Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

pect. The country contiguous to the coast- terrific. The writer has seen, not more than
line is flat and uninteresting, and the cha- fifteen minutes after the beginning of a
racter of the coast itself is very tame. There down-pour, horses immersed above their
is nothing at all approaching to beauty or knees and struggling with difficulty to do
grandeur, and the observing traveller, who the work they had on hand. The descent
has been restricted for eighty or ninety days of the rain is also accompanied by a noise
to the contemplation of water only, is seized resembling somewhat the discharge of a
with none of the rapturous emotion usually cannon, and no little consternation is created
associated with the sight of land, but hails in the mind of one witnessing the phenome-
its appearance with little or no enthusiasm. non for the first time. Snow is well nigh
Nor is this unvarying flatness confined to unknown in the lowlands of Victoria, though
those districts bordering upon the shore, occasionally seen on the Australian alps;
but it is also to be noted in the interior of but the void is amply filled by hail storms,
the Province. When considering the gene- which are of frequent occurrence, and are
ral features of the country, one is forced sources of damage both to life and pro-
to the conclusion that nature has but perty.
indifferently exercised that attribute of pro- Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, al-
digality so often ascribed to her, but has, though originally settled by the British, has
much to the detriment of her subject, shown much more the appearance of an American
a marked tendency towards parsimony. than an English city. The majority of the
This is more particularly noticeable in the people, though ardently attached to, and
dearth of foliage, the illiberal supply of having great reverence for, the mother land,
which is very reasonably regarded by the in- are very republican in their tastes, and do
habitants as a great natural defect. It gives not accept with grace any interference in
rise in many ways to much discomfort. their affairs. The most prominent public
During the summer months, when it is no offices are held by Irishmen, and in the con-
uncommon thing for the thermometer to ferring of Imperial honours the Irish cannot
stand at, and even exceed, a hundred de complain of being overlooked. An instance
grees in the shade,—this expression, when may here be given of the extraordinary suc-
applied to Victoria and some other portions cess which attends the movements of an en-
of Australia, would seem to be a misnomer, terprising man in this colony. Sir John
as there is no spot which can be justly O'Shaughnessy, who arrived in Melbourne
designated shade, save the interior of one's with the traditional sixpence in his pocket,
dwelling, - those who are desirous of re- and embarked in the business of a butcher,
creation or exercise in the open air must be after a few short years rose to eminence in
prepared to sacrifice every idea of comfort the counsels of his country, and his services
or enjoyment. In fact, at this period of the were duly and deservedly acknowledged at
year, the unfortunate inhabitant, if he wishes home by the conferring upon him of the
to make life tolerable, must confine himself order of knighthood. The present Prime
strictly and diligently to the protection Minister, Sir James McCulloch, also rose
afforded by his own roof.

from an obscure position. These are only One of the most unpleasant features of two of many instances where energy and the climate is the prevalence of hot winds. enterprise have received ample recompense. The ungenerous distribution of trees is here Although the number of Chinamen in Melagain made painfully apparent, as any one bourne and vicinity is not nearly so large as exposed to the influence of these periodical in San Francisco, they, nevertheless, form a visitations has but small means of refuge, considerable element in the population. and has to bear the unobstructed force of They, however, keep very much to themthe attack. One of the most certain effects selves, and the Europeans are not apt to is a state of temporary blindness, and, if the raise any grievous complaint on their acdust be well raised, as is usually the case, count. Their business is, for the most the mouth and nostrils become unwilling re part, that of tea merchants, an occupation in ceptacles of a plenteous supply of sand and which they, no doubt, find it profitable to other crude delicacies. Rain, when it does engage. A great many of the men have come, does not descend in any doubtful or intermarried with Europeans, and some have hesitating manner, its force being simply even accepted the truths of Christianity.

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

names.

The present efficiency of the Young Men's I myself, having mastered words of such inChristian Association has been brought frequent occurrence as “heresiarch,” “pusilabout in a great measure by the self-denying lanimity” and “borborygm" (which last

” ministrations of one Cheok Cheong Hong, was objected to by reason of its being used who figures on the list of the working com- only in medical phraseology), was finally, to mittee of that institution.

quote from the comments of the morning Rivalry in trade is carried to a great ex- paper, “gracefully ricochetted' off the treme in Melbourne. On a certain street, platform.' and immediately opposite each other, were Ballarat, the centre of the Gold Mining the shops of two pawnbrokers, who were region, is about one hundred miles from both Jews and happened to enjoy the same Melbourne and is very prettily situated.

All connection with each other was The writer had an opportunity of ascertaindisclaimed and the individuality of each ing the condition in which this industry is maintained by the addition of the following at present.

From various sources, and significant words to their respective signs: from personal observation, he found that the

Nothing in connection with the petty trader mining was in a very languishing state, little opposite.' Melbourne deserves high com- or no activity being visible ; and he also mendation for the establishment of a Public heard that the indolence and indifference of Library when the colony was yet in its in- Europeans had resulted in throwing the enfancy. The existence of this institution is a tire working of the mines into the hands of great boon to those whose position in life the Chinese. During the month of Septemwill not allow them to indulge otherwise in ber of last year, however, some little excitea taste for reading. Every one, no matter ment was occasioned by the discovery of what his calling or how shabby his appear- the precious metal near the village of Stawell. ance, can participate in all the advantages Shares which had been bought as low as which the library affords, the only restric- 25. 6d. soon reached a fabulous price, and tions being that perfect order and silence many fortunes were made in an hour. Events shall be preserved, and that no volume shall like this are now of rare occurrence, and the be removed from the building. Visitors are yield of gold is steadily decreasing. During only too glad to observe these reasonable my stay in Ballarat an election contest was rules, and a violation or evasion of them, held, and there was, of course, the usual exhas never been known. There are nearly citement attendant upon struggles of this 100,000 volumes; works of fiction, however, kind. The Australians are certainly not being carefully excluded. In the establish- lacking in political ardour, and, although it ment of the institution instruction and im- has repeatedly been said that Canada conprovement were kept in view rather than tains more politics to the square acre than mere amusement. It is said that £40,000 any portion of the globe, she must now adhave been expended on the building and mit the existence of a formidable competi£30,000 for literature. The library is a tor to that enviable distinction. In three pleasant resort for mechanics and others in months' time, from July to October of last the evenings, and the good that has been year, no less than three Governments were done in this way can scarcely be overesti- overthrown, and the climax was finally

It is, at all events, an example reached by the Opposition taking the unwhich might well be followed by cities much usual and extreme course of refusing to vote larger and wealthier than Melbourne. the supplies necessary to conduct the or

Spelling bees were very much the rage dinary affairs of the country. Journeying whilst I was in Melbourne. I had the plea- in the mining region is attended with much sure of competing at one of these inter- difficulty and requires no little caution, and esting gatherings, on which occasion the the triumphant accomplishment of a journey superiority of the Canadian over the Aus- of thirteen miles which the writer undertook tralian in the matter of spelling was well in that locality, he will always consider as established. A friend of mine, a brother one of the most marvellous feats of his life. Canadian, whom I had met quite acciden- For the greater part of the road there was tally, and whose grounding was, by the way, no guide but a succession of mute and received at the same institution as my own, blackened stumps, surrounded by awkward carried off the palm after a spirited contest. but imposing rocks, which greatly im

peded his progress. Ballarat has been re- in tropical weather,--that is, during one-third cently made the see of a Bishop, and the of the voyage, -almost unfit for occupancy. Rev. Dr. Thornton, of Birmingham, pro- The vessel is either becalmed for days at a ceeded there in that capacity last August. time, or else tossed and imperilled in some He has one parish which derives its support frightful storm.

In the latter case, every from the generous contributions of a baker avenue by which air can be admitted is and a grocer, but this circumstance does carefully closed, and the blessing of light not discourage him.

utterly denied to those, who, from considerIn distinction to the tame aspect of the ations of safety, prefer to remain below. Victoria coast, the shores of Western Again, the heat at times is so excessive as to Australia are very bold. It is here that cause the tar on the decks to boil, and one the greater portion of the very few rem- is not inclined to test the strength of, or nants of the aboriginal inhabitants are to cultivate any unnecessary intimacy with, a be seen. It has been asserted by geo- sun which has sufficient power to do this. graphers and others, that these natives are All these considerations must make a man the most degraded on the face of the earth, hesitate before taking a step which cannot and those who have had the opportunity of well be recalled, and point towards a couna personal inspection cannot fail most try less difficult to reach, and nearer home, heartily to endorse this none too forcible as a more suitable land of adoption. statement. They clothe themselves (if the There is also the consideration of climate very trifling amount of material with which which has been spoken of in the beginning they are encumbered may be called cloth of this article, which should not be passed ing), in some species of fur, and their strik- over without thought. Although much pubing personal appearance is enhanced by an lic building is going on in Melbourne and elaborate bestowal of paint and an occa- the other principal cities of Australia, the sional device judiciously arranged. Like supply of labourers more than equals the the Arabs, they seem to be versed sufficient demand. The railways in Victoria and New ly in the English language to be able to be- South Wales are for the most part small and siege travellers constantly with entreaties insignificant, and a small staff only is requifor money. At Swan River the country, site to keep them in efficient working order. though wild, is very beautiful, and wild There is, however, in contemplation, the flowers grow in magnificent profusion. building of a railway from Melbourne to

Having considered the climate and some Sydney, a distance of six hundred miles, of the physical aspects of Australia, it may which will be a work of great magnitude and not be inapt to say a word or two as to its will involve the necessity of an increased advantages and disadvantages as a field for number of workmen in the country. There emigration. To the emigrant from England is one class of so-called labouring men, with or Scotland, who is contemplating removing which Australia, like all new countries, is himself and his household gods to that completely overrun, and that is clerks. As distant land, a multitude of considerations those, moreover, who leave the old country must present themselves, and he should not with the intention of engaging themselves in hastily, or without mature reflection, decide Australia as clerks, are generally members of upon taking a step which may well be that class who have been cast adrift by their deemed irrevocable. First of all, he must parents and guardians, they are not a desirnot lose sight of the many hardships and the able addition to a new colony. It is well great distress which attend the long sea known that the chief purpose to which Ausvoyage. None but the wealthier classes tralian land is devoted is the raising of sheep, can afford to take passage by steamship in but, as any one who is desirous of embarkone of the vessels which double the Cape of ing in an enterprise of this kind, must be Good Hope, or by the luxurious and expen- provided with a fair amount of capital, a sive Peninsular and Oriental Line. The poor man can have no option in the matter. food which is served out on the sailing ves- Altogether it would seem more desirable sels, although the quantity is not stinted, is that emigrants should first carefully weigh far from being unexceptionable in quality. the advantages and disadvantages of a The berths are small and ill ventilated, and, country like Canada, not so far removed from home, before transferring themselves to so A day or two before we reached the remote a portion of the globe as Australia. Sound, the tranquillity of the voyage was dis

turbed by a very tragic incident.

Some THE VOYAGE HOME, VIA SUEZ.

trouble arose with the engines which pre

vented them from performing their office We left Melbourne by the Peninsular and properly, and the second engineer, a man Oriental Steam Navigation Company's not scrupulously temperate in his habits, Steamship Pera, about two o'clock in the took it into his head that the accident had afternoon of the 4th of November. The been the result of some carelessness or negship was manned entirely by natives of the ligence on his part, and promptly made Straits Settlements, (which comprise the away with himself

. He was found hanging islands of Penang, Singapore and some from a hook in his cabin, and it was generothers of minor importance,) commonly ally supposed that he must have adjusted called Lascars ; the officers of course being the rope while in his bunk, and suddenly Europeans. These natives are lithe and sprung from it. An inquest was held at the active in their movements, seem intelligent, Sound, and a most extraordinary verdict was are quite amenable to discipline,and appear, rendered. The jury came to the conclusion on the whole, to make good sailors; but I that there was no evidence to show that the believe the principal reason for employing unfortunate man had destroyed his own life, them is economy.

The tropical voyage and their decision was so worded as to admit from Melbourne to Ceylon being very try of the belief that some outside influence ing, it is necessary to give greatly increased had been used. Whether this verdict was wages to seamen to induce them to enter a given from conscientious conviction, or whetrade in which so many risks are run ; and ther the jury were influenced by a desire to these Lascars are quite content with a mere afford to the deceased the last rites of the pittance. It has also been found unneces-church, were questions which, though much sary to set before them any very carefully discussed, were not determined. The surprepared dishes, their sustenance being de- geon remarked that he felt somewhat surrived principally from a liberal consumption prised that this intelligent and far-seeing of rice. This simple food is served up on jury had not thought fit to express their bare and ungarnished boards, and is con- doubts as to the actual decease of the man. veyed to the mouth without the aid of the After having taken on board the requisite modern luxuries of fork and spoon, so amount of coal, we set sail for Galle, and that the outlay for the means of impart-nothing worthy of note happened until that ing nourishment is not excessive. They point was reached. Ceylon is a beautiful are very regular in their devotions, but country, and the prospect from the vessel I was told by one of the stewards, that was delightful. The change from the Ausas soon as these are over, the men are ready tralian to the European steamer only occuto engage in any nefarious enterprise that pying two or three hours, no time was given may present itself. The stewards, however, for visiting the island. The moment we had do not entertain the warmest affection for dropped anchor, swarms of Cingalese clamthe Lascars, so that probably this statement bered up the sides of the vessel, some with should not be accepted unhesitatingly. The importunate offers of their services as a city of Adelaide was reached on the third means of conveyance to the shore, and day out, it being distant from Melbourne others desirous of selling native work. The about six hundred miles. This is the capital beautiful lines of Bishop Heber at once of South Australia, but is a place of com- across my mind, and the truth of his parative insignificance. King George's words seemed very apparent : Sound, the extreme southerly point of Western Australia, was touched at, and many

What though the spicy breezes blow soft o'er

Ceylon's isle, passengers took this opportunity of going Though every prospect pleases, and only man is on shore. The general appearance of the country here was extremely uncivilized, and

In vain, with lavish kindness, the gifts of God are

strewn, it is in this district that the few Aborigines

The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood now remaining, whose appearance I have and stone." already attempted to describe, are met with.

са

vile ;

The natives of this beautiful island are I forgot to mention that a glimpse was not encumbered with much clothing. The had of Mount Sinai. Great numbers of intensity of heat makes it very trying for Egyptian and Arab soldiers were seen at Europeans, and, for this reason only, I was Suez. They were on the point of embarking glad when more temperate regions were for Abyssinia, with which kingdom they reached. The sight of the green foliage and were at that time not on the very best of the palm trees was delightful, and the open terms. Judging from their appearance I and airy dwellings were unlike anything that should say that one Englishman could I had hitherto seen. The natives of Ceylon easily tackle four of these inexperienced are greatly superior to the Hindoos or warriors. Their struggle with Abyssinia has Lascars in personal appearance, many of shown their incompetency, and they no them being very good-looking, and gifted doubt regret having entered into a contest with great muscular strength. I was rather with opponents so formidable as the inhasurprised that none of them should have bitants of that country are known to be. On produced and offered to sell me a bottle of the arrival of the steamer from Bombay on the “ Cingalese Hair Renewer,” a prepara- Saturday evening, we left Suez and crossed tion, the remarkable effect of which we have the desert by rail to Alexandria. As the heard so much of in Canada. It is singular journey was performed during the night, that the marvellous powers of this article very little was seen, but, possibly, there was seem to be quite unknown in the locality very little to see, except an occasional oasis from whence it is supposed to come. Great here and there. I could not help being and very general regret was felt when this struck with the remarkable knowledge which lovely spot was left, but the remembrance the conductor of the train, who was an of Ceylon and its many attractions, will never Egyptian, seemed to show of almost every fade from my recollection.

living language. There were English, French, We left Point de Galle about one o'clock | Italians, and many passengers of other nain the afternoon of the 27th of November, tionalities, but he appeared perfectly equal by the steamship Poonah, the largest ship to answering any inquiries which were adowned by the Peninsular and Oriental Com- dressed to him, irrespective of tongue. pany. A capital run was made from Galle When the day broke, Egypt burst upon us to Aden, the distance being about twenty in all its novelty, the camels, especially, one hundred miles, and the time taken in attracting considerable attention. There are running it only seven days. Aden com- no vehicles of any description in use here, mands the entrance to the Red Sea, and and everything appears to be done by means has the appearance of being an almost of these camels, which are able to carry imimpregnable fortress. It is in the hands of mense loads, and are very easily managed. the British, and is of great value to them. The Egyptians themselves, and the country The voyage up the Red Sea from Aden to generally, would seem to have undergone no Suez was very pleasant, and was accom- change since the infancy of the world, and plished in about six days. Several of the the vivid pictures of Eastern life pourtrayed sailors attempted to show us the veritable in the Bible are brought with renewed force spot where Pharoah and his host were to one's mind when passing through this indrowned. We reached Suez on Friday the teresting land. The Nile was crossed, but 10th of December, and were detained there there is nothing at all remarkable in the apuntil Saturday evening, which gave us ample pearance of this river, to discover the source time to see everything worthy of notice. of which has cost many a valuable life. Many demands were made upon us for Alexandria is the most desolate and dismal“backsheesh," but I fear that the natives were looking place it has ever been my lot to see ; not greatly enriched by our visit. A good it appears more like a collection of barns deal of donkey-riding was done, but I pre than a place where human beings are supferred not to place myself at the mercy of posed to live. A very imperfect view was these untrustworthy animals. I heard that had of Pompey's pillar from the railway, but very many of those who had recklessly al- it is something to say that one has even seen lowed themselves to be stationed on the this ancient monument. No time was given backs of these creatures were brought to to visit the city, but no particular regret was overwhelming grief.

felt, and the passengers were glad to know

c

« AnteriorContinua »