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WESTERN PROVINCE, THE PAARI, CERES, AND WORCESTER. My last little subsidiary tours in South Africa were made from Capetown to the country immediately across the Hottentot mountains after my return from Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves. It had then become nearly midsummer and I made up my mind that it would be very hot. I prepared myself to keep watch and ward against musquitoes and comforted myself by thinking how cool it would be on my return journey, in the Bay of Biscay for instance on the first of January. I had heard, or perhaps had fancied, that the South African musquito would be very venomous and also ubiquitous. I may as well say here as elsewhere that I found him to be but a poor creature as compared with other musquitoes,--the musquito of the United States for instance. The South African December, which had now come, tallies with June on the other side of the line ;-and in June the musquito of Washington is as a roaring lion.
On this expedition I stopped first at The Paarl, which is not across the Hottentot mountains but in the district south of the mountains to which the Dutch were at first inclined to confine themselves when they regarded the apparently
impervious hills at their back as the natural and sufficient barrier of their South African dominions.
There is now a railway out of Capetown which winds its way through these mountains, or rather circumvents them by a devious course. It branches from the Wynberg line a mile or two out of Capetown, and then pursues its way towards the interior of Africa with one or two assistant branches on the southern side of the hills. The Wynberg line is altogether surburban and pleasant. The first assistant branch goes to Malmesbury and is agricultural. Malmesbury is a corn producing country in the flats north of Capetown, and will, I hope, before long justify the railway which has been made. At present I am told that the branch hardly pays for the fuel it consumes. doubt will justify the railway as wheat can be grown in the district without irrigation, and it will therefore become peopled with prosperous farmers. Then there is a loop line. to Stellenbosch, an old and thriving little Dutch town which I did not visit. It is very old, having been founded in 1684. In 1685 the French Refugees came of whom a large proportion were settled at Stellenbosch. The main line which is intended to cross the entire Colony then makes its way on to The Paarl and Wellington,-from whence it takes its passage among the mountains. This is of course in the Western Province,-which I must persist in so designating though I know I shall encounter the wrath of many South African friends of the West. In the Eastern Province there are two lines which have been commenced from the coast with the same mission of making their way up into
the whole continent of Africa, one of them starting from Fort Elizabeth, intending to go on by Cradock, with a branch already nearly finished to Grahamstown, and the other from East London travelling north by King Williamstown and Queenstown. The rivalry between the three is great. It is so great even between the two latter as to have much impaired the homogeneity of the Eastern Province. At present the chief object of them all is to secure the trade to Kimberley and the Diamond Fields. That by which I was now travelling is already open to Worcester, across the mountain, for all traffic, and for goods traffic forty miles beyond Worcester, up the valley of the Hex River.
I stopped at The Paarl to see the vineyards and orange groves, and also the ostriches. These are the industries of The Paarl, which is in its way a remarkable and certainly a very interesting place. It was only during the last month of my sojourn in South Africa that I came to see how very much lovely scenery there is within reach of the residents of Capetown. As in all countries of large area, such as South Africa, the United States, the interior of Australia, and Russia generally, of which I speak only from hearsay, -the great body of the landskip, is uninteresting. Transvaal, the Orange Free State, Griqua Land West, and the Karoos of the Cape Colony are not beautiful. This the traveller hears, and gradually sees for himself. But if he will take the trouble he may also see for himself spots that are as entrancing as any among the more compressed charms of European scenery. The prettinesses of The Paarl, how
ever, come from the works of man almost as much as from
those of Nature.
It is a very long town,-if town it is to be called,—the main street running a length of eight miles. Through all this distance one spot is hardly more central than another, -though there is a market-place which the people of The Paarl probably regard as the heart of the town. It is nowhere contiguous, the houses standing, almost all, separately. It is under the paarl, or pearl rock,*-which strangers are invited to ascend, but are warned at the same time that the ascent in summer may be very hot. I thanked my friend for the caution and did not ascend the mountain. I was of course told that without ascending I could not see The Paarl aright. I did not therefore see it aright, and satisfy my conscience by instructing others how they may do so. The town from one end to the other is full of oak trees, planted as I was told by the Dutch. They did not look to be over seventy years of age, but I was assured that the growth though certain had been slow. It is perhaps the enormous number of oak trees at The Paarl which more than anything else makes the place so graceful. But many of the houses too are graceful, being roomy old Dutch buildings of the better class, built with gables here and there, with stables and outhouses around them, and with many oaks at every corner, all in full foliage at the time of my visit. At The Paarl there are no bad houses. The coloured people who pick the grapes and tread the wine vats and hoe the vines
*So called from a block of granite lying on the mountain over the town, to which has been given the name of The Pearl.
live in pretty cottages up the hill side. There is nothing squalid or even untidy at The Paarl. For eight miles you are driven through a boskey broad well-shaded street with houses on each side at easy intervals, at every one of which you are tempted to think that you would like to live.
What do the people do? That is of course the first question. It was evident from the great number of places of worship that they all went to church very often ;-and from the number of schools that they were highly educated. Taking the population generally, they are all Dutch, and are mostly farmers. But their farming is very unlike our farming, and still more unlike that of the Dutch Boers up the country, the main work of each individual farmer being confined to a very small space, though the tract of adjacent land belonging to him may extend to one or two or three thousand acres. The land on which they really live and whereby they make their money is used chiefly for the growth of grapes,-and after that for oranges and ostriches. The district is essentially wine making, though at the time of my visit the low price of wine had forced men to look to other productions to supplement their vines.
I was taken to the house of one gentleman,-a Dutchman of course, whose homestead in the middle of the town was bosomed amidst oaks. His vineyard was a miracle of neatness, and covered perhaps a dozen acres ;-but his ostriches were his pride. Wine was then no more than £3 the "ligger," the ligger, or leaguer, being a pipe containing 126 gallons. This certainly is very cheap for wine,-so cheap that I was driven to think that if I lived at The Paarl