FOOT-PRINTS OF TRAVEL;
JOURNEYINGS IN MANY LANDS,
MATURIN M. BALLOU.
Armado. How hast thou purchased this experience? Moth. By my journey of observation.—SHAKESPEARE.
BOSTON, U.S.A.: PUBLISHED BY GINN & COMPANY. 1889.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1888, by GINN & COMPANY, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
TYPOGRAPHY BY J. S. CUSHING & CO., Boston, U.S.A.
PRESSWORK BY GINN & CO., Boston, U.S.A.
In these notes of foreign travel the object has been to cover a broad field without making a cumbersome volume, to do which, conciseness has necessarily been observed. In previous books the author has described much more in detail some of the countries here briefly spoken of. The volumes referred to are "Due-West; or, Round the World in Ten Months," and "Due-South; or, Cuba Past and Present," which were published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., of Boston. Two other volumes, namely, "Due-North; or, Glimpses of Scandinavia and Russia," and "Under the Southern Cross; or, Travels in Australia and New Zealand," were issued by Ticknor & Co., of the same city. By the kind permission of both publishers, the author has felt at liberty to use his original notes in the preparation of these pages. It should be understood, however, that about one-half of the countries through which the reader is conducted in the present work are not mentioned in the volumes above referred to. The purpose has been to prepare a series of chapters adapted for youth, which, while affording pleasing entertainment, should also impart valuable information. The free use of good maps while reading these Foot-prints of Travel, will be of great advantage, increasing the student's interest and also impressing upon his mind a degree of geographical knowledge which could not in any other way be so easily or pleasantly acquired.
M. M. B.
CHAPTER I. PAGE Crossing the American Continent.—Niagara Falls.—Utah.— Representatives of Native Indian Tribes.—City of San Francisco.—Sea Lions.—The Yosemite Valley.—An Indian Hiding-Place.—The Mariposa Grove of Big Trees.—Chinatown in San Francisco.—Through the Golden Gate.—Navigating the Pacific.—Products of the Ocean.—Sea Gulls.—Harbor and City of Honolulu. 1
Discoveries of Captain Cook.—Vegetation.—Hawaiian Women on Horse-back.—The Nuuanu Valley.—The Native Staff of Life.—The Several Islands of the Group.—Resident Chinamen.—Raising Sugar-Cane.—On the Ocean.—Yokohama, Japan.—Habits of the People.—A Remarkable Idol.—Tokio, the Political Capital.—The Famous Inland Sea of Japan.—Nagasaki.—Products and Progress of Japan. 16
Through the Yellow and Chinese Seas.—Hong Kong.— Peculiarities of the Chinese at Home.—Native Women.—City of Canton.—Charitable Organizations.—Chinese Culture.—National Characteristics.—Sail for Singapore.—A Water-spout.—A Tropical Island.—Local Pen-Pictures.—The Island of Penang.—An Indolent Native Race.—The Cocoanut Tree.—Palm Wine.—Tropical Fruits. 32
Crossing the Indian Ocean.—The Island of Ceylon.—Harbor of Colombo.—The Equatorial Forest.—Native Costumes.— Vegetation of Ceylon.—Prehistoric Monuments.—Departure for Australia.—The Stars at Sea.—The Great Island-Continent.—The Gold Product—Divisions of the Country.—City of Adelaide.—Public Garden.—West Australia.—Melbourne, Capital of Victoria.—Street Scenes.—Chinese Quarter. 44
Gold-fields of Australia.—Kangaroos.—Big Gum Trees.— Largest Trees in the World.—Wild Bird Life.— Gold-seeking.—City of Sydney.—Botanical Garden.—Public Institutions.—Sheep-raising.—Brisbane, Capital of Queensland.—The Aboriginal Race.—Native Legends.—The Boomerang.—Island of Tasmania.—How named.—Launceston.— Hobart, the Capital.—Local Scenes.—A Prosperous Country. 62
Embark for New Zealand.—The Albatross.—Experiments with Sea Water.—Oil upon the Waves.—Geography of New Zealand.—Mineral Wealth.—City of Dunedin.—Public Schools.—Native Cannibals.—Christchurch.—A Wonderful Bird.—Wellington, Capital of New Zealand.—Habits of the Natives.—The Race of Maori Indians.—Liability to Earthquakes.—A Submerged Volcano in Cook's Strait. 81
City of Auckland, New Zealand.—A Land of Volcanoes.— Suburbs of the Northern Metropolis.—The Kauri-Tree.— Native Flowers.—The Hot Lake District.—A New Zealand Forest.—A Vegetable Boa-constrictor.—Sulphurous Hot Springs.—Fiery Caldrons.—Indian town of Ohinemutu.— Typical Home of the Natives.—Maori Manners and Customs.—The Favorable Position of New Zealand.—Its Probable Future. 93
Arrival in India.—Insect and Reptile Life.—Madura.— City of Trichinopoly.—Car of Juggernaut.—Temple of Tanjore.—Travelling in India.—Madras.—Street Dancing Girls.—Arrival at Calcutta.—Cremating the Dead.—A Fashionable Driveway.—The Himalayan Mountains.—Apex of the Globe.—Tea Gardens of India.—A Wretched Peasantry.—Ancient Ruins.—City of Benares.—Worship of Animals.—Cawnpore.—Delhi.—Agra.—A Splendid Tomb. 105
Native City of Jeypore.—Poppy and Opium-raising.— Bombay.—The Parsees.—The Towers of Silence.—Historical View of India.—Voyage to the Red Sea.—Cairo, Capital of Egypt.—Local Scenes.—The Turkish Bazaars.—Pyramids of Gizeh.—The Sphinx.—The Desert.—Egypt, Past and Present.—Voyage to Malta.—City of Valetta.—Church of St. John.—Gibraltar.—View from the Signal Station.—English Outposts. 122
Tangier, Capital of Morocco.—An Oriental City.—Slave Market.—Characteristic Street Scenes.—Malaga, Spain.—A Neglected Country.—Grenada.—The Alhambra.—The Banished Moors.—Cordova and its Cathedral-Mosque.—Madrid, Capital of Spain.—Museo Art Gallery.—Sunday in the Metropolis.— Toledo.—The Escurial.—Burgos.—San Sebastian.— Bayonne.—Spain, Past and Present.—Bordeaux.—Rural Scenery in France. 141
City of Paris.—Sunday in the French Capital.—The Flower Market.—Notre Dame.—The Morgue.—Pere la Chaise.—The Story of Joan of Arc.—Educational Advantages.—City of Lyons.—Marseilles.—Nice.—Cimies.—Mentone.—The Principality of Monaco.—A Gambling Resort.—Mediterranean Scenes.—Over the Corniche Road.—City of Genoa.—Marble Palaces.—Italian Navigation.—The Campo Santo or Burial Ground. 164
Port of Leghorn.—Ancient City of Pisa.—Remarkable Monuments.—The Bay of Naples.—Neapolitan Beggars.—A Favorite Drive.—Out-of-door Life.—Vesuvius.—Art Treasures of the Museum.—Pompeii.—Environs of Naples.—Rome, the "Eternal City."—Local Scenes.—Artists' Models.—Favorite Promenade.—The Coliseum.—St. Peter's.—Florence and its Environs.—Art Treasures.—Home of Dante and Michael Angelo. 181
Venice.—The Gondola.—On the Grand Canal.—Venetian History.—Piazza of St. Mark.—Cathedral of San Marco.—The Campanile.—Academy of Fine Arts.—Doge's Palace.—Tombs of Titian and Canova.—Milan.—The Wonderful Cathedral.— Original Picture of the Last Supper.—Olden City of Pavia.—Innspruck, Capital of the Tyrol.—Among the Alps.—Salzburg, Birthplace of Mozart.—Industries of German Women. 200
Vienna, the Northern Paris.—Art Galleries and Museum.— Prague, Capital of Bohemia.—Ancient Dungeons.—Historic Mention.—Dresden, Capital of Saxony.—The Green Vaults.—Berlin, Capital of Prussia.—Hamburg.—Copenhagen, Capital of Denmark.—The Baltic Sea.—Danish Progress.— Thorwaldsen.—Educational.—Palace of Rosenborg.—The Round Tower.—Elsinore and Shakespeare's Hamlet. 215
Gottenburg, Sweden.—Intelligence of the People.—The Gotha Canal.—Troellhatta Falls.—Christiania, Capital of Norway.—Legal Code.—Public Buildings.—Ancient Viking Ship.—Brief Summers.—Swedish Women in the Field.—Flowers in Arctic Regions.—Norwegian Lakes.—Animals of the North.—Mountains and Glaciers.—A Land of Fjords, Cascades, and Lakes.—Dwellings situated like Eagles' Nests. 233
Bergen, Norway.—Local Products and Scenes.—Environs of Bergen.—The Angler's Paradise.—Troendhjem.—Story of King Olaf.—A Cruel Imprisonment.—Journey Northward.—Night turned into Day.—Coast of Norway.—Education.—The Arctic Circle.—Bodoee.—The Lofoden Islands.—The Maelstroem.—Hardy Arctic Fishermen.—The Polar Sea.—Varied Attractions of Norway to Travellers and Artists. 247
Peculiar Sleeplessness.—Tromsoee.—The Aurora Borealis.— Short-lived Summer.—Flowers.—Trees.—Laplanders and their Possessions.—Reindeers.—Customs of the Lapps.— Search for Whales.—Arctic Birds.—Influence of the Gulf Stream.—Hammerfest.—The Far North Cape and the Polar Ocean.—The Midnight Sun.—Stockholm, Capital of Sweden.— Royal Palace.—Historic Upsala.—Linnaeus, the Naturalist.—Crossing the Baltic and Gulf of Finland. 261
Abo.—Helsingfors, Capital of Finland.—Remarkable Fortress of Sweaborg.—Fortifications of Cronstadt.—Up the Neva to St. Petersburg.—Grandest City of Northern Europe.—Street Scenes in Russia.—Occupations of the Sabbath.—The Drosky.—Royal Palaces of the Tzar.—Noble Art Gallery.— Celebrated Library.—Public Monuments.—Winter Season. 275
Palace of Petershoff.—Peter the Great.—Religious Denominations.—On the Way to Moscow.—Through the Forests.—City of Tver.—The Volga.—Water-ways of Russia.—Picturesque Moscow.—The Kremlin.—Churches.— Cathedral of St. Basil.—Treasury of the Kremlin.—Royal Robes and Crowns.—A Page from History.—University of Moscow.—Sacred Pigeons.—Prevalence of Beggary in the Oriental Capital. 288
Nijni-Novgorod.—Valley of the Volga.—One of the Great Rivers of the World.—Famous Annual Fair-Ground.—Variety of Merchandise.—A Conglomerate of Races.—A Large Temporary City.—From Moscow to Warsaw.—Wolves.—The Granary of Europe.—Polish Peasants.—City of Warsaw.— Topography of the Capital.—Royal Residences.—Botanical Gardens.—Political Condition of Poland.—Commercial Prosperity.—Shameful Despotism. 298
Munich, Capital of Bavaria.—Trying Employments of the Women.—A Beer-Drinking Community.—Frankfort-on-the-Main.— Luther's Home.—Goethe's Birthplace.—Cologne on the Rhine.— The Grand Cathedral.—Antwerp, Belgium.—Rubens' Burial Place.—Art Treasures in the Cathedral.—Switzerland.— Bale.—Lausanne.—Geneva.—Lake Leman.—Vevay.—Berne, Capital of Switzerland.—Lucerne.—Zurich.—Schaffhausen. 310
London, the Metropolis of the World.—Some of its Institutions.—The Tower of London.—Statistics of the Great City.—Ancient Chester.—Rural England.—Stratford-on-Avon.— Edinburgh, Scotland.—Remarkable Monuments.—Abbotsford.— Rural Scotland.—Glasgow.—Greenock.—Across the Irish Sea to Belfast.—Queen's College.—Dublin, the Capital of Ireland.—Grand Public Buildings. 321
Nassau, New Providence.—Trees, Flowers, and Fruits.—Curious Sea Gardens.—The Finny Tribes.—Fresh Water Supply.—Tropical Skies.—The Gulf Stream.—Santiago de Cuba.—Cienfuegos.—Sugar Plantations.—Cuban Fruits.—Peculiarities of the Banana.— A Journey across the Island to Matanzas.—Inland Experiences.—Characteristic Scenes.—The Royal Palm. 334
Discovery of Cuba by Columbus.—The Native Race.—Historical Matters.—Headquarters of Spanish Military Operations in the West.—Invasion of Mexico by Cortez.—African Slave Trade.—Peculiarities of the Caribbean Sea.—Geography of the Island of Cuba.—City of Matanzas.—Havana, the Capital.—The Alameda.—The Cathedral.—Military Mass.—A Wonderfully Fertile Island.—Reflections. 349
FOOT-PRINTS OF TRAVEL;
JOURNEYINGS IN MANY LANDS.
The title of the book in hand is sufficiently expressive of its purpose. We shall follow the course of the sun, but diverge wherever the peculiarities of different countries prove attractive. As the author will conduct his readers only among scenes and over routes which he himself has travelled, it is hoped that he may be able to impart a portion of the enjoyment experienced, and the knowledge gained in many foreign lands and on many distant seas.
Starting from the city of Boston by railway, we pass at express speed through the length of Massachusetts from east to west, until we arrive at Hoosac, where the famous tunnel of that name is situated. This remarkable excavation, five miles in length, was cut through the solid rock of Hoosac Mountain to facilitate transportation between Boston and the West, at a cost of twenty years of labor and sixteen millions of dollars; a sum, which, were it divided, would amount to over five dollars per head for every man, woman, and child in the State.
By a continuous day's journey from Boston, we reach Niagara late at night. The best view of the falls, which form the grandest cataract on the globe, is to be enjoyed from the Canada side of the Niagara River. In the midst of the falls is Goat Island, dividing them into two unequal parts, one of which forms the American, and the other the Horse Shoe Fall, so called from its shape, which is on the Canada side. As we gaze upon this remarkable exhibition of natural force, a column of vapor rises two hundred feet above the avalanche of waters, white as snow where it is absorbed into the skies, the base being wreathed with perpetual rainbows. A canal, starting from a convenient point above the falls and extending to a point below the rapids, utilizes for mill purposes an infinitesimal portion of the enormous power which is running to waste, night and day, just as it has been doing for hundreds of years. It is well known that many centuries ago these falls were six miles nearer to Lake Ontario than they now are, making it evident that a steady wearing away of the rock and soil is all the time progressing. The inference seems to be plain enough. After the lapse of ages these mammoth falls may have receded so far as to open with one terrific plunge the eastern end of Lake Erie. Long before the Falls are reached we hear the mighty roar which made the Indians call the cataract Niagara, or "the thunder of the waters." On leaving here, we cross the river by a suspension bridge, which, from a short distance, looks like a mere spider's web. Over this the cars move slowly, affording a superb view of the Falls and of the awful chasm below.
But let us not dwell too long upon so familiar a theme. After a day and night in the cars, travelling westward, Chicago, the capital of Illinois, is reached. About sixty years ago a scattered tribe of the Pottawatomies inhabited the spot on the shore of Lake Michigan, where is now situated the most important capital of the North Western States. In 1837 the city was formed with less than five thousand inhabitants; at this writing it has nearly a million. Such rapid growth has no parallel in America or elsewhere. This commercial increase is the natural result of its situation at the head of the great chain of lakes. In size it is a little over seven miles in length by five in width, giving it an area of about forty square miles. The city is now the centre of a railroad system embracing fifteen important trunk lines, forming the largest grain, lumber, and livestock market in the world. One hundred and sixty million bushels of grain have passed through its elevators in a twelvemonth.
On our way westward, we stop for a day at Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, some sixteen hundred miles from Chicago. The site of the present town was an unbroken wilderness so late as 1838, but it now boasts a population of twenty-six thousand souls. The peculiar people who have established themselves here, have by industry and a complete system of irrigation, brought the entire valley to a degree of fertility unsurpassed by the same number of square miles on this continent. It is not within our province to discuss the domestic life of the Mormons. No portrait of them, however, will prove a likeness which does not clearly depict their twofold features; namely, their thrift and their iniquity. Contact with a truer condition of civilization, and the enforcement of United States laws, are slowly, but it is believed surely, reducing the numbers of the self-entitled "saints." Mormon missionaries, however, still seek to make proselytes in France, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain, addressing themselves always to the most ignorant classes. These poor half-starved creatures are helped to emigrate, believing that they are coming to a land flowing with milk and honey. In most cases any change with them would be for their advantage; and so the ranks of Mormonism are recruited, not from any truly religious impulse in the new disciples, but through a desire to better their physical condition.
From Utah, two days and a night passed in the cars will take us over the six hundred intervening miles to San Francisco. The route passes through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, presenting scenery which recalls the grand gorges and snow-clad peaks of Switzerland and Norway, characterized by deep canyons, lofty wooded elevations, and precipitous declivities. At the several railway stations specimens of the native Shoshones, Piutes, and other tribes of Indians are seen lazily sunning themselves in picturesque groups. The men are dirty and uncouth examples of humanity, besmeared with yellow ochre and vermilion; their dress consisting of loose flannel blankets and deerskin leggings, their rude hats decked with eagle feathers. The women are wrapped in striped blankets and wear red flannel leggings, both sexes being furnished with buckskin moccasins. The women are fond of cheap ornaments, colored glass beads, and brass ear-rings. About every other one has a baby strapped to her back in a flat basket. Men and squaws wear their coarse jet-black hair in long, untidy locks, hanging over their bronzed necks and faces. War, whiskey, and want of proper food are gradually blotting out the aboriginal tribes of America.
San Francisco, less than forty years of age, is the commercial metropolis of California, which State, if it lay upon the Atlantic coast, would extend from Massachusetts to South Carolina. It covers a territory five times as large as the whole of the New England States combined, possessing, especially in its southern division, a climate presenting most of the advantages of the tropics with but few of the objections which appertain to the low latitudes. The population of San Francisco already reaches an aggregate of nearly four hundred thousand. Owing its first popular attraction to the discovery of gold within its borders, in 1849, California has long since developed an agricultural capacity exceeding the value of its mineral productions. The future promise and possibilities of its trade and commerce defy calculation.
The Cliff House, situated four or five miles from the centre of the city, is a favorite pleasure resort of the population. It stands on a bluff of the Pacific shore, affording an ocean view limited only by the power of the human vision. As we look due west from this spot, no land intervenes between us and the far-away shore of Japan. Opposite the Cliff House, three hundred yards from the shore, there rises abruptly out of the sea, from a depth of many fathoms, a rough, precipitous rock, sixty or seventy feet in height, presenting about an acre of surface. Sea-lions come out of the water in large numbers to sun themselves upon this rock, affording an amusing sight from the shore. These animals are of all sizes, according to age, weighing from fifty to one thousand pounds, and possessing sufficient muscular power to enable them to climb the rock, where a hundred are often seen at a time. The half roar, half bark peculiar to these creatures, sounds harsh upon the ear of the listeners at the Cliff. The law of the State protects them from molestation, but they quarrel furiously among themselves. The sea-lion belongs to the seal family and is the largest of its species.
A week can hardly be more profitably occupied upon our route than by visiting the Yosemite Valley, where the grandeur of the Alpine scenery is unsurpassed, and where there are forests which produce giant trees of over three hundred feet in height and over thirty in diameter. The ascent of the mountain which forms the barrier to the valley, commences at a place called Clark's, the name of the person who keeps the hotel, and which is the only dwelling-house in the neighborhood. The stage is drawn upwards over a precipitous, winding road, by relays of six stout horses, to an elevation of seven thousand feet, leaving behind nearly all signs of human habitation. A mournful air of loneliness surrounds us as we creep slowly towards the summit; but how grand and inspiring are the views which are seen from the various points! One falls to analyzing the natural architecture of these mountain peaks, gulches, and cliffs, fancy making out at times well-defined Roman circuses; again, castellated crags come into view, resembling half-ruined castles on the Rhine; other crags are like Turkish minarets, while some rocky ranges are dome-capped like St. Peter's at Rome. Far below them all we catch glimpses of dark ravines of unknown depths, where lonely mist-wreaths rest like snow-drifts.
Nestling beside the roadway, there are seen here and there pale wild-flowers surrounded by vigorous ferns and creeping vines, showing that even here, in these lofty and deserted regions, Nature has her poetic moods. Birds almost entirely disappear at these altitudes, preferring the more genial atmosphere of the plains, though now and again an eagle, with broad spread pinions, is seen to swoop gracefully from the top of some lonely pine, and sail with unmoving wings far away across the depth of the valley until hidden by the windings of the gorge. Even the presence of this proud and kingly bird but serves to emphasize the loneliness of these silent heights.
By and by the loftiest portion of the road is reached at what is known as Inspiration Point, whence a comprehensive view is afforded of the far-famed valley. Though we stand here at an elevation of over seven thousand feet above the plains so lately crossed, still the Yosemite Valley, into which we are gazing with awe and admiration, is but about three thousand five hundred feet below us. It runs east and west, appearing quite contracted from this great height, but is eight miles long by over one in width. On either side rise vertical cliffs of granite, varying from three to four thousand feet in height, several of the lofty gorges discharging narrow but strikingly beautiful and transparent water-falls. Upon descending into the valley, we find ourselves surrounded by precipitous mountains, nearly a score in number, the loftiest of which is entitled Starr King, after the late clergyman of that name, and is five thousand six hundred feet in height. But the Three Brothers, with an average height of less than four thousand feet, and Sentinel Dome, measuring four thousand five hundred feet high, seem to the casual observer to be quite as prominent, while El Capitan, which is about three thousand three hundred feet in height, appears from its more favorable position to be the most striking and effective of them all. Eleven water-falls of greater or less magnitude come tumbling into the valley, adding to the picturesqueness of the scene. Of these several falls, that which is known as the Bridal Veil will be sure to strike the stranger as the finest, though not the loftiest. The constant moisture and the vertical rays of the sun carpet the level plain of the valley with a bright and uniform verdure, through the midst of which winds the swift-flowing Merced River, adding completeness to a scene of rare and enchanting beauty.
It was not until so late as the year 1851 that the foot of a white man ever trod the valley, which had for years proven the secure hiding-place of marauding Indians. In their battles with the whites, the latter were often surprised by the sudden disappearance of their foes, who vanished mysteriously, leaving no traces behind them. On these occasions, as was afterwards discovered, they fled to the almost inaccessible Yosemite Valley. Betrayed at last by a treacherous member of their own tribe, the Indians were surprised and nearly all destroyed. There is scarcely a resident in the valley except those connected with the running of the stages during the summer months, and those who are attached to the hotel. It is quite inaccessible in winter. An encampment of native Indians is generally to be seen in the warm months, located on the river's bank, under the shade of a grove of tall trees; the river and the forest afford these aborigines ample food. For winter use they store a crop of acorns, which they dry, and grind into a nourishing flour. They are a dirty, sad-looking race, far more repulsive in appearance than the lowest type of Spanish gypsies one meets in Andalusia.
In returning from the Yosemite to San Francisco, let us do so by the road leading through the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. These forest monarchs are situated in a thickly wooded glade hundreds of feet up the slope of the Sierra. We find one of these trees partially decayed towards its base, yet still alive and standing upright with a broad, lofty passage-way through its entire trunk, large enough for our stage, laden with passengers inside and out, to drive through. Though time has made such havoc with this trunk, it still possesses sufficient vitality to bear leaves upon its topmost branches, some three hundred feet above the ground. It is curious that these enormous trees, among the largest upon the globe, have cones only about the size of walnuts, with seeds of hardly a quarter of an inch in length. There are trunks lying upon the ground in this remarkable grove which are believed to be two thousand years of age; and others upright, and in growing condition, which are reckoned by their clearly defined annual rings, to be thirteen hundred years old. The region embraced in what is known as the Yosemite Valley has been ceded by the National Government to the State of California, on the express condition that it shall be kept inviolate in its present wild and natural state for all time.
The streets, alleys, and boulevards of San Francisco present a panorama of human interest rarely excelled in any part of the world. How impressive to watch its cosmopolitan life, to note the exaggerated love of pleasure exhibited on all hands, the devotion of each active member of the community to money-making, the prevailing manners and customs, the iniquitous pursuits of the desperate and dangerous classes, and the readiness of their too willing victims! It is the solitary looker-on who sees more than the actors in the great drama of every-day life. Above all, it is most curious to observe how the lines of barbarism and civilization intersect along these teeming avenues.
There is a district of the city near its very centre, known as Chinatown, which is at total variance with the general surroundings. It requires but a slight stretch of the imagination after passing its borders to believe one's self in Canton or Hong Kong, except that the thoroughfares in the Asiatic capitals are mere alleys in width, shut in overhead and darkened by straw mats, while here we have broad streets after the American and European fashion, open to the sky. They are, however, lined with Chinese shops, decked in all their national peculiarities, exhibiting the most grotesque signs, while the windows are crowded with outlandish articles, and the whole surrounded by an Oriental atmosphere. This section is almost entirely peopled by Mongolians, and such poor abandoned men and women of other nationalities as seek among these repulsive surroundings to hide themselves from the shame and penalty of their crimes.
It is not proposed in these Foot-Prints of Travel to remain long on this continent. Americans are presumed to be quite familiar with their native land; so we will embark without delay upon a voyage across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, by way of the Sandwich Islands. Once on board ship, we quickly pass through the Golden Gate, as the entrance to the spacious harbor of San Francisco is called, steering south-southwest towards the Hawaiian group, which is situated a little over two thousand miles away. The great seas and oceans of the globe, like the land, have their geographical divisions and local peculiarities, varying essentially in temperature, products, and moods; now marked by certain currents; now noted for typhoons and hurricanes; and now lying in latitudes which are favored with almost constant calms and unvarying sunshine. By a glance at the map we shall see that a vessel taking her course for New Zealand, for instance, by the way of the Sandwich Islands, will pass through a tract of the Pacific Ocean seemingly so full of islands that we are led to wonder how a ship pursuing such a route can avoid running foul of some of the Polynesian groups. But it must be remembered that the distances which are so concisely depicted to our eyes upon the map, are yet vast in reality, while so mathematically exact are the rules of navigation, and so well known are the prevailing currents, that a steamship may make the voyage from Honolulu to Auckland, a distance of four thousand miles, without sighting land. When Magellan, the Portuguese navigator, first discovered this great ocean, after sailing through the straits which bear his name, he called it the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps it seemed "pacific" to him after a stormy voyage in the Caribbean Sea; but portions of its surface are quite as restless and tempest-tossed as are the waters of any part of the globe. The Pacific measures nine thousand miles from north to south, and is ten thousand miles broad between Quito, South America, and the Moluccas or Spice Islands. At the extreme north, where Behring's Strait divides the continents of Asia and America, it is scarcely more than forty miles in width, so that in clear weather one can see the shores of Asia while standing on our own continent.
It is an eight days' voyage by steamship from San Francisco to Honolulu, giving the traveller ample time to familiarize himself with many peculiarities of this waste of waters. Occasionally a whale is sighted, throwing up a small column of water as it rises at intervals to the surface. A whale is not a fish; it differs materially from the finny tribe, and can as surely be drowned as can a man. Whales bring forth living young; they breathe atmospheric air through their lungs in place of water through gills, having also a double heart and warm blood, like land animals. Flying-fish are frequently seen, queer little creatures, resembling the smelts of our northern waters. While exhibiting the nature of a fish, they have also the soaring ambition of a bird. Hideous, man-eating sharks are sure to follow in the ship's wake, watching for some unfortunate victim of a sailor or passenger who may fall overboard, and eagerly devouring any refuse thrown from the cook's galley. At times the many-armed cuttlefish is seen to leap out of the water, while the star-fish, with its five arms of equal length, abounds. Though it seems so apparently lifeless, the star-fish can be quite aggressive when pressed by hunger, having, as naturalists tell us, a mysterious way of causing the oyster to open its shell, when it proceeds gradually to consume the body of the bivalve. One frail, small rover of the deep is sure to interest the voyager; namely, the tiny nautilus, with its transparent covering, almost as frail as writing-paper. No wonder the ancient Greeks saw in its beautifully corrugated shell the graceful model of a galley, and hence its name, derived from the Greek word which signifies a ship. Sometimes a pale gray, amber-like substance is seen floating upon the surface of the sea, which, upon examination, proves to be ambergris, a substance originally found in the body of the sperm whale, and which is believed to be produced there only. Scientists declare it to be a secretion caused by disease in the animal, probably induced by indigestion, as the pearl is said to be a diseased secretion of the Australian and Penang oysters. Ambergris is not infrequently found floating along the shores of the Coral Sea, and about the west coast of New Zealand, having been ejected by the whales which frequent these waters. When first taken from the animal it is of a soft texture, and is offensive to the smell; but after a brief exposure to the air it rapidly hardens, and then emits a sweet, earthy odor, and is used in manufacturing choice perfumery.
The harbor of San Francisco abounds in big, white sea-gulls, which fly fearlessly in and out among the shipping, uttering defiant screams, or floating gracefully like corks upon the water. They are large, handsome, dignified birds, and are never molested, being looked upon as picturesque ornaments to the harbor; and they are also the most active of scavengers, removing all sorts of floating carrion and refuse which is thrown overboard. The gulls one sees off the coast of Norway are numbered by thousands, but they are not nearly so large as these bird monarchs of the Pacific. A score of these are sure to accompany us to sea, closely following the ship day after day, living mostly upon the refuse thrown out from the steward's department. In the month of October, 1884, one of these birds was caught by the passengers upon a steamship just as she was leaving the coast of America for Japan. A piece of red tape was made fast to one of its legs, after which it was restored to liberty. This identical gull followed the ship between four and five thousand miles, into the harbor of Yokohama. Distance seems to be of little account to these buoyant navigators of the air.
On approaching the Hawaiian group from the north, the first land which is sighted is the island of Oahu, and soon after we pass along the windward shores of Maui and Molokai, doubling the lofty promontory of Diamond Head, which rears its precipitous front seven hundred feet above the sea. We arrive at the dawn of day, while the rising sun beautifies the mountain tops, the green slopes, the gulches, and fern-clad hills, which here and there sparkle with silvery streamlets. The gentle morning breeze blowing off the land brings us the dewy fragrance of the flowers, which has been distilled from a wilderness of tropical bloom during the night. The land forms a shelter for our vessel, and we glide noiselessly over a perfectly calm sea. As we draw nearer to the shore, sugar plantations, cocoanut groves, and verdant pastures come clearly into view. Here and there the shore is dotted with the low, primitive dwellings of the natives, and occasionally we see picturesque, vine-clad cottages of American or European residents. Approaching still nearer to the city of Honolulu, it seems to be half-buried in a cloud of luxuriant foliage, while a broad and beautiful valley stretches away from the town far back among the lofty hills.
The steamer glides at half speed through the narrow channel in the coral reef which makes the natural breakwater of the harbor. This channel is carefully buoyed on either side, and at night safety-lamps are placed upon each of these little floating beacons, so that a steamship can find her way in even after nightfall. Though the volcanic origin of the land is plain, it is not the sole cause of these reefs and islands appearing thus in mid-ocean. Upon the flanks of the upheaval the little coral animal, with tireless industry, rears its amazing structure, until it reaches the surface of the waves as a reef, more or less contiguous to the shore, and to which ages finally serve to join it. The tiny creature delegated by Providence to build these reefs dies on exposure to the air, its work being then completed. The far-reaching antiquity of the islands is established by these very coralline formations, which could only have attained their present elevation, just below the surface of the surrounding sea, by the growth of thousands of years. This coral formation on the shores of the Hawaiian group is not peculiar to these islands, but is found to exist in connection with nearly all of those existing in the Pacific Ocean.
The lighthouse, placed on the inner side of the coral reef, is a structure not quite thirty feet in height. After reaching the inside of the harbor of Honolulu, the anchorage is safe and sheltered, with ample room for a hundred large vessels at the same time, the average depth of water being some sixteen fathoms. The wharves are spacious and substantial, built with broad, high coverings to protect laborers from the heat of a tropical sun. Honolulu is the commercial port of the whole group of islands,—the half-way house, as it were, between North America and Asia,—California and the new world of Australasia.
Upon landing at Honolulu we find ourselves in a city of some twenty thousand inhabitants, presenting all the modern belongings of a metropolis of the nineteenth century, such as schools, churches, hospitals, charitable institutions, gas, electric lights, and the telephone. Nearly all of the rising generation can read and write, and the entire population are professed Christians. Great is the contrast in every respect between these islands as discovered by Captain Cook in 1778, and their present condition. Originally they exhibited the same barbarous characteristics which were found to exist in other islands of the Pacific Ocean. They had no sense of domestic virtue, and were victims of the most egregious superstitions. "The requisitions of their idolatry," says the historian Ellis, "were severe, and its rites cruel and bloody." Their idolatry has been abandoned since 1819. In the early days the several islands of the group had each a separate king, and wars were frequent between them, until King Kamehameha finally subjected them all to his sway, and formed the government which has lasted to the present time.
Many of the streets of Honolulu afford a grateful shade, the sidewalks being lined by ornamental trees, of which the cocoanut, palm, bread-fruit, candle-nut, and some others, are indigenous, but many have been introduced from abroad and have become domesticated. The tall mango-tree, with rich, glossy leaves, the branches bending under the weight of its delicious fruit, is seen growing everywhere, though it is not a native of these islands. Among other fruit-trees we observe the feathery tamarind, orange, lime, alligator-pear, citron-fig, date, and rose apple. Of all the flowering trees, the most conspicuous and attractive is one which bears a cloud of brilliant scarlet blossoms, each cluster ball-shaped and as large as a Florida orange. Some of the thoroughfares are lined by pretty, low-built cottages, standing a few rods back from the roadway, with broad, inviting verandas, the whole festooned and nearly hidden by tropical and semi-tropical plants in full bloom. If we drive out to the race-course in the environs, we shall be pretty sure to see King Kalakaua, who is very fond of this sort of sport. He is a man of intelligence and of considerable culture, but whose personal habits are of a low and disgraceful character. He has reached his fifty-second year.
It will be observed that the women ride man-fashion here,—that is, astride of their horses,—and there is a good reason for this. Even European and American ladies who become residents also adopt this mode of riding, because side-saddles are not considered to be safe on the steep mountain roads. If one rides in any direction here, mountains must be crossed. The native women deck themselves in an extraordinary manner with flowers on all gala occasions, while the men wear wreaths of the same about their straw hats, often adding braids of laurel leaves across the shoulders and chest. The white blossoms of the jasmine, fragrant as tuberoses, which they much resemble, are generally employed for this decorative purpose. As a people the Hawaiians are very courteous and respectful, rarely failing to greet all passing strangers with a softly articulated "alo-ha," which signifies "my love to you."
A drive up the Nuuanu valley, which opens with a broad entrance near the city, introduces us to some grand scenery. In ascending this beautiful valley one is constantly charmed by the discovery of new tropical trees, luxurious creepers and lovely wild-flowers. The strangers' burial-ground is passed just after crossing the Nuuanu stream, and close at hand is the Royal Mausoleum,—a stone structure in Gothic style, which contains the remains of the Hawaiian kings, as well as those of many of the high chiefs who have died since the conquest. Some shaded bathing-pools are formed by the mountain streams, lying half hidden in the dense foliage. Here we pass the residence of the late Queen Emma, pleasantly located and flower-embowered. This valley is classic ground in the history of these islands, being the spot where the fierce and conquering invader, King Kamehameha I., fought his last decisive battle, the result of which confirmed him as sole monarch of the Hawaiian group. Here the natives of Oahu made their final stand and fought desperately, resisting with clubs and spears the savage hordes led by Kamehameha. But they were defeated at last, and with their king Kaiana, who led them in person, were all driven over the abrupt and fatal cliff fifteen hundred feet high, situated at the upper end of the valley.
In the environs of the city one passes upon the roadsides large patches measuring an acre or more of submerged land, where is grown the Hawaiian staff of life,—the taro, a root which is cultivated in mud and mostly under water, recalling the rice-fields of China and Japan. The vegetable thus produced, when baked and pounded to a flour, forms a nutritious sort of dough called poi, which constitutes the principal article of food for the natives, as potatoes do with the Irish or macaroni with the Italians. This poi is eaten both cooked and in a raw state mixed with water.
Though Oahu is quite mountainous, like the rest of the islands which form the Hawaiian group, still none of these reach the elevation of perpetual snow. The six inhabited islands of the group are Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii, the last containing the largest active volcano of which we have any knowledge; namely, that of Kilauea, to visit which persons cross the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and also the American continent, between the two. Honolulu was chosen for the capital because it forms the best and almost the only harbor worthy of the name to be found among these islands. In the olden times Lahaina, on the island of Maui, was the city of the king, and the recognized capital in the palmy days of the whale fishery. This settlement is now going to ruin, tumbling to pieces by wear and tear of the elements, forming a rude picture of decay. Should the Panama Canal be completed, it would prove to be of great advantage to these islands, as they lie in the direct course which a great share of navigation must follow. The aggregate population of the group is now about sixty thousand, of whom some thirty-eight thousand are natives. History tells us that Captain Cook estimated these islands to contain over three hundred thousand inhabitants when he discovered them. Perhaps this was an exaggeration, though it is a fact that they are capable of sustaining a population of even much greater density than this estimate would indicate.
The ubiquitous Chinamen are found here as gardeners, laborers, house-servants, fruit-dealers, and poi-makers. What an overflow there has been of these Asiatics from the "Flowery Land!" Each one of the race arriving at the Sandwich Islands is now obliged to pay ten dollars as his landing fee, in default of which the vessel which brings him is compelled to take him away. This singular people, who are wonderfully industrious, notwithstanding their many faults, are equally disliked in these islands by the natives, the Americans, and the Europeans; yet the Chinamen steadily increase in numbers, and it is believed here that they are destined eventually to take the place of the aborigines. The aggregate number now to be found in the group is over twelve thousand. It is evident that many branches of small trade are already monopolized by them, as is the case at Penang, Singapore, and other Pacific islands. On Nuuanu Street every shop is occupied by a Chinaman, dealing in such articles as his own countrymen and the natives are likely to purchase. It does certainly appear as though the aboriginal race would in the near future be obliterated, and their place filled by the Anglo-Saxons and the Chinese, the representative people of the East and the West. The taro-patches of the Hawaiians will doubtless ere long become the rice-fields of the Mongolians.
In the year 1887 there was raised upon these islands a very large amount of sugar, over one hundred thousand tons in all. The entire product, except what was consumed for domestic use, was shipped to this country. Three-quarters of the money invested in sugar-raising here is furnished by American capitalists, and American managers carry on the plantations. A reciprocity treaty between the Sandwich Islands and this country (that is, a national agreement upon matters of mutual interest), and their proximity to the shores of America, have brought this people virtually under the wing of our Government, concentrating their foreign trade almost entirely in the United States, while the youth of the islands, of both sexes, are sent hither for educational purposes. There is no other foreign port in the world where the American flag is so often seen, or more respected than in that of Honolulu.
The Hawaiian Islands are not on the direct route to Japan, and we therefore find it better to return to San Francisco and embark from there, than to await the arrival of a chance steamer bound westward. Our course is not in the track of general commerce, and neither ship nor shore is encountered while crossing this vast expanse of water. Storms and calms alternate; sometimes the ocean is as smooth as an inland lake, and at others in its unrest it tossed our iron hull about as though it were a mere skiff, in place of a ship of three thousand tons' measurement. The roughness of the water is exhibited near the coast and in narrow seas by short, chopping waves; but in the open ocean these are changed to long, heavy swells, covering the expanse of waters with vast parallels separated by deep valleys, the distance from crest to crest being from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet during a heavy gale. The height of the waves is measured from the trough to the crest, and is of course conjecture only, but in heavy weather it may safely be set down at thirty feet.
Every steamship on the trip westward carries more or less Chinamen, who, having acquired a certain sum of money by industry and self-denial, are glad to return to their native land and live upon its income. Interest is very high in China, and money is scarce. It is curious to watch these second-class passengers. In fine weather they crowd the forward deck, squatting upon their hams in picturesque groups, and playing cards or dominos for small stakes of money. The Chinese are inveterate gamblers, but are satisfied generally to play for very small stakes. When the sea becomes rough and a storm rages, they exhibit great timidity, giving up all attempts at amusement. On such occasions, with sober faces and trembling hands, they prepare pieces of joss-paper (scraps with magic words), bearing Chinese letters, and cast them overboard to propitiate the anger of the special god who controls the sea. The dense, noxious smell which always permeates their quarters, in spite of enforced ventilation and the rules of the ship, is often wafted unpleasantly to our own part of the vessel, telling a significant story of the opium pipe, and a certain uncleanliness of person peculiar to Africans and Mongolians.
After a three weeks' voyage we reach Yokohama, the commercial capital of Japan. When Commodore Perry opened this port in 1854 with a fleet of American men-of-war, it was scarcely more than a fishing village, but it has now a population of a hundred and thirty thousand, with well-built streets of dwelling-houses, the thoroughfares broad and clean, and all macadamized. The town extends along the level shore, but is backed by a half-moon of low, wooded hills, known as the Bluff, among which are the dwellings of the foreign residents, built after the European and American style. A deep, broad canal surrounds the city, passing by the large warehouses, and connected with the bay at each end, being crossed by several handsome bridges. If we ascend the road leading to the Bluff we have a most charming and extended view. In the west, seventy miles away, the white, cloud-like cone of Fujiyama, a large volcanic mountain of Japan, can clearly be discerned, while all about us lie the pretty villas of the foreign settlers.
In looking about this commercial capital everything strikes us as curious; every new sight is a revelation, while in all directions tangible representations of the strange pictures we have seen upon fans and lacquered ware are presented to view. One is struck by the partial nudity of men, women, and children, the extremely simple architecture of the dwelling-houses, the peculiar vegetation, the extraordinary salutations between the common people who meet each other upon the streets, the trading bazaars, and the queer toy-like articles which fill them; children flying kites in the shape of hideous yellow monsters. Each subject becomes a fresh study. Men drawing vehicles, like horses between the shafts, and trotting off at a six-mile pony-gait while drawing after them one or two persons, is a singular sight to a stranger. So are the naked natives, by fours, bearing heavy loads swung from their shoulders upon stout bamboo poles, while they shout a measured chant by means of which to keep step. No beggars are seen upon the streets; the people without exception are all neat and cleanly. The houses are special examples of neatness, and very small, being seldom more than twenty feet square, and one story in height. All persons, foreigners or natives, take off their shoes before entering upon the polished floors, not only out of respect to the customs of the country, but because one does not feel like treading upon their floors with nailed heels or soiled soles. The conviction forces itself upon us that such universal neatness and cleanliness must extend even to the moral character of the people. A spirit of gentleness, industry, and thrift are observable everywhere, imparting an Arcadian atmosphere to these surroundings. In the houses which we enter there are found neither chairs, tables, nor bedsteads; the people sit, eat, and sleep upon the floors, which are as clean as a newly laid tablecloth.
Here and there upon the roadsides moss-grown shrines bearing sacred emblems are observed, before which women, but rarely men, are seen bending. The principal religions of Japan are Shinto and Buddhism, subdivided into many sects. The Shinto is mainly a form of hero worship, successful warriors being canonized as martyrs are in the Roman Catholic Church. Buddhism is another form of idolatry, borrowed originally from the Chinese. The language of the country is composed of the Chinese and Japanese combined. As we travel inland, places are pointed out to us where populous cities once stood, but where no ruins mark the spot. A dead and buried city in Europe or in Asia leaves rude but almost indestructible remains to mark where great communities once built temples and monuments, and lived and thrived, like those historic examples of mutability, Memphis, Paestum, Cumae, or Delhi; but not so in Japan. It seems strange indeed that a locality where half a million of people have made their homes within the period of a century, should now present the aspect only of fertile fields of grain. But when it is remembered of what fragile material the natives build their dwellings,—namely, of light, thin wood and paper,—their utter disappearance ceases to surprise us. It is a curious fact that this people, contemporary with Greece and Rome at their zenith, who have only reared cities of wood and temples of lacquer, have outlived the classic nations whose half-ruined monuments are our choicest models. The Greek and Latin races have passed away, but Japan still remains, without a change of dynasty and with an inviolate country.
In journeying inland we are struck with many peculiarities showing how entirely opposite to our own methods are many of theirs. At the post-stations the horses are placed and tied in their stalls with their heads to the passage-way, and their tails where we place their heads. Instead of iron shoes, the Japanese pony is shod with close-braided rice-straw. Carpenters, in using the fore-plane, draw it towards them instead of pushing it from them. It is the same in using a saw, the teeth being set accordingly. So the tailor sews from him, not towards his body, and holds his thread with his toes. The women ride astride, like the Hawaiians.
A trip of fifteen miles from Yokohama will take us to the town of Kamakura, where we find the remarkable idol of Dai-Butsu. This great Buddha image, composed of gold, silver, and copper, forms a bronze figure of nearly sixty feet in height, within which a hundred persons may stand together, the interior being fitted at the base as a small chapel. A vast number of little scraps of paper bearing Japanese characters, flutter from the interior walls of the big idol, fastened there by pious pilgrims, forming petitions to the presiding deity. As we enter, these scraps, agitated by the winds, rustle like an army of white bats. This sacred figure is as remarkable as the Sphinx, which presides so placidly at the feet of the great Pyramids. As a work of art, its only merits consist in the calm dignity of expression and repose upon its colossal features. It is many centuries old, and how such an enormous amount of bronze metal was ever cast, or how set up in such perfect shape when finished, no one can say. It must have been completed in sections and put together in the place where it stands, the joints being so perfectly welded as not to be obvious. It was formerly covered by a temple which has long since mouldered to dust, but it is certainly none the less effective and impressive, as it now sits surrounded by the natural scenery and the thick woods.
Japanese art, of which we have all seen such laughable specimens, is not without some claims to excellence; otherwise we should not have the myriads of beautifully ornamented articles which are produced by them, exhibiting exquisite finish and perfection of detail. Of perspective they have no idea whatever; the play of light and shade they do not understand; there is no distinction of distances in their pictures. Their figures are good, being also delicately executed, and their choice of colors is admirable. Thus in profile work they get on very well, but in grouping, they pile houses on the sea, and mountains on the houses. In caricature they greatly excel, and, indeed, they scarcely attempt to represent the human face and figure in any other light.
Tokio is the political capital of Japan, and is situated about twenty miles from Yokohama, containing over half a million of people. It has broad streets and good roadways, having adopted many American ideas of city customs and government. The Bridge of Japan is situated in this city, crossing the river which intersects the capital, and is here what the golden milestone was in the Forum at Rome—all distances in the Empire are measured from it. There are many elaborate temples within the city, containing rare bronzes of great value. Priests are constantly seen writing upon slips of paper, inside of the temples, at the request of devotees, which the suppliants pin upon the walls of the temple as a form of prayer. The renowned temple of Shiba is one of the greatest attractions to strangers in Tokio. Here lie buried most of the bygone Tycoons (sovereigns of Japan). The grounds are divided into many departments, tombs, shrines, and small temples. In the main temple there is an amount of gold, silver, and bronze ornaments of fabulous value, leading us to wonder where the raw material could have come from. History knows nothing of the importation of the precious metals, but it is true that they are found in more or less abundance all over the country. Copper of the purest quality is a native product, the exportation of which is prohibited, and mining for the precious metals is carried on to but a very limited extent. The temple of Shiba is situated near the centre of the population, occupying many acres of ground, walled in, and shaded by a thick grove of trees, whose branches are black with thousands of undisturbed rooks and pigeons which are considered sacred. The principal characteristic of the architecture is its boldness of relief, overhanging roofs, heavy brackets, and elaborate carvings. The doors are of solid bronze in bas-relief.
In the suburbs is a hill known as Atago-Yama, from whence there is a grand, comprehensive view of the capital. A couple of miles to the southeast lies the broad, glistening Bay of Tokio, and round the other points of the compass the imperial city itself covers a plain of some eight miles square, divided by water-ways, bridges, and clumps of graceful trees looming conspicuously above the low dwellings. The whole is as level as a checker-board; but yet there is relief to the picture in the fine open gardens, the high-peaked gable roofs of the temples, and the broad white roadways.
A visit to Kioto, which is called the City of Temples, shows us some prominent local peculiarities. The Japanese character presents as much unlikeness to the Oriental as to the European type, and is comparable only to itself. A native believes that the little caricature in ivory or wood which has, perhaps, been manufactured under his own eyes, or even by his own hands, is sacred, and he will address his prayers to it with a solemn conviction of its power to respond favorably. His most revered gods are effigies of renowned warriors and successful generals. African superstition is no blinder than is such adoration, though it be performed by an intelligent people. Some of the native animals, such as foxes, badgers, and snakes, are protected with superstitious reverence. Before one of the temples we see a theatrical performance in progress, which seems rather incongruous, but upon inquiry the object of this is found to be a desire to appease the special gods of this individual temple; in fact, to entertain and amuse them so that they will receive the prayers of the people with favor. The exhibition consists of dancing and posturing by professionals of both sexes, accompanied by the noise of whistles, gongs, bells, and fifes.
At Koby we embark for Nagasaki, sailing the whole length of the famous Inland Sea, a most enchanting three days' voyage among lovely islands, terraced and cultivated here and there like vineyards on the Rhine. The course is characterized by narrow and winding passages, losing themselves in creeks and bays after a most curious fashion, while brown hamlets here and there fringe the coast line. Nagasaki is in the extreme south of Japan, a city second only to Yokohama in commercial importance. A sad interest attaches to the small but lofty island of Pappenburg, which stands like a sentinel guarding the entrance to the harbor. It is the Tarpeian Rock of the far East. During the persecution of the Christians in the seventeenth century, the steep cliff which forms the seaward side of the island was an execution point, and from here men and women who declined to abjure their faith were cast headlong on the sea-washed rocks five hundred feet below. The harbor is surrounded by lofty elevations. Tall, dark pines and a verdant undergrowth mark the deep ravines and sloping hillsides, upon which European dwellings are seen overlooking the bay. If we climb the path among these hills we occasionally pass a Buddhist temple, and come upon many wild-flowers, shaded by oaks and camphor-trees of great size and beautiful foliage, with occasional specimens of the Japanese wax-tree. Still further up, the hills are covered with dark, moss-grown gravestones, bearing curious characters engraven upon them, and marking the sleeping-places of bygone generations. The unbroken quiet of this city of the dead contrasts vividly with the hum of busy life which comes up to us from the town with its population of a hundred thousand souls. As to the products of this locality, they are mostly figured porcelain, embroidered silks, japanned goods, ebony and tortoise-shell finely carved and manufactured into toy ornaments. Every small, low house has a shop in front quite open to the street; but small as these houses are, room is nearly always found in the rear or at the side for a little flower-garden, fifteen or twenty feet square, where dwarf trees flourish amid hillocks of turf and ferns, with here and there a tub of goldfish. Azaleas, laurels, and tiny clumps of bamboos, are the most common plants to be seen in these charming little spots of greenery.
Botanists declare Japan to be one of the richest of all countries in its vegetation. The cultivation of the soil is thoroughly and skilfully systematized, the greatest possible results being obtained from a given area of land. This is partly due to the careful mode of enrichment applied in liquid form. Its flora is spontaneous and magnificent, repaying the smallest attention by a development which is surprising. Next in importance to the production of rice, which is the staple food of the people, come the mulberry and tea plants, one species of the former not only feeding the silkworm, but it also affords the fibre of which Japanese paper is made, as well as forming the basis of their cordage and some descriptions of dress material. In usefulness the bamboo is most remarkable, growing to a height of sixty feet, and entering into the construction of house-frames, screens, many household articles, mats, pipes, and sails. The camphor-tree, which is seen in such abundance, is a grand ornament in the landscape, lofty and broad-spread. The camphor of commerce is extracted from both the stem and the roots of the tree, which, being cut into small pieces, are subjected to a process of decoction.
No sooner have the Japanese been fairly introduced to American and European civilization, than they have promptly taken a stride of four or five centuries at a single leap, from despotism in its most ultra form to constitutional government. When America opened the port of Yokohama to the commerce of the world, it also opened that hermetically sealed land to the introduction of progressive ideas; and though, unfortunately, the elements of civilization which are most readily assimilated are not always the most beneficial, still the result, taken as a whole, has been worthy of the admiration of the world at large.
The natural intelligence of the Japanese has no superior among any race, however much it may have been perverted, or have lain dormant. There is evidence enough of this in the fact that the young men of that country who are sent here for educational purposes, so frequently win academic prizes and honors over our native scholars, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which a foreigner is inevitably placed.
When we speak of the progress of the Japanese as a nation, we must not forget that the national records of the country date from nearly seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, and that a regular succession of Mikados (supreme rulers), in lineal descent from the founders of their dynasty and race, has since that remote date been carefully preserved.
From Nagasaki, in following our proposed course, we sail for Hong Kong, through the Yellow and Chinese seas, a distance of eleven hundred miles. This is very sure to be a rough passage, and the marvel is rather that more vessels are not lost here than that so many are. Seamen call it "the graveyard of commerce." As we enter the magnificent harbor of Hong Kong it is found to be surrounded by a range of lofty hills, which shelter it completely from the sweeping winds that so often prevail in this region. It is the most easterly of the possessions of Great Britain, and is kept in a well-fortified condition, the uniforms of the garrison being a striking feature of the busy streets of the city at all hours of the day. The houses in the European section are large and handsome structures, mostly of stone, rising tier upon tier from the main street to a height of some hundreds of feet on the face of the hill immediately back of the town. On and about the lofty Victoria Peak are many charming bungalows, or cottages, with attractive surroundings, which enjoy a noble prospect of the harbor and country. The streets appropriated to the use of the Europeans are spacious and clean, but the Chinese portion of Hong Kong is quite characteristic of the native race,—very crowded and very dirty, seeming to invite all sorts of epidemic diseases, which in fact nearly always prevail more or less severely among the lower classes.
These streets exhibit strange local pictures. The shoemaker plies his trade in the open thoroughfare; cooking is going on at all hours in the gutters beside the roads; itinerant pedlers dispense food made of mysterious materials; the barber shaves his customer upon the sidewalk; the universal fan is carried by the men, and not by the women. The Chinese mariner's compass does not point to the North Pole, but to the South; that is, the index is placed upon the opposite end of the needle. When Chinamen meet each other upon the streets, instead of shaking each other's hands they shake their own. The men wear skirts, and the women wear pantaloons. The dressmakers are not women, but men. In reading a book a Chinaman begins at the end and reads backwards. We uncover the head as a mark of respect; they take off their shoes for the same purpose, but keep their heads covered. We shave the face; they shave the head and eyebrows. At dinner we begin the meal with soup and fish; they reverse the order and begin with the dessert. The old men fly kites while the boys look on; shuttlecock is their favorite game; it is played, however, not with the hands, but with the feet. White constitutes the mourning color, and black is the wedding hue. The women perform the men's work, and the men wash the clothing. We pay our physicians for attending us in illness; they pay their doctors to keep them well, and stop their remuneration when they are ill. In short, this people seem to be our antipodes in customs as well as being so geographically.
A visit to the water-front of the city affords much amusement, especially at the hour when the market boats with vegetables arrive from the country, and from along shore with fish. Here the people swarm like ants more than like human beings; all eager for business, all crowding and talking at the same time, and creating a confusion that would seem to defeat its own object; namely, to buy and to sell. The vegetables are various and good, the variety of fruit limited and poor in flavor, but the fish are abundant and various in size and color. Nine-tenths of the business on the river-front is done by women, and they are very rarely seen without an infant strapped to their backs, while they are carrying heavy burdens in their hands, or are engaged in rowing or sculling their boats. They trade, make change, and clean the fish quite oblivious of the infant at their backs. A transient visitor to China is not competent to speak of the higher class of women, as no access can be had to domestic life. Only those of the common class appear indiscriminately in public, Oriental exclusiveness wrapping itself about the sex here nearly as rigidly as in Egypt. If ladies go abroad at all, it is in curtained palanquins, borne upon men's shoulders, partially visible through a transparent veil of gauze. Anywhere east of Italy woman is either a toy or a slave.
Hong Kong is an island nearly forty miles in circumference, consisting of a cluster of hills rising almost to the dignity of mountains. The gray granite of which the island is mostly composed, furnishes an excellent material for building purposes, and is largely employed for that object, affording a good opportunity for architectural display. A trip of a hundred miles up the Pearl River takes us to Canton, strangest of strange cities. It has a population of a million and a half, and yet there is not a street of over ten feet in width within the walls, horses and wheeled vehicles being unknown. The city extends a distance of five miles along the river, and a hundred thousand people live in boats. At the corners of the streets, niches in the walls of the houses contain idols, before which incense is constantly burning day and night. The most famous temple in the city is that of the Five Hundred Gods, containing that number of gilded statues of Buddhist sages, apostles, and deified warriors. In some of these sacred structures composed of shrines and miniature temples, among other seeming absurdities we see a number of sacred hogs wallowing in their filth. Disgusting as it appears to an intelligent Christian, it has its palliating features. The Parsee worships fire, the Japanese bows before snakes and foxes, the Hindoo deifies cows and monkeys; why, then, should not the Chinese have their swine as objects of veneration? We may destroy the idols, but let us not be too hard upon the idolaters; they do as well as they know. The idol is the measure of the worshipper. The punishment of crime is swift and sure, the number of persons beheaded annually being almost incredible. Friday is the day for clearing the crowded prison at Canton, and it is not uncommon on that occasion to see a dozen criminals beheaded in the prison yard in eight minutes, one sweeping blow of the executioner's sword decapitating each human body as it stands erect and blindfolded.
One is jostled in the narrow ways by staggering coolies with buckets of the vilest contents, and importuned for money by beggars who thrust their deformed limbs in his face. It is but natural to fear contagion of some sort from contact with such creatures, and yet the crowd is so dense that it is impossible to entirely avoid them. Under foot the streets are wet, muddy, and slippery. Why some deadly disease does not break out and sweep away the people is a mystery.
Philanthropic societies are numerous in the cities of China. Indeed, they are hardly excelled by those of America or Europe. They embrace well-organized orphan asylums, institutions for the relief of indigent widows with families, homes for the aged and infirm, public hospitals, and free schools in every district. As is the case with ourselves, some of these are purely governmental charities, while others are supported by liberal endowments left by deceased citizens. There are depots established to dispense medicines among the poor, and others whence clothing is distributed free of cost. It must be remembered that these societies and organizations are not copied from Western models. They have existed here from time immemorial.
No one has ever been able to trace any affinity between the Chinese language and that of any other people, ancient or modern. It is absolutely unique. No other nation except the Japanese has ever borrowed from it, or mingled any of its elements with its own. It must have originated from the untutored efforts of a primitive people. Like the Egyptian tongue, it was at first probably composed of hieroglyphics, expressing ideas by pictured objects, which in the course of time became systematized into letters or signs expressive of sounds and words.
Though we may dislike the Chinese, it is not wise to shut our eyes to facts which have passed into history. They have long been a reading and a cultured people. Five hundred years before the art of printing was known to Europe, books were multiplied by movable types in China. Every province has its separate history in print, and reliable maps of each section of the country are extant. The civil code of laws is annually corrected and published, a certain degree of education is universal, and eight-tenths of the people can read and write. The estimate in which letters are held is shown by the fact that learning forms the very threshold that leads to fame, honor, and official position. The means of internal communication between one part of China and another are scarcely superior to those of Africa. By and by, however, railways will revolutionize this. Gold and silver are found in nearly every province of the Empire, while the central districts contain the largest coal-fields upon the globe. Nearly one-fourth of the human race is supposed to be comprised within the Chinese Empire. They look to the past, not to the future, and the word "progress" has apparently to them no real significance.
In travelling through portions of the country a depressing sense of monotony is the prevailing feeling one experiences, each section is so precisely like another. There is no local individuality. Their veritable records represent this people as far back as the days of Abraham, and, indeed, they antedate that period. In two important discoveries they long preceded Europe; namely, that of the magnetic compass and the use of gunpowder. The knowledge of these was long in travelling westward through the channels of Oriental commerce, by the way of Asia Minor. There are many antagonistic elements to consider in judging of the Chinese. The common people we meet in the ordinary walks of life are far from prepossessing, and are much the same as those who have emigrated to this country. One looks in vain among the smooth chins, shaved heads, and almond eyes of the crowd for signs of intelligence and manliness. There are no tokens of humor or cheerfulness to be seen, but in their place there is plenty of apparent cunning, slyness, and deceit, if there is any truth in physiognomy. With the Japanese the traveller feels himself constantly sympathizing. He goes among them freely, he enters their houses and drinks tea with them; but not so with the Chinese. In place of affiliation we realize a constant sense of repulsion.
We embark at Hong Kong for Singapore by the way of the China Sea and the Gulf of Siam. The northerly wind favors us, causing the ship to rush through the turbulent waters like a race-horse. The Philippine Islands are passed, and leaving Borneo on our port-bow as we draw near to the Equatorial Line, the ship is steered due west for the mouth of the Malacca Straits. Off the Gulf of Siam we are pretty sure to get a view of a water-spout, and it is to be hoped that it may be a goodly distance from us. Atmospheric and ocean currents meet here, from the China Sea northward, from the Malacca Straits south and west, and from the Pacific Ocean eastward, mingling off the Gulf of Siam, and causing, very naturally, a confusion of the elements, resulting sometimes in producing these wind and water phenomena. A water-spout is a miniature cyclone, an eddy of the wind rotating with such velocity as to suck up a column of water from the sea to the height of one or two hundred feet. This column of water appears to be largest at the top and bottom, and contracted in the middle. If it were to fall foul of a ship and break, it would surely wreck and submerge her. Modern science shows that all storms are cyclonic; that is, they are circular eddies of wind of greater or less diameter. The power of these cyclones is more apparent upon the sea than upon the land, where the obstruction is naturally greater. Yet we know how destructive they sometimes prove in our Western States.
Singapore is the chief port of the Malacca Straits, and is an island lying just off the southern point of Asia, thirty miles long and half as wide, containing a population of about a hundred thousand. Here, upon landing, we are surrounded by tropical luxuriance, the palm and cocoanut trees looming above our heads and shading whole groves of bananas. The most precious spices, the richest fruits, the gaudiest feathered birds are found in their native atmosphere. There are plenty of Chinese at Singapore. They dominate the Strait settlements, monopolizing all branches of small trade, while the natives are lazy and listless, true children of the equatorial regions. Is it because Nature is here so bountiful, so lovely, so prolific, that her children are sluggish, dirty, and heedless? It would seem to require a less propitious climate, a sterile soil, and rude surroundings to awaken human energy and to place man at his best. The common people are seen almost naked, and those who wear clothes at all, affect the brightest colors. The jungle is dense, tigers abound, and men, women, and children are almost daily killed and eaten by them.
It is easy to divine the merchantable products of the island from the nature of the articles which are seen piled up for shipment upon the wharves, consisting of tapioca, cocoanut oil, gambia, tin ore, indigo, tiger-skins, coral, gutta-percha, hides, gums, and camphor.
There is no winter or autumn here, no sere and yellow leaf period, but seemingly a perpetual spring, with a temperature almost unvarying; new leaves always swelling from the bud, flowers always in bloom, the sun rising and setting within five minutes of six o'clock during the entire year. Singapore enjoys a soft breeze most of the day from across the Bay of Bengal, laden with fragrant sweetness from the spice-fields of Ceylon.
Each place we visit has its peculiar local pictures. Here, small hump-backed oxen are seen driven about at a lively trot in place of horses. Pedlers roam the streets selling drinking-water, with soup, fruit, and a jelly made from sugar and sea-weed, called agar-agar. Native houses are built upon stilts to keep out the snakes and tigers. The better class of people wear scarlet turbans and white cotton skirts; others have parti-colored shawls round their heads, while yellow scarfs confine a cotton wrap about the waist. Diminutive horses drag heavy loads, though themselves scarcely bigger than large dogs. Itinerant cooks, wearing a wooden yoke about their necks, with a cooking apparatus on one end, and a little table to balance it on the other, serve meals of fish and rice upon the streets to laborers and boatmen, for a couple of pennies each. Money has here, as in most Eastern countries, a larger purchasing power than it has with us in the West. The variety of fruit is greater than in China or Japan, and there are one or two species, such as the delicious mangosteen, which are found indigenous in no other region.
The stranger, upon landing at Singapore, is hardly prepared to find such excellent modern institutions as exist here. Among them are an attractive museum, a public library, a Protestant cathedral, a hospital, public schools, and a fine botanical garden. The island belongs to the English government, having been purchased by it so long ago as 1819, from the Sultan of Johore,—wise forethought, showing its importance as a port of call between England and India.
A two days' sail through waters which seem at night like a sea of phosphorescence, every ripple producing flashes of light, will take us to the island of Penang, the most northerly port of the Straits. It resembles Singapore in its people, vegetation, and climate, enjoying one long, unvarying summer. While the birds and butterflies are in perfect harmony with the loveliness of nature, while the flowers are glorious in beauty and in fragrance, man alone seems out of place in this region. Indolent, dirty, unclad, he does nothing to improve such wealth of possibilities as nature spreads broadcast only in equatorial islands. He does little for himself, nothing for others, while the sensuous life he leads poisons his nature, so that virtue and vice have no relative meaning for him. We speak now of the masses, the common people. Noble exceptions always exist. In size Penang is a little smaller than Singapore. Its wooded hills of vivid greenness rise above the town and surrounding sea in graceful undulations, growing more and more lofty as they recede inland, until they culminate in three mountain peaks. Penang is separated from the mainland by a narrow belt of sea not more than three miles wide, giving it a position of great commercial importance.
The areca-palm, known as the Penang-tree, is the source of the betel-nut, which is chewed by the natives as a stimulant; and as it abounds on the island, it has given it the name it bears. The town covers about a square mile, through which runs one broad, main street, intersected by lesser thoroughfares at right angles. A drive about the place gives us an idea that it is a thrifty town, but not nearly so populous as Singapore. It is also observable that the Chinese element predominates here. The main street is lined by shops kept by them. The front of the dwellings being open, gives the passer-by a full view of all that may be going on inside the household. Shrines are nearly always seen in some nook or corner, before which incense is burning, this shrine-room evidently being also the sleeping, eating, and living room. The islands of Penang and Singapore are free from malarial fevers, and probably no places on earth are better adapted to the wants of primitive man, for they produce spontaneously sufficient nutritious food to support life independent of personal exertion. The home of the Malay is not so clean as that of the ant or the birds; even the burrowing animals are neater. The native women are graceful and almost pretty, slight in figure, and passionately fond of ornaments, covering their arms and ankles with metallic rings, and thrusting silver and brass rings through their ears, noses, and lips.
The cocoanut-tree is always in bearing on the islands of the Straits, and requires no cultivation. Of the many liberal gifts bestowed upon the tropics, this tree is perhaps the most valuable. The Asiatic poet celebrates in verse the hundred uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the fruit, and the sap are applied. In Penang a certain number of these trees are not permitted to bear fruit. The embryo bud from which the blossoms and nuts would spring is tied up to prevent its expansion; a small incision then being made at the end, there oozes in gentle drops a pleasant liquor called toddy, which is the palm wine of the poet. This, when it is first drawn, is cooling and wholesome, but when it is fermented it produces a strong, intoxicating spirit. The banana is equally prolific and abundant, and forms a very large portion of the food of the common people. In the immediate neighborhood of the town are some plantations conducted by Europeans who live in neat cottages, with enclosures of cultivated flowers, and orchards of fruit-trees. Still further inland are large gardens of bread-fruit, nutmegs, cinnamon, pepper, and other spices. There are also large fields of sugar-cane, tobacco, and coffee. The delicate little sensitive plant here grows wild, and is equally tremulous and subsiding at the touch of human hands, as it is with us. Lilies are seen in wonderful variety, the stems covered with butterflies nearly as large as humming-birds.
Penang originally belonged to the Malay kingdom, but about the year 1786 it was given to an English sea-captain as a marriage-portion with the King of Keddah's daughter, and by him, in course of time, it was transferred to the East India Company. When Captain Francis Light received it with his dusky bride, it was the wild, uncultivated home of a few hundred fishermen. To-day it has a population of nearly a hundred thousand.
Our course now lies across the Indian Ocean, westward. The rains which we encounter are like floods, but the air is soft and balmy, and the deluges are of brief continuance. The nights are serene and bright, so that it is delightful to lie awake upon the deck of the steamer and watch the stars now and then screened by the fleecy clouds. In the daytime it is equally interesting to observe the ocean. Large sea-turtles come to the surface to sun themselves, stretching their awkward necks to get a sight of our hull; dolphins and flying-fish are too abundant to be a curiosity; big water-snakes raise their slimy heads a couple of feet above the sea; the tiny nautilus floats in myriads upon the undulating waves, and at times the ship is surrounded by a shoal of the indolent jelly-fish. Mirage plays us strange tricks in the way of optical delusion in these regions. We seem to be approaching land which we never reach, but which at the moment when we should fairly make it, fades into thin air.
Though the ocean covers more than three-quarters of the globe, but few of us realize that it represents more of life than does the land. We are indebted to it for every drop of water distributed over our hills, plains, and valleys; for from the ocean it has arisen by evaporation to return again through myriads of channels. It is really a misnomer to speak of the sea as a desert waste; it is teeming with inexhaustible animal and vegetable life. A German scientist has with unwearied industry secured and classified over nine hundred species of fishes from this division of the Indian Ocean over which our course takes us. Many of these are characterized by colors as dazzling and various as those of gaudy-plumed tropical birds and flowers.
Our next objective point is Colombo, the capital of Ceylon, situated about thirteen hundred miles from the mouth of the Malacca Straits. Here we find several large steamships in the harbor, stopping briefly on their way to or from China, India, or Australia; and no sooner do we come to anchor than we are surrounded by the canoes of the natives. They are of very peculiar construction, being designed to enable the occupants to venture out, however rough the water may chance to be, and the surf is always raging in these open roadsteads. The canoes consist of the trunk of a tree hollowed out, some twenty feet in length, having long planks fastened lengthwise so as to form the sides or gunwales of the boat, which is a couple of feet deep and about as wide. An outrigger, consisting of a log of wood about one-third as long as the canoe, is fastened alongside at a distance of six or eight feet, by means of two arched poles of well-seasoned bamboo. This outrigger prevents any possibility of upsetting the boat, but without it so narrow a craft could not remain upright, even in a calm sea. The natives face any weather in these little vessels.
It will be remembered that to this island England banished Arabi Pacha after the sanguinary battlefield of Tel-el-Keber. It is one of the most interesting spots in the East, having been in its prime centuries before the birth of Christ. It was perhaps the Ophir of the Hebrews, and it still abounds in precious stones and mineral wealth. Here we observe the native women strangely decked with cheap jewelry thrust through the tops and lobes of their ears, in their lips and nostrils, while about their necks hang ornaments consisting of bright sea-shells, mingled with sharks' teeth. If we go into the jungle, we find plenty of ebony, satin-wood, bamboo, fragrant balsam, and india-rubber trees; we see the shady pools covered with the lotus of fable and poetry, resembling huge pond-lilies; we behold brilliant flowers growing in tall trees, and others, very sweet and lowly, blooming beneath our feet. Vivid colors flash before our eyes, caused by the blue, yellow, and scarlet plumage of the feathered tribe. Parrots and paroquets are seen in hundreds. Storks, ibises, and herons fly lazily over the lagoons, and the gorgeous peacock is seen in his wild condition. The elephant is also a native here, and occasionally hunts are organized upon a grand scale and at great expense by English sportsmen who come here for the purpose, and who pay a heavy fee for a license.
Ceylon lies just off the southern point of India; and though it is a British colony, its government is quite distinct from that of the mainland. It forms a station for a large number of troops, and is about three times the size of Massachusetts.
Many of the native women are employed by the large number of English families resident here, especially by officers' wives, as nurses. These last seem to form a class by themselves, and they dress in the most peculiar manner, as we see the children's nurses dressed in Rome, Paris, and Madrid. The Singhalese nurses wear a single white linen garment covering the body to the knees, very low in the neck, with a blue cut-away velvet jacket covered with silver braid and buttons and open in front, a scarlet silk sash gathering the under-garment at the waist. The legs and feet are bare, the ankles covered with bangles, or ornamental rings, and the ears heavily weighed down and deformed with rings of silver and gold.
The vegetation of Ceylon is what might be expected of an island within so few miles of the equator; that is, beautiful and prolific in the extreme. The cinnamon fields are so thrifty as to form a wilderness of green, though the bushes grow but four or five feet in height. The cinnamon bush, which is a native here, is a species of laurel, and bears a white, scentless flower, scarcely as large as a pea. The spice of commerce is produced from the inner bark of the shrub, the branches of which are cut and peeled twice annually. The plantations resemble a thick, tangled undergrowth of wood, without any regularity, and are not cultivated after being properly started. Ceylon was at one time a great producer of coffee, and still exports the berry, but a disease which attacked the leaves of the shrub has nearly discouraged the planters. Among the wild animals are elephants, deer, monkeys, bears, and panthers—fine specimens of which are preserved in the excellent museum at Colombo. Pearl oysters are found on the coast, and some magnificent pearls are sent to Paris and London.
The bread-fruit tree is especially interesting, with its feathery leaves, and its melon-shaped fruit, weighing from three to four pounds. This, the natives prepare in many ways for eating, and as the tree bears fruit continually for nine months of the year, it forms a most important food-supply. Two or three trees will afford nourishment for a hearty man, and half a dozen well cared for will sustain a small family, a portion of the fruit being dried and kept for the non-producing months. Banana groves, and orchards bending under the weight of the rich, nutritious fruit, tall cocoanut-trees with half a ton of ripening nuts in each tufted top, ant-hills nearly as high as native houses, rippling cascades, small rivers winding through the green valleys, and flowers of every hue and shape, together with birds such as one sees preserved in northern museums,—all these crowd upon our vision as we wander about inland.
Ceylon is rich in prehistoric monuments, showing that there once existed here a great and powerful empire, and leading us to wonder what could have swept a population of millions from the face of the globe and have left no clearer record of their past. The carved pillars, skilfully wrought, now scattered through the forest, and often overgrown by mammoth trees, attest both material greatness and far-reaching antiquity. It would seem as though nature had tried to cover up the wrinkles of age with blooming and thrifty vegetation.
We embark at Colombo for Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, steering a course south by east through the Indian Ocean for a distance of about thirty-five hundred miles. On this voyage we find the nights so bright and charming that hours together are passed upon the open deck studying the stars. Less than two thousand can be counted from a ship's deck by the naked eye, but with an opera-glass or telescope the number can be greatly increased. Among the most interesting constellations of the region through which we are now passing, is the Southern Cross. For those not familiar with its location, a good way to find the Cross is to remember that there are two prominent stars in the group known as Centaurus that point directly towards it. That farthest from the Cross is regarded as one of the fixed stars nearest to the earth, but its distance from us is twenty thousand times that of the sun. Stellar distances can be realized only by familiar comparison. For instance: were it possible for a person to journey to the sun in a single day, basing the calculation upon a corresponding degree of speed, it would require fifty-five years to reach this fixed star! Probably not one-half of those who have sailed beneath its tranquil beauty are aware that near the upper middle of the cross there is a brilliant cluster of stars which, though not visible to the naked eye, are brought into view with the telescope. In these far southern waters we also see what are called the Magellanic Clouds, which lie between Canopus and the South Pole. These light clouds, or what seem to be such, seen in a clear sky, are, like the "Milky Way," visible nebulae, or star-clusters, at such vast distance from the earth as to have by combination this effect upon our vision.