CL. °l!ûS3i52- S6





The following sketches were written some years ago, and relate to newly-formed settlements spread over an area of nearly thirty thousand square miles. This will account for the ignorance and want of civilization pointed out in some of the papers. It is pleasant to know that wonderful changes for the better have been gradually taking place; and the record is not the less interesting on this account.


jSchoojl «Inspector.


v different is the life led by a school inspector in England, from that endured by his brother in the bush of Australia ! Luxuriously carried along in the first-class compartment of a train, the English inspector travels one hundred miles without fatigue or discomfort. He arrives at the school-door without being drenched by rain, smothered with dust, daubed by mud, or tattered in dress from a thorny thicket.

The first time I saw an English inspector in a classroom, I could not help mentally contrasting his prime condition with the disordered appearance in which I have had to present myself before the scholars. One occasion I remember, when, having ridden several hours in the teeth of a hot wind, I arrived with an aboriginal face, from dust and perspiration. I demanded water to quench rny thirst and unseal my eyelids, and was comforted by the assurance of the teacher—“ I am so sorry, sir, but every drop is gone : I will send to the hole and get some, it is not above a mile off.”

The English inspector has not to walk, as I have had to do, all night through a burning forest, to avoid the heat of day, as one horse had failed, and another could not be obtained but at the next house, nearly twenty miles off. He has not to toil along a road, so called, with mud up to the saddle-girths. He is not obliged to swim flooded rivers, ford dangerous creeks, cross broad morasses, scratch through prickly scrubs, enter pathless forests, pant on treeless plains, endure long hours of thirst and hunger, and sleep on the turf when lost in the bush. An adventure of the last sort may be described.

Resisting the kind appeal of a settler’s lady, who tried to induce me to stay all night at her hospitable home, as the sun was lowering fast for a forest ride, I leaped on my horse, persuaded that a few hours would bring me nearer my next school, and secure me quarters as well. So many tracks ran off in various directions, and were undistinguishable from cattle trails, that I dashed off at once into the gloomy shade, dependent upon my compass alone. I had taken bearings from one old volcano, near which I had dined, for another near which I expected to find a settler’s homestead ; for, without introduction, I intended, in due colonial course, to throw myself as a stranger upon that gentleman’s hospitality.

Now and then I caught sight of the crater top toward which I was hastening, and got fresh compass guidance. But, as the shadows deepened, I lost all objects but trees and grass. Coming on to vast blocks of lava, rolled about, I knew that I was at the foot of the hill, though not so well aware then that it was above twenty miles round. Coming upon a well-beaten track, as the evening fell rather suddenly upon me, my horse pushed ahead with the thought of his supper. But he soon stopped; for he came to what is well known as a glue-pot marsh, that is, where the mud has a very strong adhesive quality. It was a toilsome work to drag through this. Firm ground appeared. On again in the darkness. The trees ceased all at once, and the track ceased also. I stood at the side of another green marsh, and in vain sought to look across for an object. The mist aided night in concealment. I was lost!

It is never an agreeable sensation to miss one’s way in such solitudes. Without apprehension of wild beasts, without fear of marauders, without dread of natives, it is not pleasant to lie down alone in the forest at night. But when one has no matches for a fire, no provision for a supper, and no blanket for a wrapper, the situation ” is indeed cheerless.

My first thought was to retreat from the damp valley, and get back into the timber. Suddenly a fire blazed up before me, and Tom trotted off without bidding toward it. There I found a man camping for the night near a cattle yard. He extended toward me the remnants of his supper—a small piece of meat, two potatoes, and a pannikin of tea. He was sorry he had eaten all the bread, was very glad of my company, and was quite ready to give me apart of his blanket when I wanted to

turn in. As I knew a busk coverlid was never too clean, and was often a perfect museum of entomology, I returned my thanks, but declined his extreme hospitality.

It ought to be mentioned that, as a true traveller, I looked to my beast before myself. My benighted friend had noticed a tether rope fastened to one of the trees near the cattle yard. This was quite a good fortune for poor Tom, as it enabled him to have a graze without being lost to himself and his master.

My companion was an Irishman; but his tongue was not from the lively isle. An interrogative series, however, brought out something from him. He had been out with Leichhardt, the ill-fated Australian explorer, and he warmed up as he narrated some of his perilous adventures on the route to Port Essington. He could not live in towns now, he told me. Nothing suited him but the bush. As a shepherd, he was on his way to another station, when night overtook him. He said he would rather sleep quietly in the forest, beside a good fire, than lie on a bed in a house. He soon left my company for that in his blanket.

A drizzling rain then drove me under shelter of a little shed, over the tackling used for hauling up unruly beasts. No seat presenting itself but the top of the high fence, or the rolling axle to which the tackling was ' fastened, I preferred to gather myself upon the shifting axle. My efforts to sleep were unsuccessful. I repeatedly went over the multiplication table, and nearly told the numbers of the national debt; but all in vain. Now a wild dog would howl, then a bullock vmuld bellow, the night bird would shriek, and an exhausted log would fall into the ashes. Old Tom persisted in an

attempt to strangle himself, or dance in tight ropes, and needed my assistance again and again to extricate him. Then, when his jaws ached with feeding and he subsided into repose, a sudden vulgar snore awoke him to propriety and disturbed my nod. Yielding to the force of circumstances, I descended from my instrument of torture, replenished the fire, gathered up an amazing stock of fortitude and resignation, and looked up to the stars, which now, freed from the cloudy drapery, blushed forth their loveliness before me.

Hour after hour did I watch the noiseless progress of the constellations. The Southern Cross, always above \ the horizon, was at first erect,1 as Constantine may have seen his sign in the heavens—the cross triumphant. It almost saddened me to see it sink downward toward the earth, as though attracted by its smiles, in forgetfulness

of loftier destinies. But it was a comfort to know that, though here it sank a little, there were other climes in which it towered aloft in all its symbolic grandeur; and faith whispered patience for awhile, and I should know ' it here again triumphant. After all, its decline was but an optical illusion. The cross itself was not abased; it was but the revolution of this earth. It never can be lowered, nor can it cease to shine. The admiring eye of man may see it brighter still upon another shore.

Our Southern Cross is an enduring charm. There it stands with its foot upon that mysterious blackened void, that pear-shaped space of darkness which looms forth as a forbidding spectre, amidst the glowing beauties of the galaxy. Fancy pictured a stray spirit, lost in that orbless space, being directed homeward by the brilliance of the starry lighthouse on the borders of that dark ocean. It would not be the only soul guided homeward amidst the gloom of nature by the rays of the Cross.

But the fire burnt low; my enthusiasm cooled down ; a raw fog came stealing along the marsh, lazily climbing up the branches, driving me to the shed, and making me coil once more upon the axle. I shivered, and forgot my dreams of fancy; I longed for the morn.

Fairly wearing out at last, I sank into an unsteady doze. From this partial loss of myself I was awakened by the rude chattering of an early magpie. Dropping down from my perch, chilled and stiffened by my constrained posture, I looked round the gray scene of twilight, saddled my horse, and rode leisurely away. After hours of painful suspense spent in winding round the volcano, the geological interest of which was quite unheeded by me then, I reached the house, and got a breakfast.

Such a night in the busli does not furnish the best preparation for an inspector’s work on the following day, and is far too uncomfortable to be romantic or interesting.


tNOTHER time I was lost in the forest that girdles the Mount William range of the Grampians of Victoria.

Hours had passed without the sight of a human being, or the presence of any token of civilization. Undulations of palaeozoic rocks, with occasional granite intrusions, formed the only variety in my bush ramble. Troops of hopping kangaroos ventured to cross my path and the screaming of flocks of parrots mingled with the merry note of the laughing jackass.

But the rosy tint on the lofty rocks of William melted into ashy gloom, and the harsh howl of the dingo from the depths of the scrub told me that the marauder’s time of darkness was coming. The demand for supper was as urgent as the call for rest, and I coo-ed again and again to attract the ear of man. It was then with most pleasurable emotions that I caught at last the sound of a European dog. It was evidently the bark at a flock, and I knew a shepherd was not far off. Hastening forward, I gained the evening camp of the bleaters, and was soon comfortably seated by the hut fire of the bushman—the only abode for miles about in these solitudes. The edifice was not attractive for appearances, nor convenient for use. It was about eleven

feet long by eight feet broad. The elevation, even to the ridge of the roof, was but eight feet, and the sides were much less. The structure was of logs and mud, with a roof of bark, whose antiquity was evidenced in its rolled-up condition, admitting liberal entrance to sun, air, and rain. A sort of dog-kennel attachment outside, with admission from the hut, formed the bedchamber of the family of the shepherd.

My reception was a hearty one. Hospitality is the great virtue of the bush: it is offered freely, and accepted without shame or hesitancy. Ho apology is attempted for the nature of the viands or the shabbiness of the couch. The food is wholesome and plentiful, though the cookery is innocent of the inventions of

Soyer, and unaccompanied with Harvey or Worcester sauce. The bed is more often an impromptu one than an English four-poster; a stretcher is a luxury. I have had sometimes to pick out the softest plank on the floor, and recline thereon, with a blanket or rug around me.

In the present instance my supper was the ever-present damper and tea. The good dame kindly promised me a stretcher. Where she should place it in a room half taken up by her own uncurtained bed, was a question not reserved for travellers to entertain.

An hour or so of the evening passed in a chat with the boys of the household. One was about ten and the other eight. I got their story. They came from the land of the mountain and flood, Old Scotia. They had been four or five years in Australia. Most of that time they had been at the diggings, and now were camped upon this out-of-the-way sheep station. I was amused with their vivacity and frankness, and assured of their mental acuteness.

We turned then to their employments ; and they eagerly described their bush life. They got the hurdles together for the night camp of the sheep. They took a run with the dog after kangaroo rats. They shouldered the gun for parrots, hawks, and eagles; for the latter had a fancy for the lambs. They went off opossuming at night, snared the wild dog, and shot down the wombat, or native pig. Then they got fish in the King William Creek, and occasionally made soup from kangaroo’s tail. Merry lads in the bush were they, nor knew they anything of the ennui of solitude.

Then came up the school talk. “ Can you read, my lads ? ” “ We can so,” was the thoroughly colonial response. I inquired into the stock of literature—there was a Gaelic Bible and a Gaelic Psalm-book. But they could not read Gaelic, though faiher and mother could. All the records in English print were two Testaments, which they got somehow from a diggings school they

had attended. The mother, with a brightened eye, informed me that she was the teacher now, and had the boys to read a chapter to her every night.

With this encouraging opening we took our reading lesson. The fingers were constantly used as aids to eyes, after the juvenile fashion. I quietly expressed my concern that their sight should be so bad for print, and so good for hunting. The road seemed smooth enough with easy monosyllables, but became difficult with the advent of five or six-lettered words, and almost impassable with a simple dissyllable. As they confessed that the writing had nearly gone for want of exercise, and the multiplication had gradually receded from their vision in the distance; I had to content myself with a few specimens of the interrogative upon the verses they had attempted to read.

But here my lads were fairly bothered. They could have given me luminous chapters upon natural history, and discoursed learnedly upon mining; but to explain what was in the Testament was utterly beside the mark. In fact they seemed little aborigines, idealess upon religious subjects. They knew nothing of the meaning of such words as salvation, ransom, eternity. The Fall they did not comprehend, and the Saviour’s Passion was unknown to these descendants of Knox and Erskine.

“ What is your soul ? ” said I.

Don’t know,” replied one of them.

“ Is there anything of you that can never die ? ”

This seemed to puzzle them awhile; then one muttered—

“ Never heard of it.”

My next endeavour was to learn their apprehension of the duty of prayer. They evidently did not understand my question. I put it in various ways before eliciting an answer. No; they had never asked God to forgive them for anything. No; they never asked him to take them to heaven. They never asked him for anything. They knew not what was implied by saying prayers at night. They never prayed.

I turned to the father, whose roughly-bearded face was glowing with ill-suppressed confusion and shame. The poor mother hung down her head in silence.

“ Yes,” answered the man, to my look; the lads are right, sir. I am glad they didn’t tell a lie, sir. They don’t say their prayers, sir. When they were at the diggings I was too busy to take them to church, and it was a long way off, to be sure. But when we were in Scotland, sir, it was not so ; we all went to church then. Even the boys, though little and young, were taught their prayers, and always said them to me every night.” This intelligence at first a little confounded me.

“ But,” said I, they don’t seem to know now that they ever learned their prayers.’

The shepherd shuffled about on his log seat, and at last came out with the following apology :—“ Why, do •you see, sir, this is it. The lads were taught tlieii prayers; but that was in Gaelic, which we all talked in our place pretty much. When they came out to Australia, where English only is spoken, they forgot their Gaelic and their prayers too.”

This very conclusive statement satisfied me why they did not say their prayers in Gaelic, but gave no light as to their ignorance of an English supplication.

I turned again to the lads. After giving them a sort of general lesson, and trying by kindly tone and simple speech, to lead them to think of a forgotten lesson, I taught them a prayer. Dividing it into five short sentences, and giving each one of the passages an association with one of the five fingers, the lesson was easily acquired.

When alone with the seniors, I deemed it a duty to talk very plainly to them. It was cruel to neglect the education of such fine sharp lads. It was more cruel still to leave them in ignorance of their God. It was especially a shame for them as Scotch people.

Suspecting from the first the real reason of this parental negligence—their forgetfulness of prayer, their omission of church duties, their ill-luck at the diggings, and the present aspect of poverty in the hut, I put the question boldly—whether or not strong drink had anything to do with his misfortunes and faults. It was so. He admitted that the evil habit contracted in Scotland had been encouraged by early success at the diggings, and that he had been induced to withdraw to the solitude of the bush to escape temptation.

He seemed touched by my counsel, and devoutly promised no longer to neglect the dear lads. He would teach them himself in the evenings; and when he felt his moral strength returning, he would go back to some civilized settlement to get a school for his boys. My chance visit to the mountain hut was not, I hope, without a service to its inmates, though not quite in the line of my duty as an inspector of schools.


tc>J T is an acknowledged fact tliat, notwithstanding the laudable efforts of the colonial government to overtake the circumstances of the goldfields, the amount of ignorance of letters there is most lamentable,

As a great part of my district lay in the western diggings of Victoria, and especially including the more prominent rushes, I became painfully aware of this educational destitution. A short tale will exhibit this to the English reader.

To give a comparative idea of this deficiency, I collected from my official reports the following returns. Dividing the schools into three classes: town, agricultural, and mining—taking forty-six of the first, twenty-seven of the second, and thirty-three of the third—it appeared that the schools in which no geography and grammar were taught formed one-sixth of the town, one-fifth of the agricultural, and one-third of the mining class. The relative proportion of the three in order, where no child was advanced to “reduction” in arithmetic, was thus: one-fourth, one third, one-half; and, where none had entered the compound rules : one-fifteenth, one-ninth, one-fourth. Thus the schools at the diggings were educationally far lower than those in towns or in farming districts.

Elsewhere I remark upon the shifting character of

the population, and the necessary changing of schools by the children. This is always attended with disadvantages, even in the best-regulated communities. The pupil is submitted to examination upon entrance to a new school, has to submit to misconceptions of his educational status, is frequently placed in a class for which he is not fitted ; and by the time the teacher discovers his mistake or recognises the real position of his scholar, the lad has departed to another director. Instead, therefore, of progression, there is often a manifest decline of knowledge by this irregularity. The boy or girl, becoming disheartened at these failures, will repeatedly object to go longer under this bungling process, and be satisfied with the rude lessons that may be retained.

Being concerned about a nice-looking and intelligent girl having still to stumble over some simple monosyllables, although she was eleven years of age, I sought the solution of the enigma; and found it in the fact that she had been at six different schools during the last four years, and that she knew less now by far than she did when seven or eight years of age.

A diggings schoolmaster, in describing the attendance of children in his immediate locality, wrote thus to me : —“ From information received, as well as from personal acquaintance with this place, I cannot suppose that there are more than one-third of the children receiving instruction.” Elsewhere he says that, of four hundred and twenty, only about one hundred go to school. Under that very man’s instruction I found the strangest instances of ignorance. Very few could read at all. Even the multiplication table had passed out of the

minds of several who had learned it years before. Nothing of grammar and geography could be attempted.

At another school, when expressing my surprise at the low state of instruction among above one hundred present that day, the master assured me that upon his opening the school a few months before he had only three who could work an addition sum. The majority of these pupils had been at school in Englaud.

In a bush-school, of forty-eight present, my examination brought out the following dismal results: seventeen in the alphabet class, and twenty-two in monosyllables, while six read a little. Of the forty-eight, only nine were trying arithmetic; and of these one was in division, two more in multiplication, and six in addition. Only two or three of the girls were engaged in needle-work. The sewing-mistress expressed her deep regret, assuring me that she brought all the bits of rags she could, and lent the children needles on purpose to employ their fingers; but that the vagrancy of habit induced by their rambling life, their inability to get work to bring to do, and the absolute indifference of the mothers, had quite disheartened her.

Here again must I repeat, that the worst features tc which allusion is made do not apply to the stationary diggings—such as Ballarat, Castlemaiue, Beechworth, Sandhurst. While all miners may be characterized as a moving people, many remain for years even at one place, especially quartz-workers and puddlers. But we have a large number who are a genuine nomadic race— the true Bedouins of the gold-fields, and among whose children this remarkable deficiency is perceived.

W here the teacher is honest and good, wretched exhi-

bitions of ignorance may be known; but where lie is of indifferent character, as will sometimes happen, through careless appointments, and the dearth of regular masters, worse evils follow, as the instruction is worse, and the morals are neglected. It was my misfortune to come upon one of this class, an educated man from across the Atlantic, whose habits were far from being opposite to those of his digging neighbours, in one of the modest out-diggings. There I saw no map, no blackboard, no roll, and uncommonly few slates and books. The boys were rude enough, even for the gold-fields, and the girls were not much better in behaviour. Tour or five dirty, rough copy-books formed the writing materials of one-eighth of the school. Not a girl attempted arithmetic. About one-half of the children knew not the alphabet.

I may be supposed to present the worst cases for illustration. Now for a word of explanation of this social phenomenon.

The majority of the children were from the British Isles, and arrived with their parents in consequence of the gold-fever. In 1852 the population of Victoria was one-eighth of what it now is ; and the increase came, of course, from England, Scotland, and Ireland. I could not then help forming an impression that public instruction at home had, after all the efforts made, not proved a great success. It is but natural to suppose that those who had learned to read in England should hardly forget everything by crossing the equator, and by being some months, or a year, without going to school.

An English inspector of schools lately informed me,

however, that it is a fact that many do thus in after life actually lose the ability to read. I can believe this with lads going to farm service, and in subsequent years being deprived of intellectual advantages; but it can hardly apply, except with very diminished force, to mere children. I think I am right in assuming that the quality and extent of primary instruction in the mother country are not yet perfect.

But it must be admitted that at these bush-schools, or even diggings schools generally, the age of the pupils is very low. Little ones are sent, to get them out of the way, and to save some maternal anxiety about tumbling down holes. As soon as a lad can do anything, he will do it for himself, without respect to his father. The juvenile independence which so prevails in the manufacturing districts in England, where work is plentiful and paying for youth, is increased largely in a country where gold is to be gathered by hands that can use a tin dish. It is, therefore, very uncommon to see a boy at school of eleven or twelve years old.

Supposing, then, a child arrives from Britain, only seven years of age, and is, from the excitement of the parents about new employments, and the lowering of their moral sense, left for many months without being sent to school, and then only irregularly, and at different places, it is not difficult to understand the loss of much previous instruction.

But, although admitting the apology for the absence of boys from school, I never could excuse the nonattendance of girls, whose labours are only needed for domestic affairs, which are simple enough in the diggings, where there are no room floors to scrub, no

furniture to clean, and but rough cookery to perform. It is to be feared that the difficulties in their way involve a deep moral question.

From whatever causes originating, or however sustained, this evil is of serious consequence to a young community like the colony. Ignorance may be the mother of devotion in some countries, but in Australia we find it the parent of social disorder and moral declension. With the settlement of the place, and the establishment of civilizing agencies, the schoolmaster will vindicate his claims, and the child secure the blessings of a liberal education.


tMONG the early immigrants attracted by the gold discovery was a young man who had wandered about the world as a sailor. He belonged not to the type of the jolly, drunken tar. Brought up under good influences, he had not only been well instructed in secular knowledge, but his heart had been trained to good purpose.

For some time he toiled on the Ballarat field. lie delved with the spade, he rocked the cradle of gold, and washed out the sparkling crystals. But he tired more of his company than of his employment. The rough work could be borne, but the rough society was a constant check to his pleasure. He was ready for a change.

Something else was leading him to another profession. Loving-hearted and simple-minded, gentle in manners and Christian in life, his thoughts had often been attracted to the condition of children about him. He liked to see them at their gambols, and had always a kind word for the laughing prattlers. But he grieved at their neglected condition. He wished so that they could go to school. Fain would he do anything, he thought, to do them good.

All at once he heard that a school was to be commenced near his digging quarter. He offered his services. The minister knew him as an attendant at worship, and selected him as the schoolmaster.

At that time no great amount of educational ability was requisite for the position, and no inquiry was made about certificates from a Normal College. His modesty might have made him retire had the first been proposed, and he had no previous experience in the schoolroom ; but in addition to good sense, extensive reading, worldly tact, and ardent perseverance, he had the main qualification of a good teacher —a love to children, and a love to God.

It is needless to dwell much upon the early career of this Ballarat pioneer. The difficulties of a diggings teacher, great enough now, were more serious of old.

With carriage up to £100 a ton, how was he to get his supplies of books and school furniture ? When hay was dearer per pound than sugar in Melbourne, the cost of food at the mines may be conjectured. With roads in a frightful condition, with insecurity from predatory ruffians, with personal inconveniences and social dis-

comforts, ■with want of literary pleasures, arid with a dearth of religious blessings, there was little indeed to attract one to the diggings then, and less there to an ill-paid, despised, and struggling pedagogue.

Then came on the Ballarat rebellion. The miners rose against a government that exacted an increased licence, but which furnished inadequate protection and little individual freedom. A fortified camp was raised near the schoolroom. The standard of the Southern Cross” flew in defiance of the “Bed Cross” of Britain. Martial law was proclaimed. Business was suspended. Shots were fired into tents whose lights were seen after curfew hours. Mothers kept their little ones close in alarm. Fathers, rising in this contest, were about to leave their children orphans. The school-door was closed; the forms were empty. The Sabbath-day, no uncommon day of conflict with our armies, was to be marked by slaughter here. The rebel camp was charged aud taken; blood freely flowed. The insurrection was crushed; but the insurgents got all their political evils remedied, and saw afterwards a greater boon of liberty bestowed on them by England than England wished to give her own labourers at home.

The children returned to school. Then came other trials. There was the rush to new gold-fields. The little scholar was hoisted on the dray, with tubs, cradles, shovels, boxes, and Hour-bags. The classes filled up again, by renewed rushes, Ballarat-ward. Then there was the recession of the wave of population, to be succeeded by another flow. Amidst all annoyances the faithful master held on to his post. If he could not retain the individual children of his lessons, he had

others of that great family of juveniles with whom he had so strong a sympathy.

It is now six years ago since I first visited this good man. His schoolroom was the church. It was a patchwork of rough timber, canvas, and paling. Little windows, of insecure structure, let in a straggling light. The ventilation was very imperfect, and the inhalation of bad air oppressive. All around were the dusty diggings, with dangerous holes and execrable public approaches. My horse was stuck fast in the adhesive mud before the school-door.

Yet here were about one hundred and fifty children, abundantly supplied with teaching materials, well organized and disciplined, and thoroughly taught by a sufficient number of teachers. The master superintended all, and took his active part at class work. The instruction, though inferior to that of settled towns, was superior to most others. It was extended in course, soundly practical in character, and intellectually elevated in quality.

But the master took my attention. With a quiet, mild, and even nervous exterior, I could read his determination of purpose in the order of the school. If he spoke with a little hesitancy of manner, none disputed his will nor sought to thwart his intentions. There was thorough command without the assumption of authority. Bower was conspicuous, but not the effort to secure it. His gentleness of demeanour had been communicated to his charge. The rough lads of the diggings were softer in speech and looks than usual. There was no lack of spirit in the classes, and yet there was a subdued feeling about them; but this was not

from an outward pressure, but an inward influence. Seldom have I been favoured to observe such a thorough harmony of teachers and taught as in this school. The boys respected, and the girls loved, the good man who had loved them, and so faithfully discharged his duty toward them.

The pioneer is still at his post. He continued to hold his position of having the largest and most flourishing school in my district—a space of nearly thirty thousand miles in area. He has endured other vicissitudes of fortune, and shared fully in the anxieties incident to his profession. But tire man remained unchanged; he was the able and successful master; he was the gentle and the Christian trainer of young hearts. He expected no reward but peace within. Secure in the affections of his pupils, and the warm regard of his scholastic friends, this pioneer of Ballarat public instruction, in the simplicity of his nature, the ardour of his love, and the strength of his faith, is one of the happiest and most useful men I know.


ew teachers of England can comprehend the

troubles of a schoolmaster at the diggings. As

an illustration of colonial hardship, I tell the following story :—

Having arranged with an itinerant clergyman to visit with him a school on the confines of civilization, at a-

remote gold-field, I was struck with the indisposition of my friend to enter with me, when we came in sight of the school tent. He evidently wished that my burst of astonishment should not be in his presence.

Crossing the earthen floor to the teacher, I observed him standing beside a rude blackboard, around which were arranged about a score of boys and girls. The good man looked confused as my eye turned to him after an inspection of the board. There was nothing upon it but a long verse of Scripture. Had I not known that a grammar lesson was a rare event at a “rush ”# school, my thoughts might have been upon parsing.

“ What are you doing there, friend ? ” said I.

“ Why, I—I—am giving a reading lesson.”

“ A reading lesson! ” I exclaimed, “ how is that ? ’’ Then came the sorrowful tale, brought out with some hesitancy by the blushing young man. He had sent for books from Melbourne—that he had—he had sent for them nearly six months before; but they had never come. Where they were he did not know. They might be still on the road, left at a wrong place, dropped into a stream, lost in the forest, or consumed in a bush fire. All he knew was, that thejr had not come to hand. What could he do ? As an honest man, as one receiving government salary, as one daily having a lot of lads and lasses coming to him for instruction, he must try something—he must teach somehow. So, by dint of some carpentering, he had worked up a blackboard ; and, by writing upon it, had each morning prepared a lesson for the day.

Newly discovered diggings are termed “rushes.

After hearing the tale, I observed with a smile that he had not given the printed characters. “ True, true,” said he, in haste; “ but then, do you see, the children learn to read writing at the same time.” One could not but admire the ingenuity of the idea, and yet the man was not from Ireland.

Turning to his assistant, one of the other sex, I saw her more favoured than the master. She was not without literature—real printed matter—in fact, a book! A class before her were reading from an old and tattered copy of flavor’s Spelling Book; the one served the whole. Little did the ancient Mavor ever dream of the value of his labours, and the advantage of even a single copy of his immortal work.

Inquiring further, I heard that the teacher might have got a few books; but at such an extravagant price, that the parents would not buy them, and he really could not afford to supply the school. Even the common little slates were half-a-crown apiece, and the diggings were by no means very flourishing. lie wound up his catalogue of complaints by saying, “Ho wonder they won’t buy the books, when they won’t pay me the fee.”

Though expressing displeasure at this frightful state of things, I could not actually blame the poor master with much severity. The clergyman afterwards confirmed the story of the books having been ordered, and the money sent, full six months before. He would himself have bought some books to go on with, if he had had any confidence in the return of the cash. But with no one in the place to form a committee, or subscribe to the object, and no grant of material from the government, it must of course fall, on the unhappy teacher to venture


into the speculation himself. Even then the Board of Education obliged him to retail at the price he gave, and put up with all losses by bad debts—not an unfrequent fate in that roving quarter. I could not certainly expect the clergyman to contribute, when his own income was from foreign sources, and so scanty an amount could be raised locally toward the support of his church.

The thing must be left to work its own cure. Of course a strong report was made by me to the government, and suggestions offered as to the necessity of departure from their stringency of rules, in providing assistance for these outskirt schools at the rush diggings, in a grant of books and slates. But time works the cure. When the population becomes more permanent, they are more willing to contribute to local institutions, and the master finds it more easy to obtain his supplies.

Yet in other places the same evil exists, and will exist. I have been in schools where the muster of slates has produced two whole ones and three pieces ; where maps and blackboards were unknown; where classes were with only one or two books; or where but two copy-books flourished in the room.

These things must be expected in a new country. The government of Victoria is more liberal in its educational grants than any government under the Queen; and the condition of the master is in most places there one of comfort and respectability.


if any, parts of tlie world were making such satisfactory moral progress as the Australian " ' colonies before the gold discovery. While that event lias tended wonderfully to increase the material wealth of the settlers, it has by no means proved an unmixed good. Many have been drawn aside by excitement or prosperity from the path of virtuous happiness. The sudden influx of a population from the mother country—not themselves too distinguished for moral development—added another element of a deteriorating character. The energies of good men seemed paralysed for a time; and though, since the early golden days, a very marked change for the better has occurred, yet the general influence of a mining life is not elevating to those engaged in it, and it exercised an unhappy effect upon the children in particular. The schoolmaster in England complains of the antagonism of home ; but his brother at the gold-fields has far greater reason to lament this hinderance to his schemes of. moral culture.

While even at the more established diggings this evil is felt, it is necessarily increased by the circumstances of “ rushes/’ or new diggings. Tent-life, with its coarse sights and sounds, is not favourable to morality, however patriarchal and romantic it may appear. Experience of its inconveniences and annoyances can enable one to assert that it is not the perfect condition of humanity. The filthiness more or less belonging to it is a strong objection. The rudeness of mere living, from want of civilized appliances, begets no sense of refinement in children. The constant jostling of sexes together in the confined space, and the betrayal of scenes more properly requiring retirement, cannot help to strengthen a sense of delicacy and decency, which are so allied to Modesty, the handmaid of Virtue.

"While miners too commonly try, in the bravado of independence, to show themselves off in the very licentiousness of liberty, and, in their zeal to avoid the stigma of hypocrisy, would rather appear worse than they are, it is not surprising that swearing should be a vice fearfully prevalent, and easily assumed as a habit by children. The out-of-door life which reveals improper sights conveys improper sounds.

The drunken exhibitions are far worse for youth. Men unused to wealth, and becoming suddenly possessed of it—surrounded, too, by few associations of good, and many provocations to evil—will readily fall into the curse of modern, or rather of British and American civilization—intemperance. The Spartan system of exposing drunken Helots to their youth may possibly have proved a warning two or three thousand years ago, but seems to lose its virtue now. Contact with vice, even when there is no overt participation in crime, is no aid to virtue.

The gambling of the miners is another bad example for boys. Cards, bagatelle, dominoes, tossing, with their accompaniment of drink, meet the eye of youth without disguise. I have seen the open tents of play on the Sunday filled with players at diggings rushes. In this respect, the Chinese, though setting our Christian

countrymen an example of order, good temper, and sobriety, are no better than others. There are, however, fewer quarrels over their games, and the keeper of their gambling haunts is no provider qf alcohol.

The licentiousness of the diggings, more widely spread than elsewhere, and less carefully shielded from public observation, particularly with tent life, is the most formidable danger to our young people, and the one, with strong drink, most to be dreaded by the moral educator. As an encouragement of impropriety, a low class of theatres too often find support. Though the sparring-tents are for the entertainments of men only, both sexes mix at the refreslnnent-tent, so called, and which, in addition to the sale of intoxicating liquors, is not uncommonly a place of evil resort in other respects. Dancing casinoes receive a liberal patronage.

Going one day into a school, I noticed two girls, one about eleven years old, and her sister a little younger. Their clothes were ragged, scanty, and very disordered. Their hair was uncombed, and their persons were filthy. In the class their eyes rolled about with the unsteady flicker of wild cats, and their queer looks and unmeaning laughter were quite idiotic. They seemed unable to fix their attention upon anything. Their ignorance of instruction was darkness itself. Upon a course of private questions I was convinced of their sanity, and even their keenness of perception, but was shocked at their utter want of moral education and religious knowledge. I have known the children of savages less rude in manners and less unlettered.

Calling for an explanation, a sad story was given me. Their father, after a dreadful life, was now a felon in gaol. Their mother, a bad wife, but a worse parent, was a hopeless drunkard. The poor children had a home—a filthy, wretched, poverty-stricken tent—the shelter of a drunken mother; but they were often dependent for food upon the charity of neighbours.

Such a circumstance, so common in London, Glasgow, or Manchester, was never known in my experience of the colonies before the gold discovery. In Van Diemen’s land, the felon isle, the children never were so neglected ; nor were they ever left there in such a state of moral and religious barbarism, from the absence of means, as these two girls upon the diggings of Victoria.

As I have stated elsewhere, the want of ministerial offices is painfully felt in some places. Where people are settled in occupation, they are willing to make provision for clergymen; but where they are constantly roving, they lose the habit of church attendance, expend their resources in improper indulgence, and have no will to pay the teacher, much less support the minister. Until such places be regarded simply as mission stations, and be sustained as such from abroad, adequate religious training can never be given to the children at our shifting diggings, nor the efforts of the schoolmaster be successful.

There is another side of this picture. Civilization is advancing upon the diggings. Moral appliances are increasing there. Churches and schools, hospitals and mechanics’ institutes, are flourishing upon all the old gold-fields, and are operating upon distant rushes. Sunday-schools are shedding their gentle light upon the mining households. The total abstinence movement is steadily progressing, although contending witl

trying difficulties. “Bands of Hope” are ■wonderfully growing there, and prove the teacher’s useful auxiliary, the parent’s joy, and the nation’s hope.



bserving a fine-looking lad in a school at the diggings one day, with a fearless, honest countenance, and an eye sparkling with intelligence and good-humour, I calculated upon some literary display from him. A question or two soon developed the measure of his attainments. “ Well,” said T, but don’t you know your letters ?” “I do so,” was the reply; hut now I’ve got ’em, I don’t know what to do with ’em: for I can’t put ’em together.”

This was the fact. He was nine years of age, and had hut just managed the alphabet. Thinking that he might have been brought up in the hush, away from the region of the schoolmaster, I asked him if he had been to school before. “ I have so,” was his prompt reply. He then proceeded to touch the tips of his fingers, and called out, “ I’ve been to five on ’em. There was Kangaroo Flat, Long Gully, Daisy Hill, Canton Lead, and this ’ere.” “ How was it you learned no more than you have ? ” said I. I don’t know,” he rather sulkily brought out; “ I never stopped too long at any on ’em.” He might have added, also, that lengthened intervals of non-attendance disposed him to forget the little he picked up.

Going up to a class in tlie same school, I took an account of the number of schools the hoys had attended. There is always to he noticed on the gold-fields a singular smartness among the children—a keenness of wit, a readiness of observation, a forwardness of tongue, and a precocity of sentiment, not to he equalled by the street hoys of London or the gamins of Paris. The diggers themselves, among whom they are thrown, and from whom they acquire ideas and habits, are a gathering of all nations, and usually are among the more intelligent of their own people. Thus it is that, for activity of movement, promptitude of invention, and shrewdness of remark, I have ever found the scholars at the diggings far beyond any in the colonies besides, or in Britain itself. But for literature, tbeir acquirements are zero-ward. They are, however, interesting lads to talk with, and by no means backward in an answer.

Thus to my questions Iliad no difficulty in procuring information. I took down the names of the schools they had attended. It then appeared that, though the time they remained at the individual school seldom exceeded a month, it was sometimes even less. From one boy I got a list of nine masters under whom he had been for instruction, while his parents were rambling about the diggings; another gave me, after some trouble in recollecting, no less than ten different schools, and yet the child could not read at all.

A lad, ten years old, who had been at five schools, thought he had not been but three or four months at them altogether. A girl, thirteen years of age, told me that she had been but two months at school in her life. She had been five years at the mines; but before that

she had been in some Highland district of Scotland. Another girl, fifteen years old, born on the Sydney side, had never been to a school before that in which I saw her.

Interested in the question of relative periods of attendance in the schools of my district, I collected some statistics upon the subject, for a report to the colonial government. In one school upon the goldfield I found that one hundred and fifty-three pupils had been admitted during the quarter; the average attendance had been about fifty. One hundred, therefore, had left the school in that short period, out of one hundred and fifty-three. One master complained most dolefully that he had an entirely new school every month. “ How, then,” exclaimed the poor fellow, “ can I do any justice to the children, the government, or myself ? ”

The numbers given me in another school were— 170 left in six months, with an average attendance of 60. In another, 180 were admitted in four months, and 120 had left. In the Ml Desperandum gully an unhappy teacher saw her pupils all come and go within the quarter. She had need of all the philosophy of “ nil desperandum” to sustain her courage. She had begun the school, the first on the field, in most hopeful circumstances. In two months the miners despaired in the Nil Desperandum, packed up the tools, and deserted the valley in a body.

The more settled the neighbourhood, the more regular the attendance. At the Fiery Creek there was a great rush some years ago. This suddenly broke up, as is usual with such spasmodic eruptions, and the end was a rush off. Minor rushes succeeded at different periods, according as the news came of heavy finds. A master there informed me that, during the first four quarters of his opening school there, 123 had entered and 87 left; but that during the last four months, with a diminished population, but more steady miners, 37 had entered, and 27 left.

Taking one of the best schools on the main Ballarat field, conducted under one master, singularly qualified for his work, for the longest time of perhaps any school in that mining district, I was shocked to learn that the attendance was so limited in duration, that a fresh set of pupils might be said to come every four months. A neighbouring school, in a still more settled locality, averaged six months and a half of boys, and five and a half of girls. In a little gully where a company of diggers had been engaged in washing up old stuff, and where they had in several instances inclosed little bits of government ground for gardens, I was not surprised to discover that the duration of pupilage extended to nine months.

In a charming little township, nestling at the foot of the extinct volcano, Mount Buninyong—where the population, though partly working in the neighbouring golden gullies, have generally been engaged in their gardens or their home trades—a much more improved condition of educational matters exists, thanks to the force of different circumstances, with the formation of a well established school. There I was gratified to hear that the average term rose up to eighteen months.

So striking a contrast as one month and eighteen months will readily suggest a corresponding contrast in manners and social progress. And all this can be

seen in one district of the colony of Victoria. In the part where the attendance is the longest, almost every child goes to school. On the other hand, where the period is the shortest, and where there is the greater need for the more to get that little of instruction, the number absolutely attending is, perhaps, one fourth or sixth of those able to profit by the school.


fiiK conservatism of British society is remarkably antipodean of colonial life. In old Europe, everything seems to move with more stately step, and according to formal rules. In Australia, on the contrary —the land that nature has stereotyped with antiquity and conservatism in its Fauna and Flora—novelty and change are written upon the actions of men.

In no respect has this been more strikingly evidenced than at the diggings. As bees before swarming are uncomfortably shifting and uneasily rambling without much definite idea, so may the population be said to be in many parts of the gold-fields. A large proportion of these belong to the class of rushers. They are always at a rush, or going to one. They want to be early on a new field, in the hope of securing the cream of nuggets. Considerable finds occasionally reward their enterprise; but the blanks or shicers too often fall to their lot.

Such men have to experience much discomfort, to encounter much real hardship, and to live, as it were, on the confines of civilization. They come to a wilderness,

untrodden but by the wild cattle of the bush. They hew down logs for fires, set up their tents, mark out their claims, and drop down their holes. Among such persons the talk is about luck, finds, nuggets, rushes. Their ear is open to every extravagant tale, and credibility is hazarded upon every wild rumour. Somebody has been seen to come from somewhere very mysteriously, and then “shouts” for liquor with unusual prodigality. He has been prospecting, and must have found something. “Dodge him!”“ Shepherd him ! ” is the cry. A quiet forest gully is entered, in which the kangaroos are feeding, and where the wild birds have their solitude. Here a pick is heard to fall at intervals: a little tent is seen amidst the foliage. It is enough. A rush takes place that week, and the gully is torn up from end to end.

Anxiety to secure good places leads men off with tent, tools, and provisions. Then the flying storekeeper follows. He puts a couple of bags of flour on a dray, a few picks and shovels, some other necessaries, and off he goes in haste. The itinerant blacksmith is early there, with his impromptu forge of a pile of stones, and his calico spread beside. A butcher runs up a stall, and quarters a sheep. The digger is content with damper or Johnny cakes, till the baker can set up an oven. The government officials after a time have a look at the scene, and perhaps send up a constable or two. Among the earliest on the new ground are the tents of the groggery and the billiard table. The last to arrive are the tents of the schoolmaster. AVe cannot speak of ministers, for, with the exception of a few chance visits, a rush does not know those instructors.

The v:andering teacher is he who follows up the rushes. He is the moral skirmisher. He is about the only social agency for good upon the rush. I have known a population of twenty thousand left absolutely desolate of moral and religious organization, and enlightened only, and that feebly, by a rush school.

The wandering teacher has to be his own commissariat. Active, energetic, and eager, he has no established interests, and is always in marching order. This week his room is crowded, next week it is all but deserted. To stay without scholars, is to lose his weekly pay, and the government quarter’s salary. He cannot afford to hesitate ; he has no committee ; he has no minister near to consult ; perhaps he has no friends. He has to strike his tent, gather up his traps, laden a dray, and shift to the next scene. There he hurries up his academical dwelling. A corner rudely curtained off serves him for a chamber, and his cooking is done outside, at a stump in the forest.

In the morning he rises to set his forms in order, sweep the floor a bit with a bundle of leaves, sprinkle some water on it to lay the dust, and then turn to his breakfast. The chop is fried at the stump, in the midst of the rain or the scorching sun. His pannikin is set on with water brought a long distance, perhaps from a hole or stream. He is rich enough to have another pannikin in which to cool his scalding tea, and which serves as his china for the drink. The breakfast things have to be cleared off, himself brushed up after a rude fashion—shaving being seldom required—and then the scholars are coming in.

His tuition is one continual struggle with destiny.

He has to teach reading without hooks, and. writing without slates. He has to keep spirits in order brought up amidst the lawlessness of outside diggings. He has to train in morals a race of Bedouins, whose youthful ears and eyes are open to almost unchecked vice and disorder. He has, in the midst of his own peculiar trials, and his constant exposure to what is degrading and deteriorating, to set an example of rigid selfcontrol, high moral integrity, gentle suasion, and of simple love.

His lessons over, his domesticities return. The chop and tea resume their uninterrupted routine. "When the chattering magpie has bid his master good-night, the wandering schoolmaster sits lonelily in his school-tent, reading beside his tallow; or, dropping upon a log before his fire, he gets off to a land of dreams, and sees strange faces in that flickering blaze.

As the evening fog creeps up the valley, chilling the sitter by that fire, the solitary is lost to the Australian wilds. He hears not the night bird’s cry, nor the opossum’s scream. His tearful eyes behold a mother’s form, his quickened ears receive a note whose witching sweetness charms him there, though sounding from another hemisphere. Starting iu the gloom, he reenters his dismal home, spreads out his mattress on the floor, protected only from the dust or damp by scattered leaves; and, with a prayer for himself, his pupils, and the dear ones far away, he is lulled to rest by the flapping of his tent in the breeze.

The wandering teacher gathers thus his little ones about him, aud does his best in his trying circumstances for their good. After awhile, from saying simple word here and there, comforting a troubled one, visiting the sick, he may go on to reading the Scriptures, upon the Sabbath, and holding service for the neglected ones. I have had the happiness of knowing some who have thus been wandering stars of light and guidance in the bush.

But the voice goes forth, “Another rush!” With a weary heart the poor fellow packs up his tent once more, and hurries off again. As a colonial inspector of schools, I have ever had my sympathies more than usually excited for those good brothel's of the school— the poor Wandering Teachers of the Hushes.


fOME dozen years ago I was brought much into contact with this school for aboriginal boys and girls.

The Government of South Australia is worthy of more honour than any other of the British colonies, because of the interest exhibited in the welfare of the natives. The organization which originated the settlement of Adelaide was more philanthropic than mercantile. The association was a Christian one. While a free and happy home was sought for Englishmen, it was to contribute to the civilization and evangelization of the people whose lands were to be occupied. Although the private company merged into the Queen’s colony, the same principles of justice and benevolence have ever guided the rulers by the banks of the Torrens.

As a consequence of this, the scenes of conflict and bloodshed, so conspicuous elsewhere in the contact of the two races, were little known. The white arm of violence was restrained, and thus the outbreak of strife prevented. Missionary effort was conspicuous. Private zeal was aided by public benefaction. The teacher was paid by the Treasury, but the Government had its own locations of labour for the natives.

Upon a large reserve in Adelaide substantial brick buildings were erected for the accommodation of the wanderers. There they could find shelter when they came to town, and receive medical relief when suffering ; hut it was as a school that the institution was established. It was placed under the special care of the protector of aborigines. This gentleman is a large-hearted man, admirably adapted for his office. Philosophical, and yet practical, he is possessed of much philological ability and scientific knowledge, but cherishes the feelings of a father and a brother toward the poor tribes of the bush. lie has been well sustained by a self-denying and loving-spirited schoolmaster.

The boys and girls were gathered as entreaty could succeed with the parents. The family affections are strong in the heart of the Australian. To part with a child to go to the white man’s care is a great trial to maternal sympathies. It may be well for the little one, as Whitefellow tells her; but the mother cannot see how the school can make her boy a better hunter, or her girl a better root-gatherer or grub-collector for her husband. The father, too, has his objections. “ Too much 'White-fellow no good Blackfellow,” I have heard men say; and certainly experience has abundantly proved the sad

truth of this native aphorism. The knowledge of our race has been the death of them ; our progress is their destruction.

Then, again, it was felt, and not without reason, that the education of the lads by us would be a loss of edu- cation elsewhere. We teach them to read, and their fathers want to instruct them in woodcraft. We show them how to handle the pen, and they want to guide their arm with the spear. We give them light upon other countries, and they are losing time in learning the haunts of birds, the retreat of the wombat, and the ways of the emu. We can train them in the elements of astronomy, but cannot give them the practical arts of the forest—the means of their life, and the source of high animal enjoyment. We cultivate their mental faculties, but dwarf their physical capabilities. The old warrior finds the schoolboy less fleet in the chase, less cunning on the trail, and less merry in the leafy glade; so they despise the training we give the lads.

Then the mother is anxious for the health of her offspring. Often have I seen the women hanging about the schools to catch a sight of some dark darling, and to cry over the imprisoned scholar. It is not surprising, then, that the native school should suffer from desertion. The little one will be slily coaxed away; the boy will be tempted for a run to the wild forest home; the girl will be drawn off by a passing pair of black eyes gleaming over a flowing moustache and curly beard. This is in fact the most formidable difficulty to be encountered.

A sense of this desertion induced that good friend of the blacks—Archdeacon Ilale—to propose the establishment of a separate colony for the civilized natives, where

the wild ones, so called, should never be able to approach them, and where they should be too far from their bush friends to be tempted to run away. Such a place has been found at Port Lincoln. For a time at least success has marked the institution. I was acquainted with several of the lads and lasses, who were married off in pairs and carried over the sea. They were well treated, and liked their new home; but there is little chance of a native school being ever needed there, as very few children have been born to these promising settlers.

This it is which has closed the schools throughout the colonies ; it is not a want of success but a want of pupils. The Australians—or rather, those placed in any association with the whites—have ceased to bear. They are dying off rapidly themselves, and they leave no offspring.

This is a painful story, upon which it is not satisfactory to dwell. While little ones throng the ivirlies of the savages of the interior—an unknown realm to all but the bold explorer—their merry laugh is unheard in the camp of the colonized parts. Like the Indians of America, they close the school-room to their race.

Although the whites had been in South Australia but four or five years at the time I left England for the southern hemisphere, disease and drink had already thinned the tribes, and thrown a gloom over the prospects of the educationalist. When, several years after that, I became a colonist of Adelaide, the effects had grown so manifest that hope had died with the sanguine, and all believed in the doom of the aborigines. The native school at the capital had fallen in numbers, and the other schools of the province had been closed from failure of attendance.

It was, then, with melancholy interest that my associations were formed there. There was much to call forth one’s sympathies, apart from the missionary idea. The children themselves were often attractive and pleasing. They were not rude and rough in their play, as young English villagers, but frequently gentle even to sadness. No interdiction was placed to the mingling of the sexes during play-liours, though careful moral supervision was exercised. The roguish eye of the softer sex gave witness to a love of fun, though the amusements were not of so lively a nature as ours. In fact, the native Australians, without being morose or stupid, are a quiet, retiring people, rather shunning than drawing notice. Not unsusceptible of praise, and by no means indifferent to affection, they would hold themselves aloof from us. The children seemed never to lose the shyness of forest life, even with each other, although fully appreciating a joke.

In intellect the native lads were superior in some respects, and inferior in others to European youngsters. They liked geography, but loathed grammar ; they were ready writers, but bad calculators. The very strength of their perceptive faculties, which made them so expert in woodcraft, caused them to be restless and inattentive in the class. They could not bear to sit long; and I have been amused to see their glances turn involuntarily from the lesson to the door. As soon as they learned the mystery of the clock, they employed their skill in practical observations upon the hour of going out. Their arithmetic found in that

calculation of time no unpleasant nor uncommon


They can hardly be said to have much music in their souls. The boys could imitate the cries of the birds, and mimic the noise of the opossum; but their powers of melody were not so successful in the regular song or hymn, although they enjoyed the singing lesson, and were evidently satisfied with their own performance. They were always delighted with lively tunes, and roared out lustily, in various keys and octaves, the “ Oh, that will be joyful! ”

As may be conjectured, they found it no easy work to comprehend our Christian faith. With no articles of religion of their own, with no worship of any kind, with no traditions of a creed, they were idealess as to a ground upon which to rear our Christianity. But as the religion of Jesus is one of heart more than head, they were able to feel His love, though unable to grasp the truth in thought. The death-bed of several boys and girls of this native school has given good evidence of their simple faith in Christ and their hope of heaven.

On Sunday a Sabbath school was held at the institution, conducted by voluntary teachers. One of the richest men of the colony was the excellent superintendent. His appeals to the dark ones were enforced by his tears of affection toward them. I was often favoured with opportunities of addressing them. Any Scripture story, like Jacob and Joseph, which could introduce something of bush life, had great charms for them. It was necessary to use the simplest illustrations and the plainest, rudest English.

It was a misfortune that the lessons were given them iii a foreign language. At first, missionaries learned the tongue of the aborigines, and began to translate portions of the Scriptures for the schools. But there was this difficulty : each tribe spoke a different language, or rather, the dialect was so different as to amount to another speech, though the grammatical construction might be the same. Another difficulty soon appeared. After years of trouble in acquiring the power of addressing the natives, the tribe would become extinct, and the knowledge gained be absolutely useless. One gentleman found, after accomplishing the translation of the gospel, that none was alive to read it.

All this necessitated the use of English as one common language. The natives, being fair mimics, soon put a few words together when thrown among the whites. The children at school acquired our speech more readily. Still, it was usual to lower the dignity and correctness of English when addressing them, and even to adopt the brevity and peculiarity of their own mode of expression.

Among the aptest of scholars, and the most interesting of children then in the native school, there was a half-caste girl. Like all children of that sort, she had been brought up by the tribe, among whom she was a great favourite. At the time when I knew her she might be nearly twelve years of age. For symmetry of figure, delicacy of colour, regularity of feature, and brilliancy of eye, she could have few rivals anywhere. Some did not hesitate to call her the most beautiful girl in the colony. The modesty of her demeanour gave increased attraction to her appearance. I never learned to what European settler she owed her birth ; but she must have beeu one of the earliest residents. She. however, betrayed more of the bush maiden than of Anglo-Saxon girlhood in her character. Though more attentive than others, and better able to follow her lessons, there was still the same restlessness of eye and waywardness of nature. She had a peculiar sweetness in her smile, but with much of that languid and yet interesting tone of melancholy so peculiar to the look of the forest tribes. A lady, pitying her exposed condition, especially with the attractiveness of her person, took her to her home to educate.

The native school of Adelaide has since become nearly a wreck. No native school now exists in Victoria. As the laugh of childhood is gone, the footfall of the adult will soon be silent in the forest, and the race of the dark-skins be known only in story.


with the natives. On such occasions I pulled up

N my wanderings through the bush I often fell in

to give a nod and a smile, and sometimes to enter into a long chat.

Among the many to whom I had the pleasure of introduction was Coc Coc Coine, the King of the War-rions, a teetotal chieftain ; for his worthy son informed me, “ Him good old man. Him no drink him brandy, no drink him rum, no drink him beer.” Two or three days after, I had the honour of knowing no less a personage than “ Alexander the Great.” This modern hero, however, was more commonly known as Blind Alick. This Australian Grecian was father to a “ Prince Albert,” who was then pursuing his studies in an Australian school.

Interested in the Macedonian, I learned that he was about the sole survivor of an extensive tribe, and that Prince Albeit, though not the “ last of the Mohicans,” would be last of the Terang nation.

From the original settler in that quarter I gathered some information respecting Alick and his race. When, in 1839, this gentleman took his flock westward, across the plains, to the neighbourhood of the extinct volcanoes of Noorat and Keilambete, he was much troubled by the blacks. They had very naturally resented the intrusion of the whites upon their hunting-grounds, and thought it no harm to eat a bit of mutton raised upon their pastures. The shepherds, regarding this as a robbery, sent a shot or two to frighten off the mutton-eater’s. These, as the lords of the manor, fiercely turned round upon the assailants with boomerang and spear.

Although several attempts had been made to get rid of the proximity of one tribe of three or four hundred aborigines, the Europeans were constantly beaten by the retreat of the foe into an intricate tea-tree scrub, where there was no following them. The squatter determined to come to some understanding. He walked boldly forward one day to the edge of the thicket, and “coo-ed” for the natives. As no answer followed his note, he suspected they were afraid of him and his armed party. Sending back his men, and laying down his gnn, he came forward once more to the lair of the savages. They were attentively regarding him all this while. It was easy for them to throw a spear at the white stranger. But there is honour in the hush. A brave man came forth from his fastness without a weapon, and stood before the bold settler. Neither knew the language of the other ; but by signs the gentleman made his dark brother understand that he did not want to hurt any of them, but he wished them to shift their camp from his neighbourhood. A hearty assent was given. The tribe removed, and lighted their fires at a distance from the worthy man’s flock.

But others were not so conciliatory as this pioneer of the wilds. A worse foe than the gun appeared soon after, also, and when reconciliation had taken place. This was the rum bottle. Before this worst enemy of the race, numbers fell. A few years reduced the tribe to the condition in which I saw it.

Riding across a plain, over which a lava current had swept its course, I came to the basaltic edge of a saline lake, near the banks of which had been recently discovered the bones of a gigantic marsupial—a kangaroo of the old Australian world. Not far thence is a little agricultural settlement, at the foot of one of the many extinct volcanoes of Western Victoria. Of a semicircular form, the crater walls which yet remain rise three hundred feet from the basin below. In all my ramblings about the extinct volcanoes of Auvergne and Italy, and my examination of Vesuvius itself, I never saw more splendid minerals than those glistening in the sun, with all their variegated hues, on the sides of this Australian crater. Beneath the hill is a township, having a Government school, on one of the forms of which might have been seen seated Prince Albert, the Black Prince of Victoria.

It pleased me much, a week before, to see in a boat upon one of these volcanic waters, now converted into a spacious fresh-water lake, a singular party. A black Lubra was rowing an English lady along, and the fair European amused herself by nursing a pretty half-caste boy.

At one of the schools I frequently visited were two aboriginal boys, in whom I felt a great interest. Their story is a romantic one. An Englishwoman missing, was supposed to have been carried off by the wild and warlike tribes of the Gipps Land Alps. A chieftain and his wife, suspected of knowing something of the affair, were kidnapped, and carried down to Melbourne gaol. The black fellow sulked as a kaola in captivity, and died a few weeks after. The widow was left with two little infant boys. As she soon consoled herself with another husband, some Christian settlers took charge of the children.

At that time the Baptists of Melbourne had a mission school, which flourished for awhile, like other similar institutions; but only, like them, to fail at last. Upon the decline of the Merri Creek establishment, a kind-hearted old schoolmaster obtained the consent of the Government to adopt them into his own family and attend to their education. And a true father was the good man to the lads, in the best sense of the term.

It always pleased me to hear these aboriginal boys at their lessons with their white companions. Their clean and comfortable appearance evidenced the care of their friend, and their merry laugh was a proof of their contented condition. Their English was pretty good on the whole. They read, though with some difficulty; but in writing they distanced several of their own age. In the geography class they were more alive than with arithmetic. A little notice that I gave them made me a favourite; and Tommy particularly was always ready to run out, jump on my horse, and take him to the stable.

One of these dear lads was more reserved than the other, and less quick at his lessons. Falling seriously ill, he was conveyed to a public institution in town, from which he came forth no more. During bis illness his good father and mother, as he called them, were regular in kind attendance, and loving in their sympathy. The boy was very grateful to them. The excellence of their training, and his own reception of the advantage, were well recognised by clergymen who visited the child in his last hours. They heard him speak of his wish to be along with Jesus in heaven, though sorry to leave his father and mother, and Tommy.

It is a foul calumny upon the poor Australian to say lie has no mind to understand a God, no heart to love Him. This native boy’s story is a sufficient refutation.


wenty miles north-east of Melbourne one reaches

the foot of that series of ranges which, extending

westward for two hundred miles, and north-eastward and north-ward for about two thousand, may be considered the richest mountains in the world; as in them occur the great auriferous deposits of Australia. The Chains are known by various names. But not far eastward of the point I have described, the Alps may be said to arise; and in that direction, as well as northward and southward, they are a network of hills, bound together by huge forests, and almost impenetrable thickets. Though without glaciers, our Alps have aiguille points seven thousand feet in height. It was in the dense scrub of the Gipps Land Alps that Count Strzelecki the explorer, and his party endured such trials, having for three weeks to subsist upon the unpleasant meat oi the wild kaola, and being for days without a fire to protect them from the inclemency of the weather.

In the course of my duties I came under a part of this frowning range. The main floor of the country, previous to the convulsion, was of slate. Through the vast masses of this formation the granite had torn its way from beneath, breaking, tilting, carrying on the various beds, and fixing itself, as a satiated invader, surrounded by the stilled victims of its fury.

The sun’s beams were playing about the crags of that rugged steep, and sending bright glances downward on

me, before black night came to curtain all for repose. The shadows deepened as I rode upward to that granitic wall, threading my way between morasses, and around huge boulders, and by towering trees two hundred feet in height. A clearing here and there, a log fence, and a stray cow, indicated my approach to a settlement in the forest. Some very rude huts were scattered about in the gullies at the foot of the ranges, and a roadside inn, of most primitive structure, stood out to welcome the weary traveller.

I had come to the Irish colony. It was not known by any other name than that of the public-house, being spoken of as the “ Latrobe Inn,” so called from the first superintendent and governor of the golden land—a scholar and a Christian. Our friends of the Emerald Isle are very fond of getting together in family groups, and thus establish colonies within the colony. They manage to get sometimes to odd places, often out of the common route, but where a bit of good land is to be found. After the endurance of considerable privation, which they bear with much philosophy, they find themselves by the tide of circumstances brought into conditions of prosperity. Their settlements always present a fine show of barefooted little ones.

Hough as was the accommodation I received at the little inn, it was most grateful to a hungry man seeking a meal and a bed at nightfall. When tea was over I sought the landlady, to get some particulars of the school to be examined in the morning. Of portly person and of voluble tongue, she seemed a fitting one for her business. Among other bits of news, she informed me that ten of her own children went to the school. She could not send more than those at present, hut the rest were coming on !

The next morning one of the wonderful ten was sent as guide to the school. I came to an edifice constructed before the genius of l’axton had embellished the world. The house was essentially of the bush order of architecture. The materials were not of marble and Corinthian brass, but of mud and unhewn timber. The walls were massive enough, with a variety of curves both imvard and outward. The roof was covered with huge slabs of bark, which age had wrinkled and twisted so much, that a hat could conveniently be pitched through several openings.

Observing two open spaces at the sides, I inquired of the master for what they were intended. “ They are windows, sir.” “ But they have neither sashes nor glass,” said I. “They never had,” was the reply. “But how do you manage when it rains ? ” was my anxious interrogative. “Why,” answered my easy friend, “when it rains on the one side, I shift the children on to the other.” I was satisfied.

“ But the floor,” I went on to ask, “how do you contrive to keep the wet out of there ? ” “ That bothers me,” said the poor fellow, with a sigh. “ You see it is a mud floor, sir; and, by the constant sweeping after the children, it gets into holes. Then the rain comes in through the roof and windows, and the water won’t run off, because the step is down into the room.”

The furniture was in keeping. There were desks and forms of rude slabs. The copy-books were of coarse paper, stitched up within brown paper covers. The books were few indeed, and slates still fewer. So much for the external.

The examination followed. The children, some thirty in number, were clean, rosy, and well-behaved. There was a certain simplicity about their manners that indicated their residence at an out-of-the-way part of the country. It was certainly remarkable to find, in a new colony like Victoria, a locality in which all the children attending school were native born, and all, too, born of Irish parents.

In spite of the unfavourable circumstances of school and material, I observed the education to be superior to that known in most country places. The reading, writing, mental arithmetic, geography, and grammar were certainly above the average. One-third of the school read the History of England, though having but three copies of the book. Then- answers were given with freedom and accuracy upon the lesson. Several had advanced into geometry, and one little girl of nine years of age, with bare feet and laughing eyes, had progressed favourably in algebra.

What was more pleasing to notice was the spirit of kindness that seemed to prevail there. The. master had evidently sought no less to improve their morals than increase their learning. He spoke to me with enthusiasm of his love for his young charge, and his wish to live and die among them.

I looked in at the habitation of this good fellow. It was hung on to the main building, being a little bit of a room with a sort of a door; the usual all-open space intended for a window—possibly provided with an impromptu shutter at night—a native floor, and an abundant means of ventilation. The cooking utensils of this bachelor of the village were of the simplest descrip-


tion, and his furniture, like his wardrobe, boasted no extensive assortment, and no modern fashion.

But here the man was contented to be happy and useful. In that unexciting hermit life, his ambition had no food for growth. Surrounded by the magnificence of Nature, he was not to be troubled by the petty cares of existence. He was king in his schoolroom, and no one vexed him in his solitude; and yet he lived to some purpose. He toiled for no human glory, and for no human praise. His few books were well read ; his few pupils were well taught. His influence was for good in that small community. His own thoughts and hopes were upon the great future.

As I parted from this quiet little man, I could not help thinking how few, amidst a brighter sphere, and with more extended advantages, performed their duty in this world, for this world’s good, as that poor solitary of the Irish school in the forest of Australia.


one other Irish school, my recollections are pleasant. A pretty village lay in my district. It was a garden home. The richness of its soil, its situation on the banks of the Yarra, and its proximity to the capital of the colony, brought it early into settlement. If not tilled after the Norfolk and Lothian system, the ground yielded most satisfactory results, whether in the abundance of wheat and hay, the flavour of potatoes, or the luxuriance of grapes.

As an Irishman takes instinctively to the spade, this agricultural locality, like all the old farming spots of the colonies, became the chosen heritage of the islanders. The old plan of farming in Australia was the small acre system. Large farms are as modern in the southern as in the northern hemisphere; and in the one place, as in the other, progression of culture is not always accompanied by a growth of happiness among the people. A bit of ground is no small source of pleasure to its possessor, while it increases his sense of independence, and softens the tone of his manners.

The school I came to inspect was of remote antiquity, and must have been established more than a dozen years. Age is but a comparative term; for while Eome is hoary beside London, it is but a modern upstart alongside of Thebes.

The building was of wood, of attempted ecclesiastical architecture, but of rude manufacture. The interior had an elongated aspect, for the room had been extended as the population increased. The school furniture, though liomely, was sufficient for the purpose. The array of maps upon the walls gave a lively character to that low and ill-lighted room. The floor was scrupulously clean, and the children, in spite of their national indifference to the Dutch quality, had been got into a most laudable system of external propriety.

The instruction was rather sound than extended. There was no attempt to exhibit the sciences, but the reading was thoroughly good. Though the algebra was wanting, the arithmetic was correct, the grammar was defective, but the geography was excellent, and history was not neglected. I was treated with what I did not expect there—some fair citations of poetry. In few schools of towns had I observed such intelligence of replies to general questioning as in this country place. The lessons read were thoroughly understood.

There was a remarkable regularity and precision about the school, that seemed rather un-Irish like. The lads and lasses had all the laughing eye and active gait of their parentage; but here everything was most orderly and correct. It was “a place for everything, and everything in its place”—a most un-colonial experience. No child was suffered to advance toward the map to indicate a place until a nice clean pointer had been given him by the monitor. There was no idle chatting among these lively scholars, and no rudeness of behaviour.

I was struck with something more than the mechanism of discipline. There was a quiet subdued manner about the children, as uncommon as it was gratifying to witness. The co-operative rather than the competitive seemed to prevail in the system. The excitement of emulation, often so painfully exhibited, was absent here. The very animation of the Irish character seemed subjected to a gentler influence. But with this there was no gloom in the countenance, no appearance of forced rigidity ; all was easy and natural. The tone of voice, the expression to each other, the look to the master, were alike simple and kind.

I felt really taken by surprise, and naturally turned to the master for explanation. He was about fifty years of age. His dress, of homely manufacture and ancient fashion, was neat and clean. His face was expressive of calmness and kindness. His eye told of firmness and gentleness. Remarkably simple in character, and reserved in habits, he seemed but to live for his pupils. Affectionately interested in them, they were no less drawn to him. A teacher for many years in Ireland, he was thoroughly acquainted with his profession. The gentle and reverential were the leading features of character he tried to enforce, as also to exhibit in his own life. As he told me himself with much feeling, he wanted them to be good children above all things, because he wanted them to be happy.


Shere are some curious geological oases in Australia, as well as in the Sahara. From amidst a realm of partial sterility will suddenly arise a little garden of beauty. This is strikingly conspicuous in the upland region. There the non-productive palaeozoic rocks prevail, and the debris furnish soil but for the feeble grass beneath the stringy-bark forest; but wherever the volcanic element is found, the change is as sudden as pleasing. Upon basaltic hills the trees are more varied in kind and luxuriant in growth, and in the basaltic hollows the richest of verdure and closest of herbage give promise of abundant crops to the farmer.

It was such a place as this that met my eye after riding over the shingle roads and through harsli-looking forests of a silicious slate country. Only an occasional attempt at cultivation was made, and that in the most favourable glens, with but gloomy prospects; but a turn in the road brought me suddenly into smiling fields and blooming gardens, with not an acre lost in wood or bush pasture.

In the early days of the colony a man was seeking a “ run” for a flock, and was about to turn disheartened from his tour, when he suddenly fell in with this charming spot, and saw its rich grass grazed over by a mob of kangaroos. He returned to tell a tale of this Kangaroo Ground.

But I found a moral oasis as well as a physical one: a good school was there.

It so happened that a Scotchman was lucky enough to buy most of this “ground and by cutting up his own section of six hundred and forty acres among his countrymen, and inducing other Northmen to settle, the whole of this fertile district (itself but four square miles in extent) was monopolized by the sons of Old Scotia.

Such a people, however ardent in the pursuit of wealth and cut off from civilization by an intervening country of a most impracticable kind for travelling, would not be long without provision for religious ordinances and the means of instruction for youtli. A building was erected to serve both purposes ; it was rudely constructed of slabs of timber and sapling logs, covered up partially with mud to stop the wind-holes. A house for the schoolmaster was next in order; and, with successive additions, very suitable premises for the bush were there established. The garden-ground of the institution, also a free gift of the people, was in admirable order, and aided materially the finances and comforts of the teacher.

Considerable difficult}' exists in the colonies generally, but in sparsely populated districts particularly, in carrying out a scheme of public instruction ; because of the mixture of Protestants and Koman Catholics.

The Irish national system does not please the Protestant minister nor the Catholic priest, who both see no provision for the religious instruction of the youth of their communion unless they themselves attend the school to communicate it. Such a duty, in the peculiar circumstances of the colony, is next to impossible, except ■ in large towns, as a clergyman may have charge of a district several miles in extent. Many Protestants would be content with the adoption of any school where the Bible was read without respect to the denomination under whose auspices it was formed.

The Government try to meet the difficulty by authorizing the establishment of schools by any Protestant body or by the Catholic Church, permitting any creed to be taught therein, but providing that no children be required to read a book or attend religious instruction to which their parents have conscientious objections. Still, this does not remove the suspicion of undue influence or unfair advantage ; and although I frequently met with Protestants in Catholic schools, and move frequently Catholics in Protestant schools, a natural jealousy exists, and the master feels himself hindered in the freedom of his instruction, or is tempted to proselytize.

But in the Kangaroo Ground no such inconvenience was felt, as the population was absolutely Protestant. The school was essentially Scotch, where the Assembly’s Catechism could be introduced without any interference with the rights of conscience. While the Presbyterian clergy will often require the catechism to be used in their schools, and the Roman Catholics always, it is very rarely that the Episcopalians insist upon the teaching of their own peculiar tenets; and I knew no instance in my district of the Wesleyan Catechism being found in a day school. But this may arise from the superior gregariousness of the Scotch and Irish, and the stronger observance of national customs ; the Englishman quietly shakes off his own peculiarities.

Thus the Presbyterian school is always for a Scotch community, and a Catholic school for an Irish one. English schools, though nominally sectarian, are practically open. In the largest Church of England school in. Victoria, not one-half the children belong to the Episcopalian body. In one Wesleyan school in the bush I found, to my astonishment, that thirty out of seventy-six upon the roll were Roman Catholics, and these were not required to read in the Scriptures. The subsequent establishment of another school by the priest, though diminishing the income of the original institution of the township, did certainly give freer scope to its training system. In a district where the majority was Irish, the Protestants attended the Catholic school, without interference with their religious views. But as, in spite of Governmental regulations, disputes will arise in these mixed schools, the Kangaroo Ground was preserved in peace by the uniformity of faith.

The farmers of that neighbourhood were not even satisfied with ordinary instruction, and that given by one of the ablest and most worthy masters in the colony, who conducted an evening as well as day school for the accommodation of the people; they demanded the establishment of an industrial school. They wisely saw, as agriculturists, the advantage of physical training for youth, and of a practical attention, under the eye of a suitable teacher, to improved modes of culture, a knowledge of agricultural chemistry, and all the appliances of high scientific farming.

At the time of my first visit this industrial element had been grafted on the original school. The portion of land, however, in .which tire operations were to be conducted was inadequate in extent and inferior in character, as well as insufficiently provided with means for its cultivation. There was a scene attractive enough to the tourist—a wooded knoll, a romantic gorge, a trickling stream; but only severe toil and heavy outlay could make it even approximately of any advantage. It was a fine opportunity for employing science upon a bed of gravel and a flinty rock. But such experiments would be of little use to lads who had to live in a country where labour was high, and manure not easily obtained. With the growth of colonial public instruction this attempt at an industrial school will resolve itself into a flourishing institution. At any rate, the boys could, even in that barren spot, vary their work of digging roots in digging for gold, as the region around is an auriferous one, and yellow crystals have been found on those palaeozoic hills of the farm.

To accommodate the scattered population, the master receives a number of boarders, where their corporeal wellbeing is consulted, as well as their moral and intellectual progress. A well-assorted library is attached to the school. As an illustration of the habits of the Kangaroo Ground settlers, it is pleasing to record the existence there of that rare institution in the colonies—that of a district library. The books were generally, or perhaps, with the exception of a little poetry, absolutely of a practical character, including history, science, travels, and religious literature.

Though no minister can be wholly supported by the few farmers, they are never without one Sabbath service from a neighbouring Presbyterian clergyman; but the pulpit is open for all Protestant ministers. The moral state of this isolated community would be highly satisfactory but for the presence, to some extent, of the curse of the bush—strong drink. As it is, however, few districts in Australia can compare with the Scotch settlement of the Kangaroo Grounds.


vast forest wilderness lies between the settled parts of Victoria and South Australia. It creeps along the coast, and rises upward to the Murray and Darling rivers. The country is of a tertiary lime-

stone, similar to that which extends with little intermission from Cape Howe, the south-eastern corner of the continent, along the coast of Victoria, the coast of South Australia, and onward for a thousand miles beyond, round Western Australia, stretching even toward the tropics, forming one of the most extensive formations in the world.

In most parts it is covered more or less with sand; thus it is, for all practical purposes, a desert. A rough wiry grass, some coarse timber, with an abundance of wild flowers, meet the eye; but the farmer turns despairingly from it. Where the sand disappears, and the rock shows itself, a greener, richer sward is found. Where this had long been free of the arid garb of sand, a soil was formed of the most fertile description. Trees of varied kinds grew in luxuriance, and an oasis of beauty arose. If not too far from a market, these spots are favourite resorts of Australian farmers. It was to one of these oases I came some four years ago.

I had wandered out of my course across the border of the colony, and came into South Australia to visit a school in that vast wilderness for the Adelaide inspector, as that gentleman had no school within nearly three hundred miles of this isolated place.

One hundred miles of dreary ride in a forest of about one thousand miles in extent brought me thither. I suffered much from thirst over that heavy sandy track. It was necessary to use the utmost vigilance fully to test my knowledge of woodcraft, and to remember my compass, else I had rambled far away from my route. A few squatters, with their flocks and herds, were scattered through this waterless region. The accommodation on the way was rough enough for food and rest, and thirty miles is a long stage for horse and man to go without the bit and sup, and especially after hundreds of miles before.

A sudden change from the harsh stringy bark to the beautiful light wood-tree assured me that I had left the desert. The grass was high and good. Farms soon peeped out at me from amidst the foliage, and ere long I was taking my tea at a settler’s pleasant home in the district of Mount Gambier.

The next morning I rode ten miles to the township, containing, perhaps, one hundred inhabitants, farmers and tradesmen. Throughout this oasis, for ten miles round, a number of other farmers raise their crops and feed their cattle. Most of them are Germans or Scotchmen ; the former from the Adelaide side, and the iatter from Portland, away in Victoria. Their nearest market is Portland, a fearful road through the sandy waste for sixty miles ; thence their produce is shipped off to the colonial capitals.

So long isolated from civilization as to be for several years without the visit of a clergyman of any kind, they have not wholly neglected their religious interests. The Germans met for Sabbath service among themselves.

At the time of my call at the Mount, the Protestants held a Sunday school in one part of the day, and then assembled for a sort of prayer meeting. The worship was hearty, if rude. The old schoolmaster gave out the psalms and led the tune off with some children. As the stranger, I was urged to take the good Book and read a few verses. It pleased the parents that their children got a little kind counsel.

Other moral associations were not wanting. A total abstinence society had been established by the teacher : it was needed there.

The school is at the foot of an extinct volcano. Ages ago subterranean fires broke through the limestone coast of south-eastern South Australia, as they had done in Western Victoria. The lava streams rose in hissing volumes. Walls of cinder stand as monuments of that eruptive past. Showers of burning ashes fell upon the country, and built around the crater the present mount. Three lakes of transparent water now occupy the basins from which this volcanic fury burst. One of them is reached by a perilous descent of some hundreds of feet, and is found to contain water to a depth of nearly three hundred feet more.

A smiling township of farms and gardens now occupies the space once hissing with eruptive convulsions. The schoolroom, with its exponents of gentleness and goodness, seems to present a striking contrast to the destructive agency so near. And yet, but for the upheaval of the limestone bed, and the clothing of its bareness by the rich volcanic dust instead of the barren sea sand, this district would not now be the oasis of beauty.

Eough slabs of timber roughly put together make the sides of the building. Numerous apertures in the walls and roof do not increase the comfort of the school, though aiding in its ventilation so freely. The floor is nearly as rough as the sides, and by no means in order for a carpet. The furniture was in keeping with this rustic simplicity. But I could not expect great progress of civilization in the schoolroom, when I found the inhabitants of this distant oasis grinding their corn by hand, as others do in Central Africa, or as they did four thousand years ago. The worthy doctor of the country, however, whom physic could not keep, but whose little farm does more for him than fees, was endeavouring to improve the handmill by some mechanical contrivances.

The children were well taught in the essential branches of instruction. As to natural history, they could study that in the country around; as for geology, there was the Mount for the ingenious, and a splendid cave close to the school door gave capital lessons on stratifications and the formation of flinty layers.

The South Australian system of public instruction differs somewhat from that in Victoria. Having very few Roman Catholics, they have there less occasion for the Irish national system, and the Denominational school system, than in the golden land—where formerly nearly one-third of the population belonged to the Church of Rome.

In the preamble of the “ Adelaide Act ” it is stated, “ And be it enacted, that in schools established, or to be established, under the provisions of this Act, the aim shall be to introduce and maintain good secular instruction, based on the Christian religion, apart from all theological and controversial difference on discipline and doctrine, and that no denominational catechism be used.”

In spite of the protest of the Roman Catholic bishop, it was ordered that in every public school of South Australia a chapter from the Old Testament be read by the master every morning, and one from the New Testament every afternoon.

The master of this academy of the wilds was a curious type of the old school of teachers; his zeal in temperance and religion had raised him an enemy in the chief proprietor of the township proper, who was the publican. Some representations were made as to his want in literature. I was persuaded, however, that he knew more than his pupils could stay to learn; and if his knowledge was less than others, his moral power was greater. In such a place, where the teacher stood forward as tire only exemplar of the virtues, and the exponent of religion, it was of more consequence to have a man of years and Christian integrity than a clever young fellow fresh from a normal college, but with an unformed character.

The simplicity of this good man won my regard. His very blunderings provoked a smile rather than a reproach. His singing demonstration in school was less remarkable for harmony than noise; but as it pleased the children, satisfied the people, and exalted the master, any criticisms of mine would have been unkind and useless. The man was performing a good work in an unostentatious way. He had been for so many years buried in the bush as to be a sort of relic of a bygone civilization. Still, as he loved the dear children, taught them what was sufficient, and pleaded with them tearfully and lovingly to act as lambs of Christ’s flock, his ungainly gait, his grotesque dress, and his lack of science, may be smiled at and forgiven. As the old man would shuffle along beside my horse for miles through the forest wilderness when homeward bound, and thanked me for ’ > my sympathy, I could not but feel my heart drawn out toward him, and to the dear little folk of the school at the foot of the old volcano.


N one of my tours of inspection, I sought for some m time in vain, a school recently established at the diggings. Amidst the multitude of tents, pitched here and there, with no pretence to regularity, it is difficult enough to distinguish one rise of canvas from another. A particular murmuring sound caught my ear and led me to the school tent.

Drawing aside the curtain front, I entered a place which somewhat astonished me, accustomed as I was to rude colonial practices. The structure was of thin calico, stretched upon a few poles freshly cut from the forest. The sun’s glare came most unpleasantly through the roof and sides of semi-transparent substance. The temperature inside was close to 100°. The floor was the diggings dust, which rose at every movement, and spread as a light cloud through the space.

About fifty girls were gathered in a tent about twenty feet long by twelve broad. They were either from the sister isle or descendants of those who emigrated thence. A noisier lot of young folks it would be difficult to find in a school. They had quite the free and independent manner of the free and independent gold-fields Maidenly modesty and gentleness of demeanour did not appear the prevailing features. The presence of the inspector operated but slightly in checking the hilarity and chatting of these lively lasses.

Glancing quietly around, 1 was much amused at an


illustration of pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. While the majority had nothing to do but to pass the time as merrily and as lazily as they could—for there seemed nothing for them to do,—others were trying to accomplish the difficult feat of writing without a desk. Some of them knelt down in the dust and made use of the form to write upon. The condition of their dress and persons may be conjectured. There was one advantage in their condition: they wanted no blottings paper before turning a page, as the dust flying about in the room, as well as the high temperature, soon dried the letters. A few girls, who did not like the penance of kneeling, were endeavouring to sketch out a copy with the book in their lap. The occupation of the few little forms as writing-desks obliged others in the school to sit in the dust as they could.

Had my call been in the winter instead of the summer, there would have been the exposure of the poor children to the inclemency of the season in that calico tent, with the wind having free course in all directions, and the floor would have been mud instead of dust. The pursuit of knowledge would then have been under still greater difficulties.

It was useless attempting an examination under these circumstances. I contented myself with general questions, and the delivery of a lesson to the whole. The mistress appeared by no means disconcerted ; of an easy, laissez-faire disposition, with no morbid sense of order and no expectations of perfection, she took things as they came, made no bother about trifles, and quite expected me to take matters as coolly and as satisfactorily as she did.

Her want of precision, however, was illustrated in a mode that was a little beyond the irregular, and which could not be so easily overlooked as the disorder and neglect of the school, which partly arose from circumstances beyond her control. Desks and floors, books and slates, were not very come-at-able things at a new diggings. Her own financial affairs did not warrant much expenditure, and people were too busy gold-hunting and drinking to heed the wants of children, though their own, unless in the bread-and-butter line. But she could find no apology for another bit of negligence. By rule, in order to insure Government support, the roll of attendance must be marked each day, the names being called morning and afternoon. Upon inspecting this official document, which, by the way, was finger-marked and dust-stained, like the girls’ copy-books, I was surprised to find no blank spaces.

It was necessary to make a few inquiries.

“ Do yon mark the attendance of the scholar’s ?” said I. “ Certainly,” she replied; adding, with true Irish tact, “ Don’t you see the crosses on the paper ? ”

“ Yes,” I observed, “ but that does not quite satisfy me; I see every child is marked as being present every day during the last month. I never saw such extraordinary regularity of attendance anywhere else, and particularly on the diggings.”

It did not suit her to understand me; so she simply asked me whether the spaces were not intended to be filled up. Although persuaded she knew better, I attempted to show that the mark was to be put only when the child was present. With a merry laugh, and a confident toss of her head, she turned away, exclaiming,—

“An’ sure, if they were not there, they ought to have been.”

Some further illustrations of this young lady’s character came out, when I succeeded, after some vain attempts, in getting her attendance upon me for examination as to her own scholastic proficiency. It is usual for the ministers of the various denominations to make the appointment of teachers, subject to the approval of the inspector after undergoing examination. As it sometimes happened, in a large district, that the inspector was unable to visit distant places but at long intervals of time, an improper person might continue in charge of a school under an indifferent or over-indulgent clergyman.

At this particular station I had two ladies before me, both irregularly kept in their situations by weak and excessively benevolent ministers of very opposite creeds.

The two mistresses were to be subjected to examination in reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling, geography, and grammar. At the outset one gave in upon the last two subjects, as she had never learned anything about them. My young Irish friend was quite sure of passing. After calling prepositions nouns, placing the Danube in America, and making Madrid the capital of Russia, I was forced to explain that her knowledge in those branches of study was rather defective. At this news she pretended to be greatly surprised and somewhat ill-tempered.

Unfortunately, with the progress of the examination the improvement was not satisfactory. Orthography was a sore trial to both of them. My sharp friend could not see why her way of spelling was not quite as much to the purpose as the dictionary mode. Arithmetic, too common a foe to female peace of mind, was a provoking bore to these schoolmistresses. Setting one of the ladies an easy sum in simple multiplication, I was struck with the long and anxious gaze bestowed upon the figures. Suddenly turning my head round, I observed the puzzled one at her bag, and was informed, in answer to my inquiry, that she was only looking for her table-book.

Such are some of the teachers on whom the training of the young has to depend in the Australian colonies. But let me now give an agreeable contrast.



* WHALING adventurer originated this town of Western V ictoria. Sixty years ago the Bay of Portland was discovered.

About thirty years ago, a merchant of Launceston, in Van Diemen’s Land, having heard of fish there, established a whaling station on the western shore of that noble expanse of water. To provide fresh meat for his men, he grazed some sheep and cattle upon the neighbouring pastures.

This unauthorized seizure of public lands—the lands of the aboriginal public—resulted in the fortune of the enterprising family and the formation of the township of Portland ; when the colony of New South Wales appropriated the new "territory of the south, under the name of the province of Port Phillip, now the golden colony of Victoria.

Among the schools I came to inspect was a Church of England infant school there. The building had nothing attractive about it; it was of inadequate size, and unsuitable for the object. But the school furniture—all that was dependent upon the teacher—was complete in character, and thoroughly adapted to circumstances. Pictures were there, illustrative of natural history, mechanical employments, Bible and English history, &c. There were frames, lesson-boards, black-boards, and the various apparatus of an English infant school of high position. All this, I found afterwards, had been provided at the expense and personal effort of the teacher alone, and procured with great difficulty for this little school of the far west of Victoria.

Portland, a town of three thousand inhabitants, is a wonderful place for children. With a climate unequalled, perhaps, by any part of the colonies, the little flock thrive admirably. The prettiest children I ever saw in my life were those born at Warrnambool and Portland, in Western Victoria. Plump and fair, with regular features, good-humoured smiles, and bright, intelligent eyes, they attract the notice of all travellers.

Far out of the track of modern civilization, and remote from the stimulus of the diggings, Portland lias happily escaped the excitement and misery elsewhere known, and has not been invaded, as Melbourne, by new-comers. There is a settled, happy, virtuous community established there, with more educational and moral advantages than any place of its size I know. All the religious bodies are represented there: the Presbyterians and Wesleyans being most influential for numbers, though the Episcopalians pretty well engross the schools, through the long residence of the minister of the Church of England.

Very little intemperance exists in the town, and poverty has seldom been known. If not generally rich, the people are comfortable, and are wise enough to stay happily at home in their healthy Portland, rather than tempt Fortune at the mines. The children, therefore, may be imagined to be superior in dress and general appearance to those of other colonial settlements. The Sunday schools, like the day schools, seem to include every child in the place. One institution is in especial favour among them—the Bands of Hope.

I recognised, however, in this infant school on the outskirts of the town, an intelligence and a respectability above the average. The infants, however, ranged a little higher in age than usual. Personal cleanliness and neatness formed a marked feature about them all. I fancied afterwards that the very high character of their training in school gave them a superior taste and propriety in dress and the disposition of their little ornaments. There was certainly an ease of manner and softness of expression, an intelligence of language, that I never met with in any other public school in the colonies. With the perfection of discipline, there was no more restraint observable than in a well-ordered and united family.

The mistress was a young woman of prepossessing appearance, combining a calm and dignified bearing with the sweetest of tones and the utmost benignity of regard. Her countenance assured me at a glance of her personal qualifications for her office.

Wishing to make some quiet observations before commencing my inspection, I told my clerical friend to let the school go on as usual. The teacher soon after gave an “ object” lesson. I have known some able masters and mistresses during my lengthened experience in England and the colonies, and consider myself qualified to judge upon the merits of teaching; but here I was placed before one who, for tact in illustration, power of control, ability to communicate, and magnetic influence upon a class, proved herself equal to the most accomplished teachers I had ever known. I listened with most excited interest.

But my pleasure was increased as the lesson gradually assumed a moral phase, and the rapt audience of little ones heard her soft voice tell them to love one another as Jesus so loved them. Here her genius—for such it was—shone forth brighter than ever, and proved her highest qualifications. There was no excitement, no straining after effect, no dazzling illustrations, no stirring appeal: it was simple, natural, moving eloquence.

It was necessary to come another day to conduct my examination. Thorough teaching was the distinguishing feature of the school, the writing and reading receiving great attention. The enunciation of the English could not be surpassed for correctness in any school of my district, even with pupils much more advanced in age. The mental arithmetic was taught upon the Pestalozzian method. The geography was equal to that of superior schools. A large amount of scientific information was communicated after the Birkbeck system, so called.

The mistress was aided by senior scholars, who received extra instruction out of regular hours. Trained under such a person, they were accomplished teachers;

they imitated their dear governess no less in her loving nature than her intellectual ability. It was agreeable to hear them address their class in terms of endearment and with looks of quiet gentleness.

I was particularly struck with a class of tiny ones two or three years old, who were under a little mistress who confessed to being just jive. There was no pushing, no frowning, no scolding; but with a face gleaming with intelligence and affection, the lesson was given to the delighted circle. In attempts to gain attention and impress an idea, the sparkling little monitor would kneel down before one of her class, pat its dimpled cheeks, and in a sweet, easy manner try and make the juvenile comprehend her meaning.

I pointed to the word “ eel ” on the board, and said, “ Do they know what an eel is ? ” My young friend immediately set to work and talked the class into the question. Did they know what a fish was ? Yes. Well the eel was a sort of fish. Had they seen a whale in the bay ? One of them had. Well, an eel was not a whale, but had they seen a snake broughf’ffom the bush ? Yes. Well, then, an eel was a snakc-Jish, they were told.

As I have had to chronicle some of the difficulties of public instruction in Australia, and tell a story of the inefficiency of many of our schools there, such a narrative as this of the Portland infant school will show that, even in the new land of the Southern Ocean, good teachers are to be found, true to their calling, and the best friends to a new colony.


few montlis previous to the secession of the Confederate States the writer found himself in San Francisco, on his return from Australia to Europe. He had calculated on taking the usual route, eastward from California to Hew York, by way of Panama, and, after a sojourn in Hew England and the central Atlantic seaboard, to return to London by one of the regular steamers from Hew York.    .

On reaching San Francisco he was unexpectedly

informed that the hitherto double steam line vid Panama had just been purchased by a well-known millionaire, who had thus been able to establish a monopoly of transit on his own terms. In short, the fares were doubled, and conveniences at least halved; in addition to which the hot season having fully set in rendered the prospect of a return to the oppressive latitudes of the tropics anything but an inviting one, and led the writer to look around for some other route, and finally to take the overland mail stage through Arizona, Texas, and the Indian territory, to St. Louis.

This line of stages had been established two years previously, for the bi-weekly conveyance of a portion of the Californian mails eastward, and with permission to take four “ through passengers.”

The Government subsidy to the transit company was seven hundred thousand dollars per annum, whilst the fare of each passenger was one hundred and fifty dollars, exclusive of provisions. The stages were necessitated to take a very circuitous route from San Francisco to St. Louis, in order to avoid the almost insuperable obstacles presented by the direct and shortest transit across the Rocky Mountains, which is only two thousand miles, whereas the actual line of travel by way of Texas is two thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight miles, seventy of which are within the Mexican frontier. The schedule time allowed by the mail contract is twenty-four days and nights ; but it has generally been accomplished in about forty-eight hours less.

The Panama route takes about the same time, but the distance is more than double, being seven thousand miles; yet not one a in hundred travellers goes eastwai d

by tbe Overland on account of its risks and discomforts.

But, though certainly open to serious objections on these accounts, it presents many attractions by its extreme novelty and the thorough variety of American scenery traversed in passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic, embracing the coast range of California, the Sierra ISTevada, Sierra Mimbres, Sierra Madre and the Ozarks, the long valley of the San Joachin, a portion of the “ Great Basin ” of Utah, the deserts of the Colorado, of Arizona, and of the Llano Estacado; the arid cactus and petahaya region of the Mexican frontier, the rich valleys of the Pdo Grande, the Eed Eiver, the Arkansas and the Missouri, the deep-grassed flowery and undulating prairies of Texas, the dense forests of the Indian territory, and the fertile civilized expanse of the vast Mississippi valley.

It enables the traveller to pass from the advanced yet suddenly matured civilization of San Francisco to the back-posts of that civilization in the interior mountains, where he enters on a wilderness almost destitute of animal or vegetable life, which is succeeded by another kind of wilderness, the haunts of wild beasts and the hunting grounds of the aboriginal Indians, of the Apaches, the Comanche, and the Navajos; still farther eastward the prairies pass into the dense forests west of the Mississippi, from which we emerge into a second region of civilization and culture more and more advanced in degree, till limited only by the waves of the Atlantic. This aspect of the various stages of two civilizations, passed through in an inverse order, and yet annually approaching each other nearer and nearer, is a specially

interesting accompaniment of the Overland Route, and one not to be elsewhere met with in a similar manner.

Influenced by these prospects of scenic variety and novelty, the writer “booked” himself as a “through passenger ” from San Francisco to St. Louis, and, on paying the fare, was handed a manuscript ticket merely bearing, in addition to the date and signature of the clerk, the words “ Good for the passage of the bearer by the Overland Stage from San Francisco to the terminus of the Pacific Railroad.”

Owing to tire very limited space for passengers, and the increasing demand for places, the writer had to wait for ten days before an opportunity of starting presented itself.

Meanwhile he often felt doubtful as to how far he might be able to endure a continuous ride of five hundred and forty hours, with no other intermission than a stoppage of about forty minutes twice a day, and a walk, from time to time, over the more difficult ground, or up and down stiff hills and mountain passes, and with only such repose at night as could be obtained whilst in a sitting posture and closely wedged in by fellow-travellers and tightly filled mail-bags.

Some other thoughts of not impossible contingencies were also excited by hearing that, although the Indians had never as yet ventured to attack the overland mail, there was no absolute security against such an attempt, whilst murders and robberies were known to .be of con- 2 stant occurrence along the line of route in the cases of solitary or incautious travellers crossing on mules or with only a waggon and team.2

A third ground for apprehensive anticipation was the extreme liability of vehicles to overset during a journey through regions possessing no macadamized roads, and often only a route the most rugged and steep. In case, too, of any accident or illness occurring, there was the certainty of being placed in a very unpleasant position by the absence of the ordinary appliances of civilization, whether as to surgical or other help, save of the roughest and barest description at the best, if, indeed, at all.

Happily the result was free from any of these possible contingencies; for, as to sleep, the writer never enjoyed such profound and absolutely delicious repose as often followed days of tremendous mountain jolting, and no horizontal posture in the softest bed could have given him sounder sleep than when sitting upright after these jolting days through the clear mountain and wilderness air.

Our principal danger was the extreme liability to an overset; but, though often apparently within a hair’s breadth, we escaped this unpleasantness also, and here again were better off than our successors by the same route a month afterwards, who were overturned in the night whilst going down a hill near Fort Smith, in Arkansas. One passenger was killed on the spot, and several others seriously injured. 3

The “ stations ” of the Overland Company average about eighteen miles apart; but some are distant only twelve, and others more than thirty miles. They are mostly log-houses or adobes (of sun-dried clay), and each tenanted by several men well armed, whose duty is to look after the mules and their provender, and have the relays punctually ready on the arrival of the stages.

A conductor and driver accompany each stage, the former changing every five hundred miles, and the latter at shorter intervals. Passengers and luggage are shifted into a fresh waggon about every three hundred miles. The average rate of travel is one hundred and twenty miles in every twenty-four hours ; but of course .    G

the actual speed varies greatly, according to circumstances. Over smooth and level prairie lands we sometimes dashed on at twelve miles an hour, whilst on rugged or sandy ground our advance was only two or three miles in the same time, and that often on foot.

Except when roused out at night, it was a pleasant change to walk, as affording welcome exercise and a more leisurely survey of the surrounding country and wayside objects of interest.

As to the Indians, though we met with many, they offered us no molestation, but, a few weeks subsequently, were less civil to the Santa Fd branch of the overland mail, which they intercepted, at the same time murdering the driver and conductor and stealing the mules.

Meals (at extra charge) are provided for the passengers twice a day. The fare, though rough, is better than could be expected so far from civilized districts, and consists of bread, tea, and fried steaks of bacon, venison, antelope, or mule flesh — the latter tough enough. Milk, butter, and vegetables can only' be met with towards the two ends of the route—that is, in California, and at the “stations” in the settled parts of the western Mississippi valley.

Only forty pounds weight of luggage is allowed to each passenger; but one can easily manage to cross America with this amount stowed in a handy portmanteau. The writer sent the remainder of his baggage round to Hew York by the ordinary route via Panama, the freights by which were extortionate enough, owing to the monopoly of transit established, as not only luggage, but bales of merchandise were, for some months

at least, charged upwards of £5 per cwt., with the only alternative of a cheaper transit by the long and hazardous Cape Horn passage.

Having thus made all arrangements for fare of self and freight of baggage, the writer started from San Francisco on the appointed day, with three other through passengers on board.” 4

As we had to pass through several hundred miles of comparatively settled districts before reaching the wilder parts of the route, our first stage vehicle was a large one, to accommodate the numerous demands for way-passengers to the towns and villages of Southern California. So, at starting, our conveyance was not a mere waggon, as afterwards, but a regular coach, holding nine inside (three behind, three in front, and three on a moveable seat, with a swinging leather strap for a back), by dint of close sitting and tightly dovetailed knees. Outside were the driver, the conductor, and an indefinite number of passengers, as, by popular permission, an American vehicle is never “full,” there being always room for one more.” With these, their luggage, and a heavy mail in strong sacks, stowed away under and between our feet, or overhead and elsewhere, we started from the Plaza or Grand Square of San Francisco, moving slowly through the streets, as a “fire brigade” procession was passing at the time, accompanied by music, flags, and polished engines, with silver-mounted harness, and all the usual pomp and paraphernalia of this pet “ institution ” of the young

men of American cities. At the southern end of Montgomery Street (the principal one in the metropolis;, after passing many elegant shops with tastefully arranged stocks of jewellery, paintings, and fashionable drapery, we observed the blackened remains of one of the destructive conflagrations through which the city has obtained an unpleasant notoriety; then, sweeping rapidly past suburban villas, interspersed with gardens and sandhills, we opened out on a splendid view of the bay, with its well-wooded Contra Costa side, eight miles across the water, and its fine background of deep-ravined mountains, finely distinct in the clear atmosphere.

Behind us stretched the treble-topped hill on which San Francisco is built, having the streets rising in successive parallel terraces from the water, and skirted at the summit and sides by picturesque residences, mostly with external galleries and pillared verandahs, fronted by small gardens, and approached by long flights of steps, as the transverse streets of the city are almost as steep as those of Malta. On looking back we saw, rising above the other buildings, the broad tower of St. Mary’s Church, and the twin red ones of the Catholic Cathedral of St. Francis.

Presently we rode through the old Spanish village of Mission Dolores, the quiet predecessor (as a port and settlement) of the modern city; and here, in the utmost “ Far West,” we passed a signboard inscribed “ Cafe di Garibaldi: Alla Bella Italia,”—indicating here a full acquaintance and sympathy with the most recent political movements of the Old World.

The first fifty miles of our journey was along the inner coast of the peninsula which separates the southern half of San Francisco Bay from the Pacific, and at the northern extremity of which peninsula the city is built. Between our route and the Pacific about ten miles breadth of mountains and sand-hills intervened; but towards the bay the land was in many places covered with fertile, well-wooded undulations, interspersed with good meadow land, farms, and orchards, reminding one of Devonshire, and having hills abounding in oak and “ redwood ”—a lofty Californian pine.

Already we had evidence of the truth of the remark, previously made to us by a gold-digger, that California presents a greater variety of scenery and climate, in comparatively very short distances, than almost any other country in the world. In San Francisco we had had a delicious and almost uniform temperature for weeks, with the thermometer at about 65° Fahr., and were told by the inhabitants that throughout the year the same temperature was generally experienced, there being scarcely occasion for an overcoat in winter or a blouse in summer. Only ten miles from the city a keen sea breeze now came sweeping dowm upon us from some openings between the mountains overlooking the Pacific, and causing almost an incipient sliiver by the suddenness of change, and by no means suggestive of the “hot furnace” which the radical signification of California implies. Then, again, a few miles southward, under the shelter of hills and forests, we basked in a sunny summer heat far beyond anything felt in San Francisco.

The road hereabouts presented many objects of interest; acres of golden esclioltzia, brooks bordered with the mimulus, or monkey-flower,” banks clothed with bushes of yellow and blue lupins, and an indigenous growth of those ornaments of English gardens, the flowering currant and gooseberry, with pink mallows and tall spikes of a white reseda. Amongst the oak forests were grassy glades swarming with “ground squirrels,” scampering nimbly in all directions. We counted fifty-one running around us in as many seconds. On we drove; past cattle ranchos and wayside wooden taverns, with little groups of loungers smoking outside the doors, their heads being seen horizontally in perspective, just between their upturned feet on the chairbacks.

About six o’clock in the evening we reached Santa Clara, an old mission station of the Jesuit missionaries. Here is a vast but now dilapidated establishment, which, like many similar ones, has become little better than a ruin since the Anglo-American race dispossessed the Spanish Mexicans, under whose indolent sway the Jesuit fathers exercised the chief influence in most of the settlements both over Indians and colonists. This influence, though doubtless occasionally abused, was often kindly and beneficial. Thus the mission of San Gabriel, in Southern California, at one time included a settlement of five thousand Indians (generally, if not always, baptized), who annually made three thousand barrels of wine, stored two hundred and fifty thousand bushels of grain, and branded fifty thousand calves, and who formed a happy and prosperous community under the superintendence of beloved and revered spiritual guides. But these “ good old times,” though now naturally thought of by the modem remnants of Indians with a yearning remembrance, were days when no social changes or progress rendered one generation an advance upon the preceding ; all tilings continued as they were, like the beautiful but permanently unvarying instincts of the feathered tenants of the neighbouring groves, or of the beavers of the interior mountain streams.

But we confess to sharing something of the Indian’s regret, however sentimental, as we passed the long cloisters and lonely ranges of the once prosperous Santa Clara Mission, and thought of the contrast between the past and present, as we rode along the level avenue of willow trees, extending thence for three miles to the busy modern town of San José. Here we had a hurried supper, shifted our baggage to another vehicle, took in more passengers, and entered on a second fifty miles as evening was closing in. In the darkness we passed near the celebrated quicksilver mines of New Almaden, of which, however, we saw nothing, having composed ourselves for our first night “ on board ” by wrapping coats and handkerchiefs closer around us, and, by common consent, dropping conversation and trying to sleep, but, by subsequent mutual confession, with only scant success.


About midnight the conductor roused us with shouting, “ All out here to cross a slew ! ” (a stream or ditch), as the vehicle was too heavily laden to be dragged through with the passengers, baggage, and mails. The darkness scarcely allowed us to distinguish the narrow log over which we had to pass, with the comfortable caution of the conductor, that it was “ above your knees in mud if you slip.”

All safely over, we proceeded till two o’clock in the morning, when we halted at a station at the entrance of the Pacheco Pass in the Coast Ranges. Here we met with a warm reception, there being in readiness a blazing log fire, and a good breakfast of beef-steaks, omelettes, tea, milk, and salad which we were warned to do justice to, as our next meal would not be reached till noon. After a hasty but refreshing wash in the dark, with a tin skillet and a jack-towel, outside the house, we began the ascent of the Pass, and enjoyed a walk of several miles in the exhilarating mountain air, and with the bright gleams of the dawning day above the peaks, revealing to our view a succession of striking landscapes. The road hereabouts was a narrow winding ledge, under towering crags on one side, and with a steep descent on the other. On reaching the summit a magnificent prospect opened of the great San Joachin valley, a hundred miles wide, and towards which we descended by many steep roads across the mountain spurs.

All day we traversed the extensive plains, which are hereabouts nearly destitute of trees, and with little grass, but covered with miles of sage-bushes, amongst which abounded herds of antelope and deer. Nothing breaks the uniform level but long lines of cottonwood trees, skirting the sides of widely separated arroyos, or stream beds, usually dry in summer. These trees, common to most of the western plains, are so called from having numeious tufts of soft cotton-like fibres. "Where-ever the sage grows, one may expect a soil extremely dusty in dry weather; and so we found it; for hour after hour, our wheels raised thick clouds of the finest dust, enveloping us from head to foot, and penetrating our clothes and luggage. From time to time we jumped out at the stations, shook ourselves, washed and brushed; but in a few minutes after each start, we were as brown as ever. Similar dust characterizes long tracts of Arizona and New Mexico. Towards evening we reached a firmer soil, and had a constant view of the snowy summits of the Sierra Nevada. Near the San Joachin we found all the streams and slews very full, owing to the hot weather melting the snow eastward on the mountains; and the return overland mail, in passing, informed us that, twenty miles ahead, the country was all afloat.”

This day had been a very drowsy one, and, in spite of heat, dust, and perspiration, we were making up for our last nights’ vigils, and found generally, henceforward, no difficulty in obtaining sound sleep at night, however rugged the ground passed over. The change of scene, the continuous supply of the purest air, our moderate dietary, and perpetual motion, proved to be excellent soporifics after once getting used to them.

Before night we were in a sound sleep, from which we were again roused by the conductor telling us that we had reached the flooded districts, and must assist him in “ prospecting” for a dry track for ourselves and the stage. As he knew the ground, and took the initiative, we merely followed our leader, and soon found an unsubmerged route; then remounted, and were immediately as unconscious as before.


At four p.m. we changed from our coach to a “mud waggon”—a light van with black curtains,—and took in a passenger for a short stage"’ of fifteen hundred miles from Visalia to the banks of t’ne Red River. This was a long-bearded, shaggy-liaired, rough-clad Texan, who had been to the diggings, and was returning to his former profession of cattle-driver and horse-dealer, with the further prospect of “ marrying a widow ” to whom he

was engage'!. Throughout the journey lie went by the name of “ Texas,” the land which he so often mentioned in recurring to the scenes of his varied and active life.

Visalia is a little town of a few hundred inhabitants, such as in England would be called a village; but neither town nor village is a favourite term in America.

During our first day’s journey we had stopped at a station surrounded by a few wooden houses ; and, on iny asking the name of “this village,” my American respondent replied, half in earnest, half in jest, “ Village! you mustn’t talk about villages in America; we have none; this is a city—Eedwood Cityand presently looking up, there was the name inscribed on a direction-post. “ Eedwood City.”

We were now near the great Tulares Lake, wliich is more than fifty miles long, and is named from the abundance of the tule-rushes (Scirpus lacustris), which form a margin around it three miles wide; they are each about fifteen feet high, and nearly an inch in diameter. It has been shown by experiment that the evaporation from this lake is at the rate of a quarter of an inch per day in the hot season.

There is scarcely a single bridge between San Francisco and the Arkansas Eiver, so that we often were unpleasantly and abruptly jerked down into streams, with much splashing and narrow escapes from oversets. Several such plunges roused us to-day from our morning slumbers. Deep rivers, like the Eio Grande and Colorado, are passed by means of a strong flat ferry-boat, secured to a cable stretched from bank to bank. In this manner we crossed Kern and King’s rivers near Tulares. In the former a few days previously, four mules and all the baggage of a party were washed away in attempting to ford it, and thereby to save the charge at the ferry.

All to-day we were in the San Joachin valley, and sometimes had extensive views of its whole breadth, from the Coast Eange to the Sierra .Kevada.

Au Indian rode past us with a lasso, in chase of some mustangs. California is a splendid region for rearing horses and cattle ; large fortunes have been readily and speedily amassed by this means. The mustangs are often used for drawing the overland mails, and are very spirited at first starting, leaping and rearing wildly; but, after a few miles’ driving, they soon flag, and can with difficulty be urged along at more than walking pace. We were always pleased to find mules brought out at the relays instead of mustangs; for, although less spirited at starting, we invariably accomplished the stages in shorter time than with the latter. Mules are exclusively used in the more mountainous and rugged portions of the route.

In the San Joachin valley we noticed many plants common to the prairies, such as the prairie gourd (Cucumis perennis) and the compass plant. The latter resembles a large dock, and is so named from its property of pointing to the north with its leaves after they have been pressed together by the hand.

At some distance, amongst expanses of “ greasewood” (a species of artemisia) herds of antelope bounded past us, and towards evening we saw a prairie wolf.

Two other features of the great plains here observable were the frequency of the mirage, producing fantastic distortions of the distant trees or moving objects, and also numerous whirlwinds, causing high columns of dust.


Near midnight our conductor called out “ straighten yourselves up!” in preparation for some very rough ground that we are just approaching which had been broken by fissures and banks, caused by an earthquake. In about an hour after these arousing jolts we drew up at the foot of the Tejon Pass, the southern extremity of that great central valley, which, under the name of San Joachin in the south, and of Sacramento in the north, occupies the chief portion of California, and extends nearly 600 miles in length by 100 in breadth.

We were now at the point of junction of its two mountain barriers, the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range. The Tejon station was a store kept by a dry sort of Yankee, who, after moving about very leisurely, and scarcely deigning to answer any questions put him, sat before us a supper of goat’s flesh and coffee. After making a hearty meal we had again to shift into another vehicle similar to the preceding. It being one o’clock in the morning, and a dark night, we had to be very careful that none of our respective packages or blankets were left behind in the hurried operation of changing ; so we tumbled hastily into our new waggon, wrapping ourselves up in coats or blankets, nearly as they came to hand, waiting till morning for more light and leisure to see which was our own. By means of a blanket each, in addition to an overcoat, we managed to settle down warmly and closely together for a jolting but sound slumber. What with mail-bags and passengers, we were so tightly squeezed that there was scarcely room for any jerking about separately in our places, but we were kept steady and compact, only shaking “ in one piece ” with the vehicle itself.

Thus closely sleeping, we ascended fifteen miles of a mountain road, except for a part of the ascent, where we had to walk—not so pleasant a stretch as sometimes, on account of the darkness, sleepiness, and the occasional crossing of streams in our path.

At daylight we opened out on a table-land, a continuation of the Great Basin of Utah, and were immediately struck with the new and characteristic vegetation here witnessed, consisting chiefly of yucca-trees about twenty feet high, and mostly forked at the top like the letter Y.

Here we noticed, for the first time in our journey, the strange horned frog (Agama cornuta), which characterizes the sterile uplands of Utah, New Mexico, and Western Texas. Though repulsive in appearance, it is innocent enough. We caught some, intending to keep them as mementoes, but had to relinquish the attempt for want of suitable means of preserving them alive.

We merely skirted the extreme margin of the Great Basin, and in an hour or two dashed rapidly down a ravine between picturesque crags—a route richly adorned with the red blossoms of a Clarkia, fine scarlet salvias, the blues spikes of a plant resembling horse-mint, and abundant verdure of the feathery and silvery leafage of the chapperal hereabouts. (Chapperal is a general Western name for prairie vegetation and underwood.)

We had now re-entered the Coast Eange, and were winding down the romantic twenty-two mile San Francisquito Pass, a lovely region of tree and blossom, cliff anil stream. Half way through it we had a wash and a good breakfast at a ranche, where we were warned that a hunter had that morning shot a bear a little lower down the valley, that the animal had only been wounded, and had retired amongst the trees and rocks close to our route, whence he might possibly make his appearance on our passing by. To the disappointment of the passengers, nothing was seen of him.

In the afternoon we entered the San Fernando Pass, a short but very stiff one. Here our vehicle stuck fast in a narrow gorge. The horses could not move it, though aided by ourselves. Happily there was a waggon just behind us, whose team we borrowed, and, by dint of pulling and pushing all together, we soon got up the ascent.

This was the only time during the journey that we came to a dead-lock, and it was also the only time that we were travelling in company with another vehicle going in the same direction.

On emerging from the San Fernando Pass we came to a new aspect of country and vegetation, and to a population retaining more of the Spanish and Mexican element than Northern California, as indicated by conversation and wayside notices in the Spanish language, and by the style of dress and prevalence of adobe houses.

The sunny plains and vineyards of Ciudad de los Angeles (the City of Angels) were now spread before us, whilst in the foreground rose, in the light of sunset, the


purple sierras of San Gorgonio. The plains were covered with a profusion of varied and tangled vegetation, especially yellow and crimson cacti and prickly pear, oleanders, mesembryanthemums, sunflower's, mustard, and large elder-trees, cotton-wood, and the black chestnut, whilst the undulations were thickly covered with masses of small flowers glowing in the evening like a purple velvet carpeting. The aerial effects of the lights and shadows in an atmosphere and climate so pure as in Southern California give much beauty even to the simplest elements of the picturesque, as was observed by Humboldt whilst travelling in the similar regions of Mexico and Venezuela. After leaving Los Angeles and Monte we again changed into a smaller and lighter vehicle, and travelled briskly over a sandy plain, of which we saw but little in the rapidly closing night.


At daybreak we found ourselves in a sterile region, and on our left the Laguna Grande, a salt lake about five miles in length, surrounded by mountains, whose reflected shadows on it were intensely clear, and the margin white with saline incrustations. On our right were sandy undulations abounding in gopher holes. These little animals (Pscudostoma bursarius) appear very industrious in their burrowings, and numbers of their holes are left unfinished, and fresh ones begun close by, as if from change of plan and a second resolution to “ try it again.”

To-day we passed several Indian villages and wigwams of poles, and observed the men going by with lassoes. Some of the squaws were carrying their papooses behind their backs on wicker frames ; others were grinding corn by moving a flat slab up and down a shallow stone trough.

Warner’s Pass was now before us, a valley of varying aspect and width, extending about forty miles through the sierras, and finally opening out into the utterly sterile Colorado Desert. In some places the valley was covered with boulders and fantastically-shaped weatherworn rocks interspersed with gnarled evergreen oaks. Near the hot springs of Agua Caliente we saw a hill, from a fissure in which a cloud of smoke was rising, and were informed that mud volcanoes exist hereabouts.

At nightfall we entered the narrow gorge of San Felipe, just at the entrance of which a large Indian campfire lighted up the sides of the defile, and beyond which the passage narrowed in, so as just to allow one vehicle to pass between the perpendicular walls rising on either hand. And now commenced a shaking descent down the long narrow entrance to the Colorado Desert, over a path uneven in the extreme, steep, and strewed with loose rocks and stones. Here we had six homes; and a wild spasmodic pull it was. In the midst of it, however, some of us managed as usual, to fall sound asleep, but were roused in the darkness with the information that, on emerging from the pass to the level desert in which we now were, the horses had become unmanageable, and three of them had broken loose from their traces. After a couple of hours’ delay two of the three were caught, and we proceeded with the five, and at daybreak reached Carmo, a solitary station in a scene of desolation not to be surpassed in the Arabian deserts, as the landscape chiefly presents only bare earth and gravel, with an occasional patch of mesquite. On halting here the driver lay down to snatch ten minutes’ sleep after the night’s exertion, remarking that he felt himself  agoing, agoing,” and was instantly unconscious in profound slumber, from which he had speedily to be roused again. Pursuing our route between banks of bare earth, we passed a party of forty United States soldiers, covered with dust, and with tattered clothes—anything but martial. After driving for hours through a wind hot as from a furnace, we reached a station in the middesert—a miserable abode, with walls black inside with clustering flies, but where we were refreshed with coffee. Again starting, we soon entered the Mexican frontier, as indicated by a line of iron slabs at wide intervals. The only water at the stations hereabouts was alkaline and dirty; but, such as it was, we were glad to fill our canteens with it, both now and farther eastward, when traversing the “ journadas ” of Arizona, where, for sixty miles at a time, we had no water at all but that which we carried with us from preceding stations.

Towards the Colorado River the country is covered with dust-hills and rippled sand-heaps, strewed with whitened freshwater shells of paludina, &c., deposited during the annual overflow of the river, which extends miles across the plains near its mouth. The mesquite abounds here—a thorny, gnarled acacia, characteristic of the most barren and dusty regions of the Far West. Hour after hour we were enveloped in clouds of fine clayey dust, as so many times previously and subsequently, when journeying over low-lying plains. What with the hot wind, the dust, and the perspiration, our faces and hands became covered with a thin mud, only removed to be speedily renewed as we proceeded.


After a breakfast of tough steaks at four a.m. in another dirty, dusty adobe, we reached the banks of the Colorado, which is here a rushing, whirling, and mud-coloured river about a thousand feet in breadth. Its margin is lined with a jungle of mesquite and tall sunflowers, abounding in quail and the swift-footed passaua (Gcj-cocyx viaticus). Our track lay for miles close to the river, whose banks were here and there continually falling into the stream ; and we soon came to a place where our road was, for a short distance, washed away—an emergency which had not been altogether unexpected. The conductor and “ Texas ” set to work vigorously to clear away the brushwood. The latter used his axe in true backwoodman’s style, and we were, ere long, able to drag and scramble through to the continuation of the interrupted track. The Colorado is hereabouts shifting its bed continually, and wears away nearly twice its breadth of bank every year. In the course of the forenoon we re-entered the United States territory, and stopped for half an hour at Fort Yuma, on the frontiers of California, Arizona, and Mexico.

In the distance rose the abrupt outlines of Pilot Knob, “ the Chimney,” and similarly shaped hills of porphyritic granite. At the Fort we had the welcome offer of a hasty wash in a private bedroom ; and very refreshing it was to relieve our encumbered pores from the finely choking dust and perspiration of the past week.

Crossing the Colorado, we left California finally behind us, and entered Arizona, the new territory acquired from Mexico under the terms of “ the Gladsden Purchase.”


On leaving the river we ascended to a rocky tract, where, for the first time, we saw the strange petahaya or gigantic cereus which forms the most characteristic feature in the landscape of New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora, and Chihuahua, and is exclusively indigenous to those districts. It has no leaves, in the ordinary sense of the word, but consists of a lofty, straight, spiny, grooved, and dull green shaft from twenty to fifty feet in height, and from one to two feet in diameter. From half way lip this shaft two opposite branches diverge at right angles and, taking another bend, also at right angles, grow parallel to the main trunk, which they resemble in nature and thickness. On the summit of the shafts is a little cluster of white flowers, succeeded by a sweet-tasted fruit, resembling a fig in size and flavour, and which affords a by no means despicable supply of food to the Indians of the Apache and Navajo tribes. Though the general appearance of the petahaya somewhat resembles a huge branched candelabra-stand, yet there is great diversity of size and form; some being like a pump, other’s assuming the aspect of a tall man stretching out his arms in making a public address; whilst others are simple, unbranclied fluted columns, rising in rows and clusters on the serrated ridges and arid uplands of the Mexican frontier.

The petahaya was always a welcome sight to us, not merely from its own interest and novelty, but from its being associated, in our experience, only with clear air and a soil free from the annoyance of clouds of dust.

After leaving Forte Yuma our route lay near the south bank of the river Gila, for about one hundred and fifty miles, and with the arid and rugged, but very auriferous mountains of Mexico generally in sight. '

To-day, on having a relay of mustangs, they reared up and plunged worse than usual, broke the pole-chain, stood up nearly perpendicularly, and, finally, one fell and got underneath the body of the waggon, which movement, together with the threatening kicks and erks of the animal, caused our speedy evacuation of the vehicle till order was restored and the journey resumed,


Bkeakfasted on venison at three a,m. at Stanwiek’s ranche on the Gila, and, by special favour of the conductor, had time for a plunge in the stream. On starting we noticed hereabouts the marks of several recent Indian camp-fires. A month subsequently to our visit here, two overland passengers, wishing to bathe in the Gila, and not having any extra time allowed for the stage to stop, borrowed horses from the ranche, had their bathe, and rode after the others, overtaking them at the next station. But on the way they were assaulted by five Indians armed with bows and arrows. In self-defence they killed three of the Indians, and so escaped to their fellow-travellers and the stage.

Murders hereabouts are of frequent occurrence, of which we had several indications, even in our hasty transit to-day; for, soon after breakfast we came to a region of extinct volcanoes containing craters and large deposits of black lava and pumice-stone, and surrounded by ranges of very distinctly terraced trap mountains. On descending a crater about a mile in length and one hundred feet deep, with precipitous sides, we observed a staked enclosure, containing the grave of a family of seven persons named Oatman, who had been murdered here by the Apaches.

Proceeding further along the sides of some bluffs of volcanic rock, covered and scratched with numerous uncouth Indian hieroglyphics, we met a solitary German emigrant crossing the plains, with no other companion than his trusty horse. Both rider and steed seemed worn out with exhaustion and excitement. The man said that since daybreak he had been chased by seven

Indians, who had followed him nearly to the Overland station, where we met him, and where he was resting for a few hours. He intended to resume his journey presently, and remarked, “ Well, if they do catch me, I will dismount and fight to the last, hand to hand, and sell my life as dearly as I can.”

We took our next meal at two p.m. at Gila Bend. This station had been destroyed by the Indians four months previously, but the inmates escaped. More than a hundred arrows were afterwards picked up around the spot.

In the afternoon, whilst passing through a thicket of mesquite, we met, at intervals, with eight Indians on horseback armed with bows and arrows. The passengers and conductor got their rifles and revolvers in readiness, should anything unpleasant be threatened, but the Indians soon turned aside amongst the trees, and we saw no more of them. This was just as we were entering a narrow gorge, the Pimo Pass, whose sides were fringed with petahayas. On entering it the conductor pointed out a rock, from behind which the Indians had only a fortnight previously killed one of the officials of the Overland Mail Company. We felt easier when we were clear of the pass, and re-emerged on a wide expanse, “ the forty mile desert.” Hereabouts we passed many skeletons of oxen.

At nightfall we reached the Pimo villages, a settlement of comparatively civilized Indians, very different from their barbarous neighbours the Apaches. We had seen one of their large camp-fires previously, when miles off on the plain. Near the station our attention was called to a “ sweat-house,” where the Indians get rid of fevers by a vapour-bath process.

Whilst our supper was preparing we washed in an Indian bowl formed of reeds, but quite watertight. Saucepans also of reeds are here made use of. They are filled with water, which is then boiled by dropping hot stones into it.

“Texas,” who had visited this spot previously, inquired after an old acquaintance of his, who, as we were informed, was still living in the neighbourhood. She is an Indian woman of enormous development, and goes by the “ name of “ The Great Western.” Her weight is said to be upwards of thirty stone.


After travelling several hundred miles without seeing a village or even a house (except the solitary Overland stations), we reached Tucson, the capital of Arizona, merely a small wretched town of adobe hovels, each having a door and one small unglazed window. Its indolent Mexican population is characterized (as usual in Northern Mexico) by robbery and assassination.

Having read in a scientific memoir that two remarkable meteorolites, weighing respectively twelve hundred and one thousand pounds, had fallen at Tucson, and were to be seen near the alcalde’s house, we made inquiry about them, but could elicit no information whatever as to their present existence or whereabouts from the ignorant inhabitants.

Central Arizona was the least interesting part of our route, with the exception of the strange vegetation of petahayas and cacti. The stations, too, were wide apart. Thus, after leaving Tucson, we travelled two stages of thirty-five and twenty-four miles consecutively, with only four miserable horses in each case. Two of them lay down and would not stir, though beaten, as it seemed, cruelly with sticks and poles; but, on passing a rope round the fore leg of one of them, they started, but soon flagged again; and we had to walk over the roughest part of the distance at night, to relieve the poor jaded creatures.

From Tucson to the San Pedro the country consists of mesquite moorlands containing numerous aloe and mescal trees. Many of the latter where partially burnt by the fires lighted by Indians in cooking the tenderer portions.

Near the San Pedro we passed a camping party of emigrants, one of whom came forward and asked for a newspaper. He was recognised as being the notorious “Judge Ned Macgowan,” a well-known character in the earliest days of San Francisco, who had been obliged to flee the city to escape Lynch law, owing to his participation in the murder of the editor of the “Bulletin” newspaper. In company with “ Phil Herbert,” another worthy of the same city and times, and formerly senator for the State of California, he was now going with a company of miners to the recently discovered golddigging of the Sierra Mimbres, in the east of Arizona. These diggings (in common with others in Northern Mexico) would be very productive if it were not for the scarcity of water which almost amounts to perpetual drought in these upland provinces. From Tucson to Fort Belknap, in Texas (a breadth of eight hundred and eighty miles), the country along our route was nowhere at a less altitude than two thousand feet hbove the sea level, and in far the greater portion of the same distance

it exceeded four thousand feet, rising to more than five thousand on the table-lands of the Llano Estacado, in Western Texas.

Beyond San Pedro the plains were more grassy, and commanded extensive prospects, exhibiting much variety and beauty of aerial effect and colour. Thus, the fore-

ground would be brownish succeeded by yellow, green, gray, and dark blue tints in order, beyond which the feet of the distant mountains were of a light shade whilst the heights themselves were again dark blue.

At a mountain station a group of ten Apaches were loitering about whilst we took supper. Some of them

were painted with bright daubs of vermilion and white, and appeared to he of most vicious aspect, as if they would as willingly murder a stranger as look at him. The station-keepers were “armed to the teeth” with revolvers and bowie-knives, and had a stand of rifles indoors. Themselves and the Indians were alike a rough set, and might possibly have been in the memory of a San Francisco merchant, a recent traveller by the Overland, whom the writer consulted as to what preparation for the journey he would suggest from his own experience. Amongst other things he recommended “ a supply of tracts and a good six-shooter,” the former for the habitually swearing and blasphemous officials of the Overland, and the latter for the Indians.

This gentleman’s conversation was a curious mixture of dollars and religion, Sunday-schools and business speculations ; and, after having offered to the writer (at original cost price at least) a portion of his own equipment of Overland desiderata (much the worse for use), he presented in addition a card inscribed, The Four P’s : Punctuality, Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance.”

The Apache Pass was a rugged but very picturesque portion of our route, and will be long remembered by the writer as the scene of the finest storm and sunset he ever witnessed. All the afternoon thunder had been rolling amongst the mountains accompanied by vivid flashes and zig-zags of lightning and broad patches of rainbow amongst the sierras. Large hailstones and heavy rain had just fallen on a portion of our track. On emerging from the pass we witnessed a most gorgeous sunset over the mountains of the prairie. The broad valley was like a purple lake, into which dark

gray and blue promontories of the mountain spurs pfo-jected successively in the distance upon its dead level. Heavy thunder-clouds were still hanging round the heights, whose vapourous masses were in places variegated with the orange and crimson of the sunset gleanv-ings. From these there still continued to dart at intervals streaks of lightning, whilst beyond the plain the opposite eastern peaks glowed as with carmine reflections of the sun. Midway were varied and extended lines of blue and gray shades, whilst in front under a clear sky, was a brown foreground sprinkled with a vegetation of rigid aloe-spikes and feathery acacias. As we passed, we all gazed fixedly, with intense admiration at the magnificent spectacle, and longed for some means of perpetuating its image for future enjoyment.    .


Nearly all day passing over the prairies of Eastern Arizona, which are covered with gramma grass and “ Spanish bayonet.” The abundance of the latter, with its tall spikes of white flowers, presents at a distance the resemblance of vast processions of men moving across the plains with innumerable white banners.

The level prairie tracks are the best parts of the journey for ease and speed. To-day four mules brought us from Cook’s Springs to Goodside (fourteen miles) in sixty-one minutes. The hills hereabouts are flat-topped and canister-shaped, like those of Gozo. The level summits are of trap or other hard rocks, having precipitous sides, and below a slanting deposit of calcareous rock washed down from above by the action of water.

A German store-keeper from the Mimbres joined us to • day as a “ way passenger,” and confirmed, from his own experience, the accounts we had heard of the disorganized state of society in these regions, and more particularly in the valley of the Rio Grande. He remarked, “Ho one’s life is safe here for two hours; everyone goes about with arms, and seven out of every eight men have at some time killed one or more persons.”


Soon after midnight we reached Mesilla, whence the Santa Ed branch of the Overland Mail starts fortnightly. Like other places in these provinces, it consists of adobes About a mile further on we reached the Rio Grande, and were overtaken by our German companion of yesterday, running and perspiring, in his eagerness not to be left behind, having stopped talking at Mesilla till the stage had left. He was just in time to join us at the ferry over the river, which is here nine hundred miles from its mouth, four hundred feet wide, twelve deep, and very muddy and rapid. Our route for a hundred miles now lay close to this river, whose banks are a pleasing contrast to the sterile regions east and west of them. We passed crops of maize, wheat, sugar-cane, and sunflowers. The latter are cultivated on account of their leaves, from which a kind of “ tea ” is extracted by decoction.

Large blue cranes and wild geese were numerous, especially on the banks of the river and its tributary streams, whose overflowing obliged us to take several lengthy circuits. Our supply of provisions improved during our short transit through this belt of fertile

land. At El Paso we had onions and eggs, in addition to our general fare of fried steaks and bread.

New Mexico and Eastern Arizona are very low in their social and moral condition. Their inhabitants are miserably poor, and many are peons or slaves to the few wealthy owners of docks and plantations.

On account of the rapidity and of the rocky bed of the Rio Grande, merchandise is conveyed hither from the Gulf of Mexico by trains of frieght waggons,” a slow and expensive process.

The population chiefly spend their time in lounging in the sunsliire, playing at monte, or dancing the fandango. A peon letter-carrier to-day ran along beside our waggon the greater part of a stage of twenty-five miles. He was lightly clothed, having merely linen drawers, and appeared to be very strong limbed and good-tempered.


During the night we halted for a meal near the camp-fire of an emigrant party proceeding to California. Their waggons were arranged in a semi-circle, and the usual precautions taken to avoid a surprise by Indians or a stampede of the horses. The party were comfortably reclining on the ground, some smoking and partaking of their evening meal of tea, slapjack, and dried apples stewed. The latter is a general and welcome article of diet on the western plains, being both palatable and easily portable in light barrels. The prairie waggons are generally hooped at the top. Their wheels are made of the wood of the Osage orange, which is close-grained, very tough, and does not crack too much with the heat and drought which soon spoil ordinary utensils of wood, as two of our company found by experience, having brought with them a wooden keg for liquor, which was almost immediately rendered useless by the heat of the desert plains. We found our tin canteens for water far more serviceable, especially when wrapped in a piece of wet blanket, which, by the evaporation, kept the contents cool in the hottest atmosphere.

To-day we also passed a long drove of cattle, horses, aud mules. Their herdsmen were all well armed, and kept guard both in front and rear. “Texas,” who lias previously driven cattle cross the plains, threatens vengeance on the Indians when he has opportunity, for having robbed him of fifteen hundred dollars’ worth of beasts. As tracks of from fifty to eighty miles of country without water have to be traversed at intervals, scores of cattle die on the way, and we often witnessed their bones and carcases.

In driving horses or mules it is usual to tie them in pairs, by lariats on opposite sides, to a long central rope, stretched from a waggon in front to one behind. This prevents stampedes.

In leaving the valley of the Iiio Grande we proceeded on foot, slowly up steep passes to another table-land region of yuccas and prairie-grass, and were now in the extreme west of Texas and approaching the eastern spurs of the Rocky Mountains, whose various chains and plateaux we had been successively crossing during the past week.

Our sameness of posture becoming tedious, we tried


various expedients by way of a change, sometimes slinging our feet by loops from the top of the waggon, or letting them hang over the sides between the wheels, and at other times mutually accommodating each other by leaning or lying along the seats, and not seldom all nodding for hours together in attitudes grotesque and diverse.

We had very little interruption to our general harmony. But on one occasion the two front passengers had become wearied of sitting for more than twenty-fours hour in an almost horizontal posture, by reason of mail-bags filling up the space between the seats.

On our getting out to a meal, one of the two pushed the bags backwards so as to similarly incommode those sitting in the back of the vehicle, and more particularly “Texas,” who stoutly demurred to the change. His neighbour in front persisted in pushing back the bags, and added with a significant reference to his pistols, that there would be “ trouble” unless his arrangement was agreed with. This roused “ Texas,” who, stooping to grasp his own trusty weapon, remarked, “ Well, if you talk about ‘ trouble,’ I can, too; and, as to that matter, I’d as lief have ‘ trouble ’ as anything else.” This characteristic declaration, and its accompanying gestures, immediately made the first complainant “draw in,” and exercise his “ prudence as the better part of valour.”


We were now amongst the mingled mountains and upland plains which form the continuation of the Sierra Madre, the “mother chain” of the Eocky Mountains, and which are respectively named the Organ, the Waco, and the Guadalupe ranges.

Last evening, about sundown, “ Texas ” suddenly called out, “ Eattlesnake ! stop ! ” whereupon several of us jumped out, and after killing his snakesliip, cut off the rattle, which contained nine rings and thereby indicated that he was eleven years old, as one ring is added annually after the first two years. Eattlesnakes are abundant in the prairies, especially in the marmot districts. Their bites are often fatal, but not generally, if immediately attended to. The ordinary Western remedies are to burn a little powder several times on the wound, or (which is considered still more effective) to take copious draughts of whisky or other spirits—on a principle somewhat homoeopathic as to quality, hut by no means as to quantity—thereby giving the system a temporary energy sufficient to overcome and neutralize the counter-energy of the venom. Despite the poisonous fangs of this reptile, he has his good traits, especially in giving a fair, distinct, and preliminary warning to all who trespass on his haunts; and herein is nobler than his Indian neighbours the Comanehes and Apaches, whose wiliness of treachery, and silent skill in ambush and in sudden surprise, transcend the sharpest instincts of the brute creation.

After passing Fort Davis (named after Jefferson Davis, when Secretary-at-War under the old Union, and one of the widely-separated links in the chain of military stations which maintain the authority of the American Government over the inhabitants of the wilderness), we entered the Eighteen Mile Canon,5 which is a continuous and very romantic descent from one plateau to another. Its perpendicular sides were in many places formed of basaltic columns, whilst a clear stream occupied part of the narrow winding space between the cliffs, along whose length grew a varied vegetation of live oaks, walnut-trees, euphorbias, watermelons, and numerous flowering shrubs, over whose blossoms large black and variegated butterflies fluttered, whilst multitudes of lizards were sluggishly basking on the rocky ledges where the hot sunshine was streaming down.

On emerging from the gorge to another expanse of prairie, we distinguished, just after sundown, the treble peak of the Guadalupe or Cathedral Mountain, seventy miles across the plain. Both at sea and on the land, a most favourable time for perceiving distant objects is for about ten or twenty minutes after sunset, when there still remains nearly all the illumination of the sunshine, but without its dazzlement.

Took supper at Leon Hole Station, so named from a deep moorland tarn, whither troops of antelopes come over the plains to drink. It is said never to have been fathomed, though sounded with a line of five hundred feet. An emigrant once threw in here, over night, the shrunk wheels of his waggon, and, on coming to draw them out in the morning, was astonished to find that they had entirely disappeared in the depths of what, in the evening, he had assumed to be an ordinary pool or temporary accumulation of water in a prairie hollow. At this station we had for supper some excellent bread, tire best on the route; and there was a refinement about the spot very different from the rugged aspect of the generality of Overland stations and their inmates. This was owing to the presence of a cheerful matronly woman (the wife of one of the station-keepers), and two gentle girls, her young daughters, bright “prairie flowers” not often seen in these rough Tar-Western wilds.


A fine moonlight night, and tolerably smooth travel, free from the jolts of our recent mountain route above the Bio Grande. At three o’clock this morning we halted at the Pecos river, and had an opportunity for a hasty wash, whilst the ferry-boat was getting ready. The writer carried with him, in a small satchel, a sponge and towel, and several changes of linen, separately and tightly wrapped up, so as to he reached without trouble at a minute’s notice, the time being very limited at the two or three opportunities of a bathe which may occur during the journey. Many passengers go through the entire route without once changing their linen, and sometimes with the barest apology for washing. At the little town of Pecos, many miles above the spot where we crossed the river, there are the remains of an ancient Aztec temple, where, as recently as twenty-five years ago, the Pueblo Indians carefully cherished “ the eternal fires of Montezuma,” which had not been suffered to become extinct for ages previously. Our route along the Mexican frontier lay in several places very near the Casas Grandes, which are extensive ruins of Aztec palaces and temples* distinguished by the usual characteristics of grotesque inscriptions, absence of windows, and by pyramidal tendencies. In Northern Mexico are remote valleys whose inhabitants still cherish the traditional hope of their fathers, that of the advent of the royal Montezuma to a restored and permanently glorious empire, exceeding the splendours of the ancient days, and once more freed from the oppressing presence of the Spaniard and the stranger.

After leaving the banks of the Pecos we rode for forty miles over a dreary region, the western portion of the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plain, a long and very barren tract of table-land, so named from a line of stakes formerly set up across it for the guidance of the traders

between Texas and New Mexico, travelling from San Antonio to Santa F&

Throughout our Overland journey our approach to a station, whether previous to a relay or a meal, was announced, at a distance by a long blast from the conductor’s horn, often heard far away in the silence of the wilds, and serving to economise time by enabling the station-keepers to prepare the requirements both of the hungry passengers and jaded mules. But never was the sound more welcome than to-day at noon, after sixteen hours’ fasting during an airy ride in these clear upland regions. On dismounting at the station we found a good dish of dried apples stewed, fried steaks, and hot coffee, and never ate a breakfast with a keener relish.

During the past week we have travelled through many “ dog-towns,” or districts full of the burrows of the prairie marmot (Arctomys Isudoviciana). Some of the “towns” were miles in extent. Mr. Bartlett asserts, in his work on the Western Plains, that he once passed for three days continuously through a dog-town, which was sixty miles long, and makes a calculation (based on very moderate estimates as to the number of burrows) that there must be upwards of thirty million marmots in one such community. In winter they hibernate, and their vast cities are filled with a motionless population; but in summer they are extremely nimble, and we saw them scampering in all directions, whilst some were acting as sentinels, watching and peeping from the summit of their raised hillocks. Amongst them are numerous rattlesnakes and small owls, both of which appear in good condition, and are popularly said to form a vast “happy ' family” with the marmots; but the probability is (considering the usual relations which subsist between snakes, owls, and small weak quadrupeds) that the "happiness” of such communities is very one-sided, and that the little prairie dogs and their young not only afford lodgings to their feathered and scaly neighbours by then-burrowing labours, but board also, at the expense of their own sleek and rounded bodies.

Towards evening we reached a more fertile region of prairie vegetation, and traversed long undulations clothed with the deep leafage and bright blossoms of asters, red and blue verbenas, golden rod, the milk-plant and convolvulus, the wild cherry, and with miles of sunflowers—the latter all alike turning as with faithful glance to the great luminary from which they derive their name, and affording to a lover of symbolisms a beautiful emblem of spiritual and moral allegiance.

Amongst this vegetation we observed herds of antelope, several red deer (the white-tailed prairie species), many muled-eared hares, a wild turkey, and several venomous smaller creatures, as the tarantula and the long brown centipede, also large ant-hills.

The tarantula of Texas has a body as large as a pigeon’s egg, and will nearly cover a man’s palm when its legs are spread out. Its eyes are prominent, and glisten with mischief and evil. Its bite is often fatal in this region, and it is one of the worst pests of the prairie, but displays great ingenuity in the construction of the circular valve-like doors of its subterranean dwelling.

After sundown one of the passengers exclaimed, "Lightning bugs!” and, on turning to see what these were, we found them to be fire-flies, a number of which were gliding in beautiful curves across a stream, like silently floating stars of bright green fire amongst the deepening shades of the surrounding foliage. This was at the head of the Concho, a tributary of the river Colorado of Texas, and from hence onward the prairies gradually became more and more sprinkled with trees, until entirely lost in the vast forests of the western limits of the Mississipi valley. We observed fire-flies after this almost every evening until reaching the Atlantic. They are one of the principal ornaments of an American landscape after sunset.


At the Concho we met the westward-bound stage, eight days from St. Louis, and, as we reached the station just before it, we had the single relay of horses which was on the spot, leaving for the use of the other waggon only our own already jaded animals. This was the case at several stations, owing to defective arrangements. At this station, a week ago, a man was scalped by the Indians ; early this morning we passed a small party of Texan Eangers proceeding in search of the offenders.

To-day we reached Fort Chadbourne, and breakfasted at the first inclosed farm we have seen since leaving California, and at the same time met with the first appearance of slavery in our route, as a regular institution. Our table and food were black with clustering flies, which crowded even into our tea, and had to be spooned out by wholesale.

After starting from Chadbourne, as we were going down an arroyo or ravine across the plain, one of our company exclaimed, “ There’s an Indian on horseback lurking just beliinc! us under the trees !” Our conductor immediately jumped out, and, on perceiving what appeared to be an Indian, fired his revolver at him ; but the other was too quick for him, and rapidly galloped off. The conductor vows vengeance against the red men, and declares he has promised to give his wife an Indian scalp “ to keep her combs in,” and means to fulfil his engagement. He seems to be much of a savage himself, if we may judge by his vile conversation and constant oaths, even worse than the generality of his fraternity. On one occasion he detained us and the mails a quarter of an hour whilst quarrelling with another Overland employé, and, after mutual threats of “ whipping ” one another, our worthy finally shirked off, and for some stages further burdened us with his unacceptable company and guidance.

We have to-day passed over a blackened tract of ground, still smouldering in places after a recent prairie fire, which was still burning in the distance, sweeping off the thick herbage and stripping the larger trees of their foliage, at least for this year. Our driver tells us that at this part of the route he has had, on a former journey, to wait for half an hour whilst a long herd of buffaloes passed by ; but we have as yet seen none, as they are gone northward during the summer heats.

To-day, and at other times during the route, we have lost our hats whilst nodding in a quiet doze. Each passenger, except the writer, has lost at least one hat “ overboard” since leaving San Francisco.


Although still on the furthest verge of the civilized frontier, we have now left the great Western prairies behind us, with their solemn, silent loneliness, and are hourly journeying into thicker and thicker forest regions.

After fording the shallow head-waters of the Brazos we reached Fort Belknap, a place of considerable notoriety in the annals of border Texan exploits, and in its neighbourhood observed more fenced land and log-houses. It being Sunday, we met a party of young men and women riding home from some woodland chapel. Our route to-day, and for hundreds of miles eastward, lay almost uninterruptedly through forests. We have now entered the Cross Timbers, a specially densely-wooded tract of northern Texas, stretching for two hundred and fifty miles, and with a breadth of about forty miles. It is composed of post oak,” “ white oak,” Spanish, and “jack oak,” hickory, pecan, sycamore, sassafras and persimmon; but the varieties of oak are by far the principal constituents.

With the uninhabited solitudes of the desert and prairie we have also left behind us the rough and often villainous station-keepers and their coarse fare. The stations hereabouts and henceforward are kept by persons who generally have, in connection with them, a store or farm, and whose accommodation and manners are a decided improvement on what we have hitherto met with. To day we had green Indian-corn served as a vegetable for dinner. It resembles peas in flavour and juiciness. Further on our bill of fare included at times potatoes, salads, pies, and honeycomb, but scarcely on any occasion could we obtain any milk.

At night this portion of the route was rendered very lively by the constant jolting through the rough forest tracts, and by an increasingly uneven surface, as well as by the loud rattles, chirpings, and scrapings of innumerable katydids and wild crickets. Happily we had also glorious moonlight; and it was very pleasant to have such aid, both when walking and riding.

After travelling nearly eight hundred miles over Texan soil we now reached almost the only Texan town on our route, a neat little place najned Gainesville ; and a few miles further on we came to Sherman, near the Eed Eiver. Here our backwoodsman companion, “Texas,” took leave of us; also another Californian miner, a disagreeable fellow, who, with his similarly surly dog, had been thrust in upon us as “way passengers” at Fort Chadbourne, two hundred and eighty-five miles west of Sherman.

Thus lightened, and without receiving at present any other passengers, we drove rapidly over a temporary re-appearance of prairies and blossomed plains, till about sunset we entered the dark and tangled jungle which for many hundred miles skirts the Eed Eiver. The trees hereabouts were densely festooned with wild vines, bright convolvuli, and crimson trumpet-flowers. The scene was a mixture of forest, garden, swamp, vineyard, hopyard, and jungle all in one. The road was of stoneless earth and mud, with frequently projecting and jolting stumps; whilst over some specially shaky parts patches of “ corduroy ” were laid down, along whose ribbed irregular surface our motion was none of the smoothest. We found the muddy water of the Red River much beneath its usual level, and were ferried across by slaves, from one deep red earthy bluff of bank to another similar one on the eastern side, up which we scrambled ; and were now in the Indian Territory, the tract of fertile region, five hundred miles long by two hundred broad, permanently guaranteed by the Federal Government to the remnant of the various tribes who once were lords of the whole territory from the Mississipi to the Atlantic.

After supper at a large log-house, we again travelled all night through forest regions, and on awaking in the morning perceived two new companions sitting in our midst, one a government agent for the protection of the Indian tribes hereabouts, and the other a Yankee schoolmaster of a mission-school for the young aborigines. We found both of these to be gentlemen, and, in conversation and politeness, a great improvement compared with the passengers who left us at Sherman.


Notwithstanding the general exclusion of whites from the occupation of land in the Indian Territory, we found several in possession of farms in the most fertile districts. Early this morning we breakfasted at one such establishment, taking our meal under the verandah outside an open door, just within which the lady of the house was comfortably smoking a pipe, whilst still in bed, with her daughter at her side. Both watched the operations at the table with the easy nonchalance of backwoods-etiquette. Similarly comfortable, an old uegress was smoking at the door of one of the outbuildings, and at the same time keeping a quiet eye upon a number of frolicking curly-lieaded black children, some of whose seniors might, however, have been less at ease in the establishment than appeared to be the case with themselves; for, in front of the verandah, there was a notice offering “two hundred and fifty dollars reward for the apprehension of my slave Frank,” who had run off in search of a happier allotment.

As visitors we could not complain of our fare here, as we had sweet green corn and the first potatoes since the commencement of our journey from San Francisco.

The Indian Territory much resembles the better parts of Texas in its fertile openings, abundance of wood, and adaptability for agriculture, more especially for cattleraising. It is thinly peopled by the surviving representatives of the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, Shawnees, Kickapoos, Seminóles, Pawnees, Wichitas, and Delawares, an aggregate population of eighty thousand, of whom a fourth are Choctaws.

These tribes have always been somewhat superior in character to the Indians of the prairie and desert regions westward, including the Apaches, Comanches, and Arapahoes. All the latter are more treacherous than the eastern races, from whom they differ in various other respects ; as, for instance, by the use of bows and arrows instead of rifles, by living more in the saddle than on foot, and by an almost total disuse of agriculture or settled residences. They are also more licentious, but less cruel than the former.

The leading tribes now established in the Territory are the Choctaws and Cherokees. The latter are the most intelligent and civilized, and have amongst them a regular aristocratic organization. They have good houses, and keep slaves. The young Choctaws eagerly seek matrimonial alliances with the Cherokee ladies, many of whom are well dowered both with wealth and education, and have adopted crinolines and pianos.

Open murder and private assassination, together with perjury and miscellaneous outrages, are characteristics of the tribes in the Territory, especially amongst the Chickasaws and Choctaws. Small as the allotted district is which is thus apportioned for the permanent possession of so many, and formerly so extensive nations, there seems every probability that, in spite of the ample opportunities these now enjoy for quiet progress and increase, two or three generations will witness their extinction. As we traversed the sunny forest glades and fertile undulations of open land, our American passengers expressed, in no gentle terms, their disapprobation of the forbearance of the Federal Government in reserving such an ample and splendid region for a population so scanty and so evidently unable to avail themselves of even a small portion of the vast and easily attainable advantages set before them. The Indian Territory confirms the almost universal experience that, by nations as well as by individuals, permanent establishment and eminent usefulness can only be attained through the means of the many gradations and varieties of a long preliminary discipline. Humanly speaking, it appears absolutely impossible for aboriginal ' races like the North American Indians to maintain an

existence advantageous to their neighbours or to themselves, when brought into contact with superior races; and facts abundantly testify to the wisdom and mercy of that apparently inevitable law of Providence that no ' such inveterately savage race shall be by any means enabled, in these latter ages of the world’s history, to continue as a thorn and stumbling-block in the way of the elder and nobler nations, who have been brought, through ages of political and social discipline, to a foremost position of beneficent influence in Christendom and in the world at large. So that, whilst we may mourn, in a poetical and traditionary point of view, over the gradual but certain disappearance of these “ children of the forest,” after their ages of mere animal enjoyment of an uncivilized and unprogressive existence, and whilst seeking the temporal and spiritual improvement of the survivors, we may thankfully reflect on the incalculable benefits to mankind to be derived from the possession of their vast vacated territories by races who have borne hither, and laboriously established, from beyond the Atlantic, the accumulated treasures both of their own rich civilization and that also of the fh’st-born and pre-eminently favoured nations of Palestine, Greece, and Rome.

The southern continuation of the Ozark mountains extends into the Indian Territory, adding to the picturesqueness of the scenery more than to the facility of travel. We took twelve hours in accomplishing forty-seven miles through this district, which became far more difficult northward. Much of the territory is carboniferous, and in many parts beautiful fossils are obtained, and, in particular, fine specimens of dentritic rock.

\Xe found the temperature, though extremely warm, hereabouts (98° in the shade) far more endurable than that experienced in the Colorado and Gila deserts.


This was the anniversary of the Declaration of Indepence, the glorious Fourth,” and accordingly, at midnight, the passengers (all being Americans except the writer) welcomed its advent with loud hurrahs. Yet it had been interesting to the writer to notice repeatedly, during the journey, how his republican companions freely expressed their deep discontent with many of their own political circumstances, especially deploring the hopeless corruption of their executive government.

A radical source of political evil was acknowledged to be the unprecedented place-hunting encouraged by the established practice of compelling all subordinate employes (including post-masters and custom-house officials) to evacuate then- situations at every change in the administration, and frequently at shorter intervals. Thus personal merit and exemplary performance of duty receive no reward, but actually place their exhibitor in a more unfavourable position as to his own pecuniary interests than that enjoyed by immoral and unprincipled persons. A gentleman remarked to the writer that, during his ten years’ residence in San Francisco, he had known almost every desk in the city custom-house officered afresh about six times. Another Californian, speaking of Federal emploijes generally, added, “ They go in for the stealings,” more than for their regularly recognised emolument. The recent defalcations and disclosures in the highest circles at Washington abundantly prove the truth of this remark.

To-day we breakfasted at Scullyville, a station kept by the governor of the Choctaws, who has here a thriving farm. Near one of the Indian villages we observed a post with a hole at the top, through which balls are driven with sticks by the Indians when playing their national game. This sport requires great skill, and is rough work, often leading to severe injuries or loss of life.

Major Blain (Indian protector under the Federal Government, and one of our passengers) remarks that he has been struck with the poetic beauty of many of the expressions in the aboriginal languages. Thus, the Comanches call the stars " God’s eyes,” and the moon is the “ night queen.” He adds that this once powerful and dreaded nation are now fearfully wasting away, through their degraded habits imitated from the worst of the whites. It is characteristic generally of savage aborigines that, on contact with superior races, they immediately adopt the worst vices of the latter, whilst obstinately and hopelessly refusing to profit by their virtues.

After a hot and dusty drag of fifteen miles in six hours, our horses fairly gave in, and we had to walk the last part of the stage west of Fort Smith. On reaching this town, on the frontier of Arkansas and of civilization, we found every one holiday-keeping, in honour of “ the Fourth.” We were allowed two hours’ delay—a very welcome opportunity for a bath, and a leisurely dinner at a regular hotel. There we emerged on the comforts of ice-water and ice-cream, both such universal require-meats- of loyal American citizens in summer. Our landlord had a fat pig in readiness for some western agricultural exhibition, and, in order to restrain any diminution of size by the copious perspiration in the sweltering weather, a large block of ice was placed on the recumbent animal; and the latter seemed very comfortably to appreciate the attention thus given to his personal condition.

At Fort Smith, for once, we met with a really conscientious stage-agent, who refused to permit our being crowded with any further addition to our full complement of way passengers, much to the loudly-expressed chagrin of an Irishman and a lady, who were desirous of favouring us with their presence, regardless of our convenience, if not so of their own.

In the evening we crossed the Arkansas river, on a ferry propelled by two horses walking round a sort of treadmill, or nearly horizontal wheel, communicating motion to the paddles. This kind of locomotive power we had not previously met with, nor did we see any recurrence of it subsequently.

Our route continues through hilly forests, chiefly of oak, but with many hickories and papaw-trees. The latter somewhat resemble laurels, but their large oval leaves are all pendent.

The population hereabouts is still very scanty, and only a few log-houses have broken the solitude of our journey, with the exception of the two towns of Fort Smith and Van Buren, both of which are close to a navigable river.

Smoking seems to be in frequent favour hereabouts with the gentler sex, if we may judge by our observations of both whites and slaves. At a relay station this morning we saw an announcement offering a reward of a thousand dollars for the apprehension of seven runaway negroes.

This evening our route has become more rugged than at any former stage of the journey, except the San Felipe Pass, west of the Colorado Desert, in California. We have passed several emigrant parties resting at camp-fires and guarded by noisy dogs, all bound to Texas, or still further west.


Last night we crossed Boston Mountain, a spur of tire Ozarks. Hour after hour we clambered literally “ upstairs,” for our route lay at times in the channel of a mountain stream, over successive ledges of rock. The worst of the ascent we had to walk, which was more comfortable than when inside, as there was bright moonlight. The scenery of the deep gorge was very romantic, and fire-flies were swarming around us in every direction. When riding, our night was anything but favourable to sleep, being a continuous succession of unmitigated jolts, knocking our faces, shoulders, knees, and backs against the waggon, or one another. But at last tired nature could hold out no longer, and we sank into the soundest and sweetest unconsciousness of the lively behaviour of our vehicle.

Soon after awaking we entered the town of Fayetteville, a go-ahead place possessing its pillared court-house, churches, and ladies’ college.

To-day we have traversed a splendid region of forest and meadow openings, scattered with fertile fields of cotton, maize, and especially heavy crops of Hungarian millet-grass.

Our commissariat here amply amends for our recent desert fare. This evening we had a good supper of eggs, honey, potatoes, French beans, steaks, and pastry in abundance, and with courtesy: the latter we do not always receive in addition, when in the plains or elsewhere.

During our journey we have had no opportunity for reading, as the hurried relays and motion of the vehicle have effectually confined our employments to conversation and observation. The former has embraced “ things in general,” with one exception. We have, by common consent, carefully avoided the slightest allusions to slavery, in its moral and political bearings. This topic has always, and especially of late years, been a dangerous one for travellers in the South, whether northerners or foreigners; and although some of us had our own decided opinions in favour of abolitionism, we felt that for the present silence was wisdom, as very mild expressions of an anti-slavery nature have repeatedly produced most unpleasant and even fatal results to their utterers. It would be particularly disagreeable to have one’s journey interrupted in the summary manner which has sometimes been the case with the incautious in these parts. We remembered that, in Texas and Arkansas, suspicion is easily roused; and tar, feathers, or a halter, have often been easily improvised by the irresponsible sovereignty of pro-slavery mobs.

So far, however, as our limited opportunities of observation extended to the agricultural and domestic aspects of slavery in the districts through which we passed, and so far, also, as the dress, conversation, and actions of the negroes hereabouts impressed us, there was evidently a large amount of comfort and moderation in their condition and treatment.

The chief objections to slavery are not so much on the ground of comfort or economy, as on that of the deep and wide-spread moral degradation and spiritual desolation necessarily implied in the existence of the system.

In the vegetation of these districts sumach trees and the “jemsen-weed” are abundantly conspicuous. The bright red foliage of the former is very ornamental; its leaves are used by the Indians as a substitute for tobacco. The “jemsen-weed” is so named from its having been mistaken for salad by the early Virginian colonists of Jamestown, an awkward mishap which nearly led to serious results, as it is the stramonium of the pharmacopoeia, or a closely allied species. Other prevalent blossoms hereabouts are those of the mullein, horse-mint, ironweed, red asters, wild carnation, and “ poke-weed.”


In Missouri at last. Yesterday we changed at Fayetteville from a light waggon to a regular Western “coach,” similar to the one in which we started from San Francisco ; but with it we received an accession of five passengers inside—a widow and four small children. Last night, in accordance with the established habit of our journey, when it became dark we dropped into silence, or tried to, in order to sleep, but in vain; talk, talk, continued the widow, though receiving from us very monosyllabic replies, and then broader and broader hints as to acceptableness of quiet, which at last were complied with, till we slept.

Early in the morning we reached Springfield, where the mail agent found that it would be impossible to forward all the miscellaneous coachful of passengers, luggage, and letter-bags, so as to reach the Syracuse railroad in time to dispatch the latter by to-morrow’s train to St. Louis, wdiieli, if missed, would entail a further delay to the mails of forty-eight hours, till Monday morning, as no train would run between that time and to-morrow (Saturday) morning.

Having all along been much incommoded by the bulky mail-sacks, we now gained through them the advantage of an accelerated conclusion to our journey, as the agent here decided to forward the letters and the throuah passengers by a smaller fast conveyance, leaving the coach, the widow, and her family, with the remaining passengers and baggage, to follow more at leisure. Thus freed from impedimenta, we started at a brisk rate.

But we were still one hundred and thirty-five miles from the western terminus of “ the Pacific Railroad,” at Syracuse, and it was a very doubtful matter whether, with the utmost exertion, we could accomplish this so as to save the Saturday train leaving at eight o’clock tomorrow for St. Louis, as it was now six on Friday morning. However, on we went, driven in the characteristic wild style of Yankee drivers, and when near a relay, perceived the westward-bound stage coming over a hill.

We knew that if this reached the station before ourselves, it would secure the right of priority in case of there being only one relay of horses at hand, which would ruin our chance of catching the train, as the last stage in would have to proceed with already jaded horses. Our driver urged on the team, and we drew up at the station just a few minutes before the others came steaming in. The fresh horses were ours, and were also the only animals in waiting. Thus aided, we dashed on again, and kept it up briskly all day.

In the evening we crossed the Osage river at an easily fordable point near the town of Warsaw. Here one of our through passengers left us. He was a gold-digger, returning, after nine years’ absence in California, to his Missourian home, scarcely richer than when he left it; yet he appeared to be a sober, industrious, and agreeable young man. He gives it as the result of his observation at the diggings, that very few indeed ever succeed in amassing fortunes there.

In Western Missouri we have seen unmistakable traces of the tornadoes which often visit these regions bordering on the open prairies, where the winds sweep along with the gathered force of hundreds of miles of unimpeded momentum.



We continued our race for the train all night, and with success; for soon after awakening this morning, we saw, rising above the trees before us, the thrice welcome and readily recognised wreaths of the white breath of the “ iron horse,” at the Syracuse station and western terminus of the “ Pacific Railroad.” A few minutes more and we had completed our long and uninterrupted ride of twenty-seven hundred miles; and as we leaped for the last time from the stage, it was not without feeling some emotion of thankfulness to that good Providence who had brought us thus safely to the termination of a journey characterized by extreme interest and variety, and by more than a little peril and physical exertion.

We had yet an hour before the train started, an interval very essential for changing the condition of our dusty persons and worn-out clothes, &c. Then, after a hearty breakfast, never did a ride seem more luxuriously comfortable than the smooth and rapid motion of the commodious railway cars, both by their contrast with our three weeks’ route over rugged mountain and rolling prairie, as well as by the restful feeling arising from the secure accomplishment of a journey so different from any in our former experiences of travel.

Thus, reclining with a delightful ease and satisfaction on the softly cushioned seats, we skirted for nearly a hundred miles the whirling waters of the turbid wide Missouri—past Jefferson City, the capital of the State, past white double-tiered steamboats on our left, and neat towns, rich harvests, and tributary rivers on our right, till, in the early afternoon, we rolled into a spacious terminus; from which we emerged once more into the active scenes of city life, amongst the crowded thoroughfares, lofty edifices, hotels, street railways, and bustling wharves of St. Louis, the populous and thriving emporium of the Upper Mississippi.

^Adventure in the JDe^ert.

She following story was told to the writer by a traveller who had spent some time in the East.

“ While I was in Egypt,” he said, “ I had occasion to cross a part of the desert bordering on the Eed Sea. I was accompanied by a number of natives, as guards. There were eight or nine of them, as wild and picturesque as you can well imagine. They were true sons of the desert, and Ishmaelites of pure descent.

“ They were faithful to me, and it was pleasant, day after day, to gallop among this bearded troop, sometimes conversing with the sheik or leader, and at other times witnessing such feats of horsemanship as my guards pleased to exhibit for my amusement, or to practise for their own. In the heat of the day we were accustomed to pitch our tents and rest, and to travel in the cool of the morning and evening. Late in the evening we rested again, but then we were more inclined to while away the hours in conversation than in the middle of the day, when we were glad to sleep.

“ One evening, towards midnight, we had encamped as usual beside a muddy fountain, secured our horses, lighted our fire, and drunk our coffee; my guards were

seated in a circle, smoking and chatting, while I made an effort to sleep under cover of my own little tent. It was all in vain, however, and after many attempts to close my eyes in forgetfulness, I left my tent and joined the Arabs.

“ My presence did not much interfere with their conversation, but I paid little heed to what they were saying, till presently the sheik, turning suddenly round upon me, exclaimed,—

“ ‘ What strange men you Englishmen are ! ’

“ ‘ How so ? ’ I asked. ‘ Why strange ? ’

“ ‘ I don’t think you have any religion,’ was the reply. ‘You don’t pray; you don’t give alms ; you do nothing! ’

“ This was a home-tlirust, and my conscience felt it. I had looked upon the poor fellows around me as so bigoted to their creed, and knew myself to be so completely in their power, that I had deemed it prudent to avoid every topic which might arouse their prejudices and passions. In my solitary tent at midday I had read the word of life; and at morning and night I had commended myself in prayer to God my Maker, through Christ my Saviour, and sought the guidance and help of God’s Holy Spirit; but in each case I had drawn close around me the curtains of my tent, and whispered low, so that I should be neither seen nor overheard.

“ ‘You have no religion,’ said the sheik; ‘you don’t pray—you do nothing.’

“ ‘God forgive me!’ I said within myself; ‘the accusation is deserved.’

“ ‘ Now we,’ continued my reprover,—and he went on boastfully to tell what their prophet required of them, and how faithful was their obedience in matters of devotion, charity, and self-denial. While he spoke I

lifted up my heart to God, and asked for courage to bear a feeble testimony to His word. "When the sheik paused I put my hand into my bosom, and drew forth a New Testament.

“ ‘ I have religion,’ I said, ‘ would you like to hear what it teaches me in relation to these high matters ? ’

“ ‘ Certainly. Would I tell him ? ’ he asked.

“ By this time the attention of each of my guards was directed towards me. Their quick, sparkling eyes were fixed tiercely, as I thought, upon me, their dark visages looking more grim by the flashing fire around which they were seated, and their hands seemed ready to grasp the dagger that would speedily bring down vengeance upon the infidel dog who should dare to blaspheme their prophet.

“ ‘ Listen,’ I said, as calmly as I could. I opened the Testament at the sixth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. ‘You speak of almsgiving, hear what my Koran says about this ; ’ and I rendered into Arabic the first four verses: * Take heed that ye do not give your alms

before men, to be seen of them--.’ When I came to

the end of the fourth verse I stopped and looked up. The dark countenances around me were glistening, but not with anger.

“ ‘ Good ! ’ exclaimed the sheik ; ‘ this is very good. Go on.’

“ I gathered courage, and read again, ‘ And when

thou prayest--’ and that which follows, to the end

of the fifteenth verse. Again I looked around me.

“ * Bismillah ! but this is wonderful, wonderful! ’ exclaimed one and another, stroking their black beards, ‘ wonderful! ’—and every harsh and forbidding feature was softened down to calm, quiet attention. ‘More, more.’

“ I read on, translating as I went, what the Lord said about fasting.

“ ‘ Bismillah! ’ cried the sheik again, in evident admiration, ‘ but this is wonderful! ’

“ I needed no further urging on. Verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph, I read on to the close of the chapter, interrupted only by exclamations of surprise and approbation.

“ And I read to them further, how He who had spoken these words of grace and wisdom died for our sins upon the cross to make atonement for us, so that His blood can cleanse us from all sin.

“ ‘ Wonderful! ’ said my swarthy friend the sheik, when at length I closed the book, ‘ but this is wonderful ! And what good people you Christians ought to be!’

“ I never,” continued my friend, “ forgot, and I hope I never shall forget, the lessons taught me beside that desert fire. In the first place, my cowardice and unbelief had been rebuked. Call it prudence, or what l might, the truth is, I had been ashamed and afraid to acknowledge Christ before men; and thus I had brought dishonour upon His name, and upon faith in His name. Very painfully was I thus brought to think of the words of the Lord, ‘Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.’ And earnestly did I ask for more faith to believe that the Holy Spirit can and may so effectually impress the minds of unbelievers with the

truth of the gospel, as to excite their admiration and acknowledgment of its excellency.

“ In the second place, I felt how true were the words of my Arab guide, ‘ Christians ought to be good people.’ With the Bible for their guide, with the Holy Spirit for their Sanctifier and Light-giver, with Christ for their Saviour—oh, what manner of persons ought they to be in all holy conversation and godliness! If the professed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ did but seek more earnestly that guidance and sanctifying influence, if they were but more conformed to the will and rule of Him who died for them and rose again, how much more would there be of loving obedience to their great Master’s injunction, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven’! ”




In tlio latitude of Victoria, and thence southward, the Southorn Cross is within the circle of constant appearance, like the Great Bear in

the northern hemisphere. It is about thirty degrees from the South Pole. It is seen through its whole revolution, and, consequently, in every variety of position. The two stars which mark the foot and summit are the pointers to the pole, and having nearly the same right ascension, the Cross is almost perpendicular at the moment when it passes the meridian. As it rises it inclines to the eastward, and as it sets leans over to the westward. “ Midnight is past, the Cross begins to bend.” This heavenly star-clock of the southern sky is familiar to European readers through the popular tale of “ Paul and Virginia.” It never fails to arrest all voyagers and emigrants.


The railroad westward fiom St. Louis ; its terminus is about one hundred and seventy miles from that city, and was then the utmost western point of the railway system from the Atlantic seaboard.


The overland route, when performed, as usually, with a waggon and team, occupi s three or four months, and is fraught with difficulty and danger.


Universally, in American colloquial phraseology, passengers, whether by coach, waggon, or rail, are said to be “ on board,” and their luggage also, except when fallen overboard.”


Canon is the general term for a Rocky Mountain gorge.