The Project Gutenberg eBook, Forty Thousand Miles Over Land and Water, by Lady (Ethel Gwendoline [Moffatt]) Vincent

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Title: Forty Thousand Miles Over Land and Water

The Journal of a Tour Through the British Empire and America

Author: Lady (Ethel Gwendoline [Moffatt]) Vincent

Release Date: January 18, 2015 [eBook #48013]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Jane Robins
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The White Terrace, Hot Lakes, New Zealand

The White Terrace, Hot Lakes, New Zealand.

Frontispiece. Page 119.










[All rights reserved.]





This Journal is Dedicated




My husband, during his six years' tenure of the office of Director of Criminal Investigations, took the greatest interest in the Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage.

In taking leave of his young friends he promised to keep for their benefit a record of our travels through the British Empire and America.

I have endeavoured to the best of my power to relieve him of this task.

It is but a simple Journal of what we saw and did.

But if the Police will accept it, as a further proof of our admiration and respect for them as a body, then I feel sure that others who may be kind enough to read it will be lenient towards the shortcomings of a first publication.


1, Grosvenor Square, London.


Across the Atlantic1
New York, Hudson River, and Niagara Falls4
The Dominion of Canada17
The American Lakes, and the Centres of Learning,
    Fashion, and Government26
To the Far West43
San Francisco and the Yosemite Valley66
Across the Pacific88
Coaching through the North Island of New Zealand;
   its Hot Lakes and Geysers102
The South Island of New Zealand; its Alps and Mountain Lakes146
Australia—Tasmania, and Victoria161
Australia—New South Wales, and Queensland181
Within the Barrier Reef, Through Torres Straits to Batavia200
Netherlands India212
The Straits Settlements235
The Metropolis of India and its Himalayan Sanatorium250
The Shrines of the Hindu Faith274
The Scenes of the Indian Mutiny287
The Cities of the Great Mogul304
Gwalior and Rajputana332
The Home of the Parsees352
Through Egypt—Homewards361



The White Terrace, Hot Lakes, New Zealand     Frontispiece
Route Mapto face1
"That horrible fog-horn!" 1
Elevated-Railway, New York 6
Parliament Buildings, Ottawato face22
The Capitol, Washington 40
The Royal Gorge of the Arkansasto face58
The Sentinel, Yosemite Valley"77
The Cathedral Spires, Yosemite Valley 79
Big Tree, California 83
Maori Chieftain 110
Tuhuatahi Geyser, New Zealand 128
Lake Wakitipu, New Zealand 157
Government House, Melbourneto face165
Sydney Harbour"182
Govett's Leap, Blue Mountains 191
Zig-zag on Railway, Blue Mountainsto face192
Banyan Trees, Buitenzorg, Java"227
Traveller's Palm, Singapore"236
Jinricksha 249
The Hooghley, Calcuttato face251
The Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway"263
Benares Bathing Ghât"276
The Residency, Lucknow 288
The Imambara, Lucknowto face291
The Taj Mahal, Agra"312
Column, Kutub Minar, Delhi"329
The Caves of Elephanta, Bombay"356
Cairene Woman 372
The Sphinxto face377


Route Map to Forty Thousand Miles over Land and Water


Route marked thus ——

[See larger version]




"That horrible fog-horn!"

Lat. 43° 15´ N., Long. 50° 12´ W. All is intensely quiet. The revolution even of the screw has ceased. We are wrapped in a fog so dense that we feel almost unable to breathe.

We shudder as we look at the white pall drawn closely around us. The decks and rigging are dripping, and everything on board is saturated with moisture. We feel strangely alone. When hark! A discordant screech, a hideous howl belches forth into the still air, to be immediately smothered and lost in the fog. It is the warning cry of the fog-horn.

We are on board the White Star steamer Germanic, in mid-Atlantic, not far off the great ice-banks of Newfoundland.

It was on Wednesday, the 2nd of July, that we left London, and embarked from Liverpool on the 3rd.

I need not describe the previous bustle of preparation, the farewells to be gone through for a long absence of[2] nine months, the little crowd of kind friends who came to see us off at Euston, nor our embarkation and our last view of England.

I remember how dull and gloomy that first evening on board closed in, and how a slight feeling of depression was not absent from us.

The next morning we were anchoring in Queenstown Harbour, and whilst waiting for the arrival of the mails in the afternoon we went by train to Cork.

The mails were on board the Germanic by four o'clock. We weighed anchor, and our voyage to America had commenced. The often advertised quick passages across the Atlantic are only reckoned to and from Queenstown. The sea-sick traveller hardly sees the point of this computation of time, for the coasts of "ould Ireland" are as stormy and of as much account as the remainder of the passage.

And now we have settled down into the usual idle life on board ship, a life where eating and drinking plays the most important part. There is a superfluity of concerts and literary entertainments, the proceeds in one instance being devoted to the aid of a poor electrical engineer who has had his arm fearfully torn in the machinery, and whose life was only saved by the presence of mind of a comrade in cutting the strap.

Fine weather again at last, for we are past the banks so prolific in storms and fog. The story goes that a certain captain much harassed by the questioning of a passenger, who asked him "if it was always rough here?" replied, "How should I know, sir? I don't live here."

We are nearing America, and may hope to land to-morrow.

The advent of the pilot is always an exciting event. There was a lottery for his number and much betting upon the foot with which he would first step on deck.

A boat came in sight early in the afternoon. There was general excitement. But the captain refused this pilot as he had previously nearly lost one of the company's ships. At this he stood up in his dinghy and fiercely denounced us as we swept onwards, little heeding.

Another pilot came on board soon afterwards, but the news and papers he brought us were very stale. These pilots have a very hard life; working in firms of two or three, they often go out 500 miles in their cutters, and[3] lie about for days waiting to pick up vessels coming into port. The fee varies according to the draught of the ship, but often exceeds 30l.

At two o'clock a white line of surf is seen on the horizon. Land we know is behind, and great is the joy of all on board.

We watched and waited till behind the white line appears a dark one, which grew and grew, until Long Island and Fire Island lighthouse are plainly visible.

Three hours more and we see the beautiful Highlands of the Navesink on the New Jersey shore; then the long sandy plain with the lighthouse which marks the entrance—and we cross the bar of Sandy Hook. As we do so the sunset gun goes off, and tells us that we must pass yet another night on board, for it closes the day of the officer of health.

We pass the quarantine station, a white house on a lonely rock—then entering the Narrows, anchor in the dusk off lovely Statten Island.

The lights of Manhattan and New Brighton beach twinkle in the darkness. Steamers with flashing signals ply swiftly backwards and forwards. A line of electricity marks the beautiful span of Brooklyn Bridge, and over all a storm is gathering, making the surrounding hills resound with the cannon of its thunder and the sky bright with sheets of lightning.

And so we pass the night, within sight of the lights of New York, with pleasurable excitement looking forward to our first impressions on the morrow.

Sunday, July 13th.—By six o'clock all is life on board the Germanic, for a great steamer takes some time getting under weigh. Breakfast is a general scramble, interspersed with declarations to the revenue officials who are sitting in the saloon.

We pass the Old Fort on Governor's Island, now the military station, in our upward progress, see the round tower of Castle Garden, the emigrants' depôt, and by eight o'clock are safely moored alongside the company's pier.

On the wharf are presently to be seen passengers sitting forlorn on their trunks, awaiting the terrible inspection of the custom-house officer. The one detailed to us showed signs of becoming offensive, being unwilling to believe the statement that a dress some six months' old was not being[4] taken round the world for sale; but on making representations to his superior we were able to throw the things back into the boxes and "Express" them to the hotel.


As we drove over the rough streets of New York in the early hours of Sunday morning, it appeared as a city of the dead. There was no sign of life as our horses toiled along Broadway and up Fifth Avenue to the Buckingham Hotel, where we had secured rooms.

This hotel, though comfortable, had the disadvantage of being too far up town for short sojourners, but it has the merit of being conducted on the European system—that is, the rooms and meals are charged for separately. The American plan is to make an inclusive charge of from four to five dollars a day, and it is often troublesome only being able to have meals in the dining-room between certain hours. Besides, it is pleasant to be able to visit the restaurants of New York, which are admirable, and equal, if not superior to those of Paris. Delmonico's, where we dined one evening, is particularly excellent.

We were glad when eleven o'clock came and we could go to St. Thomas' Church, close by. It is one of the most frequented of the many beautiful churches of all denominations in New York, and of very fine interior proportions. Upon the dark oak carving is reflected in many hues the rich stained glass. The service was rendered according to the ritual of the English Church, which is followed by the Episcopal Church of America. They succeed in America in uniting a non-ceremonial service with a bright and hearty one. We listened to a very powerful sermon on St. Paul on the Hill of Mars, in which the eloquent preacher boldly declared that the political honesty of the Athenians 2000 years ago was superior to that of the United States of to-day.

On our way back we went into the Roman Catholic Cathedral, which was just opposite to our windows at the[5] "Buckingham," a very large marble building, but still unfinished.

We found four reporters waiting at the hotel to "interview" my husband. He had eluded them on the landing-stage, but they would take no denial here, and we were much harassed by others in the course of the day.

Our luggage arrived at noon. It is almost a necessity to employ the Express Company for the conveyance of "baggage" throughout America, as the hackney carriages and hotel omnibuses are not prepared to take it. The charges are very high, and it is often extremely inconvenient having to wait two, three, or even four hours for it, after arrival in a town.

The geography of New York is exceedingly simple, and is followed in nearly every American city. "Avenues" traverse the length of the town, which are called first, second, or third avenues, and the "streets" which intersect them are also numbered consecutively, so that you have—Third Street, Fifth Avenue, and know that it is the third street from the commencement of Fifth Avenue.

The houses are built in blocks, and for the most part in the upper portion of New York, of dark red sandstone.

There are ample means of cheap locomotion by two "elevated" railways, and innumerable tramways. Each of the former runs the whole length of the city, a distance of ten miles. They were built by rival companies who afterwards amalgamated. A double line is laid upon iron piers in the centre of the street on a level with the third stories of the houses on each side. One wonders how the necessary powers to build such a line were obtained, but in "free" America, vested interests and damage to property are not taken into account, when financiers have a scheme to carry out.

It is said that the value of the surrounding houses has been increased rather than otherwise by the proximity of the Elevated: more curiously, the tram lines running below it, and which were formerly insolvent, are now paying well.

The uniform fare is ten cents, except after four o'clock on Sundays, when it is reduced to five cents, the same as the fare of the "trams." The train consists of an engine and four light coaches, all of one class, and fitted with[6] comfortable cane seats. They succeed each other every five minutes. A conductor is on the platform of every carriage, and opens the iron gate at the end as soon as the train stops. There is a marked absence of all confusion and haste, partly attributable to there being no collection of tickets, which are dropped into a box on the platform immediately after purchase.

Cabs are few in number and very expensive. They charge four and a half dollars, or nearly 1l., from the quay to the hotels, without luggage, and one dollar a mile, or a dollar and a half per hour.

Elevated Railway, New York

Elevated Railway, New York.

Independently of these exorbitant prices, driving is very unpleasant from the streets being paved with blocks of granite, and being kept in shocking repair.

It is alleged that the extremes of climate prevent the use of any other material, but there is probably more truth in the statement that the money voted by municipal councils for their paving finds its way into other channels. Washington and Boston were the only towns we afterwards saw with good pavements, without ruts or holes. Above the thoroughfares is a rose of telegraph and telephone[7] wires, and poles and standards abound in the streets. At nearly every house there is a telephone to put the inmates in connection with some place of business or some relative.

In the afternoon we went to Trinity Church, which may be called the cathedral of New York. The service was just ending, and the choir were filing out of the chancel under a blaze of golden glory from the sun shining through the east end window, singing the hymn, "Angels of Jesus, Angels of Light, Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night."

The voices grew fainter and fainter, and finally died away on the breathless stillness of the air. Then the huge organ, blown by electricity, pealed forth, and the spell was broken.

Mr. Vanderbilt, Mr. Astor, and the Stewart family live in gorgeous palaces, and one is struck how even this Republic cannot prevent a monopoly of property and an accumulation of wealth. Mr. Vanderbilt has three adjoining houses, forming a block, in Fifth Avenue, for himself and his married children.

The squares and gardens are well kept, and it is pleasant to see them all open, full of people sitting in them, without the railings which make London squares so gloomy and of so little pleasure even to those who have the entrée.

We drove round Central Park—a perfect triumph of landscape gardening, with but little help from nature. The "Mall" and alleys were thronged with gay crowds, listening to the band, and boats were plying on the lake. There were not many carriages, the fashionable world having fled from the fagging heat of New York; but those we saw had servants in livery, a comparatively recent innovation, and one much disapproved of by the people.

The cross-bar waggons in general use, weighing little over two hundredweight, with their skeleton wheels, whirl along at a great pace, but the horses all have a check-rein passing over the head, which is far more cruel than even our gag bearing-rein.

Monday, July 14th.—We began our wanderings by going over the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, which unites New York with its monster suburb, the home of half a million of people, principally of the working classes, of whom a large proportion are Irish. It is a marvellous structure, the finest[8] suspension bridge ever built, and a mile and a quarter long. So graceful and light is the curve it describes that from a distance it seems to be a spider's web suspended in mid-air. We had a long "tram" journey through the dull and dirty streets to Greenwood Cemetery, the great burial-place of New York. A gateway of much beauty marks the entrance, and over the centre arch are the words, "Weep not, for the dead shall be raised." A granite obelisk in the centre of a grass plot attracts our attention. Below it lie the bodies of 103 persons who perished in the burning of the Brooklyn Theatre in 1876. Under that green mound what a mass of human passions were laid to rest! Some of the monuments are very finely conceived in design, and execution; others were grotesque and ugly. Nothing, however, mars the beauty of the whole—the shining river running through this valley of the dead, the surroundings bright with marble, flowers, and shrubs—only, a sweet garden where the people come and walk in the evening cool, watching the sun sinking over the harbour, and thinking, it may be, of how they too will likewise join those who lie at rest here.

In the afternoon we paid a visit to Wall Street, the scene of so many fortunes lost and won. The din in the Stock Exchange was deafening, and the appearance of the frantic, yelling speculators anything but attractive.

The "stores," or shops, in Broadway are very fine inside, but the windows are not so well set out as in Paris or London. The goods for sale are also more general in character, and nearly double in price. This arises from the large duties or imposts in a great measure, but also because the unit of a dollar (4s. 2d.) is so high. It seems as easy to ask one dollar as one shilling or one franc, and the former coin scarcely goes farther than the latter throughout the States.

The New York Herald, Times, World, and other papers come out with long accounts of the interviews given yesterday. They went into the most precise details of dress, manners, and speech.

Tuesday, July 15th.—We had a pleasant morning in seeing the magnificent armoury of the "Seventh Regiment of the National Guard." The Seventh Regiment includes in its ranks some of the best men in New York, and the National Guard corresponds exactly to the Volunteer force[9] of England. The Drill Hall is 300 feet long and 200 feet broad, unbroken by a pillar, and large enough to manœuvre a battalion, having a solid oaken floor so constructed as to prevent reverberation in marching. Each company has a room for itself, and the officers' room, the library, and the veterans' room, where those who have left the regiment come to meet their sons and relatives now serving, are beautiful apartments, richly furnished.

In the afternoon Sir Roderick Cameron kindly took us over to his charming place on Statten Island. It is beautifully wooded, and when the salt marshes are drained, and the mosquitoes reduced in numbers, his farm will no doubt be the site of a populous suburb.

Wednesday, July 16th.—By nine o'clock we were waiting on the shores of the Hudson River for one of the floating palaces which ply to and from Albany. The C. Vibard was seen presently coming—a magnificent vessel of colossal size, with three decks towering one above the other, and yet drawing but six feet of water. What we were particularly struck with on these river and lake steamers was that, although there is no distinction of class, no inconvenience whatever results. All is orderly and quiet; everybody is well-dressed and well-behaved. Indeed, throughout the States, rowdyism seems to be as absent as pauperism, and the deference paid to ladies might well be imitated in older countries. They have a separate entrance at hotels, and a separate "guichet" at post-offices and railway stations. A lady may travel with perfect comfort alone, and walk in the streets without fear of any annoyance.

A fresh wind dappled the blue sky, and raised the muddy waters of the grand old Hudson. Across from New Jersey and Hoboken, those thriving suburbs of New York, came the busy hum of life. The well-wooded hills were clothed with villas, whose domes or towers peep out from amongst the dense foliage. Here and there, standing in a little park, were châlets, or a cottage with gilt minarets, or, even in still more incongruous taste, a Chinese pagoda. It is here the merchants from the great city take their rest and pleasure, within ear-shot and easy reach of their familiar haunts around Wall Street. On the opposite shore the great wall of basaltic trap-rock, known to the early settlers by the name of the "Great Chip Rock," but to their more practical successors as the "Palisades," forms an impenetrable[10] wall, rising in a sheer precipice from the river, a height of from 300 to 600 feet.

Meandering along by its mighty brother, unseen on the other side, there is another river, running at a lower level.

Historical associations crowd upon us as we sail up between the broad banks, stretching from the memory of the early band of settlers who under Hendrich Hudson, the Dutchman, made the first voyage of discovery up the river to which he afterwards gave his name; to the little villages of Tappan and Tarrytown, glowing with the memories of the brave but ill-fated Major André. Need I repeat his well-known story? In the dead of night he landed from the Vulture at Stony Point to meet Arnold, who had turned traitor, to arrange with him for the surrender of West Point, the key of the position. André was captured in returning by land, searched, the papers found on him, and executed, to the sorrow of both armies; whilst Arnold, escaping to the Vulture, was rewarded with 6000l., and became a Brigadier-General in the British army. Many know well the monument afterwards erected to André in Westminster Abbey.

Sunnyside, a little white cottage, the home of Washington Irving, lies on the hill, almost hidden by the surrounding trees. The front is covered with ivy grown from a sprig that Sir Walter Scott sent from Abbotsford. "Sleepy Hollow," the scene of so many of Washington Irving's charming romances, is quite near. Every side of life is here represented. All manner of men have found their greatest happiness in the quiet beauty of the Hudson's banks. Besides authors and actors, such as Forrest, the great tragedian—science, in the person of Professor Morse, of telegraph fame, and the great merchant princes, such as Stewart, Astor, and Jay Gould, have made their homes here. Miss Warner, authoress of the "Wide, wide World," has a cottage near Teller's Point.

At Tappan Zee the river opens out into a lake ten miles broad. The gloomy fortress of Sing Sing, the State prison, lies on an island near the shore. Croton Lake is close by, and supplies New York with from 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 gallons daily, through an aqueduct thirty-three miles long. The wooden sheds found at intervals along the banks are the great storehouses where in winter the ice is cut and kept, ready to supply the vast consumption of New York.


The beautiful bay of Haverstraw leads to the narrow defile and the northern gate of the Highlands. In rugged and varied beauty the mountains close us in on every side, overshadowing us with their wooded heights; maple and sycamore mingling with darker belts of pine, or a thick undergrowth of stunted oaks. They are so like the Highlands that you look—but in vain—for the bracken and the furze.

"The glory of the Hudson is at West Point," says a well-known author, and I suppose there could not be a more beautiful situation for the Military College of the United States, the Sandhurst of America, than at West Point. It stands on a commanding bluff, the river winding round three sides of the promontory in an almost impregnable position.

From the southern gate of the Highlands, green marshy fields, with weeping-willows trailing along the banks, form the chief feature of the landscape, and we pass several thriving towns like Peekskill and Poughkeepsie. In the afternoon, blue and purple in the far distance, we saw the glorious range of the mighty Catskill Mountains, forming one unbroken series of snow-capped domes, hiding in their deep recesses many of Nature's grandest secrets. The evening was closing in as the steamer passed under the swinging arch of the bridge at Albany, the chief town of New York State.

Albany is chiefly remarkable for its very fine Capitol, which has been in process of building since 1871, and is still far from finished, though it has already cost an enormous sum. At the present time every one is talking about Albany, owing to the fact that Grover Cleveland, the newly-selected Democratic candidate for the Presidency, is the Governor.

Delaware House gave us shelter for the night; and at 8 a.m. the next morning we were in the "cars" on our way to Niagara.

This was our first experience of American railways. There is no distinction of classes in the railway company's fares, but greater luxury is obtained by travelling in the drawing-room or sleeping car. The former belong to the Wagner, the latter to the Pullman Company, who make a separate charge, which is levied by the special conductor. This is his only duty, except to make himself a nuisance, and generally objectionable. The beds are made up by an obliging[12] coloured porter. The cars are very long, and run on sixteen wheels. There is communication through the train, but it is only used by the condescendingly grand officials and the numerous news and fruit vendors who torment you with repeated exhibitions of their varied wares. The windows are so large, that if opened dust and grit from the slack coal burnt by the engines smother everything, so that with the car full (and they hold from twenty to thirty) the atmosphere becomes terribly oppressive. In winter, and when the stoves are lighted it is even worse. The Americans are very proud of their railway system, but after travelling over most of their lines, it is impossible to see that we have much to learn from them. The traffic is conducted in a very happy-go-lucky style. There is an absence of civility, with a superabundance of officials, and a porter is not to be met with. The traveller must carry his hand-luggage himself. The system of checking the baggage is, however, admirable. A brass check attached to the trunk ensures its going safely to any destination, however distant, and only being given up on presentation of the duplicate, which is in possession of the passenger.

Our journey lay through the smiling valley of the Mohawk River. The operation of hay-making was going on in many of the fields we passed. The hay was cut, raked, turned over, unloaded, and stacked by machinery—the most convincing proof of the absence of hand-labour. Throughout the vast continent of America, from the farms of the east to the cattle ranches of the west, there is the same cry for labour. Still greater is the demand for domestic servants. American girls think nothing of serving in a "store" or at a railway buffet, or even in an hotel. They have their freedom at certain hours, and when their work is done they are their own mistresses; but domestic service they look upon as degrading. It is almost wholly confined to Irish immigrants. A gentleman told us of a large mountain hotel where the waiting during the summer months of the season was done by an entire school of young ladies, who at the end of the time returned with their "salaries" (the term of "wages" is never used) to pay for their winter's schooling.

At Syracuse we experienced for the first time the strange custom of running the train through a street in the heart of the city. Many lives are annually lost, and terrible accidents occur frequently at the level crossings.[13] "Look out for the locomotive" is on a large sign-board, but the public depend more upon the shrill whistle or the ringing of the engine bell. The effect of these engine bells is very melodious when, deep-toned and loud-voiced, coming and going in a station they chime to each other.

Friday, July 18th, Clifton House, Niagara Falls.—"What a moment in a lifetime is that in which we first behold Niagara!" And it is difficult with a very feeble pen to say anything superior to such a commonplace platitude, even when in the presence of one of Nature's most glorious works.

Notwithstanding all written and said, imagined or described, Niagara cannot be put into words; cannot be conveyed to the imagination through the usual medium of pen and paper; can only be seen to be—even then but partially—understood.

There is a blue river, two miles wide, without ripple or ruffle on the surface, coming down from a great lake, pursuing its even course. There are breakers ahead—little clouds, then white foam sprayed into mid-air. The contagion spreads, until on the whole surface of the river are troubled waves, noisily hurrying down, down, with ever-increasing velocity, to the great Canadian fall. The mockery of those few yards of clear, still water! In a suction green as an uncut emerald, a volume of water, twenty fathoms deep, is hurled over a precipice 160 feet high. One hundred million tons of water pass over every hour, with a roar that can be heard ten miles away, and a reverberation that shakes the very earth itself, into the seething cauldron below, shrouded in an eternal mist:—"There is neither speech nor language, but their voices are heard."

In a minor key the American waters repeat the mighty cannonade, and blending their voices, mirror the sea-green colour of the wooded precipices as they flow on their onward course. Long serpent trails of foam alone bear witness to the late convulsion.

The gorge is narrowing; the waters are compressed into a smaller space; they are angry, and jostle each other. They hiss, they swirl; they separate to rush together in shooting shower of spray, and so struggle through the Rapids.

A gloomy pool, with darkling precipices of purple rocks, forms a basin. The waters are rushing too surely into that[14] iron-bound pool. The current is checked and turned back on itself, to meet the oncoming stream. A mighty Whirlpool forms. The waters divide under the current, and one volume returns to eddy and swirl helplessly against the great barrier, whilst the other volume, more happy, finds a cleft, broadened now into a wide gateway, and gurgling and laughing to itself, glides away on a smooth course, to lose its volume in Lake Ontario. What a world-renown that stream will always have—a short course full of awful incident.

On the 25th of July, 1883, Captain Webb was drowned while attempting to swim the rapids. Diving from a small boat about 300 yards above the new cantilever bridge, he plunged into the stream. The force of the current turned him over several times; then he threw up his arms and sank, crushed to death, it is supposed, by the pressure of the water. The enterprising owners of the restaurant at the rapids, have arranged with his widow to come over during the season to sell photographs opposite the spot where her husband perished.

Goat Island forms the division between the American and Canadian Falls. The waters are rapidly eating away the banks, and the rocky promontory, which forms such a principal feature, may some day disappear. What a glorious junction it would be! Four years ago a large piece of rock in the centre of the horse-shoe came away, and its symmetry was somewhat marred. The three pretty little Sister Islands are joined by their graceful suspension bridges to Goat Island. These islands, lying out as they do amidst the roughest and most tumultuous part of the rapids, have a magnificent view of the waters as they come tumbling down. The Hermit's Cascade is connected with the pathetic story of a young Englishman who, coming one day to see Niagara, remained day after day overpoweringly fascinated. Unable to tear himself away, he lived year after year for ever within sight and hearing of the falls. He is supposed to have perished in their waters whilst bathing one day, but whether intentionally or not was never known. I believe those who have sat and watched those tumultuous waters for any great length of time would understand the working of the spell on a sensitive brain.

Biddle's Stairs lead down to the "Cave of the Winds." It is awe-inspiring to watch the fall from below, and yet this[15] is only a streamlet of the great volume of the fall. What must it be inside, when the beating of the spray-like hail, the roaring of the winds, mingling with the thunder of the cataract, form a combination of the majesty of the elements on earth.

After a morning spent amongst these terrifying wonders, we had a quiet drive along the right bank of the river through Cedar Island. The thunder and roar was succeeded by quiet pools and swiftly-flowing currents, calm and clear, rippling in the afternoon sunlight. Weeping-willows, long grasses, and bending reeds whispered in the cool breezes. From the heights above we again surveyed the whole scene. And returning home once more came under the spell of the Mermaid, looming white and mysterious in the gloaming.

Niagara becomes very dear—a child of the affections; and to those who are unfortunate enough to have to picture Niagara from description, I should say efface mine quickly, quickly I say, and turn to that of Anthony Trollope:—

"Of all the sights on this earth of ours which tourists travel to see—at least, of all those which I have seen—I am inclined to give the palm to the Falls of Niagara. In the catalogue of such sights I intend to include all buildings, pictures, statues, and wonders of art made by men's hands, and also all beauties of nature prepared by the Creator for the delight of His creatures. I know no other one thing so beautiful, so glorious, and so powerful.

"We will go at once on to the glory, and the thunder, and the majesty, and the wrath of that upper belt of waters.

"Go down to the end of that wooden bridge, seat yourself on the rail, and there sit till all the outer world is lost to you. There is no grander spot about Niagara than this. The waters are absolutely around you. If you have that power of eye-control which is so necessary to the full enjoyment of scenery, you will see nothing but the water. You will certainly hear nothing else. And the sound, I beg you to remember, is not an ear-cracking, agonized crash and clang of noises, but is melodious and soft withal, though loud as thunder. It fills your ears, and, as it were, envelopes them; but at the same time you can speak to your neighbour without an effort. But at these places, and in these moments, the less of speaking I should say the better. There[16] is no grander spot than this. Here, seated on the rail of the bridge, you will not see the whole depth of the fall. In looking at the grandest works of nature, and of art too, I fancy, it is never well to see all. There should be something left to the imagination, and much should be half concealed in mystery.

"And so here, at Niagara, that converging rush of waters may fall down, down at once into a hell of rivers for what the eye can see. It is glorious to watch them in their first curve over the rocks. They come green as a bank of emeralds, but with a fitful flying colour, as though conscious that in one moment more they would be dashed into spray and rise into air, pale as driven snow. The vapour rises high into the air, and is gathered there, visible always as a permanent white cloud over the cataract; but the bulk of the spray which fills the lower hollow of that horse-shoe is like a tumult of snow.

"The head of it rises ever and anon out of that cauldron below, but the cauldron itself will be invisible. It is ever so far down—far as your own imagination can sink it. But your eyes will rest full upon the curve of the waters. The shape you will be looking at is that of a horse-shoe, but of a horse-shoe miraculously deep from toe to heel; and this depth becomes greater as you sit there. That which at first was only great and beautiful, becomes gigantic and sublime till the mind is at a loss to find an epithet for its own use. To realize Niagara, you must sit there till you see nothing else than that which you have come to see. You will hear nothing else, and think of nothing else. At length you will be at one with the tumbling river before you. You will find yourself among the waters as though you belonged to them. The cool liquid green will run through your veins, and the voice of the cataract will be the expression of your own heart. You will fall as the bright waters fall, rushing down into your new world with no hesitation and with no dismay; and you will rise again as the spray rises, bright, beautiful, and pure. Then you will flow away in your course to the uncompassed, distant, and eternal ocean.

"Oh! my friend, let there be no one there to speak to thee then; no, not even a brother. As you stand there speak only to the waters!"



Since our arrival at Niagara we had been on Canadian soil, and in view of the falls, which form Canada's greatest glory; but our first experience of the Dominion only really commenced when we left Niagara Station by the Grand Trunk Railway for Toronto.

It may have been prejudice, but we thought that the country bore signs of greater prosperity than over the American border.

The farms are more English in character and the cattle in greater abundance. The soil looks richer, and the pretty wooden zigzag fences, which take the place of hedges or railings, look most picturesque. In many places the blackened stumps of trees showed the recent clearing by fire.

From Hamilton, a prosperous town, we ran for nearly forty miles along the shores of Lake Ontario to Toronto.

Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario, the chief city of Upper Canada, and the Queen City of the West. There is jealous rivalry between Montreal and Toronto. The former has the shipping interest, and for a long time held the lead; but Toronto is quickly gaining ground, and is the centre for a rapidly increasing commercial interest. Five lines of railway converge to her termini.

Hamilton and London, both rising places, centralize their commerce here. Lake Ontario supplies water transit to Montreal and the ocean; and the numerous banks do a thriving trade. In 1871 the census of the population was 50,600; ten years later it was 80,445. Wide streets of great length, avenues of trees, and churches are the chief characteristics of Toronto. The churches are built from the voluntary subscriptions of the congregations, the pastors being chosen and maintained by them. There is no State Church, and the Dissenters have as fine places of worship as the Episcopal body. The Metropolitan Methodist Church, with almost cathedral proportions, was built by Mr. Puncheon, the American Spurgeon, and it compares as[18] advantageously to the Tabernacle as do the Churches to the Chapels of England.

Toronto abounds in pretty suburbs, chief among them being Rosedale. The comfortable wooden houses of the upper and middle orders convey an idea of prosperity, with their neat gardens, a swinging hammock in the creeper-covered verandah, and the family sitting out in the cool of the evening.

The Provincial Parliament is a dingy building; but Osgood Hall—or the Law Courts—opened in 1860 by the Prince of Wales, and called after the Chief Justice of that day, is a very fine stone edifice, complete in all its arrangements. There are full-length portraits of the Chief Justices in succession, which being continued, will form a very complete legal gallery of local talent. There are fourteen judges, receiving 5000 dollars a year, nominated by the Governor-General from local men. The bar and solicitors are united as in America, and work together in firms, and are both eligible for judicial preferment, and have a like right of audience.

The Toronto University is second only to Harvard on the American Continent. The lecture-rooms, hall, museum, and library are all worthy of the fine Gothic building. There are 600 students, many of whose families coming to reside in Toronto, add much to the pleasantness of society. We stayed three days at Toronto. Mr. Hodgins, Q.C., Master in Chancery, was most kind in introducing my husband to some of the chief political men—to Mr. Mackenzie, the late Liberal Premier; Mr. Blake, the present leader of the Opposition; Mr. Ross, the Minister of Public Education, and others. The latter Minister showed us over the Normal School for the Instruction of Teachers. It has a well-arranged library and museum, and copies of many works of the old masters, and busts of the principal men in British history. Toronto is considered the most English of all the Canadian towns, and the Torontans pride themselves on this, and take a keen interest in home affairs. The previous night's debate in Parliament is on the breakfast-table: cabled over, and aided by the five hours' difference between the time of Greenwich and that of the Dominion, it appears in the first edition.

We dined with Mr. Goldwin Smith, the distinguished Oxford Professor of History, who, after a long sojourn[19] in the United States and Canada, has settled with his wife at Toronto. Their house is delightfully old-fashioned. Though in the centre of the town, the garden and some of the original forest trees are still preserved to it; and it contains the tail-end of family collections, valuable bits of China, busts by Canova and Thorwaldsen, ivory carvings, morsels of jade, and some relics of the first settlers. Amongst the latter are some wine-glasses belonging to General Simcoe, the first Governor-General in 1794, which are without feet,—"To be returned when empty."

Wednesday, July 23rd.—We left Toronto in the afternoon by the steamer Algeria, coasting along the low-lying country of the left bank of Lake Ontario. Touching at the various thriving towns, we judged by the crowd who came down to the pier that it was the usual thing for the population to stroll down in the evening and watch for the arrival of the steamer.

All night we were crossing Lake Ontario, and at four o'clock the next morning, in the grey dawn, touched at Kingston. We waited here an hour for daylight, in which to approach the Thousand Islands. As we passed out we saw the gilt dome of the famous Military College.

In the freshness of the early morning, with the sun just flushing the waters and warming into life the bare and purple rocks, we wound in and out of the narrow channel of the Thousand Islands. It is the largest collective number of islands in the world. Some are formed of a few bare rocks just appearing on the surface of the water, others are large enough for a villa, a garden, and a boat-house, and others again for farming purposes. Their uniform flatness causes some disappointment and mars their collective beauty, though here and there one may be singled out for the prettiness of its woods.

At Alexandra Bay, a familiar summer resort, with two monster hotels, the St. Lawrence opens away from the lake, and we are descending between its monotonous banks for some hours.

The increasing swiftness of the current and the prevailing thrill of excitement of all on board, warns us of the approach of the Long Sault Rapids. We see a stormy sea, heaving and surging in huge billows.

All steam is shut off, four men are required at the wheel to keep the vessel steady, as we "shoot the rapid." One[20] minute we are engulfed; the next rising on the crest of the wave. Intense and breathless excitement is combined with the exhilaration of being carried in a few minutes down the nine miles of descent. Every now and again a peculiar motion is felt, as if the ship was settling down, as she glides from one ledge of rock to another.

We pass some smaller rapids; but it is late in the afternoon before Baptiste, the Indian pilot, comes on board for the shooting of the great Lachine Rapid. Whirlpools and a storm-lashed sea mingle in this reach, for the shoal-water is hurled about among the rocks. The greatest care and precision of skill are necessary, for with lightning speed we rush between two rocks, jagged and cruel, lying in wait for the broaching of the vessel. A steamer wrecked last year lies stranded away on the rocks as a warning. These natural barriers to the water communication between Montreal and the West, are overcome by canals running parallel with the rapids.

The Ottawa forms a junction with the St. Lawrence at the pretty village of St. Anne's, which has become famed by Moore's well-known Canadian boat-song,—

"Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The rapids are near and the daylight's past,
Soon as the woods on shore grow dim,
We'll sing at St. Anne's our evening hymn."

The Victoria Bridge, a triumph of engineering skill, spans the river above Montreal. It is built of solid blocks of granite, a mile and three quarters in length; and it is in passing under its noble arches that we get our first view of Montreal, the metropolis of the Dominion.

A filmy mist lay over the "city of spires," spreading up even to the sides of Mount Royal—the wooded mountain that rises abruptly and stands solitary guard behind the city. The golden dome of the old market of Bonsecours, and the twin spires of the cathedral of Notre Dame loomed faintly out from its midst. Before us there is a sea frontage of three miles—vessels of 5000 tons being able to anchor beside the quay.

One hundred and fifty years ago the French evacuated Montreal, but you might think it was but yesterday, so tenaciously do the lower orders cling to the tradition of their founder, Jacques Cartier. The quaint gabled houses and[21] crooked streets of the lower town, the clattering and gesticulating of the white-capped women marketing in Bonsecours, remind one of a typical Normandy town. Notices are posted in French and English, and municipal and local affairs are conducted in both languages.

The post-office, the bank, and the assurance company make a fine block of buildings as the nucleus of the principal street of Notre Dame, but all the others are crooked, narrow, and ill-paved.

The Catholic Cathedral in the quiet square is very remarkable for its double tier of galleries, and for being painted and decorated gaudily from floor to roof. The Young Men's Christian Association has erected another of its fine buildings at Montreal. The society seems to thrive and to be doing an enormous work of good throughout the length and breadth of the American Continent. We found it well-housed in every considerable town we visited, and what was our surprise when later we found it had penetrated even to the Sandwich Islands, and that the Y.M.C.A. was one of Honolulu's finest buildings!

Sunday, July 26th.—We went to morning service at the English Cathedral of Christ Church. The interior is bare and unfinished at present, but it is the best specimen of English Gothic architecture on the Western continent. There was a good mixed choir of men and women.

We had a charming drive in the afternoon, up Mount Royal from which the city takes its name. Fine houses and villas standing in their own gardens, lie around the base, and the ascent, through luxuriant groves of sycamore trees, is so well engineered as to be almost imperceptible. You do not realize how high you are till the glorious panorama opens out before you, and you stand on a platform—Montreal at your feet, the broad river flowing to right and left, and the blue mountains on the horizon line.

We returned by the cemetery, a square mile, laid out in avenues and shady walks. Flowers blossoming on the graves and smooth-shaven turf, made it a garden, and favourite drive and walk. At the entrance was a notice—a sarcasm on human nature—desiring persons "wishing to return from funerals by the mountain drive to remove their mourning badges!"

That evening we dined with Mr. and Mrs. George Stephen in their beautiful house in Drummond Street. He is the[22] President of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In two years time this railway will run from ocean to ocean, and will join the Atlantic and Pacific; opening up the unlimited lands of the great North-West, so rich in mineral wealth, and containing the best wheat-growing country in the world. This discovery of the North West has altered the whole aspect of affairs in Canada, and by bringing into habitation a country as large as the United States, laid the foundation of an immense future for our great possession. Thirty-six thousand men are now working on the railway, and it will be completed in half the time of the contract, viz. five years instead of ten.

Monday, July 27th.—Three hours by rail, through a thinly-populated district and backwoods roughly cleared by burning, brought us to a gloriously golden sunset against which rose the spires of the Dominion Houses of Parliament at Ottawa.

Ottawa was only a small town with about 4000 inhabitants in 1867. All ask, "Why was it chosen as the seat of government?" which previously had been at Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto alternately. A minister's wife travelling with us in the train, laughingly gave us the answer. Quebec refused to vote for Montreal, Montreal for Quebec, and between them there was always warring jealousy. Toronto "WOULD" have voted for Montreal if Quebec had been willing to do the same. The authorities at home—it is said the Queen herself—taking the map, pointed to Ottawa as being equidistant from all, and on the borders of both Upper and Lower Canada. A magnificent pile of buildings accordingly rose, containing two legislative halls for the Senate and the House of Commons (both the same size as their English originals), and other public offices. The Parliament buildings are built of buff freestone with many towers and miniature spires, and have a very fine frontage of 1200 feet, surmounted by the iron crown of the Victoria Tower. The Octagonal Tower contains a library of 40,000 books, open not only to members, but to all the inhabitants of the town. In the centre stands a full-length marble statue of the Queen, by Marshall Wood. The members speak in French or English at will, and all notices of motions are in both languages.

Parliament Buildings, Ottawa

Parliament Buildings, Ottawa.

Page 22.


Timber-lugging is the great trade of Ottawa. As seen from the upper town, the lower presents the appearance of one vast timber-yard; masses of piles line the banks, and cover the surface of the stream. These piles are cut in the winter from the back forests, and floated down some 100 miles. At Ottawa they pass into the yards through what is called a timber-slide, to avoid the dangerous channel of the Chaudière Falls. Here they are lashed together to form rafts, houses being built for the men who drift down on them to Quebec. From thence they are shipped to all parts of the world, principally to England. We went over one of these large timber-mills and Eddy's match manufactory, both immensely interesting, with the perfection of machinery, entirely superseding any manual dexterity, and driven by the neighbouring water-power.

The La Chaudière Falls, so called from the cauldron into which they seethe and boil, though not of a great height, have been sounded to 300 feet without touching the bottom. They contain a very angry, copper-coloured element.

We drove out to Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor-General, who was away at the time. We found a very deserted, miserable building, about which the only sign of life was a sleepy policeman. A tobogging-slide seemed to usurp the greater part of the garden. The Ottawa public was much offended by a recent prohibition forbidding entrance to the park, which has hitherto been free to all. There is a little occurrence which will always remain connected in our minds with Ottawa, an example which we certainly found followed nowhere else. Our driver, even after considerable pressure, refused to take more than his ordinary fare!

Ottawa, other than the Parliament buildings, which are alone worth coming to see, is the dullest and most primitive of towns. C. was, however, glad to have been there, as it gave him the opportunity of meeting the Ministers of Inland Revenue, and Agriculture, and other authorities, and hearing their views on the rapid development of Canada.

Returning to Montreal, we took the night boat to Quebec. A golden, glorious sunset, sinking behind purple clouds, was reflected in the water, and this was succeeded by a trail of silver light from the newly-risen crescent moon.

Tuesday, July 29th.—At 7 a.m. on a cloudy morning, from the deck of the steamer we were looking up at Quebec, perched, Gibraltar like, on an inaccessible promontory of precipitous rock, formed by the junction of the River St. Charles with the St. Lawrence.


The narrow streets of the lower town, with their picturesque red-tiled roofs and overhanging gables, seem at first sight as if they were entirely cut off from the upper town by a shelving mass of rocks.

However, we were soon wending our way upwards by a street so steep that it could only be likened to climbing a mountain. The houses on either side seemed also to be climbing the roof of the houses above, the upper storey being on a level with the second floor of its neighbour. Any sand there ever has been was long ago washed down by the rain, leaving a stony surface as a precarious foothold for the poor struggling horses. This was the more circuitous route for carriages. A nearer one for pedestrians lay in the perpendicular flight of steps cut out in the face of the rocks leading immediately to Dufferin Terrace. This terrace was called after Lord Dufferin, the most popular of Governors-General, and is built on the old buttresses and platform formerly occupied by the Château of St. Louis. It is a favourite resort of the townspeople, perhaps as being the only level ground, so far as we could see in the town, but probably more so on account of the beautiful view it commands over the river. Vessels of all classes and sizes, coming from all parts of the world, but more especially from England, were anchoring in the broad basin formed by the confluence of the two rivers. Immediately beneath us were the wharves of the old town, where we could see two or three colliers discharging coal, and even hear in the still morning air the rattling of the chains as the crane was swung to and fro. On the opposite side rose the fortified bluff of Point Levy, and on the other the St. Charles winding away up its peaceful valley. The white houses of Beaufort form a straggling line almost as far as the Montmorenci Falls, which latter seem only a speck in the distance. There was a light morning mist floating away over the opposite heights, and the murmur of the busy hum of life reached us from below.

The Governor's garden, facing the road on the opposite side, is only an enclosure overgrown with rank weeds and grass, but it contains the obelisk erected to the joint memory of Wolfe and Montcalm. It is a novel idea to combine the names of the victorious and conquered, but it shows a true appreciation of the two generals who each gave up their life for their country in the hour of battle. In the[25] Ursuline Convent, near by, we see Montcalm's grave, said to have been made by the bursting of one of the enemy's shells during the bombardment, with the inscription in French—

Honour to Montcalm.
In depriving him of Victory,
rewarded him by
A glorious Death.

There are some very quaint old buildings and curious bits of architecture in out-of-the-way corners, and the town altogether has an old-world look, as if life were passing it by. The outside of the Catholic Cathedral is homely and irregular, and very damp and musty inside; but attached to one of the pillars is a fine "Crucifixion" by Van Dyke; and the adjoining seminary has quite a large collection of pictures highly prized by the inhabitants, though by artists unknown to fame. The Laval University, chartered by the Queen in 1852, is the most modern building in Quebec.

The population is almost entirely French, and the maintenance of their language and institutions was guaranteed to them at the conquest. Descendants of the old noblesse still linger here, preserving among themselves the traditions of their forefathers in a circle of society renowned for its polish and refinement; preserving, too, in its entirety the purity of the mother language. They do not mix at all with the English.

The Citadel is gloriously situated on the high ground above the town, surrounded by walls and ramparts, but our approach to it was under the following untoward circumstances. We hired an ungainly cabriolet, a vehicle on two wheels, with a narrow board in front, on which the driver—a raw-boned Irish boy in our case—driving a sorry steed, was seated. After going up a very steep hill, the entrance to the fortress is over a wooden drawbridge guarded by massive chain gates. The hollow sound of the wood frightened the horse beyond control, and we discovered then that he could go, when he turned and bolted down the hill. We only prevented ourselves from being pitched out head-foremost by clinging on to the sides of the old-fashioned hood. The driver was powerless, and C. eventually stooped over and jerked the reins happily with success. We must have caused[26] much amusement to the soldiers looking out from the guard-house window.

The Governor-General's residence is part of the low stone building in the courtyard, the remainder of the Citadel being used for barracks; the windows on the river side command a superb view.

In the absence of Lord Lansdowne, Lord and Lady Melgund entertained us most hospitably, and very kindly took us on the river in the police launch after luncheon, near enough to obtain a good view of the beautiful Montmorenci Falls. The volume of water is powerful in the first instance, but dwindles into fringes, and evaporates altogether in mist at the base.

A storm was gathering on the heights as we returned, and a dense bank of fog rolled down the river. The thunder muttered overhead, and a rift in the clouds let a curious light stream over the roofs of the town; and then, closing up, the black cloud swept towards us, creeping up Diamond Cape, till the Citadel above loomed out white and ghostly from the surrounding clearness. In a downpour of tropical rain we reached the wharf.

We should liked to have managed an expedition from Quebec to the beautiful Saguenay River, combining a visit to Sir John Macdonald, the present Premier; but that great Nemesis, time, was already beginning to pursue us. We left Quebec the next morning, passing again through Montreal at five in the afternoon, and sleeping at Plattsburg, on the shores of Lake Champlain.

It was a great disappointment to us not to be able to see more of Canada, but we shall hope to pay it a more extended visit on some future occasion. It offers as great attractions to the lover of nature as to the sportsman, and affords a glorious and unlimited field for the emigration of men and women since the opening up of the Far West by the Canadian Pacific Railway.


Thursday, July 31st.—Up at 6 a.m. this morning to[27] catch the steamer. However early we rise for these matutinal starts there is always a rush in the end to catch the train or boat. It is a depressing thought when we think of what frequent occurrence they will be for the next few months.

We were soon plying our way over the placid bosom of Lake Champlain, holding a central course. The shores on either side are flat and ugly, for the beauty of the lake lies in the broad expanse of unruffled waters reflecting the various changes of the sky, generally of a heavenly blue, but on this morning taking the leaden hue of the low-lying clouds.

Numberless islands lay dotted on the calm surface, kept fresh and green from the continued lapping of the waters around their indented shores.

The range of the green mountains of Vermont lay hidden by a transparent haze, the sun shining brightly behind, and presently piercing through, rising to gladden the gloomy morning.

After crossing the broad bay and touching at a further point in the eastern shore—at Burlington, a thriving town—the waters narrowed and flowed on the one side through flat green meadows, pretty though uninteresting; but, on the other, rose in the full beauty of their verdant summer foliage, the mountains of the Adirondacks. The steamer threaded its way through the narrow channels, and we lay right under their mighty shadows, looking into the calm depths of the quiet pools formed by the boulders of rock, that in the course of ages have loosened their hold and slipped down the precipitous sides.

We looked up into dark ravines, piercing through the heart of the mountains, dividing one rounded peak from another. We followed the undulating outline of the mountains, now bare and stony, or more often fringed to the summit with pine forests. The dark green of these pines, and the bright foliage of the stunted oaks, formed a brilliant contrast to the orange lichen covering the grey protruding boulders.

Here and there we came upon a wall of rocks, descending in a sheer precipice to the lake, reflecting purple shadows on the still water.

And so we passed on, one scene of beauty succeeding another, till we reached Fort Ticonderoga. It was here[28] during the Revolutionary War, that the brave Eathan Allen with his celebrated band of Green Mountain Boys surprised the British commander in the dead of night, and appearing at his bedside demanded the immediate surrender of the fort. "In whose name?" demanded De le Place. "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," replied Allen,—and the fort was surrendered.

An hour by rail brought us to the head of Lake George. The Indians gave it the poetical name of "Horicon," or "Silvery Waters," from the great purity of the water. Its peaceful shores have been the scene of many a bloody battle in the great conflict between the Indian and the white man, and the mountains have oft resounded to the war-whoop and battle-cry of the savages and the despairing shriek of the captives whom they scalped alive. Now a death-like stillness broods over the scene. The scenery of Lake George is far grander than that of Champlain. The other only leads up to and forms a preparation for this one. The mountains which surround Lake George and close it in on all sides have a bolder, more sweeping outline. Here and there one projects lone and solitary, forming a promontory round which the steamer creeps, seeming to cling to its densely-wooded sides. The dark whispering pine forests grow down to the very edge of the waters, mingling their sighings with the rustling of the waters over a shallow bottom. There are numberless islands, some mere strips of sandy beach and rocks, dividing the silvery rapids on either side, and others are wooded with a stunted undergrowth. We noticed one curious conical-shaped mountain, formed of a sharp escarpment of rock from the summit to the base, which is called "Roger's Slide." The story goes that an Englishman, Major Rogers, being hotly pursued by the Indians to the edge of the cliffs, suddenly bethought himself of reversing his snow-shoes and retracing his steps by this means leaving no foot-prints. The Indians tracked him to the brink of the precipice, and then concluded he had slid down into the lake, under the protection of the "Great Spirit."

As the steamer turned into the "Narrows" we saw a beautiful little waterfall, falling down the ravine in a feathery shower of spray, spanned in the afternoon light by a vivid rainbow. At Sabbath Day Point the scenery is more[29] striking and majestic. Think of the "Trosachs" in the Highlands, and that will give the best idea of the grandeur of the scene before us.

Adding to the beauty of all we saw that afternoon was the ceaseless play of light and shadow on the mountains. I tried to carry away with me in the mind's eye the picture of those mountains, dark and powerful as a background, the quiet beauty and picturesqueness along the banks as a foreground, and the deep calm blue waters of the lake all around.

Alas! a sudden storm came up and obscured the view before us, and we ended our journey at Fort William in a blinding hurricane of rain and wind. We were glad to find shelter from it in the train, which brought us to Saratoga Springs by the evening.

Friday, August 1st.—Saratoga is the Ems or Baden-Baden of America, the most fashionable resort as a watering-place, only equalled by the more select charms of Newport.

Seen on a sunny morning such as we had, nothing can surpass the brightness and gaiety of the scene in Broadway. Along its broad shady avenues stroll the collected beauty and fashion gathered at Saratoga, and light cross-bar waggons and buggies bowl swiftly by. There are no villas, but life is confined entirely to pensions, and the three colossal hotels in Broadway. The "United States" is perhaps the finest of them. It covers seven acres of ground, accommodates 1200 guests, and gives employment to 150 black waiters. Built round three sides of a quadrangle, there are broad covered piazzas running the entire length of the building, opening on to a large and beautifully kept garden, gay with flowers. Morning and evening the band plays here, when the piazza becomes a fashionable promenade, visitors from all the other hotels congregating in it.

American women are the best dressers in the world; for taste and skilful combination, particularly in pale colours, they are unsurpassed. A change of costume thrice daily is absolutely de rigueur at Saratoga, and it becomes at last quite exciting to see how many more varied dresses are going to appear.

Illustrating a great feature in American life is the wing devoted to the cottages where families come and live during the season, in separate suites, everything being provided by[30] the hotel. A good example of the attendance which it is expected you will require can be gathered from the notice in each room: "Ring once for the bell-man, twice for stationery, and three times for iced water." The chamber-maid plays a very unimportant part in any hotel, and a "bell-man" is attached to each floor. The consumption of iced water is prodigious; not only is it placed at your elbow at every meal, but large jugs of it are brought at stated hours of the day to every room. At the "United States" it was quite formidable walking the immense length of the dining-room, or venturing across the vast spaces of the yellow satin-lined drawing-room. The lift has been known to go up and down 300 times in the course of the afternoon.

Amid the shady groves and green lawns of Congress Park we found the mineral springs bubbling up into artificial wells, with a few drinkers idling about, and languidly sipping their waters, but we came to the conclusion that visitors were not here so much for the purposes of health as of amusement. The springs are of all kinds, Vichy, sulphur, iron, magnesia, soda, &c., and it has often been necessary to bore down several hundred feet before finding the water. Two or three of the most powerful medicinal springs are some miles away, and these are bottled and brought in fresh daily for the drinkers in town.

The fashionable afternoon drive is to the lake, some two miles away, and is reached by a straight dusty road, bordered for the most part by rushes and long grass, where the frogs maintain a cheerful chorus of chirping. When you arrive there you find a primitive café, with groups sitting about the tables under the trees, and the lake, pretty enough, lying in the hollow, with small excursion steamers constantly plying from the landing.

In the evening there is generally a "hop," or dance, advertised in one or other of the hotels, but I confess that that evening we preferred the good-humoured crowd and the fireworks in Congress Park to the hop at Congress Hall Hotel. Alternating with the fireworks were the strains of the band wafted from the pagoda in the centre of the lake, and all sat about heedless of the heavy dew lying on the grass.

We were very sorry to leave Saratoga the next morning, and undergo a very hot and dusty journey to Boston. We passed Pittsburg, as famed for its great ladies' college, as its[31] southern namesake is for its iron-works, and late in the afternoon reached Boston, Massachusetts. A red and yellow coach, suspended by straps to C springs, such as were in use in the last century, conveyed us to the Hotel Vendôme.

I think Boston the most charming of all the American towns. The broad sweeping avenues are bordered by houses of red sandstone, a soft mellow colour, that contrasts well with the green avenues of trees and grass borders. Commonwealth Avenue is the finest of these continuous "parks," and is a mile and a half long. The Common, with its avenues of fine elm-trees, forms a large open space in the middle of the town, and separated only by a road are the public gardens. A bronze statue of Washington rises in the middle, surrounded by a brilliant flower-bed, the colours blending in carpet-gardening to form a Moorish inscription, which translated means "God is all-powerful," a very fitting motto for the great hero. The gilded dome of the Massachusetts State House dominates them from the eminence of Beacon Hill; but far more interesting than this new erection is the venerable time-worn building of the "Old State House," where some of the most stirring scenes of the Revolution were enacted. From this balcony the Declaration of Independence was read to the people. Our troops occupied the buildings during the Stamp Riots, but at the close of the war Washington stood on its steps the chosen hero of the exultant populace. So many of the buildings are closely associated with humiliating remembrances of that fatal epoch in British history when these fair provinces, owing to the lack of foresight and imbecility of her leaders, were for ever lost to England.

There is the old Scotch church, so famous as the political meeting-place of the Boston Tea Party; Tancred Hall, the "Cradle of Liberty," nurtured by the patriotic orations of Adams, Everett, and above all of Daniel Webster; the harbour, with its numerous shipping, where was lighted the first straw of that great conflagration of the "Rebellion," by the throwing overboard of those few chests of tea.

The city is rich in churches, there being no less than 150 belonging to all denominations, who raise their spires heavenwards within its precincts. But Trinity Church surpasses all in beauty and design. It is built of granite and freestone in the form of a Latin cross, in Romanesque[32] style. The stained glass is rich in harmonious colouring, depicting no subject, but blending into a mystery of blue, orange, and purple. Some lancet windows, filled with iridescent glass of pale blue, gave the appearance of shining steel.

We started early on that quiet Sunday morning for a drive to Cambridge in one of the "Herdic Hansoms." These curious vehicles with their jolting motion can only be described as covered two wheeled carts. We passed the green hill on which stands Bunker's Hill Monument. It is inexpressibly grand in its massive simplicity, being only huge blocks of granite narrowing in such imperceptible proportion to the summit, that the pyramidal ending seems in perfect accord with the broad base. No railing surrounds it. There is no decoration or inscription: it stands alone in its majesty, sufficiently raised to be a landmark to the whole town. Our road led through Charlestown, where the seafaring population chiefly live close to the harbour. A long, straight, dusty road, under a blazing sun for three miles, brought us to Cambridge, the immediate approach to which is through stately avenues of elm-trees.

The colleges of Harvard University are clustered together, forming an irregular quadrangle. There was a delightfully quiet and studious look about the dull red-brick buildings, low latticed windows, and ivy-covered walls,—a look of antiquity unusual to America. In this comparatively newly-risen continent so much is thought of age, that Harvard College, the oldest of the fifteen of which the University consists, is prized most highly for its foundation dating from 1636.

Chief amongst the colleges for beauty is the Gothic tower of Memorial Hall, erected by the alumni in memory of the students who perished in the War of Secession. It contains the great dining-hall with carved screens and galleries, busts and portraits of the founders of the college, and has stained-glass windows bearing the college and State arms. A theatre, library, museum, scientific school, and chapel are in different parts of the irregularly laid-out square, which is sacred to the University buildings.

It was vacation time, and the place was utterly deserted, save by a few straggling church-goers, their footsteps resounding on the narrow paved walk, and lingering amongst the tenantless walls. It must be a different scene in term,[33] when 1300 students and forty-seven professors gather under the classic shades of a university already numbering among its former students such men as John Adams the second President of the United States, Edward Everett, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Lathrop Motley, J. Russell Lowell, and Wendell Phillips. The University course extends over four years. It may be interesting to know, in face of the recent agitation at our own universities on the subject, that women are not as yet admitted to the University lectures, though allowed to matriculate and pass the different examinations.

Quite near the University is a battered elm-tree, whose shattered branches are sustained by iron stanchions, and which marks the place where General Washington took command of the rebellious colonists. Further on we passed a plain, square, wooden house, with pointed roof, and a small garden, surrounded by a high laurel hedge, a gravel path, and little white gate leading to the verandah and entrance. There was nothing particular to mark a house, homely enough in its exterior. But yet it was here that in 1775 Washington established his headquarters, when it was the scene of many warlike preparations and much enthusiasm. Later it has been hallowed by the quiet presence of the great poet Longfellow.

"The old house by the Lindens
Stood silent in the shade,
And on the gravell'd pathway
The light and shadow play'd."

And it was in this quiet retreat that he passed away in 1882.


We followed the winding road, almost an avenue of willow-trees, to Mount Auburn Cemetery, and with great difficulty found his last resting-place. We were terribly disillusioned. Not a garden of flowers, tended by loving hands; not a simple marble monument with short inscription, prompted by a knowledge of the gentle, retiring, nature; but we found a great, ugly block of sandstone, a huge sarcophagus, with a name and date on one side, and an ingenious pattern on the other, taking X as a centre letter, and forming a senseless device, and utterly inappropriate to the memory of the great poet.


No more beautiful garden than this cemetery could be conceived: grassy slopes, planted with waving palms and the choicest plants; bright flower-beds interspersed among the white marble crosses and memorials of the dead; an air of quiet beauty and repose, mingling with the many signs of respectful care on the different graves, such as bunches of newly-cut flowers. Those who have served their country had a miniature flag of the stars and stripes waving over their heads. The mortuary chapel stands on the high ground, and opposite to it there is a magnificent marble sphinx with this soul-stirring inscription,—

"American Union Preserved,
African Slavery Destroyed,
By the Uprising of a Great People,
By the Blood of Fallen Heroes."

Throughout the length and breadth of America this intense respect to the dead may be seen in regard to their last resting-place. In strange contrast is the irreverence shown in the removal of bodies. Several times we saw coffins, travelling at first-class fares, placed in the luggage-vans, piled under Saratoga trunks, and with the party of mourners in the same train.

In returning from the cemetery we passed Mr. Russell Lowell's country-house, standing in grounds fairly hidden by surrounding trees.

Boston is the great literary and scientific centre of America. The saying goes that at Boston they ask you "what you know," in New York "what you have," and at Philadelphia "who you are."

Fostered by its close neighbourhood to Harvard, Boston boasts more literary institutions than any other town in America; whether in its remarkably fine Public Library, its Atheneum (which corresponds to our Royal Institution), its two museums, or the English High and Latin School, the first public school in the States.

One of the celebrated steamers of the Fall River Line took us that evening to Newport.

What fascination the word exercises over "the aristocracy" of America! Filled throughout the summer months with society—select and fashionable, hospitable to foreigners, but difficult of access to new-comers, and closed to those who[35] do not belong to the upper circle of finance. The gay butterfly life is carried on in "cottages," or villas, as we should call them—small houses, unattractive outside, standing in gardens adjoining the road, too public and suburban for English taste. So also is the life, entirely without privacy; morning calls are customary; and beginning society thus early, does not prevent its being carried on at high pressure for the remainder of the day.

There is a well-known and accommodating Frenchman, who undertakes not only to supply a "cottage," but all the elaborate necessaries, servants, linen, plate, &c., for a stay at Newport. The Ocean Drive and Bellevue Avenue are daily crowded with joyous equipages and neat phætons, driven by their fair owners, and equestrians.

The toilettes are very elaborate, and of unceasing variety. The cost must be enormous, seeing that prices are double, if not treble those of London and Paris. The profusion of lace and jewels is unending; but a feeling is gaining ground that elaborate costumes and diamonds are a little out of place in the morning. A coloured maid observed to her mistress, in response to a rebuke, that she had been accustomed to live with "people of quality." Pressed as to what she understood by people of quality, she promptly replied, "they were those who dressed simply and wore no jewels by day."

We had wretched weather; a sea fog which penetrated everything, and succeeded in damping even the bright life of Newport. Polo and yachting are very favourite amusements here. A dance was given at the Casino in the evening, in honour of the yachts which managed to come round in the course of the day from New Brighton, despite the thick fog, and to which we went. These Casino dances take place two nights in the week; the entry is only by payment, no vouchers are required. And yet I believe they are, as the Newportians say, quite select. This fact may be cited as a proof that no one not in "the set" attempts life at Newport. The latter place and its inhabitants look down with ineffable scorn and covert sneer at the rival watering-place of Saratoga.

A tempest of wind and rain, added to the discomforts of the Ocean House (let no one be deceived by advertisements and a printed list of guests in daily papers into thinking it a palatial abode), caused us to abandon all idea of staying,[36] and leaving numerous letters of introduction unpresented, we packed up and made the best of our way back to New York by a morning train.

August 8th.—After a day spent in New York we left for Philadelphia, crossing in the ferry to New Jersey City, where we saw the blackened ruins of the Pennsylvania Station, burnt a few days previously. Three hours' quick run brought us to Philadelphia, and the Hotel Lafayette.

Independence Hall is the centre of interest in Philadelphia; a low stucco building, supported by pillars, it is fraught with precious recollections of the great struggle for freedom. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was signed, on the 4th of July, 1776, and publicly announced from the centre steps. In the same chamber George Washington was appointed commander of the army, and delivered a farewell address, and here Congress afterwards held its sittings till 1797. In a room facing the hall are some relics. Amongst a medley of autographs and medals we singled out a cast of Washington's face taken after death, his horn spectacles, and compass. We saw an earthenware pitcher, brought over by one of the pilgrims of the Mayflower, and the old "Liberty Bell," that sounded to the people the first note of freedom, in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. "Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," is the appropriate motto graven on its mouldy green side.

The City Hall, yet unfinished, is of magnificent proportions. Square built, its four sides face, and form the very centre of the town—the point to which all the principal avenues converge. The blocks of marble used in the construction are enormous, and the four gateways are supported by colossal marble figures. Close by is the Masonic Temple, with a tower of quaint turrets, and a beautiful Norman archway; and opposite a church built of a curious green stone, called serpentine.

Many years ago a Frenchman, called Stephen Girard, came and settled in Philadelphia. He conceived the idea of bequeathing his property to the state. At his death it was valued at several millions; and a bequest was especially left of 2,000,000 dollars to erect a college for orphan children. His wish was carried out in the building of this magnificent Corinthian marble edifice, called Girard College. It contains[37] large lecture and class rooms; the dormitories and professors' houses being in two adjoining wings. There is no question of election. Any orphan boy from Pennsylvania or New York State is eligible; and the number, now 1100, is yearly increasing, owing to the rise in value of the Girard property. One curious restriction alone there is. In accordance with a provision in the will, no religious teaching of any sort is allowed; only the elements of morality are taught, and no clergyman of any sect is given entrance to the college. A marble statue of the founder, representing him as a little benevolent, wrinkled Frenchman, faces the entrance, beneath which monument he lies buried.

The Pennsylvania Hospital, though otherwise uninteresting, has such a very quaint inscription on the corner-stone, that I think it is quite worth giving:—

"In the year of Christ MDCCLV., George the Second happily reigning (for he sought the happiness of his people), Philadelphia flourishing (for its inhabitants were public-spirited), this building, by the bounty of the government and many private persons, was piously founded for relief of the sick and miserable. May the God of mercies bless the undertaking!"

We had a pretty drive through Fairmount Park, and ascended by the elevator (how great the Americans always are at any of these mechanical contrivances for saving labour!) to a platform 250 feet high, where we had a beautiful view of the 3000 wooded undulating acres that form one of the largest parks in the world. To give an idea of its comparative size, Windsor has only 1800 acres, the Bois de Boulogne 2158, the Prater 2500, and Richmond 2468. It is five miles long and six broad.

We had not time to go and see the Memorial Hall Museum, in the park, built in commemoration of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, and which contains the nucleus of an art industrial collection after the model of South Kensington.

A drive through Chestnut Street with a hurried glance at the fine "stores," and we reached the station in time for the afternoon train to Washington.

The towns of America, with their even square blocks so regularly and precisely intersected at right angles leading to the Capitol, City Hall, or State House, whichever is the presiding genius, are apt to become wearisome in the[38] extreme. How delightedly then we compared Washington to these,—the beautiful "city of distances." It were worth coming some way, if only to see the magnificent breadth of Pennsylvania Avenue at Washington, paved with asphalte, and lighted by electricity, sweeping in a perfectly straight line of one mile from the dome of the Capitol to the Corinthian pillars of the Treasury. The other avenues and streets are numerically as well as alphabetically named, commencing from the Capitol. Fifteen of the principal avenues take the names of the fifteen states which comprised the Union in 1799, when government first ordered buildings to be erected for the President, Congress, and public offices, and removed the seat of government to Washington.

The next morning was Sunday, and we went to service at St. John's, the fashionable church in the precincts of Lafayette Square, where the President attends, but a remarkably small dark edifice. We strolled back to "Riggs' House" through the Square. Here stands the equestrian statue to General Jackson, which is cast from the brass guns and mortars he captured. The poise of the figure is very fine as he sits the horse, which is represented as rearing. The balance of this position is only maintained by the flanks and tail of the horse being filled with solid metal.

The small red-brick houses in the square overshadowed by the neighbouring trees, where most of the senators and members live, remind one of many a story of "wire-pulling" and "place-hunting" exercised by the clever wives of influential senators. It is a centre of intrigue during the session, for the influence of women plays no unimportant part in American politics.

The White House is quite near. It is a low stucco building, standing in a garden, a small strip only of which is kept private, the remainder lying open to the public. From the entrance gate, where there are neither military nor police on duty, a broad gravel drive sweeps under the portico.

Inside there is a long corridor hung with portraits of former Presidents. A screen of coloured glass divides this corridor from another, which leads off to the principal sitting-rooms. It would be difficult to imagine any official residence so simply appointed as the White House. The[39] state dining-room, which they say will hold thirty-five on occasion (but it must be a tight fit), is most suitable for every-day use. A room with terra-cotta walls is an ordinary drawing-room; the Blue Room is circular, and here the President stands and receives at the levées, which are open to all comers. The Green Room is a large drawing-room; and a ball-room in white and gold, with enormous pendant chandeliers, forms the entire suite. A back staircase at either end leads to the upper floor.

The State Department and the War and Navy have very fine buildings beyond the White House. An obliging official, a groom of the chambers, who descends in his office to successive Presidents, showed us through; but as for seeing anything of the other public buildings in Washington on Sunday we found it was utterly impossible. The further south you come the more abundant are the black woolly heads of the negroes, with the flaming colours they love to wear, the orange plume with the purple, green, or alternating with stripes of red and yellow. The further south you come also the stricter is the observance of the Sabbath.

We took the car and explored the dreary suburb of Georgetown. As we approached a cross-street, the boom of muffled drums and the strains of a funeral march were heard, and we stopped to allow of a long procession, headed by various deputations, to pass. The open hearse, drawn by white horses, was followed by some mourning-coaches. It was the funeral of one of the unfortunate victims of Greely's Arctic Expedition. The press just now are celebrating the honours of his return, and side by side is raised a controversy on the awful doubt as to whether cannibalism was resorted to or not. Certain it is that when the bodies were disinterred by the rescue party to be brought home, the flesh was found stripped off the bodies in many cases. Some said it was used as a bait for fishing, but the more dreadful suspicion is that the survivors, pushed to the last extremity, devoured it. In the case of Private Henry, shot for stealing the stores, Greely is even accused by the relations of resorting to that punishment in order to provide sustenance. It is hard, very hard that after the intolerable dangers and hardships the brave little band endured, such suspicions should be raised to meet them on arrival at home.


Strolling about the avenue rather aimlessly, we came to an equestrian statue. On inquiring about the original, a passer-by advised us if we "wanted to see statues to go further on to the Circle." From here we occupied a central position, looking down no less than eight broad avenues, and seeing in them some six or all the principal statues of the city in a coup d'œil.

An ugly circular temple with an obelisk of granite, 550 feet high, is being erected as a grand national monument to Washington. It stands facing the semicircular portico of the back of the White House, between that and the River Potomac.

The Capitol, Washington

The Capitol, Washington.

Monday, 11th of August, Washington.—We had to be up very early to see the Capitol before leaving by a ten o'clock train. What a beautiful building it is, standing as it does on the Capitol Hill, with its broad stone terraces and grass slopes leading into a park. The west front, with a flight of innumerable steps the length of the centre building, commands the Plaza; and the newly-elected President, standing here, delivers his inaugural address to the people below.

The first building, laid by Washington, was burnt in 1793,[41] and the present one was commenced twenty-eight years after. Daniel Webster laid the corner-stone and inscribed on it an inscription grandly worthy of the building that rose above it:—

"If, therefore, it shall be hereafter the will of God that this structure shall fall from its base, that its foundation be upturned, and this deposit brought to the eyes of men, be it then known that on this day the Union of the United States of America stands firm, that their Constitution still exists unimpaired, and with all its original usefulness and glory, growing every day stronger and stronger in the affection of the great body of the American people, and attracting more and more the admiration of the world. And all here assembled, whether belonging to public life or to private life, with hearts devoutly thankful to Almighty God for the preservation of the liberty and happiness of the country, unite in sincere and fervent prayers that this deposit, and the walls and arches, the domes and towers, the columns and entablatures, now to be erected over it, may endure for ever.

"God save the United States of America."

The colossal bronze statue of Liberty crowns the iron dome, and under the Corinthian portico are the bronze doors, almost as fine in workmanship as those of the Baptistery at Florence. They represent Columbus's interview with Ferdinand and Isabella, his landing in America, his battle with the Indians, triumphant return, imprisonment and death. The Rotunda is decorated with frescoes painted in such a way as to appear in bas-relief. Under the dome is shown the stone where Garfield's body lay in state for three days, visited by thousands of people. It was estimated that each incoming train brought its hundreds into Washington during those few days. The Americans were most deeply touched, and allude, even now, to the wreath sent by the Queen. The two wings are given up, the one to the Senate, and the other to the House of Representatives. The old senate chamber is now used as the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest judicial tribunal in America. The various lobbies and reception-rooms are very gorgeous in different coloured marbles, and ceilings frescoed and gilded, but the interior is hardly worthy of the plain but massive grandeur of the exterior. The[42] gallery in the House of Representatives will seat 1200, and it is not reserved only for reporters or friends of members, but open to the public, and to any who care to hear the debates. There is a ventilator underneath each member's seat which enables him to regulate the hot air at will.

We were much amused at the ragged condition of the Speaker's table, the blue cloth being hammered to pieces in the interests of "order." A National Statue Gallery has been formed by the excellent idea of inviting each state to send statues of two of its most representative men. I admired particularly among the frescoes one by Leutze, called "Westward Ho," very touching in its speaking significance of the hardships the first emigrants endured. It represents the cart piled up with household goods, the mother pale and dejected, with the baby sitting on the top, the elder children plodding along unheeding, whilst the father points hopefully towards the West; in the background other emigrants are crowding along the track.

The Sergeant-at-Arms' room is small; too small they say for "pay" day, when the members come to receive their salaries. Fancy paying your member 1000l. a year to represent your interests. He must be dearly bought in many cases. The total comes to double our civil list. The President's salary is only 10,000l.—too meagre for the representative of such a great nation—and the ministers and judges only receive the insufficient salary of 1500l. per annum. Frequent scandals are the result of this parsimony. Such a beautiful view is obtained of the broad avenues and public buildings of the city from the windows of the west front, and the silver band of the Potomac winding round the outskirts at the foot of the green heights of Mount Vernon.

We should like to have found time to go to Mount Vernon, and have seen the plain wooden house, in a lovely situation, overhanging the river, which Washington made his home; also the key of the Bastille, given to him by Lafayette, and the room where he died. The plain marble sarcophagi near the landing-stage marks "the tombs of Washington, and Martha, his wife." The house after his death was bought and presented to the nation by "the women of America."

We had to give up all idea of seeing the Smithsonian[43] Institute, a Gothic building of red sandstone, standing in its own park, presented to the city by Mr. Smithson, an Englishman. And the Patent Office we found was not open at this early hour of the morning. Inventive genius is here protected and encouraged. In tin boxes, labelled and kept in pigeon-holes, is a model of every patent that has ever been taken out. The fees are much smaller than in England, and contrivances for the most homely details have thus been protected.


It was ten o'clock on Monday, the 11th of August, when we arrived at the station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which was to take us to Chicago. We had great difficulty in threading our way amongst several hundreds of negresses bent on a religious excursion. At first the train followed the winding course of the Potomac, through a fertile country; but presently we were going through a mountain gorge, wooded and precipitous, through which the river rushed and foamed. We crossed an iron bridge over the broad river to Harper's Ferry, the culminating point of a very beautiful mountain scene. As the train drew up at the wooden station, the absolute stillness, broken only by the sound of rushing waters, enhanced the spell of the mountains, which seemed to close us in on all sides.

At Cumberland the country then changed to long, undulating hills; and soon after a halt was called, and dinner served at the station. When further on a second engine was attached, a pleasurable excitement prevailed throughout the cars, and there was an underhand scuffle for the right-hand side of the carriage. We were approaching the glorious range of the Alleghenies, and preparing to cross the mountains. It was a wild scene of the greatest beauty, the glorious solitude of the vast range, broken only by the hideous shriek of the engine, as we climbed the side suspended over a fathomless precipice. As we[44] rose the view extended over many mountain-tops, a panoramic scene of great extent and beauty. We were going up a gradient of sixteen feet to the mile for eighteen miles, with curves so sharp that the middle of the train was doubled inwards or outwards, until we, in the last car, were almost parallel to the engine. We were hanging half way out of the windows, and in full enjoyment of the glorious view, when a sharp angle cruelly shut it all out, and the summit was reached. I was glad that the scene changed so completely at once. So often the full effect of some specially beautiful masterpiece is spoilt by a gradual preparation, Nature working herself up as she goes along; but here the transition is sudden, and the open, park-like spaces present a gentle contrast—golden as they were then in the setting sun.

It seemed as if the beautiful part of our journey was over, when we found ourselves on a yet steeper ascent; and if the other was lovely, far more so was this one. Grand and gloomy the mountains stood above us. A line of silver and a gentle rushing sound alone told us of the presence of the Cheat River, coursing many hundred feet below, through a chasm in the rocks. The pine forests around us whispered softly. Some of their blackened trunks, hideous and deformed, waving their ghostlike and withered arms close to the line, tell of the fury of the storms confined in these narrow mountain gorges.

In the growing dusk we rushed with maddening and increasing speed down into the valley, the glowing furnaces of a manufacturing village sending out a ruddy glow into the dark night.

We passed the night in the Pullman sleeping-car, and I slept soundly. Indeed, there is no reason why you should not do so in these "sleepers." The upper berth lets down from the roof; a sliding partition and an ample curtain forms a "section;" and there are mattresses, pillows, and blankets to form a very comfortable bed, whilst the black porter produces clean sheets and pillow-cases. Dressing and undressing in a sitting posture requires dexterity, which comes with practice. And nothing is more amusing than looking down the length of the car—to see the mysterious heaving and bulging of the curtains, and the protruding arms and legs. I think the general scramble for the "Ladies' toilette" in the chill of the early morning is perhaps the worst part of a night in the cars. How I got to[45] hate the large fringes and crimped bandeaux of the American ladies, which required such an undue amount of care and time in curling!

At Chicago Junction we were hurried out of the "Pullman" into one of the ordinary cars. This meant a carriage, dirty as a London Metropolitan third-class, crowded with thirty people of all degrees. We had been dreading our long journey to the far West, of which this was the first stage; and our fears were being realized. Terribly hot and wearisome was the long day, stopping at every small station. Very dusty, tired, and hot were we, as we skirted the blue shores of Lake Michigan at 7 p.m., and neared the end of our journey, passing for the last four miles through Hyde Park, a suburb of Chicago. We thought ourselves in the greatest luxury when we arrived at length at the Grand Pacific Hotel.

Chicago, August 13th.—"Schicago," as the Americans softly pronounce it, is the great commercial capital of the West, receiving, as it does, the chief bulk of the enormous grain-producing country lying to the westward. Therefore do its streets present no fine buildings, except those of mercantile banks, business offices, and warehouses; and therefore are its streets blocked with drays and waggons, and present generally a bustling activity.

The streets are laid with blocks of stone, and perhaps it is the best kind of pavement after all, regarding health more than comfort. We found the wood pavement, not being properly kept, was far from pleasant in hot weather. The same might be said of the broad asphalte avenues of Washington, which under a blazing sun perfumed the air with a pungent smell of tar.

After the great fire of October, 1871, Chicago rose like a phœnix from its ashes. A curious calculation resulted in the discovery that in the period of six months one building, from four to six storeys high, was completed each hour in a day of eight working hours. It certainly presents an unprecedentedly rapid growth, and the population entirely keeps pace with it.

Chicago is just settling down after the intense excitement of the Convention, held here only the other day, when Blaine was chosen as the Republican candidate, and Cleveland by the Democrats. Every four years the whole country is convulsed with these Presidential elections, a[46] tenure of office far too short to allow of any settled policy to attain to maturity. The country is blazoned with portraits of the rival candidates; debased often to the use of advertisements, as when Mr. Blaine (who is dyspeptic) is seen standing by a bottle as big as himself of "Tippecande." The newspapers resound throughout the country with their mutual vituperations. "Blaine is corrupt!" cry the Democrats; "Cleveland is immoral!" retort the Republicans.

Party warfare descends even to the shape of the hat. In New York we had several times noticed the predominating number of tall white hats. It was explained they were Blaine's followers; whereas Cleveland's wore a wider brim in a brown felt. In America, where every adult male, be he householder or not, has a vote, politics have a wider range, and are discussed eagerly amongst all classes. We got at last to have quite a "national" interest, and should like to have been in America during the final struggle coming in November.

We went to see the Central Grain Elevator at a large warehouse, which raises, weighs, and stores several thousand bushels of grain daily. The working of the machinery is somewhat complicated, but one of the vats, into which four wooden troughs converge and pour their contents, holds seventy feet of grain, which is afterwards shot down by machinery into railway waggons waiting in a siding below.

It was five miles to the Stockyards, which really constitute the great sight of Chicago. The cable cars, running so swiftly and silently as if by magic, by means of invisible underground machinery, down State Street, conveyed us thither and back for the modest sum of 5d. The yards with their well-filled pens on either side, presented a wild appearance. Droves of cattle were being driven by men on horseback, galloping and cracking their long whips, with the curious wooden stirrups and peaked saddle of old Spanish Mexican make. We threaded our way through them to Armour and Co.'s, one of the largest establishments, where daily many thousands of pigs, sheep, and oxen are purchased, killed, cut up, cooked, salted, and packed in the shortest possible space of time. We were allowed to wander about the reeking, blood-stained floors, and thoroughly sickened, and fearful that every turn would reveal more bloody horrors, I stopped opposite a gory pile of horns being carted away, whilst C. went to see the oxen killed. He described how they are[47] driven in single file through a narrow passage into separate pens, over the top of which runs a broad plank, on which the "gentleman who does the shooting" stands with a small rifle. The poor beast looks up a second after his admission to the pen, and the rifle bullet fells him instantly stone dead. The further door is opened, and the carcase dragged away by cords to the cutting-up room. There could be no more merciful mode of killing without any unnecessary brutality.

We were told that they stopped killing hogs at noon every day. These have their throats cut (some say they are guillotined by machinery); and it is possible that half an hour after the pig has been squealing in the pen, it will be neatly packed in one of those enormous stacks of tins which we passed on our way out.

We went for a stroll in the evening, and found the shop windows swarmed over by a species of brown moth, with long bodies and gauzy wings, called Canadian Soldiers. They come from the shores of the lake, and are quite harmless, buzzing around the electric lights to their own destruction. A clock, showing the various times of the different capitals in Europe, carried us back in thoughts to London, which at that moment would be sleeping like a city of the dead, dawn only beginning to break. There is about six hours' difference in time, and yesterday we lost an hour in going from the 30th meridian to the 46th.

August 14th.—A very sultry morning; and to refresh us before starting on our journey of two days and two nights in the cars, we had a charming drive in Lincoln Park, along the shores of the lake. Broad gravelled paths, bordered with trees, numberless flower-beds dotted about, and a sheet of water, formed one of the prettiest parks imaginable. South Park, leading from Michigan Avenue, is still finer; and altogether Chicago possesses six of these beautiful parks, dedicated to the use of the people. Returning home through the suburbs we passed the Waterworks. The door was standing open, free to all comers, perhaps ready to inspire some child's mind with a taste for machinery (how different to our ideas!), and through it we saw the magnificent cylinders, revolving to the roof of the building, and the tiny wheels and cogs all performing their appointed motions. The water is supplied from "the crib" through a tunnel running two miles under the bottom of the lake.


It was wonderful what a different impression we carried away of Chicago after this drive. We should have liked now to have stayed another day to have seen some "trotting races," and made an expedition to Pullman City, the Utopian village erected by Mr. Pullman for his large colony of workers, employed solely in the construction of his Palace Cars. The clean, well-paved streets; the model houses, with improved ventilation and sanitary methods; the fine gardens, and the complete absence of poverty, renders the little village quite celebrated. We had a letter of introduction to Mr. Pullman, through whose express permission alone the works are viewed.

We left Chicago at noon, by the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy route, familiarly known as the "C. B. and Q." A dining car attached to the train provided luncheon, and we travelled in a Pullman, with inlaid and polished panels, plush curtains, velvet cushions, and looking-glasses. The heat was terrible, and we gasped and panted through the long hours of the afternoon, taking refuge at last on the platform outside the car, sitting on camp-stools, heedless of dust and grit, and the deafening roar, as the on-rushing cars thundered over the rails, willing to endure any discomfort for the chance of a breath of air. In the evening, at dusk, we crossed the mile-long bridge over the Missisippi, and looked into the rolling volume of turbid waters. "Blackie" gave us a little supper, neatly and cleanly served on a movable table, of blackberries, bread and butter, cold tongue and eggs, iced tea and lemonade—so much nicer than the hurried meal at the railway buffet. The car was turned upside down, and beds made up at 9 p.m.

We found ourselves the next morning on the muddy banks of the Missouri, the second of America's great rivers and unnavigable, owing to the large sandbanks which form between the swift currents. Soon we passed Council Bluffs, with Omaha, a large town on the broad plateau just opposite. Yesterday we were journeying through the State of Illinois, during the night through that of Iowa, and now, through Nebraska, Lincoln, the capital of which we had just passed.

I believe every one, from the days of early childhood, from books of voyages and travel, forms some vague idea of the prairies. We were nearing them now, and I was longing for my first sight of that vast deserted plain, "the[49] blankness of desolation." The scene was growing wilder and wilder; dreary, uninhabited expanses were succeeded by wooden shanties, clustering round a small store with a few cultivated fields and low-lying marshes; horses and cows were hobbled in the vicinity of the village to prevent their straying away to the plains. The sunflower, a smaller kind than ours, flourished luxuriously in large patches; but that was the only evidence of nature, usually so prolific, here so grim and stingy. The day was cold and gloomy, with frequent scuds of rain.

At length we seemed to leave all human habitations behind; and in the majesty of loneliness we were crossing the desert, on a single track, in the midst of the lone prairie lands.

Those beautiful rolling plains—millions of acres, covered with the short, yellow buffalo grass—extend to the horizon in undulating lines, a wide, uninhabited, lifeless, uplifted solitude. The blue of the sky overhead and the dried-up grass are the only blending of colours. Monotonous as they are, there is the greatest fascination about the prairies. Involuntarily you cannot help looking for some sign of life, some tree or green plant. Sometimes too, far-distant specks resolve themselves into the cattle, roaming at will over the boundless plain.

Buffaloes there are to be seen now and again, but they are dying out fast. The indigenous prairie dog alone remains. These curious little animals are of a grayish-brown colour, always fat, with the long body and bushy tail of a dog, and the head of a ferret. They scamper away at the first sign of the train to their "villages," uttering a short, yelping bark. Their mounds are burrowed as much as two or three yards underground; and the rattlesnake and the burrowing owl are supposed always to share the home.

In the evening we had a grand sight, when a storm swept with terrific force over the prairie. A dense blackness enveloped the previously lurid sky, against which the forked lightning played in jagged edges, and the thunder pealed overhead, mingling with the rattling of the hailstones. The engine ploughed along,—we were swallowed up in darkness and gloom, till the sky lightened and gradually broke, and from a confused mass of purple clouds the rays of the setting sun converged into a pale gold mist on the distant hills.

When the storm cleared we found ourselves in the fertile[50] little valley of the Platte River, the narrow stream winding and circling among green meadow-land, the banks fringed with waving grass and rushes; a scene of quiet beauty.

That night we longed to see a prairie fire, but I suppose such good fortune rarely happens to any traveller. It must be an awful but marvellously grand scene. The heavens and the horizon are first seen like a furnace, and then the long line of flame, banked up with dark smoke clouds, comes sweeping on its resistless course. The wonderful thing is how they are ever checked, but most of these prairie fires are said to burn themselves out. And when they approach within two or three miles' range of the settler's ranch a counter fire is started, which eats up all before it, and, joining with the greater fire, leaves it nothing to feed upon. The flames will often travel twenty miles an hour, and leap angrily into the air to a height of fifteen feet. Sometimes they are started by the careless dropping of a match, or some ashes shaken from a pipe, but more often from the spark of a locomotive. It touches the grass, dry as tinder, and the breeze fans into life the little flame destined so soon to burn millions of acres. There is a very curious feature in connection with these prairie fires. So long as they rage, nothing but tufted or prairie-grass will grow; but so soon as they cease, trees, shrubs, and bushes of all sorts spring up spontaneously—in fact it ceases to be prairie. "It is an ill-wind which blows nobody good," for the next year the grass comes darker and richer than ever, and strange as it seems, this burnt-up grass is the finest feeding pasture in the world for cattle and horses. With this unfulfilled wish we lay down to sleep peacefully.

At three in the morning, we were awoke with a dreadful shock, under which the car shivered and upheaved. We heard the crash of falling china, and seemed to feel the furious application of the air brakes, which brought us to a dead stop.

In the awful stillness that succeeded, the conductor rushed through the cars and begged us to "keep still." Every head was protruded from between the curtains, and there were frightened exclamations to be heard from all sides. The suspense that ensued was terrible.

Too soon the truth came. There was our engine smashed to pieces off the line, the tender high in the air, telescoping the luggage van. Ten feet off was another engine of another[51] passenger train. It was eastward-bound, and therefore on the main track, waiting for us, the westward train, to pass on to the siding. The signal, a covered head-light, had gone out; the fireman moving to replace it, accidentally waved a lighted lantern, which the driver of our train took as a signal that the east-bound train had gone into the siding instead, and, at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, we continued running into the stationary passenger-train! The drivers and firemen of both engines saved themselves by jumping off, and we all had a providential escape from what might have proved a terrible accident. We were forty miles from a village, and eighty from a town and any surgical aid. A messenger was sent to walk to the nearest telegraph station, six miles away, and nothing remained to us but to wait. We looked out on the silent prairie, the stars solemnly keeping watch in the deep blue vault of heaven, thinking of the strange situation, till dawn broke and the sun rose. Then we could penetrate to the scene of the disaster. There was much débris scattered about the track, and the broken engines lay on the ground facing each other. The corpses of some murdered fowls were inside the luggage van, and, suspended in mid-air, I saw at once my new saratoga, a last American acquisition. The remainder of the baggage was more or less injured, and two trunks were completely wrecked, and their contents strewn on the ground. We were resigned, and prepared to spend the day on the prairie, when, sooner than we thought possible by the earliest calculation, two relief engines arrived, and drew off each train. The eastward-bound was first sent on its way rejoicing, and we followed. The black porter had been very much to the fore about seven o'clock, providing breakfast for all, as those bringing provisions had calculated on arriving at Denver in the early morning. "Guess I'se best man on the car this morning," he said, with a grin, showing his white teeth. For the remainder of the journey we suffered dreadfully from the heat, and the sand penetrated into every crevice and corner. How we strained our aching eyes over that burnt, parched plain, in search of the vestige of a shadow, or any green thing to give relief! At last we did see something, a mirage it almost seemed for the first moment, of dark blue mountains, with dazzling crowns of snow. They were the glorious range of "the Rockies" bounding the horizon, and Denver lay at their feet.


As we got out on the platform it seemed almost as if the atmosphere inside the car were preferable to that outside, so sultry and oppressive as it was; the heated pavement burnt the soles of our feet, and the trees near the station were drooping and white with dust. However, we took a more cheerful view after we had changed our dusty garments and been refreshed with a bath—thought it, in fact, almost worth while having felt so hot and weary, to be now so bright and fresh, and ready for a drive in the cool of the evening. As we passed through those quiet, orderly streets, it was very difficult to realize that Denver sprang into existence with the discovery of the gold diggings, and twenty years ago was peopled entirely by the lawless roughs brought thither by the gold fever. They are being gradually superseded by a quiet, industrious population, centring here from the country districts. Though often even now you look into the face of many a man following some menial occupation, who shows traces of not being "to the manner born," but who, in the search for sudden wealth at the diggings, has left the little he had below ground, and thankfully turned to any kind of work to earn a bare livelihood.

We passed a fine house, with the proprietor sitting in the garden, our driver pointed to him, "That 'ere man this time last year was a beggar, to-day he is one of the richest men in Denver." In five weeks he had made one million and a half of dollars at the diggings. The man spoke bitterly, and we more than suspected he too had had his turn of ill luck at them; and the like story might be told of most of its inhabitants. There are a few streets, and the remainder of the town consists of pretty little villas and cottages, each standing in a garden, kept fresh and green by the unlimited use of water. They have an ingenious contrivance for watering, consisting of a pipe attached to the hose, with a top perforated with holes, that turning with the action of the water scatters forth a shower of spray, and is left always playing upon the grass. Life is carried on to a great extent out of doors, people working, meeting and receiving guests in the verandahs. The houses are kept dark and cool by shutters, and the fine wire doors are an absolutely necessary precaution against the plague of flies.

Denver has not yet reached that stage in its development when it can have any public buildings of interest,[53] but they are moving in that direction, as is shown by the fine City Hall they are just finishing erecting on the hill.

We had the disagreeable business to be gone through of going down to the station late in the evening, to receive the wreck of our luggage brought on from the scene of the morning's accident by the next passenger train. My Saratoga was levered down with some difficulty, and, with great care exercised in the removal, happily lasted till it reached the hotel. C.'s hat-box and its contents were reduced to an unrecognizable mass, and the remainder of the baggage was more or less torn, and with locks broken. I must say we thought the company behaved exceedingly well, as without demur they gave us damages to the amount of 35 dollars; but we afterwards learnt the reason, which was that if further injuries were discovered no further compensation could be claimed.

Sunday, August 17th, Denver, Colorado.—We went to the morning service at the cathedral. It is a plain, brick building, at present cold and bare inside, but it is intended to decorate it richly when the necessary funds are forthcoming. The stained glass windows in the chancel are really beautiful, copied from Vandyke's "Crucifixion" at Antwerp; the organ is fine, and the singing of the well-trained choir of men and women (the latter sitting behind a screen), quite worthy of it. We had a very eloquent and sarcastic sermon from Dean Hart, an Englishman; he chose as his text, "Balaam, the son of Beor."

Under the very shadow of "the Rockies," in the far West, how strange it was to be listening to a full cathedral service; and the prayers of the Church of England binding together both American and English!

The air was very sultry, with frequent storms in the afternoon. We went by the circular railway to Jewell Park and enjoyed the beautiful sight of the Rocky Mountains, swept with dark storms or momentarily emerging under a brightly shining sun.

Monday, August 18th.—We left Denver at 8 a.m., and our way lay for many miles along the foot of the Rockies. Though twenty miles away, the rarefied atmosphere of 5000 feet above the level of the sea brought them apparently to within two or three miles of us. And now we could understand their name of "Rockies," for boulders of rock and loose[54] stones, with the long scars where they have given way under the influence of the snow, form their prominent characteristics. There were some little patches of snow yet unmelted and nestling in the deep crevasses.

Buffalo grass was still to be seen on all sides, and the fat, brown prairie dogs kept popping in and out of their holes, and, for the first time, too, we noticed the cacti that grow in such wild profusion on the prairie. We were imperceptibly mounting the Great Divide, and as we reached the small lake at the summit, the country grew fresher and greener, and the broad grass expanse, with groups of trees, gave to it the appearance of a vast park. The remainder of the way lay through cultivated fields, the great barrier of mountains on one side always leaving to the imagination the pleasure of the great unknown beyond. We were soon at Colorado Springs.

Here there was no sign of a village; we could only see the large hotel, "The Antlers," through the over-arching trees of a long avenue. In the afternoon we took a buggy and drove over to Manitou. The clear, dry climate of this high altitude, draws many invalids to Manitou, and there are several large hotels clustering in the neighbourhood of the springs of soda, iron, and sulphur; also numerous boarding-houses, where we observed many little white tents pitched in their neighbourhood, to allow for an over-flow of boarders. One was very aptly called, "The Rocky Rest," and was "to Rent."

Manitou lies under the shadow of the great Range. The rocks seem ready to fall and crush the little village, and the pine forests cast their gloom into the valley. From the many surrounding peaks, Pike's Peak raises its giant head towering above the others, and the little black speck just distinguishable on the summit if the clouds are not down, is the signal station, whence three times daily weather reports are telegraphed to all parts of the States, and the storms forwarded across the Atlantic to us. The picturesque ascent of ten miles on mules is soon to be no more, for a syndicate of four speculators are making a railway, taking a circuitous route of thirty miles to the top, and already the dark line of earth and the rows of telegraph poles tell of its progress.

We drove on, up the Ute Pass to the Rainbow Falls, but there were, unfortunately, no iridescent beams from the[55] sun that afternoon. If we could have gone on climbing that beautiful cañon (pronounced canyon) for 120 miles, we should have come suddenly upon one of those vast open spaces or "parks" that form Colorado's greatest beauty. They are comparatively unknown at present, owing to the want of railway communication.

We had tea with Dr. and Mrs. Bell, who have built themselves a charming house in Manitou; they live there all the year round, and say the winters are comparatively mild.

We stayed so long that it was late before we drove on to the "Garden of the Gods," but I was glad, for nothing could have been more beautiful than the evening shadows creeping up the mountains, the blue gloom of the pines, and before us a park with stunted oaks and masses of light red sandstone. They are curled, twisted, writhing masses, strewn in wild confusion on the ground, forming the most incongruous series of objects. There was the old Scotchman in his Highland bonnet, two sheep kissing each other, their idiotic noses distinctly seen in the act of touching, the Newfoundland dog, the old man's cellar, the semicircle of mushrooms, very perfect in form, and the magnificent outline of the lion cut out on the face of the rock. You irresistibly give play to the imagination—people this little kingdom with fairy fancies entering at the Gate Beautiful.

A storm has swept down from the mountains, bringing a dark mist peopled by the demons, dwelling in its hidden caverns. Whilst the storm rages and the thunder crashes through the echoing mountains, and the lightning flashes on the rugged peaks, the works of darkness are done, the destruction wrought—the Garden of the Gods is so no longer. The name is ironical. Some such dim idea floated through our minds, I suppose, as the three glorious piles of the brightest red sandstone, rose before us 300 feet in height, forming the entrance called the Gate Beautiful; and the cathedral is near by with delicate spires pointed heavenwards. Monuments, they stand to last throughout eternity; and as we passed through the portals and left the land of enchantment, what a dull, cold feeling gathered round us! The warmth of the red glow inside was superseded by gloom added to by that formation of cold white rock outside. Though it was growing dark, we ventured up the weird gorge to Glen Eyrie, with General Palmer's residence guarded by the three pillars, the one called major domo[56] being in the centre. We spied an eagle's nest built into a split in the rock.

Then home we galloped across the plains, the horses hardly touching the ground, darkness creeping over the prairie, clouds on Pike's Peak, and Manitou in gloom.

After dinner we went out to see the stars, which are so beautiful in this clear atmosphere, with the Milky Way, a trailing cloud across the sky.

Tuesday, August 16th. In the train going to Salt Lake City.—We have been spending the day in the Rocky Mountains, amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, awed and struck by the grandeur of the scenes we have passed through.

We began in the early freshness of the morning with a drive up the Cheyenne Pass, a wild gorge, penetrating for some miles into the heart of the mountains. We passed first through prairie fields, where pink anemones, wild larkspur, bluebells, sunflowers, large white poppies, cornflowers, and a delicate pink flower, called here a primrose, grew in wild luxuriance, over a very roughly-laid road, where only a carriage of such light build as ours was could have been driven. The bridges over the many freshets were made of the stems of pine-trees loosely laid together, and as often as the horses stepped on one end the other rose up.

It was a scene of the wildest beauty as we penetrated ever deeper into the contracting gorge. One of the great charms of this range is the rich colour of their red sandstone masses, blackened and weather-stained in parts by the action of centuries. We were surrounded, hemmed in, overhung by those stupendous fragments, and masses of rocks leaning towards each other, and leaving only a narrow streak of sky as a relief to the surrounding gloom, which was heightened by the dark pines that clung and found a footing on every narrow ledge. When we reached the end of the cañon which by this time was so deep and dark as to form only a chasm amongst the rocks, we were fairly spell-bound, breathless almost from the astounding magnificence of the scene before us. Seven waterfalls falling down the face of the black cliff, seven clouds of spray falling one under each other, each into its dark pool below. We climbed up a frail, wooden staircase, hung out from ledges in the rocks, looking into every little hollow, following the fall of the water over each, till we traced it to its source, where it first comes gliding[57] over from the quiet, green pool lying hid in a rocky basin above. This pool takes the reflection of the dark pines on its calm depths.

We lingered, and tried to go—turned back, and at last left it, with a gnawing pang of regret. We shall not soon forget that quiet spot away from the haunts of man. We passed into the darkness of the chasm below, retraced our steps, and were soon out in the open, under the bright sunshine once more; and, before an hour was over, were speeding many miles away in the train.

We found the train leaving Colorado Springs very crowded, adding to the discomfort of the narrow gauge, with a proportionally narrowed car.

We kept the backbone of "the Rockies" in sight for a long way, now and then drawing near to one of the outlying spurs. We dined at Pueblo, a town standing on a bluff of bare rock destitute of vegetation; and its Spanish origin is still evidenced by the fine breed of mules, brought from their colonies in Mexico. We saw here the arrival of the "Pony Express," with the leather mail-bags slung across the peak of the saddle, to be carried on by the train; but its arrival now is very different to that described by Mark Twain in his reminiscences in "Roughing It:"—

"In a little while all interest was taken up in stretching our necks and watching for the 'pony rider'—the fleet messenger who sped across the continent from St. Joe to Sacramento, carrying letters 1900 miles in eight days. He got but little frivolous correspondence to carry—his bag had business letters in it, mostly. The little flat mail-pockets, strapped under the rider's thighs, would each hold about the bulk of a child's primer. They held many and many an important business chapter and newspaper letter, but these were written on paper as airy and thin as gold-leaf. There were about eighty pony-riders in the saddle all the time, night and day, stretching in a long, scattered precession from Missouri to California, forty flying eastward, and forty towards the west, and among them making 400 gallant horses earn a stirring livelihood.

"'Here he comes!'

"Every neck is stretched further, and every eye strained wider. Away across the endless dead level of the prairie a black speck appears against the sky, and it is plain that it moves. In a second or two it becomes a horse and rider,[58] rising and falling, rising and falling—sweeping towards us nearer and nearer—growing more and more distinct, more and more sharply defined, nearer and still nearer, and the flutter of the hoofs comes faintly to the ear. Another instant a whoop and a hurrah from our upper deck, a wave of the rider's hand, but no reply, and man and horse burst past our excited faces, and go winging away like a belated fragment of a storm!

"So sudden is it all, and so like a flash of unreal fancy, that but for a flake of white foam left quivering and perishing on a mail-sack after the vision had passed by and disappeared, we might have doubted whether we had seen any actual horse and man at all."

At 3 p.m. we were entering the great cañon of the Arkansas. The Royal Gorge must have been formed by some great convulsion in nature, rending the mountains from the top to the bottom, and leaving this deep chasm. The muddy mountain torrent has burrowed a channel through for itself, where it lashes and foams into fury against the obstructing rocks. It was an ingenious idea, making the line on ground literally blasted out of the rock or bridged over the torrent, while the precipices overhanging it meet above. No green thing grows on their polished sides; but there was a beautiful blending of colours in the red and blue and green veins of the rocks. We were in the deepest shadow, from the depth of the gorge. The train crept along only too quickly, and we were trying to enjoy to our utmost the stupendous grandeur of the scene by hanging out of the windows of the car, when we gradually became aware that it was fading. And though for some time longer we were going through a succession of mountain passes, which opened out before us, were passed, and looked back upon, they paled by comparison with the Royal Gorge.

Late in the afternoon we were crossing an open plain, and, separated by countless nearer summits, we saw the irregular snow-capped peaks of the Sangre de Christo, I am not sure that I did not think this irregular, indefinite view of green, far-stretching plains and blue haze on distant mountains more beautiful than the solemn grandeur of the Royal Gorge.

The Royal Gorge of the Arkansas

The Royal Gorge of the Arkansas.

Page 58.


At the small station of Salida three engines were waiting for us, and the train was broken into two, the baggage cars and one engine preceding us. We watched with the greatest interest for the beginning of the ascent of fourteen miles up the Marshall Pass, for the crossing of the Rockies, the "Great Divide," as they are called, separating as they do the Atlantic and Pacific continents. There was a grade of 217 feet to the mile, and the engines puffed and panted, emitting alternately their black columns of smoke, taking it in turns to pull us up the steep inclines—-so steep they were that everything in the cars slipped downwards, and the conductor passing through appeared to be walking up-hill. Looking upwards, the dark line of earth winding round the mountains showed us our onward track, and we looked, almost incredulous of ever reaching there, till sweeping round another curve, the length of the train often doubling itself, we were brought on a level with it. But the most dangerous thing appeared to us the crossing of the wide gullies in passing from one mountain to another, the train describing one of its deep curves on a frail wooden trestle-bridge, before continuing in the upward track.

We were climbing higher and higher, already above a lower range of mountains, and soon touching the snow-line. One minute we were in the dark tunnel of the numerous snow sheds, and the next in full view of what is perhaps the most glorious, the most awe-inspiring scene, in its gaunt loneliness and majesty, that we shall ever see in all our lives. A sea of peaks around, and before, and behind, as far as the eye can reach; the cold grey of the wan gloom, tinged with a rosy light, lingering yet long after the sun had gone down; a scene of the greatest desolation, for fire had swept the pine forests not long ago, destroying all vegetation, and the blackened and charred stumps marked but too surely its devastating path. We shivered involuntarily as we stopped for a short time at the very summit, partly from the chilly dampness of the atmosphere, but as much from a feeling of sheer loneliness and dread. We should have liked to have been alone in the car,—left to ourselves for a few minutes, to "realize" that majestic scene, and imprint it indelibly on the memory.

The engine shrieked, and we were carried away into gloom, losing all the beauty of the descent in the gathering darkness,—to supper at a wayside shanty by the uncertain light of guttering oil-lamps.

It seemed wonderful, as we lay down in our berths in the car that night, to think that we had gone up the Rockies[60] and come down on the other side in an ordinary passenger train. Very different it must have been in the old coaching days, when they toiled along the road, which we had traced in a dim, white line in the far distance.

It was most annoying going through the Black Cañon of the Gunnison at night; but I was fortunate enough to wake up at midnight, just as we were passing through it, and, looking out, I could see the ghostly shadows cast by the head-light of the engine in the deep chasm, and could trace the outline of its chief beauty, the straight and slender needle point of the Currecanti.

Wednesday, August 20th. At Grand Junction Station.—We awoke at seven in the morning, to find the car at a standstill, and also to hear that it had been so since 3 a.m. There had been a "wash out" at Green River, some 150 miles up the line. We soon found out what this expressive term signifies; it means an indefinite waiting for an indefinite number of hours—indefinite, I say, because it entirely depends on the subsidence of the freshet and the reparation of a bridge. We learnt afterwards that the Denver and Rio Grande line is particularly subject to these little mishaps, and we noticed that the officials thought nothing at all of the occurrence. The same thing had happened to some ladies now in the train when going over the line two months previously. Adding insult to injury, we were turned out of our Pullman, where we might have spent the day comfortably enough, and the train returned eastwards, leaving the passengers and their luggage a forlorn group on the platform of the Grand Junction.

We found breakfast at a wooden shanty near the station, and fared better than those who tried the hotel. The scene that lay before us was this. On one side there was a collection of wooden huts forming the village, with the grandiloquent name of Grand Junction, bought two years ago from the Indians by the Government. It stands in a sandy desert, with a plentiful sprinkling of alkali, bounded by a low chain of granite rocks; on the other was a marshy ground leading to the river. C. bought some tackle in the village, with a wild idea of fishing, but we found the hot sun on the swampy banks was so unhealthy that we beat a hasty retreat. In writing up my journal and reading, the morning passed, and we again repaired to the shanty for luncheon. In the course of the afternoon we strolled into[61] the town, and laid in a store of biscuits against further accidents, and ran back to the shelter of the station before a coming storm. The heavens opened, and a water-spout came down in the distance, like a pillar of cloud, seeming to draw the earth up to it, and gusts of wind blew up the dust into clouds, sweeping over the little village like a real simoon of the desert.

There was no one in authority to give us any information, and the most intelligent individual about the station seemed to be the telegraph clerk, who had only arrived the previous day from Chicago. He had just made out from a telegram, as he thought, that we were to wait till seven o'clock for a train, when we saw one coming into sight. I don't think any one inquired where it was going, or whether it was the right one, but we all jumped in, and sped joyfully across the dreary plain. We saw a beautiful double rainbow, the most vivid and perfect arcs I have ever seen, just meeting each other where they touched the earth.

We had not been expected at Green River, and there was not much supper forthcoming; but we did not care, as we had, in fear and trembling, previously passed in safety over the bridge.

The conductor, putting his head between the curtains at seven the next morning with the announcement of "breakfast in ten minutes," awoke us, and we looked out upon the beautiful valley of Utah, girdled with the mountains, and abounding in rich farms and orchards, watered by several pure streams of water. Nature seems to have smiled upon this sunny spot; and here the "Mormons," wanderers on the face of the earth for so long, chose a resting-place, and built their City by the Salt Lake. The great range of the Wahsatch Mountains opens out here, and forms a convenient site for a city at their feet; and as we approached we saw that distinctive feature, the dome of the Tabernacle.

The streets of Salt Lake City are wide, too wide for the traffic, for on either side they are overgrown thickly with weeds, forming in some streets into grass borders. The houses are low and pretty, covered with creepers, and the gardens luxuriate with bright flowers, that thrive naturally in these sheltered spots. Swiftly-running water in the gutters answers the double purpose of irrigation and drainage.

We naturally first wended our way to the Tabernacle. It is the dreariest of whitewashed buildings inside. The[62] rounded dome of the roof is unsupported by any pillars, and faded evergreen wreaths and tawdry flags are suspended from the centre, erected for Commemoration Day, some fifteen years ago, and never since taken down. The organ ranks as the third largest in the States. In the little wooden boxes, ranged in tiers on the platform in a gradually descending scale, sit the President, the Elders, and the Bishops. From here they call upon Brother So-and-So to address the congregation. There is a most wonderful echo in the Tabernacle; we distinctly heard a pin dropped at the further end to where we were standing. The marble Temple, which is being built to replace the old place of worship, has already cost 750,000l., but judging from the few workmen in the sheds, we thought the funds had perhaps come to an end. We went next to Zion's Co-operative Store; it is a fine stone building, with the text "Holiness to the Lord" blazoned on a sign over the door, and inside you might fancy yourself in the Army and Navy Co-operative Stores—the same division of departments, including the lift to each floor. An "elder" showed us through; and all those employed in the buildings are Mormons. True believers are exhorted to deal solely at the store.

There is a theatre, and the Walker Opera House; for they maintain, and quite rightly, that, "As all people have a fondness for dramatic representations, it is well to so regulate and govern such exhibitions, that they may be instructive and purifying in their tendencies. If the best people absent themselves, the worst will dictate the character of the exercises."

Behind a high stone wall are the two houses that belonged to Brigham Young, called the Bee and the Lion Houses, from the carved designs over the doors; in the latter Brigham Young died. Exactly opposite is the large stone house—the finest in the territory (Utah is not a state but a territory)—which he built for his last and seventeenth wife and which is now occupied by his successor, President Taylor. Asking to be shown Brigham Young's grave, we were taken to a plot of grass, roughly walled in, and in the centre was the grave, of loosely piled stones, marked with a wooden cross. He was buried here, and not in the cemetery, as a distinguishing mark of respect; but if so, his resting-place might, we thought, have been better cared for. Many of the Mormon residences may be recognized by their green[63] gates and several entrances, for the separate use of the different wives and families. At present the population of Salt Lake City is 14,000, of which about 10,000 are Mormons, but the mines in the Wahsatch range are bringing a great influx of Gentiles. The Government have made many ineffectual attempts to convict the Mormons of polygamy, but the prosecutions always languish for want of evidence, as they are faithful to the tenets of their religion. Not even the unhappy wives superseded, and often tormented by the last favourite, can be brought to give evidence.

Many are followers of the religion of the "Latter Day Saints" without necessarily becoming polygamists. We invested in some Mormon literature; a pamphlet "On the Bible and Polygamy; a Discussion between Elder Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Rev. Dr. Newman, Chaplain of the United States' Senate," in which it must be confessed, the former seemed to have rather the best of the argument; also a Mormon Bible, which is divided into the four books of Nephi, and ten others. The Bible seems to have been taken as the foundation for many chapters, and worked into the tenets of the Mormon faith, forms a curious medley. In the Catechism, which we also got, we found that the question and answer was generally authenticated by a text, quoted from the Scriptures and the Mormon Bible, and placed side by side. This catechism consists of eighteen chapters, and seems more to be a full exposition of faith than for the instruction of children. I give a few extracts from the last chapter, which I think may be interesting:—

"1. Q. Has God given any particular revelation in these last days for the preservation of their lives and health to His people?

"A. Yes. He gave a revelation to Joseph Smith on this subject.

"2. Q. What is this revelation called?

"A. A Word of Wisdom.

"7. Q. What does the first paragraph or verse of this Word of Wisdom teach us?

"A. That it is not good to drink wine or strong drinks, excepting in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and then it should be home-made grape wine; that it is not good to drink hot drinks, or chew or smoke tobacco; that strong[64] drinks are for the washing of the body, and that tobacco is an herb for bruises and sick cattle.

"8. Q. What does the second paragraph teach us?

"A. That herbs and fruits are for the food of man; that grain is for the food of man, and beasts, and fowls; and that flesh is not to be eaten by man, excepting in times of winter, cold, and famine.

"11. Q. Why is it not good to drink wine or strong drinks?

"A. Because they excite men unnaturally, inflame their stomachs, vitiate their appetites, and disorder their whole systems.

"13. Q. Why is it not good to smoke or chew tobacco?

"A. Because those habits are very filthy, and tobacco is of a poisonous nature, and the use of it debases men.

"14. Q. Why should flesh be eaten by man in winter, and in times of famine, and not at other times?

"A. Flesh is heating to the human system, therefore it is not good to eat flesh in summer; but God allows His people to eat it in winter, and in times of famine, because all animals suffer death naturally, if they do not by the hand of man."

We left Salt Lake City in the afternoon, and skirted along the shores in the train of the Great Salt Lake—the Dead Sea of America. Two feet of pure salt lie encrusted round its shores; the water contains 20 per cent. of it, and the evaporation of four barrels of water leaves one of salt. The atmosphere is always bluish and hazy from the effects of this active evaporation. No fish or fowl can live in the lake, and it is impossible to drown, so great is the buoyancy of the water, though death can easily be caused by strangulation.

We arrived at Ogden at three o'clock, the junction where a connection with the Central Pacific Railway is made. And here there ensued a very weary waiting of four hours for another Denver and Rio Grande train. When it did arrive we made up a train of twelve cars, with the arrears of passengers and baggage from the late "wash out."

In the year 1844 when Fremont made his first exploration across the vast prairies, there was not a single line of railway west of the Alleghanies. The discovery of gold in California drew attention to the enormous wealth lying to the Far West, and Congress made a grant for an exploration,[65] which resulted in the commencement of the Central Pacific line, this great junction between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. On the 10th of May, 1869, the lines from the east and west met in the middle of the prairie, and the last tie, a silver one, was laid in commemoration of the event.

All through that night we were passing through the great American Desert of 600 square miles, once the bed of a vast saline lake. The next morning there was still nothing to be seen but mud-dried plains with here and there a little sage brush, the ground being cracked and parched under the burning sun. In some parts there were fields of white alkali, making the lips salt and the eyes smart painfully.

I verily believe nothing could surpass the terrific, fiery heat of that day in the cars; we could not read or talk, but sat with parched lips, panting, the sand floating into the car in a white cloud that soon made us and all around invisible. One poor old woman in the next car nearly died; they fanned her all day, whilst she wailed piteously for one breath of air.

At some of the stations we passed there were groups of the Piute Indians, clothed in striped blankets with bead necklaces, and one mother brought her "papoose" (baby), slung on to her back in a long basket, that had the characteristic features of the race—the pear-shaped eyes and the drawn-down corners of the mouth—ridiculously strongly marked in its wee, brown face. The mother begged for "two bits for the wee papoose."

We had luncheon in the middle of the day at Humboldt, a few green trees about the station forming a very oasis in the desert; the exertion of getting out made us, if possible, a little hotter. We thought then of the awful sufferings endured by the early emigrants, as they toiled day after day over these alkali plains. Along earlier stages of the line the "Old Emigrant Trail" can frequently be seen, with here and there a rude wooden cross marking the lonely grave of some emigrant or freighter, who, overcome by sickness and weariness, lay down and died.

We lived through the long hours of that day as best we could, and about seven o'clock we thought it was perhaps just a little cooler, and the glare of the sun not quite so angry. We tried to ventilate the cars by opening all the windows, and standing outside on the platforms before turning in for[66] the night. It was wonderful how mutual sufferings had brought the passengers together, and how friendly we had all become. One charming American lady, the wife of a clergyman, brought us each a most refreshing cup of "real English tea."

After such a trying day it was particularly aggravating to be entering the magnificent scenery of the Sierra Nevadas, and to be crossing them, during the night.

We were in the beautiful valley of the Sacramento the next morning, among its corn-fields, vineyards, and orchards, catching already glimpses of the blue waters of the Bay of San Francisco, running far inland. We crossed the Carthagena Straits on one of those wonderful steam ferries that are capable of carrying four loaded trains. The train was slowed, run on, and before we knew anything had happened, we were halfway across, and able to get down from the car, and going to the side of the ferry, look down into the muddy waters. The platforms at either end are hydraulically raised or lowered, according to the state of the tide, to the level of the ferry. For many miles we continued skirting the bay, partly crossing it on trestle bridges till we reached Oakland, so called from its beautiful groves of oaks; and which, though separated from San Francisco by the bay, is one of its suburbs. We crossed over from Oakland Ferry, and were at San Francisco, our journey to the Far West—across the continent of America, 4000 miles from ocean to ocean, traversing the ten states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, the territory of Utah Nevada, into California—safely accomplished.


I think we never felt more dirty or forlorn in our lives than on that bright morning when, crossing the bay in one of the palatial Oakland ferry steamers, sitting in the deck saloon, we were surrounded by a crowd of smartly-dressed "Frisco" ladies, particularly humiliated by the appearance of two of our fellow-travellers in the cars, in fresh morning toilettes. A bitter east wind was blowing in our teeth, and raising the muddy waters of the bay into "white horses," and the[67] town with its straight lines running perpendicularly up the hill, showing the division of the streets into regular blocks, looked bleak and grey under the wintry sky.

We could not help being struck by the wonderful precision with which they run these enormous ferry-boats into a dock, fitted with exact nicety to their dimensions, rarely "bumping" against the floating piles, which, however give slightly to a pressure on either side as required.

As your foot is set on the wharf, an army of hotel "touts" besiege you, ready to devour you and your small hand-baggage, and it is with difficulty, and only after some display of firmness and decision, that you are allowed to select the natural choice of a first visit to San Francisco—the Palace Hotel. Rejecting the omnibus or large yellow coach, we took a carriage, to be as quickly as possible installed in a charming suite of rooms; all our possessions, from which we have been so long separated, once more gathered around us—luxury again after the four days of heat and discomfort in "the cars."

We have all heard so much, and for so long of "The Palace," that it is hard to be disenchanted. When the hotel was first built, it was a marvel of magnificence, but since then others as beautiful, as gigantic, as costly, have sprung up, by the side of which its celebrity is paling. The arches and white pillars repeat themselves seven times one above the other, round the four sides of the covered courtyard, and when lighted in the evening by the single pendant electric light, form a very brilliant and pretty sight. The attendance, as might be expected, is only moderate, increasing the feeling ever present of being only a unit among the host of visitors. You have the option of the American or European system, and there is an excellent restaurant, but the courtyard, the piazza, the long corridors leading to the ladies' entrance and waiting-rooms, are filled with groups of men lounging and hanging about; it is, in fact, a general meeting-place for the citizens, which renders it unpleasant for ladies. The rooms are not numbered according to floors, but the hotel is divided into blocks, called according to the street towards which it faces, and each block, with its separate lift and numbering, forms a house of itself.

It may be mentioned in passing that the proprietor, Mr. Sharon, is at present defendant in a tremendous[68] divorce case, which has been occupying the court and local press for the last eighty days; the leading counsel on either side is a "colonel" for the petitioner, and a "general" for the respondent. We spent the afternoon in wandering about among the splendid stores, and in re-hatting C., who was much reduced by the loss of one hat in the early days of our travels, and by the collapse of the remainder in the railway accident. At first surprised by the beautiful furs and sealskin paletots of the ladies we met in the streets, we soon understood the wisdom of their winter wraps when at four o'clock we were driven home by the cold wind, and raw sea fog, hanging about the city.

Sunday, August 24th. Palace Hotel, San Francisco.—We arrived in church in time for the second lesson, having met with a shake of the head, and in one case an honest confession "that he never went to church," in answer to our inquiries for Trinity Church.

We made an unsuccessful attempt to reach Cliff House by the Cable Cars in the afternoon. An expedition there is the favourite Sunday amusement. You go out, over the bleak downs, along the edge of the cliffs, to the small hotel, where a few seals are to be seen disporting themselves on the rocks beneath, sounding their monotonous "bark" or call. The wind was blowing in our faces, and the mist driving before us, and at last, as we seemed about to penetrate into a cloud which had descended on the further hill, we called a halt, as we were passing a return car. We had seen part of one of the pretty suburbs that are San Francisco's greatest attractions, where the villas of her Bonanza or railway kings centre—men whose fortunes were made in the gold beds of the tributaries to the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, barely forty years ago. Then San Francisco was but a village of shanties which they called "Yerba Buena" or good hut, and the "hoodlum" element predominated, traces of which are still to be found but too frequently in many of the low quarters of the city. Not so very long ago it was necessary to carry a revolver about. It was worn daily as a matter of course, and an unintentional raising of the hand to the place where it was secreted might prove fatal, causing an opponent to draw his under suspicion, and in supposed self-defence.

There are many evident traces of the quick rise to wealth that has been the ordinary lot of the inhabitants of the[69] city. You notice it particularly in the extraordinary number of jewellers' stores, and the display of diamonds, in the expensive upholsterers, with their superb if gaudy furniture, in the marvellous curios of Chinese and Japanese art, that here find a ready sale.

Disgusted with the climate of San Francisco, we fully expected to be told the usual story about "phenomenal weather." Every one has observed how exceptional the weather generally is when they happen to visit a certain place. But no, we found it is the rule here for the bright, sunny mornings to change to cold wind and sea fog in the afternoon throughout the summer months. During the winter the climate is warm and equable, and it therefore possesses the advantage of having no great extremes throughout the year.

Monday, August 25th. San Francisco.—A morning of indecision, angry agents, each "touting" for their route, a hurrying about from one office to the other.

The question under consideration was an expedition to the Yosemite Valley. A telegram from New York confirmed the date of the 30th as the arrival of the mails and the departure of the Pacific Mail Steamboat, the Australia, for New Zealand. This left us exactly four days in which to carry out the expedition, one and a half to go into the valley, the afternoon there, and two days to come out again. I confess now that it is all over, that it was a mad idea to think it practicable. Five years ago I had heard my first description of this wonderland, and been seized with an unreasoning desire to see it. All through the continent I had been hurrying and pushing on, particularly towards the last, chafing feverishly against the delays caused by our mishaps on the railways; fearful lest time should fail us at the last for the Yosemite Valley. Was it to be so after all? It was just possible. My earnest entreaties prevailed, and we went.

Miller, generally considered the popular agent, and supported by the powerful influence of the chief clerk of the Palace, drew us out programme No. 1, returning us to San Francisco on Saturday morning in time to catch the steamer. Walton, the rival agent, drew us out programme No. 2, which possessed the advantage of bringing us back on Friday evening, the day before the departure of the steamer. Miller said Walton was underhorsed and undertimed; Walton read us out a letter from an Englishman[70] praising his route and saying he had found Miller "an unmitigated liar." We went to Miller's office, and as we turned the corner were pounced upon by Walton. This might have lasted out the day had we not trenched matters, by deciding to go into the valley by Miller's route, and come out by Walton's, who solemnly promised to stake his reputation on bringing us back on the Friday evening. I packed all our luggage in the morning in readiness to be sent down to the wharf, arranged our cabin boxes for the voyage, and, taking only hand-bags, we started on the expedition.

Mr. Lee, a fellow-traveller, and with whom we became friendly during the long day spent together in the Desert at Grand Junction, came with us; to add greatly to our pleasure by his uniform Irish cheerfulness and imperturbable good temper, under the most trying circumstances.

The first stage of the journey was made in the train, sleeping in the Pullman Car, which was slipped at 11 p.m. and left standing on the rails all night. At 4 a.m. the next morning, we hurried across in the grey dawn to the inn opposite for breakfast. We looked critically at the coach and team of six horses that were standing ready at the door. The vehicle perhaps might be more properly described as a large red char-à-banc swung on leathern straps, with a cover overhead. Later on in the morning we blessed that cover, not only for its grateful protection from the sun, but for the support that its upright iron stanchions afforded us. We clung to them convulsively, for to say that we jolted and bumped would be to give no adequate idea of the violent exercise we went through. We collided with one another, and slipped up and down the seat, we were thrown up in the air to come down again with a thud that jarred the whole system. In vain we grasped the front seat, or clung round the iron standards, planting the feet firmly on the footboard, determined not to go up with the next bound of the coach. It was all to no purpose, and by the end of the first hour we were sore and aching, looking at each other in blank dismay, with the knowledge of the seventy miles' coaching to be gone through that day. I remember that it was our shoulder-blades that suffered most, and that it was impossible to keep the air cushions we tried, as a relief, in their place. It was not the pitching of the coach, though[71] we often saw it rise up above the leaders and then descend till the wheelers were visible again, that we dreaded, but the large stones over which the wheels passed with a relentless jar which communicated itself to the whole nervous system.

But the most trying thing of all was the dust, which under the twenty-four hoofs of our six horses, rose in clouds around us. Sometimes for a moment we were so enshrouded as to be invisible to each other, and then as it cleared off, and we drew breath freely again, mouth and nostril were full of the fine sand which we tasted and smelt. It was, too, of a peculiar red colour, imparting its ruddy tinge to everything we wore; in fact, our things never recovered that expedition, and for long afterwards, notwithstanding the vigorous brushings, which I gave with an unstinting hand on our return, we used to detect its traces and say, "Some of the Yosemite dust!" A soft woollen shawl which we had with us, absorbed such an immense quantity, that it even now responds to a gentle shake by giving forth a little cloud of dust. We used to arrive each night at our destination enshrouded in a film of the same, and there was difficulty amongst the passengers in claiming their small hand-baggage from amongst a pile of dust-smothered luggage.

We began our journey by crossing over a flat plain, and our curiosity was excited by a wooden aqueduct running parallel with the road. We kept it in sight for many miles, and never really lost it throughout the whole day, passing it again late in the afternoon. It was a plane or wooden trough, constructed on a slight incline, filled with a stream of water, flowing at the rate of five miles an hour, and down which lumber was floated a distance of seventy miles. This ingenious contrivance is the means of utilizing much of the splendid timber that lies rotting in the mountain forests, useless because of the enormous labour and expense of transporting it to the abode of man. Several experiments were necessary before the "flume" was perfected, the V shape being adopted, as it was found in the square troughs that the lumber in floating down would be driven transversely, and so occasion a block. We presently exchanged the prairie-like plain for a more hilly country abounding in a stunted undergrowth of dwarf oak, cork, myrtle, and ilex trees, freely interspersed with large masses of rock, in such[72] isolated positions, that we could not help wondering how they ever came there. The blue range of mountains that we were to cross later in the afternoon were becoming more distinct. At a very early hour in the morning the sun had become powerful; we were hungry after our five o'clock breakfast, depressed at the prospect before us, and by eleven o'clock, when we made our first halt to change horses, we had reached a pitch of great misery.

There were some tame rattlesnakes shedding their skins outside the inn, and we were able to get a large cornucopia of sweet white grapes to refresh us.

The Californian coach-drivers are famed for their skilful driving; they are hardly worked with four days a week, driving continuously seventy miles, but they receive high pay, ranging from seventy to eighty dollars a month. It is nice to watch their care and interest in the horses; knowing the peculiarities of each one, husbanding their strength, and frequently stopping to water them from the iron pail that clanks in the boot behind. They are well known on the road, and it is amusing to hear their various merits discussed. They need to be careful and experienced men when you think of the sharp corners turned at a hand gallop, and the roads, which for the most part are made overhanging the precipice. More danger might be feared from the footpads, or "road agents" as they are called, who have frequently stopped the coach and robbed the mails. This occurred only last year, and no traces have ever been found of the robbers.

Another three hours of growing discomfort brought us to Coarse Gold Gulch, where we rested for luncheon. We were received by the German daughters of the house in the cool trellised verandah covered with vines, with long feather brooms, and the outer layer of dust was prudently removed before we were allowed to enter the house. We waited a weary while for the coach returning from the valley, and when it did arrive it was comforting to see others in a condition as bad as ourselves; to hear that we had got over the most scorching and dusty bit of road; to be told of the glories of the valley by those still under its influence; and to be given advice on the best way of spending our one afternoon there.

We discovered at once a passenger booked like ourselves[73] for the Australia, Mr. Davidson, of Edinburgh, who proved, in our subsequent journeyings together, such a pleasant and intelligent travelling companion.

We began gently ascending again, when we continued our journey, for the most part through a shady ravine, till we crossed what was apparently an outlying spur, and began the tedious climb of the larger range. At times the horses seemed hardly to make any progress, and they crawled along with the coach lumbering and creaking after them. Then for the first time we saw specimens of the Sequoia Gigantea, that wonderful genus peculiar to California. Presently we were passing through miles of its forests, their purple and pink-streaked stems, straight and slim, reaching to an enormous height before striking out into long branching arms, which interlace to form a feathery network against the sky. This closely packed array of mighty giants, stretching away into long vistas of upright stems in the dim distance, gives one a feeling of being surrounded by conscious though inanimate beings; they give a feeling of strength in repose, increased by the stillness and silence of all around; for the wheels move noiselessly over the thick carpet of fir needles, and there is only a rustling murmur of the breeze in the pines overhead.

There are no singing birds here, and the only sign of animal life is a ground squirrel darting across the road, and scampering up the nearest tree.

Here and there we emerged into sunlight from the cool depths of the forest, to see the range of mountains forming part of the great Coast Range, looking thin and hazy in the warm afternoon sun. Fire had wrought destruction amongst many of the trees, leaving charred and blackened stumps, decaying into curious and weird forms, Sometimes the trunks and branches, scathed by the fire, remain a beautiful silver grey; in others the trunks would be completely hollowed, and yet still able to support an immense framework above. In one case I remember a pine was burnt through at the base, hollowed out so as to form a perfect V shape.

There appear to be two theories as to the origin of these forest fires; some say that the trees fire themselves in the fall from extreme dryness; the other, which would seem the more probable, that the mischief originates from a spark of the woodman's pipe, or perhaps a brand left[74] burning from the camper's fire. There is no doubt that this is sometimes the cause of the terrible devastation wrought, and it is no uncommon thing to see far away the blue wreaths of smoke curling up from the very heart of a forest that betokens one of these conflagrations.

It is very difficult to convey any idea of the gigantic height of the sequoias by simple measurement or figures, but I know that many of them took root in the ravine so far below, that we in the coach overhanging the precipice, and leaning over, could not trace their origin; whilst the tops would just be on a level with the road. But all this time we were toiling upwards, and the shades of evening were beginning to close around us in gloom, surrounded as we were by the dark pines. We reached the top about 6 p.m. Just one view of a grand, white mountain, with dark, purple shadows lying on its jagged peak touched with a few last rays of light, and we began a mad rush, wild and headlong, down into the valley in the gathering darkness. The horses swung round the zigzag turns at a gallop, the leaders all but over the precipice to allow of room for the remaining four, and for the coach to graze round the corner. Ten, twelve, fifteen miles an hour, the speed gradually increasing, until, breathless and unconscious, save of flying through the air, you gave up at last the anxious watch on the horses, and resigned yourself to the care of the driver.

Mr. Lee, seeing my terrified face, tried to reassure me by saying, "I have perfect confidence in the driver, and in the horses, but hope the vehicle will hold together,"—words that were hardly uttered, when convulsively the driver was seen straining at the reins, and trying to pull up suddenly. One of the powerful brakes had given way, and the horses, feeling the coach at their heels, were preparing to rush madly round the corner we were just coming to, when they were checked—and we were saved. The wheel after that had to be dragged with a chain and straps, and we walked down the remainder of the way, a relief to our overstrained nerves; but the driver looked crestfallen on arriving at Clarke's without the usual flourish round the circular drive, pulling up the steaming horses at the exact arch in the verandah opposite the door.

We slept in the valley that night, guarded by the mountains on every side, with the sound of a gurgling stream in our ears, dimly seen by the light of the crescent moon.


Wednesday, August 27th.—We were off at six the next morning (which meant getting up at five), ascending the mountains, and soon many feet above our last night's resting-place in the valley, looking at the lovely blue mist wreathing and curling up the opposite mountains, out of the dark shadows of the pine forests. We had a still, quiet morning among the giant forest trees and shady glades. Down their gullies trickled sparkling streams, burrowing underground and then flowing out again, forming tiny cascades over a few rocks and sprinkling the surrounding ferns with dewdrops. Some of them were so hidden that we only heard a rustling amongst the green bed by which we traced their course. Everything in nature could not help looking lovely on that bright morning with the keen freshness of the early day yet in the air, and the sunlight peeping through the dark pines, to play in golden cobwebs on the brown carpet below; but again we missed all sign of life in the absence of singing birds, and the stillness became almost oppressive. One of the most beautiful things in these forests are the bright green mosses, that hang like lichens from the branches of the trees, looking most vivid against those that are blackened by the fire. The fir cones that lie on the ground in hundreds are remarkable for their perfect formation and great length, frequently attaining to a foot or more.

All the morning we alternated in a slow and tedious progress up-hill, and one of the quick rushes downhill, when we would accomplish in half an hour the same distance that it had taken us three hours before to mount. But about twelve o'clock we emerged from the forest on to a level winding road, overhanging a terrible precipice on the one side, from which was a view unequalled in beauty and extent in all California. And this is saying something; for throughout these two days' drives we had been enjoying a series of superb and magnificent mountain scenes, that taken singly would alone have been worth coming to see. But here was something that surpassed them all. The valley at our feet was so deep that the eye became giddy in following the downward line of the vertical precipice of rock. You followed the upward slope of dark green mountains rising on either side of the entrance of the valley, till you gradually let the eye float away and away over the blue lines that each indicated a separate mountain range[76] growing fainter as they reached the horizon. This was the great Sierra Nevada Range.

A more frantic and perilous rush than usual, over a rough, shingly road, somewhat damped our keen look-out and eager expectation for the first sight of the longed-for Valley, till we drew up point blank opposite a sign board,—"Inspiration Point."

This is the most memorable incident in a visit to Yosemite, for in this first comprehensive glance you take an impression of the Valley, the one which is to remain always with you, and for all time.

I think this Valley ought to be counted as one of the wonders of the world, and that this Inspiration Point ought to have a world-wide fame; to see it should be counted as much an event in a man's life as "to see Naples and die."

I hope we were not like the gentleman "who had written largely and felicitously on many subjects," but who exclaimed as he reached this point, "My God! self-convicted as a spendthrift in words, the only terms applicable to this spot I have wasted on minor scenes," but I know that we felt awestruck and stunned for a moment by the beauty before us. We were on a platform that projected, so that we saw ourselves hanging over the precipice, just midway between the valley which seemed some immeasurable distance below, and those strangely human rocks above. Six miles long, but at no part broader than one mile, the Valley is simply formed of a cleft or gorge in one of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It is full of gigantic sequoias, dwarfed into ordinary fir-trees when seen from this tremendous height.

We traced the green waters of the Merced, whose source is in the imperishable fields of ice and snow, of some far-away peak, in its wayward wanderings, through the centre of the flat valley.

But the grandeur and sublimity of the valley lie above us in those marvellous configurations, those fanciful phantoms and wayward fancies placed there by nature. For centuries and centuries since the foundation of the world, they have stood there alone in their solemn glory, unseen by civilized eye, unknown until some thirty years ago.

The Sentinel, Yosemite Valley

The Sentinel, Yosemite Valley.

Page 77.


Facing us there is El Capitan, called by the Indians Totokohula, or great chief of the valley, the most matchless piece of masonry in the world. The Twin Brothers are there, the Three Graces, the Sentinel Rock, the Cathedral with its graceful Spires, the Bridal Veil, the Dome, and the Half Dome.

"Hundreds have gazed enraptured upon these natural wonders, and return again and yet again to drink their fill of Nature's handiwork; and looking 'from Nature up to Nature's God,' thank Him that He has traced with Almighty hand so many pictures of wondrous and unspeakable grandeur and beauty. In the course of years, countless beholders will feel their souls expand to the dimensions of their Almighty Architect as they gaze upon this incomparable valley."

We drove down over a road invisible from the valley, and stopped just on the bridge under which flows the stream from the "Bridal Veil." The Indians gave it the name of "Pohono," or Spirit of the Evil Wind. You can almost see the single drops falling against the side of the dark rock, as the spray-like foam, far more beautiful than the "Staubbach" in Switzerland, comes over the left side of the Cathedral Rock. It falls in an unbroken sheet, 630 feet, then dashing from the débris of rocks some 200 feet more, flows in a succession of tiny cataracts. The fancifully pretty name came from the body of water, which, when falling lightly over the cliff, is swayed to and fro by the pressure of the wind striking the long column, often giving to it the appearance of a fluttering veil. I thought it the most beautiful object in the valley.

There are several small inns, but we stopped at Barnard's, which lies immediately under the Falls which give their name to the Valley. A hurried consultation with the landlord resulted in the decision to go up to Glacier Point, which has the most extensive and complete view of all the different points of interest in the valley. The ascent was to take us three hours, when it would be possible for us to drive afterwards to Mirror Lake in time to see the sunset. We started immediately on a pony and two mules (Mr. Lee being of the party) up the steep trail, preceded by the guide, who turned out to be surly, useless, and disobliging. The sun glared fiercely in our eyes, blurring out the view of the valley below. I tried with ill-success the shelter of a sun-umbrella, the pony shying violently, and turning[78] round on the narrow path to look me in the face. We became impatient with the slow progress, and weary of urging on the animals, and at last, by dint of persistent questioning, I found out from the guide that Glacier Point was six miles from the valley, or about six hours' expedition there and back! Mirror Lake disappeared entirely from our programme, and we even began to think of contenting ourselves with Union Point. We reached there at 4.30, having taken two hours for the four miles, and the guide assured us we must allow the same time for returning. After some discussion the matter was finally settled for us, by looking at the soft haze about the sun, and seeing that the brightness of the afternoon was passing away. We decided to give up Glacier Point, and be contented with the less extensive, though I can hardly believe less beautiful, view.

At Union Point we were 2200 feet up, and on the platform immediately facing us stood the beautiful Agassiz Column, a spiral fragment of rock raised up on end. There was a great solemnity and grandeur in the silence and stillness of the valley below. We were above the hum and stir of life, away from mankind, from the petty aims and ambitions of the world beneath us, left alone with the grand mountains. The evening shadows, with their soft blue lights, fell on the surrounding points even as we looked, and the valley itself lay in shadow below. Immediately above and inclining down towards us were the Three Brothers, their Indian name signifying "mountains playing leap-frog," giving the truest description of their triple zigzag peaks. We knew that on the other side of the rock, only 200 feet lower down, there was a similar formation—the Three Graces, or the sweet "Wakwahlena" of the Mona dialect. We saw the Sentinel or Watch Tower of the Indians, a mass of perpendicular granite tapering into a peak that seemingly points its summit into the sky, and which for ever stands watching, keeping guard over the valley. Again, on the same side, the beautiful Cathedral Spires were just to be seen tapering to a height of 500 feet above the massive roof of the Cathedral Rock, which is itself a piece of unified granite of 2660 feet in height. These spires are the most graceful specimens of natural masonry and architecture in the valley, and at times when the wind soughs and moans amongst the crevices, and[79] round about the spires, they say you can hear the deep tones as of some minor organ wailing "The Miserere of lost souls."

The Cathedral Spires, Yosemite Valley

The Cathedral Spires, Yosemite Valley.

Turning away from this side and looking on the other, in the far distance we saw the Dome; and a very perfectly rounded dome it is. It seems to be made up of prodigious concentric plates of granite, on one side suggesting the formation of what are called, the "Royal Arches." But towering so far above it, that it is completely dwarfed by comparison, is the half dome, the "Goddess of the Valley," the most remarkable formation amongst the many that are in this valley of marvels. It is a symmetrical dome of bare rock, scarred and worn with the storms that gather and play about its mighty head—"storm-written hieroglyphics,"—they[80] have rightly been called, rising 4737 feet above the valley, the valley itself being 4000 feet above the level of the sea. But instead of sloping away on both sides, this dome, on the left, is cut completely away, and descends in an absolutely vertical line of 1800 feet or more, thus producing a perfect half dome. Some great convulsion of Nature seems to have split it directly in two, and the western half has disappeared, no one knows where. The valley is here narrowed to its smallest limit, and this tends to add to the stupendous majesty of this "imperfect" dome. To give some idea of its vast height, it is not once, nor twice, nor thrice, but fifteen times the height of St. Peter's at Rome—all rock, nothing but rock! "And God's hand built it—not in masses of slow-mounting masonry, gaining adventurously and toilsomely, foot by foot, and pushing its scaffolding ever higher to keep command of the work, and straining its enginery to swing aloft the chiselled and ponderous blocks to their place—but with one lift, without break of course, or any gradation of rising completeness, the Supreme Builder set the domed mountain in its place, foundation wall, and top-stone—one sublime integral whole, unprofaned by craftsmen's tools, untrod by foot of man."

Beneath the Half Dome, but hidden from us, lies the Mirror Lake, where on a surface absolutely motionless, at sunset and at sunrise, are reflected all the magnificent surroundings in perfection. Cloud's Rest is the culminating mountain-top in this part of the valley.

And now, after we have been looking at these far-off points, our eyes fall down to those nearer home, and we look opposite at El Capitan. We follow upwards the lines that seem interminable in their length, from the base to the brow of this wall of rock, this mass of immensity. "El Capitan imposes on us by its stupendous bulk, which seems as if hewn from the mountains on purpose to stand as the type of eternal massiveness." "Wipe out the beautiful Merced with its snow-fed streams, let the fierce summer heat dry up the waterfalls, blast as with a curse the whole valley, El Capitan would still smite you with his austere silence." The spire of Strasburg Cathedral, that masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is 468 feet high, and still the compound height of seven such cathedrals would not equal the height of this granite mass.


Over a recess in a dim corner, during the earlier months of the year, pour the "Ribbon Falls," or "Virgin's Tears," (the "Long and Slender" of the Indians), though in summer it dwindles down into what we saw it, a single ribbon string.

Much the same may be said of the Yosemite Falls, from which the Valley takes its name, signifying in Indian "large Grizzly Bear," which are very beautiful from the months of March till July, when they likewise dwindle into insignificance. These may also be said to be divided into three distinct falls; with a perpendicular descent of 1500 feet, a 600 feet of cataracts over a shelving rock, and a final fall of 400 feet ending in spray and foam.

The great advantage of the further ascent to Glacier Point is that you have the more complete view of the valley which includes the Vernal and Nevada Falls, two very beautiful falls of 400 and 600 feet each, some way up the Cañon of the Merced; the Sentinel Dome, which is a mile and a half above the point; the Washington Column or "Watching Eye," and a very far-reaching view over the further side of the valley—of the "little Yosemite," and the higher peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

This view from Union Point proved our only hope of carrying away with us some general idea of the wonderful formations of the valley in the short space of time we could allow, and after trying, with some success, I since think, to print them indelibly in our mind's eye, we turned our thoughts towards the descent.

My pony had come down on his knees at a very early period of the expedition, and I greatly mistrusted his powers of holding up down the steep stony trail, not counting the discomfort of feeling the legs of the animal sliding away in front, and subsiding behind, whilst simultaneously being pitched forward at a very inclined angle. I declined to ride down the first and steepest part of the trail, and eventually it ended in my running down the four miles, and resting at the bottom for half an hour for the others to come up. We returned to Barnard's decidedly crestfallen, and with very different feelings to those of pleasurable excitement with which we had started out earlier in the afternoon. We went to bed quite worn out after such a long day, but—there was to be no sleep for us that night. Mosquitoes and the hardest beds I ever slept on were small[82] drawbacks when compared to the weekly ball that was going on immediately underneath us. Every sound was heard through the thin partitions, and we could only lie and listen to the Master of the Ceremonies with his "Figure number one, and cross over, turn, face partner, ladies' chain, sides," &c., the scraping of the fiddle, and the shuffling of the feet.

Weary and dispirited, we left the valley the next morning at 6 a.m., taking our farewell view from the top of the mountain which we had been winding up the side of for three hours. We had in the coach with us Mrs. McCauley, who kept the inn at Glacier Point, and one of the first inhabitants of the valley. She told us that there was general complaint about the meagre compensation that Government had given to the inhabitants since they had taken possession. The early settlers had expended much toil on the formation of the first and most dangerous trails to the principal points, charging some small fee. It was in 1864 that Congress granted the valley to the State of California, as "the cleft or gorge in the granite peak of the Sierra Nevada," under the express condition that it was to be kept for "the benefit of the people, for their use, resort, and recreation, and especially to hold them inalienable for all time." And so it always is in America, parks, gardens, all places are kept and maintained for the people. Congress has just taken possession of the comparatively newly discovered Yellowstone Park, for the nation, preparatory to developing its wonders and making it accessible "for the people." A guardian and commissioners were appointed for the valley, who have since done wonders in making the points of interest more approachable by new roads, bridges, and trails.

We had another of those magnificent forest drives, looking over the valleys and the mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada from the opposite side to that on which we had entered the valley; but the coach was of a smaller build than the others we had been in; it was more than unusually laden with passengers, and the heat was very great. We arrived cramped and somewhat cross at Mrs. Crocker's, a Nottinghamshire woman, where we found a charming luncheon provided in a cool, neat cottage.

In the afternoon we drove through the trunk of one of the monster trees, "the Dead Giant," where there was room[83] for the six horses and coach to pass at a full trot, describing a slight curve of the road in passing through the aperture, but it required the fine skilful driving that we had, to do it.

Big Tree, California

Big Tree, California.

Then we pictured to ourselves those marvellous groves of big trees near the Yosemite, the Calaveras and Mariposa and south groves, wonders which we had missed altogether, without which no description of the valley is complete. I therefore give a rough outline gathered from those who have seen them.


The discovery of this new tree of sequoia occasioned much excitement; at first it was supposed to be of the species of Redwood or Wellingtonia, but eventually it was given a genus of its own and called after a Cherokee Indian, Gigantea Sequoia. It is limited exclusively to the Sierra Nevada Range, as the Redwood is to the Sea Coast Range, and both are Californian natives.

The Calaveras grove contains the most celebrated of these monarchs of the forest; and nearly all have received names from numerous hero-worshippers. They attain to a height varying from 250 to 300 feet, and to a diameter of from 20 to 30 feet. Their age is assigned to be from two to three thousand years, and this is judged from the number of their concentric rings. So many of them are partially destroyed by fire, that it has given rise to a theory that a thousand years ago there must have been a terrible fire which raged among the sequoias alone; and this is supported by the fact that sugar pines and other old trees now side by side with these, show no signs of fire, proving that they had no existence at the time.

On entering the grove the three leading generals of the Union Army, Grant, Sherman, and McPherson, stand facing you; the "Pride of the Forest," the "Miner's Cabin," blown down in a gale in November, 1860, and the "Three Graces," a beautiful cluster, are quite near; others lie all around, each known by its own name.

The "Mother" and the "Twins" are succeeded by the "Father of the Forest." The "Father" long since bowed his head in the dust, yet how stupendous he is even in his ruin! A hollow chamber or burnt cavity extends through the trunk, large enough for a person to ride through, and near its base is a never-failing spring of water.

There are "Richard Cobden," "John Bright," "Daniel O'Connell," the "Sequoia Queen," and her "Maids of Honour," the "Old Maid," and the "Old Bachelor," "Daniel Webster," "George Washington," and very many others, and perhaps what is best of all to see, many other young sequoias growing up with promise of the same gigantic proportions, that may be middle-aged trees of their kind in about a thousand years.

In the south grove, extending for three miles and a half, there are 1300 trees. One of them still standing and growing has the interior portion so burned out, that there is a[85] room large enough to contain sixteen men on horseback at the same time, and yet enough is left of the outer rim to support the colossal proportions above. In this grove traces of the great fire are most visible, and "Noah's Ark" and "Old Goliath," two of the giants, are prone upon the ground. A limb alone of the latter measures twelve feet in circumference, and, standing in the trunk, it is easy to believe you are on the deck of some large ship; meantime the base is used as a stable for horses.

The Mariposa grove is about two miles square, and is divided into an upper and lower grove. "The Grizzly Giant" is its great sequoia, but its upper part is much battered and torn away. Some who have seen these groves concur in a feeling of disappointment about the size of the trees, which is attributable to the two causes of their close proximity, and isolation from other trees, there being no others to compare their height with, and so few of the trees continue complete to the top, nearly all being broken off or withered. But others are very beautiful, and one who has seen them writes:—

"It is impossible for pen to convey or tongue to tell the feeling of shadowy mystery that invites the gazer into the solemn and mighty forests to enter and explore. Little by little the light before begins to pale and dim, and the trunks to grow grander in proportion, the height vaster, until at last one stands in reverence before the silent and ancient monarchs themselves. It is twilight. No breeze whispers through the branches of these forest gods, that climb seemingly to the zenith in their search for space and light. All the eloquence that has stirred and electrified the civilized world, fails utterly to hold spell-bound and attentive the man, as does the mute appeal of these monsters to the truth, 'I am the Lord thy God.' Yosemite is grand, terrific, beautiful, but is stone. These—the trees—'live.' Their tops, as the ocean breeze wafts through them, sigh a mournful requiem of the Ages they have witnessed, of the suffering, the toil and the little recompense of man. What stories could they tell of nations, peoples, cities, born and decayed on this our continent before Columbus came from the rising sun to people with a new race a long-lost world! Do they hold the future of our nation, the destiny of our children, in the grasp of their knowledge, and look mute and pityingly down upon a[86] pride, a glory, that, like all other prides and glories, pomps and circumstances, whether of nations or men, shall surely fade?"

To return to that hot afternoon during which we went coaching on, leaving the mountains behind us, and coming to a dead level country, which was interesting from its being the scene of some of the earliest of the Californian gold diggings. The ground was of a brilliant reddish colour, and in some parts gulched and undermined in all directions. These diggings are deserted now, but traces of the gold fever are left in the numerous and scattered population,—men who came out expecting sudden riches, remaining in the bitterness of disappointment to work for daily bread. We had dinner about five o'clock at Priest's, and then a long moonlight drive afterwards of twenty miles. We descended into a valley to cross the Tuolumne river, coach and horses being driven on to the ferry-boat, which was worked by a man by means of a rope suspended in mid-air across the river. The heat in this valley was intense, nor was it much better when we got up on to the open plain, and galloped along with the shadow of the coach rolling round and round after us in the moonlight; nor yet when we arrived at Chinese Camp, our night's resting-place. We all spent a sleepless night in our small, barely-furnished rooms, with insect companionship, and were glad when the first streaks of daylight came, and we made another early start, in the grey dawn this time, for it was 4 a.m. We had twenty-eight miles to drive to catch the 10.50 train at Milton. It was pleasant after such a bad night to feel the cool breeze of the early morning, and to know the sun had risen behind the hill by the pinky tinge of the sky.

When we stopped for breakfast at Sonora, we found a Noah's Ark waiting to receive us, in place of our coach, which went no further. It was an ancient vehicle lined with greasy yellow leather, with neither door nor window, but curtains that rolled up and down and did duty instead. The way was through a baking piece of prairie, over a road "not" made with hands, and we suffered very bitterly. It was a crowning misery, for we felt that the expedition had been somewhat of a failure. Vainly we strained our eyes across the dreary waste for miles around, in search of what it seemed hopeless to find—a railway station. We did not breathe, we panted breathlessly;[87] we did not sit, we rolled helplessly, and C. quite felt, whilst I almost did, that no Yosemite could be worth such terrible misery. We were near to Milton before we saw it, and found the station, and the train waiting. We were positively ashamed of the dust that we brought into the railway carriage to the other passengers, and certainly were not less so when we arrived at Stockton, and drove to the hotel for luncheon; and a great deal more so when we came to Oakland Ferry, and crossed in the ferry-boat, driving to the "Palace" once more.

We spent that evening in trying to remove some of the traces of our expedition. The rooms seemed almost oppressively luxurious to us, the fare sumptuous after our late experiences, and bed very like an earthly paradise.

Saturday, August 29th.—It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I wanted to carry away with me a happier impression of San Francisco, and so determined to go up Telegraph Hill for a bird's-eye view. The cable-car accomplishes the almost perpendicular ascent in three minutes, and it is so steep that you slip down on to your next-door neighbour unless you hold on. I had a beautiful view of the town on either side; the broad, muddy-coloured bay beneath, with the islands of Alcatraz and Angel; and, beyond all, the Golden Gate, through which we should be passing that afternoon.

I returned to the worry and fuss that seems an inevitable accompaniment to the "going on board." I suppose it is partly that there is no fixed time, and that you may go at any time in the morning, that there are deck chairs to be thought of, and the luggage for the hold, and the luggage that is "wanted in state-room" to be set specially apart. We had a further cause for anxiety in some washing which a Chinaman (an unauthorized washerman, it appeared) had walked off with, and which on inquiry was not forthcoming. The bell-man had told us he would send the washerman, and we naturally confided it to the first Chinaman who appeared and asked for it. I gave it up for lost but the policeman stationed in the courtyard of the Palace, ready to show strangers through the Chinese quarters, spent the morning there searching for it, and brought it forth at the last minute. I was sorry to be going away from San Francisco without seeing one of the most interesting features of the city, the Chinese quarter. In the length of three[88] streets live all the Chinese who swarm about the city. They inhabit cells burrowed underneath the streets, below the level of the drainage, sleeping in bunks placed one above the other. The sights and smells are sickening, but the chief interest of Chinese Town lies in its theatres, temples, gambling houses, restaurants, and opium dens. Wherever the Chinese goes, with his toiling and long-suffering patience, there is the price of labour immediately cheapened; and so strong is the feeling among the lower classes against them that the State of California has been obliged to pass a law forbidding the immigration of any Chinese labourer. Any Chinaman on landing now has to go before a magistrate and prove that he is a merchant, or in possession of property, and that he has come solely for the purposes of trading.

We drove down to the Docks at one o'clock, and went on board the Australia at once.

It was the closing of the first era in our travels, to have thus journeyed over the first of our great continents, to have seen the first of our new worlds, and to have gained the knowledge of a new people with their manners and customs. Though a little marred by the shortness of time, we look back with very great pleasure to our seven weeks spent in America and Canada.

We said our farewell to America as we sailed out of the Golden Gate, regret tempered in leaving her shores by the excitement of going forth on the ocean, in search of other lands and other peoples.


At 1.30 p.m. the Australia was crowded with a motley throng of passengers and weeping friends, who were rushing up and down in search of the cabins they were to occupy, claiming the same by the depositing of bags and parcels. There was the luggage coming on board, the chief steward receiving contributions of fresh provisions, a last supply of water being given, apparently to the hold of the ship, by means of a long hose on the wharf, and finally at the eleventh hour arrived the mails.


The warning bell rang; the decks were at last cleared; "All ashore!" rang out. A few parting words from those leaning over the bulwarks to those on the wharf, a rush of the excited crowd to the end of the pier, and we were left in little groups standing on the hurricane-deck, looking suspiciously at each other, in our floating home for the next few weeks.

The Australia looked a noble ship as she steamed through the bay, coasting slowly round the promontory on which San Francisco lies. The captain, the officer of the watch, and the pilot were standing on the bridge, the sun shining on the white sails, the various flags of departure, of the company, and the Union Jack floating from her masts. We sailed between the Angel Island and that of Alcatraz, saw the cliff house, with the waves dashing over the Seal Rocks, looking very desolate and dreary, surrounded by its burnt, dried-up downs. We passed out through the "Golden Gates" into the deep blue ocean. Alas! alas! for those "white horses" and for indifferent sailors. The ship began to roll more and more; she pitched and tossed helplessly in a short, choppy sea, and those already faint-hearted and unhappy at parting with friends on shore lost no time in giving themselves up to mal de mer and—misery.

Needless to say that C. was among the first to succumb.

The table at dinner presented but a dreary series of vacant spaces. An old lady, a great-grandmother to three generations on board, was the only one besides myself to put in an appearance. I confess that I could only just manage to sit through that interminable dinner, and then I too gave in, and crept into my berth very cold and miserable.

At the first start I think everything on board a ship seems depressing. You look suspiciously into dingy corners of the cabins, on to the shabby strip of carpet. The space seems impossibly small for any degree of comfort; the blue moreen curtains, with their yellow cords, jar upon the senses; the water you wash in smells of bilge oil; the towels are marked with plentiful iron-moulds; the washstand is discoloured with much use; the pillows are more like bolsters; and the last straw seems to be the printed regulations, hung up in each cabin of the ship rules, which appear superlatively irksome.

I feel sure nearly all on board would have echoed these sentiments on that gloomy Sunday succeeding our start,[90] when the tolling of the bell at 11 a.m. vainly called us to prayer. The next day brought a slight improvement to some, but the leaden sky and cold wind kept all below in the saloon. The third day there was encouragement for all. The sun rose warm and bright, and brought the poor sick creatures, creeping out on to the decks to sun themselves, looking pale and languid. After this we settled down into the routine of daily life on board ship, a more regular one than one could ever hope to pursue on shore.

It was really pleasant day after day sitting on the hurricane-deck, under the thick double awnings, a hot sun with a cool breeze blowing, dreaming and idling away many a long hour. It was pure enjoyment to look at a sky of opaque blue, and at water varying from the purest ultramarine to the fullest and deepest of indigo dyes. We talk and think of the "Mediterranean blue" as the typical perfection of colour for sky and sea, but it paled into insignificance by comparison with this perfectly heavenly Pacific colour.

We never tired of looking "forward" at the path of foam which we cut cleanly asunder in those dark-blue depths, throwing it up to either side of us, or of the green feathery bubbles left aft by the revolutions of the screw. I have seen in the afternoon the most lovely little rainbows, just reflected for one minute on the foam of the crest of the wave as it rose up to break away. Then in the evening, after we had entered the tropical latitudes, there was always the phosphorescence on the water, looking like a multitude of glow-worms, appearing and disappearing, and twinkling under the darkness of the ocean. For the first few days out we were followed by flights of gulls and albatross, wheeling and circling around us with their powerful wings, which outstretched measure some four feet across from tip to tip. But after we had come beyond even their range, we were left with nothing to look upon but that wonderful circular line, almost imperceptible, where sea touches sky,—left alone on that vast expanse of water those ten thousand miles of ocean which were to the right hand and to the left of us, which lay down below us in a straight line down, down to the depth of three miles. Then we were made to realize the extraordinary lonely, yet exalted, feeling that comes over you as you raise your eyes to the only boundary, the only limit to the sea—the horizon. Lonely, I say, you must feel because you are the one living thing "that moves upon[91] the face of the Waters," and exalted because you know you are feeling to your inmost soul God's most wonderful creation.

We were a little family collected together from all parts of the earth, thrown together very closely for the time, very soon to be separated and to go each our own way; all travelling on different errands, for different reasons—some for business, some for pleasure, some in search of health, some even in search of love, like the three young ladies we were bringing over to Sydney to be married! We had the American Consul at Auckland, Mr. Griffin, on board, step-uncle to Miss Mary Anderson, and who gave us a most interesting account of his adventures at Tutuila, one of the group of Navigator Islands, when he was left there virtually a prisoner for ten months, unable during that time to communicate with his government. We met at meals, and then dispersed about, so much so that going up on the decks, and finding them nearly deserted, you wondered where everybody did go to. In the afternoon, and immediately after luncheon, there was the sort of quiet and lazy cessation from work that sometimes comes unconsciously even on shore, when I believe many took a nap, and then by four there would come a gradual awakening and stirring up, with a sharp turn and brisk walk before the dressing-bell at 5.30, and once more the re-assembling for dinner.

We had a particularly nice set of officers; and Captain Guest was most agreeable and well-informed, very solicitous for the comfort and amusement of his passengers. We sat one on each side of him, with Mr. Davidson on my other side, and there was always a good deal of information flying across me between them. We also all had the advantage of being waited on partly by "Tonga," his Chinese servant, dressed in national costume.

All the sailors were Chinese, with English quarter-masters. They make most efficient, hard-working tars, and are allowed to wear their native dress, rolling up their pigtails under their skull-caps when at work.

September 4th.—It was beginning to get rather warm, as we had entered the Tropic of Cancer.

The captain's patent windsail in the saloon was brought into use with great success, except on one very hot night, when its canvas sails hung limp and flabby, and there was absolutely not one breath of wind to swell it to its usually large dimensions.


We were now within the influence of the trade winds, those hot damp winds that flow on either side of the Equator within a radius of three days' steaming. Whilst they lasted we were never dry; we lived in a perpetual Turkish bath, everything we touched was damp and sticky, the awning dripped in the early morning or after sundown as if there was a heavy dew; scissors, razors, knitting-needles, even the very pins in the pin-cushion became rusted.

Saturday, September 5th.—A blurred outline against the sky seen since early morning, growing into the arid island of Molokai, the place of banishment of six hundred lepers, exiled there to live and die by inches, was the first island of the Sandwich group which we saw. There are eleven in all, only six of which are habitable; these are Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lauai, Mani, and Hawaii, which contains the volcano of Kilauea. By the afternoon we were passing under the lee of the island of Oahu, on which lies the capital of the group, Honolulu. Oahu has a magnificent outline of jagged peaks, seared and scored by volcanic action; whose precipices dark and gloomy run sheer down into the sea, and form at their base a rocky breakwater against which the sea vainly lashes itself into fury, rising into the air in a cloud of foam. The promontory called Diamond Head stands boldly out into the sea, and rising from the centre of the island is the sharp mountain peak of Pali.

The mouths of extinct craters can be easily traced by the utter barrenness around, and in sharp contrasts to the lava and scoria are the rich valleys running up into the interior of the island, where all grows in tropical luxuriance. There were patches of deep brown on the mountain sides, alternating with others of yellow-green grass; tall straggling cocoa-nut palms waving their feathery arms along the shore, where the intensely blue line of the sea touches the fringe of yellow sand. In a quiet little cove we distinguished a tall manufacturing chimney standing in the midst of its sugar-cane plantation, and further on we passed Waikiki, the favourite watering-place of the Hawaiians, with its vast cocoa-nut grove growing to the water's edge. Amongst them we could see a few flat roofs, with the grey palace of the king standing out prominently. We are going now round the frowning brow of Cape Diamond, and Honolulu comes in sight. It lies on a very dead level, and is a long-drawn-out collection of flat-roofed houses, famous for its many spires.


Mr. McIntyre, the pilot, who for forty years has been bringing ships along the buoyed course and over the dangers of the coral reef which surrounds the bay in which Honolulu lies, boarded us from the flat-bottomed boat, as did all its stalwart native rowers. Inside the reef we saw an iron tripod that supported a small conical-shaped box; from this issued forth a troop of little nut-brown native boys, who with wild whoops plunged into the water and swam towards us, and twisting about like eels, dived after the dimes we dropped over and brought them up successfully. Water seems the natural element of the Hawaiians, and all bathe once if not twice a day, fearless of the sharks who sometimes penetrate within the reef.

How beautiful are these island coral reefs, bringing forth as they do and blending within their shallow depths every unsurpassed and heavenly shade of colour that the ever-varying ocean shows! From the dull purple line near the shore, and within the bay they pass into a delicate opaque sea-green, near the coral reef where the line is abruptly broken by curling circlets of foam, fading away in an indistinct line of sky blue shaded in the distance to cerulean, and then ultramarine, and dying on the horizon to the most exquisite sapphire.

Mr. McIntyre having brought us safely into dock, we took a "buggy" to drive about for the two hours the Australia stayed in port.

Honolulu is a town containing 15,000 inhabitants. With the native population there is an admixture of Germans and Chinese. The American element, too, is very strong, and American manners and customs have strongly influenced the Hawaiians. The roads are of the best macadam, the town is lighted with gas, there is a public telephone office which shows how general is the use of that instrument; and fire-plugs testify to their precautions against fire.

The Parliament House is of stone with handsome colonnades. Before it stands the gold figure of King Kamehameha I., first king of the Sandwich Islands, wrapped in the famous "00" mantle. This mantle descended from generation to generation; it was made from the feathers of a rare black bird, of the tribe of honey-suckers. Under each wing only two or three feathers of the required shade were found, so that it took scores of years to collect the necessary quantity, as the mantle measured some four feet long and eleven feet wide at the bottom widths when spread out.


The palace, surrounded by high walls, stands in beautiful gardens, as does also the Palace of Queen Emma. There is a college, and a native cathedral, built twenty-five years only after the introduction of Christianity; the English church, as yet only four bare walls, the Queen Emma Hospital, the prison, the theatre, and a comfortable hotel. But the gardens, how beautiful they seemed to us—a fairy vision almost—as our first sight of tropical vegetation—I longed to know the name of each and every strange bright blossom I saw.

There was the straight broad leaf of the palm, the jagged one of the banana, the cocoa-nut palm with its straggling arms and brown nuts, the feathery algeroba, and glossy-leaved mango and monkey pod, the dark-green koa, and very many others I had never heard of. And these formed the dark-green background for scarlet bunches of ohias, and the vivid crimson blossom of the hibiscus, for magnolias, and orange trees, and gardenias, heliotrope, roses, and honeysuckle, for thickets of mimosa, trailing passion-flowers and tropical parasites of all kinds.

Women in their native garment, the long, loose flowing skirt, gathered into a yoke at the shoulders, but unconfined at the waist, bestriding their horses, floated by, bright with many hues and garlanded with flowers. Sailor hats were perched on the erection of jet black hair, shining from the plentiful use of cocoa-nut oil, and their stockingless feet were encased in elaborately embroidered slippers. It is considered a beauty for the women to be inordinately fat, and their figures are shown off to advantage by the loose garment which they wear, and the bright masses of blue, orange, purple, and green, which are the colours they particularly affect. The men vie in brightness of colouring by their neckcloths, and by the garlands of flowers strung together, twisted round their hats, or worn as a necklace. Some gave us the native salutation as we passed the soft "aloha," which, literally translated, means "My love to you." We found the post-office, where we went to mail some letters, crowded with an eager throng, waiting for the distribution of the post which we had just brought with us in the Australia.

We glanced in at the market, and noticed the pretty custom that they have of wrapping up the provisions in fresh leaves to be carried away.

I was very anxious to taste the native dish of poi, and[95] our driver said he would take us to a place where we could get some. He stopped at a backway leading into a narrow yard, opposite the Chinese quarter, and, leaving us, he returned in a few minutes asking us into his own house. There we found spread out on a clean cloth on the floor, a large bowl, full of a thick pink paste. His woman-folk stood round, and watched us delightedly as we plunged one finger into the bowl, and after a dexterous turn of the same, to disconnect the hanging fibres, conveyed it to our mouths. It seemed to me to have no particular taste. This poi is made from the root of the taro, which grows in large beds under water, and only requires boiling to be ready for eating. It is carried about the streets in calabashes, ready for sale, and is the great national dish, the chief support of the lower classes, who eat it with tiny raw fish, easily caught inside the reef.

Kava is another favourite native refreshment which it is customary to offer to all who cross the threshold, with, alas! but too often evil results, as it contains very intoxicating properties. It is made from the root of a shrub which grows to a height of from six to seven feet. After being cleaned it is well pounded, by the curious means of mastication, young girls with the whitest teeth being chosen to chew it to a fine pulp. It is thus prepared for eating, and tastes like a combination of weak tea with soap-suds.

Our two hours were over, and we returned to the wharf, where we found the native band playing, consisting of thirty men in white uniform, in honour of some musical guests who were coming away in the Australia. Many friends came down to see them off, and Herr Remini, the great Hungarian violinist, came on board, garlanded with wreaths of flowers. They played a sad plaintive native air, singing alternate verses, with "God save the Queen," as a compliment to the English, as we drew away from the wharf. The last notes died away as we crossed the reef and went out to the open sea.

Our last view of Honolulu was under the soft afternoon light, with the Punch Bowl towering above and enveloped in a thick cloud of mist, with a rainbow playing over the gentle darkness of the summit and spanning the intermediate valley.

After such an unusual excitement on board, it seemed a relief to have the ship to ourselves again, for the natives had[96] crowded in whilst we were in harbour, and to go down immediately to dinner as usual.

Sunday, September 6th.—There was a parade of all the officers and crew on deck at 10 a.m., the sailors in their clean white suits, and the officers in blue frock coats; after which we had morning service, the captain reading the prayers, and the doctor the lessons.

We were able to see the Southern Cross for the first time, with the tail of the Great Bear above the horizon. The stars have been very beautiful on some of these still clear nights, but we have lost the moon that we had at first.

Thursday, September 12th.—A man in the steerage died yesterday afternoon of acute rheumatism, aggravated by the damp of the trade winds during the last few days. He suffered terribly.

I awoke with the tolling of the bell at seven this morning. The body, sewn up in canvas, and covered with a Union Jack, lay on the deck, and in the grey of the early dawn a reverend little crowd was collected round it; the captain, in the centre, reading the service, and the officers and a few of the passengers standing round. At the words, "We therefore commit his body to the deep," the sailors, in their white Sunday suits, lifted the heavily-weighted plank on which the body lay, and it slid over the side of the ship, falling with a dull thud and splash into the waters.

Friday, September 13th.—All this time we have been in the Tropic of Cancer, and now that we are going through that much-dreaded three or four days of crossing the Equator, we learn that it is not absolutely necessary to suffer so terribly from the heat. Our deck-cabins being on the port side, we have always had a pleasant breeze flowing in, night and day. Having accomplished that great feat of the traveller, "the crossing of the line," we can never again be troubled with any nonsense about "Neptune coming on board." We are now entering the Tropic of Capricorn.

There is a sound on board ship which it is always pleasant to hear,—the bell tolling the hour of the "watches." The day is divided into three watches of four hours each. The last watch of from 4 to 8 p.m. is divided into two, and is called the dog watch; it prevents the necessity of one officer always coming on duty at the same hour every day.

The ship was supposed not to be making satisfactory progress, only running from 280 to 300 miles a day, notwithstanding[97] a daily consumption of fifty tons of coal. The officers think her bottom must be foul.

Sunday, September 14th.—On the 15th day out we again sighted land in the Navigator or Samoan group, and we passed within a mile of one of the islands to receive and send off a mail.

This Island looked of unsurpassed beauty. It has an undulating sky-line with a shore deeply indented by many inland creeks. A curious needle projection of rocks finishes the land on one side. The brightest tropical vegetation covered the entire island, finding its foothold on the shelving rocks that dipped into the sea, marking a brilliant line of foam along the dark ridge. On a shining white beach in a small bay, a few extinguisher-topped huts form Tutuila, while a palm grove, and a white road running through it, can be seen behind.

The greatest excitement prevailed on board, as a large flat-bottomed boat, impelled by paddles, filled with natives, put off, and came alongside of us. What magnificent men these Samoans were, with skins not dusky but a light brown, the lower part of their bodies wonderfully tattooed in patterns of blue! The Samoans consider it a sign of manhood, and endure the agony of tatooing unflinchingly whilst still boys. Their hair was stiffened and wiry, dyed with a preparation of lime to a bright yellow ochre, that somehow seems quite in keeping with the fresh oily colour of their skins. Some wore the tail of a bird stuck through it.

Whilst the mails were being delivered over the side to the rowing boat that came off from a schooner flying the stars and stripes, they swarmed up the rope ladder, pushing each other off into the water, vociferating and gesticulating, wildly offering for sale shells, coloured bead-baskets, battle-axes, and spear-heads of their own manufacture. The transactions were made under difficult circumstances, they in their boat bobbing up and down, and we hanging over the side of the ship, or putting our heads out of the port-holes; but we found that they had a very full understanding of the "dollar," knew the value of their own articles, refused to take less, or to resign the object on board till the money had been handed over. We bought a very cunningly inlaid battle-axe for "hal-a-dollar."

A line of black shiny rocks at the furthermost point of[98] the island joins the great conical-shaped Bass Rock to the mainland, through which you get a peep of the blue ocean, fretted by rocks and narrow channels. One solitary palm-tree rears a graceful head on one of these rocks. The great "Bass" is simply covered with a mass of tropical vegetation, with a grove of palm-trees fringing the top. The parasites and creepers hang over a dark cave hollowed out under the cliff, through which the waves dash in and out with a rushing swirl. Some conical-shaped red rocks, standing out solitary in the ocean, reminded me of those in "Anstey's Cove," at Torquay. The water round about the shore takes a beautiful aquamarine, mingling imperceptibly with the darker blue of the sea, so that you cannot see where it begins or ends.

Coming round the Bass Rock, the view of the other side of the island opened out, and looking in the distance from the dotted clumps, like one vast banana plantation, tapering at the far end to a rocky cape. Through glasses I could see at regular intervals a column of spray shot up high into the air, through what may have been a "blow-hole," or an opening at the end of a cave, through which, when the water rushes in, it spouts with tremendous force; or it may have been only a mighty rock against which the powerful swell of the Pacific sent up a column of spray.

It is one of the charms of touching at these islands, they leave such an impression of dim wonderland, such a vision of tropical forests which we people in imagination with the descriptive pages in books of travel.

Beautiful Tutuila fading already on the horizon as I write. How we longed to linger on her shores for a time!

Monday, September 15th.—During the night we have been passing near the scattered group of the Society Islands. From the course mapped out on the chart in the companion-way you would think we threaded our way amongst them, but we did not sight land.

We have a sudden change in the temperature to-day; the thermometer has fallen from 85° to 74°, the warm breeze is replaced by a cold wind, and the blue sky by drifting clouds. The sullen rolling waves are again tipped with white horses. We have left behind us the balmy atmosphere, and the bright colour of sea and sky on leaving the tropics.

Before night we were having a good tossing, and we held a concert in the saloon, with the wind playing an accompaniment[99] in the rigging overhead. Ten pounds were collected for the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society of Australia.

Some athletic sports had been organized on board, some sack-racing and ring-tilting for the gentlemen, and quoits and an egg-race (running with an egg in a spoon) for the ladies. The captain promised a bouquet to the winner of the latter race, which turned out to be myself, and it was to be presented on this occasion. There had been great speculation on board about the production of flowers after being at sea ten days; the captain would only say it "was growing." The purser brought it in with some ceremony, a flat bouquet, of a beautiful pale green colour, with a delicate suspicion of pink stripes. There was a low murmur of admiration and surprise, and it turned out to be—only a cabbage! A young man of artistic tastes in the steerage had originated the idea, and coloured it slightly with cochineal.

Tuesday, September 16th.—A dull leaden sky, with a heavy swell, the remains of the gale of yesterday. There is nothing more solemn than to lie awake on a rough night like last night, feeling the reverberation of the heavy seas striking the ship broadside. Hearing the creaking and straining of every plank, feeling the bound the ship gives as she leaps into the trough of the sea, and is raised again on the breaker. It makes us think how slight is the framework sustaining some 250 people on an angry sea, how a leak the size of the little finger would be enough to sink every one of us on board. We have had another short run, and are doing no better with a head wind and sea to-day.

Wednesday, September 17th.—I saw the sun rise this morning, with the most delicate rose-colour tints, but this was not the most beautiful part of the sky; it was the lovely form of the clouds, billowy masses, delicately delineated with pink, shading into the palest salmon colour.

Thursday, September 18th, was not for us, as we were crossing the 180th meridian, that curious phenomenal feature which you meet with in going round the world. Difficult to understand, well-nigh impossible for the unscientific to put into words.

"This is Friday, September 19th," said a notice on the companion-way, on what should have been Thursday. We may be in to-morrow, or at latest the day after. We are nearing our journey's end, and already beginning to think[100] with dread of the packing and early starts, the constant "move on," from which we have had such a complete rest. What an interminable time those three weeks seemed when we left "'Frisco,"—how short they have really been!

I have been writing for many hours every day, putting into shape and form all the rough notes and journal of our travels across America, and I look round with regretful happiness at my little cabin, where I have spent so many happy hours, sitting before the table (improvised out of the washing-stand), lurching about on a camp-stool, trying to be steady enough to write. It is nearly over now, and we are very sorry.

A squall came up very suddenly in the afternoon, and we had a grand storm for an hour, which still further delayed our progress.

Saturday, September 20th.—Endless speculations were going on all day as to what time we should get into Auckland. We were still battling against a head wind, and the "nine o'clock at night" was changed to ten, and the ten to a dubious eleven. It seemed impossible to settle to anything, and we wandered aimlessly about, after packing all in readiness to land.

At about 4 p.m. land was sighted long before there was any tangible line on the horizon for the unpractised to see, which grew and grew till there "was" an outline visible. By dinner-time we were passing under the lee of a rocky coast, of what we supposed was part of the island of New Zealand, but which was really the Great outer Barrier, a succession of rocky islands which protect the coast and harbour.

In the dusk we saw the revolving spark of the lighthouse on Tiri-tiri Point, some twenty miles away from Auckland, and the blue light of the pilot's boat quivered on the water in the distance. Soon after we took him on board. The mails were piled up and crowded the decks ready for landing.

We became more and more miserable waiting about in uncertainty whether we were to land that night or not. The great advantage of these mail steamers is that you know you are going as fast as steam can carry you, with the bonus awaiting them of 10l. for every hour the mails arrive before contract time; but then, on the other hand, at whatever time of the day or night the ship arrives in port they only wait to unload cargo, and then steam off. The general opinion at[101] 11 p.m. seemed to be that we need not land, as they would unload all night and not leave till six the next morning. So we went to bed, but not to sleep. There was a pandemonium of stamping children overhead, a general meeting in the companion-way outside, a rocket fizzing up into the air, and the cannon being let off as we entered the harbour. Then as we drew alongside of the wharf there was the shouting of the flymen, mingling with the general din.

The purser came to tell us we must land. We dressed and put our things together in the dark, for the lamps had been put out, and then we stood on the deck and looked despairingly around.

We were landing in a strange country, in an unknown town, we knew not where to go at this midnight hour, when we heard a voice asking for us, and Captain Daveney, secretary of the Northern Club, appeared, having very kindly come down at that late hour on learning the steamer was signalled. The hotels in Auckland are impossibly bad, and at the instance of a friend in England he had secured good rooms for us.

What a warm welcome to New Zealand we had after all! The very cabmen seemed to be expecting us, and whilst one drove to the rooms to give warning of our arrival, two more conveyed our luggage and ourselves from the wharf, and the custom-house officials passed us without demur.

There was no time for any good-byes on the steamer, all was darkness and confusion there, and we were off in a few minutes from the shouting and struggling on the wharf. Very strange it seemed to be immediately afterwards driving swiftly through the quiet streets of Auckland by moonlight, at one o'clock in the morning.

Captain Daveney and I had driven on, leaving C. to follow, and after we had obtained entrance, at the cost of a broken bell, to one of the low white houses, I was left to myself in the midst of a midnight stillness. It gave me quite an "eerie" feeling to see on the tables around in this far-off land of the Maoris the catalogue of this year's Academy, a photo of Mary Anderson, and the last new valse. I took up Black's Handbook to Killarney, and began reading without understanding about the beauties of Bantry and Glengariff, till the sound of approaching wheels told me of C.'s arrival. I went out on the steps to meet him, and with[102] the help of the flyman he brought in the luggage. As we bolted the door the Australia gave us a parting screech, letting off steam in the wharf far below us.


Sunday, September 21st. Auckland.—-The day following our landing was a clear, spring morning, for summer is coming to these parts of the world, and we were completely charmed by the view of Auckland from the top of Princes Street, where we were staying. The harbour still and blue lay before us, looking like an inland lake from the law, flat hills that run out into the sea and nearly surround it. It is dotted with islands, the chief of which is Kawau, Sir George Grey's island home, and Rangitoto, with its three volcanic cone-like peaks. From the hill on which we were standing there was one mass of foliage stretching down to the edge of the harbour, and the houses seemed to have been put down promiscuously in the midst, forming white dots from among the surrounding green. The town and wharves lay hidden under the long, sloping hill, on the shoulder of which stands the fine stone building of the Northern Club, with its broad terraces, commanding the view seawards. A little higher up, nearly at the top of Princes Street, is Government House, only tenanted for a few weeks in summer since the removal of the capital.

The houses at Auckland are so pretty—all built of wood, all low, and two storeyed, with double verandahs on each floor and not straight verandahs, upheld at regular intervals by white posts, but gracefully arched, and carved with fretwork. The wooden fences to the gardens and the houses are painted a dead white, which stands out in dazzling brightness from the dark foliage.

There seems to be some curious anomaly, some contending element in the vegetation of New Zealand. We saw semi-hardy and semi-tropical plants growing side by side, a Scotch fir by a palm, an india-rubber-tree by a laurel; but the tropical in the end predominates. There were geraniums[103] in the hedges, camellias and azaleas blooming in the open air, orange and lemon trees, and clumps of arum or Egyptian lilies growing wild in cool and shady places. The principal trees are the eucalypti and the Norfolk Island pine, which grows nowhere better than at Auckland. It branches straightly out, with a succession of hard, prickly fingers inclining upward towards the ends, and is of a rich dark green.

The editor of the New Zealand Herald, a very ably conducted paper, found us out on our return from church, and interviewed C. In the afternoon we drove out to Remuera, one of the pretty suburbs of which Auckland has so many. Passing through the Khyber Pass, a road dug out in the rock, we came through Newmarket, its bit of untidy common giving one a sarcastic reminder of the Newmarket of the world, on to the Remuera road. From here we could see the surrounding country, flat and cultivated, with a few low hills looking peculiarly English, the race-course of Ellerslie, where spring and autumn race meetings are held, and the harbour, for wherever you go in Auckland you always have a view of that. We had a warm welcome at the pretty cottage of an uncle of my husband's, Mr. William Young, a fine old gentleman, who has been more than forty years in the colony. He had not known of our arrival, and was quite overcome with joy at seeing us for the first time.

Whilst I was sitting writing in the evening, I suddenly heard all the watch-bells of the city ringing a fire alarm, and going out on to the upper verandah, saw the lurid flames of a fire down in the town. By the vivid illumination I could distinguish the upturned faces of the crowd, and for ten minutes it burnt fiercely, reducing the little wooden house, which was fortunately detached, to a few charred beams. Fires are of frequent occurrence, and are terribly serious among this town of wooden tenements. They have alarm bells erected in wooden penthouses in the most crowded parts of the town, and the fire brigade is kept in a full state of efficiency.

Monday, September 22nd.—We drove ten miles out to Sylvia Park, a great stud farm belonging to the New Zealand Stock and Pedigree Company, and managed by Major Walmsley. The road lay through a very wild, desolate country, roughly enclosed by stone walls loosely put together[104] from the mass of scoria and volcanic rocks, which literally strewed the ground for miles. It is supposed to be the débris thrown up from the craters of the volcanoes, and the short, sweet grass, so peculiarly fitted for the feeding of sheep, crops up between. These extinct volcanoes, with their round, flat tops, of which there are no less than thirty-nine in the immediate vicinity of Auckland, form a distinctive feature of the country.

When we arrived at our destination we found a square wooden house, surrounded by spacious paddocks with splendid pasture. I was strongly reminded of the Downs, looking round at the many miles of rolling green hills, and by the utter stillness and loneliness.

There are in all some 150 horses, not including the constant additions to the stock like the half-a-dozen foals we saw, just a fortnight old, turned out into a paddock with their mothers. The horses are chiefly thoroughbred, and they have some blood relations to celebrated winners of the turf. At their annual sale last year at Melbourne they realized an average price of 300l. We saw their celebrated mare Sylvia, twenty-one years old, from whom the farm is named, and whose offspring are numerous and well known in racing annals; as are those also of Martini-Henry, the winner of both the Derby and Melbourne Cup, who here saw the light. Major Walmsley mentioned to us one amusing peculiarity. It has always been noticed that, on the introduction of new blood from England, the colonials separate themselves from the new-comers, and keep to the other side of the paddock.

Rain came on, and we said good-bye to our kind host, and drove home through a heavy downpour.

Tuesday, September 23rd.—We are charmed by the kindness of all at Auckland, their open hospitality and cordial welcome. We are overwhelmed with invitations, and are only sorry that the shortness of our stay obliges us to refuse many. Consul Griffin (who had been on board the Australia with us) brought me in last night three lovely bunches of flowers; one was made entirely of native flowers, and all were sent with pressing invitations to come and see the place where they grew. Messengers with invitations are arriving all day, walking in at the open door, for all the doors in New Zealand stand wide open, and you never think of knocking. To-day we have had luncheon[105] at the Hon. James Williamson's, at "The Pah," the Maori name for house. The garden is considered one of the best about Auckland, and is very beautiful with its large camellia-trees, double, single, striped and plain, white or red, azaleas of all colours, double geraniums, roses, violets, heliotrope, fuchsias, and daphne, large aloes, and cacti, maidenhair fern, and heath, growing wild in brilliant purple-pink clumps. There is an orange and lemon grove, guava-trees, and the silver fir, a native of New Zealand. This very pretty tree has a long, pointed, silver leaf, with a bright, velvety cone, and produces from a distance the effect of a tree of shimmering silver. The orchard was in full blossom, as with us in May; it is so difficult to realize that this September, our autumn month, is the beginning of their spring.

In New Zealand, with their temperate climate, they have flowers all the year round. During the winter there is little or no snow, but much rain; and though there are never any great extremes of either heat or cold, some find the damp heat of the summer very enervating.

We afterwards went to tea at Mr. Firth's, the "Castle." The garden there is terraced into the side of the hill, which must have been one of the extinct volcanoes, as the soil is entirely scoria. We saw a picture of the present Maori king, Tawhiao, now in England, and another, a very remarkable portrait of the great King-maker, who, twenty-five years ago, gave over to Mr. Firth 60,000 acres of land, in fee simple, whereof to form a beautiful estate.

Wednesday, September 24th.—We spent the morning in the town. Queen Street, with a few arterial streets, forms the town, and contains all the shops, the theatre, and the six thriving banks. It looked busy and prosperous, with the streets full of men on rough ponies, going at a hand gallop; for in New Zealand they seem to have no medium between galloping and walking, and they generally choose the latter. There are a few tramway lines, but they have not yet superseded the lumbering yellow omnibus, lined with red moreen, that ply between the suburbs and the town.

Auckland is the northern capital of New Zealand, as Dunedin is of the south. It received a severe check when the seat of government was removed to Wellington, but it is recovering from this, and spreading rapidly into its[106] several suburbs of Parnell, Remuera, Newton, Newmarket, and Khyber Pass.

It is roughly estimated that each emigrant ship, arriving every fortnight, brings to Auckland 300 emigrants, who create a demand for sixty new houses. Another proof of the rising prosperity may be given from the Savings' Bank deposits, which average 1000l. a week.

The necessaries of life are extraordinarily cheap; for instance, meat is from threepence to fourpence per pound; all woollen goods and ordinary wearing apparel are the same; but anything not strictly within this province is proportionately dear.

There are the most delicious oysters at Auckland, as small and delicately flavoured as "natives," and they are to be had for the trouble of picking them off the rocks in the harbour.

A "baby show" had been largely advertised to take place in the afternoon in the theatre, and we determined to go to it. There were prizes given for the handsomest baby, the best all-round baby, for the finest twins, and the lightest and heaviest baby, for curliest-haired, and prettiest dark-eyed, and lastly, for the plainest, and reddest-haired baby.

Afterwards we drove to the bottom of Mount Eden, and walked up the grass drive to the top, looking down into the huge crater, which is now a green and sheltered hollow, where cattle feed. We had a very sweeping view, though a little hazy, over the two harbours—ours of the east coast, and Manakau on the west. There was water wherever we looked, with long, streaky lines showing the "barriers," or swampy bits of plain or sandbanks. At our feet, on one side, was Auckland, stretched out in dotted white lines; on the other, there were houses and gardens, nestling under the shelter of Mount Eden, forming the far-extending district known by that name, with rich flats of cultivated fields, interrupted only by the mounds of the volcanoes.

In returning we walked through the "Domain," a pretty wood of native trees, with bridle paths, and then went home to prepare for our rough expedition to the Hot Lake district, to begin on the morrow.

We have been very much struck how all out here cling to England, looking upon and calling her "home," always[107] hoping to return some day to the old country, if only for a short visit. It is quite the usual question to ask, "And how long is it since you were in England?" and the answer often is, "Twenty years ago, but we hope to go there again soon." All have near relations there, and it is considered a great thing to be able to send the children home to be educated.

We find everywhere the same keen longing and anxiety that England should know and realize how prosperous, how civilized, how replete in comfort and luxury, her colonies are. They complain that justice is not done them, and express a wish that some of the prominent men in the old country would come out and visit them, and see it for themselves. One lady said to me, "I believe they think at home that we are living in the midst of cannibals, and certainly in a state of rude civilization and semi-barbarism." Another said, when we were expressing our appreciation of all the kindness we were receiving, "We are very homely folks out here; but only too glad to give any one from the old country a hearty welcome."

Even those who are rich keep up quite simple establishments, servants being a very difficult luxury, hard to obtain, still harder to keep beyond a few months, and commanding exorbitant wages. As a natural consequence of this, all the daughters are brought up to do the lighter parts of the house work. I think colonial mothers are the best in the world. The only nurses to be had are rough colonial girls, and so mothers are accustomed to have their children always with them from infancy. These two circumstances combine to make the girls, what they generally are, frank and open in their manners, very independent in character, and old for their age.

The telephone is in general and more frequent use here than in England. The postal rate of 2d. is uniform throughout the colonies, but the most perfect system is that in the telegraphic department of "delayed telegrams." This is an arrangement whereby by paying only 6d. you can have a telegram sent in the course of the day and delivered from the receiving office by post, the ordinary telegram having the preference.[1]

We were so sorry to be leaving Auckland without seeing [108]a Kauri pine forest. These Kauri pines are only found north of Auckland, and the nearest forest is some fifteen miles away. They grow to a great height, and are chiefly valuable for the purity of the gum, which exudes in great quantities from the bark, and is highly prized for mixing with varnish and for tanning purposes. It formed at one time the most valuable of New Zealand exports. Large lumps of this exquisite clear golden substance are dug up from the ground, under the pines, containing a clear cloud-like substance, that fades after exposure to the air. We brought away with us several pieces, some in the rough and others polished.

Friday, September 25th.—We were down at the station by 8 a.m., and joined there by Mr. Davidson, our fellow-passenger on board the Australia; Mr. Robert Graham also came with us, the proprietor of Wairakei, and of Waiwera, the pretty little watering-place, with hot springs, twenty miles away from Auckland, which we had not found time to visit.

There was quite a feeling of adventure in starting out on this expedition to the Hot Lakes. Scarcely any one from Auckland has been; on the principle, I suppose, that those nearest the place of interest never do go, though people may think it worth while coming all the way out from England to see it. Many tried to dissuade us, by alarming accounts of the roads after the winter rains, and the roughness and fatigue of coaching from early morning till late at night; and at one time I had wavered.

We were experiencing one of the New Zealand railways for the first time, and could not say much for the smoothness of the locomotion. The train moves on with a terrific jerk after each stoppage; till, at last, you come to look for it. This carriage was very long, with a passage down the centre, and differed from the American cars only in having seats lengthways, instead of crosswise, thus producing the effect of the inside of an omnibus. Afterwards we found that many of them were like the American cars. The trains are very, very slow, only going from fifteen to twenty miles an hour; the gauge is narrow, and the line single.

After passing through the suburbs we emerged out into an open country, bounded on either side by low hills, and almost entirely covered by manuka, or ti-tree scrub, producing the dark rich brown colour of a moor. One-third of the north island is covered with this manuka; it[109] flourishes on all the uncultivated sandy soil, and is the most monotonous of shrubs to look at, with its spiky black twigs, and sparse feathery green. It is only pretty when in bloom, and covered with myriads of white starry flowers; but we were too early to see this. I grew very weary of the miles and miles we passed through of it during the next few days. Here and there, in sheltered hollows, were bits of native bush, with the characteristic grey stem shooting branchless to a great height, and ending in a clump of green at the top. Many of them had bunches of gigi, which looked like mistletoe, growing on the stems. Underneath these there would be a thick undergrowth of cabbage-palms and tree-ferns.

At the small station where we stopped to have luncheon we were offered whitebait! but it turned out to be only some minnows, caught in the neighbouring stream, and served in a very pulpy condition.

We were soon following a range of hills, worthy to be dignified with the name of mountains, and the broad river of the Waikato was flowing to our right. The Waikato became quite an old friend at last. We followed it in so many of its windings, leaving it to find it again, after a few days, grown and increased in volume, and flowing ever more swiftly towards the sea. We passed some marshy belts of land, opening out into broad pools, bordered by bulrushes, with plenty of wild ducks and prairie-hens skimming about on them. Then Rangiriri came in sight, with its green knoll and flagstaff marking the spot where the natives, in 1864, held at bay and shelled the English troops, under Colonel Campbell, in the swamp below. For many years the Maoris defied the British from their strongholds in the bush, the war on the English side being, it is said, much mismanaged. The struggle raged most fiercely at Taranaki, breaking out again there after the other parts of the island were subdued. At the end of the war, government took possession of all the land, and the Maoris retreated into the district known as the King Country. They have now collected enough money, and sent their King, Tawhiao, to England, with the hopeless task of submitting their grievance to the Colonial Office. His mission will, of course, be useless, and he will return as empty-handed as he went.

We arrived at Hamilton at 3 p.m. By courtesy it is[110] called a town, but it consists of one short street, with the hotel facing the bank, above which is the office of the local paper. The ancient yellow coach in which it was proposed we should drive the twelve miles to Cambridge was overcrowded, so we took a waggonette, and were driven by Mr. Johnstone, the coach proprietor on this road, who handled his quadruple ribbons in the most masterly manner.

Maori Chieftain

Maori Chieftain.

I can see now the road winding through that little pass, the hills on either side covered with gorse and bracken; the running mountain stream by the side of the road, crossed by a wooden hedge, and bordered by whispering willows. Through a gap in the distant mountains came a rush of yellow light, leaving them themselves in gloom.

We emerged into the great flat plains which are considered so good for agricultural purposes. All the land is let out to leaseholders in small lots of from 100 to 150 acres; though, if the matter came to be examined into, it is thought that nearly the whole of this and many other tracts of land would be found to belong to the Bank of New Zealand, being heavily mortgaged to it at the[111] rate of eight per cent. This is the usual rate of interest here. Fir-trees were planted along the sides of the fields as a shelter for the cattle against the wind. A farmer requires about 5000l. capital to make a successful start, and must be prepared to unlearn all English ideas of farming, and learn those adapted to the soil and climate, unless he wants "to run a mucker," as the phrase goes.

Two hours brought us to Cambridge, where we found a clean little inn. The town was full of Maoris, gathered from far and near, to attend one of the Land Courts, which are held from time to time to arrange differences about landmarks, and to effect the sale of lands. The natives were lying about the street, wrapped in their striped blankets, or in plaids and tartans of bright colours, which covered them from head to foot. The women are generally seen in a crouching attitude, squatting on their heels, and their lips and chins are tattooed in patterns; some of the men are likewise decorated in rings all over the face, and wear a long piece of greenstone depending from the ear by a string of black ribbon.

We had a strange example of "how small the world is" this evening; when a schoolfellow of C.'s, not seen since the old days at Westminster, turned up at Cambridge. He emigrated at the time of the gold fever in the Thames river (not far from here), and has been for six years a member of the Legislative Assembly,—is now a leading lawyer, a lumber merchant, and the proprietor and editor of two newspapers.

Saturday, September 27th.—We left Cambridge at seven this morning in a downpour of rain, that seemed to prophesy a hopelessly wet day. There was a preliminary difficulty about starting. The light buggy with four horses, and a narrow seat back and front, proved too small to hold ourselves and the very small quantity of luggage we had brought. We looked blankly at the small space, to see if we could contrive to pack in, and after some demur on the part of the driver, he promised to try and horse another buggy for us. He had come over the road on the previous day, and reported it to be in a terrible state, but how terrible it was we had no idea till later in the day, or I doubt whether we should have persevered.

Some miles of flat road, passing a pretty house belonging to Sir James Fergusson, now governor of Bombay and[112] formerly of New Zealand, and we turned off the main road, into that leading to Ohinemutu. The difference in the road was perceptible at once; the one belonged to the township, and the other was under government management. It was of dark sticky clay, not only full of ruts but of holes, and we soon began what was to be our ordinary mode of proceeding, viz. "floundering."

The surrounding country was tame, with low hills and open spaces, alternating with patches of dense manuka scrub, showing the natural state of the land before clearing. Then we began to wind through passes with wild Highland scenery. The colouring was a beautiful grey-green or grey-brown, catching its tone from the decaying bracken; and this is such feathery bracken and so peculiarly crisp and hard to the touch. The Waikato could be heard rushing and gurgling over rocky impediments in its course, but so deep down in the ravine, and between such high banks, that we only got occasional glances of its swiftly running waters.

The most striking feature of the country here are the distinctly formed terraces, running in tiers down to the present bed of the river, and which is supposed to show the different levels of the Waikato during the course of centuries.

All the land about belongs to various companies. The New Zealand Stock Pedigree Company have a large tract for their farm, but they are not succeeding well, as the farmers, struggling under the disadvantages of the first breaking of the ground, cannot afford to study the breed of their stock. By degrees we entered the country held by natives, where all signs of cultivation and the abodes of man ceased. We occasionally met a solitary horseman, a weird-looking figure in slouch hat and blanket—some Maori going down to attend the Land Court at Cambridge.

It would be very difficult to give any adequate idea of the state of the road. The four horses were up to their flanks in the liquid mud, and the carriage sunk in axle-deep. To behold only is to believe in such a case. Looking at the sea of soft mud in front, it seemed as if it would be impassable. Kerr, our splendid Jehu, saved us many a bump by his first-rate driving, drawing the horses carefully off, and easing them at bad ruts; but as it was, the buggy often balanced on two wheels and sank deeply down, the other[113] two being high in the air, and the vehicle hesitating whether to recover itself or not. There were not a few such critical moments. Sometimes we got into such a slough that the pole of the carriage touched the mud, and the horses, in trying to draw out their fore feet from the slippery mass, would miss their footing, and flounder hopelessly for a moment or two. Then Kerr would draw himself together, and by main force drag them out with the reins.

We were obliged often to cling on to the front seat, to avoid being thrown bodily out, and in one unexpected jolt, when we were both impelled, nolens volens, suddenly forward, C. came down with his full weight on my thumb, and sprained it slightly.

We were looking forward to arriving at the township of Oxford, for the excitement and anxiety of this fearful road was tiring, and the going very slow and tedious. From over a bare plain we approached the hotel; not a single house was to be seen, and we found that this was the township. The railway that is being made is finished up to here, and an enterprising man has built the hotel, foreseeing the custom that will come, when it is opened next season, and forms the starting-point for the coaches to the Lake district. The second buggy overtook us at Oxford, and we found that they had fared much worse than we had. The spring of the back seat had given way, and Mr. Graham had been precipitated into the mud.

We coached on for another three hours, the horses so dead beat that it was only by many exhortations to "get up," and the frequent use of the whip, that we progressed at all.

We had one alarm when Kerr, after leaning over several times to listen, got down to examine a back wheel. Awful thoughts of a screw becoming loose in such a much-tried vehicle had been ever present with us all the way. But it proved to be only some sand, which if left in the axle to grate with each revolution would have set fire to the wheel. The wheel had to be taken off and fresh grease applied.

Soon after this little incident torrents of rain came down, in which we drove up to the door of a hut in the backwoods, kept by some Berkshire people, and where we ate the luncheon we had brought.

For the next twelve miles we were driving through the bush, the damp steaming up on all sides and showing the[114] vegetation in all the glory of its luxuriance, the leaves and moss shining with the dripping raindrops. Nature was perspiring at every pore, and putting forth a new growth in the moist heat.

At first we missed the familiar foliage of the oak, or elm, or beach, but soon you grow accustomed to the grey skeleton trunks, branching off so high in the stem of the native tree. There was the Karaka, a tree with thick glossy foliage, and a red berry which the natives eat, the Puriri, which is the hardest of New Zealand woods, the Katukatea, or white pine, and the Totara. This tree has the bright olive-green foliage that imparts so much vividness to the bush. It has a durable wood, which worms never touch, and for that reason is much used for the piles of wharves. Then there is the Rimu which, when the bark is stripped off, is found to be of a blood red inside. It produced the beautiful effect we saw as we passed along, when sections of these trees rotting on the ground, mingled their crimson blood with the yellow mosses and lichen.

Again and again we remarked that great curiosity of the Rata, which is found throughout both islands. The Rata begins like a creeper, hanging down in tendrils from the branches, and joining together below them, to form a stem about one-third of the size of the trunk. Growing gradually downwards, it circles round, and closes in "under" the roots, gradually eating into and sucking the life from the tree. It performs the part of an ungrateful child, who kills the parent who gave it life. Along the coast the same curious formation is found about the trees, but there it is called Pohutukawa, and grows in exactly the opposite way, striking from the roots upwards, and performing the same work of death, with its fibrous arms. Sometimes this Pohutukawa is also called the Christmas tree, from the bright red blossom that flowers at Christmas. They say the effect of the bush at a distance, and when the trees are intertwined by this scarlet mass of blossom, is very beautiful. The general idea is that the Rata and Pohutukawa are produced by a species of caterpillar about a foot long, but we found many of the islanders do not agree with the theory. We brought one of these caterpillars home with us, and it is still preserved in a tin case.

The giji, a small rush or coarse grass, growing in isolated clumps on the trunks of the trees, forms another[115] special feature of the bush. But the chief is that wonderful tangled mass of tropical undergrowth, and the tree ferns which grow in large clumps. Their fibrous black trunks attain to a height of six feet, expanding at the top into feathery arms, long and graceful in their sweeping curves. Nestling under their broad shadows are every other species of fern; the beautiful crape fern, so called from the crisp double texture of the fronds, the Hiane or creeping Lycopodium, the Kioko or Polypodium, the Panaka or Asplenium, and the Mangemange or creeping fern. Then there are all kinds of parasites, like the Tararamoa or climbing bramble; the latter has a red or yellow berry, and a prickly bristling leaf, which has given to it the name of the lawyer's plant, or bush lawyer; there is the Kareao, a climbing wiry vine, the "Supple Jack" of the Colonists, the Kiekie, Kohia, and Pikiarero or clematis; and the Hinau which blossoms with a white flower, and has an astringent pulp, the bark furnishing a black dye to the natives. Beneath all there is a carpet of bright green moss, three inches thick.

It is very difficult to give any adequate idea of the extraordinary luxuriance of these bush forests; I could hardly have believed before what wonderful shades of colouring could be contained in a single tangle of green. There is something about the bush which prevents your saying it is tropical, partly on account of the trees which look sparse and hardy, partly on account of the damp climate, but it is, nevertheless, as beautiful as any tropical jungle.

We were very much struck by the oppressive silence and the absence of all bird life. We heard the whirr of two wood pigeons, and the twitter of a tui once or twice.

It was getting dusk as we emerged from the bush, and quite dark before we saw the black waters of Lake Rotorua. Clouds of steam and vapour rising from the hot sulphur and mineral springs, told us the whereabouts of Ohinemutu.

I confess that the last part of the drive Nature had been asserting herself, and I was too tired, hungry, and sore from the jolting to feel interest in anything but an arrival at the Lake House.

We found the coach and party from Tauranga (the other route to the Hot Lakes) had just arrived there, and on[116] comparing notes, we saw that our road had been infinitely worse, but that we had been saved from a tossing last night on the sea, in a miserable little steamer. We had coached fifty miles during that day.

Ohinemutu is in the centre of the Hot Lake district; it lies on the shores of Lake Rotorua, a sheet of water twenty-seven miles broad. Mr. Robert Graham has built his hotel, the Lake House, in the midst of a Maori settlement, surrounded by sulphur fumes. In the garden he has enclosed several hot springs, to form medicinal baths; but Sulphur Point, the site of the Government sanatorium, and the proposed township of Rotorua, contains the greatest wonders. Here is Te Kanhangi, "The Painkiller," a bath of dark-coloured water; the "Priest's Bath," Oawhata, a clear pool of bubbling hot water, and Madame Rachel's bath. In all of these the water is at boiling point. They possess the most wonderful curative properties for those suffering from rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, spinal disorders, cutaneous diseases, &c. Analysis shows the water to contain chloride of sodium, potassium and lithium, sulphate of soda, silicate of soda, lime and magnesia, iron and alumina oxides, and sulphuric acid.

The stories told of the wonderful cures effected are endless; and as they become more generally known there can be no doubt that Ohinemutu will become the great health resort from neighbouring countries, and indeed from Europe.

Near Sulphur Point are the Cream Cups, the Sulphur Cups, the Coffee Pot, and the Fumaroles, pools of white, boiling mud, impregnated with sulphur and arsenic. In cold weather the natives will sit for hours up to their chins, in these hot mud-holes, for the sake of the warmth; and winter and summer they are always bathing in the warm water of the bay in Lake Rotorua.

Tired as we were, we went out in the evening to see the Maori Temple in the settlement. It is of weather-board, with a corrugated iron roof; but inside it contains the most grotesque and hideous monstrosities. The Maori idea of religion takes the form of a carved wooden ancestor, stunted and deformed, with the eyes of mutton-fish shell starting out of the head. They stand in rows round the temple. The beams of the ceiling and the carved pillar in the centre of the temple are painted in ochre and hematite, producing[117] a gaudy and startling effect. We looked into one or two of the native "wharries" or huts, as we came home. They are miserable hovels built on the ground, with the uncovered earth as a floor. A litter of grass or rushes forms the bed, and all have a wooden bolster, with a place hollowed out for the neck to rest in.

I cannot say much for the comfort of Lake House, there is one long passage down the centre, which is divided on either side into square boxes about six feet by six; these have uncarpeted floors, and are most primitively furnished.

Sunday, September 28th.—It was a fine morning, and it had been agreed overnight that in that case, we must for once overcome all Sabbath-keeping scruples, get up at five in the morning, and leave in the coach at six.

Driving by the shores of Rotorua, we were rewarded for our early start by the beauty of the lights and shadows playing on the mountain sides, reflected from the floating cloudlets above—by the first freshness of the keen morning air, and by that subtle feeling that comes with an early rise of being superior to one's neighbour. We had need to sustain these sensations, during the course of the next few days, with their successive early starts, varying from 5 to 7 a.m. Out in the middle of the lake we saw the island of Mokoia, in connection with which is told the pretty little Maori legend of Hinemoa. Charmed it is said by the notes of the lute of Tutanekai, her lover, she fastened six empty gourds round her back, and floated across from the mainland to Mokoia, hiding herself in Hinemoa's bath, until a favourable opportunity presented itself of appearing before Tutaneka.

When I say we were in the Highlands, I shall have described the first five of the ten miles' drive to Wairoa. It ended with a bold mountain, burnt black and bare, with a deep gully winding round its base, following a pass through the mountains. We suddenly came out on an open moor, and then plunged into the dense forest of the Tikitapu bush. It is a glorious bit of bush, with the tree ferns growing to an enormous height. The road is cut through its midst; and overhead the trees close in and form a cool twilight. Through this avenue we caught our first glimpse of the blue waters of Tikitere or the Blue Lake. It is only a sheet of very clear blue water, lying in the hollow of the mountains, which are covered with[118] brown, feathery bracken, and yet we were all attracted and fascinated by it. There was nothing grand or striking, but we said and thought it was "lovely." The road runs round on a level with the lake, and we saw that the mountains dwindle into a low hill, to a point where the road and the lake meet.

This hill is all that divides the Blue Lake from Rotokakahi or the Green Lake. It lies at a level of eighty feet lower than the Blue Lake, and it was very strange, just at this spot, being able to compare the visible descent between the blue water on the one hand and the green on the other. Strange it is that the Green Lake does not in the least attract the eye like its Blue sister.

As we came near the village of Wairoa, a smell of sweetbriar from the hedges bordering the road on either side perfumed the air for nearly a quarter of a mile. We passed the temple and some wharries, made of rushes hung and plaited from a pole in the centre. The natives rushed excitedly out of these and followed the carriage, clothed in their one white garment, with striped blankets, blue, yellow, and red, thrown loosely round them. By the time we drew up at the Terrace Hotel we were the centre of a motley group of Maoris, chattering, gesticulating, and "whining"—the Maori way of expressing pleasure; Mr. Graham had no difficulty in picking out a fine, strong-looking crew to man our boat across Lake Tarawera.

We ran down the steep winding path which led us to the rough boat-house in the creek, on Lake Tarawera. Here there was a great delay, whilst the crew, led by "Sophia," the native guide, were mustering, and it was then discovered that our party was one too many for the licensed number of the large flat-bottomed boat. This proved to be the beginning of our troubles with a very fat old gentleman, with a broad Northumbrian dialect, who, having joined himself on, uninvited, to our party, proved always the one de trop. No one need feel sorry for him, or think he was neglected; for he took good care of himself; was always to be found the first to be seated in the boat, and in the best place; he helped himself freely to the luncheon we had bought, and required no pressure to take his full share of the whisky bottle.

Once we were out on the lake, we were delighted with the grand rugged beauty of the surrounding mountains.[119] The three flat cones of the Tarawera Mountains loomed in the distance, and somewhere hidden away in that range, we were told, there was a curious natural bridge, sacred to the Maoris for a burial place. About two years ago the water of Lake Tarawera suddenly changed and became green and muddy, remaining so for a year; it then returned to its natural state, being perfectly clear and wholesome for drinking.

The natives rowed very slowly and unevenly, playing with their oars, while they munched hunches of bread, and took deep draughts from the lake for breakfast. The first breath of wind was the excuse for hoisting a primitive sail, fastened by a string of green flax. A blue veil attached to the hat of one of the natives gave rise to a laugh about the Blue Riband movement, which they quite appreciated and joined in, when translated to them by Mr. Graham. We were anxious to push on, and should never have accomplished the ten miles row without Mr. Graham's encouraging, "Go! go!" in Maori, and a bottle of rum, which he gave to the chief to dole out. We turned into an arm of the lake running up between the hills, and passing a Maori settlement in a damp hollow, we saw before us a cloud of white steam rising from the midst of the mountains, and we knew where it came from, and longed for our first sight of those beautiful terraces of Rotomahana. They are unique in the world, and comparable to no other wonder of Nature. They are one of her most perfect works—perfect in conception, in form, and in colour.

After landing we almost ran the mile and a quarter, through the bracken and manuka scrub, hurrying on to each knoll to have the first view, and then disappointed, running down that one and on to the next. We were heedless of the blue and purple mountains around, ungrateful for what Nature in her ordinary course had provided, looking only for her eccentricities.

At last we could see them, in their general outline, a silica formation of white terraces in circular steps. We thought it disappointing;—but not openly allowing so, we waded through the lukewarm water, about an inch deep, and stood at the bottom of Te Tarata, or the White Terrace.

At the first step we came to, we were petrified with delight for a moment.


Set in a basin of pure white silica, delicately carved and fretted, lay a pool of pale blue water, so pure in colour, so opaque in substance. I wish I could convey to the sight of those who read this, the merest reflection of that heavenly colour, that pale tint found nowhere else upon earth.

As we climbed upwards, we saw terrace upon terrace, with each circular brim hanging with beautiful stalactites, and sponge and coral formation. The sun shining through the lace-like fringe on the coral-tipped edges, sent forth a hundred reflections, and we were dazzled by the snowy whiteness of the silica. The water percolates and trickles gently over the petrified drapery of each little cup and basin; each drop leaving its tiny deposit of silica, which in the course of ages has formed the Terrace.

We waded through the warm water, picking our way along the little edges of the pools, lost in wonder at the delicate workmanship. The temperature rose gradually, and we found it nearly boiling as we reached the crater at the top. Again the pool was of that indescribable blue, more beautiful when seen in such a large mass, but at the further end the cloud of vapour and steam we had seen rising in the distance partially hid from us a dark, angry mass of boiling water, that was heaving and surging against the opposite crust of the crater. Te Tarata is not always active, sometimes the crater is perfectly dry, as it had been the previous week to our coming. We discovered here some ferns, and morsels of branches petrified with silica, each leaf being perfectly encased, and preserved with the glistening substance; but we found that they were too brittle for transport, and had to leave them there in their beauty and to their natural home.

We came down the Terrace, step by step, lingering and turning back at every point to look under the overhanging lip, at some still more curious formation of stalactite, some new beauty hidden away in a quiet corner.

Still wading through the water, we came down the left side of the Terrace, and saw what I thought was almost the most beautiful part, a succession of little cups, formed as regularly as the cells in a large honeycomb, each containing its little pool of cerulean water. After leaving the Terrace we went through a glen, in which the manuka scrub grew high above our heads, and the carpet of bright green moss was hot to touch. One of the charms of Rotomahana[121] and its Terraces is the bright luxuriant vegetation, in the midst of a tremendous volcanic action; where you would expect to see lava scoria, you find a tropical growth of ferns and parasites.

Climbing up to the top of a hill, we looked down into the crater of "Ngahapu," a geyser which spouts up furiously every few minutes. We gasped as we looked down into the black boiling water which ceaselessly gathers itself into a swirling mass, and throws up a jet of water, and then recoiling rushes on to the sides. We skirted round another, which was still more active, and which we had to be careful to get to leeward of, to avoid being sprinkled with boiling spray. Above, to a fissure in the rock we traced the ceaseless throbbing noise of the "Steamer." It sounds as if inside here the waterworks of the geyser were being pumped up. The manuka all round was encrusted with orange from the sulphur fumes, and the ground was inlaid with different bits of brilliant colouring, in the red and green clay of mineral deposits.

We found luncheon spread out for us by two natives near the lake. It was rather a "hot" corner to have chosen, for in front of us there was a boiling mud-hole—and behind and all round bubbling pools of hot water, with steam issuing from the ground. We sat on some rocks coloured pale yellow from the action of sulphur and ate the most delicious baked potatoes and kouras, the native shell fish, that had been cooked in a few minutes by the easy process of holding them in nets in one of the hot pools. I think we all thoroughly enjoyed that luncheon.

Then the gentlemen were taken across the lake in the canoe to have their bath in the pool at the top, before the ladies arrived. We waited under the care of "Sophia" for the return of the canoe.

Sophia was a most attractive half-caste Maori, speaking English very prettily. Dressed in a red and black check skirt, with a blue jacket bordered by red; her black wavy hair flowing loosely from under a Tyrolese hat, she presented a most picturesque reminder of "Meg Merrilees." Her lips, like those of all the Maori women, were tattooed; but hers were only done in straight lines, as they had become too sore to continue with the down strokes, which usually reach to the dimple of the chin. She described to us the process of tattooing. Small holes are[122] tapped into the skin with a sharp-pointed instrument, and then filled with the prepared juice of the Kauri gum, boiled down to a dark blue substance. The mouth is fearfully sore for several days, causing even death sometimes from gangrene and mortification, The girls always go down to a town to have the operation carefully performed, and then make it a ceremonious holiday.

Sophia wore a beautiful piece of greenstone called Tiki, roughly carved, that had been, she said, in her family for 400 years; she also wore suspended round her neck by a black ribbon a "Maori button," made of a piece of circular bone, bored through the centre, and about the size of a crown piece.

We saw the canoe returning across the lake, and dreaded the idea of getting in. It was a native canoe formed out of the hollow trunk of a totara-tree, and shaped at both ends. A rough wooden paddle was used by the old Maori for working it along. We had to get in cautiously one by one, and lie down in the bracken at the bottom, and when we were all in, we were certainly not more than three inches from the water. Every motion in this frail bark was felt; if any one moved hand or arm, there was an exclamation of alarm, and when some one sneezed, we felt as if the convulsive moment must capsize us. On the reeds in the middle of the lake we saw many wild ducks, and the pretty Pukeko, with its dark blue plumage and red bill. The steam rising as we approached the shore alone indicated the marvellous wonder that greeted us as we suddenly rounded the sharp corner that brought us into the cove where the water was boiling and bubbling brightly—and the glories of the Pink Terrace were unfolded before us.

The truth must be told, and our first view of them was somewhat marred by the outline of figures that were creeping along the horizon after their bath!

It is very beautiful. Terrace after terrace shelving down to the water's edge; with the same delicate and curious formation, the same tender blue in the pools, but not the same dazzling whiteness; for these are coloured with a most delicate shade of pink, streaked in places with carmine. It is caused by the water previously running over red clay, which, becoming diluted, leaves a pink deposit of silica on the Terrace. I thought the Pink Terrace or Otukapurangi Maori, quite as beautiful and more curious than the[123] white, but most people prefer the latter, and undoubtedly it has the finest silica formation.

Where the water ran down in some little hollows, the sun shining over the pink produced the effect of a shower of opals, and again in the little pools, as the drops trickled over the brim of the basin, there were a succession of minute rainbows, seen for an instant and gone as soon. A dash of green-coloured clay lay along either side, before the dense border of manuka scrub was reached, forming altogether a curious variety of pale shades, in pink, blue and green.

We saw the place in the Centre Terrace where the Duke of Edinburgh had carved his name. The natives have cut out the original, and inserted instead a small tablet to show their appreciation of the honour, but at the same time they thought that by thus writing his name, his Royal Highness implied a possession of the Terraces. The lovely porcelain surfaces of both terraces are disfigured by names scribbled in pencil underneath the water. Government has now protected them by prohibiting this, and laying a heavy penalty on all those who chip or carry away fragments of the silica. The smell of sulphur here was as pregnantly strong as in the White Terrace, but the water is only hot, and does not boil. We felt we should never see the Terrace again, and lingered.

A tremendous shower of rain came on as we were packing again into the canoes; it seemed heavy enough to have filled and swamped them. We recrossed Rotomahana to the river, and then glided down the swift current of "Kaiwaka," or canoe destroyer, so called because of its rapids and sharp curves, so dangerous to the equilibrium of canoes. The natives paddled us most skilfully from the stern, and we lay at full length basking in the warm afternoon sun, and noting the embryo terraces that have formed along its ti-covered banks. Some of the gentlemen of the party ventured down the rapids. One canoe containing Mr. Graham and C. was nearly lost—the stream carrying it down stern first, before the native had time to get to his place to steer. He cried out to Mr. Graham, "We are lost!" but amid intense excitement they did get through and land in safety. We changed our shoes and stockings for the dry ones which we had been warned to bring with us, for we had been walking for several hours in warm water.


We had a nasty head wind, with a heavy sea running as we returned across Lake Tarawera, but the natives worked well and sang us some native airs; all joined in a chorus with gesticulations, led by Sophia. We had a very damp drive home, rain falling in sheets; the beauty vanished which we had admired so much that morning.

The fat gentleman whom I mentioned before was the subject of much amusement to the Maoris. The native who acted as guide, looked at him as he entered his bath and said, "If you had been here forty years ago, you would have made a nice pie." It was translated to him, and we thought that we had had our revenge.

It had seemed such a long day, and I went to bed worn out, and with my brain bewildered with all the wonderful things I had seen.

Monday, September 29th.—We were up at 5 a.m., and leaving Ohinemutu in a buggy to coach fifty-four miles to Wairakei.

It was a very cold morning with a wind blowing from the direction of the south pole. Passing Sulphur Point, we came to Whakarewarewa (pronounced about like this, "walk her over, over"), whose sulphur fumes from the numerous mud-holes we had seen rising in the distance yesterday. Then we travelled for some time beside Waikorowhiti, the "Whistling Stream," a mountain torrent that rushes through the Hemo Gorge. A few more miles brought us to Horo Horo. It is a high narrow ridge of rock, that sweeps in one unbroken line from the coast of Coromandel Bay to the east of Auckland, and ends suddenly here, standing out against the sky, as one precipitous line of unbroken rock. A slender stately column which distinctly presents the outline of a female figure is called by the Maories "Hinemoa." The natives think Horo Horo has the appearance of a mighty monster fallen from Heaven, and so call it Fallen Fallen. It reminded us exactly of the Palisades on the Hudson River, U.S.A. We had magnificent scenery all the way, ranges of mountains before and behind us, that only varied in shape and beauty; all clothed with the dull green or brown of the bracken fern. But the country was all so much alike, that I felt if I had begun a sketch at the beginning of the journey, I could have finished it almost as well at the end. The country was totally uninhabited and uncultivated, save for a few scattered Maori settlements, and[125] these wharries were so like the coarse grass growing round them that they were hardly to be distinguished from it. They generally lay under the shelter of some hill, or on the outskirts of a bit of bush, and would be roughly fenced round, with some pigs or a couple of rough horses about, as the only sign of life. We saw but one white man's house, and that was only building, during the whole day. Now and again we came upon a herd of wild horses, who galloped away at the sound of our approach. The skeleton head of an ox fixed upright on a hill producing a most weird effect, and a gravestone by the roadside, marking the spot where some traveller's favourite horse had lain down to die, were the only other objects of interest we passed during the morning. There was a striking peculiarity in the way in which the ground was terraced into deep winding gullies, evidently showing the bed of some river, flowing in bygone ages.

The road was good-going all the way, except for a few "ruts," which required all "Mac's" care to avoid, as they were deep enough to overturn the carriage. When going over the edge of one of these we used all to lean over, to throw our whole weight on to the opposite side of the carriage, and watch anxiously to see whether the earth would hold or slip away from under us. Mac, our new driver, was a French Canadian, whose ancestors had come over with Jacques Cartier and settled in Montreal. We had no change of horses for the whole of that fifty-four miles' drive, and it was wonderful to see how skilfully he spared his horses, watering them frequently from wayside streams. We kept ourselves from cramped weariness, and saved the horses, by walking up the steepest hills. All the wooden bridges about here are laid with planks lengthways instead of crossways, and if they are rotten, there is great danger of the wheels going bodily through. Once this nearly happened to us, and we escaped with a shave; and again when a horse put his foot into one of the holes, and drew it out without breaking it.

We had luncheon at Ateamuri, under the shadow of the great vertical rock that stands 300 feet high on the plain, called Pohaturoa, or the "Rat's Tooth," from the jagged edges at the top. A Maori legend tells of a defeated tribe who fled to the summit of this rock, and were besieged there for a week, living on the roots of ferns, and hurling down rocks on their enemies. They found a pool of water at the top, and only surrendered[126] after burying sixteen of their number, whose graves are still to be seen up there. Here we found our old friend the Waikato again, and we laid out our luncheon on its banks, under the shade of a weeping willow. Mr. Graham met here the widow of the chief who had given him Wairakei.

We coached on all through the afternoon, and towards five o'clock we turned off the high road, across a rough grass-track to Wairakei. Presently we seemed to be driving at random over stumps and bushes of ti-tree, and about to plunge down into a valley by a road leading down the side of a precipice. We declined to go down this on other than our own legs, and I think the horses could not have held the carriage back without being lightened of our load. In the far distance, in the hollow, a native wharrie, with two out-sheds, was pointed out to us as Wairakei!

Wairakei is the property of Mr. Robert Graham.[2] Under the guidance of a native, he was the first white man who ever visited these wonderful geysers, mineral springs, and hot rivers. On expressing his admiration to the chief of the tribe, he was presented with Wairakei, for Mr. Graham speaks Maori like a native, and is very popular with them. I believe afterwards the tribe, as also the government, objected to this gift of the chief, and Mr. Graham made due compensation, and by purchase added 4000 acres to the estate. It is a most valuable property, with enormous natural advantages as a health resort, and only requires capital and enterprise for its future development. It lies on a flat plain surrounded by mountains, and already a proposed township has been described with imaginary lines. The hot mineral stream that flows through the plain has been made use of to erect two baths, one hot and the other cold. A large pool further on is used for the cure of animals, and the geysers lie in a valley two miles away.

Mr. and Mrs. Cullen were in sole possession, and received us at the door of the wharrie. He is the bailiff and general factotum about the place. An engineer, he speaks a smattering of eleven languages, and can turn his hand to anything. He has just erected the rough shed, with a row of stables on one side, and some extra bedrooms on the other; he has fenced and dammed the water for the baths, and will[127] cement the bottom some day; he has made all the fences, paths, and gates about the place, and all with the help of one Irish boy, while Mrs. Cullen performs the work of three servants about the house.

The wharrie was a real native one, thatched on the roof and sides with the coarse native grass, and lined inside with "raupo"—rushes growing in swamps. There was a blazing wood fire of logs on the open fireplace in the general sitting-room, out of which three bedrooms opened, all furnished very scantily. We were in the rough, and thoroughly enjoying it under such temporary circumstances. I helped Mrs. Cullen to lay the table and spread the provisions we had brought with us—tins of preserved butter, Swiss milk and jam—and ran backwards and forwards between the kitchen out of doors and the wharrie.

We sat down to "high tea," Mr. Mac, our driver, joining us as a matter of course. The hut was light and airy, but I must say we suffered somewhat from the cold at night, the moon shining down through the crevices in the roof, and through the blindless and curtainless window.

Tuesday, September 30th.—I was up at 6 a.m., and, running down to the bottom of the garden, plunged into the warm bath. It was perfectly delightful swimming about in the hot, pale-blue stream, and then gradually creeping round the wooden platform to where the water became tepid, and then cold, till the final "cure" was under the shower-bath at the end! A cold stream is brought down on one side of the bathing-house, and the natural hot stream flows on the other, so thus you have a choice of every temperature. The mineral properties are the same as those at Ohinemutu, unequalled for the cure of rheumatism and all cutaneous disorders.

The waters are equally valuable for animals, as we had the means of testing. Our four-year old mare, the near leader of yesterday, was sick and off her feed. Mac took her to bathe twice in the course of the day, and gave her three bucketfuls to drink, and by the evening she was perfectly well.

After breakfast I got on to a rough pony called Molly, and we rode over the hill, through a track in the bracken to the "geysers."

Looking down over a green and well-wooded valley, we saw columns of steam, now dying, now increasing in density,[128] and heard all kinds of underground rumbling and mysterious hissings and splashings. We tied up Molly, and descended into the little valley, through the undershrub of ti-tree, walking over a hot, spongy soil.

Terekereke Was the first wonder we came to. It is a large pool of dark blue water enclosed by black rocks, and encrusted with sinter. The ceaseless bubbling of the water above and below the surface gives it the more ordinary name of the "champagne" pool. Occasionally the action increases, and masses of boiling water are thrown against the rocks, accompanied by clouds of sulphuric steam, and then it quiets down again to its usual effervescent surface.

Tuhuatahi Geyser, New Zealand

Tuhuatahi Geyser, New Zealand.

Tuhuatahi, the most active geyser in the valley, we arrived at next. Looking over into a fissure of the rock, we saw a small quantity of boiling water; and, even as we looked, we heard a distinct underground crashing. It was the first warning. We retreated to a corner which we knew to be safe, from the greenness of the vegetation. Another warning louder than before followed after a minute's interval, and was still more quickly succeeded by a third one.

It was the signal for the waters to begin heaving and surging, boiling over the edge of the basin, and running[129] down the terrace on which we stood. It threw up a small column, and then one higher and still higher, emitting dense clouds of steam, in the midst of which we caught glimpses of a silvery column, playing to a height of ten feet above us. Detached drops were thrown up still higher, shining out from against the black wall of rock which forms a most striking background. We watched this boiling column anxiously, feeling that at any moment a gust of wind might scatter its contents over us; and then we looked wistfully at the reducing force of the convulsion, and the grumbling subsidence of the element within the crater, till the gentle lapping of the water against the sides told us there was peace within once more. Again and again we waited to see the great Tuhuatahi come forth from his cavernous depths, with always those same three warnings, those three underground grumblings and mutterings. They come quite regularly at intervals of seven minutes, and the action of the geyser itself lasts about three minutes. All around them were little embryo terraces, incrustated with pale pink, saffron and green, fringed with silica crystals; and the spongy rocks scattered about were coloured to a dark red, brown, or a brilliant orange, from the strong sulphur impregnating all that comes within its reach.

We crossed the boiling stream Te Wairakei (the same which runs by the wharrie), at the bottom of this volcanic valley. As we ascended we heard the continuous thud of the "Donkey Engine," which has a pulsating throb reverberating like the thud of a steam-engine working "in" the hill underneath us. The origin of the "Donkey Engine" has not yet been discovered.

From the other side of the valley we looked down into the mouth of the "Great Wairakei." It has a curious triangular crater of spongy masses of light brown sinter projecting out from the rock. The apex of the triangle is formed by a large incrusted rock, something in the shape of an arm-chair. Great Wairakei was not very active to-day, and we waited long before he gave any signs of life.

Then we wandered on to Little Wairakei, a blue lake concealed in a quiet corner behind manuka bushes; but this pale blue water is of a dangerous nature, being 210° Fahrenheit. Below were the mud volcanoes—several patches of creamy-looking mud. At every instant they bubbled up in little cones, bobbing up and down in the[130] most comical fashion. Then there was the pool called the Coffee Pot, which literally boiled over every few minutes.

After this we had a terribly rough scramble of half an hour, through tall ti-trees, clinging to the branches down steep banks where the earth was quite hot. We had to pick our way across a boiling pool on loose stones, and climb over sinter rocks, whose crinkled edges cut mercilessly at hands and feet unless care was used, and then we found ourselves standing on a ledge literally surrounded by active geysers. Not one minute passed, after we had walked over the three blow-holes in the rock called "the Prince of Wales' Feathers," than they were playing away brightly in a tripled feathery spray. I sat down on a projecting stone, and feeling myself being scorched underneath, discovered I was sitting over a steam hole! As I got up Nga Ma-hanga, or The Twins, began to play vigorously. They have a large pear-shaped basin of sinter, divided into two portions, and resemble a huge Turkey sponge in their creamy perforated substance. They are surrounded by masses of white and orange silica, and explode in violent outbursts at intervals of four or five minutes. No sooner had they finished, than "The Whistler" began to be active and throw up from a black cavernous mouth, accompanied by a small water-spout, which acts simultaneously with "the Whistler," at intervals of ten minutes. We watched to see "the Boilers" perform. These from a rock-bound pool covered with green shiny algæ, partially separated by a narrow chasm, send up spasmodically a column of water from six to eight feet in height.

And then we began to feel that if we waited there any longer, with these geysers playing alternately around us, the ground might open beneath our feet, and ourselves be engulphed in a fiery furnace and pit of hell, so we scrambled away.

Afterwards we had a long hunt for the "Eagle's Nest," which is one of the most beautiful geysers in the valley. Wandering among the manuka, clinging to rocks, to support us over the crumbling surface, we found it at last hidden away amongst the trees. The nest is formed of long sticks that have fallen crossways over the cone of the geyser, and become gradually frosted, from the deposit of silica left by the action of the feathery spray playing from the same.[131] It is so beautifully and delicately made, one can hardly believe it has been formed by an accident in nature.

We had to cross Te Wairakei to reach the opposite side of the valley to return home. In doing so we came to a quiet pool, where the hot stream opens out into a small lake. Here we sat down to rest on a large red clay rock.

"Rap, tap!" came from inside the rock, and we all jumped up. The rock was distinctly shaken, the ground under our feet reverberated slightly, and the echo extended to the neighbouring rocks. It was the wonderful "Steam Hammer." The thud of this titanic forge has been going on for centuries, and will continue for many more; yet the secret must ever remain a mystery. Should any one dare to unravel the mystery or tamper with the inside mechanism it will doubtless stop for ever. The theory at present started about the Steam Hammer is, that the sharp tap is caused by water rushing through some small aperture in the rock; but it is a very crude one, and when Wairakei becomes better known other more possible solutions will be propounded. At times the hammer is louder or softer, but we could hear it distinctly as we climbed up the valley on the other side, and with a favourable wind and clear atmosphere it can be heard on some days a mile off.

After luncheon the "faithful Molly" was brought round again, and the gentlemen mounted three rough-coated horses.

Half-an-hour's riding, going up and down small precipices while crossing some gullies, and a canter through the bracken, brought us to the Huka Falls.

The Waikato here is a beautiful broad river, flowing swiftly between low banks 120 feet apart. It suddenly runs into a narrow rocky channel only thirty feet wide. Imagine this enormous volume of water compressed and fighting through the deep trough; the fierce struggle at the entrance, the long green slide of the waters in their gradual descent, the angry, turbulent rapids where the channel becomes still narrower, and, at the last, the sudden shoot over of the mighty waters, between two large rocks.

We lay face downwards, hanging over the precipice, to look down on the Fall. The waters, as they fell over, took the shape of a mill wheel; it seemed as if there must be one underneath churning them into a foaming circle. Just at the edge they became that intense sea-green colour seen only to perfection at Niagara.


From the point where we were standing, we commanded all the changes of the hues; from their muddy colour in the river, to their pale green in the narrow ravine; from the mass of flake-like foam in the fall, to the dark blue of the pool into which they tumble. And here, as the river widens out, they eddy and swirl in a passionate turmoil, and are far on their course before they settle down to their even natural flow.

The Huka Falls have no great height, but it is the immensity of the volume of water which constitutes their greatest charm.

The story is told of sixteen natives of a strange tribe who came to visit the Huka Falls, and boasted that they could go down them in a canoe. The natives of Taupo dared them to try, and they embarked. One changed his mind at the last minute, and escaped by jumping out on to the rocks, but the others went over the fall, and were never seen again. Many years afterwards some fragments of the canoe were found jammed between the rocks; but not one of the bodies ever rose to the surface, sucked under by the current of the whirlpool.

Mr. Kerry Nicholls has recently tried to penetrate under the Huka Falls from both sides. He has conclusively proved that it is impossible to pass through, but he found a small ledge in the rock under the falls, on which you can stand with safety.

There is a cave lined with maidenhair and other ferns, difficult of access, and which was only discovered a few days ago. Mr. Graham had not yet been in it, and he christened it that afternoon after me, the "Ethel Cave."

We rode up to a high knoll, whilst the boy who had come in charge of the horses was told to light the bracken below, so that we had a splendid view of a clearing fire, the flames shooting up to an enormous height in forked tongues, and some raupo burning with a loud crackling. The wind was blowing our way, bearing us bits of blackened furze, and we retreated before the stifling clouds of smoke.

Then we went on to the Venus Bath, a warm pool of pleasant temperature. Looking through the clear depths, we saw the bottom, enamelled with beautiful green moss, and it is called the Venus Bath from its wonderful beautifying properties, which removes all freckles and blotches from the skin. We tested it, and it is quite certain that the hands we held[133] in the water became much whiter. Mr. Graham and Mr. Davidson rode to a mile and a half further away, to see "Okurawai," the coloured springs—a collection of hot springs in pools that look like pots of red, pink, orange, and yellow paint, but C. and I turned homewards, the clouds and mountains foretelling rain.

There is no doubt that by nature Wairakei is intended as a great health and pleasure resort for "all nations," and that, properly developed, it will become the most valuable of properties. Mr. Graham also possesses the watering place of Waiwera, that lies to the north of Auckland, and on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf, and the Lake House, with some of the hot springs at Ohinemutu. If these three were worked together by one company, there would be a splendid future for them all. In Australia they have no summer resort, with the exception of Hobart in Tasmania; and round trips to the Hot Lake districts, organized from Melbourne and Sydney, would bring hundreds of tourists every year. As it is, with the numerous drawbacks of bad roads, indifferent coach service, and rough accommodation, they come in yearly increasing numbers. Properly known and advertised, and with the direct mail service that is now established between New Zealand and England, many would visit the Hot Lake district, escaping the rigour of the winter at home. They would come out to enjoy the glory of the New Zealand summer when the climate is perfection. At that time of the year all the baths and waters in Europe are closed, and Wairakei and Ohinemutu ought to become, in time, the winter Ems or Spa. The long sea voyage of fifty days or so would be no drawback to many invalids. At present Wairakei is almost unknown. I am only the second lady from England who has been there, and it is very little visited by the colonists.

Miss Gordon Cumming's prophecy that "this district will be a vast sanatorium, to which sufferers from all manner of diseases will be sent to Nature's own dispensary to find the healing waters suited to their need," will now at some no distant date become true.

When you think that the waters at Ohinemutu and Wairakei are so strongly mineral and medicinal that they can be said to be an infallible cure, with sufficient patience, for rheumatism and all cutaneous diseases, how can they[134] help becoming the great world-curing establishment? Think of the fortune that alone could be made from the bottling and exportation throughout the world of the water of the "Venus bath," a sure cure for blotches and freckles, or of that of "Kiriokinekai," the Maori for new skin, another of the hot streams at Wairakei, which has a wonderful effect in restoring the growth of the hair on bald heads!

C. was very much interested, in a conversation with Cullen, to find out that he had accompanied the Imperial Russian Survey of officers, as an engineer, in an expedition towards the Indian frontier. He affirms that there is no obstacle whatever to the advancement of an army from Merv to Herat; clearly showing that the difficulty of Russian aggression on India does not lie in natural barriers, as has been alleged.

Wednesday, October 1st.—We left Wairakei in the afternoon, to drive ten miles to Taupo. The rain came on and prevented our turning off the road, by an orchard which although but just planted is already blossoming, so great is the fertility of the soil, to see Pirorirori or the Blue Lake, a sheet of blue water lying amongst the white clay cliffs.

From a great distance we saw the steam of the great and awful "Karapiti" rising up on the flat plain, with the uncertain action of these volcanic blow-holes. We arrived early in Taupo, being anxious to secure the best seats in the mail coach for to-morrow's drive.

Taupo lies on the shore of the lake, and consists of the Telegraph station, the Lake House (the hotel), one general store, and the neat white buildings, surrounded by an earthen outwork of the Armed Constabulary Force. There are about fifteen of these "A. C." stationed here. They were formerly established in defence against the natives, and are now employed as police and in mending or making the roads. Those we have been travelling over are mostly made by the A. C., aided by contracts with Maori labourers.

On this afternoon "the" store was closed, the proprietor enjoying the weekly event of the arrival of the newspaper by the mail.

Whilst C. went to see the chief of the A. C., Major Scanlan, I wandered along the shore of Lake Taupo, with "Mac," picking up pieces of pumice stone of beautifully[135] fine texture and light weight. Their colours were lovely salmon pink, ochre, pale green, or a silvery pearly grey.

We shall be leaving the King Country to-morrow, and I must here say a few words about the Maoris. There are altogether some 15,000 in the North Island, while in the South Island they only number 2000. The large tracts of bare pumice country which we have been passing through all belong to the Maoris. The land is utterly useless to them, as they attempt no kind of cultivation. As a race, the men have a fine physique; and although naturally lazy, they are capable of vigorous exertions, as was seen during the years of the war. The women are treated as slaves, and are, as a rule, small and ill-developed. All agree in saying that the Maoris are a gentle, harmless people, with few vices, but contact with the white man deteriorates them, and they become cunning and untruthful. The fusion of the Maori race with the whites is impossible. The half-castes are said never to live beyond the age of forty. The Maoris are dying out, particularly in the South Island, where contact with civilization induces them to adopt European habits and dress, and the latter is the cause of the consumption which carries off a large proportion of them. Their land is being gradually bought up by the government or by settlers, and the introduction of this system has been most baneful to them, inducing them to depend on the sale of their land, instead of their labour, for subsistence.

They seem to have little idea of religion, and that is, in its crudest form, mixed up with mythology and legendary heroes, handed down from generation to generation. Nor have they any particular reverence for the Tohunga or priest. They believe in immortality. "The road to their heaven is through Reinga, a cave in a cliff at the North Cape of the island, whence they think that the departed spirits pass to the realms above, using the roots of the Pohutukawa-tree as a ladder." They make the "tangi," or funeral, the occasion of a great feast. The mourners are wreathed with fern and lycopodium, and cry and wail for many hours, after which they begin on the enormous feast which has been prepared.

A tangi lasts for three days, during which all the kouru and riwai (potatoes) and poaka (pigs) collected in the neighbourhood are consumed, leaving them very short of provisions for some weeks afterwards.


Many of the natives acknowledge the Queen as their sovereign in preference to their own "King," who is only followed by certain tribes. They have a great reverence for the "paheka" (European), and English is taught in most of the Maori schools.

The tattooing common to all is done in imitation of the scales of a fish. The origin of the curious mythological sign of the three fingers which is found on all the carved wooden images in the temples is unknown. A vague theory exists which is as follows: These wooden figures, which generally have a smaller one inserted underneath, are supposed to represent an ancestor. At any time the chief might come and say it was "tapu" (belonged to him, or sacred), but the three fingers were a deformity; and nothing can be "tapu" that is deformed. The Maori language is sweet and soft-sounding. The alphabet consists of only fourteen letters. The consonants being G, H, K, M, N, P, R, T, and W; and the vowels are the same as ours. A characteristic feature of the language is their fondness for the double repetition of the syllable in words, such as, Ruru, an owl; Titi, the mutton bird; Wiwi, a swamp rush; and Toetoe, grass.

All Maori names are chosen on the sensible plan of describing the object they name, such as Rotomahana, the hot lake; the Huka Falls, snowy foam; Kiriokinekai, new skin, &c. Wai means water, and so Waiwera (the watering-place near Auckland) means hot water; Wairoa, long water; Waikato, drawn-out water, on account of the length of the river; Waitangi, weeping water; and Wairakei, water in motion, on account of the volcanic action about there.

Thursday, October 3rd.—We left Taupo in the coach at six the next morning, driving for some miles along the shore of the lake. To our right we saw the high, conical peak of Tongariro, from whose crater for ever issues a black cloud of smoke, and a little further on the mountain of Tauhara, the "Lone Lover" of the Maoris, and Mount Ruahepu. The whole range of mountains were covered with the purest snow, and so veiled in clouds, that the summits often peeped out from above or mingled with the low-lying clouds.

All through the morning we were driving through an intensely dreary stretch of pumice country, and on whichever side you looked there was nothing but the coarse, yellow grass tufted with raupo; nothing but wide expanses of Wiwi,[137] or mata or toetoe grass, mingled with clumps of Phormium tenax, the flax-plant of New Zealand. This plant has a broad sword-like rush, and flowers either a dark red or pale yellow. It grows in swamps on marshy places to a height of from four to eight feet. The fibre is used for rope, but unfortunately it rots with damp; and experiments prove that it is only reliable when mixed with other fibres.

Every now and again we came upon a little stream forming a green strip amid the yellow desert by the hanea or watercress growing along its banks, but the dreariness of those endless miles of pumice country, only limited in their vastness by low mountain ranges, I shall never forget. The only object of interest was to watch and trace the windings of our road away among the yellow tufts.

The coach was miserably horsed. Two speckled horses, with a pony and a mule for the leaders, formed a very weedy team. At the first hill we came to they began jibbing, not from vice, but from sheer inability to drag the coach, with its heavy load of eight passengers, up the hill; and these were the horses that were to take us fifty miles before the day was over! We were terribly packed both inside and out, and were all glad to walk as much as possible. The coach was of a very ancient date, and swung on leathern straps in place of springs. There were no doors or windows, but old yellow leather curtains that rolled up. The top of the roof in front was ornamented with three black lanterns, resembling a Prince of Wales' feathers, that produced a most hearse-like effect from a distance.

The poles of the telegraph wires kept us company, disappearing occasionally to take some short cut. We saw no "pale-face" dwelling all day, and only passed three or four Maori settlements. It was pointed out to me how, for some unknown reason, the door in the "wharrie" is always back or front, and never at the side. At one of these settlements we saw a cart, with a man on horseback, in charge of the body of a dead chief, which was lying, wrapped in a piece of sacking, at the bottom. He was taking it thirty miles away, to be buried by the tribe of the deceased. We had luncheon, stopping for an hour in the middle of the pumice plain by a stream that watered the horses.

Late in the afternoon we found ourselves serpenting along the edge of a magnificent gorge. It was so deep and straightly precipitous that we could not see the stream, which[138] we heard brawling at the bottom of the ravine. We were soon enjoying one of the downward rushes, so pleasant after the weary crawling up-hill, with the coach groaning, and creaking, and making but little progress. I think the team enjoyed it as much as we did, for they galloped away, with the coach at their heels, hardly slackening at the sharp curves in the zigzag roads. It was pleasurable excitement mingled with terror. We were getting impatient, and anxious to arrive at our night's shelter, for the sun had set, the air was growing chill around us, and the gorges darkening into impenetrable gloom.

Over the hill we saw the lurid light of a fire, with tongues of flame shooting up, and showing momentarily the darkened patches left by its devastating work. Rounding the corner, the beautiful vision of a golden zigzag of lines of flame met us, swept by the wind in ever-varying brightness up and down the hill-side.

The "only three miles more" of Griffith, the driver, were becoming six as we found ourselves in the dark, and about to ascend another long hill. The wheels locked at a sudden sharp turn, and we all bundled out of the coach, and then walked, taking short cuts up the winding road. The moon came up, and we ended by sliding down a bank of white sand, that glistened under the rays of the moon, on to the road, and walking on until Griffith overtook us, just in time to save his reputation and prevent our arriving on foot at the inn at Tarawera.

We were to sleep in this beautiful valley, hemmed in by mountains that would keep their watch over us through the long night hours. How romantic and charming it sounded, and what prosaic discomfort there was in the reality!

The inn consisted of one living room, where the village smoked and drank. A ladder staircase led to a loft roughly partitioned off into bedrooms, where every sound through the whole length of the passage could be heard. Seven men, with their colley dogs, driving sheep from Auckland to Napier, arrived after us, and had to be accommodated, so the gentlemen slept that night three in one room.

I am bound to say that these small inns are perfectly clean, and that the fare, if homely, is substantial. There is always a good joint of meat (and the beef in New Zealand is the best I have ever eaten), with vegetables and bread and cheese, or sometimes a more ambitious attempt in the[139] way of jam tartlets or rice pudding. But it seems quite extraordinary that there should be no cows in villages where there is such abundance of rich pasture, and that we should find everywhere in use the "Anglo-Swiss Condensed," and tinned butter.

The next morning we were on the road again by 6 a.m., and in the midst of the grand mountain scenery of the previous night. It was one succession of toiling up mountains for three hours, to rush down on them on the other side in half an hour. In the course of the day we crossed no less than two distinct ranges—the Hukiuni, or Great Head, and the Maunyaharuru, or Rumbling Mountains. It was weary work this crawling up the side of these, each zigzag bringing us so many feet higher up, to lose again by the descent what we had but just so painfully gained.

One scene among many others impressed itself vividly on my mind that day. It was soon after we started, when we had climbed some height above Tarawera, that I looked back to a low range of pine-covered hills leading up to some rocky mountain tops. Immediately beneath there was a green common, with some white specks, that was the village of Tarawera. Some bare, stony headlands closed in this first gorge. Then looking from the mountain, on to the sides of which the coach was hanging, down the precipice below, the eye on the opposite side followed upwards, upwards from the dense, blue mist to the thick vegetation, and beyond to the grey, stony patches of the highest peaks, shot with a pinky grey.

A bit of bush, and flying down hill for eight miles, brought us on to the side of another mountain. We saw nothing from here but a sea of grey peaks stretching for miles, their outline marked by the deep shadows in their cleft and pointed sides.

Another three hours amid very bare mountain scenery, and the country opened out. We were shown the narrow fertile valley leading to the sea, while some white dots were pointed out as the houses of Napier. Very far away they looked, some thirty miles from where we were.

We had luncheon at Griffith's "Stables," in a one-roomed hut, that was entirely papered with pictures from the Illustrated and the Graphic. It formed a most interesting and thrilling wall-paper, choosing, as had been done, all the most telling national events of the years '81 to '83.


We passed the afternoon in fording a swift stream, called the Esk, crossing it from one bank to another no less than forty-five times in two hours. Then we hailed with delight the green, verdant pasture-lands, the thriving stock, and comfortable farm-houses, with their rows of willow-trees, that lay scattered through the valley; glad to see these homelike signs of cultivation after the wild, desolate scenes of the last seven days.

Six miles of galloping over a pretty beach road on a tongue of land, formed by the broad basin of Hawke's Bay on the one hand, and an arm of inland sea on the other, brought us to the V-shaped wooden bridge. This bridge of three-quarters of a mile, bridges over the gap formed by the sea running round the promontory on which Napier stands. We drove along the marshy bit of plain looking up at the white houses of the town above, and the horses had a long climb before pulling up at the "Criterion Hotel."

We were very, very tired after the week's coaching, but at the same time we enjoyed the feeling of satisfaction that we had accomplished a most successful expedition to the Hot Lakes, and had seen the greater part of the North Island by coaching 250 miles through it.

I sat down to dinner this evening, the only lady amongst some twenty men, come in from the town. It could not be helped, as there were no private sitting-rooms. Before we left England we had been told how rough we should find the hotels in New Zealand. Not only is there this difficulty about a private room, but the bar at all the hotels is placed at the entrance, so that on arriving you often think you have come to a public-house. The best of them are not better than our "commercial hotel" in England, and they will remain so until a greater influx of travellers calls for better accommodation. Much the same complaint may be made about the means of travelling in New Zealand, especially in the North Island. There are very few railways at present, and communication is maintained by coasting steamers and coaches at the rate of fifty miles per day. No through connection between these means, or choice of evils, is attempted.

Saturday, October 4th.—A lovely morning for a drive about the town. Napier is such a pretty place, with no level spot within the township; it is all up and down hill, with houses and gardens perched on the high ground. Placed[141] on the promontory there is a view of the sea from all sides, and from one a glimpse of the distant range of low mountains, with Hawke's Bay and the harbour below. The white surf is for ever rolling heavily in along the beach road. On the low, marshy plain, which is being gradually reclaimed from the sea, lie the villages of Clive, Hastings, and Havelock, showing by their names the date of their foundation. The roads are hard and good, but made of limestone, and the glare and dazzling whiteness obliges many to wear blue spectacles. We drove about to see the view from all sides, and then home through the town, stopping at a shop to see some of the native woods when manufactured into furniture. There are so many different kinds of woods, some light and some dark, that a great variety in patterns can be obtained; but the mottled wood of the kauri pine is the prettiest, and it is curious to think that this wood is only mottled when diseased.

There was a repetition of "the ordinary" at the hotel at 1 p.m., clerks and business men coming in from the town, and directly afterwards we drove down to the wharf and embarked on the tender, that was to take us on board the Union Steamship Company's steamer Tarawera. The tender bobbed up and down, and shipped water freely. It was most alarming to see the huge billows bearing down on us, and it seemed as if we must be swamped by the surf, when going over the bar of the harbour. But when we came alongside the Tarawera, the proceedings to be gone through there were far worse. A gangway was lowered, but the swell carried the tender hither and thither. At one moment the plank touched the deck, and the next would be swinging far above us. The difficulty was for the passenger to hit the exact moment at which to rush on to the gangway, and then to cling on and struggle up it whilst left hanging in mid-air. It was a very laughable affair for those looking over the bulwarks, but not so for us in the tender, and there was a good deal of difficulty as to who would venture first.

The Tarawera, like all the Company's ships, is beautifully fitted with inlaid panels, stained glass skylights, and plush cushions. The social hall is a gallery with seats running round the saloon, containing an organ and piano at either end; but the cabins and saloon are aft, and the proximity of the screw terrible. The Union Steamship Company[142] have a monopoly of the New Zealand ports, and own a large fleet of fair-sized steamers, all called by Maori names. We were coasting along the North Island during the night.

By ten o'clock the next morning we were alongside the wharf at Wellington, and drove to rooms at the "Empire Hotel," previously engaged for us. The outside was dingy and uninviting, and the inside not less so, though the people were most civil and anxious to please.

Mr. Tolhurst, the manager of the Bank of New Zealand, immediately called for us, and proposed taking us to the Cathedral Church for morning service, and afterwards to his house for luncheon.

Sunday is a particularly unfortunate day to arrive anywhere in the colonies, as it is a blank day as regards domestic service; our luggage, too, which had come from Auckland in the Southern Cross, was not obtainable. Sir William Drummond Jervois, the Governor, came and called during the afternoon, and very kindly insisted upon our removing the following day to Government House.

Monday, October 6th.—We were greeted by a typical Wellington day; a blowing and blustering wind raising clouds of dust in the streets. Wellington lies on a strip of land between the hills, which rise immediately behind the town, and the sea. For some reason it seems to be a funnel or trap-hole for the wind to blow through on all sides, and they say you can always "tell a Wellington man anywhere, by the way in which he clutches at his hat round the street corners." All the buildings and houses are of wood, on account of the frequent shocks of earthquake which visited Wellington at one time. Old inhabitants declare that they remember the time when the earthquakes were of weekly occurrence; and in the earlier days of the settlement they thought seriously of removing it elsewhere. The town has a busy, prosperous look in the principal street, called Lambton Quay, except on Saturday afternoon, when Wellington has a curiously deserted appearance, and every one goes out into the country.

Standing a little above the town are the cluster of Government buildings. The Government offices form the largest wooden building in the world, with the exception of the Sublime Porte at Stamboul. The Houses of Parliament are a Gothic structure, and Government House, with the garden, lies between. This is a large,[143] comfortable house, surmounted by a wooden tower and flagstaff; and when inside it is almost impossible to believe that the large, lofty rooms, broad corridors, ball-room, and handsome staircase, belong to a wooden tenement.

We drove up there in the course of the afternoon, and Lady Jervois and Miss Jervois received us most kindly. We were introduced to the staff, who consisted of Mr. Pennefather, the private secretary, and Major Eccles, the aide-de-camp.

After dinner the governor went to a meeting for founding a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. C. went with him, and made a short speech, being on the council of the Society in London.

Later, we all went to a masonic ball; the grandmaster of the lodge and other masons, in their full insignia, receiving the Governor at the entrance, when we formed into procession to enter the ball-room, under the arch of intertwined masonic wands. C. met the past deputy-grandmaster, who had been entertained at the lodge of which he was master the year before last in London—so small is the world.

Tuesday, October 7th.—A tremendous storm and peal of thunder woke me at 6 a.m. Rain, storm, and wind seem to be more excessive in their quantities in New Zealand than in England.

We went to see Dr. Buller's very perfect collection of Maori curiosities, at his house on the Terrace; it is one of the finest extant. Portraits of Maori chiefs are hung round the room; there were feather mantles and native mats, the orange-painted staff of a chieftain, fringed with the white hair of the native dog, the sharp instrument used for tatooing, and some very beautiful greenstone meri meris. This meri is formed of a piece of greenstone about a foot long, and fined down and broadened out to a flat, thin edge. The merit meri is used by the chiefs to split open the skull of a rebellious subject.

At Mr. Köhn's we found another collection of Maori South Sea curiosities. He is a German, and possesses within the recesses of his back premises on Lambton Quay some very wonderful South Sea curios, brought to him by German men-of-war. He has already sold one collection for 500l., and has sent some curiosities home to the museum at Berlin, against the authorities of which he has a righteous grievance, in[144] that they were never even acknowledged! We saw battle-axes with red and yellow handles, spears, bows, and arrows barbed with poison from decomposed bodies, strings of white and black beads for money, war masks formed of skulls, made hideous with splashes of paint, and held inside the mouth by an iron bar, shells, and cocoa-nut matting, with fringes of the same worn round the waist, and considered "full dress" by the ladies of the South Sea Islands. But the most interesting thing of all was a rough coffin, covered with a strip of parchment, containing the burnt figure of a South Sea Islander. The skull had the most peculiar pointed formation, and was exactly an inch in thickness at the back of the head. The body had been stuffed and burnt, till the skin was black and hard as brick. On the face there was a ghastly grin. Another day we went to see the Museum, which Dr. Hector has been mainly instrumental in starting. The total absence of mammalia forms a remarkable feature of New Zealand, the only indigenous animals found being a bat and a small rat. There is a fine collection of native birds. Amongst them the kea, or green field parrot. This bird was formerly a vegetarian, but it now kills and eats sheep. Sitting on the back of the animal, it picks with his long beak till it pierces and reaches the kidney fat, which it eats, thus killing the sheep.

The members of both Houses of Parliament are at Wellington, the session being in progress. The flutter of excitement consequent on three changes of ministry during the last month is just subsiding. C. met and has had much conversation with Mr. Stout, the present premier, Sir Julius Vogel, the late premier, and present colonial treasurer, Sir George Grey, and all the other ministers and prominent political men of New Zealand. One day he was present at an interview between the Governor and the two Maori representatives in the House, who sought his advice as to whether they should go to England, and endeavour to obtain the Queen's assent to the abolition of the native court, and the principle of dealing with the native laws. His Excellency showed them in the clearest way that the Maoris of New Zealand had more than equal rights of making and altering laws, appointing and deposing governments, by their parliamentary representatives, and that the Home Government left the administration of New Zealand entirely in the hands of the inhabitants, including the Maoris, on equal terms.


Wellington does not possess so good a newspaper as some of the other places. Each town and province in New Zealand has its own local paper. This is necessitated by the distance, want of centralization, and means of communication; for instance, it takes seven days by steamer from Auckland to Wellington. These papers are all pretty much alike from Auckland to Invercargill. They have the same cablegrams and English news, and the same parliamentary and general intelligence; they only differ in local paragraphs. We thought the best daily papers were the New Zealand Herald of Auckland and the Lyttleton Times of Christchurch; and the best weekly paper the Canterbury Times, which is like our Queen and Field compiled into one.

Thursday, October 9th.—There was a ball at Government House in the evening, preceded by a large parliamentary dinner. About 300 invitations had been issued, and the guests were asked from 8.30 to 12 o'clock. Long before the hour named carriages were driving up, but this was accounted for by the scarcity of flys, each having to do duty for many families that night. The married women dance as vigorously as the girls, and it must be a pleasure giving a dance where all seem to enjoy it so thoroughly.

Monday, October 13th.—We said good-bye to the Governor and Lady Jervois, and left Government House with much regret, after a very pleasant visit of a week. The Hon. Robert Stout, Premier, the Hon. E. Richardson, Minister of Public Works, Mr. Ross, Mr. Wakefield, and other members of the House of Representatives were waiting on the wharf to wish us good-bye, and see us on board the Waihora.

Anchor was weighed at 3 p.m., and we steamed out of the deep, natural harbour, in which Wellington lies, through the narrow channel at its entrance into Cook's Strait. We were soon driven below by the cold wind, and passed a wretched night, sleepless and very ill, with groans from C. in the berth above, and sighs from me in the one below. We rose and dressed wearily the next morning, and waited about in the "social-hall," with cold blasts coming down through the open skylights, till the train at Lyttleton was ready, when we walked across to the station. Snow had fallen during the night, and the hills were plentifully besprinkled with white, and it was the wind blowing off them which had brought us such bitter cold. Lyttleton is the port for[146] Christchurch, and half an hour in the train, passing through a long tunnel, brought us thither.


Very cold and miserable we looked and felt as we stood on the platform of the station at Christchurch that morning, when Mr. Scott, who had read for the bar at the same time as my husband, having heard of our probable arrival, greeted and took us off to Coker's Hotel.

He came at twelve o'clock again, and drove us down Manchester Street, which looks exactly like the High Street of some pretty, quiet English town, to the Cathedral of Christchurch. It is the only cathedral in New Zealand, and is built from a design of Sir Gilbert Scott's. The transepts and the chancel are in process of building as the funds come in, and the nave is finely proportioned, but the interior as yet presents a very bare, unfinished appearance. We ascended the tower, which has a fine peal of bells, and going out on each of the four balconies on either side, we had as many bird's-eye views of the town and surrounding country. The main streets are cruciform, converging and meeting in the cathedral square. The conformation of the city is laid out on the following plan. In the centre are the streets and shops and public buildings, then a broad belt of parks and public gardens; and now that Christchurch numbers a population of 50,000, it has overflowed beyond into suburbs, which are becoming as populous as the town itself. There are steam and horse tramways, and an abundance of hansom cabs.

We drove out to Riccarton, a suburb three miles away, to see the Hon. George and Mrs. Rodney, friends in England, and then to Ilam, Mr. Leonard Harper's pretty gabled house, with the large English garden, and tennis-grounds, through which runs the swift stream of the Avon. Mr. Scott then took us on to have tea with Mr. and Mrs. Lance at Oakover. Mr. Lance is one of the proprietors of the Middle Park stud, which has done so much to improve the breed of horses in Canterbury. They have nine horses in training for the November races at Christchurch, and were most anxious for[147] us to go out there one day to see the early morning gallop. It is very remarkable how passionately fond every one in Australasia is of horse-racing, and all the chief towns have their race-course, with spring and autumn meetings.

Wednesday, October 15th.—Arrangements had been made for us from Wellington to make an expedition to Horsley Down, to see a sheep-run belonging to Mr. Lance. We started at 7 a.m. in a blinding snow-storm, doubtful as to the wisdom of the start under such circumstances.

We meandered along in the train over the flat Canterbury plain, which is overrun with beautiful yellow gorse. So profuse has become its growth, that, though it is useful to them for hedges, the farmers look upon it as a nuisance. It has been remarked that they are truly ungrateful about it; for thirty years ago this rich plain was one vast field of tussock grass, with not a bush or shrub growing on it, and the gorse was planted by the first settlers to form some protection for the crops and cattle. The whole of the Canterbury Plain is let in small holdings, varying from 200 to 500 acres, and the farms look most thriving and prosperous. All the cottages, farm-houses, and station premises are roofed with corrugated iron zinc, and our loathing of this wearisome material that is used in such prodigious quantities in the colonies began. With a felt lining it forms a warm, durable, and cheap roofing, easily erected without skilled labour. When whole houses were erected of it I could never lose the idea that they were the mission chapels of dissent at home. The North Island is a barren and sterile desert when compared to the prosperity and population of the South Island, but then the North Island belongs chiefly to the Maoris, and this to the English in the north, and the Scotch in the south. To have seen only the North Island would be to see New Zealand in its primitive state; to have seen the South Island—New Zealand in the full vigour of a rapid development. The fact that the great shipping and commercial interest of the Islands is at Dunedin, and the great educational and agricultural centre at Christchurch, alone evidences the superiority of the south.

We left the plain, and began a gradual ascent, through a pass in the hills, where the scene grew wild and bleak, and by 11 p.m. we were at the small station of Waikari. Mr. Lance met us with a smart dog-cart and tandem, and we had a beautiful though bitterly cold drive, going along a[148] smooth flat road for seven miles, to the station at Horsley Down. We passed a few huts and tumble-down shanties, belonging to "croppers," or men who break up and "crop" the land for a couple of years, at a rent of ten shillings per acre, after which it is sown in grass for the owner, the cropper moving elsewhere.

It was wonderful in this bleak, hilly country, generally called "tussock land," to see what changes of colour and vivid bits of colouring there were; a patch of bright green against the dark earth of a newly-ploughed field, the yellow of the tussock-grass against the bit of chalky grey cliff, and over all the clear wintry sky flecked with clouds. The range of Southern Alps before us were clothed in a pure white covering of newly fallen snow, looking blue in the shadows of the gullies; their highest peaks rise to a height of from 7000 to 10,000 feet, and as we approached nearer to their dazzling whiteness we saw the station lying underneath them, the "run" stretching up to the lower ranges.

Mr. Lance, with his brother, has 120,000 acres, on which he runs 70,000 merino sheep. The sheep are managed by an overseer and six shepherds, all Highlanders, who earn 70l. a year each. Except the stud sheep, the flocks are rarely seen from one shearing-time to another, living out on the hills, on the tussock-grass, which gives them excellent pasture. It was strange to think that thousands were lying out in the snow on those hills, and that yet the loss is only two per cent., or the same as cattle-ranching in America when the cattle remain out all the winter. The house was a small lodge, with an Italian fountain in front, which looked singularly out of place, facing towards the range called the Black Hills. There was a thick plantation of tall Scotch firs and eucalypti, growing round the house as a shelter from the fierce winds that blow across these exposed plains. The shearing had been delayed owing to the bad weather, but was to commence the following Friday in the large shed holding thirty-two shearers. These shearers travel about the country, going from one station to another during the shearing season. They are given their "tucker" and bunks in a shed fitted up for that purpose, and are paid at the rate of 1l. per every 100 sheep shorn; and a very good man can shear 100 a day.

We saw the skirting-board on which the fleece is laid out, the locks clipped and rolled up. There it is passed[149] to the judge, who, by the quality of the texture, classifies it into one of the four divisions. So great is the dexterity of this classifier, that a glance will tell him the quality of the staple. A curious story is told in evidence of this. At a large agricultural show held at Christchurch not long ago, the best judge was shown a staple of wool coming from Australia. He immediately identified it as the wool of a brother of "Jason," the celebrated stud ram, which we saw, belonging to Mr. Lance, who gave between 300 and 400 guineas for him.

We saw the pressing machine for packing the bales for export, and "the race," along which the sheep pass in single file, on to the slanting board at the end, from which they involuntarily slide down into the trough filled with Cooper's Sulphuric Mixture. After being dipped in this, and made to swim the length of the trough, they land on another slanting board, that the dip may run off, and none of Cooper's precious mixture be lost. Then they are taken into a shed and branded, those that have been badly cut by the shearer (which but rarely happens) having tar rubbed into the cuts.

Each sheep shorn is accounted worth five shillings. Mr. Lance also kills for export, and recently sent 13,000 frozen carcases to England, which sold for 4½d. per pound. Immediately afterwards the price went up to 6½d. Freight has to be paid before departure, and all risks are with the owner. Merino sheep give the finest wool, but it is less long in the staple than Lincoln's. Their meat, on account of the dark colour, is not much liked in England; but we had an excellent saddle of it for luncheon. Everything about the station was very rough and untidy—they say it is the only way to make it pay; and there were quantities of horses and dogs—but none of good breed or quality. We passed some "swaggers" on the way back to Waikara. These men walk the country with their packs or "swags" on their backs, rolled up in a blanket, and get board and lodging at the stations they pass through. They are never refused a night's shelter and food (for the good reason that a revenge, such as firing the stacks, is dreaded), and there is always accommodation for them in the bunks for the shearers. With shearers, "swaggers," and odd men about the place, there are sometimes 100 extra to feed on the "run," but they are given no beer, and tea is the favourite drink.


We returned to Christchurch, and were home late that evening.

Thursday, October 16th.—I went to the museum in the morning; it is considered the best arranged in the colonies, and owes it to Dr. von Haast. He has obtained specimens from all parts of the world by the exchange of Moa bones, which are found exclusively about Christchurch.

This native bird has been extinct for over 1000 years, but they have several perfect skeletons in the museum, the largest standing twenty-seven feet high.

Then I wandered through the gardens, where there are pretty walks following the windings of the Avon. Whispering avenues of willow-trees overhang the river, and they are nearly always green, only out of leaf for six weeks of the year.

The mayor and Mr. Charles Bowen, who has been prominent in the promotion of education, took C. over the University of New Zealand, Christ College, the High School for boys and girls, and the Normal Schools.

The university has affiliated colleges in Dunedin and Auckland. The degrees it grants are of the first order, and the examinations are conducted by English professors, through the post. Christ's College is a first-rate public school. It has 200 pupils, and boarders and day-boys. The terms are moderate, its premises very fine, and its system unequalled. At the High School for girls a first-rate education is given for sixteen guineas a year. C. found the president, a young lady of no small personal attraction, arrayed in a Master of Arts gown, teaching a class of girls the sixth book of Euclid; and another lady-professor was eloquently lecturing on the Latin derivation of French verbs. At the Normal Schools, an absolutely free and admirable education is given by the state to 1200 boys and girls, including many whose parents are in prosperous if not affluent circumstances.

There is very pleasant genial society at Christchurch, and it is by far the most English of all the towns in Australasia. We agreed afterwards in thinking that we should have chosen to live there, were we coming to settle in the colonies.

Friday, October 17th.—We left Christchurch by the express at 8 a.m. for Dunedin. It is called express only by comparison with the usual speed of fifteen miles, and I suppose[151] travels about twenty miles an hour, taking just twelve hours to reach Dunedin.

We passed over the Canterbury Plains with their golden lines of yellow gorse hedges, bounded on one side by the Southern Alps,—that mighty backbone of the South Island, covered with freshly fallen snow—and by the ocean on the other.

The line gradually converged towards the sea, until we ran along the shore, as we reached Timaru.

After leaving Timaru, we ought to have seen the weather-worn peak of Mount Cook, the highest (10,000 feet) point of the Southern Alps, and familiar to many now, from the reading of Mr. Green's interesting account in the High Alps of New Zealand, of his ascent of Mount Cook.

After crossing the stony bed of the Waitaki, which forms the boundary-line between the provinces of Canterbury and Otago, the country may be said to be peopled and owned by the Scotch, who form in the province of Otago one large settlement.

We arrived at Oamaru in the course of the afternoon. The town is very remarkable for these parts, being built of cream-coloured stone, quarried in the neighbourhood and easy to work. It produced such a handsome, solid effect to us, accustomed by this time to the usual frail tenements of wood. A saloon carriage had been sent up from Dunedin for us, and was attached to the train, and I ought to have mentioned that the minister of public works had given us a free pass over all the New Zealand Railways. The railways throughout the country are under the control of government, and do not belong to companies. We noticed how the English names predominated in the stations along the Canterbury portion of the line, showing in many cases the homes of the first settlers in the old country, such as, Norwood, Chertsey, Ealing, Winchester, Richmond, Goodwood, and many others. It was unlike the North Island, where the names are chiefly Maori.

A very wild, beautiful bit of country, noticing the wonderful harbours nature has provided along the deeply indented coast and the train went over the Blueskin Cliffs.

Port Chalmers, with its large dockyard and wharves, looked a pretty seafaring little town, half-built on the peninsula formed by the sea on one side, and the arm of it that runs inland, on the other, making a broad river that passes[152] by Dunedin. A concrete wall has been made, to force the current into a channel which is being gradually deepened, so that vessels of large draught will be able to anchor at the city wharfs. The citizens fully realize the immense importance of this work, and are showing great energy and enterprise, and expending large sums of money on the scheme. Skirting along by the sea, lighted buoys marking the course of the channel, we saw a dark hill before us, illuminated with innumerable bright spots of light, clustering thickly at the bottom, and at 8 p.m. we ran into the station of Dunedin.

The Grand Hotel here is the largest and most handsomely furnished hotel, not only in New Zealand but in the whole of Australasia. The proprietor has to pay 2000l. a year for his ground-rent alone, and thirty years ago that same plot of land is said to have been given in exchange for a cow.

Saturday, October 18th.—The mayor called and took C. over the gaol, the Town Hall, and the new High School. At noon we drove out with Mr. Weldon, the head of the police, and Mr. Cargill, the son of Captain Cargill, the first leader of the colony of Otago, to Burnside, the manufacturing suburb of Dunedin, to see the works of the New Zealand Meat Freezing Company.

The sheep are slaughtered in a line, by eight butchers, who can each kill his fifty a day. The carcases hang for twenty-four hours, and are then placed in the freezing chambers, in a temperature ten or twelve degrees below freezing-point. By means of machinery the air is compressed and reduced to freezing-point, and pumped into the freezing rooms, which are of different degrees of temperature. Putting on extra wraps, we went into these rooms. The thick, misty air was intensely cold, icicles hung from the roof, and the carcases were frosted with ice. We passed between rows and rows of the ghastly carcases, their truncated bodies drooping pathetically towards the ground. Lighted only by a lantern, there was something awful in looking round in the misty dusk and seeing nothing but the pink carcases of hundreds of dead sheep. We tapped them with a hammer, and they resounded like wood. After two days in the freezing-rooms, each carcase is tied into a sack, and is then ready for export. A branch line to the railway runs into the shed, and they are killed, frozen, and shipped at the rate of 1s. 2d. per pound.


On board ship the store chambers are maintained at 20° Fahrenheit, and the meat will keep for any length of time, until thawed.

The meat-freezing trade ought to form one of New Zealand's great exports, with her rich pasture and sheep runs, and small home consumption; but several large meat-freezing companies have lately temporarily suspended operations, owing to the fall in price of the English market. The exporters say it cannot pay them unless the price is maintained between 6d. and 7d. per pound.

We had luncheon with Mr. and Mrs. Cargill at "The Cliffs." It is a concrete house, built on the top of a hill at the cliffs, and commanding a fine view of the coast for many miles. On the ocean beach below, the surf of the South Pacific is for ever rolling in, in long breakers that leave their track of foam on the sandy shore of the cove.

Dunedin was founded in 1848, by a colony of Scotch settlers, under the leadership of Captain Cargill, who, at the instance of the late Thomas Chambers, called the town Dunedin, the ancient name for Edinburgh. It is the largest of the New Zealand towns, is the great centre of commercial activity, and has the finest stone buildings. Princes' Street is broad and handsome, and contains the magnificent structure of the Bank of New Zealand. Besides, there is the Museum, the Post Office, the Hospital, the High School, the University and Government Buildings, all built of the same cream-coloured Bath stone.

There are nine separate municipalities within Dunedin and its suburbs. The entire population is Scotch; and when you think that it is only thirty years ago since the first settlers arrived in Otago, and founded Dunedin, the enterprising citizens may well be proud of

"Our own romantic town."

It is stated that Captain Cargill used to send back and pay the return passage of any emigrants other than Scotch who were landed; and another amusing story is told on this subject apropos of a Chinaman:—

The municipality sent out tenders for some building, and a John MacIver sent in one amongst others. His was accepted, and subsequently he turned out to be a "John Chinaman." When asked why he had assumed that name, he answered, "That no other than a Scotchman or with[154] a Mac before his name had a chance of succeeding here." This story reminds me that nearly all the market-gardening in New Zealand is done by Chinamen. They lay out their gardens on the principle of having no square plots or straight lines, but all in angles and corners; and on a barren acre of land they succeed, where no one else would, in producing an abundant supply of vegetables.

Sunday, October 19th. Dunedin.—A cold, windy Sunday, with frequent storms of hail and sleet. We went to church at St. Paul's, meeting the Salvation Army, which has taken as great a hold on the people out here as it has at home. All the principal churches are of course Presbyterian; the one with the beautiful tapering spire is called the New Church, and another the old Knox Church.

We took the cable car to the top of the hill, to have luncheon with Mr. Twopenny, editor of the Otago Daily Times, and one of the principal organizers of the Melbourne Exhibition; meeting there Mr. Justice Williams, Judge of the Supreme Court.

In the afternoon we drove with the mayor through the Botanical Gardens. They are very prettily laid out, with some bits of native bush left to grow in their own wild luxuriance among the cultivated bushes and shrubs, intertwined with wild clematis, which here has a flower as large and waxy as stephanotis. We also drove along the Port Chalmers Road, cut out on the side of a hill overlooking the valley.

Returning to tea at the mayor's house, we met there the master of the High School, Mr. Wilson, a very clever man. In talking of immigration they said that no member dares to support or advocate it on any platform. The feeling and outcry against it is so strong throughout the country among the working class, who fear the importation of hands will lower the high rate of wages at present existing. A farm labourer earns easily from seven to eight shillings a day, and carpenters, bricklayers, and masons command ten shillings a day; and this is with a comparatively cheap rate of living.

Monday, October 20th.—We left Dunedin by the eight o'clock train for Invercargill, having the same saloon attached, and Mr. Weldon kindly went part of the way with us, returning on a luggage train.


The same bleak, windy weather as yesterday, made the tussock country look, if possible, drearier than ever.

We reached Invercargill at 5 p.m., and went for a walk about the town. The dusty streets stretching out in their dreary length to the flat country beyond, looked peculiarly bare and uninviting. And this impression was increased by the blinds of all the houses being halfway down, for the funeral of the late surveyor-general. The trees do not seem to have had time to grow up, and there is a crude, half-finished look about Invercargill. I must say in a less degree we noticed the same at Dunedin. Both these towns have the sparse, frugal look of the people who inhabit them. The Albion Hotel, where we stayed, was in the High Street, and very commercial. C. went in the evening with some members of the municipality to a volunteer drill. He looked in afterwards at the Athenæum Club opposite, which is well-arranged and organized, and is open for the use of ladies also.

Tuesday, October 21st.—We left Invercargill by the 6.45 train in the morning, to make an expedition to Lake Wakitipu (pronounced Wakitip). The train was very slow, though there are many stations along the line, where they only stop if there are passengers, a whole list in Bradshaw being "starred" for this purpose. Passing through one of the many sheep runs, a flock had got loose on the line, and we ran over an old ewe in spite of all precautions.

There was a notice put up at one of the stations, about the rabbit pest, which is nearly as bad here as in Australia, giving warning that after the 1st of November, poisoning by laying down phosphorescent corn was to begin. This method of poisoning was invented by a man who was being ruined by the devastation of rabbits on his property. The discovery came too late to save him, and he went bankrupt; but now he devotes all his time to trying to save others by disseminating the knowledge of his discovery.

Ranges of hills covered with snow, now succeeded to the flat plains. We were quite near the snow line, and I noticed how the hills, without sloping, descended sheer down on to the plain. We arrived at Kingston at the head of Lake Wakitipu, and found the steamer, the Mountaineer, moored at the wharf. There ensued a very long waiting, whilst the cargo was leisurely put on board.


It was two hours after the train had come in, before the last whistle sounded, to be quadrupled by the echo from the surrounding mountains; and we were off.

We had the most heavenly afternoon for our trip up the lake, with no wind, and the perfect stillness allowing the outline of the mountains to be faithfully mirrored and reflected back on the calm surface of the lake.

To the right there is a wild range of rocky terraces known as the "Devil's Staircase," and here the water was of an ordinary blue, but on the other, and under the lee of the dark mountains, it was of transparent marine green, very beautiful to behold.

Lake Wakitipu is sixty miles long, varying from three to four miles in width. The surface of the lake is 1000 feet above the level of the sea, but its bed is 300 feet below. The water is intensely cold, and any one drowned in this lake never comes to the surface again. The body is believed to become frozen before it reaches the bottom, so great is the depth and so icy the temperature.

The great peculiarity and remarkable beauty of Lake Wakitipu lies in the precipitous mountains that descend sheer into the lake in one straight line, varying from 3000 to 9000 feet. There are no undulating slopes or breaks in the range; no peeps of the country outside the mountains, which rise up as a fixed and impassable barrier, shutting us in whichever side we turn—making us unconsciously long for a glimpse of the outer world.

The captain of the Mountaineer told me that it is believed (from soundings) that the formation of the bed of the lake assumes the same shape as the mountains above; therefore, if we could look down into their icy depths, we should see the phenomenon of mountains turned upside down. It struck me as being a very pretty but fantastic theory.

We had been too early in the year for the other parts of the islands, but at Wakitipu we had come exactly at the right time, for the mountains were yet covered with snow. They looked so beautiful with it lying in smooth unbroken surfaces on the summits, and dwindling down to lie along the ridges, or in isolated patches below the snow line. Underneath that again there lay a moraine of stones and rocks, or a bit of bush flourishing in a ravine. The lights and shadows had full[157] play on the rounded arms and jutting peaks of the mountains that afternoon, and sitting on the deck in the warm sun, we thoroughly enjoyed the two hours' trip to Queenstown.

Lake Wakitipu, New Zealand

Lake Wakitipu, New Zealand.

We entered the natural harbour, and[158] passed at the entrance the wooden triangle, with the black line, showing the height of the flood some years ago, which nearly destroyed the township. It was caused by a freshet, from the sudden melting of the snow after several days of unusual heat.

The cragged top of Ben Lomond, wreathed with snow, and that splendid range of "The Remarkables," form a wonderfully grand background to the humble roofs of the charming little village of Queenstown.

There is a sleepy look about the few stragglers on the wharf, waiting for the steamer to come in, and a primitive air about the little hotel just opposite, with a stout landlady standing on the steps, to see what guests will arrive.

The peninsula with the tall eucalyptus trees jutting out into the lake is called "the park." You go over a bridge and through a turnstile to reach it, and find a disused cannon at the end, pointed down the lake. It is all very quiet and dull, and sounds uninteresting, but we thought it so pretty, and that Queenstown was one of the few places we had come to that we should care to linger in.

There are beautiful walks and drives by the side of the lake, up the mountains, or through the pass that leads to the village of Arrowtown.

Queenstown is the centre of the Otago gold diggings, mining operations being carried on in some of the mountains round about, and many is the story we heard of a sudden leap into wealth by the accidental find of gold. These "finds" are often rendered valueless by the want of water for working them, but the "claim" which the owner takes out, by paying a small sum to the government, entitles him to the first use of the water nearest the digging.

Trout have been introduced, and they are annually hatching 160,000 of salmon ova to be turned into the lake, in the hope that it may become a large industry, as with a freezing apparatus they could be sent home to England. A law was passed that trout were only to be caught with a line, but now they have become so large, weighing from eighteen to twenty pounds, that government is to be petitioned to legalize the already surreptitiously used net.

Wednesday, October 22nd.—We spent a quiet morning, one of the first we have had for a long time, with nothing particular to do but wander along the shore of the lake. The weather looked unpromising and rough for the proposed[159] trip to the head of the lake later on, but it changes here with the wind, which may be said to shift round twenty or thirty times a day—and by the afternoon the lake was calm and the weather bright.

The steamer was late in being signalled, and when she came alongside the jetty there was a flock of sheep to be disembarked, refusing in a body to move, till one was dragged off as a "decoy," when they all followed "like a flock of sheep." Altogether we were two hours late in starting. The captain, the engineer, and the steward, greeted us again as old friends, and we felt quite at home on the Mountaineer.

We had not realized till we got away from Queenstown what a splendid range "the Remarkables" were, with their serrated peaks and depressed edges filled with snow, running in ridges of downwards or crossway lines. The mountains were grander and gloomier, rising to a greater height here than in the lower part of the lake.

The flattened top of the Necklace Mountain forms the landmark where the steamer turns the White Point into the upper end of the lake. We had to go six miles out of our course to land a shepherd on a small pier, throwing his dog overboard to swim after him. The steamer stops wherever it is wanted, and a fire is lighted as a signal on the shore, or two in cases of sickness.

We were very glad of this divergence, because our course took us straight across the lake, in full view of all the glory and beauty of that grand collection of snow domes which shut in the lake at the head.

Monarch above all rose Mount Earnslaw, 9000 feet above the sea level, with his long saddle of pure white snow leading up on the one side to the arrête, and the small conical peak of the summit. The long descent on the other side is formed of innumerable peaks, and curved round in the shape of a circular basin.

Inside this there is a glacier of many thousand acres in extent, from under a glassy portal in whose side issues a stream called the Rees. In the summer, after the snow has melted away, the glacier takes a beautiful lake-green colour, such as those who have seen it affirm is found nowhere else.

Mr. Green gives a most interesting account, in "The High Alps of New Zealand," of his ascent of Mount Earnslaw, but he only accomplished 6000 feet, and was[160] surpassed last summer by Mr. Walker of Dunedin, who made a further ascent of 300 feet. It is wonderful to think of those eternal glaciers and iron-bound peaks, untouched by the foot of man, for ever destined to be beyond his range.

On either side of us were the Humboldt Range and the picturesque Cosmos, with their sides terraced into steps which are supposed to show the different levels of the glacier lake.

We had not seen a single fine sunset whilst in New Zealand, and if we were destined to see but one, it was well for us that it came on this particular evening. We beheld a sky mottled at first with beautiful opal tints, and then changing to a pearly grey, streaked with pale blue, succeeded in its turn by crimson clouds, that left their rosy traces on the hills, for we had a real Alpine "after-glow" reflected on the dazzling purity of the snow.

The ruddy tinge still lingered on a few high peaks, long after the others were in shade, and we watched regretfully the last warm colouring fade away, and leave them lifeless, cold, and grey, ghastly in the gathering gloom.

We sat on deck muffled in shawls, till Orion and the Southern Cross came up, and the cold wind drove us down into the stuffy little cabin, with its swinging oil lamp.

We arrived at Kinloch in total darkness about 9 p.m. We could only see the wooden pier by the light of the lantern held by an old man (we found it was full of holes the next morning), and we stumbled after him up a rough pathway. The Mountaineer sent forth a shrill shriek on the still night air, that echoed from the mountains round, and in the darkness we heard the steamer ploughing her way across the lake to Garlochie, her night's resting-place. Two girls came out of a hut at the old man's call, and led us up to a deserted cottage on the hill. One brought a shovelful of coals, and lighted the fire, while another found some ends of candle. The house smelt musty and damp, as if it had long been uninhabited. I passed a very disturbed night, thinking I heard sounds outside, and the situation was strange and lonely, for we were in a deserted house, in an isolated spot, and with the front door standing wide open all night.

We were called at half-past five for the steamer, which we heard giving warning whistles, and saw coming across from Garlochie. We had a delicious morning for our[161] return journey down the lake, seeing One Tree and Pidgeon Islands, which we had missed in the darkness last night, and Mount Earnslaw for the last time, looking superb in the clear morning air.

Twenty-five miles away lie the beautiful Sounds of the West Coast, but the road between the lake and the coast is as yet unpierced. I have seen pictures and heard descriptions of Milford and Dusky Sounds, and they must be very beautiful, but at present the Union S.S. Company only run one excursion steamer there during the year.

We stayed an hour at Queenstown, and reached Kingston at 1 p.m. The train left half an hour afterwards, and we arrived at Invercargill at eight that evening to find a gale blowing that augured badly for the morrow.

Lake Wakitipu will soon become the favourite resort for the business men of Dunedin, and we thought it as beautiful as Lucerne or any of the Italian lakes; not so pretty perhaps, on account of the want of vegetation, but grander and more sublime in the outline of the mountains.

We were leaving New Zealand the next day, and with the greatest regret. The homely geniality and hospitality that we had met with during our sojourn in both islands had made the few weeks spent there full of pleasant recollections. Afterwards, when our travels were all over and we were home once more, I found we always looked back to New Zealand as the happiest part of our travels; so thoroughly had we enjoyed our expedition to the Hot Lakes and geysers in the North Island, and to Lake Wakitipu in the South.


Friday, October 24th, Invercargill.—The morning had come on which we were leaving New Zealand, and it was blowing a terrible hurricane.

As we went in the train down to the "Bluff," we received no encouragement as to the abatement of the wind in the waving of the tussock-grass and ti-tree waste we passed through. A simoon was being raised on the vast sand dunes in the distance.

Arrived at the "Bluff," we found the greatest difficulty,[162] from the violence of the wind, in walking along the wooden pier to where we saw the red funnel of the Union S.S. Company's Manapouri. It blinded and deafened us, and we narrowly escaped a terrible accident with an engine that was tearing down upon C., who was walking between the rails on the pier. The driver was not looking, and the noise of the wind carried away all sound of the approaching locomotive. I happened to turn round at the moment when it was just on him, and, with a shriek of horror, was just in time to seize and pull him out of the way.

The "Bluff" is the most detestable place—a cape lying out into the sea where a perpetual gale rages.

The steamer would not sail till six in the evening, having only arrived late that morning, after a terrible night at sea, in the teeth of a head-wind. The passengers in the Social Hall certainly looked as if much suffering had been their lot. All the afternoon the crew were lading grain, and taking on board a large number of cattle. The poor beasts were slung off the railway-trucks and lowered on to the decks by means of a steam-winch, and ropes passed round the body. It was piteous to see their look of terror when suspended in mid-air.

Never were ship people more thoughtful for the comfort of their passengers than on this occasion, when they gave us dinner at half-past five instead of six, that we might have it over before starting; for I venture to say that twenty minutes after starting nearly all the passengers were prostrate in their berths.

No one thought of looking out for the coast-line of Stewart's Island, which is sometimes called the South Island and the other the Middle Island. We had a most terrible night's tossing in the Foveaux Straits, all so very, very ill. We had the advantage of having two cabins opposite each other, but they were very far forward, quite in the bows of the boat, and so we had the full benefit of the motion.

Saturday, the 25th, and Sunday, the 26th, were very blank days for us both, lying miserably ill in our berths. We heard in the distance the strains of the morning and evening service, and around us the more melancholy sounds of many sufferers. To add to our deep depression, C. remembered, and called feebly out to me, that we were thus miserably keeping an anniversary of our wedding-day.


Generally I can count myself a fair sailor, but during this voyage of four days I was pitilessly ill, and C. ate absolutely nothing the whole time.

We were under water for the first forty-eight hours, the waves washing over the hurricane and main decks, and a port-hole having been "stove in" at our end, the water swished down through the passage and into some of the cabins.

Tuesday, October 28th.—Since daylight the coast of Tasmania had been in sight, and going up on deck after breakfast we were just passing by the headland of a curious formation, exactly resembling the Giant's Causeway, or Iona and Staffa. Here we entered the bay formed by the River Derwent opening out to the sea; on which river twelve miles higher up lies the town of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

We were alongside the wharf by 10.30, and in haste to set foot on terra-firma.

I explored the chief street of the town—Manchester Street—whilst C. went to call on the Governor, Sir George Strahan. We found that his Excellency and his Private Secretary, the Hon. John Wallop, were coming by the steamer to Melbourne. Hobart has a very dull, sleepy look, and the people we met in the streets seemed to be chiefly the passengers off the Manapouri. The town, like the whole of Tasmania, is utterly devoid of enterprise. The colony contains 127,000 inhabitants, of whom 2000 are in Hobart. So little has been done to improve the land, that the beef and mutton for home consumption have to be imported from New Zealand—witness our cargo of cattle—and the only flourishing industry is the jam trade, of which 150,000 lbs. are annually sent to Victoria.

Tasmania is an island rich in beautiful scenery—extremely beautiful all Australians tell you,—its mountain-ranges culminate in the lofty peaks of the Cradle Mountain, Ben Lomond, and Mount Humboldt. It is clothed with forests, in which the gum-trees attain to an extraordinary height. The climate is perfect, with a clear atmosphere and cool breeze, so that Tasmania has come to be the great sanatorium of Australia. When the heat of the summer declares itself in Melbourne and Sydney, there is a general exodus to Tasmania, and Hobart is gay during its season of three months.[164] It seemed to me as if the Australians must be rather pushed to it for a watering-place if they make Hobart their principal one.

The Manapouri had gone round to the cattle-wharf to swim the cattle ashore, and, thus stranded, we wandered about exploring the dull sleepiness of the little town. Then we went for a drive through the Domain in order that I might see Government House. It is a beautiful castellated mansion, built in the old days of transportation to Van Diemen's Land, and when convict labour was cheap. The gardens run down to the Derwent, whose waters are so still and broad that you quite think it is a lake in the park. We drove next through Macquarie Street, an interminable street, called after a former governor, who gave his name to many places, perpetuating it seemingly as far and as long as possible. On either side were the fashionable residences of Hobart, small houses standing back from the road, like suburban villas. Already we saw no tree but the "eternal gum-tree," which alone flourishes in Australia. Its dull blue foliage formed the covering to the extreme summit of the rounded dome of Mount Wellington. Our drive to the Cascade ended in the Cascade Brewery, the waterfall being a walk of a mile farther.

C. paid a long visit to Mr. Solly, the Under-Secretary, who gave him a great deal of information about Tasmania. The Premier, the Hon. Adye Douglas, was unfortunately out of town for the day, but he came on board later in the evening. We went at four to the House of Assembly. They accommodated us with chairs on the floor of the House, and it was most uncomfortably shy work, passing before the Speaker's chair to reach them in the face of the assembled members.

We took on board an immense theatrical troupe of sixty, and their paraphernalia and scenery, which had to be lowered scene by scene into the hold, delaying us for two hours, so that it was eight o'clock before we left Hobart.

We had half thought of going overland from Hobart to Launceston, so as to see the interior of Tasmania, but we were deterred by the twelve hours' crossing of Bass's Straits in a wretched steamer. We bought some of the pretty Tasmanian shells, but I was disappointed in not being able to get any of the native cat-skins, whose soft dark fur with white spots makes such pretty trimmings. They are scarce now, as Government has protected them from the too great depredations that were being practised. The same protection has also had to be extended to the opossums to save them from total annihilation.

Government House, Melbourne

Government House, Melbourne.

Page 165.


Thursday, October 30th.—About 11 a.m. we entered the Heads at Port Phillip, passing into the beautiful Hobson's Bay, which extends for forty miles on either side of us, and is forty miles in length from the Heads to the mouth of the Yarra. The weather became instantly warmer in the bay, and every one came up on deck to sun themselves. We passed the little island on which lies the watering-place of Queenscliff, a few houses, with a monster hotel. Later on the Quarantine Station and Sorrento, a favourite resort for holiday-makers, and then we saw Melbourne, or rather its two suburbs of Brighton and St. Kilda. Twenty miles off there were the dark ranges of Dandenong, a spur of the Gipps Land Mountains forming a gloomy background to Melbourne, and to the west Geelong on the Bay of Como, with the single peak of the "Anakies." All vessels have to pass ten miles up the Yarra, and anchor at the docks at Williamstown. At the mouth of the river opposite Sandridge we stopped to take the pilot on board, and the steam launch, with the Governor's Aide-de-camp, sent to meet the Governor of Tasmania, came alongside. Captain Hughes was the bearer of a letter from the Governor, Sir Henry Brougham Loch, with a cordial invitation to us to Government House. We landed at the wharf at Sandridge. There was a guard of honour of the Victorian Permanent Artillery Force drawn up to salute the Governor, and Mr. Chomley, the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Constabulary, welcomed us. Long before we arrived at Government House we saw the enormous pile of buildings, with the tower which forms the finest Government House of the colonies, and is the largest stone dwelling-house in Australasia. Some people think the building extremely ugly, and talk of the tower as the "chimney of a manufactory," but in any case it presents a suitably imposing appearance. Passing through the stone gateway, with the carved armorial bearings, and the lodge used as a guard-house, we drove up to one of the several handsome portico entrances. The arrangement of the reception-rooms is excellent. They are entirely apart from the everyday rooms, and have two separate entrances (one of which is kept as the entrée), that leads to the yellow satin-lined drawing-room, the state dining-room, and magnificent ball-room, which is twenty feet longer than that of Buckingham Palace.


The party staying in the house were Sir William Robinson, Governor of South Australia, and Miss Robinson, with Mr. Williams as A.D.C., Sir George Strahan and Mr. Wallop, Lord William Nevill and the staff, consisting of Lord Castlerosse, Captain Trail, Captain Seymour Hughes, and Mr. Sturgis.

C. and I went into the town in the afternoon to fetch our letters at the post-office, and were gladdened by a large budget of home news. We were struck with the excellent arrangements for obtaining the letters, and the post-office is a magnificent building outside. It seemed so strange and bewildering at first, to see crowded streets once more, the carriages going in single file, and the people jostling each other on the pavements; for all the country-folk are in town just now, come up for "the Cup" and the race-week.

In the evening we went to a grand fancy ball, given by Sir William and Lady Clarke at the Town Hall, which was beautifully decorated with flowers; the platform at the end being made into a bower of tree-ferns. The ball was a magnificent sight, with 1200 people in costumes of every period, interspersed with uniforms of the navies and armies of several nations. The dresses were much more elaborate and expensive than you would generally see at a fancy ball in England.

It was very strange to think that night of our first introduction to Australia—a fancy ball in Melbourne; very strange to think of a round of gaieties going on in the Antipodes, with not less "rush" than in the London season at home.

Saturday, November 1st, was the "Derby Day" of the Melbourne races. We left Government House at noon, a party of fourteen on the coach, with the Governor driving. They had considerately watered the roads, and we did not suffer from the dust, which usually rises in clouds in the broad streets of Melbourne. We drove round to the members' entrance, and up the centre of the course, pulling up opposite to the judge's stand. The Governor and Lady Loch were conducted to the vice-regal box in the centre of the stand by the stewards and the secretary of the Victoria Racing Club, Mr. Byron Moore, the band playing "God save the Queen;" and the first race, fixed for 1 p.m., then came off. There was general interest taken in this race, on account of many of the horses running in it being entered for "the Cup."

The Flemington race-course is extremely pretty, much[167] more so than the course at Ascot, and the arrangements for the races are quite perfect in every respect. There is a beautiful lawn in front of the grand stand, on which the band plays, with a raised concrete terrace leading to the stand. Above that again is the artificial hill on which you see placarded sundry numbers. These numbers indicate the rendezvous of the smaller bookmakers after the race, for which privilege they pay a yearly rent of 10l. There are luncheon and refreshment rooms, and the ladies' cloakrooms are large and spacious, with every toilette requisite, even down to the pin-cushion with needles ready threaded with different shades of silk, and which we were shown with great pride, as an example of the completeness of the minor details. The charge for the stand is only 10s., all inclusive. There is a separate room for the Press, communicating with the top of the stand, where they have their own operators and telegraph-line. Thus they can come down from the stand and send off the result instantly after witnessing the race. There is no rowdyism and no crowding; everybody is well-dressed and well-behaved. The betting-ring is away from the stand and lawn, and bookmakers are not allowed beyond the board marked "Silence!" There is a machine on the judge's stand, the spring of which the starter presses as the horses are off, and the hand goes round during the race, marking the minutes and seconds. The course was capitally cleared by the mounted police.

It was a very pretty sight, warm and sunny on the lawn and not unpleasantly crowded. People were magnificently, and, with a very few glaring exceptions, tastefully dressed. The tendency here is always towards bright and rather too striking contrasts; but pretty faces and pretty gowns were plentiful. The Racing Club provided the luncheon for the Governor and his party in the reserved room at the back of the stand, and there was a profusion of invitations to tea in the tents by the reserved space for carriages and the two or three four-in-hands which appeared.

The great race of the day, the "Derby of Australasia," was run at 3.30. Bargo was the hot favourite, but came in at the finish nowhere, and Rufus proved the winner of the Derby, amid intense excitement.

We left immediately afterwards, the Governor being cheered as he drove off the course.

We went to the Bijou Theatre in the evening, when Miss[168] de Grey's Company performed "Moths" by "vice-regal command," as we learnt by the white satin printed programmes.

As we came out we heard the sound of dull cheers at the entrance, and the police with difficulty kept the path open for the Governor and Lady Loch; the enthusiastic crowd broke through as they drove off, and a most exciting scene ensued, the policemen vainly pommelling and fisticuffing the good-natured roughs, and we entered the carriage amid a general scrimmage. It was only the true "larrikin" element, showing itself after the races and on a Saturday night.

Sunday, November 2nd.—We went to a church, chiefly remarkable for the extraordinary height of its pulpit; and walked to it along the dusty bit of the St. Kilda road, and over the cranky wooden bridge. There is a dispute between the town and the adjoining municipality about the possession of this particular piece of road, and neither will allow its watering-carts to go over it—with destructive results.

The Botanical Gardens which we went through in the afternoon are most beautifully kept, with acres of mown grass, bright borders of flowers, and shrubs and trees of all kinds. There is a very pretty fern-tree gully, and a large artificial sheet of water, forming a lake in the centre. The gardens lie on the slope of two hills, and the paths winding in and out give it a very extensive appearance. They adjoin the garden of Government House, and Baron von Mueller has been greatly instrumental in their attaining to their present excellence. Such brilliant masses of flowers we saw growing in wild luxuriance. There were rose-bushes trailing on the ground, orange and lemon groves, camellias, and magnolias, bougainvillea and boronia, mixing with all our familiar commoner kinds, as geranium, verbena, lobelia, heliotrope, convolvulus, oleander, larkspur, cape jessamine, and many others.

Monday, November 3rd.—We determined not to let another day pass without seeing something of Melbourne and its public buildings. We took a hansom and drove down Swanston, Collins, and Bourke Streets. Collins Street is the fashionable promenade, and crowded in the afternoon. One of the most noticeable things about the streets of a town like this is the absence of tramways, only omnibuses and hansoms ply, and that curious "growler" of Melbourne, the two-wheeled, covered waggonette. They[169] are laying wood pavement in Collins Street, and are talking of having cable cars. There is a strict "rule of the road" here which obliges drivers to walk across all crossings. We passed the Mint and the new Law Courts; drove up to Sir Samuel Wilson's beautiful hall, which he has built and presented to the town at a cost of 30,000l.; round the Medical College and Museum; and beyond to Ormond College, built by Mr. Ormond. We saw Exhibition Buildings, where the International Melbourne Exhibition was held in 1800-81; the Roman Catholic Cathedral; and then we came to the Parliamentary Buildings.

Mr. Jenkins, Clerk of the House, showed us through these. They are at present unfinished; but from the model that we saw in the hall, they will be a splendid pile of buildings when finished, surmounted by a dome, and estimated to cost 1,200,000l. The contract will soon be decided on, but for the past three years the members from various parts of Victoria have been disagreeing over the material for the building, each member advocating the stone found in his particular district. The library is a fine room, with a gallery upstairs devoted to the local newspapers interesting to the individual members. The house of assembly is very commonplace; but the Legislative Council chamber is rather original, decorated in crimson and gold and lighted from the half-domes in the ceiling. It looks like the room of some old Italian palace. The Council is elected by the people for five years, differing in this from New Zealand and some of the other colonies of Australia, where the members of the Legislative Council are nominated by the Governor for life. The Legislative Assembly is elected by universal suffrage, and the members receive a salary of 300l. a year. The vestibule is very fine and painted dead white, with a marble statue of the Queen in the centre. There is of course a dining-room and bar attached; but there is also the unusual provision of two billiard-tables. They affirm that it operates as the best "whip," and that Government and Opposition members are thrown together by it, and lose somewhat of their mutual acerbity in the friendly conflict of the billiard-balls.

We next drove to the Public Library, a low stone building with a broad flight of steps; it includes the Picture Gallery and Museum. In the latter there are models of some splendid nuggets found in Victoria, including those of the famous "Blanche Barkly" and "Welcome" nuggets, that weigh over 2000 ounces each. The Picture Gallery is[170] the nucleus of a good national collection which is forming. They have several pictures by our R.A.'s, and the latest addition to it has been Miss Thompson's "Roll Call," for which they have given the sum of 4000l.[3]

The Library is much frequented by all classes, especially in the newspaper-room, where we saw many working-men looking at the papers. It contains some very interesting and valuable books and prints, many of which have been collected and arranged by Sir George Verdon, who takes great personal interest in the Library.

Melbourne has no drainage of any kind; but yet its deathrate is only the same as in London. The Van Yean waterworks, sixteen miles away, supply water to the town. The reservoir contains over six billions of water.

And now, having seen Melbourne, the great metropolis of Australasia—its public buildings, its busy thoroughfares and general "go a-head" look—we must be continually thinking and remembering that it is little more than fifty years ago since the Hentys, sons of Mr. Thomas Henty, a banker in Sussex, were the first settlers in Victoria, and less than fifty years ago since John Fawkner "pitched his tent on the rising ground" of the future site of Melbourne. We met Mr. Henty whilst in Melbourne, the descendant of these first settlers, and owner now of many thousands of acres in Victoria.

My husband had already seen the Premier, Mr. Service, who was most cordial; and all the ministers expressed a wish to be of use to him, or to give him any information in their power. The Daily Telegraph, the Herald, and other papers had interviewed him. Melbourne possesses the best paper in the colonies in the Melbourne Argus, and has the advantage of having Mr. Julian Thomas, the well-known author of the "Vagabond Papers," among its contributors. The Age is also a most excellent paper. The Australasian and Federal Australian are the best weekly papers, and are ably edited.

Tuesday, November 4th.—To-day was the "Cup Day," the greatest event in the racing calendar of Australasia, the "blue ribbon" of their turf.

Melbourne was en fête, with its shops closed and work suspended everywhere—a general holiday. Those who were not at the races, were in the streets looking at those who were going, and there was a look of generally suppressed excitement as to how the event of the day would turn out.


It is very difficult for us at home, with our interest spread over such a much larger area, to realize the intense, the concentrated interest that is felt throughout Australia on the result of "The Cup." It has been the object of speculation, of discussion, and of incessant anxiety to millions for the past few weeks. The excitement is reaching the culminating point to-day, and there are not a few whose interest at stake is so large that they tremble and long for the day to be over—in short, it is the red-letter day of the Australasian Year Book.

We joined in the general feeling of expectation, as we drove along in the stream of carriages that from every sidestreet and road converged to the main one, flowing towards Flemington race-course. As we neared the scene, we saw that the hill behind the stand was black with the mass of human beings upon it, and the lawn and the terrace were crowded. In our royal progress up the course, the Governor received an ovation of loyalty in the cheers and enthusiasm of the densely packed crowd.

The first race was over hurdles, and after the second we went to luncheon. It was not quite such a pleasant day as the previous Saturday, on account of the great crowd. The pretty toilettes were not so well seen, being lost among the many ugly ones, for the "country cousin" contingent were in strong force to-day.

"The Cup" was run at 4 p.m. Never shall I forget the strain and tension on every face as the cry passed up, "They are off!" the few quick observations that escaped some as the horses passed the stand, and then the strange stillness that prevailed as we watched the coloured specks flying along the horizon, as the horses settled down to their work. The minutes were ages! Life seemed suspended in that mass of human beings. The strain and tension suddenly gave way as the horses were "round the corner," and a faint hum ran along far away down the black line, "They are coming!" and the murmur rose into cheers, and the cheers into shouts, and the shouts ended by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs, as, amidst the most intense and extraordinary excitement, "Malua," the winner of The Cup of 1884, flew past the judge's box. "Commotion" ran second.

We took up life again where we had left it, and breathed freely once more.

Rushing down, we pushed our way through the crowds in time to see the horses "weighed in" in the paddock, by[172] special permission from one of the stewards. A royal progress "Malua" made back to the paddock. The crowd leaned over the barrier and cheered, and vociferated, "Well done, 'Malua;' well done!" and her jockey raised his cap many a time in acknowledging the cheers of the populace, for "Malua" had been the general favourite.

We saw all the horses weighed in. The jockeys looked such mere stable-boys out of the saddle, and came on to the scales with saddle, cloth, and bridle in their hands. Many of them had to ride with lead weights to bring them up to scale. We drove off the course before the last race—the crowds melting and streaming away over the open plain as soon as "The Cup," the excitement of the day, was over.

Wednesday, November 5th.—Preparations for the ball at Government House that evening were going on all day.

At 10 p.m. the Governor and Lady Loch, with the guests staying in the house and the staff—entered the ball-room and passed down to the dais at the end, whilst the band played "God save the Queen." Eleven hundred invitations had been sent out, but the magnificent ball-room was not too crowded, and Herr Ploch's band in the gallery sent forth dreamy strains. It was nearly 3 a.m. before one of the most successful balls ever given in Government House at Melbourne was finished. It was succeeded the next night by an excellent concert, given by the Metropolitan Liedertafel, under the directorship of Mr. Herz.

Thursday, November 6th.—I went with Lady Loch in the afternoon to an organ recital at the Town Hall. It is a magnificent organ, very celebrated in the colonies, and finer than that of the Albert Hall. Driving through the town afterwards, the streets were so full, and the air so fresh and bright that it seemed like some spring afternoon in London, with the season beginning.

Mr. Service, the Premier, Lady Stawell, wife of the Chief Justice, and others, dined in the evening. Some of the party disappeared early to go to a dance in the neighbourhood. There are known to be thirty dances in Melbourne fixed for this month of November. Another favourite form of amusement are large theatre parties. The host invites some twenty or thirty friends to meet him at the theatre on such a night, by a little card printed expressly for this purpose, with R.S.V.P. in the corner. He takes the tickets, but it is the exception for there to be a supper afterwards;[173] and the point of the entertainment appears to be "in whom sits next to who."

Melbourne society is dreadfully divided into cliques and sets, which may be partly attributed to the many suburbs into which the town is partitioned. There are the suburbs of St. Kilda, Brighton, South Yarra, Toorak, Hawthorn, &c.; and drawing an imaginary line from the Town Hall, they may be said to extend out round the town to a distance of six miles. I heard many complaints about the great distances, and the social inconvenience occasioned thereby. We saw Melbourne during its carnival of the race-week, and it would not be fair to judge of its gaieties, which were overwhelming just at that time; but I believe it is a fact that all who possibly can, do give dances, small and frequently. There are two houses in which dancing floors have been laid on carriage springs, and all the large houses have their separate ball-room. We were surprised to find how beautifully appointed were most of these houses, though outside they all look much the same, and merely handsome villa residences. Dress is much thought of, and people in Melbourne dress very handsomely, very expensively, but too brilliantly. Not a few of its residents have their gowns and bonnets out from the best London houses.


Buck-jumping was the order for Friday, November 7th. At three in the afternoon,[174] besides ourselves, some fifty others were collected in the paddock to see the famous "buck-jumping" of Australian horses. Those that we saw were provided by Mr. Chomley, picked out from the police paddock at Dandenong; but though they may have been picked buck-jumpers, most Australian horses, for reasons unknown, are born with buck-jumping propensities, which are only knocked out of them by the "rough-riders." So successful are these trainers, that a fortnight after the exhibition we were seeing, they will be used on patrol duty. The first process of difficulty is the saddling and mounting, for which the horse has to be blindfolded on the near side. No sooner do they feel their rider vaulting into the saddle with his knees firmly inserted under the "croppers," or large pommels which you see in all colonial saddles, than they rise up into the air, and descend with their fore-legs stiffened straight out, and, tucking their head between them, kick viciously out behind. One horse always tried to kick the spur, which has to be pretty freely used, for if once they stood still, they would buck their rider out of the saddle in a trice; and it is found to be of great importance that they should be mastered at the first try. Another horse whinnied, quivering with suppressed rage, and after some convulsive wriggling, rushed headlong at the fence behind which we were standing. The rough-riders ride so splendidly that they seem part of the horse, rising and falling with the movement of the bucking. Sometimes, when the horse cannot rid himself of them in any other way, he has been known to wriggle himself out of the saddle, causing it to slip over his head.

A most excellent account of the buck-jumping appeared in the Argus of the next morning, from which I give the following extracts:—

"The first mount was given to Evans, one of the rough-riders. He had to deal with a rakish-looking bay with a wicked eye, who arched his back like a hedgehog when the saddle was put on him. As soon as Evans vaulted into the saddle, the brute gracefully waltzed round three times to gird up his loins, and then, putting his head between his fore-legs, charged into the fence, bucking all the way. Evans slipped adroitly from the saddle as the horse came to the ground, and quickly remounting him, stuck to the saddle like a centaur till the animal was perfectly subdued. The[175] next comer was a bay mare, who showed the most accomplished tactics, but Priestly, a Sale trooper, was an adept in all the artifices of 'pig jumping,' and spinning on all fours, with perplexing gymnastics to vary the programme. A grey half-bred Arab showed the fire in his blood as soon as he was led out, but Fawkner got safely into his seat while the girths were threatening to part, and enjoyed a jump of twenty-five feet and a teetotum-like twirl at the first bound, as a sample of what was to come. But the greatest treat was to come. Simpson, a professional horsebreaker, got on a brown, blue light mare, which submitted to be saddled as quietly as a lady's palfrey, but as soon as she felt Simpson's weight, she wildly rose upright, and went right across the paddock in a series of the wildest rearing freaks. Simpson rode stirrupless for fear the horse should fall back upon him, and by a combination of the rarest pluck, judgment, grip, and nerve, kept his balance apparently as easily as if he was sitting in a rocking-chair. Each time the maddened creature sprang up erect, he coolly clasped his hands under the mare's neck, and swayed as gracefully as a circus-track performer. When at last he rode back with the mare quite under control, he was loudly applauded. Priestly then rode a bay, which, getting under weigh at full gallop, darted for the fence, taking imaginary fences on the journey, while the trooper sat well back, the model of a close, firm seat. After colliding with the fence, the bay broke away across the paddock, but was safely brought up at the lower end. The last exhibitor was old Anchorite, a faithful performer in harness for sixteen years, but a twenty-year-old bucker. Since he was sold to the department, rough-riders innumerable have tried to subdue the old warrior's aversion to the saddle, but with how little success we saw yesterday. Anchorite is not so lissom as some of his younger competitors for evil distinction, but he has learned a few lessons which would be peculiarly disconcerting to a novice. He fell with Simpson, in making a supreme effort to stand upon his nose, but seeing this trooper's performance in the previous round, the spectators were satisfied that nothing quadrupedal which would keep upon its legs would unseat him. As a matter of fact none of the riders were thrown, although several of their horses came down; and it is gratifying to be able to say that the Australian sport of riding buck-jumpers was, with[176] the exception of Evans, displayed by Australian-born riders."

Saturday, November 8th.—We went to the last day of the races, the "Steeple-chase Day," as it is called, because of the second race on the card. At the wooden fence of 4 ft. 7 in., which was immediately succeeded by a stone wall, and opposite the stand, we saw two horses come down. One jockey recovered, and went on over the stone wall in such a plucky manner that he was loudly applauded. A little farther on poor "Friendless," a favourite horse, broke his shoulder over the hurdles, and had to be shot.

The Canterbury Plate caused great interest, because "Malua" and "Commotion," the first and second winners of the "cup," were to meet again. Amid a scene of great excitement "Malua" was beaten, and "Commotion" came in first.

It was a bright, warm day, but the pretty toilettes were exhausted, and the novelty of the scene had passed away. The Victoria Racing Clubs set a good example to other race-meetings by extending their four days' racing over the space of a week.

Monday, November 10th.—The Prince of Wales's birthday, and observed as a public holiday throughout the colonies.

What an excellent thing it would be if His Royal Highness and the Princess of Wales were to visit Australasia. They would receive the unanimous welcome of a mighty people such as even they have not yet known.

The Governor and his staff started with C. and Mr. Wallop for Brighton, where there was a grand review of the Victorian naval and military forces, ending in a sham fight, the enemy landing from nine vessels of war, and being repulsed by the militia on shore. It was terribly sultry and close, and they all came home late, very dusty, tired and hot, to go to a state banquet, given by the Mayor elect at the Town Hall that evening.

Tuesday, November 11th.—We made an expedition for the day to Ballarat to see the gold-mine belonging to the Band and Albion Company. Captain Dale, of H.M.S. Diamond, came with us, and we left Spencer Street Terminus at 11 a.m. Two hours in the train brought us to Geelong, where we stopped fifteen minutes for luncheon.

Geelong is prettily situated on Corio Bay, a continuation[177] of Port Phillip. It has 23,000 inhabitants now, but once it hoped to rival Melbourne. The country we passed through was flat and uninteresting, though all under cultivation; but here you would rather require six acres for one sheep, instead of the six sheep to one acre of some parts of New Zealand.

Now we were able fully to realize the exceeding monotony of the blue gum, which we had previously heard so much about. Nature has fixed upon the gum or eucalyptus-tree as the tree appropriate to Australian soil, and wherever you look you see its straggling branches, and dull, ineffective, blue foliage, with light grey stems. They grow too luxuriantly, as in many places we saw fields that were being cleared of them by "barking" or cutting a ring on the trunk, some four feet above the ground, causing death through the non-communication of the sap. But it is a noticeable fact that much that is imported or grows in Australia, seems to flourish too freely. Take the cacti, the thistles, the sweetbriar, all of which are a plague to the farmer. Look at the "rabbit pest," which has ruined many owners of land, and which still remains the great problem of Australian agriculture. Each separate Government has spent thousands annually in trying to reduce the pest, but to no avail, as it appears the more they are destroyed the more they generate. They are now talking of building at an enormous cost a rabbit-proof wall all along the border of South Australia and New South Wales. Several station owners combined together, and spent in one year the sum of 20,000l. on the extirpation of rabbits, and on one run 1,000,000 were destroyed in a year, or over 27,000 per day.

Some of the houses in the villages we passed through were roofed with "shingles" or narrow strips of wood. They are cheap and easily obtained, but calculated only to last some five or six years.

We arrived at Ballarat at 3 p.m., and found Mr. Tyrell, the Superintendent of the Police, waiting at the station for us with his buggy. He drove us quickly out to the Band and Albion Mine.

We had to wait whilst the night "shift" at four o'clock went down the shaft, and we watched the windlass, which winds the cage up and down by machinery, and which in this case is made of wire rope of one single piece, in[178] place of the manilla rope usually used in mines. I had to dress up in an old petticoat and loose jacket, with waterproof boots; and looked like an old bathing woman when ready to go down the shaft. The mine manager was there, and he and I and C. got into the cage. Three planks of wood, with an iron bar in the centre, to which was attached a hook for the rope, suspended us over the shaft. There was room for two on either side, and we had to stand quite still and straight. Down we shot into pitch darkness, through the narrow hole just large enough for the platform which grated against the sides, so exact was the fit, and often jerked with the uneven winding of the pulley. Down we went into the bowels of the earth, 1005 feet below the surface.

The most curious sensation of descending the shaft is that in the darkness, though you cannot see, you feel that the walls are being passed upwards and not downwards. We flew by the doors of many galleries, going down to the tenth and the last finished shaft. They are sinking yet another now, and were getting rid of the water by sending a tank of fifty gallons to the surface, suspended beneath the cage in each of its upward journeys.

We found ourselves in a cavern at the bottom, lighted by one candle, where the trucks with the quartz were standing ready to be hauled to the surface. At this moment the tank by accident overturned and emptied its contents with an alarming rush at our feet. By the light of our candles we groped along the narrow galleries, three feet wide by five feet seven inches broad laid with a track for the waggons. The slush and mud were ankle deep, and, at a particularly bad place, the old manager, without saying anything, quietly lifted me into a trolly, and ran me along to the end of the gallery. Here there were two miners at work, pickaxing the quartz, and one had just cut a hole for the powder to blast away a large piece of quartz rock, and was about to insert the fuze, which burns two or three minutes before the explosion to allow of the men having time to escape. We marked the dark line in the quartz, within which lies hidden the precious metal, and the roof overhead shone and glistened with bright sparks of gold. In an upper gallery there was an archway formed by a valuable vein, still unworked. Some time ago a "fault" was found in some earth extending for twenty feet. The Company can go on working their[179] claim for some distance further on one side and almost interminably on the other, always supposing that the ore still continues. The miners work in shifts of eight hours each, receiving two pounds a week without rations, and they warm their "billy," or tin can of tea, which they bring down with them, over a candle.

The relief of coming up to the open air again from the damp, muggy atmosphere was great. The cheerful light of day seemed a return to life from a living death. One feels curiously nervous of accidents in a mine, though there can be no more danger there than in a railway tunnel. We heartily pitied all those poor men who spend their lives in the underground pit.

We next visited the gold-crushing works. The quartz is crushed by steam-hammers, each weighing 16 tons, and striking with a force of 8½ cwt. It is then passed through water mingled with quicksilver, which detaches the gold. Subsequently some further gold is extracted from the pyrites, the remainder being valuable for knife polish, and a dark red paint.

The Band and Albion Mine has about 600 acres superficial area. Upwards of 4,000,000l. of gold have already been taken from the mine, and it now pays thirty per cent. Geologists affirmed that gold could not be found at such depths, but the quartz from the lowest level yields an ounce per ton.

We drove quickly round the town, and through its principal thoroughfares, out to Lake Wendouree, bordered with the pretty public gardens. We saw in the distance the Eureka Stockade, where the miners made their celebrated defence against the authorities.

It was thirty years ago that the first discovery of gold was made at Ballarat. Melbourne was deserted, and crowds flocked to "the diggings," arriving in Ballarat at the rate of 500 a day. "Canvas Town" sprang up, and hundreds were sleeping in the streets. Since then Ballarat has become a thriving town of 40,000 inhabitants. Signs of the diggings are to be seen in the country round, which is gulched and mined in all directions. Huge mounds have been raised for the sinking of shafts, and some of the diggings deserted by the miners in quest of a more quickly earned reward have been taken possession of by the patient Chinese, who contrive still to get some good pickings out[180] of them. Sandhurst, Castlemaine, Maryborough, Stawell, and Creswick are other centres of great mining interests.

At the bottom of Start Street, at Ballarat, stands the well-known eight-hours' monument, with this inscription:—

"Eight hours' work,
Eight hours' play,
Eight hours for sleep,
Eight bob a day."

We dined at Craig's Hotel; left Ballarat at seven o'clock, and were back in Melbourne by eleven.

Thursday, November 13th.—We left Melbourne. It was the afternoon of Lady Loch's weekly reception at Government House, and we found it difficult, in the midst of it, to be able sufficiently to express to Sir Henry and Lady Loch our appreciation of their kindness and hospitality extended to us during our fortnight's stay at Melbourne.

Whilst there, several propositions had been made for us to see something of the interior of Victoria, while Sir William and Lady Clarke had very kindly asked us to stay with them at their country-place, and Mr. and Mrs. Ryan to go and see their celebrated gardens on Mount Macedon. Another expedition thwarted by time was to St. Hubert's vineyard. Here we should have seen the best vineyard for the making of Australian wine, for Messrs. De Castella and Rowan carried off the Emperor of Germany's prize at the Melbourne Exhibition of 1881. At this competition the best wines of Germany and France were numbered for the highest class 21 and 20, and the second at 19 and 18; the samples from St. Hubert's vineyard were ranked as high as 19 points, or equal to France and Germany. This vineyard has 250 acres of vines under cultivation, and produces about 70,000 gallons per annum. The Australian wines are both red and white, but there has been a complaint that too much alcohol has hitherto been used in their manufacture, and that they are strong and heady. This, however, is being remedied, and ere long Australian vineyards will rival those of Bordeaux. At Melbourne, too, we were obliged to come to a decision as to whether we should accept Sir William Robinson's kind invitation to Government House at Adelaide, and visit South Australia.


Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour.

Page 181.

But after much hesitation, we decided to give up South Australia, partly on account of several days in the steamer in the much dreaded "bight" off the Australian coast, but mostly by reason of the pressure of time and a fear that a General Election at home would possibly come, to cut off the remainder of our travels. The latter reason also prevented my husband from acceding to the request of the Chief Secretary, the Hon. Graham Berry, that he would inquire into the organization of the police and penal establishments, and assist the Victorian Government with his advice.


We left the Spencer Street Station by five o'clock, and began the long, tedious journey of eighteen hours by rail to Sydney. We dined at Seymour, and arrived at Albury at 11 p.m., where we changed into the sleeping-car, the "Lady Parkes." These cars are much better arranged than those in America. The berths are wider and higher, and the four at the end of the carriage are reserved for ladies and divided off by a curtain. At Albury we crossed the boundary-line between Victoria and New South Wales, formed by the Murray, the greatest Australian river. After a course of 2400 miles, receiving the waters of six large rivers, it discharges the drainage of one-half the continent upon the south-western shore near Adelaide. Fortunately we were coming from Victoria into New South Wales, instead of vice versâ, or we should here have had our trunks searched by the custom-house officials, for Victoria labours under the iron hand of strict protective duties, whereas New South Wales is governed by comparatively free trade principles. It is partly these heavy duties that make Melbourne such an extortionate town. At Albury also the line changes from the broad to the narrow gauge, neither New South Wales nor Victoria being willing to adjust it to each other. We passed Wagga Wagga, of Tichborne fame, during the night, where "Roger" kept his butcher's shop; strange that we had only just been reading of his release in the English cablegrams.

After passing the wide stretch of country called the Riverina, we had breakfast at Goulburn, the seat of a bishopric. These are the barren plains, which extend 900 miles to the west of Sydney, and form the centre[182] of the great pastoral industry. The country became more populous as we approached Sydney towards twelve o'clock. We found the carriage waiting at the station to take us to Government House, where we received a most cordial welcome from Lord and Lady Augustus Loftus, who had known C. in St. Petersburg and Berlin, where his Excellency had been ambassador. After luncheon they proposed that we should have some fresh air, and take our first impression of Sydney from its beautiful harbour, by going out in the Nea, the steam-launch.

Sydney Cove was alive with launches, steamers, and yachts, and with the large ferry-boats that ply to and fro to the North Shore. Vessels belonging to every nation in the world were lying in its docks, or at anchor in the Cove. We passed the Carthage, of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, bearing down the harbour out to sea, and from the windows of Government House the arrival of a mail steamer is a frequent object of interest. We saw many a vessel painted entirely white, that had come from the tropical climates of Chili, Peru, or the South Sea Islands. Wool warehouses, sugar manufactories, and timber-yards line the banks, giving us some idea of the vast shipping and commercial interest that centres in Sydney. We gathered, too, some idea of the size of the town from the straggling suburbs that extend out a long way up the Parramatta. Bearing up this river, we passed Cockatoo Island, famous in the convict annals of earlier days, a remembrance of which still lingers in the stone sentinel box of the keeper in charge of the gangs. It is now used as a dock for war-ships, and another island farther up as a gunpowder magazine. Leaving all traces of the busy town-life behind us, we were out in the country; the low river-banks bordered with gum trees, and houses with their gardens sloping down to the water's edge. Once we were suddenly transported back to some happy days spent on the beautiful shores of the Italian lakes; for a stone terrace with pillars and steps down to the water made us exclaim,—"Isola Bella!" We turned homewards under the huge Lunatic Asylum standing on the hill, and where the Claimant's brother is now confined.

Government House is an architecturally picturesque building of Bath stone, built by convict labour. The entrance is very pretty, driving up under the archway of the[183] tower. The windows of the central hail are filled with stained glass, and the walls hung with full-length portraits of former governors. The grounds overlook the harbour, and slope down to the water from all sides of the promontory on which Government House is built. But the accommodation is inadequate to the requirements of the house, as is also the ball-room for entertaining. The Government House at Melbourne is far more imposing, but for comfort and every day living the one at Sydney is far preferable.

I went out into the verandah in the evening after dinner, to see the powerful revolving electric light of the lighthouse on the "Heads" at the entrance to the Harbour. At first you see only a glimmer of light, and then the broad rays coming sweeping round, shimmering in the darkness, till the full blaze of light dazzles the eyes for a moment. But the charms of sitting out in this verandah and garden are spoilt by the plague of mosquitoes, and for the first time I was obliged to sleep within the filmy shadow of the mosquito-curtain.

Saturday, November 15th.—A bright morning, promising to be very hot during the day. The view from our sitting-room window was beautiful this morning; the haze over the distant hills, and the blue water of the harbour, dancing and glinting in the sunlight. From the garden beneath there came up through the open window the sweet, sickly smell from a magnificent magnolia-tree, thirty feet high, and from the beds of gardenias, which bloom at the rate of 100 a day during the summer months.

We took a hansom after breakfast, to explore the streets of Sydney. Macquarie Street faces the open space where the Exhibition buildings stood which were burnt down, the large hospital, which remains unfinished for want of funds, the Mint, and the Houses of Parliament. It ends in Hyde Park, where, within the railings, stands the bronze statue of Albert the Good, and opposite is the granite pedestal in the square, laid by the Princes Albert Victor and George, when they visited Sydney in the Bacchante, awaiting the statue of her Majesty the Queen.

The streets of Sydney are narrow and crooked, but it is a prettier and more interesting town than Melbourne; it has, too, a much more old-world look. The most notable feature in the streets are the huge silent locomotives, black monsters, that come gliding noiselessly round the corners.[184] These steam tramways appear most dangerous to strangers, as the level crossings are unguarded, and there is no warning whistle. They consist of a "traction" engine, and two large omnibus cars, and there is a covered station where they start from. Omnibuses, which ply every hour between the suburbs and the town, and hansoms are the other vehicles most in use. The latter are very unsuitable for the steep streets in the town and the hills in the suburbs, throwing as they do all the weight when going down hill upon the horses' fore-legs.

The shops are moderately good, and though not actually so expensive as those at Melbourne, are in reality more so, when the comparative absence of duty is taken into account. With the exception of Macquarie Street and Macleay Street, all "society" lives without the town in the suburbs, clustering on the points or round the bays of "Our Harbour," such as on Darling Point, and Pott's Point, or Rose Bay, Double Bay, and Wooloomooloo. There is, too, the "North Shore," a very beautiful suburb, lying between the harbour and the sea, and only communicating with Sydney by a ferry at present, though before long there will be a bridge built.

The jealousy between Victoria and New South Wales is carried to the most ludicrous pitch. The Sydney people declare that when they built any institution, Melbourne copied them in it, only building one larger and finer. Melbourne points to its buildings, and Sydney to its harbour; and it reached a culminating point last year, when New South Wales talked of the Victorians as "Our friends in the cabbage garden." Having just come from the "cabbage garden," we were close questioned as to our impressions by comparison with Sydney; I was very glad that we had been to Melbourne first, for I honestly preferred the former town.

Lady Augustus Loftus had a garden-party in the afternoon; the excellent band of the Permanent Force, which has since furnished the splendid contingent for the Soudan, playing in the garden. I was very much struck how far quieter and less well-dressed the people in Sydney were, how much more "behind the times," when compared to their sisters in the rival city.

I played "mattador" in the evening with Lord Augustus. It is an Australian game, played with dominoes, but has been stopped at the clubs on account of its enormous[185] gambling facilities. C. went to see Mr. Semple, a wonderful American breaker of horse. He undertakes to subdue the wildest horses, by the simple but somewhat cruel method of lightly securing their heads to their tails, when they spin round and round till they fall to the ground giddy and exhausted. He has had wonderful success hitherto, and his classes of instruction are largely attended.

Sunday, November 16th.—I went to the cathedral in the morning, and was much disappointed in the cold, semi-choral service and the bare interior of the building. The Primate, Dr. Barry, was away, performing country confirmations, so I did not hear him preach.

Monday, November 17th.—We went over H.M.S. Miranda, a man-of-war, anchored in front of Government House. The boat, manned by a crew in white jackets, came off to the jetty to fetch us on board, and the commander, Captain Acland, showed us over. The sailors' quarters appeared to me miserable; they have all to cook, sleep, eat, and sit in one room in the hold of the ship.

Lady Augustus, on our return, took me to the Picture Gallery, which is a poor wooden building, but contains a good collection of water-colours, and some pictures that have been exhibited in our Academy, including works by Leighton, Goodall, Vicat Cole, &c. Their latest addition has been De Neuville's "Rorke's Drift;" and 5000l. is now yearly put aside out of the estimates for fresh purchases in England.

They have in the gallery two or three of Marshall Wood's statues, including the beautiful one called the "Song of the Shirt." He is the sculptor of the Queen's statue in the Parliament Buildings at Ottawa, which we admired so much.

In the afternoon we drove through the Domain, to the rocky promontory at the end that is called Lady Macquarie's chair; it is a small park formed of the strip of land running out into the harbour.

Tuesday, November 18th.—I went into the Botanical Gardens, which are the most lovely I have ever seen. A terrace overhangs the bay in the harbour round which the gardens lie, and there is something in the smooth lawns and the endless shady walks that give to it a romantic beauty of its own. C. then took me to the magnificent Government buildings in Macquarie Street, to see Mr. Vernon, Secretary of the Railways, who had come across the Pacific with us[186] in the Australia, but I could not see the Council Chamber, as the Council were sitting at that moment.

There was a dinner-party in the evening, including Sir George—one of the Judges—and Lady Innes, Professor and Mrs. Smith, Mr. Fosbery, the Chief of the Police, and Mr. Dalley, Attorney-General and Acting Colonial Secretary to the present Government, a most accomplished and clever man.

To-day there has been one of the north-east winds that make the climate of Sydney so damp and relaxing, but they are nothing when compared to the north-west or hot wind, which is intensely dreaded. These hot winds are caused by the wind blowing over the parched deserts of the interior of Australia, when they bring with them a fiery blast that burns and shrivels up all before it; night or day there is no relief, during the two or three days that they remain. When the change comes, it is generally with a "southerly burster," or tremendous storm. Sydney suffers most from these, but I never shall forget how terrible was the oppressiveness of one that we had at Melbourne, for a few hours only, whilst we were there.

Wednesday, November 19th.—To the opening of the Legislature by commission at twelve o'clock. The Governor did not elect to go in state, having closed the Parliament in person only the previous fortnight; this being a short session for the passing of the estimates only.

We went over the houses afterwards, which are small and inconvenient, and built of wood; but they are about to erect new ones.

Then to luncheon with Sir Alfred and Lady Stephen, who presently drove us out to see the Alfred Hospital. The foundation-stone was laid by the Duke of Edinburgh, after whom it is named, and the handsome stone building cost 120,000l. All the appointments of the hospital are excellent. The house surgeon begged to be excused from taking us over as he had seven operations to perform that afternoon, and sent for Mrs. Murray, the matron, a charming woman, to do so instead. Near the Alfred Hospital is the University, the first that was founded in the southern hemisphere, and around are the affiliated colleges of St. Paul and St. Andrew, belonging to the Church of England and the Presbyterian body, where religious instruction is given, none being allowed at the University.


Sir Alfred Stephen is Lieutenant-Governor, and the late Chief Justice. Aged eighty-two, he has had eighteen children, to whom the number of nine has been always attached; so curious is the coincidence, that I append some lines written by himself "in court in 1859, during a very long speech by counsel in the trial of a squatting action, which had lasted four days":—

"'Twice Nine;' Or, Judicial Impartiality Exemplified.

"Of children this knight had no less than eighteen;
Twice nine little heads, with a marriage between.
He had nine when a barrister, nine when a judge;
And of 'sex'—since to Nature he owed not a grudge—
Nine exactly were girls, the other half boys,
An equal division 'twixt quiet and noise;
While if by marriage the number he reckoned,
There were nine of the first, and nine of the second.
Nine in Tasmania, nine New South Wales;
Then (to show with what justice he still held the scales)
Since 'nine' it was clear he could not divide
(A third sex yet having never been tried),
Five sons and four daughters in Hobart were born,
That four sons, five daughters might Sydney adorn!
Twin daughters, twin sons, complete the strange story
Of this patron of wigs, though constant old Tory."

There was an evening party at Government House, followed by a small dance; the verandah looking so pretty, lighted with coloured Chinese lanterns.

Thursday, November 20th.—Lady Augustus had very kindly arranged a picnic for us to see the Middle Harbour.

"Our harbour" is very beautiful, but you tire somewhat of the incessant repetition of the fact that is required from all new arrivals to Sydney. Perhaps the idea of the officers on board a newly arrived man-of-war was the best, when they hung over the side of their ship a board painted in large letters, "We have seen your harbour and admire it!"

We left the jetty in two launches on a gloriously bright morning, a party of twenty pleasant people. We passed by several of the sheltered bays, where so many of the pretty houses lie; first the one with the soft complex name of Wooloomooloo, and afterwards Darling Point, followed by Double and Rose Bays; and then we put in at a little sandy cove, and some of the party, including[188] ourselves, climbed up the hill to the camp of the Permanent Artillery at the top. Colonel Roberts showed us over the canteen, mess, store, and officers' huts, and C. went over the fortifications, which are very strong.

We re-embarked, noticing the lighthouse, whose friendly beacon we watch every night. Before us were the bold bluffs on either side the "Heads," which form such a beautiful natural opening to the harbour. Passing through them we should have been in the open sea. We, however, took a turn to the right to go up the part of the harbour called the "Middle Harbour," and leaving Manley Beach, the Margate of Sydney, to the right, we got safely past the sandy shoals of the spit, and laid to in a sheltered cove for luncheon. It is a grievous pity that the sparse foliage of the gum is the only vegetation on the banks, and gives to them such a dull, monotonous colouring. But very pretty are the little headlands that jut out into the water, or the larger necks that enclose some bay or inland sea, that gives one an idea of endless little harbours unexplored within the larger one. I think the harbour, or Port Jackson as it is officially called, with its seventy miles of frontage, made up by the windings and turnings, may be likened to a beautiful lake; but how Anthony Trollope thought it "so inexpressibly lovely, that it makes a man ask himself whether it would not be worth his while to remove his household gods, that he might look on it as long as he can look upon anything," I cannot understand.

After luncheon was over we tried some fishing, but too much débris from the feast had already been sent overboard for the fish to do other than nibble at the bait.

In coming home, Clontarf, the spot where the Duke of Edinburgh was shot at, was pointed out to us. We landed two passengers at the camp, anchored for tea in Chowder Bay; then went slowly home, disembarking members of the party at various piers. As we neared our wharf we saw the little Noah's Ark belonging to the American man-of-war plying backwards and forwards with guests returning from the afternoon dance they were giving on board.

C. had a very pleasant dinner at the House that evening, given to him by Mr. Burdett Smith, meeting Sir John Robertson, the Speaker, and many other prominent politicians.

The next day he made an expedition to Parramatta, to[189] see the Premier, Mr. Stuart, who had gone there for change of air after his recent attack of illness.

Saturday, November 22nd.—We left Redfern Station at 8 a.m., in a special train provided for us by the Government, to make an expedition up the Blue Mountains. The party consisted of Sir Alfred Stephen, the Hon. George Dibbs, Colonial Treasurer, Mr. Critchett Walker, Principal Under Secretary, Mr. Barton, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Harnett, Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Fosbery, Commissioner of Police, and Mr. Loftus; as well as of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Joseph, who had been most kind in asking us to stay with them at Double Bay, and four other ladies.

Breakfast was served on board the dining-car attached to the train immediately after starting, and if the truth ought to be told, we were eating all day long, with the wherewithal so close at hand. We passed Parramatta, or Rose Hill, the ancient Sydney, and saw its old Government House, now used as a lodging-house, and the church, with its two little towers, which was to have been a cathedral church.

At Penrith Station we were at the bottom of the Blue Mountains, and had our first comprehensive and beautiful view of them, tracing at the same time our zig-zag line up their sides. Soon we crossed the Nepean, or the more familiar Hawkesbury on a stone bridge, which has so lately been the scene of Canadian Hanlan's rowing feats. After passing Emu Plains, so called from the herds of emus that used to roam over them, we reached the first zig-zag. In eight minutes more we had ascended 600 feet.

The train at the zig-zag is run to the end of the gradient, points being shifted by the guard, and then run up the gradual ascent of the next level. It certainly is a much simpler method than that in America, where the train describes a circle round the corner, whilst clinging to the mountain side. We had a beautiful view over the rich cultivated fields of the lowlands in the country of Cumberland—a changing, ever-shifting view, as we ran along the side of the mountain, and then turned upwards to face the opposite way.

The air felt brisker and colder as we got up into higher altitudes. After reaching the summit we went through many miles of gum-tree woods, the young, tender shoots yet crimson in their spring foliage. Lovely glimpses of deep[190] gorges we had, dimly defined by the trees sloping downwards into the shadow of the ravine, but with that all-pervading dull greeny-grey blue, produced by their dense covering of gum forests. It seems to me that no scenery in Australia can appear very beautiful. One view must be much like another on account of the terrible monotony of the gum-tree. How we longed to-day to see some of these deep gorges in the mountains clothed with the different shades of green produced by our oak or beech or chestnut!

We passed Faulconbridge, the beautiful mountain home of Sir Henry Parkes, who had very kindly asked us to spend part of the day with him, but we were anxious to go on to the Lithgow and the second zig-zag. Katoomba, with the Great Western Hotel, is the spot where most of the visitors from Sydney stay, its great attraction being its splendid situation overlooking the Cunimbla Valley.

At Blackheath we got out of the train, and found a break waiting to take us the two miles to Govett's Leap. We drove along a sandy road, looking at the masses of wild flowers that bordered it, or grew in the underscrub. We noticed particularly among them the wild lobelia, and the blue iris, and the Australian "edelweiss," which they call the "flannel plant," and which has a varying number of petals, from seven to fourteen; but above all there was the beautiful waratah, that wiry flower, glorious in its deep crimson colour, and resembling an artichoke dipped into cochineal, as one of our party remarked. As we were looking and talking about the flowers, quite unexpectedly, and with a sudden alarm, we found ourselves on the edge of the precipice of what is called "Govett's Leap." Twelve hundred feet below us there was a plain, shut in on all sides by titanic walls of granite rock. I call it a plain, for it seemed so by comparison to where it narrowed imperceptibly to the gorge, only wide enough for a narrow river to flow through, and which lost itself to us under the blue haze of the distance. This plain was covered with sassafras, or spinnefex, a stunted undergrowth, amongst which peeped up the bare heads of rocks, and all around and beyond them was only the grey-blue undulations of a sea of gums. Just to our right there was the black shiny cliff, over which trickles the falling mist of the waterfall called Govett's Leap. It is dignified you perceive into a waterfall, but here droughts are so frequent, and water so scarce, that drops trickling over a[191] rock must be so called, or none would remain in existence. The waterfall is not called Govett's Leap, as many would suppose, after some legendary convict's leap, escaping from the pursuit of his gaolers, but after the name of the first surveyor of the Blue Mountains.

Govett's Leap, Blue Mountains

Govett's Leap, Blue Mountains.

The great beauty of the scenery in these mountains lies in the grand expanse of the valleys that open out sheer at your feet, under precipices of from 300 to 500 feet and in the curious formation of rock that generally surrounds them, standing out into their midst in jagged masses or formations that take the shape of something human.

Certainly there are these grand and glorious views in the[192] Blue Mountains, these vast panoramas as at Govett's Leap, or at the "Weatherboard;" but taking them as a whole I think their monotonous beauty is somewhat exaggerated by the fact that Australia is so poor in beautiful scenery. Going through Mount Victoria Pass we came to Mount Victoria, which has a fine hotel, and is over 3000 feet above the sea level. It is generally taken as the headquarters from whence tourists can explore the mountains. Then we reached the second, or the "Great Zig-zag," the marvel of the engineering feats. At one point we looked down and saw below us three distinct lines of railway, and these had only been made after tunnelling and blasting the rock away sometimes to a depth of forty or fifty feet. But I think it looked still more wonderful when we looked up to it from the bottom, and wondered how we should ever reach the top again. The cost of this part of the railway was between 20,000l. and 25,000l. a mile.

Lithgow formed our terminus, and we had luncheon in a siding, and some of the party went to see the pottery works opposite, and returned with bricks which they had seen baked in the oven, and tiles, and little brown earthenware teapots, valued at 7½d. These pottery works were started almost accidentally by the Lithgow Valley Colliery Company, who began by baking bricks for a chimney to their furnace in connection with their large coal-mining operations, and finding clay suitable for pottery purposes in the neighbourhood they continued. Nearly the whole of the pretty Lithgow Valley is spoilt by being used for manufacturing purposes, coal being found in large quantities and worked by several companies.

We ran back quickly, though the return journey seemed much Longer. At Mount Victoria we experienced a curiously sudden change in the atmosphere. A little damp mist rising from the valleys spread so quickly that the warm, bright afternoon was suddenly clouded over, and changed to drizzling rain and a chill, clinging mist. We had fortunately seen the views in the morning, in brightness and sunshine, for now in the afternoon they were totally obliterated. We heard afterwards that we narrowly avoided a collision with another passenger train at Parramatta when returning, and we were saved by the presence of mind of our engineer, who ran us into the siding just in time. We reached Sydney, and were back at Government House by 8 p.m.

Zig-zag on railway, Blue Mountains

Zig-zag on railway, Blue Mountains.

Page 192.


Sunday, November 23rd.—We had luncheon in Macleay Street with the Chief Justice, Sir James, and Lady Martin. Sir James has never been out of New South Wales, but he has read so extensively and to such purpose, that he knows Europe almost better than any traveller, and will tell you the exact position of any of the celebrated pictures in the galleries of Rome or Florence. Their house has a narrow garden, with a succession of beautifully-planted stone terraces leading down to the edge of the harbour.

We drove out afterwards to Rose Bay to see the Hon. James White's beautiful house. Mr. White is the owner of a celebrated stud, and had that morning taken C. out to the race-course at Randwick to see his stables. The garden is very beautiful, and from it the harbour presents the appearance of two distinct lakes, caused by the jutting out of Point Piper. Mr. William Cooper's, Mr. Mitchell's, and Sir Wigram Allen's are the finest houses at Sydney after Mr. White's. I think Sydney is a far preferable place to Melbourne to live in. It has not the American "go" and tone of the latter, nor the same amount of society; but the place is so much prettier, and the climate so bright, that the blue waters of the harbour have often reminded us of the Mediterranean—indeed the mean temperature of Sydney is found to be exactly equal to that of Toulon.

The Government of Melbourne is termed the "blue ribbon" of the colonial service, and has a salary attached to it of 10,000l.; but Sydney, with its salary of 7000l., should be, I think, the more popular of the two.

Sir John Robertson has very kindly asked us whilst here to make an expedition up the Hawkesbury, to stay with him, but the steamer for Brisbane is leaving to-morrow. C. was also very anxious to have made a trip from Sydney over to New Caledonia; but the twenty-one days of strictest quarantine imposed by the French Government on all vessels arriving at Noruma from Sydney, on account of the small-pox here, has rendered it impossible. He has been fortunate, however, in meeting French officers, who have given him all the necessary information, and he has obtained many official papers concerning the French penal settlement.

Tuesday, November 25th.—We bade farewell to Lord and Lady Augustus Loftus in the afternoon, and went down to the wharf, where lay the Ly-ee-moon, of the Australian Steam Navigation Company, with the "blue peter" flying. Mr.[194] Loftus, Mr. Unwin, and Dr. Garran, the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, came to see us off. We went down the harbour, saying good-bye to Government House as we passed its windows, but seeing nothing, to our disappointment, of the race that was going on between boats' crews of H.M.S. Miranda and the American man-of-war. We passed out through "the Heads" into the open sea, which had a heavy swell on, the remains of a "southerly burster" of the previous night. The Ly-ee-moon is a dirty little steamer of 600 tons; she is fast, but rolls terribly. After it got dark and cold on deck nothing remained but to go below, and plunge, without asking questions, into the dusky recesses of the bunk in the cabin.

Wednesday, November 26th.—On board S.S. Ly-ee-moon, off the coast of Queensland. Coasting all day along a country covered as far the eye could see into the interior with gum-trees. It gives one some idea of the density of the forests before the country is opened up. Sea smooth, but many ill; cuisine disgusting, and passengers noisy and objectionable. I wrote letters for home all day.

Thursday, November 27th.—The stewardess came into my cabin at seven o'clock, to say that we had been at anchor for an hour or more in the River Brisbane, waiting for the doctor to come off and pass us. The ascent up the Brisbane for thirty miles took us nearly two hours. The river is so deep and broad that large vessels are able to come up to Brisbane, and anchor at the wharves. The banks are low and pretty, but little we saw of their beauty that morning for the dense mist caused by the downpour of rain.

Mr. Prichard, the Governor's aide-de-camp, was waiting for us on the wharf with the carriage, and we drove past the Government buildings, which are very fine, and the Club House, with its broad verandahs, to Government House. Here Sir Anthony and Lady Musgrave received us most kindly. Government House is a low, ugly stone building, with numberless verandahs, into which the rooms open out. The servants' quarters are quite separate, in a bungalow apart from the house. The house lies on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the river, and the road which leads past the houses ends at Government House as a cul de sac.

The deluge of rain lasted all the afternoon, but cleared up enough in the evening for Lady Musgrave and her three[195] boys to take me into the adjoining Botanical Gardens. The climate at Brisbane is nearly tropical, and these gardens are proportionately more luxuriant than those of either Melbourne or Sydney. There is a beautiful avenue of bunyea-trees bordering the walk by the river. On the pond in the centre grow the most lovely blue and pink water-lilies; the latter is "the sacred lotus" of the Egyptians, a plant that, besides Australia, only inhabits China, Japan, Persia, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippine Islands. The lawns feel short and springy to the tread from the crisp buffalo-grass. There is a grove of tall bamboo-trees, interspersed with palms, the bread-fruit tree, or the traveller's tree—a species of palm which gives water when tapped by the traveller in the desert; on some of these grow the stag-horn ferns, so called because it is a fern which branches out like the horns of a stag. There were thickets of mimosa; the common sensitive plant, whose leaves curl up at the touch; interspersed with the candlenut-tree, the castor-oil plant, Moreton Bay figs, or wattle-trees, and every one of the fifty-four species of eucalypti or blue gum that flourish in Queensland. In the borders grow ohias, and hibiscus, white or red, single or double; seringea, boronia, crimson pointsettias, red-purple bougainvillea; jackerandia, like our purple wisteria; and daturas, with their pure white blossom, growing amid a cluster of dark green leaves. There were all the commoner sorts of flowers, and hundreds of others of which I did not know or could not learn the names.

The suite of rooms we have are connected by a succession of verandahs. Doors and windows open to the ground, giving in the evening a terrible invitation to the mosquitoes to enter, of which they avail themselves freely, humming and buzzing round in a maddening dance. Fortunately we are too early for the sandflies, a tiny insect which hops like a flea, and whose bite is very vicious and painful; they have been known to worry a horse almost to death. The frogs, with their sometimes deafening chirping, are heard in the early morning or after sundown, the same as we used to hear the locusts at Sydney. The hoarse laugh of the "jackass" often rings out on the night air.

Friday, November 28th.—Lady Musgrave took me to the Museum in the morning, where they have a good collection of native birds. Following the example of hot climates, for the heat in Brisbane is intense, though we are early enough[196] to escape the worst, which is between this month and April, we stayed quiet during the afternoon, and went out driving in the evening. We drove through the town and principal streets of George and Queen Streets to the Acclimatization Gardens, reserved solely for that purpose, and being so far removed from the town that they are little used. Thence to the Girls' High School, and the Grammar School; and afterwards coming down one of the fine "terraces" or roads overlooking the town, we drove out to Kangaroo Point. Then I was able to master and understand the difficult geography of Brisbane, caused by the windings in the river, which puzzle you as to which side of it you are on. The river winds round the town, so that in one street you can see it at the top and again at the bottom. Brisbane is a thoroughly uninteresting and ugly town. C. met the Premier, Mr. Griffiths; Sir Arthur Palmer, Speaker of the Legislative Council; Sir Thomas MacIlwraith and Mr. Morehead, Leaders of the Opposition, yesterday.

Saturday, November 29th.—We did some shopping in the town in the morning for the voyage, buying deck-chairs and table, &c., and a box to send home to England. C. had a long talk with the Premier, detailing his Massachusetts Probation Scheme, for the probation of prisoners who have been convicted of a first offence only. An article written by him on the subject has just appeared in the Melbourne Victorian Review; and the three other colonies that we have visited, New Zealand, Victoria, and New South Wales, are about to adopt it as being very economical, and advantageous in preventing the manufacture of habitual criminals.

Lady Musgrave held her weekly afternoon reception.

On all sides we are hearing such terrible accounts of the drought, which has ruined and is still ruining many owners of "sheep runs" in Queensland. In some places it is two years since a single drop of rain has fallen. No water can be obtained for drinking purposes without sending many miles for it, and even in that case a serious difficulty presents itself, for the horses are dying or dead from want of food. The ground is described as being like a vast bed of sand or gravel, without grass or green thing left growing on it. One lady told me this afternoon that a relative of hers had just gone up country, and wrote to say that they had had no water to wash with for four days, scarcely any to drink, and that at last she had washed her baby in soda[197] water! Sheep can be seen who have staggered to some creek where water had formerly been running, and sinking into the mud, perished, too weak to draw themselves out. Others, again, coming down would get piled dead on the top, forming a ghastly heap. It is computed that between two and three millions of sheep have perished during this drought, and as many as 20,000 on a single run. The rainfall here is very partial, and that which falls on the seaboard often does not penetrate up country.

Advent Sunday at Brisbane, November 30th.—In the midst of this torrid heat, the Advent of Christmas comes unseasonably round. We had a hot and dull morning service in the church, half a mile away. During the afternoon I was reading Anthony Trollope's "Australia and New Zealand:" what a terribly narrow and one-sided view he took of things! A thunderstorm came in the evening to clear the oppressive atmosphere, and we sat out under the verandah after dinner, and watched the lights twinkling among the houses and on the wharf opposite, with the phosphorescent sheet lightning sweeping the sky. It seems well-nigh impossible to realize the murky skies and cold gloom of the November of home, and Advent Sunday has come as an awakening of this fact. C. had luncheon with his cousin, Mr. Gilbert Primrose, at his pretty little place outside the town.

Monday, December 1st.—Still very hot and oppressive. Sir Anthony took me for a drive in the evening in a phaeton with pretty cream-coloured ponies, out along the Ipswich road. There were some ranges of hills in the distance, and it was a pretty drive, but a typical Australian look was given to much of the surrounding country by the scrub of dwarfed gums, and by the wooden houses perched on piles, partly for ventilation and dryness, but more to facilitate an easy search after the white ant, the serious drawback to these wooden tenements. Queensland is still in the period of much zinc roofing. There was a large dinner party of pleasant people in the evening, after which we had to pack for two hours to be ready for the morrow's start.

Queensland is the youngest of the Australian Colonies, and so great is its extent, that it is the same size as England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium and Denmark would be if added together. It is bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs nearly through the centre. The south is devoted, as in the other colonies, to pastoral interests. On the Darling[198] and Peak Downs the sheep runs are fenced in, and luxuries even are found in the houses, but on the Thompson and the Herbert, the Warrego and Barcoo, the flocks roam at pleasure, and "boundary riders," or men who once or twice in the week ride round the outside of the run, are still in use.

There is much talk at present going on about the division of Queensland, as the north complains that the seat of Government at Brisbane is too far distant, and that their interests are not identical with those of the south. This is so far true, on account of the tropical climate of the north, which is only suitable for the growth of sugar, cotton, pine-apple, banana, or guava plantations.

Agitation is also at present being made for the abolition of island labour, without which it is impossible for the plantations of the north to be worked, as no European can long stand the tropical heat of the midday sun. The cry of the south is "Queensland for the white man," and many think that this crucial point will lead to the separation of the north.

The Queensland Government is the only one in Australasia which is at present actively engaged in peopling the vast unoccupied regions of the continent. It has agents in England, and partly under a system of nomination by those already in the colony, partly by the selection of their officers, about 400 emigrants are sent out from England gratuitously every fortnight, under contract with the British India Steam Navigation Company. Mechanics of sober, industrious habits find their wages augmented in their new homes by 300, 400, and even 500 per cent. Single women find good situations almost before the vessel is moored alongside the wharf at Brisbane. Even a maid of all work, if she can cook, receives out here nearly a pound a week for wages. There is no opening for town loafers or clerks, but ordinary labourers are frequently in demand, and Government does what it can to find them employment, and keeps them for a time at the depôts.

Before leaving Australia (though politics are not within my province), I must say that throughout Australasia there is a strong feeling among all classes for a closer union with the mother country. The loyalty of the people to the Crown and the Empire is unbounded; but Australia finds herself strong, and should any coldness be displayed by the Home Government, a cry for separation may soon be raised, and we should never forget that, "as a field for British[199] trade, as an outlet for our surplus population, and as producers of our food, our colonies are to us indispensable."

It is with regret that we are obliged to leave Australia without seeing something of the squatter's life in the back country, but the long sea voyage before us renders it impossible for us to wait four weeks for the next mail. If we had gone up country, I fancy previous ideas of the roughing it, and hardships of bush life, with its traditional "damper" and eternal haunch of mutton, would have disappeared before the luxury and comfort which in all but the very recently settled districts now prevail.

My husband has, however, been fortunate enough to meet most of the politicians and leading public men, for at Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane the Parliaments have been in session, and this, after all, is the main object of our visit to the colonies. I have before given our reasons for not attempting to visit South Australia; and the Crown Colony of Western Australia, with its capital of Perth and still barren settlements, one would hardly go to except under compulsion. The few emigrants who arrive there rarely remain, and 25,000 numbers the entire population of Western Australia. Although its territory is enormous, it consists chiefly of a sandy waste, and a "Yankee" who landed there is said to have made the observation "that it was the best country he ever saw to run through an hour-glass!"

To my great sorrow we are abandoning our original intention of visiting China and Japan. The war with France would make the former difficult, and the season of the year would be unfavourable for the latter. These are not, however, the chief reasons, so much as a half-formed scheme we are revolving in our minds, to come home by the Cape and South Africa. We have given ourselves till next May for travelling, and it would not be possible to accomplish China, Japan, as well as British India, Netherlands India, the Straits Settlements, and the Cape. Even as it is the latter may fall through from want of time, or the absence of good steamer connection between Bombay and Natal. But We hope for the best as we take leave of Australasia and set sail for Hindoostan.




Queensland, farewell! A hurried breakfast, a hasty departure from Government House, and we were down at the wharf and on board the tender, hardly realizing that we were leaving Australia's shores for ever.

It took us nearly two hours to steam the thirty miles down the river, to get out to the open sea, and the breezes kept ever freshening, and the tender ever more heavily rolling. The banks grew flatter and uglier, tapering off to the sandbanks of St. Helena, where the low buildings of the convict station are seen. The grand circular basin of Moreton Bay opened out before us.

Two miles out at sea lay the Merkara, one of the British India Steam Navigation Company's ships, seeming steady even in the heavy sea, which was making our little tug jump about. It was enough to make some of the friends who had come to see the passengers off suffer for their devotion. Luncheon was ready for all as we came on board, and when last farewells and tears had been gone through, and a cheer given by those in the departing tender, the deck was clear, and we were left to ourselves, a very small party consisting only of Lord and Lady Henry Phipps, and[201] their four children, and two other passengers. The Royal Mail steamship Merkara is intended for, and sacrificed, as far as the comfort of saloon passengers is concerned, to the emigrant service, bringing out as she does from 300 to 500 each voyage to Queensland. The saloon is shortened for the quarters of the single women aft, and narrowed by having the cabins ranged on either side. On the return voyage, when there are no emigrants, and the deck is clear, there are plenty of quiet places for reading and erecting deck tables and chairs, and a camp bed, which we have brought with us, in the event of sleeping on deck. So smooth was our passage that we only once had the opportunity of testing the Merkara's sea-going capacities, and that was in the heavy sea now running as we left Moreton Bay. She was perfectly steady, and, though the measuring machine in the engine-room told us she could roll eighteen degrees, we never experienced one severe roll. Her steadiness is attributed to the extraordinary length, of nearly 400 feet, which enables her to ride on the top of two or three waves at the same time without pitching up and down in their troughs.

We had a curious mixture of races on board, with Portuguese stewards from Goa, converted to Roman Catholics, a deck crew of Hindoos, and Mohammedans in the engine-rooms. The "boys," or stewards, were most excellent, and there was nothing to complain of in the cuisine. The exploration of a ship which is to be one's resting-place for three weeks is always a matter of some interest.

By 4 p.m. we were out of the shelter of Moreton Bay, and Captain Phillips (who did all in his power for the comfort of the passengers) pointed out to me the curious low range of conical-shaped hills called the "Glass-houses," from their sparkling appearance when the sun shines on them, and which is caused by the mixture of mica with the quartz; but to-day they were veiled in mist. The last of the sandbanks to our starboard disappeared, our course was altered, but for the next nine days we shall still have land on the port side as we coast along, calling at various ports in Queensland, and waiting for the mails at Cooktown.

Wednesday, December 3rd.—Everybody felt languid and unsettled on the first morning. I managed some writing, however, in the course of the day. We passed the group of Bunker Islands, near one of which there was a wreck, and by 4 p.m. we were inside the great Barrier Reef.


These detached masses of coral form a gigantic Wall, stretching along the coast of Queensland for 1300 miles, varying in depth from 600 to 1000 feet.

It has been ascertained and deduced from the depth of the soundings that originally the Barrier Reef formed part of the coast of Australia. Under the level of the lowest tide, but exposed to the force of the wave, these coral polyps and reef-building zoophytes extract by their tentacles the corpuscules in the surrounding water necessary for their existence, and separate one by one the atoms of lime, either in the form of sulphate, chloride, or carbonate, held in solution in the ocean. With these they hold up their beautiful submerged ocean gardens of trees, and flowers, and plants, or structures with domes and towers, forming a world within the world of ocean life. The lifelong struggle between the living mass of coral and the breakers of the ocean for ever continues; "myriads and myriads engaged from age to age" in repairing the damage to the outer wall by the action of the ocean. Each zoophyte possesses tentacle, mouth, and stomach, but here their individuality ceases, and a calcareous tissue forms the means of living communication and nutrition to the whole community, and it is this interior stalk by which they are united, of a bright red colour, which forms the pink coral. Various swarms of fish or mollusci, chief among the latter being the Holuthuriæ, or bêche-de-mer, are formidable enemies to the polyps.

As we sat on deck at dusk there was a beautiful effect from the chain lightning, which was supposed to be either the reflection of a storm elsewhere or the phosphorescence of the sky, the same as that we were looking at on the water over the side of the ship. We passed the revolving lighthouse on Cape Capricorn, just opposite which we were crossing the line of the Tropic of Capricorn. We had a grand scene here, for the sea was wild and stormy from the break in the Barrier Reef, and there were banks of black cloud lying on the horizon, with the frowning brow of Capricorn coming out into the sea, lighted by the bright spark from the alternating beacon of the lighthouse.

We hung out a limelight from the bridge as a signal for them to telegraph our approach to Rockhampton, and then describing a very wide circle round an unseen reef, and going some nine miles up the Fitzroy River, we anchored there at 10 p.m.


Rockhampton lies forty-eight miles further up, but the river is unnavigable for large ships, and the passengers come down in a tender, and the cargo in lighters.

A terrible night we passed from 3 a.m., when the lighters came alongside, and the steam-winch worked over our heads; and worse was it when morning came, and the heat of the sun beat down on the far-extending mangrove swamps. The last bale of wool was stowed away in the stern hold after breakfast, and order was restored to our deck, but several hundreds still remained for the hold forward. Vainly the captain offered the lightermen two bottles of "grog" to go on working during the dinner hour; they were proof against the bribe, and it was late in the afternoon before we weighed anchor and went out to sea again, in a storm of thunder and lightning. The evening was intensely close and oppressive, for with the decks and double awning dripping from the deluge of rain, we were all obliged to crowd into the deck-house. We began to dread the heat of the Torres' Straits route, of which we had been previously warned.

Friday, December 5th.—As I awoke at 7 a.m. I found we were going half-speed, and almost immediately afterwards we stopped and swung round to our anchor in the Pioneer River, some miles below Port Mackay. How annoying it was waiting there till twelve for one passenger, because the tide was too low for the tender to come down! During the afternoon we were passing a succession of pretty little islands, called the Blacksmith, Goldsmith, Silversmith, Tinsmith, Bellows, Anvil, Forge, &c., all the names connected with the trade, and later on a mountain called Mount "Merkara," from the Merkara having once sent help and provisions to some lost surveyors.

Towards evening we went through part of the beautiful Whit-Sunday passage, but to our disappointment not the most beautiful, because of the dark clouds and the lateness of the hour. There the channel is so narrow that you almost touch the wooded banks on either side, but Captain Hannah, the pilot provided by the Government for the Queensland coast, is well known for his prudence. The mainland on one side, the long wooded island of Whit-Sunday with its solitary white lighthouse on the other, while peninsulas of other islands, meeting in the sea, and forming quiet backwaters, shut out the ocean. We imagined ourselves for a short time in a landlocked lake, with[204] beautiful shoal-green water. Further on we passed the remarkable rock called Pentecost Island, which resembles a lion couchant, and both this island and Whit-Sunday Passage were named so by Captain Cook, who probably sighted them on the Day of Pentecost and Whit-Sunday. We had one of the most gorgeous sunsets I ever remember after dinner this evening.

A pale blue, melting into opal, when again it merged into pink, and the pink into purple. Then a delicate saffron suffused the sky, gently effacing the other pale hues, before becoming a glorious golden red sky,—a sea of fiery liquid gold, floating over the dark purple range of hills, flecked with tiny cloudlets, like ships sailing over the moulten gold. A flat plain of shimmering moonlight blue was the sea, and in the foreground rose two huge pyramidal islands of rock, densest black, against the yellow background. We watched it silently, and still sat on long after it had faded, and the remembrance only remained to us.

Saturday, December 6th.—We touched at Bowen during the night, and anchored again at Townsville in the afternoon, about nine miles from the town, in the open roadstead. Townsville is the most rising place of the north of Queensland, and, should it secede from the south, will become the capital. The town lies in the little plain at the foot of the hills, Castle Hill rising 1000 feet in its rear, and the surroundings of our anchorage were very pretty, wooded hills and shoal-green water. The Custom House launch and the lighters came alongside, but no launch or boat for the passengers to land, and we were all disappointed of our previous intention. It seems the most shortsighted policy and want of enterprise on the part of the townspeople providing no facilities or encouragement to strangers to land. We were again and again disappointed in this in the Torres' Straits route, for we had hoped to be able to land and thus see the Queensland towns and ports. The heat was awful, the saloon for dinner almost unbearable even with the punkahs working briskly, and we sat on deck gasping and wearily wondering where to sleep, with the heat in the cabins up to 100 degrees, and the deafening whirring of the steam-winch on deck.

Sunday, December 7th.—A fresher morning to my own especial and every one else's delight. It has often been a hard struggle to persevere with my writing when the saloon[205] and cabins were out of the question from a degree of heat indescribable, and when the glare and heat, and frequent interruptions on deck were very harassing.

Our 800 bales of wool and many little bags of silver ore were shipped, and we waited only to take on board one passenger, the American lady doctor, Dr. Anna Potts, M.D., who has been delivering lectures in Australia to audiences of 6000 with great success. The lightermen at these ports are well paid, earning from 15s. to 1l. per day. They get 2s. extra for loading on Sunday, or working over hours—after 6 p.m. I pitied the crew and officers, who were up all night loading without extra pay, particularly those who were down in the hold. None but a lascar crew would work as these do all day and all night without complaint.

There was no service on this Sunday, as we were in port in the morning, but we sung some hymns in the evening.

Monday, December 5th.—Very early in the morning we passed Cape Weary and Cape Tribulation, and rounding the hill of granite and sandstone rock, called Mount Cook, we anchored opposite Cooktown and the celebrated Endeavour Beach. This part of the coast is fraught with great interest in the travels of Captain Cook. It was here at Endeavour Beach, in 1769, that he beached his little vessel, having run on some of the reefs. Again she stranded at Cape Tribulation, and yet once again at Cape Weary, which must have seemed to them by this time but too truly named. An obelisk is to be erected just above the beach to the honour of Captain Cook, Government having just voted 1000l. for this object. It is a tardy recognition of his indomitable courage and perseverance, but, with the exception of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand seems to be singularly ungrateful to the great explorer and founder of their country.

It was curious to remark on the surrounding hills the bare patches of earth, showing where the violence of the wind destroys all vegetation.

Until 1874 Cooktown remained in the possession of the aboriginals, and as Cook had found and left it, but gold diggings discovered then on the Palmer attracted the white man. Thousands of Chinese, as being the first port of call in Queensland, landed here, there being at one time 20,000 of them at the Palmer Diggings.


A boat took us ashore to Cooktown in the afternoon. There were no carriages to be had, and after struggling halfway along the dusty road which forms the town, the heat was so intense that we sunk down on a bench (I fear it was outside a public-house), the few people about of the population of 4000 looking indolent and oppressed by the heat, which is too great for the white man in the north. The few aboriginals that we saw were repulsive in the extreme, and our sense of smell rendered it desirable to keep at a distance from them. Strange that they should say and do the same to all white men. These aboriginals are not allowed to live in the town, but are turned out at sundown, when they swim two miles across to the opposite shore to the aboriginal settlement. We were glad when, after two hours' "tacking" against a contrary wind, we reached the steamer again, feeling we had had a fruitless and vexatious afternoon's expedition. Inspector Fitzgerald came off the next morning, with a sub-inspector of native police and six black trackers in neat blue and scarlet uniforms. The skill of these trackers in scenting a track in the bush is marvellous, and where a white man will see nothing they will be able to tell the mark of a foot, even the colour and sex of the imprinter. In the settled country they are valueless, but in the wilds of North Queensland, their powers, which excel those of the bloodhound, are invaluable in tracing stolen cattle, and tracking and bringing to justice the wild, intractable natives, thousands of whom still remain, and who are all of a predatory character.

We tried some shark-fishing, many of the green monsters having being seen swimming around the ship. One was hooked, but being six feet in length, we failed to land him on board. It is a curious fact that sharks never eat the blacks.

Since 2 p.m., the earliest possible date of the arrival of the mails from Brisbane (which came up in a fast steamer in two days), we had been constantly on the watch for her rounding the Cape.

It was not till 5 p.m. that we were released from our anchorage, the little boat in three journeys bringing the mails to us from the steamer, and as the last bag was thrown on board we steamed away. After dinner we had another blue and crimson sunset, and when that had died away we saw the light of two bush fires burning in the darkness along the coast.


The mail boat has brought us most agreeable addition to our party in the Rev. C. Barton, chaplain to the Bishop of North Queensland, and a clergyman at Townsville. The Church of England has no dissent to contend with in Queensland, but we gather that drink is the curse of the country, sixty per cent. being "hard" drinkers.

Wednesday, December 10th.—Up on deck at 8 a.m., when the captain called me up on to the bridge to see some of the coral reefs of the great Barrier. It was low tide, and we could see the formation of the reef by the lovely blue-green water inside. How we longed to go and paddle about, peering down into their wonderful forests! At high-water mark they are hidden, but the spot is marked by posts.

The passage between these shoals and reefs is so intricate, that the pilot refused that night to go through them in the dark, and we anchored at 11 p.m. till the moon rose at two in the morning.

Thursday, December 11th.—We were summoned hastily on deck, all the ladies appearing in déshabille, and the gentlemen in their many-coloured pyjamas, to-see the Albany Pass. The mainland is flat and ugly, as are the islands which form the pass, but on all there were curious bright red cones, from four to five feet in height. These are huge ant-hills raised by the ants in the red earth. We could only judge their size by comparing them to a white horse which was feeding by them, and which they completely dwarfed.

Mr. Jardine, one of the partners in the great pearl fisheries, has a house in this lonely pass; he lives there surrounded by the aboriginals. He ran up a flag on the flagstaff in front of his house to greet us as we passed, and we saw his little yacht buoyed in the cove below the house.

Almost immediately afterwards we passed Cape York, the northernmost point of Queensland. It is only a strip of land, for the Gulf of Carpentaria describes a deep circle in the coast on the other side, leaving Cape York jutting out in lonely grandeur into the sea.

It makes us realize the vast size of Australia when we think that, during the last nine days, it is 1400 miles of the coast of Queensland alone that we have been travelling along, and South Australia and Western Australia are equally remarkable in their proportions.


At twelve we anchored off Thursday Island, opposite to the three or four white houses called the village. All round the bay is dotted with small settlements, and it presented a very bright scene, boats of all kinds putting off to us; for the arrival of a steamer at Thursday Island is hailed with peculiar joy; and why? because by begging and praying they hope to be able to obtain a few pounds of fresh meat. There are 100 English living in Thursday Island; they have no sheep or cattle, for there is nothing in this sterile spot for them to feed on; no fruit, no milk, no vegetables. There is neither church nor clergyman; but the Roman Catholics have founded a convent, testifying to the activity of the Church of Rome. They have no doctor, and ours from the Merkara went off to extract a bullet out of a man who had been shot three weeks ago, and after dinner a lady came on board to have a tooth extracted! The climate is atrocious,—always the same tropical sun, winter and summer, without the charms of tropical foliage and life. The children suffer dreadfully from prickly heat, but indeed all children in Queensland are more or less disfigured by this rash. There is no water supply, and they are entirely dependent on the rainfall. A shower sent its blessings on them yesterday for the first time for six months, and did something towards replenishing the empty tanks.

We landed at four o'clock, being carried ashore from the boat by the crew. The sandy beach was over our ankles and there was nothing to be seen but the wooden pier running into the sea, and a few corrugated zinc houses belonging to the motley nationality of Thursday Island, Cingalese, Malays, Kanakas, Chinese, and Japanese. To escape from the intense heat of the sun we went into Burn Phelps and Co.'s large store. They have a small schooner, the Elsie, which trades between Thursday Island and New Guinea, and we were fortunate enough to get some New Guinea spears, bow and arrows, and one of the celebrated New Guinea birds of paradise, with the long feathery orange tail and blood-red breast.

Thursday Island lies in the midst of the Torres Straits, and is only distant sixty miles from New Guinea. There exists little doubt that originally Australia and New Guinea formed one continent, for as it is, they are now nearly connected by the reefs of the Great Barrier, the soundings never exceeding sixty feet in depth.


A great trade is carried on in the bêche-de-mer which is found on the coast of New Guinea and transported to Thursday Island for export to China. This holuthuriea, or sea-cucumber, trepang or bêche-de-mer (a corruption from the Portuguese bicho-do-mar, or sea-worm), is a slug about six inches long, and "effects its locomotion by rows of ambulaced-tubed feet, or by the alternate contraction and expansion of its worm-like body." The natives are employed by the colonists in diving after these slugs, and after being boiled, they are dried by the heat of the sun. The bêche-de-mer is considered in China the same luxury as the edible bird's nest, and 100l. to 150l. a ton are given for it. I was shown a piece of it, which looked like black leather, with a disagreeably strong ozone smell.

Thursday Island is also the centre of a great pearl-fishery. The pearl-shell, when brought to the surface by divers, is sent to London to be manufactured. To each ship there is allotted one diver, who can generally obtain from three to four tons a month, each ton being valued at 180l. These divers go down to a depth of fifteen fathoms; but they are well paid, often making 500l. a year. It is supposed, too, that they often extract the pearl out of the shell before returning to the surface.

When in port, ship-life becomes sadly disorganized. Every one had friends on board to dinner, and the piano was moved out on to the deck for music afterwards. The steam-winch kept up a running accompaniment. The culminating point of heat and patient endurance were reached that night. The saloon was the black hole of Calcutta, all ports in the cabins were closed, and the smell from the discharging lighter most noxious.

We were gasping and panting on deck, and could hardly manage to stay ten minutes in the cabin to undress. Of course we all slept on deck; the skylights and deck were strewn with mattresses and figures lying at full length. We all suffered and passed a terrible night, sleep being for the most part out of the question, with the shouts of the lightermen and the groaning of the winch.

Morning, in the early grey dawn, found us weary and unrefreshed. We loitered about on deck, not daring to venture downstairs until the ports were open, when the second officer ordered us down, as "against all orders," and very much aggrieved we felt as we descended.


Things assumed a brighter aspect when, at 7.30 we steamed out of the bay, with a refreshing breeze, thankful to see the last of Thursday Island, and the last of the Queensland ports.

We soon lost sight of land going out into the centre of the Torres Straits, or Arafura Sea. I cannot help thinking that every one is happier now that we have entirely lost sight of land, and settles down better to the routine on board ship.

At noon we stopped opposite the Proud Foot shoal lightship, to send off provisions to the three men who live here, in the centre of the Torres Straits, thirty miles away from land.

Saturday, December 13th.—Dull and threatening, with more swell on the sea. We have grown so much accustomed to the lake-like aspect of the sea, that we consider it a hardship now to see a white horse, or feel a little swell. Our "run" was 317 miles.

Sunday, December 14th.—A most miserable day. We had no service, though Mr. Barlow offered to read one with the captain's permission. Tropical sheets of rain came down, driving the gentlemen into their smoking-room, and the children to make a pandemonium of the deck-house. To add to the general depression and misery the sea got up, and all ports had to be closed, the waves washing over the port side of the deck. There can be nothing more wretched than being on a ship where there is no quiet or dry corner to sit in. Though it was such a stormy night we were obliged to sleep in the music-room: I think we should not have done so if we had heard the story told the next morning at breakfast, how once on the Merkara, in the Bay of Biscay, this deck-house had been washed bodily away, and two passengers who were in it drowned.

Tuesday, December 16th.—Tons of lava ashes have been floating by us all day, still the remains of the great eruption of Krakatau, eighteen months ago. Just before dinner we passed the Roma, another of the B.I.S.N. ships, and dipped flags with her. Her decks were black with the crowd of emigrants.

Thursday, December 18th.—Yesterday we passed the island of Rotti (Hindustani for bread) and the islands of Sandal-wood and Timor, a possession divided between the Dutch and Portuguese, and which supplies Java with a good[211] breed of small but timid ponies. To-day we seem in sight of land again from the succession of islands—Sumbawa, Lombok, and Baly, all belonging to the Dutch. In the two latter we saw very high mountains, ranging in Lombok to 12,000 feet, and in Baly to 10,000. It is a continuation of the great volcanic range that runs through the entire islands of Sumatra and Java. Mr. Alfred Wallace, the great naturalist, divides the islands of this archipelago into two distinct divisions—those that from their characteristics and productions are identified with Australia, and those that may be classed as belonging to Asia. The line is distinctly drawn between the islands of Lombok and Baly, which are divided only by the narrow strait of fifteen miles. After dinner, and against the apple-green sunset, we saw the dark line of the coast of Java. Night after night we have been having these most glorious sunsets, gorgeous in their Eastern magnificence of colouring, and the phosphorescence of the water is far more brilliant than when we were in the tropics crossing the Pacific. Shoals of flying-fish have kept us company during the voyage, not counting sharks and porpoises.

At 10 p.m. we sent up a rocket, and waited at the entrance to the narrow Straits of Baly for the pilot to come off from Banjoewangi. We passed through the narrow passage at midnight, not seeing the tropical jungle, which here touches the water's edge, nor hearing the roar of the leopards and panthers who infest the shores.

Friday, December 19th.—We are in the Sea of Java. Numerous kattamarangs and canoes, with their outrigged frames that keep them steady in the water, tell us we are within reach of busy life again. Bamboo rods, with several lines attached for fishing, protrude out of the water, and speak of hungry humanity once more. In the afternoon we lose sight of Java, going on the outside of the island of Madura, as the water is not deep enough for us inside.

On the last evening of our voyage we went down to the engine-room. The two cylinders sliding up and down as fast as the eye can follow them are wonderful, but more interesting is the tunnel, running quite aft, containing the revolving cylinder of the screw. None but Orientals could stand the intense heat of the furnaces, the normal temperature being never less than 120°.

We went half-speed towards evening, so as not to arrive at Batavia before daylight to-morrow morning; and we[212] shall be able to leave the ship immediately after breakfast.

There are voyages in which one is sorry when the journey is nearing an end, but this may not be counted as one of them.

The advantage of the Torres Straits route is that you may insure a calm sea usually as far as Aden, whereas in that by South Australia it is always as rough as in the Bay of Biscay in the Australian Bight; but the heat in the Torres Straits is intensely great, travelling as you are for days on a line with the Equator, and but few degrees removed from it.


Our first voyage across the Atlantic began the fate which has since pursued us, of arriving at our destination on Sunday. We have landed at New York, at Auckland, at Wellington on Sunday, and now, after our three weeks' voyage through the Torres Straits, the Arafura Sea, and Indian Ocean, we find ourselves at anchor early on a Sunday morning inside the little breakwater of Tandjong Priok, the harbour of Batavia.

The scene which greets me as I go up on deck is truly Dutch. I see low stretches of flat, marshy land, barely redeemed from the ocean, with a group of red-tiled roofs, hidden among some tall, straight trees in the foreground, and the peculiar watery-grey sky so dear to the Dutch landscape painters.

Terrible confusion reigns on board as we leave. Hatches are battened down, ports closed, skylights carefully covered over, for a dozen lighters are alongside preparing for the dreaded operation of coaling. A little steam-tug is bringing them up as fast as it can, lashed together in single file, with ten more barges, with cargo and provisions to be taken on board, on the other side. The natives—Javanese and Malays—have paddled out in their canoes, bringing contributions of fruit and vegetables "on spec," and are climbing up the side of the ship or swarming on the decks.


All on board the Merkara envy us deeply as we say good-bye to them, for they have the present prospect of the horrors of coaling, and prospective ones in the five weeks' voyage, with the tossing in the Bay of Biscay that still remains to them before arrival in England. The tender takes us off and lands us opposite the station, a bamboo shed, by the side of the single line of rails. We find here a group of Fathers and Sisters, but just landed from the ship which came in and anchored after us this morning, from Holland.

The railway-carriages are painted a dismal grey, and two doors lead to the three seats running lengthways down the carriage, the additional one being placed in the centre. The carriages were so dirty that even a Javanese wiped the seat before sitting down. The new docks at Tandjong Priok have recently been made by blasting the land away with dynamite to the required size, when the sea was allowed to rush in. We travelled along by the side of the canal, which has been made for the carriage of merchandise from the docks to the town. Dense jungle—our first sight of real tropical jungle—skirted the towing-path, along which barges were being towed, while boats, with their one clumsy sail, passed up and down. We arrived at another bamboo shed—the station of Batavia.

Batavia is the capital of Java, and with its 1,000,000 of inhabitants, 80,000 of whom are Chinese, is second in importance and size only to Calcutta, and therefore may be called the second town in the East. It is also the chief city of Netherlands India, or the Dutch East Indies. Their possessions in this Eastern Archipelago are numerous, including as they do the west coast of Sumatra, part of the coast of New Guinea and of Borneo, the four islands of the Moluccas and Celebes, the islands of Madura, Sambawa, Lombok, and Baly, and part of Timor, the five latter of which we passed in the Torres Straits, and Banka and Riou, near the Straits Settlements.

Outside the station there was a crowd of little two-wheeled carriages, or victorias, drawn by the funniest little ponies, that could only be dignified by the name of "rats." They are about the size or smaller than our Shetland ponies, and are nearly all imported from Timor. They go like the wind when once they are fairly off, but they jib horribly at starting. You often see the ridiculous sight of two or three[214] natives standing helpless before the persistent jibbing of one of these rats, when you know that they could lift them up with ease.

A drive through China Town by the side of a canal brought us to the "Hotel der Niederlanden." Here, under the circular portico, was a marble floor, with chairs and tables arranged in groups, where John the Chinaman never wearies of coming with his wares for sale, tied up in large pocket-handkerchiefs, day after day, showing you the same bright-coloured cotton pyjamas, and sarongs, or cambric handkerchiefs, with gold-embroidered slippers, soap, or carved ivories, scent or sandalwood boxes. It matters not that you frown and scowl, or push the things away, he still persists in thrusting them under your nose, and when he goes his place is immediately taken by another, not discouraged by his non-success and the identity of the wares. The prices asked are exorbitant in the first instance; one-fourth is, however, gladly accepted in the end. On a centre table stands gin-bitters (without charge), as a welcome to new arrivals. Upstairs we found musty corridors, dark and rambling, untidy and uncarpeted, with native servants squatting outside their master's doors, blacking boots, or playing at games amongst each other. The dining-room is a kind of loggia, built out, with the roof supported by pillars, leaving the sides entirely open to the courtyard, and these are protected by green and white blinds. Round this courtyard, under the low red-tiled roof and pavé, the Dutch ladies and gentlemen spend their day, lounging, writing, and reading, whilst their "boys," or Javanese women, are washing or busy around them.

We sat down to the "reis tag," or midday "rice meal," at a long, bare table. A deep soup-plate was put before one, into which you lay a layer of rice two inches thick; then in succession are handed to you eight or nine dishes containing little messes—strips of omelette, kromeskies, gherkin, hard-boiled eggs, chicken, dried fish, an orange sauce (which I never ventured on), lobster salad, fried potatoes, and pickles. A round tray with many divisions is also offered, with chili, chutney, cucumber, and cayenne pepper, caviare, and relishes of all sorts. You see a Dutch lady sitting with the rice before her, and choosing leisurely first from one dish and then from another, and when she has done so mixing and chopping it all up together. The custom of the[215] "reis tag" prevails throughout the whole of the Netherlands India, and though it is not a purely Dutch custom, the curious mixture has its origin from Holland, and the rice and fruit which follows from the East.

Between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. life at Batavia pauses. Sleep settles down on the community; no sound is heard in the house, and the streets are deserted. A general awakening for the enjoyment of the cool of the evening comes with the tea, brought at five o'clock. The heat in Java, situated 6° from the Equator, is always tropical, and never varies from one end of the year to the other, beyond that, in the rainy season, which lasts during December and January, it is more oppressive and unhealthy. Java in general, and Batavia especially, bears a very bad name for malaria. In Batavia it is greatly increased by the canals which the Dutch could not fail to introduce from the mother country. The canals are freely used by the natives for bathing and washing in, and even the horses are brought down here to be cleaned. The dark, brackish water was also formerly used for drinking purposes. Artesian wells have been lately sunk all over the city; since then there has been no epidemic of cholera, which constantly prevailed in Batavia to a terrible extent up to that time.

Mr. MacNeill, the English consul, was most kind in sending his carriage for us in the evening.

We drove along under the broad avenues of trees, overhanging the canals, and shading the pathway of red tiles. All is scrupulously clean, and the roads well kept and carefully watered. The houses have an extraordinary similarity; as brilliant as whitewash and paint can make them, they have all the same high pointed roofs, covered with red tiles, that seem out of proportion to the one storey of the house below, almost hidden under the shade of the projecting verandah. A gravel drive, with a grass-plot and one bed of brilliant and variegated crotons in the centre, forms the unvarying approach. A marble post at the gateless entrance bears the name of the owner, so that every visitor easily finds the house he seeks. The doors and windows stand always open, and you have such charming glimpses of the cool, dark interiors, and take away some little incident of domestic life within as you pass along. People go away for months, we are told, and leave doors unlocked and windows shutterless, for robbers in Batavia are unknown. In the[216] marble verandahs stands the familiar round table, with the four rocking-chairs, in their dear old-fashioned white dimity "nightcaps," set primly round. In the evening they are brightly lighted, and tenanted with people receiving their friends.

We drove along the Königsplein, or park, bordered by the palace of the Governor-General and many of the prettiest houses, to the Zoological Gardens. They are really bare and ill-kept; but the beauty of the tropical vegetation reigns supreme everywhere, and we were charmed by all the curious shrubs and plants, trees and flowers, new to us—so common here, with the rich pink and crimson of the huge hybiscus bushes, and the purple and yellow of the allamandas, so like the gloxsinia, that I mistook it at first. The collection of animals includes some of our common brown ducks, guinea-fowls, and deer. We saw an albino idiot monkey, that chattered and mumbled to himself, gesticulating from the corner of the cage; also a shed full of cockatoos, and two splendid orange-colour ourang-outangs. Their name of ourang-outang is the Malay for "The Man of the Wood."

There was a pretty tropical scene looking down the stream with jungle, where some natives were tumbling and splashing about in the water. We passed the marble palace belonging to the commander-in-chief, the principal Dutch church, with its dome and latticed window, and drove on to Waterloo Plain. The Government buildings, a row of ugly whitewashed houses, without so much as a projecting cornice, or scrap of ornamented plaster-work, forms one side of the square. Just opposite is the hideous thick pillar, with the stunted beast at the top, erected to the joint memory of the Dutch and Belgians who fell at Waterloo. The inscription and joint dedication is intended as a "sop" to the pride of the Belgians, and as a false exaltation of themselves as a nation before the Javanese, for no mention is made of English or Prussians. The barracks are here; and the officers' quarters—pretty bungalows—surround the other three sides of the Waterloo Plain. As we came home the Königsplein was crowded with smart victorias and landaus, drawn by the fine carriage-horses that are imported from Australia. The native coachmen and footmen wear liveries of black and scarlet-striped cottons with turbans, two syces standing up behind, with fly-wisps, and ready to rush to the horses' heads at the slightest sign of restiveness. For[217] instance, they always jump off at the approach of a steam train (for there are steam tramways in Batavia), and the native coachmen invariably look afraid of their horses. A few people have been foolish enough to put their Malay coachmen into tall hats, with gold lace, when the turban and black face peeping out from underneath looks utterly ridiculous. The Dutch ladies never think of driving or walking in hat or bonnet, and the smartly dressed ladies that we passed, with their round, pasty, good-natured faces, were all bareheaded. The gentlemen, too, go about with gloves and stick, but no hat.

As we passed the Weltervreden Station, there was a hearse waiting outside for the arrival of the train. The driver, with "ducks" and black hat with white band, and the six little "rats," covered entirely by long black clothes, produced a somewhat curious effect. Gay crowds were strolling along the shady canals, which are the "boulevards" of Batavia, as we returned home, forming a bright parti-coloured stream and strange mixture with the vivid colours and olive skins of the Javanese and Malays, and the white faces and ordinary European clothing of the Dutch. There are only forty-five English in Batavia, but they are very energetic amongst themselves with their racing, cricket, tennis and theatrical clubs; they also have a pretty church, but no clergyman at present.

I cannot say much for the domestic comfort produced by the combination of Dutch and Malay customs. Our room is large and airy, with French windows. Bamboo matting covers the floor, but it is not made in strips, but plaited in one piece to the size of the room. A row of pegs on a stand, covered with white curtains, forms a cupboard. The beds are swathed in mosquito-curtains, which are let down from their tortoise-shell hooks early in the afternoon. Indeed they are sorely needed by the evening, and you only feel safe when within their grateful shelter from the plague of insects, not only mosquitoes, that swarm in when the candles are lighted. They penetrate everywhere, more particularly nesting in one's hair-brushes; and I have had to give up writing near the light on account of the number falling and leaving their trails in the wet ink of the letters! But the beds are most interesting. There is not a vestige of sheet, or blanket, or counterpane on them, but in the centre of each bed lies the "Dutch wife." This bolster is placed[218] with the object of providing a cool substance to lie against, one side being turned over when the other becomes hot.

They do not understand here the true meaning of a bath, but you have to descend to one of the tiled rooms, where there is a wooden tub, with a tin pot with which to throw the water over you. The lamps in the passages are a series of glass tumblers, with a wick and some oil floating in them.

Monday, December 22nd.—We must be truly grateful for the fine morning which we have, as the wet season is now here.

Life at Batavia seems to be a dolce far niente existence, a very easy, lazy life adapted to the climate. We could see this in the costume of the ladies appearing at the breakfast-table.

They have the reprehensible habit of wearing the "saronga" and "kabayah." The sarongs, or sarong, is a bright-coloured square of calico, with an oriental pattern in black and orange. The natives wear the same to all appearance, but there is really a great difference in their texture and manufacture, the good ones being woven by hand, and coloured by a laborious process of laying on the colour separately in oil for each line of the red, black, and yellow pattern. I was surprised to learn that these sarongs, which look like cheap Birmingham or Manchester wares—as indeed the common ones are, being specially manufactured for the Malay market—cost as much as from fifteen to twenty guilders. This sarong is wrapped tightly round the figure as a short petticoat; and worn with the kabayah, or loose cotton bed-jacket, with bare legs and feet slipped into heelless slippers. Many ladies wear their hair down in this costume, and when sitting at table they present the appearance of being in their night garments. The sarong in hotels as well as in private life is worn, not only at breakfast, but also at the "reis tag." The strange transformation that takes place at five, when these same strange negligés figures appear with their hair coiled up in the latest fashion, and "clothed" (and "in their right minds," I might add) is wonderful to behold. Then the ladies go for their drive in the park, and spend the evening in paying visits, going from one house to another as they see their friends are at home by the brilliancy of additional light in the verandah, and the carriages waiting outside. Their life, it[219] seems to me, consists of the very early morning and the darkness of night, for in this equatorial latitude the light is the same all the year round; there is no twilight, but darkness falls almost suddenly from a quarter to half-past six.

There is a great deal of pleasant society in Batavia. Rich Dutch merchants who have come out in their earlier years to make money, go home to settle; but the cold gloom of Holland sends them back to warmth and tropical life in Java. Though Java is to the Dutch what India is to us, unlike our Indian officials, who stay in India but to make enough money to go home to England, the Dutchman lives and returns to die in his adopted home.

This morning we had a victoria with a pair of rats to drive down to the English Consulate, some three miles off, and which lies on the commercial wharfs. I sat outside watching the ships being slowly towed up the canals, and the lading and unlading of the merchandise on to bullock-carts. Much of the charm of the streets of Batavia consists in the mixture of races, with their various national costumes.

We drove first through China Camp, that most quaint and picturesque of towns within a town. Wherever the Chinese go—that is all the world over—you find that there they cluster together, and form their own quarter. The different trades of carpentering, shoemaking, umbrella-making, &c., are all carried on on a counter exposed to the streets; even the barbers' shops are open, and you see "John" in the different stages of being lathered, shaved, and of having his pigtail plaited with white, blue, or red cords that fringe and lengthen its wispy end. The top of the head requires shaving as often as his face (which is always kept hairless, and which gives to it the almost childlike look so common to John), because the growth of the pigtail is from the patch on the back of the head, and all round is clean shaven. China Town always reminds me of a rabbit warren, there seem to be so many Chinamen swarming in and out of the little huts, and about the confined quarters. All so active and busy about their own concerns, all living on a handful of rice—no wonder they succeed where others fail, with their ceaseless energy and thrifty habits. We passed by numbers of fascinating little Chinese tea-gardens, walled round and approached by a drive; the balconies and roofs were gilded and ornamented with porcelain flowers of blue and green,[220] and made to look as attractive as possible. We saw, too, the vague, dark interiors of several joss-houses. Numbers of mangy dogs were snuffing about, and bantam-cocks were plentiful, for cock-fighting is a favourite amusement with the Chinese.

The lower end of the town seemed consecrated to the undertakers, for the curious wooden coffins, copies of the ancient sarcophagi of the Greeks, were lying in piles before the doors. The Chinese devote a great deal of thought and attention to their coffins, and keep them in readiness for years in their houses. Forges abounded too, for the Chinese are celebrated as the best blacksmiths of the world.

The Javanese are distinguished from the Malays by the black locks of matted hair escaping from under the turban; but both Javanese and Malay dress in the same fashion. The bright-coloured sarong is the only garment worn, or sometimes only a short pair of "inexpressibles," when the large bamboo "soup-plate" hat looks ridiculously large by comparison with the slim brown figure beneath its mighty shade. Sometimes the bamboo hat is replaced by an oval piece of wood, with a rim fitting the head inside, and the colouring of these wooden hats is most fanciful, red and green, or bronze with yellow stripes. A Malay of higher rank would add to the sarong a loose white jacket, and a turban. These turbans are formed of a gay pocket-handkerchief cleverly wound to the shape of the head, with two corners twisted in front to form a pair of horns. You hardly see a Malay without the pole slung across the shoulder, with the two plaited bamboo baskets or trays, containing anything and everything, suspended at the end. The butcher goes about from door to door with his meat and chopper in them; the baker with his bread; more often you see the bright scarlet of the chili on the tray; and all the marketing is done with these bamboo baskets.

They stagger along, with their long legs bending under the weight of the baskets, always appearing on the point of sinking, and yet managing to struggle on yet a little further, and they really go like this for miles. But the natural walk of the natives, how splendidly free and easy it is, as they swing along the street with limbs unconfined, and free play given to their bare feet! Many of the faces we saw were seamed and wrinkled with such characteristic lines and marks, and all have rather a wild, fierce look. What[221] wonderful combinations of colour, too, we saw in the streets—such daring blendings of sage green with orange, pink with crimson, scarlet with purple; and I see that after all our latest fashionable colour, "crushed strawberry," has long been a prevailing hue with the Javanese.

There were the bright sarongs of the Malays, with the dark indigo-blue workaday suit of active John Chinaman, the long robe of bright green or blue of the Armenians (for there are many of them here), with the delicate pink and green of the Chinese ladies daintily picking their way along shaded with their paper umbrellas.

The Malanese and Javanese women wear the sarong equally with the men. A loose calico jacket of bright colours (cherry and pink being preferred) is worn over it, open at the throat and waist. They are small of stature, and have a nut-brown skin, with almond-shaped eyes, black and twinkling. Their shining black hair is worn in the smooth knot at the back, that is deftly twisted in such a way that no hair-pins are required to secure it. Many of the married women have their front teeth cut off at the roots, and this is done by a careful husband when his wife is inclined to become "fast," to remind every one that she is a married woman.

Men and women alike have the disgusting habit of chewing and spitting betel-nut, which dyes their teeth and lips a bright vermillion. This explained to us the red marks on the tiled pavement, which at first we thought was blood. This habit is not confined to the lower classes, the native princes and nobles are addicted to it, when it is rendered none the less repulsive by the use of golden spittoons.

The Dutch use the Malays exclusively for their servants. They are very patient, waiting outside their masters' doors for hours, squatting in the peculiar manner habitual to them, and which was formerly the attitude of respect they adopted when in the presence of a superior. Even now in the interior of the country the natives come and squat before you as you pass along. I never saw a Malay or Javanese sit; they always crouch or lie. They make by no means faithful servants, appearing to possess no feelings of attachment; after ten years' service they leave you without an emotion. Their pay is from twelve to twenty guilders a month, and the custom is for their families to live in the courtyard which usually surround the houses. The[222] master does not concern himself about their maintenance, but then any native can live comfortably on a penny a day.

Since the evacuation of the English, in 1813, Java has remained stationary as regards the progress of civilization. The Netherlands Government discourages education, and prevents the natives from learning Dutch. A policy of reducing the natives to a nonentity as regards having a voice in the government of their country has been successfully followed. They are a happy, ignorant people, but a conquered race, governed with a hand of iron as regards the payment of taxes and levies of contributions. To such an extent is this repressing policy pursued, that should any native official or prince learn Dutch, the Government official is strictly forbidden to speak any other language but Malay. Thus it follows as a natural consequence that before receiving any Civil Service appointment, however low, the Dutch official must have passed the examination in Malay, which is part of the accepted curriculum of Breda College in Holland. The Malay spoken here is a different dialect to that in use in the Straits Settlements.

Afterwards when we came to visit India, it was most curious and interesting to see the results of the different policies pursued by the two nations towards the conquered race. Ours, the enlightened policy—the education of the native, raising him to a state fit to govern or participate in the government of his country. That of the Dutch, a policy of repression, reducing the native to the part of the hired labourer, making themselves into simple tax-gatherers.

It is to Governor-General van Bosch that Java owes its great prosperity. He it was who developed the magnificent resources of the rich island by the introduction of the culture system. I would refer any who are interested in this subject to Mr. Money's excellent book, "Java; or, How to govern a Colony."

We suffered much in Java from the inconvenience of Dutch and Malay being the only two languages spoken. No interpreter was obtainable, and even at the booksellers which we went to in the afternoon there was no guidebook to be found in English, French, or German.

Sauntering along the canal, we saw the primitive mode they have here of watering the streets. A man with two large watering-pots slung over each shoulder runs along with the rose inclined forwards. I need not say that the[223] watering-pots are soon exhausted, though the supply is always at hand in the canal; but it struck us that the man spent most of his time in running up and down the steps to the water. It must be so pleasant to have a bath whenever you feel inclined, as the Malay women do by stripping off the loose jacket and plunging in, washing the sarong at the same time as themselves in the stream. When we got home, "Ali," the old Malay servant assigned to us, with his cock-eye and pleased grin, brought us five o'clock tea—as great an institution in Java as England. The cups and saucers stand always ready in each bedroom, and the water and milk (for it is always hot milk) are boiled at the cooking-stove, round which the "boys" are busy in the passage. Ali does not know one word of English, but quickly guesses our signs, and with the Malays in making oneself understood it is more often than not a question that "there are none so deaf as those who won't hear."

The Governor-General, Herr von Rees, gave us an audience at the Palace in the evening. The Palace gives us an idea of oriental magnificence, with marble halls and galleries, and reception-rooms hung with costly upholstery. The balcony is lighted with crystal chandeliers, and crowds of servants in the scarlet uniform of the Government are waiting about within call. The Governor-General is an exceedingly shrewd, clever man, who has raised himself from the lowest position in the Civil Service. The salary is 14,000l. a year, and the position of Governor of such great possessions as the Netherlands Indies is one of so much importance that it may be compared to the Vice-royalty of Hindoostan. Java alone sends home a surplus revenue of 3,000,000l. yearly to the mother country, or has done so, I ought to say, until now, for the interminable war in Acheen has swallowed up her surplus this year, and bids fair to do so for many more. The interior of the country is governed by Dutch residents, who give their instructions to a native prince or regent, who carries out the details. Coffee, tea, cochineal, and sugar are the chief produce and exports, though there has been great depression in the latter trade during the last year, which has given rise to a commercial crisis, when several very old-established houses have been included in the general crash. Cinchona calisaya, or quinine, is also largely exported.

We dined with Mr. MacNeill, the English Consul, in his[224] pretty house. We had not been seated at dinner above a few minutes before the white tablecloth was covered with every species of insect in the animal world—moths with yellow wings, ants, mosquitoes, beetles great and beetles small. Tortoiseshell covers were provided to keep them out of the wine-glasses, and many green lizards capered on the white wall opposite. Blessed above other countries is England in this much, that with her cold moist atmosphere, one is not troubled with the invasion of a plague of insects. It surely is the great drawback to the charms of tropical life, enjoyed mostly in the cool of the evening, when the insects are also most actively enjoying themselves.

We tasted a mangosteen for the first time this evening. It is a dark purple fruit with a thick rind, the size of an apple. The fruit inside is white, and has the most delicate flavour. I should call it an insidious flavour, for you hardly know in what it consists, but it is most delicious. Better than the mangosteen I like the mango, a long pear-shaped fruit with a yellow skin, full of juice, and most luscious. The taste reminded me of the fruit of the passion-creeper, which when ripe and shrivelled is excellent, only much more acrid than the mango. Another fruit which is very common here has brilliant red hairy bristles, and contains inside a white fruit, the size of a plover's egg, but I am ashamed to say I never mastered its name. Pine-apples, cut into lumps, and bananas, very different in their size and taste to the little shrivelled bananas of export we are accustomed to at home, are served at every meal.

Mr. MacNeill after dinner took us to a representation of "Il Barbière" by an Italian opera company subsidized from Italy with Government help. The Governor came in state, and on his entrance the Dutch national anthem was played. The doors of the theatre stand open on to the broad piazza, where people promenade between the acts, and some have their servants waiting with wine and refreshments. Ladies wear morning dress, but with the gentlemen a black coat is de rigueur, though "ducks" may be worn underneath. The galleries were full of half-castes, who here take a good position, the Javanese still continuing to wear the native costume. Beginning at 8 p.m., it was eleven before the ballet was over.

Tuesday, December 23rd.—We left the Weltervreden[225] Station on the Königsplein at ten in the morning. The stations are large and whitewashed, tiled in blocks of wood, since tiling of some sort the Dutch must have. The carriages are on the American plan, save that the first-class have morocco-covered armchairs. We passed through a portion of the native quarter on the outskirts of the town. The mat huts are made of plaited palm branches, and thatched with the same unplaited. Bamboo poles form the framework and support the projecting roof, which gives shade to the house. These huts lay hidden in a jungle formed of bamboo groves, whose straight spiky branches look like the fingers of an outstretched hand pointing downwards. Banana-trees there were, whose palm leaves, fringed and jagged, are only distinguished by this from the ordinary palm, and cocoa-nut groves. These had their golden halo of fruit under the shade of their fringing, feathery arms, and notches cut in their slender stems by the natives, who climb up by them to gather the fruit.

The country we passed through was under cultivation for rice-fields, which we saw in their different stages of development. The ground is made into terraces, every one a little lower than the other, and carefully fenced round with earthwork. Each one is a bed of water, in which the rice is growing, some already coming up in tender green shoots, and others like a field of grass growing some feet high. The water is kept trickling over from each little dyke into the next bed. Some we saw being ploughed by dun and smoke-coloured buffaloes, with their humps and straight black horns turned back, that gives such a blank and idiotic look to their faces. The colour of the earth was in some parts such a brilliant red, that in California it would be said to denote the presence of gold.

We arrived at Buitenzorg at noon. This place is noted for the Botanical Gardens, which are thought to be the finest in the world. It is the mountain resort of the Batavians, but is really only 300 feet higher than the town. One of the high two-wheeled carts drawn by one pony, whilst another is roped outside the shafts to help in pulling, took us up to the Bellevue Hotel.

At the Bellevue from the verandah at the back there is a celebrated view. It is certainly one of the most enchanting and superb views possible to imagine. I will try to describe it.


The mountains are in the distance, tropical jungle creeping to their very summits, though always hidden during the rainy seasons by clouds. Jungle, jungle, varying only in depth and shade, till we begin to distinguish yet in the far distance some of the bananas and palms which form its densest undergrowth. Then tall palms raise up their graceful heads quite near, swaying them gently in answer to the soft summer breeze. Away over there in the corner there are red-tiled roofs, in the midst of the cocoa-nut grove, with dots of colour flitting about. In front of us the muddy yet silvery waters of the Tjidani River come flowing straight towards us, till the stream suddenly turns at right angles to itself, and hurries away in its changed course. A little bamboo house, belonging to the cultivators of the cocoa-nut grove, forms the apex of the triangle. Shouts and merry laughter come up all day from the brown figures who swim, and dive, and duck about in the shallow water beneath.

It was very beautiful, and we sat out in the verandah all the afternoon, talking with an old Dutch naturalist, who was delighted with his bottles containing a lovely chameleon and some scorpions newly captured. Meanwhile the strange afternoon stillness reigned round the lifeless courtyard.

In the evening we had a lovely drive in the Botanical, or Palace Gardens, as they are now called. We drove into the shade of a mighty avenue, the trees meeting at the top, and leaving us a perspective vista that faded into green dimness. The stems of the trees were not seen, for ferns and creepers grew up them, and tropical parasites circled and hung in festoons from the branches of one tree to another. We came unexpectedly at the end to the palace and the lake.

The palace with its little squat dome and turrets, produces a general effect of black and white. How fond the Dutch are of black and white, whether in their marble pavements, or in the stripes on the wooden flower-pots in the garden, whether in the shutters of the houses, or in the lines on the sashes and skirtings of their houses. At the side of the palace we left the carriage, and were told to wander through the bamboo grove. Here we found hidden away in a garden some old monuments, weather-beaten and stained, of an English officer and one or two of the Governors, it seemed a strange little burying-ground.

Banyan-trees, Buitenzorg, Java

Banyan-trees, Buitenzorg, Java.

Page 227.


A Malay boy hovered around us, and offered by signs to climb a tree, as we thought, taking us for that purpose down a secluded path. At length, after much fruitless gesticulating, he took the petal of a leaf I had picked up, from my hand and laid it against a tree. Then we understood. It was the famous orchids of Buitenzorg Gardens that he was offering to show us. He led us to a retired spot where there were some leafless stumps of shrubs, and on to these, after careful examination, we discovered, engrafted and growing in bamboo baskets, about 4000 of the finest specimens of orchids. True that few were in flower, but those few we should have treasured under glass cases at home. We came back to the carriage by a bye-way where there was a fountain playing over a pool of water-lilies in the midst of a green thicket. And so it is at these Buitenzorg Gardens, one beautiful spot after another, unsuspected before, can be discovered in lengthened wanderings.

A broad park, bordered by a curious row of palm-trees that grow in a descending and ascending scale, forming a perfect zig-zag, surrounds the front of the palace, and here there were a treasured herd of deer feeding. By the park-gates are a group of marvellous banyan-trees. Branches were growing down from them like the stem of another tree, or clustering like a ring of small trees around the trunk, and swelling it to enormous dimensions. In other trees we saw the roots hanging down from the branches like a network of fibres or strings that reached to the ground. Again we saw the roots of the same trees grown outwards from the ground, and forming a rocky network round the base of the trunk.

Another magnificent avenue tapers away from the entrance of the park, ending in a black and white marble obelisk, with the Netherlands arms upon it, and the mystifying initials of T. T.

We drove past the barracks and officers' quarters, and stopped at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, where the handsome monuments are all protected by zinc covers.

We noticed that many of the houses, with their neatly-clipped hybiscus hedge, had the stable as part of the house, the two or three stalls being open along the front. Crossing over the bridge, we looked down into a scene of great beauty, the jungle closing in the banks of the howling river, and then we came back to the gardens once more.


How utterly impossible it is to describe "tropical vegetation." A string of names (even if I knew them) conveys no idea of the extraordinary beauty and curiosity of the many new-shaped leaves, and plants, and shrubs, and trees, and parasites of a jungle. I know we wished the drive could have lasted very much longer than it did, for we were amid the scenes read of in all books of travels—groves of cocoa-nut palms and pomegranates, of sago and betel-nut palms, with the meliosnea, and every other species of tropical beauty. With the exception of some roses, with the outside petals a dark crimson, shaded to pale pink inside, there are no beds of flowers in these gardens. There are plenty of brilliant shrub flowers like the crimson hibiscus (which when crushed yields a kind of blacking I am told), but no garden or cultivated flowers. It is the same throughout Java, no flowers, only tropical creepers and shrubs.

I tried to do some writing after dinner, but the insects forbad it; an ant, a large animal with gauzy wings, being particularly troublesome. This is really the white ant grown to a harmless size. In its earlier stages (when it is eaten by the black ant) the destruction it works in a single night is terrible. Literally it "eats you out of house and home" by perforating the timbers of the house with holes till they become rotten. It eats through a box, and leaves no trace of any clothes ever having been in it, or penetrates through the corks and drinks up a cellarful of wine. There is no finality to the mischief the white ant can and does work in a house. Safety against it is only obtained by a daily inspection and airing of anything and everything.

A very curious custom prevails throughout Java, which we only found out this evening. We frequently passed gardos, or watch-houses, a white building by the roadside, open on all sides. From the centre of the house hangs a billet of wood partially hollowed out, which, when struck, gives forth a piercing, mournful sound. Day and night a watchman is stationed here, sounding the watches every hour. It is a wonderful thought that throughout an island as large as England and Wales, these watches are re-echoed throughout the country every mile, and every hour becoming later and later as it reaches the interior of the country. It is cheering in the stillness of the night, hearing the sound of the watch struck from the gardo nearest the station, taken up by the next one, and so on all through the town,[229] spreading and dying away into the country. The Malays and Javanese are not allowed to be in the streets between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a passport to show to the watchman, who calls and demands it as they pass. The watchman is provided with a two-pronged, upward-toothed fork, with which he can "run in" any refractory member of society by the neck; and he has the power to detain any one not giving satisfactory reasons for being about at that hour. If a robbery or crime occurs, the first thing is to give notice at the nearest guard-house, which, by a code of signals, is able to pass on the news to the next guard-house, and so it spreads through the country. Each watchman knows what passports and on what business every one has passed during the night, and suspicion thus often falls on the right person. The services of these watchmen are unpaid, it being the duty of each village-chief to allot the hours to each member of the community, who may provide a substitute if he please. Java is divided into campos or villages, governed by chiefs who are responsible for the good conduct of each individual of their division: any complaint of man, woman, or child is referred to the chief of the campo. Thus the government of the people is done by themselves, and there are but a very few native police, irregularly parading the streets in their blue and orange uniforms.

Wednesday, December 24th.—We got up very early in the morning, not from compulsion, but for pleasure, to enjoy to our utmost the delicious first freshness of the morning air; but early as it was, blue as the mist lay over our glorious view of the valley, ladies in their sarongas were coming in from their morning walk. I went down to the bath, or rather the well, where you throw the bucket of cold water over you, picking a purple gloxinia from the hedge close by. Alas! it was like too many of the tropical beauties in flowers and plants, spoilt by the nest of insects hidden in the delicate waxwork of its recesses. Breakfast is always going from the very early hour of 6 a.m., so we had no need to order it specially, and at 8 a.m. we were in the hotel break, driving past the gardens to the station. We felt very much tempted then to wait a week for the French mail, instead of taking the Dutch boat to-morrow, and making an expedition up into the interior of the country to Samarang or Soerbaja.


By 10 a.m. we were back in Batavia, and we drove from the Weltervreden Station to the Museum.

The green lawn in the front of the Museum is ornamented with a white pedestal, on which stands a black marble elephant. The circular temple, barricaded with black and gold gates, that faces us as we enter, contains a grotesque collection of Hindu gods found in the island, for the natives were formerly Hindus; now they are Mussulmans. Other rooms are full of Borneo and Sumatra weapons, collections from the South Sea Islands, of medals and signet rings, Chinese earrings and images. There is the model of a curious saddle covered with black cloth, formerly in use in Java; and musical instruments of all sorts, including tom-toms, cymbals, &c.; but the two things that interested us most were a guillotine and a Chinese chair of torture. The framework of the latter was of scarlet wood, but the back was formed of three swords with the edges placed outwards; three more of the same formed the seat, and three were placed at each elbow, and three for the footboard; and the victim was strapped into this chair, sitting on the blades of the swords, being cut deeper with every movement. It was in the library that we came upon some curiously interesting documents, copies of the Java Government Gazette, an English newspaper brought out during our four years' (1811-15) occupation of Java before its restoration to the Dutch. We very cautiously opened the ant-eaten pages, which are nearly destroyed in some places, and a few years hence will have disappeared entirely unless some precautions are taken against their ravages. On the first page that we opened on by chance I read the following, dated from London, July 6th, 1814: "The Gazette of yesterday announced the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as Ambassador to France, and Lord Fitzroy Somerset as Secretary of the Legation." A following paragraph contained the account of the Duke's formal farewell to the House of Commons previous to his departure for Paris, and tells "how the members remained standing, with their hats off, and cheered whilst he left the house." The news then took seven months to reach Java, whereas now the mail arrives in twenty-six days. Further on the Gazette had an account of the discussion before the House on the Princess of Wales' letter, asking that her Royal Highness' allowance might be reduced from 50,000l. to 34,000l., "in order that[231] the burdens of the people may not be increased," as she says; and again, "The Emperor of Russia, previous to his quitting London, wished that Dr. Jenner should visit him. His Majesty presented him to his family and made him a present, styling him the benefactor of Russia, for vaccination has produced the most happy results in the empire, where small-pox has often made great havoc."

In the poet's corner, for even a Government Gazette in 1815 was allowed that interesting journalistic feature, we found a little poem by Mrs. Opie, on "The Death of a Hero who died in Action;" in another a poem by Lord Byron on the death of a Sir Peter Parker. One verse from an anonymous writer I cannot resist giving, prefaced by the following letter:—

"Mr. Editor,—Should you deem the following effusion on shooting a brace of ring-necked doves worthy a place in your paper, you will greatly oblige


It began as follows:—

"The amorous dove, with ardent love,
Expects her gentle mate;
But * * * * keen, with eye serene,
Decides her hapless fate."

Inserted between the issue of a later copy of the same paper was a reprint of the conditions of the Treaty of Paris which had just been signed by the Allies, and a triumphant leading article on the "Great Tyrant's" downfall. We dared not linger any longer, as the custodian of the library was becoming impatient, and evidently suspicious of the copious extracts we were making. I resigned it with a sigh, guessing how much more of interest we might have found with a longer perusal.

We had a pleasant drive in the evening to the outskirts of Batavia, passing country-houses, which I suppose called themselves so because they stood in their own grounds, with some attempt at an avenue or drive up to the house. It was our last evening in Batavia, and we were regretfully sad.

December 25th.—A delicate rosy flushing sunrise, with saffron and pale green tints on an orange sea, where the sun was presently to rise in the majesty of tropical heat, was the strange sight which greeted us on this Christmas[232] morning; for we were getting up at 5 a.m., and, leaving the hotel wrapped in slumber, were driving through the already busy streets of China Camp to the Heimraden Plein Station.

A gay scene met us there, for a company of soldiers in marching array and some officers were being sent off to reinforce the army at Acheen, in the north of Sumatra, where the Dutch have a war of some years' standing. A crowd of officers in their pretty dark blue uniform, with orange scarves, the stars on their collars denoting the rank, had come to see their comrades off, and the general himself was superintending their embarkation. A file of convicts, in their prison dress, under the charge of their jailors, were being taken in the train to work on the line. The carriages, that hold eighty-seven even under ordinary circumstance, were crowded beyond that number, and the heat and fumes of tobacco were very trying. We altogether had a weary waiting of nearly two hours in them, standing stationary at the terminus.

A still gayer scene was awaiting us on arrival at Tandjong Priok, for crowds of natives were sauntering about under the bamboo station; and a ship, moored alongside the wharf, was swarming with soldiers, European and native, who had just arrived from the west coast of Borneo; their band was playing on the deck in honour of the general. The Governor-General Meyer, the mail of the Netherlands India Company, lay anchored further away. Whilst we were waiting to start my thoughts recurred to Christmas morning and church, with snow on the ground at home, but it was hard to keep up any semblance of recollection among the strange surroundings. Four natives, such weak specimens of humanity, coming along staggering under the weight of my Saratoga trunk, which one man had always shouldered before; officers were having a last bottle of champagne with their departing comrades, the treble shriek of the warning whistles, the bright medley of Malays, Javanese, Soudanese, Hindus, and Chinese, all rendered it impossible, and Christmas Day this year will only be remembered by us by the inconvenience occasioned by the uncertainty of the vessel starting at all on that day, and the Sunday train not leaving the station nearest the hotel as usual.

The flat coast-line was behind us by 9 a.m., and we were[233] passing the sandy dots upon the ocean of the 1000 islands of the Eastern Archipelago. We came upon a bed of scoria ashes, stretching for about a mile on either side of us. It is still the remains of the great volcanic eruption on the island of Krakatau, in the Straits of Sunda, eighteen months ago. The island was totally destroyed, and 70,000 lives were lost. On the 20th of August, 1883, total darkness reigned in Batavia, though 2000 miles distant from Krakatau, from the density of the shower of ashes falling, and terrific claps of thunder from the cracking of the explosion. Ships had to alter their course after the eruption, and even a year afterwards passed through a thick sea of pumice ashes stretching as far as the eye could reach. When five days out from Java, in the Merkara, it was this pumice ash floating by on the sea that made the captain think there had been a fresh eruption.

A most interesting phenomenon is now in process at Merapi, a mountain in Central Java. Government surveyors are there watching the rise of the lava in a volcano from day to day, and it is calculated that in about three months from now it must burst. Should it be a powerful eruption, it is feared it will divide the Island of Java into two parts.

Merapi is in the same volcanic range that extends through Sumatra, Krakatau, Java, Lombok, and Bali. It will be very curious to see what really happens.

After passing the Island of Lucepara we left the Sea of Java, and were for a short time in the Straits of Sunda.

The Governor-General Meyer is very slow, only going between six and eight knots an hour. The foredeck is curtained off, leaving an archway in the canvas through which we get a picturesque glimpse of the Malay and Chinese passengers, the latter always alternately sleeping and eating rice with their chopsticks. The Dutch officers are our only companions, and two of them speak a little English. Most amusing instructions are hung up in the saloon as to the wearing of the sarong and kabaya. A literal translation from the Dutch says: "It is allowed to the ladies to wear them at breakfast and the 'reis tag,' but after 5.30 p.m. it is requested that they will be dressed till after dinner." Certainly the Dutch hours of seven o'clock dinner on board ship is a great improvement on the six o'clock English one. I slept the afternoon away, and a[234] Christmas cake and some mummying among the Dutch sailors gave us a final reminder of Christmas evening.

Friday, December 26th.—We are coasting along by Sumatra, which looks a very flat island. Sumatra is celebrated for its tobacco plantations, which supply the outer leaf for Havana cigars, being of very fine quality, and burning white and clean. The tobacco is exported to Amsterdam, which is one of the greatest emporiums in the world for this article. We enter the Straits of Banka, which are formed by the island of this name (belonging to the Dutch) and the Island of Sumatra. The water here is a curious colour, olive-green, growing more muddy as we approach the entrance of the Talemjan River, on the Sumatra coast. We reached Muntok, the chief town of Banka, at night, where we had some cargo to put off. Muntok is the centre of a great tin track, worked by Chinese, who are brought there under contract.

Saturday, December 27th.—Last night we were stationary by the lighthouse for three hours, the Governor-General being unable to make headway with full steam against the tremendously strong current running there, and this morning we are catching a breeze from the north-east monsoon which prevails at this time of the year in the China Sea, and are being further delayed. In the Indian Ocean and China Sea the monsoon or strong trade wind usually blows from the south-west from April to October, and from the north-east from October to April. Typhoons and cyclones, or circular hurricanes are frequent during the former in the Indian Ocean, and during the latter in the China Sea.

We crossed the equator this afternoon. The novelty of this feat has passed away after the first performance of it in the Pacific. How strange it must be living in a town like Pontianak, in West Borneo, where the equator passes through the main street! "The house on the line" must be quite a show place to the inhabitants. The heat on the afternoon was very great.

Sunday, December 28th.—We were at anchor before Rhio (or Riow in Dutch spelling), a settlement among the palm-trees. Rhio is a port of some importance, the Dutch having made it a free port, contrary to their principles, when Singapore was thrown open by the English, hoping thus to attract some part of the commerce of the Eastern Archipelago.


We are passing through the pretty Straits of Rhio, with its wooded banks and straggling cocoa-palms. A terribly dangerous reef is marked by a curl of foam. The date of our arrival in Singapore has been growing steadily later, but we shall really be there this afternoon, landing on the Sunday as usual.


The Straits Settlements, which comprise Singapore, Penang, and Malacca, besides the protected states of Salangore Perak, and Sungeilljong, contain about 1500 square miles, and nearly half a million of inhabitants. They were transferred from the control of the Indian Government to that of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1867. Singapore is an island about twenty-seven miles long, situated at the southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula. It is a port of call for all vessels to the east, and 100,000 tons of coal are always kept in readiness on the wharves of the coaling stations.

The approach to Singapore through the Straits of Rhio gives you a very disappointing idea of the town, which looks flat and ugly. Very different are the first impressions,—which count for so much when travelling, and perpetually seeing new places, when Singapore is approached from the western entrance to the harbour.

We took one of the little gharries, that may be called the carriage of India and its dependencies, to drive to the Hôtel de l'Europe. They resemble a light build of four-wheeler, only in place of glass windows there are venetian shutters. The small ponies are driven by Malays, who sit generally not on the high box seat, but on the footboard of the carriage.

We found ourselves driving through another Chinatown, for the Chinese swarm and predominate in the population as much in Singapore as they do in Batavia. The Hôtel de l'Europe, with its rambling succession of houses, is well known by many hundreds of travellers, for Singapore is a great central depôt where travellers meet going from Europe to Australia, China, and Japan.

We drove up to Government House, passing through its[236] park of lawns studded with shrubs and the beautiful Traveller's Palm, of which each branch spreads itself out at the top to form such a perfect fan shape.

Government House stands upon a hill, and though a very handsome building, it produces a curious combination of colours. I suppose the primary colour is the buff of the stone, but it is hidden by the chocolate of the shutters forming the upper part of the very lofty windows, which below are shaded by green venetians. The effect is uncommon and pretty. The entrance also is striking, the marble steps of the hall and staircase being bordered by palms, the blue and yellow stripes of the carpet showing out between. Several peons, in their long white tunics, with the gold scarlet cords wound round the waist, and scarlet hats, were waiting about. The Governor, Sir Frederick Weld, is at present away, but Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Smith received us very kindly, and asked us to stay at Government House.

I looked forward to evening service in the cathedral, for three Sundays had passed without any service for us. The cathedral stands in a quadrangle amongst trees, and has a pretty tower and nave, but the stone is not weather-proof, and has turned mouldy in dark patches. Outside there were rows of men standing round the building pulling the cord that passes through the hole in the frame, and inside I saw that comical effect of punkahs in a church for the first time. Through the length of the church the punkahs were swinging alternately on either side, and those in the chancel were only waiting for the entrance of the choir to begin waving likewise. We heard the sermon on the approaching death of the old year, and caught glimpses of the clergyman between the flying backwards and forwards of the punkahs. The Bishop of Singapore and Sarawak was there, arrived that morning from a distant part of his diocese, which extends into Borneo.

Traveller's Palm, Singapore

Traveller's Palm, Singapore.

Page 236.


The heat in Singapore varies but little throughout the year. Lying on the Equator we should imagine it was terrific, but in those hot climates there are all kinds of arrangements for draughts and currents of air, which we forget when thinking about them in England. Nearly all the rooms are only partially partitioned off from the passage outside, allowing a free current of air to pass over the top of the screen. Some have a wooden shutter that folds back under the window and gives another draught. Curtains are hung before the doorway, or shutters halfway up, so that the door need not be closed. Abundance of servants, even in small establishments, take away the necessity of doing anything for yourself. Punkahs are hung in different parts of the room, and the punkah-wallah, specially kept for that purpose, keeps you in a fresh current of air whilst reading or writing.

Monday, December 29th.—A gharry took us into the town in the morning. The plain is a broad belt of park flanking the seashore, and round it cluster the hotel, the High Street, the cathedral, the Raffles College, and the handsome grey stone court-house, with the traditional elephant in marble in front. Round the little square of Raffles Place lie the shops. The streets of Singapore are narrow, and very foreign-looking. They have a peculiar way of circling round the corner, that is to say, the houses are built so as to "round the corner." The upper storey has a projecting balcony, which forms with its many arches a piazza. Underneath here the wares of the shops are displayed on counters in the street, and it forms a cool and shady promenade.

There is a great charm about these streets in the wonderful mixture of races, and their characteristic costumes. You see the Hindu with his white muslin dress and turban; the Cingalee with a bright saronga and tortoise-shell comb in the hair; the Parsee with his peculiar black conical hat; Arabs and Hadjis, recognized by the long flowing robe that evidences a pilgrimage to Mecca; "Chitties," or money-lenders, with shaven heads, dressed all in white; Klings with their lank black hair; Japanese and Chinese in their indigo dyed tunics. All were dark, but the colour of the skin varied from ebony to olive-brown; all were scantily clothed, but all added to the picturesqueness of the scene by some bright bit of colour, particularly the Chinamen with their red and purple paper umbrellas. Drays drawn by bullocks, gharries, and many jinrickshas, of which there are some 2000 in Singapore, flocked the streets.

I had plenty of time to observe all this while waiting outside the shipping agencies for C., who was trying to obtain some definite information about a steamer to Rangoon. We found we had, after all, to give up British Burmah and the temple at Rangoon, inlaid with sapphires and diamonds,[238] because we found it entailed six days' waiting at Moulmein, three days at Rangoon, and three changes of steamers, besides a great expenditure of time.

We drove to the Botanical Gardens in the evening, which are celebrated for their beauty, but I was decidedly disappointed in them. We saw there the sago palm, which has such a beautiful grey fern leaf. When the branch is cut open the seeds are found inside that form the sago. Also the betel-nut palm, which has the thin grey stem with a tuft of palm leaves at the top, and hundreds of those green berries hanging down, which the natives love to chew. We saw a clove-tree, which is about the size, and has the same shaped leaf as the orange-tree. These leaves when bruised have the spicy smell of the clove, Amid all the calladiums, crotons, and maidenhair ferns, it seems so strange to see no real flowers. The Malay Peninsula has none except those like the alamander, bugenvillea or pathodœa, and hibiscus, which are large blossoms, and grow on shrubs and trees. All the vegetables in Singapore have, too, to be imported either from China, or else from Hong Kong.

We drove home by the "Ladies' Mile," an avenue of palm-trees extending for one mile.

Disappointed of seeing China proper, I am anxious to see all I can of Chinese customs, in some of their camps. It had been arranged for us to go to a Chinese theatre after dinner. Mr. Maxwell, the head of the police, and a son of Sir Benson Maxwell, of Egyptian fame, very kindly accompanied us.

The drive through Chinatown was so bright and picturesque, the streets being alive with hundreds of jinrickshas, whose lamps flitted by us, in a procession of ladies taking the evening air in a drive round the town for the moderate sum of five cents. Flaming torches displayed the wares in the streets, and lighted the temporary stands whereon were laid the symposiums or suppers, for sale.

Arrived at the theatre, we went through a dark entrance up a ladder to a gallery where carpets and chairs with refreshments were laid out. Two little Chinese maidens with flattened noses and rouged and powdered cheeks, with curious bead head-dresses, were told off to fan us. The stage was lighted by five gas lights hung over the stage, and the general tone of brown and gold colouring was[239] sombre and handsome. But all illusion is cast to the winds at once by the orchestra, in blue trowsers and nankeen coats, sitting in the centre of the stage, smoking and talking between whiles. The great feature of the evening is the noise. The tom-tom, the drum, and the chopsticks are made to deafen, and now and again when the scene reaches a culminating point, one of the musicians stands up, and dredges with all his might on the aforesaid tom-tom.

When we entered a Chinese lady who was about to become a priestess, was clasping her hands together in prayer on the stage, and singing a doleful song.

Again and again during the hour we stayed the mournful wail reappeared at different periods, and we were told that it was the favourite opera air of the Chinese. The dialogues and singing are carried on in falsetto, and the high-pitched nasal twang is most unpleasant to hear. The dresses are very beautiful, all made of valuable embroideries, and those that were brought up to us to see had no tinsel about them, but small looking-glasses instead, let in to brighten them on the stage. All the time during the nasal song of the priestess lady, which lasted an interminable time, people were walking casually across the stage, and the imagination has to be highly exalted to recognize that a man throwing his leg in the air represents mounting and riding on horseback. The Chinese are great adepts in tumbling, and certainly it was difficult to conceive how the man we saw, mounted on the top of three tables and one chair, could throw himself over backwards, turn a somersault in the air, and land on his feet without breaking his back. The tumbling was interpolated in the middle of the play, but it did not matter as there were no acts, and no dropping of the curtain.

The story rambled on about an emperor that was taken captive. A lady who was about to become a fish and return to the sea, gave her husband a charm by which he would be able to release the emperor. Then followed his appearance and the declaration of his mission before the chief Mandarins. The same story often lasts several weeks and it is wonderful how the interest is maintained, especially considering that the play is spoken in Mandarin, the dialect of the upper classes, and which is not understood by the lower. The dark and dirty pit, with one light, was empty, but it would fill up towards twelve o'clock, we were told,[240] and the play is going on from the afternoon till two or three in the morning. Most of the theatres are now "starring," or giving public performances in the streets. The last we saw of the play was a free fight with a man left dead on the stage. Some one considerately went and fetched a pillow to place under his head to make him more comfortable, and after a decent lapse of time he got up and walked off the stage!

In an inner room off the gallery we were taken to see some opium-smoking. The process of preparing the opium is lengthy. It is held over a lamp on a piece of wire till it frizzles and swells into a bubble, and it is then manipulated on the outside of the ivory, before being plugged into the small hole. The woman, who was one of the actresses, drew at it gently, exhaling the smoke through the nostrils. The Chinese meanwhile stood round in an admiring group. They are delighted when strangers come to see their theatre, as was evinced by the preparations and curiosity shown about us, and by the heads peeping round the corner of the gallery.

We had but a short night's rest, for we had to be up at five the following morning.

By six we were driving out fifteen miles to breakfast with the Maharajah[4] of Johore, in a carriage he had sent for us. A malarious mist rose from the town of Singapore beneath us. The road into the country was alive with bullock carts, and natives with their bamboo baskets bringing in produce for the town market. The flat road is hard and smooth, and the cocoa-nut palms and bamboo groves made us feel as if we were driving through a beautiful garden for nearly two hours.

We arrived at the Tibrau, or the old Straits, the route formerly taken by steamers going to China and Japan. The placid sheet of water puzzled us at first as to whether it was lake or river, for the wooded banks and promontories closing in around, made it seem unlike the "wide salt sea." A collection of huts were here, built on piles placed in the water. It seems strange why, with so much dry land at his disposal, John Chinaman should choose to erect his tenement hanging over the water. The low white building opposite with the red-tiled roof was Istana.

The Maharajah's steam-launch took us across the Straits[241] and landed us under the gilded pagoda, ornamented with the crescent and the star, the Maharatic emblems of royalty. His Highness's secretary met us, and we walked across the road and up some steps to the garden, for it is not in any way fenced off from the road. The palace of Istana has two stories, and the broad verandahs and balconies surrounding it give to it many a broad shadow and cool depth. The entrance is a marble hall open on two sides, through which you look down a vista of little domes and arches of a pale blue tint. Up and down the archway on the other side paces the sentry, clad in loose brown holland uniform and gaiters, with a red fez and orange fringe.

The Maharajah of Johore is a man of about fifty years of age, with iron-grey hair and whiskers, and a full oriental face. He is Maharajah, or Great Rajah, because he governs his princedom of Johore without the assistance of a resident. He was dressed in a loose English gentleman's shooting suit, but wore the silk sarong, twisted round underneath the coat, and a braided smoking-cap. Six magnificent diamond and emerald rings glittered on the fingers of one hand, and six ruby and diamond on the other. The Maharajah has been a great traveller, and speaks English fairly well, though understanding it better. He intends to visit England again next year. Istana was hastily built for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, but it shows no traces of this. On the marble staircase hangs a portrait of Mr. Gladstone, whom the Maharajah learnt to admire, he says, during his last visit to England. The drawing-rooms are dark and handsome. Rows of lovely Japanese vases, with their own peculiar dull colours of brick-red, olive-green, and dull blue, line the room. A wonderful collection of Japanese spears and swords inlaid with mother-of-pearl, are arranged on the walls of an outside balcony or corridor, and all these the Maharajah brought back from his recent tour in Japan.

In the ball-room are full-length portraits of the Queen and Prince Albert, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, with two smaller portraits of George I. and II. over the door. The bedrooms were like any that you would find in an English country-house.

Some marble steps led to the grounds, where, in the space between the tennis court and the audience chamber, some Klings and Sikhs were being drilled. All the marble about the palace had to be imported from Europe. The Maharajah[242] drives a break with four in hand, and has an English coachman and some English grooms. He is fond of shooting, and there is plenty of big game in the jungles of Johore, and tiger hunts are easily arranged. We had breakfast in the long, narrow dining-room. Some Chinese beans were served, and a Singapore dish consisting of sampan or sago, with cocoa-nut milk and sugar-cane sauce—a thick treacle—otherwise the food was completely European.

The Maharanee, a Chinese lady, was in town, for the Maharajah has two houses in Singapore, connected with Istana by a telephone. On leaving he gave us two pretty sarongs, but we did not say good-bye here, for his Highness drove back into town with us.

We were late in getting home, and had rather a rush to get off our luggage in a bullock-cart, and say good-bye at Government House, to be down in time at the wharf. Up to the last minute we thought we should miss the steamer, for the Malay servants could not find the wharf at which the Japan was lying. It was a relief to be on board at last and able to rest. Yesterday afternoon we did not know we were to leave Singapore to-day, and since then we have seen the Botanical Gardens, packed at intervals as we could, gone to the Chinese theatre, and that morning driven thirty miles out and seen Istana.

The agent was late in coming down, and it was five o'clock before we slipped our moorings. The entrance to the harbour on this, the western side, is beautiful. Wooded islands and the little hills above Singapore form a pretty channel. Even the P. and O. and French coaling stations, with their red-tiled roofs, look picturesque, as do the settlement of huts built on stakes into the water, and the houses nestling amongst the palms. Opposite the entrance to the channel, which is formed of red sandstone cliffs, stands the flagstaff of the signal station, where flags of every nation are run up, showing the departure and arrival of their ships.

A most exciting incident occurred just before the pilot left us. Two Chinese jumped overboard, and swam ashore to escape their articles. Their employers ship them on board, advancing them some money as a pledge, and then, when they are clear of the harbour, they escape by swimming on shore, or by having a boat waiting to pick them up. Their employers have no redress.

The Japan belongs to Apcar and Co., of Calcutta, and is[243] employed in the opium trade between Calcutta and Hong Kong. The opium is government-grown in India, and it forms the most valuable of cargoes, 2400 chests being usually put on board, each of the approximate value of 1200 pounds.

The Japan has small accommodation, but some Parsees and an Armenian priest are our only passengers. Captain and Mrs. Gardner do the honours of their ship most pleasantly.

Wednesday, December 31st.—We were pointed out the coast of Malacca, but saw it so dimly that I should call it "distinguishing by intuition," as we knew we were in the straits of that name.

On our port bow were the Heads of Acheen, which we looked at with interest, when papers so lately have been talking about the rescue of the Nisero crew, seized by the Sultan of Acheen. The Dutch have good reason to hate this paltry little potentate, for not only have they had to pay the 40,000l. as the ransom for a British shipwrecked crew, but the war is swallowing up the 3,000,000l. surplus revenue which we heard so much about when in Java. We passed Pulo Jara, or Broom Island, after dinner, the point of departure, and where ships alter their course 4° for Penang.

We sat up on the deck in the moonlight on this the last night of the old year—and so ended our year of 1884.

January 1st, 1885.—The New Year came in for us at five in the morning, with three prolonged whistles from the funnel of the Japan as we came to the lovely entrance to the Penang roadstead. I hurried up on deck in déshabille, and found the chill of night yet on the beautifully wooded island where the lighthouse sends forth a brilliant light. The full yellow moon in the dark blue sky was just standing over it, and as we looked a shooting star fell down to earth. On the other hand faint tinges of red and yellow in the east told of the coming morn. With that strangely rapid change of the tropics, dawn turned to sunrise over the sugar plantations of Province Wellesley. We saw the native pilot, with his red petticoat fluttering in the breeze, on the bridge. We passed the large island, which is sacred to the leper hospital, of which there are some 300, chiefly among the Chinese immigrants. Some little fishing-vessels, that had been out all night, with their light still burning in the bows,[244] were hovering about the patches of bamboo stakes. The sun rose, and we saw the red and white roofs of Penang clustering thickly on the flat peninsula, backed by the hill of 2000 feet, a mass of jungle.

We had a cup of early tea on deck, and then I went down to dress, and none too soon as it turned out. As we anchored within half a mile of the shore Mr. Harwood, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, came on board, with an invitation from Colonel Dunlop, the Resident Councillor of Penang, to spend the day at the Government bungalow on the hill. All arrangements had been made for us, and by six o'clock the harbour-master's gig had landed us on the wharf. A gharry drove us through the town, past the Roman Catholic church, whose tapers were lighted and bell tolling, along by the green lawn that forms a cricket-ground, bordered by the sea.

The Chinese are as supreme here in numbers as at Singapore. They were driving the patient white bullocks toiling along with the ox-cart, or more strange still, the huge grey buffalo guided by a ring passed through the nose; they were tailoring or tinkering in their open shops, and carrying on the trade of Penang in their bamboo baskets, slung across the shoulders. We saw many a picturesque bit of native life outside the mat hut: Klings or Madrassee women lounging about, with their nostrils pierced with bright gold coins, and wrapped in the thin strip of gauze.

We were driving along a beautiful road, where the palm-trees and cocoa-nuts arched overhead, and it was most delicious and enjoyable in the cool morning air. Arrived at the bottom of the hill, the promised chairs and coolies were nowhere to be seen, and we felt rather blank for a few minutes, until we determined to walk to the Waterfall.

We wandered along a shady path passing between the decayed pillars of a former gateway. In a neighbouring cocoa grove some natives were laying out the bare ground for a garden. The Waterfall is the celebrated beauty of Penang, and when we only saw some streams of water trickling down the side of a mountain between the jungle, we were greatly disappointed.

Our chairs and coolies were waiting for us on our return, the leaders being distinguished by their white vests. The coolie proper wears nothing but the sarong folded like a short petticoat, and caught up in front in the belt when[245] walking. It is to be noted that these natives, who consider so little ordinary clothing necessary, invariably have the head covered by a heavy turban or cap. We got into the chairs, and six coolies prepared to carry us up the hill: two in front "tandem" between the shafts, which they support by a bamboo pole slung between their shoulders, and two in the same manner behind; one walked on either side to steady the chair. The motion is so easy and pleasant, and the coolies swing along at a great pace, though not attempting to keep step. We enjoyed a very charming two hours, being carried round the zigzags of the hill, in the midst of jungle that might be called virgin jungle, so tropical and dense was the vegetation. It was an ideal of the Indian life we read about—the early morning, the jungle, and the coolies! Sometimes the coolies would accomplish one of the steep gradients by a sudden run, but at all times they worked patiently along, perspiring from every pore, and some of them blowing lustily.

It was becoming very hot as we reached the top of the hill, and we found that Colonel Dunlop was not staying at the Government, but at the Convalescent Bungalow, a little further on. Here on the verandah he welcomed us, with Mr. Justice Wood, an old Westminster; Major Coffee, in command of the detachment of the Inniskillen Fusiliers, stationed at Penang; and Mr. Maxwell, another of Sir Benson's sons. Mr. Maxwell is Commissioner of Lands, and was recently sent over to Acheen to arrange for the release of the Nisero crew.

Jaded officials and business men from Singapore and Penang come up 2000 feet to one of these bungalows on the Hill, and recruit amid the perfect stillness and beautiful monotony of life up here. Beneath lies ever a most superb and glorious view of Penang on its peninsula, separated by an arm of the sea from the cocoa-nut groves and sugar-canes of Province Wellesley. Below and around them are hills of varying size, showing in places the poverty of the soil, but for the most part covered with jungle. The two islands in the sea look almost artificial, so unnaturally glassy is the water around them. In the garden at the back, where our coolies were sleeping in the blaze of the sun, after their struggle up the hill, we see a repetition of the view—the hills and the sea, but without Penang. In the centre of this garden a huge block of granite, on which trees and ferns are[246] growing, raises its Druidical head. Some "Goth" the other day proposed to blast it away, for it destroys all prospect of lawn-tennis.

After "tiffin" we went for a stroll in the woods below the bungalow. In the jungle there we saw many new tropical specimens; the wild cocoa-nut palm, which bears no fruit; the monkey's cup, which is something like the slipper orchid, and contains in its dark red cup shut with a lid, a small quantity of water. A black rock, with a tree growing out of it, without any apparent hold for the roots, was marked with roller indentations, that seemed to indicate the glacier action of past ages. We also saw the atap, a creeper which is the dread of the jungle explorer: it throws out a shoot with thin, green leaves, resembling a straggling branch of palm, but when seen near there are three sharp little claws, which tear and cut pitilessly when brushed against. This jungle is full of monkeys, who sit chattering on the branches of the trees in the early morning and evening, but we saw none now, as they were resting during the midday heat.

On returning to the bungalow we had a feast of English newspapers, reading and resting in the verandah. Dr. Hampshire, the colonial surgeon, telephoned up from Penang an invitation to dinner that evening, which we accepted through the same medium. Remembering the shortness of the tropical twilight, we collected our troop of coolies around us about five o'clock, and walked a little way down, accompanied by the gentlemen, to see a magnificent view.

The descent in the cool of the evening was very pleasant, the coolies swinging down hill at a great pace, whilst the two supporters acted as drags round the steep corners. The road is splendidly made, with ridges to prevent the rain washing down the sand. The light did not last, and ere we reached the bottom of the hill we were wrapped in the gloom and great stillness of the forest.

Here a similar disaster to the non-appearance of the chairs in the morning awaited us. There was no gharry. The coolies, however, made signs to us to get into the chairs again, and that they would take us on, but only, as it turned out, to the first hotel. Here they rebelled, and refused to go further, and we were powerless to remonstrate, not speaking the language. The hotel was small and ill-looking,[247] kept by a Chinaman, but we entered in the hope of finding some one who would understand us enough to send off for a gharry. It was quite dark, and Dr. Hampshire's house a long way off. Two German gentlemen were inside; they said there were no gharries to be had, but they volunteered to give us each a seat in the two traps that we had seen waiting outside, and to deposit us at our destination. It was a happy way for us out of our dilemma, and we were much indebted to our "friends in need, friends indeed."

We dined and spent a very pleasant evening, suffering from the heat of Penang after the cool air of the mountain. A gharry took us to the landing-pier, and so late as it was, we had no choice but to take a "sampan" to row across in the moonlight to the ship. The tide was running very strong, and the sampan is but a frail bark, propelled by the native standing up. We first narrowly escaped striking the rudder of the ship in coming round to the further side, and then the current swept us away from the gangway. However, we were landed safely on board by eleven o'clock, very tired after a day beginning at 5 a.m. Nevertheless we felt we had thoroughly enjoyed a very novel and pleasant New Year's Day.

Friday, January 2nd.—We went off with the captain in the ship's boat directly after breakfast, and were fortunate enough in finding an interpreter on the wharf. Malay is the current language of the Straits Settlements, among the variety of nationalities which gather in their towns. It is an easily learnt language, and from its soft, sweet accent is called the "Italian of the East."

Beach Street is very narrow and picturesque, gay with the wares displayed on counters in the street, and the motley crowd of variously coloured skins. I went with C. to the bank. The large, whitewashed room with the green cloth table in the centre, has not exactly the business-like look of our banks. All the cashiers are Chinese, who count out the heavy silver dollar pieces with great rapidity. The dollar here is worth three shillings and sixpence, but they suffer much in the Straits Settlements from having only twenty, fifteen, and ten cent. pieces, and no half-dollar.

It is strange to notice that wherever the dollar or a high monetary unit exists, there the necessaries of life become proportionately dear. It is so throughout America, and here in the Straits Settlements, especially at Singapore and Penang, which[248] are very expensive places to live in. The officials are apt to complain that when apportioning their salaries Government did not make sufficient allowance for this. The favourite mode of payment, however, in the Straits is by "chits," or an I.O.U. You give the driver of your gharry a chit as much as you do your tradesman; and at the end of the month they employ a "chitty," who charges some small percentage to collect these chits.

We saw some more of the curious life in Chinatown, that is compressed into the usual nutshell, at Penang, and also went into a Joss-house. The roof of a Joss-house is curiously pointed at the ends, with a sweeping depression in the centre, and is adorned with blue and green dragons, and other carvings. Inside there was a lofty temple, with a dark oak ceiling supported by gilded pillars; also a bronze table, with a great deal of gaudy, tawdry decoration upon it, just such as you would imagine the Chinese would introduce into their religion. The Joss, or idol, was guarded by a screen, between which you passed to see the case, hung with green curtains, containing the hideous, wizened figure, arrayed in blue and orange. Numbers of sandal-wood tapers, or joss-sticks, were being burnt in handfuls before him, supplied free by the man at the door, and their sweet, sickly smell pervaded the air.

We were led into a courtyard at the back, where the walls were entirely covered with green and gold and black wooden squares, engraved with Chinese writing. They are tablets erected to the memory of their dead. Here there is another shrine, with three idols. Perhaps the centre one, or patriarch, was Jain, the brother of Buddha, whom they worship, for most of the Chinese are really Buddhists. The priest, who can be known by his shaven head, without pigtail, showed this one to us, and gave me a bundle of the joss-sticks. The joss-house was spoilt by its untidy and neglected state, boards and planks filling up the courtyard, and showing in strange contrast against the costly mountings of the temple. We passed through a round hole in the wall of the courtyard to the garden of the joss, a little plot filled with marigolds and chrysanthemums. Some trees cut into figures, a wooden head and hands being added, looked curiously life-like.

After peeping in at the court-house, where we saw that the jury and the judge are allowed their special punkah, and[249] buying some photographs, we returned to the pier, not in the gharry, but in a jinricksha. We had some difficulty in finding one, for the cool of the evening, when the Chinese ladies take the air, is the time of their harvest.

The jinricksha is a high bath-chair, and, translated from the Chinese, signifies "pull-man's" car, from "jin," a man, and "rick," to pull. They go along silently and at a great pace. The motion is made pleasant by the high action and regular swing of the shoulders that accompanies the trot of the drawer. Neither Japanese nor Chinese think the work derogatory, unlike the Scotch, who, when a gentleman took home a jinricksha and "puller" to Edinburgh, rose in rebellion at a man being degraded into a horse.



The steamer was to go at twelve, but after all we might have stayed on shore, and had luncheon, as he had kindly asked us to, with Mr. Harwood, for one of the officers had gone snipe-shooting in the morning, and shot a Chinaman by accident. He was arrested by the police, and the captain had to go ashore, arrange the compensation, procure his release, and go bail, causing us a delay of two hours. It was 4 p.m. when we rounded the hill and lost sight of[250] pretty little Penang—which I like so much better than Singapore.

Saturday, January 3rd.—We are in the Andaman Sea to-day, so called from the Andaman group of islands, celebrated as the place where Lord Mayo was murdered. The smoothness of the sea is broken by white horses, which are found here when nowhere else. Captain Gardner holds a theory that the disturbance is caused by an underground passage communicating between two volcanic islands, which are now inactive.

We bought yesterday in Penang a durian, which we experimented upon to-day. Every one was immediately aware of its presence as it came on board. Outside it looks like a green hedgehog, and inside the thick rind there are about eight or nine custard eggs. The smell is like assafœtid acid and garlic proportioned in equal parts. It is an acquired taste, if ever it is really liked as much as people say.


On this bright, yet foggy morning of January 7, 1885, we find ourselves at anchor in the mouth of the Hooghley—that vast delta and network of channels where the most ancient of historical rivers, the Ganges, loses itself in the ocean.

The sun is struggling through the bank of fog, and as it slowly lifts, it is difficult to believe that the broad expanse of dun-coloured waters, with its dim outline of mud-banks forming a shore, is a river and not the sea. The white tower of the lighthouse of Saugor gleams in the far distance, and the pilot and his leadsman are on board.

It is 156 miles from the mouth of the Hooghley to the wharves at Calcutta, and all through the morning we are making a slow and tedious progress, stopping frequently to take soundings. The Hooghley is well known as a most "ticklish" piece of navigation, and altogether three pilots take charge of the ship in its upward course. The pilot with his accompanying leadsman, who after five years' apprenticeship is qualified as such himself, takes the ship to Garden Reach, and then hands over the charge to the harbour-master to take her into dock and the moorings.

The Hooghly, Calcutta

The Hooghly, Calcutta.

Page 251.


For the first hundred miles the Hooghley is exceedingly ugly, being merely a succession of mud-banks, the deposit of silt and sand left by the river as it struggles in various channels across the flat plain of the delta; but after passing Diamond Harbour, the signal station, where the arrival and departure of ships to and from Calcutta are telegraphed, the scene changes gradually. Isolated palm-trees are seen at intervals along the banks, succeeded by groves and a few mud huts. We pass barges or budgeroes laden with cargo, rowed by four natives, who step backwards and forwards, keeping time together. We observe occasionally a group of pilgrims forming a picturesque encampment on the banks, come down here for the religious ceremony of bathing.

Not seldom is a dead body seen floating down the stream, with vultures sitting on it and picking at the flesh, for notwithstanding all prohibitions, the Hindu still sometimes puts a corpse in the sacred river.

It was interesting passing here the Indus, a ship employed in the transport of Australian horses for the Indian market, and which we had last seen in dock in Sydney Harbour!

I was sitting quietly writing in my cabin in the middle of the afternoon, when I heard a tremendous scuffle overhead, accompanied by a rush to the stern. Immediately afterwards there was that peculiar rushing of water which indicates that the rudder is being put hard-a-port or starboard, and, running out, I saw all the officer and sailors spinning the wheel round as hard as they could. The severe strain had snapped a link in the chain of the steering gear on the bridge, but, fortunately, that at the stern was in order. Intensely anxious was the moment when we waited to see whether she would answer to her helm in time. Slowly the vessel's head came round, and we floated away from the sandbank on to which she was fast drifting. The sandbanks here are quicksands, and vessels which strand are sucked down and heard of no more!

The afternoon sun shone brightly as we drew near to the sea of masts and rigging that lie at anchor along the wharves, which border the Maidan of Calcutta.

All around us is a scene of the greatest animation. The river banks are lined with ships coaling or undergoing[252] repairs, while others lie in mid-stream, with "flats," or broad boats with shallow bottoms, piled up with merchandise discharging cargo on either side.

A steamship is passing us on its way out to sea, while behind us an American vessel is being towed up to dock. Hulks, budgeroes, steam-tugs, and dingies are threading their way amongst this maze of shipping, and a goodly crowd of the latter are hovering or clinging on to our ship by means of rope and hooks, making a dash at us with the latter as we pass.

These budgeroes with their painted prows and covered stern resemble the gondola of Venice, but instead of the funereal black of the latter, they are painted in bright colours, blue and red and yellow, and steered by means of an oar roughly fastened by reeds to the stern. Generally the steersman is represented by a picturesque figure wrapped in a gay counterpane, or swathed in the graceful folds of muslin, thrown loosely over the shoulders. We pass many factories of sugar, jute, and paper, and some pottery works.

Opposite Garden Reach stands the palace of the ex-King of Oude, with its green jalousies and balconies, and its terrace overhanging the water, guarded at either end by a caged lion and tiger. Long before we approached it, we saw flocks of pigeons, white and speckled, whirling in the air. An attendant standing in the tower with a red flag was waving them home, and at the understood signal they were all circling round and setting on the flat roofs of the palace. It was the former residence of Sir Lawrence Peel, but now the palace and the beautiful suburb is abandoned to the eccentricities of the ex-king with his swarm of followers, who lives here on a yearly pension of 120,000l. granted by our Government.

Facing the palace at Seebpore is Bishop's College, now used as a school for engineers, and the Botanical Gardens here border the river. Passing Chandpal Ghât, the landing-place, "where India welcomes" and speeds away her rulers; "where Governors-General, Commanders-in-Chief, Judges of the High Court, Bishops, all entitled to it, receive the royal salute from Fort William on setting foot in the metropolis," we anchored for the night. The harbour-master refused to take the Japan to her moorings till the morning.


Amid great confusion we embarked ourselves and our luggage in one of the frail and leaking dingies. Colliding and being collided with several times, an unhealthy mist rising and enveloping us from the river, darkness overtaking us, we had a very uncomfortable half-hour's row to the landing-stage.

In the darkness of the half gas-lighted streets, the natives muffled up to the eyes in their long white garments, the bullock-carts, the palanquins, the gharries, all looked so strange and foreign, and the noise and bustle of the streets was oppressive to us after the dead stillness of the steamer.

Of course we went to the Great Eastern Hotel. Alas! there is no choice of hotels for travellers, and the company, having the monopoly, do not exert themselves for the comfort of their visitors. The table-d'hôte was bewildering from the extraordinary number of servants in the room, there being from sixty to 100 guests. The "boys," or personal servants, made one row by standing each behind his master's chair, and the hotel servants another whilst handing the dishes, not counting those who were hurrying in all directions. The noise in the Great Eastern is a perpetual torment, the doors being only protected by curtains, voices and footsteps echo through the bare, marble-paved corridors. Khitmutgârs and Chuprassis creep in noiselessly from behind the curtains, and you look up suddenly to find them there, and to wonder how long they have been standing staring at you. Ayahs and tailors come to offer their services, and bric-à-brac vendors are always pushing their way into the sitting-room.

Thursday, January 8th.—A fine spring morning to greet us for our first day in India,—not too warm, for we are fortunate in being here during one of the only three temperate months of the Indian year.

Calcutta used to be known by the name of "the Ditch," but now it is called the "City of Palaces." I should say that the former name well applies to the native quarters and bazaars, which lie in such close juxtaposition to the handsome buildings and are so unusually narrow, crowded, and dirty. The latter speaks truly of that splendid range of buildings around Dalhousie Square, and that block facing the Maidan, formed by the High Court and Government House.

Dalhousie Square is the old Tank Square, or, earlier still,[254] was called "the green before the fort," for the ancient fort stood on the spot where now we see the magnificent dome of the Post Office.

Inside an arched gateway, at the side of this building, there are some remnants of the old walls of the fort. A plain square of pavement here shows the exact size and spot of the Black Hole of Calcutta. A short and business-like inscription is placed over the archway recording "how 123 victims perished during the night of June 20th, 1757, only 23 being found alive in the morning, confined there by order of the rebel, Suraj-ud-Dowlah."

There are besides in Dalhousie Square the block of government buildings occupying the entire length of one side of it, built of dull red brick faced with yellow stone and ending at the corner with an octagonal tower; also the Telegraph Office, and the Dalhousie Institute.

Government House is a vast yellow structure, with a small dome, standing within railed gardens. The approach is very handsome, with a broad flight of steps leading to the entrance under a portico with Corinthian pillars; but it appears, this is only for use on state occasions, as you are driven up to the unpretentious doorway under the entrance. Four roads with lion-guarded gateways lead up to the four entrances, there being one to each side of the house; and the Sepoy sentries, the mounted escort waiting in attendance, and the chuprassies running hither and thither—scarlet messengers with the royal insignia that you meet in all parts of the city, form a truly Vice-regal surrounding.

The houses in Calcutta have a very Eastern appearance, being painted a pale pink or buff colour, contrasting with the bright green of jalousies and balconies. Added to this, there is the strange, vivid-coloured flow of life going on in the streets below. There are Mohammedans with short-waisted linen tunic, tight trowsers, and huge unwieldly turban; Hindus with the wisp of hair at the back of the head, and the hideous caste mark or patch of clay smeared on the forehead, wrapped in the square of variegated cotton, the corner thrown over the shoulder; coolies naked, save for the single strip of muslin. A few Armenians, Chinese, and Parsees, the latter with the curious semi-conical hat peculiar to that sect, mingle in the heterogeneous crowd of a great Indian metropolis.

The women look so graceful in their flowing "sari," draped loosely about the figure and drawn over the head,[255] with the bright pieces of metal in the forehead or the chin, with rings in noses and ears, and silver bangles worn above the elbow—in masses on the wrist, and circling round their ankles, jangling with each movement. All the women and nearly all the men wear rings on their toes. Generally the "sari" is of white muslin bordered with a strip of red, but sometimes also it is of pink or green or even of a bright yellow gauze—a single strip that is wound round so deftly as to form an entire covering for the figure.

Gharries, ticca gharries (or a gharry of the second class) ply the streets for hire, looking with their closed, sliding doors like a miniature Black Maria, so grim is the appearance of this windowless carriage. There are many palankeens, the familiar "palkee," painted black, and supported by four hurrying, staggering coolies. Through the half-closed doors you see the full-length figure of a luxurious native swell, smoking his hookah. Many private carriages, broughams and victorias, are about the streets occupied by the Anglo-Indian in his never-failing solar topee or tirai hat, for no one thinks of walking the length of the street in India. As you drive along, you are much bothered by natives with a miscellaneous collection of goods, beginning with Japanese trays and peacock screens, and ending with shaving-brushes, soap, and hair-pins, running along and thrusting their wares into the carriage.

In the afternoon we drove through the native quarter of Calcutta, through the Burra Bazaar, on our way to visit the Maharajah of Tagore.

The bazaar in every Indian town is a never-failing source of interest. It is always narrow, dirty, crowded, the inhabitants popping in and out of their filthy dens, in numbers like swarms in a beehive. But the wonderful eye for colour, and the inborn taste of architecture that belongs to every Indian, makes them marvellously picturesque and interesting. There are the carved gateways, which generally lead into the chowk, or narrow street, where no carriage can enter; the curiously wrought overhanging balconies with scarlet striped blinds, from behind which peep out dark-eyed nautch girls. There is the minaret of a mosque in one corner, and the carved remains of a Hindu temple in the other. Here a group of men and women squatting over a hole in the earth, where they are pounding millet;[256] there some children gnawing a stick of raw sugar-cane. Donkeys, goats, and sacred bulls with bead necklaces hung around their necks wander at will about the streets. Sometimes you see a school, with the scholars squatting around their moonshee under the balcony, sing-songing in that curious monotone the Hindustanee lesson. All the manufactures are carried on in the open street, whether it be spinning or dyeing, tinkering or tailoring, or that elaborate kincob work of embroidering in gold thread. All the goods are exposed for sale on the raised step along the street, whilst the owner sits cross-legged, keeping guard over them, never in the least anxious to sell. Here you find all Indian treasures, such as Cashmere and Ramudpugger shawls, exquisite embroideries in silk and gold, Benares work, and gold and silver ornaments and bangles. I was disappointed not to see a greater variety of the latter, but it was explained to me that the women generally bring their own silver in rupees to be made into bangles, thus ensuring the true weight of the silver. You see quantities of the coarse millets, such as goat and bajra, which form the chief food of the natives, spread out to dry in green and yellow heaps in the street. Rice is too expensive in Bengal and in many parts of India for it to be a staple food for the lower orders, and on these millets a native subsists on an average of one penny per day.

In the chowk, family women are allowed to walk, because down this inner street of the native quarter or bazaar no gharry can come, but even many of these cover their faces when abroad. Young married women and girls are only allowed to go in a "sedan" chair, which is a small seat carefully curtained, suspended in the shape of a tripod from a pole. Sometimes these latter peep cautiously out, but modestly withdraw at sight of us; or, again, standing at the door of their huts, women cover and flee at the approach of the "Feringis" (Europeans).

The bustees, or native villages, are a collection of mud huts, cramped together on the damp earth, devoid of ventilation and drainage. They are often built round a tank or pond, which serves as a deposit for their filth and refuse, the water being used at the same time for cooking and washing purposes. During the rains the natives suffer much, their mud huts, without foundations, settling about them, and the miasmic vapours of the over-populated village[257] causing a yearly epidemic of cholera. The baboos, or wealthier class, live in two-storied houses, built so as to form a hollow square, the upper story being alone used for the living-rooms, and the lower one as a stable for goats and bullocks.

The Indian city, if possible, generally lies along a riverbank, and then the bathing-ghât forms a great feature to the native quarter. Men and women bathe daily, and some of the most picturesque and typical scenes of Indian life are to be seen in the early morning at these ghâts.

But to return to the Burra Bazaar. All this and a great deal more we saw, and the entire novelty added to our zest of the enjoyment of the gay surroundings. One sad little scene was taking place in a quiet corner. Under a rude canopy stood the coffin of a child, covered with a pink pall, while some women were busy laying flowers about it, and hanging up tawdry bits of decoration.

The Maharajah of Tajore's palace is in the midst of this native quarter. We were led through whitewashed passages, where numberless attendants were lounging about, through a balcony into a magnificent drawing-room, but which was swathed even to the chandeliers in brown holland. We thought it a typical exemplification of Eastern life, magnificence with meanness, luxury with squalor and dirt.

The maharajah appeared in morning dress, consisting of a loose drab Cashmere shawl covering him from head to foot. He is a man of about forty-five, speaks perfect English, expressing himself with great ease and fluency, and he takes the most enlightened views on the subject of English administration. The conversation lasted for upward of two hours, for my husband is most anxious during our visit to India to hear as much as possible of the native views on Indian affairs. The maharajah is trustee of the vernacular newspaper called the Hindu Patriot, whose editor C. went to see in British India Street, which may be called the Fleet Street of Calcutta—so many members of the press are there established here.

In the Maidan centres all the attractions of Calcutta. This broad plain is truly called "the lung of Calcutta," and is bordered on one side by Chowringee Road and a succession of fine palaces, and on the other by the Strand Road, the Esplanade and the Hooghley, with its sea of[258] masts and rigging. In the centre of the Maidan stands Fort William. The High Court and Government House looks over its broad expanse. Here, too, are the Eden Gardens, and that collection of statues increased with each outgoing viceroy. The inscriptions on some of them are very fine, and full of patriotic enthusiasm. That on the equestrian statue of Lord Mayo is grand:—"To the honoured and beloved memory of the Earl of Mayo, Humane, Courteous, Resolute, and Enlightened, struck down in the Midst of a Patriotic and Beneficent Career on the 18th of February, 1872, by the treacherous hand of an Assassin. The People of India, mourning and indignant, raise this Statue." So also is that to Sir James Outram, where they say:—"His Life was given to India; in early Manhood he reclaimed wild Races by winning their hearts; Ghazni, Khelat, the Indian Caucasus, witnessed the daring deeds of his prime; Persia brought to sue for peace; Lucknow relieved, defended, and recovered, were fields of his later glories. Faithful servant of England, large-minded and kindly ruler of her subjects; in all the True Knight; 'The Bayard of the East.'"

It is towards five o'clock in the afternoon, when the miasmic mist that rises daily at this hour, and only lifts the following morning at nine o'clock, that the Maidan is seen to perfection.

Then appear those magnificent equipages, the lumbering barouche, with the pair of "Walers" (so called because they are horses imported from New South Wales), with their attendant "syces." These native servants in their long coats, girded with a sash of cords, and flat-brimmed hats, are dressed in all kinds of fanciful liveries. Free play is given to pretty combinations of colour, such as brown with old gold, purple with scarlet, green and orange, blue and silver, black and white. The number of these syces walking beside the horses, or standing up behind the carriage, flourishing fly-wisps, gives an idea of Oriental magnificence.

The Eden Garden; so called after the sisters of Lord Auckland, who caused them to be made, are the rendezvous at that hour for all the children of Calcutta, and you see these pampered little darlings, dressed up in plush and satins, arriving in their own carriages, in charge of their ayahs, with one, or even sometimes two, men-servants in attendance, ready to play at ball or cricket with them.


On the Maidan, too, is seen the familiar sight of the troops of "bheesties" watering the roads at sundown. This primitive way of laying the dust becomes a great nuisance in crowded thoroughfares, when the bheestie is as likely as not to spurt the contents of his skin into the carriage.

Very curious figures these bheesties look as they come up from the riverside with their inverted goat-skin, the outline of the legs still seen, and slung, full to bursting, on their backs. They then begin to run along the road, ejecting the water to right and left of them by opening and closing sharply the small aperture. One would almost think that the municipality of Calcutta might have imported some watering-carts by this time.

It is a very funny sight to see a native squatted on the ground before his horse in a beseeching attitude, holding up to him a handful of hay; or, again, whilst the carriages wait by the Eden Gardens, to see the servants collected around a "hubble-bubble," drawing at it and passing it round in turns.

There is generally a camp near the fort in the Maidan, and polo is played there in the afternoon. Passing the rank and fashion of Anglo-Indian society, we drove to the Belvidere, the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Henry Riders Thompson. It is a very beautiful house, and was the favourite residence of Warren Hastings. We came home round the other side of the Maidan, by Chowringee Road. The prison is the first building in this road, "and No. 1, Chowringee" has become a familiar name for it.

Friday, January 9th.—Morning after morning the sun rises in an unclouded sky, and this is the only advantage of the Indian climate. You may depend on fine weather, "may settle," as some one said to me, "the exact date of a picnic two months beforehand," without fears for the weather. The rainfall of the year is condensed into the three months of July, August, and September—the rainy season, the season of malarious fevers.

We went out early, and drove to Fort William. Inside those palisaded defences and once strong walls and towers, you find broad gravelled roads laid out round the quiet quadrangles, with neat barracks and arsenals, magazines, and storerooms. There are six gateways with drawbridges, and over each is a house for the commander-in-chief and[260] the officers. The fort church and the Catholic chapel complete the military and non-bellicose-looking little town. In the centre there is the circular pillar with the sliding boom that daily drops at the hour of 1 p.m.

"Abdullah," our guide and native servant, then took us through the bathing-ghât on the Hooghley, and stopped before a space walled in, from the centre of which issued smoke. It was the "Nimtolla Burning-Chat," or crematorium, where the bodies of the natives are burnt.

In the centre of the square there was a burning pile, on which, face downwards, with the arms crossed behind the back, lay a body. The legs were also doubled up, but as we looked, first one and then the other relaxed with the heat and dropped down. A little further on there was a smouldering pile, where another body had been reduced to ashes, and in a corner a stretcher with a body covered over awaiting cremation. It takes three hours for each body to burn, and after it has been reduced to ashes, they are gathered up and cast into the sacred waters of the Hooghley. The Hindu lays the body on the pile, and places the fire in the mouth, but the Mohammedan (who has no caste) does the meaner parts of lighting and attending to the funeral pile. Government provides the wood and the attendants, making a charge of three rupees, seven annas, for an adult, with a reduced scale for children. Strange and wrong as it may seem to say so, there is no doubt that the horror of seeing the process seemed greatly lessened by the shade of the skin; were it white, we should not get over the ghastly sight for many a day.

That afternoon we drove out to the Botanical Gardens, crossing the Hooghley on a wooden bridge, and driving through the busy manufacturing suburb of Howrah, and the village of Seebpore. They are five miles from the town, and their beauty is consequently lost to Calcutta. Not one single person did we meet there that afternoon. The triad of noble trees, the banyan, with the peepul on either side, the glorious avenue of Palmyra palms, with others of asoke and mahogany branching off, are truly "wasting their freshness on a desert air."

There are groups of casuarina-trees about the lake, draped with tropical "climbers," or rattans, and a palmetum, or palm nursery, where different species of the family are tended[261] and reared. We went into the cool, shady retreat, where the light struggles dimly through the cocoa-fibre netting on to the festoons of tropical parasites, the orchids and the ferns, forming a beautiful, natural outdoor conservatory. Passing the marble urn which bears an inscription by Bishop Heber to Dr. Roxburgh, curator of the garden, and to which so many avenues converge, we come to a grove. Under this we walked along, looking at the network of trunks, as we thought; but as we came to trace them home, we discovered that they were but gigantic roots, depending from the branches—part of the stupendous banyan-tree, that thus extends its monstrous bulk to a diameter of 800 feet. This grove is very beautiful, formed as it is of a colonnade of branches—of the 170 aërial depending roots.

As we drove home we were overtaken by one of those unhealthy river mists, densest in the villages we passed through, owing to the smoke of their dung fires being unable to rise through the pall.

Saturday, January 10th.—C. went out to Dum-Dum, the military cantonment of Calcutta, to see a battalion of his old regiment, the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, quartered there. Later in the day we went to the Memorial Meeting at the Town Hall, in honour of the memory of the "Great Hindu Patriot," the late Kristodas Pal. The Maharajah of Tagore assented to my wish to go, but on being led up to the platform, I was not prepared to find myself the only lady amongst the thousands, chiefly natives, assembled. However, I was rewarded for the discomfort of the situation by the great interest of a speech delivered by Dr. Mohendra Lal Sircar, a homœopathic doctor, after those of the Lieutenant-Governor, the Chief Justice, Sir Richard Garth, and Sir Stewart Bayley, member of council, &c., which for eloquence and impressiveness was most remarkable.

Kristodas Pal was editor of the Hindu Patriot, a member of the Legislative Council, and a man of most brilliant parts and oratorical gifts—respected equally by European and native, as the representative meeting of that day testified, including as it did the highest European officials and members of council, with a large number of maharajahs and rajahs. It was terribly hot, and the meeting lasted for over two hours.

Sunday, January 11th.—To the cathedral for morning[262] service. The exterior of the Gothic architecture is entirely spoilt by the discoloration of the stone by stress of weather, and the interior produces a curious effect in the morning light, which comes reflected through bright, blue glass. The finest part of the cathedral is the vestry or entrance, containing some beautiful tablets and the statue of Bishop Heber. As no one in India thinks of walking, not even to church, it is here that the waiting crowd, with the police manœuvring at the file of carriages, somewhat resembles the getting away after an entertainment.

We left Calcutta by the Sealdah terminus that afternoon on an expedition to Darjeeling, the hill station in the Himalayas.

The journey across some burnt-up plains, with occasional settlements of mud huts in the neighbourhood of a gheel, or a mango tope, was very hot and dirty. At sundown we were obliged to close the windows, on account of the malarious mist rising from the marshes. A fellow-passenger, an indigo-planter, left the carriage at one of the small stations, who was going to be carried thirty-three miles in a "palkee" by sixteen coolies in relays. He told us he should sleep comfortably in the bed prepared inside, whilst they carried him all through the night over hill and dale, and across four rivers in boats.

At eight in the evening we arrived at Damookdea, and embarked on a steamer to cross the Ganges, meanwhile having dinner on board. At Sara, on the opposite side, we settled ourselves for the night in the short, narrow carriage running on the mètre-gauge line, and which oscillates so very unpleasantly. There are no sleeping-cars on the Indian railways, but with a carriage to ourselves we managed seven or eight hours' sleep—not bad, when we think of the random rolling we experienced. Here is where the rezai and pillow rolled up in a strap in the daytime are an absolute necessity for travelling in India. Every one has them and not only are they useful for railway travelling, but invaluable also in hotels. Many is the bitter, cold night on which we have arrived, and been shown into a grateless and fireless room, with only a single sheet on the bed.

The Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway.

Page 263.


Chota hazri and a wash at Siliguri the next morning sent us on our way rejoicing, in the little toy-train of the Darjeeling and Himalayan Railway. It is in reality a steam tramway, and runs along by the side of the old cart hillroad, on a gauge only two feet in width. The first class compartments are divided by a trellis-work, and the second and third are open cars. They run along smoothly and swiftly, raised but a few inches off the ground.

This railway is considered a great, by some "the greatest," engineering feat, mounting as it does 7000 feet into the heart of the Himalayas, with a gradient as steep as one in twenty, and radii of one to sixteen. It was undertaken chiefly for the humane purpose of giving work to the natives during the great Bengal famine of 1874. Two years saw its completion, at the moderate cost of 3000l. a mile.

Creeping cautiously across the Mahanuddi River, on the crankiest of wooden bridges, we ran rapidly over the plain for nine miles, and then entered an avenue in the forest.

The ascent began through a sâl forest, densely overgrown with jungle, and then proceeded to a forest more varied with birch, maple, oak, and wild mango. The trunks of these huge trees were clothed with epiphytes, a creeper of large green leaves, of much the same shape as our "lords and ladies." It was curious to note how the higher we ascended the hardier became the species of trees. Thus in one day we were to pass through varying vegetation and varying climes; from the oppressive heat of the plain to the moist rarified atmosphere of the mountain altitudes; from the tropical wealth of vegetation to the hardier kinds of trees and shrubs. Strangely enough, in these latter you do not see the pine, spruce fir, or larch, for the hardiest species found in the Himalayan peaks are magnolia, laurel, holly, olive, maple, and oak.

On and on through this forest-clad side of the mountain we travelled, fascinated by the dense tangle of jungle on either hand. These impenetrable depths we knew were the lair of the leopard and cheetah. We longed to see the glare of green eyes in the undergrowth, and to hear the crash of an elephant's approach. But a mild pleasure lay in the monkeys, who crept out in great numbers, and swung on the branches of the trees overhead, jabbering and mocking us as we passed. The gullies were filled with wild banana-trees, yielding a bitter, acrid fruit.

All this time we were rising rapidly above the vast plain of Bengal, that lay like a shining sheet at our feet, melting away into golden mist. We were now coming to the first of the great engineering wonders of this line of wonders—the[264] circle. Passing under a bridge, we described a distinct circle round the circumference of a small hill, and, gradually ascending round the further curve, were immediately afterwards passing over the same identical bridge.

Here, as with all the Himalayan range, the Sikkim Hills run in tiers, one above the other, rising in the first instance sheer out of the plain. There opened before us one of those gorgeous amphitheatres of hills, seen so often during the ascent. You come upon an immeasurable hollow, and lying literally in amphitheatrical tiers beneath are ranges of mountains within the mountains, dwindling so far away, down, down, into hills, and the hills again into mere knolls, by comparison with the gigantic monsters of the background.

Frequently looking down into this crater, filled with hilltops, we saw perched up on one a planter's bungalow and factory, with the tea-garden terracing up and down the side of the mountain—the regular lines of the stunted bushes, with the space of earth between.

Once for many miles we swept round the mighty circle of the amphitheatre, clinging halfway up on the sides of the depthless gorge; then passing from one mountain to another, gradually rising, we described a double curve, one line of rails above the other, and passing away behind the mountains, ascended others higher and farther upwards.

Thus we crept stealthily upwards, through the long morning hours.

After Gyabari, we reached the "Goompties," or long zigzags on the sides of the hill, and then came in quick succession several "reversing stations." Here the train goes backwards and forwards in short zigzags, helping us to rise some hundred feet in a very few minutes. How wonderful the Australians think their three zigzags on the Blue Mountains. What would they say to these? Again, further on, we described a perfect figure of 8. But our twistings and curvings were so wonderful, that at last we seemed to grow accustomed to see the line we were to pass just above us, the line we had passed just below.

Many and many were the so-called "agony points," where the carriage was projecting over the precipice, so close the rail was laid to the edge; some were rendered more excruciatingly anxious by the train taking a sharp curve on this precarious foothold.

It is a grand and exalted feeling that takes possession of[265] you now, when you have lost sight of the plain, and the work-a-day life being carried on there, when you are alone looking down into the spur ranges, a tumultuous mass of peaks below, and then raise the eye to the storm-beaten ones above, so near the sky as to be known only to the eye of their Creator. The Himalayas, meaning in Sanskrit the "abode of snow," are the grandest mountain-wall that Nature has ever raised.

It was becoming keenly cold. What was our agony to see creeping down the mountain-side a wall of fog and mist. We passed into the cloud, and gloom and dampness enveloped us. Darjeeling, we are always told, is "up in the clouds," and we anxiously thought how it might remain so in reality during our stay there. Our enthusiasm was suddenly quenched, and our disappointment very keen at losing all the glorious views—wiped out so ruthlessly in those few seconds. For the remainder of the journey clouds swept around us, lifting occasionally for a minute to show us the valley, where more clouds lay floating below.

We had luncheon, at an elevation of 4000 feet, at Kursiong, where the platform runs alongside of the neat hotel. At Sonadah we did not grumble at the fog so much, for at all times the air here is thick and cold, from the condensed moisture of the vast forests that cover the western slopes of Mount Sinchul.

Up and up we climbed, the temperature rapidly falling and the cold ever increasing. The rails became greasy from the moisture, and necessitated constant stoppages to allow of the zemyndras running in front with handfuls of sand.

Occasionally we passed through the midst of some very dirty bazaar, or settlement of tumble-down huts, crowded together for warmth, and the mutual support afforded to the mud and bamboo-framed walls, which prevail even in these high latitudes. Here live the picturesque and varied mountain tribes belonging to the frontier provinces around Darjeeling, a sturdy, independent population. There are the tall Bhooteas, the short and stunted Lepchas and Limboos, Nepaulese, Cabulese, and stalwart Thibetans, dashing by on their hardy mountain ponies. For the time being, with the cold atmosphere, and amongst these hardy northern tribes, we feel transported into Norway, Lapland, or Finland.

The Lepchas, the aboriginals of Sikkim, are the most picturesque among the medley of races. They are of very[266] small stature, and thick-set frame, with a broad, flat face, oblique eyes, and high cheek-bones. The men wear their coarse black hair in one pigtail, and the women in two—often the only distinguishing feature between the sexes. The Lepcha is an arrant coward, but a born naturalist, and has a name for every shrub and plant in Sikkim. Their dress consists "of a robe of blue and white-striped cloth, woven by the women, crossed over the breast, and gathered in with an ornamented girdle." Into this is stuck the kukerie, or short sword, which none are without. They wear a coloured woollen comforter wound around their caps; and altogether their dwarf stature, flattened faces, and excessive dirt remind one of the Laplanders.

The Limboos can always be known by their mass of black uncombed hair, hanging in elfin locks about their yellow faces. They are gross feeders, being particularly fond of pork.

The Nepaulese emigrate in large numbers to British Sikkim, where they find ready employment in the tea-gardens. British Sikkim has been called a "Cave of Adullam" for Nepaul, whose draconian laws cause offenders to flee across the border for safety.

The Bhootea race is chiefly interesting from its woman-kind. Tall and handsome are the Bhootea women, with a circlet of gold or silver framing their broad, beaming faces. They wear magnificent silver girdles, and curiously wrought necklaces, with earrings so massive that the thin strip of flesh, drawn out in the lobe of the ear, barely supports their weight. They have curious amulets set with turquoise-stones which, though much cracked and flawed, suit the quaint setting and design. The Bhooteas are followers of the red-capped sect of Lamas, a kind of Buddhism, but they offer propitiatory sacrifices to evil spirits, as may be seen by the array of bamboo staffs about their huts, from which float cotton streamers and rags with type prayers, set up to frighten the spirits away.

These Bhootea women have an enormous capacity for carrying weights, being usually employed as porters at the station. They support the whole weight on their heads, suspending it by a string passed round the forehead. It is told how a Bhootea woman once carried a grand piano from Pukabari to Darjeeling in three days, and arrived quite fresh!


During the winter many Thibetans may be seen, coming through that mysterious and forbidden pass into Sikkim for trading purposes. In their encampments it is common to see one woman in the same tent with five or six men, as polyandry prevails among the Thibetans. Most of those rough little ponies, with their creels balanced on either side with merchandise, that we met toiling up in files, come from Thibet.

Ghoom, the highest railway station in the Old World, if not in the universe, was reached in fog. It is 7400 feet above the level of the sea. From here we ran downhill for four miles, till a turn round the angle of a jutting rock brought Darjeeling in view. A gleam of sunshine, weak and watery owing to the vapoury clouds it pierced through, showed us the hill-side, dotted with innumerable pretty bungalows.

Darjeeling lies partly in a basin formed by the mountains, and here is the bazaar and native quarter. On a mount which you would almost think Nature had purposely thrown up midway in the valley for it, stands the Eden Sanatorium. Such a pretty, ornate building it is, where people suffering from the fever of the plains come up to be nursed by the clever Sisters of Mercy from Clewer. There is accommodation for first, second, and third class patients, so all degrees can avail themselves of the Sanatorium.

Immediately under the high mount of the Observatory Hill, on the highest ground of all, lies the pretty stone church and the white villa mansion called the Shrubberies, the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor.

Darjeeling was originally established as a sanatorium for the invalid soldiers of all the British troops in India. A cantonment was founded at Jellaphor, 700 feet higher than Darjeeling, making in all a height of 7969 feet above the level of the sea. There was a time when for soldiers to come to India, meant it was very questionable whether they would ever return. Darjeeling has been the means of restoration to thousands of England's sons, fever stricken on the plains of Bengal.

Arrived at the barnlike station, the porters—two Bhootea women, carried our luggage up to Woodland's Hotel. The dreariness of this abode could hardly be overdrawn. Dark and chill were the rooms, scant and bad the fare, and great depression ensued under such sad circumstances.

We walked down to the post-office and past the club,[268] saw some of the rows of villas built as a speculation, and which command such exorbitant prices (1000 to 2000 rupees per month) during the season, and then the clouds returned with the close of day and we could see no more. I had got a severe chill and touch of fever from our night journey across the plain, and went to bed shivering, and very miserable.

Tuesday, January 13th.—Everybody comes up to Darjeeling with hearts full of bright promise of seeing the most glorious "snowy range" that exists in the world. Very few but go down sadder and wiser. The view, as seen from Mount Sinchul, of the range is described as almost unparalleled,—a panorama of pure white peaks as far as the eye can reach. And then, rising from among this sea of snow and ice, is seen the highest mountain in the world—Mount Everest (29,000 feet), lying in Nepaul, about eighty miles away as the crow flies. The small peak takes the appearance of a soldier's helmet without the spike.

It is a lottery whether travellers going for a few days up to Darjeeling will ever have the chance of seeing the snowy range; very fortunate are those few who do.

Thus, on this morning we talked of getting up early and trying the expedition to Mount Sinchul. Of course it is a question of riding, for at these hill-stations there are no carriages, and you must ride, be carried in a "dandy" or in a "palkee," or perhaps be drawn in a jinricksha. There was however, a thick fog at Darjeeling, and the hope was at best so forlorn of a glimpse, that we gave up the idea.

C. went up to the cantonment to breakfast with an old brother-officer of the 23rd, and when he came back we decided that it was more prudent, on my account (for I was feeling very unwell), to descend to more comfortable quarters in lower altitudes.

The train was full, but the station-master offered to take us down to Kursiong on a trolly. The trolly was attached to the train and we were dragged the four miles up-hill to Ghoom. Then, after shunting and getting in front of the train, we were let loose—down the hill.

Oh, the awful sensation of that first rush downhill! We lost our breath. We were blind. We were cutting the air in twain, so sharp was our concussion against the element. We clung on for our lives. We swung round the corners, raising a cloud of dust to mark our fleeting course. After the first alarm it was delightful.


Wrapped up to the nose in our rezais, the exhilaration and excitement were entrancing. We scudded down the hill, increasing the speed from fifteen to twenty miles an hour. The break put on just before a curve steadied the trolly round it, and then removed, with fresh impetus we dashed along the level incline. We scattered all before us: affrighted children hid their faces, cocks and hens flew at our approach, and dogs slunk away. The entire population of the bazaars rushed out to gape open-mouthed at us. Ponies and horses shied and plunged violently, being far more frightened by our little Flying Dutchman than by any train. Whiz and whir, and they were all left far behind.

The air was bitterly cold, and C.'s moustache was freezing hard; but we thought not of this, but of keeping our breath and our seats. Now we were wrapped in a cloud, unable to see more than a few yards before us; the next instant under the influence of a gleam of sunshine.

We drew up at a signal-box at Toon. The descent to earth was too cruelly sudden, and all that remained to us of our glorious ride on a trolly were the tingling sensations in every limb,—the quickened flow of blood in our veins.

The sudden check came in the form of an announcement from the signalman that a luggage-train had just left the lower station, and we were an instant too late to stop it. We were asked if we were afraid to risk meeting it on the single line. Wound up to a "dare devil" mood, we scorned the idea, and taking on board a man to wave the red flag of danger we started off again. But now we were cautiously creeping round the fog-hidden corners. In the twistings of the line we might any moment find ourselves face to face with the engine; besides, the mist deadened the sound of the approaching train, and obscured any distant view. We listened with all our might, strained every nerve to keep a sharp look-out, only indulging in a feeble "run" on the straight.

Just as we were once doing this, a man breaking stones on the road sprang forward to stop us, and, pulling up sharply, for the trolly is fitted with a break that brings it to a dead stop within six yards, we heard the labouring puff, puff of the engine quite close upon us, and the black monster loomed through the fog. It was the work of a minute to lift the trolly off the line. The train passed, and we reached Kursiong a few minutes afterwards. We had done twenty miles under the hour, and gained fifty minutes on the mail-train.


This gave us just the time we wanted for a visit to one of the tea-gardens in the valley.

It was too early for operations to be going on, but the whole process was kindly explained to us by the manager in the Kursiong Tea Company's plantation.

After the seed is planted it requires three years before attaining to full growth and production, and altogether six years must elapse without profit to the planter. At the end of this period the stem is from three to four feet in height. It is then pruned during the months of November to February, when the sap is down, to two feet in height, and this is an operation requiring great care. "Flushes," viz. new shoots, will continue to appear at intervals varying from fifteen to twenty days during these months. Each "flush" is plucked as it comes on, the principle in plucking being to leave the bud at the axis of each leaf intact, and ready for the next shoot to start from. According to the leaves plucked are the different classifications of tea. For instance, in a flush of four leaves, the first would be called Orange or Flowery Pekoe, the second Souchong, the third Congou, and the fourth Bohea or broken tea. The classification varies with the different districts.

At five o'clock in the evening the factory gong sounds, and the pluckers bring their baskets to the withering-loft, where the leaves are laid in thin layers on the floor till the following morning. Then the test of its being dry, by seeing whether the leaf is still green enough to crackle is applied, after which it is put into the rolling machine. This machine is a heavy weight, which moves alternately to one corner of the square slab, and then returns to the opposite one; thus giving the leaf a double twist. It is hand-rolled afterwards if necessary. Then it is left to ferment, the process of fermentation being the most delicate and crucial operation for the tea. Great experience is necessary to know the exact moment when fermentation should be stopped. The leaf is spread in thin layers over a charcoal fire, and finally sifted by means of a machine, which has trays of different degrees of coarseness, allowing the finest tea, or Pekoe, to pass to the lowest division. The remaining, or broken tea, is then put through a breaking machine, and sold as coarse tea. Lastly the tea is packed in lead, and in boxes containing eighty maunds exported to England. There is great depression in the Indian tea-trade, owing to its being[271] found impossible to compete with the cheaper production of China. Darjeeling is one of the great centres for Indian tea, Assam being the other.

We got places in the mail at Kursiong, and all through the afternoon were gently descending, thoroughly enjoying the splendour of the views we had missed in the fog coming up. Every 1000 feet of descent brought an atmosphere twenty degrees warmer: very pleasant to us after our sufferings from the cold. The wheels being heavily dragged made a strangely melodious music (impossible as it may seem), like that produced by running the finger round the edge of a glass.

At Teendaria, where the railway workshops are situated, the engine-driver asked us to come on to the engine, and we had a charming ride perched up one on each side of the brakesman. The engine was turned back foremost, that the driver might the better be enabled to see the steep gradients, and we had a magnificent view from our post of observation. Every time that we passed under a bridge, lest any passenger should protrude his head, I blew the whistle thrice; and I was only sorry when we reached Siliguri, and the journey was at an end. Here we had dinner, and were fortunate enough to get a saloon to ourselves, where we slept soundly till we reached Sara at 6.30 the next morning. Embarking once more on the steam-ferry, crossing the Ganges, and seeing the sun rise over its waters, we reached Calcutta at twelve the same morning.

Thursday, January 15th.—At the invitation of Mr. Rustumjee, the head of a large Parsee family, well known and respected in commercial circles, we paid a visit to his house on Chowringee. We found the members of the family, twenty-three all told, including three generations, gathered under the paternal roof. The Parsee dress for women is very graceful and becoming. A robe of soft material, generally silk, covers the head, falling away from one shoulder, drawn over the other, and descending in graceful folds to the ankles. A white band across the forehead, like that of a nun's, gives a grave and sad look to the face. The colours chosen among the upper classes are usually soft greys, or browns, or purples; but amongst the lower orders you see the bright sea-green and cerise colours peculiar to the Parsee women. The children wear little silk pantaloons; even those of the poorer classes are made[272] of silk, and no inferior material is used; the long white tunic of muslin, the "shasta," which no Parsee is without, the short jacket, usually of velvet, and the embroidered skull-cap. The men for the most part wear European dress, and are distinguished only by that square, receding hat of black or purple satin, that I could not help remarking was useful on one occasion as a pin-cushion, and on another as a card-case, during the few times that we were with Parsee gentlemen.

The daughters of the house spoke English perfectly, and were well read and well informed. Fifteen years ago, Parsee ladies were "purdah women," or confined to the zenana; but the restriction has been gradually lapsing as their views become more enlarged.

We dined in the evening at Government House to meet the Duke and Duchess of Connaught; a state dinner of seventy, followed by a reception.

The next morning we were up at 6 a.m., and drove on to the Maidan to see a review. The fog was so dense that the whereabouts of the troops was undiscoverable at first. Fortunately it lifted just before the arrival of the vice-regal carriage containing the Duchess and Lady Dufferin, which took up its position by the royal standard. In the march past the naval brigade came first, followed by the volunteers, who possess a unique feature in their fine body of mounted infantry, and then followed our troops. But what excited our admiration most was the magnificent marching of the native infantry from the Punjaub. Men of grand physique and carriage; nothing could exceed the perfect unity and compactness of the line, as with one foot they marched, with one body they moved. Their uniform of scarlet faced with buff, with loose trowsers gathered in by white gaiters, added to their general smartness.

We were home to breakfast at nine o'clock. Afterwards C. went to a meeting of the Legislative Council, and heard the now celebrated Mr. Ilbert speak, and we then visited together the High School on Chowringee for the free education of Eurasians—the name given by Lord Auckland to half-castes, or those whose parents come the one from Europe, the other from Asia.

In the afternoon we drove across Tolly's Nullah, or the canal excavated at the expense of Colonel Tolly, to the very dreary and deserted Zoological Gardens. Every maharajah[273] has his own band, in uniform, which they permit to play in the Eden Gardens and in public places. It was that of the Maharajah of Cooch Bahar that was playing in the gardens this afternoon. The latter, well known in society circles at Calcutta, is considered a most promising young man. Educated by an English tutor, he has been completely Europeanized; recites, plays polo, tennis, and cricket, and dances like an Englishman.

Driving home by my favourite Maidan, we saw anchored by the banks the Palgrave, 3400 tons, the largest sailing-vessel afloat in the world.

In the evening we went to the ball given at Government House in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and the first of the new viceroyalty. The display of costly robes, magnificent jewels, and diamond aigrettes worn by the Maharajahs and Rajahs, both this evening and the previous one, added much to the brilliancy of the rooms. Eight hundred were able to sit down at the same moment to supper in the marble halls, a feat only equalled, I believe, at the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg.

Saturday, January 17th.—We went to a presentation of prizes at the City College, for natives, in Mirzapore Street. It was interesting to hear the scholars sing a Bengali hymn of welcome, and recite a very lively dialogue, which, after listening to for some minutes, we discovered was a scene from "Uncle Tom's Cabin." With gesticulation and expression far happier than would be found in English schools, they represented the scene where Topsy is brought before Mrs. Walker as incorrigible. Then a Bengali scholar knelt on the corner of the platform, and with hands clasped, and his large liquid eyes upturned, repeated, "Abide with me." There was something very curious in hearing thus the old familiar words repeated so earnestly, yet in such strong guttural accents that it was well-nigh unrecognizable.

One of the sudden "dust storms" to which Calcutta is subject came up after this, obscuring the air, and whirling the dust in a typhoon in the streets. It cooled the air by several degrees, but prevented us from fulfilling our wish of finding out in the churchyard of St. John's the grave of Job Charnoch, the real founder of Calcutta.

On the eve of our departure from Calcutta we dismissed the native servant we had engaged for our tour in the North-West[274] Provinces, and whom we had been told was absolutely necessary for travelling in India. We found we were always running after him, instead of he after us, and we determined to adhere to our original plan, hitherto so successful, of travelling without the encumbrance of servants.

We left Calcutta that evening at eight o'clock, that is by Madras time, which the East India Railway follows, or at 8.30 by Calcutta time. There was a great crowd at the Howrah Terminus, on account of Saturday being one of the nights on which the mail-train leaves for Bombay, and we were unlucky in not getting a carriage to ourselves.


The next morning we awoke to find ourselves on the fruitful and cultivated plain of Bengal. We were flying by mud settlements, and passing through numberless paddy-fields, rice, pân, or betel-nut plantations. Here and there we came upon a field white with the poppy of the opium plant, or with a tall, standing crop of castor-oil shrub. Others again were filled with barley, and those coarse millets on which the natives subsist; and all the crops were kept alive and green by that terribly laborious process of irrigation. How familiar we became with the inclined causeway, up and down which the yoke of oxen toil, the native riding on the rope which draws the water up in leathern bags, and empties it into the irrigating channels. Each patch of cultivation, each field, has to be watered by this toilsome method.

One unconsciously acquires the idea that India is a country covered with vast primeval forest and jungle. Rather disappointing therefore are the two thousand miles or so one travels across from ocean to ocean, from Bombay to Calcutta, without seeing a vestige of either. Often we saw a herd of buffaloes, or a troop of monkeys, while paroquets, the little green love-birds, and other tropical species of the feathered tribe, perched along the telegraph wire. Here and there also a solitary heron, with grey wings and red bill, standing solemnly on the edge of a marshy pool.


The trains are heavy and enormously long, on account of the immense numbers of natives travelling, their rates being as low as one-third the first-class fares. The native servants are locked into a compartment next to the first class, where their masters are. There are outside venetian shutters to all the carriages, and every other window of the long carriage has blue or coloured glass—very charming, doubtless, for the glare of summer, but a great nuisance now, with short days and an early twilight. The refreshment-rooms on all the lines are exceptionally good; we have often dined there in preference to the hotel; but as for the luxuries of Indian travelling you often hear about, we did not find them. True, the Anglo-Indian invariably travels with an army of servants, a well-stored hamper, and thinks sixty pounds of ice in the carriage indispensable, but he is an exceptional mortal. A triangle, or fork of steel, thrice struck, and which gives forth a clear, melodious tone, is the signal at the stations for the "all aboard." Such is a description which fairly answers to all our succession of long railway journeys in India.

At 1 p.m. we crossed the bridge over the Kurumnasa, a river abhorred by the Indians, hence its name, signifying "virtue destroyer," and which forms the boundary-line between Bengal and the North-West Provinces. A branch line brought us to Rajghat, the station for Benares, as the city lies away on the further bank of the Ganges.

We crossed the Ganges on a bridge of boats, and from here obtained that magnificent coup-d'œil of the river frontage, with its palaces, its mosques and temples, its terraces and flights of steps, that is so striking. Rising above all the confused mass of buildings are the two beautiful minarets of the Mosque of Aurungzebe, slightly turned eastwards to catch the first gleams of the rising sun over the sacred waters.

It is four miles to Sekrole, the European quarter, and to reach it we drove through the narrow, crowded lanes of the native town, clustering most thickly near the river. Mud has been a mighty factor in the making of Benares. It is of mud that the walls of the huts are built; mud that forms the fence around fields and compounds; mud that protects the newly planted trees; and, lastly, it is mud in which the little brown babies in the streets are dabbling to their heart's content.

There are hedges and bushes—rather trees I should call[276] them—of cacti growing in all directions. Here we saw weaving being carried on by the roadside, in a very primitive fashion. A double row of stakes were placed at long intervals, and women, walking up and down, were winding the thread in and out. It produced a very pretty effect when the thread was of bright red, and the simple loom some yards in extent. Then we saw for the first time that comical little native carriage called the ekka. The trappings of the pony are gaudy, and the bamboo shafts are attached by coloured cords to the high-peaked Spanish collar. The carriage itself is like a diminutive gig with a bamboo head, producing exactly the effect of a "curricle" standing on end.

On arriving at Clark's Hotel we found we were just in time for evening service, for which the bell was tolling from the church in the compound opposite.

Monday, January 19th.—By seven o'clock we found ourselves driving down to the banks of the Ganges, to see one of the most animated and picturesque sights of India.

The bathing-ghât is a bright-coloured hive, swarming with a religious people performing the ceremony of bathing in the sacred waters. A "budgerow," or ancient barge, glides slowly with us up and down along this splendid river frontage. For one mile these palaces and temples line the bank, facing every way, joining each other at right angles, with ancient stairways and broken walls hidden under the foliage of some sacred peepul or feathery tamarind.

These palaces take pink or green or yellow tints—those tender shades, those pale varieties, seen only in eastern climes, under the true azure clearness of an eastern sky. The dark weather stains and the crumbling cornices are all in harmony. The basement of these palaces presents a plain surface of wall, and the living rooms are in the two upper stories, whence spring the arches and the pillars, the fretwork of the balconies, the carvings,—all those varieties and medleys of architecture which render these palaces so quaintly curious. For the most part they belong to the native princes, the maharajahs and rajahs, who, beside their provincial palaces, each have one at Benares, where they come yearly to perform a cleansing pilgrimage. The women of the zenana and the members of the household are brought here also to die.

Benares Bathing Ghat

Benares Bathing Ghât.

Page 276.


On the broad steps of the ghât, and on the hundreds of platforms running out into the river, the entire population of Benares are gathered to bathe at this early hour of the morning. A gorgeous coup-d'œil the banks present. The steps are bright with the thousands of brass pots which each worshipper brings down with him. Rainbow patches are seen at frequent intervals, where the pink and yellow, green and orange saris, spread out to dry on the beach, form long streaks of colour. And these are repeated above in the same gay streamers depending from the windows and balconies of the palaces, and that are floating lazily in the breeze. A brilliant spectacle it is, which, when examined in detail, presents at every turn some strange picture, some new feature of the Hindu religion.

On the steps are squatted men, with eyes tightly shut, saying their prayers towards the rising sun, laying their fingers to their noses, touching the water with their foreheads three times. An old Shastri up there is chanting the sacred words in droning tones, another is seated under the shade of one of the bamboo umbrellas that dot the banks, selling garlands for offerings to the gods, or ready with his clay to remake the caste mark after bathing. Many, with upturned chins, are having a cold shave; some washing their heads with mud, which lathers up, and does not make such a bad substitute for soap after all. They are using the toothbrush, or substituting a finger for the same. There are Brahmins, generally bathing in batches together, and known by the white thread around their necks: here are some women preparing their little offerings of leaves and flowers to throw into the river, the whole surface of which is strewn with the orange marigolds thus sacrificed. There are three women coming down the steps, a brilliant study of orange, amber, and russet: here a whole family-party bathing together. From one of the palaces above proceeds forth weird, deep-toned, and monotonous music, sounding forth over the heads of this vast multitude, reaching even to the few coolies who are bathing from the mud banks on the further shore.

Under the gilt dome and square red pagoda of the Nepaulese temple, that lies under the shadow of the King of Nepaul's palace, there are a file of pilgrims but just arrived from their distant border country. In the midst, and not in the least apart from the careless, chattering throng, is the Manikarnika Ghât, the most sacred of all the[278] burning-ghâts of the Ganges. The charred remains of one body are on the smouldering pile, and another, the body of a woman, wrapped in a bright violet sari, lies floating feet foremost in the water. The head is uncovered, for the priests are shaving the hair, and placing the clay in the mouth.

A fleet of budgerows like our own are drifting along the bank, and here and there we see moored a "mohrpunkee," or peacock barge. The head of the peacock forms the handsome prow, while the tail is represented along either side, a very favourite and sacred boat with the Hindus. Here the steps are sinking slantways into the water, and we are shown the Leaning Temple, which is quite out of the perpendicular, gradually subsiding into the river, but only like several others around it. A huge yellow monster sits propped against the wall, the thankoffering of a paralytic cured by bathing in the Ganges. Numberless Hindu temples, known always by the tower of crenelated smaller towers tapering to the largest and crowning one, are seen behind and in between the palaces. They are found in every part and corner of the sacred city. Above all is always seen the landmark formed by the slender minars of the Great Mosque.

We went up into one of the palaces, and you are surprised at the beautiful carving of the pillars leading into the inner courts, the carved doors and lattice-work, the rambling dimensions, and the rabbit-warren propensities of the building.

We then climbed up a mountain by steps to reach the Man Mandil Observatory. Here we saw a most wonderful collection of rude astronomical instruments, constructed 150 years ago. On the flat roof of the building there are several charts of the heavens drawn roughly into the stone, and still traceable. There are some instruments of gigantic size, which include two enormous arcs, reached by a stone staircase in the centre, belonging to the "gnomon," an instrument for ascertaining the declination and distance of any star or planet from the meridian. Then there is the mural quadrant, for taking the sun's altitude, which has walls eleven feet high and nine broad, built in the plane of the meridian. The observatory brought us out by some narrow back streets to the carriage, and we were glad to think of returning home for breakfast.

Before visiting any of these "shrines of the Hindu faith,"[279] I will just give the outline of the Hindu religion. Like all mythology, it is infinitely complex, but two great divisions are distinguished, in the followers of Siva and the followers of Vishnu. Under various names, and in varied forms, these are the two gods most worshipped.

Siva is at once the Destroyer and the Reproducer, the emblem of life and death—the god of sound philosophical doctrine. In a more terrible aspect he is worshipped as the Roarer, the Dread One. He is represented with a human head with five faces, and a body with four arms, with a club and necklace of skulls. His wife is Devi, the goddess, worshipped as the gentle "Una," or "Light," or in the terrible form of Kali, or Durga, "a black fury, dripping with blood, hung with skulls." The Brahmins, true to the higher instincts of their caste, worship Siva as the destroyer and reproducer of life, hanging garlands about the god, and leaving the lower castes to pour out the blood of their victims before the terrible Kali.

Vishnu, or the Unconquerable Preserver, has ten or twenty-two incarnations, or avatars, on earth, which give rise to an almost equal number of pretty legends. He is an easy-going god, very human, and the popular deity. He is worshipped under the various names of Krishna, Ráma, Jaganath or the "Lord of the World," and Ganesh, when he is represented with an elephant's head.

Buddhism claims many of the nation as its followers, and its birthplace was at Benares. Gautama Buddha, "the Enlightened," was born near Benares in 543 B.C. He preached to the low caste, and taught "that the state of a man in this life, in all previous and in all future lives, is the result solely of his own acts." He advocated no sacrifices, but great duties, combined with perfect self-control. No wonder that, with a religion approaching so nearly to the true one, he still numbers in Asia 500 millions of followers. Buddhism has more adherents than any other religion in the world.

Very closely connected with the subject of religion is that of caste, which forms the basis of all society and religion in India.

There may be said to be four great divisions of caste. The Brahmins or priests; the Kshattriyas or Rajputs, who are warriors; the Vaisyas or husbandmen; and the Sudras or serfs. The Brahmin in ancient days was the priest, the[280] poet, the philosopher, physician, astronomer, and musician of the people. For twenty-two centuries he was the writer and thinker for the whole nation; he formed its grammar and literature. Even now he is distinguished by his slim figure, fair skin, and long thin hands unaccustomed to work, from the flat nose and thick lips of the low caste.

The Brahmin used to say, that at the beginning of the world "the Brahmin proceeded from the mouth of the Creator, the Kshattriya from his arms, the Vaisya from his thighs or belly, and the Sudra from his feet." The legend is so far true, that the Brahmins were the brain-power of the Indian people, the Kshattriyas its armed hands, the Vaisyas the food-growers, and the Sudras, the down-trodden serfs.

The castes may not intermarry. None of the higher caste may eat of the food cooked by a man of lower caste. The greatest punishment that can be inflicted upon a Hindu is to be turned out of his caste. All Hindus are vegetarians. They nearly all wear the disfiguring caste marks, white stripes across the forehead and breast, or a white and red spot in the centre of the forehead.

In its social aspect, caste divides the Hindus into guilds, each trade belonging to a different caste and forming a guild for the mutual support of its members. These guilds act also as a kind of trades' union, and its members have been known to strike, if necessary. All domestic servants such as syces, kitmutgars, and bheesties belong to a low caste. Caste is a very complex question, depending as it does upon three divisions, viz. "upon race, occupation, and geographical position." Besides the four great castes above mentioned, there are more than 3000 other minor caste divisions.[5]

The Mahommedans form an important unit in the population of India. Of the 200 millions of people under British rule they number forty-five millions. The Mussulman may be distinguished from the Hindu by two features in his dress. His coat is fastened on the left side, in contradistinction to the right side of the Hindu. His turban is formed of yards of stuff loosely wound round his head, while that of the Hindu is generally tightly wreathed or plaited.

The city of Benares is a "holy of the holies" to the Hindu. Half a million gods are said to be worshipped in[281] the shrines and niches lying in and round about the city for some miles. One thousand temples are within her walls. The streets are full of the aged and dying, brought here to expire, for they think Benares is "the gate of heaven." Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come annually to bathe in the waters. Those afflicted with that terrible deformity of elephantiasis take refuge here, and lepers lie about in the streets exciting the compassion and alms of pilgrims. Leprosy is seen in both its forms; that one, the most painful and agonizing, too revolting for description, and the other, when the skin literally becomes "white as snow," presenting a very awful appearance when seen in partial effect on the dark skin of the natives.

After tiffin we resumed our sight-seeing, beginning again with that long dusty drive to the city, of which we were wearying already. Threading our way through a lane of the native quarter, pursued by the hungry crowd of beggars and guides, all greedy for endless backsheesh, we entered a small square. Here, under a red temple in the centre, was a well, into which women were casting flowers. It was the child-bearing well, where childless women come with floral offerings to propitiate the goddess. Just in front stood a huge stone bull, the sacred bull of the Hindu worship. In every part of the city you see tame bulls, roaming about at will, who are yet never killed by the Hindu. They live in the temples and mosques, and share with the flocks of goats kept for sacrificial purposes the refuse of the city.

The filth, the dirt, the smells of these temples are indescribable. After passing through one which had a curious cupola and a minaret at each corner, with fine open-work carving, we mounted some steps and stood opposite the Golden Temple. The spire of the central dome, and the four smaller domes flanking each corner, are covered with pure plates of gold. This is in accordance with the bequest of one Ranjeet Singh. The temple is dedicated to Siva, the presiding deity of Benares, and in each division we find a "mahadeo" or monolith, a plain conical stone set upright. The mahadeo is the symbol of the "linga," or creative principle, and is found in every temple or shrine, in every niche set up by the roadside, throughout India. It becomes a familiar object of the Hindu worship.

After this we had a long drive to the Durga Kund, the celebrated Monkey Temple.


The antiquity of everything in India strikes us very much. The women in their muslin draperies drawing water at the wells bring to mind some Biblical picture. Their earthenware jars and pitchers resemble the old Egyptian vessels, while the rude ox-carts, with their clumsy wooden wheels, are like the Roman chariots.

As we drive along we are delighted with quaint carvings over gateways, wayside temples, and rude drawings on the wall, representing hydra-headed monsters, or blue and scarlet elephants, meeting with their trunks in deadly combat.

We are first aware of being in the neighbourhood of the temple, by the monkeys who are perching on the housetops and swinging in the trees. Fed regularly by the attendants, numbers swarm in and about the temple, fat, portly fellows of a rich orange colour, all "living deities" to the Hindu.

The Durga Kund is built in a graceful pyramidal form, quaintly carved with all the animals of the Hindu mythology. It is painted a dark red colour, and the porch at the entrance is brought into relief by silver lines. Here hangs a large bronze bell, the gift, it is said, of a European magistrate. The silver goddess is seated inside a shrine, and before the Revengeful Durga stands a bowl of blood, mingling with some floral offerings, The fat Brahmins in charge collected a crowd of monkeys in the court by scattering some grain. From all parts they sprang up, mothers with their babes clinging round their bodies, and patriarchal monkeys gibbering and swinging down from the airy pinnacles of the temple. Outside we noticed the wooden block and hatchet, smeared with blood, where the kids are killed for sacrifice; and the monkey-tree, a hollow tree where all the baby monkeys are born.

There was no time to visit any more of the 1000 temples of Benares, many of which are dedicated to strange uses; such as that of the Goddess of Hunger, where a large number of beggars are daily fed; that of Dandpan, the policeman of Benares, whose priest chastises the offender against law and order with a birch of peacock's feathers; or the Manikarnika, a well of putrid water, held very sacred, and supposed to have been filled in the first instance by the perspiration of Vishnu; nor the Well of Jali, where the future is seen reflected in the water at noon, the only hour when the sun's rays reach its surface.


Then we visited a bazaar or chowk. It is a picturesque little world, very busy about its own business, and confined in a thoroughfare only a few feet wide. Above, the gables of the houses nearly meet, and the overhanging balconies with wooden carvings obscure the light. Cross-legged on the step over the street sat hundreds of active workers, with their varied merchandise spread out before them, open to the street. Of course we were in search of the Benares brass-work, and with great interest we watched the simple method by which the elaborate patterns are traced. An ordinary nail run deftly up and down, and gently hammered on the brass vase or bowl, forms the fretted ground, while the pattern is picked out carefully afterwards. Quite young boys were employed on this and on the kincob work, the gold and filagree embroidery on cloth for which Benares is also famous. "Up two pair back," and in dark workshops, we found and chose what we wanted.

Whilst the inevitable waiting for the packing up ensued, we were summoned to the balcony by the sound of the tom-tom, and the shrill and plaintive note of the bagpipe flute. Down the narrow mediæval street, carrying us back to the twelfth century, came a gay procession, preceded by a merry crowd, pushing a way for itself. It was a wedding-party returning after the ceremony. The boy bridegroom mounted on a white horse was being led in the centre, the girl bride followed in the same way, and then there came the relations and friends carrying the presents and offerings in kind and produce.

Returning home through the bird-market we saw a disgusting act of cruelty. Four crows were lying on their backs on the ground, their feet and wings tied together, while a fiendish old man with white hair kept watch over them. For two or three days he would have kept them like this, without food or water, trembling with fright, on the chance of some pious Hindu passing by and paying a few pice for their release. We indignantly gave him an anna, and had the real happiness of seeing them all released and fly away, though one we feared still had his feet tied together, as he only just reached and dropped on to the wall in safety. The natives are hideously cruel to animals. They twist the tail of a bullock round and round till you hear the muscles and sinews cracking. It is rare to see a cart drawn by a bullock without some running sore where[284] the yoke chafes, and donkeys and horses are so tightly hobbled that they cannot move or lie down.

A gentleman truly remarked to us, "There are three stages through which Englishmen pass when travelling or living in India. First there is extreme sympathy with the native, and surprise at the rough treatment of the Anglo-Indian; this is followed by intense disgust at their cruelty, laziness, and ingratitude; and, lastly, he passes into an indifferent state, accepting the native as he is." This second stage I think we reached to-day, after having certainly gone through the first on landing.

The Grand Duke and Duchess of Mecklenburg Schwerin, with Don Carlos, the unsuccessful candidate for the Spanish throne, are staying in the hotel. When we arrived home this evening we found the balcony covered with baskets of fruit and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, with baked sweet-meats, brought to them as offerings of respect by the natives. The laughing of jackals around the house, and the trumpeting of a neighbouring elephant, made night hideous for us.

Tuesday, January 20th.—We had again to be up very early, and drive down to the ghât, where the Secretary of the Maharajah of Benares (the Maharajah himself being away on a pilgrimage to Allahabad) had promised to have a boat in readiness to take us across the river to the Old Fort and Palace. Through some misunderstanding we failed to find the boat, but we were just as happy and interested in again rowing up and down the ghât for two hours, seeing a repetition of yesterday's gay scene, till it was time to go to the station for the train to Allahabad.

At the junction of Mogul Serai we saw an amusing scene. Some purdah ladies on a pilgrimage to Benares were hurried out of their compartments, and, with their heads completely covered, hustled across the platform and pushed into a reserved carriage. Here a curtain was hastily hung up over the open grating which alone divides the third-class carriages.

During the afternoon we passed Chunar, celebrated for its quarries of fine yellow durable stone, and Mirzapore, a large cotton-manufacturing town. At five o'clock we were crossing the Jumna on a magnificent bridge, and about to reach Allahabad.

Allahabad, or the "City of Allah," is a very sacred place, situated as it is on a tongue of land formed by the junction[285] of two such hallowed rivers as the Ganges and the Jumna. The Hindus say there is a third river which is invisible, flowing direct from heaven, and adding its waters unseen to the others. We are fortunate in being here now, as January and February are the great months of pilgrimage, and during that time hundreds of thousands come down to bathe. Allahabad is known to the ordinary and non-religious world as the seat of the Government of the North-West Provinces and Oude.

In the dusk we explored the compound, where polo was just ending, and the wandering length of miles about Canning Town. Up and down the broad and dreary roads bordering the burnt-up plains of grass we drove in search of Mr. Lawrence's, the District Commissioner's bungalow, which we found, only to be told he was away. Quite familiar we became that evening with the principal feature of Allahabad, the long straight military and civil lines, with their rows of bungalows.

Wednesday, January 21st.—A cold, bright morning. After that indispensable meal of the Anglo-Indian, chota hazri, or early tea and toast, we drove out to the Fort. Such a wonderful spectacle presented itself to us as we emerged out into the open. Across the broad plain flocked thousands of pilgrims, in one continuous stream, all going down in the early morning to bathe at that sacred spot where the Ganges and Jumna effect a junction. They formed a bright ribbon of rainbow colours, streaming across the flat plain, winding with the turnings of the road. For a mile or more the line extended, and the throng was constantly swelled by stragglers hurrying across the plain to join them. As we drew near we saw what a motley procession it formed. Crowded ekkas with the members of an entire family perched up or clinging to its sides, solitary horsemen, children mounted on donkeys, vendors and mountebanks, mingling with the throng of pedestrians,—of men, women, and children, all bound on the same errand, all hurrying to the same spot.

From the earthen ramparts of the Fort we looked down on the curious sight. The delta of sand was covered with a rude encampment, and at the furthermost point where the rivers joined, the banks were invisible from the swarm of human beings. This is where the stream we had followed along the plain became absorbed in the black moving mass. The pilgrim, on arrival here, sits down on the bank, and has[286] his head and body shaved, allowing each hair to fall separately into the water, in sure belief in the promise of the sacred writings, which tells him that for every hair thus deposited a million years' residence in heaven is secured.

The redstone Fort was built by Akbar in 1572, but it presents but a very modern appearance now, filled with the scarlet coats of our regiments, and the "carkee" of the sepoys, whilst the magnificent bullocks of the Transport Department occupy a corner of the compound. In the centre of the Fort stands a beautiful monolith, surrounded by a garden. The jagged top shows it has been broken off short, and there are two very ancient Pali inscriptions, barely decipherable on the polished sides. It is one of the "three Asoka's columns," dating from 235 B.C.; the second we had seen at Benares, and the other has been recently set up at Delhi.

In one corner of the Fort we saw a group of natives, who were being admitted in parties through a gateway, and conducted by a sepoy through a subterranean passage. Down this we went, and found ourselves in a crypt underground, quite dark, and with walls green and mouldy from the trickling damp. By the light of the sticks, laid in a brass pan of oil, we saw some hideous deformities representing gods, smeared with red paint, and many mahadeos, set up amongst the pillars of this underground temple. As we turned round one of the arches in wandering about, a weird picture appeared to us. Before a burning brazier crouched some figures, illuminated by its fitful light. The flames caught the reflection of the tinsel and gaudy decoration, lighted up the brass-headed god behind, and showed the branching trunk of a tree. This is the old banyan-tree, at least 1500 years old, and which is still worshipped by the natives. We contributed our quota to the little pile of money already spread out before the god.

During the Mutiny the Europeans took refuge in the Fort, where many of them died of cholera and privations.

Allahabad is a favourite military station, though the heat reflected from the surrounding plains is terrific in summer. Once more we explored its dreary lengths of road, of which we learnt there are no less than seventy-nine miles in the city and immediate suburbs. We passed the Memorial Hall to Lord Mayo, whose tower, with that of the Town Hall now building, are prominent landmarks in the surrounding[287] flatness, and returned to Lawrie's Hotel to breakfast.

We left Allahabad at noon, and travelled through the rich valley of the Doab, 100 miles, to Cawnpore. Leaving Cawnpore to visit on our return journey, we changed to the Oude and Rohilkund, a miserable line of railway, and arrived at Lucknow late at night.


Thursday, January 22nd.—Lucknow has been given by the natives the pretty name of the "City of Roses."

It is needless to say that on this our first morning in Lucknow, our steps were naturally directed to the Residency, before whose grand and grim remembrances the gimcrack beauty of the palaces, the mosques, and the tombs, pale into uninteresting insignificance.

A bright, chill October morning it was, and I say October because, added to the keenness of the air, the leafless and withered branches of the trees gave to Lucknow an autumnal look. The terrific storm of hail which passed over the city fourteen days ago, and which during its five minutes' visitation played such havoc amongst the trees, has stripped and left them leafless.

The Residency, Lucknow

The Residency, Lucknow.

The Residency is not in the least disappointing. It is like what we should imagine and picture to ourselves. An unimposing gateway, flanked by two turret towers, with broken walls and ditches. Nothing grand or striking about it, for it was only a fortified barrack; but the surrounding walls and buildings riddled with shot, and showing large cavities where a shell has burst, tell its simple but awful tale of bitter suffering. Here for five long months a little band of 1800 heroic Englishmen, with 400 or 500 faithful sepoys, defended themselves bravely, starvation staring them in the face, looking day by day for the relief which so tardily came. So closely invested were they by the ferocious hordes of rebels, that the sepoys within were taunted by the rebels without the entrenchment. Morning after morning the enemy's battery opened fire, weakening[288] day by day their feeble defences, attacking first one position and then another, always repulsed, but always with some ill-spared loss to the small body of defenders. The Residency ruins extend for a mile and a half, and looking round now at the low walls, in no part more than four feet high, and the shallow trenches, it seems well-nigh impossible how the defenders kept at bay the rebels so long as they did. Everything is left as far as possible as it was at the time of "the Relief." At the suggestion of the Prince of Wales, tablets have been let into the walls, and posts erected at all[289] the famous points of defence. We trace thus the position of each regiment, and even the rooms in the several houses in the Residency enclosure, occupied by the officers' wives before the siege.

Grand as the study of the general outline is—of each spot memorable for some gallant defence—of one more life from the heroic little band laid down—the intensity of interest concentrates in certain spots: such as Dr. Fayrer's House, where Sir Henry Lawrence was brought after his leg was fractured by a bullet, and the four walls are shown (for the roof and floor are gone) of the room where he died. Also the room where the walls, battered with shot, fell in, burying some soldiers of the 32nd; the underground apartments where the women and children were kept for safety, and where so many of them died from privation and disease. In another room we saw the hole made by a shell, which entered the window and exploded against the opposite wall, killing an officer's wife on the spot from the shock and fright. Then there is the world-renowned Baillie Guard Gate, the scene of the deadliest repulses and corresponding deeds of courage.

The flagstaff on the tower of the Residency is the same as was there during the siege. Broken in half by a bullet one day, it was riveted together as we now see it. The flag was kept flying during the whole of those five months. Every Sunday it is now raised again. Adjoining the tower we see the ruins of the cook-house and the well, which was accessible during the siege by a covered way. In the centre of this quadrangle, on a raised mound, stands the exceedingly beautiful Greek cross, erected to the memory of Sir Henry Lawrence and his comrades in arms who fell.

All praise is due, we think, to Lord Northbrook, for having during his viceroyalty added to the monuments which are erected to our soldiers, who only died doing their duty, by presenting an obelisk to the memory of the sepoys who, amid the general rise of their countrymen, remained faithful to the British. The inscriptions on the four sides are in English, Hindustani, Persian, and Oudhee. Another cross has been erected to the memory of the 93rd Highlanders, giving the names and the different entrenchments where their men fell, and engraved with the crests of the regiment—an elephant and a stag.

The grey building, broken and unroofed, where all is so[290] quiet and neat, is soothing after the terrible tale of hardship and bloodshed we have just been tracing out amongst its walls.

The masses of begonia hanging from the tower, the lawns and gardens, the gravel paths, would efface such memories, but yet the ghastly reminders always remain in those riddled walls, those sudden gaps, where the masses of masonry have been torn away by shot and shell. It is as well perhaps for them to remain—to warn us of the blood already shed to retain our hold on our Indian empire. It is as well that they should remain, to tell us to ask ourselves, should occasion in the future arise, "Shall we pour out the blood of the nation again to keep that which we have unflinchingly gotten?"

We were more than charmed with the Residency. The complex memories which it leaves with us will linger harmoniously for many a day. It is one of the things which has interested and pleased us most in all our travels.

Passing along the road where the mutineers first gathered in force, and showed a spirit of hostility, we see the iron bridge where their quarters were.

Two unfinished works of Muhammed Ali Shah are before us. One is the Watch Tower or Sut Khunda, of which only four stories of the seven projected were finished. It stands there rotting away, a monument to the finger of death, which respects not the designs or intentions of man. The other is the "musjid" or mosque, intended to surpass the famous Jumna Musjid of Delhi, and which also remains incomplete, the scaffolding rotting away, as it was left eighteen years ago at the time of the Shah's death.

Muhammed Ali Shah at length succeeded in accomplishing a finished work in the Husainabad, but, as will be seen, one can hardly say, after all his endeavours, that his name will be handed worthily down to posterity. Entering under a gateway, we are met by the stone figures of two women, holding the chains hanging from the archway, and which is gaudily decorated with green fishes and dolphins against a yellow ground. We find ourselves in a pretty court with a garden crowded with a great variety of buildings; among others a bad model of the Taj, a very terrible object for those who are still looking forward to see the beauties of that matchless tomb for the first time. The tank in the centre is guarded at intervals with painted wooden figures. There are centaur women, soldiers in uniform, like the Highlanders of tobacco shops, and maidens representative of the figure-heads of barges. At the further end of the garden is the palace, containing a wonderful collection of rubbish. There are glass chandeliers swathed in linen covers and priced at 6000 rupees, models of pagodas and temples in ivory and wood under glass cases. A bottle containing a carved figure, suggesting the riddle how it ever got inside, is shown as a priceless treasure. There are gilded thrones and chairs, and the temple modelled entirely in coloured wax, which is carried in procession at the festival of Muhurrum and destroyed yearly.

The Imambara, Lucknow

The Imambara, Lucknow.

Page 291.


In the midst of these tawdry and gilded surroundings sleep Muhammed Ali and his mother, under their canopied tombs, surrounded by gilded railings. Disgusted with this incongruous mass we passed into another small building. Here we see a collection of full-length portraits of many kings of Oude—bright, realistic paintings, in each of which the artist has flattered the oriental vanity of his subject by painting him as large and as blazoned as possible.

Opposite the Husainabad stands the Musa Bagh, or the "Tomb of the Rat." Two curious origins are attributed to it. One says that the Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, when out riding one day, crushed a rat under his horse's feet, and erected this tomb over it; the other says that it was built by a Frenchman, whose name is lost to posterity, but which tradition tries to preserve in the Musa, or corruption of monsieur!

After this we looked into the Jumna Mosque, and I experienced the feeling of disappointment which I suppose nearly every one does on entering a mosque for the first time. The interior is so utterly bare, so cold and uninteresting. I expected to see rich drapings and hanging lights, instead of the bare marble pavement, with the kibla as the only sign of the worship performed there. I admired, however, the delicate triangle device in blue and green, traced on the inside of the three domes, the unfailing characteristic of all mosques.

And then we went to that gem of architecture, the great Imambara. Few things exceed in beauty, in the conception of the design and in execution, the great prize springing from the competition offered by Asaf-ud-Daulah. The result has been prodigious in the perfection of delicacy. It is as if the imagination of all the great architects of our generation had united together, and each contributing his own idea[292] formed the perfect whole. It is almost impossible to believe that from the brain of one man could have emanated such a multitude of fanciful styles of architecture. I speak of the delicate arches crowning the massive walls, and which, open to the daylight, trace their delicate proportions against the blue sky; of the row upon row of tiny domes that crown each arch, while these again, repeated in tiers above and below each other, line the three sides of the quadrangle. And again, the walls which support these airy structures are a study in themselves, replete with carving and coloured with pale tints of cream or pink.

The Imambara forms one immense square. Entering under a gateway you find yourself in a court, paved and vast. On this archway we see the green fishes and dolphins, the never-wanting emblem of good luck on all these ancient buildings, and without which the superstitious Oriental would hardly care to continue the work. Three sides of the square are parallel and at right angles to each other, but the fourth is cut slanting-wise by the mosque with its gilded dome, from whence spring those slender minarets, the pride and landmarks of the city. They also add their graceful proportions to perfect the whole. Facing us there is another of those beautiful Saracenic rows of arches, and we think we see the whole. But no, there is yet another court within this court, and this gateway, through which we gain access to it, was used by the harem. Passing through, we come to the last grand conception. Standing on a marble platform, the beauty of the frontage is seen to its greatest advantage. We look wonderingly at the labour expended upon the carvings of the twisted pilasters, the open fretwork of the little galleries, and the coping-stones that crown the turrets. If executed in a model miniature, the fretwork and carving would be delicate enough to form one of those Chinese toy-houses in ivory carving. And yet all this is worked in concrete, for there is no wood used in the construction of the Imambara.

The interior is as grand, One stupendous regal hall, divided by arches on either side to break the otherwise oppressive size. White, vast, and void. White, for the walls are painted a dead, uninterrupted white, and the arched roof is the same, save where delicate lines trace out the successive niches in the form of millions of domes; vast, for the hall measures 300 feet from end to end; void,[293] for the walls are totally without decoration, and stand out to add to the vagueness by their blankness and flatness. There are no mural obstructions, no projections (save those ugly red boxes); but stay—not quite empty. Two objects are in the centre, almost lost amidst the oppressive vastness. Standing slantwise across the hall is a silken canopy, suspended over a silver railed enclosure. It is the tomb of the Vizier Nawab, and the plain slab is covered with a gorgeous pall with flowers laid on it. It is rather gaudy, but yet it strikes one as strange and solemn, such a grand spot as a last resting-place amid such intense silence.

Not far from this is the execrable, the tormenting spectacle of a tazia, a tower literally manufactured out of paste-board and coloured paper, of tinsel and ribbons,—the tazia of the last Muhurrum. This Muhurrum is a religious festival commencing on the evening of the new moon in January, and lasting for ten days. It is observed by only one sect of the Mahommedans. On the last day of the festival the tazia is taken and burnt in the streets, a new one being supplied ready for the following year, The Muhurrum may truly be considered a great evil to Lucknow. The beauty of its palaces and tombs are destroyed by the coloured lamps and glass chandeliers hung there for use during the Festival, whilst gateways and archways are disfigured by the masses of nails left after the illuminations.

In one of the galleries of the hall there is a "priest's chair" of ebony, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. But the so-called chair is merely a succession of steps, with a wider one for a seat at the top. The little balconies, or red boxes as they look, hung out from the roof, form a dreadful mareye to the grand beauty. They connect with a gallery running round the hall, and are pointed out as the favourite place in which the Begums played hide and seek.

A fit ending to the grand simplicity of the hall is the octagonal room at the farthest end. Here the moulded archings find a common centre under the apex of the dome, and spread themselves out in a fanlike shape to the floor. This building was commenced in a time of famine, and work was carried on at night to enable the higher class to labour without being seen or known.

We were so delighted with the Imambara that we allowed ourselves the luxury (seldom possible) of a second visit to[294] it. This time it was in the afternoon, and it looked cold and somewhat gloomy in the falling light and shadows. Some priests were sitting around the tomb of the vizier chanting in their musical monotonous tones verses out of the Koran. As one finished the other took up the theme, and the different tones, some shriller, others richer, yet all reciting on one note, repeated by the echo were very effective. I carried away with me a deeper and yet more pleasing impression of the Imambara.

In fit proximity, and so near as to mingle its beauty with that of the Imambara, is the Rûmî Darwaza, or Turkish gate. In fact, from the precincts of the courts the gate is seen rising so immediately behind, and between the minars of the mosque as to appear to form part of it. An imitation of acanthus-leaves, which radiate above the line of the wall, is the curious feature of this gateway. It is flanked by four minarets, and ornamented balustrades projecting outwardly from several tiers. The whole is crowned by a miniature temple with pillars and dome, and around this the leaves strike out in spikes, forming a halo about the summit, or looking like the shafts of a rose window without the circle.

The red-brick clock-tower erected as a memorial to Sir George Cooper is a veritable eyesore, lying as it does in the midst of these monuments of antiquity.

In the afternoon we drove out to the Dilkusha, a hunting residence and park belonging formerly to Saadut Ali Khán, and called by him "Heart's Delight." It is now a ruin standing in a quiet garden, but was the scene of a terrible struggle in the Mutiny between the forces of Sir Colin Campbell and the rebels. He was advancing to the relief of the Residency, and the rebels made a desperate stand here. Later on it was the death-place of Sir Henry Havelock as the forces were retreating to Alum Bagh. There are the tombs of two officers amongst the ruins.

We drove on to the Martinière, or the Mansion of Constantin. It is a school for Europeans and Eurasians, founded by Martin, a French soldier who came over with Count Lally to one of the French settlements. A magnificent and very peculiar building. No one could possibly suppose it had been built for the present purpose, but it was the private residence of Martin himself. First of all, in the centre of a lake, which is supplied from a canal from the neighbouring River Goomptie, rises the[295] enormous fluted column, which from the distance one imagines to be part of the building. The whole design of the college is as fantastic as possible. On all sides Corinthian columns, plain or fluted, little towers with crenelated tops, and a mass of kiosks meet the eye. Lions rampant are mounted on the battlements, whilst curious gargoyles protrude from every corner. From story to story we have the rise of the central tower, each platform being marked by the octagonal towers at the corners, and the winding flight of stairs. The dome which crowns the top is formed by the "intersection of two semicircular arches built up with steps and balustrades, which look not unlike arcs boutant or flying buttresses." Each story seems to reproduce some different style of florid architecture, whether it be Corinthian, or Tuscan, or Gothic. The whole stands on a large platform, and the two wings are built back in a semicircular form, either end being on a level with the central building.

The bell was tolling for afternoon prayers in the chapel, and we joined the boys and choristers who were trooping in. The rich stained-glass window at the east end, which I admired so much, I was told afterwards was only diaphanous paper! Then we went to see the marble bust of General Martin, which stands in the vestibule. It represents a small, wizened face, with the queue and silk bow of the eighteenth century. In the vault below we were shown his tomb, and the large bell he had cast; but it is very uncertain whether the handsome sarcophagus really contains his bones, as the tomb was opened at the time of the Mutiny, and the four soldiers in mourning attitudes guarding the tomb, and made of brick, were then destroyed. Upstairs we went through floor upon floor of dormitories, the monotonous row of red quilts, peculiar to such institutions, contrasting strangely with the very beautiful Moorish decoration in pale green and pink on the ceilings. There are about 250 boys here, of all ages up to twenty-three. Principals and masters are English. It is a very rich institution, as the sum left by General Martin has always been in excess of the wants of the college, and an accumulated surplus of a million is now in the hands of the trustees. The Martinière forms a village in itself, as we saw when we came away, with its outlying mud settlement where the servants live, the mighty range of bath-rooms, and the gymnasium. It is surrounded by the Martinière Park,[296] where, by the roadside, is the stone tomb of Major Hodson of "Hodson's Horse."

After this we explored Wingfield Park, a most dreary place of recreation, and then went to the bazaar to buy some of the little wooden figures, so carefully and correctly carved, that show the costumes of the different native servants; the dhobie with his bundle of linen, the bheestie with his goat-skin, the ayah, the khitmutgar, &c. They are quite a specialité of Lucknow.

On returning home we found a kind invitation to dinner from the Commissioner, Mr. Quinn, for that evening; but we were destined not to avail ourselves of it without first experiencing a little adventure. We were driving along in our gharry in the dark with the shutters (viz. windows) closed to avoid the raw fog, when we were thrown suddenly forward, with a terrible shock, and came to a dead stop. We thumped at the door (which of course under the circumstances stuck fast, and kept us imprisoned in pitch darkness), and scrambled out at length on to the road to behold a sad sight. Our driver lay on the ground groaning, thrown some yards away by the force of the concussion; the two horses formed a medley of legs turned uppermost, and lay as still as if they were killed; the forepart of the gharry was stove in. The trunk of a tree, the remains of the storm, lay partially across the road, and against this the horses had come in full force. We were in a difficult strait. It was quite dark, we were on an unknown road, and, worst of all, unable to speak the language. Fortunately we heard some natives coming, and one of them, a baboo, speaking a few words of English, hurried on with me to show the way to the bungalow (which happily was quite close), and from whence I sent back relief to C., who kept guard over the injured party. It was found that the driver recovered quickly on the presentation of some rupees, and the horses were disentangled and got up, much cut about the knees.

Friday, January 23rd.—We are terribly startled and disturbed by the news in this morning's Pioneer, which tells of the battle of Abu Klea, in the Soudan, as my brother-in-law (Col. Hon. George Gough), commanding the Mounted Infantry, was, we see, engaged in it.[6] We set to work at a [297]second day's sight-seeing therefore with heavy hearts and distracted minds. It may have been this which made the places we saw to-day less interesting than those of yesterday.

Najaf Ashraf contains the tomb of the first King of Oude. You pass under a gateway bright with yellow ochre, and which has depicted on it two brown monsters with their paws meeting over the arch. This leads to a "square" building with a "round" dome. Inside you behold a sea of chandeliers swathed in Turkey twill bags (literally), with green and red and blue globes hanging from the ceiling, all remains of the last Mohurrum. The king and his wife are buried in the centre, in the midst of the usual decorations of gilt railings, of canopies with silver fringes, and beautifully embroidered silk palls; but hanging on the walls at the entrance are some very curious frames containing a collection of miniatures of the Kings of Oude, with another set of their wives. The flowers and birds of these frames are exquisitely represented, and the portraits themselves are very perfect, with the different expressions, the jewels and the ornaments very delicately delineated. We felt obliged to go and see Secunder Bagh, for though it is only a small enclosure with high walls, broken in places, every inch of this spot must have been saturated with blood, when the 2000 rebel Sepoys were slaughtered to a man by the 93rd Highlanders and 53rd Foot, a terrible retribution for the fire with which they had been harassing us previously. Its original use, as a garden given by the Nawab Wajid Ali to a favourite wife, was very different from the slaughter-house it is now known as.

On the banks of the muddy Goomptie are the Chuttur Munzil and the Kaisur Pusund. The former is used as a club, and the latter as the High Court of Justice. Both buildings are remarkable from the little gilt umbrellas, or "chutturs," which surmount the various towers, and which make them easily known from the mass of other buildings. The club was originally a seraglio. It has a pretty exterior, with a carved belt of stone, painted red to contrast with the prevailing whiteness; and the magnificent banqueting-hall inside, hung with numerous chandeliers, must be particularly appropriate to its present use, however wrong that "use" was in the first instance. On the opposite side of the road is Lall Baradaree, or the Museum, whose[298] verandah is supported by the figures of negroes standing with arms folded, and bearing the pillars on their heads. It is painted bright red both inside and out. It used to be the throne-room, where was held the durbar when the president enthroned a new king. Now it is full of glass cases containing rubbish, and only interesting from the large model of the Siege of the Residency, the red and green flags showing in what close proximity the armies were.

The Kaiser Bagh is a very marvellous collection of buildings. Standing in their midst, in the court, whether it be the medley of architecture, or the crudeness of the yellow-ochre walls, relieved with pink, and mingling with the green lines of the venetian shutters, the effect is startling. We see in these two-storied buildings, Italian windows between Corinthian pillars, and these surmounted by Saracenic arcades, or irregular openings of no style whatever.

The Chandiwalli Baradaree, a stone building in the centre, is used now as a town hall or concert-room (I notice that the residents of Lucknow have a very practical idea of turning these ancient buildings, the glory of the city, to their own uses). There is the Jilokhana, or place where the royal processions used to start from; the Cheeni Bagh, so called because of the China vases that used to decorate it; and the Hazrat Bagh, guarded by green mermaids. Farther on there are the buildings built by the royal barber, and sold by him to the king for his harem. It was here the rebel Begum held her court, and kept our prisoners confined in a stable near by. Yet further still there is the tree, with the roots paved with marble, where Shah Wajid Ali, clothed in the yellow rags of a fakir (beggar), sat during the great fair. It was the chief work of the present ex-king of Oude. We finished up our morning by a visit to the chowk. Driving there we passed the "House of the Sun" (now the Martinière Girls' School), and which is interesting just now, because at the time of the Mutiny it was captured from the rebels "by a company of the 90th, under Captain (now Lord) Wolseley," with some other troops.

In the afternoon we revisited the Residency and the Imambara. Returning from the latter we stopped to watch a band of prisoners at work on a new railway embankment, in charge of their orange clad gaolers. They were all heavily chained, and whilst carrying the earth to and fro in baskets[299] and throwing it down at the feet of the overseer, we could not help thinking that the gaolers were unnecessarily harsh, the use of the switch in their hands too frequent, with the often-repeated "chillau." We waited to see them marched away from their work, hand in hand, the road being previously kept clear of the friends who were waiting to catch a glimpse of them at a distance. Some of the men were very old and tired, whilst others only walked with great difficulty, on account of the tightness of their chains.

We drove through the lines of the Cantonment, the military and civil, with their rows of bungalows, all with that untidy and temporary look which characterizes the bungalow. It is very strange, when driving up to one to call, to draw up opposite the drawing-room window in the verandah. Indian society under these circumstances gives you no opportunity for the polite untruth of "not at home." Many of the bungalows we went into in the course of our Indian travels were very pretty with their bright foulquaries and striped purdahs, but I can never grow accustomed to the lazy necessity of ground-floor bedrooms, opening to and separated from the drawing-room only by a curtain. Of course there are all manner of appliances against the heat—a punkah, pulled day and night by relays of "wallahs;" shutter-doors and windows, to keep the rooms dark and yet cool; chicks, or fine wooden venetian blinds; and "tatties" placed in windows and doorways. These latter are formed of the root of a grass, and, kept constantly moist, freshen the air which passes through them into the room. It is also strange, when you wish to buy anything, to be driven by an avenue up to a bungalow—the shop.

We called on General Dillon, who is at present commanding the division here, and then driving down "the Mall," the inevitable accompaniment to "the lines," we listened to the band playing till the malarious mist drove us home. We noticed the church of Christchurch, whose pinnacles were being repaired after the damage done them by the storm as we came home, and the more humble structure of the American Presbyterian Mission Church.

It is said that these missions do far more good than the S.P.G. or C.M.S. Societies of the Church of England, on account of the divisions of High and Low Church of the latter, for the natives come and ask if they are of different religions.


C. went to see Lord Randolph Churchill, who arrived in Lucknow early this morning, and who is having a splendid reception from Europeans and natives wherever he goes. Every spot in and about Lucknow is marked by reminiscences of the Mutiny, some position of the enemy snatched from them by our troops, some palace or garden more hotly disputed; but you need to be an enthusiastic tactician to thoroughly appreciate the interest which attaches to Lucknow, the city and centre of the scenes of the Mutiny.

Saturday, January 24th.—Getting up this morning at 6 a.m., and dressing by the modest light of one candle, was a miserable struggle. The extreme changes of temperature which one is subjected to during one day's travelling in India is very trying. From the intense cold of the early start we warm into life at 10 a.m., and by noon are suffering from the heat. At sundown the chill creeps on again, and by night the bitter cold returns, Through the day we are alternating from ulster to dust-cloak, and returning at last to the warmth of our morning friend.

We had reached the second state of temperature by the time we arrived at Cawnpore, where we were to spend the day. The Railway Hotel, kept by Mr. Lee, is atrociously bad, and certainly ought not to be taken as a fair specimen of a Dâk Bungalow, as usually, and especially when under Government management, they are excellent. The Dâk Bungalow is an important feature in Indian travelling. Maintained by the Government, a fixed charge is made, and the traveller enters in a book the sum paid, with date of departure and arrival. He is only entitled to shelter for forty-eight hours, in accordance with the postal rules. A miserable breakfast determined us to take refuge at the station for dinner. We had a pleasant rest of some hours sitting reading in the verandah, before starting.

Cawnpore may be described as a dreary plain, across which in dotted lines run the cantonment barracks, whilst clouds of dust trace the numerous roads which intersect it in all directions. A single bullock-cart raises for the moment an impenetrable wall of sand.

The Memorial Church of All Souls stands out conspicuously amongst a cluster of trees on the plain. It is of red brick, faced with white stone, and looks like a handsome village church. The inside is disappointing. The mural tablets to those who fell during the Mutiny cover the walls,[301] the only fine one in marble being that erected to the Engineers. One cannot help wishing that instead of the usual ugly white tablet in the form of a tomb or urn bordered with black, some great, some beautiful monument had been designed with a grand inscription, like the one we were to see presently in the garden. The black dome of the chancel is somewhat curious, being intended to represent the heavens, with the constellations in gold. Fourteen memorial tablets form the semicircle of the chancel, giving the name of each and every one who died during the siege. The inscription opens as follows:—

"To the glory of God: and in memory of more than 1000 Christian people who met their deaths hard by between the 6th June and the 15th July, 1857."

By the side of the church there is a flat slab, paved round with blue and white marble, with the inscription in raised letters, arranged so as to form a cross. Here Major Vibart with seventy officers and soldiers are buried, who, after escaping from the massacre, were recaptured and murdered. We were now within Wheeler's Entrenchment, the small enclosure, protected only by a mud wall of four feet high, hastily thrown up, and where the besieged maintained themselves for twenty-one days. We could trace the entrenchment exactly by means of the small posts set up, with "W. E." on them. Then we came to another monument, built on the site where St. John's Church stood at the time of the siege. Here seventy-five Eurasians and natives, with their families, had taken refuge after the evacuation of the entrenchment, and were murdered to a man by order of Nana Sahib. Our interest is still further deepened when we see the stone well, riddled with shot, yet used, where the oxen still toil up and down the inclined causeway. It lies just outside the entrenchment, and was the only water the besieged could obtain. Every drop was fetched at the risk of life, with shots dropping at random over the open space that had to be traversed.

Next we go some distance away to the well, where an awful memory still clings of the midnight parties bringing each night the bodies of victims who had died of cholera, heat, apoplexy, small-pox, or wounds during the day. They were thrown into the well as the only means of safe disposal for the survivors; and Captain Jenkins, who still held the bungalow commanding the position, kept up a covering fire[302] for these parties. The spot is now made into a garden, and marked by a Byzantine cross, with this inscription:—"Under this cross were laid, by the hands of their fellows in suffering, the bodies of those men, women, and children, who died near by during the heroic defence of Wheeler's Entrenchment, when beleaguered by the rebel Nana, June 6th to 27th, A.D. 1857." And on the pedestal of the cross,—"'Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth; but our eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord.'—Psalm cxli." Four smaller crosses at the corners give the names of the officers and the men of their regiments whose bodies were thrown into the well. Captain Jenkins is one of them, and it is told how Private Murphy was the only individual of the C company of the 84th Regiment who escaped.

Then we drove about a mile away to the deep ravine called the Suttee Chowra Ghât. Here were the very steps, shaded by the same peepul-tree, where the men, women, and children went down on their way to embark from the ghât on the river. They had surrendered to Nana Sahib, as will be remembered, on the condition of being transported in boats up the Ganges to Allahabad. The women and children had embarked in the open boats, and been pushed into the middle of the stream. The stone platform flanked by two archways was crowded with others. There was a cry of "Treachery!" and the soldiers of Nana Sahib, acting under his orders, opened fire. Volley after volley was fired upon the helpless occupants of each boat; a hidden battery of guns behind a tree being brought to bear upon those on the landing-stage. It became a wholesale butchery. The women and children who were captured and not massacred were taken that night to the Assembly Rooms. Here atrocities were committed such as even the page of history cannot detail, until a century has passed, and the victims and their near relations shall be laid to rest; some cannot ever be mentioned in the ears of ladies, but the world learnt then, if it never learnt before, what our sex can endure. One lady killed the native with his own sword, when he attempted, with Nana's permission, to take her away to his house. Thus they remained for upwards of a fortnight, when, at Havelock's approach, Nana Sahib ordered a general massacre at the Assembly Rooms, the "House of Massacre" as it came to be called. The natives[303] would not hold the Europeans whilst their throats were cut, because it was against their caste, and then Nana ordered his officers to get men to cut or fire them down. One hundred were told off for the men, one hundred for the women. After incessant firing for several hours, whether on purpose or not was never known, only two were found to have been killed. At last Nana found five butchers, belonging to the Bhowrie, or lowest caste of all, who undertook the bloody slaughter. For five hours, from five till ten in the morning, they cut and slashed, till few were left. The bodies were cast into a well. This well became so full that, the water causing the bodies to swell, many rose above the surface, when branches of trees were laid across to keep them under.

It is on this awful spot that the most perfect monument, full of beauty and peace, has been so fitly erected.

In the centre of the memorial garden stands the lovely statue of Marochetti. It is a white marble figure, draped, with head downcast and eyes full of tender sorrow. The hands are crossed on the breast, each holding the palm-branch of victory, and the large curving wings are unfolded. The delicate delineation of each feather on the latter shows the perfect finish of the whole. The palm-branches rise over each shoulder, from the declivity of the wings, where they are joined behind, and in the centre there is a white marble cross, against which the figure is supposed to be leaning. The drooping attitude and the gentle expression of sorrow are very touching.

The angel figure seems to be declaring to us the inscription over the entrance, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes."

The carved octagonal screen, showing daylight between its delicate tracery, is worthy of the beautiful monument it surrounds and guards. The harmony of the whole is maintained by the repetition of the octagonal form. The screen is octagonal, and so are the steps which descend to the richly carved pillar. The three tiers of marble, the pedestal of the figure, are also octagonal. The purity and beauty of the memorial is completed by the inscription: "Sacred to the Perpetual Memory of a Great Company of Christian People, chiefly Women and Children, who near this spot were cruelly massacred by the Followers of the Rebel Nana, Dhoondopoor of Bithoor, and cast, the Dying[304] with the Dead, into this well below on the 15th day of July, 1857."

The "House of Massacre" is below the slope of the memorial, and is marked by a white cross on a black marble base. The original little cross is shown inside the burial-ground, the base of which marked the well, and the cross at the top the House of Massacre—a poor but touching little memorial, "raised by twenty men of the same regiment, who were passing through Cawnpore" some time afterwards, as it tells us. The burial-ground is on the spot where two bungalows adjoining the Assembly Rooms were found, whose walls were written in blood, describing the agonies of the prisoners. They were destroyed by Havelock's soldiers, and the spot selected for the cemetery as the ground was soft for digging. It took the men four days to bury the dead. Now the spot is enclosed with a handsome railing, and it presents the appearance of a garden of tangled roses and creepers, which cover the graves. There are seventy-two mounds in all, but many of them are nameless graves; and it is known that four were often buried in one grave. Immediately opposite them is another three-cornered piece of ground railed in, where more of the mutilated remains of the women and children were collected and interred. It is a very noticeable fact that none of the dates on the memorial stones of the "Mutiny" agree. They vary in fixing it as breaking out on the 15th, 17th, or 18th of June. The garden, which is really part of the old Assembly Garden, is beautifully kept. Broad carriage-drives lead down the palm-avenues, and amongst the bright masses of flower-beds.

We left Cawnpore at six o'clock. Half an hour after midnight we had to change carriages at Tundla Junction, and we arrived at Agra at the ghastly hour of two in the Morning. As I sat in the gharry outside the station, waiting for C. with the luggage to appear, for the natives were half asleep at that late hour, I could see the red battlements of the fort rising opposite against the half-moonlit sky.


Monday, January 25th.—Agra is essentially the city of Akbar, the great Mogul. Founded and created by him in[305] 1506, it had no previously known history. Here he established his metropolis—his palace within the fort. One looks forward to seeing some of the splendour with which we have always learnt to associate the name of the greatest of ancient emperors, save only Alexander the Great. Nor ought one to be disappointed.

The fort is a superb structure, recalling the days of barbarous warfare in the substantiality of its walls. It is entirely built of red granite—not sandstone as at first appears, for that would be too easy and crumbling a substance for such massive walls and ramparts. The entrance through the Delhi Gate is very imposing. The hill leads up to the gateway, flanked by two towers, and guarded by portcullis and drawbridge, and over all floats a tiny Union Jack. The gates in themselves are curious, being studded with nails and bits of old iron. Under the dome of the entrance are the sepoys on duty, who stand at attention as we pass. Amongst all this massiveness the details are not overlooked, and there are some very delicately carved niches and windows filled with fretwork to be seen high up in this dome. A glissade, sunk between high walls, leads to yet another gateway, formed by two octagonal towers, which allow of two domes under the entrance, and then we find ourselves in a barren waste.

The Moti Musjid—the Pearl Mosque—with its three bulbous domes of purest marble, truly appears in the distance like "pearls of great price" set in the red walls. In common with many of these buildings, it stands on a large platform raised high above the road, and ascended to by flights of steps. It suggests the beautiful idea of the going up from the street, and leaving its cares behind to go into a purer atmosphere for prayer. As the gates are thrown open a sea of marble against the cloudless blue sky meets the eye. Such is the first impression; and then by degrees we turn our attention to the small courtyard, paved with marble, to the marble cloisters which close it in on both sides, and lastly to the pearl itself, with its gem-like towerets, alternating with the three domes, "It is of the purest Saracenic architecture, though it has the simplicity of Doric art." There is a vista of horse-shoe arches; one, two, three, four, we see receding successively, with the same repeated in perspective by the rows of pillars. These pillars are formed of four single blocks of marble,[306] one block to each of the sides. The inscription in Persian over the arches tells us it was built by Shah Jehan in 1656, and the intense purity of the marble after two centuries have thus passed, without crack or weather-stain, seems marvellous. Under the central dome you look up to a ceiling covered with a raised device of triangles laid crossways, a decoration identified with all mosques. Each of the four pillars with its dome forms a perfect little mosque within the larger one. The marble floor is covered with squares just the size of the Mahommedan prayer-carpet, and 570 can kneel side by side at the same time. The three apart in the Kibla, or Central Niche, are for the Mullah, with one for the King and Vizier, or Prime Minister, on either hand. There is a beautiful carved marble screen at one end, behind which the Begum and the women of the zenana stood when attending prayer. The floriated design of this screen is carved out of marble quite two inches thick. Some one has said, "It is a sanctuary so pure and stainless, revealing so exalted a spirit of worship, that one feels humbled, as a Christian, to think that our noble religion has never inspired its architects to surpass this temple to God and Mahommed."

And then we pass on to the palace, of which the Pearl Mosque is the fitting sanctuary.

Akbar, the Great Mogul, the greatest of barbarian kings, built for himself a palace worthy of his great renown. Quarries of marble were used in its construction, and tons of precious stones. Agate, porphyry, and carnelian were thought not too costly for the inlaying and mosaic of the apartments used by the emperor. It was built within the fort, which thus enclosed the little world gathered about Akbar the Great. Passing along we see the old gateway which led to the chowk, or bazaar, reserved for the emperor's own use, and then one enters the Carousal, or Tilt Yard. Here stands the Dewan-i-Am, or Audience Hall. It is an open loggia supported on marble pillars, and the decoration of red and gold is still vivid. The slab of marble in the centre is where Akbar sat in judgment, and behind in the wall there is an alcove deep enough to form a room, where the court sat in waiting for their master. This room is exquisitely inlaid with flowers in precious stones, and the recesses, or pigeon-holes in the wall, were used for burning incense and sweet-scented woods. This leads us into the interior,[307] or private courts of the palace, and we find ourselves in a maze of these. Those beautiful marble trellises seem to have been let into every window, or form the grating over every doorway, and the embroidery in precious stones on the marble amazes us with its costly magnificence. Quiet courts, still gardens, abound. All is harmonious and preserved, left just as it was 300 years ago. The rooms are empty, it is true, but one hardly notices it, for these eastern palaces are always cold and void. A few carpet-mats strewn on the marble floor, some looking-glasses and chandeliers, are all the furnishing you look to find in them.

The palace is washed by the waters of the sacred Jumna on one side, and the windows and loggias took down on the river, while frequently we came upon water-gates leading down underground passages to give access for bathing in the stream.

Apart from all the beauty of the palace, it is most precious to us as a living record of the domestic life of those times. In the zenana we see the baths, on which the greatest care has been lavished, the cold bath being in the basin of the open court, with the hot bath in the covered recess. Here is the mosque apart for the ladies of the zenana, with the court below where a bazaar was kept also for their separate use. We see the walled entrance to the passage, which is supposed to lead underground to the Taj. It was through here the unfaithful begums disappeared, to be seen no more. We can trace it all so distinctly that we can repeople the harem with its dusky beauties.

Then we come to the inner court, the Dewan-i-Khas, or Hall of Select or Private Audience. On a platform open to the river there are two thrones, one of black marble and the other of white. It is on the black takt, or throne, that Akbar sat in state. When the Mahrattas took Agra, and the foreign Rajah seated himself on the throne, it cracked (so runs the legend) from end to end, and blood gushed out. When Lord Ellenborough, as Governor-General, seated himself on it, blood again came forth, and two dark stains with the crack attest these "truths" to all good Mahommedans! On the white throne opposite, tradition says that the king's jester seated himself and burlesqued his royal master. Below this we look down into the arena where the wild-beast fights took place, the king viewing them[308] from the platform above. The emperor's bedroom has a fresco round the ceiling of great beauty. On a gold background are inlaid sprays of flowers in precious stones. A portion of one corner was restored for the visit of the Prince of Wales, but the cost of 5000 rupees was too heavy for it to be continued. Near the dining-hall are the famous Somnath Gates captured by Lord Ellenborough in the Afghan campaign, and which gave rise to a well-known controversy. We saw in them the three metal bosses supposed to have been taken from Mahmoud's shield.

The Khas Mahl, or Belvedere, overhanging the Jumna, is a little gem, with its delicate rows of cusped arches, and the niches and groinings of its walls. It is open on three sides, and commands a splendid view over the river, with the snowy domes of the Taj in the distance. It was here that the emperor sat in the rainy season.

Then we go down to the little court, paved in squares of black and white marble, called the Pachise, or backgammon and chessboard. There were no pieces used for this colossal board, but Akbar's wives trotted about at his bidding from square to square, thus performing each move. Above this there is the lovely Jasmine Tower, or the Boudoir of the Chief Sultana, most exquisitely inlaid with turquoise and carnelian. We discovered near here a charming little mosque hidden up some steps, called the "Children's Mosque," and where the children were taken separately to pray. It was in the Anguri Bagh that the British officers and their families were confined during that terrible summer of 1857, and here Mr. Russell Colvin, the Lieutenant-Governor, died—worn out with anxiety—and was buried in the marble tomb we saw just now opposite the Audience Hall.

We then descended to a garden, where, in a cool grotto, we found the Shish Mahal, or the Palace of Glass. It is an oriental bath, and the decoration is very eccentric and fantastic. It consists of hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors covering the walls and ceiling. On entering it is like being in a silver cave. The chunar stone of which it is made is covered with filagree, and the looking-glasses arranged in rows and patterns produce a wonderful effect. We lighted a match in a dark corner, and the effect was bewilderingly dazzling, the gleam of light being reflected[309] and flashed back in our faces a hundred times. The marble baths all round are much carved, but the most beautiful sight of all must have been the bath where the water from the Jumna fell over some recesses lined with looking-glass, which gave back in radiated colours the reflection of the tiny waterfall. About here we see some entrances to underground passages, where, it is said, during the midday heat, the wives and concubines of the king disported themselves in the original garb of Eve before their royal master, causing the corridors to resound again with their merry shouts of laughter.

The Jahangir Mahal, or Palace of Jahangir, Akbar's son, adjoins the palace. The red courts, particularly that called the Begum's Court, with their massive pillars supported by Hindu brackets, and carvings of birds and flowers, looked coarse and heavy after the chaste beauties we have just been seeing.

As we see so often repeated in history, and in our own times, the great palace which Akbar founded as the abode of his dynasty, was destined to be inhabited but for a very short time. Jahangir, his son and successor, lived and died in northern latitudes, and Shah Juhan, his son, began the palace at Delhi. The race lay under a cloud, for the latter emperor was dethroned by his son Aurungzebe, and under him the fort became merely a citadel and the residence of a Mogul governor. It changed hands during the Mahratta war several times, and was finally held by General Lake after the defeat of the Mahratta power at Delhi.

To the founder of the short but brilliant Mogul dynasty, was it given first to call into existence a nationality among the people. On ascending the throne at the age of fifteen, Akbar, by raising the Hindus and refusing to favour the Mussulmans, welded the people into one nation. His latitude in religious matters is shown by the Hindu god and goddesses at Futtehpore Sikri, the Windsor of Agra as it has been called. There is even here a palace called the Palace of the Christian Woman.

It is to Akbar that we owe the most deeply interesting city of India, and to his successors the second, that is, Delhi.

The Jumma Musjid, or Cathedral Mosque, stands opposite, and slightly turned eastwards away from the Fort. It is the second largest mosque in India, but though of vaster[310] proportions, it can claim no pre-eminence to beauty. It stands on the usual platform, and the inside is inlaid with black and red marble. The inscription over the central arch tells us that it was built by Shah Jahan in 1653, in honour of the Princess Juhanara, whose tomb we shall see later on at Delhi. However, the colouring of the three domes is highly peculiar and remarkable. They are of deep red, and the white lines meeting up and down them at right angles form a zigzag, and resemble from a distance the stripes of a zebra.

In the afternoon we drove through a bit of the native quarter to reach the pontoon bridge, and crossing over it came to the tomb of Itmud-ud-Daulah, or Ghias Beg.

Ghias Beg was the grandfather of the beautiful Muntâz of the Taj, and Vizier to the Emperor Jahangir, who honoured him after death by this mausoleum. He was a poet also, and it is told how, when the emperor visited him on his deathbed, and he was asked if he recognized his royal master, the minister replied by a quotation from a Persian poet:—

"Even if the mother-Hindman happened to be present now,
He himself would surely know thee by the splendour of thy brow."

The mausoleum is a little gem set in a green garden, and overawed by four red gateways, quite out of proportion and keeping with it. The front presents the appearance of carved ivory, so delicate is the lacework of the marble tracery. Like the other buildings of Agra the outside and inside are embroidered with stones, but these are not so precious, being chiefly plum-pudding or agate stones. The design and finish of the work are however most remarkable. There is a slender vase in blue and green with serpent handles; a basin in blue and white, resembling the old willow-patterned plate; a cup with a spray of flowers, or vase with an outspread peacock's tail. The ceilings, though sadly weather-worn, still show what a splendid and gorgeous mass of colouring and variegated patterns they were. The mausoleum is divided into a succession of courts opening one out of the other, and each is the death-chamber of one or more. Following the melancholy circle of the building, we see the narrow marble sarcophagi of brothers, sisters, a whole family, descending even to the second generation, who find their tombs within this narrow circle.


It is at the top, on the marble chabutra, or platform, that we find the tomb of Itmud-ud-Daulah himself, lying under the canopy of marble, and surrounded by the marble trellis screens.

These Mahommedan tombs always indicate the sex of the person beneath by a very small raised slab, some six inches long by two wide for the man, whilst that for the woman is the same, with the addition of a mitre-like head.

We went home after this, for we were dreadfully tired, and I especially, almost knocked up by another slight attack of fever, brought on last night in the train by a selfish fellow-passenger, who would keep the window on his side of the carriage open.

Bright and fresh we rose the next morning, under the influence of looking forward to seeing the Taj for the first time. We all know "that it is worth coming to India, if only to see the Taj;" and we thought of this as we drove down the well-known road constructed during the famine of 1838.

The Taj Mahal is, I think, the most beautiful, the most heavenly of all earthly conceptions—of all earthly creations, of all works raised by the hand of man. In the midst of this land of glorious monuments the Taj shines forth as the one thing of "perfect beauty." Apart from the loveliness of its outward and earthly form, it stands there as "some silent finger pointing to the sky," an intuition of the quiet beauty of death. It is as if Shah Jahan, even in his heathen darkness, conceived some vague idea of a higher world, another life; as if he felt that by transferring the remains of his loved one to the most beautiful resting-place on earth he was lifting her up to a higher sphere.

He seems to have tried to embody some such idea in the monument which will immortalize his name and the memory of the lovely Mumtaz to whose honour it was erected. It was his way of showing the passion of his love, the erecting of this most beautiful mausoleum that the world had ever seen. We may think it was the work of an ignorant and barbarous mind, but after all it is the form of expression of sorrow which is unhappily must common with us until this day.

The Taj was built in 1648. No wood or stone was used[312] in its construction, for it was built entirely with Jeypore marble, which still retains its pristine purity of whiteness.

The approach to the Taj by the straight Strand Road, with the first view of the marble dome over some trees, communicates a pang of disappointment; but as we pass under an old stone gateway and find ourselves in a quaint native court, the scene grows more in harmony. This court leads us out before the great red gateway. It is very handsome. Formed of red granite, inlaid with white marble, it is topped with a series of little cupolas or umbrellas, that count the curiously uneven number of eleven. Two slender towers that flank the gateway look spiral from their running zig-zag pattern. The broad square which frames the arch is covered with sentences from the Koran, those being chosen which speak of comfort and consolation to the mourning. The irregular and disjointed letters of the Arabic alphabet form a very effective and bold decoration to the arch, and the contrast between the white and red marble is most striking. Passing through we are under the great dome of this gateway, which is covered with the mosque-pattern of crossed triangles. A man with designs of the Florentine mosaic on plates and vases, &c., distracts our attention.

We turn,—and see the mirage of a pure white temple—the glory of the Taj.

The gateway forms a grand frame, the scimitar crossing the dome just touches the keystone of the arch, and the sides seem to widen out just enough to admit of a complete view of the furthest outlying cupola and tower. The first startling effect of dazzling brilliancy is very great, and deep, and lasting. It is here that the Taj became indelibly imprinted on my memory. It is as seen from here that I always recall its now familiar lines.

The stupendous marble dome, crowned with the golden scimitar, is the central object, the first that absorbs the attention of the eye; but gradually the towers and the cupolas around the dome begin to be recognized—to force themselves into the picture. We see that the irregularity of their number is caused by the foreshortening of those on the further side, making them appear in between the fixed four square lines of the others. There are four, like outlying sentries, guarding the marble platform, and four others rise from the platform, from whence in its turn springs the dome.

The Taj Mahal, Agra

The Taj Mahal, Agra.

Page 312.


Then you glance at the exceeding beauty of the idea, that has planned the effect of the cypress avenue, the paved walks bordering the strip of water, that all converge, and lead the eye up to the chabutra, or vast marble platform, whereon stands the Taj. There are no steps in this platform, no visible means of approach.

The three archways under the dome are recessed, and in them the carving is so pure and delicate that even from this distance it looks like the carving on one of those ivory caskets from China. The perfection of finish is astounding. Then, even as we look, the picture is enhanced by some specks of bright colour, which stream out of the shadow of the doorway, some women with saris of peacock-blue, and sea-green, and salmon-pink, tender tints giving a flash of life and light to the silent and awing grandeur—almost sternness, I had said, of the cold marble.

As you approach, as you reach a middle distance, the Taj loses in effect; but here the cruciform pavements meet, and your attention is diverted to two red gateways at the ends amongst the trees. Thus you have behind you the great gateway; on either hand these smaller ones complete the square; whilst before you are the still unexplored mysteries of the Taj.

As we emerge up through the opening on to the great chabutra, blinded by the dazzling brightness of the sun on the marble, which seems to collect and radiate every ray of sun about itself—it is like the purity of driven snow on mountain heights. As we stand under the semi-dome of the entrance, in its relieving shadow, we are conscious of a work almost too superhuman for humanity.

The frieze of marble is delicately carved in bas-relief with lotus-flowers, each piston and stamen of the flower, each vein in every leaf, being delineated with scrupulous exactness. Over this entrance leading into the abode of death is a sentence in Arabic characters from the Koran finishing up the verses of consolation, with an invitation "to the pure of heart to enter the Garden of Paradise."

We pass through the wrought cedar-wood doors.

Through the dim solemn light let in high up in the dome, and struggling through the heavy marble trellis-work, we see the cenotaph—the central romance that gave rise to this "poem in marble."

The beautiful Mumtaz Mahal, the Exalted One of the[314] Palace, was the wife of Shah Jahan, then heir-apparent to the throne. The chosen wife of his youth, the "beloved one" among all his harem, she bore him seven children, and died at the birth of the eighth, when accompanying her husband on a campaign to the Deccan against the tribe of Lodi. Anguish-stricken, his grief found expression in a monument of purity, "after the eastern idea of beauty, which considers as full dress a simple white robe, with an aigrette of precious stones." It has been truly said, "The Taj is not a great national temple erected by a free and united people; it owes its creation to the whim of an absolute ruler, who was free to squander the resources of the state in commemorating his personal sorrows."

The cenotaph is surrounded by a screen of jali, and the entrance to it is just opposite to us. Within the screen she lies, in the centre. The simpler and large tomb of the king has had to be placed at the side, to the left, so that that of the queen is the only one seen on entering. Shah Jahan originally intended to build for himself a similar monument on the opposite bank of the Jumna, and to unite the two by a bridge. He ended his reign in captivity, and, "thus," says Mr. Taylor, "fate conceded to love what was denied to vanity." These are the cenotaphs erected, after the Oriental manner, for show; the real tombs are in the vault below.

The screen is a network of "geometrical combination," rare, intricate, and unique in the world, all carved to the depth of two inches out of solid marble. The open-work fringe of lace at the top has been added at a later date.

On this and on the walls around are what calls forth our most enthusiastic admiration, our greatest expressions of delight.

The cenotaph, the screen, the walls, are inlaid with flowers, and designs in precious stones, agates, and coloured marble. Each leaf, each petal, each stalk, is shaded by the different tones and colours of the stones. Each is perfect in the minute details of drawing, shading, and colouring. Every spray stands out from its marble background; not a turn of a leaf, not the shade of a half-open calyx but what is delicately indicated. Thirty separate pieces are used in every flower, and each spray has three of such. We see thus represented the lotus, the lily, and the iris. They are formed of precious stone; of cornelian, coral, lapis-lazuli,[315] bloodstone, jasper, garnets, turquoise, amethyst, crystal, sapphire, onyx, malachite, and agates. It is an Indian Pietra dura, and differs from the Florentine only in that the latter is in bas-relief.

It took seventeen years collecting the materials for the building of the Taj, and 20,000 workmen were employed in its construction for twenty-three years. It cost over 2,000,000l. Workmen came from all parts, from Turkey, Persia, Delhi, and the Punjaub. The "head master" was Isa Muhammed, the illuminator was an inhabitant of Shiraz, and the master mason came from Bagdad. Many different countries were drawn upon for contributions of precious stones. The crystal came from China, cornelian from Bagdad, turquoises from Thibet, sapphires and lapis-lazuli from Ceylon, coral from Arabia and the Red Sea, garnets from Bundelkund, plum-pudding stone from Jassilmere, rock-spar from Nirbudda, the onyx and amethyst from Persia; and there are many other stones used that we have no knowledge of, nor name for in our language.

A terrible old desperado was the Rajah of Bhurtpore, who caused many of the gems and precious stones to be picked out of the Taj. Government has replaced many of these, and restored a whole corner which was removed by this regal robber; but, though exactly the same when examined closely, the general effect looks coarse beside the original.

The solemn light that glimmers down gives a holy, reverend look to this chamber of beauty and death, and the lotus frieze stands out grandly in the half light. Up there the dome seems to lose itself in space, and looks intensely blue from deep shadows on the cold marble. Each of the octagon arches is crowned by a sentence from the Koran, and outside and inside the writing is so frequently repeated that it has often been declared that the whole of the Koran is thus inlaid in the Taj.

Not the least beautiful and wonderful thing about the mausoleum is the echo that during fifteen seconds lingers on the air, dying away as if with retreating steps down endless cloisters—dying so gently that you know not when it ceases. It is a finer echo than that in the Baptistery at Pisa, which is thought to be the finest in Europe. The echo is so sharp and quick that only one note should be sounded, and this will be multiplied in the distance till you[316] recognize not your own single tone. It is this that causes the discordant sound of voices speaking in the Taj, the echo repeating and mixing the different voices.

"I pictured to myself the effect of an Arabic or Persian lament for the lovely Muntâz sung over her tomb. The responses that would come from above in the pauses of the song must resemble the harmonies of angels in paradise," writes one who has heard it.

We descend into the vault by the long sloping marble-lined corridor. A sweet and sickly smell is wafted along it towards us, the subtle odour of otta of roses perfuming the air. Here is where the royal dust and ashes really rest, and it is very characteristic of the perfection and finish displayed throughout the Taj, that though unseen, and in total darkness, the finish is just as elaborate, the walls, the cenotaph, the frieze of the purest marble; the mosaic of pietra dura as lovely and precious. The tomb of the queen is inscribed with the sentences of praise usual in Persian monuments, but that of the king bears a curious eulogium:—"The magnificent tomb of the King inhabitant of the two paradises; the most sublime sitter on the throne in Illeeyn (the starry heaven), dweller in Firdos (paradise), Shah Jahan Pâdishâh-i-Gazi, peace to his remains, heaven is for him; his death took place on 26th day of Rajab, in the year 1076 of the Hijri (or 1665 A.D.). From this transitory world eternity has marched him off to the next."

The two mosques that flank the platform are of red sandstone inlaid with marble, and face east and west. The western one only is used for prayer, and the eastern one was built as a "jawab," or "answer" to the other, showing how strong was the feeling for preserving the symmetry of the Taj.

We wander round the platform, which dwarfs everything with its immense size, and makes us look like little black specks crossing its glistening surface, and look over into the muddy waters of the Jumna, which washes the red sandstone platform of the Taj on two sides. In all distant views this platform spoils the effect of the Taj, appearing like a red brick wall, on which the white dome alone is seen resting. We look over the river to where higher up we see shining the temples and pavilions of the Aram Bagh, or the Garden of Rest.

Bishop Heber truly expresses and sums up the glorious[317] loveliness of the Taj, when he says, "It was designed by Titans and finished by Jewellers."

Four times in all we visited the Taj. Once again in the afternoon's light and shade, and yet once more by moonlight; but I still thought that nothing could exceed the beauty of that first glimpse through the red gateway. The defects (for what of human make is without?) appear more distinct each time. One long absorbing visit to the Taj is what I would recommend.

All the same by moonlight, what you lose in detail you gain in the overwhelming solitude, the solemnity of the scene. The pure dome shows out against the dark blue vault of heaven, the brilliancy of the silver-tipped turret towers eclipses the shining of the stars. The Taj looks then truly majestic. You fear to break the silence by the echo of your footsteps as you steal quickly round in the deep shadows, and come out on the dazzling platform, in the glory of the full moon by the riverside. At night you feel it is not a monumental palace, but a burial-place; the smell of the tomb is close and vault-like, and you shudder at the vast silence as you escape into the open once more. One curious effect is then always remarked. As you approach the Taj by moonlight it seems to dwindle and recede, and you only realize suddenly that you are near, and almost under the platform.

In the afternoon we drove along a road which has been called the "Appian Way" of Agra, from the tombs and mausoleums which we see along the five miles road to the village of Secundra or Sikandria. We are going to the mausoleum of the great Akbar himself.

Entering under a gateway, which is a veritable study in red and white and other coloured marbles, we find ourselves in a small park. The feeling of disappointment occasioned so often by the ruin and decay around these Indian monuments is absent here, for Secundra delights us with a certain finish and completeness. The trees bordering the broad paved causeway form as effective an avenue, as the cyprus at the Taj, to the pyramidal tomb at their end. Four grand causeways coming from four of these marble and sandstone gateways meet at the marble platform on which stands the mausoleum. The idea of the mausoleum is peculiar and original, as will be seen. The semicircular dome of the entrance, which is whitewashed, forms an incongruity which mars the general effect of the façade.


Down a dim, gradually sloping passage we descend to the underground vault. At its entrance, by the pale light from the doorway, we see the plain marble sarcophagus, surmounted by a wreath of fresh flowers which contains the dust of Akbar, the founder of the great Mogul Empire, the mightiest sovereign of a mighty race.

Under the central dome it stands alone, without name or inscription, marking by its simplicity the chosen tomb of the great monarch.

We climb up one after another the four chabutras. Each one has the staircase unseen at first, but discovered in a corner, and which leads up to the trap-hole, through which we reappear on to the next platform. Thus each one you attain to seems to be the last. We are looking down upon tiers of minarets, and upon the four canopies, pillar-supported, which face each way of the compass. At length we climb the last flight, and find ourselves at the summit on the white marble chabutra that crowns the whole.

All is of marble, white and pure. Here, surrounded by one of those exquisite filagree marble screens open to the heavens, stand the whitest of sarcophagi, hewn out of one single block of marble, wrought, and carved, and fretted until it is like the carving of a sandal-wood box. The ninety-nine names of God in Arabic are inscribed within and around the scroll-work of the tomb, and it bears also the Salutation of the Faith, "Allaho Akbar! Jilli Julali Hoo." The court is surrounded by a cloister with Saracenic arches showing glimpses of the distant view. Tradition says that the sort of half pillar at the head of the tomb was intended for a setting for the Koh-i-Noor diamond, and that it really stood there for some time.

The first view of Secundra brings dissatisfaction. The creator of Futtehpore Sikri, the builder of the Fort and palace of Agra, the founder of the Pearl Mosque, we look to see something more magnificent than this self-chosen resting-place, for by the subtle leading up and preparation we only realize the beauty of the summit, when we look at that jointless tomb, that court of purest marble; its only canopy—that of nature, heaven's blue sky.

On the way home we paid a visit to the prison, which is quite a special sight of India, on account of the carpet manufactures carried on there.


The prisoners sit before a screen, or woof, with the bobbins of coloured worsted hanging in rows above. Each thread has to be tied separately into the string of the woof, cut, combed, or pressed down, and the scissors and combs used are of the rudest order. A reader chants or sings songs out the colours of the pattern at intervals, saying, "So many white threads, so many red or blue," and the ground is filled in afterwards. From fifteen to twenty men are squatted on the bench at work on the same carpet, and an inch and a half is the usual daily advance. The blending of colours and designs of these carpets are very rich and handsome, and the borders especially fine. This prison is the principal one in India, and their carpets are much sought after. They are sold to the Magasins du Louvre and the Bon Marché at Paris, and supplied also to a Bond Street firm. One that we saw in progress was an order from the Duke of Connaught for a present to the Queen, and another is being made for the Empress Eugenie.

There are only three European warders in this prison, and nearly all the remainder are good-conduct prisoners. One who accompanied us, holding a huge umbrella over my head, had thrown a man down a well in a fit of temper. In the cook-house we saw them busy baking thousands of chapatties, or flat cakes, of coarse meal, the only food they require. The difficulty of caste is got over here, by the Brahmins, or highest caste, being alone employed for the cooking.

We bought some very pretty ornaments to-day made of soapstone, a clay of a warm grey tint, and which forms beautifully clean raised patterns on boxes, and card-trays, &c.

Monday, January 26th.—We began our morning with a disappointment. We had intended to drive out twenty-three miles to Futtehpore Sikri, to see the village of palaces and princely buildings of Akbar's first metropolis, abandoned for the fort at Agra on account of its unhealthiness; but we were confronted with the tiresome detail of not having given notice the previous day for relays of horses along the road. Hoping perhaps to return to Agra, we determined to leave for Delhi by the midday train.

In going to the station, we saw a touching sight. A[320] bier covered with flowers was set on the ground, and a little group were squatted resignedly around—mute, not weeping, but looking helplessly and steadfastly at the bier. The chief mourner had taken his place at the head. And this is the sight you often see as you pass down some quiet avenue, or near approach to the river banks—a mournful little party, a few bearers carrying the bier uplifted, and hurrying down towards the sacred river with their burden, crying as they pass along that mournful wail, "The name of God is true. If you speak true, it will bring salvation."

Eight hours' journey brought us in the evening to Delhi. We found the "Northbrook" so full of Americans (for we meet such numbers of them travelling in India, come across from "Frisco" to Japan and China, and taking India on their way to Europe, generally bent on arriving to Rome for Easter week), so we took refuge at the United Service Hotel. Here there is the officious, though, be it said, intelligent guide, Baboo Dass, well known to travellers at Delhi.

A word about the hotels. An Indian hotel is the embodiment of dirt and discomfort. There is nothing to complain of in the food, but the rooms are damp and cellar-like, with whitewashed walls, and the barest amount of furniture. Dressing is a lengthy process, when you have to divide your toilette between a brick-floored bath-room, and a dressing-room with one looking glass and a chair, and a bedroom equally dismal. Moreover, they are built solely with regard to the heat, and in the cold nights and frosty mornings you suffer bitterly from the draught of air-traps from skylights in the roof, and doors and windows that refuse, and are never intended to close tightly. Added to this there are the multitude of servants from whose incessant attention you suffer much annoyance, no one man doing the same thing. On leaving an hotel a crowd of at least six are awaiting backsheesh—the Khitmutgar, the Sirdar, the Bheestie, the Sweeper, &c. No exception can be made for any one hotel. We found them all equally atrocious, even including those of Bombay and Calcutta.

Tuesday, January 27th.—We drove along the Mall of the civil lines, where was lying the encampment of a collector or other provincial officer travelling on his annual round of inspection. We passed under the battered portals of the Cashmere Gate, so famed for its noble defence during the[321] Mutiny. Just on the other side of this is Skinner's Church. Colonel Skinner married first, as was natural, an Englishwoman, and built this church; but, secondly, he married a Mohammedan, and then the mosque opposite was built; but, last of all, he espoused a Hindu, when the Hindu temple, a little way off, came into existence. He used to say that when he died he would be sure of going to the heaven of the best religion.

Delhi has a fort, containing a palace, a Dewas-i-Khas, a Dewas-i-Am, a pearl mosque, and a Jâma Musjid, similar and in the same position as at Agra. But all, with the exception of the mosque, are but a feeble reproduction of the latter. Shah Jahan, as we know, founded Delhi, but the works he accomplished were but a feeble and poor imitation of those of his noble grandfather Akbar at Agra.

The four splendid gateways of the Fort, with their grand red colouring and coping of domes, would appear to be copied from the gateway of the Taj.

We entered by the Lahore gate, and passed under the vaulted causeway known as the chattahs, or umbrella of the king, and where the military bazaar now maintains a certain air of picturesqueness.

The Dewan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, is the usual marble loggia. It has only a cumbrous canopy of marble over the marble throne, but the wall behind is most beautifully inlaid with mosaic. The colours are still extraordinarily bright, and show the green plumage of the parakeets, the blue of the humming-birds, while groups of flowers and clusters of fruit complete a rare panel of beauty.

The Dewan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience, is at present disfigured by trusses of hay wrapped round the inlaid pillars, whilst the work of reparation is being carried on. Government proposes to spend three laks of rupees in restoring the original marvels that existed of gold and silver filagree work, the pillars having been plated with sheets of gold, and the ceiling covered with silver. It is estimated that this ceiling, which was part of the spoil of the Mahratta Invasion of 1759, produced 170,000l. worth of silver.

The inscription in the corner of the ceiling is the well-known and very beautiful, "If there is a Paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here." The famous Peacock Throne was in this hall. "The throne was six feet long and[322] four feet broad, composed of solid gold, inlaid with precious gems. The back was formed of jewelled representations of peacock's tails. It was surmounted by a gold canopy on twelve pillars of the same material. Around the canopy hung a fringe of pearls, and on each side of the throne stood two chattahs, or umbrellas, the symbol of royalty. They were formed of crimson velvet, richly embroidered with gold thread and pearls, and had handles, eight feet long, of solid gold studded with diamonds. This unparalleled achievement of the jeweller's art was constructed by a Frenchman, Austin de Bordeaux. The value of the throne is estimated by Tavernier, himself a professional jeweller, at 6,000,000l. sterling." The Peacock throne was taken away by the Persian Nadir Shah.

Then we are taken to the palace and into a little room, three-cornered in shape, and with its windows open towards the river. Inlaid in mosaic there is here the sweet little inscription, "Sigh not, for good times are at hand." The scales of Justice are represented in another place in inlaid marbles over the trellis door, which leads into the Zenana. Here every care has been lavished upon the beauty of the decoration of the various rooms, though the red and green flowers and running patterns look coarse and gorgeous to our eyes, so lately accustomed to the delicacy and minuteness of the Agra pietra dura. Here again we see how Shah Jahan failed to produce the minute beauty of Akbar's palace. Still the colouring is interesting for being so well preserved, showing out as if it was finished but yesterday, and one is glad to see that any attempt was made to lighten the prison house and the dull lives of its inmates.

The bath-rooms, as in all eastern palaces, are the great feature, and occupy the largest portion of this palace. Running round the centre room there is a shallow channel, inlaid with an ingenious serpenting pattern in black, and the water coursing swiftly over this, produces the effect of fishes swimming about in the water. In other rooms we see the children's smaller baths, and the shower-bath formed by a fountain springing up through the floor. The centre hall contains a pool inlaid with jade. It was here the ladies came to drink after the bath, and the water filtering through the holes of jade was supposed to be purified and cooled by it. This was an old Eastern idea, for we are told that kings always had their drinking-cups of jade. The bath in[323] the king's apartments had hot and cold water laid on, and was used by the Prince of Wales when on his visit to Delhi.

The pearl mosque is almost a perfect model in miniature proportions of the Moti Musjid of Agra, but this one was kept only for the use of the king and his family. The paving of this court is very pretty, the squares being indicated by double black lines, and those under the mosque are fringed at the top with three delicate sprays of jasmine flowers. The remainder of the Fort is occupied by the barracks of our troops.

Passing out between the formidable spikes of the Delhi gate, we drive up before the Jamma Musjid, the finest mosque in India.

It is called Jamma, or the Friday Mosque, because Friday is the sacred day of the week according to the Moslem religion. Escaping two Albino beggars—most repulsive objects—we ascend up the magnificent flight of broad shallow steps—those steps which on three sides form such a splendid approach to the imposing grandeur within. The wooden gates at the entrance are interesting on account of their immense thickness, and their age, which is over 200 years. When inside the court we see that it is entirely paved with white marble, with black lines, which has a very striking effect when extended over such a vast space. In the centre there is the usual marble reservoir, where some Mohammedans are washing their feet preparatory to praying. Three cupolas of white marble, crowned by gilded culices, rise over the red arches, and pillars that form the open loggia of the mosque. The centre cupola is partly hidden by the great square of the principal entrance, in which the pointed gothic arch is splendidly described. The cornices of this pointed archway are divided into ten compartments, each ten feet broad, which contain inscriptions in black marble on a white ground. Following the usual construction the two minarets that flank the mosque seem almost of an exaggerated height. They are inlaid with the white and red marble stripes placed vertically, and are as always the pride and beauty of the city. For miles around their graceful proportions can be seen isolated, reaching towards the sky, when all other parts of the city are unseen. A colonnade of red sandstone surrounds the court, and the whole beauty of[324] the mosque lies in the splendid contrast of the rich red sandstone against the white marble court.

To enhance the scene here are a long row of worshippers, bending and rising in union, saluting the earth and crying out with one voice, in response to the priest who is under the portico; and other bare-footed worshippers are hurrying from the tank, after performing their ablutions, to join them. On every Friday some 10,000 souls cover the court of the Friday mosque. The tak, or niche of the kibla, is beautifully carved, and the pulpit, consisting of three panels, is hewn out of one splendid block of marble. It is from here that the priest gives the well-known salutation of the faith: "Allaho Allah!" And the response comes intoned back from the multitude, "Jilli Julali!"

In a corner of the court they opened a casket of relics for us to see—a parchment written by Hussein and Hassein, the grandsons of Mahomet, a shoe of the prophet, his footprint on a stone, left whilst healing the sick; and, lastly, most precious of all, a single hair from his beard. Mahomet must have had a very red beard.

The beggars of Delhi are proverbial for their importunity, and on the steps of the mosque they glean a rich harvest. The maimed, the halt, the blind, pursued us till we were fain to take refuge in the carriage from the armless stumps, the twisted and distorted limbs, that were thrust forward, to excite our pity. Not less troublesome are the hawkers and vendors, who swarm everywhere in the verandahs of the hotels, but nowhere worse than at Delhi. They leave you no peace, pursue you everywhere, and even insinuate themselves in at your bedroom door. They are the pest of Indian travellers.

Driving in the afternoon through the Queen's Gardens, the abode of the horrid yellow pariah dogs of the city, we reached the outskirts of the town, and came to the old fort, made 500 years old. It consists of some ruined walls, so massive that, judging from the aperture of the loopholes, they must be at least eleven feet thick. On the top of a large pile of ruins, nobly placed, stands the Lat, or Staff of Feroz Shah, another of Asoka's columns. It is like those we have seen at Benares and Allahabad, only this one is of more ancient date, being 2200 years old. The Lat is a single shaft of sandstone tapering very slightly towards the top. The inscription in Pali, the oldest language in India, is almost illegible, but it consists of "certain edicts for the[325] furtherance of religion and virtue, enacted by a king called Dhumma Asoka Piyadasi," who must have changed his character after ascending the throne, which he only reached by the murder of the ninety relations who had prior claims. A kite perched on its broken summit, looked curiously monumental, and there were others sitting in solemn rows on the ruins around, with heads turned towards the commissariat building below, whence they were expecting their daily meal of refuse. Others were also swooping around the river banks, waiting for one of the dead bodies which are so frequently seen floating down the Jumna.

We returned to the town, and found our way through a very slummy lane to a beautiful little gem, a Jain temple, most exquisitely carved outside, though this was almost hidden and lost in the narrow street and the shadow of the overhanging houses. We pass the passage leading round to the further side of the temple, where the women worship apart from the men. Lately we have been seeing many mosques and temples with cupolas, domes, and minarets of all sizes and forms, but now we see one of a totally different design. There is a kind of cupola with a gilded top, but it is a very squat one, and the effect produced is as by a cushion crushed down by the weight of a crown.

The idol, with legs doubled under him, is sitting cross-legged under the canopy inlaid with gold leaf. Jain, the god, was naked, and in this he differs from the Hindu gods, who are always represented clothed. This used to give rise to serious riots on the day in the year when Jain was paraded through the streets in procession, the Hindus pelting him with mud, and a free fight generally ensuing between the different followers. A military force is brought out now on this day of the year for the protection of Jain, at the expense of his believers.

The Hindus also parade their god Ganesh once a year, on June 17th, and we went to see the Juggernaut car used on this occasion, and kept in a stable adjoining the Jamma Mosque. The car is entirely covered with gold leaf, and cost, it is said, 25,000l. We noticed particularly the several railings which surrounded the seat of the god, placed there by the priests to catch the money thrown to him in the streets. It is drawn by four prize bullocks, who have been previously fattened on an allowance of from four to five pounds of melted butter daily, conveyed to them through the trough of a hollow stick.


On our way home we drove through the Chandi Chowk. It is the finest native bazaar in India, the street being a mile long, and so broad that there is room for four avenues, with two roads, and three pavements. In the Chowk there is the Kotvale and the little mosque perched up among the roofs of the houses, where Nadir Shah sat and ordered the massacre in which he killed 100,000 people. Midway the street is intersected, and the harmony of the quaint old houses with their overhanging wooden balconies, much disturbed by the modern red building of the Delhi Museum and Institute, and by the Gothic clock-tower immediately opposite. It was in the Chandi Chowk that we bought some of those lovely embroideries in gold and silver thread on satin and velvet, for which Delhi is justly celebrated. We saw also some very valuable Cashmere shawls, one being valued at 4000 rupees.

Wednesday, January 28th.—A tremendous thunderstorm, with hailstones as large as beans, kept us awake during part of the night. The lightning shone in from the little windows high up in the wall, and was the most vivid I have ever seen. When morning came, we thought the weather was going to fail us for the first time since we have been in India, so violent was the downpour of rain; but by eleven it cleared, and we were able to start with a fine sky for our eleven miles' drive to the Kutub Column.

There are a multitude of things to be seen on the way, and it would be hard to surpass in interest the drives about Delhi. Endless are the antiquarian remains that are scattered about the plain for miles around, They are all ruins of old Delhis, for nine separate cities have at different times been built and abandoned within a radius of twenty miles of the present one. Thus, as you drive along, the ruin of an old fort, or the remains of a city wall, are pointed out to you as Delhi number four or Delhi number eight.

Our driver chose that we should not stop, as is customary, outside the grand fort of the "old" Delhi, the most ancient of all the ruins, and see the mosque inside the Octagonal Library, where the Emperor Humayoon met his death by falling down the stairs of the tower. A mile further on we come to the tomb of the emperor, a splendid mausoleum, standing in a garden. It is rendered so imposing from the huge chabutra of red sandstone on which it stands, open to the surrounding country. In the centre of the circular room[327] under the dome is the plain sarcophagus of the emperor, the father of Akbar. As usual, the surrounding rooms forming the corners of the circular room are full of the tombs of the wives, sons, and daughters of the great man, and in one corner, side by side, are the tombs of five mullahs. The trellis-work is shown of one of the windows where it was broken by Captain Hodgson at the capture of the King of Delhi in 1857. The king had taken refuge in the corner pointed out, behind a bronze door, and the window was broken as being an easier access. A bright blue enamelled dome near here is supposed to have been the residence of the Begum's bangle-seller, and a brick one adjoining, that of the royal barber. This might have been the case, for these Eastern mausoleums were often used as palaces, previous to the death of the person by whom they were built.

Then we drove on to a spot which is literally a village of the dead, so closely serried are the marble sarcophagi, and where little courts and mosques and mausoleums are visible in all directions.

Our chief wish in coming here was to see the grave of Jehanara Begum, the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan, whose story is so simple and touching. She became a religieuse very young, and declared her intention of never marrying. On her father's disgrace, Jehanara shared his prison and captivity. She is buried here, and her grave is a plain grass one, and the inscription at its head, dictated by herself, tells us the reason. It says: "Let no rich canopy cover my grave. This grass is the best covering for the tomb of the poor spirit. The humble, the transitory Jehanara, the disciple of the sect of the Chistîs, the daughter of the Emperor Shah Jahan."

Here also Prince Jehangir, a son of Akbar II., is buried, who was exiled by the English Government on account of his frequent attempts to murder his brother, and who is said to have died from his excessive love of cherry-brandy. He was the favourite son of the emperor, who always believed that he died of "sighing."

The celebrated Persian poet, Amir Khusran, lies near by, and these, with many other tombs, are surrounded by that exquisite marble trellis-work that forms the most beautiful feature of Mussulman architecture. These tombs lie around or in a small marble court of great purity, from the[328] centre of which rises a tiny dome of marble, whose octagonal angles are marked with black lines. An open colonnade with Satacenic arches richly carved, shows us the tomb of that most sacred Mohammedan saint, Nizam-ud-din, within, whose sanctity still draws bands of pilgrims to his tomb. The wooden canopy of the tomb is inlaid with exquisite mother-of-pearl, that in the dim light looked iridescent, with opal tints of blue and green and purple. A row of ostrich eggs were hung around, and a Koran stood open at his head. The mosque, 600 years old, and very quaintly carved, completes this little world, where so much of interest lies gathered into such small compass. The Chausat Kumba is near by, the sixty-four pillared hall, as it is called, which number is only made up by the cunning device of counting the four sides to each of the square pillars. Returning we look into a baoli or well, a deep tank walled in all round, containing green and slimy water.

The crowd of natives who always accompany the Feringis (Europeans) point upwards, and on the summit of the kiosk of a mosque, forty feet above us we see a man, who, as we look, takes a run and a header into the water. It seems quite a minute that we watch him falling through the air, with his legs wide apart, bringing them quickly together just as he plumps into the water with such thudding force, that you think he must be crushed or cracked by the volition of his own weight. He is up in a moment. The tank being very deep, the diver only goes a few feet down, and does not reach the bottom; then he comes up the steps, shivering and with teeth chattering, for his backsheesh. On account of the height of the surrounding buildings the sun never reaches this tank for more than three or four hours each day, and the water is intensely cold.

And now we have a drive of some four or five miles before us. The ruins cluster thickly about the country here, and we see many of the small mosques which mark the site of a Mohammedan cemetery, with their old grave-stones and white pillars, which show, they say, the spot of a "suttee" over the grave. A tremendous storm overtook us before we reached the Dâk Bungalow, where we were to have "tiffin."

Column, Kutub Minar, Delhi

Column, Kutub Minar, Delhi.

Page 329.


We went at once to the Kutub Minar, or Pillar, the loftiest column in the world, or 234 feet high. But its chief interest is not derived from this, but from its extreme beauty and unique character. Pillars and columns there are all over the world, from the Pillars of Hercules to the Monument near London Bridge, but none so beautiful, so original, so rich, as the Kutub Minar of Delhi.

In the first place it is built of full-coloured red sandstone, and in the second it is fluted; but the "fluting" does not convey the curious and effective pattern, seen nowhere else I think, of a fluting alternately "round" and "angular." The Kutub tapers, as all such mighty erections must, that the laws of equilibrium may be carried out in their broad base. It is divided into five stories by the balconies which run round in a zigzag, and which are supported by a bracket where each angle touches the column; but "the distance between these balconies diminishes in proportion to the diameter of the shaft, thus adding to the apparent height of the column by exaggerated perspective."

The first story, or the ground floor, is polygonal, with the fluting in alternate rows of acute angles and rounded semicircles; the second is entirely semicircle; the third all acute angles; the fourth is a circle of white marble (a curious anomaly); and the fifth is just a band of carving surmounted by the railed enclosure of the summit. These alternate flutings give an irregular appearance to the "horizontal" lines of the pillar when seen at a little distance off, and the base also appears to bulge out much at the sides, where it enters the ground. Maintaining the idea of the symmetry of the gradually ascending but decreasing scale, all the delicate Arabic inscriptions, the bands of the Koran surrounding the Minar, are arranged as follows:—Six are on the lowest, two are on the second, and one on the third story, but none above on the next, where the marble band replaces them. The top band on the lower story gives the ninety-nine names of God in Arabic, and the remainder are variously verses from the Koran, or praises of Muhammed bin Sám.

Twice the Kutub has been struck by lightning, once in 1068 and again in 1503, as recorded in an inscription; but now it is made safe from such damages by the lightning-rod which we see at the bottom and meet again at the top of the 375 steps. Some idea is given of its narrowing proportions, when I say that three men can easily stand abreast on the lower steps, whereas here at the summit one man can with difficulty pass. The view over the plain of Delhi in its utter flatness, reaching even to the horizon, is very uninteresting[330] and disappointing, on account of the weary toil up. The Hindus claim the Kutub as of their erection, and say it was made by Prithie Rajah to enable his daughter to see over the plains to the sacred Ganges. Others think it is Mohammedan, and certainly the inscriptions must have been added by them. Looking up to the Kutub we noticed a curious effect—that the clouds moving quickly across the sky gave to the tower the appearance of shifting instead. Near the Kutub Minar is a similar column, commenced to match the other; but, left unfinished, it is now falling into decay.

As usual, minor antiquities cluster round the greater one, and near the Kutub is the tomb of the Emperor Altinash, the supposed builder of the column, and the palace of the Emperor Alâ-ud-din, which has a very beautiful horse-shoe arch. This is considered the first specimen of Pathan architecture extant. But the principal interest here is a mosque constructed from the remains of twenty-seven Hindu temples by the first Mohammedan King of Delhi in 1193. The Hindu columns that have been used by their successors to form a thick row of cloisters are most admirably and quaintly carved. Gods and mythological figures form the chief feature; but in one corner we see a bullock-cart, where the tire and spokes of the wheel are very distinct; in another some men pounding millet; while monkeys form the brackets, or the head of a bull the ornamentation for a capital.

In the centre of this ruined temple stands the Iron Pillar of the famous legend. It rises twenty-two feet above the ground, and it has been proved by excavation that its foundation is at least sixty-two feet below the surface.

Rajah Pithora consulted the Brahmins, or priests, as to the length of his dynasty. They replied that if he could sink an iron shaft into the earth, and pierce the snake-god Lishay, who upheld the earth, it would endure for ever. Time elapsed, and the Rajah became curious to know the result of the sinking of his iron shaft, and against all the Brahminical warnings had the pillar uprooted. Great was the consternation when it was found that the end was covered with blood. It was hastily put back again into the earth, but the charm was broken. The kingdom of Pithora was shortly conquered, his life was taken, and no Hindu king has ever reigned in Delhi since.

It was a pretty sight to see the sacred goats living about[331] the temple, looking down over the ruined wall on a caravan of camels, whose drivers had gone up the tower, where some took the opportunity for saying their prayers.

When they came down again, I suddenly thought what a good opportunity this would be to try riding on a camel. Seated on the edge and hindermost point of his back, it was an awful moment when the camel sat forward on his front knees, and then rose to the full length of his fore-legs. Then I was at a very acute and ticklish angle, and he took his time, too, to raise his hind-legs and bring me to a comfortable level once more. The motion is easy and pleasant (though it makes your head "waggle" in a ridiculous way) when taken at the slow deliberate walk that the driver carefully led me; but I can well imagine the agony of the trot, when no action of your body can keep time or swing with such an incomprehensible motion. The worst part undoubtedly is the getting off. Down goes the first division of the animal, the legs to the knees, and then the second, at which the body rests on the ground, when you are in danger of being precipitated over his head. Lastly the hind-legs subside, and you slide off over his tail. At the word of command he performs these various evolutions, but it is generally accompanied by a discontented snort and grunt. I like the deliberate way the beast always walks, with that affected turning of the head from side to side, and the nose disdainfully held high in the air.

In returning home we passed the beautiful white dome of the mausoleum of Sajdar Jang; but though beautiful outside, there is nothing to see in the interior, and we were fairly weary of mosques, mausoleums, and tombs to-day. Nor did we linger at the Junter Mundir, or Observatory, as we had seen that finer one of Benares. From the distance we traced its gigantic sun-dial, and the two towers exactly alike, with the pillars that mark the 360°, so that one observation could be corrected by the other. Needless to say that we were extremely tired at nightfall.

Thursday, January 29th.—We drove up on to the Ridge, seeing Ludlow Castle, of Mutiny fame, in front of which was stationed battery No. 2, which was to open the main breach by which the city was stormed. Here also is the Flagstaff Tower, to which the ladies of the station were first taken when the hope of speedy relief from Meerut was yet with[332] them. It is a fitting and commanding situation for the red brick monument erected to the British and native troops who "died in action, of wounds, or of disease" during the mutiny "by their comrades, who lament their loss, and the Government they served so well." "The Ridge" is also celebrated for a well-known pacific measure of our times, for it saw the great Durbar of the 1st of January, 1877, when The Queen was proclaimed Empress of India. It and the surrounding plain presented a marvellous sight, covered with the tents of rajahs and maharajahs, and of the thousands gathered there, forming the largest camp that had ever been seen.

We left Delhi that morning. In the afternoon we had a very interesting meeting at Gaziabad with Syed Ahméd Khán, C.S.I., the founder and Honorary Secretary of the Mohammedan Oriental College, and who is looked up to by all the Mohammedans of India as their intellectual head. He came thus far to meet us, and travelled back with us to Allyghur, where the college is situated, as being most central for all parts of India. This allowed of C. having two hours' conversation with him, and learning much about the great Mohammedan community of India.

We reached Agra late that evening, about ten o'clock, when we made our visit to the Taj by moonlight.


Friday, January 30th.—Left Agra at 7.30 on our way to Gwalior.

After crossing the Chumbla on one of the finest bridges in India, we came to a very strange bit of country. Every foot of the bare ground was gulched, upturned, upheaved, into conical mounds. We saw a quantity of curious little sugar-loaf cones, apparently of natural origin, and the whole represents a series of miniature valleys and mountains. This broken ground alone would form a formidable obstacle to the enemy's approach to Gwalior, without its celebrated fort.

Long before we reached Gwalior we saw the great ridge of rock some two miles in length, though only one in width, which rises up out of the plain. It is the Gibraltar of India,[333] and, standing out of the plain instead of out of the sea, was called, before modern cannon brought the fort within range of neighbouring heights, the key of Hindustan. It is a grand rampart of nature, and the range of fortress walls which crown the summit well become the site. They frown down upon the palace of Sindhia himself, lying immediately underneath, in mockery guarding his territory, for though the maharajah's standard floats from the flagstaff, British soldiers occupy the stronghold.[7]

Sir Lepel Griffin, the Governor-General's agent to the princes of Central India, was on his annual tour, and in camp at Morar, the adjacent military station. He had asked us to stay with him at Indore, Holkar's capital, where he is permanently located, and now offered us the hospitality of his camp. But all our ideas of having to rough it melted before the Oriental luxury of the temporary town.

We drove through a neat "street" of tents, and were set down before a handsome pavilion. This was the entrance-hall with visitors' book, and where the scarlet-clad chuprassies are in constant attendance. Through this we passed into a drawing-room lined with brocade, thickly carpeted with rugs, full of easy-chairs and of tables covered with photographs, books, newspapers, flowers, &c. An anteroom, again, leads into the dining-room. The tents for the remainder of the party are ranged on either side of the pavilion.

Here we are in far greater luxury than in any Indian hotel, and save for the supporting-pole in the centre, and the pebbles crunching under the carpet, we might think ourselves in a comfortable room. All around there are the cheerful sounds of camp-life, the chattering of servants, the stamping of the picketed horses, or the whistling proceeding from your opposite neighbour's tent. Some officers of the regiment are playing polo in the adjoining ground, and their horses' feet resound as they scamper about on the hard earth.

All commissioners and collectors have to camp out for one or two months in the year on their tours of inspection, and so it comes to be quite a feature of Indian life. The rule then is for one set of tents to be sent on in advance over night. The réveillé is sounded at 5 a.m.,[334] or some such early hour, and the ten miles' march is accomplished before the heat of the day, and they sit down to breakfast on the new camping-ground, with the tents ready pitched. Not the least wonderful part of the camp is the kitchen. Everything is cooked out in the open, and there is but one tent for the culinary department. There are one or two mud ovens and holes in the ground filled with charcoal, and with this and a very few pots and pans a native cook manages to turn out a most elegant dinner for eighteen. Rarely, if ever, are the dishes or sauces smoked, even when a contrary wind is blowing.

We went to a small tennis party in the evening, and returning home along the "Mall," Sir Lepel stopped and took us into the club, where there is one room set aside for the use of the ladies. It is a most popular institution, and prevails at many of the stations. The ladies walk down here in the evening before dinner, and have a gossip, or read the papers, whilst their husbands are playing billiards in an adjoining room.

This reminds me also of another, but a very different kind of club,—the "Mutton Club," which exists at most stations. There are few butchers in India, as none are called for among the Hindu population. So the ladies on a station frequently join together and keep their own flock of sheep and a shepherd, which supplies them with meat twice a week, and they take it in turns for the prime joints. Some energetic member of the community keeps the accounts and collects the subscriptions.

There was a dinner party in the evening, and during dinner the band of the native infantry regiment, the Duke of Connaught's Own, played outside the tent, and afterwards conjurors performed some well-known Indian tricks. It strikes you as curious at first, when you step out of your tent into the moonlight in full evening dress, and walk across to the pavilion to dinner, to see the guests arriving up the "street," which looks so pretty with its row of lamps.

Saturday, January 31st. In camp at Gwalior.—Awoke at 7 a.m. to the merry noises of an awakening camp—bugles braying, horses neighing, a band playing in the distance, soldiers parading on the plain near by under their officers' shouts of command, and gongs sounding at intervals from all sides.


It was very chilly work turning out, for in the early morning and late at night the cold in the tents is intense.

At eight o'clock we started, muffled up in winter wraps, yet shivering much, and drove to the bottom of the Gwalior hill. Here we found one of the Maharajah's elephants waiting to take us up the very steep climb to the fort, which it is impossible to ascend in a carriage. Those who have been on an elephant know well the first sensation of fright that comes with the acute angle, as the beast raises himself on his hind-legs, when his fore-legs bring us to a level; and then we seem to be on a height which is dwarfing to all below us. The motion is a painfully uneven one, to which you never seem able to find a corresponding one for your body, and the howdah becomes anything but a comfortable seat, however pleased you may be at first with the novelty of the situation. I think the mahout, with his two-pronged fork, sitting astride the elephant's neck, and guiding him by the pressure of his knees under the flopping ears, has the more comfortable position of the two.

"The Little Fairy," as the elephant was poetically and inappropriately termed, was very slow, and our progress proportionally tedious. Our party must have presented a very picturesque appearance, as perched aloft on the red and yellow trappings of the howdah, our bell sounding out melodiously with the deliberate swaying walk of the elephant, we wound up under the walls of the old fort.

The strength of the position is marvellous, and we do not wonder that the chiefs of India would hardly believe when told that it had fallen into our hands, a little more than a century ago.

We passed through two gateways, and then were beneath the castellated walls, where under the protection of each battlement is a row of glazed tiles of bright colours, in blue and green. One wonders how the decoration, so strangely out of place, ever came there, and in other parts of the fort it appears again. In one place, yellow geese are represented by these means, walking in single file along the length of a wall.

The whole of this narrow ridge is taken up with cantonments and barracks laid in parallel lines on its perfectly flat surface. It is so narrow that passing along the road in[336] the centre you can almost see down on to the plain immediately below on either hand.

One beautiful bit of antiquity still remains inside the fort in a wonderful Hindu temple, surrounded by a museum of ancient outdoor monuments, stone mummies, Jain idols, and monstrosities of hydra-headed beasts, looking at each other from over a pillar. The temple is very high, square, and narrow—a peculiar kind of formation, and unlike most Hindu temples, which taper towards the top. It is built of small stones, which seem to form Gothic arches in out-of-the-way corners, and the whole temple presents an intricate mass of irregularities. To finish all, it is covered in at the top by a modern addition, a huge white stone semicircular roof, ending squarely, and looking entirely like a huge sarcophagus.

As we passed the parade ground we saw the general reviewing a body of troops. The tramp of their feet, and their regular lines, with bayonets gleaming in the morning sun, was a cheerful sight.

The views from the fort are magnificent. There is old Gwalior lying away among its sprinkling of trees, with the open space where the large square of buildings shows the Maharajah's palace and gardens. The mud huts of the large village of Lashkar, the city proper of Gwalior, is at our feet, and away to the left is the defile of the Urwai Gorge, whose summit, on a level with the fort, is the only weak point in the defences.

We had breakfast on returning at eleven o'clock, a very usual hour, when chota hazri supplies all earlier wants, and from 12 p.m. a string of callers were coming and going. The Indian etiquette requires calls to be paid between the hottest hours of the day, from 12 till 2 p.m.

A combat of animals had been organized for that afternoon for us. The natives squatting round formed a bright ring of colour, and somewhat against our will we were obliged to witness a typical Indian entertainment.

Some cocks were the first to appear on the arena, but, save one couple, were not at all "game." Then some little partridges were brought, loudly calling challenges to each other from their wicker cages; but when brought face to face they only showed us a succession of clever dodgings. They were followed by a pair of bul-buls, those fluffy-headed bullfinches whom we hear chirping in the trees in the evening[337] with such a deafening noise. But the rams showed the best fight. Let fly from opposite ends of the circle, they met in the centre with tremendous force, the repeated dull thud of their horns echoing for days after in our ears. Provided that they meet with their heads well down, it is their horns that have the full force of the concussion, and it does not hurt them. A white ram was produced, which was held back with difficulty, springing and showing fight to all the rams that came near him. He proved too strong and heavy for all the others, and they fled in terror before him, and could hardly be persuaded to meet him. Then he would take a mean advantage of their retreat and go after them, butting at their backs and sides, and turning them contemptuously over.

We saw a snake pitted against a mongoose, but, curiously enough, little fury as the mongoose is, he refused to touch the very handsome spotted snake, and retreated at every hiss. The second and smaller one, however, he succeeded in apparently killing, flattening his neck, till blood poured out of his mouth. This was the signal for a wonderful exhibition. The man declared he could bring the snake to life again, and, making a hole in the earth, he laid the head in, and poured water on it. The effect was magical; the neck stiffened and moved, and gradually the serpent reared its head. Then the cure was completed by the sweet dirge-like music charming the snake, and making it wave its head in time, intently following each undulation—unconscious of all save the magic music.

A buffalo-fight was tried in another part of the camp, but it was evident that they, in common with the other animals, had no natural animosity for one another.

Later in the afternoon we went to the cantonment to see some tent-pegging by the Fourth Bengal Native Cavalry. This was a very different kind of tent-pegging to any performance of the kind that you see at the Agricultural Hall at Islington. Here the men were on a large open space, and flew by at full speed with a wild rush, balancing the long spear low, and carrying off the tiny peg (almost lost in such a space) by piercing it through.

The dress of the native cavalry is splendid: scarlet coats, or more crimson perhaps, with blue and white striped turbans; white that of the infantry is buff with dark-blue turbans and facings. We walked through the cavalry lines[338] of horse pickets, and the horses of this regiment are exceptionally fine, either "country-bred" or "Australians." Each man is obliged to keep a grass-cutter for his horse, and a pony or mule is shared by two, which goes out in the early morning and returns to camp at night with the next day's load of grass.

We drove home through the bazaar, which is considered almost the model bazaar of India. It is hardly credible what order and brightness by whitewashing and a uniformity of red-striped blinds has been introduced by the encouragement of Brigadier-General Massey, of Crimean fame, when he commanded here. A great deal of the native-carved woodwork has been used with great effect in balconies and over gateways, particularly in that of the "serai," or the house of hospitality for native travellers, which you find in all villages.

We drove out to dinner by moonlight that evening in an open carriage, the usual way at "mofussil" stations, where a close carriage is so rarely wanted. The word "mofussil" sounded so funny to me at first, but it is very expressive of the station and up-country life of India.

Sunday, February 1st.—To church in the morning. The scarlet of the infantry in the nave, and the blue of the artillery lining the transepts, made a very effective addition to the congregation. The choir was formed of soldiers, and accompanied by a brass band.

Captain Robertson, First Assistant to the Agent, showed us to-day a kharita, or a letter to a native prince. The paper is specially made for this purpose, and is sprinkled with gold leaf. Only the last few lines of the somewhat lengthy document contain the purport of the letter, while the remainder is made up of the usual roundabout and complimentary phrases. It is folded in a peculiar way, with the flaps outwards, and inserted into a muslin bag, and this latter into one of crimson and gold tint, with a slip-knot of gold thread, attached to which is a ponderous seal. The superscription and address on a slip of paper is passed into the bag between this latter and the muslin one. I have given these details in full, because they are important to Indian epistolary art, as, should any of them be omitted, it would be thought that an insult had been offered to the person addressed.

It may not be generally known that the native States still[339] extant in India are 800, though out of them only 200 are of any importance. The Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharajahs Sindhia and Holkar, each have an income of over a million sterling a year; and the kingdom of the first named is as large as Italy. This gives us some idea of the importance and power which still remains in the hands of the native princes—added to which, many of them maintain their own army, consisting of several regiments. This is the Maharajah Sindhia's great pride—the strength and efficiency of his army; and we were so sorry to have come a few days too late to see the review which he had just held, when he commanded his troops in person, and also to have missed the durbar, when his Highness was received in state by Sir Lepel. Since then he has been laid up with fever, and we were, therefore, unable to see him or his palace which contains one of the finest durbar-halls in India.

We left the camp at daybreak the next morning, and this will ever be remembered as the coldest and most disagreeable of our many early morning starts, collecting our things, and leaving as we did in the dark. We returned to Agra for the third and last time, where we spent the night. Again all the next day we were travelling on the Rajpootana State Railway to Jeypore, which we reached at six in the evening.

The country around Jeypore is of that peculiar formation which presents a flat plain of untold limits, interrupted at frequent intervals by conical-shaped hills that often attain to the height of mountains. Surrounded by a semicircle of these mountains, lying in the hollow of their midst, is Jeypore.

The white walls and towers of the great Tiger Fort, accessible only from this one side, stands guard over the city. Beneath it, on the rocks, has been painted in gigantic letters the one word "Welcome," inscribed there for the visit of the Prince of Wales.

Jeypore, the city of victory, as its name implies, is considered the model city of a native State, and it also carries off the palm for picturesqueness amongst all those artist-loved cities of India.

The native quarter, surrounded by a wall, forms a city within the city. The broad streets of its bazaar are wider and different to anything of the kind that we have seen before. The low shops are surmounted by a[340] trellis carving, uniform throughout the long street, and all are coloured that soft Eastern pink, deep enough here to be a terra-cotta colour. The square market-place, with its marble fountain in the centre, and flocks of pigeons, looks like some old Italian piazza, and the story is told that it was built to please the Italian love of one of the Maharajahs of Jeypore. In keeping with the cleanliness and the air of brightness that generally pervades Jeypore, are the painted horns in red and green of the bullocks, the spirited and caparisoned horses of the Maharajah's attendants and messengers, and the bullock-carts and smartly curtained ekkas, with their magnificent yokes of trotting-bullocks. A more than ordinarily large number of sacred bulls seem to be lying or wandering about the streets. There is the unusual sight of familiar rows of lamp-posts once more, for Jeypore is the only city of a native State that is lighted with gas, and presently we pass the smoky chimney of "His Highness the Maharajah's Gasworks," as the inscription over the gate tells us. It is the late Maharajah who has made Jeypore what it is.

Jeypore seems too more advanced in art, education, and culture, looking at its school of art, where the native manufactures of pottery are sold, the public library in the square, and the museum. This latter is formed by the specimens of native manufactures, such as kincob, Benares and Moorshabad work, Multan and other potteries, exhibited at the Jeypore Exhibition two years ago, and which owes its origin and tasteful arrangement chiefly to Dr. Hendley, the Civil Surgeon.

At the end of a long street is the "Palace of the Moon," which is attractive from its name, but not from anything in its interior. There are the usual ranges of courtyards, and two durbar-halls, gaudy in the extreme, of a glaring mural decoration of flowers and fruit. We were taken to the bottom of the garden, which commands a fine view of the Tiger Fort, and were rather disgusted to find it was only to see a billiard-room in the pavilion. The zenana, a palace in buff and blue, in the form of a roof of terraces ascending and diminishing towards the gold moon at the summit, is the prettiest thing about the Palace of the Moon. Adjoining is the large courtyard with the tower in the centre, round which the maharajah's 300 horses are stabled.


Facing the palace at the other end of the long street is a cage, where seven magnificent tigers are kept for the amusement of the public. Bars not as thick as the little finger are alone between us and these ferocious animals. They crouch and glower in the furthermost corner, and then spring forward as the keeper approaches, with a wild roar that re-echoes down the street, making the cage quiver with its reverberation. The grandest tiger of all alone has double bars, having once broken two with a forward spring.

Then we drove to the "Palace of the Winds," a charmingly poetic name, in keeping and resembling the fantastic façade in pink and white. A series of little turrets, with trellis-work windows filled in with green gratings, allow of the wind passing freely through. The palace ends with a succession of steps, each one being crowned with a flag on a golden staff, till they meet in the crowning step, the keystone of the façade. It stands at the top of a hill, and is used as a summer residence. There is nothing to see inside; the whole idea has been exhausted on the exterior.

The history of the present Maharajah of Jeypore is somewhat romantic. Formerly living in exile on an allowance of 1l. per month, he one day found himself raised to the throne and the possessor of an income of half a million sterling. His predecessor only settled the succession three hours previous to his death, a usual custom among these Eastern potentates, on account of the fear of poison from a rival for favour, and out of some hundred relatives with equal claims, to the surprise of all, he chose the present one, who is now only twenty-three years of age. In addition to the annual income there was found in the treasury half a million sterling in solid silver, which took Dr. Hendley twenty-three days to count over.

It has been our usual fate throughout our Indian travels to find commissioners and officials of all sorts away in camp on their inspections, which have to be got through just after the cold weather and before the advent of the hot; maharajahs and rajahs have been absent on pilgrimages or a visit of welcome to Lord Dufferin.

So it is in the present instance. The Maharajah is at Calcutta, performing this duty; and it will be remembered that Sindhia was ill, the Maharajah of Benares returning[342] the day after we left Benares, and later on we were destined similarly to miss seeing the Nizam of Hyderabad.

In the afternoon by special arrangement Miss Joyce, the lady superintendent of the girls' school, kindly took me to see a zenana, in fulfilment of my great wish. There had been a death amongst the rajputs or great nobles at Jeypore—that of a promising young lad, educated at Mayo College—and the elder ladies had gone to pay a visit of condolence to the family, and during their absence the younger ones were not permitted to receive; added to which, until the twelfth day was over, mourning or very plain dress would be de rigueur.

It was not in ancient days the custom for the Hindu women to be kept in the zenana, or to be "in purdah" (literally behind the curtain). The Hindus first began to adopt the plan after the Mohammedan invasion in imitation of their harem, and now all the castes keep the women in purdah, save those only of the very poor class who cannot afford it.

The house we went to was that of Sri Lachman Dat, the high priest of the Court. We were received in a small room on the ground floor of the palace, which, in true oriental fashion, was so much out of repair as to be tumbling down. This room was soon crowded with the brothers, sons, sons-in-law, and the numerous poor relations who are always hangers-on in the house of their richer kin. Altogether they were a family of fifty, and with over 100 servants it brought up this one household to 150 persons, who all found shelter in the palace. Miss Joyce acted as interpreter, and a desultory conversation was maintained. The priest inquired our names, and C. handed him a visiting-card, whereupon he called for paper and pen, and had his name written by his chaplain in exact imitation. The shastri said "that there were several members of his family ill, but that our visit was better than any doctor's, and would make them well," &c., &c.

At last a move was made, and the room cleared, the shutters closed, and C. taken away. When he had been deposited on the roof of the house by the gentlemen of the family—a position where he would be sure to be well out of sight, one after another, the ladies slipped in to us. They were all dusky, dark-eyed girls, some beautiful and others that would[343] have been so with their lustrous eyes, but for coarse lips and thick noses. You would almost think they had arranged their dresses so as to form a pleasing contrast, for one was dressed in pale-yellow with silver, the other in orange with scarlet, and another in pink and gold—gorgeous gowns they were, with the most extensive skirts. Miss Joyce pulled one of them out for me to see, and they are so finely gathered that an infinity of yards of stuff are compressed into one breadth, and this makes them project, at the bottom, and swing like a crinoline. All wore the sari over the head, completely covering the neck and shoulders, and the short-sleeved bodice underneath, which just crosses the breast and nothing more. They were laden with ornaments, and only too delighted to take off each one separately to show me—their bead necklaces with gold fringes, their amulets, their bangles on the ankles, the arms, and above the elbow; their earrings, two inches long, weighed down with gold tassels; their nose-rings, as large as a bangle-ring, and which one took out of her cartilage, allowing that it hurt her. Their feet gave the appearance of being covered with a silver toe-piece, so massive were the rings and ornaments on each toe. The rings for their hands were made joined, for two fingers to pass through at once. Families of children and babies were brought and gathered into the room by degrees with their attendants, who are treated quite on an equality, and it was becoming very crowded when an adjournment was suggested by Miss Joyce.

We were each taken by the hand, and led upstairs to the zenana apartments; here the rooms were small, but very neat and clean. The floors were all wadded, and covered with linen, to enable them to sit comfortably cross-legged on it. There were a few pictures on the wall, and they showed me a common cottage clock in a corner, which they evidently considered most curious, and of priceless value. They took me into their sleeping apartments, and made me sit down on their bed, lifting up the curtains and showing me their curious little cheek pillows laid against the bolster. And then they went up some narrow flights of stairs, and passed a courtyard being repaired, whence the men had been carefully cleared by the eunuch, and only fled when warned of C.'s existence on the top of the roof!

All this time left alone, he had been carrying on a conversation[344] by means of animated signs, and they had been examining his watch, hat, and gloves with interest. In descending we were shown the Dunbar hall, and one of the living rooms—such a bare, dirty dungeon.

On returning to the room the usual ceremony was gone through of the presentation of baskets of fruit; the garland of flowers being thrown over our heads, and the sticky paste of sandal-wood and otto of roses smeared on the hands by the host, and returned by the guest.

The zenana women are allowed very occasionally to drive out in a gharry with the shutters closed, and with muslin again hung before these, but none of the servants or men of the household are even then allowed to see them, save those only they have brought from their father's house. It takes a long time before a chief can be persuaded to allow his zenana to be visited by a European lady, and the present Maharajah refused entrance to his zenana to the Duchess of Connaught, because several of the other rajput maharajahs have not allowed their zenanas to be seen by any European woman.

Here then, I say, is the opportunity for the lady doctors of England. When tired of struggling against the blind prejudice that continues to bar their way to advancement at home, here is the wide field of usefulness, the work of charity for their suffering and imprisoned sex—these poor zenana women.[8] When the European doctor is called in (and it is only in very bad cases) he feels the pulse of the patient through the purdah, or sometimes through three or four. The women suffer terribly, and die from the want of ordinary skill and care, particularly in their confinements, when no doctor can be called in.

We visited the Raj school, established for girls, and which corresponds to that of the college for boys. Miss Joyce has enrolled on her books pupils who are classed as follows, "Unmarried, married, or widows!" The Hindu girls are married as early as ten years of age. The education is supposed to be entirely secular, but she has a class for religious instruction—a Sunday-school at her bungalow on Sunday.

We drove home through the Zoological Gardens, which are extremely pretty and well laid-out. At their entrance[345] is the Mayo Hospital, dedicated to Lord Mayo by the late Maharajah, who was his personal friend, and further on is the Albert Hall, or Town Hall, the memorial of the Prince of Wales' visit. Jeypore is celebrated for its marble quarries, of which so many of the beautiful buildings in India are built, notably the Taj.

We left Jeypore that evening, and arrived at Ajmere at the inconvenient hour of midnight. This did not prevent Major Loch, the Principal of the Mayo College, in his kindness, coming to meet us at the station, and driving us to his abode inside the grounds. He has a most charming "house," for bungalow it cannot be called, as it possesses the remarkable feature for India of a staircase.

Mayo College was founded by the late Lord Mayo for the education of the sons of rajahs. It was a grand and statesmanlike idea, this scheme for the education of the native ruler, under the immediate guidance of English master minds, thereby engendering a patriotism and attachment to England as a mother country, raising and elevating the tone and domestic life of the native prince, who in his turn was being prepared to wield power humanely, and make the influence of his bringing up felt on those around him. It was the stone dropped in the pool, with ever-widening and concentric influence.

The College is very happily situated under the lee of an amphitheatre of hills, that rise, like all those in this part of the country, sheer out of the plain. It is a very charming feature of the College, the ten houses, of such very varied architecture and style, that lie about the compound, for each state has built and endowed its own college, for the use of the sons of its nobles. There has been a certain amount of rivalry exhibited in their erection. Some have marble cupolas, others arches, and others towers; some are of pure white marble, others a mixture of white and red stone; all are tasteful and uncommon. In the centre, and holding them together as a mother university, is the College Hall, with its clock tower, entirely built of white marble, but rough hewn and unpolished. In the centre hall stands the statue of Lord Mayo; the class-rooms lie around it. The white, green, pink, and black marbles used for the decorations of the hall are all quarried within a radius of fifteen miles around Ajmere.

These colleges are really boarding-houses, where each[346] prince brings his own establishment of servants. One lately admitted, brought twenty-two retainers, which, with some difficulty, Major Loch reduced to eleven. They ride, play cricket, tennis, and football, and are encouraged to be as European in manners and habits as possible. With all this Major Loch does not approve or encourage their being sent to England when their education is complete, as they return impressed with a sense of their own importance; of the number of their servants, their jewels, their state and magnificence compared to that of the same class in England. The native states represented by their colleges at Ajmere are as follows:—Jeypore, Alwar, Bhurtpoor, Ajmere, Tonk Bikanir, Toohpur or Narwar, Kotah, Thallawar, and Udaipur. It is often observed that the College of Jeypore stands apart from the others. The late Maharajah of Jeypore was very angry with Dholpore being allowed the first choice of site, and so he built his college outside the compound. It is only lately that Major Loch has succeeded in smoothing his vanity, and been allowed to include Jeypore, thus completing the circle.

After seeing the College we drove through the walled city of the native population, as Ajmere bazaar is particularly picturesque and dirty. It lies on the hill-side, and the glimpse of mountains as a background to the narrow streets adds to this effect.

There is a very curious tank here, filled with slimy green water, which lies in a natural hollow on the hill-side. Houses lie above it; and the marble courts and gilded minarets of a mosque overhang it on one side. The only access to the tank is by innumerable flights of irregular steps running up and down in all directions. Up and down these steps are always staggering innumerable bheesties, bent under the weight of their bursting skins, and disappearing through the archway of the passage tunnelled through to the street.

Then we drove on to the Adhai-din-ka-Ghompra, which is very interesting, on account of its being a Hindu Temple, with the facing of a Mohammedan mosque. The signification of its long-drawn-out name literally is, "the screen of two and a half days," which is generally supposed to mean that it was built in that short space of time; but Major Loch and others take a more practical view, in suggesting that it meant compulsory labour from every man of[347] two and a half days. The lofty arches are most splendidly carved, and verses of the Koran are introduced among the bold design of the tracery. Inside you see irregular rows of Hindu pillars, carved with that grotesque figure-life of the gods of Hindu religion. These pillars are easily detected to be in three separate pieces, and were doubtless piled on each other to give the necessary height for a Mohammedan mosque, by comparison with the low, intricate structure of pillars of a Hindu temple. General Cunningham, the archæologist, considers this mosque the most interesting piece of antiquity in India.

We are much struck, as are all new arrivals in India, with the ridiculous number of servants required in one establishment. All say it is unavoidable, as each servant will only undertake one duty, and the wages given are extremely small; and there is another thing, you never know what your servant eats, nor where he sleeps—he "finds" himself in a very comprehensive sense of the term. The caste compels the first institution, and the second is in accordance with the habit of all natives. I thought it very strange at first to see the verandahs full of recumbent figures wrapped in their quilts and striped blankets, and looking like so many corpses. They sleep on the mats outside the door, under a tree, or on the road—it is all the same to them where it is, so long as they may sleep long and heavily, for all natives are very somnolent.

I think it may perhaps be interesting to give a complete list of servants necessary for the smallest Indian establishment:—

One sirdár-bearer (body-servant and valet).

Two maté-bearers (under-bearers, one to wait on child and ayah).

One or two ayahs (maid and nurse).

One khansamah (literally "Lord of the stores"), butler and head table-servant.

Two khitmutgars (under table-servants).

One coachman.

Two syces, or grooms for one pair of horses (the allowance being one syce and one grass-cutter to every horse).

Two ghasiaras (grass-cutters).

One chuprássi (literally badge-bearer), carrier of letters and messages.

One sirdár-mati (head-gardener).

One or two máte-matés (under-gardeners).


One bheestie (water-carrier).

One masátchi (literally torchbearer), scullion.

One cook.

One mihtu (sweeper).

One mithráni (sweeper-woman).

One dhobi (washerman).

In all twenty-three, and it must be remembered that all are absolutely necessary, as, for instance, no khitmutgar or máti-bearer would take a note or message in place of the chuprássi, and above all, one native in a garden or elsewhere would do a fraction only of the work of the same man in England.

Anglo-Indians are inordinate "grumblers." There is much to be said on their side; the exile for the best years of their life, the return then to England to be looked down upon as a "dried-up Indian official," the separation entailed from children, the same imposed upon wife from either husband or child, the exigencies of the climate, &c.; but on the other hand it ought to be remembered that the salaries are very large, the pensions fairly so in proportion, and that they are enabled to have far more luxuries in India than they could possibly hope for at home—abundance of horses and carriages, superabundance (I had almost said) of servants, at any rate sufficient to enable no Anglo-Indian ever to do or move for himself, and horses enough never to walk. I found a few, but yet a very few who took this view of the case, allowing that at home they would keep two, or at the most three, servants, and have no carriages or horses.

In the afternoon we drove to the lake, which is a beautiful feature of Ajmere. It is a lovely sheet of water—an Italian lake in miniature, with its marble balconies and platforms, with its white houses hanging over the water on the city side, while the other is formed by a range of mountains. It looked particularly smiling this afternoon, with a declining sun, as we toiled up to the Residency. This bungalow has a most perfect situation, built high up on a rocky platform, with broad verandah-rooms overlooking the lake. It seemed a pity that Colonel Bradford, the Resident, is only able to reside here for two months in the year.

In returning we passed the handsome stone building of the offices of the Rajputana-Malwar Railway, whose headquarters are at Ajmere. The adjoining bungalows of officials and clerks form quite a "line" to themselves. In the evening we[349] performed the customary programme of going to the club for an hour, and then the drive home in the dark was made romantically beautiful by the illumination of the tomb of an old saint on the mountain-side, the lights seeming to glimmer and twinkle in mid-air in the density of the darkness.

We left Ajmere that evening, catching up the mail train again at midnight, and travelling for eighteen hours all night and through the day, till we reached Ahmedabad at five this afternoon.

Saturday, February 6th.—Chota hazri after the usual Indian custom, and then a morning's sight-seeing before breakfast at 10 a.m.

Ahmedabad ranks in population as the second town in the Bombay Presidency; and the native quarters, as usual enclosed within a city wall, entered by no less than seventeen gateways, is very large. There is very little of interest to be seen at Ahmedabad. We drove first to the Mogul Viceroy's palace, that of Azim Khán, which has two massive Norman towers flanking the gateway. It forms now a very suitable entrance for its present purpose, for the ci-devant palace is now the jail of the district.

On the other side lies the European quarter, the jail thus forming the boundary-line between the native and European populations. By the side of the walls, hidden away in a corner, are the celebrated windows of the Bhadar. They represent the trunk, branches, and foliage of a single tree in each window, in the carved and fretted stone-work. They are exceedingly beautiful, so much so, that copies of them are in the South Kensington Museum.

The Kankariya Tank is very pretty, and, with its raised causeway leading to the garden island in its midst, has become a favourite evening resort. Near here are seen to rise the beautiful minars of the mosque of Shah Alam, the spiritual adviser and friend of Sultan Ahméd, the founder of the city. Within the court lies the tomb, with double galleries of fretwork—its chief beauty—and it is remarkable that each panel of the double screens is carved in a different pattern and device. The canopy is of oak, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, precious now, as it has become a lost art to the workmen of Ahmedabad.

They have the uncomfortable custom here of covering the marble sarcophagi with precious stuffs; thus, on entering one of these tombs the effect produced is as of a row[350] of coffins covered with palls, more especially when, as frequently, wreaths are laid on them.

Then we followed the usual round of mosques, tombs, and temples, of which we, as well as my readers, I am sure, are wearying—the mosques being represented by the Jamma Mosque—a Hindu temple with Mohammedan arches and network of pillars (date 1567); the tombs by those of Ahméd Shah, the aforesaid founder of the city, and those of his queens; the temples by a purely Hindu one, now called the mosque and tomb of Rani Sipri. Monkeys swarm in the city, and look upon these temples and tombs as their rightful inheritance.

We notice a great difference amongst the lower orders now that we are in the Bombay Presidency as compared to that of Bengal. The natives look more well-to-do, are more clothed. There are fewer of those "savage-clothed" coolies, with their single strip of muslin around the loins. The neatly-plaited Hindu turban supersedes the hitherto more common loosely-wound Mohammedan one.

We left Ahmedabad by the ten o'clock train, and reached Baroda at 4.30 in the afternoon. Here we stayed five hours to catch up the mail train in the evening to Bombay.

We were reduced to taking a curious native cart at the station for a drive round the city. It was not quite an ekka, nor yet quite a tea-cart, but a cross between the two; and the small plank seats were put crossways and not lengthways, one behind the other. We jolted about in this for two hours till we suffered severely from a feeling of dislocation in many of our joints.

Baroda is a small and pretty city without any pretensions to special interest, save as the capital and residence of the celebrated Gaekwar of Baroda. We drove first to the pretty garden where stands his summer-house, and his cage of wild beasts. The native quarter is very large—more than usually picturesque, and the four main streets meet in the lines of a cross at a gateway, a lofty structure in white and yellow plaster. Here the guard keeps watch, a single sentry on the lofty platform of its tower commanding the whole view of the city. From his post of observation we saw a sight unequalled for the artist-loving eye—for at the moment a wedding procession was slowly threading its way from under the gateway below us, streaming away down the street in gay ribbons, narrowing with the per[351]spective, and finally disappearing through a grey gateway further away. The block in the streets occasioned by the motley procession of ekkas and bullock-carts, and the acclamations of the crowd, further added to the striking scene.

Just beyond this gateway is the grand, grim, grey old palace of the Gaekwar. A covered gallery leads to the blue and yellow quarters of the zenana, seeming to tell of the "airy-fairy," do-nothing life of the zenana ladies by comparison with the sterner duties of the men—as if the Gaekwar liked to pass from the duties of the grey palace to the light pleasures and recreation of the gay-coloured zenana. The green buildings of the barracks are near, and the orange and yellow verandah of the police-station lower down, together forming a vivid collection of colour. The Gaekwar's cavalry paraded the streets in twos and threes, and a guard was in waiting outside the palace gate to accompany his carriage. We drove on further to see the gold and silver cannon. There are four gold cannon mounted on silver carriages! kept in a yard, where many white horses are stabled round, for in the prince's stables none but white horses are found.

In returning to the station we were fortunate enough to see another curious sight, during our few hours' stay only at Baroda. Heralded by a mounted body-guard, and a running, shouting escort, the ladies of the harem passed swiftly by. The barouche was carefully closed and curtained, with a duenna standing up with the eunuch behind. The guard from the guard-house turned out to salute, bugle, and beat a tattoo.

We passed repeatedly leopards being paraded through the streets by their keepers, the pariah or "pi" dogs barking furiously at them. The animal strained at his chains, and walking with stealthy, springing step, glaring cautiously around for his prey, but the people do not fear their escaping, and are very proud of their Gaekwar's wild beasts. There is an arena at Baroda where he occasionally holds a wild-beast fight.

We came back to the station by a beautiful and stately avenue of banyan-trees.

Leaving Baroda by the mail train that night, at seven the next morning we found ourselves stopping at the various stations along the great Queen's Road of Bombay, bordered by the sea.


We drove to Watson's Hotel on the Esplanade, kept by the same proprietor, and a counterpart of the discomfort and dirt of the Great Eastern at Calcutta.

We spent a quiet day driving out to Government House at Parell, six miles away from the town, and a far from pleasant drive through some native quarter. Sir James Fergusson is away at Calcutta, paying a farewell visit to the Viceroy, as he leaves India early in March.

We went to the cathedral in the evening for service, as following the usual custom of always "thinking it hot," the morning service is held at 7 a.m.

It is to be observed that all Anglo-Indians labour under the idea of a perpetual and unabated heat in India. They always suggest you should start in the morning at some very early hour, "to be home before it is hot," and at all stations, and in Calcutta and Bombay, the habit prevails of never going out driving in the evening till just before sunset and darkness, as there is little twilight in these southern latitudes. For ourselves we have suffered more from the cold than the heat in India, but travelling in the winter gives, I am willing to allow, an erroneous idea of the climate, and gives you also no appreciable idea of the heat. Suffice it to say, oh! Anglo-Indians, that it is not always hot in India.


Monday, February 9th.—Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeeboy very kindly called for us in the morning with his break and magnificent pair of English carriage-horses, undertaking to show us something of Bombay.

Sir Jamsetjee is the well-known and respected head of the Parsees, whose home may be said to be in Bombay. The Parsees claim to follow the oldest religion in the world, that of the Persian religion of Zoroaster the Fire Worshipper, and of the 100,000 which their sect numbers, 60,000 live in Bombay.

"Rampart Row" leads to the banyan-bordered avenue of the maidan or park, but leaving this to our right, we drove on to the Esplanade, the broad open space facing the sea which contains such a magnificent series of public buildings. Here are the Secretariat, the University Hall[353] and Library designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the post-office, the Clock Tower with its carillons, the municipal offices and the High Court—all pretty edifices in architectural fancifulness of colour and design—of buff brick with red, of interlacing arches and pillars. We surveyed this fine block from the parade-ground, where a small body of troops were being exercised, and some young ladies enjoying their early morning canter, for it was as yet but 7 a.m. Then we drove along Queen's Road, the fashionable evening drive. I was going to say it bordered the seashore, but, unfortunately, the line of the railway intervenes between it and the sea. This is the road which might be paved with gold, so great was the amount of the funds sunk by the company formed for the reclamation of this strip of land. It was the scene of ruin and despair for many of the Bombay citizens whose fortunes disappeared with the progress of the road.

We looked into the Crawford Markets for a minute, and were surprised at the order and cleanliness, the exception to the rule that "where the native reigns there, there is filth, disorder, and uncleanness." Then Sir Jamsetjee took us to the Art School, founded by his grandfather, the first baronet, by the gift of a lak of rupees (10,000l.). Mr. Griffith, an old South Kensingtonian, showed us through the various rooms where, beginning with freehand drawing up to modelling from their own designs, we saw classes of pupils receiving lessons here at the nominal fee of one rupee per month. Then we went across to the pottery works where "Bombay ware" is manufactured. This is a speciality of the city. The antique shapes of the vases and pots are often designed from the frescoes found in the Caves of Ajunta, and they are coloured in rich and peculiar blues, browns, and greens. It is very interesting to watch the pupils at work, for each article is drawn and coloured separately by hand.

We drove through and in and out of the native quarter, which is much broader and cleaner than that at Calcutta. Hindu temples abound, with their throng of worshippers passing constantly, up and down the steps, and touching as they enter the deep-toned bell; thus keeping it ceaselessly tolling. One street was quite blocked by an immense crowd streaming down a narrow by-way. They were Hindus going to pay their daily visit, rarely omitted, to[354] present a customary offering in kind to their bishop, a fat old man who sits almost naked in the court to receive their homage. Remains of the enthusiastic admiration for Lord Ripon on his departure from Bombay, still remain in the "Long live, Ripon!" "Dear Empress, send us another Ripon!" "A grateful people admire thee, oh Ripon!" inscribed over the doorways of the native houses. They say that no sight has ever equalled the extraordinary enthusiasm, the enormous crowds that lined the six miles of road from Government House at Parell, to the Apollo Bunder at Bombay. Not even on the occasion of the Prince of Wales' arrival were such masses of human beings seen.

Then we went to the Hospital and Home for Animals, a very novel institution, also founded and endowed by Sir Jamsetjee's father, for a sum of ten laks of rupees. To understand its full use and the benevolence of its purpose, it must be remembered that, according to the law of their religion, no Hindu is allowed to kill an animal. It may be tortured in agony, it may be blind and lame, or if unable to work, turned out into the streets to be ill-used, starve, and die, but never must it be put out of its misery. A pious Hindu will often pay some rupees to save an animal about to be slaughtered by the butcher, and will afterwards bring it here to the Home. All animals lamed or maimed are received into this "general hospital," and attended to by a veterinary surgeon. In the stalls full of oxen, we saw some with a foot amputated, others with sore backs, or skin diseases, others blind, or otherwise injured. Horses, oxen, dogs, goats, cats, fowls, ducks—even two porcupines and a tortoise are sheltered in this "refuge." There is the hospital where those are sent who are very ill, and it is quite pathetic to see the poor animals here turning and looking dumbly at us, as if asking for compassion. When convalescent or the case is pronounced incurable they are sent up to the "mofussil," or country home, for change of air, or else to pass the remainder of their natural term of existence, leading an easy, pleasant life in the compound. Those cured are sometimes given to people who are known to be humane, but never sent back to work.

Such are the peculiar provisions and working of the Hospital for Animals.

We are certainly very much pleased with Bombay when compared to Calcutta. There is so much more to see, so[355] many more places to drive to. How charming we thought the quaint little corner by the sea, the well-known Apollo Bunder, jutting out in three-cornered fashion from the wharf! How familiar we became with two characteristic features of Bombay, the Arab horses, that are used almost exclusively, and the high cones of the peculiar Parsee "helmet!" There is always Back Bay to look at, with the quiet expanse of water at high tide, the slush with mussel-shells at low tide, lying and taking a generous sweep inwards, between the projecting promontories of Colaba and Malabar, or between the Government House on the latter point, and the lighthouse on the tongue of the former. The Queen's Road, with the high walls of the Burning Ghât, whence at night issues a lurid flame, runs round to the bottom of Malabar Hill.

All the Europeans reside on Malabar Hill, and the many handsome bungalows (hardly bungalows they can be called, considering that they are nearly all two-storied) lie about among the palm groves facing seawards, and overlooking the harbour. The sea surrounds Malabar Point, thus from both sides they catch stray breezes wandering about in summer time. At the prettiest bungalow on Malabar Hill, that of the Commissioner of Police, Sir Frank Souter, with whom lives the Chief Justice, Sir Charles Sargeant, we were destined subsequently to spend a very pleasant evening. The ladies' gymkana is a special feature of "the hill," and here tennis and badminton in covered courts is played every evening, whilst the children hold their own reception amongst the swings and merry-go-rounds, arriving on their donkeys and ponies with their numerous attendants.

When seen, as we did this evening, with the crimson sunset over the sea, the light just appearing in the clock-tower of the Secretariat away down in Bombay, with the single bright lights dotted along Queen's Road—Malabar Hill looked very beautiful. And then as we came down the steep hill, and met all the residents returning home in the dusk after listening to the band on the Esplanade, we looked up and saw the three electric lights which have just been placed at the summit of the hill with such striking effect.

Wednesday, February 11th.—At 10 a.m. we embarked in the police launch, kindly lent us by Sir Frank Souter, for a visit to the "Caves of Elephanta."


Ten miles' quick steaming across the harbour, navigated by the smart crew in the pretty uniform of navy-blue with scarlet sash and fez, brought us to the so-called jetty. It consists of blocks of stone run out some distance into the sea, but with large spaces left for it to wash between. Hopping over these interstices we landed, and were carried up the hill in a dandy.

These wonderful Caves are in the hill-side, that is to say, they have been sculptured out of the solid wall of rock in its side, having a roof several hundred feet thick. The pillars seem to support the upper mass, but they do not really do so, as in several instances, capitals like huge stalactites are left suspended, the pillar beneath having entirely disappeared. On entering we find ourselves confronted by monster figures, mythological giants carved in relief on the wall, and in the recesses of the cave.

One group represents the Amazon goddess, Durga, the wife of Siva, with a single breast. She is riding on the sacred bull, and the face of passive endurance, the large meek eyes of the animal, are very characteristic. In a recess apart we see a god and goddess, with arms close together, the hands broken, but showing that they were joined. The goddess stands at his right hand (in ancient days, the position in marriage), and on both faces there is such a happy expression, the face of the god in particular beaming with a smile, that it leads one to believe they were in the act of being united. There is a crescent concealed in a corner here, while a cross, probably unintentional, can be traced in the bas-relief opposite. In this latter there is a beautiful allegorical picture. The upper part represents a fresco of angels or beings employed in doing good—this is immortality, the higher and better part of life; whilst below on earth stands Durga in revengeful attitude, holding the bowl for the blood of the victim being sacrificed to her—that is the mortal, the cruel, the lower representation of the Hindu religion.

The preservation of these caves is most remarkable; you see palm-trees, demons, skulls, the beads of a necklace, the protruding bumps on the forehead of a god, all distinctly preserved, while, on the other hand, pillars, and legs and arms of the figures are entirely wanting. One wonders how, and by what means the one was destroyed, and the other preserved.

The Caves of Elephanta, Bombay

The Caves of Elephanta, Bombay.

Page 356.


Two inscriptions have been discovered, but are at present undecipherable, and the exact date of the cave remains therefore in mystery. They are, however, generally supposed to be about 4000 years old, and without doubt were originally joined to the mainland.

In the afternoon Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeeboy took us to the Parsee Towers of Silence.

Many think the rite of burial as performed by the Parsees by exposing the body on an open tower to be devoured by vultures, is not only wanting in respect to the dead, but is a revolting and disgusting feature of their religion. I know that the European inhabitants of Bombay cordially participate in the latter feeling. For ourselves, whatever we may have thought or heard previously, after visiting and having explained to us the Tower of Silence, we came away greatly impressed with the beauty of many of the thoughts it suggested. It can hardly be believed what living significance each act has, nor what tender and solemn thoughts rest around the poetic name of the "Tower of Silence."

Five round white towers stand in different parts of a garden, situated amid the palm-groves of the hill-top. It is surrounded on two sides by the sea, and the fresh salt breezes are for ever blowing over the peninsula, and rustling among the palm-trees, sighing in the utter stillness and silence of all around.

According to the Zoroastrian religion, earth, fire, and water are sacred, and very useful to mankind; and in order to avoid their pollution by contact with putrefying flesh, the faith strictly enjoins that the dead bodies shall not be buried in the ground, or burnt, or thrown into the sea, rivers, &c. Therefore, in accordance with these religious injunctions, the Towers of Silence are always situated on some hill or eminence away from the city. No expense is spared in their construction, that they may last for centuries without the possibility of polluting of the earth, or contaminating any living beings dwelling therein.

No single soul since the consecration and use of the towers has been allowed to go or see inside them, save only the corpse-bearers. These latter are men kept sacred for the purpose, and they are divided into two classes, named Nassalars and Khadhias. The former having gone through certain religious ceremonies, are alone privileged to[358] carry the corpse into the towers, whilst the latter act as bearers at the funeral.

The model of the tower in the garden shows us their construction. There is a circular platform inside about 300 feet in circumference, which is entirely paved with stone slabs, and divided into three rows of shallow open receptacles, corresponding with the three moral precepts of the Zoroastrian religion, "good deeds," "good words," "good thoughts." The first row is for corpses of males; the second row is for corpses of females; the third row is for corpses of children. They diminish towards the centre in size. Footpaths are left for the corpse-bearers to move about on.

The clothes wrapped round the bodies are removed and destroyed by being cast into a pit of chloride of lime. "Naked we came into this world, and naked we ought to leave it," the Parsees maintain.

A deep central well in the tower, the sides and bottom of which are also paved with stone slabs, is used for depositing the dry bones. The corpse is completely stripped of its flesh by vultures within an hour or two of being deposited, and the bones of the denuded skeleton, when perfectly dried up by atmospheric influences and the powerful heat of the tropical sun, are thrown into this well, where they crumble into dust—thus the rich and the poor meet together on one level of equality after death.

To observe the tenet of the Zoroastrian belief, that "the mother earth shall not be defiled," this well is constructed on the following principle: there are holes in the inner sides of the well, through which the rain-water is carried into four underground drains at the base of the tower, for it must be remembered that the well, like the rest of the tower, is all exposed and open to the air. At the end of each of these drains pieces of charcoal and sandstone are placed to act as a filter, thus purifying the water before it enters into the ground.

The vultures (nature's scavengers) do their work much more expeditiously than millions of insects would do if dead bodies were buried in the ground. By this rapid process putrefaction, with all its concomitant evils, is most effectually prevented.

Along the straight white road, up the steps, winds the procession, always on foot. The mourners and friends are[359] all clothed in pure white, wear "flowing full-dress robes," walking in pairs, and each couple are hand in hand, and joined together by holding a handkerchief between them in token of "sympathetic grief." The body is carried on an iron bier by the appointed bearers.

At the gate of the garden it is borne away out of their sight to the chosen tower, where generally some other relative has been previously laid. The mourners may follow it no longer, and turn towards the room kept for that purpose, where a religious service is held. It is within sight of the temple, where the sacred fire of Zoroaster is eternally kept burning, glimmering out in the silence and darkness of the night to the towers of the dead, shadowing forth the glimmer of truth, which is yet found in this ancient religion.

Quoting, as I have previously done, from the description of the model of the Tower of Silence, as drawn up by the able Parsee secretary, he sums up their religion in the following simple words: "According to the Zoroastrian religion the soul is immortal. Men and women are free moral agents, and are responsible to the great Creator for their acts and deeds. In proportion to their good or bad acts and deeds, they meet with rewards or punishments in the next world. Pious and virtuous persons meet with happiness, but the wicked and sinful suffer pain and misery."

Thus, as will be seen in the Parsee Towers of Silence, each act, each form of ceremony shows forth some Scriptural type—some moral reason, suggests some holy truth. Apart from these there is the other important consideration of the benefit thereby obtained to the living.

In these latter days when over crowded cemeteries and the levelling of graveyards in the midst of our metropolis have called forth the cry of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," by some new means, and some means quicker than the old; when even cremation has come within the bounds of possibility, surely the Parsee mode of burial will commend itself to many foreseeing minds. True that we do not like to think of the vultures hovering around the funeral procession for the last few miles, nor of others awaiting it, perched on, and greedily gazing down into, the tower; but is it so much worse than "the millions of insects of the ground" of our burial, of which the Parsee speaks with such horror? All morbid feelings, aggravated by frequent visits to the[360] graveyard, are thus avoided. We are told that one hour after the body has passed through that small hole in the tower it is reduced to its natural state. No gradual decay, no mouldering, scarce any remains. It is known that, according to the Parsee burial, each body is reduced to one handful of dust. Thus, within the last half-century, more than 50,000 persons have been buried in these towers, and yet there is no end to their capacity for room.

The Parsees, as a body, are most enlightened and civilized, and not to be named with the Hindus. They are European in comparison. And, without doubt, it is in great measure owing to their true and moral religion, of which the rite of burial—the Tower of Silence—is the most beautiful feature.

Thursday, February 12th.—C. met a large and influential gathering of representative natives and editors of the vernacular press at the Native Public Library, called together by the Hon. K. Telang. They explained to him their views upon the leading Indian questions of the day, and dwelt strongly upon the urgent necessity of education for their women.

We had a drive in the evening out to Byculla, where many rich Parsee merchants have houses, It was one of those beautiful seashore drives, with salt breezes and waving palm-trees, that makes Bombay, I think, such a pleasant place of residence.

Our last day in India had come. It was our farewell remembrance, and India has been by far the most interesting country of our travels hitherto. Who could help being charmed and engrossed with the multitude and antiquity of the monuments of the past? It is not the intention of this volume to give more than a simple account of our travels; but for those who care to study the mystic poetry and religion that is interwoven with the history of the wild tribes who, horde after horde, race after race, pierced through the passes of Afghanistan and from Central Asia., "that breeding-place of all nations," poured down upon this vast country, there is literature enough already.

It is truly said, "India forms a great museum of all races, in which we can study man from his lowest to the highest stages of culture. The specimens are not fossils or dry bones, but living tribes, each with its own set of curious customs and rites."


I have, however, been very unfavourably impressed with an Anglo-Indian life, not so much from a man's, perhaps, as from a woman's point of view.

If of active temperament, health will in time suffer from exertion during the hot season, and, if otherwise inclined, it is a life of such utter laziness as to unfit any one for life at home afterwards. The social life at civil and military stations is, and must always be, cliquée in the extreme.

We had grumbled ceaselessly at the atrocious hotels, with their cold comfort; at the life and habits in general; at many things, Indian and Anglo-Indian, and yet now turning homewards, our feelings were softened, and we were sorry to think of leaving another of the new countries seen, and to think that another period of proscribed time had slipped away so quickly.

Henceforth our travels were destined to be on beaten tracks.

With a sigh of pleasurable regret we stood on the deck of the P. and O. steamer Peshawur, and steamed past the ugly docks and frontage, which must create such an unfavourable impression on new arrivals to Bombay; looked our last on Back Bay and on Colaba Lighthouse, on Malabar Point and Malabar Hill. We stood out to sea, and lost sight of Indian soil in the growing dusk of twilight.


Life on board the well-known decks of the P. and O. is too familiar to require much record.

"A swell from the coast," on the first day, is the usual experience, and ours proved no exception. Few were ill, but all, including ourselves, felt more or less uncomfortable.

Fortunately we are too early for the swarm of Indian mothers who, with their tribes of spoilt and sickly children, will be setting homewards next month, before the heat begins; for seventy children is no uncommon number at that season of the year.

Five days slipped by thus pleasantly, and on Thursday morning, the 19th, at 5.30, we were lying off Aden.

I looked out of my port-hole and saw the jagged, smoke-coloured[362] peaks of Little Aden, dull against the rosy-flushed clouds. Presently, when I could get dressed, and escape through the clouds of coal-dust, outside my deck-cabin door, I saw the yet grander and picturesque peaks of the rock mountains of Aden proper. The decks were seatless, and smeared with sand, and everything in a pitiable condition from the coaling operations. On a very dull, cloudy morning, Aden looked more than usually dreary.

C. had gone ashore to find out the latest news on the reopening of Parliament, as upon that depended whether we should continue homewards in the Peshawur, or disembark and await the Messageries' boat for the Cape, viâ Mauritius, at Aden. He returned reassured, and we gladly accepted the kind hospitality tendered to us by General Blair, the Resident.

To the passing traveller, from the deck of the P. and O., Aden presents the appearance of a small station, with some white, low-roofed buildings and military lines—utter sterility, utter desolation, exposed to the baking heat of tropical sun, reflected in tenfold intensity from the rocks around.

Yet the magnificent rough-hewn boulders of rocks piled up into mountains behind Aden have a certain stern beauty and wild grandeur of their own. It is like what one imagines Mount Sinai to be on a near approach, only darker, and more awe-inspiring—less humanly attainable.

Among the deep clefts and along the bold crags of the sky-line, you can trace strange profiles of unknown faces or the outline of an animal, and the longer you look the more distinct and life-like they become. On the sombre purple-blue colours of these mountains are reflected the glowing colours of the sunset, changing them to warm madder, brown, and pink.

There is no sign of vegetation. No green thing will grow, withered by the hot winds that blow across the sandy wastes of Arabia; but what Aden loses by living Nature, she gains from her in artificial means. The glory of the sunset and the sunrise over the Indian Ocean is unparalleled.

Again I say Aden has beauties of her own, which, like others, we had imagined very much absent. The formation of the peninsula is a very puzzling bit of geography, but the cliffs and capes formed of those loosely-bound masses of boulder, jut out strikingly and unexpectedly into[363] the sea. Their blue-grey tints dip into the turquoise-coloured ocean, and with a strip of yellow sand, form the only three colours that can be found at Aden.

It would hardly be believed what natural signal-stations are ready to hand. The mounds, not of earth, but of rocks, seem naturally to taper into the crowning flagstaff. A grand command of the Gates of the Red Sea, the Coast of Arabia, and the Indian Ocean, has the signal-station on the summit of the highest point, 1300 feet sheer up.

In the afternoon Mrs. Blair took us for a drive—the one drive it must be confessed—along the Bunder, or seashore, to the military depôt at the Isthmus.

Descending into the hollow, we saw the sapper and miners' lines, the barracks and the hospital, the church, and the bungalows of the P. and O. and Messageries' agents, who form the civilian community of Aden; then driving along the seashore, the "town," with its hotels and shops, contained in the one sweep of the Prince of Wales' Crescent.

Camels striding over the sandy desert by the roadside, and a strange mingling of desert tribes, seemed the natural accompaniments to this sand of Arabia.

We saw sturdy Arabs with their thick legs and short-set frame, Persians, Indians, Somales, Soudanese, and Nubians—the two latter tribes as black as soot—Jews, whom we knew by their funny little corkscrew curls, bobbing on either side of the face, and who are still here the down-trodden race of the 12th century, degraded and trampled upon by the Arab. Then there are a tribe of fishermen called the Eastern Pirates, and most romantic-looking with their wild, dare-devil faces, and long, smoked-yellow robe, the colour of one of their own weather-worn sails.

The Arabs have their heads plastered with white clay, found along the coast, which turns the colour of the hair to a bright yellow, making it at the same time stiff and frizzy. The Arab women have their faces covered with a thin spotted handkerchief, but even without this you would single them out by their easy swinging walk. Women of other tribes wear their hair en chignon, covered with black muslin, and red or orange saris crossed over the chest, to leave their black arms free.

We drove along the rocky rampart, which reminds me much of a smaller, a very much smaller range of Rocky[364] Mountains. You soon grow accustomed to expect nothing but rocky surfaces and sand at Aden, and are quite surprised at the suspicion of green under the lee of the range; a little wild mignonette, snapdragon, or lupin—a pretty flower with a terrible odour—which are trying to exist there.

We pass several unenclosed and disused Mohammedan cemeteries by the roadside, and at last see the end of the three straight miles of Bunder in the rock fortress, ironically named "The last Refuge." Three hundred and seventy-five steps lead up the face of the rock to its isolated summit, where provisionless, though impregnable, the fortress would quickly surrender. By the side of this fortress we pass under a gateway, and are in "The Camp of the Isthmus." The regiment of British infantry and the native troops quartered at Aden are divided into three camps, that at the Isthmus, the camp in the Crater, and the camp at Aden itself. This foolish separation gives rise to much inconvenience and consequent grumbling amongst the officers; where the community is so small, it seems a pity they should be so unsociably distant. We watched the cricket match that was being played by the sons of the military against the sons of civilians. The ground was curiously white and glistening, from the salt which exudes after rain from the earth, and which makes it very slippery.

The stillness when driving home again was quite extraordinary, not a breath to stir a ripple on the water.

Friday, February 20th.—Every afternoon at three o'clock the danger flag is hoisted opposite the Presidency, and a great bombardment commences. The fortifications, so long needed, are in progress, and every day the entrenchments are blasted away by gunpowder. From the one nearest, the first explosion is heard, sending up clouds of smoke and a shower of stones into the air, which rattle and roll down a rocky ravine on to the beach. One report after another follows quickly, and then when these begin to decrease and die away, those from the opposite fort take up the roll of artillery, the smoke, the rattle of hailstone-shot.

We drove that afternoon to the crater—to the camp inside the crater, a unique position in the world for one, I should say. From the inevitable drive along the Bunder we turned off, and made our way up a zig-zagging hill of great steepness, towards an archway very far above us, built[365] into the rocks. The road ended in a wall of rock, and the entrance under the gateway was not seen till you reached it, because it was immediately on the right-hand, at a sharp angle. Here then we found ourselves in "The Pass," a very grand and striking one, from the vertical height of the crags and the depth we were sunk in below them. The arch we passed under was formed to bridge over the gulf and connect the two lines of fortifications running up on either mountain-side. This pass was pickaxed out of the mountain rock, and very beautiful is the blood-red granite and the green serpentine colours it has exposed to view. Here and there we see a vertical strata of lava embedded in the rock.

We are inside the crater now; a wonderful scene it is. Black rocks of lava and scoria, irregular and jagged at the top like the mouth of a crater, rise up all around; and down in the hollow, in their midst, lies the camp and village, a collection of white buildings. The dull red colour of the scoria gives one the impression that the flames have been of very recent date. There are the caverns, the caves, the cones of lava left by the eruption, the formation of a volcano but active the other day. The heights are bristling with cannon pointed seawards. A tunnel connects with the camp at the Isthmus, which really is only on the other side.

We pass through the native quarter and the camel market. Here we see the Aden white sheep with black heads, and the lumps of fat protruding from each haunch.

Far up in the side of the crater lie the wonderful tanks, the one object of interest in Aden. Supposed to have been made somewhere about 400 B.C., their existence was never suspected till 1851, some twenty years after our occupation. A freshet of water after the rains coming down the side of the rock, led to their discovery.

The tanks are on a platform, and there are six of them, mounting higher and higher into the gulley in the crater. They are all enormously deep, and communicate by channels, and all have been cut out in the rock. They are capable of holding 4,000,000 gallons of water when filled during the rainy season.

The water is then gathered up behind a sluice, and a native climbing up by the rail and ropes we saw, opens it and lets the water down with a rush, which generally fills the[366] first three or four tanks. At this season of the year they are dry, and we saw the yellow chunar-mortar that the tanks are whitewashed with, and the natural formation of rocks, rounded and worn by the action of the water.

Not the least charming part about these tanks is the green peepul-tree, looking, oh! so fresh and green, growing in its crevasse by the tanks, and shading a well. It is the one green spot in the midst of scoria, dust, and ashes.

I remarked how healthy the children in the camp looked, having lately come from India, but was told that it is a fact that troops coming from there are always known to improve and pick up at Aden. It seems strange to say so of such a climate, for we ourselves found the heat and breathless stillness at night very trying. I believe the good health of the station is attributable to the water which is all condensed, and therefore very pure, and very precious also, being doled out in an allowance of three gallons per person daily.

The storm-clouds gathering round the crater at sunset produced a wonderfully grand and gloomy effect, and then the drive home by moonlight, with a last glimpse back at the "Camp in the Crater" from the Pass, the swift gallop along the Bunder behind the pretty Arab horses, brought us quickly home.

At last! After being for four days in that most uncomfortable of all conditions, viz. unable to make up one's mind, our plans have been decided for us by the arrival of the Messageries' boat this afternoon.

The question appeared simple enough—should we go one day south to the Cape, in the Messageries' boat, or the next day north, through the Red Sea homewards, in a P. and O.? In reality it was very complex. We longed to complete our tour round the British Empire, to see the last of our great ruled dominions, the Cape; but then, on the other hand, the political horizon was cloudy, and a vote of censure on the Gladstone Administration pending.

We should have, we found, to wait twenty-five days at the Mauritius, to which there is no cable, before getting a steamer to take us to Natal and Cape Town. This would sever us from telegraphic news, and effectually prevent any immediate and sudden return home in case of a dissolution. We decided therefore against the Cape project, and great[367] as was the disappointment at the time, events have so far justified our decision that we cannot wholly regret it.

At 5 p.m. the next afternoon the P. and O. Brindisi was signalled, and soon afterwards we saw her from the Residency windows, anchoring in the bay. It was not long before we rowed out to her and were on board. Coaling operations, added to the disorganization always attendant on a ship in port, gave us rather an uncomfortable evening.

At nine o'clock we saw an Italian man-of-war, bound for Massowah, stealing out to sea, so noiselessly she moved, as the huge ship loomed black in the dusk to our starboard. The heat was very great downstairs in the cabins, and we got no rest till eleven o'clock, when we cleared away from Aden.

Wednesday, 25th.—"The captain's compliments, and we are passing Perim," shouted at my cabin door at 7 a.m. the next morning, summoned me hastily on deck to see that rocky island at the mouth of the Red Sea.

The morning sun shone brightly and brought out in full relief its excessive barrenness. We ran up our flag in response to the salute from the stone fort which looks appropriately cold and ugly. The two ships wrecked on the rocks around Perim tell how inhospitable are her shores. The Italian war-ship of the night before was just disappearing round the corner of the island to take the broader channel. I prudently refrain from mentioning the two well-known little stories of the capture of Perim and of one of the officers who subsequently occupied, or rather was non-resident there. Notwithstanding all its natural disadvantages, Perim is destined very soon now to rise into importance as a port of call.

From the reap in early childhood we are taught to seek the Red Sea as a narrow strip of blue against the yellow outline of Egypt and Arabia. It is difficult then to realize you are in such a well-known spot when on neither hand is there any coast-line. We only know we are on the great highway, and that its limits are confined, from the numerous ships we are constantly passing. One day four P. and O.'s were actually in sight of one another, an almost unprecedented event, I believe.

We have a good sea running, but the ship is splendidly steady, and there is a following wind, the one most dreaded in the Red Sea, but it is too early in the year to be very hot.


We passed the "Three Brothers" in the afternoon, and the "Twelve Apostles" in the evening. All these islands are covered with white sand, which glistens in the sunlight by day and the moonlight by night.

Thursday, 26th.—Passed Suakim (unseen), whither transports without number are hurrying at this moment.

At five o'clock this morning was sighted Mount Sinai, but to my intense disappointment I had forgotten to ask overnight the time, and when I came up on deck at eight o'clock, I could only see the range. It is forty-five miles away, and rarely seen clearly, but had been to-day.

On this quiet Sunday morning the service on deck seemed peculiarly appropriate, when almost within view of the Holy Mount and those sandy shores of Arabia, that are fraught with such holy memories.

The sea is narrowing; we have a coast-line now on either hand: the pale yellow sand of Arabia against the faint blue of the sky, gives a look of such atmospheric heat, so like what we have always pictured to ourselves the Holy Land. On the other are the more rugged mountains, bare and rocky, of the coast of Egypt—mountains that have a very purple hue—that are grand and solemn in their outline, which occasionally open out to show a glimpse of the desert beyond.

Narrower and narrower grows our channel, the land is closing in as towards 5 p.m. we approach Suez, and see in the distance the few buildings, with the large storehouse, which marks the entrance to the canal. We anchor opposite a Messagerie vessel, and, soon after we have taken up our position, are followed by another P. and O., the Ballarat from Australia.

Who could conceive the loveliness of the sunset tints that evening? I for one have never seen, nor could imagine that such heavenly shades in such inextricable harmony could have existed in nature.

On the "fair coast of Arabia" there was seen the most delicate electric blue, with just such a suspicion of mauve that you knew not whether it was there or not, with a distinct dash of pink,—distinct because it clashed with the streak of yellow sand. It was sublime.

The usual indecision followed as to whether to land at once or not, but being hastily decided in the negative we spent a moonlight evening on board. Sleep came with[369] difficulty that night, for, strange as it seems, we missed the lullaby of the throb of the engines and the noisy revolution of the screw.

It was at five the next morning that we got up, in the middle of the night, as it appeared, and dressed hastily for the steam-launch which was to come at 5.30. The captain was weighing anchor and preparing to go into the canal. At daybreak we collected our goods and stumbled, cold and sleepy, into the launch.

As we crossed the harbour we saw sunrise over the Egyptian hills, and watched it gradually eclipsing the moonlight.

At Suez there were sixty ships hired as transports by the Government—ships of all sorts, rusty, paintless, and out of date, but pressed into service for this emergency. Two thousand camels, whose humpy backs in the dawn at first gave the appearance of a line of sandhills, were waiting on the Isthmus for transportation to Suakim; and the wharf, covered with tents and military stores, showed the bustle and activity of war.

At this wharf we waited for two weary hours and a half, cold and breakfastless, till a train, dirtier than any we have ever previously seen, arrived to take us to Suez.

"Old, familiar Suez," say some of the passengers; "just the same as ever," with her awful wastes, her salt marshes, strewn with rusty bolts and ends of iron, her mud huts and pariah dogs,—the dreary desert scene.

At Suez we looked forward to breakfast. Rejecting the offer of the donkey-boy, pointing to his donkey with a persuasive "Quite a masher," we walked through the road, ankle-deep in sand, when "Bond Street" led us to the "Hotel de Suez," on the quay. Small chance was there among the collective passengers of three ships just arrived of getting anything like a comfortable breakfast, and the scramble for food that ensued was a painful sight. We felt glad we had not left the ship to sleep at the hotel last night when we heard that a few nights ago three generals had been "doubled up" (as it was expressively told us by a soldier) in one room, and three colonels in the next. The place was swarming with soldiers, military chests, tin cases, bundles of bedding, &c., just landed and awaiting orders to proceed to Suakim.

At length we started in the train over the line which[370] gives us our first impression of the desert. The vast expanse of waterless, wasteless sand, parched and glaring, weary even unto death, where life can have no attraction left for man or beast, where all is desolate and dead to life. How intense then must be the longing for the "shadow of the Great Rock in the weary land!"

Yet under the influence of the late Sir Herbert Stewart's brilliant march through the desert, yet under the excitement of our hard-won victory at Abu Klea, and later, that at Metammeh, we think with a realizing anguish of the horrors of the prolonged marches, the deadly thirst our men must have endured.

Here our eyes find some relief in patches of bulrushes and the blue strip of water of the canal, where we see the line of steamers slowly passing along in single file, each appearing to chafe at the slow progress of the foremost one. The Messagerie leads the way, followed by our Brindisi, in its turn followed by the Ballarat—in the order in which they entered the canal this morning. At its widest part the canal opens out into an inland lake.

Again our hearts are stirred as we approach the scene of the battle of Tel-el-Kebir—as we see the roughly thrown-up entrenchments behind which the Arabs lay hidden as our troops came ever onwards, cautiously and noiselessly, for it was the night of the now famous "Silent March." We could hear the British cheer, the maddening rush, the wild swoop which carried all before it. We saw the bridge over which the frantic retreat was made; we saw, too, the green cemetery by the line, where a few white stones mark the graves of those who were left still and cold on that battle-field.

There are no remains to be seen from the railway line, no carcases or bleached bones, no skeletons of camels or broken weapons, but only the long, long rows of low entrenchments, like a sandbank, extending for two or three miles.

At Zagazig we had luncheon, and a very dirty journey brought us to within sight of Cairo, whose first and distant view is disenchanting. It looks little more than a large native village, with a citadel and a few minaret towers. My husband's brother—the Financial Adviser to the Egyptian Government, met us at the station and we drove to his house—made beautiful by his splendid collection of embroideries[371] that have been drawn from the wealth of such stores in the bazaars of Constantinople, Broussa, Egypt, and Arabia.

We feel in the world once more; we have returned to civilization.

The sound of the war-tramp echoes through Cairo.

The streets are full of officers, transport-waggons, and stores.

The almost historical balcony of "Shepheards" is peopled with a military throng—with officers eager to go to "the front," with others awaiting "further orders." All connected with "the service" have additional importance in their own and every one's eyes just now. Wives and relations are in Cairo, as nearer the seat of war, and within earlier reach of news, though, as a matter of fact, the news of the fall of Khartoum the other day was known a day earlier in London.

Rumours and panics of defeat—repulse—surprise—are rife, and all is excitement and anxious flurry.

Colonel Swaine, C.B., Military Secretary to Lord Wolseley, came here early this morning on his way home on sick leave; he will be the first to arrive from the camp at Korti in London. He gave us some interesting particulars about the battle of Abu Klea.

Cairo strikes me as being so French in tone, with the parquet floors and the French windows, with its French population, with Parisian fashions. But after all one must disillusion oneself from the natural idea that Cairo is now English. Cairo is above all things an international metropolis.

During our week's stay there we saw most of the principal sights, but I have not the smallest intention of boring my readers with attempting any minute description (save of the Pyramids and the Dancing Dervishes) of what has been told in glowing, life-like pictures by other writers of name and fame.

Cairene Woman

Cairene Woman.

I will not write of the streets, with their motley crowd of Arabs, Copts, Syrians, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Nubians, Cairenes proper, with their thousands of donkeys and accompanying hâmmars, handsome animals cruelly bitted and curbed, ridden alike by grave official in Turkish bags, embroidered jacket, and fez, or by Arab ladies with balloon of silk, and feet tucked up in front. Nor of the pretty street-cries,[372] "God will make them light O! lemons," "Odours of Paradise O! flowers of Henna." Nor yet even of the bazaar, where are spread out the treasures of gold and silver of Arabia, Persia, and Syria, of Damascus and Bagdad—the Cairo Bazaar unique in the world. It is terrible to see the number of those afflicted with eye-diseases in Cairo, and the many blind men led about the streets, crying, "O! Awakener of Pity, O! Master," or[373] "I am the guest of God and the Prophet;" and then the answer comes, "God will succour, or give thee succour." It makes one's heart ache, too, to see the babies with the flies—the proverbially persistent fly of Egypt—settled black on the child's eye, and with no attempt being made to brush them away, causing the eye to close by a process too frightful to describe. The children are always sucking sugar-cane, and it is the sticky sweetness which causes the flies to settle so thickly on their cheeks.

We were much struck with the fineness of the mosques in Cairo after seeing those of India.

As Mohammedanism was only a later introduction into India—a faith struggling in a new land—so are its mosques but a feeble reproduction of those in the land of the Prophet—the home of Mahomet.

The mosque of Sultan Hassan is a grand spot for worship. It is not beautiful, nor curious, nor interesting, but it is simply majestically imposing, from the height of its walls. They present an immeasurable surface, pierced only by lancet recesses, which, by their narrow length, add only to the grandeur of the wall. It is from the ancient to the modern we proceed as we go to the alabaster mosque of Mahomet Ali at the citadel, where all is gaudy and modern: Turkey carpets, coloured-glass windows, and rows of glass globes.

We look lastly at the celebrated "view from the citadel," which is certainly most beautiful.

Thursday, March 5th.—At six in the morning we started on our expedition to the Pyramids. Passing the enormous square of the Kasr-er-Nil barracks, and crossing the lion-guarded bridge of the same name, we soon distanced the town.

Coming in from the surrounding country, all along the roads, we met trains of camels and troops of donkeys laden with the day's forage for Cairo. The green grass looked rich and succulent, swaying in mountainous stacks on either side the camel, and balancing across the donkeys in loads that hid all except their four legs walking underneath.

Sandy and barren as is the desert of Egypt, where irrigation is brought into use, the crops are extraordinarily rich and luxuriant—added to which, they cut with impunity crop after crop of clover and green food, without dreaming of allowing the ground to lie fallow during any part of the[374] year. Thus it is that around Cairo, though really only the desert, it looks a green and cultivated plain. The canals are cracked and dry, but will fill with the rising of the Nile which, irrigating the land and overflowing with its muddy waters, leaves that rich alluvial deposit of fertility.

The last four miles' approach to the Pyramids is over a road shaded by an avenue of tamarinds, so straight that you can see a man—a speck—at the end.

We read, we imbibe unconsciously, we listen eagerly to the account of impressions of some world-wonder, some object of exceptional beauty or interest.

We cannot help longing to see "that" object, we cannot help feeling some excitement when we are nearing "that" wonder which we have been picturing to ourselves for so long—when we are nearing the realization of an oft-expressed wish since childhood.

Thus it is. And thus it is that we often realize some disenchantment. I had often done so, but nothing will ever come up to the keen intensity of my disappointment, or the bitter revulsion of feeling as we approached the Pyramids and obtained a good view of them.

"They may grow grander as we come nearer," I said. But no; I think they really diminished rather than increased on a nearer approach. The Pyramids stand on a natural platform of rock. The three are in a line: the second, or Pyramid of Chephren, touches the angle of the first, or that of Cheops; and that of the third, the Pyramid of Mycerinus, that of Chephren.

Thus, as you draw near, it becomes a line of perspective, in which each pyramid recedes and recedes behind the greater one, till only Cheops is left in solitary glory.

But even thus he does not seem stupendous; he does not seem to crush you with his size, to be ungraspable from height, to be immeasurable for width. He does not impress you with a feeling of your own insignificance. He is very large—that is all.

Even when we had driven up the last steep ascent and stood under his very shadow, I felt scarcely more impressed. There was a peculiar effect of following with the eye some way up, and then suddenly feeling that the pyramid was receding from your sight—when you saw that you were looking at its cone.

You must gaze upon the Pyramids, bearing in your mind's[375] eye all the time the grand idea that called them into existence; the despotic monarch who thought to build for himself an everlasting monument, who thought, by the stupendousness of the work, to preserve his body when all others should have perished, to perpetuate the memory of his reign to worlds of generation.

The vanity of all human aims and desires! The tomb was opened, sacked for the treasures of gold and silver that so great a builder would surely have interred with his remains. And the bones of Cheops—where are they now? Consigned to the sand of the desert, to the dust whence he came.

It is wonderful to think that this outer pyramid is only the covering for a number of similar ones inside; how many, is only conjectured by the size of the outer one. When the building of a pyramid was commenced, a piece of rock, it is said, was taken as the centre to form the support of the apex of the first tiny pyramid, and then a space was hollowed out in the rock wherein the sarcophagus would rest some day. The pyramid grew with the length of the reign of the royal builder. Year by year its growth increased, and at his death it was finished off at the point it had then reached.

Various theories have been advanced as to the use of the Pyramids. Some have thought they were for astronomical purposes. One, that it was simply a meterological monument, large enough to serve for all kinds of measurements; but Egyptologists are now agreed in thinking they are tombs "hermetically sealed everywhere, the for ever impenetrable casing of a mummy."

There are many who will share in Lord Lindsay's beautiful but mystic idea of their origin, but I for one do not.

"Temples or tombs, monuments of tyranny or of priestly wisdom, no theory as to the 'meaning' of the Pyramids, those glorious works of fine intelligence" has been broached so beautiful to my mind as old Sandy's, who, like Milton and the ancients, believing them modelled in imitation of "that formless, form-taking substance, fire," conceives them to express the "original things." "For as the pyramid, beginning at a point, little by little dilateth into all parts, so nature, proceeding from an individual fountain, even God, the Sovereign Essence, receiveth diversity of form, effused into several kinds and multitudes[376] of figures uniting all in the supreme head from whence all excellences issue."

We are soon surrounded, and the prey of the body of Bedouins who squat in a group at the corner of the Great Pyramid; but at the bidding of the all-powerful sheik, six men are singled out for the ascent.

The steps, if such they can be called, are blocks from two to four feet high, and come nearly up to the waist, of such a small person as myself. Therefore you stand and look doubtful as to how to ascend the first one; but there is no time for much thought before the guides have seized you with a grasp that leaves its mark, and by main force you are lifted and dragged up, while at some of those still higher, the guide behind gives a heaving help and push. The exercise is violent; the sockets of your arms feel elongated; the muscles of the legs, particularly at the back, are aching; you feel that the disposal of your petticoats is getting higher than you like; but there is no time to stay, you scramble on somehow, hardly knowing how you are going to reach the next step, before you are there.

The Bedouins take you up at a tremendous pace, and hardly give you time to breathe in occasional halts; but it is a good plan, in that you have no time to hesitate whether you will turn back, daunted. It is very dizzy work looking down on such layers and layers, such rows upon rows of yellow steps below—added to which, the sudden change of temperature 500 feet higher makes respiration more difficult. When you arrive at the summit, on the platform, you are too breathless and exhausted to enjoy the view much.

The fertile valley of the Nile is on one side, but on the other there is that huge, vast, arid desert, the Great Sahara. It is that which determined me to ascend the Pyramids. I wanted to gain the idea of what a desert can be when that and that alone is seen. It is very terrible.

The Bedouins clamoured around me, including the Sakka, or water-carrier, who always accompanies the ascent, for backsheesh and the sale of coins; and as C., having been up before, had stopped halfway, I was alone at the top, and was fain to descend to be rid of them.

The descent is far worse than the ascent. The jar to the system of jumping from step to step is very trying, and it is really best to sit down on the step and slide over, however inelegant.

The Sphinx

The Sphinx.

Page 377.


The entrance to the pyramid is a little way up in the centre of one side. The steps here are sunk in sideways, so as to form a slanting platform to a small aperture. Over this there are two enormous blocks of marble laid pent-ways, to form an arch in the pyramid, and to support its weight on the roof of the passage. You slip and slide down the steep passage, feeling you are going down into the bowels of the earth, "the entrails of the Great Pyramid," and a last long slide brings you into the chamber. Here you see the material of which the Pyramids are constructed, a rock called nummulite limestone, often containing fossil remains. In one place it is rough and glistening, in another smooth and polished, as if worn away—by what means is not known. In the roof there is a recess, where the sarcophagus is supposed to have stood, but none was found when it was opened for the first time, as was supposed. In reality the tomb had been opened and sacked, probably not such an untold number of years after the death of Cheops.

Then we walked ankle-deep in sand a quarter of a mile away to the south-east of the Great Pyramid, to where the Sphinx stands. Her whereabouts is only decided by a mass of rock that looks at first sight (please excuse the familiar simile) like the Toadstool Rock at Tunbridge Wells, for it is only a mass of rock supported on a column. As we approach, however, and finally stand under the Sphinx, we begin to understand the fascination she exercises.

We see the Egyptian helmet with the long flaps, under which are the protruding ears, so very distinct. Then we notice the eyes, the forehead, the broken, flattened nose, and the thick lips. It is in the lips lies the expression of the Sphinx, the disdainful, haughty look, or anon the smile that parts them. The remainder of the face follows the mood expressed on the lips. But at all times the Sphinx is unsympathetic, cold as the stone she is carved in. With face turned towards the rising waters of the Nile, she changes not with the ruddy glow of sunset, nor the blush of morning, reflected from its waters. She is human, but relentless. The animal body of the Sphinx is again buried in the sand—for once, a century ago, excavation revealed it. Between the front paws it was then found there was an altar, where sacrifices must have been offered under the very head of[378] the Sphinx herself, and a sanctuary with some tablets was discovered under the breast.

Stanley said, "Its situation and significance are worthy of the Sphinx; if it was the giant representative of royalty, then it fitly guards the greatest of royal sepulchres, and with its half-human and half-animal form is the best welcome and the best farewell to the history and religion of Egypt."

Connected as it was supposed to be with her worship, the Temple of the Sphinx is peculiarly appropriate to her in its massidity. The enormous blocks of granite and alabaster, laid lengthways across other blocks, on which we look down, gives to it the appearance of the crypt of a cathedral.

The two remaining pyramids have no special interest, nor yet the two or three others, very small ones by comparison, lying about the greater. The latter are evidences of a very short reign, or perhaps were only intended to serve as a monument of sufficient height, to ensure their never being sunk or overwhelmed with the sand typhoon of the desert.

On Friday afternoon, the Sabbath of the Moslems, we went to see the religious service held by the sect of Howling Dervishes.

Passing through a quiet court where the musicians were taking their places, through an outer room, we came into a whitewashed mosque, whose unornamented dome, as we shall presently see, has a splendid echo. A goat-skin mat is arranged round in a circle, on which the twenty or thirty worshippers enter one by one and kneel. The sheik squats in the kibla or niche, and we sit on chairs ranged round the wall.

The priest or sheik intones some prayers, to which they all respond, the echo lingering and repeating the sonorous tones of the response, till it forms an accompaniment to the following prayer.

Then they begin repeating the same word or phrase, Allah, Allah, Allah, with a gentle inclination of the body. This action gradually increases with the rise of the voices, which, if they unconsciously flag for a minute, are vigorously taken up and maintained again. At a given sign from the sheik they cease. All stand up.

Then the same recommences with increased exercise, and an occasional howl from some more devout worshipper,[379] while soft wild music is heard outside. Gradually you are fascinated by this circle of men, all bowing at the same moment, all intoning on one note; and now it is a groaning noise they make, and it grows and grows, till the raising of the sheik's hands stops it once more.

Then they take off their clothes, their turbans, and undo their long hair, and the real work of worship commences. The sheik touches a man on the shoulder, and singles him out to stand in the centre. The swaying recommences, but with the violence where they left off as the first stage, and the dervish in the centre leads, swaying, bending, all in time. Music strikes up, the tom-tom of large tambourines—a deafening, discordant pandemonium, to which they are moving in time, urged on by the increase and swell of the music faster, ever increasing, louder the music, deafening its sound. A circle of wild magnetic creatures tossing their locks of hair, unconscious, mechanical, holding a mesmerized look on the dervish, who with closed eyes performs with ecstasy the exercise of his salvation. Another steps into the circle, and begins, with arms outstretched, slowly to turn and twirl round and round and round—never moving from the exact spot of ground where he first took his stand—gently at first, increasing slowly, becoming fast, faster—a whirl now. All is utter confusion. Chaos has come. The scene swims before your eyes; the wild fanatical little body of surging, swaying dervishes is becoming indistinct, when a sudden raising of the finger brings it all to a close in an instant; only one last resounding thud of the tom-tom, one prolonged howl lingers on the echo. The spinning dervish sinks exhausted to the ground.

Saturday, March 7th.—Lady Baring took me to the Vicereine's "at home" on Saturday afternoon at the Atchin Palace. We entered by a private way and back staircase, and were shown through a succession of reception-rooms to a small drawing-room or boudoir, where her Highness sat.

She is still young and has pretty features—all say she is most pleasant and good-natured; but she has grown, and is growing, enormously stout. The Vicereine was arrayed in a Parisian toilette of black, and, save for the representative feature of a bunch of red roses and diamond ornaments, looked completely European. The slaves, too, were dressed in English materials of old gold, blue, and pink silks, with gilt[380] waistbands and bunches of roses, and not as one had looked to see them, in some graceful Oriental costume. We all sat round in a circle for the prescribed time, and cigarettes were offered and coffee brought, that nasty, bitter Arabian coffee, in tiny cups with Turkish stands.

The same afternoon we called on M. Camille Barrère at the French Agency, the most beautiful house in Cairo, just purchased by the French Government. There are some very unique ceilings and mosaic dados in it, and a great quantity of the pretty mushrebeeyah.

We dined in the evening with Nubar Pasha, the Prime Minister, and Madame Nubar; and after dinner went to a Turkish piece at the theatre. Quite half the galleries were curtained for the ladies of the harem, behind which, we could see, they were crowded; and when everybody left the house between the acts, it was from thence came the clouds of smoke that filled the theatre. Nubar Pasha is a very charming and courteous man.

Sunday, March 8th.—The Premier very kindly lent us his dahabeeyah to go up the Nile.

One always has a very mistaken idea about the beauty of the Nile. It is an exceedingly ugly river, with shoals and sandbanks lying about in its course. Going up only a little way from Cairo, there is a fine view of the Mokattam Range, the citadel, with the mosque of Mahomet Ali, whose slender minars tower as high again above the hills. Warehouses and manufactories, followed by mud villages, render the banks utterly hideous and uninteresting. The nuggars, with their sharp-angled sails and enormously tall, slanting masts, are alone pretty and picturesque. We returned to Cairo as the sun was setting.

Wednesday, March 11th.—Got up early, packed, drove to the station, took our seats in the train for Suez, to embark on board the P. and O. Tasmania for Malta, Gibraltar, and Spain. Three minutes before the train started, bag and baggage we bundled out again. I saw in the paper there were fresh earthquakes in Spain, and particularly at Malaga, where we must have landed from Gibraltar.

We spent the day in Cairo, and left again in the evening by the mail to Alexandria, to go viâ Brindisi to Cannes.

We drove through the streets of Alexandria by gaslight, seeing the remains of the bombardment on all sides. What[381] a national reproach are the ruins and the houses partially riddled with cannon-shot, the neat piles of broken brick and stone by the road. They are only just beginning to rebuild Alexandria after the lapse of two years.

We got on board the P. and O. mail steamer Assam at eleven o'clock, and weighed anchor early next morning.

Thursday.—Sea flat, calm.

Friday.—The shores of Crete and Candia in view, the bold outline of her mountains covered with snow.

Saturday.—Within sight of beautiful Zanté, an island of the Ionian Group.

A very rough night on board, half a gale blowing, and the next morning we are at Brindisi. Dear little Brindisi (though few will agree in this term of endearment), desolate and dreary as she is, greeting us with a snowstorm as she did, looked homelike and sweet to us, if only because she was so near home—a distance of no account after what we have done. The trees about the harbour were budding and breaking into blossom, notwithstanding the grey north-easter blowing.

All day we were travelling along the leg of Italy, by the storm swept ocean breaking in angry breakers along the shores, across the fertile plains of Tuscany—Bologna reached at one in the morning. Left the next day, to arrive at Genoa the same evening. Then a day spent in crawling along the beautiful Riviera, its orange-groves, olive-yards, and flowers smiling us a sunshiny greeting. Cannes reached at length that evening. Hearty welcomes. Home-like feelings. Renewing acquaintance with our little daughter Vera.

A fortnight's pleasant rest after our long journey, a gathering up of the thread of events, domestic and otherwise, since we left England in July last, and London reached on the 1st of April. Home at last.

We had been absent not quite nine months, had travelled rather more than 40,000 miles, visited America and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Netherlands India, the Malay Peninsula, India, and Egypt, gained useful information without end, and laid up stores of knowledge that will never cease to be precious till our lives' end; had many and many a pleasant recollection left of little adventures, anecdotes, and incidents such as happen in common to all travellers, and made not a few interesting acquaintances.


Let me finally take this opportunity of expressing to all the many kind friends, particularly those in the colonies, our gratitude for the hearty welcome and cheery hospitality extended to us by all.

Should any one wish for nine months, or, better still, a year of perfect enjoyment, of rest and relief from the weary round of duty and so-called pleasure, which is the life and lot of so many of us—I say, Go a tour, not round the world, not mere globe-trotting, but a complete tour of study through the glorious British empire, such as we have tried to do, and failed only in that the Cape was, for circumstances already mentioned, impossible for us.

In Greater Britain, all who are countrymen or women, all coming from the mother country, are sure of the same kindness and warm reception we experienced; all are sure of great enjoyment, all are sure of a wealth of bright, pleasant memories for the future. Such has been our experience. To all I would say, "Go and do thou likewise."

Written under circumstances of some difficulty, chiefly on board ship, in cabins close and dark, tossed and swung about, this journal has been put together. Poor little journal as it is, the first production of an unskilful pen, I am but too fully conscious of its defects.

It is up to date now, the last entry has been made, and, with a sigh, it has been confided to the hands of the printer and publisher. May they and the public be merciful to it!








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Chattock (R. S.). Practical Notes on Etching. Sec. Ed., 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Chess. See Bird (H. E.).

Children's Praises. Hymns for Sunday-Schools and Services. Compiled by Louisa H. H. Tristram. 4d.

Choice Editions of Choice Books. 2s. 6d. each. Illustrated by C. W. Cope, R.A., T. Creswick, R.A., E. Duncan, Birket Foster, J. C. Horsley, A.R.A., G. Hicks, R. Redgrave, R.A., C. Stonehouse, F. Tayler, G. Thomas, H. J. Townshend, E. H. Wehnert, Harrison Weir, &c.

Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy.
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Coleridge's Ancient Mariner.
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Keat's Eve of St. Agnes.
Milton's L'Allegro.
Poetry of Nature. Harrison Weir.
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Elizabethan Poets.
Wordsworth's Pastoral Poems.

"Such works are a glorious beatification for a poet."—Athenæum.

Christ in Song. By Philip Schaff. New Ed., gilt edges, 6s.

Chromo-Lithography. See "Audsley."

Collingwood (Harry). Under the Meteor Flag. The Log of a Midshipman. Illustrated, small post 8vo, gilt, 6s.; plainer, 5s.

—— The Voyage of the "Aurora." Illustrated, small post 8vo, gilt, 6s.; plainer, 5s.

Colvile (H. E.). Accursed Land: Water Way of Edom. 10s. 6d.

Composers. See "Great Musicians."

Confessions of a Frivolous Girl. Cr. 8vo, 6s. Paper boards, 1s.


Cook (Dutton). Book of the Play. New Edition. 1 vol., 3s. 6d.

—— On the Stage: Studies of Theatrical History and the Actor's Art. 2 vols., 8vo, cloth, 24s.

Costume. See Smith (J. Moyr).

Cowen (Jos., M.P.). Life and Speeches. By Major Jones. 8vo, 14s.

Curtis (C. B.). Velazquez and Murillo. With Etchings, &c. Royal 8vo, 31s. 6d.; large paper, 63s.

Custer (E. B.). Boots and Saddles. Life in Dakota with General Custer. Crown 8vo, 8s. 6d.

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D'ANVERS (N.). An Elementary History of Art. Crown 8vo, 10s. 6d.

—— Elementary History of Music. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

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Doré (Gustave) Life and Reminiscences. By Blanche Roosevelt. With numerous Illustrations from the Artist's previously unpublished Drawings. Medium 8vo, 24s.

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Egypt. See "De Leon," "Foreign Countries."

Eight Months on the Gran Ciacco of the Argentine Republic. 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Electricity. See Gordon.

Elliot (Adm. Sir G.) Future Naval Battles, and how to Fight them. Numerous Illustrations. Royal 8vo, 14s.

Emerson (R. W.) Life. By G. W. Cooke. Crown 8vo, 8s. 6d.

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Adam Smith, by J. A. Farrer.

Esmarch (Dr. Friedrich) Treatment of the Wounded in War. Numerous Coloured Plates and Illust., 8vo, strongly bound, 1l. 8s.

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Etchings (Modern) of Celebrated Paintings. 4to, 31s. 6d.


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Fenn (G. Manville). Off to the Wilds: A Story for Boys. Profusely Illustrated. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.; also 5s.

—— The Silver Cafion: a Tale of the Western Plains. Illustrated, small post 8vo, gilt, 6s.; plainer, 5s.

Fennell (Greville). Book of the Roach. New Edition, 12mo, 2s.

Ferns. See Heath.

Fields (J. T.). Yesterdays with Authors. New Ed., 8vo, 10s. 6d.

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Florence. See "Yriarte."

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Little Mercy. 4s.
Beatrice Melton's Discipline. 4s.
No Longer a Child. 4s.
Golden Gifts. 4s.
Two Sides to Every Question. 4s.
Master of Ralston. 4s.

Francis) (Frances). Elric and Ethel: a Fairy Tale. Illustrated. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

French. See "Julien."

Froissart. See "Lanier."

GALE (F.; the Old Buffer). Modern English Sports: their Use and Abuse. Crown 8vo, 6s.; a few large paper copies, 10s. 6d.

Garth (Philip). Ballads and Poems from the Pacific. Small post 8vo, 6s.

Gentle Life (Queen Edition). 2 vols. in 1, small 4to, 6s.


Price 6s. each; or in calf extra, price 10s. 6d.; Smaller Edition, cloth extra, 2s. 6d., except where price is named.

The Gentle Life. Essays in aid of the Formation of Character of Gentlemen and Gentlewomen.

About in the World. Essays by Author of "The Gentle Life."

Like unto Christ. A New Translation of Thomas à Kempis' "De Imitatione Christi."

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The Gentle Life. 2nd Series.

The Silent Hour: Essays, Original and Selected. By the Author of "The Gentle Life."

Half-Length Portraits. Short Studies of Notable Persons. By J. Hain Friswell.[11]

Essays on English Writers, for the Self-improvement of Students in English Literature.

Other People's Windows. By J. Hain Friswell. 6s.

A Man's Thoughts. By J. Hain Friswell.

The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. By Sir Philip Sidney. New Edition, 6s.

George Eliot: a Critical Study of her Life. By G. W. Cooke. Crown 8vo, 10s. 6d.

Germany. By S. Baring-Gould. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

Gilder (W. H.). Ice-Pack and Tundra. An Account of the Search for the "Jeannette." 8vo, 18s.

—— Schwatka's Search. Sledging in quest of the Franklin Records. Illustrated, 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Gilpin's Forest Scenery. Edited by F. G. Heath. Post 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Gisborne (W.). New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen. With Portraits. Crown 8vo.

Gordon (General). Private Diary in China. Edited by S. Mossman. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Gordon (J. E. H., B.A. Cantab.). Four Lectures on Electric Induction at the Royal Institution, 1878-9. Illust., square 16mo, 3s.

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Gouffé (Jules). Royal Cookery Book. Translated and adapted for English use by Alphonse Gouffé, Head Pastrycook to the Queen. New Edition, with plates in colours, Woodcuts, &c., 8vo, gilt edges, 42s.

—— Domestic Edition, half-bound, 10s. 6d.

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Great Artists. See "Biographies."


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English Church Composers. By Barett.
Richard Wagner.

Groves (J. Percy). Charmouth Grange: a Tale of the Seventeenth Century. Illustrated, small post 8vo, gilt, 6s.; plainer, 5s.

Guizot's History of France. Translated by Robert Black. Super-royal 8vo, very numerous Full-page and other Illustrations. In 8 vols., cloth extra, gilt, each 24s. This work is re-issued in cheaper binding, 8 vols., at 10s. 6d. each.

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Guyon (Mde.) Life. By Upham. 6th Edition, crown 8vo, 6s.

HALFORD (F. M.). Floating Flies, and how to Dress them. Coloured plates. 8vo, 15s.; large paper, 30s.

Hall (W. W.). How to Live Long; or, 1408 Health Maxims, Physical, Mental, and Moral. 2nd Edition, small post 8vo, 2s.

Hamilton (E.). Recollections of Fly-fishing for Salmon, Trout, and Grayling. With their Habits, Haunts, and History. Illustrated, small post 8vo, 6s.; large paper (100 numbered copies), 10s. 6d.

Hands (T.). Numerical Exercises in Chemistry. Cr. 8vo, 2s. 6d. and 2s.; Answers separately, 6d.

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Harland (Marian). Home Kitchen: a Collection of Practical and Inexpensive Receipts. Crown 8vo, 5s.

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—— Three Recruits, and the Girls they left behind them. Small post 8vo, 6s.

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Heath (Francis George). Autumnal Leaves. New Edition, with Coloured Plates in Facsimile from Nature. Crown 8vo, 14s.

—— Fern Paradise. New Edition, with Plates and Photos., crown 8vo, 12s. 6d.


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Herrick (Robert). Poetry. Preface by Austin Dobson. With numerous Illustrations by E. A. Abbey. 4to, gilt edges, 42s.

Hill (Staveley, Q.C., M.P.). From Home to Home: Two Long Vacations at the Foot of the Rocky Mountains. With Wood Engravings and Photogravures. 8vo, 21s.

Hitchman. Public Life of the Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. 3rd Edition, with Portrait. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

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Homer. Iliad, done into English Verse. By A. S. Way. 5s.

Hudson (W. H.). The Purple Land that England Lost. Travels and Adventures in the Banda-Oriental, South America. 2 vols, crown 8vo, 21s.

Hundred Greatest Men (The). 8 portfolios, 21s. each, or 4 vols., half-morocco, gilt edges, 10 guineas. New Ed., 1 vol., royal 8vo, 21s.

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Hymnal Companion of Common Prayer. See Bickersteth.


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—— ("American Men of Letters.") 2s. 6d.

JAMES (C.). Curiosities of Law and Lawyers. 8vo, 7s. 6d.

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Joyful Lays. Sunday School Song Book. By Lowry and Doane. Boards, 2s.

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Larden (W.). School Course on Heat. Second Edition, Illustrated, crown 8vo, 5s.

Lenormant (F.). Beginnings of History. Crown 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Leonardo da Vinci's Literary Works. Edited by Dr. Jean Paul Richter. Containing his Writings on Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, his Philosophical Maxims, Humorous Writings, and Miscellaneous Notes on Personal Events, on his Contemporaries, on Literature, &c.; published from Manuscripts. 2 vols., imperial 8vo, containing about 200 Drawings in Autotype Reproductions, and numerous other Illustrations. Twelve Guineas.

Library of Religious Poetry. Best Poems of all Ages. Edited by Schaff and Gilman. Royal 8vo, 21s.; re-issue in cheaper binding, 10s. 6d.

Lindsay (W. S.). History of Merchant Shipping. Over 150 Illustrations, Maps, and Charts. In 4 vols., demy 8vo, cloth extra. Vols. 1 and 2, 11s. each; vols. 3 and 4, 14s. each. 4 vols., 50s.

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A Daughter of Heth. By W. Black.
In Silk Attire. By W. Black.
Kilmeny. A Novel. By W. Black.
Lady Silverdale's Sweetheart. By W. Black.
Sunrise. By W. Black.
Three Feathers. By William Black.
Alice Lorraine. By R. D. Blackmore.
Christowell, a Dartmoor Tale. By R. D. Blackmore.
Clara Vaughan. By R. D. Blackmore.
Cradock Nowell. By R. D. Blackmore.
Cripps the Carrier. By R. D. Blackmore.
Erema; or, My Father's Sin. By R. D. Blackmore.
Lorna Doone. By R. D. Blackmore.
Mary Anerley. By R. D. Blackmore.
Tommy Upmore. By R. D. Blackmore.
An English Squire. By Miss Coleridge.
A Story of the Dragonnades; or, Asylum Christi. By the Rev. E. Gilliat, M. A.
A Laodicean. By Thomas Hardy.
Far from the Madding Crowd. By Thomas Hardy.
Pair of Blue Eyes. By Thomas Hardy.
Return of the Native. By Thomas Hardy.
The Hand of Ethelberta. By Thomas Hardy.
The Trumpet Major. By Thomas Hardy.
Two on a Tower. By Thomas Hardy.
Three Recruits. By Joseph Hatton.
A Golden Sorrow. By Mrs. Cashel Hoey. New Edition.
Out of Court. By Mrs. Cashel Hoey.
Adela Cathcart. By George Mac Donald.
Guild Court. By George Mac Donald.
Mary Marston. By George Mac Donald.
Stephen Archer. New Ed. of "Gifts." By George Mac Donald.
The Vicar's Daughter. By George Mac Donald.
Weighed and Wanting. By George Mac Donald.
Diane. By Mrs. Macquoid.
Elinor Dryden. By Mrs. Macquoid.
My Lady Greensleeves. By Helen Mathers.
Alaric Spenceley. By Mrs. J. H. Riddell.
Daisies and Buttercups. By Mrs. J. H. Riddell.
The Senior Partner. By Mrs. J. H. Riddell.
A Struggle for Fame. By Mrs. J. H. Riddell.
Jack's Courtship. By W. Clark Russell.
John Holdsworth. By W. Clark Russell.
A Sailor's Sweetheart. By W. Clark Russell.
Sea Queen. By W. Clark Russell.
Watch Below. By W. Clark Russell.
Wreck of the Grosvenor. By W. Clark Russell.[19]
The Lady Maud. By W. Clark Russell.
Little Loo. By W. Clark Russell.
My Wife and I. By Mrs. Beecher Stowe.
Poganuc People, their Loves and Lives. By Mrs. B. Stowe.
Ben Hur: a Tale of the Christ. By Lew. Wallace.
Anne. By Constance Fenimore Woolson.
For the Major. By Constance Fenimore Woolson. 5s.
French Heiress in her own Chateau.

Low's Handbook to the Charities of London. Edited and revised to date by C. Mackeson, F.S.S., Editor of "A Guide to the Churches of London and its Suburbs," &c. Yearly, 1s. 6d.; Paper, 1s.

Lyne (Charles). New Guinea. Illustrated, crown 8vo, 10s. 6d. An Account of the Establishment of the British Protectorate over the Southern Shores of New Guinea.

McCORMICK (R.). Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas in the "Erebus" and "Terror," in Search of Sir John Franklin, &c., with Autobiographical Notice by the Author, who was Medical Officer to each Expedition. With Maps and Lithographic, &c., Illustrations. 2 vols., royal 8vo, 52s. 6d.

MacDonald (G.). Orts. Small post 8vo, 6s.

—— See also "Low's Standard Novels."

Macgregor (John). "Rob Roy" on the Baltic. 3rd Edition, small post 8vo, 2s. 6d.; cloth, gilt edges, 3s. 6d.

—— A Thousand Miles in the "Rob Roy" Canoe. 11th Edition, small post 8vo, 2s. 6d.; cloth, gilt edges, 3s. 6d.

—— Voyage Alone in the Yawl "Rob Roy." New Edition, with additions, small post 8vo, 5s.; 3s. 6d. and 2s. 6d.

Macquoid (Mrs.). See Low's Standard Novels.

Magazine. See Decoration, English Etchings, Harper.

Maginn (W.). Miscellanies. Prose and Verse. With Memoir. 2 vols., crown 8vo, 24s.

Manitoba. See Bryce.


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Markham (C. R.). The Threshold of the Unknown Region. Crown 8vo, with Four Maps. 4th Edition. Cloth extra, 10s. 6d.

—— War between Peru and Chili, 1879-1881. Third Ed. Crown 8vo, with Maps, 10s. 6d.

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Marshall (W. G.). Through America. New Ed., cr. 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Martin (F. W.). Float Fishing and Spinning in the Nottingham Style. New Edition. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

Maury (Commander) Physical Geography of the Sea, and its Meteorology. New Edition, with Charts and Diagrams, cr. 8vo, 6s.

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Millard (H. B.). Bright's Disease of the Kidneys. Illustrated. 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Mitchell (D. G.; Ik. Marvel). Works. Uniform Edition, small 8vo, 5s. each.

Bound together.
Doctor Johns.
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Wet Days at Edgewood.

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Mollett (J. W.). Illustrated Dictionary of Words used in Art and Archæology. Terms in Architecture, Arms, Bronzes, Christian Art, Colour, Costume, Decoration, Devices, Emblems, Heraldry, Lace, Personal Ornaments, Pottery, Painting, Sculpture, &c. Small 4to, 15s.

Morley (H.). English Literature in the Reign of Victoria. 2000th volume of the Tauchnitz Collection of Authors. 18mo, 2s. 6d.

Morwood (V. S.). Our Gipsies in City, Tent, and Van. 8vo, 18s.

Müller (E.). Noble Words and Noble Deeds. By Philippoteaux. Square imperial 16mo, cloth extra, 7s. 6d.; plainer binding, 5s.

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Nicholls (J. H. Kerry). The King Country: Explorations in New Zealand. Many Illustrations and Map. New Edition, 8vo, 21s.

Nicholson (C.). Work and Workers of the British Association. 12mo, 1s.

Nixon (J.). Complete Story of the Transvaal. 8vo, 12s. 6d.

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O'BRIEN (R. B.). Fifty Years of Concessions to Ireland. With a Portrait of T. Drummond. Vol. I., 16s.; II., 16s.

Orvis (C. F.). Fishing with the Fly. Illustrated. 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Our Little Ones in Heaven. Edited by the Rev. H. Robbins. With Frontispiece after Sir Joshua Reynolds. New Edition, 5s.

Owen (Douglas). Marine Insurance Notes and Clauses. New Edition, 14s.

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Farm Legends. By Will Carleton.[24]

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Rowbotham (F.). Trip to Prairie Land. The Shady Side of Emigration. 5s.

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SAINTS and their Symbols: A Companion in the Churches and Picture Galleries of Europe. Illustrated. Royal 16mo, 3s. 6d.

Salisbury (Lord) Life and Speeches. By F. S. Pulling, M.A. With Photogravure Portrait of Lord Salisbury. 2 vols., crown 8vo, 21s.

Saunders (A.). Our Domestic Birds: Poultry in England and New Zealand. Crown 8vo, 6s.

Scherr (Prof. J.). History of English Literature. Cr. 8vo, 8s. 6d.

Schley. Rescue of Greely. Maps and Illustrations, 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Schuyler (Eugène). The Life of Peter the Great. By Eugène Schuyler, Author of "Turkestan." 2 vols., 8vo, 32s.

Schweinfurth (Georg). Heart of Africa. Three Years' Travels and Adventures in the Unexplored Regions of Central Africa, from 1868 to 1871. Illustrations and large Map. 2 vols., crown 8vo, 15s.

Scott (Leader). Renaissance of Art in Italy. 4to, 31s. 6d.

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Shakespeare. See also White (R. Grant).

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Sidney (Sir Philip). Arcadia. New Edition, 6s.

Siegfried: The Story of. Illustrated, crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

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Sir Roger de Coverley. Re-imprinted from the "Spectator." With 125 Woodcuts and special steel Frontispiece. Small fcap. 4to, 6s.

Smith (G.). Assyrian Explorations and Discoveries. Illustrated by Photographs and Woodcuts. New Edition, demy 8vo, 18s.

—— The Chaldean Account of Genesis. With many Illustrations. 16s. New Edition, revised and re-written by Professor Sayce, Queen's College, Oxford. 8vo, 18s.

Smith (J. Moyr). Ancient Greek Female Costume. 112 full-page Plates and other Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.

—— Hades of Ardenne: a Visit to the Caves of Han. Crown 8vo, Illustrated, 5s.

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Smith (Sydney) Life and Times. By Stuart J. Reid. Illustrated. 8vo, 21s.

Smith (T. Roger). Architecture, Gothic and Renaissance. Illustrated, crown 8vo, 5 s.

—— —— —— —— Classic and Early Christian. Illustrated. Crown 8vo, 5s.

Smith (W. R.). Laws concerning Public Health. 8vo, 31s. 6d.


Somerset (Lady H.). Our Village Life. Words and Illustrations. Thirty Coloured Plates, royal 4to, fancy covers, 5s.

Spanish and French Artists. By Gerard Smith. (Poynter's Art Text-books.) 5s.

Spiers' French Dictionary. 29th Edition, remodelled. 2 vols., 8vo, 18s.; half bound, 21s.

Spry (W. J. J., R.N.). Cruise of H.M.S. "Challenger." With many Illustrations. 6th Edition, 8vo, cloth, 18s. Cheap Edition, crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Spyri (Joh.). Heidi's Early Experiences: a Story for Children and those who love Children. Illustrated, small post 8vo, 4s. 6d.

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Stanley (H. M.). Congo, and Founding its Free State. Illustrated, 2 vols., 8vo, 42s.

—— How I Found Livingstone. 8vo, 10s. 6d.; cr. 8vo, 7s. 6d.

—— Through the Dark Continent. Crown 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Stenhouse (Mrs.). An Englishwoman in Utah. Crown 8vo, 12s. 6d.

Stevens (E. W.). Fly-Fishing in Maine Lakes. 8s. 6d.

Stockton (Frank R.). The Story of Viteau. With 16 page Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 5s.

Stoker (Bram). Under the Sunset. Crown 8vo, 6s.

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—— See also Rose Library.


Sullivan (A. M.). Nutshell History of Ireland. Paper boards, 6d.

Sutton (A. K.). A B C Digest of the Bankruptcy Law. 8vo, 3s. and 2s. 6d.

TAINE (H. A.). "Les Origines de la France Contemporaine." Translated by John Durand.

I.The Ancient Regime. Demy 8vo,cloth, 16s.
II.The French Revolution. Vol. 1.    do.
III.Do.        do.Vol. 2.    do.
IV.Do.        do. Vol. 3.     do.

Talbot (Hon. E.). A Letter on Emigration. 1s.

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Taylor (W. M.). Paul the Missionary. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.

Thausing (Prof.). Malt and the Fabrication of Beer. 8vo, 45s.