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first, even at the risk of telling stale news, a morsel of toast which was brought by I must give a few facts.
the dark, good-natured butler who roused British Guiana is a very large country, us. This is equivalent to the chhotee haof which very little is known and only a siri of the East. When we come to the narrow fringe on the coast and a little way verandah, or galley as it is called here, in the bank of the rivers is cultivated. It we find our host already smoking a mais divided into three counties named after tutinal pipe and looking at the paper, for its principal rivers, Essequibo, Demerara, we have two daily papers in Georgetown, and Berbice. The port is the River Deme- though what the editors find to make rara, on the east bank of which is the cap-them of, I do not know. Making ropes ital Georgetown, so that the whole country out of sand would be, I should think, a is often called Demerara. There is one comparatively easy task. The buggy (or monotonous road up each river-bank. The wagon as it is named) comes round, and estates have private roads at right angles we start, the slanting sun already hot, to this road. There is a railway which down the prettiest street of the prettiest runs from the capital Georgetown up the West Indian town; the houses (white, east coast for a few miles (24) and stops at with green blinds), each detached and emthe Mahaica Creek (as all small rivers are bowered in lovely gardens, with all sorts called). The country is naturally as filat of palms and wonderfully leaved shrubs, as a table; the only elevations are artificial for the tropics are marvellously rich in embankments called dams, made by the plants, the leaves of which vie with the earth thrown up in digging the numerous petals of the flowers of a less favored canals and drains with which the country chime. In the centre of the street is a is scored in every direction.
canal full of the large leaves and lovely A great depth is not required for this blossoms of the queen of water lilies, the purpose, and the country is just about on Victoria Regia, and on the banks are a level with mean tides, and a front dam oleander-trees. Down the side street are is necessary to keep out the sea at high small shops exhaling the peculiar odor of water. Just as the land is only just above salt fish, and any amount of black women sea level, so the bottom of the sea is only with their heads tied in gaudy handkerjust below. And miles from the shore the chiefs are going to do their marketing. water is only about six or seven feet We soon reach the station nd are much deep. As the country is so flat the rivers amused with watching the motley throng. are tidal for a very great distance, gener. Here is the merchant, there the Portually until the first high land is met, down guese shopkeeper, the planter with his from which the rivers fall in rapids or cat- brick-red face, the Chinese with pig-tail, aracts.
the negro, the lissom and elegantly made The bottom of the sea is (as is also the chocolate-colored coolie, the mulatto and land) a tine alluvial mud deposited by the all shades of color are there. Pale boys gigantic rivers of South America ; not a and girls who look as though the sun had pebble is to be seen, nothing but mud never been allowed to see them, are talkmore or less hard, from the coffee-and-ing to a large sun-burnt Scot who looks as milk colored sea water to the burnt earth though he were saturated with sunshine. with which the roads are made.
The train is all ready to start, an engine, The sugar estates have not only the three cars, and a luggage van. sea water in front to keep out, but also are somewhat American in appearance, the bush water at the back (bush, like being more like tram-cars' than railway jungle in India, means any shrub or carriages, with seats on the top as well as wooded land), and if isolated they must inside. It is pleasant in the air, so I and protect their flanks also, and so the term my host Mr. Bustle climb to the roof, Mr. front dam or sea dam, back dam, and side- Bustle warning me not to let a tiny cinder line dam mark the confines of the cultiva- from the funnel get in my eye nor to lose tion. When an English farmer would talk my hat, which last is an enormous felt of a ride to look at his fields, a Demerara umbrella with a church steeple in the planter would say that “he is going middle, a real planter's hat. As the wind aback.”
is always easterly and we are going to the Well, let us start on our trip. We must east, this caution is useful. From my get up betimes, for the train leaves at seat I see the buildings of Georgetown, seven o'clock A. M., but as every one, or at the cathedral spire higher than all, with least every man, rises at sunrise, that is the statue of Mary the Immaculate looking no hardship. We take a hasty bath, and down on the tropical city and the busy while dressing sip a cup of coffee and eat river, and the market spiré made of slate
colored iron, and all the various buildings are marked by the tall slim chimneys of of a city of over forty thousand inhab- the factory and clumps of cabbage and itants. "Mr. Bustle says, as though in a coacoanut palms, all looking one way, reverie : “ All built out of the sugar hogs. blown by the constant north-east breeze. head. The sugar is all we have except The conductor of the train walks all its by-products rum and molasses, just a through it and collects tickets, and asks trifle of timber, a few thousand barrels of where passengers wish to be put down; charcoal, and at most a million cocoanuts. he is a inost obliging gentleman, and will These make up the exports of this coun. stop the train almost anywhere one try; the last bale of cotton went away in pleases if notice is given at the preceding 1843, the last pound of coffee in 1846. station. The line is a single one, and as Since then King Sugar has had no rival. the train runs from one end to the other And we all have our fingers in the hogs and back again three times a day, time is head, the whole town is sugar, we either not such a very great object and this ar. export sugar or import the materials used rangement is most convenient. The time for sugar, or articles required by those taken for the entire journey from Georgewho grow sugar. There is nothing else. town to Mahaica, the two termini, is one When sugar is up and rain comes down, hour and twenty minutes, the fares are there is not a more cheery or careless one dollar first, fifty-six cents second, and place than this ; when sugar goes down forty cents third class. So there is no and the weather is unfavorable we all get great hurry as the distance is only twentythe blues. Yes, all of us, for we live by four miles. sugar, every man and every woman too. Mr. Bustle requests the polite conOnly one industry for this country; all ductor to put us down at the middle walk our eggs in one basket, and a colony that of Nonsuch, and here I notice another could grow so much is almost driven to peculiar custom, borrowed, I suppose, producing sugar alone. Labor is so scarce from the United States. Everybody is and dear that few of the laboring classes always shaking everybody else's hand. If work four days in the week, none more one goes into a store, as big shops are than five, and sugar alone can stand it called, and knows the clerk who serves, because we are so peculiarly adapted for there is a shake of the hand first, business growing sugar. The sugarcane after all after. Hands are thrust through little is a reed, and reeds love drained marshes, doors in the gauze partitions over the and what else is this land but a drained counters of public offices to be shaken be. marsh?” Well, I say nothing to these fore the object of one's visit is entertained, ruminations, and by this time the whistle and the operation is religiously repeated has given its farewell shriek and we are before leaving. It is usual to shake bands off. Out of the town past the enormous with a person on being introduced, and estate Bel Ari, past acres of land aban-on passing an acquaintance where handdoned to such grass as grows self-sown, shaking is impossible, the hand is shaken grazed by the coolie's cattle. We are well at the acquaintance. A man driving in in sight of the dirty-looking sea. As it is the streets and seeing a friend walking high tide we can see the waves breaking past, instead of nodding or touching his on the stone wall which defends the sea hat, shakes his hand and says “So long,' dam at this part, and see the sheer muda corruption, I suppose, of the Eastern thrown in the air. Between us and the salutation salaam. Well, we religiously sea is the road with iong file of carts shake hands with the pleasant conductor, carrying goods up the coast. I wonder who mutters some remark about the how they can compete with the rail, per- weather. For here, as in England, the haps the reason is that the stations are state of the weather opens conversation, not very conveniently situated.
though without the same excuse, for the On the other side of the railway is a weather is most unchangeable, wet seagreat level expanse of acres upon acres of sons with sunny days (or at least parts of waving green canes looking like wheat in the days sunny), in between, and dry seaMay, the only difference in appearance sons with showers. being that cane looks like a very large In Demerara the weather knows its work kind of wheat. The monotony is broken and does it. No misty days, no drizzling by the lines of the estates' dams, which rain. Either the sun shines with all its are marked by the stately cabbage palm, might, or it rains like a shower bath. the picturesque dishevelled cocoanut Rain which records a fall of an inch an palm, or the graceful feather bamboo. hour, and sunshine which sends up the The sites of the buildings and dwellings | mercury to all sorts of heights are the rule.
VOL UX, 3107
The heat in the shade is nearly always the are not cultivated, from whence it finds its same, the strong sea breeze keeping it way to the sea. At the beginning of the very equable, day and night. July and wet seasons these front lands become a January show only about eight or nine huge shallow lake, the level of which gets degrees of difference. In the house the higher and higher till the pressure is sufthermometer is always within a few de- ficient to force away the mud, which is grees one side or the other of 80°, and as loosened in front of the koker by a gang of for the barometer, it varies so little that men who stand in it up to their waists and it is never consulted. A cool day means stir it up with their shovels. When one when the breeze is strong, a hot day means considers that an inch of rain means about a little breeze. Sometimes in the hot sea- one hundred tons of water to the acre, son, July, August, and September, there that the average yearly rainfall of the are days or parts of days when there is no country is about eighty inches, and that breeze, and its absence is very much felt. the area to be drained of an estate is from
The train stops at Nonsuch middle one to two thousand acres or more, one walk, as the centre road or dam of an can realize the enormous weight of water estate is called, and here is the manager's to be lifted. It is raised from six to eight wagon”
" (the universally used American feet. buggy), waiting, with a sinall crecle horse We go into the shed and see a powerful groomed to the last pitch, and a natty, engine, two boilers, a quantity of coal in handsome coolie groom, with brilliant a shed, and a well with a perpendicular teeth and bright beady eyes. Here again shaft in it. This shaft has a disk at the let me digress to correct the common idea bottom, which, when rotated, lifts the of the meaning of the word “creole.” in water from the bottom of the well till it Demerara it simply means anything born overflows at.the top. The bottom is conin the colony; there are creole Chinese, nected to a large trench which acts as a creole coolies, creole whites, creole blacks, reservoir, receiving the drainage of the creole sheep, creole cabbages, creole whole, estate. Sometimes these pumps horses, and creole anything else.
have to work incessantly night and day Mr. Bustle and I get into the wagon, for weeks at a stretch, especially in De and the groom perches himself on a small cember, when the rains are as a rule very tray attached behind, and off we go. heavy. Some estates have scoop-wheel
We soon come to a small building with draining-pumps, which look like the pada chimney, apparently a young relation of ale-wheel of an enormous steamer. Some the tall one in the distance at the factory, have a Gwynne's pump. They are all it looks as though it had not done growing, very expensive and all require a very large and Mr. Bustle asks me if I would like to quantity of fuel. look at the draining engine. On our way The quantity of fuel consumed on an he explains that, on account of the lowness estate is very great. For every ton of of the land, drainage is only possible at sugar which leaves the colony about a ton low water, a sluice door, called a koker, of coal is imported, and the amount of being opened when the sea is low to allow trees felled for fuel is also very great. the drainage to escape, and closed at high We leave the drainage engine and drive water to prevent the sea water from enter between the cane-fields. These on the ing the estate. As the sea is so shallow, east coast near the sea, or in front, are not channels have to be kept open to let the very productive. In former days manure
was but little used, and I was astonished In many parts of the colony, and more to hear that some land has gone on giving particularly on the east coast, the tides crops of canes year after
and nothing silt up these channels with drifty mud, at all returned to the soil. Mr. Bustle especially in dry weather, when there is says that no investment of capital pays no water' to force them open. The crops better than manure : “Lime and manure, used to suffer much from bad drainage at my dear sir, never fear for them.” It is the beginning of the wet season, and a true that in very dry seasoos manure does great deal of labor and money was ex positive harm, but just take ten years' pended in forcing drainage, that is in crop on an estate which manures heavily, cleaning the channel of the mud, which and compare it with one that does not. work, moreover, could only be done at low Artificial manures are used. Labor is so tide.
dear that it does not pay to apply manure The consequence is that many estates except in a highly concentrated form. pump every drop of their drainage from A ton of sugar requires roughly about the cultivation into the front lands which I fifteen tons of cane. I know an estate
which averages three tons of sugar per tate's hospital is an adjunct of immigraacre, forty-five tons of cane from every tion necessary by law. Every estate that acre, and there is no rotation of crop, applies for inmigrants to be allotted to it, always cane.
must have a hospital certified by the head We now come to the " negro yard,” a doctor of the Immigration Department to term which has come down from slavery hold at least five per cent. of its indentimes. This is the collection of cottages tured population. They are generally where the laborers, mostly coolies, live. large buildings on high brick pillars, built The greater part of the men have gone to north-west and north-east so as to be at their work, and many doors are shut and right angles to the prevailing north east locked, but many graceful coolie women wind, and situated to windward of all other are walking about and talking incessantly buildings. They are mostly built on one in very loud voices. They are prettily plan, introduced by Dr. Shier, and their dressed in brightly colored jackets, white-arrangements are very similar. braided skirts, and each has a long ker. Under the hospital among the long pil. chief falling like a veil from the head ; lars are a few rooms; one is the deadthis last is a wonderful piece of dress, of house, where bodies lie awaiting interfine texture brightly dyed, and with a ment and where also the doctor makes curious border of horses mounted by cir- post mortem examination of those who cus riders following each other in die suddenly and on whom an inquest is procession, or elephants and castles, bull necessary. Next is a bath-room, and a fights or portions of playing-cards, accord- short distance off are two rooms together ing to the changing fashion of the year or inhabited by the dispenser. There are two the taste of the wearer Beyond the huts staircases leading to the hospital, one in of these Hindu coolies, we come to the front for general use and one at the back cottages of the Chinese laborers, men who leading to the kitchen. seem to carry a bit of China with them We walk up the first and find ourselves wherever they go, so tenacious are they in a long gallery the wliole length of the of their own customs and ways. Further building, a projection at one end being paron still is the estate shop, kept by a Por titioned off as a dispensary; the gallery tuguese. Beyond this shop is the “Afri- goes round the end of the building and can range” of huts. Their owners are communicates with the kitchen.
The laborers born in Africa, not creoles of wards open to the front gallery, and there African descent. They are commonly is also a back gallery. There are three called Congos or Kroomans. They are wards, one at one end for female paphysically a fine race, much disfigured tients and the other for male; the middle with tatoos. They are just like great chil. ward is generally empty, it is kept for dren in their disposition, with a great cases that are feared to be catching, and liking for drink. They are immensely is also used for white sailors, or any pastrong but very lazy, and their delight is tients that, from any reason, are wished to to lie full-length under the direct rays of be kept separate. a tropical sun all day, and dance to the The low beds are ranged in rows, and melodious music of monotonous songs and all the patients are clad in a sort of uniclapping of hands all night. They are form which gives them somewhat the look splendid cane-cutters, and do all work of prisoners. The attending these hoswell that requires much strength and little pitals must be very monotonous work. intelligence. To show how false is the Most of the patients suffer from the same idea that the black race is incapable of thing, malarial intermittent fever, which improvement, one has only to compare though very lowering and annoying is the African cane-cutter with the creole rarely fatal. The health of an estate is pan-boiler or engineer foreman, and this chiefly dependent on its geographical change is effected in very few genera- position; where the wind passes from the tions.
sea over well-drained land to the dwellThere are then several semi-detached ings the estate is healthy, particularly if cottages inhabited by the head men, the the sea is washing away the shore. Where carpenters, the blacksmiths, the coopers, the sea is depositing mud it is not so etc., mostly creoles or Barbadians, but healthy, the mud, rich in vegetable matthis class has been so often and so well ter, giving off unhealthy exhalations at low described that I shall pass them by and tide. say nothing about them.
The most unhealthy estates are those We next come to the estate's hospital up the rivers, far from the sea, where the and will take a peep inside it. The es. I trade wind has to pass over large tracts of
undrained swamp, bringing agues, mala- | "after our drive," but he evidently does rial fevers, and liver complaints with it. not expect us to say yes. In this hot Near the sea there is very little land country one is always offered a drink as breeze as a rule; a season with much soon as the first salutations are over. land breeze is always unhealthy, as it our declining any refreshment, the manpasses over the undrained savannahs at ager says " that the morning is slipping the back of the cultivated fringe. away and that we had better be starting.
Leaving the hospital we drive through We will ride aback," says he, "in the the gates of the manager's house, which morning while it is cool, and after breakis surrounded with a very pretty garden, fast we can do the buildings. The part of which is laid out as a lawn for buildings mean the factory. He touches tennis, surrounded with flower-beds. The the button of an electric bell, and as house itself is a large airy building. the bell sounds, a shriek of “Yes sir,” is
Built, as are all dwellings for Europeans, heard. Mr. Macgregor smiles and says, on high brick pillars, under the house are “I only had these bells put up last year, rooms inhabited by servants. At the and the boy answers the bell as he used back is a stable with six stalls, above to answer my shout.” The boy comes in which are four good rooms. There is - all servants are boys here, except the also a cow-house, a fowl-house, and a large cook and the maître d'hôtel, who is called pigeon-house in the yard at the back. the butler – he is a smart coolie young. The house itself is two stories high, the ster of about fourteen, clad in brown drili, lower one being one large room screened his jacket like the uniform of a policeman, off into drawing and dining room, and the buttoned up to his throat. “ Tell Ramgallery, part of which is shut off as a bed- deen to bring round the mules," says his room, and part of the back gallery is the master, “and bring spurs.” The man.. office of the manager, full of papers and ager, who is dressed in blue serge trousers bottles full of samples of sugar in various and white drill jacket, has his heels alstages of discoloration, from the bright ready provided. The boy not only brings primrose hue of yesterday's sample to the the spurs but puts them on, and gives us faded dirty white of that of the year before each a light stick made of a tough sort of last. There are also generally a few sam- climbing plant called a "supple Jack." ple papers open with sugar spread to view, We mount our mules and set off. On and ants are there in thousands sucking each side of the middle-walk dam dowo the color off, at which ants are very clev- which we rode were canes — nothing else er: they will bleach the darkest sugar in some ready for the cutters, long and a very short time.
lying down, some just starting, some beOn the second floor are three large, ing cut. Between us and the canes on airy bed-rooms and a bath-room with a each side was a trench or canal, about shower bath, the water of which is pumped twenty feet wide, full of black water, up dirty. We mount up the front stairs which shone in the sun like a looking. and are received at the top by Mr. Mac- glass. At distances of about one hungregor, the manager, a tall, strong man dred and twenty yards were cross canals, with deep-red face and light-blue eyes, trenches about twelve feet wide which the whites of which are very bloodshot separate the fields. The fields are difrom exposure to the strong glare. He vided into beds about twelve yards wide; shakes hands with Mr. Bustle, who the beds are separated by small drains, at once introduces me; he immediately little trenches, which run parallel with the shakes hands with me and says he is glad cross canals and carry the drainage to the to see me, and then we walk 'into the gal- side-line trench, which is connected to the lery. This is all windows and jalousie reservoir trench at the drainage engine. blinds, which admit the wind while ex. Thus there are two distinct systems of cluding the glare. Lounging-chairs of canals on each estate, one called the navevery description suggest luxurious“ cool. igation system, which is kept full for outs.” The windiest corner is taken up floating the punts, which transport everywith a chair with arms so long that the thing, canes from the field to the factory, feet can rest on them ; close handy is a manure from the factory to the field, coals smoking-table and a round table covered from the railway to the factory, and prodwith newspapers; this is obviously the uce from the factory to the railway. 'The manager's favorite nook. Two dogs lie supply of water to this system is one of on the floor and only acknowledge our the troubles of an estate. The other sys. arrival by a lazy wink. Mr. Macgregor tem is that of drainage, and the getting immediately offers us something to drink ! rid of the water from this system is an