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this border the bank ran sharply down to of the stirrups, and rode across, his pony the road which wound beneath. For stepping slowly and gingerly, with his about twenty yards the whole face of the nose close to the ground. From our point bank had slipped down. Part rested in of view, unable as we were from the disconfused heaps on the road beneath; and tance to see the ledge, the effect was in one place the road itself had given way most singular; he seemed to be riding in under the weight, and a yawning chasm, mid-air across the white face of the cliff. nearly five yards across, gaped in its place. It appeared to be, and I have no doubt On the other side, another landslip had was, a horribly dangerous feat. swept away the road to the church, leav. “ It's Martin of the ." said the ing only a narrow ledge about eighteen major. “He is acting-commissary for inches wide, so that access to Craigton New-Castle ;” and presently Mr. Martin was cut off on both sides.
rode in. “I have known the country for forty “ There's the deuce and all to pay, years,” said Mr. E—, the superinten- major,” said Mr. Martin, throwing the dent," and I never saw anything like this. reins on the neck of his reeking pony. It looks as if a waterspout had passed over Slightly made, and under the middle size, the district. Every bridge on the Hope was Mr. Martin, with clear-cut features River is swept away. New-Castle is cut and resolute blue eyes. Soaked and off; so we have been obliged to get the bedraggled as he was, he looked a soldier major's leave for the mules with the sup- every inch. " The deuce and all to pay," plies to pass through here.” He pointed he repeated, jumping off his pony and out to me, as he spoke, a number of na-unclasping his heavy cloak. tives who were billing out a path through supplies are cut off. I have been out the brushwood on the far side of the land since four A.M. Tried to reach the garslip, while a train of laden mules, with dens by the military road; but every supplies for New-Castle, waited patiently bridge is gone, and in places the whole behind.
road. I sent a messenger across the hills “We're not done with it yet," said to tell them to send up some mules this Charley, pointing to the heavy masses of way, and I see your road is gone too. I cloud that were sweeping up from the must get down to Gordontown. Those west over the Guava Ridge Mountain. lazy blacks will do nothing, and we'll have “However, we will go in and get break- the men living on preserved salmon and fast. I must make my way down to Gor- sardines.” dontown,” he added to me; "so, if you “ I'm going after breakfast," replied the don't mind a ducking, you might come major; so come in and have something with me."
to eat, and we'll start together. Would As we were turning towards the house, you like to come?” he added to we heard the rattle of hoofs, and saw an “You'll get frightfully drenched, mind." officer in high boots and white helmet I agreed to go; and we went in to breakcantering down the church road. The fast. white helmet appeared and disappeared The most extraordinary reports were as the rider cantered down the winding coming in, Mrs. Edgeware told us. The road.
entire village of Gordontown was said to “I wonder, does he know the road is have been swept away; and there was a gone?” said Mr. E
ghastly rumor that at a place called Dry He did not, apparently, for he turned River, upwards of twenty native women the last corner at a sharp canter; and and children had been drowned when atthere, ten yards before him, yawned the tempting to cross, by the sudden rise of gulf where the road had been. The pony the river. The black butler confirmed was pulled sharply up, and the young these melancholy tidings. “ Hall wash officer rode slowly forward. I have said away,” he observed with a gloomy shake that where the road was swept away, a of the head. narrow ledge about three yards long, and We were soon in the saddle, making certainly not more than a couple of feet our way down the new path the natives wide, had been left, which ran across the bad billed out for the commissariat mules. face of the landslip. Below this ledge, The rain had begun to fall heavily again, the ground, covered with the débris of the and the going was awful, the ponies sink. slip, fell away in an almost sheer descent ing above their fetlocks in the soaking, to the bed of the torrent, at least three slippery clay. Charley had provided me hundred feet below. Without hesitating with a huge pair of overalls, reaching to a second, the officer kicked his feet out mid-thigh; and with those and my water
proof, I entertained hopes, alas! vain on to the place where the river is dammed hopes, of remaining dry. Our way lay for the Kingston water supply. Here the down the road up which I had ridden on road, following the course of the river, the day of my arrival; but it was scarcely bends sharply to the left under the overrecognizable. The entire surface had hanging hills. The dam, crossing the been swept away. Long stretches, strewn river, strikes perpendicularly the centre with boulders of all shapes and sizes, of the curve. It was here the worst damalternated with regions of slippery, vis. age was done. The outworks of the dam cous mud; the whole scored with ragged had been broken down, and lay about in channels, through which torrents of yel- confused and shattered masses; while at low, muddy water were pouring. In one the further end of the curve, the road, for place, a torrent from the hills, catching a distance of fifty yards, had been comthe road on the inner side of a bend, had pletely destroyed, and the angry flood was scooped it out like a cheese, scarcely leav- washing the base of the hill. ing room to pass. The great pit, some Here we met General the director twenty seet long by fifteen deep, shewed of roads, who contirmed_ all the worst the force of the water. Everywhere ap. rumors we had heard. The disaster at peared traces of the awful damage done Dry River, he told us, had not been exby the flood, from the huge landslip which aggerated. A number of the country had carried away half the side of a moun- people — upwards of thirty, he said tain, to the tiny one that had merely men, women, and children, had reached wrecked some poor black fellow's provis- the river on their way home from market. ion garden.
The river was then running in a wide and As we got lower down, we could hear rapid but not very deep stream. An the roar of the two rivers - the Hope island lay in the centre. As the river was River, which rises near New-Castle ; and evidently rising rapidly, the unfortunate the Flamstead River, which rises in the people determined to attempt to cross Port-Royal mountains, and which unite before the further rise of the water should their waters about a mile higher up, as render it impossible. With considerable they thundered along the valley and past delay and difficulty they reached the island the pretty village of Gordontown. At in the centre in safety, with their mules last, a turn in the road gav us a view and donkeys. Once there, they found, to of the huge yellow flood, nearly a hundred their dismay, that further progress was yards wide, and sweeping down with a impossible. Between the island and the fury it is impossible to describe. Of the far side of the river, the swollen waters pretty wooden bridge we had crossed on were rushing down in a volume and with the previous Thursday, when visiting a fury which nothing could resist. Worst Flamstead, not a trace was left, except a of all, their retreat was cut off. The break in the surface of the water, inarking stream they had crossed had risen behind the position of a submerged pier. A few them; and there the unhappy people were, minutes more, and we reached the foot of cooped up between two raging torrents, the hill. Such a scene of ruin and desola- on an island the area of which was rapidly tion as then presented itself to us, I never diminishing under the action of the water. saw before ! The main road to Kingston The scene was appalling. Darkness was here runs for more than a mile along the coming on; the rain falling in torrents. bottom of the valley, having steep hills on Wild shrieks for help, agonized prayers one side, and the river on the other. to heaven, went up from the helpless About a hundred yards from the police crowd of blacks, huddled together on that barrack, an immense landslip had taken tiny speck of land in the midst of the place, covering the road to a depth of waters. Some few attempted to escape thirty or forty feet. Scrambling over by swimming, but were swept away like this we had left our ponies at the bar- straws and drowned. Higher and higher rack — we came presently to an enor. rose the waters, blacker and blacker the mous chasm, big enough to hold a coach darkness that bid from the horrified specand-four, through which a furious torrent tators on the banks the ghastly scenes on was pouring. A small watercourse, which the island. Yet the piercing screams of ran down the hillside at this point, had women, the hoarser cries of men, were become so swollen in a few hours by the still heard at intervals, as group after deluges of rain, that it had burst right group of the helpless people were swept through the road into the river beyond, away. At last, about half past eight P.M., causing the ruin we saw.
one appalling cry went up out of the dark Crossing by a couple of planks, we went | ness; and then, save the rush and roar of the angry waters, all was still. Not one tachment from New Castle is always stahad survived. This had taken place on tioned, we found Martin sitting on his the previous Saturday; and all through pony among a crowd of blacks, and in a Sunday, the swollen and distorted bodies towering rage. A lazy-looking half-caste, of the dead were being washed up, some one of the army contractors, was explainmiles below the place where the disastering to him how utterly impossible it was had happened.
to forward the meat supplies to NewImmense loss of life and property also Castle. He had offered a dollar — two took place along the Yallahs Valley, which dollars; but the men would not go, the runs down to the sea east of the Flam- roads were so bad. He could do no stead Hills. Unlike most valleys in more. Jamaica, which narrow down to mere gul- “ All right,” broke in Martin sharply; lies, the Yallahs Valley, through nearly " then I must try. Simpson !” (this to a all its extent, widens out into a succession smart corporal who stood by at "attenof more or less rugged plains, through tion,") "I want twenty men. A pound which the Yallahs River makes its way to each a day. We will charge it to Mr. the sea.
Years ago, probably after heavy who has contracted to forward suprains, the river changed its channel, form- plies, rain or no rain.” ing a completely new one. On the ground The corporal saluted, produced a pockleft dry by the river, numbers of natives et-book, and in less than five minutes had built cottages. About half-way down, had twenty names down, to the dismay of a neat meeting-house had been built, with the contractor. a graveyard hard by, and the whole place “Start them at once, Simpson,” said was as fourishing a settlement as any on Martin. “ There is a path billed through the island.
Craigton, which Major Edgeware allows On that dreadful Saturday, the river us to use. Rather a sell for our commisbegan to rise about five P.M. Many of sariat friend,” he observed to us as we the women and some of the men were rode away. “He could have got those away at market. In some cottages only fellows easily for ten shillings a head, but the children were left. The river, drain. was too lazy to try. Now he will have to ing as it does an immense tract of coun- pay a pound.” try, rose with frightful rapidity. The There being nothing more to see in poor people, returning from work or mar- this direction we turned homeward; and ket, found themselves confronted by a after the usual amount of stumbling and raging flood where they had crossed dry- slipping and sliding, found ourselves at shod in the morning. Filling the entire Craigton about one P.M., very wet, but width of the valley, the swollen waters with an awful appetite for lunch. rushed on to the sea, bearing with them trees, cattle, borses, sheep, chests of drawers, and other articles of furniture. There was no room for doubt. The river had swept the valley clean. Even the The rains were now nearly over. Genvery soil of the graveyard had been torn erally, about noon, heavy showers would up, and the coffins, with their occupants, fall; but the mornings and evenings were washed out by the water.
fine and deliciously cool. Our communica“Not to speak of the loss of life,” said tions with the outward world were restored. the general in conclusion, “I don't be- Road-making in Jamaica is a simple affair. lieve a hundred and twenty thousand The roads being generally scarped out of pounds will cover the damage that has the side of a hill, whenever one is carried been done."
away by rain or a landslip, it is simply a Making our way back to the police matter of cutting deeper into the hill. barrack, we got our ponies and rode a The surface is left to make itself; conseshort distance up the road towards the quently, it is as soft as a bog or as hard as New-Castle military road. Here it was nails, according as the weather is wet or the same story of ruin and devastation. dry, The post office, the posting-stables, every- For days after the cessation of the thing had been carried away by the furi- rains, evil tidings were coming in. It was ous torrent that rushed by, and in some not merely that numbers of the poor peoplaces over, the road, even though it had ple had their provision-grounds devasfallen considerably within the last few tated and their cottages wrecked by the hours.
waters, all this admitted of remedy; but At the picket-house, where a small de-in nearly every instance where a cottage
A GLORIOUS PANORAMA.
was swept away, the owner's savings for could see the tall heads of the tree-ferns years consisting generally of notes in the Fern-walk below us bowing gently, stored up in a bottle or tin box, and hidden as a light breeze from the north-west came in the thatch were swept away also. stealing up, scattering the mist before it. Unfortunately, the people had some reason Vague forms - blurred outlines of ridge for adopting this foolish practice. For- and pinnacle grew upon our siglit as merly, the only banks in the island were wave after wave of the vapory curtain that private savings-banks, and to these large had hidden them rolled away before the
of money had been intrusted. breeze. A few minutes more, and the Shortly before Sir William Grey became vague forms took shape ; the blurred outgovernor, numbers of these banks, at Fal- lines became sharply defined; and the mouth, Montego Bay, and other places, whole glorious panorama lay before us, failed under the most discreditable cir- unblotted by a cloud. The spot we were cumstances, spreading disaster far and standing on, five thousand and thirty-five wide. Sir William, during his term of feet above the sea, was almost midway office, established saving-banks guaran- between the north and south of the island. teed by government. The measure was Looking due north, we could see the a wise and prudent one; but the con- breakers rolling into Buff Bay, nearly fidence of the people had been rudely five-and-twenty miles away; while to the shaken; hence the habit of hoarding up south-east, Morant Bay and all the adjahad grown. In some cases, individuals. cent line of coast were clearly visible. had lost in this way sums varying from New-Castle lay at our feet on one side, twenty to forty pounds.
the little settlement of Cold-Spring on the My visit was now rapidly drawing to a other; while on our right hand, nearly close. I was to leave on the 25th ; and due east of where we were standing, towon my last day we set out, all three, on ered the huge mass of the Blue Mountain our final expedition to Catherine's Peak Peak, seven thousand three hundred and and the Fern-walks. Starting about thirty-five feet high. All around and betwelve, we lunched at New-Castle, and low us lay the lesser peaks of the chain, then rode on to the Fern-walks. About covered to the top with thick underwood, twenty minutes' ride above New-Castle, save where landslips or torrents had we came to a place called the Woodcut. scored their sides. The breeze had died ter's Gap, from which point the first view away; the intense silence seemed intensiof the interior, north of the New-Castle fied by the faint chirp of some species of ridge, is obtained. Here the road divides grasshopper from a neighboring shrub; into two branches, both skirting, at differ and over all hung the speckless dome of ent levels, the northern slope of Cather- the blue tropical sky. ine's Peak, and forming the Upper and “ Have a good look at it,” said Charley, Lower Fern-walks. The lower of these philosophically filling a pipe. “You're in roads, after skirting the peak, turns great luck to get the chance. See! it is northward, and is indeed the recognized changing already." route between New-Castle and the north- Even as he spoke, the air grew colder, ern parts of the island. The upper road, and a light tremor shook the tall treerunning completely round the peak, re- ferns. Down through each valley came turns to the Woodcutter's Gap. Choosing sweeping dense masses of vapor, spreadthe latter, we rode along it for a short ing in every direction. One huge cloud distance; and then, giving our ponies to wrapped the Blue Mountain Peak, leaving a black groom we had brought on from only its summit visible, like an island in New-Castle, a roughish scramble of fif- mid-air. A few seconds more and the teen minutes brought us to the top of the whole mountain was blotted out.
Up peak. At first we seemed destined to a from every side rolled the mist, wreathing disappointment, as a heavy mist was roll itself into a thousand fantastic shapes as ing up from the north, hiding the whole it came, till in a few minutes we found country. Here and there the mist would ourselves on an island in a sea of cloud; break, showing for a few seconds above earth and sky, everything invisible, exits fleecy surface some peak clothed cept few yards round the spot on which with brushwood to its summit; then hid- we were standing. ing it again with gauzy folds of vapor. Scrambling down the rough path, we However, we determined, as we had time regained our ponies and rode round the to spare, to wait a while and take our peak by the Upper Fern-walk. Unforchance. And had reward. tunately, I am densely ignorant on the Scarcely ten minutes had passed, when we subject of ferns; but still I was struck by
the extraordinary beauty and luxuriance | Edgeware and myself, made up the party. of those that clústered on every side of Some excellent clear turtle ushered in one us as we rode on. Especially marvellous of those cosy, pleasant, chatty dinners for were the tree-ferns. In many cases, the which Ropley is famous in Jamaica, and twisted stems, perfectly bare, sprang up which many an old Jamaican, if this hapto a height of forty or fifty feet, and then pens to meet his eye, will recall with kindly spread out into magnificent canopies of remembrance. As usual in the hills, we branches some ten or fifteen feet in diam-dined practically in the open air, as all the eter. At each stage of the tree-fern's venetians, front and back, were wide open, growth, a fresh canopy of branches bursts and the cool evening air came straying in out around the top, and the one beneath unchecked. I confess to being a sensualwithers and dies. The twisted or plaited ist in a small way, and to like a good dinappearance of the stems arises from the ner much; and to like it still more when marks which each successive ring of its surroundings are pretty and bright. branches leaves as it withers and falls | When I hear a man declaiming against off, when a fresh one comes out above. the pleasures of the table, and boasting
It was now getting on in the afternoon; that it is a matter of indifference to him so, as we were engaged to dine at Ropley, what he eats, I set that man down as an we bade adieu to the Fern-walk, and ass. A man might as well, in my mind, turned homeward. There being no moon, boast that he was insensible to the perit was excessively dark as we made our fume of a rose. A good dinner elevates way over to Ropley at half past seven the moral tone. Under its benign influThe major and I walked; and Mrs. Edge-ence, we glow with charity towards all ware, with a gray skirt over her evening mankind. We pronounce A's novel pleasdress, preceded us on a pony. The boy ant. We can see no harın in Mrs. B.'s in front carried a lantern. As we passed little flirtation with Gussy C., that most the turn to Strawberry Hill, we met the lamblike of Lovelaces. We fancy — we judge in evening clothes, also carrying a wouldn't really, you know — but we fancy lantern, and without a hat.
we would lend money to that poor fellow “Hat!” said the judge, on my making D., who has gone such an awful smasher. some remark on the absence of his head- On the other hand, under the influence gear. “Hat! I never wear a hat at night. of one of those dreadful meals which I wouldn't wear one by day, only the little English middle-class society inflicts on boys would hoot me, and bring the bench its victims, what are our feelings? what into contempt. I maintain,” he continued, our language ? A.'s novel is balderdash; tramping along with vigorous strides, Mrs. B. is a forward hussy, no better than while the lantern flashed on his capacious she should be; and as for that rascal D., white waistcoat and gold spectacles -"I imprisonment for life is what he deserves. maintain, sir, this is the finest climate in What London man is there who does not the world. There are no extremes. Look recall with a shudder those appalling at our friends the major and Mrs. Edge- banquets? We groan when we get the ware! Are they ever ill? Look at their invitation. With gloomy irony, we write children! My boy grew up here, and back that we accept it " with much pleasnever had a day's illness till I sent him to ure.” On the fatal day, we pack ourselves England, and there he got scarlatina! It into a cab and drive off. We are received is an English climate, without the English in the hall by Swipes, the greengrocer fogs and rains and east winds !”
round the corner. In a confidential unAnd the judge, whose vigorous frame dertone, he inquires
He and hale complexion showed that a resi- knows it perfectly, the old humbug; but dence of nearly twenty years in Jamaica it is part of his role as interim butler to had not done him much harm, hurried pretend he does not. In point of fact, it forward to light Mrs. Edgeware in through was only a fortnight ago that he attended the gate of Ropley.
at our own little dinner, carrying off after that entertainment a cold fowl in his umbrella. We can see it — the umbrella, I
mean - bulging in the corner behind the JAMAICA PAST. — JAMAICA FUTURE.
hat-stand. From the soup to the salmon The dean and Mrs.
-; a Mr. S- - a bit of the soft side with long bones, an extensive pen-keeper (a person who like knitting-needles, sticking out of it, is breeds and sells stock) from the north what we always get; from the salmon, side; a young lady who was staying in through the leathery cutlets and dubious the house; the judge, Charley, and Mrs. I patties, and on to the lukewarm mutton;