the Baptists and Independents might have worshipped
together; but no, they must meet in separate bodies, as at home.  The
Presbyterians have a fine church, which must have cost a good deal of
money, but when I looked in on Sunday evening the worshippers were a mere
handful.  Surely some of these churches might unite, and be all the
stronger for so doing.

The only drawback here is the heat, which does terrible mischief.  We are
2,000 feet above the level of the sea, and the people call it cool
because the thermometer is something under a hundred in the shade.  The
clouds come up, but they bring no rain.  At night we have a cool breeze,
but, unfortunately, just as one feels comfortable, and that life is worth
living, everyone goes to bed.  Soon after my arrival I had a country
drive.  There had been a bush fire, and my host sent me and one of his
nephews to see what amount of mischief had been done.  Away we dashed
merrily, drawn by a pair of young horses that scarcely turned a hair,
along the sandy road, over the rolling downs.  Leaving Bathurst behind,
we were soon in what in England we should call a waste, howling
wilderness, and yet a few days of rain would make all that plain a
monster park, where the sheep could graze, and everyone would rejoice.
For miles we saw no living thing, and no sign of civilization save the
fences—of rails, very high, as the cattle have a bad habit of jumping
them.  We met a young lady riding into Bathurst, holding the horse’s
reins in one hand and her parasol in the other, a waggon drawn by ten
oxen coming into the town with wood, and a cart or two—that was all.  We
passed over a fine bridge, but the bed of the river was dry.  Far ahead
of us was a cloud of smoke from a bush-fire, a calamity of constant
occurrence in such warm weather.  Soon we were in a forest ourselves,
ghastly with the withered grass and the stumps of old trees not yet
decayed, with the white trunks and grotesque branches twisted in all
directions, but leafless, and gum-trees that are ring-barked—the common
mode of destroying trees in this part of the country.  Now and then I saw
an unfortunate cow, vainly seeking green grass, or cool water, or the
grateful shade, and half-starved all the while; or a hare, as big again
as that of England, and breeding much more rapidly in this precocious
clime.  Presently a couple of magpies passed us, and they are much larger
than at home.  But life of any kind is rare, and we got on to the
hillside where the fire had been, and saw everything black and charred,
trees fallen down, fences only a black line of charcoal.  One could fancy
that everything living had fallen a prey to the devouring flame.  Up in
the bush, on a hill on our left, there were kangaroos, but they
unfortunately did not put in an appearance; and if I saw three emus in
the course of my ride, candour compels me to own that they were tame, in
a gentleman’s grounds, and not in their native state.  The great pests of
this part of the world are the flies.  I don’t mind them on the table, if
they do make the white sugar apparently a heap of black, or if they do
darken the snow-white tablecloth; it is only when they proceed to attack
the company around that I think they carry their jokes too far.  They are
a special torment to the bald-headed, but they disdain not the fairest of
the fair.  The New South Wales flies are smaller than those of the mother
country, and twice as mischievous.  To them there is nothing sacred; and
as to the forty winks grateful to many of us after luncheon or dinner,
they are quite out of the question.

The English fruit-grower complains of the wet and cold, the Australian of
the heat and drought.  The Ex-Mayor of Sydney tells me he has lost
£10,000 worth of sheep this season in consequence of the heat; and the
charming daughter of my host, who resides with her husband at a station a
hundred and fifty miles further north—and in Australia the further you go
north the hotter it becomes—has been driven away from her husband, and
has to come here with her children because they have no water nearer than
eight miles.  As I write I see the signs of a water famine everywhere, in
the dusty road, in the parched fields, in the distant hills far away.
The only exception is the garden, consisting of many acres beautifully
laid out and well shaded with trees of all kinds.  Mr. Webb, my host, has
a tank which conveys the water everywhere, and even the lawn-tennis
ground beyond, to which the young men and maidens seem as devoted as they
are at home, abounds with verdure.  The mansion, for such it is, rises
out of a garden of roses and dahlias, and luxurious flowers, blooming and
bright to look on; while behind are apple and plum and pear and greengage
and mulberry trees laden with luscious fruit to any amount.  Some of the
flowers, the stocks, for instance, take far brighter colours than they do
at home; the greengages, too, are finer than ours, owing to the same
reason—the abundance of sun, a sun which makes the Australian hornet,
with its blue gauze wings, as black as a coal-heaver.

As to the servants in this house, I dare not say what wages they are
getting.  All I know is, that if I were a lady-help, or even a servant of
all-work, it would not be long ere I booked my passage for New South
Wales.  The coachman has a hundred a year and his house, and the gardener
not much less.  It is needless to add that I find it good to be here: it
is hard that I must take up my bed and walk.  Here no iron horse screams
as he urges on his wild career, no noisy screw perpetually churns up the
troubled sea; I hear no hoarse watchman, as the hour strikes, proclaiming
in the midnight air, ‘All’s well’: here no newsboy makes the land hideous
with his noise, nor does the gin-drinking tramp interfere with my
peaceful digestion.  Most weary seems the sea—

      ‘Weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of foam.’

Yes, like the mild-eyed, melancholy Lotos Eaters, I feel it is sweet to
sit me down upon the yellow sand and

      ‘Dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave.’

But I am back in Sydney, and seek to study its ways.  We hold the Church
of Rome, in all ages and in all countries, to be the foe of freedom,
civil and religious, the great obstacle in the way of progress, and the
worst enemy of God and man; it is but natural that its growth in New
South Wales and all Australia gives one alarm.  It fights with an immense
advantage over its opponents by reason of its wealth, its effective
organization, and its Irish allies, who are banded together for its
support in every colony, and, I may add, in every land.  The only priest
I have as yet met with was a model of good-temper and good-humour, and
had an enormous advantage in every way over his ritualistic ally, who
does his work unconsciously, and burns his fingers by pulling the
chestnuts out of the fire for him.  In New South Wales it is understood
that the Romanists are discontented with the existing Education Act,
which is undenominational, and they have supported the Protectionists,
not out of love for them, but with the hope to get some of the public
money for their schools, or, at any rate, modifications, in the school
system which may be favourable to themselves.  As it is, they do not fare
badly.  The other day it was discovered that a school teacher had, in
spite of his duty to be neutral, gone out of his way to teach Romanist
doctrines to his pupils.  A fuss was made about it, but he was only
removed to another school, that was all.  Again, at a place called
Waratah, it has been decided that there shall be no intramural burials.
The principal of the monastery there writes to the Municipal Council for
the privilege to bury members of the monastery in their own grounds.  The
Council are divided, and the Mayor gives the casting vote in favour of
the monastery, that is, in favour of breaking the laws of his borough.
Now, it is very evident that if any Protestant parson, any Baptist or
Wesleyan or Presbyterian, had pleaded for anything of the kind, that is,
for power to break the sanitary laws of the borough, and to have a
private burying-ground of their own, they would have pleaded in vain.  In
Victoria, four or five years ago, there was such an uprising that there
has since been no Catholic party in the House of any size whatever.  It
is well to note here that in the eyes of the State, all over Australia,
religions are on an equality.  Under Sir Richard Bourke all religions
received State aid; but in 1862 this was put a stop to, and all that the
State now does is to pension off the survivors under the old _régime_.
In this way last year, in New South Wales, was divided between the Church
of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterians and the
Methodists, about £10,000, the Church of England, as was to be expected,
taking the lion’s share.  When the sparseness of the population is
considered, the church attendance will appear very large; and, though
apparently less than found in the colony of Victoria, it is,
proportionately, much larger than in England.  In the Bush, the Church of
England parsons seem to be somewhat remiss in the performance of their
duties.  A lady residing in the interior tells me that she went to the
Church of England preaching station frequently, but the parson never
turned up, and she had to return unblessed.

Yesterday I took the tramcar—a Government institution, by-the-bye—and had
a look at Botany Bay, a place of many evil memories, and whose
associations reach very far, even now that it has no terrors for the
criminal or reprobate.  In reality, Botany Bay was not the penal
settlement; that was at Sydney; but the popular mind believed all the
convicts were sent to Botany Bay, and hence my use of the term.  In a
recently published correspondence, a distinguished Victorian judge
asserts: ‘An uneasy and uninformed feeling of suspicious dislike of
England and her Government, which is not without a justifying cause,
undoubtedly exists, and is growing, in these communities.  Its extent is
not ascertainable, but it may safely be affirmed that it will depend
largely upon the relations which yet remain to be acknowledged and to be
established between the Imperial and Colonial Governments of her Majesty
in the immediate future, whether this feeling will not soon expand among
native Australians into one of profound and general alienation.’  I think
the judge is right, and that this feeling is growing stronger, finding
expression, not in the old-established papers of the colony, such as _The
Melbourne Argus_ or _The Sydney Morning Herald_, papers of great wealth
and influence, but among their younger and less fortunate rivals.  ‘It
was England,’ writes one of them, ‘that first seamed the white shoulder
of Australia with the livid mark of the lash.  It is the people who
wielded that instrument of degradation, and their descendants, who wish
to draw the bonds of Empire closer to-day.  The Imperial connection is,
therefore, a shameful one.’  Poor Captain Cook had a good deal to answer
for when, in an evil moment, he first dropped his anchor in Botany Bay.
It was quite a mistake to send out our criminals there; they should have
been allowed, says young Australia, to die of gaol-fever at home.  But,
says young Australia, England in her wickedness did more—it colonized a
continent where the English spirit of the time was to be perpetuated by
the transmitted influence of the gaolers of these convicts long after a
new Liberalism had entered into British politics, and long after the
narrow spirit of a hundred years ago, with convictism itself, had passed
away.  The contention of a growing class in Australia is that the
enduring effect of the convict system on the public spirit of the older
Australian colonies is traceable, not so much to the convicts themselves,
as to their gaolers.  These are the mercenary wretches to be gibbeted for
the scorn of every honest man.  These are the gods whom the Australians
ignorantly worship, whose spirit is still strong to deprive the
horny-handed of his rights; who were the founders of the vile system
which actually gives property an influence in making laws, and in
determining the political character of the country; men who made colossal
fortunes by the illegitimate sale of rum.  The chief constable of Sydney
had actually a license to sell rum; and, as Dr. Laing puts it, ‘the chief
gaoler, though not exactly permitted to convert the gaol into a grog
shop, had a licensed house in which he sold rum publicly on his own
behalf right opposite the gaol door.’  The convicts, it is admitted, for
the sake of argument, were some of them bad; but as to their gaolers—the
gallant men of the New South Wales Corps, for instance—they were all
rascals; and they were the founders of Australia, and their spirit lives
and dominates in the political institutions of the country to this day.
It seems to me that this is a foul libel on the country, though it is the
indictment put forth by an Australian writer in an Australian newspaper.
Australians are not much given to the study of history, and perhaps it is
well.  History is of little avail when it is treated in this way.
Australia was not all Botany Bay, and its leaders are men whose fathers,
by their character and enterprise and industry, distinguished themselves
in the fair land to which they had come penetrated with English ideas,
with English habits, with the English Bible, with Milton, and
Shakespeare, and Burns; and it is to them, rather than to Botany Bay,
that Australia owes its greatness and its power, its present flourishing
state, its capabilities—when its mines are developed, when its vast
continent has been opened up by settlement, and a general system of
irrigation—of a greater future.  It is true, I read in some of the weekly
papers, that Australia is tyrannized over by wealthy imbeciles, while the
high-souled horny-handed is left out in the cold; that the present state
of things is infamous, and must be put an end to.  So far as I can see,
the horny-handed is master of the situation.  I admit that he is not a
bad fellow.  I wish that he were a little more civil, a little more
patriotic, and that his women-folk were not so egregiously over-dressed.
For his own sake, also, I own that I wish his better-half knew how to
cook a steak and boil a potato.  What I maintain—and what his admirers
will not admit—is that the capitalist, the successful working-man, who
has improved himself out of his original poverty, who has acquired
wealth, and all the good it brings with it, is at any rate his equal.  To
talk of the taint of Botany Bay is the silliest of bunkum in the world.
There is no trace of it now.  Young Australia knows nothing of
transportation.  In Australia you face a new world, a world as new to the
writers filled with tales of the horrors of transportation and gaoler
officialism, and the cringing subservience which it engendered, as was
Botany Bay to Captain Cook, whose monument I see placed in the park
opposite the Sydney Museum.  It could not but be so, when the gold
discoveries overran the country with a population at the rate of 90,000
arrivals in a year—a mixed population if you like, but mostly free, and
many of them as manly a set of fellows as any to be met with anywhere.
It is an ill bird that defiles its own nest, and the Australian who
endeavours to make political capital by dwelling on the blunders of the
old country in its efforts to colonize, and thereby creates an
antagonistic feeling to England, does injustice alike to his own colony
and the Fatherland.

But, after all, I have said little of Botany Bay itself, which remains
much the same in its natural features as when Cook landed there a century
ago.  The tramway plants you on the shore—all white sand and dead
seaweed.  Afar you see the narrow entrance into the Pacific, along which
Cook cautiously steered his ship, and opposite, on the wooded shore on
the other side, is a small black monument to denote where the great
circumnavigator landed.  It is a peaceful spot: woods are all round, the
jerry-builder has neglected the spot altogether, and the Sydneyite comes
here, with his wife and family, for an occasional mouthful of sea air.
On one side of you is a pier, and in another spot I see an intimation
that boats are to be had for hire, but no boat disturbs the tranquil bay
as I wander alone by the sad sea-shore.  To me, meditating, there comes a
vision of the old world, when George III. was living.  I see the black
man watching sullenly the new arrivals, frightened by neither their
appearance nor their bullets—which they fire just to awaken the native,
who returns a shower of arrows.  It is curious how the black has
disappeared, how firmly the white man has planted himself in his seat,
and with what bitterness he has come to regard as an interloper the
heathen Chinee—who seems to muster pretty strongly in the busy,
half-built territory that stretches from the bay to the capital.  As I
get into the train I am sandwiched between two celestials, so I dream
visions.  Is the world for the future to be given up to the Mongolian?
Is the Caucasian played out?  Not exactly, I fancy; at any rate, as far
as Australia is concerned.

In South Wales nothing is more remarkable than the elevation—social,
political, and religious—of the people, within little more than a single
generation.  In 1845 Dr. Darwin published his last edition of ‘The Voyage
of the _Beagle_.’  In the course of his voyage he landed at Sydney, and
writes: ‘On the whole, from what I have heard more than from what I saw,
I was disappointed with the state of society.  The whole community is
rancorously divided into parties on almost every subject.  Among those
who from their station in life ought to be the best, many live in such
open profligacy that respectable people cannot live with them.  There is
much jealousy between the children of the rich emancipist and the free
settlers, the former being pleased to consider honest men as
interlopers.’  Darwin also refers to the mischief done to the children by
the degraded class of servants by whom they are surrounded.  In the New
South Wales of to-day, not only do you see nothing of this, but quite the
reverse.  It forms the grandest illustration the world has yet seen of
the tendency of human society to elevate and reform itself.

I would also say something of the country.  New South Wales is not
dependent solely on its harbour nor its Blue Mountains for beauty.  I
heard everywhere much of the beauty of the Hunter River district, and the
richness of its soil, but I regret I was unable to visit it.  I did go,
however, to the Hawkesbury River, not a long ride by rail from Sydney—the
Rhine of New South Wales, as Mr. Trollope terms it.  It is not the Rhine,
no more than is the Hudson River of New York.  Both are charming rivers
for a day’s outing, but they are not the Rhine with its old castles, its
vine-clad hills, its legendary lore.  There is but one Rhine in the
world, as there is but one Thames.  However, on the Hawkesbury you have
lovely scenery, tranquil waters, wooded hills, a beauteous solitude, an
air of repose, which make one realize how divine is Nature and all her
works.  It was good to be there.  It was with regret that I tore myself
away.



CHAPTER VI.
AMONGST THE BANANA BOYS.


Collision in Sydney Harbour—Brisbane—The Banana Boys—Sir Samuel Griffith.

‘IT is too hot for any Englishman to go to Sydney in January and
February,’ said a gentleman to me on board the _Orizaba_—but I went.  At
Sydney everyone said it was too hot to think of going to Brisbane—but I
went; and in either case I should have missed a great deal of pleasure
had I stayed away.  The misfortune was that I went by the _Warrago_ to
Brisbane, a favourite boat, and the crowd was so great I had to sleep in
the dining-saloon; but the trip was enjoyable.  In the first place, to
start with, we had a real collision at sea, and I had time to calculate
what my chances were of ever seeing my native land again as I watched
with not a little interest the attacking vessel steering steadily for our
steamer’s side.  Fortunately she got the worst of it, as her foresail and
bowsprit came tumbling down, and we made our way out in safety.  I don’t
think anyone was to blame.  The fact was, just as we were starting a
Melbourne ship, the _Barcoo_, was leaving the wharf.  Between us was an
unhappy schooner laden with coal, and her choice lay simply between
Scylla and Charybdis.  The former she cleared; the latter she ran into.
Methinks I heard her infuriated captain, as he looked athwart his damaged
barque, scream out something disrespectful concerning land-lubbers.  Our
gallant captain, however, in a conversation with me on the subject,
explained that the other party was entirely in the wrong.  Be that as it
may, it seemed to me rather hard that the only occasion on which, as he
told me, he ever met with an accident should have been when I was on
board.

Our trip was vastly agreeable, as we saw a good deal of the Australian
coast under very favourable circumstances, the sea being calm and the
skies bright.  In about thirty-six hours we had reached the mouth of
Moreton Bay, a fine sheet of water, with the conical hills on our right
which Cook called ‘the Glass Houses,’ and then by a narrow channel we
made our way into the river on which Brisbane stands, and which bears its
name.  When the tide is up the Brisbane river is almost as romantic as
our lovely Dart, and a good deal more so than our far-famed Orwell.  Only
think of mangroves growing right up from the water for miles, of banks
where the bananas ripen, and where you can pluck juicy mangoes from the
stalk (on the top of the banks I saw the graceful bamboo), where strange
flowers bloomed and strange birds shrieked (the native Australian bird
never sings), where the pineapple (they were selling them at Brisbane at
a penny each) grows in the open, and where actually I saw for the first
time the sugarcane reared in the field, and felt as Alice must have felt
in Wonderland.

Queensland, the youngest, promises to be the most flourishing of the
colonies.  It was not till 1859 that it was known to the world as
Queensland; up to that time it had formed a portion of New South Wales.
Queensland is still open to emigrants, and its Government lends a helping
hand, unlike the other colonies, to emigrants of the right sort.  On the
Darling plains they can live in comfort, but, alas! they cannot all
expect to settle there.  It is in the north that the most astonishing
progress has been within the last quarter of a century, and alas! the
north is hot—hotter than the average Englishman can stand.  Mining and
sugar-growing are the leading industries of the north.  In many instances
the former has proved the primary factor in the opening of new territory,
and in the extension of trade to ports in the higher latitudes.  Notable
instances of this may be seen to-day in the townships of Cooktown and
Cairns, which owe their origin entirely to the goldfields of the Palmer
and Hodgkinson.  In the case of the latter, the discovery of the
extremely fruitful nature of the soil has induced settlement, and
agriculture is looked upon as one of the principal means of ensuring a
thriving future.  Brisbane is not as remarkable as either Melbourne or
Sydney.  To begin with, it has only a population of some 74,000, though
it is the capital of 668,224 square miles.  They can grow everything,
apparently, and find everything, for its mineral treasures are beyond
conception.  It is Queensland that owns the great Morgan Mine which just
now has turned everybody’s head; but in no part of Australia have I seen
so much that tells of growth and progress.  All over the place they are
pulling down the old shanties and erecting fine buildings in their stead,
of stone white as marble.  Outside, the suburbs are pretty, and land is
cheap at £1,500 an acre.  The Houses of Parliament are stately.  The
Governor has a handsome residence, and the public gardens are extensive
and form an agreeable promenade, before the too hot sun rises, along the
river’s bank.  Afar, forming a landmark, as it were, is an enormous white
building, known as All Hallows Convent.  I was more interested in the
Reformatory, on our left, where, unlike our own, the lads are reformed,
not returned to society harder and wickeder than ever.  The streets are
fairly wide, and some of the shops are handsome.  It is a busy place.
The town is full of hotels, and, led by the lust of gold, people ever
come and go.

‘We are Banana boys,’ said a young Queenslander to me as we steamed up
the river, looking over at the muddy sediment they call whales’ spawn.
‘We have some smart men among us.  Look,’ said he, ‘there is one,’ as he
pointed to a tall, light-haired gentleman in gray clothes and soft felt
hat—something of the figure of Sir Fowell Buxton.  Happily I had no need
to have pointed out to me Sir Samuel Griffith, late Premier of Queensland
and the head of its Bar.  I had introduced myself to him soon after we
left Sydney, and never did I meet with a more friendly acquaintance.
Naturally, at first he seemed, as he viewed me through his eyeglass, a
little suspicious, as are most Colonials, and as they are bound to be
when you remember the tales they have to hear, and the doubtful
characters who force themselves on their notice.  But as we chatted away
his reserve relaxed, and he became the charming companion, ready to
describe all the country round, and to show me all the kindness in his
power.  As we stood on the deck he pointed to a handsome white
brick-built bungalow rising out of a fine extent of lawn and garden,
overlooking the river, with which it was connected.  ‘That is my house,’
said he, at the same time inviting me to dine there that night—an offer
which, it is needless to say, I gladly accepted.  In due time I reached
Merthyr, as Sir Samuel names his residence, from the place in old Wales
where he was born, and where, on his recent visit home, he was received
with a cordiality such as gallant little Wales only extends once in a way
to her most distinguished sons.  He, the poor Dissenting minister’s son,
then the Premier of Queensland, and still the greatest man in the
colony—for I never knew a fallen statesman so beloved—was the guest at
Cyfartha Castle.  I know not why he has gone out of office, but I think
the cause is not far to seek.  Queensland is split up into two separate
camps—the North, who want coloured labour to work on the sugar
plantations, a work for which no white man is fit; and the South, who say
the black labour of the North is really slavery, and who object to it in
every form.  To the pretensions of the North Sir Samuel has ever been
sternly opposed; and then he had held office five years—and democracies
are always fickle.  So Sir Samuel is now the leader of Her Majesty’s
Opposition, and is as much respected and as strong almost as ever.  There
is an air of refinement about him which tells even with the Banana boys,
who look as brown and burnt up as it is possible for men to be.  They
seem determined men, with felt hats of every shape and colour, with hands
that seem never to have known the mysteries of soap and water—men who
have done yeomen’s work at the diggings, or on the sheep farm—and give
you a shake which reminds one strongly of the ‘horny-handed.’  Ah, they
told me some strange tales of the blacks in the little smoke-room of the
steamer by which we returned, and would have told me more had it not come
on to blow so hard that we were all compelled to go to bed.  They all
rejected Sir Samuel’s policy, as an injury to the North, but they all
loved the man, of whom we shall, I doubt not, soon hear again.  He is
young, as men go—almost too young, you would think, for the power he has
grasped.  I do not blame him that he resolved to fight out his battle in
Queensland rather than return to England to take Henry Richard’s place as
M.P. for Merthyr, as he was invited to do.  In this respect the father
resembles the son.  Brisbane is his home.  He has reached the term of
three score years and ten, and he now holds the pulpit of the
Congregationalist chapel at Brisbane till the people have appointed his
successor.  The day before I reached Brisbane there had been a meeting of
his friends to do him honour, and the old man was well pleased at it, as
I found from a short talk with him in his pleasant home, not far from his
son’s ampler residence.  The ex-Premier is not a man to be idle.  He has
faced the problem of the day—the perpetual struggle between want and
wealth—and has something to say on the matter.  Hardly a care seemed to
cloud his brow, hardly a wish to be left unsatisfied.  He seemed to me
alike sound in head and heart, as we sat smoking under the veranda of his
handsome bungalow, under the Southern Cross, with the river running at
our feet, with the cry of want and woe silent, with the sound of the
distant city hushed, while the moonlight, stealing over the scene, had
blended with the lights of eve.



CHAPTER VII.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


Holy Adelaide—Its Situation—Its Public Buildings—Its Mining-market—Dr.
Arnold—Australian Plagues: Fleas and Mosquitoes and Serpents—Sunday
Observance—The Macleay Mission—Number of Churches.

WHY Adelaide, from which I now write, can claim to be called ‘the Holy,’
is one of these things no ‘fellah’ can understand.  It may be because it
is near Paradise, to which, I see, there is a daily service of trains,
but which I have not yet visited, partly because I have a conviction that
it is a place for which I am not yet ripe, and partly because at present
my time is better occupied.  Through the kindness of Chief Justice Way,
the Acting-Governor of South Australia _pro tem._, I am an honorary
member of the Adelaide Club, and what with the English magazines and
newspapers—long denied me—and the members of the club to talk to, I am
perfectly contented to forego the joys of Paradise awhile.  Chief Justice
Way deserves a chapter to himself as the Mecænas of South Australia—the
best of good company, as a host unsurpassed.  It is said that he would
have been Sir Samuel had he been a Churchman; but one can scarce believe
that, in a land where religions are equal.  Adelaide is a beautiful city,
laid out with broad streets and public parks to the best advantage.  It
seemed to me, as I landed from the _Austral_ and took the train at the
end of the pier in Largs Bay, that I had got into as stale and sandy a
bit of country as ever I saw in my life.  However, appearances improved
as I passed through the busy port and entered the city, which I like
better the more I see of it.  As you may imagine by the name, the place
is of recent origin.  It was founded in 1834, and in 1836 it became the
residence of a governor, and then the site of the present city was fixed
on.  ‘It is situated,’ wrote one of the officials, ‘on gently rising
ground on both banks of a pretty stream, reaching down to the sea, over
which south-west breezes blow nine months out of the twelve with
invigorating freshness.  At the back is a beautifully-wooded country,
which extends for about six miles, to the first range of hills.  The
hills seem to surround the town, except where they melt, as it were, into
the sand of the seashore.’  The then existing woods, however, have been
cut down, and all along the plain are the homes of the citizens.  You see
few fine houses—mostly they are small—one story—with iron roofs and
little gardens, where the inhabitants grow a few flowers and spend their
evenings under the veranda, smoking or reading, as it seems good in their
eyes.  In one of them I found an old friend whom I had not seen for
forty-five years.  ‘Do you remember me?’ I said.  ‘Yes,’ was the reply,
as he mentioned my name.  The fact is, he had seen that I was in
Australia by the newspapers, and he fully expected I would call.  Alas!
his wife was less quick in recognising my manly form.  In Adelaide you
see little of the rush and excitement which make Melbourne and Sydney
famous.  It has a university and educational endowments, and newspapers
in abundance.  Where I am located, I look out on the palm-trees which
decorate the Governor’s residence, and a little further on are the fine
buildings known as the Public Library and Museum, and beyond them are the
Botanical Gardens, well worthy of a visit, though less beautifully
situated than those of Sydney.  On my left is the railway-station and the
new Houses of Parliament, and the road which leads down to the Torrens
Lake, across which a handsome bridge has been thrown, and where the young
athletes of the city spend their summer evenings.  I walk up King William
Street, with its Town Hall and Post-office, all white, as are most of the
houses and grand offices in the wide streets, and pass Victoria Square,
on the other side of which are the Law Courts.  The buildings devoted to
religious purposes are many, and in one of them preaches the Rev. R.
Fletcher, a powerful-looking man intellectually, in the prime of life,
and the principal of the new college the Congregationalists are about to
establish.  He gathers around him an influential and very respectable
congregation (about a dozen of his hearers are Members of Parliament),
but, like all the rest of the city-pastors, both at home and in
Australia, Mr. Fletcher finds yearly he loses old hearers, who move into
the suburbs, and their vacant seats are left unoccupied.  The Bishop of
the city, Dr. Kennion, is highly spoken of.  Here, as at home, and all
over Australia, there are Christians of all sorts, nor are the members of
the Salvation Army conspicuous by their absence.  The dream of Christian
unity seems in Australia as far off realization as at home.  One Church
parson with whom I have come in contact is a fine specimen of the
muscular Christian.  He is a canon of the Church, and is immensely
popular as a preacher and a man.  The following anecdote is
characteristic: Once upon a time he was troubled at finding his stack of
firewood rapidly diminishing.  As it was not burnt in the house, he
concluded it was taken off by a thief.  To detect him was the proper
thing, and the worthy canon sat for a night or two to wait for the enemy.
Nor had he long to wait, as he appeared in the shape of a sailor.  ‘Now,’
said the divine, ‘we’ll fight for it.  If you beat me, I will let you
off; if I beat you, I will give you in charge.’  They did fight, and the
sailor got such a licking as he never had before.  ‘Is the story true?’ I
said to the canon.  He shook his head, and exclaimed, ‘Ah, that’s a sad
tale!’  Evidently in his heart he was proud of his pluck, and well he may
be; many a one goes to hear him preach who would have kept away had he
not been as ready with his fists as eloquent of tongue.

As I pass up King William Street, I see what is called the Royal
Exchange.  I enter, and behold an eager and excited mob.  They are all
men—most of them are smoking, in spite of an announcement to the effect
that smoking is strictly forbidden.  I point out the notice to one of the
smokers, and he only smiles.  What are they about?  Buying and selling
mining shares.  This seems to be the leading industry of the place, and
they buy and sell hereto the extent of £300,000 or £400,000 a year.  A
broker explains to me that it is a safe way of making money if you are
not frightened, but keep your shares, and if you deal with a broker who
has no shares of his own to sell.  ‘If you do,’ adds my informant, ‘there
is no telling what a mess you may be drawn into.’  I thank him, and leave
him, regretting that I have no money to invest, as I am certain to win if
I take his kindly and disinterested advice.  In the evening I find the
business still in full swing.  It is eight o’clock, and the Exchange is
shut up, but my friend the broker is still playing his little game.  He
has changed the venue, that is all.  I pass through a long passage at the
end of an hotel; I descend a few steps, and am in a large room.  On one
side my friend stands in a Lilliputian rostrum, with his hammer in his
hand.  ‘Now, gentlemen,’ he says, ‘now is your time—ten Junction Shares,
buyer at eleven and three—seller at eleven and six—come on, gentlemen but
the gentlemen don’t seem much inclined to come on.  They are a sleepy
lot—leaning or sitting all round the room.  At length says one of the
crowd, ‘I’ll take that,’ and the auctioneer’s hammer rings sharply on the
desk.  And thus the evening wears away, till the lot is gone through.  No
one is excited—no large fortunes are here lost or won.  Everything is on
a small scale, and it is to be hoped that the buyers know what they are
about.  The auctioneer, a little man with a diamond ring glittering on
his finger, evidently does.  As to mines, all Adelaide is interested in
them.  In almost every shop you see specimens of ore displayed of some
kind or other, no matter what the business of the shop may be.  But, oh!
the loveliness of the night as I reascend the steps, and leave the little
knot of speculators behind.  The shops are closed.  The streets are
almost deserted.  There are no crowds of loafers and larrikins as in
Melbourne or Sydney.  There is scarce a living being at the bars besides
the keeper or his girl.  The shadows of the trees fall on the broad
pavement.  On the other side the white houses glisten in the moonlight,
for the moon pours out a silvery flood of glory, almost hiding the stars
of the blue sky above.  It must be some such night as this that suggested
the idea to the man who first ventured to speak of Holy Adelaide.  Even
the hills far away seem to live anew as they revive the silence and the
splendour of a long-forgotten past.

In general intelligence, according to an interesting report just
published by the Inspector-General of Victorian Schools—in general
intelligence, the children of the large towns in the three colonies are
very much alike.  In New South Wales a higher standard is aimed at than
in the other colonies.  Victoria spends a considerable amount of money in
establishing scholarships, so as to enable the most promising of State
scholars to pass through the secondary schools; but in the senior colony
Euclid, Algebra, and Latin or French form part of the ordinary course of
instruction in the fifth class of the elementary public schools.  The
attempt is to do much—too much in too little time.  In South Australia an
opposite policy prevails.  The teachers of the three colonies display on
the whole equal industry and care.  In the large city schools children
over fourteen years of age show nearly equal proficiency in Victoria and
South Australia in the ordinary subjects of primary instruction, and
rather less in New South Wales.  Children about thirteen are about equal
in the three colonies.  Children between eleven and twelve are the most
proficient in South Australia, and the least in Victoria.  If attainments
in Algebra, Euclid, Latin, and French are taken into account, New South
Wales has the best results to show.  In New South Wales the teachers are
paid a fixed salary.  In Victoria the system of payment by results is
wholly, in South Australia partially, adopted.  Observations tend to show
that the bad effect of payment by results is quite as conspicuous where
the system prevails as where it does not.

In 1829 England was taking rather a rosy view of the unfortunate Swan
River Settlement.  It ended, as most of us know, in disastrous failure.
But it was put before the public in an attractive form, or we should not
find the great Dr. Arnold writing from Rugby to his friend the Rev. I.
Tucker: ‘If we are alive fifteen years hence I think I would go gladly to
Swan River if they will make me schoolmaster there, and lay my bones in
the land of kangaroos and opossums.  My notion is that no missionizing is
half so beneficial as to try to pour sound and healthy blood into a young
civilized society, to make one colony, if possible, like the ancient
colonies in New England—a living sucker from the mother country, bearing
the same blossoms and the same fruits; not a reproduction of its vilest
excrescences, its ignorance, while all the good qualities are left behind
in the process.  No words can tell the evil of such colonies as we have
hitherto planted, where the best parts of the new society have been men
too poor to carry with them or to gain much of the higher branches of
knowledge, or else mere official functionaries from England, whose hearts
and minds have been always half at home, and who have never identified
themselves with the land in which they were working.’  Arnold did well to
remain where he was.  In the Swan Colony immense blocks of land were
freely granted to settlers, regardless of their means to profitably
occupy such holdings.  As a consequence, the farmers had no labourers to
till the soil, and many of the large estates lay waste, or only supported
a few head of cattle.  It was in South Australia, if anywhere, an attempt
was made to realize Dr. Arnold’s ideal.  It was started on the Wakefield
system, which worked well for a time, and attracted the right men into
the land.  It was resolved that it should be free from the taint of
felony, and it was resolved that it should have no State Church; and the
spirit of the founders still permeates the land.  At any rate, in
Adelaide I found better society than I did anywhere else.

Leaving Adelaide on my way home, I must speak of a few of the blots of
Australian life.  When Paul tells us he fought with beasts at Ephesus, we
feel inclined to pity the unfortunate saint; but when people talk of
mosquitoes that is quite another matter, and yet I know not whether it is
worst to fight with beasts at Ephesus than to wrestle with mosquitoes all
through the watches of the night, as I did at Melbourne.  At Sydney I was
told they would worry me to death, but there they left me unharmed.  At
Melbourne I was informed, on unexceptionable authority, that the
mosquitoes would not annoy me at all, and it was with a light heart that
I went to bed, little dreaming that I should rise a sadder and a wiser
man on the morrow—a spectacle for gods and men—with all the blood sucked
out of my body, and prematurely gray.  I know that I am a sinner; I know
that I have done the things which I ought not to have done, and left
undone the things which I should have done; I know (as Shakespeare tells
us) if we all had our deserts there would be none of us who would escape
whipping; I have written, I own, a good deal of indifferent prose and
poetry, have kept late hours, and have seen a good deal of the wicked
world—a moderate amount of punishment I am prepared for.  ‘What a man
soweth that shall he also reap,’ is a law that runs through life, and for
wise and salutary ends.  But it was hard, nevertheless, to have to fight
with such paltry, insignificant creatures as mosquitoes—mere stings on
Lilliputian wings, too ridiculous to be considered as enemies—yet I own
they kept me awake all one night, as they tortured me from the crown of
my head to the sole of my foot, and made me tremble and perspire as I
heard them trumpeting previous to a general attack as I never had done
before.  I never felt so savage; I never saw my poor body so cut up with
scars.  I was to dine next day with one of the handsomest ladies in
Melbourne, a fine specimen of an Irish beauty, to whom I was anxious to
present myself in as respectable a plight as possible; but all was of no
avail.  Mercifully, however, the brutes so gorged themselves that I was
enabled to take a righteous revenge; but it was an awful night, and I
felt how David must have had them in his eye when he longed, in one of
his grand psalms, for the wings of a dove, to fly away and be at rest.

Alas, alas! if we have the mosquitoes by night, there are also flies
which are a real terror by day, especially in places of worship, where
they seriously interfere alike with the inattentive or the attentive
hearer.  They don’t seem to interest themselves much in the preliminary
part of the service—they are conspicuous by their absence in singing and
chanting, and there is a good deal of both in Australia—but immediately
the text is announced and you have settled yourself down in an attitude
of repose the attack commences.  At first you heed it not—it seems too
ridiculous to be bothered by a fly.  At last your blood boils, and you
can stand it no longer.  The tiny tormentor flies into your mouth, should
it perchance be open, settles on the most sensitive part of your nose,
assails your forehead, attacks your ears, and every other vulnerable
point.  You give a bang, but you have missed your mark; your enemy is
beyond your reach, only to return with fresh vigour to the attack.  Not a
moment does he leave you at rest; not a moment can you listen in peace
and comfort; not a moment, while the sermon lasts, are you in a proper,
Christian frame of mind.  When I went to hear Dr. Strong, the great
Australian heretic, the fly—for providentially, as a rule, it is only one
fly that attacks you at a time—was especially active.  That fly must have
belonged to the ranks of the orthodox, and thought I deserved little
mercy for once in my lifetime straying from the fold.  At any rate,
little mercy he showed to me.  A minor nuisance is the Australian
cricket, which commences to make an extraordinary row as the sun goes
down.  Another nuisance are the song-birds, as they call them.  Sitting
one day in the Sydney Botanical Gardens—very beautiful, but not so fine
as those of Melbourne—I was startled as if all the grinding machinery in
the colony had been put in motion to set my teeth on edge.  ‘What’s
that?’ I asked in alarm.  ‘Only the birds singing,’ was the somewhat
unsatisfactory reply.

An interesting table has been published which purports to give the Drink
Bill of Australasia for 1887.  The statement has been prepared by the
Victorian Alliance, and although it is not easy to conjecture how some of
the information has been obtained, it may at least be assumed from its
authorship that the amount of the Bill has not been kept unreasonably
low.  Assuming it to be correct, we find that the several colonies spent
£15,582,485 on their liquor in 1887, representing an outlay of £4 8s. 6d.
for each man, woman, and child alive in that year.  Western Australia
spent more in proportion to her population than any of her sister
colonies, her bill amounting to £6 10s. per head.  Next comes Queensland
at a respectable distance, with £5 9s. 4d. per head, closely followed by
Victoria with £5 5s.  New South Wales pays £4 10s. 3d., Tasmania, £3 6s.
7d., and New Zealand, £3 5s.  South Australia modestly brings up the rear
with an average payment per head of only £2 19s.

Sunday in Adelaide is the _beau ideal_ of the Puritan Sabbath.  The other
Australian cities attempt something of the kind, but in Adelaide the
thing has been achieved, and except for Christian workers in the pulpit
or the Sunday-school the day is emphatically one of rest.  Somehow or
other the Sunday seems in keeping with the place.  At no time does
Adelaide strike you as a city of business.  The air is too pure, the sky
too lovely, the streets too clean.  About lunch time there seems to be a
little pressure in the streets, and a little business in the shops; at
the club we are quite full at that sacred hour, and under the veranda in
the tiny square behind, where we boast a couple of fern palms, a
fountain, and one gold fish, the smokers congregate, while the click of
the balls indicates the presence of company in the billiard-room
adjoining.  But to-day the only people about are the church-goers.  I
followed the crowd to the Stowe Memorial Church, in Flinders Street.  The
Rev. Thomas Quinton Stowe, who was born at Hadleigh, in Suffolk, must
have had much to do with the building up of the Adelaide of to-day.  The
church of which he was the pastor was established at a meeting held in a
tent, provided by the Colonial Missionary Society, in December, 1837,
with Mr. Stowe for its first pastor.  The next building was a sanctuary
of pine and reeds, erected in North Terrace.  The church grew with the
growth of the colony, and in 1840 removed to a large square building in
Freeman Street.  There Mr. Stowe remained till advancing age hinted
retirement.  In 1862 he died, leaving behind him the useful memory of a
devoted life.  No name is more connected with the religious history of
the colony.  He was trusted by all for his sincerity, honoured for his
wisdom, respected for his talents, and beloved for his piety.  The
Church, wishing to commemorate his name, and being in need of a new and
larger place of assembly, built the Stowe Memorial Church, the
foundation-stone of which was laid in 1865 by the Hon. Alexander Hay, and
which was opened for public worship in 1867.  It is a large and handsome
building, erected in Flinders Street, where the Presbyterians and
Baptists also have places of worship.  It was a relief to turn into it,
when I was there, out of the scorching sun.  There is no gallery, but the
area is very large, and the buildings in connection with the place are
numerous, and ornamental as well as useful.  They consist of a
lecture-hall, a schoolroom, and attendant class-rooms.  In 1876 the Rev.
Wm. Roby Fletcher, of Richmond, Melbourne, accepted the call of the
people and became pastor.  It was at his handsome home, a little way out
of town—surrounded by books and curios—that I supped after the evening
service.  His wife is an Australian lady.  He is specially learned in
Indian subjects, where he was sent by the Government to study its
educational system, and from which he has not long returned.  In Adelaide
Mr. Fletcher occupies high rank.

One thing that may be said of him is that he is ready to utilise passing
events.  In the week there had been a tragedy in Adelaide of a very
painful character.  There had been a fire in a temperance coffee-palace,
and of the guests a Mr. Taplin had been burnt to death.  Mr. Taplin was a
fine, stalwart man, of imposing presence, and well-known to the public as
the head of the Point Macleay Mission to the Blacks, which was founded by
his father, the Rev. G. Taplin.  The father was one of the first arrivals
in the colony, and meeting a black-fellow as he stepped ashore, he
conceived the idea that with religious and industrial training something
might be done with the aborigines.  He lost no time or opportunity in
giving practical effect to his convictions, and in due time he found
himself superintendent of the Aboriginal Farm and Mission Station, where
he toiled till his death in 1879, having in the meantime wrought a
wonderful improvement in the condition of the blacks, and exhibited many
proofs of the controverted point that the aborigines are capable of
receiving and understanding a higher form of spiritual knowledge than
that in which they were bred.  The blacks loved him with their whole
hearts, and admired him as a sort of demigod.  One of them, when
questioned by a carping critic as to the existence of a Deity, replied,
‘You know Massa Taplin, and then you no fear plenty believe’n God.’

The senior Mr. Taplin was not only a practical agriculturist, architect,
and jack-of-all-trades, as it were, but he was as well a man of much
learning and piety.  His acquaintance with the art of healing was only
equalled by his deep knowledge of Australian philology.  When the father
died he was succeeded by his son William, who, though he dropped the
title of reverend, followed in his father’s steps.  He was a Catholic
Christian, excelling in preaching as much as in the physical exercises of
the natives.  He was recognised as public vaccinator of the district.  In
the harder manual work he kept abreast of the times, and only recently
the Mission Committee undertook, under his direction, to carry out some
much-needed irrigation work on the reserve.  He had come to Adelaide to
discuss with the committee the concerns of the mission, and he gave a
lecture before the Australian Natives Association, on ‘Our Aboriginals:
Their Manners and Customs; or, a Native Fifty Years Ago.’  He overslept
himself, and that necessitated another night in Adelaide; and then came
the tragic end, all the more tragical as he was the only one of the
guests who knew the way of escape, which leads to the supposition that he
must have lost his own life in saving the lives of others.  It was on his
death that Mr. Fletcher based his discourse.  It was listened to by a
congregation attentive and highly respectable as regards appearance.  As
to the church itself: inside it is very spacious, and, not being
disfigured by galleries, presents almost a cathedral-like appearance.  In
the evening I heard from afar the band of the Salvation Army.  They are
in Adelaide as everywhere else.  I should have thought that the Army
might have been more usefully employed elsewhere.  ‘You can’t go far in
Adelaide,’ said a man in the street to me, ‘without seeing a church.
There are about four in every street.’  Perhaps this explains the fact
why Adelaide is called ‘holy.’  Alas! in England we often say, ‘the
nearer the church the further from God!’



CHAPTER VIII.
LIFE AT A STATION.


Mr. Dooleete’s Station—Sheep-shearing—Patriarchal Life
improved—Snakes—Drought.

I DID not see much of station life in Australia.  I was to have visited
Mr. Angas’s in South Australia, one of the show-places of the colony, but
the heat prevented me.  However, Mr. Dooleete, of Adelaide, very kindly
took me to one he has in conjunction with a friend, about 100 miles from
Adelaide, and I much enjoyed the trip.  We started early in the morning
from Mr. Dooleete’s romantic residence among the hills, and were swiftly
carried to the junction where the Melbourne train arrives.  From here we
were to take with us a gentleman who was purchasing horses for the Indian
Government, Australia having a breed of horses particularly suited for
our cavalry out there.  A gentleman in Adelaide told me, when his father
was a Congregational minister at Bury St. Edmund’s, in Suffolk, he
persuaded the eccentric Rowland Hill to come and preach for him.  There
being no Great Eastern Railway in those days, Mr. Hill travelled, as was
his wont, in his carriage and pair, and was naturally anxious as to who
was to look after his horses.

‘Oh,’ said the minister, ‘they will be taken care of by a member of my
church—a horse-dealer.’

‘What!’ said Rowland Hill, lifting up his hands in amazement; ‘a
horse-dealer a member of a Christian Church! who ever heard of such a
thing?’

The horse-dealer who joined our party was, if not a member of a Christian
Church, at any rate a particularly good judge of a horse, and was at once
able to recognise the animal he considered useful for his work.

It was a pretty country through which we travelled.  Here and there we
came to a station, around which was rising up a small town; but mainly we
saw nothing but forest and scrub with few signs of life.  We stopped at a
small town situated on Lake Alexandria, and, after lunching at an hotel
kept by a worthy colonist from Essex, who seemed perfectly contented with
his lot, we got on board a small yacht, the management of which was left
to bulky blacks belonging to the mission station at Port Macleay, on the
other side.  A small crowd of black children greeted us on our landing,
and then we climbed up into a commodious waggonette drawn by two horses,
and in a couple of hours had reached the end of our journey.  All the way
neither house nor road was to be seen.  On our left was the lake, far
ahead was the Murray River, and on our right seemed to be a grand park
many miles in extent, only a little more parched-looking than a park at
home, and everywhere strewed with trees that had fallen, which would have
fetched a good price for firewood in the towns if they could be got
there.  There were sheep by the hundred, and there were horses roaming,
as it were, monarchs of all they surveyed.  The scene was slightly
monotonous.  Now and then we came to a rough fence, through the gates of
which we had to make our way, and I was not sorry when we dashed up to a
handsome residence on the brow of a hill commanding a fine view of the
lake.  We had brought with us a respectable young woman, who was to wait
on us, and a good supply of eatables, so that my fears on that important
head were soon set at rest.  One does hear strange stories of life at a
station.  I heard of a colonial governor who, meeting one of the original
squatters in the enjoyment of all the luxury of a Melbourne Club, asked
him how, after that, he could put up with such lenten fare at home.  He
replied to the effect that the governor was quite mistaken—the squatters
did live well; and, by way of clinching his contention, he went on to
state that he had repeatedly seen at the same time on the table both
sardines and pickles!  I think we had neither, but we lived as
luxuriously as in any gentleman’s house either in the colony or at home.
We had the best of everything, and the place was furnished in the most
sumptuous manner, including even a piano, which must have come a long
way, and which could find but little to do, as the house was only open
when we were there, and was again locked up as we drove away.  Visitors
are rare in that part of the world; and as to the doctor, if his services
were required, the patient would have to wait a good while.  Death, or,
what is more likely, recovery, might occur before the doctor could
arrive.  There was little time to lose and early in the morning Mr.
Dooleete and his friend were driving in a buggy across the plain to look
at the horses.  After I had had my breakfast I toiled down in the sun to
where the sheep were penned in previous to being partially shorn.  They
had all been driven in the night before, and the men—blacks, who had come
from the missionary station, with their wives and little ones—were lodged
in tents on the shore of the lake.  They were stout and dull-looking,
with wives, as a rule, still stouter and duller-looking, with the
exception of one young woman—a very pretty half-breed.

A white man was the superintendent, and he had a dry and dusty time of it
as he did his duty—that is, divide the sheep, the Merinos from the
Leicesters, I believe.  First, they had to be driven into yards—and here
the sheep-dogs were specially serviceable—till they were all collected,
to the number, if I remember aright, of five or six thousand (of course,
they were not all in one pen); then they were driven along a little lane,
fenced in, where the superintendent stood at a double gate, to divide the
sheep according to their breed.  This was done by blocking one gate and
opening the other side as the sheep approached.  Thus separated, they
were taken, a few at a time, into the shearing-shed, a large brick
building, with the sheep in the middle and the shearers on each side.
Operations were at once commenced.  The shearer selects his animal, holds
it up between his legs, and quickly cuts off the wool, which is swept off
the stone floor by women, who separate it and put it into sacks, while
the frightened animal, released from the grasp of his persecutor, bounds
through an opening in the wall and rejoins his companions who have
undergone a similar process.  It is warm work this, and every now and
then the workman stops to have a drink of water—a beverage available,
fortunately, to any amount.  As soon as the sheep are shorn, the wool is
packed up and sent off to market.  A small steamer, which goes slowly up
and down the lake, is thus utilised for commercial purposes.  I returned
by that steamer.  It may be sure; it certainly is slow.  Being at this
station was a vastly pleasant change to me.  I had had quite enough of
city life.  It may be very lonely to live on that hill, in that fine
house, with no neighbours with whom to chat, far from shops and
post-office and newspapers; but with books and one’s family it must be a
noble existence.  There may be stormy winds out there, for I saw many a
fine tree blown down; but mostly the country round rejoices in blue skies
and an unclouded sun.  In that region there is no particular chance of
overcrowding at any rate, just at present.  The worst of the squatter is
that he does not require much labour.  A very few hands suffice for
him—except at the shearing season—to look after his flocks and herds.
You realize in such a place something of the life of the Patriarchs, only
considerably improved.  The owner of a station must spend a good deal of
his time in the saddle, and a horse, I imagine, is infinitely to be
preferred to the camel.  The noble steed enjoys himself as he springs
along the turf.  At all times, whether lying down or rising up, whether
loaded or not, whether ungainly walking or hideously trotting, a camel is
a picture of bitter woefulness and abject despair.  The station, too, has
its innocent amusements.  I have a friend who has a station about a
hundred miles from Melbourne.  To him came when I was there a city
gentleman, who betted that he would kill a hundred snakes within the
hour, and he shot ninety-eight!  A fond mother who lives in a fine
station in New South Wales, told me how once upon a time she had to
snatch away her little one sleeping on the lawn, as a black snake had
crept up to within a foot of its precious head.  Then there is a drought,
and your flocks have to be taken miles to water.  After all, there is
plenty of excitement—for those who seek it—even in station life.



CHAPTER IX.
THE HEATHEN CHINEE.


His Persecution—His Usefulness—His Intellectual Ability.

THE Chinese in Australia have a grievance.  We have opened up China
against the wishes of their rulers, and when they take a leaf out of our
book, and commence opening up the world, we turn round and refuse them
admission.  It is so in America, and it is so in Australia.  At every
election meeting in Victoria when I was there, the candidate had to
declare that he was ready to vote for the exclusion of the Chinese.  This
is how democracy uses its power.  The Chinaman is civil, and obliging,
and hard-working; besides, he is sober; but the Australians won’t have
him at any price, and raise the cry of Australia for the Australians,
which means that no poor English emigrant may go there to take lower
wages than his mates rather than starve at home.  As each colony is
isolated, this will mean in time that the work of each colony is to be
done only by its own workmen.  Already in Queensland I see that a
complaint has been made because some workmen from Sydney have been
brought in to work.  Australia wants opening up.  It has only a sparse
population on its borders, and in many parts the workman, who is master
of the situation, will not work himself, nor allow any one else to do so.
The general public suffer, but that is their look-out.  Prices are kept
up by Protection, and the protected further protect themselves by keeping
out the labourer anxious to earn an honest living.  As the Chinese are
weak and friendless, it is against them chiefly that this policy is
enforced.  I heard one day of a sturdy workman who had applied for
relief.  When asked what he had been doing of late, he replied that he
had been picking grapes.  Questioned why he had given the occupation up,
he answered that he was working with Chinese, and the boss expected him
to work as hard as they did.

Australia wants to compete with the cheap wine-sellers of Bordeaux; but
she is sadly handicapped in this and other ways.  The farmer finds his
corn-fields eaten up by the parroquets, because he can hire no cheap
labour to scare away the birds.  In the big towns it is the Chinaman who
supplies the people with cheap fish and vegetables.  I own to a liking
for the ‘heathen Chinee.’  ‘Ah,’ said a well-known London Democrat to me
after I had returned home, ‘I see what you want.  You want to reduce the
British workman to the level of the heathen Chinee.’  ‘No,’ was my reply.
‘I want to bring the British workman up to the level of the heathen
Chinee.  He is economical, industrious, sober, and always civil, and one
cannot say that in all cases of the British workman.’  And in the
northern district they are sadly wanted.  While in Adelaide, I read a
letter in _The South Australian Register_, in which the writer
emphatically declares that if any development of the northern territory
is to take place, it must be by the Chinese, or not at all.  The writer
remarks: ‘If the Chinese are excluded or kept out here, all development
will cease, and the northern territory will just resolve itself into a
great Government camp, where some will be employed to watch the telegraph
wires, while others are scraping the rust off the wheels of the railway
carriages.’  And then he goes on to speak of the bogus telegrams and
Munchausen reports that caused the Chinese scare.  This northern
territory, be it remembered, which has been tacked on to South Australia
and governed from Adelaide, embraces an immense extent of country, and
contains an area of about 323,620 square miles.  Its principal harbour is
Port Darwin, which is one of the finest in Australia, almost equalling
that of Sydney.  It is rich in mineral resources, and gold and rubies.
The climate is tropical, and the soil in many parts is very rich.
Already it contains many great cattle stations.  The writer I have
referred to says: ‘I have had a nearly three years’ residence here,
trying to develop a large run for a Victorian owner.  This enables me to
speak with complete knowledge of the climate, and the kind of labour
suitable for the country; for out-of-door work the European may be
dismissed at once.’  Clearly, in such a case, the Chinaman is the right
man in the right place.  But ‘No,’ say the Queenslanders; ‘if you allow
the Chinese there, they will cross the border and come to us.’  Again,
says an intelligent Adelaide editor to me: ‘It cannot be; the Chinese are
many, we are few—they will take possession of all Australia.’  Surely it
would not be a difficult thing to limit the extent of Chinese
immigration.  A Chinaman cannot disguise his nationality.  Dress him in
Christian clothes—his _tout ensemble_, his oval face, his brown skin, his
high cheek-bones, his little twinkling eyes, will betray him, to say
nothing of his pigtail and his pigeon English.  By all means, in the
interests of civilization, I would say, let him come.  It would be better
for Australia and the world that it should be opened up, than allowed to
remain a waste.

In Adelaide I have seen a splendid specimen of what a Chinaman may become
when he is naturalized and turned into a British subject.  His name is
Mr. Way Lee, and a more agreeable man I have not seen for a long time.
His shop was full of China ware and Chinese tea.  He had on a black coat,
a white waistcoat, a light pair of trousers, and his pigtail was rolled
into a neat plait at the back of his head.  In his drawing-room he had a
piano, and a portrait of her Majesty in a very rich gold frame.  His only
peculiarity of costume was as regards his small feet, which were encased
in Chinese slippers.  He offered me a glass of wine much as an ordinary
Christian would have done; I refused it, but, however, accepted a Manilla
cheroot, and we got into a pleasant talk.  He told me that he was
thirty-seven; I should have guessed that he was not more than
twenty-five.  He had two extraordinary, highly-coloured religious Chinese
pictures, which made me believe that he was a follower of Confucius.
However, I was deceived.  ‘I go,’ said he, with a bland smile, ‘to the
Baptist, the Congregational, the Wesleyan Churches—any vere my friends
take me.’

Not a bigot, at any rate, is Mr. Way Lee.  In Adelaide he has won golden
opinions.  He has traded there for years; is straightforward in all his
doings; has deservedly gained the reputation of being an exemplary
citizen—strict in his regard for municipal rights and regulations, and
vigilant in his endeavours to enforce the maintenance of law and order.
And his own Government have conferred upon him the dignity of a Mandarin.
He is renowned for his charity.  Well, he has succeeded in business, and
has an establishment in Sydney which, naturally, he desires to visit, but
by crossing the border into New South Wales he renders himself liable to
a heavy fine of £100.  He has written to Sir Henry Parkes on the subject,
but the Free Trade Premier tells him he cannot help him.  Why, asks the
paper which has taken, and rightly taken, up his case, should Mr. Way
Lee, who has established as strong a claim upon the goodwill of his
fellows, and the protection of the State as any of his trade competitors,
be placed at a serious disadvantage in carrying on his business, because
he happens to have been born in the Flowery Land?  Why should he be held
up to the ridicule and scorn of his fellow colonists because he hails
from China?  The time will come when Australia will be heartily ashamed
of conduct which savours more of the narrow and intolerant spirit of the
dark ages than of the enlightenment and liberality of modern times.
There are not many such decent Chinese in Australia.  Whose fault is
that?  Certainly the Caucasian has set the heathen Chinee a very sorry
example.  ‘Government have inspectors,’ said Way Lee to me; ‘Government
can put them down if they gamble and be wicked.’  Surely the Caucasian
can take care of himself; at any rate, he has the credit of being able to
do so.  The little almond-eyed heathen cheats him when he is drunk; then
let him keep sober.  I have been in an opium den; I have been in a
gin-palace.  The opium den is a heaven compared with the latter.  In
Australia every drunken larrikin thinks it good fun to push down or
ill-treat a Chinee.  Such brutality makes one’s blood boil.  Nor can it
be well with a people where such ruffianism exists in its midst.
Australia is big, and so big that the Australians themselves are little
acquainted with it.  Surely there is room enough for the Chinaman, and he
can open up such parts of it as are unhealthy for the European.  Mr. Way
Lee, in every respect, is as good an Australian as any I have met with;
his manners are unexceptionable; he goes into society.  Such as he do not
level down, but are levelled up, and Australia might do with China a
large and profitable trade.  I question whether the leaders in the
anti-Chinese crusade are really in earnest; they join in it as a means to
an end; by means of it they trust to get place and power.  All I could do
was to assure Mr. Lee that we in England were not responsible for such
treatment as he had received; that we had little else to do than to
supply the colonies with governors and a fleet.  ‘Yes, I know,’ he said;
but he felt the hardship, nevertheless.

Intellectually the heathen Chinee is coming to the front.  In describing
the results of recent examinations at the University of Melbourne, a
newspaper writer says: ‘Dr. Bevan’s eldest son (Willett) carried off no
less than nine prizes at the Church of England Grammar School, including
the Dux and Speaker’s Prize, another son of the doctor’s also doing well.
It is not without satirical suggestion, however, that Cheong (who was
second Dux) beat Bevan in English spelling and New Testament Greek.  It
is curious, to say the least of it, that a Chinese should excel an
English boy in _English_ spelling, and that the son of a convert from
heathenism should surpass the son of a Christian pastor in an examination
upon the textbook of the Christian faith.’

As to the usefulness of the Chinee in Australia I am glad to supplement
my remarks with an extract from a letter of a gentleman in the _London
and China Express_.

The writer, Mr. Sampson, an intelligent resident of many years in China,
says: ‘During a recent visit to Victoria, during which I made it my
particular business to inquire into matters connected with the Chinese, I
found that the objection to Chinese immigration is by no means universal
in that colony.  The principal objectors are the labour-aristocracy and
the politicians who seek to gain their votes; on the other side are the
employers of labour generally—farmers, fruit-growers, masters of
steamers, women burdened with domestic cares, and sometimes even diggers
and unskilled labourers, who are not bound to accept the doctrines
dictated by a labour union.  “We don’t want the Chinese to go,” said a
labouring man to me, at a wayside inn, some ten miles from Sandhurst; he
was an Irishman, and was celebrating the news of the defeat of the
_Times_ in the matter of the forged letters.  “We don’t want the Chinese
to go; we want them to stop here, and grow cabbages for us.”  This
pithily-expressed view of the question I found very prevalent.  A lady
fellow-passenger in a steamer said to me, with a sigh, “Ah, if women had
votes there would be no restrictions on the immigration of Chinese.”  She
valued them as faithful and dutiful domestic servants, and as polite,
obliging, and honest hawkers of vegetables and other small household
requirements.  I visited a large orchard in which every grape had been
sucked dry by birds, and the parrots were making sad havoc amongst the
apples, pears, and peaches.  I remarked to the owner that in China a
couple of men could be employed to keep away the birds at ten shillings a
month.  “Ah!” was the reply.  “Here I should have to pay eight shillings
a day, and then I should have to stay on the grounds myself to see that
they did their work.”  The following characteristic story was told me: An
Australian, being about to leave the colony for a year or two, instructed
a broker to let for that period a piece of land which he owned.  The
broker secured a tenant, and the owner agreed to the terms without
inquiring who the tenant was.  When the time arrived for him to sign the
legal documents he found that the proposed tenant was a Chinaman.  ‘He
wished to repudiate the bargain, but matters had advanced too far for him
to do so.  On his return from England he found that the Chinese tenant
had improved the ground so much that he said, “If ever I have to go away
again I will let a Chinaman have the use of my land for nothing rather
than accept rent from a white man.”  These anecdotes are, of course, only
isolated cases, but they serve to illustrate opinions, and to show forth
facts of importance.’



CHAPTER X.
THE LARRIKIN IN AUSTRALIA.


What the Larrikin is—A Social, Moral, and Political Danger—A Natural Foe
of the Chinaman.

ONCE upon a time, so the story runs, an old gentleman was walking along
the streets of London, when he was accosted by a little boy, who asked
him for a light for his cigarette.  The old gentleman, of course, was
shocked, and indignantly remarked that when he was young little boys were
not allowed to smoke.  ‘Oh,’ replied the lad, ‘there ain’t any boys now;
they are all young men; that’s what we call ’em, and old men we call
thundering fools.’  This feeling, unfortunately, exists wherever there
are civilized men and women.  In savage countries it may be that the
hoary head is a crown of honour; but where the schoolmaster has gone
abroad the first impression made on the mind of the favoured scholar is
that he is a man and his father but a fool.  Old customs, old traditions,
somewhat interfere with this idea in English towns and villages, yet the
increasing tendency of the age is in another direction.  All kindly
correction has been denied the youth, especially of the working-classes.
Let the lad ever so richly deserve a flogging, father or mother threatens
‘if you dare to lay a hand upon my boy,’ and so the master spares the rod
and spoils the child.  In some quarters the boy soon begins to earn his
living, and then he spends his wages and his time in bad company, and is
a terror to father and mother, and master, and all with whom he has to
do.  It is to this phase of civilization is due, in that highly-favoured
country of Australia, the existence of the larrikin.  It was while I was
out there that there died the policeman who invented the name.  In the
course of his arduous duties he had to catch and bring before the
magistrates a group of troublesome lads.  ‘What were they doing?’ asked
the magistrates.  ‘I caught them a-larrikin,’ was the reply, and ever
since then the name of larrikin denotes a lad in a hobbledehoy state, who
is a torment to himself and everyone around.  Worst of all, the chances
are that he develops into a rough, and brutal, and unmannerly man.  As it
is, he is a nuisance everywhere, but a special danger in Australia in a
social, and moral, and political point of view.  In a new country
naturally the young people assert themselves more than in an old one.
You see this in America as well as in Australia, but in the latter
country the press does its duty and points out the danger.  In one of the
best of the Australian papers—_The South Australian Register_—a
leader-writer, in recommending the volunteer movement, remarks that there
is no hardship in asking the Australian young man to take his place among
the defenders of his country.  On the contrary it would be of great
physical and moral benefit to him to undergo the training of a citizen
soldier.  ‘Impatience of control, lack of discipline, a contempt for
authority, the absence of a sense of duty—these are the prevailing faults
of the youth of the day, and it is certain that a course of military
exercises would have a bracing effect upon the moral nature, helping to
make the young men better sons, better husbands, better fathers—in every
way better qualified to discharge the important functions of responsible
citizens in a State where all possess equal political rights and perfect
freedom of action.’  As I write I read in a New South Wales paper:
‘Larrikinism is on the increase in the suburbs of Brisbane.  Constant
complaints are made of insults to pedestrians, drunken quarrels and
profane language.  On Sunday the hotels a short distance from the city
are visited, and under the influence of the potations indulged in the
most unholy scenes of rioting and revelling take place on the roads.
Church-goers are subjected to insult.  Decent parents are obliged to shut
their children within doors to prevent their ears being assailed by the
oaths and curses freely uttered by these lawless pests.  The police
generally are nowhere to be seen, and when present are indisposed to
arrest the offenders.  Our laws are badly applied.’

The larrikin is the natural foe of the heathen Chinee; not that he
dislikes his imputed vices, but his real virtues.  A friend of mine was
walking near the suburbs of Melbourne, and he came across a Chinaman
working in his garden, where only parsley was growing.  ‘How is this?’
said my friend.  ‘Why don’t you grow vegetables and flowers?  I should
have thought they would have paid you better.’  ‘Ah, sir,’ replied the
heathen, ‘if I were to grow vegetables and flowers, the larrikins would
come and pull them all up; so I can only grow parsley.’  And thus the
people of Melbourne suffer, for those of them who have no gardens of
their own have to depend for their supplies on the ever civil and
industrious Chinamen.  Since I have returned home, I see a Melbourne
judge declared that it was unsafe to walk the streets of Melbourne by
night or by day, and that that is so is, I take it, mainly due to the
larrikins, who exist in such numbers as to defy the power of the police.
When a larrikin gets drunk and quarrelsome he naturally goes in for the
Chinese; they are few, and he and his friends are many.  They are fond of
fighting, and a Chinaman is a man of peace.  It is fine sport for the
larrikin to trample down and devastate the well-kept garden of the
heathen Chinee, to get into his little shop and spoil his goods, to knock
about and ill-treat the son of the Celestial Empire; nor does he object
to murder one if he has the chance, as probably by means of perjury and
hard swearing he will be able to escape the punishment due to his crime.
By night the larrikins sleep in the parks, which are the glory of all the
Australian cities, and the scenes there, so I was informed, are
disgraceful.  It is not safe for a respectable person to walk across the
parks alone of a night.  As in London, almost all respectable people live
out of town, and they have but a faint idea of what goes on in their
absence.  The climate allows anyone, at any rate during the summer
months, to sleep in the open air, and the rascals of the community for
the time being may each one say for himself:

‘I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute.’

It is one of the drawbacks of the Australian climate that it gives the
larrikin a chance such as he has nowhere else.  Walking one evening with
a friend in one of the parks which adorn Adelaide, we came to a young
tree which had the bark cut off in a circle round the trunk—in other
words, it was ring-barked.  My friend indignantly exclaimed: ‘See what
the larrikins have been up to!’  That tree was doomed to die.  It was a
valuable one.  It had been planted for a special purpose—to add to the
attractions of the park, and to be, when fully grown, a benefit to the
entire community.  It had leaves on.  It did not seem to have suffered
much damage; but it was doomed to die, nevertheless.  As a resident in
Adelaide, my friend was very much provoked at the sight; and no wonder.

Wherever you go you meet the detestable larrikin, but it is in Melbourne
that he chiefly abounds.  Fathers and mothers are much to be blamed on
his account.  There is an old commandment about honouring thy father and
mother, to which, if I were a Melbourne parson, I should devote many
sermons; but, alas! in a young community, with many questionable
emigrants, where the fever of gold-getting in any way rages fiercely, it
is not always that a young man can honour his father and mother.  At any
rate, the evil exists, and Church and State between them will have hard
work to put it down.  The larrikin delights in mischief for mischief’s
sake.  He is not necessarily very poor or wretched.  Perhaps he gets too
much flesh meat, and a vegetarian diet would suit him better.  Dr. Dale
tells us a good deal of the high spirits of the Australian youth—a phase
of Australian life which did not strike me at all.  Was he thinking of
the Australian larrikin?  Such high spirits are not to my taste.  In one
respect the larrikin reminds one of the days of Tom and Jerry as depicted
in the vivid caricatures of the late George Cruikshank, but Tom and Jerry
were gentlemen, and that makes a great difference.  Rather I should take
him to be a son of Belial, and thus give him a more ancient origin.  His
delight is to join himself to a gang of twenty or thirty to break street
lamps, to wrench off knockers, tear down fences, mob and maltreat
policemen, hustle respectable people at all hours by day and by night,
and to assault some poor pedestrian, especially when a little the worse
for liquor, and rob him.  ‘Scarce a week passes,’ says a writer in the
Colonies, ‘without some larrikin outbreak.’  It was even with difficulty
that I could steer clear of him at times.  I fear we have too much of the
larrikin at home, but that is no reason why he should be allowed to taint
the virgin soil of a new world.  Our colonies ought to be an improvement
on the old country.  What is wrong at home they should avoid.  Let them
imitate our virtues.  On a new soil they have a better chance.



CHAPTER XI.
IN AN AUSTRALIAN VINEYARD.


Fruit Supply—Tintarra Wine—Mr. Thomas Hardy—The Temperance Question.

One of the charms of South Australia is the fruit, which, in the shape of
grapes, and pears, and peaches, and apples, you see everywhere displayed,
and at astonishingly low prices.  Grapes are sold at five pounds for
sixpence in the retail shops, and I have seen magnificent grapes three
pounds for sixpence, which in London would be held cheap at half-a-crown.
If the colony is ever to be very rich, its fruit trade will be no
inconsiderable factor in the consummation so devoutly to be wished.  The
farmer and the squatter have to contend with difficulties which often end
in bankruptcy, owing to the terrible droughts common in this part of the
world.  But if the merchants of Adelaide will send us their spare fruit,
we in London can take any amount and at very remunerative prices.  I saw
during my tour the vineyards of Mr. Thomas Hardy, within a short distance
of Adelaide, and I must own that the place is well worth a visit.  Though
of small extent (the area is only 60 acres), Bankside, as the vineyard is
called, yields a more varied produce, and furnishes a better illustration
of the capabilities of the soil and climate of the district in which it
is situated, than any other estate in Australia.  Mr. Hardy is a fine
specimen of a horticulturist, and well deserves the splendid silver
trophy which ornaments his drawing-room—and of which he is justly
proud—given him as one who has done more than anyone in the colony to
develop its resources.  He has made good use of his grapes.  We are not
all teetotalers, and he grows more grapes on his various estates than the
Australians can eat, whether as grapes for dessert, or in the shape of
raisins and currants.  With the rest he makes wine.  He is proud of his
wine—proud of the fact that even at Bordeaux, in the heart of the enemy’s
country, as it were, he won a gold medal for its excellence; proud of the
fact that his celebrated Tintara wine has found a good place in the
London market.  As I have seen it manufactured I can testify as to its
purity.  He was sending this year 45,000 gallons to London.  He would
prefer to keep it longer in his cellars, but the Londoners want it, and
he cannot keep them waiting.  Why not sell the original grapes? asks the
teetotaler.  I reply, He grows more grapes than the community can devour
with a decent regard to its health, and as people exist who are mistaken
enough to think Paul was right when he recommended Timothy a little wine
for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities, Mr. Hardy thinks he is
a public benefactor if he supplies the public with a genuine wine, the
produce of the grape and of the grape alone.

Mr. Hardy is no ignoramus; he is a much-travelled man, and has studied
the vineyards of France and Spain and California.  In his establishment
he uses the best machinery—which of course is French—for the distillation
of the purest and strongest spirits of wine, to which purpose such grapes
are devoted as are not good enough for the production of wine of the best
quality.  As to the manufacture of wine, that is a very simple affair.
The grapes are picked and placed in carts, and carried to the mill, where
they lie fermenting in a mass; the juice is then pressed off into slate
vats, a brown and by no means attractive-looking fluid.  The red wines
take longer to ferment, as the outside skin contains the colouring
matter.  In the case of the white grapes, the stalks are cut away by a
machine invented for the purpose, otherwise the astringency of the wine
would be too great.  After a time the juice is put into casks, where it
lies stored in cool and capacious cellars till it is required by the
outside public.  In some of the casks I saw the wine had been kept ten or
twelve years.  Last year Mr. Hardy made in this way 160,000 gallons of
wine.  He began life as a gold-digger.  He commenced growing grapes for
wine in 1853, and has been at it ever since.  Another charming vineyard
is that of Sir Samuel Davenport, to which Thomas Binney, when in
Australia, was always ready to retreat.  It is very interesting, this
original vineyard of Mr. Hardy’s.  Since 1853 he has purchased several
vineyards in various districts, the most important one being Tintara,
about 25 miles to the South of Adelaide, where he has 150 acres under
vines.  It is in the town cellars that most of the blending is
accomplished.  A good deal of wine is bottled off at Bankside, but the
main bulk of the generous fluid, to be poetical, is carted away in casks,
on waggons which are as un-romantic as the horses which draw them or the
men who drive.  There is little of the picturesque in the manufacture of
Australian wine.

But as to the grounds, no words can describe their exuberance.  Some of
the pears Mr. Hardy exhibited at the London Exhibition weighed three
pounds each, and were afterwards, I believe, eaten by Royalty.  The
Bankside property consists of a very deep chocolate soil, resting on a
strong clay.  Irrigation is easily practised over this small area.  Water
is raised from the bed of the Torrens River to the top of the bank, and,
that being higher than the surrounding country, is easily distributed.
It is curious what good a little water can accomplish.  In one part the
ground rises, and as water will not run uphill—at any rate, in
Australia—the trees have to do without, and it is astonishing to note the
difference between the trees and the fruit they bear, compared with the
others, although but a few feet from each other.  Everywhere around me
were oranges ripening for the home market.  ‘An acre of oranges is a
fortune, is it not?’ I asked, with my head full of what I had read.
‘Ah,’ replied Mr. Hardy, with a smile, ‘those books are written by men
who have land to sell.’  Then we came to the lemons.  What a wonderful
plant is the lemon tree!  You may see the ripe fruit growing side-by-side
with the blossom.  It is productive all the year round, like—I will not
say whose; let the reader fill up the blank—like Mr. —’s great mind.  As
to the quinces, I never saw anything like them, and though I intimated
that in England we did not make much of them, Mr. Hardy assured me that
in his opinion quince jam was the finest in the world.  The citrons,
however, were still finer than the quinces.  We had also quite a show of
olives; they grow in rows, and, like the almonds on the estate, they are
made to do duty as fencing-posts.  A vine in the open air over the house
attracted my notice; it had spread over a surface of many yards, and was
a good illustration of what may be done on Australian soil.  Surely every
Australian ought to grow his own grapes; and then as to making them into
raisins and currants, nothing seems easier under such a sun.  The grapes
at Bankside are gathered and laid on boards to dry.  Those for raisins
for the table are laid on gravel—a custom Mr. Hardy borrowed from the
Spaniards.  It is not found necessary to turn them, the under grapes
drying as well as the top ones, from the heat of the gravel floor.  The
turning of grapes into raisins is a more complicated process than merely
growing them for the market.  The bunches of ripe fruit are placed in
oblong sieves and plunged for twenty seconds into a tank of boiling lye
made from ashes, which are got from the vine prunings.  The dipping takes
the bloom off the fruit, but causes it to dry in one-third the time it
would otherwise take.  They are then spread evenly on wooden trays and
exposed to the sun.  When the grapes are about three-parts dried, they
are removed to kilns, heated with hot-air pipes, and the drying is
completed in from twelve to twenty-four hours, when they are taken out
and rubbed partly free of most of the stalks.  The next process is to run
them through a winnowing machine which still further strips them of their
stalk.  They are then packed up in boxes by girls and pressed with a
handy screw-press, six at a time.  Currants are treated in a similar
manner, minus the dipping.  The raisins intended for the table, I may
mention, are also not dipped, as that would spoil their appearance by
removing the bloom.  In the grounds a good many sultanas are also grown;
quite equal to the fruit imported.  Altogether, at Bankside, they turn
out about twenty tons of dried fruit every year.

Australia, Mr. Hardy anticipates, will be able to equal the best wine
districts in the world.  A similar remark may apply to its almonds and
raisins and currants.  Adelaide rejoices in a trade which bids fair to
become greater every year.  As the Select Committee upon Vegetable
Produce reported at the end of 1887: ‘If the whole area of our colony now
devoted to the growth of wheat were one vast vineyard, the yield would
not be equal to the deficiency in the wine production of France through
the devastation of the phylloxera.’  Hence South Australia, to the
disgust of Dr. Hannay, calculates much on her growing wine trade.
Statistics furnished by Mr. Hayter, the Government Statist of Victoria,
give evidence of the way in which wine in South Australia is superseding
the consumption of spirits.  This may account for the sobriety which
seems to characterise South Australia as compared with the rest of the
colonies.  Altogether, Adelaide may claim to be the fairest city of
Australia, and to contain the kindest and best-mannered people—so far as
they may be judged by the passing stranger at their gates, and if I was
in search of an ideal life I should say it would be that of one who sits
under his own vine and fig-tree, as the South Australian grape-grower
does.

While writing of wine, it may be as well to sum up here what I have to
say on intemperance in Australia.  No little excitement was produced in
Adelaide when the writer was there by a telegraphic report of a speech by
Dr. Hannay on his return from Australia, as to the amount of drinking in
Adelaide, certainly the most sober of all the prosperous cities on the
Australian Continent.  As usual, the telegraphic report was wrong, and
Dr. Hannay assures me that what he did say was that he regretted to find
that so many gentlemen in Adelaide looked to the increase of the
Australian wine trade as a source of colonial revenue and colonial
prosperity.  As a devoted temperance reformer, it is clear Dr. Hannay
could not have said less.  It was an opinion which he was quite at
liberty to utter, and with which no one could find fault.  Had the
telegraphic abridgment been correct, he would certainly have been to
blame, as, undoubtedly, Adelaide is a sober city—that is, sober as
compared with Sydney and Melbourne.  In the older cities there are yet
traces of the times when, as during the madness created by the discovery
of alluvial gold, miners, who in England had been content with beer and
porter, would drink twenty pounds’ worth of champagne at a sitting,
pouring it all into a pail, and asking every passer-by to have a drink;
but that awful time of extravagance is past; however, the taint of it
remains, and there is still a startling amount of drunkenness, especially
among that part of the population who can least afford it—the
wage-earning class, who, in Australia, if they are sober and industrious,
have advantages in the way of investment which assuredly they lack at
home.  Workmen as a rule are paid high wages, and, when they receive a
large amount at a time, as they often do, do not know what to do with it.
In too many cases, in the interior more especially, they still adhere to
the custom of knocking a cheque down, as they call it.  The workman
repairs to the nearest public-house, gives his cheque into the publican’s
hands, and then begins a drunken orgie in which everyone is asked to
join, till the landlord tells him his money is all gone, gives him a
bottle of rum, and then kicks him out of the house, often to perish by
the road-side, thus once more illustrating the old remark, ‘that the
tender mercies of the wicked are very cruel.’  One publican is said to
have made £40,000 a year at one time in this way.  The temperance
reformers in Australia have, it is very evident, a wide field of
usefulness before them.  Many of the Australians spend enormous sums of
money in drink.  I travelled with an Australian, who seemed to me never
what is vulgarly called the worse for liquor, yet whose weekly bill on
board the steamer amounted to between four and five pounds, a sum of
money which assuredly might have been better employed.  In one respect
Australia sets us a good example.  It has taken to building temperance
coffee hotels, or palaces, as they term them, on the grandest scale.  As
the meals are all served up without intoxicating drinks, these places
must have a good effect, as the guest, however fond of drink he may be,
is compelled for the time to be an abstainer.  Adelaide unfortunately has
no good temperance hotels worthy of the name.

It is a great question in Australia as to which is the finer
city—Melbourne or Sydney—and the inhabitants of each are wonderfully
jealous of each other.  You offend a Melbourne man if you have anything
to say in favour of Sydney, and at the latter city you hear little in
favour of Melbourne.  Both cities show too many public-houses, and both
cities contain far too many drunkards; but in Sydney they are an especial
nuisance, as every house has, as a rule, two rooms on each side the
principal entrance which are used as bars, and which all day long, very
much to the annoyance of the traveller, who is compelled to use them, are
filled by a disreputable crowd, boozing from morning till night.  It is
the same as regards the theatre—the bar is as conspicuous, and quite as
well filled, as the theatre itself.  In many cases the bar is hired and
carried on as a separate speculation, independently of the hotel
proprietor.  Two or three showy barmaids are engaged, a screen is put
before the door to shield it from public gaze, and inside there is a
license of which few people have an idea.  The girls sell the drink, and
they drink themselves.  As the evening advances the hilarity is of a
somewhat boisterous character.  Now and then a girl comes from behind the
bar and waltzes round the room with some admirer—while she leers over his
shoulder at another.  The utmost freedom is permitted, and hundreds of
idiots thus waste their time and spend their money, and injure their
health, and learn how easy and how pleasant is the road to destruction.
Fortunately, the bars are closed at eleven, and they are shut up on a
Sunday, or they would be a great deal more mischievous than they really
are; but the mischief they do is very great.  In Australia the population
is of an exceedingly shifting character; men are always on the move from
one place to another, and of an evening, as they are strangers in the
city and have no friends, and time hangs heavy on their hands, they have
recourse to the nearest bar.  It is there the sharper always takes his
victim.  In every case, and I heard of several, in which inexperienced
travellers had been fleeced, I always found that the dupe had first been
taken to the bar and treated to a drink.  As I came back I fell in with a
poor steerage passenger who had been done out of £20, a sum he could ill
afford to lose, by a repetition of the confidence trick.  He made the
acquaintance of the sharper by means of the latter offering him a drink.
Hundreds and thousands of pounds have been lost in this way.  There is no
place so dangerous to a ‘new chum,’ as the emigrant to Australia is
called, as the bar of a public-house.  Alas! in Sydney these pitfalls are
on every side; I think that there is only one hotel in the town without
its bar.

It was the old custom to sell lots of land by auction at which a good
deal of wine was drunk, under the excitement produced by which many a
purchaser bought his whistle at a dearer price.  ‘If such lunches cost
£40,’ writes one of the oldest of the Melbourne colonists, Mr. Westgarth,
‘which was given to me as a moderate average, who suffered? argued their
justifiers; the exhilaration they produced gave £400 more to the net
proceeds.’  The brisk liquor appreciably blew up the prices, as the same
lots, cut up and rearranged, would come again and yet again under the
hammer; and no doubt many a poor speculator burnt his fingers in that
way, especially when we remember how at one time there came such a
wonderful depreciation of property in what its admirers still love to
term ‘Marvellous Melbourne.’  It may be that there is less drinking now,
and that people go to business and to sales with less muddled brains.
But no one can walk in the shipping quarter of Melbourne on a Saturday
afternoon, or stop at a Sydney hotel for a day or two, without feeling
that in either town there is vast room for improvement in the matter of
drink.  In both places there is a fearful amount of gambling and betting
and wild speculation, and undoubtedly a good deal of that goes on under
the influence of the drink.  Many of the suicides which, as I told the
people of Adelaide, were such a matter of wonderment to me, are to be
attributed to drink, or the depression caused by it when the excitement
is over, and the poor shattered drinker is, indeed, a cup too low and
quite unable in his dazed condition to face the stern realities of life.
Travelling one day from Brisbane to Sydney, the writer met a gentleman,
of whom he asked if Mr. Blank was known to him.

‘Yes, well,’ was the reply.

‘I am going to see him.’

‘Why,’ said the gentleman, ‘he committed suicide only a little while ago;
and the Western Australian papers are full of the details.’

There was no need to say any more.  The poor fellow had gone out as an
emigrant.  At home he had been in the habit of drinking to excess, and in
Australia the loneliness and difficulty of his life was too much for him;
he drank to excess, and then took away with his own rash hand his
blighted life.  In Australia the number of such blighted lives through
drink is far too plentiful.



CHAPTER XII.
AN AUSTRALIAN MILLIONAIRE.
Mr. James Tyson.


AS I was seated in the dining-saloon of the _Orizaba_, an Australian,
pointing to a particular table, remarked to me that there were three
millionaires dining there.  I am no company for such.  They are out of my
sphere.  However, one of them kindly invited me to dine with him in
Melbourne.  I would like to have accepted the invitation.  Alas! I was
engaged to dine elsewhere.  One would like to dine with a millionaire.
Tom Hood evidently did, or he would not have told how

    ‘The company ate and drank from gold,
       They revelled, they sang, and were merry;
    And one of the gold sticks rose from his chair,
    And toasted the “Lass with the golden hair,”
       In a bumper of golden sherry.’

According to popular report, the great millionaires of Australia are Mr.
James Tyson, six millions; Sir William Clarke, three; and Mr. George
Lawson, one and a half.

James Tyson, the well-known Australian millionaire, was born near Sydney
in 1823.  His father was the scion of a good old Cumberland family, but
having offended his parents by marriage against their wishes, he found
things so unpleasant at home that he enlisted in the army.  His discharge
was purchased in 1818, when he emigrated from England in the service of
Mr. Commissioner Bigge, who was sent out to investigate the charges
against Governor Macquarie.  In time, he commenced his career as a
farmer, and died.  His son, after assisting his mother on her farm,
entered the service of a firm of agriculturists, on a salary of £30 a
year.  Many were his ups and downs.  At one time he had to go to a
station for a draft of cattle, which were to be placed under the care of
himself and brother.  James Tyson, to prepare himself for his journey,
cooked as many rations as he could carry on his horse, and of money he
had just one shilling, which was demanded of him by the ferryman for
taking him with his horse over the Murrumbidgee.  Declining to part with
his shilling, he swam over the river, if not at the risk of his life,
greatly to the detriment of his rations.  Again, we find him in another
part of the colony, where, while his brother kept a dairy, James went
jobbing and cattle-driving, until a few of his cattle were fat, and fit
for market.  He afterwards, with the neighbouring stock-owners, sold a
lot at Sydney.  He and his brother, in time, obtained possession of a run
near the junction of the Lachland and Murrumbidgee rivers.  In 1851, when
the gold discoveries were made, James Tyson commenced cattle-driving to
Sandhurst, where he opened up a large business as a butcher, wholesale
and retail, and where he made a good deal of money.  After carrying on
business successfully till 1855, he made some purchases of stations, and
next extended his operations to Queensland.  He afterwards acquired
several immense stations on the Warrego, where, as in Victoria and New
South Wales, he now holds large areas of freehold land.  His mother is
naturally very proud of her distinguished son.  When the Duke of
Edinburgh was in the colony he was taken to see the old lady.  ‘There,’
said the old woman, as the Prince bade her good-bye, ‘you can tell your
mother you have shaken hands with Jem Tyson’s mother,’ and no doubt the
message was faithfully reported.

Mr. Tyson is a broad-shouldered, robust man, standing 6 feet 3½ inches
high.  He has never had a day’s illness in his life; has lived much in
the open air, and prefers it; is a keen sportsman, and a good shot.
Nevertheless, he is a good deal of a vegetarian.  On one occasion, it is
said, according to the custom of the country, in the course of his
travels he rode up to a station for a night’s lodging.  ‘Oh, is that
you?’ said the woman of the house.  ‘You can go and hobble yourself,’
throwing him the leathern straps by means of which the Australian
colonists hobble their horses for the night.  The millionaire is reported
often to indulge in an economical supper of boiled grass, and hence the
woman’s allusion.  A stricter teetotaler there is not in Australia.  Mr.
Tyson has never indulged in a glass of wine or spirits in his life, nor
has he ever smoked an ounce of tobacco.  It is to be questioned whether
he would have had such a successful career as he has marked out for
himself, had he indulged in the drinking customs which were the disgrace
of all Australia at one time.  He owes his good fortune almost entirely
to his energy, his untiring industry, and his great self-denial.  He is a
true friend and a staunch protector of the aborigines on his various
stations, who are all much attached to him, and render willing service.
He is of a very retiring disposition, and has always refused to allow
parliamentary or any other public honours to be thrust upon him.  He is a
bachelor, and mingles but little in society—is, however, very fond of
children, and has always been a liberal supporter of all local schools
and other popular institutions, though generally averse to having his
name paraded before the public.  The exact amount of his wealth is not
known, but he is supposed to have amassed from four to six millions, and,
on one occasion, he offered the Government of Queensland the loan of half
a million towards the construction of a trans-continental railway.  Those
who know him best, say of him as Disraeli said of Gladstone, ‘He has not
one redeeming vice.’  It is to his credit that his temper is so even
that, under the most trying circumstances, no profane word has ever been
heard to escape from his lips.  On one occasion, riding late at night to
one of his many stations, he was refused admission by the keeper, to whom
he told his name in vain, as the man did not believe him.  He slept out
that night, and, when he returned in the morning, rewarded the man
handsomely for his obedience to orders.  Of course Mr. Tyson is not very
popular.  He is too wealthy to be that.  Impecunious people always make a
dead set at a millionaire, and are very wrath if he does not see his way
to set them on their legs again, or, at any rate, to give them a start in
life.  ‘The simplicity and frugality of his habits,’ observes Mr.
Henniker-Heaton, M.P., from whom I borrow most of the particulars of this
sketch, ‘should disarm the envy of those who might be disposed to covet
his great riches.’  Alas! the reverse is the case.  I found few who had a
good word to say of the richest man in any of the Australian colonies,
and all sorts of wild stories are told of him—even as to his exploits
when in a state of alleged drunkenness.  Mr. Tyson has, at any rate, one
fault, and that is he is a very great hater of women; he even dislikes, I
was told, to employ married men.  ‘He sees no good in having a man who is
under the influence of a woman.’  Clearly he holds that no man can serve
two masters.  Poor fellow!  I asked:

‘What is to become of all his wealth?’

‘It will help to make work for the lawyers,’ was the somewhat cynical
reply.

We admire Mr. Tyson for his abstinence, and for his energy, his industry,
and economy.  In this respect he sets the Australians a good example, but
he is not a model to be followed in every respect.  The best of us, it is
to be feared, are poor creatures after all.



CHAPTER XIII.
AUSTRALIAN FACTS AND FIGURES.


Increase of the Colonies—Further Emigration Required—New South Wales and
Free-trade—The Australian Type.

STATISTICS are not pleasant reading.  They are so easily twisted to serve
the writer’s purpose rather than to develop the real truth of the case,
but to please certain readers who are always wanting to know, I give the
Australasian statistics for 1888 laid before the New South Wales
Parliament, which show another year of steady progress on the part of
these colonies.  The total population of Australasia on December 31 last
is estimated at 3,672,803, Victoria standing highest with 1,090,869; New
South Wales, 1,085,740; New Zealand, 607,380; South Australia, 313,065;
Queensland, 387,463; Tasmania, 146,149; Western Australia, 42,137.  The
total increase for the year was 126,077, the Queensland ratio of increase
being 5.59; Victoria, 5.28; New South Wales, 4.10; Tasmania, 2.57; New
Zealand, .66; South Australia, .21; while Western Australia showed a
decrease of 351 persons, or .82 per cent.  There was a total of 26,584
marriages, 122,982 births, and 48,400 deaths last year; the average
birth-rate per 1,000 being 34.05, and death-rate 13.40.  The number of
immigrants and emigrants during the year was respectively 24,889 and
188,230, the excess of emigrants being 65,599.  The Victorian net gain by
immigration was 41,803; that of New South Wales, 21,545; Queensland,
11,805; whilst in South Australia there were 113 less immigrants than
emigrants, Western Australia being on the same side of the balance to the
extent of 1,196, and New Zealand to the extent of 9,175.  Of sheep the
Australian Colonies possess 96,487,811.  Of these New South Wales has
48.20 per cent.; Victoria, 11.20; Queensland, 13.93; South Australia,
7.41.  Horned cattle, total 9,248,949, New South Wales possessing 17.54
percent.; Victoria, 14.19; Queensland, 50.32; South Australia, 4.65.
Horses amount to 1,136,683, New South Wales having 21.88 per cent.;
Victoria, 21.31; Queensland, 607; South Australia, 14.95.  The imports
for the colonies in 1888 were: New South Wales, £20,885,557; Victoria,
£23,972,134; South Australia, £5,413,638; Queensland, £6,544,324.
Exports: New South Wales, £20,859,715; Victoria, £13, 853,763; South
Australia, £6,984,098; Queensland, £5,226,929.  Total imports and exports
for the whole of the colonies, £121,859,908, or £33 15s. 2d. per head.
New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia
exceeded this average, whilst the other colonies were considerably below
it.  The total tonnage entered and cleared at Australian ports amounted
to 14,689,766 tons, of which New South Wales represented 4,765,419 tons;
Victoria, 4,307,883 tons; South Australia, 1,973,651 tons.

In answer to the question why Australia does not attract a far larger
European emigration, the reply is, the mistaken policy of the Australian
Parliament.  The working man in Australia is opposed to it, and M.P.’s
truckle to his wishes.  An Australian M.P. is paid, and he naturally
wishes to retain his pay, and hence he bows to the majority, whether
right or wrong.  If English emigrants went to Australia, as they do to
Canada or America, the Australian colonies would flourish, labour would
be cheap, agriculture would prosper, and the railways would be filled
with passengers whose payments would enable them to yield good dividends.
Mr. Macfie, a gentleman who resided ten years in Australia, and who is a
master of Australian statistics, in a paper read before the Royal
Colonial Society last year, contended that the most urgently needed aid
to Australian development is selecting British and European population
suitable for settlement on the land, and for raising productions for
which there is a large demand in the colonies, the United Kingdom, and in
foreign countries.  Under the present system of government, this seems to
be quite out of the question.  He describes, for instance, the operatives
of Victoria as organized into a compact phalanx under leaders who have
succeeded by dogged persistence in imbuing the colony with the notion
that they constitute the party which controls the voting power at
elections.  ‘So widely,’ says Mr. Macfie, ‘is this assumption believed,
that candidates for the Legislative Assembly, to whom a Parliamentary
salary or political influence is a consideration, defer with real or
affected humility to the wishes of the Trades Hall Council of Melbourne.
The inevitable outcome of this state of political subjection on the part
of members of the House, and in many cases of the Government also, is the
injustice of class legislation.  On the unjustifiable plea that the
tendency of emigration is to reduce the rate of wages in the colony, the
working-classes make no secret of their determination that the Government
shall be prohibited from taking steps to encourage immigration of any
kind, or even to diffuse information systematically, by pamphlets and
lectures throughout Europe, in localities where thousands are thirsting
to learn about Australia, and who would gladly proceed thither at their
own cost, and engage in profitable branches of land culture.’  It is
really discouraging to find that while the Argentine Confederation
receives an addition to its population on an average of 7,000 a week, and
the United States 10,000, Australia, with its splendid climate and other
advantages, only attracts a little over 1,000 persons, old and young,
male and female, per week.  This state of things is mischievous in many
ways.  It is not pleasant to find that, as Mr. Herbert Tritton pointed
out, the Australasian Government debts increase in a very much larger
ratio than the population.  On this head Mr. Macfie makes a rather
alarming statement.  ‘I have,’ he said, ‘recently been informed that a
large investor in Australasian securities, deeply impressed with the
necessity of investigating this subject for himself, proceeded to
Australasia for the purpose of doing so.  He returned to England
convinced that in most of the self-governing colonies the working classes
were barring the door against any effort whatsoever being made to promote
immigration, extend widely agricultural settlement, and thus develop
export wealth to Europe and America.  He arrived at the conclusion that
there was a tendency in the Local Governments and Parliaments to pander
to the prejudices of those who indiscriminately discourage the
introduction of even desirable immigrants.  The belief was forced upon
him that it is no sufficient answer to the fears of the bondholders to
say that the money lent by them goes into reproductive works, such as
railways.  He saw railways constructed to serve an extremely sparse
population in country districts, instead of a population twenty times the
size, which would have rendered the line proportionately remunerative,
had as much care been taken to attract people from Europe as to obtain
British capital to build new lines for the limited number of settlers
established in the districts through which they pass.  The result of that
visitor’s observation was that he sold out—I think, with unwarrantable
haste—his interest in Australasian stocks on his return home.  Whether
his views are correct or erroneous is not the question.’

The one colony that seems to flourish most is New South Wales, under a
system of Free Trade, which, however, I fear is losing its popularity
every day.  ‘Compared with the other colonies,’ said Sir Henry Parkes,
when I was there—‘the only statesman in the colonies,’ observed a
gentleman to me one day—the popular Premier of New South Wales, ‘New
South Wales was the oldest, the richest and the most powerful.  Ten or
twelve years ago Victoria was far in advance of this colony—a quarter of
a million of population in advance of us; but now we were in advance of
her, and intended to keep in advance of her.  In no other country in the
world,’ said Sir Henry, ‘had anyone a chance of making a fortune as he
had in New South Wales, and yet how melancholy is the spectacle, only
peopled, as it were, on the fringe, with cities congested, while the land
remained untilled; with all Europe waiting to buy if the colonies would
but attract people to settle on its vacant lands and till its soil.’

Naturally you ask whether there is arising a distinct type of Australian.
I think there is.  The young Australian is tall, dark, has high
cheek-bones and prominent teeth.  Dr. MacLaurin, who lived a long time in
Australia, and who is able to form a better opinion on the subject, in a
paper read before the British Association, says in New South Wales and in
Tasmania three generations have been exposed to the new conditions, and
the greatgrandchildren of the first settlers cannot be distinguished from
Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Irishmen, by anything in ‘configuration and
type.’  There is no essentially _Australian_ type of man.  It is true
that we find a certain ‘sallowness in complexion’ among the inhabitants
of the colonies, but this may be observed also among those who have been
only a few years resident there.  It is due, Dr. MacLaurin thinks, much
more to the effects of the sun’s rays on the skin than to any _anæmia_
arising from climate.  The alleged ‘lankiness’ of the Australians is also
very much a myth.  Dr. MacLaurin can find no trace of it, after twenty
years of experience in connection with assurance society examinations.
He thinks, if it exists at all, it is only during the period of youth,
when growth goes on more rapidly and under healthier conditions than in
Europe.  ‘The fact is, the Australian youth are, as a whole, better fed,
better clad, and better lodged than the inhabitants of Europe.  They are
not so much exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, and they are not
obliged to work too hard or too early.’  Hence the tendency to a ‘tall,
active, and athletic figure.’  With regard to muscular vigour, the
Australian has proved himself well able to hold his own in the struggle
for existence.  If we think only of the great love of out-door life, of
athletic sports, of racing, rowing, cricketing, and the like, manifested
by all native Australians, we shall come to the conclusion that they
certainly are not deficient in muscular force.  Dr. MacLaurin thinks the
native Australian has no need to fear comparison with the youth of the
mother land.  The professors in the universities and colleges assure us
that Australians are quite as bright and capable as the youth in British
schools of learning; and Australian young men who study in Europe are
always able to take a high position in intellectual competitions.  Some
of them, indeed, have recently taken the very highest places.  When this
subject is studied from the standpoint of longevity and fertility, we
find the same excellent results.  It is true that the deaths among
persons over sixty-five years of age are more numerous here than in
England, but every decade the standard of age is increasing, and when we
take the general death-rate, we find that New South Wales is decidedly
healthy as compared with any part of Great Britain and Ireland.  In like
manner the native Australian is as able as anyone to resist disease,
which is only another way of saying that his physique is thoroughly
healthy and capable of great endurance.

People at home have curious ideas as to Australian distances.  I was
asked to see a woman employed in some charitable institution near Sydney.
When I got to Sydney, on asking for that particular locality, I was told
it was seventy-two miles off.

One sees a great many people who enjoy life in Australia who could not
live at home.  That is one great charm of a country which, as has been
well remarked, would get on very well if the inhabitants would grumble
less at the climate and dam the rivers more.

The whites and the blacks do not seem yet to have hit on a _modus
vivendi_.  It is true the savant does not do as he did in the old times,
coolly shoot a black when he wanted to add a skull to his collection.
But while I was in Queensland a couple of whites did fire on a black, and
a black did kill a white.  Under the new constitution to be granted to
Western Australia, the aborigines are to be placed under the care of a
Commissioner, independent of the Parliament, and responsible only to the
Governor.  £5,000 a year is to be devoted to the purpose, but it is not
clear how a body without police organization can watch and protect the
inhabitants of a thousand square miles.  I quote a case which occurred to
show how matters are at present.  In March last the blacks near Kimberley
speared the horses of a man named Howard.  Whether Howard had given them
just cause I am unable to say.  Howard himself evidently thought they
were the aggressors, as he, with the assistance of a constable, followed
them, and shot some three or four.  The affair came to the ears of
justice, and Howard and the constable were put on their trial for murder.
They were acquitted, of course, owing to the absence of direct proof that
any lives were actually taken, and owing to the doubts that existed as to
whether they simply fired at the blacks on coming up to them, or resorted
to arms in self-defence.

The forests want looking after.  In New South Wales, Victoria, New
Zealand, and South Australia, the Governments are growing alive to the
fact that the forests cannot last for ever.  In many districts the
traveller passes through hundreds of miles of ring-barked country, very
desolate to look upon.  It is pleasant to note that in some quarters
steps have been taken to find a remedy.  Especially is this the case in
South Australia.  Last year as many as 40,000 trees were sent out from
the State nursery for planting.

The land question gives a good deal of trouble.  It has, in New South
Wales, much to answer for, as the great want of the farmer is water, and
he will not improve his property by sinking Artesian wells, at a cost of
£ 1,000 each, unless he has a better title.  On the other hand, it is
held that Victorian prosperity is chiefly due to its liberal land laws.
In New South Wales the farmer is given 2,500 acres with no cultivation
conditions.  He can hold it as he gets it till his time is up, and
transfer it to the squatter, and then go and re-select as long and as
often as he likes, with this result, that there is no real settlement in
the land—no progress, and no employment for the agricultural labourer.



CHAPTER XIV.
COMING HOME.


The Sea—Colombo—Arabi—Ceylon Tea—Stoppage in the Canal—Tilbury Docks—The
Future of Australia—Australia as a Field for Emigration.

ONCE more I am afloat.  I bid good-bye to a friend who was six months
coming out, and lived on salt beef and pork all the while.  In this
respect we have changed for the better.  But the sea, is it ever to be
depended on?

According to the Duc de Joinville, when Saint Louis, King of France, was
on his return journey from the Holy Land, whither he had been to fight
the Saracen, off Cyprus the ship ran aground, and all were in deadly
peril.  But the King refused to get into another ship, preferring, he
tells us, ‘to entrust to God’s keeping my own life and the lives of my
wife and children, rather than ensure so much hurt to such a large number
of persons as are on board.’  Few of us have attained to such saintship,
and, as a matter of fact, as regards most of us, our trust in
supernatural interposition is that of the old woman of whom Mr. Gough
used to tell us who, when asked how she felt when the horse ran away,
replied that she trusted in Providence till the reins broke, and then she
gave up.  Alas, in a stormy sea, in a moment of peril from collision, or
in case of a ship foundering, in the mad struggle for life it seems as
if, in spite of all science has yet achieved, as if there were no power,
human or divine, to ward off that cruel death, which in that hour of
agony seems to ride the whirlwind and direct the storm; and day by day,
and now more than ever, we hear of tragedies at sea which make the cheek
of the landsman, even if he has no loved ones to lament, turn pale, and
his heart to sicken.  It is true ships carry boats, but they are smashed
in launching, or they are launched too late, or they are upset; or if
not, they carry no provisions, or are found deficient in oars, and the
chances are if help comes in the shape of a friendly ship that has seen
the signal from afar, only a few survive to tell the sad tale of cold and
wet and hunger and thirst, under the fearful pressure of which their
shipmates have succumbed.  In the House of Commons, the other day, an
M.P. suggested that an Act of Parliament should be passed compelling
every ship to carry as many boats as would accommodate all the crew and
passengers—an utter impossibility.  Clearly it is not in that direction
that we are to look for help.  It consoles one to reflect, however, that
the commanders and officers of our Australian steamers rarely run their
ships into danger, and manage when in it to get out again.

It is in the dark watches of the night that a passenger feels most timid.
A lady assured me, the other day, whenever it was rough she lay awake all
night expecting the ship to go to the bottom.  I endeavoured to give her
what comfort I could; but night in the tropics is slightly awful.  The
sun drops down into the waters in such a glare of angry red.  The clouds
that come, or rather fly, with the early dawn seem so dark and
threatening, and then the ocean has ever a melancholy wail.  These almost
leave me sometimes absolutely awestruck.  It is not in this case true
that familiarity breeds contempt.

At length I lay down my pen so far as the great country of Australia is
concerned.  I have skirted its coast for many a hundred miles.  I have
tarried in its cities, have seen some of its best men and women, and have
gone up into the interior, where population is scarce and life is of the
simplest and roughest.  I came back by the dear old _Liguria_ from Sydney
to Melbourne, was carried by the _Austral_ to Adelaide, and then left
Adelaide by the _Iberia_, ‘the best ship of the line,’ said an old
Australian to me, with a captain, whose name is Shannon, as fond of a
good game of chess as myself, and who did much to make me and all his
passengers comfortable.  The _Iberia_ is not such a grand ship as the
_Orizaba_, and its smoking-room was uncomfortably small, but we managed
to enjoy ourselves after we had left Cape Leeuwin, always washed by a
stormy sea, and found ourselves once more on the Indian Ocean, calm all
the way as a mill-pond, but hot as a furnace in full blast.  What a
relief it was to see Adam’s Peak, and green Ceylon, and Colombo; to
exchange my warm clothing for the white suit of clothing the Cingalese
tailor makes up for you while the ship is coaling, and to go on shore and
take a ride along the parks and flower-gardens and cocoanut-groves of the
gem of the Indian Ocean, as Colombo is fitly called!  On my return I was
exceptionally fortunate.  Mr. John Fergusson, of the _Colombo Observer_,
had seen my name in the list of passengers, and, with a kindness for
which I cannot be too grateful, had sent a native messenger on board to
take me on shore—a brown, slightly-dressed young gentleman, whose broken
English helped at any rate to while away the time, and to make me forget
the awful heat.  Mr. Fergusson, after a warm reception—all the more
agreeable as up to that time I had not even known his name—being an
editor and too busy to give me much of his time, handed me over to the
care of his pastor, the Rev. Mr. Durbin, a Baptist minister, whose chapel
is one of the most attractive places of worship in the town, and whose
congregation, I found, was in a very flourishing condition.  In company
with this gentleman, I inspected the oldest ecclesiastical building at
Colombo, the old Dutch church, built much after the fashion that prevails
in Holland to this day.  Then we did the Law Courts, a pile of white
buildings, forming a perfect square, crowded all day long with natives,
who are never so happy as when at law with each other.  The courts were
lofty and airy, and the crowd of half-dressed witnesses and criminals
were kept at a respectful distance.  The proceedings were somewhat slow,
as the evidence had to be translated into English for the benefit of the
presiding genius.  Native police guarded both the exterior and interior,
and in the library I was introduced to several native barristers—very
fine, manly-looking men—whose manners and appearance were of the most
unexceptionable character.  In company with Mrs. Fergusson, I visited the
far-famed Arabi Pasha, in his picturesque place of exile—a well-made
Egyptian, in the dress of his country, who received us politely, but the
conversation we carried on was not of very thrilling character.  The
gentleman is shy of interviewers.  A correspondent one day had called on
him, and to his disgust the whole conversation was related in a London
newspaper.  Consequently, now, Arabi says little, though, perhaps, he
thinks the more.  One of our party had taken Mr. Caine, when in Colombo,
to call, but the English M.P. failed to get much out of the wily
Egyptian, though he tried him in every possible way.  Nor was Arabi much
more communicative to myself.  He seemed to me weary of his exile.
Indeed, he told me he would prefer London to Colombo.  ‘He ought not to
dislike the English,’ said a resident in Suez to me.  ‘He would have been
murdered had he stopped there.  He has no friends in Egypt; the Egyptians
always kick a man when he is down.’  I returned to the _Iberia_ in a
catamaran, and with a box of the finest Ceylon tea, kindly given me by
Mr. Fergusson, and which, for the benefit of my home readers, I may
mention may be procured of Messrs. Swan, Laurence Pountney Lane, London,
dealers in Ceylon tea exclusively.

We had the usual fine, hot weather up the Red Sea.  I had a disagreeable
attack of what is called prickly heat—the only consolation, and it was a
real one, being that the weather-wise assured me that if I had not had
it, I should have had something worse.  We did not call at Aden, nor were
we sorry for that, as most of us had got rather tired of the long travel
and exhausting heat.  Already we had had three deaths on board, and were
eager to be safe at home.  One morning the captain pointed to our left,
and told me that on one of the islands far away in that direction the
woman is master, and the man has to take the back-seat.  It would have
been interesting if we could have gone there and seen how they got on,
but mail steamers are bound to keep on their proper course.  He who would
study the islands and waste places of the Indian Ocean must have a yacht
to himself—and there is a good deal to be learned, which can be got at in
no other way.  In due time we were in the Canal—alas! there to remain all
night at anchor, with the lights of old Suez in the distance, which we
were afraid to visit, as we might be off at any moment.  The Egyptians,
with their donkeys on the beach, all night long screamed to us to come on
shore and have a ride.  At length, the _Katie_, of West Hartlepool, which
had grounded and stopped our passage, was got off, and we made our way to
Port Said, which did not prove more attractive on a second visit than it
did on the first.  Of course I went on shore to look at the veiled women
and bearded men, to be attacked by the sellers of cigars and rubbish of
all kinds, and to get very tired of the place, which, however, must do a
good deal of business in the course of the year.

Cooler weather comes to us as we sail through the Straits of Messina, and
pass snow-capped Etna afar off.  We stop at Naples to set down the mails
and take up passengers.  We are full to suffocation.  My cabin, too small
for myself to live in in comfort, has to submit to intrusion: but old
gentlemen who have been spending the winter abroad with their wives and
families have to be accommodated.

At Gibraltar we stop to take up a few more passengers, and to buy Spanish
fans and Moorish trifles.  It really does strike one how, as you approach
the Rock from the Mediterranean, it resembles a huge lion, with its back
on Africa, and its face looking towards Spain.  In the Bay of Biscay
there is what the meteorologists call a slight depression, which means a
little rolling; all that we have had to encounter since we left Cape
Leeuwin.  The rolling, more or less, accompanies us to Plymouth, where we
arrive at night.  The knowing ones get out, and proceed to London by
train, as they say we shall catch it in the Channel.  As usual, the
knowing ones are wrong.  Who but a fool will talk with certainty about
horses, wine, women, or weather?  It is fine, beautifully fine, till we
get to Deal, when down come the heavens in waterfalls of rain.  It rains
all night as we lie at anchor there, waiting for the daylight to take us
to Tilbury Docks, to be examined by Custom House officers in the huge
shed where all the luggage is landed, and the Queen’s taxes paid.  This
is a place where a passenger need have sharp eyes.  I found, after a good
deal of trouble, a beautiful fur rug, which happened to be mine, in a
place where it had no right to be.  It is hard on the passenger, that
Custom House shed, and by the time the poor fellow is shot out at
Fenchurch Street, where he has to seek his scattered luggage at the
hazard of his life, it is not much to be wondered at if he resolves never
to take an Australian trip again.

I must own, however, that no such feeling entered into my head.  The
difficulties which at one time beset the traveller are unknown.  He is at
home among friends.  It is said the last of the Australian Bush Rangers
now keeps an hotel in San Francisco, so there is little to fear.  My
experiences in Australia remain in my memory, and will long remain, as
among the brightest and pleasantest of a life mercifully varied and
protracted more than that of many.  I have seen a sunny land, rich in all
that men hold dear, where our brethren have planted another Britain—minus
the State Church, in which few of us believe, and the aristocratic
element, which all the world over has had its day.  Democracy has grown
to be the ruler of the world, and in Australia the experiment, so far as
it has been tried, is a success.  Material wealth abounds, and statesmen
have provided that ignorance shall be banished the new community; while
the religious of all denominations have shown how churches are to be
built and preachers provided, and Christ’s kingdom advanced better
without a State Church than with it.  In many parts, especially in
Adelaide, I was the recipient of a graceful and lavish hospitality
impossible to conceive of at home.  There, also, I found a civilization
as refined, an energy it may be greater, a hope—as regards this world, at
any rate—more secure.  If we have to mourn over a Paradise Lost, in
Australia we realize a Paradise Regained.  Of the Australian, I may
emphatically say that his lines are cast in pleasant places, and that he
has a goodly heritage.  Whether he will long remain a colonist I more
than doubt.  The colonies, I hold, are prepared for separation; but, when
it does come, it will be not from choice, but necessity.  So long as no
practical difficulties arise, matters will remain as they are.

Is Australia a fitting field for emigration?  Will it provide our
starving East-enders with good living and good homes?  And can the young
man of the middle-class find there the opening for his energies denied
him here?  The last question I am rather inclined to answer in the
affirmative—if he has his head on his shoulders—if he does not rate his
own services too highly—if he does not refuse the first opportunity that
comes in his way.  Friends he will find in the colony ready to lend him a
helping hand, and in most of the towns there is a branch of the Christian
Young Men’s Association, the secretary of which is generally in a
position to give him suitable advice.  It is a fact that people do well
as a rule, and that, thanks to the climate, the tender-chested and
delicate have a better prospect of healthy life than in our damp and
fog-crowned island.  In a land flooded with glorious sunshine, poverty
loses some of its bitterness, for in Australia the blue sky and the
bright sun are the heritage of all.  As to our very poor—whom we gladly
ship off—as a rule I question whether they would be much benefited by
being shot out into the poor quarters of the great Australian towns and
cities.  They are too feeble to stand alone.  There is no help for them
as long as they breed as awfully as they do at the East End.  Charity
seeks to supply their needs in vain, and as to State interference, the
less we have of that the better.  The strong, self-reliant, clear-headed
working-man—the man who can get on at home—will get on out there; as will
also the capitalist who knows how to invest his money.  A man who is in a
good position at home, however, would be a fool to throw it up for the
sake of a chance in the land of the Golden Fleece.

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                  BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.



ADVERTISEMENTS.


GREEN’S BLACKWALL LINE
AND
Devitt & Moore’s Australian Line.

CARLISLE CASTLE.      MACQUARIE.
COLLINGWOOD.          MERMERUS.
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HESPERUS.             TAMAR.
ILLAWARRA.            Etc., Etc.

These splendid vessels sail regularly to and from Australia, and offer
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Each vessel carries a surgeon.

                                * * * * *

                             F. GREEN & CO.,
                          13, FENCHURCH AVENUE,
                               LONDON, E.C.

                                * * * * *



ORIENT LINE. {237}


                         FORTNIGHTLY MAIL SERVICE
                                 BETWEEN
                          England and Australia.

     Steam-ships.        [Picture: Picture of        Steam-ships.
                             steam ship]
      ‘AUSTRAL,’                                     ‘LUSITANIA,’

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       ‘CUZCO.’                                       ‘ORIENT,’

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      3876 Reg.,                                      6077 Reg.,
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      ‘IBERIA,’                                        ‘ORMUZ,’

      4661 Reg.,                                      6031 Reg.,
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      ‘LIGURIA,’                                       ‘OROYA,’

      4548 Reg.,                                      6057 Reg.,
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                     Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.

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_For Passage apply to the latter Firm_.



Footnotes.


{237}  In the printed book this advertisement is before the title
page.—DP.





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