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Title: Colonial facts and fictions: Humorous sketches

Author: John Milne

Release date: December 19, 2022 [eBook #69580]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Chatto and Windus, 1886

Credits: Emmanuel Ackerman, Krista Zaleski and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from scanned images of public domain material from the Google Books project.)




Humorous Sketches




[The right of translation is reserved]



[Pg 1]

Colonial Facts and Fictions.


Residents in foreign lands often think that it is an impertinence if a passing stranger write about them. Those who have been for a long time resident in a country seldom write a description of their experiences. About many things they seem to have learnt how little they really know, whilst to things of every-day occurrence they have become so accustomed, that they do not think them worthy of description. The persons who do write, and who delight to write about a place, are the birds of passage. These persons know very little about their subject. The very fact of only knowing a little about a place adds a charm to an attempt at its description. If you know everything about it you are inclined to write a series of facts, while if you only know a little, there is room for the exercise of the imagination, and the production becomes a combination of truths and untruths.

Reading a book of facts is like reading a dictionary. To make facts palatable they must be diluted as you[Pg 2] dilute whisky. Never having been blessed with a capacity for gleaning facts, I have gradually come to dislike them. Now and again facts have been unpleasantly thrust upon my attention. Some facts come out of two bottles. You take an inch of one and dilute it with two inches of the other. In many respects these facts may be compared to the high and low pressure cylinders of a marine engine. Other facts come out of tall, gilt-necked bottles. First they pop, and then they fizzle. When you have imbibed a lot of these facts, at first you feel jolly. Afterwards you feel unwell. The facts I picked up at Port Darwin gave me a headache. When I came to P.D. (it is an Australian custom to abbreviate), I did not know the difference between a kangaroo’s tail and a gum tree. I do not think that I knew very much more when I left.

The first thing that happened when we dropped anchor, was that the anchor made a great splash in the water. This was followed by the rattling of the chain, and a great deal of vibration. We had many Chinamen on board, and as Australians dislike Chinamen, they do what they can to keep them out of their country. At every port, wherever we went, no matter whether the Chinamen were to land or not, they had to pass a medical inspection. At some of the ports the doctors also inspected the Europeans. ‘Let me look at your forehead, now your chest—Um, no spots. That will do.’

The doctors hold their appointments from the Government; the Government holds its appointment from the working man. The working man, the horny-handed[Pg 3] son of toil, bosses Australia. It is the ‘navy’ to whom we must look for the stringency of the quarantine regulations of Australia. At the present time it is reported in Australia that there is cholera in China. That a ship has a clean bill of health, although it may have come from a non-infected port, although China is as big as Europe, although the ship has been nearly a month at sea, on arriving at Sydney she must go in quarantine. You come from China, you have Chinamen on board; we don’t want you, and therefore in the face of reason and justice, we will do what we can to throw difficulties in your way. But more of this by-and-bye. I am in a hurry to get past the facts.

The water at Port Darwin is dirty green, and it is full of sharks. When people bathe they do so in a big thing like a bird-cage, and the whales and the sharks have to snuffle about outside. These animals are said to regard this treatment as unusually rough. The town at Port Darwin is called Palmerston, but the two names are pretty well synonymous. The place is located on the level table-land like ground above the low cliffs which fringe the bay. Some of the houses, including the Residency, the Government offices, and a town-hall, are built of stone. Nearly all the other houses are built of corrugated iron. The internal arrangement of these latter buildings, which are lofty and gable ended, is quite ecclesiastical. The streets are wide and at right angles. The houses occur at intervals along the sides of these streets. Some of the streets have lots of grass in them. I heard that it was suggested to run up a tall tower in the town to see the Russian fleet approaching. The Russophobia has run[Pg 4] throughout the colonies, and I shall have to refer to it very often. There are about two hundred whites in Palmerston, six or eight hundred yellow Chinamen, and a few aboriginal ‘blacks.’ The ‘whites’ have in addition to the town-hall, several hotels, a public library, a race-course, a cricket ground, two or three tennis-courts, rifle butts, and a dramatic corps. There are some wells in the place, but a lot of water is collected in corrugated iron water-tanks. Many of the residents have an idea that the water is not good, and in order to keep down the comma bacillus and other microscopic organisms, it is advisable to dilute it with liquors imported from Europe. The place is called Port Darwin, because it was evolved out of nothing. The town was called Palmerston because many of the early inhabitants had a habit of carrying a twig in their mouth.

One of the first things we did on landing was to make a pilgrimage to the various hotels. Our object was to see the town, and to read the latest papers. Many of these establishments would be creditable to any town. All of them have mahogany bars, garnished with long white handles to pump up beer. These handles made a great impression upon me—in fact they were indirectly the cause of my suffering from nightmare. That night I had a dream that my head rested on a mahogany counter, and while in this uncomfortable position a young lady, who had got me by the back hair, gave me a series of vigorous pulls. While this was going on, my tormentor smiled and inquired whether I preferred stout or bitter? I should have remonstrated, but my nose was too close to the counter for me to speak. Do[Pg 5] what I would, backwards and forwards went my face across the slippery board, and the musical ‘stout or bitter, sir,’ kept ringing in my ears. At length the movement changed, and instead of having my nose burnished, it was being bumped. This I was told was because I had not replied to the fair persecutor, who, as her anger increased at my reticence, appeared to expand like a concertina. As she grew bigger and bigger, I grew less and less. Suddenly there was a fearful crash, and I awoke to find that Peter’s hat-box had fallen from a rack upon my head. My head with the rolling of the ship had been sliding up and down against the side of my berth, and I imagine that the ‘bob-e-te-bob’ of the screw had been the ‘stout or bitter, sir.’ The blue-ribbon faction in Australia are at present trying to introduce a bill for the abolition of barmaids in Australia. After my dream I felt inclined to offer them my support.

While at the hotel, Peter and I were introduced to an aboriginal. He was black in colour, tall in stature, and had a curly hair. They called him Charlie. I was told that he had been caught wild at a place in the bush about one hundred miles back. When he was first caught the landlord said he was a perfect terror. If you only looked at him, he would snap his jaws, and grind his teeth together like a couple of millstones, and when his passion reached a climax, he would swivel his eyes round and round in circles, snort like a bull, and jump up and down vertically. Charlie was now quite tame, and if we would give him a bob he would take us to an encampment. The opportunity was too good to be lost, for we might now[Pg 6] obtain some authentic information about the aborigines. Before starting, Charlie asked for the shilling, remarking that it should not be squandered in the pot-house, but be kept in remembrance of this visit. We recommended him to forward it to some jeweller in Melbourne, who would mount the coin as a brooch for his wife. Charlie thanked us for the suggestion, and said that he would consult with his family on the subject, and let us know their decision in the evening. The road to the encampment led by the side of the cricket ground, after which there was a sharp descent to the beach. Not having the agility of the antelope, the latter part of the journey was very trying. As Charlie bounded from crag to crag, I observed that the cartilaginous divisional membrane between his nostrils had been perforated. Peter, whose attention I had called to this unnatural aperture, was quite shocked, and remarked that the attention of the Government ought to be drawn to this custom.

The dwellings of the natives were made of a few bent sticks covered with scraps of old bags, bits of bark, and butter tins. The average height of one of these houses was about three feet. You had to enter on all fours, and, when inside, you could enjoy a capital view of the stars, or of the surrounding scenery, through the cracks and rents in the roof and wall. As there was no room to turn round, you came out backwards. The only inmate of the camp was Charlie’s wife—Mary—the remainder of the tribe were away on a fishing excursion. At the time of our arrival Mary was sitting in a hole she had scraped in the sand, playing with a small fox terrier and six small pups.

[Pg 7]

As we approached, Mary rose. She was dressed in a black skirt with six flounces, and had on her feet a pair of French boots. Her back, like the backs of all the native beauties in these parts, was done in ridges. These ridges are produced by making cuts with a piece of flint or glass, and then rubbing in a quantity of sand or gritty earth. The custom originated by an endeavour to imitate the corrugated iron buildings of the Europeans. Charlie said that his wife derived considerable comfort from the ridges. A rigid surface freed itself from water better than a smooth one; also, as Mary often slept outside, the ridges raised her from the damp earth. He had heard that this custom had been highly approved of at the Healtheries.

‘Mary,’ said Charlie, addressing his wife, ‘allow me to introduce to you a sample of the distinguished strangers from the Leviathan now anchored in our bay.’

‘Gentlemen,’ said he turning to us, ‘allow me to have the pleasure of introducing you to my spouse.’ Mary gracefully inclined her head, and blushed a whitish-grey. We bowed.

‘Be seated, gentlemen, be seated. Make yourselves at home,’ said Charlie, pointing to the sand, and then, turning to his blushing wife, suggested that refreshments would be acceptable.

While Mary was engaged at a decayed stump searching for the delicate and creamy grub known to scientists as the Vermiculites filiformis on which to regale her guests, Charles told us the following touching story of her capture.

‘Well, it came about in this way,’ said Charlie,[Pg 8] clearing his throat and expectorating on the sand. ‘Mary and I had been married a month or so when we thought we would take a run down to the seaside as a wind-up for our honeymoon. For a week or so it was a blaze of sunshine, which, gentlemen, is not unusual in these parts. All day long we wandered up and down the beach, chasing little crabs and gathering up shells. At night, tired with paddling in the water, we scratched a hole in the sand, and slumbered. One morning I awoke and I found I was alone. I didn’t think much of it at the time, for Mary had a habit of rising early to catch a particular kind of worm for which she knew I had a partiality. As time passed, I felt a little anxious, and looked about me to see if it was possible to discover the direction which Mary had followed. I tracked her to the beach, and then down to the edge of the water, but as the tide had risen beyond this, her footsteps had been obliterated. “Mary, Mary, my love, where are you?” I cried. But no response beyond the lapping of the waves. That day I must have travelled nigh on twenty miles to the Eastward, in the hopes of discovering some sign of Mary’s whereabouts. At one time I thought she had deceived me, and had fled with an unknown lover. I vowed vengeance. That night I had to sleep in a hole by myself. Next day I travelled well on forty miles to the Westward, when just as the sun was going down, I came on tracks as thick as if there had been a mob of cattle passing. The few minutes of daylight that remained, for you know, sir, in these parts when the sun goes down, the light disappears as quickly as when you blow out a lamp, I spent in examining the tracks to see if I could find one corresponding[Pg 9] to the hoof of my Mary. Just before the light went out, I found the print of a toe which I thought might have been hers. Beyond this there was another little round hole, then a third one, and then a fourth one—one following the other in a crooked line. After I had seen the series there was no doubt in my mind but that I was on Mary’s track. But why was Mary travelling on one toe, and in crooked lines? Had she been waltzing? Was she intoxicated? Had some heathen lopped off her other toes? Who were her companions? While I was thinking over this and a hundred other questions, it became quite dark, and I sat down at the foot of a tree to wait for dawn. I had hardly been there a couple of hours, when a low wailing sound came on the breeze, which had just set in down a neighbouring gully. It was Mary’s voice, and I was off in an instant. In twenty minutes or so I had reached the side of my dusky bride, who, to my horror, I found lashed to a tree. I quickly untied the bonds, and we wept upon each other’s necks. Mary then told me how, when she had risen to capture the early worm, she had suddenly been captured herself by a party of “whites,” who, after putting a gag in her mouth, had carried her off to the place where I had found her. As she was borne alone, she kept putting her foot down to the sand, and thus the toe marks. Her captors were close in the neighbourhood, and had gone in search of me. We must get off at once. Our first move was to hurry towards the beach, where we should be able to travel quickly. Arriving on the shore we almost immediately ran upon a number of tracks similar to those I had seen yesterday. They came from the bush[Pg 10] down to the edge of the water, and then appeared to branch off in both directions along the shore line. Now this is what I want you to mark,’ said Charlie, tapping the ashes out of his pipe on the toe of his boot: ‘the tracks came down from the bush. Not up to the bush. “It is impossible to travel on the shore,” said Mary to me; “we had better take the opposite direction, and enter the bush where the strangers came out.” Little thinking what was about to happen, hand in hand we entered the bush. We had hardly passed the first thicket, than there was a dreadful yell, and Mary and I found ourselves enveloped in a net. The rest of the story was short: we were bound, brought into Palmerston, exhibited for a week in a show, and finally tamed.’

‘But how was it,’ said Peter, ‘that you made such a blunder as to think you were going in the opposite direction to those who caught you?’

‘Well, it was just this way,’ replied Charlie: ‘those whites didn’t act square, knowing if I came along the beach looking for Mary I was not going to run into their arms; they just walked backwards from the shore up to where they had set their darned net. The blacks are up to this backward trick now, so the new dodge is to catch their wives first, and tie them up to a tree as bait to catch their husbands. That is why they call the black women “gins.”’

When we returned to the hotel, we asked the landlord if he had ever heard the story of Charlie’s capture. He looked at us for a minute, and then went off in roars. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘Charlie tells that same old lie to everyone as comes. How much did you give him for the entertainment?’

[Pg 11]

That night Peter and I accepted an invitation to dine at a house where there was a collection of pet animals very closely resembling a happy family. I can only describe those which made some impression on me. One animal was a great slate-coloured bird like a stork. Usually it contented itself with standing stock still, posing as a bronze image. When you advanced to admire the beautiful workmanship, it would give a little ‘sold again’ sort of wink, and walk away. Another remarkable creation was a parrot who was always edging along sideways towards you, as if desirous of seeing how near you would allow it to put its eye to yours. I suggested that it should be provided with a cage. The most remarkable animal of all was a male sheep. This had once been a little lamb skipping about with a blue ribbon round its neck. Since its early days it had grown to the size of a young ox, and therefore, instead of wandering about the house, it had been placed together with other sheep in a paddock inside. In going home that night we had to cross this paddock. As it was close on midnight my companions said that danger need not be apprehended, the sheep would certainly be sleeping. I once thought of turning my attention to sheep-farming, but after my experiences on that memorable evening I think that all sheep ought to be kept in cages, or at least wear muzzles. In was 12 p.m. on the 4th of July. When in future years Americans see me rejoicing on the glorious 4th, they need not embrace me as a faithful citizen. My thanksgivings will be to commemorate deliverance from the jaws of a ferocious sheep. The name of this sheep is Billy. I first saw Billy standing[Pg 12] in the moonlight. The moment my companions saw him, there was a general stampede. I am thankful to state that I kept well in the van. As to what occurred during the next ten minutes I can only speak from memory. There was no time allowed for taking notes. For two or three minutes or so, I am told that I was seen passing very rapidly backwards and forwards over and through some wire fencing. During this time I can remember a snorting and rustling going on at the distance of about two feet from my coat-tails. Each time that I slipped between the wires I could feel the warm breath of my pursuer near my body. Once or twice I heard some vicious, blood-curdling snaps. At last there was a pause. I was on one side of the railings and Billy was on the other. About two feet away from us was an open gate, which at once explained the continued proximity of Billy’s nose to my coat-tails. After grinding his jaws, he snuffed defiantly, threw his head in the air, and marched away. Billy had certainly cleared the field. It took us fully ten minutes to collect together, and then ten minutes more to clear our pockets and shoes of dirt and gravel. The whole thing had been like a thunderstorm. So much for the innocence and docility of sheep. I shall say more about Australian sheep in another chapter.

Next day a nice-looking fellow, called Pater, invited us to join a shooting-party. This would give me an opportunity of seeing something of the bush, so I embraced the offer. As Billy occupied the paddock, it was necessary to make a detour, and we were in consequence rather late for breakfast. We started in a buggy. The euphonious word ‘buggy’ is applied to a vehicle[Pg 13] not unlike a waggonette. The place we went to was called ‘The Lagoons.’ I believe they were the lagoons of some particular person, but I forget his name. It was a long drive of perhaps ten or twelve miles, through tolerably open woods, made up of gum trees and screw palms. The gum trees grew anywhere and anyhow, but the screw palms grew with a corkscrew-like arrangement of their leaves, and only in places where there is water. If everything could arrive at a helical condition by imbibing water, what a time the sailors would have! Our road lay along a proposed railway track, and near an existing telegraph line. The railway line will lead to the mining districts, about 150 miles away. The telegraph line leads to Adelaide, nearly 2,000 miles distant. In position it is something like a line of longitude. We thought of following the line of telegraph to Adelaide, but as we heard that the journey usually took two years, our friends persuaded us to give up the notion.

Here and there we saw a lot of ant-hills. These ants have white bodies and look like little grubs. I forget the colour of their heads. Most ants are very active, and appear to be continually dodging about in a variety of directions. These ants are very slow in their movements. If you had not been told that they were ants, you would be inclined to call them cheese-maggots. To all appearance they are without any particular points, and as ants they are certainly below the average.

The only thing which makes North Australian ants conspicuous is their work. In the woods their business appears to be carting dirt. Five or six ants club together, and having selected a site, they commence to[Pg 14] cart dirt, and they continue carting dirt until they die. Then their children cart dirt. Finally the grandchildren cart dirt. And so carting dirt is continued from generation to generation, until at last carting dirt has become a family mania. All this dirt is piled up to make a mound like a small volcano or a meat-cover. The meat-covers that I saw would hold two or three fair-sized oxen. Of how long it takes to make a meat-cover I am unable to give any exact information, but if I had resided at Port Darwin for a few thousand years I might possibly have obtained some exact date. For argument’s sake, if we suppose that twenty ants, and I never saw more than twenty together in one volcano, carry a pound of dirt per annum, and a given monument weighs two tons, then to build this particular monument it must have taken at least 4,480 years. If, however, just for variety we assume, that a particular meat-cover weighed forty tons, then, with the other assumptions, a meat-cover must have taken 90,000 years to build. Look at the question as we will, the Port Darwin ants possess a history that will vie with that of ancient Egypt.

In one or two places the ants had given a character to the scenery. Some of them, instead of following the meat-cover plan of construction, have built slab-like structures. A group of these erections looked like a graveyard, where the form and position of the monuments had been regulated by legislation. These ants were evidently of a melancholic turn of mind. From careful meteorological observations, carried on during a long series of years, it would appear that they had determined the direction of the prevailing winds, and[Pg 15] had placed these slabs end on to this direction. These were magnetical ants, and might possibly be able to correct a compass.

What all these ants had in their heads when they first started these structures, no one has yet discovered. Perhaps, having travelled over the whole of the Australian continent, they had become disgusted at its flatness, and therefore had endeavoured to alleviate the monotony by building up towns. Maybe they feared a flood.

These are the country ants. The town ants, having during the last few years discovered that their structures form a good cement for tennis-courts and other purposes, have adopted different tactics. Instead of having their houses bored into, their great delight is to bore into the houses of other people. They approach a house by subterranean covered ways. Reaching a post, they bore up it from the bottom to the top, only finishing when they have left a shell of paint. Then they take a second post. Next they may attack a door. This they eat out until it is as hollow as a drum. After this they attack the stationary furniture, approaching everything by covered passages. Somehow they manage to come through the floor just beneath the centre of the leg of the table, or whatever it is they intend to devour. A sheet of lead is no obstruction. I have seen sheets of lead eaten away as if they had been so many pieces of woollen cloth. They began with dirt, next they took to wood, and now they eat metal. They are herbiferous, carniverous, metaliverous, dirtiferous, and all the other ‘iverouses’ that have yet been discovered.

[Pg 16]

Not long ago a bank manager had to write to his directors that he regretted to inform them that there was a deficiency in his treasury. A large quantity of bullion had been devoured by white ants. The reply came by wire, ‘File their teeth.’

The first bird that was shot was a great big white cockatoo. All the other cockatoos, that were with the one we shot, fled away. This happened at a small shanty standing near the edge of a lagoon. I should have shot the cockatoo myself, but it looked too much like slaughtering a domestic fowl. Cockatoos were good to eat, they make excellent pies, and I must shoot every one I saw; but—and here my companions were very impressive—be careful and not get ‘bushed.’

To get ‘bushed’ means to get lost. A direction was pointed out to me where I might meet with some geese. Being in a strange land, surrounded with strange sights, in the midst of woods which, for aught I know, might be tenanted by blacks and bushrangers, I was a little nervous. This was heightened by the caution I had received about getting ‘bushed.’ It wouldn’t do to show the white feather, so waving an adieu to my companions, I put my gun on my shoulder, and started into a cane brake which skirted the side of the lagoon. It was simply horrible; you could not see where you were going to, or where you had come from. At every step your feet plopped into water; now and then you received a slap across the face from an unusually elastic reed that had slipped past your gun barrel. Here and there the bottom became so swampy that I felt I might be bogged. This led to rushing and jumping between bits of hard ground and tussocks of grass. Once or[Pg 17] twice I found that I had become impaled by the nostril on a cane that had been sticking out horizontally. To unthread myself I had to walk backwards. Perhaps this is the way in which the blacks get their noses bored. After ten minutes or so of earthly purgatory, I had advanced perhaps fifty yards. Not having any intention of training for a bushranger, not even if I could have shot all the cockatoos and geese in Australia, I picked out a dry looking spot, and sat down upon a bundle of reeds. While mopping the perspiration off my face, looking at my bird-cage like surrounding, and, I may add, reflecting on my folly, I heard a loud crackling in the canes. It was evident that some big brute was approaching. There are alligators in North Australia, and perhaps this was one of them on his way to get a drink. I would have shouted to my companions, but by this time I knew that they were far away. Then my tongue seemed to be paralyzed and my hair was bristling. Suddenly the noise ceased. The brute had stopped, and I pictured it with its nose upon the ground snuffing at my tracks. At that moment I would have given the whole of Far Cathay, had it been mine, for a moderate-sized tree. The only trees were in the direction from which my pursuer was approaching. Suddenly the crashing recommenced. The animal had snuffed me out, and was coming on in bounds. Another crash, and the monarch of the swamp stood before me. It wasn’t an alligator, but a hairy, snipe-faced animal with long thin legs and an elegant waist. It might have been a dingo or a kangaroo. Anyhow, as it did not look very ferocious, I would try and capture it alive. For some minutes we looked at each[Pg 18] other. As it was clear that it did not intend to open the conversation, and there was no one near to give us a proper introduction, I put on an idiotic smile, and holding out my hand said, ‘Poor doggy—poor ’ittle doggy’—‘poor ’ittle doggy woggy.’ The last phrase seemed to fetch it, for it waggled its tail, but when I rose to make an advance it put its nose in the air, gave a sniff, turned round, and bounded off. Later on, I found that the animal was a Scotch deer-hound, belonging to a party who had come out to the shanty for a picnic, arriving just after I had entered the cane brake.

When I got out of the cane brake I registered a vow never to enter another cane brake while in Australia. The next place where I found myself was in some tolerably open woods. Here I could see what was coming, and if anything large appeared there were lots of friendly trees. The first thing I fell in with were a lot of parrots. These were of all sizes, shapes, and colours. From the manner in which they were guffawing and screeching at each other, they appeared to have assembled for an important debate. If each of them had been provided with a little tin pot and a chain, the resemblance of my surroundings would have been very like the parrot-house in the Zoo. Having been told that cockatoos were game, I picked out what looked like a good-looking bird of the cockatoo order, and dropped him as dead as a door nail. When I picked it up, instead of being a cockatoo, to my great astonishment, it turned out to be some kind of pink parrot. The parrots that had not been shot, instead of flying away as the cockatoos had done, surrounded me and my prize, and commenced a pandemonium of[Pg 19] screeches that it will take long to forget. Most of them sat in the trees, but others flew over my head. What they said I could not well make out, but a lot of it sounded like ‘Oh! you blackguard,’ ‘you blackguard.’ ‘Who shot poor Polly?’ The confusion was only paralleled by that which overwhelmed Baalam. But not being in a mood to be bullied by a parcel of parrots, I picked up my game and marched towards the camp. All the way I was accompanied by a flock of flapping pollies. Some went in front, some came along on my flanks, while some were behind me bringing up the rear—they were like mosquitoes. Every one of them was yelling and squalling fit to break their throats. A pretty lot of companions. Now and then, one bolder than the rest, would almost touch my head. At one time I felt inclined to bury my game. The next moment I thought I would shoot a few of the tormentors. This, however, might only lead to greater trouble. It was certain I could not go into camp with a troop of yelling parrots after me, but how was I to get rid of them? As we went on they appeared to increase in numbers, and their yelling became louder and louder. I now began to regret that I had shot a pink parrot. When within a hundred yards or so of the shanty, I saw an old gentleman with a lady and two or three youngsters seated round a table-cloth. To complete the party there was my snipe-nosed friend of the cane brake, looking out for the tail ends of ham sandwiches. Here a bright thought struck me. If I were to drop my game near to the picnickers, my infuriated companions might perhaps get mixed, as to who had been the murderer. It worked beautifully. Holding the[Pg 20] parrot behind my back, I walked up to within ten or twelve yards of the unsuspecting pleasure party, and, without stopping, dropped Polly and walked along. What happened after my absence I did not stop to see; all that I knew is that when I returned the picnickers had departed. The pink parrot had also gone. Shortly after this I blundered on a second lagoon, which was fringed with tall grass. Before me there was a flock of geese. On the opposite side of the lagoon, and evidently stalking the geese, there were two of my companions up to their arm-pits in water. I felt extremely sorry for my companions, for the geese, on seeing me, immediately rose, and I shot one of them. From the gesticulations of my companions I could see that they were annoyed, so I quickly retreated, congratulating myself at being out of gun-shot. After this I met with a multitude of adventures. The greatest surprise, however, was on my way back to the shanty, where we were to meet for lunch. That I met with a wild beast, there is no doubt. It passed in front of me at a distance of about six feet when I first saw it; its head was in the bushes, and it appeared to be about as long as my gun. It was like a log of wood moving end on. There was no crackling this time. It simply slid along like a panorama, passing out of sight into a clump of screw pines. For a moment I was rooted to the spot; my heart palpitated, and my hair bristled. What was the phenomenon? Could it be anything less than an alligator? If it was a baby alligator, where were papa and mamma? Should I go on, or should I turn round and run? The way I did go was backwards and sideways, the whole time pointing my gun at the clump of[Pg 21] screw pines. Each time that a leaf rustled or I saw a crooked stump, I prepared for the final struggle. When I got back my companions told me it was only an iguana, and I ought to have shot it. They made first-rate curry. I spent the afternoon in keeping camp, watering the horses, and washing up the plates. While doing this, I saw Pater stalking some geese up to his neck in water, at the opposite side of the lagoon to where we were encamped. He shot one of them, and then putting his gun ashore swam about a quarter of a mile out amongst a lot of water-lilies to retrieve the game. Until I saw him safe ashore I was quite concerned about his safety. To be a successful sportsman about Port Darwin you ought to be about eight or nine feet long, and not mind wading.

Everything having been nicely arranged about the camp, I took the cushions out of the buggy, and prepared myself for a siesta. Then I dozed. Just as I had reached the middle of an interesting dream, I was awakened by crackling and a cloud of smoke. Here was a pretty go. The bush was on fire, and within half a mile wild flames were leaping up higher than church steeples. This was worse than alligators. The horses might be saved by turning them free, but the buggy,—well, the buggy might be saved if it was of cast-iron. To get a better view of the conflagration, I climbed on the roof of the shanty. The wind was blowing straight at me, and, at every gust, the flames would seethe along fifty yards nearer. Nearer and nearer came the flames. Hotter and hotter grew the gusts of air, thicker and thicker came the clouds of smoke and smut, louder and louder grew the roaring. Oh! what an ass I had been to venture into the Australian bush! Just as I was[Pg 22] setting the horses free, Pater turned up and asked me what I was about. ‘The fire,’ said I. And then he laughed. ‘Why, we set it going ourselves. It can’t possibly cross that patch of green stuff.’

This was the end of my first experience in the bush. We were all of us awfully tired when we got back, and slept like tops.

Port Darwin is by no means a bad place. For many years North Australia was a white-elephant country, but now it is a land of promise. It is a sort of colony within a colony, being attached to South Australia by the same sort of bonds that South Australia is attached to England. At present Port Darwin is the terminus of the cables from Europe, and the land lines are the Australian colonies. Before a great many years it hopes, by being the terminus of a transcontinental railway, to become a San Francisco or New York. When this is made, the journey to and from the colonies will be considerably shortened; six hundred miles of line now run northwards from Adelaide, and very shortly there will be 150 miles of line southwards from Port Darwin. This latter line will open up a number of valuable mining districts, where gold, copper and tin are already being worked. In addition to mining industries, North Australia offers a good field for the squatter and planter. The squatters, with herds of horned cattle, have already been successful. The planters have, however, thus far failed. When they had good land they wanted capital, and, where they had capital, they were unfortunate in their selection of land. On the coast there are the pearl shell fisheries.

By-and-bye we shall hear that Port Darwin has become as famous as the distinguished savant who gave to it its name. Port Darwin, Good luck! and good-bye.

[Pg 23]


In my last letter I told you about our experiences at Port Darwin. It took us exactly three days to get over those experiences. Those who didn’t sleep, sat on cane chairs gazing at the Gulf of Carpentaria, thinking of their past folly, and speculating when the next flying fish would rise. There is not much excitement in tropical seas. You seldom if ever see a ship, and birds, if there are any, are too languid to take exercise. All is dead save the movement of the waters, and the fluttering of flying fish. We had related all our stories, and it was too hot to invent new ones. After about two hours of silence in the afternoon of the second day, the lively Peter said he would bet a new hat that we could not find in Dod’s atlas, islands corresponding to all the days of the week. I forgot to tell you that one of Dod’s chief amusements was to mark out his route in a big atlas which he had brought with him. Peter’s proposal was accepted, and I am sorry to record the fact that I lost the hat. I am sure that I didn’t lose because the islands do not exist, but because Dod’s atlas was not big enough. It did not even mark the great Thursday Island, which we were approaching. If there had only[Pg 24] been a detailed map of the north end of Australia, I think I should have won. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday Islands exist near Thursday Island, and the only island about which I should have been doubtful, would have been a Sunday island. I don’t think the people who live near the land’s end of the Australian continent could harmonize with an island named after the seventh day. I wonder if Peter looked at the atlas before he made the bet?

Thursday Island is one out of a set of hilly islands forming outliers off the end of Cape York. From a balloon they ought to look like the commencement of a series of stepping stones, reaching from Australia towards New Guinea. If the series were ever complete, the greater part of it has been washed away, and all that remains is the southern end of the line. As we steamed in between these islands, we passed at the distance of about one hundred yards, a steamer coming out. The waving of handkerchiefs was immense. A lady passenger not only waved her handkerchief, but she fairly jumped with excitement, and beckoned to us as if she wanted us all to jump overboard, and swim after her. It was clear she recognised somebody, but, who that somebody was we never discovered. For the next week we used to address our skipper as ‘the sly dawg who flirted with the lady on the Greyhound.’ It has often astonished me how bold ladies become, and gentlemen also, when there is some sort of a barrier between them. When a train is leaving a platform, respectable ladies can sometimes hardly repress a smile at respectable gentlemen, but, while the train is standing at the station, both the ladies and the gentlemen are as solemn as petrifactions.

[Pg 25]

The handful of people at Thursday Island had, like the inhabitants of all the other ports on the Australian coast, made preparations against sudden invasion. Practice was going on at a rifle butt, the lights which guide the ships had been extinguished for many nights, and the hulks holding coals and other stores by withdrawing certain plugs could at a moment’s notice be scuttled. One old lady fearing that on the approach of the Russians, she might have to take refuge in the bush, kept her pockets filled with fishing lines and hooks. At least she would have the means of supplying the camp with fish.

On my second visit to Thursday Island, which was in company with Captain Green, a skipper who is as lively, energetic, and entertaining as any skipper I ever travelled with, I visited a number of the neighbouring islands where we climbed trees to obtain enormous bean pods, gathered orchids, and visited shelling stations.

The bays and islets of Thursday Island and its neighbourhood certainly form pictures above the average of Australian scenery. Near the beach are groves of mangrove, while miles up there are rocky cliffs and patches of withered herbage. It is said that nothing of any value can be induced to grow on Thursday Island, while on the volcanic islands, twenty miles or so to the northward, yams and other vegetables thrive magnificently. One great difficulty which has to be contended with is the want of water, the supply necessary for household purposes being chiefly dependent on what is caught from the roofs. As the quantity of rain which falls is but little more than that which falls in the[Pg 26] great Sahara, the price of washing may be imagined. After three days in Thursday Island you feel that you have lived long enough to start upon your autobiography. After a week you feel that you haven’t the energy for such an undertaking, and you leave the task for posterity.

From sidewalks which are over the tops of naturally formed sand dunes, it may be inferred that there is no Department of Public Works in Thursday Island. There is a nice sandy walk in any direction you like to take. Now and then you may be stopped by a small mountain of old bottles and meat tins.

The persons who live here are of various nationalities. I saw British, Blacks, Cingalese, Japanese, and Kanakas. There were also a few residents from Damascus, and a Polish emigrant from Siberia. The chief occupation is diving for pearl shells. This is done from small boats with diving dresses. The divers hold a monopoly of their business. They get from £3 to £3 10s. for 100 shells, and it takes 8 to 900 shells to make a ton, which is worth from £130 to £150. White men provide the capital for this business, but it is the dark-skinned people who do the actual diving. If a white man insists on diving, the probability is that an accident occurs. The poor fellow’s signals were not understood, and he dies for want of air. The divers take as their perquisite all the pearls they find, which they trade off to jewellers or at grog shops. The pearls ought properly to go to the owners of the boats. At the end of a year a diver, after having received all his food which he insists shall be of the best description, and accompanied with the necessary sauces, finds that he has[Pg 27] from £300 to £500. Then comes the ‘knocking down’ and a general debauch, at which time those persons not desirous of being converted into lead mines or sieves, retire to their dwelling.

Now there is a small church at Thursday Island, and the manners of the cosmopolitans it is hoped may be softened. How they will get on at their christenings without water, is a problem yet to be solved.

Thursday Island is a young place, but still it has its stories. The stories chiefly relate to enormous pearls and the adventures of divers. I was particularly struck with one story I heard, partly because I had reason to believe it to be true, and partly because the scenes referred to were indicated by the narrator as the story went on. It was called:

Ah Foo, the Gardener of Thursday Island.

Pearls and pearl shells are now getting scarce at and about Thursday Island, began the narrator. In early days pearls were common enough to be had for the asking. There are some of my mates here that have had pearls given to them by the handful. They would get a few set in rings for their sweethearts, the balance they would pass on to their friends. The first who discovered this El Dorado was an Israelite from Vienna. He came and bought up all he could, and then he went, and we have never heard of him since. After the first Oriental there came a second Oriental. This was a Chinaman. He called himself Ah Foo, and told us that his home was in Shantung or Shanshi. I forget which. In big colonial towns Chinamen are usually washermen. In the suburbs, and in the country,[Pg 28] they are gardeners. About half Australia depends upon Chinamen for their vegetable diet. As Chinamen supply it, the profession of a gardener has come to be regarded as an occupation by no means comparable with true manhood.

You point to the only fertile spot in a barren burnt up township, and before you can ask what it is, you are told that it is one of those gardens made by Chinamen. They are always making gardens. With the manure they use they will poison some of us yet. Would you believe it, they only use night soil. They are such a dirty lot.

This is all the thanks a Chinaman gets for making a pleasant little green oasis and feeding the whites on cabbages and peas. To be a gardener is looked upon as a Chinaman’s profession. In fact pottering about with a watering pot, and hawking vegetables, is the greatest height to which a Chinaman’s soul is supposed to rise.

Ah Foo, when he came to Thursday Island, started a garden. How things were to be induced to grow, nobody could conceive. That was the Chinaman’s business. If there is a second Aden in the world, it must be remembered that it is well represented by Thursday Island. It seldom rains at Thursday Island, but yet Ah Foo kept digging away at his ground, expecting that some day or other it might produce a crop, and the harvest he would get, for cabbages were worth five shillings each, would well repay him for his labours. But weeks passed, and no rain came, and the Chinaman for a month or so paused in his labours. From time to time during this period of melancholy, he would descend from his hut up the gully, and take a seat upon a bench within the little Public.

[Pg 29]

‘Well, John, and how’s the garden?’ the landlord would ask.

‘Me loose plenty money. No catchee lain, water melons and cabbages no makee glow,’ replied John;—and he looked sad enough for the first mourner at a funeral. Several of the residents on Thursday Island, who had travelled, knew that Chinamen succeeded in growing vegetables in places where even a Mormon would fail.

‘Just let John alone, we’ll have our cabbages yet. Why Chinamen can raise peas out of a bed of salt in a baker’s oven.’ So John was encouraged by a smile and toleration. Many of the older hands on the island hadn’t tasted fresh vegetable for three years, and they regarded John’s efforts with great interest. Now and then a resident who had taken an evening stroll past Ah Foo’s patch, would, whilst taking his tot of square face, casually refer to what he had observed. ‘That garden up there ain’t doing much,’ one would remark. ‘Exactly as I was saying to Smith, here,’ was the reply. ‘Plenty of stones and dirt; I reckon he’s waiting for the rain.’ By-and-bye John’s garden became a joke—in fact a sort of bye word for a bad spec. Still John pegged along. Now and then he could be seen toiling up the hill with two baskets filled with sea weed suspended at the end of a stick. This was manure for the garden.

Six months passed and still there had not been a sprinkle, and John had never produced a single vegetable. Thursday Island was as brown as a baked apple. ‘Curious folks these Chinee,’ said the old resident, ‘always industrious. Why if we had[Pg 30] their perseverance we’d been millionaires by this time.’

People next began to speculate as to what would be the price of John’s cabbages when they did grow.

‘I wonder how he lives? Why it’s half a year since Ah Foo came, and he hasn’t sold a copper’s worth of stuff as yet. I suppose the other Chinamen help him along.’ We heard that they are terribly clannish in their country. In the midst of all the speculations as to the source of Ah Foo’s income, there was a clap of thunder, and the rain fell in buckets’ full. Everybody looked up towards the Chinaman’s cabin as if they expected to see cabbages rising like the magic mango.

A week or so after this down came Ah Foo from his patch boiling over with tribulation. He said, the birds had taken his seeds, and, while all Thursday Island was putting in a coat of green, Ah Foo’s patch remained as brown as a saddle. ‘No makee garden up that side any more, more better look see nother place. My flend talkee that island overside can catchee number one land. I make look see.’ For two months after Ah Foo was heard of cruising round about the islands. And as there were a good lot of shelters knocking about it was surmised that John got his tucker free. At last he returned still looking fat and healthy let it be remarked, with but an expression more woebegone than ever. More better my go away. Spose flend pay my money I go China side. No catchee chancee this side. The rumour that Ah Foo was busted, quickly spread, and a good deal of sympathy prevailed. Hadn’t he tried to benefit them, and, in the endeavour, been ruined. The argument appealed to the feelings of Ah[Pg 31] Foo’s sensitive sympathizers, and as most of the residents on Thursday Island are generous and tender hearted, a subscription was raised to send Ah Foo back to his fatherland. And he left us.

Two months afterwards what do you think we discovered. Why we discovered that Ah Foo had never had a garden at all, and he never intended to have one. All the time he was here he was buying up pearls from the black divers which ought to have come to us. If Ah Foo took a penny out of Thursday Island he took at least £30,000, and we raised a subscription to get him carried off.

When I turned out next morning, I found that we were steaming along past a place called Somerset. So far as I could see Somerset consists of one house. Many years ago it was intended that Somerset should be the capital of this part of the world. Experience, however, showed that a better location might be had on Thursday Island, and thus Somerset was deserted, and Thursday Island adopted. The solitary house which now remains at Somerset was originally the habitation of the Resident. How deceptive atlases often are! The owner of Somerset ought to pay Keith Johnston pretty handsomely for making the world believe that his bungalow is of equal importance with New York or London. What the Russians pay for having the Urals represented as a great big black caterpillar equal to, if not bigger, than the smudge which represents the Alps, I can’t say, but they ought to pay at least as much as the owner of Somerset. I heard that Somerset was a good place to stay at, and get sport amongst the[Pg 32] blacks. Usually you can rely on getting two or three brace per day. The great thing to attend to is to see that they don’t get you. After a careful inquiry as to the population of Somerset, I could only hear of one white man. His isolation has made him famous, and the name of Jardine is known throughout Australia. As we went south, the coast got lower and lower, until it finished as a country of white sand hills. The Queensland Government regard these hills as a future source of revenue. It is here, when trade becomes more localized, that the glass works of the universe are to be erected.

Beyond the sand hills we came to some rocky capes. One of them called Cape Melville was made of boulders, each of which was from the size of a college to a cathedral. It is one of the best bits in the world of rockery work.

All the way down this coast we had smooth water, in fact I believe that everybody has smooth water. The reason for this is, that between us and the open ocean, there is a range of coral reefs running parallel with the land, so that we were sailing down what was equivalent to a huge canal. The length of this canal is about 1,200 miles, and its width from 10 to about 60 miles. If you get into one end of the canal there is but little chance of getting out of it, unless by sailing straight ahead or by turning back. There are certainly one or two openings leading to the ocean, but, those who try to find them, usually find themselves landed in a maze of channels formed by the parallel lines of reef, which together build up the one great reef, which is marked on maps as the Barrier Reef. An old gentleman[Pg 33] on board, whom we picked up at Port Darwin, gave us a thrilling account of his adventures in the barque Mary Ann, which was wrecked on the outside of the great reef in 1864. After the vessel had become a total wreck, he and his companions were fifty-five days in a boat, sailing from reef to reef. At first they subsisted on the few provisions saved from the wreck. These being exhausted, death from starvation seemed to look them in the face. From time to time they obtained a little moisture by licking the dew which during the night was precipitated on their sails. Having eaten their last boot, they felt their end was close at hand, and each one, hoping that their remains would be discovered, scratched a tender farewell to his nearest relatives on his pannikin. They were then encamped upon a rocky reef.

‘Before lying down to die,’ said the narrator, ‘as a last hope I dragged myself to the top of the rocky peak at the foot of which my companions were lying. The sight I saw was one never to be forgotten. We were saved—saved! and I beckoned to my companions to join me. It wasn’t a ship, gentlemen; it was a turtle.’ He called them ‘tuttles.’ ‘Tuttles are plentiful in those seas, but, like blockheads as we were, we had never thought of looking for them. Up came my companions, and there we lay flat on our stomachs peering over a rock, watching the tuttle as it crawled along the beach. How our eyes followed the animal! It was no good trying rushing straight at him, for the darned beast would have rolled into the water. As for surrounding him, there was no chance unless the tuttle went asleep. It was too flat for manœuvres of that description. To[Pg 34] make an attempt, and then to lose him, meant starvation. So we had a discussion, everybody whispering his ideas to his neighbours. If anybody only knew how fast a tuttle could run, we might let him wander far enough back until we could outrace him before he reached the sea. Sam, the cook, said that he had been told that some tuttles had a very good record. In the West Indies they used to race them for bottles of rum. The general opinion, however, was that we had better not try the racing dodge; the tuttle might win. So we all took in another reef of our belts, determined to hold on for half an hour more. By this time, gentlemen, starvation had made us as elegant about the waists as Italian greyhounds. When thus speculating as to the best course to be pursued, Ah Sing, who was cabin-boy aboard, looks up and says, “That tuttle makee new pigen.” We all looked, and we saw that the black-looking rock which had been progressing slowly across the white sand had come to a halt. Presently we saw it going in circles, for all the world like a dog going to sit down. Then it snuffed the sand, and began to scratch with its black legs, throwing up a shower of dirt in all directions. At times the showers of dirt were so thick that the motive power was invisible. “Tuttle’s gone mad,” said one. “By and by he makee hole all same as rabbit,” said Ah Sing. Sam suggested that he was going to lay eggs. Sam, I forgot to say, was an Irishman, and Sam was right. For a moment we forgot our hunger, and just watched. When he had made a hole about as big as a good-sized fish-pond, the turtle squatted down, gave a duck of his head, and laid an egg. Presently he gave another duck, and laid a[Pg 35] second egg. Then a third, a fourth, and so on, until in about twenty-five minutes she had laid seventy-two great white eggs. This finished, she came out of the hole, or what was left of it (for it was nearly full of eggs), scratched some sand over her production, and, exhausted, fell on her back and dozed. We caught the turtle, and also got the seventy-two eggs. It was this as saved our lives.’ After this he told us how they reached the mainland, where they had a narrow escape of falling into the hands of cannibals. Finally they were rescued by a whaler. The story was filled with the most circumstantial detail, and the telling of it took fully an hour. When it was ended, the old gentleman, who looked like a colonel who had seen service in the Indian Mutiny, remarked that he would go on deck and have a smoke. ‘Well,’ said the skipper, when he had gone, ‘I was first mate of the “Mary Ann” from ’62 to ’64, and we never seed no coral reefs. Folks at Port Darwin cultivates their imagination, I suppose, I’d recommend ’im to be a poet.

After three days’ steaming and three nights’ lying at anchor—for our skipper was a cautious old man, and preferred camping at sundown to waking up hard and fast on a coral reef—we reached Cooktown. We dropped our kedge about six miles off the shore, and there we waited lollopping about on a swell until we had been boarded by the local doctor, who came to see if we had imported any disease. All that we could see was Mount Cook, named after the famous captain, and the beach on to which he had run his ship, the Endeavour, after jumping her over several coral ranges when approaching the Australian coast. Mount Cook is about[Pg 36] 1,000 feet high. The beach is flat, and on the edge of the water. After hearing about the famous navigator, we began to think that after all there might be some historical associations connected with Australia. Possibly behind Mount Cook there might be the relics of a baronial hall, a drawbridge, a Roman aqueduct, a moat, or even an ancient suit of armour.

The medical inspection, so far as I could see, consisted in a lot of frowsy men—who seemed, from their general unkempt appearance, to require more inspection than anyone on board our boat—going into the captain’s cabin. I suppose they went to look at the ship’s papers. Anyhow, when they came out they were wiping their mouths. I subsequently learnt that these people whom I have called ‘frowsy’ were really very good fellows; and if we met them on shore shortly afterwards, we might be wiping our own mouths. I regret not having met them. After this, one by one we descended by a ladder of ropes into a boat I’ll call a cutter. I don’t know much about ships, and it may have been a brig. One thing I remember was that it had a thing called a centre-board. Peter said that this was a substitute for the keel, which had been left ashore by accident. No sooner was this centre-board lowered and the sail hoisted, than the boat turned over on her side, and off she set. I thought she was going to upset. Never shall I forget that journey. Before us were waves ranged in tiers like the Sierras of North America. Now and then a larger range, not unlike the Rocky Mountains, would rise. All of these ranges were in motion, and, like regiments of cavalry, came bearing down upon us. Whenever a particularly big range of mountains approached,[Pg 37] the man at the helm smiled. We simply looked from the bottom of the valley, up the watery slope at the fleecy heights looking down into our boat, with horror. Then there was a rise, a crash, a deluge of water, and we sank, wet through, down into the next valley. I never crossed so many ranges of mountains in two hours before. All the time we were holding on like a parcel of cats weathering a gale on a church spire. ‘It’s all right,’ said the man at the helm; ‘we’ll beat the Fanny yet.’ The Fanny was another small brig. ‘Just haul that jib-sheet in a bit, Jim, and I’ll keep her to it. Sorry I didn’t bring some oilskins, gentlemen. A walk ashore, and you’ll be dry in ten minutes.’ Then came another drencher. To continually look at a series of colossal waves coming along tier after tier, every one threatening to overwhelm you, was perfectly appalling. It’s all very well for sailors to imitate the penguin, but landsmen don’t like it. Just before we landed, the ruffian at the tiller said, ‘Fares, please, gentlemen—six shillings.’ Six shillings for having jeopardized your life and shortened your existence by nervous excitement! There was no arguing the point. I always felt helpless when the watchmaker, after looking through a magnifier at your watch, said, ‘Wants cleaning; afraid the mainspring is broken; the chain is off the barrel; two pivot-holes want renewing,’ etc., etc. I have also felt helpless when the doctor, after feeling your pulse, and choking you with a spoon whilst examining your tongue, remarks that ‘Your liver’s a little out of order; am afraid there is a little tuberculosis and spasmodic irritation of the diaphragm. Dear me! cerebro-spinal meningitis. I’ll send you up some medicine to-morrow. Next week[Pg 38] you had better go to the south of France. In the meanwhile be careful and only take gruel and a little beef-tea.’

I was, however, never so helpless as I was with the charms of Cooktown.

What a mess we were in when we did land! I looked at the Major, the Major looked at Peter, and Peter looked at Dodd. Then we mopped ourselves with our pocket-handkerchiefs. Peter suggested borrowing a clothes-line and paying a housemaid to hang us out to dry for an hour. When I looked at the ladies we met in Cooktown during the afternoon, I almost wept at the thought of the miserable wet blotting-papery figure they must have cut when they first came ashore. Since that event, however, their feathers had been dried, and some of them looked quite stylish.

The principal part of Cooktown consists of one long straight street, about a mile in length, lined with a lot of wooden houses and shanties of all sizes and shapes. Usually they are one story high. Here you find confectioners, bootmakers, stationers, general stores, photographers, a whole lot of public-houses, or, as Australians prefer to call them, hotels, and six or seven chapels and schools. The greater number of the latter were a short distance out of the main street, upon some rising ground to the left. The juxtaposition of these two civilizers is very marked in this part of the world. We visited one of the hotels, and endeavoured to get some information about the place from one of the barmaids, who told us she came from London. The Major was very desirous of obtaining information about the aboriginals. He had heard of a curious contrivance called a boomerang.[Pg 39] They used it to catch fish, and he was anxious to obtain one.

On the wall we read a notice that a certain John Smith, being in the habit of making himself objectionable to his neighbours by taking too much stimulant, it was hereby officially notified that it was forbidden to supply the said John Smith with any more liquor.

(Signed) A. B. } Magistrates.
C. D.

A similar notice was to be seen, we were told, in every hotel. John Smith had moved to the next town.

While here, a funeral passed. Nearly all the people were on horseback, and, as an indication of respect to the deceased, wore a white band on their hats. Some had it on their arm.

From Cooktown there is a railway now in progress, which is intended to put the Palmer Diggings in communication with the coast. In many respects it appeared to be similar to an American line. It is to the mines and a few squatters that Cooktown owes its existence.

It took two days’ steaming, and camping amongst the coral reefs, to reach Townsville. The coast was hilly, and the weather rough. The morning tub began to feel cool once more. The place we anchored at was called ‘Magnetic Island,’ and ‘Townsville is out there,’ said the skipper, pointing at the horizon. After about two hours’ waiting, a custom-house officer came off to give us permission to go ashore, and to examine the Chinamen whom we had brought. In Queensland they charge £30 per head on every Chinaman who lands. In all[Pg 40] the other colonies, excepting South Australia, where John is admitted without duty, the tax is, I believe, £10 per head. The labouring man of Australia does not believe in cheap labour, and as he returns the members of the august Assemblies that rule the Colonies, he takes good care to see that restrictions are put upon its introduction. He doesn’t mind buying his provisions from a Chinaman’s store; in fact, in many places he buys all his provisions from the Chinaman. This is because they are cheaper than those bought from his own countrymen. He doesn’t recognise that when a Chinaman builds a railway in the country, he leaves behind him a cheap article. Had European labour built it, the first cost would have been more, and to pay this, railway fares, taxation, or something must increase, which would directly or indirectly fall on his shoulders. The only thing he sees is the Chinaman as a supplanter, taking labour which ought to have been his, but at a higher price. Then the Chinaman leaves the country, taking nearly all his earnings with him. Where a Chinaman fossicks about for gold or tin, and only leaves behind him heaps of débris, the colonist may rightly object; but when the Chinaman leaves behind him roads and important public works, when he feeds and clothes the colonist, and does all this at a rate cheaper than the colonist can do it himself, it is difficult to understand where the objection to John arises.

Many people that I met had prejudices against Chinamen without reason. The steamers coming from China have Chinese stewards and a Chinese crew. Everyone who has travelled on the best of these boats, and also in the best of the Australian coasters, knows that there is[Pg 41] greater cleanliness and comforts to be obtained in the boats from China. On the Australian boats, on account of the number of passengers, the difficulties in the way of cleanliness are undoubtedly the greater. This, however, does not apply to hotels. That Eastern hotels with Chinese waiters are infinitely more comfortable than Colonial hotels, there can be but little doubt. For one who has ever been waited upon by Chinese dressed in spotless white and gliding about without noise, to be transported to the clatter of plates, the squeaking and stamping of boots, and general flurry of a large colonial hotel, the contrast is very marked. One lady I met who had travelled in a China boat, remarked that she wouldn’t travel in those boats any more. Too many ‘Chinkies’ (her name for Chinamen) on board. They smelt.

‘How do Chinamen behave in a gale?’ said a gentleman who was present, addressing the captain of a Chinese steamer. ‘Are they ever intoxicated?’ ‘Well,’ replied the captain, ‘I have sailed with Chinamen for many years, and I have found them good men in bad weather; and what is more, they are never drunk. British sailors are usually intoxicated when they come on board, and for twenty-four hours after leaving it often happens that there is hardly a man who could row a boat. For a passenger-boat to go to sea with a crew like this is almost criminal. As compared with the ordinary merchant sailor, the Chinamen on board my ship are clean.’ This is what the captain said.

So far as I could learn, the working man, ‘the horny-handed son of toil,’ is boss of Australia. He usually belongs to a Union. Union men are subject to heavy[Pg 42] penalties should they ever be found working with a man who does not belong to a Union. They hold shipping companies in check, and they regulate the working of coal-mines.

None of the Australian shipping companies are allowed to carry any but white men as portions of their crew. If boats from other countries run upon their coasts, they are not allowed to carry passengers to ports between Cape York and St. George’s Sound. If they insist on carrying passengers, the difficulties which are thrown in their way become so great that hitherto the attempts to fight against them have failed.

To give an idea of what some of the rulers of the Colonies are like, I repeat as well as I am able, two short conversations I overheard.

First Conversation.

‘Going to work to-day, Bill?’ said a strong-looking ruffian to another who was leaning against a shed smoking. ‘Well, don’t know,’ was the reply. Then after a pause and a spit, ‘Maybe I’ll turn to at two o’clock.’ Then he shifted one of his feet as it was getting uncomfortable, and remarked, ‘Was working all day yesterday. Didn’t knock off until six o’clock.’

Second Conversation.

‘Just cast off that rope,’ said a mate of a vessel that was leaving a wharf to a group of three untidy, dirty-looking men smoking on the wharf. ‘You be——, cast it off yourself; we ain’t paid to work for you.’ They continued smoking, and a man had to go from the ship to cast the rope off.

[Pg 43]

While I was in Australia, a large vessel of some 4,000 tons came from Europe bringing heavy machinery. To discharge the machinery without running any risk of accident, one of the crew was employed as a winchman. This was too much for the other labourers, who insisted that one of their number should be employed as a winchman, whether the machinery were broken or not. The captain was defeated, and had to take the responsibility of accidents occurring through mismanagement.

At present the working man is boss, and until the Australian population has increased he will remain as boss, and exercise a rude tyranny over all who have to deal with him.

Many of the members he returns to represent him are not unlike himself, and I have heard respectable people affirm that the majority of the more educated Colonials would refuse a seat in the Houses of Parliament, even if it were offered to them without contention. I am not quite certain that I believed them, and fancy that they only wished me to understand that certain representatives of the working man occasionally indulged in unparliamentary language.

Although I have said much that is anything but flattering about the ruler of Australia, if I were in his shoes I expect that I should behave like him.

To see a batch of Chinamen come into a district and take up contracts, which I was unable to accept, would be exceedingly annoying if I and my family were driven from the district in consequence of such an invasion. I am certain that I should cast aside all views respecting the general welfare of the colony, and be violent in[Pg 44] what I should call self-defence. Australia is for those who made it, and to be supplanted by an alien would make me very angry. I should also be angry if I found that I was bound to curtail my exertions by the rules of a Union to which, if I did not belong, I might not be able to earn a living. Unions may be used by the lazy to defend them against the industrious.

Here I have chiefly spoken about the lazy, loafing working man of the Colonies; farther on I shall refer to the sober, industrious labourer.

The getting ashore at Townsville was attended with as much discomfort as the getting ashore at Cooktown. The difference between the two was, that here I got nearly roasted; while at Cooktown I was nearly drowned. I started in a thing shaped like half a walnut-shell. It had no seats and was black with coal. In the middle of it there was a boiler fuming and steaming with 55 lb. of pressure. In front of this there were two little cylinders like a couple of jam-pots. This contrivance was called a steam-launch. It took us nearly three hours to reach the shore. All the time there was a blazing sun which cooked our heads, a radiation from the boiler which cooked our middles, and a smell of oil and bilge which upset our stomachs. The last part of the trip was up a narrow river. On landing, the first thing which struck me was a hansom. I promptly engaged it, and drove to an hotel. The next thing which struck me was a confectioner’s shop filled with penny buns. I hadn’t seen penny buns for some years, so I went in and bought one. To my astonishment they cost a penny each. I thought that in this part of the world a penny bun would at least have cost sixpence.[Pg 45] It was just like the penny buns you get in Europe—brown in colour, shiny and sticky on the outside, sweet, soft, very palatable, and I may add, very filling. I also purchased half a pound of sweets. On my return to the hotel I generously offered a young lady who had in exchange for sixpence assisted one in washing down the bun, to take some sweets: ‘Oh, sweets,’ said she, ‘you’re a new chum, I suppose.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘only the preface to a new chum, madame. When I have been in the Colonies forty-eight hours I may aspire to the title.’ ‘I thought that you had not been long amongst the kangaroos,’ was the reply; ‘we call them “lollies” here.’ After that I was often struck with seeing or hearing that euphonious word. Sometimes I saw it in large letters over a shop, ‘Lollies for sale,’ or ‘Lolly shop.’ Then at a railway station I have heard an old man with white hair, who was wandering along with a basket on his arms, droning out, ‘Nuts, oranges, apples, and nice lollies.’

At Townsville I was nearly stranded for want of money. I had with me a letter of introduction and circular notes. I had tried to obtain money in Cooktown, but unfortunately walked into the bank at two minutes past three. ‘Very sorry, sir,’ said a nicely dressed young man, ‘but it is after three.’ ‘But I leave to-night.’ ‘Very sorry, sir,’ said the nice young man. Although I did not see anyone in the bank, I concluded that the young men had been very busy and required rest. It is a great mistake to overtax one’s system, and I was delighted to find a set of young men who respect their constitutions. In Townsville the story was quite different. The trouble with the young[Pg 46] men at Townsville was, that they did not care about the identification of a stranger by his signature. After trying four banks, I crossed the street to a furniture shop, and had a look at myself in a large mirror. My face seemed pretty much as usual, excepting perhaps a trifle anxious as to the prospect of having to sleep in the streets that night. Anyhow, there was nothing suspicious, so I went back to the Number One Bank to have another try. ‘We have not been advised,’ said they. ‘Great heavens,’ said I, ‘we haven’t stamps enough in the country I come from to write letters of advice to all the places printed on this letter. They would cost more than the value of the draft.’ This seemed to strike him, and after discussing the matter in another room, he said, ‘Well, if you will bring some one here to identify you, we will let you have some money.’

In desperation I went to the captain of the steam-launch, who had brought me ashore, who very kindly came to the bank, and, by signing certain documents, made himself responsible. Not only did the young men of Townsville make one feel both mean and mad, but they charged me a heavy commission. Subsequently in my travels my notes were cashed without questions, and without commissions. When the young men of the smaller colonial banks know more about circular notes and banking operations, they also will, perhaps, cash circular notes without commissions and delays. It is hard on their employers that they should send money from their doors. My mind being relieved by having twenty sovereigns in my pocket, I strolled about the town. The street—for there is only one main street in Townsville—contains several good shops. Outside the[Pg 47] town I heard that there were some public gardens, but I had not time to reach them. In the distance, in all directions, excepting towards the sea, there are some tolerably high hills, which in one direction reach quite up to and overlook the town.

I stayed at the Imperial Hotel, a tolerably good sort of place, but with little box-like bedrooms. The average Australian has no idea of the comforts of what a European would call an ordinary hotel. Give him beef, mutton, a solid pudding, and a room like a good-sized packing case to sleep in, and he is contented,—anyhow he puts up with it.

That evening, while strolling in the streets, I was attracted by the sound of revelry in an hotel. As the windows leading on to a veranda were open, I walked in, took a seat, and acquiesced in the wishes of a gentleman who commanded me to help myself. I make it a point never to differ with gentlemen who are imperative on such points. If he had told me to drink it out of a tin mug, and to like it, I do not think that I should have opposed his wishes. At the piano there was a universal genius who could play anything and everything that was called for. A short conversation with my neighbour revealed the fact that we had both been educated at the same school. This led to other acquaintances, and by 12 p.m. I knew fifty (I here speak poetically) people who were willing to identify me. After hearing a lot of music, many songs, violent discussions as to how a Russian invasion was to be met, and finally joining hands to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ I got to bed about 2 a.m.

That morning I started at 8 a.m. by train to visit the[Pg 48] mining district and town of Charters Towers. The distance is between 80 and 90 miles. The first thing I noticed was the dust. In fact the dust insisted on being noticed. It went into your eyes, your ears, your nostrils, your mouth, your pockets and your boots, as if you were to be buried. Some of the trees in the gardens near the railway station were so earthy, that they looked as if they had been planted root upwards. Outside the town the country had an open park-like appearance. The trees were the same old type which I saw at Port Darwin—scraggy gum trees with white stems. There were also a few screw palms. Here and there, there were plains covered with tombstone-like ant-hills. Along the line there were posts marking every quarter mile. By observing these I found that we were running a mile in from seventy to eighty seconds. All the gradients were also marked. It did not take long before I found that I was on a railway line, the engineer for which had some originality. Part of the way I rode in a coupé at the end of the train and I could see what I left behind me. Sometimes I was looking down a slope and sometimes up one. ‘Grand line this,’ said a fellow-passenger. ‘Compensating grades they call them. Wait a bit, and you’ll see some fun presently.’ It wasn’t very long that I waited. The fun began at Reid’s River, where there was a slope of 1 in 25, down to a bridge which was purposely made low in the centre, so that the train could swoop down upon it and then by its impetus climb up the other side. This sort of arrangement saved viaducts. There is another good rush made at the Buredkin River. Here the bridge is said to be too flat, and the train comes down upon it very like a thunderbolt. It makes[Pg 49] passengers quite nervous. When we commenced to lower ourselves gently down the first of these slopes, which I could easily see by craning my neck out of the window, I felt troubled. Very quietly the speed became greater, and I felt my heart palpitating. Then the train seemed to control the engine, and away we went with a lighting-like rush down towards the bridge. At this point I drew in my head, and prayed that the bridge was strong. It was just a rattle and a ‘whish’ and we were climbing the other side. We reached the top, panting and puffing like a broken-winded horse. When the floods are on, the train apparently charges down into the river,—the waters of which may have run above the metals. There was a lot of this, so-called fun, on the road. At the end of it, I felt that my days had been shortened by nervous excitement. The great thing was to know how I was to get back. I have travelled in America over high trestle work, when the engine has crossed with the delicacy of a cat,—feeling every timber as it went along,—not unlike Blondin on a tight rope. In Queensland you felt like a shooting star passing through space. I think I prefer listening to the squeaking of a rickety framework in America to the railway fun in Queensland. At one place we were dragged by two engines, up a series of steep inclines, called the ranges. At the time the line was being made an old lady took a passage down the ranges in a trolly in company with one of the engineers. The trolly got under weigh and took possession of its two passengers, who had to lie down flat and hold on. ‘The trees,’ referring to the bush on either hand, said the old lady when relating her adventures, ‘looked like one tree.[Pg 50] Never had such a journey in my life. Why, it didn’t stop until we were four miles past my house. Further off home than when I started. Never catch me on them trollies any more.’

The man who called this kind of travelling ‘fun’ was an insurance agent. After some conversation he found out where I lived, and how many years I had been there. Then he wanted to insure my life. He informed me that he often got ‘cases’ in the train. With him a ‘case’ was the technical term for a man who is induced to pay a certain sum of money to an Insurance Company. Another technicality with a similar meaning was, I found, ‘a subject.’ ‘I live in an unhealthy climate,’ I remarked. ‘Well, you say you have been there ten years, and taking you as a sample I don’t mind insuring the whole of the inhabitants in that part of the world.’

‘Look here, there is the doctor,’ and he pointed to a little old man in the corner. The little old man said, ‘Yes; I’m the doctor, and examine free.’ I felt I was being cornered. It was no good talking about fevers, earthquakes, the difficulties of collecting his fees, all that he wanted was the first fee. As a last refuge I asked for a prospectus, and told him I would consider the matter.

My having volunteered to consider the matter enabled him, by pointing to me as a semi-convert, to introduce the subject of insurance to the remaining passengers in the carriage, all of whom he would insure at cheaper rates than any other company. By-and-bye a priest got into the carriage. Old Insurance immediately wished him good-morning, and after introducing him to each individual in the train as if he had known them and all[Pg 51] of us for years, entered into conversation on the advantages of life insurance. In Charters Towers we stayed at the same hotel. He often took a seat next to mine. When he sat down to lunch the conversation usually commenced by, ‘Well, have you considered the matter? You’ll never get such a chance again. Just got six new “subjects” this morning, and expect to get four or five more this afternoon. The doctor has been as busy as a bee; haven’t you, doctor?’ The poor little doctor gave a sickly little smile, and assented. Every day that I met Insurance, I felt that I was breaking down. Had I remained in Charters Towers another week I must either have allowed myself to be insured, or else have died from worry. The doctor has probably succumbed. I never saw a man better cut out to be led round and do as he was bidden. If Old Insurance had said to his companion—‘Now dance, doctor—jump, doctor—say yes, doctor—stand on your head, doctor,’ I believe the poor little man would have done his best to comply with the orders. My pity for the doctor was very great.

It seems to be a common thing in Australia for insurance agents with their doctors to be travelling in search of subjects. I subsequently met one or two other sets of subject-hunters, but I never met with one so determined either to kill or else insure you as my Charters Towers acquaintance. The directors of his company ought to raise his pay. The public ought to get him transported.

At Ravenswood Junction there are some experimental works for extracting gold from its ores by chlorinization. From this point we might have branched off to see some silver mines where ore is being smelted in one of[Pg 52] La Monte’s water jacket furnaces. It was nearly one o’clock when we reached our journey’s end. Here the country was open and undulating. There was a little brown grass to be seen, but no trees—at least, near the town. The only thing to break the view were groups of houses, huts, piles of white débris (mullock), and tall poppet-heads. The roads were white and dusty. In places the dust was six inches to a foot in thickness, and so soft that you sank in it like mud. When a cart passed, the cloud it raised rendered it invisible. In the house we found preparations for races in progress. There were many book-makers on the spot, and a lot of jockeys. Sometimes they used bad language and hit each other. Mining first commenced as alluvium work. This was about ten years ago. Now the work is all quartz-crushing. Everybody talks about mining, morning, noon, and night, ‘The Day Dawn is running 14 ounces,’ says one man. ‘Fine body of ore in number two Queens,’ says another. ‘Seen the new heads at the Defiance, Jimmey?’ says a third; and so it goes on until the uninitiated gets sick of mining. When I was returning from Charters Towers I had to get in the train at 6 a.m. As it wasn’t light until about 7 a.m., I could only judge of my fellow-companions by their conversation. In front of me there was a most earnest discussion going on about particular claims. ‘One reef would run four or five to the ton. After they got finished with their new poppet-heads and got down a little deeper, things would be better, etc.,’ etc. When daylight came, I found that all these technicalities were being fired off by two small school-boys, respectively aged about ten and twelve. The children[Pg 53] at Charters Towers must be born with a mania for quartz.

The majority of people can only talk about their own speciality, and they quite ignore the feelings of outsiders who are compelled to listen to their conversation. In Newfoundland everybody talks about codfish, excepting for a month or so in spring, when they talk about seals. The worst old talkers I have ever met have been antiquated skippers. Once when crossing the Atlantic, the smoking-room was monopolized by three old shell-backs who discussed reefing topsails, the qualifications of the barques Sarah Jane and Mary Ann, and other nautical matters, so continually, that in less than two days no other passenger could remain with them.

The gold at Charters Towers occurs in quartz veins or reefs. These, instead of running through the slates in which it was once supposed was the only proper place to expect gold, run through a kind of granite. Of late years gold has been found in most unexpected quarters. Since being in the Colonies I have seen it in calcite, and serpentine. The great gold deposit of Mount Morgan is a mountain of siliceous iron-stone, probably deposited by a geyser. At first it was thought that the whole mountain was a solid mass of gold-bearing rock. Now, however, a tunnel seems to have shown that it is only a skin or covering on the outside of the hill where gold occurs. The ground originally belonged to a young squatter named Donald Gordon. Donald suspected it might contain minerals, and asked the opinion of a scientific professor. The Professor said, ‘It is only iron-stone. Donald.’ Finally[Pg 54] Donald sold his mountain for £640. The people who bought it estimate its value at £9,000,000. Poor Donald!

After getting the blocks of quartz, in which, as a rule, you can’t see a speck of the precious metal, up to the surface, they are broken in pieces with sledgehammers. They would use rock-breakers to do the work, but as rock-breakers, like Chinamen, do away with European labour, I imagine that they must have been tabooed—anyhow, I did not see a rock-breaker. The broken quartz is next thrown into the iron mortars, where heavy iron stampers are at work. When the quartz is sufficiently fine, it escapes like so much muddy water through screens in the front of the mortars, to flow over the surfaces of a series of copper plates covered with mercury. Here a quantity of the gold sticks to the mercury and amalgamates with it. From time to time these plates are scraped, and the amalgam thus obtained is subsequently distilled. Much gold, however, runs over the plates, and it is a great problem as to how it is to be caught. At some mines it is caught on rough blankets, which are stretched over an inclined plane forming a continuation of the copper plates. Still, there is a certain quantity of gold running away mixed with the water and the sand. This material is usually concentrated, that is, it is caused to pass over some machine where the light sand is washed away, and the gold, mixed with iron pyrites and other materials, remains behind. This pyrites material is then roasted and amalgamated in specially contrived amalgamators. Sometimes it is treated chemically. The more rapidly these operations are[Pg 55] carried on, and the greater the flood of water employed to wash the sand along, the more the fine gold escapes. All the escaping water deposits its sediment in pits called slime pits, the contents of which constitute tailings. At all quartz-crushing establishments, you see mountain-like heaps of these tailings. They look like hills of fine white sand. Some of them are sufficiently valuable to be sent to Germany, where the gold, which the Australian miner has allowed to run to waste, is extracted at a profit. Every mill you visit you are told is the best mill in the Colonies, with the best methods and the best machinery. When I looked at the enormous stamps, one could not but think that it was like using Nasmyth’s hammers to crack walnuts. When you saw the general want of automatic apparatus to break and feed materials, you felt that mine proprietors were kind to workmen—who, by-the-bye, usually get about ten shillings a day. When you saw the floods of water tearing over the tables, and through the various machines, you felt that those who sent their ore to the mills were easily contented. I suppose there are reasons for all this, but they were not explained. Notwithstanding all the gold which is washed away, things are brisk. One gentleman was pointing out to me, who, at the time of my visit, was making £1,000 a week. There were a theatre and a circus in the town, and along half a mile of the main street I counted twenty-two public-houses. Altogether there are about two thousand or three thousand people in Charters Towers. On Sunday night I think I saw nearly all of them. They spent the evening in parading up and down the street in a very quiet and orderly manner.

[Pg 56]

At the hotel where I stayed, I had abundance to eat and drink. My bedroom was only nine to ten feet square, and I had to share it with another traveller.

I returned to Townsville the same way as I went. As I did not put my head out at the valleys and bridges, I did not incur the same feelings of insecurity from which I had suffered when going up. At Ravenswood Junction we had a scramble for breakfast, that is to say for a cup of coffee and a slab of steaming meat. Australians are fearfully carnivorous. Each of them eats, at least, an acre of beefsteak every year. This helps to make them big and strong. When I was in Melbourne, some prisoners had been making public a complaint that they did not get meat three times a day. They excited considerable sympathy. Just as I was about to pay for my feed, a rough-looking miner gave me a push, saying, ‘Shove that in your pocket.’ At the same time he threw down four shillings on the table to settle for two. I did not argue the matter with the gentleman.

At Townsville I found a launch waiting to carry me and sixty-one other passengers off to the steamship Warrego. On board we found a number more. It was an awful crush. The steamer was expensively fitted. If they had spent the money in making her a few feet longer, instead of spending it in fittings, we should have been more comfortable. All the saloon and other rooms were lined with slabs of marble. It was rather pretty, but too much like a bath-room. Here I heard very much about mining, and a little about separation and Government jobbery. At present Brisbane, at the extreme south of Queensland, is the capital. Those[Pg 57] who live in the north complain that they pay for railways and other public works which they never see. There is too much centralization in the south. What Northern Queensland requires is separation and a capital at Townsville, then the money collected in the north would be spent in the north. People at Charters Towers say that Townsville is a fraud. It can never be made into a harbour, and their railway ought to have terminated at Bowen, where there is a harbour. The Townsville representatives have been too powerful, and they were not going to lose the trade, which Charters Towers and other places farther inland might bring them. Everybody who sends goods into the interior, or brings them from the interior, can be beautifully squeezed at Townsville. First, the Townsvillians collect dues for cartage from the station to the end of the pier. They are too wise to let their railway be carried to a place convenient for shipping. Next are the dues for lighters out to the ships; and so it continues.

The people at Townsville are clever, and Townsville is rapidly improving. About midnight we stopped at Bowen, but as it was dark I kept in my berth. The next stoppage was at Mackay, where we discharged a lot of passengers, and took in a batch to fill their places. The coast was rocky, with islands and clumps of trees. Speaking generally of our passengers, they were a rough lot. Nine out of ten of them wore soft felt-hats, the brims of which they turned down. Most of them smoked, expectorated on the deck, and jerked the ends of wax matches and tobacco ash in all directions. The captain said that this was the result of competition. It enabled third-class passengers to take a saloon passage.

[Pg 58]

Australia is a land of wax matches. Everybody carries a box. There are apparently certain points of etiquette to be observed in their use. If you are lighting a pipe, and a gentleman asks for a light to his cigarette, don’t give him the match which is burning, but dip your finger in your pocket and let him strike a light of his own. It would be more convenient to you and also to him to receive the light which is burning, but that does not matter. When asked for a light, do not offer your pipe or cigar, but offer a match. In South Australia I heard that they were not considered safe, and only safety matches were allowed. My experience is that they are equally dangerous—both may and do explode on the slightest aggravation. An interesting series of stories might be written on adventures with matches.

Next morning, at about half-past five, we reached Capel Bay, where the passengers for Rockhampton disembarked. All the places down this coast appear to be inaccessible to large steamers. They are situated up rivers, and the rivers have bars. From this point the coast got flatter. During the afternoon there was a little excitement by one of the passengers having a fit; on his recovery I gave him, at his own request, a glass of water and a Cockle’s pill. That night, at about one a.m., there was a cry of ‘Fire! fire!’ shrieked through the saloon. We all turned out, perhaps one hundred in all, men, women, and children—in night dresses. The officers and, finally, the captain appeared on the scene, and we found that it was the sick man wandering about in a state of mental aberration. The captain ordered two stewards to watch him. Shortly afterwards he went up the companion and out on the[Pg 59] port side. The stewards followed up the companion and out on the starboard side. They expected to meet their charge on the deck. He, however, was never found. We suppose he jumped overboard.

Early next morning we were at the mouth of the Brisbane River. On our starboard bow we could see some remarkable-looking mountains called the Glass Houses. One of them, which was called Mount Beerah, is 1,760 feet high. It looks like a very sharp regularly formed pyramid. From its shape, and from the fact that round about it, places have names alluding to volcanic materials it is probably of volcanic origin. It is certainly a very remarkable natural needle. The river is at the entrance very broad, and the land on the banks very flat. Here and there are swamps and fringes of mangrove. As we get higher up we see patches of sugar-cane and a few bananas. The river is muddy and full of shoals. On the banks, the shoals, and floating on the water, there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of beacons and buoys. They help to make up the scenery. As the channels are ever shifting, these indices for navigators are shifted or multiplied. When an invader approaches, the ordinary plan will be to remove or alter the position of the guiding marks. At Brisbane it would be well to let everything remain in statu quo, and if the enemy did not get wrecked, it might be counted as a miracle. At one point there are earthworks forming a fort. Here the river is closed by a boom of timbers. A portion in the centre is left open for the passage of vessels. All these military preparations are due to the expectation of a war with Russia. Even the smallest place in Queensland has done something[Pg 60] to beat off the expected cruiser. In Port Darwin the volunteers were busily engaged in practising at targets. Similar amusements were going on at Thursday Island and in Townsville. At some towns places had been looked for to which bank treasure might be removed.

Now, however, every town, from the snowy uplands of Southern New Zealand to the sandy shores of tropical Queensland, has completed its preparations. At many harbours it would be an unfortunate thing if a belligerent found his way inside. He would most certainly never go out. The war scare has done good. It has placed the Colonies on a war footing.

I found Brisbane a splendid place, in some respects it was not unlike a miniature San Francisco. The streets are, however, much wider in Brisbane. There are some very fine shops, hansoms, busses, barrel-organs, and itinerant musicians with harps and violins. Of course the banks are the notable buildings. Australia is a country of banks. If ever you see an unusually large building, you may conclude it is a bank. Russians have a weakness for big churches. An Australian’s hobby is to build big banks. The Houses of Parliament and the Law Courts were also striking buildings. In the afternoon I saw a lot of grand carriages. Inside them were handsomely dressed ladies. On the box or behind were cockaded footmen. Many of the girls were good-looking. They were, however, chaperoned by their mammas, and you saw what the sweet girls might look like in the sweet by-and-bye. It is a great mistake for a good-looking girl to walk out with an ugly mother. A young man gets frightened. If he didn’t get frightened, then[Pg 61] he is not a philosopher. The girls had better refuse such men.

Many of the men wore tall hats. Tall hats are almost unknown in the tropics. Taking Brisbane as the northern limit, they extend as far south as Dunedin, that is to say, over nineteen degrees of latitude. They have a similar geographical range in the northern hemisphere. There are, therefore, two belts round the globe, each about 1,200 miles in width, in which we may study chimney-pots.

Judging from the brogue I heard in the streets and in the hotels, I should fancy that English, Scotch, and Irish are mixed up in Brisbane in about equal proportions. This may not agree with statistics. Statistics consider people who were born in Ireland as Irishmen. In my estimate I only reckon as Irishmen those who talk with a good brogue, make bulls, and tell every girl they see that she is the prettiest in the town. I spent my first evening with a very jovial Irishman. One thing which he taught me was, that the whisky of the southern hemisphere resembles, in all its properties, that which is made in other parts of the world.

One morning I spent in visiting the Brisbane museum. It is a large building, and is apparently omnivorous in the curiosities it receives. There were lots of minerals to be seen, including a number of very good specimens of opal. Upstairs there was a large collection of oil-paintings illustrating Australian scenery. Downstairs I saw many fossil bones, including those of the extinct gigantic kangaroo-like animal called the diprotodon. The Major was anxious to get some diprotodon shooting,[Pg 62] but when we told him that the animal was 55 feet from the tip of his tail to the tip of his snout, and 55 feet from the tip of his snout to the tip of his tail, making in all 110 feet, that his skin was impenetrable to the bullet of the European, etc., etc., the Major was not so anxious. He saw we were joking, bit his lips, and got quite cross.

From the museum I was directed to the public gardens at the end of the street—‘The gate right ahead of you,’ said my informant. I walked in, entered between two rather fine gate-posts into a garden-like avenue. ‘Odd sort of botanical garden,’ I thought. ‘Trees ought to be labelled. Don’t want to over-educate the people of Brisbane, I suppose. Might be dangerous if they knew a lot of Latin names for trees.’ So I walked on until I came to a big house with a carriage at the door. ‘Good place for a curator,’ I thought. ‘Ought to have started life as a botanist, and I might have had a house like that.’ While looking at the house, and wondering whether a re-education would enable me to start in the plant line, a policeman broke into my reveries by inquiring whether I wanted to see the Governor? ‘No,’ said I; ‘I want to see the botanical gardens.’ ‘You have taken the wrong entrance,’ he replied. ‘You will find the entrance next to the one you came in by.’ So I had to retrace my steps to the entrance next to the one I came in by. This was one of those iron-gate sort of things, like a big squirrel-cage. It had a cast-iron label on, to the effect that these gardens were the invention of Sir George Bowen. After entering the squirrel-cage turnstile, swing the gate and then pass on. Do not pause when[Pg 63] once inside the squirrel-cage, or another person may come, and, by swinging the gate at the wrong moment, crack you like a nut between nut-crackers. Here I found labels and Latin names, nursemaids, perambulators, grassy slopes, and children to my heart’s content. Sir George Bowen’s invention is very pretty, and well repays a visit. I forgot to say that at the museum there are the apartments of the Royal Society of Queensland. They began by calling themselves ‘Royal,’ in the same way that a public-house may call itself the Royal Bull. Subsequently they prayed the Government to petition the Queen for the use of the word ‘Royal.’ This was naturally granted. They have a fine library, and are doing much good work.

[Pg 64]


I had a boomerang given to me when in Brisbane. I have got it yet. If the troubles it has caused me, and the troubles it has in store for me, do not bring me to an early grave, I have the intention of passing this specimen of aboriginal workmanship on to some fellow I don’t like. By the same messenger I intend to send him the address of a respectable undertaker. If you have a deadly hatred for a man—if there is a man who has insulted you, called you a liar and a thief, converted you and your family into paupers, blasted your hopes for this world and the future—just ask him, when he goes to Australia, to bring you a boomerang. Tell him you would like a good big one—a fighting boomerang. He will either be dead or imprisoned before he gets back. My boomerang is a fighting boomerang. It is made out of very hard wood. At both ends it is pointed. The edge of it is like that of a sword, and it is shaped like a young moon. My troubles with this thing began in the streets of Brisbane. It would not go in any of my portmanteaus, so I tied it on the outside of my bag. The bag then became like a double-ended ram pointed at both ends. The first notice I received about my[Pg 65] double-ended ram was from an old gentleman against whom my bag happened to bump. ‘D—n it, sir, what’s that? You’ve torn my trousers,’ said he. I apologized, and felt very mean. I shall never forget the way in which that old man glared through his spectacles, first at me, then at his trousers, and then at the double-ender. The last look decided the course I should take. I might charge him. After this I tried to be more careful, and got on pretty well until I reached the station.

At the ticket-office I found myself in a crowd, and, the persons behind pushing me, drove the double-ender into the legs and hinder parts of those in front. The way in which they jumped and squirmed was quite ridiculous. ‘Please excuse me; it’s only a boomerang,’ I said. ‘Boomerang be hanged!’ said one man. ‘What do you mean by bringing a thing like that for in here?’ By-and-by it got generally known that there was a man with a boomerang in a bag coming through the crowd, and they made a passage for us. The amount of apologies that I made for my boomerang during the next six or seven days nearly killed me. Every time I made a move into a railway-carriage, out of a railway-carriage, near to a group of people where there was not much room, I had always to herald myself by, ‘Ah! please excuse me—ahem! I’ve got a boomerang.’ Once the bag got a side-blow, and swung round to catch me across the calf of the leg; the result of which was that for decency’s sake I had to borrow some pins to fasten up the rent. It is useless to say that the trousers and my leg were both spoiled. My leg got better, but the trousers didn’t. It cost me twenty-six shillings for a[Pg 66] new pair. Once or twice I thought of throwing the thing away; but as I heard that boomerangs come circling back towards the thrower, my courage failed me. To have a thing weighing forty pounds, with the shape and edge of a scimitar, cavotting about your head, was not to be risked. If I had paid a man to throw it away for me, I might have been indicted for manslaughter. I would sooner be mated to a tinted Venus or a Frankenstein than to a good-sized boomerang.

Since the above experience I have tried the thing, and thus far it has not exhibited a trace of the movement attributed to Noah’s dove. At first I only threw it two or three feet; but as I gained courage I threw it farther—first edgeways, then sideways, flatways, pointways, straightways, upwards, downwards, obliquely forwards, backwards, upwards, outwards, and in some fifty or sixty other manners and directions, but invariably with the result that I had to walk after the confounded thing and bring it back. I was afraid to leave the weapon behind—it might kill somebody. I believe I have walked one thousand seven hundred miles after that boomerang. The only way in which I have been successful in inducing a boomerang to return to me has been either by paying a man to fetch it, or else by tying a long string to it. After this it is needless to say that the return of the boomerang is a myth, and as a myth let us relegate it to the land of the unicorn and the deadly upas.

Note.—Since writing the above I met with a gentleman who declares that boomerangs are capable of returning, not simply once, but repeatedly. The difficulty, in his mind, was how to prevent them from[Pg 67] returning. ‘There were tame boomerangs and frisky boomerangs,’ he remarked. My boomerang was probably a tame one. If his boomerang had not knocked over two policemen and dispersed a crowd, he would at this moment have been the inmate of a gaol. It came about in this way. ‘Do you see,’ said he, ‘Christmas was drawing nigh, and I thought I would buy something to amuse the kids. Well, I went into a big toy-shop at the corner of Market Street, and, after looking at a lot of mechanical dolls, rocking-horses, and what not, I decided on taking a boomerang. The young lady, who wrapped it up in a sheet of stiff brown paper, remarked that I had selected one that was rather lively. It was just getting dark when I got in the ’bus, and I put the parcel containing the boomerang on my knee. Once or twice I observed that the thing began to edge along sideways towards the lap of an old lady, who was my neighbour. “That parcel of yours seems to be fidgetty,” said she. At that moment it gave a jump. “O lor’!” said the old lady; “why, it’s alive!” “Don’t be alarmed, mum,” said I; “it’s quite harmless;” and I put both hands over my purchase to keep it quiet. “It’s only a boomerang that I bought to amuse the children.” At the word “boomerang” everybody looked as if they had received an electric shock. One young man put up his eyeglass, an old gentleman looked over his spectacles, the old lady shot open her umbrella, and everybody edged away. If I had said it was an infernal machine the consternation could not have been greater. “Oh, you wicked young man!” said the old lady, still keeping up her umbrella as a shield; but just then the ’bus stopped at the corner of my street, so, wishing my[Pg 68] companions good-night, I got out, feeling, as you may suppose, much relieved.

‘My wife opened the door for me. “Maria,” says I, “I’ve brought a boomerang just to amuse you and the children.” “Oh, you darling!” and she threw her arms round my neck. What she thought a boomerang was I don’t know; but while she was dangling on my neck, the parcel slipped from beneath my arm and dropped on the floor.

‘As to the exact sequence of events which followed this unfortunate accident, I have but a hazy recollection. For a moment or two the parcel bobbed up and down on the floor, until the top of the boomerang stuck through the paper, when off it went with a whizz, gyrating, waltzing, twisting, and turning in all directions, round and round the room. Maria was stretched flat; I got two bangs on the head, but managed to crawl beneath the sofa; the cat was killed, the chandelier was smashed, every ornament was cleared from the shelves. Then it paused, balancing itself on one of its tops on the corner of the sideboard. All of a sudden an idea seemed to strike it, and off it set upstairs. For the next ten minutes I had the pleasure of listening to my Christmas present smashing and banging round every room from the first floor up to the attics. The servant-maids and the children had luckily escaped to the cellar. Suddenly the noise stopped, and Maria, who had found me beneath the sofa, suggested that the Christmas present was taking breath. “This ain’t particular paradise, Maria,” said I. “Oh, Tom, let us run into the street and call assistance.” Just as we had got from beneath the sofa, we heard a hop-hop-hop on the top story. The boomerang was evidently coming downstairs.[Pg 69] “Shut the door!” said Maria; and I did, but only just in time. When I looked through the keyhole I could see Boomey with a bit of string and a streamer or two of brown paper round its neck, sitting on the bottom stair. At that moment there was a fearful knocking at the front door, and the boomerang raised itself on end and hopped off along the passage, as if it expected more sport. Maria ran to the window, and said, “Good gracious, Tom, there’s two policemen!” “Throw them my latch-key,” said I, “and tell them to come in.” I was too busy watching my friend in the passage to do any interviewing myself. By the time Maria had got the window opened a crowd had collected, who, when they saw Maria’s black eyes and tangled hair, guffawed and made some remarks about the old gal getting clawed by her husband. “Excuse me, marm,” said the bobby, touching his hat, “but we’re come to arrest a gentleman a-living in this house for having travelled in the streets with a boomerang.” “Yes, policeman, this is the house he went into; I had him watched,” said an old lady in the crowd. I recognised the voice as that of my neighbour in the coach who had called me a wicked young man. “But,” says Maria, in a state of terror at the thought of legal troubles. “But be hanged!” I whispered to Maria. “Just tell them it’s all right—the gentleman’s inside—and throw them the key. Boomey’ll get ’em!” Just then I could see Boomey dancing up and down, and waltzing about in the passage, as if he had understood the conversation.

‘To see Boomey when the bobby opened that door was particularly fine. He commenced with a gentle kind of tattoo, bouncing round from head to head like[Pg 70] the banjo of a Plymouth brother. He evidently just wanted to get the crowd started, so that he could have some fun a-chasing of ’em. When they did start, the stampede was immense. “Go it, granny!” shouted an urchin from an upstairs window to the old woman who was my accuser; “Boomey’s a-following!” The basketful of rags that lay in front of the door before the crowd got clear would have run a paper-mill for a month. For a week or two the house was in a state of siege. No one dare venture outside the door without first looking up and down the street. At last we got into the way of travelling by going from house to house. By pre-arranged signals an open door would be ready for us. If all was clear, we’d make a rush. If Boomey was following, we’d just snap the door to, and wait until he’d gone. One or two tried shot-guns on him, but it wasn’t a bit of good—it only seemed to make him more vicious.

‘After clearing the town of cats and dogs, Boomey suddenly disappeared. When I was last in Clarenceville I heard that he was raging round a sheep station up in New England, and the contingent had gone up to try their hand on him.

‘After my experiences, sir, you needn’t tell me that boomerangs won’t return; the difficulty is to keep ’em away.’

P.S.—The information for the middle piece of this last story I cribbed from a fellow-passenger. I suspect that he cribbed it from a book. When I and the fellow-passenger meet the original author, we sincerely hope that he will be prepared to reward us for the trouble we have taken in making his remarkable story public.

[Pg 71]


The Darling Downs were the last I saw of Queensland. From Brisbane you go to them by train. One of the waiters at the hotel told me that I had better take my luggage to the station on the evening before starting. If I took them before 8 p.m. I paid a shilling for a cab. If I took them between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. I should pay ten shillings. I shall have more to say about Australian cabs and carts by-and-bye. Independently of the cost of a conveyance, I was glad to take my bag and boomerang to the station in daylight. The latter might have been dangerous in the dark. The train left at 5.50 a.m. It was quite dark, and I did not see much of the country or fellow-passengers until about 7 a.m., when we reached a pretty big town called Ipswich. Here we had a scramble for a very bad breakfast, after which we got into the train almost as cold as when we came out of it. At Ipswich I saw several factories. Up to this point the country was undulating. Farther on I saw a number of post and rail fences, a few small houses, and a great lot of gum trees forming open woods. After a climb up a range of yellow sandstone hills, we entered a park-like country.[Pg 72] Here and there were a lot of palms with heads on them like tufts of grass. These were grass trees I suppose. Now and then there was a creek, consisting of a series of pools of stagnant water. These I put down as an example of the so-called water-holes we read so much about in books on Australia. Near the water there were some trees which looked like pines. These I learnt were river oaks. Some big trees were called honeysuckles. There are a lot of things in Australia which are not what they look like. Sometimes we rushed past a ploughed clearing. It may have been planted with wheat. In a few hours more we were again amongst hills, and as we wound in and out, gradually climbing upwards, I had glimpses of many pretty scenes. At mid-day we reached Toowoomba—the capital of the Darling Downs. I don’t know whether I have spelt Toowoomba right, but it is a very good example of the Hoos and Woos and Moos and Boos they are so fond of in Australia. The letter O is a great favourite. In Sydney I saw a word, in fact, I saw it every day, with eight O’s in it. It was usually on an omnibus. At first I couldn’t read it for astonishment. The next time I saw it I got as far as Woo, but as I ran my eye along the length of the wonderful word, it got confused. It is easy to lose your way in a good long word, especially if it is stuck on a bus and the bus is moving. Once I chased a bus along a street, but I never got past Wooloo. After that my sight was dazed, and I was in a jumble. On returning to a hotel in the evening, I described my troubles to the waiter, who wrote the mysterious word for me, and after ticking slowly off the letters I found it was Wooloomooloo.[Pg 73] I was told that Woo-loo-moo-loo was the war cry of the aborigines, who resisted the landing of the early settlers. Wooloomooloo, it may be observed, rhymes with Timbuctoo.

The latter part of the climb up to Toowomba (I spell the name differently in different places because I hope that I may get it right sometimes), which is situated on the very edge of the downs, was steep enough to require two engines. If our engine had not been so leaky, it might possibly have done the work alone. I never before saw an engine that could afford to lose so much steam through its cylinder covers outside a workshop. I am glad I went up to Toowomba, if it was only to see this engine. The view looking back down the incline, over the heads of the trees which filled the valley up which we had come, was beautiful and extensive. Gum trees, in quantity, do very well for general effect; when you get close to them, then you see too many spaces. A forest of gum trees would look all right if viewed from above, say from a balloon about ten miles high. Turning round and looking ahead the scene was altered. Before us were the undulating open Darling Downs, brown, flat, and anything but inviting. In spring time, when they are green, they may perhaps be prairie-like, and beautiful to the eye of the farmer, but as I saw them with their miles of wire fencing, they were not so interesting as the desert of Arabia. I was always going to places at the wrong season. They are of basaltic formation, which probably overlies the sandstone which I had seen below. Perhaps the basalt welled up through great fissures; perhaps it came from some of the small conical hills which I saw[Pg 74] farther along the line. All the water from the basalt contains magnesia. New-comers don’t like it. It produces peculiar effects. Now and then I saw flocks of sheep. They did not seem to be eating. If they liked dry stubble, clay, or bits of basalt, they might do very well. They were usually standing still, with their noses all pointing one way. Why sheep should keep parallel, and cows point about in all azimuths, I couldn’t make out. I thought I should never get across the downs. Late in the afternoon the basalt was replaced by sandstone, and we reached the thriving township of Warwick. Here I saw a race-course. Every town in Australia has a race-course, I fancy. Some of them have two or three racecourses. Racing is an Australian mania. Australians like cricket, football, rowing, and athletic sports generally.

At Warwick there were a lot of Toowoomba football boys waiting to go home. They must like football very much to cross the Darling Downs for a game. I would as soon cross the Sahara. From Warwick we again commenced to climb up hills. On either side we had open forests of gum trees. Now and then we saw a wallaby or a kangaroo. Wallabys and kangaroos are like gigantic crickets covered with hair. They have long tails. Their great forte is jumping. From what I saw, I fancy they would win the long jump at any athletic sports. Unless closely pursued by the hunter, they do not care about jumping over wire fences. They get past obstacles like these by lying down and rolling through between the wires. Like donkeys, kangaroos carry their battery in their back legs. When cornered by a pack of hounds, the kangaroo pivots and[Pg 75] places his back to the aggressors, and astonishes them with lightning-like jerkings of his battery. Dogs are often disembowelled by kangaroos. Some kangaroos have pouches in which they carry provisions. If one kangaroo picks the pocket of another kangaroo the fight which succeeds is terrific. At Thulimba, where we passed some clay slates and granite, we were at an elevation of 3,004 feet, so said the railway guide. It was cold enough for 10,000 feet. When we reached Stanthorpe, which was the end of the line, it was bright moonlight and freezing hard. Half an hour’s walk took us to Farley’s Hotel. Stanthorpe is a funny little place. It consists of a few low, one-storied houses along the sides of wide roads, I can’t call them streets. They have too much grass on them to be streets. I hardly know why, but I shall remember Stanthorpe, the last town I visited in Queensland, for very many years. Perhaps the difficulty I had in getting there makes me remember Stanthorpe. After a long journey at sea, any rock may be hailed as a paradise. The hotel was like a little old-fashioned English hostelry. There was the white-capped maid-servant, and there was the open hearth with its huge log fire. When I looked at these logs fizzing and crackling and throwing out a generous warmth, I thought well of scrubby gum trees. The best thing, however, was the steaming fragrant half an acre of beefsteak. ‘Will you try a little more beefsteak, sir?’ said Mary; and I tried another perch or so. ‘Will you try a little pie—will you try a little salt—will you try a little bread?’ Everything, it did not matter whether it was flesh, fish, fowl, vegetable or mineral, Mary always inquired if you[Pg 76] would try a little of it. In this respect I may remark that Mary was like nearly every waiter I met in the Colonies. They all wanted you to try a little. The usual reply is to say, ‘Yes, please, I will try a small piece more.’ If it is steak, a small piece means the usual slab.

Stanthorpe was at one time one of the principal tin mining centres in this part of the world. There is still a little mining going on. The tin occurs in grains and pebbles distributed through alluvium. The earth is thrown into boxes or sluices through which water is flowing. The light materials are washed away and the heavy tin remains behind. At one place I was shown a band of granitic rock, through which grains of tin were disseminated. It is probable that it was by the decomposition of rock like this, that the alluvium deposits have been formed. On my way out to this we passed the house of a gold miner who had at one time been so elated with his success, that he made horseshoes out of gold, with which he shod his horse. After a five-mile ride, I believe the shoes were carefully removed.

During the night I found it bitterly cold. Next morning everything was white with frost, the ground was steaming in the rising sun, and there was ice half an inch thick in the pails. This was tropical Queensland. The streets were quiet, and with the exception of one man, who was drunk and holding a maudlin conversation with a post, they were deserted. This was the first time that I had heard a man talking to a post, and I was quite interested to know what they had to say to each other. People do sometimes talk to inanimate objects. I once heard of a certain Mr. Smith[Pg 77] who, when returning home late at night, had a conversation with a pump. ‘Hillo, Tompkins, old chap! Hie! you’re out late to-night.’ Tompkins was the pump. ‘Why don’t you walk about? Hie! Very ridiculous standing there. You’ll catch cold, and what’ll your wife say?’ Here Smith made a long pause, wondering why his friend was so silent. ‘Can’t you talk? Suppose its beastly pride. I’m not proud. Gimme your hand, and let’s help you home, old chappie.’ And rolling up to the pump he took hold of the handle.

‘Oh! ’ow cold your ’ands is; you gimme the shivers. You’re like an iceberg, Tompkins!’ Just then the pump-handle, under the weight of Smith, slightly moved and squeaked. ‘Hillo, you’re wheasy, old man. Let’s go and get six pennoth ’ot. Your wife’ll blow me up if I bring you home cold.’ Leaning a little more on the pump, the handle suddenly sank, and Smith tumbled forwards just in time to receive a deluge of water from the spout. ‘So you’re sick; are you, you beast? No need to treat a fellow like that. Shan’t stay here any more. May take yourself home, Mr. Tompkins.’ And away Smith rolled, muttering something about ‘beastly behaviour’ and the ‘evil effects of drink.’

My man was not so bad as Smith. He had got his arm round the post of a veranda. At one time he looked like the picture of Samson carrying off the gates of Gaza. At another time he was like a revolving hobby horse. His conversation was too inarticulate to be noted.

I spent a Sunday in Stanthorpe. A gentleman at the hotel took me out for a drive. As we went along he carefully pointed out the devastation left by the[Pg 78] Chinese. ‘They come here,’ he said, ‘bring nothing but a blue blouse, eat nothing but what they import themselves, work out the ground that ought to be worked by white men, and then they go carrying away gold, and only leaving those heaps of gravel’ (here he pointed with his whip) ‘where they have been fossicking. They are usurpers of a white man’s country. The white man is starving, and his wife and daughters are thrown on charity, and all this because our Government is wicked enough to let Chinamen come in the country.’

As we came back I saw a small Australian bear lying dead at the foot of a tree. It looked to me like a sloth. It is a feeble, timid creature, but has certain peculiarities which renders it worthy of a passing note. When up a tree which is being felled, it has been known to sob and cry with so much pathos, that the woodman has often ceased his work, and gone beneath the branch on which he hung to seek for falling tears. Many bushmen have sobbed themselves, and no one, I have been told, can fell trees in Southern Queensland without several pocket-handkerchiefs. A tender-hearted man can never earn a livelihood by felling trees. The child-like grief of this little bear has been known to overcome the stoutest hearts. Even the bloodthirsty bushranger has had his heart softened by its weeping, and chronic sorrow is not uncommon in districts where this animal abounds.

From Stanthorpe I travelled by coach to Glen Innis. It was a long journey through the bush. I started at 8 a.m., and got to the end of my journey at 6 a.m. next morning. I thought I was going to die in this journey, so I am not likely to forget it. I had a box-seat[Pg 79] all the way, and a box-seat in a gale of wind, with the thermometer below zero and wearing ordinary summer clothes, is not an enviable position. The scenery was certainly lovely. Outside Stanthorpe we crossed the track of a new railway line, which in time will be the connecting link between the lines of Queensland and New South Wales. Near here we crossed the border between these two colonies. After that our road was over hills and valleys through interminable bush. Once or twice we saw a kangaroo, and now and then a wallaby. Some of the old kangaroos, which are known as old men kangaroos, will often sit up and stare at you before they jump away. ‘No papers this morning, Jim?’ said a driver to one of those old men sitting near the road, and the old man jumped away. ‘Dear me,’ said a new chum, sitting next the driver. ‘I didn’t know that kangaroos were so civilized.’ When the driver told this story all the passengers in the coach laughed immoderately, and, not to be conspicuous, I joined them.

At one of the stations where we changed horses, I was very much amused by watching two frisky lambs chasing a flock of geese. The geese were terrified and flapped away from their pursuers. Presently a dog appeared about half a mile away, and the frisky lambs bolted in the opposite direction. At the next station to this there were only young girls living. They groomed the horses, and gave us our dinner. At all of these places we had glorious wood fires and open chimneys, at which we could toast our frozen feet. As we jogged along, the driver tried to instruct me about gum trees, and to illustrate his lessons as we passed[Pg 80] along, he grabbed bunches of leaves from overhanging trees, which he gave me sometimes to smell and sometimes to taste. Some of them were not unpleasant to the nose, others were frightful. ‘Some you might live on,’—at least that is what he said.

Notwithstanding all that I was taught, gum trees are to me all alike—a scraggy variety of the vegetable kingdom. Tenterfield, which we reached in the afternoon, is a nice little town with modern buildings, some of which are three stories high. It is situated on an open undulating country laid out in blocks for farming purposes. Many of the gentlemen in the streets wore tall hats—many the ladies wore brilliant and shiny black satin. By this time the box-seat had begun to tell on me, and I was more than wheezy. Notwithstanding something hot and a bag of ‘lollies,’ by the time I reached the next station, which was a solitary house in the bush called Bolivia, I could only whisper. This was at 9 p.m., and it was a question whether I should stay and die at Bolivia, or get in the coach to be hauled along to die at or about Glen Innis. At Glen Innis I might get a decent burial. In the bush there would not be much ceremony. This latter ride, through dark bush, on rough roads, up hill and down dale, with your marrow frozen, is not to be forgotten. The cold I got remained with me for three months. All this is extremely personal, but as it may possibly be the means of preventing some other innocent wanderer from anticipating death, I put it in. When I am next seen coaching in a tropical country, I hope to be wearing a fur coat and a blanket. All that I can say about Glen Innis is that it is a good-looking town with[Pg 81] several fairly good hotels, situated about 3,500 feet above sea level.

From Glen Innis to Newcastle there is a regular English narrow-gauge railroad. The carriages were, so far as my unprofessional eye could tell, a senseless copy of what there is in the old country. In winter they were bearable, but in summer the carriage I was in must be stifling. It had neither curtains nor sunshades. The Brisbane line was American, narrow gauge and with long carriages on bogie trucks. At one place we passed over a height of 4,500 feet. This was on the side of a mountain called Ben Lomond. All the way down to Newcastle through New England there was much cultivated country, and many prettily situated towns. The journey took fourteen and a half hours.

At Newcastle I took quarters in an hotel, which was not the best one in the place. A fellow-traveller on the train recommended it to me as the best house in Newcastle. You entered at a bar where there was a stream of visitors passing in to drink, and then passing out rubbing their mouths with their coat-sleeves.


My bedroom was like a cellar taken upstairs. But for a glimmer that came in over a door leading into a drawing-room, I was in utter darkness. It was even necessary to light a candle to dress by. When next morning I interviewed the landlord I inquired as to the nature of his contract with the neighbouring barber, for[Pg 82] no one could possibly see to shave in his establishment.

“What, were you in number sixteen?” asked the landlord. “I gave strict orders that no guests were to be put in that room. The trouble that I experienced about that room nearly killed me once. If you want me to pay your barber’s account I’ll do it with pleasure, but anyhow you might take a drink before you leave just to show that you don’t owe me any ill feeling on account of having slept in number sixteen.” All the while the landlord looked so anxiously at me, that I began to think that he was astonished at seeing me alive. “Can’t visitors sleep in number sixteen?” I asked. “Sleep indeed,” was the reply, “the difficulty is to stop them sleeping. I had one man sleep in the room for nearly a week without ever coming out of it.” “Well, what’s the matter?” I inquired; “has there been a murder committed in number sixteen, is it haunted or what?”

“It happened in this way,” said the landlord. “Just about this time last year, we had a lot of visitors from up country making their way southwards towards Melbourne, anxious, I suppose, to be in time to see the Melbourne Cup. One cold drizzly afternoon an elderly man arrived carrying in his hand a small yellow portmanteau tied up with a rope. He said he had been sitting in the coach for the last three or four days, and was very tired. From his dirty clothes and a curious limp that he had got, we could quite believe that he had been knocking about for some time.

“I asked my wife what we should do with the stranger, as all the rooms were full. ‘Oh, put him in number[Pg 83] sixteen, Joe,’ said my wife. ‘It’s dark now, and maybe he’ll get up pretty early and never know that there’s no window.’ At that time I may tell you that the door into the drawing-room had not been made, so there was no window. The quantity of steak and bread that the old man put away while having his supper was something terrible. Matilda, who had been sitting in the back parlour listening to the order which he gave, said ‘she thought he was provisioning a fortress.’ At last he went to bed. On his way upstairs he hoped that number sixteen was a quiet room, and that no one would disturb him in the morning. He wanted to make up for the sleep he had lost sitting in the coach. As I was going downstairs I heard him lock and double-bolt his door, and then commence to hum a tune. This was at 9 p.m. on June 30th. I don’t know whether you can believe me, but that door was not opened until 12 o’clock on the 5th of July. Of course we didn’t take much notice of him next morning. He wanted to sleep he said, and perhaps might not turn out until 12 o’clock. When dinner time came I had forgotten all about him. You know it is difficult for us to keep the run of all our guests, and, besides, he might have been outside attending to business in the town.

“That night, however, Susan, the chambermaid, told my wife that she could not open number sixteen; whenever she knocked at the door there was no answer. We thought it a bit odd, but as he said he was tired and wanted to sleep we did not disturb him.

“Next morning, as he did not turn up to breakfast, my wife was a bit anxious, and said to me, ‘You’d better go[Pg 84] upstairs, Joe, and see if number sixteen is going to get up.’ Well, after knocking at the door two or three times, somebody inside said, ‘Hillo! what’s the matter?’ ‘Ain’t you going to get up?’ says I. ‘All right,—presently,’ was the answer, and I went downstairs and told my wife.

“Dinner time came and then tea time, but still number sixteen hadn’t come down. ‘Better go and rap again, Joe,’ said my wife. Up I went, and after thumping on the door till I heard somebody inside grumbling about a noisy house and people not being allowed to sleep. ‘Are you never going to get up?’ I said through the keyhole. ‘Will get up when it’s daylight,’ was the answer. ‘He’ll get up when it’s daylight,’ said I to myself. ‘Why, it’s nearly forty-eight hours since he went to bed, and he talks of sleeping twelve hours more.’ When I told my wife what number sixteen had said, she looked at me a moment, and then said, ‘Joe, this comes of putting a man into a dark room. It never will be daylight in there.’ ‘Matilda, you’ve struck it, exactly,’ I said; ‘the old fool thinks it is in the middle of the night.’ Then we discussed what we should do. ‘Better let him alone to-night,’ was Maria’s suggestion; ‘he has got to sleep somewhere you know. We can tell him that it’s daylight to-morrow morning.’

“Next morning I was at the door of number sixteen pretty early.

“Rat-tat-tat went my knuckles on the panels. ‘Hillo!’ was the answer. ‘Going to get up to-day; it’s morning,’ says I. ‘Morning be hanged,’ was the answer. ‘If you don’t go away, I’ll call up the landlord and have you removed. Don’t want to be disturbed by intoxicated[Pg 85] visitors. Telling me it’s morning when it’s pitch dark. You’re drunk.’

“Well, I was just flabbergasted to be called drunk. At this moment Matilda, who was getting curious about the stranger, had joined me. ‘He calls you drunk, does he?’ says Matilda; ‘let me talk to him,’ and rat-tat-tat went Matilda’s knuckles on the door. ‘Hey, you inside there, are you going to get up? You’ve been sleeping sixty hours,’ said she.

“‘At it again, are you, old fool?’ was the answer. At the word ‘old fool’ you ought to have seen Matilda’s face. I thought her eyes would have come out of her head. ‘Old fool!’ she gasped, ‘me an old fool; it’s the first time I’ve been called an old fool, and in my own house too.’ For the next ten minutes Matilda kept on saying ‘old fool’ to herself.

“Me an old fool and my husband drunk indeed! I’ll give it to you, you wicked old ass,’ then, putting her mouth to the keyhole, she poured into number sixteen’s ears such a shower of superlative adjectives as he’ll never forget. I didn’t know she had it in her. ‘You dirty old bear, do you think we’re going to have you hibernating all winter in our bedroom. Get up, you old beast, and we’ll teach you some manners. So you think Joe’s drunk, and I’m an old fool, do you? Out you get now, quick, before I call in the policemen. You old villain, you, to think you can insult people in their own house.’ Here she paused to get a little breath. She was just putting her lips to the hole to continue, when there was a fearful bang on the door, and something which sounded like a boot dropped on the floor.

“‘Joe! Joe!’ said Matilda, ‘he’s thrown his boot at me,’[Pg 86] and with a little scream she fell fainting in my arms. For the next few hours number sixteen held quiet possession of his apartments while I was plying Matilda with brandy and cold water.

“What was to be done nobody knew. ‘Starve him out’ was one suggestion. ‘At nine o’clock to-night he will have been in bed seventy-two hours, and he must be getting pretty hungry.’

“By this time the other guests in the hotel had got wind of the fact that there was something strange going on in number sixteen, and several of them left us.

“Nine o’clock came, but yet there was no sign that the old man intended to capitulate. All night long Matilda was so worked up about our guest that she would not let me sleep. We couldn’t burst the door open, because it was double-bolted. It would be easier to cut a hole through the wall—the one on the drawing-room side was only plaster and wood.

“‘If we can’t starve him,’ said Matilda, ‘we can stop the old bear from sleeping. Yes, that’s what we’ll do.’ Next morning we were up betimes, and the business of keeping number sixteen from sleeping commenced. The work we did that day was something terrible; we took it in turns, two hours at a time, beating a frying-pan on the door-handle. At first the visitors who had remained in the house thought it a joke, but towards evening several of them thought it a nuisance, and moved with their traps over to the Great Northern. Number sixteen never made a sound. At eight o’clock that night, when Matilda came up to relieve me with the frying-pan she said: ‘Suppose he is dead, Joe?’ He seemed to have heard this. ‘So you are there again, you old fool, are[Pg 87] you; it isn’t your fault that I’m not dead. You have had your racket for the last twelve hours, now I’m going to have mine;’ and then there commenced such a row as you never heard. How he managed it I don’t know, he seemed to have got all the fire-irons tied together and kept them bumping against each other and the wooden wall. ‘Stop! for goodness’ sake, stop!’ I shouted. ‘Oh, no,’ says he. ‘Why have you stopped? Please go on; the two together will make a charming duet!’ and then he continued to bang and clash as if he was going to bring down the house. By eleven p.m. every visitor that had remained in the house had disappeared, and there was I, Matilda, Susan, and Jo, the ostler, listening to the inferno going in number sixteen. At midnight two neighbours came in saying they couldn’t sleep, and if the row did not cease they would report the house as disorderly, and have our licence cancelled. Of course nobody slept that night. Matilda spent most of her time in weeping. ‘Let us try quiet measures to-morrow,’ I suggested.

“Next morning we both went to the door, and told the gentleman that he had been in bed for nearly five days, and if he would get up we should be much obliged. We were sorry, we said, that there was no window in the room; but if he would open the door, we would give him a light.

“Getting quite ‘perlite’ we heard him remark to himself, and then speaking louder he said ‘he would do what he could to oblige us.’ Then we heard him step on the floor. For a moment there was quietness; but it was only for a moment, for immediately afterwards we heard a crash. ‘My looking-glass!’ said Matilda, and tears again[Pg 88] began to run down her face. Presently there was another crash. ‘There go the washing utensils!’ I said; but, before I could tell him how to steer, we heard some fearful abuse, and he told us he had got into bed again. He couldn’t steer through a pot-shop in the dark.

“‘Never mind the things,’ sobbed Matilda; ‘do please try and find the door.’

“‘What will you give me to try?’ said he. ‘You have imprisoned me in a dark cell for five days, my feet have been cut with trying to get out, and I am nearly dead from starvation. I shall certainly prosecute you when I do get out. If you will push £5 through the keyhole, and send with it a bit of paper, saying that the money is on account of the five days’ pleasant company I have afforded, I’ll make a try and say no more about the business.’ There was no doubt but that we were cornered, so, after a consultation, we poked the five sovereigns and the bit of paper through the keyhole.

“After he heard the sovereigns fall, he asked us to shine a light through the hole; and, as you can guess, it wasn’t long before he found the door.

“When he was gone, and we went to clean up the room, we found the bedclothes full of the tailings of ham sandwiches and crumbs of bread. Underneath the bed there were several empty bottles. What the yellow portmanteau tied up with string had contained was clear; but why a healthy, strong man should come and camp in a bedroom for five days, it took us long to discover. We had all sorts of theories. Tilly had a notion that he was hiding to escape justice.

“Some time afterwards the mystery was solved by some strangers from Rockhampton laughing over a[Pg 89] story that they had seen in one of their local papers. It was about a fellow who won a wager of £500 by staying at an hotel in Newcastle to which he was a perfect stranger, and being paid £5 for the pleasant company he had afforded.

“I never like strangers to sleep in number sixteen now, sir.”

The trade of Newcastle is indicated by its name. Although there are no collieries in the town, the town has nevertheless a very dingy aspect. It looked like a town where there ought to be coal—like a town where there was more business than pleasure. At breakfast the landlord officiated at the slabs of meat and mounds of steaming chops. It is a common thing in the Colonies for landlords and landladies to do the polite at the head of the table. To me they were like watchdogs, guarding the spoons and forks. When you go away they are usually very friendly, and shake hands. One landlord, after two hours’ acquaintance, began to slap me on the back, and commence his sentences with, “Now, Tom, old boy!” If landlords are jovial, this does not matter very much; but when they are of a retiring disposition, they make you feel that they are obliging you by giving you admission to their houses. One rule for a traveller in Australia is to remember that, in entering an hotel, he is not necessarily obliging the landlord. While breakfasting I looked over an old copy of the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miner’s Advocate, where, under the title of “Football on Sunday,” I read about an unfortunate little boy who had been summoned by the police for having played football on[Pg 90] Sunday in the Royal Park. Oh, you goody, goody people! How particular you are not to be naughty on Sunday—that is to say, on the particular twenty-four hours you have set apart to represent Sunday! When you are roistering, your father and mother in Britain may be praying; and when your father and mother in Britain are roistering, you may be praying. You seem to recognise your vices, and you do what you can to prevent them. On Sunday you close your public-houses for the whole day, and on week-days you usually close them at night about ten o’clock. You would not even go to the limits of a Forbes-Mackenzie. On Sunday you stream to your churches, with the spires of which many of your towns are fairly bristling, and often listen to the wisdom of a young man. You look up to him, admire him, and discuss him. Even if his views are palpably wrong, you tolerate him and give him support. While travelling in the Colonies I talked on religious subjects with several persons, all of whom were wealthy—one was a member of Parliament—who inveighed against all forms of religion but their own, in a manner which reminded me of the fanaticism of the Middle Ages. One gentleman, and a high Government official took me round one Sunday evening to look through the windows of a Roman Catholic chapel, where we saw a priest swinging incense. “Look at the idolaters! They are the ruin of the country; they ought to be classed with savages, and swept off the face of the earth!” was what he expressed.

Religion of this sort is a religion of all who are partially educated. They regard themselves as the[Pg 91] centre of the universe, and, regardless of what their own particular views would have been had they been reared in Mecca, they have the conceit to publicly express the measures they would adopt to reform the world. In the Colonies there are undoubtedly many of every denomination who have an education and ideas equally advanced with the leaders of similar denominations in other parts of the globe. About these we will say nothing—we only speak of the generality; and that generality, I must confess, was judged of by a small experience. One measure of the general uncouthness with regard to religious ideas is the enormous support the Salvationists have received in the Colonies. Where is the country in the whole world which has given a greater support (I reckon support by percentages of the whole population) to the Salvation Army than Australia? Ranting, raving, roaring processions of the lower classes may be seen in every town. A low, uneducated mind apparently finds comfort in a rough form of worship.

Look, again, at the followers of the Blue Ribbon. I have never yet been on a steamer where some of these gentlemen desirous of advertising their principles have not been present. Further, it has but rarely happened that they have not opened an argument about their views to a fellow-passenger, who in many cases was perhaps a better exponent of their doctrines than they themselves. To declare your principles may be heroic, but it is only the vulgar who make themselves objectionable when making their declarations. Nearly every Blue Ribbonite I met with was decidedly vulgar, and, like the Salvationists, bold but ignorant. When these middle lower classes of Australia are educated, there[Pg 92] may be fewer examples of these primitive kinds of worship. The same may be said for other countries.

Notwithstanding all the religious parades which continually bumped against me, I observed that vices were about the same as in other countries. There was the usual gambling to be seen on steamers and in hotels, the usual betting and bookmaking, the usual drinking, the usual games at euchre, and, in short, the usual everything.

The traffic-manager of every railway tries to stop smoking, or at least to surround smoking with so many discomforts that it will stop itself. In New South Wales, for instance, you read at every station, “Any person found smoking on the railway premises is liable to a fine of £2.” Still you get a smoking-carriage. To call it a truck or van might be better.

On the suburban lines of Melbourne, between the hours of four and eight in the afternoon, you get a sort of smoking-box to sit in. It almost seems to have been intentional to make the smoking accommodation as filthy as possible. Nowhere in the world—and I have been round it and round it in many directions—did I ever meet with smoking-carriages in such a very dirty condition as those near Melbourne. If you got in quickly, you might possibly get a seat. If you were late, you had to stand in the middle of the van (for the conveyances are more like vans with seats round them than carriages). There is a mat, which I always saw in a state of sop: this was produced by saliva. To drop a parcel would be to leave it, for it would be too soiled to pick up.

If people are crammed together like pigs, a place has a tendency to become like a pigstye. Why Victorians[Pg 93] are content with the smoking accommodation provided by the suburban lines at Melbourne is a mystery.

From Newcastle I made a trip to one of the coal-mines, distant perhaps ten miles. Part of the journey was accomplished on the ordinary railroad; the remainder of the journey, on a private line, was made in a locomotive kindly put at my disposal by the proprietors of one of the mines.

On the Newcastle line I was particularly struck by a large printed notice at the bookstall, which ran as follows: “Persons not requiring books at the stall are requested to leave the same alone.” This was in large type, and the not was underlined. Directions for the guidance of the public so courteous as this are worthy of record.

My companions in the railway-carriage are also worthy of a note. To see one lady that is stout and plain is not an unusual occurrence; but on the memorable day of July 30, 1885, I had no less than ten stout ladies to admire. Each of them looked cross, and, from the way in which they glared at me, they were evidently strong-minded. Perhaps I was in the compartment reserved for ladies; but as the train was in motion before this dawned upon me, my mistake could not be rectified until I reached the end of my journey. Once or twice I glanced upwards, just to see a battery of flashing eyes, a circle of fat red faces, and bale-like heaps of lace and spangles, each of which extended over the area usually occupied by two people. While breathing a close atmosphere of rich perfumery, I made the calculation that as the most fairy-like of my companions weighed at least 200 lb., the whole ten of[Pg 94] them must have reached the enormous weight of 2000 lb., or nearly a ton. Fancy being cooped up with a whole ton of female beauty, each unit of the whole having a strong intellect, and being at the same time fearfully muscular. I often wondered whether they were on their way to some show. They looked domestic, and, assuming they were blessed with spouses, the spouses must have felt blessed too. From these remarks I do not wish it to be supposed that all Australian ladies are like the remarkable ten into whose company I unintentionally had forced myself. Australian ladies are as pretty and as enchanting as the ladies in other parts of the globe. Abnormalities occur in every country. I only remember seeing one other stout lady. She was jolly and agreeable, as stout people usually are. I travelled with her for perhaps two hundred miles. By the time the first hundred were over we were quite confidential. She was going to see Parker. Parker was her husband. Her name was Cleopatra, but her husband called her Cloppy for short. “When I left Parker three years ago,” said Cloppy, “I was slim as a lath.” At the end of the journey Parker was standing on the platform. He must have looked at Cloppy for at least two minutes before he opened his mouth. When he did open it, he smiled, then he grinned, until finally he couldn’t contain himself for laughing. We had to pat him on the back. “Why, Cloppy,” he said, and then he was off in convulsions again; “I hardly knew you. You are fat!” and he was off again in tears. “Well,” replied Cloppy, who was commencing to look a little bothered, “if I’d thought you was going to make a fool of yourself in this way, I’d never have come. There now,[Pg 95] come along;” and she led Parker away with his sides shaking.

There are big men as well as big ladies in Australia. The tall men you see about the streets and in the hotels they are often quite noticeable.

The coal-mines well repaid the visit. I was shown every courtesy that could be desired. There was no particular reason why I should have been shown any courtesy whatever. I visited the coke-ovens and works above ground, and afterwards walked some miles underground, where everything that was remarkable was carefully described. On the surface I was particularly struck with the size of a coal-box. Ordinary coal-boxes are portable; this coal-box had been made too large to admit of removal. It held, I was told, upwards of 3,000 tons of coal. If they had told me that it would have held half the coal in the universe I should have unhesitatingly accepted the statement, and noted it down as a fact to be publicly recorded. This box was built of wood. It stood on legs, so that locomotives and whole trains could run underneath it. Beneath this particular coal-box—for at other mines there are also coal-boxes—there were three lines of rails, so that three long trains could seek the shelter of its wings. These wings were sliding doors. Open the doors, when, presto! the trucks beneath were full, and three great trains could start away laden with a cargo of black diamonds sufficient to supply the British fleet. Unfortunately, the British fleet never came to be supplied. Newcastle folks have had a mania for coal loading. At Newcastle itself they have a wonderful arrangement of hydraulic cranes, which lift whole[Pg 96] trucks, much as we would lift a spoonful of soup, and then tip it into any portion of a ship where the coals are wanted. In many cases I believe that the supply comes in more quickly than those in the ship can get it trimmed. It is a wonderful fact, but skippers say it is a fact, that, in consequence of this, the coolies of China and the boys and girls of Japan can load an ocean-going steamer as fast with coals as it can be done with the hydraulic cranes of Newcastle. At Nagasaki I have been told that the passing in and passing out of a cargo is a sight to be remembered. Women or boys stand shoulder to shoulder up the gangways from the lighter to the steamers. The baskets of coal fly along from hand to hand, and so rapidly, that no individual ever carries any weight; all that he does is to give the flying parcel an additional quantity of momentum. The empty baskets pass back in a similar manner. The general effect is that of a huge circle of revolving baskets. All this is accompanied by parrot-like chattering and giggling. The Easterns are a happy lot. When they have finished coaling they wash themselves.

Underground I was shown where a great fire had occurred. In places the coal was burnt to a cinder. As you receded you passed places where it was only coked. The shales that accompany the coal had been baked to a state of brick or porcelain. This fire had been put out by flooding the mine with water. This was accomplished by making a huge syphon out of a 6-inch pipe, and conducting water from a creek which, at the time of the fire, very luckily happened to be in a state of flood. The seam I saw was six feet thick. In places it was a bituminous coal; in other parts it had a stony[Pg 97] look—this was splint coal. On one occasion this splint coal had been returned, the buyers thinking it was shale. As a matter of fact, it was a better coal than the bituminous variety. Buyers often grumble about it. One thing of interest was a contrivance for automatically greasing the wheels of the coal-trucks. Another striking arrangement was a bar of iron called a “bull,” which was to stop a truck from running away, supposing it got free when on an incline.

Sydney was the next great city which I visited. There is a daily, or rather nightly, steamer communication between Newcastle and Sydney. Before long there will be a railway connection, when the steamers will have to lower their prices, or to seek their freights in other ports. It was night when I left Newcastle. On my way to the wharf I asked a young man the way to the boat for Sydney. His reply could not even be put in Latin. In all countries which are leading factors in the world’s advancement, we find the over-civilized, the civilized, the semi-civilized. The gentleman to whom I spoke on the Newcastle wharf might out of courtesy be admitted to the last class. I suppose he belonged to that particular division of the human species known in Australia as the larrikin, in ’Frisco as the corner boy, and in London as the loafer. Sydney and Melbourne are the headquarters of the larrikin. They may, if it is an honour, claim the invention of this excrescence in Australian civilization. By some, the larrikin is regarded as a type of humanity which owes its peculiarity to a redundance of animal spirits. It[Pg 98] includes shop-boys and young workmen, who shriek after couples in the act of spooning: “Heh! why don’t you marry the girl! I’ll tell your mother what you’ve done!” Young gentlemen who are impertinent and cheeky. Young men who are given to larks and larking. Thus their name. The larrikins I have seen have certainly the above qualification; but, in addition, not only do they make themselves conspicuous by their wits, but they live by them. During the day they are apparently idle. They stand at corners, where they smoke. The better class of them, or rather those whose “wits” are above the average, adopt black suits, velvet collars, and high-heeled boots. You see the larrikin in numbers on piers, especially on the arrival of a steamer. I say they live on their wits, because, like the policemen, I really do not know how they do live. “Go down Clarence Street at night with some money, and you will find out,” said a friend of mine. What he meant I do not know.

The larrikins are the town loafers of Australia. The country loafers are called sundowners. These are gentlemen who travel with their swag on their backs, and so arrange their movements that if possible they reach a station at sundown. Here they take advantage of the hospitality accorded to strangers, and practically demand shelter and food. To refuse them might be dangerous, for after their departure fences might be destroyed, fires might break out, or other little troubles might occur which would be objectionable and dangerous. The sundowner is a black mailer, and many of[Pg 99] the squatters find his demands a serious item in their expenses.

An old gentleman whom we suspected as being a sundowner visited our ship while it was lying at the wharf in Newcastle. He was a tall old man with a long grey beard. His tattered clothes, his staff, and the bundle on his back, made him so much like the pictures of Rip Van Winkle that he attracted general attention. His worn shoes and dusty appearance indicated that he had travelled many miles. He told Captain Green, who did the interviewing, that he had walked across the Blue Mountains from Sydney to Brisbane, and was in search of work. He was an engineer, but wherever he went, there was always the same answer,—‘Old men are not employed.’ As he was evidently a man who had interesting experiences to relate, our Captain asked him on board. His foot was no sooner on the deck than he saw a Chinaman. “What!” exclaimed the old man, “you carry wretches like that,—heathens who have robbed me of honest employment,” and he seemed inclined to leave the ship. A little persuasion, however, brought him into the cabin, and when a heathen had given him a steak and a bottle of porter, his bitterness subsided.

It turned out that he had been educated at Bath, and when he heard that the captain had been in Bath, the old man’s eyes almost filled with tears. ‘You must know the old church, then?’ ‘Yes, yes; I shall never forget an inscription on one of the gravestones I read there; forty years ago now:

[Pg 100]

‘“Life is but a maze of crooked streets,
Death is the market-place where each man meets;
If life were merchandise which men could buy,
None but the rich would live, and only poor would die.”’

Had our captain been able to keep the old gentleman on board, his quotations, relating of incidents, and above all his mannerism, would have formed materials for an interesting biography.

Now for Sydney. I must say that when I had passed the barrier of larrikins, and reached one of the main streets, I was greatly astonished. The bustle, the omnibuses, the cabs, the people, and the general business-like flow of vehicles and people, reminded me of a street in the little village on the Thames. The first hotel I tried was the Royal. A notice in the smoking-room, which, by-the-bye, could only be reached by verandas and windows, to the effect that “Any person leaving cigar ash or ends about the room will be prosecuted as the law directs,” etc., etc., quite frightened me. Jokes like these are so near reality in the Colonies, that they ought not to be practised.

Everywhere you tumble on notices and articles inveighing against smoking, swearing, and other vices, so that a stranger gets nervous, lest by accident he should be caught tripping. I left that hotel, and shortly afterwards found myself located at another hostelry, situated on a hill in the midst of churches. Oh, those sweet church bells! Those evening chimes. Think of the thousands of sleepless nights you have caused. An organ-grinder may be ordered to move on by law.[Pg 101] Why are you exempt? You jangle, jangle, jangle, all in discord and without meaning.

I spent some days in Sydney, and all day and every day I walked and rode about in all directions. One day I strolled through the Botanical Gardens, enjoying glimpses of Sydney’s beautiful harbour. ‘Oh, have you seen our harbour?’ is a question addressed to every stranger. How a stranger who visits Sydney is to avoid seeing the harbour is a great puzzle. Whichever way you walk you must come to the harbour—its ramifications extend in all directions. Although it has only one entrance, and is seldom more than a mile in breadth, often being much less, it is said to measure round its shore line more than seventeen hundred miles. Sydney people and Australians, when abroad, are for ever doing all they can to create a prejudice against this beautiful corner of creation. Morning, noon, and night the changes that are rung upon the words, Sydney Harbour and beautiful, at last become as wearying as the bells. Still, the harbour is beautiful. I went up the Paramatta to see it.

As you steam along the smooth waters, and gaze at vista after vista of islands, river-like expanses and rocky promontories, you might fancy yourself at rest, while acres upon acres of panoramic views were slowly drifting past you. All you require to complete the illusion is slow music, and on fête days I presume such a want is supplied in plenty. The rocks are yellowish-grey sandstone. As you get away from the town, which looks more like a gigantic watering-place than a city for business, the hills, instead of being capped with[Pg 102] houses, are capped with scrub. Whales and other marine monsters which have entered Sydney Roads, must be quite bewildered by the twists and turns they are compelled to take. Probably many of them get lost. As we progress up the harbour, we see villas and cottages built on cliff-like slopes or islands. Many of these have gardens, which of necessity are filled with mounds and huge rocks. The Britisher residing on the shores of Sydney Harbour is compelled by nature to have a garden that is picturesque. His squares, and circles, and complications of geometrical figures, cut in dirt and marked out with bright flowers or tiles, in which his mechanical, unartistic soul delights, are here an impossibility. Here he must content himself with figures and effects carved out by nature—his own artificial regularities being an impossibility.

Where the harbour was narrow it was spanned by iron bridges. Those which I saw were perhaps half a mile in length, and of the Warren girder type. They carry an ordinary roadway. They might carry a double line of rails.

A young Chinaman who had been studying engineering in Europe was on board. He told me that he thought iron was cheap when these bridges were built. It might be cheap to pull them down, and then put up double the number of bridges with the same material. Of course the heathen student was wrong. I told him that each bridge should be strengthened, and should then be restricted to the use of foot passengers.

Another trip that I made was out to Coogee. This was in a steam-tram. Steam-trams are a great feature[Pg 103] in Sydney. They run through the heart of the town. They consist of a locomotive and two or three carriages. To send an ordinary train steaming, chuffing, smoking, snorting, firing off ashes, steam, and dirty water through thickly populated streets, is more than many towns would tolerate. Sydneyites, however, send something more than all this through their town—not every hour, but in places two or three times every five minutes. They send carriages behind their locomotives as tall as ordinary houses. ‘Great goodness, what’s that?’ said the major, when he first saw the steam-tram. ‘The cathedral has escaped——no, it’s a row of houses got loose.’ It was some time before we ventured on board one of these moving buildings. We took an outside place, climbing up a ladder to what might correspond to the tiles of an ordinary two-storied dwelling. One striking notice was: “It is dangerous to sit on the rails.” We all laughed. We would as soon think of sitting on the rails used by a Sydney tram as sitting on the rails of an ordinary railroad. “Directors joking,” said Peter. “Why, they mean these things,” said Dodd, pointing to some thin rails corresponding to the tin water gutter on the edge of a roof.

Another prominent notice seen in nearly all the Australian towns is, “Walk over crossing.” This is usually pendent on a lamp-post. “Walk over crossing,” said I to myself. “They want us to be killed, I suppose. I shall run over crossings, if necessity requires it.” Afterwards I learnt it was a notice to the drivers of chariots.

As we went along we had splendid views into bedrooms,[Pg 104] bath-rooms, store-rooms, top garrets, and generally the upper quarters of the houses which lined a street. Now and then a hand would suddenly snap down a blind. This was probably some lady who objected to our seeing her doing up her hair. Another kind of fun was to watch the private horses jump. They don’t understand a row of houses tearing along the street. Coming back, Peter made the major a bet that we should see at least ten horses not educated up to steam-trams. Peter won. If I lived in Sydney I should take a season ticket on the steam-trams. Perhaps I might hire a tram of my own.

Coogee was lovely. In fact, all the country round about Sydney seems to be lovely. Hill and dale in all directions. A lot of the ground is sandy. It is covered with bushes and tufts of grass, and in general appearance is like moorland. On our way out we first saw a big thing like Cleopatra’s Needle put up in honour of George Thornton, a former Mayor of Sydney. There are plenty of needles, statues and arrangements to commemorate great people about Sydney. Those who wish to have a chance of earthly immortality, let them try to live and die in Sydney,—only don’t let the candidates for effigies, and other eulogies in stone, be too numerous. Next we saw the University. We paid a visit to this place, and were shown a remarkably fine hall—perhaps the best hall out of Oxford. I am of course talking about halls belonging to English folks. Then there was a book, “My Journal in the Highlands,” bound in blue, and put on a monument under a glass case. How many of these works our gracious Majesty has been pleased to[Pg 105] present to institutions and people in the Colonies I cannot say. I should guess a good-sized ship-load.

After this there was the race-course and the Zoo. At the Zoo we saw the usual elephant busily engaged in carrying round a load of children. There were also some very tame kangaroos. A great feature in Sydney, as in other Australian towns, are the cabs and carriages. In Sydney they are hansoms—in Melbourne they are cumbersome things like covered waggonettes. The most peculiar point connected with these conveyances is the system on which you are expected to pay for them. It took me a long time to discover what the system was, and it is more than likely that what I discovered only applies to visitors. After trying a number of chariots in various parts of the Colonies, it appears to me that if you pay one shilling for the first quarter of an hour, you pay two shillings for the second quarter, four shillings for the third quarter, and so on at a geometrically increasing rate. If you were to engage a cab for four hours your bill ought, at the above rate, to be £1,766 18s. 0d. I was, however, informed on good authority, that, with a little persuasion, the drivers might compromise with you for about ten bob. If a man took a cab for the whole day, say of twelve hours his bill would reach in round numbers the magnificent sum of one hundred and forty millions of millions of pounds, or in figures £140,000,000,000,000! A distinguished calculator was employed to make this estimate, and it may be relied on. I have omitted a few trillions of pounds some odd shillings and pence in this account, as too much detail leads to confusion. Is not[Pg 106] this a revenue towards which the Government of New South Wales ought to direct its attention? They require a loan, why not ask the cabmen? It is true that not many men survive such an account. The man who had engaged the luxury of a cab for a day, was, I heard, serving his time in the debtor’s gaol, and as it would be some time before he had picked sufficient oakum to pay his score, I was unable to make the acquaintance of this colossal bankrupt.

It was Saturday when I went to Coogee. In the afternoon the preparation for Sunday commenced. Many shops were closed, verandas and doorsteps were washed, and door-handles polished. But for a theatre, where I sought refuge from the religious atmosphere which was closing over Sydney, I should have been extremely dull. There are two or three theatres in Sydney, all of which are well patronized. At a theatre where Boucicault was performing, it was necessary to buy a ticket several days ahead. I think I should have started for Melbourne on Saturday, had I not been told that before the train had come to the end of its journey it would be Sunday. As soon as it is Sunday the train stops, and as it might stop in the Bush, and I was nervous about bushrangers, I thought it better to remain in Sydney.

Of course everything is closed on the Sabbath. Should you ramble in the country, and there, wearied with walking and the sun’s rays, lie down exhausted on some mossy bank, still feeling that you might open your eyes to the light of another day, could you obtain one small glass of beer, do you think you would get it? Experience says No. If you were to use strong language at this[Pg 107] state of affairs, or at any other state of affairs, do you think that a bobby would not run you into chokee? The newspapers say they would. Neither liking to risk a horrible death from thirst, nor the chance of offending the ears of some justice of the peace, I stayed at home on Sunday. For about an hour I listened to the jangling of some forty church bells. The enterprising proprietor of one church made his bells play a hymn tune. These were the sounds from outside. Inside I was edified by the jargon of forty semi-educated poll parrots. Each of these birds knew a sentence of English. One of them would fire off his particular string of words, when all his companions would guffaw and yell. They began at about three in the morning, waking me up with an impression that murder was being committed. I should have liked to have killed them. I felt miserable. The place seemed to be a mixture of piety, poll parrots, teetotalism, and bad grub.

In the afternoon I met a doctor who was acquainted with Sydney. He said he would show us some fun. Better go out to Botany Bay, and see Sir Joseph Banks’s Garden. The suggestion was hailed with joy, and after lunch, Peter, Dodd, and I were all safely seated on the roof of a tramcar on our way to Botany Bay. Going to Botany Bay! What room for reflection—at least that is what those in Britain think. Botany Bay is looked upon as a home appointed by our Government for murderers and vagabonds. They think wrongly. Botany Bay is a rural spot which has been much maligned. It was about nine miles’ ride. On the way[Pg 108] we passed lots of little villas, all with gorgeous cast-iron balconies, and elaborate fringes of the same material round their eaves. It is seldom that one sees so much ornamentation in iron. Some of the designs were made up of so many twists and turns that they looked like lace. Such elaborate decorations were symphonies in metal; to me they were like the English geometrical gardens, the result of mechanical education. I do not like the poetry of foundries.

A very noticeable building in Sydney, which strikes attention partly on account of its magnitude and partly on account of the magnitude of its name, is a steam laundry. Notwithstanding the existence of this palatial wash-house, you pay six shillings a dozen for your washing.

At Botany Bay, we found a huge pavilion in an enclosure of trees and grass called a garden. The building, which would hold an audience of several thousands, was used for skating, dancing, and singing secular songs, on Sunday. At one end there was a stage, and artistes were singing. We sat down and listened. The songs we heard were “The Little Hero,” “Hark the Lark,” etc. The audience were remarkably quiet and well-behaved. Round the sides of the hall there were regulations and rules about skating and dancing. It was requested that “Gentlemen would not dance with gentlemen, nor ladies with ladies,” etc.

Many of the ladies were conspicuous from the variety and brilliancy of their colours. I refer to the colours of their dresses. May not this have been an example of unconscious imitation? There is a tendency in the[Pg 109] animal kingdom to adopt the colour of its surroundings—Polar bears are white, insects on sand often have a sandy colour, many that live in trees imitate the colour of the branches or the leaves. Perhaps those who live in Australia have a tendency to imitate the gorgeous plumage of its parrots.

On the return journey, our engine had to drag three carriages, each containing about eighty people. The seats were occupied, the sitters’ knees were occupied, and the space between the knees of those who sat upon the sitters was used for standing. One man was very talkative, or, in plainer English, he was very drunk. This reminds me that at Botany Bay the hotel refused to sell refreshments.

It was, however, an easy matter to become a member of a club. In half an hour, or even less, you could pay your entrance fee and be elected. Being a member of the club you could then revive yourself and your exhausted acquaintances as often as you pleased. The arrangement was charming. It reminded me of Kimberly in South Africa, where, after the Government had put restrictions on ordinary hotels, hundreds of clubs sprung into existence. I suppose our friend of the trains had been to a club. After telling us, if we valued our constitution, to follow his advice and never take a drink between drinks, he gave us a most interesting lecture on his acquaintanceship with the interior of prisons. He told us about the broad arrow on his back and the marks upon his ankles. He invited us all to smash a window and join him. It was only distinguished personages who were entertained at Government expense.[Pg 110] Amongst the lower classes, to refer to each other’s prison experiences or ankle marks appeared to be a form of taunting which was not uncommon.

That night we had tea. On week-days, the hotel being of a class that was supposed to set the fashion, we had dinner.

[Pg 111]


There are some very fine libraries in Australia, the one at Melbourne probably being the best. Talking about books to a Mr. John Smith, with whom I had once or twice the pleasure of dining at his residence in Hulloomaloo, I learnt something about the formation of libraries that may be interesting to record. Not seeing any books in Mr. Smith’s rooms, I ventured to ask him what he did for reading materials. Did he never give his mind a little relaxation? ‘Oh yes, I’ve got a library—keep it in that cupboard,’ said Smith, pointing to something looking like a sideboard. ‘The mental exercise it affords is sometimes quite wonderful. Perhaps you would like to see it?’ And before I had time to reply, Smith shouted out: ‘Eh, Janet, bring in a couple of tumblers; the gentleman wants to consult my library.’ I won’t say anything more about Mr. Smith’s collection of books, excepting that a night’s study of them might possibly result in a headache.

‘But come, Smith,’ said I, ‘now, honest injin, did you mean to say you haven’t got a book in the house?’ ‘Well, I can’t say that I have. Once I had a copy of the “Rise and Fall of the British Empire.” I used to[Pg 112] keep it tied with a string to a nail in the wall. But some soul thirsting after literature absorbed it one evening. I’ve had a sickener of books.’ Here Smith took a drink and shook his head as if the thought of his past literary career was too serious for reference. ‘Did you never hear of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo and its library?’ he at last inquired. ‘Got it all for nothing. Never paid a sixpence.’

‘That’s interesting,’ I remarked. ‘I should like to know how the business was managed.’

‘Just take another look at my literature,’ said Smith, passing the bottle, ‘and I’ll tell you:

‘Hulloomaloo was just becoming a place, and some of the influential residents thought it would be a good thing to have some books; but at the meeting they held nobody could tell where the money was to come from. All sorts of suggestions were made, but they were all objected to on the score that they involved subscriptions, and subscriptions nobody could afford. The more they talked the more they seemed to want to read, but they could not stand subscriptions. This was humbug, you know, for the people in Hulloomaloo were as rich then as they are now. The idea of having a library was just on the point of being abandoned, when up jumped a pale-faced little man, who was sitting near the door, and explained to the meeting that if they constituted themselves into a society, they might get books given to them for nothing. He told us his name was Joshua Jenkins, and that he had acted as librarian at one of the State libraries in America; but who he really was, beyond being a new-comer there, nobody[Pg 113] could tell. A society ought to be constituted at once, and, if it were worked properly, he would guarantee that within a year the library of Hulloomaloo would be the wonder and envy of the Australian Colonies. The brilliancy of Jenkins’s proposition took everyone by storm, and he was voted to the chair to organize proceedings for the constitution of the new society.

‘“It is proposed,” said Jenkins, “that this society be called the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo. Does anyone object to that proposition? Nobody objects—carried. Please make a note, Mr. Secretary.” Without drawing breath he continued: “The members of the society shall consist of ordinary members; honorary members, elected from the distinguished savants of the world; and co-operative members, consisting of scientific bodies whom the committee shall decide to elect. Does anybody object to that proposition? Nobody objects—carried.”

‘And so he went firing off rules, and saying: “Does anybody object to that proposition? Nobody objects—carried,” until he had fixed up a constitution before anyone had thought of objecting.

‘After this, he had a committee and a president elected, while he himself was put into the position of secretary and librarian. To finish up the meeting, he took down the names of all people in the room, and collected five shillings a head. This made the audience into members. After a few remarks, in which Jenkins complimented the residents of Hulloomaloo on the magnificence of their surroundings, and the unparalleled opportunities which Hulloomaloo offered for scientific research, the meeting adjourned. The whole business[Pg 114] of making the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo, and collecting about £45, took, it was estimated, thirty-five minutes. Jenkins had the £45, and the audience had the honour of putting F.R.S. after their names. Of course they omitted the H.

‘As to the details of what happened during the next two years, nobody seemed to be very well informed, but they know now though.

‘First he began by making honorary and corporation members. He had a lot of elaborate forms and envelopes printed, looking as if they had come from Government quarters. Whenever the word Hulloomaloo appeared, it looked as if it was the capital of Australia. The letters he had for the savants ran as follows:

‘“The Royal Society of Hulloomaloo.

‘“Dear Sir,

‘“I have the honour of informing you that in consequence of your distinguished services in the department of” (and here came the particular ology of the man to whom he wrote) “the Committee of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo have this day elected you an honorary member of their body.

‘“I have the honour to remain, Sir,
‘“Your obedient servant,
‘“Joshua Jenkins, Sec.”

‘He always accompanied his form with a note. When he wrote to Darwin, he said that the society had appointed several special committees; one was to examine the working of worms, another to investigate the fertilization of plants, a third to determine the exact[Pg 115] relationship between the higher mammals and the Australian savages. The results of this work he hoped in the course of the year to have the pleasure of forwarding to his address. In the meanwhile, he was certain that if Mr. Darwin would send to the society a complete set of his works, they would be bound in morocco and highly appreciated.

‘He promised Lubbock a collection of ants. Richard Owen was to have a complete collection of fossil mammals. Spencer was to have an exhaustive series of manuscripts on the social status of the Aborigines. The result of all this was that in about three months we had the names of almost every living savant in the universe on our list, and what was better, we had their books in our library.

‘The way he got over the societies after making them into co-operative members was to promise them a complete set of the “Hulloomaloo Transactions.” He had letters printed for the kind of society to which he was writing. Here is an example of letters he sent to all the Geological Societies in the world,’ said Smith, handing me a document off the mantelpiece. It ran thus:

XIX.‘Department of the Interior of Australia,

‘The Royal Society of Hulloomaloo.

Sydney, June 1st, 1881.


‘I have the honour to send to your address a complete set of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo, “A Treatise on the Geology of Australia,” with an Atlas of Geological Maps.

[Pg 116]

‘As these volumes are sent through the Imperial Government, they may not reach you for some time after the reception of this letter. Please observe the enclosed receipt. By order of the Committee,

‘I have the honour to remain, Sir,

‘Your most obedient servant,

(42451-67904) Joshua Jenkins, Sec.’

The enclosed receipt ran as follows:

‘72. CXIX. (764-31) 41-MDCVXI.

‘(Neglect to return this receipt will be taken as an intimation that the Transactions of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo are no longer desired.)

Date ______________ 188_.

‘To the President of the Royal Geological Society of
Hulloomaloo, Sydney.


‘I beg to acknowledge the receipt of the under-mentioned works.


Yours truly,

Present address____________________
Past address____________________
Future address____________________
Permanent address____________________
Variable address____________________
City, Town, Village, Hemisphere, etc.

(7623-731) (854-901)’
[Pg 117]

‘To wind up, there was a beautifully printed envelope in which to return the receipt. This was addressed to the Royal Society, Hulloomaloo, Sydney.

‘Sometimes he would call the society the Royal Astronomical Society of Hulloomaloo, next the Royal Linnæan Society of Hulloomaloo; then the Royal Sociological Society of Hulloomaloo, just according to the people to whom he was writing.

‘The result of all this was that the society received box after box of societies’ transactions in all the languages of the world.

‘After a year or so, some of the people to whom Jenkins had made his promises would write saying that they begged to inform him that the books he had forwarded never arrived. Jenkins would answer, that he regretted to hear that the parcel had been delayed, but he would communicate with the Imperial Government on the subject, and a week or two afterwards would send them another big envelope, saying that he had the honour to send to their address another big parcel. The expectation of sometime receiving something kept a lot of them quiet. To the few, who were too impatient, he would write that he had been instructed by the Imperial Government of Australia to inform them that the parcel to which they referred had been transmitted to their Imperial Governments, from whom, if they applied, they would undoubtedly receive the same.

‘While all this was going on, the books and presents to the society had so accumulated that the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo threatened to become a national institution. A meeting was held, and when the list of honorary members and societies was read, and the library he had[Pg 118] collected had been inspected, Jenkins received a vote of thanks, and subsequently a purse containing 500 guineas. After this, he was made into a permanent secretary of the society, with a salary of £600 a year. At this time Jenkins said he would add a museum to the establishment. By dubbing a lot of prominent mine-managers F.R.S., he managed to get a wonderful collection of gold specimens together, and these he increased by promising to send to various parts of the world collections of Australian minerals, which, as he put it, the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo had instructed him to forward to their address.

‘By this time the letters that poured in upon Jenkins seemed to have warned him that he was getting to the end of his tether. He said he was sick, and would the Committee allow the library and museum to be closed for a month. He thought a run down to Melbourne, where he would get some of the society’s books rebound, might set him up. The petition was granted, and away went Jenkins with twenty-six large cases containing the books which were to be bound.’

‘And I suppose you never heard of him any more,’ I remarked.

‘Never hear of him, indeed; we thought we were never going to cease hearing about him. During the two months after his departure, the letters and official documents that poured into the rooms of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo would have filled the museum by themselves. There was Darwin writing for the reports of the committees, Lubbock was asking for his ants, Spencer was crazy about the MSS. on the social status of Aborigines, Owen wanted his collection of fossil[Pg 119] mammals, all the societies in Europe and America were wanting our Transactions. Diamond merchants and jewellers were asking to have the collections returned, that they had lent for exhibition at our last soirée. Foreign Offices throughout the world had written to our Government, inquiring about the status of the Royal Society of Hulloomaloo. Our Government instituted proceedings against us for having swindled creation.’

‘And what was the end of it all?’ I asked.

‘Why, one end was that we had to write five or six thousand letters of apology, to raise a fund to return the pamphlets and stuff that would not go into Jenkins’s twenty-six cases, and pay £25,000 damages for what had gone into them.’

‘And how about Mr. Joshua Jenkins?’

‘Oh, Literary Jos. Well, I don’t know, but I believe he is gone below, acting librarian at one of the State libraries. If you want to get up a cheap library in your part of the world, that is his address. He is charming company, you know.’

The streets of Sydney are above the average of streets we see in Europe. I expected to have found them narrow and crooked. Sydney is usually described as being old-fashioned, and having a cramped, crooked, and antiquated appearance. It is not American-like and modern, like Melbourne; Sydney is English. The streets might certainly be broader, but in all conscience, although not absolutely straight, they are straight enough. George Street, Pitt Street, and all the connecting streets between the two parallel main arteries, are usually overcrowded. The shops are good, and[Pg 120] there are plenty of them. One shop, where you find everything, from millinery to leather bags, is extensive, and quite comparable with similar establishments in London. Here we have a number of excellent banks, and a post-office, which probably cannot find its equal in any other portion of the British Empire. Its tower will be a beacon for wanderers in all parts of the Colony. At the top of Pitt Street, there is a market filled with fruit, canaries, cockatoos, wallaby, and other Australian productions. Beyond this is the cathedral. Near here we have a waxwork show, where living likenesses of distinguished bushrangers may be seen. Amongst the other sights are the Museum, the Picture Gallery, where there is a large series of very good pictures, the Botanical Gardens, the Domain, Hyde Park, and the University.

In going to these places you are continually met by pretty glimpses of the harbour. Some of the smaller streets, however, are remarkable for the antiquated appearance of the houses and cottages you see in them.

Of course I fell in love when I was in Australia. It would not be complimentary to the ladies if I had not. It happened at the theatre. At the time a somewhat uninteresting farce was being played. This gave me time to look round. She sat in a box with a typical duenna. Perhaps she was sweet eighteen, perhaps she was lovely twenty. Her figure was willowy and elegant. Somehow or other your inner conscience tells you when you are in love, at least, mine does. My inner conscience, after looking at this earthly angel for about half an hour, remarked—‘Young man, you’re in love; your bachelorhood is being compromised.’ Then I had a short conversation with my conscience. It[Pg 121] ended by my being convinced that my conscience was right, and that I was not simply in love, but was standing in the slops of an overflowing infatuation. When I looked at her, I thought she smiled. The duenna certainly frowned. At last the curtain dropped, and the Major, Peter and Dodd and I were hustled out upon the pavement. ‘Come on, old chappie. You’ll never recognise her with a cloak on. To-morrow you may find out where the charmer lives, and get an introduction to her parents.’ ‘I’ll help you,’ said the Major. ‘I’ll help you,’ said P. ‘I’ll help you,’ said D. Then they said, ‘We’ll all help you.’ Before I could thank them P. had taken hold of one of my arms, D. had taken hold of the other, and the Major was pushing behind. With their united assistance I quickly reached the hotel. That night sleep deserted me. Was it not possible that we might meet in the streets, in the park, in a ferry-boat, or on the Rialto? Many have met on the Rialto. At daybreak I would inquire for the Rialto. But again, many have met in crowds. Yes, in crowds, that meant the crowded theatre perhaps. At night I would again visit the theatre. During the day I would pace the Domain, the Park, and all the intricacies of great Sydney’s thoroughfares. Who was she? The box, the jewellery, the duenna indicated wealth. Perhaps a princess in disguise? She would be reclining in a chariot drawn by snow-white steeds. At last I dozed.

Next morning I rose with Aurora, and tramped the streets. During the day I flattened my nose against the windows of all the confectioners’ and millinery establishments that adorn the leading thoroughfares. I[Pg 122] gazed into all the hansoms. I even raised my eyes at the damsels who reclined in open carriages. Many fair ones smiled—but mine, where was she?

That night I was the first to enter the theatre. What anxious moments passed as the dress-circle and the boxes filled! Suddenly P. nudged me, and whispered, ‘See over there.’ Oh, heavens! there she was. It was clear her bosom heaved with reciprocity, and had come to seek me out. During the day she had probably been chasing round the streets of Sydney behind my coat-tails. Why hadn’t I stood at a corner? I quickly hired a pair of opera-glasses, and, gazing through them, brought her nearer to me. She smiled. The duenna put on an expression of thunder, and drew behind the curtain. Then she looked through her opera-glasses. I looked through mine again. We were both near each other. I trembled with nervous excitement; my glasses trembled. I think they visibly waggled from side to side. She waggled hers. ‘Will you be best man, Major?’ I whispered. Then I rushed off to the box-keeper. I told him it was close and hot. ‘Yes, sir, it’s more than that; it’s dry, fearfully dry.’ I was quickly his bosom friend. ‘Who’s she—the gazelle in the second box?’ I asked. ‘’Um, what, her over there?’ said he, putting down his glass. ‘She’s the manager’s wife; sits up there every night.’

The Major, Peter and Dodd left for Melbourne next morning. I left with them.

The journey to Melbourne was not nice. We left at five p.m., and reached Spencer Street Station in Melbourne about noon next day. I took passage in a Pullman car. A genuine Yank sat near me, and we entered[Pg 123] into conversation. I like Yanks, and if I were eligible I might put up to become a faithful citizen. After the ordinary preliminaries about the weather and the autumnal tints, he made some general remarks about the late President Grant.

‘As a general, Grant just whipped creation,’ I remarked.

‘Dair bet my bottom dollar his name shines like a brilliant constellation in the military history of this planet until it ceases to rotate. Saw him some years ago. Was smoking a big havana. His wife was along. Don’t think she hansoms worth a cent. Good woman though! The way she looked after her family was just remarkable. If every fellow got a wife like that, there’d be less hair flying around. You from Boston?’ he inquired.

‘Sir,’ I replied, ‘you have paid me a compliment never to be forgotten.’

At the next depôt my friend invited me to see the refreshment-room.

The little bit of country that was visible before sundown was so like the rest of the great continental island, that I will not attempt to describe it.

Somewhere about eight o’clock a conductor commenced the removal of the arm-chairs in which we had been sitting, and the erection of the berths in which we were to sleep. During this operation, which lasted one hour and a half (it sometimes lasts two hours), if you are lucky, you get one of the four or six seats in the smoking-room, otherwise you have to stand in a narrow passage. I had to stand.

The arrangement of rods and bars which were put[Pg 124] together in building the berths had the complexity of a Chinese puzzle. If the railway company ever lose the services of the unfortunate man whose misery it is to erect these structures, where they will discover a second individual with a sufficiently retentive memory, and ingenuity to carry on the work, it is difficult to conceive. Whilst the operation is going on, the car jerks and swings like a boat upon a choppy sea. Several of the passengers complained of sea-sickness, and I myself certainly had a feeling of nausea. The only advice I can give to the directors of that line is to take their cars and burn them—at least, burn the particular one in which I had the misery to ride. From friends who followed me to Melbourne, I heard that there were several other cars which ought also to be burned.

At about five a.m. we were turned out at a place called Aubury, where we changed carriages and passed the Customs on the Victorian border. All the colonies collect duty from each other, and their mother country. New South Wales alone admires the policy of its alma mater, and adopts free trade. Not only are they at variance in their commercial regulations, but there exists between them the same feelings of jealousy that may be found between different nationalities, and each ‘colonial’ looks upon his own particular colony as superior to its neighbour. One question which you are often asked is, ‘Do you like Sydney or Melbourne best?’ Several Victorians spoke of their Melbourne and its people as being go ahead and smart—quite American you know. They refer to being American with an intonation of regret—it is sad and disgraceful to be like Americans; but, as it is true, we must confess[Pg 125] it, and it cannot be helped. Now as Victorians were so fond of pointing out this particular character of themselves, I imagine that they are really rather proud of it, and the intonation of regret is little more than a form of modesty.

So far as I could see, farther than the fact that our Australian cousins have displayed energy in building up great cities in a short period of years, I did not observe a single instance of anything which was American. Australians seem to be intensely conservative and British. One characteristic of Americans is, to do things in new ways and invent. When in the Colonies I looked in all directions for something that was novel, but I must confess that I failed to find it. Perhaps using single tickets, which after the termination of a journey, on being snipped, act as return tickets, may be peculiarly Australian. The hoods to hansoms may be new. Asbestos gas-fires in hotels, the dispensing with conductors on the ’buses, and a few other rarities in English life, are common in America. Possibly in farming and stock-raising operations, Australians may have discovered methods of procedure unknown in other lands. In their mining operations—and I visited many mining districts—I cannot say that I saw much that was new. I certainly saw much that was old, and machines that ought to be relegated to museums were numerous.

In the morning it was cold enough for ulsters and opossum rugs to be acceptable. I saw a hilly country, lots of gum trees, some post and rail fences, one or two vineyards, and a few sheep and cattle. Australia is a capital place to study gum trees. The first of these[Pg 126] trees were introduced to the country, so a fellow-passenger informed me, as seeds, in a letter, sent by an affectionate Scotch wife to her brother—it would remind him of his home at Greenock. I fancy that my informant had confused Scotch thistles and gum trees.

No wonder the aborigines of Australia were a poor lot. They have no scenery to stimulate their imagination, to create wonder, and to excite an inventive faculty. If we except a few hills upon the east coast, all is flat. Australia is like a pancake, turned up on one side and hollow in the middle. Rivers are usually represented by strings of stagnant pools. Some of them flow underground.

At last Melbourne hove in sight. It seemed to be below us. Its appearance was like that of all large towns when viewed from a distance—a confused mass of buildings, with here and there a spire, covered with a canopy of bluish gauze-like smoke. Near the centre a huge dun cupola formed a nucleus for the whole. It was large, very large. When we remembered that all before us had risen during forty years, we could not refrain from joining in the admiration of all Australians for their mighty and marvellous Melbourne.


The first introduction that my friends gave me was to their clubs. If we except Botany Bay, nearly all Colonial clubs are exceedingly particular. A guest, until he is elected an honorary member, cannot pass beyond a guest-room, which is almost on the threshold. Even here he is not supposed to linger. At one club,[Pg 127] the internal arrangements of which were quite palatial, I saw a bath which would excite the wonder of a Barnum. It ought to be exhibited. The performances that this wonderful piece of machinery could go through were perfectly astounding. If I were rich, I would have a bath of that description for the amusement of my friends. It was situated in a little room provided with sliding doors in the walls, and electric bells. Visitors were told that these doors were for attendants to pass in towels and cups of coffee. I heard privately that they were really for attendants to see that the bath did not get loose and damage strangers who were unacquainted with its mechanism. When I first saw this marvellous piece of mechanism, I thought it was a new form of organ, and that all the labelled handles were the stops. The music it played was, however, different from that of an ordinary organ. Pull one handle and you might be boiled. Pull another, and you might be annihilated with jets of water, which would simultaneously hit you in all directions, pounding you to pieces like a fragment of quartz beneath a battery. Pull a third handle, and you would be frizzled to a cinder with hot air. To avoid accidents, there were innumerable notices pasted on walls and on handles of the various taps. I only remember a few of them. One said ‘Be careful and see that the arrow points to the left.’ Another ran, ‘Three turns to the right will give you the douche.’ This was a thing that flattened you out on the bottom of the bath. A sort of aqueous thunderbolt. ‘Mind and turn off number three before entering the bath.’ ‘See that hot is off before turning right hand number two.’ ‘Turn on the aquatic gymnasium[Pg 128] gently.’ This notice, applied to an innocent-looking silver knob, which, when moved, set free a jet of water, which carried the bather up towards the ceiling. Many visitors had been found clawing and reaching and swearing on the top of this jet, where they were being revolved, and tumbled about like a pithball on the fountains which some fishmongers exhibit. Two hours of this was said to be capital exercise for the muscles and lungs. There were a whole lot of other notices, but I forget them. A portion of the apparatus was like an ordinary bath; at the end of it, however, there was a thing like a second bath reared on end. The resemblance of this to a sarcophagus was quite appropriate. It was painted blue, and had aureoles and stars as decorations for its dome-like roof. Standing in this you might pose as a saint, or as one of the images so common in the niches of large cathedrals. This was also appropriate, for, after having met your death, you might remain standing as a martyr to cleanliness, and as a warning to future bathers.

I got my companion, who described the above, to turn on some of the fireworks while I looked through one of the holes for cups of coffee. First there was a hiss, as of escaping steam, then the sullen roar of a fall like great Niagara. Sometimes it was hot, at other times it was cold. Oh, conflagrations and volcanoes, where would you be beneath jets like this? Now and then I could catch a view of my companion through the clouds of spray and steam. At one moment he was like a deity surrounded by rainbows. At another moment he was like an imp of darkness working the[Pg 129] machinery of the infernal regions. The thunder of the douche was appalling. I shrieked to him to retire. The roaring of the waters prevented his hearing my warning cries. Suddenly the deluge ceased. He had turned another tap and produced a gentle spray, like that which waters budding plants in spring. The exhibition was marvellous, and it made me change my opinion about Australians being non-inventive. My friend asked me, when all was over, to have a bath. I felt the satire, and did not answer. The volcanic energy pent up behind the silver taps of that establishment have produced too deep an impression ever to be forgotten. To have a bath which will wash your friends, stretch your muscles, give flexibility and tone to your larynx, extinguish volcanoes, put out fires, kill your enemies, create a nervous excitement sufficient to turn black hairs grey, alarm intruders, amuse the children, flood the streets, is a luxury denied to all but Victorians.

‘The Russians will never capture this establishment. The bath would kill them,’ I remarked.

‘They don’t wash,’ replied my friend.

I had forgotten that.

Now do not let it be supposed I have referred to this bath without an object. I and the maker have a contract, and when he has sold a lot of them, we are going to buy a castle apiece. I think the Rhine is a good situation.

The great street in Melbourne is Collins Street. Another great street running parallel to Collins Street is Bourke Street. The latter is like the Strand in London. The former is like Regent Street. The streets[Pg 130] and their footpaths are wide, and the people in consequence do not appear to be so numerous as in Sydney. Still, until about six p.m., when all the shutters snap to like a lot of clam shells that had been alarmed, there are people enough.

It is a great treat for anyone fond of seeing nice people and nice shops to do ‘the block.’ I spent very much time doing ‘the block.’ In fact I think I could pass a very good examination as to the contents of the various shops in the leading thoroughfares of Melbourne. There are also a number of interesting arcades. One shop which I remember was a monster book shop. It seemed customary to go into this shop, and loll against any of its hundred stalls, and read. Having turned down the page, you can come back and finish the story next day. In Collins Street I was particularly struck with the uniformed satellites, whose duty it was to parade in front of the large shops, and assist ladies to alight from their carriages. In neatness they were only equalled by the cockaded, brilliantly buttoned gentlemen who drove the carriages. Throughout the colony I observed that many of the younger ladies cropped their hair like boys, and wore tippets. Sad green was a favourite colour for dresses. Talking of girls, one thing which annoyed me was to see nice-looking, stylishly-dressed, gazelle-like creatures, who looked as if they would hardly condescend to nod at a duke, talking and walking with ill-dressed young larrikins. You see this all over the colonies.

Among the public buildings that I visited were the Law Courts, with their numerous and elaborate courts of justice, several colonial Banking Palaces, and the Public[Pg 131] Library, which probably has one of the finest collections of books in the East. Attached to this there is a picture gallery, and a technological museum filled with models of great nuggets, models of mining machinery, and machinery used in other industries, and other interesting objects too many for enumeration. I did not see an Egyptian mummy. I trust that the reverence for antiquity has an existence in Australia, and that some mummies will be ordered. At one end of Collins Street I admired the statues of Burke and Wills, the great explorers, and also the massive public buildings which block the end of the street. I saw the University, and its Museum of Natural History. The animals were very tightly packed, and if the accumulation continues it will shortly become necessary to climb in and out between the ribs of whales and other monsters before you can see the place. One whale has already been compelled to take an outside place in the garden. The decorations, which consist of illuminated scrolls, have a remarkable similarity to the decorations one sees in churches. Instead of the Ten Commandments, on close inspection, you find that the illuminated legends refer to the orders of animals and plants. There is also a very fine hall to be seen at the University. It is as yet wanting in internal decoration.

On the other side of Melbourne, the Observatory, which has one of the largest telescopes in the world, was pointed out to me. Near to this I saw some exceedingly pretty botanical gardens. Overlooking these is Government House. It is very large, and more imposing than Buckingham Palace. Its tower, which has a flagstaff on top, corresponds to what the tower of the Post Office[Pg 132] in Sydney is to be—a landmark for all who lose their way. Altogether there is much to be seen in and about Melbourne. There are innumerable parks, racecourses, cricket grounds, zoological gardens, manufactories, theatres, and other places of amusement which I had no time to visit. While in Melbourne I made many journeys on the suburban lines. I have already described the smoking-carriages on these lines. The ordinary first-class carriages were on a par with the ordinary second-class car we have in England. If the directors of these lines wish to be economical, why do they not simply have one type of carriage? A common wooden-seated third-class vehicle; place a mat on the seat and it becomes second-class; and, with an additional mat for the back, it becomes first-class. Let the mats be in little squares, so that each passenger can hire one, as he passes from the ticket-office.

Before saying good-bye to marvellous Melbourne, just a word about its river, which is quite as marvellous as the city on its banks. In its upper courses the Yarra, with its weeping willows, is a pretty stream. It is clear, sluggish, and sinuous, still it is anything but ugly. In its lower courses, where it winds across the flat marshy ground which divides Melbourne from the sea, it ought hardly to be called a river. Other rivers might object. It is as sinuous as a snake in spasms. Its banks are of mud, and its stagnant waters a mixture of sludge and filth. As you sail down it, almost touching either bank, at one time you appear to be going towards Melbourne, and at another time to be going away from it. Then the smells. The variety of these is as great as at Cologne, but by no means so pleasant. At one moment[Pg 133] up goes your handkerchief for a tallow-boiling establishment, at the next moment you are knocked over by a soap factory. The worst smell of all is the Yarra itself. This you get at shallow corners, and when you ground on mud-banks. O smell of smells! Products of decomposition, sulphuretted and arseniuretted hydrogen, carbon disulphide, and all the odours of the chemist! what are ye to this? Still you have your use. Pilots with good noses can steer by you on the darkest night.

The Liffey makes good Dublin stout. Surely there is something in the semi-solid waters of the Yarra! Try it for porter, and if it does not do for that, try it for hair oil; if it fails for both of these, it will certainly make a good emetic.

The only other places that I honoured in Victoria were Sandhurst and Ballarat. I went to these two places rather than to others because they were classical places in the history of Australian mining; in fact, but for these places, Victoria might never have been invented. The travelling was done by rail. It is a common thing for distinguished visitors in the colonies to be provided with free passes. As the directors of the various colonial lines did not know that I was a distinguished visitor, I had to travel at my own expense. Almost every carriage that I travelled in contained a deadhead. The ticket collector would come, and the two or three deadheads would show a mysterious little card, a bit of paper, or a medal. One lot of deadheads I travelled with turned out to be honourable members of the House of Assembly. From their appearance and speech I should hardly have suspected their vocation.[Pg 134] They seem to be well acquainted with people on the line, from whom I learnt that the name of one of the honourable members was ‘Jim.’ The custom of addressing Parliamentary potentates by an abbreviated surname was, I was told, in imitation of the farm-labourers near Hawarden, who speak of a distinguished member of the British House of Assembly as Bill. I should like to describe the various members of colonial legislative assemblies with whom I had the honour to converse, but I am afraid. If you are not careful you may become notorious as a defendant in a suit for libel. While I was in Australia, the editor of Punch was acting as a defendant in a case brought against him by a Government official. ‘Better stand official outside a post-office with his tongue out—he will do for people to wet stamps on,’ suggested a wag. Punch had cartooned a gentleman in this position, and thus the row. I think Punch was very wrong.

I travelled up to Sandhurst in the dark. During the latter part of the journey up to Sandhurst I was entertained by a rough-looking gentleman, with whom I had entered into conversation, who told me much about his early experiences when he first came out to Victoria. He seemed to have tried his hand at everything, from sheep to literature. One of his literary experiences ran pretty much as follows:


‘It was in the early days of Victorian history, when I found myself in Sandhurst and short of money. A friend in Melbourne had given me an introduction to Mr. J. G. Boosey, proprietor and editor of the Bendigo[Pg 135] Scientific Advertiser and General News Agent. To make my introduction agreeable to Mr. Boosey, and at the same time pecuniarily advantageous to myself, I penned a short article on the garden-snail, which had recently been imported from Europe, and was creating ravages of no inconsiderable extent in many of the gardens. This I put in my pocket, when I proceeded to Mr. Boosey’s office.

‘Mr. Boosey was exceedingly agreeable, and after inquiring about his friends in Melbourne, asked me to read the article I had brought. After giving a few preliminary coughs I began:


‘“Slugs eat cabbage. They forage at night. In the morning they creep home. They are afraid of gardeners. Gardeners hate slugs because they eat the things in the garden. To catch slugs you must get up early. The captives may be thrown into a neighbouring garden. This annoys the man next door. The slug is a very quiet animal. Its length is sometimes three inches. When it is alarmed it is only about half an inch long. Many slugs have shells. The horns upon their heads are weapons. Slugs travel very slowly. Once a slug had a race with a hare. The slug won. Snails are the same as slugs. Once a slug fought with some tailors. The tailors ran away. They were afraid of the snail’s horns. Snails are succulent. They make good soup.”

‘“’Twon’t do, ’twon’t do,” said the editor. “’Tain’t my style a bit. If you want me to insert your articles in the Bendigo Scientific Advertiser and General News Agent, guess you’ll have to be terse. Say things[Pg 136] to the point, and not go wandering along with a regimental procession of high-falutin, chuckle-headed sentences like what you’ve stuck down on that paper. Now look at this,” and he held out the papers I had brought for his approval at arm’s length. “Just look at this! call this an article on slugs! Why, there ain’t enough in it to make a decent epitaph for a bumble-bee.” Then he begun to read, “‘Slugs eat cabbage.’ Um, ‘They forage at night.’ Um, ‘In the morning they creep home.’ Um, ‘They are afraid of gardeners.’ Um, your ideas ain’t continuous or elastic. In those four sentences, if they were decently handled, there is enough to last the Bendigo Advertiser for a week. You oughtn’t to call a slug a slug. Call him a univalvular molluscous gasteropod. Describe him in the early dawn cautiously returning from a predatory excursion upon a cabbage-garden. Picture the thrifty gardener, with a patch of sunlight illuminating his honest face, the glory of the early morning, the refulgence of the rising luminary reflected from the riplets of a neighbouring fish-pond, and all that sort of thing. Just keep on saying the same thing over and over again without using exactly the same words. Circulate round and round a bit with ordinary phrases, and people will catch the hang of your meaning better than if you go dashing along, plumping fact after fact down their throats as if you wanted to choke ’em with literature. But above all things be terse, concise, and to the point.”

‘How I was to be terse and concise, and yet to keep on circling round and round, saying the same thing over and over again, but with varied phraseology, was a problem. I thanked the editor for his kindness, and[Pg 137] proceeded towards my lodgings with my head filled with ideas of a univalvular molluscous gasteropod, a thrifty gardener, a rising luminary and a fish-pond. I had hard work that evening, but I succeeded in constructing a circular story about a univalvular molluscous gasteropod better than I had anticipated. Next morning when I entered the office, Boosey, who was sitting in his editorial chair, said: “Well—hic—so you think you have succeeded. Just let me hear what you have written—hic. Feel sleepy this morning.” It was clear that Mr. Boosey was slightly inebriated, and knowing that it would be bad policy to aggravate an inebriated man, I at once pulled my paper from my pocket, and began as follows:

‘“The title is ‘The Univalvular Molluscous Gasteropod; or, The New Colonial Pest.’”

‘“Excellent,” hiccuped Boosey, “mush better than calling it a snail. It’s a univalvular molluscous gasteropod, just as I told you. Your language is really very beautiful—hic.”

‘Then I started, Mr. Boosey dreamily looking at me and nodding his head.

‘“As a toil-worn univalvular molluscous gasteropod wearily sped towards its home at early dawn, skirting the western side of a broad and verdant cabbage-patch, picking its way by the uncertain but continually increasing light penetrating the cloud-beflecked sky, till it at last saw in the orient the uprising luminary which might disclose its presence to the cautious and thrifty gardener, who had risen early, with a patch of sunlight on his honest face, it watched the steadily glowing disc and the wide-extended sheaves and pencils, resplendent[Pg 138] with golden light, silvering, gilding, and, it might be added, magnificently tinting every snowy pile of gauze-like vapour, etherealizing all the low-lying mist that hid the bosom of the mother earth, and at length perceived across the yet deserted garden the rippling waves of a distant fish-pond, stirred by the first gentle breeze of the early dawn, and the flashing of a broad band of glory, each ripplet on the distant shore catching up and robbing its neighbour of the wonderful illumination, each with its handful of beautiful light passing its transient acquirement to the nearest swell, and in turn catching new beauty from the passing beams of the god of day, when the eyes are dazed by the passing sheen, and all the scene is surcharged with light until glory covered the weary one.”

‘At this point I had come to the end of my manuscript, and I looked towards Boosey, who was nodding his head towards the desk. When I said “glory covered the weary one,” he looked up, gave a hiccup, and asked if that was all. A diabolical idea came into my head. As Boosey was evidently muddled with what I had read, I would follow his advice and make my story circulate. Oh no, Mr. Boosey; it continues right straight along: “the weary one being a toil-worn univalvular molluscous gasteropod that wearily sped towards its home at early dawn, skirting the western side of a broad and verdant cabbage-patch, picking his way by the uncertain but continually increasing light, which penetrated the cloud-beflecked sky, till it at last saw in the orient the uprising luminary which might disclose its presence to the cautious and thrifty gardener, who had risen early, with a patch of sunlight on his honest[Pg 139] face, it watched the steadily glowing disc and the wide-extended sheaves and pencils, resplendent with golden light, silvering, gilding, and, it might be added, magnificently tinting every snowy pile of gauze-like vapour, etherealizing all the low-lying mist that hid the bosom of the mother earth, and at length perceived across the yet deserted garden the rippling waves of a distant fish-pond, stirred by the first gentle breeze of the early dawn, the flashing of a broad band of glory, each ripplet on the distant shore catching up and robbing its neighbour of the wonderful illumination, each with its handful of beautiful light passing its transient acquirement to the nearest swell, and in turn catching new beauty from the passing beams of the god of day, when the eyes are dazed by the passing sheen, and all the scene is surcharged with light until glory covered the weary one.”

‘“Shplendid,—hic,—shplendid,” yawned Boosey. “Just stop there, and say, ‘To be continued in our next.’ Can give you ten dollars for six similar articles. When you talked about slugs eating cabbage—hic—forage at night—hic,—afraid of the gardener, and the rest of it, I was doubtful about your—hic—style. Terseness is the art of journalism. There is a terseness about what you have just read—hic—which will certainly please the readers of our columns.”

‘How it was that old Boosey had not noticed that I had reiterated several of my statements in connection with the univalvular molluscous gasteropod can only be attributed to amiability. That night I sent in some clean copy, and my article appeared; but as I was a stranger in Sandhurst I was unable to learn anything[Pg 140] respecting the general impression it had produced. Next day I went to the office, where I found Mr. Boosey in a worse state than he had been in on the previous day. All he could do was to giggle inanely, and say, “Shplendid—univalv—hic—ular gasteropod indeed! funny dog—take a drink, old man. Make you sub-editor next week.” Then inquiringly, “S’pose you’ve got some more about that gash’opod, eh?” It was clear that my chance was open, and I did not lose it. That night the readers of the Bendigo Advertiser had the continuation of the story. It began: “As a toil-worn univalvular molluscous gasteropod wearily sped,” etc. In the evening I heard one or two of the guests at the hotel saying that old Boosey was mad. Snails in the colonies were bad enough, but his articles were worse.

‘Times were too bad for one to think what people thought of Boosey, and so long as he remained amiable, I determined to go ahead, sending the same old story about the univalvular molluscous gasteropod. On the evening of the fifth day Boosey sent me a cheque for ten pounds, with compliments and thanks for my interesting communications. His note indicated that he was sober, and I felt alarmed.

‘The morning after this I heard that a little boy had put his head inside Boosey’s office, and called the old man a univalvular molluscous gasteropod. This little incident was followed by an article in The Morning Chronicle, headed, “A Circular Story; or, A New Colonial Pest,” which tried to prove that Boosey was either mad or perpetually intoxicated. I saw a crash was coming, and that evening took a train to Melbourne.[Pg 141] A few days afterwards I received a note from Boosey. It ran as follows:

‘“Dear Sir,

‘“I have read my back issues, and I trust you will not feel annoyed if your children should suddenly become orphans.

‘“Yours truly,

‘“J. G. Boosey.”

‘I never replied.’

Next morning was Sunday. After presenting letters of introduction to one or two influential residents, I and Dodd strolled about the town. The streets are wide, with here and there a number of good shops. ‘The Mechanics,’ which includes a school of mines, is a fine building. ‘The Mechanics,’ the chief feature in which is a reading-room, is an institution to be found in most colonial towns.

The chief street in Sandhurst is called Pall Mall. Right in the middle of it there are the poppet-heads of a gold mine. When coal has been discovered under London, there may possibly be a coal mine in the original Pall Mall. I saw a lake in the domain and also a fernery. Ferneries are not uncommon in this part of the world. They consist of a collection of rockeries covered with tree-ferns, beneath the fronds of which there is a maze-like arrangement of damp paths. The only objection to these artificial groupings of natural objects is, that after having once entered them, you are afraid that it will be difficult to find your way out. It being Sunday, all was very quiet. In the[Pg 142] afternoon the quietness was disturbed by the howlings of a Salvationists’ procession.

It started from a large building called the Salvation Army Barracks, in front of the hotel. At the head of the procession there was a man bearing a red banner, on which was written ‘Blood and Fire.’ Next came the band dressed in a militia-like uniform, each man with the name of his religion labelled on his cap. Behind these came a great number of women in coal-scuttle-shaped bonnets and blue dresses. They were labelled like the men. These uniforms can be purchased at the Salvation Army stores. Behind all there came the riffraff of the town. Mixed up with the front part of the regiment were a number of young men also in uniform, who pivoted and pranced about as if imitating David. They led the procession. To encourage people to join them, the prancers flicked their pocket-handkerchiefs as if beckoning. It was very interesting, and more especially so as it was accompanied by lively music. I met with Salvationists, their barracks, their stores, and their provisions throughout the colony.

The Salvation Army publishes an organ called the War Cry, which circulates in many parts of the colonies. The only one I saw was chiefly filled with reports as to the progress of regiments in different districts. Parts of the reports—but for the spirit in which we suppose they are put forward—sound like blasphemy, and I refrain from quoting them. The bulk of them contain numerous ejaculations about Hallelujah and Salvation, and are filled with contradictory statements.[Pg 143] Much relating to the firing of guns is incomprehensible.

Here are a few specimens of War Cry literature, taken at random from a copy picked up on an hotel table:—

‘Captain Perry reports from Nelson that one dear man had walked 800 miles to gain salvation. The barracks were packed. Great conviction; but they went away blinded by the devil’s delusive plaister—“Not to night.” Lord save them is our prayer. Hallelujah! Cry going up. Look out, Sydenham! we’re going to flog you! Will do it, too!’

‘Auckland reports that the Marshal held the people spell-bound, and accompanied the singing with the piano. £13 4s. collected. Hallelujah!’

‘At Lyttelton, one sailor who had been tossing about the ocean of life, took passage in the Gospel Ship, and shipped right through viâ Calvary, and all the people said, Amen.’

One article was devoted to a threatened invasion of China.

‘In six weeks the first contingent was to be stationed at one of the protected ports, Hong-kong, Canton, or Shanghai.’ ‘We shall dress like Chinese,’ said Marshal Booth; ‘take Chinese food, and try to come down to the level of the Chinese themselves.’

While I was in New Zealand a Maori army was being organized. In Canterbury I saw an Army store. Here, works by General and Mrs. Booth can be purchased. One, by Major Corbridge, is entitled ‘Up-Line to Heaven, Down-Line to Hell.’ Soldiers’ cards, pray-cards,[Pg 144] roll-books, and cartridges are also sold. I suppose the latter, which cost ten shillings a thousand, are tracts.

At the outfit department you can buy regulation shields, uniforms, army pocket-knives containing photos of General and Mrs. Booth, sisters’ jerseys, badges, sergeants’ bannerettes. The Salvation Army are certainly a powerful body amongst the lower classes in the colonies. One officer describes his colleagues as ‘Hallelujah gutter-snipes, and ragpickers on the muck-heap of sin.’ They work amongst those who find ordinary churches too genteel. It is to be hoped that they are doing good.

Dodd and I had several good walks and drives about Sandhurst. One was to Eaglehawk, which is a large mining district. In fact, the whole district from Sandhurst to Eaglehawk, and, for that matter, for miles beyond, is covered with poppet-heads. These poppet-heads, which indicate shafts, extend in lines over an undulating country. From the length of any of these lines, you can roughly estimate the length of the lodes or reefs which are being worked. Like Charters Towers, the reefs are of quartz; but, instead of being in a granitic rock, they intersect or run through the traditional slate. The distance to Eaglehawk was four miles, and on the road we counted sixty-four public-houses, and ten places of worship: that is to say, the reconverters were to the converters in the ratio of six to one. This reminds one of the way in which whisky and water is sometimes mixed.

During the evening Dodd and I made several attempts to gain an entrance to the Salvationist barracks. It was always too crowded. We heard that the[Pg 145] Salvationists had become so popular, that other sects, in order to draw an audience, had been compelled to adopt similar tactics, and brass bands had been started at several chapels.

Next day we spent our time in visiting mines and stamping mills. One mine we visited was lighted by electricity. It was a very nice dry mine for a visitor, but as it only yielded four or five pennyweights of gold to the ton of quartz, it paid but small dividends to its shareholders. Some of the mills we visited were very swagger. They had tree-ferns growing in the engine-rooms, and everything was clean and neat. Those who managed the mills and mines were exceedingly courteous, and told us all that we wished to know.

During the afternoon we saw a crowd in the middle of Pall Mall, and thinking it was a row going on, we walked towards it. It proved to be the brokers of the mining exchange doing their business in the street. This is common at other towns in Victoria.

The next town was Ballarat. The country about was hilly. In the distance several prominent hills were, I was told, old volcanoes. Originally this was the great centre for washing gold out of the alluvium. The deposits of alluvium consist of pebbles and sand, which at one time formed the bed of a river. These deposits are called leads. At first it was thought that the leads were only on the surface of the ground, just as modern river-beds are on the surface. Exploration, however, proved that there were ancient river-beds which had been buried by flows of lava, forming what is called bluestone. This led to deep alluvium mining. In sinking downwards, the miner would pass through successive[Pg 146] layers of gravels, clays, and bluestone, until he reached the upturned ends of the slate. The slate is the oldest rock, and over the surface of this rivers ran, depositing their gravels in the hollows. Then during periods of volcanic activity, the gravel was buried by bluestone. During a period of repose, rivers flowed over the bluestone, and there deposited fresh gravels; and so the processes of nature continued, sometimes laying down a layer of gravel, and sometimes one of bluestone. The whole arrangement is like a plate of sandwiches. The plate being the slates, the bread the gravels, and the ham the bluestone. The gold is in the gravels, and it probably came there by the wearing away of the upper part of quartz lodes, cropping out on the surface of the country over which the rivers ran. It is probable that by the action of solvents percolating through these gravels, the original character of the gold has been altered. It may have been made purer, and it may, during processes of preparation, have been collected together to form large nuggets.

At all events the gold from alluvial washings is usually purer than the gold from quartz reefs; and further, it is only in the alluvial deposits that large nuggets have been discovered.

At Ballarat the alluvial deposits have been exhausted, and only reef mining is to be seen. To see workings in deep leads, we had to take train to Creswick, and from there a buggy out into the country. On account of the softness and the water contained in the deep gravels, peculiar systems have to be adopted for their extraction. The shaft is sunk through the deposit to be worked down to a hard bed, and a tunnel is driven in the hard[Pg 147] bed beneath the soft deposit as far as the limit of the property. From this tunnel vertical holes, or ‘jump-ups,’ are made upwards into the soft gravels, which are then taken out in blocks. As these are removed the roof is allowed to fall in. On the surface the gravel is put into a circular iron tank or buddle in which there are revolving forks. Here it is washed with water, and the big stones thrown away. The clear gravel is then drawn off into long troughs or sluices, down which water is flowing. On the bottom of the trough there are small ledges of wood or iron, behind which the gold collects, while the lighter gravel is washed away. The country round Creswick is gently undulating, with here and there a few conical hills—probably old volcanoes.

On our return to Ballarat we had a good look at the town. The streets are remarkable for their width. On a windy day you might hesitate before you crossed them. At the School of Mines we visited a museum. The school itself was in an old court-house. The condemned cell had been converted into a room for a professor. The museum was next door, in a church which has been bought. It is not an uncommon thing to put churches up for auction in the colonies.

Before I say good-bye to Melbourne, I must tell a story which I heard about the Yarra, or rather about a man who lived on the banks of that charming little river. It is called:


Old Captain Stringer came here in ’54, and, like a lot of skippers who came to Melbourne about that time, was ruined. No sooner had he dropped anchor than all[Pg 148] the crew, even to the little cabin-boy, made for shore, bought a swag, and started off for Bendigo. The gold fever was on everybody, and even £20 a month was not sufficient to keep a sailor on board his ship. At first Stringer took the matter philosophically, and was always saying that by-and-by they would be able to get hands on board for asking. Jack would find that gold-washing and hard tucker wasn’t exactly Paradise, and very shortly we should see him coming back to Melbourne like a Prodigal Son. Every day saw new ships in port, and rushes of new chums off on the road towards Bendigo. Stringer, like many of the skippers, was part owner of the vessel he commanded, and this, no doubt, was an inducement for him to stay on board. Those who had no share in their vessels used to wait a month or two trying to get a crew. After this they would pack up a swag, leave the ship to take care of itself, and start off, as they said, in search of men.

In six months Port Phillip, which used at that time to reach nearly up to Flinders Street, was one dense mass of helpless shipping. It was ships, ships, ships, as far as the eye could see, and, what was worse, the number was daily increasing. Many skippers tried to sell their ships, but buyers were not to be found. Many people thought themselves lucky if they could find anyone willing to receive a ship as a present. To be relieved of the responsibility of having a ship to look after seemed to ease their minds. A good number, rather than give their ships away, relieved themselves of the responsibility of ownership by scuttling their property. They were not going to let people have their belongings for nothing.

[Pg 149]

It wasn’t long before the blocking up of the river and harbour with floating and sunken vessels began to have an effect by causing silt to deposit; and, to make a long story short, after the floods of 1855, if there were one ship ashore there must have been at least 5,000 of them, and Captain Stringer’s was amongst the lot. In the following year the Government had a new channel cleared out for the river and the land where the ships were became a marsh. One or two who had their ships in a dry place where grass had begun to grow, clubbed together and started a farm, using their ships as dwelling-houses and stables. Things were pretty expensive in those days. Land down where Flinders Street now is was worth £150 to £200 a foot; and as for dwelling-houses, you could not get a weather-boarded cottage under £500 a year. The climate, too, was more trying than it is at present. Every other day we used to get those hot north winds called brickfielders. When these were blowing it was like standing in a baker’s oven, and the dust was so thick that you could not put your nose outside the door. What with losing his ship, and the effects of rum so long as it lasted, old Stringer seemed to be dreadfully upset. Still, he kept up a certain kind of style, and wanted us to believe that he was well off. When we called on board his boat he would always produce something or other which he said he had specially ordered from London. Once it was some cigars. He said they had cost him two-and-sixpence apiece. The duty he paid on them was very heavy. But anyhow, they were the best Havanas ever made—in fact, part of a parcel expressly manufactured for the King of Hanover, and he hoped we should like them.[Pg 150] Of course, we all knew that Stringer couldn’t afford two-and-sixpenny cigars, and what he had so much to say about were only penny cheroots. All that we could conclude was that Stringer was proud, and just to humour the old man we told him that the cigars were the best ever seen in the colony. Another trick he had was to go about with a few coppers and some keys in his pocket, jingling as if he were carrying the mint. One thing which he never forgot was every now and again to jerk out his pocket-handkerchief, and with it a roll of paper that looked like bank-notes. ‘Dear me, I shall lose that money yet,’ he would remark, as he stooped to pick up the roll. At first we thought that they were real notes, but after picking them up once or twice when Stringer had jerked them a little too far, we saw then that it was only a roll of tissue-paper. Sometimes, if he knew that anyone was walking close behind him, he would drop the roll on purpose for them to pick it up. All that he wanted was for us to tell him that he ought not to be so careless with such large sums of money. This would start him off about his ancestors, who had so much wealth that an instinctive indifference and carelessness for money had gradually been bred in the family. He could no more help dropping rolls of bank-notes in the street than he could help breathing. At last it was generally recognised that Stringer was mad, the particular form of his madness being an inordinate desire to be thought a millionaire. This was coupled with such an absurd amount of pride that, although he was really as poor as a church mouse, and at times on the verge of starvation, he would never receive a present. The only way we could[Pg 151] keep him alive was to leave things at his ship whenever we knew he was absent: one man would leave him a sack of flour, another a barrel of pork, a third some tea, and in this way we managed to keep the old man going.

Many of us had an idea that Stringer’s madness would gradually wear away, but instead of that it seemed to get worse. He took to dressing in a queer way, putting on a red waistcoat with brass buttons, and a white hat. It wasn’t long before everyone in Melbourne knew old Stringer as well as they knew Collins Street. Another way in which he made himself conspicuous was by writing letters to the papers about his ancestors, and putting in advertisements about rolls of bank-notes which had accidentally slipped out of his pocket. Some of his compositions were so peculiar that they were reproduced in the country papers, and in a short time mad Stringer threatened to become as well known an Australian institution as Melbourne itself.

Suddenly it was observed that Stringer had a slight limp, and this was followed by a hacking little cough. He told us it was living on the marsh—he had rheumatics, and was suffering from malaria. As weeks went on, the limp got worse and worse, and the case of poor old Stringer excited considerable sympathy. Even the newspapers took notice of the old man’s sufferings. One or two doctors who went down to see him said that his rheumatism was very acute; he was as mad as a hatter, and he ought to be compelled to leave the marsh.

While we were discussing how old Stringer was to be got out of his ship on the marsh, it was reported[Pg 152] that he had disappeared. This was of course another fact for the newspapers. Two weeks later a letter came from Stringer, saying that he was trying some springs which had been recommended to him as good for rheumatics. His health had not been good, and he thought a course of waters would perhaps be beneficial.

A month later a note appeared in the Argus, giving an account of a marvellous cure which had been effected upon a well-known resident in Melbourne, by the natural waters of Jogga Wogga. The details which were given clearly pointed to Stringer as the patient on whom the wonderful cure had been effected. The news quickly spread throughout the colony. Thinking it would please the Captain’s pride to see himself in print, we sent him up copies of the paper. In a few days we received a long letter in reply, saying how pleased he was that we had not forgotten him. The account in the Argus was quite correct, and not only had he been cured (and he here gave evidence that he was aware that he had been suffering, not only from rheumatics and malaria, but also from a brain disease), but that a large number of other people had derived considerable benefit from the springs. There were several distinct sources. Some of it, he said, was pure and pleasant to the palate, whilst the waters of other springs were somewhat nauseous. One man had been cured of sore eyes; another had had an impediment in his speech removed; a third had got rid of chronic headaches with which he had been affected; while he himself had been cured of rheumatism, low fever, and madness. Shortly after this a letter appeared in the[Pg 153] papers confirming what Stringer had written, and the fame of the Jogga Wogga springs got noised throughout Australia.

Later on Stringer came back looking quite respectable and well. The change which the waters had made in the old man was truly marvellous. He told several of us that he was so certain about the efficacy of the Jogga Wogga waters, that he had taken out a claim for Jogga Wogga district. If we would assist him, he intended to set up a factory for the bottling of the Jogga Wogga waters, in which he clearly believed that there was a lot of honest money to be made. It was certain that the waters had already been well advertised, and that they worked marvellous cures. All that remained to be done was to bottle the waters ready for customers.

In less than a month, with the help of a few hundreds which he borrowed from us, Captain Stringer had started a bottling establishment on the lower part of the Yarra. He must have a wharf for the purpose of loading steamers. He would have had the establishment at Jogga Wogga itself, but he showed it was cheaper to send the waters down in casks rather than to send bottles up to Jogga Wogga, and then cart them back again. Of course he issued cards, circulars, prospectuses, put advertisements in all the newspapers, and did what was necessary and proper to bring the Jogga Wogga waters to the notice of the health-seeking public. One of his circulars contained testimonials from bishops and doctors who had known Stringer before his illness. These were backed by letters and articles from various newspapers.

[Pg 154]

The waters he sold were of three kinds. No. 1 was described as slightly acid, containing a fine precipitate of yellow flocculent sulphur, and a small percentage of sulphuretted hydrogen. It was strongly recommended in all cases of skin disease, and to patients who were dyspeptic or suffering from an attack of bile. For locomotor ataxy it was infallible, and failing appetites were speedily cured. Acidity, giddiness, headache, drowsiness, and spasms of all descriptions might readily be cured by a hot bath made from these waters. Small bottles, 2s. 6d. Large bottles for family use, containing one imperial quart, 5s.

No. 2 was described as an alkaline water, which rendered the cuticle so soft and pliable that it might be called the beautifier. For gout, rheumatic arthritis, forms of myalgia like lumbago, chronic rheumatism, relaxation of anchylosed joints and psoriasis, it was unequalled. Short dry coughs, singing in the ears, vitiated tastes, might be removed by taking a dose of this water three times a day. Price 3s. a pint. A large bottle for family use, containing an imperial quart, 7s. 6d.

No. 3 was described as somewhat saline, exceedingly beneficial when applied either externally or internally. As an alterative in tubercular diseases and in cases of nervous affections, it was unequalled. It was particularly recommended to residents in the East, and to all who indulge in the luxuries of the table; a wineglassful taken after every meal would arrest the progress of the most virulent disease. Price 10s. per small bottle. A large bottle suitable for family uses, containing an imperial quart, one guinea.

[Pg 155]

In the colonies the sale was enormous; in fact, the orders poured in so rapidly, that Stringer said he was obliged to decline orders from people living near him. He would supply them later on. In a few months orders were received from abroad, and great steamers sailed from Port Phillip loaded with cases of the Jogga Wogga waters. Now and then barge-loads of barrels would be seen toiling up the Yarra on their way towards the Jogga Wogga springs.

For two years the trade had so increased, that poor old Stringer, as we used to call him, was in a fair way to become a millionaire. About this time, however, it began to be whispered about that there was some sort of trickery going on at Stringer’s establishment; the waters were not of the same quality as at first. One man wrote to the papers, saying that the Jogga Wogga waters, instead of curing him, had made him vomit to such at extent that he had to remain in bed for a week. One or two others addressed letters to the bishops and doctors, to know if their testimonials about the Jogga Wogga waters were genuine. Of course they replied that as the Jogga Wogga waters had cured Captain Stringer of rheumatism, low fever, and lunacy, they must be good. While all this was going on, old Stringer was raking in the pounds hand over hand.

A crusher appeared at last. A gentleman, who signed himself John Burdett, M.D., said that as three of his patients who had been in the habit of taking the Jogga Wogga stimulant had suddenly died, while many others had been seriously ill, he had been led to make a close examination of these celebrated waters.

Although he had made numerous inquiries respecting[Pg 156] the Jogga Wogga springs, he had failed to discover their existence. In fact, he was of opinion that Jogga Wogga had no existence. After careful analyses of the waters, he concluded that the quantity of organic matter which the so-called Jogga Wogga water contained, rendered it highly improbable that it was not of subterranean origin.

The general character of the water was not unlike that of some slowly flowing, muddy stream.

No. 1 Jogga Wogga water, described as slightly acidic and containing a fine precipitate of sulphur and a small percentage of sulphuretted hydrogen, was strikingly similar to the water in the Yarra, at the point below the bridge where the waters from the gas-works mix with those of the adjoining tannery.

No. 2 Jogga Wogga water, described as an alkaline solution which rendered the cuticle soft and pliable, was identical with water taken from the Yarra below the tallow factory, or near to the second soap-boilers.

No. 3 Jogga Wogga water, described as saline, Dr. Burdett said he was uncertain about. It might be from certain parts of the Yarra, or it might be from the tide-way opposite Captain Stringer’s wharf.

In conclusion, he publicly challenged Captain Stringer to indicate the position of the Jogga Wogga springs, offering to pay £1,000 if such springs could be proved to have an existence.

The reply to the attack appeared next morning. It was dated

‘Melbourne Heads, S. S. Hooker.

My dear Dr. Burdett,

‘You are quite right, and as you have discovered[Pg 157] the true source of the Jogga Wogga waters, you are perfectly free to carry on my business during my absence in America. I may not return for some time.

‘Yours affectionately,
Captain Stringer.’

We returned to Melbourne by rail. For some distance after leaving Ballarat the country was hilly, but after that it was flat—dead flat. It looked like a placid green ocean. Once it had perhaps been a fiery ocean of lava, which, by the processes of time, had been smoothed over to an even surface. Crossing the plains, you saw long lines of wire fencing getting lower and lower until they vanished as a black line in the direction of the horizon. What opportunities to study space of two dimensions! What cricket grounds! All the teams in the world might play upon these plains and not one would know of the existence of his neighbours. I suppose the flatness of Australia has had much to do with their success at cricket. Every boy could play. An exactly similar argument will apply to their success at rowing. The numerous and magnificent rivers which traverse the Australian continent in all directions—no, that’s wrong. They have no rivers. They took to rowing out of perversity.

[Pg 158]


I made two trips to Tasmania, one of them being from Melbourne to Hobart. On one of these trips the sea was as smooth as glass, and looking in the water you could see the reflection of trees and islets as if looking in a mirror. On another trip, however, it was so rough that all passengers had to be kept below, and a fourteen-knot boat, when it did not go backwards, seldom made more than four knots. So much for the moods in which you may find Bass Straits. When Bass Straits are amiable, the time taken from Melbourne to Launceston is usually about twenty-four hours. You commence the journey by going down the tortuous muddy Yarra. As I have before remarked, there are some people who say that this river smells. The only things of particular interest which I remember passing were two steamers which had just arrived with tea from China. Both of them had seen bad weather, especially one called the Airlie, which had lost her boats and all her live-stock. When we saw her she looked pretty much like a ship that had been through a naval engagement. A fellow-passenger told a friend of mine that these ships carried Chinamen as sailors. The captain[Pg 159] and the officers dressed in white—white coat, white pants, white hats and white shoes. They talked Chinese. He had heard them saying ‘Chop chop.’ That’s Chinese for ‘Hurry up,’ you know.

At the entrance to Port Phillip, into which the Yarra empties itself, there are fortifications and a lighthouse. Until quite recently, on account of the fear of Russians, these lights were extinguished. When we returned from Launceston in a little boat called the Pateena, we had to heave to at this point, until we had satisfied the officers of a steam-launch that we were not Russians in disguise.

Amongst our passengers there were, as usual, one or two celebrities. There were illiterate millionaires travelling for business, and young Oxonian millionaires travelling for pleasure. One man was pointed out to me as being worth from £150 to £200 per day; another man was a bagman carrying samples of the Airlie’s tea. The most remarkable man with whom I conversed was the heaviest man in the colonies. His name is Jennings, he is a native of Tasmania, weighs thirty-three stone, and belongs to a group of stout Tasmanians known as ‘Our Boys.’ He had been on a trip to Victoria and New South Wales, and being a distinguished personage, had been presented with ‘free passes’ for the colonial railways. In other countries he would have paid double. Not being able to go in an ordinary cabin, he had engaged the ladies’ saloon, where he had a bed made up on the floor; when once in bed he told me that he could not turn over, and ‘these ship stewards don’t understand me, you know,’ he remarked.

[Pg 160]

After dinner I spent some time in the smoking-room, where a young gentleman, who was completing his education by voyaging round the world, entertained an audience by accounts of his own adventures and the idiosyncrasies of his friends.

In the Red Sea he and his companions had nearly succumbed to the intense heat. The perspiration ran from them until they both got wet, and pools of water formed by the drippings from their chins. The playing cards were actually sticky. ‘I brought five guns with me,’ said the young gentleman, ‘and in India I shot seven elephants in one day.’ ‘Seventeen,’ he means, whispered my neighbour, who gave me a nudge. After this we were entertained by a long story about one of the young gentleman’s friends, whom he described as being ‘awfully hard.’ ‘You couldn’t knock “the hard” out of him. He was the hardest fellow he ever knew. Somehow or other he was always down on his luck. Once he was lost in the bush for five days. When he got back to his station, all his cattle had died. Then he went to sea for five years, going round the world ten times. This set him up with money to start another station. The cattle again died.’ ‘Did he go to sea for five years more?’ I asked. ‘Oh no, he didn’t go to sea again; he used to make wagers with fellows that he would drink a cask of beer and nibble up the staves of wood as he went on. They weren’t large casks, you know. His great aunt died the other day and left him £60,000 a year. He was awfully hard, don’tchyerknow.’

Another gentleman, who had a long tawny moustache, told us that he knew Tasmania better than any[Pg 161] other man. He said that he had been collecting notes for the last twenty-five years for a book he was writing on Tasmania, and the style in which he wrote was like that of Artemus Ward.

About this time, there being a change in the amplitude and period of the ship’s movements, I decided on bed. I was glad that I had done this, as I afterwards found my health was not altogether reliable.

Early next morning we were steaming up the waters of the lovely Tamar. The river is fully a mile in width, and is bounded with big bays, clumps of trees, and hills on either side. The reflections in the water were so clear, that a photograph of what we saw must have been a double picture. Here and there along the hills there were lines of clouds, while at the extremities of the bays there were banks of mist. It is partly owing to these misty Scotch mornings, which kill off the weakly ones, that the British race exists. I was told by one passenger that the trees were red gums, blue gums, and wattles. A second passenger said they were blue gums, red gums, and wattles. A third said they were wattles, red gums, and blue gums. I gradually learnt how many names I required on which to ring the changes when describing the Tasmanian flora.

Launceston, which is forty miles up this river, is a clean, quiet, nice little town. From a distance you see several spires of churches, some tall chimneys belonging to the tin-smelting works, some saw mills, and a lot of houses, the whole being surrounded by high hills. On one side of the town is the river Esk, flowing down a rocky gorge from the Cora Linn. I went to see this, and was very much struck with the picturesqueness of[Pg 162] the wild and rocky canon-like gorge through which the river flows.

The streets of the town are wide, and contain many good shops. Victorians call Tasmania ‘sleepy hollow.’ I cannot say that Launceston was particularly sleepy in its appearance. It was certainly quiet, but in the leading streets there was always a comfortable amount of traffic visible.

During the last two years Launceston and northern Tasmania have been much disturbed with small earthquakes. Many of these have been sufficient to produce slight cracks in walls, and to disturb stone ornaments on the parapets of buildings. One small minaret, like a spire on a church tower, had been partly twisted round. The origin of these disturbances is supposed to be near the eastern entrance to Bass Strait.


I suffered from toothache when I was in Launceston, and was in consequence led to make inquiries about dentistry. ‘Speaking of teeth,’ said a gentleman at the club, ‘we have a dentist in this town who will whip spots out of all the tooth carpenters in creation. He came here about two years ago, and set up as a locksmith and general mechanic. Everybody said he was pretty clever, but somehow or other he didn’t succeed as he ought to have done. The only work he could get when he first came was to mend sewing machines, and now and then a bicycle. But it is an ill wind that blows no one any luck. Fergusson, the manager of the Bank of Van Diemen’s Land (that’s a name we hate, you know), was taking a walk one afternoon near the[Pg 163] beach, when he suddenly found a sack over his head, and, before he could turn round or shout for help, he was tied to a tree and gagged. The ruffians then took his keys, went down to the bank, and helped themselves. Of course there was a lot of talk about the affair, and the newspapers said that bank-managers who had only one key to their safes ought to be held responsible for any loss which might occur. The result of all this was that Johnson got the job of altering a lot of safes, so that they could only be opened by two keys. Next he got railway work. After this he started electric bells. The electrical business—which he does very well, mind ye, and, if you want electrical bells, you can’t do better than go to Johnson—seems to have started him off in a new line. You have heard, no doubt, of Pulvermacher’s electrical belts, which are made of bits of magnets wrapped up in flannel. They say it’s the magnetism that works the cure, but I think it’s the flannel. Johnson had an idea that electricity was the thing, and if you could get from time to time a gentle current passed through your system it might be exceedingly beneficial. That electrical currents work cures for rheumatism and other diseases is demonstrated every day in hospitals throughout the world. The problem which Johnson set himself was how to get a current passed through a man without using a machine or a battery—the man must make his own current. At every meal a man took in a certain quantity of food which, like fuel, gives out heat. Instead of converting the whole of the food into tissue and heat, Johnson wanted to convert a bit of it into electricity; and he solved the problem splendidly.’

[Pg 164]

‘And how did he do it?’ I inquired.

‘Well, when a man takes his food, there is always a certain amount of salt and acid in his mouth, you know. Now Johnson thought that if a man had his upper row of teeth made of copper, and the lower ones made of zinc, a regular battery might be established.’

‘And has he ever tried it?’ I asked.

‘Tried it indeed! He’s tried it in all shapes you could think about, and, what is more, he has taken a patent out for the arrangement. In a prospectus he issued, he called it “The New Dentistry, the Curer of all Diseases and the Improver of the Mind.” Battery teeth were guaranteed to strengthen the whole muscular system, restore long-lost complexions, cure headaches, and to rouse into activity the whole physical action of the human frame. He began with his shop-boy. First he stopped some holes in his uppers with copper, and then corresponding holes, which he bored in the lowers, with zinc. The boy was originally one of those stupid fat-faced youths, without a sequence of ideas in his head. After the new stopping was in, it was generally remarked that he had suddenly become intelligent. As this was so successful, Johnson next experimented by respectively replacing two of his uppers and two of his lowers with zinc and copper. The effect was astounding. Every time the boy closed his mouth and made contact, his countenance would light up with a preternatural glow of intelligence, and he would look at you as if he was reading your inmost thoughts. When he opened his mouth, of course the contact was broken, and the expression of wisdom would be suddenly replaced by the old look of stupidity.

[Pg 165]

‘Lots of us used to go round to see Johnson’s boy make and break contact, or, as he called it, turning on the intellect.

‘One thing which was very remarkable, was the boy’s behaviour when, after lying all night with his mouth shut and the current running, he first got up in the morning. He seemed to be so full of spirits, that until he had had a run round the town with his mouth open there was no restraining him. Johnson was delighted, and to determine the limits to which the experiment might be carried, he pulled out all the boy’s teeth, and set him up with his copper and zinc arrangement.

‘The results were more remarkable than ever. Day by day the boy’s brains got bigger and bigger, until at last his intellect became perfectly gigantic. When the current was on, one great hobby he took to was to write poetry, for all of which Johnson secured the copyright. At times, when he had his teeth arranged in series, the current was so intense that Johnson was afraid to let him sleep, unless he had a wooden plug in his mouth just to keep the circuit open.

‘Johnson, however, lost him at last. One night he and the boy were having pickled salmon for supper (one of those salmon which have thriven so well in the rivers, you know), when all of a sudden the boy jumped up with a yell and bolted out of the door. Johnson was after him, but it was no use—off he went along the road towards Hobart. Some people who saw him said that his eyes were lighted up like two electric lamps, and sparks were flying out all over him. Several search-parties went out to look for him, but without success. In the inquiry which followed his disappearance, it[Pg 166] turned out that Johnson had forgotten to put his teeth into parallel circuit, which, as he admitted, was the only way in which persons with metallic teeth ought to sit down to pickled salmon.’

‘And has there never been any trace of him discovered?’ I asked.

‘Well, there has been no decided trace, but a fellow who read a paper the other evening at the Mechanics, attributed the electrical state of our atmosphere to the proximity of Johnson’s boy; and one man who spoke said that he might be the cause of the red sunsets we have been having. When folks don’t understand a thing properly they always put it down to electricity. You ought to go round to Johnson and get him to put some of his patent stopping into your teeth. It’ll cure the toothache, and give you an imagination. My teeth were stopped by Johnson.’

I inquired about Johnson, and from what I heard he was a remarkable man. I, however, should rather recommend him as a mechanist than as a dentist.

Now for a few facts I cribbed out of a book. Tasmania was discovered in 1642, by Van Tasman. At first it was called Van Diemen’s Land. It fell into the possession of the English in 1803, and for many years was used as a station for convicts. For the next twenty years it appears to have been governed by military orders. There is a remarkable novel on convict life in Tasmania, called ‘For the Term of His Natural Life,’ by Marcus Clarke. Those who wish to know how brutal and tyrannical Englishmen may have been, cannot do better than read Clarke’s depiction of early times near[Pg 167] Hobart. I do not suppose that all that is related in this book is absolutely true, but from documents which I had shown to me when in Tasmania, from what I heard, and from the testimony of official records to which Marcus Clarke refers, it would appear that many of the incidents referred to are by no means pure invention. To many ladies, and to those who are easily affected by the descriptions of the trials and misery of others, I would say, Do not read ‘His Natural Life.’

For many years the aborigines gave considerable trouble to the settlers. The last of them died in 1876. In early times many of them were shot, but after they had been subjugated, they rapidly died off whilst undergoing the process of civilization. Tasmania is a hilly country, having several mountains over 4,000 feet in height, and one, Ben Lomond, is 5,000 feet. Between the mountains there are many picturesque lakes, and round the coast there are several large harbours, some of which, like Hobart, are not only commodious, but extremely beautiful. The climate is on the whole mild. In the mountains it is cold in winter, but the mildness of the summer attracts many visitors from Victoria.

In the woods there are a number of animals, which are chiefly marsupial. Amongst them are the kangaroo, wallaby, native devil, wombat, platypus, the opossum, etc. There are also a number of snakes and lizards. The flora, like the fauna, is very similar to that of Victoria.

The animal on which Tasmanians pride themselves is the duck-billed mole, more commonly known as the ornithorhynchus or platypus. This is a fierce little animal about twelve inches long. Its body is like a[Pg 168] mole, while its head is like that of a duck. A very good picture of this interesting creature may be seen on some of the Tasmanian postage stamps. Not long ago it was discovered that this extraordinary combination of bird and mammal laid eggs. Their nests are usually situated in the topmost branches of the highest trees. The eggs, when boiled hard, are said to be delicious, whilst the animal itself, when stuffed with sage and roasted, is fit to place before Lucullus. The plural of platypus is platypuses, platypi, or platypodes. This interesting little animal is also found on the adjoining continent.


While at Launceston I spent an evening visiting the Smelting Works. The tin-ore which is treated at these works comes from Mount Bischoff, one of the largest and most famous tin mines in the world. The process of smelting is apparently very simple. The ore is mixed with about one-fifth its weight of powdered coal, and then put into a reverberatory furnace for about eight hours. To purify the tin after it is drawn off from this furnace it is kept liquid in a large iron caldron, fixed at the bottom of which there is a piece of green wood. The green wood, as it is charred in the bath of molten tin, gives off gas which rises in bubbles to the surface of the metal. This gas oxidizes the impurities, which float up as a scum that can be easily removed. After this the tin is cast into brick-like blocks, which are carefully stored until the price of tin has risen sufficiently high to yield a profit to those who own the works.

[Pg 169]

The manager of the works is a nice old gentleman with grey hair. To look at, you would think he was made of good-nature and solid facts. He has a lot of fun in him, however—not common fun, but deep fun. The jokes he made you had to crack for yourself—about a week afterwards. When he showed me the works I can honestly say that I saw nothing even with a veneer of fun upon it. I felt I was getting solid facts, and it was only about two months afterwards that I discovered that I had really been looking on and listening to something which was exceedingly funny. He showed me a chimney at the end of a furnace with a little hole at the bottom of it. ‘Draw out the plug, Jim,’ said he to a workman, ‘and let the gentleman look at the flames and feel the draught.’ One by one we peered into the little hole and looked at the dazzling white flame, and felt the inrush of the air. ‘Be careful, be careful,’ said the old gentleman; ‘that draught is something tremendous. Once a man put his hand to the hole and it was stuck fast like a sucker on a stone. Before we could get him loose we had to draw the charge and extinguish the fire. This made us very careful. When we first started smelting we had the chimney forty feet higher, and then there was a draught. My eye, how it roared! The first charge of ore we put in the furnace disappeared right up the chimney. The directors told us it wouldn’t do, and the shareholders said that letting all their ore fly up the chimney was bad management, so we cut it down twenty feet. After this the furnace worked all right, but the things that happened round about it were quite mysterious. Things took to disappearing. First a lot of coal was lost, next the workmen lost their[Pg 170] tools, after that there were several complaints made to the office that clothes had been stolen. Finally, visitors to the works began to complain, and some of them sent in polite notes saying that they had accidentally left some of their belongings behind them, and asked us to be kind enough to send them back. One had lost his umbrella, another a dog, a third his watch-chain.

‘It was clear that robbery was going on, but how to catch the culprits was the difficulty. One suggestion was to mark a lot of things, and lay them about the works. The expense that followed the suggestion nearly broke us. First we marked a few bank-notes, but these went so quickly that we took to marking clothes. After that we marked walking sticks, and finally some pigs of iron. But the whole lot went, and where they went to nobody could tell.

‘The end of it all was that the directors called in the police to watch the place. Next morning, for it was only at night we run the furnace, you know, down came the police to the office, saying that if they stayed at our works they would soon be bankrupt; several of them had lost their truncheons, one his pocket-handkerchief, and another his coat-tails.’

‘And how did it all finish?’ I asked.

‘Well, it finished by a detective coming down.’

‘And did you lose the detective?’ I inquired.

‘No, we didn’t lose the detective; but if that hole’—and he pointed with his stick at the hole through which we had been peering—‘had been three inches bigger we might have had to have advertised for him. When we saw him stuck to that wall like a sucker to a stone, we knew where all the lost property had gone.’

[Pg 171]

‘Of course you had to draw the charge and extinguish the fire before you got him loose,’ I remarked.

‘Take a drink,’ said the narrator. ‘One fact that proves the truth of history is that it repeats itself. This story has repeated itself, and therefore it must be true also. D’ye see?’

Having seen these works, I felt that I should like to see Mount Bischoff, by making the journey to which I might see as much of Tasmania as by making a journey in any other direction. In consequence of delays and accidents the trip to Bischoff and back took me seven days.

I left Launceston next afternoon by train to Latrobe. The first part of the line is the same as that which takes the traveller to Hobart, distant 133 miles. The country is undulating. In a few places you see bush or forest, but the greater portion of the land is laid out in farms, and is dotted over with country-houses and clumps of furze, which, at the time of my visit, were in full bloom. In many districts I was told that rabbits had become so numerous as to be a pest, and it was necessary to legislate for their destruction. The furze-bushes, although so pretty and English in appearance, from the rapidity with which they spread, had also become a pest. What is more, they sheltered the rabbits. Thus it has happened that legislation is required for the extermination of the homely furze. To get rid of it, first it is burned and then grubbed up by the roots. Rabbits are got rid of by shooting, trapping, but what is more destructive, by the use of phosphorized oats. I shall say more about the rabbit plague when I come to New Zealand.

[Pg 172]

Amongst other importations made by our colonial cousins which have in places thriven until they have become a nuisance, may be mentioned Scotch thistles, briar-bushes, sparrows, and brown trout. Sparrows in the neighbourhood of Melbourne have at times played sad havoc with the fruit gardens. The brown trout of Tasmania, which runs up to nine or ten pounds in weight, although being in itself a fish which is good for the rod and for the table, is accused of devouring all the other river fish. As we went along I saw many rapid-running rivers, which would undoubtedly yield good sport to the angler. Near to Perth we left the main line, and branched off to the westward. In the distance to the left were the snow-capped hills of Westmoreland. Many of the counties in Tasmania are named after those in the old country. For example, you find a Dorset, a Devon, a Cornwall, and a Pembroke. Some of the stations on the line were so small that they contrived to exist without any local officials. At Little Hampton, for instance, the only persons to be seen were those who got out of our train. Their tickets were collected by the guard. At Longford and Deloraine I saw nice towns. After this it became dark, and all that I could make out was that we were passing through a country where there was a great deal of bush. The last people I saw were two young ladies walking along a road running parallel with the railway line. The train was moving very slowly, and I had my head out of the window. The young ladies curtseyed, kissed their hands, waved their handkerchiefs at me, and then exploded in a fit of giggles. I wonder what would have happened had the train stopped!

[Pg 173]

At Latrobe I found that I had to go on one station farther to Fornby, to catch a mail-coach which would take me to Emu Bay. The ride to Emu Bay reminded me of my experiences in New England. It was nine p.m. and dark at the starting, and I had an outside place on the box. Now and then I could see tall, white-stemmed trees, standing like ghosts in the midst of paddocks. These are the trees which had been ring-barked in order to kill them. The road was hilly, and in many places our four horses seemed to be charging down into a black abyss. At the bottom of these valleys we usually crossed a river. One of them, I remember, was called the Forth, and another one the Leven. A great portion of the road was along the coast, which, as I found out on my return, was exceedingly pretty.

It was two a.m. when we reached Emu Bay, and I was benumbed with cold. The coachman opened a back-door in the hotel, and conducted me to a box-like bedroom, one bed in which was occupied by a young gentleman, who woke up and had a conversation with me on the difficulties of travel. I was too cold to sleep. About five a.m. my companion lighted a candle, and after spending a considerable time in covering his head with pomatum, completed his toilet and left me. Shortly after this I had to rise to catch the train going from Emu Bay up to Waratah, which is the name of the settlement at Mount Bischoff. The line is a private one, and is owned by the Tasmanian Land Company, who have bought up all the land in this part of the colony. There is one train of two carriages, and perhaps a truck, once a day each way. The general[Pg 174] direction of the line is from the North Coast towards the South, running right into the heart of the country. Here and there are steep gradients of about one in forty. The scenery of the bush and valley is remarkably fine. The bush is much thicker than in Australia. In places it appeared like a solid wall of green. On all sides as you climb up you see huge tree-ferns, many of which are twenty to thirty feet in height. Above these are tall gum trees, whilst beneath them are beds of common bracken.

All was white with frost, and the fronds of the ferns in many places sheltered small pools and ponds of water which were covered with a thick cake of ice. Tree-ferns helped in carboniferous times to make the coal. In those times we are told that the climate was warm and damp, and we are asked to picture to ourselves something like a swamp in Florida. After what I saw and felt in Tasmania I should say that it was cold and dry. The probable reason why stems of tree-fern-like plants are so common in the coal measures as compared with the stems and branches of ordinary phanerogams, is that the stems of tree-ferns resist decomposition so remarkably well.

Some of the gum trees were very large. One stump was pointed out to me which I was told was twenty-one feet in diameter. The place for big trees is in Gipps’ Land, in Victoria. Here there are gum trees 400 feet in height. One tree was measured as being 480 feet in height; that is to say, it was fourteen feet higher than the spire of Strasburg Cathedral. I always regretted that I had not time to go up to the Dandenong ranges where these big trees are growing. As it is, I was compelled[Pg 175] to take all that I have heard about 400-feet trees as hearsay.

As the train jogged along, once or twice I noticed a paper parcel fly past my window. ‘Some fellow having sandwiches for breakfast,’ I said to myself. At last one huge parcel flew out, struck the bank, and out of it there rolled a leg of mutton. Then I knew that this was the method of delivering parcels to the residents up the line.

We stayed a short time at a place called Hampshire Hill. The township consisted of two rickety-looking houses. The only inhabitants who made themselves visible were two fat pigs. All the way up the line the soil seemed thin and poor. It may perhaps have been very good soil, but I do not understand such matters. Waratah is a village situated on the edge of a steep valley at the foot of Mount Bischoff. It is about 2,000 feet above sea level, and is therefore always cool. The great trouble is rain. Sometimes it will rain for twenty or thirty days without ceasing. Possibly Mount Bischoff may have been the scene of some of Noah’s adventures. At times I was told that the air appeared to become so rarefied that it was difficult to smoke when going up the mountain. On my arrival it was fine, and I was told I was lucky in finding it so. There are two very small hotels. The one I went to was like a cottage; the bedrooms or sleeping-boxes being up amongst the rafters. It was impossible to stand upright in my room, excepting in the centre. There were no mirrors, shiny sideboards and blue vases, as at Emu Bay, but there were comfortable beds. The bedsteads were of the smallest description, which is necessary in most[Pg 176] parts of the colonies, on account of the size of the rooms. As a rule I don’t like feather-beds, but in spite of my prejudices against such old luxuries, when I heard the rain and sleet beating on the window-panes and roof above me, after turning in that night, the feather-bed felt comfortable. It seemed to fit my shape better than a mattress.

Although the weather at Waratah was considered to be unusually good, it seemed to me chilly and damp, and I found the open grate and log fire in the little parlour down below quite acceptable. Here I made the acquaintance of my host, his family, the domestics, and several of the residents in Waratah. Everything was extremely homely, and rather than being a guest at an hotel, you felt that you had been admitted to the bosom of a family. At meal-time the visitors and the family sit down together, the maid-servant was called ‘my dear,’ and we all talked with prismy pruny puckered-up lips. Everything was very old-fashioned and very nice.

I spent several days at and about Waratah. One day was filled up with a stroll over Mount Bischoff. This is a hill about half a mile away from Waratah, which, so far as examinations have yet gone, appears to be made up of yellow and red earth, through which blocks and grains of tin are disseminated. The mine is simply a huge yellow-coloured, quarry-like excavation in the side of this hill. Running through the hill there are one or two lodes. To test these lodes, but more with the object of testing the nature of the hill, shafts have been sunk and levels have been driven.

In many places hundreds of tons of pure tin-stone[Pg 177] may be picked out. The bulk of the earthy material which goes to the dressing-floors contains about two or three per cent. of the ore. At the dressing-works this is stamped and washed, until it contains from seventy-two to seventy-five per cent. of the ore, when it is put up in bags and sent to Launceston to be smelted.

At the dressing-floors the warm material is stamped, and then classified according to size. The fine materials and the coarse materials are then treated separately upon machines called jiggers, when the rich ore is separated from the poor material. The poor material then passes through buddles and over revolving tables, where it undergoes concentration, and more rich material is obtained. To describe the different machines, and the order in which the material passes over them, would require the assistance of Mr. Kaiser, the talented director of these works, who constructed them. To me they appeared to be the most perfect dressing-works I saw in the colonies.

The last evening that I spent at Waratah, my hostess, who was entertaining a few visitors, insisted on my learning the game of euchre. Euchre, nap and cribbage are the games of the colonies. I was very stupid at learning, but when it came to me to deal I accidentally obtained for myself Ace, King, the right and left Bower, and the Joker. For the rest of the evening I felt that I was regarded as a doubtful character.

On my way back to Emu Bay, I had the company of a reverend Catholic Father. I found him a good-natured, amusing gentleman.

‘Do you object to smoking, sir?’ said I, shortly after I was seated.

[Pg 178]

‘Do I object to smoking? faith, give me one of your cigarettes and I’ll show you how much I object,’ was the reply.

The result of all this was that we smoked and talked until we reached our journey’s end. He told me a great deal about the land, and the difficulties which settlers had to contend against. All about here the only animal which gives trouble is the tiger-cat. This is more foxy in its face than feline. It has a trick of breaking through the sides and roofs of buildings in search of hams and other provisions. After this I heard a great deal about large gum trees, and the sassafras, an infusion from the bark of which yields a valuable tonic, and other things which I have now forgotten. When we parted, we did so with the hope of again meeting, if not on earth, at least in heaven. This is how my companion put it.

At Emu Bay I fell in with a young engineer who was superintending the building of a pier, to accommodate the steamers and other boats which occasionally ply between Emu Bay and Melbourne. Talking of steamers, not long ago I had a conversation with an engineering friend who had just started in his profession in London. Knowing how difficult it is for an engineer to make headway in these days of competition, I asked him how he was ‘getting on.’

‘Oh, splendidly, splendidly,’ said he; ‘working on a pier 200 feet long.’ This was a capital beginning I thought, and offered congratulations on such a successful commencement in the great city. ‘Ah, yes,’ continued he, ‘I’m—well, I’m putting twenty feet on to the end of it.’

[Pg 179]

I did not make further inquiries, for I might have been told that it was a gangway or a plank that he was supplying to connect the end of the 200 feet with the decks of steamers.


During the evening I heard an animated discussion between several of the Emu Bay residents about the disgraceful manner in which they had been treated by the postal authorities in that district. ‘You know,’ said one of them, ‘the behaviour of that old woman they’ve made into post-mistress ought to be reported. The hardest work these post-masters and post-mistresses have to do is when they get out of bed to draw their pay. They don’t care for us not a bit. Why, they won’t do anything on Sundays. When the “brake” comes along at night, why, the driver has to stop his horses, and take a lamp and sort the mails for himself.’ That this accusation had some truth in it I can vouch from my own experience, for over and over again I have had to hold the reins of the horses while the coachman was manipulating a heap of letter-bags, which he found in a box outside the post-office. At night-time, when it was freezing and blowing, I found this very trying. No doubt the coachman found it more so.

Here a defender of the postal authorities gained a hearing by reference to the poorness of their pay.

‘How can you expect anybody to do anything when they get nothing for doing it?’ he remarked.

‘Ah, but remember that new post-box we had—that one down at the corner. Why, it was perfectly[Pg 180] scandalous. When it was put up I stuck a letter in it for Tom Gadesden, down at the Leven, asking him about some horses he had to sell. As Tom didn’t write back I sent another, which I knew was posted because I put it in myself. Still there was no answer. Three days afterwards Tom came up here, and I asked him if he was short of ink and paper down at the Leven. “What do you mean?” says he. “Well, I mean I made you an offer for them two colts you had,” says I. “Did you?” says he; “the colts is sold, and I never seed any offer from you.” That set me asking, and I found that there was a lot of people who had been posting in that box and their letters had never arrived. You remember, Bill,’ said the speaker, pointing to one of the company, ‘you lost a letter in that box?’

‘Quite true,’ says Bill, nodding his head.

‘So I went to ask the post-mistress how it was, that when we posted letters at Emu Bay folks never got them—you ought to have heard the pow-wow that went on in that office. She bristled up like a porcupine, and said I had accused her of stealing people’s letters—she’d report me to Launceston. “If ever I’d posted the letters they went in the bag with the rest of the letters; and what did I mean going about trying to take away a poor old woman’s character?” After that she called me all the names she could lay her tongue to, and finished off by bursting out crying. I can tell you I was sorry that I’d been to make inquiries. I expected every minute she would have jumped at me and clawed my hair.

‘Well, after that I didn’t know what to do. It got noised round that I’d been slandering the old woman[Pg 181] down at the post-office, and people were saying I ought to be ashamed of myself.

‘All that I could do was to prove I was right, and after me and six or seven of my mates talking it over—it was in this very room—we agreed to post a newspaper to one another, and then see if we got them. Well, next night, after it had got nearly dark—for we didn’t want it to be known what we were after—we all went each of us with eight papers tied in a handkerchief up to the box. You know we were then quite sure that the papers had been posted. That was sixty-four papers we put in, do you see? The night after we all met, and what do you think?—Well, there wasn’t a hanged one of us had ever received a paper.

‘That there was something wrong in the postal regulations at Emu Bay was pretty certain. Jones suggested that the post-box might have a hole in the bottom, and a tiger-cat or something had chawed the papers up. But as the box was bran-new, most of us thought the old woman was collaring the stamps, but none of us dare say so, and I am certain that there was not one of us durst go and tell her so.

‘“Let’s try once again,” was a suggestion which met with general approval. To be quite sure that all the papers were posted, we all went again in a lump to the box. I’ll never forgot that night; it was raining and blowing a bit. Six of us had shoved our papers in, and Bob bad got two of his in, when he says, “Why, hang it, the blessed box is full!” “Full?” says we. “Yes, full,” says he—and I’m blowed if it wasn’t full. Do what we could, no more papers would go in. We could[Pg 182] take two or three out, but it was no good trying to get any more in—it was just chock-a-block.

‘Suddenly Bill says, “I don’t think the box has ever been cleared.” And that was just it. There was we posting and posting for three weeks, at a box that was never cleared. When they opened it they found our 114 papers and about 200 letters and parcels.

‘We felt such fools about that box and our 114 papers that we daren’t say much—but I think the old woman might have put up a notice that the box wasn’t working.’

I returned from Emu Bay to Latrobe by the same road as that on which I had come. The essential difference between the two journeys was, that while one had been performed during the night, and without any particular incidents, the return journey was performed during the day, and was accompanied by an incident known to colonials as being ‘stuck up.’

When I got up to start on this journey it was quite dark, and the rain was pouring down in bucketfuls. Before we were under way day had dawned, and the rain had changed to a cold drizzle. The coach was of the ordinary type; that is to say, very like an old stagecoach or a modern drag. I was the only passenger, and sat outside with the driver, who had before him a spiked team—or in other words, a leader and two pole-horses. The driver was a young man of some eighteen summers, and, as I subsequently discovered, was learning his profession. For the first eight miles or so, which we ran in an hour, everything went along satisfactorily. The scenery was charming, the pace of the horses good, and the only thing to complain about was the drizzle and[Pg 183] the cold. Shortly, however, the road became hilly, and the horses, which had hitherto run remarkably well, suddenly became obstinate, and, in spite of the thrashing administered to them by the driver, they refused to move. In time, young Jehu’s arm became tired, and there was no help for it but to descend and let me take the reins, while he encouraged them and ran by their side. The result of this was that the horses started off, leaving Jehu behind, and leaving me in charge of the coach. With the help of the brake I eventually stopped them, but no sooner had Jehu mounted on the box than they again refused to move. There was no help for it but for him to descend once more and let me take control.

This method of intermittent progress was clearly unsatisfactory, and something different must be attempted.

‘I’ll change a pole-horse for the leader,’ said Jehu.

After half an hour or so this was accomplished; but no sooner did Jehu attempt to drive them, than such violent kicking and rearing took place that we felt ourselves in danger either of rolling over a precipice, or else having the coach kicked to pieces.

Jehu was fast getting exhausted. ‘The mails are on board, and what shall I do?’ said he, wiping his forehead.

‘Turn the leader adrift, and let him run loose in front. Two horses can surely drag us two and an empty coach,’ I suggested.

This was done, and away we went splendidly, the leader running about fifty or a hundred yards ahead, and the two in the coach trying to overtake him. At last we came to cottages on the outskirts of the village of Penrhyn. The people seeing a horse running free, turned[Pg 184] out in force to stop him. This stopped the coach, and we had to explain our troubles before the leader was turned loose and we could proceed. The inhabitants of Penrhyn appeared to be highly amused at the device. Some two or three miles farther on, the leader had gone ahead so far that it was out of sight, and then to our horror the two horses refused to move. Whip, coax, pull, lead—it was all in vain. There we were with the bush on one side, a cliff and the sea on the other side, and no house within miles—‘stuck up.’ I pitied poor Jehu. He almost wept.

‘It can’t be helped; we shall miss the train at Latrobe, and the mails will be a day late.’

The chief thing he thought about was the mails. The chief thing I thought about was myself. He would walk on to the next station for assistance, if I would look after the coach. After he had gone, I tried to coax the horses by holding a bunch of grass before them. All that they would do was to stretch out their necks and get the grass, but they would not move a foot. As they seemed to have become petrified, I got inside the coach, and lighted a pipe.

While I was devising means to induce the horses to move, a farmer came along the road with a cart and a team of three big cart-horses. Of course he stopped to have a conversation, and at the end of it suggested that if the pole of the coach were tied to the tail of his cart, my two horses would have to move. The idea was splendid, and in less than ten minutes I was sitting on the box steering the mail-coach behind the farmer’s cart. How far we went I do not know, but we were travelling along slowly when we were met by Jehu and an ostler[Pg 185] with a fresh team of horses. I expect the towing of the mail-coach will be a joke for some time to come.

We reached Latrobe at about two p.m. The last part of the journey was over ground which was flat and swampy. Of course we were too late for the coach which drives to catch the train at Deloraine, and I made up my mind for a quiet afternoon and a night’s rest at Latrobe. Latrobe is a small country town of one street. Its usual dulness was somewhat increased by all the shops having their shutters partially closed, the reason being that a woman had died. A tobacconist told me that he didn’t know who she was, but the shutters would be kept up until she was buried. At one time you might see two persons and a dog in the street. The quiet melancholy of a country town in the old country pervaded not only the street, but even the interior of the hotel. In one shop I saw penny whistles, apples, cakes, peg-tops, and articles of ‘sterling silver,’ all together. I had plenty of opportunity to study my hotel. If I remember rightly, sanded floors, gaudy pictures representing hunting scenes and the seasons, a lot of advertisements and leather-covered seats, formed the chief feature in the room where I spent the evening. In a vase there was a bunch of artificial flowers. These are invariably of the same kind, and if you give a leaf a knock, the whole plant whirls round in the flower-pot, at once destroying any impression it may have made on you as to its reality. The pictures which you see in small hotels are reproductions of what you see in small hotels at home. Among the favourites were fox-hunting scenes, which usually included a man in a red coat holding up a fox, while a lot of dogs were yelping[Pg 186] around him; one or two steeplechases; a picture of the Derby; a soldier on horseback while sticking a man through the throat was carrying off a standard; one or two scenes from farmyards; the village Maypole; a few pictures of racehorses, all of which to the uninitiated looked pretty much alike; dignity and impudence looking out of a barrel; the death of Nelson; and a large collection of the worst type of German lithographs, amongst which were the royal family sitting in a semi-circle, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, a ball of wool and a puppy-dog.

Speaking generally, every picture was a reproduction of what you see in the old country, and I do not remember seeing a single picture of anything colonial.

In the evening I listened to a discussion as to the relative merits of loo, euchre and poker. A local paper, referring to the ship which had brought me to Tasmania, remarked that ‘Tasmanians interested in sheep-farming will be glad to learn that the steamship Flinders has safely landed 250 fine stud sheep; there were also some Tasmanian officials on board.’ Not being able to make out the connection between the sheep and the officials, I went to bed.

The ride back to Launceston was more pleasant than the ride up had been. We started before seven a.m. At eight a.m. the sun appeared above the hills, and the hoar-frost began to disappear as clouds of mist. Every tree and flower and haystack smoked as if it was on fire. As far as Deloraine the country on either hand was chiefly an impenetrable bush; beyond that we were again back amongst the ferns and yellow furze.

That evening I spent in Launceston, being entertained[Pg 187] by a number of gentlemen, who told me many stories about the great Bischoff. It had been discovered by a man named Smith.

Smith was a man who liked, and I believe still likes, to hide himself in the almost impenetrable Tasmanian bush. The way in which he lived necessitated his spending much of his time in thinking, rather than in talking, and he was therefore called Philosopher Smith. Philosopher Smith is generous and crotchety. He gave many of his shares in his discovery away, and finally, disgusted with the system in which the mine was being managed, eventually threw up his connection with it. Now he is not the millionaire he might have been. Not long ago the Tasmanian Government voted him a small pension for the benefits he had conferred on the colony by his discovery. Mr. Smith, however, I was told, rejected their offer. He deserves a good big pension, and if Tasmanians don’t give it to him, they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Other people behaved very differently. Some of the lucky shareholders drew from £250 to £300 every three weeks. One man who in three weeks drew £3,000, just to show that he had a soul above worldly dross, bought an organ and a monkey, with which he amused people in the streets. How long he continued at this self-imposed employment I was not told. Another man was so inflated with the importance he expected to derive from his riches, that he imagined himself a duke, and gave birth to a drawl.

The usual way of reaching Hobart is by rail from Launceston. The scenery on the line is said to be very fine, and I regret that I did not see it. I reached[Pg 188] Hobart direct from Melbourne. On this occasion Bass Straits had put on their best behaviour. The sun was shining and the sea was smooth. Weather of this sort would induce many to become sailors. The profession of navigators would be ruined by numbers, and what would a captain do then, poor thing? It was God’s weather. At the north end of Tasmania we saw many rocky islands. These islands have the same general character as the eastern coast of Tasmania itself, which is high and mountainous.

It was a cold, clear, fine morning when we entered the beautiful harbour of Hobart. I forgot to say that the people in Sydney when they wave their hand across their harbour, tell you that it would afford anchorage for all the navies in the world. I should think that the harbour at Hobart might do the same.

In all directions there are high hills to be seen. Some of these rise from the edge of the waters. The summits are rocky, and many of them were covered with snow. The highest is Mount Wellington. This is at the head of the harbour, and overlooks the town of Hobart. Between these hills there are many small bays and smaller hills covered with gums. On the lowest slopes green fields and farmhouses are visible. Over all these combinations of mountain, crag, snow, forest, grass slopes and water, there was a bluish haze, like a film of gauze.

At last we landed, and at once commenced our explorations. The streets are broad and well laid out. Here and there are some fine buildings. One is a museum, others are Government offices, and many are,[Pg 189] naturally, the banks. One of the busiest streets, where there were a few people and some good shops, is called Liverpool Street. In the other streets all is quiet. Now and then a foot-passenger pauses to look at you, and makes you feel that you are a new chum. The cabs, some of which are curious arrangements like milk-carts, stand in rows. Dogs sleep upon the pavement. All is sunshine, cleanliness, and quiet. The houses in the suburbs face the street like so many antiquated walls with rectangular orifices for doors and windows. The brass door-handles shine like mirrors. The polishing has gone on so long until the paint around them in the wood-work has been worn away. Even a little brook that at one time babbled through the town has been constrained. A brook bustling along over an untidy gravel bed would be out of place in tidy little Hobart. It now runs over a concrete bed, something like a pipe. Poor little stream, even you have been compelled to change your clamorous nature.

At the corners of the streets there are neatly painted notices hung upon the lamp-posts—‘Keep to the right,’ ‘Walk round the corners.’ What a satire to treat orderly Hobart like a Fleet Street!

Although Hobart is so quiet, its very quietness gives to it a charm that makes me wish to be one of its inhabitants. About twelve o’clock I saw a little excitement in one of the main streets which I ought not to omit to mention. This was a football-match between a number of shop-boys. I watched it with considerable interest. In the afternoon I paid a shilling to enter a Juvenile Industrial Exhibition. Inside I found that I[Pg 190] was in a Poultry Show. There were a great many cocks and hens. Nearly all of them had received a first prize, a second prize, or a certificate of merit. Some of them were interesting on account of their size and the nature of their feathers. One old rooster had feathers down his legs like trousers. This gave him an appearance of great stability. Some of his neighbours seemed to have very thin legs as compared with their bodies, which were unusually large. With the amount of standing they have to do, these latter must often feel very tired. All the cocks were crowing and the hens were clucking. The pigeons were in great force. There were Jacobins, runts, rollers, fantails, Antwerps, baldheads, Hamburgs, carriers, and a variety of others, the names of which can only be found in special treatises on this order of birds.

There were also a great number of parrots, which in true parrot fashion were looking preternaturally wise. The rest of the building was filled up with sausages, masses of brawn, corpses of animals like pigs and sheep, of cadaverous heads of cows, cheese, pots of yellow butter, and canaries.

To me the dead animals, which helped to give the place a charnel-house-like smell, were very horrible.

The farmers, with their wives and daughters, appeared to find something very attractive in the exhibition. If I had been brought up as a butcher, the scraped pigs, covered with rosettes and holding apples in their mouths, might have been more beautiful than a Turner landscape.

The Museum was more interesting, as it contained[Pg 191] many relics and drawings of the now extinct aboriginals of Tasmania.

At this point in my travels I said good-bye to Peter Dodd and the Major, who went to India, or somewhere, and I picked up new acquaintances whom I will presently introduce.

[Pg 192]


Japan and New Zealand are in many respects reflections of each other. The northern island of New Zealand corresponds in position and shape to Yezo, while the southern island is like the main island of this country. Nemuro is represented by Auckland, Hakodate by Wellington, Yokohama and Tokyo by Lyttelton and Christchurch, and Nagasaki by Dunedin. I ought to be paid for this suggestion, for it saves the buying of an atlas.

The northern island of New Zealand is the chief centre for the aboriginal Maoris, just as Yezo is the home of the aboriginal Aino. The mountains of New Zealand, like those of Japan, are chiefly on the western side of the island, and it is on this side of both countries that there is the greatest precipitation of rain and snow. Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, is approximately the same height as Fujisan, the highest mountain in Japan. In both countries there are earthquakes, volcanoes, and hot springs, and each is equally celebrated for its beautiful scenery. In these and other respects New Zealand and Japan have a close[Pg 193] resemblance to each other. That two distant countries should have so many points in common is certainly very remarkable. As with other countries, there are naturally many points of dissimilarity. New Zealand has an enormous foreign debt, a small population; it is a country practically without a history, and if we except the birds, a rat, a bat, and a lizard, it is without vertebrate animals. In all these and other respects Japan is exactly the reverse of New Zealand. Notwithstanding all this, the similarities between these two countries are so abnormally great that the attention of a resident in either of these lands cannot fail to have his attention attracted to them. Of course, neither New Zealand nor Japan are like Africa or Patagonia. For these reasons, and from the fact that many old residents from this country have settled in New Zealand, I venture to give an account of what I saw and did in that country. My notes in many instances may be taken cum grano salis.

My experience with New Zealand commenced on board the ship which took me to that country. This was one of the Union Steamship Company’s boats, which practically hold the monopoly of the New Zealand trade. I sailed from Melbourne viâ Hobart. The larger of these boats are continually making circular trips from Melbourne to the Bluff and Dunedin, round the New Zealand ports, to Auckland and Sydney, and then back to Melbourne; or else, commencing at Sydney, they circulate in the opposite direction. The smaller boats trade hither and thither along the coast of New Zealand. The Union Company has done much for New Zealand, and New Zealand has done much for the[Pg 194] Union Company. If you take a ticket for the round trip, which lasts about twenty days, you pay £21, or about £1 per day; but if you take a trip between two coast ports, only a few hours distant, you may pay £2 or £3. Some of the boats are extremely nice in their arrangements, having electric lights, a fair supply of bathing accommodation, and all the fixings and appliances found in modern steamships. Some go so far as Thomson’s sounders and compasses. It was sometimes interesting to hear discussions on these instruments. One day in the smoking-room, a naval officer was talking with one of the ship’s officers about Sir William’s inventions.

‘Oh,’ said the man of war, ‘I know Sir William. Once I was staying at a house, and they told me there was a very clever man coming. You wouldn’t think much of him to look at. One of these old men with specs. But he can do anything, you know. Want a compass? He just takes a bit of paper and a pencil and invents the best compass ever made; and does it all with x, you know. All the same with the sounder. Want a good electric light—and he does it with x again, you know. He can’t do ordinary rule of three and that sort of thing. When he went to America to calculate about the electric cable, he took an old man to do his sums for him. The only time he is happy is when he is making fiddle-holes or chasing.’

This information, coming as it did from the commander of a ship in the British navy, carried some authority, and was received with silence and respect.

The day after we left Hobart, where we picked up a few passengers, we had a beam sea, which caused many of the passengers to seek the seclusion that a cabin[Pg 195] grants. Next morning it was bright and sunshiny, and as the sea was more aft, the motion of the ship was a little less. One or two of us indulged in games of quoits, sometimes throwing them on pegs and sometimes into numbered squares chalked on the deck. Behind us there was always a flock of albatross, molly-hawks, and other sea-birds, on the look-out for the leavings of the table. These companions, which often flew close above our heads, were quite an interesting study. One great difficulty was to understand how they managed to fly so fast, and this with little or no apparent motion of their wings. We were going at a rate of at least ten knots per hour, and yet from the way in which our feathered friends circled about, and yet kept up to us, they must have gone at ten or twenty times the rate at which we were going. All that they appeared to do was to balance themselves and gently tip their wings up or down—there was no violent flapping, such as crows go in for when they wish to move. The albatross were very tame, and would often fly right over our decks until they appeared to be poised a few yards above our heads. Their build is the ordinary seagull pattern—a huge white body in shape like a soda-water bottle, furnished with two enormous angel-like pinions. MacTavish said that you could often see changes in the expression of their faces. When the dinner-bell sounded they would come charging up from all points of the horizon and arrange themselves astern, ready to pounce on the first fragments thrown from the rich company’s table. At these times we had the best view of our friends, and you could hear the big ones clucking, and now and then detect a little smile. They knew that[Pg 196] they must keep pretty close, or some of the relics from the kitchen might sink. I suggested to Mac that the menu ought to be thrown over a few minutes ahead of the breakfast. The molly-hawks would certainly be grateful, and the Union Company would Buddhistically be doing a good turn. If the theory of Pythagoras is true, the directors of the U.S.S. Co. may be turned into molly-hawks themselves when they die; and if they are, they will regret not having instituted this charitable custom. I do not think that captains and officers of the ships will ever become molly-hawks. They are too good. But the directors of a company who, in their scramble for dross, do not hesitate to have four sea-sick people crammed into a small cabin, ought certainly to prepare themselves for a hard time in the future. But more about molly-hawks and the directors of steamship companies by-and-by. I must here tell you that MacTavish, or, as I shall often call him, Mac, was a Scotchman from South Africa on a trip to see the colonies. As we did not know each other’s names, when we first met at dinner, a funny little man, who had seen more of London or Paris than Scotland, suggested names for the company. MacTavish was one of these names. MacTougal and MacAlister were two others. I was called the Major, and a quiet dignified gentleman with a black moustache, who was my neighbour, was known as the Colonel. In return, our black little friend, who some remarked might have seen more of Palestine than Scotland, was called MacCallum More. He was a lively fellow, and in spite of the weather kept us amused. I liked MacCallum.

The reason that we had so many Scotch names was[Pg 197] that about half the passengers were really Scotchmen, and we were going to Southern New Zealand, which is Scotch in its looks, Scotch in its climate, and has a population of Macs. From what I shall say about parts of it, it will be seen that it is a country where only cast-iron Scotchmen, and a few other human abnormalities, could thrive. Not long ago tenders for a Government contract were handed in to the authorities at a town in the south end of New Zealand. The one accepted was from a Mr. John MacDougal. When Mr. John MacDougal turned up, he was found to be a Chinaman. ‘But how is this, John?’ said the authorities; ‘you are a Chinaman.’ ‘You callee me John, and s’pose I no talkee Mac, no can catchee contract this side,’ was John’s reply. The Macs are certainly a powerful clan in their new home.

As we went surging along, one by one, new faces appeared at the top of the companion. Many of them had a blue bonnet above them. Those who hadn’t blue bonnets faintly smiled, and then retired again.

On the evening of the second day it was blowing harder than ever. Sails had to be taken in, and we went along through a seething sea in the dark. How ever Captain Cook found New Zealand is a mystery. If an angel had told me where it was, I don’t think I would have gone to look for it; the irregularities of the approaches to New Zealand are too unpleasant. It has often been remarked that you do not get sufficient exercise on board ships; your liver gets out of order, and you may suffer dyspepsia. On our ship we certainly had considerable exercise—not so much of the muscles which come into play when walking, as with those[Pg 198] which are used when holding on. When a man goes to New Zealand, and it is rough, he ought to have claws and long toe-nails. Rubber shoes, with patent soles for suction, might be good, but claws, toe-nails, or spiked boots, would perhaps be better.

I had a great deal of exercise in picking up convalescents. One heap which I sorted consisted of two ladies, a Yank, two ’possum-rugs and some pillows, several chairs, a couple of cups of beef-tea, sundry biscuits, a cockatoo, and a lot of bird-seed. This helped me to make friends with the ladies. I always like ladies to be just a leetle sea-sick. It gives you a chance of being agreeable. I shall have more to say about the Yank. He was very droll, and did a little to remind the officers of the U.S.S. Co. that their directors had failings. While talking about the inmates of our village, for a Union boat is always like an overcrowded floating hamlet, I must not forget our worthy skipper—Captain Popham. Captain Popham was a big man, and he was never sea-sick; I don’t think he could be sea-sick. He had a good square head, he wouldn’t stand humbug, and he was always pleasant and agreeable. I used to sit with Popham when all the rest had fled. Sometimes he would be raised up about ten feet, and would be looking down at me. On these occasions I was able to read the inscription on the bottom of Popham’s soup-plate. The next moment I would be up ten feet, and looking down on Popham. On these occasions I had to hold my soup-plate edgeways up, as if it had been a mirror in which I was examining my back teeth. Everybody liked Popham, and voted him a good man. There was one exception, however. This[Pg 199] was a sea-sick Blue Ribbonite. Blue Ribbon’s occupation, when not engaged with a bucket, was to bemoan the immorality of the world. Edinburgh was his pet aversion. ‘Eh, mon, there are nae bigger slums than in Edinboro. It’s a fearful place.’ Now and again he would try and convert the ship to Blue Ribbonism.

By perseverance he managed to stir up a little animosity before he left us. One Sunday, between his fits of indisposition, whilst prowling round the ship, he seems to have discovered four passengers playing cards in one of the ship’s cabins, which he promptly reported to the captain. As the captain either did not, or else would not, know anything of the matter, Blue Ribbon promised to report him to the directors for non-attention to duty—he spent too much time talking to the ladies on the quarter-deck instead of attending to his duty. Poor Popham! We supposed Blue Ribbon wanted him to be either reefing topsails or else snuffing round passengers’ cabins.

The first sight of New Zealand in winter weather was not very inviting. Here and there were black cast-iron-looking rocks, their summits capped with clouds, and their bases fringed with foam. After this we rounded some rough-edged hills, covered with scraggy scrub and dripping rocks. This was the entrance to the Bluff. There were no trees. Scotchmen can live beyond the limit of trees. At the head of the bay near to the waters, there were a few paddocks, two or three cottages, and clumps of yellow furze. It was so like bonny Scotland, especially the canopy of fog. You felt that you were on one of the selvages of the habitable world, and that just behind the hills you might find the[Pg 200] eternal snows of the Antarctic regions. The end of the bay was like the edge of a Scotch moor with a wharf on the shore of a loch. Matters certainly looked a little brighter as the day advanced, and the dull appearance of the Bluff, for it certainly was as bleak as Orkney when I saw it, may have been due partly to the weather, and partly to my indisposition. One indication that the Bluff may at times be bright and shiny, was a number of little bungalows, which I was told were summer retreats for the Invercargillites. There were also several hotels, and, of course, a place of worship.

Here MacTavish, MacCallum More, and several of the other Macs, and myself, took train for Invercargill. The first part of the country was very marshy, and was covered with great green bushes, called Ti-trees, and tussocks of grass, any bunch of which would hide a herd of cattle. There were a number of plants like flags. These a New Zealander, who gave us much information about the country, whom for variety I will call Robinson, told us were the New Zealand flax. The Maoris made bags and string out of it, but Europeans had not yet invented the proper method of making it clean. The bunches of flax were about as big as the tussocks of grass. Now and again we saw some tame-looking birds, with red legs and blue heads, like guinea-fowls. They simply looked at the train, and either couldn’t or else wouldn’t fly away. Robinson said that they would fly quickly enough if we went after them with a gun. A lot of the New Zealand birds, however, are unable to fly. In this respect they resemble their predecessors, which together constituted the family of Moas. Robinson said that some of the[Pg 201] Moas were forty feet high, and in speed could eclipse the winner of the Melbourne Cup. Sometimes they would breakfast at Invercargill and then trot off 565 miles north to the plains of Canterbury for their dinner. Their eggs weighed fifty-six pounds. They were all dead now, and globe-trotters often felt disappointed at not getting any sport amongst these animals. As I don’t believe all that Robinson said, I will reserve my own observations on these remarkable birds until I come to the place where I interviewed their remains. I will then tell you the truth.

A curious bird that still exists is the Maori hen, or the Weka. From its simplicity it might be called the ‘Weak’un.’ It suffers from inquisitiveness. If you clap two sticks together, it will come to investigate the reason of the disturbance. To catch it, you place a bit of red rag on one stick and a noose on the other. While the ‘Weak’un’ is picking at the red rag on one stick you put the noose on the other stick round its neck. This sounds like the salt dodge, and although you may not believe it, it is perfectly true. Another bird—a hairy-looking beast called the Kiwi—suffers from sleeplessness, and therefore has become a night-walker. There are lots of these birds in the streets of London. A charming pet for a farmyard is the Kiau. This dear little bird has retained its powers of flight. Its chief amusement is to sit on the back of a sheep and pick out its kidneys. It is a wonderful anatomist, and never fails in striking the spot where it will obtain its favourite morsel. After the operation the sheep invariably die, and the kiau flies off to another little lamb to institute a new investigation.

[Pg 202]

Everywhere in New Zealand, as in all the South Sea Islands, there are wild pigs. All of these, or at least their ancestors, were brought out by Captain Cook.

‘I don’t believe it,’ said MacTavish; ‘he would have required Noah’s Ark.’ After this, whenever Mac saw a pig, he used to call out, ‘Hello! there goes Captain Cook.’

Invercargill is a nice town, with one large wide street lined with good buildings and furnished with tramcars. We saw it at its worst, for it was drizzling, and the roads were wet and muddy. One puzzle to a stranger in Invercargill was how so small a place could support such enormous stores and shops. That all of them did not pay was clear from an advertisement we saw. It was in big letters, and ran as follows:

Great Bankrupt.

‘Certified copy of telegram.

‘Creditors have accepted your offer of 8s. 8d. in the pound. Amount, £2,627 12s. 6d.

‘(Signed) J. R. and S. M.’

After this followed sheets of advertisements about the low price at which you could purchase various articles. If ever I start a store at Invercargill I shall sell rubber boots, mackintoshes and umbrellas. Over the door I shall write ‘Great Bankrupt Compulsory Sale.’

As the climate was against an investigation of the suburbs, MacTavish and MacCallum More found a place where they could play billiards with tipless cues, while I went off in search of a museum I had been told about.

[Pg 203]

‘It’s at the Athenæum,’ said my informant. ‘It isn’t much of a place just yet—only commencing. You’ll find it very interesting. The second door in the third block.’

I found it without difficulty; and as future visitors to Invercargill may possibly like to read up special works on its exhibits, I give the following catalogue of everything I saw:

No. 1. was the skull of a gigantic cetacean. This was in the hall. Before examining this remarkable relic, students may with advantage refresh their memories by again referring to the terrible trials of the adventurous Jonah.

No. 2. Two frowsy deer in a glass case. These were in a passage upstairs. The attitude of these animals reminds you of the well-known Psalm: ‘As pants the hart for cooling streams.’

No. 3. A mangy marsupial, probably from Australia. This interesting specimen is near the frowsy deer. The skin of this creature, which in every respect, bar building nests and laying eggs, is a connecting link between the sheep and the ostrich, cannot fail to impress the thoughtful visitor that moth and rust corrupt the treasures which we lay up for ourselves on earth.

A special catalogue of this interesting and valuable collection has not previously been printed. The council of the institution are at liberty to reprint my notes in full. Although I have written the catalogue[Pg 204] from memory, I must say that I have often had greater difficulty in remembering the contents of a shark’s stomach. I trust that there are no mistakes.

When I meet the gentleman who sent me through the rain to interview these treasures, it would be well if he had either a suit of armour, or else a bottle of arnica, or other preparation for the relief of bruises.

From Invercargill we went by train to Kingston, on Lake Wakatipu. The whole journey was, on account of the drizzly, mizzly, foggy, sleety, snowy weather, a failure. The Alps of New Zealand in summer-time may be enjoyable, but in winter they are about as enjoyable as the Arctic regions. Polar bears might like the trip, but it was even too much for Scotchmen. The first part of the journey was over swampy brown plains. Here and there are a few farms and furze fences. The bush we saw was of a very scraggy second-class description. The trees were stunted, weather-beaten, covered with moss, and half dead. Beneath them was a tangle of impenetrable scrub. Mixed in with the latter are tangles of a vine-like plant called a lawyer, the underside of the leaves of which are fish-hook-like thorns. It looks innocent, but it is a fearful plant when it seizes you. I can’t say more, or the profession might institute an action for libel. The only cheering sight in the murky landscape was the yellow bushes of furze. There was also a little pleasure derived from the absence of the monotonous Australian gums. At a place called Lumsden, big mountains came in sight, the more distant of which were white with snow. With the exception of a tropical-looking plant called a cabbage palm, the trees had disappeared. On the hillsides we saw thousands[Pg 205] of rabbits. At one small station we saw a professional rabbiter with a pack of some twenty dogs, and a horse loaded with rabbit-skins. A rabbiter may get about twopence for each rabbit-skin. In the market these skins are worth from 1s. to 1s. 10d. per lb., and there are about eight skins to a pound. At one station of 80,000 acres near Lumsden, they employed about 500 dogs, and caught about 300,000 rabbits per year. The total export of rabbit-skins from New Zealand amounts to several millions per year. In 1881, 8,514,685 skins, valued at £84,744, were exported.

On the day the first rabbit was let loose in this part of the country, a great dinner was given to commemorate the successful introduction of this useful little animal. Shortly after this a law was passed for the protection of Bunny, whereby it was enacted that any person shooting a rabbit should be fined—I think Mac said £20. Now the law is that the man who does not shoot Bunny, but protects and cherishes him, is the person who is fined. Half the time of the Colonial legislators is spent in considering how Bunny shall be dealt with. This year the Queensland Government made a special appropriation of £100,000 to carry on the rabbit warfare. As a war was imminent with Russia, the same Government considered that the taxation might be increased £90,000. How indignant Russians ought to feel if they knew that they had to play second fiddle to a parcel of rabbits. But what is to be done with Bunny? Bunny in the Colonies is different to Bunny in the home country. In the Colonies he can climb walls, run up hollow trees, and swim creeks. Instead of breeding like the proverbial rabbit,[Pg 206] he changes his home habits and breeds all the year round. He begins when he is six months old, and continues until he dies.

Any respectable rabbit ought to be ashamed of such a family tree.

One small army of rabbits having started, they breed larger and larger armies at an increasing rate, which advance like a browsing herd.

‘The rabbits are coming’ is a more alarming cry for the owners of a station than any cry about a Russian invasion.

In the Cape a question about the vine grub (Phylloxera) threw out a Government. Rabbits not legislated for would throw out forty Governments in the Colonies. The Rabbit Nuisance Act of New Zealand is against poor Bunny, but protects tiger-cats, stoats, ferrets, the mongoose, native cats, and other vermin, the value of which is doubtful.

In some districts foxes have been introduced to destroy rabbits, but it is found that Reynard very quickly develops a taste for young sheep. Weasels and the ichneumon (mongoose) have also been tried, but it is feared that they may increase like the rabbits, and it is known that weasels, when in numbers, will even sometimes attack men and horses. In the Auckland district rabbits have died out partly by natural causes, a disease called tuberculosis having broken out amongst them. This has led to the idea that a few rabbits might be inoculated with an infectious disease, and then turned loose. Pasteur might be consulted on this point. One way of getting them out of their holes is to smoke them out with the fumes of certain chemicals ejected by a[Pg 207] fan. The ordinary methods of destruction are, to use phosphorized oats (which unfortunately kill pheasants and other valuable game), to trap, to hunt with dogs, and to shoot. To keep back an approaching invasion, wire-netting partly sunk obliquely in the ground has proved good, and Government and private individuals have put up lengths of such barricading only comparable with the Great Wall of China.

We expected to find Kingston, as it was described in a trade report by an American consul, a flourishing little township. All that we did find was a solitary house, on the edge of a black-looking lake, surrounded by precipitous mountains covered with snow. This house was the hotel. Of course there were no visitors. New Zealanders are wiser than strangers. At Queenstown, which you reach by a small steamer, the accommodation is much better. But still, even if you had the Palace Hotel from San Francisco, Lake Wakatipu is not the place for weather such as we had. The scenery of ragged peaks whitewashed with snow, and black cliffs frowning upon a blacker lake, may be fine in summer weather, but it was sufficient to make us fly away from it at the first opportunity. At the Kingston end of the lake, there are to be seen some very remarkable terrace formations marking the ancient level of the lake. These are cut in glacial moraine, indicating that Wakatipu at one time may have been the basin of a huge glacier.

In returning, at Lumsden we branched off across the Waiwea Plains, on a private line. The ground over which we ran was for the most part flat and uncultivated. To the right and left there were snow-clad hills. We were now on the way to Dunedin. The farther we[Pg 208] went the more cultivated became the country. There were no forests. All was laid out in fields, and much of the ground had been turned over by the plough. I suppose this was for wheat. As we went along the passengers continued to increase. Most of the men wore long leggings, and were very muddy. Although our companions were farmerish and muddy, I was told that some of them were very rich. Scotchmen can make money in any country. One old millionaire that I heard about was a ferryman. His name was Fergusson. Wet or fine, Fergusson was always at his post, ready to pass the time of day with a farmer’s wife, or to answer the ‘Hallo’ of a belated traveller. For a long time it was supposed that Fergusson was poor, and to add a copper or two, or even a shilling, to his usual fare was looked upon as quite the proper thing. Fergusson was always pleasant, and touched his hat to all who came. At last it got rumoured that every week the postman delivered a big envelope at Fergusson’s door, and there was a good deal of speculation as to what this correspondence was about. The big red seal on the envelope indicated that Fergusson’s business was important. This went on for two years, and Fergusson’s business was as great a secret as ever. But there is an end to all things, and so there was to the mystery of big envelopes. It seems that Fergusson could not read, and being as desirous of solving the secret of the envelopes as other people, he called in a friend. Shortly afterwards we heard that the weekly correspondence was Fergusson’s banking account. How many stations he owns we are afraid to say, but he still keeps the ferry. People call him Mr. Fergusson now. Some time before[Pg 209] we reached Dunedin, a boy passed through the carriages, and collected our names to be telegraphed ahead for the Dunedin papers. It was a long ride of over twelve hours, and we were glad to find ourselves, about 8 p.m., once more back again in civilization.


Seeing and hearing so much about rabbits when in New Zealand made me anxious to discover the law or laws which governed their multiplication. When I was in the train on my way to Dunedin, I, MacTavish, and MacCallum More tried to investigate the question, but I am sorry to say that we signally failed. MacTavish tried to illustrate it with a pack of cards he carried, beginning by dealing out a king and queen to represent a pair of rabbits. Under each of these he would place six more cards to represent their offspring. But at this point a controversy arose as to how many should be males and how many females. But work as we would, we never seemed to have enough cards to illustrate the thing properly.

After an hour or two of argument, our ideas were so hopelessly entangled, that for relaxation MacCallum tried to teach us a game he called poker.

The rabbit question, however, was only dormant. At Dunedin we were told an intercolonial congress had sat upon the rabbit question. One outcome of their labours was to recommend the various Colonial Governments who had found it impossible to legislate against an enemy they did not understand, to offer a handsome sum to the first person who successfully placed the rabbit question on an intelligent basis.

[Pg 210]

The prize was won by a Mr. Macalister, a schoolmaster in Dunedin. His treatise on the subject, which is known as ‘The Bunnyian Calculus,’ has since been recommended as a text-book for the junior classes in the various Government schools.

We called on Mr. Macalister when in Dunedin, who, when he heard that we were interested in the important question to which he had devoted so much attention, gave us a pressing invitation to hear the children at their rabbit exercises.

‘Noo, sir,’ said he, ‘ye wad aiblins like to hear the laddie bairns dae their Bunnyian Calculus; it’s jist wonnerfu.’

We said we ‘aiblins would.’

‘Well, ye maun ken then,’ continued he, addressing himself, chalk in hand, to his blackboard, ‘that a guid deal depends on the assoumptions even in the exawct scieences. Ane is that the doe rabbit litters aucht times in the twalmonth; and anither, that her feemly consists o’ twa he and four she anes. Monnie mae assoumptions maun be made that it wadna jist a’ thegither dae to explain to the callants. Ho’someever, we’ll reckon the term o’ life to be sax years, and start wi ae bonnie winsome doe rabbit. It is evident there will be—

(1 + 4) she rabbits at the end of the first term.
(1 + 4)²  ”      ”        ”       ”   second term.
(1 + 4)⁴⁸ ”      ”        ”       ”   sax years.

Here we should soobtrawct ane, for the auld doe will e’en noo dee, while the first four o’ her offspring’ll be hirplin, and maun be deducted at the end o’ the next[Pg 211] term, belike. But as we maun ca’ cannie wi’ the bairns, an’ no ding them doited a’ thegither, we’ll just pay no kind of attention whatever to the deed anes; for weel I wat, it maks sma’ difference in the result, those that dee by natural means, and won’t affect the first few significant figures. Nae doot ye see, that it’s jist compownd interest payable aucht times in the twalmonth, and if we further aloo’ for the deed anes, that is exactly as if a brokerage, as it were, were soobtrawcted at the end o’ each payment after the aucht and twa score. I’ll just show ye the exact formula wi’ r for the number o’ she rabbits and R: r the ratio of total rabbits to she ones at a litter, n being the number o’ years that elawpsed.’

And consulting his book, this is what he wrote on another board:


N = - (1 + r)⁸ⁿ⁻¹ [(1 + r){(1 + r)⁴⁸ - 8n - 1} + 8n]


with the most evident satisfaction, and artistically chalking the whirrlies with the greatest care. It gave me a twinge of toothache, I must say.

He then completed his numerical example, saying:

‘At the end o’ a score o’ years the number of rabbits descended frae one doe is


N = - (1 + 4)¹⁶⁰


  = 684 × 10¹¹².’

‘No wonder,’ says my friend to me, who seemed to understand it—‘aiblins,’ ‘hirplin,’ ‘doited,’ and all—‘no wonder the Society for the Protection of Rabbits[Pg 212] congratulated themselves; and,’ he added, ‘all the unnatural ways since tried to decrease these rabbits don’t affect the practical result either.’

All the time Macalister’s demonstration had gone on, Mac and I were giving significant nods, and grunting assent to all he said.

‘Noo,’ says Macalister, ‘the children will do a few practical exercises.’

We were rather tired, and, as it was nearly one o’clock, somewhat hungry; but not wishing to offend the scholar, we said we were delighted.

‘Jock,’ said he, pointing to the board, ‘hoo mony muckle is that?’

‘Six hundred and eighty-four,’ said the boy.

‘Sax hunner an auchty-four, my braw bairn; but whaat? Tell me whaat? dinna be blate and skirl a’ thegither.’

With that each child drew a long breath, clutched the back of a bench, shut his eyes, and began, ‘Of millions of millions of millions of millions of millions,’ as if they were never going to stop.

Suddenly the schoolmaster lifted his hand, and the noise ceased.

‘How many times did ye say millions of millions of millions?’ asked the teacher.

‘Five score and twelve times,’ was the answer.

‘Quite correct, you see,’ said Macalister. ‘It’s only an application of the formula. The rabbits which die don’t affect the answer.’

It was now one o’clock, and Mac was shuffling his feet to get away.

‘Just one more problem,’ said Macalister; and before[Pg 213] we had time to make any excuse about catching our steamer, Macalister said to the school: ‘With the same conditions as before, assume that Captain Cook had landed a pair of rabbits in New Zealand instead of a pair of pigs, how many would there now be in the country? Before stating the answer, half of you can go to your dinners, but mind and be back by two o’clock.’

Half the school had no sooner gone than the remainder of the children commenced saying, ‘Millions of millions of millions of millions,’ in a monotonous sort of rhythm. When they were going to stop we could not tell.

At two o’clock those who had been to their dinner came back, and as they dropped into their places struck up the millions of millions tune. The detachment who had commenced the answer, being in this way relieved, retired to their dinners.

‘It’s a gey lang answer,’ said the schoolmaster, ‘isn’t it?’ Mac looked black. ‘Better take a seat; you will appreciate the children’s intelligence much better.’

It was then close on three o’clock, and still the children kept on singing ‘Millions of millions of millions.’

‘Wonderful children,’ I remarked. ‘How many more times will they say “Millions of millions of millions”?’ I inquired.

‘Oh,’ said the schoolmaster, ‘the number of times they will say it will be millions of millions of millions of millions of millions.’

Mac looked furious. Millions of millions of millions. ‘The old fool’s mad,’ he whispered.

[Pg 214]

‘Civility costs nothing,’ I replied; ‘his tongue will get tired in time.’

But still the schoolmaster kept repeating, ‘Millions of millions of millions.’

‘Ask him how many years he will be before he gets to the end of his answer?’

As it was now four o’clock, and the lamps were being lighted, I ventured to ask the schoolmaster how many days it would be before he had finished his answer.

His face lighted up with a smile, and he said, ‘Well, perhaps in millions of millions of millions of millions,’ and there he was off again.

‘How many years will it be before the children have finished?’ I broke in.

‘Oh, in millions of millions of millions,’ he again went on.

‘Well, then, we’ll come and hear some more of the answer to-morrow,’ said Mac.

‘Thank you very much for your entertainment, Mr. Macalister; your children are very intelligent, and so are you. Good-bye, Mr. Macalister, good-bye.’ But said I, at the door, ‘What were the other assumptions you alluded to?’

‘Well, well,’ says he, ‘these rabbits maun hae nae haevings at a’, sic as scruples o’ conscience or regard to the laws o’ the Kirk o’ Scotland.’

The landlord of our hotel was delighted when he heard that we had interviewed Macalister on the rabbit question. Some of the members of the legislature who have not been blessed with the gift of the gab have found the schoolmaster’s calculations quite valuable. When they want to block proceedings one of them asks[Pg 215] a question about rabbits. It doesn’t matter much what it is. How many tons of phosphorus will it require to clear the rabbits out of New Zealand? How many tons of grass do the rabbits in New Zealand eat every year? How many rabbits would it take to fill the Pacific Ocean? Anything will do.

No sooner is the question asked, than up jumps a member, and from an equation in the Bunnyian Calculus, which he shows to be correct, begins to say ‘Millions of millions of millions,’ until everybody has left the house.

They have now brought forward a Bill compelling those who speak on rabbits to express time intervals as geological periods.

After our experiences at Dunedin, Mac and I were cautious when we asked questions about the rabbit plague.

Dunedin is a fine city, and is in every way creditable to its founders. It is certainly hilly, but these difficulties are overcome with tramcars moved by an underground wire rope similar to that which has been for so many years successfully used in San Francisco. The banks and churches are of course noticeable, and so are the shops.

At the meeting of four streets in the centre of the town, there is a miniature of Sir Walter Scott’s monument in Edinburgh. This is to the memory of a Mr. Cargill, an energetic gentleman and pioneer in the earlier days of Dunedin.

On the night of our arrival we were entertained with a torchlight procession, and the howlings of the Salvation Army.

[Pg 216]

At the Museum Mac and I had our first interview with the remains of the moa. We saw some of their feathers, and a mummified larynx of one of these animals. I am not sure whether the moa could sing, but anyhow he had a larynx. What was more, he had a gizzard. In one corner of a glass case there were about a coal-scuttleful of white pebbles, which had been removed from the gizzard of a moa. The moa had therefore a taste for mineralogy.

‘We shall get some valuable facts about this animal before we have done,’ remarked Mac.

Then, turning to the director of the Museum, who kindly accompanied us round the show, he blandly inquired whether the moa ever attacked travellers.

‘It is an extinct bird, sir,’ said the director, looking very much disgusted at Mac.

‘Oh, it’s extinct, is it?’ was the reply.

Birds are in great force in the Museum, especially the extinct ones. One blue-looking fellow, almost as big as a small goose, fetches £250 apiece at the British Museum.

Besides the birds there were the usual lot of stuffed sharks and whales which museums provide themselves with. I really believe that a good-sized whale is the best bit of furniture that can be bought for a juvenile museum. You get such a lot for your money, and it’s very attractive to visitors, especially to the nursemaids and children.

There was certainly enough in the Dunedin Museum to occupy a student for a lifetime, and the curator deserves great credit for what he has done towards educating the young New Zealanders about the animal[Pg 217] kingdom. A New Zealander, if left to himself, must necessarily conclude that the inhabitants of the world, are few in number. All that New Zealand possessed prior to the introduction of ‘Captain Cook’ was a bat and a rat.

There are no snakes in the country, and if ever any man introduces one he is threatened with an immediate lynching. One felt inclined to tell the Iceland story when I heard that there were no snakes, but I judiciously refrained. It might make a New Zealander cross.

Another interesting place to visit is the University; but the best of all things is to take a ride in a tramcar to the top of one of the mountains, and have a look at the panorama of bay and island down below. Everywhere we went—to railway stations, to hotels, in trains or on trains—we were sure to see half a dozen people called Mac. This led my friend at every opportunity into conversation with his neighbours as to whether there were many Scotchmen in New Zealand.

‘Eh, no, mon; maybe thurs a wee sprinkle o’ Scotus,’ was a typical reply.

This always enabled Mac to tell them that was what he thought. He had been looking out for his countrymen, and was sorry to find that they were so poorly represented. One or two of the casual acquaintances saw the joke, and gently snorted.

We joined our ship at Port Chalmers, which is about eight miles’ ride in the train from Dunedin. Looking back, we saw the hills and valleys of the city we were leaving. One thing which was very striking, was the number of houses built on the top of the highest hills.[Pg 218] Judging from the thousand-foot climb that the people who live in these houses must often indulge in, they cannot be very lazy. To live on a pinnacle is indicative of a romantic nature, and I thought Scotch folks were only practical.

At Port Chalmers we began to load up with passengers and assume the character of a coaster. The wharf was crowded, and so were our decks.

‘Good-bye, Mac. Tell Maggie I’ll be up by next boat.’ ‘Mind that hawser there.’ ‘Give my love to Charlie, and send me word how baby is,’ and a thousand other private communications, mixed up with the blustering of sailors, was what we heard. Then there was a lot of crying, and a great deal of kissing. Mac wanted to know how it was that the girls never kissed us when the steamer left.

At seven o’clock next morning, we were steaming between the high grassy hills, about 2,000 feet in height, which bound the harbour of Lyttelton. Everything looked big and grand. A passenger who had travelled said it looked like Madeira. Instead of trees there were a few patches of snow.

Lyttelton is a quiet little town on the side of a steep hill. From here you go by train to Christchurch. You are hardly out of the town before you drive into a tunnel, which is a mile or more in length. Before making this tunnel, which cost a fabulous sum of money, the good folks of Christchurch could only reach their harbour by climbing the high hills, which we saw as we steamed into Lyttelton. These hills consist of volcanic rock, and the driving of the tunnel through them proved that they were not so solid as they[Pg 219] appeared, for here and there large cavernous spaces were met with.

On emerging at the other side, we were amongst the green fields and furze fences of the famous Canterbury Plains. Christchurch is a large town conducted on strictly moral principles. Its streets are wide and numerous. Notwithstanding the existence of steam-trams, good shops, and a fair amount of traffic, it appeared to be dull. Perhaps it was the general flatness which created this impression. The only shop which had unusual attractions was an establishment for the sale of music and musical instruments. It seemed to contain everything, from a Jew’s harp to a church organ. It must be a musical depôt for the Colonies.

Christchurch has many churches and a cathedral. From the spire of the latter, which you are allowed to ascend on paying a shilling, an extensive view of this portion of New Zealand may be obtained.

The pride of the place is, however, the Museum, which is reckoned by its energetic curator, Dr. Von Haast, to rank amongst the best in the world. It is certainly the best museum within a radius of many thousands of miles. It contains something of everything, from the autograph of Nelson to a sewing-machine. There is a fine gallery of paintings and statuary. Antiquities, from mummies to mediæval armour, galleries of geological specimens, rooms full of birds and stuffed animals, other chambers filled with bones, a Maori house chock-a-block with Maori treasures, and finally a room full of moas. In the Moa room we met a Chinaman.

[Pg 220]

‘Good-morning, John,’ said Mac; ‘you live at Christchurch?’

‘No, I come this side all samee you; my wantchee see moa. S’pose can catchee moa, can catchee plenty dolla.’

‘Um, how’s that?’ asked Mac.

‘You never hea?’ inquired John; ‘no man talkee you about Mr. Haast? Mr. Haast dig garden one day, find plenty moa bones. Then he send letter all country: “Suppose you send me twenty piecee mummy, 400 piecee papyros, two sphinxes, one smalla pyramid,” he talkee Egyptian man, “I sendie you one piecee moa.”’

John then said that the Egyptian Government were delighted with the offer, and sent the twenty piecee mummy, 400 piecee papyros, two sphinxes, and the small pyramid, and then received their allowance of moa.

‘Next time he write that man live top side North Pole.’

I suppose John meant that he entered into communication with the Esquimaux.

‘“You sendee two piecee polar bear, and one piecee iceberg, you can catchee all same Egypt man.”’

Of course the Esquimaux were delighted. Next, John told us he wrote to the British Government.

‘“I wantee five piecee steamer, four piecee outside walkee can see, and another piecee inside walkee no can see; I pay you plenty moa bones.’”

And according to our friend he went on swapping moa bones all over the universe, obtaining in exchange Turner’s masterpieces, button-hooks, anchors, relics from ancient Rome, specimens of small volcanoes, pumpkins, and, in short, almost everything you see in[Pg 221] the Museum. These the talented and energetic director has classified and reduced to the orderly system in which they are now presented to the visitor.

Although Christchurch has been a centre from which moa bones have been distributed throughout the world, the best collection of them has remained in their old habitat. There were big moas and little moas, and each of them had a different name. The first bit of moa that went home was a thigh-bone. The uninitiated would have pronounced it as belonging to an elephant. Professor Owen, however, said it was the relic of a gigantic bird. People smiled; now the Professor smiles.

The biggest moa had a neck like a giraffe. When he straightened and stood on his toes, he might have picked a weather cock off the top of a church spire. Naturalists say that the moa could not fly, but an old Maori, who I think was a king, told me that they could fly beautifully. Sometimes you could flush a dozen in a morning, and the shooting was grand. When they dropped they shook the ground like an earthquake. The best were roasted. I quite believed the latter statement, as their singed bones could be seen by the basketful in every museum we went to. They were pretty tough, and strangers, after once partaking of the delicacy, often refused to take any ‘moa.’ Thus the name of the animal.

Mac had not a soul for the anatomy of an extinct animal, and said it was dry.

This took us from the Museum to an hotel, where we found a bar supplied by an overflowing artesian well. Many of the people in Canterbury get their water from[Pg 222] artesian wells. A hole is bored, and up shoots the water. Geologists say that this is due to hydraulic pressure communicated from the hills through inclined strata. These theories may be true where inclined strata exist, but it does not explain the coming up of water, when the strata are horizoned by flat river plains, which is the case in many parts of the world. The artesian-well theory wants considerable amplification in our mind.

At the railway station we found a little boy in uniform who wanted to insure our lives! The reason for his anxiety was that we might suffer harm in the tunnel. ‘It’s only a penny, sir, and we insure nearly everybody.’

In the Colonies they will insure you against a heartache. At the book-store I observed a notice that anyone found after a railway accident with a copy of the Daily Chronicle (if I remember rightly), issued on the day of the disaster, in his possession would receive £500.

After a rough-and-tumble night, crammed in a small cabin with three sick passengers, I was not sorry to find that we were steering into Wellington. On all sides there were high and irregular hills. Some of them on the left were capped with snow. The view was by no means so smooth in its outlines as on entering Lyttelton. The hills, instead of being round and green, were ragged and brown. Wellington is situated at the foot of these hills at the head of the bay. The position seemed to be snug and quiet, but we soon discovered it was quite the contrary.

Wellington seems to have been built in a sort of natural funnel, through which there is a perpetual gale[Pg 223] of wind. You can always tell a man from Wellington, for wherever he goes he will grip hold of his hat on turning a corner. When we got ashore we found that we had to grip our hats, and could quite understand how a prolonged residence at Wellington might lead to an instinctive desire to save your hat on turning a corner.

We had a talk with a resident about the winds of Wellington.

‘Wind, indeed! Why, it’s only a week or so ago when a whole girls’ school was blown clean out to sea. Now they have invented a way for reefing their petticoats. Too much sail doesn’t do in these parts. All the nursemaids and children never turn out now without carrying a small kedge and a few fathoms of chain hooked to their perambulators.’

‘Good for windmills,’ I remarked.

‘Yes, we thought so, until we tried them. One was blown away and landed somewhere up amongst the Maoris, who refused to return it, saying that it had been presented to them last year by a gentleman from Australia. The other mill we anchored down, but when it once commenced to move, we were never able to stop it.’

‘And how was that?’ said I, and I was told the story of


‘It was a sad affair, that was. It was Dickey Adams who thought he could make a fortune out of the Wellington winds. We told him to let them alone.

‘“Look,” Dickey, said I, “nothing can stand against[Pg 224] these Wellington winds. You’ll find your blessed windmill up amongst the Maoris the day after you put it up, and they’ll say it was given to them last year by a gentleman from Australia. Don’t you remember that train which was blown backwards right through the terminus, and landed the passengers forty miles in the opposite direction to what they had started?” says I. “Dickey, Dickey, it’ll never do to fight against the Almighty. The Almighty has made these winds, and we must bear them.”

‘But Dickey wasn’t to be persuaded, and it just ended by his being ruined and breaking his heart and then dying. It was just like pulling at a pig’s tail to talk to Dickey. The more you pulled back the more Dickey went ahead.

‘Well, we watched Dickey’s mill being put up with considerable interest. Every stone he stuck in he had dovetailed into those below it, for all the world like a lighthouse. At last he got the top on, and then, waiting for a fine day when the breeze slackened a little, he put up the sails. These he held fast with chains and anchors.

‘At last the mill got finished, and Dickey invited us all up to see him slip the anchors, and give the machinery a turn, just to ease it a bit, you know, for it was all new. Of course we all went, and Dickey was as happy as a skylark. There he was, hopping about and chirping away to everyone about the way he had built his mill. Dickey’s smiles did me good. It was certainly a red-letter day for him. Some of the old hands shook their heads, and called the mill Dickey’s Folly.

‘At last the inspection was over, and then came the[Pg 225] loosening. He had had his chains nicely arranged by a sailor man, he said, but no sooner was one cast off than the old thing gave a groan and a heave, and away she went carrying the other three chains with her. My word, how we scattered as the sails went flying round quicker and quicker, and at every turn three great chains came beating on the ground. People down below thought there was an earthquake. By-and-by, as the chains didn’t come off, some of us ventured back, and Dickey said he would go inside and put on a patent friction brake which he had invented, and show us how it stopped.

‘But what do you think we found? Why, we found the blessed sails, with their twenty fathoms of iron tassels, were lashing round and round right in front of the mill door. Of course Dickey couldn’t get inside. “But the wind may shift a bit by-and-by,” said he, and he looked quite cheerful. So we sat down and watched it.

‘All that night the thumping of the chains and the rattling of Dickey’s machinery stopped a lot of us from sleeping. Next morning we found that Dickey, who had been sitting up watching his machine all night, as was natural, was looking a bit anxious.

‘This went on for fully a week, until, instead of being a curiosity, Dickey’s mill became a nuisance, and several who lived near him said they had earthquakes enough about the place without his starting a perpetual one. Next they began to hint that their window-frames were getting loose, and the children couldn’t sleep, and that Dickey’s mill must be stopped somehow. A few who sympathized with Dickey’s bad luck suggested that they[Pg 226] need not trouble, it would wear itself out in a week or so. Others, however, said Dickey had built it so strong that it might go thumping and turning for a lifetime, and proceedings ought to be taken against it as a public nuisance.

‘Well, all this ended by the Town Council sitting to discuss how Dickey’s mill was to be got rid of. Some suggested blowing it up with powder, others said we ought to get the artillery to come down from Auckland; but the suggestion which found the greatest favour was to pump on it with the fire-engines and then try if the thing would rust up solid. The fire-brigade had a fine time of it; the more water they pumped into Dickey’s mill, the quicker the hanged thing seemed to go—it just acted like oil.

‘By this time Dickey was getting pretty low in spirits, and with sitting up all night had got quite thin. Many’s the time I walked up to the hill to see Dickey sitting on a bank of stones with his face in his hands and great tear-drops trickling down his face. What with building the thing, paying compensation for new window-frames, making presents to the women all round just to keep their tongues quiet, and paying the bill presented to him by the fire-brigade, unless the mill stopped, Dickey was a ruined man.

‘Then the cold weather came on, and yet Dickey would never leave his mill. He was always hoping the wind might change, and he could get inside.

‘It finished him at last, however. One cold frosty morning the children who used to take him his tucker came running back, saying Dickey was dead. It was true enough; there was poor old Dickey lying out stiff[Pg 227] and cold, on the frosty grass. We were all sorry about Dickey. Wellington wind killed a good man when it carried off poor old Dickey.’

‘And how did the windmill finish?’ I asked.

‘Why, a man fenced it in, and used to take visitors up to see it at a shilling a head. One night, however, a heavier gale than usual blew, and carried it right away.’

Here Mac broke in, ‘I suppose a Maori has got it, and says it was presented to him last year by a gentleman from Australia.’

Our communicative acquaintance was evidently a little piqued by Mac’s query, and replied that he didn’t know; but anyhow, after Dickey’s windmill, no wonder people talked about ‘windy Wellington.’


Another thing that Wellington is famous for is its earthquakes. Many of these have been sufficiently violent to become landmarks in New Zealand history. It has often happened that the coast-line to the west of Wellington has been permanently raised several feet by earthquakes. Wellington has been a gainer by these upheavals, and houses which were once on the sea-shore are now some distance back.

Any year may bring the announcement that Wellington has taken another upward start, and what is now the quay may be a street with houses on either side. Events like these, together with the minor shakings which are of continual occurrence, very naturally alarm many of the Wellingtonians. At one time nearly every person in Wellington felt it a duty to have all loose[Pg 228] articles like ornaments on shelves fastened in position by wires.

The greatest proof that Wellingtonians fear these disturbances is the fact that nearly all their houses are built of wood. The Government buildings are spoken of as the largest wooden buildings in the world. Wellington is certainly wooden as well as windy. I met with quite a number of people who had seismological experiences to relate. Some apparently did not mind the shakings—just tremors, they said. These people were, for the most part, new chums, who had not yet been imbued with a due respect for plutonic force. Others told me that they did not mind earthquakes so much as at first, but that they had gradually come to have a great antipathy for them; they alarmed their wives and children so much.

There is a feeling of insecurity with these phenomena; you feel you can’t stop them, and you expect after a thing has begun, the next shake may be like that of 1855, when all the buildings came down.

‘The last good shake we had,’ said a gentleman, ‘gave a terrible fright to my neighbours, who are married people living in a two-story house. Every night they were very particular to see that things were locked up safely. I suppose they were afraid of their servants getting out at night. When they went upstairs they always took the keys with them, and put them under their pillows. One night a shake came on pretty smart, and they both bundled out of bed and bolted downstairs. It wasn’t until they had got to the bottom and tried to open the front door that they remembered that unless they went back to get the keys they were[Pg 229] fast prisoners. Now, will you believe me, there they stood shivering in the cold at their front door, both afraid to go upstairs and get the keys, until the motion finished. They leave the keys downstairs now.’

‘What did you do?’ I asked.

‘Oh, I, well—I bolted through the front parlour window, and landed on my stomach on a flower-bed. It is as true as I am here that I could feel that flower-bed palpitating as if it were alive.

‘Oh, there were some funny things happened that night. The old man who is supposed to study these things up at our observatory was found by his wife standing in his nightshirt out in the snow, with the window-sash round his neck. You know, the old ass had bolted head first through his window without stopping to open it. When his wife asked him what he was doing, he told her that he had just stepped out to make an outside observation; “I wanted to see if the chimneys moved very much, my dear,” he stammered.

‘Down at the club there were a lot of our boys and some naval officers playing poker. You don’t know that game, I suppose? It is a game where they have a pool, and this keeps getting bigger and bigger as the game goes on. They call this pool a Jack Pot. Well, when the shake came on, the pot was reckoned to be worth about £45. People never thought about money when they felt the movement and heard the timbers creaking; they just looked at each other and then stampeded. Some went for windows, some for doors, and others, who did not know the place, got jammed in the kitchen, and the ends of blank passages. One man[Pg 230] landed in the bath-room, another found himself a prisoner in the lavatory.

‘When the thing was over, one of the party was missing. Now just guess where they found him. Why, shaking and shivering in a cupboard.

‘Well, after a laugh and a drink—for it needs something to square your nerves after a good earthquake—they sat down to finish their game. But do you think they found the Jack Pot on the table? No, sir, not a bit of it; and what was more, they never did find it.

‘It was, however, observed that the man that was shaking in the cupboard, and at whom they had laughed for being in such a funk, bought himself a new watch that week. General opinion held that he had never been in a funk at all, but had just stayed behind until his friends had cleared, and then nobbled the pool, after which he quietly walked into the cupboard.

‘You ought to have seen the mess our town was in next morning. All the chimneys were slewed round, tiles were shaken off the houses, plaster was down everywhere. It just looked as if the Russians had been in and bombarded the place. It cost us on an average £100 apiece to put things straight.

‘Up in the churchyard all the gravestones were turned round, but the curious thing was that they had all gone in the same direction. The disturbance gave us conversation for a fortnight.

‘You know, when we go to call at a house in Wellington it is just as common to begin the conversation by—“That was a nasty shock last night,” as to begin by telling people “the weather is getting a little colder.”’

‘Which way do these earthquakes come?’ I asked.

[Pg 231]

‘Why, some folks say they come one way, and others say they come another. They go by their senses, you see, and half of them lose their senses when an earthquake comes.

‘Our old observatory man says they come from the sea, and that the motion we feel may be in all directions, twisting and squirming about, first one way, then another. Then again, you’re not moved so much if you’re up on high ground, as you are down on the soft stuff.’

To gain as much information as possible, I asked if there were any theories about how these things start.

‘Theories, why, yes, plenty of them. Some say they are volcanic—explosion of steam in fissures—others say they are caused by the rocks suddenly breaking, adjusting themselves to a position of equilibrium, the observatory man calls it. I don’t believe in the theories. I think earthquakes are just electrical phenomena, and kind of subterranean lightning and thunderstorm.

‘Just to show you what I mean, the other day I was out having dinner with Harris up the hill, when one of the hanged phenomena came along and shook the house as if it was going to fetch it down. I knew if it was so bad up there, down below I might expect at least to find my chimneys through the roof.

‘As I knew the state my wife and daughters would be in, I didn’t stop to finish dinner, but went off as hard as my legs could carry me home.

‘When I got in, what do you think I saw? My wife was knitting, with her toes on the fender, and my daughters were playing with a little cat they had.

[Pg 232]

‘“Good gracious, Tom!” said my wife, “we thought you were dining with Mr. Harris. What’s the matter? You look too frightened to tell us. Is it serious?”

‘“Thank God you’re safe,” said I, holding myself against the door-post, and panting for breath, for I had run the last mile or so.

‘“Safe!” they all said, “of course we’re all safe. What’s the matter?”

‘“Oh, Tom, Tom!” said my wife, rushing up and putting her arms round my neck, “don’t keep us in suspense. Is it something dreadful?”

‘“Why, the earthquake,” said I.

‘“Earthquake!” said they, “there hasn’t been an earthquake.”

‘“You’re crazy, Tom,” said my wife.

‘“Why, Harris’s house has been nearly shaken down, and I came to see how you were getting on.”

‘Then they laughed, and told me I had been dreaming. Well, to be called crazy, to be accused of dreaming, and to miss my dinner, set me thinking.

‘That very afternoon I made inquiries from all my friends in the town about the disturbance, and what do you think I found? One thing I found out was, that it had just gone through the town in a straight line. It had worked just like the subtle fluid works; it had travelled along the shortest distance between two points. It hadn’t gone to the right or the left, but it had gone as electricity goes, in a straight line, and therefore I say that earthquakes are electricity. And what is more, when we get some railroads through the country, the stuff will gradually escape along the metals, and these underground thunderstorms, as I call ’em, will stop.[Pg 233] Now what do you think of that for a theory?’ said he.

He finished up by telling me the following story about Soft Sammy.

‘In many countries when an earthquake takes place,’ he began, ‘the land goes down. At Lisbon it went down so suddenly that it buried a whole lot of people. In our country, so far as I can make out, the land appears to have a habit of going up. In ’55 about 4,600 square miles of land rose in some places nine feet, and the breadth of the beach increased more than 100 feet.

‘All this, you know, occurred near Wellington, and it has kept on occurring, off and on, ever since. The trouble and litigation these earth-jerks have cost us have been something terrible.

‘After the first jump-up, people were for a time too scared to know what they ought to do. Most of them, when they recovered a bit, began to scratch about amongst their ruins, trying to root out their property. Most of the things had got so flattened that it was difficult to tell what was yours and what was somebody else’s.

‘One man sued another for having been digging in the wrong ruins. The plaintiff deposed that the defendant had not only trespassed, but had stolen his kitchen-clock. The article was produced in court, and the defence held it not to be a clock, but a warming-pan.

‘If it was a clock, the judge remarked that he should give the case in favour of the plaintiff; but if it was a[Pg 234] warming-pan, he should be compelled to side with the defendant.

‘Do you know, the thing had been so flattened, that there wasn’t a jury in Wellington could decide whether the thing was a clock or a warming-pan. One man stuck to it that it was a frying-pan, and from the smell of it should say it had last been used to cook beefsteak and onions.

‘While all this was going on in the town, the people who lived along the quay were speculating as to when the water was coming back. There were all the ships lying high and dry, and, as far as you could see, there was a broad beach covered with rocks and seaweed. It wasn’t so many days before the mussels and stuff began to putrefy, and when the breeze set in from outside, the smell was horrible.

‘One day, as we were walking along the new beach, we observed that here and there some pegs had been driven in, just as if somebody had been staking out a claim; and when we came to inquire, we found that somebody had been staking out a claim.

‘The fellow who did it was a man who lives up there,’ and our acquaintance pointed up the hill to one of the biggest houses in the town. ‘At that time he was a new chum, and because we thought he was a bit soft, we called him Soft Sammy.

‘Sammy, however, took the wind out of our sails this time. Instead of pottering round his ruins like the rest of us had been doing, he had quietly staked the new ground which had been lifted up.

‘At first they told him that land between high and low water-mark was the Queen’s property, and he[Pg 235] couldn’t hold possession. Billy, however, showed that the judge had a bit of land on which there was a ship stranded. When it came there no one knew, but that it was a long time ago there was no doubt, as there was then a tree growing out of it.

“The tree didn’t walk there,” was Sammy’s argument; “and if that land belongs to you, then the land I’ve pegged out belongs to me.”

‘The judge decided in Sammy’s favour.

‘As soon as Sammy got possession, he sent round notes to the masters of all the ships which were lying on his ground, politely informing them that unless they moved off his patch within the next twenty-four hours, he should be compelled to take action against them for trespass. He wanted to build on the ground, and they were in the way, he said.

‘As there was no moving the ships, they were put up to auction, and Sammy pocketed half the proceeds. This enabled him to undertake the building he talked about, and now the whole of those buildings facing the water are Sammy’s property.

‘It’s not many people that can make money out of earthquakes, but Sammy managed it, you see. Of course everybody was praying for a second jump-up, so that Sammy’s property would be converted into a back street, and they might get a sea frontage. Sammy had successfully jumped some of the Queen’s property, and why shouldn’t they?

‘When the cold weather came on—for that is the time that earthquakes are frequent—the excitement used to be pretty great. Everyone expected to get a prize some day. A lot of them got the old fellow up at[Pg 236] the observatory to calculate the chances of an earthquake coming, and on the days he fixed for the jerk-up to come off, you’d see hundreds of people sitting along the beach, with pegs and mallets ready to block off their new possessions.

‘Some of them, to be right there when the phenomenon came along, would stand half the night up to their middles in water, ready to drive in a peg directly they felt the lift.

‘We had all sorts of rules given us to tell when to expect an earthquake. They were pretty plentiful when the moon was near to us, so they said.

‘Then there were lots of rules connecting the frequency of shakes and the position of planets, the height of the barometer, the phase of the tide, or the temperature of the air. Some of us would work on one rule, and some on another; but so far as we could make out there was no rule; anyhow, there was no decided rule which would help us to make money. Applied science didn’t work right.

‘I often read about professors prophesying when there will be an earthquake. Some of them fix a day for the event. Sometimes it comes off, and then they are all cock-a-whoop; but when it doesn’t come off, they just lie close.

‘It stands to reason that they must be right sometimes, because in some countries there are earthquakes every day.’

‘Well, and was there never any more jump-ups after the one when Sammy made his money?’ I inquired.

[Pg 237]

‘Oh yes, there was one a bit down the bay some years ago.’

‘And was there a scramble for it?’ I said.

‘My word there was!’ he answered; ‘if you had seen the cartloads of pegs, and people and buggies all crowding along, each trying to get ahead of his neighbour, you would have thought Wellington was mad. When they got there, what do you think they found? Well, they found it had all been pegged out by Sammy.’

‘What, Sammy again?’ I said.

‘Yes, it was Sammy again, and as far as we could make out he had pegged out the ground before the earthquake came, and as his pegs were below water we could not see them. We don’t call him Soft Sammy any more. We call him Seismic Sammy now.’

Amongst the many sights of Wellington we visited the Museum.

Mac kicked against this, and said he didn’t want any moa moas. The compliment I paid him on his pun caused him to go.

The collections, although by no means so extensive as at Christchurch, are certainly worth a visit. There were the usual assortment of minerals and fossils, a rusty-looking moa, a freshly-imported mummy, and at the doorway a diagram showing the districts where an approaching eclipse might be seen.

One afternoon was spent at an exhibition of New Zealand productions, which was then being held. Amongst other things we saw many pictures and photos by local artists, tons of woollen goods, a number of[Pg 238] agricultural implements, and a telpher line made by Mr. Fletcher, of Dunedin.

The remainder of our time was spent in interviewing the shops and streets, which were well worthy of inspection.

On one jeweller’s shop I read, as well as I can remember, words like these:

Hiki piki waki saki,
Hoki poki rapi taki.

I suppose it was Maori, and meant to inform the natives that watches and jewellery would be repaired on the shortest notice.

Mac said I might safely offer £50 to the Maori who could translate it properly. We felt we were getting near to Maori-land at last, and we saw several of them in the street.

The Governor of New Zealand lives at Wellington, this being considered a tolerably central position for carrying on the public affairs of the Colony. At the time of our visit Parliament was sitting, but as we were not distinguished strangers we were not invited to a debate. We were very sorry about this, for it would have been interesting, especially if some of the Maori members had spoken.

Maori speeches are, I am told, characterized by their terseness. Once there was a great meeting of the Maoris, which had been called to discuss an important action to be taken in their relations with the white man. All the chieftains spoke except their greatest orator—the Maori Disraeli. M. D. remained silent, and sat with his eyes cast upon the ground until the third day,[Pg 239] when at last he rose. There was a death-like stillness, and everyone was anxious not to lose a single syllable of the great chieftain’s wisdom.

Had not Solomon pondered for three days and heard the opinions of his brothers?

The burning points at issue were to be defined, and the action to be taken for everlasting Maori happiness would be declared.

For a moment the monarch of the woods gazed round the assemblage of his brothers, then, stretching forth his hand solemnly, he slowly said:

‘My brothers, the potato is boiled.’

After this he drew his cloak around him, and sank back into his original position.

For many days even the Maoris pondered over the chieftain’s words. That they must be the embodiment of great wisdom was universally admitted, but who could unravel the enigma?

To me and to all who read these lines the solution of the monarch’s wisdom is so clear that I fear it could only be regarded as trifling with intelligence were I to offer an explanation.

Another speech which I saw reported in one of the New Zealand papers occurred while I was in the country. This took place in the Legislative Assembly at Wellington. I may here remark that the Maoris are all tall, well-built men, and although many of them have their faces tattooed in curly blue lines, they have a commanding appearance. Members of the Legislative Assembly, as well as many others, appear in European clothes, and some of them even sport chimney-pots. The cannibal rose—I assume him to be a cannibal because it is[Pg 240] quite possible that a few years ago he may have been one. Then with deliberation he addressed his white brothers:

‘The English are a great people. The Maoris are a great people. The Queen of England is endowed with wisdom. The Maori chieftain has wisdom. The Maori wants his rights.’

I do not pretend to give the speeches I have quoted literatim—my only endeavour is to give their general character.

The Maoris yet retain about half the Northern Island, their country being known as the King Country. Here they live partly in a state of civilization, and partly in their original primitive Maori manner. They are fine intelligent people, but from what I heard and what I saw, are extremely lazy. Many of them are wealthy, their wealth being chiefly derived from ground-rents paid to them by the white adventurer who wishes to occupy portions of their territory. Thus it comes that there are Maoris worth from £20,000 to £200,000. When papa dies, the property goes to the daughters. No wonder that Maori maidens secure Caucasian mates.

From Wellington we had considerable variety in our fellow-passengers. There were examples of a new-born aristocracy, the democracy, and the Maori.

Amongst the former, there was an elderly gentleman who had a dislike to plurals.

His wife and daughter spoke of him as ‘Poo’ papa.’

‘Was you sick then, Mary?’ said poo’ papa to his daughter Mary.

[Pg 241]

‘Yes, pa,’ said the daughter.

‘Now, was you then?’ said he.

‘Poo’ mamma’ was stout, covered with black satin and lace, and scintillating with diamonds and precious stones—four rings on every finger. ‘Poo’ papa would have had a poor time of it with poo’ mamma, had she used her knuckle-dusters on him. The daughter seemed to be a little ashamed of poo’ papa and poo’ mamma.

The funniest people on board were a group of five who hung together like a bunch of grapes. Three of them were men and two of them ladies. They were all exceedingly short and thick, and had fat flattish round faces. I never learnt how to distinguish one of the men or one of the ladies from another. Each of the men had a bushy, dirty, unkempt beard, and a huge Tam o’Shanter blue bonnet. Their clothes were coarse, dirty, and ill-fitting. On their feet they had long boots. The two ladies had each an imitation sealskin jacket and a round pork-pie hat, and when they went ashore they each carried a small cotton umbrella made of a gaudy chintz. This peculiar group were peculiar enough to attract general attention and they were a puzzle to all of us.

One day Mac announced that he had discovered their occupation. The men, he declared, were carpenters—he had seen them all carefully examining a carpenter’s shop.

‘I was just about to say,’ said our old friend the Yank, ‘that they were butchers—when I was going down the street, I saw them at the butcher’s shop examining a leg of mutton.’

[Pg 242]

The Maoris were, I believe, members of the Legislative Assembly returning to their homes. They were all fine, big men, with grey beards. But for the tattooing they might have been called handsome. They were certainly by no means the burlesque of a European.

That afternoon the Yank found that these three Maori legislators had been stowed in his cabin.

‘Look here, Cap,’ said he, addressing our brass-buttoned commander, ‘I ain’t going to be bunked in with your native Injins. S’pose I see that tattooed-face looking down at me to-night, I’ll think the devil’s got me. Tell you now, you can just get Buffalo Bill and Texas Jim cleared out of that. Just now I went into my cabin, and there I saw that consumptive-looking one, him with the sulphury-green face, lying on his back staring straight up—heaving and sobbing—taking a plan of the roof.

‘“Suppose your digestion ain’t good?” says I to him, while wiping myself.

‘“No,” says he; “the sea tries me.”

‘“Sorry to hear it,” says I; “excuse me leaving you, but I want a little fresh air.”

‘Now, Cap, I’m not going to bunk in with your native Injins, don’t you believe it. That’s straight, isn’t it?’ said he, appealing to the company.

Whether it was straight or not, the Maoris retained the cabin; and our Yank, I am sorry to say, had to camp on a sofa in the saloon. These little facts may be of value to future travellers by the monopolist line of steamers.

At the next port our American friend saw some sheep[Pg 243] coming on board, and at once asked the ‘Cap’ whether they also were to have berths in the saloon.

‘I guess everything counts here,’ he remarked.

This was at Napier. Napier is situated on a peninsula, at the end of which there are high whitish-grey bluffs.

Many of our passengers went ashore in a little steamer called the Boojum, and of course landed on the opposite side of the peninsula to where the town is built.

The passengers now became thicker and thicker. In every cabin there were at least four, and all of them, at least those in my cabin, through their habits, were disgusting. For some days I was unable to open a portmanteau, and had to continue without a change of clothes.

The next port was Gisborne, where we again anchored several miles from the shore. Here I was told there were a great number of Maoris, the remainder of the population being chiefly composed of lawyers, who get considerable practice by advocating the rights of their tattooed-faced clients.

I was told that Gisborne boasted of forty full-fledged practitioners, and a number of fledgelings; and from one or two specimens who came on board our vessel, they must be exceedingly good talkers.

I have seen a lawyer’s signboard. It gave the gentleman’s name, followed by barrister and solicitor. After this there was a translation of what was above in Maori. It finished up with ‘Roia,’ which I suppose is their way of writing ‘lawyer.’

Mac and I had the intention of getting out at Gisborne,[Pg 244] and going thence, viâ the Hot Lakes, overland to Auckland.

When we heard that this was the place where the intelligent Maoris murdered all the whites on one occasion, that the stages by the coach averaged about fifty miles each, and finally that we might possibly fall into the hands of the Roias, we thought we would continue on where we were, and approach the Hot Lakes from the other side.

While lying at Gisborne, we saw a sight to which colonials are probably accustomed. This was the shipment of about 400 sheep. They came alongside in barges. At first the sheep were put in iron cages six or seven together, and then, by means of a steam-winch, hoisted up to the deck. This, however, was not quick enough, so a number of thin pieces of cord, very like log-line, were arranged with slip-knots. Each sheep to be lifted was secured by fastening the slip-knot round its stomach. Six or seven cords, each with its sheep, were then taken and fastened to the hook which before had raised the cages. As the chain with its hook tightened by the lifting of the winch, the six or seven sheep were dragged sprawling across the deck until they were suspended—when up they went, heads and tails, a living, swinging, twirling mass, bumping against the side of the ship until they reached the deck. Here they were released, and kicked and thumped until they moved to their proper quarters.

The whole performance was sickening, and all of us, who were not accustomed to see the handling of sheep, regarded it as brutal. Several of them died after this.

[Pg 245]

The Yank, who was always straightforward with his opinions, ‘guessed that these fellows’ (meaning those who were doing the torturing) ‘would figure in the Police News in his country.’

Maybe we were tender-hearted and our sympathies for the sheep arose from ignorance. Anyhow, its effect on me was sufficient to disturb my night’s rest. I dreamt I was in a big ship (it wasn’t in New Zealand), and all the officers on board were sheep. There were the little sailor sheep with blue shirts, and officer sheep with gilt buttons.

Presently a load of stout old gentlemen, some of whom seemed as if they enjoyed a glass of port wine and an easy-chair after their dinner, came alongside. These were directors of the steamship company.

When the sheep saw them, they were delighted, and skipped about on their hind-legs; for you must remember they were walking about and looking just like little men. After looking through his glasses at the cargo, the sheep-captain said:

‘Here are some directors. Get out the thin rope, boys. Thin rope, mind. Yes, that will do. Put it round their stomachs. Now hoist away—head and tail.’

Then all the sheep laughed and grinned, whilst the directors, who were coming up swinging against the side of the ship, shrieked for mercy. Then they were dumped down on the deck like a heap of big ripe grapes, unhooked, and kicked into pens. One or two of them died.

These proceedings, which caused a great deal of merriment amongst the crew, were hardly over, when[Pg 246] there was a fearful squealing and cawing heard at the back of the ship, and all the sheep ran aft to see what was the matter.

‘Why, it’s only a lot of molly-hawks and albatrosses crying,’ said the captain.

To mop up their tears some of them held little bits of seaweed and bladder-wrack in their claws.

‘That’s funny,’ said the commander, looking at the birds through his telescope.

‘Very funny,’ said the first mate, who liked to keep in with his chief.

‘Very, very funny,’ said the second officer.

Then everybody laughed.

‘Let us ask them why they are so sad. Where is my speaking-trumpet?’ said the captain.

The trumpet was brought, and a big sheep, holding it up to his face, after several preliminary ‘Baas,’ shouted out, ‘Ahoy, my feathered friends! why these drippings?’

‘You’ve killed our friends, our best friends, our very dear friends!’ replied the sobbing molly-hawks; ‘we can never fly after your ships any more.’

At this point the tears came pattering down like rain, as if there had been a thunderstorm.

‘Be more explicit, companions of the pastures,’ yelled the big sheep through the trumpet. ‘We do not wish to lose your pleasant company.’

‘Why,’ said the molly-hawks, ‘the gentlemen you have been stringing up practised economy. They allowed the cooks to buy bad butter, so that the passengers would not eat the beefsteak-pies and pastry they made, which were therefore all thrown overboard[Pg 247] to us. All the birds in the South Pacific knew this, and it can’t happen any more.’

Then they wept until the sheep had to put on their oilskin coats for fear of spoiling their uniforms.

The day after we left Gisborne, we steamed into Auckland. Auckland harbour is decidedly pretty, and well sheltered. On one side of it there is an island-like promontory, covered with volcanic cones and villas, and at one end are several batteries. Now that the batteries have been made, the Aucklanders feel that cruisers cannot lie off the town and dictate terms.

On the opposite side, where the steamers lie against the wharf, is the town. The ground on which it is built is irregular. Behind it rises Mount Eden, another old volcano. There are volcanic cones even in the town itself.

When you walk along a street in Auckland, you are as likely to find yourself climbing up an old volcanic slope as not. People live in volcanoes, sometimes even in their craters. You can hear people discussing the price of certain volcanoes.

‘You know, £4,000 is what I could give for little Pluto,’ says one man.

‘Well, I only wanted the crater,’ says another.

There is certainly a novelty in buying and selling these slumbering giants. Of course the buyers and sellers trade in them on the understanding that they are dead. We hope they are.

There has been great competition for some of these phenomena on the north shore, a moderate-sized one selling for £5,000. The price, however, varies with the size and the shape. If it has a good crater, it may be[Pg 248] very expensive. Of course, when buying a volcano, it is well to see that it is in a good position, for they are very difficult to move.

At night-time the streets of Auckland are dull and badly lighted, but during the day they are lively, and there is much to engage the attention of a stranger. Amongst the shops I was particularly struck with one of the book-stores, where the free-reading custom was licensed. To add a charm to the book you were studying, a piano discoursed lively music.

Auction-rooms were a great feature in the Auckland streets. At one of them I saw a man trying to sell a counterpane. His face was red, and his voice was hoarse. It was always ‘going, going!’—then he would pause, and appeal to his audience, which was one man and a boy:

‘Really, gentlemen, this fine counterpane for one and sixpence.’ Then persuasively: ‘Make it two bob.’

‘Well, two bob,’ says the man, and it was promptly knocked down as a cheap bargain.

There were many hoardings and advertisements in the street.

‘It will pay you to cross the street and look over our stock,’ was hung over one shop; but right before me, on my side of the street, there was a counter-blast:

‘It will pay you to walk twenty yards farther on, and look at our stock.’

The stocks in many of the shops were large and expensive.

Most of the shops were faced with verandas, extending quite across the sidewalk. These verandas were[Pg 249] all different in design, helping to make the buildings appear very unsymmetrical.

A great problem for the stranger in Auckland is to discover why so many baggage-carts, which are called ‘expresses,’ stand the whole day long in certain parts of the town.

In Victoria Street, which commences as a long hill, you see these carts standing, one behind the other, in a line too long for the eye to carry you to the end of it. I discovered that the secret lay in their charges, for if you engage one of them, the driver will make enough money to keep him for the next week.

The meat-shops were pointed out to me as a speciality, but, as I have said before, I dislike exhibitions of dead bodies. Certainly one of the shops was beautifully decorated, and all the lambs and other creatures, which were hung up by their hind-legs, were ornamented with rosettes and bouquets. These additions possibly toned down the appearance of the shambles, but they looked as much out of place as a blue ribbon does round the neck of a statue.

To me a butcher’s shop is as pleasing as a dissecting-room or a morgue.

With a little training we shall have public windows in which to exhibit the operations of the slaughterhouse. Butchers’ shops ought to have screens before them.

Besides the shops there were the theatres, public gardens, an embryonic University, and a Museum to be seen. At the Museum there was the usual collection of Maori productions, implements, and weapons, mineralogical and geological specimens, a good collection of[Pg 250] pictures, and, not to do the place an injustice, a little moa.

‘A little moa what?’ said Mac.

This was the second time he made his moa joke, so I remained silent.

I gazed at the rusty-looking little animal for some time, for I knew it might be years before I should again have the opportunity of interviewing this extinct giant of the feathered world.

In and about volcanic Auckland a common sign is, ‘Ash, lapilli, scoria, lava, bombs, etc., on sale.’ When you order a load the vendor asks how you like it—vesicular, amygdaloidal, pumiceous, crypto-crystalline, or how?

Walking about Auckland made me very tired. Coming down a hill you have your toes jammed in the end of your boots, while going up a hill you have your body hanging over your toes. Boots with elevating toes and heels would be a valuable boon to those who live in Auckland.

One climb we made was up Mount Eden. It was a pleasant walk, and the view of the crater filled with browsing cattle, and then of the town and the surrounding country, well repaid the trouble. When on the top we could easily count some twenty other volcanic cones, many of which were accompanied by streams of lava. At one time the district of Auckland must have been bubbling like a porridge-pot.

‘Pretty hot business in Auckland some years ago,’ said Mac, as he wiped his forehead after the climb, and looked down on the twenty extinct porridge-pots.

When returning, we took a look at the Cemetery.[Pg 251] From the ages indicated on the tombstones it would appear that the climate of New Zealand is good for the human species. One noticeable thing was the number of people who had been killed by falls from horses. Is there more riding in New Zealand than in other places, or are the horses more frisky, or are the people more clumsy? No doubt there is a reason, if it could be discovered.

One afternoon I went to see a review of the various rifle corps which have been raised in Auckland. There were six companies, all in different uniforms, with a grizzly old general commanding the lot. For a long time they stood in rows doing nothing. The old general, however, kept capering up and down, while two aides-de-camp struggled to keep behind him. Now and then a man would gallop across the field with his sword up and his horse’s tail whirling round and round, as if it was the motive power that made it go.

I thought he was going to have a sham fight with the general; but when he reached him he suddenly put his sword up to his nose, then stuck it in his sheath, whirled round, and went scampering away to where he had come from.

It was a nice warm afternoon, and as I had nothing to do, I did not object to these military manœuvres.

By-and-by they began to move. The idea was to make the six companies march in oblique lines until at certain points they stopped and wheeled to form one long line. They tried it a lot of times, but the line they made had always big gaps left in it.

The crowd said it was the fault of the sergeants, who had to run ahead and mark out the wheeling-points.

[Pg 252]

The number of Volunteers is about 300, and as that is a number which history tells us can get back safely from the jaws of death, we hope they may do well. The Aucklanders are proud of their Volunteers, and they may well be so.

After this I took a cruise in the domain, where I saw a lovely cricket ground, where eighteen cricket-matches can be played simultaneously. Outside the cricket ground two or three football-matches were going on. I sat down upon the side of a volcano to watch them. The place where the play was going on was in the hollows between several small volcanoes, or, at least, volcanic slopes. It was all fresh and green, and round the sides of the grounds were clumps of oaks and other trees bursting into summer costume. Beyond this arcadian scene came islands, islets, more volcanoes, and then the ocean.

With Italian scenery and warm sunshine I felt as comfortable as a tom-cat sunning itself on a red-tile roof.

On the most distant island, away out in the blue ocean, Sir George Grey lives. Sir George is a great man in New Zealand, a lover of the Maori, and generally original in his conceptions. Anyone would be original if they lived the Robinson-Crusoe-like life that Sir George endures. They say that he does not get many callers.

Everything in Auckland was very nice, excepting my hotel. I was told that it was the best in the place, but the statement made it no better. The bedrooms were like boxes, and everything was untidy and badly managed. The arrival of some passengers by the[Pg 253] American mail quite demoralized the establishment. The waiters were bewildered with the orders, and to get anything to eat you had to forage for yourself. I remember that I contented myself with a salt-spoon to stir my coffee.

I spent one afternoon on the north shore, where there is a race-course and some pretty walks. I was rather struck with one house, called Rangitoto View. Rangitoto is a volcanic island lying off Auckland, the view of which is exceedingly striking. Any house that faces Rangitoto has before it a picture. Now, this house faced a stone quarry on the side of a hill, Rangitoto being out of sight.

[Pg 254]


There are several ways by which a visitor from Auckland can reach the Wonderland of New Zealand. The quickest way is by steamer to Tauranga, and then in coach to Ohinemutu, where you are at once amongst the hot springs. By starting on certain days in the week, when coaches and steamers are arranged to meet, the journey takes twenty-four hours.

Mac and I went viâ Cambridge to Ohinemutu, and returned by the Thames. These routes are much longer, but that was not to be objected to, as it gave us better opportunities for seeing the country.

We left for Cambridge by the 11.15 a.m. train, reaching the end of our journey at dark. Travelling with us there was a gentleman who knew the Maoris, spoke their language, and who gave us much information about Maori-land.

A few miles after starting we passed close to a place called Onehunga, where there are some large works for the conversion of iron-sand into iron. The sand is collected on the sea-shore, then dried, and passed through a magnetic arrangement by which the black sand is separated from earthy impurities with which it may be[Pg 255] mixed. Next it is mixed with charcoal and deoxidized in retorts. From the retorts, where it ought not to come in contact with the air, it is passed into reverberatory furnaces, where it is puddled and made into blooms. After this it passes through shingling machines, steam-hammers, and rolls, as in ordinary ironworks.

On the beach where the ore occurs, an old Maori cooking-stove was turned up. The method of cooking was to heat stones, which were then put into a small pit and covered with a few ferns. The food was placed on the ferns, and after being moistened to cause the generation of steam, the whole was closed in with more ferns and a cloth, and allowed to sweat.

Eight or nine human skeletons gave a clear idea of the nature of the joints. At one time Maoris were in great force about Auckland. This is indicated by the remains of many old fortifications or Pahs.

The top of Mount Eden is terraced and embanked all round its summit with the remains of such fortifications. The number of old shell-heaps or kitchen-middens which cover the mountain also points to a former population.

For sixteen miles or so, we ran along between green fields and green volcanic cones. Here and there moss-covered black stones indicated the line of a lava stream. Many of the fields were walled with blocks of lava, whilst the line on which we ran was ballasted for miles with volcanic ash and scoria. At Mercer we struck the Waikata River, and the country became undulating and swampy. Parts of it were covered with Ti bush, and the whole looked like a brown moorland.

Our average rate of travelling was about ten miles[Pg 256] an hour, a pace which might have delighted Stephenson, but which we found tedious. When we arrived in Wonderland, as the lake country is called, our companion wished us to go some 120 miles in the bush to interview the Maori king, to whom he kindly offered a letter of introduction. As Mac and I didn’t hanker after copper-coloured royalty, we politely declined the invitation. The reason that the lake district is called Wonderland is on account of visitors wondering why they were ever induced to pay it a visit.

At one of the small stations an untidy little man, with a shock head, a fuzzy beard, and a pair of spectacles, joined us.

‘One of our traffic managers,’ whispered our Maori-speaking friend; ‘I’ll have a talk to him.’

‘Good-morning, Mr. Smith,’ said Maori.

‘Good-morning, good-morning, Mr. Maori,’ was Mr. Smith’s reply.

‘You’re getting things to work very nicely on your line this year. Very few of the other lines can beat what you’ve done up here.’

It may here be mentioned that the carriages were dirty, curtainless, and uncomfortable; the average pace was, as I have said, about ten miles an hour, and there were only two trains each way per day.

Smith felt Maori’s compliment, and replied with a sigh—‘Yes, yes, it has cost me a lot of thought. You can’t imagine the anxiety and scheming I have gone through to get things as they are.’

Then he passed his hand over his little brow, as if he wished us to imagine that his brain was yet feeling the effects of the strain that had been imposed upon it.

[Pg 257]

‘Everything fits to a nicety, and I think—the employés are satisfied, and the public are pleased.’

‘You’re quite right,’ said Maori, with a twinkle in his eye; ‘the very fact that no one grumbles shows that things are satisfactory. It’s impossible to improve on what you have done, Mr. Smith.’ Mac afterwards suggested to me that walking would be a great improvement.

It was dark when we reached Cambridge. After some tea at an hotel called Kirkwood’s Cottage, at the recommendation of our landlady, we adjourned to the Town Hall to witness the spiritualistic performance of Professor Baldwin. The performance, which was clever and amusing, consisted of many rope-tying tricks after the manner of the original Davenport Brothers, finding a pin hidden amongst the audience, and finally an exhibition by Mrs. Baldwin of her powers as a thought-reader. In the latter performance you wrote a question on a piece of paper which you placed in your pocket. Mrs. Baldwin undertook, while in a trance, to tell you what the question was, and to give the same an answer. How she succeeded to the extent she did was a mystery. All we could do when we got outside was to say, ‘Well, it’s a trick, do you know.’

When I went to my bedroom that night, I observed standing on my dressing-table a spherically shaped blue flask, with a corrugated surface. When I first went into the room on my arrival, I had seen this same bottle, and thought it was a scent-bottle or something or other which had been left in the room by accident. As I undressed I could not keep my eyes away from the queer-looking bottle, which I observed was corked[Pg 258] and had evidently not been opened. Some sort of schnaps, perhaps? No, I know what it is; we are getting near the hot springs, and there is some sort of mineral water put up here as a sample just to induce strangers to buy. It might, however, be whisky, I said to myself on reflection; but whatever it was, if I opened it, I must pay.

So, blowing the light out, I jumped into bed, congratulating myself on having escaped from a dodgy old landlady. Still, I could not help thinking about the blue bottle. It was so very different to all bottles that I had seen before. It’s a funny way of forcing business by exciting the curiosity of people who want to go to sleep, I thought. And so I kept on thinking, and thinking, and speculating as to the contents and raison d’être of the blue bottle. I suppose it must have been two hours before I went to sleep.

When I awakened, the first thing I saw was the blue bottle. The prominent position it occupied upon the dressing-table, together with its oddness of shape and colour, made it an object from which I could not remove my eyes. The more I looked at the thing the more I desired to solve the riddle.

My curiosity at last escaped control. Schnaps, whisky, scent, mineral water, bomb-shell, or whatever you are, I must investigate, even if it cost the expenses of a funeral. I could not stand the mystery any longer, so with a one, two, three, I tumbled out of bed and picked up the bugbear. Semper paratus, it said on the top. Yes, it’s always been ready. Then on the neck were directions as to how I could break it and throw it on the fire. By jingo, it’s only a hand-grenade,[Pg 259] and here I’ve been fooling round thinking it might be whisky. As I put the bottle down I saw a rope peeping out from beneath the dressing-table. Looking underneath, I found a new rope with knots in it fastened at one end to the wall. This was a fire-escape. When a fire occurs you shy the bottle at the conflagration, and then bolt in your robe de chambre to the window, and slide down the rope into the garden.

Mac’s room had similar furniture. If I had known of all these precautionary measures before I went to bed, I might not have slept at all. In time I got accustomed to knotted ropes and blue bottles, for I found them in almost every house where we stayed.

In some hotels I heard that from time to time they had a fire drill. They usually, so my informants said, chose a night when there was a guest with a red head staying in the house. At about 2 a.m. ‘Fire! fire!’ is shouted through the building; the guests all rise, shy the bottles at the red-headed visitor, and slide down the ropes. The ladies object to the performance, as they consider that they do not look well dangling on a rope. However, as the people wish to stick to the semper paratus motto of their bottles, the fire drill is not neglected. If the man with a red head is not killed, he receives profuse apologies for his hair having been mistaken for a conflagration. I did not see a fire drill.

We left Cambridge very early next morning. The conveyance was of the usual stagecoach type. Mac and I had inside seats, I being on the weather-side and he on the lee-side of the vehicle. By lee-side is meant the side that was usually leaning over a precipice.

[Pg 260]

Shortly after starting we dived down a steep slope at the end of the town, and crossed the Waikata River. All the country was open and brown. Here and there a lonely cabbage-tree reared its green round head. Ti-trees, which in height are anything between six inches and six feet, occurred in patches. They looked like sage-bushes, and from their twiggy character might possibly make good besoms.

Next in importance to the Ti-tree comes bracken. The Maoris eat young bracken, that is, when they can get nothing else. When Ti-trees and brackens find some useful application, New Zealand will have the means of speedily reducing her public debt. The public debt of New Zealand is per head greater than that of any other country, the population of the country being about 500,000, and the debt about £30,000,000.

Sir Julius Vogel, a New Zealand Disraeli, has much to answer for as author of the incubus.

The defence for having such a debt is that with the money they build railways and other public works, and as these pay, or are destined to yield huge profits, it is a good thing to have a debt.

The most wonderful things up the Waikata River are the terraces. When you look ahead you see the river like a long bright band surging down towards you, between high perpendicular banks. Above these banks on either side there is a strip of flat ground, perhaps fifty, perhaps two hundred yards in width, and then two more steep banks. Above these there is more flat ground, and another set of banks—each flat strip representing an old flood plain of the river. In some places five or six of these terraces could be counted, each of[Pg 261] them being beautifully defined. They had the appearance of so many parallel roads cut in the hills on either side the river gorge.

The first sixteen miles of our road was very clayey, in fact, places were so extremely sticky and puddle-like that we were in danger of being stuck fast. In summer-time the driver said it was like a billiard-table. What we crossed was like a brick-field.

After twelve miles’ driving we stopped at a post-office. There were no houses. The country looked like open moorland covered with bracken. The post-office was a square box about as big as a tea-chest. It stood at the side of the road on four stout legs in amongst the bracken. It was painted sky-blue, and on it was written, in very large letters, ‘V.R. Matanabe Letterbox.’

The V.R. brought such vivid pictures to my eyes of the chairs in a British Consulate, that I had to turn my head from Mac and hide my sorrow.

A great deal of the land along the road is wire fenced. If it was put upon wooden posts or electrically insulated tests would tell the squatter where it was broken.

This would be convenient for travellers who had lost their bearings. They might break a wire and then sit down until a shepherd came to repair the damage.

Inside the fences I saw a lot of fat cattle. They were all red and had white faces. Ti-trees and bracken appear to suit cattle.

After twenty-one miles we stayed at a solitary inn, where there was an Irish landlord, and many pictures of O’Connell, Parnell, and other Hibernian celebrities.

When we looked at Dan with his thumb in the armhole[Pg 262] of his waistcoat, we thought of his famous address to a mob of his supporters:

‘Will ye live for yéer Dan?’

‘We will, we will.’

‘Will ye fight for yéer Dan?’

‘We will, we will.’

‘Will ye run when the cavalry come?’

‘We will, we will.’

If our host had not been so jovial we should certainly have looked under the table for a box of dynamite. I did not note the name of this place because, as I told Mac, it would probably be one of those heathen names with forty-three hiki pikis and rapi tapis which we could neither pronounce nor write correctly. That evening I learnt that it was called Oxford. It is either at Oxford or the place next to it where there is a lusus naturæ, which for many years has attracted the attention of the medical faculty. This is a boy who has the attributes of a small bull. When a stranger arrives he comes and snuffs, then he stares and snorts and ‘moos’ like an ox. When a gate or door is shut, instead of opening it with his hands he will stand in front of it and paw the ground. If it is not opened he lowers his head and butts. It is expected that some day he will smash his skull, and this remarkable phenomenon will be lost to science.

The last and worst part of our journey was through sixteen miles of what is known in these parts as ‘the bush.’ At the entrance to it there were some pretty steep precipice-like slopes, about 1,000 feet in depth, from the edges of which our wheels often did not have more than six inches clearance.

[Pg 263]

Mac, who was on the hanging or lee-side of the coach, said he did not like it.

To describe the sixteen-mile bush I must ask you to imagine the Suez Canal lined on either bank with tall trees, and an undergrowth so thick that it formed a dense black wall. Next imagine the Suez Canal, instead of being straight, to be curved. Finally, imagine the Suez Canal to be filled with from six inches to two feet of stiff clay and water-holes. When you have done this, you will have a picture of something not very much like the Suez Canal, but very much like the sixteen-mile bush.

Some of the fern leaves were big enough to thatch a haystack. A botanist collecting specimens of these plants would require twenty-four foot screens in which to press his specimens. Many of the trees were covered with things which Mac called orchids, and which he said were worth from £5 to £20 apiece. I expect he thought I should stop the coach and begin to climb.

The trunks of some of the trees were completely buried by these parasites, while their heads were bowed down by the weight they had to carry.

If a tree was cut down, the grass, or whatever it is which grows upon it, ought to fodder a herd of oxen for several months.

Vine-like climbers are very common in this bush. There is one called the Rata, which grows to a larger size than the tree it embraces. Many tall, straight trees which were being slowly compressed to death by the rata, looked like huge maypoles clasped by monstrous centipedes.

I don’t know how the rata grows, whether it commences[Pg 264] at the top of the tree and grows downwards, or whether it commences below and grows upwards. Perhaps it does both; anyhow, if you cut a rata off near the ground it will send down roots and re-establish communication.

A guide-book we had said the road was extremely interesting, calling our attention to the rata-trees and £20 orchids.

The chief interest which Mac and I found was with regard to our hats, which were continually in danger of being smashed on the roof of the coach. The bumps and rolls that we experienced along the Suez Canal were perfectly awful. Every moment you expected the vehicle either to capsize or else roll down a precipice. Most of the time you were holding on to an upright or a strap, like a cat to a waterspout. And all this time you could hear the driver telling a fellow outside that in summer it was as smooth as a billiard-table. Interesting indeed! Yes, it was full of interest, but the man who wrote that book ought to be hung.

The sun was setting when we emerged from the bush and descended towards Lake Rotorua. A short drive brought us round to the village of Ohinemutu. The hills near the lake are moderately high, and of a sad green colour.

This particular bit of Wonderland will not appal anyone by its beauty. But for the steam rising from numerous hot springs all is still and dead. The faint smell of the springs is not pleasant.

There are several hotels here for the convenience of[Pg 265] visitors wishing to enjoy the baths. There are baths for everything; one will cure the gout, another the rheumatism, another the toothache.

One of the baths is called the Priest’s Bath, another one the Lobster, another Madame Rachael. The quantity of water and the temperature of many of the springs vary considerably with changes of the wind.

When you want a bath, you find that you have at least to cross a road, and generally to wander through the scrub to some wretchedly-built shanty open to the heavens at more places than its windows and doors. Here you undress in the cold, and if it is wet in the rain.

After a trial of one of these primitive baths, the arrangements for which are hardly comparable with those which savages would provide, it seems astonishing that invalids are not killed rather than cured. The whites of New Zealand have come into a legacy which they have not yet learned to use. When in a bath, put up your hands, and you are cool; put them down, and you are hot; always go home with your wet towel round your neck, and you cannot catch cold, are amongst the many other wonderful things which the new owners of the springs have discovered.

There were one or two visitors at the hotel. One of them told us that he had been out all day exploring mud-holes and hot springs.

‘Took a hammer, a magnifying-glass, and a bottle of vitriol acid, you know.’

‘And what was that for?’ we asked.

[Pg 266]

‘Just a lark, you know. Testing the waters.’

He only wanted a pair of spectacles to become a complete savant.

Another visitor told us of his experiences. The Lobster bath was a terror. But according to him everything was a terror—the roads were terrors, the lake was a terror, some of the women were terrors (I believed this). Terror is a New Zealand adjective. Shilling knives are advertised as ‘perfect terrors.’ You can’t go wrong if you call a thing a terror.

A young Englishman, however, called everything and everybody ‘a Johnny.’ Mac thought him as big an ass as the other visitors.

That night it was cold, and in the morning the ground was white with frost.

There are many Maoris at Ohinemutu, and we had good opportunities to see both them and their houses. They are physically fine, but with coarse, broad features. They are tolerably honest, fearful beggars, consummate liars, and dreadfully lazy.

Their hardest work is to plant and dig potatoes, smoke, and occasionally go in search of kauri gum, which they sell to foreign merchants.

The Government built them a mill at Wairoa, but the Maoris did not think well of it, so they took out the machinery, and now use it as a dwelling-house. It was too hard work to grind corn.

Their homes (wharis) are, to look at, like the roof of a thatched cottage minus the side-walls. At one end there are usually a number of elaborately carved pieces of wood, many of the figures on which are highly indecent.

[Pg 267]

They have churches, where they pray and sing according to formulæ taught them by the missionaries.

In the afternoon we had an eleven miles’ drive over to Wairoa, the headquarters from which one visits Rotomahana and the terraces—the glory of Wonderland.

The drive was over a pretty country, past two crater lakes. One of these, with a white bottom, has an exceedingly beautiful blue appearance. The other is dark green.

Part of the way is through bush, very similar to what we had seen on the way up from Cambridge. If we except skylarks, which are everywhere in New Zealand, the country appears to be entirely without bird life. In the sixteen-mile bush, a road-mender told me that in three months he might have seen six birds.

We stayed at the Terrace Hotel. Here there is a large quantity of sweetbrier. You meet with the plant in many parts of the northern island. It is said to have been introduced by a missionary. It is now a pest.

At Wairoa we were introduced to a curiosity in the form of an animal-plant, or true zoophyte. The animal is undoubtedly a caterpillar; but the plant, which appears to grow out of one end of the caterpillar, may be anything. It is usually from six inches to two feet in length, and looks like a flexible root or piece of a vine.

Our host said it was a young rata-vine, and the way in which the combination of plant and animal came[Pg 268] about was as follows. The caterpillar lives beneath the rata-tree, and when the seeds are shed they fall upon the caterpillar beneath. Most of the seeds roll off the caterpillar’s back, but it sometimes happens that one will lodge in a particularly large crease at the back of the caterpillar’s neck. Here it germinates, and the caterpillar, being irritated by the process, digs into the ground, where it dies while struggling to release itself from the parasite. The parasite then grows, and the natives seeing the shoot, carefully dig it up, dry it, and keep it as a curio to be sold to the guileless tourist.

Our coachman who was there said:

‘No, that’s not it. I’ve found plenty of them; the root sticks in the ground, and the caterpillar is on the end of it, standing up like fruit on a tree. The caterpillar sees the young rata-tree sprouting, and swallowing the end of it, gets stuck fast—the end of the plant swelling in its mouth. The plant goes on growing, and the caterpillar gets shoved up in the air end on.’

A tourist who was there said that a Maori told him that the caterpillar ate the seed, and then it germinated.

Here Mac broke in with the remark, that if it chewed the seed, the seed could not germinate.

The tourist seemed annoyed, and said:

‘Well, sir, it doesn’t eat it, but it swallows it like a Cockle’s pill, and then it germinates. The body of the caterpillar becomes a flower-pot for the plant, which grows until it has exhausted the contents of its friend, and then both of them die. The caterpillar is neither[Pg 269] up nor down, but it lies horizontally with the plant sticking out of its mouth.’

Here we appealed to the specimens, and pointed at the fact that the plant might come out of the tail of the animal or the back of its neck; but it was certain that it did not come out of its mouth.

‘Everybody gets mixed about them inseks,’ said a gentleman in a flannel shirt, who had been listening to the argument. ‘The way they comes to be as they is, is because they’ve been stuck in when you sees them. It’s a sandpiper as does it. The sandpiper builds in rata-trees, and, just to ornament the surroundings, fills up its spare time in sticking caterpillars on the branches. I’ve seen a sandpiper and its mate in two hours cover a tree so thick that you couldn’t see the sky for caterpillars.’

By this time I had learnt that a caterpillar did something with the rata-seed, or else the rata-seed did something with a caterpillar, or else a sandpiper——here I got mixed.

But rata-trees begin to grow from the tops of other trees! Perhaps our zoophyte was found suspended in the air like fruit. Altogether it was as mysterious as a mermaid. Somehow or other, I don’t think it has anything to do with rata-trees. Caterpillars do not take pills. Possibly they may take in the spores of a fungus which use the stomach of their host as a flower-pot.

Another curious object for the naturalist was a plant called Pisonia something or other. A friend of mine had one in his garden, and he gave me some seeds. The peculiarity of this plant is that it catches birds.[Pg 270] The way in which this is done is by its having seed-pods covered with a kind of birdlime. Insects stick on the birdlime, and sparrows and other feathered pets coming for a feed, get stuck themselves. Cats then go round and catch the sparrows. I never heard of the tree catching cats. I am sorry I never made inquiries.

Next day we went to see the terraces—the hub of Wonderland. Our guide was a Maori called Sophia. Sophia and Kate are historical characters in Wonderland, and everybody who visits this district passes through the hands of one of these ladies.

Kate, who is decorated with a medal for having saved life—I think it was the life of a bishop—was away on her twenty-fifth honeymoon, so we fell into the arms of Sophia. Sophia is a big woman, and it would be a big man who ever escaped should he ever fall into her arms. I don’t know her age, but I should guess it at being about forty-five.

Although Sophia is masculine, she speaks English with the affectation of a well-bred duchess. She is always merry, and has a twinkle in her eye, indicating that she is continually on the qui vive for fun. She wore a short dress like a Welshwoman, black stockings, and buckled shoes.

From the hotel we walked a mile or so down to the lake, where we all embarked in a whale-boat. Here we had a row of a mile and a half down a river-like arm of the lake before we were fairly launched in the lake itself. Before us were the rugged rocky heights of Mount Tarawera, a volcano after which the lake is named. On the opposite side of the lake there are hills covered with trees.

[Pg 271]

It was a pull of nearly eight miles against a stiff breeze, before we came to the top of the lake. On the way we made one stoppage. This was to interview a fisherman in a dug-out. Sophia told us that to buy craw-fish from the fishermen of Tarawera was the correct thing, and as we could not oppose the wishes of a lady, we stopped. Luckily the fisherman had not caught any craw-fish. We were very cold and a little wet when we reached the head of the lake.

A walk of a mile and a half up the banks of a small creek, which was in many places steaming, and we were on the shores of Lake Rotomahana and at the foot of the White Terrace. At a distance the terrace looked like one side of a pyramid which had been made by piling together rows of white wash-hand basins.

Another comparison is to liken it to a huge white marble staircase on the side of a hill, each step being rounded in front and hollowed out above. These steps, or wash-hand basins, are from one foot to twelve feet in height, and they are all filled with water, which is hotter and hotter the higher you ascend. At the top there is one large basin filled with water that is boiling. When the wind is in a certain direction (north-east, Sophia said), this may be entirely empty.

When we saw it, it was twenty feet or so in depth, and overflowing. The water was running down from basin to basin, getting cooler and cooler and depositing silica as it descended. One exceedingly striking point connected with the marble-like basins of limpid water is that the water appears to be of a brilliant light-blue colour—so blue that it often looks unnatural.

The pool at the top looks like a crater that had been[Pg 272] breached on one side, and from the breach a lava stream had descended to the lake. The terraced arrangements of basins have been built on the lava stream. In many places, especially at the foot of the terraces, you could see basins in the process of formation. As a stream of water flows over an inclined surface, it spreads out to form a fan-like film.

At a certain distance from its origin it has become sufficiently cooled to deposit the silica which, while hot, it holds in solution. The deposition takes place on a curved ridge, the curvature of which corresponds to the curvature of the flowing fan-like film of water. In time the ridge grows higher and higher, until finally it becomes a basin in which water does not cool so rapidly as it did when the formation commenced.

We spent a considerable time paddling about the White Terrace. At one pool Sophia showed us some sparrows which she had placed in the water to petrify. Strangers are not supposed to remove the stalactitic formations and various petrifactions which are met with on the terraces, but a few shillings will usually enable you to procure a few specimens.

A short distance from the White Terrace we saw several boiling caldrons, which every now and then would shoot up columns of water twenty or thirty feet in height.

Farther on, we met a dug-out canoe and two boatmen who had brought our lunch. The potatoes had, of course, been boiled in a hot spring.

Sophia told us that the last party she had the honour of conducting were missionaries. One old man had given her a drink of brandy, and when in the dug-out,[Pg 273] where you have to sit fore and aft, had placed his head in her lap.

‘I told the old gentleman,’ said Sophia, ‘that drinking brandy and putting his head into the lap of an unmarried girl did not go well with a white necktie. What do you think he said? why, he whispered, “Never mind, Sophia,” and he gave me a squeeze.’

Sophia in talking to us always called us ‘poor boys.’ Mac, who was getting bald, did not like it.

After lunch, we carefully balanced ourselves in the dug-out, Mac putting his head in Sophia’s lap, and set sail on Rotomahana. This is a little round lake bounded on all sides with low hills. Most of them are steaming with hot springs, the water from which comes down into the lake, so that the lake itself is hot.

Although the water is quite warm, and has a nasty taste, some sort of beetles appear to live in it. The trip across the lake is one where everything depends on the accuracy of your balance. There is no turning round, and Mac having once put his head in Sophia’s lap, he had to keep it there, or else run the risk of overturning the boat.

The Pink Terrace on the other side of the lake is far more pink in description and books than it is in reality. On the top there is a boiling pond, and below this comes the staircase of basins just like the White Terrace. We had a bath here. We unstripped in a grove of Ti-trees, and then had our first dip in a pool which was moderately warm. From this we ascended, step by step, to other pools which were warmer.

It would take a long time to describe all we saw. One little valley we went up was filled with small mud[Pg 274] volcanoes, one of which was called the Porridge-Pot. This contained a beautiful bluish-grey creamy mud which was gently simmering. All of these had certain medicinal qualities attributed to them. The Porridge-Pot was good for dysentery. I took a spoonful of it. It was smooth, warm, and inky.

Many visitors have written a description of these wonders. One man, who describes the place in blank verse, speaks of the waters as a ‘lithic lymph.’ But about all this I will speak more fully in my Guide-book to New Zealand.

Another man, struck by the quantity of steam, the pits, the bubbling and snorting, the ponds of steaming mud, and the sulphurous burning hillsides, entitled his description ‘An Introduction to the Devil; or, The Vestibule of Hell.’ I could not get a copy of his work.

The activity is continually shifting. One day you find a steam-hole in the scrub, and next day it has gone. Some of these holes are big enough to receive a bullock, and we were told the story of a herd of bullocks falling into a hole, and their coming up out of another about a mile distant from the place where they had disappeared. The subterranean activity of Wonderland is a kind of public works which are difficult to inspect. Mac said he would not live there at any price; he was afraid the whole thing might blow up.

On our way back Sophia gave us a lot of information about the terraces and their visitors. Several American speculators had from time to time paid Rotomahana a visit.

One old gentleman, who had a craze for natural[Pg 275] phenomena, tried to buy up the terraces; what he wanted to do with them we never properly learned. One idea was that he was going to cut them up in sections, and then ship them to New York; another idea was that he intended to light them up with the electric light, and show them through variously coloured glasses to visitors; a third notion was that he intended to convert the heat into electricity, and send it down by wire to Auckland; but what the old man really wanted was never known.

‘What did he offer for your Wonderland, Sophia?’ asked Mac.

‘He offered us a yearly rental of five shillings, or £10 down.’

We reached Ohinemutu on Saturday afternoon. In the evening we paid a shilling to get entrance to a Maori dance, which was going on in a shed opposite the hotel.

There were a great many persons present—half-whites, and half-Maoris. I reckon the half-castes, some of whom were very pretty, in with the Maoris. The ladies sat in benches round the sides of the room. Five or six of these ladies were white. Many of the Maori girls, who were dressed in European dresses, with French boots and plaited pig-tails, spoiled their appearance by having tattooed lips.

The music, consisting of a concertina, at length commenced, and a young Englishman, desirous of dancing with a live Maori, asked a young lady for the pleasure of her hand.

‘You play schottische?’ said she.

‘Waal, no; but can try, you know.’

[Pg 276]

So they commenced. The Maori pranced, and the poor young man acted like a brake.

‘You no play schottische?’ she again inquired; and while he was looking at her, searching for a reply, she gave him a push, and rushed off to her seat, saying:

‘Horrible! horrible!’

He did not solicit the hand of any other princess. The Ohinemutu whites, with their dark-skinned friends, danced grandly. All the quadrilles and country-dances were of an old type.

The gentlemen would cavotte and shuffle about by themselves in the centre, then rush in and whirl their partners with vigour.

A schottische was superb; everybody danced all over the room, throwing up their arms, cutting little capers, and yelping in true Highland fashion.

Mac was enraged. He looked upon all this as an insult to his country. Why should white people lower themselves by hob-nobbing with, and even marrying, what he called ‘female cannibals?’ If he were ruler, he would begin by making them pay taxes, like other people; and if they would not pay, he would have the country cleared.

With all his raillery I observed that he did not seem so hard on the flounces and French boots.

All Sunday was spent in exploring Ohinemutu. At one place the Government have built a hospital, and covered in some of the baths. All the Maoris go to their churches. When the Wesleyans are having service, the Catholics sit outside playing cards in the porch; and when the Catholics occupy the buildings, the Wesleyans play cards in the porch. They are passionately fond of cards.

[Pg 277]

By the afternoon all the hot springs and cooking-holes had been examined, and life at Ohinemutu became a burden. This resulted in all the guests taking a nap. Ten miles away I heard that a big Maori funeral was going on. These funerals are conducted on the principle of a wake. The visitors eat, drink, and mourn. They may last two weeks.

We left Ohinemutu next morning at seven, in the coach for Cambridge. When I came to take my seat, I found that the box-seat had been occupied by Mac and a gentleman with a red beard. Inside there was a Maori lady, evidently the wife of the gentleman with the red beard.

I felt a little annoyed at having an inside place, and I showed my annoyance by sitting on a narrow seat opposite to my Maori, rather than on the broad and relatively comfortable seat by her side. But having taken my seat, I was stupid, and preferred discomfort to giving in and shifting.

I succeeded in getting discomfort fairly well. For thirty-three miles I was dragged, with my back to the horses, looking at rows of trees, cart-ruts, sticks, pebbles, and puddles, all appearing to chase each other and run backwards.

Inside, however, I could study my tame savage. She had a dark olive complexion, black flashing eyes, and white incisors. She did not wear feathers on her head, but a Sultana plush hat, turned up on one side, à la Madam Rousby, and decorated with ostrich plumes. Round her neck she had a ‘masher’ collar. Her dress was a tight-fitting gabrielle, ornamented with bretelle, the fronts apparently opening over a long plaited vest,[Pg 278] which had an effective extension over the entire front.

The skirt was draped and trimmed with gore plaiting, the ornamentation being soutache embroidery. I estimated the garment as containing eighteen yards and three-eighths of twenty-four inch stuff. The double-breasted polonaise and pointed basque were particularly attractive. Behind, she carried a bouffant bow, and feather-trimming tastefully draped below the waistband.

One point to which I would draw the attention of all ladies, was the deep box-plaiting round the collar. The redingote, which she cast aside shortly after taking her seat, was a plain sacque, shirred around the neck and shoulders, giving the effect of a circular yoke and Spanish flounce.

The general appearance was that of a graceful and elegant combination of twenty-four inch goods, suitable for boating, yachting, bathing, archery, the seaside, the drawing-room, the tropic of Capricorn, the ballroom, the dining-room, for both hemispheres, and for all seasons. Her boots were high-heeled number sixes. I had a good view of these, because she put them up on the seat by my side. Her gloves were number five brown silks.

The only indication of savage restlessness which she exhibited at being cooped up and jolted was now and then to eject saliva. This she did with a neatness and precision which would excite the envy of a professional. Some people splash or slobber, others guffaw as an introductory accompaniment to their performance.

Behaviour like this is intolerable, and it ought to be[Pg 279] suppressed. My Maori friend, who found spitting a necessity, expectorated with grace. First she puckered up her lips to a pretty point, as if about to take the soprano at a whistling show. Then placing the tip of her tongue in juxtaposition with her teeth, she gave a sudden gentle, but decided contraction of her facial muscles. The only sound was a gentle click. From the initials S. M. upon her trunk, her name may have been Susan Macintosh. Susan could spit with grace. The sparkling thin spheroid, as it pursued its paraboloidal course, glittered in the sunlight with a meteoric brilliancy. But for Susan’s performance I should have felt dull and miserable.

Outside I could hear that Mac and Red Beard were becoming quite chummy, obtaining information from each other and the driver. This conversation, and an occasional ‘Git ep,’ addressed to the horses, was all that I could hear.

After about twenty-five miles Susan, who had been watching my attempts to write, asked me what I was noting. I felt that I was suspected of describing objects belonging to my companion. I replied:

‘I’m writing, madam, on the trajectory of a fluid projectile passing rapidly through a yielding but non-viscous medium.’

Madam glared, gave another spit, and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, said:

‘Do you mind showing me your book, young man?’

My writing was never good, and the jolting of the coach had made it worse, so I passed it to my companion. She looked at it a moment, then remarked that the road was very rough, and handed it back.

[Pg 280]

This is the only time that I ever felt thankful for having cultivated an illegible hand. Had it not been illegible, Susan might have slaughtered me.

Shortly after this, at the driver’s request, I sat on the same seat with Susan, who, keeping her feet on the opposite seat, propped her back against me and fell asleep. I now recognised why Red Beard sat outside. When she awoke I offered her a cigarette. She replied with a look. The reference to the customs of her uncivilized sisters had evidently given offence, and she did not speak again.

The distance to Cambridge was fifty-five miles, and it cost thirty shillings a head each way.

Maoris are very susceptible to insult. In speaking to them you must be particular. To a common man you may call a pig a pig; to a swell you ought to say a porcine animal; but to a duke you can only refer to a pachydermatous quadruped, or one of the Suidæ. This joke is very old.

At Cambridge we again put up at Kirkwood’s Cottage. On the opposite side of the road there is Kirkwood’s Hotel. During the evening we picked up a little information about the Good Templars and Blue Ribbonites. Sometimes they are elected on a licensing committee, when they at once proceed to refuse all licences, even to houses which the police report as being well kept.

At some of the New Zealand hotels the landlords are compelled to be very strict. If they hold a licence for liquors to be drunk at the bar, even if you are a guest at the house, you may have to leave your dinner and go to the bar to obtain a drink, at least that is what we were told.

[Pg 281]

We returned to Auckland viâ the Thames Gold Fields. First, we went by train to Hamilton, where there is a very small town and two or three hotels. From here we crossed an exceedingly flat country in the train to Morrinsville, where the only buildings are the sheds at the station and two hotels. I suppose the landlords take turn about at each other’s houses.

A twelve-mile drive in a coach brought us to Te Aroa, where there are one or two hot springs, and at a place three miles distant some gold mines. Te Aroa is a straggling street situated at the foot of a steep range of hills parallel to which is the River Thames. Twice a week there is a steamer on the river down to a town called Thames. We went in the coach. Distance, thirty-five miles; price, 9s.

For the first six miles our road was along the foot of the hills overlooking Te Aroa. The open plain of the Thames, brown with Ti-trees, was on our right. After this came a pass through the mountains. The most noticeable tree was the tree-fern. Some of these were of immense size, and they waved their fronds like the plumes of a gigantic hearse.

The driver pointed out a kauri-tree to us. This is the tree which yields gum. Much gum is, however, found buried in marshes where kauri-trees once flourished. The natives search for it with pronged forks, much in the same way that fishermen catch eels.

When descending the other side of the hill, I saw what I took to be a field filled with troughs at which to feed cattle or sheep. It turned out to be a bee farm, and what I saw were the hives.

[Pg 282]

Near the Thames I noticed what I thought was a second bee farm. This turned out to be a cemetery.

Beyond the hills we passed the village of Piroa, and entered a flat, swampy country. The roads were fearfully muddy and irregular. At one time the coach was running on two wheels, and the next moment we were out on the road helping it out of a clay-pit.

The Thames is a large place with better hotels than Auckland. The people here appear to be chiefly Irish. We spent a day at the Thames, walking round the gold mines. At one end of the town the gold which occurs in quartz reefs is only near the surface, while at the other end it is deep. The gold is alloyed with silver, and is pale in colour and very poor. Some of it is only worth £2 17s. per ounce, while gold in other districts has fetched £4 5s. per ounce. The method of extraction is by mercury plates and blankets.

At one mine we were shown some heavy pumping machinery. We had often heard of this machinery before reaching the Thames. By-and-by it will be sent to a museum.

Great excitement prevailed in this part of the world about some new furnaces which were being put up to extract gold and silver by smelting. They had been used very successfully in Victoria and New South Wales.

From the Thames we returned to Auckland in a dirty little steamer called the Enterprise. There were two notices in the saloon. One was for passengers to take off their boots before lying on the cushions. The[Pg 283] cushions were strips of dirty carpet. The second was, that smoking was strictly prohibited.

The steward enforced the first regulation, but he and the captain disregarded the second notice by smoking and expectorating all over the cabin.

[Pg 284]


When I was in New Zealand I commenced to write a guide-book for the country. My objects were manifold. I wished to increase the traveller’s pleasure by pointing out to him the sights best worth visiting. I was desirous of placing in the hands of those who had visited this Wonderland the means of reviving their impressions. I wanted to give to those who live in distant countries, and are not blessed with the ways and means of journeying to New Zealand, an accurate and faithful account of all its marvels. In short, I wanted to benefit mankind. I did not want to sell thousands of editions of my work. I did not want to induce people to go by steamers or stay at hotels in which I had an interest. All that I wanted was to be purely and ideally philanthropic.

I regret to say that my noble intentions have been frustrated. Others have been before me in the field, and authors have already launched upon the traveller’s world many a vade mecum to New Zealand. I have read these books with the greatest interest, and their accurate and vivid descriptions have made an indelible impression on my mind. The phraseology of these works,[Pg 285] among which ‘Maori-land’ stands pre-eminent, have entered so deeply into my soul, that I feel I shall in future be continually in danger of jeopardizing my reputation by plagiaristic quotations.

If therefore, in the following brief samples of what my guide-book would have been, quotations from ‘Maori-land’ and other books are recognised, I trust that the authors of these monuments of literary art will grant me their forgiveness.

All that I can claim for my notes is that they are a faithful and systematic description of my impressions. The charge of overcolouring the pictures I have endeavoured to present has been studiously avoided. Ethereal nothingness has been carefully suppressed. The only fault of which critics can accuse me, is that I have unavoidably presented pictures in tints which are too subdued. I have endeavoured to curb imagination, and to describe things as they really are; and in this I feel that I have admirably succeeded.

To be systematic, I have constructed my book on a plan—the descriptions are numbered, and they run in the following order:

1. All that it is impossible to describe by the medium of words.

2. All that strikes the stranger dumb with admiration.

3. All that exceeds the wildest flights of Eastern imagination, and holds the wanderer spell-bound with enchantment.

4. All natural creations which can never be obliterated from the feeblest memory.

5. All that you can only sigh and gush about.

6. Tableau and revelations of beauty.

[Pg 286]


1. By the medium of mere words it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the surprising loveliness we may say—of the elegant and palatial-like appearance of the steamers which carry the wanderer to New Zealand.

(New Zealand being an island surrounded by water, it is necessary to approach it by boat or balloon. I went in a boat.)

2. When a stranger stands for the first time before a New Zealand steamer, and views the magnificence and completeness of the arrangements, he is struck dumb with admiration.

(These steamers are managed entirely for the benefit of the public, and not as a source of revenue. The round trip costs £21, wines not included.)

3. The lawn-like evenness of the ocean, the incomprehensibility of the surrounding space, and the changing constellations in the heavens, surpass the wildest flights of Eastern imagination.

(Prussic acid is not a good cure for sea-sickness. It is poison.)

The elegance of the cabins, which by day are princely[Pg 287] parlours, and by night gorgeously furnished couches for repose, hold you spell-bound with enchantment.

(We think it is well to undress when you go to bed. Some travellers sleep in their boots.)

4. The prodigality in the equipment, the skill in construction, the perfection of management, are creations of gigantic intellects which can never be obliterated from the feeblest mind.

(Never tell the captain that he is going the wrong way, or the engineer that there is a rat in the cylinder.)

5. Oh! electric luminosity! Oh! soft and downy couches! Oh! Lucullian food, what are ye to the lamps, and beds, and dinners on board vessels going to New Zealand?

(Bar closes at 10, and lights are put out at 10.30 sharp.) You struggle over tables in the dark, and end by reaching the wrong cabin. A cry of thieves awakens the whole ship, and you make a public apology to a lot of people dressed in long white clothes.

6. Tableau: what revelations of beauty!

[Pg 288]


1. By the medium of mere words it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the surprising loveliness we may say—of a New Zealand coach. (Children free.)

2. When a stranger stands for the first time before a New Zealand coach, and views the mechanism of its marvellously constructed wheels, he is struck dumb with admiration.

(From the movement I once experienced in one, I had the vehicle stopped and got out to see if the wheels were square.)

3. As you roll along in these palaces on wheels, the prodigality of unalloyed pleasure which the traveller experiences surpasses the wildest flights of Eastern imagination.

(I recommend the traveller to take one or two good-sized feather-beds along. They may save the expense of a doctor’s account.)

The vast museum of natural wonders and marvellous panoramic effects which pass before the traveller’s eyes, hold him spell-bound with enchantment.

(If you should tumble out of the vehicle the panoramic[Pg 289] effects that will cross your eyes for the next fortnight are truly marvellous.)

4. The gigantic insects which cross your path, the cataracts descending from the clouds, the marvellous sensational and grand effects challenging the attention of the two hemispheres, are natural creations never to be obliterated from the feeblest memory.

(When it rains, the cataracts which come through the roof, or in at the sides of the vehicle, are quite appalling.)

5. Oh! velvet roads! Oh! luxuries undreamt of! Oh! marvels of creation! What are ye to a trip in a square-wheeled coach?

In the evening you apply arnica to your bruises, which gives to your body an appearance not unlike that of a leopard.

6. Tableau: what revelations of beauty!

[Pg 290]


1. By the medium of mere words it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the supreme loveliness we may say—of the enchanting and ravishing beauty of the Hot Lakes of the Northern Island. (You can cook potatoes in them.)

2. When a stranger stands for the first time before the White Terrace he is struck dumb in admiration.

3. The wonderful lithic incrustation before him surpasses the wildest flight of Eastern imagination.

The delicate tracery and champfered fretwork of the stony drapery hold him spell-bound with enchantment.

He sees before him foaming cascades that have been mesmerized into marble. The tiers of snow-white basins, like steps of alabaster or Parian stone, are creations of nature never to be obliterated from the feeblest mind. (A friend suggests that they may be partially obliterated by a whisky cocktail.)

4. Each basin with its limpid contents, more delicate and iridescent than the shades of opal, appeals to the senses as a petrologic poem. As a background you have the battlements of a craggy mountain, looming up with awe-inspiring majesty, also reminding one of[Pg 291] natural creations which can never be obliterated from the feeblest mind. What revelations of beauty! N.B. If so disposed, the visitors may take a bath in the cerulean depths of Te Terata. (Before doing so, we privately advise him to make his will, for he will be boiled ‘as sure as eggs is eggs.’)

5. Oh! pinky white terraces where you lay in marble bows, ‘which are described as sensuous heavens.’ Oh! polished walls of alabaster and powdered silica, like the finest silver sand. In a glade, Nature has supplied a dressing-room sheltered from the luminosity of the heavenly orb.

(I undressed in a small clearing amongst almost leafless shrubs. It was wet and dirty underfoot, and open to the wind in all directions. It was even open to the gaze of our guide Sophia. The alabaster wall of the bath took so much skin off one of my knees, that for the next fortnight I had to pay my devotions standing.)

(When we had finished, Sophia had a bath.)

[Pg 292]


1. By the medium of mere words it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the surpassing loveliness we may say—of the enchanting and ravishing beauty of the Cold Lakes of the Southern Island. (Don’t bathe unless you can swim.)

2. When a stranger stands for the first time in the land of the mountain and flood—the home of the ice-king—all of which are within easy reach of the Cold Lakes, he is struck dumb with admiration.

3. The barren desolate grandeur of the haggard jagged pinnacles, which fringe the shore of the Cold Lakes, surpass the wildest flights of the Eastern imagination.

The everlasting snows, the culminating peaks, the primeval forests, hold him spell-bound with enchantment.

4. Lakes of enormous depth, and pinnacles of enormous height, are creations of Nature, the memory of which will never be obliterated from the feeblest mind.

5. Oh! crashing thunder, which reverberates from crag to crag. Oh! avalanches that hurtle in the air! Oh! light of laughing flowers; what are you to the[Pg 293] Cold Lakes of New Zealand? (A small avalanche costs 2s. 6d. A large one 5s. The visitor ought to secure an example of this remarkable lusus naturæ. They make an effective addition to an ordinary rockery.) A township that has been squashed flat by an avalanche has a peculiar appearance.

Tableau: What revelations of beauty!

[Pg 294]


1. By the medium of mere words, it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the surprising loveliness we may say—of the enchanting and ravishing beauty of the sunsets in New Zealand.

(Good lodgings at the neighbouring hotel for 20s. a night. Try dry curaçoa.)

2. When a stranger stands for the first time before a New Zealand sunset, and views Nature in her wildest moods for colouring, he is struck dumb with admiration.

(The application of a pin will often relieve the trouble.)

3. The waning light, the deepening shadows, the varieties of crimson, opal, and sapphire, surpass the wildest flights of Eastern imagination.

(The rising moon, held up by Nature’s fingers, in the departing glories of a setting sun, holds him spell-bound with enchantment.)

4. Glittering like serpents with golden scales, the scarlet canopy above, the waving flames of clouds, mottled like drifting fleecy wings of angels, are natural creations never to be obliterated from the feeblest memory.

[Pg 295]

5. Oh! molten rubies. Oh! golden veils and red flamingoes; what are ye to the sunsets of New Zealand?

(I have not referred to sunrises, being always asleep at that time of night.)

6. Tableau: What revelations of beauty!


1. By the medium of mere words, it is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the grandeur—the supreme loveliness we may say—of the enchanting and ravishing beauty of the general aspect of nature in New Zealand.

2. When a stranger stands for the first time before the general aspect of nature in New Zealand to interview its fairy nooks, filled with umbrageous ferns, he is petrified with admiration.

(Don’t stand too long, or you may get your feet damp.)

3. The green glory of the mountain’s bosky brow, the streamlets gleaming like diamonds, surpass the wildest flights of the Eastern imagination.

(If it rains put up your umbrella.)

The silver sheen of waterfalls, the merry laugh of bubbling brooks, hold the traveller spell-bound with enchantment.

(If you linger too long, the guide may become impatient; an extra shilling will cure the complaint.)

4. The palaces of nature—lakes clasping islets in their arms and wasting themselves away in kissing[Pg 296] pebbly shores—are natural creations never to be obliterated from the feeblest mind.

5. Oh! drops of sparkling diamonds. Oh! awe-inspiring magnitudes of Alpine greatness. Oh! unsullied crowns of snow, stupendous cliffs, and gossamer-like films of poetic mist; what are ye to the general aspect of nature in New Zealand?

(The round trip will cost you about £50. The best place at which to buy your bowie-knife and general outfit will be found by reference to the newspaper. I’m not interested in the transaction, but suppose my books were examined?)

Tableau: Oh! what revelations!



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[Pg 2]

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[Pg 3]

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[Pg 4]

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[July 25.

[Pg 5]

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[Pg 6]

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[Pg 7]

The Reader’s Handbook of Allusions, References, Plots, and Stories. By the Rev. E. C. Brewer, LL.D. Fifth Edition, revised throughout, with a New Appendix, containing a Complete English Bibliography. Crown 8vo, 1,400 pages, cloth extra, 7s. 6d.

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[Pg 8]

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[Pg 9]

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[Pg 10]

German Popular Stories. Collected by the Brothers Grimm, and Translated by Edgar Taylor. Edited, with an Introduction, by John Ruskin. With 22 Illustrations on Steel by George Cruikshank. Square 8vo, cloth extra, 6s. 6d.; gilt edges, 7s. 6d.

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Loving a Dream.

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[Pg 11]

Golden Library, The:

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The Wilds of London.

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Dick Temple: A Novel. Post 8vo, illustrated boards, 2s.

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Hardy (Lady Duffus).—Paul Wynter’s Sacrifice: A Story. By Lady Duffus Hardy. Post 8vo, illust. boards, 2s.

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Haweis (Rev. H. R.).—American Humorists. Including Washington Irving, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, and Bret Harte. By the Rev. H. R. Haweis, M.A. Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 6s.

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The Professor at the Breakfast-Table; with the Story of Iris. Post 8vo, cloth limp, 2s.

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Holmes.—The Science of Voice Production and Voice Preservation: A Popular Manual for the Use of Speakers and Singers. By Gordon Holmes, M.D. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 1s.; cloth, 1s. 6d.

Hood (Thomas):

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[Pg 14]

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Ourselves: Essays on Women.

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Patricia Kemball.

The Atonement of Leam Dundas.

The World Well Lost.

Under which Lord?

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The Rebel of the Family.

“My Love!”


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Longfellow’s Complete Prose Works. Including “Outre Mer,” “Hyperion,” “Kavanagh,” “The Poets and Poetry of Europe,” and “Driftwood.” With Portrait and Illustrations by Valentine Bromley.

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Dear Lady Disdain.

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My Enemy’s Daughter.

A Fair Saxon.

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Miss Misanthrope.

Donna Quixote.

The Comet of a Season.

Maid of Athens.

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England under Gladstone, 1880-85. Second Edition, revised and brought down to the Fall of the Gladstone Administration. Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 6s.

Doom! An Atlantic Episode. Crown 8vo, 1s.; cloth, 1s. 6d.

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Macgregor.—Pastimes and Players. Notes on Popular Games. By Robert Macgregor. Post 8vo, cloth limp, 2s. 6d.

[Pg 16]

Maclise Portrait-Gallery (The) of Illustrious Literary Characters; with Memoirs—Biographical, Critical, Bibliographical, and Anecdotal—illustrative of the Literature of the former half of the Present Century. By William Bates, B.A. With 85 Portraits printed on an India Tint. Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 7s. 6d.

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[Pg 17]

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[Pg 18]

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[Pg 19]

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[Pg 22]

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The Forlorn Hope.

Land at Last.

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Popular Stories by the Best Authors. Library Editions, many Illustrated, crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3s. 6d. each.





















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Post 8vo, illustrated boards, 2s. each.

















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Jeff Briggs’s Love Story. By Bret Harte.

The Twins of Table Mountain. By Bret Harte.

Mrs. Gainsborough’s Diamonds. By Julian Hawthorne.

Kathleen Mavourneen. By Author of “That Lass o’ Lowrie’s.”

Lindsay’s Luck. By the Author of “That Lass o’ Lowrie’s.”

Pretty Polly Pemberton. By the Author of “That Lass o’ Lowrie’s.”

Trooping with Crows. By Mrs. Pirkis.

The Professor’s Wife. By Leonard Graham.

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Our Sensation Novel. Edited by Justin H. MacCarthy, M.P.

A Barren Title. By T. W. Speight.

The Silverado Squatters. By R. Louis Stevenson.


Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations in hyphenation and accents have been standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.