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A tramp's note-book Roberts, Morley, 1857-1942 1904

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Array     A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
a  A  TRAMP'S . .
. .NOTE-BOOK
BY
MORLEY   ROBERTS
AUTHOR  OF
"RACHEL   M.ARR,"    " BIANCA'S   CAPRICE "
" THE PROMOTION OF THE ADMIRAL "
i
LONDON
F. V. WHITE & CO. LTD.
14   BEDFORD   STREET,   STRAND,   W.C.
1904  CONTENTS
PAGE
A Watch-night Service in San Francisco       - i
Some Portuguese Sketches       -       -       -       - 16
A Pondicherry Boy  40
A Graduate Beyond Seas -       -       -       -       - 51
My Friend El Toro ------ 61
Books in the Great West        -       -       -       - 71
A Visit to R. L. Stevenson      -       -       -       - 79
In Capetown       -  S&
Veldt, Plain and Prairie         -       -       -       - 95
Near Mafeking  101
By the Fraser River         -       -               -       - no
Old and New Days in British Columbia        - 118
A Talk with Kruger        -       -       -       - 128
Trout   Fishing    in   British   Columbia   and
California  136
Round the World in Haste    -       -       - 142
Blue Jays and Almonds    -       -       -       -       - 162
In Corsica -       -       m  167
On the Matterhorn -       -       -       -       -       - 176
v  A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK  A Tramp's Note-Book
A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE IN
SAN FRANCISCO
7 How much bitter experience a man keeps to
himself, let the experienced say, for they only
know. For my own part I am conscious that
it rarely occurs to me to mention some things
which happened either in England or out of it,
and that if I do, it is only to pass them over
casually as mere facts that had no profound
effect upon me. But the importance of any
hardship cannot be estimated at once; it has
either psychological or physiological sequelae,
or both. The attack of malaria passes, but in
long years after it returns anew and devouring
the red blood, it breaks down a man's cheerfulness ; a night in a miasmic forest may make
him for ever a slave in a dismal swamp of
pessimism.    It is so with starvation, and all 2 A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
things physical. It is so with things mental,
with degradations, with desolation; the scars
and more than scars remain : there is outward
healing, it may be, but we often flinch at mere
remembrance.
But time is the vehicle of philosophy; as
the years pass we learn that in all our misfortunes was something not without value.
And what was of worth grows more precious
as our harsher memories fade. Then we may
bear to speak of the days in which we were
more than outcasts ; when we recognised ourselves as such, and in strange calm and with a
broken spirit made no claim on Society. For
this is to be an outcast indeed.
I came to San Francisco in the winter of
1885, and remained in that city for some
six months. What happened to me on broad
lines I have written in the last chapter of
The Western Avernus. But J nowadays I
know that in that chapter I have told nothing.
It is a bare recital of events with no more
than indications of deeper miseries, and some
day it may chance to be rewritten in full. That
I was#of poor health was nothing, that I
could obtain no employment was little, that I
came to depend on help was more. But the
mental side underlying was the worst, for the A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE 3
iron entered into my soul. I lost energy. I
went dreaming. I was divorced from
humanity.
America is a hard place, for it has been
made by hard men. People who would not
be crushed in the East have gone to the
West. The Puritan element has little softness
in it, and in some places even now gives rise
to phenomena of an excessive and religious
brutality which tortures without pity, without
sympathy. But not only is the Puritan hard ;
all other elements in America are hard too.
The rougher emigrant, the unconquerable
rebel, the natural adventurer, the desperado
seeking a lawless realm, men who were iron
and men with the fierce courage which carries
its vices with its virtues, have made the United
States. The rude individualist of Europe who
felt the slow pressure of social atoms which
precedes their welding, the beginning of
socialism, is the father of America. He has
little pity, little tolerance, little charity. In
what States in America is there any poor law ?
Only an emigration agent, hungry for steamship percentages, will declare there are no
poor there now. The survival of the fit is the
survival of the strong; every man for himself
and the devil take the hindmost might replace A A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
the legend on the silver dollar and the golden
eagle, without any American denying it in his
heart.
But if America as a whole is the dumping
ground and Eldorado combined of the harder
extruded elements of Europe, the same law of
selection holds good there as well. With
every degree of West longitude the fibre ofthe
American grows harder. The Dustman
Destiny sifting his cinders has his biggest
mesh over the Pacific States. If charity and
sympathy be to seek in the East, it is at a
greater discount on the Slope. The only
poor-house is the House of Correction. Perhaps San Francisco is one of the hardest, if
not the hardest city in the world. Speaking
from my own experience, and out of the experience gathered from a thousand miserable
bedfellows in the streets, I can say I think it
is, not even excepting Portland in Oregon.
But let it be borne in mind that this is the
verdict of the unsuccessful. Had I been lucky
it might have seemed different.
I came into the city with a quarter of a
dollar, two bits, or one shilling and a halfpenny Jin my possession. Starvation and
sleeping on boards when I was by no means
well broke  me down and  at  the  same  time A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE 5
embittered me. On the third day I saw some
of my equal outcasts inspecting a bill on a
telegraph pole in Kearny Street, and on reading
it I found it a religious advertisement of some
services to be held in a street running out of
Kearny, I believe in Upper California Street.
At the bottom of the bill was a notice that men
out of work and starving who attended the
meeting would be given a meal. Having been
starving only some twenty-four hours I
sneered and walked on. My agnosticism was
bitter in those days, bitter and polemic.
But I got no work. The streets were full
of idle men. They stood in melancholy groups
at corners, sheltering from the rain. I knew
no one but a few of my equals. I could get no
ship ; the city was full of sailors. I starved
another twenty-four hours, and I went to the
service. I said I went for the warmth ofthe
room, for I was ill-clad and wet. I found the
place half full of out-o'-works, and sat down by
the door. The preacher was a man of a type
especially disagreeable to me ; he looked like
a business man who had cultivated an aspect
of goodness and benevolence and piety on
business principles. Without being able to
say he was a hypocrite, he struck me as being
one.    He   was   not   bad-looking,   and  about 6
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
thirty-five ; he had a band of adoring girls and
women about him. I was desolate and disliked
him and went away.
But I returned.
I went up to him and told him brutally that
I disbelieved in him and in everything he be-
lreved in, explaining that I wanted nothing on
false pretences. My attitude surprised him, but
he was kind (still with that insufferable air of
being a really first-class good man), and he
bade me have something to eat. I took it and
went, feeling that I had no place on the earth.
But a little later I met an old friend from
British Columbia. He was by way of being a
religious man, and he had a hankering to convert me. Failing personally, he cast about for
some other means, land selected this very
preacher as his instrument. Having asked me
to eat with him at a ten-cent hash house, he
inveigled me to an evening service, and for the
warmth I went with him. I became curious
about these religious types, and attended a
series of services. I was interested half in a
morbid way, half psychologically. Scott, my
friend, found me hard, but my interest made
him hope. He took me, not at all unwilling,
to hear a well-known revivalist who combined
religion with anecdotes.    He told stories well, A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE 7
and filled a church every night for ten days.
During these days I heard him attentively, as
I might have listened to any well-told lecture
on any pseudo-science. But my intellect was
unconvinced, my conscience untouched, and
Scott gave me up. I attended a number of
services by myself; I was lonely, poor, hope-
less> living an inward life. The subjective
became real at times, the objective faded. I
had a little occasional work, and expected some
money to reach me early in the year. But I
had no energy, I divided my time between the
Free Library and churches. And it drew on to
Christmas.
It was a miserable time of rain, and Christmas
Day found me hopeless of a meal. But by
chance I came across a man whom I had fed,
and he returned my hospitality by dining me for
fifteen cents at the "What Cheer House," a
well-known poor restaurant in San Francisco.
Then followed some days of more than semi-
starvation, and I grew rather light-headed.
The last day of the year dawned and I spent it
foodless, friendless, solitary. But after a long
evenings aimless wandering about the city I
came back to California Street, and at ten
o'clock went to the Watch-Night Service in the
room of the first preacher I had heard. 8
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
The hall was a big square one, capable of
seating some three hundred people. There
was a raised platform at the end; a broad
passage way all round the room had seats on
both sides of it, and made a small square of seats
in the centre. I sat down in the middle of this
middle square, and the room was soon nearly
full. The service began with a hymn. I
neither sang nor rose, and I noticed numbers
who did not. In peculiar isolation of mind
my heart warmed to these, and I was conscious
of rising hostility for the creatures of praise.
There was one strong young fellow about three
places from me who remained seated. Glancing
behind the backs of those who were standing
between us I caught his eye, which met mine
casually and perhaps lightened a little. He
had a rather fine face, intelligent, possibly
at better times humorous. I was not so
solitary.
A man singing on my left offered me a share
of his hymn - book. I declined courteously.
The woman on my right asked me to share
hers. That I declined too. Some asked the
young fellow to rise, but he refused quietly.
Yet I noticed some of those who had remained
seated gave in to solicitations or to the sound
or to some memory, and rose.    Yet many still
Wi «■
A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE
9
remained. They were all men, and most of
them young.
After the hymn followed prayer by the
minister, who was surrounded on the dais by
some dozen girls. I noticed that few were very
good-looking; but in their faces was religious
fervour. Yet they kept their eyes on the man.
The prayer was long, intolerably and trickily
eloquent and rhetorical, very self-conscious.
The man posed before the throne. But I
listened to every word, half absorbed though
I was in myself. He was followed in prayer
by ambitious and emotional people in the seats.
One woman prayed for those who would not
bow the knee. Once more a hymn followed,
" Bringing home the sheaves."
The air is not without merit, and has a good
lilt and swing. I noted it tempted me to sing
it, for I knew the tune well, and in the volume
of voices was an emotional attraction. I repressed the inclination even to move my lips.
But some others rose and joined in. My fellow
on the left did not. The sermon followed, and
I felt as if I had escaped a humiliation.
What the preacher said I cannot remember,
nor is it of any importance. He was not an
intellectual man, nor had he many gifts beyond
his rather sleek manner and a soft manageable 10
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
voice. He was obviously proud of that, and
reckoned it an instrument of success. It
became as monotonous to me as the slow oily
swell of a tropic sea in calm. I would have
preferred a Boanerges, a bitter John Knox.
The intent of his sermon was the usual one
at such periods; this was the end of the year,
the beginning was at hand. Naturally he
addressed himself to those who were not of his
flock; it seemed to me, as it doubtless seemed
to others, that he spoke to me directly.
Thfe custom of mankind to divide time into
years has had an effect on us, and we cannot
help feeling it. Childhood does not understand
how artificial the portioning of time is ; the New
Year affects us even when we recognise the
fact. It required no florid eloquence of the
preacher to convince me of past folly and weakness ; but it was that weakness that made me
weak now in my allowing his insistence on the
New Year to affect me. I was weak, lonely,
foolish. Oh, I acknowledged I wanted help!
But could I get help here ?
It was past eleven when they rose to sing
another hymn. Many who had not sung
before sang now. Some of the girls from the
platform came down and offered us hymn-books.
A  few  took  them  half-shamefacedly;   some A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE
11
declined with thanks ; some ignored the extended book. And after two hymns were sung
and some more prayers said, it was half-past
eleven. They announced five minutes for
silent meditation. Looking round, I saw my
friend on the left sitting with folded arms. He
was obviously in no need of five minutes.
In the Free Library I had renewed much of
my ancient scientific reading, and I used it
now to control some slight emotional weakness,
and to explain it to myself. Half-starved, nay
more than half-starved, as I was, such weakness
was likely ; I was amenable to suggestion. I
asked myself a dozen crucial questions, and was
bitterly amused to know how the preacher
would evade answering them if put to him.
Such a creature could not succeed, as all great
teachers have done, in subduing the intellect by
the force of his own personality. But all the
same the hour, the time, and the song followed
by silence, and the silence by song, affected me
and affected many. What had I to look forward to when I went out into the street ? And
if I yielded they might, nay would, help me to
work. I laughed a little at myself, and was
scornful of my thoughts.    They were singing
again.
This time the band of women left the dais 12
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
and in a body went slowly round and round the
aisle isolating the centre seats from the platform
and the sides. From the platform the preacher
called on the others to rise and join them, for it
was nearly twelve o'clock, the New Year was
at hand. Most of the congregation obeyed
him, I counted but fifteen or twenty who
refused.
The volume of the singing increased as the
seats emptied, in it there was religious fervour;
it appealed strongly even to me. I saw some
young fellows rise and join the procession ;
perhaps three or four. There were now less
than twelve seated. The preacher spoke to us
personally; he insisted on the passing minutes
of the dying year. And still the singers passed
us. Some leant over and called to us. Our
bitter band lessened one by one.
Then from the procession came these girl
acolytes, and, dividing themselves, they appealed to us and prayed. They were not
beautiful perhaps, but they were women. We
outcasts of the prairie and the camp fire and the
streets had been greatly divorced from feminine
sweet influences, and these succeeded where
speech and prayer and song had failed. As one
spoke to me I saw hard resolution wither in
many.     What  woman had  spoken kindly to A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE
13
them in this hard land since they left their
eastern homes ? Why should they pain them ?
And as they joined the singing band of believers the girls came to those of us who still
stayed, and doubled and redoubled their entreaties. That it was not what they said, but
those who said it, massing influences and
suggestion, showed itself when he who had been
stubborn to one yielded with moist eyes to two.
And three overeame him who had mutely
resisted less.
They knew their strength, and spoke softly
with the voice of* loving women. And not a
soul had spoken to me so in my far and weary
songless passage from the Atlantic States to
the Pacific Coast. Long-repressed emotions
rose in me as the hair of one brushed my
cheek, as the hand of another lay upon my
shoulder and mutely bade me rise; as another
called me, as another beckoned. I looked
round like a half-fascinated beast, and I caught
the eye again of the man on my left. He and
I were the only ones left sitting there. All
the rest had risen and were singing with the
singers.
In his eye, I doubt not, I saw what he saw
in mine. A look of encouragement, a demand
for it, doubt, an emotional struggle, and deeper 14
A TRAMPS NOTE BOOK
than all a queer bitter amusement, that said
plainly, "If you fail me, I fall, but I would
rather not play the hypocrite in these hard
times." We nodded rather mentally than
actually, and were encouraged. I knew if I
yielded I was yielding to something founded
essentially on sex, and for my honesty's sake
I would not fail.
I My child, it is no use," I said to her who
spoke to me, and, struggling with myself, I
put her hand from me. But still they moved
past and sang, and the girls would not leave
me till the first stroke of midnight sounded
from the clock upon the wall. They then
went one by one and joined the band. I turned
again to my man, and conscious of my own
hard fight, I knew what his had been. We
looked at each other, and being men, were
half ashamed that another should know we had
acted rightly according to our code, and had
won a victory over ourselves.
And now we were truly outcasts, for no one
spoke to us again. The preacher prayed and
we still sat there. But he cast us no word,
and the urgent women were good only to their
conquered. Perhaps in their souls was some
sense of personal defeat; they had been
rejected as women and as angels of the Lord. A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE
15
We two at anyrate sat beyond the reach of
their graciousness ; their eyes were averted or
lifted up; we lay in outer darkness.
As they began to sing once more we both
rose and with a friendly look at each other
went out into the streets of the hostile, city.
It  is  easy   to   understand  why  we  did  not
speak.
I never saw him again. SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
The Portuguese are wholly inoffensive, except
when their pride is touched.     In politics,  or
when they hunger after African territory we
fancy needed for our own people, they may
not  seem  so.    When  a  rebuff excites them
against   the   English,   Lisbon   may   not   be
pleasant for Englishmen.     But in such cases
would London commend itself to a triumphant
foreigner ?    For my own part, I found a kind
of gentle, unobtrusive politeness even among
those  Portuguese  who knew I  was   English
when I went to   Lisbon on the last occasion
of the two nations quarrelling about a mud flat
on   the   Zambesi.      Occasionally,   on   being
taken for an American, I did not correct the
mistake, for having no quarrel with Americans
they sometimes confided to me the bitterness
of their hearts against the English.    I stayed
in Lisbon at the Hotel Universal in the Rua
Nova da Almeda, a purely Portuguese house
where only stray Englishmen came.     At the
16 •mxat. l*\--Wfm'mK  J"H;-^"v ■>*■*■ i
SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
17
table d'hote one night I had a conversation
with a mild-mannered Portuguese which
showed the curious ignorance and almost
childish vanity of the race. I asked him in
French if he spoke English. He did so badly
and we mingled the two languages and at last
talked vivaciously. He was an ardent politician
and hated the English virulently, telling me so
with curious circumlocutions. He was of
opinion, he said, that though the English were
unfortunately powerful on the sea, on land his
nation was a match for us. As for the English
in Africa, he declared the Portuguese able to
sweep them into the sea. But though he
hated the English, his admiration for Queen
Victoria was as unbounded as our own earth-
hunger. She was, he told me, entirely on the
side of the Portuguese in the sad troubles
which English politicians were then causing.
He detailed, as particularly as if he had been
present, a strange scene reported to have taken
place between Soveral, their ambassador, and
Lord Salisbury, in which discussion grew
heated. It seemed as if they would part in
anger. At last Soveral arose and exclaimed
with much dignity: I You must now excuse
me, my Lord Salisbury, I have to dine with
the   Queen  to-night."     My   Lord   Salisbury
B
SB 18
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
started, looked incredulous, and said coldly,
"You are playing with me. This cannot be.':
I Indeed," said the ambassador, producing a
telegram from Windsor, "it is as I say.,: And
then Salisbury turned pale, fell back in his
chair, and gasped for breath. "And after
that," said my informant, "things went well.'5
Several people at the table listened to this
story and seemed to believe it. With much
difficulty I preserved a grave countenance, and
congratulated him on the possession of an
ambassador who was more than a match for our
Foreign Minister. Before the end of dinner
he informed me that the English were as a
general rule savages, while the Portuguese
were civilised. Having lived in London he
knew this to be so. Finding that he knew the
East End of our gigantic city, I found it
difficult to contradict him.
Certainly Lisbon, as far as visible poverty
is concerned, is far better than London. I saw
few very miserable people; beggars were not
at all numerous; in a week I was only asked
twice for alms. One constantly hears that
Lisbon is dirty, and as full of foul odours as
Coleridge's Cologne. I did not find it so, and
the bright sunshine and the fine colour of the
houses might well compensate for some draw- SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
19
backs. The houses of this regular town are
white, and pale yellow, and fine worn-out pink,
with narrow green painted verandahs which
soon lose crudeness in the intense light. The
windows of the larger blocks are numerous and
set in long regular lines; the streets if narrow
run into open squares blazing with white
unsoiled monuments. All day long the ways
are full of people who are fairly but unostentatiously polite. They do not stare one out of
countenance however one may be dressed. In
Antwerp a man who objects to being wondered
at may not wear a light suit. Lisbon is
more cosmopolitan. But the beauty of the
town of Lisbon is not added to by the beauty
of its inhabitants. The women are curiously
the reverse of lovely. Only occasionally I saw
a face which was attractive by the odd conjuncture of an olive skin and light grey eyes.
They do not wear mantillas. The lower classes
use a shawl. Those who are of the bourgeois
class or above it differ little from Lon3oners.
The working or loafing men, for they laugh and
loaf, and work and chaff and chatter at every
corner, are more distinct in costume, wearing
the flat felt sombrero with turned-up edges that
one knows from pictures, while the long coat
which has displaced the  cloak still  retains  a
i 20
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
smack of it in the way they disregard the
sleeves and hang it from their shoulders. These
men are decidedly not so ugly as the women,
and vary wonderfully in size, colour and complexion, though a big Portuguese is a rarity.
The strong point in both sexes is their natural
gift for wearing colour, for choosing and blending or matching tints.
These Portuguese men and women work hard
when they do not loaf and chatter. The porters,
who|stand in knots with cords upon their
shoulders, bear huge loads; a characteristic of
the place is this load-bearing and the size of the
burdens. Women carry mighty parcels upon
their heads ; men great baskets. Fish is carried
in spreading flat baskets by girls. They look
afar off like gigantic hats: further still, like
quaint odd toadstools in motion. All household
furniture removing among the poor is done by
hand. Two or four men load up a kind of flat
hand-barrow without wheels till it is pyramidal
and colossal with piled gear. Then passing
poles through the loop of ropes, with a slow
effort they raise it up and advance at a funereal
and solemn pace. The slowness with which
they move is pathetic. It is suggestive of a
dead burden or of some street accident. But of
these latter there must be very few; there is SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
21
not much vehicular traffic in Lisbon. It is comparatively rare to see anything like cruelty to
horses. The mules which draw the primitive
ramshackle trams have the worst time of it, and
are obliged to pull their load every now and
again off one line on to another, being urged
thereto with some brutality. But these trams
do not run up the very hilly parts of the city ;
the main lines run along the Tagus east and
west of the great Square of the Black Horse.
And by the river the city is flat.
Only a little way up, in my street for instance,
it rapidly becomes hilly. On entering the hotel,
to my surprise I went downstairs to my bedroom. On looking out of the window a street
was even then sixty feet below me. The floor
underneath me did not make part of the hotel,
but was a portion of a great building occupied
by the poorer people and let out in flats.
During the day, as I sat by the window working, the noise was not intolerable, but at night
when the Lisbonensians took to amusing themselves they roused me from a well-earned sleep.
They shouted and sang and made mingled and
indistinguishable uproars which rose wildly
through the narrow deep space and burst into
my open window. After long endurance I rose
and shut it, preferring heat to insomnia.    But
si 99
A TRAMPS NOTE BOOK
in the day, after that discord, I always had the
harmonious compensations of true colour. Even
when the sun shone brilliantly I could not distinguish the grey blue of the deep shadows, so
much blue was in the painted or distempered
outer walls. It was in Lisbon that I first began
to discern the mental effect of colour, and to see
that it comes truly and of necessity from a
people's temperament. Can a busy race be
true colourists ?
In some parts of the town—the eastern
quarters—one cannot help noticing the still remaining influence of the Moors. There are
even some true relics; but certainly the influence survives in flat-sided houses with small
windows and Moorish ornament high up just
under the edge of the flat roof. One day, being
tired of the more noisy western town, I went
east and climbed up and up, being alternately
in deep shadow and burning sunlight and
turned round by a barrack, where some soldiers
eyed me as a possible Englishman. I hoped
to see the Tagus at last, for here the houses
are not so lofty, and presently, being on very
high ground, I caught a view of it, darkly
dotted with steamers, over some flat roofs.
Towards the sea it narrows, but above Lisbon
it widens out like a lake.    On the far side was SOME PORTUGUESE S&ETCfiES
23
a white town, beyond that again hills blue with
lucid atmosphere. At my feet (I leant against
a low wall) was a terraced garden with a big
vine spread on a trellis, making—or promising
to make in the later spring—a long shady
arbour, for as yet the leaves were scanty and
freshly green. Every house was faint blue or
varied pink, or worn-out, washed-out, sun-dried
green. All the tones were beautiful and modest,
fitting the sun yet not competing with it. In
London the colour would break the level of
dull tints and angrily protest, growing scarlet
and vivid and wrathful. And just as I looked
away from the river and the vine-clad terrace
there was a scurrying rush of little school-boys
from a steep side-street. They ran down the
slope, and passed me, going quickly like black
blots on the road, yet their laughter was sunlight on the ripple of waters. The Portuguese
are always children and are not sombre. Only
in their graveyards stand solemn cypresses
which rise darkly on the hillside where they
bury their dead ; but in life they laugh and are
merry even after they have children of their
own.
Though little apt to do what is supposed to be
a traveller's duty in visiting certain obvious
places of interest, I  one day hunted for the 24
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
English cemetery in which Fielding lies buried,
and found it at last just at the back of a little open
park or garden where children were playing.
On going in I found myself alone save for a
gardener who was cutting down some rank
grass with a scythe. This cemetery is the
quietest and most beautiful I ever saw. One
might imagine the dead were all friends. They
are at anyrate strangers in a far land, an
English party with one great man among them.
I found his tomb easily, for it is made of
massive blocks of stone. Having brought
from home his little Voyage to Lisbon,
written just before he died, I took it out, sat
down on the stone, and read a page or two.
He says farewell at the very end. As I sat,
the strange and melancholy suggestion of the
dead man speaking out of that great kind heart
of his, now dust, the strong contrast between
the brilliant sunlight and the heavy sombre-
ness of the cypresses of death, the song of
spring birds and the sound of children's voices,
were strangely pathetic. I rose up and
paced that little deadman's ground which was
still and quiet. And on another grave I read
but a name, the name of some woman,
" Eleanor." After life, and work, and love, this
is the end.    Yet we do remember Fielding. SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
25
On the following day I went to Cintra out
of sheer ennui> for my inability to talk Portuguese made me silent and solitary perforce.
And at Cintra I evaded my obvious duty, and
only looked at the lofty rock on which the
Moorish castle stands. For one thing the hill
was swathed in mists, it rained at intervals, a
kind of bitter tramontana was blowing. And
after running the gauntlet of a crowd of
vociferous donkey-boys I was anxious to get
out of the town. I made acquaintance with a
friendly Cintran dog and went for a walk. My
companion did not object to my nationality or
my inability to express myself in fluent
Portuguese, and amused himself by tearing the
leaves of the Australian gum-trees, which
flourish very well in Portugal. But at last, in
cold disgust at the uncharitable puritanic
weather which destroyed all beauty in the
landscape, I returned to the town. Here I
passed the prison. On spying me the prisoners
crowded to the barred windows; those on the
lower floor protruded their hands, those on the
upper storey sent down a basket by a long string;
I emptied my pockets of their coppers. It
seemed not unlike giving nuts to our human
cousins at the Zoo. Surely Darwin is the
prince  of pedigree-makers.    Before him  the 26
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
daring of the bravest herald never went
beyond Adam. He has opened great possibilities to the College dealing with inherited
dignity of ancient fame.
This Cintra is a town on a hill and in a hole,
a kind of half-funnel opening on a long plain
which is dotted by small villages and farms.
If the donkey-boys were extirpated it might be
fine on a fine day.
Returning to the station, I ensconced myself
in a carriage out of the way of the cutting
wind, and talked fluent bad French with a
kindly old Portuguese who looked like a
Quaker. Two others came in and entered
into a lively conversation in which Charing
Cross and London Bridge occurred at intervals.
It took an hour and a quarter to do the fifteen
miles between Cintra and Lisbon. I was told
it was considered by no means a very slow
train. Travelling in Portugal may do something to reconcile one to the trains in the
south-east of England.
The last place I visited in Lisbon was the
market. Outside, the glare of the hot sun
was nearly blinding. Just in that neighbourhood all the main buildings are purely white,
even the shadows make one's eyes ache. In
the open spaces of the squares even brilliantly- SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
27
clad women seemed black against white.
Inside, in a half-shade under glass, a dense
crowd moved and chattered and stirred to
and fro. The women wore all the colours
of flowers and fruit, but chiefly orange. And
on the stone floor great flat baskets of oranges,
each with a leaf of green attached to it, shone
like pure gold. Then there were red apples,
and red handkerchiefs twisted over dark hair.
Milder looking in tint was the pale Japanese
apple with an artistic refinement of paler
colour. The crowd, the good humour, the
noise, even the odour, which was not so
offensive as in our English Covent Garden,
made a striking and brilliant impression.
Returning to the hotel, I was met by a scarlet
procession of priests and acolytes who bore
the Host. The passers-by mostly bared their
heads. Perhaps but a little while ago every
one might have been worldly wise to follow
their example, for the Inquisition lasted till
1808 in Spain.
In the afternoon of that day I went on
board the Dunottar Castle, and in the evening
sailed for Madeira.
A week's odd moments of study and enforced intercourse with waiters and male
chambermaids, whose French was even more 28
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
primitive than my own, had taught me a little
Portuguese, that curious, unbeautiful sounding
tongue, and I found it useful even on board
the steamer. At anyrate I was able to
interpret for a Funchal lawyer who sat by
me at table, and afterwards invited me to
see him. This smattering of Portuguese I
found more useful still in Madeira, or at
Funchal—its capital—for I stayed in native
hotels. It is the only possible way of learning
anything about the people in a short visit.
Moreover, the English hotels are full of
invalids. It is curious to note the present
prevalence of consumption among the natives
of Funchal. It is a good enough proof on
the first face of it that consumption is catching.
There is a large hospital here for Portuguese
patients, though the disease was unknown
before the English made a health resort of it.
Funchal has been a thousand times described, and is well worthy of it. §Lying
as it does in a long curve with the whole town
visible from the sea, as the houses grow fewer
and fewer upon the § slopes of the lofty
mountain background, it is curiously theatrical
and scenic in effect. It is artistically arranged,
well-placed ; a brilliant jewel in a dark-green
setting, and the sea is amethyst and turquoise. SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
29
I stayed in an hotel whose proprietor was an
ardent Republican. One evening he mentioned the fact in broken English, and I told
him that in theory I also was of that creed.
He grew tremendously excited, opened a
bottle of Madeira, shared it with me and two
Portuguese, and insisted on singing the
Marseillaise until a crowd collected in front
of the house, whose open windows looked on
an irregular square. Then he and his friends
shouted | Viva la partida dos Republicanos!"
The charges at this hotel were ridiculously
small—only three and fourpence a day for
board and lodging. And it was by no means
bad; at anyrate it was always possible to get
fruit, including loquats, strawberries, custard
apples, bananas, oranges, and the passionflower fruit, which is not enticing on a first
acquaintance, and resembles an anaemic pomegranate. Eggs, too, were twenty-eight for
tenpence ; fish was at nominal prices.
But there is nothing to do in Funchal save
eat and swim or ride. The climate is enervating, and when the east wind blows from the
African coast it is impossible to move save
in the most spiritless and languid way. It
may make an invalid comparatively strong, but
I am sure it might reduce a strong man to a
2S 80
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
state of confirmed laziness little removed from
actual illness. I was glad one day to get
horses, in company with an acquaintance, and
ride over the mountains to Fayal, on the north
side of the island. And it was curious to see
the obstinate incredulity of the natives when
we declared we meant going there and back in
one day. The double journey was only a
little over twenty-six miles, yet it was declared impossible. Our landlord drew ghastly
pictures of the state we should be in, declaring
we did not know what we were doing; he
called in his wife, who lifted up her hands
against our rashness and crossed herself
piously when we were unmoved ; he summoned
the owner of the horses, who said the thing
could not be done. But my friend was not
to be persuaded, declaring that Englishmen
could do anything, and that he would show
them. He explained that we were both very
much more than admirable horsemen, and only
minimised his own feats in the colonies by
kindly exaggerating mine in America, and
finally it was settled gravely that we were to
be at liberty to kill ourselves and ruin the
horses for a lump sum of two pounds ten,
provided we found food and wine for the two
men  who  were  to  be  our guides.     In  the SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
morning, at six o'clock, we set out in a heavy
shower of rain. Before we had gone up the
hill a thousand feet we were wet through, but
a thousand more brought us into bright sunlight. Below lay Funchal, underneath a white
sheet of rain-cloud: the sea beyond it was
darkened here and there; it was at first
difficult to distinguish the outlying Deserta
Islands from sombre fogbanks. But as we
still went up and up the day brightened more
and more, and when Funchal was behind and
under the first hills the sea began to glow and
glitter. Here and there it shone like watered
silk. The Desertas showed plainly as rocky
masses; a distant steamer trailed a thin ribbon
of smoke above the water. Close at hand a
few sheep and goats ran from us ; now and
again a horse or two stared solemnly at us;
and we all grew cheerful and laughed. For
the air was keen and bracing ; we were on the
plateau, nearly four thousand feet above the
sea, and in a climate quite other than that
which choked the distant low-lying town.
Then we began to go down.
All the main roads of the Ilha da Madeira
are paved with close-set kidney pebbles, to save
them from being washed out and destroyed
by  the   sudden   violent   semi-tropical   rains. 82
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
Even on this mountain it was so, and our
horses, with their rough-shod feet, rattled
down the pass without faltering. The road
zigzagged after the manner of mountain roads.
When we reached the bottom of a deep ravine
it seemed impossible that we could have got
there, and getting out seemed equally impossible. The slopes of the hills were often
fifty degrees. Everywhere was a thick
growth of brush and trees. At times the roald
ran almost dangerously close to a precipice.
But at last, about eleven o'clock, we began to
get out of the thick entanglement of mountains
and in the distance could see the ocean on the
north side of the island. "Fayal is there,"
said our guide, pointing, as it seemed, but a
little way off. Yet it took two hours' hard
riding to reach it. Our path lay at first along
the back of a great spur of the main mountain ;
it narrowed till there was a precipice on either
side—on the right hand some seven or eight
hundred feet, on the left more than a thousand.
I had not looked down the like since I crossed
the Jackass Mountain on the Fraser River
in British Columbia. Underneath us were
villages—scattered huts, built like bee-hives.
The piece of level ground beneath was dotted
with  them.      The   place   looked   like   some SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
83
gigantic apiary. The dots of people seemed
little larger than bees. And soon we came to
the same stack-like houses close to our path.
It was Sunday, and these village folks were
dressed in their best clothes. They were
curiously respectful, for were we not gente
de gravate — people who wore cravats—
gentlemen, in a word ? So they rose up and
uncovered. We saluted them in passing. It
was a primitive sight. As we came where the
huts were thicker, small crowds came to see
us. Now on the right hand we saw a ridge
with pines on it, suggesting, from the shape of
the hill, a bristly boar's back; on the left the
valley widened ; in front loomed up a gigantic
mass of rock, § The Eagle's Cliff," in shape
like Gibraltar. It was 1900 feet high, and
even yet it was far below us. But now the
path pitched suddenly downwards ; there were
no paving - pebbles here, only the native
hummocks of rock and the harder clay not
yet washed away. The road was like a torrent-
bed, for indeed it was a torrent when it
rained; but still our horses were absolute in
faith and stumbled not. 4 And the Eagle's
Cliff grew bigger and bigger still as we
plunged down the last of the spur to a river
then  scanty of stream, and we were on the 34
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
flat again not far from the sea. But to reach
Fayal it was necessary to climb again, turning
to the left.
Here we found a path which, with all my
experience of Western America mountain
travel, seemed very hard to beat in point of
rockiness and steepness. We had to lead our
horses and climb most carefully. But when a
quarter of a mile had been done in this way it
was possible to mount again, and we were
close to Fayal. I had thought all the time
that it was a small town, but it appeared to be
no more than the scattered huts we had
passed, or those we had noted from the lofty
spur. Our objective was a certain house belonging to a Portuguese landowner who occupied
the position of an English squire in the olden
days. Both my friend and I had met him several
times in Funchal, and, by the aid of an interpreter, had carried on a conversation. But my
Portuguese was dinner-table talk of the purely
necessary order, and my companion's was more
exiguous than my own. So we decided to
camp before reaching his house, and eat our
lunch undisturbed by the trouble of being
polite without words. We told our guide this,
and as he was supposed to understand English
we took it for granted that he did so when we SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
35
ordered him to pick some spot to camp a good
way from the landowner's house. But in spite
of our laborious explanations he took us on to
the very estate, and plumped us down not
fifty yards from the house. As we were
ignorant of the fact that this was the house,
we sent the boy there for hot water to make
coffee, and then to our horror we saw the very
man whom we just then wanted to avoid. We
all talked together and gesticulated violently. I
tried French vainly; my little Portuguese grew
less and less, and disappeared from my tongue ;
and then in despair we hailed the cause of the
whole misfortune, and commanded him to explain. What he explained I know not, but
finally our friend seemed less hurt than he had
been, and he returned to his house on our
promising to go there as soon as our lunch
was finished. Ifl
The whole feeling of this scene—of this
incident, of the place, the mountains, the
primitive people—-was so curious that it was
difficult to think we were only four days from
England. Though the people were gentle
and kind and polite, they seemed no more
civilised, from our point of view, than many
Indians I have seen. Indeed, there are
Indian communities in America which are far 36
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
ahead of them in culture. I seemed once
more in a wild country. But our host (for,
being on his ground, we were his guests) was
most amiable and polite. It certainly was
rather irksome to sit solemnly in his best room
and stare||at each other without a word.
Below the open window stood our guide, so
when it became absolutely necessary for me
to make our friend understand, or for me to
die of suppression of urgent speech, I called
to Joao and bade him interpret. We were
silent again until wine was brought. Then
his daughter, almost the only beautiful Portuguese or Madeiran girl I ever saw, came
in. We were introduced, and, in default of
the correct thing in her native language, I
informed her, in a polite Spanish phrase I
happened to recollect, that I was at her feet.
Then, as I knew her brother in Funchal, I
called for the interpreter and told her so as an
interesting piece of information. She gave
me a rose, and, looking out of the window, she
taught me the correct Portuguese for Eagle's
Cliff—" Penha d'aguila." We were quite
friends.
It was then time for us to return if we
meant to keep to our word and do the double
journey  in  one day.     But a vociferous ex- SOME PORTUGUESE SKETCHES
37
postulation came from our host. He talked
fast, waved his hands, shook his head, and
was evidently bent on keeping us all night.
We again called in the interpreter, explaining
that our reputation as Englishmen, as horsemen, as men, rested on our getting back to
Funchal that night, and, seeing the point as a
man of honour, he most regretfully gave way,
and, having his own horse saddled, accompanied us some miles on the road. We
rode up another spur, and came to a kind of
wayside hut where three or four paths joined.
Here was congregated a brightly-clad crowd
of nearly a hundred men, women and children.
They rose and saluted us ; we turned and took
off our hats. I noticed particularly that this
man who owned so much land and was such a
magnate there did the same. I fancied that
these people had gathered there as much to
see us pass as for Sunday chatter. For
English travellers on the north side of the
island are not very common, and I daresay
we were something in the nature of an event.
Turning at this point to the left, we plunged
sharply downwards towards a bridge over a
torrent, and here parted from our land-owning
friend. We began to climb an impossible-
looking hill, which my horse strongly objected 38
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
to. On being urged he tried to back off the
road, and I had some difficulty in persuading
him that he could not kill me without killing
himself. But a slower pace reconciled him to
the road, and as I was in no great hurry I
allowed him to choose his own. Certainly the
animals had had a hard day of it even so far,
and we had much to do before night. We
were all of us glad to reach the Divide and
stay for a while at the Poizo, or Government
rest-house, which was about half-way. One
gets tolerable Madeira there.
It was eight or half-past when we came
down into Funchal under a moon which
seemed to cast as strongly-marked shadows
as the very sun itself. The rain of the
morning had long ago passed away, and the
air was warm—indeed, almost close—after
the last part of the ride on the plateau, which
began at night-time to grow dim with ragged
wreaths of mist. Our horses were so glad to
accomplish the journey that they trotted down
the steep stony streets, which rang loudly to
their iron hoofs. When we stopped at the stable
I think I was almost as glad as they; for, after
all, even to an Englishman with his country's
reputation to support, twelve or thirteen hours
in   the   saddle  are   somewhat   tiring.     And
MHHI  A pondicherry boy
When I first went out to the Australian
colonies in 1876 in the Hydrabad, a big sailing
ship registered as belonging to Bombay, I had
a very curious time of it, take it altogether.
It was my first real experience of the outside
world, and the hundred and two days the
Hydrabad took from Liverpool to Melbourne
made a very valuable piece of schooling for a
greenhorn. I was a steerage passenger, and
the steerage of a sailing vessel twenty-five
years ago was something to see and smell.
Perhaps it is no better now, but then it was
certainly very bad. The food was poor, the
quarters dirty, the accommodation far too
limited to swing even the traditional cat in,
and my companions were for the most part
Irishmen of the lowest and poorest peasant
class. In these days I was quite fresh from
home and was rather particular in my tastes.
Some of that has been knocked  out of me
40     '"M A PONDICHERRY BOY
41
since.    A great deal of it was knocked out of
me in that passage.
Yet it was, take it altogether, an astonishingly fertile trip for a young and green lad
who was not yet nineteen. The Hydrabad
usually made a kind of triangular voyage.
She took emigrants and a general cargo to
Melbourne, loaded horses there for
and came back to England once more with
anything going in the shape of cargo to be
picked up in the Hooghly. She carried a
Calashee crew, that is, a crew of mixed
Orientals, and among them were native
Hindoos, Klings, Malays, Sidi-boys. In those
days I had not been in the United States and
had not yet imbibed any great contempt for
coloured people. They were on the whole
infinitely more interesting than the Irish. I
knew nothing of the world, nothing of the
Orient, and here was an Oriental microcosm.
The old serang, or bo'sun, was a gnarled and
Knotted and withered Malay, who took rather
a fancy to me. Sometimes I sat in his berth
and smoked a pipe with him. At other times
I deciphered the wooden tallies for the sails
in the sail-locker, for though he talked
something which he believed to be English,
he could not read a word, even in the Persi- 42
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
Arabic character. The cooks, or bandaddiesy
were also friends of mine, and more than once
they supplemented the intolerably meagre
steerage fare by giving me something good
to eat. I soon knew every man in the crew,
and could call each by his name. Sometimes
I went on the lookout with one of them, and
one particular Malay was very keen on teaching me his language. So far as I remember
the languages talked by the crew included
Malay, Hindustani, Tamil and, oddly enough,
French. That language was of course spoken
by someone who c^me from Pondicherry, that
small piece of country which, with Chander-
nagor, represents the French-Indian Empire
of Du Plessis's time. I had learnt a little
Hindustani and Malay, and could understand
all the usual names of the sails and gear
before I discovered that there was someone
on board whose native tongue was French,
or who, at anyrate, could talk it fluently
enough. We were far to the south of the
Line before I found this out. For, of course,
among his fellows the boy from Pondicherry
spoke Hindustani mixed with Malay and
perhaps with Tamil. I well remember how
I made the discovery. It was odd enough to
me,   but   far   stranger,  far   more  wonderful, A PONDICHERRY BOY
far more full of mystery to my little, excitable and veiy dark-skinned friend. I daresay, if he lives, that to this hour he remembers the English boy who so surprised
him.
The weather was intensely hot and I had
climbed for a little air into one of the boats
lying in the skids! The shadow of the
main-topsail screened me from the sun; there
was just enough wind to keep the canvas
doing its work in silence. It was Sunday
and the whole ship was curiously quiet. But
as I lay in my little shelter I was presently
disturbed by Pondicherry (that was what hell
was called by everyone), who came where I
was to fetch away a plate full of some occult
mystery which he had secreted there. He
nodded to me brightly, and then for the first
time it occurred to me that if he came from
his nameplace he might know a little French.
I knew remarkably little myself; I could read
it with difficulty. My colloquial French was
then, as now, intensely and intolerably English.
I said, "Bonjour, Pondicherry!"
The result was astounding. He turned to
me with an awe-stricken look, as he dropped
his tin plate with its precious burden, and
holding out both hands as though to embrace
■PHP"
—' 44
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
-* a    fellow    countryman,    he     exclaimed    in
French,—
"What—what, do you come from Pondicherry ?"
For a moment or two I did not follow his
meaning. I did not see what French meant
to him; I could not tell that it represented
his little fatherland. I had imagined he knew
it was a foreign tongue. But it was not
foreign to him.
" No," I said, 11 am an Englishman."
He sat down on a thwart and stared at me
as if I was some strange miracle. His next
words let me into the heart of his mystery.
"It is not possible. You speak Pondicherry !".....
He did not even know that he was speaking French, the language of a great Western
nation. He could not know that I was doing
my feeble best to speak the language of a
great literature; the language of Voltaire, of
Victor Hugo, of diplomacy. No, he and I
were speaking Pondicherry, the language of a
derelict corner of mighty Hindustan. Now he
eyed me with suspicion.
I When were you there? " he demanded in
a whisper.
If I was  not   Pondicherry born I must at A PONDICHERRY BOY
least have lived there in order to have learnt
the language.
I Pondy, I was never there," I answered.
He evidently did not believe me. I had
some mysterious reason for concealing that I
was either Pondicherry born or that I had
resided there.
" Then you didn't know it ? "
"No." I    §    |
I And you have not been in Villianur ?'
"Or Bahur?"
I shook my head,
at me suspiciously,
some crime there.
" Then how did you learn it ? "
" I learnt it in England."
That I was undoubtedly speaking the
unhappy truth would have been obvious to any
Frenchman. But to Pondicherry what I said
was so obviously a gross and almost foolish
piece of fiction that he shook his head
disdainfully. And yet why should I lie ?
He spoke so rapidly that I could not follow
him.
" If you speak so fast I cannot understand,"
I   said.
"Ah, then," he replied hopefully,   "it is a
He shook his and stared
Perhaps I had committed 46
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
long time since you were there.    Perhaps you
were very young then ? "
I once more insisted that I had never been at
Pondicherry, or even in any part of India.
All I said convinced him the more that I was
not speaking the truth.
"You speak Hindustani with the bandaddy.,}
It is true I had learnt a dozen phrases and
had once or twice used them. To say I had
learnt them in the ship was useless.
"Oh, no, you have been in India. Why
will you not tell me the truth, sahib ? I am the
only one from Pondicherry but you."
He spoke mournfully. I was denying my
own fatherland, denying help and comradeship
to my own countryman! It was, thought
Pondicherry,. cruel, unkind, unpatriotic. He
gathered up the mess he had spilt and
descended sorrowfully to the main deck to discuss me with his friends among the crew. As
I heard afterwards from the wrinkled old
serang, there were many arguments started in
the fo'castle as to my place of origin. It was
said, by those who took sides against Pondicherry, that even if I knew | Pondicherry"
(and for that they only had his word), I also
undoubtedly knew English. And when did
any of the white rulers of Pondicherry know A PONDICHERRY BOY
47
that tongue? Some of the Lascars who had
been on the Madras coast in country boats
swore that no one spoke English there. On
the whole, as I came from England and knew
English it was more likely that I was what I
said than that I came from Pondicherry. But
even so all agreed it was a mystery that I could
speak it.    The serang came to me quietly.
"Say,    Robat,    you   tell   me.    You  come
Pondicherry ? "
| No, serang," said | Robat."
"But you speak Pondicherry the boy say,
Robat?" . |
"Yes, I speak it, serang. Many English
people speak it a little. Very easy for English
people learn a little, just the same as we learn
jeldy Jow, loom sooar"
And as the serang was well acquainted with
the capabilities of English officers with regard
to abusive language, he went away convinced
that I Pondicherry | and " Hindustani" insults
were perhaps taught in English schools after
all.
In spite of my refusing to take Pondicherry
into my confidence he remained on friendly, if
suspicious, terms with me. When I said a
word or two of French to him he beamed all
over, and turned to the others as much as to 48
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
say, j Didn't I tell you he came from my country?" For nothing that I and the serang or
his friends said convinced him, or even shook
his opinion. He used to sneak up to me occasionally as he worked about the decks and
spring a question on me about someone at
Pondicherry. Of course I had heard of no one
there. But my ignorance was wholly put
on; he was sure of that. Often and often I
caught his eyes on me, and I knew his mind
was pondering theories to account for my conduct. It was all very well for me or anyone
else to say that Pondicherry was talked elsewhere than in his own home. He had travelled,
he had been in Australia, in England, in many
parts of the East, and he had never, never met
anyone but himself and myself who knew it!
I think he would have given me a month's pay
if I would have only owned up to having been
at Pondicherry. He certainly offered me an
ample plateful of curried shark, a part of one
we had caught days before, if I would be frank
about the matter; but even my desire to obtain
possession of that smell and drop it overboard
did not tempt me to a white lie. 1 persisted in
remaining an Englishman through the whole
passage of one hundred and two days. And
then at last, after good times  and bad, after A PONDICHERRY BOY
49
calms on the Line and no small hurricane south
of stormy Cape Leuuwin,  we came  up with
Cape Otway and entered the Heads.    Pondicherry's time for  solving the  mystery grew
short.    In another few  hours  the passengers
would   go ashore  and  be  never seen again.
For my own part, though the passage had been
one of pure discomfort, I was almost sorry to
leave the old ship.    I had to quit a number of
friends, black and white, and had to face a new
and    perhaps     unfriendly    world.     Though
the Hydrabad half-starved me I was at any-
rate sure of water and biscuit.    And many of
the poor Lascars had been chums to me.    As
I  made preparations to leave the vessel and
stood on deck waiting, I saw Pondicherry sneaking about in the background.    I said farewell
to  his   old serang,  and the Malay  quartermasters, who were all fine men, and to some of
the meaner outcast Klings, and then Pondicherry darted up to me.    I knew quite well
what was in his mind.    It was in his very eyes.
I was now going, and should be seen no more.
Perhaps at the last I might be induced to speak
the truth.    And  even  if I   did not own up
bravely, it was  at anyrate necessary to bid
farewell to a countryman, though he denied
his  own  countiy.       He  came close   to   me
D 50
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
in the crowd and touched my sleeve appeal -
ingly.
U" What is it, Pondy ? "
" Oh, sahib, you tell me now where you learn
Pondicherry ?"
1 Pondy, I told you the truth long ago," I
answered.
I Sahib, it is not possible."
He turned away, and I went on board the
tug which served us as a tender. Presently I
saw him lean over the rail and wave his hand.
When he saw that I noticed him he called out
in French once more, with angry, scornful
reproach,—
"If you were not there, how, how can you
speak it ? I A GRADUATE  BEYOND SEAS
The travel-micrococcus infected me early.
Before I can remember I travelled in England,
and, when my memory begins, a stay of two
years in any town made me weary. My
brothers and sisters and I would then inquire
what time the authorities meant to send my
father elsewhere, and we were accustomed to
denounce any delay on the part of a certain
Government department in giving us "the
route." Such a youth was gipsy ing, and if
any original fever of the blood led to wandering,
such a training heightened the tendency. To
this day even, after painful and laborious travel,
Fate cannot persuade me that my stakes should
not be pulled up at intervals. I understand
"trek fever," which, after all, is only Eldorado
hunting. With the settler unsatisfied a belief
in immortality takes its place.
In the ferment of youth andlchildhood,
which now threatens to quiet down, my feet
stayed in many English towns and villages,
51 52
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
from Barnstaple to Carlisle, from Bedford to
Manchester, and I hated them all with fervour,
only mitigating my wrath by great reading.
I could only read at eight years of age, but
from that time until eleven I read a mingled and
most preposterous mass of literature and
illiterature. It was a substitute for travel, and,
infamy case, not a substitute only, but a
provoker. Reading is mostly dram-drinking,
mostly drugging; it throws a veil over realities.
With the child I knew best it urged him on
and infected me with world-hunger and roused
activities. To be sure the Elder Brethren, who
are youth's first gaoler's, nearly made me
believe, by dint of repetition (they, themselves,
probably believing it by now), that books and
knowledge, which are acquired for, with, by
and through examinations, were, of themselves,
noble and admirable, and that an adequate
acquaintance with them (provided such acquaintance could be proved adequate to Her Majesty's
Commissioners of the Civil Service) would
inevitably make a man of me. For the opinion
is rooted deep in many minds that to surrender
one's wings, to clip one's claws, to put a cork
in one's raptorial beak, and masquerade in a
commercial barnyard, is to be a very fine fowl
indeed. A GRADUATE BEYOND SEAS
53
Some spirit of revolt saved the child (now
a boy, I guess) from being a Civil Cochin
China, and sent him to Australia. The
ship in which I sailed for Melbourne was
my first introduction to outside realities, to
world realities as distinct from the preliminary
brutalities of school, and it opened my eyes—
indeed, gave me eyes instead of the substitutes
for vision favoured by the Elder Brethren, who
may be taken to include schoolmasters, professors, and good parents. How any child
survives without losing his eyesight altogether
is now a marvel to me. Certainly, very few
retain more than a dim vision, which permits
them to wallow amongst imitations (such as a
last year's Chippendale morality) and imagine
themselves well furnished. My new university
Rafter Owens College an admirable hot-bed
for some products under glass) was the
Hydrabad, 1600 tons burden, with a mixed
mass of passengers, mostly blackguards in the
act of leaving England to allow things to blow
over, and a Lascar crew, Hindoos, Seedee
boys and Malays. The professors at this
notable college were many, and all were fit for
their unendowed chairs. They taught mostly,
and in varying ways, the art of seeing things
as they are, and if some saw things as they
ji 54
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
were not, that is, double, the object lesson was
eminently useful to the amazed scholar. Some
of them pronounced me green, and I was
green.
But a four months' session and procession
through the latitudes and longitudes brought
me to Australia in a less obviously green
condition, I had learnt the one big lesson that
too few learn. I had to depend on myself. And
Australia said, "You know nothing and must
work." Had I not sat with Malays, and
collogued with negroes, and eaten ancient
shark with Hindoos ? I was afraid of the
big land where I could reckon on no biscuit
tub always at hand, but these were men who
had faced other continents and other seas. I
could face realities, too, or I could try.
It is the unnecessary work that gets the
glory mostly, especially in a fat time of peace,
but some day the scales will be held more
level. A shearer of sheep will be held more
honourable than a shearer of men ; and he
who shirks the world's right labour will rank
with the unranked lowest. The music-hall
and theatre and unjustified fiction will have
had their day. The little man with a little
gift, that should be no more than an evening's
joke or pleasure after real work, will exist no
■■ ii -- A GRADUATE BEYOND SEAS
55
more.    But we live under the rule of Rabes-
qurat, Queen of Illusion.
The Australian bush university, with the
sun, moon and stars in the high places, and
labour, hunger and thirst holding prominent
lecturerships, helped to educate me. The
proof of that education was that I know now
that a big bit of my true life's work was done
there. The preparation turned out to be the
work itself. One does necessary things there,
and they are done without glory and often
without present satisfaction, except the satisfaction given to toil. What does the world
want and must have? If all the theatres were
put down and all the actors sent to useful
work, things would be better instead of worse.
If all the music-halls became drill-halls it would
add to the world's health. If most of the
writers concluded justly that they were in no
way necessary or useful, some healthy man
might be added to the list of workers and
some unhealthy ones would find themselves
better or very justly dead. But the sheep and
cattle have to be attended to, and ships must
be sailed, and bridges must be built. Hunger
and thirst, and all the educational unrighteousness of the elements must be met, fought, outmarched lor   out-manoeuvred.     I    went    to 56
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
school in the Murray Ranges, and carried salt
to fluky sheep. Even if this present screed
stirred me doubly to action, the salt-carrying
was better. The|| sun and moon and stars
overhead, and the big grey or brown plain
beneath were for ever instilling knowledge
that a city knows not. A city's soot kills
elms, they say; only plane trees, self scaling
and self-cleaning, live and grow and survive. I
think man is more like the elm; he cannot
clean himself in a city.
It has often been a question for me to solve,
now youth exists no more, except in memory,
whether this present method of keeping even
with one's own needs and the world's has any
justification. If it has, it lies in the fact that
my real work was mostly done before I knew
it. When energy exists devoid of self-consciousness (for self-consciousness is the
beginning of death) the individual fulfils
himself naturally, obeying the mandate within
him. So in Australia, and at sea, or in
America, lies what I sometimes call the
justification of my writing to amuse myself
or a few others.
For America was my second great university, and though I lack any learned degree
earned   by   examinations,   and  may  put   no A GRADUATE BEYOND SEAS
letters after my name, I maintain I passed
creditably, if without honours, in the hardest
schools of the world. About a young man's
first freedom still hangs some illusion. With
apparently impregnable health and unsubdued
spirits, he has the illusion of present immortality ; life is a world without end. But
when youth begins to sober and health shows
cracks and gaps, and hard labour comes, then
the realities, indeed, crawl out and show themselves. My early work in New South Wales
seemed to me then like sport. America was
real life ; it was for ever putting the stiffest
questions to me. I can imagine an examination paper which might appal many fat
graduates.
i. Describe from experience the sensations
of hunger when prolonged over three days.
2. Explain the differences in living in New
York, Chicago and San Francisco on a dollar
a week. In such cases, how would you spend
ten Gents if you found it in the street at three
o'clock in the morning ?
3. How long would it be in your own case
before want of food destroyed your sense of
private property? Give examples from your
own experience.
4. How far can you walk without food—(a) 58
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
when you are trying to reach a definite point;
(b) when you are walking with an insane view
of getting to some place unknown where a good
job awaits you ?
5. If, after a period (say three weeks) of
moderate starvation, and two days of absolute
starvation, you are offered some work, which
would be considered laborious by the most
energetic coal-heaver, would you tackle it without food or risk the loss of the job by requesting your employer to advance you 15 cents for
breakfast ?
6. Can you admire mountain scenery-—-(a)
when you are very hungry; (b) when
you are very thirsty? If you have any
knowledge of the ascetic ecstasy, describe the
symptoms.
7. You are in South-west Texas without
money and without friends. How would you
get to Chicago in a fortnight ? What is the
usual procedure when a town objects to
impecunious tramps staying around more than
twenty-four hours? Can you describe a
"calaboose" ?
8. Sketch an American policeman. Is he
equally polite to a railroad magnate and a
tramp ? What do you understand by " fanning
with a club " ? A GRADUATE BEYOND SEAS
59
9. Which are the best as a whole diet—
apples or water-melons ?
10. Define "tramp," "bummer," "heeler,"
"hoodlum," and "politician."
This is a paper put together very
casually, and just as the pen runs, but
the man who can pass such an examination
creditably must know many things not
revealed to the babes and sucklings of
civilisation. From my own point of view I
think the questions fairly easy, a mere matriculation paper.
When the Queen of Illusion illudes no more
youth is over. I am ready to admit Illusion
still reigned when I took to writing for a living.
The first illusion was that I was not doing it
for a living (it is true I did not make one) but
because the arts were rather noble than otherwise and extremely needed. I admit now that
they are necessary, in the sense of the
necessarian, but I can see little use for them,
unless the production of Illusion (with few or
many gaps in it) is needed for the world's
progress. The laudation of the artist, the
writer, and the actor returns anew with the end
of the world's great year. But if any golden
age comes back, the setting apart of the
Amusement Monger will cease.    If it does not 60
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
cease, their antics will be the warnings of the
intoxicated Helot.
Yet without illusion one cannot write. Or
so it seems to me. Is this writing period only
another university after all ? Perhaps teaching
never ends, though the art of learning what is
taught seems very rare. To write and "get
there" in the meanest sense, so far as money
is concerned, is the overcoming of innumerable
obstacles. London taught me a great deal that
I could not learn in Australia, or on the sea,
or in any Texas, or British Columbia. But I
came to London with scaled eyes, and tasted
other poverty than that I knew. Illusion is
mostly foreshortening of time. One wants to
prophesy and to see. The chief lesson here is
that prophets must be blind. The end of the
race is the racing thereof after all. To do a
little useful work (even though the useful
may be a thousandth part of the useless) is
the end of living. The only illusion worth
keeping is that anything can be useful. So far
my youth is not ended. MY FRIEND EL TORO
It is not everyone who can make friends with
a bull, and it is not every bull that one can
make friends with. Yet next to one or two
horses, about which I could spin long yarns,
El Toro, the big brindled bull of Los Guilucos
Ranch, Sonoma County, California, is certainly
nearest my heart. He was my friend, and
sometimes my companion ; he had a noble character for fighting, and in spite of his pugnacity
he was amiability itself to most human beings.
His final end, too, fills me with a sense of
pathos, and enrages me against those who
owned him. They were obviously incapable
of understanding him as I did.
When I went up to Los Guilucos from San
Francisco to take up the position of stableman
on that ranche, I had little notion of the full
extent of my duties. What these were is perhaps irrelevant in the present connection. And
yet it was because I had to work so incredibly
hard, being often at it from six in the morning to
61 62
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
l!1
eight or nine o'clock at night, that I made particular friends with El Toro, to give him his
Spanish name. In all that western and southwestern part of the United States there are
remnants of Spanish or Mexican in the common talk. For California was once part of
Mexico. El Toro became my friend and my
refuge: when I was driven half-desperate by
having ten important things to do at once he
often came in and helped me to preserve an
equal mind. I have little doubt that I should
have discovered how to work this by myself,
but as a matter of fact I was put up to some of
his uses by the man whose place I took. He
showed me all I had to do, and lectured me on
the character of the hard-working lady who
owned the place; and when I was dazed and
stood wondering how one man could do all the
stableman was supposed to accomplish between
sunrise and sundown, Jack said, "And besides
all this there is a bull! " He said it so oddly
and so significantly that my heart sank. I
imagined a very fierce and ferocious animal fit
for a Spanish bull-ring, a sharp-horned Murcian
good enough to try the nerve of the best
matador who ever faced horns and a vicious
charge. Then he took me round the barn and
opened a stable.    In it El Toro was tied to a MY FRIEND EL TORO
63
manger by a rope and ring through his nose:
he greeted us with a strangled whistle as he
still lay down. "When you are hard driven
good old El Toro will help you," said Jack, as
he sat down on the bull's big shoulders and
started to scratch his curl with a little piece of
wood which had a blunt nail in it. As I stood
El Toro chewed the cud and was obviously
delighted at having his curl combed.
The departing Jack delivered me another
lecture on the uses of a mild and amiable but
fighting bull on a ranche where a man was
likely to be worried to death by a lady who had
no notion of how much a man ought to do in
a day. When he had finished he invited me to
make friends with El Toro by also sitting on
his back and scratching him with the blunt nail.
I did as I was told, and though El Toro twisted
his huge head round to inspect me he lay otherwise perfectly calm while I went on with his
toilet. He evidently felt that I was an amiable
character, and one well adapted to act as his
own man. His views of me were confirmed
when I brought him half a bucket of pears from
the big orchard. With a parting slap and a
sigh of regret which spoke well both for him
and the bull, Jack went away to "fix" himself
for travel.    I was left in charge.
t 64 A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
How hard I worked on that Sonoma County
ranch I can hardly say.    I had horses in the
stable and horses outside.    The cattle outside
were   mine.     Three   hundred   sheep   I   was
responsible for.    Some young motherless foals
I nursed. I milked six cows. I chopped wood. I
cleaned buggies.   I drove wagons and carriages
and cleaned and greased them.    Sometimes I
stood in the middle of the great barn-lot or
barnyard and tore my hair in desperation.    I
had so much to attend to that only the strictest
method enabled me to get through it.   And, as
Jack had told me would happen, my method was
knocked endways by the requirements of the
lady who was my "boss."    What a woman
wants done is always the most important thing
on earth.    She used to ask me to do up her
acre of a garden in between times when the
sheep wanted water or twenty horses required
hay.    She was amiable, kindly, but she never
understood.    At such times who could blame
me if I went to the bull's stable when I saw her
coming.    Though the bull was the sweetest
character on the ranch,  she went in  mortal
terror of him.   She would try to find me in the
horse stable, but she would not come near El
Toro for her very life.    It was better to sit
quietly with him and recover my equanimity MY FRIEND EL TORO
65
while she called. I knew her well enough to
know that in a quarter of an hour something
else of the vastest importance would engage
her attention and I should be free to attend
more coolly to my own work.
Yet sometimes she stuck to my track so
closely that there was nothing for me to do but
to turn El Toro loose. Then I could say,
| Very well, madam, but in the meantime I
must go after the bull." She knew what the
bull being loose meant; he carried devastation
wherever he went. He was the greatest fighter
in the whole-county. I had to get my whip and
my fastest horse to try and catch him. I can
hardly be blamed if I did not catch him till the
evening. For in that way I got a wild kind of
holiday on horseback and was saved from
insanity. Certainly, when El Toro got away
on the loose and was looking for other bulls to
have a row with I could think of nothing else.
Sometimes he got free by the rope rotting close
up to his ring. In that case he went headlong.
If he took the rope with him he sometimes trod
on it and gave himself a nasty check. Usually,
however, he got it across his big neck and kept
it from falling to the ground. He never
stopped for any gate. When he saw one he
gave a bellow, charged it and went through the
E 66
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
fragments with me after him.    If I was really
anxious to get him back at once I usually caught
him within a mile.   When I wanted a rest I
only succeeded in turning him five or six miles
away, after  he had thrashed  a bull or two
belonging to other ranchers.   No fence was any
use to keep him out or in.   On one occasion he
broke into a barn in which a rash young bull
was kept.    When the row was over that barn
stood sadly in need of repair : and so did the
young pedigree bull.    I may say that on this
particular occasion El Toro got away entirely
by himself, and I only knew he was free when
I found the door of his stable in splinters.
There was a magnificent difference between
El Toro as I sat on him and scratched him
with a nail and as he was when he turned
himself loose for a happy day in the country.
In the stable he was as mild as milk. I could
have almost imagined him purring like a cat.
He chewed the cud and made homely sloppy
noises with his tongue, and regarded me with
a calm, bovine gaze, which was as gentle as
that of any pet cow's. I could have fallen
asleep beside him. It is reported that my predecessor Jack, on one occasion, came home
much the worse for liquor and was found reclining on El Toro.    There was not a soul on MY FRIEND EL TORO
67
the ranch who dared disturb the loving couple.
But when  the rope was parted and El Toro
loped down the road to seek a row as keenly
as any Irishman on a fair day, he was another
guess sort of an animal.    He carried his tail in
the air and bellowed wildly to the hills.    He
threw out challenges to all and sundry.    He
gave it to be understood that the world and
the fatness thereof were his.   This was no mere
braggadocio; it was not the misplaced confidence of a stall-fed bull in his mere weight; he
really could fight, and though he was only on
the warpath about once a month, there was not
a bull in the valley which had not retained in
his thick skull and muddy brains some recollection of El Toro's prowess.    The only trouble
about this, from my pet bull's point of view,
was that he could rarely get up a row.    Most
of his possible enemies fled when he tooted his
horn  and waltzed  into the arena  through a
smashed fence.    He was magnificent and he
was war incarnate.
In that country, which is a hard-working
country, there is really veiy little sport. Further south in California, the ease-loving Spanish
people who remain among the Americans still
love music and the dance. We worked, and
worked hard; only Sundays brought us a little 68
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
surcease from toil. All our notions of sport
centred on our bull. I had many Italian coworkers, some Swedes, and an odd citizen of
the United States. All alike agreed in being
proud of El Toro. We yearned to match him
against any bull in the State. Sometimes of a
Sunday morning, after he had devastated the
country and was back again, he held a kind of
levie. The Italians brought him pears as I sat
on him in triumph and combed him in places
where he had not been wounded. He always
forgot that I had come behind him and laced
his tough hide with my stock-whip. He bore
no malice, but took his fruit like a good child.
I think he was almost as proud of himself as
we were. Certainly we were proud of him.
As for me, had I not ridden desperate miles
after him : had I not interviewed outraged
owners of other bulls and broken fences: had
I not played the diplomat or the bully according to the treatment which seemed indicated ?
He was, properly speaking, my bull; I did not
care if I had to spend three days mending our
home gates and other's alien fences.
Yes, it was a fine thing to gallop through
that warm, bright, Californian air after El Toro,
with the brown hills on either side and its
patches of green vineyard brightening daily. MY FRIEND EL TORO
69
It was freedom after the toil of axle-greasing
and the slow work with sheep. It was better
than grinding axes and trying to cut the tough
knobs of vine stumps : better than grooming
horses and milking cows. It made me think
even more of the great Australian plains and
of the Texas prairie and the round up. Ay de
mi, I remember it now, sometimes, and I
wish I was on horseback, swinging my whip
and uttering diabolic yells, significant of the
freedom ofthe spirit as I rush after the spirit
of El Toro. For my pet, my brindled fighter,
my own El Toro, whom I combed so delicately
with a bent nail, for whom I gathered buckets
of bruised but fat Californian pears, is now no
more. They told me, when I visited Los
Guilucos seven years ago, that he became
difficult, morose, hard to handle, and they sold
him. They sold this joyous incarnation of the
spirit of battle and the pure joy of life for a
mean and miserable thirteen dollars! When I
think of it I almost fall to tears. So might
some coward son of the seas sell a battleship
for ten pounds because it was not suitable for
a ferry-boat or a river yacht. I would rather
a thousand times have paid the thirteen dollars
myself and have taken him out to fight his last
Armageddon and then have shot him on the 70
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
lonely hills from which all other bulls had fled.
These mean-souled, conscienceless moneymakers, who could not understand so brave, so
fine a spirit, sold him to a Santa Rosa butcher!
Shame on them, I say. I am sorry I ever
revisited the Valley of the Seven Moons to hear
such lamentable news. It made me unhappy
then, makes me unhappy now. My only consolation is that once, and twice, and thrice, and
yet again, I gave El Toro the chance of finding
happiness in the conflict. And when I left Los
Guilucos, before I returned to England, I sat
upon his huge shoulders and scratched him
most thoroughly, while ever and again I
offered him a juicy and unbruised pear. On
that occasion I pulled him the best fruit, and
left windfalls for the ranging, greedy hogs.
And as I fed and scratched him he lay on his
hunkers in great content, and made pleasant
noises as he remembered the day before. On
that day, owing to the kindly feeling of me, his
true and real friend, he had had a great time
three miles towards Glenallen, and had beaten
a newly-imported bull out of all sense of self-
importance. He was pleased with himself,
pleased with me, pleased with the world. BOOKS IN THE GREAT WEST
Since taking to writing as a profession I have
lost most of the interest I had in literature as
literature pure and simple. That interest
gradually faded and "Art for Art's sake," in
the sense the simple in studios are wont to
dilate upon, touches me no more, or very, very
rarely. The books I love now are those
which teach me something actual about the
living, world; and it troubles me not at all if
any of them betray no sense of beauty and lack
immortal words. Their artistry is nothing,
what they say is everything. So on the shelf
to which I mostly resort is a book on the
Himalayas; a Lloyd's Shipping Register; a
little work on seamanship that every would-
be second mate knows; Brown's Nautical
Almanacs; a Channel Pilot; a Continental
Bradshaw; many Baedekers; a Directory to
the Indian Ocean and the China Seas; a big
71 72
A TRAMPS NOTE BOOK
folding map of the United States; some books
dealing with strategy, and some touching on
medical knowledge, but principally pathology,
and especially the pathology of the mind.
Yet in spite of this utilitarian bent of my
thoughts there are very many books I know
and love and sometimes look into because of
their associations. As I cannot understand
(through some mental kink which my friends
are wont to jeer at) how anyone can return
again and again to a book for its own sake, I
do not read what I know. As soon would I
go back when it is my purpose to go forward.
A book should serve its turn, do its work, and
become a memory. To love books for their
own sake is to be crystallised before old age
comes on. Only the old are entitled to love
the past. The work of tlie young lies in the
present and the future.
But still, in spite of my theories, I like to
handle, if not to read, certain books which were
read by me under curious and perhaps
abnormal circumstances. If I do not open
them it is due to a certain bashfulness, a subtle
dislike of seeing myself as I was. Yet the
books I read while tramping in America, such
as Sartor Resartusy have the same attraction
for me that a man may feel for a place.    I BOOKS IN THE GREAT WEST
73
carried the lucubrations of Teufelsdrockh with
me as I wandered; I read them as I camped
in the open upon the prairie; I slipped them
into my pocket when I went shepherding in
the Texan plateau south of the Panhandle.
Another book which went with me on my
tramps through Minnesota and Iowa was a
tiny volume of Emerson's essays. This I
loved less than I loved Carlyle, and I gave it
to a railroad " section boss " in the north-west
of Iowa because he was kind to me. When
Sartor Resartus had travelled with me through
the Kicking Horse Pass and over the Selkirks
into British Columbia, and was sucked dry, I
gave it at last to a farming Englishman who
lived not far from Kamloops. I remember
that in the flyleaf I kept a rough diary of the
terrible week I spent in climbing through the
Selkirk Range with sore and wounded feet.
It is perhaps little wonder that I associate
Teufelsdrockh, the mind-wanderer, with those
days of my own life, And yet, unless I live to
be old, I shall never read the book again.
The tramp, or traveller, or beach-comber, or
general scallywag finds little time and little
chance to read. And for the most part we
must own he cares little for literature in any
form.    But  I was  not always  wandering.    I
mmm
«■ 74
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
varied wandering with work, and while working at a sawmill on the coast, or close to it, in
the lower Fraser River in British Columbia, I
read much. In the town of New Westminster
was a little public library, and I used to go
thither after "work if I was not too tired. But
the work in a sawmill is very arduous to everyone in it, and while the winter kept away I had
little energy to read. Presently, however, the
season changed, and the bitter east winds came
out of the mountains and fixed the river in ice
and froze up our logs in the " boom," so that
the saws were at last silent, and I was free to
plunge among the books and roll and soak
among them day an£ night.
The library was very much mixed. It was
indeed created upon a pile of miscellaneous
matter left by British troops when they were
stationed on the British Columbian mainland.
There was much rubbish on the shelves, but
among the rubbish I found many good books.
For instance, that winter I read solidly through
Gibbon's Romey and refreshed my early
memories of Mahomet, of Alaric, and of Attila.
Those who imported fresh elements into the
old were even then my greatest interest. I
preferred the destroyers to the destroyed, being
rather on the side of the gods than on the side BOOKS IN THE GREAT WEST
75
of Cato. Lately, as I was returning from
South Africa, I tried to read Gibbon once more,
and I failed. He was too classic, too stately.
I fell back on Froude, and was refreshed by
the manner, if not always delighted by the
matter.
After emerging from the Imperial flood at
the last chapter, I fell headlong into Vasari's
Lives of the Painters, in nine volumes. Then
I read Motley's Netherlands and the Rise of
the Dutch Republicy always terrible and
picturesque since I had read it as a boy of
eleven.
At the sawmill there was but one man with
whom I could talk on any matters of intellectual
interest. He was a big man from Michigan
and ran the shingle saw. We often discussed
what I had lately read, and went away from
discussion to argument concerning philosophy
and theology. He was a most lovable person ;
as keen as a sharpened sawtooth, and a polemic
but courteous atheist, His greatest sorrow in
Hfe was that his mother, a Middle State woman
of ferocious religion, could not be kept in
ignorance of his principles. We argued
ethics sophistically as to whether a convinced
agnostic might on occasion hide what he
believed. 76 A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
Sometimes this friend of mine went to the
library with me. He had the penchant for
science so common among the finer rising types
of the lower classes. So I read Darwin's
Origin of Species, and talked of it with my
Michigan man. And then I took to Savage
Landor and learnt some of his Imaginary
Conversations by heart. I could have repeated
sEsop and Rhodope.
But the one thing I for ever fell back upon
was an old encyclopaedia. I should be afraid
to say how much I read, but to it I owe, doubtless, a stock of extensive, if shallow, general
knowledge. Certainly it appears to have influenced me to this day; for given a similar one
I can wander from shipbuilding to St Thomas
Aquinas; from the Atomic Theory to the
Marquis de Sade; from Kant to the
building of dams; and never feel
dull. §
Now when I come across any of these books
I am filled with a curious melancholy. The
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire means
more to me than to some: I hear the whirr
of the buzz-saw as I open it; even in its
driest page I smell the resin of fir and spruce ;
Locke's Human Understanding recalls things
no man can understand if he has not worked BOOKS IN THE GREAT WEST
77
■
alongside Indians and next to Chinamen. As
for Carlyle, I never hear him mentioned without
seeing the mountains and glaciers of the
Selkirks; in his pages is the sound of the
wind and rain.
There are some novels, too, which have
attractions not all their own. I remember once
walking into a store at Eagle Pass Landing on
the Shushwap Lake and asking for a book. I
was referred to a counter covered with bearskins,
and beneath the hides I unearthed a pile of
novels. The one I took was Thomas Hardy's
Far from the Madding Crowd. And another
time I rode into Santa Rosa, Sonoma County,
California, and, while buying stores, saw
Gissing's Demos open in front of me. It
was anonymous, but I knew it for his, and I
read it as I rode slowly homeward down
the Sonoma Valley, the Valley of the Seven
Moons.
These are but a few of the books that are
burnt into one's memory as by fire. All I
remember are not literature : perhaps I should
reject many with scorn at the present day;
nevertheless, they have a value to me greater
than the price set upon many precious folios. I
propose one of these days to make a shelf
among my shelves sacred to the books which  A VISIT TO R. L. STEVENSON
It was late in May or early in June, for I
cannot now remember the exact date, that I
landed in Apia, in the island of Upolu.
Naturally enough that island was not to me
so much the centre of Anglo-American and
German rivalries as the home of Robert Louis
Stevenson, then become the literary deity of
the Pacific. In a dozen shops in Honolulu I
had seen little plaster busts of him ; here and
there I came across his photograph. And I
had a theory about him to put to the test.
Though I was not, and am not, one of those
who rage against over-great praise, when there
is any true foundation for it, I had never been
able to understand the laudation of which he
was the subject. At that time, and until
the fragment of Weir of Hermiston was
given to the world, nothing but his one short
79 80
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
story about the thief and poet,  Villon, had
seemed  to me to be really  great,  really to
command or  even  to be  an  excuse for his
being  in  the   position   in   which  his   critics
had   placed   him.      Yet    I   had   read    The
Wrecker,    The   Ebb   Tide,    The   Beach   of
Falesa, Kidnapped,  Catriona,   The Master of
Ballantrae,   and the  New   Arabian Nights,
I came to the conclusion that, as most of the
organic chorus of approval came from   men
who knew him, he must be (as all writers, I
think, should be) immeasurably greater than
his    books.      I   was    prepared   then   for   a
personality, and I found it.    When his name
is mentioned I no longer think of any of his
works, but of a sweet-eyed, thin, brown ghost
of a  man whom I first saw upon horseback
in a grove of cocoanut palms by the sounding
surges of a tropic sea.    There are writers, and
not a few of them, whose work it is a pleasure
to read, while it is a pain to know  them,   a
disappointment, almost an unhappiness, to be
in their disillusioning company.     They have'
given the best to  the  world.    Robert  Louis
Stevenson never gave his best, for his best
was himself.
At any time  of the  year   the   Navigator
Islands are truly tropical, and whether the sun A VISIT TO R. L. STEVENSON
81
inclines towards Cancer or Capricorn, Apia is
a  bath   of   warm   heat.      As   soon   as   the
Monowai  dropped   her   anchor   inside   the
opening of the reef that forms the only decent
harbour  in  all  the group,   I  went ashore in
haste.    Our time was short, but three or four
hours, and I could afford neither the time nor
the money to stay there till the next steamer.
I had much to do in Australia, and was not a
little exercised in mind as to how  I  should,
ever be able to  get round  the world at all
unless I  once more shipped before the mast.
I was, in fact, so hard put to it in the matter
of cash, that  when   the  hotel-keeper   asked
three dollars for a pony on which to ride to
Vailima,  I refused to pay it, and went away
believing that after all I should not see him
whom   I   most desired to meet.    Yet it was
possible,   if not likely,   that  he  would come
down to visit the one fortnightly link with the
great world from which he was an exile.    I
had to trust to chance, and in the meantime
^walked the long street of Apia and viewed the
Samoans,   whom   he   so   loved,   with   vivid
interest.    These  people,  riven and  torn   by
internal    dissensions    between   Mataafa   and
Malietoa,     and     honeycombed    by    Anglo-
American and German intrigue, were the most
mm 82
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
interesting and the noblest that I had met
since I foregathered for a time with a wandering band of Blackfeet Indians close to Calgaiy
beneath the shadows of the Rocky Mountains.
Their dress, their customs, and their free
and noble carriage, yet unspoiled by
civilisation, appealed to me greatly. I could
understand as I saw them walk how Stevenson delighted in them. Man and woman alike
looked me and the whole world in the face,
and went by, proud, yet modest, and with the
smile of a happy, unconquered race.
As I walked with half a dozen curious in-
differents whom the hazards of travel had
made my companions, we turned from the
main road into the seclusion of a shaded group
of palms, and as I went I saw coming towards
me a mounted white man behind whom rode a
native. As he came nearer I looked at him
without curiosity, for, as the time passed, I
was becoming reconciled by all there was to
see to the fact that I might not meet this
exiled Scot. And yet, as he neared and
passed me, I knew that I knew him, that he
was familiar ; and very presently I was aware
that this sense of familiarity was not, as so
often happens to a traveller, the awakened
memory of a type.     This  was an individual A VISIT TO R. L. STEVENSON
83
and a personality. I stopped and stared after
him, and suddenly roused myself. Surely this
was Robert Louis Stevenson, and this his
man. So might the ghosts of Crusoe and
Friday pass one on the shore of Juan
Fernandez.
I called the " boy' and gave him my card,
and asked him to overtake his master. In
another moment my literary apparition, this
chief among the Samoans, was shaking hands
with me. He alighted from his horse, and we
walked together towards the town. I fell a
victim to him, and forgot that he wrote. His
writings were what packed dates might be to
one who sat for the first time under a palm in
some far oasis ; they were but ice in a tumbler
compared with s-iracs. He was first a man,
and then a writer. The pitiful opposite is too
common.
I think, indeed I am sure, for I know he
could not lie, that he was pleased to see me.
What I represented to him then I hardly
reckoned at the time, but I was a messenger
from the great world of men; I moved close to
the heart of things ; I was fresh from San
Francisco, from New York, from London.
He spoke like an exile, but one not discouraged.    Though his  physique was of the 84
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
frailest (I had noted with astonishment that
his thigh as he sat on horseback was hardly
thicker than my forearm), he was alert and
gently eager. That soft, brown eye which
held me was full of humour, of pathos, of
tenderness, yet I could imagine it capable of
indignation and of power. It might be that
his body was dying, but his mind was young,
elastic, and unspoiled by selfishness or affectation. He had his regrets; they concerned the
Samoans greatly.
| Had I come here fifteen years ago I might
have ruled these islands."
He imagined it possible that international
intrigue might not have flourished under him.
Never had I seen so fragile a man who would
be king. He owned, with a shyly comic
glance, that he had leanings towards buccaneering. The man of action, were he but some
shaggy-bearded shellback, appealed to him.
His own physique was his apology for being
merely a writer of novels.
We went on board the steamer, and at
his request I bade a steward show his faithful
henchman over her. In the meantime we sat
in the saloon and drank "soft" drinks. It
pleased him to talk, and he spoke fluently in a
voice that was musical.    He touched a hundred A VISIT TO R. L. STEVENSON
85
subjects; he developed a theory of matriarchy.
Men loved to steal; women were naturally
receivers. They adored property; their minds
ran on possession; they were domestic
materialists. We talked of socialism,
of Bully Hayes, of Royat, of Rudy ard
Kipling. He regretted greatly not having
seen the author of Plain Tales from the
Hills.
" He was once coming here. Even now
I believe there is mail-matter of his rotting at
the post-office."
I asked him to accept a book I had brought
from England, hoping to be able to give it to
him. It was the only book of mine that I
thought worthy of his acceptance. That he
knew it pleased me. But he always desired to
please, and pleased without any effort. When
the boy came back from viewing the internal
arrangements of the Monowai, he sat down
with us as a free warrior. He was more a
friend than a servant; Stevenson treated him
as the head of a clan in his old home might
treat a worthy follower. As there was yet an
hour before the vessel sailed I went on shore
with him again. We were rowed there by a
Samoan in a waistcloth. His head was
whitened by  the lime   which   many of  the
—wwapip 86
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
natives use to  bleach their dark locks to a
fashionable red.
The air was hot and the sea glittered under
an intense sun. The rollers from the roadstead broke upon the reef. The outer ocean
was a very wonderful tropic blue; inside the
reefs the water was calmer, greener, more
unlike anything that can be seen in northern
latitudes. A little island inside the lagoon
glared with red rock in the sunlight; cocoanut
palms adorned it gracefully; beyond again
was the deeper blue of ocean ; the island itself,
a mass of foliage, melted beautifully into the
lucid atmosphere. Yonder, said Stevenson,
lay Vailima that I was not to see. But I had
seen the island arid the man, and the natural
colour and glory of both.
As we went ashore he handed the book
which I had given him to his follower. He
thought it necessary to explain to me that
etiquette demanded that no chief should
carry anything. And etiquette was rigid
there. **
1 Mrs Grundy," he remarked, "is essentially
a savage institution."
We went together to the post-office. And
in the street outside, while many passed
and greeted "Tusitala"  in   the soft,  native A VISIT TO R. L. STEVENSON
speech, we parted. I saw him ride away,
and saw him wave his hand to me as he
turned once more into the dark grove wherein I had met him in the year of his
death.
HHSS A DAY IN CAPETOWN
I went across the Parade, which every morning is full of cheap-jack auctioneers selling all
things under the sun to Kaffirs, Malays,
coolies, towards Rondebosch and Wynberg.
At the Castle the electric tram passed me, and
I jumped on board and went, at the least, as
fast as an English slow train. The wind was
blowing and the dust flew, but ahead of us ran
a huge electricity - driven water-cart, a very
water tram, which laid thfe red clouds for us.
Yet in London we travel painfully in
omnibuses and horse-trams, and the rare
water-cart is still drawn by horses.
The road towards Rondebosch, where Mr
Rhodes lived, is full of interest. It reminded
me dimly of a road in Ceylon : the colour of it
was so red, and the reddish tree trunks and
heavy foliage were almost tropical in character.
Many of the houses are no more than one-
storey bungalows ; half the folks one saw were
88 A DAY IN CAPETOWN
89
coloured; a rare Malay woman flaunted colour
like a tropic bird. Avenues of pines resembled
huge scrub; they cast strong shadows even in
the greyness of the day. Far above the huge
ramparts of Table Mountain lay the clouds,
and the wind whistled mournfully from the
organ pipes of the Devil's Peak. In unoccupied lands were great patches of wild
arum, and suddenly I saw the gaunt Australian
blue gum, which flourishes here just as well as
the English oak. Two white gums shone
among sombrest pines. They took my mind
suddenly back to the bush of the Murray Hills,
for there they gleam like sunlit lighthouses
among the darker and more melancholy timber
of the heights.
The houses grew fewer and fewer beyond
Rondebosch, and at last we came to Wynberg,
a quiet little suburban town. The tram ran
through and beyond it, and I got off and walked
for a while among the side roads. And the
aspect of the country was so quiet, and yet so
rich, that I wondered how any could throw
doubts upon the wonderful value of the
country. Surely this was a spot worth fighting for, and, more certainly still, it was a place
for peace. A long contemplative walk brought
me back to Rondebosch, and again I took the 90
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
train-like tram and went back to busy Capetown.
In  any new town  the heights about and
above it appeal strongly to  eveiy wanderer.
I had no time to spare for the ascent of Table
Mountain, and the tablecloth of clouds indeed
forbade me to attempt it.    But someone had
spoken to me of the Kloof road, which leads to
the saddleback between the Lion's Head and
Table Mountain, so, taking the Kloof Street
tram, I ran with it to its stopping-place and
found the road.    There the houses are more
scattered;   the   streets  are thin.    But about
every house is foliage;  in  every garden are
flowers.    As I  mounted the steep, well-kept
road I   came upon pine woods.    Across the
valley, or the Kloof, I saw the lower grassy
slopes of Table  Mountain,  where the trees
dwindled till they dotted the   hill-side   like
spare scrub.    Above the trees is a cut in the
mountain, above that the bare grass, and then
the  frowning weather-worn  bastions   of  the
mountain  with  its  ancient  horizontal  strata.
It is cut and scarped into gullies and chimneys ;
for the mountain climber it offers difficult and
impossible climbs at every point.     Down the
uppergullies hung wisps of ragged cloud, pouring
over from the plateau 4000 feet above the town. A DAY IN CAPETOWN
91
On the left of the true Table Mountain there
is a rugged and ragged dip, and further still
the rocks rise again in the sharper pinnacles of
the Devil's Peak. That slopes away till it
runs down into the house-dotted Cape flats,
and beyond it lie Rondebosch, Wynberg and
Constantia. Across the grey and misty flats
other mountains rise—mountains of a strange
shape which suggests a peculiar and unusual
geological formation.
Although the day was cool and the southerly
wind had a biting quality about it, yet the
whole aspect of the world about me was intensely sub-tropical. In heavy sunlight it
would seem part of the countries north of the
Tropic of Capricorn. The close-set trees,
seen from above, appear like scrub, like close-
set ti-tree. They are massed at the top, and
among them lie white houses. Beyond them
the lower slopes of the Devil's Peak are
yellow and red sand, but the grey-green
waters of the bay, which is shaped like a great
hyperbola, are edged with white sand.
Among the pines the rhythmic wind rose
and fell; it whistled and wailed and died
away. Beneath me came the faint sound of
men calling; there was the clink of hammers
upon stone. 92
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But suddenly the town was lost among the
trees, and when I sat down at last upon a
seat I might have been among the woods
above the Castle of Chillon, and, seen dimly
among the foliage, the heights yonder could
have been taken for the slopes of Arvel or
Sonchaud. A bird whistled a short, repeated,
melancholy song, and suddenly I remembered
I had seen no sparrows here. A blackcap
stared at me and fled; its triple note was
repeated from bush to bush.
The wind rose again as I sat, but did not
chill me in my sheltered hollow. It rose and
fell in wavelike rhythm like the far thunder of
waves upon a rock-bound coast. Then came
silence, and again the wind was like the sound
of a distant waterfall. There for one moment
I caught the resinous smell of pine. It drew
me back to the Rocky Mountains, and then to
the woods above Zermatt, where I had last
smelt that healthiest and most pleasing of
woodland odours. I rose again and walked
on.
Presently I gained a loftier height, and saw
the Lion's Head above me, a bold shield
knob of rock rising out of silver trees, whose
foliage is a pale glaucous green, resembling
that of young eucalypti.    Then, turning, I saw A DAY IN CAPETOWN
93
Capetown spread out beneath me, almost as
one sees greater Naples from the Belvedere
of the San Martino monastery. The whitish-
grey town is furrowed into canon-like streets.
Beyond the town and over the flats was a
view like that from Camaldoli. The foreground
was scrub and pine and deep red earth, whereon men were building a new house. May
fate send me here again when the sun is hot
and the under world is all aglow!
I came at last to the little wind-swept
divide between Table Mountain and the
Lion's Head. Here Capetown was lost to
me, and I stood among sandy wastes where
thin pines and whin-like bushes grow. And
further still was the cold grey sea with the
waves breaking on a rocky point and a little
island all awash with white water.
Though beyond this divide the air was cold
as death, the slopes of Table Mountain sweeping to the sea were full of colour; deep, strong,
stern colour. When the sun shines and full
summer rules upon the Cape Peninsula the
place must be glorious. Even when I saw it
an artist would wonder how it was that with
such a chill wind the colour remained* And
above the coloured lower slopes this new view
of Table Mountain suggested a serried rank of 94
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
sphinxes staring out across the desert sea.
The nearest peak of the mountain is weathered,
cracked and scarred, and it in are two
chimneys that appear accessible only for the
oreads who block the way with their smoky
clouds. In the far north-eastern distance the
grey headlands melted into the grey ocean.
But beneath me were the tender green of the
birch-like silver tree and the rich young leaves
of the transplanted English oak. VELDT, PLAIN AND PRAIRIE
Among the problems which remain perpetually
interesting are those which deal with the
influence of environment on races, and that of
races on environment. What happens when
the people are plastic and their circumstances
rigid? what when the people are rigid and
unyielding, and their surroundings fluent and
unabiding? And does character depend on
what is outside, or does the dominant quality
of a race remain, as some vainly think, for ever ?
These are puzzling questions, but not entirely
beyond conjecture for one who has heard the
siren songs of the African veldt, the Australian
plain, and the American prairie.
He who consciously observes usually observes
the obvious, and may rank as a discoverer only
among the unobservant. Truth may be looked
for, but he who hunts her shall rarely find
when the truth he seeks is something not suited
for scientific formulse.    The real observer is
95
^3EHE 96
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
he who does not observe, but is gradually
aware that he knows. Sometimes he does not
learn that he is wise till long years have passed,
and then perhaps the mechanical maxim of a
mechanical eye-server of Nature shall startle
him into a sense of d'eep abiding, but perhaps
incommunicable, knowledge. So comes the
knowledge of mountain, moor and stream; so
rises the Aphrodite truth of the sea, born from
the foam that surges round the Horn, or floats
silently upon the beach of some lonely coral
island; and so grows the knowledge of vast
stretches of dim inland continents.
I spent my hours (let them be called months)
in Africa seeking vainly after facts that after
all were of no importance. Politics are of today, but human nature is of eternity. And while
I sought what I could hardly find, in one cold
clear dawn I stumbled upon the truth concerning the white people of the veldt, whom we
call Boers. And yet it was not stumbling; I
had but rediscovered something that I had
known of old in other lands, far east and far
west of Africa. When first I entered on the
terraces of the Karroo I tried to build up for
myself the character of the lone horsemen who
ride across these spaces, and though I was
solitary, and saw sunrises, the construction of VELDT, PLAIN AND PRAIRIE
97
the type eluded me. I saw the big plain and.
the flat-topped banded hills that had sunk into
their minds. I saw the ruddy dawn glow, and
the ruddier glory of sundown as the sun bit
into the edge of the horizon, and I knew that
here somewhere lay the secret of the race,
even though I could not find it. And I knew
too that I had discovered sister secrets in long
past days ; and I saw that, not in the intellect
as one knows it, but in some revived instinct,
revived it might be by one of the senses, lay
the clue to what I sought. What did these
people think, or what lay beneath thought in
them? It was something akin to what I had
felt somewhere, that I knew. But the sun
went down and left me in the dark; or it rose
clear of the distant hills and drowned me in
daylight, and still I did not know. Then there
was the babble of politics in my ears, and I
spoke of Reform and such urgent matters in
the dusty streets of windy Johannesburg.
But one day, as it chanced, I came upon the
secret; and then I found it was incommunicable, as all real secrets are. For your true
secret is an informing sensation, and no sensation can resolve itself other than by negatives.
I had spent a weary, an unutterably weary,
day in a coach upon the  Transvaal uplands,
G 98
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
and came in the dark to the house of a Boer
who served travellers with unspeakable food
and gave them such accommodation as might
be. It was midnight when I arrived, and all
his beds were full of those who were journeying in the opposite direction. He made me a
couch on the floor in a kind of lumber-room,
and, softened child of civilisation that I had
become, I growled by myself at what he gave,
and wondered what, in the name of the devil
who wanders over the earth, I was doing there.
And how could he endure it? How, indeed.
I fell asleep, and the next minute, which was
six hours later, I awoke, and stumbled with a
dusty mouth into the remaining night, not yet
become dawn. Such an hour seemed unpro-
pitious. My bones ached; I lamented my
ancient hardness in the time when a board or a
sheet of stringy bark was soft; I felt a touch
of fever, my throat was dry, a hard hot day of
discomfort was before me. In the dim dusk I
saw the mules gathered by the coach, which
had yet to do sixty miles. A bucket invited
me; I washed my hot hands and face, and
walked away from the buildings into the open.
Then very suddenly and without any warning
I understood why the Boer existed, and why,
in his absurd perversity, he rather preferred VELDT, PLAIN AND PRAIRIE
99
existing as he was; and I saw that even I,
like other Englishmen, could be subdued to
the veldt. The air was crisp and chill; the
dawn began to break in a pale olive band in
the lower east; the stars were bright overhead ; the morning star was even yet resplendent. But these things I had seen ofl the
southern Karroo. It was not my eyes alone
that told me the old secret, the same old secret
that I had known. I knew then, and at once,
as an infinite peace poured over me, that all
my senses were required to bring me back to
nature, and that one alone was helpless. Now
with what I saw came what I heard. I heard
the clatter of harness, the jingle of a bell, the
low of a cow, the trampling of the mules. And
I smelt with rapture, with delight, the complex
odours of the farm that sat so solitary in the
world; but above all the chill moving odour
of the great plain itself. This, or these, made
a strange, primitive pleasure that I had known
in Australia, in Texas, even in a farm upon the
edge of a wild Westmorland moor. My
senses informed my intellect. I shook hands
with the creatures of the veldt, for I was of
their tribe. Even my feet trod the earth
pounded by the mtiles, the horses and the
oxen, with a sensation that was new and old.
fc===as
..i_U»- 1
100
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
Why did not spurs jingle on my heels ? I felt
strong and once more a man. So feels the
Boer, and so does he love, but he cannot even
try to communicate the incommunicable.
For, after all, the secret is like the smell of a
flower that few have seen. Its odour is not
the odour of the rose, not that of any lily, not
that of any herb; it is its own odour only.
What is the difference, then, in those who
ride the high Texan plateaux or scour the
sage-bush plains of Nevada, or follow sheep or
cattle in the salt bush country of the lingering
Lachlan ? There is much difference ; there is
little difference; there is no difference. The
great difference is racial, the small difference is
human, the lack of any difference is animal and
primaeval. In all alike, in any country where
spaces are wide, the child that was the ancestor
of the man arises with its truthful unconscious
curiosity and faith in Nature. Here it may be
that one gallops, here one trots, here again one
walks. But all alike pull the bridle and snuff
the air and find it good, and see the grass
grow or dwindle, and watch the stars and the
passing seasons, and find the world very fresh
and very sweet and very simple.
Bl NEAR  MAFEKING
To a man who has lived and travelled in the
United States of America and the not yet
United States of Australia, there is one
characteristic of South Africa which is particularly noticeable. It is its oneness as a
country. And this oneness is all the more
remarkable when we take into consideration
its racial and political divisions. A bird's-eye
view of America is beyond one; a similar
glance at the f|seaboard of Australia from
Rockhampton even round to Albany (which is
then only round half its circle) gives me a
mental crick in the neck. But in thinking of
Africa, south of the Zambesi, there is no such
mental difficulty. Even the existence of the
Transvaal seemed to me an accident, and, if
inevitable, one which Nature herself protests
against. Some daty South Africa must be
federated, but if any politician asks me, § Under
IOI 102
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
which king, Bezonian, speak or die," I shall
elect (in these pages at least) to die.
But though this disunited unity seemed to
me a salient feature in cis-Zambesian Africa, it
was the differences in that natural ring fence
which attracted most of my attention as a
story-writer even as a story-writer who so far
has only Written one tale about it. I began to
ask myself how it was that, with one eminent
exception, our African fiction writers had
confined themselves to the native races, and
the friction between these races and white men,
Boer or English, when there were infinitely
more attractive themes at hand. Perhaps it
may seem like begging the question to call the
political inter-play of the Cape Colony, of the
Transvaal, and the Free State more interesting
than tales in which the highest "white"
interest appears in a love story betwixt some
English wanderer and an impossible i Boer
maiden, or such as relate the rise and fall of
Chaka and Ketchwayo. And yet to me the
mass of intrigue, the political friction, the
onward march of races, and the conflicts above
and below board, called for greater attention
than the Zulu, even at his best.
To a novelist (who sometimes pretends to
think,   however   much   such   an   unpopular NEAR MAFEKING
103
tendency be hidden) environment and its
necessary results are of infinite interest. Upon
the Karroo, even when in the train, I tried to
build up the aloof and lonely Boer, and, though
I failed, there came to me in whiffs (like far
odours borne on a westerly wind) some
suggestions that I really understood deep in
my mind how he came to be. The chill fresh
air of the morning, before the sun was yet
above the horizon, recalled to me some ancient
dawns in far Australia: and then again I
thought of days upon the Texan plateaux.
But still the secret of the lone-riding Boer,
who loves a country of magnificent distances,
escaped me.
But one early dawn, when I was half-way
between Krugersdorp and Mafeking, I came
out upon the veldt in darkness, which was a
lucid darkness, and in the silent crisp air I
stumbled upon the truth. Betwixt sleep and
waking as I walked I felt infinite peace pour
over me. So had the silent Campo Santo at
Pisa affected me; so had I felt for a moment
among the ancient ruins of the abbey at
Rivaulx. In this dawn hour came a time of
reversion. I too was very solitary, and loved
my solitude. The necessities of civilisation
were  necessities no more:   I  needed luxury 104
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
even less than I needed news. I cared for
nothing that the men of a city ask: there was
space before me and room to ride. The lack
of small urgent stimuli, the barren growth of
civilisation's weedy fields, left me to the great
and simple organic impulses of the outstretched
world. And in that moment I perceived that
this silence is the very life of the wandering
Boer, even though he knows it not; for it has
sunk so deep into him that he is unaware of it.
He belongs not to this age, nor to any age
we know.
For one long year, twenty years ago, I lived
upon a great plain in Australia, and now I
remembered how slowly I had been able to
divest myself of my feeling of loneliness. But
when I came at last to be at home upon that
mighty stretch of earth, which seemed a
summit, I grew to love it and to see with
opened eyes its infinite charm that could be
told to none. I knew that the need of much
talk was a false need : as false as the diseased
craving for books.
To feel this was true of the widespread
wandering folks who once came out of crowded
Holland to resume a more ancient type,
instructed me in what a false relation they
stand to the rolling dun war-cloud of" Progress."
.-^___ NEAR MAFEKING
105
They called in the unreverted Hollander to
stand between them and the men of mines, and
now they love the Hollander as a man loves a
hated cousin, who is a man of his blood, but in
nothing like him. But anything was, and is,
better than to stand face to face with busy
crowds. To have to talk, to argue, to explain
to the unsympathetic was overmuch. The
veldt called to them: it is their passion. As
one labours in London and sinks into a dream,
remembering the hills wherein he spends a
lonely summer, among Westmorland's fells
and by the becks, so the Boer, called cityward,
looks back upon the wide and lonely veldt
which is never too wide and never lonelier to
him than tp any of the beasts he loves to
hunt.
But the fauna disappear, and ancient civilisations crumble. And those who revert are once
more overwhelmed by civilisatiori. It is a
great and pathetic story, a story as old as the
tales told in stone by the preserved remnants
of prehistoric monsters.
Yet, speaking of monsters, what is a stranger
monster (to an eye that hates it or merely
wonders) than the many-jointed Rand demon
crawling along the line of banket outcrop ? I
saw it first by day, when it seemed an elongated 106
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
wire-drawn Manchester in a pure air, but I
remember it best as I saw it when returning
from Pretoria. First I beheld the gleam of
electric lights, and remembered the glow of
Fargo in Eastern Dakota as I saw it across
the prairie. Then the mines were no longer
separate : they joined together and became like
a fiery reptile, a dragon in the outcrop, clawing
deep with every joint, wounding the earth with
every claw, as a centipede wounds with every
poisoned foot. The white residues gleamed
beneath the moon, from every smoke stack
poured smoke : the dragon breathed. Then
the great white cyanide tanks were like bosses
on the beast; the train stopped, and the battery
roared. That night, for it was a silent and
windless night, I heard forty miles of batteries
beating on the beach of my mind like a great
sea. And men laboured in the bowels of the
earth for gold. But out upon the veldt it was
very quiet, " quietly shining to the quiet moon."
I understood then that it was no wonder if the
simple and stolid Dutchman had a peculiar
abhorrence for a town, which, even at night,
was never at rest. In Johannesburg is neither
rest, nor peace, nor any school for nobility of
thought; it destroys the pleasures of the
simple,   and    satisfies    not   the   desires    of NEAR MAFEKING
107
those whose simplicity is their least striking
feature.
Upon the veldt and the Karroo, and even
through the Mapani scrub country that lies
north of Lobatsi, simplicity is the chief
characteristic of the scenery. As I went by
Victoria West (I had spent the night talking
politics with the civillest Dutchmen) I came in
early morning to the first Karroo I had seen.
The air was tonic, like an exhilarating wine with
some wonderful elixir in it other than alcohol,
and though the country reminded me in places
of vast plains in New South Wales, it lacked,
or seemed to lack, the perpetual brooding
melancholy that invests the great Austral
island. As I stood on the platform of the car,
the sun, not yet risen, gilded level clouds. The
light reddened and the gold died: and the
sudden sun sparkled like a big star, and heaved
a round shoulder up between two of Africa's
flat-topped hills, which were yet blue in the far
distance. Then the level light of earliest day
poured across the plateau, yellow with thin grass,
which began to ask for rain. The picture left
upon my mind is without detail, and made up of
broad masses. Even a railway station, with
some few gum trees, and the pinky cloud of
peach   blossom  about the   little   house,  was 108
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
excellently simple and homely. A distant farm,
with smoke rising beneath the shadow of a little
kopje, a band of emerald green, where irrigation
sent its flow of water, a thousand sheep with a
blanketed Kaffir minding them, filled the eye
with satisfaction.
Out of such a country should come simple
lives. By the sport of fate the cruellest
complexity of politics is to be found there.
And yet who can declare that the environment shall not in time exert its inevitable
influence on the busy crowding English, and
make them or their sons glad to sit upon their
stoeps and smoke and look out upon the veldt
with a quiet satisfaction which is unuttered and
unutterable ? The Karroo and the veldt do not
change except according to the seasons; they
pour their influences for ever upon those who
ride across them as the Drakensberg Mountains
send their waters down upon Natal beneath
their mighty wall. And even now the busy
Englishman complains that his African-born
son is lazy and seems more content to live than
to be for ever working. Each country exacts a
certain amount of energy from those who live
there; as one judges from the Boer, the tax is
not over heavy.
And as in time to come the great centre of NEAR MAFEKING
109
interest shifts north, as now it seems to shift,
one may prophesy with some hope, certainly
without dread of such a result, that a more
energetic Dutch race, and a less energetic
English one, will fuse together, and look back
upon their childish quarrels with mere historic
interest. Perhaps the Dutch in those times
will become the aristocrats, as they have done
in New York; they may even see their chance
of going for ever out of politics. For they
never yet sat down to the political gaming-table
gladly.
5852 BY THE FRASER RIVER
\U
The first experience I had in regard to gold
mining was in Ballarat, when a well-known
miner and business man in that pretty town
took me round the old alluvial diggings and
pointed out the most celebrated claims. These
(in 1879) were, of course, deserted or left to an
occasional Chinese " fossicker," who rewasbed
the rejected pay dirt, which occasionally has
enough gold in it to satisfy the easily-pleased
Mongolian. I went with my friend that same
day into the Black Horse Mine, and saw quartz
crushing for the first time; but, naturally
enough, I took far more interest in the alluvial
workings that can be managed by few friends
than in operations which required capital and
the importation of stamping machinery from
England; and Ballarat, rich as it once was
for the single miner, is now left to corporations.
One of the strangest features of an old gold-
no BY THE FRASER RIVER
111
mining district is its wasted and upturned
appearance. The whole of the surrounding
country is, as it were, eviscerated. It is all
hills and hollows, which shine and glare in the
hot sun and look exceedingly desolate. When,
in addition, the town itself fails and fades
for want of other means of support, and the
houses fall into rack and ruin as I have seen in
Oregon, the place resembles a disordered room
seen in the morning after a gambling debauch.
The town is happy which is able to reform
and live henceforth on agriculture, as is now
the case to a great extent with Ballarat and
with Sandhurst, which has discarded its
famous name of Bendigo.
To a miner, or indeed to anyone in want of
money, as I usually was when knocking about
in Australian or American mining districts, the
one painful thing is to know where untold
quantities of gold lie without being able to get
a single pennyweight of it. I remember on
more than one occasion sitting on the banks of
the Fraser River in British Columbia, or
of the Illinois River in Oregon, pondering on
the absurdity of my needing a hundred dollars
when millions were in front of me under those
fast-flowing streams. Those who know
nothing about gold countries may ask how I m
112
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
I
knew there were millions there. The answer
is simple enough. First let me say a few
words about one common process of
mining.
When it is discovered that there is a certain
quantity of gold in the vast deposits of gravel
which are found in many places- along the
Pacific slope, but especially in Oregon and
California, water, brought in a "flume' or
aqueduct from a higher level, is directed, by
means of a pipe and nozzle fixed on a movable
stand, against the crumbling bench, which
perhaps contains only two or three shillings-
worth of gold to the ton. This is washed
down into a sluice made of wooden boards, in
which I riffles," or pieces of wood, are placed
to stop the metal as it flows along in the turbid
rush of water. Some amalgamated copper
plates are put in suitable places to catch the
lighter gold, or else the water which contains it is
allowed to run into a more slowly-flowing aqueduct, which gives the finer scales time to settle.
This, roughly put, is the hydraulic method
of mining which causes so much trouble between the agricultural and mining interests in
California; for the finer detritus of this washing, called technically "^slickens," fills up the
rivers, causes them to overflow and deposit BY THE FRASER RIVER
what  is  by  no  means a fertilising  material
on the pastures of the Golden State.
Now, what man does here in a small way,
and with infinite labour and pains, Nature has
been doing on a grand scale for unnumbered
centuries. Let us, for instance, take the
Fraser River and its tributary the Thompson,
which is again made up of the North and
South Forks, which unite at Kamloops, as the
main rivers do at Lytton. The whole of the
vast extent of mountainous country drained by
these streams is known to be more or less
auriferous. Many places, such as Cariboo, are,
or were, richly so; and there are few spots in
that part which will not yield what miners
know as a " colour " of gold—that is, gold just
sufficient to see, even if it is not enough to pay
for working by our slight human methods. I
have been in parts of Oregon where one
might get " colour " by pulling up the bunches of
grass that grew sparsely on a thin soil which
just covered the rocks. But the united
volumes of the Fraser and the two Thompsons
and all their tributaries have been doing an
enormous gold-washing business for a geological period ; and all that portion of British
Columbia which lies in their basin may be
looked upon as similar to the bench of gravel
H 114
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
which is assaulted by the hydraulic miner.
And just as the miner makes the broken-down
gold-bearing stuff run through his constructed
sluices, Nature sends all her gold in a torrent
into the natural sluice which is known as the
Fraser Canon.
This canon, which is cut through the range
of mountains known erroneously as the
Cascades, is about forty miles long, if we
count from Lytton and Yale. In its narrowest
part, at Hell Gate, a child may throw a stone
across; and its current is tremendous. So
rapidly does it run, that no boat can venture
upon it, and nothing but a salmon can stem its
stream. It is full, too, of whirlpools; and at
times the under rush is so strong that the
surface appears stationary. What its depth
may be it is impossible to tell. But one
thing is certain, and that is, that in the
cracks and crannies of its rocky bed must
be gold in quantities beyond the dreams of a
diseased avarice. But is this not all theory ?
No, it is not. At one part of the river, in the
upper canon, there is a place where the current
stayed, and, with a long backward swirl, built
up a bar. If you ask an old British Columbian
about Boston Bar, he will, perhaps, tell stories
which  may seem  to put  Sacramento in  the BY THE FRASER RIVER
115
shade. Yet there will be much truth in them,
for there was much gold found on that bar.
Again, some years ago, at Black Canon, on
the South Fork of the Thompson, when that
clear Jblue stream was at a low stage, there was
a great landslip, which for some eighty minutes
dammed back the waters into a lake. The
whole country side gathered there with carts
and buckets, scraping up the mud and gold
from the bottom. Many thousands of dollars
were taken out of the dry river bed before the
dam gave way to the rising waters. And, if
there was gold there, what is there even now
in the great main sluice of the vastest natural
gold mining concern ever set going, which has
never yet since it began indulged in a
"clean up?"
I have been asked sometimes, when speaking
about the Fraser and other rivers, which are
undoubtedly gold traps, why it was that nobody
attempted to turn them. Of course, my
questioners were neither engineers nor
geographers. Certainly an inspection of the
map of British Columbia would show the utter
impossibility of such a scheme. To dam the
Fraser would be like turning the Amazon.
Yet once I do not doiibt that it was dammed,
and that all the upper country was a vast lake, 116
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
until the waters found the way through the
Cascades which it has now cut into a canon.
Otherwise I cannot account for the vast
benches and terraces which rise along the
Thompson. Indeed, the whole of the
Dry Belt down to Lytton has the appearance, to an eye only slightly cognisant of
geological evidence, of an ancient lacustrine
valley.
Yet much work of a similar kind to damming
this river has been done in California; and
even now there is a company at the great task
of turning the Feather River (which is also
undoubtedly gold bearing) through a tunnel in
order to work a large portion of its bed.
Whether they will succeed or not is perhaps
doubtful; but if they do, the returns will
probably be large, as they would be if anyone
were able to turn aside the Illinois in Southern
Oregon, or the Rogue River, which has been
mining in the Siskiyou Range for untold
generations.
I feel certain that all human gold discovering
has been a mere nothing; that our methods
are only faint and feeble imitations of Nature,
and that only by circumventing her shall we be
able to reach the richer reward, But by the
very vastness of her operations we are pre-  11
OLD AND  NEW  DAYS  IN BRITISH
|      COLUMBIA
The whole of this vast country—this sea of
mountains, as it has very appropriately been
called—used practically to belong to the
Hudson's Bay Trading Company, and they
made more than enough money out of it and
its inhabitants. The Indians, though never
quite to be trusted, were, and are, not so warlike as their neighbours far to the south of the
forty-ninth parallel, such as the Sioux and
Apaches, and naturally were so innocent of the
value of the furs and skins they brought into
the trading ports and forts as to be vilely
cheated, in accordance with all the best traditions of white men dealing with ignorant and
commercially unsophisticated savages. Guns
and rifles being the objects most desired by
the Indian, he was made to pay for them, and
to pay an almost incredible price, as it seems
118 IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
119
several
it   was
London
to us now, for the company made sure of three
or four hundred per cent, at the very least, and
occasionally more; f|so that a ten shilling
Birmingham musket brought in
pounds when the pelts for which
exchanged were sold in the
market.
Their dominion of exclusion passed away
with the discovery of gold in Cariboo, and
the consequent assumption of direct rule by
the Government. The palmy days of mining
are looked back on with great regret by the
old miners, and many are the stories I have
heard by the camp fire or the hotel bar, which
explained how it was that the narrator was
still poor, and how So-and-so became rich.
There were few men who were successful
in keeping what they had made by luck or
hard work, yet gold dust flew round freely,
and provisions were at famine prices. I knew
one man who said he had paid forty-two
dollars (or nearly nine pounds) for six pills.
They were dear but necessary; and as the
man who possessed them had a corner in
drugs, he was able to name his price. At
that time, too, some men made large sums
of money by mere physical labour, and for
packing   food   on  their  backs  to  the  mines 120
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
they received a dollar for every pound weight
they brought in.
An acquaintance of mine, who is now an
hotel-keeper at Kamloops, was a living
example of the strange freaks fortune
played men in Cariboo. He was offered a
share in a mine for nothing, but refused it,
and bought into another. Gold was taken
out of the first one to the tune of 50,000
dollars, and the other took all the money
invested in it and never returned a cent
He was in despair about one mine, and tried
to sell out in vain. He was thinking of
giving up his share for nothing, when gold
was found in quantities. I think he makes
more out of whisky, however, than he ever
did at Cariboo, though he still hankers after
the old exciting times and the prospects of
the gold-miner's toast, "Here's a dollar to
the pan, the bed-rock pitching, and the
gravel  turning blue."
Nowadays there are still plenty of men who
traverse the country in all directions looking
for new finds. They are called "prospectors,"
and go about with a pony packed with a pick,
a shovel, and a few necessaries, hunting chiefly
for quartz veins, and they talk of nothing but
"quartz," "bed-rock," "leads," gold and silver,
I IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
121
and so many ounces to the ton. It is now
many years ago since I was working on a small
cattle ranch in the Kamloops district, when
one of these men, a tall, grey-haired old fellow
named Patterson, came by. My employer
knew him, and asked him to stay. He bored
us to death the whole evening, and showed innumerable specimens, which truly were not very
promising, as it seemed to us. His great contempt for farming was very characteristic of
the species. " What's a few head of rowdy
steers ?" asked Mr Patterson ;" why, any day
I might strike ten thousand dollars." " Yes,"
I answered mischievously; "and any day you
mightn't." He turned and glared at me,
demanding what I knew about mining. "Not
a great deal," said I; " but I have seen mining
here and in Australia, and for one that
makes anything a hundred die dead broke."
"Well," he replied, scornfully "I'd rather die
that way than go ploughing, and I tell you I
know where there is money to be made. Just
wait till I can get hold of a capitalist."
That is another of the poor prospector's stock
cries; but as a general rule capitalists are
wary, and don't invest in such "wild cat"
speculations.
Next morning Mr Patterson proposed that 122
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
I should go along with him and he would
make my fortune. "What at?" said I.
" Quartz mining? " § Not this time," was his
answer ; | it's placer" (alluvial). I was not in
the least particular then what I did if I could
only get good wages, so I wanted to know
what he proposed giving me. " Bed-rock
wages," said he. Now that means good money
if a strike is made, and nothing if it is not.
So I shook my head, and he turned away,
leaving me to wallow in the mire of contemptible security. I can hardly doubt that he
will be one day found dead in the mountains,
and that his Eldorado will be but oblivion.
Just as I was about to leave British
Columbia for Washington Territory there
were very good reports of the new Similkameen diggings, and for the first and only time
in my life I was very nearly taking the gold
fever. But though I saw much of the gold
that had been taken out of the creek, I managed to restrain myself, and was glad of it
afterwards, when I learned from a friend of
mine in town that very few had made anything
out of it, and that most had returned to New
Westminster penniless and in rags.
Railroads and modern progress are nowadays civilising the country to a great extent,
mi IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
123
though I am by no means sure that civilisation
is a good thing in itself. However, manners
are much better than they used to be in the
old times, and it might be hard now to find an
instance of ignorance parallel to one which my
friend Mr H. told me. It appears that a
dinner was to be given in the earlier days to
some great official from England, and an
English lady, who knew how such things
should be done, was appointed manager. She
determined that everything should be in good
style, and ordered even | such extravagant
and unknown luxuries as napkins and finger-
glasses. Among those who sat at the well-
appointed table were miners, cattle-men, and
so on, and one of them on sitting down took
up his finger-bowl, and saying, "By golly, Pm
thirsty," emptied it at a draught. Then, to add
horror on horror, he trumpeted loudly in his
napkin and put it in his breast pocket.
The progress of civilisation, however,
destroys the Indians and their virtues. One
Indian woman, who was married to a friend of
mine—and a remarkably intelligent woman she
was—one day remarked to me that before
white men came into the country the women
of her tribe (she was a Ptsean) were good
and   modest   but   that   now   that    was   all 124
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
gone. It is true enough. This same woman
was remarkable among the general run of her
class, and spoke very good English, being
capable of making a joke too. A half-bred
Indian, working for her husband, one day spoke
contemptuously of his mother's tribe, and Mrs
 , being a full-blooded Indian, did not like
it. She asked him if he was an American, and,
after overwhelming him with sarcasm, turned
him out of doors.
As a matter of fact, most of the Indians are
demoralised, especially those who live in or
near the towns, and they live in a state of
degradation and perpetual debauchery. Though
it is a legal offence to supply them with liquor,
they nevertheless manage to get drunk at all
times and seasons. When they work they are
not to be relied on to continue at it steadily,
and when drunk they are only too often
dangerous. Their type of face is often very
low, and I never saw but one handsome man
among the half-breeds, though the women,
especially the Hydahs, are passable in looks.
This man was a pilot, and a good one, on the
lakes ; but he was perpetually being discharged
for drunkenness.
The lake and river steamboats are not always
safe to be in, and some of the pilotage and IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
125
engineering is reckless in the extreme. The
captains are too often given to drink overmuch,
and when an intoxicated man is at the wheel in
a river full of the natural dangers of bars and
snags, and those incident on a tremendous
current, the situation often becomes exciting.
I was once on the Fraser River in a steamer
whose boiler was certified to bear 80 lb. of steam
and no more. We were coming to a "riffle,"
or rapid, fahere the stream ran very fiercely,
with great swirls and waves in it, and the
captain sang out to the engineer, " How much
steam have you, Jack?" "Eighty," answered
Jack.
" Fire up, fire up!" said the captain, as he
jammed the tiller over; " we shall never make
the riffle on that."
The firemen went to work, and threw in
more wood, and presently we approached the
rapid. The captain leant out of the pilot
house.
| Give it her, Jack," he yelled excitedly.
The answer given by Jack scared me, for I
knew quite well what she ought to bear.
I There's a hundred and twenty on her
now!
" Well, maybe it will do;" and the captain's
head retreated. B rt*r;
126
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
On we went, slowly crawling and fighting
against the swift stream which tore by us. We
got about half-way up, and we gradually stayed
in one position, and even went back a trifle.
The captain yelled and shouted for more steam
yet, and then I retreated as far as I could, and
sat on the taffrail, to be as far as possible from
the boiler, which I believed would explode
every moment. But Jack obeyed orders, and
rammed and raked at the fires until the gauge
showed 160lb., and we got over at last. But I
confess I did feel nervous.
This happened about ten miles below Yale,
and at that very spot the tiller-ropes of the
same boat once parted, and they had to let her
drift. Fortunately, she hung for a few
moments in an eddy behind a big rock until
they spliced them again; but it was a close call
with everyone on board. A steamer once
blew up there, and most of the crew and passengers were killed outright or drowned.
Above Yale the river is not navigable until
Savona's Ferry is reached. That is on the
Kamloops Lake, and thence east up the
Thompson and the lakes there is navigation to
Spallamacheen. Once the owners of the Peerless ran her from Savona down to Cook's
Ferry, just in order to see if it could be done. IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
127
The down-stream trip was done in three hours,
but it took three weeks to get her back again,
and then her progress had to be aided with
ropes from the shore; so it was not deemed
advisable to make the trip regularly.
As for the river in the main Fraser canon, it
is nothing more nor less than a perfect hell of
waters; and though Mr Onderdonk, who had
the lower British Columbia contract for the
Canadian Pacific Railroad, built a boat to run
on it, the first time the Skuzzy let go of the
bank she ran ashore. She was taken to pieces
and rebuilt on the lakes. The railroad people
wanted her at first on the lower river, and
asked a Mr Moore, who is well known as a
daring steamboatman, to take her down. He
said he would undertake it, but demanded so
high a fee, including a thousand dollars for his
wife if he was drowned, that his offer was refused. Yet it was well worth almost any
money, for it would have been a very
hazardous undertaking—as bad as, or even
worse than, the Maid of the Mist going
through the rapids below Niagara. :3'^jtr~*~  "                         =t~"*~
ill Hi
A TALK WITH KRUGER
It was a warm day in the end of September
1898 when I put my foot in Pretoria.     There
was   an   air   of   lassitude   about   the   town.
President  Steyn, of the Orange Free  State,
had been and  gone, and  the triumphal  arch
still cried  "Wilkom" across  Church Square.
The two Boer States had ratified their secret
understanding, and many Boers looked on the
arch as a prophecy  of victory.    Perhaps  by
now those who were accustomed to meet in the
Raadsaal close by are not so sure that heaven-
enlightened wisdom brought about the compact.    As for myself, I thought little enough
of  the   matter   then,   for    Pretoria   seemed
curiously familiar to me, though I had never
been there, and had never so much as seen a
photograph of it until I saw one in Johannesburg.    For some time I could not understand
why it seemed familiar.    It is true that it had
128 A TALK WITH KRUGER
129
some resemblance to a tenth-rate American
town in which the Australian gum-trees had
been acclimatised, as they have been in some
malarious spots in California. And in places
I seemed to recall Americanised Honolulu.
Yet it was not this which made me feel I knew
Pretoria. It was something in the aspect of
the people, something in the air of the men,
combined doubtless with topographical reminiscence. And when I came to my hotel
and had settled down, I began to see why I
knew it. The whole atmosphere of the city
reeked of the very beginnings of finance. It
was the haunt of the concession-monger; of
the lobbyist; of the men who wanted something. These I had seen before in some
American State capitals; the anxious face of
the concession-hunter had a family likeness to
the man of Lombard Street: the obsession of
the gold-seeker was visible on every other face
I looked at.
In the hotels they sat in rows: some were
silent, some talked anxiously, some were in
spirits and spoke with cheerfulness. It pleased
my solitary fancy to label them. These had
got their concessions, they were going away;
these still hoped strongly, and were going tomorrow  and  to-morrow ; these  still held on,
■ . • WftttirrA'.-' ■' =
ass
sssss 130
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
and were going later; these again had ceased
to hope, but still stayed as a sickened miner
will hang round a played-out claim. They were
all gamblers, and his Honour the President
was the Professional Gambler who kept the
House, who dealt the cards, and too often (as
they thought) " raked in the pot," or took his
heavy commission. And I had nothing to ask
for; all I wanted was to see the tables if I
could, and have a talk with him who kept
them.
The President is an accessible man. He
does not hide behind his dignity : he affects a
patriarchal simplicity, and is ever ready to
receive his own people or the stranger within
his gates. His unaffected affectation is to bea
simpleton of character: he tells all alike that
he is a simple old man, and expects everyone
to chuckle at the transparent absurdity of the
notion. Was it possible, then, for me to see
him and have a talk with him ? I was told to
apply to a well-known Pretorian journalist. As
I was also a journalist of sorts, and not wholly
unknown, it was highly probable he would
assist me in my desire not to leave Pretoria
without seeing the Father of his people. But
my informant added : 1 The President will say
nothing—he can say nothing in very few words.
mmWSSSmJ A TALK WITH KRUGER
131
If you want him to talk, say \ Rhodes.'" I
thanked my new hotel acquaintance and
and said I would say " Rhodes" if it
seemed necessary. And next afternoon I
walked down Church Street with the journalist
W and came to the President's house.   We
had an appointment, and after waiting half-an-
hour in the stoep with four or five typical and
silent Boers, Mr Kruger came out in company
with a notorious Pretorian financier, for whom
I suppose the poor President, who is hardly
worth more than a million or so, had taken one
of his simple-hearted fancies. And then I was
introduced to his Honour, and we sat down
opposite to  each other.    By the  President's
side,  and on his right hand, sat W , who
was to interpret my barbarous English into the
elegant taal.
If few of our caricaturists have done Mr
Kruger justice, they have seldom been entirely
unjust. He is heavy and ungainly, and though
his face is strong it is utterly uncultivated. He
wears dark spectacles, and smokes a long pipe,
and uses a great spittoon, and in using it does
not always attain that accuracy of marksmanship supposed to be characteristic of the Boer.
His whiskers are untrimmed, his hands are not
quite clean;  his clothes were probably never 132
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
intended to fit him. And yet, in spite of everything, he has some of that dignity which comes
from strength and a long habit of getting his
own way. But the dignity is not the dignity
of the statesman, it is that dignity which is
sometimes seen under the blouse of an old
French peasant who still remains the head of
the family though his hands are past work. I
felt face to face with the past as I sat opposite
him. So might I have felt had I sat in the
kraal of Moshesh or Lobengula or the great
Msiligazi. Though the city about me was a
modern city, and though quick-firers crowned
its heights, here before me was something that
was passing away. But I considered my
audience, and told the President and his
listening Boers that I was glad to meet a man
who had stood up against the British Empire
without fear. And he replied, as he puffed at
his pipe, that he had doubtless only done so
because he was a simpleton. And the Boers
chuckled at their President's favourite joke.
He added that if he had been a wise man of
forethought he would probably have never
done it. And so far perhaps he was right.
All rulers of any strength have to rely rather
on instinct than on the wisdom of the intellect.
Then we talked about  Johannesburg, and A TALK WITH KRUGER
133
the President puffed smoke against the
capitalists, and led me to infer that he considered them a very scandalous lot, against
whom he was struggling in the interests of the
shareholders. I disclaimed any sympathy with
capitalists, and declared that I was theoretically
a Socialist. The President grunted, but when
I added that he might, so far as I cared, act
the Nero and cut off all the financial heads at
one blow, he and his countrymen laughed at a
conceit which evidently appealed to them. But
his Honour relapsed again into a grunt when I
inquired what he considered must be the upshot of the agitation. On pressing him, he
replied that he was not a prophet. I tried to
draw him on the loyalty of the Cape Dutch by
saying that they had even more reason to be
loyal than the English, seeing that if England
were ousted from the Continent the Germans
would come in ; but he evaded the question at
issue by asserting that if the Cape Dutch
intrigued against the Queen he would neither
aid nor countenance them. Then, as the conversation seemed in danger of languishing, I
did what I had been told to do and mentioned
Rhodes.
It was odd to obserVe the instant change in
the   President's   demeanour.      He   lost   his 134
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
stolidity, and became voluble and emphatic.
Rhodes was evidently his sore point; and he
abused him with fervour and with emphasis.
All trouble in this wicked world was due to
Rhodes ; if Rhodes had not been born, or had
had the grace to die very early, South Africa
would have been little less than a Paradise.
Rhodes was a bad man, whose chief aim was
to drag the English flag in the dirt. Rhodes
was Apollyon and a financier, and the foul
fiend himself. And as the old man worked
himself into a spluttering rage, he emphasised
every point in his declamation by a furious slap,
not on his own knee, but on the knee of the
journalist who was interpreting for me. Every
time that heavy hand came down I saw poor
W * wince; he was shaken to his foundations.
But he endured the punishment like a martyr,
and said nothing. I dropped ice into the
President's boiling mind by asking him if he
thought it would remove danger from the situation if Mr Rhodes and Mr Chamberlain were
effectually muzzled by the Imperial Government. His peasant-like caution instantly returned ; he smoked steadily for a minute, and
then declared he would say nothing on that
point. It was not necessary; he had showed,
without the shadow of a doubt, that he was an A TALK WITH KRUGER
135
old man who was, in a sense, insane on one
point. Rhodes was his fixed pathological idea.
This Tenterden steeple was the cause of the
revolutionary Goodwin Sands.
As a last question about the Cape Dutch, I
asked if, when he declared he would not aid
them against the Queen, he would act against
them ; he replied denying in general terms the
right to revolt. I said, " But the right of revolution is the final safeguard of liberty " ; and
his Honour did nothing but grunt. From his
point of view he could neither deny nor affirm
this safely, and so our interview came to an
end. TROUT FISHING IN BRITISH
COLUMBIA AND CALIFORNIA
At that time I acknowledge that trout-fishing
as  a real art I  knew  nothing of; whipping
English   waters   had    been   almost   entirely
denied me, and with the exception of a week
on   a   river  near   Oswestry,  and   a   day  in
Cornwall,   I  had  never thrown a fly over a
pool   where   a   trout   might   reasonably   be
supposed to exist.    But in British Columbia I
used to catch them in quantities and with an
ease unknown to Englishmen.    I am told (by
an expert) that using a grasshopper as a bait
is no better than poaching, and that I might
as well take to the nefarious "white line,'J or
Cocculus indicus.     That may be so according
to the deeper ethics of the sport, but I am
inclined to  think  many men would have no
desire to fish at all after going  through the
preliminary task of filling a small tin can with
those lively insects.
136 FISHING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
137
Owing to the fact that I was working lor
my living on a ranch at Cherry Creek, I had
no chance of fishing on week-days, but on
Sundays, after breakfast, I used to take my
primitive willow rod from the roof, where it
had been for six days, see that the. ten or
twelve feet of string was as sound at least as
my frayed yard of gut, examine my hook, and
then start hunting grasshoppers. That meant
a deal of violent exercise, especially if the
wind was blowing, for they fly down it or are
driven down it with sufficient velocity to make
a man run. Moreover, near the ranche they
were mostly of a very surprising alertness,
owing, doubtless, to the fact that the fowls,
in their eagerness to support Darwin's theory
of natural selection, soon picked up the slow
and lazy ones. But after an hour's hard work
I usually got some fifty or so, and that would
last for a whole day, or at anyrate for a whole
afternoon. Then I went to the creek, fishing
up it and down it with a democratic disregard
of authority.
Cherry Creek was only a small stream;
here and there it rattled over rocks, and
stayed in a deep pool. Now and again it
ran as fast as the water in a narrow flume ;
and then the banks grew canon-like  for fifty 138
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
yards. But for almost the whole of its length
it went through dense brush, so dense in
parts that it defied anyone but a bear to
get through it. But when I did reach a
secluded pool and manage to thrust my rod
out over the water and slowly unwind my
bait, I was almost always rewarded by a
lively mountain trout as long as my hand, for
they never ran over six inches. The grasshopper was absolutely deadly; no fish seemed
able to resist it, and sometimes in ten minutes
I took six, or even ten, out of a pool as big
as an ordinary dining-room table. The fact
of the matter is that the greatest difficulty
lay in getting to the water. When I fished
up stream into the narrow gorge through
which the creek ran, I often walked four or
five miles before I got the small tin bucket,
which was my creel, half full; yet I knew that
if I could have really fished five hundred
yards of it I might have gone home with a
full catch.
But it was not so much the fishing as the
strange solitude, the thick, lonely brush, that
made such excursions pleasant. Every now
and again I came to a spur of the mountains,
and climbed up into the open and lay among
the red barked bull-pines.    If I went *a little PISHING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
139
higher I could catch sight of the dun-coloured
hills which ran down, as I knew, to the waters
of Kamloops Lake, only five miles distant. If
I felt hungry, I could easily light a fire and
broil the trout; with a bit of bread, carried
in my pocket, and a draught from a spring
or the creek itself, I made a hearty meal.
And all day long I saw no human being.
Every now and again I might come across
a half-wild bullock or a wilder horse, or see
the track of a wolf, but that was all, save the
song of the birds, the wind among the trees,
and the ceaseless murmurs of the creek. In
the evening I made my way back in time to
give the cook what I had caught.
In California I used to fish in the small
creek running at the back of Los Guilucos
Ranch, Sonoma County, and, though the
trout were by no means so plentiful there
as in British Columbia, I often caught two
or three dozen in the afternoon. But there
I had to use worms, and they seemed far
less attractive than the soft, sweet body of
the grasshopper. Yet once I caught a very
large fish for that part of the country. He
was evidently a fish with a history, as I
caught him in a big tank sunk in the earth,
which   supplied   the   ranch,   and   was   itself
.U Fff
140
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
l-y
supplied by a long flume. As I went home
past this tank one day I carelessly dropped
the bait in, and it was instantly seized by
a trout I knew to be larger than I had yet
hooked. But, though he was big, he had
very little chance. The smooth sides of
the tank afforded him no hole to rush for,
and, after a short struggle, I hauled him
out. My only fear was that my rotten line
would part, for he weighed almost a pound,
and I was accustomed to fish of less than
seven ounces.
I often wondered in British Columbia
why so few people fished. In some of
the creeks running into the Fraser River,
near Yale, I have seen splendid trout of
two or three pounds; there would be a
dozen in sight at once very often. They
always seemed in good condition, too, which
was more than could be said for the salmon,
for those were half of them very white
with, the fungus, as one could % easily see
on the Kamloops or Shushwap Lakes from
the bows of the steamer if the water was
smooth.
Perhaps the reason there are no trout-
fishers out there is that those who care
sufficiently   for  any   kind   of   sport   find   it
it ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
141
more  to
cariboo,
as   they
in  which
be   glad
ferocious
their taste to hunt deer, bear or
When these have disappeared,
must, seeing the ruthless manner
they are slaughtered, many may
to take to the milder and less
trout. The country certainly
affords very good fishing, and the spring
and summer climate is perfect. If it were
only a little nearer they might be properly
educated, until they were far too wary to
fall into the simple traps laid for them by
a man who fished with a piece of string
and carried a bucket for a creel. It
may have been my brutal ignorance of
tying flies, but when I tried them with
what I could furbish up, they seemed to
resent the thing as an insult. So there
seems some hope of their being capable
of instruction. ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
ti j H
When I  went to Yew York in the spring I
meant going on farther whether I   could  or
not.     Australia and home again was  in my
mind, and in New York slang I swore there
should be " blood on the face of the moon . if
I did not get through inside of four months.
Now this is not record time by any means, and
it is not difficult to do it in much less, provided
one spends enough money; but I was at that
time in no position to sling dollars about, and,
besides,  I wanted some of the  English rust
knocked off me.    Living in England ends in
making a  man  poor of resource.    I   hardly
know an ordinary Londoner who would not
shiver at the notion of being " dead broke" in
any foreign city, to say nothing of one on the
other side of the world; and though it is not a
pleasant experience it  has some charms  and
many uses.    It wakes a man up, shows him
the real world again, and makes him know his
own value once more.    So I started for New
142 ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
143
York in rather a devil-may-care spirit, without
the slightest chance of doing the business in
comfort. And my misfortunes began at once
in that city.
To save time and money I went in the first
quick vessel that crossed—the Lucania ; and I
went second-class. It was an experience to
run twenty-two knots an hour; but it has made
me greedy since. I want to do any future
journeys in a torpedo-boat. As to the second-
class crowd, they were, as they always are on
board Western ocean boats, a set of hogs.
The difference between first and second-class
passengers is one of knowing when and where
to spit, to put no fine point on it. I was
glad when we reached New York on that
account.
I meant to stay there three days, but my
business took me a fortnight, and money flowed
like water. It soaked up dollars like a new
gold mine, and I saw what I meant for the
Eastern journey sink like water in sand. But
I had to get to San Francisco. I took that
journey in sections. All my trouble in New
York was to get across the continent. I let
the Pacific take care of itself, being sure I
could conquer that difficulty when the time
came.    I recommend this frame of mind to all 144
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
travellers. I acquired the habit myself in the
United States when I jumped trains instead of
paying my fare. It is most useful to think of
no more than the matter in hand, for then we
can use one's whole faculties at one time.
Too much forethought is fatal to progress,
and if I had really considered difficulties L
could have stayed in England and written
a story instead, a most loathsome pis aller.
I do not mean to say that I was without
money. All I do mean is that I had less than
half that I should have had, unless I meant to
cross the continent as a tramp in a " side-door
Pullman," as the tramping fraternity call a
box car, and the Pacific in the steerage. As
a matter of fact, I proposed to do neither. I
wanted a free pass over one of the American
railroads, and if there had been time I should
have got it. I tackled the agents, and " struck'
them for a pass. I assured them that I was a
person of illimitable influence, and that if I
rode over their system, and simply mentioned
the fact casually on my return, all Europe
would follow me. I insinuated that their
traffic returns would rise to heights unheard
of: that their rivals would smash and go into
the hands of receivers. It was indeed a beautiful, beautiful game, and reminded one of poker,
in ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
145
but the railroad birds sat on the bough, and
wouldn't come down. They are not so easy
as they used to be, and I had so little time to
work it. Then the last of the cheap trains to
the San Francisco Midwater Fair were running, and if I played too long for a pass and
got euchred after all, I should have to pay
ninety dollars instead of forty-five. Then I
should be the very sickest sort of traveller that
ever was. In the end I bought a cheap ticket
on the very last cheap train. By the very
next post I got a pass over one of the lines.
It made me very mad, and if I had been wise
I should have sold it. I am very glad to say
I withstood the temptation, and kept the pass
as a warning not to hurry in future. I started
out of New York with twenty-two pounds in
my pocket. For I had found a beautiful,
trustful New Yorker, who cashed me a cheque
for fifteen pounds with a child-like and simple
faith which was not unrewarded in the end.
My affairs stood thus. I had to stay in San
Francisco for a fortnight till the next steamer,
and as I have said even a steerage fare to
Sydney was twenty pounds. I had two pounds
to see me through the transcontinental journey
of nearly five days and the time in the city of
the Pacific slope.    I looked for hard times and
K 146
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
some rustling to get through it all. I had to
rustle.
As a beginning of hard times I could not
afford to take a sleeper. I was on the fast
West-bound express, and the emigrant sleepers
are on the slow train, which takes nearly two
days more. The high-toned Pullman was
quite beyond me, so I stuck to the ordinary
cars and put in a mighty rough time. After
twenty-four hours of the Lehigh Valley Road,
which runs into Canada, I came to Chicago.
There I had to do a shift from one station to
another, and after half-an-hour's jolting I was
landed at the dep6t of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. I hated Chicago always;
I had starved in it once, and slept in a box car
in the old days. And now I didn't love it
I tried to get a wash at the station, for I was
like a buried city with dust and cinders.
| There used to be a wash-place here a year
or two back," said a friendly porter, " but it
didn't pay and was abolished."
Of course they only cared about the money.
The comfort of passengers mattered little.
This porter took me down into a rat-and-beetle-
haunted basement, and gave me soap and a
clean towel. I sluiced off the mud, and discovered somebody underneath that at any rate ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
147
reminded me of myself, and hunted for the
porter to hand him twenty-five cents. But he
had gone, and the train was ready. I had to
save the money and run.
From thence on I /had no good sleep. I
huddled up in the narrow seats with no room
to stretch or lie down. Once I tried to take
up the cushions and put them crossways, but
I found them fixed, and the conductor grinned.
"You can't do it now; they're fixed different," he said.
So I grunted, and was twisted and racked
and contorted. In the morning I knew well
that I was no longer twenty-five. Twelve
years ago it wouldn't have mattered, I could
have hung it out on a fence rail, but when one
nears forty one tries a bit after ordinary comforts, and pays for such a racket in aches and
pains, and a temper with a wire edge on it.
But I chummed in after Ogden with a young
school ma'am from Wisconsin who was going
out to Los Angeles, and we had quite a good
time. She assured me I must be lying when I
said I was an Englishman, because I did not
drop my H's. All the Englishmen she ever
met iiad apparently known as much about the
aspirate as the later Greeks did of the
Digamma.    This cheered me up greatly, and 148
A TRAMPS* NOTE-BOOK
we were firm friends. In fact, I woke up in
the Sierras and found her fast asleep with her
head on my shoulder. It was an odd picture
that swaying car at midnight in the lofty hills.
Most of the passengers were sleeping uneasily
in constrained attitudes, but some sat at the
open windows staring at the moon-lit mountains
and forests. The dull oil lights in the car
were dim, so dim that I could see white sleeping faces hanging over the seats disconnected
from any discoverable body. Some looked
like death masks, and then next to them would
be the elevated feet of some far-stretching
person who had tried all ways for ease. It was
a blessing to come to the divide and run down
into the daylight and the plains. Yet even
there, there was something ghastly with us.
At Reno a young fellow, trying to beat his
way, had jumped for the brake-beam under
our car and been cut to pieces. He died
silently, and few knew it. I was glad to get
to San Francisco. I went to a third-class
hotel on Ellis Street, and had a bath, which I
most sorely needed. I went out to inspect the
city.
It looked the same as when I knew it, and
yet it was altered. The gigantic architectural
horrors of New York and Chicago had leapt to ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
149
the Pacific, and here and there ten or twelve-
storied buildings thrust their monotonous ugliness into the sky.
In this city I had starved for three solid
months, picking up a meal where I could find
it. I had been without a bed for three weeks.
I had shared begged food 'with beggars. Now
I came back to it under far different circumstances. I walked in the afternoon to some of
my old haunts, and, coming to the hideous den
of a common lodging-house where I had once
lived, my flesh crept. I remembered that once
the agent for a directory had put down
"Charles Roberts, labourer," as living there
and I tried to get back into my old skin. For
a while I succeeded, but the experiment was
horrible, and I was glad to drop the dead past
and leave the grimy water front where I had
looked and looked in vain for work.
For I a week I stayed in San Francisco.
Then I had an experience which falls to few
men, for I went to stay as a visitor at Los
Guilucos, where I had once been a stableman.
The situation was interesting, for there were
still many men in the ranch who had worked
with me; even the Chinese cook was there.
In the old days he had often appealed to me
for more wood to give his devouring dragon of 150
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
a stove. But things were altered now. On
the first morning of my stay I saw the wood
pile, and could not help taking my coat off
and lighting into it with the axe. The Chinaman came running out with uplifted hands.
"Oh, Mr Loberts, Mr Loberts, you no
splittee me wood, you too much welly kind
gentleman, you no splittee me wood!"
So things change, but I split him a barrow
load all the same.
I was sorry to leave the ranch and go back
to San Francisco, where nine men out of ten
in all degrees of society are much too disagreeable for words. The only really decent fellows
I met there were a Frenchman and a young
mining engineer named Brandt, son of Dr
Brandt, at Royat, who was once R. L.
Stevenson's physician ; and above all an Irish
surveyor and architect, the most charming and
genial of men. The Californians themselves
are less worth knowing as they appear to have
money; the moment they begin to fancy
themselves a cut above the vulgar, their
vulgarity is their chief feature, stupendous as
the Rocky Mountains, as obvious as the Grand
Duke of Johannisberg's nose. But I had
other things to think of than the social
parodies of the Slope. ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
151
I found at the Poste Restante a letter from
my agent, which was a frank statement of
misfortune and ill-luck. There was not a red
cent in it, and I had only a hundred dollars
left. This was just enough to pay my steerage
fare to Sydney, but I had still some days to
put in and there was my hotel bill. I concluded I had to make money somehow. I
tried one of the papers, but though the editor
willingly agreed to accept a long article from
me, dealing with my old life in San Francisco
from my new standpoint, his best scale of pay
was so poor that I frankly declined to wet a
pen for it. Journalistic rates in the East seem
about three times as high as in the West.
I went to a man in the town who was under
considerable obligations to me for holding my
tongue about a certain transaction, and asked
him to cash a cheque for a hundred dollars.
He refused point-blank. I never regretted so
in my life that there are things one can't do
and still retain one's self-respect. I could, I
know, have sold some information to his
greatest enemy for a very considerable sum.
I was, indeed, approached on the point.
However, I couldn't do it, worse luck, so I
washed my hands of this gentleman, and went
to a comparatively poor man, who helped me 152
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
over the fence. Even if I had no luck I could
still go steerage. But I meant going first-
class. And I did. If I had put up my ante I
meant staying with the game.
For a day after my agent's letter came a
letter from a shipping friend in Liverpool. I
had been "previous" enough to write him
from New York for a good introduction in San
Francisco. He sent me a letter to an old
friend of his who occupied a pretty important
post in the city, one as important, let us say,
as that of a Chief of Customs. I laughed
when I saw the letter, for I knew if I could
make myself solid with this gentleman I had
the San Franciscan folks where their hair was
short. It's a case of give or take there, sell or
be sold, commercial honesty is good as long as
it pays. I whistled and sang, and took a
cocktail on the strength of it.
In these little commonplace adventures I
had some luck. That I have written many
articles on steamships has often helped me in
travel, and it helped me now. It was an unexpected stroke of fortune that the gentleman
to whom I took the letter was not only an extremely good sort, but when I learnt that he
knew my name, and had seen some of my
work, I found it was all right.    I was not only ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
153
all right, for inside of an hour I had a first-
class ticket to Sydney, with a deck cabin
thrown in, for the very reasonable sum of one
hundred dollars. I have a suspicion that
I might have got it for less, but I have
found it a good business rule never to lose a
good thing by trying for a better. I had
accommodation equal to two hundred and
twenty-five dollars. Of course, I regretted I
dare not ask them one hundred dollars for condescending to go in their boat. If I had been
full of money I might have tried it. However,
I was quite happy and satisfied. That I
might land in Sydney with nothing did not
trouble me. Three days after I went on board
the steamer, and was seen off by my friend the
Irishman and one other.
I had never sailed on the Pacific, or at least
that part of it, before, and its wonders were
strange to me. I had not seen coral islands,
nor cocoanuts growing. It grieved me that I
could not afford to stay in Honolulu and visit
Kilauea. I only remained some hours, which
I spent in prowling about the town, which is
like a tenth-rate city in America. And the
business American has his claw into it for good.
The Hawaiians, in truth, seem to care little.
They go blithely in the streets crowned and 154
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
garlanded with flowers, and even the leprosy
that strikes one now and again with worse than
living death seems far away.
On board the Monowai, most comfortable of
ships, commanded by Captain Carey, best of
skippers, life was easy and delightful. Our
one romance was between San Francisco and
the Islands, for an individual, with most
incredible cheek, managed to go first-class
from California almost to Honolulu without a
ticket. Two days from the Islands he was
bowled out, and set to shovel coals. We left
him in gaol at Honolulu, and steamed south of
Samoa.
It was good to be at last in the tropics, deep
into them, and to wear white all day and feel
the heat tempered by the Trades. We played
games and sang and lazed and loafed, and life
had no troubles. Why should I think of future
difficulties when there were none at hand, and
the weather was lovely ? We ran at last into
Apia, the harbour of Upolu, the island where
the late Robert Louis Stevenson lived. I
rushed ashore, met him, spent three more than
pleasant hours with him, and away again round
the island reefs with our noses pointed for
Auckland.
Some  of  our   passengers   had   left us at
BBS
32= ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
155
Honolulu, others dropped off at Samoa, but
after Auckland, when the weather grew quite
cold, we were a thin little band, and our spirits
oozed away. We could not keep things lively,
the decks seemed empty. I was glad to run
into Sydney harbour. I found I had just
enough money to get to Melbourne if I went
at once, so I caught the mail train and soon
smelt the Australian bush that I had left in 1878.
On reaching Melbourne at midday I had
fifteen shillings left. Dumping my baggage at
the station, I hunted up my chief friend, a
journalist. The very first thing he handed me
was a cablegram demanding my instant return
to England. My rage can be imagined ; it
would take strong language to describe it, for I
had meant to stay in Australia for a year, and
write a book about it from another standpoint
than Land Travel and Seafaring.
I hadn't even enough money to live anywhere. I couldn't cable for any, for if my
instructions had been obeyed, all available cash
was now on its way to me, when I couldn't
wait for it.    I talked it over with my friend.
" Have you no money? " I asked, but then
I knew he had none.
fj| "Nobody has any money in Australia," he
answered.      "If  it   is   known   you   have   a 156
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
sovereign in cash you will be pestered in
Collins Square by millionaires, whose wealth is
locked up in moribund banks, for mere half-
crowns as a temporary accommodation."
I pondered a while.
" I have a plan whereby we may get a trifle in
the meantime. You can write a long interview
with me and I will take the money. Sit down
and don't move."
He remonstrated feebly.
"My dear fellow, why not do it yourself?"
I It would be taking a mean advantage of
other writers," I said. " Besides, I'm in no
mood to write."
Overcome by my generosity, he at last wrote
a column and a half. I shall always treasure
that interview, for when he tired I dictated
some of it myself. The only thing I really
objected to was his determination not to let me
say what I meant to say about the Australian
financial outlook. Under the circumstance of
the failure of credit, the matter touched me
deeply, and was a personal grievance. But he
persisted that if I were too pessimistic the
article would never see type, and I couldn't
have the money. I gave way, and condescended to have hopes about Australia.    But ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
157
even when I got his cheque I was not much
further forward.
I went to my banker's agents and asked
them to cash a cheque. Would I pay for a
cable home and out ? No I would not, because
I didn't know whether my account was overdrawn or not. All I knew was that if they
would cash a cheque I would telegraph from
Port Said or Naples and see it was met. So
that failed. I tried Cook's, who had cashed
cheques for me on the Continent. They also
spoke of cabling. I explained matters, but
they had no faith.    Nobody had.
I began to think I would have to work
my passage, for I was determined to get away
inside of two weeks or perish. I looked up
the vessels in port in case I might know some
of them. They were all strangers. In such
cases, unless one is in a hurry such as I was, for
my return was urgent, it is best to tackle some
cargo boat. It is often possible to get a
passage for a quarter the mail-boat fare, for
the tramp steamer's captain looks on the fare as
his own and never mentions passengers to the
owner. But I couldn't wait for a good old
tramp, and at last, in despair, my friend and a
friend of his and I clubbed everything together
that was valuable and raised a fare to Naples 158
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
on the proceeds. I left Melbourne after ten
days' stay there. We lay at Adelaide two
days, and got to Albany in a howling gale of
wind. Leaving it we got a worse snorter
round Cape Leeuwin. But after that things
improved till we caught tho south-west monsoon, which blew half a gale, and was like the
breath of a furnace. We reached Colombo, and
I had no money to spend. I raised five pounds
on a cheque with the steward and spent the
whole of it in rickshaws and carriages. I saw
what one could in the time, for I breakfasted
at one place, lunched at another, dined at a
third. I mean one of these days to spend a
week or two at the Galle Face Hotel,
Colombo. At Mount Lavinia I got the one
dinner of my life. I cordially recommend the
cooking.
We ran to Cape Guardafui in a gale, a sticky
hot gale which made life unendurable. The
Red Sea was a relief and not too hot, but how
we pitied the poor devils quartered at Perim,
and the lighthouses seen at the Two Brothers.
I would as soon camp for ever on the lee side
of Tophet. But my first trip through the
Canal was charming. At night, when the
vessel's search-light threw its glare on the
banks, the white sand looked like snow-drifts. ROUND THE WORLD IN HASTE
159
In the day the far-off deserts were a dream of
red sands, and red sand mingled with the
horizon. At last we came to the Mediterranean and I landed at Naples. The driver of
my carrozzella took my last money, so I put
up at a good hotel and wired to England at
the hotel-keeper's expense. I went overland
to London, and was back there in four days
under four months from the time I started
from New York.
There are scores of people—I meet them
every day—who are in a constant state of
yearn to do a bit of travelling. They say they
envy me. But it is not money they want, it is
courage. It will interest some of them to
know what it can be done for. I will put down
what it usually costs. A first-class ticket from
London vid New York, San Francisco,
Sydney, Melbourne, Colombo, the Suez,
Naples, Gibraltar and Plymouth will run to
^125, without including the cost of sleeping-
car accommodation and food in the American
trans-continental journey. If he stays anywhere it is a mighty knowing and economical
traveller who gets off under ^200 or ^"2.50 by
the time he turns up in London.
Now as to what it cost me when I meant
doing it moderately.    It cost £8 to New York.
* E 160
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
fi I Hi0
Owing to business in New York I stayed there
a fortnight, and it cost me $4 a day, say ;£n.
The journey to San Francisco ran to ;£i2
including provisions. The Pacific voyage was
^22 in all. The fare from Sydney to Melbourne for ocean passengers is £2, is. 6d. To
Naples I paid £32. Another ^12 brought
me to London.    This runs up to £99.
If I had not been in a hurry I could have
done the homeward part for less. If I had
been twenty-five I would have gone steerage.
But with time to spare for looking up a tramp
I might have easily got to London as the only
passenger for ^20. If I had not stayed in
New York and had had the time I could have
cut expenses to £70.
But any young man, writer or not, who wants
to see a bit of the world, can do it on that if he
has the grit to rough it. He can cut the
Atlantic journey to £3, and learn some things
he never knew while doing it. I can put anyone up to crossing America for ^15 at any
time. But if he spends ^20 he can see
Niagara, the work of God, and Chicago, the chef
dyceuvre of the Devil. The Pacific can be done
for ^20 steerage; and he can stay in Australia
3 month for £\o, and a year for £?o if he
knows what I know.    The steerage fare home
.-•■(  m
BLUE JAYS AND ALMONDS
On   Los  Guilucos   Ranch,  Sonoma   County,
California, where I worked for six months in
1886, there was a very large orchard.    I know
how large it was on account of having to do
much too much work with the apricots, plums
and  cherries;   and  day by day, as one fruit
or the other  ripened,  I   cursed  the  capable
climate of the Pacific  slope, which produced
so largely.    Fortunately,  however,  the lady
who  owned the  ranch  did  not trouble   her
head greatly  about   the   almonds,  of  which
we had a very fine double avenue.    For one
thing, the crop in 1886 was not very heavy,
and there was no great price to be got at any
time.    I and the Italian  vine-dressers (there
were some eight or nine of them) always had
sufficient to  fill  our  pockets  with,  and  that
without the labour of picking them up.    We
reserved the avenues themselves for Sunday,
162 BLUE JAYS AND ALMONDS
163
and cracked the fallen fruit with two stones as
we sat on the ground ; but for solid consumption, not mere dessert, we went elsewhere.
I remember my astonishment when I discovered in what manner my companions
supplied themselves. One day, while standing by the gate which led from the stableyard,
an Italian, with the romantic name of Luigi
Zanoni, remarked suddenly that he would
like some almonds. He looked up at the tree
overhead, which was an old oak with gnarled
limbs, here and there broken and rotting.
"Not out of an oak tree," I laughed; and
then Luigi went to the wood pile and brought
my sharpest axe back with him. He jumped
on the fence, then into the tree, and in a
moment was over my head on a big limb.
Seeing him there, two or three other Italians
came up. Zanoni walked about the level
branches, tapping with the back of the axe.
Presently he stopped, and began cutting into
the tree vigorously. Just there it was
apparently hollow, for with five or six blows
he struck out a big bit of shell-like bark and
let fall ajttremendous shower of almonds.
Then he sat down, and, putting his hand into
the hollow, raked them out wholesale. Probably he scattered two gallons on the ground, 164
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
for while we scrambled for them they were falling in a shower. Henceforth I, too, could find
almonds, and I prospected every likely-looking oak or madrona within three hundred
yards of the avenue—sometimes writh great
success, sometimes with none. It was quite
as fluky as gold mining or honey hunting.
Of course birds had made these stores;
probably the jays and magpies, who yet
retained an instinct which had become useless.
With the equable climate and mild open
winters of Central California, no bird need
store up food; and this was shown by the
great accumulations which had never been
touched. Moreover, nuts were often put in
holes that were inaccessible to so large a bird as
a jay. So necessity has never corrected the
failings of instinct by making a jay wonder, in
the depths of winter, why he had been fool
enough to drop his savings into a bank with
the conscience of an ill-regulated automatic
machine, which takes everything and gives
nothing back. If he had really needed the
almonds, they would have been put in an
accessible spot. Though this perhaps is a
scientific view, I must acknowledge that we
were grateful to the birds who stored them
for us,  and, by  making fools of themselves, BLUE JAYS AND ALMONDS
165
gave us the opportunity of gathering, if not
grapes from thistles, at least almonds from
oaks.
Although I do not remember having seen
any instances in California of the woodpecker
which bores holes in trees and then neatly
fits an acorn [in, I have serious doubts as to
the likelihood of the explanation commonly
given. It is said the woodpeckers do it to
encourage grubs—that they thus make a kind
of grub farm. If so, why do they leave these
acorns in ? They do not perpetually renew
them. Besides, there is no more need for
them to trouble about the future than there
is for the jays who made our almond stores.
If I may venture to suggest an explanation—
to make a guess, perhaps a wild one, at this
acorn mystery—is it altogether impossible that
the woodpeckers have imitated the jays? I
have noticed that the jays get careless as to
the size or accessibility of the hole they drop
provisions into—indeed they will place them
sometimes in little more than a rugosity or
wrinkle of the bark. I have often found odd
almonds on an oak tree which were only laid
on the branch. The woodpeckers have probably mimicked the jays, and in so doing
have naturally endeavoured to make the holes 166
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
they had themselves drilled for other purposes
serve them the same turn that the bigger holes
did the jays. They have joined their work
with play. It must be remembered that in a
climate like California, where birds find it very
easy to make a living all the year round, they
are likely to have much time at their disposal,
which would be occupied in a colder, less
fruitful district. I should not be surprised
to learn that there were many odd examples
of useless instincts still surviving on the
Pacific slope; for doubtless many of its birds
found their way there from the east over the
Rockies and Sierra Nevada. IN CORSICA
Once, no doubt, Corsica was a savage, untamed,
untrimmed kind of country, and a man's life
was little safer than it is to-day in the
neighbouring island of Sardinia. There were
brigands and bandits and families engaged
in the private warfare of the vendetta, so
that things were as lively and exciting as
they get in parts of Virginia at times. Killing was certainly no murder, and even yet
the vendetta flourishes to some extent.
There is nothing harder than to get a high-
spirited southern population ready to acknowledge the majesty of the law. The attitude
of the inland Corsican, even to this day, is
that of a young East-Ender whom I knew.
When he was asked to give evidence against
his particular enemy, he replied, "But if I
do, they'll jug him, and   I   won't  be  able to
167 168
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
get even with him." He preferred handling
the man himself.
Yet nowadays Corsica has greatly changed
from what it was in Paoli's time. French
justice is a fairly good brand of justice after
all. The magistrates administer the law,
and the system of military roads all over the
island makes it easy for the police to get
about. When a criminal gets away from
them he has to take to the hills and to keep
there. It is such solitary fugitives who
still give the stranger a notion that the
country is essentially criminal. But he is a
bandit, not a brigand. He may rob, but he
does not kidnap. His idea of ransom is
what is in a man's pockets, not what his
Government will pay to prevent having his
throat cut. After all, there is such a thing
in England as highway robbery, and in
Corsica robbery is usually without violence.
If a bandit is treated as a gentleman he
will be polite, even though he points a gun
at a visitor's stomach and requests him
to hand over all he happens to have about
him.
I went to Corsica from Leghorn with a
friend of mine who knew no more of the
island   than   I   did.     We landed  at  Bastia, IN CORSICA
169
where, by the way, Nelson also landed and
was severely repulsed, and found the town
one of the most barren and uninviting places
in the world. It is hot, glaring, sandy,
stony, sun-burnt, a most unpleasing introduction to one of the most beautiful and
interesting islands in the Mediterranean, or,
for that matter, in the world. For the island
is fertile and is yet barren; it is mountainous
and has great stretches of plain in it along
the eastern shore. Though it is but fifty
miles across and little more than a hundred
long, there is a real range of rugged high
mountains in it, two of them, Monte Cinto
and Monte Rotondo, being nearly 9000 feet
high, while three others, Pagliorba, Padre
and d'Oro are over 7000 feet. The rocks
of these ranges are primary and meta-
morphic, and the scenery is bold. Yet it is
kindly and gracious for the forests are thick.
On the peaks, and in the recesses of the
loftier forests, a wild black sheep, the mufflon,
can still be hunted. And the tumbling
streams and rivers are full of trout. There
are few better trout streams in Europe than
the Golo, which runs into the sea on the
east coast through a big salt-water lagoon
called  Biguglia.    When  I  saw it the stream 170
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
was in fine order, and I longed to get out
of the train to throw a fly upon it. For
the island is now so civilised that a railway runs
from Bastia across the summit of the island
by the towns of Corte and Vivario down to
Ajaccio. But when I and my friend were
there the train only ran to Corte. We had
to drive from there across the summit to
Vivario, whither the rail had reached, in the
western slope of the hills Corte sits queenlike on the summit of the island, and is quiet
and ancient. Yet some day it will be, like
Orezza with its strong iron waters, ajhealth
resort. The French go more and more to
Corsica, and the intruding English have
what is practically an English hotel at
Ajaccio. There is another in the forests of
Vizzavona.
It is a quick descent from the summit to
Ajaccio, which lies smiling in its gulf, that is
somewhat like one of the deep indentations of
Puget Sound. We stayed there for a week
and during that time took a diligence and
went up to Vico. It was on this little forty-
mile journey among the hills that I saw
most of Corsica's character. And at
first it was curiously melancholy to me. As
we   drove   inland   we   met numbers   of the IN CORSICA
171
peasants, men and women, and at first it
seemed as if a great epidemic must have
devastated the country. Almost every woman
we saw was in black. But this comes from
a habit that they have of wearing black for
three years after any of their relatives die.
Even in a healthy country (and the lowlands,
or the plage of Corsica, is not healthy in
summer) most families must lose a member
in three years, and thus it happens that most
of the women are in perpetual mourning.
The solidarity of the family is great in
Corsica. It must be or women would not
renounce their natural and beautiful dress
to adorn themselves with colours. It was
curious to see at times some young girl not
in mourning. I could not help thinking
that she had an unfair advantage over her
darkly-dressed fellows.
We came at last to Vico in the hills, and
found it picturesque to the last degree, and
quite equally unsanitary. It was at once
beautifully picturesque and foully offensive.
Nothing less than a tropical thunderstorm
could have cleansed it. But none of its
inhabitants minded. They loafed about
the deadly streams of filth and were quite
unconscious of anything disagreeable  in  the 172
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
air. A Spanish village is purity itself to
such a place as Vico. But then the proud
and haughty Corsicans object to doing any
work except upon their own fields. If an
ordinance had been passed to cleanse Vico's
streets and that dreadful main drain, its
stream from the hills, it would have been
necessary to import Italians to do it. For
all hard labour outside mere tillage is done
by them. I would willingly have employed
a couple to clean up the little inn at which
we stayed for the night. It would have been
a public service.
In the morning my friend and I started on
a little walk to a village higher in the hills
called Renno. We went up a good open road,
cut here and there through le maquis, the
scrub or bush of Corsica. And as we went
we got a good view of many little mountain
villages, which hang for the most part on
the slope of the hills, being neither in the
valley nor on the summit. We were high
enough to be among the chestnuts ; vineyards
there were none. And at last we came to
Renno, and found the villagers taking a sad
holiday. I spoke to them in bad Italian, and
found that it seemed good Corsican to them,
perhaps  even  classical  Corsican, if there  be IN CORSICA
173
such a thing, and learnt that there had been a
funeral of a little child that morning. They
proposed to do no more work that day. Most
of the men were loafing along a wall by their
little inn, and they were soon reinforced by
many women. In a few minutes the village
had almost forgotten the funeral in the
excitement of seeing two strangers, foreigners,
Englishmen. They told us that so far as they
remember no foreigner, not even a Frenchman,
had been there before. Their village was
indeed lost to the world ; they looked on Vico,
evil-smelling Vico, as a great, fine town:
Ajaccio was a distant and immense city. But
no one from Renno had been there. It was
indeed possible that most of the inhabitants
had never seen the sea. There was something
touching in this quaint and simple isolation,
and the men were simple too. I invited the
whole male population of the place to drink
with me at the poor little cabaret. The drink
they took (it was the only drink save some
sour wine) was white brandy at ten centimes
the glass. To make friends in this time-
honoured way with the whole village cost me
less than two francs. And I had to use my
" Corsican' freely to satisfy in some small
measure their curiosity about the world beyond 174
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
le maquis, and beyond the sea. They asked
me how it was that I, a stranger and an
Englishman, spoke Corsican. To this I replied
that it was spoken, though doubtless in a
corrupt form, in the neighbouring mainland,
Italy. And on hearing this they chattered
volubly, being greatly excited on the difficult
point as to how Italians had learnt it. It is a
small world, and most of us are alike. Did
not the lad from Pondicherry, the French
settlement in Hindustan, to whom I spoke
in French, ask me how it was I spoke
"Pondicherry?" |j§
Corsica certainly has a character of its own ;
it resembles no other island that I know. It is
fertile, and might be more fertile yet if its
native inhabitants chose to work. But the
Corsican is haughty and indolent, he does not
care to work in his forests or to do a hand's
turn off his own family property. Even in that
he grows no cereal crops to speak of; it is easier
to sit and watch the olive ripen and the vineyards colour their fruit They rear horses and
cattle, asses and mules, and sometimes hunt in
the hills for pigs or goats, or the wild black
sheep. And even yet they hunt each other,
for not even French law and French police
can eradicate revenge from the Corsican heart.
im IN CORSICA
175
They are a curious subtle people, not at all like
the French or the Italians. And, to speak the
truth, they have some more unamiable characteristics than these, which lead them to hereditary
blood feuds. It is said, I know not with what
accuracy, that most of the mouchardsy or spies,
and the agents provocateurs of the French
police, are Corsican by birth. But certainly
Corsica has produced more than these, since it
was the birthplace of Paoli and of Napoleon. ON THE MATTERHORN
Owing to my having read very little Alpine
literature,   I   have  seen  but few attempts to
analyse the mental experiences of the novice
who,  for the first time,   ascends any -of the
higher peaks.    And having read nothing upon
the subject I was naturally curious, while I was
at Zermatt this last summer, as to what these
experiences were.    I may own frankly that the
desire to find out had a great deal to do with
my  trying mountaineering.     A   writer,   and
especially a writer of fiction, has, I think, one
plain duty always before him.    He ought to
know, and cannot refuse to learn, even at the
cost of toil and trouble, all  the ways of the
human mind.    And experience at second-hand
can never be relied on.    The average man is
afraid   of  saying he  was  afraid.     And  the
average climber is one  who has long passed
the interesting stage when he first faced the
176 ON THE MATTERHORN
177
unknown. I was obviously a novice, and a
green one, when I tried the Matterhorn. That
I was such a novice is the only thing which
makes me think my experience at all interesting
from the psychological point of view. And to
my mind that point of view is also the literary
one.
On looking back I certainly believe I was
very much afraid of the mountains in general
and of the Matterhorn in particular. It is
difficult, however, to say where fear begins and
mere natural nervousness leaves off. Fear,
after all, is often the note of warning sounded
by a man's organism in the face of the unknown.
It is hardly strange it should be felt upon the
mountains. But if I was afraid of the mountains (and I thought that I was) I was certainly
curious. During my first week at Zermatt I
had done a good second-class peak, but had
been told that the difference between the first
and second class was prodigious. This
naturally excited curiosity. And I began to
feel that my curiosity could only be satisfied by
climbing the Matterhorn. For one thing that
mountain has a great name ; for another it looks
inaccessible. And it had only been done once
that year. If I did it I should be the first
Englishman on the summit for the  season.
M 178
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
And the guides were doubtful whether it would
a
g°-
jj
But, after all, was it not said by folks who
climbed to the Schwartzsee that the mountain
was really easy? Were not the slabs above
the Shoulder roped ? Did not processions go
up it in the middle of the season ? And yet it
was now only the first of July and there was a
good deal of new snow on the mountain.
And why were the guides just a little doubtful ?
Perhaps they were doubtful of me; and yet
Joseph Pollinger had taken me up three smaller
peaks. I decided that I had hired hinj to do
the thinking. But I could not make him do
it all.
The day I had spent upon the Wellenkuppe
had been a time of imagination, and I had
seen the beauty of things. But from the
Matterhorn I can eliminate the element of
beauty. I saw very little beauty in it or from
it. I had other things to do than to think
of the sublime. But I could think of the ridiculous, and at one o'clock in the morning, when
we started from the hut with a lantern, I said
the whole proceeding was folly. I was a
fool to be there. And down below me, far
below me, glimmered the crevassed slopes
of the  Furgg  Glacier.    I  grew  callous and ON THE MATTERHORN
179
absorbed, and I shrugged my shoulders as
the dawn came up. I did not care to turn
my eyes to look upon the red rose glory
of the lighted Dom and Taschhorn. Let
them glow!
At the upper ice-filled hut we rested. The
vastness of the mountain began to affect me.
I saw by now that the Wellenkuppe was
a little thing. The three thousand extra
feet made all the difference. This was
obviously beyond me, and I could never
get to the summit. It was ridiculous of
the Pollingers to think I could. I told them
so quite crossly as we went on. Probably
they had made a mistake; they would, no
doubt, find it out on the Shoulder. It seemed
rather hard that I should have to get there
when it was so easy to turn back at once.
But I said nothing more and climbed. My
heart did its work well, and my head did not
ache. This was a surprise to me, as I had
looked for some sort of malaise above twelve
thousand feet. As it did not come I stared at
the big world about me. I viewed it all with
a kind of anger and alarmed surprise. Where
was I being taken to? I began to see they
were taking me out of the realm of the usual.
I  was  rapidly ascending  into  the  unknown, 180
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
and I did not like it in the least. If we fell
from the arite we might not stop going for
four thousand feet. Down below, a thin, blue
line was a bergschrund that was capable of
swallowing an army corps. That patch of
bluish patina was a tumbled mass of siracs.
The sloping glacier looked flat.
Then the guides said we were going slowly.
I knew they meant that for me, of course,
and I felt very angry with them. They
consoled me by saying that we should soon
be at the Shoulder, and that it would not
take long to reach the summit. I ^did not
believe them and I said I should never do it.
But when we got to the Shoulder I was glad.
I knew many turned back at that point. We
sat down to rest. The guides talked their
own German, not.one word of which I could
understand, so turned from them and looked
at the vast upper wedge of the Matterhorn.
It glowed red in the morning sun ; it was
red hot, vast, ponderous, and yet the lower
mountain held it up as lightly as an ashen
shaft holds up a bronze spear-head. It
was so wonderfully shaped that it did not
look big. But it did look diabolic. There
was some infernal wizardry of cloud-making
going   on   about   that   spear - head.      The ON THE MATTERHORN
181
wind blew to us across the Zmutt Valley.
Nevertheless, the wind above the Roof, as
they call it, was blowing in every direction,
and the live wisps of newborn cloud went in
and out like the shuttles of a loom. I came
to the conclusion that this was a particularly
devilish, uncanny sort of show, and stared
at it open-eyed. But I was comforted by
the thought that the Pollingers were rapidly
coming to the belief that this was not the
sort of day to go any higher. I was quite
angry when they declared we could do it
easily. For I knew better, or my disturbed
mind thought I did. This was the absolutely
unknown to me, and their experience was
nothing to my alarmed instincts. I was sure
that my ancestors had lived on plains, and now
I was dragging them into dangers that they
knew nothing of. Nevertheless, I told the
guides to go on. I spoke with a kind of
eager interest and desperation. For, indeed,
it was most appallingly interesting. We came
to the slabs where the ropes made the
Matterhorn so easy, as I had been told. I
wished that some of those who believed this
were with me.
But with the fixed ropes to lay hold of I
climbed fast.    I relinquished such holds upon
mm^^ ST"
182
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
solidity with reluctance. That yonder was
the top, said my men, but for fully half a
minute I declined to go any further. For it
was quite obvious to me that I should never
get down again. But again I shrugged my
shoulders and went on. I might just as well
do the whole thing. And sensation followed
sensation. My mind was like a slow plate
taking one photograph on top of the other.
It was like wax, something new stamped
out the last minute's impression. I heard
my guides telling me that we must get to
the summit because the people in Zermatt
would be looking through telescopes. I did
not care how many people looked through
telescopes. So far as I was concerned the
moon-men might be doing the same. I was
one of three balancing fools on a rope.
And then we came to the heavy snow on
the little five-fold curving arite that is the
summit. Within a stone's throw of the top I
declared again that I was quite high enough
to satisfy me, but with a little more persuasion I went across the last three-foot ridge
of snow, reached the top and sat down.
The folks at Zermatt were staring, no
doubt, but I had nothing to do with them.
Let them look if they wished to.    For it was ON THE MATTERHORN
183
impossible to get to the top, and I was there.
It was far more impossible to get down, and
we were going to try. That was interesting.
I had never been so interested before. For
though I hoped we should succeed I did not
think it likely. So I took in what I could,
while I could, and stared at the visible
anatomy of the Mischabel and the patina-
stained floor of the white world with intense,
yet aloof, interest. After a mere five minutes'
rest we started on our ridiculous errand. But
though I was as sure in my mind that we
should not get down as I had been that we
should not get up, there was an instant
reversal of feeling. My instincts had been
trying to prevent my ascending; they were
eagerly bent on descending. I did not mind
going down each difficult place, for I was
going back into the known. Every step took
me nearer the usual. I was going home to
humanity. These mountains were cold
company; they were indifferent. I was close
up against cold original causes, which did
not come to me mitigated and warmed by
human contact or the breath of a city. I had
had enough of them.
There  are gaps  in  my memory;   strange
lacunae.     I   remember the   Roof,  the   slabs,
M 184
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
the big snow patch above the Shoulder.
Much that comes between I know nothing of.
But the snow-patch is burnt into my mind,
for though it was but a hundred metres across
it took us half-an-hour's slow care to get
down it. Without the stakes set in it and
the reserve rope it would have been almost
impossible. It only gradually dawned on me
that this care was needed to prevent the whole
snow-field from coming away with us. I
breathed again on rock. But the little
couloirs that we had crossed coming up were
now dangerous. I threw a handful qff snow
into several, and the snow that lay there
quietly whispered, moved, rustled, hissed
like snakes, and went away. But I could
hardly realise that there was danger here or
there. There was, of course, danger to
come, yonder, round the corner of some rock.
But the guides were very careful and a little
anxious. It dawned on me, as I watched
them with a set mind, that this was rather a
bad day for the Matterhorn.
The distances now seemed appalling. After
hours of work I looked round and saw the
wedge stand up just over me. It made me
irritable. When, in the name of Heaven, were
we coming to the upper hut ?    When we did ON THE MATTERHORN
185
at last get there I began to feel that by happy
chance we might really reach Zermatt again
after all.
Once more I had vowed a thousand times
that I would never climb again. But I know
I shall, though I hardly know why. It is not
that the fatigue is so good for the body that
can endure it. Nor is it the mere sight of
the wonders of Nature. The very thing
that is terrifying is the attraction, for the
unknown calls us always.
But if there is a great pleasure, and a
terrible pleasure, in coming into (and out of)
the unknown, it is intensified by the fact that
one is learning what is in one's self. It is a
curious fact that writers seem to have done
a great deal of climbing. Many of the first
explorers among the higher Alps may not
unjustly be classed among men of letters, and
some of them, no doubt, went on a double
errand. They learnt something of the unknown
in two ways. AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST
m I CONGRESS      ■♦
All Zurich turned out to see the procession
that was a mile long and overlapped, and went
past double, going opposite ways, and the skies
were blue as amethyst, and the lake was like
the heavens, while underfoot the white dust lay
thick until the growing, hurrying crowd sent it
flying. All trades, with banners and bands and
emblems, were represented; there were iron
workers, tin workers, gardeners, women and
children. One beautiful young girl in a cap of
liberty waved a red banner to Freedom among
the applause of thousands. For there were
eight thousand in the procession, and the spectators were the half of this busy Canton making
Sunday holiday. At the end of the procession
we rested in the Cantonal Schulplatz, and
Grealig spoke, and then Volders, the violent,
strong-voiced Belgian, who called for la lutte,
186 INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS   187
and looked most capable of fighting. He is
now dead.
And on the morrow, at the opening of the
many-tongued Congress, the fighting and confusion began and lasted a long, long time.
For after some usual business and congratulations the usual fight about the Anarchists
commenced. It all turned on the invitation,
which was worded in a broad way, so broad as
to catch the English Trades Unions, who fear
Socialism as they do the devil, and thus let in
Anarchists claiming to represent trades
become corporate by union.
The long hall, decorated by Saint Marx and
many flags, quickly filled with an incongruous
mass of four hundred delegates, and the gallery
were soon yelling. Bebel, who kept in the
background and pulled the strings, proposed a
limiting amendment about "political action"
which the Anarchists maintained includes revolutionary force. This was the signal for the
fight. Landauer, a German, young, long, thin
and enthusiastic, made a fine speech in defence
of the Anarchists. Then Mowbray of the
English backed him up. I was then in the
gallery and saw the mass surge here and there.
Adler of the Austrians strove for peace with
outstretched arms among the crowd, dividing 188
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
Hill     I
angry and bitter men. But he was overborne
and blows were struck. The Anarchists were
expelled. Only one man was seriously hurt,
but those thrown out were bitter at their
expulsion, and on the morrow the row began
again.
On the platform were the president and
vice-president, and the interpreters and others.
These interpreters are mostly violent partisans
and don't conceal it. A speech they like they
deliver with real energy, rasping in the points.
They are not above private interpretations;
they were as liberal as Sir Thomas Urquhart
when he translated Rabelais not in the interests
of decency. When they hated a speaker they
mangled and compressed him. There was a
great uproar when Gillies, a German, but one
of the English deputation, insisted on translating his first speech into German. The interpreters and others vowed he would make
another and different one, but he stuck to his
point and raised the very devil among the
Germans of the Parliamentary Socialist party
who wanted to dispute the Anarchist delegates'
credentials and have them definitely "chucked."
They howled and roared and shook their fists,
and the French president shrieked for order.
But at times his bell was a faint tinkle, like a INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS   189
far sheep-bell on distant hills. He shouted
unheard and looked in vain for a break. For
the Germans were accused of meanness ; it was
simply a desire to keep out the younger, more
open, most alive of the workers, those who
admired not their methods and looked on them
as they did on Eugene Richter.
Then at last the English delegation, who as a
body were in favour of turning the Anarchists
out, rose and yelled for the closure, vowing they
would leave until real business was reached if
some decision wasn't come to ; and that had
some effect. The yells of I Cloture, cldture ! "
dominated all else, and it was finally voted
among frantic disorder, the French and Dutch
standing uproarious against eighteen nationalities. For on important points they vote so.
And in this there is great cunning, for the
organisers hold pocket boroughs among the
Swiss, and Bulgarians, and Servians and other
European kidlings of the Balkans. So one
delegate may equal a hundred; Servia and
Bulgaria may outvote France; a solitary
Russian hold ninety-two Germans in check.
Before this they turned out a Polish girl
with unsigned credentials. She made a good
speech and was gallantly supported, but in the
end failed.    And when all the putting out was 190
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
II Iiim
done there was an appeal for unanimity. No
one laughed, however, and then Bebel came
from behind with a proposal that seeing so
much time had been wasted the articles of the
agenda should be submitted to the various
committees first. So this morning is a morning off and there is peace at anyrate among the
mass of the delegates.
In all this it is excessively easy to be unjust,
to misjudge and to go wrong. The man who is
ready with a priori opinions about all forms and
means and ends of Socialism will smile if he
be kindly and sneer if he be not. But mo^t of
these people are in earnest. If they represent
nothing else, and however they disagree and
quarrel, they do represent an enormous amount
of real discontent. " I protest' is often in
their mouths ; as the president yells " Monsieur,
vous n'avez pas la parole! they stand in the
benches and protest again in acute screams.
It is under extraordinary difficulties that the
movement is being carried forward. Marx,
when he started this internationalism, can
hardly^ave recognised the supreme difficulties
that the differing tongues alone offer to united
action. In many a large assembly there is
frequent misconception, but here are three
main  languages,   and  many of the delegates INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS   191
understand    neither    English,    German    nor
French.
And under the broad top currents of jealousy
are the secret unmeasured tendencies of
enmity or rivalry of ancient jealousy. To explain one man's vote we must remember
that So-and-so threw a glass of absinthe in his
face ten years ago in a Paris restaurant; that
another was kicked in Soho; that another
got work over the head of a friend.
So the thing goes on, but whether their outlook be wide or narrow, personal or impersonal,
they work in their way and something is really
done.
But for deadly earnestness commend me to
the party with the unfortunate name of
Anarchists. The party headed by Landauer
and Werner issued invitations in the Tonhall^
to the delegates and others, to come to the
Kasino Aussersehl, where they would protest
against the non-reception of their mandates.
I went there with an English delegate. We
entered a long hall with a stage and scenery
at the end. All the tables were full of a very
quiet crowd drinking most harmless red wine.
I sat near Landauer. He is a very nervous,
keen, eager young fellow, with the thin, well-
marked eyebrows in a curve  which perhaps 192
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
show the revolutionary or at the least the man
in revolt. But his general aspect and that
of his immediate friends and colleagues is
extremely gentle and mild; this no one can
help marking.
The proceedings began with a long speech
by Werner and were continued by a Dutch
journalist, who took the contrary side but was
listened to with exemplary patience. He was
controverted by Domela Niewenhuis, the leader
of the Dutch, who looks a mediaeval saint but
speaks with great vigour and some humour.
The most noticeable feature of this revolutionary meeting was its extreme peace and the
great firmness with which every attempt at
noise or interruption was put down. The only
really violent speech made during the evening
was by a fair Italian, who called the German
Parliamentary Socialist "Borghesi" and recommended their immediate extinction by all
means within the power of those who objected
to their methods. Landauer, their revolutionary leader, spoke after him, and though
greatly excited was not particularly violent. I
talked with him the morning after and
endeavoured to explain to him why the
English workers were more conservative and
more ready to trust to constitutional methods of enforcing their views. For it is the triple
combination of long hours, low wages and
militarism that makes the German violent and
impatient of the slow order of change recommended by the Parliamentarians, who, so far,
have done nothing. AT LAS PALM AS
On a map the Canary Islands look like seven
irregular fish scales, and of these Grand Canary
is a cycloid scale. For it is round and has
deep folds or barrancas in it, running fron^its
highest point in the middle. Like all the other
islands it is a volcanic ash pile, or fire and
cinder heap, cut and scarped by its rain storms
of winter till all valleys seem to run to the
centre. With a shovel of ashes and a watering-pot one fj could easily make a copy in
miniature of the island, and at the first blush it
seems when one lands at Las Palmas that one
hascome to the cinder and sand dumping ground
of all the world, an enlarged edition of Mr Boffin's
dust heaps, a kind of gigantic and glorified
Harmony Jail. There is no more disillusioning
place in the world to land in by daytime. The
port is under the shelter of the Isleta, a barren
cindery  satellite  of Grand  Canary joined to
194
Mm AT LAS PALMAS
195
the main island by an isthmus of yellow sand-
dunes. The roads are dust; dust flies in a
ceaseless wind; unhappy palms by the roads
are grey with dust; it would at first seem
impossible to eat anything but an egg without
getting one's teeth full of grit. And yet after
all one sees that there are compensations in the
sun. I said to a man who managed a big
hotel, "This is a hideous place;" and he
answered cheerfully, "Yes, isn't it? " And he
added, "We have only got the climate." So
might a man say, " I've not much ready money,
but I've a million or two in Consols." I
understood it by-and-by. And after all Las
Palmas is not all the island, nor is its evil-
mannered port. The country is a country of
vines behind the sand and cinder ramparts of the
city, and if one sees no .running water, or sees
it rarely, the hard-working Canarienses have
built tanks to save the rain, and they bring
streams in flumes from the inner hills that rise
six thousand feet above the sea. They grow
vines and sugar and cultivate the cochineal
insect, which looks like a loathsome disease (as
indeed it is) upon the swarth cactus or tunera
which it feeds on. And the islands grow
tobacco. Las Palmas is after all only the
emporium  of Grand   Canary  and  a coaling 196
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
station for steamers to South Africa and the
West Coast and South America. It also takes
invalids and turns out good work even among
consumptives, for there is power in its sun and
dry air.
Its people are Spanish, but Spanish with a
difference. The ancient Guanches, now utterly
extinct as a people, have left traces of their
blood and influence and character. Even now
the poor Canary folk naturally live in caves.
They dig a hole in a rock, or enlarge a hollow,
and hang a sack before the hole, and, behold,
they possess a house. Not fifty yards from the
big old fort at the back of the town the cliffs
are all full of people as a sandstone quarry is
sometimes full of sand martins. The caves
with doors pay taxes, it is said, but those with
no more than a sack escape anything in the
shape of a direct tax. To escape taxes
altogether in any country under Spain is
impossible.    The octroi or fielato sees to that.
For the most part Las Palmas to English
people is no more than a sanatorium. They
come to the Islands to get well and go away
knowing as much of the people as they knew
before. And indeed the climate is one that
makes sitting in a big cane chair much easier
than walking even a hundred yards.    But the AT LAS PALMAS
197
English for that matter do not trouble greatly
about the customs or conditions of any
foreigners. They are foreigners, Spaniards,
strangers. It is easy to sit in the garden of a
big hotel surrounded by one's own compatriots
and ignore the fact that the Canary Islands do
not belong to us. That they do not is perhaps
a grievance of a sort. One is pleased to
remember that Nelson made a bold attempt to
take the city of Santa Cruz in Teneriffe, even
though he was wounded and failed. For no
more surprising piece of audacity ever entered
an English head. There was no more disgrace
in his failing than there would be in failing to
take the moon. And after all, some day, no
doubt, the English will buy or steal a Canary
Island. There is a lingering suspicion among
us all that no island ought to belong to any
other nation, unless indeed it is the United
States. With an enterprising people these
cinder heaps would be less heavily taxed and
more prosperous. For the prosperity of Las
Palmas itself is much a matter of coaling. And
the islands have had commercial crisis after
commercial crisis as wine rose in price and
fell, as cochineal had its vain struggle with
chemical dyes. Now its chief hold is the
banana. Ii 198
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
My first walk at Las Palmas was through the
port to the Isleta. I went with a Scotchman
who talked Spanish like a native and astounded
two small boys who volunteered to guide us
where no guide was needed. The begging, as
in all Spanish places, is a pest, a nuisance, a
very desolation. "Givefa penny, give a
penny," varied by a tremendous rise to " Give
a shilling," is the cry of all the children.
Among Spaniards it is no disgrace to beg.
While in the cathedral one day two of us were
surrounded by a gang of acolytes in their
church dress who begged ceaselessly, tmre-
proved by any priest. These two boys on the
Isleta having met someone who spoke Spanish
left us to our own devices after having received
a penny. And we went on until we were stayed
by sentries. For the Isleta is now a powerful
fort. It was made so at the time ofthe Spanish-
American War, and no strangers are allowed to
see it. So we turned aside and walked miles
by a barbed wire fence, among fired rocks and
cinders, where never a blade of grass grew.
The Isleta is the latest volcano in Grand
Canary, and except in certain states of the
atmosphere it is utterly and barrenly hideous.
Only when one sees it from afar, when the sun
is setting and the white sea is aflame, does it AT LAS PALMAS
199
become  beautiful.   Certainly  Las  Palmas is
not lovely.
And yet there is one beauty at Las Palmas,
a beauty that none of the natives can appreciate
and few of the visitors ever see.    It is a kind
of beauty which demands a certain training in
perceiving   the   beautiful.     There  are some
folks in this world who cannot perceive the
beauty of a sunset reflected in the mud of a
tidal river at the ebb.    They have so keen a
sense of the ugliness of mud that they fail to
see the reflections of gold and pink shining on
the wet surface.     It is so with sand, and Las
Palmas has some of the greatest and  most
living sand-dunes in the world.    And not only
does it owe its one great beauty to the sand, it
owes its prosperity to it as well.    Yet folks
curse its great folded dunes, which by blocking
the channel between the main island and the
Isleta have created the sheltered Puerto de la
Luz, where all its shipping lies in security from
the great seas breaking in Confital Bay.    These
dunes rise two hundred feet at least, and for
ever creep and shift and move in the draught
of  keen air blowing   north and  north-west.
In the sunlight (and it is on them the sunlight
seems most to fall)   they shine  sleekly and
appear to have a certain pleasant and silky *»w
200
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
texture from afar.     But as we walk towards
them the light gets stronger, almost intolerably
strong, and  when  one  is  among them they
deceive the eye so that distances seem doubled.
And  they lie and  move in the wind.     Day
after day I  watched them, and walked  upon
them, and on  no two days  were they alike;
their contours  changed perpetually,  changed
beneath one's eyes like yellow drifting snow.
They advanced in walls, and the leeward scarp
of these walls was of mathematical exactness.
As the wind blew the sands moved, a million
grains were set in motion, so that at times the
surface was like a low cloud of sand driving
southeast.     In the lee of the greater dunes
were carven hollows, and here the sand-clouds
moved in faint shadows.    A gust of wind made
one look up into the clear sky for clouds where
there were none.    The motion of the sand was
like shot silk.     Now and again we came to a
vast hollow, a smooth crater, a cup, and from
its bottom nothing was visible but the skyline
and the sky.    Again we saw over the blazing
yellow ridge sudden white roofs of the Puerto
and the masts of ships, and then a streak of
blue more intense than ever because of the red
yellow of the sand.    And all the time the dunes
moved, lived and marched south-east, while the AT LAS PALMAS
201
sands rose up out of the sea of the windy
bay and marched overland. The sand itself
was very dry, very fine, so fine indeed that
when it trickled through the fingers it felt like
fine warm silk. No particle adhered to another.
As I raked it through my fingers the sand ran
in strange, enticing curves, each pouring
stream finely lined, as if it was woven
of curious fibres, making a wonderful
design of interlacing columns. And deep
beneath the surface it held the heat of
yesterday.
To sit upon, within, these dunes and see the
wind dance and the sand pour had a strange
fascination for me. I lost the sense of time and
yet had it impressed upon me. The march of
the sand was slow and "yet fast; there was a
strange sense of inevitability about it; each
grain was alive, moving, bent on going southeast. There was silence and yet an infinite
sense of motion; no life and yet a sense of
living. The sand came up from the sea,
marched solemnly and descended into the sea
again. The two seas were two eternities;
that narrow neck of sand was life. Distances
grew great in the sun and the glare; it was a
desert and a solitude, and yet close at hand
were all the works of man.    I often sat in the 202
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
folds of the dunes and soaked in the sunshine
as I was lost to the world.
And beyond it all was Confital Bay; there I
forgot that Las Palmas was ugly, a bastard
child of Spanish mis-rule and modern commerce,
for the curve of the bay and its sands and
boulder beach to the eastward were wonderful.
For though Confital is but a few steps across
the long sand spit to leeward of which the
commercial port lies, it might be a thousand
miles away as it faces the wind and has its own
quiet and its own glory of colour. The sea
tumbles in upon a beach of shingle and sand
and is for ever in foam, and the colour of it is
tropical. Away to the left the hills above
Banodero and Guia are for the most part
shadowy with clouds. Often they are hidden,
swathed in mist to the breakers at their feet.
And yet the sun shines on Confital and both
bays, and on the Isleta, which is red and yellow
and a fine atmospheric blue away towards
Point Confital, where the sea thunders for ever
and breaks in high foam like a breaking geyser.
On the beach at one's feet often lie Portuguese
men-of-war, thrown up by the sea. They are
wonderful purple and blue, and very poisonous to
touch, as so many beautiful things of the sea
are.     One whole day was greatly spoiled to AT LAS PALMAS
203
me by handling one of them carelessly.    My
hands  smarted furiously, and when I sucked
an aching finger, after washing it in the sea,
the poison transferred itself to my tongue and
I  had  hardly voice  left to swear with at a
wandering band of young beggars from the
Puerto.      But   then   neither   swearing,   nor
entreaty,  nor indifference  will  send  Spanish
beggars away.     They are to be borne with
like flies, or mosquitoes, or bad weather, and
only patience may survive them.    But for them
and for cruelty to animals Spain and Spain's
dependencies might make a better harvest out
of travellers.   One may indeed imagine after all
that   nothing   but   accident   or   a   sense   of
desperation might land and keep one at Las
Palmas.    I would as soon stay there for a long
time  as  I  would  deliberately get out of a
Union   Pacific   overland   train    at   Laramie
Junction and put down my stakes in that dusty
and bedevilled sand and alkali hell.    And yet
there   is the climate at  Las Palmas.     And
out of it are the sand-dunes and Confital Bay. THE TERRACINA ROAD
Nowadays the traveller gets into the train at
Rome and goes south by express. He sees a
little of the wide and waste Campagna, sees a
few of the broken arches of the mighty aqueducts which brought water to the Imperial
city so long ago, but he is not steeped in the
soil; he misses the best, because he is living
wholly in the present. The beauty of Italy, its
mere outward beauty, is one thing; the ancient
spirit of the past brooding in desolate places is
another. And the road which runs from
Terracina south by sullen Fondi, by broken and
romantic Itri and Formia of the Gaetan Gulf,
is full at once of natural beauty and the strange
influences of the past. It is To-day and Yesterday and Long Ago; the age of the ancient
Romans and the Samnites with whom they
warred is mingled with stories of Fra Diavolo
and piratical Saracens.    And To-day marches
204 THE TERRACINA ROAD
205
two and two in the stalwart figures of twin
carabinieri upon dangerous roads, even yet not
wholly without some danger from brigands.
These carabinieri (there are never less than
two together) represent law and order and
authority in parts where the law is hated,
where order is unsettled, where authority
means those who tax salt and everything that
the rich or poor consume. And down that
ancient Appian Way, made by Appius
Claudius three centuries before the Christian
era, there are many poor, and poor of a sullen
mind, differing much from the laughter-loving
lazzaronioi Naples. I saw many of them : they
belonged still to a conquered Samnium. Or so
it seemed to me.
The train now runs from Rome to Velletri,
and on to Terracina. The Sabine and Alban
Mountains are upon the left soon after leaving
the city. Further south are the Volscian Hills.
Velletri is an old city of the Volscians subdued
by Rome even before Samnium. The Appian
Way and the rail soon run across the Pontine
marshes, scourged by malaria at all seasons of
the year but winter. Down past Piperno the
Monte Circello is visible. This was the fabled
seat and., grove and palace of Circe the
enchantress.    One   might   imagine   that   her ;I
206
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
influence has not departed with her ruined
shrine. Fear and desolation and degradation
exist in scenes of exquisite and silent beauty.
From Circello's height one sees Mount Vesuvius,
the dome of St Peter's, the islands in the bay
of Naples. Below, to the south-east, lies
Terracina; on its high rock the arched ruins-of
the palace of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths,
who conquered Odoacer and won Italy,
ruling it with justice after he had slain
Odoacer at Ravenna with his own
hand.
I got to Terracina late at night one January,
and though I own that things past touch me
with no such sense of sympathy as things
yet to be, my heart beat a little faster as I drove
in the darkness through this ancient Anxur,
once a stronghold of the Volscians. Here too
I left the railway and the southern road was
before me. Terracina was touched with literary
memories; Washington Irving had written
about that very same old inn at Terracina to
which I was going, that inn which poor deceived
Baedeker called Grand Hotel Royal in small
capitals. I was among the Volscians, in the
Appian Way, in the country of brigands,
with the spirit of Irving. And suddenly I
drove across rough paving stones in the heavy THE TERRACINA ROAD
207
shadows of vast corridors, and was greeted by
a feeble and broken-down old landlord, who
wished the noblest signor of them all, my undistinguished self, all good things. Poor
Francia was the very spirit of a deserted landlord. I imagined that he might have
remembered prosperous days before the railway through Monte Cassino and Sparanise
robbed Terracina of her robber's dues from
south-bound travellers. His vast hotel,
entered meanly by a little hall, was dimly lighted
by candles. With another feeble creature, once
a man, he preceded me, and speaking poor
French said he had had my letter and had
prepared me the best apartment in his house.
We climbed stone staircases as one might
climb the Pyramids, wandered on through
resounding and ghostly corridors, and finally
came to a room as vast as a quarry and almost
as chilly as a catacomb. When he placed the
candle on a cold slab of a table and withdrew
with many bows I could have imagined myself
a lost spirit. There was just sufficient light to
see the darkness. The room was a kind of
tragedy in itself; the floor was stone; a little
bed in one far distant corner was only to be
discovered by travel. It was a long walk to
the window.    Outside I saw white foam break— ill
208
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
ing in the harbour now silted up and wholly
useless.
I dined that night in another hall which could
have accommodated a hundred. I was lost in
shadows. But then I was a shadow among
shades. This was the past indeed, an ancient
world. And after dinner, at last, I got a bath.
It took me two hours to get it, and when it
came it was nothing more than a great kettle
for boiling fish in. I knew it was that by the
smell. I rejected it for a basin which was
almost as large as an English saucer for a
breakfast cup. And then I slept. I felt that
I was in a tomb, sleeping with my fathers. It
was a kind of unexpected resurrection to wake
and find daylight about me.
I had meant to stay for a little while at
Terracina, but somehow I took a kind of
"scunner" at this poor old hotel of magnificent distances and the lingering, doddering,
unwashed old men who acted as chamber-
maids.6 Perhaps, too, the fish kettle as a
bath was a discouragement. No bath at all
can be put up with in course of time, but a fish
kettle invited me to be clean and yet did not
allow me to smell so. I went down to my
prehistoric landlord and requested him to get
me a carriage to go in to  Formia,  where  I THE TERRACINA ROAD
209
should be once more in touch with the rail. I
instructed him to get it for me at a reasonable price, and that price I knew to be about
twenty lire or francs. For the first time in my
Italian experiences I had come across a hotel-
keeper who was not in league with the owners
of carriages. I was soon made aware of this
by overhearing an awful uproar in the big
outside corridor. I lighted a cigarette and
went out to find the landlord and the man of
carriages, a very black and hairy brigand,
enjoying themselves as only southerners can
when they are making a bargain or com-
binazione. The old landlord brisked up
wonderfully at the prospect of such a struggle.
It doubtless reminded him of days long past.
It made his sluggish blood flow. I believe
that he would not have missed the excitement
even to pocket a large commission from his
opponent. I was so rare a bird and he had
not seen a traveller since heaven knows when.
My Italian is poor but I understood some of
the uproar. The man of carriages presumed
that I was a noble gentleman who desired the
best and would be ready to pay for it. The
landlord retorted that even if I was a prince
and a millionaire, both of which seemed likely,
it   was   no   reason    I    should    be   robbed. 210
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
He suggested fifteen lire, and the outraged
brigand shrieked and demanded forty. For an
hour they wrangled and haggled and swore.
First one made believe to go, and then the
other. They came up and came down franc
by franc. More than once any northerner
would have anticipated bloodshed. They
struggled and beat the palms of their hands
with outstretched fingers. It took them half
an hour to quarrel over the last two francs.
And finally it was settled that the noble
prince and millionaire, then leaning against
the wall smoking cigarettes, was to pay
twenty-two lire and to give a pourboire.
They shook hands over it and beamed. My
old landlord wiped his brow and communicated the result to me with tears of pride. I
thanked him for his care of my interests and
paid him his modest bill at once. He entreated me to speak well of his hotel, the
Albergo Reale, and really I have done my
best.   1
The brigand furnished,me with a decent
pair of horses—decent at anyrate for Italy—and
I left for Formia before noon. Now I was
no longer on the railway, but on the real road,
the Appian Way, and I felt in a strange dream,
such as might well come to one on a spot
y|£ THE TERRACINA ROAD
211
where ancient Rome, the age of the Goth,
and mediaeval Italy and modern times mingled.
By the road were fragments of Roman tombs ;
at Torre dell' Epitafia was the ancient southern
boundary of the Papal States; in reedy
marshes by the road, and near the sea, were
herds of huge black buffalo. And the sun
shone very brightly for all that it was winter;
the distances were fine blue ; the sea sparkled,
and the earth even then showed its fertility.
Eleven miles from Terracina we drove into
Fondi, and the sky clouded over, as indeed
it should have done, for Fondi is a gloomy
and unhappy, a sullen and unfortunate-looking town. Once it was a noted haunt of
brigands, and even yet, as the sullen peasants
stand about its one great street, which is still
the Appian Way, they look as if they regretted not to be able to seize me and take
me to the hills to hold me to ransom. But
Fondi, gloomiest of towns, has other stories
than those of the brethren of Fra Diavolo.
There is a castle in the town, once the property
of the Colonnas, and in the sixteenth century
this palace was attacked by a pirate, Bar-
barossa, a Turk and a daring one. His
object was to capture Countess Giulia Gonzaga
for the hareem of the Sultan.    He failed but 212
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
played havoc among its inhabitants and burnt
part of the town. It was rebuilt and burnt
again by the Turks in 1594.
We rushed through the latter part of the
gloomy town at a gallop.    I  was glad to see
the last of it and get into the clear air.    Then
my   horses   climbed   the long slope   of  the
Monte St Andrea, where the  steep  road is
cut through hills, while I walked.    And then
as evening came on we swept down into Itri.
This too  was  gloomy, but  not,  like  Fondi,
built upon  a  flat.     This  shadowy  wreck of
ancient times lies on hills  and among them.
It has an air of mountain savagery.    It looks
likella   ruined   mediaeval   fortress.     Broken
archways,   once   part  of   the   Appian   Way,
are    made   into    substructures   for    ragged,
ruinous modern houses.    The place is peaked
and pined, desolate, hungry and savage.    In
it was born Fra Diavolo, who was brigand,
soldier and political servant to Cardinal Ruffo
when the French Republic, in the beginning
of   the    nineteenth    century,    invaded     the
Kingdom of Naples.    Once he  was  lord of
the  country from the Garigliano to Postella;
he     even     interrupted   all    communications
between    Naples   and    Rome.      He     was
sentenced to death and a price set on his THE TERRACINA ROAD
213
head. Finally he was shot at Bafonissi. In
such a country one might well believe in the
wildest legends of his career.
And now the night fell and my driver
drove fast. He even engaged in a wild race
with another vehicle, entirely careless of my
safety or his own. The pace we drove at put
my Italian out of my head, for foreign
languages require a certain calmness of spirit
in me. I could remember nothing but fine
Italian oaths, and these he doubtless took to
mean that I wished him to win. And win we
did by a neck as we came to the dazio consume,
the octroi post outside Formia. And below
me I saw Formia's lights, at the foot of the
hill, and the Bay of Gaeta stretched out
before me. If
That night I slept in a little Italian inn by
the verge of the quiet sea. There also, as
at Terracina, ancient and doddering men
acted as chambermaids. They wandered in
with mattresses and sheets, until I wondered
where the women were and what they did.
And outside was a fountain where Formia
drew water, as it seemed, all the night, chattering of heaven knows what. For Formia is a
busy and beautiful little town. On the north
side it is sheltered by a high range of hills; on 214
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
the lower slopes are grown oranges and lemons
and pomegranates; there also are olive-groves
and vineyards. I stayed a day among the
Formian folk, and then Naples, which one can
almost see from the terraces above the town,
drew me south. At the Villa Caposele one
can see Gaeta itself to the south and Ischia in
the blue sea, Casamicciola facing one. I remember how the Italian nature came out when
I arranged to go to the station to take the
train for Sparanise. I had but little baggage
and it was put in a truck for me by the landlord of the Hotel dei Fiori. I walked into
the station and the boy who pulled the truck
followed. As he came up the little slope to
the station I saw that eight or ten others were
pretending to help him, and I knew that they
would inevitably want some pence for assisting. In a few moments I was surrounded
by the eager crowd. "Signor, I pushed
behind ! " " And, signor, so did I! " "And
oh, but it was hard work, signor!" And
everyone who could have had a finger on the
little truck wanted his finger paid. . They
were insistent, clamorous, and at the same time
curious to see how the stray foreigner would
take it. I perceived gleams of humour in
them, and to their disappointment, yet to their THE TERRACINA ROAD
215
immense delight, for the Italian admires a
degree of shrewdness, I stared them all over
and burst into laughter. They saw at once
that the game was up, and they shrieked with
laughter at their own discomfiture. I gave
the boy with the truck his lira, dropped an
extra ten centesimi into his palm, and said
suddenly, "Scappate via!" They gave one
shout more of laughter and ran down the hill.
And as for me, I got into the train and went
to old quarters of mine in Naples. But I was
glad to have been off the beaten track for
once. •
A SNOW-GRIND
Perhaps it is not wholly an advantage that
most Alpine literature has been done by experts
in  climbing,   by  men  who  have  climbed till
climbing is second nature and they see Nature
through their snow-goggles as something to be
circumvented.     That  this  is  the attitude of
most mountaineers is tolerably obvious.    And
though much that is good has been  written
about the Alps, and some that is, from some
points of view, even surpassingly so, most of
it is a proof that climbing is a deal easier than
writing.    Who in reading books of mountain
adventure and exploration has not come across
machine-made bits of description which are as
inspiring as any lumber yard?    For my own
part,  I seldom read my Alpine author when
he goes out of his gymnastic way to express
admiration for the scenery.    It  is  usually a
pumped-up admiration.    I am inclined to say
that it is unnatural.    I am almost ready to go
216
m%i\tC ■ A SNOW-GRIND
217
so far as to say that it is wholly out of place.
In my own humble opinion, very little above
the snow-line is truly beautiful. It is often
desolate, sometimes intolerably grand and
savage, but lovely it is very rarely. It is
perhaps against human nature to be there
at all. There is nothing to be got there but
health, which flies from us in the city. If life
were wholly natural, and men lived in the
open air, I think that few would § take to
climbing. And yet now it has become a
passion with many. There are few who will
not tell you they do it on account of the beauty
of the upper world. Frankly, I do not believe them, and think they are deceived. I
would as willingly credit a fox-hunter if he
told me he hunted on account of the beauty of
midland landscapes in thaw-time.
And yet one climbs. I do it myself whenever I can afford it. I believe I do it because
Nature says "You sha'n't." She puts up
obstacles. It is not in man to endure such.
He will do everything that can be done by
endurance. For out of endurance comes a
massive sense of satisfaction that nothing can
equal. If any healthy man who cannot afford
to climb and knows not Switzerland wishes to
experience something of the feeling that comes A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
to a climber at the end of his day, let him
reckon up how far he can walk and then do
twice as much. Upon the Alps man is always
doing twice as much as he appears able to do.
He not only scouts Nature's obstacles, but
discovers that the obstacles of habit in himself
are as nothing. For man is the most enduring
animal on the earth. He only begins to draw
upon his reserves when a thing becomes what
he might call impossible.
But this is but talk, a kind of preliminary,
equivalent in its way to preparing for an
Alpine walk. As for myself, I profess to be
little more than a greenhorn above the snowline. I have done but little and may do but
little more. Yet there are so many that have
done nothing that the plain account of a plain
and long Alpine pass may interest them. I
will take one of the easiest, the Schwartzberg-
Weissthor, and walk it with them and with a
friend of mine and two well-known guides.
The Schwartzberg-Weissthor, a pass from
Zermatt to Mattmark in the Saas Valley, is
indeed easy. It is nothing more than a long
"snow-grind,'3 as mountaineers say. It is
supposed to take ten hours, and it can certainly
be done in the time by guides. But then
guides can always go twice as fast as any but A SNOW-GRIND
219
the first flight of amateurs. My companion,
though an excellent and well-known mountaineer, took cognisance of the fact that I was
not in first-class training. And I must say for
him that he is not one of those who think of
the Alps as no more than a cinder track to try
one's endurance. He was never in a hurry,
and was always willing to stay and instruct me
in what I ought to admire. It is perhaps not
strange that a long walk in high altitudes does
not always leave one in a condition to know
that without a finger-post. Sometimes he and
I sat and wrangled on the edge of a crevasse
while I denied that there was anything to
admire at all. Indeed, he and I have often
quarrelled on the edge of a precipice about
matters of mountain aesthetics.
We left Zermatt in the afternoon and walked
up to the Riffelhaus, which is usually the
starting-point for any of the passes to Macug-
naga, or for Monte Rosa or the Lyskamm.
It was warm work walking through the close
pine woods. In Switzerland, where all is
climbing, one does what would be considered
a great climb in England in the most casual
way. For after all the Riffelhaus is more than
3000 feet above Zermatt, as high, let us say,
as Helvellyn above Ullswater.    But then 3000 220
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
feet in the Alps is a mere preface. We dined
at the little hotel, and I went to bed early.
For early rising is the one necessary thing
when going upon snow. It is the most disagreeable part about climbing, and perhaps
the one thing which does most good. In
England, in London and in towns, men get
into deadly grooves of habit. To break these
habits and shake one's self clear of them is the
great thing for health. The disagreeables of
climbing are many, but the reward afterwards
is great. To lie in bed the next morning after
having walked for twenty hours is a real
luxury. But, nevertheless, to rise at half-past
one and wash in cold water before one stumbles
downstairs into a black dining-room, lighted
by a single candle, is not all that it might be
at the moment. Every time I do it I swear
sulkily that I will never, never do it again. It
is obvious to me that no one but an utter fool
would ever climb anything higher than Primrose
Hill, and only a sullen determination not to be
bested by my own self makes me get out of
bed and downstairs at all. I am only a human
being by the time the sleepy waiter has given
me my coffee. After drinking it and taking a
roll and some butter I went into the passage
and found O  sitting on the stairs putting A SNOW-GRIND
221
his boots on. He too was silent save for a
little muttered swearing.    It is always hard to
get off camp before dawn.    When O had
finished his breakfast we found the guides
waiting for us with a lantern, and we started on
our walk by two o'clock or a little later. The
guides at anyrate were cheerful enough but
quiet I myself became more and more like a
human being, and when we got to the Rothe
Boden, from which in daylight there is a
wonderful view of the Alps from the Lyskamm
to the Weisshorn, I was quite alive and equal
to most things, even to cutting a joke without
bitterness. For the most part in these early
hours I spend the time considering my own
folly.    It is perhaps a good mental exercise.
It was even now utterly dark. The huge
bulwark of the Breithorn rose opposite to us
like a great shadow. Monte Rosa was very
faintly lighted by the approach of dawn. The
mighty pyramid of the solitary Matterhorn had
yet no touch of red fire upon it. And presently one of the guides said "Look!" and
looking at the Matterhorn we presently perceived that two parties were climbing it from
the Zermatt side; we saw their lanterns
moving with almost intolerable slowness. And
far across the   great ice  river of the Gorner 222
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
Glacier we saw other and nearer and brighter
lanterns going from the B&emps  Hut on the
Untere   Plattje.    One   party   was  going for
Monte Rosa, another for the Lyskamm Joch.
We knew that they could ^ee us too.     But
these little lantern lights upon the vast expanse
of snow looked very strange and lonely and
very human.    We seemed small ourselves, we
were like glow-worms, like wounded fire-flies
crawling on a plain.    And still we saw these
little climbing lights   upon   the^ Matterhorn.
One party was close to the lower hut, another
was  beginning to  near  the  old hut,  twelve
thousand feet high.    Then and all of a sudden
the lights went out.    There was a strange red
glow upon the Matterhorn, a glow which most
people, as victims of tradition, call beautiful.
As a matter of fact the colour of dawn upon
the rock of the Cervin is not truly a beautiful
colour.    It is a hard and brick-dusty red, very
different from the snow fire seen on true snow
peaks.    Yet the scene was fine and majestic,
and cold and dreadful, solitary and non-human.
This fine inhumanity of the mountains is their
chief quality to me.    The sea is always more
human; it moves, it breathes, it seems alive.
I have been alone at sea in the Channel and
yet never felt quite alone.    The human water
AW A SNOW-GRIND
223
lapped at the planks of my boat. I knew the
sea was the pathway of the world. But on the
mountains nothing moves at night. There
even stones do not fall; there are no thunders
of avalanches; no sudden and awful crash of
an ice-fall. Even when the sun is hot and the
mountains waken *a little these motions seem
accidents. And the perpetual motion of a
glacier has something about it which is cruelly
inevitable, bestial, diabolic. No, upon the
mountains one is swung clear of one's fellow-
creatures ; one is adrift; it is another world ;
it gives fresh views of the warm world of man.
Now we plunged downwards towards the Gad-
men, whence the Monte Rosa track branches
off. We went along rock, now in daylight, till
we came on ice, and went forward to the
Stocknubel, a little resting-place at the base of
the Stockhorn. Here the guides made us rest
and eat. Swiss guides are, when they are
good, the best of men, and ours were of the
best. The two young Pollingers of St
Niklaus, Joseph and Alois, are known now
by all climbers. I am pleased to think they
are my friends. I wish I was as strong as
either and had as healthy an appetite. As we
sat on rock and ate cold meats and other
horrible and indigestible matters, washed down 224
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
by wine and water, we saw another party come
after us, an old and ragged guide with two
strange little figures of adventurous Frenchmen, clad in knickerbockers and carrying
tourist's alpenstocks, bound for the Cima di
Jazzi. It must be confessed that our own party
looked more workman-like. For we had our
faithful ice-axes, and our lower limbs were
swathed with putties, now almost universally
worn by guides and climbers alike. I fancied
our guides looked on the other £uide with
some contempt. He was not one of those who
do big ascents. And though we were on an
easy task, the Cima di Jazzi is very easy
indeed, so easy that most real climbers have
never climbed its simple mound of easily rising
snow.
Then we went on and soon after roped, as
there might be some crevasses not well
bridged, and presently I perceived that we had
indeed a long snow-grind before us, and I got
very gloomy at the prospect and swore and
grumbled to myself. For there is no pleasure
to me in being on the mountains unless there
is some element of risk, apparent or real
matters not. For, after all, with good guides
and good weather there is little real danger.
The main thing is to get a sensation out of it; A SNOW-GRIND
225
the feeling of absorption in the moment which
prevents one thinking of anything but the next
step. A snow-grind is like a book which has
to be read and which has no interest. I can
imagine many reviewers must have their
literary snow-grinds. And so we crawled
along the surface of the snow with never a big
crevasse to enliven one, and the sun rose up
and peered across the vast curves of white and
almost blinded us. On our left was the great
chain of the Mischabel, of which I had once
seen the real bones and anatomy from the
Matterhorn, and then came the Rimpfischorn
and Strahlhorn. I once asked a guide what
had given its name to the Rimpfischorn, and he
answered that it was supposed to be like a
"rimf." When I asked what that was he said
it was something which was like the Rimpfischorn. And to our right were the peaks of
Monte Rosa, Nordend and Dufourspitze, black
rock out of white snow, and the ridge of the
Lyskamm, and the twin white snow peaks,
Castor and Pollux. And some might say the
view was very beautiful, and no doubt it was
beautiful, though not so to me. For I hate the
long snow-fields, the vast plains of nivi with
their glare and their infinite infernal monotony.
Sometimes when I took off my snow-goggles 226
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
the shining white world seemed a glaring and
bleached moon-land, a land wholly unfit for
human beings, as indeed it is. And though
things seem near they are very far off. An
hour's walk hardly moves one in the landscape.
A man is little more than a lost moth; such a
moth as we found dead and frozen as we
crawled over the great snow towards the
Strahlhorn.    We   sat down  to   rest,   and   I
fought with my friend O about the beauty
of the mountains, and horrified him by denying
that there is any real loveliness above the
snow-line. He took it quite seriously, forgetting that I was rebelling against so many miles
of dead snow with never a thing to do but plod
and plod, and plod again.
And then we came to the top of the pass where
rocks jutted out ofthe snow, and a few minutes'
climb let us look over into Italy, and down the
steep south side of Monte Rosa, under whose
white clouds lay Macugnaga. We sat upon
the summit for an hour and ate once more, and
argued as to the beauty of things, and the
wonder and foolishness of climbing, and I own
that I was very hard to satisfy. The snow-grind
had entered into my soul as it always does. It
is duller than a walk through any flat agricultural country before the corn begins to grow, A SNOW-GRIND
227
And yet below us  was the other side of
our    pass,    which    certainly    looked    more
interesting.     Right   under   our   feet   was   a
little   snow   arHe   with   slopes   like   a high
pitched roof.    It was   quite   possible to   be
killed there if one was foolish  or reckless,
and the prospect cheered me up.    It is at
anyrate not duH to be on   an arete  with a
snow slope leading to  nothing beneath  me.
And I cannot help insisting on the fact that
much    mountaineering    is    essentially    dull.
Often  enough a long  day  may be without
more   than   one   dramatic   moment.     There
is really only five minutes of interest on the
Schwartzberg-Weissthor.    We came to   that
in the arHe, for after following it for a few
minutes we turned   off  it   to  the   left   and
came  to   the   bergschrundy  the big crevasse
which   separates   the   highest snows or ice
from   the   glacier.      By   now   I   was   quite
anxious   that   the   guides   should   find   the
schrund   difficult.      I    had   been   bored   to
death   and   yearned   for   some   little  excitement.    I   even  declared  sulkily   (it   is^odd,
but time, that one does often become reckless
and sulky under such  circumstances) that  I
was   ready   to   jump    "any    beastly    berg-
schrund"     My   offer   was   no   doubt   made 228
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
with the comfortable consciousness that
the guides were notglikely to let me do
anything quite idiotic. But there was no
necessity for any such gymnastics. The
schruncCs lower lip was only six feet lower
than the upper lip, and the whole crevasse
was barely three feet across, though doubtless deep enough to swallow a thousand
parties like ours. Somewhat to my disappointment we got over quite easily, and
struck down across the glacier, passing one
or two rather dangerous crevasses by
crawling on our stomachs. The only
satisfaction  I had was that both the guides
and O j declared that the way  I   wished
to descend was impossible, whereas it finally
turned out to have been easy and direct. I
said I had told them so, of course, and then
we got on the lower glacier and on an
accursed moraine. It was now about noon.
We had been going since two in the
morning. We came at last into a grassy
valley, and presently stood on the steep
d4bris slope above Mattmark. It was a
steep run down the zigzag path to the flat,
which is partly occupied by the Mattmark
Lake, and at last we got to the inn. There
we  changed  our  things  and had lunch, and A SNOW-GRIND
229
I   and   O    once   more   fought  over  the
glacier of the upper snows, and the question
as to whether we should climb on aesthetic
or gymnastic grounds. And though we did
not reach the hotel at Saas-F^e till the
evening, that argument lasted all the way.
But when he and I get together, as we
usually do when climbing comes on, we
always quarrel in the most friendly way upon
that subject. But for my own part I declare
that I will never again do another pure snow-
grind such as the Schwartzberg-Weissthor for
any other purpose than to fetch a doctor, or to
do something equally useful in a case of
emergency. If climbing does not try one's
faculties as well as one's physique it is a
waste of labour. ACROSS THE BIDASSOA
I came out of London's mirk and mist and the
clouds of the Channel and the rollers of the
Bay to find sunshine in the Gironde, though
the east wind was cool in Bordeaux's big river.
And then even in Bordeaux I discovered that
fog was over-common; brief sunshine yielded
to thick mist, and the city of wine  was little
less   depressing   than    English    Manchester.
But though I spent a night there I was bound
south and hoped for better things close by the
border of Spain.    And truly  I  found  them,
though the way there through the Landes is as
melancholy as any great city of sad inhabitants.
The   desolation   of   the    Landes    is   an
Ordered, a commercial desolation.    Once the
whole surface of the district bore nothing but a
scanty herbage.    The soil is sand and an iron
cement, j§ or   "hard-pan,"   below   the   sand.
Here uncounted millions of slender sea-pines
cover the plain ; they stand in serried rows, as
230 ACROSS THE BIDASSOA
231
regular as a hop-garden, gloomy and without
the sweet wildness of nature. And every pine
is bitterly scarred, so that it may bleed its gum
for traders. When the plantations are near
their full growth they are cut down, stacked to
season slowly, and the trees finish their
existence as mine I timbers deep under the
earth.
After seventy miles of a southward run
there are signs that the Landes are not so
everlasting and spacious as they seem. To
the south-east, at Buglose, where St Vincent de
Paul was born, the Pyrenees show far and
faint and blue on the horizon. And then
suddenly the River Adour appears, and a
country which was English. I Dax was ours
for centuries, and so was Bayonne, whose
modern citadel has had a rare fate for any
place of strength. It has never been taken;
not even Wellington and his Peninsular
veterans set foot within its bastions.
This is the country of the Basques, that
strange, persistent race of which nothing is
known. Their history is more covered by
ancient clouds than that of the Celts; their
tongue has no cousin in the world, though in
structure it is like that of the North-American
Indians.    I met some of them later, but so far 232
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
know   no   more   than   two   words   of   their
language.
The wind was cool at St Jean de Luz, but
the sun was bright and the sea thundered on the
beach and the battered breakwaters. To the
east and#south are the Pyrenees—lower
summits, it is true, but bold and fine in outline.
The dominant peak, being the first of the
chain, is Larhune (a Basque word, not French),
where English blood was spilt when Clauzel
held it for Napoleon against the English.
Further to the south, and across the Bidassoa,
in Spain, rises the sharp ridge of the Jais-
quivel, beneath which lies Fuentarabia.
Yonder by I run is the abrupt cliff of Las Tres
Coronas, three.crowns of rock. Here one is in
the south-east of the Bay, where France and
Spain run together, and the sea, under the
dominion of the prevailing south-westers, is
rarely at peace with the land. To the northward, but out of sight, lies windy Biarritz; to the
south is blood-stained, battered and renewed
San Sebastia.n, a name that recalls many
deeds of heroism and many of shame. The
horrors of its siege and taking might make one
cold even in sunlight. But between us and its
new city lies the Bidassoa. Here, at St Jean de
Luz, is the Nivelle flowing past Ciboure.    The .-J. J JJtJ.-
ACROSS THE BIDASSOA
233
river was once familiar to us in despatches.
The whole country even yet smells of ancient
war. For here lies the great western road to
Spain. And more than once it has been the
road to Paris. It is a path of rising and falling
empire.
During my few days at St Jean de Luz I had
foregathered with some exiled friends, walked to
quiet Ascain, and regretted I lacked the time
even to attain the summit of so small a mountain as Larhune, and then, desiring for once to
set foot in Spain, took train to Hendaye. This
is the last town in France. Across the Bidassoa
rose the quaint roofs and towers of old Fuent-
arabia, the Fontarabie of the French. I hired
an eager Basque to row me across the
river, then running seaward at the last of the
ebb.
The day was splendid and mild. There was
no cloud in the sky, not a wreath of mist upon
the mountains. The river was a blue that
verged on green; its broad sand glowed
golden in the sun ; to seaward the amethystine
waters of the Atlantic heaved and glittered. On
the far cliffs they burst in lif|ing spray. The
hills wore the fine faint blue of atmosphere;
the wind was very quiet. This seemed at last
like peace.    I let my hands feel the cool waters 234
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
of the river and soaked my soul in the waters
of peace.
And yet my bold Basque chattered as he
stood at the bows and poled me with a
blunted oar across the river shallows. He told
me proudly that he had the three languages,
that he was all at home with French and
Spanish and Basque. He was intelligent
within due limits; he at anyrate knew how
to extract francs from an Englishman. That
generosity which consists in buying interested
civility as well as help or transport with an
extra fifty centimes is indeed but a wise and
calculated waste. It occurred to me that
he might solve a question that puzzled me.
Were the Basques united as a race, or were
their sympathies French or Spanish? After
considering how I should put it, I said,—
" Mon ami, est-ce que vous etes plus
Basque que Francais, ou plus Frangais que
Basque ? "
He taught me a lesson in simple psychology,
for he stopped poling and stared at me for
a long minute. Then he scratched his head
and a light came into his eyes.   J§
I Mais, ^monsieur, je suis un Basque
Francais!"
My fine distinction   was  beyond  him, and ACROSS THE BIDASSOA
235
it took me not a little indirect questioning
to discover that he was certainly more French
than Basque. He presently denounced the
Spanish Basques in good round terms, and
incidentally showed me that there must be a
veiy considerable difference in their respective
dialects. For he complained that the Spanish
Basques spoke so fast that it was hard to
understand them.
He put me ashore at last on a mud flat
and accompanied me to the Fonda Miramar,
where a bright and pretty waitress hurried,
after the fashion of Spaniards, to such an
extent that she got me a simple lunch in no
more than half an hour. My Spanish is far
worse even than my French, but in spite of
that we carried on an animated conversation
in French and English, Basque and Spanish.
At lunch my talk grew more fluent and
Mariquita went more deeply into matters.
She desired to know what I thought of the
Basques, of whom she was one, and a sudden
flicker of the deceitful imagination set me
inventing. I told her that I was a Basque
myself, though I was also an Englishman.
She exclaimed at this. She had never heard
of English Basques. How was it I did not
speak it ?    This was a sore point with me.    I
__ 236
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
assured her of the shameful fact that the
English Basques had lost their own tongue;
they were degenerate. I had some thoughts
of learning it in order to re-introduce it into
England. As soon as Mariquita had mastered
this astounding story she hurried to the
kitchen, and as I heard her relating something
with great excitement, I have little doubt
that a legend of English Basques is now
well on its way past historic doubt. Leaving
her to consider the news I had brought, I
went out with my boatman to view the old
town. I found it quaint and individual and
lovely.
A man who has seen much of the world
must hold some places strangely and essentially beautiful. My own favourite spots are
Auckland, N. Z.; the upper end of the Lake
of Geneva; Funchal in Madeira; the valley
of the Columbia at Golden City and the
valley of the Eden seen from Barras in
England. To these I can now add
Fuentarabia, the Pyrenees and the Bidassoa.
I stood upon the roof of the old ruined
palace of Charles Le Quint, and on every
point of the compass the view had most
peculiar and wonderful qualities. Beneath me
was the increasing flood of the frontier river: ACROSS THE BIDASSOA
237
at my very feet lay the narrow and picturesque
street canons of the ancient town; to the
south was I run in the shelter and shadow
of the mountains; east-south-east rose the
pyramidal summit of Larhune; the west was
the sharp ridge of the brown Jaisquivel which
hid San Sebastian; to the north was the
rolling Bay; and right to the south the
triple crown of Las Tres Coronas cut the
sky sharply. Right opposite me Hendaye
burnt redly in the glow of the southern sun.
In no place that I can remember have I seen
two countries, three towns, a range of
mountains, a big river and the sea at one
time. And there was not a spot in view
that had not been stained with the blood of
Englishmen.
But now there were no echoes of war in
Fuentarabia. Peace lay over its dark homes
and within its ancient walls. ON A VOLCANIC PEAK
I had seen Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli,
but had never yet climbed any volcano until
I stood upon the summit of the Peak of Tene-
riffe, Pico de Teyde, home of the gods and
devils as well as of the aboriginal Guanches of
the Canary Islands.
The wind was bitterly cold, more bitter,
indeed, than I have ever felt, and yet, as I
stood and shivered upon the little crater's
brink, fumes of sulphurous acid and smoke
swept round me and made me choke. The
edge of the crater was of white fired rock;
inside the cup the hollow was sulphur yellow.
Puffs of smoke came from cracks. I dropped
out of the wind and warmed myself at the
fire. I picked up warm stones and danced
them from one hand to another. And overhead a wind of ice howled. For the Peak
is twelve thousand feet and more above the
sea.     An  hour before   I  had   been   cutting
steps in the last slopes of the last ash cone
238 ON A VOLCANIC PEAK
239
of the volcano which still lives and may burst
into activity at any fatal moment.
To stand upon the Peak and look down
upon the world and the sea gives one a great
notion of the making of things. Once the
world was a crucible. The islands are all
volcanic, all ash and cinders, lava and pumice.
But I perceived that the Peak itself, the final
peak, the last five thousand feet of it, was but
the last result of a dying fire—a mere gas
spurt to what had been. The whole anatomy
of the island is laid bare ; the history and the
growth of the peak are written in letters of
lava, in wastes of pumice and fire-scarred
walls. The plain of the Canadas lies beneath
me, and is ten miles across. This was the
ancient crater; it is as big as the crater
of Kilauea, in the Hawaiian Islands. But
Kilauea is yet truly alive, a sea of lava with
many cones spouting lava. Such was the
crater of Teneriffe before the last peak rose
within its basin. Now retama, a hardy bitter
shrub, grows in these plains of pumice; the
flats of it are pumice and rapilli, white and
brown. But the ancient crater walls stand
unbroken for miles, though here and there
they have been swept away, some say by
floods of water belched from the pit.
is 240
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
From the last ash-peak of fire, as I stood
on the crater walls in smoke and a cold wind,
I saw no sign of Teneriffe's fertility.     The
works of man upon the lower slopes  below
the pifion forests were invisible.    The slopes
by  Orotava   lay under   cloud,  the  sea   was
hidden almost to its horizon by a vast plain
of heaving mist.    All I could see plainly was
the old crater itself, barren, vast, tremendous,
with its fire-scarred walls and its fumaroles.
To   the   west   some   smoked   still,   smoked
furiously.     But   though   I   stood   upon   the
highest peak, another one almost as high lay
behind me.    Chahorra gaped and gasped, as it
seemed,  like   a   leaping,  suffocating   fish   in
drying mud.    Its crater opened like a mouth
and around  it lesser holes gaped.     On  the
plain of the old crater there rise two separate
volcanoes—one, the true peak, rising 5000 feet
from the Canada floor (itself 7000 feet above
the sea), and Chahorra, nearly 4000.    But so
vast is the ancient crater that these two peaks,
one  yet alive and the other dead, seem but
blisters or boils upon its barren plain.    To the
north, miles from the edge of my peak, I could
see the. crater cliff rise red.    To the west and
east   the   wall   has   broken   down,   but   the
Fortaleza, as the Canary men call it, stands yet, ON A VOLCANIC PEAK
241
scarred into chimneys, shining, half glassy, half
like fired clay. And further to the east, beyond
the gap called the Portillo, the cliffs rise again
as one follows the trail over that high desert to
Vilaflor. White pumice lies under these cliffs,
looking like a beach. Once perhaps the crater
was level with the sea. It may even be that
the crater walls were broken down by outer
waters, not by any volcanic flood.
None knows at what time the peaklof
Chahorra and the great peak were truly active.
But obviously the final peak itself was the
result of a last great eruption. Perhaps the
old crater had been quiescent for thousands of
years, and then it worked a little and threw up
El Teyde. At some other time Chahorra rose.
At another period, in historic times, the volcano
above Garachico, even now smoking bravely,
sent its lava into Garachico's harbour and
destroyed it. But the last peak as it stands
is the work of two periods of activity at least.
The first great slope ends at another flat called
the Rambleta. Here was once an ancient
crater. Then the fires quietened, and there was
a time of lesser activity. It woke again, and
threw up the last weary ash-cone of a thousand
feet or near it.
All things die, but who shall say when a
iZMi&jfi 242
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
volcano has done its worst ? A quiet Vesuvius
slew its thousands : Etna its tens of thousands.
Some day perhaps Teneriffe will wake again,
either in earthquakes or lava-flow, and cause a
Casamicciola or a Catania. The cones over
against Garachico seemed much alive to me,
and had I not warmed frozen hands at the very
earth fires themselves? I broke out hot
sulphur with the pick of my ice-axe. I cod of
the Vines, or Orotava itself, port and villa,
might some day wake to such a day as that
which has smitten St Pierre in fiery Martinique.
Once all the quiet seas were unbroken by
their seven islands—Hierro, Palma, Gomera,
Teneriffe, Grand Canary, Fuerteventura,
and Lanzarote lay beneath the waters of
the smiling ocean. Even now they smell
of fire and the furnace; in the most fruitful vineyards of Grand Canary the soil is
half cinders. In all the islands vast cinder
heaps rise black and forbidding. Lava
streams, in which the poisonous euphorbia
alone can grow, thrust themselves like great
dykes among fertile lands. The very sands
of the sea are powdered pumice and black
volcanic dust. One of the greatest craters
of the world holds within itself great parts
of  wooded  Palma.    On  dead  volcanoes are
t  \m\ ON A VOLCANIC PEAK
243
the petty batteries of Spain over against
Las Palmas. There is something strange
and almost pathetic in the thought of guns
raised where Nature once thundered dreadfully in the barren sunlit Isleta.
But of all the islands and of all parts of
them, the Peak, shining over clouds and
visible from far seas, is the king and chief. I
left its fiery summit with a certain reluctance.
It attracted me strangely. It represented,
feebly enough, I daresay, the greatest of all
elemental forces. Yet its faint fires and its
smoke and sulphur fumes had all the power
of a mighty symbol. By such means, by such
a formula, had the very world itself been
made. Though snow lay upon its slopes and
ice bound ancient blocks of lava together,
it might at any hour awake again and renew
the terrors which once must have floated over
the seas in a gust of flame.
H SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
With the introduction of fences, which are
now coming in with tremendous rapidity,
sheep-herding as an art is inevitably doomed.
When I knew north-west Texas a few years
ago there was not a fence between the Rio
Grande and the north of the Panhandle, but
now barbed or plain wire is the rule, and in
the pastures it is, of course, not so necessary to
look after the sheep by day and night. In
Australia I have not seen those under my
charge for a week or more at a time. While
there was water in the paddock I never even
troubled to hunt them up in the hundred
square miles of grey-green plain with its rare
clumps of dwarf box. If dingoes were reported to be about I kept my eyes open, of
course, but they were very rare in the Lachlan
back blocks, and I was never able to earn the
five shillings reward for the tail of this yellow
marauder.    But in Te.xas there are more wild
244 SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
245
animals—the coyote, the bear, the " panther " or
puma—and it is impossible to leave the sheep
entirely to their own devices, even in pastures
which prevent them wandering. Nevertheless,
looking after them on fenced land is very
different from being with them daily and
hourly, sleeping with them at night, following
and directing them by day, being all the time
wary lest some should be divided from the
main flock by accident, or lest the whole body
should spy another sheep-owner's band and
rush tumultuously into it.
But the new and unaccustomed shepherd on
the prairie is apt to give himself much unnecessary trouble. It takes some time to learn
that a flock of sheep is like a loosely-knit
organism which will not separate or divide if it
can help it. It might be compared with a low
kind of jelly-fish, or even to a sea-anemone, for
under favourable conditions of sun and sky it
spreads out to feed, leaving between each of
its members what is practically a constant
distance. For when the weather changes they
come closer together, and any alarm puts them
into a compact mass. I have heard a gun
fired unexpectedly, and then seen some 2000
sheep, spreading loosely over an irregular
circle, about half a mile in diameter, rush for a 246
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
common centre with an infallible instinct.
And then they gradually spread out again like
that same sea-anemone putting forth its
filaments after being touched.
The new shepherd, however, is in constant
dread lest they should separate and divide so
greatly that he will lose control of them. I
have walked many useless miles endeavouring
to keep a flock within unnatural limits before I
discovered that they never went more than a
certain distance from the centre. And this
distance varied strictly with the numbers. At
night time they begin to draw together, and if
they are not put in a corral or fold will^at last
lie down in a fairly compact mass, remaining
quiet, if undisturbed, until the approach of
dawn. But if they have had a bad day for
feeding they sometimes get up when the moon
rises and begin to graze. Then the shepherd
may wake up, and, finding he is alone, have to
hunt for them. As they usually feed with
their heads up wind it is not as a rule hard to
discover them. If the moon is covered by
a cloudy sky they will often camp down
again.
The hardest days for the shepherd are cold
ones, when it blows strongly. For then the
sheep travel at a great pace, and will not go SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
247
quietly until the sun comes out of the grey sky
of the chilly norther, which perhaps moderates
towards noon. But in such weather they do
not care to camp at noonday, and instead of
spreading they will travel onward and onward.
They doubtless feel uncomfortable and restless. After such a day they are uneasy at
night, especially when there is a moon.
It is my opinion, after experience of both
conditions, that unherded sheep do much
better than those .which are closely looked
after. In Australia our percentage of lambs
was sometimes 104, and any squatter would
think something wrong if his sheep on the
plain yielded less than 90 per cent, increase.
But in Texas, where the mothers are watched
and helped, the increase is seldom indeed 75 in
the 100, much oftener it is 60. I used to
wonder whether the losses by wild animals
would have equalled the loss of 25 per cent,
increase which is, I believe, entirely due to the
care taken of them. For herding is essentially
a worrying process, even when practised by a
man who understands sheep well. The
mothers are never left alone, and must be
driven to a corral at night. Consequently
they often get separated from their lambs
before they come to know them^ and one of
HKa 248
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
the most pitiful things seen by a shepherd is
the poor distracted ewe refusing to recognise
her own offspring even when it is shown to
her. We used in such cases to put them together in a little pen during the night, hoping
that she would "own" it by the morning.
But very often she would not, and then the
lamb usually died. If, indeed, it was one of a
more sturdy constitution than most, it would
refuse to die and became a kind of Ishmael in
the flock. The milk which was necessary it
took, or tried to take, from the ewe, who, for
just a moment, might not know a stranger was
trying to share the right of her owft lamb.
Such an orphan rarely grows up, and most of
them die quickly, as they are knocked about
and cruelly used by those who take no interest
in the disinherited outcast of that selfish ovine
society. And yet its real mother is in the
flock, reconciled to her loss after a few days of
suffering.
In spite of my present very decided disinclination to have anything to do with sheep,
they are, like every other animal, very interesting when closely studied. I spent some years
in their society in New South Wales and
know a little about them. Shortly before
I left Ennis Creek ranch in North-west Texas a SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
249
very curious incident occurred, which I could
never quite satisfactorily explain, for I believe
the most serious fright I have ever had in all
my life was caused by these same inoffensive,
innocent quadrupeds. It was not inflicted on
me by a ram, which is occasionally bellicose,
but by ewes with their lambs, and I distinctly
remember being as surprised as if the sky had
fallen or something utterly opposed to all
causation had confronted me. I want to meet
a man, even of approved courage, who would
not be shocked into fair fright by having half-a-
dozen ewes suddenly turn and charge him with
the fury of a bullock's mad onset. Would he
not gasp, be stricken dumb, and look wide-
eyed at the customary nature about him, just
as if they had broken into awful speech ? I
imagine he would, for I know that it shook my
nerves for an hour afterwards, even though I
had by that time recovered sufficient courage
to experiment on them in order to see if the
same result would again follow. I had about
500 ewes and lambs under my care. The day
was warm, though the wind was blowing
strongly, and when noon approached the flock
travelled but slowly towards the place where I
wished them to make their mid-day camp. To
urge them on I took a large bandana handker- 250
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
chief and flicked the nearest to me with it as I
walked behind. As I did so the wind blew it
strongly, and it suddenly occurred to me to
make a sort of a flag of it in order to see if it
would frighten them. I took hold of two
corners and held it over my head, so that it
might blow out to its full extent. Now,
whether it was due to the glaring colour, or
the strange attitude, or to the snapping of the
outer edge of the handkerchief in the wind—
and I think it was the last—I cannot say, but
the hindmost ewes suddenly stopped, turned
round, eyed me wildly, and then half-a-dozen
made a desperate charge, struck me x>n the
legs, threw me over, and fled precipitately as I
fell. It was a reversal of experience too
unexpected! I lay awhile and looked at
things, expecting to see the sun blue at the
least, and then I gathered myself together
slowly. In all seriousness I was never so
taken aback in all my life, and I was almost
prepared for a ewe's biting me. I remembered
the Australian story of the rich squatter catching a man killing one of his sheep. " What
are you doing that for ?" he inquired as a
preliminary to requesting his company home
until the police could be sent for. The
questioned one looked up and answered coolly, SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
251
though not, I imagine, without a twinkle in his
eye, "Kill it! Why am I killing it? Look
here, my friend, I'll kill any man's sheep as
bites me." For my part, I don't think biting
would have alarmed me more. After that I
made experiments on the ewes, and always
found that the flying bandana simply frightened
them into utter desperation when nothing else
would. It was a long time before they got
used to it. I should like to know if any other
sheep-herders ever had the same experience at
home or abroad.
In another book I spoke of lambs when they
were very young taking my horse for their
mother. This was in California; but in Texas
I have often seen them run after a bullock or
steer. One day on the prairie a lamb had been
born during camping-time, and when it was
about two hours old a small band of cattle
came down to drink at the spring. Among
these was a very big steer, with horns nearly a
yard long, who came close to the mother, just
then engaged in cleaning her offspring. She
ran off, bleating for her lamb to follow. The
little chap, however, came to the conclusion
that the steer was calling it, and went tottering
up to the huge animal, that towered above him
like the side of a canon, apparently much to 252
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
the latter's embarrassment. The steer eyed it
carefully, and lifted his legs out of the way as
the lamb ran against them, even backing a
little, as if as surprised as I had been when the
ewes assaulted me. Then all of a sudden he
shook his head as if laughing, put one horn
under the lamb, threw it about six feet over his
back, and calmly walked on. I took it for
granted that the unwary lamb was dead, but on
going up I found it only stunned, and, being
as yet all gristle, it soon recovered sufficiently
to acknowledge its real mother, who had
witnessed its sudden elevation, stamping with
fear and anxiety.
Sheep-herding is supposed, by those who
have never followed it, to be an easy, idle, lazy
way of procuring a livelihood; but no man who
knows as much of their ways as I do will think
that. It is true that there are times when
there is little or nothing to be done—when a
man can sit under a tree quietly and think of
all the world save his own particular charge ;
but for the most part, if he have a conscience,
he will feel a burden of responsibility upon him
which of itself, independently of the work he
may have to do, will earn him his little monthly
wage of twenty dollars and the rough ranch
food of " hog and hominy."   For there is no SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
253
ceasing of labour for the Texas herder of the
plains ; Sunday and week-day alike the dawning sun should see him with his flock, and even
at night he is still with them as they are
" bedded out" in the open. Even if he can
"corral" them in a rough sort of yard, some
slinking coyote may come by and scare them
into breaking bounds ; and when they are not
corralled the bright moon may entice them to
feed quietly against the wind, until at last the
herder wakes to find his charge has vanished
and must be anxiously sought for. In
Australia, as I have said, the sheep are left
to their own devices for the greater part of the
year, unless there should be unusual scarcity of
water; but even there, to have charge of so
many thousand animals, and so many miles of
fencing, makes it no enviable task, while the
labour, when it does come, is hard and unremitting. In New South Wales I have often
been eighteen and twenty hours in the saddle,
and have reached home at last so wearied out
that I could scarcely dismount. One day I
used up three horses and covered over ninety
miles, more than fifty of it at a hard canter or
gallop—and if that be not work I should like
to know what is. This, too, goes on day after
day during shearing, just when the days are 254
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
growing hot and hotter still, the spare herbage
browning, and the water becoming scanty and
scantier. And for a recompense ? There is
none in working with sheep. They are quiet,
peaceable, stupid, illogical, incapable of exciting
affection, very capable of rousing wrath; far
different from the terrible excitement of a
bellowing herd of long-horned cattle as they
break away in a stampede, among whom is
danger and sudden death and the glory of
motion and conquest; or with horses thundering over the plain in hundreds, like a riderless
squadron shaking the ground with(^ waving
manes, long flowing tails, and flashing eyeballs,
whom one can love and delight in, and shout
to with a strange, vivid joy that sends the
blood tingling to the heart and brain. Were
I to go back to such a life I would choose the
danger, and be discontented to maunder on
behind the slow and harmless wool-bearers, cursing a little every now and again at their foolishness, and then plodding on once more, bunched
up in an inert mass on a slow-going horse, who
wearily stretches his neck almost to the ground
as he dreams, perhaps, of the long, exhilarating
gallops after his own kind that we once had
together, being conscious, I daresay, of the
contemptuous pity  I   feel  for  the slow fore- SHEEP AND SHEEP-HERDING
255
doomed muttons that crawl before us on the
long and weary plain.
It is highly probable that the introduction
of fences will have its effect in other ways than
in increasing the number of lambs born and
reared. Sheep-herding will almost disappear
when the wild beasts of Texas are extinct, as
they soon will be, for a fenced country is very
unfit for such animals. But then the natural
glory of the wide open prairie will be gone,
and civilisation will gradually destroy all that
was so delightful, even when my sheep, by
worrying me, taught me what I have here
set down. RAILROAD   WARS
Everybody nowadays has some notion of
the way the railroad business of America
is carried on. They know that there are
too many roads for the traffic, and that, to
prevent a general ruin, the managers
combine, pay the profits into the hands of
a receiver, and receive again from him a
certain agreed proportion of the whole sum.
But this method of "pooling" the profits
is sometimes unsatisfactory. One line will
think it gets too little if the fluctuations of
trade send more freight over its rails than
it formerly had, and will demand a greater
proportion of the gross profits. This
demand may be granted, but if not, the
agreement may break down, and the discontented railroad go to work on the old
principle of every man for himself. This
very likely inaugurates a war of tariffs;
fares and freights go down slowly or quickly
25S RAILROAD WARS
257
according as the quarrel is open or secret,
until one or other of the parties gives in to
avoid complete ruin.
While I was living in San Francisco, early
in 1886, there was an open war between all
the lines west of Chicago and Kansas City,
including the Union Pacific, the Northern
Pacific, the Denver and Rio Grande, the
Southern Pacific, and the Atchison, Topeka
and Santa F6. Fares to New York and the
Atlantic seaboard came tumbling down by
$10 at a fall. The usual rate from New
York to San Francisco is $72. It fell to 60,
to 50, 40, 30, to 25, to 22. All the railroad offices had great placards outside inviting everyone to go East at once, for they
would never get such a chance again. Some
of the notices were very odd. One began
with f" Blood, blood, blood!" and another
had a hand holding a bowie knife, with the
legend " Here we cut deep!" And, as I
have said, they did cut deep, for at the
end one might go to New York for about
118. Now this $18 went in a lump to the
railroad east of Chicago. Consequently the
passengers were carried over 2000 miles for
nothing. Frequently during two days men
were   booked   to   Chicago   or   Kansas   City 258
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
from San Francisco or Los Angeles for $i.
Two thousand miles for 4s. 2d!
Such a state of things could not last, but
while it did it gave rise to much speculation.
Many men bought up tickets, good for
some time, believing the bottom prices had
been reached when the fall had by no means
ended. It was odd to stand outside an
office and listen to the crowd. Some would
hold on and say, "I'll chance it till tomorrow." Then I have seen an agent
come outside and say, " Gentlemen, now's
your time to go east and visit your families.
Don't delay. Of course fares maylfall
further, but I think not. Don't be too greedy.
You are not likely to get the chance again
of going home for twenty-five dollars."
They did fall further, but recovered again
on the rumour of negotiations beginning
between the competing lines. When that
was contradicted they fell again. Suddenly,
without any warning, they jumped up to
normal rates, and left many of the outside
public—the bears, so to speak—lamenting
that they had not taken the opportunity so
eloquently pointed out by the oratorical agents
on the sidewalk by the offices. For the
placards  and   pictures   came  down  at  once, RAILROAD WARS
259
and to an inquirer who asked, "What can
you do New York at?" the answer was,
"Why, sir, the usual rate—$72."
To an Englishman who has not travelled in
the States and become familiar with the
methods employed there by business men, it
seems odd that anyone should chaffer with the
clerk at a ticket-office. What would an
English booking-clerk say if he were asked
about the fare to some place, and, on replying
£iy received the rejoinder, "I'll give you
15s?' He would think the man a joker of a
very feeble description. Yet this may often
be done in Western America. Even when
there is no " war" the agents have a certain margin to veer and haul on in their commission, and will often knock off a little sooner
than allow a rival line to get the passenger.
Besides, it frequently happens that there may
be a secret cutting of rates without an open
war. My own experience, when I came down
from Sonoma County in the autumn of 1886,
meaning to return to England, will give a very
good notion of this, and of the way to get a
cheap ticket when there is the trouble among
the companies which may end in a war, or be
patched up by arbitration.
It had been said in the papers for some time 260
A TRAMP'S NOTE BOOK
that rate-cutting was going on in San Francisco, and this made me hurry down not to
lose the opportunity. The morning after my
arrival I walked into an office in Kearney
Street and said briefly, " What are you doing
to New York? " The clerk said in a business
way, " Seventy-two dollars.'' I laughed a little
and looked at him straight without speaking.
| Hum," said he ; | well, you can go for sixty-
five." "Thanks," I said, "it isn't enough." I
walked out, and though he called me back I
would not return. Then I went to Mr P., a
well-known agent for railroads and steamships.
To use a vulgarism, he did not open his mouth
so wide as the other, but at once offered me a
through ticket to Liverpool for $72. I thanked
him and said I would call again. Deducting
the $12 for a steerage passage, his railroad fare
was $60. So far I had knocked off 12. And
now it began to rain very hard. It did not
cease all day. And my day's work was only
begun, for it was only ten o'clock then. I
went from one office to another, quoting one's
rates here and another's there, and slowly I
dropped the fare to fifty. I had to explain to
some of these men that I was not a fool, and
that I knew what I was doing ; that if they
took  me  for a  "tenderfoot," or a "sucker," RAILROAD WARS
261
they were mistaken. My explanations always
had an effect, and down the fare tumbled. At
last, about three o'clock, I had got things to a
very fine point, and was working two rival
offices which stood side by side near the Palace
Hotel. One man—Mr A., whom I knew by
name, who indeed knew a friend of mine—
offered me $45. I shook my head, and going
next door, Mr V. made it a dollar less. It
took me half-an-hour to reduce that again to
forty-three; but at last Mr A., who was as
much interested in this little game as if I were
a big stake at poker, went suddenly down to
$41. I offered to toss him whether it should
be $40 or $42. He accepted, and I won the
toss. As he made out the ticket, he remarked,
almost sadly, " We don't make anything out of
this." But he cheered up, and added, " Well,
the others don't either." So I got my ticket;
and it was over one of the best lines. By that
day's work, though I got wet through, covered
with mud, and very tired, I saved $32.
When on board the east-bound train next
day I got talking with some dozen men who
were going east with me, and, naturally
enough, we asked each other what fares we had
paid. I found they varied greatly, but the
average  was about $60.    One little  Jew,  a 262
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
tobacconist, was very proud that his only cost
$48. He almost wept when I told him that I
beat him by eight whole dollars. Moreover, I
reached New York twenty hours before him,
for when we parted at Chicago we made
arrangements to meet in New York, and then
I found that he had been obliged to round into
Canada, and lie over all one night, while I had
come direct on the Chicago and Alton with
only two hours' wait at Lima; so on the whole
I did not think I did very badly. AMERICAN SHIPMASTERS
It may seem strange to people who are entirely
unacquainted with the methods of shipmasters
and officers generally in the American mercantile marine that a sailor should have such a
deadly objection to sail in one of their vessels ;
but those who know the hideous brutalities
which continually occur on such ships will
quite understand the feelings of a man who
finds himself on a vessel which would probably
have been manned willingly if it had not a bad
character among seamen. I have known an
American vessel lie six weeks and more off
Sandridge, Melbourne, waiting for a crew,
which she could not get, although men were
very plentiful and the boarding-houses full.
There are some vessels running from New
York, etc., round the Horn to San Francisco,
which   have   a   villainous   reputation.     The
captain of one of these was sentenced to eighteen
263 264
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
months in the Penitentiary when I was in the
great Pacific Port for incredible atrocities
practised on his crew. For one thing, he shot
repeatedly at men who were up aloft, and hit
one of them who was on the main-yard, though
not so seriously as to make him quit his hold
of the jack-stay. One of the ship's boys was
treated with barbarity during the whole
passage; thrashed, beaten, starved, and ill-used
in the vilest manner ; and at last the captain
knocked him down and jumped on his face so
as to blind him for life. This man went a little
too far, and the courts, which are always biassed,
and very much biassed considering their^origin,
on the side of rich authority, were compelled to
do their duty by the uproar that this last incident caused. Yet even after that the people
connected with the shipping interests got
up petitions, and intrigued and wire-pulled for
months to get the Governor of California to
pardon him. Failing in this, they approached
the President; but I am heartily glad their
efforts were vain.
One of my own shipmates in the Colomay of
Portland, Oregon, was once with a commander
of this class, and so bad was his reputation that
no one among the crew knew until they were
under way who the captain was.   My mate said, AMERICAN SHIPMASTERS
265
" I was at the wheel when I saw him come up
the companion, and, as I had sailed with him
before, my blood ran cold when I recognised
him. He came straight up to the wheel, stared
at me, and asked me, * Haven't you sailed with
me before?' 'Yes, sir,' I answered. Then he
grinned, | Ha, then you know me. When you
go forward you tell the crowd what kind of a
man I am, and tell them that if they behave
themselves I'll be a father to 'em.' I knew
what his being a father to us meant. However,
I didn't see any good in scaring the fellows, so
when my trick was over I told them the
skipper was a real beauty. Just then there was
a roar from the poop, * Relieve the wheel'; and
the man who had relieved me came staggering
forrard with his face smpthered in blood. He
had let her run off a quarter of a point or so,
and the skipper, without saying a word, struck
him right between the eyes with the end of his
brass telescope, cutting his nose and forehead
in great gashes. That was his way of being a
father to us, and he kept it up all the passage.
The first chance I got I skinned out!"
It is true that the American mercantile
marine is not so bad as it was. These things
do not occur in all vessels, but even yet they
occur so frequently that an English sailor would, 266
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
as a general rule, rather sail with the devil
himself than an American skipper. What
the state of affairs was some twenty or
thirty years ago one can hardly imagine, but it
certainly was much worse then. Shanghai-ing
is not so much practised. There is a story
current among seamen, though I know not how
true it is, that it was checked owing to the
lieutenant of an English man-of-war being
drugged and carried on board an American
merchant-man. However, there is now, or was
but lately, a boarding-house keeper in San
Francisco whose Christian or first name had
been abolished in favour of " Shanghai." I had
the very doubtful honour of knowing liim, and
could easily believe any stories told of his
chicanery and treachery to sailormen.
»'l TRAMPS
The poor tramp is a much-abused person, and
I have no doubt that he often deserves what is
said of him, but, in spite of that, his life is
often so hard that he might extort at the least
a little sympathy—and something to eat.    All
Americans   are  too  ready   to  confound  two
distinct classes of tramps—those who take the
road to look for work, and those (the larger
number, I confess) who look for work and pray
to heaven that they may never find it.    In this
preponderance of the lazy traveller over the
industrious   lies  the distinction   between the
state of affairs in America and Australia, for in
the latter country the "sundowner," or "mur-
rumbidgee whaler," or " hobo " proper, is in the
minority.
When I was on the tramp myself in Oregon
I was much annoyed by being taken for one of
the truly idle kind.    I remember at Roseberg,
267 268
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
or a little to the north of it, I once stopped and
had a talk with a farmer whom I had asked for
work. Although he had none to give me he
was very civil, and we talked of tramps and
tramping. He looked at me keenly. " I can
see you are not of the regular professionals,"
said he. " Thank you for your perspicacity,"
I answered, and though perspicacity fairly
floored him, he saw it was not an insult, and
went on talking. " Now look here, my boy,
they say we're hard on tramps, and perhaps
some of us are, but I reckon we sometimes get
enough to make us rough. Last summer I
was in my orchard, picking cherries, I think,
and a likely-looking, strong young fellow
comes along the road. Seeing me, he climbs
the fence, and says to me, 'Say, boss, could
you give me something to eat ? I haven't had
anything to-day.' I looked at him. 'Why,
yes,' said I. f If you'll go up to the house I'll
be up there in a few minutes when I've filled
this pail; and while you're waiting just split a
little wood. The axe is on the wood pile.'
Now, look you, what d'ye think he said. * I
don't split wood. I ain't going to do any
work till I get to Washington Territory.'
'Oh!' said I, 'that's it, is it? Then look
here, young fellow, don't you eat anything till TRAMPS
269
you get there either; for I won't give you
anything, and just let me see you climb that
fence in a hurry.' So he went off cursing.
Ain't that kind of thing enough to make us
rough on tramps ?—let alone that they steal the
chickens; and if you look as you go down the
road you'll see feathers by every place they
camp." That was true enough, and south of
the Umpqua I used to find goose feathers
every few hundred yards. On that same
tramp down through Oregon I once met four
men travelling north. There had been a
murder committed by a tramp in the south of
Roseberg, and we stopped under an old
scrubby oak to talk it over. Three of them
were working men, but the fourth was a true
professional, about fifty years of age, whose
clothes were ragged to the last extremity of
atters. His hands were brown at the backs,
but I noticed, when I gave him some tobacco,
which he very promptly asked for, that the
palms were perfectly soft. He told us how
long he had travelled, and how many years it
was since he had done any work; and, finally
rising, he picked up a wretched-looking
blanket, and said, " Well, good-day, gentlemen. I'm off to call on the Mayor of Portland
and a few rich friends of mine up there"    He ft j
270
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
winked    good - humouredly    and    shambled
off. jj
I met a lame young fellow near Jacksonville, who told me he had come all the way
from New York State, and was thinking of
going back. He was in very good spirits,
and did not appear in the least dismayed at
the prospect of tramping 2000 miles, for he
was one of those who do not use the railroad
and "beat their way." When I was at work
in Sonoma County, California, a little fellow
came and worked for ten days, who once
travelled 200 miles inside the cowcatcher of
-an engine. Most English people know the
wedge-shaped pilot in front of the American
engine well enough by repute to recognise it.
When the engine was in the yard over the
hollow track he crawled in, taking a board
to sit on inside. When the locomotive once
ran out on the ordinary track it was impossible
to remove him, although the fireman soon
discovered his presence there, and poured
some warm water over him. On coming
to a little town about fifty miles from his
destination the constable came down to
the train. " He came," said Hub (that was
our tramp's name) " to see that no tramps
get off there, or,  if they did, to advise them TRAMPS
271
to clear out. He walked to the engine and
said ! Good day' to the driver. ' Got any
tramps on board to-day, Jack ? I he said.
j We've got one,' he answered; j but we
can't get him off.' 'Why? how's that?' said
the constable. ' Go and look at the pilot.'
So he came round and looked at me, and he
burst into a laugh. 'All right, Jack,' says
he, 'you can keep him. He won't trouble
us, I can see.' And with that he poked me
with his stick, and called everyone to take a
look. I said nothing, but you bet I felt mean
to be cooped up there, not able to move,
with all the folks laughing at me."
But, in spite of Hub's sad experience, he
went off on the tramp again as soon as he
had enough to buy a pair of new boots with.
Tramps—that is, the bad ones among them
—are very often insolent when they find no
one but women in the house. Once a man
I knew was working in Indiana, but having
a bad headache he remained in one morning.
By-and-by a truculent-looking tramp came
along. "Kin you give us suthin' to eat,
ma'am ? " he growled. " Certainly," said the
woman, who was always kind to travellers.
She set about making him a meal and put
out some bread and meat.    The tramp, who 272
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
certainly did not look hungry, eyed it with
disfavour. " Bah!" said he at last, with
intense contempt; "I don't want that stuff.
D'ye think I'm starving? A'nt you got
suthing nice—say, some strawberry shortcake and cream ? " The woman stared with
astonishment, as well she might. But the
man with the headache heard Mr Tramp's
remarks. There was a shot-gun hanging in
the room where he was ; so, slipping off the
bed, he reached for the weapon, walked out
quietly, and, thrusting the muzzle of the gun
under the tramp's ear, he roared in a fierce
voice I Get!5 And, to use the vernacular,
the tramp "got" instantly.
The last story I will tell of tramps is
perhaps the most audacious of all. I met
the chief actor in British Columbia. It
appears that he and another man went one
Sunday to a very respectable farmhouse in
Illinois to beg for food. They knocked and
there was no answer. They knocked again,
and still without avail. Then they opened
the unlocked door and went in. The dining-
table was laid ready for a feast, as it seemed,
for it was adorned with an admirable cold
collation, including a turkey, several fowls,
and   a   number   of  pies.    The||eyes of my TRAMPS
273
acquaintance and his partner sparkled. Here
was a chance, for the family was at church.
They went out, got a sack, and hastily
tumbled into it the turkey, the fowls, some
bread, and the most substantial pies. Just
as it toas getting full one looked out of the
window and saw a man coming up the path.
They were struck with terror of discovery,
but on watching they soon saw that this was
a tramp like themselves. He came up and
knocked at the door. "Can you give me
something to eat, sir ?' he asked humbly.
" I guess so," said my acquaintance, coolly ;
"that is, if you ain't one of the tramps that
won't work. Will you cut some wood for your
dinner?' "Of course I will," said the tramp,
gladly, and he went to the wood pile. While
he was at work the two spoilers of the
Egyptians departed through the back door,
and went about a hundred yards to the corner
of a wood, where they laughed till they cried.
The result of their manoeuvre was sure to be
too good to be lost, so one of them climbed up
a tree and watched. In about a quarter of
an hour he saw a string of men and women
coming towards the house, and still the
working tramp made the chips fly. On
entering the yard one of the men  went up 274
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
to interview him, and by the tramp's gestures
it was evident that he was explaining that he
had been set to work. Meanwhile, the
women went in, but came out again in a
moment, shrieking with .indignation. The
next sight was the farmer armed with a stick
belabouring the astonished worker, who fled
across the fence incontinently. He was followed
to the very verge of the wood, and then the
exhausted " mossbaek" left him to return to
the house. " It was just the funniest thing I
ever saw," declared my unabashed friend;
" and to see that poor fellow get whipped for
our sins nearly killed me. But I tell i you we
rewarded him for his labour after all. We
found him sitting on a stump rubbing himself
all over, and invited him to dinner with us.
So, you see, he got the grub we promised him,
and he didn't work for nothing, for that would
just kill a tramp." TEXAS  ANIMALS
The fauna of Texas is very varied, and a
naturalist may find plenty there for his note-book,
and much to reflect on, if he be a contemplative
man. A hunter may satisfy himself, too, if he
goes into the extreme west and north-west, but
he must be quick about it, for I received a
letter years ago from a friend of mine in the
south part of the Panhandle of Texas, in which
he told me that all the land was getting fenced
in, even in those parts that I knew in 1884 as
wide and open prairie, and when fences come
the beasts go, deer and antelope retreat, and
"panther" or cougar are hunted and shot by
those who own sheep, cattle and horses. I am
no naturalist, and no great hunter. At the
risk of causing a smile of contempt I must
confess that I can hold a shot-gun, a | double-
pronged scatter-gun," or a rifle in my hands
without shooting at anything I see. I have
let antelope and deer pass me without even
275 276
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
letting the gun off, and have spared squirrels
and birds innumerable that most of my friends
would have promptly slain; but I take great
interest in animal life, and arn fond of watching
the denizens of prairie or forest.
When on my friend Jones's ranche in 1884
I sometimes went wild turkey hunting or
potting ; we used to choose a moonlight night
and lie under the trees, where they roosted,
and shoot them on the branches. It was mere
butchery, and the sole excitement consisted in
the doubt as to whether any of the big birds
would come or not, and the chief interest to
me was the conversation of my wild Texan
friends, who were stranger than turkeys to me.
There were not many birds of prey around
us, except the big slow-sailing turkey-buzzards,
which are protected by law as useful scavengers.
Nevertheless, I shot at one once, and having
missed it I never tried again.
My great friends were the hares or jack-
rabbits, which are fast, but very easy to shoot,
for if I saw one coming my way, loping or
cantering along, I stood stock-still, and he
would come past me without taking the least
notice of my presence, probably imagining I was
only a curious-shaped stump. Sometimes I
found them in the dry arroyos or water-courses, TEXAS ANIMALS
277
and threw stones at them. They rarely ran away
at once at full speed, but for the most part
went a little distance and sat up to look at me,
waiting for two or three stones, until they
made up their minds that I was decidedly
dangerous.
Another little animal was the cotton-tail
rabbit, so called from the white patch of fur
under the tail, which is as bright as cotton
bursting from the pod. I killed one once more
by impulse than anything else. It ran from
under my feet when I had a knife in my hand.
I threw it at the rabbit, and to my surprise
knocked it over, for I am a very bad shot with
that sort of missile.
The prairie dogs or marmots were in tens of
thousands round us, and I used to amuse
myself by shooting at one in particular with
the rifle. His hole was a hundred yards from
our camp, and he would come out and sit on
his hill every now and again, and then go
nibbling round at the grass. 1 shot at him a
dozen times, and once cut the ground under his
belly, but never killed him. They are
extremely hard to get even if shot, for they
manage to run into their burrows somehow,
even if mortally wounded. The Texans
believe they go back even when quite dead; 278
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
but then they are rather credulous, for some of
them believe that the rattlesnake lives on
friendly terms with the inmates of the burrows.
The rattlesnakes were very numerous, for one
day I killed seven. The first one I saw threw
me into a curious instinctive state of fury, and I
smashed it into pieces, while I trembled like
a horse who has nearly stepped on a venomous
snake. Those Texans who do not believe in
the friendship of snake and prairie dog say that
it is possible to make the rattler come out of a
hole he has taken refuge in by rolling small
pieces of dirt and earth down it. For they
assert that the prairie dogs earth up the mouth
of the burrow when they know a snake is in it,
and the reptile knows what is about to
happen.
Of other snakes there were the moccasins,
water snakes, and esteemed very deadly. It is
said that when an Indian is bitten by one of
these he lies down to die without making any
effort to save his life, whereas if a rattlesnake
has harmed him he usually cures himself.
Besides these there were the omnipresent
garter snakes, and the grey or silver coach-whip,
both harmless. The bull snake is said to grow to
an enormous size, and is a kind of North
American python or boa.     About five miles TEXAS ANIMALS
279
from our camp was an old hut, which was
occupied by a sheep-herder whom I knew.
One night he heard a noise, and looking out of
his bunk saw by the dim light of the fire an
enormous snake crawling out of a hole in the
corner of the room. He jumped out of bed and
ran outside, and found a stick. He killed it,
.and it measured nearly eleven feet. It is called
bull snake because it is popularly supposed to
bellow, but I never heard it make any noise of
such description.
On these prairies there are occasionally to
be found cougars, commonly called panthers or
"painters," although erroneously. In British
Columbia they are called mountain lions, and
the same name is applied to them in California,
unless they are called California lions. I am
informed by a naturalist friend that they are the
same species as the South American puma. I
knew a man in Colorado City who was a great
hunter of these animals, and he had half a
dozen hunting dogs torn and scratched all over
their bodies, with ears missing, and one with
half a tongue, who had suffered from the teeth
and claws of these cougars. He kept one in a
cage which was much too small for it, and I
was often tempted to poison it to put an end to
its misery.    This man had a regular menagerie 280
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
at the back of his house, consisting of various
birds, this cougar, and two bears.
These bears are not infrequently to be met
with on the prairies, and while I was staying
in a town one was brought in in a wagon.
Bruin had been captured by-four cowboys, who
had lassoed and tied it. He weighed about
600 lbs., and was a black bear, for the
cinnamon and grizzly do not, I believe, range
in open level country.
Besides these harmful animals there were
plenty of antelopes to be found, if one went to
look for them, and the cowardly slinking coyote
was often to be seen as one rode across the
prairie; and often in walking I found tortoises
with bright red eyes. These were small, about
six inches long. In the creeks were plenty of
mud turtles, which are fond of scrambling on to
logs to sun themselves, If disturbed they
drop into the water instantly, giving rise to a
saying to express quickness, " like a mud turtle
off a log." j
I have said nothing of bison. Perhaps there
are none now, but in 1884 there were supposed
to be still a few on the Llano Estacado or
Stakes Plain. I knew one man who used to eo
hunting them every year and usually killed a
few.    But the last time J saw him he was on 3, TEXAS ANIMALS
281
"jamboree," or spree, and killed his unfortunate
horse by tying it up without feeding it or giving
it water while he was drinking or drunk, and
so he did not make his usual trip. But I
imagine there can be few or none left now, and
probably the only representatives of the race
are in the National Park. IN A SAILORS' HOME
After coming back to England from Australia
in the barque Essex I found "home" a curious
place, which afforded very few prospects of a
satisfactory job. For if there is one thing more
than another borne in upon anyone who returns from the Colonies it is the apparent
impossibility of earning one's living in London.
Every avenue is as much choked as the entrance to the pit at a popular theatre on a first
night. And though it is said that we may
always get a tooth-brush into a portmanteau
however full it is, there comes a time when not
even a tooth-brush bristle can be put there. I
looked at London, wandered round it, spent all
my money, and determined to go to sea again,
this time in a steamer rather than in a " windjammer." With this notion in my mind I went
down to Hull, whither a shipmate of mine had
preceded me.    He had been a quarter-master
in the Essex and was the melancholy possessor
282 IN A SAILORS' HOME
283
of a cancelled master's certificate. He owed
this to drink, of course, as most men do who
pile their ships up on the first reef that comes
handy. But when he was sober he was a good
old fellow. He took me round to the Sailors'
Home in Salthouse Lane, and introduced me
to the man who ran it. I stayed there six
weeks.
The Sailors' Home as an institution is not
over-popular with seamen, especially with the
more   improvident   of  them.    And   the   improvident are certainly ninety per cent, of the
total sea-going race of man.    As a rule Homes
cease to be such when a man's money is done.
He is thrown out into the street or into some
equivalent   of  the   notorious   Straw   House.
There is always much talk at sea about the
relative advantages of Boarding-Houses and
Homes,  and half the   arguments   about the
subject end in more or less of a " rough house"
and a few odd black eyes.    However rude and
brutal   the   boarding-house   master   may be,
however much of a daylight robber he is (and
they mostly are " daylight robbers ") it is to his
advantage to make his house popular.    There
is no surer way of doing this than ensuring his
boarder a ship at the end of his short spree on
shore.    In many Homes the men look after this 284
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
themselves, Jack is a child and wants to be
looked after. As far as the Home in Salthouse
Lane went, I think it combined some of the
better qualities of both the common resorts of
men ashore. The boss of it knew something
about seamen; he was certainly not a robber,
and he kept me and several others when we
did not possess a red cent among us to jingle
on a tombstone. He also kept order, for he
had had some experience as a prize-fighter,
and could put the best of us on the floor at a
moment's notice. Once or twice he did so,
and peace reigned in Warsaw.
There were certainly very few of us in the
Home. Hull was not quite as full of sailors as
hell is of devils, as a boarding-house master
once assured me that San Francisco was when
I tried to get taken into his house after being
rejected even less politely by that eminent
scoundrel Shanghai Brown. Besides myself
there were a sturdy blue-nose or Nova-Scotian;
a long-limbed, slab-sided herring-back or native
of New Brunswick, a big thick-headed ass of
an Englishman and a smart thief of a Cockney,
known to us all as Ginger, We lived together
without quarrelling more than three times a
day. This we thought was peace. It was
certainly more peaceful than my last boarding- IN A SAILORS' HOME
285
house at Williamstown, where we had a little
bloodshed every night. But there the very
tables and benches were clamped to the floor ;
the windows were too high above us for anyone to be thrown out, and on a board nailed
beyond our reach was the legend, " Order must
and will be preserved." But that boarding-
house was very exciting; my last excitement in
it was tripping up a man, treading on his wrist
and taking away a razor with which he meant
to cut throats. In Hull we never went further
than a good common "scrap," though they
happened fairly often.
Times were not very brisk in Hull just then.
At anyrate, we did not find them so. We had
a "runner' at the Home, who was supposed
to help us find a ship, but certainly did not.
He was a very curious person to look at. He
weighed eighteen stone and was a perfect
giant of strength, with legs like columns and a
neck about twenty inches round. I never
found out what his nationality was. He
looked like a Russian, but denied that he was
one. It was said that he once fought six men
in the lane and downed them all in sheer desperation. As a matter of fact, he was rather
cowardly, I think, and easily put on, though if
he had really got mad something would have 286
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
had to give. We did not rely on him but
looked for ships ourselves in a very casual way.
Most of us pretended to look for them and
loafed about the neighbouring slums. When
sailormen are thrown on their own resources
they are pretty helpless creatures. The man
who is a lion on a topsail yard in a gale is too
often like a wet cat in a backyard when he is
ashore. I was lazy enough myself, but as it
happened it was I who got something to do
for Ginger, for the new Brunswicker and
myself.
I had not been living in the highly-desirable
neighbourhood of Salthouse Lane for a week
before I found myself without a stiver. The
rest were in the same condition. Every three
days or so I borrowed a penny from the boss
and got a shave in order to keep up my spirits.
Three days' beard is almost as depressing as
three days' starvation, and the little shop at the
corner, which renewed my self-respect for a
penny, seemed to me a most admirable institution. As for drinks, we had none—we
were sober sailors indeed. The sun might get
over the fore-yard and go down over the cro'-
jack but we never touched liquor. Nevertheless we had fights to relieve the monotony of
the situation.    The Nova Scotian and I took
-I IN A SAILORS' HOME
287
to being hostile. We disbelieved each other's
lies. So one day while we were in the smoking-
room he said something which was not at all
polite. I could not knock him down with a
chair because the careful and provident boss
had had them chained to the floor. So I hit
him, and hit him rather hard, for what he had
said out of pure devilry. He was sitting on
the table and I knocked him off. His particular
mate was the very thick-headed Englishman.
He did his best for the Nova Scotian by
holding me very tight while the blue-nose
hammered me. This was awkward, to say
nothing about the unfairness of it. I got
away but presently found myself across a bench
with my back in danger of being broken.
More by good luck than management I broke
loose and got the blue-nose across the bench.
I am thankful to say I nearly broke his back.
Then we waltzed round the room in the wildest
way, till the wife of the boss and the servant
girl flew in and broke up the party with the
most amazing energy. I was the youngest
and the most civilised, and the women naturally
said it was the Nova Scotian's fault. They
said so in the most voluble manner, and the
Nova Scotian did not like it. He said they
took my part because I was not so ugly as he 288
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
was, and said it wasn't fair, especially as I had
spoilt what little beauty he had. He further
asserted that he would knock the stuffing out
of me, and we were on hostile terms for twenty-
four hours. Two days later he got a job as
bo'sun in a barque and his mate shipped with
him, and peace was assured for a time.
The food they gave us was rough but fairly
good and plentiful. Wherever the meat came
from it could be masticated with some effort.
In Barclay's boarding-house, in Williamstown,
we had to take a spell in the middle of a
mouthful. I have seen steak there that would
have pauled a chaff-cutter. In the dining-
room at Salthouse Lane there lived the wildest,
most eccentric clock I ever saw in all my
travels. It had a most remarkable way of
striking quite peculiar to itself. We used to
dine at one o'clock. At noon the clock usually
struck one. In very extravagant days it
struck two. But no one could guess what
it would strike when it was really one o'clock.
I once counted seventy-two strokes, and on a
public holiday it went up to a hundred and
twenty.    It was our only amusement.
We were allowed to come in at almost any
time. When the Nova Scotian and his mate
had departed the  Cockney and  the herring-
—I IN A SAILORS' HOME
289
back and I used to run together and go waltzing round the back part of Hull pretty well all
night. Once we sat on the steps of a bank for
nearly four hours, between twelve and four.
With us were two young ladies, who were
possibly not very respectable but about whom
I knew nothing as I had never seen them
before and never saw them again, and another
young sailor who was good at yarns. I didn't
know his name. Absurd as it may seem we
were all quite happy. The policeman on the
beat saw that we were, and evidently hated to
disturb us. He came past us three times, and
each time asked us very nicely to go home.
Next time he repeated his request, and as he
said he would look on our doing so in the light
of a personal favour to himself, we agreed to
evacuate the bank at last.
Our greatest privation at the Salthouse
Lane establishment was want of tobacco. We
rarely had any of it. I remember one day,
when want of nicotine made me very sad, we
went, on my suggestion, into the bag-room and
pulled out our bags and chests. My chest was
what seamen call a round-bottomed chest, i.e.y
a sailor's canvas bag. The beauty of it is that
anything wanted is always at the bottom. In
turning the bag out I found half a plug of
tobacco.    If we had been gold-mining and I
. *'i 290
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
had struck a "pocket," or come across big
nuggets we could not have been happier. We
sat in the smoking-room, and having divided
the plug we had a grand debauch. Of course
we sometimes begged a -pipe or two from
luckier men about the docks, but to find a real
half plug was something to gloat over.
When I had been in the Home nearly two
months, and owed what seemed an amazing
amount of money, I really began to think that
if I could not ship in a steamer I must go in a
wind-jammer again after all. So I really began
to hunt round in earnest, and after trying all
sorts and conditions of craft I landed on a job
in the Corona of Dundee. She was a biggish
composite vessel of about seventeen hundred
tons register, with that horrible thing, wire
running rigging. In her I made the acquaintance of one of her old crew, who had stayed by
her in Hull river, who told me various yarns of
her behaviour at sea, and how one man had
been killed in her on her homeward passage
from San Francisco. As we got to be pals he
suggested I should bring some more men if I
knew of any in want of a job. I brought along
Ginger and the herring-back, and we went to
work cleaning out the limbers. It was not a
nice job, for the limbers of a ship which has
been carrying wheat are, to say the least of it, IN A SAILOR'S HOME
291
rather malodorous. We scraped the rotting
black muck out with boards and scrapers, and
sent it up on deck. It was a two and a half
days' job. Then the mate set me over my two
friends to | break out' casks of beef and pork
from the fore-peak. As I hadn't been much to
sea it rather amused me to find myself bossing
two men who had been at it all their lives.
But I have to own that they were two of the
stupidest men I ever met, though they were
not bad fellows. Then the time came for us to
go to London by the " run.' They offered us
30s. for the run to London river. This, with
the five shillings a day I had earned by
six days' work on board, made £3. I had
practically spent nothing while I was working
in her, although we left the Home too early in
the morning to have breakfast there. We used
to go to a coffee-stall near the dock entrance
and get what is described by Cockneys as " two
doorsteps and a cup of thick" for about 2d.
We went home for dinner and supper. Thus
I had nearly all my £3 for the boss of the
Home. He got the money when we were out
in the " stream " with the tug ahead of us.
We were only one night at sea. We washed
her down and cleaned her a bit generally and
made her look a little decent, and I had the
look-out that night.    As we towed the whole A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
distance we came up London river next afternoon. It was a gloomy and miserable day,
which made London horrible to behold. It
was like entering hell itself to come up into the
parts where the big warehouses stand and
where the docks are. We came at last to
Limehouse, where she was to be dry-docked.
I was at the wheel then, and it took us two
hours before we got her in and had her settled
down upon the blocks with the shores to hold
her. Then I took my round-bottomed chest
and left her. The mate, who had taken a fancy
to me, asked me to ship in her for her next
voyage, but I said I meant to " swallow the
anchor' and have no more of that kind of
work. My experience in Hull—the semi-
starvation, the fighting, the loneliness and
general blackguardism ofthe whole show—had
somewhat sickened me of the life. And yet
seamen are good fellows, and might be much
better if it were not for the greed of owners,
who feed them badly, house them vilely, and
think of nothing in the world but dividends.
Seamen know what they know, and they resent
with bitterness the way they are treated. They
have a bitter saying, I That's good enough for
hogs, dogs and sailors." The day must come
when England will cry to her children of the
sea, and weep because they are not.* THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
According to his temperament a man's
memory of travel and the strange wild places
of the earth deals chiefly with one set of reminiscences or with another. For me the
remembered mornings of the wide and lonely
world, whether in the bush, or on the prairie,
or the veldt, or at sea, are my chiefest delight.
For in them, as in the morning even now, is
something especial and peculiar which recalls
and recreates youth : which breaks up the dead
customs of to-day, and sends one back again to
the swift, sweet hours of experiment and
change. Assuredly the nights had their charm,
whether they were spent by some great camp-
fire on the winding Lachlan, in the darkness
of a pine forest in British Columbia, or on the
fo'c'sle-head of a ship upon the sea; and yet
the night was the night, the prelude to sleep,
and not to activity, the chief joy of man.
I can recall how a morning broke for me
once which was the morning of a kind of
freedom almost appalling to the child of cities.
293 294
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
This was the morning of youth, or rather of
earliest manhood, when I was timid and yet
unafraid, curious, and, after a manner, innocent,
when I had slept by my first camp-fire, on the
Bull Plains of Australia's Riverina. And yet I
can remember nothing of those hours clearly.
Rather is there in my mind as typical of the
Australian dawn such hours as those I spent
away beyond the Murray, the Murrumbidgee
and the Lachlan, on a station on the banks of
the Willandra Billabong. It was early
summer and shearing time for a hundred
thousand sheep, whose fleeces were destined
for Lyons and the North of England. I had
dropped off a wearied horse close upon midnight, and yet by half-past three I was up once
more. I stumbled sleepily in the starry darkness to the mare that was kept up, one
Beeswing by name, a mare so swift and keen
for a little while that to ride her was a delight.
She whinnied and muzzled me all over as I put
the saddle on her and drew the girths tight.
Then I swung across her, and for some minutes
she went gingerly, for she was unsound and
wanted warming for the hot task before her.
Yet it was her only work in the long day and
she delighted in it even as I did. We picked
our way across the shadows of big salt-bush
and the rounded humps of cotton-bush,  then THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
295
brown  and  leafless,  to  the paddock,  a mile
square, where the other horses were at pasture,
and as I rode sleep dropped away from me and
my eyes opened and my lips grew moist as I
sucked in the air of dawn.    In the east the
pale ghost of the day's forerunner stood waiting.    The wind in that hot season came from
the north; it had no intoxicating quality save
that of comparative coolness after the furnace
of yesterday.    Yet how sweet it was, when I
remembered the burning noon, the hot labours
of  the   stockyard   and   its   dust as  the  ten
thousand   of that  day's   driving  entered  reluctantly.     And  in   the   darkness   the  plain
stretched before  me  without  a  break  for  a
thousand miles save for the Barrier Ranges.
With no map on the whole station I knew not
even of them, and as far as eye could reach not
a rolling sand-dune marred the calm oceanic
level of that brown sea of land.
And now upon this morning, that yet was
night, I was adrift upon a horse with a definite
task in the great circle of immensity. The
rest of the world was nothing, and I rode
delicately over the rotten grey ground till the
starshine dwindled and the day came up like
a slow diver through dark waters. The pallid
air was odorous as I rode with rolled - up
sleeves and open breast, and I  sang a little,
!l 296
A TRAMPS NOTE-BOOK
for the night was out of me and my throat
was sweet.    And Beeswing warmed, and under
me grew  nimble,   with  the  swing  and  easy
spring of the dancer, and she reached out to
feel the bit lightly with an unspoiled mouth
and to feel my hands, and she raised her lean
head and sniffed the air for her own kind that
we were after.    Were we not horse-hunting?
She bent her neck and went as delicately as
ever Agag went,   and  then bounded lightly
over a hole in the rotten ground of the great
horse-paddock.     She and I  were partners  in
the morning as the dawn came up.    And now,
indeed,   the   morning   tide   broke   over   the
eastern bar, and was  like a  pale  grey  flood
moving over level earth.    Then she whinnied
low as though she spoke to me in a whisper,
and   I   saw  one  dark,   moving  shadow,  and
another,   as she   broke   into  a gallop.     Oh,
but out of seven alarmed shadows, fearful of
work, I needed three, and neither Beeswing
nor her rider could endure in their pride to
drive in seven when a special  chosen  three
were enough.    The dawn's game began, and
though it was yet dawn's dusk we went at a
gallop.    For  Beeswing  and  I  together were
the swiftest two, or the swiftest one, on that
great station by the Willandra.    But  though
the night was not gone there was enough light THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
297
to see which horses I needed and which horses
I had to discard, and to note how they broke
apart cunningly. For two went this way, and
one that; and four split into units as I swung
round the outside edge of them in a wide
circle. The rottenness of the ground gave
chances, and made it hazardous. But Beeswing
knew her work and the paddock, and now
she was warm and as keen as fire, and any
touch of lameness went away from her. She
stretched out her fine lean head, and her eyes
were quick ; her open nostrils almost smelt
and swept the ground as her head swung to
and fro. Beneath me she was live steel, tense
and wonderful as she sprang to this side and
that of danger, and yet galloped. Again and
again she swerved, and then, as a ten-foot
hole showed before her, she leapt it in her
stride. And again, another and another, for
here the ground was crumbling, patchy,
sunken, with little rims of hard earth in
between cup-like openings. And as we went,
and the day came, I swung my long stockwhip and shouted when it cracked. I was on
them, into them, and they broke back, being
over - pressed. But Beeswing was a bred
stock-horse, she knew the game and loved it.
Back she swung right upon her haunches, and
was away upon the hunt after a great raking 298
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
mare called Mischief. We galloped almost
side by side, and then Mischief quailed and
turned coward. As Beeswing swung again
I brought the whip down on my quarry's
quarters.
And now the joy of the game of dawn was
great, for selection came in and the skill of the
game. To-day I wanted Mischief and Black
Jack and the grey mare. So as I galloped,
still with swinging and reverberating whip, I
edged up and put my knees into Beeswing.
As she answered and sprang forward, with a
rush I was within whip length of Mischief and
Tom, with Mischief on the outside. One flick
ofthe lash and the mare outpaced Tom, leaving
him last of the seven. Had I edged up outside
of him Beeswing might have doubted whether
I wanted him or not, but I sent her up on his
near side, and when I flicked him he plunged
back and out and she let him go. There were
six to deal with, though he came after us
whinnying; yet not being urged he presently
stayed, and then I shot forward again and cut
off two that I did not want, and now among
the four there was but one I wished to leave
behind. They were well aware that one or
more of them was not to work to-day, for I
still hung upon them with some eager discrimination.    They  knew  the  final  shout  of THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
299
victory as well as I who sent it up. But
Lachlan, the horse I wished to leave, was the
fastest of the four and kept ahead. So I ran
them hard for a quarter of a mile and then
edged out a little, and slowed down till they
slowed and left a space betwixt the three and
Lachlan. I suddenly spoke to Beeswing and
shook her up till she came swiftly abreast of
my three galloping like horses in a Roman
chariot. Then left-handed I cut Lachlan in
the flank, and with a swift turn Beeswing swept
between him and the others. They stayed and
turned while disparted Lachlan ran wildly.
And now my three, being turned, ran back for
the others; and Beeswing followed them like
fire and came up with them, and once more
turned them and sent them for home. To
keep them going while the others whinnied
meant urging; it meant filling their minds,
occupying their attention. So once more, with
a great shout, I was upon them and swung the
whip, letting it fall with a crack first on this
side and then on that, and now in the growing
daylight the dust rose up as we galloped. And
presently I saw the little "tin " house where the
out-station boss lived, and the tent I shared
with my chum the "rouseabout." And as we
went fast and faster (for it was morning and I
was young) the sun thrust up a shoulder behind 300
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
me and it was day in Australia, day in the
Lachlan back-blocks. And I could see Long
Clump, a patch of dwarf-box, over my shoulder
as I turned loosely in the saddle to note
whether the other horses still followed. I
laughed at the day (for it was dawn), and yet I
knew as I ran my three into the yard that ere
the day was done I should have ridden sixty
miles, aud have mustered 20,000 sheep in
Long Clump Paddock. And when I stayed
outside the stock-yard and put up the slip
panels and patted Beeswing on the neck the
one great pleasure of the day was over. The
rest was not to be accomplished in the dusk of
dawn and under the morning star, but had to be
wrought out in flying dust, amid the plague of
flies and the fierce heat of an Austral noon,
whose heat increased with the slow sun's
decline. But that swift sweet hour of the
morning had been my very own. The remainder of the day belonged to the world, to
duty, to the man who paid me a pound a week
and "tucker" for my hands and arms and as
much brains as work with sheep demanded.
Yet through these hours sometimes the glory
of the morning remained.
There are mornings on land and mornings on
the sea, and when the world is a grey wash THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
301
and a mask of spindrift it is good to be alive
upon  the  sea, high on a topsail-yard, to see
the grey return of the glory of the day.    The
work is often sheer murder, but it is the work
of men, and though the skin cracks and the
nails  bleed,  as  the   bulging,   slatting, frantic
canvas surges like a cast-iron wave, the thin
red-shirted line along the jack-stay does heroic
work without meaning it, without one touch of
consciousness, without praise, and mostly without even that reward of a "tot'  of grog so
sweet to the  simple-minded  sailorman.    Ah,
yes, to be sure we were heroes, and  I too
(though now soft  and self-conscious) played
an Homeric part upon the yard, was bold, and
afraid, and "funked" it with any god-smitten,
panic-driven  half-god by Scamander's banks,
or the windy walls  of Troy.    Now I  know
what it was, and can see the grey wash of
ocean,   and   the   grey   wash   of   white-faced
morning with the great seas driving against
the rising  day,   even  as the   rollers  of   the
Atlantic surge   against the   base  of a high
berg.     Little good  men at home,  fat men,
rotund, easy souls, or those who are neither
good, nor fat, nor easy, may stare and imagine
yet not come near the reality when the wind
booms and the sea rises, and the great concave
of night sky flattens and presses down upon the 302
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
driven ship, and men strive to escape doom and
yet care not, and work till they are blind, and
then drop down into the scant shelter of the
deck, where the icy wind seems warm after the
strife and bellowing up aloft.    Heroes?    To
be sure we were heroes.    What is being shot
at a mile off, or a hundred yards off, to being shot
at by the very heavens while one hangs over
the gaping trenches of the sea ?    There is not
an old shellback alive who has clung between
angry heaven and the grey-green pastures of
the  deep  but deserves  a Victoria Cross for
unconscious, dutiful, grumbling, growling valour.
He might justly call every scanty dollar he
earns a medal.    For he has often fought in the
Pacific, or by the Horn, or off the windy Cape.
To recall the thick tempest at midnight, when
the wind harps thunder on the stretched rigging,
is to be a man again.    If I blow their trumpet,
the trumpet of the old sea-dogs, these scalla-
wags, these Vikings, what matter if I seem to
blow my own, having been their companion
one campaign or two upon the deep?    That
"Me'   is dead, I know, and can only be resurgent in memory, and will never laugh or
feel afraid again when the slatting canvas jars
one's very teeth.    Yet to remember (as I can
remember) how one wild night on the Southern
Pacific grew into morning gives me back youth
*■
•m^^r^mm THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
303
and morning again when I cared nothing for
death, since death was as far off, as impossible,
ay, as absurd, as Fame itself.
It had blown hard all day, and an hour after
midnight our scanty band, some ten of us
(mostly Cockneys like myself), stood upon the
foot-ropes of the lower fore-topsail. There
should have been twenty, but to be undermanned has been English fashion since Agin-
court. Growl we ever so loudly where could
more be found ? The work was to be done by
ten, one more even was not to be asked for.
If the task seemed possible, why, it was
possible, and when we scrambled to that
narrow line of battle in the dark it seemed as
easy as most things at sea, where the difficult
is done hourly. Risks are nothing there; to
risk nothing would be to risk destruction and
to incur the bitter reproach of having shipped
" not to go aloft." Each man to his fellow on
the yard was a shadow and a pale blot of a
face; each voice was a windy whisper, a bellow
blown down into silence. As the ship ran,
and lifted, and pitched and trembled, her
narrow wedge shape was a blot beneath us :
on each side of her white foam marked the
hissing, hungry sea. But, with the sail surging
before us in its gear like a mad balloon, who
noted aught but the sail?    I leant out upon
• 304
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
my taut bulge of living canvas, beat it with the
flat of my hand, and being the youngest waited
for the word to "leech" it or "skin "it up.
Being tall I was not at the extremity of the
yard arm; my fellow fore-topman and a little
squat man from the lower Thames stood
outside me. My mate and the man inside
were my world. The others I saw and heard
not. The word came along the yard from the
bunt to "leech" it up, and we leant over and
caught the leech and pulled it on the yard.
Now the fight began, but the beginning of it
was easy sparring, and though the wind blew
heavy, and each minute we had to remember
death when she checked her roll with a jerk,
the weather leech came up easy and we
chuckled, each being glad. And in half an
hour, or an hour, we were half masters of the
wind, or as much of it as gave the sail life,
after many small defeats. And then (whose
fault of fingers for not being steel hooks, who
shall say ?) the wind, having got reinforcements,
tore the victory from us and away went the
sail once more free and thundering in the dark.
The word was passed again, the indomitable
word by the indomitable bo'sun at the bunt,
this time to " skin " it up, and each man clawed
out again at the flat booming canvas, clawed at
it with his crooked fingers as wrestlers claw for THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
805
hold behind each others' backs. A wrinkle
gave hold, we nipped it, and then the ironic
devil in the gale shrieked with laughter and
snatched even so small an advantage from us.
We knew the " old man " and the mate were
cursing us down below. Did they curse us, or
the weather, or the owners, or our English
Agincourt trick once more ? What did it
matter to us, beaten and unbeaten, as we rested
for a moment and then again stretched out
bleeding fingers for some little advantage,
knowing well that when such a gale blew
victory was only possible when by constant
trials the chance came of each being given
good or fair handhold at once. Then came a
shriek of wind and a blown-out lull and a
wrinkle lapsed into a fold. We shouted " Now!"
left hold of the jackstay, and with feet outstretched grabbed slack canvas and hung on
as another squall came singing like shrapnel
across the peaks of the leaping sea. " Hold
on now, hold on!" so sang all of us, and we
cursed each other furiously. "Oh, oh, you
miserable devil, hang on or it's lost again!'
We cursed ourselves, felt our muscles crack,
our nails shred, our skin peel and stretch and
sting, and yet (thanks to our noble selves) we
only lost an inch. Once more—" Now, now up,
you dogs!" and that's the long-lost, long-waited,
u 306
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
sudden, surprising clock of dawn yonder. We
have been two hours here, and once more the
sail leaps up and comes down. Here, two
hours, two compressed swift hours, two compacted eternities measured in gasps and half
the work is done unless we weaken and let up
and let go.
But that's the dawn !
Morning and the glory of it, the grey wash
of Eternity; sea-grey and world-grey and
sky-grey, all in one great wash with a little
whiteness standing for daylight. Beyond the
illimitable wash where the sea breaks against
the sky is the sun; source of all, strength of
all. And there is no sleep to wash out of our
eyes before we catch up strength from it, and
encouragement. Lately we might have raised
the Ajax cry, " In the light, in the light,
destroy us," but now we see the little sea-plant of
grey-green grow in the east, and we are strong.
There is light, or a blight, a greyness out
ahead and the deck whitens all awash, and the
" old man' shivers in his oilskin coat as he
hangs on to a pin in the rail to watch us.
The poop is wet and gleaming, wet with the
spray of following seas, and as our ship rolls
the swash of shipped seas hisses, and her
cleanness is as the cleanness of something
newly  varnished.    Once   and  again   as   she THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
307
rolls (the wind now quartering) the scuppers
spout geyser-like and gurgle. As she ran like
a beaten thing she wallowed a little, dived,
scooped up seas and shook them off. And
yet the topsail was not conquered.
And now and once again the squalls howled,
and we held on, gaining nothing, yet losing
nothing. We were blind but obstinate; to
have gained something when everything might
be lost beneath us gave us grip and courage.
Ah, and then, then the great chance came,
and as the last great fold of white canvas rose
up like a breaking wave we shouted, flung
ourselves upon it, and as our bellies (lean by
now) held the rest, smothered it and beat its
last life out The thing had been alive; the
gods too had blown, and we had been all but
dissipated, but now we were conquerors, and
the gaskets bound our dead prey to the yard.
And the morning was up, a wild and evil-
minded waste it flowered in; the music of the
storm shrieked like the Valkyries scurrying
through grey space. But what cared we,
since now she would carry or drag what sail
remained, creaseless, resonant, wide-arched
and wonderful. The light leapt from crest to
crest, and a little pale yellow blossom of blown
dawn peeped out of the grey. Like a touch
of fire it reanimated our washed and reeling 308
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
world ; we laughed as we dropped down after
our three hours' battle with the demons of the
air. It was morning; there was coffee and
tobacco; our souls were satisfied and satiated
with rewarding toil; if Fate was kind there
would be neither making nor shortening of
sail till the next day. We touched the deck
and ran for'ard laughing. We saluted the
cook, blinking | at the door of his galley.
"Good-morning, doctor!' and it was "good-
morning !" for we were mostly young.
On the lofty sloping plains of Texas and
Kansas the air is often keen at night, even in
the summer time. And what it is in winter let
train hands on the Texas Pacific declare. But
in the warmer season, when northers have
ceased to blow, it has an intoxicating, thrilling
quality only comparable to the breath of the
higher South African veldt. It is good to be
alive then, and the glory of the morning is an
excellent and moving glory since it wakes one
to swift activity and the very joy of being.
For long months I had worked upon a ranch
in the Southern Panhandle, and now felt
healthy energies stirring within me. In
Western America the very blood of life is unrest ; to remain is difficult; the difficulties of
motion are its joys, though hardship and priva- THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
309
tion be the migrant's life for ever. For me the
ever-present prairie grew a little dull; for
sheep were sheep always, and there were
mountains afar off and strange, bright rivers
and the dark, odorous forests of the north.
Though my boss was of the order that remains
and accumulates wealth he understood when I
declared that I must go or die. On the third
day hereafter he and an old confederate
"Colonel' (discharged as "Full Private"
doubtless) and I and a Mexican sheep-herder
moved southward towards the railroad. We
travelled on horseback and in a two-mule
buggy, and with the movement discontent
dropped away from me and all was well with
the world, even though I knew not what weeks
or even days should bring me. That night we
camped thirty miles from the ranch and thirty
from the little town we called a city, which
had grown up in the sand-dunes by the banks
ofthe Texan Colorado. We lighted our scanty
fire at sundown. It was a typical camp ofthe
later days upon the high prairie, and a not untypical set of men. Our talk was of horses
and steers and sheep and of Virginia, whence
our grizzled colonel came, and the Mexican sat
and smoked and said nothing, save with his
beady, brilliant eyes, as he made his yellow
papers into flat cigaritas.    And at nine o'clock 310
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
silence and sleep fell upon us while the mules
and horses champed their dry fare beside the
buggy. For me the sleep of the just was my
due, for I hid worked hard that dav. Yet I
woke suddenly before the dawn, and woke all
at once, refreshed and alive. It was still dark
and yet I knew it was not properly night, for
the time sense in me, measured healthily by
refreshment, told me of the passage of time,
and I arose from my blankets. As I walked
out among the shadows softly my companions
made no motion, and the horses whinnied
coaxingly, as though I were still the guardian
of their provender. The wind was cool, even
cold, as it blew from the north, and on every
side the vast prairie stretched like a mysterious
dark green sea, with here and there a shadow
heaving itself out of the infinite level. I
walked lightly with a happy sense of detachment and well-being, almost with the feeling
of a quiet resurrection.
Elsewhere and in cities one awakes reluctantly ; the trumpet of the Angel of the
Day is heard with deaf ears; but here in the
keen coolness, the vast greenness, the infinite
interspace of prairie betwixt city and city, I
was awake and keen and cool as dewy grass,
and as peaceful as the stars even before the
Day blew her  horn upon the verge of a far THE GLORY OF THE MORNING
311
horizon. This was summer, but it was not
dawn yet; the year was young even in August
because this was night; and I was part of the
hour and the year. It was well with the world
and well with me as I left the camp and
marched snuffing the air like an antelope and
with as keen a joy. And as I walked I was
aware again that it was not night, for there
was a Day-spring in the East, a pale glow like
a whitish mirage, and star by star the night
departed, till I stayed and looked back to the
west and saw the silent waggon under which
my sleeping comrade still lay unconscious of
the hour. And slowly, very slowly the Glory
of the Morning broke out of bondage and
covered the glory of the night until the pallor
ofthe new-born day was fine pale gold, and
the gold was under-edged with rose, and the
rose grew insistently and shot upward like a
great corona upon the eclipsing earth. And
as I stood, balancing lightly upon my light
feet, bathed with dew, I moved my lips and
greeted Day without conscious words, being
even as my own ancestor, who perhaps had no
words of greeting. And so upon that solitude
the day was born like a new miracle with only
one visible worshipper, and the sun rose up like
a star and was then a convexed line of fire, and
presently it ate a little into the prairie; and 812
A TRAMP'S NOTE-BOOK
the world was light and rose and green and
very near me, so that I sighed a little and then
walked back briskly to the camp and raised a
loud shout, not to the sun, but to my fellow-
men. For the Glory had departed and there
was the work of the day to be done.
THE  END
Colston <5r» Coy. Limited, Printers, Edinburgh.
ffi    

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