Corner, Arthur. "A journey in Formosa." The Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal 7, ii (1876): 117-128.
A Journey in Formosa.
By Arthur Corner.
[P. 117] While compiling some notes on a journey through Formosa, to communicate to the Geographical Society, I have been asked by friends at Tai-wan foo, to contribute a few remarks on the route, which may perhaps prove of some interest; and I do so with the more pleasure, in acknowledgment of the assistance received from the Rev. W. Campbell of that place, without whose kind aid, many difficulties of travel would have occurred.
[P. 118] I started on the 15th inst. from Tai-wan foo with two burden-bearers, and a sedan chair with two bearers. The latter were engaged to take me four days journey towards the interior; the former, as guides the whole of the journey. I had intended to take my servant with me, to act as interpreter and otherwise be useful; but that young gentleman, at the last moment becoming sensible of the inconveniences he might encounter, pretended to be suddenly ill, and disappeared when I was on the point of starting; so that, all through, I had to trust to my own very limited knowledge of the local dialect, which might have been algebraically expressed by the letter x, -- an unknown quantity.
The dew was sparkling on the guava bushes and the wild doves cooing all round, as Mr. Campbell set me on my journey a few miles from the city. He repeated useful instructions to the guides, in Chinese, for my benefit, and with a hearty farewell, left me to continue the march with my native friends.
The day was fine, and I reached the first resting place for the night at 4. 50, having walked since 9 a.m. The village at which we halted is called Hoan-a-chhan, and there is a mission chapel there, at which I put up. During the day's journey, I found the country flat, the road being lined on either side with screw-pines, guava bushes, wild raspberry, and mimosa, -- the flowers of the latter scenting the air delightfully. At 2 p.m. we crossed a broad shallow river on a raft made of bamboos. This, I presume, is the same stream I crossed last year on the road to Hoan-sia, a station south of my present route. Its name is Tsan-bun khe. I noticed many birds on the way. A large black and white hawk, and a brown variety; also, a large black bird with a forked tail and the king-fisher, were very common. Near Hoan-a-chhan, the country becomes indented with deep dells, which are cultivated; the water for irrigation being retained at both levels. To provide for the overflow in sudden floods, very wide and carefully-embanked channels have been formed, the sides of which are either paved with large round stones cemented together with hard lime, or protected by bamboo mats or hurdles fastened with pegs to the ground. The necessity for all this appears, when, in the rainy season, a large body of water is poured on the plain, bringing serious destruction to property in places where such precautions have not been taken.
Hoan-a-chhan is a straggling sort of place, but the chapel is an attractive little building. It is neatly thatched and whitewashed, and has two rooms for the use of the bok-su or "pastor," when he visits the station. There was a good congregation present on the evening of my [p. 119] visit, the members of the church assembling after the labours of the day; having stabled and fed their buffalos and oxen, which I had just seen driven in from the plough, harrow or cart. Evening worship was conducted by the young native teacher with great propriety. The service commenced with a hymn read from a printed book in Roman characters, expressed metrically in Chinese. A portion of the Scriptures was then read in verses by various members of the congregation. The teacher followed with a short exposition, and brief, earnest prayer concluded the service. In all the chapels I visited, this appeared to be the general order of the exercises, and it was very gratifying to observe the simple earnestness of the people when thus assembled. I may mention, that the women occupy forms on different sides of the chapel from the male portion of the congregation. The preacher speaks from a slightly-raised platform, the other office-bearers occupying seats on either side of the reading desk.
I walked about several of the neighbouring homesteads, watching the carts come in with wood or sugar-cane, drawn by a big buffalo led by a little ox generally yoked before it. The carts are very primitive vehicles, consisting of a rude frame and large wooden wheels. The axle is a fixture into the wheels and turns with them; and, as neither are quite round and entirely destitute of anything in the way of grease, the squeaking sound of these wagons when in motion is both continuous and unpleasant. The noise can be heard a long way off, and one good purpose it serves, is that of giving notice of the approach of the cart in narrow country lanes, where sedan-chairs or other carts would find it impossible to pass abreast. Seeing the Chinese have some ear for music, as is proved by the ready way they learn our hymn tunes, it is surprising they can bear the excruciating noise of those carts.
At the side of the chapel, two young women were turning a rice-mill, in a way that could not but remind one of the Scripture prediction, "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." Here, the upper mill-stone is turned on the lower by means of a long bent wooden shaft with a cross handle, suspended to the branch of a tree, the bent end connected with a stud on the side of the upper stone, which it turned easily. In walking about, I also observed a very bright fire burning at a house not far off, which I found to be the furnace of a still used in making chiu or native "spirit" distilled from fermented rice, shewing that the community, while observing a simple life of rustic labour, not untempered with religion, do not neglect their comforts, if the very nasty production which they manufacture may be called by that name.
The next morning I was up by daylight and started at 7 o'clock, walking the greater part of the day through fields of sweet potatoes, [p. 120] which the people were busily engaged in gathering. I noticed some fine birds, -- a thrush which sang, larks, and small birds like wrens. I believe they have the tailor-bird here, but I did not see a specimen, although I have on the main-land. We passed through fields of ground-nuts, in some of which I saw fennel growing wild. About mid-day we halted at E-ka-tang, and after crossing two wide streams, reached the district city of Ka-gi at 4.30 p.m. This is rather a large place, surrounded by a well-built wall, from which there is a fine view of the country and surrounding hills. I lodged again at the chapel, which is built against the wall of a Buddhist temple, although the church has no leaning to Buddhism.
On the 17th, I started at 8 a.m. and reached the large market-town of Twa-paw-na at 11. 30, near which are some fine sheets of water, and where there appeared to be an abundance of teal. About 4. 30 I reached Tau-lak, and went immediately to a Chinese inn, which proved to be a most filthy place. Men were lying about smoking opium on wretched beds of straw; the family pig roamed in fancy free under the beds, and the heavy suffocating atmosphere of my sleeping apartment was well-nigh overpowering. However there was nothing else for it; the miserable wattle-and-dab barn was not built to please me, and better men have often had to put up with worse fare. Frequently during the night I looked over my vocabulary for the word "visitor," of which this establishment was horribly suggestive, but bat-sat, "a bug" entirely escaped me; and it was not till, -- when in the woods, I enquired if there were any bats there, -- the guides informed me, by unmistakable pantomime, that they might be had in the inn at Tau-lak.
I was only too glad next morning to be again on the road, which we managed to be at 7.30, and after two hours walking, we reached Kiu-kiong-na, a small village with a stream running through it. We were now approaching the outer range of hills, and the country began to shew a more undulating formation. We then entered a broad uncultivated plain, between two high cliffs of river debris and round stones; and in the bed of a stream we passed, my guides picked up some samples of surface coal. A high range of hills lay to the east, from which flowed a considerable stream called Au-khe tsui. About this place also we saw several sugar-mills, near one of which I observed a curious monument of Chinese superstition; -- three halves of broken mill-stones were placed so as to form a rude altar or shrine, under which were placed the skull and bones of some person, half buried in ferns. There seemed to be no doubt that the neighboring people had arranged the whole to serve as an object of worship.
I reached the somewhat populous market-town of Lim-ki-paw at noon, where the chair was left behind; and I started with only my two [p. 121] burden-bearers up the river, which here ran very swiftly over rapids under high sandstone cliffs. We crossed the river in a ferry-boat, and walking on, arrived at the village of Chip-chip about 5 p.m. It is situated in a valley to the north, off the main branch of the river, and watered by a stream which joins this a little lower down. The inn here bore a strong resemblance to the one at Tau-lak. I had a pleasant bath in the stream at some stepping-stones outside of the village. The sunset was very grand. Next day the 19th, we were away by 8 o'clock and followed the course of the stream, which wound through the plain close to the base of high sandstone cliffs. I may mention that the geological formations here are all sandstone and slate; that the structure of the distant range of hills is the same, the boulders and water-worn stone brought down by the river being all forms of a similar kind, more or less hard and compact. From the cliff on the north bank there flows out a stream of the clearest cool water, contrasting all the more with the main stream, which was stained with the black sand arising from small particles of disentegrated slate held in suspension by the water. We crossed this stream twice during the afternoon; and, stopping for slight refreshment at a road-side stall, commenced almost immediately after to ascend the moderately high range of hills before us. Here, we were joined by a band of Sek-hoan armed with matchlocks and knives, who proposed to accompany us through the woods. This branch of the civilized aborigines understand Chinese, but for the most part, speak a language closely allied to that in use among the savages on the eastern coast. At several of our halting-places, a great amount of curiosity was shown by the people in the few arms I carried. A revolver and hunting knife (the latter, a Californian souvenir) seemed especially to excite their cupidity. They apparently entertain considerable dread of the neighbouring savages or Chay-hoan, as they are called. Although they possess fine lands, they appear to be a very poor and spiritless race, and to be fast fading away before the superior energy and craftiness of the Chinese, who are pressing upon them at every point, and (perhaps fortunately) certain before long to absorb all the others.
As we were preparing to start from one of these road-side stalls, a big fellow arrived from the woods, carrying a pig on a triangular frame over his shoulder, balanced by his net of provisions and a bow and arrows. The aboriginal method of transporting these animals is much more humane than the Chinese, who sling them on a bamboo pole by the fore and hind legs which are tied together most painfully for the pig.
The ascent we now commenced was very severe, at first passing over cleared ground, but soon after into dense forest, where the roots of huge trees crossed the path in every direction, their branches also [p. 122] being laden with mosses and creepers of every size and shape. I saw the beautiful tree-fern in all its graceful magnificence, with several kinds of the most beautiful climbing ferns in luxurious abundance, immense camphor trees, banyans, palms, rattans and wild bananas. I noticed also several orchids, and among the ferns, the "iygodium scandeus," and another variety the "asplenium Indus," with a remarkable climbing fern having broad fronds, which completely covered some large trees at about sixty feet from the ground.
It was about this spot while walking in advance of my party, that I encountered a company of (Tsui-hoan?) or "water savages," who were on their way from the banks of a beautiful lake, where their settlement has been formed. There were some eight or ten, led by a handsome young fellow with long black hair parted in front, and a dress of which I shall say nothing, further than that it was more scanty than graceful. Umbrella in hand, I charged down upon this savage phalanx, and was received by the chief with a shake of the hand, but as neither of us spoke the same language, our interview was necessarily a limited one.
We emerged from the forest after some hours walking and climbing, into a plain entirely surrounded by wooded hills, where I saw tea plantations and wild violets growing on all the banks. After plunging again into the forest, we came to the banks of the lake on its western side, about a mile from the southern extremity where the village of Thau-sia is situated. The lake is 2360 feet above the sea-level, and has its exit on the west side by a stream, a branch of which flows among the hills, and another branch along the route we followed next day on our way to Po-sia.
The banks of this lake, -- the Dragon-flourishing Pool, as it is called by the Chinese, -- are beautiful in the extreme, the rich foliage growing all round to the water's edge, with wooded hills on the eastern side, rising range upon range up into the clouds. Those cleared off in the evening, and revealed the mountains wooded to the very summit, and the entire outline mirrored with remarkable distinctness on the unbroken surface of the water. I walked close to several points commanding a wide view, and was much charmed with the beauty and stillness of the scene, the latter broken only by the splash of the teal, the cry of some bird or monkey from the adjacent woods, or the shrill voice of the cow-herd driving home his buffalos to the village below.
Thau-sia is inhabited chiefly by Tsui-hoan, a tribe of savages of mild and harmless disposition, who live in houses of wood and mats thatched with grass. They seem exceedingly prolific, to judge from the number of children running about. They kept crowding about and shouting out bok-su li lai (pastor, you have come) giving me [p. 123] brevet rank with Mr. Campbell, who I understand was the first foreigner to visit this part of the country, towards the end of 1873.
On a little islet about the middle of the lake there is a very comfortable Chinese farm, at which I put up during the time of my short stay. The family there seemed to be rather well off, and wished to purchase several of my belongings, such as my chronometer and pistol, for which, in their innocence, they offered me eight dollars. One young lady fancied my signet-ring, which she appraised at one dollar, and appeared to be very much disappointed when I declined to trade.
It would be easy to measure the lake from a point I prospected, where a base line could be measured from two stations, to form angles to existing points at each end of the water. If I had possessed a sextant and the weather had been clear, the sun might have been seen over the hills for morning sights, and, by looking along the water very low a natural horizon could be obtained for longitude, and meridian altitude could be similarly taken; but with an artificial horizon, the angle of the double meridian altitude would be too great for any sextant to measure. As I take it, the lake is about three miles long from north to south, and the average breadth may be given as fully a mile. On the occasion of my next visit, I hope to bring proper instruments for measurement, and determining the exact position of the lake; -- items which cannot fail to be useful in helping to fill in our present rather unsatisfactory maps of Formosa.
Starting from Tsui-sia at 8 A.M. on the morning of the 20th, we entered the forest again, which proved to be even more wild and beautiful than that through which we had already passed. We had not gone far when we were joined by a party of Sek-hoan, armed with guns and long knives, and followed by a pack of hunting-dogs, whose continual barking and yelling made the woods ring for miles around us.
It was here also I met again the dreaded Bu-hoan, a large tribe of savages who occupy the mountain ranges to the east of Po-sia. The chief who led the party was a finely-made man; rather shy at first, but very friendly when we parted. With the hope of being able to visit Mount Morrison on a subsequent occasion, I tried to make some arrangement with him to act as guide, although, I fear, with little good result.
While walking along, I often halted and received two or three falls in the attempt to reach any attractive-looking plant, a circumstance which seemed all-potent for keeping up the spirit of merriment and good-will among our party. The falls were trifling, and we felt all the better after a hearty laugh.
We came out of the forest after passing a small hamlet, having only some four or five houses and a pottery strangely constructed on [p. 124] the side of a hill. A long tunnel about four feet high was built of brick up the side of the sloping ground, open at either end, and used for firing clay-made pots, the broken pieces of many of these being lying about. They were the large red earthen jars used by the Chinese for holding water and native "spirits." The fires were evidently lighted at the lower end of the tunnel, which was built against the side of the hill to secure a good draught of air.
We reached Po-sia early in the day and received quite an ovation from the Christian portion of the people, who had just concluded forenoon worship, and came streaming out from the chapel in the nearest village, to shake hands and offer the Formosa Christians' invariable salutation of Peng-an, Peng-an, the meaning of which is ,"Peace be with you!"
Po-sia is a very large, well-watered and beautiful plain, inhabited almost exclusively by the Sek-hoan branch of the Chinese-speaking aborigines, among whom the missionaries appear to have met with more than ordinary success in their work. At the first village we came to, the native Christians have erected a spacious chapel with galleries. Au-gu-lau is the name of this village, and among its inhabitants I am informed, there are few if any cases, where the superstitions of idolatry have not been exchanged for the precious privileges of our holy religion. I was present at the afternoon service here on the day of my arrival, and saw a large, orderly congregation, with a good sprinkling of bright intelligent-looking children. Next day, I crossed the plain to Toa-lam, also a Christian village, and furnished with even a larger and better-finished chapel than the one I have now referred to. There is an interesting school at this place, and Beng-ho the teacher, with his assistant A-sin, might honestly say that their work is fairly prospering. We then visited Gu-khun-soa, the third of the Po-sia villages, where the people are being taught in the right way. Here I was met by a tall woman, who came forward and treated me with much thoughtful kindness during the time of my very short stay. She proved to be the wife of the resident native teacher, Thien-tsai. I ought to say, however, that at all the chapels, nothing could exceed the hospitality of these poor simple-minded people. We were always pressed to prolong our visit, and the whole village seemed to be put under contribution for fowls and eggs, and it was difficult to know how to deal with their determination to receive nothing in return. Of course, if one were staying among them for a few months, other arrangements for remuneration could be made, but meanwhile they would not hear of it from a passing traveller like myself. The following morning, being Tuesday, we were up by daybreak, and commenced the preparations for our journey out from Po-sia, by having a most refreshing [p. 125] bath in the neighbouring stream. Nearly the whole village turned out, and convoyed us to the entrance of the forest through which our path lay. Before coming to this, we crossed a clear running stream, where I wished to reach the other side on the back of one of the water buffalos we had passed; but this was found to be impracticable, and one of my men had to render help. I did not much approve of this arrangement; and all the more after observing one little old woman of the party who waded through the streams sometimes up to the waist in water; and apparently treating the whole affair quite as a matter of course. The woods we soon entered were as thick as ever, and teeming with vegetable and insect life in all directions. I killed a beautiful bright green snake, which at first appeared to be a kind of cobra capella I had not seen before. When examined, however, what was taken for the flattened neck of the cobra, turned out to be the head of the snake, which was uncommonly large and depressed, and entirely destitute of poison fangs.
We arrived at Chow-e-tun at 6. 30, after the most severe day's walking we had hitherto done. There is a good large village there, and the entrance to the plain is bounded by high sandstone cliffs, the stratification of which is very distinctly marked. Further east, the lofty hills have a very jagged outline, owing to the dip of the strata, which is bold and serviceable as a convenient landmark. My men took me to a Chinese inn in Chow-e-tun, which looked so unpromising that I went out to search for better quarters. We were all supposed to sleep up in a hen ladder in a kind of cock-loft with one end quite open to the weather. A group of people were smoking opium below, and the inevitable pig sent up a most unpleasant odour. After wandering about a little, I met a respectable-looking old man who asked me to put up at his house, which turned out to be a medicine shop. Our friend invited me to a similar loft over his shop, where some men were indulging in opium-smoking, and courteously asked me to join them. Bad as the accommodation was, I was glad to get some supper and resign myself to the solace of a delicious cigar; and soon after, to a refreshing, if somewhat insufficient, sleep. I was not sorry to make an early start next morning. We proceeded in a northerly course, and halted at noon for a short time in the village of Ta-beh-keh. The people were planting paddy over all the extensive plain we traversed, and our journey was pleasantly lightened while passing through the numerous hamlets and villages along the route. Away to the north-east and towering among the mountains of the western middle range, we could see the majestic cone of Mount Sylvia. It was about 5 o'clock, after another day's hard walking, that we reached the village of Toa-sia, where there is a large chapel and school-room, with several rooms [p. 126] for the use of the native preacher and others. I passed the night there and met with much kindness from the people. The surrounding country is highly cultivated, and watered by a deep fast-flowing stream, which has been greatly utilized in flooding the fields along its course. I observed also several rude water-mills for stamping rice, and had just sufficient light to make a sketch of one outside the west gate of the village.
On the afternoon of the 24th I started for Lai-sia, a retired Christian village about twelve miles to the north of Toa-sia, and pleasantly situated in a wide mountain ravine, through the middle of which flows a narrow stream. Our way lay across a wide plain coverd over with boulders. Through this plain, from east to west, flow the Tai-kah and the Tai-an streams, both of them considerably increasing the difficulty of access to Lai-sia. I may remark that here too we passed several tea plantations and one large field of poppies, blue, white, red, and purple, -- the latter production especially appearing to be in a thriving condition. Approaching Lai-sia, the high red sandstone cliffs on the east attract attention. On one side these have been washed down, -- leaving the sides still indented, -- by the heavy summer rains. On the sheltered part of the summit, I observed what appeared to be some kind of pine tree growing in abundance. The village itself is beautifully situated about the middle of a narrow plain, and within a few yards of the stream just mentioned. It is quite secluded; in fact, entirely shut in from view by the surrounding hills. It contains a neat little chapel, and I understand that all the people are professing, and not a few of them truly, Christian people. I was also told that the place had become too small for their subsistence, that they were being greatly annoyed by the savages in the neighbouring mountains, and that they were thinking of removing altogether to find a home in Po-sia. It may be added, that one of my burden-bearers was the elder and the other a deacon of the church in Lai-sia. Ket-pau, the latter, was a cheerful willing fellow, and I found him exceedingly useful and attentive. A-ta-oai was a desponding kind of man but a good walker. They both had families in Lai-sia; and, for their sakes I was sorry I could remain so short a time there before proceeding northward. I had caught a cold somehow, to which was added a slight touch of fever, and was anxious to get on. So on the 25th about 9 a.m. the people bade me a hearty farewell, and we set out from Lai-sia for Tam-sui, one of the northern consular ports of the island, from which I hoped to find a steamer to carry me back to the main-land. Our way lay over the high cliffs to the left, and continued due north along a magnificent table-land, whose tea-growing capabilities would well repay a large expenditure. At some parts we went over undulating hills cleared of forest, with many burnt stumps of camphor trees lying about, [p. 127] and around which the newly-springing bracken was replacing the burnt herbage of the forest. There was a pleasant breeze in our faces over the downs, and we made good progress, passing though a fine valley which brought us to the large village or town of Ba-li-keh. There I purchased a leopard-skin, exposed for sale in one of the shops. I may say, that this town is inhabited almost exclusively by Hak-kas, a race of Chinamen from, I suppose, some part of the Canton province. Their women do not bind the feet, and they all seem to be a most sharp and energetic people. It was nearly dark, when, -- tired and with blistered feet, -- we halted for the night at the chapel in Sin-kang.
Here, it should be remarked, I had already passed over the northern limit of that wide region, in which the work is carried on by missionaries from the Presbyterian Church in England. Lai-sia is the remotest of their stations to the north, while Sin-kang is the southernmost of a large group connected with the only other Protestant mission in the island; that, namely from the Canadian Presbyterian Church. I understand that Dr. Maxwell was the pioneer missionary to Formosa. He -- strengthened by the temporary assistance of the Rev. Carstairs Douglas of Amoy, -- commenced the work during the summer of 1865; while, at the beginning of 1872, the Rev. G.L. Mackay opened the mission in north Formosa.
To return, however, I found the chapel at Sin-kang to be a very comfortable one, and the young native preacher to be full both of courtesy and kindness. To my surprise, he sent up some capital fresh fish for dinner, and it turned out that we were much nearer to the sea than I supposed. In walking about I noticed rather a good diagram of the solar system on the chapel wall, together with maps of the world and large sol-fa diagrams for teaching hymn tunes; so that variety would seem to be an element in the teaching supplied to this people.
The weather had now become rather thick, and I had not observed our close approach to the coast. It was after a walk of a few miles from Sin-kang, mostly over some loose sand hills, and in the face of a driving rain which wet us all through, we arrived at a part of the coast where a small river enters the sea. There was also a bar with a small fleet of junks anchored inside. After waiting at a cook-shop till the rain stopped, we were ferried across and came to a place of some importance, where I obtained a chair to the walled city of Tek-chham, being wet through and very foot-sore. We arrived at the city about 6 o'clock and went to an inn, superior to any I had yet seen. It had rained all the afternoon, and the clouds still looked very black and threatening; so, as we were now on the mandarin road, I determined to hire the chair on to Tam-sui.
Next morning, it rained incessantly, and I could neither see the [p. 128] country nor stir out of my chair. During the forenoon we crossed a river in a ferry-boat fastened to a rattan rope which must have been 60 yards long without a splice. From this, the road lay over low ranges of downs, having the valleys cultivated with turnips, potatoes and rice, till we reached the large market-town of Tiong-lek at 4 p.m.
On the 28th, the weather being fine, I walked the first stage; but, as the ground was very slippery, we made slow progress. About noon, I was surprised to see in the distance some foreign hongs with white verandahs; and on nearer approach, came upon the Tam-sui river with the foreign settlement of Toa-tiu-tia on the opposite bank, to which we crossed in a ferry-boat.
I had a letter of introduction from Mr. Campbell to the Rev. G. Mackay, but proceeding to one of the hongs to make enquiries, received a friendly invitation from an Amoy acquaintance to put up with him till the steamer arrived; and meanwhile enquiries would be made for the whereabouts of the bok-su, whom we found -- that afternoon arrived -- in the chapel at Toa-tiu-tia, and very busy mounting diagrams for the instruction of his people; -- an earnest and well-informed good man, whose work is telling throughout the region. He came to breakfast with us next day, and we profited much by his conversation and just views of the people among whom I had travelled.
I considered my journey now at an end, and have little to add to these hastily written notes. A great deal might be said about quite a host of subjects; such as tea and sugar growing, -- the steady increase in the importation of opium to Formosa, -- the working of coal on European principles, which will soon be commenced in the north, -- the strong and somewhat successful efforts now being made by the Chinese authorities to open up the eastern side of the island, -- and the very hopeful state of the two missions, whose network of stations are found over so wide an area. On the last mentioned of these I would only remark, that the entire field of missionary labour there contrasted most favourably with others I had seen in South Africa. The evident intelligence and earnestness of the people, their devotion, as seen by the erection of spacious chapels and attendance at service, and the close friendship existing among the converts; -- all this too, in the midst of much proverty and occasional persecution, is very interesting and remarkable, and surely augurs well for the future of this work. To others however, I leave the satisfactory treatment of this and all the remaining subjects. The merest glimpse was given me of the country and people during my short journey, and my few notes will serve their purpose, should some more competent observer be induced to take his spring or autumn ramble through the magnificent scenery and among the kind friends of the "Beautiful Island."