The Complete Collection of Samuel Butler - Samuel Butler - ebook
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17 Complete Works of Samuel ButlerA First Year in Canterbury SettlementAlps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the Canton TicinoCambridge PiecesCanterbury PiecesErewhonErewhon RevisitedEssays on Life, Art and ScienceEvolution, Old & NewEx VotoGod the Known and God the UnknownLife and HabitLuck or Cunning As the Main means of Organic ModificationSelections from Previous WorksThe Fair HavenThe Humour of Homer and Other EssaysThe Way of All FleshUnconscious Memory

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The Complete Collection of Samuel Butler

A First Year in Canterbury Settlement

Alps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the Canton Ticino

Cambridge Pieces

Canterbury Pieces


Erewhon Revisited

Essays on Life, Art and Science

Evolution, Old & New

Ex Voto

God the Known and God the Unknown

Life and Habit

Luck or Cunning As the Main means of Organic Modification

Selections from Previous Works

The Fair Haven

The Humour of Homer and Other Essays

The Way of All Flesh

Unconscious Memory

A First Year in Canterbury Settlement


by Samuel Butler

INTRODUCTION By R. A. Streatfeild

Since Butler's death in 1902 his fame has spread so rapidly and the world of letters now takes so keen in interest in the man and his writings that no apology is necessary for the republication of even his least significant works. I had long desired to bring out a new edition of his earliest book A FIRST YEAR IN CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT, together with the other pieces that he wrote during his residence in New Zealand, and, that wish being now realised, I have added a supplementary group of pieces written during his undergraduate days at Cambridge, so that the present volume forms a tolerably complete record of Butler's literary activity up to the days of EREWHON, the only omission of any importance being that of his pamphlet, published anonymously in 1865, THE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR EVANGELISTS CRITICALLY EXAMINED. I have not reprinted this, because practically the whole of it was incorporated into THE FAIR HAVEN.

A FIRST YEAR IN CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT has long been out of print, and copies of the original edition are difficult to procure. Butler professed to think poorly of it. Writing in 1889 to his friend Alfred Marks, who had picked up a second-hand copy and felt some doubt as to its authorship, he said: "I am afraid the little book you have referred to was written by me. My people edited my letters home. I did not write freely to them, of course, because they were my people. If I was at all freer anywhere they cut it out before printing it; besides, I had not yet shed my Cambridge skin and its trail is everywhere, I am afraid, perceptible. I have never read the book myself. I dipped into a few pages when they sent it to me in New Zealand, but saw 'prig' written upon them so plainly that I read no more and never have and never mean to. I am told the book sells for 1 pound a copy in New Zealand; in fact, last autumn I know Sir Walter Buller gave that for a copy in England, so as a speculation it is worth 2s. 6d. or 3s. I stole a passage or two from it for EREWHON, meaning to let it go and never be reprinted during my lifetime."

This must be taken with a grain of salt. It was Butler's habit sometimes to entertain his friends and himself by speaking of his own works with studied disrespect, as when, with reference to his own DARWIN AND THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, which also is reprinted in this volume, he described philosophical dialogues as "the most offensive form, except poetry and books of travel into supposed unknown countries, that even literature can assume." The circumstances which led to A FIRST YEAR being written have been fully described by Mr. Festing Jones in his sketch of Butler's life prefixed to THE HUMOUR OF HOMER (Fifield, London, 1913, Kennerley, New York), and I will only briefly recapitulate them. Butler left England for New Zealand in September, 1859, remaining in the colony until 1864. A FIRST YEAR was published in 1863 in Butler's name by his father, who contributed a short preface, stating that the book was compiled from his son's journal and letters, with extracts from two papers contributed to THE EAGLE, the magazine of St. John's College, Cambridge. These two papers had appeared in 1861 in the form of three articles entitled "Our Emigrant" and signed "Cellarius." By comparing these articles with the book as published by Butler's father it is possible to arrive at some conclusion as to the amount of editing to which Butler's prose was submitted. Some passages in the articles do not appear in the book at all; others appear unaltered; others again have been slightly doctored, apparently with the object of robbing them of a certain youthful "cocksureness," which probably grated upon the paternal nerves, but seems to me to create an atmosphere of an engaging freshness which I miss in the edited version. So much of the "Our Emigrant" articles is repeated in A FIRST YEAR almost if not quite verbatim that it did not seem worth while to reprint the articles in their entirety. I have, however, included in this collection one extract from the latter which was not incorporated into A FIRST YEAR, though it describes at greater length an incident referred to on p. 74. From this extract, which I have called "Crossing the Rangitata," readers will be able to see for themselves how fresh and spirited Butler's original descriptions of his adventures were, and will probably regret that he did not take the publication of A FIRST YEAR into his own hands, instead of allowing his father to have a hand in it.

With regard to the other pieces included in this volume {1} I have thought it best to prefix brief notes, when necessary, to each in turn explaining the circumstances in which they were written and, when it was possible, giving the date of composition.

In preparing the book for publication I have been materially helped by friends in both hemispheres. My thanks are specially due to Miss Colborne-Veel, of Christ-church, N.Z., for copying some of Butler's early contributions to THE PRESS, and in particular for her kindness in allowing me to make use of her notes on "The English Cricketers"; to Mr. A. T. Bartholomew for his courtesy in allowing me to reprint his article on "Butler and the Simeonites," which originally appeared in THE CAMBRIDGE MAGAZINE of 1 March, 1913, and throws so interesting a light upon a certain passage in THE WAY OF ALL FLESH. The article is here reprinted by the kind permission of the editor and proprietor of THE CAMBRIDGE MAGAZINE; to Mr. J. F. Harris for his generous assistance in tracing and copying several of Butler's early contributions to THE EAGLE; to Mr. W. H. Triggs, the editor of THE PRESS, for allowing me to make use of much interesting matter relating to Butler that has appeared in the columns of that journal; and lastly to Mr. Henry Festing Jones, whose help and counsel have been as invaluable to me in preparing this volume for the Press as they have been in past years in the case of the other books by Butler that I have been privileged to edit.


PREFACE [By the Rev. Thomas Butler]

The writer of the following pages, having resolved on emigrating to New Zealand, took his passage in the ill-fated ship Burmah, which never reached her destination, and is believed to have perished with all on board. His berth was chosen, and the passage-money paid, when important alterations were made in the arrangements of the vessel, in order to make room for some stock which was being sent out to the Canterbury Settlement.

The space left for the accommodation of the passengers being thus curtailed, and the comforts of the voyage seeming likely to be much diminished, the writer was most providentially induced to change his ship, and, a few weeks later, secured a berth in another vessel.

The work is compiled from the actual letters and journal of a young emigrant, with extracts from two papers contributed by him to the Eagle, a periodical issued by some of the members of St. John's College, Cambridge, at which the writer took his degree. This variety in the sources from which the materials are put together must be the apology for some defects in their connection and coherence. It is hoped also that the circumstances of bodily fatigue and actual difficulty under which they were often written, will excuse many faults of style.

For whatever of presumption may appear in giving this little book to the public, the friends of the writer alone are answerable. It was at their wish only that he consented to its being printed. It is, however, submitted to the reader, in the hope that the unbiassed impressions of colonial life, as they fell freshly on a young mind, may not be wholly devoid of interest. Its value to his friends at home is not diminished by the fact that the MS., having been sent out to New Zealand for revision, was, on its return, lost in the Colombo, and was fished up from the Indian Ocean so nearly washed out as to have been with some difficulty deciphered.

It should be further stated, for the encouragement of those who think of following the example of the author, and emigrating to the same settlement, that his most recent letters indicate that he has no reason to regret the step that he has taken, and that the results of his undertaking have hitherto fully justified his expectations.

LANGAR RECTORY June 29, 1863


Embarkation at Gravesend--Arrest of Passenger--Tilbury Fort--Deal--Bay of Biscay Gale--Becalmed off Teneriffe--Fire in the Galley--Trade Winds- -Belt of Calms--Death on Board--Shark--Current--S. E. Trade Winds-- Temperature--Birds--Southern Cross--Cyclone.

It is a windy, rainy day--cold withal; a little boat is putting off from the pier at Gravesend, and making for a ship that is lying moored in the middle of the river; therein are some half-dozen passengers and a lot of heterogeneous-looking luggage; among the passengers, and the owner of some of the most heterogeneous of the heterogeneous luggage, is myself. The ship is an emigrant ship, and I am one of the emigrants.

On having clambered over the ship's side and found myself on deck, I was somewhat taken aback with the apparently inextricable confusion of everything on board; the slush upon the decks, the crying, the kissing, the mustering of the passengers, the stowing away of baggage still left upon the decks, the rain and the gloomy sky created a kind of half- amusing, half-distressing bewilderment, which I could plainly see to be participated in by most of the other landsmen on board. Honest country agriculturists and their wives were looking as though they wondered what it would end in; some were sitting on their boxes and making a show of reading tracts which were being presented to them by a serious-looking gentleman in a white tie; but all day long they had perused the first page only, at least I saw none turn over the second.

And so the afternoon wore on, wet, cold, and comfortless--no dinner served on account of the general confusion. The emigration commissioner was taking a final survey of the ship and shaking hands with this, that, and the other of the passengers. Fresh arrivals kept continually creating a little additional excitement--these were saloon passengers, who alone were permitted to join the ship at Gravesend. By and by a couple of policemen made their appearance and arrested one of the party, a London cabman, for debt. He had a large family, and a subscription was soon started to pay the sum he owed. Subsequently, a much larger subscription would have been made in order to have him taken away by anybody or anything.

Little by little the confusion subsided. The emigration commissioner left; at six we were at last allowed some victuals. Unpacking my books and arranging them in my cabin filled up the remainder of the evening, save the time devoted to a couple of meditative pipes. The emigrants went to bed, and when, at about ten o'clock, I went up for a little time upon the poop, I heard no sound save the clanging of the clocks from the various churches of Gravesend, the pattering of rain upon the decks, and the rushing of the river as it gurgled against the ship's side.

Early next morning the cocks began to crow vociferously. We had about sixty couple of the oldest inhabitants of the hen-roost on board, which were intended for the consumption of the saloon passengers--a destiny which they have since fulfilled: young fowls die on shipboard, only old ones standing the weather about the line. Besides this, the pigs began grunting and the sheep gave vent to an occasional feeble bleat, the only expression of surprise or discontent which I heard them utter during the remainder of their existence, for now, alas! they are no more. I remember dreaming I was in a farmyard, and woke as soon as it was light. Rising immediately, I went on deck and found the morning calm and sulky- -no rain, but everything very wet and very grey. There was Tilbury Fort, so different from Stanfield's dashing picture. There was Gravesend, which but a year before I had passed on my way to Antwerp with so little notion that I should ever leave it thus. Musing in this way, and taking a last look at the green fields of old England, soaking with rain, and comfortless though they then looked, I soon became aware that we had weighed anchor, and that a small steam-tug which had been getting her steam up for some little time had already begun to subtract a mite of the distance between ourselves and New Zealand. And so, early in the morning of Saturday, October 1, 1859, we started on our voyage.

The river widened out hour by hour. Soon our little steam-tug left us. A fair wind sprung up, and at two o'clock, or thereabouts, we found ourselves off Ramsgate. Here we anchored and waited till the tide, early next morning. This took us to Deal, off which we again remained a whole day. On Monday morning we weighed anchor, and since then we have had it on the forecastle, and trust we may have no further occasion for it until we arrive at New Zealand.

I will not waste time and space by describing the horrible sea-sickness of most of the passengers, a misery which I did not myself experience, nor yet will I prolong the narrative of our voyage down the Channel--it was short and eventless. The captain says there is more danger between Gravesend and the Start Point (where we lost sight of land) than all the way between there and New Zealand. Fogs are so frequent and collisions occur so often. Our own passage was free from adventure. In the Bay of Biscay the water assumed a blue hue of almost incredible depth; there, moreover, we had our first touch of a gale--not that it deserved to be called a gale in comparison with what we have since experienced, still we learnt what double-reefs meant. After this the wind fell very light, and continued so for a few days. On referring to my diary, I perceive that on the 10th of October we had only got as far south as the forty- first parallel of latitude, and late on that night a heavy squall coming up from the S.W. brought a foul wind with it. It soon freshened, and by two o'clock in the morning the noise of the flapping sails, as the men were reefing them, and of the wind roaring through the rigging, was deafening. All next day we lay hove to under a close-reefed main- topsail, which, being interpreted, means that the only sail set was the main-topsail, and that that was close reefed; moreover, that the ship was laid at right angles to the wind and the yards braced sharp up. Thus a ship drifts very slowly, and remains steadier than she would otherwise; she ships few or no seas, and, though she rolls a good deal, is much more easy and safe than when running at all near the wind. Next day we drifted due north, and on the third day, the fury of the gale having somewhat moderated, we resumed--not our course, but a course only four points off it. The next several days we were baffled by foul winds, jammed down on the coast of Portugal; and then we had another gale from the south, not such a one as the last, but still enough to drive us many miles out of our course; and then it fell calm, which was almost worse, for when the wind fell the sea rose, and we were tossed about in such a manner as would have forbidden even Morpheus himself to sleep. And so we crawled on till, on the morning of the 24th of October, by which time, if we had had anything like luck, we should have been close on the line, we found ourselves about thirty miles from the Peak of Teneriffe, becalmed. This was a long way out of our course, which lay three or four degrees to the westward at the very least; but the sight of the Peak was a great treat, almost compensating for past misfortunes. The Island of Teneriffelies in latitude 28 degrees, longitude 16 degrees. It is about sixty miles long; towards the southern extremity the Peak towers upwards to a height of 12,300 feet, far above the other land of the island, though that too is very elevated and rugged. Our telescopes revealed serrated gullies upon the mountain sides, and showed us the fastnesses of the island in a manner that made us long to explore them. We deceived ourselves with the hope that some speculative fisherman might come out to us with oranges and grapes for sale. He would have realised a handsome sum if he had, but unfortunately none was aware of the advantages offered, and so we looked and longed in vain. The other islands were Palma, Gomera, and Ferro, all of them lofty, especially Palma--all of them beautiful. On the seaboard of Palma we could detect houses innumerable; it seemed to be very thickly inhabited and carefully cultivated. The calm continuing three days, we took stock of the islands pretty minutely, clear as they were, and rarely obscured even by a passing cloud; the weather was blazing hot, but beneath the awning it was very delicious; a calm, however, is a monotonous thing even when an island like Teneriffe is in view, and we soon tired both of it and of the gambols of the blackfish (a species of whale), and the operations on board an American vessel hard by.

On the evening of the third day a light air sprung up, and we watched the islands gradually retire into the distance. Next morning they were faint and shrunken, and by midday they were gone. The wind was the commencement of the north-east trades. On the next day (Thursday, October 27, lat. 27 degrees 40 minutes) the cook was boiling some fat in a large saucepan, when the bottom burnt through and the fat fell out over the fire, got lighted, and then ran about the whole galley, blazing and flaming as though it would set the place on fire, whereat an alarm of fire was raised, the effect of which was electrical: there was no real danger about the affair, for a fire is easily extinguishable on a ship when only above board; it is when it breaks out in the hold, is unperceived, gains strength, and finally bursts its prison, that it becomes a serious matter to extinguish it. This was quenched in five minutes, but the faces of the female steerage passengers were awful. I noticed about many a peculiar contraction and elevation of one eyebrow, which I had never seen before on the living human face, though often in pictures. I don't mean to say that all the faces of all the saloon passengers were void of any emotion whatever.

The trades carried us down to latitude 9 degrees. They were but light while they lasted, and left us soon. There is no wind more agreeable than the N.E. trades. The sun keeps the air deliciously warm, the breeze deliciously fresh. The vessel sits bolt upright, steering a S.S.W. course, with the wind nearly aft: she glides along with scarcely any perceptible motion; sometimes, in the cabin, one would fancy one must be on dry land. The sky is of a greyish blue, and the sea silver grey, with a very slight haze round the horizon. The water is very smooth, even with a wind which would elsewhere raise a considerable sea. In latitude 19 degrees, longitude 25 degrees, we first fell in with flying fish. These are usually in flocks, and are seen in greatest abundance in the morning; they fly a great way and very well, not with the kind of jump which a fish takes when springing out of the water, but with a bona fide flight, sometimes close to the water, sometimes some feet above it. One flew on board, and measured roughly eighteen inches between the tips of its wings. On Saturday, November 5, the trades left us suddenly after a thunder-storm, which gave us an opportunity of seeing chain lightning, which I only remember to have seen once in England. As soon as the storm was over, we perceived that the wind was gone, and knew that we had entered that unhappy region of calms which extends over a belt of some five degrees rather to the north of the line.

We knew that the weather about the line was often calm, but had pictured to ourselves a gorgeous sun, golden sunsets, cloudless sky, and sea of the deepest blue. On the contrary, such weather is never known there, or only by mistake. It is a gloomy region. Sombre sky and sombre sea. Large cauliflower-headed masses of dazzling cumulus tower in front of a background of lavender-coloured satin. There are clouds of every shape and size. The sails idly flap as the sea rises and falls with a heavy regular but windless swell. Creaking yards and groaning rudder seem to lament that they cannot get on. The horizon is hard and black, save when blent softly into the sky upon one quarter or another by a rapidly approaching squall. A puff of wind--"Square the yards!"--the ship steers again; another--she moves slowly onward; it blows--she slips through the water; it blows hard--she runs very hard--she flies; a drop of rain--the wind lulls; three or four more of the size of half a crown- -it falls very light; it rains hard, and then the wind is dead--whereon the rain comes down in a torrent which those must see who would believe. The air is so highly charged with moisture that any damp thing remains damp and any dry thing dampens: the decks are always wet. Mould springs up anywhere, even on the very boots which one is wearing; the atmosphere is like that of a vapour bath, and the dense clouds seem to ward off the light, but not the heat, of the sun. The dreary monotony of such weather affects the spirits of all, and even the health of some. One poor girl who had long been consumptive, but who apparently had rallied much during the voyage, seemed to give way suddenly as soon as we had been a day in this belt of calms, and four days after, we lowered her over the ship's side into the deep.

One day we had a little excitement in capturing a shark, whose triangular black fin had been veering about above water for some time at a little distance from the ship. I will not detail a process that has so often been described, but will content myself with saying that he did not die unavenged, inasmuch as he administered a series of cuffs and blows to anyone that was near him which would have done credit to a prize-fighter, and several of the men got severe handling or, I should rather say, "tailing" from him. He was accompanied by two beautifully striped pilot fish--the never-failing attendants of the shark.

One day during this calm we fell in with a current, when the aspect of the sea was completely changed. It resembled a furiously rushing river, and had the sound belonging to a strong stream, only much intensified; the waves, too, tossed up their heads perpendicularly into the air; whilst the empty flour-casks drifted ahead of us and to one side. It was impossible to look at the sea without noticing its very singular appearance. Soon a wind springing up raised the waves and obliterated the more manifest features of the current, but for two or three days afterwards we could perceive it more or less. There is always at this time of year a strong westerly set here. The wind was the commencement of the S.E. trades, and was welcomed by all with the greatest pleasure. In two days more we reached the line.

We crossed the line far too much to the west, in longitude 31 degrees 6 minutes, after a very long passage of nearly seven weeks, such as our captain says he never remembers to have made; fine winds, however, now began to favour us, and in another week we got out of the tropics, having had the sun vertically overhead, so as to have no shadow, on the preceding day. Strange to say, the weather was never at all oppressively hot after latitude 2 degrees north, or thereabouts. A fine wind, or indeed a light wind, at sea removes all unpleasant heat even of the hottest and most perpendicular sun. The only time that we suffered any inconvenience at all from heat was during the belt of calms; when the sun was vertically over our heads it felt no hotter than on an ordinary summer day. Immediately, however, upon leaving the tropics the cold increased sensibly, and in latitude 27 degrees 8 minutes I find that I was not warm once all day. Since then we have none of us ever been warm, save when taking exercise or in bed; when the thermometer was up at 50 degrees we thought it very high and called it warm. The reason of the much greater cold of the southern than of the northern hemisphere is that the former contains so much less land. I have not seen the thermometer below 42 degrees in my cabin, but am sure that outside it has often been very much lower. We almost all got chilblains, and wondered much what the winter of this hemisphere must be like if this was its summer: I believe, however, that as soon as we get off the coast of Australia, which I hope we may do in a couple of days, we shall feel a very sensible rise in the thermometer at once. Had we known what was coming, we should have prepared better against it, but we were most of us under the impression that it would be warm summer weather all the way. No doubt we felt it more than we should otherwise on account of our having so lately crossed the line.

The great feature of the southern seas is the multitude of birds which inhabit it. Huge albatrosses, molimorks (a smaller albatross), Cape hens, Cape pigeons, parsons, boobies, whale birds, mutton birds, and many more, wheel continually about the ship's stern, sometimes in dozens, sometimes in scores, always in considerable numbers. If a person takes two pieces of pork and ties them together, leaving perhaps a yard of string between the two pieces, and then throws them into the sea, one albatross will catch hold of one end, and another of the other, each bolts his own end and then tugs and fights with his rival till one or other has to disgorge his prize; we have not, however, succeeded in catching any, neither have we tried the above experiment ourselves. Albatrosses are not white; they are grey, or brown with a white streak down the back, and spreading a little into the wings. The under part of the bird is a bluish-white. They remain without moving the wing a longer time than any bird that I have ever seen, but some suppose that each individual feather is vibrated rapidly, though in very small space, without any motion being imparted to the main pinions of the wing. I am informed that there is a strong muscle attached to each of the large plumes in their wings. It certainly is strange how so large a bird should be able to travel so far and so fast without any motion of the wing. Albatrosses are often entirely brown, but farther south, and when old, I am told, they become sometimes quite white. The stars of the southern hemisphere are lauded by some: I cannot see that they surpass or equal those of the northern. Some, of course, are the same. The southern cross is a very great delusion. It isn't a cross. It is a kite, a kite upside down, an irregular kite upside down, with only three respectable stars and one very poor and very much out of place. Near it, however, is a truly mysterious and interesting object called the coal sack: it is a black patch in the sky distinctly darker than all the rest of the heavens. No star shines through it. The proper name for it is the black Magellan cloud.

We reached the Cape, passing about six degrees south of it, in twenty- five days after crossing the line, a very fair passage; and since the Cape we have done well until a week ago, when, after a series of very fine runs, and during as fair a breeze as one would wish to see, we were some of us astonished to see the captain giving orders to reef topsails. The royals were stowed, so were the top-gallant-sails, topsails close reefed, mainsail reefed, and just at 10.45 p.m., as I was going to bed, I heard the captain give the order to take a reef in the foresail and furl the mainsail; but before I was in bed a quarter of an hour afterwards, a blast of wind came up like a wall, and all night it blew a regular hurricane. The glass, which had dropped very fast all day, and fallen lower than the captain had ever seen it in the southern hemisphere, had given him warning what was coming, and he had prepared for it. That night we ran away before the wind to the north, next day we lay hove-to till evening, and two days afterwards the gale was repeated, but with still greater violence. The captain was all ready for it, and a ship, if she is a good sea-boat, may laugh at any winds or any waves provided she be prepared. The danger is when a ship has got all sail set and one of these bursts of wind is shot out at her; then her masts go overboard in no time. Sailors generally estimate a gale of wind by the amount of damage it does, if they don't lose a mast or get their bulwarks washed away, or at any rate carry away a few sails, they don't call it a gale, but a stiff breeze; if, however, they are caught even by comparatively a very inferior squall, and lose something, they call it a gale.

The captain assured us that the sea never assumes a much grander or more imposing aspect than that which it wore on this occasion. He called me to look at it between two and three in the morning when it was at its worst; it was certainly very grand, and made a tremendous noise, and the wind would scarcely let one stand, and made such a roaring in the rigging as I never heard, but there was not that terrific appearance that I had expected. It didn't suggest any ideas to one's mind about the possibility of anything happening to one. It was excessively unpleasant to be rolled hither and thither, and I never felt the force of gravity such a nuisance before; one's soup at dinner would face one at an angle of 45 degrees with the horizon, it would look as though immovable on a steep inclined plane, and it required the nicest handling to keep the plane truly horizontal. So with one's tea, which would alternately rush forward to be drunk and fly as though one were a Tantalus; so with all one's goods, which would be seized with the most erratic propensities. Still we were unable to imagine ourselves in any danger, save that one flaxen-headed youth of two-and-twenty kept waking up his companion for the purpose of saying to him at intervals during the night, "I say, isn't it awful?" till finally silenced him with a boot. While on the subject of storms I may add, that a captain, if at all a scientific man, can tell whether he is in a cyclone (as we were) or not, and if he is in a cyclone he can tell in what part of it he is, and how he must steer so as to get out of it. A cyclone is a storm that moves in a circle round a calm of greater or less diameter; the calm moves forward in the centre of the rotatory storm at the rate of from one or two to thirty miles an hour. A large cyclone 500 miles in diameter, rushing furiously round its centre, will still advance in a right line, only very slowly indeed. A small one 50 or 60 miles across will progress more rapidly. One vessel sailed for five days at the rate of 12, 13, and 14 knots an hour round one of these cyclones before the wind all the time, yet in the five days she had made only 187 miles in a straight line. I tell this tale as it was told to me, but have not studied the subjects myself. Whatever saloon passengers may think about a gale of wind, I am sure that the poor sailors who have to go aloft in it and reef topsails cannot welcome it with any pleasure.


Life on Board--Calm--Boat Lowered--Snares and Traps--Land--Driven off coast--Enter Port Lyttelton--Requisites for a Sea Voyage--Spirit of Adventure aroused.

Before continuing the narrative of my voyage, I must turn to other topics and give you some account of my life on board. My time has passed very pleasantly: I have read a good deal; I have nearly finished Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, am studying Liebig's Agricultural Chemistry, and learning the concertina on the instrument of one of my fellow-passengers. Besides this, I have had the getting up and management of our choir. We practise three or four times a week; we chant the Venite, Glorias, and Te Deums, and sing one hymn. I have two basses, two tenors, one alto, and lots of girls, and the singing certainly is better than you would hear in nine country places out of ten. I have been glad by this means to form the acquaintance of many of the poorer passengers. My health has been very good all the voyage: I have not had a day's sea-sickness. The provisions are not very first- rate, and the day after to-morrow, being Christmas Day, we shall sigh for the roast beef of Old England, as our dinner will be somewhat of the meagrest. Never mind! On the whole I cannot see reason to find any great fault. We have a good ship, a good captain, and victuals sufficient in quantity. Everyone but myself abuses the owners like pick pockets, but I rather fancy that some of them will find themselves worse off in New Zealand. When I come back, if I live to do so (and I sometimes amass a wonderful fortune in a very short time, and come back fabulously rich, and do all sorts of things), I think I shall try the overland route. Almost every evening four of us have a very pleasant rubber, which never gets stale. So you will have gathered that, though very anxious to get to our journey's end, which, with luck, we hope to do in about three weeks' time, still the voyage has not proved at all the unbearable thing that some of us imagined it would have been. One great amusement I have forgotten to mention--that is, shuffle-board, a game which consists in sending some round wooden platters along the deck into squares chalked and numbered from one to ten. This game will really keep one quite hot in the coldest weather if played with spirit.

During the month that has elapsed since writing the last sentence, we have had strong gales and long, tedious calms. On one of these occasions the captain lowered a boat, and a lot of us scrambled over the ship's side and got in, taking it in turns to row. The first thing that surprised us was the very much warmer temperature of the sea-level than that on deck. The change was astonishing. I have suffered from a severe cold ever since my return to the ship. On deck it was cold, thermometer 46 degrees; on the sea-level it was deliciously warm. The next thing that surprised us was the way in which the ship was pitching, though it appeared a dead calm. Up she rose and down she fell upon a great hummocky swell which came lazily up from the S.W., making our horizon from the boat all uneven. On deck we had thought it a very slight swell; in the boat we perceived what a heavy, humpy, ungainly heap of waters kept rising and sinking all round us, sometimes blocking out the whole ship, save the top of the main royal, in the strangest way in the world. We pulled round the ship, thinking we had never in our lives seen anything so beautiful as she then looked in the sunny morning, when suddenly we saw a large ripple in the waters not far off. At first the captain imagined it to have been caused by a whale, and was rather alarmed, but by and by it turned out to be nothing but a shoal of fish. Then we made for a large piece of seaweed which we had seen some way astern. It extended some ten feet deep, and was a huge, tangled, loose, floating mass; among it nestled little fishes innumerable, and as we looked down amid its intricate branches through the sun-lit azure of the water, the effect was beautiful. This mass we attached to the boat, and with great labour and long time succeeded in getting it up to the ship, the little fishes following behind the seaweed. It was impossible to lift it on board, so we fastened it to the ship's side and came in to luncheon. After lunch some ropes were arranged to hoist the ladies in a chair over the ship's side and lower them into the boat--a process which created much merriment. Into the boat we put half a dozen of champagne- -a sight which gave courage to one or two to brave the descent who had not previously ventured on such a feat. Then the ladies were pulled round the ship, and, when about a mile ahead of her, we drank the champagne and had a regular jollification. Returning to show them the seaweed, the little fishes looked so good that someone thought of a certain net wherewith the doctor catches ocean insects, porpytas, clios, spinulas, etc. With this we caught in half an hour amid much screaming, laughter, and unspeakable excitement, no less than 250 of them. They were about five inches long--funny little blue fishes with wholesome- looking scales. We ate them next day, and they were excellent. Some expected that we should have swollen or suffered some bad effects, but no evil happened to us: not but what these deep-sea fishes are frequently poisonous, but I believe that scaly fishes are always harmless. We returned by half-past three, after a most enjoyable day; but, as proof of the heat being much greater in the boat, I may mention that one of the party lost the skin from his face and arms, and that we were all much sunburnt even in so short a time; yet one man who bathed that day said he had never felt such cold water in his life.

We are now (January 21) in great hopes of sighting land in three or four days, and are really beginning to feel near the end of our voyage: not that I can realise this to myself; it seems as though I had always been on board the ship, and was always going to be, and as if all my past life had not been mine, but had belonged to somebody else, or as though someone had taken mine and left me his by mistake. I expect, however, that when the land actually comes in sight we shall have little difficulty in realising the fact that the voyage has come to a close. The weather has been much warmer since we have been off the coast of Australia, even though Australia is some 100 north of our present position. I have not, however, yet seen the thermometer higher than since we passed the Cape. Now we are due south of the south point of Van Diemen's Land, and consequently nearer land than we have been for some time. We are making for the Snares, two high islets about sixty miles south of Stewart's Island, the southernmost of the New Zealand group. We sail immediately to the north of them, and then turn up suddenly. The route we have to take passes between the Snares and the Traps--two rather ominous-sounding names, but I believe more terrible in name than in any other particular.

January 22.--Yesterday at midday I was sitting writing in my cabin, when I heard the joyful cry of "Land!" and, rushing on deck, saw the swelling and beautiful outline of the high land in Stewart's Island. We had passed close by the Snares in the morning, but the weather was too thick for us to see them, though the birds flocked therefrom in myriads. We then passed between the Traps, which the captain saw distinctly, one on each side of him, from the main topgallant yard. Land continued in sight till sunset, but since then it has disappeared. To-day (Sunday) we are speeding up the coast; the anchors are ready, and to-morrow by early daylight we trust to drop them in the harbour of Lyttelton. We have reason, from certain newspapers, to believe that the mails leave on the 23rd of the month, in which case I shall have no time or means to add a single syllable.

January 26.--Alas for the vanity of human speculation! After writing the last paragraph the wind fell light, then sprung up foul, and so we were slowly driven to the E.N.E. On Monday night it blew hard, and we had close-reefed topsails. Tuesday morning at five it was lovely, and the reefs were all shaken out; a light air sprang up, and the ship, at 10 o'clock, had come up to her course, when suddenly, without the smallest warning, a gale came down upon us from the S.W. like a wall. The men were luckily very smart in taking in canvas, but at one time the captain thought he should have had to cut away the mizzenmast. We were reduced literally to bare poles, and lay-to under a piece of tarpaulin, six times doubled, and about two yards square, fastened up in the mizzen rigging. All day and night we lay thus, drifting to leeward at three knots an hour. In the twenty-four hours we had drifted sixty miles. Next day the wind moderated; but at 12 we found that we were eighty miles north of the peninsula and some 3 degrees east of it. So we set a little sail, and commenced forereaching slowly on our course. Little and little the wind died, and it soon fell dead calm. That evening (Wednesday), some twenty albatrosses being congregated like a flock of geese round the ship's stern, we succeeded in catching some of them, the first we had caught on the voyage. We would have let them go again, but the sailors think them good eating, and begged them of us, at the same time prophesying two days' foul wind for every albatross taken. It was then dead calm, but a light wind sprang up in the night, and on Thursday we sighted Banks Peninsula. Again the wind fell tantalisingly light, but we kept drawing slowly toward land. In the beautiful sunset sky, crimson and gold, blue, silver, and purple, exquisite and tranquillising, lay ridge behind ridge, outline behind outline, sunlight behind shadow, shadow behind sunlight, gully and serrated ravine. Hot puffs of wind kept coming from the land, and there were several fires burning. I got my arm-chair on deck, and smoked a quiet pipe with the intensest satisfaction. Little by little the night drew down, and then we rounded the headlands. Strangely did the waves sound breaking against the rocks of the harbour; strangely, too, looked the outlines of the mountains through the night. Presently we saw a light ahead from a ship: we drew slowly near, and as we passed you might have heard a pin drop. "What ship's that?" said a strange voice.--The Roman Emperor, said the captain. "Are you all well?"--"All well." Then the captain asked, "Has the Robert Small arrived?"--"No," was the answer, "nor yet the Burmah." {2} You may imagine what I felt. Then a rocket was sent up, and the pilot came on board. He gave us a roaring republican speech on the subject of India, China, etc. I rather admired him, especially as he faithfully promised to send us some fresh beefsteaks and potatoes for breakfast. A north-wester sprung up as soon as we had dropped anchor: had it commenced a little sooner we should have had to put out again to sea. That night I packed a knapsack to go on shore, but the wind blew so hard that no boat could put off till one o'clock in the day, at which hour I and one or two others landed, and, proceeding to the post office, were told there were no letters for us. I afterwards found mine had gone hundreds of miles away to a namesake--a cruel disappointment.

A few words concerning the precautions advisable for anyone who is about to take a long sea-voyage may perhaps be useful. First and foremost, unless provided with a companion whom he well knows and can trust, he must have a cabin to himself. There are many men with whom one can be on excellent terms when not compelled to be perpetually with them, but whom the propinquity of the same cabin would render simply intolerable. It would not even be particularly agreeable to be awakened during a hardly captured wink of sleep by the question "Is it not awful?" that, however, would be a minor inconvenience. No one, I am sure, will repent paying a few pounds more for a single cabin who has seen the inconvenience that others have suffered from having a drunken or disagreeable companion in so confined a space. It is not even like a large room. He should have books in plenty, both light and solid. A folding arm-chair is a great comfort, and a very cheap one. In the hot weather I found mine invaluable, and, in the bush, it will still come in usefully. He should have a little table and common chair: these are real luxuries, as all who have tried to write, or seen others attempt it, from a low arm-chair at a washing-stand will readily acknowledge.

A small disinfecting charcoal filter is very desirable. Ship's water is often bad, and the ship's filter may be old and defective. Mine has secured me and others during the voyage pure and sweet-tasting water, when we could not drink that supplied us by the ship. A bottle or two of raspberry vinegar will be found a luxury when near the line. By the aid of these means and appliances I have succeeded in making myself exceedingly comfortable. A small chest of drawers would have been preferable to a couple of boxes for my clothes, and I should recommend another to get one. A ten-pound note will suffice for all these things. The bunk should not be too wide: one rolls so in rough weather; of course it should not be athwartships, if avoidable. No one in his right mind will go second class if he can, by any hook or crook, raise money enough to go first.

On the whole, there are many advantageous results from a sea-voyage. One's geography improves apace, and numberless incidents occur pregnant with interest to a landsman; moreover, there are sure to be many on board who have travelled far and wide, and one gains a great deal of information about all sorts of races and places. One effect is, perhaps, pernicious, but this will probably soon wear off on land. It awakens an adventurous spirit, and kindles a strong desire to visit almost every spot upon the face of the globe. The captain yarns about California and the China seas--the doctor about Valparaiso and the Andes--another raves about Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific--while a fourth will compare nothing with Japan.

The world begins to feel very small when one finds one can get half round it in three months; and one mentally determines to visit all these places before coming back again, not to mention a good many more.

I search my diary in vain to find some pretermitted adventure wherewith to give you a thrill, or, as good Mrs. B. calls it, "a feel"; but I can find none. The mail is going; I will write again by the next.


Aspect of Port Lyttelton--Ascent of Hill behind it--View--Christ Church- -Yankeeisms--Return to Port Lyttelton and Ship--Phormium Tenax--Visit to a Farm--Moa Bones.

January 27, 1860.--Oh, the heat! the clear transparent atmosphere, and the dust! How shall I describe everything--the little townlet, for I cannot call it town, nestling beneath the bare hills that we had been looking at so longingly all the morning--the scattered wooden boxes of houses, with ragged roods of scrubby ground between them--the tussocks of brown grass--the huge wide-leafed flax, with its now seedy stem, sometimes 15 or 16 feet high, luxuriant and tropical-looking--the healthy clear-complexioned men, shaggy-bearded, rowdy-hatted, and independent, pictures of rude health and strength--the stores, supplying all heterogeneous commodities--the mountains, rising right behind the harbour to a height of over a thousand feet--the varied outline of the harbour now smooth and sleeping. Ah me! pleasant sight and fresh to sea-stricken eyes. The hot air, too, was very welcome after our long chill.

We dined at the table d'hote at the Mitre--so foreign and yet so English--the windows open to the ground, looking upon the lovely harbour. Hither come more of the shaggy clear-complexioned men with the rowdy hats; looked at them with awe and befitting respect. Much grieved to find beer sixpence a glass. This was indeed serious, and was one of the first intimations which we received that we were in a land where money flies like wild-fire.

After dinner I and another commenced the ascent of the hill between port and Christ Church. We had not gone far before we put our knapsacks on the back of the pack-horse that goes over the hill every day (poor pack- horse!). It is indeed an awful pull up that hill; yet we were so anxious to see what was on the other side of it that we scarcely noticed the fatigue: I thought it very beautiful. It is volcanic, brown, and dry; large intervals of crumbling soil, and then a stiff, wiry, uncompromising-looking tussock of the very hardest grass; then perhaps a flax bush, or, as we should have said, a flax plant; then more crumbly, brown, dry soil, mixed with fine but dried grass, and then more tussocks; volcanic rock everywhere cropping out, sometimes red and tolerably soft, sometimes black and abominably hard. There was a great deal, too, of a very uncomfortable prickly shrub, which they call Irishman, and which I do not like the look of at all. There were cattle browsing where they could, but to my eyes it seemed as though they had but poor times of it. So we continued to climb, panting and broiling in the afternoon sun, and much admiring the lovely view beneath. At last we near the top, and look down upon the plain, bounded by the distant Apennines, that run through the middle of the island. Near at hand, at the foot of the hill, we saw a few pretty little box-like houses in trim, pretty little gardens, stacks of corn and fields, a little river with a craft or two lying near a wharf, whilst the nearer country was squared into many-coloured fields. But, after all, the view was rather of the "long stare" description. There was a great extent of country, but very few objects to attract the eye and make it rest any while in any given direction. The mountains wanted outlines; they were not broken up into fine forms like the Carnarvonshiremountains, but were rather a long, blue, lofty, even line, like the Jura from Geneva or the Berwyn from Shrewsbury. The plains, too, were lovely in colouring, but would have been wonderfully improved by an object or two a little nearer than the mountains. I must confess that the view, though undoubtedly fine, rather disappointed me. The one in the direction of the harbour was infinitely superior.

At the bottom of the hill we met the car to Christ Church; it halted some time at a little wooden public-house, and by and by at another, where was a Methodist preacher, who had just been reaping corn for two pounds an acre. He showed me some half-dozen stalks of gigantic size, but most of that along the roadside was thin and poor. Then we reached Christ Church on the little river Avon; it is larger than Lyttelton and more scattered, but not so pretty. Here, too, the men are shaggy, clear-complexioned, brown, and healthy-looking, and wear exceedingly rowdy hats. I put up at Mr. Rowland Davis's; and as no one during the evening seemed much inclined to talk to me, I listened to the conversation.

The all-engrossing topics seemed to be sheep, horses, dogs, cattle, English grasses, paddocks, bush, and so forth. From about seven o'clock in the evening till about twelve at night I cannot say that I heard much else. These were the exact things I wanted to hear about, and I listened till they had been repeated so many times over that I almost grew tired of the subject, and wished the conversation would turn to something else. A few expressions were not familiar to me. When we should say in England "Certainly not," it is here "No fear," or "Don't YOU believe it." When they want to answer in the affirmative they say "It is SO," "It does SO." The word "hum," too, without pronouncing the U, is in amusing requisition. I perceived that this stood either for assent, or doubt, or wonder, or a general expression of comprehension without compromising the hummer's own opinion, and indeed for a great many more things than these; in fact, if a man did not want to say anything at all he said "hum hum." It is a very good expression, and saves much trouble when its familiar use has been acquired. Beyond these trifles I noticed no Yankeeism, and the conversation was English in point of expression. I was rather startled at hearing one gentleman ask another whether he meant to wash this year, and receive the answer "No." I soon discovered that a person's sheep are himself. If his sheep are clean, he is clean. He does not wash his sheep before shearing, but he washes; and, most marvellous of all, it is not his sheep which lamb, but he "lambs down" himself.

* * *

I have purchased a horse, by name Doctor. I hope he is a homoeopathist. He is in colour bay, distinctly branded P. C. on the near shoulder. I am glad the brand is clear, for, as you well know, all horses are alike to me unless there is some violent distinction in their colour. This horse I bought from --, to whom Mr. FitzGerald kindly gave me a letter of introduction. I thought I could not do better than buy from a person of known character, seeing that my own ignorance is so very great upon the subject. I had to give 55 pounds, but, as horses are going, that does not seem much out of the way. He is a good river-horse, and very strong. A horse is an absolute necessity in this settlement; he is your carriage, your coach, and your railway train.

On Friday I went to Port Lyttelton, meeting on the way many of our late fellow-passengers--some despondent, some hopeful; one or two dinnerless and in the dumps when we first encountered them, but dinnered and hopeful when we met them again on our return. We chatted with and encouraged them all, pointing out the general healthy, well-conditioned look of the residents. Went on board. How strangely changed the ship appeared! Sunny, motionless, and quiet; no noisy children, no slatternly, slipshod women rolling about the decks, no slush, no washing of dirty linen in dirtier water. There was the old mate in a clean shirt at last, leaning against the mainmast, and smoking his yard of clay; the butcher close--shaven and clean; the sailors smart, and welcoming us with a smile. It almost looked like going home. Dined in Lyttelton with several of my fellow-passengers, who evidently thought it best to be off with the old love before they were on with the new, i.e. to spend all they brought with them before they set about acquiring a new fortune. Then went and helped Mr. and Mrs. R. to arrange their new house, i.e. R. and I scrubbed the floors of the two rooms they have taken with soap, scrubbing-brushes, flannel, and water, made them respectably clean, and removed his boxes into their proper places.

Saturday.--Rode again to port, and saw my case of saddlery still on board. When riding back the haze obscured the snowy range, and the scenery reminded me much of Cambridgeshire. The distinctive marks which characterise it as not English are the occasional Ti palms, which have a very tropical appearance, and the luxuriance of the Phormiumtenax. If you strip a shred of this leaf not thicker than an ordinary piece of string, you will find it hard work to break it, if you succeed in doing so at all without cutting your finger. On the whole, if the road leading from Heathcote Ferry to Christ Church were through an avenue of mulberry trees, and the fields on either side were cultivated with Indian corn and vineyards, and if through these you could catch an occasional glimpse of a distant cathedral of pure white marble, you might well imagine yourself nearing Milan. As it is, the country is a sort of a cross between the plains of Lombardy and the fens of North Cambridgeshire.

At night, a lot of Nelson and Wellington men came to the club. I was amused at dinner by a certain sailor and others, who maintained that the end of the world was likely to arrive shortly; the principal argument appearing to be, that there was no more sheep country to be found in Canterbury. This fact is, I fear, only too true. With this single exception, the conversation was purely horsy and sheepy. The fact is, the races are approaching, and they are the grand annual jubilee of Canterbury.

Next morning, I rode some miles into the country, and visited a farm. Found the inmates (two brothers) at dinner. Cold boiled mutton and bread, and cold tea without milk, poured straight from a huge kettle in which it is made every morning, seem the staple commodities. No potatoes--nothing hot. They had no servant, and no cow. The bread, which was very white, was made by the younger. They showed me, with some little pleasure, some of the improvements they were making, and told me what they meant to do; and I looked at them with great respect. These men were as good gentlemen, in the conventional sense of the word, as any with whom we associate in England--I daresay, de facto, much better than many of them. They showed me some moa bones which they had ploughed up (the moa, as you doubtless know, was an enormous bird, which must have stood some fifteen feet high), also some stone Maori battle- axes. They bought this land two years ago, and assured me that, even though they had not touched it, they could get for it cent per cent upon the price which they then gave.


Sheep on Terms, Schedule and Explanation--Investment in Sheep-run--Risk of Disease, and Laws upon the Subject--Investment in laying down Land in English Grass--In Farming--Journey to Oxford--Journey to the Glaciers-- Remote Settlers--Literature in the Bush--Blankets and Flies--Ascent of the Rakaia--Camping out--Glaciers--Minerals--Parrots--Unexplored Col-- Burning the Flats--Return.