Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

brought up in Farm Cove, where she will remain until she leaves for her destination. She will call at Brisbane, Townsville, and Cooktown, en route to New Guinea, probably staying a couple of days at each place."

From this description it will be seen that no expense was spared (as was fitting) in adapting our vessel to the requirements of the expedition. With a laudable purpose of lightening by innocent amusement the monotonous duties of the seamen, and enlivening the spirits of the company generally, the Commissioner, whilst in Brisbane, purchased a handsome stock of musical instruments—concertinas, flutes, banjos, bones, &c.—suitable for what, in the language of the music halls, is called a "variety entertainment." Those of the party who were musically inclined no doubt anticipated much pleasant recreation from this new acquisition; but it may, perhaps, be doubted whether, on the whole, the amateur performers themselves do not win larger delight from these performances than the average of their auditors. Another provident purchase was a set of oil-skin suits for the use of the crew; but when, on the second day after our leaving Brisbane, the cases containing the waterproof gear was opened, it was found that most of the suits were rotten and quite useless. They were of all colours, from lemon yellow to Vandyke brown, and looked very much as if they had been bought by the vendors as salvage stock from a great fire in the warehouse. No doubt the clever fellows thought that they had done a very smart stroke of business in thus disposing of a case of worthless and damaged goods at the price of sound and serviceable articles; but the Commissioner had the bad goods carefully repacked, and re-shipped from Towsville to the too clever vendors.

Whilst at Brisbane, our vessel was constantly beset by sightseeing citizens, and our party equally so with "interviewing" reporters. The visitors were treated with uniform courtesy, and they all appeared to be very much pleased with the arrangements. Here the party was joined by Mr. H. O. Forbes, the eminent naturalist. His instruments had been damaged at Batavia, through an accident that sunk the lighter conveying his luggage, and he had come on to Brisbane to get them