Following The Equator
A Journey Around The World



volume_down_alt volume_up


The Express Train—“A Hell of a Hotel at Maryborough”—Clocks and Bells—Railroad Service.

The spirit of wrath—not the words—is the sin; and the spirit of wrath is cursing. We begin to swear before we can talk.
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

November 11. On the road. This train-express goes twenty and one-half miles an hour, schedule time; but it is fast enough, the outlook upon sea and land is so interesting, and the cars so comfortable. They are not English, and not American; they are the Swiss combination of the two. A narrow and railed porch along the side, where a person can walk up and down. A lavatory in each car. This is progress; this is nineteenth-century spirit. In New Zealand, these fast expresses run twice a week. It is well to know this if you want to be a bird and fly through the country at a 20-mile gait; otherwise you may start on one of the five wrong days, and then you will get a train that can’t overtake its own shadow.

By contrast, these pleasant cars call to mind the branch-road cars at Maryborough, Australia, and the passengers’ talk about the branch-road and the hotel.

Somewhere on the road to Maryborough I changed for a while to a smoking-carriage. There were two gentlemen there; both riding backward, one at each end of the compartment. They were acquaintances of each other. I sat down facing the one that sat at the starboard window. He had a good face, and a friendly look, and I judged from his dress that he was a dissenting minister. He was along toward fifty. Of his own motion he struck a match, and shaded it with his hand for me to light my cigar. I take the rest from my diary:

In order to start conversation I asked him something about Maryborough. He said, in a most pleasant—even musical voice, but with quiet and cultured decision:

“It’s a charming town, with a hell of a hotel.”

I was astonished. It seemed so odd to hear a minister swear out loud. He went placidly on:

“It’s the worst hotel in Australia. Well, one may go further, and say in Australasia."

“Bad beds?”

“No—none at all. Just sand-bags.”

“The pillows, too?”

“Yes, the pillows, too. Just sand. And not a good quality of sand. It packs too hard, and has never been screened. There is too much gravel in it. It is like sleeping on nuts.”

“Isn’t there any good sand?”

“Plenty of it. There is as good bed-sand in this region as the world can furnish. Aerated sand—and loose; but they won’t buy it. They want something that will pack solid, and petrify.”

“How are the rooms?”

“Eight feet square; and a sheet of iced oil-cloth to step on in the morning when you get out of the sand-quarry.”

“As to lights?”

“Coal-oil lamp.”

“A good one?”

“No. It’s the kind that sheds a gloom.”

“I like a lamp that burns all night.”

“This one won’t. You must blow it out early.”

“That is bad. One might want it again in the night. Can’t find it in the dark.”

“There’s no trouble; you can find it by the stench.”


“Two nails on the door to hang seven suits of clothes on if you’ve got them.”


“There aren’t any.”

“What do you do when you want service?”

“Shout. But it won’t fetch anybody.”

“Suppose you want the chambermaid to empty the slopjar?”

“There isn’t any slop-jar. The hotels don’t keep them. That is, outside of Sydney and Melbourne.”

“Yes, I knew that. I was only talking. It’s the oddest thing in Australia. Another thing: I’ve got to get up in the dark, in the morning, to take the 5 o’clock train. Now if the boots——”

“There isn’t any.”

“Well, the porter.”

“There isn’t any.”

“But who will call me?”

“Nobody. You’ll call yourself. And you’ll light yourself, too. There’ll not be a light burning in the halls or anywhere. And if you don’t carry a light, you’ll break your neck.”

“But who will help me down with my baggage?”

“Nobody. However, I will tell you what to do. In Maryborough there’s an American who has lived there half a lifetime; a fine man, and prosperous and popular. He will be on the lookout for you; you won’t have any trouble. Sleep in peace; he will rout you out, and you will make your train. Where is your manager?”

“I left him at Ballarat, studying the language. And besides, he had to go to Melbourne and get us ready for New Zealand. I’ve not tried to pilot myself before, and it doesn’t look easy.”

“Easy! You’ve selected the very most difficult piece of railroad in Australia for your experiment. There are twelve miles of this road which no man without good executive ability can ever hope—tell me, have you good executive ability? first-rate executive ability?”

“I—well, I think so, but——”

“That settles it. The tone of——oh, you wouldn’t ever make it in the world. However, that American will point you right, and you’ll go. You’ve got tickets?”

“Yes—round trip; all the way to Sydney.”

“Ah, there it is, you see! You are going in the 5 o’clock by Castlemaine—twelve miles—instead of the 7.15 by Ballarat—in order to save two hours of fooling along the road. Now then, don’t interrupt—let me have the floor. You’re going to save the government a deal of hauling, but that’s nothing; your ticket is by Ballarat, and it isn’t good over that twelve miles, and so——”

“But why should the government care which way I go?”

“Goodness knows! Ask of the winds that far away with fragments strewed the sea, as the boy that stood on the burning deck used to say. The government chooses to do its railway business in its own way, and it doesn’t know as much about it as the French. In the beginning they tried idiots; then they imported the French—which was going backwards, you see; now it runs the roads itself—which is going backwards again, you see. Why, do you know, in order to curry favor with the voters, the government puts down a road wherever anybody wants it—anybody that owns two sheep and a dog; and by consequence we’ve got, in the colony of Victoria, 800 railway stations, and the business done at eighty of them doesn’t foot up twenty shillings a week.”

“Five dollars? Oh, come!”

“It’s true. It’s the absolute truth.”

“Why, there are three or four men on wages at every station.”

“I know it. And the station-business doesn’t pay for the sheep-dip to sanctify their coffee with. It’s just as I say. And accommodating? Why, if you shake a rag the train will stop in the midst of the wilderness to pick you up. All that kind of politics costs, you see. And then, besides, any town that has a good many votes and wants a fine station, gets it. Don’t you overlook that Maryborough station, if you take an interest in governmental curiosities. Why, you can put the whole population of Maryborough into it, and give them a sofa apiece, and have room for more. You haven’t fifteen stations in America that are as big, and you probably haven’t five that are half as fine. Why, it’s perfectly elegant. And the clock! Everybody will show you the clock. There isn’t a station in Europe that’s got such a clock. It doesn’t strike—and that’s one mercy. It hasn’t any bell; and as you’ll have cause to remember, if you keep your reason, all Australia is simply bedamned with bells.

On every quarter-hour, night and day, they jingle a tiresome chime of half a dozen notes—all the clocks in town at once, all the clocks in Australasia at once, and all the very same notes; first, downward scale: mi, re, do, sol—then upward scale: sol, si, re, do—down again: mi, re, do, sol—up again: sol, si, re, do—then the clock—say at midnight clang—clang—clang—clang—clang—clang—clang—clang—clang— clang——and, by that time you’re—hello, what’s all this excitement about? Oh I see—a runaway—scared by the train; why, you wouldn’t think this train could scare anything. Well, of cours, when they build and run eighty stations at a loss and a lot of palace-stations and clocks like Maryborough’s at another loss, the government has got to economize somewhere hasn’t it? Very well look at the rolling stock. That’s where they save the money. Why, that train from Maryborough will consist of eighteen freight-cars and two passenger-kennels; cheap, poor, shabby, slovenly; no drinking water, no sanitary arrangements, every imaginable inconvenience; and slow?—oh, the gait of cold molasses; no air-brake, no springs, and they’ll jolt your head off every time they start or stop. That’s where they make their little economies, you see. They spend tons of money to house you palatially while you wait fifteen minutes for a train, then degrade you to six hours’ convict-transportation to get the foolish outlay back. What a rational man really needs is discomfort while he’s waiting, then his journey in a nice train would be a grateful change. But no, that would be common sense—and out of place in a government. And then, besides, they save in that other little detail, you know—repudiate their own tickets, and collect a poor little illegitimate extra shilling out of you for that twelve miles, and——”

“Well, in any case——”

“Wait—there’s more. Leave that American out of the account and see what would happen. There’s nobody on hand to examine your ticket when you arrive. But the conductor will come and examine it when the train is ready to start. It is too late to buy your extra ticket now; the train can’t wait, and won’t. You must climb out.”

“But can’t I pay the conductor?”

“No, he is not authorized to receive the money, and he won’t. You must climb out. There’s no other way. I tell you, the railway management is about the only thoroughly European thing here—continentally European I mean, not English. It’s the continental business in perfection; down fine. Oh, yes, even to the peanut-commerce of weighing baggage.”

The train slowed up at his place. As he stepped out he said:

“Yes, you’ll like Maryborough. Plenty of intelligence there. It’s a charming place—with a hell of a hotel.”

Then he was gone. I turned to the other gentleman:

“Is your friend in the ministry?”

“No—studying for it."


Description of the Town of Christ Church—A Fine Museum—Jade-stone Trinkets—The Great Moa—The First Maori in New Zealand—Women Voters—“Person” in New Zealand Law Includes Woman—Taming an Ornithorhynchus—A Voyage in the ‘Flora’ from Lyttelton—Cattle Stalls for Everybody—A Wonderful Time.

The man with a new idea is a Crank until the idea succeeds.
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

It was Junior England all the way to Christchurch—in fact, just a garden. And Christchurch is an English town, with an English-park annex, and a winding English brook just like the Avon—and named the Avon; but from a man, not from Shakespeare’s river. Its grassy banks are bordered by the stateliest and most impressive weeping willows to be found in the world, I suppose. They continue the line of a great ancestor; they were grown from sprouts of the willow that sheltered Napoleon’s grave in St. Helena. It is a settled old community, with all the serenities, the graces, the conveniences, and the comforts of the ideal home-life. If it had an established Church and social inequality it would be England over again with hardly a lack.

In the museum we saw many curious and interesting things; among others a fine native house of the olden time, with all the details true to the facts, and the showy colors right and in their proper places. All the details: the fine mats and rugs and things; the elaborate and wonderful wood carvings—wonderful, surely, considering who did them—wonderful in design and particularly in execution, for they were done with admirable sharpness and exactness, and yet with no better tools than flint and jade and shell could furnish; and the totem-posts were there, ancestor above ancestor, with tongues protruded and hands clasped comfortably over bellies containing other people’s ancestors—grotesque and ugly devils, every one, but lovingly carved, and ably; and the stuffed natives were present, in their proper places, and looking as natural as life; and the housekeeping utensils were there, too, and close at hand the carved and finely ornamented war canoe.

And we saw little jade gods, to hang around the neck—not everybody’s, but sacred to the necks of natives of rank. Also jade weapons, and many kinds of jade trinkets—all made out of that excessively hard stone without the help of any tool of iron. And some of these things had small round holes bored through them—nobody knows how it was done; a mystery, a lost art. I think it was said that if you want such a hole bored in a piece of jade now, you must send it to London or Amsterdam where the lapidaries are.

Also we saw a complete skeleton of the giant Moa. It stood ten feet high, and must have been a sight to look at when it was a living bird. It was a kicker, like the ostrich; in fight it did not use its beak, but its foot. It must have been a convincing kind of kick. If a person had his back to the bird and did not see who it was that did it, he would think he had been kicked by a wind-mill.

There must have been a sufficiency of moas in the old forgotten days when his breed walked the earth. His bones are found in vast masses, all crammed together in huge graves. They are not in caves, but in the ground. Nobody knows how they happened to get concentrated there. Mind, they are bones, not fossils. This means that the moa has not been extinct very long. Still, this is the only New Zealand creature which has no mention in that otherwise comprehensive literature, the native legends. This is a significant detail, and is good circumstantial evidence that the moa has been extinct 500 years, since the Maori has himself—by tradition—been in New Zealand since the end of the fifteenth century. He came from an unknown land—the first Maori did—then sailed back in his canoe and brought his tribe, and they removed the aboriginal peoples into the sea and into the ground and took the land. That is the tradition. That that first Maori could come, is understandable, for anybody can come to a place when he isn’t trying to; but how that discoverer found his way back home again without a compass is his secret, and he died with it in him. His language indicates that he came from Polynesia. He told where he came from, but he couldn’t spell well, so one can’t find the place on the map, because people who could spell better than he could, spelt the resemblance all out of it when they made the map. However, it is better to have a map that is spelt right than one that has information in it.

In New Zealand women have the right to vote for members of the legislature, but they cannot be members themselves. The law extending the suffrage to them went into effect in 1893. The population of Christchurch (census of 1891) was 31,454. The first election under the law was held in November of that year. Number of men who voted, 6,313; number of women who voted, 5,989. These figures ought to convince us that women are not as indifferent about politics as some people would have us believe. In New Zealand as a whole, the estimated adult female population was 139,915; of these 109,461 qualified and registered their names on the rolls 78.23 per cent. of the whole. Of these, 90,290 went to the polls and voted—85.18 per cent. Do men ever turn out better than that—in America or elsewhere? Here is a remark to the other sex’s credit, too—I take it from the official report:

“A feature of the election was the orderliness and sobriety of the people. Women were in no way molested.”

At home, a standing argument against woman suffrage has always been that women could not go to the polls without being insulted. The arguments against woman suffrage have always taken the easy form of prophecy. The prophets have been prophesying ever since the woman’s rights movement began in 1848—and in forty-seven years they have never scored a hit.

Men ought to begin to feel a sort of respect for their mothers and wives and sisters by this time. The women deserve a change of attitude like that, for they have wrought well. In forty-seven years they have swept an imposingly large number of unfair laws from the statute books of America. In that brief time these serfs have set themselves free—essentially. Men could not have done so much for themselves in that time without bloodshed—at least they never have; and that is argument that they didn’t know how. The women have accomplished a peaceful revolution, and a very beneficent one; and yet that has not convinced the average man that they are intelligent, and have courage and energy and perseverance and fortitude. It takes much to convince the average man of anything; and perhaps nothing can ever make him realize that he is the average woman’s inferior—yet in several important details the evidence seems to show that that is what he is. Man has ruled the human race from the beginning—but he should remember that up to the middle of the present century it was a dull world, and ignorant and stupid; but it is not such a dull world now, and is growing less and less dull all the time. This is woman’s opportunity—she has had none before. I wonder where man will be in another forty-seven years?

In the New Zealand law occurs this: “The word person wherever it occurs throughout the Act includes woman.”

That is promotion, you see. By that enlargement of the word, the matron with the garnered wisdom and experience of fifty years becomes at one jump the political equal of her callow kid of twenty-one. The white population of the colony is 626,000, the Maori population is 42,000. The whites elect seventy members of the House of Representatives, the Maoris four. The Maori women vote for their four members.

November 16. After four pleasant days in Christchurch, we are to leave at midnight to-night. Mr. Kinsey gave me an ornithorhynchus, and I am taming it.

Sunday, 17th. Sailed last night in the Flora, from Lyttelton.

So we did. I remember it yet. The people who sailed in the Flora that night may forget some other things if they live a good while, but they will not live long enough to forget that. The Flora is about the equivalent of a cattle-scow; but when the Union Company find it inconvenient to keep a contract and lucrative to break it, they smuggle her into passenger service, and “keep the change.”

They give no notice of their projected depredation; you innocently buy tickets for the advertised passenger boat, and when you get down to Lyttelton at midnight, you find that they have substituted the scow. They have plenty of good boats, but no competition—and that is the trouble. It is too late now to make other arrangements if you have engagements ahead.

It is a powerful company, it has a monopoly, and everybody is afraid of it—including the government’s representative, who stands at the end of the stage-plank to tally the passengers and see that no boat receives a greater number than the law allows her to carry. This conveniently-blind representative saw the scow receive a number which was far in excess of its privilege, and winked a politic wink and said nothing. The passengers bore with meekness the cheat which had been put upon them, and made no complaint.

It was like being at home in America, where abused passengers act in just the same way. A few days before, the Union Company had discharged a captain for getting a boat into danger, and had advertised this act as evidence of its vigilance in looking after the safety of the passengers—for thugging a captain costs the company nothing, but when opportunity offered to send this dangerously overcrowded tub to sea and save a little trouble and a tidy penny by it, it forgot to worry about the passenger’s safety.

The first officer told me that the Flora was privileged to carry 125 passengers. She must have had all of 200 on board. All the cabins were full, all the cattle-stalls in the main stable were full, the spaces at the heads of companionways were full, every inch of floor and table in the swill-room was packed with sleeping men and remained so until the place was required for breakfast, all the chairs and benches on the hurricane deck were occupied, and still there were people who had to walk about all night!

If the Flora had gone down that night, half of the people on board would have been wholly without means of escape.

The owners of that boat were not technically guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, but they were morally guilty of it.

I had a cattle-stall in the main stable—a cavern fitted up with a long double file of two-storied bunks, the files separated by a calico partition—twenty men and boys on one side of it, twenty women and girls on the other. The place was as dark as the soul of the Union Company, and smelt like a kennel. When the vessel got out into the heavy seas and began to pitch and wallow, the cavern prisoners became immediately seasick, and then the peculiar results that ensued laid all my previous experiences of the kind well away in the shade. And the wails, the groans, the cries, the shrieks, the strange ejaculations—it was wonderful.

The women and children and some of the men and boys spent the night in that place, for they were too ill to leave it; but the rest of us got up, by and by, and finished the night on the hurricane-deck.

That boat was the foulest I was ever in; and the smell of the breakfast saloon when we threaded our way among the layers of steaming passengers stretched upon its floor and its tables was incomparable for efficiency.

A good many of us got ashore at the first way-port to seek another ship. After a wait of three hours we got good rooms in the Mahinapua, a wee little bridal-parlor of a boat—only 205 tons burthen; clean and comfortable; good service; good beds; good table, and no crowding. The seas danced her about like a duck, but she was safe and capable.

Next morning early she went through the French Pass—a narrow gateway of rock, between bold headlands—so narrow, in fact, that it seemed no wider than a street. The current tore through there like a mill-race, and the boat darted through like a telegram. The passage was made in half a minute; then we were in a wide place where noble vast eddies swept grandly round and round in shoal water, and I wondered what they would do with the little boat. They did as they pleased with her. They picked her up and flung her around like nothing and landed her gently on the solid, smooth bottom of sand—so gently, indeed, that we barely felt her touch it, barely felt her quiver when she came to a standstill. The water was as clear as glass, the sand on the bottom was vividly distinct, and the fishes seemed to be swimming about in nothing. Fishing lines were brought out, but before we could bait the hooks the boat was off and away again.


The Town of Nelson—“The Mongatapu Murders,” the Great Event of the Town—Burgess’ Confession—Summit of Mount Eden—Rotorua and the Hot Lakes and Geysers—Thermal Springs District—Kauri Gum—Tangariwa Mountains

Let us be grateful to Adam our benefactor. He cut us out of the “blessing of idleness,” and won for us the “curse of labor.”
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

We soon reached the town of Nelson, and spent the most of the day there, visiting acquaintances and driving with them about the garden—the whole region is a garden, excepting the scene of the “Maungatapu Murders,” of thirty years ago. That is a wild place—wild and lonely; an ideal place for a murder. It is at the base of a vast, rugged, densely timbered mountain. In the deep twilight of that forest solitude four desperate rascals—Burgess, Sullivan, Levy, and Kelley—ambushed themselves beside the mountain-trail to murder and rob four travelers—Kempthorne, Mathieu, Dudley, and De Pontius, the latter a New Yorker. A harmless old laboring man came wandering along, and as his presence was an embarrassment, they choked him, hid him, and then resumed their watch for the four. They had to wait a while, but eventually everything turned out as they desired.

That dark episode is the one large event in the history of Nelson. The fame of it traveled far. Burgess made a confession. It is a remarkable paper. For brevity, succinctness, and concentration, it is perhaps without its peer in the literature of murder. There are no waste words in it; there is no obtrusion of matter not pertinent to the occasion, nor any departure from the dispassionate tone proper to a formal business statement—for that is what it is: a business statement of a murder, by the chief engineer of it, or superintendent, or foreman, or whatever one may prefer to call him.

“We were getting impatient, when we saw four men and a pack-horse coming. I left my cover and had a look at the men, for Levy had told me that Mathieu was a small man and wore a large beard, and that it was a chestnut horse. I said, ‘Here they come.’ They were then a good distance away; I took the caps off my gun, and put fresh ones on. I said, ‘You keep where you are, I’ll put them up, and you give me your gun while you tie them.’ It was arranged as I have described. The men came; they arrived within about fifteen yards when I stepped up and said, ‘Stand! bail up!’ That means all of them to get together. I made them fall back on the upper side of the road with their faces up the range, and Sullivan brought me his gun, and then tied their hands behind them. The horse was very quiet all the time, he did not move. When they were all tied, Sullivan took the horse up the hill, and put him in the bush; he cut the rope and let the swags—[A “swag” is a kit, a pack, small baggage.]—fall on the ground, and then came to me. We then marched the men down the incline to the creek; the water at this time barely running. Up this creek we took the men; we went, I daresay, five or six hundred yards up it, which took us nearly half-an-hour to accomplish. Then we turned to the right up the range; we went, I daresay, one hundred and fifty yards from the creek, and there we sat down with the men. I said to Sullivan, ‘Put down your gun and search these men,’ which he did. I asked them their several names; they told me. I asked them if they were expected at Nelson. They said, ‘No.’ If such their lives would have been spared. In money we took L60 odd. I said, ‘Is this all you have? You had better tell me.’ Sullivan said, ‘Here is a bag of gold.’ I said, ‘What’s on that pack-horse? Is there any gold?’ when Kempthorne said, ‘Yes, my gold is in the portmanteau, and I trust you will not take it all.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘we must take you away one at a time, because the range is steep just here, and then we will let you go.’ They said, ‘All right,’ most cheerfully. We tied their feet, and took Dudley with us; we went about sixty yards with him. This was through a scrub. It was arranged the night previously that it would be best to choke them, in case the report of the arms might be heard from the road, and if they were missed they never would be found. So we tied a handkerchief over his eyes, when Sullivan took the sash off his waist, put it round his neck, and so strangled him. Sullivan, after I had killed the old laboring man, found fault with the way he was choked. He said, ‘The next we do I’ll show you my way.’ I said, ‘I have never done such a thing before. I have shot a man, but never choked one.’ We returned to the others, when Kempthorne said, ‘What noise was that?’ I said it was caused by breaking through the scrub. This was taking too much time, so it was agreed to shoot them. With that I said, ‘We’ll take you no further, but separate you, and then loose one of you, and he can relieve the others.’ So with that, Sullivan took De Pontius to the left of where Kempthorne was sitting. I took Mathieu to the right. I tied a strap round his legs, and shot him with a revolver. He yelled, I ran from him with my gun in my hand, I sighted Kempthorne, who had risen to his feet. I presented the gun, and shot him behind the right ear; his life’s blood welled from him, and he died instantaneously. Sullivan had shot De Pontius in the meantime, and then came to me. I said, ‘Look to Mathieu,’ indicating the spot where he lay. He shortly returned and said, ‘I had to “chiv” that fellow, he was not dead,’ a cant word, meaning that he had to stab him. Returning to the road we passed where De Pontius lay and was dead. Sullivan said, ‘This is the digger, the others were all storekeepers; this is the digger, let’s cover him up, for should the others be found, they’ll think he done it and sloped,’ meaning he had gone. So with that we threw all the stones on him, and then left him. This bloody work took nearly an hour and a half from the time we stopped the men.”

Anyone who reads that confession will think that the man who wrote it was destitute of emotions, destitute of feeling. That is partly true. As regarded others he was plainly without feeling—utterly cold and pitiless; but as regarded himself the case was different. While he cared nothing for the future of the murdered men, he cared a great deal for his own. It makes one’s flesh creep to read the introduction to his confession. The judge on the bench characterized it as “scandalously blasphemous,” and it certainly reads so, but Burgess meant no blasphemy. He was merely a brute, and whatever he said or wrote was sure to expose the fact. His redemption was a very real thing to him, and he was as jubilantly happy on the gallows as ever was Christian martyr at the stake. We dwellers in this world are strangely made, and mysteriously circumstanced. We have to suppose that the murdered men are lost, and that Burgess is saved; but we cannot suppress our natural regrets.

“Written in my dungeon drear this 7th of August, in the year of Grace, 1866. To God be ascribed all power and glory in subduing the rebellious spirit of a most guilty wretch, who has been brought, through the instrumentality of a faithful follower of Christ, to see his wretched and guilty state, inasmuch as hitherto he has led an awful and wretched life, and through the assurance of this faithful soldier of Christ, he has been led and also believes that Christ will yet receive and cleanse him from all his deep-dyed and bloody sins. I lie under the imputation which says, ‘Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ On this promise I rely.”

We sailed in the afternoon late, spent a few hours at New Plymouth, then sailed again and reached Auckland the next day, November 20th, and remained in that fine city several days. Its situation is commanding, and the sea-view is superb. There are charming drives all about, and by courtesy of friends we had opportunity to enjoy them. From the grassy crater-summit of Mount Eden one’s eye ranges over a grand sweep and variety of scenery—forests clothed in luxuriant foliage, rolling green fields, conflagrations of flowers, receding and dimming stretches of green plain, broken by lofty and symmetrical old craters—then the blue bays twinkling and sparkling away into the dreamy distances where the mountains loom spiritual in their veils of haze.

It is from Auckland that one goes to Rotorua, the region of the renowned hot lakes and geysers—one of the chief wonders of New Zealand; but I was not well enough to make the trip. The government has a sanitorium there, and everything is comfortable for the tourist and the invalid. The government’s official physician is almost over-cautious in his estimates of the efficacy of the baths, when he is talking about rheumatism, gout, paralysis, and such things; but when he is talking about the effectiveness of the waters in eradicating the whisky-habit, he seems to have no reserves. The baths will cure the drinking-habit no matter how chronic it is—and cure it so effectually that even the desire to drink intoxicants will come no more. There should be a rush from Europe and America to that place; and when the victims of alcoholism find out what they can get by going there, the rush will begin.

The Thermal-springs District of New Zealand comprises an area of upwards of 600,000 acres, or close on 1,000 square miles. Rotorua is the favorite place. It is the center of a rich field of lake and mountain scenery; from Rotorua as a base the pleasure-seeker makes excursions. The crowd of sick people is great, and growing. Rotorua is the Carlsbad of Australasia.

It is from Auckland that the Kauri gum is shipped. For a long time now about 8,000 tons of it have been brought into the town per year. It is worth about $300 per ton, unassorted; assorted, the finest grades are worth about $1,000. It goes to America, chiefly. It is in lumps, and is hard and smooth, and looks like amber—the light-colored like new amber, and the dark brown like rich old amber. And it has the pleasant feel of amber, too. Some of the light-colored samples were a tolerably fair counterfeit of uncut South African diamonds, they were so perfectly smooth and polished and transparent. It is manufactured into varnish; a varnish which answers for copal varnish and is cheaper.

The gum is dug up out of the ground; it has been there for ages. It is the sap of the Kauri tree. Dr. Campbell of Auckland told me he sent a cargo of it to England fifty years ago, but nothing came of the venture. Nobody knew what to do with it; so it was sold at L5 a ton, to light fires with.

November 26—3 P.M., sailed. Vast and beautiful harbor. Land all about for hours. Tangariwa, the mountain that “has the same shape from every point of view.” That is the common belief in Auckland. And so it has—from every point of view except thirteen. Perfect summer weather. Large school of whales in the distance. Nothing could be daintier than the puffs of vapor they spout up, when seen against the pink glory of the sinking sun, or against the dark mass of an island reposing in the deep blue shadow of a storm cloud . . . . Great Barrier rock standing up out of the sea away to the left. Sometime ago a ship hit it full speed in a fog—20 miles out of her course—140 lives lost; the captain committed suicide without waiting a moment. He knew that, whether he was to blame or not, the company owning the vessel would discharge him and make a devotion—to—passengers’ safety advertisement out of it, and his chance to make a livelihood would be permanently gone.

Chapter XXXIV.

The Bay of Gisborne—Taking in Passengers by the Yard Arm—The Green Ballarat Fly—False Teeth—From Napier to Hastings by the Ballarat Fly Train—Kauri Trees—A Case of Mental Telegraphy

Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

November 27. To-day we reached Gisborne, and anchored in a big bay; there was a heavy sea on, so we remained on board.

We were a mile from shore; a little steam-tug put out from the land; she was an object of thrilling interest; she would climb to the summit of a billow, reel drunkenly there a moment, dim and gray in the driving storm of spindrift, then make a plunge like a diver and remain out of sight until one had given her up, then up she would dart again, on a steep slant toward the sky, shedding Niagaras of water from her forecastle—and this she kept up, all the way out to us. She brought twenty-five passengers in her stomach—men and women—mainly a traveling dramatic company. In sight on deck were the crew, in sou’westers, yellow waterproof canvas suits, and boots to the thigh. The deck was never quiet for a moment, and seldom nearer level than a ladder, and noble were the seas which leapt aboard and went flooding aft. We rove a long line to the yard-arm, hung a most primitive basketchair to it and swung it out into the spacious air of heaven, and there it swayed, pendulum-fashion, waiting for its chance—then down it shot, skillfully aimed, and was grabbed by the two men on the forecastle.

A young fellow belonging to our crew was in the chair, to be a protection to the lady-comers. At once a couple of ladies appeared from below, took seats in his lap, we hoisted them into the sky, waited a moment till the roll of the ship brought them in overhead, then we lowered suddenly away, and seized the chair as it struck the deck. We took the twenty-five aboard, and delivered twenty-five into the tug—among them several aged ladies, and one blind one—and all without accident. It was a fine piece of work.

Ours is a nice ship, roomy, comfortable, well-ordered, and satisfactory. Now and then we step on a rat in a hotel, but we have had no rats on shipboard lately; unless, perhaps in the Flora; we had more serious things to think of there, and did not notice. I have noticed that it is only in ships and hotels which still employ the odious Chinese gong, that you find rats. The reason would seem to be, that as a rat cannot tell the time of day by a clock, he won’t stay where he cannot find out when dinner is ready.

November 29. The doctor tells me of several old drunkards, one spiritless loafer, and several far-gone moral wrecks who have been reclaimed by the Salvation Army and have remained staunch people and hard workers these two years. Wherever one goes, these testimonials to the Army’s efficiency are forthcoming . . . . This morning we had one of those whizzing green Ballarat flies in the room, with his stunning buzz-saw noise—the swiftest creature in the world except the lightning-flash. It is a stupendous force that is stored up in that little body. If we had it in a ship in the same proportion, we could spin from Liverpool to New York in the space of an hour—the time it takes to eat luncheon. The New Zealand express train is called the Ballarat Fly . . . . Bad teeth in the colonies. A citizen told me they don’t have teeth filled, but pull them out and put in false ones, and that now and then one sees a young lady with a full set. She is fortunate. I wish I had been born with false teeth and a false liver and false carbuncles. I should get along better.

December 2. Monday. Left Napier in the Ballarat Fly the one that goes twice a week. From Napier to Hastings, twelve miles; time, fifty-five minutes—not so far short of thirteen miles an hour . . . . A perfect summer day; cool breeze, brilliant sky, rich vegetation. Two or three times during the afternoon we saw wonderfully dense and beautiful forests, tumultuously piled skyward on the broken highlands—not the customary roof-like slant of a hillside, where the trees are all the same height. The noblest of these trees were of the Kauri breed, we were told—the timber that is now furnishing the wood-paving for Europe, and is the best of all wood for that purpose. Sometimes these towering upheavals of forestry were festooned and garlanded with vine-cables, and sometimes the masses of undergrowth were cocooned in another sort of vine of a delicate cobwebby texture—they call it the “supplejack,” I think. Tree ferns everywhere—a stem fifteen feet high, with a graceful chalice of fern-fronds sprouting from its top—a lovely forest ornament. And there was a ten-foot reed with a flowing suit of what looked like yellow hair hanging from its upper end. I do not know its name, but if there is such a thing as a scalp-plant, this is it. A romantic gorge, with a brook flowing in its bottom, approaching Palmerston North.

Waitukurau. Twenty minutes for luncheon. With me sat my wife and daughter, and my manager, Mr. Carlyle Smythe. I sat at the head of the table, and could see the right-hand wall; the others had their backs to it. On that wall, at a good distance away, were a couple of framed pictures. I could not see them clearly, but from the groupings of the figures I fancied that they represented the killing of Napoleon III’s son by the Zulus in South Africa. I broke into the conversation, which was about poetry and cabbage and art, and said to my wife—

“Do you remember when the news came to Paris——”

“Of the killing of the Prince?”

(Those were the very words I had in my mind.) “Yes, but what Prince?”

“Napoleon. Lulu.”

“What made you think of that?”

“I don’t know.”

There was no collusion. She had not seen the pictures, and they had not been mentioned. She ought to have thought of some recent news that came to Paris, for we were but seven months from there and had been living there a couple of years when we started on this trip; but instead of that she thought of an incident of our brief sojourn in Paris of sixteen years before.

Here was a clear case of mental telegraphy; of mind-transference; of my mind telegraphing a thought into hers. How do I know? Because I telegraphed an error. For it turned out that the pictures did not represent the killing of Lulu at all, nor anything connected with Lulu. She had to get the error from my head—it existed nowhere else.


Fifty Miles in Four Hours—Comfortable Cars—Town of Wauganui—Plenty of Maoris—On the Increase—Compliments to the Maoris—The Missionary Ways all Wrong—The Tabu among the Maoris—A Mysterious Sign—Curious War-monuments—Wellington

The Autocrat of Russia possesses more power than any other man in the earth; but he cannot stop a sneeze.
—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

WAUGANUI, December 3. A pleasant trip, yesterday, per Ballarat Fly. Four hours. I do not know the distance, but it must have been well along toward fifty miles. The Fly could have spun it out to eight hours and not discommoded me; for where there is comfort, and no need for hurry, speed is of no value—at least to me; and nothing that goes on wheels can be more comfortable, more satisfactory, than the New Zealand trains. Outside of America there are no cars that are so rationally devised. When you add the constant presence of charming scenery and the nearly constant absence of dust—well, if one is not content then, he ought to get out and walk. That would change his spirit, perhaps? I think so. At the end of an hour you would find him waiting humbly beside the track, and glad to be taken aboard again.

Much horseback riding, in and around this town; many comely girls in cool and pretty summer gowns; much Salvation Army; lots of Maoris; the faces and bodies of some of the old ones very tastefully frescoed. Maori Council House over the river—large, strong, carpeted from end to end with matting, and decorated with elaborate wood carvings, artistically executed. The Maoris were very polite.

I was assured by a member of the House of Representatives that the native race is not decreasing, but actually increasing slightly. It is another evidence that they are a superior breed of savages. I do not call to mind any savage race that built such good houses, or such strong and ingenious and scientific fortresses, or gave so much attention to agriculture, or had military arts and devices which so nearly approached the white man’s. These, taken together with their high abilities in boat-building, and their tastes and capacities in the ornamental arts modify their savagery to a semi-civilization—or at least to, a quarter-civilization.

It is a compliment to them that the British did not exterminate them, as they did the Australians and the Tasmanians, but were content with subduing them, and showed no desire to go further. And it is another compliment to them that the British did not take the whole of their choicest lands, but left them a considerable part, and then went further and protected them from the rapacities of landsharks—a protection which the New Zealand Government still extends to them. And it is still another compliment to the Maoris that the Government allows native representation—in both the legislature and the cabinet, and gives both sexes the vote. And in doing these things the Government also compliments itself; it has not been the custom of the world for conquerors to act in this large spirit toward the conquered.

The highest class white men who lived among the Maoris in the earliest time had a high opinion of them and a strong affection for them. Among the whites of this sort was the author of “Old New Zealand;” and Dr. Campbell of Auckland was another. Dr. Campbell was a close friend of several chiefs, and has many pleasant things to say of their fidelity, their magnanimity, and their generosity. Also of their quaint notions about the white man’s queer civilization, and their equally quaint comments upon it. One of them thought the missionary had got everything wrong end first and upside down. “Why, he wants us to stop worshiping and supplicating the evil gods, and go to worshiping and supplicating the Good One! There is no sense in that. A good god is not going to do us any harm.”

The Maoris had the tabu; and had it on a Polynesian scale of comprehensiveness and elaboration. Some of its features could have been importations from India and Judea. Neither the Maori nor the Hindoo of common degree could cook by a fire that a person of higher caste had used, nor could the high Maori or high Hindoo employ fire that had served a man of low grade; if a low-grade Maori or Hindoo drank from a vessel belonging to a high-grade man, the vessel was defiled, and had to be destroyed. There were other resemblances between Maori tabu and Hindoo caste-custom.

Yesterday a lunatic burst into my quarters and warned me that the Jesuits were going to “cook” (poison) me in my food, or kill me on the stage at night. He said a mysterious sign was visible upon my posters and meant my death. He said he saved Rev. Mr. Haweis’s life by warning him that there were three men on his platform who would kill him if he took his eyes off them for a moment during his lecture. The same men were in my audience last night, but they saw that he was there. “Will they be there again to-night?” He hesitated; then said no, he thought they would rather take a rest and chance the poison. This lunatic has no delicacy. But he was not uninteresting. He told me a lot of things. He said he had “saved so many lecturers in twenty years, that they put him in the asylum.” I think he has less refinement than any lunatic I have met.

December 8. A couple of curious war-monuments here at Wanganui. One is in honor of white men “who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism.” Fanaticism. We Americans are English in blood, English in speech, English in religion, English in the essentials of our governmental system, English in the essentials of our civilization; and so, let us hope, for the honor of the blend, for the honor of the blood, for the honor of the race, that that word got there through lack of heedfulness, and will not be suffered to remain. If you carve it at Thermopylae, or where Winkelried died, or upon Bunker Hill monument, and read it again “who fell in defence of law and order against fanaticism” you will perceive what the word means, and how mischosen it is. Patriotism is Patriotism. Calling it Fanaticism cannot degrade it; nothing can degrade it. Even though it be a political mistake, and a thousand times a political mistake, that does not affect it; it is honorable—always honorable, always noble—and privileged to hold its head up and look the nations in the face. It is right to praise these brave white men who fell in the Maori war—they deserve it; but the presence of that word detracts from the dignity of their cause and their deeds, and makes them appear to have spilt their blood in a conflict with ignoble men, men not worthy of that costly sacrifice. But the men were worthy. It was no shame to fight them. They fought for their homes, they fought for their country; they bravely fought and bravely fell; and it would take nothing from the honor of the brave Englishmen who lie under the monument, but add to it, to say that they died in defense of English laws and English homes against men worthy of the sacrifice—the Maori patriots.

The other monument cannot be rectified. Except with dynamite. It is a mistake all through, and a strangely thoughtless one. It is a monument erected by white men to Maoris who fell fighting with the whites and against their own people, in the Maori war. “Sacred to the memory of the brave men who fell on the 14th of May, 1864,” etc. On one side are the names of about twenty Maoris. It is not a fancy of mine; the monument exists. I saw it. It is an object-lesson to the rising generation. It invites to treachery, disloyalty, unpatriotism. Its lesson, in frank terms is, “Desert your flag, slay your people, burn their homes, shame your nationality—we honor such.”

December 9. Wellington. Ten hours from Wanganui by the Fly. December 12. It is a fine city and nobly situated. A busy place, and full of life and movement. Have spent the three days partly in walking about, partly in enjoying social privileges, and largely in idling around the magnificent garden at Hutt, a little distance away, around the shore. I suppose we shall not see such another one soon.

We are packing to-night for the return-voyage to Australia. Our stay in New Zealand has been too brief; still, we are not unthankful for the glimpse which we have had of it.

The sturdy Maoris made the settlement of the country by the whites rather difficult. Not at first—but later. At first they welcomed the whites, and were eager to trade with them—particularly for muskets; for their pastime was internecine war, and they greatly preferred the white man’s weapons to their own. War was their pastime—I use the word advisedly. They often met and slaughtered each other just for a lark, and when there was no quarrel. The author of “Old New Zealand” mentions a case where a victorious army could have followed up its advantage and exterminated the opposing army, but declined to do it; explaining naively that “if we did that, there couldn’t be any more fighting.” In another battle one army sent word that it was out of ammunition, and would be obliged to stop unless the opposing army would send some. It was sent, and the fight went on.

In the early days things went well enough. The natives sold land without clearly understanding the terms of exchange, and the whites bought it without being much disturbed about the native’s confusion of mind. But by and by the Maori began to comprehend that he was being wronged; then there was trouble, for he was not the man to swallow a wrong and go aside and cry about it. He had the Tasmanian’s spirit and endurance, and a notable share of military science besides; and so he rose against the oppressor, did this gallant “fanatic,” and started a war that was not brought to a definite end until more than a generation had sped.