Imatges de pÓgina
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hardware ; sellers of old tools; carrier's warehouses, Pickford's, of course. There are German, French, and Dutch shop-keepers; Germans with very oddlooking clocks; French with all sorts of light things and nick-nackery, pipes, and the like. Italians with looking-glasses, boxes of scales and weights, pocket-books, and a world of trumpery, that we wonder who buys, but which, I suppose, is suited to somebody's taste. There is an old book-shop, which has over a stall in front two large drawings, one of a kangaroo, and the other is named Grizzley ;-I suppose at first it was some Australian animal, but found that it meant a grizzly bear, the picture being as much like as the name. There are lots of auctioneers' places; and I see a Dutch store bearing the name and designation of “Anketel and Van Der Poel, Handelaer nit de Keape de Goede Hoep."7 Then there is a small barber's tent, with the grand emblazonment of “Lester's Shampooing Saloon.”

Besides these, there are various places of amusement. There are coffee and eating-houses where you may see the newspapers, or hear music. There is a place calling itself the Crystal Palace. It is not built of glass, but of canvas, where they have a piano and concerts, as well as good suppers. But I hear that it is a most notorious resort of thieves and the worst of characters. There is also Burton's Crescent, as Jonas Popkins called it, when it was at the Ovens last summer. That is Burton's Circus, near which they had the other day the startling announcement that Mr.will sell by auction “horses, drays, diggers' tools, and twenty men !” on going close up, however, we found the important words “enough for" in very small letters preceding the men.

But the worst places at the diggings are the sly grog-shops. The sale of spirits is prohibited at the diggings, owing to the number of murders and other crimes which have originated in intoxication. There are very severe penalties for offences against this law, £50, and the confiscation of the tent and all effects; but still these places abound, and seem known to everybody, except the police, who, no doubt, are wilfully ignorant of them. At these places you hear, all night long, singing, quarrelling, and most horrid cries of murder. From them, at all hours, come reeling drunken men, often in parties, singing, shouting, and making the most terrible uproar, totally regardless of disturbing quiet people in their sleep. In fact, the diggers seem altogether utterly regardless in this respect. They not only fire off their guns every night and morning, so that you would think a battle was going on, but they continually fire them off at all hours of the night, while the legions of diggers' dogs keep up an incessant barking all night long. On moonlight nights, the majority of the people seem to be up and about the whole night till near daybreak. But by far the worst of the diggings is, that they have drawn together such multitudes of the most wicked and debased characters in existence. Here have flocked the hardened transported convicts from Sydney 8 and Van Diemen's Land. Here have hastened thousands of the lowest populations from the lowest purlieus of London and our other large towns. Here, loose from the restraints of the law, as in a densely-peopled and civilized country, they can range to and fro, and escape the few police and other authorities, committing dreadful crimes, and continual thefts, and contaminating, by their conversation and example, the large mass of rude, uncultivated men who make the majority of the diggers. Gentlemen are still sprinkled amongst them. The other day we were told of a banker, a doctor, and a captain all working together near here as a party. But these instances are becoming rare. Well it is that there are schools, and churches, and chapels rising, and the land about to be thrown open to purchase, so that numbers may make themselves masters of small farms, and in the pure, fresh air and quiet of the country, may air their souls, and gradually cleanse them from the fust and the mildew of vice in which they have been steeped.

But the diggers are an ever-moving, neversettled race. They are always in quest of the marvellous gold-fields which lured them hither, and which they never find. Scarcely a week passes but there comes a rumour of some wonderful discovery. Nuggets of several pounds' weight are said to be dug up at only a foot deep. All the old fabulous times of Ballarat and Mount Alexander are said to be come again. Away rush the diggers, regardless of the distance. They go off loaded with their swags like bees. Carts and bullock drays are in urgent request to carry the tents and effects of others. Day after day you see them going and going till all around you is deserted. You hear of tens of thousands flocking to the same quarter from other diggings—and then comes the eternal counter-tale, that it is a hoax and a failure. The diggers come pouring back again, or are lured away to some fresh spot, the victims of some new rumour as brilliant and as false as the former. Storekeepers, in fact, are known to have bought up large quantities of gold at the old diggings to send down by the escort from a new one in order to give it a spurious fame. The diggers are the perpetual victims of these schemes; and such is the origin of three-fourths of these rushes, as they are styled.

Such is a brief outline of the diggings, and of digger-life. You will agree with me that it is not a very attractive one. Still, diggers are not cannibals, as a person, the other day, jocosely asserted. "There is a cannibal,” he said, gravely, “ living in yonder tent." “A cannibal ? How do

you

know? “Oh! I heard him answer some fellows who were calling him to come to work, Arrah, thin, and how can I come till I have 'aten my mate?'”

W. Howitt.

XXXII.

THE HUNTER'S VISION.

UPON a rock that, high and sheer,

Rose from the mountain's breast,
A weary hunter of the deer

Had sat him down to rest,
And bared to the soft summer air
His hot red brow and sweaty hair.

All dim in haze the mountains lay,

With dimmer vales between;
And rivers glimmered on their way

By forests faintly seen;
While ever rose a murmuring sound
From brooks below and bees around.

He listened, till he seemed to hear

A strain, so soft and low,
That whether in the mind or ear

The listener scarce might know.
With such a tone, so sweet, so mild,

The watching mother lulls her child.

“Thou weary huntsman,” thus it said,

“Thou faint with toil and heat, The pleasant land of rest is spread

Before thy very feet, And those whom thou would'st gladly see Are waiting there to welcome thee."

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