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Station Life in New Zealand
Heathstock, Canterbury, November 13th, 1865. I have just had the happiness of receiving my first budget of English letters; and no one can imagine how a satisfactory home letter satisfies the hunger of the heart after its loved and left ones. Your letter was particularly pleasant, because I could perceive, as I held the paper in my hands, that you were writing as you really felt, and that you were indeed happy. May you long continue so, dearest. F says that this beautiful place will give me a very erroneous impression of station life, and that I shall probably expect to find its comforts and luxuries the rule, whereas they are the exception; in the mean time, however, I am enjoying them thoroughly. The house is only sixty-five miles from Christchurch, nearly due north (which you must not forget answers to your south in point of warmth). Our kind friends and hosts, the Ls, called for us in their comfortable and large break, with four horses. Mr. L drove, F sat on the box, and inside were the ladies, children, and a nurse. Our first stage was to Kaiapoi, a little town on the river Waimakiriri, where we had a good luncheon of whitebait, and rested and fed the horses. From the window of the hotel I saw a few groups of Maories; they looked very ugly and peaceable, with a rude sort of basket made of flax fibres, or buckets filled with whitebait, which they wanted us to buy. There are some reserved lands near Kaiapoi where they have a very thriving settlement, living in perfect peace and good-will with their white neighbours. When we set off again on our journey, we passed a little school-house for their children. We reached Leathfield that evening, only twenty-five miles from Christchurch; found a nice inn, or accommodation-house, as roadside inns are called here; had a capital supper and comfortable beds, and were up and off again at daylight the next morning. As far as the Weka Pass, where we stopped for dinner, the roads were very good, but after that we got more among the hills and off the usual track, and there were many sharp turns and steep pinches; but Mr. L is an excellent whip, and took great care of us. We all got very weary towards the end of this second day's journey, and the last two hours of it were in heavy rain; it was growing very dark when we reached the gate, and heard the welcome sound of gravel under the wheels. I could just perceive that we had entered a plantation, the first trees since we left Christchurch. Nothing seems so wonderful to me as the utter treelessness of the vast Canterbury plains; occasionally you pass a few Ti-ti palms (ordinarily called cabbage-trees), or a large prickly bush which goes by the name of "wild Irishman," but for miles and miles you see nothing but flat ground or slightly undulating downs of yellow tussocks, the tall native grass. It has the colour and appearance of hay, but serves as shelter for a delicious undergrowth of short sweet herbage, upon which the sheep live, and horses also do very well on it, keeping in good working condition, quite unlike their puffy, fat state on English pasture. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 6104
Author: Barker, Lady (Mary Anne)
Release Date: Jul 1, 2004
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