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my slaughtered turtle, with a look in it of a great stain of ink upon the moon-whitenedsandthat importunately and unpleasantly sent my thoughts straying away to the murder of Bothwell and the ugly blotch on the cabinfloor. The brig, the mutineers, the loss of Gordon and the meD, Broadwater's mysterious disappearance — why, these were things already growing dreamlike, so heavy was the thrust this last experience of ours gave even to the freshest memories, sending the latest incidents reeling back into a sort of antiquity, till, on my oath, it seemed as long as twenty years ago since we had embarked on the Iron Crown in the Downs.

I was restless and hot, and was in the act of sitting up with the design of lifting the mosquito-curtain high enough to bring a cigar to my lips, when the bell hidden away in the blackness behind us began to toll.

"There, Mr. Musgrave! There it is again!" cried Miss Grant, almost hysterically, and in a breath she had sprang from her hammock and was alongside of me, with her hand on my shoulder, listening. The ringing was much the same as on the night before —first a slow and solemn tolling, making one think of some mortuary bell timing the melancholy pacing of a funeral winding along a cyprusshadowed path to an ugly rent in the earth; then after a pause, as though the ringer had halted to refresh himself with a drink, a hasty clattering, a most alarming clamorous vibration; then the dirge-like chiming again, followed on by all sorts of beatings, fast and slow.

"Will you say now," cried Miss Grant, holding my hand tightly, "that there is no man there?"

"Be it man or devil," I exclaimed, "ghost or goblin, it is a riddle we must solve for our peace' sake. Wait you here."

"What do you mean to do?" she cried, still clinging to me.

"Why, since it is impossible to see, to let drive in the direction of the sound

anyhow, and listen for some squeal to follow, that we may know the ringing is not an hallucination, for I protest to Heaven, the incredibility of such a thing is enough to make one think one's self mad for hearing it.

She dropped my hand, and I walked towards the trees with a pistol in either fist. She followed me, holding her own little weapon, but the dense tangle, I knew, would stop her presently. I had no intention of penetrating the wood by the road I had taken when the morning sun shone brilliant. If it were dark then, it would be blacker than thunder now, which necessarily increased the astonishment I laboured under at hearing the bell; for unless the thing that rang it lived within a pace of it, its power of being able to find it amid that blackness was as astonishing as the sound itself. Yet all this while the chimes continued. Whatever the ringer might be, its mood seemed merrier on this than on the last night. It rang heartily, with a curious suggestion of enjoyment in the sound produced. The disturbed birds sent a hundred remonstrant cries, yells, and whistlings from the trees, which apparently merely increased the appetite of the ringer for his labour, for 'tis not in mortal pen to express the preternatural wildness, melancholy, and I may say horror, of the sound of that secret ringing echoing through the island out of the central midnight fastness, and dying away in ghostly tones far out upon the silent sea. I was as angry as I was bewildered. The character of the sound staggered my doubts of there being a man there. It seemed impossible that anything but a human hand should produce such noise. Closely followed by my companion, I skirted the trees to that thin scattering of them whence I had emerged after my morning's hunt, and where I had tripped over the ring in the sand, from which point I thought that I could better collect the bearings of the bell. Miss Grant soon came to a stand, her clothing rendering the growth impenetrable to her.

"Oh, if I were only dressed as you are, Mr. Musgrave !" she exclaimed, in a voice 60 charged with bitter vexation that it was almost like hearing her sob. "Do not venture too far. Be cautious for my sake. What shall I do if I am left alone here?"

"I will not go far," said I; " stand you in this black shadow. In the haze of the moon you will be able to see anything that may run this way. Let fly at it, will you, should it come. Only please take care not to shoot me."

With that I left her, and drove with trudging steps through the coarse, wiry undergrowth, helped somewhat by recollection of the road I had taken in the morning, and aided also by the sound of the bell. However, I had not advanced fifty paces when I found further progress impossible. There was no question however that the chimes came from the bell I had inspected in the morning, so I levelled a pistol at the blackness in the direction whence the sounds were coming, and fired. The trees all about me glanced out yellow to the flame; the bell instantly ceased; but one had to listen to make sure, so

deafening was the noise among the branches of the terrified creatures roosting up there. I levelled a second pistol and fired again, with a renewal of the distracting outbreak overhead, rolling in a wave of discordant uproar, so wild that the effect upon the hearing defies language. I waited a little, eagerly hearkening. The ringing had ended. The forest noises died away, and in a few minutes you heard nothing but the familiar croakings and chirrupings, chiefly out in the open. There were too many trees in the road to render it likely I had hit the ringer; indeed I had not fired with that idea. But I thought that whatever it was that rang the bell might come sneakingly my way, and I strained my hearing for any sound resembling the rustling of the coarse growth pressed by the foot; but nothing of the sort was audible, so I returned to Miss Grant, and walked with her back to where the hammock was.

Well, it was a mystery not to be solved by wondering at it. I own I slept but little that night through thinking of it, whilst Miss Grant next morning confessed that she had not closed her eyes.

{To be continued.)

FATHER DAMIEN.

No golden dome shines over Damien's sleep:

A leper's grave upon a leprous strand,

Where hope is dead, and hand must shrink from hand,

Where cataracts wail toward a moaning deep,

And frowning purple cliffs in mercy keep

All wholesome life at distance, hath God planned

For him who led the saints' heroic band,

And died a shepherd of Christ's exiled sheep.

O'er Damien's dust the broad skies bend for dome,

Stars burn for golden letters, and the sea

Shall roll perpetual anthem round his rest:

For Damien made the charnel-house life's home,

Matched love with death; and Damien's name shall be

A glorious benediction, world-pospest.

H. D. Rawnslet.

AUSTRALIAN POLITICS.

It has been said that Australian politics are the politics of great questions and little men. Like most generalisations this is hardly accurate. Sir Henry Parkes, of New South Wales, and Sir John Macdonald, of Canada, are men of equal calibre to many who have made for themselves names in English history. Mr. Gillies, Premier of Victoria, has a parliamentary skill and experience which would fit him to lead in any deliberative assembly; while Sir Samuel Griffith, of Queensland, has a genius for practical legislation which has made the statute-book of his colony a model. Among many younger men, the names of Mr. Deakin of Victoria, Mr. Barton of New South Wales, Mr. Sabre Mackenzie of New Zealand, and Mr. Inglis Clark of Tasmania, would all, if there were any unity of sentiment between Australia and England, be known to every one who takes an interest in public affairs.

Nor is the standard of Australian legislatures generally low. It is a mistake to suppose that the majority of members are either disorderly or corrupt. Personal corruption is, I believe, entirely unknown. Such improper influencing of votes as does occur takes the form (not altogether unknown in the case of dockyard-towns in England) of pleasing the member by spending public money in his constituency. Members may also occasionally use their position to obtain early information of projected public works; but those who act in this way are much fewer than the too suspicious public is ready to believe, while their conduct has rarely, if ever, any reference to their votes. Upon the whole, our Parliaments are a fair reflex of Australian life; and if they are not better, the fault does not lie with the

constituencies. These, in the absence of some disturbing local feeling, will as a rule choose the best man that offers himself; and they prefer an educated man to one who is uneducated.

The fault of our Parliaments is inexperience. Members are anxious to do well, but they do not know the business of legislation. Most of them are entirely untrained in the management of public affairs, having no knowledge of English Parliamentary history, and being without that instinct for government which is the heritage of tradition of the English leisured class. In most of the Colonies this defect is remedied by payment of members—a policy which must in time create professional politicians, who, like professionals in any other walk of life, do their work better than amateurs. Partly as a result of this inexperience, and partly owing to the small number of members, there is a considerable waste of time in aimless motions and long speeches. There is none of that intolerance towards bores which is a feature of the House of Commons, so that every member can rely upon making himself heard for any number of hours together. The chambers are too small and the number of members too few to admit of drowning a member's voice by noise. The Speaker will at once detect any one making this attempt and silence his interruptions by a call to order. In the House of Commons, where several hundred men are crowded in a small room and under dark galleries, organised expressions of the general disinclination to listen to a tiresome speech can easily be made, which would be quite impossible among the smaller numbers scattered sparsely on the benches of a Colonial Assembly. In consequence of this inability to make itself felt, the public opinion of an Australian Parliament is not the restraining force upon the conduct of an individual member that it is in England. On the contrary, systematic defiance of the opinion of the House is a common and (if the offending member represent an Irish constituency) often a necessary step towards eminence and notoriety. Disorderly scenes, when they occur, are made the most of by the Press; and, though some things are left unnoticed, many things are brought into undue and unnecessary prominence. There are episodes in the House of Commons career of Mr. Disraeli during his last premiership which would have formed the theme of flaming paragraphs in Australian newspapers, but which the English papers passed over in silence; while the particular weakness which endeared the O'Gorman Mabon to an English House of Commons would be regarded with different eyes by an Australian Assembly. Members who are positively disorderly are very few, and generally either belong to the Irish race or represent an Irish constituency. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that, where disorder does occur, it goes further than would be permitted in the House of Commons, in consequence of that inability of public opinion to make itself felt which has been already noticed.

It is true that the casual visitor to an Australian Assembly will not carry away a good impression. The explanation is a simple one. For the reason already given, every member thinks he is entitled to speak on every question, and if the question is one of any importance his constituency will probably expect him to speak. In the nature of things most of these speeches must be bad and dull. There are few subjects which cannot be threshed out by the leading men on either side. The rank and file, if they insist on making themselves heard, must expect to fail as makers of speeches. If they become as sensible of their own dulness

as their hearers are, they may be tempted to enliven their remarks with personalities. A stranger resents these; but the most legitimate discussion of most of the subjects of debate would be equally distasteful to a stranger.

One consequence of the small numbers of an Assembly and of the sparse population of a Colony is not altogether unsatisfactory. The saying that no man can be a hero to his own valet strictly applies to Australian politics. In Australian public life a man cannot pose; owing to the smallness of the community and the narrow circle in which he lives, he is speedily found out. It would be impossible for many men who pass in England as representative Australians, and who even get returned upon the faith of their profession to the House of Commons, to win the confidence of any Australian constituency. The attempt has been made and in vain. It is impossible for a man to get into office upon the credit of qualities he does not possess. He may not be the best man for the position; but his strength and weakness are known to every one. It may be questioned whether this is always the case in England. Judicious mediocrity loves a crowd.

The fear of being thought an impostor often leads to another extreme, especially on the part of those who have most reason to fear being found out. In every Colonial Parliament there 'are one or two members who strenuously endeavour to create a reputation for honesty by an affectation of blunt speech. But they do not always succeed. In every Parliament, too, there are men who, in their anxiety to be plain and practical, neglect all forms and graces of style, even to ignoring at times the ordinary rules of seemly behaviour.

In spite, however, of these drawbacks, public life in Australia has several great advantages. Not only are the questions of policy large and far-reaching, but the influence of the individual in their decision is very great. Nowhere, whether in public or in private affairs, does the individual count for so much as he does in Australia. There is no helpless fluttering against the iron bars of class or tradition: every stroke of work tells: a man can use his strength in Australia, whether it is strength of muscle or of brain. The daily victory over the forces of Nature in the material world gives confidence in other struggles. This feeling of energy and hope cannot fail to be strengthened by an experience of office. So much in a new country depends on good administration, and so little of administration is as yet settled into a routine, that much more responsibility and power attaches to a minister of the Crown in an Australian Colony than is the case in England. There are here no official traditions handed down from one permanent secretary to another: there are seldom precedents in important matters: whatever is done must be done upon direct and ministerial responsibility. Fortunately, considering how short-lived most Australian ministers are, the Civil Service is singularly efficient, and no minister need go wrong for want of competent advice. The Service, it is true, has been overcrowded in the exercise of political patronage, and contains many drones; but I believe that in all the Colonies the responsible officials of the departments are men of high character and great ability. It has recently been my fortune to be a member of a Board of Inquiry into the condition of the Civil Service of New South Wales; and in the performances of the duties of that office I have many times wondered that the State should be able to secure the services of so many able and educated men at the low salaries which are paid in the Colonies to Civil Servants.

A general election has lately taken place in the three largest Colonies, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. In each of these contests the Irish vote has played an important part. In New South Wales it was given as a block vote in favour of

Protection. In Victoria, where the fiscal question was not in issue, it was given as a block vote to the publicans with a pious opinion in favour of Free Trade. In Queensland it was given as a block vote in favour of "Nationalism ". Through all these inconsistencies there is one guiding clue ; in every case the vote was cast against the Government. The explanation of this is partly connected with religion and partly with politics. The Irish priesthood, in strict obedience to the teachings of their Church, desire to get control of the public schools, while the Irish laity, who are not guided by th6 priesthood, desire to get control of the public offices. Public opinion however (possibly owing to prejudice) is not inclined to assist the Irish in realizing either of these wishes. In Australia, as in America, the Irish have always formed a party by themselves; and it cannot be said that the illustrations which they have given of their power to govern have been entirely satisfactory. Twice in the history of Victoria the Catholic party has been in power, once under Sir John O'Shaunessy, and once under Sir Bryan O'Loghlan; and the lesson which was then taught has never been forgotten either in Victoria or in the other Colonies. With an instinctive capacity for political organization, eloquence, industry, and administrative power, Irishmen in office, when they are supported by an Irish majority, have (in Australia at all events) shown themselves entirely without a sense of responsibility in the expenditure of public money. The administrations before referred to, like the succession of administrations which ruled in New South Wales by the support of the Irish party from 1883 to 1887, are pre-eminent in Australian history for their reckless extravagance in public works. Whatever Government may be in power, the Irish are the great billet-hunters: five applicants out of every six for any Government appointment, however poorly paid, are certain to bear Irish names. The desire

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