Page images
PDF
EPUB

ever you

some

have or do not have, you English children would guess them may be quite sure you are receiving to be at least two years

older the very best the house has to offer, than they really are. The fatherly whether you are in a regular accom- Government, in the case of these modation house or have been invited isolated families, compels them to by a chance acquaintance on one of have their children properly educated; the lonely roads to come in and have and if there is no elder brother or a cup of tea.

sister fit for the work, a teacher must Carpets I rarely saw, until I live in the house and teach them for reached a township ; bare boards, the regulation number of hours a day with perhaps a rag mat or the usual subjects compulsory in the sacks, are the rule. Meals are gener

New Zealand State schools. ally served in the kitchen, often It is a delightfully deliberate and with a wooden bench to sit on, and casual part of the world, this Westalways in company with whoever land. The homestead at which we happens to be in the house, farm- first put up after crossing the South hands, sheep-shearers, miners, anyone, Alps was hedged in on every side by the Premier himself, if he happened unbridged rivers, full of quicksands, to be electioneering anywhere in this, and dangerous to the last degree his electorate.

when in flood, as they very often are. True back-country, colonial meals Many a good life has been lost in they are, too, with bountiful helpings trying to ford these West Coast which would make a dainty-feeding rivers. Every arrangement in these Londoner open

his

eyes. Food is the parts is made“ rivers permitting,” and best of its kind, and used here, as often they do not permit. And even always in New Zealand, with when they are bridged, it is often wasteful extravagance I have never only with a ricketty suspension bridge seen elsewhere.

It may be roughly merely for foot passengers ; otherwise served, but the meat that is given you ride across them on horseback. you in Westland is fit to set before You must be able to sit a horse here; any king; it is always mutton, of for often there is absolutely no other course, in the back-country, varied way of getting about, many of the with occasional bush-pigeons or game, roads being only fit for a horse, while but it is mutton such as I do not if you walk or try to bicycle, even believe is to be found anywhere else supposing you crash recklessly through in the world. It is always the the little streams, you will be brought lightest of home-made bread which up every few miles by a river. The the settlers' wives put before you, horses are not beauties to look at and potatoes which are balls of flour, nor to ride, but they are sure-footed for there is known to be no land on the rough roads and they can ford which can grow such potatoes as this the rivers ; indeed were

one alone land of the virgin bush. On three and unused to the country, the safest hearty meals a day of meat and plan would be to give the horse the floury potatoes, with any amount of rein, and let it take its own way. butter and the inevitable large cups These rivers rise to an impassable of tea, which the average New Zea- state in a few hours, and are down lander drinks at least three, and again as quickly. The settlers will often four and five times a day, it talk of an “ Old Man Flood," still an is no wonder that the children are occasional

occurrence, when for a so big that anyone accustomed to fortnight, it may very well be, the

a

[ocr errors]

rivers are hopelessly unfordable even stars arise on the musical and artistie by the most practised horse.

horizons. But down here it really Letters come in some parts only does not matter. The steamer supabout once a fortnight, the rivers per posed to bring stores four or five mitting. Parcels are far more erratic ; times a year from Hokitika (the if they happen to be more than five or nearest town of more than a thousand six pounds in weight, the mailman people) is a month late ; the Waitara may consider them too heavy, in or the Little Wanganui River is which case he calmly plants them higher than it has been for years ; somewhere along the road, to await these are the only events of which his good pleasure and convenience.

you are cognisant, except the latest A parcel of mine, that went astray totalisator news, or the latest sweepdown the West Coast, careered about stakes in the local races. There are the South Island for two months, and often not even any neighbours whose was the subject of sheaves of tele- affairs you can discuss. grams before it eventually fell into Doctors in this remote part of the the hands of the post-otfice in Wel- world, like many other things, bave lington.

perforce to be done without, except The first thing that happened to in cases of extreme emergency, when me in Westland was to be river- one is sometimes brought from the bound. For days I had not been nearest town. I knew of one mediable to send a telegram or a letter; cal man who rode some hundred and none of my friends or relatives knew twenty miles to see a patient. Night

a exactly where I was; as for a shop or and day he rode, the settlers all along town I had almost forgotten what the way (for the news had spread one looked like. My host remarked rapidly, as it does in these back that people “should never come down country districts) coming out with that way if they were tied to time their best and swiftest horses for for a week or two"- -a profoundly him, and he would swing off one true remark. Down in the wilds of horse and on to another without pausWestland you must cure yourself of ing. Sixty pounds it cost to bring being in a hurry ; in a week, perhaps him down; and the end of everything less, perhaps more, when rivers have I learned one day when wandering gone down, when you have caught along a bush road I found, hidden and shod a horse, and you can ride away among the tall, fern-covered to the nearest telegraph office, ten or trees, a little, flower-planted enclofifteen miles off, you will be able to sure, with two lonely graves among the send a telegram, and let your friends silent bush. It was strangely solemn know you are alive ; you might even that little cenietery, perhaps not even see a week-old newspaper, and after in consecrated ground, with no church all you have only been a fortnight within a hundred miles, and no headwithout your letters.

stone to mark who lay beneath. The world wags along; there are A little further up the coast, when wars and rumours of wars, revolutions the backwoods become rather less and changes of dynasty; monarchs back, the Government has attached a die and other monarchs succeed them; telephone to all the accommodation discoveries are made which astonish houses,-huts and shanties the irrethe whole scientific world ; the press verent Englishman, who does not continues that making of books of build his own dwelling, might call which there is no end, and them, but they are the only places

new

[ocr errors]

as kind

mosses

to stay in down in Unknown New woman in the whole place except Zealand. Often also, you can send myself. Sometimes, in these very a telegram from them, as they are primitive accomodation houses, one frequently post - offices, and always realises what luxury is camping out you can get a good meal and a warm in a tent or under one of the huge fire. As a rule these houses are West Coast boulders, sleeping in a about ten or fifteen miles apart, bag, and being able to bathe in one always West Coast miles, which have of the fresh mountain streams next a considerable bittock added on to morning. their original length.

However, at the Forks, as everyFor four long days I rode on where else in Unknown New Zealand, man's saddle in the boy's dress that everyone was

as possible. is absolutely necessary for any woman Everything was done for my comfort who would enter Westland across that could be done, and the dogs the Southern Alps, and always along were immediately despatched into the bush roads or across tussock flats and depths of the bush to bring in the river-beds. A bush road may be cows, that they might be sure of rough, but it is always exquisitely. milk the next morning. After tea beautiful. The ferns and

we sat by the blazing fire in the vast covering the ground, mantling the open fire-place, and talked to the old tall trees to the very top, and clothing miners smoking in the comfortable every branch in soft green, are in- warmth. Most of these old miners describable, of every variety from remember Mr. Seddon in his earlier giant tree-ferns forty feet high to days; they speak

days; they speak of him with the most fragile and filmiest maiden- friendly admiration, and are somehair, and many kinds never times full of reminiscences of him anywhere but on the West Coast. before he became Premier. One It is all virgin bush, trackless save cannot travel in Westland without for a few roads, and containing no hearing constantly of Mr. Seddon. living thing except the wood-pigeons, Presently the Government road-overthe tiny fantails, twittering, black- seer came in, with a pretty blue-eyed, capped tomtits, and saucy bush- fair-haired child, looking strangely robins, without red breasts, but out of place among those rough men. otherwise just like English robins. We fell to talking of many things,

Twice I digressed to see two of and naturally the conversation soon the wonderful West Coast glaciers turned on Mr. Seddon. The overwhich come down to within a few seer had stayed, when a young man, hundred feet of the sea, with ferns in the hotel kept by him in Kumara. and bush growing down almost to Yes, it was a hotel much like the one the edge of the vast masses of broken I was in, a wooden, one-storied ice. It is very little explored as yet building, with the thinnest of walls this district of Westland.

and partitions, so that whatever went Once I found myself where several on in any one room could be heard bush roads met, at a place called the with startling distinctness nearly all Forks, consisting mainly of the hotel over the house.

lt was, moreover, and post-office, and two or three one of those hotels and stores comunpainted shanties. The hotel was bined seen but very rarely in New the very roughest I ever stayed in, Zealand now. Usually the hotel bar even in the backwoods, and kept only is on one side of the house, and the by men ; indeed I think there was no store, where everything from groceries

seen

overseer

to drapery is sold, on the other. “I volunteered to lend me a horse, and used to see him a lot, then," the the next night I stayed at his sister's overseer continued, “but I never house. There is nothing within their thought then he would become the power that they will not do for you, big man he is now. I don't think any. these Westland folks, zor, though the one else thought so either. Oh yes, miners are reputed rough, and though they all remember him everywhere, in many ways the West Coast is especially the miners, wherever you undoubtedly a rough district, do I go about the coast.” This I found to think a woman travelling along there be true; the coast would be a store- need have any fear. There was no house of wealth for anyone wishing to trouble that those rough men would gather reminiscences of the early days not take, it seemed. One would of a man the effects of whose person- wait for me by a river and let me ality permeate New Zealand, and ride his horse over it ; another would who, if faulty, is nevertheless really carry my bicycle (a heavy, hired remarkable. But it was Mrs. Seddon, man's machine, very high-geared) I discovered, whom the

over one of the ricketty suspension remembered with special affection. bridges, and send me in to his wife He was a very young man when he for tea. Everyone all along those boarded in Mr. Seddon's hotel for a lonely roads knows well when a pound a week, and he was grateful stranger is coming along, for the for the kindly watch Mrs. Seddon telephone being attached to the never failed to keep on him. What accommodation houses they send the had chiefly struck him about the future news along from one to another, Premier was his great fondness for when you left, when you are likely his children. He recalled how, when to arrive, and all about you. And elected to the mayorship of Kumara there is a great difference between or to some other dignity (I cannot Unknown New Zealand and England, now remember what) Seddon and indeed most parts of the world, drawn through the streets of the -it would be a terrible blunder to mining township by the exultant offer money to anybody for any of townsfolk. Through easy times and ,

these services. difficult, through good report and ill, It is a strange compound, this he has never failed to represent the Unknown New Zealand, represented miners of Westland in the New by the Premier of the Colony, and Zealand House of Representatives. unswerving in its devotion to him. Everyone on the West

st seems Nowhere, perhaps, are greater roughto know him, and they will talk to ness, greater homeliness, a truer kind. you about him by the hour together. liness. Nowhere, perhaps, can finer The Government overseer was

of wild mountainous characteristic type of a West-Coaster. description, still be found that so He asked me if I could stay a day or few eyes have yet beheld. Eternal two with his wife, as she was very Nature and the people that dwell lonely in their little hut by the side there with it have this in common; of one of the long, solitary bush-roads. both seem to bring one nearer to the As I had to go on next day, he primitive, original heart of things.

C. A. B.

was

а

scenery,

a

THE PRINCELY FAMILIES OF ROME.

The patricians of ancient Rome Via di Monserrato, which was afterboasted of a kinship with the gods. wards turned into a prison, the Corte Of the patricians of the modern city Savella, and here for time the few are pure Romans of Rome, and unfortunate Beatrice Cenci and her of these fewer still can claim even a accomplices were confined. Both traditional descent from their great Savelli and Pierleoni successively namesakes among the ancients. The occupied a stronghold built within greater number came originally from the ancient walls of the theatre of Tuscany and other parts of Northern Marcellus and the fortified palace Italy, and settled in Rome in the train against it, now the property of the of some member of their family raised Orsini. One of the Savelli popes, to the pontifical throne. A very small Honorius the Fourth, built himself a number, of recent origin, owe their castle on the Aventine, and at one titles to wealth or to success in public period the whole hill was entrenched, and political life; some few trace embattled, and fortified by them, the their descent from medieval chieftains, ancient temple of Libertas which and some are feudal in origin. These crowned it being transformed into last, truly indigenous to the city and a citadel. These great buildings and surrounding country, rose into pro- the Savelli family have alike disminence or fell, flourished or died out appeared. Pope Honorius and his with the wars and factions of the mother Vana, with various members Middle Ages. They made history for of the family, rest in the Savelli their city with barbarity and blood- chapel in the church of Ara Cæli shed for many dark centuries; but on the Capitol. The Pierleoni, a rich the records which tell of their origin and numerous race, descendants of a and of their decay are scarce, and learned Jewish convert of the time of in many cases have been lost or de Pope Leo the Ninth, occupied imstroyed. Powerful houses have become portant positions and made alliances extinct or have sunk into obscurity. with the great houses of Rome; and The great medieval family of Conti, in 1130 a member of this Jewish counts of Segni, whose race gave four family was elected and reigned several popes to Rome, including the great years in the Vatican as the Antipope Innocent the Third, have disappeared Anacletus, an event unparalleled in from history, leaving as a magnificent history. By the fourteenth century monument to their greatness the huge the Pierleoni had also disappeared. tower which bears their name.

The ancient consular race of the In the twelfth century the Sabine Frangipani have left to Rome some Savelli and the Jewish Pierleoni were fine monuments in the church of San great and prominent. Streets and Marcello in the Corso, and the name piazzas called after them in the region is still borne by a marquis in Udine, near the crowded little Piazza Mont- but they are

no longer numbered anara testify to their importance. among the princely houses. They The Savelli dwelt in a castle in the earned their appellation of Bread

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »