Following the Equator - Chapter XXX

Title

Following the Equator - Chapter XXX
 

Text and images from The Oxford Mark Twain and The Gutenberg Project.
Locations and dates for the most part are from Mark Twain Day By Day, a massive work by David Fears
(See notes marked MTDBD).

 

This chapter touches several interesting points. The Clemens group takes ship from Tasmania to New Zealand, landing in Bluff. Twain notes that Bluff is the same distance south of the equator as Quebec is north, about 47 degrees, yet he is perplexed at the great difference in climate between the two places. Twain then comments on the rabbit infestation of New Zealand. Rabbits were first introduced for commercial purposes but it soon became apparent that they were/are destructive to the native habitat. He notes the difference between England and New Zealand in how these respective countries feel about rabbits and those who hunt them. Twain bemoans the fact that he is unable to travel to New Zealand region of fjords, glaciers and waterfalls but does visit Invercargill and Dunedin. "The people are Scotch. They stopped here on their way from home to heaven—thinking they had arrived. " Sean Connery would remark that the people were Scots and that Scotch is a drink. The rabbit plague continues in New Zealand to this day. The "natural" prey of rabbits in New Zealand , Twain mentions, ("the stoat, the weasel, the ferret, the cat, and the mongoose.") are all introduced species and all causing problems today.

Twain goes on to discuss the cruelty of nature; caterpillars turning into wood, parasites in fishes eyes and starfish prongs and the Australian unperfected tapeworm. What he is impressed by, however, is the Australasian proclivity for Societies of Artists and their art collections available to the public.

 

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