Marlborough. GOLD-FIELDS. (From the Marlborough Press' own Correspondent.) Wednesday, May 25.
I have very little intelligence to supplement that which I sent for jour last issue. The numbers arriving on the ground are decreasing each day, but I do not think those returning are on the increase. We have had some remarkably fine weather, which has cheered up the hearts of the diggers, who are many of tflem» busy prospecting along the creeks. There is much talk and mystery anent the proceedings of two diggers, who it is reported have discovered some ground of extraordinary richness. It appears that until the last three days two men came almost every day to one of the tents for the purpose of purchasing provisions. The storekeeper who supplied them, had his attention drawn to the somewhat singular circumstance; that the men did not come along the usual track more than a few yards, and that upon returning they struck off in the direction of the high range, ■which lies on Wilson's side of the river. One morning the same men called at the store for some biscuits, tnd paid for them by selling an ounce of gold. They stated they were going to Havelock, aad the storekeeper observed one of the men with two shot belts, o: something very much resembling them, strapped round his body. The belts were evidently filled with something very heavy, and werj poncealed by a blue serge shirt, which was vrora.over all in the fashion of a jumper. It was in lifting it up, to get the ounce of gold, which was ready weighed and cleaned, the storekeeper observed the belts. On the following day both men returned to the store, bought a few things, and turned off the track, as on previous occasions, . making for the range. The storekeeper had mentioned the circumstance to a digger who he was acquainted with, who determined on ascertaining where the men were working Watching the men until they struck off the track, he followed them as closely as he could without being observed. The men were talking to each other, and he was guided for the distance of over a mile by the sound of their voices. Suddenly the sound ceased, when the follower pushed forward, but to his Titter amazement, nothing was to be seen of the two men. There •was not a broken branch, nor a footstep, a mark or indication of any kind to guide him.' Finding the search useless for the time, the man turned back, but having failed to observe the diiection he had been travelling in his eagerness to follow the men, he found himself lost in the maze of the forest, $nd was ssveral hours before he retraced his way back to his camping ground. Communicating the circumstances to two other mates, the three determined .that a strict watch should be kept when the two men again called for stores. This happened on the following day. Some purchases were made. The men walked away, and were stealthily followed by their watchers. The mysterious couple commenced talking rather loudly together, and the sounds of their voices again enabled their followers to keep near them without being seen. ' Suddenly, the vioces (as in the former instance) ceased, the men ran forward, but all traces of those they were following were lost. One of the party climbed a tree, to ascertain whether he could see the smoke of a fire, but not the slightest indication of a camping ground could be seen any where, and the party retraced their steps back, lost in astonishment at the manner in which the two men had escaped them. The story was related to others, and soon the most extraordinary reports got circulated about. Another watch was set, but since the appearance of the men at the store (three days, ago), nothing more of them has been seen. I presume that the scent will soon come out, and that it will be found that the men are working in some blind gully or creek, not improbably on a rich patch of ground. I have n& instances of great finds to record in my present communication. The whole of the mining news for the past week may be summed up in the following : — The greater number of the claims are under water, and the holders are patiently waiting for the river to fall sufficiently low to resume working. Many are hanging abont the field without claims, who have eicher not the means or the inJbMntgj&ti to sink on the flats and terraces. Scores few returning to Picton and Havelock, sojrfe^n&ave the province, and others to seek wOrfcdforlihe winter months, feeling confident tbSrHie^fummer prospecting will cause rich ground to be struck, A few far up the river are doing vrell by driving into the banks, and their example is being followed by others. Some very nice little nuggets are continually being picked out of the bed rock, where they lje without any other gold being-near. >
The opinion 0/ the most experienced diggers now is. that the q >ld has not come from up the river, but has been worked down from the ranges on either side of it. If this be the true theory, and I see much to support it, then it is quite evident that gold will be found, if it te p operly searched, for at the foot of the hills, and in the small streams tributary to Wakamarina. I hear that two parties crossed the range on Wilson's side of the river three days ago, t .king with them a week's provisions. They have not yet returned, so I am unable to say what prospects they have met with. Stoics still scarce, and difficult to ohtainup therher. Nothing yet has been done with the track, but T understand the work is to be commenced almost immediately. The ground on eveiy part of the diggings, where there is any traffic, is from ankle to knee deep in mud. The number of touts still continue to increase at Canvas Town. It is undoubtedly the best business locality between Picton and Wilson's claim, Havelock not excepted. f The diggers here are kept in a continual state of excitement by the reports which arlive of discoveries made in other districts. Sometimes great news comes in from the Kaituna, then again from the Wairau. To-day it is from the lua Marina These continued reports keep the diggers uneasy, and prevent numbers prospecting for claims near at hand.
A petition, signed by five hundred miners, was presented to the Marlborough Provincial Council on Friday last, soliciting the Council to cause public works to be commenced so as to give employment to the unemployed, rhus enabling them to^emain in the province during the winter. The Council having taken the petition into consideration, passed a reso* lution to the effect that the different public works, for which provision is recommended in the Estimates, should be proceeded with without the least delay.
Perilous Adventsbe. — On Thursday morn- . ing, a boatman, named Bradshaw, and five companions, came alongside the wharf, having made the passage from Waikouaiti, in the Otago Province, 10 this port, in an open boat, no portion of it being decked or covered over even in the most temporary manner. The passage occupied ten days, and it was only at Moeraki, near Waikouaiti, and another port that the men were able to touch at to obtain a supply of provisions. For two days the men were compelled to live upo*n porpoises, which they secured with the harpoon. Before arriving in Queen Charlotte's Sound the boat was encountered by a most terrific gale of wind, and there is no question, but for the skill of those to whom the management of the frail craft was intrusted, every soul would have met with a watery grave. On arriving here, the six men received the hearty greetings of the watermen, when they had learned that such an exploit had been so carefully carried out in the face of such difficulties. Yesterday, Bradshaw and bis party once more took to their boat and the water, to go up the Pelorus Sound.