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den that any exception shall be made. I as possible, they suffered from the dis. On no account whatever must convicts order and general squalor which they who have accepted grants of land and created. On arriving in the colony they contracted "administrative marriages," as grumbled at finding no huts prepared for they are called, ever return to France. their reception ; they grumbled at having They are at liberty, however, to send their uncooked rations served out to them, alchildren to France if any respectable leging that the governor in obliging them person in that country will become an- to cook was violating the law which exswerable for them, and undertake to pro- empted them from work; they grumbled vide them with a good education. The again because they had to find their own sons of convicts are born French subjects, fuel in the woods instead of seeing fatigue and will be required at the age of twenty parties of soldiers told off to pick up sticks to draw at the conscription, and serve for them. All this naturally angered the their appointed terms in the army. governor; who, perceiving that the Com.
From what precedes it may be inferred munists were bent on teasing him, retalithat the lot of convicts in New Caledo-ated by visiting all breaches of rules with nia is a fairly pleasant one; but we have rigor. M. Henri Rochefort was once senspoken as yet only of those convicts who tenced to a week's imprisonment for being have tickets-of-leave, and are more or less absent at the daily calling over of names, free to roam over the whole island. Those and a great hubbub was made over this who have not earned tickets-of-leave are affair when the news of it reached Paris, kept in the penal settlement of the Island for it was asserted, erroneously, that M. of Nou, or are employed on public works, Rochefort had only missed answering his road-making, house-building, etc., in gangs, name because he was ill in bed with ague. moving and encamping from place to Many Radical writers took this opporplace during the fine season under mili- tunity of declaring that the climate of New tary escort. The lot even of these con Caledonia was pestilential, and that every victs cannot be called a hard one as com convict caught the ague on landing. As a pared with that of convicts in other matter of fact, M. Rochefort never had a countries, and of French convicts under day's illness in the colony; and ague is the old system of bagnes, or transporta. quite unknown there. tion to Cayenne. The climate of Cay- Successive amnesties have relieved enne was so deadly that all the convicts New Caledonia of its troublesome politie transported there either died or contract. cal population, and no difficulty is experied incurable maladies. As for the old enced in maintaining order among the bagnes of Brest and Toulon, they were ordinary convicts. For some time after very hells, where the convicts were kept their arrival they are detained in the chained in couples, and were treated Island of Nou, where they sleep by gangs pretty much like wild beasts. The cli- of twenty in huts; and they wear convict mate of New Caledonia, on the contrary, garb, which is as follows red blouse and is delightful, and the soil of the different green cap, with fustian trousers, for those islands composing the colony is so fertile under life sentences; green blouse and that corn, fruit, and vegetables grow there red cap for those whose sentences ranye in abundance, and can be had very cheap. between ten and twenty years; green In 1873 an attempt to cultivate vines was blouse and brown cap for those whose commenced; but hitherto the experiment sentences amount to less than ten years. has not met with full success. It is said, They are not chained in couples; but however, that the difficulties which have those who work in gangs at road-making beset the vine-growers will be overcome have a chain with a four-pound shot fasin time.
tened to their left ankles, unless they be We are aware that the accounts given men who have earned a good conduct of New Caledonia by political convicts badge, in which case they work unlike MM. Henri Rochefort and Paschal shackled. Ticket-of-leave convicts of both Grousset have been very unfavorable ; but sexes must, during their probationary the statements of these gentlemen must terms of five years, wear their pewter goodbe accepted with reserve. The National conduct badges; but they may dress as Assembly in 1872 most unwisely decided they like. It should be remarked that that the political convicts – thirteen thou- the rule forbidding probationers to enter sand in number — should not be com- public houses is an excellent one, for it pelled to work; and the consequence was, keeps them out of the way of temptation that, living in idleness, and being anxious at the most critical point of their careers. to give the authorities as much trouble The convicts get paid for all the work
they do; one-half their earnings being preceded him to New Caledonia. The handed to them every ten days, whilst the governor, being very anxious to develop other half is set aside to provide them the resources of his colony, soon found with a little capital when they get their that Estoret would be just the man to tickets-of-leave. By good conduct they help him. He accordingly appointed him may also earn prizes in money. A good-chief overseer of farms, leaving him pracconduct stripe brings a franc per month; tically free to roam over the whole colony two stripes, one france fifty centimes; and on parole. Estoret was never even put a good conduct badge, which entitles the into convict dress, and he was not comholder to a ticket-of-leave when he has pelled to wear a badge, for he had had no worn it a year, brings two francs fifty cen- time to earn one. He was rendered pertimes a month during that year. By this fectly free almost from the day of his judicious system of pay and rewards the landing, and appears to have done excelmen are kept in good subordination, and lent work in his superintendence of the it is seldom that the severer kinds of pun- farms. His case shows, however, that ishment have to be inflicted.
the governor possesses the somewhat These punishments are deprivation of dangerous prerogative of reducing judi. pay, confinement in cells, and for certain cial sentences to nothing. Such a prerogserious offences, such as mutiny or strik. ative may no doubt be exercised at times ing officers, the lash. Formerly convicts to the great advantage of the colony, but were flogged for attempting to escape, occasionally it must be fraught with seribut this was put a stop to by the National ous abuses. Assembly in 1875. Flogging is adminis. In fairness one should conclude by say. tered with a rope's end on the bare back, ing that New Caledonia seems at present the minimum of lashes being twelve, and to be doing well; and that merchants who the maximum fifty. It is the governor trade with it are beginning to speak hope. alone who has power to order Hogging. fully of its future as a prosperous colony. The penalty for murder would of course be death; but it is rather a significant fact, worth the attention of those who allege that capital punishment has no de. terrent effect, that not a single execution
From The Cornhill Magazine.
A DESERTED GARDEN. has taken place in the colony. It would seem that even the most desperate crimi- At all times of the year the garden is nals manage to exercise self-control when left solitary and alone. It is quite at the they know that murder will bring them, end of a long, lovely country lane that not before a sentimental squeamish jury, passes it by, leading away to the open but before a court martial which will have heath and the dip in the range of bills them guillotined within forty-eight hours. that means the sea. No one could tell
The colony of New Caledonia is under that the garden was there, for a long row the control of the Ministry of Marine and of silent trees keeps guard over it, and the Colonies, which generally has an ad. seems as if it formed a thick wall exmiral at its head. The Ministry of Justice pressly to keep out intruders. In the has nothing to do with it, as the convicts lane, in spring-time, can be seen the most all live under martial law. Tickets-of-marvellous collection of mosses; and as leave, however, seem to be given at the the tiny brown bubbling stream that discretion of the governor; and it would crosses and recrosses the road, and makes be strange indeed if out there, as in melody at all times of the year, runs its France, favoritism did not play a large course, it passes by deep dells carpeted part in the distribution of these rewards. with the fine fern-moss, every tiny frond Favoritism is, in fact, the great blemish like a perfect fern, and every morsel of a of the French penal system. It sirches different shade of color, until finally it every part of it; it obliterates all laws; seems to be lost in the garden, which it it is the occasion of the most crying truly enters, but does not there appear acts of injustice. How it works in New above ground. But we find it again in Caledonia may be judged from the case the open heath, where it sparkles mightily of a man named Estoret, the manager of among its dark surroundings, and goes a large lunatic asylum at Clermont, who on its way, doubtless to join the bigger was sentenced to transportation for life in river below the hills. Just by the garden 1880 for the brutal murder of a poor idiot. the brook is obstructed by a moss-grown Estoret happened to be a consummate branch of a tree, so small that any agriculturist, and his fame in that respect stronger stream would have brushed it away long ago, but this thread of water is gone, and are only seen by those who too tiny, and only becomes for a while a from a couple of moss-covered square miniature whirlpool of froth, in which go stones can mentally erect a stately portico round and round wee acorn-cups, pine. crowned by the crest of the family, whose needles, or the shiny, stiff beech leaf, that very name now no longer survives. In in spring is being reluctantly displaced by winter there is very little undergrowth ; the new comer; then the stream itself the tall bracken below the pine-trees on creeps under the branch, and after a very the mound to the left of the garden has little way goes into the garden. There is died down into a brown, shabby carpet; an old gate, green with age, that we come the lank grasses and lush verdure in the upon in an unexpected corner of the garden itself have vanished; the hedges lane; sometimes tall nettles and campions are no longer entwined with bindweed stand in quite a little hedge along the and hops and the fantastical clematis, but bottom of the gate, like a rank of lank, are bare and slender, and allow us to see weedy soldiers guarding the entrance, where the kitchen garden once was, and while here and there a blossom peeps where the square beds before the manor through one of the upright slats of the were long ago filled with rare bulbs from gate that is only hanging by one rusty Holland, or with lovely, homely flowers hinge; true, the other, at the lower part, whose presence would now be scouted by is there, but it only holds out a ragged a head-gardener who “respected hisself," end that catches the raiment of the un- and are only to be found in cottage garwary, or grates with a harsh cry against dens, or in those belonging to folks who the gate as we open it, and regardless of rise superior to the riband-bordering the agony we cause several spiders, and abominations of the present day. In the of the destruction to the flowers, enter spring the first signs of life come on the the garden. The latch is gone; a piece thin, brown willows, here the stir of the of wire twisted together takes its place, sap is first seen, and then they are decked and has to be re-twisted round the post with the soft, gray-velvet palms, that when before we can go on; and as we pause, partly out, and watched at a distance, as we always do just there, we note the seem to flush to pink, though there is not bright sunshine in the lane, filtering a shade of that color upon them when we through the crooked oak-branches that are close to the trees on which they grow. form a canopy and almost meet, and then Then they are golden when ready to give look at the contrast of the dense gloom place to the leaf, which comes far too just behind us, where, even in spring and soon generally, and robs us of the palms summer, cool damp and dark chilliness re before we realized their existence. The place the warmth and color we find outside. kitchen garden is a strange medley: there As we linger we can see what used to are tumbled-down portions of the wall be carefully-kept gravel paths, now closely still left, that evidently formed the stay dressed in a mossy green slippery robe for stores of plums, and perhaps of that moves under our tread; while the peaches; and in the crevices grow tall beds, that once were gay with a thousand wall-flowers, a very small yellow or brown highly cultivated blossoms, are now deep blossom on the top of a thin, long stalk, in weeds, and only to be discerned from while the glossy, dark-green foliage of the the grass itself by 'moss-grown stones that periwinkle climbs all over, and bestows had marked the borders, but that now are upon us a very occasional gray-blue blos. rapidly disappearing into the ground. In som, as if to show what it could do if the winter it is comparatively easy to see only we would allow it a little more liglit where the garden has been originally, and and air. The ivy, a little later, puts out almost to say positively where my lady pale green shoots, that in autumn have has walked, pensive at evening, watching curious leaves, all lined and patterned the rooks fly home across a lovely sunset with red and yellow; and in one place a sky to the trees below the hills where white-veined leaf every now and then they have built since time immemorial. comes out, to show us where to find that We can almost trace her footsteps as she curious ivy that seems to have little feet went down past the clipped yews long to climb over everything, and requires no since gone back to their original shape, nailing to the wall it honors with its pres. yet even now grotesquely displaying an ence. Every crevice of the wall has a occasional resemblance to the peacocks moss to fill it up, and red lichens, and or strange, mysterious creatures they yellow ones too, that in spring suddenly
once supposed to resemble; to acquire with the rest of creation an inde. wards the big gates, that are entirely scribable access of color, do their best to dress the place gaily, and make up as far but last year they were there safe enough, as they can for the loss of all care or all and it remains for this autumn to show us culture that the garden experiences. if they are still extant. Here also we Gooseberry and currant bushes still find in spring great clumps of wall. abound; an unexpected strawberry leaf flowers, an occasional meagre single hyamarks where the strawberries once doubt. cinth, its white or pink spikes looking less existed in profusion; but though the curious indeed among the inaze of blue. apple-trees have a very occasional apple bells that crowd all over, and make the still on them, the only fruit besides that open part of the garden look at times as we can find is the hard, blue sloe, that if a blue cloth were laid there for some takes all taste from the roof of the mouth, fairy gambols, or as if it were in readiness or tightens the skin of the lips with its for an al fresco party who were about to acrid taste, or a red-faced crab, of which be entertained thereon; while marvellous it is impossible to think without a shud. tawny polyanthuses and thin red-stained der. At the bottom of the garden is a primroses contrast strangely with the hedge that in spring is covered with the pale-yellow blossom of their wilder sis. white bloom of the blackthorn, and here ters. There are one or two alleys between a thrush regularly builds her nest, while beech hedges, where the brown leaf hangs in the arm of a moss.grown apple-tree persistently until the new foliage comes in overhanging it we find the lovely home of spring, and here there are ever sheltered the chaffinch so like the tree itself that it and warm walks. They all lead in one requires very practised eyes indeed to see direction from different starting points, it at all. We doubt whether we should and through them we reach the brown ever have done so, but the birds in the knoll, surrounded by a ditch and a peat garden are so tame that they are less cau- wall, where the fir-trees live, and where we tious than those outside, and allow us to can see all over the heath, and follow the see many of their little ways that a less course of the little grey river until it unsophisticated bird would carefully hide widens out beyond the mouth of the bar. from every human being; and we watch bor to the open sea itself. Can anxious. the chaffinch feed her babies, or see the eyed maidens or matrons have used this sparrows talk to each other in the nasty, place as a watch-tower, we wonder, long, snappy manner possessed by all sparrows, long before the beech woods were made ; or note the distant and haughty way in from whence they could gaze on the wide which thrushes exchange reinarks, until expanse before them for lover or husband we feel if we only had a little more time returning to thein from fighting the Danes we might begin to understand all they say in yonder marshes, or from hunting with to each other, for we are quite convinced the king along the hills, parting with him they talk, and talk intelligently on all at the gate of the great square castle that subjects that are found of interest in the stands in the gap or “corte” from which bird world.
it takes its name? For from thence they In all our visits to the garden we have could see the long red road, and the high never come upon a single trace of the canseway between the meadows, or turnhouse, and we can only imagine where iting inland could watch the other roads may have stood by the presence of the that led from the county town, or, farmore elaborately designed arrangement ther away still, from the capital itself. of flower-beds, where sometimes, in au- Naturally we cannot tell; but the voice tumn especially, we find a rare blossom that siglis perpetually through the pinethat we have seen in no other place, and trees seems essentially the voice of the have no name for. We are loth to take past, and has a mournful way of interpretother better-instructed folks to our re. ing Nature, who seems to confide her treat, for fear it may become common, secrets to it, secure in her knowledge that and be no longer the place of refuge from no mortal is able to discern the meaning all mankind that it is at present. One is thereof. Is she at rest, and revelling in a large, pale, yellow, globe-like flower, the golden silence of autumn ? - the wind transparent and tremulous. It looks like in the pines croons a perfect lullaby. a soap-bubble, so frail and lovely is it; Does she crave for sympathy in winter, and another is pink, and hangs pensively when storms rend her, and the rain comes on a stem that seems too fragile to hold it dashing down? — the pines creak and up properly. However, these are very sway and croon as they lean down towards seldom seen; sometimes the plants come her, as if to show they shared her agony. up bearing no flower, and sometimes we in spring the song is one of hope ; while are afraid they have gone entirely away; l in summer the aromatic shade is made
vocal by the inusic that replaces the song | generously at every breeze that blows; of birds, for among a pine wood it is rare and we think of the owner of this plot as to bear anything save the scream of a jay, a child of strong character, well able to the coo of a wild pigeon, or the twitter of work her way through the world that ex. a bird as it pauses there before pursuing isted outside the garden, and so do not its flight. To hear the songs of thrushes trouble about her at all. Another had an or blackbirds you must return to the gar- undecided owner, evidently. Here is a den; there they sing on, undaunted by big old gooseberry bush, gnarled and the gloom and damp and decay, and even venerable, and taking up a great deal too a nightingale has been known to build much room; while wild parsley smothers there; and then at late evening the whole the one or two blossoming plants that still lane resounds with the marvellous willowy come up by fits and starts, and a curious music. But the saddest and most sug. bean-like climber twines all over what gestive corner in the whole garden is a was once a handsome standard-rose. And small plot portioned into six square so going on through the six, we like to pieces; it is away from where we sup. fancy all sorts of different children ownpose the house to have been, and is not ing the garden; and we must confess to too near the kitchen garden. On all sides a thrill of rapture when in the summer. it is surrounded by a thick hedge, and at house we came upon some roughly-cut one end is a gate that has once had a lock initials and six different notches by one on it; while at the other is a tumbled of the windows, that at once represented down summer-house, in the thatched roof to us the divers heights of those whose of which numberless sparrows build un- kingdom this once was. Alas! no date checked, while under the eaves a house was appended, only the mere dents and marten last summer made a residence, cuts that made the lettess; and we could and successfully reared a large and prom- only feel our children a little more real, ising brood. Can we not see this was the even while we had to confess they were children's corner? Surely this plot rather no more tangible than they had been belarger and at the head of the rest belonged fore our discovery. Away from the chil. to some elder sister, who may have sat dren's corner there is a deep, silent pool, here working her sampler, and keeping sometimes covered with duckweed, and one eye on her own property and the other then later on fringed with tall grasses and on the conduct of the little ones, who rushes, that lean down and look into it, as were doubtless toiling away at their gar- if they tried in vain to discern its secret. dens, digging, perchance, up more flowers There is never a ripple on its surface, and than weeds.
it always appears to us as if all the long Absurd as it may seem, and waste of past history of the garden had been contime as it doubtless is - for very likely fided to its keeping; and, that being so, the flowers we notice may have been it would never betray its trust. Surely planted by him or her who owns the gar. mapy a tempest-tossed soul has gazed into den now, and may have never been seen the water, and found help and peace in by our hypothetical maiden - we cannot contemplating the intense quiet and un. help thinking as we sit here that she must ruffled face of the pool. And, indeed, have been a gentle, patient child; most the whole garden is a storebouse of fanlike a blue-eyed creature, with soft, brown cies and unwritten stories legible enough hair and pleasing expression of counte. to those who know it well, and often wannance, for we find at different times the der therein. It is entirely out of the bell-like lily of the valley, the homely hen world, and so peaceful and restful that it and chicken daisy, clumps of lavender, is like an unsuspected church in a silent and many old-fashioned flowers whose corner in London, into which you may names we have quite forgotten. Then in enter from the hot, noisy, summer streets, one corner is a myrtle, that sometimes and at once be in an atmosphere scented, flowers, for here it is warm and very shel. cool, and prayerful; in which you may tered, and by the summer-house it gets rest a while, neither praying nor the sun; and we cannot help believing thinking, yet inexpressibly refreshed by that she planted it for her bridal wreath, the few moments' retreat from the noise and we wish her happiness ay, almost and glare of the city. And though the while we laugh at our own folly. Next lane which represents the city to us is to her we find the Scotch briar rose, with neither noisy nor hot, it is yet outside the its yellow buttons blossoming out freely; garden and open to intruders, who in or find red and white strong-scented, winter come for the holme, or holly, from prickly creatures, scattering their leaves which it takes its name; or in spring and