Three Years in Tristan da Cunha by Barrow, Katherine Mary
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
[Illustration: THE SETTLEMENT]
THREE YEARS IN TRISTAN DA CUNHA
K. M. BARROW Wife of the Rev. J. G. Barrow, Missionary Clergyman in Tristan Da Cunha and fellow-worker with him on that island.
With thirty-seven original illustrations from photographs, and a map.
TO THE READER
The aim of the following pages is to give a simple and true description of daily life among a very small community cut off from the rest of the world.
No attempt is made at literary style, the language being almost entirely that of letters to a sister or of my journal.
In the first and third chapters free use has been made of the _Blue Book_ (Cd. 3098), September 1906; and of the _Africa Pilot_, Part II, Fifth Edition, 1901.
I desire gratefully to acknowledge to Mr. Casper Keytel of Monille Point, Cape Town, his very kind permission to use the excellent photographs taken by him; and also my indebtedness to my husband for help in the revision of these pages.
K. M. B.
MAP OF THE ISLAND OF TRISTAN DE CUNHA [* OCR image only shows title]
AUTHOR'S PREFACE MAP OF ISLAND OF TRISTAN DA CUNHA CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X CHAPTER XI CHAPTER XII CHAPTER XIII CHAPTER XIV CHAPTER XV CHAPTER XVI CHAPTER XVII CHAPTER XVIII CHAPTER XIX CHAPTER XX CHAPTER XXI CHAPTER XXII CHAPTER XXIII CHAPTER XXIV CHAPTER XXV CHAPTER XXVI CHAPTER XXVII CHAPTER XXVIII CHAPTER XXIX CHAPTER XXX CHAPTER XXXI CHAPTER XXXII CHAPTER XXXIII CHAPTER XXXIV CHAPTER XXXV CHAPTER XXXVI CHAPTER XXXVII
APPENDICES A. THE FAUNA AND FLORA OF TRISTAN B. THE WEATHER C. SOME TRISTAN WORDS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
I THE SETTLEMENT [_Frontispiece_] II THE PEAK SHOWING ABOVE CLOUDS III BETTY COTTON'S HOUSE (FRONT), OUR NEW HOME IV BETTY COTTON'S HOUSE (BACK) V THE WATERFALL VI MOCCASINS VII THE CEMETERY VIII HILL TOP. INACCESSIBLE IN THE DISTANCE IX THE FLAGSTAFF X GOING WEST XI IN SCHOOL XII BIG BEACH XIII THE HENRY GREEN FAMILY AT WORK ON A POTATO PATCH XIV A PAIR OF PENGUINS XV EARLY MORNING FROM THE WEST, SHOWING SNOW IN CREVASSE, NEAR PEAK XVI BUGSBY HOLE XVII THE CRATER LAKE XVIII ON THE SUMMIT OF THE PEAK XIX COMPLETE GROUP OF THE ISLANDERS XX A GROUP OF ALL THE MEN XXI THE PATH OF PLANTATION GULCH XXII CATTLE, NEAR POTATO PATCHES XXIII A PENGUIN ROOKERY XXIV SHEEP BEING DRIVEN HOME XXV OUR BATHING PLACE (LITTLE BEACH) XXVI THE OLD CHURCH HOUSE XXVII LANDING GOODS XXVIII MRS. REPETTO FISHING XXIX MR. KEYTEL'S HOUSE XXX FRESHWATER CAVE XXXI MOLLYHAWK ON ITS NEST XXXII NEARLY FINISHED XXXIII THE KETCH XXXIV FISH-CLEANING XXXV HOTTENTOT GULCH XXXVI ALL THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN XXXVII ORANGES AND LEMONS
THREE YEARS IN TRISTAN DA CUNHA
Tristan da Cunha, a British possession, is an island-mountain of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic ocean. Latitude 37° 5' 50" S.; longitude 12° 16' 40" W. Circular in form. Circumference about 21 miles. Diameter about 7 miles. Height 7,640 feet. Volcano extinct during historic times. Discovered by the Portuguese navigator Tristan da Cunha, 1506. Occupied by the British, 1816. Nearest inhabited land, the island of St. Helena, 1,200 miles to the N.
In the autumn of 1904 we saw in the _Standard_ a letter which arrested our attention. It was an appeal for some one to go to the Island of Tristan da Cunha, as the people had had no clergyman for seventeen years.
Now, Tristan da Cunha was not an unknown name to us, for as a child my husband loved to hear his mother tell of her shipwreck on Inaccessible, an uninhabited island twenty-five miles south-west of Tristan da Cunha.
She, then a child of four, and her nurse were passengers on the _Blendon Hall_, which left London for India in May 1821, and was wrecked during a dense fog on Inaccessible, July 23. The passengers and crew drifted ashore on spars and fragments of the vessel. Two of the crew perished, and nearly all the stores were lost. For four months they lived on this desolate island. A tent made out of sails was erected on the shore to protect the women and children from the cold and rain. They lived almost entirely on the eggs of sea-birds.
After waiting some time in hope of being seen by a ship, they made a raft from the remains of the wreck, and eight of the crew set off in it to try to reach Tristan, but were never heard of again, poor fellows. A few weeks later a second and successful attempt was made. The men reached Tristan, but in a very exhausted state. Then the Tristanites, led by Corporal Glass, manned their boats, and at great personal risk succeeded in fetching off the rest of the crew and passengers, who remained on Tristan till January 9, 1822, on which day a passing English brig took them to the Cape of Good Hope.
This was eighty-four years ago. And now the son of that little shipwrecked girl was seriously thinking of going out to minister to the children of her rescuers. Here I may mention that in the whole of their history, from 1816 to 1906, they had had only two clergymen living amongst them.
The first to go out was the Rev. W. F. Taylor, under the S.P.G. in 1851, a young London warehouseman who had not long been ordained. It is related by one of the passengers of the ship in which Mr. Taylor was sailing that the master of the vessel had great difficulty in locating the island, and that for three days they cruised about and saw nothing resembling land. The third day towards evening the skipper gave up the search and headed for the Cape. Mr. Taylor, who was gazing towards the setting sun suddenly saw the Peak of Tristan, which is 7,640 feet high, emerge out of the clouds. It was about ninety miles away. The captain turned back, and his passenger was safely landed. Mr. Taylor stayed there some five years. On his departure he induced about forty-five of the islanders to accompany him to Cape Colony, where they settled down.
The second clergyman, also in connection with the S.P.G., was the Rev. E. H. Dodgson, a brother of "Lewis Carroll." He arrived in December 1880 from St. Helena, and landed in safety, but the ship was driven ashore and he lost nearly all his clothing and books. One of the very few things washed ashore was a small stone font, which, curiously enough, was undamaged.
In December 1884 Mr. Dodgson, who was much out of health, got a passage to the Cape in a man-of-war. It was not his intention to return. But the next year a great calamity befell the Tristanites. Fifteen of their men put off in a new lifeboat to a ship, and were all drowned. Out of a population of ninety-two there were now only four male adults, and one of these was out of his mind and giving a good deal of trouble. Tristan had suddenly become an island of widows and children. When Mr. Dodgson heard of this calamity he at once offered to return. It being thought that the islanders were on the brink of starvation, H.M.S. _Thalia_ was sent to their relief, and Mr. Dodgson sailed in her, reaching Tristan in August 1886. He remained till December 1889, when ill health again obliged him to leave. This time ten of the inhabitants left with him.
To go back to the period when we ourselves began to think of going out. After some months of serious consideration we resolved to make the attempt, and at once began to face the question of how to get there. To get to Tristan da Cunha is no easy matter; it took us nearly five months. There is no regular communication with it, and it has no harbour.
Formerly a man-of-war from the Cape station visited it once a year, but since the South African War this annual visit has been discontinued. Mr. Dodgson advised us to go to St. Helena and there await a whaler. He had found this the best plan. So accordingly we set off from Southampton on November 18, 1905--my husband, our maid and myself, taking with us a year's food supply and a very limited amount of furniture. St. Helena was reached in seventeen days. An interview with the American Consul, who was courtesy itself, convinced us there was no likelihood of getting a passage. The whalers that called there were from New Bedford in America, and none were expected. Our visit, however, was not entirely in vain, because we had the advantage of meeting the Bishop of St. Helena, who showed us much kindness, and of talking over our plans with him. The diocese of St. Helena must be unique. It consists of the three islands, St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. There is no clergyman on the two last, and only the bishop and three clergymen on St. Helena. No bishop of St. Helena has as yet landed upon Tristan da Cunha.
We decided to go on to Cape Town by the next steamer, which port we reached early in January, knowing no one beyond a few fellow-passengers. Not wishing to go to an hotel we took some rooms of which we heard from the chaplain of the Seamen's Mission. For the next few weeks my husband spent his time visiting the different shipping agencies and the docks, but to no purpose, as no ship would call at Tristan. We even cabled to a company in England; "No" met our every inquiry. February had now set in, and we thought that the best thing to do was to take a small unfurnished house and wait in hope that a man-of-war would be visiting the island at the end of the year. We had been about a month in this house when news came from my sister-in-law in England that the very company to which we had cabled and which had a monthly service between Table Bay and the River Plate was ready to take us for a named sum, but only on the understanding that should the weather be too rough to land us on Tristan we should have to go on to Buenos Ayres. In spite of the uncertainty involved it seemed right to accept this offer. We embarked on the steamer _Surrey_ on March 31, but did not start till next day, Sunday, as some repairs had to be done to one of the engines. There went with us Tom Rogers, a Tristanite, who was glad of the opportunity of returning to his island home.
During our stay at Cape Town we had made many kind friends. Among them were Mr. Beverley, the rector of Holy Trinity Church, and Mrs. Beverley. They had helped us in looking for a house, helped in shopping, helped in packing, insisted on our taking our last meal with them, and came with us to the steamer. We found the steamer very crowded, the passengers quite outnumbering the berths, and it was not until evening that we could procure a cabin. But one thing I much appreciated: our collie was allowed to be with us during the day. We had only had him a few days, but he behaved excellently, lying at our feet most of the time. He came to us as "Whisky," but was promptly re-named "Rob."
[Illustration: THE PEAK SHOWING ABOVE CLOUDS]
On the early morning of the eighth day--it was Palm Sunday--the mountainous cliffs of Tristan could dimly be discerned. My husband had gone up on deck two or three times while it was yet dusk to see if land was visible; while I kept looking out of the porthole, although it was not a very large outlook. At about four o'clock he dressed and wrote several letters. At six o'clock, accompanied by Rob, I went on to the lower deck and could see Tristan enshrouded in mist. At about nine o'clock we arrived opposite the settlement. A high wind was blowing and the sea was rough. But this did not prevent the islanders setting off in two of their canvas boats to board the steamer. It was with great interest I went on deck to speak to them. I was greeted by an Italian, who in broken English said--
"It not very comfortable for a lady."
They said it was too rough for us to land at the settlement, but that if we went back eight or nine miles round to another part of the island landing would be possible. It did not take long to steam back, but it took many hours to land the luggage. This was done under the direction of the third officer by a ship's boat manned by several passengers, who were most keen to help, and by the two island boats. But it was done under considerable difficulty, "a dangerous swell running on to a steep pebbly beach." Twice the ship's boat filled with water, and once a man was washed overboard, but was hauled in again. The harmonium was floating in the sea, but being in a zinc-lined case took no harm. By the afternoon the sea had quieted down a little, and it was decided that it would be safe for us to land at the settlement. Personally I was rather disappointed at this decision; but it gave, we believe, much satisfaction to the captain, who did not seem at all to like the idea of landing us on the sea-shore, where we should certainly have had to spend one night, and might have had to spend several. We steamed to within three-quarters of a mile of the settlement, and between three and four o'clock all was in readiness for us to leave the steamer. Farewells were said, and then we descended to the lower deck, which was crowded with people. One island boat had already left. The other had been hauled on to the ship, and it was thought best that we should get into it and then be lowered. As they began to lift the boat there was an ominous crack, which caused the chief officer to tell us to get out, which we quickly did. The boat was then lowered into the sea. One by one we made the descent of about forty feet down the ship's side on a swinging rope ladder, holding a rope in each hand, and having one round our waist, and with an officer going in front of us. We had to wait for the right moment to jump into the boat which was rising and falling with the waves. The collie came last; it seemed an interminable time before he appeared. He was roped, and struggling as for his life; he managed to clamber back to the deck, but was pushed off again, and at last reached us in a most terrified condition, and trembling violently. It was really hard work to hold him in the boat. We were now ready to pull off. Farewells were waved and cheers given, and I think the last strains we heard were "For he's a jolly good fellow." It was not easy getting away from the ship, and it looked rather alarming as we descended and mounted with the waves. The spray kept dashing over us, and I felt it running down my neck, but before long we got into quieter water. The steamer stood by until we were out of danger, and then we saw it steaming away with the fellow-passengers who had been so kind to us. Now, indeed, we felt we were leaving the world behind us. But we could see quite a crowd awaiting us on the shore and others running down the steep cliff to the beach. We were not allowed to land until the boat was drawn up on the shingle. There we found nearly all the colony and a swarm of dogs. We struggled up the bank of shingle over wet seaweed, and went round and shook hands with the elders. Seeing we had no hats, and the veils which we were wearing in their place were wet through, two of the younger women came forward and offered Ellen and myself a coloured handkerchief to tie over our heads, and, I think, tied them on. We were much touched by this kind attention and the welcome it conveyed.
When the boat had been drawn up to its place we sang the doxology, lingered a little, and then, conducted by the inhabitants, filed up the steep rocky road to the top of the cliff and on to the grassy common. The scenery was very fine, towering mountains in the background, the settlement below with its quaint little stone, thatched houses, and the sea with its white-crested waves. We were taken to Betty Cotton's house, the first to be reached. She was there to give us a welcome. We had to bend our heads as we entered the porch, but to our surprise were led into quite a spacious room with two windows.
[Illustration: BETTY COTTON'S HOUSE (FRONT), OUR NEW HOME]
[Illustration: BETTY COTTON'S HOUSE (BACK)]
A large number followed us in. I felt a little shy, so many eyes were upon us, and all the conversation had to emanate from us. After a time there was a movement: the men in whose boat we had come went off to change their wet clothes.
Betty, who was seventy-six and very active, began to prepare the table for tea, and I must say the prospect of tea was most welcome. There were spectators of that meal and of many ensuing ones. Later on our friends came to see us again, and the room was packed all round. I could hear much whispering among the women in the passages: no doubt anxious discussion was going on as to our sleeping accommodation. Betty decided to sleep out; Mr. Dodgson's room was assigned to us, and the adjoining room which had no window and was more like a cupboard, to Ellen.
My husband had some talk with the people, telling them what had drawn him to Tristan and of his mother's shipwreck, and then closed with a few verses from the Bible and prayer. We were tired after our day of adventures, and thankful to retire to rest.
We woke up next morning realizing that we were at last, after more than a year of anticipation and months of travel, amongst the settlers on Tristan da Cunha.
The present settlement dates from 1816, when a garrison was sent by the Cape Government to occupy the island, as it was thought that Tristan might be used as a base by Napoleon's friends to effect his escape from St. Helena. In February 1817 the British Government determined to withdraw the garrison, and a man-of-war was dispatched to remove it. Three of the men asked to remain, the chief being William Glass of Kelso, N.B., a corporal in the Royal Artillery, who had with him his wife--a Cape coloured woman-- and his two children. Later, others came to settle on the island, three by shipwreck; and some left it; the inhabitants in 1826 being seven men, two wives and two children.
Five of these men, who were bachelors, asked the captain of a whaler to bring them each a wife from St. Helena. He did his best and brought five coloured women--one a widow with four children. Of these marriages only one, I believe, turned out happily. A daughter of this marriage was Betty Cotton, our landlady. She was the eldest of seven daughters, and had five brothers. Her father, Alexander Cotton, was born at Hull, and was an old man-of-war's man, and for three years had guarded Napoleon at Longwood, St. Helena. Thomas Hill Swain, another of the five, came from Sussex and served in the _Theseus_ under Nelson. He married the widow, and used to tell his children, of whom there were four daughters living on the island when we were there, that he was the sailor who caught Nelson when he fell at Trafalgar. This old man was vigorous to the last. At the age of one hundred and eight he was chopping wood, when a splinter flying into his eye caused his death. The result, of course, of these marriages was a coloured race. Some of the children are still very dark in appearance, but the colour is gradually dying out.
Another well-known islander, Peter William Green, came nearly twenty years later. He was a Dutch sailor, a native of Katwijk, on the North Sea, whose ship in trying to steal the islanders' sea elephant oil got in too close and was wrecked. He settled down and married one of the four daughters of the widow, and became eventually headman and marriage officer. Queen Victoria sent him a framed picture of herself, which, unfortunately, has been taken away to the Cape. He died in 1902 at the age of ninety-four.
In the next decade came Rogers and Hagan from America; and in the early nineties the two Italian sailors Repetto and Lavarello of Comogli, who were shipwrecked.
I believe the population has never numbered more than one hundred and nine. At the time of our arrival it was seventy-one, of whom only ten had ever been away from the island. The language spoken is English, but their vocabulary is limited.
The soldiers pitched their camp at the north end of a strip of land stretching about six miles in a north-westerly direction, where it is crossed by a constant stream of the purest and softest water. It is said they built two forts, one commanding Big Beach and Little Beach Bays, and one further inland to command what was thought the only approachable ascent to the mountain heights. The position of the first fort is known, the raised ground for mounting two guns being distinctly visible on the top of Little Beach Point; but the islanders do not think the second fort was ever built.
The settlers naturally chose this camp as the site for their settlement, and there they built their houses. When we arrived there were sixteen, three of which were uninhabited. They all face the sea; and run east and west. On account of the very high winds the walls are built about four feet thick at the gable ends, and about two feet at the sides. Most of the stone they are built of is porous, in consequence of which the walls on the south side are very damp and are often covered on the inside with a green slime. The houses are thatched with a reed-like grass called tussock, which is grown in the gardens or on a piece of ground near. The thatch will last from ten to fifteen years, that on the sunny side lasting considerably the longer. Turf is used to cover the ridge of the roof, but this is not altogether satisfactory as the soil works through, and when there is a gale the rooms below are thick with dust. Perhaps the dust is also caused by the innumerable wood-lice which work in the wood and make a fine wood-dust. Every house has a loft running the whole length of it. We found ours the greatest boon as it was the only place we had in which to keep the year's stores. The woodwork of nearly all the houses is from wrecked ships; boards from the decks form the flooring, masts and yards appear as beams, cabin doors give entrance to the rooms.
The houses when I first went into them struck me as most dreary; no fire, hardly any furniture, just a bare table, a wooden sofa which is nearly always used as a bed, a bench, and perhaps a chair, with a seaman's chest against the wall, a chimney-piece covered with a pinked newspaper hanging, on which stood pieces of crockery, on the walls a few pictures and ancient photographs. There are large open fire-places, but no grates or stoves, the cooking being done on two iron bars supported by fixed stones.
The rooms are divided off by wooden partitions. There are generally two bedrooms; the end one is also nearly always used as a kitchen, and the groceries are usually kept there. On account of the high winds there are generally windows only on the north of the house, which is the sunny side, due to Tristan's being south of the equator.
Every house has a garden, but not used to grow vegetables or flowers, which the people do not seem to care about, and certainly there are difficulties owing to high winds, rats, fowls, and, not least, children. They sometimes grow a few onions, cabbages and generally pumpkins: a few pink roses and geraniums may be seen. Potatoes are their staple food, and are grown in walled-in patches about three miles off. Each house has one or two huts, in one of which they stow away their potatoes, and also a lamb-house.
In the matter of clothing, the men have not much difficulty, as they barter with the sailors on passing ships, giving in exchange the skins of albatross and mollyhawks, the polished horns of oxen, small calf-skin bags and penguin mats made by the women, and occasionally wild-cat skins. They usually wear blue dungaree on week-days, and broadcloth or white duck on Sundays. With the women and children it is different, for they depend on parcels sent by friends, and as of late years there has been no regular communication with the island they have been at times very short, especially of underclothing. Now that whalers have begun to call again, two or three appearing about Christmas time, they can sometimes get material from them, but, except the dungaree, it is very poor stuff, and they have to pay a high price in exchange. The women usually have a very neat appearance, no hole is allowed to remain in a garment, which is at once patched, and many and varied are the patches. They wear blouses which they call jackets, and in the place of hats, coloured handkerchiefs (occasionally procured from ships), which are worn all day, from morning to night, and only taken off on very hot days, or when they are going to be photographed, when as a rule no amount of persuasion will induce them to keep them on. The little girls wear sun-bonnets, "capies" they call them, and very well they look in them. The little boys wear short jackets and long knickers. The women and girls card and spin their own wool, which they knit into socks and stockings.
As regards food, potatoes take the place of bread. There are about twenty acres under cultivation, each man having his own patches. They never change the seed and rarely the ground. A man may enclose as many patches as he likes provided he cultivates them. They used to manure their ground with seaweed, but found its constant use made the ground hard; then they tried guano, and finally sheep manure, which they use in large quantities. They get it by driving their sheep during the lambing season four or five times a week into the lamb-houses, penning them up from about five in the afternoon until eight or nine next morning. The poor sheep must suffer considerably both from being driven so much and because they get no food while penned in. In spite of this barbarous practice the mutton when we first went was very good--equal, we thought, to the best Welsh mutton, but latterly its quality much fell off, and we found the sheep were largely infected with scab. The people occasionally have beef in the winter. Their method of killing the ox is very cruel, for often the poor animal is chased about over the settlement by men and dogs, and only killed after many shots. There is generally a good supply of milk. Betty Cotton at one time milked sixteen cows, and made a large quantity of butter which she sent by the man-of-war to her relations at the Cape. The making of cheese has been quite given up. From July to October the men get a great number of eaglet, penguin, and mollyhawk eggs--all sea-fowl. Fish can be caught all the year round. Any groceries obtained must come from passing ships. Sometimes months go by without tea, coffee, sugar, flour, salt and soap being seen.
The cooking is done mostly in large pots and frying-pans, as there are no ovens, though a temporary one is made on special occasions such as a great feast. The chief meat dish is stuffed mutton, the stuffing consisting of potatoes and parsley seasoned with pepper and salt. The greatest delicacy is the stuffed sucking-pig which takes the place of our turkey.
The animals on the island are cattle, sheep, donkeys, pigs, geese, fowls, dogs, cats and rats. There were about seven hundred head of cattle in 1905, far more than there was pasture for. Between the months of May and November of that year nearly four hundred died from starvation. From the same cause a loss of cattle occurs every few years, but never before had there been so great a one. The number of sheep was about eight hundred; of donkeys there were about thirty, and perhaps there were as many, or more, pigs, which usually have to find their own living, as also do the geese and fowls. A great number of dogs are kept, some families keeping as many as four. Most of these too have to find their own living, which occasionally they do by hunting the sheep and by night raids on the geese.
The rats came from the _Henry B. Paul_ which was wrecked on Tristan in 1882. Only about half-a-dozen got ashore, which Mr. Dodgson urged the men to kill, pointing out what trouble they would cause if not destroyed, but the men thought a few rats wouldn't hurt, and did nothing.
The last chapter has related some things that obviously came later to our knowledge. I now return to the order of my diary and letters.
_Monday, April_ 9, 1906.--Betty Cotton came in early this morning to look after our wants. She was going to get us an early cup of tea, but at my suggestion made it breakfast. Later on Graham and I wandered on to the common. It was such a beautiful morning, and the sea like a mill-pond. We found many of the women washing clothes, and had a talk with several of them. The men had gone off early in three boats to fetch some of the luggage from where it had been landed about eight miles away. They were not back much before noon. Most of the women went down to meet them, and as each boat came in assisted in dragging it up. It was a most picturesque sight to see some half-dozen carts, each drawn by a pair of bullocks, wending their way down to the beach to fetch up the luggage which was lying on the shore. The small carts were slowly filled, and then the oxen were piloted up a most rough and rocky road by boys who guided them with their whips. Betty, Ellen and I watched it all from the cliff. A good deal of the luggage was piled in Betty's sitting-room, and the rest taken to John Glass's house.
_Tuesday, April_ l0.--Today has been so wet and rough that it was impossible for the men to go for any more luggage. Happily, it is covered over with a tarpaulin from the _Surrey_, so we hope it will not get much damaged. That which was brought yesterday got rather wet, and we have had to unpack and dry pillows and other things. At present we are unpacking only what is absolutely necessary, which is but little.
It has been arranged for us to live in this house. Betty is kindly giving it up to us and is going to live in a room attached to the house opposite. One and another family is providing for our needs. One will come with a few eggs which are scarce now, another with apples, and a third with butter. Then at dinner-time is brought a plate of hot meat and potatoes. A plentiful supply of milk is provided, and we drink it at dinner. Although there is hardly any flour on the island they are using what little there is to make us bread.
The men have already set to to prepare the house which is to be used as church and school. A widow, Lucy Green, has generously offered it for this purpose, as she had done before in Mr. Dodgson's time.
_Wednesday, April_ 11.--We went up this morning to the school-house and found men busy washing the painted ceiling. When we went again in the afternoon all their work was done and women were washing the floor. The Communion Table had been brought down from the loft--it needed only a little repairing. The Communion Cloth from St. Andrews [Footnote: Malvern Common, Great Malvern.] fits it almost exactly and looks so well. There is a small prayer-desk and a nice oak lectern, and we have brought from Mr. Dodgson the stone font he used. The church will be quite ready for Good Friday services.
The next work to be undertaken will be our house. The people love to come and see us, and we are not left much to ourselves. Repetto, who was shipwrecked here about fifteen years ago, was a sergeant in the Italian navy; he is an intelligent-looking man, short, with dark hair, pale face, and a slight squint. He married a Green, one of Betty's nieces, and has six children. Some of the men and women are fine-looking people. The weather has prevented any more luggage being fetched.
_Thursday, April_ l2.--It has been the same today. The men have started on the house. To make our bedroom a little larger the partition has been moved back so as to take in a piece of the kitchen. Our cases are being used to re-floor the bedroom and passage, which had a large hole in it. A partition will be taken down in Ellen's room, which will then open out on to the front door, and a curtain is to be hung across the opening. The walls of the bedrooms are covered with illustrated papers, which here take the place of wallpaper. Two girls have been helping to tear these off, and the walls will be whitewashed. We brought lime and brushes from the Cape. The doors have the most primitive and varied fastenings, and one a bit of rope in the place of a handle. Many panes in the windows are cracked, and one or two have departed altogether. There is a front and a back entrance. Along the front of the house runs a path, on the other side of which, with a wall between, is the garden. This is fairly large and is bounded by stone walls and a hedge of flax. From its appearance it has had no cultivation for some years. As far as I can see the only sign of any crop besides weeds is an entangled strawberry patch. There is a good view of the sea from the house and garden. I spent most of the morning, which was a fine one, in a sheltered corner by the brook, where Ellen was washing a few clothes. I had previously done a little washing too. We already feel at home, and I am sure we shall settle down happily. We find Tristan far more beautiful than we expected; the mountains seem very near and are most imposing, and the light on them at times is very beautiful. Little rivulets are to be seen coursing down close to the houses. They have been diverted from the main stream--known as the "Big Watering." We have one just outside the back door, and not many yards away the Big Watering itself.
_Good Friday, April_ 13.--We got up at 6.30. Ellen and I are sleeping in our deck-chairs in the sitting-room. Graham goes out first thing to fetch water for our baths, as we have not enough utensils to lay in a store the night before. Life is delightfully primitive here.
A man named John Glass is to be the church clerk, and he appeared about eight o'clock to carry the harmonium up to the church; service was at 10.30. No one went into church until we arrived; groups of men and women were waiting on the common in their Sunday clothes, the women looking so picturesque in bright garments. The church room was packed. We learnt afterwards that every man, woman and child was present except old Caroline Swain, who is an invalid; we were seventy-four in all. We had a very simple and short service, Graham explaining as he went along what we were to do. Every one was most reverent and all knelt. There were four hymns, and how they enjoyed the singing of them! It was surprising how well they got on. The women all said, "Good-morning, marm," as they entered the church. At first it was difficult to understand what they said, but now I am more able to do so. On our way home we met Betty Cotton, who said, "It's the best 'Sunday' I have had since Mr. Dodgson left." She is a dear old body, and is making it her mission to look after us.
[Illustration: THE WATERFALL]
People have been in and out most of the day. Graham proposed to some men who came to see him that they should take a walk up the mountain, so they went up the Goat Ridge, which is quite near, and climbed about nine hundred feet. Ellen and I went down to the seashore where there is a strong smell of seaweed. The sand is black, which is owing to the volcanic origin of Tristan. The cliffs at this spot are lovely with overhanging green, and with a very pretty waterfall, caused by the Big Watering finding its way over the cliff into the sea. This waterfall marks the settlement landing-place. Rebekah Swain, aged twenty-eight, came up and asked if it would be "insulting" if she came and sat by us. I had my hymn-book with tunes, and so we chose the hymns for Easter Sunday. She held the pages down as I turned them over, for the wind was blowing, and told me what hymns the people knew. She is the daughter of Mrs. Susan Swain, who has been teaching the children. She took us for a walk along the shore and by a new way up the cliff. Seeing Ellen was tired, she said, "If you will take my arm, I will take you along." She also said, "The missus can go quick," as she saw me clambering up the cliff. She invited us up to her mother's house, who insisted upon our having a cup of tea, which was drunk in the presence of many spectators, for the room soon began to fill. Mrs. Swain showed me letters which she had received from ladies in England. She herself cannot write. When I got home I found Graham entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Lavarello. They had come with milk and a loaf of bread. They bake the loaf in an iron pot with a lid, on which they light the fire. Lavarello is one of the shipwrecked Italians. Ruth Swain, a girl of seventeen, next came in, then two little boys, and finally Mrs. Repetto. The people have so intermarried, and there are so many of the same name, that it is difficult to distinguish one person from another, but we are learning to do so gradually. There is an intense eagerness among the elders that their children shall get some "larning." The remaining luggage has not yet come.
_Saturday, April_ l4.--It has been a wet day. The men have been very busy in the sitting-room, so we spent most of our time in the bedroom, which is more than half-full of cases and baggage. Repetto has just had supper with us, and has been telling all about Captain Kerry's visit in the _Pandora_.
On Easter Sunday we had eight o'clock Communion; twelve were present. As there are no Communion rails we knelt in front of two forms. Almost every family has provided a form which just gives the necessary seating accommodation. The next service was at 10:30. I am so glad we brought prayer-books and hymn-books, as not many seem to possess them. We were again struck with the heartiness of the singing. Graham spoke a few simple words on the Resurrection. All the babies were brought to church, and there was a little crying. There was one very fat child of thirteen months that has something wrong with it, for it cannot sit up. I noticed also a man with no forearms, but with terribly deformed fingers where the elbow would be.
This afternoon we had baptisms; there were four children to be baptized, and a fifth to be received into the congregation. One of the mothers, a Mrs. Hagan, came in before the service to ask if Ellen "would come along with her to church." Graham could not make out what she meant; it was, would Ellen be god-mother to her baby boy. It was a large assembly that stood round the small font. The children were young enough for Graham to take in his arms. As the people stayed on while he wrote the particulars in the register, I played hymns to them. When we got back at about 4:20 we had visitors till 6:30. They are so pleased to have some one to talk to; the men come in as much as, if not more than, the women.
I must not forget to record that we had rather a disturbed night on Saturday. First, there was heavy rain and it came through the ceiling close to where Ellen was sleeping; then the cat caught a rat under the table, and Rob went for her wishing to share the spoil. This is the first rat I have seen here, though I have heard them in the house. They are in shoals all over the mountains, and eat the fruit in the orchards. There have been no peaches for years, and there used to be bushels of them. The people say it is owing to the rats. Graham has spoken seriously to the men, and told them they should have one day a week for an onslaught. They did try it one year, and say it made a perceptible difference in the number.
It was decidedly cold when we first got here, making us glad to have warm things, and in the evening we appreciated our large open hearth and wood fire. To-day it is much warmer.
_Wednesday, April_ l8.--On Monday, though not a very good day, the men went in two boats to fetch more luggage. Unfortunately it came on to rain hard. In landing on the shore where it is stored they nearly lost their boats, the surf was so heavy. We spent the morning in pasting strips of calico along the cracks of the ceiling in our sitting-room; it was rather a business, but Rebekah came in and helped. At present there is no getting a rest in the middle of the day, for there is no quiet spot for it.
On Monday night we again heard the rats scampering about overhead, and this morning early Graham was much pleased to find five in the wire trap on the kitchen window-ledge; one eventually escaped. Through the night we had heard the cat crunching rats close by.
Yesterday upon opening a case we found three pillows and a mattress had got wet. If the wetting is from salt water they will have to be soaked in fresh. The other pillows that got wet have not felt dry since, but still I have had to lie upon them; the deck-chairs are in the same state.
We are living in such a muddle, our things being heaped up against the wall. Presently they will have to be removed to another room while this one is whitewashed and then back again. To find things is almost an impossibility. By the end of the week we hope to be much straighter. All the men have worked with a will. This morning they fetched the remaining luggage from the shore, and this afternoon have been working hard at the house. I went down with my camera and took photographs of the boats unloading and of the ox-wagons which had gone to bring up the luggage. The women came down with hot coffee and tea for the men.
Graham picked up the other day an old porthole window with the glass unbroken, and it has been used for the house. Many of the people's possessions are from shipwrecks. I noticed what nice white jugs they bring our milk in; it seems a case of these was found on a wrecked ship. They have also a good deal of glass and china from the same source.
_Friday, April_ 20.--It was such a hot day yesterday, just like summer. The fatigue of such a day is felt all the more because there is hardly a resting-place for the sole of one's foot. To-day has been wet. The men have been finishing the house, and have fixed the stove in the kitchen. Repetto and Swain have managed the piping splendidly, and out of tins have made plates to place over the woodwork which the pipe passes through. An old bucket has been placed round the piping near the roof as an extra safeguard against fire. Our bedrooms have been whitewashed, and to-morrow we hope to move our things into them. I really find a deck-chair most comfortable; lined with pillows it does splendidly as a bed.
We like the people; they are generous and kind. Repetto is most helpful. This afternoon he has been fixing the washing-stands. Every one is so interested in seeing anything new; the stove especially is an object of great interest.
_Saturday, April_ 2l.--It has been very wet. The men have now finished the house, and we have devoted ourselves to getting things a little more shipshape.
I gave Repetto the material A---- had sent, telling him to divide it amongst all the families; he was very grateful. They do need clothing so badly; some of their clothes are much patched. They all wear white stockings. The women are very good knitters, and are nearly always to be seen with knitting in their hands, even in their walks to and from the potato patches. I wish they could throw as much energy into cleaning their houses, only one or two of which are kept clean. Their shoes (moccasins) are made of cow's hide and are most quaint. They are made of one piece, with a seam up the front and at the heel. Little slits are cut round the edge of the shoe and a string run in to tie on with. As there is no leather sole their feet must always be in a wet condition in rainy weather. It rains so much that the thickest boots are needed to keep the feet dry. The need of these has just been brought home to us by a flood at our back door caused by the stream overflowing. Graham has now got Bob Green to divert it, which is a great improvement. The pathway, too, in front of the house at one end becomes a pool after rain. The other night I splashed right into it, and it took me days to get my house shoes dry. Tom Rogers, however, is draining it.
The house being very damp on the south side, we have to keep almost everything in the sitting-room on the other side. Our bedrooms which are in the middle of the house and cut off by a passage from the south side are the two driest rooms. Graham and Repetto have been busy hauling up cases into the loft and opening others which looked damp; happily most of the stores are in tins. They have also been putting up the beds, which required some fixing. Ash poles at the sides and ends are fitted into six wooden legs, over which canvas is laced. We find them quite comfortable. Our red blankets look very well against the whitewashed walls. We are by no means straight yet, but well on the way to being so.
_Sunday, April_ 22.--Wet all day. It has been difficult to keep dry-shod going backwards and forwards to church over the wet common and across little rivulets. We had three services: the Holy Communion at eight o'clock, to which four came; morning prayer at 10.30, when the church was about half full; and a children's service at three. Graham is acting on a suggestion of the Bishop and catechizing the children instead of having Sunday school. As the elders come too, instruction by this means is given to both. With a view to keeping better order an elder was asked to sit on each bench with the children. These sat with folded hands, and their behaviour was very good; by a little encouragement answers were got out of two or three of them. We had no harmonium, as it was too wet to bring it up from the house.
Living as these people do in such an out-of-the-world spot, I am surprised at the level they have reached. There is a quiet dignity about them, and their manners are excellent. No doubt Mr. Dodgson has done much for them, and they have a very warm remembrance of him. I never had so many "Marms" in my life; and the other evening one little boy, on leaving the room, wanting to say something polite, said to me, "Good-night, Mary."
_Sunday, April_ 29.--Yesterday and to-day it was blowing gales. To get to eight o'clock Communion was not easy. A heavy shower came on as we started. Ellen threw a cape over her head, I a Shetland shawl over my hat. In a short space of time we were fairly wet and reached church breathless and panting, for it was up-hill and the wind against us. John Glass, the clerk, came to meet us to offer his help. There were seven or eight present. Returning it was worse; the wind was at our backs, and at different times Ellen and I were blown down like ninepins. I have since been told by the people, "When you hear a puff coming, stand or duck till it is over and then go on." On these windy days the dust and litter that come from the thatch are difficult to cope with.
This afternoon we had a practice after service. There are one or two hymns in which the islanders go quite astray; for example, "There is a green hill" and "Christ who once amongst us." They have gone wrong, I fear, so many years that the task of getting them to go right is almost an impossible one. We tried a chant, but they seemed to think, as it was not the one taught by Mr. Dodgson, it could not be right. They say he was very musical and could sing any part. The men are anxious to sing in parts themselves. After the service we took Rob for a run, then three of the men turned up and did not depart till after six o'clock. We usually have three meals a day: breakfast, dinner and supper, but on Sundays generally allow ourselves afternoon tea.
_Monday, April_ 30.--We were so busy all the past week, and many evenings worked till quite late trying to get straight. It has taken a longer time because there is so little space. Our sitting-room looks quite cosy. We have half partitioned off a portion of it with a green stoep blind which we bought at the Cape, and in the private part thus left have laid down a white matting, and really at night with a lamp and a fire it looks very bright and cheerful.
During the turmoil of the week we have had the usual stream of visitors. Early one afternoon Mrs. Hagan and another mother appeared with their babies and stayed two hours or more. I finally went on with my work of unpacking the storage box. At the same time they are always ready to help; for instance, the other day, when I was doing some washing, Mrs. Lavarello coming in, at once began upon it, and then went to help Rebekah with more at the watering.
Our first attempt at making bread has not been a success. The loaf was as heavy as lead, and uneatable. Rob had most of it. Not dismayed we set to to prepare a sponge-cake for the next day. The result was good. The following day I tried self-raising flour, and the result was even better. The fourth trial, yesterday, was as complete a failure as the first, due to the high wind which prevented the oven getting hot. Flour is so precious we are eating the loaf ourselves this time, and, wonderful to say, have not had indigestion.
It has been arranged for each family in turn to bring us weekly supplies. Graham felt the people ought to provide a certain amount, and that anything beyond that we could pay for. So we made out the following list. As there are seventeen families, with one exception the same family will only have to serve us three times in the year. They will not hear of our paying anything.
Meat, 12 lbs. Fish (three times a week). Milk, 14 quarts. Butter, 1 1/2 lbs. (in the summer 2 lbs., fresh). Eggs, 2 dozen (when in season). Potatoes, 7 lbs. Firewood.
Graham busied himself most of yesterday in making a meat-safe. He found some old tin which he perforated and fixed on to a wooden crate.
_Tuesday, May_ 1.--Graham began school today at 9:30. There were thirty-five scholars--eighteen boys and seventeen girls--their ages ranging from twenty-one to three years. I went up at eleven o'clock to teach the infants. It is difficult to get off earlier, as I have a good deal to do in the house. We rise at 6:30 and breakfast at eight. Rob scrambled into school, although told not to come in, and sat under the children's form, which a little discomposed them, and made some of them anxious about their legs. At twelve o'clock the school dispersed.
When we were leaving we heard a gun go off and saw groups of people standing about on high positions. I was told they were shooting a wild bullock. There did not seem much wildness about the poor black creature. I was glad to turn my back on it all.
We have had a little peace lately as regards the rats. At one time I feared there would not be a night without an episode. One night we were just going off to sleep when I heard noises above. Graham was up in a minute, thrust on his clothes, and hastened, lantern in hand, up the ladder into the loft where he found a poor rat caught in a trap. We will leave the rest. This sort of thing is just a little disconcerting as you are getting off to sleep. Another night he was catching the wood-lice creeping over our bedroom walls, and must have caught fifty. I am rather thankful when he is too tired for these raids. The houses are also infested with fleas.
Ellen and I have both had presents of white stockings which we are wearing, and find most warm and comfortable. They look so old-fashioned, but I intend to wear them.
The bread to-day which I had made was burnt almost to a cinder. We still have long visitations from the people, who generally come from five to 6.30; supper in consequence has often to wait. It is wonderful how much there is to do in a small house like this.
[Illustration: THE CEMETERY]
This afternoon we visited the little cemetery. It is surrounded by rough-hewn blocks of stone. These once formed the walls of a church which Mr. Dodgson induced the men to start building, but they took such a long time over it, he felt it would never be finished, and so told them they could use the stones as a wall for the cemetery. Here and there are little wooden crosses, and such quaintly written inscriptions, the letters being picked out in tin nailed to the cross or stone. The tombstone of William Glass is the most imposing. It is of marble, and was sent by his sons in America.
We are not nearly straight yet; the difficulty is where to put everything. There is one small cupboard in the sitting-room, but only bottles can be kept in it as it is so damp. I keep some of the stores in my old school-box in the ante-room.
Graham has been writing for the people to the King, to thank him for the message which he sent them through Lord Crawford.
_Monday, May_ 7.--We do all our writing in the evening. Since we have been here three ships have been sighted. One was four-masted and came in quite close. It was a misty day with a rough sea. This last week the weather has been delightful, sunshine day after day with very little wind.
[Illustration: HILL TOP. INACCESSIBLE IN THE DISTANCE]
Last evening after church we went for a walk accompanied by the two bachelors of the island, Tom Rogers and Bill Green. We went westward over a rocky common to get a view of Inaccessible. We could see it most clearly. It was my first view of it. It did not look far off, but is in reality about twenty-five miles away. There was a most beautiful sunset, the sea being quite lit up.
We are settling down to our daily routine. I go up to school each day at 10.30 now and take Class II in writing for half-an-hour before the infants. I have had to drop "pen pointing to the shoulder." Some of the children are very attractive.
Not counting our household of three, there are now seventy-two people on the island--thirteen men, the eldest being forty-nine; twenty women, the eldest about eighty; and thirty-nine children. There are four families of Swains, not including old Caroline Swain, the invalid; three of Greens, not including the bachelor Bill Green; and two of Rogers. Mrs. Sam Swain, sister of Tom Rogers, has five daughters whose ages run from twenty-one to nine years. She lost a girl of twelve about two years ago from asthma. The Repettos are nice children and very intelligent. A boy of fifteen, William Rogers, who is very staid, comes every morning to fetch water and chop wood. He is so anxious to learn. Sometimes he has to go to work, but he comes to school whenever he can. He has most curious sight: in the daytime he can see all right, but at night, even in a lighted room, is not able to see a thing that is handed to him; he says he is "night blind." This afternoon we invited Betty Cotton, of whom we have not seen much lately, in to tea. I think it gave her great satisfaction. She has been in need of spectacles, and I was able to suit her with a pair.
Rob got into disgrace a few days ago. When out with Ellen he suddenly rushed off up the mountainside and chased a sheep to the cliff. It was so frightened it jumped down about thirty or forty feet and fell on its side panting and bleeding. Happily, it was not seriously hurt. The owner, Andrew Hagan, has not made much of the occurrence. I am glad to say he at once rode off on his donkey in search of it. Graham went too, and not finding the sheep, took Rob to some others and gave him a thorough whipping. We carry a whip when we take him out now. What he loves is a run on the sea-shore where he can scamper about after sea-birds. We like a sea blow too, and there is not such a feeling of loneliness on the shore here as there is at many seaside places.
_Wednesday, May_ 9.--Today has been rather an eventful one. Rain began to fall early, was still falling when Graham went off to school, and before long began to come down in a deluge. At first Ellen and I were kept fully occupied getting basins and pans, as the rain was coming through the roof and ceilings in all directions; in several places in the sitting-room, in the bedrooms, and in the kitchen where it was pouring down the walls. We hardly had breathing time before a fresh place was discovered. Then I heard Ellen call me to come and look. She was gazing out of the passage window at the brook which had now become a torrent. It was sweeping past the house, and spread out like a flood up to the very walls. Streams were flowing down the mountain; it was a scene of water. I heard a distant sound like thunder, which afterwards we learnt was a body of water that had descended from the mountain and cut a gully of--I do not know now many feet deep and broad; carrying away the bullock road across Hottentot Gulch and two poor sheep. About noon the rain abated. Bob Green, a near neighbour, very kindly came in while it was still pouring to reassure us. But Ellen and I were not at all alarmed; we just thought it was an ordinary event. It seems, however, the people cannot remember another such deluge. In the afternoon the sun came out and Graham and I, escorted by William and Johnny Green went to look at the deep channel the rush of water had made. We met several mothers who had been to the spot. The chasm will have to be filled up and a new road made. Repetto and Andrew Swain have been in for a chat this evening. The former said when he looked down upon this cottage it appeared to be standing in a pond.
I am getting to know the children now. Some of them in appearance might be little English boys and girls. Charlie Green, a brown boy of about four years, is quite a character, but almost impossible to teach; he guesses at everything. If you ask him what letter you are pointing to, he gazes in your face and guesses, and if you tell him he must look at the letter and not guess, he does the same again, and will interrupt others to guess wrong; his cheeks all the time are dimpled with laughter and his eyes dancing with merriment. To see him do his physical exercises, especially arms to the shoulder, when he pushes out his round little chest, is too comical.
By the second Sunday the bell given by the congregation of St. Andrews was up. It has been hung in the loft of the church. It rings for church and school and has a very good tone.
_Sunday, May_ l3.--The 10.30 and three o'clock services are attended by nearly every one. Graham reads and speaks very slowly so that the people may take in what is said. This morning he spoke on the verse beginning "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." We find the people much more intelligent than we expected.
We had Sunday visitors as usual, namely, John Glass, his wife, and Bob Green. They stayed on and on and it was getting towards seven o'clock. Bob was the first to leave, but soon came back and called Glass, saying something about a fire. We went out and saw such a blaze close at hand. Lavarello's lamb-house, which is a long, low, thatched hut, was on fire. A strong south-west wind was blowing, and sparks were flying in countless numbers. A few fell round this house, but the house in real danger was John Glass's, which is next to ours. The sparks were raining on the thatch, and in the glare we could see figures running about and emptying buckets of water on the roof. Graham went off to help. The fire burnt furiously for a time, and I could feel the heat of it as I was standing at our back door. Before very long it began to go down, though sparks were still flying about. Happily, Lavarello had been able to get his sheep out in time. It will be rather a loss for him as wood is not easy to get. The fire is thought to have originated by Henry Green losing his cap in the wind, and getting a fire-brand to look for it, a spark from which must have been blown on to the tussock roof.
It is curious how, whenever a ship is boarded, colds go the round of the settlement. We were talking to Repetto about this, and he told us he did not at first believe it, but has seen it proved again and again. The usual thing has happened after the visit of the Surrey, and many are now laid up with colds. The other day John Glass asked for some brandy for his wife, who was one of the first to succumb. We knew it would not do to begin giving brandy for such an ailment, yet felt we must prescribe something. By a bright inspiration Graham suggested a teaspoonful of glycerine in hot milk, to be taken at bedtime. This proved most efficacious, and is so appreciated now that the applicants are many. Rebekah Swain told me today that after taking it she had never coughed again! Half a good-sized bottle has already gone. One day Repetto came for a remedy for his rheumatism, brought on by exposure to cold and wet. I went to the medicine chest to see what it could produce, and found the very medicine for his case. A day or two later, inquiring after him, I heard he was very poorly, and began to wonder if the tabloids were answerable for this. However, the next day he was much better, and told me they had eased the pain at once.
_Thursday, May_ l7.--Every one is looking out expectantly for a ship, and many letters are waiting to be dispatched by it. About thirty were entrusted to us by people on the _Surrey_, who wished to have them sent off from her as a matter of interest. I have printed "Tristan da Cunha" on the envelopes. Every one places great hope in a man-of-war coming in December.
The people are now living on meat and potatoes, varied with fish. They have no flour, and I should say are oftener without it than with it. They get so tired of the same food. Crawfish, which answer to our lobsters, seem to be plentiful and are quite a treat. Rebekah the other evening caught about a bushel, and says she has caught as many as five bushels at a time.
We are touched by the way in which the people give us of their little. Mrs. Sam Swain brought us som carbonate of soda--called here "salaradus"-- for making bread, as we had failed in a yeast we had tried. Another Mrs. Swain brought us some more, and on my saying we did not like to take it, her mother, Mrs. Rogers, said, "We are pleased to do all we can for you." The people are so gratified at having their children taught. A Mrs. Hagan began bringing us tea and milk each day in the school interval. We thanked her, but would not let her go on doing it.
It is amusing to watch the boys bringing their cows home to be milked; often they hang on to their tails. The cow sometimes has a contrary fit and will run in the wrong direction; the boy hangs on till the cow thinks better of it and turns in the right direction. The cows are small and very thin. In the winter many die for want of food, and this winter, I fear, there will be a great scarcity of grass as the late flood brought down a great deal of mud on the west side of the island. The people grow nothing to feed their cattle with in the winter. Their sheep do very well as they can climb to higher pastures. Ben Swain, the man with deformed arms, does chiefly shepherd's work. He is a son of Susan Swain the school-mistress. Although about thirty-five years old, on wet days he intends coming to school, and started yesterday. He was taught by Mr. Dodgson to write, which he does kneeling down and holding the pen in both hands. His sister, Rebekah, also comes occasionally. I now take Classes I and II in writing; it is really hard work as I have to be constantly looking at each Pupil. I should like to visit the people, but have not been able to do much in that way yet.
_Monday, May_ 2l.--We have had such a lovely day, just like summer; it is hard to believe winter is approaching.
Before school we were busy doing laundry work. The children are getting on so well with their lessons. On Sunday Graham catechizes them on the Scripture they have been taught in the week, and their answers are excellent. I am getting quite fond of the infants. Charlie is very fascinating; he has such a dark little face, straight black hair, large brown eyes and such a comical expression. After some weeks of teaching he has at last learnt A, but is quite ready to call it B. I have made up my mind to devote my energies to the older infants. The parents are so anxious their children should get on, and already Graham has been sent two canes by two mothers, who were anxious they should be used. The people often relate how Mr. Dodgson used the cane upon boys and girls.
This afternoon Graham and I went down to the shore and watched with much interest Bob Green and his wife fishing from the rocks. Sophy Rogers and Charlie, who was caressing the dog, were with them. Bob was catching crawfish with a line without any hook, just a piece of meat tied on at the end with a stone to weight it. He generally caught two at a time, and had by the end a sack full. Ellen had been fishing with Mary Repetto, and they caught eight.
There was such a happy scene here a few days ago. Graham was paving the pathway in front of the house with big flat stones and had a bevy of little boys helping. I much delighted them by giving each one an acorn to plant. Next day I asked Charlie what he done with his. He replied, "It's in a pawt."
_Wednesday, May_ 23.--This afternoon I have been very busy planting. The boys came early, and Graham went down with them to the beach to get a load of stones for paving. To the delight of the boys, the bottom of the "bus" came out in crossing the stream, and all the stones fell into the water. I saw the little boys hurrying up to the house, each carrying a wet stone. "Bus" is the island word for "wheelbarrow." While the paving was going on, I thought with William's assistance I would plant ferns in the wall. Hearing roots were wanted the children began bringing all sorts. Before school some nasturtiums were brought, then Sophy came with a large pink geranium. There is a little berry (the crowberry) they eat here which I think rather nasty; roots of this were brought, and also some sweetbriar and wild geranium which has a very sweet smell. What especially pleased me was a plant much resembling the blackberry. Gifts so poured in, it was really difficult to know where to plant them all. Yesterday we put in some strawberry plants.
I have been trying plaiting the leaves of the flax plant, which grows luxuriantly here, and making a mat of them. I sewed the plaits together with strips from the leaf. I am going to use the mat in church for the boards are very hard to kneel upon. It is green and looks very artistic. I contemplate making mats for the house, and with assistance might do enough for the church. One or two old folk still have the kneelers given them by Mr. Dodgson,
_Ascension Day, May_ 24.--A most lovely day and very hot. We had a short school and then at eleven o'clock the children were all marched to Repetto's house where there is a flagstaff. The flag had been run up, it being Empire Day, and, marshalling us beneath it, Graham taught boys and girls how to "hurrah." He was in his element. Afterwards he gave the boys a lesson in skipping, and quite surprised me by his agility. One or two tried and much enjoyed it, but the rest were too shy. Later on William came to ask for another rope, and looking out of the passage window I saw a group of boys watching big Ben the crippled man who was skipping with intense enjoyment, and leaping about two feet into the air.
[Illustration: THE FLAGSTAFF]
At three o'clock we had service. Some fifty were present. Most of the men were at work. Glass, for one, had been for wood and had had to swim round the Bluff. He brought back some eaglet eggs, and sent us three which we had for supper. They are about as big as a duck's egg, white in colour, and of a slightly fishy taste. The fowls are not laying now. The weekly supply arrangement is working well. I think eventually we may have a cow.
_Saturday, May_ 26.--We are only about fifty minutes behind Greenwich time.
_Monday, May_ 28.--There was such a lovely sunset this evening; the sea was the colour of indigo, in striking contrast to the sunlit sky.
_Tuesday, May_ 29.--As we were sitting down to breakfast we heard a ship was in sight, but to our disappointment were almost immediately told that it was too far east to catch. Another, a large four-masted one, was sighted in the afternoon; but we were again disappointed, for it was too breezy to put out to her.
_Whit Monday, June_ 4.--A change has set in; it was quite cold this morning. I started laundry work directly after breakfast, and had all the things out on the line in good time, but could not get up to school till eleven o'clock.
It is curious what a difficulty even some of the bigger children have in doing the simplest addition. To add one on to three is at times an impossible task. But if you say three cows are in the yard and one more comes in, how many are there then? their brain begins to clear.
I had quite an alarm this afternoon. Old Mrs. Rogers came in to say Graham was up in a "tight" place on the mountain, and that the men had gone to rescue him. Accompanied by her and Mrs. Repetto, Ellen and I set forth towards Big Beach; others followed, and some stayed on the cliff to watch. Glass. Ben, and Will Rogers had gone to warn Graham. Before long we could see him returning with them. He had not got into any difficulty, but the men had thought it was not a safe part to go to alone. We had intended going that way to-morrow for a Whitsuntide holiday, but the men think it unwise, so we are going in the opposite direction towards the potato patches which we have not yet seen. An opinion expressed at Cape Town of the people by one who had lately visited them does not at all coincide with our experience. They were described as "a ruffianly-looking lot," and the speaker was sure "there was one man at least who had had his knife into some one."
_Thursday, June_ 7.--After all we did not get the Whitsuntide holiday, for I was too busy. Ellen was in bed all yesterday with a bad headache and was lying down most of the day before. So I have had the housework and cooking to do. Graham helped before breakfast by cleaning the kitchen stove, and afterwards by washing up after meals and undertaking the saucepans! I only missed school one day. The elder infants are getting on nicely; the parents of some are teaching them at home, and they are beginning now to read small words. Most of the girls bring their knitting, and during the interval sit on stones under the low wall and knit away till the bell rings for them to go in again. I used to take mine, but devote the time now to ruling slates. I am teaching Rebekah to write. Her writing is so impossible I have had to start her with letters on the slate, and she very sensibly does not resent this. To-day many visitors have been to inquire after Ellen; they certainly are kind-hearted.
William, our factotum, is a thoughtful and kind boy. If anything is given to him he shares it with his half-brothers. He comes three or four times a day to ask if he can do anything, and generally when we are having a mid-day rest! In the morning if he hears Graham has gone off to school he is after him like a shot.
The people are extracting salt from the sea-water. They take large barrels in ox-wagons to the shore to be filled, then they boil the water for twenty-four hours, in fact till it is all boiled away. They use this salt, when they have no other, for their butter, which it does not at all improve; but the butter brought to us is generally unsalted. They never make salt unless driven to it because the process involves the burning of so much wood. They also make a black-looking soap, but very rarely, as it takes days and nights to make, and requires not only much wood, but also a good deal of fat which they can ill spare.
We have had many requests for envelopes, and today were asked for paraffin, and also for flour for a sick baby. So far we have found the people more ready to give than to ask. Another pair of stockings was presented today, an offering from Mrs. Glass on her seventieth birthday.
The only word used for "afraid" is "skeered," and today when I asked the infants why Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees in the garden, one answered, "Because they were skeered."
Repetto is a pupil of Graham's, and comes every Friday evening to read English. He finds the pronunciation rather a difficulty. He has quite a library, from which he has selected as a suitable book to lend to Graham, William Penn's _Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims_. He is making a cover for the harmonium out of two calf skins so that in wet weather it can be taken to church.
_Sunday, June_ l0.--It was so windy today that Ellen and I went to church wearing white silk handkerchiefs instead of hats. I felt a little shy at being thus equipped, but soon got over it.
Wednesday, June_ l3.--We have begun a weekly _singing practice for the school children; and as it is not always possible to take up the harmonium we do without it, depending on a tuning-fork which was given to Ellen at St. Helena. With some labour we have taught them a "Gloria" and a "Venite." On the whole they are quick in learning a tune, but it must first be sung to them. At to-day's practice two mothers appeared upon the scene to see what we were doing. Some of the boys did not turn up, and I heard afterwards that two parents had given their sons a "tanning," as they expressed it, for not coming; and that this was so effectually administered that one of the truants hid under a cart to conceal his feelings.
_Wednesday, June_ 13 (_continued_).--On Monday we went for an expedition to the top of Burntwood. Burntwood is a grass-covered mountain slope at the other end of the settlement, and is the easiest ascent to the Base. By "the Base" the islanders mean the top of the cliffs which gird the island, and which rise one thousand to two thousand feet. William appeared early in the morning to say he had collected several donkeys and could get saddles for them. At nine o'clock we started forth, Graham, Ellen, William and I riding, Charlotte and Rebekah walking. It was decidedly difficult to keep one's balance on a man's saddle. The reins--or rather what took the place of them--consisted of a rope tied round the donkey's neck. We had a ride of five miles over a rocky common and down some very steep pitches. Graham gave us all much amusement. His donkey stumbled twice in succession, and he went right over its head. At the bottom of the hill we tethered the donkeys, and at once began the ascent. The distance up was said to be two miles, which took us about two hours to climb. The first part was over grassy mounds, but the latter portion involved a real scramble. We had to stoop to get under trees, and to push through thick brushwood, while in places it was so steep we had to get on our knees and be pulled up. To make matters worse the ground was very soppy. We arrived at the top somewhat exhausted. Graham spread his mackintosh and I lay down on it thankful to rest. There was thick brushwood of phylica, of fern and crowberry all round, and, tired as we were, I felt we could not make our way through this. Graham and William went in search of water and soon procured some. We had for luncheon captain's biscuits and chocolate, eaten under a scorching sun. We had a beautiful view, and could see Nightingale and Inaccessible quite clearly, the former island looking much the more rugged. We stayed up about two hours. Graham and William went off in search of eaglet eggs. They only secured one. The poor hen which they caught was given its freedom, but unfortunately the dogs got hold of it.
Coming down was easy enough at first, but there came a time when I felt I could do no more; the power seemed to have gone out of my legs, and really, without help I do not know how I should have got down. At the bottom of the hill we saw a cheerful fire burning. Charlotte had got down first and was brewing tea. She and Rebekah had on their own initiative brought a saucepan, tea and milk. We started home about 4.30 when it was already getting dusk. Before long it was quite dark, but the donkeys knew their way. It took us about two hours to get to the settlement. Two or three men came out to meet us, and nearer home at Hottentot Gulch we were met by quite a party who were carrying a lantern--Mrs. Swain and Mrs. Rogers brought us some tea, which we drank sitting on our donkeys. I found riding sideways on a man's saddle rather tiring, and I think we were all glad to get home. Mrs. Bob Green also most kindly sent us in a brew of tea. There were many inquiries as to how we had enjoyed the expedition, to which we could honestly say very much, though for the next day or two we felt very stiff.
_Thursday, June_ l4.--We are having a spell of cold weather. There is snow on the mountains, and a good deal of hail has fallen. It is difficult to keep warm at night.
_Friday, June_ l5.--A beautiful day, but a cold wind. We sat up late last night over the fire warming our feet.
_Monday, June_ l8.--We shall be very glad when we get our letters off, for we know how anxious our people must be to hear. A ship was sighted yesterday far to the east. Graham said he thought he saw one when coming from early Communion, but I could see nothing.
Yesterday (Sunday) it was so dark at the end of afternoon service that we could not have the practice, so it has been settled to have service at two o'clock, an hour which seems to suit the people better. The singing is improving. We managed the "Venite" very well, and now mean to try the "Te Deum." I intend to teach them a chant with three changes in it. In the end perhaps we shall sing the Psalms. Yesterday the children sang with much vigour "There's a Friend for little children." One little girl whose voice could be heard above all the rest had a "strapping" from her father when she got home for singing too loud, poor little thing!
To-day the men put up a washing-stone at the east end of the house. Each house has one near the water. The clothes to be washed are soaped, rubbed and slashed on it. The women often come and help Ellen to wash, and to-day Rebekah carried off some things for her mother to iron. I do my own things myself outside the front door. Graham has been busy to-day whitewashing the kitchen, and looked so comical in one of Ellen's aprons and with a handkerchief tied over his head.
Mrs. Martha Green, Betty's sister, came to see us this afternoon. Poor woman, she has never recovered from the shock of the boat accident. She then lost her husband, two sons, two brothers, and, I believe, two brothers-in-law. She presented me with a pair of stockings, the fourth pair I have had given me, and Graham with a pair of socks, and said we were to tell her when we were in want of more. She lives with her married son Henry Green, and is the mother of Mrs. Repetto.
We fear a great part of our garden will be useless, as there is so much white mould in it which rots the roots of the plants. The only way to get rid of this mould which spreads very quickly is to burn it or cart it away, so the people say.
_Tuesday, June_ 19.--Rebekah came in on Sunday for some glycerine for her mother who suffers from asthma, or, as the people would say, "ashmere." Her mother has taken it two nights running, and found it gave her much relief. It will now be believed in more than ever.
_Friday, June_ 22.--On Wednesday night Glass came in to ask Graham if he would go round the island with him and Tom Rogers. Graham was a little doubtful at first on account of the school, but I promised to take it and so he settled to go. They started off when it was only just light at six o'clock on Thursday morning on three donkeys.
[Illustration: GOING WEST]
Ellen came up to help me with the school, and I managed all right. We had an early lunch and spent the afternoon in needlework on the sea-shore. We had planned a cosy evening, but at about six o'clock Mrs. Glass and Rebekah with Mabel Hagan and Florence appeared. They said something about spending the evening with us and stayed two hours much enjoying themselves. Early this afternoon Mary Repetto came in with some wood and told me the party were returning. I ran out to find Graham unsaddling his donkey. He had had a fall over its head, but was none the worse. The donkey, it seems, took a deep step as its rider was gazing at the scenery. Graham looked tired, but said he had had a most enjoyable time. They rode to just below Burntwood, where we were the other day; there they tethered their donkeys and ascended the mountain to get past a bluff, and then descended to the shore, along which they had a walk of about three miles over boulders and stones. The two men made nothing of this walk, but Graham says it was hard work for one unaccustomed to it, because it not only bruised the feet but every step had to be chosen. They spent the night in a cave on the beach, where they made a large fire and kept it up all night. There were five dogs. Rob insisted on sleeping by Graham's head, and occasionally put his long nose across his face. Graham had a plank covered with tussock grass for a pillow and did not get much sleep. In the middle of the night Rob rose up and went for another dog, and a great fight ensued. The men had to get up, and with difficulty the dogs were parted. Graham went for an early swim while the men cooked the breakfast, which consisted of poached eaglet eggs and tea boiled in a frying-pan. In drying a new pair of socks at the camp fire he almost destroyed one by burning big holes in it. Rob enjoyed himself amazingly, and learnt to hunt eaglets which nest in holes, but he had to be restrained, as he would have killed the birds.
_Tuesday, June_ 26.--We have been having a spell of rain. Sunday was too wet to take the harmonium up to church, consequently we had to start the chants and hymns without an instrument. We got on all right until the last hymn, at which we had three tries, then in desperation I made a stupendous effort, and we pulled through. We had to have dinner at half-past twelve to be ready for service at two o'clock. I was deep in slumber when at five minutes to the hour Graham ran in to call me. It was a scramble, and I got to church feeling half awake. The children answer so well, better than children do at home; but then, of course, Graham knows exactly their capabilities and catechizes on what he has been teaching in the week. The people like learning new tunes, and sing them better than the old ones, which they are apt to drawl. To keep up to the mark involves a fair amount of practising at home, especially when you have no harmonium; you must have the tunes and chants at your finger ends. For once we had the afternoon and evening to ourselves, and sat over the fire in the dusk talking over happy memories.
Monday was wet again. Just as we were sitting down to one o'clock dinner Mrs. Hagan came in with her baby, saying she thought it was two o'clock. She stayed on till after three, having been joined by her daughter. Finally we left them to themselves, as I had yeast to make and Graham's hair to cut. When I came back she had departed.
It rained in torrents last night and all to-day. School was impossible. With a free day before us we felt like children, and were settling down when William appeared with his reading-book. "Would Mr. Barrow 'larn' him"; so Graham buckled to for over an hour. It is nice to see a young fellow so anxious to learn. Later on he came in with his hand bound up. He had cut it with a hatchet, happily not badly, and wanted me to dress it, his mother having already put a cobweb on.
When Bob Green (William's step-father) came in with the milk he told us he had seen a dead cow in the gulch. I fear it has died from wet and exposure. I cannot bear to think of the poor beasts suffering so. One winter more than a hundred were lost simply because there was not enough food for them. They climb up the mountains in search of grass, and often from weakness fall and are killed.
_Tuesday, June_ 26 (_continued_).--At the request of the Custom House authorities at Cape Town we brought on from there some stores which had been sent by a French firm to the Tristanites in return for kindness shown by them to one of the firm's ships which had been on fire off Tristan. In the reply of the people to the kind inquiry what stores would be most useful to them the item "soap" was read as "soup," with the result that four cases of tins of soup were received and no soap, much to their disappointment, for soap is more prized than anything. We have lately made the acquaintance of some of these soups, which the people do not care for, as they have plenty of meat. Mrs. Bob Green sent us two tins of ox-tail, for which we gave her a brush and comb, although she said she didn't want anything. A few days later William appeared with a further supply, so to-day we gave him two tins of jams to take to his mother. He persistently said, "She don't want anything," but as we insisted, he finally went off with them.
To-day the room has been rather like an Irish cabin, rain dropping through the ceiling, puffs of smoke coming down the chimney, and wind blowing through every crevice. At the fire on this hearth all the day's cooking has had to be done. All the same we have been very cheerful and have enjoyed a quiet day with few interruptions. I have been able to get through some work, and have been busy making a cover for the Communion cloth out of the material E---- gave us; with bands of white sateen and a white cross in the centre it looks quite nice. Two little canaries I brought from the Cape have had to be put by the fireside to be kept warm.
_Wednesday, June_ 27.--This morning to my dismay I found the rain had come down the chimney on to the bowl of yeast which Ellen and I had prepared with some labour, and had spoilt it.
Repetto came in this evening with the cover for the harmonium. It is a clever piece of work. He turns his hand to almost anything, and can even make his own suits. Tonight he was decidedly droll, and in his broken language gave us a description of a certain wedding. There was only one person, a woman, who was able to read the marriage service, and she would not, as she did not approve of the marriage. It ended in the bride's brother officiating, and, as he is no scholar, he had to spell out the words as he went along. How we laughed!
_Thursday, June_ 28.--On Tuesday from half-past eight to midnight the rain gauge measured four inches of rain. We hear about twenty-four cattle have died. The cold wind and rain were fatal to them. The poor things could get no place of shelter. Graham wants the men to build some sort of shelter for the cattle, and those to whom he has spoken about it say it would be an excellent plan.
This morning we heard a cheerful clucking of fowls outside our bedroom window, and on looking out saw that the wind had blown the meat-safe over and emptied its contents on the path. The fowls were having a fine feast off the suet. Graham was just in time to save the half leg of mutton. We live on mutton week by week. Very occasionally a bullock is killed. Last week three families sent us beef.
_Friday, June_ 29.--We shall feel relieved when we get our letters off, but at this time of year few ships are to be seen.
Mrs. Repetto came in pouring rain for some of the much-famed glycerine for her baby who is ill. I gave her also camphorated oil to rub on its chest.
_Wednesday, July_ 4.--Bill Rogers brought us some vine cuttings which we planted and with great care nailed against the front of the house. The next morning one had been pulled up, probably by a pig. We suffer much from the animals. Fowls are always roaming round, and snap up every bit of green. Many of the ferns which we planted have been rooted up. A gate is to be put at each end of the path which will keep those intruders, at least the four-footed ones, from the front of the house.
Yesterday I started a women's meeting to which all over twenty years of age were invited. Twelve came. I read some of the Gordon League Ballads to them, and could see by their faces how much they enjoyed them. We had three hymns, and I spoke to them for about ten minutes, ending with prayer. I have given up the idea of teaching them reading and writing. I do not think they are keen about it, and life is full without it.
I was amused the other day by hearing that William calls me "The old missus."
Rob is quite an addition to our home. He is such an affectionate dog and very intelligent. In the morning when Ellen opens the front door to let him out, he will not go until he has first come in to say good-morning to us, then he goes out cheerfully. On no account would he miss going to school with me, and always expects to carry my basket. He has been less troublesome about running the sheep, although yesterday he ran at a sheep with a lamb. The sheep bolted, and when I whistled Rob he came bounding towards us with the lambling running by his side. The lamb was only three days old, and we had to carry it home, the mother having altogether disappeared. At first we had some difficulty in supplying Rob with enough food; but now he has taken the matter into his own hands and goes round to the different houses and gets a liberal supply of meat and bones. He always pays the Glasses an early visit, sometimes before they are up.
To-day Ellen and I gathered wood on the sea-shore and got such a quantity we did not know how to carry it home; happily Alfred Green was coming our way and "backed" it for us.
_Tuesday, July_ 10.--An eventful day--the one we have been looking for. When I was resting after lunch there came a quick tap at the back door, and William hurried in to say a ship was in sight. We all rushed out, and getting on to higher ground saw her sails. We could also see our men running home from their work. We stood at Bill Rogers' gate where others had collected. They soon scattered to get ready to put off, though the wind was high and the sea rough. Children were sent out to catch the animals for barter. We came back to get our letters ready; among them were orders for groceries to the Army and Navy stores and to Messrs. Cartwright's at Cape Town. Mrs. Swain, junior, came in for our letters and told us only four men were going, her husband, Tom and Bill Rogers and Henry Green. We went down with her to the shore and met Ben who had come to fetch our letters as the boat was ready to start. We saw them hoist their sail and watched on with Mrs. Martha Green, Betty and Repetto until it began to grow dusk. Mrs. Bob Green had tea with us, and a little later Repetto came in anxious to have a talk. He and Graham stood at the front door trying in vain to make out the ship. Soon others came in to ask for oil and candle for their lanterns, so that they might be ready to meet the returning boat. At about six o'clock we turned out and made for the fire which had been lighted on the cliff. We had some difficulty in crossing the stream as we had no lantern. Looking after the fire was Rebekah, and later there came Mrs. Green, Alfred, Bob Green and the two other wives. The wind was blowing cold, and we were glad to sit near the blaze. You can picture the scene; pitchy darkness all round except where now and again gleams of light fell on the sounding sea below and made dimly visible the white line of surf. After staying some time, as there was no sign of the boat, we and the women went home.
It is now nine o'clock and still no sign of the men.
_Wednesday, July_ 11.--As we were getting up news came that the boat was returning. We went down to the beach and found every one there and the boat just coming in. It had reached the vessel, which was bound for Australia. Henry Green went on board, and the captain, who seemed a very kind man, was able to let them have a barrel of flour, biscuits, and other things, and would have spared more had there been time. Henry was only about fifteen minutes on board. Our men made for Sandy Point, as the landing was easier, and spent the night there. We are so thankful to have got our letters off at last, and think they will reach home about the end of September. [Footnote: They reached home early in October.] The captain sent papers for the clergyman, which Graham was delighted to have, and from which we learnt of the terrible eruption of Mount Vesuvius and of the great fire at San Francisco. Among the papers was one from St. Helena. As regards the stores obtained, only those who went out to the ship and the widows will share in them. The rule is a man must go himself, unless ill or absent, to have a share in anything obtained in the name of the community. Sheep, geese, fowls, eggs and potatoes are the things bartered. It has been very difficult to settle down to-day, and there was only a short school. I did not go up to it, as I got my boots wet when the boat landed. A wave swept in while I was trying to stop a quarrel amongst the dogs. To get the salt water out of the leather my boots were put, after island fashion, into the brook for a time and then hung upside down on the garden gate to drain and dry.
_Thursday, July_ l2.--We had our choir practice as usual and took up the harmonium, as we find with chants we cannot well do without it. The children sang scales.
I try a little cooking now and again, and have made some fairly successful potato scones. Ellen made some good bread this week with yeast. I claim a little of the glory of it, as I did most of the kneading! We find we are doing at present on one pound of flour a day for all purposes, but it has to be used very sparingly. We now generally use our stove every other day, as, though small, it consumes a good deal of wood which the people have to go so far to get.
Graham has been busy plastering the holes in the walls of the house, first filling them in with stone wedges. We have sent to Cape Town for lead for the roof. It is only when it is raining very hard that the rain comes through. The south wall in the sitting-room, passage and kitchen is a rich green colour from the damp. The people say this winter has been the wettest they have known for a long time.
_Friday, July_ l3.--We had our first sewing-class this afternoon. Thirteen girls came. Nearly all produced thimbles, and their sewing was very much better than I expected. Ellen superintended the little ones, while I read aloud a book lent by Mrs. Susan Swain. We sat on forms near the door to get as much air as possible.
_Saturday, July_ l4.--Graham was busy to-day whitewashing the front of the house; it was not easy work, as the stone is so rough. John Baptist Lavarello, a boy of twelve, and about the most intelligent lad here, helped him.
I have drawn up a list of the people, starting from the house furthest east. The figures after the names denote the age.
1. Mrs. Martha Green (widow). Mr. and Mrs. Henry Green. Alfred, 17. Ethel, 15. Maria, 11. Johnny, 9. Christopher, 1.
2. Mr. and Mrs. Sam Swain, senior. Charlotte, 21. Lily, 19. Ruth, 17. Selina, 9. Maggie, 7. Bill Green (lodger).
3. Mr. and Mrs. Repetto. Mary, 11. Martha, 9. Susan, 7. Arthur, 6. Willie, 4. Joe, 1.
4. Mrs. Rogers (widow). Tom. Mr. and Mrs. Sam Swain, junior. Harry, 7. Edith, 5. Tommy, 3. Eliza, 9 months.
5. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Swain. Fred, 12. James, 9. George, 8. Rose, 5. Clara, 3.
6. Mr. and Mrs. William Rogers. Arthur, 6. Lizzie, 4. Jack, 10 months.
7. Mrs. Lucy Green (widow).
8. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Green. William Rogers, 15. Sophia Rogers, 11. Edward, 5. Charlie, 4.
9. Miss Cotton.
10. Mr. and Mrs. John Glass. Florence Swain, 3.
11. Mrs. Mary Glass (widow). Miss Caroline Swain. Mr. and Mrs. Lavarello. John Baptist, 10. Robert, 8. Willie, 6. Percy, 3.
12. Mrs. Eliza Hagan (widow). Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Hagan. Emma, 12. Mabel, 9. David, 5 months.
13. Mrs. Susan Swain (widow). Ben, 35. Rebekah, 28.
Mrs. Lucy Green is living with Mrs. Eliza Hagan, and Miss Cotton in an annexe to the house in which Bob Green lives.
_Wednesday, July_ l8.--This afternoon Ellen and I decided to try our hand at craw-fishing, as the contents of our larder were rather low. She got some meat from Mrs. Glass, and we set forth furnished with a pair of tongs in place of a landing-net. As we neared the rocks we saw two figures silhouetted against the rays of the setting sun which proved to be those of Mrs. Glass and her daughter Mrs. Lavarello. We did not succeed in catching anything, but Mrs. Lavarello gave us her catch of three crawfish and two small fish. She caught an octopus, which they call cat-fish, horrid-looking creatures:--how she could handle them I do not know.
Birthdays are thought a good deal of here. If a household possesses any tea or coffee, then open house is kept for the whole day, and any one can drop in from early morning till late in the evening and expect a cup of something. On the first occasion of a birthday we were invited, but Graham felt it would not be wise to accept, as if we went to one we should have to go to all. We are always apprised of a birthday by a present from the person whose birthday it is. The present may be a pair of socks or stockings, or a hot dish of meat, or a pot of tea, or almost anything to be had. Of course, we give something in return, often a tin of jam in the case of an elder. The last birthday was Mrs. Hagan's, to whom we offered the choice of a couple of candles or a tin of jam; she chose the former. They much treasure a piece of candle.
We find our medicine chest greatly appreciated, and every remedy is thought a great deal of. I gave two rhubarb pills to a patient, and was told she had had no ache or pain since. She was rather poorly, and had taken to her bed, having caught a chill the night of the bonfire.
[Illustration: IN SCHOOL]
_Friday, July_ 20.--This morning after first school I took a photograph of the children.
We have been measuring our rooms. The sitting-room is 16 feet by 11 feet 6 inches. Our bedroom is 9 feet 9 inches by 8 feet 8 inches. Ellen's room 6 feet 8 inches by 6 feet. The kitchen 11 feet 3 inches by 6 feet 4 inches. The height is 7 feet 2 inches.
_Saturday, July 21_.--Today it has been blowing a gale. I was up soon after seven as it was baking day, but found it was no good attempting to bake as the oven could never be heated with such a wind, so I raked the fire out. Tomorrow we must do without bread. Graham started off early for school, escorting home Mrs. Hagan, who had brought the meat. As they got on to the rising ground they were both blown over, and coming back from school he was blown down again. I didn't venture out, but nearly all the children turned up, the younger ones being carried by their parents. This afternoon, however, though it was still blowing, I went with Graham to the foot of the mountain to get some drinking water at the spring. We do not drink water from the stream outside, as on its way to us it passes other houses, and we do not know what may go into it. Our bedroom today was covered with dust from the thatch. Betty Cotton came in to tea. Sitting in the armchair she chatted away most cheerfully. She has not lived all her life here, but has been away twice to the Cape where she was in service. She would have returned again to South Africa, but for her old father and mother whom she stayed to look after. Her heart is really at the Cape. She is one of those who tries to carry out Mr. Dodgson's teaching, and is rarely absent from church. Another woman told Ellen today if she had to creep on her hands and knees tomorrow to get to church, she would do it rather than miss going. I believe Mr. Dodgson once actually did reach church in this way.
_Monday, July 23_.--A poor cow of Andrew Swain's sank in the bog yesterday and the men could not get it out. They succeeded, however, in rescuing one of Lucy Green's; the poor thing looked so wet and miserable standing under the wall of Lavarello's lamb-house. The cattle question is a very serious one and ought to be dealt with. Repetto has been here this afternoon, and Graham has been talking it over with him. The fact is, there are far more cattle than there is pasture for. People who have left the island still own cattle and sheep here, which ought not to be allowed, because there is not enough grazing ground for the cattle of the residents. It is too painful to see the cattle, they are so emaciated, and their back legs seem hardly able to support their bodies. Repetto says they will look worse still. We are hoping something may be done when the man-of-war comes.
_Tuesday, July 24_.--William told us Betty's cow that had been put in her field adjoining this garden was ill. Graham went with the boys to look after it and fed it with grass. This evening it was dead. Like the others it died from starvation. Mrs. Lucy Green has lost two, the one that was got out of the bog and another that fell over the cliff. We are determined to do something if possible to stop the suffering. The pigs which are allowed to roam at large do much damage by rooting up the grass.
There were only eight at the women's meeting today. Graham gave the address. Mrs. Repetto, who had not been before, stopped on the common to tell us "It was the best afternoon she had spent in her life, better than any party." It was an encouragement when so few were there. Some are kept away by having to go out two or three miles for milking, the cows being too weak to be driven home. Betty and Martha Green could not come because they were preparing a meal for the men who are carting manure to Betty's potato patch. It is the custom to feed those who are working for you.
_Wednesday, July 25_.--I had to get up in the night as Ellen was feeling ill. She had a bad pain in the back of her neck which was relieved by the application of a mustard-leaf. She did not get up all day. So I was kept busy, even with the assistance Graham was able to give before and after school. As we had not baked for nearly a week, I had to bake bread as well as to cook the dinner. Graham broiled the chops; the kidneys twice fell into the fire, and were finally lost.
It has been raining most of the day. Mrs. Hagan told me a cow of hers had fallen over the cliff and been killed. I was almost thankful to hear there was one less to suffer.
_Friday, July 27_.--Before we were up William brought news that a ship was in sight, but too far eastward to reach. Directly after breakfast the men started shooting a bullock which darkness the night before had prevented them bringing down. The poor creature was chased by men firing shots, and it was some time before they succeeded in shooting it. Mrs. Hagan ran in to say the ship was in sight again, and she thought the men were going out to it. I went up to the school to see what Graham was going to do. We gave a short lesson, dismissed school, and came home to finish our letters. Repetto ran in to ask Graham if he were going. I went down to see them off. I always enjoy seeing a boat launched and the men scrambling in as it is shoved off. The only thing I do not like to see is the way the poor animals are treated, tossed into the boat with legs tied, quite regardless as to whether it hurts them. The two boats started about 11.30, and in about an hour and a half reached the ship, having sailed most of the way. I followed them on and off with the glasses. They got back about five, and we could tell they had done well, for they were singing as they came in. The vessel was the _Loch Katrine_, a sailing ship from Glasgow. The captain for the last nine years had been trying to call, but the weather was against him. He was exceedingly kind, and able to provide the islanders with a good deal of food in exchange for what they had brought. He let them have a large barrel of flour, biscuits, tea, coffee and sugar. The bottom of the sugar barrel fell out and the sugar lay on the deck; but that was soon remedied: it was all swept into a bag. The bag had contained meat, but that was a small detail. One of the passengers on board bought two sheep for the crew, and with his other fellow-passenger made many exchanges with the islanders. The captain was most kind and generous to us. He asked Graham if there was anything he wanted, so Graham named a keg of butter. But that he could not provide, and asked if there was anything else. Graham thought of bacon, and then the captain said would he like a ham? Not only did he give that, but a large tin of arrowroot, a bottle of pickles, and a bottle of preserved greengages; and sent in addition two or three pounds of tea as a special present to me, saying he wished it were something better. The steward, too, said he would like to send "the lady" a present from himself, and sent six pieces of scented soap. It was exceedingly kind of them. The captain said his life was a trying one, there being anxiety and worry day and night. Graham got the time, and found we were forty minutes behind. He was ill going and returning, but soon felt better after he had got warm and had food, for he had virtually had nothing since breakfast. How we enjoyed looking at our presents! After such an exciting day we didn't sleep much. The letters will be posted in Australia.
_Saturday, July 28_.--It being a lovely afternoon Ellen and I went eastward to gather wood on Big Beach, where we collected as much as three could carry. Graham and William came to help us home with it. Ellen carried some in her skirt, Graham took off his jacket and made a bundle, and William "backed" a bagful.
[Illustration: BIG BEACH]
_Tuesday, July 31_.--It has been a busy day. I made scones before breakfast and baked them on tins over an open fire, baking my face at the same time. I was at school for two hours, and then sat down to machine till dinner-time. At three o'clock I took the women's meeting, where we finished the twenty-third Psalm. It was blowing and raining hard when we came home. We found Repetto repairing for us a pair of bellows that had belonged to Mr. Dodgson. Charlotte Swain came for some glycerine for her mother who has asthma again. Later, Rebekah came in with her niece Mabel, bringing some tablecloths her mother had ironed. Mabel shyly offered us some fish. Rebekah stayed some time, Repetto till seven. The cattle question was again discussed with him. Fifty-four have already died. If we are only able to do some good as regards the cattle it will have been something worth coming out for. I cannot bear to look at the poor creatures. One of Betty's has several times got into our garden and had a good feast. A few days ago it calved. So many have calves; I do not know how they live. To finish the account of the day's work, after supper bread had to be made. Alas! in the morning it turned out to be rather heavy.
Repetto, who is very fond of reading, has lent us a short biography of Melanchthon, which we are reading aloud.
In one of the Glasgow papers that came from the _Loch Katrine_ there is a notice of De P----'s sudden death in Paris. It is curious we should have learnt the news in this way. We never find time to read till the evening, and even then it often has to be put aside for writing.
We are glad to be getting through the winter. The thermometer has never been lower than 44. The winds are very keen, and lately an east wind has been blowing, which is unusual.
I find teaching infants needs much patience, but some days they are much brighter than others. They are getting on, and the four elder ones can read short words quite easily. They each have a book and read round in turn. The others, who know their alphabet, stand round, too, but of course take in but little. The four can actually add two to a number, and Arthur Repetto can even add four and five together. He puts his back into whatever he does. His mother is, I believe, rather stern with her children; and some think they are whipped too much. However this may be, they seem to be turning out well. Certainly all the mothers seem to teach their children good manners; for example, if our boy William sees me standing in school, he will get up and offer me a seat. He is very thoughtful, and if we express a wish about anything, it is sure to be done. His duties are to chop wood, to go to the spring for the drinking water, and to fill the pails twice a day. If he happens not to be at home he always sees that some one else does his work.
_Thursday, August 2_.--This afternoon after choir practice Ellen and I went down to the rocks, although it was very cold, to try to catch craw-fish. We had not started fishing when we saw William running towards us. He came to say a ship was in view to the west and that the men were going off. So of course we hurried up again to get our letters ready. The boats put off about five o'clock and probably will not be back before daylight.
_Friday, August 3_.--The men returned late last evening after a fruitless journey. Although it was a moonlight night they failed to sight the ship. They were very wet.
Graham is digging the lower part of the garden. It is covered with turf which, as he removes, he banks up to form a little shelter from the wind for the vegetables, if ever there are any. Flax shelters the bed on the other side. The digging is rather laborious, as there are large stones which have to be extracted with a crowbar. The soil is first-rate, and so far no mildew has been met with. One of the greatest enemies to the seeds will be the fowls, and because of them probably we shall have to sow first in boxes. Graham has made a needle and mesh so that we can make nets. Repetto has shown us how to start netting. It is not known who brought flax to the isle, but Betty says her father and his contemporaries brought it to the settlement from Sandy Point.
_Friday, August_ 10.--We had a gale last Wednesday. It was with some difficulty we got to the women's meeting which had been postponed the day before on account of the weather; we had to go by a circuitous route. Only three women came, and I was debating whether to have the meeting when I missed my spectacles. I felt sure they had been blown off by the wind. Mrs. Repetto and Mrs. Hagan went off to search for them, and Ellen and I soon followed. It seemed rather a hopeless task as we had come by such a round-about way. I went home to see if I could possibly have left them behind; but no, they were not there. The loss of them was rather serious, as I had broken my pince-nez the day after landing. I felt sure they would be found if only we searched long enough, and presently I came across one half of them. By this time about fourteen people, men as well as women, were looking for them. The gale was terrific, and when the gusts came the only thing to do was to crouch down. It was a comical sight, and I wish I could have photographed it. I was caught hold of several times by one of the elder girls and held when the gusts came. I promised a pot of jam to the one who should find the other half of the spectacles. We had been out over an hour and were beginning to think we must leave further search till the morning when John Glass found it. It had been blown some distance from the spot where I had found the first half. Glass was going to take them home to try to mend them when he was called off to a poor cow that had fallen down. At his suggestion Graham took them to Repetto, who brought them down in the evening. He is going to mend my pince-nez with a watch spring. From what he told us I fear the loss of cattle must be close upon a hundred.
_Monday, August_ 13.--We have been building a most delightful castle in the air to-day. If a man-of-war comes we might go back in it to Cape Town and try to arrange with some enterprising person to come in a schooner and buy up the cattle here at a low price. What commissions we should have to execute for the people!
This has been a full day from morning till evening. I began laundry work at 7.30, made a yeast, then potato-cakes, superintended the planting of peach-slips against the house, paid a visit to Mrs. Henry Green, and entertained about seven visitors--several with requests to be attended to. Graham was digging all the afternoon.
_Tuesday, August_ 14.--Little Edith Swain, one of the infants, has had a cough, and as her mother said she thought she had not warm enough clothing, I set to and knitted her a vest in two days. This morning Edith appeared alone, and pushing past Ellen, who opened the door, came and put into my hand something tied up in a pocket-handkerchief, which something proved to be a pair of stockings. Her mother, who came in later, told me that Edith asked if she could not give Mrs. Barrow a present, so she gave her the pair of stockings to bring. She said to her mother, "Did you offer Mrs. Barrow a cup of tea when she came?" She is not a very bright child and cannot learn her ABC, though she learns by heart very nicely.
The Repetto's youngest child, Joe, who is not yet two, asked his father for a book the other day and marched off to school with it. He got across the brook without getting wet, and as he neared the school door was heard singing, "Onward, Christian Soldiers." His sister Martha soon dispatched him home, poor little fellow. Repetto came this afternoon with the pince-nez which he had mended. He stayed supper and gave us further instruction in netting.
_Wednesday, August 15_.--Today I sowed flower seeds; a performance which intensely interested the children who crowded round the front door. I used biscuit-tins for boxes, which William filled with soil. I have planted bulbs of a Mentone creeper, love-in-a-mist, heather, sweet peas and canna seeds. One does sadly miss the spring flowers. Afterwards I went down to the beach with Sophy and the Repetto girls to pick up wood. Rob carried the canvas bag which was rolled up, and it was amusing to see him careering after the sea-hens (skua-gulls) at a tremendous pace with the bag in his mouth. The girls picked up more wood than we could carry home. We have had some more peach-slips brought, which we have planted under the shelter of the flax, and yesterday William brought more than a dozen apple trees and cuttings, and is going to bring some young fig trees. Thus we shall have quite an orchard, if they grow, but the "if" is a big one. The people do not seem to take any trouble with their fruit trees and hardly ever prune them. Perhaps they are disheartened on account of the rats. Most of the orchards are a long way off in sheltered ravines round the island.
The men lead fairly busy lives. Last month they were occupied in drawing out manure in the quaint bullock wagons to their potato patches, which are about three miles off. It was no easy business as the bullocks were not up to the work owing to their starved condition. Each man possesses about three pairs of bullocks. This week they will begin planting potatoes, and some of the children will have to be away from school as their help will be needed.
This evening I made the small boys help to gather grass for the cattle, which we threw to them over the wall. It gave me great satisfaction to see them eating it, and a particularly lean one had quite a good feast. I try to feed them every day, and get the Repetto girls to help.
I feel a little elated as I have made some rather good bread.
There was a thunderstorm to-day. The weather is quite spring-like, the days are warm but the nights cold.
Ellen and I had such an evening yesterday. With much misgiving I determined to try to develop some films--my first attempt. The kitchen was the darkroom. We began operations soon after supper and did not get to bed till nearly midnight. The developing was done under great difficulties. The candle had to be renewed two or three times, and I was left in total darkness at most critical moments. Notwithstanding, nine out of twelve have come out fairly well. I hope I shall manage better next time.
Repetto has been talking over the cattle question with some of the men, and telling them how much better off they would be if they limited the number of cattle and sheep to be owned by each family, say, to ten cattle and fifty sheep. He pointed out to them what a benefit it would be if a schooner could come yearly to trade. He thinks the cattle ought to sell at £3 a head. If possible Graham would go to the Cape with one of the men chosen by themselves.
[Illustration: THE HENRY GREEN FAMILY AT WORK ON A POTATO PATCH]
_Friday, August_ 24.--Yesterday a ship came close in, but the sea was rough and the men were busy at their potato patches.
_Monday, August_ 27.--Saturday was very blustery, and the rain came down in torrents. We kept thinking of the poor cattle. Several were sheltering under the wall at the bottom of the garden and looking so miserable. Ellen and I felt sure one or two would be gone by morning; and sure enough they were. Altogether twelve died that night. It really made me feel ill. The number of deaths has now reached to one hundred and eighty-four. Betty's cow that has several times clambered into the garden comes round sometimes in the middle of the night, clattering up the stone pathway to see if it can get in. It has just calved. The men are all very down-hearted, never having had such losses before. Henry Green has lost over forty. Repetto, who does not own many, has lost four, two bullocks and two cows, within a few days. The two cows he had lately kept in his garden. Graham told him that he thought the islanders had brought the loss upon themselves by keeping too many.
_Tuesday, August_ 28.--Yesterday the wind was bitterly cold, to-day we are in the lee and it is quite mild.
We had an early dinner as Graham had promised Rebekah to help her plant potatoes. He went off with spade on shoulder and did not get home till supper-time. Rebekah, accompanied by young Mrs. Swain, brought in some cooked lamb for his supper. Mrs. Swain said Tom was full of his praises because of the way he had worked; "he had done it better than any stranger, and real splendid."
We heard to-day that the number of lost cattle has reached two hundred. A very wet night.
_Wednesday, August_ 29.--To-day we have come across so many dead animals. This morning close to the school a heifer, then this afternoon when Graham and I went out for a walk we saw near Miss Cotton's field close to the stream a poor dying ox. Graham went in search of some one and met Lavarello coming with a bag of grass, but the poor beast was too far gone to eat. I told Lavarello I hoped he would kill it, and he said he would fetch a knife. We went on to the shore; there a young heifer lay dying, it had fallen off the cliff. Further on we saw a dead donkey, and coming up the cliff I saw another dead heifer. It makes one feel very sad and very angry.
Ellen, who is anxious to do a little teaching, is taking on Monday and Wednesday afternoons the children who are most backward in reading.
_Saturday, September_ 1.--Yesterday just across the watering we came upon a poor cow which was down. I got it some grass, and the Swain girls coming up helped to heave it up into a better position. Then old Mrs. Glass brought it some more food, which it ate ravenously. We fed it again in the afternoon. It belongs to the Lavarellos, who in the morning managed to get it home. This is the only case I know of a cow which was down getting better.
_Monday, September_ 3.--Betty's cow that we are so interested in has lost its calf. If more to eat had been given the mother I do not think this would have happened. The cow has been up to the house two or three times to-day, and I have fed her well each time. Poor thing, it is so hungry. We have had better weather the last few days, and are hoping for the animals' sake this will be a fine month.
_Wednesday, September_ 5.--A most beautiful day. Graham and Repetto have been sowing carrots, onions, lettuce, and parsley. I have put in some flower seeds. I went several times to feed a poor bullock of Henry Green's. It was standing when we first saw it in the morning and was just able to get down to the stream to drink. I fed it frequently in the afternoon, but when I went again at five o'clock it would eat nothing and soon afterwards died.
The men were out fishing and brought back seven sacks of fish.
_Monday, September 10_.--Yesterday the fowls had a field day in the flower-bed, and scratched up and ate a good many of the sweet peas.
This morning news was brought that "Molly," Betty's sick cow, was down. Rebekah had found her early with her head caught under her body and too weak to free herself. She was got up, and we have been feeding her on and off all day. She stood in the field at the bottom of this garden until the evening, when to our great surprise she dragged herself to the front of the house where she has been so often fed. It is a wet rough night. I hope she will not succumb.
_Wednesday, September l2_.--Poor "Molly" died yesterday morning. It had poured hard all night, and she was found lying in Bob Green's yard. They got her up, but she fell, and was pulled up again. Then she ate a little, but again fell down panting, and nothing more could be done for her. I feel very indignant about it, for if she had had shelter and more food, both of which were possible, she would probably not have died. About two hundred and eighty cattle have now died, and each day is adding to the list.
After supper last night the Repettos came in. He was a little anxious about his leg, which he cut just above the knee when skinning an animal. The cut was rather deep, but it did not bleed. Now there is a lump which seems to be gathering. I bathed it with Condy's fluid then and again next morning, and told him to rest for two or three days.
It has been a lovely day; we have had so few with right sunshine and no wind.
_Thursday, September 13_.--This morning I photographed the Sam Swain family at their special request. Swain wants to send a photograph of the family to his mother at the Cape. There was such an attiring of themselves beforehand, but all the picturesqueness was gone when they appeared, for they had discarded their handkerchiefs. Charlotte wanted to know if they should wear hats instead. I was thankful to be able to say it would not do as they would cast a shadow on their faces.
On Thursdays we have choir practice. It is amusing to see the harmonium being carried up in triumph by two of the elder boys, a bevy of little boys following at their heels, and one proud boy bearing some music. At the end of the practice I have been teaching the children prayers for morning and evening. I told them that as soon as they could say them off by heart they should have the printed card. Last Thursday and to-day the children came up in turn to say them. It took rather a long time, but nearly all have gained the card.
Every afternoon now Graham is very busy building up the wall of the field below our garden as he is anxious to grow a crop of hay. The men are very dubious about it, but he intends to try for the sake of the cows. Tom Rogers took a cow and calf in a boat to the other side of the island where there is plenty of pasture. When he went to look at them yesterday the cow was dead. It had probably been taken too late.
_Friday, September 14_.--Another full day. I have been three times to young Mrs. Rogers to poultice an abscess. I have also been to bathe Repetto's leg. Then old Mrs. Rogers came in for some arrowroot which I had promised her for her daughter, Mrs. Bob Green, who has a baby girl. We had the sewing-class as usual, and after it Ellen and I with a group of children went to gather wood on Big Beach and got back home soon after five o'clock. Graham, helped by Johnny Green, spent the afternoon in building the wall of the field. It is rather heavy work getting large stones up the bank. The other evening while Ellen and I were developing films he was soling a pair of shoes. It was his first attempt at boot-mending, and he has done it remarkably well.
This is the season for penguin eggs, and we have had a number given us. We find them a great help in the daily menu. Milk at present is not obtainable and potatoes are getting very scarce.
_Saturday, September 15_.--This morning I photographed the Repetto and the Lavarello families, who want to send photographs to their relatives in Italy.
_Monday, September 17_.--We are taking a week's holiday, but to-day there has been little rest. I was up by 7.15 to do laundry work, then at 9.30 was with Mrs. Rogers dressing her wound. This afternoon I went to see Mrs. Bob Green and her baby, also Miss Cotton. The latter seems to think these are the worst times she has known. The people have never been without milk before. The number of cattle that have died has now reached three hundred and fifteen. The cow Bob Green is trying to save is slung in a shed. It is so weak it can hardly walk. Little Charlie frightened it the other day and it fell on its side. On Sunday it fell across the brook, from which position it was extricated with the greatest difficulty. If it had not been discovered it would have died.
_Wednesday, September 19_.--We have had two wet ays and have been very busy in-doors. The people being short of tea and sugar, we thought that on the anniversary of our wedding-day we would give out some we brought with us. Notice having been given, they appeared en masse at the hour named, but without anything to take provisions away in, so the younger women went back to get tins. Graham gave out the sugar (2 lbs. each), and I the tea (1 lb. each); but only half this quantity was given to widows and unmarried women. The people were very pleased, and one or two came back with offerings. I should think that in the last ten days we have had one hundred eggs given us. Tom Rogers went to Sandy point and brought back over two hundred penguin eggs. The men when they have spare time hunt for young eaglets, of which they are now bringing in great quantities. These are sea-birds, and look like grey, fluffy balls.
We have quite made up our minds to go to Cape Town to see about a schooner. Though there will be no cattle to sell there will be a great number of sheep. We shall take the first vessel we can get after October.
This morning it took me four hours to bake bread in a very hot kitchen.
_Thursday, September 20_.--This afternoon Ellen and I went to look at Mrs. Hagan's grey cow, which is slowly pulling round. As we were watching it the poor creature tripped going in at the gate, and falling on its side had to be pulled up.
_Saturday, September 22_.--I spent nearly all yesterday at photography. The morning was given to printing, the afternoon to developing the prints, and the evening to developing negatives, which were mostly groups of the different families and which came out fairly well.
Ellen and I have spent today at the potato patches. We started early, wending our way slowly. At Hill Piece Rebekah joined us. It was sad to see so many dead cattle lying about in every direction; the air is quite vitiated. The potatoes are coming on well. We had our lunch under the lee of a hill, at the foot of which were grazing a few miserable-looking cattle. We came home most leisurely, and just as we were arriving at the settlement heard that a vessel was to be seen to the west, and that the men were going out to her. Repetto came for our letters on his way down to the shore. But after all the men did not go, for when they got down to the boats they found the ship was not coming this way, but passing between the islands--that is, between us and Inaccessible and Nightingale, so they had to bring all their things up from the beach again.
_Monday, September 24_.--We began school to-day feeling much fresher for our holiday. Some of the men have gone off for penguin eggs. I wish they did not take them in quite such a wholesale way.
_Tuesday, September 25_.--The men returned to-day from Sandy Point with shoals of penguin eggs. Four different families have sent us some, seventy in all, and as they are a good size, rather larger than a duck's, it will take us some time to get through them.
This morning and afternoon I went to look at the invalid cows. Rebekah is not wanting in spirit. Her cow was "down" at the potato patches. She had it lifted into a cart and brought home at night. She has it slung and lets it take an airing in the day. To-day we found it lying down on its side as if dead, and if left long in this position it would have died. It was hauled up by the women and girls and set on its legs. I went to see the Hagans' and Tom Rogers' cows, which were out on the common. Both had to be pulled up, which was done with the utmost difficulty. Their poor sides get so sore from constant falls. The grass is really beginning to show a little growth, but not enough to get much food off it.
This has been a most beautiful day and the air quite balmy. The seeds, such as stock, nasturtium, linum, phlox, and sweet pea, are doing well in the garden. The greater number of the apple-trees are showing life. We watch everything growing with the greatest interest.
_Wednesday, September 26_.--About nine o'clock we heard there was a ship to the westward; but Graham went off to school. While there he was told Lavarello's cow was in the bog; and so he went out to it with Johnny and two of the elder girls, they fetched a rope, then he and Johnny took off their shoes and socks and waded into the bog. Soon several men came, who heaved up the back legs of the cow while Graham and the others pulled at the rope fastened to its horns. It was at last pulled out broadside on. Its legs had completely sunk in the bog, and it would probably have eventually sunk altogether, as many others before it, had it not been seen in time. When I arrived at school I found the children as quiet and good as if Graham were there. He soon came back, and almost immediately dismissed school as the men were starting for the ship. He made up his mind to go too. Only one boat was going, as some of the men had gone off early in the other boat to hunt birds and get eggs. There was such a packing of the animals into the boat; I do not like looking at them, they are so frightened. One poor lamb died on its way to the shore. Some one declared its death was caused by a child sitting on it, but I do not think it was. They started off about eleven o'clock and did not get to the ship till nearly three. At about six we went down to the shore with Mrs. Repetto to meet them returning. They had no sooner landed than Rob had a tremendous fight with her fox terrier. For some time we could not get them separated. Graham got Rob by the back legs and dragged at him. In the scramble we found ourselves in the surf, where I fell down. Still Rob held on. At last by slapping him on the head and by pulling at his collar he was made to let go. The fox terrier was snatched up and carried off.
The men were not very successful on the ship which was a Scotch one bound for Adelaide. They got about a barrel of flour and some peas and beans. Graham got a tin of butter which we think is margarine. We are glad to have it as we have had no butter for a long time. After a time one gets accustomed to going without. Our present difficulty is to get food for Rob. We do not think he gets much from the people now. We have just made an arrangement with the Repettos to let us have meat twice a week for him in exchange for paraffin oil. We got one or two books off the ship-- _Robert Falconer_, and _Youth and Duty_, by Bishop Welldon. We have much enjoyed _Temple Bar_.
I have been turning out some summer clothes, and washing and mending them in preparation for the possible journey to Cape Town.
_Saturday, September 29_.--There is no doubt the best way to come out here from England is by a sailing ship bound for Australia, that is, supposing the ship would accept passengers for the island. The passage takes from forty-five to sixty days.
_Wednesday, October 3_.--Last Friday, after the working party, Ellen and I started off with a great number of children for Hill Top, near which there is a good deal of wood washed down by the flood in the early winter. The children enjoyed helping us to gather it; much of it was embedded in the mud. The men passing by on their way home also lent their help by carrying home some of the loads in sacks on their donkeys. There was much laughter over the loading of one of the donkeys which turned restive. We left a large heap behind to be brought by William another day. The oxen are so weak they are hardly fit to draw even a light load. The dead cattle now total three hundred and forty-eight.
[Illustration: PAIR OF PENGUINS ON A PORCH WITH TWO BOYS]
On Sunday William brought in a penguin which Sophy had caught. It is a most droll bird in appearance, and has a yellow and black top-knot which it raises when excited. It walks very erect--if walk it can be called-- sometimes jumping like a man in a sack, and sometimes waddling like a bow-legged child. In the place of wings it has black flippers, and when it walks these stand out like sails which adds to the droll appearance. This is the bird from which the people extract the oil which they generally burn, but it gives a very feeble light. On special occasions we have requests for paraffin oil, of which, fortunately, we brought a good supply.
Mrs. Andrew Swain has a little son. I have been once or twice to see her. There is always some neighbour sitting with her; to-day there were three.
Graham has been getting soil from the farmyards to spread over the field which is being put up for hay, and the wall of which he has just finished repairing. The oxen are doing the drawing, but it is very slow work, and I expect this year he will have to content himself with half the field. I fear the flowers will not do very well because of the wind, but still if only a few grow it will be something to look at. I should like to try anemones.
Mollyhawk eggs are just in. They are large in size, of a long oval shape, and with reddish-brown markings and spots. The men say this bird never lays more than one egg each season.
_Sunday, October_ 7.--I got up about 6.30, made the beds and put the room straight before early service. After breakfast I generally practise hymns, and John Glass, who takes the harmonium up to church, comes in early, as do William and some of the boys, to listen to the music. Confirmation classes begin this week. Graham intends holding them twice a week, and hopes men will attend as well as women. The Bishop told us that if a man-of-war were sent he quite hoped to come by it.
_Tuesday, October_ 9.--John Glass has made each of us a pair of moccasins. He brought them in with much satisfaction on Saturday evening, and we at once tried them on. They are made with rather pointed toes which do not quite suit our feet. They have to be put on damp so that they may take the shape of the foot; and when they get very hard, as they do in summer, have to be soaked in water. They soon wear out, generally not lasting longer than three weeks, as the ground is so rocky.
Repetto is writing letters to be corrected by Graham, and really writes them very well for one entirely self-taught. He and his wife are most generous people and are always sending us small presents. I shall have some quaint mats and little bags of skin made by the people to bring home.
The Hagans have lost the grey cow they watched over with such care. They started slinging it too late, with the result that it got so bruised by the constant falls it could not recover from them. Now they have only one left, and the Repettos also have only one. The people depend much on their milk.
An east wind has been blowing the last few days which tries the trees and plants. The little peach-tree against the house is almost done for. I protect the small seedlings in the garden by putting tins round and over them. Plants are almost twisted out of their sockets.
_Thursday, October_ 11.--Yesterday Graham began the Confirmation Classes. Most of the elders attended--nine men and fifteen women.
John Glass came in to-day to have his hand treated. It was much swollen through, as he thinks, the bite of an insect. He had left it nearly two days uncared for.
_Monday, October_ l5.--On Sunday morning just before service Mrs. Bob Green came in for a remedy for her husband's foot which was badly swollen, and from her account it also seemed to have been bitten by an insect. I went across and found she had bathed it in hot water. We bathed it again, adding soda. To-day it was very much better and our services not required. Their little girl was christened yesterday Annie Gertrude Ellen.
Graham rose this morning about four o'clock to make an expedition up the hill with William, Ben and several women. They got to the point where they would have to climb, but rain coming on it was thought wiser to go no further. Instead, they descended to the shore to pick up firewood.
This afternoon was rather harassing. Ellen was at school, and I had just begun baking when Mrs. Martha Green appeared. She brought a beautiful pair of stockings knitted by herself with great care, and also a present of eggs. She stayed nearly two hours. I called Graham to my aid, for I could not leave the bread. He took her round the garden, and by the time she came back I was able to get some tea made. While we were having it Rebekah came with a request for some sugar for an ailing child. A little later a gift of eggs was brought, with a further request for sugar for a baby. The people nearly always bring something when they come to ask for anything. It is a busy life here; some days there seems no quiet, it is knock, knock all day. I am beginning to feel the solace of gardening.
_Saturday, October_ 20.--On Thursday a meeting was held on the question of a schooner coming to buy up cattle and sheep. Much had to be talked over. Every one has given the number of cattle and sheep he or she will sell. The question is whether there are enough to make it worth while for a schooner to call. They hope to have also for sale about £60 worth of potatoes and some wool. It is difficult to tell what the cost of a schooner will be.
_Monday, October_ 22.--Almost every day one or another comes for medicine or for medical treatment. To-day John Glass came in with a badly cut hand. The simple remedies we brought have been a great boon.
_Wednesday, October_ 24.--It is little Joe Repetto's birthday. He has brought a pair of socks for Graham, a pair of horns for Ellen with one of his curls tied on to them, and a pair of horns for myself. The horns are those of bullocks, and have been beautifully polished and mounted by his father. I had made a little white pinafore for Joe. He is two years old and has been coming to school for the last week or so, and behaves admirably. He sometimes falls asleep, and I have to take him on my lap as I teach.
We are daily hoping a ship will be coming this way. Betty Cotton says she never remembers such a time of scarcity,--no potatoes, no milk, and no flour. There is a little milk now, and the people are most kind in sending us some even when it is not their week for serving us.
Poor Rebekah has lost the cow she took so much trouble over. A fatal swelling of the throat set in. I saw a poor cow (with its calf) this afternoon in its eagerness to get at some food which was being brought it, fall over, it was so weak.
Last night Repetto, Mrs. Hagan and Rebekah were here. We tried to make them see the importance of growing corn, which we think could be done if it were shielded by flax; and also of starting enclosures near their houses for growing trees; but they are difficult to move and have not the same enterprise as the former generation. We have not been able to get any more dressing for the field. That part which has had it looks so different from the rest.
_Monday, October_ 29.--On Saturday night there was such a gale from the north-west, and the sea was higher than it was all the winter, washing right up to the cliffs. We found sad destruction in the garden on Sunday morning, the flowers and vegetables being shrivelled up as if there had been a severe frost, even the grass and docks looked black; the peas which were in a most flourishing condition are ruined. Almost the only flowers that have not succumbed are those that were sheltered. Next year I shall try walled divisions on the flower-beds. Happily, the wind was not so severe at the potato patches, and they have been damaged but little.
Mrs. Lavarello is suffering from a bruised leg caused by a fall on the rocks when fishing. We urged upon her the need of resting it, but she thought she could not because of her work. It is now so painful she is obliged to keep it up almost entirely. I shall try to see her each day. This afternoon Graham and I went for a long walk along the shore. Rain coming on we tried to scale the cliff, but had to come down and return by the shore, the wind and rain beating in our faces. By the time we got home we were wet through, but felt all the better for the outing.
_Tuesday, October_ 30.--A very wet day. No Women's Meeting.
_Wednesday, October_ 3l.--We had been saying it looked as if the month were going out without our seeing a ship, when to-day one appeared just after school. Some of the men were out in a boat fishing, but were signalled to by a fire being lit. They got back quickly, and the boats started off by about two o'clock. It was bitterly cold and the sea rough. Another ship was seen in the afternoon.
_Thursday, November_ 1.--The men returned last night. The ship was a French one bound for Adelaide. They were not able to get any flour, but got ship biscuits, a good quantity of rice, which, however, has weevils in it, and a little coffee. Mrs. Repetto came in this evening with some of the biscuits. I said I could not take them, but she would not hear of "no."
To-day Glass and Tom Rogers have been putting up some small gates, made by the latter, at the two entrances of the pathway leading to the front of the house. They had to build up a part of one entrance with large square stones; wood is scarce so the gates have to be small. With them we feel much more private. Henry has given us some green paint of quite a nice shade for the outside window-frames to match the green gates. The house is beginning to have quite a respectable appearance.
I fear Mrs. Lavarello will be laid up some time with her leg. Charlotte Swain bathes it three times a day. Mrs. Lavarello is a sister of John Glass. She has been very kind to us in constantly sending fish and eggs.
We had a second gale the other day which blighted the potatoes, in fact, quite cut them down. But the men say that with the rain which has fallen since they will come on again. The flowers are already reviving.
[Illustration: EARLY MORNING FROM THE WEST, SHOWING SNOW IN CREVASSE, NEAR PEAK]
Fourteen cattle died last week due to the wet and cold, making the number of deaths three hundred and seventy.
_Thursday, November_ 8.--We were knocked up yesterday morning soon after five by Repetto, who came to tell us that a steamer was in sight and that they were going off to it immediately. In about ten minutes he was here again for the letters. I was in my dressing-gown finishing a letter to A----. Graham was finishing another to his sister and had to run down to the boat with it. He was just in time, but had to wade into the water to hand it in. The steamer had borne down upon the settlement very rapidly. Graham so regretted he hadn't gone when he saw how close it had come in. We felt we had perhaps lost an opportunity of a passage to the Cape we might not get again, but really there was not time to dress and be off. Graham worked off his disappointment by polishing away at the boots and shoes. The men were soon back. The captain said he could only wait half-an-hour, but stayed an hour. He let them have 300 lbs. of flour and some other goods. Repetto was able to get some of the things we asked him to try for, namely, bacon, lemons, a ten-pound tin of butter and some apple-rings. The captain sent his kind regards and sent me a special offering of tea and sugar. We have given the tea to the people as they had none. The steamer was bound for Durban, and the captain, who was here the year before, said he hoped to return in a month, and if he did would bring more flour for the people. The islanders had to pay in cash. A passenger on board presented them with a sovereign to buy food. The captain would not let us pay for anything. Two and a half years later when we arrived home in England we heard of another kind deed of the captain. He had kindly taken charge of the letters to post at Durban, and noticing one bearing our name most kindly sent to the address copies of some photographs which he had that morning taken of the island. The fine view facing this page is one of them. We have been scanning the papers and have obtained a considerable amount of information from them. The steamer hailed from a Cumberland port, and in a Maryport paper was a speech of F----'s at Workington in support of the Liberal candidate. In the same paper we read with regret of the death of Sir Wilfrid Lawson. In another was an account of the fires on the Malvern Hills, and in a third a long article on the "Welcome." [Footnote: A Restaurant and Home for girls, Jewin Street, London.] The sugar was done up in a Birmingham paper from which, however, we did not extract much beyond the attempt on the Russian Premier's life. We feel we have come quite in touch with the world again.
On Monday there is to be another meeting about the trading schooner, but we doubt if much will come of it. It appears from a book Repetto has that the Cape duty on imported animals is rather high, and the men do not seem inclined to come down in their prices. We are seriously contemplating the future as regards food. We have been taking stock and find our stores are getting very low. If we knew definitely a gun-boat was coming and would bring our stores it would be all right, but alas we do not. One cannot get very much from passing ships, so Graham is rather anxious we should go to Cape Town to get a supply of food, if for nothing else. I expect it will end in our going if a chance occurs.
Ellen is busy making a pale blue nun's-veiling blouse for Emma Hagan. You would hardly have thought there would have been such vanities here. The material was sent by some relations at the Cape. Every one tries to have a new garment for Christmas Day, and some of the material which was brought by the _Surrey_ is being kept for this purpose. I have been making a pinafore out of a faded muslin blind for Sophy Rogers who is very short of clothes; after being ironed it looks very nice and has given great pleasure.
_Friday, November_ 9.--The strawberries are just beginning to ripen; they are very small and more like wild ones. I have put zinnia seeds straight into the ground, and shielded with tins they are coming up quite strongly. The stocks have borne the wind better than any other flower. Marvel of Peru is coming up strongly too.
_Monday, November_ l2.--We have had such a warm day, which makes us feel summer is coming.
Yesterday in the midst of morning service one man after another went out, and shortly I saw two little boats on the sea. A whaler had appeared and all the men had gone out to her. We were sorry, for it meant trading on a Sunday, and the people were not now short of food; but one must not be too hard upon them. The whaler is from America and will probably be here for two or three days. The islanders like a whaler better than any other vessel, with the exception of a man-of-war, as it brings material as well as food to trade with, and is glad of fresh meat and potatoes in exchange. I can see the ship so clearly, the sun lighting up its white sails.
The meeting about the schooner took place this afternoon. One or two at the last meeting got rather heated, but all were very quiet to-day. They were not ready, however, to lower their prices and so nothing was done. But, later, Henry Green and Repetto came in to say they had been round, and the men had arranged to sell at a lower price so as to make it possible for a schooner to come.
The rats are beginning to appear again. Last night we had a constant tapping overhead; and this morning to her dismay Ellen found our breakfast had been eaten up by them. The bacon had been placed on the window-sill outside, a dish over it, and a heavy stone on the top. It was not a great loss as it was hardly eatable. The milk-jug was also knocked over and the precious milk spilt. We hope we shall be able to get some extra food from the whaler; and some cocks and hens!
_Tuesday, November_ l3.--Yesterday shortly after we left morning school Mrs. Bob Green rushed in to tell us William had seen a seal on the beach, and that her husband had killed it, but that she had asked him not to skin it till we had seen it. We went to look and saw a small party on the rocks. Two seals had been secured, which was quite a find as a good price can be had for the skins. Seals rarely come in here now, but a dozen or so may be caught at Inaccessible.
We are having a whole holiday to-day owing to the presence of the whaler. The men did not board her yesterday as there was a fog, and when it cleared off and she came in it was too late for them to go out. They went off this morning. Every one is in the greatest excitement. Dressed in their best all went down to the beach to meet Betty and Martha's nephew, Joe Beetham, who was coming on shore from the whaler. He was first brought in here. Graham had met him at Cape Town; since then he has been to America, where his home is. He has brought a large box of things for Betty Cotton from her relatives there, which has quite cheered her up. I think she is the only one on the island who does not care about living here. The islanders have gone off again to the ship to make purchases. Beetham told us the whaler is calling at Mauritius, so Graham has written a line to the Bishop as he might like to hear how we are getting on.
I have started packing, for we must be ready to be off at any instant; even at five o'clock in the morning!
_Sunday, November_ l8.--The men did not get back from the whaler till nearly midnight. The captain seemed a somewhat difficult man to deal with and undoubtedly got the best of the bargaining. His wife was on board, and most kindly sent us a parcel of jams and soap.
Mrs. Sam Swain, senior, has a little girl, born last Friday. Her eldest girl Charlotte is twenty-two. This birth makes the population seventy-eight.
To-day a ship was to be seen in the far distance, it has been hanging about; four of the men have gone out to it.
Graham spoke this morning to the people in church about Sunday trading. He said he saw no harm in going out to a ship on a Sunday, but that they ought not to trade on that day unless they were in real need. Mr. Dodgson was very strong on this point.
We are ready packed so far as we can be when our boxes are our chests-of-drawers. I think Ellen will manage all right while we are away. She likes the people, and if she feels lonely can have one of the children to stay with her. She will teach a little.
We have been thinking a good deal the last day or two of this time last year when we were starting forth. It is a year to-day since we left Southampton.
_Tuesday, November_ 20.--On Monday morning four of the men put out to a ship going east, but she had got too far for them to reach her, a squall driving her further out. It is curious to think that any day we may be on our way to the Cape, but perhaps we shall not get there at all.
A meeting was held last Thursday to consider the quantity of food-stuff a schooner should bring in exchange. It will be a great boon to the people if we can get one to come. We think they would do much better if they would go in more for sheep-breeding and keep fewer cattle. The return would be much quicker; and the shipping of them much easier; and as the weather here is uncertain the loading is an important matter. The sheep are small, but the mutton is good. I do not think this place is suited for cattle; it is too exposed; and the people lay themselves out so little to provide either shelter or food for them. It is quite nice to see a few cattle again grazing on the settlement which has been so destitute of them.
Potatoes are now coming in, but the people do not like to begin eating them too soon.
_Wednesday, November_ 21.--Graham has had an afternoon of it. First there was a Confirmation Class, then another meeting about the schooner. The food-list had to be revised and a list made of the requirements of each family. Arrangements were also made as to our getting off from here. If a steamer is sighted we are both to go at once; if a sailing vessel, which will be much less likely to be going to South Africa, Graham will go off with the men in the first boat. A second boat will await the signal from the ship as to whether or no we can be taken. If we can I shall at once embark in it with the rest of the men. Lots were drawn as to who should go in the first boat. Of course, they like to be in the first as they then have a greater chance of bargains.
In order to prevent delay in going out to a ship there is an excellent system by which each family in turn has to provide the oxen, sheep and geese needed for the public trading. The stuff in exchange for these is divided round equally. The rule is for this public trading to be done first. After it is over any who like can do private trading. They offer for barter all sorts of things, sometimes even the moccasins which they are actually wearing. William got a coat for his pair the other day; on another occasion, boy-like, he got a big pair of boots which he is most proud of, but which are of very little use to him. The height of ambition is to own a pair of boots, though the feet look much tidier in moccasins. His grandmother has just asked me to buy her a pair at the Cape.
Graham has been writing a letter to the Bishop telling of our contemplated visit to the Cape. He will leave a copy of it here on the possible chance of the Bishop arriving when we are away. If he should arrive there are various things of which he may wish to have accurate information.
To do the rats justice let me here record it is now thought that a cat was the culprit on the occasion of the breakfast having disappeared.
_Thursday, November_ 22.--To-day when I was hanging the bird-cage on the wall of the house, Jack somehow squeezed himself through the wires and flew to the flax on the edge of the garden. I caught him, but he slipped through my fingers and flew on to the common and then back into the garden, again alighting on a flax-leaf. He is so tame he allowed me to go up to him, and I caught him once more quite easily.
I have started baking bread in an iron pot after the method of the people.
_Thursday, November_ 29.--Should we go to the Cape it has been arranged for the elder girls to carry on the school. They are rather pleased at the idea. To get their hand in, Graham let them take it yesterday and again to-day. They are capable of taking it for a limited time.
The men and boys have been playing cricket lately, the latter being very keen upon it.
High winds have again somewhat damaged the plants.
_Friday, November_ 30, _St. Andrew's Day_.--It being the day of Intercession for Missions we had service at five o'clock. Sixty-one people were present, which was good for a week-day. Earlier in the afternoon the sewing-class met. When possible we have it out of doors. We are reading _Teddy's Button_, which the children quite enjoy. They enter into reading aloud so much more than they did.
_Monday, December 3_.--Yesterday afternoon Sam Swain's baby was christened and named Rachel Caroline. The baptism was earlier than it would have been because the parents were anxious she should be baptized before we leave for the Cape. The church was full. Graham has asked Repetto to read the service on Sunday while we are away. Ellen will play the hymns.
This evening a vessel was sighted. As the men think it is a whaler they are not going out to it till to-morrow.
_Wednesday, December_ 5.--The vessel was a whaler, and the men went off at breakfast-time next morning and were away all day. For three sheep and eight geese they only got a barrel of flour and some molasses. The captain evidently knew how to drive a bargain; it is rather too bad.
The flower garden is beginning to look quite bright. The sweet peas will soon be in flower, the stocks, too, are showing buds. This week we expect to pick a dish of peas, though the plants look very poor after the blight they had.
There has been a rearrangement of the classes in school and some of the infants have gone up. The elder girls now help a little in the teaching. This morning I had to speak to one of them. She had been taking the infants in reading, and sat with cane in hand administering justice right and left, to which her scholars paid but little heed.
_Thursday, December_ 6.--Yesterday, it being the Advent season, there was a short service after the confirmation class. The people sing "Lo, He comes with clouds descending" to the tune in the _Hymnal Companion_ so heartily. Coming out from the service we found the men gazing intently towards the west. They saw what they said was a whaler; we could just see something. It seems to be coming in, so they will not go out to it till to-morrow. Whalers are no good as regards taking letters, because it may be so long before they make a port.
_Friday, December_ 7.--The whaler came in on Thursday and the men started out to meet her, but finding that she was sending a boat ashore, returned. In the boat was the harpooner, a brother of Sam Swain, senior. The brothers had not met for twenty-four years. He and the boat's crew spent part of the day here. It has been a great thing for the people to have had these three whalers as they have been able to get provisions and material. I must say our friends are a most liberal people. To-day just after dinner Henry Green brought us a bag of flour from _All Hands_. Graham did not want to take it, and being pressed, offered to pay for it, but Henry would not hear of that, and after some argument said with decision he would not take it back and plumped it down on the sofa. They think now there will be a very good potato crop both in quality and quantity, so we cannot want. The potatoes last year were small owing to the blight.
_Saturday, December_ 8,--The Henry Greens have a child nearly two years old that can neither walk nor talk, and is very fat. They said they thought his back was weak, so I suggested they should bathe it with sea-water twice a day. For some time they did not try this, but last week began it, and after two or three days to their surprise, and to mine when I was told of it, he stood up. The mother is most thankful and only wishes she had begun it before.
_Friday, December_ l4.--There was great excitement yesterday afternoon. Word was brought in that there had been a shipwreck and that two boats were making for the island. We all ran out expecting to see a shipwrecked crew, but no boats were to be seen. We made then for Hottentot Point, and there we could see a ship in the distance. One of out boats had already started, but returned before it had gone far. Later the same enterprising crew, Tom Rogers, Henry Green, and young Sam Swain, set forth again with things for barter. We only knew at the last minute they were going. Ellen and I ran to the top of the cliff with our letter, but the boat had started. We heard afterwards they would have come back had they known we had letters. It is more than a month since we dispatched our last batch. The boat did not return till this morning. It got back to the belt of seaweed before daylight, and making fast to it waited for the dawn. The crew said the captain, a Scotchman, was so kind and let them have anything they wanted. He had his wife and little boy on board; she had been ill. The ship was becalmed, and we hoped the other islanders would go out to her, but they didn't seem inclined to do so. Later in the afternoon we heard to our surprise that they were going. We were so glad because of the letters. The captain sent us a whole heap of magazines and papers. We sent some young lettuces, and I only regretted we had not some flowers to send to his wife. The men did not return till the early hours of the morning. The captain sent us a bottle of lime-juice and would not take any payment for the groceries Repetto asked for. We feel much the invariable kindness of all the captains. The first boat's crew enjoyed themselves immensely on board. The captain played and sang to them. To add to his kindness he sent us a letter containing all the latest news; the first item of which was "King Teddy going strong."
Repetto has just been in to bring some white paint and oil he got for us from the ship. We want it for the house, which certainly has not seen fresh paint for many a year.
_Saturday, December_ 15.--A ship was sighted to-day in the far distance.
_Sunday, December_ 16.--Rebekah is most good in bringing us bunches of pink roses. We have also on the table a bouquet of field-daisies which we were so pleased to find growing here. There are scarcely any wild flowers, but there is a yellow one which much resembles a hollyhock. The people think it very poisonous and never picked it. There is also a small plant which grows abundantly near this house and which they call a sunflower. It has a leaf resembling that of the woodsorrel, and a pink flower the shape of a primrose, but with smaller petals. The boys are very fond of adorning their caps on Sunday with a bunch of pink roses, which are not exactly becoming to their brown complexions.
_Monday, December_ 17.--In heavy rain and a misty sea a ship passed close by.
_Thursday, December_ 20.--To-day Rebekah ran in in great distress: "Her brother Ben had had a fit and had not yet come to, would we go to him?" We went off at once. When we got there he was still unconscious and was lying on the couch. The men were doing all they could for him. There was not much that could be done beyond loosening his collar. After a time he went to sleep. Every one kept flocking in, even the children. I told them he ought to be kept quiet, and gradually they went until Ellen, I, and Bill Green were the only ones left. Presently he awoke and insisted upon getting up, and seeing he was fairly himself we left. Afterwards he had two more fits, one of them on the shore where he had insisted upon going; fortunately Bill Green had followed him there. Two of the men will sit up with him through the night. The people are very kind to one another in sickness.
The keeping of meat is a great difficulty in the summer. We have a supply for the week and it will not keep beyond a day or two. We asked to have it twice a week, but that could not be arranged. We mean to try salting a portion. Our meat larder is the passage as being the most airy place.
_Sunday, December 23_.--Ben is all right again. It is thought he overdid himself driving sheep. He had no dog with him and did a good deal of shouting and running. He is the man who has deformed arms. Happily he is of a cheerful disposition and is to be heard constantly whistling tunes. The only work he can do is to drive the oxen and sheep.
It is difficult to feel we are so near Christmas since we have so few preparations to make for it. But it is not so with the people. They have been preparing for it for months. We have had constant requests for "blue" for getting up white shirts, petticoats and children's clothes. Preparations are also now going on in prospect of a visit from a man-of-war; houses are being whitewashed, painted, and scrubbed. The Repettos finished theirs some time ago, and the large sitting-room is not allowed to be used, that it may be kept quite clean for the "great event," should it come off. The minds of the inhabitants are centred on the arrival of a warship; it is the great event in their lives, and they cannot yet believe one is not coming.
_Christmas Eve_.--This has been a busy day, almost as busy at it is at home, there has been so much coming and going. Many have brought offerings of fish and fruit-pies, and Rebekah as a birthday offering a nicely baked cake. I had a blouse ready for her. She stayed to supper. We have been able to give a little tea and sugar all round. I patched up an old coat for William, and as a last thing watered the garden. The nasturtiums, which I hope will run up the wall of the house, are just beginning to bloom. The sitting-room looks quite gay with daisies, grasses and pink roses.
_Christmas Day_.--We have had three services, and all have been well attended. To our surprise we found the church decorated. It was done delightfully simple; little bunches of geraniums, roses and green being hung from the beams and the walls. Nearly all were present in the morning, the women having got up early to prepare their dinners. Rebekah said she was up at 4.30. Our dinner was provided for us, the Greens sending stuffed sucking-pig and others crowberry open tarts. Alas! we had no plum-pudding. The rain came down in torrents in the afternoon, and we began service with hardly any one present; but the rain abating the church gradually filled. The singing was not good; I drew my conclusions.
This evening there has been dancing at the Hagans'. Graham has been in and is surprised how well the people dance. The men danced in their shirt-sleeves. Husbands and wives first led off, then danced with other partners. The refreshment was cold water.
_Thursday, December_ 27.--Yesterday directly after breakfast Repetto came to paint the sitting-room. The painting took all day, but the room is quite transformed. The south wall which was green from damp has been whitewashed, and now it is of an olive-green shade and looks quite artistic in contrast with the white paint, but I am afraid that hue will not long remain.
We are having a ten days' holiday. It rains almost every day, and everything is reeking with damp. The people devote themselves to festivities at this season, playing cricket in the morning and dancing in the afternoon and evening. On Boxing Day the first hour of the afternoon was given up to the children, who love dancing. About an hour later the elders began. I dressed in my best array and went to look on. They dance exceedingly well, round and backwards and forwards. I was struck by the polite manners of the men, who go up to the partner they wish to dance with, bow to her and offer their arm. The partner takes it most solemnly, waits about half a minute before she accepts, apparently quite unconscious of his presence, during which time his arm is dropped as he stands mute before her; then she quietly rises and the dance begins. The behaviour of the girls is quiet and natural with a becoming self-reserve. We were home again before six. I believe the dancers left soon after to get some food at home, and then returned and went on till eleven o'clock. We looked in again, and, seeing that the room was very poorly lighted, went back for our lamp. Some of the babies were put to bed in the adjoining room, and some were sleeping peacefully in the arms of the elders in the dancing-room.
_Friday, December 28_.--We are having a very wet week. I have been painting the bedroom and kitchen window-frames. One of our little birds died suddenly yesterday evening: we think perhaps the paint was too much for it. Happily the other one seems quite cheerful without it. As there is still a smell of paint we take his cage up to the church and hang it in the vestry as the only place of safety we can think of.
_New Year's Eve_.--In looking back over this past year we feel very thankful for the way in which we have been helped and guided.
_New Year's Day, 1907.--It is the custom here on New Year's Eve for the men to assemble soon after nightfall and visit each house. Several are fantastically dressed and equipped with every available instrument-- violin, drum, concertina and accordion. And on this occasion even three old Martinis were brought into requisition and fired at frequent intervals throughout the night. Refreshment is given at each house, so we had a good brew of tea and biscuits ready for distribution at the first sound of the drum. Usually the men enter the house, but as it would have been impossible to get them all into ours, they grouped themselves round the back door. There they first sang and danced to the accompaniment of the violin and accordion, made passes with mock swords and let off guns; then sat on the stones and enjoyed their tea. I was awakened two or three times in the night by the guns. It was daylight before they finished.
No less than four dinners were sent us today, three plates of stuffed mutton and one of sucking-pig. Our thyme and parsley had been much sought after for the stuffing.
We had service this morning at nine o'clock, at which about forty were present. One of the three hymns was the old favourite--
"O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come."
All the afternoon Graham was on the roof of the house mending a hole which was big enough to thrust his hand through. I watched him staggering up the ladder with a heavy roll of turf roped on to his back. When next I saw him he was sprawling on the ridge, his legs only visible. He nailed a piece of tin over the hole, cemented it, and put the turf over it. The cement is made of the ashes of the wood fire mixed with water; it is very durable, and stands heat and wet. Repetto has been painting the church. His wife came in to pay us a visit, a rather rare thing. She goes her own way. The other women live a good deal in each other's houses, but she does not believe in this, thinking there is plenty to be done at home. Her strong character comes out in dealing with her children. She is a very strict disciplinarian. If they do not do what she tells them, they get a good "hammering." She was very pleased with what Graham said in church on Sunday to the children about promptness in obeying.
_Wednesday, January 2_.--To-day we thought of going to the potato patches, but the men were playing cricket, and sent to ask Graham to join them, which he did. Afterwards he had his first bathe with them. Their bathing-place is close to the waterfall. It is not possible to go out far owing to sharks.
_Thursday, January 3_.--Graham and I started off this afternoon for the potato patches, as the people were anxious that we should see the plants in flower. It was not quite such an exertion as we expected. This time of year the plants are often covered with caterpillars, which have to be picked off. If the people would burn the old plants and the weeds each season this pest would be greatly diminished. Unfortunately there are no birds to prey upon the insects.
_Monday, January 7_.--The next day we went up what is called "Bugsby Hole," a steep mountain slope. It took us a long time to climb, for we did it bit by bit, constantly sitting down. At last we came to what one might perhaps call a pass (it was but a gap) over a narrow-backed ridge. This was the Goat Ridge which Graham had climbed from the other side on Good Friday. We had rather a difficult rock to climb up, but with assistance I managed it. Rob got frightened, and had many leaps before he got up. From this ridge such a lovely scene opened out in the evening light, lofty peaks all around, and below, grassy, fern-covered ravines. It made one almost giddy to look down. The descent appeared appalling, but the ferns were long, and we could get a good foothold in them. As we neared the bottom we picked up a quantity of wood. Some of it rolled into a gulch, and in going after it Graham got "blocked" and had to let himself slide, with the result that he rather hurt his leg. We got home just before dusk, had a supper of bread and milk and coffee, and retired to bed as soon as I had prepared the sponge for baking.
[Illustration: BUGSBY HOLE]
We have started school again after a fortnight's holiday. It is a hot, close day, about the hottest we have had; one comfort is the houses are cool. It is such a pleasure to see the cattle looking so different, really beginning to be in good condition. Their number having been so greatly reduced, there is plenty of grass for them. We have abundance of milk now, but butter is a rare commodity. Some was brought us to-day, and is quite a treat.
_Wednesday, January_ 9.--This day last year we landed at Cape Town.
Yesterday evening we watched the yoking of some oxen which were driven into the yard opposite. Several were being broken in for the first time, and others had not been yoked for many months. One was quite wild, jumping over the wall into the tussock-garden. The two oxen, or steers, to be yoked together are driven into a corner, and the owner of them warily approaches and first puts on the neck of one the wooden collar. Having done this, he waits a minute or two, and then a man behind hands him the heavy cross-beam, one end of which has to be made fast to the collar. This being done, he goes through the same process with the other ox. The affair is no easy one, for any minute the ox may bolt, perhaps with the yoke dangling down over its forelegs. When they are at last ready, their heads are turned towards the entrance, for which they generally make a dash to get out on to the common. Now comes a race. The owner has hold of one of the horns and hangs on, running at topmost speed, till the oxen are out of breath and go more soberly. Some of the animals take the yoking very quietly. They are left yoked for several days; it seems rather hard upon them, but, of course, they have to be broken in.
_Friday, January_ 11.--We are going to keep fowls. I intended to buy some, and spoke to one or two people, but they quite scorned the idea of selling--they would give them. About half-a-dozen have already been promised. Tom Rogers started on the fowl-house to-day. It is to be a wooden one made out of our packing-cases and thatched with tussock.
_Wednesday, January_ 16.--Repetto has been here since Saturday putting up a three-cornered cupboard in the sitting-room. We need it to keep daily stores in. We tried keeping them in the loft, but to run up a ladder every time you want tea, sugar or biscuits is rather tiresome, and the kitchen is too damp for stores.
We have been rearranging the sitting-room. The Indian rugs have come in most usefully; one does as a tablecloth, and the other as a cover for boxes, making a table in the part of the sitting-room we have screened off. They give such a cheerful look to the room. Two or three of the young girls come in every evening of their own accord to help Ellen to wash up. The boys often help in the garden. Ned and little Charlie were helping this evening to shake the earth out of sods of grass. They were so comical over it, tumbling down and bursting into such merry peals of laughter. It reminded me of scenes in _Uncle Tom's Cabin_.
_Monday, January_ 2l.--We are having such peaceful days, hardly any wind, and hours of sunshine.
The fowl-house is finished, and this morning I had several gifts of hens to put into it. While we were at breakfast one small child of five, Lizzie Rogers, brought as her birthday gift a hen in a bag. One hen laid an egg an hour after its arrival! The eggs here are very small. I visit the house many times a day to show it to various visitors.
The garden is looking so bright; the zinnias have done splendidly, and some are over two feet high. Our vegetable garden now produces cabbages, turnips, and a few peas. Carrots are coming on, and the tomato plants are in blossom and look most flourishing. The ground is quite warm six or seven inches down, and is more like a hot-bed.
_Wednesday, January_ 23.--The man-of-war is daily expected; the horizon is scanned from early dawn to twilight; but after this week the people say they will have doubts about its coming. For the most part they are without tea and coffee, and are glad of our tea-leaves.
_Friday, January_ 25.--We opened our last flour tin today; we hope to eke out the flour for a month by using only half-a-pound a day and mixing with it a liberal proportion of potatoes.
Yesterday I had my first bathe. We went to a place amongst the rocks where the sea runs in and deep enough for swimming. Graham has begun bathing with the boys after school. The beautiful calm weather has gone and the wind come back again.
_Wednesday, January_ 30.--Charlotte Swain came in to tell us there was a shark on the shore and to ask if we would like to go and see it; so we went down. It was a small one, only six feet long. The skin is very rough, like emery paper, and is used by the people for polishing horns. The flesh is remarkably white and looks as though it would be good to eat. The liver when boiled down makes very clear oil for burning in their lamps.
This evening Rebekah brought us a well-baked loaf. We were touched by this, for flour is scarce now. She said they could do on potatoes better than we could, though we have not come to that yet. The men have been fishing and we have more fish than we can possibly eat.
There are other occupants than fowls of the fowl-house. Four big pigs find it a most comfortable place to retire into. It doesn't matter how often they are driven out. Whenever a storm comes on in they go again, and then they have the best of us.
_Saturday, February_ 2.--This morning, though it was wet, such was our energy we went off for a bathe before breakfast, and found it most refreshing.
The Glasses have a little son, and now the population, including ourselves, is seventy-nine.
Late this afternoon there was a cry of "Sail, ho!" and on going out to look we saw a ship opposite the settlement. It was just a chance whether the men would be able to reach her. They had no time to catch any sheep, but took what they could lay hands on. As we sat on the cliff just as they were starting, Mr. Bob Green suddenly jumped up crying, "Sail, ho!" and on looking, sure enough we saw a second sail coming up. We hoped the men would try for the two, but they decided to go for the second only. The first ship stood in for a time and lowered part of her sail, and then went on. It is dark, but the boats are not yet back. I do hope the men have been able to get some tea and coffee.
_Monday, February 4_.--Late on Saturday evening we heard a distant whistle which we knew meant the boats were coming. We thought we would go down to see them land, but as it was very dark and we had lent our lantern we had to wait till we saw a light passing our way. Most of the people were carrying brands which they waved to keep them alight, causing quite a fine effect. On the cliff a fire was burning, and another on the shore. Lanterns were held up so that the incoming boat might have all the light possible. Well as the landing-place is known, it is difficult in the darkness to steer clear of rocks and to keep the boat from filling with water in the surf. The moment it touched the shore the women, boys, and girls ran down and pulled frantically at the rope. It had to be hauled up a steep bank of shingle. The fire was stirred up and in its light the second boat made a run for the shore. It was a weird scene. The expedition had been almost in vain. The men had to pull nearly all the way to the ship, which proved to be a Russian one, and could hardly get anything. Still, a little tea, coffee and sugar, and seventeen pounds of flour with a little rice were better than nothing. The ship was bound for Natal, but the captain would not take any passengers. We are pleased the letters have gone and by so direct a route. As the boats were leaving the ship the captain called out, "The letters are not stamped." Repetto called back, "All you have to do is to put them in the post-box as they are." We can never stamp letters as there are no stamps here. And if there were stamps they would be of no use because we never know where the letters will be posted. We sent off about sixteen letters. Repetto said he would keep his for the man-of-war. I rather think ours will reach England first.
We are getting through more reading than we have for a long time. Some of the people, so we are told, have used their books for lighting fires, and others have pulled them to pieces for the sake of the thread with which they were bound. We have found several of Miss Emily Holt's books here, and have much enjoyed reading them.
We have many requests now from the people for vegetables and almost daily ones for thyme and parsley. Cabbages they much like. We hope in the future they will try to cultivate vegetables. At present they care for none beyond cabbages, leeks, onions and pumpkins. The caterpillars do much damage among the vegetables, and many of the young tomatoes are riddled with holes. The few ears of wheat which have come up have tiny green caterpillars on them which eat up all the green corn. Having no insect-eating birds here is a great loss.
We have been having a good deal of rain and close steamy weather. At night we have the windows and door of our room, the passage window, and sometimes the back door all open. A chair has to be put across the door to keep the pigs out.
_Wednesday, February 6_.--Yesterday when we came back from bathing we heard that the men were going off in about an hour's time to Sandy Point to gather apples from their orchards, so we decided to take a holiday and go too. It was rather a scramble to get ready, and before we had even sat down to breakfast some of the men were going to the boats. We were in the midst of baking, and I had to run up to Miss Cotton to ask her if she would kindly finish it. It had been decreed Rob was not to come, but seeing us depart was too much for him and he swam after the boat and was hauled in. The men had to row the whole way, a distance of about ten miles. The scenery was fine, the high mountain sides descending precipitously to the shore. On the way Tom Rogers and Sam Swain were put ashore, as they wanted to drive a cow from where the former had left it some months ago. It was rather an undertaking, for the animal was as wild as the road was rough. Sometimes she had to be driven over big boulders, and sometimes through the sea. When she got on to a sandy stretch of beach she went so fast the men could hardly keep up with her. They had to throw a lasso over her horns the last part of the way to prevent her swimming out to sea. But in spite of their difficulties they arrived almost as soon as we did. It was not very easy landing, and we had to be carried from the boats to the shore. The orchards were on the mountain side in a sheltered place. It was quite a climb to get to them and once or twice we had to have help, which Tom Rogers, who when he saw us mounting had run after us, was only too pleased to give. We passed a very fine vine; the grapes were not yet ripe, probably the rats will have most of them. The grass was long and rather wet. Soon the sun came out and it became very hot. For a time we helped Tom to gather his apples, but it was tiring work, so Ellen and I found a sheltered nook and rested. Afterwards Graham and I went and sat near the edge of the cliff. Here a pair of mollyhawks came and perched within a few feet of us, and our presence did not seem at all to disturb them. They are exceedingly handsome birds, are for the most part white, and have a black bill with a bright yellow stripe down the centre of it. They have most graceful movements; and this pair bowed and clicked their beaks together and made love to each other in the most charming way. Before long it was time to descend. Tom again showed us the way, and then went back for his bags of apples, which he let down the cliff by a rope. The other men too were getting theirs down, some carrying them on their backs. There was such a collection of sacks by the time they were all down. The apples are not a large kind, and are gathered before they are ripe. But it is a great boon to the people to have them, and the children munch them all day long, eating little else. Tea was brewed on the beach, but as only a small saucepan had been brought there was not a very plentiful supply. Coming back there was only a little wind, and we travelled but slowly. We were very glad to land, for we were feeling rather sinking for want of food. To-day being the birthday of Mrs. Hagan's one-year-old son she sent us for supper a cooked fowl which was most acceptable. Our three little helpers, Mary and Susan Repetto and Sophy Rogers, came up with us from the shore and offered to carry our wraps, and when we got in set to and washed up the breakfast things. They love to help, and come in two and three times a day now.
_Saturday, February_ 9.--It is difficult to keep count of dates here, the weeks pass so quickly. It is a wet afternoon. I have been chopping up suet, Graham repairing boots.
The day before yesterday the men with one or two women and some children went by boat to the rookery to fetch home three heifers. With some difficulty they managed to catch them, tied their legs together, and brought them home in the boats. They also brought back more apples and a good deal of driftwood.
Yesterday some of the men went out in a boat to shoot albatrosses, and shot seven. These birds are so large that it is as much as a woman can do to bring up one from the shore slung on her back. Once they nested on the island, but now nests are not to be found nearer than Inaccessible.
I have been making fresh efforts to teach Edith Swain her letters. She has been months at the first four and does not know them yet, but has picked up one or two others. I have tried a new way of teaching with better result. I have taught her, for example, "s" quite easily by telling her it is like the noise the goose makes; it is called the goose letter by the children. In this way we joke over the letters, and it seems to implant them in her mind. She has now learnt them nearly all.
_Monday, February_ 11.--During Lent we are to have daily service at nine o'clock, and on Fridays one also at five o'clock with instruction on the Holy Communion.
_Friday, February 15_.--The daily services so far are being very well attended, a few men being generally present. We always have well-known hymns, and the service lasts just under the half-hour.
I find the fowls a great interest. But they often lay away in the tussock where it is almost a hopeless task to find the eggs. If I see a hen looking about for a nest whenever I can I catch it and shut it up, and usually with a successful result.
The other day Ben the cripple had been missing for several hours. It was feared he had gone off up the mountain by himself and been taken with a fit. Although it was pouring with rain the men went off in search of him to Red Hole which lies westward, but not finding him there retraced their steps and went in the opposite direction as far as Pig's Bite, but seeing no traces of his footsteps on the sand they turned back, when they were encountered by Ben himself, who had run after them to let them know he was all right. It seems he had gone to the potato hut and had fallen asleep there, and that his sister not knowing he was there had fastened him in. The first intimation of his whereabouts was conveyed by cries of "Becky, Becky, let me out."
Our things still remain packed, but we hardly think now we shall get off to the Cape. We have enough tea to last us this year, and enough coffee, sugar, biscuits, rice and jam for some time yet, as well as oil and soap. We got a good deal of rice from one of the ships, but bread we had virtually to do without.
The Repettos' youngest child is such a little pet, and so well trained. I brought him in yesterday when we were having afternoon tea. He solemnly clambered on to the sofa and sat there till I offered him a spoonful of tea and a biscuit, which he descended to receive, and then went back to his place. He came out into the garden afterwards and sat by my side without moving while I made a weak attempt at sketching the house. He is fair, has auburn curls, and is the darling of his mother's heart.
_Monday, February_ l8.--This morning we had such a delightful bathe. The sea was rough and broke into our little cove, which was quite deep at one end. There was such a lovely sunrise, the sky and sea lit up by it. We often go down to bathe while it is still dusk. Rob was so amusing; he would not come near the water, but sat on the rock as if on guard; he is generally here, there, and everywhere.
_Sunday, February_ 24.--John Glass's son and heir was baptized today and was named William Gordon. The first name was after Corporal Glass, his greatgrandfather. We sang the beautiful baptismal hymn---
"O Father, Thou who hast created all In wisest love, we pray, Look on this babe, who at Thy gracious call Is entering on life's way; Bend o'er him in Thy tenderness, Thine image on his soul impress; O Father, hear!"
I did not know either the hymn or the tune by Sullivan until I came here.
_Monday, February_ 25.--I have been picking tomatoes. We have to pick them green, as they are beginning to rot, due, I think, to this wet climate. I have hung some in strings on the front of the house, the rest lie on the sitting-room window-sills.
A week or two ago a small portion of the hayfield was cut. There being no such thing as a scythe here, it was cut with a short hook made out of ship iron, and called a "tussock-hook." The hay, which is deliciously sweet, was gathered in successfully. But I do not think Henry intends to cut any more of the field. They have got into such set ways here that it goes against the grain to try anything new. This hay was put into a hut and never used for feeding the cattle but for bedding for the pigs. While I have been writing I have heard such happy peals of laughter from the children who have been helping Ellen.
_Tuesday, February 26_.--As we were out for a walk this afternoon we saw cart after cart coming home from the potato patches. They were loaded with sacks of potatoes, and generally had a woman and one or two children seated on the top of the sacks. The men do the digging and the women and children the picking up. The potatoes are turning out well on the whole. It is no joy to ride in the wagons along the rough track, which can hardly be described as a road. The carts have solid wooden wheels and no springs.
_Saturday, March 2_.--A cry of "Sail, ho!" What a joy! Every one is running hither and thither.
_Monday, March_ 4.--It is difficult to sit down and collect one's thoughts to write. Saturday was a most eventful day. Early in the morning soon after we had returned from bathing a ship was seen on the horizon. It was coming from the east. This is the first time a ship has come from that direction since we have been here. The excitement was great. She was seen to be tacking for the island. The excitement increased. We felt something was in store for us, possibly a mail. In due time Graham and the islanders started forth; there was a breeze and the sea was decidedly rough. As we were returning from seeing them off the women said they could see a flag on the mast-head, which meant that somebody special was on board. We at once decided it must be the Bishop, and hurried home and buckled to, for there was plenty to be done. We saw the boats reach the ship, and to our surprise in about fifteen minutes they were off again. We then felt sure the ship was going to stay and was landing some one. When the boats were getting fairly near the shore we went down. A tremendously heavy shower came on which drove us to seek shelter in a diminutive cave. The sea had become rougher. We watched the boats working their way in from the east; they were being tossed and pitched about like corks and the spray was dashing all over them. Our interest grew as they neared the shore. How we scanned them to see who was on board. As they drew near us we could see there was no bishop, but the people soon recognized two Tristanites, Willie Swain, son of Susan Swain, and Charlie Green, son of Lucy Green, who had been away for two or three years. They both will be welcome, as they are needed at home to work for their widowed mothers. Then a stranger was descried.
The women ran down to help the moment the boat grounded, even Ellen and I helped for a few minutes. Every one was wet through; Graham from head to foot, but happily he was not _hors de combat_. He introduced the stranger as Mr. Keytel, one of the owners of the vessel, who said he had come partly on a holiday trip and partly to gauge the feasibility of starting a trade. The schooner will probably be here about a week. Mr. Keytel had lunch with us. It has been arranged for him to have his meals with us and to sleep at the Repettos' who have a larger house. He is an interesting man with many hobbies, being interested in photography, birds, flowers, fishing, horns, and curios. Directly after lunch the letter mail was brought in by Repetto who was followed by others carrying bags containing a great number of parcels chiefly for the islanders.
What a delight it was to have our letters. I had such a number it was difficult to know which one to open first. We must spend the next few days almost entirely in writing. Graham has a great many letters to answer, and has received communications from the Imperial and Cape Governments which may require lengthy answers. The former Government desires him to discuss with the inhabitants the question of their leaving the island. He has also had a very kind letter from an official of the Agricultural Department at Cape Town, who has had the management of this expedition, which is described as "The Relief Expedition." The Imperial Government has sent the islanders goods to the value of £100. These include one hundred bags of flour, groceries, and a large quantity of crockery. The stores which we ordered from the Army and Navy Stores, London, and from Messrs. Cartwright of Cape Town have arrived safely; and thus we are provided for for two years. We had kept a little flour for an emergency, so directly our guest came we were able to bake a loaf.
_7:35_.--We have been writing almost the whole day, and I feel as if I had very little mind left.
On Sunday the schooner came fairly close in, but the boats did not go out to her, for which we were glad. She has been becalmed today some distance away, but the men decided to go off to her for the bags of flour. They have now been out nearly twelve hours; it is dark, and there is no sign of them. Ellen and I have been round to all the houses leaving tea and sugar so that the women may have a brew to take down to them when they arrive.
Mr. Keytel has been making inquiries about guano; but it seems from what the men say it will be almost impossible to get the pure article, so much rain passes through it washing out all the goodness; also, it is in the tussock and gets mixed with sand. He does not want to trade in cattle or sheep.
_Tuesday, March 5_.--We went down last night to meet the boats. Each brought twenty sacks of flour. So much flour has not been seen on the island for many a day, if ever. It was not a really dark night, so that lanterns were all that were necessary. Every one was helping either to haul up the boats or carry the bags to a high and dry spot, which was not easy work over slippery seaweed. The captain has sent ashore for us a funny little brown puppy.
About half-past ten one of the men put his head in at the front door saying something about the mail at Glass's. Graham went to see what it was, and after some time brought back to our great joy another enormous budget of letters of later date than those first received. We sat up till nearly one o'clock reading them, but were up by six next morning.
This morning after service a meeting was held, at which every adult except two was present, to go into the question of leaving Tristan. Graham told the people, according to instructions received, that if they stayed the Government could not promise to do anything further for them, and that therefore they must not look for help in the future. He put the advantage of going and the disadvantage of remaining as strongly as he could. But notwithstanding they were unanimous in their decision to stay. One or two said they would rather starve here than at the Cape; and old Mary Glass said she would go if the Government would give her a pound a week. Mr. Keytel was there and takes much interest in every question. He is considering whether anything can be done as to trading in sheep, and I hope will try to get his firm to take it up. It would be better for the islanders to sell at a very low price than to have no regular communication. A trade would make them independent of outside help except perhaps a little at first to make the schooner pay. But probably the Government will think it has done enough for some time to come.
This is not the first time that an offer of removal has been made. In 1903 Mr. Chamberlain, who was then Colonial Secretary, in a dispatch to the Governor of the Cape suggested the removal of the inhabitants to the Cape, and that the island be annexed to the Cape Colony. In accordance with this suggestion in January, 1904, H.M.S. _Odin_ arrived at Tristan having on board Mr. Hammond Tooke who was commissioned by the Cape Government to make the following offer to the islanders:--"Should all the inhabitants wish to leave the Island, the Cape and Home Governments would provide them with a free passage, purchase their live stock from them and settle them within 100 miles of Cape Town, allowing them about two acres of land on rent, and would advance them money on loan to start their homes. They were also told that they would be near the sea coast, where they would be able to start fisheries to supply the people of Cape Town ... and that in future they could not rely on a yearly visit from a man-of-war" (Blue Book). Only three families accepting this offer it was withdrawn.
_Wednesday, March_ 6.--Yesterday and to-day rain and a rough sea stopped the unloading. Mr. Keytel has brought a gramophone and has given a concert at the Repettos' house. I have never enjoyed a gramophone so much as I have this one, more particularly the orchestral part.
We have been writing on and off all day. There were more meetings this afternoon. Several matters needed discussion. One concerned the mail which is sometimes opened in rather a promiscuous fashion--even in the boats. It has been agreed that in future it shall be brought straight to this house. Repetto is to continue to act as postmaster, and the opening to be in the presence of all who wish to attend. It has also been agreed that any letters or packages addressed to the Governor, or other supposed authority, Graham shall open on behalf of the islanders. These have come to be thought nobody's property, and to be appropriated by any one into whose hands they might fall.
Mr. Keytel also had a meeting. He has become very interested in the island and is going to do what he can to start a sheep trade, so he wanted to talk it all out with the people. He is keen upon improvements. Amongst other points he suggests that only a few cattle should be kept and that food should be grown to supply them in winter; and that a piece of land be railed off for the pigs which do so much havoc to the turf. He has won the men's confidence and I believe they will do what he wishes. He hopes if all goes well to send a schooner next January to take off the sheep, which will probably have to be sold at a low price. Had we gone to Cape Town we could not have obtained a better result than this unexpected visit of Mr. Keytel promises to yield.
_Thursday, March 7_.--Graham sat up writing till two in the morning. He has now nearly finished his report to the Colonial office, but has still to write to the Cape Government. I too have been writing most of the day. The ship has only been sighted in the far distance, so no business has been done. This is the third successive day of no communication with her. The wind of yesterday blew her far out to sea. We are so longing to open our packages, but it seems better to get the letters that have come to hand answered first.
_Saturday, March 9_.--Yesterday the men went off to the _Greyhound_--I do not think I have mentioned the name of the schooner before--and got back some time before midnight. They have gone off again to-day, after which they have only to go once more.
_Later_, 10 p.m.--We have just opened a package which we thought contained papers, and to our delight have found letters and cards innumerable.
_Monday, March ll_.--The men are bringing in the last load from the schooner. Latterly the weather has been very favourable.
Mr. Keytel has had a splendid opportunity of getting to know the people, their needs, and the possibilities of the island. He thinks there may be an opening not only for sheep-breeding and for the drying of fish, of which there are great quantities, but also for sealing; and talks of coming next December and spending a whole year here with the object of starting the industries. It looks, therefore, as if a future were opening at last for Tristan.
Mr. and Mrs. Beverley of Cape Town have been so kind. They packed a large case full of things, such as children's clothes, remnants of material, puzzles and toys, including a grand doll's house. A case has also been received from the congregation of Holy Trinity Church, many members of which have very kindly written.
_Tuesday, March_ 12.--Still busy writing. In addition to my own I have many letters to write for the islanders to friends in England and elsewhere who have sent them parcels.
Last evening I went to the cemetery to try to make a sketch of Mr. Macan's grave for his grandmother. This is the young man who came in the _Pandora_ in 1904 and was drowned, as it is thought, in trying to swim round a bluff to the west of Burntwood. His body was found the next morning on the beach, but whether he had fallen off the cliff or had been drowned in swimming round is uncertain.
[Illustration: THE CRATER LAKE]
[Illustration: ON THE SUMMIT OF THE PEAK]
Graham has at last had his heart's desire, namely, to ascend the Peak. He and Mr. Keytel with five of the islanders started off early this morning. At seven we could see them on the sky-line of the mountain above the settlement. They got back about six this evening. I am thankful I did not go, for they say it was a tremendous climb, and the last part, over a lava-covered surface, the hardest bit of all. I give a description of the expedition in his own words--
"Mr. Keytel and I had as guides or companions old Sam Swain, Andrew Swain, Tom Rogers, Repetto and young Sam Swain. We started at 5.30 a.m. and in an hour and a half were 2,000 feet up, on the top of what the islanders call the base of the mountain. With the exception of a mile and a half at the end the climbing was now done, and the rest of the way little more than walking up-hill. The first mile from the edge of the base was fairly flat, but over spongy ground thickly studded with stout ferns which came up above our knees. Then we got on to a grassy slope, and from that descended into a gulch, up which we went for about a mile. Getting out of this we next trudged over grassy slopes on which were growing fine specimens of the crowberry. This kind of ground lasted to within a mile and a half of the summit, but the grass became scarcer, and was in patches only. Then all vegetation ceased, I did not notice even moss, and the ascent became much steeper, about as steep as from St. Ann's Well to the top of the Worcestershire Beacon. But the going was much harder because the ground offered no sure foothold, consisting as it did of loose burnt stones and earth which let you down one step for every two taken. Our Cape visitor in the gulch had felt that he could not lift his foot for another step; he kept on, however, right to the top, and I began to feel the same. Although in no sense done up, I found this last bit harder work than all the rest of the way put together. The men felt it too. The end, though, came at last, and we proudly stood on the rim of the crater. It was soon evident to us, however, that we were not on the highest point. That was on the part of the rim opposite to us, and in between was the bottom of the crater. Lying in this bottom was a small lake, perhaps eighty yards by sixty. We made our way down to it and half-way round it, and then sat down to lunch. We found the crater water quite drinkable. After lunch I had a swim in the lake, whereupon Mr. Keytel promptly brought his camera into action. He took many other photographs. Then we set our eyes upon that highest bit of rim and doggedly making for it were soon shouting and waving our caps on the top. It was now twenty minutes past one. At a quarter to three we began to return, and were home by twenty-five minutes past six. The day for the climb and the view was a perfect one."
To-morrow the schooner leaves and with it goes our touch with the outside world. With what it has left behind we shall have enough to occupy us for many a day. We have become quite fond of the little brown puppy, which we have named Jock. It is very teachable, and is immensely interested in the cattle that pass, barking with great energy at them.
_Wednesday, March_ 13.--Mr. Keytel intended leaving to-day but the _Greyhound_ has not made its appearance; it is thought it is becalmed. All the better for our letters. This morning Mr. Keytel photographed a group of all the islanders, then the women only, and afterwards the men. The photographs were taken on the common just outside our house.
_Thursday, March_ 14.--Such a large ship is passing and the men, I think, would go out to it were they not waiting to go out to the schooner, which is now in front of the settlement.
[Illustration: COMPLETE GROUP OF THE ISLANDERS]
_Tuesday, March_ 19.--The _Greyhound_ after all did not leave last week; the sea was too rough for the boats to go out. It did not get off till yesterday, due partly to the caution of the captain who would keep away from land and partly to the weather. We two sent off about one hundred and twenty letters. The captain wanted to see Graham to show him how to read a barometer sent by the Cape Meteorological Commission. I thought I would go too and take Ellen. We had no sooner put out to sea than we realized it was going to be much rougher than we anticipated, and, the _Greyhound_ standing out after the cautious manner of her captain, we had some distance to go. Mr. Keytel was out fishing and was to follow. We all kept well till we got to the ship. Clambering up the rope ladder we were soon on board and being greeted by such a kind old captain. He was seventy-four years old with snow-white hair and had only one eye. Graham soon sank into a chair and was quite past reading barometers or anything else. He could just assent to remarks made to him by the captain and that was all. Ellen was in no better plight and sat on a bench near me, and I cannot say I felt cheerful, for the schooner, which was empty and had not much ballast, was rolling considerably. I carried on various conversations and strained my eyes to see if Mr. Keytel's boat was coming. It was a long wait, and when at last he did get on board he had gifts to bestow upon the men before we could get off. How thankful we were when that moment came; even then there were many adieux to be said. I was thankful to see that Graham and Ellen were capable of descending the ladder. The wind was rising and the sea sweeping in from the west. But I felt complete confidence in the men, they are such good seamen and so thoroughly understand their boats and what they are capable of. The two boats began to race, and we simply flew through the water. It was splendid. We soon gained the shore, and it was with no little satisfaction we saw ourselves at home. Then we retired to our beds, Graham not to appear again until next day, for he had a racking headache. After lunch Ellen and I tried to tidy the sitting-room, which was strewn with packages.
To-day has been entirely taken up with the distribution of goods amongst the people. The boxes had first to be sorted out; one had no name on, and one of the crockery cases could not at first be found, having been addressed differently to the other Government cases. These crockery cases took some time to unpack. The contents made a grand show laid out in Bob Green's house. They were--
1 dozen brown earthenware teapots. 5 dozen plates. 5 dozen soup-plates. Vegetable dishes. 6 dozen cups and saucers. 1 dozen flowered bowls and covers. 2 dozen tumblers. 5 dozen egg-cups. 8 saucepans. Pails and other useful things; it is a most useful gift.
I must now describe the people's way of dividing these goods, which is their usual method of distribution. When an equal number of each set had been given round to every family, and there were some over but not enough to go round again, they put these with those things of which there were not enough to go round, such as the teapots, saucepans and pails. Then they arranged these in seventeen lots on the floor, taking care to make each lot, as far as was possible, of the same value. The number seventeen was chosen because there are seventeen families. One man now turned his back, generally looking out at the door; another standing over the things pointed with his finger to one of the lots and said "That." The man whose back was turned called out in answer the name of the woman of a family, till each family had had a turn. The people stood or sat round. They have apparently worked this method out for themselves and find it creates less feeling than any other. This took all the morning.
The afternoon was devoted to the division of material and clothing at the Repettos' house. There was a goodly supply. A lady at Eastbourne who for many years has taken a deep interest in the islanders, had sent enough grey woollen material for all the women to have a jacket. Others sent two large bales of brown calico, a good quantity of red and grey flannel, and enough strong blue serge and brown tweed for every man to have a pair of trousers. There was also sent a great quantity of clothes. This "sharing out" went on till dusk. Finally a large box of sweets, the gift of Mr. Keytel, was distributed among the children. When we got home we began to unpack our own parcels. There are some large packages of papers which take a long time to sort and divide.
After our unwonted doings we are all feeling rather tired and not capable of doing much, but still we have begun school, as the children had a holiday all the time the schooner was here.
This afternoon I went up with some medicine for Mrs. Henry Green, who has caught a bad chill. As she seems very short of warm clothing I have given her a jacket and skirt of those sent me.
_Wednesday, March_ 27.--The Cape Meteorological Commission has sent Graham the following instruments with a request that he would take regular observations--
An aneroid barometer. A Fortin mercurial barometer. Dry and wet bulb hygrometers. A maximum thermometer. A minimum thermometer. A five-inch rain gauge.
The hygrometers and thermometers are to be kept in a Stevenson's screen. Whether he will be able to take the readings as often as is suggested is doubtful, but it will be interesting work.
Some rather amusing letters have been received. One from a high Turkish official runs thus--
"21 _Septembre_, 1906.
"MONSIEUR LE GOUVERNEUR,
"Je me permets de vous prier d'avoir l'extrême obligeance de m'indiquer le nombre total des habitants de Tristan da Cunha avec Dépendances et la quantité de ceux qui appartiennent à la religion mahométane, avec l'indication du nombre des Sunites ou Chütes et de leur nationalité respective.
"Dans l'attente de votre réponse je vous prie, Monsieur le Gouverneur, de vouloir bien agréer mes salutations distinguées et mes remerciments anticipées."
There is a very interesting letter from the Dixie professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge, who asks Graham to collect for him whelks, limpets, periwinkles, snails, cowries, etc. Here is an extract from it--
"It is not, however, the shells I care for, but the teeth of the animals within. I have just one species from Tristan--a small land shell of an interesting genus (Balea). One species is European, one Japanese, the third Tristan. Its nearest ally is an enormous Eurasian genus (Clausilia) of seven hundred species which hardly gets into Africa and does not cross Behring Strait, though there are thirty more in Peru and one in Porto Rico. So you see how strangely isolated your Tristan species is. Its nearest cousins are in Tunis and Abyssinia. I fancy the land shells of Tristan will _not_ have a Magellanic character like the one Kerguelen species. Anyhow they are sure to be intensely interesting."
_Good Friday_.--We have had a beautiful day, just like a spring day at home. We had service at 10.30 which lasted a little over an hour. About fifty-eight were present. The men are not attending so well now. The two new arrivals do not come to church, and I think it induces the others to stay away. We had service again at three o'clock, after which Graham and I went to inquire after Mrs. H. Green, who has been ailing with rheumatism. It is an old complaint, and due, it is thought, to exposure on the mountain years ago. She went up with a party on to the Base; a fog came on, and she became separated from her companions and wandered hopelessly about with her dog. The fog was followed by a heavy thunderstorm with vivid lightning, and she was drenched through. Barefoot and wet to the bone she lay all night in the ferns with the dog at her side. Next morning her hands were so swollen with the cold she had no use in them until the sun came out and warmed them. Her only food was birds' eggs which she occasionally sucked. She was not found till the next afternoon, though a search party had been out twice to look for her. She was in bed for a week, and ever since has been subject every few years to prolonged rheumatic attacks accompanied by great depression which often lasts for months. She is a nice-minded woman, very quiet, and grateful for anything done for her. In this she is unlike many who accept everything as a matter of course.
The three Repetto girls and Sophy have been weeding the garden, which has been rather neglected lately. We have planted some trees in it grown from Eucalyptus seed collected on Table Mountain. I planted it here in pots which I kept in the dark, and it came up well. About a hundred and sixty sturdy little trees are the result. In years to come they may be useful for firewood. In a book on forestry left here by Mr. Tooke, they are said to be very useful trees to grow for this purpose, as they bear lopping well.
_Easter Sunday_.--At the Holy Communion to-day there were twenty present; some coming for the first time, and one or two men coming who had not communicated since Mr. Dodgson's time. All who had been prepared for Confirmation were invited except the boys and girls.
I am thinking of starting a Bible class for girls on Sundays. I feel I do so little for them. We see most of those girls whose ages range from nine to thirteen.
A thunderstorm has just passed over us; the effects on sea and land were most beautiful, everything assuming such a vivid colouring as one only occasionally sees.
_Wednesday, April 3_.--We got up early this morning, as Graham was going to the Ponds, but Henry Green sent down to say it would be better to put off going until to-morrow, as it looked like rain. One or two of the girls are going, so I have decided to go too. I believe it is a stiffish climb. We spent the afternoon among the cases trying to find one containing material. Then we unpacked a kettle, which we badly need; we have had lately to boil our water in a saucepan.
_Friday, April 5_.--Yesterday we again got up early and were ready to start for the Ponds, when Henry again sent down to say it was going to rain.
We have two invalids to visit now. The one is Mrs. Henry Green who makes no progress at all, and seems very miserable. I really think she ought to be in bed, but she says their bedroom window does not open, and she feels the heat of the room. The other is Charlotte Swain, who apparently has a housemaid's knee. It is very painful and much swollen. I have painted it with iodine, which has reduced the swelling.
A little time ago we happened to say to Tom Rogers how tiring we found cooking in the sitting-room owing to the fire being on the hearth, which entailed constant stooping. Two or three days afterwards he came to measure the fire-place, and that afternoon he and Bob Green fixed two large stones, raising the fire a good foot. But the men are not always so ready to help. We wanted them to build on an extra room to our house, as there is no larder and the kitchen is very small. Our bedroom and the kitchen share the same window, and when the wind is contrary the smoke pours into the bedroom. We thought the west-end wall might be taken down and the room built without very great difficulty. All hands met to-day to consider this, when most of the men refused to do anything, though some were quite willing to help. The life here very much conduces to every man looking out for himself. Graham tried to point out to them how important it was they should build a church and house if they want a clergyman or teacher to come here in the future; and that they could not expect Lucy Green and Betty Cotton to always give up their houses; but they did not seem inclined to do anything. If a clergyman or teacher came they would like him to board with one of themselves--an impossible arrangement. They do not understand the need of a larder, the greater part of them keeping groceries in the bedroom, sometimes under the bed. We have to keep a large barrel of flour, our bread and milk in the sitting-room.
_Saturday, April 6_.--The men appeared _en masse_ early this morning to say they were ready to start upon the house. We thanked them, but under the circumstances thought it best not to have the work done. They ought really to build on to their own houses, for some are very short of bedrooms, and the sitting-room has nearly always to be used as a bedroom too. They can build if they like, for a few years ago on his marriage Bill Rogers built a house which looks very well; getting timbers for the roof is the great difficulty. We hear that Lavarello was very sorry he had refused his help to build the room and that night paced up and down vexed with himself for so doing.
_Sunday, April 7_.--This afternoon I started the Girls' Class half-an-hour before service. As soon as I left the house all seven girls flew round the corner to join me. For the last hour they had been waiting at Betty Cotton's just opposite. They are very pleased at having a class. It makes such a difference teaching children to whom almost everything in the Bible is new. They listened so attentively. We have begun with Genesis and I do hope to make the teaching practical. After service we went to the Henry Greens', who live up the hill in a direct line from here. She is much the same. Chris is at last beginning to walk, but cannot speak a word. I believe they fear he is dumb. He understands very well what is said to him. I never saw a child tumble about more in his attempts to walk, but he does not seem to mind a bit and can walk backwards as easily as forwards.
_Tuesday, April 9_.--Repetto has been levelling the floor of our bedrooms preparatory to putting down some green linoleum, which we got to save labour, as it is so difficult to sweep and keep clean rough boards. Sailor-like, he slung the beds to a beam of the ceiling, which avoided taking them to pieces.
_Thursday, April 11_.--I have just finished a serge skirt; it has many gores in it, and has turned out better than I expected, indeed, it looks quite tailor-made.
We are having an incursion of rats, and traps are going off at all hours of the day and night. Most of the rats caught are small and more like mice. The other day my favourite chicken walked into the sitting-room and got its head caught in a trap. It extricated itself, but was so stunned it fell over and could not walk; it has since recovered.
_Monday, April 15_.--As there are holes in the roof it had been arranged that the back side of the house should be re-thatched, and the men, fourteen in all, came to-day to do it. We got up soon after five to be ready for them, and had time to go down for a bathe. They began by cutting the tussock in the garden. While they were doing that we partly emptied the loft. By the time we came back from school they were in full swing. After taking off the old thatch they swept the loft, and a nice time we had of it below. As soon as possible Ellen buckled to to sweep. When their work was done they had tea with biscuits and rock cakes. Nine hundred bundles of tussock were used to thatch the one side of the house. The men fasten the thatch to the rafters with tarred string using a large iron needle. Three men work together, one in the loft, one on the roof, and a third tossing up bundles. We had sent to the Cape for lead to put along the ridge in the place of turf, and this they have put on. We hope now the roof will be rain and dust-proof, and the walls less damp.
Poor Mrs. H. Green is still feeling very miserable; she manages to get about and that is all. Her eldest daughter, Ethel, who is just sixteen, is getting on so well at school. She is by far the best reader, reading quite fluently, and writes very well. She is very staid, and we think she might possibly act as school-mistress in the future. Her brother Alfred, two years older, has perseveringly stuck to his reading. He can hardly master even short words. Still, he is getting on, especially in writing and arithmetic. He is a very clean, neat and orderly lad, and has greatly brightened in appearance since he began coming to school. The elder girls will not do as well as the younger, who will soon outpace them. The former have lately been learning to write letters. Up till now two or three women and Repetto have written for the whole colony.
[Illustration: A GROUP OF ALL THE MEN]
_Saturday, April 20_.--We have been thinking with much satisfaction that our letters taken by the _Grey-hound_ will probably be received in England to-day. Since she left a ship has not so much as been seen.
This has been an afternoon of knocks at the door. First, Repetto's, who came to replace the tin round the pipe on the roof, but it beginning to rain he helped instead to put together a churn. We have started making butter. Our next visitor was little Willie Repetto, who came for thyme and parsley. Next came Rebekah to borrow the boot-brushes and blacking for her brother, a weekly request; then Ned Green for matches for his grandmother. He was followed by Sophy who wanted medicine for her mother, and she by Arthur Rogers for leeks for his mother's soup. Lastly, came Rebekah again with Mabel for nails for nailing birds' skins on their house wall to dry them. This morning there was a request for baking-powder, and Harry Swain brought a pair of horns for a birthday offering. Many days are like this, and our house often resembles a shop.
It was Mary Repetto's birthday this week. I made her a pretty light-blue pinafore. She was very pleased with it, and her mother so much so, that Mary was sent with a live fowl as a return offering, but we did not accept it, as we want them to learn we do not wish to be repaid for presents.
_Sunday, April 21_.--We have been having good attendances in church lately. The men are again attending well, and two new-comers have started. On Sunday evenings, there being no service, we read aloud. Graham begins, and just now is reading _Religions of the World_. Then I read; my present book is called _Holiness of Life_. I have just been preparing a lesson for the women. I find Ryle's _Expositions of the Gospels_ a great help, they are so simple and practical.
_Wednesday, April 24_.--We have at last made the expedition to the Ponds. On Monday evening Henry Green sent down word that he was starting early next morning. So on Tuesday we rose at five, and two hours later Graham and I set off ahead. We were glad to get a start so as to ensure a rest before the others came up. We went over the common and down to and along Big Beach. After walking over a sandy stretch there, we climbed up the side of the mountain on to a narrow path and there awaited them. Will Swain came hurrying up looking very hot, he thought we had got down too low. Soon there joined us Henry Green, who was the guide, Rebekah, Ethel, and Lily and Ruth Swain. We then followed the narrow and ascending path across Plantation Gulch, where on the left was a yawning precipice.
[Illustration: THE PATH OF PLANTATION GULCH]
Several halts were called, during which we picked and ate berries. It was a long and stiff climb. Towards the top the grass got longer and we had often to clamber under the branches of trees, of which there were scarcely any lower down. When we reached the top the path led up a stony gulch, from which there was a beautiful view up a valley. Then we had to climb and pass along the steep side of a hill. After this we were on flatter ground. It was very misty and the scenery reminded me much of the moors of Scotland. We saw many young mollyhawks sitting near their nests and showing white in the undergrowth. We now walked over more level ground, along what Henry called a road but I should hardly call a trail. Then again over very uneven ground and through high ferns. By eleven we were at First Lagoon Gulch, which resembled the dry bed of a wide and deep river. There we had a light lunch. In about twenty minutes we started again. Our course lay up a steep hill and over much the same sort of ground as before. At noon we were above the ponds. It now came on to rain hard. We tried to shelter under the edge of the cliff overhanging them, but by the time the rain ceased the girls were wet through. There was a thick mist and we could not even see the ponds, of which there are three, and which lay far below. After some deliberation we decided not to descend to them, and turned our steps homeward. We returned at a good rate, the girls flying in front of us. Will Swain took his own way back. With a thick mist hanging all round it would have been impossible to find the way without a guide. At intervals we stopped to wring the wet out of our skirts. I was thankful when we got to the gulch where we had to descend; though the wind was there blowing gales. We got down the first part of the mountain very quickly, but only by frequently sitting down on the long wet grass to slip down steep pitches. When we got to Plantation Gulch we found a fire and tea awaiting us--the work of Will Swain and the girls. Now we knew why they had hurried on. It was excellent and most refreshing. We were home by three. The next day Rebekah came to wash our muddy clothes. She had made dreadful rents in her skirt, and as she has no idea of mending beyond patching I have darned them for her.
We found Henry Green a most kind and considerate guide. He constantly made short detours in search of the easiest path and often broke off branches to clear the way. I hear he told the men afterwards that he had not thought the "Missus" would have been able to walk so well. I asked him as we went up the hill which was the worst day he had ever been out in on the sea. He said, "The day the _Surrey_ was here, and we were landing the luggage. The wind tore the sail of our boat and so we had not the same control of her."
_Saturday, April 27_.--Last night was so cold it kept us all wakeful. Soon after four we were disturbed by a rat, and I thought it a good opportunity to get up and make up the dough. Ellen lit the paraffin stove and warmed the milk and I made the bread and then retired to bed again.
_Wednesday, May 8_.--While I write Graham and Henry Green are engrossed in a game of Tiddley Winks. Henry's wife came yesterday to stay with us, as we thought a change might do her good. Her rheumatism is better, but she is still feeling ill and depressed. She slept in Ellen's room and Ellen on the sofa. This evening she made up her mind to go home, but says she will come again tomorrow. Henry brought a bundle of wood and is sending milk twice a day because she is here.
_Friday, May 10_.--We do not go out much for walks; they are rather pointless without an object. But when it is dusk we often go to the top of the cliffs for a breath of fresh air.
_Sunday, May 12_.--Sophy Rogers said to me as we were going up to the class, "We shall miss it when you are gone." I felt encouraged.
_Tuesday, May 14_.--Mrs. H. Green did not come back to sleep, but spends the day here now. She told them at home if she stayed the night here she felt as if she should go out of her mind. She has her meals with us and Graham cracks jokes to make her laugh.
Just as we had finished dinner to-day there was a hasty knock at the door and Bob Green rushed in. We thought he was going to cry "Sail, ho," but it was to say there was a sea-elephant on the Flat Rocks. These are about four miles away to the east of the Hardies. We at once started off, Mrs. Green coming with us as far as her sister's. A number of women and children were on the way; the men had already gone armed with their guns. At the potato patches we had to descend the cliff and go for some way along the shore. The men awaited us at a point where the sea was breaking on to the cliff and helped us over. We had to watch our opportunity and make a run for it. We were now in sight of the sea-elephant, which looked like a black log lying on the beach. It was a young one and measured about twelve feet in length. When discovered it was asleep. The coast is very picturesque just there, high rocks standing out in the sea. We all trooped home together and got back in the early evening.
_Wednesday, May 15_.--The men were all out today cutting up the sea-elephant, which when boiled down makes excellent oil for burning.
A ship was seen off the settlement, but it was too late to let the men know in time for them to get back and go out to it. It came well in and we regretted it was not taking our letters.
_Thursday, May 16_.--A four-masted ship was descried towards dusk.
_Friday, May 17_.--This morning Repetto came to the school window and asked me to go and see his wife who had been taken ill in the night with a bad heart attack, and for about two hours had been unable to speak. I found her in much the same condition. After taking a little brandy she felt better, and improved as the day wore on.
_Thursday, May 23_.--The cattle are looking so different this year; the men say they have not seen so much grass at this time of the year for years. When Mr. Keytel was here he showed the men how to shoot an ox, dispatching one with his first shot. I am glad to say that since that they have tried to do the same. The men are longing for a ship as they have run out of tobacco. Scarcely any one possesses matches now, so we have constant requests for them.
We have begun asking two at a time of the older people to have tea with us on Wednesdays. The younger married people we shall ask to supper, as they do not mind coming out at night. This afternoon we had old Caroline Swain who is seventy-nine and her sister Mary Glass who is ten years younger. Caroline has been more or less of an invalid for many years. We glean much of the past history of the island from the old people. They have been telling us of the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh in the _Galatea_ in 1867, in honour of whom the Settlement is called Edinburgh. They remember well his having dinner in this room, and how while he was having it, all unknown to him they vied with one another in trying on his hat.
In view of having an entertainment, we are teaching the girls some of the "Golden Boat songs" as well as recitations which the boys also are learning. It is rather an effort, but we think it will give pleasure. Some of the infants are learning "Three little kittens" and say it charmingly.
[Illustration: CATTLE, NEAR POTATO PATCHES]
_Wednesday, May 29_.--To-day has been a fête day. It is Will Swain's birthday. He is one of the two young men lately returned from the Cape which, I suppose, accounts for the festivities being on such a grand scale. Two sheep were killed, and the Swains gave a dinner to every one on the island. The elders had dinner at the Hagans' who have the largest room, and the children at Susan Swain's. They sent us a cooked chicken for our dinner.
_Saturday, June 8_.--So far we have had a much better winter than last year, there has been more sunshine and less wind.
Graham is gradually getting the meteorological apparatus up. He and Repetto have put in the garden what resembles a meat-safe. It is the screen for the thermometers. I objected to its being placed in the middle of the garden, and so it has been removed lower down where it cannot be seen from the house, rather, I fear, to Repetto's regret who regards it as a very desirable ornament.
_Friday, June 14_.--Today William has been getting kelp to put on our garden. As the gate into the garden is not large enough for the cart to pass through a portion of the wall had to be pulled down.
_Thursday, June 20_.--Last Sunday evening Mr. And Mrs. Repetto came in. After a talk we had reading aloud and sang some hymns. One wishes one could be of more real help to the people. Yesterday we had old Eliza Hagan and Lucy Green to tea. Ellen sang to them some of Moody and Sankey's hymns to the accompaniment of her autoharp. Graham told them we thought of camping out a night or two on the mountain; at which they were much concerned and tried hard to dissuade us. At last Eliza said a comfortable air of conviction, "Mumma won't go with Puppa." He conveyed them home one on either arm, both being rather decrepit.
_Saturday, June 22_.--We are having a spell of cold weather, and snow is to be seen on the top of the mountain. It is more like our winter at home. Fortunately there is not much wind.
_Thursday, June 27_.--Today the men have all been working on a patch of ground near here, just across the Big Watering, which Henry has let us have for wheat. It has to be sown this month. They seem pleased to do it. They have been fairly busy lately cutting a large quantity of wood for the winter, which is piled near their houses. Old Sam Swain and Tom Rogers go out every month fishing in order to find out for Mr. Keytel when the fish are at their best.
Last night we had Tom and his mother to supper. She appeared soon after 5 o'clock and they stayed till about 9. We had fish cakes and a semolina mould with jam. Tom much enjoyed playing Tiddley Winks, and I think would have gone on happily till midnight. We ended the evening with a hymn and prayers.
_Saturday, June 29_.--We have spent the afternoon in the garden moving some of the Eucalyptus plants. Several are over a foot high and have very long tap-roots. We cannot plant them in any other garden, as the people say they would infect the soil with the white mould which is all over this garden. This mould has already rotted the roots of one or two. Ned and Charlie helped me to weed and to put small stones round the bed for a border. Little Charlie pulled up some Love-in-a-mist thinking it was a weed. When he found out what he had done, he turned away and buried his face in his arm and wept. We tried to console him, but it was some time before he could get over it. "He's skeered," said Ned.
_Wednesday, July 3_.--We have a little handmaid, Mary Repetto. She is delighted to come and is most capable. She comes for an hour twice a day, and receives a shilling a week. Early this morning Ben had a return of his fits, which seem rather worse this time; he has had five today. His sister Mrs. H. Green is much better. On Monday I took her to the wheatfield to help me to sow. We sowed the seed broadcast while Graham and her husband raked it in.
_Friday, July 5_.--We had our entertainment yesterday at five. I think every one was present with the exception of old Caroline Swain. I found out just at the last that the children were not changing their clothes, so I bustled them off home to do so. The whole affair lasted about one hour and a half and was the first of the kind the people had had on the island. Graham began with a reading, "Harry" from the Gordon League Ballads, and caused much laughter when he curtsied as Jim's wife did before the Queen. Some of the recitations were rather feeble, but perhaps we only were conscious of it. William in one piece was much pleased with shouldering Graham's gun, and when the auspicious moment came for him to pretend to shoot (a small boy at his side letting off a cap pistol), he looked quite white in the face. In "We are little sailors," the girls very effectually used pocket-handkerchiefs for sails. In another song they had to march, clap, and jump. The big girls enjoyed it quite as much as the younger. Charlotte Swain, who is rather fat, could not jump for laughing, and said, "I shall laugh a lot more yet." We finished with the National Anthem, which was quite new to them.
_Thursday, July 18_.--It is a long time since I have written in my diary, but I have twenty letters waiting to be dispatched. We have been even longer this year than last without being able to communicate with a ship. It is just four months since the schooner left. Every one is longing for a ship. The people are short of soap, but we have been able to give them a little.
We have been having decidedly cold weather which has told upon the young lambs, several having died at night.
A day or two ago I said to Robert Lavarello, a boy of ten who is supposed to be somewhat of a cook, "Could you make a loaf of bread?" "Yes," he answered, "I think I could." "Well," I said, "try, and bring the loaf for me to see." The next morning he appeared before breakfast triumphantly bearing a plate with a loaf on it covered with a white cloth to which was pinned the Italian tricolour. His cheeks glowed with pleasure as he displayed the loaf kneaded and baked by himself. It was far more successful than one I had baked that morning which had burst when taken out of the tin and which I was careful to keep in the background! As a reward he was presented with a tin of jam and a large leek which we heard was much enjoyed by his father, who ate it raw.
The Repettos came to supper last night. She looked so elegant in a muslin blouse, and with a very pretty print handkerchief, decorated with Swiss chalets and edelweiss, on her head. For supper we had fish soup thickened with vegetables, stewed apricots and tea. Our guests always eat so sparingly.
_Thursday, July 25_.--Sitting at breakfast we heard the joyful sound "Sail, ho!" We jumped up to look and then settled down to writing. The men were out at their potato patches, and when they got back decided not to try for the ship as she was too far east to be caught. Our hope of a ship is always raised after a north-west wind which appears to blow ships this way. But on many days this month had one come it would have been impossible for the boats to have gone out, as it was either too rough at sea or there was too much surf.
_Friday, July 26_.--Mrs. Repetto, who came in to ask me to show her how to knit my kind of heel, told me the men could have caught the ship yesterday if they had liked, but they "dallied about." If Repetto had been here I think perhaps a boat would have gone as I know he is anxious to get his letters off. In answer to a request from him Mr. B---- of Drogheda, Ireland, has sent a beautiful pig-skin satchel to be used as post-bag when going off to ships. It is a real boon, as the letters so often got wet.
A great number of illustrated papers was brought by the _Greyhound_, which we enjoy looking through when too lazy for harder work. There were also some _Fortnightly_ and _National Reviews_, and the _Nineteenth Century_, which Graham enjoys and sometimes reads aloud to me. He gets through more general reading than at home. Wet days are spent by him in opening cases and arranging the contents in the loft in most precise order. Woe betide us if we disarrange anything.
The entertainment we had was so much enjoyed the people would like to have it again, so perhaps at the next full moon we may repeat it.
_Friday, August 2_.--We had the entertainment last night. At a rehearsal in the morning we made several improvements in the pieces. The "Hen and her Chickens" was charming. The tiniest children sat on the floor grouped round the clucking hen as her chicks, and when she got up to go they followed, giving delightful little jumps until they disappeared with her into the next room. Then another piece, "Thomas and his Donkey," was improved--at least so the audience thought--by the donkey suddenly kicking up his heels and throwing his rider, who lay sprawling on the floor. I think the people, especially the men, find the winter evenings long. Most of them go to bed betimes. Whenever we look out of our passage window long before we are thinking of going to bed ourselves, no lights are to be seen in the houses, unless it is Repetto's, who reads in bed when he can get oil.
Poor little Jock is having such bad fits. We sometimes think we shall have to put an end to him.
The thermometer registered 44-1/2 degrees last night. There was a cry of "Sail, ho!" raised this morning, but the supposed ship turned out to be a cloud. We have learnt to take these cries calmly for they often end in nothing.
_Saturday, August 10_.--On Wednesday we gave the school a holiday. It came about in this way. Will Swain arranged with Bill Green that they two should give Graham a treat. He was to try his hand at driving a team of oxen. The treat was quite a success. They fetched two loads of wood which had been cut and left on the hillside about four miles off. The load has to be built up very carefully. For the foundation a strong spreading branch is chosen with the trunk end turning up like the runners of a sleigh. This branch is called the "rider," and on it are piled the other branches to the height of about four feet. The load is bound together by cords, and the oxen attached to it by a strong chain. Graham managed to drive his load without upsetting it and with only the loss of one piece. The load was a present to us, and was, we believe, a delicate return for money lent the two men to buy spades with when the _Greyhound_ was here. Graham had said they could work it out by digging the wheat-field, but as "all hands" did that, probably the two thought they would like to give the wood.
Today William brought in a bird which he called a "Starchy," but which is just like our old friend the garden thrush. He says there are lots of them on the hill. They have no song.
A great many of the Eucalyptus trees have died. We think we ought to have transplanted them earlier, but were told that July was the right month and so waited until then.
_Wednesday, August 14_.--We are awaiting our usual Wednesday guests. On these occasions I always wear a white skirt and blouse. Of our friends, Mrs. Repetto is the only one who has attempted any elegance, most have come in jackets. Yesterday, I am sorry to say, she had another heart attack. The children came down for some brandy. We went up to see her and she seemed only half-conscious. I thought a hot bottle might do her good, so went home to get one. This morning when I went in she was up and lying in a deck-chair in front of the fire. It is difficult to know what these attacks of pain at the heart arise from. I believe they begin with shivering.
On Monday, as I was going up to school, I saw Eliza Hagan waiting about. Soon I heard "Mumma," and then followed an invitation to four-o'clock tea that day, and as I was going, "Puppa must come too" was called out. Accordingly we appeared punctually at the hour named. A table was spread with a white cloth. Susan Hagan, Rebekah, and Willie Swain were present, but only four partook of the tea, our hostess, Mrs. Lucy Green, who lives in the house, and ourselves. We sat on a bench drawn up to the table which was graced by a most excellent cake, and we learnt that a quantity of butter and six eggs had been used in the making of it. The large room was lit by a very dim light. Ellen was invited next day.
_Friday, August 16_.--We have been up to the top of Bugsby Hole again. We had taken Ellen, and on our return found William had been thoughtful enough to feed the fowls, boil some water at his home and make us tea. He had also fetched a load of wood as a present. Of his own accord at morning prayers he always places our Bibles on the table ready for us.
We have now been five months without a ship.
_Thursday, August 22_.--Early this morning we were greeted by the news that a steamer was passing in the far distance and could just be discerned. The sea was far too rough for the men to think of going out. But it is something even to see a ship. Perhaps another will follow.
We are having quite a cold spell of weather with a bitter wind. After school I went down to the seashore to take some photographs, as there was a fine sea with rather grand effects.
Graham went for a walk on the shore this afternoon, taking little Jock, who unfortunately picked up a stinging fish; Graham got it from him, but was too late to prevent its stinging him. He gave little squeals, and finally fell down as if dead. Graham picked him up and made for home. On the top of the cliff he stopped to rest, where, upon being put down Jock opened his eyes, when Graham rubbed him, and before long he came round and seemed quite himself again.
_Saturday, August 24_.--This has been an exciting day. I was baking bread when there came a quick tap at the passage window. Mrs. Bob Green had run down to tell us there was a steamer to the west. I at once got out the letters, added hasty post-scripts and dated them. Graham soon came hurrying in and also began to write. He made up his mind to go as the sea was very smooth. Two boats put off. From the higher ground we could see the steamer, which was coming along very slowly. The boats had a good long wait for it. When it came up our men were allowed on board and stayed for about an hour. It was making its first voyage and was bound for Bombay, but was calling at Durban. We, therefore, hope our letters will reach England the first week in October. Graham said the Peak, seen from the water, was covered with snow. The thermometer lately has now and again been as low as 44 degrees.
We find we are sixty-five minutes behind time. The people had told us our clocks were slow. The Hagans have on their doorstep a sun-mark cut by a shipwrecked captain, from which they can tell the time. Only a few families own clocks.
_Monday, August 26_.--Poor little Jock is no more. He did not turn up for his breakfast, but I thought perhaps he was having a game with John Glass's puppy. When we came back from morning service I went in search of him but could not find him. Just before lunch Susan Repetto ran in to tell us as she was driving the geese across the Big Watering she had found him lying dead in the water. We went to look, and there a little way up the stream, was poor little Jock. He had no doubt had a fit and rolled down the bank.
We are revolving in our minds the question of having to stay with us from Tuesday till Saturday one of the younger girls of each family by turn. The child could quite well sleep on the sofa. Ellen is anxious we should have them and would bathe them and do their hair. We think this plan might teach them ways of cleanliness and in other respects influence them for good. When at school I often have to dispatch a scholar to the stream. It is surprising what a presentable appearance the people have, but we want them to have something more.
We were so amused on Sunday by three boys, just before morning service, bringing this message from William, "Would Mr. Barrow lend him his boots to go to church in?" Ellen's reply was short: "This is not a boot shop," and tickled the little boys immensely. Many and various have been the requests, but I think that one surpasses them all. One day a small child was sent to borrow our broom. An old one was lent which has not been seen again. Several of our goods are already bespoken in view of our departure eighteen months hence.
The dogs have been worrying and killing sheep, and yesterday drove three into the sea, where they were drowned. As a result several of the dogs have been shot. Complaints were made to Repetto about his dogs, and half in temper he picked up his white fox-terrier and hammered it to death, as he thought, and threw it into the tussock. In a few days it crawled back to the house and had to be shot. Animal life is little thought of here. It is no wonder the dogs prey as they do, for many are half famished.
_Thursday, August 29_.--Rose Swain came to stay with us yesterday. She was a little tearful at first, but as she is only seven this was but natural. In appearance she might be an English child, having a fair skin and light wavy hair. She is not very strong, but is quick in learning.
_Saturday, August 31_.--This week the men have been building one or two huts at the potato patches as they have there no shelter from the rain. They are actually putting in fire-places. The people often get wet, and as a consequence suffer a good deal from lumbago, which they call "the stitch."
Ellen has begun a class for little boys and girls on Sunday afternoon. She is also taking in hand Caroline Swain, the oldest inhabitant, whom she calls for each Sunday to take to church, and again on Tuesdays to take her to the women's meeting; for which attention her old friend is very grateful.
At the end of afternoon service there is a practice for the next Sunday. Two or three weeks ago we tried part-singing much to the pleasure of the men, who now all come up to the front. What they need is a man's voice to lead them. Ellen and I do what we can, but it is rather a case of the blind leading the blind.
_Thursday, September 5_.--On Tuesday we saw a number of people running eastward, and meeting some one he told us Graham had seen a sea-elephant on Big Beach and had gone to shoot it. It appears he had started for a short walk on the cliffs, and seeing something dark lying on the beach, went down there, and saw what looked like a sea-elephant. He ran home for his gun and sent word to the men. Returning to the beach he shot it. When the elder men saw it, one or two said it was a sea-leopard, and such it proved to be. It was the _stenorhyncus leptonyx_, the most powerful seal of the Antarctic, and a rare visitor to Tristan, only two others having been seen by the islanders. It had short, light-grey hair, in parts turning to green, and measured in length ten and a half feet.
We have been having very cold weather, and yesterday morning the thermometer registered 40 degrees. Several slight snowstorms passed over the settlement and left their traces on the hills. It is many years since snow has fallen so low down.
We have little Edith Swain staying with us. Her mother was rather doubtful about her coming, but hearing, I think, that Rose was happy, she decided to let her come, and sent her looking very tidy. The child seems quite contented and happy and is no trouble. Each little guest goes back with a new undergarment.
_Saturday, September 7_.--I think people at home would be amused with the contents of our sitting-room, which at present has to be kitchen and larder. On a side-table are a ham in pickle, a goose, butter and eggs; on the fire an array of pots, and around it clothes airing for the Sabbath. The fact is the kitchen stove-pipe has collapsed. Repetto is trying to make a new piping out of oil drums. We turn out most excellent bread now, so that our many failures of the past have somewhat sunk into oblivion.
Early this morning I was called by Mrs. Lavarello to her boy Robert who had injured his leg in cutting flax. The cut was a bad one and ought to have been stitched; I did not attempt that, but washed and bandaged it and left injunctions that he should give it complete rest.
_Tuesday, September 10_.--We had the pleasure of seeing a ship today. The weather was anything but good for going out, and after they reached the shore two or three of the men decided not to go. It was really hardly fit and got more squally as the day went on. The ship, it was evident, wanted to call. When the boats got fairly near a squall came on and they nearly missed her. Indeed, they turned to come home, but the captain saw them and brought his ship round. She was the _Loch Katrine_, which called here last year and took our second batch of letters. The men returned home in one boat, having left the other at the Penguin Rookery some way east. They had a hard pull up from there and they and their goods were wet through. When we were at supper Henry Green came in with presents from the captain: a tin of Danish butter, two packets of compressed hops, and an especial packet for myself containing some Brown Windsor soap and a sprig of heather--a charming thought. I had another parcel from the steward, who sent soap and a bottle of scent. Our kettle has begun to leak, so we asked Repetto to try for one from the ship; and the captain kindly gave him a good old copper one, which, though it has a hole, we think will do us good service, for our men are very clever at mending their pots and kettles.
Rob did a dreadful deed yesterday. Graham and I had taken him with us for a walk up the hill, sitting down several times to have a talk. As we got up to return we suddenly missed him, and whistled. Just then Johnny Green and Arthur Rogers came in sight and called out "Rob has killed a sheep." We could not believe it for he had been gone only a minute or two, but he answered the whistle and then we saw the blood on his mouth and knew it was only too true. If only the boys had called out sooner we should have been in time to save the poor sheep's life. It is rather a blow to us, for if he does this sort of thing he will have to be shot, and that would be dreadful for he is such a faithful old fellow. Unfortunately, it is not the first time he has attacked a sheep; last week, when he was out with William, he ran after one; William, hearing a barking, ran to look and found his dog and Rob attacking. He gave Rob a whipping and sent him home and, although it was a long way, home he came. Since then we have been keeping an eye upon him. Mrs. Martha Green, the owner, was very nice about it and refused any compensation, but Graham left a sovereign on the table. It so happened the sheep was a lame one, or "a little sick," as the expression is here.
To-day we left school early and soon after noon were on our way to the potato patches where Graham wanted to help Repetto. We found quite a party there, the whole Repetto family with Alfred Green and William. They had just brewed tea. Mrs. Repetto was sitting under the lee of the wall, where a stone with a sack on it was placed for me. She was knitting, so I brought out mine. I am always impressed by her rugged and strong character. Certainly her children do not "best" her, as she is fond of saying. Arthur refused to do his work, that of putting manure in the trench. She just got up and gave him a good "hammering," mostly on his head and arms. He soon set to work. She is fond and proud of her children, but they know what is in store for them if they do not obey. The chastisement, no doubt, is deserved, but I wish she would learn to give it calmly and moderately. This is her week for serving us and almost daily she sends something extra. She will not accept anything in return.
This evening Graham, as he sat in the chimney corner engrossed in reading, was unconsciously using the ham as a cushion, with the result that an impression of it in salt and grease has been left on the back of his coat.
_Saturday, September 14_.--A steamer in sight. On the shore we found four of the young men preparing to embark. Repetto said the steamer had got too far for them to catch it, and so it proved.
_Monday, September 16_.--I have been much struck by the fact that when I have finished dressing Robert's leg a basin of warm water, soap and towel are always brought for my use. Today we set off for a walk along Big Beach, and overtook Mrs. Repetto and her five children. Her husband was out hunting birds and she was going to meet him with something hot to drink. We sat down and had a talk while the children scampered about. After remarking they needed clothes of iron, she went on to say that the present generation of girls do not know what hard work is compared with what those of her generation used to do after the boat was lost. We left her to return home. As we ran down a steep sandy bank, I leading, I heard her parting salutation, "Well done, old girl."
_Thursday, September 19_.--I asked the women to come early this afternoon to have their voices tried with a view to their taking parts in the hymns. A good many came and seemed to enjoy the novelty. Several will sing alto, which they very quickly picked up. I asked them because I thought they might feel a little out in the cold if the men learnt part-singing and they did not.
[Illustration: A PENGUIN ROOKERY]
About five o'clock the children ran in to say that Graham and the men, who had gone early in the morning to the Penguin Rookery, were returning. They always light a fire on the mountain side to show they are coming back. I started off immediately for Big Beach, Mrs, Repetto and Mrs. Swain coming behind with tea for their husbands. In front were the children leading a donkey to carry the eggs. Before long the men appeared, each with a big box of eggs on his back. The box is enclosed in a sack to which are attached arm-straps. Each box contains about one hundred and fifty eggs and is no light load. The two men gathered the three hundred eggs in about twenty minutes. Repetto thinks that at present about one thousand have been taken from the Rookery this season. When the birds are up for laying the pairs keep together, the hen on the nest and the male standing by. They make a tremendous noise day and night. For our amusement Graham tried to imitate it; standing erect, putting his head up and violently shaking it from side to side, with mouth wide open he tried to utter their "_loha_." Mrs. Repetto was just then drinking a cup of tea and was very nearly choked.
_Tuesday, September 24_.--Little Lizzie Rogers is staying with us. She has an intelligent face of rather a gipsy type, with dark brown eyes, and straight hair. We are quite enjoying her company. She is most contented and happy, and has settled down far better than the others did. We have produced a doll for her, and it is delightful to see her mothering it and wrapping it up in her pinafore. She went to sleep with it clasped in her arms.
Martha Green came down this evening to return the sovereign, but of course we would not take it.
_Thursday, September 26_.--This morning the men pulled out about fifteen miles to a ship, but the captain would not stop for them to go on board. He offered to take the letters, but they were nettled at his not stopping and would not give them to him. It was an Italian ship. As a rule foreign vessels carry very little surplus stock. The men do best on English and American ships. This is the second time our letters have been taken off in vain.
_Saturday, September 28_.--Our little visitor has just returned home. She wept when her mother told her she must leave us, so we had her back to dinner and now she has finally departed.
_Monday, September 30_.--At midday a ship was sighted, causing the hasty closing of school and a hurried finishing of letters. It has been a most anxious day. When the men started for the ship there was a comparatively quiet sea, but towards two o'clock there was a squall, a breeze sprang up, and all the afternoon a gale has been blowing, with occasional hailstorms. The sea is covered with white caps and the wind sweeping over it. Every now and then we can see a ring of spray being blown along which is called a "whilly" by the people and is thought to denote danger. The men must be having a very bad time of it. We are anxiously awaiting their return; it is now five o'clock and there is no sign of them.
_Wednesday, October 2_.--The men never reached the ship. Every one felt very anxious as Monday afternoon wore on. All the men were out but two. Soon after six o'clock when it was beginning to get dark we went on to the cliff. The wind was blowing so hard we could scarcely stand. We met Fred Swain, who said that the two boats were coming round the point from the east. By straining our eyes we could just dimly discern one boat. Hagan now joined us and we stood for some time watching it. It was making for Big Beach, so he and Graham ran off to Little Beach to get pieces of wood for its landing. By the time we got down to the beach it was in and the crew were pulling it up. They were shivering with cold and soon went off home. About the other boat they could tell us nothing except that they believed it was a long way behind. After waiting some time for it Graham and Bob Green went off in search along the shore. At Thomas island they got an answer to their whistle, and came back to tell us the boat was coming. The women meanwhile sat under the lee of a big rock, where presently they lighted a fire and warmed the tea they had brought down. We all felt thankful when, an hour later, the last boat landed. As soon as they had drunk the hot tea we trooped up the cliffs home. The wind blew the lantern out and we had to grope along as best we could by the faint light of a brand. The men did not say much as to how they had got on. But Henry said it was the worst day he had been out in, much worse than the _Surrey_ day, and he is one of those who will go when others will not. Another said he thought every minute they were going to be swamped. We heard later from Repetto that if one wave had broken a few feet nearer it would have done for them. Those in the last boat broke an oar and could make no headway. They tried in vain to put in at another point, and feared they would never get in, but happily the sea went down a little. It was the sweeping sea and the wind coming in gusts that made it so dangerous. It was very cold, too, so that when not rowing the islanders were rendered almost incapable. The next day the sea was quite calm.
Yesterday Maria Green, who is thirteen, came to stay with us. She is the younger daughter of Mrs. H. Green, and is rather a nice-looking girl, with dark wavy hair and a fairish skin. She is always spick-and-span, never so much as a hair out of its place. Naturally she is very shy, and I think, though she wanted to visit us, the coming was a great effort to her. But now that the plunge has been made I hope she finds it less alarming than she expected. She helps Ellen a good deal, and this keeps her occupied and makes her less shy.
Nearly every man has been out on the mountain today in search of molly eggs. Only one egg is found in a nest, and yet Glass on Saturday got one hundred and sixty-two. In time, I fear, these beautiful birds will be driven from the island.
_Saturday, October 5_.--I spent the morning gardening and in the afternon went to meet Graham, who with John Glass and his wife, Johnny Lavarello, Maria Green and Mary Repetto had been to the ponds. They had thoroughly enjoyed the day, the children especially, as they had not been there before. All, except Graham, were laden with molly eggs stowed away in their shirt or blouse which is sewn into a pouch for the occasion, a mode of carrying which gave them a very comical appearance. The birds are quite tame, only giving a peck when pushed off the nest.
_Tuesday, October 8_.--We are having a week's holiday. Yesterday morning I said to little Ned Green, "Boys in England wash their neck, arms and chest every day. You come one morning and Mr. Barrow will show you how to do the same." He turned away his head and said, "I'm skeered." This morning before we were up he was waiting in the porch, and then came in and sat on the sofa until Graham was ready for him. As it was rather a wet morning the instructions were given indoors. I heard most lively conversation going on during the process. He was rewarded with a biscuit which he took home to his little sister.
Idioms are little used here. I said yesterday to Ned, who was minding some goslings, "You have got your hands full," when I saw him look down and open his hand. The goslings are as much trouble to raise here as turkeys are at home. They have, at first, to be watched all day long for fear of their getting wet, and then there is always the danger of their being carried away by the stream. If it rains they are often driven into the sitting-room. Geese and eggs are the women's chief contributions to trade.
Mrs. H. Green has not been so well again. I went up today to try to get her to come to dinner. She did not want to, but I said I was not going without her. This amused her and at last she got up and went to put her things on, though she said she was so weak she could hardly walk. When I was sitting alone with her she told me that a few months ago something had been said to her which she could not get off her mind. She has a strong superstition about it. The people here believe that a person has the power to will evil to others. A man who has been to the Cape told us one evening that he was quite sure that the Malays had the power to make a person lame by putting something on the doorstep, and that no one could effect a cure except a Malay doctor.
_Wednesday, October 9_.--We were aroused from our slumbers this morning by Charlie Green hammering at the door, and on inquiry heard there was a ship in sight. It was a most beautiful day and the sea like a mill-pond. The men said before they started they were sure the ship was a whaler; and they were right. The people, expecting visitors, set to work to scrub their floors. In the course of the morning the first mate, a coloured man, landed with a mail from St. Helena. There were only three letters in it. One was from the Bishop. There seems now no prospect of his coming while we are here. Our men only did fairly well on the whaler, which, however, was well supplied with potatoes, having taken in a supply at St. Helena only seventeen days ago. The captain and his wife kindly sent us a bunch of bananas and a large tin of grape-nuts.
_Thursday, October 10_.--This afternoon we took the Repetto girls, Maria and Sophy, who are staying with us, for a picnic. We made for a grassy slope near Bugsby Hole, the children gathering sticks for the fire as we went. They came upon a poor little lamb that had just been killed by a sea-hen. Near it was another which a sea-hen was just pouncing upon. They had been deserted by the mother, a thing which often happens here. The children picked up the lamb, which could hardly have been a day old, and we wrapped it in my jacket and gave it some warm milk. It was decided that Mary should be the happy possessor of it. As we were at tea three rats were unearthed. One, a big fellow, sprang down close to us. There were shrieks from the children and the tea was upset, but Rob soon caught him.
_Friday, October 11_.--The lamb died this morning. Repetto says it was famished before we found it.
_Monday, October 14_.--Quite a bitter day. Hail has been falling. Susan Repetto, who lives with her Aunt Betty Cotton, is with us this week. She has a wonderful crop of curly hair which, except on Sundays when her mother wets and curls it, is done up in a tight little knob. She is quick and full of fun, laughing more than any child on the island.
_Wednesday, October 23_.--The Lavarellos are serving us this week, and insist upon bringing each morning a small bucket of milk and a jugful at night. We have been able to make some excellent butter, so yellow that the cows might have been feeding on buttercups, of which, however, we have seen only one small patch. Milk puddings are our daily _régime_. There has been no shortness this year.
_Friday, October 25_.--A mollyhawk was brought in today, it weighed four pounds and measured from tip of beak to tip of tail thirty inches, from tip of wing to tip of wing seventy-eight, and in girth twenty. The bird cannot rise up from level ground, but must get to the edge of a cliff or hill, unless helped by the wind.
Cricket is being much played by the boys. Ben intensely enjoys a game, and it is wonderful how he manages to hold a bat and hit. He has to lie on the ground to pick up a ball.
_Sunday, October 27_.--We went to see Betty Cotton, who is laid up with a bad rheumatic attack. Reposing in a canvas chair she was holding quite a _levée_, and I think enjoyed being the centre of so much attention.
We find the north wind rather trying; it is enervating and brings with it much dampness; while it prevails food does not keep well.
_Monday, October 28_.--This has been a thoroughly wet day. The children think nothing of wet and will sit the whole day in damp clothes. Umbrellas are almost useless and so I have taken to the people's way of wearing a shawl over the head.
We went across to see Miss Cotton. Her room, which serves as sitting-room and bedroom, looked most comfortless. To add to the discomfort there were sixteen goslings hemmed in by boxes in a corner near the door. If they were allowed out on a day like this it would kill the greater part of them.
_Thursday, October 31_.--Another wet day, but people in and out notwithstanding. It cleared up in the evening and we went for a turn on the cliffs. The houses looked so picturesque silhouetted against a stormy sky.
_Saturday, November 2_.--One of Henry's bullocks was operated on this afternoon with the help of five or six men. It was very wild and they had difficulty in getting it in. They threw it by means of a rope and then tied its legs. It had something growing inside its lower lip like a wart which prevented its eating, and this they have removed. They have successfully performed the same operation on other bullocks.
_Monday, November 4_.--This afternoon there was a cricket match between the boys and girls, the former playing left-handed. Needless to say, the girls were beaten. The men looked on with interest and later had a game themselves, and very lively cricket it was. They may go off any day now to Inaccessible, and are only waiting for the right wind. They generally visit it once or twice a year. Graham means to go with them as he is anxious to see the island.
_Tuesday, November 5_.--About five o'clock this morning a gun was fired to signify that the men were going off to Inaccessible. Soon after Tom Rogers looked in to say they were starting in about an hour's time. We packed into a large tin flour, captain's biscuits, tea, coffee and sugar for Graham; Tom was taking meat, and Ellen ran down at the last moment with bread hot from the oven. They went off in three boats, cheering lustily. I believe they hope to do some sealing. It depends entirely on the wind as to when they return; they might be kept a fortnight.
_Thursday, November 7_.--I am taking school in Graham's absence, the elder girls helping with the infants. If the scholars are tiresome or heedless I just make them hold out their hand, and with a slap from mine they are soon reduced to order. When they are reading they are not allowed to lift up their eyes from their books, and now it is rarely they lose their place.
_Saturday, November 9_.--The men have not yet returned. They have had very wet weather since they left, and must have had a trying time. I hope they have enough to eat. On the occasion of a former visit there they were delayed so long that they ran short of food and were nearly starved. When at last they got back one young fellow fainted. Since then they have been careful to take more food with them and have put one or two sheep on the island and have sown potatoes.
_Sunday, November_ 10.--Mrs. Green has come to stay with us again; she has been lying outside in the canvas chair for seven hours and feels the better for it. The children are very attached to their mother, and one and another visit her during the day. Her mother's eye at once detects a button off or whatever is amiss.
The services were well attended to-day, only five persons being absent morning and afternoon.
It is a quiet evening, but occasionally the sea sounds like a passing train; at other times we hear it thundering on the shore. We do not get such high waves, but what I call long sweeping seas. I have been taking the meteorological observations; I hope correctly.
_Monday, November_ ll.--When school was half over old Mrs. Rogers rushed in to say the boats were returning from Inaccessible. When I got down to the beach they were ready to land. There was so much surf that they had to wait for a favourable moment and then had to pull hard to get in before the next wave broke. The landing of the three took quite a time, and they had a good tossing while awaiting their turn. The men are very cheerful and seem to have enjoyed themselves in spite of the wet. After the first day they were not able to leave Salt Beach on which they landed. That afternoon they went round by boat to where the _Blendon Hall_ was wrecked, as they knew how anxious Graham was to see the spot. He, unfortunately, was feeling horribly sea-sick and unable to do much, but he went with them. They picked up some copper and a piece of wood from the wreck. The cliffs of the island are most precipitous, and from Salt Beach they can only be scaled by holding on to the tussock grass, but the weather was too wet for them to attempt this. I am glad they could not try, for Henry Green told me it was rather an "ugly business" at best of times. There was no sand and they lay at night under the overturned boat on a pebbly beach softened by layers of tussock grass. Graham said after five nights of it he felt quite sore. They seem to have spent more than half their time under the boats. One day it rained all day, and the only variety they had was to stand under the cliffs where the rain dripped down upon them. Another day they had some cricket, using for a ball a bit of kelp. Under the boats they played draughts; an upturned box serving for table and board, kelp for the black pieces, and sliced potatoes for the white. They were able to get a few petrel's eggs, but digging these out of the nest-holes was wet and muddy work.
Each man took so much flour, potatoes and meat which he handed over to the cook. Andrew Swain and Bob Green undertook the work, the former being head cook, and Graham says the cooking was excellent; not that he was able to eat much himself for he was still feeling the effects of the sea. The cooks were kept going most of the day. At one meal there was a great laugh against them. As each man sipped his tea he found it nauseously salt. The water had been taken from the wrong bucket, the one that contained salt water for washing up.
On Sunday they had two services, all sitting round on the stones. They sang every hymn and chant they could think of.
Sam Swain left his dog on Inaccessible. It had taken to killing geese, and as he did not like to shoot it he decided to leave it there where it will be able to get plenty of food. Poor dog, it swam after the boats when they left. The party tried to return on Friday, but after being out two hours had to go back as they could make no headway owing to a north wind.
_Thursday, November_ l4.--Yesterday, after early school, Graham and Repetto went off to the Hardies in search of some wood-pigeons' eggs. This is a sea-bird in spite of its land-sounding name. They had to swim to a high rock standing a little distance from the shore with a deep channel between, and to climb to the top of it. Swimming back Graham found the current so strong he thought it wiser to return. They tried another way and got across without difficulty. It was rather too early for eggs and they only found one; but they satisfied themselves as to the identification of the egg.
_Saturday, November_ 16.--As we have broken the last chimney-glass of our best lamp, we have been going to bed early this week, and getting up at five--a change which has the advantage of enabling us to get through more work before school, and giving much more time on baking mornings. We hope to get a glass from a passing ship, but only three have been boarded since March, one of them being a whaler.
[Illustration: SHEEP BEING DRIVEN HOME]
It is such a pretty sight to see the sheep being driven down the hill and separating to the different sheep-houses. But the poor things are often very harassed by the dogs, many of which are quite untrained and run them far too fast, and will, if they can get the opportunity, catch hold of them. The sheep often turn obstinate and try to slip off up the hill. Some get into the wrong houses and have to be dragged out and home by the owners. These houses are generally deep in mud and filth.
_Thursday, November_ 21.--The rats have been eating the sunflower and sweet pea seeds. I could detect the mark of their feet, and the shells of the seeds are lying on the top of the bed.
I have started sketching, thinking it will interest those at home to see what this place is like.
The children have come in to play a round game. Two were in last night, so I said we could not have them again to-night. Tears came into the eyes of Martha Repetto, whereupon I relented, and four of them are now in full swing. There is just room for us all at the table.
The men have gone to Seal Bay, walking over the mountain. When they were there the other day they found the so-called wild cattle in such poor condition that they mean to try to drive them across a ravine to a place where there is better pasture.
_Wednesday, November_ 27.--Repetto has just been in. He enjoys having a talk, but he generally comes with something he has either made or mended for us. This time he has brought a capital pastry-board made out of one of the cases.
There are some very young pupils at school just now. They spend part of their time sleeping, and are nursed by us or by one of the elder girls. One of them is rather spoilt at home, and the discipline of having to sit still and not talk has already done him good. The children are getting on so well. Susan Repetto, who is eight, could not write a letter of the alphabet eighteen months ago, but can now do fairly difficult dictation. Yesterday she had no mistake in it. What about the arithmetic? Ah! there is not much improvement there. One small boy has for months been learning to add two and two together and invariably gets it wrong, though sometimes he gets other figures right. Some of the elder girls make very good figures, and the greater part are writing a good hand. They write letters daily on their slates together with the address of the person to whom the letter is written.
_Saturday, November_ 30.--Yesterday Repetto and Henry Green started making a larder for us. It is being built of large blocks of soft stone and is to be on a line with the porch. There have been many consultations over it. The difficulty is to get the wood for the roof. We shall be so thankful to have a place to keep our food in. Up to the present we have had to keep the milk, which is set in a large pan to cream, on a small table in the corner of the sitting-room with the butter and eggs.
_Tuesday, December_ 3.--A whaler in sight! We have been trying to send off our letters ever since September. The people say it is many a year since they have had such a bad time for ships, and Repetto says it is the worst year since he has been on the island.
Walter Swain, who was here last year, has landed from the whaler. The captain has ordered 500 lbs. of beef and a quantity of potatoes, but these latter are scarce; he offers in exchange flour, soap, molasses, and calico.
_Wednesday, December_ 4.--We were asked to tea today to the Sam Swain's to meet the visitor and were to choose our own hour, so we settled upon four, there being a service at five. Walter Swain has sailed all over the world; his home is at New Bedford. He is, I believe, a first-rate harpooner and makes a good deal by his skill. He says he has already made 800 dollars during the year, and, of course, will make still more before he gets home. We are sending our letters by this whaler as Walter says he will very likely be able to transfer them to a passing steamer, failing that, he will post them at St. Helena two or three months hence. I have about sixteen to send off.
We are already talking of the possible arrival of Mr. Keytel.
A holiday in honour of the presence of the whaler has given an opportunity for weeding the garden. In the midst of a clump of Love-in-a-mist a hen has been daily laying her eggs and now wants to sit there, but that cannot be allowed.
This has been a splendid day for going out to the ship. The captain, a coloured man, was very kind and most fair, in fact, he seems to have given good measure running over. Six barrels of flour and over one hundred pounds of soap have come ashore. The men came back in a most jubilant mood, we could hear in the house their singing as they neared the shore. Mrs. Lavarello brought us some ship biscuits, of which she got a bushel and a half in exchange for a goose.
_Tuesday, December_ 10.--Our little visitor this week is Florence Swain. She had set her heart upon coming and has been asking her mother for weeks when her turn would be.
_Wednesday, December_ 11.--Today for the wives of Henry Green and Repetto, who have been working hard at the larder, we made up packets of grocery containing tea, sugar, sultanas, pepper, cheese, candles, and soap.
_Friday, December_ 13.--Towards the end of school there was a cry of "Sail, ho!" The ship is thought to be another whaler.
Last night I planted out nearly fifty sunflowers in one bed, so there ought to be a blaze of colour. Our wheat is coming on well. Miss Cotton has a supper to-night for the men who have been working for her. It was announced by Bob Green getting on to the roof of the house and shouting out.
The men returned this evening from the whaler, from which they have got more flour and material. Repetto got some material for us; but it is poor stuff and rather expensive.
_Monday, December_ l6.--Every one is busy preparing for Christmas. There's much blueing and starching of clothes. We were up early as we have started house-cleaning.
_Tuesday, December_ l7.--The kitchen was whitewashed before breakfast, and the passage this afternoon.
This time of year it is necessary to water the garden every night, the ground dries so quickly. The children come and do it for us and weed and sweep.
The larder is not altogether a success. Though it has a fair amount of ventilation it is rather stuffy.
Here is a list of some books which were given to William on the whaler the other day: Plutarch's _Lives of Alcibiades and Coriolanus_; _Trips to the Moon_, by Lucian; _Voyagers' Tales_, by Richard Hakluyt; _Areopagitica_, by Milton; _Lives of English Poets_, _Banquet of Plato_, and the _Light of Asia_, by Sir E. Arnold. One would hardly expect to find such books on a whaler.
_Friday, December_ 20.--We are sitting in our "parlour," which is bespattered with whitewash and its furniture covered with sheets and paper, and must resign ourselves to a day or two of this mode of living, as parts of the room will most likely have to be whitewashed again. We hope the wind will veer round to the west, so that the room may dry. At present a north wind is blowing, which makes the walls oozy with damp and the atmosphere very steamy. We get a good deal of this unpleasant wind at this time of the year, together with heavy mists at sea.
_Christmas Eve_.--I went up to the church and found Sam Swain and his girls decorating it, as last year, with willow branches and pink roses. A wreath had been made for the centre of the ceiling.
_Christmas Day_.--This morning there were twenty-four present at the Holy Communion. There were also services at 10:30 and 3 o'clock.
The Repettos and little Joe spent the evening with us.
_Thursday, December_ 26.--We have had a restful day. Little Clara Swain had begged to come and stay with us, so today she came. At supper she began to shed a few tears, and wanted to go home to her mother. Later I took her home. When she got there she was rather ashamed and hid her face in the sofa all the time half laughing.
_New Year's Eve_.--A mild type of influenza is going the round, caught no doubt on a whaler. In the fo'c'sle of one a man was seen wrapped up in a blanket who was perhaps suffering from it.
I can imagine as I sit here the bells at home ringing out the old year. I earnestly hope this coming year we may be able to do more in helping the people "upward."
_New Year's Day_, 1908.--We were astir early and had service at 8:30.
New Year's Day is made as much of as Christmas Day in that the people wear their best clothes, keep holiday and have a special dinner. We have had a nice quiet day, digging, reading and sketching. Sketching, as may readily be imagined, is often done under difficulties.
_Saturday, January_ 11.--The expected schooner is ever a subject of conversation with the elders. We are beginning to feel doubtful as to its coming. The people are very hopeful, always having the feeling that if one thing does not turn up another will.
_Sunday, January_ 12.--I was taking a stroll this afternoon and in crossing a rivulet stepped on a stone which toppled over, and I fell in. My white serge skirt, which had just been washed, was caked with mud.
_Wednesday, January_ 15.--We have had high winds the last day or two and last night had quite a gale, the wind coming in strong gusts all night long. The garden has suffered considerably. The children lament over the destruction and go round propping up plants of their own accord.
_Sunday, January_ 19.--We have lost our last Cape canary through moulting; he was a beautiful singer. Yesterday afternoon we went some way up the mountain just above the settlement. We walked for some distance up the Goat Ridge, crossed a ravine to our left, and then got on to what is called the Pinnacle, where we had a view which was awe-inspiring. There lay before us two or three yawning chasms stretching away down the mountain side. I hardly liked to look at them. One was Hottentot Gulch, whose sides, here bare, there dotted with trees or ferns, went down sheer a thousand or more feet. When on higher ground and looking at the expanse of ocean one realizes more than ever how we are cut off from the rest of the world.
_Tuesday, January_ 21.--It is Lizzie Rogers' sixth birthday. She was very anxious to bring a present, and went round to try to get half-a-dozen eggs. Not being able to procure these, she brought us some cooked meat for supper. After having a game I sent her home, but she appeared again when her mother brought the milk. I did not know till afterwards that she wanted to stay the night and that her mother had literally to drag her away, poor little thing. She has long black eyelashes, from under which she looks out at one with a shy trusting look which is quite charming.
[Illustration: OUR BATHING PLACE (LITTLE BEACH)]
We had Betty Cotton and three of her contemporaries in to tea to-day and had quite a _recherché_ meal for them, chocolate mould and some dainty little scones. Most of the people are out of tea, so a cup of it is a treat to them. They stayed three hours, talking chiefly of old times and shipwrecks. One of their favourite stories is of a captain who lashed his wife and child to the rigging and then swam ashore through the breakers. But instead of remaining on the beach near the foundering ship so as to be at hand to help and rescue them he went off to the settlement five miles away and comfortably slept through the night, leaving the islanders to do the watching and rescuing. Our visitors always come in their best attire, and they like being invited into the inner parlour. Mrs. Martha Green went home and returned with a dozen and a half eggs.
_Thursday, January_ 23.--The poor penguins that land on this shore to moult have but a short life, for the dogs hunt them out at once. The other day we rescued one from Rob, who was dragging it from a small cave. It ran back and Graham piled up large stones at the mouth so that no dog could get at it. Each morning on our way to bathe we had a look at it and could see its white breast close to the aperture. But alas! one morning we found the bird gone. A boy had broken down the wall and his dog had killed the penguin. While penguins are moulting they require no other food than that with which Nature has provided them in a store of oil from which they can draw.
_Sunday, January_ 26.--The Repettos have been here this evening. They had some difficulty in getting in, for Rob saw them and took his stand on the doorstep, his hair bristling; they went round to the front and he ran round the other way to meet them. They are so kind to him he ought to have behaved better, but he does not approve of any one coming in the evening. We read aloud Mr. Peck's Diary, _Two Years in Baffin Land_ in the _Intelligencer_, and they were much interested. They like coming and we are only too pleased to see them.
_Tuesday, January_ 28.--I think every one is now giving up all hope of seeing the schooner.
To-day John Glass and his wife gave a dinner to the whole island in honour of their one-year-old son. Ellen and I went. Everything was excellently arranged. We began with stuffed meat which was really very well cooked, then followed open berry-tarts with twisted bars across, open apple-tarts, and berry-pudding served with cream.
Yesterday Bob Green took Graham for a long-promised outing to the Caves, a spot in the mountain just above Big Beach and about a third of the way up to the Base. At one point, considered very dangerous because if a step is missed there must be a deadly fall, he insisted on roping him. We watched them with much interest both going and returning, as they wound their way in and out.
_Thursday, January_ 30.--A small vessel has just been sighted. It looks so small that every one is wondering what it possibly can be. It is being well scanned through the telescope and is seen to be flying an English flag; in answer Repetto has run up ours. We have a faint hope that it may be bringing the mail. Later we sat for a long time on the cliff watching. One of our boats went out but could not board her, for fear of being swamped. The vessel tacked, and when it got near our boat again dropped a bottle into the sea for our men. In it was a letter from the Captain saying that he wanted some fresh meat and other things and that he would come in again early to-morrow. The men think it must be a sealer.
_Friday, January_ 31.--No vessel appeared and we think it may have gone for good.
_Saturday, February_ 1.--Early this morning the small vessel was again seen in the far distance and some hours later a boat from it landed the Captain's brother and two of the crew. The two latter were brought to us at the school. As they spoke only French the islanders did not know what else to do with them. I tried to carry on a conversation with them and learnt they were going to Kerguelen Island for sealing. They wanted to know if it was not rather "ennuyeux" here. The Captain's brother went to Repetto to arrange business and was afterwards brought to us. Meanwhile another vessel had been sighted and the men drew lots who should go out to it. Monsieur Rallier du Baty stayed and had lunch with us. He was such a pleasant gentlemanly man and most easy to talk to. I never talked so much French to any one before. Sometimes I got grounded. I understood him to say that his ship was being sent out by the French Government to Kerguelen for scientific research, that they intend staying there a year, and that they also hope to do some sealing. They had named their boat the _J. B. Charcot_, after Dr. Charcot, with whom one of them had been on an Antarctic expedition. Graham asked him about two meteorological instruments which he has not been quite sure how to set, and he has very kindly showed him how to set them. M. Rallier told us after they left Cherbourg they met with very bad weather and had to put in to Brixham for repairs, by which they were delayed three weeks. From there they went on to Madeira, then to Rio Janeiro, and next touched here. He was much interested to know what had brought us to Tristan. He knew about the wreck of the _Blendon Hall_ and had passed close to Inaccessible to view the scene of the wreck.
Our men boarded the other ship sighted, which proved to be a Norwegian one bound for Adelaide.
_Monday, February_ 3.--On Saturday evening Repetto came in with some things which the French captain had very kindly sent us--potted meat, a tin of butter, jam which he specially sent word was from England, and also carrot, leek and onion seeds, which are particularly acceptable.
A ship was seen to-day, but the men did not go out. It came close in and I think the men were sorry afterwards they had not gone to it.
_Friday, February_ 7.--Yesterday Graham and Alfred began to cut the corn, and to-day, taking a holiday, finished it. I bound the sheaves and stood them up in shocks.
Part of the morning I spent in butter-making. I found the best method was to work with the churn standing in the stream, and after the butter came and was washed to leave it standing there. The result was very firm, good butter. As a rule Ellen does the churning.
This afternoon was given to threshing wheat and a very slow process it was. A sail was spread in the field and I and the older boys tried to beat and rub the wheat out. In olden days the people threshed in their sitting-rooms. We also did a little winnowing, throwing the wheat up for the wind to blow the chaff away. I should think all our efforts did not produce more than a quarter of a bushel.
Just now the men are busy digging potatoes. They are finding a good deal of disease in them, but probably will have enough to last through the season, as they always sow more than they require.
_Sunday, February_ 9.--The other day at school a short piece from Mr. Peck's journal was read to the children, who were told to write out what they could remember of it. One little girl of nine began, "Mr. Peck live in a bag." The fur bag that he slept in interested them far more than anything else. The Sunday class of girls is very well attended, no girl staying away unless ill. It is difficult to get replies from some of them, but there are one or two who give very intelligent answers.
_Tuesday, February_ 11.--It is a thick misty day, but a ship is coming in. The men have had such a rush to get off, some having run all the way from the Potato patches and arriving on the beach in a great state of heat. In a few minutes others appeared just as the second boat was going off, one so breathless he could not speak. But after all their efforts they failed to reach the ship, which kept too far out.
_Wednesday, February_ 12.--Last Saturday all the school-children were turned into the wheat-field to help to thresh the wheat. Flails had been made by tying pieces of wood to cricket stumps. The boys beat the sheaves with great energy, especially the younger ones. Graham and I have spent our whole afternoon in threshing and he is now winnowing by moonlight.
_Monday, February_ 17.--On Friday afternoon with the girls' help we finished threshing the wheat and the next day winnowed it.
_Tuesday, February_ 18.--Mrs. Andrew Swain brought us this evening a few apples and four peaches. These are the first peaches we have seen; they are green, but will soon ripen. Her husband brought about half a bushel home, but the trees rarely bear; probably they are too old.
We had seriously thought this week of camping out near the ponds. For a tent we should have taken an old sail. The weather, however, has become so unsettled we have given up the idea.
_Thursday, February_ 20.--Graham ground a little wheat yesterday between two stones and I made a loaf of it, which he says is the best brown bread he has ever tasted.
We have just been taking a turn in the dusk, and on the way called at the Repettos' to find out the name of the owners of the _Greta Holme_, the steamer which has been here more than once. We think we may perhaps get it to call for us to take us home.
_Monday, February_ 24.--It is such a quiet evening, the lamps are lit and the windows are wide open and we can plainly hear the gurgling of the stream outside.
On Saturday Charlie Green came in to say that he and his mother wish to go back to their house. It is the one in which we hold church and school. After hearing what he had to say we told him to ask his mother to come and see us to-day, which she has done. She feels she must go back to her house and would like to move into it this week, and we feel we cannot say anything against it, for this is the fourth time she has given it up for the same purpose.
_Wednesday, February_ 26.--A meeting took place this morning at 7.30 to consider where church and school are now to be held. Lavarello first offered for his mother-in-law, Mary Glass, her room for school. Then followed a discussion as to where service should be held. Finally Repetto said they would be willing to give up their house entirely for church and school, they themselves living in the adjoining cottage, if they could put two of the girls out to sleep. It was agreed that if this could be arranged the school should be there.
We offered to Mrs. Repetto to take her two elder girls, but she had arranged for them to go to her mother. It is a sacrifice to the Repettos to give up their house, for they take real pride in it and they go out at great personal inconvenience, for they will have to live in two small rooms, one of which is his workshop. She spoke very nicely about it, saying they were doing it for God. She also spoke warmly of the Sunday services and said she could not think how any one could sit in church and not be touched by them. Nothing but illness keeps her away.
At the meeting the men agreed to build a church, and spoke of beginning it when the potato digging is over. They will put up the stonework and leave the roof till the next clergyman comes, and say they will put no fire-place in it and then no one can use it as a house. As there is no house for school we are having a holiday. We went yesterday to pack up the school things and found the men already at work putting up the partitions. Mrs. Green will benefit by the new window-panes and we are glad she should. We have enough left for the rooms into which the Repettos are going.
[Illustration: THE OLD CHURCH HOUSE]
_Friday, February_ 28.--Men are working at Repetto's house to turn it into the school-chapel. This house is really the church of the island, as its history shows. It was built by a man named William Daley for himself. When Mr. Taylor the clergyman came it was bought for his church. It was valued at twenty-seven pounds, and nine men each gave three pounds. The nine were Corporal Glass, Alexander Cotton, Thomas Hill Swain, Peter Green, Richard Riley, Andrew Hagan, Charles Taylor, Peter Mellor(?), and William Daley, the owner. When Mr. Taylor left he told the people who remained they could do what they liked with the church. Thereupon the nine buyers or their representatives each claimed a three-pound share in it. The claim to these shares has been handed down. Miss Cotton claims one from her father, Martha Green one from her husband, the mother of Sam Swain, senior, one. But Matilda Hagan, the daughter of Peter Green, is said to claim the most.
Repetto's workshop has been cleaned out, floored, and whitewashed, and looks quite nice. The ceiling is very low, so I have exhorted them to have their bedroom window open at night as she feels the need of air since her heart-attacks. He has just brought in a large bureau made by himself and which he has asked us to house. Our room is already packed, but we have been able to find a place for it by turning out a table which will be useful at school.
_Saturday, February_ 29.--To-day all the men, with the exception of three, went off to Inaccessible for sealing. We are now having beautiful weather.
_Tuesday, March_ 3.--To-day a ship was in sight and we were regretting there was no boat to go out to her, all four having been taken to Inaccessible. But presently we heard that two boats from Inaccessible were to be seen in the distance. These got alongside the ship, which was an Italian one, but the captain would not stop. All the men have now returned. They secured eleven seals and think they could have got more, but were afraid to stay longer for fear of missing ships. They brought some plants back.
_Ash-Wednesday, March_ 4.--All the men and a good many women went off to-day in three boats to Sandy Point to gather apples and are spending the night there.
Caroline Swain came to tea.
_Thursday, March_ 5.--We have begun daily service and hope to continue it as long as we are here.
It was too breezy for the boats to come back to-day, so most of the people have walked home. It is quite a ten miles' walk, a part of it over great boulders along the shore and a part over Big Point, where there is an ugly bit of climbing to be done. It took them about seven hours. Mrs. Repetto says it is the last time _she_ shall do it.
With daily service at 9 o'clock it is rather a rush, and this morning I had baking on hand; the dough had risen so that it had poured over the tin like so much froth and I had to gather it up and re-knead it. I had to start baking it before church and when I got back the fire was nearly out.
_Tuesday, March_ 10.--About midday a big ship appeared on the horizon opposite the settlement. The men started out and seemed confident of reaching her, though at times she could not be seen. They have not yet returned, though it is nearly 8 o'clock. It is always so interesting to hear how they have fared, and, of course, it is the one excitement and variety in the life here.
8.45.--We have just heard the whistle of the returning boats, and, as usual, the dogs have started barking.
_Wednesday, March_ 11.--The ship was a Scotch one bound for Australia and had come out from London in forty-one days. The captain seemed a kind man and allowed the men several hours on board. He sent Graham two books, Milton's poems was one, and asked him to write to him, which, of course, he will do.
_Thursday, March_ 12.--We are having a spell of wet weather. It is difficult to keep dryshod going backwards and forwards to school. The new school-house is a little nearer than the old, but there is no track and the long bents in the grass are very wetting. Happily we are not short of boots and shoes.
We went this afternoon for a short walk and passed a rock the shape of an arm-chair, and called Glass's arm-chair. When he was old the Corporal used to find his way to this seat, which overlooks Big Beach and commands a good view of the sea.
A few weeks ago we put on our clocks an hour, thinking to get an extra hour of daylight, but we find the plan does not answer and have had to put them back again. The people got up no earlier and the result was that some of the boys and girls came to school without any breakfast.
_Wednesday, March_ l8.--This afternoon Graham went for a nine miles' walk with Arthur Repetto and came across two donkeys that had been tethered at the Bluff since yesterday morning and had nothing to eat. One could only move a foot or two, the rope having got wound round its leg. They moved them to fresh ground, but could find no water to give them. The riders had walked over to Seal Bay. A boat went there two days ago for feathers and oil, but has not been able to return for want of the right wind.
_Thursday, March_ 19.--The Greens sent us some beautiful large apples from their orchard at the Bay. All the apples are a better size this year owing to having been picked a month later.
_Thursday, March_ 26.--The event of events has happened, the _Greyhound_ has come. It was first seen when we were in church on Sunday morning. Two boats went out to her and in the afternoon returned with Mr. Keytel, seventeen persons from the Cape, and the mail. Hearing Mr. Keytel had landed Graham and I sallied forth to greet him. He was looking very cheerful and well, and was accompanied by two large dogs. The mail-bags were soon brought to the house. But Mr. Keytel said before anything was done he must show us the photographs which he took when here last year. We looked at them with the greatest interest and thought them excellent. We then went to service, and after it, came back and opened the mail in a crowded room. It was a large mail and took some time to dispose of. Mr. Keytel had much to tell us. He had had great difficulties to contend with, as everything seemed against his coming.
Now a few words about the people he has brought with him. Three of them, Joe Glass, Bob Glass and Jim Hagan, were born on the island and left it as young men about fifteen years ago. In South Africa they married three white women, sisters. With their wives and children they number sixteen. The seventeenth, a young unmarried man named Joe Hagan, was also born here. I do not think the greater part of the islanders are particularly pleased at this invasion.
[Illustration: LANDING GOODS]
On Monday the boats made several journeys to the schooner and got on well with the unloading. Nothing more is to be done until Mr. Keytel has visited Gough Island. He expects to be away about a fortnight. On Tuesday morning the schooner came in well, and all were on the shore ready to embark for Gough Island, which is about two hundred miles to the south-east. Mr. Keytel was keen upon Graham going, and as nearly all our men are going and he may not have such an opportunity again he decided to accept his kind offer and go. By the time the boats were launched the schooner began to move further out, the sea waking up a little. Before long she was lost to sight and after a vain chase the three boats came back. It was most trying for Mr. Keytel, for every day lost is a consideration to him.
The Repettos are very much upset because some of the new-comers are trying to take their house. Yesterday just before embarking two of them threateningly said they meant to have it, and one took off his coat to fight Repetto. This is the house whose ownership is disputed, several people claiming shares in it, the mother of the young man who wanted to fight claiming the most. She used to live in it and when she left the island begged the Repettos to leave the one in which they were living and to go into hers and take care of it for her. The young man has not produced any letter or paper from his mother to the effect that she wishes the Repettos to give up occupation. We have told the Repettos they need not be afraid and that if they do not retaliate Graham and Mr. Keytel will stand by them and see that right is done.
_Friday, March_ 27.--The winds are still against the schooner putting in.
One of the Bob Glass children has been seriously ill and delirious, the result it is thought of a fall or a sunstroke. I went to see it and advised a dose of castor-oil. Going again in the afternoon I found the child up and standing outside the front door, apparently well. The mother had been up all night and quite thought she was going to lose him.
_Saturday, March_ 28.--To-day matters came to a climax about the Repettos' house. The two men started taking possession by mending a hole in the roof. Ellen pointed them out to me as we were coming home from church. I thought I had better go back and let Graham know what they were doing. He went out at once and asked them if they had Repetto's leave to do the work. They said, "No." "Then," said Graham, "I cannot let you do it." Meanwhile as I passed the door Repetto said he had something he wanted to show me, would I come in. I could see they were both very upset. Soon John Glass, who had been helping the men on the roof, came in looking, I thought, a little ashamed. I told him he had made a mistake in having anything to do with the business, and said, "How would you like it if some one were to come and work on your roof without asking you first?" He said he would not like it. I told him the best thing he could do was to go home and have nothing more to do with it, and he went. Then his brother, Joe Glass, who was really the instigator of it all, came and looked over the door. I gave him, too, a piece of my mind, and after a time he went away. Presently the young man appeared looking very menacing. He walked up to his cousin, Mrs. Repetto, showing his fists. I was dreadfully afraid she might lose her temper and strike him, and then I do not know what might have happened. I rushed off for Graham, who was taking school, and he came at once. He told the young man if he could satisfy him that he had his mother's authority to take the house he should have it, after the Repettos had been given a reasonable time to find another. If he could not so satisfy him then the Repettos would remain in possession. He went on to say he was here as a clergyman with the knowledge and consent of the Government; that it was his duty to do his best to prevent any breach of the peace and that he intended to do so. He would see that justice was done just as a magistrate would. He warned him and all that if there were any further disturbance those causing it would run the risk of being sent from the island, for he should report the whole matter to the Government. Things now began to calm down and Graham went back to school. Poor Mrs. Repetto had quite broken down, and at sight of her it was as much as her husband could do to keep his temper. But they spoke very nicely to the young man and said if he had a paper from his mother saying he was to have the house, of course they would give it up; and if he liked they would give up their bedroom to him in any case. Then Repetto went outside with him and said he wanted to be his friend, not his enemy. Finally the young man came back and said he was very sorry for the way he had behaved and that they should hear no more about the house, and went up and kissed Mrs. Repetto and her mother. Then he shook hands with me and said how sorry he was and that there should be no more trouble. The Repettos said to me afterwards we have never seen anything like this before on the island, asking for forgiveness as he did. If there had been any angry words in the first instance from them there would no doubt have been a fight.
_Tuesday, March_ 3l.--The men have all been busy to-day roofing a small empty one-roomed house for Joe Glass which Andrew Hagan is said to have sold him for £10.
This afternoon Graham and Mr. Keytel have been looking at a small disused house near here which Henry Green uses as a lamb-house, and which Mr. Keytel thinks will do for him if Henry will let him have it. Till a house is ready for him he will, I hope, remain with us.
The schooner, which has been out a week, has not yet been seen.
_Wednesday, April_ 1.--She has been sighted this afternoon. A day or two ago there was a gale, which probably blew her a long way out. The poor captain must be having rather a bad time.
_Thursday, April_ 2.--She came in to-day and Mr. Keytel has started for Gough Island. Several of the men did not want to go, pleading colds as an excuse. Mr. Keytel had to go round and work them up, and they finally all went except John Glass. It has taken us a long time to really know the people. They are very pleasant and kind, but everything is not as it appears on the surface.
_Friday, April_ 3.--This has been a most beautiful day. It seemed a pity not to make the most of it, so we decided to go westward, taking a donkey. The Repettos said we might have theirs, but as it took Arthur four hours to catch it we did not get off till noon. We were glad to lunch under the shadow of a rock, for it was really hot. Then we went for another mile or two, tethered the donkey, and rested. After brewing some tea we started for home just as the sun was setting in a cloudless sky. We mean to go on such expeditions every now and then, as they freshen us up for the daily round.
_Saturday, April_ 4.--Last night Glass came to say that old Caroline, his aunt, was much worse and to ask if Graham would go and read to her. Graham found her very ill, but conscious and able to understand what was said. He told Glass to come again in the night if necessary. About 11 o'clock he came again to tell us Caroline was dying. Graham hurried up and went across, but she had passed away. That evening she had asked Mrs. Lavarello to read to her her favourite hymn, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear."
It was thought necessary to have the funeral to-day, to-morrow being Sunday. Graham helped Glass as much as he could in making the coffin. The great difficulty was to find wood for it; the lid was made of fourteen pieces. Graham lined the coffin and I painted the name, age and date on it. The two elder boys, Alfred and William, worked at the grave, and very well they did it. Alfred was not really up to the work, having been ill, but he would not give in. Graham and Glass finished the digging. Mrs. Bob Glass has been quite a stand-by for the women. The funeral was at four o'clock. Glass and the three boys were the bearers, and managed very well. As usual, a British flag was used as a pall, which especially became a daughter of one of Nelson's sailors. Almost every one was present and was dressed in black. At the close of the service her favourite hymn was sung. There were four wreaths placed on the grave. The tiny cemetery, bordered by big blocks of stone and the people grouped inside between the gravestones, presented a striking picture against the distant sea and setting sun. I felt so thankful that Graham and Glass had not gone to Gough Island. The latter stayed because his aunt was ill, but no one thought of her being so near the end. An influenza cold was no doubt the immediate cause of her death. She was seventy-nine, but looked more like ninety.
_Sunday, April_ 5.--We had not many at the morning service, and those who were there had such bad colds it was as much as we could do to get through the hymns. I had only two girls at the class instead of seven.
I went to see Eliza Hagan, a sister of Caroline Swain, and for once found her alone. She has now two step-sons and their families living in her house.
_Monday, April_ 6.--This evening Fred Swain came in to say his little baby brother had scalded his foot and to ask for something to put on it. I thought I had better go and see it. It was not an easy matter to dress the child's foot, for he kicked vigorously all the time, more, I think, from fright than pain, for he stopped directly it was bound up.
_Wednesday, April_ 8.--We entered on our third year to-day. Graham has started afternoon school from two to half-past three. A late school does not answer, as the boys have to fetch their cows home and often have a long distance to go for them.
_Thursday, April_ 9.--All our spare time is taken up in answering letters. We are having a spell of wet weather and I fear the new-comers are feeling a little depressed, but I dare say they will cheer up when the schooner returns.
_Friday, April_ 10.--We have been opening two good-sized parcels from Mrs. J--- of Bulford Camp. It contains such useful things, pinafores, crossovers, haberdashery, writing-paper, pencils and pens.
_Saturday morning, April_ 11.--A ship has been sighted to the westward; we think it may be the schooner, which has been away ten days.
_Evening_.--We were right, it was the schooner; the three boats landed this afternoon. We went to meet them and thought the men looked very dejected. It seems they never reached their destination. They met with very bad weather and never sighted Gough Island. From what we have heard since we feel sure the captain never intended they should. We are sorry for Mr. Keytel, for so far things have not been very propitious, but hope that with a bad beginning may come a good ending. He has not come ashore, but will stay on the ship till all the business is done.
We are very sorry to hear that there has been a great deal of thieving on board, and we fear the newcomers are involved in it. One man says that every case of ours has been opened. It remains to be seen how far this is true. Another says he saw quite enough on the trip to Gough Island. Parcels for the people are missing, and one addressed to us by Miss M---- containing things for some of the people has been opened and a large piece of bed-ticking taken out.
_Monday, April_ l3.--To-day the schooner came in, but the men said it was too rough to go out. Some, I think, did not want to, so no business was done.
Our cases were brought up from the beach; the greater part of them have been opened and fastened up again, but as far as we can see but little has been abstracted. The men who brought them up enjoyed unpacking some of them for us, and were most interested in discussing how a large iron saucepan cracked in three places could be mended.
Graham is laid up with a bad pain in his chest and back, and can hardly sleep for it at night.
_Tuesday, April_ l4.--A wet and misty day, and the schooner not seen.
I went up to see Alfred Green, who is very poorly with a bad cough and a pain in his side. I put on a mustard-leaf. He is such a steady young fellow and sets a good example both in and out of school.
_Wednesday, April_ 15.--I persuaded Graham to remain indoors to-day. I had a busy morning. First, I went out and took the readings of the thermometers, then soon after nine went up to church to read the daily service. From there I went to the Andrew Swains' to dress the baby's scalded foot. He cried more lustily than ever, but this will be the last dressing that will be necessary, the wound having healed beautifully. I then retraced my steps to the Henry Greens' to inquire after Alfred, who is a little better. His mother thought another mustard-leaf would do him good, so I came home for it and before long took it up and put it on.
_Thursday, April_ 16.--No unloading has been done since Saturday.
I had to administer a caning to little Charlie this morning. William told me he was constantly cruel to his dog by beating it for no reason. We had often heard the dog crying out. I believe the mother was not overpleased at the chastisement, but Graham always comes down upon the boys if he hears of any cruelty.
_Good Friday_.--I took both services to-day.
_Saturday, April_ 18.--The schooner came in to-day and has been unloading. Mr. Keytel is shipping for the Cape two hundred sheep, which he expects to put on board to-morrow. We are sorry it has to be done on Sunday. As the schooner will probably leave the same day we are finishing our letters to-night.
We have been much interested to hear about the snails sent to Cambridge. In acknowledging their receipt the Professor writes: "The conical ones are no doubt _Siphonaria Lessoni_, a species found all round the south end of South America; and the 'scaly' one is _Magellanic Chiton_." And again: "You will note the connection with _Magellanica_. The _Magellanica_ is evidently the typical circumpolar fauna; and even Kerguelen Island is much more akin to Magellanica than to Africa or New Zealand. I should expect Tristan to be the same, though it has a distinctly European element in Balea."
_Easter Sunday_.--Very few elders were at either morning or afternoon service, only two or three of the regular ones. Graham was not able to get out, but is improving.
The men were occupied in getting the sheep down to the shore, but in the end were not able to put off, for heavy rain came on and the sea grew rough; one boat started, but had to come back.
_Monday, April_ 20.--No business could be done with the ship to-day; it had been blown eastward. The weather has been bad and there have been heavy rain-storms.
One of Mr. Keytel's dogs, a well-bred pointer, has taken up his abode with us while his master is on the ship. We dare not leave him for an instant in the room by himself if there is any food on the table. The other morning he ate our breakfast of bacon, which had been prepared as an especial delicacy.
_Tuesday, April_ 21.--Another stormy day, and nothing seen of the schooner.
This afternoon school began again; Ellen is helping me with the infants. Nearly all the children attended.
_Wednesday, April_ 22.--There was a very small school, for many boys were away helping to collect the sheep for the schooner, which was coming in, and some were playing truant. The sheep were carted down to the shore and the men were ready for embarking, when the ship moved out, and so all their labour was again in vain. The sea was "making up," and to-night is stormy. It is rather late in the year for a sailing-ship to do business.
_Thursday, April_ 23.--A roughish sea. No sign of the schooner.
I had some trouble in school to-day with one of the new scholars, a boy of eleven. He thinks he can come to school late, not learn his lessons, and do just as he pleases. I had to cane him. He fought all the time, but at last subsided and meekly went back to his place. I felt breathless, and I am sure the children were breathless with surprise at such behaviour. I had a talk with him afterwards when he stayed behind to learn his lessons. I think that, after his Cape school, he rather looks down upon a little school like this. It is remarkable how well he and his younger brother have been taught to read.
_Friday, April_ 24.--A fairly rough sea and no sign of the schooner.
I have spent the afternoon writing, at Graham's dictation, his yearly report to the Colonial Office; to-morrow I hope we may finish it.
_Saturday, April_ 25.--No appearance of the schooner. The wind is rising to-night.
_Sunday, April_ 26.--There were better congregations to-day, with a sprinkling of men.
_Monday, April_ 27.--Our eyes have scanned the horizon in vain, but I feel sure we shall see the schooner to-morrow. Graham has quite made up his mind that we cannot go home by it next year. It has no accommodation for passengers beyond the hold.
_Tuesday, April_ 28.--The people had become somewhat anxious about the schooner's non-appearance, but to-day it appeared on the horizon. It was too rough, however, for any business to be done, though one boat went out with the mail. It is a rough night again.
_Wednesday, April_ 29.--Too wet and stormy for either church or school.
In one of our letters we were asked what is our daily menu, so I give it here. Breakfast: milk-coffee, bread and butter, and a boiled egg when in season, varied with grape-nuts, porridge, or occasionally fish. Dinner: mutton, either hot, cold, or curried. About five days a week milk puddings, sometimes served with stewed dried fruit. Supper: tea, bread and butter, cold meat or fish. Fish is rather an uncertainty, but when it does come it is fresh. The people always bring it scaled and cleaned.
_Thursday, April_ 30.--Nothing has been seen of the schooner to-day.
_Friday, May_ 1.--I am taking school for a short time each morning just to keep the children up in reading and writing. I also give them Bible instruction and hear their lessons.
We have again an invasion of mice or small rats. A day or two ago one was found drowned in the milk-pan, this morning a second in the water-pail, and a third in the milk-jug. A great many have been caught in the loft, and occasionally we see them in the sitting-room popping in and out of holes when all is quiet.
_Saturday, May_ 2.--The schooner was sighted this morning, but there was not enough breeze to bring her in.
_Sunday, May_ 3.--This morning we were awakened by a loud shouting. It was one of the men arousing the settlement. The sheep had to be driven in and taken down for embarkation.
_Tuesday, May_ 5.--The schooner will probably leave for good to-day. The only thing that now remains to be done is to take a few more sheep on board and barrels of water for them. The crew are to look after the sheep and every day will have to give each one a bottleful of water. Mr. Keytel says that the poor sheep have been very roughly handled, and even, in some cases, have had their horns broken. He came in early this morning with Bob Glass, who, I thought, looked rather uncomfortable when we talked about the things that have been stolen. One of these, we very much fear, is the bale of calico from Carlisle, which would have been such a boon to the people. We have been told it has been seen on board since the ship has been here, and I believe it is on the island. We feel sure our Tristanites have nothing to do with its disappearance. We fear we have also lost one or two small parcels from the Cape. The Henry Greens have lost a box containing clothing, groceries, and a good clock which they had sent to the Cape to be mended.
9.15 p.m.--The schooner is off at last; and, really, we are glad, for every one will be able to settle down to ordinary life again.
_Thursday, May_ 7.--Ellen and I spent the morning in cutting up material, and making up parcels to send round to each family. We wish the people would show a little more gratitude. I think they are pleased, but they do not show it in the least. There was only one who showed gratitude, and she sent a thousand thanks and said how useful the materials would be, for she had just made up her mind to cut up some of her own and her husband's clothes to make shirts for the boys. The people had nearly all run out of sewing-cotton, so the supply just sent by friends has come in most usefully. I have been able to give two reels to each family and to keep some in reserve. This time we divided the material ourselves, because we wished it to go to those who needed it most.
The men are working at Henry Green's lamb-house to turn it into a residence for Mr. Keytel. They are rebuilding the west wall, laying down a floor, and putting on a zinc roof.
_Saturday, May_ 9.--Graham and Mr. Keytel are having a game of chess. The former is much better than he was, but has still to lead an invalid life. Some nights he gets but little sleep on account of rain, and has to pace up and down a good deal.
Our fine weather has broken, and to-day we have had heavy rain and a thunderstorm.
_Monday, May_ ll.--Yesterday I had again to take the two services. I felt rather alarmed in the morning, for Mr. Keytel was present. The church was full each time. I began school again to-day after a week's holiday. It is rather a business, taking the whole school in hand; and teaching is not much in my line. This morning David Hagan began to roar because I took him from his sister's lap and put him with his class. He would not stop, so I was obliged to put him in the vestry, where he continued roaring and occasionally uttered threats. During it all I had to go on hearing lessons. At last he stopped, so I brought him out and put him again with the infants, and had no more trouble with him. I give the class easy mental arithmetic, which is much less trouble than putting down figures.
_Saturday, May_ 16.--To-day it was warm, without wind, and Graham went out for the first time. He has made a great advance in the last two or three days. We made our way up to Mr. Keytel's house. The work goes on slowly, as the men are uncertain and turn up when they like. Henry Green and Repetto are the two reliable ones. Mr. Keytel is rather disappointed in the men; he thought they would have done what they could for him, as he is trying to work up a trade. He says he has already lost two or three hundred pounds. He does not, however, seem disheartened. I think the house will look very well when finished. It consists of two rooms. Round each, six inches from the wall, he has put on a framework of wood canvas, which will be painted white. This will both keep out the damp and make the room lighter.
_Tuesday, May_ 19.--It is difficult to find time for writing in the evening now, as we talk so much. We generally end up with a game of Tiddley Winks. Ellen and I usually get beaten; the two men want us to change partners, but I will not.
To-day Graham came in at the end of school. Every one seems unfeignedly pleased to see him out again.
We wish Tristan could be what it was before the new-comers came. Mr. Keytel has been opening some of his cases, and from the first two finds hatchets and rugs missing. Graham intends to give those whom it concerns a piece of his mind when he is well.
[Illustration: MRS. REPETTO FISHING]
_Wednesday, May_ 20.--Graham was able to take service, but did not stay for school. He came for me after school, and we walked down to the shore and watched Mrs. Repetto catching craw-fish. She got her skirt and feet very wet in the process. I was amused the other night by Mr. Keytel saying to Graham, "You had better wait one more Sunday before taking the service, Mrs. Barrow gives us good teaching."
_Thursday, May_ 2l.--I spent the afternoon doctoring the poultry. To my surprise every hen and chicken I caught had "pip," a horny substance under the tongue and rather hard to get off. I operated on nearly thirty. The fowls are rather a trouble, from their habit of getting into all sorts of impossible places. The other day I found a hen on the pillow and her chickens on the dressing-table and window-sill.
_Tuesday, May_ 26.--Mr. Keytel took a sample of the white mould to the Cape to be examined by an expert, who said it was due to the ground not being worked, and recommended its being brought to the surface, where the sun and air will get rid of it.
_Friday, May_ 29.--Mr. Keytel slept in his house last night for the first time, and to-morrow intends moving in. He had no glass for the windows, but happily we had some to spare. Much to his amusement, he had entirely forgotten to bring plates, spoons and forks and a teapot, and again we were able to come to the rescue with a heterogeneous collection.
The two-year-old infant I punished the other day says "he shan't come to school any more because he's mad with 'old mumma.'" This same infant prodigy generally carries about with him an old pipe. One day when on a visit to his uncle he asked for some tobacco. The uncle said he had none. On returning home he told his mother what his uncle had said, and added, "I knew it was a lie."
_Monday, June_ 1.--We are to have a Christmas tree. It will be the first that has been seen on the island. Various friends have sent us toys, pinafores, pens, pencils and coloured candles, so we shall not lack things to dress it with; and Mr. Keytel is kindly providing sweets, for which we are already busy making muslin bags out of patterns. He and Repetto are going up the mountain to choose a straight bushy tree.
_Saturday, June_ 6.--Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were devoted to preparations for the Christmas tree. Monday to making fifty sweet-bags and filling them; Tuesday to wiring about a hundred candles and apportioning the toys; and Wednesday to going over all the toys again to check any mistake. Every child will have three or four, and sweets in addition. All the morning of Thursday Mr. Keytel, Repetto, Ellen and I were decorating the tree. In the afternoon the rain came down in torrents, and towards five o'clock, the time fixed for the Christmas tree, it came on again. Mr. Keytel came in to see what was going to be done. We were in two minds whether to have it, but as a little later it cleared somewhat we decided to go on, and were glad we did, for we found every one was dressed and ready. The children sat at the west end and the elders on forms round the room. We lighted the candles after every one was seated, and the tree looked quite brilliant. The distribution took a long time, but I think this increased the people's enjoyment. There was a bran-pie for the elders to dip into, which was carried round several times; the little packets of tobacco in it were much sought after by the men.
Most of the people being present, Graham thought it was a favourable opportunity for saying a few words about what was in every one's mind, namely, the thefts that had taken place on board the schooner. He said he was quite sure those present had had nothing to do with them. He could not say they were always honest in their dealings with one another, but he was quite sure they would not take anything of ours; and he remembered that when Willie Swain and Charlie Green came in the schooner the year before, nothing of the kind had happened. The people seemed pleased that Graham had spoken.
_Wednesday, June_ 10.--Yesterday began again the Women's Meeting, which had been discontinued some months. I read to them from a Malvern paper an account of the Tristan exhibits at Poolbrook and what the judges said about their knitting, which much gratified them.
_Monday, June_ 15.--Graham and I have begun playing chess in the evening.
The people are delighted to have some one at hand with whom they can trade. Mr. Keytel is visited at all hours of the day. He has just been giving sweets round to the children. Repetto is constantly with him, and has been a great help in making the doors, window-frames, and other woodwork for his house. But Mr. Keytel has carefully to supervise everything. He was thought very particular, as he would have everything exact and in the right line. The tendency here is for house-carpentering to be somewhat slapdash. At the same time Repetto, whose nickname is "Chips," and Tom Rogers can do some very neat work. A table, a sofa, a chest and a stool made by one or other of them will bear comparison with anything of the kind we have seen elsewhere.
Mr. Keytel's dog "Scotty" visits us constantly, putting his nose over the front door and getting in when he can. He and Rob are good friends and have great games together.
_Wednesday, June_ l7.--Spent nearly three hours in the loft stock-taking. We had often to creep about with bent backs because of the beams, and to tread with care, as the boards in places are not very strong. The result of our work is very satisfactory; we have stores enough to last us till next spring. Tea is the only thing we may run short of.
_Thursday, June_ l8.--After tea we went down to the sea-shore, where we found Mr. Keytel fishing. He gave Graham a lesson, who actually succeeded in catching some fish. When we went down there was a most glorious sunset, but by the time we returned it was almost dark. Mr. Keytel hopes to start a good trade in dried fish. It will keep the women busy, for they will have to clean and salt them. One obstacle, however, is the green-fly, which answers to our blue-bottle, and which will have to be dealt with.
_Saturday, June_ 20.--I ordered some cod-liver oil from the Cape, and am now finding it useful. Rose Swain, who has had a long-standing cough, comes every day after dinner for a dose. It has cured her, and now I have another patient, a dear little curly-headed boy of two, Lizzie Rogers' brother and one of our scholars. He, too, has been ailing some time with a cough. To-day, as it was damp underfoot, his brother Arthur brought him on his back, a fairly heavy load for him, as he is only seven.
_Tuesday, June_ 23.--Last week the men went by boat to Seal Bay to shoot cattle. They had to walk home on Saturday and back again on Monday. Yesterday evening they tried to come up by boat, but had to return. The women went out to-day to meet them at the Bluff, but saw nothing of them.
_Wednesday, June_ 24.--They went out again to-day to the Bluff, which is quite five miles from here, to meet the men with something warm to drink. The wind was high and heavy storms were passing over the island, but this time their journey was not in vain, for some of the men returned, carrying as much of the meat as they could. They had killed four oxen.
_Saturday, June_ 27.--To-day as we were going for a walk on Big Beach Mr. Keytel asked us to call on our way back. This we did and found tea awaiting us. He has made his house look so well. Facing the door there is a book-shelf on the wall with a good supply of books. There are also shelves and tables for his photographic apparatus. And, last of all, he has made little red blinds for his windows, which give the house a very cheerful appearance. So far we have not gone in for curtains, with the exception of one in our bedroom to screen off the draught from the kitchen, a draught which is sometimes so great as to be almost unbearable.
_Thursday, July_ 2.--The thermometer outside the window registered just over thirty-nine degrees.
About a fortnight ago Mr. Keytel had a meeting of "All Hands," at which he said that there was one person who had greatly disappointed him, meaning Bob Glass. I think it was the day after that Bob Glass went to pay Mr. Keytel a visit and told him that shortly there would be a big fight on the island, and also that he had a revolver at his house which could be used on a certain person and then on himself.
[Illustration: MR. KEYTEL'S HOUSE]
Mr. Keytel finds the sheep have scab, and is much vexed he was not told this before shipping them for Cape Town. He hopes to stamp it out, but nothing can be done until next year.
_Tuesday, July_ 7.--Last Saturday we weighed the loaf I had just baked. It weighed eight and a half pounds, and was forty-one inches round. We bake one of this size twice a week.
_Friday, July_ l0.--On Wednesday night we had a magic-lantern entertainment, given by Mr. Keytel, and nearly every one came to it. It was quite a new thing to them and was a great success. There were many miscellaneous pictures followed by the story of Robinson Crusoe, which was much enjoyed. Mr. Keytel worked the lantern, Graham gave the explanation.
_Saturday, July_ ll.--A ship seen passing between the islands.
_Tuesday, July_ l4.--We have had a holiday to-day, as the men were thatching the school roof. A cry of "Sail, ho!" brought them down post-haste from the work. A steamer was thought to be in sight, but it proved to be a barque, and did not come this way.
On Sunday evening Mrs. Repetto came in alone. Her husband was at Mr. Keytel's; but she said _she_ was not going to forsake old friends. She generally talks very amusingly. This time she informed us "Mr. Keytel was a cunning rat," which she intended as a compliment to his discernment. She loves to talk about her children, and told an amusing story of one of her little boys. On going to the pig-sty she found a dead little pig. She felt sure that the children had had something to do with it. So, marshalling them in front of her, she picked out the guiltiest-looking face and charged its owner with the deed. With difficulty she drew out the confession that he had gone to look at the little pigs, and as he was shutting the door one of them got caught in and was killed. He did not know what to do, so he picked it up and laid it down by the old mother as if it were asleep.
_Thursday, July_ l6.--We have just returned from another lantern entertainment, at which were shown some interesting slides from photographs Mr. Keytel had taken when in Europe. He is giving these entertainments weekly.
_Friday, July_ l7.--Mr. Keytel has lent me a most excellent recipe-book, one of the best I have seen. I think the following recipe is delightful--
"A Black Man's Recipe to dress Rice.
"Wash him well, much wash in cold water, the rice flour make him stick. Water boil all ready very fast. Throw him in, rice can't burn, water shake him too much. Boil 1 1/4 hours or little more, rub one rice in thumb and finger; if all rub away him quite done. Put rice in colander, hot water run away. Pour cup of cold water on him, put back rice in saucepan, keep him covered near the fire, then rice all ready. Eat him up!"
The dogs have again begun to kill the geese. They killed two a night or two ago, and seven last night, five of them belonging to Martha Green. We wonder the people do not shut up their dogs at night, and especially now during the lambing season. We are glad to notice they are driving the sheep more quietly this year, and keeping the dogs more at heel.
Yesterday Mrs. Henry Green came to tea; she still rarely leaves the house. We carried her off to see the lantern views; on the whole she seems in better spirits.
_Saturday, July_ l8.--Last night we had Charlotte, Lily, and Ruth Swain into supper. Charlotte resembles a Swede in appearance. Lily, the second, is a good-looking girl with rather a long, pensive face. Ruth is very dark but has a fine face. She is backward in learning and very diffident. All three are very capable girls; they cut out and make their own clothes, and can turn their hand to most things in the house or on the land.
_Thursday, July_ 23.--We had quite a gale this morning. As it was raging two of the men, Sam Swain and Bob Green, were passing our house and noticed some tussock had been blown off the roof. They at once stopped and mended the place. Such damage, if not immediately made good, may easily end in half the roof being blown off. They came in afterwards to a breakfast of coffee and fish fried in batter. When we met them later in the day they greeted us with smiling faces, evidently mindful of the kind deed they had done. This afternoon Mrs. Sam Swain brought us some craw-fish, and told Ellen her husband said she must cook the fish the way he had it at breakfast. The high gale has continued all day, but the people say the winds are nothing to what they used to be.
_Monday, July_ 27.--We have had a holiday to-day, as Mr. Keytel asked Graham to go with him and Repetto up the mountain in search of eaglets, which he wants for specimens. Following the practice of the island women, I thought I would take them out some tea in our new Thermos bottle. So Ellen and I started off in spite of a drizzling rain. The wind was blowing in our faces all the way. As we approached Bugsby Hole we could hear shouting and the barking of dogs, but could see no one. We took shelter under a high rock, and after waiting some time, as there seemed no hope of its clearing, went home again.
It is a great boon having plenty of books as we now have; not that we have ever been very short of them, but now we have greater choice.
_Wednesday, July_ 29.--We have been for a walk along the shore this afternoon looking for "sea-beans." These are the seed of a South American tree, the _Cæsalpinia Bonduc_, and are often washed up on the shore. Mr. Keytel picked up one of a different species, the _Pusætha scaredens_, the other day, in size about two inches across, the largest that has been found here. The same seeds have been picked up on the east coast of Africa. This is interesting as showing the direction of the current.
_Friday, July_ 3l.--On Wednesday we had lantern views of the Victoria Falls, which particularly interested us, as we had just been reading Livingstone's account of them.
_Wednesday, August_ 5.--Yesterday and to-day some of the men were rat-hunting at the potato patches. This hunting means considerable labour, as the nests are often in the walls, parts of which have to be pulled down and built up again. The mode of working is this. A dog is sent along the wall. If it scents a rat the hunters gather round and remove the stones from around the spot, then block up with turf all holes in the broken wall. This done, they uncover the nest, when the rats rush out and are caught by the dogs, one rarely escapes. Sometimes in winter seven or eight full-grown rats are found in the same nest.
The new-comers, I am glad to say, have sown wheat, mealies and Kaffir corn. I fear they are feeling the restricted food, as they must now be living chiefly on fish and potatoes. Henry Green has also sown some wheat, and we are hoping others will do the same next year. Repetto has been taking out manure to his potato patches. He used three carts and three yoke of oxen. His two boys, of eight and six, each drove a cart, running by the oxen whip in hand. The elder one, Arthur, can guide them well; Willie was only learning, but enjoyed himself immensely.
_Monday, August_ 10.--Graham went straight from school to the potato patches where the men were rat-hunting, and did not get home till dark. I believe one hundred and fifty rats were caught. He and Mr. Keytel were invited into Henry Green's hut, where his daughter and Mrs. Sam Swain did the honours.
Just after supper Mrs. Lavarello brought in Mrs. Joe Glass, one of the new-comers. The Joe Glasses are giving a party this evening in honour of the first birthday of their boy, and the mother, who is very young, still in her "teens," came to ask if we would go to it. She looked most elegant in a blue blouse and with a blue bow in her hair which was done in the latest style. She was once a pupil-teacher and is now teaching her sisters' children, who, we hear, are getting on well.
_Tuesday, August_ 11.--We went to the party last night. The host and hostess did their part well. After about an hour we moved to go, but were specially asked to stay for supper. A table was then placed in the middle of the room with a nice white cover on it, and tea and plates of cake were brought in. Three chairs were drawn up and I and Ellen were asked to take them. Every one else was ranged round the room. It was a little formidable.
_Wednesday, August_ 19.--We went down this afternoon to try our hand at fishing. It was too rough to catch anything, but I practised throwing out the line. The way to do it is to make fast one end, then holding the other, on which is the bait and stone, about a yard up, to rapidly whirl in round and round and then let go with a jerk. A good throw will carry the rest of the line, which is lying in a coil, forty or fifty yards.
_Friday, August_ 21.--We have spent the best part of four hours taking the harmonium to pieces and putting it together again. A note had gone wrong, causing the greatest discord; we therefore had to do something. The parts to be unscrewed seemed numberless, but happily we were able to find out what was causing the mischief and to put it right. A small peg had got out of its place. It was worth while taking the instrument to pieces if only to clear away the accumulation of dust. Yet there was one incident which threatened to wreck everything. A board with a line of little upright pegs was removed, which Graham, without a thought that the pegs were not fixtures, turned upside down, when out fell the greater part of them. To our consternation we found each peg had its own hole and that there was nothing to show which it was. It took us hours to get them fitted.
_Saturday, August_ 29.--It is now over five months since we have had communication with the outer world. Happily, the every-day duties and interests make the weeks pass quickly. Some families have run short of potatoes, partly on account of disease and partly on account of the increased population. The Repettos are among the number. It being their week to serve us, I told Mrs. Repetto this morning she must not bring us any, but she brought them all the same. They killed an ox yesterday, and brought such a huge piece of beef that we had to return some of it. He said, with tears in his eyes, perhaps it would be their last time of serving us.
We fear the new-comers will have a bad influence on old and young as regards morals. One of the men and two of the wives are terrible swearers. Some of the children are already singing bad songs learnt from them.
_Tuesday, September_ 1.--This evening we heard that two whales were to be seen within the kelp. We went on to the cliffs to look and could clearly see, about a quarter of a mile away, an old one playing with its calf.
Andrew Swain and his wife spent the evening with us. I taught her a new pattern in knitting, a new heel, and how to cast on double.
_Friday, September_ 4.--Yesterday after the choir practice Mrs. Repetto and Mary went down to fish. Before long I saw them returning, and when they got near noticed Mary had her head bound up. It seems she had fallen on the wet rocks and cut her head near the right temple. Her mother wrapped her pinafore round the place, but could do no more, as such sights make her ill. They came in here. It was difficult at first to see what damage had been done, as the cut had bled freely and the hair was clotted with blood. We bathed the place and then made her lie down on Ellen's bed, where she fell asleep. Happily, it turned out not to be such a bad cut as it at first appeared to be. Mrs. Repetto stayed and talked about her children. She told us Willie will never go to bed unless she says, "Good-night, dear." "Good-night, Willie," will not do. He comes back and throws his arms round her neck and says, "Say 'dear.'" Sometimes to teaze him she says the other words. The night of the dance when they came back with the children it was 12 o'clock, but little Joe, though very sleepy, would not go to bed until he had said his prayers. So many of the children get no help from their parents in doing right. Truthfulness is a great difficulty with them. Quite small children will tell you a lie without so much as a blink of the eye. I think some are certainly more truthful than they were; but children go through such phases that it is not easy to tell whether the habit of truthfulness has been formed.
_Saturday, September_ 5.--A ship was sighted early this morning, which proved to be a French sealer bound for Kerguelen Island. It put out a boat, but not knowing where the settlement was, made for the Hardies. A boat went off from here and then the ship came round. It has been rather a miserable day, for rain has been falling nearly all the time. Two boats went out in the afternoon with meat and potatoes, which had been asked for. The Captain was not willing to give anything but spirits in exchange. The boat which went off in the morning and which contained some of the new-comers got three bags of biscuits and soap, which ought really to have been divided amongst "All Hands." It was very disappointing for the others, who had gone out to the ship in a steady downpour.
The young Sam Swains had a little son born yesterday. This makes our number ninety-nine. I went to-day to inquire and found the mother knitting. Mrs. Repetto was nursing the baby, which looked beautifully clean in a pretty gown and a little print capie on his head.
_Thursday, September_ l0.--A mild form of mumps is prevalent among the younger children. The Andrew Hagans have had to leave the house of his step-mother, old Eliza Hagan. Susan Hagan could stand the life there no longer. It seems that Mrs. James Hagan is out nearly all day, neglects her children, and is altogether impossible to live with. It is hard that they should have to turn out for newcomers, the more so as Andrew is the elder brother and has been living in the house many years. What led to the final breach was James saying to Susan that her husband had stolen his step-mother's sheep and that there would be blood and slaughter. This alarmed the Andrew Hagans so much that they made up their minds to leave next day, and did so. The old step-mother is staying on, as it is her house, but I fear she will have an ill time of it, for the children are unmanageable and she will often be left alone with them.
_Friday, September_ 11.--This morning as we were getting up there was a loud knock at the door. Bill Rogers had come to ask us to go at once to his boy Arthur, who was very ill. He had been waiting until he saw the smoke coming from our chimney, and looked, poor fellow, very much upset. We hurried on our things and were off in about three minutes. He was standing at his door looking for us. The room was full of men. Arthur was on the sofa in the sitting-room and propped up with pillows. He was breathing with the greatest difficulty, could not swallow, and the saliva was running out of his mouth. Graham soon cleared the room by taking the men outside. The mother and I set to and fomented the boy's throat. In a short time I saw this was giving relief, as he was beginning to swallow and to breathe more easily. The poor father was in tears. Later on we fomented again, after which he was able to speak. This evening he seems going on nicely. He had been suffering from mumps, and we think he must have caught cold.
I went to see Mrs. Sam Swain, who has the baby-boy, and heard an amusing story of her sharp little child of three. She did not want to come to school this morning, but her god-mother, Charlotte Swain, dressed her and made her come. When school was over and Charlotte was going out with her, she said, "Mummish, you got the best of me this morning."
_Thursday, September_ 17.--Early this morning Graham went off by boat with Mr. Keytel and Repetto to visit Freshwater Cave to get specimens of night-birds and their eggs. Mr. Keytel remained in charge of the boat while Graham and Repetto went into the cave, which was about one hundred yards in length. At the far end was a pebbly beach, where the birds were supposed to be. Between it and the mouth was water, which had to be passed. Repetto climbed from ledge to ledge along one side of the cave. Graham preferred to wade and swim through the water. They saw about twelve night-birds and found seven eggs. Mr. Keytel took a photograph of them standing at the cave's mouth.
[Illustration: FRESHWATER CAVE]
I spent the day visiting the different invalids. I daily visit Arthur Rogers, who is still on the couch and whose face remains much swollen, but now he is feeling better he is all smiles. I think the mumps are going the round of the settlement, though with some the complaint only shows itself in a bad headache and a general feeling of illness.
This evening Andrew Hagan and his wife have been in, Graham having asked them to come, as he wanted to hear from them why they had left their house. What they said agreed with what I have already related. He has also asked James Hagan, and, as he has not come, has been to see him more than once, but has not been able to find him at home.
_Thursday, September_ 24.--The men have finished planting their potatoes; of which the early ones will be ready for digging in November. Until then the people will be very short of suitable food. They have no flour and are living a good deal on young eaglets, which are too rich to eat without potatoes.
Many persons have been suffering from ophthalmia. One of the babies from the Cape came with it. We strongly recommend those who have had it in their houses to whitewash their rooms, and we have offered what lime we can spare.
I must not forget to mention a diverting trade letter received from an enterprising Liverpool firm. It is addressed to the Collector of Customs, Tristan d'Acunha, and the following is one of its paragraphs--
"If not asking too much, we should be glad if you will send us the names of any Traders and General Storekeepers in Tristan d'Acunha who would be interested in our catalogues, which we could forward them by mail direct. We believe our goods are largely imported to Tristan d'Acunha, and would be greatly obliged if you could comply with our request, as we find the names furnished by directories are not altogether satisfactory."
_Saturday, September_ 26.--The weeks are flying fast. In November we shall begin packing, so as to be ready in case a ship should call for us. We shall leave the furniture to be put by for any future clergyman.
Yesterday we had again to take the harmonium to pieces, as another note had gone wrong. We could find nothing amiss except that the note squeaked when pressed; it, however, came all right after the board had been placed near the fire.
To-day old Eliza Hagan had tea with us. She is now without tea and lives mostly on eggs. She looked so aged and talked but little, just answering us. I think she was afraid of being asked about the Jim Hagans, who live with her, but we carefully avoided that subject. A few days ago Graham had a straight talk with Mrs. James Hagan and Will Swain, at the house of whose mother, Susan Swain, she spends most of her time. We shall bring home, all being well, a number of photographs. Mr. Keytel very kindly always gives us copies of those he has taken.
_Monday, September_ 28.--Our population is now one hundred, Mrs. Bob Glass having had a son yesterday. I saw her for a few minutes this morning. There are many other invalids, for several are suffering from the breaking out of sores. Alfred has had them very badly on his face and has been really ill. They break out on the head, face, arms and legs, and, in fact, all over the body, causing those who are suffering from them to feel very poorly. They are certainly contagious, and attack men, women and children, apparently they were brought by one of the children from the Cape.
On Saturday thirteen of the men went by boat to Sandy Point. They took their dogs, and coming back, having no room for them in the boats owing to the number of eggs, sent them home overland. The old ones reached home about as soon as their masters. The next day I happened to see Bill Rogers, who told me his young collie (the best-looking dog on the island) had not returned. He seemed very upset about it, and said he should go off in search of it. Happily, in the afternoon when he got home from service he found it had returned. It was so footsore that its feet had to be bound up. When we first arrived there was a very poor set of dogs. But later Sam Swain was sent a half collie, and now there is a very much better stamp of dog. These new dogs have quite won their way with the people, who think much more of them and allow them in the house. They have gentle, attractive ways, very much like those of our Rob.
_Saturday, October_ 3.--I am daily dressing Alfred's face with boracic ointment, which I think is doing good. Poor Ben was taken ill again last night with fits. It is nearly a year since he had any. He has got under bad influence and has vowed he will never go to church again. Some of the other men have also almost given up coming, whereas at one time they came fairly regularly.
_Wednesday, October_ 7.--A ship was sighted soon after five this morning. Mr. Keytel and some of the men went off to it; but many of the others were on the mountains hunting for eggs. It was an American sealer and came close in. We got a barrel of flour for five lambs. The captain had come in for potatoes, but, of course, could not get any. He said another of their sealers, which had started four days earlier than he had, was going to call, and that both were bound for Gough Island.
_Thursday, October_ 8.--An expedition was planned yesterday by Graham, Mr. Keytel and Repetto were to go on the mountain today in search of Molly's eggs. They arranged to start between two and three. Graham got up at two, and when Repetto came to call him was dressed and just going to have breakfast. I spent part of the morning photographing, and took the Henry Green family sitting in front of their house. I found Mrs. Green so hard up for cotton that she was unravelling a piece of boat canvas. The mountaineers returned in the early evening. Graham much enjoyed the day, and thinks they must have walked thirty miles. Going up they watched the sealer cautiously sailing round Inaccessible. They also got a view of the Peak, which had a little snow on it. Mr. Keytel photographed the Mollyhawk on its nest.
[Illustration: MOLLYHAWK ON ITS NEST]
_Saturday, October_ 10.--There was a south-east wind blowing last night. This is a wind likely to do damage, so Graham went out to have a look round and saw something sticking out from the roof. There being no lights in the houses he concluded every one was in bed, and so got the ladder and mounted on to the roof, where he found a piece of wood that holds the lead down had got loose. This afternoon, meeting several men at Mr. Keytel's, he told them how he had fastened the loose board, when they said, "You should have called 'Sail, ho!'; you would have had every one out of their beds pretty quick."
_Tuesday, October_ 13.--We were awakened by a cry of "Sail, ho!" I got up, added postscripts to my letters, and retired to bed again. The men started off but seeing the ship was not heading this way they came back.
Mrs. H. Green is getting quite brisk. I have called once or twice on Sunday morning and taken her to church. The women are not coming very well to their meeting; on an average there are only eight or nine, of whom Charlotte Swain is always one. She loves a joke. I sometimes have a race to get to the meeting first, and one day heard great laughter from her house and saw heads at the window; her people were much enjoying the fun.
_Tuesday, October_ 20.--We have dispatched our letters at last. The ship was a Norwegian bound for Adelaide. The captain was making his first voyage as such. He gave Mr. Keytel some books, two of which, _Keswick Week_ and _Side-lights of the Bible_, have been passed on to us. I fear a captain must find our men rather a worry. They go to him with so many requests. Only think, after you imagine the trading has been done, of having sixteen men, one after the other, each wanting something in exchange for a bottle of milk or a dozen eggs. We met the returning boats, and Mr. Keytel came and sat down on the shingle and told us how the day had gone and what a kind captain they had met with.
_Wednesday, October_ 21.--We heard the first thing this morning a small vessel was in sight coming from the east. As it was wet and the sea was "making up," the men did not go out to her.
_Thursday, October_ 22.--A barque sighted far out, as usual, going east.
_Friday, October_ 23.--A small vessel sighted this evening.
_Saturday, October_ 24.--We have had an unusually exciting day. The small vessel that was sighted yesterday evening and which the people felt sure was an American whaler was seen again this morning. As it was making for the island the men did not hurry to go out. At last three boats went off. It was rather breezy. When the first boat reached the ship, to our surprise it at once began to return, and the other two did not go on. Soon after two o'clock Charlotte Swain came running up from the beach, quite breathless, to say the captain was coming ashore and wanted especially to see Graham, so we went down, thinking he was perhaps bringing letters. We met him on the top of the cliff, and he and Mr. Keytel came with us to the house. This is what we learnt: the stranger's name was Pearson. The vessel was not an ordinary ship, but a ketch, nor had it a regular crew, but was manned by himself, his two brothers, a friend and a Creole. He was not the captain, but his next brother was, and held a master-mariner's certificate. They had come out from Dover with the object of seeing for themselves what these islands and Gough Island could produce in the way of guano. A friend had given them the ketch, and with only three pounds in their pockets they set sail. They had had a most adventurous voyage; for they took nearly five months coming out and were only provisioned for three. Our visitor told us of the straits they had been in for food. They had only flour, tea and a few biscuits left. Their oil had run short and they had just begun to eat uncooked flour. Of water they had only two gallons left. I understood that most of the time they had been without meat and had lived chiefly on dried beans and peas. Mr. Keytel told us that when he went on board they were trembling from weakness. Notwithstanding all they have gone through Mr. Pearson seemed quite cheerful and said he felt better for the voyage. None of them except the sailor-brother knew anything about the working of a boat; one of them was an architect, one a city clerk, and one a secretary. They had not long been out from Dover before these three were down with sea-sickness, and the captain had to do all the work, day and night, through the Channel. As soon as they found their sea-legs they had to take their turn at the tiller, with the result that the course was often very considerably changed from what the captain had set. At a Portuguese island they took in the Creole, who wanted to work his passage to the Cape. I think it was at this place that the Port Officials found the rolling and pitching of the boat too much for them, and had to beat a hasty retreat. The sails of the ketch are much damaged, due not to rough weather, but to having been allowed to flap when she was becalmed.
Our visitor, who is the architect, said he would like to go round the settlement, and was very much pleased with the architecture of the houses, which he thought to be in such excellent keeping with the natural tone of the place. Mr. Keytel has undertaken to get them supplies. To-night we sent them a large loaf of bread, sugar and treacle. Mr. Pearson said they did not want to beg, and offered clothes and books in exchange, but I said receiving was not begging and that it was a pleasure to give. We hear this evening that the American sealer has appeared on the scene, so no doubt they will be able to get something from her. The ketch has come close in and anchored, and looks so small. Their plan after visiting Gough Island is to go on to the Cape and there sell the ketch.
_Sunday, October_ 25.--The American sealer came in and three boats went off to her, taking two of the Mr. Pearsons. They returned about two o'clock, when Graham went down and brought back to dinner Mr. Keytel, the youngest brother, who looks more like a son of the Mr. Pearson we first saw, and the friend, Mr. Crumpton. These two had started off for church this morning, but could not pull through the kelp and had to return. Directly dinner was over we had to hurry to service, the two young men going with us. They did not know what to do with their fox-terrier, but solved the difficulty by bringing it in. It certainly looks as if it had been through a famine, and as regards colour might have been living up the chimney. Later in the day the captain and his brother came ashore and Mr. Keytel brought them in, but they did not stay long as it was getting dusk.
_Monday, October_ 26.--We are having a run of ships; another appeared this morning, and the men decided to go out to her though the sea was rough. We went down with Mr. Keytel who had kindly come in for our letters. I sat on the top of the bank with the Repettos and watched the proceedings. At first only one boat was going, but more men arriving a second was prepared. The sea was "making up" and it looked rather a risky business. They seemed to be hesitating about going, but were only waiting for the right moment to get off. When they did push off the last men who scrambled in got wet up to their waists and for one moment the boat pitched so it looked as if it would turn over, but in a minute or two it was in safer, though still rough, waters. The second boat got off better. Mr. Keytel and Repetto signalled to the men on the ketch to put out to sea on account of the weather. They were in need of water, but it was too rough to take any off to them. Later it got much rougher and a mist came over the sea. The boats had been seen returning from the ship, but afterwards had been lost sight of. As they did not appear in the afternoon it was thought they had landed to the east of Big Point, and would come home by land, and this was so. At about 4.30 smoke was seen on the mountain side; and soon the women hurried out with tea. We followed, and somehow felt sure that it was a ship that had called before, and that we might possibly get letters by it. The first men we met told us that the ship had come to fetch us, which was a great surprise. The captain had hove to all night, and said he could give us four hours to come out, but the men told him it would not be possible because of the weather; as it was, one boat had two of its boards broken and very nearly had to return. Next we heard the joyful news that our surmise was right and that there were letters for us. The post-bag was soaked and some of its contents, but not our letters. We returned with the people, and passing Mr. Keytel's house and seeing him at the door told him the news. He insisted on our going in and having a cup of tea. When we got back we were able to sit down and read our precious letters. I had four; getting news of home seems to bring one so much nearer to it. The men got a good deal of food-stuff from the ship, and, indeed, they are in need of it for they are living on meat only at present.
_Tuesday, October_ 27.--They got 300 lbs. of flour, also rice, tea, sugar and soap.
There was a missionary on board who we understood from the men knew Graham, but sometimes they get a little mixed. Henry Green brought us as a present from the captain some Brown Windsor soap and a bottle of unfermented wine. Had it been fine the captain intended coming ashore.
_Thursday, October_ 29.--The ketch arrived late yesterday evening, having taken all Tuesday and Wednesday to get in. The Pearsons have been on shore to-day and have filled their water-barrels. The captain and the architect dined with us, and the latter spent the afternoon with us. He is an interesting man and has been giving his advice about the stone which should be used for the church and house. He is strong upon the point that houses ought always to be built, when possible, of the material of the place, as that naturally, and, therefore, best, suits the landscape. His view is that nature will do much even where there is no beauty in the local stone itself. He thinks that mountains influence character, and that the people here have melancholy-looking faces which he attributes to the mountains. To an outsider, perhaps, the faces of many of the people do look thoughtful and sad, but their faces are hardly an index of their character.
_Friday, October_ 30.--Four of the islanders, Henry Green, Repetto, Andrew Hagan and Bill Green have been building a new boat which was launched this afternoon. Two new boats are also being built by others. The boats are built entirely of driftwood with the exception of the ribs; for these the wood of the apple-tree is used, unless oak can be had from a whaler. Over the ribs are laid horizontal pieces of wood called slabbies, over which is nailed canvas which is oiled and painted. Henry's boat, the largest yet made, is twenty-two feet long.
_Sunday, November_ 1.--We have had quite a summer-like day. The ketch party including the Creole came ashore early, and the Pearsons came to service and had dinner with us afterwards. We could just manage to sit round the table. Sitting in the garden in the afternoon I was joined by the architect who sat on the grass and discoursed. Soon we were called to tea, the two younger men having arrived, who were followed by the captain. They seemed to enjoy the home life and did not leave till after dusk. They have given much pleasure by presenting John Glass with a clock and Repetto with a watch.
_Tuesday, November_ 3.--We asked the Pearsons to dinner as it was the twenty-first birthday of the youngest, and also to tea, for which had been made a special dough-cake which was much appreciated. To-morrow they intend going to Inaccessible to get samples of guano.
_Wednesday, November_ 4.--I began looking over things preparatory to packing, but did not get through much for two visitors appeared, Martha Green with eggs and Ruth to have her finger poulticed. The four from the ketch had tea with us.
_Friday, November_ 6.--Yesterday we had quite a home-like scene--afternoon tea in the garden at the architect's suggestion. He told me that once in London his weekly food-bill was only two shillings and sevenpence, the result of studying the nourishing values of different food-stuffs, of having no meat and of being his own cook. Presently the two younger men joined us and sat on the grass round the tea-tray. In the early hours of this morning they were off to Inaccessible, taking with them Repetto to show them where to find the guano.
This week I have not been to school but have devoted my time to sorting things and packing, and a great business it has been in these small quarters.
[Illustration: NEARLY FINISHED]
_Monday, November_ 9.--Graham was _hors de combat_ on Sunday with one of his headaches, so I had to take the services. I spoke out plainly about the attendance at church, though only by the way, and said it showed how little they cared about the things of God, and that we could not help asking ourselves if we had been any real help to even one person on Tristan.
This afternoon I gave up to gardening. Just as Ellen and I had planted out some tomatoes Mr. Keytel brought some mignonette plants and put them in. He brought also a sample of a loaf he had cooked which he thought was quite a triumph.
_Thursday, November_ 12.--On Tuesday the ketch returned from the islands and has again anchored. I think the Pearsons are loath to take to sea again. The architect has most kindly drawn a plan for a church here, and I only wish we could carry it out.
We are gradually getting on with the work of packing, and have made lists of what is to be put by when we are gone.
I have taken rather a good view of the front of the house and want to print it on postcards to send home, but this takes time and I have little to spare in the morning.
_Friday, November_ l3.--Our letters are to be taken on board to-day, for with the first north wind the ketch will move out. We wonder when it will reach Cape Town, for we fear it will be a long time on the way. While it has been here there has been a remarkable spell of fine weather.
_Sunday, November_ 15.--The Pearsons have not gone yet. They landed to-day though it was somewhat rough, came to service, and had dinner with us.
_Wednesday, November_ 18.--Our visitors have gone. They came in yesterday to say good-bye. I had to go to the women's meeting, but was back in time to pour out tea for them, after which we saw them off from Big Beach. The ketch, which was called _Forget-me-not_, had anchored off the settlement eighteen days and within half-a-mile of the shore. This was a record for Tristan waters.
Here is a note about vessels and Tristan given by Repetto and which he is very anxious should find its way into the newspapers: If a vessel in moderate weather comes in sight of the island just before nightfall and is recognized from the shore and is seen to be coming in the direction of the settlement, the boats from the island are sure to go off to meet it. The Master of the vessel will see a light on shore which many ships take to be a lighthouse; but it is not a lighthouse but a fire lit by the islanders to tell the ship that the boats have gone off to it. The Master of any ship that at night sees this fire is asked to show a white light as a guide to the boats to steer by. In the daytime when a ship sees smoke on the island it may know that the boats are coming out to her.
[Illustration: THE KETCH (Length, TS/t. Beam, lift. Draught, 9/1.)]
_Friday, November_ 20.--Last night Mr. Keytel had a meeting of all the men, at which he asked Graham to be present as he wanted him to hear everything. He had drawn up an agreement to work for him for three years, which he invited all the men to sign except Bob Glass, with whom he will have no dealings. He spoke very plainly to the men and told them they had not been straightforward with him. To name one thing, they had never told him the sheep had scab. As a consequence the sheep sent to the Cape will no doubt have to undergo treatment and be a large expense. At his request Graham read the agreement aloud and explained it. All signed it. Mr. Keytel warned them that if any one broke the agreement he could be put into prison; whereupon some one asked if the prison would be here. "No," said Mr. Keytel; "Cape Town!"
This afternoon I took the girls of the knitting class for a picnic. When notice of it was given out in school I could see a smile of pleasure coming over their faces. Still, they take their pleasures solemnly. Nearly all appeared with knitting in their hands. Arrived at our destination, where we had a lovely view of red rocks jutting out into the sea, they all sat solemnly down in a row save Charlotte, who set to to make the fire and boil the water. After tea we hid chocolate in the grass, the finding of which they much enjoyed.
_Tuesday, November_ 24.--Last week we sent round to each family all the clothing we could spare; and to-day we had Miss Cotton to tea to show her the various things in the house she is to have.
Yesterday Graham, Mr. Keytel, Repetto and H. Green were to have started upon an expedition round the island, but the weather changed. If they do not get off this week Graham will not go, because a vessel might call for us, though we do not expect one so early.
_Wednesday, November_ 25.--This afternoon Graham and I, accompanied by five little girls, went towards the potato patches. Graham is measuring their distances from the settlement. He measured the first mile the other day, and when we came to the spot I painted on a large rock 1 MILE. We went on and measured a second mile, which was also marked, and then it was time to return. The children were delighted to help by holding the line and were as frolicsome as kittens.
_Thursday, November_ 26.--This morning Graham, hearing from Repetto that it was not thought a good day for the expedition, as it would be rough for landing on the other side, determined to start off by himself on foot. He packed his food in a biscuit-tin, round which he rolled his overcoat, and put the bundle into an island knapsack. This knapsack is rather ingeniously made out of a sack by fastening to each of the bottom corners one end of a stout round band usually made of canvas stuffed with wool. Around the middle of this band is tied string, which ties the mouth of the sack and at the same time fastens the band to the mouth. In this way are formed two loops through which the arms go and which make excellent shoulder-straps. With this slung on his back he set forth, going west. In the afternoon, just as Ellen and I were starting forth to spend it in the open, Maria Green came to say her father did not like the thought of Graham having gone alone and that he was going to follow him. It was rather a relief to my mind as the mountain is dangerous in places. We went west and I sat down to sketch. Before very long we saw Henry and Tom coming quickly along on their donkeys and with knapsacks. I was glad of the opportunity of telling them how I appreciated their kindness.
When we got back we had one caller after another; some brought fish, another eggs, and another wool; we had seven visitors in all. I think perhaps it was a return for some soap which we had sent round yesterday. At last we were able to have supper, but bread had to be made before we could settle down for the evening.
I am making a blue serge dress for Little Lizzie and trimming the sleeves with narrow white tape.
_Saturday, November_ 28.--Graham returned to-day having thoroughly enjoyed the expedition; but he did not get round the island as he had hoped to do, for his left knee gave way the first day. Probably the weight of his knapsack (21 lbs.) had something to do with this. He was overtaken early that evening by the two men, who went the short way round the Bluff through the sea. They got to Seal Bay that night and slept outside the usual cave by their fire, Graham's bed being two planks. Next day they went to Stony Beach about four miles further on and which I believe, is the most beautiful part of the island. There is a great deal of grass-land and quite a forest of trees. The two men did the cooking and insisted upon carrying Graham's knapsack. Early that morning Henry saw quite a new bird which he said looked like a woman standing straight up. Graham says it resembled a stork. The second night they slept inside the cave, which they cleaned out, and having dried the tussock in the sun had softer beds. Coming home, for the first time Graham rounded the Bluff, wading waist-deep.
I went to-day to see Ruth, who has been ill for a month with mumps, and the last two days has taken to her bed; her neck is very much swollen.
_Monday, November_ 30.--Yesterday at noon a ship appeared and proved to be a whaler. All the men went out to her. Graham was in hopes he would get a letter from home, which he did, and I got one from an old friend of the islanders. Two of the islanders also got letters from relations in America. We hear that there is no likelihood of a ship calling for us. Mr. Keytel has, however, very kindly offered us passages in the _Greyhound_, which he expects about March 20. It is a comfort that our plans are thus made a little more definite. Now we know that no ship will call for us in December we are thinking of spending a week at Stony Beach. The captain of the whaler ordered a good deal: a bullock, sheep, forty fowls, geese, and one hundred bushels of potatoes.
_Wednesday, December_ 2.--The people are pleased with their bartering. I believe they have eight barrels of flour, a large quantity of biscuits, and a barrel of molasses. After they had supplied him the captain told them that two more whalers would be calling.
This afternoon Mrs. Susan Swain came to tea. She was a St. Helenian and was brought here as a young married woman. She told us how home-sick she was at first.
_Friday, December_ 4.--Just after service Lily Swain ran down to ask me to go and see Ruth as the swelling on her neck had burst. The swelling turned out to be an abscess, which was discharging freely. She has made very little of what she has suffered, only complaining of pain and of her neck being too tender to be touched.
This afternoon Graham has been whitewashing as we were anxious to leave the house in good order.
_Thursday, December_ 10.--Yesterday the men went over to Seal Bay and shot five oxen, so they are well set up in meat for some time to come. They salt it down. To-day they have been working for Mr. Keytel putting a roof on an old boat-house to be used as a store for fish. All being well, they start fishing next Monday. The green fly is not as bad this month as it will be next.
Poor Rob has had a bad bite in his side--a three-cornered tear. Pie brought it upon himself, as he seized a bone from another dog. I thought it ought to be sewn up, and showed it to Mr. Keytel, who was of the same opinion, and to my great relief offered to do it. He sewed the edges together most successfully, and although it was hard work forcing the needle through the skin, Rob behaved admirably.
_Friday, December_ 11.--Rob licked himself to such an extent last night that he opened the wound. We put a bandage round him, but he soon pushed it aside to lick, so we have had to leave the wound to him and nature.
_Monday, December_ 14.--We are busy making children's garments for Christmas.
A ship passed to-day and put up a red flag, which we took to mean that it wanted to communicate with the island, but unfortunately it was too rough for the men to put out. The sea was covered with "white horses"--"caps," as they are called here.
_Wednesday, December_ l6.--To-day the men started on the fishing business. They went off in their five boats about five o'clock, were out about five hours and did exceedingly well. Each boat-load was laid separately on the shingle. Then Mr. Keytel went from heap to heap and showed the women how to treat the fish. Each fish has to be slit open, cleaned, then slit twice again. The men helped by cutting off the heads. About fifteen hundred fish were thus dealt with. After they had been cleaned and slit they had to be washed. They were then carted up to the storehouse on the top of the cliff to be salted. Salt had to be thoroughly rubbed into each one, which took a long time. Lastly, they will be placed in barrels where they will be left till to-morrow, when, if fine, they will be hung up to dry. The drying process takes about three days. The people were working till almost dusk. Poor Mr. Keytel had a most unpleasant episode with one of the new-comers, who swore at him, and took off his coat to fight him, coming up to him two or three times. This happened before all the men and women. It appears the man was annoyed because Mr. Keytel was not on the shore when the boats came in. Mr. Keytel remained perfectly calm but told him he should fish no longer for him. He will have nothing more to do with him unless he apologizes.
_Friday, December_ l8.--We had a diversion to-day. Betty Cotton hurried in to say a steamer was making for the settlement. Graham soon followed and said we must pack at once, for the steamer might be coming for us, and if not, might take us. Mr. Keytel was going off, and we asked him to hoist a flag if the captain was ready to take us. We packed as fast as we could and were surprised how quickly we did it. There was no delay, for we had made a list of what had to be put in at the last moment. Repetto came down and helped. When we had nearly finished he looked through his glass again and saw the boats returning and the steamer moving on. For the moment it was a blow, for we had to unpack and return to our normal life again. After comparing notes, we think the steamer saw the boats and stopped, but the men not realizing this turned for home. It would not have been a good day to go, for the sea was choppy and probably all our things would have got wet. There was too much surf for the boats to land on this beach. We don't regret not having gone, since we should like to be here for Christmas; indeed, we do not want to leave before the end of March.
I am still visiting Ruth, as her neck is not yet right; the only thing to do seems to be to go on poulticing it.
We wish it were possible for the Henry Greens to send their youngest child to the Cape to see a doctor. He is nearly four and cannot talk yet; the parents say he has once or twice said words and that he understands everything said to him.
_Saturday, December_ 19.--Another eventful day. A whaler appeared and two boats were to be seen coming from it. It was the _Canton_, the whaler that was here last year with Walter Swain on board. This time it brought a mail from St. Helena. It was not a very exciting one, as it contained mostly papers. But the Postmaster of St. Helena most kindly sent two parcels of toys and some copy-books, which were particularly acceptable. He has been so kind in remembering the island each time a whaler has come from St. Helena. We had an agreeable surprise, Walter Swain bringing us letters sent through his owners, Messrs. Wing Bros, of New Bedford.
_Tuesday, December_ 22.--A cry of "Sail, ho!" was raised during school. It was a wet and foggy morning. As the fog lifted for a moment, a four-masted vessel was seen coming straight for Hottentot Point. It was close in and in a few minutes would have been on the rocks. The captain must have had a great shock when he found how near land he was. The ship was seen to head out as fast as it could and was soon again lost to view in the fog.
Last Sunday was a very disorganized day. The captain of the whaler, a coloured man, came ashore and said he must leave that day as the weather was changing. I believe he would have waited had the men made a stand. With the exception of Henry Green and Repetto they were at work all day, digging up potatoes, carting them to the beach, and taking them off to the ship, from which they did not return till dark. They did very well, getting at least ten barrels of flour.
_Saturday, December_ 26.--There was not much time for writing on Christmas Day. Mr. Keytel came in to supper, after which we played games, and then had a long chat, not getting off to bed till nearly eleven o'clock--very late for us primitive folk. The services were not largely attended, many heads of families being absent; but the elder boys and girls attended well. We had no need to cook a dinner for we had roast pig sent us by three different families, also a berry pie.
We are taking a short holiday, and intend next week, if fine, to go to Seal Bay for a day or two. William is to go with us to carry the baggage.
_Sunday, December_ 27.--The weather seems more settled and we hope to start early to-morrow morning. William is most keen upon our going and has donkeys ready.
_Seal Bay, Monday, December_ 28.--Well, I must tell of all our doings from the beginning. We went to bed last night before eight, and were up this morning by four o'clock. Our packing did not take long. My possessions were a rug, air cushion, bathing dress, pair of stockings, comb, towel, tooth-brush, soap, knitting, a gospel, sketching things, a book and camera. We started at six, Ellen, Mary Repetto and Sophy Rogers accompanying us as far as the Bluff, which is five miles out. Ellen and I rode on donkeys and a third carried the baggage. Graham very much hoped we should be able to keep to the shore by wading round the Bluff, which is not always possible as the sea sometimes dashes against the cliff with much force. It would only have taken a few minutes and would have saved a long climb over the Bluff. However, William, who is timid, was dead against it, so we chose the hill. It meant hard climbing over several ridges and took us about an hour and a half. Ellen and the girls kept with us till the descent began, when we bid them farewell. We filed along the side of the mountain for some time and found it rather rough walking, the track leading through long grass in which were hidden holes and stones. At last we got down to the shore, and after a sandy bit had three miles of clambering and stepping over boulders and big stones. This was really hard work, if only because one was obliged to hold the head down in order to pick every step. At last we got near the end of it, and coming to a stream trickling down the cliff--how we welcomed the water, for we were hot and thirsty!--we sat down and had our lunch.
_Tuesday, December_ 29.--To continue the account. We had now come to a very picturesque part, and were nearly at Seal Bay. On the shore was a clump of rocks forming an archway. Rocks like these are rather a feature on this side of the island. We had now a short but stiff climb; holding on to tufts of stubbly reed-like grass we pulled ourselves up to the top of the cliff. Here we were on fairly level ground, an uneven plain nearly three miles long, the first part of which had its grass thickly strewn with tiny ferns. The sweet-scented geranium abounded and so did the crowberry, which is a finer and sweeter kind than that which grows nearer the settlement. We frequently stopped to refresh ourselves with it. Near a gulch we sat down for a good rest, and then trudged on to Seal Bay. The scenery was fine, high mountains with long, grassy slopes. We soon got to the cave on the shore which the men generally occupy, a poor sort of shelter. The first thing we now did was to cook our supper. Boiling water was soon ready for the tea and steaming potatoes for the cold meat. Supper over I went to a pool to wash up, and found the water quite warm. The next thing was to find a sleeping-place. We went along the shore in search of a cave and in about ten minutes came to two side by side. One was immense--long, broad and lofty--and we immediately marked it off as our drawing-room. The other was just as small; it had a good open frontage, but was only about seven feet broad; it would do, though, to sleep in. Both were floored with clean sand and fairly dry. Close by we saw troops of penguins, which looked so delightfully quaint hopping and running in long files to the sea. They have such an ancient look as they move with bent body and head poking forward. We finally decided to sleep in the open on a sand bank, which was still warm from the sun. We found the best plan was to scoop out a place to lie in and heap up sand for a pillow. We had left William busy blocking up his cave with planks, and stopping up every crevice with tussock, so that not a breath of cold air should enter. Sleep would not come to us, and the roar of the waves dashing on the beach a few yards below us did not help to bring it. The wind, rising, began to blow the sand in our faces. This was a little too much, so about two o'clock Graham got up and lit the fire which he had already laid just inside the cave, and soon we were sitting and warming ourselves at its blaze. Then we tried the cave and got a little sleep, but were awakened by William at four. We sent him off to fish, and after resting a little longer, got up and had a bathe. There were rather big breakers, and I was knocked down but was none the worse. William, who as a rule is no fisherman, had caught six fish, and I superintended the boiling of them for breakfast, while Graham went for fresh water, which is only to be had some distance off.
_Wednesday, December 30_.--We started betimes yesterday for Stony Beach and found it a longer walk than I expected. We went along the shore, part of the way over boulders, then on to the side of the hill, where I photographed two mollyhawks on their nest. I also took photographs at different points along the shore. We at last got on to a grassy slope. We were feeling tired, but trudged on. As we neared Stony Hill we heard the galloping of wild cattle, and soon a troop of them appeared. Happily, we were well out of their course, for they are sometimes dangerous. This part of the way was very tiring and we were thankful--at least I was--when we got to the wooded valley which was our destination. Amongst the trees were flocks of noisy penguins. We were now in a most lovely part; it was really beautiful, and the view up the valley wild and fine. We settled down under the shade of the trees, made a fire and had a meal, after which Graham and William wandered away. I thankfully found a shady spot under a tree and had a rest. Then roused myself and tried to sketch. It was very hot and one did not feel energy for anything, not even to read. After a time Graham and William returned; they had wandered on to the opposite hill, from where I had heard their voices. Graham was anxious I should see the valley, so at last I mustered energy enough to stroll up. I was glad I went, for the view was very grand. We toiled up the side of the valley on to a ridge and looked down on Stony Beach, which lay at a great depth below. Scattered along it in a half-circle were hundreds of penguins. We slowly made our way down again, resting when we could under the shade of trees. We got back to the place where we lunched, made some tea, and had a hard-boiled egg each and some bread-and-butter, but not much, as we had to husband our food. It was about six, and we thought it time to start back to Seal Bay. We could not stay at Stony Beach, as we knew of no shelter. Walking across the moor, we kept a look-out for the cattle and spied them some distance away on higher ground; they appeared to be watching our movements narrowly. We came back quickly and got to our quarters in an hour and thirty-five minutes, just as it was getting dusk. We sat down at the mouth of our cave; then Graham and William lit the fire and put the potatoes on to boil. I sat near and at intervals progged the potatoes. It came on to rain slightly, but the cave just sheltered us. William slept in a corner against the wall, near where the fire had been. Graham got up in the middle of the night and put a rug over him, as he had not been able to sleep much the night before on account of feeling cold. I never had a better night, and felt refreshed, though tired. It has been very showery, but we managed to go off for a bathe and found a better place than yesterday's: a place between two rocks, into which the sea rushed at frequent intervals. We enjoyed a lazy morning. While Graham and William played cricket in the large cave, I rested in the other. When I looked in upon them a little later I found them stretched at full length, with pocket-handkerchiefs over their faces, which told its own tale.
There is lying on the rocks here the trunk of a large tree, which was first washed up on Tristan in 1894. It then measured, Repetto says, 120 feet to 140 feet in length, and 20 feet in girth.
[Illustration: HOTTENTOT GULCH]
_Thursday, December_ 3l.--Here we are, at home again, feeling decidedly tired, but having much enjoyed our holiday in the open air. We spent a very quiet day yesterday. In the afternoon I sketched an archway of rock. Then I went along the shore in search of Graham and William. The latter was trying, without either hook or bait, to catch fish, and caught three crawfish, one of which we had for supper. This morning we were up soon after four and had our bathe; the sun was just rising. We returned to prepare breakfast. William was to have had the fire lit, but we found he had used all his matches in vain. The fire was made to burn at last and breakfast cooked and over, we packed our knapsacks and started for home. We got across the plain fairly well and down the cliff, which was not an easy descent, on to the shore. It took us one hour and twenty-five minutes scrambling over the stones and boulders of the shore, and we went very quickly, just taking a respite now and again. In some parts, where there had been landslips, it was not safe to halt. We were glad when we got over this part, but the worst was to come. The mountain had a heavy mist over it. Before we began to ascend it we sat in Anherstock Gulch and had lunch. We were very thirsty and the only water we could get was some rain-water in the hollow of a rock. The ascent was steep, and before we had gone far rain came on. Then we had to walk along the side of the mountain in a narrow path bordered and overhung by dripping ferns. The last part was very steep and I kept stumbling over my wet skirt, and really if William had not assisted me, I do not know how I should have got up. Graham had as much as he could do to drag up the load on his back. From the heights which we now reached we could see the Bluff and make out figures which we guessed were awaiting us. Before long we got down to them and found they were Ellen and the children. She had brought donkeys and also a dry skirt and waterproof for me, which I was thankful to put on. The donkeys soon were saddled and we set off home. The saddles were men's and lacked stirrups. We came home at a tremendous pace, and it was as much as I could do to stick on. Graham, relieved of his load, ran behind and kept the donkey going. Knowing we were wet through, he would not listen to my entreaties to let the animals walk, so we raced the five miles home. As we neared the houses people came out to greet us, and were glad to see we were safely back. Only a few of the women have been to Stony Beach, and I doubt if any have been up the valley. In the evening the men came round, as is their custom on New Year's Eve, and in the intervals of playing and drinking tea were most interested in hearing about our expedition. They think we went about thirty-two miles.
_Tuesday, January 5, 1909_.--We have had another excursion. Thinking we would make the most of the holiday, yesterday we went with some of the young people up to the Ponds. It was our intention to start early, but the weather looked uncertain, so we waited awhile. At last we started off. Our party of eleven included Alfred, Maria and Johnny Green, William and Sophy Rogers, Emma Hagan, and Mary, Martha and Susan Repetto. We had a short walk over the sands going east, and then one of the stiff climbs, now becoming quite familiar, up the mountains, but we climbed leisurely, picking and eating berries as we went. It was a really hard climb at the end. Having reached the top we walked along a gulch, where I took two photographs, and from there got on to a moor which was covered with high-growing ferns, making walking difficult. We had about three miles of this and then reached the Ponds. They are close together, and the top one flows into the middle one and that again into the third. We descended to the first and there sat down for lunch, and how thankful we were to rest no words can say. Mary undertook the boiling of the water drawn from the pond; there was not much wood and a strong wind, and it seemed as if it would never boil. After lunch, as it was blowing rather cold, we moved on, making a detour along the opposite hill round the second pond to the third. The ponds lie in very deep, round basins, the sides of which in many places are thick with trees. We did not attempt to go down to the two last. Returning, we thought we would try a short cut across the moor to the edge of the mountain. Andrew Hagan, who had joined us, advised us not to try this, but the spirit of adventure was upon us, and so we and the children set forth. We certainly got into many pitfalls. We had numerous small ravines to cross and their almost impossible banks to scramble up, and at times had to push our way through bushes and ferns. We came across a good many mollyhawks sitting on their nests, which they seem to frequent after their young ones have flown. We saw one or two of the young; they are so pretty and are covered with a blue fluffy down. It was not easy to keep Rob and Scotty from molesting them. We clambered down the mountain fairly quickly. William most thoughtfully had told Ned to meet us with the donkey, and I was most thankful for it. It was getting on for eight by the time we got home. Graham thinks we must have been about fifteen miles. I think it was the most tiring expedition we have had, but do not regret having gone. The children enjoyed themselves immensely, and it was delightful to hear their peals of laughter; they were here, there, and everywhere.
_Tuesday, January_ l2.--Mr. Keytel is encountering many difficulties. The fact is, the men are not pulling together, which is due to the new-comers, who have done an untold amount of mischief in every way. There are divisions and quarrels among them, and their morals are bad.
Six men who last week went to Inaccessible returned on Sunday. They had hoped to do some sealing, but could not get into the cave. I am sorry to say one of them purposely set fire to the tussock grass, which has been burning for three days. The fire can be seen from here, twenty-five miles away. The men say that thousands of birds must have been destroyed, as it is their nesting time. It is horrible to think of.
We started school again last Monday, after more than a fortnight's holiday. For some time the elder Swain girls have left off coming to school, and now William means to leave; he is eighteen, and is wanted for work. While I write I hear the cheerful strains of a concertina which he is playing.
_Friday, January 15_.--Soon after four this morning the settlement was awakened by terrific cries of "Sail, ho!" Some smoke was seen, and it was first thought to be that of a steamer, but there was so much it seemed to be a ship on fire. The men went off and did not get back till the evening, as they had a long distance to go. The ship was a whaler melting the blubber of a whale caught the night before. They had on deck the half of the head, inside of which men were digging with spades--which gives an idea of its size. The whale in Tristan waters is the Southern Right Whale.
_Saturday, January 16_.--A vessel emerged from the mist to-day. In a marvellously short time the men were off to her. She was a Norwegian one bound for Australia, and had made a quick run of fourteen days from Rio Janeiro. After the men returned in the evening they had to go off again with sheep and potatoes to the whaler, which was standing out to the east. We sat on the cliff once more, looking at the busy scene on the beach and watching with interest the boys guiding down the steep road the bullock-carts, which at times looked as if they would heave over, and indeed one did. The men will probably not be back till the small hours of the morning, which will make a working-day of nearly twenty-four hours for them, as they were up very early digging potatoes for the whaler.
_Monday, January_ l8.--The men failed to catch the whaler on Saturday night. I suppose the captain had given them up and moved further out. They got back about 2 o'clock, and after a few hours' rest went off again to her, returning in the evening. This morning, just before starting for church, a third ship was sighted in the far distance.
We have had rather uncertain weather lately, with a good deal of wind. The last few days have been hot and misty. The flower garden has not done very well this year, partly due to the wind.
The ship that was sighted to-day was another whaler. It was too breezy for the men to go out to it, so they went to dig potatoes to be ready for to-morrow.
_Wednesday, January_ 20.--In the late afternoon I was sketching the mountains with the houses below, so as to give an idea of the great height of the overshadowing cliffs. It was rather too ambitious a sketch. I sat out on the plain right away from the houses.
_Saturday, January_ 23.--Yesterday being Sophy Rogers' birthday, we went in the afternoon for a picnic. The invited were all those who attend the knitting-class. We went a little way west and had tea in a ravine. Mary Repetto, who is generally the leading spirit, superintended the boiling of the water. Afterwards the girls had rounders on the plain, playing with great zest. It was amusing to watch their different characters. Mary, intensely in earnest and galloping round at terrific speed; at the same time trying to keep every one else up to the mark; her face showing displeasure or amusement with lightning rapidity. Her sister Martha, very serious and looking rather harassed. Sophy, a tall, rather pretty girl, taking all in good part and entering into the game with great enjoyment. Maria, who is decidedly staid, playing well, but not letting herself go. Emma, the tallest of all, good-natured, and enjoying herself immensely, but taking things easily. Susan, as active as a young goat and full of laughter. We joined for a game, but I was soon glad to take my place again as a spectator.
_Thursday, January_ 28.--Most of the men are walling in new potato patches. The young Swains are going to build a house. This will be the first that has been put up for at least ten years. The difficulty will be to get wood enough. The men do not care much for building.
Graham talks of going up to the Peak again, and I may possibly go too; we should not do it in a day, but camp out for at least one night. The hardest part is the ascent from the settlement on to the Base.
_Monday, February_ 1.--Last Saturday Henry had rather a bad fall from his donkey. He was going at a good pace when the crupper broke, and he was thrown over the donkey's head on to the stony track. He hurt his neck, cut his face, and the inside of his mouth. Calling this morning, I found his mouth was festering inside, and as he thought there was grit there, at his wife's suggestion I syringed it. The grit had lodged in a hole, and it took nearly an hour to dislodge it. Even then I was not sure it was all out, and so promised to go up again this afternoon, and, syringing again, more came out. I hope the wound may now heal quickly.
Graham and Mr. Keytel have been exploring this afternoon. They wanted to find the way to the Base from a certain point. I did not realize till the other day that when we climb to the Base we are considerably higher than the Malvern Hills.
Mr. Keytel has had to throw away a great number of his dried fish. Some had become fly-blown, and some mildewed. The north wind does so much damage in moistening things, and so causing food to spoil.
_Monday, February_ 8.--This evening I was sitting on the common, having just finished sketching, when, looking up, I saw the poor sheep being driven hither and thither by one of Henry Green's dogs, which the girls were powerless to stop. It ran the sheep to the edge of the cliff, and two, in their fright, ran down to the shore and one was nearly drowned. But the girls followed; and Martha got hold of the sheep by its tail and with the assistance of the others drew it out of the sea.
_Wednesday, February_ 10.--Most of the men have gone off to Inaccessible. The island has now been on fire for a month.
_Friday, February_ 12.--This morning a ship was seen. Hearing it was a whaler, I went up to school as usual, and did not trouble about letters. In a few minutes Mr. Repetto looked in to ask for Mary, and said it was a merchant ship, and that the men were just going off. I flew home, got my letters and dispatched them by Johnny Green. Graham was just too late with his. Soon after the three boats came back from Inaccessible. They had had bad weather, and had only caught four seals. The cave in which they are caught is very dark and has to be entered with lanterns, hence a good many got away. The other men returned from the ship in the early evening. We hear the captain would have been ready to take us. He was going to Melbourne. I am glad, though, not to go so far; it is a long round. As the time gets nearer, so the desire becomes greater to see all our home people; but we must just await our time.
[Illustration: ALL THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN]
_Saturday, February_ 13.--Tom has just been in and told us how well they did on the ship yesterday. The captain was very kind. This morning there was another cry of "Sail, ho!" Twenty-two went off and caught the ship. It was an English one, and again bound for Melbourne. Repetto asked the captain if he would give us a passage, but he said he had no room, as he had already a passenger. I felt anxious as to whether we should have to go off, and even began to collect some books, but, rather to my relief, on looking out I saw the ship's sails going up again. Now that the prospect of getting home is so much in our thoughts it seems such a journey round by Australia. I suppose it would take us six weeks to get there.
Graham and Mr. Keytel have at last found the way up from the Goat Ridge to the Base. Mr. Keytel ascended by rather a dangerous way, but managed to hold on and pull himself up. They were so late in coming home that I went to Mrs. Repetto, and we both walked as far as the gulch to look for them; before long she saw them coming, greatly to my relief.
_Monday, February_ l5.--William came in on Saturday night to show us a watch he had bought for five shillings from an apprentice on the last ship. He wanted to show his treasure at once. I only hope it will go, but he does not seem to have any apprehensions on that score; it is a watch, and he possesses it!
In view of our leaving, Graham has given to Repetto the Bishop's commission to hold a service every Sunday, to take baptisms, and to perform marriages.
We have now quite made up our minds not to go by any ship bound for Australia, as we have the _Greyhound_ to fall back upon.
_Wednesday, February_ l7.--This afternoon, as I was contemplating a walk with Graham, Susie Repetto came to ask me to go up and see Martha, who in chopping wood had cut her foot rather badly with an axe. I found she had done it this morning; it was a bad gash on the top of the foot, and had bled profusely. Her father had bound it up, and told them to ask me to go up and see to it this afternoon. It ought to have been sewn up, and Repetto intended to do that, but Lavarello dissuaded him. Repetto is quite a doctor--and surgeon too. When, a few years ago, old Susan Swain fell and broke her left leg at the shin into splinters, he very cleverly set it, and she now walks about as well as ever, and shows no sign of lameness-- even in spite of her not having altogether obeyed his instructions. His account of the setting is most amusing. He says he was never so hot in his life. His great difficulty was to get at the fracture, for as soon as he pulled up the skirt to look at it, it was promptly pulled down again by one or another of the many bystanders. He was equally successful in two cases amongst his children, one of whom had her wrist, and the other his shoulder dislocated.
[_June_, 1910.--As I write this for the printer, news comes of a very sad accident to poor little Florrie Swain, aged seven, by a stone falling upon her at Pig's-Bite. This is how Repetto writing on April 24 describes the case:--
"I am little busy now about that I have to attend to little Florence which she as bough (both) legs brock below the neess but one of it she got three wonds one just below the nee about tow inches long and mor than a inche wide another on the brocken bon which the bon is entirely out about 3 inches long and another large ones on top the foot which reach from ones side the enckel bone to the other and some more smoll ones also the same leg I had operetion on her foot which I had to cut off the big toe and the nex to the big one and mor the alf of the underfoot All them see give her up but now she get on nisely ... beside Athur Rogers he had his herm dislocate so I am now cleagy and doctor."]
_Thursday, February_ 18.--Ellen was _hors de combat_ to-day, consequently I have had a most domestic day. I swept the rooms, skimmed the milk, boiled the coffee and the eggs. After breakfast Mary came to help. Though only thirteen, she has the capability of a girl of eighteen. She looked after the boiling of the milk, of which there was a bucketful, washed up, and cleaned the saucepans. These are done outside at the Watering and cleaned with sods. I did the bedroom, made a milk pudding and trimmed the lamp. It was then time for church. In the middle of the morning I had to run off to dress Martha's foot, which is doing well. She has to keep in bed, but does not seem to mind, as she is fond of reading.
_Monday, February_ 22.--We have not had very much summer this year. To-day is quite cold, and we are told there is snow on the Peak.
_Thursday, February_ 25.--Mr. Keytel has met with many discouragements, but if the Government will grant him certain concessions he fully intends to return. He said one day, "I think most men would have thrown the whole business up"; and truly I think they would.
_Thursday, March_ 4.--The vine on the house is growing at such a rate; rather more than a third of the front of the house is now covered with it, and it has actually grapes. Not much has been done in the garden this year on account of the fowls, but we have had a few vegetables. The cucumbers have done well. I cut one a day or two ago, which was a monster. There being no bees here, the blossoms have to be set. Tomatoes never seem to ripen on the plant.
_Wednesday, March_ 10.--Now that our time is probably so near to a close it gives rather an unsettled feeling. The _Greyhound_ is expected in ten days' time.
Yesterday every one, except Susan Swain, who has been ill, turned up at the women's meeting--in all, twenty-one. At first few were able to follow what was read, but now they enjoy it and laugh at the jokes. I always give a short address at the end, and only hope it may be a little help to them.
To-day I found old Eliza Hagan here when I came back from school, and induced her to stay to dinner. The Hagans were thrashing wheat in her house, so she was glad to get away. She is such a kind old soul, and never says an unkind thing of any one. She is so big that I always tremble lest the chair should give way.
We often talk of the _Greyhound_ and how we shall manage on it. It is really a question of where they can put us. I expect Ellen and I shall have to sleep in the hold, and as for a place to have meals in, I do not believe there is any. I shall rather enjoy the experience of roughing it for a time. It will be something to look back upon.
[Illustration: ORANGES AND LEMONS]
_Thursday, March_ 11.--This morning Mrs. H. Green came with a present of butter and eggs, it being Alfred's birthday. She asked us to tea this afternoon. We were just going to sit down to dinner, and made her join us. She went away directly afterwards, saying, "We must forgive her manners, for she must get home." They were giving a birthday dinner.
_Monday, March_ l5.--A ship was sighted this morning; it was lost sight of for a time, but later appeared again, when the men went out to it.
This afternoon Mr. Keytel invited the school-children to his lawn, a square grass-plot behind his house, where he took photographs of them playing various games. It was intensely hot. Later we played games in earnest. On leaving each child received some prunes.
The men got to the ship at dusk and did not return till the early morning. It was from London and going to Australia. The captain told the men that he had seen in the paper that the _Pandora_ was coming here with the mail. The people are quite excited about this piece of news, which will give them a subject for conversation for some time to come.
_Friday, March_ 19.--On Wednesday a good many of the people went by boat to the orchards at Sandy Point, and brought back sacks of apples.
We are quite proud of our cucumbers. To-day I measured one I brought in; it was close on a foot in circumference. I have never seen such fine ones at home, and I think these are more juicy.
We wonder each day whether it will be our last here.
_Saturday, March_ 20.--All eyes are scanning the ocean for the schooner, and I may add, for the _Pandora_. I think Mr. Keytel is beginning to feel he will be glad to get away.
One comes across curious types of human nature. The other day Bob Glass sent to ask if he could preach on Sundays at the church when we are gone. Graham replied, "No." Then he came to see him and said he had got the learning, but Graham pointed out to him that it was the life that was needed, and showed him that he had not this, because, to mention only one thing, he was a notorious swearer, which he admitted. He came again the next day or the day after to ask if his child could be baptized, and also to ask if he might preach on Saturday afternoon at the church-house, as there were several of the boys who wanted to hear how he could do it. The child was baptized on Sunday.
_Tuesday, March_ 23.--Ellen was amused the other day by one of the women telling her that she had ready some nice fresh eggs for us when her turn came to serve us, which would be a week hence.
We have been to look at the new house, which was begun yesterday. One side is nearly up. The stone from an old cottage of Susan Swain's is being used, which, being ready squared, saves a good deal of labour. The fireplace, the most difficult part, was being built to-day.
_Friday, March_ 26.--We go up each evening to look at the house. The stonework will be nearly finished by to-morrow. The measurement is forty feet by twelve.
_Monday, March_ 29.--Each day we expect to hear a cry of "Sail, ho!" and that our time of departure has come, but, of course, here things must be uncertain, so we must just patiently wait.
On Saturday, in passing over Hill Piece, Graham and I saw smoke, and, getting on to Burnt Hill, saw large burnt patches and smoke and flames arising from various directions. Upon inquiry, we learnt that one of the men had fired a piece to see if he could procure stone there. He had never put the fire out, and it has been burning for three months. Probably it will cover a good deal of ground before it dies out, which will mean so much loss of pasture for the cattle. Graham went to-day to see what he could do by trenching and so cutting off a small plot. The soil was at burning heat quite a foot deep.
On the _Svend Foyne_.
_Monday, April_ 5.--Well, we are on our homeward road at last! I must go back and relate events from the beginning. On Wednesday afternoon, feeling a little tired, I had taken my chair outside in front of the cottage and nearly fell asleep. I fancied I heard a sound of "Sail, ho!" but thinking it was the children at play, I thought no more of it, although Rob at once looked up. Presently two of the young girls rushed down to the house, calling out, "Three steamers from the westward." I jumped up at once, and we set to to collect everything that had to be packed. Mr. Keytel and Repetto appeared and told us the men would soon be starting for the steamers, which were coming close in. It was arranged that Repetto should stay and Henry Green carry on the negotiations with the captain, who was to be asked to run up a red flag if he were willing to take us. The men soon got off, but were not able to intercept the steamer, which got in front of them, and it looked at one time as if there were no hope of overtaking it. They hoisted a sail in hope of attracting the captain's attention. Between our packing we kept anxiously looking out at them, and before very long went up to the Repettos' house, where we could see better. After some time of anxious watching the steamer seemed to be slowing down, and at last we saw the boats get alongside. There was a concourse of women and children at the Repettos' house, and I shall not forget Mary's anxious little face as she keenly watched the movements of the steamer. When she saw it was slowing down she fled into the house. There I found her behind the door, weeping bitterly, as well as Martha, and did my best to comfort them. Before very long the boats came back and we went down to the shore to hear the news. It seems that when the captain heard they had things for barter he said he did not want anything. Then Henry Green called out could he have a few words with him, as he had a message to give him from the minister. This was allowed; so Henry went on board and put things so well that, after some consideration, the captain said he would take us, and would wait till eight that evening, and even until ten. "No," said Henry, "that won't do; it isn't fit weather for them to come off tonight; it'll be better to-morrow." Finally the captain said, "I can't wait for them longer than eight o'clock to-morrow morning. If they are not here by then I must go." He was anxious to coal his two small steamers, and had come close to the island expecting to find smoother water in which to do so. He told us afterwards he only took us because he knew how difficult it must be to get off the island. It was a reprieve to know we had not to leave that night; it gave us time to go round and say good-bye to all the old people. Some of them, especially Eliza Hagan, Betty Cotton and Martha Green, felt it very much. Mr. Keytel made up his mind to throw in his lot with us and not wait for his schooner. We were up till midnight, and were up again soon after four, when it was quite dark. We had breakfast at half-past five, as Graham had arranged for a service at six. To this service men, women and children came to the number of sixty. We had two hymns, "Jesu, meek and gentle," and "Fight the good fight," two or three prayers, and a few words of farewell. Old Eliza, Susan Hagan and Betty followed us back into the house and stayed till it was time to leave for the shore. We had prayer together and then we went down to the beach. Nearly every one was there to bid us good-bye. I think the little boys were very happy, feeling they would have no more school, but the women and girls were almost in tears. The boats were at last ready, and we followed them as they were pushed to the brink of the water, then got in, and the men--waiting for an opportune moment, for there were breakers--pushed off, sprang in and bent to their oars. It took about half-an-hour to get to the ship, which was a large iron one. Our boat waited close by till those in the first one had gone on board. One or two waves had splashed into the boat, and I found myself sitting in a pool of water. When our turn came a grimy rope was put round our waists, and we had to clamber up a steep iron ladder as best we could, coal-besmeared faces looking down upon us from above. As soon as the baggage was on board the order was given to go ahead. Many of the men when they came to say good-bye were in tears; Henry in particular seemed to feel the parting. We watched them getting into their boats and waved adieux as they sped on their way homeward.
Now I must tell a little about the ship, which is a Norwegian whaler of 4,000 tons, and has accompanying it two little steamers, on each of which is mounted a gun, from which the harpoon is shot. The captain is returning from the South Shetlands (south of Cape Horn), and has caught 392 whales of two or three varieties. Below are 8,000 barrels of oil, which he is taking to Cape Town to be sent on from there to an English or Scotch market.
_Wednesday, April_ 7.--I forgot to mention that Joe Hagan, one of last year's arrivals and a very decent fellow, managed through Mr. Keytel to get a passage.
The day we left there were clouds over Tristan, and to my disappointment we could not see the Peak, which I have not yet seen. The island was visible most of the day. We kept on deck all day, but towards evening our sea troubles began. Some of the oil being stored in tanks caused the ship to roll more than it ordinarily would. From that Thursday evening till Monday morning neither Graham nor Ellen came up-stairs, and were really very ill. I could just manage to get out of my bunk and crawl up-stairs on to the sofa in the tiny saloon, which was heaped up with our small luggage, and was the home of the two dogs, Rob and Scotty. The utmost I was capable of these two days was twice a day to look in upon the invalids. Happily, we had the kindest of stewards, with the softest of voices, who looked well after them, and Mr. Keytel did all he could. On Sunday there was a moderate gale, but Monday was calmer, and we all revived and got out on deck.
Ellen had been given some apples before starting, the islanders telling her they were good for seasickness. Feeling a little revived, we thought we would like to try them, so she brought us some. Presently I heard an exclamation from her, and found she was looking at the paper in which the apples had been wrapped. In putting them away she had recognized in the paper a portrait of my eldest brother. On looking at the paper, I saw his portrait and that of his intended bride, with a notice of his approaching marriage. This was the first intimation I had of my brother's engagement. It seemed so curious that of all the papers that came from that ship, this should have been the one little bit of them to reach us, and that, too, after we had left the island. We always saw any papers brought from ships, but these from the London ship, which was boarded about a fortnight ago, did not come into our hands.
Poor Graham is very much run down and looks as if he had put on twenty years. It is the greatest mercy that we have come by this steamer and not by the schooner.
It is quite an interest to watch the small steamers ploughing behind. Sometimes the waves wash right over their decks. As the sea is not smooth enough for them to be coaled from the large steamer, they have had to be taken in tow. This will delay our passage, but the captain expects to be in Table Bay on Thursday evening. We are having beautiful weather and are able to be on deck all day long.
_Thursday, April_ 8,--We cannot feel thankful enough that we were given passages on this steamer. Mr. Keytel is glad too, and has been able to learn a great deal about whaling from the captain, with whom he talks by the hour. We cannot say too much of Captain Mitchelsen's kindness and generosity. When Mr. Keytel asked him what we were indebted to him, he would hear of no payment, though Mr. Keytel urged it again and again. At last he said, "If you like you may pay the steward for the food, but nothing more."
_Royal Hotel, Cape Town, Saturday, April_ 10, 1909. Here we are, and so thankful to be on shore. Thursday, our last night on board, was rather a bad one; the ship rolled horribly, on account of slackening speed, and scarcely any one slept. We were astir betimes, and much enjoyed the beauty of the outline of coast. It was delightful to feast our eyes on the bright sunshiny shore dotted with red-roofed houses. It was a beautiful day, and Table Mountain and the town looked very fine as we rounded in. We anchored in the Bay, and soon plying round us were numerous little motor-launches. The Port Doctor did not appear till long after the other officials because, I suppose, it was Good Friday, and then had to go back for papers. In consequence of this delay we did not leave the ship until the afternoon. The poor dogs were not even so fortunate, having to be left behind till the morrow to be passed by the veterinary surgeon. We embarked on one of the launches, and I must say it was delightful to step ashore and to enter what seemed to us almost a new world.
That evening we found our way to the cathedral, and I think we could from our hearts give thanks for all God's goodness to us. When we started forth four years ago I rather dreaded facing the world, but all along our path we have met with the greatest kindness and have made many new friends. In all we see God's guiding Hand; and very especially did the arrival of the steamer at the very time we would have chosen make us feel conscious of God's loving kindness and tender care.
_A_. THE FAUNA AND FLORA OF TRISTAN
There is nothing peculiar to Tristan in either its Fauna or Flora. Of the birds those we saw or heard most of were:--
1. The Gony, the Wandering Albatross (_Diomedia exulans_). A few lay on Inaccessible but none on Tristan. 2. The "Pe-o," the Sooty Albatross (_Phoebetria fuliginosa_). Comes to nest in August, leaves in April. 3. The Molly, Yellow-nosed Mollyhawk (_Thalassogeron chlororhyncus_). Comes to nest in August, leaves in April. 4. The Sea-hen, the Southern Skua (_Stercorarius antarcticus_). Is in all the year, begins to lay in August. 5. The Black Eaglet, the Long-winged Fulmar (_Aestrelata Macroptera_). Comes in to moult in May; lays first week in July. 6. The White-breasted Black Eaglet. Lays in November. 7. The King-bird, the Kerguelen Tern (_Sterna Vittata_). Comes in September, and lays in November. 8. The Wood-pigeon, the "Noddy" (_Anous Stolidus_). Comes in September and lays in November. 9. The Night-bird, the Broad-billed Blue Petrel (_Prion Vittatus_). Comes in July and lays in September. 10. The "Pediunker," lays in May and June; it is like a Petrel. We think it must be the Shearwater (_Profinus Cinereus_); of which we were told at the South African Museum, Cape Town, that it frequents Scotland, and that its nesting-place was unknown until Mr. Keytel brought a specimen of it and of its eggs from Tristan in 1909. 11. The Starchy, the Tristan Thrush (_Nesocictela_). A land bird. No song. 12. The Finch, the Tristan Finch (_Nesospiza Acunhae_). A land bird. 13. The Penguin, the Rock-hopper Penguin (_Catarrhactes Chrysocome_). Comes to moult in March; comes again in August and lays in September. Last year's young ones come to moult in December.
The first name is the island name. "Pe-o" and "Pediunker" are attempts at spelling.
The fish we saw at Tristan were:---
1. Whale, Southern Right Whale (_Balaena Australis_). 2. Sea-elephant. 3. Seal (_Arctocephalus pusillus_). 4. Shark. 5. Blue-fish (_Perca antarctica_). 6. Snoek (_Thyrsites atun_). 7. Mackerel (_Scomber Pneumatophorus_). 8. Five-finger (_Chilodactylus Fasciatus lac_). 9. Soldier-fish. 10. Craw-fish. 11. Clip-fish.
Of the trees and plants those we most frequently met with were:---
1. The Island Tree (_Phylica nitida_). Found also on the islands Gough, Amsterdam, Bourbon, and Mauritius. 2. Tussock (_Spartina Arundinacea_); distinct from the real Tussock (_Poa Flabellater_). "The geographical distribution of this grass is remarkable, being confined to the Tristan group and Gough Island, and the Islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam in the Indian Ocean, 3,000 miles distant" (Blue-book). 3. Flax. 4. Willow, a few trees on the settlement only. 5. Ferns and Mosses. 6. Prickle-bush, Gorse. A few bushes only near the houses. 7. Crowberry (_Empetrum nigrum_). 8. Nertera, bearing scarlet berries. 9. Blackberry. Scanty. 10. Cape-gooseberry. Once plentiful, now scarce. 11. Tea-plant (_Chenopodium Tomentosum_). 12. Wild Celery. 13. Large Field-Daisy. 14. Geranium (_Pelargonium Australe_). 15. Convolvolus. 16. Sunflower (_Oxalis_). 17. Buttercup. One patch only near Betty's house.
_B_. THE WEATHER
From Feb. 15, 1908, to March 31, 1909, the lowest temperature as recorded in a Stevenson's screen was 37'9 degrees (Aug. 16, 1908), and the highest 77'8 (March 14, 1909).
The Rainfall and Sunshine records are as follows:--
Rainfall Sun, all Sun, part Sun day of the day unrecorded
1907 inches days days days
June 4-30 4'990 5 19 0 July 9'635 4 18 3 August 8'020 4 21 0 September 7'465 7 11 1 October 7'660 9 13 0 November 6'015 11 14 1 December 2'975 4 1 24 ______ 46'760
1908 January 4.565 11 12 0 February 6.105 10 12 0 March 4.360 7 17 2 April 7.605 14 8 1 May 4.305 9 21 0 June 5.775 0 25 0 July 4.800 5 21 0 August 6.325 8 18 0 September 6.630 3 21 0 October 6.675 11 9 0 November 2.440 11 8 0 December 5.255 10 10 0 ______ 64.840
1909 January 3.060 7 19 0 February 4.720 11 7 3 March 5.295 9 14 1 ______ 13.075
The following observations on the wind are derived from Andréa Repetto:--
The wind at Tristan generally changes from northward to westward or southward. The change begins with rain. A very light wind from the northward (NE. or N.) will spring up, and may last for a day or two; then it becomes unsettled and with rain changes to the westward. But this initial wind may come from the NW., W., SW., or S. This movement of the wind from the northward to westward or southward generally happens when the weather is settled and the wind is light, or in the warm season (spring, summer and autumn); but sometimes it happens in unsettled weather, in which case the rain pours down at once and the wind from the north lasts only a short time. When this northward wind begins in unsettled weather it changes to the south, as a rule, without staying at any of the intervening points, and does so with a heavy squall or shower. When the wind from the north is a light one it generally changes to a light one from the south; and when it is a heavy one from the north it generally changes to a heavy one from the south; this latter happens usually in the winter when the weather is for the most part unsettled.
In the warm season when the wind is very light it very often goes round the four cardinal points every twenty-four hours for a week together.
The wind hardly ever changes from the northward to the eastward. On the very rare occasions when it may do so, the wind being very variable, it never stands there but quickly returns to the northward.
The wind may instantly change (_e.g_. after one shower) from northward to south; and sometimes from here (the south) it goes to SE., where it may stay a week; if it gets as far as the east it will not stay for more than a day or two, but will go on to the NE.; but it does not get so far as the E. more than once in a year, and perhaps not for two years, and always without rain.
When the wind gradually changes from northward to the south it stays a short time in the west, then as the day advances in the SW., and gets to the S. in the evening, each of those three movements being preceded by squalls or showers. On reaching the S. it settles there for a day or two. If during this day or two there are showers a movement will begin. In the morning this movement will be without a shower from the S. to the W.; but in the evening it will be with a shower back from the W. (to which it had gone in the morning) to SW. or S. This movement may last for a week or two.
In fine weather when the wind springs from the northward the first day is generally fine and clear, then it becomes cloudy or dull for a day or even a fortnight; then it will change to the westward with a squall, or shower, or sometimes heavy rain.
The wind never changes from the S. to northward without first dying down either at once or gradually and without rain. But it may change from the SW. or W. to northward without dying down and without rain.
The wind from the E. which visits the Isle so seldom generally begins with rain, though in the lee it is clear and the sun is shining at the time. It lasts from two to six days at least.
When the SE. wind blows in unsettled weather, in the lee there will be sunshine and clear weather.
The winds from the W., SW., S. and SE. are dry winds. The other winds, especially N. and NE., are wet ones.
C. SOME TRISTAN WORDS
1. _Allow_, to say.
2. _Bawling_, lowing of a cow.
3. _Bog_, a root or clump of tussock.
4. _Bread_, ship's biscuits.
5. _Cake_, bread.
6. _Duff-headed cow_, a cow without horns.
7. _Fancy_, pretty.
8. _Gallied_, flustered.
9. _Gutter_, a narrow grass-covered ravine.
10. _Hardy_, a high rock in the sea at a little distance from the shore.
11. _"I never,"_ I never did it.
12. _Mary_, a chrysalis.
13. _Ned_, a lob (in cricket).
14. _Paddle_, to rake.
15. _Quanking_, the cackling of geese.
16. _Red Harry_, a red centipede.
17. _Scouse_, milk and the yolk of two or three eggs boiled in it.
18. _The Stitch_, lumbago.
19. _Tissick_, a cough.
* * * * *
_Richard Clay & Sons Limited, London and Bungay._