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lasses in their hands. We ourselves travelled without other burdens than our own big sticks.

I have nothing remarkable to tell of the ascent. soon got into a cloud, and never got out of it. But that is a matter of course. We were soon wet through up to our middles, but that is a matter of course also. came to various dreadful passages, which broke our toes and our nails and our hats, the worst of which was called Jacob's ladder-also a matter of course. Every now and then we regaled the negroes with rum, and the more rum we gave them the more they wanted. And every now and then we regaled ourselves with brandy and water, and the oftener we regaled ourselves the more we required to be regaled. All which things are matters of course. And so we arrived at the Blue Mountain Peak.

Our first two objects were to construct a hut and collect wood for firing. As for any enjoyment from the position, that, for that evening, was quite out of the question. We were wet through and through, and could hardly see twenty yards before us on any side. So we set the men to work to produce such mitigation of our evil position as was possible.

We did build a hut, and we did make a fire; and we did administer more rum to the negroes, without which they refused to work at all. When a black man knows that you want him, he is apt to become very impudent, especially when backed by rum ; and at such times they altogether forget, or at any rate disregard, the punishment that may follow in the shape of curtailed gratuities.

Slowly and mournfully we dried ourselves at the fire ; or rather did not dry ourselves, but scorched our clothes and burnt our boots in a vain endeavor to do so.

It is a singular fact, but one which experience has fully taught

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me, that when a man is thoroughly wet he may

burn his trousers off his legs and his shoes off his feet, and yet they will not be dry—nor will he. Mournfully we turned ourselves before the fire-slowly, like badly roasted-joints of meat; and the result was exactly that : we were badly roasted-roasted and raw at the same time.

And then we crept into our hut, and made one of these wretched repasts in which the collops of food slip down and get sat upon; in which the salt is blown away and the bread saturated in beer; in which one gnaws one's food as Adam probably did, but as men need not do now far removed as they are from Adam's discomforts. А man may cheerfully go without with his dinner and feed like a beast when he gains anything by it; but when he gains nothing, and has his boots scorched off his feet into the bargain, it is hard then for him to be cheerful. I was bound to be jolly, as my companion had come there merely for

my sake; but how it came to pass that he did not become sulky, that was the miracle.

As it was, I know full well that he wished me safe in England.

Having looked to our fire and smoked a sad cigar, we put ourselves to bed in our hut. The operation consisted in huddling on all the clothes we had. But even with this the cold prevented us from sleeping. The chill damp air penetrated through two shirts, two coats, two pairs of trousers. It was impossible to believe that we were in the tropics.

And then the men got drunk and refused to cut more firewood, and disputes began which lasted all night; and all was cold, damp, comfortless, wretched, and endless. And so the morning came.

That it was morning our watches told us, and also a dull dawning of muddy light through the constant mist; but as for sunrise ! The sun may rise for those

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who get up decently from their beds in the plains below, but there is no sunrising on Helvellyn, or Righi, or the Blue Mountain Peak. Nothing rises there ; but mists and clouds are for ever falling.

And then we packed up our wretched traps, and again descended. While coming up some quips and cranks had passed between us and our sable followers; but now all was silent as grim death. We were thinking of our sore hands and bruised feet; were mindful of the dirt which clogged us, and the damp which enveloped us ; were mindful also a little of our spoilt raiment, and illrequited labors.

Our wit did not flow freely as we descended.

A second breakfast with the man of the mountain, and a glorious bath in a huge tank somewhat restored us, and as we regained our horses the miseries of our expedition

My friend fervently and loudly declared that no spirit of hospitality, no courtesy to a stranger, no human eloquence should again tempt him to ascend the Blue Mountains; and I cordially advised him to keep his resolution. I made no vows aloud, but I may

here

protest that any such vows were unnecessary.

I afterwards visited another seat, Flamstead, which, as regards scenery, has rival claims to those of Raymond Lodge. The views from Flamstead were certainly very beautiful ; but on the whole I preferred my first love.

were over.

CREOLE NEGROES.

57

CHAPTER I V.

JAMAICA BLACK MEN.

To an Englishman who has never lived in a slave country, or in a country in which slavery once prevailed, the negro population is of course the most striking feature of the West Indies. But the eye soon becomes accustomed to the black skin and the thick lip, and the ear to the broken patois which is the nearest approach to English which the ordinary negro ever makes. When one has been a week among them, the novelty is all gone. It is only by an exercise of memory and intellect that one is enabled to think of them as a strange race.

But how strange is the race of Creole negroes—of negroes, that is, born out of Africa! They have no country of their own, yet have they not hitherto any country of their adoption; for, whether as slaves in Cuba, or as free laborers in the British isles, they are in each case a servile people in a foreign land. They have no language of their own, nor have they as yet any language of their adoption ; for they speak their broken English as uneducated foreigners always speak a foreign language. They have no idea of country, and no pride of race; for even among themselves, the word "nigger” conveys their worst term of reproach. They have no religion of their own, and can hardly as yet be said to have, as a people, a religion by adoption; and yet there is no race which has more strongly developed its own physical aptitudes and inaptitudes, its own habits, its own tastes, and its own faults.

58

WEST INDIAN NEGROES.

comer.

The West Indian negro knows nothing of Africa ex. cept that it is a term of reproach. If African immigrants are put to work on the same estate with him, he will not eat with them, or drink with them, or walk with them. He will hardly work beside them, and regards himself as a creature immeasurably the superior of the new

But yet he has made no approach to the civilization of his white fellow creatures, whom he imitates as a monkey does a man.

Physically he is capable of the hardest bodily work, and that probably with less bodily pain than men of any other race ; but he is idle, unambitious as to worldly position, sensual, and content with little. Intellectually, he is apparently capable of but little sustained effort; but, singularly enough, here he is ambitious. He burns to be regarded as a scholar, puzzles himself with fine words, addicts himself to religion for the sake of appearance, and delights in aping the little graces of civilization. He despises himself thoroughly, and would probably be content to starve for a month if he could appear as a white man for a day; but yet he delights in signs of respect paid to him, black man as he is, and is always thinking of his own dignity. If you want to win his heart for an hour, call him a gentleman; but if you want to reduce him to a despairing obedience, tell him that he is a filthy nigger, assure him that his father and mother had tails like monkeys, and forbid him to think that he can have a soul like a white man. Among the West Indies one may frequently see either course adopted towards them by their unreasoning ascendant masters.

I do not think that education has as yet done much for the black man in the Western world. He can always observe, and often read; but he can seldom reason. I do not mean to assert that he is absolutely without men.

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