« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
voir of water at the spot. He was an Irishman, of the name of Ronayne
simple shepherd, there work of his hands thugned by title romantic and euphonious. Resting here but a space, we arrived at the half-wayhouse, which is about twenty-miles from the township of York. This is upon a small estate of moderately fair land, purchased for the purposes of an inn; it is surrounded by hills, the echoes from which are very singular. We recollect the numerous repetitions of the barking of a dog on one occasion. As we approached this midway resting-place for travellers, a tree, called the White Gum, and said to be a sure indication of the vicinity of springs of water, told us that the locality had been chosen for this particular and essential advantage. The lowing of oxen, and the hum of distant voices, welcomed us joyfully to this rude approach at civilisation; and if an inn be a glad and pleasing sight to the tired traveller in England, how much more so must it be in Australia, when it comes in its solitariness at last upon the sight-the only object denoting human presence and human aid within a dreary wild, traversed hour after hour! “ Excellent forethought of Nature!" we felt prone to exclaim, on reaching this central oasis in the seeming desert, along which we had already, and were still destined to hold a solitary and cheerless path. Lone haven of rest, planted here that the weary settler might regale and repose! It was not long before all that appertained to the spot was revealed to us : on either hand of the small declivity verging from the main road were several small buildings, chiefly stabling and stockyards, adapted for the accommodation of visitors ; and beyond this, facing the approach, stood the small tenement styled the the whole forming a pretendingcourt-yard orhaling-place. In and about this locality were to be seen drays, harness, and yokinggear ; the former loaded with produce for the market, or more frequently with articles of domestic use and consumption from the town of Perth, en route to the settled districts. The inn itself was, upon the whole, of very fragile construction : it was of wood and brick ; and but for the general security of its position, environed by gentle acclivities, and protected by the huge buttresses of the forest, it might long ere that time have groaned and shivered—nay, perhaps fallen-before some huge blast, sweeping in the winter months over forest and hill. It was whitewashed inside and out; and having a profusion of green Venetian shutters, particularly on the garden side, looked smart enough. There agrapartment for visitors, stubbornlyand substantayfur nished, defying the utmost efforts of heavy-nailed stock boots, or the destructive propensities of the more wayward loungers ; leading from this were two or three small dormitories; and about the centre, a door opening upon a flight of steps leading into the garden. This garden, which is the most interesting feature of the place, was well laid out, and with considerable taste: the soil appeared to be good, and a small spring of the purest water trickled unceasingly down the slope upon which it lay. On the opposite hill to this, which was divided from that on which westood
ball watercourse, frequently dry,peared few acres of cultivated land. Poultry and pigs were prevalent, and nought appeared wanting either to our comfort or convenience. In early days, and especially during the season of the York races, when numbers flock over from the capital, and even from the South, this little inn has been the
scene of many a wild revel, and of much reckless extravagance. On the occasion of our visit it was occupied by a few young settlers of more sober mood, either going down to the capital or returning thence ; and who were partaking of a quiet supper of kangaroo steaks as we arrived, which was just at sunset, and in the short twilight which distinguishes these regions.
Leaving the half-way house, no object of interest appears on the road : still the same monotonous hill, gully, and rock, with a burning sun overhead, but slightly shaded by the trees—until at length you arrive at the toll-bar, Mahogany Creek. This latter place is miserable enough, with a doubtful supply of water in the summer season, and barely enough good land for a small garden. Passing this, and for about four miles, we overtook the dray of a settler, and accompanied him as far as the foot of Green Mount, not a great distance from the spot described at the commencement of our journey, and bearing the same features of landscape.
Here we left the teams to rest awhile, and proceeded upon the level pretty road leading to Guildford ; thus returning to Perth as we had left it.
It may be remarked of the soil in the valleys of the Darling Rangewhich valleys are very small, however, in consequence of the hills of which it is composed intersecting each other at all points-that it is generally good; but there is an absence of water, and in many places a poisonous plant which will destroy sheep, though cattle, we understand, are safe from its effects. The latter is a greater drawback than the former, as, by dint of a little well-applied perseverance and labour, reservoirs may be easily constructed. There can be no doubt that in time to come, when the country shall become more populated, many a lovely spot, here embosomed and shut out save to the denizens of the wild, will bear a smiling homestead and farm ; indeed, many that we have ourselves seen, and where a temporary bivouac has been formed, have caused us to linger ere we resigned to its primitive state so lovely a locality. There, indeed, we felt the certain melancholy about travelling, which none can experience save those who roll along over sea or plain, marking the domains which man is to inherit of the Earth. It is a sad thing to part from any spot, no matter where, which has interested us by some peculiarity of feature or circumstance of social life; it is sad to mark each footfall on a sod far distant from a gay and thoughtless world, and, leaving each departing step, to reflect, as the eye oft wanders backward, that we shall probably pass its precincts no more : it is then we almost resolve to demand it of Nature, and pledge ourselves to a future speedy possession.
Such are the eastern districts of the colony. Let us next traverse its southern and sea-board portion.
A FRENCHMAN'S ACCOUNT OF THE SIGHTS OF LONDON.
MONSIEUR CASIMIR BLONDEAU VISITS THE THAMES TUNNEL AND THE
JUNK, AND AFTERWARDS DINES AT BLACKWALL. We resume our narrative from the journal of our enterprising young friend.
“ Again a beautiful day. In good spirits we rise, after that delightful Cremorne soirée, and, not unregardful of breakfast, prepare for fresh adventures. Some of our companions relate wonderful things of Tunnel and Docks, which create in my bosom an eternal longing to witness them. It is decided that a party of eight, of whom Monsieur Choppin forms one, and which I accompany, shall at once visit those strange places. But, to see all of the grand fast-flowing river that is possible, we determine to part from the Hungerford Suspensions-Bridge. A quick 'bus conveys us once more through Temples-bar and Strand. We alight, and enter a noble market, principally renowned for fishes. Salmon, large as ourselves, are lying flat upon marble beds; some have been guillotined; of others remain but the tails : their flesh is a rich fire-colour. Here too are monster turbots, which twenty men cannot at one meal devour. Lobsters of gigantic size, their heads bristling with spear-points and armed with biting fangs, in scaly armour of a blackish blue, struggle in huge panniers which we will not approach too nearly: Multitudes of other fishes abound, the names of which it is hard to give, for in Paris only upon the table do we know them, disguised by the art of cooks. Some eels we recognise, and red-herrings, but many continue unknown; in vain we look for the tunny, so nobly presented in the grand picture of Joseph Vernet ; he is not to be seen.
“ While we are gazing in wonder, a loud but friendly voice salutes our ears: we look around; Mr. Brassbridge is there, the man of cotton and dollars with whom we have made the voyage on the railroad from Dover to London. He shakes each of us by the hand many times, exclaiming Howdydoo!' the short but expressive English word of polite inquiry after health. Great pleasure is on his face; he has been to Liverpool and back since last we saw him; cotton, he says, is greatly up; he has sold many bales (hallots), and made a good stroke of business.' (Il a touché enormément.) He inquires where we are going? To Tunnel and Docks,' I reply. “I'll show you,' briefly he exclaims. Then, with a look of interrogation, Fond of fish?' he asks. But yes,' I exclaim, and Monsieur Choppin loudly echoes me, • We love him much.' 'l'll tell you what it is'-(Je vais vous expliquer l'affaire)-replies Brassbridge ; 'you fellows shall dine with me at Blackwall
. I'll stand Sam. (A moi le régal.) We'll see the Tunnel and Docks and everything, and then you shall pitch into (attaquer) the white-bait. What do you say, hey ?'
“We comprehend this frank and generous hospitality; to refuse it is impossible ; bowing we say "Yes, yes,' and on the face of Monsieur Choppin are bright gleams of a lively satisfaction. Come along, then,' exclaims Brassbridge. I take his arm; the rest follow in a fast walk, and soon we are on the Suspensions-Bridge. At the first pier some steps conduct us to a platform, where again are the maisonnettes of pikemen, beyond which we cannot pass till we have purchased our tickets. Monsieur Choppin would advance to pay for the party, but such a thing is not
heard of by Brassbridge. 'I frank you all'-(Je paie pour tout-le-monde)
- he says, rattling the heavy dollars in the pocket of his pantaloon; and not unreluctantly Monsieur Choppin puts up purse.
“ The platform is crowded with persons eager to go in every direction; men in straw hats and linen jackets, with faces burnt to an African brown, stun the ears with loud cries of Chelsea,' Wauxhall,' "Greenwich,' and other fashionable places which line the banks of the river; streams of people are ever coming and going in the long narrow steamers made of floating iron. Ceaseless is the movement, without which the Englishman cannot live. He is always going somewhere, and if not toujours gai, is at least toujours busy (affairé). We follow Brassbridge into a boat which lies close to the wharf; and while we are turning round to admire, again we hear the voice of our conductor from a still farther off vessel calling to
come on,' or we shall be taken to some place where we want not to go. The steam hisses from beneath the paddle-boxes, irritating the waves ; but without fear we hurry away, and Brassbridge, with friendly tugs, assists our endeavours. At length we are safe, and wish to part; but not yet will she go, this sharp-pointed angry vessel. While we are pausing I present my comrades to Brassbridge; their names are Pigeonneau, Tiby, Jannetan, Peloton, Babil, and Malingre, of fine republican families, all from the Rue St. Denis. Monsieur Choppin he already knows, and myself. From where we now stand Brassbridge points out to us many remarkable objects. Under the Suspensions-Bridge we perceive the new palace of Lords and Commons, costing already many millions; the Abbey of Vestminsterre ; Privy's-Garden, and the house of Sir Peel; Whitehall and its black neighbour, Scotland-Yard, the quartier of the coalheavers (porte faix), men of a singular costume, wearing breeches (culottes) of purple velvet, white stockings (bas de coton blanc), short boots (bottes à la Hongroise), and fantails (espèce de chapeau à larges bords—à queue d'éventail): Brassbridge calls them jolly fellows.' In the opposite direction we see a perspective still more grand : le pont de Waterloo (finer, in truth, than that of Austerlitz), Somerset House, Lion's Brewery, (Brasserie des Lions), Beaufort's-Building -famous for its printer Charles Whiting (Chasles Merlan)-Adelphi Terrace, and Water Gate, black with the smoke of
ages. “ At length we hear them cry 'Shove off;' the captain jumps on his paddles-bosk, the wheels make rapid revolutions, and away flies the steamer like a bird. Uneasily at first we grasp the railings, for fear of tumbling in the water, but this sensation soon yields to the pleasure of quick motion and an assured absence of danger. To smoke is now our wish, and already is my briquet in my hand, when a grim-faced tar (un matelot) approaches; he utters words which I cannot understand ; then he points to the chimney in the middle of the vessel, on which is some writing (un écriteau): I read “No smocking allowed ahaft the tunnel.' To comprehend what this will say I stare in vain, when luckily Brassbridge approaches, and I find that to smoke where we are is not permitted. With polite bows we resign our cigars—the sailor says something in his argot to Brassbridge, who laughs-and the affair is at an end.
“A thousand vessels now pass us—some up, some down the river. Many are filled with people who doubtless go to be married, for on them are written the words • Bride' and · Bridegroom ;' others bear the names of flowers, of stars, of insects, of mermaids, and of tritons (watermen): of these last are a great many. Now we stop to take in more passengers ; then onwards we shoot again; on each side rising
Sept.-VOL. LXXXVII. NO. cccxlv.
towers and chimneys, and the spires of countless churches. At last we pass under Londons-Bridge, where a changed and wonderful scene presents itself. It is no longer the small serpent steamers like that we are in which now we see, but water-giants, whose sides no man can climb. These lie so thickly together that never can they be removed from where they are.
For miles and miles it is the same thing ; hardly can we discern the city for the multitude of ships, with their tall masts like trees and naked branches. Brassbridge explains everything: without him nothing should we know. Near Londons-Bridge is Billingsgate, where they speak the purest English, similar to the French at Blois; also the ladies there have a great celebrity : they are the poissardes of London, and call each other' fish-fags. Next comes Tower of London, shining with weathercocks; then Pool,' black and dirty with coal-ships
-the Englishman's treasure; afterwards, Wapping Old Stairs, celebrated for a beautiful Miss Molly, about whom, in a quavering voice, Brassbridge sings a stanza, interrupting himself to point out where begin the Docks, which now I find are vast reservoirs filled with ships. It is a miracle that we dash ourselves against nothing; but to guard against accident, the captain watches from his paddles-bosk. Now he waves his right hand—now his left; then he says something, which a shrill voice repeats to the fire-burners below; and by these signs and sounds our progress is regulated with an admirable precision.
Presently our course is stopped, and Brassbridge says, “This is Tunnel!' We bid adieu to our vessel, and go on shore. We pass through a narrow passage, where sits a pikeman red with heat, and then into a bureau, where for each person is paid a penny—the price of to enter. We then open a door and behold a profound vault, so deep that to peep down it we are almost afraid. But a wide staircase like a corkscrew leads to the bottom, and we hurry down. Arrived at the entrance of Tunnel, our emotions are sublime.
Before us are two vast orifices, to the end of which no man
In one of these, brilliantly lit with gas, we enter. There is & strange damp smell, like nothing we have ever known; but courageously we move on, though Pigeonneau and Tiby are white with sickness, as when they came to Dover. Brassbridge blows his nose, and says “It is a mouldy hole ;' and adds, that after this we must have a drop of brandy' (une goutte). On one side of the way are small shops, where these amphibious people, who never see the light of day, sell numberless objects of fantasy-perspectives of Tunnel, engravings, medals, cakes and bonbons, gingersbeer, peacocks of spun-glass, and Townbridgeware. One asks us to be weighed, another to be electrified ; and a third invites us to stop and drink hot coffee, which never, from the smell, should I judge to be what it is called. In the middle of Tunnel is a concealed band of music playing lively airs. Here, for a moment, we pause to look backwards and forwards—a faint light at each extremity showing us how far we have come. We salute the
of the daring engineer, in whose name we recognise our countryman; and for sixpence a-piece (douze sous chaque) we buy a medallion with his likeness—a souvenir from Tunnel not to be forgotten. At the further end, on the side of the river, the name of which by us is quite unpronounceable (Rotherhithe), is a skilful artist, Sir Catlin, who takes a correct likeness in two minutes' for another sixpence. I only of the party consent to sit for my portrait, which I carry away in my pocket. We return as we came, still wondering at the mighty excavation, down the hollow sides of which we see the water trickling, and hurry on. We ascend