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sending them hither and thither; all these
are intelligible. The rat-shower in Norway
was an extraordinary one; thousands
of rats were taking their annual excursion
from a hilly region to the lowlands, when
a whirlwind overtook them, whisked them
up, and deposited them in a field at some
distance: doubtless much to the astonishment
of such of the rats as came down

The so-called showers of blood have had
their day of terror and marvel, and have
disappeared. Not that any one ever saw
such a shower actually fall; but red spots
have occasionally been seen on walls and
stones, much to the popular dismay.
Swammerdam, the naturalist, told the people of
the Hague, two centuries ago, that these
red spots were connected with some
phenomena of insect life; but they would not
believe him, and insisted that the spots
were real blood, and were portents of evil
times to come. Other naturalists have since
confirmed the scientific opinion.


IT would be difficult to imagine a greater
contrast than there is between the winter
and the summer months in South
Australia. Picture to yourself the most
beautiful May day at homeand you have the
former; picture to yourself clouds of dust,
a glaring sun, the thermometer at one
hundred and fifteen in the shadeand you
have the latter.

The life the working man leads in the
Bush is quite as peculiar as the climate.
He comes, generally walking, carrying his
bedding and all his other worldly possessions
on his back, looking for a job. When
he obtains one he stops; when it is done,
he gets a cheque for his work, which he
spends generally at the nearest public-house.
As soon as he is penniless (which
is very soon), he starts again from station
to station, as before. Who can imagine
anything much more miserable than a man
without a friend or relation in the world (as
thousands of these men are), thus wandering
about, destitute of ambition, destitute
of spirit, destitute of everything that man
should be possessed of? These wretched
fellows have but one desire, one hope, one
aim in this world, and that is to "make
a cheque," so as to be able to go and have
a beastly carouse, in which they appear
more like fiends than men. They will
take forty or fifty pounds to a Bush
public-house, and in less than a week
will leave it absolutely penniless, and
will become dependent upon the scattered
stations for food. Of course you meet
with good and respectable men among
these wanderers, but, as a whole, the
working hands of the Bush are infamous
and degraded.

I saw a startling sight once in the Bush.
I was riding through a thick scrub, where
there was no road or track of any kind,
when suddenly I came upon a man, the like
of whom I had never seen before, and hope
never to see again. This happened in the
middle of summer, and there was no water
within twenty miles. The man was about
forty years of ago, of middle height, with
a long ragged beard and whiskers. As
I came upon him, he was walking
barefoot: with his eyes, which protruded from
his head, staring fixedly before him, as if
he saw something which irresistibly attracted
him. He had not even a "billy" to
carry water in, neither had he a bag or
bundle of any kind; but in his hand he
carried a lump of uncooked fat. His shirt
and trousers hung in shreds about him, and
his head was bare. There was something
most terrible in that stare of his, so ghastly
and hopeless was it in its intensity. He
seemed totally unconscious of my presence,
and, even after I called out to him, paid
no attention whatever to me. For some
seconds after he had gone by, I sat in
my saddle, hardly knowing what to do.
At last I determined to follow him, and
cantering up, brought my whip down
sharply on his shoulder. He turned and
confronted me, but for some time seemed
not in the least to suspect that I was a

I asked him who he was, and where he
was going? But to all my questions, I
could only get an indistinct muttering for
an answer, while his arms worked
incessantly backward and forward in the air,
and his body shook from head to foot.
At length, he made a sort of mute appeal
for water, which I gave him; then, he
started away as before, walking at a
tremendous pace, with his eyes always fixed
on one spot in advance of him. I learned
afterwards that he wandered about for some
months in the most impenetrable parts of
the Bush, destitute of everything, and that
his sole food was uncooked fat, which he
picked up outside shepherds' huts. He was
quite insane, and, after wandering about in
this way for a long time, perished in the
Bush. It is not wonderful that he died