FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR
A JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD
Is affectionately inscribed to
MY YOUNG FRIEND
OF WHAT HE IS, AND APPREHENSION OF WHAT HE MAY BECOME
UNLESS HE FORM HIMSELF A LITTLE MORE CLOSELY
UPON THE MODEL OF
THE PUDD'NHEAD MAXIMS.
THESE WISDOMS ARE FOR THE LURING OF YOUTH TOWARD
HIGH MORAL ALTITUDES. THE AUTHOR DID NOT
GATHER THEM FROM PRACTICE, BUT FROM
OBSERVATION. TO BE GOOD IS NOBLE;
BUT TO SHOW OTHERS HOW
TO BE GOOD IS NOBLER
AND NO TROUBLE.
CHAPTER I. The Party--Across America to Vancouver--On Board the Warrimo--Steamer Chairs-The Captain-Going Home under a Cloud--A Gritty Purser--The Brightest Passenger--Remedy for Bad Habits--The Doctor and the Lumbago --A Moral Pauper--Limited Smoking--Remittance-men.
CHAPTER II. Change of Costume--Fish, Snake, and Boomerang Stories--Tests of Memory --A Brahmin Expert--General Grant's Memory--A Delicately Improper Tale
CHAPTER III. Honolulu--Reminiscences of the Sandwich Islands--King Liholiho and His Royal Equipment--The Tabu--The Population of the Island--A Kanaka Diver --Cholera at Honolulu--Honolulu; Past and Present--The Leper Colony
CHAPTER IV. Leaving Honolulu--Flying-fish--Approaching the Equator--Why the Ship Went Slow--The Front Yard of the Ship--Crossing the Equator--Horse Billiards or Shovel Board--The Waterbury Watch--Washing Decks--Ship Painters--The Great Meridian--The Loss of a Day--A Babe without a Birthday
CHAPTER V. A lesson in Pronunciation--Reverence for Robert Burns--The Southern Cross--Troublesome Constellations--Victoria for a Name--Islands on the Map--Alofa and Fortuna--Recruiting for the Queensland Plantations --Captain Warren's NoteBook--Recruiting not thoroughly Popular
CHAPTER VI. Missionaries Obstruct Business--The Sugar
Planter and the Kanaka--The Planter's View--Civilizing the Kanaka The
Missionary's View--The Result --Repentant Kanakas--Wrinkles--The Death Rate in
CHAPTER VII. The
CHAPTER VIII. A Wilderness of Islands--Two Men without a Country--A Naturalist from New Zealand--The Fauna of Australasia--Animals, Insects, and Birds--The Ornithorhynchus--Poetry and Plagiarism
Close to Australia--Porpoises at Night--Entrance to Sydney Harbor--The Loss of the Duncan Dunbar--The Harbor--The City of Sydney--Spring-time in Australia--The Climate--Information for Travelers--The Size of Australia --A Dust-Storm and Hot Wind
CHAPTER X. The Discovery of Australia--Transportation of Convicts--Discipline --English Laws, Ancient and Modern--Flogging Prisoners to Death--Arrival of Settlers--New South Wales Corps--Rum Currency--Intemperance Everywhere $100,000 for One Gallon of Rum--Development of the Country--Immense Resources
CHAPTER XI. Hospitality of English-speaking People--Writers and their Gratitude--Mr. Gane and the Panegyrics--Population of Sydney An English City with American Trimming--"Squatters"--Palaces and Sheep Kingdoms--Wool and Mutton--Australians and Americans--Costermonger Pronunciation--England is "Home"--Table Talk--English and Colonial Audiences 124
CHAPTER XII. Mr. X., a Missionary--Why Christianity Makes Slow Progress in India--A Large Dream--Hindoo Miracles and Legends--Sampson and Hanuman--The Sandstone Ridge--Where are the Gates?
CHAPTER XIII. Public Works in Australasia--Botanical Garden of Sydney--Four Special Socialties--The Government House--A Governor and His Functions--The Admiralty House--The Tour of the Harbor--Shark Fishing--Cecil Rhodes' Shark and his First Fortune--Free Board for Sharks.
CHAPTER XIV. Bad Health--To Melbourne by Rail--Maps Defective--The Colony of Victoria --A Round-trip Ticket from Sydney--Change Cars, from Wide to Narrow Gauge, a Peculiarity at Albury--Customs-fences--"My Word"--The Blue Mountains--Rabbit Piles--Government R. R. Restaurants--Duchesses for Waiters--"Sheep-dip"--Railroad Coffee--Things Seen and Not Seen
CHAPTER XV. Wagga-Wagga--The Tichborne Claimant--A Stock Mystery--The Plan of the Romance--The Realization--The Henry Bascom Mystery--Bascom Hall--The Author's Death and Funeral
CHAPTER XVII. The British Empire--Its Exports and Imports--The Trade of Australia--To Adelaide--Broken Hill Silver Mine--A Roundabout road--The Scrub and its Possibilities for the Novelist--The Aboriginal Tracker--A Test Case--How Does One Cow-Track Differ from Another?
CHAPTER XVIII. Gum Trees--Unsociable Trees--Gorse and Broom--A universal Defect--An Adventurer--Wanted L200, got L20,000,000--A Vast Land Scheme--The Smash-up--The Corpse Got Up and Danced--A Unique Business by One Man --Buying the Kangaroo Skin--The Approach to Adelaide--Everything Comes to Him who Waits--A Healthy Religious sphere--What is the Matter with the Specter?
The Botanical Gardens--Contributions from all Countries--The Zoological Gardens of Adelaide--The Laughing Jackass--The Dingo--A Misnamed Province--Telegraphing from Melbourne to San Francisco--A Mania for Holidays--The Temperature--The Death Rate--Celebration of the Reading of the Proclamation of 1836--Some old Settlers at the Commemoration--Their Staying Powers--The Intelligence of the Aboriginal --The Antiquity of the Boomerang
CHAPTER XX. A Caller--A Talk about Old Times--The Fox
Hunt--An Accurate Judgment of an Idiot--How We Passed the Custom Officers in
CHAPTER XXI. The "Weet-Weet"--Keeping down the Population--Victoria--Killing the Aboriginals--Pioneer Days in Queensland--Material for a Drama--The Bush --Pudding with Arsenic Revenge--A Right Spirit but a Wrong Method--Death of Donga Billy
CHAPTER XXII. Continued Description of Aboriginals--Manly Qualities--Dodging Balls --Feats of Spring--Jumping--Where the Kangaroo Learned its Art 'Well Digging--Endurance--Surgery--Artistic Abilities--Fennimore Cooper's Last Chance--Australian Slang
CHAPTER XXIII. To Horsham (Colony of
--Pepper Tree-The Agricultural College, Forty Pupils--High Temperature
--Width of Road in Chains, Perches, etc.--The Bird with a Forgettable
Name--The Magpie and the Lady--Fruit Trees--Soils--Sheep Shearing--To Stawell
--Gold Mining Country--$75,000 per Month Income and able to Keep House
--Fine Grapes and Wine--The Dryest Community on Earth--The Three Sisters
--Gum Trees and Water
Road to Ballarat--The City--Great Gold Strike, 1851--Rush for Australia --"Great Nuggets"--Taxation--Revolt and Victory--Peter Lalor and the Eureka Stockade--"Pencil Mark"--Fine Statuary at Ballarat--Population --Ballarat English
CHAPTER XXV. Bound for
--Mr. Blank and His Influence--Conveyance of an Idea--I Had to Like the
CHAPTER XXVI. Where
CHAPTER XXVII. The South Pole Swell--
CHAPTER XXVIII. When the Moment Comes the Man Appears--Why Ed. Jackson called on Commodore Vanderbilt--Their Interview--Welcome to the Child of His Friend --A Big Time but under Inspection--Sent on Important Business--A Visit to the Boys on the Boat
CHAPTER XXIX: Tasmania, Early Days--Description of the Town of Hobart--An Englishman's Love of Home Surroundings--Neatest City on Earth--The Museum--A Parrot with an Acquired Taste--Glass Arrow Beads--Refuge for the Indigent too healthy
CHAPTER XXX. Arrival at Bluff, N. Z.--Where the Rabbit
Plague Began--The Natural Enemy of the Rabbit--
CHAPTER XXXI. The Express Train--"A Hell of a Hotel at Maryborough" --Clocks and Bells--Railroad Service.
CHAPTER XXXII. Description of the Town of Christ Church--A Fine Museum--Jade-stone Trinkets--The Great Man--The First Maori in New Zealand--Women Voters
--A Voyage in the 'Flora' from Lyttelton--Cattle Stalls for Everybody
--A Wonderful Time.
CHAPTER XXXIII. The Town of Nelson--"The Mongatapu Murders," the Great Event of the Town --Burgess' Confession--Summit of Mount Eden--Rotorua and the Hot Lakes and Geysers--Thermal Springs District--Kauri Gum--Tangariwa Mountains
CHAPTER XXXIV. The Bay of Gisborne--Taking in Passengers by the Yard Arm--The Green Ballarat Fly--False Teeth--From Napier to Hastings by the Ballarat Fly Train--Kauri Trees--A Case of Mental Telegraphy
CHAPTER XXXV. Fifty Miles in Four Hours--Comfortable
CHAPTER XXXVI. The Poems of Mrs. Moore--The Sad Fate of William Upson--A Fellow Traveler Imitating the Prince of Wales--A Would-be Dude--Arrival at Sydney --Curious Town Names with Poem
CHAPTER XXXVII. From Sydney for Ceylon--A Lascar Crew--A Fine Ship--Three Cats and a Basket of Kittens--Dinner Conversations--Veuve Cliquot Wine--At Anchor in King George's Sound Albany Harbor--More Cats--A Vulture on Board--Nearing the Equator again--Dressing for Dinner--Ceylon, Hotel Bristol--Servant Brampy--A Feminine Man--Japanese Jinriksha or Cart--Scenes in Ceylon--A Missionary School--Insincerity of Clothes
CHAPTER XXXVIII. Steamer Rosettes to
--Correcting a Servant--Killing a Slave--Arranging a Bedroom--Three Hours'
Work and a Terrible Racket--The Bird of Birds, the Indian Crow
CHAPTER XXXIX. God Vishnu, 108 Names--Change of Titles or
Hunting for an Heir--
CHAPTER XL. The Government House at Malabar Point--
CHAPTER XLI. Jain Temple--Mr. Roychand's Bungalow--A Decorated Six-Gun Prince--Human Fireworks--European Dress, Past and Present--Complexions--Advantages with the Zulu--Festivities at the Bungalow-Nautch Dancers--Entrance of the Prince--Address to the Prince
CHAPTER XLII. A Hindoo Betrothal, midnight, Sleepers on the ground, Home of the Bride of Twelve Years Dressed as a Boy--Illumination Nautch Girls--Imitating Snakes--Later--Illuminated Porch Filled with Sleepers--The Plague
CHAPTER XLIII Murder Trial in
--The Plague, Juggernaut, Suttee, etc.--Everything on Gigantic Scale
--India First in Everything--80 States, more Custom Houses than Cats--Rich
Ground for Thug Society
CHAPTER XLIV. Thug Book--Supplies for Traveling, Bedding, and other Freight--Scene at Railway Station--Making Way for White Man--Waiting Passengers, High and Low Caste, Touch in the cars--Our Car--Beds made up--Dreaming of Thugs --Baroda--Meet Friends--Indian Well--The Old Town--Narrow Streets--A Mad Elephant
Elephant Riding--Howdahs--The New Palace--The Prince's Excursion--Gold and Silver Artillery--A Vice-royal Visit--Remarkable Dog--The Bench Show --Augustin Daly's Back Door--Fakeer
CHAPTER XLVI. The Thugs--Government Efforts to Exterminate them--Choking a Victim A Fakeer Spared--Thief Strangled
CHAPTER XLVII. Thugs, Continued--Record of Murders--A Joy of Hunting and Killing Men
--Gordon Gumming--Killing an Elephant--Family Affection among Thugs
CHAPTER XLVIII. Starting for
CHAPTER XLIX. Pyjamas--Day Scene in India--Clothed in a Turban and a Pocket Handkerchief--Land Parceled Out--Established Village Servants--Witches in Families--Hereditary Midwifery--Destruction of Girl Babies--Wedding Display--Tiger-Persuader--Hailstorm Discourages--The Tyranny of the Sweeper--Elephant Driver--Water Carrier--Curious Rivers--Arrival at Allahabad--English Quarter--Lecture Hall Like a Snowstorm--Private Carriages--A Milliner--Early Morning--The Squatting Servant--A Religious Fair
CHAPTER L. On the Road to Benares--Dust and Waiting--The Bejeweled Crowd--A Native Prince and his Guard--Zenana Lady--The Extremes of Fashion--The Hotel at Benares--An Annex a Mile Away--Doors in India--The Peepul Tree--Warning against Cold Baths--A Strange Fruit--Description of Benares--The Beginning of Creation--Pilgrims to Benares--A Priest with a Good Business Stand--Protestant Missionary--The Trinity Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu --Religion the Business at Benares
CHAPTER LI. Benares a Religious
CHAPTER LII. A Curious Way to Secure Salvation--The Banks of the Ganges--Architecture Represents Piety--A Trip on the River--Bathers and their Costumes --Drinking the Water--A Scientific Test of the Nasty Purifier--Hindoo Faith in the Ganges--A Cremation--Remembrances of the Suttee--All Life Sacred Except Human Life--The Goddess Bhowanee, and the Sacrificers--Sacred Monkeys--Ugly Idols Everywhere--Two White Minarets--A Great View with a Monkey in it--A Picture on the Water
CHAPTER LIII. Still in
CHAPTER LIV. Rail to Calcutta--Population--The "City of Palaces"--A Fluted Candle-stick--Ochterlony--Newspaper Correspondence--Average Knowledge of Countries--A Wrong Idea of Chicago--Calcutta and the Black Hole --Description of the Horrors--Those Who Lived--The Botanical Gardens--The Afternoon Turnout--Grand Review--Military Tournament--Excursion on the Hoogly--The Museum--What Winter Means Calcutta
CHAPTER LV On the Road Again--Flannels in Order--Across Country--From Greenland's Icy Mountain--Swapping Civilization--No Field women in India--How it is in Other Countries--Canvas-covered Cars--The Tiger Country--My First Hunt Some Elephants Get Away--The Plains of India--The Ghurkas--Women for Pack-Horses--A Substitute for a Cab--Darjeeling--The Hotel--The Highest Thing in the Himalayas--The Club--Kinchinjunga and Mt. Everest --Thibetans--The Prayer Wheel--People Going to the Bazar
CHAPTER LVI. On the Road Again--The Hand-Car--A Thirty-five-mile Slide--The Banyan Tree--A Dramatic Performance--The Railroad--The Half-way House--The Brain Fever Bird--The Coppersmith Bird--Nightingales and Cue Owls
CHAPTER LVII. India the Most Extraordinary Country on Earth--Nothing Forgotten--The Land of Wonders--Annual Statistics Everywhere about Violence--Tiger vs. Man--A Handsome Fight--Annual Man Killing and Tiger Killing--Other Animals--Snakes--Insurance and Snake Tables--The Cobra Bite--Muzaffurpore --Dinapore--A Train that Stopped for Gossip--Six Hours for Thirty-five Miles--A Rupee to the Engineer--Ninety Miles an Hour--Again to Benares, the Piety Hive To Lucknow
CHAPTER LVIII. The Great Mutiny--The Massacre in
Cawnpore--Terrible Scenes in
CHAPTER LIX. A Visit to the Residency--Cawnpore--The Adjutant Bird and the Hindoo Corpse--The Tai Mahal--The True Conception--The Ice Storm--True Gems --Syrian Fountains--An Exaggerated Niagara
CHAPTER LX. To Lahore--The Governor's Elephant--Taking a Ride-No Danger from Collision--Rawal Pindi--Back to Delhi--An Orientalized Englishman --Monkeys and the Paint-pot--Monkey Crying over my Note-book--Arrival at Jeypore--In Rajputana--Watching Servants--The Jeypore Hotel--Our Old and New Satan--Satan as a Liar--The Museum--A Street Show--Blocks of Houses --A Religious Procession
CHAPTER LXI. Methods in American Deaf and Dumb Asylums--Methods in the Public Schools --A Letter from a youth in Punjab--Highly Educated Service--A Damage to the Country--A Little Book from Calcutta--Writing Poor English --Embarrassed by a Beggar Girl--A Specimen Letter--An Application for Employment--A Calcutta School Examination--Two Samples of Literature
CHAPTER LXII. Sail from Calcutta to Madras--Thence to Ceylon--Thence for Mauritius --The Indian Ocean--Our Captain's Peculiarity The Scot Has one too--The Flying-fish that Went Hunting in the Field--Fined for Smuggling--Lots of pets on Board--The Color of the Sea--The Most Important Member of Nature's Family--The Captain's Story of Cold Weather--Omissions in the Ship's Library--Washing Decks--Pyjamas on Deck--The Cat's Toilet--No Interest in the Bulletin--Perfect Rest--The Milky Way and the Magellan Clouds--Mauritius--Port Louis--A Hot Country--Under French Control --A Variety of People and Complexions--Train to Curepipe--A Wonderful Office-holder--The Wooden Peg Ornament--The Prominent Historical Event of Mauritius--"Paul and Virginia"--One of Virginia's Wedding Gifts--Heaven Copied after Mauritius--Early History of Mauritius--Quarantines --Population of all Kinds--What the World Consists of--Where Russia and Germany are--A Picture of Milan Cathedral--Newspapers--The Language--Best Sugar in the World--Literature of Mauritius
CHAPTER LXIII. Port Louis--Matches no Good--Good Roads--Death Notices--Why European Nations Rob Each Other--What Immigrants to Mauritius Do--Population --Labor Wages--The Camaron--The Palmiste and other Eatables--Monkeys--The Cyclone of 1892--Mauritius a Sunday Landscape
CHAPTER LXIV. The Steamer "Arundel Castle"--Poor Beds in Ships--The Beds in Noah's Ark --Getting a Rest in Europe--Ship in Sight--Mozambique Channel--The Engineer and the Band--Thackeray's "Madagascar"--Africanders Going Home --Singing on the After Deck--An Out-of-Place Story--Dynamite Explosion in Johannesburg--Entering Delagoa Bay--Ashore--A Hot Winter--Small Town--No Sights--No Carriages--Working Women--Barnum's Purchase of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Jumbo, and the Nelson Monument--Arrival at Durban
CHAPTER LXV. Royal Hotel Durban--Bells that Did not Ring--Early Inquiries for Comforts
--Change of Temperature after Sunset-Rickhaws--The Hotel Chameleon
--Natives not out after the
Fashions in Natal--Zulus for Police--A Drive round the Berea--The Cactus and other Trees--Religion a Vital Matter--Peculiar Views about Babies --Zulu Kings--A Trappist Monastery--Transvaal Politics--Reasons why the Trouble came About
CHAPTER LXVI. Jameson over the Border--His Defeat and Capture--Sent to England for Trial--Arrest of Citizens by the Boers--Commuted sentences--Final Release of all but Two--Interesting Days for a Stranger--Hard to Understand Either Side--What the Reformers Expected to Accomplish--How They Proposed to do it--Testimonies a Year Later--A "Woman's Part"--The Truth of the South African Situation--"Jameson's Ride"--A Poem
CHAPTER LXVIL Jameson's Raid--The Reform Committee's Difficult Task--Possible Plans
--Advice that Jameson Ought to Have--The War of 1881 and its Lessons
--Statistics of Losses of the Combatants--Jameson's Battles--Losses on Both
Sides--The Military Errors--How the Warfare Should Have Been Carried on to Be Successful
CHAPTER LXVIII. Judicious Mr. Rhodes--What South Africa Consists of--Johannesburg--The Gold Mines--The Heaven of American Engineers--What the Author Knows about Mining--Description of the Boer--What Should be Expected of Him--What Was A Dizzy Jump for Rhodes--Taxes--Rhodesian Method of Reducing Native Population--Journeying in Cape Colony--The Cars--The Country--The Weather--Tamed Blacks--Familiar Figures in King William's Town--Boer Dress--Boer Country Life--Sleeping Accommodations--The Reformers in Boer Prison--Torturing a Black Prisoner
CHAPTER LXIX. An Absorbing Novelty--The Kimberley Diamond Mines--Discovery of Diamonds --The Wronged Stranger--Where the Gems Are--A Judicious Change of Boundary--Modern Machinery and Appliances--Thrilling Excitement in Finding a Diamond--Testing a Diamond--Fences--Deep Mining by Natives in the Compound--Stealing--Reward for the Biggest Diamond--A Fortune in Wine--The Great Diamond--Office of the De Beer Co.--Sorting the Gems --Cape Town--The Most Imposing Man in British Provinces--Various Reasons for his Supremacy--How He Makes Friends
CONCLUSION. Table Rock--Table Bay--The Castle--Government
and Parliament--The Club --
A man may have no bad habits and have worse.
The starting point of this lecturing-trip around the world
We sailed for
We started westward from
We sailed at last; and so ended a snail-paced march across the continent, which had lasted forty days.
We moved westward about mid-afternoon over a rippled and
summer sea; an enticing sea, a clean and cool sea, and apparently a welcome sea
to all on board; it certainly was to the distressful dustings and smokings and
swelterings of the past weeks. The
voyage would furnish a three-weeks holiday, with hardly a break in it. We had the whole
Ours was a reasonably comfortable ship, with the customary
sea-going fare --plenty of good food furnished by the Deity and cooked by the
devil. The discipline observable on board was perhaps as good as it is anywhere
in the Pacific and
The captain, with his gentle nature, his polish, his sweetness, his moral and verbal purity, seemed pathetically out of place in his rude and autocratic vocation. It seemed another instance of the irony of fate.
He was going home under a cloud. The passengers knew about his trouble, and
were sorry for him. Approaching
The officers of our ship were hearty and companionable young
men, and they entered into the general amusements and helped the passengers
pass the time. Voyages in the Pacific
The brightest passenger in the ship, and the most interesting and felicitous talker, was a young Canadian who was not able to let the whisky bottle alone. He was of a rich and powerful family, and could have had a distinguished career and abundance of effective help toward it if he could have conquered his appetite for drink; but he could not do it, so his great equipment of talent was of no use to him. He had often taken the pledge to drink no more, and was a good sample of what that sort of unwisdom can do for a man--for a man with anything short of an iron will. The system is wrong in two ways: it does not strike at the root of the trouble, for one thing, and to make a pledge of any kind is to declare war against nature; for a pledge is a chain that is always clanking and reminding the wearer of it that he is not a free man.
I have said that the system does not strike at the root of the trouble, and I venture to repeat that. The root is not the drinking, but the desire to drink. These are very different things. The one merely requires will--and a great deal of it, both as to bulk and staying capacity--the other merely requires watchfulness--and for no long time. The desire of course precedes the act, and should have one's first attention; it can do but little good to refuse the act over and over again, always leaving the desire unmolested, unconquered; the desire will continue to assert itself, and will be almost sure to win in the long run. When the desire intrudes, it should be at once banished out of the mind. One should be on the watch for it all the time--otherwise it will get in. It must be taken in time and not allowed to get a lodgment. A desire constantly repulsed for a fortnight should die, then. That should cure the drinking habit. The system of refusing the mere act of drinking, and leaving the desire in full force, is unintelligent war tactics, it seems to me. I used to take pledges--and soon violate them. My will was not strong, and I could not help it. And then, to be tied in any way naturally irks an otherwise free person and makes him chafe in his bonds and want to get his liberty. But when I finally ceased from taking definite pledges, and merely resolved that I would kill an injurious desire, but leave myself free to resume the desire and the habit whenever I should choose to do so, I had no more trouble. In five days I drove out the desire to smoke and was not obliged to keep watch after that; and I never experienced any strong desire to smoke again. At the end of a year and a quarter of idleness I began to write a book, and presently found that the pen was strangely reluctant to go. I tried a smoke to see if that would help me out of the difficulty. It did. I smoked eight or ten cigars and as many pipes a day for five months; finished the book, and did not smoke again until a year had gone by and another book had to be begun.
I can quit any of my nineteen injurious habits at any time, and without discomfort or inconvenience. I think that the Dr. Tanners and those others who go forty days without eating do it by resolutely keeping out the desire to eat, in the beginning, and that after a few hours the desire is discouraged and comes no more.
Once I tried my scheme in a large medical way. I had been confined to my bed several days with lumbago. My case refused to improve. Finally the doctor said,--
"My remedies have no fair chance. Consider what they have to fight, besides the lumbago. You smoke extravagantly, don't you?"
"You take coffee immoderately?"
"And some tea?"
"You eat all kinds of things that are dissatisfied with each other's company?"
"You drink two hot Scotches every night?"
"Very well, there you see what I have to contend against. We can't make progress the way the matter stands. You must make a reduction in these things; you must cut down your consumption of them considerably for some days."
"I can't, doctor."
"Why can't you."
"I lack the will-power. I can cut them off entirely, but I can't merely moderate them."
He said that that would answer, and said he would come around in twenty-four hours and begin work again. He was taken ill himself and could not come; but I did not need him. I cut off all those things for two days and nights; in fact, I cut off all kinds of food, too, and all drinks except water, and at the end of the forty-eight hours the lumbago was discouraged and left me. I was a well man; so I gave thanks and took to those delicacies again.
It seemed a valuable medical course, and I recommended it to a lady. She had run down and down and down, and had at last reached a point where medicines no longer had any helpful effect upon her. I said I knew I could put her upon her feet in a week. It brightened her up, it filled her with hope, and she said she would do everything I told her to do. So I said she must stop swearing and drinking, and smoking and eating for four days, and then she would be all right again. And it would have happened just so, I know it; but she said she could not stop swearing, and smoking, and drinking, because she had never done those things. So there it was. She had neglected her habits, and hadn't any. Now that they would have come good, there were none in stock. She had nothing to fall back on. She was a sinking vessel, with no freight in her to throw over lighten ship withal. Why, even one or two little bad habits could have saved her, but she was just a moral pauper. When she could have acquired them she was dissuaded by her parents, who were ignorant people though reared in the best society, and it was too late to begin now. It seemed such a pity; but there was no help for it. These things ought to be attended to while a person is young; otherwise, when age and disease come, there is nothing effectual to fight them with.
When I was a youth I used to take all kinds of pledges, and do my best to keep them, but I never could, because I didn't strike at the root of the habit--the desire; I generally broke down within the month. Once I tried limiting a habit. That worked tolerably well for a while. I pledged myself to smoke but one cigar a day. I kept the cigar waiting until bedtime, then I had a luxurious time with it. But desire persecuted me every day and all day long; so, within the week I found myself hunting for larger cigars than I had been used to smoke; then larger ones still, and still larger ones. Within the fortnight I was getting cigars made for me--on a yet larger pattern. They still grew and grew in size. Within the month my cigar had grown to such proportions that I could have used it as a crutch. It now seemed to me that a one-cigar limit was no real protection to a person, so I knocked my pledge on the head and resumed my liberty.
To go back to that young Canadian. He was a "remittance man," the first one I had ever seen or heard of. Passengers explained the term to me. They said that dissipated ne'er-do-wells belonging to important families in England and Canada were not cast off by their people while there was any hope of reforming them, but when that last hope perished at last, the ne'er-do-well was sent abroad to get him out of the way. He was shipped off with just enough money in his pocket--no, in the purser's pocket--for the needs of the voyage--and when he reached his destined port he would find a remittance awaiting him there. Not a large one, but just enough to keep him a month. A similar remittance would come monthly thereafter. It was the remittance-man's custom to pay his month's board and lodging straightway--a duty which his landlord did not allow him to forget--then spree away the rest of his money in a single night, then brood and mope and grieve in idleness till the next remittance came. It is a pathetic life.
We had other remittance-men on board, it was said. At least they said they were R. M.'s. There were two. But they did not resemble the Canadian; they
lacked his tidiness, and his brains, and his gentlemanly ways, and his resolute
spirit, and his humanities and generosities.
One of them was a lad of nineteen or twenty, and he was a good deal of a
ruin, as to clothes, and morals, and general aspect. He said he was a scion of a ducal house in
When in doubt, tell the truth.
About four days out from
From my diary:
There are several sorts of ills in the world from which a person can never escape altogether, let him journey as far as he will. One escapes from one breed of an ill only to encounter another breed of it. We have come far from the snake liar and the fish liar, and there was rest and peace in the thought; but now we have reached the realm of the boomerang liar, and sorrow is with us once more. The first officer has seen a man try to escape from his enemy by getting behind a tree; but the enemy sent his boomerang sailing into the sky far above and beyond the tree; then it turned, descended, and killed the man. The Australian passenger has seen this thing done to two men, behind two trees--and by the one arrow. This being received with a large silence that suggested doubt, he buttressed it with the statement that his brother once saw the boomerang kill a bird away off a hundred yards and bring it to the thrower. But these are ills which must be borne. There is no other way.
The talk passed from the boomerang to dreams--usually a fruitful subject, afloat or ashore--but this time the output was poor. Then it passed to instances of extraordinary memory--with better results. Blind Tom, the negro pianist, was spoken of, and it was said that he could accurately play any piece of music, howsoever long and difficult, after hearing it once; and that six months later he could accurately play it again, without having touched it in the interval. One of the most striking of the stories told was furnished by a gentleman who had served on the staff of the Viceroy of India. He read the details from his note-book, and explained that he had written them down, right after the consummation of the incident which they described, because he thought that if he did not put them down in black and white he might presently come to think he had dreamed them or invented them.
The Viceroy was making a progress, and among the shows offered by the Maharajah of Mysore for his entertainment was a memory-exhibition. The Viceroy and thirty gentlemen of his suite sat in a row, and the memory-expert, a high-caste Brahmin, was brought in and seated on the floor in front of them. He said he knew but two languages, the English and his own, but would not exclude any foreign tongue from the tests to be applied to his memory. Then he laid before the assemblage his program --a sufficiently extraordinary one. He proposed that one gentleman should give him one word of a foreign sentence, and tell him its place in the sentence. He was furnished with the French word 'est', and was told it was second in a sentence of three words. The next, gentleman gave him the German word 'verloren' and said it was the third in a sentence of four words. He asked the next gentleman for one detail in a sum in addition; another for one detail in a sum of subtraction; others for single details in mathematical problems of various kinds; he got them. Intermediates gave him single words from sentences in Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and other languages, and told him their places in the sentences. When at last everybody had furnished him a single rag from a foreign sentence or a figure from a problem, he went over the ground again, and got a second word and a second figure and was told their places in the sentences and the sums; and so on and so on. He went over the ground again and again until he had collected all the parts of the sums and all the parts of the sentences--and all in disorder, of course, not in their proper rotation. This had occupied two hours.
The Brahmin now sat silent and thinking, a while, then began and repeated all the sentences, placing the words in their proper order, and untangled the disordered arithmetical problems and gave accurate answers to them all.
In the beginning he had asked the company to throw almonds at him during the two hours, he to remember how many each gentleman had thrown; but none were thrown, for the Viceroy said that the test would be a sufficiently severe strain without adding that burden to it.
General Grant had a fine memory for all kinds of things,
including even names and faces, and I could have furnished an instance of it if
I had thought of it. The first time I
ever saw him was early in his first term as President. I had just arrived in
"Mr. President, may I have the privilege of introducing Mr. Clemens?"
The President gave my hand an unsympathetic wag and dropped it. He did not say a word but just stood. In my trouble I could not think of anything to say, I merely wanted to resign. There was an awkward pause, a dreary pause, a horrible pause. Then I thought of something, and looked up into that unyielding face, and said timidly:--
"Mr. President, I--I am embarrassed. Are you?"
His face broke--just a little--a wee glimmer, the momentary flicker of a summer-lightning smile, seven years ahead of time--and I was out and gone as soon as it was.
Ten years passed away before I saw him the second time. Meantime I was become better known; and was
one of the people appointed to respond to toasts at the banquet given to
General Grant in
And now General Grant, arm-in-arm with Major Carter Harrison, stepped out on the platform, followed two and two by the badged and uniformed reception committee. General Grant was looking exactly as he had looked upon that trying occasion of ten years before--all iron and bronze self-possession. Mr. Harrison came over and led me to the General and formally introduced me. Before I could put together the proper remark, General Grant said--
"Mr. Clemens, I am not embarrassed. Are you?"--and that little seven-year smile twinkled across his face again.
Seventeen years have gone by since then, and to-day, in New York, the streets are a crush of people who are there to honor the remains of the great soldier as they pass to their final resting-place under the monument; and the air is heavy with dirges and the boom of artillery, and all the millions of America are thinking of the man who restored the Union and the flag, and gave to democratic government a new lease of life, and, as we may hope and do believe, a permanent place among the beneficent institutions of men.
We had one game in the ship which was a good time-passer--at least it was at night in the smoking-room when the men were getting freshened up from the day's monotonies and dullnesses. It was the completing of non-complete stories. That is to say, a man would tell all of a story except the finish, then the others would try to supply the ending out of their own invention. When every one who wanted a chance had had it, the man who had introduced the story would give it its original ending--then you could take your choice. Sometimes the new endings turned out to be better than the old one. But the story which called out the most persistent and determined and ambitious effort was one which had no ending, and so there was nothing to compare the new-made endings with. The man who told it said he could furnish the particulars up to a certain point only, because that was as much of the tale as he knew. He had read it in a volume of `sketches twenty-five years ago, and was interrupted before the end was reached. He would give any one fifty dollars who would finish the story to the satisfaction of a jury to be appointed by ourselves. We appointed a jury and wrestled with the tale. We invented plenty of endings, but the jury voted them all down. The jury was right. It was a tale which the author of it may possibly have completed satisfactorily, and if he really had that good fortune I would like to know what the ending was. Any ordinary man will find that the story's strength is in its middle, and that there is apparently no way to transfer it to the close, where of course it ought to be. In substance the storiette was as follows:
John Brown, aged thirty-one, good, gentle, bashful, timid,
lived in a quiet village in
Mary Taylor, twenty-three, modest, sweet, winning, and in character and person beautiful, was all in all to him. And he was very nearly all in all to her. She was wavering, his hopes were high. Her mother had been in opposition from the first. But she was wavering, too; he could see it. She was being touched by his warm interest in her two charity-proteges and by his contributions toward their support. These were two forlorn and aged sisters who lived in a log hut in a lonely place up a cross road four miles from Mrs. Taylor's farm. One of the sisters was crazy, and sometimes a little violent, but not often.
At last the time seemed ripe for a final advance, and Brown gathered his courage together and resolved to make it. He would take along a contribution of double the usual size, and win the mother over; with her opposition annulled, the rest of the conquest would be sure and prompt.
He took to the road in the middle of a placid Sunday afternoon in the soft Missourian summer, and he was equipped properly for his mission. He was clothed all in white linen, with a blue ribbon for a necktie, and he had on dressy tight boots. His horse and buggy were the finest that the livery stable could furnish. The lap robe was of white linen, it was new, and it had a hand-worked border that could not be rivaled in that region for beauty and elaboration.
When he was four miles out on the lonely road and was walking his horse over a wooden bridge, his straw hat blew off and fell in the creek, and floated down and lodged against a bar. He did not quite know what to do. He must have the hat, that was manifest; but how was he to get it?
Then he had an idea. The roads were empty, nobody was stirring. Yes, he would risk it. He led the horse to the roadside and set it to cropping the grass; then he undressed and put his clothes in the buggy, petted the horse a moment to secure its compassion and its loyalty, then hurried to the stream. He swam out and soon had the hat. When he got to the top of the bank the horse was gone!
His legs almost gave way under him. The horse was walking leisurely along the
road. Brown trotted after it, saying,
"Whoa, whoa, there's a good fellow;" but whenever he got near enough
to chance a jump for the buggy, the horse quickened its pace a little and
defeated him. And so this went on, the
naked man perishing with anxiety, and expecting every moment to see people come
in sight. He tagged on and on, imploring
the horse, beseeching the horse, till he had left a mile behind him, and was
closing up on the
He had come upon Mrs. Enderby, Mrs. Glossop, Mrs. Taylor, and Mary. They were on foot, and seemed tired and excited. They came at once to the buggy and shook hands, and all spoke at once, and said eagerly and earnestly, how glad they were that he was come, and how fortunate it was. And Mrs. Enderby said, impressively:
"It looks like an accident, his coming at such a time; but let no one profane it with such a name; he was sent--sent from on high."
They were all moved, and Mrs. Glossop said in an awed voice:
"Sarah Enderby, you never said a truer word in your
life. This is no accident, it is a
"I know it's so," said Mrs. Taylor, fervently. "John Brown, I could worship you; I could go down on my knees to you. Didn't something tell you?--didn't you feel that you were sent? I could kiss the hem of your laprobe."
He was not able to speak; he was helpless with shame and fright. Mrs. Taylor went on:
"Why, just look at it all around, Julia Glossop. Any person can see the hand of
"The very words you said, Nancy Taylor. I was as close to you as I am now, and I heard them. You may have said hut instead of cabin, but in substance it's the same. And you were looking pale, too."
"Pale? I was that pale that if--why, you just compare it with this laprobe. Then the next thing I said was, 'Mary Taylor, tell the hired man to rig up the team-we'll go to the rescue.' And she said, 'Mother, don't you know you told him he could drive to see his people, and stay over Sunday?' And it was just so. I declare for it, I had forgotten it. 'Then,' said I, 'we'll go afoot.' And go we did. And found Sarah Enderby on the road."
"And we all went together," said Mrs. Enderby.
"And found the cabin set fire to and burnt down by the crazy one,
and the poor old things so old and feeble that they couldn't go afoot. And we got them to a shady place and made
them as comfortable as we could, and began to wonder which way to turn to find
some way to get them conveyed to Nancy Taylor's house. And I spoke up and
said--now what did I say? Didn't I say,
"Why sure as you live, so you did! I had forgotten it."
"So had I," said Mrs. Glossop and Mrs. Taylor; "but you certainly said it. Now wasn't that remarkable?"
"Yes, I said it. And then we went to Mr. Moseley's, two miles, and all of them were gone to the camp meeting over on Stony Fork; and then we came all the way back, two miles, and then here, another mile--and Providence has provided. You see it yourselves"
They gazed at each other awe-struck, and lifted their hands and said in unison:
"It's per-fectly wonderful."
"And then," said Mrs. Glossop, "what do you think we had better do let Mr. Brown drive the Old People to Nancy Taylor's one at a time, or put both of them in the buggy, and him lead the horse?"
"Now, then, that's a question," said Mrs. Enderby. "You see, we are all tired out, and any way we fix it it's going to be difficult. For if Mr. Brown takes both of them, at least one of us must, go back to help him, for he can't load them into the buggy by himself, and they so helpless."
"That is so," said Mrs. Taylor. "It doesn't look-oh, how would this do? --one of us drive there with Mr. Brown, and the rest of you go along to my house and get things ready. I'll go with him. He and I together can lift one of the Old People into the buggy; then drive her to my house and----
"But who will take care of the other one?" said Mrs. Enderby. "We musn't leave her there in the woods alone, you know--especially the crazy one. There and back is eight miles, you see."
They had all been sitting on the grass beside the buggy for a while, now, trying to rest their weary bodies. They fell silent a moment or two, and struggled in thought over the baffling situation; then Mrs. Enderby brightened and said:
"I think I've got the idea, now. You see, we can't walk any more. Think what we've done: four miles there, two to Moseley's, is six, then back to here--nine miles since noon, and not a bite to eat; I declare I don't see how we've done it; and as for me, I am just famishing. Now, somebody's got to go back, to help Mr. Brown--there's no getting mound that; but whoever goes has got to ride, not walk. So my idea is this: one of us to ride back with Mr. Brown, then ride to Nancy Taylor's house with one of the Old People, leaving Mr. Brown to keep the other old one company, you all to go now to Nancy's and rest and wait; then one of you drive back and get the other one and drive her to Nancy's, and Mr. Brown walk."
"Splendid!" they all cried. "Oh, that will do--that will answer perfectly." And they all said that Mrs. Enderby had the best head for planning, in the company; and they said that they wondered that they hadn't thought of this simple plan themselves. They hadn't meant to take back the compliment, good simple souls, and didn't know they had done it. After a consultation it was decided that Mrs. Enderby should drive back with Brown, she being entitled to the distinction because she had invented the plan. Everything now being satisfactorily arranged and settled, the ladies rose, relieved and happy, and brushed down their gowns, and three of them started homeward; Mrs. Enderby set her foot on the buggy-step and was about to climb in, when Brown found a remnant of his voice and gasped out--
"Please Mrs. Enderby, call them back--I am very weak; I can't walk, I can't, indeed."
"Why, dear Mr. Brown! You do look pale; I am ashamed of myself that I didn't notice it sooner. Come back-all of you! Mr. Brown is not well. Is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Brown?--I'm real sorry. Are you in pain?"
"No, madam, only weak; I am not sick, but only just weak--lately; not long, but just lately."
The others came back, and poured out their sympathies and commiserations, and were full of self-reproaches for not having noticed how pale he was.
And they at once struck out a new plan, and soon agreed that it was by far the best of all. They would all go to Nancy Taylor's house and see to Brown's needs first. He could lie on the sofa in the parlor, and while Mrs. Taylor and Mary took care of him the other two ladies would take the buggy and go and get one of the Old People, and leave one of themselves with the other one, and----
By this time, without any solicitation, they were at the horse's head and were beginning to turn him around. The danger was imminent, but Brown found his voice again and saved himself. He said--
"But ladies, you are overlooking something which makes the plan impracticable. You see, if you bring one of them home, and one remains
behind with the other, there will be three persons there when one of you comes back for that other, for some one must drive the buggy back, and three can't come home in it."
They all exclaimed, "Why, sure-ly, that is so!" and they were, all perplexed again.
"Dear, dear, what can we do?" said Mrs. Glossop; "it is the most mixed-up thing that ever was. The fox and the goose and the corn and things-- Oh, dear, they are nothing to it."
They sat wearily down once more, to further torture their tormented heads for a plan that would work. Presently Mary offered a plan; it was her first effort. She said:
"I am young and strong, and am refreshed, now. Take Mr. Brown to our house, and give him help--you see how plainly he needs it. I will go back and take care of the Old People; I can be there in twenty minutes. You can go on and do what you first started to do--wait on the main road at our house until somebody comes along with a wagon; then send and bring away the three of us. You won't have to wait long; the farmers will soon be coming back from town, now. I will keep old Polly patient and cheered up--the crazy one doesn't need it."
This plan was discussed and accepted; it seemed the best that could be done, in the circumstances, and the Old People must be getting discouraged by this time.
Brown felt relieved, and was deeply thankful. Let him once get to the main road and he would find a way to escape.
Then Mrs. Taylor said:
"The evening chill will be coming on, pretty soon, and those poor old burnt-out things will need some kind of covering. Take the lap-robe with you, dear."
"Very well, Mother, I will."
She stepped to the buggy and put out her hand to take it----
That was the end of the tale. The passenger who told it said that when he read the story twenty-five years ago in a train he was interrupted at that point--the train jumped off a bridge.
At first we thought we could finish the story quite easily, and we set to work with confidence; but it soon began to appear that it was not a simple thing, but difficult and baffling. This was on account of Brown's character--great generosity and kindliness, but complicated with unusual shyness and diffidence, particularly in the presence of ladies. There was his love for Mary, in a hopeful state but not yet secure--just in a condition, indeed, where its affair must be handled with great tact, and no mistakes made, no offense given. And there was the mother wavering, half willing-by adroit and flawless diplomacy to be won over, now, or perhaps never at all. Also, there were the helpless Old People yonder in the woods waiting-their fate and Brown's happiness to be determined by what Brown should do within the next two seconds. Mary was reaching for the lap-robe; Brown must decide-there was no time to be lost.
Of course none but a happy ending of the story would be accepted by the jury; the finish must find Brown in high credit with the ladies, his behavior without blemish, his modesty unwounded, his character for self sacrifice maintained, the Old People rescued through him, their benefactor, all the party proud of him, happy in him, his praises on all their tongues.
We tried to arrange this, but it was beset with persistent
and irreconcilable difficulties. We saw
that Brown's shyness would not allow him to give up the lap-robe. This would offend Mary and her mother; and it
would surprise the other ladies, partly because this stinginess toward the
suffering Old People would be out of character with Brown, and partly because
he was a special
Meantime Mary was still reaching for the lap-robe. We gave it up, and decided to let her continue to reach. It is the reader's privilege to determine for himself how the thing came out.
It is more trouble to make a maxim than it is to do right.
On the seventh day out we saw a dim vast bulk standing up
out of the wastes of the Pacific and knew that that spectral promontory was
Diamond Head, a piece of this world which I had not seen before for twenty-nine
years. So we were nearing
In the night we anchored a mile from shore. Through my port I could see the twinkling
A shrewder discrimination than was exhibited by his son and successor, Liholiho, I think. Liholiho could have qualified as a reformer, perhaps, but as a king he was a mistake. A mistake because he tried to be both king and reformer. This is mixing fire and gunpowder together. A king has no proper business with reforming. His best policy is to keep things as they are; and if he can't do that, he ought to try to make them worse than they are. This is not guesswork; I have thought over this matter a good deal, so that if I should ever have a chance to become a king I would know how to conduct the business in the best way.
When Liholiho succeeded his father he found himself possessed of an equipment of royal tools and safeguards which a wiser king would have known how to husband, and judiciously employ, and make profitable. The entire country was under the one scepter, and his was that scepter. There was an Established Church, and he was the head of it. There was a Standing Army, and he was the head of that; an Army of 114 privates under command of 27 Generals and a Field Marshal. There was a proud and ancient Hereditary Nobility. There was still one other asset. This was the tabu--an agent endowed with a mysterious and stupendous power, an agent not found among the properties of any European monarch, a tool of inestimable value in the business. Liholiho was headmaster of the tabu. The tabu was the most ingenious and effective of all the inventions that has ever been devised for keeping a people's privileges satisfactorily restricted.
It required the sexes to live in separate houses. It did not allow people to eat in either house; they must eat in another place. It did not allow a man's woman-folk to enter his house. It did not allow the sexes to eat together; the men must eat first, and the women must wait on them. Then the women could eat what was left--if anything was left--and wait on themselves. I mean, if anything of a coarse or unpalatable sort was left, the women could have it. But not the good things, the fine things, the choice things, such as pork, poultry, bananas, cocoanuts, the choicer varieties of fish, and so on. By the tabu, all these were sacred to the men; the women spent their lives longing for them and wondering what they might taste like; and they died without finding out.
These rules, as you see, were quite simple and clear. It was easy to remember them; and useful. For the penalty for infringing any rule in the whole list was death. Those women easily learned to put up with shark and taro and dog for a diet when the other things were so expensive.
It was death for any one to walk upon tabu'd ground; or defile a tabu'd thing with his touch; or fail in due servility to a chief; or step upon the king's shadow. The nobles and the King and the priests were always suspending little rags here and there and yonder, to give notice to the people that the decorated spot or thing was tabu, and death lurking near. The struggle for life was difficult and chancy in the islands in those days.
Thus advantageously was the new king situated. Will it be believed that the first thing he did was to destroy his Established Church, root and branch? He did indeed do that. To state the case figuratively, he was a prosperous sailor who burnt his ship and took to a raft. This Church was a horrid thing. It heavily oppressed the people; it kept them always trembling in the gloom of mysterious threatenings; it slaughtered them in sacrifice before its grotesque idols of wood and stone; it cowed them, it terrorized them, it made them slaves to its priests, and through the priests to the king. It was the best friend a king could have, and the most dependable. To a professional reformer who should annihilate so frightful and so devastating a power as this Church, reverence and praise would be due; but to a king who should do it, could properly be due nothing but reproach; reproach softened by sorrow; sorrow for his unfitness for his position.
He destroyed his Established Church, and his kingdom is a republic today, in consequence of that act.
When he destroyed the Church and burned the idols he did a mighty thing for civilization and for his people's weal--but it was not "business." It was unkingly, it was inartistic. It made trouble for his line. The American missionaries arrived while the burned idols were still smoking. They found the nation without a religion, and they repaired the defect. They offered their own religion and it was gladly received. But it was no support to arbitrary kingship, and so the kingly power began to weaken from that day. Forty-seven years later, when I was in the islands, Kainehameha V. was trying to repair Liholiho's blunder, and not succeeding. He had set up an Established Church and made himself the head of it. But it was only a pinchbeck thing, an imitation, a bauble, an empty show. It had no power, no value for a king. It could not harry or burn or slay, it in no way resembled the admirable machine which Liholiho destroyed. It was an Established Church without an Establishment; all the people were Dissenters.
Long before that, the kingship had itself become but a name, a show. At an early day the missionaries had turned it into something very much like a republic; and here lately the business whites have turned it into something exactly like it.
In Captain Cook's time (1778), the native population of the
islands was estimated at 400,000; in 1836 at something short of 200,000, in
1866 at 50,000; it is to-day, per census, 25,000. All intelligent people praise
When I was in the islands nearly a generation ago, I was
acquainted with a young American couple who had among their belongings an
attractive little son of the age of seven--attractive but not practicably
companionable with me, because he knew no English. He had played from his birth with the little
Kanakas on his father's plantation, and had preferred their language and would
learn no other. The family removed to
Many memories of my former visit to the islands came up in
my mind while we lay at anchor in front of
When it came it brought disappointment, of course. Cholera had broken out in the town, and we were not allowed to have any communication with the shore. Thus suddenly did my dream of twenty-nine years go to ruin. Messages came from friends, but the friends themselves I was not to have any sight of. My lecture-hall was ready, but I was not to see that, either.
Several of our passengers belonged in
And we had with us a lawyer from Victoria, who had been sent
out by the Government on an international matter, and he had brought his wife
with him and left the children at home with the servants and now what was to be
done? Go ashore amongst the cholera and
take the risks? Most certainly not. They decided to go on, to the
There was nothing for us to do but sit about the decks in the shade of the awnings and look at the distant shore. We lay in luminous blue water; shoreward the water was green-green and brilliant; at the shore itself it broke in a long white ruffle, and with no crash, no sound that we could hear. The town was buried under a mat of foliage that looked like a cushion of moss. The silky mountains were clothed in soft, rich splendors of melting color, and some of the cliffs were veiled in slanting mists. I recognized it all. It was just as I had seen it long before, with nothing of its beauty lost, nothing of its charm wanting.
A change had come, but that was political, and not visible from the ship. The monarchy of my day was gone, and a republic was sitting in its seat. It was not a material change. The old imitation pomps, the fuss and feathers, have departed, and the royal trademark--that is about all that one could miss, I suppose. That imitation monarchy, was grotesque enough, in my time; if it had held on another thirty years it would have been a monarchy without subjects of the king's race.
We had a sunset of a very fine sort. The vast plain of the sea was marked off in bands of sharply-contrasted colors: great stretches of dark blue, others of purple, others of polished bronze; the billowy mountains showed all sorts of dainty browns and greens, blues and purples and blacks, and the rounded velvety backs of certain of them made one want to stroke them, as one would the sleek back of a cat. The long, sloping promontory projecting into the sea at the west turned dim and leaden and spectral, then became suffused with pink--dissolved itself in a pink dream, so to speak, it seemed so airy and unreal. Presently the cloud-rack was flooded with fiery splendors, and these were copied on the surface of the sea, and it made one drunk with delight to look upon it.
From talks with certain of our passengers whose home was
rule: Kamehameha IV., Louis Kossuth, Jenny Lind; and may be an engraving
or two: Rebecca at the Well, Moses smiting the rock, Joseph's servants
finding the cup in Benjamin's sack. There would be a center table, with books of
a tranquil sort on it: The Whole Duty of Man, Baxter's Saints' Rest, Fox's
Martyrs, Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy, bound copies of The Missionary Herald
and of Father Damon's Seaman's Friend. A
melodeon; a music stand, with 'Willie, We have Missed You', 'Star of the
Evening', 'Roll on Silver Moon', 'Are We Most There', 'I Would not Live Alway',
and other songs of love and sentiment, together with an assortment of hymns. A
what-not with semi-globular glass paperweights, enclosing miniature pictures of
"Almost every house is surrounded by extensive lawns and gardens
enclosed by walls of volcanic stone or by thick hedges of the
"The houses are most tastefully and comfortably furnished; the
floors are either of hard wood covered with rugs or with fine Indian
matting, while there is a preference, as in most warm countries, for
rattan or bamboo furniture; there are the usual accessories of
bric-a-brac, pictures, books, and curios from all parts of the world,
for these island dwellers are indefatigable travelers.
"Nearly every house has what is called a lanai. It is a large
apartment, roofed, floored, open on three sides, with a door or a
draped archway opening into the drawing-room. Frequently the roof
is formed by the thick interlacing boughs of the hou tree,
impervious to the sun and even to the rain, except in violent
storms. Vines are trained about the sides--the stephanotis or some
one of the countless fragrant and blossoming trailers which abound
in the islands. There are also curtains of matting that may be
drawn to exclude the sun or rain. The floor is bare for coolness,
or partially covered with rugs, and the lanai is prettily furnished
with comfortable chairs, sofas, and tables loaded with flowers, or
wonderful ferns in pots.
"The lanai is the favorite reception room, and here at any social
function the musical program is given and cakes and ices are served;
here morning callers are received, or gay riding parties, the ladies
in pretty divided skirts, worn for convenience in riding astride,
--the universal mode adopted by Europeans and Americans, as well as
by the natives.
"The comfort and luxury of such an apartment, especially at a
seashore villa, can hardly be imagined. The soft breezes sweep
across it, heavy with the fragrance of jasmine and gardenia, and
through the swaying boughs of palm and mimosa there are glimpses of
rugged mountains, their summits veiled in clouds, of purple sea with
the white surf beating eternally against the reefs, whiter still in
the yellow sunlight or the magical moonlight of the tropics."
There: rugs, ices, pictures, lanais, worldly books, sinful
bric-a-brac fetched from everywhere. And
the ladies riding astride. These are
changes, indeed. In my time the native
women rode astride, but the white ones lacked the courage to adopt their wise
custom. In my time ice was seldom seen
The bicycle is not mentioned. It was not necessary. We know that it is there, without
inquiring. It is everywhere. But for it, people could never have had
summer homes on the summit of
We all know about Father Damien, the French priest who
voluntarily forsook the world and went to the leper island of Molokai to labor
among its population of sorrowful exiles who wait there, in slow-consuming
misery, for death to cone and release them from their troubles; and we know
that the thing which he knew beforehand would happen, did happen: that he
became a leper himself, and died of that horrible disease. There was still another case of
self-sacrifice, it appears. I asked
after "Billy" Ragsdale, interpreter to the Parliament in my time--a
half-white. He was a brilliant young fellow, and very popular. As an interpreter he would have been hard to
match anywhere. He used to stand up in
the Parliament and turn the English speeches into Hawaiian and the Hawaiian
speeches into English with a readiness and a volubility that were
astonishing. I asked after him, and was
told that his prosperous career was cut short in a sudden and unexpected way,
just as he was about to marry a beautiful half-caste girl. He discovered, by some nearly invisible sign
about his skin, that the poison of leprosy was in him. The secret was his own,
and might be kept concealed for years; but he would not be treacherous to the
girl that loved him; he would not marry her to a doom like his. And so he put his affairs in order, and went
around to all his friends and bade them good-bye, and sailed in the leper ship
In this place let me insert a paragraph or two from "The Paradise of the Pacific" (Rev. H. H. Gowen)--
"Poor lepers! It is easy for those who have no relatives or friends
among them to enforce the decree of segregation to the letter, but
who can write of the terrible, the heart-breaking scenes which that
enforcement has brought about?
"A man upon
leaving behind him a helpless wife about to give birth to a babe.
The devoted wife with great pain and risk came the whole journey to
her entreaty that she might go and live like a leper with her leper
"A woman in the prime of life and activity is condemned as an
incipient leper, suddenly removed from her home, and her husband
returns to find his two helpless babes moaning for their lost
"Imagine it! The case of the babies is hard, but its bitterness is
a trifle--less than a trifle--less than nothing--compared to what
the mother must suffer; and suffer minute by minute, hour by hour,
day by day, month by month, year by year, without respite, relief,
or any abatement of her pain till she dies.
"One woman, Luka Kaaukau, has been living with her leper husband in
the settlement for twelve years. The man has scarcely a joint left,
his limbs are only distorted ulcerated stumps, for four years his
wife has put every particle of food into his mouth. He wanted his
wife to abandon his wretched carcass long ago, as she herself was
sound and well, but Luka said that she was content to remain and
wait on the man she loved till the spirit should be freed from its
"I myself have known hard cases enough:--of a girl, apparently in
full health, decorating the church with me at Easter, who before
Christmas is taken away as a confirmed leper; of a mother hiding her
child in the mountains for years so that not even her dearest
friends knew that she had a child alive, that he might not be taken
away; of a respectable white man taken away from his wife and
family, and compelled to become a dweller in the Leper Settlement,
where he is counted dead, even by the insurance companies."
And one great pity of it all is, that these poor sufferers are innocent. The leprosy does not come of sins which they committed, but of sins committed by their ancestors, who escaped the curse of leprosy!
Mr. Gowan has made record of a certain very striking circumstance. Would you expect to find in that awful Leper Settlement a custom worthy to be transplanted to your own country? They have one such, and it is inexpressibly touching and beautiful. When death sets open the prison-door of life there, the band salutes the freed soul with a burst of glad music!
A dozen direct censures are easier to bear than one morganatic compliment.
Sailed from Honolulu.--From diary:
Sept. 2. Flocks of flying fish-slim, shapely, graceful, and intensely white. With the sun on them they look like a flight of silver fruit-knives. They are able to fly a hundred yards.
Sept. 3. In 9 deg. 50' north latitude, at breakfast. Approaching the equator on a long slant. Those of us who have never seen the equator are a good deal excited. I think I would rather see it than any other thing in the world. We entered the "doldrums" last night--variable winds, bursts of rain, intervals of calm, with chopping seas and a wobbly and drunken motion to the ship--a condition of things findable in other regions sometimes, but present in the doldrums always. The globe-girdling belt called the doldrums is 20 degrees wide, and the thread called the equator lies along the middle of it.
Sept. 4. Total eclipse of the moon last night. At 1.30 it began to go off. At total--or about that--it was like a rich rosy cloud with a tumbled surface framed in the circle and projecting from it--a bulge of strawberry-ice, so to speak. At half-eclipse the moon was like a gilded acorn in its cup.
Sept. 5. Closing in on the equator this noon. A sailor explained to a young girl that the ship's speed is poor because we are climbing up the bulge toward the center of the globe; but that when we should once get over, at the equator, and start down-hill, we should fly. When she asked him the other day what the fore-yard was, he said it was the front yard, the open area in the front end of the ship. That man has a good deal of learning stored up, and the girl is likely to get it all.
the equator. In the distance it looked
like a blue ribbon stretched across the ocean.
Several passengers kodak'd it. We
had no fool ceremonies, no fantastics, no horse play. All that sort of thing has gone out. In old times a sailor, dressed as
The short-voyage passenger gets his chief physical exercise out of "horse-billiards"--shovel-board. It is a good game. We play it in this ship. A quartermaster chalks off a diagram like this-on the deck.
The player uses a cue that is like a broom-handle with a quarter-moon of wood fastened to the end of it. With this he shoves wooden disks the size of a saucer--he gives the disk a vigorous shove and sends it fifteen or twenty feet along the deck and lands it in one of the squares if he can. If it stays there till the inning is played out, it will count as many points in the game as the figure in the square it has stopped in represents. The adversary plays to knock that disk out and leave his own in its place--particularly if it rests upon the 9 or 10 or some other of the high numbers; but if it rests in the "10off" he backs it up--lands his disk behind it a foot or two, to make it difficult for its owner to knock it out of that damaging place and improve his record. When the inning is played out it may be found that each adversary has placed his four disks where they count; it may be found that some of them are touching chalk lines and not counting; and very often it will be found that there has been a general wreckage, and that not a disk has been left within the diagram. Anyway, the result is recorded, whatever it is, and the game goes on. The game is 100 points, and it takes from twenty minutes to forty to play it, according to luck and the condition of the sea. It is an exciting game, and the crowd of spectators furnish abundance of applause for fortunate shots and plenty of laughter for the other kind. It is a game of skill, but at the same time the uneasy motion of the ship is constantly interfering with skill; this makes it a chancy game, and the element of luck comes largely in.
We had a couple of grand tournaments, to determine who should be "Champion of the Pacific"; they included among the participants nearly all the passengers, of both sexes, and the officers of the ship, and they afforded many days of stupendous interest and excitement, and murderous exercise--for horse-billiards is a physically violent game.
The figures in the following record of some of the closing games in the first tournament will show, better than any description, how very chancy the game is. The losers here represented had all been winners in the previous games of the series, some of them by fine majorities:
Chase,102 Mrs. D.,57 Mortimer, 105 The Surgeon, 92
Mrs. T.,9 Clemens, 101
Taylor,109 Davies,95 Miss C., 108 Mortimer,55
Thomas,102 Roper,76 Clemens, 111 Miss C.,89
Coomber, 106 Chase,98
And so on; until but three couples of winners were left. Then I beat my man, young Smith beat his man, and Thomas beat his. This reduced the combatants to three. Smith and I took the deck, and I led off. At the close of the first inning I was 10 worse than nothing and Smith had scored 7. The luck continued against me. When I was 57, Smith was 97 --within 3 of out. The luck changed then. He picked up a 10-off or so, and couldn't recover. I beat him.
The next game would end tournament No. 1.
Mr. Thomas and I were the contestants. He won the lead and went to the bat--so to speak. And there he stood, with the crotch of his cue resting against his disk while the ship rose slowly up, sank slowly down, rose again, sank again. She never seemed to rise to suit him exactly. She started up once more; and when she was nearly ready for the turn, he let drive and landed his disk just within the left-hand end of the 10. (Applause). The umpire proclaimed "a good 10," and the game-keeper set it down. I played: my disk grazed the edge of Mr. Thomas's disk, and went out of the diagram. (No applause.)
Mr. Thomas played again--and landed his second disk alongside of the first, and almost touching its right-hand side. "Good 10." (Great applause.)
I played, and missed both of them. (No applause.)
Mr. Thomas delivered his third shot and landed his disk just at the right of the other two. "Good 10." (Immense applause.)
There they lay, side by side, the three in a row. It did not seem possible that anybody could miss them. Still I did it. (Immense silence.)
Mr. Thomas played his last disk. It seems incredible, but he actually landed that disk alongside of the others, and just to the right of them-a straight solid row of 4 disks. (Tumultuous and long-continued applause.)
Then I played my last disk.
Again it did not seem possible that anybody could miss that row--a row
which would have been
I think it unlikely that that innings has ever had its parallel in the history of horse-billiards. To place the four disks side by side in the 10 was an extraordinary feat; indeed, it was a kind of miracle. To miss them was another miracle. It will take a century to produce another man who can place the four disks in the 10; and longer than that to find a man who can't knock them out. I was ashamed of my performance at the time, but now that I reflect upon it I see that it was rather fine and difficult.
Mr. Thomas kept his luck, and won the game, and later the championship.
In a minor tournament I won the prize, which was a
To return to the ship.
The average human being is a perverse creature; and when he isn't that, he is a practical joker. The result to the other person concerned is about the same: that is, he is made to suffer. The washing down of the decks begins at a very early hour in all ships; in but few ships are any measures taken to protect the passengers, either by waking or warning them, or by sending a steward to close their ports. And so the deckwashers have their opportunity, and they use it. They send a bucket of water slashing along the side of the ship and into the ports, drenching the passenger's clothes, and often the passenger himself. This good old custom prevailed in this ship, and under unusually favorable circumstances, for in the blazing tropical regions a removable zinc thing like a sugarshovel projects from the port to catch the wind and bring it in; this thing catches the wash-water and brings it in, too--and in flooding abundance. Mrs. L, an invalid, had to sleep on the locker--sofa under her port, and every time she over-slept and thus failed to take care of herself, the deck-washers drowned her out.
And the painters, what a good time they had! This ship would be going into dock for a
The blame for this untimely painting did not lie with the ship's officers, but with custom. As far back as Noah's time it became law that ships must be constantly painted and fussed at when at sea; custom grew out of the law, and at sea custom knows no death; this custom will continue until the sea goes dry.
Sept. 8.--Sunday. We
are moving so nearly south that we cross only about two meridians of longitude
a day. This morning we were in longitude
178 west from
And then we must drop out a day-lose a day out of our lives, a day never to be found again. We shall all die one day earlier than from the beginning of time we were foreordained to die. We shall be a day behindhand all through eternity. We shall always be saying to the other angels, "Fine day today," and they will be always retorting, "But it isn't to-day, it's tomorrow." We shall be in a state of confusion all the time and shall never know what true happiness is.
Next Day. Sure
enough, it has happened. Yesterday it
was September 8, Sunday; to-day, per the bulletin-board at the head of the
companionway, it is September 10, Tuesday.
There is something uncanny about it.
And uncomfortable. In fact,
nearly unthinkable, and wholly unrealizable, when one comes to consider
it. While we were crossing the 180th
meridian it was Sunday in the stern of the ship where my family were, and
Tuesday in the bow where I was. They
were there eating the half of a fresh apple on the 8th, and I was at the same
time eating the other half of it on the 10th--and I could notice how stale it
was, already. The family were the same
age that they were when I had left them five minutes before, but I was a day
older now than I was then. The day they
were living in stretched behind them half way round the globe, across the
Pacific Ocean and
Along about the moment that we were crossing the Great Meridian a child was born in the steerage, and now there is no way to tell which day it was born on. The nurse thinks it was Sunday, the surgeon thinks it was Tuesday. The child will never know its own birthday. It will always be choosing first one and then the other, and will never be able to make up its mind permanently. This will breed vacillation and uncertainty in its opinions about religion, and politics, and business, and sweethearts, and everything, and will undermine its principles, and rot them away, and make the poor thing characterless, and its success in life impossible. Every one in the ship says so. And this is not all--in fact, not the worst. For there is an enormously rich brewer in the ship who said as much as ten days ago, that if the child was born on his birthday he would give it ten thousand dollars to start its little life with. His birthday was Monday, the 9th of September.
If the ships all moved in the one direction--westward, I mean--the world would suffer a prodigious loss--in the matter of valuable time, through the dumping overboard on the Great Meridian of such multitudes of days by ships crews and passengers. But fortunately the ships do not all sail west, half of them sail east. So there is no real loss. These latter pick up all the discarded days and add them to the world's stock again; and about as good as new, too; for of course the salt water preserves them.
Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11.
In this world we often make mistakes of judgment. We do not as a rule
get out of them sound and whole, but sometimes we do. At dinner yesterday
evening-present, a mixture of Scotch, English, American, Canadian, and
Australasian folk--a discussion broke out about the pronunciation of certain
Scottish words. This was private ground,
and the non-Scotch nationalities, with one exception, discreetly kept
still. But I am not discreet, and I took
a hand. I didn't know anything about the
subject, but I took a hand just to have something to do. At that moment the word in dispute was the
word three. One Scotchman was claiming
that the peasantry of
"Very well, don't say any more. I confess defeat. I thought I knew, but I see my mistake. I was deceived by one of your Scotch poets."
"A Scotch poet! O come! Name him."
It is wonderful the power of that name. These men looked doubtful--but paralyzed, all the same. They were quite silent for a moment; then one of them said--with the reverence in his voice which is always present in a Scotchman's tone when he utters the name.
"Does Robbie Burns say--what does he say?"
"This is what he says:
'There were nae bairns but only three
--Ane at the breast, twa at the knee.'"
It ended the discussion. There was no man there profane enough, disloyal enough, to say any word against a thing which Robert Burns had settled. I shall always honor that great name for the salvation it brought me in this time of my sore need.
It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive. There are people who think that honesty is always the best policy. This is a superstition; there are times when the appearance of it is worth six of it.
We are moving steadily southward-getting further and further
down under the projecting paunch of the globe.
Yesterday evening we saw the Big Dipper and the north star sink below
the horizon and disappear from our world.
No, not "we," but they.
They saw it--somebody saw it--and told me about it. But it is no matter, I was not caring for
those things, I am tired of them, any way.
I think they are well enough, but one doesn't want them always hanging
around. My interest was all in the
Southern Cross. I had never seen
that. I had heard about it all my life,
and it was but natural that I should be burning to see it. No other constellation makes so much
talk. I had nothing against the Big
Dipper --and naturally couldn't have anything against it, since it is a citizen
of our own sky, and the property of the
But that was a mistake. We saw the Cross to-night, and it is not large. Not large, and not strikingly bright. But it was low down toward the horizon, and it may improve when it gets up higher in the sky. It is ingeniously named, for it looks just as a cross would look if it looked like something else. But that description does not describe; it is too vague, too general, too indefinite. It does after a fashion suggest a cross across that is out of repair--or out of drawing; not correctly shaped. It is long, with a short cross-bar, and the cross-bar is canted out of the straight line.
It consists of four large stars and one little one. The little one is out of line and further damages the shape. It should have been placed at the intersection of the stem and the cross-bar. If you do not draw an imaginary line from star to star it does not suggest a cross--nor anything in particular.
One must ignore the little star, and leave it out of the combination--it confuses everything. If you leave it out, then you can make out of the four stars a sort of cross--out of true; or a sort of kite--out of true; or a sort of coffin-out of true.
Constellations have always been troublesome things to
name. If you give one of them a fanciful
name, it will always refuse to live up to it; it will always persist in not
resembling the thing it has been named for. Ultimately, to satisfy the public,
the fanciful name has to be discarded for a common-sense one, a manifestly
descriptive one. The Great Bear remained
the Great Bear--and unrecognizable as such--for thousands of years; and people
complained about it all the time, and quite properly; but as soon as it became
the property of the United States, Congress changed it to the Big Dipper, and now
every body is satisfied, and there is no more talk about riots. I would not change the Southern Cross to the
Southern Coffin, I would change it to the Southern Kite; for up there in the
general emptiness is the proper home of a kite, but not for coffins and crosses
and dippers. In a little while, now--I
cannot tell exactly how long it will be--the globe will belong to the
English-speaking race; and of course the skies also. Then the constellations will be re-organized,
and polished up, and re-named--the most of them "
In these past few days we are plowing through a mighty Milky Way of islands. They are so thick on the map that one would hardly expect to find room between them for a canoe; yet we seldom glimpse one. Once we saw the dim bulk of a couple of them, far away, spectral and dreamy things; members of the Horne-Alofa and Fortuna. On the larger one are two rival native kings--and they have a time together. They are Catholics; so are their people. The missionaries there are French priests.
From the multitudinous islands in these regions the
"recruits" for the
Captain Wawn was a recruiting ship-master during many years. From his pleasant book one gets the idea that the recruiting business was quite popular with the islanders, as a rule. And yet that did not make the business wholly dull and uninteresting; for one finds rather frequent little breaks in the monotony of it--like this, for instance:
afternoon of our arrival at
almost becalmed under the lee of the lofty central portion of the
island, about three-quarters of a mile from the shore. The boats
were in sight at some distance. The recruiter-boat had run into a
small nook on the rocky coast, under a high bank, above which stood
a solitary hut backed by dense forest. The government agent and
mate in the
second boat lay about
"Suddenly we heard the sound of firing, followed by yells from the
natives on shore, and then we saw the recruiter-boat push out with a
seemingly diminished crew. The mate's boat pulled quickly up, took
her in tow, and presently brought her alongside, all her own crew
being more or less hurt. It seems the natives had called them into
the place on pretence of friendship. A crowd gathered about the
stern of the boat, and several fellows even got into her. All of a
sudden our men were attacked with clubs and tomahawks. The
recruiter escaped the first blows aimed at him, making play with his
fists until he had an opportunity to draw his revolver. 'Tom
Sayers,' a Mare man, received a tomahawk blow on the head which laid
the scalp open but did not penetrate his skull, fortunately. 'Bobby
Towns,' another Mare boatman, had both his thumbs cut in warding off
blows, one of them being so nearly severed from the hand that the
doctors had to finish the operation. Lihu, a Lifu boy, the
recruiter's special attendant, was cut and pricked in various
places, but nowhere seriously. Jack, an unlucky Tanna recruit, who
had been engaged to act as boatman, received an arrow through his
forearm, the head of which--apiece of bone seven or eight inches
long--was still in the limb, protruding from both sides, when the
boats returned. The recruiter himself would have got off scot-free
had not an arrow pinned one of his fingers to the loom of the
steering-oar just as they were getting off. The fight had been
short but sharp. The enemy lost two men, both shot dead."
The truth is, Captain Wawn furnishes such a crowd of instances of fatal encounters between natives and French and English recruiting-crews (for the French are in the business for the plantations of New Caledonia), that one is almost persuaded that recruiting is not thoroughly popular among the islanders; else why this bristling string of attacks and bloodcurdling slaughter? The captain lays it all to "Exeter Hall influence." But for the meddling philanthropists, the native fathers and mothers would be fond of seeing their children carted into exile and now and then the grave, instead of weeping about it and trying to kill the kind recruiters.
He was as shy as a newspaper is when referring to its own merits.
Captain Wawn is crystal-clear on one point: He does not approve of missionaries. They obstruct his business. They make "Recruiting," as he calls it ("Slave-Catching," as they call it in their frank way) a trouble when it ought to be just a picnic and a pleasure excursion. The missionaries have their opinion about the manner in which the Labor Traffic is conducted, and about the recruiter's evasions of the law of the Traffic, and about the traffic itself--and it is distinctly uncomplimentary to the Traffic and to everything connected with it, including the law for its regulation. Captain Wawn's book is of very recent date; I have by me a pamphlet of still later date--hot from the press, in fact--by Rev. Wm. Gray, a missionary; and the book and the pamphlet taken together make exceedingly interesting reading, to my mind.
Interesting, and easy to understand--except in one detail,
which I will mention presently. It is
easy to understand why the
I cannot understand his willingness to go to
"When he comes from his home he is a savage, pure and simple. He
feels no shame at his nakedness and want of adornment. When he
returns home he
does so well dressed, sporting a
collars, cuffs, boots, and jewelry. He takes with him one or more
boxes--["Box" is English for trunk.]--well filled with clothing, a
musical instrument or two, and perfumery and other articles of
luxury he has learned to appreciate."
For just one moment we have a seeming flash of comprehension of, the Kanaka's reason for exiling himself: he goes away to acquire civilization. Yes, he was naked and not ashamed, now he is clothed and knows how to be ashamed; he was unenlightened; now he has a Waterbury watch; he was unrefined, now he has jewelry, and something to make him smell good; he was a nobody, a provincial, now he has been to far countries and can show off.
It all looks plausible--for a moment. Then the missionary takes hold of this explanation and pulls it to pieces, and dances on it, and damages it beyond recognition.
"Admitting that the foregoing description is the average one, the
average sequel is this: The cuffs and collars, if used at all, are
carried off by youngsters, who fasten them round the leg, just below
the knee, as
way to the trader, who gives a trifle for it; or the inside is taken
out, the wheels strung on a thread and hung round the neck. Knives,
axes, calico, and handkerchiefs are divided among friends, and there
is hardly one of these apiece. The boxes, the keys often lost on
the road home, can be bought for 2s. 6d. They are to be seen
rotting outside in almost any shore village on Tanna. (I speak of
what I have seen.) A returned Kanaka has been furiously angry with
me because I would not buy his trousers, which he declared were just
my fit. He sold them afterwards to one of my Aniwan teachers for
9d. worth of tobacco--a pair of trousers that probably cost him 8s.
or 10s. in
The white handkerchiefs, the 'senet' (perfumery), the umbrella, and
perhaps the hat, are kept. The boots have to take their chance, if
they do not happen to fit the copra trader. 'Senet' on the hair,
streaks of paint on the face, a dirty white handkerchief round the
neck, strips of turtle shell in the ears, a belt, a sheath and
knife, and an umbrella constitute the rig of returned Kanaka at home
the day after landing."
A hat, an umbrella, a belt, a neckerchief. Otherwise stark naked. All in a day the hard-earned "civilization" has melted away to this. And even these perishable things must presently go. Indeed, there is but a single detail of his civilization that can be depended on to stay by him: according to the missionary, he has learned to swear. This is art, and art is long, as the poet says.
In all countries the laws throw light upon the past. The
"There are 'wrinkles' for taking the penitent Kanaka. My first
experience of the Traffic was a case of this kind in 1884. A vessel
anchored just out of sight of our station, word was brought to me
that some boys were stolen, and the relatives wished me to go and
get them back. The facts were, as I found, that six boys had
recruited, had rushed into the boat, the Government Agent informed
me. They had all 'signed'; and, said the Government Agent, 'on
board they shall remain.' I was assured that the six boys were of
age and willing to go. Yet on getting ready to leave the ship I
found four of the lads ready to come ashore in the boat! This I
forbade. One of them jumped into the water and persisted in coming
ashore in my boat. When appealed to, the Government Agent suggested
that we go and leave him to be picked up by the ship's boat, a
quarter mile distant at the time!"
The law and the missionaries feel for the repentant recruit--and properly, one may be permitted to think, for he is only a youth and ignorant and persuadable to his hurt--but sympathy for him is not kept in stock by the recruiter. Rev. Mr. Gray says:
"A captain many years in the traffic explained to me how a penitent
could betaken. 'When a boy jumps overboard we just take a boat and
pull ahead of him, then lie between him and the shore. If he has
not tired himself swimming, and passes the boat, keep on heading him
in this way. The dodge rarely fails. The boy generally tires of
swimming, gets into the boat of his own accord, and goes quietly on
Yes, exhaustion is likely to make a boy quiet. If the distressed boy had been the speaker's
son, and the captors savages, the speaker would have been surprised to see how
differently the thing looked from the new point of view; however, it is not our
custom to put ourselves in the other person's place. Somehow there is something pathetic about
that disappointed young savage's resignation.
I must explain, here, that in the traffic dialect, "boy" does
not always mean boy; it means a youth above sixteen years of age. That is by
Captain Wawn of the free spirit chafes under the annoyance of "cast-iron regulations." They and the missionaries have poisoned his life. He grieves for the good old days, vanished to come no more. See him weep; hear him cuss between the lines!
"For a long time we were allowed to apprehend and detain all
deserters who had signed the agreement on board ship, but the
'cast-iron' regulations of the Act of 1884 put a stop to that,
allowing the Kanaka to sign the agreement for three years' service,
travel about in the ship in receipt of the regular rations, cadge
all he could, and leave when he thought fit, so long as he did not
pleasure trip to
Rev. Mr. Gray calls this same restrictive cast-iron law a "farce." "There is as much cruelty and injustice done to natives by acts that are legal as by deeds unlawful. The regulations that exist are unjust and inadequate--unjust and inadequate they must ever be." He furnishes his reasons for his position, but they are too long for reproduction here.
However, if the most a Kanaka advantages himself by a
three-years course in civilization in
However, there is reason for hope that that can be left
alone to achieve itself. It is claimed
that the traffic will depopulate its sources of supply within the next twenty
or thirty years.
Concerning these Pacific isles and their peoples an eloquent
prophet spoke long years ago--five and fifty years ago. In fact, he spoke a little too early. Prophecy is a good line of business, but it
is full of risks. This prophet was the
Right Rev. M. Russell, LL.D., D.C.L., of
"Is the tide of civilization to roll only to the foot of the Rocky
Mountains, and is the sun of knowledge to set at last in the waves
of the Pacific? No; the mighty day of four thousand years is
drawing to its close; the sun of humanity has performed its destined
course; but long ere its setting rays are extinguished in the west,
its ascending beams have glittered on the isles of the eastern seas
. . . . And now we see the race of Japhet setting forth to
people the isles,
and the seeds of another
shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and
servant.' It is not said
Anglo-Saxon race is given the scepter of the globe, but there is not
given either the lash of the slave-driver or the rack of the
executioner. The East will not be stained with the same atrocities
as the West; the frightful gangrene of an enthralled race is not to
mar the destinies of the family of Japhet in the Oriental world;
humanizing, not destroying, as they advance; uniting with, not
enslaving, the inhabitants with whom they dwell, the British race
may," etc., etc.
And he closes his vision with an invocation from Thomson:
"Come, bright Improvement! on the car of Time,
And rule the spacious world from clime to clime."
Very well, Bright Improvement has arrived, you see, with her
civilization, and her
But the prophet that speaks last has an advantage over the pioneer in the business. Rev. Mr. Gray says:
"What I am concerned about is that we as a Christian nation should
wipe out these races to enrich ourselves."
And he closes his pamphlet with a grim Indictment which is as eloquent in its flowerless straightforward English as is the hand-painted rhapsody of the early prophet:
"My indictment of the Queensland-Kanaka Labor Traffic is this
"1. It generally demoralizes and always impoverishes the Kanaka,
deprives him of his citizenship, and depopulates the islands fitted
to his home.
"2. It is felt to lower the dignity of the white agricultural
whole system is fraught with danger to
islands on the score of health.
"4. On social and political grounds the continuance of the
Queensland Kanaka Labor Traffic must be a barrier to the true
federation of the Australian colonies.
Regulations under which the Traffic exists in
inadequate to prevent abuses, and in the nature of things they must
"6. The whole system is contrary to the spirit and doctrine of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel requires us to help the weak,
but the Kanaka is fleeced and trodden down.
"7. The bed-rock of this Traffic is that the life and liberty of a
black man are of less value than those of a white man. And a
Traffic that has grown out of 'slave-hunting' will certainly remain
to the end not unlike its origin."
Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
From Diary:--For a day or two we have been plowing among an
invisible vast wilderness of islands, catching now and then a shadowy glimpse
of a member of it. There does seem to be
a prodigious lot of islands this year; the map of this region is freckled and
fly-specked all over with them. Their
number would seem to be uncountable. We
are moving among the
Wednesday, September 11.--Yesterday we passed close to an island or so, and recognized the published Fiji characteristics: a broad belt of clean white coral sand around the island; back of it a graceful fringe of leaning palms, with native huts nestling cosily among the shrubbery at their bases; back of these a stretch of level land clothed in tropic vegetation; back of that, rugged and picturesque mountains. A detail of the immediate foreground: a mouldering ship perched high up on a reef-bench. This completes the composition, and makes the picture artistically perfect.
In the afternoon we sighted
Row-boats began to flock from the shore; their crews were the first natives we had seen. These men carried no overplus of clothing, and this was wise, for the weather was hot. Handsome, great dusky men they were, muscular, clean-limbed, and with faces full of character and intelligence. It would be hard to find their superiors anywhere among the dark races, I should think.
Everybody went ashore to look around, and spy out the land, and have that luxury of luxuries to sea-voyagers--a land-dinner. And there we saw more natives: Wrinkled old women, with their flat mammals flung over their shoulders, or hanging down in front like the cold-weather drip from the molasses-faucet; plump and smily young girls, blithe and content, easy and graceful, a pleasure to look at; young matrons, tall, straight, comely, nobly built, sweeping by with chin up, and a gait incomparable for unconscious stateliness and dignity; majestic young men athletes for build and muscle clothed in a loose arrangement of dazzling white, with bronze breast and bronze legs naked, and the head a cannon-swab of solid hair combed straight out from the skull and dyed a rich brick-red. Only sixty years ago they were sunk in darkness; now they have the bicycle. We strolled about the streets of the white folks' little town, and around over the hills by paths and roads among European dwellings and gardens and plantations, and past clumps of hibiscus that made a body blink, the great blossoms were so intensely red; and by and by we stopped to ask an elderly English colonist a question or two, and to sympathize with him concerning the torrid weather; but he was surprised, and said:
"This? This is not hot. You ought to be here in the summer time once."
"We supposed that this was summer; it has the ear-marks of it. You could take it to almost any country and deceive people with it. But if it isn't summer, what does it lack?"
"It lacks half a year. This is mid-winter."
I had been suffering from colds for several months, and a
sudden change of season, like this, could hardly fail to do me hurt. It brought on another cold. It is odd, these sudden jumps from season to
season. A fortnight ago we left
After dinner I found in the billiard-room a resident whom I had known somewhere else in the world, and presently made, some new friends and drove with them out into the country to visit his Excellency the head of the State, who was occupying his country residence, to escape the rigors of the winter weather, I suppose, for it was on breezy high ground and much more comfortable than the lower regions, where the town is, and where the winter has full swing, and often sets a person's hair afire when he takes off his hat to bow. There is a noble and beautiful view of ocean and islands and castellated peaks from the governor's high-placed house, and its immediate surroundings lie drowsing in that dreamy repose and serenity which are the charm of life in the Pacific Islands.
One of the new friends who went out there with me was a
large man, and I had been admiring his size all the way. I was still admiring it as he stood by the
governor on the veranda, talking; then the Fijian butler stepped out there to
announce tea, and dwarfed him. Maybe he
did not quite dwarf him, but at any rate the contrast was quite striking.
Perhaps that dark giant was a king in a condition of political suspension. I think that in the talk there on the veranda
it was said that in
It was said that the old-time devotion to chiefs and reverence for their persons still survive in the native commoner, and in great force. The educated young gentleman who is chief of the tribe that live in the region about the capital dresses in the fashion of high-class European gentlemen, but even his clothes cannot damn him in the reverence of his people. Their pride in his lofty rank and ancient lineage lives on, in spite of his lost authority and the evil magic of his tailor. He has no need to defile himself with work, or trouble his heart with the sordid cares of life; the tribe will see to it that he shall not want, and that he shall hold up his head and live like a gentleman. I had a glimpse of him down in the town. Perhaps he is a descendant of the last king--the king with the difficult name whose memory is preserved by a notable monument of cut-stone which one sees in the enclosure in the middle of the town. Thakombau--I remember, now; that is the name. It is easier to preserve it on a granite block than in your head.
However, as far as I can make out from the books, the King
was between the devil and the deep sea at the time, and hadn't much
choice. He owed the
In old times the Fijians were fierce fighters; they were
very religious, and worshiped idols; the big chiefs were proud and haughty, and
they were men of great style in many ways; all chiefs had several wives, the
biggest chiefs sometimes had as many as fifty; when a chief was dead and ready
for burial, four or five of his wives were strangled and put into the grave
with him. In 1804 twenty-seven British
convicts escaped from
It is a fine race, the Fijians, with brains in their heads, and an inquiring turn of mind. It appears that their savage ancestors had a doctrine of immortality in their scheme of religion--with limitations. That is to say, their dead friend would go to a happy hereafter if he could be accumulated, but not otherwise. They drew the line; they thought that the missionary's doctrine was too sweeping, too comprehensive. They called his attention to certain facts. For instance, many of their friends had been devoured by sharks; the sharks, in their turn, were caught and eaten by other men; later, these men were captured in war, and eaten by the enemy. The original persons had entered into the composition of the sharks; next, they and the sharks had become part of the flesh and blood and bone of the cannibals. How, then, could the particles of the original men be searched out from the final conglomerate and put together again? The inquirers were full of doubts, and considered that the missionary had not examined the matter with--the gravity and attention which so serious a thing deserved.
The missionary taught these exacting savages many valuable things, and got from them one--a very dainty and poetical idea: Those wild and ignorant poor children of Nature believed that the flowers, after they perish, rise on the winds and float away to the fair fields of heaven, and flourish there forever in immortal beauty!
It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
When one glances at the map the members of the stupendous
island wilderness of the Pacific seem to crowd upon each other; but no, there
is no crowding, even in the center of a group; and between groups there are
lonely wide deserts of sea. Not
everything is known about the islands, their peoples and their languages. A startling reminder of this is furnished by
the fact that in
What a strange and romantic episode it is; and how one is tortured with curiosity to know whence those mysterious creatures came, those Men Without a Country, errant waifs who cannot name their lost home, wandering Children of Nowhere.
Indeed, the Island Wilderness is the very home of romance and dreams and mystery. The loneliness, the solemnity, the beauty, and the deep repose of this wilderness have a charm which is all their own for the bruised spirit of men who have fought and failed in the struggle for life in the great world; and for men who have been hunted out of the great world for crime; and for other men who love an easy and indolent existence; and for others who love a roving free life, and stir and change and adventure; and for yet others who love an easy and comfortable career of trading and money-getting, mixed with plenty of loose matrimony by purchase, divorce without trial or expense, and limitless spreeing thrown in to make life ideally perfect.
We sailed again, refreshed.
The most cultivated person in the ship was a young English,
man whose home was in
His special interest was the fauna of
He told me a great deal about worms, and the kangaroo, and
other coleoptera, and said he knew the history and ways of all such
pachydermata. He said the kangaroo had
pockets, and carried its young in them when it couldn't get apples. And he said that the emu was as big as an
ostrich, and looked like one, and had an amorphous appetite and would eat
bricks. Also, that the dingo was not a
dingo at all, but just a wild dog; and that the only difference between a dingo
and a dodo was that neither of them barked; otherwise they were just the
same. He said that the only game-bird in
The Moa stood thirteen feet high, and could step over an
ordinary man's head or kick his hat off; and his head, too, for that
matter. He said it was wingless, but a
swift runner. The natives used to ride
it. It could make forty miles an hour,
and keep it up for four hundred miles and come out reasonably fresh. It was still in existence when the railway
was introduced into
Speaking of the indigenous coneys and bactrian camels, the naturalist said that the coniferous and bacteriological output of Australasia was remarkable for its many and curious departures from the accepted laws governing these species of tubercles, but that in his opinion Nature's fondness for dabbling in the erratic was most notably exhibited in that curious combination of bird, fish, amphibian, burrower, crawler, quadruped, and Christian called the Ornithorhynchus--grotesquest of animals, king of the animalculae of the world for versatility of character and make-up. Said he:
"You can call it anything you want to, and be right. It is a fish,
for it lives in the river half the time; it is a land animal, for it
resides on the land half the time; it is an amphibian, since it
likes both and does not know which it prefers; it is a hybernian,
for when times are dull and nothing much going on it buries itself
under the mud at the bottom of a puddle and hybernates there a
couple of weeks at a time; it is a kind of duck, for it has a
duck-bill and four webbed paddles; it is a fish and quadruped
together, for in the water it swims with the paddles and on shore it
paws itself across country with them; it is a kind of seal, for it
has a seal's fur; it is carnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous, and
vermifuginous, for it eats fish and grass and butterflies, and in
the season digs worms out of the mud and devours them; it is clearly
a bird, for it lays eggs, and hatches them; it is clearly a mammal,
for it nurses its young; and it is manifestly a kind of Christian,
for it keeps the Sabbath when there is anybody around, and when
there isn't, doesn't. It has all the tastes there are except
refined ones, it has all the habits there are except good ones.
"It is a survival--a survival of the fittest. Mr. Darwin invented
the theory that goes by that name, but the Ornithorhynchus was the
first to put it to actual experiment and prove that it could be
done. Hence it should have as much of the credit as Mr. Darwin.
It was never in
nobly stayed out and worked the theory. Of all creatures in the
world it was the
only one properly equipped for the test.
was thirteen months afloat, and all the globe submerged; no land
visible above the flood, no vegetation, no food for a mammal to eat,
nor water for a mammal to drink; for all mammal food was destroyed,
and when the pure floods from heaven and the salt oceans of the
earth mingled their waters and rose above the mountain tops, the
result was a drink which no bird or beast of ordinary construction
could use and live. But this combination was nuts for the
Ornithorhynchus, if I may use a term like that without offense.
Its river home had always been salted by the flood-tides of the sea.
On the face of the Noachian deluge innumerable forest trees were
floating. Upon these the Ornithorhynchus voyaged in peace; voyaged
from clime to clime, from hemisphere to hemisphere, in contentment
and comfort, in virile interest in the constant change Of scene, in
humble thankfulness for its privileges, in ever-increasing
enthusiasm in the development of the great theory upon whose
validity it had staked its life, its fortunes, and its sacred honor,
if I may use such expressions without impropriety in connection with
an episode of this nature.
"It lived the tranquil and luxurious life of a creature of
independent means. Of things actually necessary to its existence
and its happiness not a detail was wanting. When it wished to walk,
it scrambled along the tree-trunk; it mused in the shade of the
leaves by day, it slept in their shelter by night; when it wanted
the refreshment of a swim, it had it; it ate leaves when it wanted a
vegetable diet, it dug under the bark for worms and grubs; when it
wanted fish it caught them, when it wanted eggs it laid them. If
the grubs gave out in one tree it swam to another; and as for fish,
the very opulence of the supply was an embarrassment. And finally,
when it was thirsty it smacked its chops in gratitude over a blend
that would have slain a crocodile.
"When at last, after thirteen months of travel and research in all
the Zones it went aground on a mountain-summit, it strode ashore,
saying in its heart, 'Let them that come after me invent theories
and dream dreams about the Survival of the Fittest if they like, but
I am the first that has done it!
"This wonderful creature dates back like the kangaroo and many other
Australian hydrocephalous invertebrates, to an age long anterior to
the advent of man upon the earth; they date back, indeed, to a time
when a causeway hundreds of miles wide, and thousands of miles long,
were alike, and all belonged to that remote geological epoch known
to science as the Old Red Grindstone Post-Pleosaurian. Later the
causeway sank under the sea; subterranean convulsions lifted the
African continent a thousand feet higher than it was before, but
necessarily began to develop and shade off into new forms and
species, but the animals of
remained stationary, and have so remained until this day. In the
course of some millions of years the African Ornithorhynchus
developed and developed and developed, and sluffed off detail after
detail of its make-up until at last the creature became wholly
disintegrated and scattered. Whenever you see a bird or a beast or
a seal or an
surviving fragment of that sublime original of whom I have been
speaking--that creature which was everything in general and nothing
in particular--the opulently endowed 'e pluribus unum' of the animal
"Such is the history of the most hoary, the most ancient, the most
venerable creature that exists in the earth today--Ornithorhynchus
Platypus Extraordinariensis--whom God preserve!"
When he was strongly moved he could rise and soar like that with ease. And not only in the prose form, but in the poetical as well. He had written many pieces of poetry in his time, and these manuscripts he lent around among the passengers, and was willing to let them be copied. It seemed to me that the least technical one in the series, and the one which reached the loftiest note, perhaps, was his:
"Come forth from thy oozy couch,
O Ornithorhynchus dear!
And greet with a cordial claw
The stranger that longs to hear
"From thy own own lips the tale
Of thy origin all unknown:
Thy misplaced bone where flesh should be
And flesh where should be bone;
"And fishy fin where should be paw,
And beaver-trowel tail,
And snout of beast equip'd with teeth
Where gills ought to prevail.
"Come, Kangaroo, the good and true
Foreshortened as to legs,
And body tapered like a churn,
And sack marsupial, i' fegs,
"And tells us why you linger here,
Thou relic of a vanished time,
When all your friends as fossils sleep,
Immortalized in lime!"
Perhaps no poet is a conscious plagiarist; but there seems to be warrant for suspecting that there is no poet who is not at one time or another an unconscious one. The above verses are indeed beautiful, and, in a way, touching; but there is a haunting something about them which unavoidably suggests the Sweet Singer of Michigan. It can hardly be doubted that the author had read the works of that poet and been impressed by them. It is not apparent that he has borrowed from them any word or yet any phrase, but the style and swing and mastery and melody of the Sweet Singer all are there. Compare this Invocation with "Frank Dutton"--particularly stanzas first and seventeenth--and I think the reader will feel convinced that he who wrote the one had read the other:
"Frank Dutton was as fine a lad
As ever you wish to see,
And he was
On earth no more will he be,
His age was near fifteen years,
And he was a motherless boy,
He was living with his grandmother
When he was drowned, poor boy."
"He was drowned on Tuesday afternoon,
On Sunday he was found,
And the tidings of that drowned boy
Was heard for miles around.
His form was laid by his mother's side,
Beneath the cold, cold ground,
His friends for him will drop a tear
When they view his little mound."
The Sentimental Song Book. By Mrs. Julia Moore, p. 36.
It is your human environment that makes climate.
That note recalls an experience. The passengers were sent for, to come up in the bow and see a fine sight. It was very dark. One could not follow with the eye the surface of the sea more than fifty yards in any direction it dimmed away and became lost to sight at about that distance from us. But if you patiently gazed into the darkness a little while, there was a sure reward for you. Presently, a quarter of a mile away you would see a blinding splash or explosion of light on the water--a flash so sudden and so astonishingly brilliant that it would make you catch your breath; then that blotch of light would instantly extend itself and take the corkscrew shape and imposing length of the fabled sea-serpent, with every curve of its body and the "break" spreading away from its head, and the wake following behind its tail clothed in a fierce splendor of living fire. And my, but it was coming at a lightning gait! Almost before you could think, this monster of light, fifty feet long, would go flaming and storming by, and suddenly disappear. And out in the distance whence he came you would see another flash; and another and another and another, and see them turn into sea-serpents on the instant; and once sixteen flashed up at the same time and came tearing towards us, a swarm of wiggling curves, a moving conflagration, a vision of bewildering beauty, a spectacle of fire and energy whose equal the most of those people will not see again until after they are dead.
It was porpoises--porpoises aglow with phosphorescent light. They presently collected in a wild and magnificent jumble under the bows, and there they played for an hour, leaping and frollicking and carrying on, turning summersaults in front of the stem or across it and never getting hit, never making a miscalculation, though the stem missed them only about an inch, as a rule. They were porpoises of the ordinary length --eight or ten feet--but every twist of their bodies sent a long procession of united and glowing curves astern. That fiery jumble was an enchanting thing to look at, and we stayed out the performance; one cannot have such a show as that twice in a lifetime. The porpoise is the kitten of the sea; he never has a serious thought, he cares for nothing but fun and play. But I think I never saw him at his winsomest until that night. It was near a center of civilization, and he could have been drinking.
By and by, when we had approached to somewhere within thirty miles of Sydney Heads the great electric light that is posted on one of those lofty ramparts began to show, and in time the little spark grew to a great sun and pierced the firmament of darkness with a far-reaching sword of light.
On board the Duncan Dunbar, flying toward Sydney Heads in the waning afternoon, the happy home-comers made busy preparation, for it was not doubted that they would be in the arms of their friends before the day was done; they put away their sea-going clothes and put on clothes meeter for the meeting, their richest and their loveliest, these poor brides of the grave. But the wind lost force, or there was a miscalculation, and before the Heads were sighted the darkness came on. It was said that ordinarily the captain would have made a safe offing and waited for the morning; but this was no ordinary occasion; all about him were appealing faces, faces pathetic with disappointment. So his sympathy moved him to try the dangerous passage in the dark. He had entered the Heads seventeen times, and believed he knew the ground. So he steered straight for the false opening, mistaking it for the true one. He did not find out that he was wrong until it was too late. There was no saving the ship. The great seas swept her in and crushed her to splinters and rubbish upon the rock tushes at the base of the precipice. Not one of all that fair and gracious company was ever seen again alive. The tale is told to every stranger that passes the spot, and it will continue to be told to all that come, for generations; but it will never grow old, custom cannot stale it, the heart-break that is in it can never perish out of it.
There were two hundred persons in the ship, and but one
survived the disaster. He was a
sailor. A huge sea flung him up the face
of the precipice and stretched him on a narrow shelf of rock midway between the
top and the bottom, and there he lay all night.
At any other time he would have lain there for the rest of his life,
without chance of discovery; but the next morning the ghastly news swept
through Sydney that the Duncan Dunbar had gone down in sight of home, and
straightway the walls of the Heads were black with mourners; and one of these,
stretching himself out over the precipice to spy out what might be seen below,
discovered this miraculously preserved relic of the wreck. Ropes were brought and the nearly impossible
feat of rescuing the man was accomplished.
He was a person with a practical turn of mind, and he hired a hall in
We entered and cast anchor, and in the morning went oh-ing
and ah-ing in admiration up through the crooks and turns of the spacious and
beautiful harbor--a harbor which is the darling of
"It is beautiful, of course it's beautiful--the Harbor;
but that isn't all of it, it's only half of it;
Of course I made an apology; and asked him to convey it to
his friend. He was right about
The narrow inlets which I have mentioned go wandering out
into the land everywhere and hiding themselves in it, and pleasure-launches are
always exploring them with picnic parties on board. It is said by trustworthy people that if you
explore them all you will find that you have covered
If the climates of the world were determined by parallels of
latitude, then we could know a place's climate by its position on the map; and
so we should know that the climate of Sydney was the counterpart of the climate
of Columbia, S. C., and of Little Rock, Arkansas, since Sydney is about the
same distance south of the equator that those other towns are north
of-it-thirty-four degrees. But no,
climate disregards the parallels of latitude.
The whole narrow, hilly belt of the Pacific side of
But Nature is always stingy of perfect climates; stingier in
the case of
If we look at a map of the world we are surprised to see how
But where as one finds a sufficiently good climate and
fertile land almost everywhere in the United States, it seems settled that
inside of the Australian border-belt one finds many deserts and in spots a
climate which nothing can stand except a few of the hardier kinds of
rocks. In effect,
This stupendous blank is hot, not to say torrid; a part of
it is fertile, the rest is desert; it is not liberally watered; it has no
towns. One has only to cross the
"The wind, which had been blowing all the morning from the N.E.,
increased to a heavy gale, and I shall never forget its withering
effect. I sought shelter behind a large gum-tree, but the blasts of
heat were so terrific that I wondered the very grass did not take
fire. This really was nothing ideal: everything both animate and
inanimate gave way before it; the horses stood with their backs to
the wind and their noses to the ground, without the muscular
strength to raise their heads; the birds were mute, and the leaves
of the trees under which we were sitting fell like a snow shower
around us. At noon I took a thermometer graded to 127 deg., out of
my box, and observed that the mercury was up to 125. Thinking that
it had been unduly influenced, I put it in the fork of a tree close
to me, sheltered alike from the wind and the sun. I went to examine
it about an hour afterwards, when I found the mercury had risen to
the-top of the instrument and had burst the bulb, a circumstance
that I believe no traveler has ever before had to record. I cannot
find language to convey to the reader's mind an idea of the intense
and oppressive nature of the heat that prevailed."
That hot wind sweeps over
"As we proceeded the altitude became less, and the heat
proportionately greater until we reached Dubbo, which is only 600
feet above sea-level. It is a pretty town, built on an extensive
plain . . . . After the effects of a shower of rain have passed
away the surface of the ground crumbles into a thick layer of dust,
and occasionally, when the wind is in a particular quarter, it is
lifted bodily from the ground in one long opaque cloud. In the
midst of such a storm nothing can be seen a few yards ahead, and the
unlucky person who happens to be out at the time is compelled to
seek the nearest retreat at hand. When the thrifty housewife sees
in the distance the dark column advancing in a steady whirl towards
her house, she closes the doors and windows with all expedition. A
drawing-room, the window of which has been carelessly left open
during a dust-storm, is indeed an extraordinary sight. A lady who
has resided in Dubbo for some years says that the dust lies so thick
on the carpet that it is necessary to use a shovel to remove it."
And probably a wagon. I was mistaken; I have not seen a proper duststorm. To my mind the exterior aspects and character of Australia are fascinating things to look at and think about, they are so strange, so weird, so new, so uncommonplace, such a startling and interesting contrast to the other sections of the planet, the sections that are known to us all, familiar to us all. In the matter of particulars--a detail here, a detail there--we have had the choice climate of New South Wales' seacoast; we have had the Australian heat as furnished by Captain Sturt; we have had the wonderful dust-storm; and we have considered the phenomenon of an almost empty hot wilderness half as big as the United States, with a narrow belt of civilization, population, and good climate around it.
Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.
Captain Cook found
English law was hard-hearted in those days. For trifling offenses which in our day would be punished by a small fine or a few days' confinement, men, women, and boys were sent to this other end of the earth to serve terms of seven and fourteen years; and for serious crimes they were transported for life. Children were sent to the penal colonies for seven years for stealing a rabbit!
When I was in
In Australia and Tasmania they gave a convict fifty for almost any
little offense; and sometimes a brutal officer would add fifty, and then
another fifty, and so on, as long as the sufferer could endure the torture and
The convict life in
The incidents quoted above are mere hints, mere suggestions of what convict life was like--they are but a couple of details tossed into view out of a shoreless sea of such; or, to change the figure, they are but a pair of flaming steeples photographed from a point which hides from sight the burning city which stretches away from their bases on every hand.
Some of the convicts--indeed, a good many of them--were very bad people, even for that day; but the most of them were probably not noticeably worse than the average of the people they left behind them at home. We must believe this; we cannot avoid it. We are obliged to believe that a nation that could look on, unmoved, and see starving or freezing women hanged for stealing twenty-six cents' worth of bacon or rags, and boys snatched from their mothers, and men from their families, and sent to the other side of the world for long terms of years for similar trifling offenses, was a nation to whom the term "civilized" could not in any large way be applied. And we must also believe that a nation that knew, during more than forty years, what was happening to those exiles and was still content with it, was not advancing in any showy way toward a higher grade of civilization.
If we look into the characters and conduct of the officers and gentlemen who had charge of the convicts and attended to their backs and stomachs, we must grant again that as between the convict and his masters, and between both and the nation at home, there was a quite noticeable monotony of sameness.
Four years had gone by, and many convicts had come. Respectable settlers were beginning to
arrive. These two classes of colonists
had to be protected, in case of trouble among themselves or with the
natives. It is proper to mention the
natives, though they could hardly count they were so scarce. At a time when they had not as yet begun to
be much disturbed--not as yet being in the way--it was estimated that in
People had to be protected.
Officers of the regular army did not want this service--away off there
where neither honor nor distinction was to be gained. So
This was the worst blow of all. The colony fairly staggered under it. The
Corps was an object-lesson of the moral condition of
In those early days the colony was non-supporting. All the necessaries of life--food, clothing,
and all--were sent out from
Meantime, they had spread intemperance everywhere. And they had squeezed farm after farm out of
the settlers hands for rum, and thus had bountifully enriched themselves. When a farmer was caught in the last agonies
of thirst they took advantage of him and sweated him for a drink. In one instance
they sold a man a gallon of rum worth two dollars for a piece of property which
was sold some years later for $100,000. When the colony was about eighteen or
twenty years old it was discovered that the land was specially fitted for the
wool-culture. Prosperity followed,
commerce with the world began, by and by rich mines of the noble metals were
opened, immigrants flowed in, capital likewise.
The result is the great and wealthy and enlightened
It is a country that is rich in mines, wool ranches, trams, railways, steamship lines, schools, newspapers, botanical gardens, art galleries, libraries, museums, hospitals, learned societies; it is the hospitable home of every species of culture and of every species of material enterprise, and there is a, church at every man's door, and a race-track over the way.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.
All English-speaking colonies are made up of lavishly
hospitable people, and
Mr. Gane ("
treatment which we experienced at the hands of this generous-hearted
people will help more than anything else to make us recollect with
pleasure our stay amongst them. In the character of hosts and
hostesses they excel. The 'new chum' needs only the
acquaintanceship of one of their number, and he becomes at once the
happy recipient of numerous complimentary invitations and thoughtful
kindnesses. Of the towns it has been our good fortune to visit,
portrayed home so faithfully as
Nobody could say it finer than that. If he had put in his cork then, and stayed
away from Dubbo----but no; heedless man, he pulled it again. Pulled it when he
was away along in his book, and his memory of what he had said about
quit the promising town of
warm praise, to the kind-hearted and hospitable usages of its
of its kindly treatment of strangers, possesses a little formality
and reserve. In Dubbo, on the contrary, though the same congenial
manners prevail, there is a pleasing degree of respectful
familiarity which gives the town a homely comfort not often met with
elsewhere. In laying on one side our pen we feel contented in
having been able, though so late in this work, to bestow a
panegyric, however unpretentious, on a town which, though possessing
no picturesque natural surroundings, nor interesting architectural
productions, has yet a body of citizens whose hearts cannot but
obtain for their town a reputation for benevolence and
I wonder what soured him on
In Australia it takes about two acres and a half of pastureland (some people say twice as many), to support a sheep; and when the squatter has half a million sheep his private domain is about as large as Rhode Island, to speak in general terms. His annual wool crop may be worth a quarter or a half million dollars.
He will live in a palace in Melbourne or Sydney or some other of the large cities, and make occasional trips to his sheep-kingdom several hundred miles away in the great plains to look after his battalions of riders and shepherds and other hands. He has a commodious dwelling out there, and if he approve of you he will invite you to spend a week in it, and will make you at home and comfortable, and let you see the great industry in all its details, and feed you and slake you and smoke you with the best that money can buy.
On at least one of these vast estates there is a
considerable town, with all the various businesses and occupations that go to
make an important town; and the town and the land it stands upon are the
property of the squatters. I have seen
that town, and it is not unlikely that there are other squatter-owned towns in
The Australians did not seem to me to differ noticeably from Americans, either in dress, carriage, ways, pronunciation, inflections, or general appearance. There were fleeting and subtle suggestions of their English origin, but these were not pronounced enough, as a rule, to catch one's attention. The people have easy and cordial manners from the beginning --from the moment that the introduction is completed. This is American. To put it in another way, it is English friendliness with the English shyness and self-consciousness left out.
Now and then--but this is rare--one hears such words as
piper for paper, lydy for lady, and tyble for table fall from lips whence one
would not expect such pronunciations to come.
There is a superstition prevalent in
"The tyble is set, and here is the piper; and if the lydy is ready I'll tell the wyter to bring up the breakfast."
I have made passing mention, a moment ago, of the native
Australasian's custom of speaking of
In the Australasian home the table-talk is vivacious and
unembarrassed; it is without stiffness or restraint. This does not remind one of
English and colonial audiences are phenomenally alert and responsive. Where masses of people are gathered together in England, caste is submerged, and with it the English reserve; equality exists for the moment, and every individual is free; so free from any consciousness of fetters, indeed, that the Englishman's habit of watching himself and guarding himself against any injudicious exposure of his feelings is forgotten, and falls into abeyance--and to such a degree indeed, that he will bravely applaud all by himself if he wants to--an exhibition of daring which is unusual elsewhere in the world.
But it is hard to move a new English acquaintance when he is by himself, or when the company present is small and new to him. He is on his guard then, and his natural reserve is to the fore. This has given him the false reputation of being without humor and without the appreciation of humor.
Americans are not Englishmen, and American humor is not
English humor; but both the American and his humor had their origin in
There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow: Yet it was the schoolboy who said "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
Mr. X., the missionary, considered the dream awhile, then said:
"It is not surpassable for magnitude, since its metes and bounds are
the metes and bounds of the universe itself; and it seems to me that
it almost accounts for a thing which is otherwise nearly
unaccountable--the origin of the sacred legends of the Hindoos.
Perhaps they dream them, and then honestly believe them to be divine
revelations of fact. It looks like that, for the legends are built
on so vast a scale that it does not seem reasonable that plodding
priests would happen upon such colossal fancies when awake."
He told some of the legends, and said that they were implicitly believed by all classes of Hindoos, including those of high social position and intelligence; and he said that this universal credulity was a great hindrance to the missionary in his work. Then he said something like this:
"At home, people wonder why Christianity does not make faster
that they have a natural trust in miracles and give them a
hospitable reception. Then they argue like this: since the Indian
believes easily, place Christianity before them and they must
believe; confirm its truths by the biblical miracles, and they will
no longer doubt, The natural deduction is, that as Christianity
indifferent progress in
are not fortunate in presenting the doctrines and the miracles.
"But the truth is, we are not by any means so well equipped as they
think. We have not the easy task that they imagine. To use a
military figure, we are sent against the enemy with good powder in
our guns, but only wads for bullets; that is to say, our miracles
are not effective; the Hindoos do not care for them; they have more
extraordinary ones of their own. All the details of their own
religion are proven and established by miracles; the details of ours
must be proven in
the same way. When I first began my work
I greatly underestimated the difficulties thus put upon my task. A
correction was not long in coming. I thought as our friends think
at home--that to prepare my childlike wonder-lovers to listen with
favor to my grave message I only needed to charm the way to it with
wonders, marvels, miracles. With full confidence I told the wonders
performed by Samson, the strongest man that had ever lived--for so I
"At first I saw lively anticipation and strong interest in the faces
of my people, but as I moved along from incident to incident of the
great story, I was distressed to see that I was steadily losing the
sympathy of my audience. I could not understand it. It was a
surprise to me, and a disappointment. Before I was through, the
fading sympathy had paled to indifference. Thence to the end the
indifference remained; I was not able to make any impression upon
"A good old Hindoo gentleman told me where my trouble lay. He said
'We Hindoos recognize a god by the work of his hands--we accept no
other testimony. Apparently, this is also the rule with you
Christians. And we know when a man has his power from a god by the
fact that he does things which he could not do, as a man, with the
mere powers of a man. Plainly, this is the Christian's way also, of
knowing when a man is working by a god's power and not by his own.
You saw that there was a supernatural property in the hair of
Samson; for you perceived that when his hair was gone he was as
other men. It is our way, as I have said. There are many nations
in the world, and each group of nations has its own gods, and will
pay no worship to the gods of the others. Each group believes its
own gods to be strongest, and it will not exchange them except for
gods that shall be proven to be their superiors in power. Man is
but a weak creature, and needs the help of gods--he cannot do
without it. Shall he place his fate in the hands of weak gods when
there may be stronger ones to be found? That would be foolish. No,
if he hear of gods that are stronger than his own, he should not
turn a deaf ear, for it is not a light matter that is at stake. How
then shall he determine which gods are the stronger, his own or
those that preside over the concerns of other nations? By comparing
the known works of his own gods with the works of those others;
there is no other way. Now, when we make this comparison, we are
not drawn towards the gods of any other nation. Our gods are shown
by their works to be the strongest, the most powerful. The
Christians have but few gods, and they are new--new, and not strong;
as it seems to us. They will increase in number, it is true, for
this has happened with all gods, but that time is far away, many
ages and decades of ages away, for gods multiply slowly, as is meet
for beings to whom a thousand years is but a single moment. Our own
gods have been born millions of years apart. The process is slow,
the gathering of strength and power is similarly slow. In the slow
lapse of the ages the steadily accumulating power of our gods has at
last become prodigious. We have a thousand proofs of this in the
colossal character of their personal acts and the acts of ordinary
men to whom they have given supernatural qualities. To your Samson
was given supernatural power, and when he broke the withes, and slew
the thousands with the jawbone of an ass, and carried away the
gate's of the city upon his shoulders, you were amazed--and also
awed, for you recognized the divine source of his strength. But it
could not profit to place these things before your Hindoo
congregation and invite their wonder; for they would compare them
with the deed done by Hanuman, when our gods infused their divine
strength into his muscles; and they would be indifferent to them--as
you saw. In the old, old times, ages and ages gone by, when our god
Rama was warring
with the demon god of
bridge the sea
might pass easily over; and he sent his general, Hanuman, inspired
like your own Samson with divine strength, to bring the materials
for the bridge. In two days Hanuman strode fifteen hundred miles,
hundred miles long, and started with it toward
It was in the night; and, as he passed along the plain, the people
of Govardhun heard the thunder of his tread and felt the earth
rocking under it, and they ran out, and there, with their snowy
summits piled to
heaven, they saw the
this huge continent swept along overshadowing the earth, upon its
slopes they discerned the twinkling lights of a thousand sleeping
villages, and it was as if the constellations were filing in
procession through the sky. While they were looking, Hanuman
stumbled, and a small ridge of red sandstone twenty miles long was
jolted loose and fell. Half of its length has wasted away in the
course of the ages, but the other ten miles of it remain in the
plain by Govardhun to this day as proof of the might of the
inspiration of our gods. You must know, yourself, that Hanuman
could not have
carried those mountains to
strength of the gods. You know that it was not done by his own
strength, therefore, you know that it was done by the strength of
the gods, just as you know that Samson carried the gates by the
divine strength and not by his own. I think you must concede two
things: First, That in carrying the gates of the city upon his
shoulders, Samson did not establish the superiority of his gods over
ours; secondly, That his feat is not supported by any but verbal
evidence, while Hanuman's is not only supported by verbal evidence,
but this evidence is confirmed, established, proven, by visible,
tangible evidence, which is the strongest of all testimony. We have
the sandstone ridge, and while it remains we cannot doubt, and shall
not. Have you the gates?'"
The timid man yearns for full value and asks a tenth. The bold man strikes for double value and compromises on par.
One is sure to be struck by the liberal way in which
There are four specialties attainable in the way of social
pleasure. If you enter your name on the
Visitor's Book at Government House you will receive an invitation to the next
ball that takes place there, if nothing can be proven against you. And it will be very pleasant; for you will
see everybody except the Governor, and add a number of acquaintances and
several friends to your list. The
Governor will be in
The Australasian Governor would not be so restless, perhaps, if he had a war, or a veto, or something like that to call for his reserve-energies, but he hasn't. There isn't any war, and there isn't any veto in his hands. And so there is really little or nothing doing in his line. The country governs itself, and prefers to do it; and is so strenuous about it and so jealous of its independence that it grows restive if even the Imperial Government at home proposes to help; and so the Imperial veto, while a fact, is yet mainly a name.
Thus the Governor's functions are much more limited than are a Governor's functions with us. And therefore more fatiguing. He is the apparent head of the State, he is the real head of Society. He represents culture, refinement, elevated sentiment, polite life, religion; and by his example he propagates these, and they spread and flourish and bear good fruit. He creates the fashion, and leads it. His ball is the ball of balls, and his countenance makes the horse-race thrive.
He is usually a lord, and this is well; for his position compels him to lead an expensive life, and an English lord is generally well equipped for that.
Third in the list of special pleasures is the tour of the harbor in a fine steam pleasure-launch. Your richer friends own boats of this kind, and they will invite you, and the joys of the trip will make a long day seem short.
And finally comes the shark-fishing.
The shark is the swiftest fish that swims. The speed of the fastest steamer afloat is
poor compared to his. And he is a great
gad-about, and roams far and wide in the oceans, and visits the shores of all
of them, ultimately, in the course of his restless excursions. I have a tale to tell now, which has not as
yet been in print. In
"Say, young fellow, take my line a spell, and change my luck for me."
"How do you know I won't make it worse?"
"Because you can't. It has been at its worst all night. If you can't change it, no harm's done; if you do change it, it's for the better, of course. Come."
"All right, what will you give?"
"I'll give you the shark, if you catch one."
"And I will eat it, bones and all. Give me the line."
"Here you are. I will get away, now, for awhile, so that my luck won't spoil yours; for many and many a time I've noticed that if----there, pull in, pull in, man, you've got a bite! I knew how it would be. Why, I knew you for a born son of luck the minute I saw you. All right--he's landed."
It was an unusually large shark--"a full nineteen-footer," the fisherman said, as he laid the creature open with his knife.
"Now you rob him, young man, while I step to my hamper for a fresh bait. There's generally something in them worth going for. You've changed my luck, you see. But my goodness, I hope you haven't changed your own."
"Oh, it wouldn't matter; don't worry about that. Get your bait. I'll rob him."
When the fisherman got back the young man had just finished washing his hands in the bay, and was starting away.
"What, you are not going?"
"But what about your shark?"
"The shark? Why, what use is he to me?"
"What use is he? I like that. Don't you know that we can go and report him to Government, and you'll get a clean solid eighty shillings bounty? Hard cash, you know. What do you think about it now?"
"Oh, well, you can collect it."
"And keep it? Is that what you mean?"
"Well, this is odd. You're one of those sort they call eccentrics, I judge. The saying is, you mustn't judge a man by his clothes, and I'm believing it now. Why yours are looking just ratty, don't you know; and yet you must be rich."
The young man walked slowly back to the town, deeply musing as he went. He halted a moment in front of the best restaurant, then glanced at his clothes and passed on, and got his breakfast at a "stand-up." There was a good deal of it, and it cost five shillings. He tendered a sovereign, got his change, glanced at his silver, muttered to himself, "There isn't enough to buy clothes with," and went his way.
At half-past nine the richest wool-broker in
"There's a sundowner at the door wants to see you, sir."
"What do you bring that kind of a message here for? Send him about his business."
"He won't go, sir. I've tried."
"He won't go? That's--why, that's unusual. He's one of two things, then: he's a remarkable person, or he's crazy. Is he crazy?"
"No, sir. He don't look it."
"Then he's remarkable. What does he say he wants?"
"He won't tell, sir; only says it's very important."
"And won't go. Does he say he won't go?"
"Says he'll stand there till he sees you, sir, if it's all day."
"And yet isn't crazy. Show him up."
The sundowner was shown in. The broker said to himself, "No, he's not crazy; that is easy to see; so he must be the other thing."
Then aloud, "Well, my good fellow, be quick about it; don't waste any words; what is it you want?"
"I want to borrow a hundred thousand pounds."
"Scott! (It's a mistake; he is crazy . . . . No--he can't be--not with that eye.) Why, you take my breath away. Come, who are you?"
"Nobody that you know."
"What is your name?"
"No, I don't remember hearing the name before. Now then--just for curiosity's sake--what has sent you to me on this extraordinary errand?"
"The intention to make a hundred thousand pounds for you and as much for myself within the next sixty days."
"Well, well, well. It is the most extraordinary idea that--sit down--you interest me. And somehow you--well, you fascinate me; I think that that is about the word. And it isn't your proposition--no, that doesn't fascinate me; it's something else, I don't quite know what; something that's born in you and oozes out of you, I suppose. Now then just for curiosity's sake again, nothing more: as I understand it, it is your desire to bor----"
"I said intention."
"Pardon, so you did. I thought it was an unheedful use of the word--an unheedful valuing of its strength, you know."
"I knew its strength."
"Well, I must say--but look here, let me walk the floor a little, my mind is getting into a sort of whirl, though you don't seem disturbed any. (Plainly this young fellow isn't crazy; but as to his being remarkable --well, really he amounts to that, and something over.) Now then, I believe I am beyond the reach of further astonishment. Strike, and spare not. What is your scheme?"
"To buy the wool crop--deliverable in sixty days."
"What, the whole of it?"
"The whole of it."
"No, I was not quite out of the reach of surprises, after all. Why, how you talk! Do you know what our crop is going to foot up?"
"Two and a half million sterling--maybe a little more."
"Well, you've got your statistics right, any way. Now, then, do you know what the margins would foot up, to buy it at sixty days?"
"The hundred thousand pounds I came here to get."
"Right, once more. Well, dear me, just to see what would happen, I wish you had the money. And if you had it, what would you do with it?"
"I shall make two hundred thousand pounds out of it in sixty days."
"You mean, of course, that you might make it if----"
"I said 'shall'."
"Yes, by George, you did say 'shall'! You are the most definite devil I ever saw, in the matter of language. Dear, dear, dear, look here! Definite speech means clarity of mind. Upon my word I believe you've got what you believe to be a rational reason, for venturing into this house, an entire stranger, on this wild scheme of buying the wool crop of an entire colony on speculation. Bring it out--I am prepared--acclimatized, if I may use the word. Why would you buy the crop, and why would you make that sum out of it? That is to say, what makes you think you----"
"I don't think--I know."
"Definite again. How do you know?"
Now then, I've got you! Such a
thunderbolt as you have just let fly ought to have made me jump out of my
chair, but it didn't stir me the least little bit, you see. And for a very simple reason: I have read the
morning paper. You can look at it if you
want to. The fastest ship in the service
arrived at eleven o'clock last night, fifty days out from
"Because I have later news."
"Later news? Oh,
come--later news than fifty days, brought steaming hot from
"My news is only ten days old."
"Oh, Mun-chausen, hear the maniac talk! Where did you get it?"
"Got it out of a shark."
"Oh, oh, oh, this is too much! Front! call the police bring the gun --raise the town! All the asylums in Christendom have broken loose in the single person of----"
"Sit down! And collect yourself. Where is the use in getting excited? Am I excited? There is nothing to get excited about. When I make a statement which I cannot prove, it will be time enough for you to begin to offer hospitality to damaging fancies about me and my sanity."
"Oh, a thousand, thousand pardons! I ought to be ashamed of myself, and I am
ashamed of myself for thinking that a little bit of a circumstance like sending
a shark to
"What does your middle initial stand for, sir?"
"Andrew. What are you writing?"
"Wait a moment. Proof about the shark--and another matter. Only ten lines. There--now it is done. Sign it."
"Many thanks--many. Let me see; it says--it says oh, come, this is interesting! Why--why--look here! prove what you say here, and I'll put up the money, and double as much, if necessary, and divide the winnings with you, half and half. There, now--I've signed; make your promise good if you can. Show me a copy of the London Times only ten days old."
"Here it is--and with it these buttons and a memorandum book that belonged to the man the shark swallowed. Swallowed him in the Thames, without a doubt; for you will notice that the last entry in the book is dated 'London,' and is of the same date as the Times, and says, 'Ber confequentz der Kreigeseflarun, reife ich heute nach Deutchland ab, aur bak ich mein leben auf dem Ultar meines Landes legen mag'----, as clean native German as anybody can put upon paper, and means that in consequence of the declaration of war, this loyal soul is leaving for home to-day, to fight. And he did leave, too, but the shark had him before the day was done, poor fellow."
"And a pity, too. But there are times for mourning, and we will attend to this case further on; other matters are pressing, now. I will go down and set the machinery in motion in a quiet way and buy the crop. It will cheer the drooping spirits of the boys, in a transitory way. Everything is transitory in this world. Sixty days hence, when they are called to deliver the goods, they will think they've been struck by lightning. But there is a time for mourning, and we will attend to that case along with the other one. Come along, I'll take you to my tailor. What did you say your name is?"
"It is hard to remember. However, I think you will make it easier by and by, if you live. There are three kinds of people--Commonplace Men, Remarkable Men, and Lunatics. I'll classify you with the Remarkables, and take the chances."
The deal went through, and secured to the young stranger the first fortune he ever pocketed.
The people of
The government pays a bounty for the shark; to get the
bounty the fishermen bait the hook or the seine with agreeable mutton; the news
spreads and the sharks come from all over the
We can secure other people's approval, if we do right and try hard; but our own is worth a hundred of it, and no way has been found out of securing that.
My health had broken down in
So we moved south with a westward slant, 17 hours by rail to
the capital of the colony of Victoria, Melbourne--that juvenile city of sixty
years, and half a million inhabitants.
On the map the distance looked small; but that is a trouble with all divisions
of distance in such a vast country as
We took the train at
The tickets were round-trip ones--to
Now comes a singular thing: the oddest thing, the strangest
thing, the most baffling and unaccountable marvel that
It is a narrow-gage road to the frontier, and a broader
gauge thence to
All passengers fret at the double-gauge; all shippers of freight must of course fret at it; unnecessary expense, delay, and annoyance are imposed upon everybody concerned, and no one is benefitted.
Each Australian colony fences itself off from its neighbor
with a custom-house. Personally, I have
no objection, but it must be a good deal of inconvenience to the people. We have something resembling it here and
We changed cars. This
was at Albury. And it was there, I
think, that the growing day and the early sun exposed the distant range called
A resident told me that those were not mountains; he said
they were rabbit-piles. And explained
that long exposure and the over-ripe condition of the rabbits was what made
them look so blue. This man may have
been right, but much reading of books of travel has made me distrustful of
gratis information furnished by unofficial residents of a country. The facts which such people give to travelers
are usually erroneous, and often intemperately so. The rabbit-plague has indeed been very bad in
We breakfasted at the station. A good breakfast, except the coffee; and
cheap. The Government establishes the
prices and placards them. The waiters
were men, I think; but that is not usual in
All the pleasant morning we slid smoothly along over the
plains, through thin--not thick--forests of great melancholy gum trees, with
trunks rugged with curled sheets of flaking bark--erysipelas convalescents, so
to speak, shedding their dead skins. And
all along were tiny cabins, built sometimes of wood, sometimes of gray-blue
corrugated iron; and the doorsteps and fences were clogged with
children--rugged little simply-clad chaps that looked as if they had been
imported from the banks of the
And there were little villages, with neat stations well placarded with showy advertisements--mainly of almost too self-righteous brands of "sheepdip." If that is the name--and I think it is. It is a stuff like tar, and is dabbed on to places where the shearer clips a piece out of the sheep. It bars out the flies, and has healing properties, and a nip to it which makes the sheep skip like the cattle on a thousand hills. It is not good to eat. That is, it is not good to eat except when mixed with railroad coffee. It improves railroad coffee. Without it railroad coffee is too vague. But with it, it is quite assertive and enthusiastic. By itself, railroad coffee is too passive; but sheep-dip makes it wake up and get down to business. I wonder where they get railroad coffee?
We saw birds, but not a kangaroo, not an emu, not an
ornithorhynchus, not a lecturer, not a native.
Indeed, the land seemed quite destitute of game. But I have misused the word native. In
Truth is stranger than fiction--to some people, but I am measurably familiar with it.
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
The air was balmy and delicious, the sunshine radiant; it was a charming excursion. In the course of it we came to a town whose odd name was famous all over the world a quarter of a century ago--Wagga-Wagga. This was because the Tichborne Claimant had kept a butcher-shop there. It was out of the midst of his humble collection of sausages and tripe that he soared up into the zenith of notoriety and hung there in the wastes of space a time, with the telescopes of all nations leveled at him in unappeasable curiosity--curiosity as to which of the two long-missing persons he was: Arthur Orton, the mislaid roustabout of Wapping, or Sir Roger Tichborne, the lost heir of a name and estates as old as English history. We all know now, but not a dozen people knew then; and the dozen kept the mystery to themselves and allowed the most intricate and fascinating and marvelous real-life romance that has ever been played upon the world's stage to unfold itself serenely, act by act, in a British court by the long and laborious processes of judicial development.
When we recall the details of that great romance we marvel to see what daring chances truth may freely take in constructing a tale, as compared with the poor little conservative risks permitted to fiction. The fiction-artist could achieve no success with the materials of this splendid Tichborne romance.
He would have to drop out the chief characters; the public would say such people are impossible. He would have to drop out a number of the most picturesque incidents; the public would say such things could never happen. And yet the chief characters did exist, and the incidents did happen.
It cost the Tichborne estates $400,000 to unmask the
Claimant and drive him out; and even after the exposure multitudes of
Englishmen still believed in him. It
cost the British Government another $400,000 to convict him of perjury; and
after the conviction the same old multitudes still believed in him; and among
these believers were many educated and intelligent men; and some of them had
personally known the real Sir Roger. The
Claimant was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment. When he got out of prison he went to
He always claimed to be Sir Roger Tichborne until death called for him. This was but a few months ago--not very much short of a generation since he left Wagga-Wagga to go and possess himself of his estates. On his death-bed he yielded up his secret, and confessed in writing that he was only Arthur Orton of Wapping, able seaman and butcher--that and nothing more. But it is scarcely to be doubted that there are people whom even his dying confession will not convince. The old habit of assimilating incredibilities must have made strong food a necessity in their case; a weaker article would probably disagree with them.
I was in
For many years I had had a mystery in stock. Melbourne, and only Melbourne, could unriddle
it for me. In 1873 I arrived in
These invitations were always for a long time ahead; if we
were in Europe, three months ahead; if we were in
This first note invited us for a date three months in the
future. It asked us to arrive by the
4.10 p.m. train from
I showed the note to the author of "Tom Brown at
He described Mr. Bascom as being a man of genius, a man of
fine attainments, a choice man in every way, a rare and beautiful character. He
said that Bascom Hall was a particularly fine example of the stately manorial
We paid the visit. We paid others, in later years--the last one in 1879. Soon after that Mr. Bascom started on a voyage around the world in a steam yacht--a long and leisurely trip, for he was making collections, in all lands, of birds, butterflies, and such things.
The day that President Garfield was shot by the assassin Guiteau,
we were at a little watering place on Long Island Sound; and in the mail matter
of that day came a letter with the
My first thought was, why didn't he have the coffin opened? He would have seen that the corpse was an imposter, and he could have gone right ahead and dried up the most of those tears, and comforted those sorrowing governments, and sold the remains and sent me the money.
I did nothing about the matter. I had set the law after living lecture doubles of mine a couple of times in America, and the law had not been able to catch them; others in my trade had tried to catch their impostor-doubles and had failed. Then where was the use in harrying a ghost? None--and so I did not disturb it. I had a curiosity to know about that man's lecture-tour and last moments, but that could wait. When I should see Mr. Bascom he would tell me all about it. But he passed from life, and I never saw him again.. My curiosity faded away.
However, when I found that I was going to
I could not understand it; still, I thought it would all
come right in
So my mystery was a mystery still. It was a great disappointment. I believed it would never be cleared up--in this life--so I dropped it out of my mind.
But at last! just when I was least expecting it----
However, this is not the place for the rest of it; I shall come to the matter again, in a far-distant chapter.
There is a Moral sense, and there is an Immoral Sense. History shows us that the Moral Sense enables us to perceive morality and how to avoid it, and that the Immoral Sense enables us to perceive immorality and how to enjoy it.
It is the "Melbourne Cup" that brings this multitude together. Their clothes have been ordered long ago, at unlimited cost, and without bounds as to beauty and magnificence, and have been kept in concealment until now, for unto this day are they consecrate. I am speaking of the ladies' clothes; but one might know that.
And so the grand-stands make a brilliant and wonderful spectacle, a delirium of color, a vision of beauty. The champagne flows, everybody is vivacious, excited, happy; everybody bets, and gloves and fortunes change hands right along, all the time. Day after day the races go on, and the fun and the excitement are kept at white heat; and when each day is done, the people dance all night so as to be fresh for the race in the morning. And at the end of the great week the swarms secure lodgings and transportation for next year, then flock away to their remote homes and count their gains and losses, and order next year's Cup-clothes, and then lie down and sleep two weeks, and get up sorry to reflect that a whole year must be put in somehow or other before they can be wholly happy again.
The Melbourne Cup is the Australasian National Day. It would be difficult to overstate its importance. It overshadows all other holidays and specialized days of whatever sort in that congeries of colonies. Overshadows them? I might almost say it blots them out. Each of them gets attention, but not everybody's; each of them evokes interest, but not everybody's; each of them rouses enthusiasm, but not everybody's; in each case a part of the attention, interest, and enthusiasm is a matter of habit and custom, and another part of it is official and perfunctory. Cup Day, and Cup Day only, commands an attention, an interest, and an enthusiasm which are universal--and spontaneous, not perfunctory. Cup Day is supreme it has no rival. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, which can be named by that large name--Supreme. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, whose approach fires the whole land with a conflagration of conversation and preparation and anticipation and jubilation. No day save this one; but this one does it.
We have a supreme day--a sweeping and tremendous and tumultuous day, a day which commands an absolute universality of interest and excitement; but it is not annual. It comes but once in four years; therefore it cannot count as a rival of the Melbourne Cup.
I think it must be conceded that the position of the Australasian Day is unique, solitary, unfellowed; and likely to hold that high place a long time.
The next things which interest us when we travel are, first,
the people; next, the novelties; and finally the history of the places and
countries visited. Novelties are rare in
cities which represent the most advanced civilization of the modern day. When one is familiar with such cities in the
other parts of the world he is in effect familiar with the cities of
"Here's to you, old chap!
"Say--Mark!--is he dead?"--a reference to a
passage in some book of mine, though I did not detect, at that time, that that
was its source. And I didn't detect it
And speaking of the war-flurry, it seemed to me to bring to
light the unexpected, in a detail or two.
It seemed to relegate the war-talk to the politicians on both sides of
the water; whereas whenever a prospective war between two nations had been in
the air theretofore, the public had done most of the talking and the
bitterest. The attitude of the
newspapers was new also. I speak of
those of Australasia and
No, as I have suggested, novelties are rare in the great
capitals of modern times. Even the wool
In the museums you will find acres of the most strange and
fascinating things; but all museums are fascinating, and they do so tire your
eyes, and break your back, and burn out your vitalities with their consuming
interest. You always say you will never
go again, but you do go. The palaces of
the rich, in
And what was the origin of this majestic city and its efflorescence of palatial town houses and country seats? Its first brick was laid and its first house built by a passing convict. Australian history is almost always picturesque; indeed, it is so curious and strange, that it is itself the chiefest novelty the country has to offer, and so it pushes the other novelties into second and third place. It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies. And all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises, and adventures, and incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened.
The English are mentioned in the Bible: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
When we consider the immensity of the British Empire in
territory, population, and trade, it requires a stern exercise of faith to
believe in the figures which represent
The population of
In round numbers the 4,000,000 buy and sell about
$600,000,000 worth of goods a year. It
is claimed that about half of this represents commodities of Australasian
production. The products exported
Indian production (300,000,000 population), $500,000,000.
Australasian production (4,000,000 population), $300,000,000.
That is to say, the product of the individual Indian, annually (for export some whither), is worth $1.15; that of the individual Australasian (for export some whither), $75! Or, to put it in another way, the Indian family of man and wife and three children sends away an annual result worth $8.75, while the Australasian family sends away $375 worth.
There are trustworthy statistics furnished by Sir Richard Temple and others, which show that the individual Indian's whole annual product, both for export and home use, is worth in gold only $7.50; or, $37.50 for the family-aggregate. Ciphered out on a like ratio of multiplication, the Australasian family's aggregate production would be nearly $1,600. Truly, nothing is so astonishing as figures, if they once get started.
But the explanation was simple. Years ago the fabulously rich silver
discovery at Broken Hill burst suddenly upon an unexpectant world. Its stocks started at shillings, and went by
leaps and bounds to the most fanciful figures.
It was one of those cases where the cook puts a month's wages into
shares, and comes next mouth and buys your house at your own price, and moves
into it herself; where the coachman takes a few shares, and next month sets up
a bank; and where the common sailor invests the price of a spree, and next
month buys out the steamship company and goes into business on his own
hook. In a word, it was one of those
excitements which bring multitudes of people to a common center with a rush,
and whose needs must be supplied, and at once.
We started at
From reading Australian books and talking with the people, I
became convinced that the aboriginal tracker's performances evince a craft, a
penetration, a luminous sagacity, and a minuteness and accuracy of observation
in the matter of detective-work not found in nearly so remarkable a degree in
any other people, white or colored. In
an official account of the blacks of
And there is the case, on records where A., a settler, makes a bet with B., that B. may lose a cow as effectually as he can, and A. will produce an aboriginal who will find her. B. selects a cow and lets the tracker see the cow's footprint, then be put under guard. B. then drives the cow a few miles over a course which drifts in all directions, and frequently doubles back upon itself; and he selects difficult ground all the time, and once or twice even drives the cow through herds of other cows, and mingles her tracks in the wide confusion of theirs. He finally brings his cow home; the aboriginal is set at liberty, and at once moves around in a great circle, examining all cow-tracks until he finds the one he is after; then sets off and follows it throughout its erratic course, and ultimately tracks it to the stable where B. has hidden the cow. Now wherein does one cow-track differ from another? There must be a difference, or the tracker could not have performed the feat; a difference minute, shadowy, and not detectible by you or me, or by the late Sherlock Holmes, and yet discernible by a member of a race charged by some people with occupying the bottom place in the gradations of human intelligence.
It is easier to stay out than get out.
The train was now exploring a beautiful hill country, and went twisting in and out through lovely little green valleys. There were several varieties of gum trees; among them many giants. Some of them were bodied and barked like the sycamore; some were of fantastic aspect, and reminded one of the quaint apple trees in Japanese pictures. And there was one peculiarly beautiful tree whose name and breed I did not know. The foliage seemed to consist of big bunches of pine-spines, the lower half of each bunch a rich brown or old-gold color, the upper half a most vivid and strenuous and shouting green. The effect was altogether bewitching. The tree was apparently rare. I should say that the first and last samples of it seen by us were not more than half an hour apart. There was another tree of striking aspect, a kind of pine, we were told. Its foliage was as fine as hair, apparently, and its mass sphered itself above the naked straight stem like an explosion of misty smoke. It was not a sociable sort; it did not gather in groups or couples, but each individual stood far away from its nearest neighbor. It scattered itself in this spacious and exclusive fashion about the slopes of swelling grassy great knolls, and stood in the full flood of the wonderful sunshine; and as far as you could see the tree itself you could also see the ink-black blot of its shadow on the shining green carpet at its feet.
On some part of this railway journey we saw gorse and
The gentleman who enriched me with the poverty of his formation about the gorse and the broom told me that he came out from England a youth of twenty and entered the Province of South Australia with thirty-six shillings in his pocket--an adventurer without trade, profession, or friends, but with a clearly-defined purpose in his head: he would stay until he was worth L200, then go back home. He would allow himself five years for the accumulation of this fortune.
"That was more than fifty years ago," said he. "And here I am, yet."
As he went out at the door he met a friend, and turned and introduced him to me, and the friend and I had a talk and a smoke. I spoke of the previous conversation and said there something very pathetic about this half century of exile, and that I wished the L200 scheme had succeeded.
"With him? Oh,
it did. It's not so sad a case. He is modest, and he left out some of the
particulars. The lad reached
The wool production began to grow; grain-raising followed--followed so vigorously, too, that four or five years after the copper discovery, this little colony, which had had to import its breadstuffs formerly, and pay hard prices for them--once $50 a barrel for flour--had become an exporter of grain.
The prosperities continued. After many years Providence, desiring to show especial regard for New South Wales and exhibit loving interest in its welfare which should certify to all nations the recognition of that colony's conspicuous righteousness and distinguished well-deserving, conferred upon it that treasury of inconceivable riches, Broken Hill; and South Australia went over the border and took it, giving thanks.
Among our passengers was an American with a unique
vocation. Unique is a strong word, but I
use it justifiably if I did not misconceive what the American told me; for I
understood him to say that in the world there was not another man engaged in
the business which he was following. He
was buying the kangaroo-skin crop; buying all of it, both the Australian crop
and the Tasmanian; and buying it for an American house in
We descended and entered. There was nothing to remind one of the humble capital, of buts and sheds of the long-vanished day of the land-boom. No, this was a modern city, with wide streets, compactly built; with fine homes everywhere, embowered in foliage and flowers, and with imposing masses of public buildings nobly grouped and architecturally beautiful.
There was prosperity, in the air; for another boom was on. Providence, desiring to show especial regard for the neighboring colony on the west called Western Australia--and exhibit a loving interest in its welfare which should certify to all nations the recognition of that colony's conspicuous righteousness and distinguished well-deserving, had recently conferred upon it that majestic treasury of golden riches, Coolgardie; and now South Australia had gone around the corner and taken it, giving thanks. Everything comes to him who is patient and good, and waits.
Church of England,........... 89,271
Roman Catholic,.............. 47,179
Bible Christian,............. 15,762
Primitive Methodist,......... 11,654
Christian Brethren,.......... 465
Methodist New Connexion,..... 39
Society of Friends,.......... 100
Salvation Army,.............. 4,356
Protestants (undefined),..... 6,532
Confucians, etc.,............ 3,884
Other religions,............. 1,719
Not stated,.................. 8,046
The item in the above list "Other religions" includes the following as returned:
Agnostics, Atheists, Believers in Christ, Buddhists, Calvinists, Christadelphians,
Christian Socialists, Church of God, Cosmopolitans, Deists, Evangelists, Exclusive Brethren, Free Church, Free Methodists, Freethinkers, Followers of Christ, Gospel Meetings, Greek Church, Infidels, Maronites, Memnonists, Moravians, Mormons, Naturalists, Orthodox, Others (indefinite), Pagans, Pantheists, Plymouth Brethren, Rationalists, Reformers, Secularists, Seventh-day Adventists, Shaker, Shintoists, Spiritualists, Theosophists, Town (City) Mission, Welsh Church, Huguenot, Hussite, Zoroastrians, Zwinglian,
About 64 roads to the other world. You see how healthy the religious atmosphere is. Anything can live in it. Agnostics, Atheists, Freethinkers, Infidels, Mormons, Pagans, Indefinites they are all there. And all the big sects of the world can do more than merely live in it: they can spread, flourish, prosper. All except the Spiritualists and the Theosophists. That is the most curious feature of this curious table. What is the matter with the specter? Why do they puff him away? He is a welcome toy everywhere else in the world.
Pity is for the living, Envy is for the dead.
The successor of the sheet-iron hamlet of the mangrove
marshes has that other Australian specialty, the Botanical Gardens. We cannot have these paradises. The best we could do would be to cover a vast
acreage under glass and apply steam heat.
But it would be inadequate, the lacks would still be so great: the
confined sense, the sense of suffocation, the atmospheric dimness, the sweaty
heat--these would all be there, in place of the Australian openness to the sky,
the sunshine and the breeze. Whatever will grow under glass with us will
flourish rampantly out of doors in Australia.--[The greatest heat in
When the white man came the continent was nearly as poor, in
variety of vegetation, as the
In the Zoological Gardens of Adelaide I saw the only
laughing jackass that ever showed any disposition to be courteous to me. This one opened his head wide and laughed
like a demon; or like a maniac who was consumed with humorous scorn over a
cheap and degraded pun. It was a very
human laugh. If he had been out of sight
I could have believed that the laughter came from a man. It is an odd-looking bird, with a head and
beak that are much too large for its body.
In time man will exterminate the rest of the wild creatures of
In that garden I also saw the wild Australian dog--the dingo. He was a beautiful creature--shapely, graceful, a little wolfish in some of his aspects, but with a most friendly eye and sociable disposition. The dingo is not an importation; he was present in great force when the whites first came to the continent. It may be that he is the oldest dog in the universe; his origin, his descent, the place where his ancestors first appeared, are as unknown and as untraceable as are the camel's. He is the most precious dog in the world, for he does not bark. But in an evil hour he got to raiding the sheep-runs to appease his hunger, and that sealed his doom. He is hunted, now, just as if he were a wolf. He has been sentenced to extermination, and the sentence will be carried out. This is all right, and not objectionable. The world was made for man--the white man.
A telegraph line stretches straight up north through that
A cable had been previously laid from Port Darwin to Java
and thence to
A telegram from
Port Augusta-Alice Springs...1,036
Port Darwin-Banjoewangie,... 1,150
New York-San Francisco,......3,500
I was in
You have seen that the Province is tolerant,
religious-wise. It is so politically,
also. One of the speakers at the
Commemoration banquet--the Minister of Public Works-was an American, born and
The mean temperature of the Province is 62 deg. The death-rate is
"When we, now great and prosperous and powerful, bow our heads in
reverent wonder in the contemplation of those sublimities of energy,
of wisdom, of forethought, of----"
Up come the immortal six again, in a body, with a joyous "Hey, I've thought of another one!" and at it they go, with might and main, hearing not a whisper of the pandemonium that salutes them, but taking all the visible violences for applause, as before, and hammering joyously away till the imploring ushers pray them into their seats again. And a pity, too; for those lovely old boys did so enjoy living their heroic youth over, in these days of their honored antiquity; and certainly the things they had to tell were usually worth the telling and the hearing.
It was a stirring spectacle; stirring in more ways than one, for it was amazingly funny, and at the same time deeply pathetic; for they had seen so much, these time-worn veterans, end had suffered so much; and had built so strongly and well, and laid the foundations of their commonwealth so deep, in liberty and tolerance; and had lived to see the structure rise to such state and dignity and hear themselves so praised for honorable work.
One of these old gentlemen told me some things of interest afterward; things about the aboriginals, mainly. He thought them intelligent --remarkably so in some directions--and he said that along with their unpleasant qualities they had some exceedingly good ones; and he considered it a great pity that the race had died out. He instanced their invention of the boomerang and the "weet-weet" as evidences of their brightness; and as another evidence of it he said he had never seen a white man who had cleverness enough to learn to do the miracles with those two toys that the aboriginals achieved. He said that even the smartest whites had been obliged to confess that they could not learn the trick of the boomerang in perfection; that it had possibilities which they could not master. The white man could not control its motions, could not make it obey him; but the aboriginal could. He told me some wonderful things--some almost incredible things--which he had seen the blacks do with the boomerang and the weet-weet. They have been confirmed to me since by other early settlers and by trustworthy books.
It is contended--and may be said to be conceded--that the
boomerang was known to certain savage tribes in
One of two things either some one with is then apparent: a
boomerang arrived in
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
Mr. G. called. I had not seen him since
"Do you remember my introducing you to an earl--the Earl of C.?"
"Yes. That was the last time I saw you. You and he were in a carriage, just starting--belated--for the train. I remember it."
"I remember it too, because of a thing which happened then which I was not looking for. He had told me a while before, about a remarkable and interesting Californian whom he had met and who was a friend of yours, and said that if he should ever meet you he would ask you for some particulars about that Californian. The subject was not mentioned that day at Nauheim, for we were hurrying away, and there was no time; but the thing that surprised me was this: when I induced you, you said, 'I am glad to meet your lordship gain.' The I again' was the surprise. He is a little hard of hearing, and didn't catch that word, and I thought you hadn't intended that he should. As we drove off I had only time to say, 'Why, what do you know about him?' and I understood you to say, 'Oh, nothing, except that he is the quickest judge of----' Then we were gone, and I didn't get the rest. I wondered what it was that he was such a quick judge of. I have thought of it many times since, and still wondered what it could be. He and I talked it over, but could not guess it out. He thought it must be fox-hounds or horses, for he is a good judge of those--no one is a better. But you couldn't know that, because you didn't know him; you had mistaken him for some one else; it must be that, he said, because he knew you had never met him before. And of course you hadn't had you?"
"Yes, I had."
"Is that so? Where?"
"At a fox-hunt, in
"How curious that is. Why, he hadn't the least recollection of it. Had you any conversation with him?"
"Well, it left not the least impression upon him. What did you talk about?"
"About the fox. I think that was all."
"Why, that would interest him; that ought to have left an impression. What did he talk about?"
It's very curious. I don't understand it. Did what he said leave an impression upon you?"
"Yes. It showed
me that he was a quick judge of--however, I will tell you all about it, then
you will understand. It was a quarter of
a century ago 1873 or '74. I had an
American friend in
"When we got to that place I got out and went and leaned my elbows on a low stone wall which enclosed a turfy and beautiful great field with heavy wood on all its sides except ours. Mrs. Blank sat in the dog-cart fifty yards away, which was as near as she could get with the vehicle. I was full of interest, for I had never seen a fox-hunt. I waited, dreaming and imagining, in the deep stillness and impressive tranquility which reigned in that retired spot. Presently, from away off in the forest on the left, a mellow bugle-note came floating; then all of a sudden a multitude of dogs burst out of that forest and went tearing by and disappeared in the forest on the right; there was a pause, and then a cloud of horsemen in black caps and crimson coats plunged out of the left-hand forest and went flaming across the field like a prairie-fire, a stirring sight to see. There was one man ahead of the rest, and he came spurring straight at me. He was fiercely excited. It was fine to see him ride; he was a master horseman. He came like, a storm till he was within seven feet of me, where I was leaning on the wall, then he stood his horse straight up in the air on his hind toe-nails, and shouted like a demon:
"'Which way'd the fox go?'
"I didn't much like the tone, but I did not let on; for he was excited, you know. But I was calm; so I said softly, and without acrimony:
"It seemed to anger him. I don't know why; and he thundered out:
"'WHICH fox? Why, THE fox? Which way did the FOX go?'
"I said, with great gentleness--even argumentatively:
"'If you could be a little more definite--a little less vague--because I am a stranger, and there are many foxes, as you will know even better than I, and unless I know which one it is that you desire to identify, and----'
"'You're certainly the damdest idiot that has escaped in a thousand years!' and he snatched his great horse around as easily as I would snatch a cat, and was away like a hurricane. A very excitable man.
"I went back to Mrs. Blank, and she was excited, too--oh, all alive. She said:
"'He spoke to you!--didn't he?'
"'Yes, it is what happened.'
"'I knew it! I couldn't hear what he said, but I knew be spoke to you! Do you know who it was? It was Lord C., and he is Master of the Buckhounds! Tell me--what do you think of him?'
"'Him? Well, for sizing-up a stranger, he's got the most sudden and accurate judgment of any man I ever saw.'
"It pleased her. I thought it would."
G. got away from Nauheim just in time to escape being shut
in by the quarantine-bars on the frontiers; and so did we, for we left the next
day. But G. had a great deal of trouble
in getting by the Italian custom-house, and we should have fared likewise but
for the thoughtfulness of our consul-general in
We arrived, and pressed with the crowd into the immense custom-house, and the usual worries began; everybody crowding to the counter and begging to have his baggage examined first, and all hands clattering and chattering at once. It seemed to me that I could do nothing; it would be better to give it all up and go away and leave the baggage. I couldn't speak the language; I should never accomplish anything. Just then a tall handsome man in a fine uniform was passing by and I knew he must be the station-master--and that reminded me of my letter. I ran to him and put it into his hands. He took it out of the envelope, and the moment his eye caught the royal coat of arms printed at its top, he took off his cap and made a beautiful bow to me, and said in English:
"Which is your baggage? Please show it to me."
I showed him the mountain. Nobody was disturbing it; nobody was interested in it; all the family's attempts to get attention to it had failed--except in the case of one of the trunks containing the dutiable goods. It was just being opened. My officer said:
"There, let that alone! Lock it. Now chalk it. Chalk all of the lot. Now please come and show the hand-baggage."
He plowed through the waiting crowd, I following, to the counter, and he gave orders again, in his emphatic military way:
"Chalk these. Chalk all of them."
Then he took off his cap and made that beautiful bow again, and went his way. By this time these attentions had attracted the wonder of that acre of passengers, and the whisper had gone around that the royal family were present getting their baggage chalked; and as we passed down in review on our way to the door, I was conscious of a pervading atmosphere of envy which gave me deep satisfaction.
But soon there was an accident. My overcoat pockets were stuffed with German cigars and linen packages of American smoking tobacco, and a porter was following us around with this overcoat on his arm, and gradually getting it upside down. Just as I, in the rear of my family, moved by the sentinels at the door, about three hatfuls of the tobacco tumbled out on the floor. One of the soldiers pounced upon it, gathered it up in his arms, pointed back whence I had come, and marched me ahead of him past that long wall of passengers again--he chattering and exulting like a devil, they smiling in peaceful joy, and I trying to look as if my pride was not hurt, and as if I did not mind being brought to shame before these pleased people who had so lately envied me. But at heart I was cruelly humbled.
When I had been marched two-thirds of the long distance and the misery of it was at the worst, the stately station-master stepped out from somewhere, and the soldier left me and darted after him and overtook him; and I could see by the soldier's excited gestures that he was betraying to him the whole shabby business. The station-master was plainly very angry. He came striding down toward me, and when he was come near he began to pour out a stream of indignant Italian; then suddenly took off his hat and made that beautiful bow and said:
"Oh, it is you! I beg a thousands pardons! This idiot here---" He turned to the exulting soldier and burst out with a flood of white-hot Italian lava, and the next moment he was bowing, and the soldier and I were moving in procession again--he in the lead and ashamed, this time, I with my chin up. And so we marched by the crowd of fascinated passengers, and I went forth to the train with the honors of war. Tobacco and all.
Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
Before I saw
What is the secret of the feat? No one explains. It cannot be physical strength, for that
could not drive such a feather-weight any distance. It must be art. But no one explains what the art of it is;
nor how it gets around that law of nature which says you shall not throw any
"The distance to which the weet-weet or kangaroo-rat can be thrown is truly astonishing. I have seen an Australian stand at one side of Kennington Oval and throw the kangaroo rat completely across it." (Width of Kensington Oval not stated.) "It darts through the air with the sharp and menacing hiss of a rifle-ball, its greatest height from the ground being some seven or eight feet . . . . . . When properly thrown it looks just like a living animal leaping along . . . . . . Its movements have a wonderful resemblance to the long leaps of a kangaroo-rat fleeing in alarm, with its long tail trailing behind it."
The Old Settler said that he had seen distances made by the weet-weet, in the early days, which almost convinced him that it was as extraordinary an instrument as the boomerang.
There must have been a large distribution of acuteness among those naked skinny aboriginals, or they couldn't have been such unapproachable trackers and boomerangers and weet-weeters. It must have been race-aversion that put upon them a good deal of the low-rate intellectual reputation which they bear and have borne this long time in the world's estimate of them.
They were lazy--always lazy. Perhaps that was their trouble. It is a killing defect. Surely they could have invented and built a competent house, but they didn't. And they could have invented and developed the agricultural arts, but they didn't. They went naked and houseless, and lived on fish and grubs and worms and wild fruits, and were just plain savages, for all their smartness.
With a country as big as the United States to live and multiply in, and with no epidemic diseases among them till the white man came with those and his other appliances of civilization, it is quite probable that there was never a day in his history when he could muster 100,000 of his race in all Australia. He diligently and deliberately kept population down by infanticide--largely; but mainly by certain other methods. He did not need to practise these artificialities any more after the white man came. The white man knew ways of keeping down population which were worth several of his. The white man knew ways of reducing a native population 80 percent. in 20 years. The native had never seen anything as fine as that before.
For example, there is the case of the country now called
The early whites were not used to savages. They could not understand the primary law of
savage life: that if a man do you a wrong, his whole tribe is responsible--each
individual of it--and you may take your change out of any individual of it,
without bothering to seek out the guilty one. When a white killed an
aboriginal, the tribe applied the ancient law, and killed the first white they
came across. To the whites this was a
monstrous thing. Extermination seemed to
be the proper medicine for such creatures as this. They did not kill all the blacks, but they
promptly killed enough of them to make their own persons safe. From the dawn of civilization down to this
day the white man has always used that very precaution. Mrs. Campbell Praed lived in
Speaking of pioneer days in the mighty wilderness of
"At first the natives retreated before the whites; and, except that
they every now and then speared a beast in one of the herds, gave
little cause for uneasiness. But, as the number of squatters
increased, each one taking up miles of country and bringing two or
three men in his train, so that shepherds' huts and stockmen's camps
lay far apart, and defenseless in the midst of hostile tribes, the
Blacks' depredations became more frequent and murder was no unusual
"The loneliness of the Australian bush can hardly be painted in
words. Here extends mile after mile of primeval forest where
perhaps foot of white man has never trod--interminable vistas where
the eucalyptus trees rear their lofty trunks and spread forth their
lanky limbs, from which the red gum oozes and hangs in fantastic
pendants like crimson stalactites; ravines along the sides of which
the long-bladed grass grows rankly; level untimbered plains
alternating with undulating tracts of pasture, here and there broken
by a stony ridge, steep gully, or dried-up creek. All wild, vast
and desolate; all the same monotonous gray coloring, except where
the wattle, when in blossom, shows patches of feathery gold, or a
belt of scrub lies green, glossy, and impenetrable as Indian jungle.
"The solitude seems intensified by the strange sounds of reptiles,
birds, and insects, and by the absence of larger creatures; of which
in the day-time, the only audible signs are the stampede of a herd
of kangaroo, or the rustle of a wallabi, or a dingo stirring the
grass as it creeps to its lair. But there are the whirring of
locusts, the demoniac chuckle of the laughing jack-ass, the
screeching of cockatoos and parrots, the hissing of the frilled
lizard, and the buzzing of innumerable insects hidden under the
dense undergrowth. And then at night, the melancholy wailing of the
curlews, the dismal howling of dingoes, the discordant croaking of
tree-frogs, might well shake the nerves of the solitary watcher."
That is the theater for the drama. When you comprehend one or two other details, you will perceive how well suited for trouble it was, and how loudly it invited it. The cattlemen's stations were scattered over that profound wilderness miles and miles apart--at each station half a dozen persons. There was a plenty of cattle, the black natives were always ill-nourished and hungry. The land belonged to them. The whites had not bought it, and couldn't buy it; for the tribes had no chiefs, nobody in authority, nobody competent to sell and convey; and the tribes themselves had no comprehension of the idea of transferable ownership of land. The ousted owners were despised by the white interlopers, and this opinion was not hidden under a bushel. More promising materials for a tragedy could not have been collated. Let Mrs. Praed speak:
"At Nie station, one dark night, the unsuspecting hut-keeper,
having, as he believed, secured himself against assault, was lying
wrapped in his blankets sleeping profoundly. The Blacks crept
stealthily down the chimney and battered in his skull while he
One could guess the whole drama from that little text. The curtain was up. It would not fall until the mastership of one party or the other was determined--and permanently:
"There was treachery on both sides. The Blacks killed the Whites
when they found them defenseless, and the Whites slew the Blacks in
a wholesale and promiscuous fashion which offended against my
childish sense of justice.
"They were regarded as little above the level of brutes, and in some
cases were destroyed like vermin.
"Here is an instance. A squatter, whose station was surrounded by
Blacks, whom he suspected to be hostile and from whom he feared an
attack, parleyed with them from his house-door. He told them it was
Christmas-time--a time at which all men, black or white, feasted;
that there were flour, sugar-plums, good things in plenty in the
store, and that he would make for them such a pudding as they had
never dreamed of--a great pudding of which all might eat and be
filled. The Blacks listened and were lost. The pudding was made
and distributed. Next morning there was howling in the camp, for it
had been sweetened with sugar and arsenic!"
The white man's spirit was right, but his method was
wrong. His spirit was the spirit which
the civilized white has always exhibited toward the savage, but the use of
poison was a departure from custom.
True, it was merely a technical departure, not a real one; still, it was
a departure, and therefore a mistake, in my opinion. It was better, kinder, swifter, and much more
humane than a number of the methods which have been sanctified by custom, but
that does not justify its employment.
That is, it does not wholly justify it.
Its unusual nature makes it stand out and attract an amount of attention
which it is not entitled to. It takes
hold upon morbid imaginations and they work it up into a sort of exhibition of
cruelty, and this smirches the good name of our civilization, whereas one of
the old harsher methods would have had no such effect because usage has made
those methods familiar to us and innocent.
In many countries we have chained the savage and starved him to death;
and this we do not care for, because custom has inured us to it; yet a quick
death by poison is loving-kindness to it.
In many countries we have burned the savage at the stake; and this we do
not care for, because custom has inured us to it; yet a quick death is
loving-kindness to it. In more than one
country we have hunted the savage and his little children and their mother with
dogs and guns through the woods and swamps for an afternoon's sport, and filled
the region with happy laughter over their sprawling and stumbling flight, and
their wild supplications for mercy; but this method we do not mind, because
custom has inured us to it; yet a quick death by poison is loving-kindness to
it. In many countries we have taken the
savage's land from him, and made him our slave, and lashed him every day, and
broken his pride, and made death his only friend, and overworked him till he
dropped in his tracks; and this we do not care for, because custom has inured us
to it; yet a quick death by poison is loving-kindness to it. In the
Matabeleland today--why, there we are confining ourselves to sanctified custom,
we Rhodes-Beit millionaires in
I am sorry to hear her say that. I myself blame him for one thing, and severely, but I stop there. I blame him for, the indiscretion of introducing a novelty which was calculated to attract attention to our civilization. There was no occasion to do that. It was his duty, and it is every loyal man's duty to protect that heritage in every way he can; and the best way to do that is to attract attention elsewhere. The squatter's judgment was bad--that is plain; but his heart was right. He is almost the only pioneering representative of civilization in history who has risen above the prejudices of his caste and his heredity and tried to introduce the element of mercy into the superior race's dealings with the savage. His name is lost, and it is a pity; for it deserves to be handed down to posterity with homage and reverence.
This paragraph is from a
civilization in her distant dependencies we may turn with advantage
penal colony, M. Feillet, the Governor, forcibly expropriated the
Kanaka cultivators from the best of their plantations, with a
derisory compensation, in spite of the protests of the Council
General of the island. Such immigrants as could be induced to cross
the seas thus found themselves in possession of thousands of coffee,
cocoa, banana, and bread-fruit trees, the raising of which had cost
the wretched natives years of toil whilst the latter had a few
to spend in the liquor stores of
You observe the combination? It is robbery, humiliation, and slow, slow murder, through poverty and the white man's whisky. The savage's gentle friend, the savage's noble friend, the only magnanimous and unselfish friend the savage has ever had, was not there with the merciful swift release of his poisoned pudding.
There are many humorous things in the world; among them the
white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.--[See Chapter
Nothing is so ignorant as a man's left hand, except a lady's watch.
You notice that Mrs. Praed knows her art. She can place a thing before you so that you
can see it. She is not alone in
Mr. Philip Chauncy, an officer of the Victorian Government, contributed to its archives a report of his personal observations of the aboriginals which has in it some things which I wish to condense slightly and insert here. He speaks of the quickness of their eyes and the accuracy of their judgment of the direction of approaching missiles as being quite extraordinary, and of the answering suppleness and accuracy of limb and muscle in avoiding the missile as being extraordinary also. He has seen an aboriginal stand as a target for cricket-balls thrown with great force ten or fifteen yards, by professional bowlers, and successfully dodge them or parry them with his shield during about half an hour. One of those balls, properly placed, could have killed him; "Yet he depended, with the utmost self-possession, on the quickness of his eye and his agility."
The shield was the customary war-shield of his race, and would not be a protection to you or to me. It is no broader than a stovepipe, and is about as long as a man's arm. The opposing surface is not flat, but slopes away from the centerline like a boat's bow. The difficulty about a cricket-ball that has been thrown with a scientific "twist" is, that it suddenly changes it course when it is close to its target and comes straight for the mark when apparently it was going overhead or to one side. I should not be able to protect myself from such balls for half-an-hour, or less.
Mr. Chauncy once saw "a little native man" throw a
We have all seen the circus-man bound into the air from a spring-board and make a somersault over eight horses standing side by side. Mr. Chauncy saw an aboriginal do it over eleven; and was assured that he had sometimes done it over fourteen. But what is that to this:
"I saw the same man leap from the ground, and in going over he
dipped his head, unaided by his hands, into a hat placed in an
inverted position on the top of the head of another man sitting
upright on horseback--both man and horse being of the average size.
The native landed on the other side of the horse with the hat fairly
on his head. The prodigious height of the leap, and the precision
with which it was taken so as to enable him to dip his head into the
hat, exceeded any feat of the kind I have ever beheld."
I should think so! On
board a ship lately I saw a young
One can see now where the kangaroo learned its art.
Sir George Grey and Mr. Eyre testify that the natives dug wells fourteen or fifteen feet deep and two feet in diameter at the bore--dug them in the sand--wells that were "quite circular, carried straight down, and the work beautifully executed."
Their tools were their hands and feet. How did they throw sand out from such a depth? How could they stoop down and get it, with only two feet of space to stoop in? How did they keep that sand-pipe from caving in on them? I do not know. Still, they did manage those seeming impossibilities. Swallowed the sand, may be.
Mr. Chauncy speaks highly of the patience and skill and alert intelligence of the native huntsman when he is stalking the emu, the kangaroo, and other game:
"As he walks through the bush his step is light, elastic, and
noiseless; every track on the earth catches his keen eye; a leaf, or
fragment of a stick turned, or a blade of grass recently bent by the
tread of one of the lower animals, instantly arrests his attention;
in fact, nothing escapes his quick and powerful sight on the ground,
in the trees, or in the distance, which may supply him with a meal
or warn him of danger. A little examination of the trunk of a tree
which may be nearly covered with the scratches of opossums ascending
and descending is sufficient to inform him whether one went up the
night before without coming down again or not."
Fennimore Cooper lost his chance. He would have known how to value these people. He wouldn't have traded the dullest of them for the brightest Mohawk he ever invented.
All savages draw outline pictures upon bark; but the resemblances are not close, and expression is usually lacking. But the Australian aboriginal's pictures of animals were nicely accurate in form, attitude, carriage; and he put spirit into them, and expression. And his pictures of white people and natives were pretty nearly as good as his pictures of the other animals. He dressed his whites in the fashion of their day, both the ladies and the gentlemen. As an untaught wielder of the pencil it is not likely that he has had his equal among savage people.
His place in art--as to drawing, not color-work--is well up, all things considered. His art is not to be classified with savage art at all, but on a plane two degrees above it and one degree above the lowest plane of civilized art. To be exact, his place in art is between Botticelli and De Maurier. That is to say, he could not draw as well as De Maurier but better than Boticelli. In feeling, he resembles both; also in grouping and in his preferences in the matter of subjects. His "corrobboree" of the Australian wilds reappears in De Maurier's Belgravian ballrooms, with clothes and the smirk of civilization added; Botticelli's "Spring" is the "corrobboree" further idealized, but with fewer clothes and more smirk. And well enough as to intention, but--my word!
The aboriginal can make a fire by friction. I have tried that.
All savages are able to stand a good deal of physical
pain. The Australian aboriginal has this
quality in a well-developed degree. Do
not read the following instances if horrors are not pleasant to you. They were
recorded by the Rev. Henry N. Wolloston, of
1. "In the summer of 1852 I started on
to visit at
foot. We traveled about forty miles the first day, then camped by a
water-hole for the night. After cooking and eating our supper, I
observed the native, who had said nothing to me on the subject,
collect the hot embers of the fire together, and deliberately place
his right foot in the glowing mass for a moment, then suddenly
withdraw it, stamping on the ground and uttering a long-drawn
guttural sound of mingled pain and satisfaction. This operation he
repeated several times. On my inquiring the meaning of his strange
conduct, he only said, 'Me carpenter-make 'em' ('I am mending my
foot'), and then showed me his charred great toe, the nail of which
had been torn off by a tea-tree stump, in which it had been caught
during the journey, and the pain of which he had borne with stoical
composure until the evening, when he had an opportunity of
cauterizing the wound in the primitive manner above described."
And he proceeded on the journey the next day, "as if nothing had happened"--and walked thirty miles. It was a strange idea, to keep a surgeon and then do his own surgery.
2. "A native about twenty-five years of age once applied to me, as
a doctor, to extract the wooden barb of a spear, which, during a
fight in the bush some four months previously, had entered his
chest, just missing the heart, and penetrated the viscera to a
considerable depth. The spear had been cut off, leaving the barb
behind, which continued to force its way by muscular action
gradually toward the back; and when I examined him I could feel a
hard substance between the ribs below the left blade-bone. I made a
deep incision, and with a pair of forceps extracted the barb, which
was made, as usual, of hard wood about four inches long and from
half an inch to an inch thick. It was very smooth, and partly
digested, so to speak, by the maceration to which it had been
exposed during its four months' journey through the body. The wound
made by the spear had long since healed, leaving only a small
cicatrix; and after the operation, which the native bore without
flinching, he appeared to suffer no pain. Indeed, judging from his
good state of health, the presence of the foreign matter did not
materially annoy him. He was perfectly well in a few days."
But No. 3 is my favorite. Whenever I read it I seem to enjoy all that the patient enjoyed--whatever it was:
3. "Once at King George's Sound a native presented himself to me
with one leg only, and requested me to supply him with a wooden leg.
He had traveled in this maimed state about ninety-six miles, for
this purpose. I examined the limb, which had been severed just
below the knee, and found that it had been charred by fire, while
about two inches of the partially calcined bone protruded through
the flesh. I at once removed this with the saw; and having made as
presentable a stump of it as I could, covered the amputated end of
the bone with a surrounding of muscle, and kept the patient a few
days under my care to allow the wound to heal. On inquiring, the
native told me that in a fight with other black-fellows a spear had
struck his leg and penetrated the bone below the knee. Finding it
was serious, he had recourse to the following crude and barbarous
operation, which it appears is not uncommon among these people in
their native state. He made a fire, and dug a hole in the earth
only sufficiently large to admit his leg, and deep enough to allow
the wounded part to be on a level with the surface of the ground.
He then surrounded the limb with the live coals or charcoal, which
was replenished until the leg was literally burnt off. The
cauterization thus applied completely checked the hemorrhage, and he
was able in a day or two to hobble down to the Sound, with the aid
of a long stout stick, although he was more than a week on the
But he was a fastidious native. He soon discarded the wooden leg made for him by the doctor, because "it had no feeling in it." It must have had as much as the one he burnt off, I should think.
So much for the Aboriginals.
It is difficult for me to let them alone. They are marvelously
interesting creatures. For a quarter of
a century, now, the several colonial governments have housed their remnants in
comfortable stations, and fed them well and taken good care of them in every
way. If I had found this out while I was
And then there is the immortal "My word!" "We must import it." "M-y word!"
"In cold print it is the equivalent of our
"Ger-rreat Caesar!" but spoken with the proper Australian unction and
fervency, it is worth six of it for grace and charm and expressiveness. Our form is rude and explosive; it is not
suited to the drawing-room or the heifer-paddock; but "M-y word!" is,
and is music to the ear, too, when the utterer knows how to say it. I saw it in print several times on the
Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.
"Horsham, October 17. At the hotel. The weather divine. Across the way, in front of the London Bank
It turned out, upon inquiry, to be a pepper tree--an
There is an agricultural college eight miles from
Horsham. We were driven out to it by its
chief. The conveyance was an open wagon;
the time, noonday; no wind; the sky without a cloud, the sunshine brilliant
--and the mercury at 92 deg. in the shade.
In some countries an indolent unsheltered drive of an hour and a half under
such conditions would have been a sweltering and prostrating experience; but
there was nothing of that in this case.
It is a climate that is perfect.
There was no sense of heat; indeed, there was no heat; the air was fine
and pure and exhilarating; if the drive had lasted half a day I think we should
not have felt any discomfort, or grown silent or droopy or tired. Of course, the secret of it was the exceeding
dryness of the atmosphere. In that plain
112 deg. in the shade is without doubt no harder upon a man than is 88 or 90
The road lay through the middle of an empty space which seemed to me to be a hundred yards wide between the fences. I was not given the width in yards, but only in chains and perches--and furlongs, I think. I would have given a good deal to know what the width was, but I did not pursue the matter. I think it is best to put up with information the way you get it; and seem satisfied with it, and surprised at it, and grateful for it, and say, "My word!" and never let on. It was a wide space; I could tell you how wide, in chains and perches and furlongs and things, but that would not help you any. Those things sound well, but they are shadowy and indefinite, like troy weight and avoirdupois; nobody knows what they mean. When you buy a pound of a drug and the man asks you which you want, troy or avoirdupois, it is best to say "Yes," and shift the subject.
They said that the wide space dates from the earliest sheep and cattle-raising days. People had to drive their stock long distances --immense journeys--from worn-out places to new ones where were water and fresh pasturage; and this wide space had to be left in grass and unfenced, or the stock would have starved to death in the transit.
On the way we saw the usual birds--the beautiful little
green parrots, the magpie, and some others; and also the slender native bird of
modest plumage and the eternally-forgettable name--the bird that is the
smartest among birds, and can give a parrot 30 to
The magpie was out in great force, in the fields and on the
fences. He is a handsome large creature,
with snowy white decorations, and is a singer; he has a murmurous rich note
that is lovely. He was once modest, even
diffident; but he lost all that when he found out that he was
It was long believed that fruit trees would not grow in that baked and waterless plain around Horsham, but the agricultural college has dissipated that idea. Its ample nurseries were producing oranges, apricots, lemons, almonds, peaches, cherries, 48 varieties of apples--in fact, all manner of fruits, and in abundance. The trees did not seem to miss the water; they were in vigorous and flourishing condition.
Experiments are made with different soils, to see what
things thrive best in them and what climates are best for them. A man who is ignorantly trying to produce upon
his farm things not suited to its soil and its other conditions can make a
journey to the college from anywhere in
There were forty pupils there--a few of them farmers, relearning their trade, the rest young men mainly from the cities--novices. It seemed a strange thing that an agricultural college should have an attraction for city-bred youths, but such is the fact. They are good stuff, too; they are above the agricultural average of intelligence, and they come without any inherited prejudices in favor of hoary ignorances made sacred by long descent.
The students work all day in the fields, the nurseries, and the shearing-sheds, learning and doing all the practical work of the business--three days in a week. On the other three they study and hear lectures. They are taught the beginnings of such sciences as bear upon agriculture--like chemistry, for instance. We saw the sophomore class in sheep-shearing shear a dozen sheep. They did it by hand, not with the machine. The sheep was seized and flung down on his side and held there; and the students took off his coat with great celerity and adroitness. Sometimes they clipped off a sample of the sheep, but that is customary with shearers, and they don't mind it; they don't even mind it as much as the sheep. They dab a splotch of sheep-dip on the place and go right ahead.
The coat of wool was unbelievably thick. Before the shearing the sheep looked like the fat woman in the circus; after it he looked like a bench. He was clipped to the skin; and smoothly and uniformly. The fleece comes from him all in one piece and has the spread of a blanket.
The college was flying the Australian flag--the gridiron of
From Horsham we went to Stawell. By rail.
Still in the colony of
The Stawell region is not productive of gold only; it has
great vineyards, and produces exceptionally fine wines. One of these vineyards--the Great Western,
owned by Mr. Irving--is regarded as a model.
Its product has reputation abroad.
It yields a choice champagne and a fine claret, and its hock took a
On the way back to Stawell we had a chance to see a group of boulders called the Three Sisters--a curiosity oddly located; for it was upon high ground, with the land sloping away from it, and no height above it from whence the boulders could have rolled down. Relics of an early ice-drift, perhaps. They are noble boulders. One of them has the size and smoothness and plump sphericity of a balloon of the biggest pattern.
The road led through a forest of great gum-trees, lean and scraggy and sorrowful. The road was cream-white--a clayey kind of earth, apparently. Along it toiled occasional freight wagons, drawn by long double files of oxen. Those wagons were going a journey of two hundred miles, I was told, and were running a successful opposition to the railway! The railways are owned and run by the government.
Those sad gums stood up out of the dry white clay, pictures of patience and resignation. It is a tree that can get along without water; still it is fond of it--ravenously so. It is a very intelligent tree and will detect the presence of hidden water at a distance of fifty feet, and send out slender long root-fibres to prospect it. They will find it; and will also get at it even through a cement wall six inches thick. Once a cement water-pipe under ground at Stawell began to gradually reduce its output, and finally ceased altogether to deliver water. Upon examining into the matter it was found stopped up, wadded compactly with a mass of root-fibres, delicate and hair-like. How this stuff had gotten into the pipe was a puzzle for some little time; finally it was found that it had crept in through a crack that was almost invisible to the eye. A gum tree forty feet away had tapped the pipe and was drinking the water.
There is no such thing as "the Queen's English." The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares!
The approaches to Ballarat were beautiful. The features, great green expanses of rolling
pasture-land, bisected by eye contenting hedges of commingled new-gold and
old-gold gorse--and a lovely lake. One
must put in the pause, there, to fetch the reader up with a slight jolt, and
keep him from gliding by without noticing the lake. One must notice it; for a lovely lake is not
as common a thing along the railways of
Forty-five years ago the site now occupied by the City of
The smaller discoveries made in the colony of New South
Wales three months before had already started emigrants toward Australia; they
had been coming as a stream, but they came as a flood, now. A hundred thousand people poured into
That grassy and leafy paradise at Ballarat was soon ripped open, and lacerated and scarified and gutted, in the feverish search for its hidden riches. There is nothing like surface-mining to snatch the graces and beauties and benignities out of a paradise, and make an odious and repulsive spectacle of it.
What fortunes were made! Immigrants got rich while the ship unloaded and reloaded--and went back home for good in the same cabin they had come out in! Not all of them. Only some. I saw the others in Ballarat myself, forty-five years later--what were left of them by time and death and the disposition to rove. They were young and gay, then; they are patriarchal and grave, now; and they do not get excited any more. They talk of the Past. They live in it. Their life is a dream, a retrospection.
Ballarat was a great region for "nuggets." No such
nuggets were found in
Ballarat was a swarming city of tents in the early days. Everybody was happy, for a time, and apparently prosperous. Then came trouble. The government swooped down with a mining tax. And in its worst form, too; for it was not a tax upon what the miner had taken out, but upon what he was going to take out--if he could find it. It was a license-tax license to work his claim--and it had to be paid before he could begin digging.
Consider the situation.
No business is so uncertain as surface-mining. Your claim may be good,
and it may be worthless. It may make you
well off in a month; and then again you may have to dig and slave for half a
year, at heavy expense, only to find out at last that the gold is not there in
cost-paying quantity, and that your time and your hard work have been thrown
away. It might be wise policy to advance
the miner a monthly sum to encourage him to develop the country's riches; but
to tax him monthly in advance instead--why, such a thing was never dreamed of
The Ballarat miners protested, petitioned, complained--it was of no use; the government held its ground, and went on collecting the tax. And not by pleasant methods, but by ways which must have been very galling to free people. The rumblings of a coming storm began to be audible.
By and by there was a result; and I think it may be called
the finest thing in Australasian history.
It was a revolution--small in size; but great politically; it was a
strike for liberty, a struggle for a principle, a stand against injustice and
oppression. It was the Barons and John,
over again; it was Hampden and Ship-Money; it was
The surface-soil of Ballarat was full of gold. This soil the miners ripped and tore and
trenched and harried and disembowled, and made it yield up its immense
treasure. Then they went down into the
earth with deep shafts, seeking the gravelly beds of ancient rivers and
brooks--and found them. They followed
the courses of these streams, and gutted them, sending the gravel up in buckets
to the upper world, and washing out of it its enormous deposits of gold. The next biggest of the two monster nuggets
mentioned above came from an old river-channel
Finally the quartz lodes were attacked. That is not poor-man's mining. Quartz-mining and milling require capital, and staying-power, and patience. Big companies were formed, and for several decades, now, the lodes have been successfully worked, and have yielded great wealth. Since the gold discovery in 1853 the Ballarat mines--taking the three kinds of mining together--have contributed to the world's pocket something over three hundred millions of dollars, which is to say that this nearly invisible little spot on the earth's surface has yielded about one-fourth as much gold in forty-four years as all California has yielded in forty-seven. The Californian aggregate, from 1848 to 1895, inclusive, as reported by the Statistician of the United States Mint, is
A citizen told me a curious thing about those mines. With all my experience of mining I had never heard of anything of the sort before. The main gold reef runs about north and south--of course for that is the custom of a rich gold reef. At Ballarat its course is between walls of slate. Now the citizen told me that throughout a stretch of twelve miles along the reef, the reef is crossed at intervals by a straight black streak of a carbonaceous nature--a streak in the slate; a streak no thicker than a pencil--and that wherever it crosses the reef you will certainly find gold at the junction. It is called the Indicator. Thirty feet on each side of the Indicator (and down in the slate, of course) is a still finer streak--a streak as fine as a pencil mark; and indeed, that is its name Pencil Mark. Whenever you find the Pencil Mark you know that thirty feet from it is the Indicator; you measure the distance, excavate, find the Indicator, trace it straight to the reef, and sink your shaft; your fortune is made, for certain. If that is true, it is curious. And it is curious anyway.
Ballarat is a town of only 40,000 population; and yet, since
it is in
At this point I strike out some other praiseful things which I was tempted to add. I do not strike them out because they were not true or not well said, but because I find them better said by another man--and a man more competent to testify, too, because he belongs on the ground, and knows. I clip them from a chatty speech delivered some years ago by Mr. William Little, who was at that time mayor of Ballarat:
"The language of our citizens, in this as in other parts of
vulgarisms, and the conflicting dialects of our Fatherland, and is
pure enough to suit a Trench or a Latham. Our youth, aided by
climatic influence, are in point of physique and comeliness
unsurpassed in the Sunny South. Our young men are well ordered; and
our maidens, 'not stepping over the bounds of modesty,' are as fair
as Psyches, dispensing smiles as charming as November flowers."
The closing clause has the seeming of a rather frosty compliment, but that is apparent only, not real. November is summer-time there.
His compliment to the local purity of the language is
warranted. It is quite free from
impurities; this is acknowledged far and wide.
As in the German Empire all cultivated people claim to speak Hanovarian
German, so in
Presently, when we were lighting our cigars, he held a match to mine and I said:
"Thank you," and he said:
Then I saw. 'Q' is the end of the phrase "I thank you" 'Km' is the end of the phrase "You are welcome." Mr. Little puts no emphasis upon either of them, but delivers them so reduced that they hardly have a sound. All Ballarat English is like that, and the effect is very soft and pleasant; it takes all the hardness and harshness out of our tongue and gives to it a delicate whispery and vanishing cadence which charms the ear like the faint rustling of the forest leaves.
"Classic." A book which people praise and don't read.
On the rail again--bound for
October 23. Got up at
6, left at 7.30; soon reached Castlemaine, one of the rich gold-fields of the
early days; waited several hours for a train; left at 3.40 and reached
"It is gold. Examine it--take the glass. Now how much should you say it is worth?"
"I should say about two cents; or in your English dialect, four farthings."
"Well, it cost L11,000."
"Yes, it did.
Speaking of patience again, another of the mines was worked, under heavy expenses, during 17 years before pay was struck, and still another one compelled a wait of 21 years before pay was struck; then, in both instances, the outlay was all back in a year or two, with compound interest.
It was through Mr. Blank--not to go into particulars about
his name--it was mainly through Mr. Blank that my stay in
But I am not representing him quite correctly. He did not say it was through his influence that all these things had happened--for that would have been coarse; be merely conveyed that idea; conveyed it so subtly that I only caught it fleetingly, as one catches vagrant faint breaths of perfume when one traverses the meadows in summer; conveyed it without offense and without any suggestion of egoism or ostentation--but conveyed it, nevertheless.
He was an Irishman; an educated gentleman; grave, and kindly, and courteous; a bachelor, and about forty-five or possibly fifty years old, apparently. He called upon me at the hotel, and it was there that we had this talk. He made me like him, and did it without trouble. This was partly through his winning and gentle ways, but mainly through the amazing familiarity with my books which his conversation showed. He was down to date with them, too; and if he had made them the study of his life he could hardly have been better posted as to their contents than he was. He made me better satisfied with myself than I had ever been before. It was plain that he had a deep fondness for humor, yet he never laughed; he never even chuckled; in fact, humor could not win to outward expression on his face at all. No, he was always grave--tenderly, pensively grave; but he made me laugh, all along; and this was very trying--and very pleasant at the same time--for it was at quotations from my own books.
When he was going, he turned and said:
"You don't remember me?"
"I? Why, no. Have we met before?"
"No, it was a matter of correspondence."
"Yes, many years ago. Twelve or fifteen. Oh, longer than that. But of course you----" A musing pause. Then he said:
"Do you remember
"N-no, I believe I don't. I don't seem to recall the name."
He waited a moment, pondering, with the door-knob in his
hand, then started out; but turned back and said that I had once been
We drove from the lecture-hall together about half-past ten. He had a most comfortably and tastefully furnished parlor, with good pictures on the walls, Indian and Japanese ornaments on the mantel, and here and there, and books everywhere-largely mine; which made me proud. The light was brilliant, the easy chairs were deep-cushioned, the arrangements for brewing and smoking were all there. We brewed and lit up; then he passed a sheet of note-paper to me and said--
"Do you remember that?"
"Oh, yes, indeed!"
The paper was of a sumptuous quality. At the top was a twisted and interlaced monogram printed from steel dies in gold and blue and red, in the ornate English fashion of long years ago; and under it, in neat gothic capitals was this--printed in blue:
THE MARK TWAIN CLUB
"My!" said I, "how did you come by this?"
"I was President of it."
"No!--you don't mean it."
"It is true. I was its first President. I was re-elected annually as long as its meetings were held in my castle--Corrigan--which was five years."
Then he showed me an album with twenty-three photographs of
me in it. Five of them were of old dates, the others of various later crops;
the list closed with a picture taken by Falk in
"You sent us the first five; the rest were bought."
This was paradise! We ran late, and talked, talked, talked--subject, the Mark Twain Club of Corrigan Castle, Ireland.
My first knowledge of that Club dates away back; all of twenty years, I should say. It came to me in the form of a courteous letter, written on the note-paper which I have described, and signed "By order of the President; C. PEMBROKE, Secretary." It conveyed the fact that the Club had been created in my honor, and added the hope that this token of appreciation of my work would meet with my approval.
I answered, with thanks; and did what I could to keep my gratification from over-exposure.
It was then that the long correspondence began. A letter came back, by order of the President, furnishing me the names of the members-thirty-two in number. With it came a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws, in pamphlet form, and artistically printed. The initiation fee and dues were in their proper place; also, schedule of meetings--monthly--for essays upon works of mine, followed by discussions; quarterly for business and a supper, without essays, but with after-supper speeches also, there was a list of the officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, etc. The letter was brief, but it was pleasant reading, for it told me about the strong interest which the membership took in their new venture, etc., etc. It also asked me for a photograph --a special one. I went down and sat for it and sent it--with a letter, of course.
Presently came the badge of the Club, and very dainty and pretty it was; and very artistic. It was a frog peeping out from a graceful tangle of grass-sprays and rushes, and was done in enamels on a gold basis, and had a gold pin back of it. After I had petted it, and played with it, and caressed it, and enjoyed it a couple of hours, the light happened to fall upon it at a new angle, and revealed to me a cunning new detail; with the light just right, certain delicate shadings of the grass-blades and rush-stems wove themselves into a monogram--mine! You can see that that jewel was a work of art. And when you come to consider the intrinsic value of it, you must concede that it is not every literary club that could afford a badge like that. It was easily worth $75, in the opinion of Messrs. Marcus and Ward of New York. They said they could not duplicate it for that and make a profit. By this time the Club was well under way; and from that time forth its secretary kept my off-hours well supplied with business. He reported the Club's discussions of my books with laborious fullness, and did his work with great spirit and ability. As a, rule, he synopsized; but when a speech was especially brilliant, he short-handed it and gave me the best passages from it, written out. There were five speakers whom he particularly favored in that way: Palmer, Forbes, Naylor, Norris, and Calder. Palmer and Forbes could never get through a speech without attacking each other, and each in his own way was formidably effective--Palmer in virile and eloquent abuse, Forbes in courtly and elegant but scalding satire. I could always tell which of them was talking without looking for his name. Naylor had a polished style and a happy knack at felicitous metaphor; Norris's style was wholly without ornament, but enviably compact, lucid, and strong. But after all, Calder was the gem. He never spoke when sober, he spoke continuously when he wasn't. And certainly they were the drunkest speeches that a man ever uttered. They were full of good things, but so incredibly mixed up and wandering that it made one's head swim to follow him. They were not intended to be funny, but they were,--funny for the very gravity which the speaker put into his flowing miracles of incongruity. In the course of five years I came to know the styles of the five orators as well as I knew the style of any speaker in my own club at home.
These reports came every month. They were written on foolscap, 600 words to the page, and usually about twenty-five pages in a report--a good 15,000 words, I should say,--a solid week's work. The reports were absorbingly entertaining, long as they were; but, unfortunately for me, they did not come alone. They were always accompanied by a lot of questions about passages and purposes in my books, which the Club wanted answered; and additionally accompanied every quarter by the Treasurer's report, and the Auditor's report, and the Committee's report, and the President's review, and my opinion of these was always desired; also suggestions for the good of the Club, if any occurred to me.
By and by I came to dread those things; and this dread grew and grew and grew; grew until I got to anticipating them with a cold horror. For I was an indolent man, and not fond of letter-writing, and whenever these things came I had to put everything by and sit down--for my own peace of mind--and dig and dig until I got something out of my head which would answer for a reply. I got along fairly well the first year; but for the succeeding four years the Mark Twain Club of Corrigan Castle was my curse, my nightmare, the grief and misery of my life. And I got so, so sick of sitting for photographs. I sat every year for five years, trying to satisfy that insatiable organization. Then at last I rose in revolt. I could endure my oppressions no longer. I pulled my fortitude together and tore off my chains, and was a free man again, and happy. From that day I burned the secretary's fat envelopes the moment they arrived, and by and by they ceased to come.
Well, in the sociable frankness of that night in
Why, it was matter for anger, but I didn't feel any. He said he never had to work for a living, and that by the time he was thirty life had become a bore and a weariness to him. He had no interests left; they had paled and perished, one by one, and left him desolate. He had begun to think of suicide. Then all of a sudden he thought of that happy idea of starting an imaginary club, and went straightway to work at it, with enthusiasm and love. He was charmed with it; it gave him something to do. It elaborated itself on his hands;--it became twenty times more complex and formidable than was his first rude draft of it. Every new addition to his original plan which cropped up in his mind gave him a fresh interest and a new pleasure. He designed the Club badge himself, and worked over it, altering and improving it, a number of days and nights; then sent to London and had it made. It was the only one that was made. It was made for me; the "rest of the Club" went without.
He invented the thirty-two members and their names. He invented the five favorite speakers and their five separate styles. He invented their speeches, and reported them himself. He would have kept that Club going until now, if I hadn't deserted, he said. He said he worked like a slave over those reports; each of them cost him from a week to a fortnight's work, and the work gave him pleasure and kept him alive and willing to be alive. It was a bitter blow to him when the Club died.
Finally, there wasn't any
It was wonderful--the whole thing; and altogether the most ingenious and laborious and cheerful and painstaking practical joke I have ever heard of. And I liked it; liked to bear him tell about it; yet I have been a hater of practical jokes from as long back as I can remember. Finally he said--
"Do you remember a note from
"I wrote it."
"Yes, I did it.
I don't know why. I just took the
notion, and carried it out without stopping to think. It was wrong.
It could have done harm. I was
always sorry about it afterward. You
must forgive me. I was Mr. Bascom's
guest on his yacht, on his voyage around the world. He often spoke of you, and of the pleasant
times you had had together in his home; and the notion took me, there in
So the mystery was cleared up, after so many, many years.
There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one! keep from telling their happinesses to the unhappy.
After visits to Maryborough and some other Australian towns,
we presently took passage for
All people think that
I wanted to see him do more miracles; and so, just for the
pleasure of hearing him answer, I asked him about Hertzegovina, and pariah, and
unique. But he began to generalize then,
and show distress. I saw that with
He tried to avoid it at first; but then laughed and said that after all, the matter was not worth concealment, so he would let me into the secret. In substance, this is his story:
"Last autumn I was at work one morning at home, when a
card came up--the card of a stranger.
Under the name was printed a line which showed that this visitor was
Professor of Theological Engineering in
"I sent for my wife and told her how I was situated,
and asked for her help, and she thought of a thing which I might have thought
of myself, if I had not been excited and worried. She said she would go and tell the visitor
that I was out but would be in in a few minutes; and she would talk, and keep
him busy while I got out the back way and hurried over and make Professor
Lawson give the dinner. For Lawson knew
everything, and could meet the guest in a creditable way and save the
reputation of the University. I ran to
Lawson, but was disappointed. He did not
know anything about
He saw that the reputation of the University was in very real peril, and
he walked the floor in anxiety, talking, and trying to think out some way to
meet the difficulty. Presently he
decided that we must try the rest of the Faculty--some of them might know about
"We shut him off and called up the professor of biology, and he said that all he knew was that it was close to Aus----.
"We shut him off, and sat down, worried and
disheartened, to see if we could think up some other scheme. We shortly hit upon one which promised well,
and this one we adopted, and set its machinery going at once. It was this.
Lawson must give the dinner. The
Faculty must be notified by telephone to prepare. We must all get to work diligently, and at
the end of eight hours and a half we must come to dinner acquainted with
"It is in the official log-book of Yale, to be read and wondered at by future generations--the account of the Great Blank Day--the memorable Blank Day--the day wherein the wheels of culture were stopped, a Sunday silence prevailed all about, and the whole University stood still while the Faculty read-up and qualified itself to sit at meat, without shame, in the presence of the Professor of Theological Engineering from New Zealand:
"When we assembled at the dinner we were miserably
tired and worn--but we were posted. Yes,
it is fair to claim that. In fact,
erudition is a pale name for it.
"Well, finally somebody happened to notice that the
guest was looking dazed, and wasn't saying anything. So they stirred him up, of course. Then that
man came out with a good, honest, eloquent compliment that made the Faculty
blush. He said he was not worthy to sit
in the company of men like these; that he had been silent from admiration; that
he had been silent from another cause also--silent from shame--silent from
ignorance! 'For,' said he, 'I, who have lived eighteen years in
Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.
The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it.
November 1--noon. A fine day, a brilliant sun. Warm in the sun, cold in the shade--an icy breeze blowing out of the south. A solemn long swell rolling up northward. It comes from the South Pole, with nothing in the way to obstruct its march and tone its energy down. I have read somewhere that an acute observer among the early explorers--Cook? or Tasman?--accepted this majestic swell as trustworthy circumstantial evidence that no important land lay to the southward, and so did not waste time on a useless quest in that direction, but changed his course and went searching elsewhere.
between Tasmania (formerly Van Diemen's Land) and neighboring islands--islands
whence the poor exiled Tasmanian savages used to gaze at their lost homeland
and cry; and die of broken hearts. How glad I am that all these native races
are dead and gone, or nearly so. The
work was mercifully swift and horrible in some portions of
The Government wanted to save the Blacks from ultimate extermination, if possible. One of its schemes was to capture them and coop them up, on a neighboring island, under guard. Bodies of Whites volunteered for the hunt, for the pay was good--L5 for each Black captured and delivered, but the success achieved was not very satisfactory. The Black was naked, and his body was greased. It was hard to get a grip on him that would hold. The Whites moved about in armed bodies, and surprised little families of natives, and did make captures; but it was suspected that in these surprises half a dozen natives were killed to one caught--and that was not what the Government desired.
Another scheme was to drive the natives into a corner of the island and fence them in by a cordon of men placed in line across the country; but the natives managed to slip through, constantly, and continue their murders and arsons.
The governor warned these unlettered savages by printed proclamation that they must stay in the desolate region officially appointed for them! The proclamation was a dead letter; the savages could not read it. Afterward a picture-proclamation was issued. It was painted up on boards, and these were nailed to trees in the forest. Herewith is a photographic reproduction of this fashion-plate. Substantially it means:
1. The Governor wishes the Whites and the Blacks to love each other;
2. He loves his black subjects;
3. Blacks who kill Whites will be hanged;
4. Whites who kill Blacks will be hanged.
Upon its several schemes the Government spent L30,000 and
employed the labors and ingenuities of several thousand Whites for a long time
with failure as a result. Then, at last,
a quarter of a century after the beginning of the troubles between the two
races, the right man was found. No, he found himself. This was George Augustus Robinson, called in
history "The Conciliator." He
was not educated, and not conspicuous in any way. He was a working bricklayer, in
He set himself this incredible task: to go out into the wilderness, the jungle, and the mountain-retreats where the hunted and implacable savages were hidden, and appear among them unarmed, speak the language of love and of kindness to them, and persuade them to forsake their homes and the wild free life that was so dear to them, and go with him and surrender to the hated Whites and live under their watch and ward, and upon their charity the rest of their lives! On its face it was the dream of a madman.
In the beginning, his moral-suasion project was
sarcastically dubbed the sugar plum speculation. If the scheme was striking, and new to the
world's experience, the situation was not less so. It was this.
The White population numbered
At the end of five-and-twenty years of hard fighting, the surviving 300 naked patriots were still defiant, still persistent, still efficacious with their rude weapons, and the Governor and the 40,000 knew not which way to turn, nor what to do.
Then the Bricklayer--that wonderful man--proposed to go out into the wilderness, with no weapon but his tongue, and no protection but his honest eye and his humane heart; and track those embittered savages to their lairs in the gloomy forests and among the mountain snows. Naturally, he was considered a crank. But he was not quite that. In fact, he was a good way short of that. He was building upon his long and intimate knowledge of the native character. The deriders of his project were right--from their standpoint--for they believed the natives to be mere wild beasts; and Robinson was right, from his standpoint--for he believed the natives to be human beings. The truth did really lie between the two. The event proved that Robinson's judgment was soundest; but about once a month for four years the event came near to giving the verdict to the deriders, for about that frequently Robinson barely escaped falling under the native spears.
But history shows that he had a thinking head, and was not a mere wild sentimentalist. For instance, he wanted the war parties (called) in before he started unarmed upon his mission of peace. He wanted the best chance of success--not a half-chance. And he was very willing to have help; and so, high rewards were advertised, for any who would go unarmed with him. This opportunity was declined. Robinson persuaded some tamed natives of both sexes to go with him--a strong evidence of his persuasive powers, for those natives well knew that their destruction would be almost certain. As it turned out, they had to face death over and over again.
Robinson and his little party had a difficult undertaking upon their hands. They could not ride off, horseback, comfortably into the woods and call Leonidas and his 300 together for a talk and a treaty the following day; for the wild men were not in a body; they were scattered, immense distances apart, over regions so desolate that even the birds could not make a living with the chances offered--scattered in groups of twenty, a dozen, half a dozen, even in groups of three. And the mission must go on foot. Mr. Bonwick furnishes a description of those horrible regions, whereby it will be seen that even fugitive gangs of the hardiest and choicest human devils the world has seen--the convicts set apart to people the "Hell of Macquarrie Harbor Station"--were never able, but once, to survive the horrors of a march through them, but starving and struggling, and fainting and failing, ate each other, and died:
"Onward, still onward, was the order of the indomitable
Robinson. No one ignorant of the western
"After a frightful journey by
Mr. Bonwick says that Robinson's friendly capture of the
Robinson knew that these formidable people were lurking somewhere, in some remote corner of the hideous regions just described, and he and his unarmed little party started on a tedious and perilous hunt for them. At last, "there, under the shadows of the Frenchman's Cap, whose grim cone rose five thousand feet in the uninhabited westward interior," they were found. It was a serious moment. Robinson himself believed, for once, that his mission, successful until now, was to end here in failure, and that his own death-hour had struck.
The redoubtable chief stood in menacing attitude, with his eighteen-foot spear poised; his warriors stood massed at his back, armed for battle, their faces eloquent with their long-cherished loathing for white men. "They rattled their spears and shouted their war-cry." Their women were back of them, laden with supplies of weapons, and keeping their 150 eager dogs quiet until the chief should give the signal to fall on.
"I think we shall soon be in the resurrection," whispered a member of Robinson's little party.
"I think we shall," answered Robinson; then plucked up heart and began his persuasions--in the tribe's own dialect, which surprised and pleased the chief. Presently there was an interruption by the chief:
"Who are you?"
"We are gentlemen."
"Where are your guns?"
"We have none."
The warrior was astonished.
"Where your little guns?" (pistols).
"We have none."
A few minutes passed--in by-play--suspense--discussion among the tribesmen--Robinson's tamed squaws ventured to cross the line and begin persuasions upon the wild squaws. Then the chief stepped back "to confer with the old women--the real arbiters of savage war." Mr. Bonwick continues:
"As the fallen gladiator in the arena looks for the signal of life
or death from the president of the amphitheatre, so waited our
friends in anxious suspense while the conference continued. In a
few minutes, before a word was uttered, the women of the tribe threw
up their arms three times. This was the inviolable sign of peace!
Down fell the spears. Forward, with a heavy sigh of relief, and
upward glance of gratitude, came the friends of peace. The
impulsive natives rushed forth with tears and cries, as each saw in
the other's rank a loved one of the past.
"It was a jubilee of joy. A festival followed. And, while tears
flowed at the recital of woe, a corrobory of pleasant laughter
closed the eventful day."
In four years, without the spilling of a drop of blood, Robinson brought them all in, willing captives, and delivered them to the white governor, and ended the war which powder and bullets, and thousands of men to use them, had prosecuted without result since 1804.
Marsyas charming the wild beasts with his music--that is fable; but the miracle wrought by Robinson is fact. It is history--and authentic; and surely, there is nothing greater, nothing more reverence-compelling in the history of any country, ancient or modern.
And in memory of the greatest man
However, Robertson's own generation honored him, and in manifesting it honored themselves. The Government gave him a money-reward and a thousand acres of land; and the people held mass-meetings and praised him and emphasized their praise with a large subscription of money.
A good dramatic situation; but the curtain fell on another:
"When this desperate tribe was thus captured, there was much
surprise to find that the L30,000 of a little earlier day had been
spent, and the whole population of the colony placed under arms, in
contention with an opposing force of sixteen men with wooden spears!
Yet such was the
fact. The celebrated
been raised by European fears to a host, consisted of sixteen men,
nine women, and one child. With a knowledge of the mischief done by
these few, their wonderful marches and their widespread aggressions,
their enemies cannot deny to them the attributes of courage and
military tact. A Wallace might harass a large army with a small and
determined band; but the contending parties were at least equal in
civilization. The Zulus who fought us in
provided with weapons, more advanced in the science of war, and
considerably more numerous, than the naked Tasmanians. Governor
Arthur rightly termed them a noble race."
These were indeed wonderful people, the natives. They ought not to have been wasted. They should have been crossed with the Whites. It would have improved the Whites and done the Natives no harm.
But the Natives were wasted, poor heroic wild creatures. They were gathered together in little settlements on neighboring islands, and paternally cared for by the Government, and instructed in religion, and deprived of tobacco, because the superintendent of the Sunday-school was not a smoker, and so considered smoking immoral.
The Natives were not used to clothes, and houses, and regular hours, and church, and school, and Sunday-school, and work, and the other misplaced persecutions of civilization, and they pined for their lost home and their wild free life. Too late they repented that they had traded that heaven for this hell. They sat homesick on their alien crags, and day by day gazed out through their tears over the sea with unappeasable longing toward the hazy bulk which was the specter of what had been their paradise; one by one their hearts broke and they died.
In a very few years nothing but a scant remnant remained alive. A handful lingered along into age. In 1864 the last man died, in 1876 the last woman died, and the Spartans of Australasia were extinct.
The Whites always mean well when they take human fish out of the ocean and try to make them dry and warm and happy and comfortable in a chicken coop; but the kindest-hearted white man can always be depended on to prove himself inadequate when he deals with savages. He cannot turn the situation around and imagine how he would like it to have a well-meaning savage transfer him from his house and his church and his clothes and his books and his choice food to a hideous wilderness of sand and rocks and snow, and ice and sleet and storm and blistering sun, with no shelter, no bed, no covering for his and his family's naked bodies, and nothing to eat but snakes and grubs and 'offal. This would be a hell to him; and if he had any wisdom he would know that his own civilization is a hell to the savage--but he hasn't any, and has never had any; and for lack of it he shut up those poor natives in the unimaginable perdition of his civilization, committing his crime with the very best intentions, and saw those poor creatures waste away under his tortures; and gazed at it, vaguely troubled and sorrowful, and wondered what could be the matter with them. One is almost betrayed into respecting those criminals, they were so sincerely kind, and tender, and humane; and well-meaning.
They didn't know why those exiled savages faded away, and
they did their honest best to reason it out.
And one man, in a like case in
"It is from the wrath of God, which is revealed from heaven against
cold ungodliness and unrighteousness of men."
That settles it.
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
The aphorism does really seem true: "Given the
Circumstances, the Man will appear."
But the man musn't appear ahead of time, or it will spoil
everything. In Robinson's case the
Moment had been approaching for a quarter of a century--and meantime the future
Conciliator was tranquilly laying bricks in
A few years before the outbreak of the Civil War it began to
The favorite butt for the jokes was Ed Jackson, because he played none himself, and was easy game for other people's--for he always believed whatever was told him.
One day he told the others his scheme for his holiday. He was not going fishing or hunting this time--no, he had thought out a better plan. Out of his $40 a month he had saved enough for his purpose, in an economical way, and he was going to have a look at New York.
It was a great and surprising idea. It meant travel immense travel--in those days it meant seeing the world; it was the equivalent of a voyage around it in ours. At first the other youths thought his mind was affected, but when they found that he was in earnest, the next thing to be thought of was, what sort of opportunity this venture might afford for a practical joke.
The young men studied over the matter, then held a secret consultation and made a plan. The idea was, that one of the conspirators should offer Ed a letter of introduction to Commodore Vanderbilt, and trick him into delivering it. It would be easy to do this. But what would Ed do when he got back to Memphis? That was a serious matter. He was good-hearted, and had always taken the jokes patiently; but they had been jokes which did not humiliate him, did not bring him to shame; whereas, this would be a cruel one in that way, and to play it was to meddle with fire; for with all his good nature, Ed was a Southerner--and the English of that was, that when he came back he would kill as many of the conspirators as he could before falling himself. However, the chances must be taken--it wouldn't do to waste such a joke as that.
So the letter was prepared with great care and elaboration. It was signed Alfred Fairchild, and was written in an easy and friendly spirit. It stated that the bearer was the bosom friend of the writer's son, and was of good parts and sterling character, and it begged the Commodore to be kind to the young stranger for the writer's sake. It went on to say, "You may have forgotten me, in this long stretch of time, but you will easily call me back out of your boyhood memories when I remind you of how we robbed old Stevenson's orchard that night; and how, while he was chasing down the road after us, we cut across the field and doubled back and sold his own apples to his own cook for a hat-full of doughnuts; and the time that we----" and so forth and so on, bringing in names of imaginary comrades, and detailing all sorts of wild and absurd and, of course, wholly imaginary schoolboy pranks and adventures, but putting them into lively and telling shape.
With all gravity Ed was asked if he would like to have a letter to Commodore Vanderbilt, the great millionaire. It was expected that the question would astonish Ed, and it did.
"What? Do you know that extraordinary man?"
"No; but my father does. They were schoolboys together. And if you like, I'll write and ask father. I know he'll be glad to give it to you for my sake."
Ed could not find words capable of expressing his gratitude and delight. The three days passed, and the letter was put into his bands. He started on his trip, still pouring out his thanks while he shook good-bye all around. And when he was out of sight his comrades let fly their laughter in a storm of happy satisfaction--and then quieted down, and were less happy, less satisfied. For the old doubts as to the wisdom of this deception began to intrude again.
Arrived in New York, Ed found his way to Commodore Vanderbilt's business quarters, and was ushered into a large anteroom, where a score of people were patiently awaiting their turn for a two-minute interview with the millionaire in his private office. A servant asked for Ed's card, and got the letter instead. Ed was sent for a moment later, and found Mr. Vanderbilt alone, with the letter--open--in his hand.
"Pray sit down, Mr. --er--"
" Ah--sit down, Mr. Jackson. By the opening sentences it seems to be a letter from an old friend. Allow me--I will run my eye through it. He says he says--why, who is it?" He turned the sheet and found the signature. "Alfred Fairchild--hm--Fairchild--I don't recall the name. But that is nothing--a thousand names have gone from me. He says--he says-hm-hmoh, dear, but it's good! Oh, it's rare! I don't quite remember it, but I seem to it'll all come back to me presently. He says --he says--hm--hm-oh, but that was a game! Oh, spl-endid! How it carries me back! It's all dim, of course it's a long time ago--and the names--some of the names are wavery and indistinct--but sho', I know it happened--I can feel it! and lord, how it warms my heart, and brings back my lost youth! Well, well, well, I've got to come back into this work-a-day world now--business presses and people are waiting--I'll keep the rest for bed to-night, and live my youth over again. And you'll thank Fairchild for me when you see him--I used to call him Alf, I think --and you'll give him my gratitude for--what this letter has done for the tired spirit of a hard-worked man; and tell him there isn't anything that I can do for him or any friend of his that I won't do. And as for you, my lad, you are my guest; you can't stop at any hotel in New York. Sit. where you are a little while, till I get through with these people, then we'll go home. I'll take care of you, my boy--make yourself easy as to that."
Ed stayed a week, and had an immense time--and never suspected that the Commodore's shrewd eye was on him, and that he was daily being weighed and measured and analyzed and tried and tested.
Yes, he had an immense time; and never wrote home, but saved it all up to tell when he should get back. Twice, with proper modesty and decency, he proposed to end his visit, but the Commodore said, "No--wait; leave it to me; I'll tell you when to go."
In those days the Commodore was making some of those vast combinations of his--consolidations of warring odds and ends of railroads into harmonious systems, and concentrations of floating and rudderless commerce in effective centers--and among other things his farseeing eye had detected the convergence of that huge tobacco-commerce, already spoken of, toward Memphis, and he had resolved to set his grasp upon it and make it his own.
The week came to an end. Then the Commodore said:
"Now you can start home. But first we will have some more talk about that tobacco matter. I know you now. I know your abilities as well as you know them yourself--perhaps better. You understand that tobacco matter; you understand that I am going to take possession of it, and you also understand the plans which I have matured for doing it. What I want is a man who knows my mind, and is qualified to represent me in Memphis, and be in supreme command of that important business--and I appoint you."
"Yes. Your salary will be high--of course-for you are representing me. Later you will earn increases of it, and will get them. You will need a small army of assistants; choose them yourself--and carefully. Take no man for friendship's sake; but, all things being equal, take the man you know, take your friend, in preference to the stranger." After some further talk under this head, the Commodore said:
"Good-bye, my boy, and thank Alf for me, for sending you to me."
When Ed reached Memphis he rushed down to the wharf in a fever to tell his great news and thank the boys over and over again for thinking to give him the letter to Mr. Vanderbilt. It happened to be one of those idle times. Blazing hot noonday, and no sign of life on the wharf. But as Ed threaded his way among the freight piles, he saw a white linen figure stretched in slumber upon a pile of grain-sacks under an awning, and said to himself, "That's one of them," and hastened his step; next, he said, "It's Charley--it's Fairchild good"; and the next moment laid an affectionate hand on the sleeper's shoulder. The eyes opened lazily, took one glance, the face blanched, the form whirled itself from the sack-pile, and in an instant Ed was alone and Fairchild was flying for the wharf-boat like the wind!
Ed was dazed, stupefied. Was Fairchild crazy? What could be the meaning of this? He started slow and dreamily down toward the wharf-boat; turned the corner of a freight-pile and came suddenly upon two of the boys. They were lightly laughing over some pleasant matter; they heard his step, and glanced up just as he discovered them; the laugh died abruptly; and before Ed could speak they were off, and sailing over barrels and bales like hunted deer. Again Ed was paralyzed. Had the boys all gone mad? What could be the explanation of this extraordinary conduct? And so, dreaming along, he reached the wharf-boat, and stepped aboard nothing but silence there, and vacancy. He crossed the deck, turned the corner to go down the outer guard, heard a fervent--
"O lord!" and saw a white linen form plunge overboard.
The youth came up coughing and strangling, and cried out--
"Go 'way from here! You let me alone. I didn't do it, I swear I didn't!"
"Didn't do what?"
"Give you the----"
"Never mind what you didn't do--come out of that! What makes you all act so? What have I done?"
"You? Why you haven't done anything. But----"
"Well, then, what have you got against me? What do you all treat me so for?"
"I--er--but haven't you got anything against us?"
"Of course not. What put such a thing into your head?"
"Honor bright--you haven't?
"I don't know what in the world you mean, but I swear it, anyway."
"And you'll shake hands with me?"
"Goodness knows I'll be glad to! Why, I'm just starving to shake hands with somebody!"
The swimmer muttered, "Hang him, he smelt a rat and never delivered the letter!--but it's all right, I'm not going to fetch up the subject." And he crawled out and came dripping and draining to shake hands. First one and then another of the conspirators showed up cautiously--armed to the teeth--took in the amicable situation, then ventured warily forward and joined the love-feast.
And to Ed's eager inquiry as to what made them act as they had been acting, they answered evasively, and pretended that they had put it up as a joke, to see what he would do. It was the best explanation they could invent at such short notice. And each said to himself, "He never delivered that letter, and the joke is on us, if he only knew it or we were dull enough to come out and tell."
Then, of course, they wanted to know all about the trip; and he said--
"Come right up on the boiler deck and order the drinks it's my treat. I'm going to tell you all about it. And to-night it's my treat again --and we'll have oysters and a time!"
When the drinks were brought and cigars lighted, Ed said:
"Well, when, I delivered the letter to Mr. Vanderbilt----"
"Gracious, how you scared me. What's the matter?"
"Oh--er--nothing. Nothing--it was a tack in the chair-seat," said one.
"But you all said it. However, no matter. When I delivered the letter----"
"Did you deliver it?" And they looked at each other as people might who thought that maybe they were dreaming.
Then they settled to listening; and as the story deepened and its marvels grew, the amazement of it made them dumb, and the interest of it took their breath. They hardly uttered a whisper during two hours, but sat like petrifactions and drank in the immortal romance. At last the tale was ended, and Ed said--
"And it's all owing to you, boys, and you'll never find me ungrateful --bless your hearts, the best friends a fellow ever had! You'll all have places; I want every one of you. I know you--I know you 'by the back,' as the gamblers say. You're jokers, and all that, but you're sterling, with the hallmark on. And Charley Fairchild, you shall be my first assistant and right hand, because of your first-class ability, and because you got me the letter, and for your father's sake who wrote it for me, and to please Mr. Vanderbilt, who said it would! And here's to that great man--drink hearty!"
Yes, when the Moment comes, the Man appears--even if he is a thousand miles away, and has to be discovered by a practical joke.
When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.
Necessarily, the human interest is the first interest in the
log-book of any country. The annals of
In due course our ship entered the estuary called the
Derwent, at whose head stands
It looked so to me.
"Coasting along Tasman's Peninsula, what a shock of pleasant wonder
must have struck the early mariner on suddenly sighting Cape Pillar, with its
cluster of black-ribbed basaltic columns rising to a height of
That is well enough, but I did not suppose those snags were
The Peninsula is lofty, rocky, and densely clothed with scrub, or brush, or both. It is joined to the main by a low neck. At this junction was formerly a convict station called Port Arthur--a place hard to escape from. Behind it was the wilderness of scrub, in which a fugitive would soon starve; in front was the narrow neck, with a cordon of chained dogs across it, and a line of lanterns, and a fence of living guards, armed. We saw the place as we swept by--that is, we had a glimpse of what we were told was the entrance to Port Arthur. The glimpse was worth something, as a remembrancer, but that was all.
The voyage thence up the Derwent Frith displays a grand succession of fairy visions, in its entire length elsewhere unequaled. In gliding over the deep blue sea studded with lovely islets luxuriant to the water's edge, one is at a loss which scene to choose for contemplation and to admire most. When the Huon and Bruni have been passed, there seems no possible chance of a rival; but suddenly Mount Wellington, massive and noble like his brother Etna, literally heaves in sight, sternly guarded on either hand by Mounts Nelson and Rumney; presently we arrive at Sullivan's Cove--Hobart!
It is an attractive town. It sits on low hills that slope to the harbor --a harbor that looks like a river, and is as smooth as one. Its still surface is pictured with dainty reflections of boats and grassy banks and luxuriant foliage. Back of the town rise highlands that are clothed in woodland loveliness, and over the way is that noble mountain, Wellington, a stately bulk, a most majestic pile. How beautiful is the whole region, for form, and grouping, and opulence, and freshness of foliage, and variety of color, and grace and shapeliness of the hills, the capes, the, promontories; and then, the splendor of the sunlight, the dim rich distances, the charm of the water-glimpses! And it was in this paradise that the yellow-liveried convicts were landed, and the Corps-bandits quartered, and the wanton slaughter of the kangaroo-chasing black innocents consummated on that autumn day in May, in the brutish old time. It was all out of keeping with the place, a sort of bringing of heaven and hell together.
The remembrance of this paradise reminds me that it was at Hobart that we struck the head of the procession of Junior Englands. We were to encounter other sections of it in New Zealand, presently, and others later in Natal. Wherever the exiled Englishman can find in his new home resemblances to his old one, he is touched to the marrow of his being; the love that is in his heart inspires his imagination, and these allied forces transfigure those resemblances into authentic duplicates of the revered originals. It is beautiful, the feeling which works this enchantment, and it compels one's homage; compels it, and also compels one's assent--compels it always--even when, as happens sometimes, one does not see the resemblances as clearly as does the exile who is pointing them out.
The resemblances do exist, it is quite true; and often they cunningly approximate the originals--but after all, in the matter of certain physical patent rights there is only one England. Now that I have sampled the globe, I am not in doubt. There is a beauty of Switzerland, and it is repeated in the glaciers and snowy ranges of many parts of the earth; there is a beauty of the fiord, and it is repeated in New Zealand and Alaska; there is a beauty of Hawaii, and it is repeated in ten thousand islands of the Southern seas; there is a beauty of the prairie and the plain, and it is repeated here and there in the earth; each of these is worshipful, each is perfect in its way, yet holds no monopoly of its beauty; but that beauty which is England is alone--it has no duplicate.
It is made up of very simple details--just grass, and trees, and shrubs, and roads, and hedges, and gardens, and houses, and vines, and churches, and castles, and here and there a ruin--and over it all a mellow dream-haze of history. But its beauty is incomparable, and all its own.
Hobart has a peculiarity--it is the neatest town that the sun shines on; and I incline to believe that it is also the cleanest. However that may be, its supremacy in neatness is not to be questioned. There cannot be another town in the world that has no shabby exteriors; no rickety gates and fences, no neglected houses crumbling to ruin, no crazy and unsightly sheds, no weed-grown front-yards of the poor, no back-yards littered with tin cans and old boots and empty bottles, no rubbish in the gutters, no clutter on the sidewalks, no outer-borders fraying out into dirty lanes and tin-patched huts. No, in Hobart all the aspects are tidy, and all a comfort to the eye; the modestest cottage looks combed and brushed, and has its vines, its flowers, its neat fence, its neat gate, its comely cat asleep on the window ledge.
We had a glimpse of the museum, by courtesy of the American gentleman who is curator of it. It has samples of half-a-dozen different kinds of marsupials--[A marsupial is a plantigrade vertebrate whose specialty is its pocket. In some countries it is extinct, in the others it is rare. The first American marsupials were Stephen Girard, Mr. Aston and the opossum; the principal marsupials of the Southern Hemisphere are Mr. Rhodes, and the kangaroo. I, myself, am the latest marsupial. Also, I might boast that I have the largest pocket of them all. But there is nothing in that.]--one, the "Tasmanian devil;" that is, I think he was one of them. And there was a fish with lungs. When the water dries up it can live in the mud. Most curious of all was a parrot that kills sheep. On one great sheep-run this bird killed a thousand sheep in a whole year. He doesn't want the whole sheep, but only the kidney-fat. This restricted taste makes him an expensive bird to support. To get the fat he drives his beak in and rips it out; the wound is mortal. This parrot furnishes a notable example of evolution brought about by changed conditions. When the sheep culture was introduced, it presently brought famine to the parrot by exterminating a kind of grub which had always thitherto been the parrot's diet. The miseries of hunger made the bird willing to eat raw flesh, since it could get no other food, and it began to pick remnants of meat from sheep skins hung out on the fences to dry. It soon came to prefer sheep meat to any other food, and by and by it came to prefer the kidney-fat to any other detail of the sheep. The parrot's bill was not well shaped for digging out the fat, but Nature fixed that matter; she altered the bill's shape, and now the parrot can dig out kidney-fat better than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or anybody else, for that matter--even an Admiral.
And there was another curiosity--quite a stunning one, I thought: Arrow-heads and knives just like those which Primeval Man made out of flint, and thought he had done such a wonderful thing--yes, and has been humored and coddled in that superstition by this age of admiring scientists until there is probably no living with him in the other world by now. Yet here is his finest and nicest work exactly duplicated in our day; and by people who have never heard of him or his works: by aborigines who lived in the islands of these seas, within our time. And they not only duplicated those works of art but did it in the brittlest and most treacherous of substances--glass: made them out of old brandy bottles flung out of the British camps; millions of tons of them. It is time for Primeval Man to make a little less noise, now. He has had his day. He is not what he used to be. We had a drive through a bloomy and odorous fairy-land, to the Refuge for the Indigent--a spacious and comfortable home, with hospitals, etc., for both sexes. There was a crowd in there, of the oldest people I have ever seen. It was like being suddenly set down in a new world--a weird world where Youth has never been, a world sacred to Age, and bowed forms, and wrinkles. Out of the 359 persons present, 223, were ex-convicts, and could have told stirring tales, no doubt, if they had been minded to talk; 42 of the 359 were past 80, and several were close upon 90; the average age at death there is 76 years. As for me, I have no use for that place; it is too healthy. Seventy is old enough--after that, there is too much risk. Youth and gaiety might vanish, any day--and then, what is left? Death in life; death without its privileges, death without its benefits. There were 185 women in that Refuge, and 81 of them were ex-convicts.
The steamer disappointed us.
Instead of making a long visit at
Nature makes the locust with an appetite for crops; man would have made him with an appetite for sand.
We spent part of an afternoon and a night at sea, and
reached Bluff, in
It was from Bluff that we ought to have cut across to the
west coast and visited the New Zealand Switzerland, a land of superb scenery,
made up of snowy grandeurs, anal mighty glaciers, and beautiful lakes; and over
there, also, are the wonderful rivals of the Norwegian and Alaskan fiords; and
for neighbor, a waterfall of
November 6. A lovely summer morning; brilliant blue sky. A few miles out from Invercargill, passed through vast level green expanses snowed over with sheep. Fine to see. The green, deep and very vivid sometimes; at other times less so, but delicate and lovely. A passenger reminds me that I am in "the England of the Far South."
Dunedin, same date. The town justifies Michael Davitt's praises. The people are Scotch. They stopped here on their way from home to heaven-thinking they had arrived. The population is stated at 40,000, by Malcolm Ross, journalist; stated by an M. P. at 60,000. A journalist cannot lie.
To the residence of Dr. Hockin. He has a fine collection of books relating to New Zealand; and his house is a museum of Maori art and antiquities. He has pictures and prints in color of many native chiefs of the past--some of them of note in history. There is nothing of the savage in the faces; nothing could be finer than these men's features, nothing more intellectual than these faces, nothing more masculine, nothing nobler than their aspect. The aboriginals of Australia and Tasmania looked the savage, but these chiefs looked like Roman patricians. The tattooing in these portraits ought to suggest the savage, of course, but it does not. The designs are so flowing and graceful and beautiful that they are a most satisfactory decoration. It takes but fifteen minutes to get reconciled to the tattooing, and but fifteen more to perceive that it is just the thing. After that, the undecorated European face is unpleasant and ignoble.
Dr. Hockiu gave us a ghastly curiosity--a lignified
caterpillar with a plant growing out of the back of its neck--a plant with a
Nature is always acting like that. Mrs. X. said (of course) that the caterpillar was not conscious and didn't suffer. She should have known better. No caterpillar can deceive Nature. If this one couldn't suffer, Nature would have known it and would have hunted up another caterpillar. Not that she would have let this one go, merely because it was defective. No. She would have waited and let him turn into a night-moth; and then fried him in the candle.
Nature cakes a fish's eyes over with parasites, so that it shan't be able to avoid its enemies or find its food. She sends parasites into a star-fish's system, which clog up its prongs and swell them and make them so uncomfortable that the poor creature delivers itself from the prong to ease its misery; and presently it has to part with another prong for the sake of comfort, and finally with a third. If it re-grows the prongs, the parasite returns and the same thing is repeated. And finally, when the ability to reproduce prongs is lost through age, that poor old star-fish can't get around any more, and so it dies of starvation.
In Australia is prevalent a horrible disease due to an "unperfected tapeworm." Unperfected--that is what they call it, I do not know why, for it transacts business just as well as if it were finished and frescoed and gilded, and all that.
November 9. To the
museum and public picture gallery with the president of the Society of
Artists. Some fine pictures there, lent
by the S. of A. several of them they bought, the others came to them by gift. Next, to the gallery of the S. of A.--annual
exhibition--just opened. Fine. Think of
a town like this having two such collections as this, and a Society of
Artists. It is so all over
The spirit of wrath--not the words--is the sin; and the spirit of wrath is cursing. We begin to swear before we can talk.
November 11. On the
road. This train-express goes twenty and
one-half miles an hour, schedule time; but it is fast enough, the outlook upon
sea and land is so interesting, and the cars so comfortable. They are not English, and not American; they
are the Swiss combination of the two. A narrow and railed porch along the side,
where a person can walk up and down. A
lavatory in each car. This is progress;
this is nineteenth-century spirit. In
By contrast, these pleasant cars call to mind the
branch-road cars at
Somewhere on the road to Maryborough I changed for a while to a smoking-carriage. There were two gentlemen there; both riding backward, one at each end of the compartment. They were acquaintances of each other. I sat down facing the one that sat at the starboard window. He had a good face, and a friendly look, and I judged from his dress that he was a dissenting minister. He was along toward fifty. Of his own motion he struck a match, and shaded it with his hand for me to light my cigar. I take the rest from my diary:
In order to start conversation I asked him something about Maryborough. He said, in a most pleasant--even musical voice, but with quiet and cultured decision:
"It's a charming town, with a hell of a hotel."
I was astonished. It seemed so odd to hear a minister swear out loud. He went placidly on:
"It's the worst hotel in Australia. Well, one may go further, and say in Australasia."
"No--none at all. Just sand-bags."
"The pillows, too?"
"Yes, the pillows, too. Just sand. And not a good quality of sand. It packs too hard, and has never been screened. There is too much gravel in it. It is like sleeping on nuts."
"Isn't there any good sand?"
"Plenty of it. There is as good bed-sand in this region as the world can furnish. Aerated sand--and loose; but they won't buy it. They want something that will pack solid, and petrify."
"How are the rooms?"
"Eight feet square; and a sheet of iced oil-cloth to step on in the morning when you get out of the sand-quarry."
"As to lights?"
"A good one?"
"No. It's the kind that sheds a gloom."
"I like a lamp that burns all night."
"This one won't. You must blow it out early."
"That is bad. One might want it again in the night. Can't find it in the dark."
"There's no trouble; you can find it by the stench."
"Two nails on the door to hang seven suits of clothes on if you've got them."
"There aren't any."
"What do you do when you want service?"
"Shout. But it won't fetch anybody."
"Suppose you want the chambermaid to empty the slopjar?"
"There isn't any slop-jar. The hotels don't keep them. That is, outside of Sydney and Melbourne."
"Yes, I knew that. I was only talking. It's the oddest thing in Australia. Another thing: I've got to get up in the dark, in the morning, to take the 5 o'clock train. Now if the boots----"
"There isn't any."
"Well, the porter."
"There isn't any."
"But who will call me?"
"Nobody. You'll call yourself. And you'll light yourself, too. There'll not be a light burning in the halls or anywhere. And if you don't carry a light, you'll break your neck."
"But who will help me down with my baggage?"
"Nobody. However, I will tell you what to do. In Maryborough there's an American who has lived there half a lifetime; a fine man, and prosperous and popular. He will be on the lookout for you; you won't have any trouble. Sleep in peace; he will rout you out, and you will make your train. Where is your manager?"
"I left him at Ballarat, studying the language. And besides, he had to go to Melbourne and get us ready for New Zealand. I've not tried to pilot myself before, and it doesn't look easy."
"Easy! You've selected the very most difficult piece of railroad in Australia for your experiment. There are twelve miles of this road which no man without good executive ability can ever hope--tell me, have you good executive ability? first-rate executive ability?"
"I--well, I think so, but----"
"That settles it. The tone of----oh, you wouldn't ever make it in the world. However, that American will point you right, and you'll go. You've got tickets?"
"Yes--round trip; all the way to Sydney."
"Ah, there it is, you see! You are going in the 5 o'clock by Castlemaine--twelve miles--instead of the 7.15 by Ballarat--in order to save two hours of fooling along the road. Now then, don't interrupt--let me have the floor. You're going to save the government a deal of hauling, but that's nothing; your ticket is by Ballarat, and it isn't good over that twelve miles, and so----"
"But why should the government care which way I go?"
"Goodness knows! Ask of the winds that far away with fragments strewed the sea, as the boy that stood on the burning deck used to say. The government chooses to do its railway business in its own way, and it doesn't know as much about it as the French. In the beginning they tried idiots; then they imported the French--which was going backwards, you see; now it runs the roads itself--which is going backwards again, you see. Why, do you know, in order to curry favor with the voters, the government puts down a road wherever anybody wants it--anybody that owns two sheep and a dog; and by consequence we've got, in the colony of Victoria, 800 railway stations, and the business done at eighty of them doesn't foot up twenty shillings a week."
"Five dollars? Oh, come!"
"It's true. It's the absolute truth."
"Why, there are three or four men on wages at every station."
"I know it. And the station-business doesn't pay for the sheep-dip to sanctify their coffee with. It's just as I say. And accommodating? Why, if you shake a rag the train will stop in the midst of the wilderness to pick you up. All that kind of politics costs, you see. And then, besides, any town that has a good many votes and wants a fine station, gets it. Don't you overlook that Maryborough station, if you take an interest in governmental curiosities. Why, you can put the whole population of Maryborough into it, and give them a sofa apiece, and have room for more. You haven't fifteen stations in America that are as big, and you probably haven't five that are half as fine. Why, it's perfectly elegant. And the clock! Everybody will show you the clock. There isn't a station in Europe that's got such a clock. It doesn't strike--and that's one mercy. It hasn't any bell; and as you'll have cause to remember, if you keep your reason, all Australia is simply bedamned with bells. On every quarter-hour, night and day, they jingle a tiresome chime of half a dozen notes--all the clocks in town at once, all the clocks in Australasia at once, and all the very same notes; first, downward scale: mi, re, do, sol--then upward scale: sol, si, re, do--down again: mi, re, do, sol--up again: sol, si, re, do--then the clock--say at midnight clang--clang--clang--clang--clang-clang--clang--clang--clang --clang----and, by that time you're--hello, what's all this excitement about? a runaway--scared by the train; why, you think this train could scare anything. Well, when they build eighty stations at a loss and a lot of palace-stations and clocks like Maryborough's at another loss, the government has got to economize somewhere hasn't it? Very well look at the rolling stock. That's where they save the money. Why, that train from Maryborough will consist of eighteen freight-cars and two passenger-kennels; cheap, poor, shabby, slovenly; no drinking water, no sanitary arrangements, every imaginable inconvenience; and slow?--oh, the gait of cold molasses; no air-brake, no springs, and they'll jolt your head off every time they start or stop. That's where they make their little economies, you see. They spend tons of money to house you palatially while you wait fifteen minutes for a train, then degrade you to six hours' convict-transportation to get the foolish outlay back. What a rational man really needs is discomfort while he's waiting, then his journey in a nice train would be a grateful change. But no, that would be common sense--and out of place in a government. And then, besides, they save in that other little detail, you know--repudiate their own tickets, and collect a poor little illegitimate extra shilling out of you for that twelve miles, and----"
"Well, in any case----"
"Wait--there's more. Leave that American out of the account and see what would happen. There's nobody on hand to examine your ticket when you arrive. But the conductor will come and examine it when the train is ready to start. It is too late to buy your extra ticket now; the train can't wait, and won't. You must climb out."
"But can't I pay the conductor?"
"No, he is not authorized to receive the money, and he won't. You must climb out. There's no other way. I tell you, the railway management is about the only thoroughly European thing here--continentally European I mean, not English. It's the continental business in perfection; down fine. Oh, yes, even to the peanut-commerce of weighing baggage."
The train slowed up at his place. As he stepped out he said:
"Yes, you'll like Maryborough. Plenty of intelligence there. It's a charming place--with a hell of a hotel."
Then he was gone. I turned to the other gentleman:
"Is your friend in the ministry?"
"No--studying for it."
The man with a new idea is a Crank until the idea succeeds.
It was Junior England all the way to
In the museum we saw many curious and interesting things; among others a fine native house of the olden time, with all the details true to the facts, and the showy colors right and in their proper places. All the details: the fine mats and rugs and things; the elaborate and wonderful wood carvings--wonderful, surely, considering who did them wonderful in design and particularly in execution, for they were done with admirable sharpness and exactness, and yet with no better tools than flint and jade and shell could furnish; and the totem-posts were there, ancestor above ancestor, with tongues protruded and hands clasped comfortably over bellies containing other people's ancestors--grotesque and ugly devils, every one, but lovingly carved, and ably; and the stuffed natives were present, in their proper places, and looking as natural as life; and the housekeeping utensils were there, too, and close at hand the carved and finely ornamented war canoe.
And we saw little jade gods, to hang around the neck--not everybody's, but sacred to the necks of natives of rank. Also jade weapons, and many kinds of jade trinkets--all made out of that excessively hard stone without the help of any tool of iron. And some of these things had small round holes bored through them--nobody knows how it was done; a mystery, a lost art. I think it was said that if you want such a hole bored in a piece of jade now, you must send it to London or Amsterdam where the lapidaries are.
Also we saw a complete skeleton of the giant Moa. It stood ten feet high, and must have been a sight to look at when it was a living bird. It was a kicker, like the ostrich; in fight it did not use its beak, but its foot. It must have been a convincing kind of kick. If a person had his back to the bird and did not see who it was that did it, he would think he had been kicked by a wind-mill.
There must have been a sufficiency of moas in the old forgotten days when his breed walked the earth. His bones are found in vast masses, all crammed together in huge graves. They are not in caves, but in the ground. Nobody knows how they happened to get concentrated there. Mind, they are bones, not fossils. This means that the moa has not been extinct very long. Still, this is the only New Zealand creature which has no mention in that otherwise comprehensive literature, the native legends. This is a significant detail, and is good circumstantial evidence that the moa has been extinct 500 years, since the Maori has himself--by tradition--been in New Zealand since the end of the fifteenth century. He came from an unknown land--the first Maori did--then sailed back in his canoe and brought his tribe, and they removed the aboriginal peoples into the sea and into the ground and took the land. That is the tradition. That that first Maori could come, is understandable, for anybody can come to a place when he isn't trying to; but how that discoverer found his way back home again without a compass is his secret, and he died with it in him. His language indicates that he came from Polynesia. He told where he came from, but he couldn't spell well, so one can't find the place on the map, because people who could spell better than he could, spelt the resemblance all out of it when they made the map. However, it is better to have a map that is spelt right than one that has information in it.
In New Zealand women have the right to vote for members of the legislature, but they cannot be members themselves. The law extending the suffrage to them event into effect in 1893. The population of Christchurch (census of 1891) was 31,454. The first election under the law was held in November of that year. Number of men who voted, 6,313; number of women who voted, 5,989. These figures ought to convince us that women are not as indifferent about politics as some people would have us believe. In New Zealand as a whole, the estimated adult female population was 139,915; of these 109,461 qualified and registered their names on the rolls 78.23 per cent. of the whole. Of these, 90,290 went to the polls and voted--85.18 per cent. Do men ever turn out better than that--in America or elsewhere? Here is a remark to the other sex's credit, too--I take it from the official report:
"A feature of the election was the orderliness and sobriety of the people. Women were in no way molested."
At home, a standing argument against woman suffrage has always been that women could not go to the polls without being insulted. The arguments against woman suffrage have always taken the easy form of prophecy. The prophets have been prophesying ever since the woman's rights movement began in 1848--and in forty-seven years they have never scored a hit.
Men ought to begin to feel a sort of respect for their mothers and wives and sisters by this time. The women deserve a change of attitude like that, for they have wrought well. In forty-seven years they have swept an imposingly large number of unfair laws from the statute books of America. In that brief time these serfs have set themselves free essentially. Men could not have done so much for themselves in that time without bloodshed--at least they never have; and that is argument that they didn't know how. The women have accomplished a peaceful revolution, and a very beneficent one; and yet that has not convinced the average man that they are intelligent, and have courage and energy and perseverance and fortitude. It takes much to convince the average man of anything; and perhaps nothing can ever make him realize that he is the average woman's inferior--yet in several important details the evidences seems to show that that is what he is. Man has ruled the human race from the beginning--but he should remember that up to the middle of the present century it was a dull world, and ignorant and stupid; but it is not such a dull world now, and is growing less and less dull all the time. This is woman's opportunity--she has had none before. I wonder where man will be in another forty-seven years?
In the New Zealand law occurs this: "The word person wherever it occurs throughout the Act includes woman."
That is promotion, you see. By that enlargement of the word, the matron with the garnered wisdom and experience of fifty years becomes at one jump the political equal of her callow kid of twenty-one. The white population of the colony is 626,000, the Maori population is 42,000. The whites elect seventy members of the House of Representatives, the Maoris four. The Maori women vote for their four members.
November 16. After four pleasant days in Christchurch, we are to leave at midnight to-night. Mr. Kinsey gave me an ornithorhynchus, and I am taming it.
Sunday, 17th. Sailed last night in the Flora, from Lyttelton.
So we did. I remember it yet. The people who sailed in the Flora that night may forget some other things if they live a good while, but they will not live long, enough to forget that. The Flora is about the equivalent of a cattle-scow; but when the Union Company find it inconvenient to keep a contract and lucrative to break it, they smuggle her into passenger service, and "keep the change."
They give no notice of their projected depredation; you innocently buy tickets for the advertised passenger boat, and when you get down to Lyttelton at midnight, you find that they have substituted the scow. They have plenty of good boats, but no competition--and that is the trouble. It is too late now to make other arrangements if you have engagements ahead.
It is a powerful company, it has a monopoly, and everybody is afraid of it--including the government's representative, who stands at the end of the stage-plank to tally the passengers and see that no boat receives a greater number than the law allows her to carry. This conveniently-blind representative saw the scow receive a number which was far in excess of its privilege, and winked a politic wink and said nothing. The passengers bore with meekness the cheat which had been put upon them, and made no complaint.
It was like being at home in America, where abused passengers act in just the same way. A few days before, the Union Company had discharged a captain for getting a boat into danger, and had advertised this act as evidence of its vigilance in looking after the safety of the passengers --for thugging a captain costs the company nothing, but when opportunity offered to send this dangerously overcrowded tub to sea and save a little trouble and a tidy penny by it, it forgot to worry about the passenger's safety.
The first officer told me that the Flora was privileged to carry 125 passengers. She must have had all of 200 on board. All the cabins were full, all the cattle-stalls in the main stable were full, the spaces at the heads of companionways were full, every inch of floor and table in the swill-room was packed with sleeping men and remained so until the place was required for breakfast, all the chairs and benches on the hurricane deck were occupied, and still there were people who had to walk about all night!
If the Flora had gone down that night, half of the people on board would have been wholly without means of escape.
The owners of that boat were not technically guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, but they were morally guilty of it.
I had a cattle-stall in the main stable--a cavern fitted up with a long double file of two-storied bunks, the files separated by a calico partition--twenty men and boys on one side of it, twenty women and girls on the other. The place was as dark as the soul of the Union Company, and smelt like a kennel. When the vessel got out into the heavy seas and began to pitch and wallow, the cavern prisoners became immediately seasick, and then the peculiar results that ensued laid all my previous experiences of the kind well away in the shade. And the wails, the groans, the cries, the shrieks, the strange ejaculations--it was wonderful.
The women and children and some of the men and boys spent the night in that place, for they were too ill to leave it; but the rest of us got up, by and by, and finished the night on the hurricane-deck.
That boat was the foulest I was ever in; and the smell of the breakfast saloon when we threaded our way among the layers of steaming passengers stretched upon its floor and its tables was incomparable for efficiency.
A good many of us got ashore at the first way-port to seek another ship. After a wait of three hours we got good rooms in the Mahinapua, a wee little bridal-parlor of a boat--only 205 tons burthen; clean and comfortable; good service; good beds; good table, and no crowding. The seas danced her about like a duck, but she was safe and capable.
Next morning early she went through the
Let us be grateful to Adam our benefactor. He cut us out of the "blessing of idleness," and won for us the "curse of labor."
We soon reached the town of
That dark episode is the one large event in the history of Nelson. The fame of it traveled far. Burgess made a confession. It is a remarkable paper. For brevity, succinctness, and concentration, it is perhaps without its peer in the literature of murder. There are no waste words in it; there is no obtrusion of matter not pertinent to the occasion, nor any departure from the dispassionate tone proper to a formal business statement--for that is what it is: a business statement of a murder, by the chief engineer of it, or superintendent, or foreman, or whatever one may prefer to call him.
"We were getting impatient, when we saw four men and a pack-horse
coming. I left my cover and had a look at the men, for Levy had
told me that Mathieu was a small man and wore a large beard, and
that it was a chestnut horse. I said, 'Here they come.' They were
then a good distance away; I took the caps off my gun, and put fresh
ones on. I said, 'You keep where you are, I'll put them up, and you
give me your gun while you tie them.' It was arranged as I have
described. The men came; they arrived within about fifteen yards
when I stepped up and said, 'Stand! bail up!' That means all of
them to get together. I made them fall back on the upper side of
the road with their faces up the range, and Sullivan brought me his
gun, and then tied their hands behind them. The horse was very
quiet all the time, he did not move. When they were all tied,
Sullivan took the horse up the hill, and put him in the bush; he cut
the rope and let the swags--[A "swag" is a kit, a pack, small
baggage.]--fall on the ground, and then came to me. We then marched
the men down the incline to the creek; the water at this time barely
running. Up this creek we took the men; we went, I daresay, five or
six hundred yards up it, which took us nearly half-an-hour to
accomplish. Then we turned to the right up the range; we went, I
daresay, one hundred and fifty yards from the creek, and there we
sat down with the men. I said to Sullivan, 'Put down your gun and
search these men,' which he did. I asked them their several names;
they told me. I asked them if they were expected at Nelson. They
said, 'No.' If such their lives would have been spared. In money
we took L60 odd. I said, 'Is this all you have? You had better
tell me.' Sullivan said, 'Here is a bag of gold.' I said, 'What's on
that pack-horse? Is there any gold ?' when Kempthorne said, 'Yes,
my gold is in the portmanteau, and I trust you will not take it
all.' 'Well,' I said, 'we must take you away one at a time, because
the range is steep just here, and then we will let you go.' They
said, 'All right,' most cheerfully. We tied their feet, and took
Dudley with us; we went about sixty yards with him. This was
through a scrub. It was arranged the night previously that it would
be best to choke them, in case the report of the arms might be heard
from the road, and if they were missed they never would be found.
So we tied a handkerchief over his eyes, when Sullivan took the sash
off his waist, put it round his neck, and so strangled him.
Sullivan, after I had killed the old laboring man, found fault with
the way he was choked. He said, 'The next we do I'll show you my
way.' I said, 'I have never done such a thing before. I have shot
a man, but never choked one.' We returned to the others, when
Kempthorne said, 'What noise was that?' I said it was caused by
breaking through the scrub. This was taking too much time, so it
was agreed to shoot them. With that I said, 'We'll take you no
further, but separate you, and then loose one of you, and he can
relieve the others.' So with that, Sullivan took De Pontius to the
left of where Kempthorne was sitting. I took Mathieu to the right.
I tied a strap round his legs, and shot him with a revolver. He
yelled, I ran from him with my gun in my hand, I sighted Kempthorne,
who had risen to his feet. I presented the gun, and shot him behind
the right ear; his life's blood welled from him, and he died
instantaneously. Sullivan had shot. De Pontius in the meantime,
and then came to me. I said, 'Look to Mathieu,' indicating the spot
where he lay. He shortly returned and said, 'I had to "chiv" that
fellow, he was not dead,' a cant word, meaning that he had to stab
him. Returning to the road we passed where De Pontius lay and was
dead. Sullivan said, 'This is the digger, the others were all
storekeepers; this is the digger, let's cover him up, for should the
others be found, they'll think he done it and sloped,' meaning he
had gone. So with that we threw all the stones on him, and then
left him. This bloody work took nearly an hour and a half from the
time we stopped the men."
Anyone who reads that confession will think that the man who wrote it was destitute of emotions, destitute of feeling. That is partly true. As regarded others he was plainly without feeling--utterly cold and pitiless; but as regarded himself the case was different. While he cared nothing for the future of the murdered men, he cared a great deal for his own. It makes one's flesh creep to read the introduction to his confession. The judge on the bench characterized it as "scandalously blasphemous," and it certainly reads so, but Burgess meant no blasphemy. He was merely a brute, and whatever he said or wrote was sure to expose the fact. His redemption was a very real thing to him, and he was as jubilantly happy on the gallows as ever was Christian martyr at the stake. We dwellers in this world are strangely made, and mysteriously circumstanced. We have to suppose that the murdered men are lost, and that Burgess is saved; but we cannot suppress our natural regrets.
"Written in my dungeon drear this 7th of August, in the year of
Grace, 1866. To God be ascribed all power and glory in subduing the
rebellious spirit of a most guilty wretch, who has been brought,
through the instrumentality of a faithful follower of Christ, to see
his wretched and guilty state, inasmuch as hitherto he has led an
awful and wretched life, and through the assurance of this faithful
soldier of Christ, he has been led and also believes that Christ
will yet receive and cleanse him from all his deep-dyed and bloody
sins. I lie under the imputation which says, 'Come now and let us
reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.' On this promise I rely."
We sailed in the afternoon late, spent a few hours at New Plymouth, then sailed again and reached Auckland the next day, November 20th, and remained in that fine city several days. Its situation is commanding, and the sea-view is superb. There are charming drives all about, and by courtesy of friends we had opportunity to enjoy them. From the grassy crater-summit of Mount Eden one's eye ranges over a grand sweep and variety of scenery--forests clothed in luxuriant foliage, rolling green fields, conflagrations of flowers, receding and dimming stretches of green plain, broken by lofty and symmetrical old craters--then the blue bays twinkling and sparkling away into the dreamy distances where the mountains loom spiritual in their veils of haze.
It is from Auckland that one goes to Rotorua, the region of the renowned hot lakes and geysers--one of the chief wonders of New Zealand; but I was not well enough to make the trip. The government has a sanitorium there, and everything is comfortable for the tourist and the invalid. The government's official physician is almost over-cautious in his estimates of the efficacy of the baths, when he is talking about rheumatism, gout, paralysis, and such things; but when he is talking about the effectiveness of the waters in eradicating the whisky-habit, he seems to have no reserves. The baths will cure the drinking-habit no matter how chronic it is--and cure it so effectually that even the desire to drink intoxicants will come no more. There should be a rush from Europe and America to that place; and when the victims of alcoholism find out what they can get by going there, the rush will begin.
The Thermal-springs District of New Zealand comprises an
area of upwards of
It is from Auckland that the Kauri gum is shipped. For a long time now about 8,000 tons of it have been brought into the town per year. It is worth about $300 per ton, unassorted; assorted, the finest grades are worth about $1,000. It goes to America, chiefly. It is in lumps, and is hard and smooth, and looks like amber--the light-colored like new amber, and the dark brown like rich old amber. And it has the pleasant feel of amber, too. Some of the light-colored samples were a tolerably fair counterfeit of uncut South African diamonds, they were so perfectly smooth and polished and transparent. It is manufactured into varnish; a varnish which answers for copal varnish and is cheaper.
The gum is dug up out of the ground; it has been there for
ages. It is the sap of the Kauri
tree. Dr. Campbell of Auckland told me
he sent a cargo of it to England fifty years ago, but nothing came of the
venture. Nobody knew what to do with it; so it was sold at
November 26--3 P.M., sailed.
Vast and beautiful harbor. Land
all about for hours. Tangariwa, the
mountain that "has the same shape from every point of view." That is the common belief in
Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.
November 27. To-day we reached Gisborne, and anchored in a big bay; there was a heavy sea on, so we remained on board.
We were a mile from shore; a little steam-tug put out from the land; she was an object of thrilling interest; she would climb to the summit of a billow, reel drunkenly there a moment, dim and gray in the driving storm of spindrift, then make a plunge like a diver and remain out of sight until one had given her up, then up she would dart again, on a steep slant toward the sky, shedding Niagaras of water from her forecastle--and this she kept up, all the way out to us. She brought twenty-five passengers in her stomach--men and women mainly a traveling dramatic company. In sight on deck were the crew, in sou'westers, yellow waterproof canvas suits, and boots to the thigh. The deck was never quiet for a moment, and seldom nearer level than a ladder, and noble were the seas which leapt aboard and went flooding aft. We rove a long line to the yard-arm, hung a most primitive basketchair to it and swung it out into the spacious air of heaven, and there it swayed, pendulum-fashion, waiting for its chance--then down it shot, skillfully aimed, and was grabbed by the two men on the forecastle. A young fellow belonging to our crew was in the chair, to be a protection to the lady-comers. At once a couple of ladies appeared from below, took seats in his lap, we hoisted them into the sky, waited a moment till the roll of the ship brought them in overhead, then we lowered suddenly away, and seized the chair as it struck the deck. We took the twenty-five aboard, and delivered twenty-five into the tug--among them several aged ladies, and one blind one--and all without accident. It was a fine piece of work.
Ours is a nice ship, roomy, comfortable, well-ordered, and satisfactory. Now and then we step on a rat in a hotel, but we have had no rats on shipboard lately; unless, perhaps in the Flora; we had more serious things to think of there, and did not notice. I have noticed that it is only in ships and hotels which still employ the odious Chinese gong, that you find rats. The reason would seem to be, that as a rat cannot tell the time of day by a clock, he won't stay where he cannot find out when dinner is ready.
November 29. The doctor tells me of several old drunkards, one spiritless loafer, and several far-gone moral wrecks who have been reclaimed by the Salvation Army and have remained staunch people and hard workers these two years. Wherever one goes, these testimonials to the Army's efficiency are forthcoming . . . . This morning we had one of those whizzing green Ballarat flies in the room, with his stunning buzz-saw noise--the swiftest creature in the world except the lightning-flash. It is a stupendous force that is stored up in that little body. If we had it in a ship in the same proportion, we could spin from Liverpool to New York in the space of an hour--the time it takes to eat luncheon. The New Zealand express train is called the Ballarat Fly . . . . Bad teeth in the colonies. A citizen told me they don't have teeth filled, but pull them out and put in false ones, and that now and then one sees a young lady with a full set. She is fortunate. I wish I had been born with false teeth and a false liver and false carbuncles. I should get along better.
December 2. Monday. Left Napier in the Ballarat Fly the one that goes twice a week. From Napier to Hastings, twelve miles; time, fifty-five minutes--not so far short of thirteen miles an hour . . . . A perfect summer day; cool breeze, brilliant sky, rich vegetation. Two or three times during the afternoon we saw wonderfully dense and beautiful forests, tumultuously piled skyward on the broken highlands--not the customary roof-like slant of a hillside, where the trees are all the same height. The noblest of these trees were of the Kauri breed, we were told the timber that is now furnishing the wood-paving for Europe, and is the best of all wood for that purpose. Sometimes these towering upheavals of forestry were festooned and garlanded with vine-cables, and sometimes the masses of undergrowth were cocooned in another sort of vine of a delicate cobwebby texture--they call it the "supplejack," I think. Tree ferns everywhere--a stem fifteen feet high, with a graceful chalice of fern-fronds sprouting from its top--a lovely forest ornament. And there was a ten-foot reed with a flowing suit of what looked like yellow hair hanging from its upper end. I do not know its name, but if there is such a thing as a scalp-plant, this is it. A romantic gorge, with a brook flowing in its bottom, approaching Palmerston North.
Waitukurau. Twenty minutes for luncheon. With me sat my wife and daughter, and my manager, Mr. Carlyle Smythe. I sat at the head of the table, and could see the right-hand wall; the others had their backs to it. On that wall, at a good distance away, were a couple of framed pictures. I could not see them clearly, but from the groupings of the figures I fancied that they represented the killing of Napoleon III's son by the Zulus in South Africa. I broke into the conversation, which was about poetry and cabbage and art, and said to my wife--
"Do you remember when the news came to Paris----"
"Of the killing of the Prince?"
(Those were the very words I had in my mind.) "Yes, but what Prince?"
"What made you think of that?"
"I don't know."
There was no collusion. She had not seen the pictures, and they had not been mentioned. She ought to have thought of some recent news that came to Paris, for we were but seven months from there and had been living there a couple of years when we started on this trip; but instead of that she thought of an incident of our brief sojourn in Paris of sixteen years before.
Here was a clear case of mental telegraphy; of mind-transference; of my mind telegraphing a thought into hers. How do I know? Because I telegraphed an error. For it turned out that the pictures did not represent the killing of Lulu at all, nor anything connected with Lulu. She had to get the error from my head--it existed nowhere else.
The Autocrat of Russia possesses more power than any other man in the earth; but he cannot stop a sneeze.
WAUGANIUI, December 3.
A pleasant trip, yesterday, per Ballarat Fly. Four hours. I do not know the distance, but it must have
been well along toward fifty miles. The
Fly could have spun it out to eight hours and not discommoded me; for where
there is comfort, and no need for hurry, speed is of no value--at least to me;
and nothing that goes on wheels can be more comfortable, more satisfactory,
than the New Zealand trains. Outside of
Much horseback riding, in and around this town; many comely girls in cool and pretty summer gowns; much Salvation Army; lots of Maoris; the faces and bodies of some of the old ones very tastefully frescoed. Maori Council House over the river-large, strong, carpeted from end to end with matting, and decorated with elaborate wood carvings, artistically executed. The Maoris were very polite.
I was assured by a member of the House of Representatives that the native race is not decreasing, but actually increasing slightly. It is another evidence that they are a superior breed of savages. I do not call to mind any savage race that built such good houses, or such strong and ingenious and scientific fortresses, or gave so much attention to agriculture, or had military arts and devices which so nearly approached the white man's. These, taken together with their high abilities in boat-building, and their tastes and capacities in the ornamental arts modify their savagery to a semi-civilization--or at least to, a quarter-civilization.
It is a compliment to them that the British did not exterminate them, as they did the Australians and the Tasmanians, but were content with subduing them, and showed no desire to go further. And it is another compliment to them that the British did not take the whole of their choicest lands, but left them a considerable part, and then went further and protected them from the rapacities of landsharks--a protection which the New Zealand Government still extends to them. And it is still another compliment to the Maoris that the Government allows native representation--in both the legislature and the cabinet, and gives both sexes the vote. And in doing these things the Government also compliments itself; it has not been the custom of the world for conquerors to act in this large spirit toward the conquered.
The highest class white men Who lived among the Maoris in the earliest time had a high opinion of them and a strong affection for them. Among the whites of this sort was the author of "Old New Zealand;" and Dr. Campbell of Auckland was another. Dr. Campbell was a close friend of several chiefs, and has many pleasant things to say of their fidelity, their magnanimity, and their generosity. Also of their quaint notions about the white man's queer civilization, and their equally quaint comments upon it. One of them thought the missionary had got everything wrong end first and upside down. "Why, he wants us to stop worshiping and supplicating the evil gods, and go to worshiping and supplicating the Good One! There is no sense in that. A good god is not going to do us any harm."
The Maoris had the tabu; and had it on a Polynesian scale of comprehensiveness and elaboration. Some of its features could have been importations from India and Judea. Neither the Maori nor the Hindoo of common degree could cook by a fire that a person of higher caste had used, nor could the high Maori or high Hindoo employ fire that had served a man of low grade; if a low-grade Maori or Hindoo drank from a vessel belonging to a high-grade man, the vessel was defiled, and had to be destroyed. There were other resemblances between Maori tabu and Hindoo caste-custom.
Yesterday a lunatic burst into my quarters and warned me that the Jesuits were going to "cook" (poison) me in my food, or kill me on the stage at night. He said a mysterious sign was visible upon my posters and meant my death. He said he saved Rev. Mr. Haweis's life by warning him that there were three men on his platform who would kill him if he took his eyes off them for a moment during his lecture. The same men were in my audience last night, but they saw that he was there. "Will they be there again to-night?" He hesitated; then said no, he thought they would rather take a rest and chance the poison. This lunatic has no delicacy. But he was not uninteresting. He told me a lot of things. He said he had "saved so many lecturers in twenty years, that they put him in the asylum." I think he has less refinement than any lunatic I have met.
December 8. A couple of curious war-monuments here at Wanganui. One is in honor of white men "who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism." Fanaticism. We Americans are English in blood, English in speech, English in religion, English in the essentials of our governmental system, English in the essentials of our civilization; and so, let us hope, for the honor of the blend, for the honor of the blood, for the honor of the race, that that word got there through lack of heedfulness, and will not be suffered to remain. If you carve it at Thermopylae, or where Winkelried died, or upon Bunker Hill monument, and read it again "who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism" you will perceive what the word means, and how mischosen it is. Patriotism is Patriotism. Calling it Fanaticism cannot degrade it; nothing can degrade it. Even though it be a political mistake, and a thousand times a political mistake, that does not affect it; it is honorable always honorable, always noble--and privileged to hold its head up and look the nations in the face. It is right to praise these brave white men who fell in the Maori war--they deserve it; but the presence of that word detracts from the dignity of their cause and their deeds, and makes them appear to have spilt their blood in a conflict with ignoble men, men not worthy of that costly sacrifice. But the men were worthy. It was no shame to fight them. They fought for their homes, they fought for their country; they bravely fought and bravely fell; and it would take nothing from the honor of the brave Englishmen who lie under the monument, but add to it, to say that they died in defense of English laws and English homes against men worthy of the sacrifice--the Maori patriots.
The other monument cannot be rectified. Except with dynamite. It is a mistake all through, and a strangely thoughtless one. It is a monument erected by white men to Maoris who fell fighting with the whites and against their own people, in the Maori war. "Sacred to the memory of the brave men who fell on the 14th of May, 1864," etc. On one side are the names of about twenty Maoris. It is not a fancy of mine; the monument exists. I saw it. It is an object-lesson to the rising generation. It invites to treachery, disloyalty, unpatriotism. Its lesson, in frank terms is, "Desert your flag, slay your people, burn their homes, shame your nationality--we honor such."
December 9. Wellington. Ten hours from Wanganui by the Fly. December 12. It is a fine city and nobly situated. A busy place, and full of life and movement. Have spent the three days partly in walking about, partly in enjoying social privileges, and largely in idling around the magnificent garden at Hutt, a little distance away, around the shore. I suppose we shall not see such another one soon.
We are packing to-night for the return-voyage to Australia. Our stay in New Zealand has been too brief; still, we are not unthankful for the glimpse which we have had of it.
The sturdy Maoris made the settlement of the country by the whites rather difficult. Not at first--but later. At first they welcomed the whites, and were eager to trade with them--particularly for muskets; for their pastime was internecine war, and they greatly preferred the white man's weapons to their own. War was their pastime--I use the word advisedly. They often met and slaughtered each other just for a lark, and when there was no quarrel. The author of "Old New Zealand" mentions a case where a victorious army could have followed up its advantage and exterminated the opposing army, but declined to do it; explaining naively that "if we did that, there couldn't be any more fighting." In another battle one army sent word that it was out of ammunition, and would be obliged to stop unless the opposing army would send some. It was sent, and the fight went on.
In the early days things went well enough. The natives sold land without clearly understanding the terms of exchange, and the whites bought it without being much disturbed about the native's confusion of mind. But by and by the Maori began to comprehend that he was being wronged; then there was trouble, for he was not the man to swallow a wrong and go aside and cry about it. He had the Tasmanian's spirit and endurance, and a notable share of military science besides; and so he rose against the oppressor, did this gallant "fanatic," and started a war that was not brought to a definite end until more than a generation had sped.
There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.
Names are not always what they seem. The common Welsh name Bzjxxllwep is
Friday, December 13. Sailed, at 3 p.m., in the 'Mararoa'. Summer seas and a good ship-life has nothing better.
Monday. Three days of paradise. Warm and sunny and smooth; the sea a luminous Mediterranean blue . . . . One lolls in a long chair all day under deck-awnings, and reads and smokes, in measureless content. One does not read prose at such a time, but poetry. I have been reading the poems of Mrs. Julia A. Moore, again, and I find in them the same grace and melody that attracted me when they were first published, twenty years ago, and have held me in happy bonds ever since.
"The Sentimental Song Book" has long been out of print, and has been forgotten by the world in general, but not by me. I carry it with me always--it and Goldsmith's deathless story.
Indeed, it has the same deep charm for me that the Vicar of Wakefield has, and I find in it the same subtle touch--the touch that makes an intentionally humorous episode pathetic and an intentionally pathetic one funny. In her time Mrs. Moore was called "the Sweet Singer of Michigan," and was best known by that name. I have read her book through twice today, with the purpose of determining which of her pieces has most merit, and I am persuaded that for wide grasp and sustained power, "William Upson" may claim first place:
Air--"The Major's Only Son." Come all good people far and near, Oh, come and see what you can hear, It's of a young man true and brave, That is now sleeping in his grave.
Now, William Upson was his name If it's not that, it's all the same He did enlist in a cruel strife, And it caused him to lose his life.
He was Perry Upson's eldest son, His father loved his noble son, This son was nineteen years of age When first in the rebellion he engaged.
His father said that he might go, But his dear mother she said no, "Oh! stay at home, dear Billy," she said, But she could not turn his head.
He went to Nashville, in Tennessee, There his kind friends he could not see; He died among strangers, so far away, They did not know where his body lay.
He was taken sick and lived four weeks, And Oh! how his parents weep, But now they must in sorrow mourn, For Billy has gone to his heavenly home.
Oh! if his mother could have seen her son, For she loved him, her darling son; If she could heard his dying prayer, It would ease her heart till she met him there.
How it would relieve his mother's heart To see her son from this world depart, And hear his noble words of love, As he left this world for that above.
Now it will relieve his mother's heart, For her son is laid in our graveyard; For now she knows that his grave is near, She will not shed so many tears.
Although she knows not that it was her son, For his coffin could not be opened It might be someone in his place, For she could not see his noble face.
December, 17. Reached Sydney.
December, 19. In the train. Fellow of 30 with four valises; a slim creature, with teeth which made his mouth look like a neglected churchyard. He had solidified hair--solidified with pomatum; it was all one shell. He smoked the most extraordinary cigarettes--made of some kind of manure, apparently. These and his hair made him smell like the very nation. He had a low-cut vest on, which exposed a deal of frayed and broken and unclean shirtfront. Showy studs, of imitation gold--they had made black disks on the linen. Oversized sleeve buttons of imitation gold, the copper base showing through. Ponderous watch-chain of imitation gold. I judge that he couldn't tell the time by it, for he asked Smythe what time it was, once. He wore a coat which had been gay when it was young; 5-o'clock-tea-trousers of a light tint, and marvelously soiled; yellow mustache with a dashing upward whirl at the ends; foxy shoes, imitation patent leather. He was a novelty--an imitation dude. He would have been a real one if he could have afforded it. But he was satisfied with himself. You could see it in his expression, and in all his attitudes and movements. He was living in a dude dreamland where all his squalid shams were genuine, and himself a sincerity. It disarmed criticism, it mollified spite, to see him so enjoy his imitation languors, and arts, and airs, and his studied daintinesses of gesture and misbegotten refinements. It was plain to me that he was imagining himself the Prince of Wales, and was doing everything the way he thought the Prince would do it. For bringing his four valises aboard and stowing them in the nettings, he gave his porter four cents, and lightly apologized for the smallness of the gratuity --just with the condescendingest little royal air in the world. He stretched himself out on the front seat and rested his pomatum-cake on the middle arm, and stuck his feet out of the window, and began to pose as the Prince and work his dreams and languors for exhibition; and he would indolently watch the blue films curling up from his cigarette, and inhale the stench, and look so grateful; and would flip the ash away with the daintiest gesture, unintentionally displaying his brass ring in the most intentional way; why, it was as good as being in Marlborough House itself to see him do it so like.
There was other scenery in the trip. That of the Hawksbury river, in the National Park region, fine--extraordinarily fine, with spacious views of stream and lake imposingly framed in woody hills; and every now and then the noblest groupings of mountains, and the most enchanting rearrangements of the water effects. Further along, green flats, thinly covered with gum forests, with here and there the huts and cabins of small farmers engaged in raising children. Still further along, arid stretches, lifeless and melancholy. Then Newcastle, a rushing town, capital of the rich coal regions. Approaching Scone, wide farming and grazing levels, with pretty frequent glimpses of a troublesome plant--a particularly devilish little prickly pear, daily damned in the orisons of the agriculturist; imported by a lady of sentiment, and contributed gratis to the colony. Blazing hot, all day.
December 20. Back to Sydney. Blazing hot again. From the newspaper, and from the map, I have made a collection of curious names of Australasian towns, with the idea of making a poem out of them:
Tumut Takee Murriwillumba Bowral Ballarat Mullengudgery Murrurundi Wagga-Wagga Wyalong Murrumbidgee Goomeroo Wolloway Wangary Wanilla Worrow Koppio Yankalilla Yaranyacka Yackamoorundie Kaiwaka Coomooroo Tauranga Geelong Tongariro Kaikoura Wakatipu Oohipara Waitpinga Goelwa Munno Para Nangkita Myponga Kapunda Kooringa Penola Nangwarry Kongorong Comaum Koolywurtie Killanoola Naracoorte Muloowurtie Binnum Wallaroo Wirrega Mundoora Hauraki Rangiriri Teawamute Taranaki Toowoomba Goondiwindi Jerrilderie Whangaroa Wollongong Woolloomooloo Bombola Coolgardie Bendigo Coonamble Cootamundra Woolgoolga
Mittagong Jamberoo Kondoparinga Kuitpo Tungkillo Oukaparinga Talunga Yatala Parawirra Moorooroo Whangarei Woolundunga Booleroo Pernatty Parramatta Taroom Narrandera Deniliquin Kawakawa.
It may be best to build the poem now, and make the weather help
A SWELTERING DAY IN AUSTRALIA.
(To be read soft and low, with the lights turned down.)
The Bombola faints in the hot Bowral tree,
Where fierce Mullengudgery's smothering fires
Far from the breezes of Coolgardie
Burn ghastly and blue as the day expires;
And Murriwillumba complaineth in song
For the garlanded bowers of Woolloomooloo,
And the Ballarat Fly and the lone Wollongong
They dream of the gardens of Jamberoo;
The wallabi sighs for the Murrubidgee,
For the velvety sod of the Munno Parah,
Where the waters of healing from Muloowurtie
Flow dim in the gloaming by Yaranyackah;
The Koppio sorrows for lost Wolloway,
And sigheth in secret for Murrurundi,
The Whangeroo wombat lamenteth the day
That made him an exile from Jerrilderie;
The Teawamute Tumut from Wirrega's glade,
The Nangkita swallow, the Wallaroo swan,
They long for the peace of the Timaru shade
And thy balmy soft airs, O sweet Mittagong!
The Kooringa buffalo pants in the sun,
The Kondoparinga lies gaping for breath,
The Kongorong Camaum to the shadow has won,
But the Goomeroo sinks in the slumber of death;
In the weltering hell of the Moorooroo plain
The Yatala Wangary withers and dies,
And the Worrow Wanilla, demented with pain,
To the Woolgoolga woodlands despairingly flies;
Sweet Nangwarry's desolate, Coonamble wails,
And Tungkillo Kuito in sables is drest,
For the Whangerei winds fall asleep in the sails
And the Booleroo life-breeze is dead in the west.
Mypongo, Kapunda, O slumber no more
Yankalilla, Parawirra, be warned
There's death in the air!
Shall the prayer of Penola be scorned?
Cootamundra, and Takee, and Wakatipu,
Toowoomba, Kaikoura are lost
From Onkaparinga to far Oamaru
All burn in this hell's holocaust!
Paramatta and Binnum are gone to their rest
In the vale of Tapanni Taroom,
Kawakawa, Deniliquin--all that was best
In the earth are but graves and a tomb!
Narrandera mourns, Cameron answers not
When the roll of the scathless we cry
Tongariro, Goondiwindi, Woolundunga, the spot
Is mute and forlorn where ye lie.
Those are good words for poetry. Among the best I have ever seen. There are
To succeed in the other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.
MONDAY,--December 23, 1895.
This 'Oceana' is a stately big ship, luxuriously
appointed. She has spacious promenade
decks. Large rooms; a surpassingly
comfortable ship. The officers' library is well selected; a ship's library is
not usually that . . .
. For meals, the bugle call,
man-of-war fashion; a pleasant change from the terrible gong . .
. . Three big cats--very friendly loafers; they
wander all over the ship; the white one follows the chief steward around like a
dog. There is also a basket of kittens.
One of these cats goes ashore, in port, in
"Oh, yes," said S., "a great abundance of it."
"Is it easy to be had?"
"Oh, yes--easy as water. All first and second-class hotels have it."
"What do you pay for it?"
"It depends on the style of the hotel--from fifteen to twenty-five francs a bottle."
"Oh, fortunate country! Why, it's worth 100 francs right here on the ground."
"Do you mean that we are drinking a bogus Veuve-Cliquot over there?"
"Yes--and there was never a bottle of the genuine in America since Columbus's time. That wine all comes from a little bit of a patch of ground which isn't big enough to raise many bottles; and all of it that is produced goes every year to one person--the Emperor of Russia. He takes the whole crop in advance, be it big or little."
January 4, 1898. Christmas in Melbourne, New Year's Day in Adelaide, and saw most of the friends again in both places . . . . Lying here at anchor all day--Albany (King George's Sound), Western Australia. It is a perfectly landlocked harbor, or roadstead--spacious to look at, but not deep water. Desolate-looking rocks and scarred hills. Plenty of ships arriving now, rushing to the new gold-fields. The papers are full of wonderful tales of the sort always to be heard in connection with new gold diggings. A sample: a youth staked out a claim and tried to sell half for L5; no takers; he stuck to it fourteen days, starving, then struck it rich and sold out for L10,000. . . About sunset, strong breeze blowing, got up the anchor. We were in a small deep puddle, with a narrow channel leading out of it, minutely buoyed, to the sea.
I stayed on deck to see how we were going to manage it with
such a big ship and such a strong wind.
On the bridge our giant captain, in uniform; at his side a little pilot
in elaborately gold-laced uniform; on the forecastle a white mate and
quartermaster or two, and a brilliant crowd of lascars standing by for
business. Our stern was pointing
straight at the head of the channel; so we must turn entirely around in the
puddle--and the wind blowing as described.
It was done, and beautifully. It
was done by help of a jib. We stirred up
much mud, but did not touch the bottom.
We turned right around in our tracks--a seeming impossibility. We had several casts of quarter-less 5, and
one cast of half 4--
January 5. At 9 this morning we passed Cape Leeuwin (lioness) and ceased from our long due-west course along the southern shore of Australia. Turning this extreme southwestern corner, we now take a long straight slant nearly N. W., without a break, for Ceylon. As we speed northward it will grow hotter very fast--but it isn't chilly, now. . . . The vulture is from the public menagerie at Adelaide--a great and interesting collection. It was there that we saw the baby tiger solemnly spreading its mouth and trying to roar like its majestic mother. It swaggered, scowling, back and forth on its short legs just as it had seen her do on her long ones, and now and then snarling viciously, exposing its teeth, with a threatening lift of its upper lip and bristling moustache; and when it thought it was impressing the visitors, it would spread its mouth wide and do that screechy cry which it meant for a roar, but which did not deceive. It took itself quite seriously, and was lovably comical. And there was a hyena--an ugly creature; as ugly as the tiger-kitty was pretty. It repeatedly arched its back and delivered itself of such a human cry; a startling resemblance; a cry which was just that of a grown person badly hurt. In the dark one would assuredly go to its assistance--and be disappointed . . . . Many friends of Australasian Federation on board. They feel sure that the good day is not far off, now. But there seems to be a party that would go further --have Australasia cut loose from the British Empire and set up housekeeping on her own hook. It seems an unwise idea. They point to the United States, but it seems to me that the cases lack a good deal of being alike. Australasia governs herself wholly--there is no interference; and her commerce and manufactures are not oppressed in any way. If our case had been the same we should not have gone out when we did.
January 13. Unspeakably hot. The equator is arriving again. We are within eight degrees of it. Ceylon present. Dear me, it is beautiful! And most sumptuously tropical, as to character of foliage and opulence of it. "What though the spicy breezes blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle"--an eloquent line, an incomparable line; it says little, but conveys whole libraries of sentiment, and Oriental charm and mystery, and tropic deliciousness--a line that quivers and tingles with a thousand unexpressed and inexpressible things, things that haunt one and find no articulate voice . . . . Colombo, the capital. An Oriental town, most manifestly; and fascinating.
In this palatial ship the passengers dress for dinner. The ladies' toilettes make a fine display of color, and this is in keeping with the elegance of the vessel's furnishings and the flooding brilliancies of the electric light. On the stormy Atlantic one never sees a man in evening dress, except at the rarest intervals; and then there is only one, not two; and he shows up but once on the voyage--the night before the ship makes port--the night when they have the "concert" and do the amateur wailings and recitations. He is the tenor, as a rule . . . . There has been a deal of cricket-playing on board; it seems a queer game for a ship, but they enclose the promenade deck with nettings and keep the ball from flying overboard, and the sport goes very well, and is properly violent and exciting . . . . We must part from this vessel here.
January 14. Hotel Bristol. Servant Brompy. Alert, gentle, smiling, winning young brown creature as ever was. Beautiful shining black hair combed back like a woman's, and knotted at the back of his head --tortoise-shell comb in it, sign that he is a Singhalese; slender, shapely form; jacket; under it is a beltless and flowing white cotton gown--from neck straight to heel; he and his outfit quite unmasculine. It was an embarrassment to undress before him.
We drove to the market, using the Japanese jinriksha--our first acquaintanceship with it. It is a light cart, with a native to draw it. He makes good speed for half-an-hour, but it is hard work for him; he is too slight for it. After the half-hour there is no more pleasure for you; your attention is all on the man, just as it would be on a tired horse, and necessarily your sympathy is there too. There's a plenty of these 'rickshas, and the tariff is incredibly cheap.
I was in Cairo years ago. That was Oriental, but there was a lack. When you are in Florida or New Orleans you are in the South--that is granted; but you are not in the South; you are in a modified South, a tempered South. Cairo was a tempered Orient--an Orient with an indefinite something wanting. That feeling was not present in Ceylon. Ceylon was Oriental in the last measure of completeness--utterly Oriental; also utterly tropical; and indeed to one's unreasoning spiritual sense the two things belong together. All the requisites were present. The costumes were right; the black and brown exposures, unconscious of immodesty, were right; the juggler was there, with his basket, his snakes, his mongoose, and his arrangements for growing a tree from seed to foliage and ripe fruitage before one's eyes; in sight were plants and flowers familiar to one on books but in no other way celebrated, desirable, strange, but in production restricted to the hot belt of the equator; and out a little way in the country were the proper deadly snakes, and fierce beasts of prey, and the wild elephant and the monkey. And there was that swoon in the air which one associates with the tropics, and that smother of heat, heavy with odors of unknown flowers, and that sudden invasion of purple gloom fissured with lightnings,--then the tumult of crashing thunder and the downpour and presently all sunny and smiling again; all these things were there; the conditions were complete, nothing was lacking. And away off in the deeps of the jungle and in the remotenesses of the mountains were the ruined cities and mouldering temples, mysterious relics of the pomps of a forgotten time and a vanished race--and this was as it should be, also, for nothing is quite satisfyingly Oriental that lacks the somber and impressive qualities of mystery and antiquity.
The drive through the town and out to the Galle Face by the seashore, what a dream it was of tropical splendors of bloom and blossom, and Oriental conflagrations of costume! The walking groups of men, women, boys, girls, babies--each individual was a flame, each group a house afire for color. And such stunning colors, such intensely vivid colors, such rich and exquisite minglings and fusings of rainbows and lightnings! And all harmonious, all in perfect taste; never a discordant note; never a color on any person swearing at another color on him or failing to harmonize faultlessly with the colors of any group the wearer might join. The stuffs were silk-thin, soft, delicate, clinging; and, as a rule, each piece a solid color: a splendid green, a splendid blue, a splendid yellow, a splendid purple, a splendid ruby, deep, and rich with smouldering fires they swept continuously by in crowds and legions and multitudes, glowing, flashing, burning, radiant; and every five seconds came a burst of blinding red that made a body catch his breath, and filled his heart with joy. And then, the unimaginable grace of those costumes! Sometimes a woman's whole dress was but a scarf wound about her person and her head, sometimes a man's was but a turban and a careless rag or two--in both cases generous areas of polished dark skin showing--but always the arrangement compelled the homage of the eye and made the heart sing for gladness.
I can see it to this day, that radiant panorama, that wilderness of rich color, that incomparable dissolving-view of harmonious tints, and lithe half-covered forms, and beautiful brown faces, and gracious and graceful gestures and attitudes and movements, free, unstudied, barren of stiffness and restraint, and--
Just then, into this dream of fairyland and paradise a grating dissonance was injected.
Out of a missionary school came marching, two and two, sixteen prim and pious little Christian black girls, Europeanly clothed--dressed, to the last detail, as they would have been dressed on a summer Sunday in an English or American village. Those clothes--oh, they were unspeakably ugly! Ugly, barbarous, destitute of taste, destitute of grace, repulsive as a shroud. I looked at my womenfolk's clothes--just full-grown duplicates of the outrages disguising those poor little abused creatures --and was ashamed to be seen in the street with them. Then I looked at my own clothes, and was ashamed to be seen in the street with myself.
However, we must put up with our clothes as they are--they have their reason for existing. They are on us to expose us--to advertise what we wear them to conceal. They are a sign; a sign of insincerity; a sign of suppressed vanity; a pretense that we despise gorgeous colors and the graces of harmony and form; and we put them on to propagate that lie and back it up. But we do not deceive our neighbor; and when we step into Ceylon we realize that we have not even deceived ourselves. We do love brilliant colors and graceful costumes; and at home we will turn out in a storm to see them when the procession goes by--and envy the wearers. We go to the theater to look at them and grieve that we can't be clothed like that. We go to the King's ball, when we get a chance, and are glad of a sight of the splendid uniforms and the glittering orders. When we are granted permission to attend an imperial drawing-room we shut ourselves up in private and parade around in the theatrical court-dress by the hour, and admire ourselves in the glass, and are utterly happy; and every member of every governor's staff in democratic America does the same with his grand new uniform--and if he is not watched he will get himself photographed in it, too. When I see the Lord Mayor's footman I am dissatisfied with my lot. Yes, our clothes are a lie, and have been nothing short of that these hundred years. They are insincere, they are the ugly and appropriate outward exposure of an inward sham and a moral decay.
The last little brown boy I chanced to notice in the crowds
and swarms of
Prosperity is the best protector of principle.
EVENING--11th. Sailed in the Rosetta. This is a poor old ship, and ought to be insured and sunk. As in the 'Oceana', just so here: everybody dresses for dinner; they make it a sort of pious duty. These fine and formal costumes are a rather conspicuous contrast to the poverty and shabbiness of the surroundings . . . . If you want a slice of a lime at four o'clock tea, you must sign an order on the bar. Limes cost 14 cents a barrel.
January 18th. We
have been running up the
In the region of Scandal Point--felicitous name--where there are handy rocks to sit on and a noble view of the sea on the one hand, and on the other the passing and reprising whirl and tumult of gay carriages, are great groups of comfortably-off Parsee women--perfect flower-beds of brilliant color, a fascinating spectacle. Tramp, tramp, tramping along the road, in singles, couples, groups, and gangs, you have the working-man and the working-woman--but not clothed like ours. Usually the man is a nobly-built great athlete, with not a rag on but his loin-handkerchief; his color a deep dark brown, his skin satin, his rounded muscles knobbing it as if it had eggs under it. Usually the woman is a slender and shapely creature, as erect as a lightning-rod, and she has but one thing on--a bright-colored piece of stuff which is wound about her head and her body down nearly half-way to her knees, and which clings like her own skin. Her legs and feet are bare, and so are her arms, except for her fanciful bunches of loose silver rings on her ankles and on her arms. She has jewelry bunched on the side of her nose also, and showy clusterings on her toes. When she undresses for bed she takes off her jewelry, I suppose. If she took off anything more she would catch cold. As a rule she has a large shiney brass water jar of graceful shape on her head, and one of her naked arms curves up and the hand holds it there. She is so straight, so erect, and she steps with such style, and such easy grace and dignity; and her curved arm and her brazen jar are such a help to the picture indeed, our working-women cannot begin with her as a road-decoration.
It is all color, bewitching color, enchanting color--everywhere all around--all the way around the curving great opaline bay clear to Government House, where the turbaned big native 'chuprassies' stand grouped in state at the door in their robes of fiery red, and do most properly and stunningly finish up the splendid show and make it theatrically complete. I wish I were a 'chuprassy'.
This is indeed India! the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations--the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined. Even now, after the lapse of a year, the delirium of those days in Bombay has not left me, and I hope never will. It was all new, no detail of it hackneyed. And India did not wait for morning, it began at the hotel --straight away. The lobbies and halls were full of turbaned, and fez'd and embroidered, cap'd, and barefooted, and cotton-clad dark natives, some of them rushing about, others at rest squatting, or sitting on the ground; some of them chattering with energy, others still and dreamy; in the dining-room every man's own private native servant standing behind his chair, and dressed for a part in the Arabian Nights.
Our rooms were high up, on the front. A white man--he was a burly German --went up with us, and brought three natives along to see to arranging things. About fourteen others followed in procession, with the hand-baggage; each carried an article--and only one; a bag, in some cases, in other cases less. One strong native carried my overcoat, another a parasol, another a box of cigars, another a novel, and the last man in the procession had no load but a fan. It was all done with earnestness and sincerity, there was not a smile in the procession from the head of it to the tail of it. Each man waited patiently, tranquilly, in no sort of hurry, till one of us found time to give him a copper, then he bent his head reverently, touched his forehead with his fingers, and went his way. They seemed a soft and gentle race, and there was something both winning and touching about their demeanor.
There was a vast glazed door which opened upon the balcony. It needed closing, or cleaning, or something, and a native got down on his knees and went to work at it. He seemed to be doing it well enough, but perhaps he wasn't, for the burly German put on a look that betrayed dissatisfaction, then without explaining what was wrong, gave the native a brisk cuff on the jaw and then told him where the defect was. It seemed such a shame to do that before us all. The native took it with meekness, saying nothing, and not showing in his face or manner any resentment. I had not seen the like of this for fifty years. It carried me back to my boyhood, and flashed upon me the forgotten fact that this was the usual way of explaining one's desires to a slave. I was able to remember that the method seemed right and natural to me in those days, I being born to it and unaware that elsewhere there were other methods; but I was also able to remember that those unresented cuffings made me sorry for the victim and ashamed for the punisher. My father was a refined and kindly gentleman, very grave, rather austere, of rigid probity, a sternly just and upright man, albeit he attended no church and never spoke of religious matters, and had no part nor lot in the pious joys of his Presbyterian family, nor ever seemed to suffer from this deprivation. He laid his hand upon me in punishment only twice in his life, and then not heavily; once for telling him a lie--which surprised me, and showed me how unsuspicious he was, for that was not my maiden effort. He punished me those two times only, and never any other member of the family at all; yet every now and then he cuffed our harmless slave boy, Lewis, for trifling little blunders and awkwardnesses. My father had passed his life among the slaves from his cradle up, and his cuffings proceeded from the custom of the time, not from his nature. When I was ten years old I saw a man fling a lump of iron-ore at a slaveman in anger, for merely doing something awkwardly--as if that were a crime. It bounded from the man's skull, and the man fell and never spoke again. He was dead in an hour. I knew the man had a right to kill his slave if he wanted to, and yet it seemed a pitiful thing and somehow wrong, though why wrong I was not deep enough to explain if I had been asked to do it. Nobody in the village approved of that murder, but of course no one said much about it.
It is curious--the space-annihilating power of thought. For just one second, all that goes to make the me in me was in a Missourian village, on the other side of the globe, vividly seeing again these forgotten pictures of fifty years ago, and wholly unconscious of all things but just those; and in the next second I was back in Bombay, and that kneeling native's smitten cheek was not done tingling yet! Back to boyhood--fifty years; back to age again, another fifty; and a flight equal to the circumference of the globe-all in two seconds by the watch!
Some natives--I don't remember how many--went into my bedroom, now, and put things to rights and arranged the mosquito-bar, and I went to bed to nurse my cough. It was about nine in the evening. What a state of things! For three hours the yelling and shouting of natives in the hall continued, along with the velvety patter of their swift bare feet--what a racket it was! They were yelling orders and messages down three flights. Why, in the matter of noise it amounted to a riot, an insurrection, a revolution. And then there were other noises mixed up with these and at intervals tremendously accenting them--roofs falling in, I judged, windows smashing, persons being murdered, crows squawking, and deriding, and cursing, canaries screeching, monkeys jabbering, macaws blaspheming, and every now and then fiendish bursts of laughter and explosions of dynamite. By midnight I had suffered all the different kinds of shocks there are, and knew that I could never more be disturbed by them, either isolated or in combination. Then came peace--stillness deep and solemn and lasted till five.
Then it all broke loose again. And who re-started it? The Bird of Birds the Indian crow. I came to know him well, by and by, and be infatuated with him. I suppose he is the hardest lot that wears feathers. Yes, and the cheerfulest, and the best satisfied with himself. He never arrived at what he is by any careless process, or any sudden one; he is a work of art, and "art is long"; he is the product of immemorial ages, and of deep calculation; one can't make a bird like that in a day. He has been reincarnated more times than Shiva; and he has kept a sample of each incarnation, and fused it into his constitution. In the course of his evolutionary promotions, his sublime march toward ultimate perfection, he has been a gambler, a low comedian, a dissolute priest, a fussy woman, a blackguard, a scoffer, a liar, a thief, a spy, an informer, a trading politician, a swindler, a professional hypocrite, a patriot for cash, a reformer, a lecturer, a lawyer, a conspirator, a rebel, a royalist, a democrat, a practicer and propagator of irreverence, a meddler, an intruder, a busybody, an infidel, and a wallower in sin for the mere love of it. The strange result, the incredible result, of this patient accumulation of all damnable traits is, that be does not know what care is, he does not know what sorrow is, he does not know what remorse is, his life is one long thundering ecstasy of happiness, and he will go to his death untroubled, knowing that he will soon turn up again as an author or something, and be even more intolerably capable and comfortable than ever he was before.
In his straddling wide forward-step, and his springy side-wise series of hops, and his impudent air, and his cunning way of canting his head to one side upon occasion, he reminds one of the American blackbird. But the sharp resemblances stop there. He is much bigger than the blackbird; and he lacks the blackbird's trim and slender and beautiful build and shapely beak; and of course his sober garb of gray and rusty black is a poor and humble thing compared with the splendid lustre of the blackbird's metallic sables and shifting and flashing bronze glories. The blackbird is a perfect gentleman, in deportment and attire, and is not noisy, I believe, except when holding religious services and political conventions in a tree; but this Indian sham Quaker is just a rowdy, and is always noisy when awake--always chaffing, scolding, scoffing, laughing, ripping, and cursing, and carrying on about something or other. I never saw such a bird for delivering opinions. Nothing escapes him; he notices everything that happens, and brings out his opinion about it, particularly if it is a matter that is none of his business. And it is never a mild opinion, but always violent--violent and profane--the presence of ladies does not affect him. His opinions are not the outcome of reflection, for he never thinks about anything, but heaves out the opinion that is on top in his mind, and which is often an opinion about some quite different thing and does not fit the case. But that is his way; his main idea is to get out an opinion, and if he stopped to think he would lose chances.
I suppose he has no enemies among men. The whites and Mohammedans never seemed to molest him; and the Hindoos, because of their religion, never take the life of any creature, but spare even the snakes and tigers and fleas and rats. If I sat on one end of the balcony, the crows would gather on the railing at the other end and talk about me; and edge closer, little by little, till I could almost reach them; and they would sit there, in the most unabashed way, and talk about my clothes, and my hair, and my complexion, and probable character and vocation and politics, and how I came to be in India, and what I had been doing, and how many days I had got for it, and how I had happened to go unhanged so long, and when would it probably come off, and might there be more of my sort where I came from, and when would they be hanged,--and so on, and so on, until I could not longer endure the embarrassment of it; then I would shoo them away, and they would circle around in the air a little while, laughing and deriding and mocking, and presently settle on the rail and do it all over again.
They were very sociable when there was anything to
eat--oppressively so. With a little encouragement they would come in and light
on the table and help me eat my breakfast; and once when I was in the other
room and they found themselves alone, they carried off everything they could
lift; and they were particular to choose things which they could make no use of
after they got them. In
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.
You soon find your long-ago dreams of India rising in a sort of vague and luscious moonlight above the horizon-rim of your opaque consciousness, and softly lighting up a thousand forgotten details which were parts of a vision that had once been vivid to you when you were a boy, and steeped your spirit in tales of the East. The barbaric gorgeousnesses, for instance; and the princely titles, the sumptuous titles, the sounding titles,--how good they taste in the mouth! The Nizam of Hyderabad; the Maharajah of Travancore; the Nabob of Jubbelpore; the Begum of Bhopal; the Nawab of Mysore; the Rance of Gulnare; the Ahkoond of Swat's; the Rao of Rohilkund; the Gaikwar of Baroda. Indeed, it is a country that runs richly to name. The great god Vishnu has 108--108 special ones--108 peculiarly holy ones--names just for Sunday use only. I learned the whole of Vishnu's 108 by heart once, but they wouldn't stay; I don't remember any of them now but John W.
And the romances connected with, those princely native
houses--to this day they are always turning up, just as in the old, old
times. They were sweating out a romance
in an English court in
The case of that great prince, the Gaikwar of Baroda, is a reversal of the theme. When that throne fell vacant, no heir could be found for some time, but at last one was found in the person of a peasant child who was making mud pies in a village street, and having an innocent good time. But his pedigree was straight; he was the true prince, and he has reigned ever since, with none to dispute his right.
Lately there was another hunt for an heir to another princely house, and one was found who was circumstanced about as the Gaikwar had been. His fathers were traced back, in humble life, along a branch of the ancestral tree to the point where it joined the stem fourteen generations ago, and his heirship was thereby squarely established. The tracing was done by means of the records of one of the great Hindoo shrines, where princes on pilgrimage record their names and the date of their visit. This is to keep the prince's religious account straight, and his spiritual person safe; but the record has the added value of keeping the pedigree authentic, too.
When I think of Bombay now, at this distance of time, I seem to have a kaleidoscope at my eye; and I hear the clash of the glass bits as the splendid figures change, and fall apart, and flash into new forms, figure after figure, and with the birth of each new form I feel my skin crinkle and my nerve-web tingle with a new thrill of wonder and delight. These remembered pictures float past me in a sequence of contracts; following the same order always, and always whirling by and disappearing with the swiftness of a dream, leaving me with the sense that the actuality was the experience of an hour, at most, whereas it really covered days, I think.
The series begins with the hiring of a "bearer"--native man-servant--a person who should be selected with some care, because as long as he is in your employ he will be about as near to you as your clothes.
In India your day may be said to begin with the "bearer's" knock on the bedroom door, accompanied by a formula of, words--a formula which is intended to mean that the bath is ready. It doesn't really seem to mean anything at all. But that is because you are not used to "bearer" English. You will presently understand.
Where he gets his English is his own secret. There is nothing like it elsewhere in the earth; or even in paradise, perhaps, but the other place is probably full of it. You hire him as soon as you touch Indian soil; for no matter what your sex is, you cannot do without him. He is messenger, valet, chambermaid, table-waiter, lady's maid, courier--he is everything. He carries a coarse linen clothes-bag and a quilt; he sleeps on the stone floor outside your chamber door, and gets his meals you do not know where nor when; you only know that he is not fed on the premises, either when you are in a hotel or when you are a guest in a, private house. His wages are large--from an Indian point of view--and he feeds and clothes himself out of them. We had three of him in two and a half months. The first one's rate was thirty rupees a month that is to say, twenty-seven cents a day; the rate of the others, Rs. 40 (40 rupees) a month. A princely sum; for the native switchman on a railway and the native servant in a private family get only Rs. 7 per month, and the farm-hand only 4. The two former feed and clothe themselves and their families on their $1.90 per month; but I cannot believe that the farmhand has to feed himself on his $1.08. I think the farm probably feeds him, and that the whole of his wages, except a trifle for the priest, go to the support of his family. That is, to the feeding of his family; for they live in a mud hut, hand-made, and, doubtless, rent-free, and they wear no clothes; at least, nothing more than a rag. And not much of a rag at that, in the case of the males. However, these are handsome times for the farm-hand; he was not always the child of luxury that he is now. The Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces, in a recent official utterance wherein he was rebuking a native deputation for complaining of hard times, reminded them that they could easily remember when a farm-hand's wages were only half a rupee (former value) a month--that is to say, less than a cent a day; nearly $2.90 a year. If such a wage-earner had a good deal of a family--and they all have that, for God is very good to these poor natives in some ways--he would save a profit of fifteen cents, clean and clear, out of his year's toil; I mean a frugal, thrifty person would, not one given to display and ostentation. And if he owed $13.50 and took good care of his health, he could pay it off in ninety years. Then he could hold up his head, and look his creditors in the face again.
Think of these facts and what they mean. India does not consist of cities. There are no cities in India--to speak of. Its stupendous population consists of farm-laborers. India is one vast farm--one almost interminable stretch of fields with mud fences between. . . Think of the above facts; and consider what an incredible aggregate of poverty they place before you.
The first Bearer that applied, waited below and sent up his recommendations. That was the first morning in Bombay. We read them over; carefully, cautiously, thoughtfully. There was not a fault to find with them--except one; they were all from Americans. Is that a slur? If it is, it is a deserved one. In my experience, an American's recommendation of a servant is not usually valuable. We are too good-natured a race; we hate to say the unpleasant thing; we shrink from speaking the unkind truth about a poor fellow whose bread depends upon our verdict; so we speak of his good points only, thus not scrupling to tell a lie--a silent lie--for in not mentioning his bad ones we as good as say he hasn't any. The only difference that I know of between a silent lie and a spoken one is, that the silent lie is a less respectable one than the other. And it can deceive, whereas the other can't--as a rule. We not only tell the silent lie as to a servant's faults, but we sin in another way: we overpraise his merits; for when it comes to writing recommendations of servants we are a nation of gushers. And we have not the Frenchman's excuse. In France you must give the departing servant a good recommendation; and you must conceal his faults; you have no choice. If you mention his faults for the protection of the next candidate for his services, he can sue you for damages; and the court will award them, too; and, moreover, the judge will give you a sharp dressing-down from the bench for trying to destroy a poor man's character, and rob him of his bread. I do not state this on my own authority, I got it from a French physician of fame and repute--a man who was born in Paris, and had practiced there all his life. And he said that he spoke not merely from common knowledge, but from exasperating personal experience.
As I was saying, the Bearer's recommendations were all from American tourists; and St. Peter would have admitted him to the fields of the blest on them--I mean if he is as unfamiliar with our people and our ways as I suppose he is. According to these recommendations, Manuel X. was supreme in all the arts connected with his complex trade; and these manifold arts were mentioned--and praised-in detail. His English was spoken of in terms of warm admiration--admiration verging upon rapture. I took pleased note of that, and hoped that some of it might be true.
We had to have some one right away; so the family went down stairs and took him a week on trial; then sent him up to me and departed on their affairs. I was shut up in my quarters with a bronchial cough, and glad to have something fresh to look at, something new to play with. Manuel filled the bill; Manuel was very welcome. He was toward fifty years old, tall, slender, with a slight stoop--an artificial stoop, a deferential stoop, a stoop rigidified by long habit--with face of European mould; short hair intensely black; gentle black eyes, timid black eyes, indeed; complexion very dark, nearly black in fact; face smooth-shaven. He was bareheaded and barefooted, and was never otherwise while his week with us lasted; his clothing was European, cheap, flimsy, and showed much wear.
He stood before me and inclined his head (and body) in the pathetic Indian way, touching his forehead with the finger--ends of his right hand, in salute. I said:
"Manuel, you are evidently Indian, but you seem to have a Spanish name when you put it all together. How is that?"
A perplexed look gathered in his face; it was plain that he had not understood--but he didn't let on. He spoke back placidly.
"Name, Manuel. Yes, master."
"I know; but how did you get the name?"
"Oh, yes, I suppose. Think happen so. Father same name, not mother."
I saw that I must simplify my language and spread my words apart, if I would be understood by this English scholar.
"Oh, he,"--brightening a little--"he Christian--Portygee; live in Goa; I born Goa; mother not Portygee, mother native-high-caste Brahmin--Coolin Brahmin; highest caste; no other so high caste. I high-caste Brahmin, too. Christian, too, same like father; high-caste Christian Brahmin, master--Salvation Army."
All this haltingly, and with difficulty. Then he had an inspiration, and began to pour out a flood of words that I could make nothing of; so I said:
"There--don't do that. I can't understand Hindostani."
"Not Hindostani, master--English. Always I speaking English sometimes when I talking every day all the time at you."
"Very well, stick to that; that is intelligible. It is not up to my hopes, it is not up to the promise of the recommendations, still it is English, and I understand it. Don't elaborate it; I don't like elaborations when they are crippled by uncertainty of touch."
"Oh, never mind; it was only a random thought; I didn't expect you to understand it. How did you get your English; is it an acquirement, or just a gift of God?"
After some hesitation--piously:
"Yes, he very good. Christian god very good, Hindoo god very good, too. Two million Hindoo god, one Christian god--make two million and one. All mine; two million and one god. I got a plenty. Sometime I pray all time at those, keep it up, go all time every day; give something at shrine, all good for me, make me better man; good for me, good for my family, dam good."
Then he had another inspiration, and went rambling off into fervent confusions and incoherencies, and I had to stop him again. I thought we had talked enough, so I told him to go to the bathroom and clean it up and remove the slops--this to get rid of him. He went away, seeming to understand, and got out some of my clothes and began to brush them. I repeated my desire several times, simplifying and re-simplifying it, and at last he got the idea. Then he went away and put a coolie at the work, and explained that he would lose caste if he did it himself; it would be pollution, by the law of his caste, and it would cost him a deal of fuss and trouble to purify himself and accomplish his rehabilitation. He said that that kind of work was strictly forbidden to persons of caste, and as strictly restricted to the very bottom layer of Hindoo society--the despised 'Sudra' (the toiler, the laborer). He was right; and apparently the poor Sudra has been content with his strange lot, his insulting distinction, for ages and ages--clear back to the beginning of things, so to speak. Buckle says that his name--laborer--is a term of contempt; that it is ordained by the Institutes of Menu (900 B.C.) that if a Sudra sit on a level with his superior he shall be exiled or branded--[Without going into particulars I will remark that as a rule they wear no clothing that would conceal the brand.--M. T.]. . . ; if he speak contemptuously of his superior or insult him he shall suffer death; if he listen to the reading of the sacred books he shall have burning oil poured in his ears; if he memorize passages from them he shall be killed; if he marry his daughter to a Brahmin the husband shall go to hell for defiling himself by contact with a woman so infinitely his inferior; and that it is forbidden to a Sudra to acquire wealth. "The bulk of the population of India," says Bucklet--[Population to-day, 300,000,000.] --"is the Sudras--the workers, the farmers, the creators of wealth."
Manuel was a failure, poor old fellow. His age was against him. He was desperately slow and phenomenally forgetful. When he went three blocks on an errand he would be gone two hours, and then forget what it was he went for. When he packed a trunk it took him forever, and the trunk's contents were an unimaginable chaos when he got done. He couldn't wait satisfactorily at table--a prime defect, for if you haven't your own servant in an Indian hotel you are likely to have a slow time of it and go away hungry. We couldn't understand his English; he couldn't understand ours; and when we found that he couldn't understand his own, it seemed time for us to part. I had to discharge him; there was no help for it. But I did it as kindly as I could, and as gently. We must part, said I, but I hoped we should meet again in a better world. It was not true, but it was only a little thing to say, and saved his feelings and cost me nothing.
But now that he was gone, and was off my mind and heart, my spirits began to rise at once, and I was soon feeling brisk and ready to go out and have adventures. Then his newly-hired successor flitted in, touched his forehead, and began to fly around here, there, and everywhere, on his velvet feet, and in five minutes he had everything in the room "ship-shape and Bristol fashion," as the sailors say, and was standing at the salute, waiting for orders. Dear me, what a rustler he was after the slumbrous way of Manuel, poor old slug! All my heart, all my affection, all my admiration, went out spontaneously to this frisky little forked black thing, this compact and compressed incarnation of energy and force and promptness and celerity and confidence, this smart, smily, engaging, shiney-eyed little devil, feruled on his upper end by a gleaming fire-coal of a fez with a red-hot tassel dangling from it. I said, with deep satisfaction--
"You'll suit. What is your name?"
He reeled it mellowly off.
"Let me see if I can make a selection out of it--for business uses, I mean; we will keep the rest for Sundays. Give it to me in installments."
He did it. But there did not seem to be any short ones, except Mousawhich suggested mouse. It was out of character; it was too soft, too quiet, too conservative; it didn't fit his splendid style. I considered, and said--
"Mousa is short enough, but I don't quite like it. It seems colorless --inharmonious--inadequate; and I am sensitive to such things. How do you think Satan would do?"
"Yes, master. Satan do wair good."
It was his way of saying "very good."
There was a rap at the door. Satan covered the ground with a single skip; there was a word or two of Hindostani, then he disappeared. Three minutes later he was before me again, militarily erect, and waiting for me to speak first.
"What is it, Satan?"
"God want to see you."
"God. I show him up, master?"
"Why, this is so unusual, that--that--well, you see indeed I am so unprepared--I don't quite know what I do mean. Dear me, can't you explain? Don't you see that this is a most ex----"
"Here his card, master."
Wasn't it curious--and amazing, and tremendous, and all that? Such a personage going around calling on such as I, and sending up his card, like a mortal--sending it up by Satan. It was a bewildering collision of the impossibles. But this was the land of the Arabian Nights, this was India! and what is it that cannot happen in India?
We had the interview. Satan was right--the Visitor was indeed a God in the conviction of his multitudinous followers, and was worshiped by them in sincerity and humble adoration. They are troubled by no doubts as to his divine origin and office. They believe in him, they pray to him, they make offerings to him, they beg of him remission of sins; to them his person, together with everything connected with it, is sacred; from his barber they buy the parings of his nails and set them in gold, and wear them as precious amulets.
I tried to seem tranquilly conversational and at rest, but I was not. Would you have been? I was in a suppressed frenzy of excitement and curiosity and glad wonder. I could not keep my eyes off him. I was looking upon a god, an actual god, a recognized and accepted god; and every detail of his person and his dress had a consuming interest for me. And the thought went floating through my head, "He is worshiped--think of it--he is not a recipient of the pale homage called compliment, wherewith the highest human clay must make shift to be satisfied, but of an infinitely richer spiritual food: adoration, worship!--men and women lay their cares and their griefs and their broken hearts at his feet; and he gives them his peace; and they go away healed."
And just then the Awful Visitor said, in the simplest way--"There is a feature of the philosophy of Huck Finn which"--and went luminously on with the construction of a compact and nicely-discriminated literary verdict.
It is a land of surprises--India! I had had my ambitions--I had hoped, and almost expected, to be read by kings and presidents and emperors--but I had never looked so high as That. It would be false modesty to pretend that I was not inordinately pleased. I was. I was much more pleased than I should have been with a compliment from a man.
He remained half an hour, and I found him a most courteous and charming gentleman. The godship has been in his family a good while, but I do not know how long. He is a Mohammedan deity; by earthly rank he is a prince; not an Indian but a Persian prince. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet's line. He is comely; also young--for a god; not forty, perhaps not above thirty-five years old. He wears his immense honors with tranquil brace, and with a dignity proper to his awful calling. He speaks English with the ease and purity of a person born to it. I think I am not overstating this. He was the only god I had ever seen, and I was very favorably impressed. When he rose to say good-bye, the door swung open and I caught the flash of a red fez, and heard these words, reverently said--
"Satan see God out?"
"Yes." And these mis-mated Beings passed from view Satan in the lead and The Other following after.
Few of us can stand prosperity. Another man's, I mean.
The next picture in my mind is Government House, on Malabar Point, with the wide sea-view from the windows and broad balconies; abode of His Excellency the Governor of the Bombay Presidency--a residence which is European in everything but the native guards and servants, and is a home and a palace of state harmoniously combined.
The young lad, his heir, was with the prince; also, the lad's sister, a wee brown sprite, very pretty, very serious, very winning, delicately moulded, costumed like the daintiest butterfly, a dear little fairyland princess, gravely willing to be friendly with the strangers, but in the beginning preferring to hold her father's hand until she could take stock of them and determine how far they were to be trusted. She must have been eight years old; so in the natural (Indian) order of things she would be a bride in three or four years from now, and then this free contact with the sun and the air and the other belongings of out-door nature and comradeship with visiting male folk would end, and she would shut herself up in the zenana for life, like her mother, and by inherited habit of mind would be happy in that seclusion and not look upon it as an irksome restraint and a weary captivity.
The game which the prince amuses his leisure with--however, never mind it, I should never be able to describe it intelligibly. I tried to get an idea of it while my wife and daughter visited the princess in the zenana, a lady of charming graces and a fluent speaker of English, but I did not make it out. It is a complicated game, and I believe it is said that nobody can learn to play it well--but an Indian. And I was not able to learn how to wind a turban. It seemed a simple art and easy; but that was a deception. It is a piece of thin, delicate stuff a foot wide or more, and forty or fifty feet long; and the exhibitor of the art takes one end of it in his hands, and winds it in and out intricately about his head, twisting it as he goes, and in a minute or two the thing is finished, and is neat and symmetrical and fits as snugly as a mould.
We were interested in the wardrobe and the jewels, and in the silverware, and its grace of shape and beauty and delicacy of ornamentation. The silverware is kept locked up, except at meal-times, and none but the chief butler and the prince have keys to the safe. I did not clearly understand why, but it was not for the protection of the silver. It was either to protect the prince from the contamination which his caste would suffer if the vessels were touched by low-caste hands, or it was to protect his highness from poison. Possibly it was both. I believe a salaried taster has to taste everything before the prince ventures it--an ancient and judicious custom in the East, and has thinned out the tasters a good deal, for of course it is the cook that puts the poison in. If I were an Indian prince I would not go to the expense of a taster, I would eat with the cook.
Ceremonials are always interesting; and I noted that the Indian good-morning is a ceremonial, whereas ours doesn't amount to that. In salutation the son reverently touches the father's forehead with a small silver implement tipped with vermillion paste which leaves a red spot there, and in return the son receives the father's blessing. Our good morning is well enough for the rowdy West, perhaps, but would be too brusque for the soft and ceremonious East.
After being properly necklaced, according to custom, with great garlands made of yellow flowers, and provided with betel-nut to chew, this pleasant visit closed, and we passed thence to a scene of a different sort: from this glow of color and this sunny life to those grim receptacles of the Parsee dead, the Towers of Silence. There is something stately about that name, and an impressiveness which sinks deep; the hush of death is in it. We have the Grave, the Tomb, the Mausoleum, God's Acre, the Cemetery; and association has made them eloquent with solemn meaning; but we have no name that is so majestic as that one, or lingers upon the ear with such deep and haunting pathos.
On lofty ground, in the midst of a paradise of tropical foliage and flowers, remote from the world and its turmoil and noise, they stood--the Towers of Silence; and away below was spread the wide groves of cocoa palms, then the city, mile on mile, then the ocean with its fleets of creeping ships all steeped in a stillness as deep as the hush that hallowed this high place of the dead. The vultures were there. They stood close together in a great circle all around the rim of a massive low tower--waiting; stood as motionless as sculptured ornaments, and indeed almost deceived one into the belief that that was what they were. Presently there was a slight stir among the score of persons present, and all moved reverently out of the path and ceased from talking. A funeral procession entered the great gate, marching two and two, and moved silently by, toward the Tower. The corpse lay in a shallow shell, and was under cover of a white cloth, but was otherwise naked. The bearers of the body were separated by an interval of thirty feet from the mourners. They, and also the mourners, were draped all in pure white, and each couple of mourners was figuratively bound together by a piece of white rope or a handkerchief--though they merely held the ends of it in their hands. Behind the procession followed a dog, which was led in a leash. When the mourners had reached the neighborhood of the Tower --neither they nor any other human being but the bearers of the dead must approach within thirty feet of it--they turned and went back to one of the prayer-houses within the gates, to pray for the spirit of their dead. The bearers unlocked the Tower's sole door and disappeared from view within. In a little while they came out bringing the bier and the white covering-cloth, and locked the door again. Then the ring of vultures rose, flapping their wings, and swooped down into the Tower to devour the body. Nothing was left of it but a clean-picked skeleton when they flocked-out again a few minutes afterward.
The principle which underlies and orders everything connected with a Parsee funeral is Purity. By the tenets of the Zoroastrian religion, the elements, Earth, Fire, and Water, are sacred, and must not be contaminated by contact with a dead body. Hence corpses must not be burned, neither must they be buried. None may touch the dead or enter the Towers where they repose except certain men who are officially appointed for that purpose. They receive high pay, but theirs is a dismal life, for they must live apart from their species, because their commerce with the dead defiles them, and any who should associate with them would share their defilement. When they come out of the Tower the clothes they are wearing are exchanged for others, in a building within the grounds, and the ones which they have taken off are left behind, for they are contaminated, and must never be used again or suffered to go outside the grounds. These bearers come to every funeral in new garments. So far as is known, no human being, other than an official corpse-bearer--save one--has ever entered a Tower of Silence after its consecration. Just a hundred years ago a European rushed in behind the bearers and fed his brutal curiosity with a glimpse of the forbidden mysteries of the place. This shabby savage's name is not given; his quality is also concealed. These two details, taken in connection with the fact that for his extraordinary offense the only punishment he got from the East India Company's Government was a solemn official "reprimand"--suggest the suspicion that he was a European of consequence. The same public document which contained the reprimand gave warning that future offenders of his sort, if in the Company's service, would be dismissed; and if merchants, suffer revocation of license and exile to England.
The Towers are not tall, but are low in proportion to their circumference, like a gasometer. If you should fill a gasometer half way up with solid granite masonry, then drive a wide and deep well down through the center of this mass of masonry, you would have the idea of a Tower of Silence. On the masonry surrounding the well the bodies lie, in shallow trenches which radiate like wheel-spokes from the well. The trenches slant toward the well and carry into it the rainfall. Underground drains, with charcoal filters in them, carry off this water from the bottom of the well.
When a skeleton has lain in the Tower exposed to the rain and the flaming sun a month it is perfectly dry and clean. Then the same bearers that brought it there come gloved and take it up with tongs and throw it into the well. There it turns to dust. It is never seen again, never touched again, in the world. Other peoples separate their dead, and preserve and continue social distinctions in the grave--the skeletons of kings and statesmen and generals in temples and pantheons proper to skeletons of their degree, and the skeletons of the commonplace and the poor in places suited to their meaner estate; but the Parsees hold that all men rank alike in death--all are humble, all poor, all destitute. In sign of their poverty they are sent to their grave naked, in sign of their equality the bones of the rich, the poor, the illustrious and the obscure are flung into the common well together. At a Parsee funeral there are no vehicles; all concerned must walk, both rich and poor, howsoever great the distance to be traversed may be. In the wells of the Five Towers of Silence is mingled the dust of all the Parsee men and women and children who have died in Bombay and its vicinity during the two centuries which have elapsed since the Mohammedan conquerors drove the Parsees out of Persia, and into that region of India. The earliest of the five towers was built by the Modi family something more than 200 years ago, and it is now reserved to the heirs of that house; none but the dead of that blood are carried thither.
The origin of at least one of the details of a Parsee funeral is not now known--the presence of the dog. Before a corpse is borne from the house of mourning it must be uncovered and exposed to the gaze of a dog; a dog must also be led in the rear of the funeral. Mr. Nusserwanjee Byranijee, Secretary to the Parsee Punchayet, said that these formalities had once had a meaning and a reason for their institution, but that they were survivals whose origin none could now account for. Custom and tradition continue them in force, antiquity hallows them. It is thought that in ancient times in Persia the dog was a sacred animal and could guide souls to heaven; also that his eye had the power of purifying objects which had been contaminated by the touch of the dead; and that hence his presence with the funeral cortege provides an ever-applicable remedy in case of need.
The Parsees claim that their method of disposing of the dead is an effective protection of the living; that it disseminates no corruption, no impurities of any sort, no disease-germs; that no wrap, no garment which has touched the dead is allowed to touch the living afterward; that from the Towers of Silence nothing proceeds which can carry harm to the outside world. These are just claims, I think. As a sanitary measure, their system seems to be about the equivalent of cremation, and as sure. We are drifting slowly--but hopefully--toward cremation in these days. It could not be expected that this progress should be swift, but if it be steady and continuous, even if slow, that will suffice. When cremation becomes the rule we shall cease to shudder at it; we should shudder at burial if we allowed ourselves to think what goes on in the grave.
The dog was an impressive figure to me, representing as he did a mystery whose key is lost. He was humble, and apparently depressed; and he let his head droop pensively, and looked as if he might be trying to call back to his mind what it was that he had used to symbolize ages ago when he began his function. There was another impressive thing close at hand, but I was not privileged to see it. That was the sacred fire--a fire which is supposed to have been burning without interruption for more than two centuries; and so, living by the same heat that was imparted to it so long ago.
The Parsees are a remarkable community. There are only about
We took a final sweep of the wonderful view of plain and city and ocean, and so ended our visit to the garden and the Towers of Silence; and the last thing I noticed was another symbol--a voluntary symbol this one; it was a vulture standing on the sawed-off top of a tall and slender and branchless palm in an open space in the ground; he was perfectly motionless, and looked like a piece of sculpture on a pillar. And he had a mortuary look, too, which was in keeping with the place.
There is an old-time toast which is golden for its beauty. "When you ascend the hill of prosperity may you not meet a friend."
The next picture that drifts across the field of my memory is one which is connected with religious things. We were taken by friends to see a Jain temple. It was small, and had many flags or streamers flying from poles standing above its roof; and its little battlements supported a great many small idols or images. Upstairs, inside, a solitary Jain was praying or reciting aloud in the middle of the room. Our presence did not interrupt him, nor even incommode him or modify his fervor. Ten or twelve feet in front of him was the idol, a small figure in a sitting posture. It had the pinkish look of a wax doll, but lacked the doll's roundness of limb and approximation to correctness of form and justness of proportion. Mr. Gandhi explained every thing to us. He was delegate to the Chicago Fair Congress of Religions. It was lucidly done, in masterly English, but in time it faded from me, and now I have nothing left of that episode but an impression: a dim idea of a religious belief clothed in subtle intellectual forms, lofty and clean, barren of fleshly grossnesses; and with this another dim impression which connects that intellectual system somehow with that crude image, that inadequate idol --how, I do not know. Properly they do not seem to belong together. Apparently the idol symbolized a person who had become a saint or a god through accessions of steadily augmenting holiness acquired through a series of reincarnations and promotions extending over many ages; and was now at last a saint and qualified to vicariously receive worship and transmit it to heaven's chancellery. Was that it?
And thence we went to Mr. Premchand Roychand's bungalow, in Lovelane, Byculla, where an Indian prince was to receive a deputation of the Jain community who desired to congratulate him upon a high honor lately conferred upon him by his sovereign, Victoria, Empress of India. She had made him a knight of the order of the Star of India. It would seem that even the grandest Indian prince is glad to add the modest title "Sir" to his ancient native grandeurs, and is willing to do valuable service to win it. He will remit taxes liberally, and will spend money freely upon the betterment of the condition of his subjects, if there is a knighthood to be gotten by it. And he will also do good work and a deal of it to get a gun added to the salute allowed him by the British Government. Every year the Empress distributes knighthoods and adds guns for public services done by native princes. The salute of a small prince is three or four guns; princes of greater consequence have salutes that run higher and higher, gun by gun,--oh, clear away up to eleven; possibly more, but I did not hear of any above eleven-gun princes. I was told that when a four-gun prince gets a gun added, he is pretty troublesome for a while, till the novelty wears off, for he likes the music, and keeps hunting up pretexts to get himself saluted. It may be that supremely grand folk, like the Nyzam of Hyderabad and the Gaikwar of Baroda, have more than eleven guns, but I don't know.
When we arrived at the bungalow, the large hall on the ground floor was already about full, and carriages were still flowing into the grounds. The company present made a fine show, an exhibition of human fireworks, so to speak, in the matters of costume and comminglings of brilliant color. The variety of form noticeable in the display of turbans was remarkable. We were told that the explanation of this was, that this Jain delegation was drawn from many parts of India, and that each man wore the turban that was in vogue in his own region. This diversity of turbans made a beautiful effect.
I could have wished to start a rival exhibition there, of Christian hats and clothes. I would have cleared one side of the room of its Indian splendors and repacked the space with Christians drawn from America, England, and the Colonies, dressed in the hats and habits of now, and of twenty and forty and fifty years ago. It would have been a hideous exhibition, a thoroughly devilish spectacle. Then there would have been the added disadvantage of the white complexion. It is not an unbearably unpleasant complexion when it keeps to itself, but when it comes into competition with masses of brown and black the fact is betrayed that it is endurable only because we are used to it. Nearly all black and brown skins are beautiful, but a beautiful white skin is rare. How rare, one may learn by walking down a street in Paris, New York, or London on a week-day particularly an unfashionable street--and keeping count of the satisfactory complexions encountered in the course of a mile. Where dark complexions are massed, they make the whites look bleached-out, unwholesome, and sometimes frankly ghastly. I could notice this as a boy, down South in the slavery days before the war. The splendid black satin skin of the South African Zulus of Durban seemed to me to come very close to perfection. I can see those Zulus yet--'ricksha athletes waiting in front of the hotel for custom; handsome and intensely black creatures, moderately clothed in loose summer stuffs whose snowy whiteness made the black all the blacker by contrast. Keeping that group in my mind, I can compare those complexions with the white ones which are streaming past this London window now:
A lady. Complexion, new parchment. Another lady. Complexion, old
Another. Pink and white, very fine.
Man. Grayish skin, with purple areas.
Man. Unwholesome fish-belly skin.
Girl. Sallow face, sprinkled with freckles.
Old woman. Face whitey-gray.
Young butcher. Face a general red flush.
Jaundiced man--mustard yellow.
Elderly lady. Colorless skin, with two conspicuous moles.
Elderly man--a drinker. Boiled-cauliflower nose in a flabby face
veined with purple crinklings.
Healthy young gentleman. Fine fresh complexion.
Sick young man. His face a ghastly white.
No end of people whose skins are dull and characterless modifications of the tint which we miscall white. Some of these faces are pimply; some exhibit other signs of diseased blood; some show scars of a tint out of a harmony with the surrounding shades of color. The white man's complexion makes no concealments. It can't. It seemed to have been designed as a catch-all for everything that can damage it. Ladies have to paint it, and powder it, and cosmetic it, and diet it with arsenic, and enamel it, and be always enticing it, and persuading it, and pestering it, and fussing at it, to make it beautiful; and they do not succeed. But these efforts show what they think of the natural complexion, as distributed. As distributed it needs these helps. The complexion which they try to counterfeit is one which nature restricts to the few--to the very few. To ninety-nine persons she gives a bad complexion, to the hundredth a good one. The hundredth can keep it--how long? Ten years, perhaps.
The advantage is with the Zulu, I think. He starts with a beautiful complexion, and it will last him through. And as for the Indian brown --firm, smooth, blemishless, pleasant and restful to the eye, afraid of no color, harmonizing with all colors and adding a grace to them all--I think there is no sort of chance for the average white complexion against that rich and perfect tint.
To return to the bungalow. The most gorgeous costume present were worn by some children. They seemed to blaze, so bright were the colors, and so brilliant the jewels strum over the rich materials. These children were professional nautch-dancers, and looked like girls, but they were boys, They got up by ones and twos and fours, and danced and sang to an accompaniment of weird music. Their posturings and gesturings were elaborate and graceful, but their voices were stringently raspy and unpleasant, and there was a good deal of monotony about the tune.
By and by there was a burst of shouts and cheers outside and the prince with his train entered in fine dramatic style. He was a stately man, he was ideally costumed, and fairly festooned with ropes of gems; some of the ropes were of pearls, some were of uncut great emeralds--emeralds renowned in Bombay for their quality and value. Their size was marvelous, and enticing to the eye, those rocks. A boy--a princeling --was with the prince, and he also was a radiant exhibition.
The ceremonies were not tedious. The prince strode to his throne with the port and majesty--and the sternness--of a Julius Caesar coming to receive and receipt for a back-country kingdom and have it over and get out, and no fooling. There was a throne for the young prince, too, and the two sat there, side by side, with their officers grouped at either hand and most accurately and creditably reproducing the pictures which one sees in the books--pictures which people in the prince's line of business have been furnishing ever since Solomon received the Queen of Sheba and showed her his things. The chief of the Jain delegation read his paper of congratulations, then pushed it into a beautifully engraved silver cylinder, which was delivered with ceremony into the prince's hands and at once delivered by him without ceremony into the hands of an officer. I will copy the address here. It is interesting, as showing what an Indian prince's subject may have opportunity to thank him for in these days of modern English rule, as contrasted with what his ancestor would have given them opportunity to thank him for a century and a half ago--the days of freedom unhampered by English interference. A century and a half ago an address of thanks could have been put into small space. It would have thanked the prince--
1. For not slaughtering too many of his people upon mere caprice;
2. For not stripping them bare by sudden and arbitrary tax levies,
and bringing famine upon them;
3. For not upon empty pretext destroying the rich and seizing their
4. For not killing, blinding, imprisoning, or banishing the
relatives of the royal house to protect the throne from possible
5. For not betraying the subject secretly, for a bribe, into the
hands of bands of professional Thugs, to be murdered and robbed in
the prince's back lot.
Those were rather common princely industries in the old times, but they and some others of a harsh sort ceased long ago under English rule. Better industries have taken their place, as this Address from the Jain community will show:
"Your Highness,--We the undersigned members of the Jain community of
Bombay have the pleasure to approach your Highness with the
expression of our heartfelt congratulations on the recent conference
on your Highness of the Knighthood of the Most Exalted Order of the
Star of India. Ten years ago we had the pleasure and privilege of
welcoming your Highness to this city under circumstances which have
made a memorable epoch in the history of your State, for had it not
been for a generous and reasonable spirit that your Highness
displayed in the negotiations between the Palitana Durbar and the
Jain community, the conciliatory spirit that animated our people
could not have borne fruit. That was the first step in your
Highness's administration, and it fitly elicited the praise of the
Jain community, and of the Bombay Government. A decade of your
Highness's administration, combined with the abilities, training,
and acquirements that your Highness brought to bear upon it, has
justly earned for your Highness the unique and honourable
distinction--the Knighthood of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of
India, which we understand your Highness is the first to enjoy among
Chiefs of your, Highness's rank and standing. And we assure your
Highness that for this mark of honour that has been conferred on you
by Her Most Gracious Majesty, the Queen-Empress, we feel no less
proud than your Highness. Establishment of commercial factories,
schools, hospitals, etc., by your Highness in your State has marked
your Highness's career during these ten years, and we trust that
your Highness will be spared to rule over your people with wisdom
and foresight, and foster the many reforms that your Highness has
been pleased to introduce in your State. We again offer your
Highness our warmest felicitations for the honour that has been
conferred on you. We beg to remain your Highness's obedient
Factories, schools, hospitals, reforms. The prince propagates that kind of things in the modern times, and gets knighthood and guns for it.
After the address the prince responded with snap and brevity; spoke a moment with half a dozen guests in English, and with an official or two in a native tongue; then the garlands were distributed as usual, and the function ended.
Each person is born to one possession which outvalues all his others--his last breath.
Toward midnight, that night, there was another
function. This was a Hindoo wedding--no,
I think it was a betrothal ceremony.
Always before, we had driven through streets that were multitudinous and
tumultuous with picturesque native life, but now there was nothing of
that. We seemed to move through a city
of the dead. There was hardly a
suggestion of life in those still and vacant streets. Even the crows were silent. But everywhere on the ground lay sleeping
natives-hundreds and hundreds. They lay stretched at full length and tightly
wrapped in blankets, beads and all.
Their attitude and their rigidity counterfeited death. The plague was not in
But at last we turned a corner and saw a great glare of light ahead. It was the home of the bride, wrapped in a perfect conflagration of illuminations,--mainly gas-work designs, gotten up specially for the occasion. Within was abundance of brilliancy--flames, costumes, colors, decorations, mirrors--it was another Aladdin show.
The bride was a trim and comely little thing of twelve years, dressed as we would dress a boy, though more expensively than we should do it, of course. She moved about very much at her ease, and stopped and talked with the guests and allowed her wedding jewelry to be examined. It was very fine. Particularly a rope of great diamonds, a lovely thing to look at and handle. It had a great emerald hanging to it.
The bridegroom was not present. He was having betrothal festivities of his own at his father's house. As I understood it, he and the bride were to entertain company every night and nearly all night for a week or more, then get married, if alive. Both of the children were a little elderly, as brides and grooms go, in India--twelve; they ought to have been married a year or two sooner; still to a, stranger twelve seems quite young enough.
A while after midnight a couple of celebrated and high-priced nautch-girls appeared in the gorgeous place, and danced and sang. With them were men who played upon strange instruments which made uncanny noises of a sort to make one's flesh creep. One of these instruments was a pipe, and to its music the girls went through a performance which represented snake charming. It seemed a doubtful sort of music to charm anything with, but a native gentleman assured me that snakes like it and will come out of their holes and listen to it with every evidence of refreshment And gratitude. He said that at an entertainment in his grounds once, the pipe brought out half a dozen snakes, and the music had to be stopped before they would be persuaded to go. Nobody wanted their company, for they were bold, familiar, and dangerous; but no one would kill them, of course, for it is sinful for a Hindoo to kill any kind of a creature.
We withdrew from the festivities at two in the morning. Another picture, then--but it has lodged itself in my memory rather as a stage-scene than as a reality. It is of a porch and short flight of steps crowded with dark faces and ghostly-white draperies flooded with the strong glare from the dazzling concentration of illuminations; and midway of the steps one conspicuous figure for accent--a turbaned giant, with a name according to his size: Rao Bahadur Baskirao Balinkanje Pitale, Vakeel to his Highness the Gaikwar of Baroda. Without him the picture would not have been complete; and if his name had been merely Smith, he wouldn't have answered. Close at hand on house-fronts on both sides of the narrow street were illuminations of a kind commonly employed by the natives --scores of glass tumblers (containing tapers) fastened a few in inches apart all over great latticed frames, forming starry constellations which showed out vividly against their black back grounds. As we drew away into the distance down the dim lanes the illuminations gathered together into a single mass, and glowed out of the enveloping darkness like a sun.
Then again the deep silence, the skurrying rats, the dim forms stretched every-where on the ground; and on either hand those open booths counterfeiting sepulchres, with counterfeit corpses sleeping motionless in the flicker of the counterfeit death lamps. And now, a year later, when I read the cablegrams I seem to be reading of what I myself partly saw--saw before it happened--in a prophetic dream, as it were. One cablegram says, "Business in the native town is about suspended. Except the wailing and the tramp of the funerals. There is but little life or movement. The closed shops exceed in number those that remain open." Another says that 325,000 of the people have fled the city and are carrying the plague to the country. Three days later comes the news, "The population is reduced by half." The refugees have carried the disease to Karachi; "220 cases, 214 deaths." A day or two later, "52 fresh cases, all of which proved fatal."
The plague carries with it a terror which no other disease can excite; for of all diseases known to men it is the deadliest--by far the deadliest. "Fifty-two fresh cases--all fatal." It is the Black Death alone that slays like that. We can all imagine, after a fashion, the desolation of a plague-stricken city, and the stupor of stillness broken at intervals by distant bursts of wailing, marking the passing of funerals, here and there and yonder, but I suppose it is not possible for us to realize to ourselves the nightmare of dread and fear that possesses the living who are present in such a place and cannot get away. That half million fled from Bombay in a wild panic suggests to us something of what they were feeling, but perhaps not even they could realize what the half million were feeling whom they left stranded behind to face the stalking horror without chance of escape. Kinglake was in Cairo many years ago during an epidemic of the Black Death, and he has imagined the terrors that creep into a man's heart at such a time and follow him until they themselves breed the fatal sign in the armpit, and then the delirium with confused images, and home-dreams, and reeling billiard-tables, and then the sudden blank of death:
"To the contagionist, filled as he is with the dread of final causes, having no faith in destiny, nor in the fixed will of God, and with none of the devil-may-care indifference which might stand him instead of creeds--to such one, every rag that shivers in the bre