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The adventures of a seventeen-year-old lad and the fortunes he might have won Williams, John G. (John Grandison) 1894

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A Seventeen-Year-Old Lad
Fortunes He Might Have Won.
By John G. Williams.
Printed for the Author by The Collins Press.
1894.  PREFACE.
The "Adventures of a Seventeen-Year-Old Lad" is the
story of -the experience of a young man, who spent the
best seventeen years of his life in beating the bush,
while others caught the bird. The first chapters relate
the first seven years' experience as a sailor on board a
whaler, and adventures while travelling in foreign lands
and dwelling with cannibals and other savages. The
later chapters contain the gold-mining experience of
the author in California, Australia, and British Columbia,
commencing in the early days of 1849 and continuing
until 1858. The work contains several illustrations,
showing scenes of interest, and some of the dangerous
positions the author was placed in.
The story has been written from memory forty years
after the events narrated took place; and in carefully
reviewing the stirring experience of the youth, the
author has seemed to live the life of his early days over
again, and this fact has caused him to realize the importance of an unexaggerated tale of the times described
and scenes visited.
It has been the intent to state facts as they happened ;
and although some digressions have occurred, they have
only been when apparently of interest as of similar character  to events passed  through, and the author trusts
that all who may read his experiences will find material
to amply reward them for their time and patience.
While the events narrated are but the adventures and
experiences of a young fortune seeker, the pictures are
drawn first of that wondrous section of our globe, which
can never be so well known as to lose its romantic
interest, the broad, mystic Pacific Ocean. With its innumerable islands, its half-clad races, its piratical crafts,
its changing mood from terrific storm to protracted calm,
this immeasurable expanse of water must ever excite the
interest and imagination of the reader.
The mining experience of the author in California was
at a time well remembered by older people,— a time
when the country was aflame with excitement, every one
lending eager attention to the story of fortunes being
taken from the earth in California. It was a time which
proved a great history-making period for the 1 Pacific
slope. To individuals in " the camps " it was a time of
great efforts, of privations, and of great rewards. It was
the day of the 1 forty-niner," a character in our history
who must ever be.surrounded with romance.
The narrative of the author's life in Australia gives insight into a period of early life in that great colony still
less understood in this country, and it has been the
author's aim to relate everything in such simple language
that the reader may easily picture to himself all scenes
In his travels the author's motto was always, when
applied to himself, % You can, if you will try." Some
abler pen might have been employed, but the pen of the
author has tried to add some new pictures of life as he
has seen it, thus spreading knowledge and giving
pleasure to many readers, and preserving pictures of
scenes many phases of which have passed forever away.
WHALER     . . . . . . .1 I-33
WHALER     ....... 34-49
NATIVES     ....... 5O-96 Vlll CONTENTS.
BE SEEN EMBARKS FOR NEW YORK      . .       97-147
 HOME  AGAIN   AMONG   FRIENDS . .     148-173
FOR OWNERSHIP OF A MINE . . . .174-206
m ^
TO   QUENCH THIRST      .....     207-234
AGAIN    EMBARKS    FOR    THE     GOLDEN     GATE    OF   CALIFORNIA       .......     235-249
■i 1
The Adventures of a Seven teen-Year-Old Lad.
It was in the year 1841 that I packed my gripsack
at my father's house, a little hamlet in the backwoods
of Canada. I was seventeen years old, and had lived on
my father's farm up to that time. Getting enough of
farming, chopping wood, clearing land, and such other
work as is connected with farming, I concluded that I
did not like the business. We had no exciting novels or
story books at that time to fill the young heads with a
desire to see the world, but I had three brothers in Boston ; and to hear my father read their letters home convinced me that Boston was the place for me, instead of
a farm in that wild locality in Canada.
With the consent of my father I packed my little
bundle, and started afoot to seek my fortune. I had
seen a bit of wood that one of my brothers had brought
from Boston, which he said was a piece of a ship that
had been around the world. I did not see why I could
not go around the world the same way; but little did I
think when leaving home that spring morning that before
another year had passed over my young head I would be
on the other side of the globe, among wild, nude savages.
Leaving the farm, I travelled alone and hopeful until
reaching a place called Stanstead Plain, on the line be- 12
On Horseback. ■^
tween Canada and Vermont. I had but little money, yet,,
with the lofty ideas of youth, I put up at a hotel. I met
a man there who was going to Boston with a drove of
horses to sell. j| He learned that I was on my way thither,
and kindly offered me a chance to ride one of his horses,,
which offer was readily accepted.
In about three days we started. I carried a pillowcase, partly filled with clothing; the part unutilized I
filled with crackers and cheese. Mounted upon the
horse, I placed my outfit in front, where I could hold on
to it with my hands. I wore a beaver hat which was
about two sizes too large for me. I did not mind
that, for I was going to Boston, and my mind was so fully
occupied with bright anticipations that I did not care how
my dress might appear, nor the inconvenience of ill-
fitting clothing. Started on our journey, we were soon
over the line into the States. One can imagine the
comical appearance I made with a big white bundle in
front, and a beaver hat either down over my eyes or
perhaps tilted backward on my head at an angle of
forty-five degrees. When the horse began to trot I
would hold the hat on to keep it from getting too near
my nose or entirely off my head. After a day or two
out on our journey, as I. got better acquainted with my
companions, and there were eight or ten of them, I discovered that most of them were in the same fix as myself, and were getting a free ride. The owner of the
horses took this plan of giving free rides to men going
his way, and getting his horses along much better than
he otherwise would.
The others of the party had but little, money, like
myself, and we found that when we stopped at the different hotels we were charged pretty high for meals. ,gj None
of us wanted to live on crackers and cheese through a
journey which would last at least a week.    Bread and 14 THE ADVENTURES   OF  A
milk were only ten cents, while something more solid
cost from forty to fifty cents; so we arranged that one
half of the party should call for bread and milk, and the
other half for meat and vegetables. As a matter of
course, all would be served on the same table, and we
would help ourselves to what we wanted. By that method
all fared pretty well, and at a much less cost than we
would had we not devised the scheme.
We arrived at Andover about a week later, where the
owner of the horses stopped over in order to recruit
his horses. My crackers, cheese, and money were all
gone, and I was unable to pay my expenses at the hotel
in Andover, which was one night and two meals.
Learning that Lowell was only eight miles away, which I
thought was the home of my brother, as, in one letter to
. my father, he wrote that his store was at the corner of
Lowell and Minot Streets, and I thought Lowell Street
must be in Lowell. Leaving my little sack and my big
hat as security for my hotel fare, I started for Lowell
with a little cap on my head which I happened to have.
I arrived about two o'clock P. m., and began to inquire as
soon as I entered the city, of every person I met, if they
could direct me to Lowell Street, and if they knew my
brother. To my surprise, no one knew of either. Sick
and disgusted with hearing everybody say no to my inquiries, I sauntered down the street, and saw a gate open
which led to a small yard of a cotton factory. I went
through the gate and, as the door of the factory was
open, walked in. Never having seen a factory, I was
curious to look the place over, and did to my heart's
On the street again I determined anew to find either
the one or the other of the objects of which I was in
search. I found myself near the depot, from which the
steam cars left every few hours for Boston.    I made some
IHjflBl'fgjSBML ^
inquiries about the trains and Boston. I was told by a
man that the track led to Boston, and to follow it; it
would take me there ; and after hearing my story, he said
there was a Lowell Street at the end of that track in
Boston. I had made a mistake and was hunting the
wrong city for my friends, but it was too late in the day
to think of starting for Boston afoot. A hotel stood
not far ahead across the street. It was no use to think
of applying there for anything to eat, or to get shelter
for the night; yet I was sadly in need of something to
eat, as I had eaten nothing since morning. With a choking lump in my throat I thought of my father's bounteously filled table ; however, I silenced the rising thought
of home, and braced myself to face the music, let the
tune be what it might. I started down the street, when
presently I heard beautiful music. It seemed to be in
the air overhead. I looked about, but could see nothing
except an open door with a long flight of stairs.
Desiring to investigate, I mounted the stairs. After
passing three long flights I stopped to consider the
propriety of proceeding farther on my pilgrimage; and
while pondering the situation, a blast of music came
down the flight of stairs above, too tempting for me to
hesitate longer, for such music I had never before heard.
At the top step a door stood ajar. From this door the
music poured in waves of melodious tone. I pushed the
door open and walked in. Some half-dozen men were
blowing into as many long crooked brass things. Awe
and admiration were no doubt depicted on my face. All
stopped blowing. One pointed to the door and at the
same time raised his foot and said, | Git." He meant
business; the hint was very broad. I did not wait for
further tokens of their pleasure of meeting me, but retreated with speed and energy. On the street again I
looked myself over, and found myself none the worse ^m
for my venture, and congratulated myself to think that
they did not extend their hospitality so far as to assist
me to the street, as they seemed inclined to do. Objectless mentally, I started for the factory gate which was
open as before. A man stood inside, but I paid no attention to him, but passed in. I felt a grip on my arm,,
and was pulled back.    The man at the gate had me.
I What do you want in here ? " said he.
I I don't know as I want anything."
" Well," said he, " you get out of this quick, or I will
help you."
I told him that I had seen all that I cared to see,
since I had been into that factory once before that
day, and started up the street at a lively pace, and I
soon came to the hotel and the little depot. My ex^
perience during the day troubled me not a little. To
know where I should put up for the night was a
serious question. The prospects were rather slim : I had
neither friends nor money ; was a stranger in a strange
city and in a strange land. I knew it would not do to
weaken on my first adventure in a city. As I approached the hotel I began to think that as I had come
out without a scratch, and what I had passed through
had not only sharpened my appetite but also a desire for
further adventure, I soon made up my mind to continue
my travels whether the road led me to Africa or west of
Texas. Little thought I at that time how soon the time
would come when I would be sailing along the African
coast, and yet a little later many thousands of miles
west of Texas!
Putting on a bold face I made for the front door of
the hotel. I noticed many coming out picking their
teeth. I pushed on up the steps and entered the front
room, which was the dining-room. Here was a large
table running down the room with a few men sitting at it SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
who had not yet finished their supper. Looking around
to see to whom I should apply for supper and lodging, I
saw a man behind a little counter looking through a
square hole above the counter. Thinking he was the man
in charge, I approached him rather briskly, as if I had
been there many times before, and spoke to him. I told
him that I wanted supper and a bed, perhaps breakfast
in the morning.
"Very well," said he.
I waited, expecting an invitation to the table at once.
Instead of asking me to dine, he said that they generally
required their pay in advance. For once my cunning
came to my rescue in good time. I ran my hand down
into my pocket as a man would if he expected to draw
forth a well-filled wallet: I knew full well there was
nothing there but a chew of gum that I found on the
trees by the roadside in Vermont. I pulled my hand out
empty and felt in my other pocket, where I knew there
was no pocketbook, yet I went through it with some
expression of alarm on my face. Finally I drew my hand
forth with the remark that I had left my wallet in my
trunk, which was in the car-house, and further, that I
intended taking the cars for Boston in the morning, and
thought the station shut up for the night.
"Well," said he, "the morning will do just as well,""
pointing to the table, which was the part of the drama that
I had long been looking for with hope deferred but now
realized. I seated myself, and was in capital condition
to do justice to anything they might set before me. One
dish which was brought on was strange to me. It
seemed neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. The waiter pushed
it nearer to me and told me to help myself.
I thanked him and told him I would. Finally, out
of deference to the waiter, who, by the way, was all
attention, I helped myself to a little piece; I tasted it, r
i II  HWir IL^jm..*,. ....     ' JWI"II^>JJJJJ..J>!!
but did not like it, but managed to get it down with an
effort. The balance, small as it was, I desired to get rid
of somehow, since I was afraid that the waiter might
think me green and make some remarks, and I was too
sensitive at that time to care to hear his comment.
I wished to say as little as possible until I was out on the
street in the morning, and then I should have the day
before me, and Boston only about twenty-five miles ahead.
That bit of strange food on my plate I could not eat. I
did not think it would poison me, and to hide it mashed
it up with some potato, and by that means got it out of
sight. My desire was to get from the table without
being interviewed by the waiter. After finishing my
repast I seated myself in a comfortable place, with mind
at rest. I felt there would be no more difficulty
until morning, and I had high hopes of being the first
one up in the morning.
At about eight o'clock I went to the man at the pigeonhole and told him that I was tired, and would like to retire.
He called a waiter, gave him a candle and told him to
show me to room No. —, which he did, and after putting
. the candle on a stand retired. I began to investigate my
new quarters, glancing around the room with increasing
wonder and admiration mingled with apprehension.
The man had surely made a mistake and put me into
a room that might well have been reserved for the
governor of the State. What if they should discover the
mistake in the middle of the night and pull me out by the
I was very still a half-hour, and not hearing any one
approach my door finally went to bed with the satisfaction that the key was on my side of the door, and no one
could enter without my knowledge. I placed the candle
and matches near, that I might reach them if disturbed
in the night, settled myself back in bed and began to 1
study and ponder over the beauty of my room which
was handsomely painted all over. The room was only
covered with highly colored wall paper, but having never
seen the like before, it was then to me both novel and
beautiful. Nor had I ever seen lobster, which was the
strange dish at the table.
I thought over my day's experience for the twentieth
time, yet could settle on no definite plan for the morrow. Finally I came to the conclusion to trust to luck,
and soon lost myself in slumber.
I slept soundly until daylight. Then arose immediately, as anxious to get out of the place then as I was to
get into it the night before. I did not wait to consider
the mode of my exit, but trusted to luck and circumstances to help me out of the dilemma. At the dining-
room I glanced at the pigeonhole. I saw no one where
I expected to see that fellow waiting for me. One of
the servants was sweeping out the room. The front
door was open; I sauntered toward it and looked out,
then made some remark about the weather, and inquired
at what hour I could have breakfast. The servant replied that the usual hour for that meal was seven o'clock;
it was then about six. I told him that I guessed that I
would have time to take a little walk before breakfast.
" Oh, yes," said he, " plenty of time."
I stepped out upon the street, and wondered if he
knew how pleasing his parting words were what he
would think. Going directly across the track, I passed
around to the back side of the depot, which was
hardly more than a shed, but a long one, the lower
end of which was quite a distance from the hotel, and
there I came out on to the track. With one farewell
look at the hotel, I shaped my course for Boston, with
square yards and a stiff breeze behind, under which I
sailed away at the rate of two-forty.    I was not long 20
putting several-miles between myself and my friends in
Lowell, who no doubt were at that time, wondering
whether they had been accommodating a count or a
no-account, instead of a country clam without as much
as a shell, let alone pearls, to bestow upon them for
their amiable hospitality. After travelling eight or ten
miles toward Boston, I felt it safe to slacken speed a
little, so shortened sail, lashed the helm, and took
things a little easy. I had time to review the past with
more deliberation than I had done before; and when I
came to realize my duplicity felt guilty enough.
My father was very strict with his boys, teaching them
to always tell the truth, and to be always faithful and
true in all our dealings with every one. This was my
first fall from grace; but thinking the matter over, I
concluded that no one in Lowell knew my name or
whence I came. I had no doubt but they had a lively
realization that some one had occupied their best room
that night, yet doubted whether or not they would
recognize me should I return again.
I was going to Boston. Pushing on at a moderate
pace, about ten o'clock I espied a little shanty not far
ahead, which stood back a few rods from the road.
Beginning to feel the want of food, I decided to call at
that shanty and ask for something to eat. If I got only
a crust, I should appreciate it. I found the door open.
A comely motherly sort of a woman sat at the table.
I bade her good morning ; she returned the compliment.
I told her that I was on my way to Boston, that I was
out of money, and wanted something to eat, and would
be very thankful if she would give me something.
She said that she could give me some bread and milk,
and accordingly placed the food on the table, and requested me'to be seated.
While  eating  my  breakfast, dinner, or  supper, — it
WEm 32
matters not which, since I did not know where the next
meal would come from, — I related some of my experience in Lowell, just enough to inform her that I was
from Canada and expected to find my brother there, and
that not finding him there was going to Boston where,
no doubt, I should meet him. I finished my dish of bread
and milk and thanked my hostess for her kindness.
Preparing to continue my journey, she requested me
to stop until her husband came home to dinner. He was
from Canada, and would no doubt like to talk with me.
I replied that I should be glad to do so, but was very
anxious to reach Boston that day. I thanked her again,
bade her " Good morning !" and began again my lonely
I have given my first adventure somewhat in detail to
show the young, who have a desire to seek a fortune,
what trouble they may meet unless they have a well-filled
wallet, and thereby avoid the embarrassing predicament
I was placed in in the Lowell tavern. My experience
in Lowell proved of much benefit later on in life. It
taught me to state my case truthfully when in need, and
I always found that I fared better for so doing. I formed
my ideas in this respect after my experience with the
woman who lived in the humble shanty beside the railroad, remembering the dish of bread and milk with
which she so kindly served me.
Arriving near what seemed to be my journey's end,
I walked over what I thought a very long bridge, and
at the end found a long shed with both sides open. I
followed the track along the side of the shed, and at last
came to its end. I was in Boston, — the goal for
which I had searched was reached at last. I stepped
through the open gate and out upon the street. I saw
a store door standing open across the street, and began
my search by accosting  a young man who, at that mo- f
ment, came to the open door. He eyed me rather
closely. I suppose it was my rural appearance that
attracted his attention.
My first question was, if he knew a man by the name
of , who kept a store on the corner of Minot and
Lowell Streets.
He pointed to the sign over the door, and asked me if
that was his name.
To my surprise and joy I was really at my brother's
store. The young man told me that my brother was out,
but would soon be in. I waited around for a half-hour
or so, but he did not come. Feeling a bit rested, I
went out upon the street.
I was now on Blossom Street, where they were driving piles, upon which they were to build a brick
block. I had never seen anything like it. The great
block of iron hoisted high in air came down with a crash
and beat the posts down into the ground. When the
piles were driven so far down that I could reach their top,
I put little stones on them and watched the gravel fly
under the hammer.
While engaged in this rather reckless sport I felt
a grip on my arm.
I turned around sharply, expecting to hear the words,
" What are you doing here?" It was my brother. He
had returned to the store during my absence, and on
learning that I had been there he started out to find me.
I was gratified enough to meet him, and was contented to
let the big hammer do its work without me.
I  remained at  my brother's that  night, and learned
through him that one of my uncles lived on Street,
where he was running a bakery. The next morning after
breakfast my brother went to the store and left me at the
house with his family.
I waited around, and finally, when my brother's wife
-^■XV-?,.-?s->X's'S- "■■■' ■ SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 23
was busy, slipped out to the street and began at once
to inquire where Street was. After many inquiries, and turning of many corners, I   found  myself
on Street, and began to inquire for my uncle, and
soon succeeded in finding him.
My uncle was unmarried at that time, and my aunt, a
maiden lady, kept house for him. I had never seen
either, but that made little difference to me. Finding his
bake shop, I walked in, and met a man whom I asked if
Mr. was in.    He said he was the man.    I then made
myself known to him. He was somewhat surprised
to see me, since he supposed me in Canada. He
did not appear to be overjoyed, but somewhat indifferent. His face had a scowl rather than a smile.
However, I was going to see it through. I gave him to
understand that I wished to see my aunt, so he showed
me up-stairs to where she was. She seemed to be rather
more pleased to see me. I liked her very much. She
looked so much like my mother that I felt myself at
home at once, and put aside all restraint. Spending
half an hour with her, I went down to the bakery again.
I had not been there long when who should come in
but my brother, who had returned to his house and
found me gone. He thought I might get lost, so started
out on the chase after me, and had just run me to
earth. He took me to his home, where I remained for
a few days, but never for any time out of sight of him
or some of his family. My brother and uncle soon
began making plans for me.
My brother had nothing that I could do. He did not
want me idling about his place, for he was a man who
believed in keeping every one at work, whether they
earned much or little. My uncle had all the help that he
needed, and did not care to take an apprentice. It was
agreed, however, that I should go to work in the bake
shop until something better offered. HWaimMggi
My first work there was chopping mince-meat. This
was put into a hole dug out in the end of a log of wood,
which made a very nice bowl to chop in, and quite
profitable to its owner. Every time it was used it would
wear down, thereby adding enough wood to the mess to
make an extra pie. I had to use two knives, and the
hole had been chopped down so deep that I had to reach
down considerably to get at the meat. The result was
what might be expected with a novice. I chopped my
fingers about as much as the meat; in fact I did
so much chopping in the wrong place, that I am very
forcibly reminded of my early experience at the block
whenever looking at my hands after the lapse of fifty
My uncle came to see how I was getting on. When
he saw my hands, he wanted to know what I had been
doing. I told him it was very easy to see. He directed
me to be more careful in the future, as he was not in
the habit of mixing live meat with his mince. Perhaps
he preferred wood. I got through it though without
losing any fingers. After that my uncle put another
man at the block, for which I felt very grateful. I
looked at the fellow's hands to see if he had any scars,
but failed to see any.
The next work which my considerate uncle put before
me was a pile of raisins to pick over. I had never seen
so many together before. We seldom saw at my father's
more than half a pound at one time, as they were quite
scarce, and were regarded as expensive in that far-away
land where we lived. I was always very fond of them,
and what youngster was ever without a sweet tooth ? I
thought out of so many a few would not be missed.
When I found a plump raisin, my hand instinctively
sought my mouth. It was a fortunate thing that the fat
ones were few, for my uncle had thrifty notions about
what he put into his mince.
„:«.;>K»«iS% ■^
He did not care to give me that work very often.
However, it made but little difference what he found for
me to do; when he came to figure up, there was a shortage somewhere which he could not account for. He
had a large number of customers whom he used to visit
daily with his team; also quite a number on streets adjacent to the bakery, whom he served from a basket. He
set me serving his customers with the basket, perhaps to
locate the cause of the shortages of his accounts, thinking that if the basket customers did not get served on my
route he would know where to look for his leak. He
was never the wiser, however, on that point, through
any act of mine.
My kit consisted of pies and cakes ; but I fed so bountifully on cakes and broken pies which I found in the
cart on its return, which I had to clean out, that I cared
nothing for the cakes, neither did I care much for
the pies. He sent me one day to serve an old invalid
negress who lived on what I believe was called Nigger
Hill. I cannot locate the place now, for there have been
many changes in that locality. I had seen but one co&
ored person before I came to Boston, — a travelling minstrel who had strayed from his troupe, and who finally
got into that part of the country where I lived. All
looked alike to me in Boston, as I could see no difference, except in size and dress.
My uncle sent me around to that old lady with a lot
of pies and cakes. He showed me where to find her,
and I started out with some misgivings. I had passed
the alley where she lived once before, and both sides of
it were lined with colored people. I hardly knew what
my experience would be with them. . I had to go, no
matter what happened ; that must be an after consideration, so pushed into the alley. Both sides were lined
with black faces, old and young, male  and  female.    I HP"
hurried toward where, the old lady lived, while these fellows began to guy me as I passed ulong, and looked
wistfully at the basket. I divined their thoughts, and
kept a sharp lookout, knowing that if anything was missing at the end of my route, the old lady would not pay
for more than she received.
My uncle knew just what money I should bring back,
and if I did not bring the full amount, or those black fellows stole any of my cakes, I doubted if he would believe
my story. I gained the end of the alley safely, knocked
gently at the colored woman's door, but no answer came.
I rapped louder, still no answer. Another rap, with
greater force, brought a howl which appeared from its
wildness to come from the lips of a lost soul. The
voice said,—
"Why don't you beat the house down at once ? "
I opened the door and stepped in. The first sight
I saw was about forty cats, of all colors and sizes; the
floor appeared covered with them. The room was large,
and from it a smaller one opened, from which came the
admonition, —
" Come here, now, and don't step on my cats."
The cats didn't seem to mind whether they were stepped
on or not, but I was more particular than they, since
I had received ample warning from the little room. I
entered the room, and there the old lady was well tucked
up in bed.
Her face looked to me nine times blacker than any
other face I had ever seen, and with a scowl on her face
she snapped out, —
' I What do you want here ? "
" Mr. sent me with some pies and cakes."
" Oh, well! " said she, pointing to a little table on which
was a wallet.
She then told me to hold the wallet before her, then 1
to open it and take what change the things came to, and
to replace the wallet on the table. She was a hopeless
cripple. I emptied the basket and was about to pick my
way out among the cats, when a sudden storm of
hail broke with much fury. As large as pigeons' eggs,
the hailstones bounded off the roofs below. The old
lady insisted upon my remaining with her snarling that
I would be killed if I went out of the house.
It was hard to tell where the greatest danger was,
between the cats and the storm outside. The cats had
scented the food and began to gather around it. I was
always a lover of cats from my childhood. If anything
troubled me, I would catch Tabby by the tail and drag
her into the old cradle, where I would rock myself to
But at this particular time, with the old lady's cats I
thought there was such a thing as carrying a good thing
too far. They were very bold, yet I dared not correct
them. I was working myself into quite a fever, when
the storm abated and I started. With another warning
ringing in my ears about the cats, I hurried from the
room. On my arrival at the alley I found that, like
Daniel after he came out of the lions' den, I had escaped
without a scratch. But the end was not yet, for there
was a dark line both sides of the alley through which
to make my exit before being out of danger; and the
darkies, as I passed them, chaffed me a little: but I
had nothing in the basket, and they seemed to think that
what was outside was of no account to them. Out upon
the street again, I started at a lively pace for my uncle's
shop, nor did I ever visit that alley again, nor have I
forgotten the place to this day.
I was kept pretty busy on little odd jobs around the
shop, but my liveliest time was Sunday mornings, dealing
out baked beans and brown bread, — Boston's favorite WPSS
dish, brown bread and Beverly beans, with a slice of her
next-door neighbor for seasoning.
On Sundays I liked to seek out new fields for study
and recreation. My aunt soon stopped that, for she
was a member of Park Street Church. She would take
me by the hand and hold it until we were inside the
church, when she would loosen her hold. I dared not
leave her when inside, but outside would somehow
get lost in the crowd and not get home for some time
after she had returned.
Finally my uncle found me more plague than profit.
He saw my brother and they arranged with my uncle's
milkman that I should go to Squantum to work on his
farm. I was told to get ready to go next morning.
Had I been consulted, I should have hesitated. I left
my father's farm to avoid farming, and hardly liked the
idea of taking up the work again. I made no objections,
however, but kept up a lively thinking. I had no clothing to speak of. My brother wrote to Andover to get
what I left there at the hotel. The answer came that
there was nothing there, and if anything had been left
there it was either lost or stolen. |f I packed what few
things I had, and the next morning was ready for a
drive into the country. We arrived at the farm about
noon. I was pleased with the appearance of the place,
a nice large farm, well cultivated, and in sight of the
harbor, where I could see the vessels sailing along.
There was also a fine house, and what attracted my attention most was that the house was presided over by two
beautiful young ladies; one about my age. II felt at
once I should be contented for a while, and perhaps get
to like farming well enough after all; but in a few days
the newness was worn off, and I wanted to go back to
the city again.
My short experience on that farm changed my mind. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 29
I did not like farming as well as I thought, and notified
my employer that I would not stay longer on the farm,
but that I would go to the city next morning with the
milk team, which I did.
My desire, when leaving home, was to devote half-of
my time to attending school until I was at least twenty-
one. I had not so much schooling when I left home
as the children get nowadays in the primary schools.
I would have worked willingly for my food and clothes
could I have attended school a part of the time, but no
one seemed to care much what became of me, so
that I was off their hands. Had my friends put me in
school, with reasonable opportunities before me, it would
have made a vast difference with my future life.
The need of an education has been like a millstone hanging to my neck all my life. Therefore, let me say to the
truant, attend school faithfully, since there is no other time
like youthful years, when you have so many advantages, so many years in which to study and improve your
mind before you are launched on your own resources.
You will find few to extend a friendly hand, and unless
you happen to have a " nest-egg" to start with, it will be
an uphill road throughout life. If one has a good education, and push and vim, one can soon get on in
business which will bring both honor and profits.
Without an education a man is at the mercy of others.
Put aside those yellow- covered novels, for they will do
you no good. If you want to read out of school, there
is nothing so instructive, or that which will improve and
elevate the young mind better than a good daily or
weekly newspaper. Select those papers that will
teach you the doings of men who are engaged in all manner of business, and from their experience and practice
you can learn much which will be of use to you when
you   are ready to  take  up   some  branch  of business. whs
Without such knowledge you might lose a deal of valuable time before deciding what business to follow.
I To be forewarned is to be forearmed." You can learn
many of these valuable lessons long before you need
to put them into practice, and learn them much easier
and cheaper in your young days than you can later in
life. You are getting the actual experience of many an
old and wise head by merely reading and heeding their
management of business. You will find much in the
daily papers concerning commonplace, every-day matters
that will be of use to you later on, for such is the life,
bustle, and business into which you must soon enter.
You should prepare yourself as well as you can, because
you will have to take your chances with the rest of
humanity in the struggle for success, and you must
consider what advantage those old heads of much experience have over you. It is a duty you owe to yourself to prepare for the work that is yet to come. Never
put too much confidence in men until you have tried
them and found them trustworthy. Never unfold your
secrets or plans to others, for they are no longer secrets ;
neither are they yours, but public property. Weigh
your words. Bear in mind that beautiful Chinese
proverb, | That of a word unspoken, you are its master;
when spoken, it is master of you." Another thing that
you ought to bear in mind is this, the Good Book says,
" All men are liars."
When I arrived in the city, I left the milk wagon before it reached my uncle's. I wanted to take in the sights
as I went, so got out of the wagon. I started to find
a Mr; Brown, who manufactured root beer. I had a
brother who worked at that place then. I found the
place readily, for everybody seemed to know where Brown,
the beer man, lived. I watched the process of bottling
beer awhile, took dinner with my brother, and finally "^
left for my other brother's, who kept the store. He was
surprised to see me again, but did not scold, as I expected.
I now became a sort of hanger-on around the store.
One morning I started out to seek employment.
About ten o'clock I found myself down at Quincy
Market. There was a man near there who kept a little
store, by the name of James Drake. /-
No doubt many Bostonians will recollect Mr. Drake as
well as I do, for he not only sold dry goods but green
goods as well. I happened to be just green enough to
suit him ; and he had a customer at that time who wanted
just such goods, so he called me into his store. He was
well posted in his line of business, for it did not take him
long to discover that I was very verdant, and it did not
take long for him to get my name on a ship's articles
for a three years' cruise in a whaling ship.
He told me that I could go on a three years' voyage
and come home with three or four hundred dollars, that I
would have a fine time and see many different parts of
the world. That pleased me much better than the fish
part did. I booked myself for the voyage. My early
ideas of going around the world were to be realized;
and they certainly were. The bark was to sail from Dux-
bury. Mr. Drake told me it would take some three days
to get all the crew, and when the full number was obtained
we would all be sent to Duxbury. If I desired to, remain
with him until then, I could, and it would cost me nothing. That suited me, as I knew if my brother discovered
my doings he would put a stop to my adventure, and
perhaps find another farm for me. I had obtained all the
experience on farms I wished, and preferred now to try
the sea.
At Drake's my meals were served at the counter in the
store, and at night I slept behind it. On one occasion
I saw my brother near the store, and ran inside and hid
behind the counter. 32
One morning all of the crew then ready went aboard
a schooner lying off Long Wharf, which was to take us
to Duxbury to the vessel that we had shipped to go in.
Soon under way, we headed for Duxbury. That was my
first voyage on salt water, and I thought it would be my
last. I could neither eat, drink, nor sleep. Usually I
was blessed with a good appetite, but somehow it had left
me and taken with it my desire for further adventure
on the ocean wave. If I could get on shore I would
stay there; but alas! I found that my fondest hopes
were to be long deferred.
At Duxbury, instead of landing as expected, we
were all put on board of the bark, which was anchored
some three miles off shore. I found that I could now
stand up instead of getting down on all fours as on the
I gained my balance after a day or two, and could eat
my regular allowance of salt beef and hard-tack quite as
well as an old salt. We were now kept busy getting the
vessel ready for sea and getting supplies on board, and
in about three weeks were ready to sail, when we were
all taken ashore and given a good dinner. My longing fpr the shore was forgotten by that time, for the
vessel at anchor was quiet and without motion. I
concluded that going to sea was not so bad, after all.
My fears vanished. From the hotel I wrote to my brother
that I was on shipboard, where I was going, and also
who shipped me. I knew that he would not get the
letter before the ship would be out to sea.
We went aboard and soon got under way and out
of the harbor. As we moved farther from the land, and
as prominent objects dropped from sight, the water
began to get rough. The situation began to look more
serious. A fishing boat ran alongside ; I gazed over the
rail into that boat, and would have given  half of my ^
life could I have jumped into her and gone ashore.
The boat soon drifted away and left us to our voyage. The
last point of land faded away, and with it went all hope
of getting ashore again for a long time.
Night came, and the captain and mate chose their
watches. I was the last one chosen, and fell to the
mate, Mr. Holmes. The captain of our ship, Rufus
Coffin, was one of the Nantucket family of that name.
He proved the best, as he was also the first, captain with
whom I ever sailed. Rufus Holmes, of Duxbury, was
also one of the best mates that I ever found on shipboard. I had my first watch on deck that night, and in
the morning was soon on deck.
I scanned the horizon, but could see nothing that
I wanted to see, since it was nothing but sea all around,
here, there, and everywhere. Finally I made up my
mind to faCe the music, whatever it might be or where it
might lead to. There was no use in rebelling at fate;
so I swallowed my trouble, and banished from my mind
all thought of home and friends, with a reservation, however, to run away at the'first landing where white people
The experience of one whaling voyage, in detail, covers
many, since it is about the same over and over; therefore
I will give only the most important of my experiences,
which occurred mostly on land, in different ports of the
world, with a little salt-water experience to season the
story. 'MUUBUJU4I
The first two weeks out I was very seasick and could
not bear the sight of food. The mate would give me a
lemon to suck, which did me more good than anything
else, notwithstanding the lemon juice, I had to look
over the ship's side quite often to see how deep the water
was. Two weeks of that, and Richard was himself again.
I soon learned the ropes and how to steer the vessel, yet
I was the but-end of every joke, being the youngest on
board and the greenest one. All the crew except myself
had had some experience on shipboard, and they would
play their tricks on me quite often. I stood their jokes
without complaint, and tried to learn all that I could in
order to lift myself above a novice, and to finally live
down their jokes, which I soon did. I soon was able to
do a sailor's duty on a whaleship, with the exception
of pulling the boats after whales. I was not strong
enough for that at that time, but a few months later they
found that I was one of the best oarsmen they had on
After a few months' cruising and seeing nothing larger
than a porpoise, we touched at Fayal, one of the Azore
Islands, where we got a supply of vegetables. When we
first sighted the islands we saw first the peak of Pikeo,
which is an island near Fayal.    It towered far above the ^
clouds.    The reason that it looks so lofty is that it runs
so steeply up from the water.
I have seen many mountains much loftier than the
peak of Pikeo in Colorado, some that were sixteen
thousand feet above sea level, yet only five or six thousand feet above the plains below them. The impression
of great height was lost in the foothills which lay between them and the sea. Place one of those lofty Colorado peaks beside that of Pikeo, and its crest could
not be seen even on a clear day. The height would be
something like three miles, while Pikeo is hardly a mile
high. I.
Getting our supplies, we set sail again, and for a
month or two more saw nothing. We finally ran for an
island called Brah-vo, as we wanted two or three more
hands on board. At that time I could take my turn at
the masthead to look out for whales. I was at the forward masthead the day that we expected to sight the
island. I had never raised land myself, and did not know
how the first appearance of land would look; however, I
was told to keep a sharp lookout. After a while I observed a hair-line, which appeared to run a little above
the water. It would rise and then]run down, and so on,
up and down, and finally lose itself in the water. It did
not change its form, so it could not be a cloud. I sang
out at the top of my voice, " Land 'o."
The captain wanted to know where away.
I Two points on the lee bow."
He called to the boat-steerer, who was at the topgallant crosstrees, to know if he could see the land, and he
answered that he could not.
I sang out again.
The captain sent an old man up to where I was. I
tried to point the land out to him, but he could not
see it. mmB
He went down and told the captain that there was no
land in sight, but I knew better; so I sang out again,
" Land o." Finally the captain, finding that I was not
to be choked off, took his long glass and came up himself.
He could not see it either, with or without his glass.
After watching nearly an hour, he finally caught sight
of the land with his glass, and headed the ship for it. A
few hours later all hands could see it. I felt very proud
to think that I could see farther with the naked eye than
the captain could with his glass. We ran in, and, shipping more hands, soon left for another cruise.
We sailed away again for a month or two without finding anything larger than a sunfish and a few flying fish,
which came on board and took passage with us. They
made a very good fry, quite as good as trout.
We were nearing the Cape of Good Hope. We sighted
the cape, where we saw some cattle grazing on shore,
but we did not land. Not long after we put in at an
island by the name of Trustinucuna. There was but
one family on this island, old Governor Glass, who was
monarch of all he surveyed. His subjects were mostly
penguins and worgins. The latter are the male birds, if
birds they can be called. They have feathers on their
bodies, but nude wings, and cannot rise from land or
water. They use their wings when they are in the water.
They are amphibious and live on fish. We remained
there about three hours, and then sailed away for Madagascar. We had been living for several months on salt
meats. The captain thought it time to freshen up a
little. Too much salt meat, without vegetables- or fresh
meat, brings on the scurvy, a disease which softens
the flesh and covers the limbs with boils, with considerable swelling. We ran into Dillago Bay, where we
found other whaling ships. We found plenty of fresh
meat.   We could buy a whole ox, weighing eight or nine 1
hundred pounds, for a common coffee mug of powder.
The cattle are like our Texas cattle, except that they have
a large hump on their foreshoulders, quite as large as
that on the camel. Another animal, about the size of a
three-months old calf, has its habitat there, seemingly
half goat and half calf; the meat being much better
than either mutton or veal. I have often wondered
why some enterprising Yankee has not ere this shipped
a few of those animals to this country. They would
undoubtedly soon become acclimated and thrive well
here. Then we could have veal at all times of the
year. There was at that time, which was over forty
years ago, plenty of turpin there, which, by the way,
makes a superior soup. They are excellent to take
to sea, as they will live in the ship's hole three or
four months without food or water, and appear none
the leaner for their long fast. We wanted water. To
get it we would raft a lot of casks together, and tow
them into the mouth of the river. We would then knock
out the bungs and let them fill. While at this work I
learned to swim, by holding to a cask and floating down
stream with the current, at the same time kicking out
with my feet. It afterwards proved very fortunate for
me that I did take that occasion to learn to swim.
We got milk from the natives, which was served
to us in an eggshell, or rather half of a shell, which
made quite a respectable bowl, and would hold quite two
quarts. It was the eggshell of a very large bird which
has long been extinct.
The forest trees were quite tall and covered with
vines which hung from the branches, many reaching the
ground. The trees propagate this wise: they bear a
spindle about as large and somewhat resembling the
carbons which are used in arc liglfting. At the proper
season these spindles, which grow out from the   limbs, 38
fall to the ground endways and are driven two or three
inches into the soft earth. There they take root and
grow into trees.
Numerous species of the cactus were to be found on
that island, some being ten or twelve feet high. They
did not appear to have much trunk, but were nearly all
leaves. Those near the bottom were six to eight
feet long, about ten inches wide, and quite thin on the
edge, which was rimmed with long thorns. The middle
of the leaves would average about four inches in
The ruler of the island at that period was called
Prince Willy; and it was a singular custom, that before
a man became a prince there, he must have one eye
taken out. This prince had had one of his " extracted."
He looked as if he had been in a Texas fight with his
one eye, his sinister-looking long goatee and hair pretty
well on end. He looked quite the man, too, for a savage
ruler. The natives were arrant thieves and adepts at
their profession. They had a particular fancy for old
hoop iron. We learned after we left that a blacksmith
had a few months before escaped from a whaling ship,
and to please the natives he made spearheads or points
from hoop iron. When ships came into the harbor the
natives would take the blacksmith into the forest and
hide him until the vessels had left. They were afraid he
would leave the island, and they wanted him for their own
use. One of our men caught a native with a lot of hoop
iron under his wrap, which he took away from him and
gave the fellow a slap on the head with his hand. The
thief yelled so one could hear him a mile off. A
dozen natives were on deck at the time, and all set up a
great howling. In less than a minute there were twenty
or more canoes putting off from the shore, filled with
natives with plenty of spears in their hands.    As they
1 1
pushed alongside the first to show above the ship's rail
was that bushy-headed, one-eyed Prince, and close
behind were his many followers. They swarmed
around the captain on the quarter-deck, all wanting to
talk at once. Such a medley I never heard before
or since. They made the captain somewhat nervous.
He could not make them understand, and they did not
appear to want to understand. They wanted to fight
right there and then apparently, but the captain had no
intention of gratifying their wishes.
He signalled to other ships, for their captains to come
on board, which they did, with the result that there was a
deal of loud talk which no one understood. One had
to guess what the other one said.
At one time I thought the captains would command all
hands to take to the water and try to reach shore or find
the bottom of the bay as a means of safety ; and yet to
jump overboard would be like jumping out of the frying
pan into the fire. If the sharks did not get us, the
natives would soon run us down with their canoes.
I concluded to remain on deck, and if worse came to
worst I could take to the rigging and skip aloft, for I
knew they could not get up very fast over the ratlines.
The affair was finally settled without any blood being
spilt on either side; but the captain had a few plugs of
tobacco less than before the trouble began. The natives
are very fond of tobacco. On some of the islands
one might buy a woman or a man for a plug of tobacco.
After the trouble was all over, Prince Willy left the
vessel with his escort, and the decks were soon cleared
of the vermin. We never, after that, allowed many on
board at one time, by that means avoiding further
We shipped two men here, who had run away from
vessels   that had been before us.     I shall have   more 40 THE  ADVENTURES   OF  A
to say of them. One was James Bertine of New
York, a very tall, slim fellow, whose sobriquet was
Long Jim. The other's name I have forgotten. He
was   made third mate; we will call him Jack.
After lying in port for about a month, and having
taken on board a good supply of meat both dressed
and alive, and about one hundred turpin, we hoisted
anchor and sailed out to sea again to have another hunt
for whales. We had not been out many weeks before
we found a right whale. The captain, taking three boats,
went after him. The captain got fast to the fellow, and
for some reason which I could never find out, he bent
on what whalemen call a drag,—a piece of two-inch
plank about twelve inches square, with a plug run
through the centre, to which a line is attached. This
line was bent to the one attached to the whale, and
the balance of the line in the boat was held to, and
the part that was overboard was cut on the gunwale of
the boat. Strange to say, the captain pulled after the
whale again, which, being frightened, went twice as
fast as the boat, or as he did before he was struck.
The captain pulled away until the fish was out of sight,
then came on board, and I suppose entered on the
log, " Chased a whale this day, could not catch him ;
going two-forty and no bets."
That fish was the largest I had ever seen/||Right
whales feed on what is called brit, which is quite as fine
as corn meal and of a reddish color; in fact, the water
looks quite red with it, and is apparently alive. A
whale's lips are some three feet wide and from six to
eight feet long. The bone which is in each side of the
mouth under their lips, consists of slabs of bone, set
pretty near together, with the edge having the hair on
the inside. The tongue is very large, and fills the
whcfle of the lower part of the mouth.    It resembles a SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
well-filled feather tick. The whale when feeding swims
rapidly through the water, throwing his lips wide open,
and the bone which is inside expands at the same
time, which permits the water to flow into the mouth,
and in closing their lips, the tongue, being very flexible,
assists to force the water out through the hair which is
attached to the inner edges of the two tiers of bones,
act as a strainer. As the water is forced out, the whale
swallows what he has caught, which is seldom too large
to go down, since there is not usually anything found
for whale food on what is called " right whale ground"
that is of any considerable size.
The humpback whales gather their food in the same
way, but the bone in their mouths is not much over two
feet in length, and they feed on small fish about the size
of herring. Frequently humpback whales when feeding go through the water with their noses sticking
a few feet above it, scooping in large numbers of fish,
with a windrow of fish rolling out of the water ahead,
trying to get out of the way.
The throat or pharynx of the right and humpback
whales is small, being not over four inches in diameter.
It is doubtful .if it was this species that swallowed
Jonah. The sperm whale has a much larger throat.
It feeds on squid, which is similar to the squid found
around nearly all shores, but immensely larger. Before
the whale has been through them and dismembered
them, they will cover quite an acre of space on the
The sperm whale has quite a square head, the lower
part of which is very much smaller than the upper. The
lower jawbone, when stripped of flesh, looks much
like a farmer's harrow with a long shaft running out at
the point where the two arms meet. This shaft in a
large whale is some six feet in length and twelve inches
1 mBRBngem
thick at the fork, tapering down to five or six at the
other end. The upper surface of this long shaft is flat,
while the under portion is rounded. Teeth that are
from one and one half to two and three inches thick,
and from six to ten inches long, are set about three
inches apart on the flat side, that is, the upper side of
the lower jaw. This arm of the lower jaw shuts into a
groove in the under side of the head. In the groove are
sockets into which the teeth fit. There are no teeth on
the upper jaw, only these sockets; therefore it can readily
be seen that they cannot chew their food. When
feeding the lower jaw hangs down a little,.and as they
swim rapidly through the squid they cut them into
many pieces; then they scoop in the mutilated fish and
swallow them. Sometimes they leave pieces many feet
long. I think a sperm whale could easily swallow a
We found no more whales although we spent many
months searching for them in vain. We finally ran the
bark into a group of islands called Rosemary Islands.
We found plenty of humpback whales there. This
species of whale is found in breeding time near shore
where the water is shallow. They are more easily taken
when they have young with them, as the female will not
leave her little ones that cannot swim as fast as she can.
The boats frequently fasten to a calf, and they are sure
to get the mother whale, for she will never forsake her
I have been in a boat that was carried several rods on
a whale's fin, the whale thinking the boat was her calf.
They often carry their young on their fins when hard
pushed by a boat. The cow will seldom strike a boat
when her calf is around, no doubt taking the boat for. her
calf. The bulls are vicious. I have travelled faster
in a boat fastened  to   a whale  when attacked than on 1
steam cars, and I have travelled over a mile a minute on
the cars. Many times have I heard humpback whales
when under water make a whining sound similar to
that which a lot of bees make when disturbed, a sound
which can be heard a mile away.
The bull whales are frequently seen flapping their fins
up and down. It is very dangerous to approach them when
they are at that sport. Their fins are from ten to twelve
feet long. Those of the other species are not more than
four to six feet long. The humpback whale cutting
through the water with those long fins and broad, heavy
tail would make short work of a boat that got too
I have fastened to them when they were "finning," as
it is called, and it was difficult to tell at times which
was in the boat, the crew or the whale, or both. A
broad fin would sweep over the entire length of the boat,
feeling for something to strike, .then disappear with a
plunge into the seething waters, and up would come a
head quite as large as a load of hay, behind which was
an immense body. We would then put our hands
against the mass, and others, with the boat hook, would
push the boat from the creature, as one would from
a ledge of rocks.
The humpback whale is the most dangerous creature
to handle that can be found in the water or on land.
We seldom go out of a scrape with one without
several holes being stove in our boats. The whales
taken at these islands sank after they were killed. We
anchored them in about twenty fathoms. After they
had lain at the bottom three days they would float. We
would then tow them to the ship and cut them up.
The abdomen of the humpback whale is corrugated,
and looks like the lid of a roll-top desk. The skin between these wrinkles is very elastic, quite as much so as 44
rubber. If we happened to lose a whale, and not find it
for a week or so, it would, by that time, be what the
whalemen call "blasted,"—swollen to twice its natural
size, perhaps even three times, and would look a little
distance off like a very large vessel on her beam ends.
When' in that condition they are filled with a foul gas
which can be scented ten miles to the leeward.
The Rosemary Islands are not very fertile. Many are
merely sand banks thinly scattered with a sage brush,
while others are a mass of ledge with sharp points.
We found but one island in the group that had water or
wood upon it. We saw few natives, eight or ten perhaps,
and they were perfectly nude, and were as near the brute
as could be. The only weapons they carried were bones
from a bird's wing stuck through a hole in the end of
their nose. That they used to kill turtles, in this way:
They have a dry log which is about ten feet long and
eight inches thick which they straddle in the water.
Paddling with their hands and kicking with their feet,
they get through the water quite rapidly, and when they
espy a turtle sleeping on the surface, they approach
noiselessly and catch it by one of the-flippers, and turn
him over on to his back. They then draw the peg out
of their nose, and run it through the turtle's eyes.
This soon kills the turtle, when they tow it ashore, and
have a royal feast.
Turtle, fish, and birds are all they have to live upon
when there is no whaling going on in the bays. When
ships are taking whales, the carcasses, having been
stripped of the blubber, frequently float ashore, and the
natives strip the flesh from the bones for food. They
paddle off to vessels when the whalemen are "cutting in"
a whale and eat the scraps the sailors throw over to them.
We were " cutting in " a cow whale one day, and the man
who was using the spade cut into the udder, and the milk 1
began to flow at once. Being curious to know how whale's
milk tasted, I took a dipper and jumped on to the staging and from there on to the whale and caught some of
the milk. I then returned to the deck and took a sup of
the milk, but it was too salt to taste. In dipping I unfortunately took in about as much salt water as milk,
but I had tasted whale's milk, which I think no other
person ever did. Although I could not tell how it tasted,
it was quite as white as cow's milk. At another time,
when we were " cutting in " on another large whale, the
captain thought he would give us a fresh mess of whale
steak; accordingly he had a large piece of lean meat cut
off and hoisted on board. The cook was soon set to
frying whale steak. He cooked up quite a lot of it. At
dinner-time we found a well-filled kid sent down to us of
fried whale. Each man took a slice and began trying to
eat it. Each ate a little, and a little was quite as much
as any of us wished for. The grain was as large as a
man's finger, and as tough as an alligator's, hide. We
partook so very sparingly of our fresh meat that when
the kid was returned to the cook, he thought there was
more left than was first served. As in the feast of the
multitude, there were left seven basketsful and much fish.
The cook seldom threw anything overboard except the
water bucket, which he would throw on certain occasions.
So he took the fine lot of meat or fish, call it what you
may, and worked it over into a whale lobscouse. We
supposed the cook would take the kid and throw the
lot overboard, but we found at supper-time that he had
not done so. The same old cat we rejected at noon was
passed down to us steaming hot. The creature had been
trimmed up a little, but the first mouthful revealed his
presence. However, out of consideration for the cook,
who had spent quite all of the afternoon wrestling with
the problem of making the creature eatable, and who had 46
used three or four pounds of hard bread therefor, we
masticated a little of it; more for the bread that was
in it, than for anything else. What was left went overboard that night while the cook was tucked snug away
in his blankets. The captain never afterwards tried to
palm off whale steak on us for veal cutlets. Experience
enabled me to say that I had eaten whale and drank
whale's milk; but as the student said of stewed crow
peppered with Scotch snuff, I might say of the whale
steak, I Whale meat is good meat, but I don't hanker
after it."
The season for whales at that place was over. We
had been there about three months. All hands were
badly off with scurvy, having so long had salt beef for
dinner, lobscouse for supper, and, for a change, lobscouse for breakfast. On Sunday we would get a slice
of plum duff, with about one plum to a man. It was
then I recalled the plums heaped before me at my uncle's
in Boston. However, I choked down my emotion with a
chunk of salt beef that might have been around the world
three or four times for aught I know, and waited until
all the other sailors had had their hack at the duff, when,
if any was left, came my chance. I was the § titman"
on board, and, according to nautical etiquette, was the
last to get served at the mess kid. As a general rule
sailors live pretty well on whaleships; but sometimes,
when a ship has been out two or three years, her meats
and breadstuff's get rather stale, so much so, that often
the cook would find fully half the meat and bread
served for the meal, left in the kid. A good cook is
never at a loss to know what to do in such cases; he
knows all the mysteries of lobscouse, and it is doubtful
if a chemist could analyze it to tell what its components
are. All that is left over in all the kids, both fore and
aft, goes into the pot together, good, bad, and indifferent, "^
to complete the compound. To season this the cook
puts in a couple of spoonfuls of " slush" with half a pint
of molasses; then the mess is boiled, poured into the kid,
and served to the crew for their inspection and consumption. Sometimes the sailors make for a change what is
called, among high-toned jack-tars, "dundifunk." This
is made of powdered hard bread, slush and molasses,
then baked until brown on the top. They do not have
it often, since it is considered a rare and delicate dish.
The Sunday before we left the islands all went on
shore in company with the crew of another vessel that
happened there. A man in the other vessel's crew had
a fife which he took along with him, so we all had a
march "on shore, headed by the fifer. The captain
wanted to give us a run on land, since it was a help to
those who had the scurvy, and we had it badly. I
wish to call attention to the man who played the fife,
since I saw him again in a distant part of the world,
and in a more lucrative business than whaling.
Our ramble on the shore over, we went on board and
were soon under way and running for Geograph Bay,
Australia, where we arrived without mishap. I was
down with the scurvy. We were sent on shore, where
with an old sail we rigged up a tent. We did not require much shelter, for the weather was warm and dry.
We were fed on potatoes, milk, and beef, and were soon
perfectly well.
I was glad to find many white people at that place.
They were not only white, but spoke English. I had
made up my mind to leave the vessel as soon as we came
to a Country where white people lived, and I concluded
this was the place. I managed to board the ship two or
three times a week under the pretence of getting something, and then when going ashore again would have on
more than one suit of clothes, and sometimes carried a BCT
; bundle. In that way I soon got everything I cared for
ashore, since my outfit was not very large. I had used
up all of my outfit with which I started from home, and
was considerably in debt to the "slop chest," which is
a sort of a country store on board the ship, and out
of which the captain peddles goods to the sailors at
whatever terms may suit himself. After finding my
credit good at the store, I ran up quite a little bill. I
owed at home between thirty and forty dollars, which
was waiting to be paid out of the three or four hundred
dollars that I was to get at the end of the voyage. I
knew with what I was owing the captain and what
I owed the store in Boston, with the voyage only half
through, that if I stayed the entire voyage and filled
the vessel with oil, I would not have, after my bills were
paid, enough money to pay for a plate of Boston's baked
beans. So I decided to leave the ship, with all its joys
and sorrows behind. No fault was to be found with the
vessel, its officers or crew, for I was treated well by all
on board and liked the sea, but I did not hanker after
whales which had no money in them for me.
.We were camped near the beach. There was a
lagoon running back from the beach about a half-mile
wide. Beyond that was a small hamlet, with a little hotel
and a few log-cabins. The principal store was on the
beach near where we landed. We used to wade the
lagoon when we wanted to go over to the hotel. In
some places the lagoon was quite three feet deep.
The time had come at last for me to shoulder my kit
and break camp. The vessel was about ready to go to
sea. I slung all my worldly effects over my shoulder
and in the night stole across the dark waters which lay
between me and liberty. I passed through the little
town and close to the hotel where the captain was sleeping,   and  sleeping soundly I hoped.     I   went through 1
the town without waking even a dog, and plunged into
the forest not far away. It was dark, but I liked that; no
one could pursue me. I kept on for about a mile, when
I came to an old log which was a pretty large one; one
end was about two feet above the ground ; I piled some
brush against one side, and hid myself under it after the
fashion of a bird that puts its head under a leaf and
thinks itself out of sight.
I did not know whether there were any wild animals
about or not, or whether there were any in the country ;
neither did I care much just then. I was under the log,
and out of harm's way for the present. I did not make a
fire, having no desire to attract attention, and being yet
within the lines of the enemy. Finally I fell asleep,
and slept well, considering the accommodations at my
new hotel, for it was not quite so elaborate as was
my room in Lowell, but luxuries were readily dispensed
I was not troubled by the bills I owed the ship, as
after leaving Lowell, having got bravely over that compunction. On finding the coast clear and no signs of
immediate attack, I was quite contented with the situation.
Before retiring I partook of a slight repast, which consisted of a small piece of ship biscuit and a little molasses.
When finally leaving the ship I took a bottle half full
of molasses and six cakes of hard bread. 5o
My first morning in the bush was spent in laying plans
for the future. My first duty was, like a good general,
to examine my supply of provisions, which were so
limited that all hands were put on short allowance at
once. I knew that I could not stand much of a siege.
My next work was to strengthen my position a little,
which was done by piling up more brush around the log.
I did not know whether my habitation there would be
temporary or of long duration, so prepared for the
Having plenty of tobacco, I did not wish to put myself
on allowance, for it had become a great solace to me.
When we left home, we all took along ten to twenty
pounds each; not only for our own use, but to trade with
the natives at the different islands we might stop at. I
took ten pounds. At that time I had never used tobacco, but wanted to trade with those who did use it. I
was at the wheel one day when the captain came up from
the cabin with a box of broken cigars. He asked me if
I wanted  them, holding them out to me.    He told me ^
that he did not care for them, as they were so broken up.
Taking them forward, I soon began to try their flavor, and
it did not take me many days to use up every stump ; and
since I had got a taste, and the captain had no more
boxes of broken cigars to give away, I took at once to
my stock in trade. That was quite fifty years ago, and I
have never neglected the weed since, when it was to be
obtained, although having sometimes been on rather
short allowance.
I found plenty of time between meals to meditate and
smoke. I began to think that if a dish of that mysterious
compound which we used to see so often on board ship
was placed before me, that it would neither be regretted
nor neglected. Finding, however, that dwelling on the
past would not help the future nor the present, I partook
of a humble supper and retired to my couch under the
log, cast aside all thought of what the morrow might
reveal and went to sleep, feeling safe for that night if for
no longer. Before morning I found that there were
other dangers to guard against besides the captain and
sheriff,—the danger of losing one's food. I was awakened
•in the middle of the night by a singular noise near me,
but just outside my brush shelter. I laid perfectly quiet
and waited to see what the creature would do, intending
to let it be the first to make an attack, if there was to be
a fight. I soon found that the animal, whatever it might
be, appeared to be hunting for my hard bread; he had
managed to get his nose pretty near my bag, in which
was kept all my worldly effects as well as my daily
supply of food. I concluded by the noise that the animal
was not a very large one, whatever it might be, but
its nose was painfully near my rations, so believed
it time to call a halt. Accordingly I gave the brush
a kick, and with one bound it was a rod away, and
with one or two more of such leaps, out of hearing. BBS
This disturber was a little animal about the size of a
rabbit that jumps like the kangaroo; which appears to be
the way most of the animals get over the ground in that
country. This animal is called the walaby by the natives;
and they jump like grasshoppers, with their hind legs
and tail. When feeding they use their fore legs, which
are short.
Having had no water since leaving the beach, I was
very thirsty in the morning. At the beach I had become
acquainted with two men: one was a sailor, an American, who had run away from some ship; the other man
was an Englishman and a hanger-on around the hotel.
The Englishman we will call Sam ; and the Yankee,
Spaulding, which was his right name, and if he is alive
now and should read this book, he will remember the
incident. I thought that Sam was trustworthy, ana
would keep silent about me, therefore after dark one
night I left my hiding place and made my way to the
door of Sam's cabin. He seemed to be much pleased to
see me, and gave me a good supper of fresh beef stew,
and urged me to remain over night with him, saying that
I could get away in the morning before any one was up.
I hesitated at first, but at his earnest request I remained
with him. In the morning I was up at daylight. I
thought of my experience in Lowell, and had no intention
of being caught napping. Sam made me promise to
spend the next night with him. I returned to my fort
before the garrison was up, and managed to get through
the day without having a surprise. After dark I went to
my friend's again; he was ready to receive me, but he
had no steaming supper waiting for me as I expected.
He said, however, that he would soon have supper, but
was out of bread, and if I would lend him my hat he
would run over to the hotel and get a loaf. I did so and
he started off.    I soon began to mistrust my new friend, 1
and so followed after him and kept him in sight. He
entered the hotel, while I stopped some four or five rods
from the hotel and awaited developments. I had not
long to wait, for in a very few minutes out came Sam
and another man in his shirt sleeves. This man had on
a white shirt, which neither Sam nor Spaulding wore.
When they had got about twenty feet from the door I
thought it time to challenge, so sang out to know who
the man was with him. Sam appeared to be surprised
to find me so near him, since he thought I was in the
cabin awaiting his return; but he soon answered that it
was Spaulding. I replied that Spaulding did not wear a
white shirt. "Yes," said he, "Spaulding has changed
his shirt to-day." " Now," said I, "let him speak, and if
it is Spaulding I shall know his voice." So he told his
companion to speak, but he did not seem to care to. I
was well satisfied at the first sight of the white shirt
that the man was Capt. Coffin, but at the same time I
wanted to be doubly sure. Finally the captain, as he
proved to be, gave a sort of a grunt. I sang out, "That
is old Coffin," and started away for the bush on the run.
The captain continued calling after me, and I continued
running. Sam called until his friendly calls were soon
lost in the distance that I had quickly made between us.
I pushed on for about a mile, and then halted. I knew
from the nature of the forest that there would be no
further pursuit that night. I could not find my log-
cabin, it was too dark; so I built a little fire and laid myself down to sleep, and managed to get a few short naps,
but I kept one eye open, having no idea of being caught
by the captain, ft.I was fast learning the ways of my
friends. I was up at daylight and went at once on a still
hunt for my log, which I soon found and took possession
of again, none the worse for my adventure. Towards
ten o'clock  as I lay snugly tucked away under my log, 54
pondering over my narrow escape and wondering what
next would happen to me, I presently heard steps approaching. I crawled partly out and was soon in a position to beat a hasty retreat if need be. The person
causing me so much uneasiness came and stood before
me with nothing to cover his person but a roll of twine,
about the size of my arm, wound around his waist. He
was one of the natives, and the twine was made of opossum fur. I waited in silence for him to introduce himself. Finally, after gazing at me a few moments, he made
a half-scowl and half-grin and started on his way, and, as
I believed, rejoicing to think of the reward he would
get for his discovery from the captain. But I was not to
be outgeneralled by a nude savage! He had hardly
disappeared from sight before I had my grip on my
should ir and was off on my way to pastures new and
fresh. I pushed on into the forest a mile farther, and
pitched my tent this time under a tree, where there was
nothing to obstruct my view, as I now had a desire to
see before being seen if it was possible, that I might
have time for flight. I occupied this camp about a week.
Occasionally I ventured out past the little village to a
brook after water, and sometimes passed through a field
of potatoes, where I would fill my pockets, and when I
got back to camp would have a treat on potatoes and
molasses. I was without a hat, since I did not wait
for Sam to return mine.
I had thread and needles in my outfit and a pair of old
pants. Believing I could get along better without pants
than without a hat, I cut up the pants and made a
skull cap. It had no visor to it, and was rather a poor
substitute for a cap. I looked quite as comical injt as I
did with the beaver which I wore when I left Canada.
But I was never very proud, and I cared little for the fashions of the country, knowing that if I got entirely out of SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
pants I should then be in the very height of the fashion,
since I had seen, a few days since, one of their latest
fashion plates.
Becoming restless, I thought I would go over to the
beach and see if the vessel had sailed. I had begun to
get tired of the monotony of my life, and longed for a
change. I put on what clothing I could wear, lest I
should not find my bundle on my return, hid my sack,
and at night crossed over the bayou to the beach.
Hiding near my old camp, I waited for daylight. As
soon as light dawned, I was out making observations over
the water, and there the old vessel lay quietly at anchor.
My courage did not fail me. I hid in the bushes where I
could see who came ashore. It was not long before I
saw a boat push off, which was soon on the beach. The
officer in the boat was the third mate, Jack, whbm we
shipped in Madagascar. In him I always had a friend.
I met him at the store, and he told me that the captain
was at the hotel and would be there all day, and I was
safe at the store part of the day, if not throughout the
day. At about ten o'clock the Englishman came over,
but before I saw him he had drank heavily. I told the
mate how he had taken my hat, and how he had tried to
sell me to the captain. The Englishman had a very
nice hat on, so the mate exchanged with him and gave
him my patent cap for his hat. The mate told me that
the bark would not sail for another week, and if I wanted
to get clear I had better go up to the Lashanault, a
little town about thirty miles up the coast, and I concluded to take his advice. He bought a pound of biscuit
at the store, which he gave to me to eat on my journey.
It was too late then to start, since I wanted to make the
trip in one day, so I concluded to camp a little way up
the beach until morning. Before leaving the mate, he
told me that the native who saw me at my first hiding 56
place came straight to the hotel and told the captain
where he could find me. On learning that, the captain
hunted up the sheriff and the three started out after
me. The native was not long in guiding them to the old
log I had so hastily and recently left. The sheriff looked
under the log, and told the captain that the nest was there,
but the bird had flown. The captain had a self-acting
revolver. The sheriff had never seen one. He was
looking at it, and as he held it in both hands and pulled
the trigger to see how the thing worked, he found out to
his sorrow. It acted, and his thumb went off at the same
I saw the sheriff some three months later; he showed
me his hand, and said that was all he got for trying to
catch me. I told him it ought to have blown his head
off for chasing a poor sailor. I learned, later on, that the
Englishman had reported me to the captain after my first
night with him. The captain offered him fifteen dollars
if he would help him catch me, but he found that chaff
was no good around his trap.
The next morning I started bright and early for Lashanault, a walk of thirty miles over a hot and sandy beach
and without water. The ocean lay on one side of my
route, and a wild, dark forest on the other. I left my
bag with its contents behind, since I dared not go after
it, knowing that danger lurked in every bush, and not
wanting to take any risk. I pushed on with the rising
of the sun, and had not gone over a mile when I came
to a river some two hundred yards wide and quite deep
and rapid. Thinking I might ford it, I pulled off my
shoes and pants and started in, but found it too deep to
go straight across and too rapid to think of swimming
against the current, so I retreated. Upon further investigation I found that, where the river emptied into the
bay, the water appeared to be quite shallow.    I started SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
in again and took a long half-moon circle and found the
water some three feet deep, but I made the landing on
the other side successfully. Soon dressed, again I went
on my way, rejoicing to know that there was at least
one barrier between me and pursuit. I pushed on
about two miles farther, when another river lay before
me. This river I found quite deep, but I thought I
could get over in the same manner as the other; so I
doffed my shoes and pants and plunged in and started
on a long circuit. I had got about fifty yards from
shore, when, to my dismay, I found myself slowly but
surely sinking. The sand beneath my feet appeared to
be alive, and I realized in a moment that I was on a bar
of quicksand, and to think was to act under those circumstances. I whirled around and drew my feet from
the sand and made for the shore again, which I soon
My courage was yet unabated. Going up the stream
some two hundred yards, to where the current was not
quite so rapid, I stripped off my shirt, bundled up my
effects and held them in one hand at arm's'length, and
waded in until the water reached my waist, then struck
out with both feet and one hand. The current, as I expected, carried me down the stream rapidly, but I kept
my eyes on the opposite shore and pulled as for dear
life. I dared not turn my eyes toward the ocean which I
knew was very near; and I thought if there was danger
of my taking a fast trip to sea, I did not wish to know it.
I finally reached the bank on the opposite side of the
river, and was soon ready for the tramp, which I resumed
at once, feeling then for the first time since I had left the
vessel that I was a free man, with the world before me.
I pushed on at a good pace with a fair wind behind,
the open sea beside me, and a clear sky overhead. I
soon found myself much in want of what I recently had 58
too much of,— water. With the heat and the sea breeze I
found myself almost choked; I did not find a drop of
fresh water during the whole journey of thirty miles. I
knew that when I started, hence my desire to keep on
the move. I would take a bite of cracker and a smoke
after, to allay my thirst. I always found a good smoke,
when very thirsty, would moisten my mouth and very
much relieve me.
About mid-day I saw something ahead that made me
feel that the end of trouble was not yet, notwithstanding
I had flattered myself that I had passed all danger.
Three natives came out of the bush and walked down to
the water's edge. But since there were but three, I
thought I might have some show in a fight, if there was
to be one. My first thought was that the captain, anticipating my intended journey, had sent an advance
to act as body guard and escort while on the way back
to headquarters. Again I thought of the tales I had
heard of the cannibals who inhabit the islands in that part
of the world. On getting up to them, they took a careful
survey of me and then gave a grunt and muttered a few
words in a language which was all like Dutch to me, but
I pretended to understand them and pointed ahead and
said, "Yes," "Warm day," "Good morning," and started
on again. I soon looked back, however, not wishing
them to steal a march on me, and finding they were
going the other way, felt much relieved. Perhaps they
thought me too lean to make them a suitable meal, and
thus let me pass, while looking further for fatter game.
I kept on, with now and then a little rest. About
four in the afternoon I came to a point or bluff which
extended out some way into the ocean, with a low neck
running toward the sandhills which were back of the
beach at that place. I climbed over the neck, thinking
to save a mile or two, for I was by that time pretty well -%#■
Treading the Mixture for Brickmaking in Australia. ^^^Mnmn
tired out.. When I mounted to the top of the neck and
looked over, my heart leaped to my mouth. Spread out
before me was a beautiful river, on whose banks, dotted
here and there, were little cottages, while in the background could be seen the verdure of many a native plant
and shrub. There was one solitary hut not far ahead,
toward which I bent my steps with some haste.
As I approached the shanty I saw a very pretty young
•woman standing at the open door. I gazed with admiration, while she looked at me with disgust I suppose ; for
I must admit I was rather a pitiable looking object, being
completely worn out. She opened her ruby lips and
greeted me with, "Why, young man, you look as if you
were completely worn out." I answered her that I was.
and that I was almost choked, as I had drank no water
since the night before. She soon supplied me, not only
with water, but with a good hearty meal of sheep's head
and pluck. Not long after, her husband came in. I
learned that his name was Salter. He was accompanied
by another man, whose name was Penny, for whom
Salter was employed in making brick. I soon struck a
bargain with Penny to help them make bricks. Although
I had never seen a brick made, I was willing to learn
how. The next morning we started for the brickyard,
which was about two miles back from the coast, in the
forest. The yard consisted of nothing but a few boards
put together on the ground like a mortar bed, into which
a few wheelbarrow loads of clay were thrown, with a load
or two of sand. Then the process began with slashing
and cutting at the pile with a long wooden sword.
When pretty well hewn down, we would strip off shoes
and stockings and wade in and tread and mix the clay
and sand in that way until it was in condition to mould.
I found it hard for my feet for the first two or three days,
but did not complain.   Not only was I learning the trade, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD. 61
but was getting my food, which was the main consideration with me just then.
I served about two weeks' apprenticeship at the clay
pile, keeping my eyes open during the time for something better than brickmaking. There were soldiers
stationed near by the place ; and the lieutenant who was
in command of them seemed a very fine officer. I had
become somewhat acquainted with him, while passing
frequently near his quarters. Meeting me one day, he
inquired how I liked brickmaking. I replied that I did.
not like the business. He then asked how I would like
to go out a few miles into the country with him to help
him get a few tons of hay. I told him I should like to
go, and that I was more used to that kind of work than
making bricks. He informed me what day he was going
to start, and said if I wanted to go to be ready. When
the appointed day came, he did not have to wait for me.
I notified Mr. Penny that I had found work that suited
me better, and left him without further notice.
There were four in our haying party. We travelled
about twenty miles, and were three weeks making about
one ton of hay. The blades of grass were few and far
between. My work was not very hard; for the lieutenant often took me and two natives, with a couple of
dogs, to go out after kangaroo, which were numerous,
and we used to keep the camp supplied with fresh meat.
The manner in which the white people catch the kangaroo is v,ery interesting. They have large dogs, called
kangaroo dogs, trained expressly to hunt this animal. They
range in value from fifty to five hundred dollars. Two
dogs and one or two natives are taken along to hunt.
The kangaroo is generally found in herds of ten to
twenty, sometimes more ; occasionally only two or three
are found together. Very much depends upon the
season of the year.   When the game is sighted, the dogs 62
start out, and the kangaroo is away at the first jump of
the dog.
A well-trained dog will soon run one down, kill it, and
return to his master, who looks in the dog's mouth. If
he has killed the kangaroo there will always be found
some hair in the corners of his mouth. The master tells
the dog to find him, and he starts off on a trot leading directly to the dead animal. The hunters take the natives
along to pack and tow in the game, and to track it. When
hunting kangaroo and they discover a trail, the natives
track the animals much better than the dogs. The
kangaroo dog goes by sight, and not by scent. It has
been said that the Australian natives track by instinct,
but such is not the case ; for the one who made the discovery of myself under the old log could have tried his
skill on a new trail, for I certainly did not try to cover up
my tracks.
The kangaroo has a long claw, like a finger, only
much longer, with a talon at the end ; from the point of
that talon to the heel of the male is nearly two feet.
They stand on the lower parts of their legs, and their tail
rests on the ground back of them some two feet, in such
a way that it acts as a spring. When they run, they give
a spring with their hind legs and a push with their tail
at the same time. Every time they strike they leave a
mark with that long claw. The tail is not used after the
first spring, but is elevated a little above the ground.
The tail of a large male is about four feet long, and some
four inches broad at the body, and tapers down to about
one inch at the end. It is brought into use when the
animal is feeding; he rests on his shanks and tail, and
will reach forward as far as he can, then he puts down
his two fore paws, which are quite short, and draws his
tail up, keeping about eighteen inches of the end of it
snug to the ground, while the other part is bent up in ^
the form of a bow. Their weight is then on their tail
and fore feet: they lift their hind feet together and swing
them forward, placing them on the ground again. In
this manner they make a different track from that made
when jumping. As they .drag the tail it bends the grass
the way the animal is going, his fore feet also leave
marks as well. When the native is in the neighborhood
of the kangaroo feeding grounds, he scans the grounds
closely, and when he sees the dry grass bent over he
drops down on his hands and knees to examine the
ground. He will soon tell which way the animal was
travelling, and, if feeding, will find the marks made by
his tail and fore feet. The native, keeping the tracks in
view until he finally loses them, will very soon find
the last track of the fore paws and tail; and on looking
very closely, he observes the two marks made by the
long claw or finger on each hind foot. He knows by.
this time how large the animal is by the marks left by
the tail and fore paws, and he knows about how far the
animal will jump, and also whether the animal was
frightened or not. He soon gets his eye on the spot
where the dry grass is bent down, with one or both of
the toe scratches.
His knowledge of the tracks of the different animals is
so excellent that when the track is found he will start off
on a trot and keep that gait up until he starts the animal
from his lair or his feeding ground. If large game happens to pass, while on the run, over several yards of ledge,
they invariably leave some slight scratches, and then the
native has the course, which is generally nearly a straight
one. I became quite expert in the art of tracking the
kangaroo before leaving the country.
• There is many a sorry-looking dog after the chase is
over. If the dog is green or not properly trained, he
will  attack  at once  after running the kangaroo to bay, \iJiMju3jnA>mujuua
thinking that he has the killing all his own way, but he
- soon finds out to his sorrow that he is not alone in the
fight. The kangaroo strikes out with that long claw and
strikes the dog in the head or neck, and sends him a rod
or two through the air. After a kick or two, the plucky
dog renews the attack, but somewhat on his guard, having learned cautiousness by experience. He then plays
about the animal, worrying him until he gets him tired
out, and then when a good chance offers catches the
kangaroo by the neck, and after pulling him down it
takes but a short time for the dog to despatch him.
Dogs sometimes have their heads and necks so terribly lacerated that they have to be doctored many weeks
before they go out again on the chase. The kangaroo
has been known to catch small dogs in their fore paws
and carry them to a pool of water and hold them under
the surface till they were drowned.
The white people never save the fore quarters ; the hind
quarters, tail, and hide are all that are carried from the field.
The hind quarters make good steak or meat to stew, but is
rather dry, having no fat. The tail makes excellent
soup, much better to my taste than ox tail or turtle. All
the fat on the animal is in the tail. The fore quarters are
little else than bones and claws. I used to think that if
some enterprising Yankee was there, he might start an
industry and make a fortune gathering up the kangaroo
fore quarters and canning them for the sailors. They
would keep in any climate, and would come handy for the
cook failing to find odds and ends enough for the scouse
pot; the preparation might season if it did not fattem
After three weeks of haying and hunting, we returned to town. Lieut. Northy paid me with two sovereigns, the first money I had seen since leaving Boston.
It soon burned a hole through my pocket, but I was
looking about for employment before the bottom of my SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 6$
pocket dropped out. I soon found a carpenter named
Leighton, who some three years before came from Lon-<
don, England. He had a large shop, covered with what
is called paper bark, light colored and about one inch
thick. The bark can be split to the thickness of letter
paper. It is taken from trees in strips about three feet
wide and from eight to ten feet long, then split to the
desired thickness and sewed to frames. The natives use
it to make huts very much like an American Indian wigwam. When the natives move, the females pack the
bark on their backs.
To my surprise, I found my old shipmate Long Jim
here, and learned, through him, that two or three sailors
besides myself had run away from the ship at Geograph
Bay. He was at work for Mr. Leighton, and through
him I obtained work at the same place, with the promise
of two sovereigns a month and board. I thought it
would suit me better to be a carpenter than a brickmaker
or to follow farming.
The wood commonly used there was mahogany. It
resembled the Honduras very much in color, and some of
it was quite soft. It sank quite readily in water. There
were many other kinds of trees in that part of the country, but mahogany was the most common. || Houses,
fences, and boats were built of it. I helped build a
bridge with it, also a brig of two hundred and fifty tons
Mr. Leighton had worked on the king's palace in England when King George was alive, if He said when the
king came, all dropped to their knees until the king had
passed. I told him no Yankee would do that. He replied that it was done out of respect to their sovereign.
He brought from England a chest of tools that cost
him $2,500. Then all woodwork was done by hand,
and he had a tool for everything used in woodworking. 66
'He had some fifteen men at work when he employed
me, and in less than one year all left him but myself. He
got to drinking very hard, and neglected his business,
soon going from bad to worse. I remained with him for
•nearly three years. We used to do about enough to pay
for our food and to furnish him with beer.
One day a vessel from England came into the harbor
with emigrants. Among them was a young Italian
woman whose father was the modeller in marble of the
big elephant which was shot in London a few years previous to her emigration. Mr. Leighton married her in
about three weeks after she landed. That stopped his
drinking for a short time, but after a little he began
drinking again worse than ever. I frequently led him
home and put him to bed, for his wife could do nothing
with him. 91
During this period I had plenty of time to study the
natives, the habits, costumes, and peculiarities which belonged to that people exclusively.
In 1843, when the great comet of that year became
visible, it was seen in Australia in all its beauty and
grandeur, and viewed with wonder and astonishment by
many, by others with fear and dread. Many knew or
had read of Miller, the Adventist, and thought the world
was coming to an end.
An American captain with his ship, which belonged
in Fairhaven, arrived off .the coast when the comet appeared in sight; M He thought the World was about to
collapse, and he pointed his ship for the Lashanault, our
port, thinking, perhaps, that he could run faster than he
could swim, with the result that some of the ship's ribs
and truck are rotting to-day on the sandy shores of
In common with my old friend Mr. Penny of the brickyard and a Mr. Stafford, an American from Salem, Mass., SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 67
and one or two others, I went off in the night in a longboat to the ship. We saw that she was going ashore.
The bay at that time was a mass of rolling billows, but
there were stout hearts and strong limbs in the boat, and
we made the ship and were pulled in over the stern. She
was aground, and we could do nothing but send down a
few spars. In the morning the wind abated a little. We
got out her anchors and hove her into deep water again.
In the afternoon the gale renewed its fury and drove her
up high and dry. The captain thought it impossible to
float her again, and after two or three weeks unloading,
she was sold for two hundred pounds sterling. The
captain sold the effects and started for home to wait a
little longer before he started for that foreign shore so far.
away and yet so painfully near to him. The vessel was the
" North America," of Fairhaven, Mass., and the men who
bought her were two brothers, who, after a week's work,
got her afloat off shore, where she lay for three weeks,
apparently sound and perfectly tight. They were about
ready to start with her to Freemantle, a port at Swan
River. The day before they were to sail she began to
leak so badly they could hot keep her afloat, and finally
they had to let her go on to the beach, where they broke
her up. Ill
Some of her ribs are yet bleaching on that sandy beach
not far from the spot where a ship called the " Samuel
Wright," from New Bedford, commanded by a Capt.
Coffin, was cast away a few years previous to the wreck
of the " North America."
One summer we found ourselves running very short
of provisions. For three months we lived on sheep's
head and pluck for meat, and rice for bread, and we were
without tobacco. During that time I spent hours hunting over piles of shavings in the shop for old stumps
and bits of tobacco.    It was like hunting for diamonds, 68
every one that was found was valued as one might a gem
of the first water. At this time hearing that there was
an American whaler lying at Geograph Bay, I started at
once for the Bay, where I obtained a month or two's
supply of tobacco and returned. At another time,
when I was out of the weed, I persuaded a native
to loiter around the house of the chief judge of the
place, knowing the judge used tobacco. The natives have
access to all parts of the settlers' dwellings. They seldom
steal, nor do they smoke; but this old native was very
friendly to me, and quite willing to filch tobacco for me.
He seldom came out of the judge's parlors without half a
plug of Yankee tobacco tucked under his skin cloak.
Finding that I was not getting rich very fast at Leigh-
ton's, while he was getting drunk nearly every day, I*
finally informed him that I could not remain longer with
him, but was going down to Geograph Bay and see what
I could find to do there. I had learned the trade so well
that I thought myself capable of building a house, and
make my own bricks also, if need be. Mr. Leighton
objected to have me leave him, but I had determined
to start in business for myself. Finding moral suasion
unsuccessful, he concluded to let me go, and gave me
quite a kit of tools, which I gratefully received and
shipped for Geograph Bay. There I located at a farmhouse, hung out my sign, and was soon ready for any
kind of a job. I soon got one, the first and the last in
that locality. An Irishwoman came to me one morning and said that her little boy had died the day before,
and she wanted a coffin made for the little fellow. I
was ready to make it for her. She wanted to know the
cost, and I informed her that I could make it for her for
about ten shillings.
" Oh! I said she, " that is too much; I cannot afford to
I did not wish to drive away my first customer, as it
might injure my business, so told her, as she was poor, I
would get her up something for eight shillings.
" Why," said she, " I cannot pay even that much." I
thought she was trying to drive a close bargain. " Well,"
said she, " I will give you two pounds of butter, since I
have not got any money at all,.at all."
I thought the matter over, wondering what I could do
with two pounds of butter. Finally, I concluded to take
the butter, as Geograph Bay was often visited by the
whalers, and I thought I might trade it for tobacco or
something that would sell for cash, so accepted the
woman's offer for the. coffin, but told her she must
not tell what she gave me for the job. She promised,
and was very profuse with her thanks. I made the
box and delivered it to her. She said that in a few days
she would pay me. The net result of that job was one
pair of shoe soles faithfully worn out running for that
butter, which never materialized. My business venture
did not meet with success, for I found there was neither
money nor butter in that locality for me.
I left the place and began work on a farm, and helped
the owner to cut some ten acres of wheat. While helping the farmer an American whaler came into port, and
a boat came ashore with the colored steward. He
came to the farm and said the ship was to start for home
in about three months. I gave him a letter, and a portrait of myself that I had' paid a friend to paint for me, by
making a box to keep his brushes and paints in. The
letter and picture were all the tidings my friends received
of me during the seven years of my absence.
After the harvest I gave my tools away and started for
Swan River, arriving there in due time. I put up at a
hotel for a few days, and did little jobs around for my board.
After a while I met a man whose business was to saw
lumber by hand.    He wanted me to dig pits for him. 7o
A pit is dug in the ground about five feet deep, about
twenty feet long, and five wide. Skids are laid across
the pit so the logs when rolled upon them will be
about six feet above the bottom of the pit. When the
log is in position, one man stands in the bottom of the
pit while the other stands on the log; then they proceed
to saw and make the log into boards. After working
two weeks at pit digging, the man who engaged me went
to a place called Murray River to saw timber for a brig
which he was to build. He and a partner did business
under the name of Morris & Wested; they took a
number of men, and I went with them. We all camped
in the woods, and a cook was needed, so they put me
to cooking. They taught me to make what they called
dampers, that being what they call their bread. They
first make a hot fire; a good bed of ashes and coals
obtained, they put the dough into the hot ashes and
cover it up. It will bake or roast in this manner, and
comes out in fine condition, and is very palatable.
Bread baked in that way is much better than in an
oven, and far sweeter. The ashes brush off and leave
the bread white and perfectly clean. The flavor is
retained by the ashes, and the bread is better.
My adventures were various during the eleven months
of my stay in that place. A young man about my age
tended a sort of country store that Mr. Morris kept at
Freemantle. I call him Mr. S. He will figure prominently
later in my adventures and in other parts of the world.
His father was a wealthy merchant and a member of the
London Stock Exchange. Something like myself, he
wanted to see the world, so his father gave him ^1,000
a year for spending money, and sent him to Swan River.
He used to spend his allowance in three or four months,
having what he thought was a " good time." He was
not one who would sit down and suck his thumbs after SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
his money was gone and wait for another remittance, but
would pitch in and do anything to bring him an honest
loaf of bread.
When I first knew him he was tending Mr. Morris's
store. I was wanted in the woods to dig pits, and, since
business was not very brisk at the store, Mr. S. came to
Murray River and took my position as cook for the
He held that lofty position for the eleven months I
was there, and how much longer, after I left, I never
A gentleman lived not far from the banks of the river
whose name was Peel. His brother was Prime Minister
of England. He owned a large tract of land in that
locality, and it was said that he bought it of the English
government for sixpence an acre.
I was told by a friend, a few years later, that he gave it
back to the government, as he could not pay for it. The
land was poor and sandy, but well timbered with mahogany and other timber common to the country.
Mr. Peel gave Mr. Morris permission to cut all the
timber he wanted from his land. We had to scour the
forest for what natural crooks, bends, and knees we
wanted, which consisted of one or two thousand acres.
That place is now called Peel.
There were but three buildings at Murray River at that
time, and they were mere log-cabins. Up the river
about ten miles was a small hamlet called Penjarah. I
soon learned to saw boards and planks, so I was kept at
that, and others dug the pits. I cut one tree called by
the settlers tuit, a very hard and close-grained wood, and
very hard to split. This tree was twenty inches at the
ground,' and from it were taken two sticks four by
eight and eighty feet long, without a waney edge on
either one.     How much longer the tree was I do not OB
know, as I did not measure it. This statement gives some
idea of the height of small trees in that country. The
color of the bark on this species is something like that
on our horse-chestnuts and about as thick. The wood is
of a light color; it is impossible to split it, and it looks
like the lignum-vitse. My mate and myself sawed two
stringers for the brig out of that four by eight stick,
which were eighty feet long, and without a blemish the
entire length. Those two stringers and her spars were
the only two kinds of timber in the entire vessel differing from mahogany, which composed the balance of the
ship. Mahogany was shipped by them to England for
ship's planking, it being commonly said that the worms
would not work in it.
I was in the habit of going to Swan River, forty miles
above, about every two months after sheep that Mr.
Morris would have driven to that place, and from there to
the river below, on which to feed his men. On the road
out I frequently met my friend S. going to town to spend
a few days.
When I had a little change in my pocket, knowing
that he had none since Morris paid about all his debts
with promises, I would say, " S., have you any money ? "
" No," he would invariably answer, | not a red."
§ Here is half a crown, it will pay for your dinner."
i^| He would then push on to town, having the satisfaction
of knowing that he was not "broke.'' I always felt
quite independent when I could feel a coin in my pocket,
let it be ever so small, and I thought that was the way S.
would feel on arriving in town.
I may mention a little incident that happened one day
when I was at Freemantle after sheep, to show how
easily a young fellow can get into trouble where there are
meddlesome people around who do not stop to investigate,   but who jump  at  swift  conclusions.    If people SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
would only investigate a little, they would save themselves a great amount of misery and trouble.
A little mistake of a lady nearly caused me to lose my
situation. On my arrival in town I was sometimes
obliged to wait two or three days for the sheep to arrive
from over " the hills." The general store of the place
was in a double house, one part being used as a store,
and the other as a tenement, and its occupant was a
meddlesome lady. The store was closed since its clerk
had been promoted to cook, and the key was left at the
next door. While waiting for the sheep I was permitted
to occupy the store until the drove arrived.
Near the store lived a woman whose husband was at
work on the vessel which we were building. She was
considered of rather doubtful character, as gossip went.
On one trip her husband was coming in with the sheep
from the hills, and was expected to help me drive them
down to Murray River. I had to wait two or three days
for him, but found enough in the store to cook, excepting
meat. To supply this need I went to the butcher's and
bought a leg of mutton," and salted it well, as I supposed,
from a barrel of salt found in the store, then carried it
to the next door to let the lady bake it for me. Soon
after my roast was under way, the other lady came in and
said that since her husband was going down with me, we
would need something to eat on the road, and if I would
give her a bowl of flour, she would bake a few biscuits
for us. I was very glad to do so, thinking that what
meat I did not eat while waiting, with the biscuits, would
last us during our trip down to the river. The next-door
neighbor saw her come with an empty bowl, and go away
with it full. I went for my mutton, which was nicely
baked. She said nothing to me about the flour. I got
my biscuits and sat down to my repast. From a slice of
the rich brown roast I took a good mouthful, but it came 74
out quicker than it went in. I found, upon investigation,
that I had salted the mutton with saltpetre instead of
salt. Mr. Wested came in during the day, and I gave
the roast to him, which he devoured with apparent relish.
My friend did not go down with me as was expected,
nor did the roast, but I was supplied with bread.
The distance from Freemantle to Murray River is forty
miles, very dry and sandy, with but one place where
water could be had, and that scarcely large enough to
satisfy a dog's thirst.
A large number of native dogs prowl around those
wild deserts. They are as ravenous as wolves, and
a few of them will soon destroy a large flock of sheep
by sucking their blood. I started out at sunrise with
twenty sheep ahead of me, and pushed on rapidly, knowing that if night overtook me I would not have many
sheep to drive in the morning. I came to the little water
hole about mid-day. It was very dry and hot. I drove
my flock up to the hole, which was about large enough
for one sheep to get his nose into. They would look at
the hole, and then jumped over it, one after another,
until they had all passed over. I found it was no use
tying to get them to drink, for I was losing valuable time ;
and every one who knows anything about sheep knows
they are something as a woman is said to be, for when
she says she wont, she won't, and it is no use to coax her.
By keeping them on the move I finally arrived at the
camp just as the sun was setting, for which I felt grateful,
as a little previous to this a man was attacked by dogs in
the night. He had to climb a black boy stump, and sit
and see his flock killed to the last sheep without being
able to prevent it, being only too glad to think himself
out of their reach, although his perch was not a very
comfortable one.
A few days later Mr. Morris came down, and he was SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD. 75
not long in finding me. He wanted to know why I gave
that woman the flour. I told him, and he was satisfied ;
but the next-door neighbor would not be convinced.
The carpenter who was building the vessel upon which
we were working had run away from a British man-of-
war, on which he was carpenter. Previous to beginning
the vessel he had agreed to build a bridge for a Mr.
Moore across a river some twenty miles above Perth, the
capital of Western Australia, and eleven miles above the
seaport of Freemantle. When the carpenter contracted
to build this vessel he left the bridge unfinished, but his
peculiar way of doing business was not satisfactory, and
he was obliged to return and fulfil his contract. He
was a man with many peculiarities, and one of the
peculiar features about his personal appearance was a
large wart in the corner of his left eye. It was as large
as a marble, and he frequently complained about its preventing him from seeing clearly. I asked him why he
did not have it removed.
He replied that the doctors on board the man-of-
war said, if it was cut out, he would bleed to death; and
since he was not ready to die, he let it remain, although
it troubled him greatly.
I offered to remove it, and guaranteed that the operation would not hurt nor kill.
He said that if I would do so, he would give me two
sovereigns, to which I agreed.
One Sunday morning I informed him I was ready to
perform the operation. The men not being at work,
they gathered around to see the operation performed.
I wanted some fun with the fellow, and gave the boys
a hint. One man wanted to know if it would not be
well to strap him to the table, while another thought
they could hold him.
I told them it would not be necessary, but they might
lock the door and guard the windows and also the
chimney, if they thought there would be any danger. I
asked the victim if he would let them hold him. He
answered, "No," saying further, that if the operation
was going to kill him, he wanted one last chance to kick
before his life was snuffed out.
I reminded him that I had agreed not to hurt him, and
that I would not do so.
I had at home practised on my own warts. I thought
a successful operation of this magnitude in the colonies
might establish my reputation, and my fortune would be
certain. I could make brick, build houses and ships, but
there was no money in any of those trades for me. This
operation, however, bid fair to yield me more money
than I had seen for years. I called for a pair of scissors
and a silk thread. The contractor, seated before me,
began to look pale, and, as he used a deal of tobacoo, I
told him a good smoke would quiet his nerves.
He consented, and the way he blew out the smoke one
might think it was to be his.last indulgence. Finally,
laying aside his pipe, he announced that he was ready.
I simply tied the thread around the wart, drew the
ends tight and cut them off, leaving half an inch hanging
down on his cheek, and told him that he would have to
wait a few hours before the operation would be complete.
The wart soon began to turn black and in three hours it
was jet black.
My patient began to be uneasy for fear his head might
turn black and drop off. He hastened to a little glass
that hung against the wall and began to pick at the ends
of the thread that hung down, and the wart dropped into
his hand. He came to me at once with joy in his eye,
and upon examination there was scarcely a mark where
the wart had been. I told him that he would have no
further trouble with it. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
He was very profuse with his thanks, and promised to
pay me soon, saying that he was rather short just then.
His stock of promises held out well; and when he
found how easy he had been rid of his pet wart, he
thought he might pay for the operation in the same easy
way, which he did.
Finally, his stock of promises gave out and left nothing
to pin my hopes on, and to my disgust they also gave
out. Thus my hope of establishing a new profession
began in smoke and ended in misty promises. He might,
I thought, have written to the queen what a wonderful
operation had been performed by a young American who
was travelling through her Majesty's domain in the
southern hemisphere for health and pleasure, and who
had by chance stopped at that town and volunteered
without charge to relieve one of her loyal subjects of a
troublesome and extraneous growth, and had performed
an operation that the skilled surgeons on her Majesty's
ships dared not attempt. I thought possibly that after reading such a token of regard for me from one of her subjects, if she did not send me a pension for life, she might
at least transport me from that place, since I could.see
no future operations whereby I could realize sufficient
cash to take me out of the country. Such a letter might
give me some little notoriety, especially in that country
where so many wealthy men had preceded me, not only
for their own health, but for the good of their mother
country. Anything would be accepted with thanks at
that time ; but alas ! the patient forgot that he ever had
a wart.
We had the vessel ready to plank, when the carpenter
received a letter to come up at once and finish the bridge.
He was threatened with suit at once if he did not come
and fulfil his contract. To leave then would place Mr.
Morris  in  a tight place, but there was no  other way. 78
The tWo owners, the carpenters, and two other men went
to finish the bridge, a task which would take them about
four weeks. They had been gone only about a week,
when one evening I overheard the men who were left
behind, some eight or ten, plotting to finish the vessel
themselves. They had received no money for their
work, since money was one of the exceptions at that
place, and they could claim the whole contract money for
what they had done. I knew poor old Morris had
everything at stake in the vessel; and he having always
treated me well, although unable to pay me money, I
could not consent to see him wronged.
The next morning I took a lunch and started for Mr.
Moore's, nearly seventy miles away. After two days of
forced travelling I reached my employers and laid before
them what was going on at the vessel.
Mr. Wested went down at once and put an end to
their plotting. I then remained and helped finish the
bridge. It was at this time that I first began to feel,
homesick; the nature of the work was the direct cause of
my homesickness. We had to put together two piles
with a cap secured to the top, then with a flat boat, with
a derrick in the centre, get the " bents" into the right
position. With a wooden monkey— a log of wood about
twelve inches through and three feet long, with a rope
tied to one end, and driven through a block at the top of
the derrick — we did our pile driving. We would hoist
the monkey by the rope, then let it drop: if it hit the
mark, the pile went down a little; and if it did not hit,
why the monkey went farther down than the pile did.
After a week of hitting and 'missing, we got four bents
driven into the mud so that they would stand without a
a rope to hold them up, which was a very poor result
for our labor. Pulling that monkey up was what made
me homesick, since it reminded=me of Boston, where I SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
first saw pile driving. So forcibly was I reminded
of home by that experience that I could not keep home
out of mind day or night thereafter.
We got the bridge finished without serious mishap,
though we thought one night we were attacked by
savages. We slept in one field bed; that is, we slept
on the ground, in an old deserted cabin with many big
cracks open, and no door to close, and with only a few
logs overhead. In the middle of the night, when all
were soundly sleeping, we were rudely awakened by a
monster of some sort falling on us. There appeared to
be arms or claws scooping us all in, and each thought
he was the particular victim. On our feet, we saw the
object that had aroused us from slumber dart away. It
was the Australian iguana, a creature much like a lizard.
It has a body about twenty inches long and a tail about
three feet long ; the body of a full-grown one measuring
about five inches across the back, and the legs are about
twelve inches long. They are very strong, and that one
particularly was very lively, at least while struggling
about among our blankets. The natives spear them arid
use them for food.
After getting the bridge so that a man could pass over it
in safety, we returned to Murray River, but I did not get
over my homesickness and longing to leave the country.
I found plenty of work but no money, although I got
along pretty well without the latter. Provisions were
cheap and plenty, such as they were, and good enough,
although of the simplest kind, but I was anxious to get
where I could handle a little money.
Our blacksmith leaving about this time, Itold the boss
that I could do the work, so he set me to making bolts.
I served a brief apprenticeship, with credit to myself and
possibly honor to the trade. That trade, however, like
all the many trades which I had mastered, had no money PS"
in it. All the money I had received since I had left
home was about twenty dollars during about five years
of work.
Still I thought, if I learned all the trades, I might yet
see the day and place where I could earn a few dollars
by my knowledge of so many trades. In addition to the
four sovereigns received, I had also a promise of two
pounds of butter.
About this time a vessel called the " Falco," of Lynn,
Mass., Capt. Mosely, came into Swan River. She was
on a trading voyage around the world, and was loaded
with all the Yankee notions, from a clock to a canoe. On
board was a man named Williams, who appeared to be
the supercargo. He was also an American consul,
going somewhere to represent Uncle Sam, I never
learned just where, and I don't think he knew himself; he
intended probably to locate where he found the most
money, since he concluded not to stop long at Swan
River. I thought, as he was an American consul, he would
be obliged to look after the interests of Americans in
foreign countries, especially those who were cast away
on a foreign shore; and wasn't I a cast-away sailor and
an American ? To be sure, I was cast away in the " North
America " at the Lashanault. Armed with these facts, I
hurried to town and to the hotel where the consul was
staying. Being ushered into his presence, I found him
in all his regalia, even to the cocked hat. I stated my
case, and he appeared to appreciate my remarks, and said
he only felt too happy to be able to extend a helping
hand to a poor fellow-countryman, and I considered it a
godsend that his arrival was so opportune. It was understood that I should depart with him.
Before entering upon a new chapter of my adventures,
and ere I leave this land of milk and honey, I would
devote a few descriptive words to the natives and to
their customs and habits. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
The natives of Australia resemble Kaffirs of the Cape
of Good Hope and the natives of India more than any
other peoples I have seen. About medium height, they
are well proportioned and have invariably double teeth
all around on both jaws, in which they appeared to be especially favored, since they have to eat very tough, half-
cooked, and sometimes raw food. They wear little or
nothing in the warm weather; but in winter, which is the
rainy season, both male arid female, when it is chilly,
wear what is called a booker. The booker is a kangaroo-
skin, with two corners tied together, drawn over the head.
This falls over the shoulders and down about to the
When it is very chilly they take what they call morigit,
which is much like a knot; they then build a fire with a
lot of these knots. They place these knots in the form
of a star with many points, and light the fire in the centre. The knots burn very slowly and last for many
hours. The natives will start one of these fires before
going on a journey ; then when ready to start they take
one of the brands, which has had time to become thoroughly lighted, by the outer end, which is scarcely
warm,, and hold it with both hands under their skin
robes and in front of them; the heat from the brand
keeps them warm. These brands will last hours before
they are consumed.
If the natives are on a very long journey and the
brand should burn out before they get to its end, if they
have further need of it, they stop where they can get
two dry sticks, usually preferring the spindle that grows
at the top of the black boy. It is about the size of a man's
thumb, and has a dry pith in the centre. They take two
pieces of this, making a notch in one and a point on the
other, then put the pointed end into the notch, using
a flint knife with which to do their whittling.    One is 82
placed on the ground, the other upright. They grasp the
upright stick, a foot perhaps in length, with both hands,
and rub back and forth, their hands naturally working
downward. When near the bottom they let go and grasp
the top again, and so quickly the stick does not have time
to fall. In this way a dust is produced at the bottom, and
fire immediately follows. It takes about a minute to start
a fire, and then their knot is soon aglow again.
The weapons used by the Australians in war or in the
chase are the glass knife or flint, the stone hatchet, the
spear, the shield, and that wonderful weapon the boomerang.
The knife is composed of a stick about ten inches
long and an inch thick, with a bit of glass or flint stuck
into one side near the end, which is held on with black
boy gum. The stone hatchet has a handle similar to the
knife, with a piece of flint stone about two inches wide
and one and a half long, shaped like a flint and stuck to
the handle with gum like the knife. The other end of
the hatchet handle is pointed. The spear is made of
wattle, a little sapling common to the country. The
early settlers built their houses of it, by winding strips
of wattle between posts and then plastering them with
mud, which was called wattling and daubing. The
natives cut the wattles with their hatchets, and then cut
them into lengths of about six feet and scrape off the
bark. Then they sit down, and throwing their left foot
high upon their right thigh, with the bottom of the foot
turned up, place the but-end of the stick on the ball of
the heel, with the other end extending out before them,
and scrape the spear down to a point. . They always draw
the knife toward them, using their heel as a bench for all
work where a rest or support is required. The spear,
when pointed, is reversed and placed between the toes
of the right foot; they then dig a small hole in the small SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
Australian Chief in the Attitude taken when Throwing the Spear. UJJJJLWJi
end of the spear. If it is to be a battle spear, they attach glass or flint near the point with gum. This makes
it a formidable weapon. The shield is a flat piece of wood
about two feet long and four in width, three eighths of an
inch thick in the middle, with thin edges, and it also tapers
toward the ends, where it is about one half an inch thick.
On one end is a knob about the size of a walnut, and on
the other a little peg. When they throw the spear from the
shield, they slip the small end of the spear on to the peg,
then grasp the knob end between the fore and middle
fingers of the right hand, holding the spear between the
thumb and forefinger. They advance their left foot and
turn their left side to whatever they wish to spear, raise
the left arm bent inward a little above the shoulder.
The right arm is extended at length, while the spear
rests on the left near the elbow. When they throw, they
sweep the right hand nearly over the head, releasing the
spear from between the thumb and forefinger. The
spear will rise and keep a level until the peg is thrown
out of the little, hole, when it speeds on its mission of
death, which is certain at a distance of two hundred and
fifty feet and sometimes much farther. One can readily
see what an impetus is derived from leverage and so
much strength of arm and body, for they turn their body
partly round as they raise their arm, so that when the
spear leaves their hand they face the enemy or game.
For small game they throw with the hand only.
The boomerang they make of the limbs of trees,
reducing them in size. The natives find a limb that is
.bent into an elbow, and cut off the ends, leaving about
six inches each way from the elbow. Then it is scraped
down to about three eighths of an inch, the ends tapered
slightly and the edges quite thin. In shaping it they
make one side concave and the other convex. They
throw it with great force, so that it will wind itself high SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
Native of Australia Climbing up a Tree by the Bark. 86
up into the air and keep spinning around until it strikes
the ground quite near the man who throws it. I have
seen them thrown around a tree before they returned to
the ground again. The natives will throw them to the
ground, and the weapon will rise like a bird and sail away;
and they can throw them quite straight, if they desire to
do so.
The boomerang has been called a wonderful and mysterious weapon, but there is nothing wonderful or mysterious about it. A child of five years could make one of
a piece of pasteboard in a few minutes that would perform all the tricks the Australian boomerangs will, but
without the latter's force.
The natives climb trees after small game very readily.
No matter how large, how tall, or how straight the tree,
they will go to its top in a very short time. With their
stone hatchet they bruise the bark and* make notches as
high as they can reach. Then they stick the pointed end
of the hammer handle into the upper notch and their
great toe into the lower, and, with the fingers of the left
hand in another notch, pull themselves up so that they
can reach still another with the big toe of their other foot.
They hold on with their left hand while they make more
notches with their right. In this manner they will walk
up the bark of a tree a hundred feet, if need be, to get
the game, which is oftentimes well out on a limb and perhaps in a hole. If the latter is the case, when they reach
the limb they will manage to crawl out upon it until
they get to the hole, then cut the game out with their
stone hatchet, kill it, and throw it down, then retrace their
steps.    They seldom or never fall.
The young natives get together and, with reeds for
spears, have sham battles. In this manner they not only
learn to throw the spear, but to dodge it, which they do
very cleverly.    The little ones will play with the boome- SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
rang, so that when grown up they have become experts
in all their modes of warfare and hunting.
Seeing two natives Once quarrelling, and always being
interested in anything which showed their peculiarities,
I was curious to know how they would settle their
troubles. I watched to see the result. They stood about
twenty feet apart with their spears shipped on their
shields, and arms thrown back, watching a chance to
throw, at the same time going around in a circle, and
keeping up a terrible wrangle in their own language.
After ten minutes of this performance, one of them
darted his spear at the other's legs; he dodged the shaft
and caught it before it got past, and broke it across his
knee. It is quite common for them to carry, two or three
spears when they are travelling about. The one who
threw the spear had another in position, and was on
guard before the other had time to recover after breaking the spear. Finally, after much parading and scolding, they appeared to make a truce, and one approached
the other until within six feet, then threw his spear so
that it just touched the other's leg without piercing the
skin. They did this because I was looking on, and they
may have put off the settlement of their trouble for that
Sometimes a number of the natives will go out and
capture a number of kangaroo, which will last them for
some days. When they find a herd of kangaroo feeding, they set the dry grass on fire in a circle around
them, leaving an opening through which the animals
must pass or perish. Then they station themselves on
each side of the gap, and spear the game as it passes
out. They seldom miss their mark, no matter how fast
the game may be running. I paced the leap of what is
called the flying doe; it was on a slight incline, and
measured a little less than thirty feet. It takes an unusually good dog to catch one. 88
When the natives kill small game, they build a fire,
roast the animal, and eat it on the spot. When they
have an abundance, they will eat enough at one sitting to
last them a week. I have known them to eat so much
that they could not walk until some of their companions
took them and rolled them on the ground and limbered
them up a little.
I cannot recall the manner in which they eat without
disgust; and yet, to give a correct idea of how low mankind can descend, I must state the facts as they are, and
put aside all my own thought. They kill the game,
then build a fire, and the animal, if a small one, like the
rabbit, is thrown on to the coals. After it has roasted
awhile they will remove it, pull off a leg, and throw the
larger part upon the coals again. They give the leg a
snap with their fingers to knock off the ashes, then it is
devoured. By that time another leg is ready to be served
-by the same means, and so on until the creature is all
devoured. It has been said that all savage races begin
to eat, like animals, on the entrails first; such is not
always the case, as I have seen them eat as often one
way as the other. There is a large variety of small animals and reptiles, such as frogs, snakes, grubs, snails,
and many others, that they use as food.
There is a very delicate little creature, a treat indeed
for the whites as well, when they can get them, which
is called gonack. It is a perfect little lobster, about four
inches long, with a big claw which is much larger than
the body. The natives dig them out of the mud in
swampy places. There is also what the natives call
mungite, the whites call it honeysuckle; it grows on a
tree called the she-oak, which is used quite commonly for
firewood. The mungite is, so to speak, the fruit and
blossom. They are about the size of an ear of corn,
with a yellow blossom putting out all over it, and appear SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
something like a round brush at some seasons of the year.
These blossoms are filled with honey. The natives pluck
them and suck the honey. Every year they dry up and
fall off, and soon become hard. They are then used by
the natives to make fires, and also as fagots to keep them
warm when on their travels, as previously stated.
The natives have a method of talking long distances.
They will talk so as to be. understood as far as the voice
can be heard. If they wish to say "you go," — which
in their language is, "yo ne watoo," — they will halloo
the "yo" and keep up that sound for half a minute, then
the sound " ne" the same length of time, and then the " wa "
pronounced very broad, and at the end comes the rest of
the word, " too" They bring the last part of the sound out
with a deep guttural sound. This manner of talking at
a long distance is so well understood that they know
the meaning of every sound, no matter how far away, if
the least sound of the voice can be heard.
The natives work for the whites, bring wood and water,
and take whatever the whites may give them for food.
Sometimes it is flour, to mix and bake in ashes. They
mix this flour on a piece of bark. Sitting down with the
bark between their legs, they fill the mouth with water
and let it run on to the flour while they mix it with both
They are seldom sick, and it is a rare case if one of
them dies of anything other than old age. To bury their
dead they dig a hole some three feet deep, and then put
the corpse in the hole in a sitting position, cover it up,
and build a fire on the grave. They cut notches in the
trees around the grave, and by the notches every native
can tell who lies there. If it be a man of note among
them, he will have marks or ridges across the abdomen.
All important natives have these marks, which are made
by  cutting  the  skin  with   glass   or   some   poisonous -SJfc g^TSSS!^TgT!BM>*,w*"^'^P^B»wWJ'JJ»J!J<tluJJBMWIMIiMi
article, which, after healing, leaves a scar which rises
up from a quarter to half an inch. These scars extend
from side to side. When one of these favored ones
performs anything out of common, he adds a scar as a
token of honor. I have seen some of them where the
scars covered the width of ten inches and were close together, something like the humpback whale, except that
on a whale they run lengthways, while on the natives
they run across. The marks at the grave denote the
rank or title.
The men do not mourn for the dead, but the women'
do.    They sit down and keep up a half-whine and half-
cry, at the same time they scratch their faces with their
nails.    They will continue this way for hours, until their
cheeks are terribly cut and covered by blood.
What their religion was before the whites came I cannot say; but at this period they believed that a native,
when he died, came up a white man, and would say that
man was once his brother, but had gone away and came
back a white man. The natives have been called the
lowest in the human scale, but I do not deem them so.
They have been called cannibals, but facts do not lead
me to believe it.
In the early colonial days the English crowded and
imposed upon the natives as we have the Indians in this
country, and of course they retaliated, which was natural
and to be expected. But in cases of this kind " might
makes right," so the aborigines were driven to the wall.
These natives fought the English, who used muskets,
with spears. The natives whipped the soldiers in a fair
fight. It was at Penjarah, about ten miles inland on the
Murray River. Soon after the soldiers received orders to
turn out and shoot every male, no matter where found,
and they obeyed orders. One old native was partly concealed in a bunch of bushes, and as the soldiers came up SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
he stretched his head out and cried, "Me womanny!
womanny! " but the soldiers knew by his head of hair of
what sex he was, and soon spattered the bushes with his
brains. The natives, after that, concluded to submit to
the inevitable, and they now remain a downtrodden race.
No pen can describe the native costume nor do the
subject justice. One article of dress beside the fur cloak,
which is only worn in cool weather, is made of opossum
fur twisted into a string many feet in length, that is
wound around their loins until it makes a roll the size of
a man's arm. This serves as a place to put their hatchet
and knife and sometimes the legs of small game, if more
than they can eat is killed while on the chase. They
have another string made of the same material, but not
so long, used in dressing the hair. TJie hair of the chief
is quite long. They brush the hair up all around, and
grasp it at the top of the head, and then wind this string
around it as a woman will when she wants to do her hair
in a coil. They will wind up about two inches and fasten
the end, then insert different colored feathers all around
where they wind it. They are then fully dressed. About
once a week they remove the strings and take a bath.
They use a clay, which when burnt is red. They mix it
with opossum fat, and sometimes spend an hour in greasing themselves from the - feet to the top of the head.
Their hair will be so full of the fat that it will run down
over their bodies. After rubbing the body with fat they.
wind the string around their bodies again ; their head is
dressed as before described, and they are once more in
full attire, ready for a dance or a reception. They quite
often gather together for what they call a carabbray,
which is similar to the powwow of our own Indian
natives. They are singularly painted and in different
They catch parrots alive by taking  a bough  thickly ssa
foliaged, and watch the water holes where the birds go to
drink. When a bird comes down to the water they
squat, with the bush in front, and creep carefully along,
hiding behind the bush, until they can reach the bird.
Then, with a quick movement, they catch it before it is
aware of its danger.
They seldom lay up anything for the morrow. They
have no frugal traits. All they care for is sufficient for
the present day. I have known the carcass of a whale
to float ashore, which would attract the natives for many
miles around; and they would camp near by and live on
the flesh until the bones were stripped clean.
As regards the animals, fowls, etc., used by them as
food, they have been described by others. All animals
and birds and vegetation, and in fact about everything connected with the country, with but very few exceptions, differs enough from all other products in other countries to
warrant the opinion that Australia was once a satellite to
this earth, in common with the moon, and has come to
us in a manner described elsewhere. I do not believe,
however, that the present natives came with it. Undoubtedly, another people were the first inhabitants of
the island, perhaps Chinese, who have long since left it for
other lands, and the present natives came from the continent on flats, or logs, or, as .called in South America,
on catamarans.
Bald heads, white or gray heads, are unknown among
the natives. They wear no covering on the head. The
hair of the women hangs down in ringlets to their shoulders. Some of them would be quite pretty if they were
clean and were dressed in European style; but in their
native costume, garnished with plenty of mother earth and
opossum fat, they are more objects of disgust than admiration.
The narrative of life in Western Australia would be SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
incomplete without mentioning a sad circumstance which
happened a short time previous to my arrival in the
country, which is not without interest, showing, as it does,
how much like civilized people savages can be, and also
that humanity is actuated by the same impulses, whether
cultured or uncultured. A native chief abducted a beautiful young lady named Drummond from her father's
home near Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
When the abduction became known, the whites got quite
a number of the settlers together and went in pursuit.
They were prepared for a long chase. They got the
trail and made a long tramp through a wild country,
some parts of which were very much tangled with a wild
vine called scrub, which is woven together so firmly that
one can sometimes walk for half a mile on the top of the
mass without seeing the ground in that distance. There
were also open forests with luxuriant fields of grass, with
trees thinly scattered around, such as form the sheep and
cattle ranches in that country. They came in sight of
the captors in their temporary camp, in one of those open
places in the forest.
The captors had camped so that they could see the
approach of any one who might be in pursuit, in time
either to defend themselves or make their escape. The
chief saw that he could not escape, since the girl would
not run, and they could not carry her and "get over the
ground fast enough to escape capture.
When the whites, the girl's father being among them,
got within three hundred yards, the natives halted and
the chief at once shipped his spear to the shield and
stepped back a few paces from the girl, placed himself in
the proper attitude to throw the spear, and shouted to
the guide, a native whom the rescuing party had taken
along, that if they advanced one step nearer he would
put his spear through the girl's body.    At that the pur- 94 THE  ADVENTURES   OF  A
suers halted. The father could not see his child mur-'
dered before his eyes, and was obliged to allow the natives
to run away. The party had nothing but old English flintlock muskets. They found it was useless to try to run
them down, so returned to devise other methods. After*
many failures in trying to trap the natives, or secure the
girl who was closely guarded among the deep forests
and jungles, and after many months of fruitless search, a
tree was discovered that had rudely outlined ships on the
bark. No white man had been in that section of the
country to make those marks, and they knew they were
made by a white person, and who else could it have been
but the white girl captive ? On this supposition they
formulated a plan which nearly proved successful for the
girl's rescue. A reward was offered of one thousand
pounds, quite a fortune in the colonies at that time. The
authorities had a lot of cheap handkerchiefs made, with
printed instructions on them directing the girl how to
proceed and where to go in case she saw the handkerchiefs. These were given to the natives of different
tribes. Natives call writing on paper, paper talk. They
were frequently sent with letters to different parties by
the settlers, and so knew that there was some talk on the
paper; but they knew nothing of printed letters, therefore they suspected nothing wrong with the handkerchiefs. The girl was told to go to a certain place in the
forest, and if she succeeded in getting there without being
suspected by her captors, she was to make a smoke by
building a fire. The whites placed themselves at different places of observation, where they could scan a large
scope of the country, and waited and watched. Finally
one day they were rewarded, for their long and patient
watching, by seeing curling smoke rising slowly up
among the trees. The volume of smoke increased in
size until quite a cloud was floating over the forest, while SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
below, no doubt, the maiden stood silent and alone,
straining her eyes to their utmost to catch a glimpse of
her rescuers. Presently moving objects appear on a hill
beyond a valley. "They draw nearer. She knows that it
is her rescuers, that her signal has been seen. Home
and dear ones rise before her eyes ; she stretches her
hands to grasp them, but alas! she seizes but a phantom
in her despair. A quick, cat-like step from behind, and
she turns to be clasped in the brawny arms of her captors. She was again borne away into the trackless
forest by the savages who had missed her. They saw
the smoke, and their experienced eyes told them it was a
signal of some kind. They hurried to the spot, and
when her would-be rescuers arrived all that remained to
reward them for their long and vigilant watch was a few
smouldering brands.
The party returned with the sad news to the brokenhearted parents of the unfortunate girl, who was believed
to have spent her life with her captors, and may yet be
alive at the present time. It was some sixty years ago,
but she was then young, and the manner in which the
natives live prolongs life. The last heard of the Drum-
mond girl was that she had borne two children to her
captor chief.
Good health is a native characteristic, for I never saw
a native sick or ill otherwise than by accident. Some
old fellows whom I met must have been one hundred
and fifty years old, if we can compare our old people with
theirs. Should you ask one of their old men how old he
is, he will raise both hands and say, " Tatlum" and lower
them, and he will continue to raise and lower his hands,
and repeat this word for half a day if you will listen to him.
They mean they have lived so many moons. Generally
the virtue of tribes of natives — and I have seen a good
many native tribes — is sterling in every respect, until the 96
advance guard of civilization appears, when they soon
learn all the vices that civilization carries.
1 By some it has been thought that the sun, being so
powerful and hot, sets dry grass on fire, but this is not true.
The natives make a fire whenever they have game to
roast, and they do not care whether it spreads or not.
They prefer that it would, because it drives the game out
so it can be seen better; especialy is this true of small
game. It also compels the kangaroo to seek small
patches that are not burnt over, where they will be sure
to find them. These frequent fires have sometimes led to
the idea of spontaneous combustion.
It has often been said that kangaroos burrow, but this
is not true. Knowing their habits, I should as soon think
of seeing sheep burrow as kangaroos. They may have
gotten into that habit since I left the country. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
At last the day arrived for the " Falco" to leave port,
and for me to leave the country where I had spent so many
days mingled with joys, regrets, and occasionally disgust.
I bade my companions adieu. My dear friend S. wrung
my hand with a " God speed you," and directed me where
to find him if I should ever reach London.
I started for Freemantle, where I soon arrived and
went aboard the " Falco." It was quite a contrast to
see the American consul and the governor together.
The consul wore his uniform complete, — cocked hat with
tassels, and coat and pants trimmed with gold-lace,— while
the governor wore the dress of fashion at that time, — a
red shirt, with black patent leather belt around the waist,
looking like a fireman when on parade.
Perhaps" the consul wished to impress on the governor
the greatness of the country to which he belonged. I
felt proud to acknowledge him as a fellow-countryman;
while looking at him seemed to elevate me to his lofty
height.    The governor smiled on us as we stepped into 98 THE  ADVENTURES   OF  A
the boat, and the words "bye-bye, governor," forced
themselves unbidden to my lips, while they faded away
in the distance as the sailors pulled rapidly to the brig,
which was to carry me I knew not where, nor did I care
much so that I was again on the ocean, with the star-spangled banner waving over me. The vessel was soon under
way and rapidly sailing out of the harbor. I gave one
last look toward the fast-receding shore. My thoughts
were mingled with pleasure and regrets, —with pleasure to
know I was leaving the country, and regret to think what
might be the fate of those left behind who might not be
so fortunate in getting away. The country was not then
what it is now. I do not know of a country where I
would sooner spend my remaining days than in any part
of Australia, where I have been, and I have lived in many
places on the coast from New Castle to Freemantle.
From the fading shore I turned my eyes seaward, and
was soon lost in speculation as to the future.
I was not long at sea before renewing my acquaintance
with my old and tried friends, lobscouse and hard-tack;
and for meat I found the same old horse in the traces and
doing good service, and likely to survive very many
We soon made another port. The I Falco " was on a
trading voyage around the world, and, as a matter of
business, called at small as at larger ports to dispose of
her Yankee notions. This port, King George's Sound,
is one of the prettiest little harbors in the world. The
passage in is about one hundred yards wide, while inside
one hundred line-of-battle ships could ride quietly at
anchor, whatever the weather outside.
The town consisted of about ten huts, inhabited by a
company of soldiers and a few natives. The supercargo
did not sell much there, since the soldiers were supplied
by the government.    The natives were also well supplied SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
with home products. An American whaler lay in the
harbor when we arrived, the " Hope," commanded by
Capt. Wilcox. I had learned soon after boarding the
" Falco" that trading was not her only business. It was
said by some of her crew that she had a number of big
guns in her hold, as well as a few cases of muskets,
pikes, etc. I noted a number of small boats stowed
between decks; all of which made me think, perhaps I
had jumped from the frying pan into the fire, which
caused me to cast a wistful eye at the whaler. I
managed to see Capt. Wilcox, and told him I would
like to ship with him if he was going home soon. He
said that after one more cruise of four months he would
start for home, and he would ship me if I wanted to go.
I told the consul on board of the " Falco " that I had
a chance to go home on the whaler.
"Well," said he, "go if you want to."
The mate came to me to persuade me to remain. He
said I would do much better with them, and hinted a
deal; but I would not be persuaded. I had seen enough
to cause me to suspect the craft.
I went on board the whaler, and little anticipated
under what circumstances I should meet the consul a
year later.
On the whaler I found the same lay-out at the mess
table, and very soon became acquainted with my new
shipmates. We made the cruise of four months, but
captured no whales. Then the captain run the ship into
what is called the Great Australian Bite, and anchored
near shore, where he intended to lay a few months and
bag whales; that is to say, lay at anchor and send the
boats on shore, land the men and have them climb to
the elevated points and look out for whales. When they
saw one they would give chase with the boats and
capture him if they could, tow him to the ship and " cut IOO
him in." Both right and humpback whales go in near
the shore at certain seasons of the year, but sperm whales
seldom do.
I saw my show for getting home was deferred indefinitely. Perhaps I had better have stayed on the brig. In
the course of a week or two we heard that there was an
English brig anchored in a bay one hundred miles farther
up the coast; she was a whaler from Hobartstown, Van
Dieman's Land. To go to her by water was some hundred and fifty miles, but across country one hundred
miles. I concluded to run away and strike across the
country and reach that vessel if I cpuld. I knew that it
was quite an undertaking, since it was a wild and trackless country, and no water to be had the entire distance.
Australia is a very dry country as a general rule, especially in the summer time. By getting to Hobartstown
I believed it possible to have a better chance to ship
direct home. As desperate as were the chances, I considered myself equal to the task.
One morning I filled my bag, which held about four
pounds of beef and hard bread, and flattened it well so
that I could carry it under my frock secured to a belt.
The boat went ashore ; and I, with a week's supply of hardtack, went with it. It was customary to leave a man in
the boat to keep her off a little from the rough shore,
and to haul her quickly in when the whales are in sight.
I readily undertook the task of watching the boat that
morning. The crew soon clambered up over the rocks
and out of my sight. In five minutes I was going the
other way on the run. A quarter of a mile away the
land began to rise, and continued to rise for another
quarter of a mile, so that the top of the hill, was about
five hundred feet above the boat. When I began the up
grade, I looked back and could plainly see the crew on
the lookout on^a prominence half a mile away.    A low SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
shrubbery grew on the slope of the hill, which would
partly conceal me when on my hands and knees. When
there was danger of being seen, I went on all fours to the
top. The sun was uncomfortable, but I made the trip in
safety and passed out of sight of my late companions,
over the brow of the hill. I travelled around the bay,
which was quite large, and reached the place where I
wished to enter the forest about sundown. I had
travelled about twenty miles that day, and was five miles
in a straight line from the place from which I started in
the morning. I camped in the edge of the woods for
the night, but made no fire. At daylight I lunched and
shaped my course by the sun and struck a "bee line"
for the bay, one hundred miles away. I pushed on at a
good pace until towards sundown; then cut a few boughs
and built a fire, took a lunch, and a long smoke, finally
retiring on a bed of leaves for the night. I rested
quietly and awoke much refreshed at daylight. M Pushing
on again that day until about two in the afternoon, I came
in sight of a considerable opening in the forest, where a
fire had burnt over the ground, leaving many black
stumps and partly burnt brush.
I thought I saw a number of natives with their spears
shipped to their shields, deliberately waiting for me.
Not knowing whether I was pursued or not, every little
noise startled me, and an old stump or crooked limb
would assume any shape that my imagination shaped for
it, from nude savages to many species of animals. I
fancied I saw everything amongst that burnt timber that
I did not wish to meet.
The only weapon which I possessed was a sheath knife.
I drew that and ran my thumb down the edge, and I found
that it would do at close range, although the chances
were against my getting near enough to use the knife
.before I had been hit with the spears.    It would not do 102
to tarry, so I started on, knife in hand, fuify determined to
sell my life dearly if clanger overtook me. I found the
nearer I approached, the less warlike things appeared.
The hosts soon vanished, and nothing remained but black
stumps and charred branches which had fallen from trees.
My imagination had evolved creatures that did not exist.
The supposed danger past, I pushed forward again, half
wishing that there had been just one savage, to relieve
me of the monotony of the journey.
I camped at sundown by the side of an old log. I
thought it quite safe to camp without much shelter, since
I was now too far from the anchorage to think of hiding.
By this time I keenly felt the want of water, but I would
not allow my mind to dwell upon the subject. I ate my
lunch, and after taking my regular smoke retired to rest
and dreamed of water afar off. Up betimes I was early
on the march, believing that the day's tramp would end
the journey, and I was not mistaken in my judgment.
About four in the afternoon I went over a little rolling
hill which I began to descend gradually, and after going
a half-mile I saw a beacon light ahead. It was the gleam
of the ocean through the trees. Another half-mile
brought me in full view of the bay I was searching for.
A little farther on lay the vessel that I expected to find.
A surveyor could not have drawn a line any straighter
from shore to shore than I had taken during my journey;
while to end the journey happily, I reached the beach
just as the last man of a boat's crew stepped into the
boat, and I stepped in also. They were going aboard
after spending the day on land watching for whales.
I told them my story, and the first man I met when we
got on board the ship was an old friend whom I knew at
the Lashanault. He had got around to Hobartstown and
had shipped as cook on the brig. I considered it a happy
termination of my journey, and soon made myself at ease, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
although I found things somewhat different on this colonial ship. She carried plenty of soft white bread and
fresh meat, and canned fruits and vegetables. The ship had
been out only on a short trip, which made it unnecessary
to carry salt meats except in limited quantity. The crew
had taken no whales, but about a week after my advent
one was sighted. The captain finding me a good hand
at the oar, I was put into the mate's boat to pull the after
or stroke oar, a position I preferred because it was the farthest from the whale when the man forward fastened
to him. The whale almost invariably, when struck with
the harpoon, will strike back with his fins or big fan-like
tail. I found that this particular whale worked both ways.
The mate, a native of New Zealand, was a good sailor
and a good whaleman, but very excitable when on the
chase. We started out three boats. The mate's boat
got ahead of the others and we soon got fast. The
whale managed to strike both ends of the boat at once,
and knocked me out at the stern and the boat steerer at
the forward end at one blow. The boat moved forward a
little, and the mate in the stern grasped the man who was
thrown out forward as he was floating past. I, being
thrown out from the after end, went astern of the boat.
The black mate, after hauling his man in, held to his
whale. I was very soon left far behind. I looked to see
how far away the land was. The nearest point was fully
three miles ; but now the other boats hove in sight and
one was soon alongside. I was pulled in. The whale
ran toward the other boats, and as the mate was passing
them he sang out a man was overboard, and pointed
toward where I was. Had it not been for the other boats,
I should have bad a long swim to reach the land, or a
short dive to get to the bottom. We towed the whale
alongside and soon had it stripped, tried out, and stowed
in the hold.    After a week longer watching, seeing no ^—■Blli   I ^MBBMI
more whales, we sailed for Hobartstown, where all hands
were paid off.
I had six dollars to repay me for my ducking. Six
dollars would go a long way at that place in those days.
After a few days of sight-seeing, I wandered down to the
wharf, and discovered in a little coasting craft my old
friend Long Jim. He had arrived at that port some time
previous, and had managed to get money enough to buy
the little craft, of which he was not only owner, but captain and crew. He was engaged in bringing wood across
the harbor. He offered me a berth on board with him,
but I declined his kind offer, having loftier aspirations. I
.wanted to get into a large vessel that was soon going
home, or headed in that direction at least. Kicking
around a week, my money about all.gone, and no ship
likely to start soon for home, I sought something to do.
There, was little that I could do, since nearly all the work
.was done by ticket-of-leave men. Van Dieman's Land
was a convict colony, and these ticket-of-leave men were
such as had served for some time and through good behavior got out on a ticket. They could not leave the
country, but could work where they chose and have what
they earned for themselves. They reported at headquarters once in three months. They got about all the
work ashore.
I hunted for a vessel that belonged to the port, thinking that I would ship for a short time, until I could get a
voyage toward home. There were two vessels belonging to the government, — one a bark called the " Lady
Franklin " ; the other a brig called " Governor Phillips."
They were for carrying prisoners from Hobartstown to
the penal settlements along the coast, where they were
put at government work. There the convicts do all of
the government work on shore. Being told these vessels
frequently needed hands, I went on board of the " Gov1 SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD LAD.
ernor Phillips," and applied for a chance to go before the
mast. The captain looked me over a little, and said he
thought I would do, and shipped me at once at two pounds
a month. Things were in pretty good shape in that
vessel, with plenty of everything the market afforded.
The wages were small, but they were sure. The British
government was paymaster.
When a ship came in with convicts from England, we
would take the prisoners on board of the brig, some fifty
or more, and carry them to some penal station along the
coast. Sometimes we would have a load of young
women. When we had men, we always had a dozen
soldiers to guard them ; but the women, well, the sailors
could take care of them.
A few months before I joined the brig the prisoners
.captured her. Every day they allowed about ten of the
prisoners on deck out of the lock-up between decks.
They remained on deck about an hour, and then were
sent below, and others came up, and so on until all had
been aired. One day ten of the most desperate fellows
managed to get on deck together. Guards sometimes
get careless, and this particular guard was careless.
They sprang upon them and wrenched their muskets
from them. - Before the soldiers knew what was being
done, they found themselves disarmed. The prisoners
then made the relief, which was below, hand their muskets
up. But while this was going on the officers of the
vessel, taking in the situation, saw an opportunity to
secure two guns with which they covered two men. In
the excitement the soldiers secured more guns, and the
prisoners were soon in the prison again.
Things were so pleasant on the brig that I forgot about
home. We had an American colored cook, whose wife
lived in town. As we were out and in every two or
three days, the cook would "go on shore as soon as the MMJau
brig hauled up to the wharf. The steward found the
cook was stealing the ship's stores and taking them
to his wife, which he reported to the captain, and
he was discharged; and that fact made a difference to me,
for being the youngest one on board, I was installed as
cook. I found my work quite easy, and I had all night in.
When there were-soldiers on board, it made extra work
to do, and rather more cooking for the male prisoners.
The soldiers would often get up a litjtle extra mess, for
which they would pay me extra, and frequently in grog
when they had no cash. I did not use liquor, but knew
where to turn it into cash with a good profit. When the
prisoners were on deck for an airing, they would come to
the galley, and it was surprising how soon those fellows
would discover that I had a little something on tap. I
exchanged my whiskey for spot cash, at one shilling a
glass.    In this way I made considerable money.
When the vessel was in port I was sometimes alone
on her for several hours at a time. One day I saw a
young man on the dock. He beckoned to me to come
ashore, which I did. He came to me and wanted to
know if I was not an American. Telling him I was, he
said, pointing to an American whaler that had been in
port some three weeks, that he was an American also,
and wanted to sail in that vessel. The crew, he said, had
agreed to stow him away, and he wanted to go on board
that night, for in the morning a guard was to be placed
on board to remain until she sailed and was well down
the harbor. This guard was to prevent prisoners from
leaving the country. He said he could not go on any
of the boats belonging to the whaler, because the harbor
police overhauled all boats except the government boats.
He wanted me to take him in one of the government
boats that night. I asked him why he was afraid of being
Then he said he was a prisoner, and out on a ticket
of leave; that he was on a ship where the Crew mutinied.
The rest of the crew got seven years, but he being an
American, the queen sent him out during her pleasure.
Her pleasure might last his lifetime, for aught he knew.
I sympathized with the fellow, as he appeared to be
honest, and told him if he would come to the wharf precisely at eight o'clock, and say nothing while in the boat,
I would be there. I expected to be alone till nine
I had a boat ready to slip over the ship's side at the
first glimpse of the fellow. I saw him and reached the
dock just as he arrived. He stepped into the boat without a word, and I sculled for the whaleship, which we
reached in safety, and the fellow clambered over the
ship's side out of sight. I have no doubt but he got away.
On my return to the ship I saw-two police boats not far
off, but they did not hail me. Getting that fellow off
made me feel homesick, and I determined the next
American ship that came into that port that was homeward bound would take me in her.
About that time a man who was a shipowner began
to build a large ship. The keel, stern, and stern posts
were in position,—a fact which is mentioned because
that ship when finished had something to do with my
ge'tting home.
I was contented on the brig as long as my business was
brisk, and that was when we had male prisoners. When
we had female prisoners, work was dull and monotonous
and made me quite homesick. One day a Yankee
whaler dropped anchor near where we lay. I was not long
in getting on board, since I had plenty of leisure when
in port.
I found her to be the bark "Kingston," Fairhaven,
Capt. Ellis, master; first mate, Mr. Barker; and second, io8
Mr. Pearce. I was pleased with the appearance of things
the little time that I was on board. She was to lay in port
about three weeks, and then was to make one cruise of
four months, then steering for home. I thought that
would suit me. I frequently saw both men and officers
on shore, and finally I met the captain and made a bargain with him.
He wanted a carpenter; and on the strength of what I
had learned at shipbuilding on Murray River, I told him
I could suit him. I thought I had only to ask for my
discharge from the brig to get it at once, as we had to
ship a new crew about every trip on account of the sailors
leaving, while I had stuck to the ship through thick and
thin. So one day before the whaler was to sail I asked
my captain if he would give me my discharge.
" Why do you want to leave me?" said he.
I told him I wanted to go home, and that the whale-
ship was going home, and was to sail in about a week.
He said, if I would go one trip more, which would only
take about four days, I could have my discharge.
That was satisfactory, so I returned to my pots and kettles, singing my well-worn song : —
Will I ever get home, far over the sea, —
Will I ever get home to the land of the free,
To the home of my childhood, the land of my birth,
To the spot which to me is the best upon earth ?
I have been the world o'er, and trades have learned many,
But, alas ! in this country they're not worth a penny.
I'll forsake these wild shores, and cross the blue sea,
I'll steer my course homeward and happy will be,
And live among friends, the friends I once knew,
Then I'll forget my experience eating lobscouse stew !
We returned in due time, and I cleared everything up
in the galley, gave the pots an extra shine, and then went
aft.    The captain was in the cabin, and the mate aloft SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD
doing some work; the other hands, as usual, had left for
other pastures, fresh and green. I told the captain that
I wanted my discharge ; he looked up with a glitter in his
eyes and asked me what I wanted my discharge for. I
then repeated what I told him before, that I wanted to go
on the whaleship.
" You go forward at once ! " said he.
" But, Captain," said I, " you know you promised me
my discharge on our return, and I must have it."
I Well," said he, " I would much rather you would stay;
but if you are determined to go, I shall have to give you
your discharge."
He then called the mate down and told him to write
out my discharge, which he did. I went on shore at
once and to the harbor master's office to get my pay.
Several months later I met this captain again, when he
showed what regard he had for me.
I went at once on board my new ship, which was soon
under way sailing out of the harbor. I took, as I supposed, one last look at Tasmania's Head, and we passed
out to sea.
Tasmania's Head is a large cliff of rocks, which was
long ago broken from the mainland, leaving a passage
between the Head and the mainland of about one hundred yards, and so situated that the channel cannot be
seen until you get near it. Tasmania was the name of
the Dutch captain who first sighted the island, and that
point of rock being a prominent point at the mouth of
the harbor, he planted his flag on it, believing it to be
the mainland. Later on Van Dieman came along, and
exploring around the mouth of the harbor found that
bluff to be only an island, so he planted his flag on the
mainland and called it Van Dieman's Land.
On the " Kingston" I found we had a good ship, good
officers, and a good crew, all jolly good fellows well met. KSS222?
We cruised about on sperm whale grounds, seeing
plenty of whales, and caught one by running him down
in a fair race. I did not go in the boats much, since I was
the ship's carpenter, and was kept busy repairing stoven
boats. The boat steerers would manage to miss the
whale about every time they got up to it. They would
throw the harpoon either over or under him, but the
whale seldom missed his mark. Once I repaired one
boat three times before breakfast. Everything was
fitted at the home port, and I had only to remove the
broken parts and put in the new. The captain seldom
went in the boats, but one day we saw whales, and he
thought he would try his luck. He chose a crew from
the company. I was to pull the stroke oar, which I preferred, although experience taught me there was little
choice as to safety, for some whales attack both ends of
the boat. We started after the whale, but before we got
near enough to fasten, the leviathan saw us and swam
at a little faster gait. We pulled a little faster too, but
the whale managed to keep ahead about so far. If we
gained a little, the object of our pursuit would make a
spurt and double the distance between us. The captain
got tired of that and said, " Now, boys, let us run the
fellow down, or perish in the attempt."
We braced ouselves for the chase with all the strength
we could muster. The captain gave the word, and every
man bent his blade like a. rainbow. We soon began to
gain, and we kept a steady gain until we shot alongside,
and the boat steerer soon had two harpoons into him
clear to the hilt. The captain soon killed him, and we
had him alongside the vessel.
Here may be stated how a whale dies, and some other
things not generally known. Many believe that when a
whale spouts or blows, that they spout water. Such is
not the case.    It is their breath, the same as our breath SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD
is seen as a stream of mist on a cold day. The air is
colder than the water, hence the fog or steam that we
see when a whale blows. Sometimes they blow before
they get their spout holes quite above the water, and at
such times they blow up a little water. During a very
warm, still day you may see them raise their heads out of
the water and hear a loud puff like drawing a sponge from
a cannon, but there maybe no sign of mist whatever.
After a whale has been lanced and some vital spot has been
struck by the point of the lance, the whale will throw up
large quantities of blood when he spouts. Many times
I have been completely drenched with it. About half an
hour before a whale dies, he goes into what is called his
| flurry" : he will begin to go round in a circle, taking in
naif a mile ; he will thrash, kick, arid roll, leaving a boiling,
foaming wake behind. The boats must then keep at a
distance, or they would soon be knocked into splinters.
As the whale becomes weaker it goes slower, and when
the breath leaves the body invariably their eyes are toward the sun, possibly because the sun is the brightest
object to be seen, and they keep their eyes on it until
the last breath is drawn.
In the head of the sperm whale is what is called the
case and junk. The case is a large bag filled^ with oil
called spermaceti. The walls of this bag are composed
of a soft spongy blubber ; the junk is some five or six
feet thick. Sometimes I have run my arm into this blubber up to the shoulder, and in withdrawing it would
bring out a pint of oil. In saving this rich oil, we cut
off the whale's head, and, with large hooks, blocks, and
falls, hoist it to the level of the deck, then with a long-
handled spade we cut a hole through the flesh to the
case, then hoist it with a bucket and a rope run
through a block attached to the yard leading to the deck,
and tended by a man.    A pole is thrust into the bottom I 12
of the bucket and pushed down into the hole which
leads to the case, and the man at the end of the rope
pulls the bucket out full of oil, which is emptied into a
hogshead. This is continued until all the pure oil is out.
A long-handled spade is now run in and cut around
awhile, and the bucket is used again and again, until all
worth saving is obtained. The soft blubber which is cut
with the spade is also squeezed with the hands until the
oil is all out of it. This spermaceti will, before being
scalded, cool like lard, but will not become quite so firm.
The season was over on this ground, and only one
whale had been caught. Going home was out of question as yet. The captain had been to the Fiji Islands
the year before, and found sperm whales were plenty
around the islands, and had captured one which gave a
hundred barrels of oil. He thought he must try another
season there. We accordingly ran for the islands, where
we soon arrived and anchored at a place called Ovalau.
I was then in a different country, and they were a far
different people than those I left at Swan River.
Though these people and their island are quite fully
understood, yet some account of them by one who
lived among them fifty years ago may still be of interest
at the present day.
At that time but few missionaries had been stationed
there, yet there were but very few cases of cannibalism
to be heard of. There were a few cases in the isolated
parts.    Two authenticated cases I heard of.
The captain said when he was there the year before,
he was one day invited to dine with one of the chiefs,
and when they had all sat down to the spread on the
ground, they had roast pork, yam, and fruits in variety.
There was one particular dish that the captain did not
like the appearance of. He finally asked the chief what
it was.    He replied that it was buccolo.    The captain then SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
Native High Chief of the Fiji Islands. ii4
inquired what buccolo was. The chief gave him to understand that it was human flesh, and urged the captain
to partake, but he declined with thanks.
On another occasion the crew were on shore one Sun-
•day and there were many natives, both male and female,
scattered around among them. Presently a native, with
a wig on his head, and with what is called a pineapple club
in his hand, walked up behind a woman and drove the
point into the woman's skull. She fell dead, and the
fellow took her on his shoulder and carried her off. The
other natives said, " Turonger eat" which meant chief eat.
These were the only cases that ever came to my knowledge while among them during five months.
They have a bark which is very much like our wicopy
bark. They strip it off the trees, lay it on a smooth log,
and then pound it with a wooden mallet. In this manner
they expand it to a great width. The process is similar
to gold beating. A strip of two inches wide will be hammered out to two feet wide, and quite as thin as muslin.
This fabric they call tapper. They put the edges of a
number of strips together, and by that means make quite
a respectable carpet. In making very large articles of it,
they make it much thicker than for a headdress or a
wrap for body covering. They print some of it in this
way: They have the half of a log that would be twenty
inches in diameter with the bark scraped off clean; then
they take little reeds about the size of a lead pencil and
split them and wrap them over the log in different ways
and secure them. In this manner they form the designs
by cutting pieces and bending them in different ways.
They make a dye by some process and spread it over
their type; then spread the cloth to be printed over the
top. They then run a wooden roller over the cloth once
or twice, and the work is completed.
Every tribe has its chief and its captains, who have SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
Native Low'Chief of the Fiji Islands. n6
marks of distinction. The big chief, or turonger lib, as
they call him, allows his hair to grow very long. Their
hair curls, and in the lower class is quite kinky ; but the
nobility comb their hair with a strip of tortoise shell,
which is about three eighths of an inch wide and about
twelve inches long, and pointed at one end. This they
run through the hair, which makes it stand out in all
directions in the same manner as that of the Circassians.
The turonger lib, or big chief, will take two or three
yards of the thin tapper cloth and wind it lightly over his
already big head, and secure it by tucking it in under the
lower parts near the neck. This dressing gives his head
the appearance of being about the size of a four-bushel
basket. The turonger lili, who stands next in rank lower,
allows his hair to grow long like the big chief. Instead
of the tapper covering, he will have a strip about two
inches wide shaved to the scalp, from the forehead to the
back down to the neck, which leaves two bushy tufts of
hair standing out over each shoulder. The next in rank
has the big head of hair with about two thirds of it shaved
entirely off one side and over the poll some two inches ;
it makes him look lopsided. The chiefs sometimes wear
a wrap over their shoulders, but it is more common, for
them to wear simply a strip of tapper around their waist,
tied behind them, with the ends brought up between their
legs and tucked' under the belt in front and the ends allowed to hang down half-way to the knee. The chiefs
usually are very large men. One fellow whom I measured with my rule was seven feet in height, and weighed
from two to three hundred pounds.
All natives under these three chiefs are what are called
abetee, which means slaves. The chief can sell or eat
them, as suits his pleasure. One dollar was the market
price for male or female, fat or lean. The females appeared to have ideas of modesty and to have had some
regard for it long before the whites found them. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
There, is a little black root which they gather and work
into a belt. When done, with its appendant, it is wrapped
around the loins and secured behind. That is the covering they wear, and it appears to be a very ancient costume
with them.
The women sometimes get together and dance. They
have something like an inflated bladder, flattened somewhat, one in each hand. They form two lines near together, then sway backward and forward, singing, and at
the same time slapping the two bladder-like bags together in their hands. As to their chastity I have nothing to say. They do not, however, adhere strictly to
Some forty miles distant from the main group of the
Fiji Islands is an island called Tongaboo. The natives
on that island are quite civilized and much lighter in
color than the Fiji proper; and they appear to be a different people. Their hair is straight. About twenty of
their young converts came one day on a mission tour,
with them being their native missionary. They came on
board our ship. The young ladies were aged from sixteen to twenty; and they were all supposed to be virgins. They paraded along the deck,, and on removing
their head covering their hair was seen to be cut close to
the scalp, excepting one lock of about the size of one's
finger, which hung down on the right shoulder; this was
their only ornament. Notwithstanding they were well
civilized, yet they were unadorned, and a more perfect
illustration of the human form is seldom seen. They
were as comely in feature and figure as any people on
earth, and were quite as modest and well behaved. They
appeared to know no evil.   .
A root grows on the islands called carver, from which
they make a liquor. The natives gather in a circle
around the chief,- and all squat down.    The root is cut n8
into slices or chips, and the slaves put them into their
mouths and commence to chew. They continue to feed
themselves with chips until their cheeks swell out as
large as a man's fist, when they grind away with their
molars until they reduce the mass to a pulp. Their
mouths get so dry sometimes that they have to take a
little water to enable them to chew the cud. When it is
ground fine enough, it is taken out and put into a large
wooden bowl. If there are four or five slaves chewing,
one cud apiece will be sufficient. They fill the bowl two
thirds full of water, then with the fibres of the cocoanut
husk they stir the contents of the bowl and draw this
strainer through it, taking the fine material out. They continue this until the liquid is completely free from any signs
of the root; it is then ready for use. With a cocoanut
shell they dip out a full cup and hand it to the chief. He
takes the bowl in his hand, and as he raises it to his lips
the circle of slaves around him begin a sort of chant and
continue it until he has drained the cup, when they end
with a whoop, and the next in rank takes his drink. After
the chief and his followers have satisfied themselves, if
any is left the chewers finish it.
There does not appear to be much wild game on these
islands, other than wild hogs. They are quite plenty.
There is a large variety of fruit, but not many vegetables.
The fruits consist of breadfruit, bananas, oranges, lemons,
limes, and what the whites call custard apple, a fruit of
delicious quality. There is an abundance of cocoanuts.
The vegetables are yams and taro and some other
small varieties.
The breadfruit grows something like a citron, and is4
about the same size.    When the breadfruit is ripe, the
natives pick and roast it; the whites, after picking, allow
it to lay in the sun two or three days, then cut them
open.    The inside is like buckwheat batter sweetened a m
little. ; The whites either put it into a hot oven and bake
it, or dip it out as one would batter and fry it. Fried
bananas taste very much like fried breadfruit.
There is a large fruit called shaddock, which is nothing more than an overgrown orange, sometimes being
the size of a man's head. The meat is very coarse and
of somewhat reddish color, with a mixture of sweet and
sour. There is some little cotton growing wild. There
is quite a variety of small fish and turtle.
>Jt would appear, with the abundance of fruit and other
eatables, that the natives would have no occasion to eat
each other, and surely hunger would not drive them to
it. Possibly they eat their enemies from spite, thinking
that to be the quickest and best way to permanently be
rid of them. In the islands a hog that would weigh three
hundred pounds could be bought for as much vermilion
paint as I could hold on the point of a knife, or for three
fish hooks. They were underselling the people at Melbourne, who sold beef, pork, and mutton at a penny a
pound, while these fellows were selling at the remunerative price of a penny a hog. To cook their meat and
vegetables they will dig a hole in the ground, lining the
bottom and sides with cobblestones, then build a fire in
the hole. While the fire is burning they kill the hog,
and when the fire has all burned to coals, they throw on
a lot of boughs and lay the hog on the funeral pile; the
steam that arises loosens the bristles, so they scrape them
off easily. Then he is removed, and his entrails removed
with the boughs. The hole being cleaned, they lay the
hog in the hot hole and stuff it with hot stones, put yams
and taro around, put more hot stones around and over
it, then cover it with boughs; they then leave it for a
few hours. When roasted they remove boughs and
stones, and the creature is ready to be served from a
primitive platter, the place in which he was baked. 120
One of our sailors ran away, and the captain offered
the chief some calico if he would hunt him up. In a
day or two the chief sent word to the captain that he
had the fellow. The captain went ashore, taking me
with him. When we found the chief, he was about to
dine. He was so happy over his find and his promised
reward, that he invited the captain and crew to partake
of the royal feast. The old chief had a carpet about ten
feet square, made of tapper cloth, spread out on the floor
of his bamboo palace. We gathered around the carpet,
but there was nothing on it, and there we sat squatting on the ground. Soon, however, four or more young
women with powdered hair came tripping in with rush
plates loaded down with roast pork and yams. Each
gave a squatter around the board a plate, and soon after
they brought on the dessert, which consisted of fruit and
nuts; the fruit was good, but for the nuts I had no appetite ; they were cocoanuts that had been buried in the
ground until the meat had rotted, which made a. black
oily mass.
Soon after finishing our repast we heard a commotion
outside, and soon saw two natives coming out of the bushes
with a pole between them, the ends of which were resting on their shoulders. On the pole hung the body of
the sailor who had run away, head down. They had tied
his hands and feet together, and run the pole through in
the manner that pigs are carried. The poor fellow was
half dead, and we soon eased his position by placing him
on board the ship. Had I desired I could have run
away and not have been captured. The natives had
many old English pistols and muskets taken in exchange
for their products by way of trade ; and when these got
dirty or the locks out of repair, they did not know how
to fix them. I sometimes cleaned them and repaired the
locks.    When they found  me  handy at that work, they SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
wanted me to run away. They said that they would
hide me so that the big turonger chief, meaning the captain, could not find me. I might have made money by
so doing; they would give me for repairing one lock
one head of tortoise shell, about four pounds in weight,
which at that time was worth, in Sydney, four dollars a
pound; but the inducement was too small, and I was
not in the mood to venture.
I did not then know but that there was more truth
than poetry about eating their dead. When they thought
me fat enough, they might hide me, after the manner of
poor Jonah of ancient writ, and I might not be so fortunate
in getting out in three days. I therefore declined their
urgent wishes, although afterward regretting not remaining with them. Had I escaped their jaws, I might now
have been one of the honored kings of the cannibal
The natives went to war while we were there, and it
took them three months to get their weapons together,
and when ready for the fray they fought with spears and
They did not dare to trust to their muskets, as they had
found that they did not always shoot when they wanted,
them to, but the spears and clubs never missed fire.
Their battle lasted half a day. Nine were killed on one
side, and thirteen on the other. That battle ended the
trouble. Had two white hostile armies fought, they
would have fought until the last man was killed or taken
prisoner. The savages are much easier convinced than
the white men, and so there is less slaughter.
All were very anxious to get back to their own island.
They could not get away rapidly enough in their double
canoes, so they hired the captain to take some three
hundred of them home.
There double canoes are made of planks about fifteen 122
or twenty inches wide and from twenty to thirty feet
long, sewed together. Everything they wish to join
together is either sewed or lashed with the fibres of the
cocoanut husk plattened into sinnet. They can do it as
neatly as an old sailor. These double canoes are from
fifty to seventy-five feet long and six feet wide, pointed
at both ends. Two are placed about eight feet apart,
and beams are lashed from one to the other. Then a
platform is laid over, leaving a few feet at each end of
the boats clear. A mast is stuck up in the middle, with
a mutton-leg sail. A few holes are cut through the
deck, so that when there is no wind they put paddles
through these holes, and scull the craft along by swaying
sideways, singing at the same time a song like sailors
when heaving up anchor.
There was one chief called King Philip, the only one
I saw who had any signs of civilization about him. He
had his hair cut like a white man, and wore trousers and
a coat. There was another old chief called Old Snuff,
who said that when he could see a ship go through the
water without sails and without oars, he would become a
Christian. Some one had told him about steamers. I
think he has seen one by this time, if alive. Whether he
has become a Christian yet is more his affair than
One of the most beautiful sights in the world is to be
seen in the water about these islands. They appear to have been originally volcanic many ages ago,
and at a later period the coral insect wrought so diligently and so beautifully that the harbor is filled with
reefs; and to sit in a boat and look down upon the forest
of coral of every hue of the rainbow, and to see the fishes
of every color, presents a sight worth a long journey and
which is seldom seen, and once seen is never to be forgotten. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
I read not long ago a story which reminded me of my
experience,—the story of a reporter who made himself
king. Apropos of that, one day a canoe came to the
ship. A native was at each end. A white man squatted in
the middle. The white man was dressed in gold-lace
from head to foot. His cocked hat was covered with
tassels and gold-lace. The canoe came alongside, and
the visitors were soon on deck. I recognized the white
man at the first glance. He was my old friend, the
American consul of the brig " Falco," of Lynn, Massachusetts, whom I left at King George's Sound two years
before. He had run into those islands some six months
before, to trade with the natives. His brig struck on
one of the coral reefs which abound in those waters,
where she stayed. The crew had all gotten away from
the islands, leaving his excellency the consul. Perhaps
he thought that the great American Republic should have
some one there to represent the country and to look
after cast-away Americans, so remained on the islands.
He looked over the ship a little, to see if we had any
stowaways on board, since he had learned that we were
about ready to leave the islands. Finally he went
ashore with his body guard, thinking, no doubt, he had
done a stroke of duty for his country.
It was a mystery to me then, as now, how he kept his
regalia so well. He had to sleep on the ground, and
likely with his trappings on ; or should he take them off,
he would have to hang them on the limb of a tree and
roll himself in a native tapper carpet. For a pillow he
might use his cocked hat. The natives use a little stick,
which stands up on legs about four inches high, on which
they rest their heads. The chiefs use that kind of a
pillow, for by that method they do not rumple their hair.
Since the consul was so great a chief among them, he
certainly would have to raise his head somehow, or lose 124
caste and be rated as a little chief. I never saw the
consul or heard of him after we left the islands. Possibly he became a king and exchanged his regalia for the
native costume.
The islanders come very near being spiritualists.
They build a cabin of bamboo, and make it tight with
but one opening, that is the door. Then they carve out
a human figure roughly. They then make a lot of rope
from cocoanut fibre, and lash the image to the outer side
of the shanty. The rope is made fast to the head of the
image and strung around the cabin. The rope represents hair.
When they wish to consult the spirits, the old medium
will go inside with one or two others and close the door,
when all squat in the middle of the floor with clasped
hands, and while in this circle they call up the spirits and
consult them, for weal or for woe.
There is one token of honor among the higher order
of natives. They pierce their ears with a pointed bone,
and insert therein a narrow strip of bamboo bent in the
form of a hoop. They change the hoop frequently, and
with every change a larger hoop is inserted. They continue this process until the hole is of the desired size,
which is according to their rank or station. These holes
are sometimes so large that I could run my closed hand
through them without touching the sides. When the
hoops are taken out, the loops will hang down and rest
on the shoulders.
The season for whales was over at these islands. We
had remained there five months without taking a whale.
We therefore weighed anchor and started out for a short
cruise. We sighted no whales, and finally ran into
Sydney, where we lay some three months, as the ship
needed some repairs.
A piece of gold which weighed about one ounce was SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
found somewhere in the interior of the country, and
brought into Sydney while we lay there, which was
in 1845. No one knew enough about gold to look for
more where that piece came from. While I was cook at
Hobartstown on the " Governor Phillips," the coal came
from Port Arthur, and was what might be called slate coal,
and I frequently found pieces of it that were gilded with
fine gold. I called the attention of several parties to it,
and it was pronounced to be gold.
After the ship's repairs were completed we left Sydney
for another short cruise.   About five hundred miles from
Sydney we came to Lord Howe's Island, and some of us
went ashore.    There was one man with  his family on
the island, and he was the governor.    The English early
had the habit of planting their flag on newly discovered
lands, and having one man to keep it flying, and by that
method claiming the island.    They took possession of
this island in this way, and Norfolk also, as well as many
other islands.    Norfolk Island produces a large variety
of fruit, with oranges predominating and being native to
the island.    There is as much difference between the
oranges of that country and the ones we see as there is
between  a potato and an apple.    The oranges of the
islands are the most delicious fruit I  ever tasted.    At
Lord Howe's Island we found plenty of peppers, of which
we gathered an  abundance.    On this island there is a
remarkable   tree   called   the   banyan-tree,   that  covers
several acres of land.    When the first tree started and
had  grown  some  twenty-five  or   thirty  feet,  with  its
branches spread out in all directions, shoots ran down
from the limbs to the ground, where they took root and
grew into another trunk, from which other branches grew
out, which extended itself after the fashion of the parent
tree until a small forest had grown up that covered many
acres of land.    Were the branches that rise above those p*-»-il
horizontal arms of wood that connect the perpendicular
ones together trimmed down, one could wheel a barrow over the entire forest with ease and safety.
We soon left the island and, after a cruise of a few
months, chasing many whales and catching none, we
went into Hobartstown again, where I had shipped some
fifteen months before, thinking that I was going
home, but I could not quarrel with fate, so renewed my
acquaintance with my old friends, who were much pleased
to see me back again.
I was set at work coopering casks with the third mate.
It took about three weeks to set up what casks we
wanted. Having been on shore a number of times, and
mixing with my old associates, I began to hanker for the
land again. I felt rather sore toward the captain,
because he did not promote me when he had opportunity. One of our boat steerers ran away at Sydney, and
when we were out at sea the captain put one of the forward hands in to fill his place,-—a position which I
thought should have been given me. The reason why
we did not catch more whales was because the boat
steerers could not hit the whales, or were afraid and
would not strike them. I believed that I could hit them
every time, if put near enough.
I wished to get something that would bring me in a
little money, so when we got to Hobartstown I concluded that there was no money in whales for me, no
matter what ship I was in, therefore left the ship. One of
the boat steerers quitted with me.
A man on shore with whom I was acquainted agreed
to stow us away in his house. Accordingly, when we
thought the ship about ready to sail, we went ashore and
to my friend's house, where we were soon tucked away in
his loft. There were no stairs, but a hole cut in the
ceiling overhead reached by a ladder.   It was removed SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 127
when we were in the loft, and we put some loose boards
over the hole*#No one thought of looking aloft for us.
Through a hole in the roof, between the shingles, we
could see the ship, and thus we watched day by day for
three weeks until the ship left the bay. We wanted for
nothing, my friend providing plenty to eat and drink.
The first and second mates came into the house one day,
and we knew their voices, but we kept very still. Little
did they suspect the men they wanted were hiding above
their heads.
After three weeks of watching, one morning we
found the ship was under way. This was about ten
o'clock, but we kept in hiding until the next morning,
and it was lucky for us that we did. When we went out
the following morning, we learned the captain went down
the harbor about twenty miles and dropped anchor, and
then sent a boat to town, thinking that we would, after
seeing the ship go down the bay and out of sight behind
a point that made out into the harbor, come out and
show ourselves; but I was not to be caught in such a
simple manner. The captain, finding he could not catch
us, before leaving went to a merchant, who kept a store
near the wharf, and who also owned a number of vessels
sailing out of Hobartstown, and told him that he did not
want to lose me, but, since he was obliged to leave me,
he advised him to get me to join one of his vessels when
I appeared out, and gave me one of the best of recommendations.
The morning when we went down to the wharf I was
met by a man who told me that Mr. Johnson, which was
the merchant's name, wanted to see me. Going to him
at once, he informed me what the captain had said, and
wanted me to ship then and there in a schooner which
he owned. This schooner at that time was the smallest
vessel that had ever been around Cape Horn, being only m
about fifty tons' burden. She was going on a four-
months' cruise along the coast after whales.
I did not take very kindly to the project, but told him
I would let him know in a few days. Thinking the matter over for a while, I concluded four months would soon
slip away, and if we only got one whale, I would have
quite a stake on our return, and I shipped and we were
soon out of the harbor.
We went around to the farther side of the island and
dropped anchor in a little bay not far from one of the
penal settlements. We were not allowed in there, but
the captain made things all right with the officers in
charge of the convicts. We used to go ashore and look
off from the high rocks. There was a small island to
which I used to go, and which was not more than half a
mile from the mainland. There were plenty of penguins
there. There were holes in the ground near the water,
and I found they contained from two to six eggs, and
from many of the holes the bird would rush out and dive
into the water. I gathered a bucketful.of the eggs and
carried them to the ship, where the cook fried them, but
they were not very good. They were about all yolk and
very dry, but being eggs we ate them. By visiting their
nests I found that they laid about as regularly as a hen
does. Notwithstanding we had robbed them, we would
always find newly laid eggs. One day while we lay in
the bay, the "Governor Phillips" dropped anchor near
us. The captain came on board, the same that was in
her when I was cook.
He was surprised to see me, and said he expected that
I was at home by that time. I gave him a short sketch
of my experience. He told me that he wanted to see
me privately. Just before he left he called me aside.
He wished me to go with him, and said he would give
me a good chance if I would go in the brig.    Answer- SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
ing, I replied that I would like to be with him again, but
as the schooner would only be out four months, thought
it best to remain with her and finish the voyage.
"Well," said he, "you can do so if you prefer, but I
would like to have you with me, and if you will say the
word, I will send a boat alongside about nine this evening, and all you will have to do will be to get into her and
come aboard."
I thanked him for his kindly consideration, but thought
he had better not send the boat, and that when I came
back to Hobartstown I might ship with him, and with
that understanding he left us. I never saw him or his
brig afterward.
We saw one whale a few days after the brig left the
bay. We gave chase with two boats for about ten miles,
but he went like a race horse, and we could not catch him
and had to give him up. We thought that perhaps he
was not worth the trouble of catching, since he must have
run all the fat out of him through making such wonderful speed, so called him a dry shin, and let him go like a
bunch of sour grapes.
We found there were no whales in the bay, so we ran
into a little bay farther down the coast, where we dropped
anchor and sent the boats on shore to look out for
whales. Out about two months, we had seen one whale
in the distance. By that time I concluded there was no
money in whales for me. I began to feel homesick, and
made up my mind to run away. I had become quite
proficient at that, so I broached the subject one day to a
young fellow who was as sick of the business as myself.
He readily entered into my plans, so, one morning when
the boats went ashore, we filled our pockets with bread
and meat and went ashore likewise.
When boats are sent ashore in this manner, the crew
all land except one man, who remains in a boat.    After :
the men are landed, the boat is hauled off a little and
anchored, yet near enough to the shore, when swung
around, to allow the crew to get in at the stern end, so
that, if whales are discovered, the crew can get on board
quickly and start on the chase. We agreed to remain in
the boats that morning. The crew well out of sight, we
pulled the two boats upon the rocks, jumped out, and
started by land around the little bay. We were soon in
the thick forest, and after a few hours of travel we came
to a clearing of some ten acres. Near one side of the
clearing was a farmhouse. We skirted the clearing, and
getting about half-way around it, came to a road which
led away into the country. We concluded that the road
led to Hobartstown, so we took to it at once, and pushed
forward at a good speed.
In the middle of the afternoon we heard a noise behind us, and looking back in the distance through the
forest we saw two men on horseback. We thought,
naturally, that they were after us, so we sprang into the
forest, and coming to a log we quickly hid behind it, and
were soon hugging the ground as closely as we could.
I felt quite safe, for I had found in a former emergency
that the friendly protection of a log was quite ample for
a short time. The men rode by without halting and
were soon out of sight. We concluded we were not the
game they were hunting, and we were soon on the road
again. My companion, much younger than I, was not
used to such a tramp and could not keep up with me,
and we each had quite a bundle of clothing that we had
smuggled ashore when we left the schooner. My friend
lagged behind, which I knew would not do, so I took his
load upon my back, which gave me a double load to
carry, but I was equal to the task. We pushed on until
sundown, and then camped away from the road far
enough to hide ourselves should there be any nocturnal
travellers on the road. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
The next day we passed through a little hamlet, but
spoke to no one, having no time to form new acquaintances. We passed that day and the next without trouble.
On the third day we came to a river at sundown, about
three miles from Hobartstown. The river was a half-
mile wide, and was crossed by a ferryboat. When we
applied for passage, we found we were to be interviewed
by officers. They thought us escaped prisoners. My
friend had come from England but a short time before,
and had got his discharge from the ship, which he happened to have in his pocket. He showed his papers to
the officers, and then they wanted to see my proof. I
told them I had belonged to the same vessel, but had
lost my discharge. After using much persuasion they
let us over, and we were soon in town and well housed
with one of my old friends.
The vessel, the keel of which was laid some eighteen
months before, was finished and launched, and nearly ready
for sailing. She was going to Melbourne, and from thence
to Geelong, a little town on one side of the harbor at
Port Philip. Melbourne lies at the upper end of the same
harbor. She was to take a cargo of wool and tallow for
London. When I heard that she was soon going to
England, I made up my mind that I would ship in her
and perhaps get away from the country. Starting out to
find the captain or owners, I soon learned that they
wanted more hands. They asked if I was an able seaman ; I told them that I was, and they put my name
down at once at two pounds ten a month. I received
one month's pay in advance ; and as the vessel was to sail
in a week, I took my money and began to get together
an outfit, such as blankets and other clothing which I
would need for the voyage.
There was at that time many small tradesfolk who
kept blankets and other small articles, which they bought 132
of the convicts who had finished their terms, and on
leaving the country sold the blankets, being allowed to
do so. All such goods have the government mark, such
as the crowfoot or broad R, as it is commonly called, and
B. O. for bond of ordinance, besides many other marks and
figures. In my hunt I found a woman who had some of
those blankets. They were just what I wanted, for the
English government blankets are the best in the world,
thick, heavy, and durable. I bought two at half a crown
each. It was very fortunate for me that the woman knew
all the marks and figures that were on the blankets. I
had seen so many of the articles with the government
mark on them that I paid no particular attention to them.
On my way down the street I came to a little store that
was kept by a woman whose husband was book-keeper
for Mr. Johnson, the merchant who owned the schooner
I had left a few days since. I wanted a few small articles,
so put my blankets on a bench near the door. A few
blankets belonging to the store were piled on one end of
the bench. I thought nothing of that; there was plenty
of room on the other end and some two feet distant from
the woman's blankets. I went in, bought what I wanted,
and paid her what she said they came to, and then betook myself and my blankets to the ship, which lay at the
wharf nearly opposite the store where the woman's husband worked.
I went on board, put my blankets into my berth, and
then went up to my boarding-house. In the afternoon
that book-keeper came in and accused me of stealing a.
pair of his blankets. He said that his wife saw me take
them from the bench. Furthermore, he had been on
board, looked the blankets over, and could swear to the
marks on them. I saw at a glance that the fellow had
the thing all his own way, if the woman of whom I
bought the blankets could not identify them or describe SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
their marks, I would, perhaps, have to stay seven
years longer in the country whether I wanted to or not,
and sleep every night under the same kind of blankets,
and also wear a garb with the same marks on them. I
learned that when he went to dinner his wife told him
that I had stolen a pair of her blankets, and that she saw
me take them from the bench and carry them off under
my arm.
I had told the woman what ship I belonged to, with the
result that after dinner the fellow went to the ship and
found out by some of the men where my berth was and
had taken down the numbers and other marks on them.
No two blankets are marked alike, every one being a
little different. I had not noticed the numbers or marks,
while he could swear to all of them. So sure was he
that I had stolen them, because his wife saw me take
them, I thought my chances slim, but was not ready to
give up without a struggle for liberty. I explained about
purchasing them, but he would not believe me. Finally
I proposed we go with my friend, the man with whom
I boarded, to the woman's house that he might interview her, to which he agreed. Upon arriving at the
house, he would not allow me to go in, thinking I would
give, the woman a hint. So he and my friend went in.
While they were inside, which was for about twenty
minutes, I prayed hard for that woman's memory. When
they came out the fellow looked crestfallen, and I knew
the woman's memory had saved me. My friend said that
she proved beyond a doubt I had bought the blankets of
her, for she described every mark that was on them, at
which he very reluctantly gave in. Then thinking he
must say something, he declared I had not paid for the
things bought in the store. |gj replied I had paid all his
wife asked. He insisted that I had cheated her out of
something.    I replied if he could prove that I owed either 134
him or his wife, I was ready to pay. He finally left us
rather abruptly and went on to his store, which was the
last I saw of him.
Two or three days after we sailed for Melbourne,
where we stopped a few hours and then went around to
Geelong, where we dropped anchor and lay four months
taking in wool and tallow. Sheep and cattle in that part
of Australia were slaughtered simply for the hides, wool,
and tallow. Beef and mutton were a penny a pound,
take your cut where you pleased.
We had been there some four weeks when a strange-
looking craft came in and dropped anchor near us. We
could not tell whether she was a Dutch galley yacht,
Chinese junk, or Noah's ark, until, catching sight of her
figurehead, I knew in a moment what the craft was. It
proved to be the old brig which I helped build on the
west side of the island, whose designer and builder was
the man I performed the surgical operation on. She
had afterwards been finished and was in the coasting
trade. The carpenter who built her belonged in the
northern part of England, where he had been used to
building vessels square at both ends, and this craft was of
that model. She had a native model for a figurehead,
which I remembered seeing when it was being carved.
I went ashore but once during the four. months' stay
and then for a half-hour only. I determined to stay by
the ship until she hauled into the dock in London. I
had been disappointed too many times to take any
chances of being left again. It appears very strange to
me now as I think of k ; it Was fate, seemingly, that pursued me. Then, above all others, was the time when I
should have run away. Had I done so, I might have
been the first man to discover gold on a large scale in
Australia. I made it a point always when I ran away
from a vessel to get back into the forest as far as I could; SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
and had I run away at Geelong, I would have gone inland where the sheep ranches were, near Ballarat, and
which is about sixty miles from Geelong.
Every one knows the history of the Ballarat gold mines.
I always had a desire to look into things, and to examine
rocks and other objects in different countries in which I
happened to be, and am quite certain that I would have
found gold, when it is considered how easily it was discovered. It appeared to be scattered everywhere on the
surface of the ground as well as in it. At Ballarat there
was one gulch that was quite shallow, out of which fifteen
hundred pounds weight were taken. It ran into a flat
where the depth, from surface to bed rock, was over one
hundred feet. Seven sailors sank a shaft into that flat,
which shaft had to be timbered. They went below salt
water. The first tub of dirt from the bottom yielded them
twelve pounds of gold.
It used to be law among the miners that if one man
drifted on to another man's claim, to fine him five pounds
sterling. It was found that law would not do. A man
might take out several hundred dollars and only have to
pay about twenty-five. The law was changed. Out of a
pan of dirt, obtained by an act of trespass, the trespasser
was fined as much as the dirt would pay upon washing.
One man worked over his line and one foot on his neighbor's claim. He took out one pan of dirt and washed it.
It paid one thousand pounds sterling to the foot. The
fellow paid a thousand pounds fine, and then offered to
pay another thousand pounds for another foot of the
same ground, but the neighbor would not sell. This
shows what might have been had I left the ship at that
My gold hunting in Australia happened a few years
later on. This was early in 1847. Our cargo on board
and stowed snugly away in the ship's hold, there was '•!'..
nothing to keep us longer, so we up anchor and were
soon out to sea again. The ship's head was turned
toward Cape Horn, and arrived near the Cape ere many
weeks passed. We had a fair wind until we got quite
around the Horn. It is well known among nautical men
that in doubling Cape Horn from the Pacific to the
Atlantic, the wind is generally fair, and oppositely true
going from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
,The captain thought he shipped twenty able seamen
and six boy apprentices ; but when we got out to sea it
was found that only about one half of the crew could
steer the ship when in a heavy sea and before the wind.
I was one of the few who could handle her in any sea or
weather. 'She steered very hard, and off Cape Horn
among the heavy seas, which I believe are much higher
than elsewhere, we had to have a man at the lee wheel
to help to turn it. Stationed at the wheel one night,
the rain falling fast, I had a big Dutchman at the lee
wheel; and we were running with lower studding sails.
The captain thought the weather might be too severe in
the night, and he ordered them taken in. I could not
see forward very well, it was so dark and raining quite
hard, so had to steer altogether by the compass. When
I could see the ship's head or the stars, I used them as
much as the compass, although running on a set course.
The binnacle glass under which the compass was located
was so wet that I could not see the compass. I therefore
told the Dutchman to hold her steady a moment. I let
go, and one step took me to the binnacle. I had given
it one wipe, looked at the compass, whirled around and
caught the wheel just in time to keep the Dutchman
from going over my head. At the same time there was
music ahead. It appeared that the vessel had got nearly
aback forward, and the sails were slapping furiously.
The studding sail had got aback and nearly thrown three
men overboard. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD
The captain was on the poop deck in a trice and wanted
to know what I was trying to do. I told him that I could
not see the compass and did not want too long to steer
by the wind; and had told the lee helmsman to hold her
steady a moment while I wiped the water from the binnacle light, and he had nearly allowed her to broach to.
The captain took the Dutchman in hand and dressed
him down handsomely for about ten minutes.
I You came on board," said he, "as an able seaman,
and you cannot stand at the lee wheel alone for a moment
without endangering our lives or sinking the ship !'
All sailors know where we would have gone had the
ship got all aback forward under a ten or twelve knot wind,
with the ship in a trough of the sea, with waves ahead one
hundred feet high and rising up from the ship at an angle of
forty-five degrees. It has been said that waves seldom
rise over forty feet. Any one who has doubled Cape
Horn knows better. When one has to look upward at
an angle of forty-five degrees to see a vessel that is a
mile off, and one can see nearly her entire keel, as I have,
one knows the waves can sometimes reach a higher altitude than forty feet.
When I let go the wheel, it threw all of the water on to
the Dutchman, and he began to ease a little; and the
ship swung a little near the wind. As a consequence she
would crowd the man at the wheel a little harder, and
he, not knowing how to check her, would at once have
been all in the wind, and all hands would have gone
down with the ship stern first. Had I not checked her,
in five minutes more we would have all been buried a
hundred feet beneath the ocean.
I was taken ill soon after we rounded the Cape, and
was sick for a week. A day or two before I got about,
while in a very rough sea, the ship rolling and pitching
a good deal, I lay in my berth in the topgallant fore- i38
castle where I could look out on to the deck, through a
hole over the windlass. About four in the afternoon I
heard a terrible snapping on deck, and the men were
running in all directions. I saw the third mate run a
little way up the main rigging with a yard or two of small
rope in his hand; he stopped climbing and began to sing
out for some one to go up ahead of him and lash the spars
that were hanging aloft and swinging every way, and likely
to break away at any moment and come down on deck or
go overboard. A number of the ship's crew stood on
the deck looking up at him, but no one cared, to try to
lash the spars. I could not quite see what was the
matter, but knew it must be something serious. I had on
but my shirt and drawers. I did not mind that. Out I
went through the hole, over the windlass and over to
the main rigging. I saw at once the trouble; the fore-
topmast was broken off just above the cap, and, when
that went, the main topgallant mast just above the loops
of the fore and aft stays which run from the top of the
foremast-head and then looped around the top of the
main topmast, which was broken also, it will readily be
seen that the main topgallant mast broken close down
to those loops, there was nothing to prevent the loops
slipping off at any moment with the ship pitching and
rolling heavily, while the topgallant mast and yard with
sail furled swung away to come back with a furious blow
against the stay.
The mate wanted some one to go up, and then down
that stay some six feet, and when the yard and mast
swung in to catch them and lash them to the stay, also
to lash the fore and aft stays more securely to the top
of the mast.
I started up at once over the man's head and caught
the rope in his hand. Up I went, then down to the stay
head first with my feet clinched around it behind me.    I SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
caught the yard and mast as they came in and lashed
them and came down.
The mate told me to go into the cabin and get an extra
glass of grog, but I went straight to my berth.
I was out and at work soon after that. We had no
further trouble during the voyage, and arrived in London about the first of March, 1848. We hauled into Saint
Catharine's dock and made fast, and the ship was soon full
of boarding-house keepers hunting for boarders. Three
of us were soon picked up by one of them, and we started
up the wharf and were soon out on to the street.
I was extremely happy to get my feet on land again
north of the line, and then it was a step nearer home, or
toward it.
We soon were domiciled in the boarding-house, and
the next day I went with my boarding-house keeper and
bought a suit of fashionable clothing, from a beaver hat
down. I found after about seven years of experience at
the antipodes that my head had got its growth, and there
was more in it than when I left Canada. In about three
days we were paid off. I received eighteen pounds for
my eight months on the ship.
There was a young fellow on board who knew my old
friend S. whom I left at Murray River. My friend S. told me
if I ever came to London to look him up, and that I would
find him at the London Stock Exchange. His father
was a member of the Exchange, and he intended on his
return to enter into the same business. I felt a hesitancy about hunting him up, knowing his social standing
at home, while I was only a common sailor. This young
man had come to England after a fortune that had been
left him by friends in Liverpool. I told him where Mr.
S. was, and that he might say to him that I was in
London and stopping at Hotel, on Radcliffe Highway. He said that he would call on him after his return
from Liverpool. 140
I never saw him afterward, but he delivered my message.
I knocked about the city sight-seeing, and went to
some of the theatres, museums, a celebrated museum of
wax figures, and many other places of interest, such as
Stepping Fair, Rag Fair, Petticoat Lane, Whitechapel,
the Tower, and Newgate. I was not able to get inside of
this latter massive structure, the granite walls of which
are black with age.
London proper looks like a city that was built about
four thousand years back, and had perhaps been buried
beneath their accumulated rubbish, to be finally brought
to the light of day, like Pompeii.
The city has not yet cast off her winding sheets, since
she is forever wrapped in fog or smoke, so that the sun
seldom has a chance to look down the streets.
The famous dwarf, Tom Thumb, had left London some
two weeks before I arrived. I found that he had left something for the cockneys to remember him by. While at.
Madam Tussaud's Wax Figures, I saw Queen Victoria and
Prince Albert in wax, life size, and by their side stood Tom
Thumb dressed a la Napoleon. The queen presented
Tom Thumb with a pair of ponies and a carriage to
match; the whole outfit, with Tom in the carriage, was
put on to a platform mounted on wheels, and with four
horses were drawn through the principal streets.
After I had been in the city about a month, I found
that my money was getting painfully short. I finally
had spent my last shilling, and in order to hold over a
little longer, exchanged my nice suit of store clothing
and beaver hat for something cheaper, and received a few
shillings to boot. I then began to hunt for a ship to go
to the United States. I could find no American ships in
need of help, so I went to an English vessel and found
that I could  not  ship  until I had a registered  ticket. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
Similar to the American protection, it entitles the holder
to protection by the country that issues the ticket. After
obtaining one, I was rated as a British seaman and could
get a British ship any time, and wanted to ship very
badly just then. I found one that was going to New
York, shipped at once and received one month's advance
of two pounds ten. I was "flush" again, for a few days.
The vessel lay at a place called Black Wall, some three
miles from the city proper.
My money was soon pretty low. London, like all cities,
has abundant opportunties where one can lose a deal of
money in a very short time, unless one sews his pockets
up tightly. I took the elevated cars across the city. At
Black Wall I found the ship, and was told she would not
be ready to sail for two weeks. My lip hung low when
I heard that. Before returning to London I decided
to look the place over a little. I sauntered down
the dock. I saw some men building a fence across the
end of the wharf. When I came to them I saw the cause
of the fence. A few rods from the wharf, riding at
anchor, .was a Chinese junk just from Boston, Mass.,
where she had been on exhibition. The men said that
the queen was coming down at ten o'clock to see the
junk. I looked the strange craft over, and took the half
past nine train to the city.
I would have had a chance to see the queen had I
waited a half-hour, but I did not somehow care to see
her. I thought it strange for people, who had always
lived in London, to rally to see a woman on horseback
or in a carriage; but they did it by the tens of thousands,
and I suppose always will.
In the city again, I could not stand it long without
money, so began to look for a ship that would sail in a
day or two. I soon found the New York packet, of
Greenock, Scotland, and shipped in her to sail the next THE  ADVENTURES   OF A
day for New York with passengers, thence to St. John's,
New Brunswick, and back to London again. I had to
ship for the voyage, and take my chances of getting
away at New York. If I could only get sight of Yankee-
land, I should be happy. My past experience in getting
clear of vessels had not been forgotten.
I got my advance, and went to the man who had
shipped me in the other, and paid him the money that. I
had from him. The change gave me no more money, but
a chance to get out of the country at once. I thought I
had seen London, both above ground and under ground,
as I had been through the Thames tuunel several times.
About half-way through the tunnel a place was boxed
up and the water was trickling down a little. When the
tunnel was being constructed a brig dropped her anchor
over it and the bottom of the river dropped out at the
same time and filled the tunnel with water.
A few years later I met the man who stopped that
hole. A large canvas tarpaulin was made and sunk, with
weights at each corner, over the hole. Then bags of
sand were piled on and kept drawing in toward the
centre until the hole was finally stopped, the water being
pumped at the shaft at the end of the tunnel. This man
had made money enough to take him to Chili, and from
there to California, where I met him.
One day before my money gave out I fell in with the
keeper of the queen's park, and he was a royal good
fellow. We went over a number of streets sight-seeing.
The English people who are above the ordinary class of
people drink much gin and brandy, while the laboring
class take along to their work a lunch of bread and
cheese, and at dinner-time go to a tap-room, of which
there are many, for a pot of half-and-half, which with
bread and cheese make their mid-day meal.
I noticed the keeper of the royal park would stop at SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
about all the tap-rooms that we came to and call for gin.
Although not caring for liquor, yet I could take a
glass with a friend. I could not very well refuse to
drink with my new friend, so, out of deference, would
take a sip, and when his back was turned I would pour
the liquor on the floor. After one or two hours I found
that my head was getting pretty heavy, and things began
to look rather dizzy, but my legs were steady enough.
I made some excuse about the boarding-house and bade
him good day, starting on a blind hunt for my boarding-
house. I somehow found that haven of rest, and made
for bed. I thought the whole city was having a dance.
Everything was going around like a top, — chairs, tables,
water-pots, and bowls alike; the house seemed to be
bringing up the rear. I grasped the bed to keep myself
from being thrown out, and finally lost myself in the
whirl. After sleeping about four hours, I came to life
again with something of a headache. I took good
care after that not to sip again, no matter with whom I
might be.
Saturday, the 8th of April, 1848, the day that I was to
sail, had arrived. We were to haul out of the dock that
afternoon at four o'clock. I was at a hotel on Radcliffe
Highway at about ten, when some one opened the door
and stepped in.
He was a man dressed in the height of London fashion. He carried that never-to-be-left-behind umbrella,
which every Englishman takes when he goes on the
street. I turned partly around facing him. The moment I caught his eye I knew him, and he recognized me.
He exclaimed, " Why, Jack! " as he always called me,
" I have found you at last."
"Why," said 1,1 is it possible that this is Mr. S.?"
"Yes," said he, and then told me about looking for
me since seven o'clock that morning.    He said my young THE  ADVENTURES   OF  A
friend told him I was in London only a day or two since,
and also what ship I came in. He said Saturdays were
his days off, and he had started on a hunt for me.
Living on the opposite side of the river Thames, he
had taken a groom and two horses and rode down to the
ferry, and then sent his groom back with the horses and
taken the boat over to London. He went first to the
ship in which I had come to London. There he was
told what ship I was in, which was down at Black Wall,
and down there he went and learned that I had since
shipped in the New York packet to sail that day. Back
to London again, and down to the vessel, he learned I
was at a hotel on Radcliffe Highway, where he found me.
When he learnrd I was to sail that afternoon, he advised me to go home and see my friends. He also had
known what it was to be absent from home a long time.
He told me that I ought to have come to him at
once, as I knew where to find him; that I could have seen
a great deal more of London, and it would not have cost
me anything ; and that when I was ready to go home
he would have paid my passage to any part of the United
States. Finding I had no money, he pulled out his
wallet and divided the contents with me, and further assured me, had he known or thought of finding me hard
up, he would have brought me forty or fifty sovereigns.
He said it would have been nothing out of his pocket.
I thanked him for his great kindness.
He intended on finding me to take me to his home,
but since I had shipped and was going to sail that afternoon, he said that I had better go on home. We went
out on to the street for a short walk, during which he told
me what had transpired at Murray River after I left. Mr.
Morris, who was building the brig that I worked on, had
failed, and the brig was sold while on the stocks ; and that
Mr. Peel, who owned the land from which we cut the ma- SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
hogany to build the brig with, had found his land so
sterile that it was not fit for a sheep or cattle ranch,
although it was said that it cost him but sixpence an acre,
gave the land back to the government, sent his two
daughters home to be educated, and what became of him
my friend did not say. His brother was premier at that
time, Sir Robert Peel, and I believe one of the best that
England ever had. My friend said that shortly after the
brig was sold his mother had sent him out one thousand
pounds and requested him to pay his debts and come
home at once, which he did, as he was as anxious to leave
the country as I had been.
When he arrived home his father gave him a
thousand pounds and one month's time to make up his
mind which of two offers he would accept. One was
that he would buy and give to him a ship and he might
go to sea, or he would retire from the Stock Exchange,
and the son might take his seat. My friend said that he
had a royal good time while that one thousand pounds
lasted, and at the end of the month he concluded to take
his father's seat in the Exchange. When he met me he
had then been nine months in the business and had
cleared nine thousand pounds sterling and was in a fair
way to soon accumulate a handsome fortune, which I
have no doubt be succeeded in doing. While on the
street we saw a few of the London upper circle. One
was Lord John Russell ; my friend said when we saw him
ahead with that proverbial umbrella in his hand, which he
was using for a cane, " Look ! I think he has found some
good brandy this morning."
I thought that the umbrella was convenient even in a
clear day, since it might hide now and then a moral
The time grew near when I had to go on board. My
friend said before parting that I must write him when I ™
got home and let him know how I found my friends,
" Now, Jack, don't go home and say that you never
saw one true-hearted Englishman."
My friend was one of the best young men I ever .met
in any part of this wide world, nor do I expect to meet
his equal again. Such men are few and far between,
now as then.
To show what stock he came from, I will relate an incident which happened a short time before he went to
Australia. His father had a friend, whom we will
call Jones. Jones had an only son. It is well known
that a man in England can cut his children off with what
is called " the shilling" ; that is to say, leave them but
one shilling in their will. Jones, Jr., had disgraced his
sire's gray hairs, and when Jones made his will he left
his large fortune to my friend, who was the son of Mr.
Jones's friend. The father of Mr. S. was the custodian of
the will of Mr. Jones. It was locked up in a safe, and
when Mr. Jones died, Mr. S., Sen., took out the will and
found that Mr. Jones had left his entire fortune to his
son, amounting to one million pounds sterling, and but
one shilling to Jones, Jr. Mr. S., Sen., threw the will into
the fire, remarking that he bad enough for his son and he
would not see young Jones robbed of his fortune in that
There are not many men who would have burned the
will; they would not only have taken it, but burned the
man's bones because he did not have double that amount
to leave them; such is the difference in men.
My friend and I parted after a hearty shake of hands,
he to go back over the river, and I to go over the great
pond to my home across the Atlantic Ocean. I was soon
on board. We hauled out and ran down the river
Thames and out into the channel.    Soon out of that, we SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
were on the broad ocean, headed for New York. I found
the food on that vessel the worst that I had ever seen,
excepting none. The meat was bad and the bread also.
About once a week we got a bit of fresh meat stewed up
with Scotch barley groats, such as they say Scotchmen
get fat on, but I think that I would starve to death on
such diet.    As I was going home, I did not grumble. II
On our voyage nothing happened of note until we
arrived on the coast off New York, where it is often very
foggy. On the 6th of July we came on to the coast. I
was at the wheel from six to eight, the dog watch. The
wheel was on the poop deck. It was very foggy, and I
could not see more than a ship's length ahead. A lookout was stationed on the topgallant forecastle. All at
once I discovered a large ship straight ahead. The
lookout shouted, but I saw the danger quite as soon as he.
The law for the guidance of nautical men in such cases
is, for each vessel to put the wheel " up," as it is called;
that is, to the side of the ship the wind is blowing from,
so the ship will pay off farther from the wind. When
both vessels do this, they are supposed to swing clear of
each other. I was steering about two points from the
wind; in other words, to bring her up two points
would cause her sails to be shivering in the wind and
caught aback. I at once ran the wheel hard down, while
the mate was singing at the top of his voice, " Hard up!
hard up!' I paid no attention to him; but pushed it
hard down, and at the same time kept my eyes on the SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
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^^^^/tRffSrQSli 1 /' III-
A Close Shave on the Coast off New York. 150
ship ahead and the sails, so as not to get aback forward.
Our vessel came up so that the fore topgallant sail began to tremble a little, and the ship that was ahead shot
alongside our lee. I righted the wheel and kept the
ship steady until the other one was past.
She was within an arm's length of us, but not a word
was spoken on either side until she was past; then they
sang out on the other ship, " Well done, John Bull! "
She was a whaler. Her quarter boat just grazed our
bumkin, a spar about four feet long, secured to the
ship's quarter with a block on the outer end, through
which the main brace runs and which is more commonly
used when running with a fair wind. This method makes
the brace less oblique when hauled taut.
Had I put the wheel " up " according to the law, and
had they done the same, we might have fallen off about
one point, and the other ship the same. With each vessel
going about nine miles an hour, we would have crashed
together, and both ships would have sunk.
The mate said nothing, but when the captain came on
deck at eight o'clock, he wanted to know why I did not
obey the mate's orders. I told him that I could see the
position of both ships, and I did the only thing that
would save us.
" Well," said he, " if anything had happened it would
have been your fault."
He said nothing further, and I thought it was my
fault that prevented something from happening. I
seemed to be forced, in spite of myself, by some outside
power, to do as I did. I thought so at another time
when I saved a brig from total destruction, with about a
hundred lives. I then felt there was some invisibe force
directed me for the welfare of others.
The second incident happened just one year later to
a day.    The first was the 6th of July, 1848, between the SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
hours of six and eight in the morning, and the second
was the 6th of July, 1849, between four and five in the
We soon dropped anchor at Staten Island, where the
passengers had to be examined by the doctors, and were
then sent ashore.
I found that the ship was not going any nearer the
city, therefore began to plan how to ^escape. There
were seven of us who wanted to leave the ship, so we
watched our chance and soon got it. With the exception
of four or five cabin passengers, all were landed. The
captain was ashore with one boat, and one small boat
was towing astern, and the third boat was on the skids
overhead, where it would take some time to get her
down. While the officers were at dinner in the cabin,
one man managed to haul the boat from astern alongside pretty well forward, and we seven were quickly in
the boat, and with oars out we were soon on our way to
the city. About one hundred yards from the vessel, the
mate came running forward and sang out for us to come
back. We shouted back if he wanted the boat, he would
have to come ashore for her. We pulled on until we ran
into a dock where there was a flight of steps that led up
to the wharf. We landed, found a dray on which we
piled our luggage, and, when ready to start, who should
come along but the second mate, who had got the boat
down from overhead and had managed to get ashore!
He wanted to know where the boat was. We pointed
to her, and off we started after the dray that had by that
time got well away from the wharf with our kits. We
were all soon snugly hidden in a boarding-house.
I was ashore at last in my own country, but without
money, but I did not much mind that. I had been
through many a tight place without money, and thought
I could get to Boston somehow. 152
The boarding mistress was willing to keep me until I
could pay her. The second night ashore, while I stood
on the sidewalk in front of my boarding place, the captain and one of the cabin passengers came by. He
asked why I had run away.
I told him that I had been away seven years, and that
this was the first time that I had landed on American
soil, and that I wished to go home to Boston. He said
that he would like to have me go back with him.
I told the woman I was afraid the captain would come
back and take me to the ship. She gave me a quarter
to go to the theatre, which I did, but the captain did not
call again. It was at this boarding-house that I met my
old friend, the fifer, and leader of the band, whom I left
at the Rosemary Islands. He had gone into business in
New York, and was doing well and was happy.
After being around the boarding-house a few days, I
concluded to walk to Boston. A man who boarded at
the same house also wanted to get to Boston. He had
about two dollars, so we started together one morning to
walk to Boston by way of one of the two rivers, but did
not get far. I found that my travelling companion would
stop whenever we came to a place where he could get
liquor. He had taken on board more cargo than he
could carry with safety. Soon he could neither tell
where he was nor where he wanted to go. I finally left
him on his beam ends by the roadside, and turned back
for New York, where I arrived about noon. I never
saw my heavy-laden friend again.
On returning to my boarding-house I found one of
the boarders was going to ship in the United States service. He knew I wanted to go to Boston, and that I
had no money. He said I could ship in the service, get
three months' advance, and would be put on board of the
receiving  ship.     If we were not drafted to go to sea, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
after the three months had expired I could get my discharge, and then I would have money enough to get
home with.
I thought it a good idea, so shipped with him for three
years, and was soon on board of the " North Carolina,"
which was then the receiving ship, anchored near the
navy yard at Brooklyn. On board, I was told my outfit
would be sent to me in a few days. I began to look the
situation over, and did not like the appearance of things;
but I was on board and could not get ashore again. I was
told to go down into the doctor's room, for examination.
I found the doctor waiting for me, and was told to " strip."
He made me hop around like a savage in a war dance.
I hoped he would not pass me, having by that time got
sick of my venture. The doctor stamped me " O. K.,"
and sent me on deck. The next day my outfit came on
board, which consisted of a blue jacket and pants of the
same material, two pairs of duck pants, two white frocks
with wide collars, one blue shirt, tarpaulin hat and hammock, and one blanket. My three months' advance
came to thirty dollars, and the outfit to twenty-eight
dollars. I thought if I got my discharge in three months,
I would be no better off than before I had shipped. My
outfit could have been bought for half that sum at any
store; but I suppose the man who shipped me and furnished the outfit, like the fellow in Boston, thought he
would need a pretty margin, considering the risk he was
running. The New-Yorker, however, ran no risk, as he
got his money the day after the doctor passed me.
Is it any wonder that sailors run away, when they are
robbed in that manner ? I began there and then to lay
plans to get away. I saw a number of the sailors try to
swim ashore at night, but all were caught and brought
back. I dared not try that method, and knew that with
my experience, if I was patient, I would succeed.    I was 154
soon undeceived about getting my discharge after three
months, which would have paid for my advance. I would
have to stay the three years unless discharged through
disability; and when I came to think that I was only
a few hours' ride from home, and yet could not get
there and was likely soon to sail again for three years
without seeing any of my friends or knowing whether
they were alive or not, my thoughts made me very
miserable. Finally, seeing no opportunity to get away, I
wrote a letter to one of my brothers in Boston and told
him where I was, and that I expected to go to sea again
soon. I did -not write to him before because I had
been away seven years, and yet in all that time could not
raise money enough to take me from New York to Boston. It would not speak well for my ability as a financier,
nor did I want to be beholden to any one, even for the
small amount that would take me to Boston. I wrote
the letter, but did not know whether any of my relatives
were alive or not. When enlisting I had not given my
middle name. It was then my week to prepare the mess
for the cook, such as peeling potatoes and getting other
things ready, carrying them to the cook, and setting the
table for the men.
The following day after the letter was sent, about
ten o'clock, I was in the mess-room peeling potatoes
when I heard the boatswain sing out on deck above
my name with the middle letter in its proper place as
given in the letter. I knew at once that some of my
folks were on deck above. I dropped my potatoes at
once and ran up. There was my brother, whom I had
left at the store in Boston seven years before. I knew
him at a glance. He recognized me because he was expecting to see me; but I think had he met me in the
street he would not have known me. I had grown from
a lad of seventeen to a man of twenty-four, and was near SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
six feet tall and had grown a beard. I was glad to learn
that all of my folks were well, father, mother, brothers,
and an only sister.
Before my brother left for home again he offered the
lieutenant in charge forty dollars for my discharge ; but
the lieutenant said that the only way that he could get
my discharge would be to write to the Secretary of the
Navy at Washington. ' Before my brother left I told him
privately that he need not try to get my discharge. I
would take what sailors call " French leave." After my
brother's visit my mind was much easier.
About three days later a draft came from Washington
for three hundred men to man a new frigate, which was
at Norfolk, Va. She was going to the Straits of Gibraltar
or up the Mediterranean to remain three years. The
frigate's name was the " St. Lawrence." I was one of
the victims drafted. We were sent to Norfolk in two
schoonors, one half in each, and were soon on our way.
The schooner I was in, while beating out of the harbor
against a.head wind on the New York side, would run
so near to the wharf that, when she swung around in
tacking, her jjb-boom would pass over the wharf. I
thought this might be a chance to watch for my opportunity and run out along the boom and drop to the
wharf. When she swung her boom over it, I got forward and watched the occurrence, which was repeated
several times. I thought the chances were about ten to
one against dropping to the wharf. If I missed the
wharf I should be in a pickle and well salted, with a slim
chance of finding a place to land; while if picked up I
would be put on board again, to be constantly watched,
which would lessen any future chance that might occur,
;so finally let that idea pass out of my mind. 'We were
soon headed for Norfolk. On the way, the smallpox broke out on board.    Quite a number were taken
L *r
with it, so that when we arrived at Norfolk, instead of
putting us on the receiving ship "Pennsylvania," where
there were one thousand men, they put us into an old
hulk under quarantine, not far from the hospital on
shore. Every day one or more would be taken down
with the disease and would be carried ashore to the
hospital'. Having learned by that time all of the first
symptoms of the disease, I thought that by feigning sickness I could get ashore and might get away. One
morning I did not turn out of my hammock with the rest.
Presently the lieutenant in charge came along and said,
'' What is the matter with you ? "
I told him that I had pain in my head and back.
I Man the boat at once," said he, " and take this man
to the hospital."
He told me to get up and get into the boat. It is
needless to say that he did not have to repeat that order.
I was only too ready to get out of that old hulk. After
I arose my hammock was taken down and my effects
lashed up in it, and that soon followed me into the boat.
I was landed about two hundred yards from the hospital.
While going up the gravel walk which led from the
landing, one of the men wanted to know how I felt. I
replied that I felt badly; at the same time I could hardly
keep from indulging in a good hearty laugh.
I was marched into the front door, and had hardly got
inside when along came one of the doctors. He took
my nose with one hand and chin with the other, and
opened my mouth as a jockey would a horse's mouth to
see how old he was. He looked into .my mouth, then
said, " I don't see anything the matter with you."
I thought to myself, you have guessed right the first
time, doctor.
"Take him up to the upper hall," said he; and I was
marched up three long flights of stairs into a large hall. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
My hammock was put into a room at the end of the
hall, and the door was locked.
It will be necessary, to be understood, to give a diagram of this upper hall, since it was to be my prison for
a brief time, and also of the room from which I was to
make my escape to liberty again.
On arriving at the room I was shown an iron cot, and
was told to occupy it. I soon got into my humble couch,
and was very sick, apparently. My nurse offered to
bring me some broth, and wanted to know if I thought I
could eat anything. Prepared for that, I told him that I
cared for nothing but to be let alone. He left me and
went below, not long after returning with a bowl of nice
broth, which he set on the stand, telling me that if I felt
like eating to do so when I desired. He said he would
be up again at twelve, and retired at once.
After his footsteps had died away in the distance, I
raised my head from under the coverlet and took in the
situation. Before me was the steaming bowl of broth,
looking very tempting, but I dare not so much as taste
of it, lest the nurse notice it and report to the doctors.
It was my desire to remain pretty sick for a few days,
and when I did get well, to get out into the fresh air
very speedily, without help from the doctors or nurses.
The hall was about fifty feet long and twenty-five or
thirty wide, with a number of iron cot bedsteads on each
side, with windows some ten feet apart on each side.
The building was in the neighborhood of seventy feet
long and thirty feet wide. The upper floor was partitioned
off twenty feet from each end, with a passageway from
the large hall running down to each end of the building.
The part at the end of the hall, thus partitioned off, was
divided again into four small rooms, two on each side of
the narrow passageway, and had doors leading into
them from it.    There was  one  window  in  each room. -tHMUl
The other end of the building was similarly arranged,
and were called "dead rooms," where patients who
had died were laid out for burial. My hammock was
put into one of those little rooms and locked up.
Apparently I was pretty sick the first day, when any
one was near. I learned that if the patients on my floor
were not very sick, the doctors only came at nine in the
morning and at nine at night. I sipped a little of my
broth for supper and stirred about a little, that the doctor might think I had suffered a slight pain at least,
otherwise he might think me resting too quietly for a
sick man. He came at nine and asked a few questions',
and of course I was feeling badly. I found he did not
order any medicines, for which I felt very grateful.
After he left me I dropped asleep and dreamt of the
exploits of Jack Shepard, whose daring escape from
New York was related to me while in London. I kept
my couch the next morning until after nine, after which
I arose and began investigations. The hall contained
two other victims, by their appearance about as sick as
myself. I went to a window and found the upper part
was sashes with glass, while the lower part was little
panel doors. Each quarter panel swung into the hall,
and when shut could not be opened from the outside,
as there was neither thumb-catch nor knob. A piazza
ran the length of the building, and there were two
piazzas below, and the floor of the lower one was about
twelve feet from the ground. The courtyard enclosed
about one quarter of an acre of land. The wall around it
was fully twelve feet high. It ran under the end of the
piazza and against the building, then commenced at the
other corner and went on around. In this court were
some tents which were used for crazy folks. I took particular notice of a fig-tree that stood near the wall on the
opposite side of the court.    I measured it carefully with SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
my eye and believed that one could climb the tree, and
its limbs would support him until he got high enough to
reach the top of the wall. After this I retired to my
couch to think over matters at my leisure. I concluded
to eat a little that day, thinking I would need strength to
help me over the wall. I had played the sick man so
fine that I began to think perhaps I was sick, and did not
know it. At all events,- I did not wish to starve amid
After dinner I again began investigations. I found
it would be necessary to have a line of some kind,
and my hammock lashing would be just the thing, could
I get it. With that, the way was clear. How was I to
get it ?    It was locked in one of the little rooms.
It is said that where there is a will there is a way, and
it was evident I did not lack the will. Out on the piazza
I crept along until opposite the window of the room containing my luggage. I could plainly see my hammock
with others, but the doors in the window had no thumb-
latch. I returned to the door out of which I came on to
the piazza and looked the matter over. I found that
they were only about one inch thick, and the latch that
held them together was one of the old-fashioned kind
without the thumb-piece through the door. I took my
pocket knife, measured down from the bottom of the
glass to the bottom of the latch, and then went around
and along to the little room and measured the outside
from the glass down the required distance, ran my knife
through and used my knife handle for a thumb-piece. I
raised the latch and walked in without being challenged.
I found my hammock, stripped off its lashing, taking
what things were needed, rolled it up, and threw a
bundle over it to cover my tracks, should any one enter
the room before my departure. I returned to the piazza,
closed the door behind me and reached my cot undis-
jjtjj*- WW
covered. I stowed my hammock lashing and extra suit
along with myself under the coverlet in less time than it
takes to record it.
When the nurse came again I was so far convalescent
I could sit up a little. He thought I was getting along
nicely and would soon be out. I thought there was
likely to be more truth.than poetry in his remarks.
There was an invalid who had a cot not far from me
with whom I became acquainted during my rational
spells. I found that he also wished to get away. When
I found he was on the same sick list as myself and afflicted with the same malady, my heart went out to him.
I told him I had a plan about completed whereby we
could get outside of the high wall, if he wanted to make
the venture. He said he would be willing to face anything or any danger to get away, and I unfolded my
plans and he readily joined me. I told him how to get
his things out of the little room, and that I was going to
start that night. He went after his clothing, and I kept
pretty well under my blankets, while he was picking the
lock of the little room. If he was caught in the act and
I was found lounging about, I might be taken as an accomplice, yet I would help him as far as possible without endangering my own chances of escape. He got
what he wanted without trouble and stowed them under
his quilts. We arranged that we would go to bed that
night and keep pretty quiet until the doctor had been
around at nine, and then, after all was quiet, we would
steal out. All he had to do was to follow me, and I
would lead him outside of the wall. Once outside, he
must depend on his own resources. My course would
depend on circumstances, for I had explored no farther
than the outside of the court.
The night came and our regular broth with it. I left
nothing on the plate, but ate heartily and. cleared the SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
plate for the first time during my illness. I was soon
after in bed clad in two pairs of pants, three shirts, and
two pairs of socks. I did not intend to go to sleep ; but
I did, however, and when I awoke it was three o'clock in
the morning. When the doctor came and found me
sleeping so quietly, he thought he would not disturb my
slumbers. I jumped up at once and went to my friend's
cot and shook him a little and told him that it was three
o'clock. He turned over to whisper that some one had
just gone through the hall, and we would be detected.
I said no more, but went to my bed, took my hammock
lashing and shoes, went out to the corner of the piazza,
climbed over, and slid to the next below, then down the
next post, and so to the last floor, where I tied my little
rope to the post, stepped over and lowered myself down
to the yard. I some expected the crazy fellows who
were camping in those tents would make a racket, but
they did not; they were asleep. I went straight to the
tree. In the gloom of the night I mounted the frail
limbs until I could reach the top of the wall, then pulled
myself up, swinging first my legs and then my body over.
Suspended at arm's length I let go noiselessly, to pull
myself together in a potato patch. I hurried along by
the wall and turned the corner. A few rods farther took
me to the beach. I sat down, put on my shoes, and
found myself none the worse for my venture. Had any
one given me a thousand dollars, I would have not felt
better pleased than I did while sitting on that sandy
beach. The cool morning breeze across the water
seemed to be burdened with freedom ; but alas! I am
ashamed to acknowledge that there was no patriotism in
me that morning, and yet I sat nearly under the folds of
that emblem of liberty and freedom, the star spangled
banner. I was patriotic enough, but that flag had held
me in durance for  the  last  two  months, so near my l62
friends and home and yet so far, and I could not have
the privilege of going home for one short week. If my
adventures had been in the sixties instead of the forties,
my real patriotism would have prompted me to fight
until all the rebel rams that sailed were sunk or driven
from the seas. I consoled myself with the knowledge
that the country was at peace and resting on its laurels,
having just finished taming down Mexico. I had a desire myself about that time to be at peace with all mankind, and only wanted to be let alone.
I do not speak of these little episodes of running
away from ships because I feel .proud of such exploits,
since I confess I feel heartily ashamed to relate them;
but I started to give a correct and truthful account of
my experience during those seven years of my absence
from home, and my narrative would be incomplete without them.
From the start I was beguiled and stuffed with stories
of big fortunes that seldom come to a foremast hand,
with only a chance of getting one dollar out of one
hundred and sixty, and one whale out of fifty seen, or
chased, and a big bill for outfit awaiting to be paid at
home along with a sailor's board. When I realized all
these things I thought it more than human flesh could
bear. But all the ships, barks, and schooners I had
left were deserted with the sole idea of getting a step
toward home.
Although some of the steps might seem rather wild
and far from the mark, while others overreached it, I
found it necessary to keep stepping, until finally, after
leaving the antipodes, it took me just fifteen months to
get home. I do not approve of sailors running away if
they are treated as they should be, but if badly treated
do not blame them. It was my good fortune to get into
good ships with good officers on board; and as I was SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD
always ready and willing to do my duty, had no trouble,
and never left a vessel on account of any dislike of ship,
officers, or crew.
As I sat on the sand beach I saw the gray dawn in
the east, which reminded me that I had no time to spend
in reveries. I started up the beach; not far away I
came to a small creek that ran landward into the marsh.
I followed it to come'to a footbridge, which I passed
over and passed on up the beach. I soon came to
another creek, over which was another footbridge like
the first, only much longer; it was about two hundred
yards across. Crossing this I came to the little town of
Portsmouth, it then being broad daylight. A large flock
of geese sat on the bank, and it is needless for me to
say what they did. It was a cackling goose that saved
Rome once on a time. Disturbed so suddenly while taking
their early nap, they all together set up a great ado at
once. There was danger of their arousing the town. I
hurried past my tormentors, to find myself on the main
About half-way through the town an old colored man
came into the middle of the street." I spoke to him
gruffly to disarm him of suspicion, if he had any. A
transport lay a little way out in the harbor opposite the
town, lately arrived from Mexico, where I supposed she
was used during the Mexican War. I could see the tops
of the vessel's masts.
I asked the darky if there had been a boat on shore
that morning. I told him I belonged to that vessel, and
came ashore the night before on "liberty."
"No, massa," said he, "no boat come ashore this
morning yet."
"Well," said I, " I want to get aboard at once."
I pushed on through the town. The street ended at
a little jetty, where the passengers landed from a small 164
ferryboat which plied between Norfolk and Portsmouth.
She ran from one side to the other about every ten
minutes from daylight until late at night. I had taken
note of all that might be for or against me in my future
movements while on the old hulk. As I neared the jetty
I saw the boat about half-way over, and approaching. I
hurried along, knowing it would stop but a minute or
two before leaving for the other side.
As I came near the water, some three or four rods
from the street at my right, I saw a beef cart loaded with
beef; while on the water there loomed up before me,
hardly a quarter of a mile from the shore, one of the
largest ships Uncle Sam had built at that time, the
" Pennsylvania," used at that time as a receiving ship,
upon which I would have been put had I remained in
the hospital a week or so longer. The boat was alongside and the sailors were getting into her. They were
coming after the ship's daily supply of meat. I hurried
along to the jetty as the ferryboat ran up against it.
She had but one wagon on board, which drove off at
once, and I passed on board at the same time. The boat
pushed off, rapidly leaving the wharf, and I felt wonderfully relieved.
There was but one more guard to pass between myself and liberty, that liberty and freedom that I had so
longed for. One can better imagine my feelings at that
time than I can describe them.B My heart was filled with
joy, and hopes long deferred were now to be realized, as
I felt that the outer picket would be easily passed. The
only trouble I now feared was that some of the officers
or men from the receiving ship might be ashore at
Norfolk; and if I should happen to encounter them, in
man-o'-warsman's clothing, I doubted my ability to make
them believe what I might tell them. I was much gratified  that  no  one  awaited me.    Not far from where I ■n
landed a steamboat lay alongside a wharf. I boarded
her at once. I met the mate on deck, and I inquired if
that boat was going to Richmond.
He said she was.
I then told him that I wanted to go to Richmond, but
had no money, but I would do any kind of work on
board to pay for my passage.
He said that he could not make any bargain of that
sort, but I might wait until the captain came down.
I thanked him, and told him that I would do so.
While waiting, I observed the engineer at his engine
getting up steam. I had a chat with him about getting
to Richmond, and mentioned having spoken to the mate
for a chance to work my passage, and that he had referred
me to the captain. I never cast so much as a glance in
the direction of the receiving ship. If danger lurked in
that direction I did not want to see it, for fear I might be
tempted to jump on to the dock and use my legs. I was
aware to do so would attract attention, which I did not
care to do.
Finally the captain came aboard, and walking boldly
up to him, I said, " Captain, I understand that this boat
is going to Richmond."
"Yes," said he, "she is.    Do you want a passage?"
" Yes, Captain, I do, but have got no money to
pay for a passage. I am willing to work my passage, if
you will take me along."
He looked me over a little to remark, " We do not
make a practice of doing business that way."
" No, Captain," said I, " I did not suppose that you
did; but I am very anxious to go to Richmond, and
thought perhaps you might make an exception in my
case, as I am a seafaring man."
"I don't know about that," said he. He turned
and went into his cabin. S"5S=
I could see a twinkle in his eye as he so abruptly left
me. I concluded my clothing had betrayed me, and that
he was possibly afraid that if I was found on his boat
with his consent, he would be held liable for aiding me
to escape from the service.
I had determined to be a passenger on that boat, with
or without the captain's consent; and it made but little
difference whether deck or cabin passage. It would
have taken- more than the captain's eloquence or moral
suasion to deter me.    I went along to the engineer.
He wanted to know what the captain had said. I
told him.
" Well," said he, " you go into that coal bin below
and shovel coal up toward the furnace; I guess it will
be all right."
Down I went, like McGinty, and was right glad to get
below decks out of sight, stripped off my jacket and
went at that coal pile like an old miner.
I was not particular about the quantity of dust I got
on my hands or face; the more the better; if any one
came along and was inquisitive enough to look down the
hatch, he would think me one of the black coal heavers
or firemen.
I had been at work about half an hour when the
engine began to work. By the motion of the boat I
knew we were leaving the wharf. A few minutes later it
stopped. I knew by the stamping on deck that she had
run over to Portsmouth to take on passengers. I kept
up a tremendous racket in the coal bin. The boat started
again and moved down the river. I kept at work about
twenty minutes longer, when, thinking by the appearance
of things, that she was not going to land again, I went
on deck and looked toward the shore. About a quarter
of a mile off was the hospital that I had so recently
left; in fact, we were right opposite it, and around the
place not a soul was stirring. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
Musing to myself, I thought the early bird had got
ahead of them that time, and it was evident enough had
caught his liberty. I was beyond the lines of the enemy,
and took no further pains to conceal myself, but walked
boldly about the deck.
About nine o'clock the colored steward came around,
ringing a bell and shouting at the same time for all the
passengers to come aft to the captain's office and settle
their bills. I watched each man as he went to the office,
which was on deck, and finally saw the last man depart;
then thinking it my turn, marched boldly aft to the office
and presented myself. The captain looked up with a
half-smile on his face, and I looked as pleasant as possible
under the strained condition of things.
" Ah, you are here, are you ? "
" Yes, Captain, I am here and await your orders."
"Well, you have no money; I don't suppose that I
can get any. Go forward and do what you can to help
work the boat up to Richmond."
Thanking him, I obeyed and went forward.
All I did was to occasionally shift a box of chains to
one side of the boat or the other in order to trim her
when she turned the bend of the river, — a condition of
things at that time entirely satisfactory. I was fast leaving my late friends behind.
All the passengers went into the dining-saloon at
noon. The engineer, before going into his mess-room,
said he would see that I had some dinner.
The passengers had returned to the deck, when the
mate came to me and said, " Come, go down into the
saloon and get some dinner."
I thanked him and went below with the dignity of a
commodore and the gravity of a clergyman. I found a
long table, with all the delicacies of the Southern market.
Seeing so much food left after the passengers had dined,
II -__a
I thought perhaps they had anticipated my advent among
them and had made ample provision for a hungry uninvited guest. The waiters received me with much attention ; they were all politeness, and appeared to be trying each to outdo the other. When I got through my
dinner I left the cabin. On deck again, I went forward,
and soon after up came the engineer with a plate heaped
with beef, bread, and many different kinds of vegetables ;
indeed he brought more food for my dinner than I had
seen during the entire week at my late boarding-house
at Portsmouth.
" Why," said I, " who is all that food for? "
" For you," said he ; " sit down now and pitch right
in.    Don't be bashful, if you do you will get left."
I thought to myself that it would be a cold day when I
got left.
1 Well, man," said I, "I have dined in the saloon
with the captain."
"Is that so?"
"Yes, I have just returned from there."
" Well, if you want more, here it is in plenty."
" Yes, I see; but I thank you, I have had a plenty for
one meal."
He took the food down-stairs with a disappointed look
on his face.
I found the people in the South and Southern people
generally very liberal and courteous in the manner in
which they entertain their friends or guests, and it is all
done in a very modest and unassuming manner, which
affords much freedom and confidence of action. Under
such conditions, strangers meeting for the first time soon
become fast friends.
We went up the river and arrived in due time at our
journey's end, and hauled in alongside of the wharf. I
have forgotten the name of the place, at that time, 1848, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
a very small hamlet, located about three miles below
Richmond. That place was as near as vessels could get
to the city. All freight from Richmond down the river
James was taken there in barges and then shipped
on seagoing craft. Getting ashore very soon after the
steamer was made fast, I noticed a schooner not far from
where we landed, taking in flour and tobacco from a
barge alongside. On her stern was her name, " The Rainbow," of Boston. She was just the boat I was looking
for, and my arrival was most opportune. I went on
board of her at once, and met the captain on deck.
Without hesitating a moment or betraying any sign of
weakness, knowing I was a long way from Norfolk and
the old hulk, I addressed him, saying, " This is the captain, I believe."
" I see by the name of this craft that she belongs in
I Yes, she does."
I informed him that I belonged in Boston and had
been absent a number of years, and wanted to get back
home again, but having no money would like to work
my passage. I would help load and unload, also to work
the vessel during the trip.
" Well, all right, I will take you along.''
Accordingly I went to work, and we finished loading
the next day, and were soon towed down and out of the
river. It was, however, nearly two weeks before we got
out to sea on account of head winds, but we finally got
out and were two weeks more getting to Boston.
On the way, I told the mate the story of my leaving the
navy, believing as a brother sailor he would not expose
me. We hauled in alongside of Long Wharf, Boston,
about four in the afternoon. I was ashore again in Boston, and on the same wharf I had left seven years before
jm 170
nearly to a day, but without that three or four hundred
dollars that Mr. Drake said I would bring home with me.
I found myself in the same condition financially as when
I had left Boston.
After a tramp of seven years, searching for a fortune
which had not materialized, I recalled a remark I heard a
Chinaman make, in Australia, who had lost his last shilling at fan-tan, " Gone, just like woodbine climbs."
I was in Boston again, which was some consolation.
I looked around somewhat, thinking I might recognize
some of my old creditors in the crowd that gathered
around, but I failed to notice any faces I had seen before.
It was too late in the day to take out any of the cargo,
so I told the captain that I would return in the morning,
and started out to find my uncle, and succeeded without
much difficulty. The locality outwardly had not changed
during my absence, neither had it faded . from my
I found my uncle's home with the name on the door,
and rang the bell. He came to the door, but did "not
recognize me until I made myself known to him.
I was soon in the midst of his family, for he had
married after I left the country, and had a lively young
family growing up around him. I remained that night,
and the next morning went with my uncle to see one of
by brothers, a teamster, who kept a stand for his teams
not far from the house.
After a few minutes with him, I went to the wharf to
help unload, as agreed. All that day I worked hard, and
at night my brother came down and took me on his team
home with him to Charlestown. The next morning
I went again to the wharf to work discharging the
schooner. About four in the afternoon the cargo was
out of the hold, but two or three boxes of tobacco, when
along came a load of freight to be taken in.    The cap- SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
tain stopped hoisting out tobacco, and began to get ready
to take in the load of freight. Believing I had fulfilled
my agreement, I stopped work and went on to the dock.
"Where are you going? " said the captain.
" I am going home," I replied.
"You come back here and help me take this freight
" No, I did not agree to help load here. I will help
you take the tobacco out, but nothing further."
11 shall not do that until that freight is taken in."
"Well,", said I, "if that is the case, you can go
Straight to h—1," and started up the wharf.
He sang out as I was leaving, " You runaway from
a man-o'-war, I will have you arrested; I can get ten
dollars for the job."
I was very soon out of sight of him and his schooner,
nor did I ever see or hear of him after. The mate had
told him my story. He was one of the kind of men
who was not contented with all I had to give, but
wanted a little more. It is that class of captains that
make sailors run away. They get all the work out of
the men they can, then abuse them because they cannot
get more. Generally, when sailors find out these kind-
hearted fellows, they keep clear of them unless they are
compelled to ship. In the navy every man knows what
he has to do; it is true, however, that there is a deal to
do to keep the ship clean and in good condition, but
there are plenty to do it, which makes it easy work when
compared to the duties of sailors on merchantmen, where
there are barely men enough to handle the large ships.
Into the " service " is where I would advise all young
men to go who. desire to go to sea. There one is sure
to get his pay, with plenty of good food and good treatment. I have seen salts who had grown gray on the
sea who had got to believe they owned the ship they 172
were in, and would cling to their berths until the third
and fourth call before they would turn out. I have no
sympathy for such, always considering that when sailors
ship and go to sea every man on board is part and parcel
of that ship, as much so as the masts, spars, ropes, etc.,
and the success of the voyage and the safety of the ship
and crew are dependent on each one. All hands are frequently called when the ship may be in danger, and perhaps the man who never hurried to get on deck until
after a number of calls might have been the one, had he
been more lively, who would have saved the ship or some
of her spars. Knowing the dangers of the sea, I was
always at my post when duty called. How little sailors
realize when they go out to sea in a ship that they take
their lives into their own hands, and that the welfare of
all hands and the life of the ship are in their keeping! It
has been said that a sailor's life is a dog's life. I deny
the assertion, for I have spent some of the happiest days
of my life while in mid-ocean with the seas rolling mountains high in all directions, and again when the heavens
were overcast with murky clouds from whose blackness
shot forth a thousand thunderbolts at one discharge.
At such times the vessel would be illuminated as with a
torch at the top of every spar and mast, seemingly to
add a last touch to this terrible yet sublime scene.
While the ocean would seem to battle with heaven's
artillery, amid the confusion and war of the elements I
was happy and contented. Nevertheless, a sailor's life is
not all a dream of paradise, having walks strewn with
roses. The sailor is sorely tried when on the coast in
winter, while in a rigorous climate there is less danger
and less work in mid-ocean than near lancl.
As I have found it on the sea, a sailor is like a rat
in a trap, while the officers are standing outside with a
red-hot poker in each hand.    If the rat behaves himself SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
and don't squeal, he is unmolested ; if he squeals, he is
all wrong, and will soon find himself very much tangled
up with a rope's end. Thus it will be seen that there
are thorns as well as roses in the path of the sailor; if it
were not so, the voyage would be too monotonous for
human beings to endure.
Home again, safe and sound, without money, but in
good health, and knowing more than when leaving.
With no small opinion of myself, my head would, I think,
fill the plug hat that I wore when starting out. I have
seen many foreign lands, and also many big fishes in the
ocean, and a few little sharks of the deep, but my experience with men leads me to believe the man who wrote
that a whale swallowed Jonah made a mistake, and it
should have said that Jonah swallowed the whale;
for I have seen some men whom I think could not only
swallow a whale, but a good portion of the ocean thereafter to wash his whaleship down.
On the twelfth day of January, 1849, I went aboard
the old brig "Atilla," of Boston, which lay alongside
Long Wharf. She had been bought by a party of men
who wanted to go to California at the time the excitement raged in Boston, to go to the wonderful gold fields
of that far-off western country.
So many wanted to ship as sailors to go to California,
in order to get there without paying the large sum
charged for passage around Cape Horn or across the
isthmus, that we had to work for nothing, so to speak.
We were paid one dollar a month. The sailors had to
be paid something in order to evade the law, and I was
booked for a voyage of six months.
We soon pulled out into the srream. When the last
boat pushed alongside, who should appear in it but my
old friend and shipmate, Rufus Holmes, from Duxbury,
the mate of the whaleship I first went to sea in ! I had
not seen him since running away from that bark at
Geograph Bay in Australia. He was one of the owners
of the " Atilla," and was going to California. There
were over a hundred souls on board.    We soon weighed SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
anchor and pushed out to sea. We had bad weather
until we got off the coast and into a warmer climate.
The brig was commanded by a man named Baker, who
had been running on some of the packets across the Atlantic. It was said he had killed two or three men before taking command of this brig. We soon crossed the
line and were in a cooler climate again. We thought
some of going through the Straits of Magellan, but the
night before we reached the straits the captain said he
dreamed a dream which caused him to change his mind.
We could see the land, but after that dream, the captain
bore off and ran for the Cape. We soon rounded a bluff
that makes out from the Cape, and before we had got
fairly around, a head wind struck us and we were driven
off our course to the south full sixty degrees. After
some two or three weeks, we got around the Cape. We
had bad weather until we got into thirty or forty degrees
south latitude, where we had some pretty good and
some very warm weather, especially as we neared the
It is strange but true, however, that it is several degrees warmer at from six to eight degrees from the
line than it is on the line, or equator. We found
the temperature on the line to be one hundred degrees,
while ten degrees north it registered one hundred and
ten degrees.
We stopped a few hours at the Galapagos Islands,
which are located on and near the equator, and caught
many good fish, near the islands. We killed several
sea lions on land. To see those animals on shore from
the ships, they looked like tall nude savages or black
men, climbing up from the water over the rough broken
shore. In travelling they appear to raise their fore
parts so that they will stand some five or six feet high,
standing on their hinder parts and their flippers, then ■_■_■
sway sideways, and at the same time throw forward one
flipper, and then sway the other way and put the other
flipper forward. They make a very canny appearance
when travelling, while they get over the ground quite
The Galapagos Islands were the first land sighted after
leaving Cape Horn. We got on as fast as the wind
would permit. As we neared the coast of California it
became very foggy ; the captain had not been able to
get the sun, therefore did not know how near the coast
he was. One afternoon about four o'clock, when all
hands except the man at the wheel were below to get
supper, having finished my supper a little ahead of the
others I went on deck, and went forward and looked
over ahead of the vessel and over the water. I saw
long streams of kelp ; I knew at the first glance that it
was a kind of kelp that grew from the bottom to the
surface and trails many yards along on the water with the
tides and currents. Farther ahead, not more than two
or three hundred yards, the breakers were rolling up,
scattering the white foam in all directions. I ran aft to
the companionway which led to the cabin and sang out,
" Breakers ahead ! "
All hands were on deck in a trice, and also many of
the passengers.
The captain sang out to the man at the wheel, " Hard
up! hard up!" and " Wear ship!"
To "wear ship," as it is called, is to put the wheel up
toward the side of the ship the wind comes from. The
ship will pay off, while the yards are pulled in, so that
the sails are kept full of wind until the vessel gets around
to the other tack.
The captain thought to get her around far enough so
that he could sail back on the track he had come over.
We got around and started on the back track.    We had SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
177 ■(■■"■"■ag-
just started back, when the fog lifted, and hardly one
hundred yards away was a rock elevated above the water,
and quite as large as a good-sized house.
We had to pull as close to the wind as possible to
clear the rocks ahead. We had just cleared them, hidden
by the fog, on our way in. Behind us was a bluff of land
reaching high up and almost hanging over us, while between us and the land, not half a mile off, was a mass
of breakers and foaming waters. Had the alarm been
delayed a moment, we would have been inevitably
wrecked. It was on the 6th of July, 1848, that I saved
a ship in the fog on the coast of New York, and this
was the 6th of July, 1849, tnat I saved the brig and all
on board.
The captain, after looking over his charts, found that
we were opposite Monterey, about forty miles below San
Francisco. We ran along under easy sail that night,
and the next day ran into the harbor, and anchored in
front of the canvas town of San Francisco.
We made the trip in six months, less six days* The
"Edward Everett." sailed from Lewis Wharf the 13th of
January, 1849, and she dropped her anchor alongside us,
one half hour later, on the 6th of July, 1849. The harbor
was filled with vessels at that early date of the discovery of
gold. Each was black with men; they would all cheer
when a new arrival passed in and dropped anchor. I
soon got ashore. Mexican gold and silver appeared to
be scattered everywhere awaiting to be picked up by
any one who might happen to come along. Mexicans,
with blankets spread out on the street or anywhere, had
piles of gold and silver stacked high, while they, half
naked, were sitting beside their coin with a pack of
monte cards in their hands, making overtures for bets
as people passed along.
Farther up among the tents, through the open end of SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD. 179
the large tents, a large space inside was filled with a
mixed lot of humanity, as thick as they could stand. In
the centre of this crowd was a table, made by driving
into the ground four short posts with rough boards nailed
on the top. j Over that was thrown a blanket or cloth of
some kind. A man sat on each side, and between, on the
table, would be piled thousands of dollars in gold and
silver ; also many buckskin bags of different sizes and
shapes filled with gold dust. The favorite game played
at that time was a Mexican game called " monte."
The regular monte cards are marked differently from
the English ones. They throw out all spot cards over
the seven spot, thus the pack will contain only forty
instead of fifty-two. They shuffle the cards, then some
one cuts them, the dealer drawing two cards from the
bottom and laying them on the table some two feet apart,
one at his right and the other at his left, and calls for
bets on those two cards, — that one particular card of
those will appear first when the cards are turned face up
and drawn slowly off. When the bet is made, he pulls
out two more cards and places them right and left about
twelve inches from the others, to wait until some one
has bet on those cards. He turns up the cards and
begins to draw. Of course the card that comes first
which is like those laid out wins. That card is covered
over by some card that may have been drawn, or another
one is drawn from the deck ; the bets are made again.
Sometimes a card will lay on the table through the deal
without winning, since every card placed against it would
come first. It is a very fascinating game, and one by
which a fortune can be won or lost. It was common for
big gamblers to put down at one time as high as ten,
twenty, and sometimes fifty and one hundred thousand
dollars, which will be won or lost on the turn of the
cards.    If the winning card happens to be the first card 5R
in sight when the pack is turned up, whoever has the bet
on that card is only paid one half unless he cuts the
cards, when he gets paid in full.
There was but one framed house when I arrived in
Frisco. That was called the Parker House. I believe
this Parker was the same man who run the Boston Parker House at one time. I saw a pile t.f gold dust on the
counter of its bar that would fill a half-bushel measure.
Men, as they landed on the beach, just from the mines,
carried bags of gold dust so heavy that two had to carry
it on a pole between them. It was said that the Parker
House was let for twenty-five thousand dollars a month,
and that small tents were let for five thousand a month.
Board was twenty-four dollars a week, and wages for
any kind of a mechanic were twenty-five dollars a day.
A man might board himself easily for three or four dollars a week. There was plenty to eat, but the cost was
in preparing it. Anything in the shape of a man could
get three hundred dollars a month and found. Every
one appeared to .be rich and happy, and did not appear
to care what their fortune might be to-morrow.
A captain, whose crew had left him for the mines, came
ashore one day for some one to go on board and cook
for him. He saw a colored man who appeared to be
loafing. The captain approached him and said, " My
man, I want a cook to go aboard of that ship," — pointing
to the ship, — " and cook for. me. I will be the only one
beside yourself to cook for, so you see the work will not
be much, and I will give you three hundred dollars a
The old darky, looked at the captain with a broad grin
on his face, " Why, Captain, if you will come ashore and
cook for me, I will give you three hundred dollars a
Just  so  independent was everybody.    Another case SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
was of an officer who had come ashore. He wanted a
man near where he landed to carry his trunk to a tent
not more than five or six rods. He offered the man an
ounce of gold if he would carry the trunk.
The man said to the officer, " I will give you an ounce
if you will shoulder your own trunk and carry it where
you want it."
The officer picked up the trunk and was paid the ounce
for it.
There was a man-o'-war laying in the harbor at that
time. I think it was the " Ohio." I have forgotten the
commodore who, it was said, used the government
money that was on board to buy gold dust at eight dollars an ounce and ran down to some Mexican port and
sold it for sixteen dollars an ounce. In that way he
made a fortune speculating with Uncle Sam's money.
I have no doubt but it was true, as large amounts of
gold were sold at that time for eight dollars an ounce,
when its true value was from sixteen to eighteen dollars
an ounce. At the same time when it was said the commodore was speculating with the ship's money, two
sailors were rowing a middy ashore one night. They
found everybody was getting rich, while they, the poor
sailors, were not allowed ashore for fear they would run
away. The paltry pay they were getting, probably not
over twelve dollars a month, looked small indeed compared with what was being paid in other vessels sailing
out of port, which was three hundred dollars a month.
On their way ashore they threw the middy overboard and
tried to escape, but were recaptured and hung at the yard-
arm like dogs.
It was said that the site of the city of San Francisco
could have been bought the year before gold was discovered for a bottle of rum. Commodore Stockton, as
he was called, got hold of about all the land in that local- ■_■■
ity. He also got control of a large tract of land where
Stockton now stands. Many others got control of large
tracts of land, — land that is now worth many thousands of
John C. Fremont came pretty near getting a large
lot of land in the mineral district, it was said, by shifting
his boundaries. I think the rumor was true, as I have
seen the man who shifted the stakes in Mariposa County.
Many a California millionnaire got his start in that way.
I know of many who were but miners when they began,
who were not satisfied with their share in the claim, but
got a large part of their partners' share. When in a rich
claim, they would tell their partners to go to camp and
cook dinner, and they would remain and clear away the
dirt so that they would have a good chance to take out a
lot of gold in the afternoon. Just as soon as the partner
was out of sight, the fellow left behind would rob the
claim of all of the rich spots that he could find. Many a
poor honest fellow has been robbed in that way by unprincipled scoundrels, who only needed the bristles to
make them into hogs.
About all the sailing craft that came to San Francisco
at that time were owned by those who came there in
them. The craft were sold for what they would bring,
which was not much. The '* Edward Everett," which
cost forty thousand dollars in Boston, was sold to the
captain for thirteen thousand. The old brig I went out
in cost five thousand dollars, and sold for five hundred. These two were fair samples of the sales. It cost
about thirty dollars to get to Stockton or Sacramento, so
our captain and the owners found it cheaper to pay a
pilot five hundred dollars to take the brig to Stockton.
In this manner we got to Stockton for five hundred dollars, when to have paid on any other conveyance it would
have cost two thousand dollars.    The brig was then sold SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
at Stockton for five hundred dollars. At that place I
was paid off with six dollars, but I did not mind that, as I
was within seventy miles of El Dorado, and the balance
of the way could be walked in a very short time. At
Stockton there was one log-cabin and about a dozen
tents. The day after my arrival I started with two shipmates for the mines, going by the way of McKnight's
Ferry on the Stanislaus River.
After two days' hard travelling over the hot sand with
but little water, hardly enough for one swallow, we
reached the river, I being about as near choked as I ever
was. I quickly made for the water, laid myself down and
quenched my thirst. We camped at the river that night.
Lieut. U. S. Grant was stationed in that locality at
that time, where it was said that he had a squaw for
cook, which was much cheaper than paying three hundred dollars to men cooks as at Frisco.
The next morning we pushed on to soon reach what
was called " Wood's Diggings." The day after we arrived
I got an old pan and pick. I did not have money enough
to buy anything decent in the shape of tools, and a good
new pick was worth ten dollars; a crowbar three feet
long sold for ten dollars ; while a tin pan in which to
wash out the dirt, which was about the same as an old-
fashioned country milk pan, sold for twelve dollars.
It will be seen that after travelling seventy miles on
my six dollars, there was not much left to pay for tools.
I began picking around and found a little gold, but not
much, being a novice at the business, and after working
a day or two began to get discouraged. A man who
knew something about mining came along and told me I
was throwing all the gold away. He picked up a clod of
clay and broke it apart. Sure enough there was the
gold sticking in the clay which I had thrown away. I
worked at that place about a week and made perhaps ten
dollars. BPJ5SP
Hearing that on the Mokalunme River, which was some
twenty miles north, miners were making two and three
hundred dollars a day, I started for that place and
in two days arrived there. What I had heard was true,
men were making all the way from one to five hundred
dollars a day, but all of the good claims were taken up.
However, I picked around until I got enough to get me
an outfit of tools. One day I went on to a bar where I
thought no one else had any stakes and took out one pan
of dirt. While washing it out a man came along and
after he saw what I had got, said that he and others claimed
the bar, so was obliged to leave\ I have my doubts
whether he did or did not claim the bar until after he
saw in my pan nearly twenty dollars of nice river gold
about the size of wheat kernels, but I left at once.
The next day a man came in with a pack train of goods
which he dumped down in a pile. He wanted me to
build a rough shed over them. I consented to do it for
sixty-four dollars, and he ordered me to go ahead.
Hunting up a Scotch boy I knew, we built it in half a
day.    It was little else than a sunshade.
I went down the river one day about a mile, to a place
where the banks were so steep and ragged one could not
get farther down the stream without going around some
distance. I found a long, narrow place in the river, and
the banks were quite rich. To run a shovel into the
water and dig up a shovelful of sand, then run the
shovel through the water, the water would wash back the
sand and leave a yellow rim of gold around the entire
width of the shovel. At that particular point there was
no chance to turn the river, so could only content myself
with the knowledge that it was there and in plenty, and
that was all the good it did me.
A stony gulch emptied into the river at that place, the
bed of which was a ledge.    A rod or two back a tree had SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
blown down and completely filled the gulch with brush.
No one thought it worth while to try to get through the
brush, as it appeared that there was no dirt in the gulch
to hold gold, if any had ever been there ; but I found by
getting down on my hands and knees I could crawl
under the limbs. By that means I soon got above the
tree. I found a little dirt in the the bed of
the gulch, and dug out about two quarts and went up
the gulch about a rod to a little spring of water and
washed out my dirt, finding about seven dollars in gold.
I picked up a little nugget by the spring, yet, strange as
it may seem, I did not sink a hole in the gulch. I went
back to the little camp and showed the gold that I had
washed out, and told the boys where it was from.
I soon left the camp, going up the river, never to go
there again. A year or two after, meeting a man who
was at that little camp when I left, he told me that parties went where I washed out that seven dollars, and that
they found the gulch immensely rich. They found gold
throughout the length of the gulch, which was several
hundred yards long. Had I known enough to have sunk
a hole, I would have struck it, and could have worked
the gulch out, blocking the passage under the old tree-
top, and by that means closed all signs of entrance. I
could have camped there with plenty of water to drink
and with which to pan out gold, come out at night for
food, and returned again under the shadow of darkness.
When thinking of that lost opportunity it fills me with
regret to think how hard I have worked for one dollar a
day in this part of the world, when in that little gulch,
quiet and alone, I could have made from one hundred to
one thousand dollars a day, and not overworked either.
But this was only one of many lost opportunities.
I have often thought the reason why I did not appreciate money when in those rich gold fields was because 9P
. of spending so many of my younger days in Australia,
where we had no money, and therefore did not wish for
it so long as I had enough to pay my bills.
I have seen men making one hundred dollars a day
with plenty of provisions in camp, who would live on
thin gruel rather than pay for something more substantial.
I met three men on what was called Big Bar on the
Mokalunme River., They came out on the " Edward
Everett." One was named Sargent; he was one of the
Sargents who kept a hotel at the head of Lewis Wharf,
and was known as Brad Sargent. One of the others was
a negro cook, and the name of the third man I have for-
fotten. These three washed out eighteen hundred dollars on the banks of the river, which they divided, and
then the other two went away and left Sargent.
About that time I concluded to go over to the Stanislaus. Sargent asked that if I found anything that was
good to let him know and he would follow. After a
week's prospecting, liking the place, I went back to the
Mokalunme River. When I got within some two miles
of the little camp, I met Sargent. He had bought a jack
and was going to leave that part of the country. I continued on into camp and came to Sargent's old brush
shanty, and entered to see what he had left behind, and
found an empty candle box, as I supposed. When
opened I found inside a stocking which was very heavy.
Putting my hand inside, I found a yeast-powder box full
of fine gold dust such as was to be found on the banks of
the river. I knew at once that it was Sargent's share
of the eighteen hundred dollars, it being about six hundred dollars' worth, and that he had forgotten it. Putting it back into the stocking and into the box, I went off
a few rods to a tent which was used for a little bakery,
sat down on a log and waited for Sargent's return,    In
about ten minutes Sargent came over the hill running
like a race horse; going straight to the brush hut, he
soon came out and was over the hill and away out of sight,
never suspecting I had found his gold before his return.
In a day or two after I went to the Stanislaus River,
overtaking on the way a party of five from New York,
and bought into their outfit. They had a large tent and
a lot of provisions. We camped on a large bar a little
below the mouth of a stream called Coyote Creek. One
of the party became my partner. Winter was just then
setting in. In that part of California they get a good
deal of rain in winter, —what we would call a very rainy
summer in New England.
One day my partner and I went to a gulch and worked
all day with little success. At night I thought we had
better cross over into another little gulch that led down
to the bar near our tent. When we arrived, we found
that it had been worked a little. We started down
toward home, and soon came to where the bed rock had
been washed bare, with several rough points rising one
or two feet above the banks of the gulch. I took my
knife and began to pick out the dirt from the crevices,
soon picking out a nugget of gold; and keeping on, in
about ten minutes, had about one hundred dollars in six
pieces of gold. We went home, and did not go back to
the place again until quite a time later. We thought
then that we had obtained all there was. Winter had set
in, which gave the miners plenty of water in all the
gulches. We worked around in different places, and
made about a hundred dollars apiece a week. There was
a ferry about a mile above our camp, run by an Englishman named Bolles. He kept a store also, and had a
young native with him that he had taken along from some
island that the ship stopped at in which he came from
Australia to California. !f_B
To turn back a little, three men came into camp who
were new arrivals in the country, and perfectly green.
They built themselves a brush shanty about half-way
between our camp and the ferry, five or six rods from the
banks of the river. A few days after we noticed, as we
passed, that they had a rocker, such as was used to wash
gold at that time, placed near the river, from which they
bailed water to wash the dirt from a little pile by the
side of them. When any one asked them how their dirt
was paying, they would say, " Not very well." Perhaps
they would show a dollar or two, and say that that was all
they had got out of a small mound of dirt that was by their
side. Sometimes some fellow would try a pan of their
dirt, in order to be more fully convinced than to take the
man's word. He would always get very little gold, perhaps twenty-five cents, which at that time was considered
next to nothing. These three men worked in the above
manner for three weeks.
I noticed that the little pile of dirt appeared to look
about the same every time that I passed it, and yet I
thought nothing strange, nor did any of the others.
One Sunday the native at the store happened to
pass into a thick lot of underbrush, which resembled
barberry-bushes, about five or six rods back of these
three fellows' brush hut. The boy noticed that the
ground was considerably dug up, and a good deal appeared to have been carried away. He began to pick
around near the bed rock, which had been stripped bare,
and very soon dug out two ounces of handsome coarse
river gold. He then ran to the store as fast as his legs
would carry him. The story that the fellow told and the
gold that he had were convincing to all. The news
spread like wildfire. All hands were soon on the run,
and there were some very long steps taken to see who
would get there first.    Unfortunately for me, I was down SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
at my own tent at the time. When I arrived the best
claims were staked. At that early day miners were
allowed only fifteen feet square for a claim. I finally
got hold of ground and stuck down my stakes. Those
three men had kept one man at the river washing out
dirt that they knew had but very little gold in it. They
kept this man working at that worthless stuff as a blind,
while the others were concealed in those bushes taking
out a fortune, which they succeeded in doing. I went
into their brush hut the day after; and they were all
making buckskin bags the size of a man's arm and some
ten inches long. How many of those bags they made I
do not know, but they sold their effects and left the
I bought a pair of common cowhide boots of them,
and paid ten dollars for them. Boots at that time were
worth one hundred dollars, but they only charged me
ten. I took them to camp, knowing one of my camp-
mates wanted a pair. The storekeeper offered me four
ounces of gold for them, which was equal to sixty-four
dollars, but I would not let him have them, but sold
them to my camp-mate for sixteen dollars, thinking six
dollars enough for me to make on them, having only
carried them about half a mile. I knew that if my companion had to buy them of the storekeeper, he would
have to pay one hundred dollars for them, which he
could not afford to do.
A man called at our tent one day who had on a pair
of long-legged boots, the heel of one of which was
ripped off some four inches. I offered to mend them
for him, and he said that if I would he would give me
four dollars. Taking the boot I went to work with a
common" table fork and some twine, and in less than
half an hour had the boot mended good as new and
received my money. ^_-
On the bar where I was camped stood an old log-
cabin built by a man named Murphy, who used to trade
with the Indians. His stock in trade consisted of blankets
and many small trinkets, and some provisions, such as
flour, sugar, raisins, etc. His books at night would
show many pounds of gold from the day's sales instead
of ounces or dollars. It was said that an Indian came
to him one day with a nugget of gold which was too
heavy to be weighed with his gold scales; the Indian
wanted raisins for it. Mr. Murphy was not long in
devising a plan to weigh the gold. He put the gold
into a water bucket and took a box of raisins and tied a
string around it, and then balanced a crowbar across a
log and hung the box of raisins to one end and the
bucket with the gold to the other and made them balance.
The Indian was satisfied that he had got good measure,
and left the camp rejoicing.
The traders used always to take double weight in gold
from the Indians, and quite often from the miners, as
many of them at that time did not know a one-ounce
from a two-ounce weight. Few had ever even seen a
pair of gold scales until they came to California, so were
easily imposed on.
The Indians, after mixing with the miners, began to
catch on to Mr. Murphy's little game, so when they found
a large lump of gold they would chip off a little piece
and bring that in and sell it, and after they had used
what it bought they would chip off another piece and sell
it, and continue in that way until the piece was disposed
of. Many a man who made a fortune in trading in those
days in California got his start in that way. Not content
with a good thing, they wanted the whole earth and
thought they had a clear claim to it. This man Murphy
made several fortunes and lost them playing monte.
It was said that at some of the little towns on the coast SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD LAD.
he bet one hundred thousand dollars on one card. He
was too drunk to look after his bet, and the gamblers
drew the man's winning card, and kept on drawing until
their card came, and then took the stakes. Parties looking on saw the cheat, but dared not mention it, since the
gamblers had their six-shooters by their sides on the
table, and would have used them freely at the first word
against them.    Murphy died later on, a poor man.
A man named Robinson started a store in our settlement. He used to cheat the Indians with double weights,
as I have seen him do many a time. He made about
sixty thousand dollars, and then went home to the South.
He was formerly a Northern man, but settled in the
South. I met a soldier of the late war who knew him.
He said that Robinson bought negroes with the money
that he got in California, and during the war kept a
sutler's store and would take all the Southern script that
he could get hold of; was said that our boys supplied him with a goodly lot. . After the war he went back
to California again, but I presume found it rather dry
picking, with no Indians to help him to another fortune.
When in California the first time, Mr. Robinson built
the first ferry across the river at that point, I having
sawed the planks for the boat at twelve dollars a day and
board. That ferry later on became the principal passage
across the Stanislaus River.
Another man kept a store about a mile above this big
bar, whose name I need not mention here, since a very
recent wonderful discovery in that immediate neighborhood might connect him with an uncanny business; besides, it may be possible that he has good and respectable
connections yet alive who would regret to know that he
might have been connected with such unlawful business.
According to his account of himself, he was an old
pirate captain.    He boasted of his deeds of daring, of 192
the fights he used to have, and how many men he had
slaughtered. He always had a rough lot around his
place; he also traded with Indians in the same manner
other traders did. After the mines began to fail he left
the camp.
I left the camp in the early spring of 1852 to go to
Australia in 1853, where I spent a year in the mines, and
returned home by the way of South America, when,
after four months' stay at home, I returned again to California. This time I took a brother along, and when we
arrived at Stockton we started on foot for Angel's Camp.
The camp was in the mining district about seventy miles
away. We took a road that led up by Bear Mountain.
The second night out brought us into the foothills at the
extreme edge of the plains. There we found a rudely
built cabin. I went to the door, opened it and looked in,
and before me was the old pirate captain and two or
three rough-looking fellows. He appeared pleased to
see me and invited us in. I told him we were on our
way to the mines, and he invited us to remain with him
over night, and we concluded to do so. After dark we
spread our blankets on the ground, for there were no
bunks or bedsteads in the place. I did not feel just right,
knowing'what the man had been, and yet I knew that he
must be aware that we could not have much money
about us, as I told him that we had but one dollar when
we landed in Stockton. We got to sleep after a while,
tired with our long tramp over a hot and sandy road.
We slept soundly until about midnight, when we were
awakened by half a dozen rough-looking fellows who
had just entered. They appeared to be at home, and
when they espied an extra bed on the ground, they were
more guarded. They had looked us over a little, and
soon camped down on the ground. I felt a little nervous,
but kept quiet and thought I would keep awake and see SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
how things turned out. I did not mean to be caught
napping if they meant us any harm. I waited and
watched anxiously for daylight to shine through the one
little window, and at the first glimpse of day we were up
and ready for the road again. I told our host, whom I
found also awake, that we wanted to reach Angel's Camp
that day. We thanked him for his hospitality, and left to
arrive safely at Angel's. Camp that afternoon.
A number of years after this event there was discovered
in California down in the foothills near the plains, and
also near an old cabin, a well filled with human skeletons.
Reading that, my mind went back in a moment to my
old friend the pirate captain, and I saw the whole scene
over again. I also read the account of finding naked
skeletons in the marble cave in Toulumne County. According to the locality as reported, it could not have
been much over one mile above this man's store. There
were many men about that place from Australia who had
been convicts, and had either made their escape or had
served out their time and come to California. Now it
seems to me that the two pits containing human bones
and the pirate captain were somehow connected. To
account for the absence of remnants of clothing in the
marble cave is very easy, when we take in the situation
of 1848 and 1849. Anything in the shape of boots or
clothing, either old or new, was worth nearly its
weight in gold, and no one would think of asking a man
where he got his boots or clothing or whether they were
old or new. Again, I have seen many Indians, some
with a vest on and nothing else, and others with a pair
of pants, while others had one boot on one foot and a
hat on their head, not knowing, neither caring, where
they came from. The Digger Indians in that part of the
country did not appear to be a people who ever went to
war among themselves, therefore I do not think those THE  ADVENTURES OF  A
bones belonged to that tribe ; and yet, if they were remains of Indians, another theory would explain the cause
of their bones being found in the cave. A few years
ago the miners, who were working their claims under
Table Mountain, which is about one mile "from marble
cave, dug up a human skull in a good state of preservation. Now Table Mountain stands on the bed of an
ancient river which undoubtedly was the old course of the
Stanislaus. The river had been driven from its course
by a tremendous flow of matter which must have flowed
from some volcanic source above; the result being to
dam the river and cause large lakes to be formed, which
would eventually break their way through the walls
which held them, and when once liberated the water
would soon cut a new channel. It must have been very
many centuries since, for the present channel of the
river Stanislaus is some five hundred feet below the old
bed under Table Mountain. The country being deluged
with fire and water, the natives would think the world
was to be burned up, and would flee for some place of
shelter, and knowing of the cave would plunge into it,
taking their chances of getting out again. It is evident
there were Indians inhabited the land at the time of the
filling of the old river bed. The finding of the skull
beneath the mountain is evidence and proves that bones
might preserve their general contour for an indefinite
period in a dry cave.
But to return to my narrative. In company with another party I tried to turn a creek a little below, where rich
diggings had been found and worked out, thinking the
bed of the creek at that point must be rich. All the
other miners had left the camp except us two. We worked
about a week, when, finding that there was too much
water to contend with, we gave it up, and I went to
Sonora.    Later I heard that others turned the creek at SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
that point, and very soon took out thirty thousand dollars.
Arriving at Sonora, I put up at a cabin kept by a man*
whom they called Josh Holden, and it was said that he
was an old Southern steamboat gambler. The first man
that I had occasion to speak to was the notorious Billy
Mulligan, whom the vigilant committees had such a tussle
with in later years in San Francisco; but he was an honest, law-abiding young man when I first met him, so
much so that I often trusted all my gold with him, and
he never betrayed my confidence. After a while he got
into bad company and commenced gambling, going from
bad to worse.
There was plenty of rich ground both in and near the
town. Some parties struck it rich when digging their
cellars; but strange to relate, I thought they were not
rich enough for me. Every camp, if only a week old,
looked to a new arrival as if it was all worked out. Everybody appeared to be unsatisfied unless he happened
to be one of the first to stake a claim at a new discovery.
If a man was seen sticking a stake or digging with a pick
at any little- distance away from the mines that were being
worked, all hands would get out of their holes, catch up
a pick and a shovel, and start on the run for the fellow.
When they got up to him they would commence to mark
out claims all around him, and after they had staked out
a few hundred claims, and had the fellow completely
hedged in, they would approach him and ask him how it
panned out. After all, the man might only have been
digging out a stone to put into his chimney or throw at a
bird. I noticed that the miners got into the habit in
Australia of running after all new finds; but there was
'less shooting in Australia, notwithstanding that it was full
of old convicts. There were plenty of mounted police
to look after matters, while in California each man was
his own police, judge, and jury.    Everybody wanted the ■^
richest claim, and would often leave a rich claim and stake
out a.worthless one, and some one else would take the
abandoned claim and take out a fortune.
There were many in that country in the early days who
wanted to stake out the whole country and would hold it
if they could. I have seen many of them who were
worse than any brigands that ever infested any country,
and yet at that time there was plenty for all to be obtained for digging for it in an honest way. But no matter how refined and law abiding men may be at home,
turn them loose in a new country like California in 1849,
away from law and order, with no restraint over them, and
they soon become devils incarnate. Although there were
some noble exceptions, this was generally the case. I
have been driven away from many a rich claim which
legally belonged to me, but never carried a pistol, as the
majority of the miners did. I thought- it the better part
of valor to take water when I had a good navy revolver
stuck under my nose, and at the same time saw a large
Texas dirk knife slowly slipping from a fellow's boot; but
some of those fellows would sometimes meet with the
wrong man, and get loaded with bullets. I think it well
that I did not carry weapons, since I might have let daylight through a number that I met with. I did not go to
that country on a hunting tour, so never had any serious
trouble with any one. I found it quite as easy to keep
out of trouble, as to get out after getting into it.
Sometimes two men would have a rough-and-tumble
fight, which would start the whole camp on the run.
Some of them would be shouting, " Hang him! " and when
they came up would inquire what the fellow had done.
My first night in Sonora had something to do with
my keeping away from wrangling crowds who used
pistols freely. While in Mr. Holden's cabin a little after
dark, we heard a riot going on not far away.    A number SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
of shots were fired. Young Mulligan said to me, " Come,
let us go down and see what is up." We found the
trouble was in a large gaming tent. Started in, I passed
many who seemed to be in a great hurry to get out, and
I noticed that several shots were cracking painfully near
me, but I pushed on inside, which was packed with seething humanity, each trying to see who would be the first
to get out. Jammed into the middle of the group was a
savage-looking Mexican, with a large knife twenty inches
long. He was shouting at the top of his voice in his
own language. At the farther end of the tent was a
table, and a man who held a candle beside it, bending
over a young man who was laying on his back on the
table. The young man was in great distress and pain.
Pushing my way through the crowd to the table where
the young man lay, I stumbled over the bodies of a few
dead men who lay stretched on the floor. On reaching
the table I learned that the young man had been shot in
the lung, and that the man at his side was a doctor, and
I held the candle while he probed the wound for the bullet, but the wounded man soon died. The gamblers
had got into a dispute over their games, and had mounted
the tables and opened fire right and left. I concluded
that if gamblers were so very careless as to where they
threw their lead, it was best to keep clear of them. This
young man who lay on the table had nothing to do with
the trouble, but got shot from being present. The Mexican with the long knife was his partner, and he was on
the hunt for the man that shot him, and this caused the
stampede. Each man thought himself liable to become
the Mexican's victim.
A day or two later there was a party formed to go up
into the mountains, and I joined them. About a dozen
of us started with pack animals loaded with supplies and
tools.    We passed up through what was later known as -x__
Columbia Mining Camp, which contained at that time gold
enough to have made us all rich, but we did not know it
was there. We finally came to a place called MacDon-
ald's Flats, which was paying well. Going up to one
tent where two or three men were standing, who should
be standing there but my old shipmate, the second mate
of the old bark " Kingston," of Fairhaven, from which
I had run away at Hobartstown; Van Dieman's Land, in
1846? He had given up whaling and had taken to mining, and he advised me to stop with him, but being
bound for the mountains nothing would stop me. We
encountered snow which had lain on the ground apparently many years, and was as solid as the ground beneath
it. We camped one night on the snow, and a big snowstorm came on before morning. After daylight we dug
ourselves out and took the back track for a more
congenial climate, which, in travelling through the
country, we soon found. Below the snow line wre saw
some very large trees. One sugar pine which had
blown down was quite twelve feet in diameter at the
but. We tried to get on top of it, and to do so had
to go about one hundred feet to the first limbs, and by
mounting the limbs managed to get on top of the log.
It was one of the handsomest logs that I ever saw, and
would have made many thousand feet of clear lumber.
It seemed wicked that it was destined to rot where it lay,
or become food for the brush fires. I paced a small
pine that was about two feet at the but which had been
blown down and from the but to the top was seventy-
three paces. I had lingered behind a little, and to catch
up cut across by a near way to reach the party. 2 I saw
ahead of me what appeared to be a Mexican corral, which
was made by driving posts into the ground in a large
circle. On coming up to it I found on investigation that
the posts were the pillars or ribs that are found on those SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
big trees that were discovered standing two years later.
Passing around the pillars or roots, it measured twenty
paces, which would make the distance through twenty
feet. I called the attention of our party to them when I
overtook them, but they were so preoccupied with the
object of our journey they did not think it worth while
to investigate. I believe it to be a fact that I was the
first white man that discovered that gigantic trees existed
in those mountains, although a hunter who was hunting
for the Union Water Company, who were putting water
into Murphy's Camp, found two standing, two years after
my find. Of the two trees found by Lorenzo Dow, that
being the hunter's name, one was cut down and a ten-
pin alley cut on the upper side of the trunk, and the
stump was levelled off and used as a dance hall. The
bark was taken off the other up to the first limb, one
hundred feet, and at that height the trunk was twelve
feet in diameter. The first limb was four feet through.
It took several men six weeks to cut one of these trees
down. They cut it down about three feet above the
ground by boring it with a long auger. It took a week
to fell it after it first began to lean and to crack. Every
new hole would weaken it a little, until it finally went to-
the ground amid cheers and a tremendous crash, which.
resounded throughout the silent forest. The stump
measured in solid wood twenty-seven feet, but when
planed off, the ribs boarded ov-fr the total length across
the stump, was thirty-three feet.
Capt. Hunford, the president of the Union Water
Company, had the bark off to the height of a hundred
feet. To accomplish it they bored holes in some twenty
inches and drove in trunnels and continued up in a spiral
form, thus passing several times around the tree in reaching the hundred feet. Then a tackle was attached to
the big limb, and the bark taken off in sections.    Thirty TP-J
feet of the bark was sent to New York and set up, but
people could not believe that it represented the size of
one tree; they thought the bark had been taken from
different trees. The bark was eighteen inches thick. A
small section of the bark of that tree was to be seen in
the old Scollay House in Scollay Square, before the old
building was torn down. One man fell from the big
limb to the ground, one hundred feet, but escaped with
only a broken thigh, as there was about twenty inches of
moss covered the ground, which broke his fall.
Leaving the mountains, we were again soon camped
on MacDonald's Flat. The next morning, after our return, a lot of miners were gathered around a tent, and
going over to see what was up, I looked inside, and there
lay a man that was almost entirely covered with court-
plaster. He had been attacked in his bed that night by
two Mexicans whom he had taken in and befriended.
They first threw a large stone on to his head, which
aroused him; and as he sprang up they went at him
with their knives. When they made a thrust at him, he
would clinch the knives right and left, and of course they
would draw back the knifes and make another stab ; this
work was continued until both hands were cut into a
shapeless mass, and his body had hundreds of cuts on it.
He finally broke away from them and got into camp
nearly dead from the loss of blood, but none of his
wounds proved fatal. This was a sample occurrence in
the diggings at that time.
Most of the camp had gone down a mile or two below
to new diggings that had been found while I was in the
mountains, and following them down I soon met my
shipmate, who had got a rich claim. He said that he
was the second man who staked a claim in that camp, and
if I had taken his advice I might have been a third to
stake a claim by his side, out of which had been taken
one nugget that weighed four pounds. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
This camp was called Columbia, which became a celebrated one on account of its extensive mining industry.
The first man who discovered gold in that camp was a
Mexican, who struck in a little gulch that led down to the
main flat. The news soon spread like a forest fire. The
miners found later on that the little gulch had furnished
the gold not only for that immediate camp, but many
others farther below. The old channel of the Stanislaus
was traced from Table Mountain up. the whole length of
Columbia Flat, which was very rich in gold. The pent-
up waters in the old bed beneath Table Mountain had
broken through the crust that held them and cut a
channel down the sides and into many gulches, and from
these into creeks which emptied into the river miles below. In this manner the gold was carried from the
fountain head, which was near that little gulch, through
many different channels, where thousands and tens of
thousands of dollars' worth of gold had lodged in the
beds and on the banks where it was found by the miners.
Thus it will readily be seen how many camps were supplied from Columbia Gulch.
I soon left that camp, thinking that all the best claims
were staked up, while it was later proven that there were
many hundred claims unstaked, and that, too, right
at our feet. In leaving the camp I travelled fully a mile
over the old river bed, which run under Table Mountain.
It might truly be said that I was walking on a pavement
of gold while hunting for gold, and did not know enough
to stoop and pick it up ; but I was not the only one who
did not know when he had a good thing, for there were
many who had the same experience.
I have known diggings to be discovered by seeing a
nugget of several pounds' weight sticking out of the
ground that a stage wheel had turned out,, in a road that
had  been  used  as  a  public  highway for three  years. mm
That being a  fact, there was  some  excuse for me and
perhaps for others.
Next I found myself back at my old camp at the ferry,
and found that things were wonderfully changed in a few
months. The ground where I had camped, and over
which I had many times tramped in search of gold, was
completely worked over, and many claims had yielded
fortunes to the owners. Here I picked around in different places, but could not make it pan out much, so went
to work on a bar on the river, a little above where the
old pirate captain's tent stood. A little above where I
was working were a lot of what I first thought were Indians, but when I went in amongst them soon found
there were no Indians among them. A white man, not.i
far off, was sitting near a little tent about large enough
to hold one man. Upon approaching him, I saw that he
was an Englishman, and a man of some note. He had
that dignified, aristrocratic look about him that one will
always see in a well-bred English gentleman. He wanted
to know what he could do for me. I replied aothing in
particular, unless it was to tell me who those black, curly
headed people were that were mining there, saying that I
I had seen people who very much resembled them before. He wanted to know where I had seen such natives, and I told him at the Fiji Islands. He said that
they came from that place.
Learning that I had been at the Fiji Islands and had
spent several years in Australia, he became quite communicative, and related to me why he had the natives
mining for him. Possibly he thought I had heard about
him when in Australia; and since there are always two
sides to every story, I might have heard the bad side of
his experience in that country. He stated that he went
out to Australia with half a million pounds sterling. He
snpposed that the people in the colonies were English, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
and it would be quite as easy to get along with them as
it was in England ; in other words, could be moulded at
the will and pleasure of their masters, the rich.
He bought a large lot of land not far from Sydney,
and built up quite a town which he called Boydstown,
after his own name, but through some mistakes and the
high price of labor he did not prosper, and finally his
property got run down, while things went from bad to
worse. About that time the California fever was raging
in Australia. Having a yacht and a few hundred pounds,
he thought he would run down to the Fiji Islands and
take on board a few natives and go to California and try
and regain his fortune at mining. On arriving at California he left his yacht in charge of a part of his crew,
and came with the rest and some natives to the mining
district, and located on that bar on the Stanislaus.
After that meeting I called quite often on him, at his
earnest desire. He wanted to talk over the matter of
his misfortunes in Australia, since I had a good deal of
sympathy for him. On my visits he always reached for
his bottle of good old English brandy, which he claimed
was older than himself, and he was near about seventy
years old.
Hearing of good diggings that had been discovered at
Carson's Creek, I left my friend, Capt. Boyd, behind with
his cannibals.
A few years later, when in Australia, the other side of
the old man's story was related to me, as well as the fate
that befell him after he-left California on his way back to
Sydney again.
He did build a town, as he said; but the reason why he
did not prosper was because he tried to bring wages
down to one sixpence a day for labor, and the working
class would not stand such reduction in a country
where there was  as  much freedom  as  in  the United 204 THE   ADVENTURES   OF  A
States to all those who were not held under bond. The
result was that the old man was boycotted. When he
left California he had about thirty thousand dollars in
gold. He landed his natives at the Fiji Islands and
started for Sydney. On the way his crew murdered him,
threw his body overboard, took the yacht and gold and
left for parts unknown. Such was believed to be his fate
from accounts learned later.
At Carson's Creek I found on my arrival a lively lot of
miners putting in their best work at mining, some sinking shafts, while others were scooping out the rich gravel
and clay from the bottom of their sunken shafts. As in
other camps, many shafts had been sunk which had not
struck pay dirt and were abandoned. I strolled about
awhile, and finally went into one of the abandoned pits,
and picked a little with my knife and found some gold,
but not enough to pay, but noticed a quartz bowlder at
one side of the shaft. At first I thought I would remove
it, and could have done so after ten minutes' work, but
changed my mind, and leaving the shaft went down below to where a party of miners had sunk a shaft and
struck water, and were pumping the water out which
flowed down below them and over some unoccupied
ground. Here I began to stake a claim. Before getting
my stakes down I concluded that the water from the
claim above would g'we me much trouble, so gave up the
idea and staked a claim at a place which was clear of
water. About that time I met five men with whom I was
acquainted, and they wanted me to stake six claims and
all go in together. I staked six claims, each fifteen feet
square, and staked them all in a line above the party who
had struck water as before stated. We worked three at
a time on one claim, while in the mean time the other
three went where they pleased. When it was my day
off I worked on the other claim I had staked when
Two or three days after leaving that as I thought ban
shaft where the quartz bowlder was, another man went
into the shaft and in a very short time dug out the
bowlder and scooped up three thousand dollars beneath it.
After a while I got my shaft down about four feet and
struck a point of the bed rock, then dug down by the
side of it and soon came to water. In a crevice on the
slope I found a little nugget worth  about one  dollar.
Just then one of our company's men at the shaft came
to me and said that they had struck bottom, and wanted
me to try the dirt. I took out a pan of the gravel and
took it to my shaft and washed it out, but found no gold;
then returned, took another pan at the same place, but a
little deeper, and washed it out and got about forty
dollars. I left my wet hole at once, and all hands
went to work in the shaft where there was gold apparently in plenty. To make a long story short, we took
out five thousand dollars in a short time, and then taking
a pack of cards, one was dealt to each with the understanding that whoever got the ace of hearts should
have the claim. The man who won it sold it for one
hundred dollars.
Later on there were three thousand dollars taken out
of those claims.
About the time we quitted working the claims a blacksmith from San Francisco came into camp who had never
seen a mine before. The party whose water I had been
afraid of had ceased to pump the water, and the ground
was dry below his claim. This blacksmith hired a man
and stuck his stakes where I ought to have first stuck
mine, on the ground that had been flowed over. The
man and his helper put their shaft down in two days
some eight feet deep. The blacksmith then discharged
his man, and in less than two weeks from the time that 206
he landed in camp he left it with ten thousand dollars,
and having many nuggets as large as a man's fist. He
took out one afternoon thirteen pounds of gold, and
brought it up to his tent in his boot, having picked it all
out, not washing a pan of dirt. One man washed one
pan of gravel for him to see what it would pan out, and
got one hundred dollars. After he got what he could
pick out with his knife, he sold his claim for twelve hundred dollars, and left camp for Frisco. This claim was
near the creek. Just above this claim and in the banks
of the creek was a crevice which run back at right angle
from the creek. This man's big strike set all the miners
to crowding as near to him as they could. The result
was they got into that crevice where they struck paying
dirt to the tune of thirty thousand dollars, in about that
number of feet along that crevice, and to my disgust
right through that wet hole of mine. I had got to within
one foot of thousands of dollars, which were scattered
along that crevice like potatoes dug behind a farmer. I
had reason to believe " I was not in it." Fate was
against me, as was the case with many others. The lode
from which all this gold came was located a little above
the camp, which was worked later and paid its owners
well; and I believe there were millions taken out of it.
One nugget was taken out that was worth twelve thousand dollars, and later was sent to the World's Fair in London. I had many other experiences similar to that at
Carson's Creek, with opportunities equally as good, but
which were lost. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
Before concluding the narrative of my experience at
mining I will state some things which it taught me, that
may be of use to the novice who starts out in search of
the yellow metal.
Our party left camp and located at a little place a short
distance above Carson's, called Albany Flat. We built a
cabin for winter and laid in supplies. We soon, however, rallied to a new strike near Murphy's Camp, and
there made many slips again. I finally left the company
and wandered around to different camps, getting some
gold in some camps and none in others. It had got to
be difficult to find gold in every gulch. Many thousands
of people had arrived in the country, and they had dug
all that was easy to get at, and it required a good deal
of hard work to find a rich shaft. I went to work for a
company who were building a flume and ditch to carry
the water into Murphy's Camp for mining purposes, and
I was to receive one hundred dollars a month and board, 208
which appeared to be better than mining, although I had
left many a claim that would have paid me one hundred
dollars a week, had I have stuck to them. I was content
with my hundred dollars, since it was paid to me in coin,
whose value I could realize, while gold dust or nuggets
did not appear to represent much value. It appeared
like so much iron, and not like money. After a week or
two, I found the work pretty hard, and told the president
— who, by the way, was an old church builder from New
York, named Hunford — that I would not stay with them
any longer. The work was harder than I expected, and
I, being a sailor, had to do a large amount of climbing,
and sometimes pretty high climbing. Capt. Hunford
said he did not want me to leave, since I was the best
climber he had, and I must stay, and as an inducement
said that the company would give me thirty dollars a
month more, making my pay one hundred and thirty
dollars. I accepted the offer and returned to work. I
will relate one part of the work that I was called upon to
do, and did without hesitation. We had to flume across
one deep hollow or depression, which was thirteen hundred feet from ditch to ditch. Our fluming gradually
gained in height as we receded from the verge until we
had advanced about four hundred feet, when at that
point it was quite seventy-five feet high. Our bents
were twenty feet span at the bottom and four feet at the
top, well tied and braced. The bents had forty feet span
between them, with a stringer eight by twelve, framed
about two feet from the top, with a short tie framed in
between the two posts, the same distance from the top,
which formed a sill on which the boarded flume rested.
When the bents were raised and two stringers in position, the two stringers which crossed the span of forty
feet were four feet apart. My work was to walk from
the end of those stringers with a foothold of only eight SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
inches, with nothing to reach for in case of a slip or a misstep but the other stringer, which was of the same size
and four feet distant at one side. After I had reached
the last span raised, I would walk along and dress off the
stringer with the adze every two feet on each stringer,
and then put on the ties, spike them and cover them
with boards, after which any one could pass over them
without danger.
One misstep would have sent me down from that
giddy height of from seventy-five or eighty feet like a
meteoric stone, and I would have been buried in the
earth. That span of fluming was then considered the
highest in the country. After working about four
months I returned to Murphy's Camp and succeeded well
at mining for a while, but soon concluded to go back to
my old camp at Albany Flat.
Before leaving this camp I broke a gambler of the
habit of continuously making overtures to me to bet at
his game, having become tired of being teased to bet
every time I went near his table. I boarded with a
Chinaman, who kept a little dining-saloon opposite the
gambler's tent. There was not much doing in the daytime at the gambler's tables, since the miners were at
work, but at night things were all in full blast. The
day before I was going to leave camp I gave this man a
dose of his own medicine. Having a bag of gold dust,
which contained about four hundred dollars, I went and
bought another bag of the same size and lead in
bulk to be about the size of the gold. I placed it in the
sack and rolled it up into a round ball to look like my
bag of gold, then I bought two silk handkerchiefs of the
same pattern and wrapped one snugly around each bag
of metal. Putting the bag of gold into my breast pocket
and the bag of lead also, and taking care to get the lead
to the bottom of the pocket, I went to my friend the ■p_»
Chinaman and said, "Let us go over to the gambling
tent and see what is going on."
" All right," said he, and we started.
My tormentor began asking me at once to bet.
He happened to be alone as I expected he would,
which was the reason for taking my dusky friend along,
for should I make a blunder and encounter trouble there
would, no doubt, be some tall shooting, and I thought
that the Chinaman might perhaps be able to tell where
my scattered remains might be found. I always thought
a gambler next in kin to a thief, and I felt no qualms
in what I was about to do, knowing that he purposed
cheating me if he could.
He laid out his cards and invited me to make a bet.
Taking out my bag of gold I unrolled it, pouring into my
hand some of the yellow dust, and asked him what he
would give me an ounce for such gold. He said that
if I lost, he would allow me sixteen dollars for it.
Putting it back I rolled and tied it as before, and in returning it to my pocket got it to the bottom and the lead
on top. It was quite common for miners betting,
when they had no change, to put their bag of dust down;
and if they lost, they were able to redeem the gold again
if they wished to later on.
After the gambler's repeated invitations to bet, I pulled
out my bag of lead and laid it down on the queen, which
was out against some other card. I bet half an ounce on
that card. He won, and I doubled the bet to one ounce,
when I won. Returning my bag to my pocket again, I
bet with his own money without fear. Soon losing that,
I drew forth my sack of lead again and won. Hiding my
sack again, I bet his money a second time. I soon
saw that the queen appeared to come oftener than it
ought to in a fair deal, so kept betting on the queen,
which kept winning for me.    By this time my little stake „~__w»-
was up to seventy dollars, and my friend with the pigtail nudged me and said, "Stop now, you have got
enough." I took his advice and quit the game seventy
dollars ahead.
The gambler showed considerable temper because I
stopped betting, but I left the tent and was not long in
putting the evidence of my duplicity far beyond his
reach, knowing well that if he should learn the secret of
the bag of bogus gold, he would be apt to use as much
lead as that bag contained for my especial benefit.
I did not leave camp for a few days, since it was not
urgent that I should, as would have been the case had I
lost at the game. I intended to tell the fellow, had I
lost, that I would redeem the gold in a day or two, and
when the time arrived to redeem, would have been many
a long mile from Murphy's Camp. Within a week I
turned again to Albany Flat and went to work with two
of my old camp-mates. Not many days afterward a man
whom one of my old company was acquainted with came
over from a camp called St. Andrays. He said that a
bi£ strike had just been made in that camp, so as a matter
of course we went over. We found that the big strike had
been made in the bed of an old creek whose waters had
been crowded out by some ancient lava flow in the same
manner Table Mountain had been formed. We found the
gold in a bed of cement some four inches thick, and it
had to be hammered to powder before we could get the
gold, and to work it successfully it would require machinery such as we were not able to furnish, and we
gave up.
One experience at this time, had I been successful,
would have put me on the top round of the ladder, besides netting me many thousand dollars, or it might have
wiped me out of existence. It was my experience with
that outlaw and desperado Wah-Keen, a Mexican whose 212
very name was a terror to every one, from the sheriff
He was said to have been once a quiet, inoffensive
miner in a camp in the northern mines, where his wife
was with him. The camp, like all others, was filled with
ruffians. They kidnapped Wah-Keen's wife, and abused
her so badly that she died. Many of the Mexicans are
very revengeful, and Wah-Keen, after this outrage, swore
death to all whites; and it is proven in the archives of
California how well he kept his oath.
The day before my arrival at that camp was Sunday.
Wah-Keen had come into the outskirts of the town and had
entered a gambler's tent that was run by some half-breed
Mexicans. Wah-Keen had some eight or ten of his followers with him, and attempted to clean out the place at
one scoop. The result was some target practice wherein
Wah-Keen lost all but two companions, who fled to the
hills. The sheriff turned out with a posse, but could not
find him. He had tried several times before, but either
could not or would not take him when he came up with
Wah-Keen had walked through the camp in mid-day
shooting right and left, while no one dared to take him or
even to follow unless they had a posse of a score or more
well-armed men. On Saturday afternoon my partners and
myself were at work on the trail that ran through the flat
and down to Carson's Creek. About four o'clock we saw
three Mexicans ride past. After they had passed, I said,
"Who knows but that was Wah-Keen and two of his gang ? "
but thought no more of them. Sunday morning a man
came up from Carson's Creek and said that Wah-Keen had
been at a little store on the creek the night before and
bought some food. I told my partners that those three
men that we saw the night before were Wah-Keen and two
of his companions, and we had better go at once and see if SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
we could not catch them. They said Wah-Keen must be
forty miles away before that time. Saying no more, I took
my rifle and started to strike the trail where we last saw
them, which I soon found. I followed it over the brow
of the hill and down to Carson's Creek near its head,
where the creek forked, one branch running to the right
and the other straight ahead. Reaching the creek, I met
a man who lived on the bank of the creek, and asked
him if he had seen any Mexicans around that morning.
He said that he had, and that one had passed up on the
opposite side only about ten minutes since. I crossed
over and soon struck the trail, and following the marks
up found that they turned up the right-hand branch of
the creek. Following on I got near the top, where the
branch terminated in a narrow ravine, there losing the
tracks. Going up on to the ridge about fifty feet higher,
I began to look around to find the tracks again, and soon
discovered a man with a rifle in his hands, who was
hunting for small game.
I asked if he had seen any Mexicans that morning, to
which he replied that he had seen one at the lower end
of that ride but a short time before I met him. I then
started in the direction he pointed, and had not gone
many rods before I could see out and down on to a flat
and open space of several acres in extent. There in
plain view, and not more than ten rods away, were two
Mexicans on horseback. I knew that they were Wah-
Keen and Three-fingered Jack, as he was called, a half-
breed who was about as great a desperado as Wah-Keen.
I hurried down the trail, and when it was reached they had
got through the open space and were out of my sight,
but not far off. I pushed on into the thick bushes
that lined both sides of the trail, and soon came to a
little tent, at the entrance of which was a man sitting.
Repeating my question to him about the Mexicans, he said THE   ADVENTURES   OF  A
that he had, not five minutes before. When told who they
were, he jumped up and said he would go with me and
help take them. He had been in the Mexican War and
was not afraid of any greaser, as half Indian and half
Mexicans were called. I told him that he might go
if he wanted to, but that they were ugly fellows to
"Well," said he, " I am not afraid of them"; and sticking a little single-barrel pistol in his belt, we started on.
After we had got some five or six rods, I found that
through talking with him I had lost the tracks of the
horses' feet. We left the trail and tried to find the tracks
again. Not far from the trail we met a man with a shotgun who was hunting for quail, and while talking with
this man, we saw a Mexican coming up through the flat.
He had on a poncho blanket, which is a square cloth
with a slit in the centre. This is thrown over the head,
and will hang down and nearly cover the wearer to the
knees. This Mexican had a slouch hat well down over
his face, but we thought nothing of seeing him.
I said to my new friend, "Let us go back and hunt
until we strike the tracks, and try and not lose them
again." We did so, and soon found the horses' tracks
again. We soon found where they left the trail, and followed them into a clump of bushes and a few small trees
on a space not over one or two rods square. When we
got up to this little clump of bushes, we saw only a few
rods beyond Wah-Keen and his mate on horseback riding
slowly up a little ravine. I said, " There they are, now
we will have them! " and started after them. Approaching them I noticed they held their heads so that they
could see sideways, and as I was gaining upon them from
the side, soon got into the trail behind them, but found
that they managed somehow to see behind as well as
sideways.    When they got to the upper end of the ravine, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
which was not more than five or six rods long, and where
stood a pine-tree about twenty inches through, Wah-Keen
got off his horse and stepped behind that tree, where he
was completely hid from me. Three-fingered Jack remained sitting on his horse, with one hand holding the
bridle and the other placed under the lapel of his coat.
He had on a heavy coat buttoned down in front.
I well knew that his hand had a firm grasp on a navy
revolver, and also knew that he would draw it at first
sign of danger from me. Being a pretty good shot at
that time, and able to strike the head from a bird about
as far as able to see one either on the wing or at rest,
I felt pretty sure of toppling over one of them, and
would have trusted to luck and chance for my companion
to deal with the other one. I walked fearlessly up to the
tree behind which Wah-Keen was concealed, and stepped
in front of him.
Wah-Keen straightened up from a stooping position, and
speaking to him in Spanish, — since I could speak that
language to some extent, — said, "How do you do,
"Very well," said he.
Stating that I had lost a horse and was out hunting for
him, I described the animal as having a white star on his
forehead, two white feet, a long tail and mane, and so on.
He said that he was hunting for horses himself; which
without doubt was true, since he stole all the horses that
he wanted, but said he had not seen any horse such as I
The two horses he and his companion had then were
stolen from the Green Stage Company, and were two of
the best the company owned. Wah-Keen never took a
poor horse, but always chose the best, since they were
all the same price to him.
Turning my back to them several times, I cast my eyes 2l6
over the hills to see if that horse was to be seen, and by
that means gave them a chance to fill me with bullets if
they chose to, believing that my boldness would disarm
them of suspicion. I noticed that my brave friend had
stopped some ten yards behind, and I went down to him
and said, " Now you take one and I will take the other."
The brave veteran of the late Mexican War, who was so
courageous a short time before, was so frightened he
could hardly speak, and I saw that if there was to be a
capture, I should have to do the work alone. Knowing
that the time had passed to make the attempt alone, I
decided quickly what to do, and concluded to get the
fellow out of sight and into more congenial climate before
he gave the outlaws a cue, which he seemed in a fair way
to do. When I told him to take one while I did for the
other, he managed to say that they were too well armed
and that we could not do it. I therefore told him to go
around to Albany Flat and notify the camp, where they
would find me entertaining Wah-Keen and Three-fingered
Jack. He started off without any urging, and took a large
circuit around the objects that had made such a sudden
change in his courage. Returning to where Wah-Keen
was standing, he mounted his horse and they rode slowly
along, while I walked along by their side, and we soon
came to a clump of scrub oaks and underbrush which
covered about an acre. Here the two desperadoes went
to the right while I took to the left, walking slowly along,
since I did not wish it to appear that I intended to keep
too close company with them. It only took some four or
five minutes to get around to where they were to be seen,
and, to my surprise when I did see them, they were going
as fast as their horses could carry them in a direct line
toward Albany Camp, and were some two hundred yards
in advance of me. I could have shot one of them down
with my rifle, but hesitated to shoot one who had done SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
?n mm
1    liil:1^ 218
me no harm, but undoubtedly I would have been justified
in doing so. I very soon saw the object that had
caused their hasty flight. There were eight or ten men
coming across the flat from the direction of Los Mortes,
a little camp which was located between Albany Flat and
Angel's Camp. Hearing that Wah-Keen had been to Los
Mortes for food, they started to hunt for him and had just
caught sight of him as he was passing along by that clump
of timber. As soon as they caught sight of him, they all
began to halloo and run toward him, which started
Wah-Keen and his mate on the gallop.
Going direct to Albany Flat, I found every one running hither and yon, some riding on jacks without saddle
or bridle, others on mules destitute of trappings, while
others were running about with pistols and rifles in their
hands. My two partners had stayed at home, standing
near our cabin with rifles in hand. Wah-Keen had passed
within two rods of our camp, but went so fast that before
they could get out with their guns, he was far away and
out of sight over the ridge on a trail leading toward Bear
The man I sent around to camp told the boys that he
went up to Wah-Keen and shook hands with him, while
I told them that he went too far into his boots to do that,
since he hardly got near enough to see him, let alone
shake hands with him.
It is needless to say that I felt very much disappointed
with the manner in which my venture had terminated.
Starting out with the determination to find the outlaws,
and to capture them also, I believe I would have been
successful but for my cowardly volunteer companion. I
would not have lost the tracks, and would have been led
by them to the little clump of bushes where Three-fingered Jack was with the two horses, while Wah-Keen was
at the camp of Los Mortes after supplies.    I could have SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD. 219
made Jack hold up and have disarmed and gagged him,
and then laid in hiding for Wah-Keen and served him in
the same manner ; then bound them together and hitched
them to their horses and led them into camp, which was
not an uncommon way of caring for captives.
There was a large reward offered for them, but that
was no great incentive. The honor of taking them alone
would have been something worth while, since the
sheriff could not take them when he had a posse with
The next day a man was brought into camp whom they
thought was Wah-Keen, and I was sent for to identify him.
Seeing the prisoner, I told them that it might be Wah-
Keen's brother, but it was not the man they wanted; but
the next day the fellow was found hanging to the limb of
a tree, it being thought that he was one of the gang, so he
was disposed of. He was undoubtedly Wah-Keen's
brother, more half foolish than otherwise, and ought not
to have been hung.
A few years later on, Wah-Keen, in trying to leave the
State, passed into a camp of United States soldiers, where
one of the soldiers recognized him and sung out, "Wah-
Keen !" when shooting began, and Wah-Keen was killed,
and his head was put on exhibition for a while in San
About three weeks later I started for Frisco, having
heard a good deal about the wonderful gold fields in Australia. I concluded to go back to the country again
which I had tried so hard to leave a few years previous,
although I was doubtful of the fields being so very rich,
as there was but one nugget found while I was in the
country before, and apparently there were no more nuggets where that came from. I arrived in San Francisco
in due time, and soon found a boat for Sydney and paid
my passage to that city, leaving California for a time, to 220
return again before two years passed by, after varying fortunes in the land of the antipodes.
We sailed out through the Golden Gate with flying
colors, and after being out about three weeks the smallpox broke out on board, and some half-dozen or more
were severely attacked by the disease. All recovered by
the time we reached an island called Tanner or Tenna.
We needed some fresh food and water, so the captain
made a stop to get a supply of yams, fruit, and pigs. On
the island a volcano was at that time in active operation,
discharging a large amount of lava. We dropped anchor
about three miles off coast, and a boat was sent ashore.
We noticed that the natives took the boat as soon as we
were all out, and dragged her high up on the beach.
We wanted to know why they did so. Pointing to the
water, they said, " Hot, hot." Putting my hand into the
water, I found it too hot to bear my hand in it long.
After we had been ashore a short time the tide had
ebbed, and we noticed a few rods above a large stream of
water which was gushing out through a hole near a point of
rocks. A large cloud of steam was rising above it. We
found the stream to be a hot spring, which was covered
several feet deep when the tide was in. The water from
the spring and the heat along the shore at the base of
that volcano heated the water so hot that nothing in the
form of fish could live within three miles of shore.
It has been related of this locality by some writer that
a man can stand at a certain point and catch fish on one side
and throw them over into the hot water on the other side and
cook them, without releasing them from the hook. Now if
it were said that fish could be caught anywhere in the bay
already cooked and ready for the table, I might perhaps
have believed him, but the other story is beyond belief.
The saying may be true of the Yellowstone Lake, near
Yellowstone Park,  but is not applicable at this island. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
This is the only hot spring on the island. In the side of
a cliff of rocks is another spring, which flows very slowly,
requiring an hour or more to furnish enough water to
give a man or dog a small drink. The water from this
spring is very cold and pure, while the hot spring has a
large amount of sulphur. We were obliged to take that
or none to fill our casks with for the ship's use. Being
anxious to know how long that water would keep hot, I
filled a keg, took it on board, and put my tea into a pot,
poured my hot water on to it, and made a good strong cup
of tea without putting it near the fire. Some of the
passengers took tubs ashore to wash some linen, and had
to let the water stand in the tubs two hours before it was
cool enough for them to put their hands into it. When
we got to sea we found our water hardly fit to use. There
were several places around the rocky shore of the island
where the fire could be seen leaping through the crevices.
We could light a pipe from them, and at other points large
volumes of steam were issuing. The natives and the few
whites on the island drank cocoanut milk when thirsty.
The taste when the nut is about half ripe is something like
ginger ale. The island appeared to have many old craters,
then sealed up, and seen at a distance large beds and cliffs
of shining lava were visible that apparently had cooled off
at no very remote date. The vent that was in full blast
was throwing out large quantities of material. I noticed
one day while looking at it that we would first see a large
volume of black smoke and hear a loud report, and after
the smoke had arisen about a hundred feet above the top
of the cone up would come streams of fire, lava, and
stones, which shot up several hundred feet. The large
rocks would return and come crashing down the sides of
.the cone. We saw one rock thrown high into the air
that looked to be twenty feet long and five or six feet
thick.    We were about three miles distant at that time. 222
One day we came near having trouble with the
natives. Three of our passengers went ashore to take
a bath in the warm water that washed the beach.
Stripping off their clothing, they plunged in, and after
getting about a hundred yards from the shore, two natives
slipped out of the bushes and gathered in the swimmers'
clothing and scampered back into the thick entangled
bushes. The swimmers paddled ashore as fast as they
could, but the natives had got far away by that time.
They found it was no use to follow the thieves in the condition that they were in, as, not being used to the bushes,
they would have fared badly among the sharp thorns.
They followed the beach until they could see the ship,
and then began to halloo and beckon to us to come
ashore. A boat was soon sent to them. The poor fellows
had not so much as a leaf to protect them from the burning sun, but we soon had them on board and dressed.
One of the bathers said that he had three hundred
dollars in his pocket. The captain sent word ashore to
.the natives that he would come ashore and fight them if
they did not give up the gold and clothing, to which they
replied, " Come on!" The captain mustered about forty
of the passengers and when ashore.
The beach at the landing was about a hundred yards
wide, then a bluff or sand bank rose up nearly prependic-
ular about twenty feet high, then the ground ran back
eight or ten rods quite level and was clear of underbrush
or any other material that would obstruct the natives'
movements. A deep cut had been worn down through
this sand bank by constant travel, which was the only
accessible point to the flat above. It was not wide
enough to admit two abreast; we would, therefore, have
to pass up in single file. This spot had been chosen by
the natives as their battle ground. The fine generalship
of the natives in selecting this locality for the reception SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
of the captain and his followers is readily seen, as they
could pick us off one at a time at their leisure. After
we landed, the captain asked who would go up there with
him. He used to boast a good deal on the passage that
he was an ancient Briton, and it would take a good deal
to frighten him. I always admired a brave man, so considered it an honor to follow one, and, therefore, stepped
out and said, " I will go with you, Captain."
" Come on then," he answered, and we started for the
ravine, the captain leading up the trail, with me close to
his heels. When we reached the top and could see over
the flat, we found before us some five hundred savage
natives armed and stripped of all robes except a breech-
clout. They had seen us at the same time we discovered
them. Some had spears, others bows, and still others
old muskets, secured from a few Englishmen on the
island, who were trading with the natives for sandalwood,
sulphur, and cocoanut oil, the natives having taken the
old flint-lock muskets in exchange for their products.
The natives confronted us with these old guns as soon as
we got high enough to view the situation, when the
captain halted.
"Go ahead," said I. "Don't stop here!" But my
bold Briton would not advance another step. I saw that
the temperature around the captain was getting rather
chilly, and his knees were beginning to shake, so I pushed
oy him on to the flat.
The captain said, " For heaven's sake don't go up
there, they will surely kill us."
The natives were brandishing their weapons and going
through all sorts of pantomimic performances, — a display
which was enough to frighten any, except an ancient
Briton, nearly to death, and they could not be scared
whatever the danger. About that time the captain forgot something which he had left at the boat; possibly it 224
was a little of that ancient Welsh courage. He retreated
rapidly, making three steps to the rod, while I went on
and was soon surrounded with the natives. Finding that
some of them could talk a little English, I told them that
all we wanted was the money, and that it was of no use
to them, and if they would give it up we would give them
some tobacco and some calic6. After much talk some four
or five of the head ones returned with me to the boat, where
the captain was about ready to shove off. When he saw
me yet alive and no spears or arrows sticking in me,
he appeared much relieved. Taking my dusky followers
to the boat, I told the captain that if he would give the
natives a little tobacco and some other truck, which the
captain finally did, they would give back the clothing and
some of the money, a part of which they stated that
they had lost.    Thus ended the prospective great battle.
There were a few missionaries on the island, with whom
our men mixed freely, as also with the natives and what
few whites there were on the island. There were also
a few little schooners trading around the different islands.
Our visit to Tanner Island was a disastrous event for
the natives. Vessels that later stopped at Tanner Island
found it almost depopulated. The natives had taken the
germs of the smallpox from our ship, and it had swept
from the island nearly all of our late dusky friends. Our
visit at Tanner Island was in the year 1853.
Many years later, in 1892,1 saw in a Boston paper that
some captain while sailing in the Pacific Ocean discovered
an island with many human skeletons scattered around,
but not a living soul on the island. After reading the
article, I remembered the calamity on Tanner Island. The
paper said that it was thought the bones had lain bare for
forty years, which would tally well with the time of the
smallpox there.
It  probably was  the  case that when  it was   found
disease was sweeping the inhabitants off at a frightful
rate, the few whites on the island took to their boats and
left, taking as many natives as they could convey in the
small boats or schooners with them; and knowing of
many small uninhabited islands, it is natural they should
sail for some of them, and after such arrival the disease
may have broken out and carried them off to a man.
There are many islands, in the Pacific Ocean located far
from the track of ships, which are only seen by some
chance vessel that has strayed from the usual course.
We obtained the supplies we required at Tanner
Island and sailed for Sydney. When we arrived at the
harbor of Sydney, the health department overhauled us ;
and when they learned that the smallpox had been
aboard, we were ordered into quarantine, where we lay
one month, all being as uneasy as fish out of water. We
then had no smallpox aboard, but having had it, we
were obliged to obey orders. We finally outlived our
waiting time at the mouth of the harbor, and hove anchor
and sailed into Sydney, where we were soon let loose, and
each one went his way rejoicing.
The city seemed much the same place that I left it a
few years before. Going up Pitt Street no change was
visible, except that it took a little more money to get
about with than when I was there before. Strange to
relate, I had no more money to spend now than when
leaving the country, although I had dug many thousand
dollars' worth of gold in California, but it had rapidly
passed out of my hands. The best part of the country
for mining was at Bendago, a camp located about eighty
miles inland from Melbourne, at Port Philip, and to get to
Melbourne would cost from eight to ten dollars, — an
amount which I did not possess. To raise that stake I
shipped in a coaster which ran from Sydney to Newcastle
for coal, hay, and other truck, my wages being twenty
dollars a month. 226
Going aboard, I was soon afloat again. We ran down
the coast and up into a river almost to the head of the
stream, where we found the little town of Newcastle. We
hauled alongside of a small wharf at about mid-day, and
sat down on deck and ate our dinner. While thus occupied a man jumped on to our deck from the wharf and
was crossing to a little craft which lay alongside of us.
Looking steadily at him caused him to return the gaze.
We were old friends, and the recognition was mutual. It
was the third mate of the old bark " Kingston," of Fair
Haven, from which I ran away while at Hobartstown in
1846, Capt. Ellis, commander. My old friend told me
that soon after I left the captain sold what oil he had taken
and gave the bark over to the first mate. The captain,
with the money he received, then bought two small vessels, putting the third mate in charge of one, and
taking charge of the other himself, and began trading between Sydney and the islands near by. On
one trip to the islands Capt. Ellis, while running into
Ongalon and going through a narrow passage which led
through one of the coral reefs which abound among
the islands, having got a little too much tanglefoot
down, managed to tumble overboard and was drowned.
The third mate, coming into possession of the other craft,
thought he would keep her and do some trading on his
own account. He had taken unto himself a wife, and
had become a resident of Sydney and was happy.
We took in a load of coal and left for Sydney, where I
was paid off and was soon on board of a brig bound for
Melbourne, where we arrived in two weeks. After landing I was soon on my way afoot to the Bendago diggings, a distance of eighty miles over a very dry road.
In about a week I arrived at a camp which appeared to
be all worked out. The ground was turned up in all
directions, pits were sunk in plenty and worked out in SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
most cases. Picking around the abandoned claims I
found a little gold, and stopped at that camp about a
The experiences of the miners at Bendago were novel
and varied, as it is ever with miners.
At the upper end of the flat near which the camp was
located was a narrow strip which widened as one goes
down the flat, which was two or three miles long and in
some parts half a mile wide. Gold was found at the
upper end which was coarse and very much scattered,
and many holes were sunk which struck nothing. When
a miner, after digging for gold had failed to find it, he
would call the pit a shyster. One day an Italian, having
sunk his shaft to the bottom and striking nothing, came
up and sang out, " Another shyster! who will buy my
claim? "
A young fellow near by said, " I will give you half a
crown for it."
" All right," said the Italian ; and the fellow gave him a
half-crown, and went to work on his own shaft again.
Towards night the man who had bought the claim
thought he would go into the shaft and pick around a
little, and the Italian came and looked on to see what the
fellow would find, well pleased to think that he had a big
half-crown, while the man at the bottom of the shaft
would get only one more chance for a fruitless search in
exchange for his money. But the scene quickly changes
around that pit. The young man at the bottom picked
out a nugget that weighed twenty pounds, and worth between four and five thousand dollars. The poor Italian
fell on his knees and commenced praying and cursing in
his own language until the air was freighted with his be-
wailings over his lost opportunity.
Throughout the mining belt in Australia there was a
white clay beneath the gravel strata.    How thick this 228
clay strata is I never knew, but the gravel above it was
of various depths from six to twenty feet. The gold
would invariably be found on the top of the clay beneath
the gravel strata. The gold would hold tenaciously to
the clay, and in order to remove and separate the gold
the clay had to be taken from the shaft and put into tubs,
generally half-hogsheads, then four or five pails of water
were poured in and with a shovel it was chopped and
stirred until it became thick and muddy, then all was
poured out except the gravel, when more water was
added and the process repeated until all the clay was dissolved, when the gravel would be taken out and rocked
out after the California style. The miners would often
find when they struck this clay many gold-bearing chunks
which would be, instead of clay and gold, better described
as gold and clay, having a much larger amount of gold
than clay.
Down toward the lower end of Bendago Flat and
nearly in the middle were located three mounds which
rose about a hundred feet above the surface of the flat.
All about these mounds were rich finds, but the hills
were composed of gravel and cobblestones cemented
together so very firmly that a blow from a pick or bar
would have little effect. The miners believed the ground
under those hills must be rich, so they staked their claims
on the surface and went to work with hammer and bar
and picked their way to the bottom, spending three
months in getting down, then they found gold in plenty.
They sunk some three or four feet into the soft pipe clay,
then ran drifts in all directions. They would work up
into the clay until they could see a little gravel with a
dark reddish stain, then go no higher until they had got
their drift in some eight or ten feet, when they would
take down the thin flake of pipe clay and three or four
inches of gravel which would all contain gold. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
All the placer mines which I saw were worked in this
manner, with few exceptions.
Just before leaving this camp the miners made overtures to the government to require less taxes for the
privilege of mining. The tax was thirty shillings a
month. The miners wanted it placed at one shilling
or nothing. They gathered on a certain day at the
Bendago. Numberless flags of various nations were
afloat, and the stars and stripes were high above all the
others ; even the English flags were outnumbered by the
stars and stripes.
This matter was agitated throughout the country, and
came near forcing the country into a republic. Every
one in the mining regions was well armed, and the miners
used to discharge their weapons at night, loading anew,
so that if they should have need to use them upon the
troops they would be effective. They frequently began
to discharge their weapons about four o'clock in the afternoon, and from that time until ten o'clock there would
be continual reports from firearms. The shooting was
to warn the soldiers in camp what they would have to
meet should the government employ force in the collection of the tax.
The leader in this movement went to Melbourne to
confer with the authorities regarding abatement of the
tax. The miners had the horse which he rode into town
shod with gold. The result of his mission was a reduction from thirty shillings to ten shillings.
The English government is something like some of
our capitalists, — they will never grant just what the men
ask for, but come down a little, just enough to take the
curse off. They think that if they comply with the demand to the full extent it will encourage trying again,
and then it would virtually be admitting that they were
in the wrong, which England, in the treatment of her
colonies, will never do. 230
A day or two before leaving the camp, when coming
up through the flat, it began to rain, and seeing a man
sheltered under a tree, I topk a stand beside him until
the shower should pass over. To my surprise, the man
proved to be one of my old shipmates from Hobartstown
to London. I had last seen him in London, nearly five
years previous. He had taken the gold fever like many
others and returned to Australia, and, having been one of
the lucky ones, had made quite a pile.
Volumes might be written about that camp if the remarkable experiences of the miners could be described;
but with all its attractions, not finding gold very plenty,
my restless spirit hastened me onward, and I started for
the new gold field at Donkey Woman's Gully.
Being told that I could take a short cut in going to
Donkey Woman's Gully and save several miles if I would
start from Bullock Gully at the head of the Bendago Flat
and take a certain course which they gave me, I started
that way. My informant said that by so doing I would
strike a creek called Jones's Creek, and from there the
road was plain through to Donkey Woman's Gully. On
this trip I had one of the most wonderful experiences of
my life,—an experience which set me thinking upon things
and has kept me thinking upon unexplained things ever
since. I started with a little bundle of provisions, pick, and
shovel, and arrived at Bullock Gully about noon. J J did
not hurry, since it was my intention to reach Jones's
Creek, a distance of fifteen miles, and camp there for the
night. I started into the dark forest, whose foliage shut
out the sunlight from overhead, which made things appear rather sombre, knowing that no water would be
found until reaching the creek. Pushing on, as I thought,
in the right direction, and getting a glimpse of the sun
now and then, I saw that Old Sol was getting painfully
low and yet no creek in sight.    As the night drew near SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
the forest became darker until the last glitter of sunlight
disappeared, and I realized for the first time that I was
lost in a dark forest. I knew by past experiences what
that meant in Australia, where there are jungles and
scrubs so thick and tangled that I have walked many
hundred rods on the top of the scrub without seeing the
There is one of those tangled masses of vine's and
shrubbery called the Molly shrub, into whose jungles
white people have penetrated never to return, and the
natives seldom enter them unless hard pressed for food.
These facts crowded themselves unbidden into my
mind, and a feeling of terror swept over me from head to
foot, and I never felt so utterly forlorn before in my life.
Not a bird fluttered in the rich foliage above, neither was
there a reptile to ruffle the leaves beneath my feet. A
sound from either would have been most welcome.
Moving forward a few steps, the cracking of the dry
twigs beneath my feet was all that broke the stillness,
and that sound sent another thrill of terror through my
partly unstrung nerves. I was so completely turned
around I could not tell which way I had come, and found
myself in utter darkness soon after the sun had set.
Stopping to gather a few dry fagots, I soon had a brisk
fire, but took good care to scrape all the leaves and
dry twigs several feet away from my fire, knowing that if
I did not, the forest would soon be on fire, and I had no
desire to add to my unpleasant situation. There need be
no fear of wild animals, since there was nothing larger
than a kangaroo in the country, but where I should find
water troubled me not a little. The knowledge of being
lost and without water seemed to make my situation seem much worse than it really was. I had enough
food to last with care two days, besides, if that gave out,
I could find roots ; but water I could not extract from the 232
trees, nor could I expect in that dry country and in summer to find it by digging. Water in Australia is one of
the greatest deprivations of the people. In the winter
the rivers overflow their banks, and in some parts of the
country form quite large lakes. By the summer season
it has all run off, evaporated, or soaked into the ground,
with the exception of a few pools in the depressions along
the beds of the stream. It is to these pools that the
miners carts their dirt to be puddled out, and to them
ranchmen bring herds of sheep and cattle to drink. The
ground in summer also becomes dry and hard, and will
crack open to many inches in depth.
After starting my fire I ate a little lunch, but my
mouth was so dry that I could hardly swallow my food.
After sitting by my fire two or three hours pondering
over my sad plight and suffering untold agonies with
thirst, I took my pipe and filled it to the brim and went
to smoking. I thought a smoke would not only cleanse
my mouth, but would bring to that locality all the
moisture that was in my body. I continued smoking
until quite stupefied, and then laid myself down by the
fire and slept a little, and dreamt of marble halls and
crystal fountains which all vanished on my awakening,
leaving nothing but the sombre forest round about.
Being awake considerable of the night, I decided to be
ready to catch the first glimpses of daylight; and as it
grew lighter I began to look around to look for a sunbeam, intending to follow the sun that day, and perhaps,
after going the semicircle, I might escape from the
Gazing a little distance into the deep forest, I espied a
a large emu, a bird similar to the ostrich. He had seen
me and was making off at a rapid gait. It relieved me
somewhat to think that he was not lost, since he appeared
to know where he was hurrying to.   Presently a cow was SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
heard mooing not far away. I had decided the direction
before the sound died. Now, with the prospect of
escape, rivers of water appeared in the air on every side.
Shouldering my kit I made a bee line in the direction
from whence came that welcome sound, and after travelling a quarter of a mile I could see out on to a broad
meadow, near the middle of which were four or five
head of cattle.
Pushing on until nearly at the middle of the meadow,
I noticed that the grass was all dry and the ground
cracked and parched up. In parts the dry grass was
thick and covered the ground from sight, yet all was as
dry as an ash bed. Taking my pick I dug into the
ground, but could find no signs of moisture. I took one
or two steps forward and looked off over the meadow and
cried aloud, "Where in the name of God shall I find'
All at once feeling moisture at my feet and looking
down, I discovered I was standing in a little puddle of
water which nearly covered my shoes. I dropped upon
my knees and put out my hands one upon each side of
the water, and was bending my head toward the water
when, casting my eyes to the right, saw I had put my
right hand within six inches of a serjpent, which was as
large round as my arm and was several feet long. His
head, which was as large as my outstretched hand, was
partly under water. I did not disturb him, but lay down
and took a drink with my head not ten inches 'from his
snakeship, thinking that if he would let me alone I
would let him severely alone also. He paid no attention
to me, lying perfectly quiet.
After my thirst was quenched, I arose and turned about
and started in a direction at a right angle to that which I
entered the meadow, crossed the flat and passing over
a dry crack at the edge of the flat climbed up a steep 1
bank some ten feet high to the tableland. Soon I saw
two men on horseback riding up through the forest, and
hailed them. They were on a well-beaten trail. They
said that the trail would take me direct to Jones's Creek,
which was some four miles distant. Thanking them I
continued on, nor did I tell them about being lost, as I felt
crestfallen to think I had been making up my mind to
spend a few months if not years in the jungle, while so
near a well-travelled trail.
It has ever remained a mystery to me how that little
puddle of water came to be there, not more than
would fill a washtub. The little hollow was full, although
there had been no rain for months, and the meadow was
dry as all other parts of the country. The ground was so
broken with cracks with the heat of the sun that it looked
as if it might have been caused by a little earthquake.
I have had a ,better opinion of snakes since taking
that drink with one than I had before. The snake appeared to be ready and willing to share and share alike
his cup with me.
Why the water should be at that particular spot and nowhere else, why I came to go in a straight line to it, and,
in fact, why I did not discover the water until after I had
cried aloud, " Whe^e in the name of God can I find
water?" is beyond my comprehension.   Who can tell? SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
Arrived at Jones's Creek in the early part of the day,
I met two men who were on their way to Donkey
Woman's Gully. Jones's Creek diggings had been pretty
well worked out. The gold was in large nuggets, as was
the case at Bullock Gully.
Soon after the camp was opened a team loaded with
provisions was being driven along on the banks of the
creek. It being in the early spring and the ground soft,
the cart got stuck, and the driver went back to give a lift
on the wheel, when there he discovered beside the cart
rut a nugget weighing several pounds. The driver soon
got his cart out of the way, and staked out his claim, from
which he took many thousand dollars' worth of gold,
mostly in large nuggets.
We started for Donkey Woman's Gully, arriving in
due time. We camped at the head of the gully, at about
sundown. We built a good fire, and while standing
around it two men on horseback rode up and wanted to
know if we could direct them to Burnt Creek, which
was the name of a camp about two miles from this one.
Stepping out I said, " Yes," and started toward the
trail, one of them riding  along by my side.    After we 236
had got some five or six rods from the fire, the one who
was with me stopped, and looking back I saw that the
other one had got off his horse. The one with me then
started back, and that move started me back in double-
quick time. In a moment I knew they were bushrangers, or road agents as they are called in this country,
mounted highwaymen. On arriving at the fire the fellow
that had stopped behind got on to his horse again, and I
said, " Now you know where the trail is as well as we
do, and you had better be going as quick as you can."
They started in a hurry and galloped up the trail they
appeared so anxious to find. Evidently they intended
to get me so far away from my two companions that I
could not get back before the one with me could with his
horse. Then the two could hold up my two friends, rob
them, and handle me at their leisure; but my return
foiled them in their plans. We learned the next day that
two bushrangers had passed up through the camp the
day before, and our two nocturnal friends were the
same outlaws undoubtedly.
One of the men that came into camp with me joined
me as a partner, and at first we went to work in some of
the old claims that appeared to be worked out. We
found a little new ground and took out some gold. In
some of the pits what appeared to be bed rock had been
struck. Digging into the bottom a little, I found that it
was not the bed rock, but a thin strata of gravel cemented
together which made it appear like solid rock, and getting
through this cement beneath it found considerable gold.
My partner set to work in a claim near me, but I soon
found that he did not know gold when he saw it. Going
into a hole that he had worked in all day and found nothing, I would pick out nuggets that he had worked over
without seeing them. I therefore set him to sinking a
shaft, thinking that when he got to the bottom I would SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
work it out while he was sinking another one. While he
was sinking the shaft, I went into a little hole that had
been sunk through the cement crust which covered the
surface in that locality, and which was about eighteen
inches deep, before coming to the pipe clay. Here
quite a large chamber was excavated, and I found on the
bottom a wooden match box and in it a dollar or two in
gold. Concluding that the party who had abandoned
the claim must have found something, I picked out a cartload of dirt.
We had to cart the dirt from that camp about three
miles to one of the water holes to wash it. Getting my
dirt carted down and going to work at it, the yield
proved three hundred dollars, or fifteen ounces, the gold
being worth twenty dollars per ounce. It was twenty
three and five eighths carats fine. Upon my return to
our claim I found my partner had got his hole down to
bottom, and had struck a point of bed rock which appeared to be pitching down into a crevice. I thought of
following it down, and yet dared not trust my partner to
work in the hole where I had struck gold so rich, knowing that he would throw away more gold than he would
take out, so I left the new shaft and called it a shyster.
We then went to work at the place where I had struck
the metal. A few days later another party went into the
shaft that we abandoned and followed the slope at the
bottom down a foot or two and struck gold to the tune
of two hundred dollars to the cartload; but we were not
troubled at our loss, being content with the two or three
hundred a day that we were getting.
About half a mile down the flat below where we were
at work and at the side of the road that we used to cart
our dirt over I had noticed a shaft that had been sunk
about ten feet and had gone a few feet into the pipe clay.
The shaft had been abandoned, and on several occasions 238
as I passed it I had a desire to enter it and look it over a
little, but I did not do so.  A large portion of the ground
•between  the  shaft  and where   we  were  at  work was
coated  over with  the  cement  mentioned.    Many  had
tried to get through it, but found it too hard, and yet it
was  known that  the lode run  through the  flat.    One
day a man went into that old and abandoned shaft and
with his knife picked out about fifteen hundred dollars in
a very short time.    When it became known, the miners
of the camp all rushed in and staked out claims.    I got
one, but it proved a shyster.    Returning to the old claim
I went  to work, but  did  not  feel  contented  with my
partner, having to find all the gold and divide equally
with him, so  interviewed him one day to find out what
he had done for a living before coming to  the  mines.
He belonged in Canada, and was sent to the Kaffir war at
the Cape of Good Hope and had become lame through
the  hardships which they had contended with, and  on
that  account  was  discharged at the Cape-    From the
Cape he had made his  way to   the United   States  in
an  American  man-o'-war,   commanded   by  one   Lieut.
Hernden.    I  found  that  part  of his  story true  later,
upon my arrival at Aspinwall on my  way home, since
Lieut. Hernden was at that time in charge of the steamer
"Central  America," which plied between Aspinwall and
New York.    This steamer went down a few years later
with Lieut. Hernden and about all on board.
I had got thoroughly worked up over my partner,
whom I concluded was a very lazy man rather than a sick
one. He grumbled around several days with a toothache, until I told him to go down to the water hole and
get the doctor who was camped there to pull it out. He
went, and in a day or two afterward said the doctor had
pulled out the wrong tooth. I believed he had not seen
the doctor at all.   . 111 SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
Finally I told him one day that I would take the load
of dirt I was getting then down and puddle it out, and
then leave the country. He replied that he would go
with me. I took the dirt down and in the last hopper
of dirt washed out one nugget worth one hundred and
fifty dollars, and in all of that load about three hundred
dollars. I gave away our tools and claim, and the next
morning started for Melbourne. The man to whom I
gave the claim said that he did not think he should work
it, since he was getting two hundred dollars to the cartload where he was. There was fully two hundred claims
unoccupied that would average two hundred dollars
to the cartload which I left behind because of a lazy
' partner. I might have bought him out for twenty-five
dollars; but, knowing that the ground was rich, could not
find it in my heart to deceive him or lead him to think I
was dissatisfied with him, as he was thoroughly honest and
simple-hearted; but I always did hate a lazy man or laziness in any of its many forms.
I turned my face from the claim as we passed by it on
leaving camp. Two days later we passed within three
miles of a new camp where the miners were taking out
fortunes. Old women were making forty and fifty dollars
a day picking up gold from the surface of the ground,
and many others by hammering the quartz rock and
breaking it up. and picking out the gold thus liberated;
but all that rich camp did not move me in the least from
my resolve. I should have kept on if I had waded to my
knees in gold to get out of the mines, so thoroughly disgusted had I become with all mankind and all that was
golden.    We reached Melbourne.
Many things which I saw and heard while in the wonderful Australian mining country are well worth narrating.
Everybody has heard of that celebrated mining camp
called Ballarat.    Ballarat is sixty miles from Geelong, a
11 240
little town on the border of the bay of Port Philip. Port
Philip is a very large bay or harbor, too wide to see
across it in places. The entrance to the bay is not
wider than the Golden Gate at San Francisco Harbor.
Passing through this passageway and keeping right
straight ahead will take you to Melbourne, but to turn to
the left a few points will take you to Geelong, which is
several miles distant from Melbourne. The coast in
nearly all parts of Australia I have visited is very level
from the shore back for several miles; hence the country
from Geelong to Ballarat and much farther back into the
country is very level. These facts are mentioned in
order to explain why miners at Ballarat sank their shafts
many times below salt water, and again to show how near
I was, while lying at Geelong for four months in 1847,
taking in wool and tallow for London, and how careful I
was not to go ashore lest I be attacked by disease so
chronic at that time, and run away.
Only once did I go ashore during the four months
that we lay there, and then remained but half an hour.
That was the place where I should have run away above
all others, for I would probably have gone back into the
country far enough to be beyond capture and fell to
herding sheep, whose feet were travelling over millions
in gold, much of it on the surface. Having a geological
tendency, I undoubtedly would have known the difference
between a pebble and a nugget of pure gold, and I might
have been the man to first start the wandering gold
hunters instead of the man at Suttler's Creek, California.
When gold was first struck at Ballarat, there was
found a little gully not many hundred yards long which
yielded fifteen hundred pounds weight in gold, much of
it in large nuggets. This gully ran down into a lengthy
flat. Several shafts were run down into the flat, but
were abandoned on account of water and the great depth SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
that one had to sink them, as at that time there were
plenty of rich claims to be found that were shallow and
easily sunk and worked. One day seven English sailors
came into camp, and after hearing how rich that little
gully had been, they staked out claims on the flat and
began sinking their shafts. The commissioners gave
them licenses free to encourage them in what was considered a risky undertaking. The sailors put the shaft
down something over one hundred feet, and timbered it
from the top down as they went, going through salt
water. When they struck bottom they took out one tub
of dirt, sent it to the surface and puddled it out. They
were rewarded with twelve pounds weight of gold. Then
the whole flat was soon staked off and alive with miners
working like beavers to see who would get down to the
rich lode first, which proved to be about three feet wide,
running a serpentine course down through the flat, and
containing more gold than dirt. There was one nugget
taken out of that lode weighing seventy pounds. It was
shipped to London in a vessel called the "Alexander,"
and she foundered off Cape Horn, and is now probably
lying at the bottom of the ocean partially held down by
that nugget of gold.
After the flat had been about all worked out, there was
still one spot on the lode that had not been worked and
no one in particular could claim it, but it was for the one
who could get to it first, by drifting from their shafts underground, which could be done quicker than by sinking.
There were a party of Americans who had a shaft quite
near the rich spot that had not been worked. They
started to drift in common with many others. They
pushed on night and day, and after thirty-six hours of
hard work reached the rich spot, finding it as rich as expected. But one poor fellow who had worked thirty-six
hours, one hundred and sixty feet under ground, without 242
coming to the surface, came up out of the shaft and
going into his tent died in less than a half-hour.
In the early days of the mining excitement the miners
would cart a load of dirt and puddle out one tub, and if it
did not yield one pound in weight, they would dump the
whole load into the water hole and go after another load.
In later years parties went into these water holes and
cleaned them out, making large fortunes in so doing.
About all of the gullies that were rich had what the
miners called surface diggings. The gold in' the flats
and gullies could be traced out of the gullies where it
could be found from the bottom to the surface. After a
little rain, I have seen gold laying around on the top of
the ground as thick as sowed corn, and much of it quite
as large.
The government established an escort with mounted
guards, who would carry the miners' gold to town for a
certain per cent per ounce. There was also a private
escort whose guards were paid by the month, but they
were not obliged to defend the treasure to the death, as
were the other escorts. The result was that the private
escort was held up one day by five masked road agents.
The guards fled, and the robbers got six thousand ounces.
The robbers were all caught a few months later, and four
of them were hung. There was a steamboat laying at
the wharf at Melbourne, with passengers aboard for some
foreign port. One of the 'passengers lost a pistol which
he thought was stolen, and a search was instituted and
the pistol found in a fellow-passenger's berth, and also
in the same berth was found a large amount ■ of gold,
much of it being identified as the stolen gold from the
escort. The passenger was taken ashore and soon confessed, turned queen's evidence, and told who the other
Tour robbers were. They were caught and hung, while
the informer went scot-free. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
The discovery of gold in Australia did not have the
same effect on prices that it did in California in 1848 and
1849. In California dry jerked beef was worth four dollars a pound ; flour, one and two dollars a pound ; butter,
potatoes, and other such food, three dollars a pound ; and
other things in proportion. One pinch of gold between
the thumb and finger was counted one dollar. In Australia in  1847 tne best beef and mutton could be bouo-ht
for one penny a pound, and everything in the country
proportionately cheap, labor included. After gold was
discovered beef and mutton went up only to sixpence
a pound, and labor to five to seven dollars per day, while
in California labor was ten to twenty-five dollars per
day. The miners in either country did not appear to
realize the value of gold when in nuggets or dust, and
were reckless in spending it.
One instance which happened in Melbourne shows
what effect gold coined and uncoined will produce on
some people. A miner came down from the mines to
Melbourne, having about five thousand dollars in gold
dust, and going into Alvin Adams's express office, —
which is a branch of the Adams Express Company,
— sold his gold to the company. In payment they
counted out sovereigns on the counter, and the pile contained something over one thousand bright round gold
pieces. The man was told to take his money. He
looked at it, stepped back a little, threw up his arms, and
fell dead to the floor. When he realized the value of
his gold in the form of money, the surprise was too much
for him. The miner looked at gold more as a mercantile
commodity than in any other way.
On arrival at Melbourne I met an old California partner who had come to Australia a year previous to my
arrival in the country. He had just returned from the
mines, where he had not been very successful, and was 244
going to leave the country, and was about to sail for Callao,
South America. He said that they had recently made
some great discoveries in that country in gold, and the
report was that no one who worked in the mines was
making less than one thousand dollars a day. He believed these big stories, and I was simple enough to
believe them also, and made up my mind to go with him.
My partner, my old friend, and myself went aboard of a
ship the next day that was going direct to Callao, and
we were soon booming away from the land where I
had been through gold nearly knee deep to get out of
the country. Now I was going to a country where, it
afterwards turned out, had been worked almost entirely
out nearly a hundred years earlier, and where what few
miners were at work were only making two and three dollars a day. We pushed on as fast as wind and water
would carry us, without anything serious to record until
we had been about three weeks out on our voyage, when,
by a painful accident, two men lost their lives.
We were running under a stiff and fair wind, and had
been carrying studding sails forward; the sail had been
taken in, and two men were on the foreyard arm rigging
in, as it is called, the studding-sail boom; casting off the
lashing that held it to the yard, the boom tipped up —
caused by the heavy roll of the ship —and threw the two
men off. One fell on to the anchor, and then fell overboard and sank to rise no more. The other man went
overboard apparently unhurt. The ship was immediately
hove to, and a life buoy was thrown to the man at the
same time. By the time that we got the ship to the
wind, she had taken quite a long circuit, which left the
man many rods distant from the ship. A boat was lowered and an hour was spent in hunting for him, but without finding him. He was near the life buoy when last
seen and must have gotten into it, but we had to square SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
away and leave without him. He was a Scotchman, and
weighed nearly two hundred pounds, and was possessed
of all the vigorous traits that the Scotch are known to
possess. He had one brother on board, and I have often
thought about what must have heen the brother's feeling
when our ship sailed rapidly away, unsuccessful in saving
the unfortunate sailor.
Just before we reached our destination we learned that
the fever that was supposed to be raging in Callao over
the big gold find was really a myth hatched in the fertile
brain of the captain and agents of the ship. The ship
had brought immigrants to Melbourne and was going to
Callao, there to load with wheat for home; and since
there was no freight at Melbourne for him, the captain
thought it a good idea to fill up the ship with fools, which
they did to their entire satisfaction and to the disgust of
their dupes. Had we known it soon enough, we might
perhaps have baited some big fish, using the captain for
the bait.
In good time we arrived in the harbor of Callao. I
had when in California learned a little Spanish or Mexican,
—a language spoken in almost all parts of South America,
— and my knowledge of the language was ever useful to
me. j| After we had dropped anchor the boats from shore
came alongside filled with natives, offering fruit and other
edibles for sale. I asked them if there was plenty of
gold in the country. They shrugged their shoulders, as
about all of the Spanish-speaking races do when they
have any doubts or wish to evade a direct answer.
After being pressed for an answer, one fellow answered
that there was a little.
" Well," said   I, " how  much  a  day  do   the  miners
make ? "
" Two and three dollars," said he.
I told my shipmates that was enough for me, and that 246
I should continue the voyage a little farther. We were
soon all ashore and began at once a still hunt for some
kind of a place which would be half civilized. After
wandering around awhile and tumbling over a lot of buzzards, which appeared to be the scavengers of the place,
— and I thought by the appearance of the streets there
ought to be a large increase in their numbers, — we found
a little place kept by Americans. We put up there for
the night, and soon learned there was fever raging at
that place so fiercely that it was carrying hundreds to
their graves. It was the yellow fever and black vomit.
Quite a number of my shipmates succumbed to the
dreadful plague.
Feeling rather squeamish one day, Iwent into a saloon
and drank half a tumbler of brandy, and had no further
trouble after that dose.
A young American doctor was meeting with much
success in his practice. He used nothing but tamarind
water; but he, too, at last took the fever, and his skill
could not save him, and he was laid away with many
Much rain was falling at that time, which caused the-
fever, it being the first rainy spell for three years. In-
dry weather the country is very healthy. We were told
that there had been a time during which no rain fell for
thirty years. There are many rivers flowing down to the
coast from the snow mountains of the interior of the
country which supply water, and fogs rising from the
rivers kept the air in a good and healthy condition.
Callao was in a very dilapidated state. The people
had not done much toward rebuilding the city since old
Callao was sunken, many years since. Along the beach
the tops of many of the old stone houses rose out of the
sand, and the present inhabitants were digging out the
stones to rebuild again.    In the middle of the town was SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
an old tomb, the sides of which were open to hogs, dogs,
and buzzards alike, and exposing hundreds of human
bones to view. Having some curiosity to see the inside,
I got down on my hands and knees and went in, being
received amid profound silence. There were no curiosities I cared to take away with me. The bones were very
dry, and no doubt many of them had been entombed a
hundred years or much longer.
Going up to Lima, the capital of Peru, I found that
place much worse than Callao, with narrow and very
filthy streets. I did not remain there long enough to
take in the sights, only staying half an hour, but in that
short time saw enough, but little of interest to relate.
Returning to Callao, the following day the English
steamer came in from Chili, and I took passage on her
for Panama. Finding my money getting low, I worked
my passage to Panama, and arrived at that place in good
time. Before going ashore, I helped to take out of the
steamer's hold one. million dollars' worth of gold and
silver, which was brought down from Chili. After that
I told the captain my contract was at an end, and he let
me go ashore. There I learned that we would either
have to wait a week at Panama or at Aspinwall, or Colon,
the proper name of the place. At Panama we could get
nothing to eat except fried bananas, so we started for
Colon. We walked a part of the way until reaching the
railroad, which was then in process of construction at
that time. We reached the railroad about three o'clock,
a. m., and took the train. The railroad officials saw us
long before we got to the railroad, and they waited nearly
half an hour for us to arrive. They made up for lost
time, however, when we got aboard, and we reached Aspinwall in a very short time. |||
In Aspinwall I soon found a good boarding-house^
run by an American, who also ran a little vessel, trading 248 THE  ADVENTURES   OF A
among the islands, and he was therefore able to furnish
his table with all that a hungry man could wish for, at
seven dollars per week. About a week after, the steamer
from New York came in, and the boat from San Francisco arrived at Panama ; the passengers from San Francisco soon arrived at Aspinwall and were soon on board
the New York steamer. The steamer from New York
was the old " George Law," and she was afterwards
altered over a little, and her name changed to the " Central America." She was a very old boat and hardly fit
for the sea in heavy weather, knowing which her owners
caused the reconstruction and the change of name,
in order to renew her youth. My Australian partner
found in command the old friend and captain with whom
he came to the United States from Capetown, Lieut.
Hernden, and, through old acquaintance, got a free
passage to New York. It may be remembered that I
stated this boat foundered at sea a few years later, and
about all on board, including Lieut. Hernden, were lost.
My fare was eighty dollars from Aspinwall to New
York, where we arrived in good time. Taking ten
dollars, I left my gold dust with my partner to be assayed
in New York and exchanged into coin, and started for
Boston, arriving there safe, sound, and right side up.
Having told my partner where he could find my uncle
in Boston, two days later I met him with my uncle on
the streets hunting for me. He had with him my coin
and the assay certificate which showed that the gold was
twenty-three and five eighths carats fine, and worth
$20.01 per ounce.    Twenty-four carats fine is pure gold.
I remained at home about four months, ample time
for me to spend what few hundred dollars I had brought
home with me. What became of my partner I knew not
and cared very little, since but for him I might have
been at that time at Donkey Woman's Gully taking out SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
hundreds of dollars daily, since the few miners left behind could not work the camp out under two years.
I was at my brother's office in Boston one day, and
taking up the morning paper noticed an item which
stated that the fare from Boston for San Francisco was
thirty dollars, and going at once down to the office,
bought a ticket and engaged one for one of my brothers.
I returned home and notified my brother, and the next
day we started for New York. We learned the next
morning after buying my ticket that the opposition
steamer at Panama had been bought off, and the fare
raised to sixty dollars, but we got ours for thirty dollars. 250
On arrival in New York my brother and I were not
long in finding the boat which was to take us to Aspinwall. We soon got aboard, and as our tickets bore the
numbers of our berths we were not long in finding them.
We found that each section contained four double
berths, two occupants to each berth. Our numbers
called for an upper double berth. They were supplied
with a mattress, a pillow, and a cotton quilt. The partition board that divided the upper berth was about six
inches wide. I felt a little anxious about who was to
occupy the berth by our side, since it would be nearly
equal to the old fashion of bundling all in one bed. My
brother was somewhat dissatisfied when he found that the
accommodations were not the same as they were on the
Sound steamer. He called the berths rough pine boxes,
and hardly fit for a dog to sleep in. He had not
travelled far in this wide world, and therefore was not
very well posted. I told him that he had better occupy
the outside of the berth, and he readily assented to the
I thought, since the occupant of the other berth would
be near neighbors, we must be either friends or enemies;
and that if my next-door neighbor should be inclined to
cause trouble, I had better be the one it should be with,
rather than my brother.    We had  not as yet  met the SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
party who was   to   occupy the next berth, so could not
tell what might happen on the other side of the house.
Soon after leaving the wharf the vessel began to
tremble and roll, and my brother began to look pale.
He was beginning to inhale Neptune's bracing air, and I
knew that he soon would be on his beam ends, where
he would stay until he got what sailors call sea legs.
Presently I saw two moving objects on the opposite
side of our section. One of them scanned the number
of the berth and nodded her head. I had seen enough
to convince me that one was a woman, and being curious
about her companion, I stepped out where both could be
seen, and discovered that both wore petticoats. Much
relieved, I yet thought there might be a- big brother
somewhere about, so hesitated about letting them know,
who their neighbors were. Just then a low groan came
from my brother, who sat on a box that some one had
placed in front of our berth. His elbows were resting
on his knees and he held his head in his hands.
" Hulloa, Jim," said I, "what is up? Is anything the
matter with you ? "
He cast a sorrowful look at me and said, —
" O Jack, matter is no name for it. Did you ever
see a fox skinned ? "
" Yes," said I, " they pull the body through the
" Well," said he, "thatis just the way I feel" ; and the
next development in his case proved that he spoke truth-
folly.  I ■■      |; f||
I Come," said I, " I guess you had better go up
above " ; and by dragging and carrying him got him on
deck, but his legs were sort of tangled and twisted, and
refused to carry him. I therefore pulled him along to a
settee, where he fell into a shapeless heap.
" Come, Jim," said I, "pull yourself together and take a 252 THE  ADVENTURES  OF  A
view of this beautiful landscape. It will be some time before you have an opportunity tO look upon it again."
He cast his eyes toward the shore which we were fast
leaving behind, and I left him awhile to drink in the
beauties of the scene so lavishly spread out before him.
I went down directly ta our berth, and noticed that the
other party had got their side of the berth pretty well
piled up with a mixed lot of feminine articles, consisting
of bandboxes, bundles, and carpetbags. They were
piled so high that one of them had fallen over the narrow
board partition on to my side. Reaching out, I picked
the bundle up, and was just about to push it back over
the fence, when one of the ladies who claimed the berth
arose. As she stood head and shoulders above the things
in the berth, in full view, I was spellbound. Such a
head of hair, black as a raven, which hung in luxuriant
ringlets over her well-rounded shoulders, with a few
little curls over a high, broad forehead. Her eyes,
shaded with dark lashes, seemed aflame, with every
movement bringing out a hidden lustre from those dark
orbs to reveal the emotions of the soul at every flash,
while her brow looked like a beautiful cloud above a
setting sun. A goddess might wish for her nose, and
her lips were like a June rose just putting forth its
beauty to the world. All these attractions completed by
a dimpled chin just double enough to give a little fulness, and you have the face complete.
She reached out her hand, which was a marvel of
beauty, with slender fingers bedecked with jewels, and
gracefully received the bundle, saying, " Me bundy, me
Thinking she was trying to tell me that we would
have to bundle, I blared out something like, "Yes, yes,
me too."
She smiled in return and said, " Mon Dieu." SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
Again thinking she was trying to find out how many
were to occupy my berth, and had put the cart before
the horse, as many foreigners do who cannot speak
English well, saying instead of two men, man two, so I
blurted out, hardly knowing what I said,—
" Yes, two of us. One is on deck nearly dead; and if
you say so I will go up at once and throw him overboard,
if you have any objections to the third party."
She smiled and said, " Vous nous parlez Francais."
I concluded she meant Polly and Frances, meaning presumably that her name was Polly and her companion's Frances.
I said, " Yes, Polly, and if you want me too, I will soon
fix the other fellow, although he is my brother."
She sprang up a little higher and said, " Oui, oui, me
brother, me brother." And I thought after all she might
have a big brother on board and that to be met later, but
not wishing to be kept in suspense, asked if she had a
brother on board.
She answered, " Me brother, Frisco."
I concluded after she had repeated this several times
that she wished me to be her brother until we reached
San Francisco, so I answered, " Yes, certainly I will be
that and more, or I am a Dutchman."
I Bon bon," she said as she felt of the mattress.
I thought she was trying to tell me how hard the mattress was, and that our bones would ache.
I Yes, indeed, it will be hard on our bones ere we get
to the end of our trip, but I can stand it if you can," I
She smiled and sank out of sight behind the berth,
while I silently offered up thanks that kind fate had
brought the star of my destiny to view.
I had travelled over many rough seas and foreign
lands, had met some of Britain's four hundred, and had
j& 254
danced and frolicked with titled dames on the islands,
had dined with kings and queens, but never before had I
met a star of sufficient magnitude' to entrance my soul.
Now-I could shout, " Eureka."
Finally I pulled myself together, and then wondered
what my poor brother on deck, sick enough to die, would
think of me for so long neglecting him.
I hurried on deck, thinking now the ice was broken,
content to trust to time and circumstances to reveal the
hidden future.    My brother was looking much better.
" Hulloa, Jim," said I, " how do you feel now?"
" Oh, much better, Jack! "
"That is good, you will soon be well again. Come,
let us go below, the steward will soon ring his bell for
"Don't say dinner to me. It makes me sick to think
of food, let alone eat it. I have got rid of all that I have
eaten for the last month."
"Well," said I, "you have plenty of room to accommodate a good hearty dinner."
He thought he would have to feel better than he was
then before he could care for food.
"Why, you said that you felt better, and I thought
that meant nearly well; but never mind, old boy, let
us go below, and I'll tell you about our next-door
" Have you seen them?" he asked.
| Yes, and do you believe it, they are young ladies."
" Is that so?" he asked.
" Yes, and one of them is an angel."
" Well, and the other one ; you have seen both of them,
have you not ? "
" No and yes ; that is, I have seen the face of one of
them and caught a glimpse of the other, but the one that
has the inside of the berth is a beauty, that is, if I
observed her aright, and I think I did." SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD   LAD.
"Think!" he interrupted, "don't you know whether
you did or not?"
" Well, no; you see they are French, at least the one I
talked with or tried to talk with is."
I went on: " If you can engage the attention of the
other one, why things will be quite pleasant you know,
something to relieve the monotony of the voyage.
Again, you will have some one to help you on deck
when you feel a little sick."
" Ah, you mean to forsake me ! " he said, " and turn
me over to a strange woman, one who cannot understand
a word of English or speak a word either. What kind
of a fellow do you take me for ? Has your angel turned
your head ? "
I No," I replied, " but French is easy to learn."
I How do you know that it is ? " asked he.
" Why, I have learned some already. You know we
descended from the Corbins, and they were French, so
you see that it is the French blood that is in our veins
that makes it easy for us to learn the French language.
You would soon be able to understand her."
"Well, you seem to take it for granted that I am sure
to please and be pleased with her, and yet we never set
eyes on each other. Perhaps, since you know so much,
you will act as interpreter."
" Yes, Jim, I will do all that I can to help you."
" How do you know that I would care for her?"
" Because one is so. handsome, the other must be
" Well, you know roses grow amidst thorns and hedges;
• but I will take a look at her anyway, since we have got
to be neighbors for a week or two."
At that moment the bell rang for dinner.
I Now," said I, " let us go below, but I want no love-
making from you or anybody else, since there is but one 2-;6
brother mixed up with Polly, unless she happens to have
one in California, then things might be a little different.
If there is to be a fight, I would rather it would be at the
other end of the journey.''
We hurried along, and soon got on the steps that led
to the mess deck. When about half-way down, where
we could look over the heads of those below, who were
crowding toward the table, I saw Polly's black head and
flowing ringlets.    Just then she stepped out of the jam.
"There," I cried, " there she is ! "
" There is who ? " said Jim.
"Why, Polly."
" What, the one with the black hair?"
I Yes," I replied.
" Well, she has a very pretty face, that is a fact, but I
should think that she must have come over in the ' Great
Eastern,' since no other boat could accommodate her."
Pretending to look the other way, I yet saw enough to
convince me that what my brother said was true.
" Oh, well," said I, " she can't help her great growth."
" Growth," said he, " she is built up. Nature could
not work such a miracle; she is built up, I say."
She certainly did look a little that way I must confess.
Being all one size from her shoulders to her feet, one
could not tell where her waist was.
We found the tables well filled. " Well," said I, " there
is no chance for us at these tables, let us go over to our
berth and wait for the next table."
In getting to our berth, we passed by Polly's section, and
as we came opposite it, saw her companion looking out
of the ventilator in the side of the boat.
" Now, Jim," said I, " here is your chance, while Polly
is at dinner. You know that it would be ungallant not
to get acquainted with your neighbor."
Having aroused his curiosity, and knowing  his  fond SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD  LAD.
ness for female company when at home, I believed he
would not need much urging. Not believing in eavesdropping, I slipped around to our berth and sat down.
I was too far away to be one of the party, and yet too
near not to hear what was said, and my curiosity being a
little aroused to know how he got along, I listened and
heard my brother say,—
" Good morning, madam."
Then there was a rustling of feminine furbelows, and a
squeaking voice said, —
"Me Frances, no speak English."
Upon hearing which, my brother answered,—
" Oh, excuse me, I think I have made a mistake and
come to the wrong berth!"
He quickly dodged around the corner to where I
" Why," said I, " it did not take you long to break the
"Ice indeed," said he, "straight from the north
" For goodness' sake, tell me what she said," said I.
" She said enough to condemn her in my eyes if she
had been an angel in other respects; she called me a
speckled Englishman."
" Why," answered I, " you must be mistaken, she
surely did not say that."
" But she did. I never want to set eyes on her
again." fl§j
I Bah ! I understand the whole plot now. You have
met her on board before, and have told her that you were
an Englishman and were going to California to speculate ;
and of all your fine story the only thing that she could
remember, was ! speculate ' and j Englishman.''
I Jack, you know better than that. I never laid eyes
on her before, and never want to again." -58
" Well, then, tell me how she looks in the face; can't
you describe her a little?"
" Great Scot," said he, " it would take a better mathematician than I to figure out that face. If you are so
very anxious to know how she looks, go around and have
a look at her."
Just then Polly returned from dinner, and seeing me
gave me a pretty little nod which set those pretty curls
romping over her beautiful shoulders. My heart gave
a leap in response, as Polly passed into the slip between
the sections.
Soon after the bell rang again for the next table.
As we came out of our slip, Franky was a little in advance
of us. Pushing on after her, I urged my brother to
hurry, since if we missed that table we would not get
much to eat at the third.
When we reached the table there were but three plates
not taken. Franky took one, and I pushed my brother
up to the one next her, I taking the remaining one.
After helping the lady next to me, I looked to see how
my brother got on. He stood with knife and fork in
hand and a vacant stare in his eyes.
" Come, Jim," said I, " ain't you going to help the lady ?"
He paid no attention to me, but drove his fork into a
large piece of meat that had a great bone in it and placed
it on her plate, piled on two large potatoes and slid a piece
of bread alongside of her plate ; then he cast his eyes over
the table to see if there was anything else he could help
her to, but failing to find anything more, laid down his
knife and fork, and with one look at me, at the same
time pointing to the deck above, vanished from the table.
The one look he gave me was long enough for me to
see fire in his eye, and forebode trouble. Since my
brother's departure was so abrupt, I turned to learn the
cause; and as Franky was so near, I could inspect her at SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD
short range. My brother had not overdrawn the picture,
had not even told all the truth. Her hea