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1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

ON THE WALLABY.

I FOUND myself one morning on a certain diggings in New South Wales, with five pounds in my pocket and no horse. My mind was soon made up, loafing not being in my creed. I bought a pair of blankets, a blue serge shirt, moleskin trousers, and a billycock hat, and thus arrayed in the unaccustomed but orthodox costume, I bade a long farewell to swelldom, and started on the wallaby in search of any kind of employment, which, as Mr. Micawber has it, might turn up.

Birds of a feather, ¿co. On my first night out, I fell in with on unfortunate individual who, like myself, had " Boon bottor dayB," and wo chummed. Vory useful poor Sam proved to mo, for he had a previous ciporienco of " travelling."

As long as my remaining few shillings lasted, wo did not ask a squatter for food ; but after walking about fivo hundred miles my stock came to an ona, and we woro obliged to cadgo

like the rest.

For thirteon weeks I prowled about tho country, asking at every station for employ- ment, and during that time I was offered but ono job, and that was to moko brioks. This, in consequence of a practical knowledge of tho art of briokmaking not having bean considered necessary as a part of my education, I was most reluctantly forced to deolino. And untd even- tually, aftor walking over fourteen hundred miles, I got a iob " rolling fleeces," I hod to continue my vagrant existence. "Misfortune makes us acquainted with strango bedfellows," ond truly this proverb is fully oxomplLQed " on the wallaby." I hove met men from almost every quarter of tho globe, and almost every grado in society aupplioB its representativo literally from the peer to the poasant. A noble viscount, whom I havo mot "bullook-driving," was, upon his coming to tho title, discovered, after somo difficulty, hut-keeping for two shepherds, at a sheep station on the Burrowa Biver, Now South Wales. He is now, I bolieve, living on his estate in the old country. Lawyers ond "old lags," doctors and "Pentop villes," B.A's and agricultural laborera, counter-jumpers, mechanics, and indeed " all sorts of men," ore to be Been " on tho wallaby." Worn out old mon, who aro only fit for tho Benevolent Asylum, and " cranky mon " form by no meoTiB a Bmall quota of the whole. Thoro is an incredible number of tho latter constantly going the rounds ; pitied and fed by the settlers, and unmercifully chaffed by thoir

fellow-travollors. I havo met those unfortu- nates in the depth of winter, wet and miserable, with scarcely a rag to oovor them, and some- times carrying the moBt incongrous materials to represent a "swag." One I saw, not long since, with a piece of old woolpack, in whioh he had rolled some empty bottlos, and this com- prised the wholo of his bedding,

I am not aware that the Bad state of those men has attracted the attention of tbo authori-

ties sufficiently for inquiry to bo mado as to the cause of their montai aberration, but this I do know, that they are supposed to have been " hocussed " at bush public houses where they have spent their money, end tho landlords of which havo resorted to this means of saying their grog, and get possession of tho cheque. It is a well-known fact, about whioh thero is no sort of secroBy, that a bushman will go to ono of these houses, and handing bia ohequo over the bar, request to be told when it is finishe d. For a cheque of threo or four pounds he may get two days' drinking, and for anything under thirty pounds about a week, and so on. I have

heard instances in which men with two or three

years' earnings of upwards of one hundred pounds hove oeen brought in debt after three days.

These men ore generally safe from"hocuss ing," and it is those who change their cheques and keep the money in their pockets, who are generally supposed to be the victims. How- ever shocking these facts may appear, they are nevertheless far from being overdrawn.

It is this SBd practice of " knocking down" thoir money which causes the vogranoy-a cure for which the squatters seek in vain.

Men who have no real liking for drink will, after they havo been.for months at work in the bush, go down towards town, and as a rule the first "publio" pulls them up. They toke two or three nobblers, and it is all up with them. They become, in fact, after a lengthened residence in the interior, "dipsomaniacs," and

it is much to be feared that the disease is more likely to increase than the reverse.

To continue, however, my pieture of the wallaby track, it ÍB the custom of a traveller to make a homestead every evening at sundown, and, if possible, never to pass one during the day. To effect this, if the stations are near together, he " coils" in the bush, out of sight of the road, until it is time to go up, when the following short colloquy take* place between him and the squatter, or bis overseer:-"Do

you want any 'and, sir ?" " No!" " Can I stop to-night, sir?" "Yes." And this formula is repeated nightly until he is fortunate enough

te receive an affirmative answer to his first question.

~ The travellers usually get their meals in the hut - occupied by the working hands on the station, 'though some few squatters Borve out rations, and let them cook it themselves as they best can. The sleeping apartment is in almost

ovory caso tho shearing shed, whioh is gonorolly a largo rambling structure of slabs, through whioh the wind con blow in oil directions.

When they have supped, the " speoimenB" rotiro to thoir dormitory, whero thoy scramble for any old sheepskins, they may be fortunate enough to find, whioh thoy uso os " hippors" to ward off the hardness of the boards from thoir bonos. Tho blankets are thrown over ono or two of these, and tho bed is made. Like tho amateur casual, I oannot givo you anything like o dosoription of tho orgies usually hold ia thcso seances. Eyes polite would bo scathod wore I to writo a titho of tho blasphemy and oaths whioh as a rulo garnish tho conversation. The oharaoters of the squatters and thoir private and domestic concerns, the capabilities of various shearers, tho ohanoes for or against gotting a

job and the bost fooding track, oro the nover failing subject of discussion. Sometimes an old "t'other sidor" will toll tho assombled crowd how he got lagged, tho language used boing of course moro foroiblo than classic Or anothor will favor tho company with o song, freoly intorsporscd with the flowory rhotorio usually adopted by tho Tasmanian hard.

I boliovo that all sottlors aro willing to grant hospitality to tho bond fide station hands, and thoy can take at o glanco the real from tho counterfeit. Tho old lag, too, is piokod out at onco by a practisod oyo} the " modol," or Pon tonville, is easily distinguished from him again ¡ and the free immigrant, or squaro-hoad, ii equally woll spotted.

Few squatters are callod upon to fcod loss than ton or a dozen of thoso gontry, on an average, every night, tho numbers sometimos Bwolhng to twonty or thirty. Tho Messrs. Wilson Brothers, whoso stations are situated on the Wimmera Bivor, aro the gontlomon most liberally patronised, and, incrediblo as it may soom, tho avorrgo number of travellers aooom niodstod at oaoh homostoud every night during tbo off season is noaror sixty than fifty, and as many OB ninoty-two havo boon counted on a singlo night at Longornong tho station of Mr.

John Wilson.

Thoro ÍB no doubt that in many casos these rooipicnts of charity could, with common caro, always bo in a position to purchase food while out of employment. A good bushman oould earn at pieco work from two pounds to throe pounds por week, olear of rations ; although tho work is not continuous, ho can savo enough for his purpose. Somo do so and marry, pur ohaso a fow acros of ground, _ and start as " cockatoos," or oarriora. Farming on a small BCOIO, howoVor, doos not appoar to bo vory profitable, for many of tho farmers are to ho Boon on the " wallaby" looking for shoaring at tho proper timo of tho yoar. Tho station hands mon who ore omployod by tho week to do what is callod " knock about work" usually roooivo fifteen shillings a week and their board. Out of this a man oon aavo but very little, buying OB ho doos his clothos, tobacco, &o., from the hawkers who travorBO the country, and who ohargosomewhoro about cent, por cent, on town prices. Tho goods whioh thoy usually carry are BO inferior that tho unfortunate laborer in reality pays two hundrod per cont., as thoy so oonstantly requiro ronowiriR.,

From whatever causo, howover, tho impeon niouBstato of tho traveller may ariso, whether from improvidonco or misfortuno, tho faotB ro- main the samo : Thoro ÍB a largo numbor of mon " on tho Wallaby," and food and sholtor thoy mujt have ¡ whothor tho squatter is morally obliged to supply tho want is a quoBtion I will not ontor into. Ho doos it, but I am bound to admit, ho does it undor protest. Mootings havo boon held, at whioh tho subject has boon freoly disousBod ; and proposals havo hoon mado to disoontinuo tho practico altogether, or to obargo so muoh for the night's accommodation.

Few squatters oro willing to adopt tho former course, and tho lattor would, in most cases, bo unablo to onforco thoir demands, for not ono in ton oould produco tho monoy. Some fow settlers oxpoct the " callors" to ohop a cortain quantity of wood, others to out chaff ; but those aro oxpodionts adopted moro for tho purpose of scoing tho men, ir> ordor to guard against thoir coming too often, than for anything olso. .

A fow of theso extra hands aro at timos ab- sorbed in Government contracts, but the num- ber makes no sonsiblo diminution in tho inflic-

tion.

Now, thoro is no doubt that thoro aro many loafors among those trivolling hands who will not work ; but thoro aro olso many dosorving men who aro willing und anxious to work, and and tho squatters do not objoot to provide food and sholtor for the latter class. To draw a Uno between tho two, howover, would boi it is ovidont, next to impossible ¡ so that, in ordor that tho industrious may not suffor, all must bo fed.

The arrangements at tho bush pubhe-housos may bo pointed to aa tho loading COUBO of the laboring classes being so improvident. In al- most ovory oaso tho tap-room is the only apart

mont set aside for thoir accommodation. No oomfort of any doaoription is providod for thom 5 their meals, of the coarsest, oro generally served to thom in tho kitohen, and any bolo is supposed to be good enough for them to sleop in, tho room sotapartforthedormitorybeonsuppliod with a fow Btretchors and blankets, and going by tho name of " tho lushington's crib," or " the dead

houso."

Every induoomont is hold out to thom to drink ¡ none whatever to koop Bobor and rospeo tablo. Few resist tho temptation ; and whon onoethey roaoh the proper otago of intoxication, so long as tho monoy lasts thoy aro kopt drunk. So much is this habit of " knocking down" the hard-earaod cheque tho rule and, not tho excep- tion, that I once heard a wealthy squattor, him- self a justice of the peace, say that it was a pity there was no publio-house in the neighborhood, and that one must bo started as soon as possible to keep the labor in tho district.

This was in a newly ocoupiod part of tho in- terior, whore mon wore scarce and wages high, tho nearest inn boiog about throe hundrod milos

distant.

To sum the matter up thero aro hundreds of mon " on the Wallaby" during sovoral months of the year for whom thoro is no employmont, and they aro wholly dopondent upon tho " grazier"

for food and shelter.

The practico is as unpleasant to the " travel- ler" os it is unprofitable for tho " squattor." Con any one suggest a remody ?-AU the Year

Round.

THE SEBAOMO OB THE SHI/TAN.-The Seraglio occupies one of tho seven hills on which Con- stantinople, like Borne, is erected. It is believed to bo of the same extent as the anoiont Byzan- tium, being about nine miles, in ciroumforonce, and entirely surrounded with walls. Its whole surface is irregularly covored with detached suites of apartments, baths, mosques, kiosks, gardens, and groves of cypress. The palace consists of various parts built at different times, and according to the taste of successive Sultans. Outside aro two courts, the first of which is

entered by the Sublime Porto, tho principal of I the gates on tho city sido-a ponderous structure covored with Arabic inscriptions, guarded by

fifty porters, and having a niche on either side '

in front, in which the hoods of state offenders

aro publicly exposed. That part of tho building which is occupied by the females has been im iroperly called Seraglio, and hence the word las become synonymous with Harem, the Arabio word for temple, or sacred spot. Around the court runs a low gallery, covered with lead, and supported by columns of marble. At its further end is the tall Corinthian column, erected by TbcodoBius the Great, to commemo- rate his victory over the Goths. The throne hell is built in great part of marble. The throne itself is a canopy of velvet fringed with jewels, supported by four columns covered with gold, pearls, and precious stones. The Btate apart- ments greatly resemble each other. The walls are wainscoated with jasper, mother-of-pearl, and veneered ivory, inlaid with mosaic flowers,

landscapes, and sentencos in Arabio. Baths of marble and porcelain, rich pavillions over-look- ing the seo, marble basins and fountains, aro sprinkled over the rest of the surface within the Seraglio. The number of inmates have been estimated at 10,000, all provided for by tho Sultan. And Tournefort states that when he visited the place, besides 40,000 oxen yearly, the purveyors furnished for the nae of the Seraglio, daily, 200 sheep, 100 lambs or goats, IO calves, 200 hens, 200 pairs of pullets, 100 pairs of pigeon B, and 50 green geese.

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