Imatges de pàgina

an æs


distant spot; but the reasons for marketable for another halflaying the road through a great century. But the reasons why deal of the country which it this Cockpit route was preferred now traverses are hard to as- to another along the Great certain. The line as

River Valley, with its fertile thetic route is magnificent; for surroundings and incomparably in the space of six hours it greater facilities, are locked in passes over hill and dale, past the bosoms of the short-sighted orange groves, coffee planta- apostles of the “cheap and tions, sugar-fields, pasture land, nasty” who were originally and banana cultivations, through responsible for the line. malarial swamp and densest However, not being freight, bush. Indeed there is not a and paying in consequence only phase of Jamaican life 15s. for a journey of ninetyJamaican industry which can- four miles, which occupies from not be seen en passant from the five and a half to six hours, I windows of the railway-carriage was free to admire the profubetween Kingston and Montego sion of vegetation and glorious Bay. As a financial enterprise, scenery which beset me upon however, the railway is nearly all sides, to note the uproarious a failure : its grades are very excitement at every railwaysteep, its curves are very sharp, station where there were more its trains in consequence are than six persons assembled, and few, and must be light; but its to listen to the conversations of freight charges are the reverse. my fellow - passengers, mostly I do not know whether the fruit-growers and pen-keepers, railway company have learned as to the state of the island. from their trade-cousins in the Poverty was asserted to exist, old country this admirable but in very varying degrees; method of discouraging the remedies were suggested, but transportation and diffusion of none of them referred to any home industries; of extorting industry save that in which the any possible profit that the speaker was engaged; threats producer might reap, in freight were uttered, such as annexacharges between the seat of tion to Canada, or, failing that, industry and the market or to America—in the full assurport. The fact remains, how- ance of an enthusiastic recepever, that transportation rates tion either from the Dominion are throttling the producer at or the United States; many certain points on this line. He were assigned ; blame sees himself paying not only a was heaped on everything exreasonable price for his own cept the lethargy and want of goods, but also an unreasonable push and enterprise which addition, to defray the expense

to me responsible for of running the railway over the much of the existing stagna

Cockpit” country (which re- tion and depression. turns nothing at all for the About five o'clock we reached compliment), and through jungle Montpelier station, and started and bush which will not be off on a seven-miles' drive to



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Knockalva—past the one estate this public - spirited undertak-
where a new industry is being ing; for thus alone will the
started, one which will soon, inhabitants be led to follow
by its profits, prove to the Mr Ellis's example.
laggards in the island that the But, with this passing de-
use of new appliances (including scription of the work carried
bright brains) to old material on at Montpelier Factory, we
is not synonymous with rash must proceed to Knockalva,
and ruinous speculation, but is which is the central subject of
the only method of keeping this paper. There was, indeed,
abreast with the changed con- little else to delay us on the
ditions and competitions of to- road, though I would willingly
day. I hope I may refer to it have stayed to admire the pic-
without offence to the owner. turesque Brahmin cattle which
It is an establishment set up pasture and work upon the
within the last twelve months Shettlewood estate: fine fel-
by Mr Ellis of Shettlewood, the lows these, imported from In-
neighbouring property, to dry dia ; light in colour, wild in
bananas for home consumption temper, tractable in work, and
and foreign export, as figs are admirably suited to the climate
now dried. By one process an of Jamaica. Knockalva is an
excellent preserved fruit is thus old family estate, or rather clus-
added to our dessert-table, whilst ter of estates, which has been
by another the coarser species in the possession of Malcolms
of banana are converted into for many, many generations :
first-rate cattle food. Mr Ellis far back into remote slavery
is assisted in this enterprise by days the record goes to show
three gentlemen of varied ex- the forebears of the present
perience and intellectual attain- employees working for the an-
ments. Two of them are Swiss, cestors of the present owner;
Herr Otto Zürcher, the princi- whilst a clannish tradition binds
pal, and Herr Bosshard; whilst master and man as loyally to-
the third, who is the chemist, is gether to - day in this distant
a German, by name Dr Leuscher. island as ever it did in the
These gentleman do not let the Highlands of Scotland. One
grass grow under their feet: did not need the quasi-oriental
they work four silos, experi- forms of welcome in which the
menting with the different negroes love to indulge to tell
grasses that abound in the

one that; nor even the friendly neighbourhood; they plant to- expressions that stole over their bacco, and cure it with the kindly dark faces on my apassistance of Cuban experts, proach: for it was patent in who have wisely withdrawn the unvarying cheerfulness with from their native island ; and which I knew they worked, they benefit the neighbourhood sparing themselves neither day by employing some 200 hands nor night in their endeavour at the ordinary rate of wages. to please one, in their untiring Every well-wisher to Jamaica efforts to make my short visit should hope for the success of "agreeaber for massa." In

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truth, a fortnight procures a cattle, horses, and products holiday all too short to spend, - this latter term including at the cool season of the year, oranges, bananas, coffee, kola, in this delightful climate. There &c. In the yard stand two is so much to do, so many things splendid Hereford bulls with to see; such a variety of culti- William Llewelyn beside them vations new to the Englishman -a gaunt old negro

with as on his first visit to the tropics, keen an eye and as wise such novel scenery and sur- tongue as you could wish to roundings the whole day long, meet. He is there to tell that one must be up betimes massa ‘marning,'

massa ‘marning,'” and to say indeed to prove only a few of that he is getting his herd of the delights in store. To sleep fifty heifers in from the pasunder mosquito-curtains for the tures to be inspected. William first time, and hear the little Brown is there, the finest rider devils raging furiously without, on the estate with all his sixty is in itself a delicious sensation : years, tending a mule that has to be awaked at six in the hurt itself : before long he will morning by a silent little bare- have a drove of eighty mules footed maid, who brings my gathered from far and near to coffee extracted from the bean show the condition of his dethat was only picked last week, partment. A few more introand oranges that wet ductions, and all the formaliwith dew upon the tree five ties are over for the present. minutes ago : to have her fling Henceforth life is to be one open the door which leads on long round of uninterrupted to the wooden verandah look- rural simplicity, spent amongst ing east, and then from my the tropical glories of Western bed to see, beneath thick fes- Jamaica. One of the annual toons of heavy creepers, the sun events on the property is the rising over the hills in the dis- branding of the yearling mules : tance, with palm-trees and ban- it took place about seven o'clock anas waving lightly in the fore- one morning in a small pen surground: then, scaring a hum- rounded by high stone walls, to ming-bird out of the room and prevent the recalcitrant from hunting a jolly little green following the example of the lizard off the towel - horse, to late Remus. There were some stroll out upon the balcony nineteen mules to be branded, and enjoy the breeze, the sun

and about ten men engaged shine, and the scent of morning, in the operation. This —these are among the every- sists in selecting one mule out day joys of Jamaica.

of the drove, which huddles as My first visit was to “the a rule near the gate of enyard," which, being interpreted trance, and making it gallop into Scottish, means the “poli- round the ring at a pretty cies”: there to make acquaint- smart pace. Once it is fairly ance with the “headmen " who going the lasso is thrown, and are severally responsible for the unerring noose their respective departments, fast round the animal's neck,


is soon

Then the tussle begins, and it caught or stopped by the mere takes some four or five stal- casting of a lasso. With a toss wart niggers to drag him up of his head he jerked the rope to the post round which the out of his would - be captor's rope has to be fastened. Such hand, and breaking through the bucking, such tugging, such temporary fencing of bamboo determined resistance to con- poles round the pen, careered stitutional authority, is really down the adjoining meadow to worthy of all our amused ad- a stone wall at the bottom ; miration. At last the post is then, leaping this like an Irish reached, and the rope is fast- hunter, he galloped full speed ened to it; then another rope ahead up the mountain - side. is thrown between the mule's A large detachment of men hind - legs, and he is deftly went after him barefoot and cast upon his side and secured apace, taking the mother of before he can kick. There- the truant to beguile him back upon, striding from fire again. This process occupied built under the lee of one of the best part of two hours, the walls, comes the operator and when triumphantly accomwith his irons as hot as effi- plished, was succeeded by a ciency and safety will permit: precisely similar movement on one strong impression, a fizzle, the part of this wild little calfa little smoke, a contortion devil. His pluck and his wiles from the patient, and all is had now raised the “dander

Jeye's fluid is immedi- of all the men, who pursued ately dabbed over the scar, him on horseback and on foot, the knots are loosened, the wagering the while as to which mule struggles up and trots would finally lasso him in the happily out of the pen, marked field outside the pen. Another with the year of his birth. It couple of hours, and he reapwas most interesting to note peared, weary, bedraggled, and the dexterity displayed in every breathless, at the tail of his move of this game, and the con- domesticated dam; a ring was sequent rapidity with which the formed, excitement was at boilmules were branded; as well as ing - point, a shower of ropes the consideration with which dropped about the animal, once every mule was treated by all more at full gallop round the engaged in this painful but field, two of which encircled his necessary operation.

neck. In a moment the disapThe calves were a far more pointed competitors were hangdocile lot to deal with, and ing on to these ropes with all under the shade of a spread- their might, and, even before ing mango-tree some sixty or the victim coul

the victim could be cast, the seventy were marked without cunning old Llewelyn

Llewelyn had much trouble. There was but branded him for life. one notable exception in the In the Knockalva pastures figure of a fine young calf by there must be some five or six one of the Brahmin cattle out hundred head of cattle with of a Hereford : he was not to be the pure Hereford strain run




ning strongly through the herd, on horseback every day by and perhaps 150first-class seven o'clock, riding among mules; yet so hard are the the gangs of workers who times that neither class of clean the banana - plantations, animal fetches anything like pick the coffee, and pack the the price of former years. oranges, yet it seemed but a Some planters are reducing few minutes before the bell their works, and are not buy- rang, its welcome sound being ing the same amount of work- the work-clock of the neighing stock as they used to; bourhood, announcing the hour others have thrown up their of breakfast. It was always plantations altogether, and sold a meal worthy of the appetites off to the butchers a second- that awaited it, spread upon class animal (their working a carpet of brilliant flowers stock) at a lower price than from the little garden outside the pen - keeper can afford to the house, and helped by clusdo. Not only so, but ters of white orchids, which planters constantly turn pen- grow in profusion on every keepers themselves, and, by roadside tree. Not a great deal sending into the towns an in- in the way of meat, mercifullyferior animal, seriously disturb generally a duck or a first-rate the markets belonging prop- steak; and then a wealth of erly to a trade scarcely less vegetables, such as roast yams, important than their own. I fried plantain, bread-fruit, and do not write this to complain pear, to supply all the nutriof the pen-keeping profession ment that is pleasant in the in Jamaica, for I believe that hot weather; followed by melincreased steamer facilities be- ons, pines, oranges, and bantween the West Indian Islands anas, such as Covent Garden and the mainland will reveal rarely sees, and a demi-tasse a splendid group of markets of black coffee, which is a to demand the supply from veritable revelation. For drink, Jamaican cattle - breeders : I recollecting that Robert Louis only desire to indicate how Stevenson so frequently men far-reaching the effects of the tioned “claret and slice failure in the sugar industry of pine-apple" in the Vailima

Yet with all this dis Letters, occasionally intress in the air, I understand dulged in that; but generally that large sums of money are to it was Scottish whisky with be spent in Kingston in convert- mineral waters and a large ing the mule-tramcars into elec- supply of ice, though shanditric cars, thus throwing a large gaff

, and even gin, came occanumber of men out of work, and sionally before our thirsty notice. closing a good market for mules. (Dear Maga,' pardon this gasBut to the winds with such re- tronomic interlude, which is not, flections in holiday-time! I confess, of as general interest

How quickly the days passed as its factors were essential to amongst all the novelties of our diurnal contentment.) this place! Although we were

After luncheon let me admit VOL. CLXV.-NO. M.


may be.



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