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trading schooner of 300 tons burden, walked into the country a distance of named the Scotia, * and, on inquiry, Gor- some twelve miles, and there secreted himdon was informed that this tight little craft self till darkness fell, after which he walked would proceed in a few days to Cape back again to the town, and from thence Town. This was his chance. He at once to the Scotia. No wonder that the capcommunicated to the captain of the Scotiu tain and his wife were somewhat amused his intention of joining the ship and of at the explanation. This little incident, proceeding with it to its destination. The however, did much to reveal the man, and communication came as a surprise to all tended to popularize the stranger in the on board, and the captain's wife (who eyes of his host and hostess. For an hour sailed with her husband) was exceedingly he talked lightly, and seemed to derive perplexed that no time was left to make much enjoyment from the fact that he had inore adequate preparations for the dis- succeeded in escaping the honors his tinguished passenger; for the Scotia, a friends wished to bestow on bim. With small ressel, fully manned, had no pre- that peculiar aptitude which truly great tensions to offer either the usual comfort men have for making all those around or the ordinary conveniences of a passen- tbem feel happy and at ease, the Colonel, ger boat, and the reception of the military even before he retired to rest that night, magnate must therefore be of the hum- had fairly established himself as a favorite blest, if of the kindliest, description. In with all on board ; for he was a man who, a diary of the voyage, which the writer as the captain put it," sternly resisted all has had the advantage of perusing-and fuss." under date April 1, the following entry is Early on the following forenoon the made :-“ At 4 P.M. a letter came to say ship was besieged by visitors who came to that Colonel Gordon (Gordon Pasha) was bid the Colonel God-speed. They by no going as passenger with us to Cape Town.
means represented only the It took us all by surprise. We felt rather of Mauritius society, but included many put out at having a passenger at all, and in the middle and lower class of life to more especially such an illustrious one. whom, at one time or other, Gordon had However, we have to make the best of it.' shown kindness. In connection with this
The Colonel informed the captain of the reception of visitors, an incident occurred Scotia that he would come on board at a that went still further to the revealing of given hour in the afternoon, and, by the Gordon's gentlemanly disposition. Late time arranged on, such preparations as in the afternoon a lace.coated officer from could be made for his reception were com- the barracks—a personage of
high depleted. The afternoon wore into evening, gree" --strode on deck, with that air of however, and the evening into night, and hauteur which, alas ! those bearing her still the distinguished passenger did not Majesty's commission so often display in appear. The captain and his wife con- intercourse with the merchant marine. cluded that the Colonel had changed his Without deigning to lift his cap to the mind, and were just' making everything captain's wife, who happened to be on snug for the night when, close on mid- deck, or even stopping to exchange comnight, a stealthy step was heard on deck, pliments with the captain, he, whisking and next minute, the missing one pre- his cane in quite a lofty manner, asked sented himself at the cabin-door. He curtly : “Is the Colonel at home ?" Gorapologized heartily for neglecting to keep don, who saw the whole proceeding, his engagement, and hastened to explain emerged from his place on deck, and dryly the reason of his lateness. On its becom- exchanged civilities with the officer, whose ing known, he said, that he was to leave manner had suddenly become quite inMauritius in a couple of days, his military gratiating. The interview was a brief and comrades and many private friends had formal one, and, when the dignified young resolved to make him the subject of a part- officer stepped down the gangway, Gordon ing demonstration. “This sort of thing” stepped up to the captain and his wife he heartily detested ; and, in order to and offered a sincere apology for the bad shun the ordeal of being lionized, he had manners displayed by his last visitor.
When he had done this, he took occasion * The Scotia was then, and is now, commanded by Captain Wm. Duncan, Kingston
to remark that, had his comunand at the on-Spey, Morayshire.
barracks not come to an end, he should
certainly have deemed it his duty to tell ism to support him under mal de mer. In the haughty fellow what he thought of his short, he utterly failed to keep up; he breeding." He had no more right,” lic fell sick, and was reluctantly forced to resaid, '" to come on board your ship and main below. Indeed, it was while he was act as he has acted than the occupier of yet suffering severely from the horror of the British throne would have to enter the sea-sickness that he became a General, private house of any of her subjects, and for, under date April 6, we find this endeinand to be shown through its rooins, try : : " Yesterday we had
Colonel on without first securing the consent of its board ; to day we have a General, for this owner.!! This incident, slight as it may is the day of our passenger's promotion. appear, seemed to give the Colonel much He does not seem to attach much imporpain, for nothing offended him more deep- tance to his honors.” For the next day ly, or called forth his indignation more or two excellent weather prevailed, and effectually, than the witnessing of an un- the General's health and spirits improved gentlemanly action of any kind.
proportionately. He was a great smoker, Gordun's love for children was some- and, seated in a big easy.chair, which had what akin to a passion, and several of the been placed on deck for bim, enclouded Mauritius boys and girls, on whom he had in cigarette sinoke, he would sit for hours been accustomed to bestow—what were during the heat of the day, and talk in always at his command.-a kindly smile the most entertaining manner. At night. and an encouraging word, caine on board fall he would, when in the humor for it, the ship to bid him good-by. One little keep the watch company on deck, and lad, in whose welfare the Colonel had while away the tedium by drawing libertaken a very special interest, came among ally from bis never-ending fund of stories, the rest, and was introduced to the cap- and very occasionally he would touch on tain and his wife as “ My pet lamb.” his own past history and future prospects. The child brought with him a parting gift He shrank from all appearance of selffor his benefactor, consisting of a couple laudation, and would never encourage of bottles of sherry, and these he presented questions that would involve him in anyslyly to the great soldier. The Colonel thing of the kind. In the cabiu, of a thanked his favorite very warmly, for the night, he would often allow his conversagift, and then parted from his pet lamb" tion to flow forth in a swift aud unbroken in the most affecting manner.
The bot- current. Nor was his talk ever frivolous. tles of sherry were not uncorked, nor was Many times, indeed, his manner was seria case of champagne that he received as a ous, and even solemn, and often he would parting gift from his friends disturbed sit for hours silent, and apparently deep during the voyage, for Gordon's habits in thought. were of a strictly temperate nature, and it According to the diary, the General was only on the rarest occasions that he possessed one theme on which he specially could be induced to taste stimulants. delighted to speak. Under date April 8,
The Colonel's luggage, which was of a appears the following somewhat remarkvery meagre description,
easily able passage :-stowed, the only bulky item of it being a The General was very talkative this large and very heavy box, addressed evening, explaining to us bis pet theory “ Colonel Gordon,” and with the word - viz., that the Seychelles Islands, which “Stationery printed in large characters are situated to the north east of Madagason the lid. The captaia was naturally car, are the site of the Garden of Eden ! much exercised as to how and when his He gave many reasons for thinking som illustrious passenger intended to consume one being that there was a tree found there such a tremendous supply of writing ma- that is not to be found in any other part terials, but the real contents of the box of the world. This, he is confident, is were, as yet, a secret.
the · Forbidden Tree'! It is called the On the 4th day of April the anchor was Coco-de-Mer, or ‘nut of the sea,' and bas weighed, and the voyage to the Cape be- many peculiarities. The nut is shaped gun. The wind was at first light, but on like a heart, but, with its husk taken off, the following day a swell prevailed, and it is like a man's body from the chest to Gordon, who always admitted he was a the knees. To raise a tree, he explained, very bad sailor, had to draw on bis hero- a nut is laid on the ground and covered
with leaves. By and by, a shoot comes treasure he prized more highly than all out and runs along the ground, and, when his personal belongings, for,' said he, about twelve feet long, it takes root. The suddenly becoming serious, this is the root is in the form of a bulb four feet in wood of the Coco-de-Mer, the “ Forbiddiameter. The tree itself grows to the den Tree." I heard,' he continued, 'that height of one hundred feet, and is only there was at one time seen in Mauritius a about nine inches thick. It is forty-seven chest of drawers made of this wood, and, years old before it bears fruit and its nuts though its discovery cost ine protracted grow seven in a bunch, from the end of search, I at last came across it in a secondthe extended arm, each weighing perhaps hand upholsterer's shop. I paid a good forty pounds. They taken seven years to price for the old and rickety piece of fur. ripen. The leaves are twenty-five feet niture, and depend on it, I would not have long and fourteen feet broad, and can bear lost the rare opportunity of possessing a a man's weight ! It must, indeed, be a quantity of this most valuable of woods-wonderful tree.”
not for any sum.'”. Many times during the voyage, in con- He afterward presented the captain's versation during the evening, Gordon wife, as a mark of the greatest favor, with would revert to this pet theory. But, a piece of the wood which he so mnch though he would sometimes become quite cherished, and that, together with a pair eloquent over the subject, his arguments of ostrich eggs which he gave her, as a hardly persuaded the other occupants of keepsake, on his leaving the Scotia, are the cabin ; the captain, a sound-headed now preserved by her with the greatest Scotsman," thinking to himself that if care and veneration. the theory was a correct one, then Eve A certain and considerable portion of must have experienced considerable diffi- every day was set aside by the General for culty in getting the apple conveyed to reading. The mail which brought the her husband.'
orders for him to proceed to South Africa In connection with this eccentric idea, also brought a month's daily papers--the so firmly believed in by Gordon, let me Times, the Standard, and the Daily News mention a peculiar and somewhat remark- -in all nearly a hundred great sheets. able incident, as given in the captiain's These, which he took with him, he read own words.
with the greatest eagerness and care, and “One morning,” said the master of the the rapidity with which he read surprised Scotia, “ I was working upon deck when, those on board. Not a single item, howin his usual polite manner, the General ever trivial, escaped his notice, and of this came and asked me to give him a hand in he gare proof when giving of an evening moving the large trunk marked' Station- what he called “ a digest of the news budery, which had, up till this time, occu- get. The newspapers exhausted, he pied a place in his room. I went. He tackled the captain's library, which hapmerely wished its position reversed—that pily was of considerable proportions. is, its address side turned toward the wall, Nor did he seem to have any particular so that he would not, as he said, see that fancy for any special kind of literature. imposing word Stationery' meeting his Astronomy, navigation, history, geogeye every time he ascended to the deck, raphy, and whatever else caine first to or descended from the deck to the cabin. hand, seemed to be equally acceptable to He did not get tell me what the mysteri- his mind, for be read the books as eagerly ous box contained, but, some days later, as he had done the newspapers. he informed me that he wished to put its doubtedly possessed, too, the enviable contents into less space, and respectfully faculty of imparting to those around him asked me to help hini. The case was, the knowledge he derived from his readafter some difficulty, opened ; and judge ing, and his stock of information was as of my surprise when, instead of books and varied as it was accurate. papers, as I expected, there met my eyes tain and his wife bear testimony as to that, a great number of equally cut pieces of declaring that to sit and listen to his conwood, arranged with the greatest possible versation on any subject, that lay near his care,
and almost filling the large box. heart, was indeed a pleasure which they The General, perceiving my surprise, appreciated very highly. Especially on specdily explained to me that this was a philanthropic questions would he speak
Both the cap
with the greatest enthusiasm and earnest- bright days, after he bad mastered the ness, and then it was that the tenderness sickness, he became happier than ever, and and largeness of bis heart were manifested he took delight in poking fun at all around to the fullest degree. .-24.
him. He had his big arm-chair taken on When a little more than a week's sail deck, and placed alongside bis hostess from Mauritius, the wind rose suddenly, work-table, and there he would sit for and, as suddenly, a dark cloud passed over hours together, with his favorite cigarette the Gencral's buoyancy, for he had a between his lips, intently reading. But wholesome dread of a stormy sea. The often he would lay the book on his knee higher the waves reared themselves the and, as he puffed tobacco-smoke vigorlower sank his vitality, and the old enemy, only from his mouth, his mood would sea-sickness, again attacked him without suddenly change ; his eyes would assume mercy. He recovered, however, in a few. a“ far-away” expression, and there for an days, and was soon able to move about. hour he would sit almost motionless with “ The General is better, ?? says the diary, his gaze fixed on the sea.
These strange “ but as he is very positive, and would sit fits of absent-mindedness would often on deck during the rain, it is to be feared overtake him, even when in the midst of that he will be ill to-iporrow.” The conversation with his hostess, and after a prophecy, alas ! proved to be only too lengthy interval of unbroken quiet, he true, and daily Gordon's health went from would, by au apparent effort, wake from bad to worse, as this entry will show :- his day-dream, and talk lightly as before.
Late one beautiful evening he and his “Our guest has been very sick. He is still suffering, and all the while we have had com.
hostess were sitting together on deck, he paratively fine weather. It is hard to say smoking, and she sewing. Their converwhat will become of him when it is rough.sation was as changeable as the breeze that He is not improving in health, far less in spir. flapped the topsails overhead. The Genits. He desires to be landed al the first port we
eral talked of the perils he had come reach! It is surprising that he has lost heart so soon. How inany kinds of courage there through when, some years before, he commust be! This great soldier must have under. manded an expedition in search of the gone many hardships and seen much sickness
source of the Nile ; of his friends and during his travels in Africa. Besides, his life home ; of his wanderings and privations in China was not all ease and sweetness."
regard in different quarters of the globe ; and of Despite careful nursing his caso grew the momentousness of the task he was worse, and his suffering and misery were now on his way to attempt to perform. described by himself as far more severe Suddenly and unexpectedly the conversathan he had ever during his lifetime ex- tion turned upon the subject of matrimony, perienced, either at home or abroad.” and his hostess ventured to ask why he Very often he repeated his determination had never maried. For some seconds to go on shore at the very first port the the General smoked in silence, and then, Scotia reached, and, one morning, after a speaking slowly, said :sleepless night of sickness, he called the
“I never yet have met the woman who, for captain to his bedside, and offered him
my sake, and perhaps at a moment's notice, £50 if he would make for land with all would be prepared to sacrifice the comforts of possible speed !
home, and the sweet society of loved ones, and But, under date of Wednesday, April duty might lead-accompany me to the ends
accompany me whitbersoever the demand of 13, we meet this encouraging entry : of the earth perhrps ; wonlă stand by me in “The General is better, and is getting on times of danger and difficulty, and sustain me splendidly !". Again, the captain said, in times of hardship and perplexity. Such his free and easy manner returned to him ; could be my wife !"
woman I have not met, and such an one alone his merry langh and cheery word could be heard both fore and aft, and his cigarette- The answer was as brief as it was emphatic, case, which had remained untonched for and the topic of matrimony was not further a week or more, was again often appealcd touched upon. to. He bad a great love for nautical ex- Where sickness prevailed Gordon never pressions, and used to vie with the crew stood inactive. Several of the crew of in his frequent use of them. The most the Scotia suffered from illness, and they ordinary story he made amusing by pad. were his especial care. He spoke kindly ding plentifully with these. In those and cheeringly to the poor fellows, and
cither road to them bimself or saw that those in need. For he parted freely with they were supplied with literature. They money, and this weakness of his was often were the first he asked after in the morn- taken advantage of byncedy persons. ing and his last care at night. He bad He used to tell of a friend of his who was pet names for several of the crew, and one A bit of a spendthrift, and to whom he young lad whom he took a deep interest (Gordon) had often given money. But, in, he called the “ Dover Powder Youth,' even to his generosity there was a limit, from the fact that he used to have a and, in reply to a pressing appeal in which
Dover's-powder” administered to him his needy relative declared, by way of a when he lay ill.
threat, that if the money was not sent he While on board the Scotia the General would go to Patagonia, Gordon simply reobserved the Sunday in his own character- plied : “Go, and I trust the change may istic fashion. A large portion of the fore- do you good.”' noon he devoted to a close and careful
Captain," said the General, as they both study of his Bible, and he invariably wrote sat together on deck one evening, enjoying a out extensive notes and comments on. the smoke—“ Captain, you remember the occasion portions of Scripture that might bave been on which I was so ill with that horrid sea-sickengaging his attention. This done he ness, when in my sore trouble I offered yon
fifty pounds to land me at the nearest port ? would lay aside his note-book, and with I could have held good my bargain, but noth. bis Bible lying open before him, would ing more. I have been making a rummage engage in deep meditation. If one en- over my pecuniary possessions, and I find that tered the state-room on a Sunday forenoon
I can scrape together exactly that sum—all I - lie would find the great soldier, if not read- possess in the world.” ing or writing as indicated, sitting in his The remaining days slipped quietly and favorite seat with his head resting heavily happily by, and at length the voyage of on his hand, and his eyes shut if he were almost a month's duration was drawing to asleep. The afternoon be devoted to con- a close, for, under date May 2, we read : versation and general reading.
“Saw the Cape of Good Hope at four Not long before the time of which we and were within sight of its lights all write, the General, it will be remembered, night;" and then a little further on, had accepted the post of private secretary We were very pleased to get round the to Lord Ripon, the then newly appointed Cape at last, and had a glass of wine with Governor-General of India. The private the General to congratulate each other on secretary, however, suddenly and without the event." warning, flung up the appointinent, to the At length, his destination reached, the surprise of everybody, and returned home. General parted from those on board the One evening, in course of conversation, Scotia, not before faithfully promising to the topic of fashionable society was come back and spend an evening soon. touched upon and Gordon made reference (“We will miss the General's company to the reason that induced him to give up much,” says the diary.) office on the occasion mentioned. The In a few days afterward, therefore, in true and only reason he had, he said, for fulfilment of his promise, the General leaving India was that he could not put up came on board, and stayed the evening ; with the ways and customs of the bigħ and, over a cup of tea, he told the captain social circle in which he was expected to and his wife of an awkward situation ho
“ Dress for dinner, dress for even- had found himself in since last he saw ing parties, dress for balls, dress and decora- them. His arrival in Cape Town was tion, decoration and dress! day after day. known only to bis two nephews, but, I could not,” said Gordon, "stand the when the intelligence that he was in the worry of it, and rather than do so I gave city got wing, he received numerous inviup the appointment."
tations to dinners, suppers, balls, and the General Gordon's absolute faith in Prov. like. He went to an evening party at the idence was one of the leading features of house of a wealthy and influential citizen, his wonılerful and peculiar character. Not and gave this account of his adventures :once, nor twice, but often, he said, he had been reduced to little short of pecun
“ At last the time came,” he said, when
we had to tack ahead and drop anchor in the iary destitution, but he had always been dining-ball. I was offered the arm of my granted enough to do his turn, and assist hostess, and buckling on to the port side, Í