Friday Oct 6th Started from Tilbury at 1.30 p.m. on the “Orantes”, soon got some distance from land & could not see much on shore – spent some time arranging baggage in cabin & unpacking – gave valuables to the purser (nice man) missed tea in doing so felt like a naughty school girl when informed severely by steward nothing more could be had to eat till a quarter to six (dinner). Sea at this point a trifle choppy as we were rounding North Foreland. Much refreshed by biscuits kindly offered by goodnatured lady (Miss Rutherford) who shares cabin opposite ours with Miss Laird. Enjoyed dinner but some people did not appear – went on deck afterwards with Auntie, sea calm again, saw lights of Dover & Folkstone. Wrote letters in saloon – went to bed early – slept well on top bunk from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. without waking.
Saturday Oct 7th Woke to see land through porthole, but some distance off – stewardess brought us cups of tea at 7 had lovely warm sea-water bath – breakfast 7.45 – went on deck & wrote – soon spotted Eddy-Stone Lighthouse – saw it well through glasses. Got to Plymouth about 11, fine view from entrance of Sound – ship anchored just inside & Miss Laird & I went off in the tender to visit Plymouth Auntie L had been there so did not care to come (Fare 2/- return). We walked up the town and soon found a nice coffee shop where we lunched on most delicious coffee (2 cups each) & scones (@8½ apiece) (N.B. These items given with a view to interesting Cyril). Then we walked on to the Hoe sent the pcs. caught the 2 o’clock tender back. Found on board a friend of Frances Sladden’s a Miss Mcllellar who is going back to her home in New Plymouth with a friend (Miss Riley) Made sure of tea today at 3.30 – Found various letters & newspapers which were most welcome. Left Plymouth about 5.30, dined at 6.40 (the regular hour) walked up & down on deck till about 8 – came down to write in saloon – early bed. 228 miles.
Oct 8th Sunday Breakfasted as usual about 8 – all meals in second saloon are early, those in first saloon are about an hour later – we were well in the Bay when we got up but the sea quite calm in the early part of the day, but a good deal more motion towards evening. I spent a lazy day mostly on deck in my chair, did not feel over fit but went to service at 10.45 in First Saloon. Better in the evening & enjoyed going on deck after dinner. Lovely sunset & moon. Service in Second Saloon at 8.30 p.m. there are I believe no less than 11 clergy on board. Shall not stay to service – going to bed instead. 278 miles.
Monday Oct 9th Good deal of motion during night however I slept well, Auntie not so well – went to breakfast but both confess to not enjoying it much went on deck at 9 a.m. we had got through the Bay & sighted the coast of Spain – a long line of barren looking mountains lights & shades on them were beautiful – it was so nice to see land again after not seeing any the day before. Sea rapidly became very calm & weather quite hot everyone began shedding warm wraps. Saw one or two whales one very plainly Uncle Frank’s glasses are of great service I generally carry them about. Saw lighthouse on Cape Finisterre. Evening perfect – warm & almost no wind or motion – had a constitutional” after dinner with Miss Laird round & round the deck – 25 times round makes a mile, Were amused watching the flirtations – three at least seen advancing very rapidly – went to bed about 9 – cabin decidedly warm – left porthole open. 299 miles.
Tuesday Oct 10th We were somewhere about off Lisbon when we woke but land not very clear until afternoon when we rounded Cape St Vincent. Long line of brownish cliffs looked splendid with western sun shining on them – could just about see dim outline of mts. Beyond. At Sagres we saw our ship signalling to the station on top of the cliff. Weather still lovely & in the evening, an impromptu dance was got up from 8.30 – 10 on deck, but people at present rather shy of making friends.
Wednesday Oct 11th Got up before 6 having heard we were due at Gibraltar at 7 a.m. (Yesterday we were before time & in the afternoon & night were only going half speed – about midnight were in a thick fog I heard fog horns going as I fell asleep). It was quite clear when I woke & I saw the African coast & mts. through the port hole. By 6.30 I was on deck watching the fine view of the coast as we entered the Bay. The Rock of Gibraltar stood out clear against the morning sun – a lot of men-of-war & other vessels were in the harbour which is very large. We went down to breakfast at 7.30 & started off in the tender at 8. Landing I embraced the sail like Julius Caesar – I was gazing up at the magnificent view of the rock towering over it. Miss Laird & Miss Rutherford were with u & we four took a cab (a funny little affair with four posts holding a tasselled canopy over the top) & drove up & up until we got a splendid view of the harbour beneath – a woman landing at Gibraltar from the Orantes was wife of the coxwain to the Admiral, we stopped at her cottage & she shewed us round the Admiral’s garden, we then drove to Europa Point & had a fine view of the steep rocks & the wide expanse of the Mediterranean. The back along a lower road & through the Alameda gardens into the town where we bought post cards. Though it was delightfully sunny & warm like a fine summer’s day in England, we were told it was the beginning of the winter season & they never had it much colder.
I was much struck with the vegetation which seemed quite tropical, palms, cacti & bitter aloes grew everywhere & there were lots of brilliantly coloured flowers. We saw the Governor’s Cottage near Europa Point & his house in the town – the driver point out various places of interest, guns, batteries, hospital etc. we were fortunate in getting a good horse & the driver could speak some English – he said he was a “Gibraltarine” & his name was Antonio. Except for the scenery a good deal seemed very English, there were heaps of officers & soldiers in khaki about. Notices, names etc. written up were in English & Spanish. We took the 10.30 tender back to the old Orantes, which has by now quite a familiar & home like look, & were off again at 11 refreshing ourselves with some delicious grapes, of which we had bought a large basketful for 6d, & taking a farewell look at the Rock as we steamed out of the Bay & down the Mediterranean. Sea calm as a mill pond. Wrote on deck in the afternoon. In the evening an impromptu concert was got up in the saloon one man sang very well. Wind had got up & a good swell was on when we went to bed port holes had to be shut. 331 miles.
Thursday Oct 12th Fairly strong swell in the morning – poor Miss Laird was rather bad but she improved later. Meeting held to appoint a committee to arrange dances, concerts & sports – wrote letters tonight – will post the next sheets at Naples.
N.B. The mileage is given from noon to noon & posted up every day after 12 o’clock. I then enter it at the end of my diary of the day before. The day we left Gibraltar they only gave 11 miles as the distance done which must have been from 11 o’clock (the time we left Gib.) & noon. I may possibly have missed seeing a former notice. M.E.S.
Friday Oct 13th Woke up in the morning to feel more motion than we had previously experienced, we had got into the Gulf of Lions however we dressed successfully & I at least enjoyed my breakfast which more than many people did. Land soon became visible & about 12.30 we arrived at Marseilles Coast around is Bold & rugged & view as we entered the harbour was very pretty. Aunt Lottie decided at the last minute to land with me – ship anchored near the quay & we went off with a party of others – trammed part of the way into the town – we then left the others – walked along the principal street – Rue Cannebierre – fine street – bought post cards & sent them off – I wished to go to Cathedral which was not far but Auntie was hampered by uncomfortable shoes – also by dread of missing the boat so I did not press it but made her have some coffee. Had difficulty in getting the right tram back again so took a cab to the quay which was some distance off. Back on the “Orantes” by 4.30 – glad to find letters & papers from Father & Jack. Auntie heard from Uncle George. We left the harbour at 5.30 & had a good view of the Chateau d’If & other islands. Marseilles looked very well in the evening light. Sat on deck in the evening with Miss Laird who has been very poorly but is better. Early to bed – trips on shore seem to have the same tiring effect upon everybody. (Distance yesterday was 337 miles. Today 218 miles)
Saturday Oct 14th Rounded the north of Corsica in the morning – passed several small islands & Elba where we could see houses – all very mountainous & colours grand beside deep blue of the sea – In afternoon I played deck quoits then strong swell came on & boat pitched & rolled a good deal – we sat on deck writing, reading or working. Letters must be posted this evening. We have planned delightful trip for tomorrow & I shall have lots to tell about that next time. M.E.S.
Sunday Oct 15th Got up early & went to 6.30 service on First Class deck. Breakfast was at 7.30 to enable passengers to have long day ashore. We went off with party of about 20 in a small steam boat at 9 a.m. Seven or eight of us were second class the rest first several of these we found very pleasant. We steamed straight across the Bay of Capri & very soon those who were not extremely good sailors began to think they would rather have paid their guinea (the cost of the whole trip) not to come for there was such a tremendous swell the boat rolled so much we had to cling on to the sides to prevent our chairs falling over. This lasted 2 hours - we got within sight of the entrance to the Blue Grotto we had come to see in Capri when the guide came round to say it was too rough to land. It was a sell! One lady who had been very nervous and almost fainting said it was too much to have endured for nothing! However that was only one item of the days programme – we went on to Sorrento – where in the bay it was calm, landed in a small boat at the front of a large Hotel the Tramontano built high up on the cliff, lift bring out of order we walked up & up steep paths & tunnels & arrived at a beautiful Hotel with most interesting garden & terrace with a glorious view right over the Bay. Here we had a very good real Italian lunch Sorrento wine & green figs for dessert. Started again in steamer for Torre del Annunziata (nervous lady refused to trust herself to the boat again so drove instead) passed most beautiful coast high volcanic mts covered mostly with green & white & red houses dotted about – carriages waiting at Annunziata – 20 mins. drive to Pompeii along very bad roads & through dirtiest streets imaginable – most houses had one door – no window bed could be seen generally through open door also cocks & hens goats etc people seemed to spend their day & have meals outside the houses. Pompeii was of course most interesting the pcs give a good idea of what it is – we had I think over an hour there – the most interesting parts were the baths – temples of Apollo, Jupiter & Hercules the Civil Forum, Market Place, a new house lately excavated in which the frescos were wonderfully preserved – the streets with wheel ruts & stepping stones were very interesting too & the Museum with human figures preserved in lava was almost too gruesome when one realised what they really were. There were besides hundreds of pots & pans vases etc. which we could only look at hurriedly. We had a cup of tea & biscuits at a hotel outside the gates, this we had to pay for ourselves & here we experienced the swindling of Italians they insisted that we had had three cups of ten when we had only two & as we had to get change from them we were forced to submit especially as our guide was calling us to drive back to Annunziata, all the others having started – we began to feel very tired – the violent tossing & other exertions having given us both headaches. At Annuziata we once more went aboard our little steamer & during another hour or so of moderate tossing we were glad to have a grand view of Vesuvius erupting every few minutes & the red hot lava running down the side, also the lights of Naples which were beautiful as we neared the harbour which sights helped us to forget our tiredness. Auntie was however quite tied out when we got back on the Orantes at 6.45 & went straight to bed & to sleep. I had some dinner – then found I could buy Italian stamps on board so sent off some pcs we had bought at Pompeii. Then though very tired I had to sit on deck & watch Vesuvius a little longer, & as people got back on board there were so many to talk to & hear what they had been doing – also, last but not least, there were letters to read which had come while we were away, so that I did not get to bed till about 10 – found Auntie awake again & better – got her some biscuits (all I could procure in the way of food) & gave her brandy & water to drink, after which she slept well all night & so did I. Orantes did not start till 2 a.m. but I heard nothing more at 11 p.m. until next morning. Distance run from 2 am (Oct 16th) 137 miles.
Monday Oct 16th Felt rather lazy in the morning & all day Auntie quite herself again – have been through most interesting scenery today & been on upper deck half the day to see the views (We had a small piece of upper deck above the regular promenade deck which is useful both as a point of vantage from which to view scenery & also a place of escape occasionally from certain people) This morning we passed the Lipari Isles & the captain took us a little out of the most direct route past the west coast of Stromboli whence we had the best view of the volcano & the lava rolling down a slope of 4,000ft right into the sea. Several villages on the island booked perilously near the volcano – Olive & other trees grew on the mts, in fact vegetation seems very luxuriant on all these volcano mts quite close up to the craters. After lunch we entered the Straits of Messina where the view both sides was magnificent – the rugged coast of Calabria with Reggio & other towns & villages on the Italian side, & on the Sicilian Messina & further on mts rising one higher than another & culminating in Mt Etna (10,000ft) which rise sheer from the sea – Unfortunately however clouds were covering a good deal of it when we passed so we could not see its full height – We left Sicily behind & kept close to the south of the toe of Italy after which we left the land & I had a little time to write up this diary. 351 miles.
Tuesday Oct 17th A wet morning sea became gradually rougher all day nothing to do but sit on the sheltered side of the deck & work or read – I finished two of Juliets mats. After lunch I practised ring quoits for a little while in view if the coming tournament but the high wind & roll of the ship made it difficult – wind kept getting warmer & moister every one began to feel limp – there was to have been a dance in the evening but it was too rough, card tournament was begun instead. Auntie played whist. I entered for whist & bridge but did not play tonight as one of my opponents was not available. Cabin getting very hot impossible to have port-hole open, fortunately it is very well ventilated & we can always have the door open & draw curtain across. 342 miles.
Wednesday Oct 18th Still rough in the morning absolutely wasted time doing nothing but write a letter or two & go & rummage in my big trunk (all wanted boxes being get-at-able) for my white evening dress in view of a dance next week. In the afternoon sea gradually became calmer & to our great joy port-holes were opened about 5 o’clock. Such a relief! Concert is arranged for tonight (on deck I hope) & I must post this diary & letters before that takes place. We are due at Port Said at 7 am.
Thursday Oct 19th Got up early saw we were nearly in at Port Said – saw fine statue of Ferdinand de Lessefs on breakwater – breakfasted at 7.30 after which huge coal barges besieged the ship on both sides, black men running about all over them & on the “Orantes”. We watched a conjuror who came on deck & did some clever tricks – but soon were glad to escape on shore as soon as they began unlading the coal. Auntie had said she would not land & was very undecided about it till the last minute – but coal dust was flying everywhere so she thought she had better come – I was most anxious not to miss a chance of landing in Africa. We got the four Nonconformist missionary boys to escort us. Mr Mayo the chaplain joined us & the other ladies consisted of Miss Laird, Miss Rutherford & Miss Reeves – we walked about the streets & were much interested in the strange people about – a guide tried to tack himself on to us but we shook him off at length & found our way unaided to the Mosque – a new looking squarish building with a tall narrow tower – before we entered we all had to put on sort of basket sandals over out shoes & we shuffled about in these as best we could over the prayer mats with which the floor was covered – the inside was quite bare except for a sort of tall pulpit, a clock, & a part of the Koran inscribed & hung on a wall – then we were taken into an inner place quite small where they showed us the Koran in Egyptian, the Mohamedan flag & a sword which they seemed to say every Mosque had – the English they spoke was so very broken that I could not always understand – The sun was very hot almost unbearable but in the chief streets there were avenues of thick trees under which it was very pleasant to walk, but the thermometer was 84° in the shade. After buying a few things & sending off pcs & having some delicious lemonade for which I was most thankful we went back to the ship & found her one mass of coal dust, it even penetrated to salons & cabins in spite of shut port-holes. However the stewards soon got to work & scrubbed every where & upstairs the men were busy with hose-pipes over the decks & by tea time we felt we had a rest to the soles of our feet. We left Port Said at 2 p.m. entering the Canal at once – it was very interesting, eastwards was nothing but desert with not a tree on the other side the railway to Ismailia followed the bank on which was a pathway where camels & people passed along occasionally. The Canal is in places not wide enough for two big ships to pass & several times we had to stop in the wider parts to let other ships pass. We saw the remains of the wrecked “Chatham” soon after leaving Port Said. When it got dark we had not got very far down our speed being only 5 miles an hour except where the Canal widens into a lake. A very powerful electric light was placed on the prow – all we saw were English & German lines. I began to get hungry & Mr Barker (one of the missionaries) insisted on fetching p a tin of biscuits which I had assisted him in buying at Port Said by speaking French to the shop-man when he didn’t seem to understand English. I never saw such a variety of languages as there are written up every where in Port Said – English, French, Italian, Greek, besides extraordinary looking characters which might be Egyptian or anything! We began to have ice at meals today – a great comfort – we have been longing for it for several days the water having become quite tepid. 88 + 15 miles.
Friday Oct 20th Did not post this for Suez mail as only Egyptian stamps could be used & as I had posted from Port Said I thought I would save the 2½ & only send pcs – arrived at Suez or rather Port Yewfik at 10 a.m. but stopped only to put off & take up mails & for the extra rudder which we had carried through the canal to be taken off. At 11 started down the Gulf of Suez. The end of the canal was very interesting we saw Suez quite well in the distance, the deep blue of the arms of the sea against high barren cliffs with beautiful lights & shades was most effective. We stood on the top deck all the early part of the morning until it got too hot & we were too tired to stand there any longer. At Suez Arabs in small boats cam round trying to come aboard our ship, but they promptly had hoses turned on them which effectively prevented their coming. Quarter master says they are such fearful thieves. It was too dark to see the mts of Sinai as we passed it, it feels strange to be near the wilderness of the Israelites – one of the missionaries said he wondered what Moses would now think if he knew he was in Egypt! Weather keeps getting hotter every moment, officers appeared today in white suits & every body wears as few clothes as possible. Even in the evening on deck we need no extra wrap. Had another impromptu dance this evening very hot but we managed to dance all the same. 367 miles.
Saturday Oct 21st Had a very warm night, Auntie could not sleep very much but I did, sat on deck this morning & finished binding Juliet's mats – saloon decorated with flags in honour of centenary anniversary of Trafalgar. Went to help at choir practice for tomorrow’s service & received instructions about Sunday school tomorrow from Mr Mayo I have promised to take a class – played deck bowls for the tournament – had a funny old man for partner – we won against our first two opponents but were beaten by the second lot. Auntie went to bed early. I was wanted to play in the whist tournament – Auntie had played a day or two before she and her partner lost their first rubber so were out of it my partner is a young fellow said to be champion swimmer of the world (some hope for anyone falling overboard!) but I can’t call him a champion whilst player though he might be worse. I had extraordinarily good cards & we won our first rubber. When I went to bed I found Auntie quite unable to sleep for the heat in lower berth so she got into the upper & I went & slept in the saloon where several other girls had taken pillows & sheets & we lay along the seats round the sides of the saloon. I never have experienced heat anything like it one felt in a vapour bath all the time, however I slept pretty well & did not roll off my narrow bed. 366 miles.
Sunday Oct 22nd At 5 am we were turned out of saloon by stewards coming in – went into cabin which had got a trifle cooler & got a little more sleep on lower berth. Auntie slept pretty well too & got up to go to early service. We both found dressing very trying as it must be when every movement makes one break out in violent perspiration. Doing hair seems the last straw! Service at 10.45 was on First promenade deck instead of in saloon. Everyone is in a state of continual mopping! This afternoon very few children turned up for Sunday school, & it was decided to be too hot to hold it, so Mr Mayo just gave them a short address instead, so we volunteers were let off teaching. The captain says it is exceptionally hot for this time of year & he is altering the ship’s course a little to catch a better breeze. Thermometer in an inside cabin registers 90°, I don’t know what ours can be when the south-west sun has been grilling it. Miss Laird is feeling the heat rather & could not sleep last night in the saloon so we are going to try the deck tonight. A good many have slept up there the last night or two, one side is reserved for ladies & one for men. 366 miles.
Monday Oct 23rd Had a nice breeze all night on deck & slept well in my chair at 4.30 stewards came round calling out that the deck would be washed down in half an hours time, so we had to go down with our pillows etc & get some more sleep in the bunks – very hot again this morning temperature in inner cabin 92° but this afternoon strong breeze blowing which though warm was refreshing. Played second game of whist this morning. I & my partner had shocking bad cards so lost & are out of it. Passed several barren rocky islands this morning & came in sight of Arabian coast this afternoon – saw Mokka – saw lights of island of Perium about 8 o’clock quarter master said we were signalled home from there. Breeze continued all the evening & cabin was a good deal cooler so I slept there feeling rather inclined for a good long night undisturbed. 349 miles.
Tuesday Oct 24th Out of sight of land this morning – nothing particular happened (except that I began a piece of needlework!) until evening when another “imprompter” dance, as the quarter master calls it, took place. Still very few men dancers though a few of the engineers turned up this time – After the dance was over two of these were sitting talking with Miss Laird & me Mrs Leach, a very charming lively little woman being there to chaperone us, we had a very jolly time until the lights were put out at 11 & we had to go to bed. 344 miles.
Wednesday Oct 25th Night rather windy, Auntie woke up finding top berth too draughty for her taste so we exchanged beds again for the rest of the night. Moderate swell all day – bad sailors had bad time of it again. Afternoon taken up with sports on our deck – egg & spoon race, chalking pig’s eye & potato & bucket race were for ladies. I went in for all three, last consisted of picking up 6 potatoes one at a time & carrying them to a bucket, I came off second best in that but just missed the prize. In evening another pleasant little soirée on deck, Mrs Leach, Miss Laird & Mr & Mrs Tucker & Mr Barker – Mr T very amusing – we all felt it encumbent on us to keep up Miss Laird’s spirits, she beginning to look rather green – our efforts successful. Forgot to mention that ices have been served on deck at 11 a.m. last 3 mornings instead of beef tea as heretofore, a refreshment greedily looked forward to by everyone. 353 miles.
Thursday Oct 26th Seemed to do next to nothing all day but talk began after breakfast with a serious & improving conversation with Miss Crooks who is very nice, later on talk with Miss Laird & Mr Tucker & Mrs Leach could not be called improving, we talked nonsense all the afternoon & when I tried to be good & do some work they dug pins into me to prevent me! Had a “book evening”, everyone pinned something on their dress to represent title of a book, I drew a church tower & stuck a piece of wire up the side as “The Lightning Conductor” Auntie went as “The Double Thread”. Some of them were very good but most very difficult to guess One man had a piece of India rubber for “To Right the Wrong”, another drew this A for “Innocents Abroad” (in no sense A broad) Quite a successful evening. Auntie got tired & went to bed early as she generally does – she find the heat rather trying & will be glad to get to a cooler climate again. 354 miles.
Friday Oct 27th Very warm early in the morning later storm clouds came up & we had several showers. I wrote, worked & talked all the morning, in afternoon Mr Barker & I played games against Miss Laird & Mr Tucker & got beaten in everything. I challenged them to be on deck next morning at 7 for Mr B & me to have our revenge – in evening “Ball” as it was nobly termed, took place 8.30 to 11. Luckily there was no swell on & evening was fine, with a fairly cool breeze. Captain turned up but sat in one corner & didn’t talk to more than one or two people all the time – officers had accepted invitation but most seemed to be conspicuous by their absence – a few engineers came but dancing men were still short. However some girls danced together we had rather a jolly evening on the whole. Refreshments were served on deck – ices, jelly, sandwiches, cake & delicious iced lemonade handed round after each dance. Auntie sat among the lookers on & enjoyed watching us. I should have mentioned the sunset which we watched before the dance, sun went down behind a huge bank of clouds which were thus thrown into relief & looked like a mass of trees & the lights on the water made it look like meadows & trail of the vessel like a road leading from the clump of trees. Standing at the stern of the boat it was quite difficult to realise we were on the water. 335 miles.
Saturday Oct 28th This has been rather an unpleasantly eventful day, though in some ways very pleasant too, but I will begin at the beginning. In spite of staying up late the night before I was on deck at 7.15 & found Mr Tucker & Mr Barker ready to play our game. Miss Laird joined us a little later. During the morning we both went to choir practice, I think that & the dance last night proved too much for her, after lunch she collapsed with a heart attack & I had to fly for brandy, we had an anxious afternoon with her for she had two or three more attacks. Mr Tucker & I sat & watched her & Mrs Leach was invaluable though she was not well herself. The doctor said she was to stay on deck all night & there were plenty of volunteers to stay up with her – I found I should not be needed. In the evening while “off duty” I had very nice talks with Mr Broadbent, one of the nicest men on board, & then with Mr Tucker whom we shall miss very much when he lands at Colombo. Saw revolving light last night on Laccadire isles, but so far have seen no coral islands by day. 337 miles.
Sunday Oct 29th Had a nice service on deck this morning and the Te Deum actually went off without a hitch up til now it has been a fiasco each time. I told Miss Laird it went well today because she was absent from the choir! She is much better today & only had a slight attack this morning but of course is weak. I had letters to write in the afternoon. Mr Tucker meanwhile mounted guard over the patient – I was invited to tea with a certain party & I am afraid I did not appreciate the honour as much as I should have. Weslyan service on deck at 8.30 – later I had a long talk on top deck with Mr Tucker till suddenly lights went out at 11 & I had to fly down to sleep on deck with Miss Laird – my chair had disappeared – the only one left for me not comfortable so I spread my rug on the floor & slept on that, but it was the very hardest bed I ever experienced! I slept however off & on.
Monday Oct 30th We got in to Colombo about 6.30 having been going very slowly all night not to arrive too soon. Got up early & breakfasted at 7.30 after which tenders took passengers ashore free of charge. We went with a party consisting of a Mr & Mrs German & their daughter, a Mrs Johnson & two children, Mr Mayo & ourselves. Miss Laird went with Mrs Leach – took rickshaws straight to the Galle Face Hotel & stayed there quietly. Meanwhile we did a little shopping first shops delightful & one would like to have heaps to spend, then drove in two carriages out to Mount Lavinia, a beautiful drive of several miles through natives quarters & past a lot of English peoples’ houses – we admired the Singalese they are so graceful & carry themselves so well walking often with great loads on their heads, some of the children are very pretty, but a great nuisance running alongside one’s carriage & begging. A lot of men wore long hair done up in a knot behind & a large comb stuck on top. Sometimes it was difficult to tell men from women. I thought the high covered carts drawn by zebus very picturesque – the catamaran boats which surrounded us when we got into harbour were also very quaint looking – very long & narrow with the queerest sort of rudders Everyone seemed able to speak English more or less we had a good guide. Mount Lavinia is close to the sea – on arriving at the hotel we went to look at the lovely view from the terrace, you look down on the waves breaking over rocks & clumps of tall cacea nut trees growing right down to the shore – we had a good lunch eating various things that we had never seen before – one fruit called papine(?) (ES’s question mark) was very good after the first few mouthfuls but a good many did not care for it – Afterwards went to the bazaar which seems a feature in all these hotels, bought a pretty beaten silver watch chai & some postcards, wrote some of these, walked about the grounds & saw a native swarm up a cacea nut tree which looks a most dangerous performance. Drove back about 2 & on the way visited a Buddhist temple – very interesting old guide took us round, showed us deep well where worshippers washed before entering then we went into a sort of cloister surrounding a square room, all round walls were covered with quaint paintings of people doing wrong actions & beside them the hell to which they would go for a time – also people doing good deeds & the heaven to which they were entitled, but the old guide was most anxious that we should realise that all these places of punishment or happiness were only temporary, there was another heaven he told us – Nevanah – which would last for ever, but that he could not show us. There were various strange flowers about used by worshippers & he gave us some – lamps of cacea nut oil were placed here & there & smelt very nice. In this place people worshipped every new moon & full moon. We then went into a square room where were images of Buddha in various positions one lying down must have been 50 ft long & had an emerald & sapphire eye worth a million rupees – there was also a large moonstone on top of the dome said to be 1015 years old & to have cost a million rupees. The walls of the temple are repainted every 25 years – In a new building there were 9 positions of Buddha just made – each was to be painted when it was two months old – we also saw gold & silver images through a window near which were standing two gaunt & lean priests who wear long yellow robes & eat only once a day. In a sort of court yard we saw a pepul tree & lotus flowers both sacred. Lastly we went into the place where the high priest sits & preaches, I sat in his chair & then we put our names in the visitors book – this seemed rather to commonplace a thing to do, but I thought I must leave my name there.
We drove back to town then our party separated as we wanted to go to different hotels for tea. I was anxious to join Miss Laird at the Galle Face where Mr Tucker & Mr Barker had said they would try & come for tea. So we took rickshaws there & met Mrs Leach just starting off for Mt Lavinia having left Miss Laird with the two young fellows who had just turned up – we joined them & had a nice afternoon together, had tea in the hotel garden, they drove with us to the jetty & saw us off in a small boat – we got on board in time for dinner Miss Laird none the worse & Auntie only moderately tired. Lights in the harbour were lovely – we watched them before we started at 9 o’clock – Everyone always very excited after a day ashore, just like a pack of school children after a holiday. Went to bed in good time & slept in cabin where there was a nice breeze though warm. I forgot to mention that at the Buddhist temple there was a large shrine containing his tooth, we also saw his foot print which was at least a yard long & the toes in a straight line.
Tuesday Oct 31st Most people rather slack this morning – a moderate swell on & some did not feel very grand. Auntie not quite the thing altogether my time seemed spent in looking after invalids, gave Frankie Leach his evening bath as his mother was not well. Talked to Miss Crooks read & listened to the band in the evening. 220 miles.
Wednesday Nov 1st Auntie & I went to Saint’s day service. Morning rather windy & quite cool considering we crossed Equator at 9 a.m. ship was pitching moderately all day, had the effect of making everyone feel lazy if not ill – Auntie still not very grand. In evening Mrs Leach’s favourite little engineer Mr Ferrier came & talked to us & we ate oranges & biscuits & did our best to keep Miss Laird from thoughts of sea-sickness – our efforts actually successful. People begin to tell me I am getting a little brown up to now they have kept on envying my non-tanned appearance & say I look so cool – wish I felt it! 377 miles.
Thursday Nov 2nd Sea calmer today – spent most of the day making silver paper stars & sewing them on my dress. Several people very kind in helping me. In evening party of six or seven of us sat in a circle on deck & sang songs Mr Hutchinson a new passenger from Colombo was one of the party, he is a New Zealander & came from England in the Omrah spending a fortnight in Ceylon – he told me a lot later on about Ceylon & N.Z. He & two other men sit opposite us at table in place of three of the missionaries – steward promised to try & find us someone nice. 364 miles.
Friday Nov 3rd Spent most of morning finishing off my dress for the Fancy Dress Ball tonight – one lady gave me great help in sewing the stars on, it was a lot of work but looked very effective – heaps of people complimented me on it during the evening. I represent Night – having silver paper stars sewn all over my black dress – the Southern Cross in front of the bodice, the Great Bear at the back & a piece of white gauze dotted with little stars across the front of the skirt for the Milky Way. Mrs Broadhurst did my hair for me on top of my head & stuck in a crescent moon & stars. I had some very good dancers for partners & enjoyed myself very much indeed – the Captain came & some one told me he wanted to see my Milky Way so I had to go & let him examine it – I had a long talk with the Purser who always reminds me of Uncle George. There were quite a number in fancy dress though not many men. All dancers had to vote for which they considered the most original costume & which the prettiest – award not made yet. Auntie unfortunately retired to bed not feeling well. I am afraid the heat has tried her lately but I hope she will soon be all right again with cooler weather coming. 356 miles.
Saturday Nov 4th Auntie better this morning but thought it wiser just to see the doctor & he gave her some medicine & advised her what to eat. Voting papers for the fancy dress were collected this morning – I got the prize for the prettiest getting 40 votes, the second only got 18. Prize for most original went to a lady dressed as “Baggage” costume mostly of brown paper & labels & string. Tea party on deck in the afternoon given by Mrs Leach, a dozen or so of us invited – A second lot of games tournaments has been started – I played my first round of bridge after tea, had good partner – we just won our rubber after an even fight. Had a jolly evening sitting talking in a group. Miss Laird not very well all day but better in the evening. Auntie’s also better. 347 miles.
Sunday Nov 5th Service on deck again, much cooler so we were treated to a sermon for the first time – temperature very pleasant all day – I dozed or read in the afternoon, tea party on deck. Service at 8.30 conducted by Salvation Army man – very good address all the same – walked & talked afterwards till bed time. 328 miles.
Monday Nov 6th Wrote & worked & played second round of bridge & got beaten this morning – tea party on deck cricket afterwards which was difficult as the ship was rolling rather – played first round in whist tournament & got beaten alas! Concert in saloon very enjoyable afterwards watched first class people who were having their fancy dress ball – some dresses very pretty. Auntie played in whist tournament & won in the first round. 310 miles.
Tuesday Nov 7th Sea rather rough & big swell on getting worse towards evening – walking on deck became an art needing some practice. Miss Laird kept up till lunch time then had to disappear – a good many others in like plight. Auntie played second round of whist & lost – got up another rubber in the evening – I sat talking on deck to a little chatterbox of a lady or rather she talked to me till I had had enough of it & went to the saloon & read while the band played – went to bed early to the tune of rattling crockery etc. (Tea party in saloon, very interesting talk afterwards with the Broadhursts & Mr Hutchinson.) 296 miles.
Wednesday Nov 8th Heavy roll on all day – at lunch glasses plates etc began running about the table of their own accord, but we just managed without using fiddles. I wrote & read in the morning before lunch went up on top deck with Mrs Broadhurst & some others & we had skipping & hopping matches – a trifle difficult considering the roll of the boat but we thought it would do us good – Felt lazy in the afternoon & slept most of the time on deck – one or two people’s chairs rolled over with them when extra big rolls came – tea in saloon with Mrs Broadhurst’s party – she is getting off tomorrow so gave a farewell tea-party. Lots of people not feeling well. Letter-box closes at 10.30 p.m. tonight as we arrive in Fremantle about 3 or 4 a.m. tomorrow.
Fiddles are being got out ready for dinner this evening as I am writing this in the saloon. My curiosity to see what they are like will at last be satisfied.
Thursday Nov 9th (19 miles since Fremantle). Arrived at Fremantle about 3 a.m. I slept on blissfully unconscious of the fact until 6 a.m. when everyone seemed to be getting up so we did ditto, breakfasted at 7.30 & I went on shore with Miss Laird & Mrs Leach by the 8 o’clock tender – Auntie did not come as they said there was nothing much to see but we wanted to get some cake & biscuits for our little tea parties. We found the shops open it appears they keep the King’s birthday & all public holidays on the Monday following when they fall in the middle of the week. “Orantes” was timed to sail at 9.30 so we had not time to do more than get what we wanted – the town is not very large & appeared to me very colonial Miss Laird said it made her feel very near home! I said it had just the opposite effect on me! Got back by the last tender & we were off about ten o’clock. Got into roughish seas directly we left harbour & had a worse time of it than we have experienced hitherto –lots of people ill. I had a sleep after lunch then went on top deck where some of the others were lying flat with rugs & pillows. With one or two men to help we hauled our tea up there & had a jolly sort of picnic tea in spite of the pitching & rolling – Later one or two of us “well” people had a good walk or run, whichever the wind would let us do, on one side of the deck – saw some albatrosses. Mrs Leach not being well I looked after Frankie at dinner played hide & seek with him afterwards & put him to bed – nice talk on deck in the evening. 342 miles.
Friday Nov 10th A little difficult to sleep last night because one got so rolled about in bed, however Auntie & I both managed it at last – nothing particular happened all day – sea continued rather rough for some time in the morning we were quite close to a rugged barren looking coast & must have been near Albany – but it was too hazy to see anything clearly. I wrote Xmas - letters in afternoon worked – tea-party in saloon to which Auntie came also – talked to Miss Laird who was in bed all day poor thing – walked & talked on deck all the evening Auntie meanwhile played whist down in the saloon she has taken to doing that the last few evenings & enjoys it. 362 miles.
Saturday Nov 11th A pretty rough night but we managed to sleep fairly well I wrote Xmas letters in the saloon till 11.30 then went up on top deck where the sun was deliciously warm – After lunch we took Miss Laird up there & had a nice select little party there all the afternoon. I read Kipling’s “Seven Seas” up there. Miss Laird much better for the air & actually sat up to dinner. Select party again on deck in the evening Mr Ferrier, the engineer who usually joins our party read us a poem he had composed on the afternoon’s tea party. Our talk was varied but not interrupted by occasional heavy rolls of the vessel – chairs had to be tied up to prevent them rolling across the deck. Stormy looking sunset warned us to expect a rough night. 358 miles
Sunday Nov 12th We were right in expecting a rough night neither Auntie nor I got to sleep for a long time – however it got calmer by the morning – most people seemed to have slept very little – Service in saloon this morning – congregation poor. Wind cold today but sun on upper deck warm & bright – after posting my letters I am going up there.
Monday Nov 13th (35 miles since Adelaide). Reached Adelaide about 5 a.m. very few people went ashore as there was not much time & there was two miles to go in the tender and then 9 by train to get to Adelaide itself from the port. Said goodbye to those getting off – we started again at 9.30 – spent a quiet morning & afternoon. After dinner Mr Ferrier took Mrs Leach & Frankie, Miss Cotton & myself into the engine room – very interesting – I was very glad to have the chance of seeing it – it was very hot when we went in – we had to go down steep flights of iron ladders from the top it looked a very dizzy height which we had to descend – Mr Ferrier carried Frankie & the rest of us scrambled down with “sweat rags” in our hands to hold on to the iron railings with – when we got to the bottom the huge machinery in motion was a wonderful sight the noise of course was deafening – we saw the indicator showing the number of revolutions of the machinery since we started, it stood at over 3 million we walked along by the huge shafts connecting with the propellers then went to see the stokers at work, there are 32 great furnaces only 23 were alight just then as we were no going quite at full speed. The stokers hole is not so hot as the engine room but the coal dust was rather blinding, so we were glad to get out though it was most fascinating watching them at work. At 8 o’clock there was an impromptu dance – Auntie had a heavy cold in her head so did not come up on deck but put me under Mrs Leach’s care which meant having a very good time, we had a very jolly evening & all joined hands in a circle after the last dance – sang “Auld Lang Syne”.
Tuesday Nov 14th Nice morning – we packed night things into our bags ready to stay the night at the Francis’ as they had asked us. Entered Port Philip about 3 o’clock, a huge bay 40 miles from entrance to Melbourne – passed remains of the “Australia” on a reef, it was wrecked some time ago. We got to Port Melbourne just after dinner – two Miss Francis came on board to meet us & we went off in the tram with them to St Kilda’s a suburb of Melbourne where they live – Very nice house Mrs Francis & the eldest daughter were waiting supper for us & we were quite ready for some notwithstanding dinner on the boat, after our long tram ride through the lighted streets which was very enjoyable the width of the streets struck us at once & even at night one could see that there were many fine buildings. We sat in the drawing room after supper & talked. Mrs F her daughters most friendly & kind & evidently glad to meet relations of “the Captain” & Mrs Sladden - went to bed about 10.30 Auntie at least very glad to have a night on shore again – Beautiful moonlight night – warm but not hot.
Wednesday Nov 15th Breakfasted at 8 a.m. & walked round directly afterwards to see Sister Adèle (Alice Worsfold) who lives also at St Kilda’s – Auntie went in to see her while I sat in the garden with the Miss Francis’, they came out after a quarter of an hour’s chat & Sister Adèle arranged to meet us at the station at 11.30 & go with us back to the boat. We then trammed to the Botanical Gardens, walked through part of them, very pretty, masses of arum lilies, rose bushes azaleas etc. in full bloom & lots of fine trees – among them the tree fern. Took tram again into the town – saw a picture of the “Malmo” in a shop window, she looks a fine vessel, went to the Union Co’s office for Wellington baggage labels & walked through one of the big Arcades – at 11.30 the Miss Francis’ left us at the station where we found Sister Adèle who came with us to the boat – on the pier we met a Miss Everest whom Aunt George knows – she knew of our coming & had looked out for us yesterday evening but we had missed her, she seemed so pleased to find us at last – but it was nearly 12 o’clock so they both had to go very soon though after all we did not get off until about 2 o’clock, a lot of our fellow passengers had left us & we had a terrible crew of new passengers, mostly people returning from the Melbourne Cup races, a very rowdy lot, we are thankful we shall have only two days of them. Everybody rather tired by evening – we sat on deck, Auntie played whist. 303 miles
Thursday Nov 16th In the morning wrote letters while Auntie packed – sat on deck in the afternoon packed my things – had our last tea-party up on top deck – most people not quite so lively as usual – all too much absorbed in thoughts of packing & goodbyes – our little party spent a nice last evening together on deck Auntie played whist – evening inclined to be foggy.
Friday Nov 17th Morning very hazy they say it is caused by smoke from bush fires – that means hot weather in Sydney – we have been creeping along very slowly & shall be late in at Sydney & I am afraid shall not get much view of the harbour. We ought to arrive by noon & if we can see about our luggage at once, ought to have time for some sight-seeing this afternoon.
Friday Nov 17th (continued) We passed the Heads about 10 am & were then in the Bay of Sydney – there is a narrow opening between the Heads which consist of high rocks, the colouring is very fine. Inside the Bay there is a constant succession of alternate promontories & little gulfs on either side, the land rising to a good height & getting more & more beautiful until we reached Sydney. It is all so different to the Bay of Naples we can hardly compare the two, only Sydney harbour being so much narrower one gets a better impression of it on entering – at Naples one needs to go round the Bay in a coasting boat to fully enjoy its beauties. We anchored about 11, said goodbye to Mrs Leach and soon got off in a tender, the two Miss Cottons (aunt & niece) & Mr Hutchinson coming with us. We went first to the Union Co’s office to secure our berths on the Maheno, the Cottons were going by the same boat, we were not able to get a two berth cabin but all four got berths together in a five berth cabin, we hoped the fifth might not be taken. Next we went to a very nice place for lunch. Mr Hutchinson begged us to let him play host, being the first time on colonial ground Auntie agreed if he would dine with us in the evening as our guest, so we arranged it that way. He had some shopping to do in the afternoon, we ladies went off to the Botanical gardens, it was very hot, 98° in the shade, & we thought that would be the coolest thing to do, we just strolled about gently admiring trees & flowers & resting in every shady seat we came to, we got tea in the grounds then walked to the quay to see if our luggage from the hold was there, we were fortunate in finding it at once & labelled it for Wellington – lots of people seemed to be spending hours there sitting on their boxes – Miss Laird was there just going off with friends so we wished her goodbye – also Mrs Baker another very jolly Orantian friend. We trammed into the town again, I bought some gloves (only 3/6 – not half as dear as I expected) & some post cards, then went to the restaurant where Mr Hutchinson had arranged to meet us at 6.30, had a very jolly dinner. Mr H suggested we should go to the theatre, the two aunts pleaded fatigue but the nieces were quite ready, so he took the aunts down to the quay & saw them onto a boat to the Orantes, meanwhile we wrote our post-cards & he came back & picked us up & we went to see the Gondoliers”, it was very well done & we enjoyed it very much, we said we would walk to the quay instead of tramming, but somehow managed to take the wrong turning & found ourselves walking away from it, trammed back again, then had to wait a little while for a boat, so that midnight was striking just as we reached the Orantes – we felt very dissipated but had had one of the most delightful days I ever remember spending. (I forgot to say that after finding our luggage we went over the Maheno which was lying alongside the quay – we were much impressed with the way she is fitted up everything new & spick & span)
Saturday Nov 18th Our last night on the dear old Orantes. I felt quite sorry to leave her, except that she was fast becoming so deserted one hardly knew her for the boat on which we had had such lively times – Breakfast was very muddly – only half the tables laid & everyone sitting out of their own places – the tender for the Maheno started at 9.30 so we got aboard her in good time – sad goodbye to Mr Hutchinson who was going off for a few days to the Blue Mts. – young Miss Cotton & I went for a little walk up the town – coming back to the Maheno we saw our luggage brought aboard, said goodbye to several more Orantians who had come to see us off. At about 1 p.m. we started, had a farewell look at the Orantes as we passed her – waved to Mr Ferrier whom we could see on the boat deck, then lunch – very soon the motion began to make itself felt, that & the fatigue we all felt made us spend a lazy afternoon lying on deck. The fifth berth in our cabin is occupied by a mother & young baby both of whom started by being ill this evening – cheerful look out for us! What a good thing we have only a few days of it. Dinner at about 6.30 – food very good & well served but we miss the steadiness of the Orantes.
Sunday Nov 19th A fair night – sea not rough but lots of people ill – all of us still rather tired especially we young ones after our long days lately. No service this morning – we just read & slept & longed for Wellington to come. At noon today we were 337 miles from Sydney & 902 from Wellington. Sea calmer today than yesterday but the boat rolls a bit yesterday she was pitching which is a more trying motion. This has been the very longest Sunday that I think I ever experienced. Fortunately there is a nice library on board & we can get books when we like.
Monday Nov 20th Woke up feeling very unrefreshed after sleeping in the stuffy cabin, the port hole has not been opened since we started from Sydney so I had a nap before lunch in the saloon & felt better. We passed the boat from Wellington to Sydney this morning. At noon we were 702 miles from Sydney & 537 from Wellington very nice to know we are more than halfway. Port hole was opened this afternoon so we have a chance of better sleep tonight.
Tuesday Nov 21st Played games part of the morning – Captain says we shall get to Wellington late this evening but cannot land till morning. At noon today we were 1072 miles from Sydney & 167 from Wellington about middle day we saw mts along the north coats of the South Island. There are about 40 Orantian passengers going on with us in this boat, but not many that I know much of – Miss Cotton & I keep each other company most of the time – she goes on to Lyttleton. After dark we entered the Heads at the entrance to the Harbour, some one pointed out the Petone lights to our right & then we had a good view of the Wellington lights as we steamed up towards the town – we anchored a little way out & a steamer came alongside bringing the doctor to examine us & friends of a few of the passengers – I did not expect any of our friends as it was so late, Auntie had gone to bed when they said everyone had to be ready for the doctor to see them – we waited about for some time, however at last they said we were all passed without being seen by the doctor so Auntie had sat waiting in her dressing gown for nothing. About midnight we thought it time to turn in, the cabin was worse than ever to my mind & I was fortunately able to get a lounge outside to sleep on.
Wednesday Nov 22nd Woke at 5.30 & got up soon afterwards – we had moved alongside the wharf during the night. We packed our things & watched for one of the cousins to come & meet us until 8 o’clock then we were just sitting down to breakfast when Arthur arrived he soon spotted Auntie Lottie – he left us to have our breakfast & went to inform the others of our arrival, then came back to help us get our luggage ashore. Uncle Dilnot & Frank soon came down to the quay where I soon spotted them, they had no passes as Arthur had so could not come on board – we soon landed & got all our cabin luggage through the customs without having it opened. It was a horrid morning very windy & wet. Arthur went off to his bank Frank stayed to send our luggage to the station & Uncle took us down by tram to the station & thence by train to Petone. The line runs close by the sea all the way a wall of high hills rising on the other side. The house is about half a mile from Petone station we took the bus up & found Aunt Bessie, Mabel & Dolly at the gate expecting us, it had stopped raining just then. We went up to our room a nice large one with twin beds & a window looking out to the hills – Uncle stayed at home till after lunch & we had a good long talk all together in the dining room after partaking of the “elevener”. We did nothing much all day but talk, wander round the garden between the showers & do some unpacking. Frank, Arthur, Hubert & Bob came in to dinner at 6 so we were a good large party.
Thursday Nov 23rd Frisco mail arrived this morning just after I got down to breakfast so I got birthday letters only one day late, spent a quiet morning putting our things straight. I shampooed my hair which I had been dying to do for weeks! In the afternoon Dolly took us out for a walk & we met “Ann” who was coming down to tea from the Hutt (as I forgot to say she did yesterday) & walked back with her. There are hills all round, rugged in outline but green & with beautiful shadows on them, they remind us rather of Scotch hills. Altogether it is prettier than we had expected. The sea shore is not much more than five minutes walk, the view from there all round the bay is lovely. Weather still windy & cold, but fine.
Friday Nov 24th Our big boxes arrived yesterday evening so we had them to unpack this morning & presents to give to the various people. Our things travelled pretty well on the whole though some look rather depressed – I went out with Dolly in the afternoon Auntie thought it too windy.
Saturday Nov 25th Wind worse than ever. Birdie came down for the day Uncle & the boys all get the afternoon off on Saturdays & dinner is at 2 that day instead of 6. Uncle would have taken us a drive but it was too windy. Maidie & I walked back part of the way with Birdie after tea to get some air. In the evenings Uncle Dilnot & Auntie Lottie have long talks about old times & enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Sunday Nov 26th Went to Church at 11, service not so uninteresting as we had been let to expect. Dinner at 1 after which Uncle proposed a drive the wind having gone down & the sun shining brightly. Grizzle is too fat & needs more exercise so we shall probably get some driving when Uncle can take us. Maidie kept me company at the back of the trip & we went a lovely drive 8 or 9 miles up the Hutt valley, quite a level road but winding between high hills on each side – Further up the valley get narrower & is lovely. The Sunday arrangement is meat tea at 5.30 & we got back in time for that, found Birdie here – some of us went to Church at 7. Evening beautifully star light & we saw the Southern Cross for the first time. I expect we ought to have seen it long ago but somehow whenever I thought of looking for it, it wasn’t to be seen.
Monday Nov 27th Wind again boisterous – washing day so the girls were busy this morning. I helped a little then sat in the verandah & worked. After lunch Maidie, Dolly & I walked over to the Riddifords at the Hutt (2 miles) to have tea with Birdie who is sort of lady of the house there now – we saw her little pupils & went over the house which is a very nice one & beautifully furnished. Auntie intended coming but the wind was too much for her for so long a walk, so she just went out pottering about with Aunt Bessie after tea.
Tuesday Nov 28th This afternoon Dolly & I walked to the Hutt to call on the Vicar’s wife there a “Mrs Jones” & her two daughters, great friends of the girls, Ann joined us there & afterwards walked back part of the way with us. Meanwhile Aunt Bessie & Aunt Lottie returned a call made on them the other day Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Lottie played cribbage in the evening.
Wednesday Nov 29th Busy over needlework this morning & part of afternoon – weather rainy & windy but Aunt Lottie & got out for a walk after tea when we explored on our own account. Maidie & Dolly very busy making summer dresses, they say that they must make hay while the sun shines” viz. work while they have a servant.
Thursday Nov 30th Beautiful morning. Aunt Bessie & Maidie had to go to town so Dolly, Aunt Lottie & I started a little before 12 0’clock for the hills taking with us scrambled egg sandwiches which by the way are far nicer than hard boiled ones) cake, bananas & milk. We walked up a very steep path reminding us rather of the Wynd cliff had a splendid view over the harbour & of the hills all round – found a nice spot for lunch – sat & talked over that then walked on to a high peak called the Rock. Dolly & I scrambled to the top. Auntie did not attempt the final scramble but sat & waited for us just below we rejoined her & sat for some time admiring the view & finishing our cake & bananas. We reached home about 4.30 Uncle had talked of a drive in the evening, but during dinner a southerly (wind) came up suddenly bringing clouds & rain so we could not go.
Friday Dec 1st I spent most of morning make a hat - in the afternoon the two Aunts & I returned a call - then Auntie L & I had a walk – Maidie & Dolly & I dined at the Ross’, Miss Ross is a girlfriend of Maidie's who keeps house for her brother a doctor. We had a pleasant evening talking & sewing.
Saturday Dec 2nd Uncle & Auntie & the two girls had to go to a wedding at the Hutt this afternoon, so as it was a lovely day Aunt L & I went to Wellington. From the station we took a tram out to Island Bay a pretty suburb. Miss Reeves an Orantian whom Aunt L was friendly with lives there so we looked her up she came for a stroll with us on the shore & took us back to the house for tea. We trammed back & got home about 7 – Sat in the verandah till nearly 9 afterwards, it was such a lovely evening.
Sunday Dec 3rd Ann came early to spend the day – After early dinner Uncle took Aunt L & Aunt B & me a lovely drive up the Hutt valley again but on the other side of the river & closer under the hill than the way we went last Sunday –the day has been beautifully fine & warm without being hot & we enjoyed the drive very much. We went to Church in the evening & are now writing letters round the dining room table which reminds me of home Sunday evenings.
Monday Dec 4th Went out a little way with Aunt L in the morning – wrote letters in the afternoon – a caller came to tea. After dinner Aunt L, Maidie, Dolly, Frank & I all went off by train into Wellington to the theatre. Aunt L treated us – we went to “Quality Street” a very pretty little play by Barrie of the early 19th century period – the principal parts were all well taken & we enjoyed it very much – we got back just after midnight & found Uncle Dilnot waiting for us.
Tuesday Dec 5th Aunt L woke up with a headache after last night’s dissipation she was better though after a rest. I had a quiet day writing reading & working. After tea Dolly & I walked a little way back to the Hutt with Ann it was raining but we wanted some air.
Wednesday Italy mail arrived this morning. I was glad to get a letter from Jack & a large bundle of newspapers from Father. I have been reading these this morning – This afternoon we girls had arranged to go a picnic with Miss Ross & the Hectors – but it does not look fine enough & I expect we shall put it off till another day.
Wednesday Dec 6th (continued) In the evening as it was too wet to go to the picnics the Hectors asked us three girls to go & spend the evening at their house, so we went & had a pleasant evening with music. Miss Ross was there & Dr Hector from the Hutt. Lady Hector was very pleasant, there are three girls, the eldest is to be married in a few months time. This is election day & from the Hectors’ house which stands big in a hill we could hear the crowds below cheering & hooting as the results were made known. Dr Hector saw us safely home about 11.30.
Thursday Dec 7th Cold day. Dolly & I went for a fairly long walk along the shore after lunch, most of the day we worked or read. Everybody very much disgusted at the election results, the government being in again by a large majority.
Friday Dec 8th Morning wet but it soon cleared up & after lunch Aunt Lottie, Maidie & I went into town, did a little shopping, then took tram to Kelburne a steep hill from the top of which you get a splendid view of Wellington, the harbour & hills around – We had tea at the Kiosk up there, a fashionable place for teas, then we walked down through the Botanical gardens which were lovely – a pretty flowering shrub call Manuka was in full bloom, there were tree ferns & lots of other native trees & shrubs. The rhododendrons were not quite over nor the azaleas & roses were in full bloom but we could only look over the hedge at these, there was a gate but when Dolly & I boldly opened it & walked in we were shouted at to go out. There were some beautiful Amaryllis lilies, also South African daisies like marghuerites but a deep red all over, centre & all, they are said to be rather rare & difficult to grow. After a good look round we trammed to the station & took the train back in time for dinner.
Saturday Dec 9th At breakfast Frank proposed taking us girls to the theatre tonight if he could get good seats to see the “Village Priest” – if not one day next week. It is a lovely day, very warm & sunny. I have been sitting working out in the verandah, now I have come in to write as I see the mail goes (via Naples) at 2p.m. today. Uncle Dilnot proposed taking us a drive this afternoon, it being his half holiday. He enjoys having some to drive – Aunt Bessie finds it tiring & the girls cannot always spare time to go. This day’s diary must be finished next time, it is time to post now.
Saturday Dec 9th (continued) The afternoon was beautiful & Uncle took Aunt Lottie, Maidie & me a drive to Lowry Bay, a charming spot shut in by hills & looking over the Bay towards Wellington about 7 miles drive, but there is a shorter ways to walk, about 4 miles, & we think of walking there one day. In the evening Frank took us to the theatre, the “Village Priest” is a good piece but sad. We were very lively though between the acts & altogether we felt “on the spree” especially when afterwards as we had a little time to wait for the train Frank took us into a restaurant & treated us to supper. We got back just after midnight.
Sunday Dec 10th I have been glad of a quiet day after yesterday’s dissipation. It rained hard this morning but clearer about 11, though it was not nice enough for a drive in the afternoon. So we read & (as Uncle Dilnot calls it) “meditated”, otherwise dozed. Mr Ward, the locum tenens, preached excellent sermons both morning & evening, no one is longing to get Mr Russell back. Walking round the garden this evening Frank showed me the Badsy sweet peas which I brought with me coming up already, & nice & thickly too, they have only been planted a fortnight or less.
Monday Dec 11th The employees of the Meat Export Co had their annual picnic today at the Upper Hutt, 13 miles from here. Uncle came home to lunch & drove Aunt L, Dolly & me up there – he wanted just to put in an appearance & we enjoyed the drive, the day being lovely & the hills very pretty. Grisel is getting more work now, but she is still too fat Uncle says she needs some long distance drives to get her into good condition. We had some tea in a tent on the field & got back soon after 6.30.
Tuesday Dec 12th I spent most of the morning cutting out & starting my blue muslin (Colombo) dress this afternoon Aunt L Dolly & I went & returned a call at the Hectors & found Lady Hector & one of the girls at home. It has been a hot day. Uncle took Aunt L & me a short drive along the Wellington road by the sea after dinner.
Wednesday Dec 13th I worked all the morning – Dolly & I went to a hay making party in the afternoon – Birdie & her pupils were there too we walked back with them as far as Mrs Riddiford’s, had high tea with them there & walked on home in the cool of the evening. Uncle meanwhile took Aunt L another short drive.
Thursday Dec 14th Frisco mail arrived this morning – lots of letters for everybody, also some Xmas cards. We called on Mrs Jones in the afternoon, at the Hutt Vicarage. Auntie thought her a nice old lady. After dinner Dolly Bob & I played tennis.
Friday Dec 15th Worked in the morning – Aunt Bessie’s at home day so we stayed in, some people named Foster called – Birdie came down & Dolly & I went out with her later. After dinner Uncle took Aunt L, Dolly & me a drive. The evening turned quite cold after a warm but somewhat gusty day.
Saturday Dec 16th I stirred the plum puddings this morning – also did some work – the afternoon was windy so we did not go a drive but sat in a sheltered place in the garden. Dolly & I went for a short walk after tea.
Sunday Dec 17th Day beautifully fine. In the afternoon Uncle took Aunt L, Dolly & me a most beautiful drive along the Wellington road as far as Ngahauranga (pron: Naranga) where the Meat Export Co’s works are, then up a road which winds up to the top of the hills following a gully with a swift-flowing stream – The road is in most parts cut out of solid rock, the gully is very narrow – in one place it was not more than 20 feet across from one wall of rock to the other before the road was cut – so that all the way one is shut in by huge rocks either bare or green, & one looks down on the stream many feet below – We came out at a place called Johnsonville, made a sort of round on the top of the hills through Khandallah & Crofton & came down another road similar to the one we came up & equally beautiful. It was a great three hours drive & we enjoyed it very much. The colours are so pretty at this time of the year – the green is so fresh & on a sunny day the colouring on the hills is magnificent. It makes it hard to believe we are so near Xmas.
Monday Dec 18th Slight earthquake in the night. Aunt L & I did not feel it. A busy morning doing some work for Aunt Bessie & cleaning silver for Dolly. Mrs Perry the doctor’s wife called in the afternoon, after tea Aunt L & I went for a walk a little way up one of the hills. After dinner Uncle took us a drive to see a new reservoir that the Company are making. Hubert came with us to lead the horse up the steep path, as we could not drive up but had to leave the trap at the bottom.
Tuesday Dec 19th The two girls & I went into town by the 11 o’clock train to do some Xmas shopping. At one o’clock Frank met us & took us to lunch up at the Kiosk on top of a hill, the same place we had tea at a week or two ago, we walked round afterwards to see a hill being levelled, then did more shopping, met Mr & Miss Jones who invited us to tea with them at a restaurant where we had strawberries & cream. Got back in time for dinner & went for a drive afterwards.
Wednesday Dec 20th A very windy & dusty day, not inviting enough to go out. Dolly & I spent the evening at the Ross’ taking our sewing. Mr & Mrs Russell arrived from England today having had a very good passage.
Thursday Dec 21st Still windy but Aunt L & I went for a walk after tea part of the way up one of the hills where it was sheltered. The two girls & I have been busy the last few days make various Xmas presents.
Friday Dec 22nd Dodged Aunt L all the morning as I was making her present & she of course kept wanting to know where I was. In the afternoon she & I went to call on Mrs Gordon, going by bus part of the way there & walking back (3 miles). The arm chair which Aunt L is giving Uncle as a Xmas present arrived today, he is delighted with it. George came home this evening for his Xmas holiday. Aunt Bessie & Dolly went (late because they nearly forgot about it) to a parochial “Social” to welcome Mr & Mrs Russell back. Uncle Dilnot has managed to leave his comfortable new chair for a game of cribbage with Aunt L.
Saturday Dec 23rd A wet & windy day – quite cold. I went out with Dolly in the rain during the afternoon to get one or two things in Petone & the sight of people doing their Xmas shopping in weather not much warmer than we sometimes get at Xmas made me realise for the first time that it is Christmas time. On the strength of that I got a few cards & posted them to Orantes friends, I hadn’t felt a bit inclined to do so before. In the evening Mr Russell came in for an hour & we talked about England & the voyage out. Hubert left for Masterton early this morning. Arthur has also gone away for Xmas.
Sunday Dec 24th It rained this morning but after Church had quite cleared so at 2.15 Aunt Lottie & I started with Uncle for a long drive of about 35 miles. We went in the “tub” which Uncle bought out from England it being lighter than the dog-cart for such a long distance. We drove along the Hutt valley for 7 miles then walked up a hill for 2½ miles, very pretty view, soon after we got to the top we came to the other side of the watershed where the water flows down to the west coast instead of into Wellington harbour. On some hills in the distance there was quite a cap of snow, they looked so pretty in the sunlight. We descended gently through bleak hill country with bare tree stumps showing where there had been bush, until we reached an inlet of the sea the coast of which we followed for some miles, then we turned in to Johnsonville & had home through the beautiful Ngaharanga gorge which we drove up a week ago. We took bananas & biscuits to keep us going & arrived back at 8 o’clock ready for supper. Aunt L was rather tired but not overmuch so, I did up Xmas presents ready for tomorrow.
Christmas Day We went to 8 o’clock service – Church was decorated about 6 o’clock by energetic people with bamboo branches & different sorts of flowers, not actually our idea of Xmas decorations. We found a little pile on our breakfast plates. I had quite a lot of presents. £1 from Uncle Dilnot – a lovely little edition of “The Light of Asia” from Aunt Bessie, 10/- from Aunt Lottie – silver-topped smelling salts bottle from the three girls, ditto from Frank & Arthur (they are going to change it for something else as I have duplicate) & a book called “Maureen’s Fairing” from Hubert & Bob. After breakfast I drove up with Uncle to fetch Ann down for the day. We went to the 11 o’clock service – very strange to be singing the Christmas hymns wearing muslin dresses & summer hats. Dinner at 1 o’clock, roast fowls, green peas, plum pudding, trifle, raspberries & cream, pine apple, figs, almonds & raisins. Some of them played tennis in the afternoon. I felt inclined for a quiet time reading & writing. We did nothing special in the evening.
Tuesday Dec 26th Another lovely day. Aunt L & I started off with Uncle in the tub at 9.30 for the Wainni reservoir, about 12 miles off. We had to walk 2 miles up the Wainni hill, this range is on the right side of the valley looking up we had not been over it before. There is a fine view from the top, then we went down a long hill & along until we came to the Wainni river which flows down a beautiful valley where the hills are covered with bush & ferns. We drove up a mile or two as far as the reservoir (which supplies Wellington. It was 11.30 by then & we took Grisel out, walked about for an hour then lunched on sandwiches & fruit & tea out of the billy which we had brought with us. Then we set off again & went another six miles to see some friends of Uncle’s, two Ms Graces (no relation to the cricketers) & their sister Mrs Willoughby, who live in a lovely house among the hills – To get to the house we had to drive across a field where the track was barely visible & ford the river – Fortunately they were in & they gave us tea, then while Uncle talked to the men-kind Mrs W took Auntie & me through some thick bush near the house – our first walk through bush where you have to push a way for yourself as you go along. Coming back we had to walk up the Wainni range again, altogether we walked about 5 miles & our drive was well over 30miles. We got back about 6.45 rather tired but having much enjoyed the outing.
Wednesday Dec 27th Brindisi mail arrived this morning – so nice to get six Xmas letters. It is rainy today, but we are glad of a quiet time after our long excursion, & time to write for the Frisco mail which goes out this evening.
Thursday Dec 28th A wet & cold day. Aunt L just went for a constitutional after tea. In the evening it got so cold that we had a fire. Aunt L proposed to Dolly that she should go with us through the Otira & Buller gorges, a proposal which she accepted with the greatest alacrity.
Friday Dec 29th Another windy cold day, we had a fire again in the evening. Aunt L & I returned Mrs Perry’s call (the doctor’s wife) but she was out.
Saturday Dec 30th Fine & warmer. Uncle took Aunt L a drive round the coast to Days Bay. I stayed at home & had some tennis with Frank & Maidie & Dolly. Dolly & I had a walk later.
Sunday Dec 31st Most of us spent rather a lazy day. Uncle got up early & drove Arthur in to Wellington to catch the New Plymouth train – he starts his fortnight’s holiday today & is going up to see Bernard stopping a night at New Plymouth on his way. This morning was fine & warm but in the afternoon it turned windy.
Monday Jan 1st 1906 We had planned a picnic to the lighthouse out at the Heads (the entrance to Wellington harbour) but the morning turned out windy & not promising enough for such a long expedition, so we decided instead to walk over the hill to the Petone reservoir (not the Wainni) where we should find shelter from the wind. We started at 11.45 taking provisions for lunch & tea. the party consisted of Maidie, Dolly, myself, Frank, Bob, Mr & Mrs Gordon (a young married couple) & Mrs G’s two sisters, the Humphrey girls. We walked up past the Rock, turned into a deep gully following a very steep path down to the reservoir which is a charmingly situated piece of water surrounded by steep hills covered with bush. There we lunched, having boiled the billy, then wandered about in the bush admiring the wildness of the scenery & the masses of beautiful ferns & mosses of all kinds which grow in every slope & often cover the trunks of trees. Bob & Mr Gordon played the fool & kept us all alive, the greatest adventure we had was a scramble down a steep cliff which we dignified by name of “precipice”. With some trouble however everyone got safely down, then we started to follow the stream downwards from the reservoir & had about three miles to walk through a beautiful gully, we stopped for tea on the way. Reaching the end of the gully we had only a mile to get home – altogether we must have walked about eight miles, & nearly all the way we were sheltered from the wind. Uncle & the two Aunts thought it too windy for a drive which they had suggested taking, so the Aunts had a walk together & Uncle spent a quiet day at home which I think he rather enjoyed. New Years Day is of course a general holiday in N.Z.
Tuesday Jan 2nd It simply poured with rain this morning but cleared up in the afternoon so Auntie Lottie & I walked up to some public gardens at the Hutt spent about an hour there – walked back in time for dinner. In the evening Uncle drove us up to the Hutt to see Miss Caw, one of the Orantes passengers who is staying with her relations, the Roses, friends of Uncle & Auntie. We found her in & had a nice long chat about our mutual experiences since we parted at Melbourne where she has been staying. Dolly went today to stay a day or two with friends near Wellington.
Wednesday Jan 3rd Wrote out in the verandah this morning – Beautiful day – tennis party here this afternoon.
Thursday Jan 4th Yesterday’s tennis afternoon went off very well & was very jolly. This morning as it was fine Aunt L & I went to Wellington, she went to Cooks office to get some information about tours we did a little shopping got lunch, went to call on a lady whose aunt Aunt L had met, however she was ill & couldn’t see us, so we spent the rest of the afternoon in the gardens, & sat on a bench & read guide books & talked over our plans. We met Miss Caw at the lunch place.
Friday Jan 5th I was busy in the morning doing jobs for Maidie & needlework. Callers came in the afternoon & Dolly came home. Ann came to dinner. The evening turned out very wet & after we were in bed the sky seemed to be falling out! I see in the papers there were over two inches of rain in the 24 hours.
Saturday Jan 6th Very cold this morning we have had a fire all day, the rain seems mostly to have rained itself out though it has been showery. I went out marketing this morning with Dolly to warm myself. The afternoon was not inviting enough to go out so we sewed etc. Frisco mail arrived this morning & Naples also, letter very welcome indeed. I had eight altogether this morning & Aunt Lottie five. I always like to outdo her!
Sunday Jan 7th Directly after mid-day dinner Aunt L & I started off with Uncle in the “tub” for another long drive up the Ngahauranga Gorge, a long round among the hills down another very pretty gorge, up the Mahara hill, part of which we walked, through Karori, a pretty place three miles out of Wellington, & home by Wellington. We got back at 7.45 ready for a late tea, we had sustained ourselves with bananas & biscuits on the way.
Monday Jan 8th Nothing special happened today Aunt L & I had a walk between tea & dinner, the girls have been busy as usual on Monday that being washing day.
Tuesday Jan 9th This afternoon Maidie drove Dolly & me up to the Fosters at the Hutt where there was a tennis afternoon on, we had several sets & enjoyed the afternoon. After dinner Uncle took Aunt L & me for a short drive when we got back we found Mr & Mrs Ward had come in, they stayed talking till nearly nine, they are both exceedingly nice. Mr Ward is the clergyman who took duty here while Mr Russell was in England & whose sermons we enjoyed so much.
Wednesday Jan 10th This afternoon Miss Caw called with Mrs Ross & we had a nice chat. Dolly & I went out later. This evening we had been sitting in the verandah – it was nice & warm & the moon lovely.
Thursday Jan 11th I did a lot this morning, needlework & cleaning silver. Mrs Gordon came to tea & brought her work, it was a delightful day fine & warm, but not too hot. After dinner Uncle drove Aunt Bessie, Aunt Lottie & me up to the Hutt, we saw the timber ready for building Hubert’s house on his site which is pleasantly situated quite close to the Bellevue gardens. It was a perfect evening for a drive – the sunset was remarkably beautiful.
Friday Jan 12th Another lovely day. Aunt Bessie &Aunt Lottie went to call on Mrs Foster at the Hutt, the girls & I started directly after lunch by train to the station before Wellington where we got out & walked over the hill to Khandallah to see a friend of theirs who is married & has three children. It was a lovely walk & the view from the hill was beautiful – the water was a deep blue & the distant hills very clear. We had a pleasant afternoon talking & playing with the children in the garden.
Saturday Jan 13th The morning was fine though a bit windy. Uncle had planned taking us over the Rimutake mountains to Featherston, but was a little doubtful about the weather so telegraphed to Featherstone & received a reply that it was “quite calm” he came home between 10 & 11 o’clock, we packed up “things” in a bag partook of elevenses & started off in the tub at 11.40 we had a fair amount of wind especially at the beginning but not enough to make us wish we hadn’t started. About 2 p.m. we found a sheltered spot & picnicked on sandwiches & bananas & milk & took Grisel out to give her a rest. Starting on about 2.45 we had a hill of about 2 miles to walk up (the Mungaroa hill) & about half an hour after that we began to ascend the Rimutakas – Grisel pulled us up a little way, then we walked a mile or two, then got in where it was not so steep, then walked up to the top where the road was very rocky & rough –the scenery all the way was wild & rugged the road wound round & round & up & up, at many points there was nothing between us & a sheer precipice –About 7 miles brought to the top then we had about the same distance to descent, the road here was rougher & we walked some way. We could see the Wairapa plains stretching below & were not sorry when at 7.15 we got down to them & arrived at Featherston a pretty little place & looking specially pretty with the sunset glow all over it, & over Lake Wairapa which we could see a mile or two away. We went to the Empire Hotel, where we got rooms & had supper. Uncle found George who is stationed at Featherston & brought him round for a chat – we all retired to bed early.
Sunday Jan 14th I looked out of my window at 6.30 – it was a glorious summer morning – we breakfasted about 8.30 – George joined us. At 10 a.m. we made a start on the return journey in brilliant sunshine, so in consideration of the heat Grisel was allowed to take “things quietly”. After she had walked us up for ¾ of an hour we got out & I walked up the whole of the rest of the way – it took about 2 hours including a few pauses in places where we could catch a faint breeze, the hot sun just poured down upon us & there was no shade. Auntie walked for some way & Uncle too – part of the way I led Grisel – we refreshed ourselves once or twice at little mountain streams. We walked down about a mile past the top just where the road was very rough, here Auntie L met with a slight mishap, she was standing by Grisel who was having a drink when the mare turned suddenly & must have knocked her down & trod with her hoof on poor Auntie’s toe. Fortunately she didn’t seem to be hurt & we got in & Grisel walked us down the hill. At Kaitoke – a little way past the bottom of the hill we stopped at a farm house where we got a very good cold lunch – It was 2.30 so we were quite ready for it. It was cooler by this time as there were a few clouds about but it kept quite fine for the rest of the drive & we reached Petone without further adventures at about 6.45. We were not very tired – enjoyed a good tea & sat talking in the verandah most of the evening.
Monday Jan 15th Aunt L’s great toe was black & blue this morning & too much swollen to get a boot on – she rested upstairs most of the day keeping her foot up hoping to be fit for our start tomorrow. This evening however we all feel very doubtful about it, a few days rest would put it all right – but using it the next few days might just make it really bad. A Mrs Hill & Mrs Leighton called this afternoon. Aunt came down to see them.
Tuesday Jan 16th Auntie’s foot better this morning & we decided to start. I spent the morning packing & the afternoon writing for the Frisco mail. We shall dine here as usual at 6 & take the 7.20 train to town, to catch the “Rotomahana” which sails at 8 p.m. for Lyttleton. Frank is getting tickets & berths for us.
Wednesday Jan 17th Yesterday evening we started from the house about 7 p.m., Bob erecting a triumphal arch over the gateway as we came out. Frank accompanied us to Wellington & saw us safely on board, we started punctually at 8 p.m. Having looked at our cabin which was 4 berthed but we had it to ourselves, & settled Aunt L comfortably with her foot up in the saloon Maidie & I went on deck to watch the lights as we left the harbour, it was a lovely evening but after getting past the Heads our boat the “Rotomahana” began to feel not so steady & we all felt it would be wiser to get to bed quickly. Once out of Cook’s Straits she steadied down again & soon we knew no more until we were nearing Lyttleton. We breakfasted at 7.30 on the boat, arriving in port immediately afterwards – The train for Christchurch (20 mins run) was waiting on the quay we got our luggage transferred & were in Christchurch about 9.45. We installed Auntie in the waiting room where she could put her foot up on a couch, she had guide books etc to keep her amused & Maidie & I went off to telegraph of our arrival to Aunt Bessie – then we just looked into the Cathedral & M telephoned to a friend who lives 2 miles out to ask if she could bicycle in to see us – she came & met us at a tea place where we went & enjoyed a good meal of tea & scones. We bought bananas & biscuits to keep us going in the train – then it was time to go to the station – we got a nice compartment to ourselves not far from the dining car, we sent Auntie to have a good lunch about 1 o’clock she had only had a cup of tea at the station since 7.30 breakfast. Then we all had a good high tea about 5.30. The scenery for some time after leaving Christchurch (at 11.55) was very flat & uninteresting – then we were close to the sea for some time just before Dunedin it was very pretty but it got too dark to see much as we didn’t get in till 9.20 p.m. We got our luggage taken to the City Hotel & found our way there – Auntie walking quite well after having kept her foot up most the time in the train. We were glad to get to bed having secured nice rooms for two nights.
Thursday Jan 18th I woke early & found the sun shining brightly & we had ordered breakfast for 8.30 – before that Maidie went down to the station to see a friend off by the 8 o’clock train. We had an excellent breakfast, then Maidie & I went off by tram up a very steep hill to Rosslyn where a Mrs Whitehead lives whom she wanted to call on – we had a glorious view of the town & harbour from the hill – Dunedin is very pretty & stands on a series of hills looking across the harbour to a long hilly peninsular which shuts it in. Mrs W was not at home so we returned to the hotel – packed up Auntie L & went a train drive to St Clair – a pretty little place on the sea with nice rocks & cliffs & sand. Coming back we went another tram ride up one of the hills to enable Auntie to see the fine view. Then lunch at the hotel after which Auntie rested for an hour – Maidie went out to spend the afternoon with yet another friend a Miss Clinton who lives at the bishop’s house having lately been sort of companion to the bishop’s wife who died about 2 months ago. I went out to get pcs, then at 3 o’clock took Auntie off to the Gardens which she was anxious to see. We spent a pleasant 1½ hours there, there were such beautiful trees & flowers there – we got tea – came back & Auntie bought some photos, then I left her at the hotel & went to make a few enquiries at the Tourist Office – Maidie arrived soon after I got back having enjoyed her afternoon & saying the Bishop hoped if we spent any time in Dunedin on our way back that she would take Auntie & me out to Bishopsgrove. I related my interview with the man at the tourist office, which was most satisfactory then we dressed & dined at 6.30 – since when we are writing & reading in the drawing room.
Friday Jan 19th We breakfasted at 7.30 – took the 8.25 train to Lumsden having to change at Gore Junction en route. We had a comfortable journey though the train seemed very slow, though called an express it stopped at nearly all stations, at one station we had time to get tea & sandwiches. We got to Lumsden at 2.50 a funny little place in the middle of the plains with two or three hotels for Lakes tourists accommodation. We went to the Elbow hotel, got decent rooms had afternoon tea – Auntie rested. Maidie & I wandered out & explored a little, saw snow capped mts. In the distance. We had a meal at 6 – it was a fine evening so M & I went out again – we all retired to bed in good time.
Saturday Jan 20th We intended taking coach to Lake Manapouri which was to start at 11 - at breakfast however they told us there would be a special coach, as there were a good many going, starting earlier so we had to fly round & sort out the things we wanted to take, as our larger luggage was to be left at Lumsden, we just had time & started off about 10. The coach was a funny looking affair – it looked rather as if it might have come out of one of Dickens’ books – we had to go inside, but as the day was showery & not very warm we didn’t mind that especially as one could see very well out of the windows. We had been told the road was very good as far as Mossburn (12 miles) so I was rather surprised when I found we were fording streams with very stony beds, & jolting along over uneven roads with deep ruts, so that one began sometimes to hope the coach wouldn’t go over. I wondered what a bad road could be like, however one soon got used to it. At Mossburn they changed horses (we had five, two in the shafts & three leading abreast) & we had time for tea & bread & butter. The next stage was 23 miles – we began to get more into the hills, where the road was steep it was fairly good as a rule, but in the flat it was often a mere track across grass – once we crossed a boggy bit & there were of course lots more streams to ford. About 3.30 we came to a little inn called Key of the Lakes. Here we changed horses again & we had time for a good tea with scones & butter etc. The last stage was 17 miles & we were not sorry when Lake Manapouri came into view & we found ourselves at the Accommodation house overlooking it. The land lady there had not expected so many & seemed very much put out, however she soon recovered & found beds for everybody – we were lucky to get a room to ourselves with three beds in it. They gave us a very nice dinner for which we were quite ready. There were some nice people staying there – two girls a Miss Dickinson & Miss Herring who were in the coach with us we found particularly nice. Maidie & I wandered about with them admiring the view of the lake in the evening light Auntie found the other people to talk to sitting in the verandah whence there was a good view of the lake. We all retired early as the launch was to start next morning for a trip round the lake at 7 o’clock. It came on to rain hard about 9 o’clock.
Sunday Jan 21st When we woke up it was raining, however there were fine intervals between the showers so we got up for 6.30 breakfast hoping for the best. Everyone felt very doubtful about the weather, we had to start early as one party of people wanted to get to the head of the lake & walk over to one of the west coast sounds in the day. During breakfast the rain stopped & the sun appeared – everyone’s spirits rose & all decided to go. We started from the landing stage just below the hotel about 7.30 in a little steam launch holding about 20 people. As the day went on the weather improved, the sun shone & we had a delightful trip. The scenery at first was just ordinarily pretty but nothing very special – soon however we got close under the Cathedral Peaks, a fine bold range skirting the lake for some distance. Out in the open in places the lake was quite rough, but for some way we kept close to the hills to get a view of the many pretty waterfalls pouring into the lake. At one place where the water dripped from the top of a great overhanging cliff the boat passed right underneath & we felt the drip on our faces. There are several islands, these & all the hills around are covered with bush & are just like our English wooded hills only of course the vegetation is different. We got to the head of the lake about noon, the walking party set off having their meal at an accommodation hut on the shore which we afterwards visited, but before landing we lunched on sandwiches biscuits & cake & tea which had been provided for us on the boat. About one o’clock we started down the lake again this time keeping nearer the other side – just as we got in clouds came up again, we had afternoon tea then started off by coach to Te Anau (13 miles). Here we found quite a superior accommodation house, in fact it calls itself a hotel, & we got very comfortable little rooms to ourselves – Mrs Fraser the landlady remembered the Uncles & Aunt Lizzie quite well & was quite interested when she found out who we were. She also knows Folkestone so Auntie & she had a good talk.
Monday Jan 22nd The boat up Lake Te Anau was to start at 7 o’clock so we got up soon after 5, packed up in our small bags the things we wanted on the Milford Sound trip (which after much consideration & enquiry we had by now decided to take) leaving the rest at the hotel, breakfasted at 6.15 & were off punctually at 7. It had rained in the night & was still raining, however after yesterday’s experience we thought we might venture. This time though we were not so fortunate, for some time we all stayed on deck protected by mackintoshes, rugs & umbrellas, but very little could be seen for mist & rain. At last it came down in such torrents that almost everyone, Auntie included had to take refuge in the tiny cabin, Maidie & I found a fairly sheltered place on deck & a great tarpaulin under which we sat through it all though every wave & then spray dashed over the deck and would have drenched us but for the tarpaulin. About 10 o’clock it began to clear everybody went to the cabin for tea & biscuits after which refreshment the deck was getting quite dry. Fortunately the lower part of the lake was not specially beautiful, the fine part was still to come & the head of the lake certainly surpassed all our expectations. Mountains much higher than at Manapouri & capped with snow towered one above another, their lower slopes covered with beautiful bush was conspicuous, it was about a its best, & the red, green & white & the glitter of the water in the sunlight made a glorious combination of colouring. At the head of the lake we disembarked & walked half a mile to Glade House where we could get equipped with knapsacks for our walk – Here we had our first real introduction to sandflies which are a real pest in the bush in these parts. Everybody outside the house had to be enveloped in gauze veils & gloves, these little wretches swarm every where & settle on you & bite before you are aware unless you are constantly on the watch. We had a good lunch at Glade House & started off at 2.40 on our first 6½ miles. It had stopped raining, there had recently been another shower & it was not long before it came on again & we had to do practically the whole of the first stage in the rain. However we all felt very cheerful & brave & trudged along manfully – Maidie & I each had a knapsack strapped on our shoulders & Auntie had a small hand back, we only took of course just what was absolutely necessary. The path at first was very good, under beautiful trees & following up the Clinton river most of the way. The path was narrow for the most part so Maidie was pioneer Auntie followed next & I kept behind as I said to pick up the pieces. (This was our position during the greater part of the whole walk I may as well state here that I am writing this on our return to Glade House – the last two sheets of diary were written at odd moments in huts, but it has been impossible to keep it written up to date this last week). It was surprising how quickly the time passes as we walked along, there were very few obstacles in our path, only a few stony creeks to cross, a few muddy places & one great tree trunk fallen across the path, to get over. At 5 o’clock we came upon the first huts, Clinton huts, kept by a cheery looking man named Sam. There were two sleeping huts one for men & one for ladies & the cooking hut. We were of course wet so changed our shoes & stockings & put the wet ones to dry. There were several other ladies with us, Miss Dickinson & Miss Heving & a Mrs Moore & her daughter. Sam gave us a good meal, pea soup, tinned meat & plenty of bread & butter & jam – afterwards Auntie retired early to bed, Maidie & I stayed up to run large tucks in our skirts our first walk having proved that that was the most sensible thing to do. Our beds consisted of bunks with just a mattress & pillow & plenty of warm blankets, we generally slept very comfortably. Auntie especially got a good night all the time which was a great thing for her.
Tuesday Jan 23rd We started at 9.30, after a good breakfast, on our next 6½ miles to Mintara Huts, it was a nice morning & we enjoyed the walk though it was rougher than the first stage, there were a good many streams to cross, also we had 800 feet to rise, just at the end it was quite steep & we were glad to see the hut where we arrived at 12.40. The hut keeper here was named Bill, his hut did not look so nicely kept as Sam’s so we were glad we had not to stay the night here. However he seemed a very good cook & gave us an excellent lunch & we had a good rest. The next stage was over the mountain & as we heard there was 6 inches of snow on the top we thought it would be wiser to have a guide, he would carry our knapsacks which would be a great help. Fortunately there was a guide at the hut who could come with us. We started just after 2.30, at the end of the first 2½ miles which we did very gently stopping for a little rest every now & then, we found ourselves on top of McKinnon’s Pass, a height of 2500 feet, we had walked in snow for some way, where it was still hard it was not bad walking but in some places it was turning into slush. It was a delightful feeling to be up so high among the snowy peaks, close to us Balloon Peak towered high, in front was Mt Elliot with a great glacier on its slopes, from the top of the saddle we could see over into Clinton valley which we had just left & also into the Arthur valley into which we had now to descend. Before starting down we wrote our names on a slip of paper & left them in a bottle kept up there for the purpose. Now we had a good 4 miles to come down & we got very tired of it before we arrived at the Falls Huts – near the top we had to follow round the mountain for some way & grade was not so very steep, then we had some wide stony creeks to cross, our guide was a nice man & Maidie & I were very glad to have him to help Auntie across, these were the places she found the most difficult. Lower down when we got into bush again the zig-zag path seemed quite interminable, Auntie was getting tired & couldn’t come down the steep path at all quickly, however at last about 7 o’clock we came to the huts kept by Mr & Mrs Jones very nice people, he was our guide who had brought us over the mountain. Auntie at once secured him to take us back again on Saturday when we hoped to go back over the pass – We all decided that after our big day of over 13 miles we would take a rest next day – we seemed likely to be quite comfortable at Mrs Jones’ hut.
Wednesday Jan 24th When we woke rain was coming down in torrents, it showed no signs of clearing up until the afternoon, so all the other people decided like us not to go on. Sutherland Fall, 1904 feet, said to be one of the highest in the world, was 1½ miles from the Hut, we hoped to see them during the day, but as it only cleared up for a little while & was still very wet underfoot only Maidie & I attempted it. Auntie didn’t want to get wet again having got her things dry. It was lucky she didn’t go for it was the wettest walk I think I ever went, water went squelch, squelch through our boots at every step & the streams we had to cross were so high we could never have got Auntie across. We had to pile of lot of big stones in one before we could get across. When we arrived at the Falls we were amply rewarded, there having been so much rain we saw them at their best, the pics give a good idea of them except that from below, as we saw them the volume of water in the lowest leap was much greater than the picture shows, the spray could be felt for a tremendous distance, we had to keep up our umbrellas to partly protect us. Some idea of the size of the Falls can be gained when you know that the basin into which the highest leap falls is 2 acres across. We had to dry all our things again after this expedition & I got a little diary written up, it has got rather behindhand lately. I just have to write it when & where I can. Auntie found a pack of cards to play patience with.
Thursday Jan 25th We had 13 miles to go now before we could sleep anywhere. I stipulated that we should take something to eat not feeling inclined to do the whole straight off – so Mrs Jones gave us some lunch. There was the Arthur river to cross about 5⅛ miles from Falls huts, there is a sort of cage running on a wire cable over this in which you can pull yourself or be pulled across, we didn’t quite know how we should manage this so Auntie got a guide to go with us as far as the river of course he carried our knapsacks which was a help. It was fine & we had a nice walk to the river there Sutherland Falls could be seen from one place, Auntie was rather pleased as this was all she saw of them. At the river we overtook Miss Herring & Mrs Dickinson our guide pulled them across in the cage which by the way looked rather an alarming affair being 20or 30 feet above the river & the river was a good width. Auntie got in the cage & when she was half way across the wire which pulled the thing across got off the wheel at one end, fortunately the guide was able to finish pulling her across & then went himself to try & fix the wire on again, this he couldn’t do without another man, so he baled out an old leaky boat & rowed M & me across in that. So except for a few sandfly bites which we got while waiting this little adventure ended happily & our visions of Auntie sitting suspended in mid air over the river for an hour or two before help could be got, were not realised. Our guide promised to be there next day at 3 o’clock to help us over it again on our way back. A mile or so on we sat down & had our lunch, then we came into some lovely scenery, we passed the Bell Rock Cascade, a very pretty waterfall, & the Giants Gate Fall higher but not so pretty. We passed through some beautiful bush lots of tree ferns & smaller ferns & all sorts of moss & on our right was Lake Ada looking very pretty through the trees. Between 4 & 5 o’clock we arrived at Sandfly Point on Milford Sound – from here we had two miles to go in a boat to Sutherlands Accommodation house, kept by the discoverer of the Falls. We had to wait about ¾ of an hour before the boat arrived & during that time we had ample reason to know why the place was named Sandfly Point! The row across the Sound was most enjoyable especially after our long walk, half way across Mr Sutherland put up a sail & we sailed the rest of the way. The house as we got near looked very inviting from the outside to us who had seen only a hut or two for the last few days but oh dear when we got inside we did nothing but wish ourselves back in a hut again! The only thing that was pretty decent was the food, the room we slept in could more fully be called a home for blue bottles & sandflies & as for the sheets we thought it wiser not to think we had last slept in them! We had determined before hand only to stay one night so as to give plenty of time for the walk back to catch Monday’s boat from Glade House (there was a boat only twice a week) & you may be sure that after seeing the place we didn’t alter our determination. After a meal Maidie & I wandered about a little, the Sound looked beautiful in the evening light, it is about 10 miles in length & we could see more than half-way out to the heads. There are high peaks all around, near Sutherland’s house was the Bowen waterfall, & the Stirling Fall was visible 5 miles away. Sutherland has a steam launch to take people out on the Sound but it had broken down, there was a sailing vessel but they say he only takes people out when he feels inclined which is not often. He is quite an autocrat out there, owns all the land about & won’t sell any so no one can build another place to compete with his. We went to bed fairly early because we were too tired to stay up any longer, but personally I cannot say it was the most cheerful night I ever spent!
Friday Jan 26th I woke up with an eye bunged up with sandfly bites on the eyelid & thought the prospect of walking back to Falls huts half blind cheerful to say the least! However after bathing it went down & I felt very little more of it. We had been told breakfast was at 8, but we had to wait til 9.30 for it – never did I see such a muddly household in my life. However when it came it was pretty decent & we even got them to pack us up some lunch. We had to start in fair time to meet the guide at the cage at 3, so were thankful to find old Sutherland ready to take us in the boat at about 10.30 to Sandfly Point – the Sound looked even more beautiful than last evening, the water was perfectly calm & reflected the scenery most clearly. We hoped to find a man at Sandfly Point to row us across Lake Ada by which we should save 4 or 5 of the 13 miles, there was no one there, but we met the man a mile or two on coming down to the Point, he said he would catch us up if we would wait at the boat landing which we did for over half an hour, but we had to walk up & down to keep off sandflies however it was worth the waiting for we had a beautiful row across the lake, the reflections were lovely. We resumed our march just after 2, having to hurry to get to the cage by 3. We didn’t quite manage it, but though we were only 10 minutes late there was no sign of our guide. Then we felt in rather a fix, we ate our lunch which we hadn’t had time to do before. We tried pulling the cage across empty to see if we could work it, but decided we would rather not trust ourselves to it, at any rate none of us felt inclined to go first! Still less did we like the idea of rowing ourselves across in the leaky boat for the current was strong & there was a rapid just below. So we decided to go back to a small hut we had passed a mile or so back where a billy & some tea & some tin mugs were kept. Two men with a guide we knew would be there sometime in the afternoon & we were lucky enough to find them when we got there having some tea – they gave us some & their guide came on with us & rowed us across in the boat which we much preferred to the cage. Then we felt quite happy again & started bravely on the 5½ miles we still had to walk before reaching Mrs Jones’. We were fairly tired when at about 7.30 we arrived, this being our longest day in point of time though not distance. At Mrs Jones’ we found several new people among them Major General & Mrs Chapman, both extremely nice & whom we had met before at Manapouri. None of those who came down with us were coming back the same day, they all stayed two nights at Sutherland’s so we were able to get a bunk apiece & thankful we were to be in a hut again instead of at Sutherlands!
Saturday Jan 27th We started before 9 a.m. up the long weary four miles or so to the top of the pass Mr Jones came with us & we were thankful to have him to carry the knapsacks. Half way up is a small hut where we had a refresher of tea biscuits & butter. The way up seemed rather interminable, there was no snow this time & we had it fine all the way. We felt rather tired when we got to Mintare Huts at about 2 & decided to stay the night there. Gen & Mrs Chapman were returning today & we lunched with them at Mintara. Bill had cleaned up since we were there last & his hut looked quite nice to stay in The Chapmans went on to Clinton Huts in the afternoon so we were all by ourselves Maidie talked prettily to Bill & he made us very comfortable. We made us great fire & we rested during the afternoon & had very comfortable night with two mattresses apiece!
Sunday Jan 28th After quite an effecting parting with Bill we set off at 9.45 for Clinton Huts which we reached in 3 hours after a pleasant walk. Sam gave us a good welcome & we again lunched with the Chapmans. It was a lovely afternoon & we took our time over the final stage to Glade House partly to admire the scenery which we had only seen from under umbrellas on the way up, & partly because our feet were getting tired & we found it harder to walk quickly now than at first. Glade House hove in sight about 6 o’clock, Mrs Garvey, the proprietress gave us a good welcome – the Chapmans had arrived before us & we all had supper together. After eating fresh meat again & having newspapers to look at we felt we were getting back to civilization once more. We wrote letters & diaries before going to bed.
(I found I have forgotten to mention the avalanches we saw & heard on the way up the pass we saw a good many little ones & the night we spent at Bill’s hut we heard a good big one. It sounded like thunder but must have been some miles away.)
Monday Jan 29th It was nice to feel we need not breakfast early to hurry off the boat did not leave till 2 p.m. so we had a quiet morning writing & then watching the other walking parties arrive. We lunched at 12.30 & took our seats on the boat in good time – Some of the people who had come up by the boat to do the walk were amusing to watch – one felt so superior to them & quite sorry for some who didn’t seem to realise a bit what they were undertaking. One man & his wife were taking a boy of four, I don’t suppose they got far! Altogether we felt very pleased with ourselves for having accomplished the walk so successfully & with so little fatigue. The trip down Lake Te Anau was much finer than our up trip though the wind was cold. The snow had all melted from the hills & the scenery didn’t appear to such advantage as before. We were glad to get to Mrs Fraser’s hotel, find our left luggage & get into some clean clothes. We packed up in the evening & got to bed in good time.
Tuesday Jan 30th The coach for Lumsden was too start at 5.45 a.m. so we had to tumble out of bed at 4.45 & get some breakfast, then the coach was late & kept us waiting nearly half an hour which was trying when we thought of the extra sleep we might have had. There were 16 to go & when the coach came up it was a very ramshackle affair not really fit to carry so many – three people had to sit on top of all the luggage – we who were inside did not have a happy time, besides the fearful jolting & swaying of the vehicle due to the bad road we had serious fears of the roof supports giving way & having the luggage & three people down on our heads. One of the supports did actually crack right down, the driver strapped it together & said it would be all right, but every body felt very glad when that 52 miles was safely over. We stopped at the Key of the Lakes & had a second breakfast while the horses were changed, & again at Mossburn where we had a good dinner. We got to Lumsden just in time to collect the rest of our luggage from the hotel, & catch the 3 o’clock train to Kingston which connects with the 5 o’clock boat to Queenstown where we arrived about 7.30 after a calm passage up Lake Wahatipu which is quite different to the other two lakes, the scenery is more wild & rugged, high rocky hills with no bush. We tried to get rooms at the Supreme Court Hotel which had been recommended to us but they were full, & after some hunting about we found a little boarding house where they could take us in. The post office was opened about 8 p.m. for the mail coming in by our boat so I went for letters which we had asked to be forwarded to Queenstown. There was a big packet for all of us & we all read them while we had supper. It was delightful getting them after a long time without any. We all slept in one room that night, but Auntie was promised a separate room next day. We all slept very well, feeling glad we hadn’t to make an early start any where next day.
Wednesday Jan 31st It was a glorious morning, after breakfast Maidie & I explored a little & were delighted with the place, it is very prettily situated on the lake with hills all round. We made enquiries about drives & after having consulted Auntie on the subject we arranged to have a buggy & be driven out to Arrowtown, one of the principal drives around. Then we climbed a little way up a hill overlooking the town & lake & sat on the grass writing for an hour. Auntie meanwhile spent a quiet morning indoors. We got them to give us dinner at 12.30 & started off at 1.15 in our buggy with a beautiful pair of horses & a nice driver. The lake as we drove along by it was bluer than I think I have ever seen any water – we saw the Kawarau Falls at the outlet of the lake, then drove round a pretty little piece of water called Lake Hayes then on to Arrowtown a pretty little place up among the hills – we stayed half an hour or so for tea then drove home another way deep down between jagged rocks. Gold was found in parts of the bed of the river & is extracted by means of hydraulic sluices, we saw one of these at work. Coming back the shadows on the hills were beautiful, we got in about 6, all having much enjoyed our drive. After tea Maidie & I went out for a little stroll, General Chapman accosted us & wanted to know if we two girls would join him & Mrs Chapman on the Shippers Drive which is the famous drive about here – the road is cut out of rock on the side of the hill & there is a sheer precipice on one side. Auntie had heard of this drive but was too nervous to go, however she said she would be pleased for us to go with the Chapmans if we liked so we went to the stables with them & arranged it for tomorrow.
Thursday Feb 1st We breakfasted at 8 & went round to where the Chapmans are lodging (which by the way seems to be no more aristocratic than our present abode) about 9, the buggy & pair of horses came round for us & we started up hill for a long way, we didn’t get to the top till after 11, then began the descent along the precipitous road, which we all thought much less formidable than we had anticipated, I expected from all accounts to have my heart in my mouth several times, but it stayed quite quietly in its proper place. It was certainly no worse than driving over the Rimulakas. The scenery was very wild & rugged but not the sort that Auntie cares about, so we felt she had not missed much. She spent a quiet day writing & going a walk. We had lunch at a wayside inn & drove back the same way we came getting in just as a heavy shower was coming on about 5 o’clock.
Friday Feb 2nd We started off by the 10 o’clock boat to Glenorchy & had a smooth & fine trip up the Lake called at Kinloch on the way got to Glenorchy about 2 o’clock – It looked a very small & uninteresting place after Queenstown, but we had come there for the sake of the trips to be done from it. We had telephoned for rooms & found ourselves very comfortably accommodated at Birleys Mt Earnshaw Hotel – we had lunch on our arrival then drove with a buggy & pair to Paradise (12 miles) a young fellow who had come up in the boat with us shared our buggy & made himself very agreeable. Paradise is rather a pretty little place on Diamond Lake & we drove through a pretty piece of bush to get there, but we all agreed that it did not come up to its name, nor to the guide book reports of it. We had tea at the little sort of hotel there & drove to back to supper, afterwards made arrangements for our trip up the Routeburn valley tomorrow.
Saturday Feb 3rd We had settled to take two days over the Routeburn trip sleeping at the Accommodation Hut up there, so as not to make too tiring a day of it. Accordingly we started about 11 in a buggy with four horses because after we had driven as far as a buggy could go we had to ride 5 miles or so to the hut! Mrs Birley packed up provisions, our night things & blankets & saddles as the hut up there is not stored with necessaries like the Fulford huts. We drove about 12 miles crossing the Rees river (named after a cousin of Aunt George) & the Dart river, the latter took about 20 mins or more to cross, the word river as we understand it in England does not convey much idea of the sort of places you ford out here, we are getting quite used to it now, a great stretch of river bed, sandy & stony & scrubby, sometimes a mile or more in width, with water flowing in numerous & ever-varying channels, is what you must understand when I speak of fording rivers. When we stopped our driver & guide whose name was Sam took out the horses put on the saddles & bridles & a pack of the things we had to carry on each, left the buggy under some bush & then come the business of hoisting us up. Maidie having ridden before was allowed a side saddle, but Auntie & I both being novices were provided with a man saddle & (in a whisper be it spoken!) rode straddle-legged. (N.B. This is quite the common thing out here as being the only safe way to ride in very rough country & no one thinks anything of it.) Auntie was mounted first on a pretty brown horse named Kangeroo, next I was assisted on to Bob’s broad back, an old white horse the quiestest & most sure-footed of them all & consequently assigned to me on the strength of Aunt Lottie having once ridden years ago. Maidie had a dark horse named Dolly & looked quite superior on her side saddle. The guide of course accompanied us on the fourth horse, we started about 2.30 & going all the way at a slow walk we didn’t reach the hut until 5. It was a pretty ride mostly under birch trees, every now & then we emerged on to an open grass plot & there were occasional streams to cross. It was wonderful the way the horses picked their way, they needed absolutely no guiding, they know the way so well – there were some very steep little bits to go up & down, up a long & frightfully steep zig-zag path we just clung on to the horse’s mane & they carried us up splendidly. The Routeburn stream was very pretty, in one place where it rushes down among huge boulders it is lost sight of completely for a little way & flows under the rock. Above this place we rode along a precipitous path, but the horses are so sure-footed & so used to it that one didn’t mind a bit. When we reached the hut we were very glad of a good meal of sheep’s tongues, tinned apricots, bread & butter & cake ad lib, not having had anything since Mrs Birley gave us “elevenses” before starting. Afterwards we prowled round & explored for a bit, the hut is very prettily situated on a large open space surrounded by mountain peaks, the highest snow-capped, the lower slopes covered with bush with a waterfall appearing here & there. We made our beds & retired early having arranged for an early start next morning. The beds were just wooden bunks with dried bracken spread over to serve as a mattress, we spread our blankets & rugs over this & rolled up our clothes for a pillow & felt quite comfortable when we got into bed but before morning our bones as Maidie expressed it, began to come through. Also we distinctly heard mice scrambling about under our pillows but we just took it all as it came & didn’t worry. Auntie luckily slept peacefully through it all & Maidie & I both had a very fair night.
Sunday Feb 4th We were up soon after 6 & having had our morning wash in the stream flowing in front of the hut we were ready for breakfast by 7. At 7.30 we started walking up the a long steep path leading to the Harris Falls – the guide came on after washing up the breakfast things & caught us up just before the Falls. These were pretty, but we had seen so many falls superior in height & in volume of water that we were not so very much impressed. We started on again for Lake Harris, another 2½ miles further on, but climbing up the stiff rocky path to get to the top of the falls, Auntie gave in & said she would not attempt Lake Harris but would sit at the Falls for a bit & then make her way slowly down again to the hut while we two went on with Sam. We had a lot of buggy ground to cross after getting to the top of the falls, here the track was not at all clear & we could not have found the way without a guide – the last bit before we reached the lake was a very stiff climb over very rough ground & we were very glad Auntie had not attempted it – Without her we forged ahead at a good pace & soon reached the lake which is not large but stands 5555 ft high & is hemmed in by snowy peaks except at the outlet where the water falls over a cliff on its way to the larger falls lower down. We sat on a ridge overlooking the lake for ten minutes then started down at a smart pace. We got down to the hut again by 11 o’clock, doing the whole 10 miles in 3½ hours record time Sam told us he felt quite proud of us. Auntie Lottie reached the hut before us, we got lunch before noon & by 12.30 we were all mounted again on our steeds for the return journey. We had quite an exciting ride this time our horses knew they were going home & went at a better pace than coming up. Old Bob actually broke into a canter once for a very short space & trotted several times the trotting did not suit me quite so well still it was great fun altogether, Maidie was quite sorry to have to dismount, Auntie was rather in difficulties with her hat blowing off & hair coming down & I don’t think she was at all sorry to dismount. We drove back in double quick time & reached the hotel about 5 in time to “clean up” before dinner. Auntie was rather tired, but Maidie & I were quite fresh & did not feel that we had walked 10 miles besides the rest of the day’s excitements – we both thought it the shortest 10 miles we have ever done. I suppose we were in good training after the Milford trip. Some people consider the Routeburn scenery equals or even surpasses the Milford, but though it is undoubtedly beautiful we did not think that. There were some pleasant people staying at the hotel & we did not find the evening long.
Monday Feb 5th Nice to feel we had not to make an early start. Auntie spent a quiet morning, Maidie & I went out & devoured gooseberries they have lots of cherries, raspberries, & gooseberries in the hotel garden & seem to look upon it as the common thing for visitors to help themselves – then we sat in the garden writing – the lake was a beautiful deep blue colour, but it was windy & there were plenty of “white horses” on it. At 12 o’clock everybody in the hotel went down to the wharf to see the boat come in from Queenstown. It only comes three times a week so its arrival is quite an excitement. Every Monday there is a cheap excursion if the boat comes earlier & gives time for people to drive to Paradise & back. The Chapmans were among those who came for the day. We watched all the brakes & waggonettes drive off then came back to dinner at the hotel & spent a quiet afternoon writing or working. The boat started at 5 o’clock, it was quite rough to begin with on the lake but the wind soon calmed down & we had a delightful trip back to Queenstown arriving at 8.30 p.m. Mr Bean, the young fellow who went with us to Paradise was with us & being very lively kept us well amused. We had rooms at the Supreme Court Hotel for one night not wishing to go back to our funny little boarding house.
Tuesday Feb 6th We breakfasted at 7.30 & Maidie & I just had time to run out & buy some pcs not to be obtained except at Queenstown, then we made for the boat to Kingston starting at 8.20. It was a glorious morning for the trip down the lake, & we enjoyed it, the Chapmans & Mr Bean & other people we met at Glenorchy were all on board & coming as far as Dunedin with us. At Lumsden the train waited just long enough for us all to rush over to the Elbow Hotel & get a good lunch - & about 3.30 we had barely time at a station en route to swallow a cup of boiling tea & get through a penny bun- We got to Dunedin about 7, went to the City Hotel where we had engaged rooms for two nights – After dinner, at which we met some previous acquaintances made on the Milford Sound track, we are writing hard, meaning to run out & post presently.
Wednesday Feb 7th Maidie & I went for letters to the Post Office & found quite a budget for us all from Petone – they all seem to be getting on well in our absence & have a new servant coming in. We went to look at the Cathedral which is nothing but a moderate sized church with nothing of interest about it. Then we left Auntie to go & choose photographs at a shop while we went up to Rosslyn by tram to see Mrs Whitehead, quite an old friend who used to live at Petone. She seemed very pleased to see us – she gave us “elevenses” & we chatted for an hour – Getting down again into the town we committed further extravagances in the way of buying pcs then went to the hotel for lunch when we found Auntie had been far more extravagant than we had, squandering nearly £1 on photographic views! Soon after lunch we started by tram & walking to Bishopsgrove, going out there to afternoon tea at the Archbishop’s special invitation! Maidie’s friend Miss Clinton, who lives there and is almost like a daughter to the Primate met us & walked back with us to the house which is a charming place, more like an English house than any I have seen out here & standing in many acres of beautiful grounds in which a great deal of natural bush remains. The Primate met us at the drive gate, just outside is a small Church, his sort of private chapel, which he was evidently anxious to show us, he takes great pride in it. So we went inside & he showed us how he had first added the Chancel to the original bare wooden rom, later on the little Baptistry & Vestry. Then we walked up the drive which is planted with English trees inter-mixed with the native & we went into the house & had tea – afterwards the Primate took us all round the grounds, through little paths winding through the bush which he had named. He was a dear old man & was evidently delighted to show us his place. He would like us to have seen various schools & colleges in Dunedin which he had instituted, one of these is carried on by the Kilburn Sisters, but we had no time for that as this was our last day in Dunedin. We got back to the City Hotel for dinner & spent the evening writing & packing.
Thursday Feb 8th The Christchurch express starts at 8 a.m. so we got up to 7.15 breakfast – Maidie came down to the station to see us off then was to spend a few days at Bishopsgrove with her friend. It is rather wearisome to find yourself stuck in a railway carriage from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. however time goes faster than one thinks it will & we had a baby of eleven months in the carriage who actually helped to make the time go faster! She was so good & bright – Aunt Lottie played with her for quite a long time! Lunch & afternoon tea in the dining car are hailed as welcome epochs on the tedious journey – We were glad to look at the scenery we passed through just after leaving Dunedin, it is very pretty for about 50 miles & when we had passed through it on our way down it was too dark to see it. Later on it becomes very flat & uninteresting. On reaching Christchurch we took a cab to the Mrs Everists boarding house where we had engaged rooms on Maidie’s recommendation, she & Aunt Bessie having stayed there before. After dinner we took a little stroll in the Park which is close by but soon came in & were glad to get to bed in good time.
Friday Feb 9th Auntie felt very tired this morning so did not go out before lunch. After breakfast I went for letters & found one from Mrs Birch to say she expected us on Monday, also an invitation from Miss Cotton & her sister to go & stay with them at Methven, I had reluctantly to refuse this invitation as our Otira to Nelson trip is all arranged & I could not upset things now. I had several wires to send off this morning to secure us box seats on the coaches, & with one thing and another I spent a good part of the morning running backwards & forwards between here & the post office. I begin to know my way quite well about Ch.Ch. I had plenty of letters to write to fill up the rest of the morning. After lunch I went to the telephone office & rang up the Whites, who live out at New Brighton, a family who travelled with us on the Orantes. One of the girls got into our train yesterday on the way from Dunedin. They said they would be pleased to see us this afternoon, so we took a tram out there & they gave us tea & we went on the pier which they seemed rather proud of but which I thought a very primitive & far from imposing looking structure. We got back to dinner at 6.15 & have both been spending the evening writing.
Saturday Feb 10th Auntie was better this morning though still tired she stayed in till 11 o’clock. I meanwhile wrote letters went to the post and did some needlework. At 11 we both went to the Museum & spent a good hour there, there is a good collection of stuffed animals & birds & a number of interesting curiosities from all parts of the world – there are some skeletons of the Moa, an extinct N.Z. bird, this museum is said to be the best in N.Z. We could not attempt to see every thing but went on to the Cathedral which I had seen before, but Auntie had not. It is more worthy to be called a Cathedral than that of Dunedin though it cannot be compared with any English cathedrals, there is a fine pulpit put up in memory of Bishop Selwyn. It poured with rain when we were wanting to get back so we waited til the shower was over. After lunch Auntie lay down for a nap & I went by tram out to Riccartou a suburb where Miss Cotton’s step-mother Mrs Morton lives. Unfortunately Miss Cotton was still up at Methven, but she had written to say Mrs Morton would be pleased to see us any way. She used to know Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Bessie years ago at Oxford. So I thought it would be nice to go, a drenching shower of rain came on while I was in the tram & the tram lines were under water part of the way – it was nearly over before I had to get our & I had not far to walk – I found Mrs Morton in, she was exceedingly pleasant, said she was very glad I came & we had a good chat, she told me amusing anecdotes about the Moores whom I think I have mentioned in this diary & I could tell her some more! They have relations in Christchurch so she knew of them. I got back about 4.30 & found Auntie just ready, having had a good rest & some tea, to go into the gardens – we strolled about there an hour or so, they were pretty but not so good as the Dunedin gardens. After dinner I went out & ordered a cab for Monday morning to take us to the station.
Sunday Feb 11th Such a comfort to spend a respectable Sunday once more! Several people had told us of a nice Church here S Michael’s so I found out where it was yesterday & went at 8 this morning. Auntie & I both went to the 11 o’clock service, every thing very nicely done & a very good sermon, one felt as if one were at Church in England. This afternoon Auntie rested & I was not over energetic! But about four o’clock I had to go & repack, that dreadful packing up, we are always at it & always having to begin again! We had high tea at 5.30 & went to the Cathedral service at 7 – the singing was rather good & an anthem from the Elijah I enjoyed very much” He watching over Israel”
Monday Feb 12th Mrs Everist gave us breakfast at 7.45, I had to go & hunt up the cab which turned out to be driving about looking for us having mistaken the number of the street, however we reached the station in plenty of time for the 8.50 train & we got to Amberley at 10.29. Mrs Byrch was on the platform to meet us looking much the same as ever only a good deal greyer. Winnie was outside with the pony & gig & she drove us to the house, 6 miles off. Mr Byrch had business in Amberley & followed later. The country round consists almost entirely of grass, very flat but with hills, also grass covered, not far off, the nearest is Mount Brown which gives its name to Mr Byrch’s homestead. Winnie is 17 & has just left school. The others at home are Connie, & Jack & Fred both of whom work very hard on the farm. The house is a good sized one, they having added to it when they took it three years ago. Mrs Byrch seemed very pleased to see us & after early dinner we had a good long chat in the drawing room. Later on the girls took me round to see the live stock & out buildings & feed the poultry which are Connie’s concern, Mrs Byrch has the cows & makes the butter. We went also to see the whare (from: wherry) where the shearers live at shearing time & where also they put up tramps & people who come round asking for a night’s lodging, then we saw the wool shed where the sheep are sheared & the wool packed up in bales very much as hops are packed. Shearing time begins in November so is of course over now. They have supper about 6 after which we talked until it was quite dark, then they lit up & we played cards. Auntie & I slept together in the spare room which is on the ground floor, there is an upstairs but it only consists of two large attic rooms which the youngest ones use when at home. Florrie & Mary are at boarding school in Christchurch & Harry at the College there.
Tuesday Feb 13th We breakfasted at 8.30, the two boys having had theirs at 7 & gone off to work. At 10 Winnie was going to drive into Amberley so we went with her. They have to go & fetch every thing even letters & bread so naturally have to drive down nearly every day. It was warm & pleasant driving. Amberley is a funny little place to be one's nearest shopping town – there are a few shops where necessaries can be got, but of course most people do the greater part of their shopping in Christchurch. In the afternoon the girls & I went to the orchard where they have lots of fruit trees laden with fruit & had a good feast of apricots & plums The greater part of the afternoon & evening seemed to be spent in talking but later in the evening Jack taught us how to play enchre the card game most played out here. Auntie taught Mrs Byrch “demon” patience.
Wednesday Feb 14th We spent a quiet morning. I wrote & practised & ate fruit in the orchard. It was a gusty showery day. Mr Byrch asked if I should like a ride in the afternoon, they have a nice little grey horse who can be relied upon not to play tricks, I was quite ready to try my first riding lesson, so Connie rigged me up in her habit, when I came into the drawing room ready with her bowler hat on they all exclaimed how like Jack I was. They have only one side-saddle so Winnie came with me on a man’s saddle which she can ride. Connie says she is too old to ride that way! We went across the paddock (they never use the word “field” in N.Z.) & out into the road where there is a wide piece of grass at the side & here we had some good canters, it was delightful I didn’t feel a bit nervous, trotting of course I couldn’t manage quite so well though I think with a little practice I could soon learn to rise in the proper way. We didn’t stay out too long, I didn’t want to be stiff next day – Coming back across the paddock on horses both flew for a little way as hard as they could go it was quite exciting. I was only glad to have had the opportunity of a ride. In the evening we played enchre & bridge.
Thursday Feb 15th Mrs Byrch thumped at our wall at 5.30 a.m. as we had to get up to 6.30 breakfast, after which Connie drove us to the nearest flag station, 3 miles nearer than Amberley. Mrs Byrch also came & we got the train at about 7.30 reaching Christchurch at 9.45 we had to take this early train to meet Dolly who should have arrived from Wellington about the same time but the boat was late so we saw about sending off direct to Wellington our larger luggage which we didn’t want coaching, got lunch about 12 & met Dolly’s train which arrived from Lyttelton 1.15 – took her to have lunch, then she & I went to see a friend of hers Auntie went to the station- we joined her there & took the train to Springfield at 3.55 arriving 6.55 – we found comfortable quarters at the hotel – had a good meat tea & are spending the evening writing or reading. Dolly very jolly as usual in spite of a bad passage during which she disgraced herself as she said.
Friday Feb 16th We were very comfortable at the Springfield Hotel, we woke to find it a beautiful morning, so after breakfast at 8.30 & having packed our things Dolly & I went for a walk got back about 10.15 as I wanted to write a letter & go across to the station at 11.5 to meet the Christchurch train which we hoped would bring Auntie Lottie’s case of umbrellas which had inadvertently got left on the buggy at Amberley – It turned up however by this train & Dolly & I bore it back in triumph to Auntie Lottie who had had very faint hopes of recovering it at any rate so soon. Next we had to interview Mr Cassidy the coach proprietor to get our tickets – he advised us not to take train to Otira as we thought of doing but coach or to Kumara as the drive there is one of the most beautiful bits, so as this arrangement fitted in very well & allowed us to catch Monday's coach at Reefton for Westport on which we have reserved box seats, we decided to go to Kumara. Lunch was served about 11.30 & we were off about 12.30 It was fun watching the coaches head up there were two proper coaches & one dray, we had the box seat on the latter & were most comfortable, there was just room for us three besides the driver. We had five horses, the usual number & they were so strong & well cared for, it was a treat to be able to watch them all the time. The road was very good all the way, we had 44 miles to do today, the first stage was 15 miles, in which we crossed a good many rivers & there was one long pull of about 2 miles up to Porters Pass on which is said to be the highest telegraph pole in N.Z. The men were asked to walk up & we got down too Dolly & I walked all the way up & Auntie most of the way, the sun was pretty hot so it was fairly warm work. The second stage consisted of 13 miles, the scenery was very much the same all the way from Springfield, bleak hills getting wilder as we went on, lots of creeks & river beds & we passed close to one or two small lakes. At a little place called Craigieburn the horses were changed again, meanwhile we got some tea & scones at the little cottage, the wind had got up considerably during the last few miles & we were beginning to wonder how we could have complained of the heat coming up Porters Pass! So some hot tea was very acceptable. The last stage was 16 miles & now the wind became very strong & very cold especially when we got near the Waimahariri river, the wind blowing down the river bed beside which we drove for some miles was bitterly cold & every body was glad when a little before 8 o’clock the lights of the Bealey, our halting place for the night, hove in sight. There were a lot of people here some having come by coach from the opposite direction, but our rooms had been telegraphed for from Springfield, so we were comparatively well off with a double & a single bed in a room to ourselves. After supper Auntie Lottie hunted up the proprietor whom Uncle Dilnot had known when he & some friends drove through this way some twenty years ago, he remembered Uncle quite well. We got to bed in good time to be ready for the early start next morning.
Saturday Feb 17th The wind went down during the night & when we awoke & got up at 5.30 there seemed every prospect of a fine day. At 6.30 we had breakfast & were off again by 7. Soon after leaving the Bealey we crossed the Waimahariri river, the deepest we have to ford, today it was scarcely above the axles of the wheels, but the driver said sometimes you could only see the tops of the horses’ backs & the water came into the coaches I was not sorry it was lower today, but the rivers have been very high for some time however they go down as rapidly as they rise. On leaving the river we went up a good bit & at once got into some very fine scenery, we were between bush covered hills with snowy peaks rising behind. A railway is to be made along here & we passed a good many tents where surveyors & “service men” as I was told they call the work men, are encamped, there were little flags along the route proposed for the railway. We saw several pretty waterfalls, the largest we saw is name the Devil’s Punch bowl, if I had not already seen larger ones I should have thought it very grand. We came to one fairly long hill where Dolly & I got off & walked, a mile or more – The coach, after picking us up & other passengers who had walked, soon arrived at the highest point above sea level reached on the drive, it was chalked up on a stone, 2,835 ft. Then we began the descent down the celebrated Otira Gorge the view from the top & in fact all the way down was grand, a rushing stream at the bottom with bush covered hills rising several thousand feet high on each side, the green bush enlivened by the brilliant red of the rata which though not fully out yet added much to the beauty of the scene. The road wound about in a fine zig-zag with many very sharp turnings, it was most interesting to watch the horses going round them, caring nothing for the precipice below them & the perfect control the driver has over them is really wonderful. It was a pretty sight too to watch the coach in front of us winding down - the road descends at an easy grade so the horses trot all the way down – at the bottom we found ourselves at Otira where there is a hotel & railway station, it being the present terminus of the line connecting with the west coast. It was now 9.45 & we had done about 17 miles. Most of the passengers went on & there was only one other passenger besides ourselves. We had just time for tea & scones after seeing about transferring our luggage to the other coaches & were off again at 10.15. We followed the railway for a little way & very soon got into the midst of some lovely bush, it was not so grand as the gorge but more peacefully beautiful & we were very glad not to have missed it. After 21 miles we changed horses & for the remaining 17 miles we had four horses instead of five as it was an easy stage. There were lots of lovely ferns & moss all along under the trees & some one pointed out the umbrella fern which we had not seen before. Kumara is a place where a lot of sluicing for gold is done, as we came into the town we saw great heaps of stones which we were told were what remained after gold had been washed out. The house where Mr Sneddon who used to be a miner lived was pointed out. It was about 3.15 when we reached the Kumara hotel, here we had to wait till 5.30 for a bus to take us to the station to catch the train to Greymouth where we intended to stop over Sunday. Auntie was very tired by this time but had a little rest here. Dolly & I amused ourselves wandering about & I wrote a letter. The station was 3 miles off, we caught the 6.33 train & got to Greymouth at 7.15. At the Royal Hotel close to the station we were able to get a double bed room & have a small bed put up in it. They were almost full & this was all we could have. However we were tired & besides wanted to be near the station for an early start Monday morning, so we took what we could get without going further & after supper soon got to bed.
Sunday Feb 18th Our beds were most comfortable & we all had a very good night. It was a grey looking morning – after breakfast Dolly & I found the Church & time of service – Before starting for Church it had begun to rain – the service was not particularly interesting, the Bishop of Nelson was there & preached but we all thought him dry. It poured on the way back & all the afternoon we had to stay in, Auntie had a nap in her room, Dolly & I wrote in the sitting room where we were very comfortable with a fire (it was quite cold enough for one) & we had the room to ourselves most of the time. We didn’t venture out to Church again but went to bed early.
Monday Feb 19th We got up at 5.30, breakfasted soon after 6 & were at the station at 6.30 to catch the 6.45 train to Reefton. The distance is 46 miles & it took til 9.30, 2¾ hours, to get there. It seemed to me the very slowest of all the slow railway journeys we have been. At Reefton a bus met the train & took us to the hotel where the coach for Westport was waiting. We had thought, if the weather was bad, of staying at Reefton a night & going next day, however though it had been raining off & on, we didn’t think it would be more than showery so Dolly & I voted for going on & we got our tickets & went. As soon as we got out of Reefton a pelting shower came on & Dolly & I felt rather repentant, however it soon cleared off & the sun came out brilliantly & we were dry & warm again in no time. The first stage was 21 miles the scenery was nothing very special till we got near Inangahua where we changed horses & had an excellent lunch. The next was a short stage of 11 miles, here the road lay through beautiful bush which in the third stage of 16 miles became more & more luxuriant as we went along. We were in a valley following the Buller river a fine wide stream which flows out at Westport. While on its left bank we drove past Hawks Crag where the road is cut out of the rock overhanging the river, later on we went under two archways cut in the rock & passing under one overhanging piece of cliff Dolly & I who were on the top box seat above the driver’s seat had to duck our heads. A few miles from Westport we had to cross the river on a ferry, the horses just drew the coach on to the ferry which looks like a bridge lying on the water & stood quietly until we were across. It is worked by means of the current & cable wires with a little wheel running along connected by a rope with the ferry. We had it fine a good part of the way but there were heavy showers at intervals & by 6 o’clock we were not sorry to arrive at the Empire Hotel Westport where they could give us a double & a single bed in one room. We seem fated not to get more than this. After a very good dinner which we much enjoyed Aunt Lottie went to see Mrs Gillow who lives in Westport, Dolly & I meanwhile explored a little near the wharf where a ships were being loaded with coal. Rain came on heavily & we came back, Aunt Lottie presently appearing with Mrs Gillow who seemed delighted to have seen Auntie & was seeing her safely back to the hotel – She stayed & talked some time & invited Auntie & me to stay down here later on – we could easily come by boat from Wellington & Auntie thought it would be very nice to do so. Mr Gillow was away from home. After Mrs Gillow had gone Auntie retired to bed & Dolly & I when we had finished our writing intend to do the same.
Tuesday Feb 20th The coach was to start at 7.15 so we got up at 6, rain came down in torrents while we were dressing & we almost decided not to go on that day which would mean staying in Westport till Friday as the coach only goes twice a week. There would be mines to see but nothing else & we didn’t think it would take three days to see the mines. Altogether it seemed a doleful prospect & when at breakfast there was a bright interval we decided to risk the weather & start. Dolly & I went on the box seat, Aunt Lottie went inside at first as we could see another heavy shower was coming up. At the Post Office we had to take on a lot of mail which should have gone by boat but the boat was unable to leave on account of the rough sea. Fortunately there were not many passengers or we should have been a very heavy load. The threatened shower came but didn’t last long & after recrossing the ferry we had beautiful sunshine & no more rain. How we congratulated ourselves on having started! For the first 27 miles we were traversing the road we had come yesterday along the Lower Buller gorge, the scenery is so beautiful that we were only glad we had to go through it again. Aunt Lottie changed her inside seat for the box when the weather cleared & as there was room on the box for three we were all able to enjoy the sunshine & the view. At Inangahua Junction where we lunched we changed coaches & started off at 1.30 – From here the road was different & we entered what is called the Upper Buller Gorge. It is hard to say which is the more beautiful part here there were perhaps finer wooded hills but we were higher above the river now & did not get such a continuous view of it, though there were some lovely little peeps. We were fortunate in our travelling companions Dolly & I were on the top box seat with two gentlemen who knew the whole district very well & they told us a lot of interesting things about places on the way. Auntie was on the drivers seat with another man who was also fairly communicative – Gold mining had been carried on in many places all along the route, we saw a good many dredges in the river, but some of the mines are no long being worked. One little place called Lyell which we drove through looked as if it would soon be deserted though it had evidently flourished considerably at one time. There was no long hill today to be walked up though there we a good many steep little pinches which must have been hard on the horses – there were some very bad curves too but our driver was said to be one of the best on the road & they certainly need to have good ones. Once one of the wheelers stumbled & came down but he had him up again in no time, & in another place the leaders shied at something on the side of the road but he had them so well in hand that the coach did not swerve very much though if it had happened a little further on it might have been rather awkward, there was not much room to space in some places. We had 38 miles to go after leaving the Junction & we changed horses twice & got some tea & scones at a cottage on the way. A little inn at a place called Longford was our destination & stopping place for the night, it was about 8 & getting dark before we got there & after 65 miles coaching (our longest distance in one day) we were not sorry for a night’s rest. It was a funny old house I had to tell Dolly not to dance about too vigorously on the floor of the room she & I shared, it felt as if not much was needed to land us in the sitting room below! The woman at the inn sometimes had 30 people to put up & did everything herself single handed cooking & all, besides having two children of her own to look after.
Wednesday Feb 21st We started at quite a reasonable hour for a change, 8.30. This was our last day’s coaching we had about 50 miles to go to reach Motupiko where we had to catch train to Nelson. The scenery for the first part of the way was quite as fine as yesterday, we still followed the Buller river for some distance, then on leaving it we followed its tributary the Hope. We did not reach the luncheon place till 12.30, immediately afterwards there was the Hope Saddle to get over so we walked on up the hill for some way the coach picking us up again near the top. Down the other side there was a long & very winding road at the bottom we changed horses for the second and second & last time - Now we were in more civilized country with farms & homesteads dotted about & a few hop gardens here & there. At Upper Motupiko we got lunch then had 6 miles to drive to the station where we were in good time for the 4.55 train. The weather all day had been perfect through a well cultivated & prosperous looking valley. A big crowd of school children out on a black berrying picnic got into the train, such a hubbub there was when they all got out at Nelson. We took a cab to the Wahini boarding house where we had been recommended to stay & were fortunate in getting in there. It is a very nice place & very nice people staying. After some tea (we were too late for the regular dinner) we sat in the drawing room where a lady with a very good voice was singing – Dolly found some people there she knew, so we talked & listened to music the rest of the evening.
Thursday Feb 22nd Another lovely day & Nelson being a warm place we find a great difference of temperature here after the cold west coast. Directly after breakfast Dolly & I went to the Post Office for letters which I had been hankering after for some time, they arrived at Petone by the Frisco mail a week ago & I know we should find some here. Aunt Lottie & I sat in the garden & enjoyed them while Dolly went round to the Ned Costers & went out with one of her cousins. She came back with an invitation for us all to go there to tea this afternoon. Soon after lunch we went into the gardens which didn’t take long to explore, then went on to the Costers to tea. Mrs Coster seemed very pleased to see us, they are a family of six girls we saw the two eldest – They asked Dolly to stay on a few days with them after we leave so she is going to do so. They have a big rambling house old, as far as houses out here can be old, the girls are very fond of horses & each keep their own pony & trap – After dinner at the boarding house at 6 we went for a walk up “the Zig-Zag” leading to the top of a hill overlooking the town – the view was very pretty especially as there was a very fine sunset which tinted the bay & the hills around. It was getting quite dark before we got back there is such a short twilight here we notice the difference coming up from the South at Queenstown there seemed as much twilight as at home. It was too lovely an evening to go in so Dolly & I sat out in the garden talking till nearly bed-time. I forgot to say that after calling at the Costers we went to the Crown Stables kept by Newman Bros. the Buller Gorge coach proprietors – we wanted to arrange for a drive tomorrow & also to see the stables which were as we had been told, very well kept. We arranged for a buggy & pair of horses to take us to the Cable Station 16 miles out.
Friday Feb 23rd The buggy was to come at 10.30. Another lady was coming with us & the boarding house people packed us up a basket of lunch & gave us a billy to boil. Dolly & I had time to go into the town for post cards after breakfast then we started off at 10.30. It was a pretty drive by the sea most of the way, we got to the Cable Station about 12.15 & by the time we had found a suitable rock & boiled the billy we were quite ready for lunch. Afterwards Aunt Lottie & Miss Fraser, the lady who came with us, walked about together while Dolly & I had a scramble on the hill & on the rocks on the shore – At 2 o’clock we were told we might see over the Cable Station if we asked the Manager very nicely. So Aunt Lottie rang the bell & when the Manager appeared said “Please we’ve come all the way from England & we want to see over the Station”. Everyone laughed, but he said he would & took us into a large room where wonderful little machines were writing down messages as they arrived in a sort of shorthand on long strips of paper. All the messages here are sent to, or received from Sydney – they receive about 120 messages every day & send about 50. A cablegram to London take about 1½ hrs to go as it has to go through various stations but unless there is a great press of work they can get an answer from London in three hours. Several messages can be sent at once on the same cable but there is a second cable for use in extra busy times or if one breaks down which happens rarely. They have never had both disabled since it was laid in 1876 - There were two clerks working when we were there – There is quite a little settlement out there, they have a club & billiard room & give dances sometimes. Of course they are in telegraphic communication with every part & get the world’s news first hand, but there is no post office & one of clerks gave Auntie two letters to post for him in Nelson. We hunted about on the beach to find the cable which they said we could see at low tide however we couldn’t find it, so having refreshed ourselves with blackberries from a bush close at hand we started back & had a pleasant though rather dusty drive as the wind had got up. What had been sea when we came was now mud, the tide here goes out tremendous distance & steamers can only get in & out of the harbour at high tide. After dinner Mrs Coster & one of the girls came in to see us.
Saturday Feb 24th Another fine morning & at 9.30 we started for a drive up the Maitai valley, one of the show places round here, it was a rather rough, unfrequented road but very pretty we followed the Maitai stream for about 7 miles winding among the hills – at several places we stopped & picked blackberries, this being one of the warmest places in N.Z. they are ripening here already. We got back for one o’clock lunch, then Auntie rested & Dolly & I went to the Art Gallery, where we saw a few rather nice paintings mostly of scenery, but the drawing of some cows we thought rather queer! Having soon exhausted the Gallery we felt energetic enough in spite of the heat to walk to the Port & back which took an hour & a half, then we sat in garden & read eating blackberries which we brought back with us this morning.. After dinner Dolly & I explored another part of the town & passed a large R C convent & looked into the Church. Dolly’s energies being still unexhausted when we got back she went off again to see the Costers.
Sunday Feb 25th We went to the Cathedral service this morning & found it very nice , had a good preacher. After lunch Dolly & I sat in the garden while Auntie rested then we all went to tea at the Costers, stayed there until Church time when we again went to the Cathedral. Dolly & I stayed out in the garden after supper till we had to come in & pack & go to bed.
Monday Feb 26th Breakfasted at 7.30 then took a cab down to the Port, Dolly coming to see us off in the “Wainni” for Wellington, then she was going on to the Costers. It was a lovely morning but there was a moderate swell on & the “Wainni” which is a small boat began pitching rather & I didn’t feel too happy, however she soon got into the French Pass & then into the Sounds where the sea was calm again – the French Pass is a very narrow Channel there looks only just room for boats to pass between sand banks. On leaving the Pass we went down to the bows of the ship to look out for “Pelorus Jack” the famous fish which comes out to meet every boat passing “Pelorus Sound”. We waited for some & I was just beginning to think this wonderful fish we had heard so much about was nothing but a myth when we saw a splash in front & a fish’s tail appear out of the water, the next minute “Jack” was swimming along by our bows keeping up with the boat & every now & then dodging underneath & coming out the other side. He is a great white creature 14 or 15 feet long, with a few dark specs – it does not seem to be known what species he is, but he seems to be most “canny”. A year or two again he was knocked by the “Penguin” & since then he never comes out to meet that boat. Our captain told us he had seen him for 13 years, now he is protected by Government – the “Wainni” is his favourite boat probably because she is slower than some & he can keep up with her better. To every boat, except the “Penguin” it is I believe very seldom indeed that he fails to put in an appearance. At 4.30 after going up Queen Charlotte Sound which is very pretty though we did not see it at its best as it had clouded over, we got to Picton at the head of the Sound. Here we walked for an hour exploring the place which is pretty & very quiet, we dined on board at 6 – After taking in a lot of cargo our boat was off again at 7. The evening was pleasant on deck until we got out into the Straits by which time we were going to bed. For an hour or two we tumbled about a good deal & I am sorry to say I can no longer boast of not having been ill since I left England! However I got to sleep & by 12.30 we were in Wellington, but spent of course the remainder of the night on board.
Tuesday Feb 27th We breakfasted on board & took the 9.2 train to Petone while waiting at the station Arthur arrived on his way to business & had a chat. On arriving at Petone which we were quite glad to see again after all our travels, we found Aunt Bessie & Maidie expecting us & both very well. Later in the morning two Miss Secretans arrived, they are here on a week’s visit, so we are quite a full house. This evening we were a noisy party at dinner & now they seem equally noisy sitting out under the verandah.
Wednesday Feb 28th Auntie & I went to Church this morning – Afterwards I was unsociable & shut myself up to write for the Frisco mail which goes this afternoon Maidie & the two Miss Secretans are going to town this afternoon. I shall probably amuse myself otherwise.
Thursday March 1st Aunt Lottie & I went to Wellington by the 10.15 train & had a morning’s shopping – lunched in town, then took a tram to the hospital where we called on the wife of the house surgeon, Mrs Ewart some of whose relations Aunt Lottie knows in England – we spent quite a long time there – the Doctor came in & they shewed us all round the Hospital & Nurses Home – It is the largest hospital a ------ there is room for 200 patients, all the buildings are fine & airy & beautifully kept & everything seemed very up-to-date. Mrs Ewart gave us tea & we trammed back into town picking up various parcels en route for the station. Maidie & the two Secretan girls had also been to town, so with all the boys & Uncle we were a large party returning by the same train – The Secretan girls are very lively & there are gay doings every evening after dinner on the verandah.
Friday March 2nd This morning I was busy in various ways, getting clothes ready for our next trip. It was a lovely day so Maidie thought we would go a picnic – she & the two girls cut sandwiches etc & at 12.30 we four started off, armed with our lunch & tea & a billy, for the Petone reservoir, up among the hills – We took our time going & went the longest way round by the road which winds up the hill. Arriving at 2 o’clock we made a fire & boiled the billy & enjoyed our lunch – then we walked round the pretty path by the side of the reservoir & across the stream into the thick bush where we presently found a resting place & sat & talked. Later on we lit a fire again & had afternoon tea & came back by a shorter but steeper path where we hoped to find mushrooms but were disappointed, some lovely looking objects when seen from a distance, turned out to be broken white tea-cups when we took the trouble to go & inspect them! This evening the two Aunts have gone for a walk after dinner, I am busily writing in the dining-rooom, the other young folks meanwhile frivoling in the verandah!
Saturday Mar 3rd Birdie started today with the Riddiford children for Sydney to meet Mrs Riddiford on her way back from England. Most of the family went to town & saw her off by the “Warrinoo”, the weather seemed to promise a good passage, Aunt Lottie & I didn’t go Uncle took us for a drive to Day’s Bay, a pretty spot on the opposite side of the harbour from Wellington, to reach it we had to drive for some ways round the coast past Loewry Bay & two or three other pretty little bays. We had some tea there & got back to dinner. In the evening the Secretan girls & Bob were as usual very absurd & noisy.
Sunday Mar 4th After mid day dinner Uncle took the Secretan & me for a drive up the Hutt valley as far as Silverstream bridge whence there is a pretty view of the hills & river – I was astounded though to find how insignificant the hills appeared to me after the far superior heights I have lately seen. On our way back we had tea at a place called “The Daks” on the way. On our return Maidie was getting tea the servant having the afternoon out, so we afterwards helped her clear away & wash up, then most of us went to Church again & are now spending the evening as usual writing or reading.
Monday Mar 5th A beautifully fine & warm day, we spent most of the morning in the verandah, in the afternoon Uncle had arranged to take the Secretan girls Aunt Lottie & myself over the Meat Export Co’s works so after lunch we took train to Ngahauranga where Uncle met us & we spent the afternoon there. In some parts the odour was not exactly pleasant but the freezing department which was the most interesting was quite nice. We saw one huge gas engine at work, the largest, Uncle said, in the Southern Hemisphere – 5000 sheep had been killed this morning some of these we saw all ready for freezing being pushed along overhead lines from which each carcase was suspended on wheels which run along the lines, as we walked we had to be careful we were not run into by these horrid carcases running along the lines. In the big store room about 6000 of these were hanging & about as many were being frozen in the freezing rooms, we just looked into one of these, the atmosphere felt like that of a winter morning in England when there is a very sharp frost.
We saw the tins being made for the tinned meat part of the business, but in the tin-filling room work was over for the day – I should have begun with a description of the wool department which we saw first & where we most needed the smelling bottle which I had taken the precaution to bring! We saw the skins being put under some chemical process to separate the wool from them, then the wool is washed in great washing machines & dried in a machine which revolves at a tremendous speed & dries it in a few minutes, then it is compressed in a machine & comes out tightly packed in neat bales. In the evening after dinner Uncle drove some of us out to look at the Company’s new reservoir which Aunt Lottie & I had seen some weeks ago in an unfinished state, now it is finished & full of water. It was getting dark by the time we got there but we could see it well by moonlight.
Tuesday Mar 6th This being the Secretans’ last day here, we four girls had arranged to go a blackberrying picnic up at Arthur’s whare, 16 miles off. We got up early & got everything don & lunch packed ready to start before 9 o’clock. Maidie of course drove Grisel in the dog-cart – it was a lovely morning & we had a pleasant drive getting there about 11.30 we unharnessed Grisel & tied her up then found the key of the whare in the hiding place with four rooms, kitchen, dining room, bed room & one they call the gun-room but which seems to be mostly used for fishing tackle. They have all necessary utensils for cooking & crockery so we had only to bring our provender. Quite close to the whare are great clumps of black berry brambles with great ripe berries just calling out to be picked, so we just enjoyed ourselves till 12.30 when we had our lunch in the whare, then went on picking again until 2.30 by which time we must have got about 50 pounds. We could have got any quantity more but we had to get away by 3 o’clock, so we made ourselves some tea, washed up & locked the place up again before driving home. On the way back we munched apples which the man at the farm close to the whare had given us. When we got back we found Mrs Secretan had arrived from Nelson where she had been staying & had been to Petone & had a chat with Aunt Bessie & Aunt Lottie, she had returned to Wellington & the two girls were to join her in time to catch the evening boat to Christchurch, so after dinner some of the boys escorted them to Wellington. Maidie Aunt Bessie & I distributed bowls full of blackberries to various people then sat talking in the verandah. Mrs Ward came to see Uncle & was most entertaining when we ladies joined them later.
Wednesday Mar 7th A howling southerly buster”, as they call it here, was raging all the morning – it came up quite suddenly as usual at about 4 a.m. we were awakened by a violent flapping of the window blind & a gale finding its way into the room, so I had to roll out & shut the window. All day it was bitterly cold, such a change from yesterday, we were glad of a fire – Maidie went to a weekly working party at the Vicarage which has just started it annual session. Aunt Lottie & I went out for a “duty walk” to warm ourselves after tea as the weather had cleared, but it was still very cold & we sat round a big fire in the evening.
Thursday Mar 8th This is the 40th anniversary of Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Bessie’s wedding-day. Aunt Lottie presented them with a very nice case of dessert knives & forks – Frisco mail arrived this morning with a nice budget of letters for me which were as usual very welcome – We read them all, then as it was a fine day, though none too warm still, Aunt Lottie & I went into Wellington Auntie had a little shopping & the servant being out for the day we thought we would make ourselves scarce. We lunched in town & spent most of the afternoon in the Gardens which were very bright with all sorts of flowers – When we got back we found Aunt Bessie & Maidie had visitors calling most of the afternoon. Frank & Arthur dined in town & met Dolly who arrived at about 8 from Nelson, she looks very well & has much enjoyed her outing.
Friday Mar 9th Aunt Bessie Maidie & Dolly all went into town this morning Aunt Lottie & I wrote & worked, had a tète à tete lunch & went for a walk this afternoon. This evening I had letters to write for the Naples mail Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Lottie are just going to play cribbage as usual.
Saturday Mar 10th I was busy at needlework all the morning – Uncle got home in good time & as it was fine we started after lunch on an expedition to Paekakariki (from: Pi-cacker-eky) about 26 miles. Maidie came with us so as we were four Uncle drove the dog-cart. We went up the left side of the Hutt valley about 7 miles to Hayward’s railway station, then we turned up the hill where we all walked for about half an hour, then drove on some miles to Pahantanni. We had been as far as this before but the 11 miles on to Paekakariki was all new ground to us. We wound up a long hill & through a gorge, none of it was too steep for Grisel to pull us up – by the time we reached the top it was 7 o’clock & getting dark though we could see something of the fine view. We looked right out over Cook’s Straits, the descent to the sea being almost precipitous. Kapiti Island lay to the right about 3 miles out - Across the horizon stretched a line of red light, all that remained of what must have been a beautiful sunset but we got out of the gorge too late to see it. Below us, apparently quite close were the lights of our destination before we got there & all this we walked – The moon had risen by this time & made every thing ghostlike. Every now & then we emerged out of the shadow of the hill into her light. It was about 8 o’clock when we reached Paekakariki hotel – we had a high tea – then sauntered out on the shore for half an hour before bed-time. It is quite a small place, only a railway station & a few houses, but a good-sized hotel. People come out from Wellington to stay – it is on the railway line to Wanganui.
Sunday Mar 11th We breakfasted at 8.30 & arranged to start back at 10. Maidie & I went for a short walk & picked some titoki berries very curious red berries with a black eye which burst when ripe out of a brown pad like cover – the fruit of the nature titoki tree. Then we went down to the shore & picked up lots of bits of pumice stone. Then it was time to start & we walked up the 3 miles hill, Uncle alone driving to save his foot. The day was not very clear so we could not see the Kaikora Mts in the South Island nor Mount Egmont which can be seen on a clear day. However the view was fine all the same. We got to Pahantanui in time for lunch at the decidedly primitive hotel there, however the food was good & we were hungry. On the hill over to Hayward’s the wind was rather blustery, so when at 4.30 we reached home & were told that Mrs Meredith & Lita were there we had to tidy ourselves before we appeared. They are staying in Wellington just now. We saw them for a few minutes then they had to go to catch their train – After tea we went to the evening service.
Monday Mar 12th I spent a good part of the day doing needlework, nothing of any particular interest occurred. Mrs Ashcroft called.
Tuesday Mar 13th Aunt Lottie went to town in the morning & back for lunch. I went out in the afternoon. It was cold in the evening so we sat in the drawing room instead of in the verandah & Maidie played. Lita came to dinner.
Wednesday Mar 14th Had a busy day packing & putting things away to leave room for visitors during our absence. We went to the Wed. evening Lenten service as Mr Ward had been announced to take it, he gave a most interesting & eloquent discourse on the Book of Job – Afterwards Aunt Lottie & Uncle Dilnot had their farewell game of cribbage.
Thursday Mar 15th We breakfasted at 7.45 & at 8.15 the bus came to take us up to the Hutt station to catch the Napier train which does not stop at Petone. Frank came with us & looked after our luggage. We got comfortable seats & settled ourselves to spend the day in the train – we were not due at Napier till 6.50 p.m. & there was no changing trains. For some way we followed the road to Hayward’s in the Upper Hutt along which we have often driven – then we began a steep ascent up to Mungaroa, Kaitaki & the summit of the Rimutaka range. During the steepest part another engine was put on behind to help push us up. Sometimes on a long train three or more engines are needed. All this part of the route was most interesting. I had my head half out of the window for some time – the view as we got up to the hills and looked down into the valleys was very pretty, it was also most interesting to watch the train winding along the much curved line, we were towards the middle of the train & I could rarely see both end at once. There were only one or two quite short tunnels but some very narrow cuttings where it would have been easy to put our one’s hand & pluck a bit of fern or moss which covered the wall of the cutting as the train went along. At the Summit station which is 1144 feet high our engine was taken off & one with special brakes put on to take us down the still steeper descent on the other side. Here the grade is I in 15 & for 3 miles we descended 871 feet. Coming up this side five engines are sometimes used on a heavy train. The wind blows sometimes with great force at the top & an accident occurred some years ago by the train being blown off the line, since then a high wooden barrier had been built to break the force of the win in the most exposed places. All down this side a third cogged rail runs in the middle of the two ordinary rails & on it I believe the brake acts. Arriving at Featherston we saw Lake Wairapa & recognised the hotel we stayed at on our driving excursion over here. Later on we passed Masterton & soon after that entered upon the “Forty Mile Bush” country which must have been a lovely stretch of wooded land but now nothing remains but burnt or chopped stumps. At Woodville where we arrived at 2.9 we had 20 mins for lunch & again further on we got some tea. It was getting dark as we neared Napier but we could just see that the line ran by the sea for the last few miles. At 6.50 punctually we arrived & took a cab to the Masonic the principal hotel in Napier where we had engaged rooms. It is a large hotel with nice balconies on the first & second stories overlooking the sea & marine parade. We have rooms on the second floor. It was raining in the evening & we were tired so we only sat in the drawing room a little while after dinner & retired early to bed.
Friday Mar 16th A Scotch mist has been falling off & on most of the day – We breakfasted rather late, then wrote & as the rain was not much at 11.30 we went out to explore – found the post office & Cathedral close at hand – we looked round the latter which is rather a nice brick building with creepers growing on the walls. Inside there is nothing special to see a few rather interesting monuments to old settlers & portraits of Bishop Selwyn & other bishops in the vestry. We next walked along the Marine Parade to the wharf where a big boat, the “Manuka” bound for Gisborne Auckland & Sydney, had just come in. We looked at her then walked in the direction of Port Ahuriri (the port of Napier) round by the sea under the steep cliffs of the hill on which part of Napier stands. We came back the same way in time for lunch. Afterwards Auntie had a good long rest, I wrote & after tea went out to buy post cards & poke around a nice book-shop & generally explore a little. We dined about 6.45 & since then have been reading writing or working. There is a dear little ladies writing room where one can come & write undisturbed.
Saturday Mar 17th After breakfast we walked to the botanical gardens which are some little distance out of the town up a long hill from the top of which ones gets a fine view over the sea, the town & distant hills. The gardens are laid out on the slopes & at the bottom of a basin shaped hollow & are very pretty – there were plenty of flowers in bloom though it is getting late in the season. We walked down one winding path & back again up another & home by a different route. We had two heavy showers during the morning & sheltered under trees. After lunch we wrote or read & I went out a little way – we spent the evening quietly.
Sunday Mar 18th We breakfasted about 9, went to the 11 o’clock service at the Cathedral & afterwards had time for a walk before dinner. We went up the hill by some steps leading from the Marine Parade, followed a path leading by some nice houses with lovely gardens (this is called the residential part of Napier) & got back down another steep path further along the Parade. There was a fine view from the top, right out over the sea with high cliffs in the distance to right & left. After dinner Auntie rested in her room & I read on the balcony then came in to write. We had tea at 5.45 & are presently going to Evening Service at the Cathedral.
Monday Mar 19th We had an early breakfast at 6 o’clock leaving for up with the sun or earlier, at 6.20 the coach arrived, there were only two other passengers & we had booked box seats so were very comfortable especially as the weather was fine. The road was good for some distance, we drove through Port Ahuriri then for some way followed a big inlet of the sea, then over a hill to a little place called Petane. Leaving there we got further & further into the hills & the horses had a lot of stiff climbing, they had 28 miles to go before we changed horses at Pohui which is just a hotel standing on the banks of a small lake on which we were told there is a floating island, we could not see it however as it happened then to be joined to the mainland. We lunched at Pohui at about 12 & were off again before 1. Just after we left the hotel we met a flock of sheep about 2000, as it was a narrow piece of road it took a long time to get through them & the poor things were very frightened & kept running in all directions however we got through them at last & soon began to climb a very long & steep hill. By this time the sun was very hot & we got a little breeze, the poor horses were literally dripping with perspiration. After mounting for 4 miles we got a splendid view right over to the cliffs at Napier & the sea beyond, about 20 miles as the crow flies but we had come over 30 miles. Next we went down again & presently began the longest ascent of all, 8 miles. When nearly at the top we came to a Maori pak (village) all the houses were small wooden buildings scattered about on the slopes there was an English school, some Maori children were just coming out & had a good look at us. An English clergyman working in these parts came out from the school where we pulled up & spoke to us. He said the view from 3 miles further on at the top of the hill was very fine & so indeed we found it, the highest point was 3800 feet high & we looked right over range upon range of mountains on right hand & left, some covered with lovely bush, some wild & bleak, the two together forming an exquisite contrast. The afternoon sun over all made a scene one could never forget. Now the driver got down to fix a bit of wood on the brake, the old boot which is generally used showed signs of wearing away & a strong break was needed to get down the next long hill – such steep & sharp turnings, but we had good faith in our driver who the clergyman had told us was one of the best on the road. He was also very communicative without being too talkative. Once down the long hill after a little more up & down we arrived at Tarawera our halting place for the night, at about 6 o’clock. We were glad to take off our dusty things for the latter part of the day, the roads had been pretty dusty & the wind being with us we did not escape it. We had tea & then I walked down the road to the telegraph office to wire for our rooms further on, one of our fellow passengers kindly escorting me. Tarawera seems to consist only of the hotel & post office, they stand on a beautiful valley. It was a perfect evening, warm & star-light. Auntie was rather tired after the hot dusty drive & went early to bed. I studied the visitor’s book & found lots of names of people I know or know of, among them Frank & Arthur’s.
Tuesday Mar 20th The start was not till 7.30 this morning & we thought breakfast at 7 rather than 6 a bit of a comfort! The road lay at first through most beautiful country, long steep hills, sometimes covered with bush, up & down we went for miles. At length the scenery got gradually barer & less interesting until we got right out on to the plains, where we could see a tremendous distance all around & far ahead one solitary mountain stood out against the sky. The driver said that was Tauhara or Lonely Mountain, & we had to go close to that before the end of the day. The soil on these plains is sterile & will not grow grass, nothing but native manuka & manuowan scrub which will grow anywhere. The Government made an enclosure & tried sowing grass but it would not grow. On such a wide expanse of plain it was hard to believe one was about 2500 ft above sea level. At the little solitary hotel where we stopped for lunch they told us it was very cold in winter time & they have very severe frosts. After lunch we had of course fresh horses, four this time instead of five as there were no more steep hills. We had a good deal more of the plain to traverse & three out of the four passengers had a nap or at least closed their eyes. I sat next to the driver & we entertained each other, he showed me where once he had fallen half asleep driving & the leaders had got mixed up in some Manuka trees. He pointed out some wild horses in the distance which Auntie opened her eyes to see, later on going up a rise he handed me the reins while he put a lash on the whip & said I could say I had driven the Napier to Taupo coach. Auntie was quite wide awake then & looking out in case I took us all into the bank! Soon we got a view of Lake Taupo looking very pretty lying below us, we could see too Mount Ruapeku covered with snow in the distance. After coming down some way we stopped for a cup of tea in the Frances Hotel a nice looking place surrounded by pine trees. Consumptive patients stay here & we saw beds & tents outside. There is a steep path down to the hot stream & baths, we just looked at these through the trees but had not time to go down. Another 3 miles brought us to Taupo & we drove another 3 miles to the Spa where we intended to stay the night, however very soon after our arrival we made up our minds to stay three nights, putting in the time here that we had intended spending at Wairakei. It is such a nice place & the people make one most comfortable. The Spa is not like an ordinary hotel. There is a nice garden in the middle of the grounds through which a hot stream runs & the various parts of the hotel lie scattered in more or less of a circle all round. There is a long building divided up into bedrooms, you walk on a little way & come to the sitting room which is a separate building – next comes the hot & cold bath then crossing the stream by little wooden bridges you come to more bedrooms, the kitchen , smoke room & dining room. This last is most remarkable, it was formerly a Maori meeting house & all along the walls inside are grotesque carvings of figures supposed to represent different Maori chiefs, some are over 100 years old, a few are unfinished the carver evidently having died before he could finish, when this happens the Maoris consider the work sacred & will not touch it. In the grounds there is also another bath formed entirely by the hot stream, here we had a bath before dinner, most refreshing after our dusty drive – the water was delightfully warm without being too hot, & about 4 feet deep. At dinner our table companions were Mr & Mrs Maclennan, a young married couple both very pleasant, they know this place well & told us what is most worth seeing. We planned a good days sight seeing for tomorrow. Miss Stapleton the manageress at the Spa arranges everything, one only has to tell her what places one wants to see. In the evening we sat & worked & talked with the Maclennans in the sitting room.
Wednesday Mar 21st Directly after breakfast Jim the guide took possession of us & conducted us to the nearest sights, about ten minutes walk from the Spa – the Maclennans & several men came to. After climbing a small hill we saw the river Waikato in front of us & on its bank the Crows Nest geyser the finest ones to be seen at Taupo, it plays at regular intervals of about 2½ hours, the guide can tell by the volume of the water run coming from it how soon it will play, after looking he told us we would have time to see the other geysers first so we walked on along by the river and kept coming to little boiling ponds some of which played at intervals. One called the Feathers we saw playing then there were the Ettol Geyser, the Champagne Pool where when the guide threw in sand the surface of the water fizzled just like champagne. Satan’s Glory was a pool of boiling water coming out of a sort of tunnel of rock to make an angry gurgling noise. The Witches Cauldron I thought very weird, it was a good sized boiling pool half surrounded by dark high rocks which could be dimly seen through the clouds of steam. At the edge the guide lit a few sticks & the smoke had the effect of showing up the steam far more plainly than before. This experiment he showed us again later on when a little steam could be seen coming out of the ground he held a lighted match close to it & immediately one saw a thick cloud of steam where before it had been hardly noticeable. One or two of the geysers would not play of their own accord, but by blocking up the outlet & then suddenly taking away the obstruction some of them could be got to play. It was amusing to hear the guide speaking of all his geysers as “she” they seemed quite personalities to him. We made our way back to the Crows Nest in time to see her play & while waiting till she was pleased to entertain us we sat on a seat near & admired the view of the river, a fine stream wide & deep & fast flowing with white cliffs on the other side partly covered with scrub. A little distance off we heard loud & angry voices & presently saw some Maoris on horse back riding away – we heard later that they were having a dispute about some land. The Crow’s Nest is so named from its shape – the silica formed by the water has gradually formed a wall around the hole, which one has to climb up by a few steps in order to look down into the hole. After waiting a little time we heard a gurgling noise & then out spurted a column of boiling water 20 or 30 feet in height, the sun was shining brightly & formed a most perfect rainbow as the geyser played. It lasted about half a minute, but went down & came up again four times before it finally subsided. We then went on to the Porridge Pots holes of boiling mud most aptly named the Paint Pots were also boiling mud where the soil was of various coloured formations – three “Pots” of distinct coloured stood close together. Grey, brick red & a sort of salmon colour. That finished the mornings sight seeing – After lunch we started off in a buggy to see the Areteatea Rapids where we arrived after a six mile drive on a dusty road with nothing but scrub on each side all the way. Getting out of the buggy we mounted a steep cliff overlooking the river Waikato & from there we had a splendid view of the whole extent of the rapids, ¾ mile of a great volume of water of a greenish hue except where it was turned into white foam, rushed & reared between high cliffs on either side, in places the channel was narrow then would widen out again to the ordinary width of the river & a whirlpool was often formed close to the edge in one of these some pieces of wood were swirling round & round & could never get away. We went down the cliff by a steep path to get the view from below & stood on rocks watching the rearing torrent at our feet. We both thought it was one of the grandest sights we have seen. We got back to the Spa in time for a cup of tea & another bath before dinner. In the morning I had tried the big hot & cold bath where you get first into a hot bath, then into a tepid one where the hot & cold streams mix & finally into a cold one, you walked from one to the other without getting out of the water. In the evening we enjoyed the society of Mr & Mrs Maclennan again but said goodbye on retiring as they were off very early next morning by the Napier coach.
Thursday Mar 22nd After breakfast we started off in a buggy with lunch packed for us in a basket, for Rotokawa or the Sulphur Lake. 6 miles off the road most of the way was only just a track through the scrub & consequently very rough - in places there were great holes a foot or more deep where rain had washed the road away which had to be avoided & most of the way the horses had a little hedge of scrub dividing them. It would hardly be possible to drive a one-horsed vehicle along there & besides the ups & downs are pretty steep – when we came to one very steep descent the driver asked us to get out & walk in case anything should go wrong with the brake. At the bottom we came to a boggy bit where the horses were half way up their legs in mud. At the end of the track the man tied up the horses & took us round to see first the Sulphur Lake which we had smelt from afar, in various places the water was bubbling up showing where there was a boiling spring & the whole of the water was hot & steaming & of a yellow colour. Close by, in fact separated from the sulphur lake by only two or three feet of land lies an ordinary cold lake & which black swans & wild ducks were swimming, this water is usually of a deep blue & forms a curious contrast to the yellow water of the other lake, but the day was cloudy & dull so we did not get the good colouring. There were various deep pools of boiling water which as one peered down into made one shudder to think of falling in, & the guide dug up some large bits of sulphur which was lying about everywhere, some bits bright yellow & crystallized, other hardened & duller which some that had been burnt was quite dark. In one place there was soil of almost every colour imaginable greys & browns & reds. In many places stamping on the ground produced a very hollow sound & one began to realise what a thin crust of earth separated one from the mysterious regions beneath. On some places the guide tells you not to walk as the crust is too thin. When we had seen everything we drove back to the buggy place, where we could get water from a stream to boil the billy, the guide made a fire & when all was ready sat down with us & we all had tea & sandwiches. We got back early in the afternoon so walked up the road a little way to see the “Kathleen” Sulphur Bath. At dinner this evening we had the company of a Birmingham man who arrived here today, he was connected with Cadbury’s firm & knew Evesham & the district quite well, he gave us a box of chocolates which as he was travelling on business he said he always carried about.
Friday Mar 23rd We woke to find it raining hard & it had been doing so all night for the first time we experienced the discomfort of having to out of doors to get from one room to another. We breakfasted at 7.30 & set off about 8 for Wairakei 6 miles away. The drive was not very pleasant as it rained all the time but following the river for some time the view was pretty & at one place we got down to look at the Huke rapids & fall, these are a small edition of the Arateatea rapids, the fall is not high, but the water is a very pretty green colour. As soon as we got to the Geyser House Hotel, Wairakei we arranged to go in the morning to see the Kurafiti Fumerol, commonly called the ‘Blow Hole at Devils Trumpet’ and in the afternoon to the Geyser Valley. As we had booked rooms at Rotorua for Saturday we felt we must see the chief sights at Wairakei today or not at all so we braved the rain. The Blow Hole we reached after a three miles drive – it is on the side of a hill & the steam can be seen from some distance. Seen from close to it is a hole in the ground not more than a foot or two across out of which steam pours with terrific force. The guide poured some kerosene on a sack, lighted it & laid it at the edge of the hole to make the steam show up, then he threw a large tin down which was thrown up again immediately. This hole is said by some to be the safety valve of the thermal district. On our return we had a little time for writing & after lunch set off walking with a guide to the Geyser Valley, 1½ miles off, the rain was not very heavy although underfoot the ground was sticky & slippery so we got back in a fair state of mud. It was worth while though to see this valley which in itself is very pretty apart from the wonderful sights it contains. The sides are covered with vegetation of a lovely green, near the cold stream running through are lots of ferns & moss & among it all on both sides of the stream clouds of steam rise from the various boiling pools & geysers. The chief things we saw were the Twins, Prince of Wales Feathers, Dragons Mouth, Lightning Pool, Pack Horse & Great Wairakei Geyser, some of these play at frequent intervals some we did not wait to see. Some were so high as the Crow’s Nest Geyser at Taupo but there is altogether far more to see here than in Taupo. Besides these geysers we saw the Champagne Pool of boiling water always fizzling, a little lake of sky blue water, three pools one of iron, another of soda & the third of alum all within a few feet of each other, various boiling mud holes & one of the prettiest sights was a red sort of coral terrace gradually being formed by the outlet from a geyser running down a bank there was another yellow terrace which they called the Primrose terrace. Our guide was very talkative & ready to explain everything so we had a most interesting afternoon. There were some pleasant people staging at the hotel whom we saw at dinner & in the evening.
Saturday Mar 24th The morning looked fairly promising when we started in the coach from Rotorua at 8.30 but we had not gone far before rain came on again & we were glad to be inside as we knew the road would not be interesting we had not booked box seats. A Presbyterian clergyman, Mr Stubbs, was the only other passenger inside & as far as Waiotapu, the luncheon place he kept us well entertained with his talk. Near Waiotapu we saw more steam indicating the presence of geysers, but we had no time to see the sights here, we had to start again immediately after an hour for lunch. All the rest of the way it poured with rain & as it drove into the coach we got more or less wet, some of our luggage got into a horrid state of mud & wet though fortunately nothing got spoilt. We were very glad to get to Waiwera House, Rotorua, a boarding-house which Gem & Mrs Chapman had recommended & where we had secured rooms. How nice it was to change & feel dry & clean once more! It is evidently a very popular house, it seems quite full & they could only give us a double room. There is a very nice drawing rom & dining room & the meals are excellent so we look forward to a comfortable weeks stay here. After dinner I went round in the rain to the post office to enquire for letters we have not heard since we left Petone, but I was much disgusted to find that though the office was open they won’t give them over the counter after 5 o’clock so we shall have to wait till Monday. There were a lot of people in the drawing room in the evening, working, reading or playing patience or other games.
Sunday Mar 25th A fine day – we went to morning service at the nice little church here – met some people we had seen at the Masonic Napier coming out, went for a short walk in the Sanatorium grounds which look very pretty, lots of dahlias & other flowers were in full bloom, there are geysers & hot pools here & there baths scattered about, croquet & tennis lawns. We only had time to explore a part. After dinner we wrote for a little while & about 3 o’clock walked out to Whakarewarewa a three quarter’s of an hour’s walk. Lots of people were going out in buses & all sorts of conveyances, the big Wairea Geyser there which will only play on being soaped, was to be soaped at 4 o’clock so we got there in good time to see it. It was a pretty sight when it played rising 80 feet or so in a straight column & falling like a shower of diamonds in the sunlight. Afterwards we walked round the place & saw a lot of Maories, there is one big hotel at Whaha (prons Wacka) which it is generally called for short, the rest is a Maori pak or village. From a bridge across a stream Maori children were diving into the water for pennies thrown in by visitors. We saw one woman washing her hands in a hot pool which lie all round the houses several tattoed women were walking about but most of the younger women no longer tattoo themselves. Many of them wished us a friendly Good afternoon as we passed. We walked back in time for tea at 5.30, afterwards went to the evening service.
Monday Mar 26th We had arranged to go an all day trip starting at 8 so we breakfasted at 7.30 & started by the coach which took a party of six of us from this house. All were pleasant people so with fine weather & a very interesting route we had a most enjoyable day. We drove for 9 miles to a village buried by the Tarawera eruption in 1886. We saw the ruined church, school, hotel & houses, one whare was quite buried up to the roof. At this place, called Te Wairoa, after just a walk round we went on board a small oil launch on Lake Tarawera & had a pleasant trip up a part of the lake getting a good view of Mount Tarawera with its deep clefts. The country all round looked most desolate being all covered with grey lava, though in places the toi-toi (a sort of pampas grass) was flourishing. Landing after about an hour’s sail we had a 15 minutes walk over lava & cinders to the shore of Lake Rotomahaua stopping on the way at the top of a hill to sit down & eat the lunch which the Waiwera House people had packed up for our party. There was a barrister & his wife from Wellington, a Scotchman & a Wangauri man who was very nice & carried our wraps for us. After a nice picnic lunch consisting of sandwiches, cake & fruit, we got into the next launch & crossed Lake Rotomahaua – From here we had a still better view of Mount Tarawera with its crater, about half way up the guide showed us where the Pink & White Terraces were before they were destroyed by the eruption. The actual places are now covered by the lake which is now seven times as large as it was before 1886, in fact we passed in the launch over the top of several craters. A little further up we passed a lot of geysers & steam holes boiling on the edge of the lake, putting our hands into the water it was too hot to keep them there long. Landing once more we met the famous guide Bob Ingles who was to conduct us over 2½ miles of most interesting country. The walk was at first over rough sandy & stony ground, then we walked up part of a long fissure made by the earthquake, here the cliffs on each side were hot to touch & smoking in places, the guide told us if he put a stone two inches below the surface in five days it became quite soft like the rest of the cliff which had been solid rock. Many other chemical wonders this guide explained to us which would be very interesting to any student of chemistry. He made a constant study of the district & had his own pet theories some of which he admitted had had the bottom knocked out of them by some recent developments. Soon we climbed up a steep hill from which we saw three big craters, the Black, Inferno & the Echo, also a mud volcano which broke out only a month ago. Then we looked down on the Great Wainaugu Geyser which used to play regularly but has not played now for some time though just lately it has shown some signs of activity. A few years ago a terrible accident occurred, two girls went too close & were swept away by the shower of boiling mud & water, we were shown the spot where they stood.
Tuesday Mar 27th We walked in the morning to the old part of Rotorua called Olimenutu where Maoris live – there are a lot of boiling pools and mud holes about – a man whom we met and asked the way of, kindly showed us round, he took us to his own house & his wife showed us the dinner she was cooking over a boiling pool & gave us a hot potato to taste. A lady staying at our boarding house came with us & we had an interesting morning. The afternoon was very cold we walked in the Sanatorium Grounds after tea & when we got back found Bernard waiting to see us. He had ridden 80 miles in two days & could only stay until after breakfast tomorrow morning. He dined with us afterwards hearing there was a Haka or Maori dance on at Whaka at 8 o’clock we all went out there by bus to see it. Twenty Maori girls took part in it, they stood in one long row & the dancing consisted chiefly in beating time with one foot & performing all sorts of exercises with the hands & arms – the prettiest part was a kind of ball exercise with balls of flax – each had two of these on either end of a string. They kept wonderful time. As they went on they got more & more excited & made hideous grimaces. Music was provided by a Maori man with a concertina. All the time they shouted & made such a deafening noise that after over an hour of it we felt we had had enough. Bernard stayed the night at a hotel.
Wed Mar 28th This morning he came to breakfast at 8 & had to start off directly afterwards he could not leave his work longer than 4 days. At ten o’clock Auntie Lottie & I started for a trip as it was a fine bright day. We went by steamer across Lake Rotorua & landed to see the Hamuraua Spring which we reached by punting a short distance up a small stream. The spring is 85 feet deep the water is cold & beautifully clear it rises with such force that a penny dropped in will not sink. We boarded the steamer again & this time having changed our course we had quite a rough passage as far as the rapids leading to the stream connecting this Lake to Lake Rotoiti. This was a smaller lake, calm & rather pretty. We landed again to see the Okere Falls & the Power House the source of the electric light in Rotorua. These falls were pretty but spoilt by the artificial apparatus around. We lunched here having brought a basket with us, then got into the conveyances waiting for us & drove to Likitere where here are more boiling pools. We were getting rather tired of mud holes etc so instead of going round the sights we stayed & talked to a poor old deformed Maori woman at the tea house. She could only talk broken English. We had 10 or 12 miles further to drive to Rotorua & got back about 5 o’clock. In the evening a Mrs McLaren whom we had met in Napier & who is new to Rotorua with her niece came in & had a long chat.
Thursday Mar 29th After breakfast we took a bus out to Whaha calling for Mrs McLaren & her niece who had arranged to come with us. We had a most interesting morning going round with Bella, one of the two famous guides Maggie & Bella whom everyone seems to have heard of. They are Maoris but have been well educated & speak perfect English. Bella took us round the native village where some houses were built almost at the edge of boiling pools & where the crust of earth we walked on was only 2 feet deep. She told us a cousin of hers was once scalded to death by the path giving way under her feet but accidents very seldom occur & the Maoris seem to have no fear of living in such a dangerous place. We saw Bella’s mother washing clothes at a hot pool children bathing & food cooking. Bella took us into her room & Maggie’s a beautiful little apartment built in the Maori style of timber & flax but otherwise resembling an English college girl’s room, with a nice bookcase full of delightful books, writing table, piano & comfortable chairs, lots of photos cover the walls & there are some curios about. Maggie came in while we were there & sang to us. Bella playing the accompaniment. When we had seen everything, including a cave where an old Maori chief once hid in time of war & the Brain Pot, the cavity of a geyser where his brains were cooked & subsequently eaten by his enemies after they had captured & beheaded him, we saw old Sophia a Maori woman of 78 who was the means of saving many people in her whare at Wairoa at the time of the eruption in 1886 – she has many stories to tell but we couldn’t stay to hear her yarns the bus just waited while we went into a carved Maori meeting house, the plaited flax covering the walls inside between the carved pillars was all made by Bella herself. We stayed in most of the afternoon & after tea went round to the Tourist Office to choose photos. They sell very nice ones & Aunt Lottie wanted to get some of places we have seen.
Friday Mar 30th Aunt Lottie walked out to see the Fairy Springs this morning. This afternoon we both walked round the Reserve near the town where there are more boiling holes etc. Afterwards we had to pack.
Saturday Mar 31st We started by the 9.30 train for Auckland, not altogether loth to leave the district as we felt we had had about enough of the weird sights & were ready to turn to something fresh. About a dozen people were leaving Waiwera House by the same train. We had a very good journey & it did not seem tedious – there was a dining car so we lunched on the train. We reached Auckland at 5 o’clock getting a peep at the harbour as we neared the station. It was a beautiful evening & we were very pleased with the look of the place. We had secured rooms at Glenalvon the best private hotel & are very pleased with everything here. I am sure we will like staying here. The house was originally built as the Admiralty House, there is a fine view from the balcony over the harbour, rather spoilt though unfortunately by ware-houses & timber yards in the foreground. Before dinner I went out to explore to find the nearest church for tomorrow morning. We spent the evening quietly rather tired after our journey.
Sunday April 1st We went to S Paul’s Church, the nearest this morning. About 3 o’clock we started out to Parnell, a suburb where the Lairds live. I had written to say we would go & see them & Miss Laird had given me full directions how to find the house. We took the tram & then had 5 min walk & found Miss Laird looking out for us. Her father & mother, sister & some younger brothers were at home, the sister is starting tomorrow for Sydney where she boards the Suevic en route for England – she is having the same trip that the other one has had. We found plenty to talk about the old Orantes days. They kindly asked us to stay to high tea & afterwards we went with Miss Laird to S Mary’s Church Parnell the Pro Cathedral & the largest wooden Church in the World. The service was very nice but the Bishop preached & we were not much impressed with him. We arranged with Miss Laird to join us on a little excursion next Wednesday – took tram back again.
Monday April 2nd After breakfast we went into the Museum which is close by & looked at some fine Maori carving & a big war canoe – then enquired whether Mr Hutchinson, an Orantes friend was there, he had been doing work at the Museum but had left Auckland. It was a fine morning so we went on an exploring expedition through the town, found S Matthew’s Church, a fine new stone erection & the public library also a fine building, where we had a look at the Illustrateds. We walked back through some gardens. Auckland is a well laid out city with steep hills everywhere from which one gets good views over the harbour to the North Shore. It is a most beautiful harbour. I must be better acquainted with both it & Sydney before I can say which I like best. After lunch we were disappointed at not getting our Frisco letters by the 2.30 post but on enquiry found them at the P.O, having been re-addressed there from Petone. After tea we took them into the gardens & sat & enjoyed them there. After dinner this evening a nice string band played while people sat & talked or worked in the lounge. We were talking to two rather pleasant ladies one a Jewess from Sydney the other wife of the British consul at Tahiti.
Tuesday Apr 3rd We took tram this morning out to One Tree Hill near Onelunga which is the port of Auckland on the west coast. We had half an hour’s walk up to the top of this hill whence we had a good view over Auckland & the district & could see the narrow ithmus dividing Onelunga from Auckland harbour. After lunch I went into the town while Auntie rested – Afterwards we both wrote. A Mr & Mrs Brown arrived who had been with us at Waiwera House Rotorua – very nice people – we talked to them in the evening.
Wednesday Apr 4th We had made arrangements with Miss Laird on Sunday to have a day’s outing with her today. She joined us at “Glenalvon” at 10.30 & we walked down to the wharf & took a ferry steamer across the harbour to the North Shore. There we took an omnibus & drove 3 or 4 miles out to Lake Takapuna – a pretty freshwater lake only separated from the sea by a narrow bit of land. We found a seat looking over the lake & sat there & ate our sandwiches & chocolate which we had brought. Presently we went to the Hotel close by & asked leave to go up the tower from which we got a fine view of the harbour & various islands dotted about. It was nice having Bessie (Miss Laird) to tell us what places we could see. Rangitoto, the island volcano was very clear & far out beyond the harbour we could see the Little Barrier Island & just made out the Great Barrier beyond. We next made our way to the Post Office to enquire where Miss Rutherford, another Orantian, lived. Miss Laird had heard she was in this neighbourhood so we thought it would be great fun to look her up. We were told she was living in a little cottage on the shore about 1½ miles away so we all walked out there & surprised her by coming on her suddenly in her sort of hermit’s retreat where she said she had gone for a year to do some writing & painting. We used to say she was like an old witch or fairy. I am not quite sure which & her present surroundings did not by any means alter one’s impression. We chatted for some time & she got tea for us. Then we took the ‘bus back to the North Short & ferried back again. Bessie came back with us to dinner at Glenalvon & after dinner she & I sat in the sort of gallery overlooking the billiard room, watched the billiards & had a long talk. He brother came later to take her home.
Thursday Apr 5th Auntie spent most the morning indoors. I took a walk then looked into the Art Gallery where there is rather a nice collection of pictures – afterwards I had a look round the Museum. In the afternoon we called on a Miss Harker a friend of some Folkstone friends of Auntie’s. She & her brother live together not far from here, they seemed pleased to see us & invited us to lunch next Thursday.
Friday Apr 6th We did nothing special in the morning. After lunch we took tram out towards Mount Eden & called on Mrs Douglas Adkins whose address Mrs Adkins had given me. She was out but her lady help asked us in & gave us tea & the little three year old boy came & entertained us. We left a note asking Mrs Adkins to come to tea one day. After dinner Mrs Symons, the Tahiti lady shewed me how to do some pretty crotchet work. I find colonial women 7 girls are almost invariably clever at all sorts of needlework plain & fancy.
Saturday Apr 7th We went into the town before lunch & spent an hour the Public Library. At 2.45 we took a tram to the Domain where some sports were being held & we had arranged to meet the Laird party – Bessie was there with Miss Poundle her future sister in law & a little niece of three named Rose Bush who was staying with them. We watched the sports for some time, among others items on the programme was tree felling competition. About 4.30 the sky looked very threatening so we left the ground Auntie felt rather tired so went back to Glenalvon. We had been asked to tea at the Lairds so I walked back with them & spent the evening there. They saw me into the tram & I got back about 9.30.
Sunday Apr 8th Aunt Lottie’s birthday. I had only a late birthday present to offer her promising to crotchet her two d’oyleys after the pattern I am learning. We went to S Matthews this morning, quite a new church in the City. In the afternoon Stainer’s Crucifixion was to be sung at the Church some little way from here. I had never heard it so took the tram up there & walked back afterwards. It was very fairly rendered & I enjoyed it. In the evening we went to St Paul’s, the nearest Church from here.
Monday Apr 9th I went out in the morning then did some work till lunch. In the afternoon we took tram & bus out to St John’s College founded by Bishop Selwyn for candidates for Holy Orders. One of the students showed us round, we saw the chapel with stained glass windows to the memory or Bishop Selwyn, Bishop of Patterson & two other missionaries murdered with him – then we went into the Hall with its “high” table on the raised platform at one end just like the colleges at home. On the walls & in a case with glass doors were a lot of Melanesian curios. The lower end of the hall was curtained off & used as a library, they want to build a library of stone, the hall is a wooden erection, but the old part of the college where are the students rooms & the kitchen is of stone & looks like the most venerable building I have seen in N.Z. There are only 5 students there at present, last year there were 16. There are various scholarships to be gained by which students can get the college training free. They enter at 16 years of age or older & stay sometimes for 6 yrs. Some of them go to England for Ordination. When we had seen all round there was still an hour left before the bus would pass so we walked on towards St Helier’s Bay two miles off where the ‘bus started from. It was a sunny afternoon & the walk was most enjoyable, there was an extensive view all round & we kept getting peeps of blue water of the harbour & it various inlets. On the way we passed the ruins of a church which we were told had been demolished during a Maori war. It was evidently built of a soft non-durable stone for the walls were quite falling to pieces & it was in worse repair than many a ruin centuries old at home. We walked on & got within a quarter of a mile of St Helier’s when we met the ‘bus & had to get in though we were sorry we couldn’t go quite all the way, it was such a pretty walk. After dinner we went by tram to a 7.30 service at S Sepulchre’s Church & walked back.
Tuesday Apr 10th I went out after breakfast. Auntie was tired so rested indoors. In the afternoon Mrs Adkins came with her sister Mrs Alexander who was lately come from England. They stayed for some time chatting & had tea & Mrs Adkins asked us to go for a drive with them on Saturday afternoon. We went again to evening service at S Sepulchre’s coming out we saw Miss Pierce, one of the nice Auckland girls staying at Waiwera House Rotorua while we were there, & who travelled to Auckland with us. She asked us to tea on Tuesday. We had a beautiful moonlight walk home, the harbour looked lovely.
Wednesday Apr 11th The morning was fine Bessie Laird called here for us as we had arranged soon after 10 o’clock, we each took some lunch & went down to the wharf hoping to find a boat going to Rangitata, a volcano or one of the islands in the harbour which we intended to climb, however there was no boat going today so we took one to St Helier’s Bay instead. This took us a little way down the harbour which we were anxious to see from the water. We reached St Helier’s about noon, walked about a little & sat down & ate our lunch. The view from the shore is very pretty but there is not much to do at the place itself & when we found there was no boat going back until about 6 o’clock we began to feel somewhat like Eliza & her husband on the memorable occasion of their day in the country (vide Barry Pain) however on enquiry we found there was an omnibus going about 2 o’clock, so we walked along the road & let that pick us up. We came through Parnell & dropped Bessie there, we got back to Glenalvon in time for afternoon tea. We went to St Sepulchre’s again in the evening, taking tram up & walking back.
Thursday Apr 12th I went out after breakfast, then wrote letters. We went to lunch at Miss Harker’s & had a pleasant luncheon party. A thunder storm came on & we stayed till nearly 4 o’clock until the rain was over, then I went into the town & finished Frisco letters before dinner.
Good Friday Apr 13th A glorious day, sunny & warm. We went to 11 o’clock service at St Paul’s & got back a little before one. I made a hurried lunch & walked up to St Mary’s Parnell for the latter part of the Three Hours Service. The Bishop was giving the addresses & there was quite a large congregation, the boys of the Maori school were sitting in front of me & behaved so well. I walked back & got in in time for tea at 3.45 which was very refreshing after the hot walk. Then I sat with some work on the upper balcony & just enjoyed the beauties of the harbour which I have never seen looking more lovely than this afternoon. There was not a ripple on the water so that the boats were all reflected, & the colouring on the North Shore of trees & houses with the distant islands & hills all so clear, made up a scene hard to equal for peaceful quiet beauty. I saw the San Francisco mail steamer “Ventura” sail from the wharf and disappear round the North Head just as the sun was setting among a mass of golden clouds in the West, so I wished farewell to our home-ward bound letters which I had posted early in the morning & then came in for the balcony got cold & dark as soon as the sun was set. After dinner Aunt Lottie intended going to evening service at St Sepulchre’s. No trams were running all day for the tram employees were having a picnic, so it was a case of walking, however the way looked so dark that she turned into St Paul’s on the way. I did not attempt St Sepulchre’s having already walked to Parnell & back, so joined Mr & Mrs Kebble, some nice people staying here, & went with them to St Paul’s. I was surprised to see Aunt Lottie sitting in front of us. She was glad after all she went there for they sang Stainer’s Crucifixion after the short service & she quite enjoyed in. I was very glad to hear it a second time.
Saturday Apr 14th In the morning Aunt Lottie went to the Art Gallery were she was pleased to find paintings of the Pink & White Terraces before their destruction. I went into town then to the Art Gallery to finish the inspection I began the other day. I liked a new picture very much “In Time of Peril” by Blair Leighton. Next I had another look at some old manuscripts & books in the Library & went to the Museum for another look round the Maori collection, the green stone & other kinds of “meres” or clubs, the stone axes & other weapons are interesting as well as the carving which we had looked at before. There is also a statue room with copies of many famous works of sculpture. After lunch we got ready for the drive was Mrs Adkins had asked us to go with them. She & Mr Adkins with Mrs Alexander & her husband called for us here at 2.30 & we all set out in a covered waggonettes, the two gentlemen on the box & we four ladies inside. They had talked of driving up Mount Eden but the day was very warm & I think the driver was not anxious for the horses to do the climb so we drove out to Onelunga the port for West Coast boats going via Parnell & Remuera & along a road called the Ladies Mile past the racecourse where races were going on. It was a pretty drive all the way. At Onelunga we had tea at a kiosk built out on a little peninsular & with water on three sides. The Adkins met two or three other friends there & we were quite a large party. Mrs Adkins was very bright & lively & Mr Adkins had reminiscences of visits to Long Hyde to talk about, so though the waiting was bad & they kept us waiting for ages for our tea we were glad to have time for a chat. We got back in nice time for dinner.
Easter Day Apr 15th Auntie & I both went to the 8 o’clock service at St Paul’s Church which was nicely decorated with white flowers, yellow chrysanthemums, palms & ferns. The weather was perfect, we walked back through the gardens to get the view of the harbour from there. Breakfast was at 9, Auntie went to St Sepulchre’s for morning service & I took a tram up to Parnell & went to the Cathedral. Mrs Laird was at Church & I sat in their seat. There was a good congregation. Afterwards I walked round to see Bessie whom I found busy getting dinner ready, however she found time for a chat so I stayed for a little while then walked back after saying goodbye to all the family except Bessie who is to come & lunch with us tomorrow. We spent a quiet afternoon talking & reading & writing. In the evening we went to St Sepulchre’s Church where we had a nice bright service, we just spoke to the Miss Pierces coming out/
Monday Apr 16th We went to the Art Gallery in the morning to see Holman Hunt’s picture “The Light of the World” which is going round the colonies & being exhibited free of charge in all the principal towns. It arrived from Sydney yesterday. I liked it very much better than I thought I should. I have never cared for prints I have seen of it but the colouring makes all the difference. It is a picture that wants a lot of studying there is so much symbolic detail in it. After a look in the Library we got back to lunch just before Bessie arrived. Auntie decided to have a quiet afternoon so Bessie & I went off together on a steamer trip down the harbour to Rangitoto where we were not able to get to the other day. Today however was a far better day for seeing the view. We had a most enjoyable afternoon. The steamer landed us on Rangitoto Island at 2.45 & we started at once on the climb to the top where we arrived, very hot in ¾ of an hour. The soil is almost entirely composed of scoria but instead of being grey as in most volcanic regions it is dark brown & except when one is quite close it looks exactly like a newly ploughed rich soil. Out of the crevices grow quite large bush trees & ferns, one wonders how they can take root. The view from the top is most extensive & beautiful – on one side the Haurangi Gulf (of which Auckland harbour forms a part) with its numerous islands and islets standing out clearly from the calm blue water, & the Coromandel Ranges on the mainland beyond. To the South was a wide expanse of country while Auckland city lay across the harbour towards the West. From our point of vantage we could see over the North Shore which is a long peninsular, & then again over the ithmus on which Auckland stands, & which separates this harbour from that of Onelunga. The latter port is on the Manutau harbour, a large inlet on the west coast, & we could see the Manutau Heads, high cliffs at the entrance. When on the steamer we saw that the Frisco mail steamer “Sierra” was signalled at the Signal station on Mount Victoria, a hill on the North Shore, & when we got to the top of Rangitoto we sat & watched her steam round the North Head towards the wharf & thought longingly of the letters for us on board. As we sat there we could see right down into the crater close beside us – there was a path down to the bottom of it but we were not energetic enough to try it. We walked down again in half an hour in plenty of time for the last boat leaving at 5 o’clock. The sun was setting as we went back up the harbour making a background of gold to the masts of the vessels in dock. Bessie walked back with me to Glenalvon, then took a tram home.
Tuesday Apr 17th We went by the 10 o’clock train with Mr & Mrs Kebble who are staying at Glenalvon to a place called Pukekoke, about 30 miles down the line to see the Ostrich Farm near there. After 1½ hours by train we got into a buggy which Mr Kebble had arranged to meet us & drove two miles out to the farm. We saw a big flock of ostriches who looked at us over the wire fence, such queer looking creatures ungainly & yet stately in their walk. There are about 600 on this farm & they live on grass & turnips. Next week they were going to begin plucking –they take feathers only from the wing & under the wing & they pluck them every 8 months, the best feathers are produced from the birds the third time they are plucked. They lay eggs (about 12 or 16) in October or November, some they hatch in incubators, but sometimes the bird sits, the female sitting in the day time & the male taking her place at night. The pen in which they are placed for plucking is very strong for the birds can kick with great force, a cap is put over their heads to keep them quiet. Some of the feathers are cut off & those that are pulled out are only those ready to fall so that the plucking does not hurt them. We went into the feather room where some girls were at work sorting the feathers, & saw the show room where there were some beautiful boas & stoles, fans & single feathers for sale. Having seen everything we had our lunch, which we had brought with us, under a tree & the woman who showed us round sent us out some tea & tea cups. Afterwards we wandered about in some bush close by & saw some nikau palms, also some puriri trees which have a small reddish flower & do not grow any further south than this. While waiting for our horses to be put in we watched some sheep being dipped, they have a few sheep also on the farm. We drove back to Pukekoke & took the train back at 3.40 getting back to Auckland at 5 o’clock. I had this diary to write up & after posting it have to go & pack.
Wednesday Apr 18th This morning we reluctantly bade farewell to Auckland leaving for Taumarnui by the 10 ‘clock train. We were at the station in very good time to get good seats as being Easter week there were a great many people travelling. Bessie Laird expected to be down there seeing a friend off but she did not turn up. Mr & Mrs Kebbell travelled with us as far as Frankton Junction where we had to change. We lunched in the train before arriving there. The journey on to Taumarnui was very slow & tedious though pretty part of the way – we got in about 7.30 when it was too dark & a friendly man with a lantern showed us the way to Meredith House where we were to stay the night. After a good meal we were glad soon to go to bed.
Thursday Apr 19th I woke Aunt Lottie at 5 a.m. but didn’t get up myself till 5.30. Breakfast was at 6 & before then we had to put all our luggage ready for the boat. The morning (when it got light enough to see outside) looked doubtful, mist was on the hills & it was one of those days which may turn out fine or – may not. This day happened not to – we had no sooner moved off in the boat from the bank of the river than the rain began & it never stopped till we reached Pipiriki at 6pm. However we made the best of it though it is said to be going through beautiful scenery which is half obscured by mist & rain especially when one has the discomfort of feeling damper & damper as the day wears on. We started in a long canoe worked by steam, there was room for three to sit abreast & there were 10 or 12 seats. The engine was at the back & a man was at the bows as look out he whistled for the engine to slow down as we came to rapids or dry tricklish, but for the most part we slid along at a most exciting pace. On a fine morning it would have been delightful, as it was we enjoyed it. After about 2½ hours we had to change into a small steamer, the seats & deck of which were as wet as we ourselves though there was some attempt at a covering of the deck. At 11 o’clock we came to a houseboat where we got off & had lunch, quite ready for it even at that early hour after our 6 o’clock breakfast. There was no fire or means of drying ourselves at all so we were glad to go on about noon. Then we had a long six hours steam down the river with only a break for a cup of tea which they gave us on board. Apparently they couldn’t boil the kettle & keep going at the same time for we stopped while that operation was in process! There is not a yard of the way down the river that is not beautiful, more or less, high cliffs covered with bush on each side, every now & then a cleft discloses a waterfall, or water tumbles right over the brink of the cliff. Occasionally the rock is bare or partially so for a little way, in almost all places it rises sheer from the water’s edge. The rock is of some soft formation as can be seen by the small holes in it which have been made by the poles which the Maoris use to push themselves along in their canoes. We saw a few Maoris & their huts on the banks & stopped once or twice to land provender & letters for them. It was nearly dark when we got to Pipiriki – we had a lot of steps to go up to reach the accommodation house, a large place & very comfortable. There was some delay in bringing up our luggage so we had to dine in our wet things, after which I went to bed while my things were being dried & Auntie soon followed my example. Some people who came in by coach this evening just after we arrived had had a misadventure, the leaders shied at a tractor engine in a narrow bit of road with a precipice on one side. They turned right round & fortunately broke the pole, otherwise the coach would have gone over. The passengers got out & walked the 3½ miles to Pipiriki, the state of their clothes showed what mud they had been through. We felt our trip was a most successful one compared with theirs.
Friday Apr 20th We were actually allowed to breakfast as late as 8 o’clock, the boat was supposed to start at 8.45 but we were waiting about for quite an hour before we got off, Pipiriki evidently being one of the slowest of the many slow N.Z. places – they took ages bringing the luggage from the hotel. However at last we started, this time in a larger & more comfortable steamer. Pipiriki reminds me of Symonds Yat more than any other place I have seen. There were some poplars & willow trees about here & all down the river, their yellow autumn leaves made such a strange contrast against the deep green of the bush. It was a fine morning & not cold so we were able to enjoy the scenery which is very pretty all the way down though becoming more tame & ordinary near Wanganui. We got good seats in the fore part of the boat & saw every thing well. Time passed quickly & pleasantly with several nice people to talk to. We lunched on board & by 4 o’clock we landed at Wanganui where we got rooms at Foster’s Hotel for the night. We spent most of the evening letter writing. I must not forget to mention the Maori villages on the river bank where we stopped to put off or take on passengers or cargo. They are little places consisting generally of only a few huts though at one there is an R.C. mission & convent established. It was the names which aroused me so much – Jerusalem, London, Galatia, Corinth & Athens. If you could only see the places bearing these high sounding names!
Saturday Apr 21st A showery morning but we went out a little way between the showers ”to see the shops & walk about” & buy pcs Wanganui seems a fair sized place & rather pretty. Our train for Marton left at 12, the express man (N.Z. term for outside porter) charged so much for our luggage that we decided to be economical & travel second class. Before we got to Marton however Aunt Lottie had uttered a firm resolve “never again”! The stuffiness the overcrowding & the squalling babies were too awful! However it was only a two hours journey. The rain was coming down in torrents at Marton. Percy met us & put us & our luggage into the ‘bus, we had engaged rooms at the White Hart Hotel not wishing to give Percy & Mary the trouble of having visitors. On our arrival a delightful pile of letters was awaiting us, I just opened & glanced at those that wouldn’t wait, then after a cup of tea for we had had nothing since breakfast, we went letters & al with Percy to his house where Mary & the babies were expecting us, we spent the rest of the afternoon with them. It being Saturday Percy had a half holiday & could stay. Dilnot was brought in first to be introduced, he was only shy for a very few minutes & was soon prevailed on to say “Auntie & May” as he had been taught. He is such a bouncy healthy looking boy, very devoted to his “Dada”. Jessica appeared presently, she is 8 month old. She is not so strong as the boy & was very small but is getting on nicely now. They have a nice house, small but convenient, we did not see the garden as it was wet, talking & playing with the babies & tea filled up the time till 5 o’clock when both Mary & Percy took the babies off to bed & left us to finish reading our letters. We took the ‘bus back to the hotel in time for the evening meal.
Sunday Apr 22nd We went to Church in the morning & on to Percy’s afterwards where they expected us to spend the rest of the day. Dilnot had been in the garden with his father & was rather a little pickle, he was soon put to bed for his mid-day rest & we had dinner in peace! We sat & talked for a long time afterward, then the babies woke &p & came in – Dilnot is getting quite friendly. Percy took us round the garden paths but the grass was too wet to walk on, they have quite a large garden & Percy keeps it in splendid order. He showed us where a nursery is to be built on & we saw his carpenter’s shop & a baby’s cradle he had made. We thought of all going to Evening Service together, leaving the babies in bed under charge of the maid who had had the morning out, but a young bank clerk came in to tea & kept Percy. Mary however came with us & we returned to the hotel afterwards. It is rather a nice little Church, the clergyman is an eccentric old bachelor who preaches rather well, but who may do all sorts of extraordinary things during the service. Once they say a bird got into the Church & he ran round to try & catch it in the middle of Service!
Monday Apr 23rd Aunt Lottie was busy writing most of the morning – she was a little tired so did not go out all day. I had a walk after breakfast, the morning was so fine & warm. Then I did some needlework & after lunch when Auntie went for her afternoon rest, I walked round to Mary’s & found her just going to take the babies out, so I joined the nursery promenade. Both babies went in the perambulator which used to be for one only, but Percy had most cleverly & neatly enlarged it to take the two. Dilnot was put out to walk just a little way, he never wears shoes or socks but runs about everywhere with little bare toes. Baby went to sleep like the model child she is. On our return I had a cup of tea with Mary & played with the babies till Percy came in about 5.30. Dilnot having been climbing on to the sofa & calling himself “clever boy” repeatedly had just had a great fall & bumped his head, so his “Dada” was just in time to comfort him. I got back to the hotel before 6 & found Auntie much refreshed by her rest. In the evening Percy brought Mary round & left her to talk to us while he did an hours work at his office then he came in & they stayed talking till 10. They are both so nice, we both have enjoyed meeting them.
Tuesday Apr 24th Percy saw us off by the 9.23 train for Masterton, it was very nice having him to see about luggage etc. We had to change at Palmerston where we filled in the waiting time with lunch & again at Woodville. Between these two stations we went through the Manawatu Gorge, the railway is cut in the cliff high up above the river which it follows for some miles except in one or two places where it goes through a tunnel to avoid an extra big bend of the river. On the other side we could see the old coaching road which follows the river in the same way. The scenery is very interesting & pretty all the way through, though in late years the bush has been cut about & spoilt. When the bush was untouched it must have been a most beautiful gorge. We arrived at Masterton 3.25, a young fellow came up who said he had been told by Mr Sladden to see us into a cab, we wondered which Mr Sladden, not knowing whether the Petone contingent had arrived yet. It turned out to be Hubert whom we met later & who had come up by a morning train. He was very busy & went off after just seeing that we were comfortable at the Hotel. Uncle Dilnot engaged rooms for themselves & us at the Central Hotel & Hubert is also staying here. He said he should be in to dinner at six but there was no sign of him & Aunt Lottie & I dined alone. The others were not to arrive till the 8.30 train. A little before 9 I heard two cabs drive up & the Petone party, seven of them, flocked upstairs. Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Bessie the three girls & Frances & Arthur all came, we were such a merry party & all had so much to talk about, dresses & hats to be unpacked & looked at, altogether it was hard to make up our minds to go to bed but we did get there before midnight.
Wednesday Apr 25th An ideal day for the wedding, a cloudless blue sky & no wind. The ceremony was fixed for 12 o’clock so we had some time before we had to dress. After breakfast we five girls (I count Francie as one) walked out to see a friend Mrs Summerell who lives a mile or so out, we stayed chatting a little while, then came back to dress & have some tea & sandwiches. The two aunts had also been for a walk & had met George who came up form Featherstone by a morning train. By 11.45 we were all ready & cabs came to take us to the Church, all went off except Birdie, Uncle Dilnot, George & myself, we had to wait for a cab to come back & there was some mistake for the cab did not turn up until we had seen the bride drive by with her father, so we did not arrive until the service had begun & then lad to fight our way in through the crowd round the door, we found a seat reserved near the top of the Church where we could see well. There was no music so the service was quickly over & then the “Wedding March” was played while vestry proceedings were going on. All the relations crowded into the vestry to kiss & shake hands with the bride & bridegroom who both looked radiantly happy. Flowers were strewn as they walked to the Church gate, the two grown-up bridesmaids followed first (Lita’s twin sister & Dolly) then a small nephew & niece of Lita’s who were page & small bridesmaid respectively. The boy had announced before that he was going to be bridegroom! Oh I forgot the groomsmen who escorted the big bridesmaids Arthur who was best man took Miss Meredith& Dolly paired off with the second groomsman a nephew of Lita’s. The Church was prettily decorated mostly with autumn leaves which were very effective on the Church screen & over where bride & bridegroom stood was hung a bell of while flowers. The dresses I must describe more particularly in letters. I need only say that the bride looked very nice in orthodox white satin, tulle veil & orange blossoms & the bridesmaid’s dresses were pink & very pretty with pink hats to match with black ostrich tips. We all drove out to Llandaff, the Meredith’s house which is three miles out in open cabs as the day was so fine & warm. At the house there were more handshakings & congratulations & general chattering every one appearing in the best of spirits. In a large room where refreshments were served the “happy pair” sat in the bay window under an enormous bell of flowers suspended from the ceiling. When champagne was handed round there were a few short speeches. Mr Smith (Lita’s brother in law) proposed “The bride & bridegroom” to which the bridegroom responded in not very many words, & proposed the bridesmaids to which Arthur replied, also briefly. Then an old friend of the Meredith’s proposed the bride’s parents & old Mr Meredith made quite the happiest little speech in reply, he made a very complimentary reference to the family with which his daughter was forming an alliance. After the healths were drunk the bride cut the cake & some of us begged bits of the decoration to take away. Next we all had to go & be photographed in a group on the lawn & after the general group the bride & bridegroom & bridesmaids were taken together. Then Lita changed her dress & we looked at the presents meanwhile & robbed the drawing room vases of chrysanthemums the petals of which we pulled off & pelted Hubert & Lita with them when they came down. Several old shoes were thrown into the carriage after them & they drove off laughing & waving good-byes. We had to wait about a little before the carriages came for us tea was handed round in the interval. Going back I was in a carriage with Frances, Birdie & George, we were the same party from the Church only with Maidie instead of Frances. All the Sladden party except Aunt Lottie & myself were returning to Petone tonight by the 5.30 train. Aunt Lottie & I intended coming on to Wellington tomorrow where we shall stay in rooms for a week or so as Frances & Marjory are still at Petone. One of Lita’s married sisters Mrs Smith is staying at our hotel with her husband & children, we were talking to them in the drawing-room after dinner.
Thursday Apr 26th After breakfast I went out & bought a paper with an account of the wedding, then had a walk & wrote letters & packed before lunch. We took the 3.30 train to Wellington having had a wire from Uncle Dilnot to say he had got us a room at “Arcadia” a new private hotel. We had a good journey down, there was a Christchurch gentleman sitting opposite us who knew Uncle Dilnot, we had quite a long talk with him so did not notice the slowness of the train. Just think we were four hours going 67 miles & we were in the mail train which is called an express! It takes a long time to go up the Rinutaka Mts., we had three engines & even then crawled up. Mr Anderson the gentleman we were talking to asked if I would like to get out & walk! At Kaitake on the other side he kindly got us some tea while waiting there we saw Mr Russell who was in the train. We walked to Arcadia from Wellington Station, it is conveniently situated between the station & the town & is a fine large place.
Friday Apr 27th We went out after breakfast to do a few things we wanted – it was real windy Wellington weather & later came on to rain so we were glad to stay in & do some writing. I rang up Maidie on the telephone this morning & shall have another talk this evening.
Saturday Apr 28th We packed up some summer clothes that we no longer needed & went to the station soon after breakfast intending to take 10.5 train to Petone, however we found the races were on & there was no train for ordinary passengers for another hour so we filled up the time by going to the Union Co’s office agents for the Orient line, we found that our boat’s on the return voyage will probably be the Oraya as far as Colombo & the Ortona thence to England & we saw on the plans the cabins reserved for us. The wind was blowing a hurricane & we were almost taken off our feet by it, however it did not seem quite so bad at Petone. We got to the house about 11.30 had “elevenses” then sorted out the warm clothes we wanted. Uncle Dilnot & the boys came in for 2 o’clock dinner Aunt Lottie stayed in all the afternoon. I walked up to Hubert’s house with Birdie & Dolly, it took us 35 minutes each way across the paddocks which is shorter than the road. The house stands back from the road leaving room for a good sized garden in front & at the side. The house is one storied, there is quite a large hall papered in green, the dining room door is on the right, it leads into a good big room with large windows, the drawing room is on the left. On the other side of the dining room is a third sitting-room & at the back with doors opening on to a passage running right across the house are the two bedrooms, kitchen scullery pantry & servant’s room & bathroom. The dining room paper is an “art blue”, drawing room yellow, sitting room dark red, bedroom white & pink, spare room blue. Not much furniture was in, the girls were only going to get ready dining room & bedroom before Hubert & Lita’s return, the rest they will arrange themselves by degrees. We came back to 6 o’clock tea at Petone & took train back to town afterwards, having arranged to go over again on Tuesday.
Sunday Apr 29th Went to St Paul’s the Pro-Cathedral in the morning, it is a fine wooden Church, I had not been in before. The wind was still very disagreeable though not quite as bad by day as at night when we can hardly sleep for the noise it makes. So we spent a lazy afternoon indoors. Aunt Lottie slept & I read. After tea we were called upon to fill in our names etc. in the Census paper. The Census is taken in N.Z every five years. Then we went again to St Paul’s for Evensong.
Monday Apr 30th My morning was filled up with mendings & such like homely occupations. Aunt Lottie went out a little way. In the afternoon we both went by train out to Newtown a suburb, to call on another Mrs Gillow but she was out. We walked back & did a few things in town before dinner time.
Tuesday May 1st I took a train to Petone early in the morning & spent the day there blouse making, They were all busy there as usual with the preparation of Hubert’s house to see about as well as other thing. They had heard from Hubert & expect them back next Thursday. In the afternoon Dolly took little Marjorie out in her pram to the station to meet Aunt Lottie who came in time for four o’clock tea. Birdie came in about 3.30 & helped me in fitting my blouse which I nearly finished. We stayed to dinner & took a train back at 8 o’clock.
Wednesday May 2nd Aunt Lottie & I both went out on separate errands morning & afternoon, the sun was bright but the day windy as usual. When indoors we were both busy over various jobs of needle-work etc. we also had numerous newspapers to read up which we had found waiting at Petone & brought with us. In the evening we played enchre with some of the people here.
Thursday May 3rd Uncle Dilnot looked in after breakfast on his arrival in town, he said the servant departed yesterday & Hubert & Lita are expected back to their new home today. Aunt Lottie went out a little way morning & afternoon , but the day has been cold & windy so I stayed indoors to try and improve a heavy cold I have had for the past few days. There was packing to do in readiness for our early departure for Napier tomorrow morning. We are both looking forward to leaving “Arcadia” which is not in our opinion appropriately named.
Friday May 4th We left Wellington by the 8.22 train for Napier, got a comfortable carriage & had a good journey up arriving at 6.30. We are now getting so accustomed to these whole days in the train that we think little of them & with reading, dozing & gazing at the scenery time passes wonderfully quickly. It rained while we were going over the Rinutakes so we could not see much. We were glad of Aunt Lottie’s thick rug over our knees for it was cold. At Napier it was pouring with rain we took a cab to the Masonic & were very glad to get in to dinner & a warm fire. The waiters & hotel people remembered us again & it was quite nice to receive a friendly welcome.
Saturday May 5th At 10 o’clock we started out for a walk, it being a perfect morning sunny & cloudless with just a crisp autumn feeling in the air but no wind, so nice after Wellington! We climbed a steep path up one of the hills & explored among the houses built up there. These have most lovely situations with a fine view of the sea & almost all have lovely gardens which even at this season are still gay with all sorts of flowers. Roses & geraniums seem to flower here almost all the year round & just now chrysanthemums are in their glory. From one point we caught a fine view of distant snow-covered mountains beyond. We could see the way we had driven going to Taupo by coach & a long bridge over part of the bay which we had crossed. We found another way down the hill & got back about noon. I sat on the balcony till lunch time enjoying a sun bath. Just after lunch Mrs Hutchinson rang up to ask if we would go out to them at Rissington this afternoon to stay a few days. A Rissington man was in Napier with his buggy & pair & would drive us out. So we packed up in a hurry the things we wanted & started off in this buggy soon after three. It is a 17 mile drive a good deal up hill & among perfectly bare grassy uplands. Our driver is the blacksmith at Rissington he was talkative & had good deal to say on social problems in N.Z. A little before six we arrived at Mrs Hutchinson’s. She was at the front door to greet us & introduced her husband, but her son, the one we met on the Orantes, had been away for a day or two, they expected him back tonight. However he did not turn up after dinner. We had a long chat with Mrs Hutchinson & later on Aunt Lottie played cribbage with Mr Hutchinson.
Sunday May 6th A lovely morning, the sun was pouting into the verandah alongside the dining-room as we came down to breakfast. Afterwards we strolled round the garden with Mrs H admiring the trees & flowers which we had dimly seen by moonlight driving up yesterday evening. The house is very prettily situated right among the hills along the drive & all about the house are some fine weeping willows & other trees & the flowers are still pretty. Then I sat in the sun on the verandah reading while Auntie wrote indoors. Before dinner Mrs H took us a walk up the road, we passed the house where her married daughter, Mrs Absalom, lives, she came out & spoke to us. The afternoon was spent in resting (by the elders), in reading (by me). Just before dusk Mr Frank Hutchinson drove back in the buggy from up country, we had a pleasant evening talking & reading aloud.
Monday May 7th Another perfect morning. Breakfast was at 7.30, a usual up country hour, when it is not earlier. Being Monday it was of course washing day & all hands set to work to help in the house. Mr H & his son were both busy clearing away & washing up & made excellent butlers. Mr Absalom, the son in law, who works on Mr H’s sheep-farm was at breakfast this morning but he went off at once to outdoor work. I did the flowers for Mrs H, such masses of chrysanthemums there were to cut from. I brought in a big armful & arranged them in drawing-room & dining-room. Mr Frank H then took us up a steep slope on to what they call the terrace at the back of the house, a flat table-land with gullies all round, we got down to the river & followed it till it brought us home again by a circuitous route. He had work to do but left us to stay out till lunch time. After lunch we stayed in till 4, had tea, then Mrs Absalom rode down from her home a mile up the road on her horse Tommy & we with Mrs H went back with her to see her baby boy, 3 months old. I mounted Tommy & rode up, he being a nice quiet reliable beast. I was not afraid & had a little canter on ahead of the walkers. Baby was just awake & was exhibited for a few minutes, he is evidently his grandma’s great delight. After dinner Mr Frank H sang a few songs. Later on the three elders played enchre, the youngers were not as frivolous!
Tuesday May 8th Soon after breakfast Mr Frank took us & Mrs H for a drive in the buggy about 4 miles up country. Then we struck across the paddocks making for a certain gulley which he wanted to show us. He left the buggy in the road & led the horses part of the way with us, then tied them up to manuka bushes. The gully was very deep & narrow the sides covered with bush & a narrow creek running through. These gullies are a great characteristic of this Hawkes Bay district, some of them are scarcely to be perceived until one gets right up to the edge, & they make riding after sheep or cattle far harder work than a first casual sight of the country would lead one to suppose. We ate refreshments which we had brought with us, then Mr Frank & I went down to the creek by the steep horse track, which by the way is very steep, the others did not attempt it, even I who am by now fairly accustomed to rough tracks was very glad of the stick which Mr Frank cut me from a manuka bush. We debated whether or not to climb the other side before rejoining the others but decided to go another expedition this afternoon so saved ourselves for that & went back the way we had come. The afternoon expedition was even more interesting. There is a high isolated hill near the foot of which Rissington lies. Mr Frank arranged to take me up to see the view from the top of this hill. As he thought it would be rather a climb on foot & not having a horse he cared to put me on be borrowed Tommy again for me. We started off at 2.30 & had a delightful ride about halfway up the hill. I had a very comfortable saddle, & felt quite at home on Tommy. On a few flat stretches we had a canter but most of the way of course was up hill. When it became too steep we dismounted & Mr H led both horses. I had enough to do to keep my own footing in a few steep places where the grass was very dry & slippery. From the top we had a very extensive view. Bare grassy undulating hills stretched far away all round us, ending on the west & north west side in high ranges of about 6000 ft which were not less than 40 or 50 miles distant, & on the east sloping down to the sea, with the high cliffs of Seinde Island on which Napier stands connected now with the mainland by a swamp which is gradually being reclaimed. The houses in Napier were easily seen through the clear atmosphere & indeed the distance can scarcely be more than 10 miles as the crow flies, the road by which we drove out has to wind a great deal & is 17 miles. South of Napier Hastings & Havelock could be seen, & out at sea Kidnapper Point so named because when Capt. Cook landed here some natives tried to kidnap some of his men. After a good look round from one or two good points of view we started down another way & mounted again as soon as we were down, the steepest part. Once we came to a muddy creek which Mr H was afraid Tommy might take it into his head to jump so as I didn’t quite know what would happen to me if he did we avoided it by turning a little way up & rounding the head of the creek. We got in about 5 o’clock. Mrs H & Aunt Lottie had been up to Mrs Absalom’s & got in soon after. A clergyman came in to dinner & there was a service afterwards in the dining-room which serves as the Rissington Church, the clergyman for the district comes round once a month & only every alternate month on a Sunday. There is an American organ in the room & the clergyman was his own organist. There were only a few children present besides the household party, but they say they have quite nice little congregations sometimes on a Sunday. The clergyman started off at 8.30 on a 13 mile drive home. There was not much time for cards or music so we only talked till bed time.
Wednesday May 9th This being the day we had arranged to go back to Napier we packed up after breakfast. The mail comes in at 9.30 by the coach which comes from Napier twice a week. After seeing the letters Mr Frank Hutchinson was ready to drive us in the buggy. Mrs H had intended coming too but changed her mind as she had a little neuralgia. We were very sorry to say goodbye, she had been so very kind & friendly. The drive down was very pleasant, we got to Napier about noon. They could not take us in at the Masonic until Saturday so we have taken rooms at a Private Hotel on the Marine Parade for three days, but we hope to go back to the Masonic on Saturday. Mr Hutchinsons had business in Napier & could not lunch with us as Aunt Lottie asked him to do. He hopes to be in Napier again one day before we leave. The afternoon was rainy so I only went out a short way & Auntie not at all. In the evening she found some people to play enchre with. I feel thankful they don’t want me to play. I wanted to write.
Thursday May 10th A cold but bright morning, we started out soon after 10 o’clock for a good walk up one of the hills & round through the Botanical Gardens. Coming back I got a book out of the library by giving Mrs Hutchinson’s name as she said I might do & we stayed in all the afternoon writing & reading. In the evening there was an orchestral concert at the Theatre Royal for which Mrs H had given us their ticket as they were not able to go. It was given by the Napier Orchestral Society & there was a very good programme all of classical music & the performance was certainly a credit to the local talent. The house was quite full.
Friday May 11th In the morning we went down to the wharf to see a boat just come in then walked to the end of the long break water, a walk not always possible for waves often dash over it, however this morning the sea was quite calm. About half way along we met a gigantic crane steaming along towards us on a double set of rails, it took up almost the whole width of the jetty but there was room for us to stand aside & let it pass. We finished off the morning in the reading room. In the afternoon we walked up to the Hospital which stands on the hill in a fine position overlooking the Spit. Aunt Lottie had happened to meet one of the nurses & asked the way of her on one occasion when she was out alone & had lost her bearings, they seem to have got into conversation & the nurse promised to show us over the Hospital any afternoon we cared to go. Hence this afternoons programme. The Hospital is not very large & consequently seemed less of an Institution than the Wellington one. The whole place seemed to me less scrupulously neat & well kept than similar places at home, but the nurses seemed a nice set of women & there was more kindly sympathy between them & the patients than is always the case. Aunt Lottie talked to one poor fellow from England who had lost an eye through an accident on the boat. The evening was most beautiful, we could see the moon rise over the sea from the balcony of our sitting room. Aunt Lottie even put on wraps & sat for a while on the balcony but I was too deep in a “Life of R.L. Stevenson” to join her.
Saturday May 12th After breakfast we packed up and removed ourselves bag & baggage once more to the Masonic Hotel where they now have room for us. There was a very grand Club Ball last night & the hotel was full with many of the guests. This morning when we arrived many well dressed people were about, evidently all the elite of the neighbourhood were at the ball, a lot of them have gone off in motorcars. Aunt Lottie & I took a walk right along the parade which extends I should think nearly two miles & is planted with Norfolk pines. The sun was very hot, we are so much enjoying the weather up here after “windy Wellington”. This afternoon we wrote read or worked either on the balcony or in the writing room. The evening was spent in a similar way only substituting the drawing room, a lare & cheerful room very different to the stuffy little place at the Marine Parade Hotel, for the balcony.
Sunday May 13th A glorious sunny morning the sea was a beautiful sparkling blue as I watched it from the balcony before breakfast. We had a nice service at the Cathedral this morning and are spending most of the afternoon writing letters for tomorrow’s mail, having had a walk after morning service. This evening we intend going again to the Cathedral.
Monday May 14th We went out for our usual morning constitutional about 10 o’clock, going over the hill where we are never tired of looking at the beautiful private gardens belonging to many of the houses up there. Today we passed a magnificent hedge of pink geranium, it climbed rampant over a high fence & was a blaze of colour. On our way back we looked into a rather fine Church then proceeded homewards through a small square of public garden. As we left the garden Mr Hutchinson drove by with his mother & sister in the buggy from Rissington they had come in for a day’s shopping & were staying the night with friends in town. After lunch I encountered them again & Mrs Hutchinson said she would look in tomorrow morning to see Aunt Lottie. I took my book & sat on the Parade part of the afternoon the weather being warmer & finer than ever. We had a quiet evening reading or working, Auntie playing patience, she had rather a cold so retired early to bed.
Tuesday May 15th We stayed in most of the morning as we were expecting Mrs Hutchinson, she came in before lunch & had a little chat & she & Mr & Mrs Absalom lunched here at the table next to ours. We said goodbye afterwards as they were driving back to Rissington this afternoon. Aunt Lottie & I started for a walk about 3 o’clock, we went over the hill towards the Spit coming back over the hill another way up a very pretty road where we had to keep stopping to admire the lovely view. In the evening a well-dressed tattooed Maori woman came & sat in the drawing room for a while, we were told she was married to an Irishman. It looks so strange to see them in European dress & yet tattooed, but they always wear stuffs of the most outrageous pattern or colour. Aunt Lottie tried to open a conversation but this woman did not respond so readily as the Maoris usually do.
Wednesday May 16th Morning rather dull inclined to rain, but it cleared up before lunch & we went for a stroll along the Parade, we met Mr Hutchinson who is in town for a few days, he joined us & in the afternoon I went for a walk with him round the flat part of Napier which he said reminds him of the Fen country. In the evening Auntie & I went to the Andrew Black concert at the Theatre Royal, it was a splendid concert. Andrew Black was, of course, the star & there were also Ethel Sinclair a group violinist & Adolphe Borschke, a Hungarian pianist with very long hair. They are all staying here at the Masonic. The audience was very enthusiastic & recalled Mr Black after each item & he gave an encore every time. The theatre however was not full, but there is a second concert tomorrow night.
Thursday May 17th We were out nearly the whole morning & paid a farewell visit to the gardens & to the beautiful view to be seen from just beyond the gardens near the hospital. Mr Hutchinson came with us at Aunt Lottie’s invitation as he said he had a free day. Auntie expected him to tell the names of lots of flowers & shrubs she does not know, but though he is a botanist he is nothing of a gardener he can often tell the order of a flower & yet not know its name. so she didn’t learn much. This afternoon Aunt Lottie has been finishing a library book. I have been working in the drawing room where the Hungarian pianist was practising after lunch, then I read & wrote & now have to go to the library & post. After that packing!
Friday May 18th Our train left this morning at 8.45 so we were called at 6.30. As I pulled up my blind the sun was just rising over the sea & there was a dazzling streak of gold red light along the horizon & the promise of another beautiful day. We both felt sorry to be saying goodbye to Napier & its delightful climate. Mr Hutchinson came down to the station to see us off & provided us with newspapers etc for our tedious journey. As we left Napier behind we got into quite a thick fog – a real English autumn fog but it cleared off later. At Woodville where we changed trains & had time for lunch we were surprised to see Mr Byrch & Jack lunching at the table next ours. They were on their way to Napier, Mr Byrch being on the look out for a station to buy, he seemed to think he might find what he wanted in Hawkes Bay. We just had time for a chat before our train went. After another hour in the train & having passed through the Manawater Gorge we arrived in Palmerston. A very talkative Maori girl travelled with us as far as here, she was to be married she told us at the end of the month & was in a state of great excitement at the prospect. Her father she said wished her to make the match, but if he had not approved she would have said no, & there were lots of others she might have had! She told us about her dress & cake & all the rest of it & promised to send Auntie a piece of wedding cake. At Palmerston we had over two hours to wait so we went for a walk through the town, looked at the Church & went to some tea rooms for tea. At 4.50 we took train one more for Marton where we arrived in about two hours. Percy had taken rooms for us at the White Hart & when we had had dinner & were enjoying a nice fire in the sitting room he looked in to see us & stayed chatting till 9.30. We promised to go & see Mary tomorrow afternoon.
Saturday May 19th The morning was rainy & uninviting & we both felt a little slack so stayed in. The afternoon was hopelessly wet & we went round to Percy’s in the bus we had tea with Mary & the babies. Mary has a friend, a Miss Smyth, staying with her for a week or two. Little Dilnot was very friendly & jolly, he was very pleased to see my watch again & knelt up on my knee examining it most carefully for a long time. Jessie is much improved since we saw her a month ago, & has more colour & is very bright & easily made to laugh. Percy came in at 5.30 & we left about 6 going back again by omnibus in time for dinner.
Sunday May 20th After morning service we walked along to Percy’s to dinner with them as they had asked us. We had a long chat after dinner in the drawing room & presently we all went for a walk, Percy & Mary, the two babies, Miss Smyth & ourselves quite a procession, Percy wheeling the perambulator. They persuaded us to stay to tea & afterwards Percy accompanied us to Church, Mary stayed at home as it was the servants’ Sunday out. Percy saw us safely back to the hotel after Church. We have arranged to go to Taihape tomorrow if fine, but the weather seems doubtful.
Monday May 21st The morning turned out fine after all so we breakfasted at 8, Percy looked in while we were at breakfast to say Miss Smyth was coming with us as Auntie had invited her to do yesterday. We took a ‘bus to the station for the 9.35 train to Taihape which is distant 45 miles but the train takes three hours to get there. The journey most of the way up is through newly felled bush country, the fallen trunks & logs or the still upright burnt & blackened trees alike look gaunt & dreamy, every now & then we would pass a lovely stretch of untouched bush, the contrast made one realise how terrible are the ravages made upon a country when man first sets to work upon it. The quaint yet busy little townships we passed with their Church & their School house, also wooden, were all interesting when one thought how they had grown up within the last few years as the line proceeded. For this is part of the Grand Trunk Line which is to join Auckland with Wellington. Taihape is the present terminus at this end, trains run as far as that, but the line is made for a few miles further north. The country where they are working now & that for 20 or 30 miles south of Taihape is most difficult for railway construction. We rose to a height of over 1400 feet at Taihape & the hills are so broken & intersected by deep ravines that the line is one long succession of deep cuttings & tunnels with occasionally a long viaduct. On arriving at Taihape we went to a very up-to-date looking hotel, the “Gretna”, where we had a good lunch, then we walked about, as far as we could for the mud which was bad almost beyond description the roads are not metalled as there is no metal to be had within 20 miles the consequence is that except for dry summer weather horses have to plough through seas of mud often up to their girths, we saw several poor creatures just smothered in mud & riders also, up to the knees, these had come in from a distance but even in the township pedestrians cannot cross the road except at certain places where a pathway is kept fairly dry. We became quite expert after a bit in “dodging the muds” we invariably seemed separated from any place we wanted to see by a river of mud, but each time with a little manoevring we managed to get round. The train back left at 3.35 we were feeling slightly tired by this time so after having the fine views to be seen near Taihape between the tunnels & the cuttings, & having had some tea at a wayside station, we put our feet up on the seats & travelled quite comfortably back to Marton which we reached about 6.20. We drove back in the omnibus. In the evening Percy brought Mary round & they had quite a long chat. I showed them all the home photos I had which I promised to bring last time I was here.
Tuesday May 22nd It is six months ago since we landed in N.Z. This morning it poured with rain & blew very much as it did on that occasion. We packed up after breakfast, Percy just looked in during the morning. We took the bus for the 1.9 train to New Plymouth, got a comfortable carriage then went to the dining car for lunch first thing. The journey did not seem so very long later on we had high tea at six o’clock . Meals help fill up the time & are a pleasant break. At 8 p.m. we arrived at New Plymouth, Lewis was on the platform & soon spotted us. He had taken rooms for us at the White Hart & drove there with us & stayed for a chat. We arranged to go & see Frances tomorrow afternoon. Fitzroy where they live is 1½ miles out.
Wednesday May 23rd I went to the Post Office directly after breakfast expecting to find our Frisco letters sent on to us there but there was nothing for us, so then I walked out to Fitzroy to see whether they had been sent out there. Francie was surprised to see me so early, she was busy of course having no servant & I only stayed a few minutes finding no letters there, however when I got back & went again to the post office they had arrived by a later mail so we had a happy time with them before lunch. After lunch we lazed for a bit then walked to Fitzroy & found Francie expecting us & Marjorie very lively as usual. I helped preparing the later meal. Lewis came in about 5 o’clock with some new shoes for Margory & a grand trying on ensued, when a pair had been selected she danced about in them in high glee. Francie made some bread & milk for the little girl’s tea & she was actually induced to let “Auntie May” feed her though at first she wanted “Mummy Miss” as she calls her mother. She has had no experience of the cousin relationship so I am ”Auntie”. When she was in bed we had six o’clock tea after which Lewis had to go to a meeting in town & we soon had to leave to catch an omnibus we intended going back by, however as there was no sign of it we walked home. The evening was fine though rather dark so Auntie took my arm & we quite enjoyed the walk. Lewis has a nice house, not large but convenient, it stands fairly high & from the gate I got my first good view of Mount Egmont when I walked up in the morning. The mountain is a solitary peak mostly covered with snow at this time of the year, when the sun is shining it has a very striking effect with blue sky as background. We are very comfortable at the White Hart & think of staying here a fortnight or more.
Thursday May 24th Today being Ascension Day Auntie & I went to St Mary’s Church this morning, a fine structure built of dark grey stone found on the beach here & partly covered with ivy. Aftewards we had a walk in the recreation grounds which are beautiful & generally considered the best in N.Z. Tree ferns & many other native trees & shrubs come to perfection here in this warm rainy climate. We walked round by the lane in the centre of the grounds but left side paths to be explored another day. In the afternoon I was busy working indoors & at 7.15 we went to Evening Service at St Mary’s.
Friday May 25th I was busy blouse making this morning & Auntie also had needlework to do. Soon after lunch I walked out to Fitzroy & took Marjorie out for an hour’s airing in her little go-cart. She was very good & quite excited at the idea of “Auntie May” taking her “tata”. She chattered away the whole time. We got back soon after four & Aunt Lottie arrived too & we had tea with Francie. Lewis came in before we left, we walked back in time for 6.30 dinner, then spent the evening writing & reading.
Saturday May 26th We went for a walk in the recreation grounds in the morning, came in & wrote letters till lunch, stayed indoors in the afternoon as we were expecting Mrs Cornwall to call. She came about three o’clock stayed talking some little time & asked us out to lunch with her at Bell Block next Monday. Now I have to go to the post with our letters to catch the mail.
Sunday May 27th We went to St Mary’s Church in the morning & soon after dinner walked out to Fitzroy the weather looked threatening & just as we arrived at the house the rain came on. It cleared up again for a little & allowed Marjorie to be taken out in charge of her nine year old cousin Nancy Pott who lives with Frances in term time & goes to school in the town. Meanwhile Frances & we enjoyed a peaceful time which one never gets with Marjorie in the house. Lewis came in & he and Aunt Lottie had a long yarn in the drawing room which Francie & I talked in the kitchen seeing about tea. This we had at six when Marjorie had been put to bed & afterwards Lewis kept house while Frances went with us to the little Church close by. Te Henui Church which though small is really the Mother Church of the district & was founded by Bishop Selwyn in 1845. Lewie walked all the way back with us & brought a lantern as the night was dark & rainy before we got into town it set in a regular downpour but we were none the worse.
Monday May 28th After breakfast I went round to a music shop to get tickets for the Te Rangi Pai concert tomorrow evening. This as her name implies, is a Maori singer & a Princess of the tribe she is said to have a beautiful contralto voice & has had it trained in England. Auntie thought we should enjoy the concert & Frances & the Cornwalls are joining. I was able to get very good seats which does not say much for New Plymouth love of music. Next I found the reading room & had a look at the papers, then spent the rest of the morning over a blouse until we had to go by the 12.50 train out to Bill Black to lunch with the Cornwalls. We found Mrs Cornwall & her daughter Eileen at home & a Miss Smith an Auckland friend staying with them. They live in a nice old fashioned house quite in the country, they have a farm which one of the sons who lives at home looks after, he was in town today & we didn’t see him. They keep no servant but gave us a nice lunch. Miss Cornwall of course having been cook. It was a lovely afternoon, warm & sunny & we girls sat talking out on the verandah while Auntie & Mrs Cornwall talked in the drawing room. Our train did not leave till 5 o’clock so they gave us tea before we left & Miss Cornwall & Miss Smith walked to the station with us. In the evening I read to Auntie out of Mark Twain’s “More Tramps Abroad” which we have borrowed from Lewie. We are fortunate at this hotel in having a sitting room practically to ourselves, there is only one other family boarding here & there is another sitting room which they occupy so we enjoy ourselves & do as we like in the other.
Tuesday May 29th This morning Aunt Lottie had a letter forwarded from Miss Cotton senior, an Orantes acquaintance saying she was coming by boat from Auckland to Wellington via New Plymouth & hoped to see us in Wellington. From the dates she gave I thought she would probably come by the boat reaching New Plymouth this morning & sailing again at noon so after breakfast we started off to the Breakwater, a three mile walk along by the sea & part of the way on the railway line which we chose in preference to the road which was very muddy. In this country of crawling trains there is not much danger in walking on the lines, at any rate they seem to allow people to run whatever risk there is. There were two boats alongside the pier & having found out which came from Auckland I spotted Miss Cotton walking on the deck. She came off & had a good hour’s chat with us – she about her travels & we about ours we came to the conclusion we had all done the country pretty thoroughly. We left just before the boat started & saw her steam away as we were walking back again, we got in just in time for lunch. The Breakwater is rather interesting, there are some very fine rocks standing close in to shore, one very high one called the Sugar Loaf, can easily be seen from New Plymouth or from a greater distance. We stayed in in the afternoon & in the evening went to the Te Rangi Pai concert. She has a fine contralto voice & we enjoyed her singing very much, the audience was very enthusiastic & encored all her songs. Among other things she sang “Home Sweet Home” in Maori. Three other vocalists contributed to the programme but none of these quite “did” after Andrew Black, as Auntie & I agreed. The Cornwalls came a party of six including Frances & were sitting not far from us so we could talk during the interval. I also saw & spoke to Miss Riley an Orantes passenger who came out to New Plymouth. After the concert was over Mr & Mrs Cornwall, Frances & Miss Smith came in & had coffee at the hotel before their drive home. Frances said she would be in town tomorrow & would look in to tea & she asked us to lunch on Thursday.
Wednesday May 30th A pouring wet day the rain came down almost in sheets from time to time & there was no going out in the morning. We had more of Mark Twain aloud. After lunch it was better & I went round to the reading room for a look at the papers. Frances came soon after four with Nancy & Marjorie, after tea the two children amused themselves racing up & down the long balcony which extends along two sides of the hotel & to which we have a door opening form our sitting room. After dinner Auntie & I went to the Wednesday evening service at St Mary’s & formed a large proportion of the congregation. The evening mail brought a letter from Father telling of Uncle George’s illness which we were very sorry as well as surprised to hear about.
Thursday May 31st Frances had considerately told me if I wanted to wash anything to bring it up to her house so I hunted up silks & laces that one prefers not to entrust to the average washer woman & started for Fitzroy in good time. Aunt Lottie arranging to follow later in time for lunch. On the way I called at the dentists & made an appointment for Saturday morning to have a tooth stopped. I found Frances busy as usual, we talked in the kitchen as we worked, she peeling potatoes & artichokes, making artichoke soup etc etc, I washing & ironing. Marjorie was in bed but not asleep & consequently was making herself heard pretty lustily. Lewie came home for lunch as he is doing work at present close to the house. Nancy came in from school & dressed Marjorie who by the way was in rather a fractious mood today, she swallowed some beads yesterday & had been dosed, the beads, or the dose, had ruffled her temper but otherwise apparently had done no harm. Aunt Lottie arrived in time for lunch & the artichoke soup which was delicious. Then came clearing away & washing up, a brief interval, then tea to get & partake of. We left directly after tea so as to get back before dark. On getting in we found cards left for us, Mrs & Miss McKellar had called. Miss McKellar was another passenger by the Orantes & is a friend of Frances’. “Orantians” seem to throng at present in this part of the world! A pleasant little surprise for me today was that Auntie told Lewie when getting tickets for the Andrew Black concert for himself & Frances to get one for me too.
Friday June 1st We had a walk in the recreation grounds in the morning, the rest of the day I stayed in reading writing & practising. Aunt Lottie went out again before dusk, the evenings close in early now & we light up at about 3 o’clock. We had some more reading aloud in the evening.
Saturday June 2nd I spent the first part of the morning at the dentist’s then we had a walk along some roads we had not explored. Many of the houses have pretty private gardens, this is unfortunately the worst time of year for flowers but warm, lilies which grow in great clumps everywhere, are beginning to bloom again & so are azaleas, & rhododendrons are in bud. We climbed a hill at the back of the Church called Marshland Hill whence a very good view is to be had over the town & the sea & the “breakwater”. In the afternoon I wrote letter for the Italy mail & did not out again. After we settled down comfortably with Mark Twain when we were turned out of our favourite sitting room, some people had ……. A private room for a day or two, so we had to mix with “the vulgar herd” in the other sitting room …. this … Mark Twain had to wait… (too many ink blotches to read every word). Miss McKellar rang us up to ask us to go & see them tomorrow afternoon but we had arranged to go to Lewis’ so she hoped she would come in one evening instead. She & I had quite a chat through the telephone.
Sunday June 3rd We went to Church as usual in the morning & walked out to Fitzroy in the afternoon. Mrs Cornwall & Miss….., Miss Smith & Mrs Pott arrived about the same time, … so Frances had quite a large tea party. We had come to stay the evening but the rest left before Church time. When they had gone we had a nice little supper which little Nancy & I had helped Frances o get. Nancy amused us by asking what relation she was to me! At supper Aunt Lottie & Lewie were deep in their talk of old days & Frances & I left them still at it while we cleared away & washed up. Then we all sat in the drawing room until nearly 9.30 when we had to get back. Lewie walked half way back with us. It was fine & there was a moon so we had a far pleasanter walk than last Sunday evening.
Monday June 4th We had a walk in the morning but did not get far as the weather looked threatening. However the clouds blew over, so in the afternoon we took our book & sat for a while & read on Marshland hill, the day was quite warm & pleasant for sitting out of doors. After dinner we were glad to be able to go back again into our original sitting room.
Tuesday June 5th The morning was fine & we walked out to the cemetery which we had been told was well worth seeing. It lies partly on a hill & extends down into a beautiful gully which remains almost in its natural state, bush & tree ferns grow in profusion. We saw several grave stones in memory of people killed or murdered by the Maoris in the sixties. There was a good deal of fighting in this province of Tarawaki of which New Plymouth is the capital. On the way back we met Mrs Pott & had a chat. After lunch I went round to the reading room, Aunt Lottie stayed in. Lewie & Frances were to come to dine with us, they arrived breathless just after 6 o’clock having waited for the omnibus which never came so they walked from Fitzroy. Mrs Pott was left in charge of Nancy & Marjorie & the house for the evening to enable Lewie & Frances both to get away. We had a pleasant little dinner, our table held six & it was just full, the other two being an elderly man whom Lewie recognised as an acquaintance & introduced to us, & a very pleasant man who dined at our table yesterday & we entered into conversation, he turned out to be a friend of the elderly man. There was a little time for talk after dinner before Lewie & Frances & I set off for the theatre where the concert was held. The programme was exactly the same as that we heard at Napier but I enjoyed hearing everything again almost more than hearing anything fresh. Mr Black was in splendid voice & the violinist played I think better than before. Adolphe Borschke’s piano solos were marvels of execution as before, but Lewie’s opinion was that he wanted kicking & that a man with such hair ought to play behind a screen! Miss McKellar was at the concert & came & spoke to me in the interval. I also saw Miss Ryley again. The house was not full, but the audience was very enthusiastic every item was encored & they all responded every time. Once Mr Black gave a double encore. Frances enjoyed it very much & so did Lewie only he thought one wanted educating up that style of piano playing! When it was over they came in to have some coffee & talk it over with Auntie who had been amusing herself meanwhile with knitting & patience. They went home in a cab.
Wednesday June 6th We had a short walk in the morning. Miss Cornwall & her friend Miss Smith came to lunch with us. Miss Smith did not know New Plymouth so soon after lunch she & I went to the recreation grounds & up Marshland Hill to get the view, these being the chief “sights” of New Plymouth. Miss Cornwall stayed with Auntie. I brought Miss Smith back to the hotel & they had tea with us before leaving. In the evening we went to the weekly service at St Mary’s, then had some more of our book.
Thursday June 7th We had arranged to go out to see old Mr & Mrs Hulke at Bell Black today but the weather was so bad that we knew they would not expect us so we put off going till tomorrow. It poured all the morning so we stayed in. In the afternoon it cleared for a bit & I went down to the shore to have a look at the sea, which was quite rough enough to make one glad at not being on it. While I was looking at the waves a man down there doing the same remarked on the weather, state of the sea etc. Although he was a bounder he was quite a decent one but I had to draw the line at his walking up the street with me which I think he would have done if I hadn’t turned the way I didn’t want to go when I saw he was going my way! However he gave me one piece of information I was interested to hear, he said the rocks which lie all along the coast here had been thrown up only during the last ten or twelve years by the violence of the waves. I had been wondering what it was that made these rocks look so different to those we see at low tide at Folkstone, Scarborough & other places at home, the latter have an inviting look & seem made to be scrambled over, these here repel you, you would rather keep off them. I see now why, these are always being tossed hither & thither this way & that & have yet to learn to settle down & allow themselves to get covered with sea we like our English rocks. Just in the same way the N.Z. rivers have got to learn to settle down & stick to their proper bed without changing it every few weeks as they often do now. I have digressed a long way from my “bounder”, nearly as far as I had to digress from my proper way to avoid his company!
Friday June 8th A fine morning so we decided to go to Bell Black & ordered an early lunch at 12.15 so as to catch the 12.50 train. The Hulks’ house is near their little station, a Maori woman pointed it out to us when we got out of the train, it is only a flag station & she was the only person around to ask. Old Mr Hulke was on his way to meet us & took us to the house where Mrs Hulke was expecting us. We had a good long afternoon there, the old man was pleased to talk over people & places he had known in Kent with Aunt Lottie. They are a wonderful old couple, he 87 she nearly 77 & they live all alone & do everything for themselves. We went round the garden which is quite a good size up till quite recently they old man has tended it himself. He was very proud of his hedge of camellias, there were 150 trees he said all of which he had raised from see. When in bloom they must be a beautiful sight. We saw among other trees & plants a bougainvillea the flower of which is a pretty mauve colour, & a passion fruit tree, the fruit was nearly ripe – we are quite accustomed to this fruit by now for dessert & have learnt to like it but we had not seen it growing before. The times & season when things come into flower & fruit here in New Plymouth are a mystery to us, most spring flowers are in bud now at the beginning of winter three months in advance as it seems to us, but this passion fruit tree seems to have mistaken the season altogether. Mrs Hulke was anxious for us to make a good tea as we had had an early lunch & she gave us delicious cakes of her own making. She walked to the station with us afraid lest we being strangers should not understand how to signal for the train to stop. We got back at 5.30. In the evening we finished More Tramps Abroad. We had a pleasant little surprise of English letters by the evening post, one for Auntie from Father via Naples giving later satisfactory news of Uncle George & one for me from Arthur via Frisco containing his photo. This I imagine must have come with the Naples mails by a happy mistake for no other Frisco letters arrived & they are not due for another ten days.
Saturday June 9th A wire came this morning from Uncle Dilnot asking what news of Uncle George & so they have evidently got no letters. After lunch I had to go to the dentist to be finally fixed up, then we walked out to see Frances & had tea with her. Lewie came home early & we stayed till after 5.30, we walked back & got in a little late for dinner. In the evening began “David Harum” aloud, another book Lewie recommended & lent to us.
Sunday June 10th We went to St Mary’s in the morning. About three o’clock started out to Fitzroy we found Lewie & Francie in the garden Lewie showed us round & told us the names of the various shrubs he has planted. Marjorie was out for a walk with Nancy, they came in cold & rather miserable after we had finished tea, the evenings turn very cold directly the sun goes down & they had stayed out too long. A nice fire soon cheered them however, later on I gave Marjorie her tea, she was put to bed & we had supper. Washing up & a talk followed & we walked home accompanied all the way by Lewie. It was a beautiful moonlight night – very cold.
Monday June 11th This is the fifth anniversary of Lewie & Frances’ wedding day, they have asked us to dine with them on Wednesday to celebrate it. After breakfast this morning we felt so cold that the only thing was a good walk to warm us so we started off to the Breakwater, had a look round there & walked to the end of both the pier & breakwater. We got back about 12.30, by then the sun was very strong & we were quite hot. At lunch we heard of the sudden death of Mrs Seddon, our waitress put it this briefly. “Dick Seddon is dead”. In the afternoon there were many flags in the town flying at half mast. Mrs Pott came in to see us during the afternoon, also Miss Ryley with whom we talked over various “Orantes” people.
Tuesday June 12th The day was cloudless, part of the morning I spent writing & sending off letters by the Vancouver mail. We had been asked to spend the afternoon out at Inglewood with a friend of Lewie’s, a Mrs Dickers whom we had met here at the White Hart. We had early lunch & took the 12.50 train out getting to Inglewood at 2.9 (17 miles!). Mrs Dickers met us with a trap & drove us to their house about a mile & a half out. On the way we had a splendid view of Mount Egmont to which we were a good deal nearer here than in New Plymouth & when we got to the houses which stands high we could see Mt Ruapeliu, 80 miles off quite clearly. This peak is about 11000 ft one of the highest, if not the highest, in the North Island. Lewie lived for a while at Inglewood & he & Mrs Dickers seem to have fraternised over gardening & botanical pursuits. Mrs D showed us round her garden & green house where she had many varieties of ferns & plants in which she takes great interest. She took us also through a bit of bush near the house & told us the names of many trees & ferns. The house was a very nice one, the inside walls all panelled with oiled wood. There are six children, 5 girls & a boy varying in ages for 14 to 7, but of these only had a glimpse of two or three. Mrs D gave us tea& we had a long chat indoors. She is a clever woman & very interesting to talk to. She taught at one time at the Napier High School & remembered the Hutchinson girls being there. Our train left at 6.20, Mrs D drove us to the station in ample time so that we could stop at the house of a friend of hers, a Mrs Nutting who was with her when we met at the White Hart. The evening was very cold & we were glad to find a good fire in the waiting-room to toast ourselves at before our train arrived. We got in at 7.30 past the dinner hour, but they did not let us starve.
Wednesday June 13th We had a walk in the gardens in the morning, the day was perfect & the trees & ferns were looking their best in the sunlight, those near the water were reflected in the lake’s smooth surface. In the afternoon we returned Mr & Mrs McKellar’s call as it was their at home day. The Miss McKellar we knew was not in, but her mother & sister were very pleasant. Mrs Cornwall was also calling there & Mrs Evans the Vicar’s wife who was a daughter of Old Archdeacon Govatt who married Lewie & Frances. Other people were there too, in face there was quite a roomful. In the evening we went to the Wednesday evening service at St Mary’s & heard a missionary sermon. Frances’ little dinner party is put off until tomorrow night.
Thursday June 14th I took the 10 o’clock omnibus out to Fitzroy & spent the morning doing some darning for Francie. Mrs Cornwall is staying with her for a few days, she was busy washing up while Francie had a busy morning cooking & preparing for her little dinner this evening. I sat & darned in the kitchen & talked to them both, Marjorie running about & chattering until 11.30 when she was put to sleep, or rather to bed for she does not always sleep. I walked back to lunch & got in a little late. Aunt Lottie had already lunched but I had company at my meal in the shape of English letters which I was not expecting so soon. In the afternoon I wrote or read. About 5 o’clock we started out to Francie’s, dinner was not till about 7 but we amused ourselves in the drawing room while Francie was in the kitchen & presently Lewie came in. Frances gave us nice little dinner & we complimented the cook, she apologised for the parlour maid being out! & did the waiting herself with Lewie’s help. Mrs Cornwall was there of course, & Nancy also sat up. We had oysters, roast chickens, apple pie & lemon sponge & dessert. At 9 o’clock after a grand chat in the drawing room Lewie accompanied us all the way back.
Friday June 15th I had various jobs to do this morning preparatory to packing, also went out & met Miss McKellar in town, she hoped to look in this evening to see us. We packed in the afternoon & read. At 6 o’clock Lewie & Francie arrived to dine with us & we had a pleasant little dinner. Lewie had a smoke afterwards & we three ladies chatted. The Lewie came up to the sitting room & presently Miss McKellar arrived & we had a long chat about “old times” on the Orantes, Francie joining with us while Auntie & Lewie had a long chat together. Miss McKellar left about 9.30 & Lewie & Francie had to go soon after. It was really Goodbye to Francie but Lewie thinks it possible he may get down to Petone to see the last of us.
Saturday June 16th Our train left at 7.10 a.m. so we were called before 6 o’clock – we just had some tea & bread & butter before starting. We got a comfortable carriage to ourselves. As we started the sun was just rising over the sea – it shed a lovely pink glow over the snow-covered Mount Egmont & it looked most beautiful this clear frosty morning. The fields as we passed were white with frost & we were very glad of our rug. Half an hour after leaving New Plymouth we went to the dining car for breakfast. At one we went again for lunch. The time between passed very quickly, at 2 o’clock we reached Marton & found ourselves for the third time at the White Hart Hotel. We went across to Percy’s office to see if he was there & found him very busy, he told us Mary was away at Wanganui & had not been well so she had been persuaded to stay on so we shall not see her this time. We had a little walk. Percy came in to have a chat before dinner. The evening was very cold – we had a good log fire to read etc by.
Sunday June 17th After Church & a short walk, we went round to Percy’s to have dinner with him. Little Dil came in to see us after dinner. Mary had taken the baby with her. Presently we all went out for a short walk, Percy carrying the boy. It was windy so we soon came in & had afternoon tea. Archdeacon Towgood, the Vicar, looked in to see Percy & talked for some time on home & colonial politics. Percy persuaded us to stay for late tea, we said good-night to little Dil in his cot. Percy had to stay at home in the evening as the servant went out, but we went to the evening service & back to the hotel afterwards.
Monday June 18th We are both rather pleased to be saying goodbye to hotels for a little while, we have been living in them for such a long time. This morning Percy looked in to see us & after lunch he came with us to the station. Our train should have started at 2.6 but it was very late & we did not get off until nearly three, our first experience of late trains in N.Z., they are usually very punctual, they are allowed so much time that it is an easy matter to make it up if they lose a little. However we were late arriving in Wellington – there were so many people travelling, excursion tickets had been issued for the Premier’s funeral which is to be on Thursday. We had tea on the train about 6 & arrived in Wellington about 7.45. Frank & Arthur met us, we were glad to have them to look after our luggage as there was such a crowd. We had travelled down by the Manawater line which has a separate station at Wellington so we walked over to the other station & got the 8.30 train to Petone. The girls & Aunt Bessie were all at the door to give us a welcome & we felt very glad to be back again in our N.Z. home. There was a lot of talk about & the evening passed quickly.
Tuesday June 19th They still have no servant so the girls were busy, it was ironing day. I did some silver cleaning while they ironed. Dolly & I went out for a walk in the afternoon.
Wednesday June 20th More silver cleaning this morning & other jobs, short walk in the afternoon. I the evening after the washing up was finished we four girls sat in the kitchen & talked. Aunt Lottie meanwhile playing cribbage with Uncle in the dining room.
Thursday June 21st I have to think whether today is the longest or shortest day, it seems so funny to have the shortest day in June. Lita came & spent most of the day here, she seems to find the days rather long sometimes with Hubert away all day. Some of the men got a half holiday today owing to Mr Seddon’s funeral which was at 2.30. All offices shut. Most people (we will suppose they were non Seddonites!) made holiday of it but crowds of people poured into Wellington from all parts to see the funeral procession. Uncle Dilnot stayed to see that but did not actually go to the funeral. Birdie came home at lunch time & she & I had a walk in the afternoon. Maidie & Dolly dismissed Birdie & me from the washing up in the back kitchen so we talked in the kitchen.
Friday June 22nd Aunt Lottie wanted to go to Wellington for several things so she & I went in by a morning train &had lunch in town getting back by the 4 o’clock train. We overtook Aunt Bessie walking from the station, she was out for usual afternoon walk & was going to meet Dolly who had been lunching with Lita & paying calls with her.
Saturday June 23rd Uncle Dilnot had proposed that some of us should come in to Wellington by a morning train, lunch with him & take a boat across the harbour to Seatown whence we could walk over a hill to Mira mar, see a new tunnel the making of which Hubert is supervising & take another boat back from there. Accordingly we viz Aunts Lottie & Bessie, Maidie & I went in by the 11.5 train apprehending nothing from the weather, only taking umbrellas however by the time we got out of the train it was drizzling. Aunt Bessie & Maidie had a little shopping to do so Aunt L & I had to walk along the Terrace & we met at Uncle’s office at 12. We discussed the weather which only looked worse & worse, finally went & had lunch & by the time that was over we had given up all idea of going, so went home again by the next train & spent the afternoon indoors.
Sunday June 24th The morning was fine. At Church this morning we had Mr Ward to take the service instead of Mr Russell & as usual had an excellent sermon from him. After dinner Uncle proposed driving us up to see Lita but it came on to rain & blow hard so we gave up the idea & had a real nice lazy comfortable Sunday afternoon with a book over the fire. No one was brave enough to turn out to evening service. Letter writing was mostly the order of the evening.
Monday June 25th The morning was bright & warm & the girls & I sat in the verandah for a little while. Aunt Lottie went for a walk with Aunt Bessie before lunch. The afternoon was cold & wet & we did not get out. We remembered Father’s birthday & drank his health at dinner.
Tuesday June 26th This is Frank’s birthday, the first family birthday we have been at Petone for. The two girls went to town & Aunt Lottie & I walked up to Lita’s in time for lunch. She was expecting us & showed us first round the house which Aunt Lottie had not seen at all & I had only seen unfurnished. It looks so nice now with everything new & fresh & nothing superfluous. They have furnished all except the drawing room which Lita wants to have time to think over before they furnish it. She gave us a nice little lunch, all of curse of her own cooking for she has no servant yet. After lunch we sat in the morning room a very pleasant warm room which they use a good deal. A caller came just as we were thinking of leaving to pay a call on Mrs Leighton & Mrs Hollis who live near. We found them in & very pleasant – we had tea there. On our way back we looked in again at Lita’s & found her not gone out as she had had another call – we chatted with her until it got dark then walked home in time for dinner. In the evening we girls sat & worked in the kitchen – rather a favourite resort of ours sometimes when the work is done.
Wednesday June 27th The girls had a busy morning turning out the bedrooms & I did ours. Dolly had also to go to the Hectors & make fruit salad for the dance tonight – the men were supposed to subscribe & the girls to help with the refreshments. Several Petone girls had been asked to give a dish of fruit salad so as Dolly said they thought it best to form a “Petone Consolidated & Amalgamated Fruit Salad Society” & make it all together. The dance was held at the Drill Hall at the Hutt, a fine large room with a good floor. All those going from Petone clubbed together & had an omnibus to drive there & back, there were about a dozen of us. Frank & Dolly & I went from here. It was a Cinderella dance beginning at 8.30 & over about 12.30. There were about 150 there enough but not too many for the room. Dolly & I both danced energetically nearly all the time & enjoyed ourselves very much. There was a surplus stock of men which was an advantage. The supper was a stand up one fruit salad very good. We got back just after one o’clock, had ten minutes talking it over & munching biscuits (for we had got hungry again) & then to bed. I forgot to say Lita came in to tea this afternoon.
Friday June 29th Many discussions today as to whether or not we shall get to Westport tomorrow, we don’t want to go in very bad weather as boats have a trying way of getting stuck outside the bar at Westport for some hours or possibly days however Mrs Gillow has promised to wire as to state of weather there tomorrow. Dolly suggested that she & I should walk up to the Drill hall & help clear away this morning but the suggestion was not given nor received with much eagerness & we finally decided they could get on very well without our help. She & I went marketing in the afternoon, then we wanted to dye something with Maypole soap – horrified Maidie by suggesting using her washing up pan for that purpose & altogether got in her way while she was cooking the dinner. In the evening Birdie Dolly & I went to a parochial “tea fight” or rather the equal to the tea fight in the shape of a concert with acting & tableau thrown in. The whole was presided over by Mr Russell. There was one recitation described as “something funny” but it came to an end before we discovered anything funny in it, there was a one act play described as a dialogue but with five characters four of whom were almost inaudible, there were various sentimental songs & to finish up there was to be a cornet solo, but as we had already had too much of the first we left before this came off & only heard such of the melodious(?) strains as reached us as we walked home. One excitement in the middle of the concert I must not omit to mention – an unruly boy had to be turned out of the hall but had to chased round the lower end of the hall & caught before he could be got rid of – this of course caused great excitement among other small boys in the audience. We were in a state of laughter more or less suppressed most of the time, for we felt Mr Russell’s eagle eye upon on from the platform & once he reprimanded a “noisy little girl in a white hat next to a girl in a red tam o’shanter”. The tam o’shanter was sitting next to Birdie so she thought she had better be careful!
Saturday June 30th The morning was rainy but with no wind. After breakfast Aunt Lottie & I got together our things ready to pack in case we started for Westport, however about 10.30 a wire came from Mrs Gillow saying “weather very bad” so we put off going until Tuesday when there is another boat going. Birdie & Dolly went to town this morning & got back just as we had finished the usual Saturday mid-day dinner. Aunt Lottie & I had a walk after tea. In the evening we girls held a levee in the kitchen again. Birdie & Dolly were very absurd & rampageous & we laughed until we were tired.
Sunday July 1st We were lucky enough to have Mr Ward again to preach at this morning’s service. In the afternoon Uncle was going to drive Aunt Lottie, Birdie & me up to Mason’s gardens, about four miles up the Hutt valley – they used to be private gardens but are not public & contain specimens of various trees & shrubs we have not seen them yet. We started a little way but Grisel who has done no work for some weeks, took it into her head to try & kick & Uncle did not care about driving us with her in that mood so we turned back as it came on to rain we did not miss much. A Mrs Neave, an old friend of Uncle & Aunt's looked in during the afternoon. In the evening after washing up the tea things at which Bob assisted all the female portion of the household went to Church. The rest of the evening was devoted as usual to reading writing & talking over the fire.
Monday July 2nd We were busy most of the morning, I helped Dolly turn out the dining room. The afternoon was wet but Aunt Lottie & I just managed to get a walk between the showers. A telegram came from Mr Gillow of Westport saying weather there still bad & he is coming to Wellington this week so that decides it that we shall not go to Westport at all. Aunt Lottie will arrange to meet Mr Gillow in Wellington. In the evening Mrs Russell came in to say that a servant at Blenheim to whom she had recommended the place here has decided to come & is to be expected by the next boat. At which news great jubilation! Nancy Coster one of Mr Coster’s Daughters who is in Wellington now came to lunch & spent the afternoon.
Tuesday July 3rd An Italy mail came in this morning with various letters for us – very welcome. The morning was fine & as it was ironing day Aunt Lottie thought we would relieve the house of our presence & walk up to see the Bellevue gardens at the Hutt. We started at 10.30, walked all round the gardens, there was not a great deal to see but some camellia bushes & a few rhododendrons were in bloom. We lunched on tea & scones at the hotel there & walked back again afterwards getting in about 2 o’clock.
Wednesday July 4th Birdie had her mid-term holiday today so as it was a lovely morning she & Dolly & I arranged to walk to Lowry Bay about 4 miles round by the sea. We took lunch with us & started at 11 o’clock after partaking of “elevenses”. The new maid arrived just before we left & gave general satisfaction by her appearance. We reached Lowry Bay in about an hour & a quarter & set to work at once to make a fire on the shore in a sheltered place among the rocks the wind being rather high. As it was it was a little time before it condescended to burn & then before the billy boiled the tide came up & threatened to put the fire out, however it boiled just in time. We sat on the rocks & had our lunch enjoying the fine view of the harbour Wellington opposite us showed up very clearly, it was hard to believe on such a clear day that places were the distance away one knew them to be. It seemed strange too to be picnicking in the month that corresponds to our January, it was not at all cold & we were not even wearing coats. After lunch we climbed a hill to get the view & about 2.30 we started back – we got to a river which had been only a narrow stream when we came but now the tide having risen there was no possibility of jumping it as we had done before & there was nothing for it but to take off our shoes & stockings & wade across. We stopped later on to pick some gorse, which grows rampant everywhere – finally we got home about 4 o’clock just as the best of the day was over. Aunt Lottie had been with Aunt Bessie to call on Mrs Ward. In the evening we girls sat over the fire in the drawing room talking, the kitchen being no longer available.
Thursday July 5th The morning was spent doing needlework etc. After lunch Aunt Lottie rested having rather a headache. Aunt Bessie & Maidie went calling & Dolly & I went a good walk past the Hutt station & then up the hill where we scrambled about & ate chocolate. The wattle was just coming into bloom on some trees on the road winding up the hill that on one side & a green bush with clumps of gorse intermixed down in the gully we had a splendid view over the valley. In the evening Mr Gillow came to dinner & stayed the evening. He was very pleasant & Aunt Lottie & he had a good talk over their mutual friends & relatives. He asked Aunt Lottie & me to go into town & lunch with him tomorrow.
Friday July 6th A very windy day – Aunt Lottie & I went to town by the 12.5 train. Mr Gillow met us at the station & we walked to the Royal Oak Hotel – the best in Wellington – where Mr Gillow’s son-in-law Mr Shallcross who lives in Wellington met us & we all lunched together & sat talking in the lounge afterwards, then we went & had a look at the town hall – a fine large building we had never been inside – a large organ has lately been erected there. In the council chamber I sat in the Mayor’s chair. We walked on struggling against the wind to the Kelburne tramway where Mr Shallcross left us & we took a tram up to the Kelburn Kiosk where we were literally almost blown away so we got into the gardens as quickly as possible & found it more sheltered there. There was not much to see at this time of year. Mr Gillow then took us by tram to his daughter’s house Mrs Shallcross where we had afternoon tea. Mr & Mrs George Gillow who live also in Wellington were there too & asked us to go & see them next Monday. After about an hour’s chat we had to take a tram to catch the train bringing us back to Petone just in time for dinner. Mr Gillow of Westport saw us into the tram & said goodbye as he goes back to Westport tomorrow. When we got back we found that Aunt Bessie & Maidie had also been to town & got nearly blown away.
Saturday July 7th Today has been windy & wet a good part of the time. Birdie & I got caught in a shower this morning going to the station to fetch a parcel. Aunt Lottie took Roy the dog for a walk this afternoon the rest of us stayed in working until we were tired of that when we went out into the garden & helped Frank & Arthur in their job of shovelling a mound of earth into wheelbarrows & wheeling it away Birdie, Dolly & I worked like navvies till it got dark. In the evening we had some music & sat at work in the drawing room.
Sunday July 8th The day was cold & uninviting – most of us did not go out except to Church. A comfortable chair with a book and a nice fire was what suited most of us in the afternoon. Aunt Lottie & two of the girls went to evening service. Dolly & I stayed at home & wrote letters. Aunt Bessie stayed at home to keep warm. Churches out here are not usually warmed so she finds it too cold to go in the evenings this weather.
Monday July 9th Aunt Lottie & I took the 12.5 train to town went to Cook’s office for information about trips round Sydney – had lunch did some shopping then took train out to Mrs George Gillow’s where we were expected for tea. After an hour’s chat there we got back to the station for the 4.45 train. Now having just got in I have just time before dinner to write this up & post it in time to catch the mail.
Tuesday July 10th An American is reported to have said that N.Z. has no climate, it only possesses samples! We have long felt the truth of this & today has been a most striking example of it. The early morning was wet & blustery. For an hour or two, in the middle of the day the wind dropped & the sun shone brightly. By five o’clock a howling biting southerly was raging & by seven again all was calm the stars shone brightly & there was a feeling of coming frost in the air. Aunt Lottie & I did not go out till after tea when we set out for a “constitutional” but the southerly soon drove us in again. It is the night of the Riddiford’s dance – Dolly, Frank & Arthur went from here – Hubert & Lita also went the latter in her wedding dress. Maidie thought she would like help in getting into it so she & I walked up to the Hutt directly after dinner & found Hubert struggling over the tying of a bow & very glad to be relieved by Maidie. Lita looked very nice in her simple but very handsome dress – the toilette was finished in plenty of time & we sat & talked till the ‘bus arrived with the others in it to pick up Hubert & Lita – Dolly was in her pink bridesmaid’s dress & looked very nice. As there was plenty of room in the ‘bus Maidie & I got in too & drove with them to the Riddiford’s door & then back to Petone. Uncle had rather a cold & had gone to bed when we got back.
Wednesday July 11th The dance seems to have been very successful & they all enjoyed it. I heard them come back rather after 2 o’clock this morning. As the day was fine & bright, Aunt Lottie suggested that she & Dolly & I should go to Mason’s gardens. Accordingly we started at 10.15 meaning to take a ‘bus from the Hutt station however as there was no ‘bus there we walked on & did almost the whole distance (4½ miles) before one overtook us. The man told us he would be passing at one o’clock on his way back. We had a good look round the gardens which are beautifully laid out with fine shrubs & trees, there were a good many camellias & rhododendrons in bloom but there will be more later on. After lunch of tea & scones & cakes (for which we were all ready) at the care-taker’s house we thought it must be about time for the ‘bus but were rather vague about it for we had only one watch between us & that had stopped! The people at the house too were decidedly hazy on the question of the time so it was hardly surprising that we found no ‘bus in sight. We walked on concluding we had missed it which was the case. After a bit we came to Mrs Gordon’s house & went in & had a short rest there before walking the remaining three miles home. At the corner turning to Hubert’s house Dolly left us to go & see how Lita felt after the dance & I felt like Orlando cheering Adam along for Auntie was getting a little tired by this time. However, by the afternoon post & a letter from Father telling of George’s success in the Eccles Comm. Exam, was awaiting me. Uncle came home early on account of his cold which is better this evening. N.B. The wind changed to southerly again this evening.
Thursday July 12th The day was wet & unpleasant so I made yesterday’s long walk do for today as well & did some needlework & reading.
Friday July 13th A glorious day & as warm as summer Aunt Lottie & I had a walk before lunch up a pretty road I have lately discovered where the wattle trees are in bloom. Aunt Bessie & Maidie went to town in the afternoon. Dolly & I sat in the verandah working then went down the town on an errand.
Saturday July 14th Today Miss Cotton Senior expected to be in Wellington on her way to Sydney. Aunt Lottie had asked her to come out here as Aunt Bessie hoped she would come & have lunch however soon breakfast a wire arrived saying the Sydney boat started at noon & she would not have time to come. Birdie & I had a short walk in the afternoon.
Sunday July 15th It has been very cold all day. We had a long missionary sermon from a stranger this morning. No-one ventured out this afternoon but mostly sat over the fire reading. Aunt Lottie, Maidie & I represented the family at Church in the evening.
Monday July 16th A wet cold & miserable day, considerably brightened up however by the arrival of the Frisco Mail this morning. I never seem to get much done on mail days, letters & newspapers take up one’s time & interest. Mrs Ewart, a lady Aunt Lottie knows in Wellington, was coming out here this afternoon but the weather being so bad she did not turn up. We did not go out all day. In the evening I taught Birdie how to play Bezique which she wanted to learn.
Tuesday July 17th A wet morning again, but it cleared in the afternoon so Maidie, Dolly & I walked up to see Lita we found her just going to plant out some bulbs she had had sent her so we all helped & got very muddy over the operation before going in to tea we took off our boots & cleaned them. Lita hunted up three pairs of slippers for us either of hers or Hubert’s. She has engaged a servant to come in next Tuesday, but does not seem over certain that she will turn up. Frank & Arthur got tickets today to take us girls to see “Veronique” tomorrow at the theatre. Hubert & Lita have also got seats next to us.
Wednesday July 18th I went out marketing with Dolly in the morning it was very muddy & unpleasant out of doors. In the evening we four girls with Frank & Arthur went to town & saw “Veronique” a pretty piece the chief features of it I thought were the dancing, the scenery & dresses which were very pretty. We joined Hubert & Lita in the train & trammed to the theatre together. Coming back we had to walk from Petone Station as there was no ‘bus – fortunately it was not raining – we got in just after 12 o’clock.
Thursday July 19th I have had a head-ache & heavy cold all day. The others went to spend the evening with Miss Ross but I stayed at home & went to bed early.
Friday July 20th The first bright day we have had this week. The roads really look like drying up once more. My cold was better & I went out in the morning – found a few flowers in the garden for the drawing room vases. It was Aunt Bessie’s at home day Mrs Ewart from Wellington called with a friend to see Aunt Lottie, Mrs Treadwell the wife of Bob’s “chief” also called – she more often goes by the name of “Mrs Treadmill”. Lita came to make some calls in Petone so Maidie went out with her & brought her back later for some more tea – Dolly & she walked part of the way back with her. Birdie & I had some more bezique this evening she has not managed to beat me yet but then I have had extraordinary luck – tonight I had double bezique twice. In one hand though I never held one sequence card all the way through, this I think must be very unusual.
Saturday July 21st There was a white frost this morning & the consequent promise of a fine day. Aunt Lottie & I had a walk soon after breakfast & got back in time for “elevenses”. In the afternoon Birdie, Dolly & I did some weeding in the garden after which the three girls tossed up to decide which should go to the “Yeoman of the Guard” tonight, Frank was taking me & one of them. It fell to Dolly. We walked to the station & there joined some Hectors, Miss Ross & one or two others we all had seats together. I enjoyed the piece more than “Veronique” there is more plot in it than in most comic operas, & the music I thought was better. We were out of the theatre in ample time for the tram so went & had some coffee & cakes while waiting. The stars were beautifully bright as we walked home, having enjoyed ourselves very much.
Sunday July 22nd It was rather nice to have an extra hour in bed this morning. We went to Church as usual this morning. In the afternoon Hubert & Lita cycled down & stayed till 8 o’clock. It was the servant’s Sunday off so Birdie & Lita & I washed up the tea things while the other women folk went to Church. In the evening Uncle Dilnot announced his intention of coming to Sydney with us when we go. Aunt Lottie asked him to some time ago but he was not sure whether he could manage it. We are of course very pleased.
Monday July 23rd I did some more weeding in the garden this morning, it was positively hot in the sun & I was quite glad to sit in the verandah & get cool afterwards. In the afternoon Aunt Lottie & I walked to the Hutt to call on Mrs Thomson who lives opposite Hubert & Lita’s. We met her at the Masonic Hotel Napier & she asked us to go & see her, however she was out. The evening was so warm we sat without a fire.
Tuesday July 24th It was a fine morning so Aunt Lottie & Maidie & I decided to go a long projected trip to Otaki, 47 miles up the Manawatu line, where there is an interesting Church built by Maoris. After breakfast Aunt Bessie suddenly announced her intention of coming too, so we packed up some lunch & all went off by the 9.26 train to Wellington. An Italy mail came in just before we started s we read our letters in the train. Arrived in Wellington we had a ten minutes walk to the Manawatu railway station & got into the 10.10 train – a very slow one but the journey was very pretty among hills & along by the sea part of the way so we did not mind the slowness. When we came down from New Plymouth this way it was dark before we reached Otaki so the scenery was new to us except as far as Paekakariki where we had driven with Uncle. About 12.45 we ate our lunch. Otaki was reached at 1.15. We had 1½ miles to drive in a ‘bus to the Church which we found very curious & interesting. Three great pillars, each the trunk of a tree, supported the centre of the roof & the walls consisted of great slabs of totara wood alternating with regular Maori work consisting of stalks of tour grass (as sort of pampas grass) laid together & strips of dark wood laid across, the whole interlaced & kept together by strips of flax worked in a pattern. All the timber used was hewn by Maoris with their native greenstone or other weapons, no saw was used for any of it. The altar-rails were most elaborately carved, this again with Maori tools. We saw a great many Maoris in the town & during the afternoon there was a Maori funeral at the Church so we watched the procession. Our train back was not till 5.10 so we had to fill in our time as best we could. Fortunately the day was very fine & warm so it was pleasant just wandering about. We went to a little place for tea when we got tired, then sauntered slowly back to the station. The train back was the mail train from New Plymouth so we got back to Wellington in 2 hours & were back at Petone soon after 8, all having enjoyed our day very much. Aunt Bessie seemed very little tired.
Wednesday July 25th It being Frisco mail day, I spent most of the morning writing. When Birdie came home in the afternoon, she & I did some weeding. In the evening we started a 10,000 game of bezique.
Thursday July 26th I spent the morning at needlework. The weather was showery but it was brighter in the afternoon so I walked part of the way with Dolly who was going to the Hutt to make some calls with Lita. On my return an old “body” as Aunt Bessie calls them, called, a certain Mrs Smith, whose (?lips went very much astray but she chattered on & on so that Aunt Bessie & I who were the only ones in the drawing room had nothing to do but let her talk. Maidie heard the chattering & guessed who it was so kept out of the way. Later Mrs Ward & Mrs Russell both looked in.
Friday July 27th Aunt Lottie wanted to go to town today to secure our berths for Aug 18th on the Sydney boat so she & I went in by the 11.5 and went to the Union Co. office - we were told our boat will be the “Waikare”. After walking about a good deal on two or three errands we go lunch at the D.I.C (Direct Importing Co.) one of the largest shops where there is a nice room for lunch or tea. After lunch we walked to the Museum which we had never seen. There is an interesting Maori house there with usual wonderful carving – one thing I thought very interesting was a model of an old Maori pa (village) & fortifications. We took the 3 o’clock train to Petone being rather tired with all our wandering about – we got back in time for a cup of tea.
Saturday July 28th The morning was delightfully sunny & warm so that we could sit on the verandah in the morning. In the afternoon Birdie & I did some more weeding & in the evening we had some more bezique – she got ahead of me in our 10,000 game - up till now I have always led.
Sunday July 29th A glorious bright frosty morning the roads were crisp & hard when I went out to early service so afterwards I took a short walk & got up a grant appetite for breakfast. This morning was Church parade service for the Naval Corps at Petone so Aunt Lottie & I walked up to the Hutt Church for morning service – the weather being so inviting for the walk. All the family were sunning themselves in the verandah when we got back just in time for dinner. During the afternoon Flo Coster arrived from Nelson – she is to stay here the night on her way to Christchurch. In the evening a large contingent of us went to Church escorted by Bob.
Monday July 30th This morning at 2am I was awakened by Birdie who had come to tell me there was a fire & would I like to see it? I jumped up & went to the landing window to see what could be seen. Aunt Lottie preferred to stay in her warm bed as the night was cold. It was a house quite close by, at the corner of Britannia Street opposite the Post Office, that was on fire – luckily it was a brick building if it had been of wood the whole place must have been burnt down in a few minutes. As it was the fire had got a good hold inside & when the firemen arrived great flames were pouring out of the windows. The people in the house had all escaped in their night clothes. We could see the firemen working away with the hose – they were getting the fire under – Birdie & Dolly & I thought we would go outside the gate & get a nearer view so we put on more clothes & went out, the boys were all there watching & a good crowd of people had collected. We watched until the fire was nearly extinguished & then went back to bed. The morning turned out frosty & fine again – the two girls & their cousin Flo & I all started to walk up & see Lita before lunch – however we had only got a little way when we met her coming here so we brought her back to “elevenses” & then Dolly went off with her to town to do shopping. The rest of us girls st & sunned ourselves & worked in the verandah the rest of the morning, the two aunts went for a walk. In the afternoon Nancy Coster came in from Wellington to see her sister, they were both here to dinner Frank afterwards took them in to town & saw Flo off by the Lyttelton boat. Birdie was very pleased with herself this evening because I had double bezique & couldn’t show it, she still keeps the lead.
Tuesday July 31st A very wet day & we did not go out at all. The servant took her departure this morning – a new one is engaged & is expected tomorrow. Dolly & I both began making a blouse today.
Wednesday Aug 1st The Frisco mail arrived this morning with as usual a welcome budget of home letters. Owing to Sir J G Ward being a passenger by the mail boat it is actually up to time for the first time since we have been in N.Z. The day has been cold & wet again so we had more time for blouse making etc. The new servant has not turned up so the girls have had all the work to do.
Thursday Aug 2nd This morning brought news that the servant cannot come for at least a week perhaps more, however as she seems a likely sort of girl they are going to wait for her. The day was fine & Aunt Lottie had a walk before lunch. Dolly & I were “blousing” most of the afternoon. In the evening Birdie, Frank & Arthur went to a enchre party at the Hutt, they walked as it was fine. Maidie, Dolly & I after washing up walked up to Hubert & Lita’s, they had both gone to the party, so we went to keep Mrs Mackersey company, a sister of Lita’s who is staying with them. We sat talking till 9.3, had cocoa & biscuits & got back at 10.15. The three elders had had the evening all to themselves. Bob is always at work in the study in the evening.
Friday Aug 3rd Aunt Lottie & I walked up to the Bellevue Gardens before lunch as it was such a nice bright morning – there had been a sharp frost during the night, 9 degrees of front being registered, the coldest night we have had here this winter. After a frost the days are always sunny & warm. The camellia bushes in the gardens which Aunt Lottie hoped to find in full bloom were a good deal spoilt by the frost & altogether there was not much to be seen there. We got some tea & scones at the hotel & walked back getting in at 2.30. I spent the afternoon reading on the verandah until it got too cold. Aunt Bessie & Maidie & I went to a parochial entertainment very similar to a former one we went to only perhaps even less high class!
Saturday Aug 4th This morning Uncle suggested we should go with him the trip by boat to Seatown & Miramar which we were obliged to put off some weeks ago on account of bad weather. However today again the weather was unfavourable & Uncle rang up from town before we were to start to say it was not fit. Aunt Lottie managed to get a walk during the afternoon but it was not inviting out of doors. I had a nice long afternoon in company with the “Newcomes” while the girls were busy in the kitchen.*
Sunday Aug 5th A lovely frosty morning again & consequently warm in the middle of the day. After Church some of us sunned ourselves in the verandah. Lita & Mrs Mackersey came on their cycles to afternoon tea. Aunt Lottie & two of the girls went to Church in the evening.
*Sat. Aug 4th There was a total eclipse of the moon tonight, fortunately the night was clear & we had a good view of it. It began to be visible about 10 pm., the total phase began at 12.30 until which hour we four girls in our dressing-gowns sat in Birdie’s room with our heads out of the window.
Monday Aug 6th It was a lovely morning & Aunt Lottie, Maidie & I decided to take our lunch up to the Rock. Aunt Lottie had never been quite to the top. Before we started Miss Ross looked in said she had a servant coming on Thursday. Aunt Bessie said yes, so had they, only she had had to go & nurse a sister so she could not come for a week or two. A little further talk reveals the fact that the two expected maids are one & the same person! After taking the place here she heard of Miss Ross’ situation which is a much lighter one, so took that & put Aunt Bessie off with a trumped up story about a sick sister. Aren’t they frauds? Dolly stayed at home to do the work & we three had a nice little expedition. With some difficulty we got Aunt Lottie up the steep ascent to the top of the rock where under the shelter of a big stone we at our lunch, then as we all felt fresh enough we walked on to the reservoir a mile or so further on. Aunt Lottie had never been here before she quite enjoyed the bush we had to walk through. We were afraid the path home down the gully, three miles long, would be very muddy, however, it was not very bad. Just at the end of the gulley we had a small adventure – or thought we were going to. Suddenly turning a corner before we emerged from the gully, we saw a cow on the path in front of us apparently very wild & angry, it was pawing the ground & putting it head down. Aunt Lottie was very frightened & wanted to turn back all the way we had come (about 6 miles), we knew she could never manage that, so we climbed up the hill on one side to see if we could get round that way. Aunt Lottie sat a little way up the hill while we explored. We thought if the worst came to the worst we could get over that way, but meanwhile we could see our cow who had rushed by this time further down the gully, grazing peacefully a little way off the path. We conjectured that when we saw it first it must have frightened itself by falling off the steep slope on to the path, but had now recovered its equanimity. We went back to Aunt Lottie, managed to persuade her to proceed with us on our way, having taken the precaution to arm ourselves with some stones in case of need. As we came near the creature, it merely raised its head and looked at us then went on quietly grazing so we had a good laugh at our unnecessary fright. Aunt Lottie was rather tired when we got home & rested till dinner time. Birdie had her pupils & little Mollie Ward to tea in the afternoon. Dolly & she were entertaining them. Birdie & I finished our 10000 game of bezique this evening, she beat me by 350. The firebell rang during the evening & we could see a blaze from an upstairs window – some of us went down the street to see what it was but it was all put out before we got there.
Tuesday Aug 7th This being Lita’s birthday Dolly & I walked up to see her in the afternoon but found her out. The maid (for she has one now) asked us in & brought us some tea which we thought showed her superiority over most colonial maids. Aunt Lottie rested today after yesterday’s long walk & did not go out.
Wednesday Aug 8th The dining room chimney caught fire this morning at breakfast of course choosing a cold frosty morning for doing so, the fire had to be put out. Later on Dolly & I gave the room a good dusting. Maidie went to town this morning. In the evening there was a dance on at the Hut Drill Hall to which Dolly & Frank & I went. Dolly wore her pretty pink bridesmaid’s frock * work my Indian muslin. It was a big dance, about 250 people there. It was not quite so well arranged as the former dance we went to & the company was rather “mixed” we did not get so much dancing s before & the night being very cold that was rather a disadvantage – the room is just a wooden & corrugated iron building with no means of heating – fortunately they gave us hot soup at the end of the evening. We drove there & back with several others in a ‘bus. We got home just after half past one.
Thursday Aug 9th The girls were busy all the morning & I did some silver cleaning & various other jobs. In the afternoon Aunt Bessie & Aunt Lottie went to the Hutt to pay a call & to tea with the Jones. Maidie & I walked up to the Riddifords, Mrs R was having a number of girls to tea – she wanted to get them to make things for a bazaar & was providing materials for everyone. Miss Jones walked back part of the way with us – we got back in time for dinner – which Dolly had been attending to. In the evening we were invited to Miss Ross’ Maidie, Dolly & I went, the Hectors were there too & we had a very pleasant evening with cards & music.
Friday Aug 10th This morning we had arranged to go over the Petone Woollen Mill. Lita also wanted to see it so she rode over on her bicycle & went with us. A small boy conducted us over the works, he seemed quite up to it though at first sight he seemed very diminutive. We saw the washing of the wool, the spinning, dyeing, warping & weaving processes which are all very interesting to watch, but the noise of the machinery was deafening so we could not ask many questions, it was too hard work to hear oneself or anyone else speak, the only way to hear what the small boy tried to impart to us was by putting one’s ear close to his mouth when he bawled at us. We saw tweeds & flannels & woollen goods being made & finished off by machine. Lita came back with us to lunch & stayed the afternoon. She invited Aunt Lottie & me to dinner next Tuesday. Arthur has been in bed all day with a very bad cold – colds are at present going the round of the house. The weather keeps very cold – exceptionally so they say for August. Generally these cold snaps come about June or July.
Saturday Aug 11th Arthur is better today but did not go to town. I was busy over mendings this morning & read all afternoon. Aunt Lottie went her favourite walk up the hill. The girls were as usual busy with Saturday’s work. In a week’s time we start for Sydney in the “Waikare” which I see is advertised to start at 4pm.
Sunday Aug 12th It has been a wet day – no-one went out except to Church. The family cold is still going the round of the house. I have it now & went to bed early with hot lemonade.
Monday Aug 13th Cold better today, Maidie is now the chief invalid though she is always just as energetic as usual, cold or no cold. Dolly made the drawing room look very nice with spring flowers from the garden, in honour of the people invited to tea. As the day was wet two or three didn’t turn up but Mrs Hollis & Mrs Leighton, Mrs Kirk & Mrs Ward all came. This evening I beat Birdie in a 5000 game of bezique which we have just finished. We want to have one more 5000 game to make the rubber.
Tuesday Aug 14th A wretchedly wet & miserable day. Aunt Lottie had a neuralgic headache so sent a wire to Lita to say we could not go to dine with them. I spent the day mostly in writing & working.
Wednesday Aug 15th The Italy mail this morning brought news of Arthur’s brilliant success at which every body is very pleased. It had been another wretchedly wet day & our proposed trip to town was out of the questions. I did some packing instead. The harbour today looks very rough - we are hoping the weather will improve before Saturday.
Thursday Aug 16th A nice fine morning at last so Maidie & Dolly & I were able to indulge in our projected “spree” in town. They got their work done quickly & we went off by the 10.15 train. We did some shopping the girls got me a dear little suede bag with a chain handle as a parting present. We went up to the Kelburne Kiosk for lunch & I said goodbye to the lovely view of the harbour one gets from there & wondered whether I should ever see it again! After a little more shopping we took the 3 o’clock train home again in time for the girls to see about dinner. Just as we got in Mrs Jones and one of her daughters called to say goodbye to us as they had not been able to come on Monday.
Friday Aug 17th Aunt Lottie & I spent most of the day packing until visitors arrived in the afternoon. Mrs Thomson came, the lady we had met at the “Masonic” Napier & Miss Caw with whom we had a good long chat – she had been staying with Miss Laird in Auckland & with Miss McKellar in New Plymouth & had seen various other “Orantians” besides so we had lots to talk over. She was going on into town so I walked down to the station with her & saw her off. After dinner Birdie & I sat down to finish our game of bezique. This last game seemed likely to be a fairly close one, & I said if Birdie won I should take it as a sign that I should have to come out again some day to have my revenge, however in the end I beat her so we decided that meant that she must come to England some day. Mr& Mrs Russell & Miss Ross came in this evening for a farewell visit. I began to feel we really are leaving, up till today I have scarcely realized it.
Saturday Aug 18th All our luggage went off at 9 o’clock this morning in a big cart to Wellington Wharf. We had a slack time this morning and I was able to finish the “Newcomers”. Uncle rang up during the morning to say that the departure of the “Waikare put off from 4 till 5 o’clock. None of the boys came home to dinner, they were all going to see us off nor did Uncle. We women folk all had dinner about 1 & then they lock up the house & Aunt Bessie & all three girls accompanied us into town by the three o’clock train. Uncle & Frank & Herbert & Lita met us at the station & we all walked to the wharf & inspected our cabins. Uncle has one to himself on deck & we have a very nice large one to ourselves down below. Having left our small packages in the cabin we all repaired to Lambton Quay & had tea together at Godber’s a party of ten of us. We happened to meet Mr & Mrs Balcombe Brown there – Wellington people who were staying at the same house with us at Rotorua. As there was a cold wind blowing Maidie thought she had better take Aunt Bessie home by the 4.45 train. Herbert also took Lita home by that she had been in town all day & was tired – so we said goodbye to those four at Godber’s – the others came back to the boat with us & Arthur & Bob joined us there. There was time for a few last words, then they all had to go to catch their train home & we were off almost immediately, starting punctually at 5 o’clock. We watched Wellington out of sight as we steamed down the harbour, it soon began to get dark & Petone was not visible. Soon after leaving the Heads there was a strong wind & we were soon glad to leave the deck. At 6.30 dinner was ready & we all went down. I managed to eat enough for appearances sake which was more than I felt like. Afterwards I lay on the lounge in the social hall & Uncle soon followed my example. We went to bed in good time & slept well at least I did. Aunt Lottie complained of the noise keeping her awake.
Sunday Aug 19th There was a pretty high sea running this morning & I only managed to get half dressed when I had to get back to bed again & no place but the cabin saw me the whole of the rest of the day. By evening quite a gale was blowing & the motion was very unpleasant. Aunt Lottie kept up splendidly but even she came to lie down towards evening & did not manage a proper dinner. Uncle found it advisable to lie down a good deal & could not manage to smoke though I believe he appeared at dinner. As for me I observed the day strictly as a fast. At noon ship’s run 236 miles.
Monday Aug 20th We both slept well & when we woke the sea was calmer & the stewardess coming in presently opened the port hole & brought us some fruit which we were both glad of. Aunt Lottie seemed quite well & so did Uncle except that he couldn’t manage to smoke. I got up after breakfast & came up on deck where between intervals of doing nothing I managed to get some diary written up. I had some lunch brought to me on deck, it is quite nice to be able to eat again. All the afternoon we were expecting to pass the Sydney to Wellington boat which we should see about midway, however we saw nothing of her. I went down to dinner and spent the evening in the social hall as the deck seat got rather cold. 290 miles
Tuesday Aug 21st There was a pretty high sea running this morning but the wind being with us the motion was not so unpleasant as on Sunday when we had a strong head wind. We all managed breakfast in the saloon but I think none of us felt too happy during the morning on deck. There were several heavy showers of rain & the sea looked grey & gloomy. This afternoon the sea got calmer – we went up on the top deck for a time, sheep there & in the fore part of the vessel, there are some Ayrshire cattle which we went to look at. Aunt Lottie has found a pleasant lady on board who knows Oxford N.Z. & has stayed in Uncle Dilnot’s old house there which is now a boarding house. I had a walk up & down the deck after dinner with this Mrs Kitkpatrick & Aunt Lottie is talking to her now on deck while I have come down to the saloon to write. At table we are rather well placed, next to one of the officers who has plenty to talk about. It seems rather doubtful whether we shall get to Sydney before dark tomorrow evening – we should like to, to see the harbour. If the present favourable wind continues, we may do so. 310 miles
Wednesday Aug 22nd It was a beautiful morning, sunny & the sea a bright blue, many passengers whom we had not seen before made their appearance on deck. At noon the ship was regarded to have made a run of 335 miles &to be 68 miles from Sydney. Soon after lunch we could decry land & about 4 o’clock we were at the Heads. We had a most enjoyable run up the Harbour, the sun was shining & everything looked most beautiful – the bays & the sharp headlands, the picturesque buildings along the shores, the wooded slopes contrasting with rugged rock – all was just as lovely as when we saw it nine months ago. We stood with Uncle on the upper deck to get a good view, he seemed very pleased with it all. We passed a big battleship anchored in the Harbour & saw the “Macedonia” & the “Omrah” lying at the wharf. We steamed on past the Circular Quay where I remember landing before,& came alongside at the Union Co’s wharf. After a little delay to see about our luggage we walked up to Pfahlart’s Hotel not far away where we expected to find rooms as Aunt Lottie had written to engage them. However, there was some mistake & they could not take us in, they recommended us to Petty’s Hotel close by where we got rooms. It looks an extremely nice hotel & we think we are very lucky to get in. We dined soon after six & all by common consent, spent a quiet evening. Aunt Lottie was tired & I felt very much “off the boat” viz. rather unsteady! The weather seemed warm to us, very like a summer evening at home. A fire in the drawing room seemed rather superfluous. Aunt Lottie & I have a nice double bed-room on the second floor & Uncle one on the same landing.
Thursday Aug 23rd We breakfasted at 8.30. Uncle went off on business directly afterwards & will be busy all day. Aunt Lottie & I started out about 10 o’clock. Our luggage man had just been up to say he could not find our three big boxes out of the hold which we had given him instructions to store – we went down to the Quay but could see nothing of them – for some unknown reason they must have got left in the hold but we could do nothing about them until tomorrow when the boat returns from coaling at Newcastle. It is a great bother, but we hope they are all right! We next went to the Post Office where Aunt Lottie found a letter from Aunt Lizzie. Then we went to the Tourist Office where they were very polite in mapping out trips for us. Leaving there we were told we were close to the Gardens so we entered a big gate – the entrance as we thought – I rather wondered at seeing a sentry just inside the gate but thought nothing more of it until further on we encountered a policeman who asked if we had lost our way as we were trespassing on the grounds of Government House. I said “Oh well we had had a nice walk” & we went back the way we had come & this time found the entrance to the Gardens. It was getting quite hot by this time & we began to wish to shed some clothes. We wandered about, recognising the parts we were in in November, everything is looking very much fresher now than then, there are a lot of flowers now, roses, verbenas, anemones, hibiscus & lots that we did not know the names of, besides lovely palms of every kind & labelled as coming from many different countries. We went again into the palm & fern houses but could only rush through & out again – the heat was too much. One large house however was very pleasant – it was built of just a network of wooden laths with no glass & merely formed a shelter for the palms. We went to see out old friends the birds & after inspecting them were glad to sit & rest on a shady seat. We got back to lunch soon after one, then Aunt Lottie rested upstairs & I read & wrote in the drawing room. At 4 o’clock we went out again for a little walk down to Circular Quay, on our return we found Uncle back from his business & rather tired as to the fact with walking about on pavements in the heat. We dined at 6.30. In the evening Aunt Lottie & I played enchre with two ladies while Uncle was writing letters.
Friday Aug 24th The early morning looked cloudy & threatening. Uncle breakfasted early as he had to get off again on business. After breakfast we first made satisfactory enquiries about our big luggage which it turned out, had been taken & stored by another man. Then we went again to the Tourist Office where Aunt Lottie had a few more enquiries to make respecting trips. Thence we walked to Circular Quay, took a ferry across to North Shore & then trammed to the Spit along a road commanding a splendid view of the blue waters of the harbour & the Heads – a deep blue they were this morning for by this time the clouds had all disappeared & the day had turned out sunny & warm. From the Spit we took tram to Mosmans Bay, a pretty little spot where we stayed half an hour & climbed a hill to get a good view. Thence we ferried back to Circular Quay & got back to the hotel in time for lunch. The whole expedition cost only I think 9d apiece – trams & ferry boat trips are very inexpensive here & there is a very frequent service of both. Uncle was at lunch when we got in, very glad to hear news of the lost boxes. He went out again after lunch while we rested or wrote letters. At 4 o’clock we all went to the Gardens which Aunt Lottie was anxious for Uncle to see. It was very pleasant there we wandered round admiring the palms & other things amongst them a beautiful Bougainvillea climbing on a wall. We got some tea at the little refreshment room where we remembered going last November when it was like an oven. We dined at 6.30 & read or wrote in the evening.
Saturday Aug 25th Uncle kept this day clear to go a trip with us. We started from the hotel soon after 9 o’clock, took a tram to the station which is some little way off, but a very fine big place only recently opened. It reminds one of the biggest London stations. The booking hall is very fine & there are 14 platforms. We took train to Paramatta a place some distance inland where we arrived at 10.17. There we hired a conveyance & pair of horses & went a two hours drive. Part of the time we were up a fair height & got a good view of the surrounding country. Everything looked very dry after the greenness of New Zealand & much of the land seemed very poor, barren soil, though from time to time we came to more fertile parts. In most of these were plantations of orange trees, the trees were not more than about 10 feet high & were rather prim looking but the ripe fruit on them looked most luscious & made a fine contrast to the dark olive of the leaves. We passed some bush which however is quite different to the N.Z. bush & cannot compare with it, I think, for beauty. The trees are mostly gum trees & there is no undergrowth. One or two fine house we passed & we saw a large asylum as we got back by a circular route into Paramatta. This was one of the earliest of the N.S.W. settlements, the driver pointed out an old house which he said was the first Government House in the colony. We drove round a fine large park & then the driver put us down at the tram starting point where we took the 12.30 tram down to the Paramatta river & took a ferry boat right down the river to Circular Quay, near to which it runs out. It is a fine large river with a lot of little jetties on either side at which we kept stopping for passengers. The banks got more & more pretty as we neared the harbour, bright green vegetation mixed up as it were with bare rock being most effective. As we passed the Orient wharf we saw the “Oraya” alongside & looked at her of course with interest, she got I this morning from Melbourne, she has to go to Brisbane & back before we said in her. It was 2.30 when we landed, very ready for lunch. As it was too late to lunch at our hotel, we went to Sargent’s a restaurant which again brings back recollections of our first visit. Aunt Lottie was glad to rest when we got in. I sat reading & working in the balcony where Uncle presently joined me. After dinner we had more writing to do.
Sunday Aug 26th We went to the Cathedral this morning, it is a fine building with two square towers, the interior does not perhaps come up to the exterior, we had a little look round after the service but did not have time to go right round. We liked the service very fairly well but mean to try another Church this evening. We dined at one o’clock. Uncle intended going out to see some-one he knows in the afternoon but it came on to rain so he stayed in & finished reading Winston Churchill’s “Coniston” which he highly recommends. I read & wrote & at 4.30 went out a little way as the rain had stopped. I then did some packing before tea which was at six. Afterwards Aunt Lottie & I went to evening service at S James Church, an older Church than most out here, built rather after the style of those of the early part of the 19th century at home with a gallery & mural tablets. The service was more to our taste than that at the Cathedral. I have to finish off & post my English letters this evening as we start tomorrow morning for the Blue Mts.
Monday Aug 27th We started from the hotel this morning at 9.45 taking with us just what we need for the week & leaving heavy luggage behind. We took the 10.15 train for Mount Victoria in the Blue Mts. It was fast part of the way but when we got to the mountains it stopped at every station & the steep incline naturally reduced the speed. Mount Victoria stands nearly 3500 ft above sea level. The view as we came up was very extensive & the distant prospect fully justifies the name of Blue Mts., though one sees more of the plains just left which are covered with a blue haze, than of the mountains one is approaching, until one is actually among them. On both sides are great slopes covered with bush broken by enormous rocky promontories. Seeing these & the wild character of the slopes one is not surprised to hear that the first explorers found these mountains almost impassable. As we got higher up the temperature went down a great many degrees it seemed. It had been a fresh pleasant morning in Sydney when we left, up here it began to snow slightly in one place & when we got to Mount Victoria at 2.30 we were very glad to put on warmer clothes & sit down to a hot lunch at the Grand Hotel where we have rooms for the night. We had thought of taking a drive in the afternoon but decided that it was too cold & went for a walk instead. Mount Victoria is not a large place, it has two or three hotels & exists chiefly for tourists. There seems nothing very special to see immediately around so we were more ready to forego our drive. Uncle went indoors after an hours walking about & exploring. Aunt Lottie & I stayed but a little longer. The mountain air is very invigorating & the views wherever extensive ones can be got, are very grand. We dined at 6.30 & spent the evening playing cards or talking & grumbling at the cold. The hotel is a big rambling old place, not calculated to keep out draughts & though there was a good fire in the sitting room nobody got very warm. Our party consisted of a Mr& Mrs Pope from Adelaide & Mr Pope’s sister Miss Drew from England, also a honeymoon couple but they soon retired to another room. Uncle Dilnot & Aunt Lottie played cribbage & I played bridge with the others, Mr Pope & I against the two ladies, they beat us. The thermometer in the hall stood at 32° this evening.
Tuesday Aug 28th Most people came down in a more or less shivering state to 8 o’clock breakfast. Though cold, the morning was bright & sunny & at 9 o’clock we started on the 36 mile drive to the Jenolan Caves with good prospect of a fine day. The coach was a sort of large wagonette affair with room for 12. With some more people from another hotel, we were a party of 10. Fortunately we had our rugs & plenty of wraps so we were only cold as to the feet. Uncle sat on the box with a Mr Gordon who he found was nephew of an old neighbour of his at Oxford & knew Lewie. We had a good team of five horses & a careful driver. We descended a long hill a(t) the very beginning of the drive, the views were indescribably grand, rugged crags hundreds of feet high rising from the wooded slopes. On distant slopes the cloud shadows were a very deep, almost indigo, blue. The road all the way was very smooth & good. In many parts of course we overlooked a precipice & the gully below looked very far away. We stopped about halfway for lunch & changed horses. After lunch we went through a good deal of bush, a good deal of it however has been, or is being, cleared. It is not nearly so pretty as the N.Z. bush, but the new shoots of the gum trees were a pretty red colour. On a tree we saw a pair of rosellas, pretty red sort of parrots. One or two old log cabins on the roadside, gave one a sense of typical Australian landscape. There were some log fences too, formed of logs piled horizontally & kept together by upright forked branches, these one does not see in N.Z., nor we were told are they allowed to be made here now because they harbour rabbits. A few rabbits were to be seen scuttling away as we passed but there were not many. After descending a very long hill of about 5 miles & where the grade is one in sixteen, we came suddenly upon the noble natural archway which forms a most unique entrance to the spot where the Caves House is situated I wish I could give even the slightest impression of the magnificence of this sight as we burst upon it. Caves House lies near the head of a valley & right across this valley stretches a huge rampart of rock hundreds of feet in height through which is a natural archway under which the coaches drive – seen from the road as one drives down towards this archway it looks like a great cavity in which one will be swallowed up in the heart of the mountain. On entering however one sees there is a way out & the coach coon emerges landing as at the door of Caves House. It was now 2.30 &by 3 o’clock, having got our rooms, seen our luggage stored therein, & had a cup of tea, we went with the guide to view the first cave the Lucas as it is called. We enter from within the great archway, climbing some steps we soon arrive at a gate which the guide slams too & locks when we are all in. You feel a gruesome sense of being imprisoned. The guide takes us into chamber after chamber all containing stalactites of the most varied shape & size. Up & down long flights of steps, which of course have been made artificially, we went from one to another for in this cave the different parts are on very different levels. The chief parts were the Exhibition Cave & the Mafeking Cave, the latter so called because discovered on the day of the relief of Mafeking. Some of the formations resemble, or were supposed to resemble, all sorts of objects, cauliflower heads, potatoes & busts & heads of persons etc. etc. After two hours of cave “inspection” as the guide books call it we were not sorry to get out into fresh air again & back to the hotel where we dined & spent a pleasant evening writing our diaries, talking or playing cards. Mr Pope & I had our revenge on the two ladies & beat them very severely. This is another rather rambling house but warmer than the Grand Hotel, Mount Victoria. It is situated in a sort of hole & enclosed by hills.
Wednesday Aug 29th We all slept well after our long day yesterday. When the breakfast bell rang at 8.30 we found Uncle had already taken a short walk up the road. At 9.30 we started up a path leading to the top of the rampart of rock. Near the top is a large aperture in a comparatively think wall of rock, this is called the Cerlotta Arch & as one looks though it, it forms a lovely frame-work for the scene below. Descending a path on the other side of the great archway we saw several wallabies jumping about among the rocks. We came through a great cavern known as the Devil’s Coach House, the roof of which is 240 feet in height & so out on the road again. It was now 10 o’clock & our guide was ready to take us through the Right Imperial Cave. This we entered from beneath the great archway, just opposite where we mounted to the Lucas Cave. The Right Imperial Cave is much more on the same level than the Lucas & there were no large chambers here but a great deal of threading one’s way through narrow passages where the roof was too low to allow of walking upright. At one place we looked up to a height of 60 feet above us where an electric jet was place to enable one to see the height. This the guide told us was Ridley’s Short Cut, the place where a man named Ridley once fell down & by some miracle escaped almost unhurt. A very large white stalagmite is appropriately named Lot’s Wife. Formations of very varied kings were to be seen, it is quite impossible to describe or even enumerate them all. Every form & kind of stalactite & stalagmite were there, & what seems most wonderful & unaccountable on many of them were deposits branching out horizontally, some I ought to have said that these caves are well lit by electric light & lights are placed conveniently to show up many little grottoes & places where one cannot enter. Our guide was one of those who installed the lights. He said he has been here over 20 years & seemed very interested in the caves. From time to time the guides explore further, at present about 40 miles of caves have been discovered, but not a quarter of this is shown to the public. At 12 o’clock or soon after we emerged from the caves. The starting point was the same as for the Right Imperial, we branched off to the left a little way from the entrance. The guide called this his favourite cave. It contained several fine lofty chambers, the Lady Carrington, the Levison Cave where there was a beautiful formation resembling a shawl the folds of the drapery extraordinarily perfect, Kate’s Bower, to which we had to descend 80 feet by a staircase & in which are some fine curtain-like formations, & the Mystery a wonderful projection somewhat in the form of a canopy – these were some of the most interesting sights. Kate’s Bower was the last place we visited after which we had to retrace our steps up the 80 ft staircase & back by the way we had come. Only the first half of this cave was lit up with electricity so we all carried candles & lit them when we bade farewell to the electric light. The effect of a string of people moving along each with a lighted candle was far more weird & romantic & I liked it much better for that, but it was not possible to see the sights nearly so well. We were out again soon after five feeling we had done very well for the day. Uncle especially had had a lot walking for him, but he did not seem to have felt it too much. We were ready to rest & spend the evening quietly writing up diaries etc. which now that I have finished I feel rather as if I should dream of caves. Uncle has given me a very nice illustrated guide with which these accounts will have to be supplemented.
Thursday Aug 30th A very wet morning (by the way most of yesterday was wet too, but as we spent so much time in caves it did not much matter to us what the weather was like). At breakfast several people were undecided as to whether they should visit another cave this morning or not, Aunt Lottie thought she had seen enough, Uncle was undecided & I made up my mind to go a short walk in the rain instead & get back in time to dry before we set out on the return journey by coach at 12.15. So after breakfast I went a little way up the hill we had driven down, I wanted to get another view of the grand archway from there & admire it at my leisure. Having accomplished this purpose I turned into the Devil’s Coach House on my way back & had another look at that, a very weird & awe inspiring place to be in by oneself. I did not stay there long. Near the hotel I met Uncle & Mrs Pope & Miss Drew just starting to see the Skeleton Cave, the sight of them going upset my former resolution I felt I must go too so I accompanied them. This time we had a different guide, the man who has been there longest & who found the cave we were going into about two years ago. It has only been open to the public since last New Year’s Day. We entered the rock the same way as if we were going to the Lucas Cave but turned off after walking a hundred yards or more & went down a long flight of steps. We had only a candle light apiece, there was no electric light so looking down it seemed as if we were going into a terrible black chasm. We reached the bottom at length however & soon came upon the Skeleton which is that of a human body supposed to be 6000 years old, the upper part of the skull is very narrow & the jaw very large, the teeth perfect. The supposition is that some unfortunate man hunting an opossum or some animal, following his prey into the cave fell through a hole from a cave above to where the skeleton now lies embedded in the rock. The bones on the right side are broken by the fall. Close by are a few bones of animals, some of them of extinct species which have evidently fallen down the same hole. Our guide told us when he discovered this skeleton they telegraphed at once to the Government Department in Sydney. The police soon heard of it & said the discovery ought to have been notified first to them. A policeman was sent down, a big burly Irishman, to see if an inquest was necessary, when after much difficulty he burrowed his way through to the place with the guides & came to the skeleton he could nothing but cross himself & beg to be taken out again as quickly as possible! The guide showed us places where the explorers had had to burrow through the earth, now of course a pathway is cut & steps formed where necessary. He told us how they sometimes go out exploring at night after their guiding business is over & how when they think they are near finding anything new they spend night after night in the caves & never feel the need for sleep so long as the excitement lasts. Leaving the rather gruesome skeleton we a little way further, as far as the cave extends, & saw many wonderfully delicate formations, stalactites, stalagmites & helictites, some as fine & grass & some finer still & white like hoar frost hanging from trees. One very pretty little group of stalactites let fall their drips into the bath & in front over hanging was a canopy-like formation amber coloured & glistening with crystal. Altogether it was a very interesting little cave & we were very glad we went to it. Of course on coming back we told the other unenterprising people it was the best we had seen! At 12 o’clock we all had some hot soup & set off immediately afterwards in the coach back to Mount Victoria. It was still raining & our party of ten, the same ten that came by coach on Tuesday were all glad to squeeze inside, there was no rush for the box seat. The coach had waterproof coverings all round so we kept pretty dry but of course could see next to nothing. At Halfway House we stopped to lunch & change horses. Before we started again Mr Gorton fixed up a sack across behind the driver’s seat where the rain had beat in before, this was a great improvement. The roads were very wet & it was heavy going for the horses. About 5 miles from Mount Victoria another small coach met us & took some of our passengers to relieve our horses. We got back to our old rooms at the Grand Hotel, not sorry to get there & have dinner. The sitting room was more draughty than ever so our evening was not very comfortable. The wind was raging outside, besides what came inside & the rain came down in torrents, but the temperature was not as low as when we were here before.
Friday Aug 31st None of us were very anxious to spend another night at the Grand Hotel so Uncle arranged with the people to drive us round to see the various sights & then to drop us at the Medlow Bath Hydro where we thought we would like to stay a night. Accordingly after breakfast we packed up our things & set off at 9.15. Mr & Mrs Pope & Miss Drew intended to do as we were going to do so we had a good sized coach & all drove off together, Mr Pope & Uncle on the box seat, we four ladies behind. The first place we came to was Govett’s Leap where we all got out of the coach & walked a little way down a steep path to get a good view of the waterfall to which this name is given. It is a narrow but high fall straight over a precipitous cliff. On both sides of the top of the waterfall there are high rocks enclosing the stream which feeds the waterfall in a chasm. It was across this chasm that a bush ranger named Govett is said to have leaped when being pursued. The fall was by no means all that was to be seen. From the height where we stood we looked over into an immense valley now covered in bush & surrounded by great ramparts of rock seemingly almost impregnable. Down these great walls we counted at least a dozen waterfalls, some looking no more than a streak of silver in the distance. After a good look around we had to mount our coach again. I forgot to say that Mr & Mrs Crosby joined us from the Imperial Hotel Mount Victoria there was just room for them in our coach. We drove on through Katoomba & put down Mr & Mrs Crosby at their destination, the Carrington Hotel, then on to the Leura Falls where we again clambered down from the coach, then down some steps (made of course for tourists) till we got to a little rock platform whence there was a fine view of the falls below, fed apparently by quite a small stream the water as it fell spread out into a thin film over a rounded rock & made a very pretty fall. The surrounding scenery was very similar to that at Govett’s Leap only here the rocky walls ran more regularly & approached more nearly together. A further drive took us to Wentworth where there were more falls to see. On the way we passed the stump of a tree round which a fence has been placed & an inscription written up to say this was a tree marked by the three explorers Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth who were the first to find a way over these mountains in 1813. Later we drove through what Mr Pope said was a typical Australian bush track and soon came to Wentworth. Our driver ordered our lunch at the hotel while we walked down yet another steep path to see yet another waterfall. This path proved to be longer & steeper than the others & some of us who had rather suggested having lunch first acknowledged the driver’s wisdom in insisting that we must “do” the falls first. There were so many lovely paths about the cliff that we might have kept him waiting an hour or two if an inner craving had not brought us back to the hotel. However the view of the falls fully compensated for the walk there & back, they are finer than either of the others at the top the stream first falls over a series of little rocks before it reaches the edge of perpendicular rock over which it falls in a large volume. At the bottom it trickles again over & between rocky boulders until it reaches the bottom of the valley. We were fortunate in seeing a larger volume of water at all these falls than usual there has been heavy rain since Tuesday in many parts of the mountains. Last night at Mount Victoria it seemed to come down in sheets & it was wonderful how quickly the roads dried up before morning. During the drive this morning it tried to rain or snow several time & by the time we were ready to start again after lunch at the Wentworth Hotel it was coming on more heavily, so the driver let down the oilskin sides of the coach & we all packed inside and kept pretty dry except when the wind drove the sleet in our faces. We got back to Medlow Bath Hydro before 4 o’clock. We had passed here in the morning & stopped to secure rooms. Very glad we were now to get in & warm our fingers & toes at a big log fire. When we had duly inscribed our names in the visitors’ book a young woman came to show us the way to our rooms & warned us that we had nearly a quarter of a mile to walk! This hydro is an enormous place & most sumptuously fitted up. At one end is the entrance hall, office, library, ladies boudoir & other rooms from this part you enter a very long corridor hung all the way with pictures & with windows along one side disclosing magnificent mountain scenery. Halfway along the corridor you pass through the Casino, a fine room with stage scenery & curtains for theatricals. After more corridor you begin to hope you will arrive somewhere soon, you pass on the left a fine billiard room with two tables & at length you find yourself at a staircase leading to bedrooms & close by is the pump room & the dining room. Having at length got our rooms & our luggage we did not feel inclined to do more than look at some of the pictures, the weather too besides our weariness prevented any more going out. Afternoon tea was served in the pump room & we dined at 7 o’clock. After dinner we sat & read or talked by one of the big log fires in the billiard room. Miss Drew & I went into the Casino where we heard there was music going on but not thinking much of the performance we soon returned to the fire. There are only a few fireplaces, most of the place, bedrooms & all is heated by hot water pipes. Altogether it is a wonderful place & well worth a visit though none of us think we should like to stay long here. There are only a few people here at present but of course it is still winter up here & the season has not begun.
Saturday Sept 1st We slept very comfortably. This morning I went down to the spacious bathrooms, as is duty bound at a hydro, had my bath got ready for me by an attendant (a thing I would far rather do for myself) & had my bath in deliciously soft water but of a queer brown colour. After breakfast about 9 o’clock we wanted to have gone for a walk but the weather was no better than yesterday afternoon & we did not get out at all. We had an early lunch at 12.00 having rather dawdled away the morning as best we could, & we all, the Pope & ourselves took the 1.27 train back to Sydney arriving there at 4.10. There was a pile of letters waiting for us at Petty’s & one for me at the Post Office from home. It was very nice getting letters again after rather a long interval without any. We dined at 6.30 Uncle did not seem very well & complained of indigestion. He went for a little stroll after dinner thinking he might be better walking about. Aunt Lottie went to bed early. I stayed up a little later to write my diary. Mr & Mrs Crosby came down in the same train & are again at Petty’s Hotel with us.
Sunday Sept 2nd Such a sad, sad Sunday I hardly know how to write about the terrible calamity & sorrow that has befallen us. When dear Uncle Dilnot did not appear at breakfast Aunt Lottie went to his room & found him cold & still. I do not know how we could have borne the awfulness of the shock if it had not been for the kindness of Mr & Mrs Crosby who have been real friends to us in our need. Mr Crosby saw about everything that was necessary. Mr & Mrs Pope too came in the afternoon when Mr Crosby had told them the sad news, & they too were most kind. Auntie & I went for a little walk later in the afternoon we felt a little air would do us good & we went to evening service at S. Philip’s Church close by. I think the service did us both good.
Monday Sept 3rd This morning Aunt Lottie had to go out to various places. Mr Pope came here early & he & Mr Crosby drew up a list of all poor Uncle’s things & Mrs Crosby helped me pack them all up while Auntie was out. After lunch she had to go to the Bank & Orient Office. I went out to get one or two things. At 3.30 the Popes called for us & we went for a walk with them in the gardens. There were so many flowers coming out & the harbour looked lovely from the gardens. The cable from Petone came this morning, they can only have got the news this morning early. Several people who knew Uncle personally or through business have been in to offer condolences.
Tuesday Sept 4th We were busy writing letters this morning as the English mail left this afternoon. Another cablegram came from Frank this morning asking several things. Aunt Lottie consulted Mr Pope as to what to reply. They (the Popes) arranged for us to meet them at 2 this afternoon & go with them to Watsons bay, one of the inlets near the Heads. We took the tram out there, it was a beautiful day & the harbour looked lovely as we skirted the different bays. The air out there was so fresh & did us good it was so close & muggy in Sydney. Miss Drew & I walked a little way along the top of the cliff & looked out over the ocean which was very calm & blue. The others sat on a seat & waited for us. We had some tea & took the 5 o’clock boat back up the harbour to Circular Quay. We spent the evening again writing letters.
Wednesday Sept 5th Aunt Lottie had to go to the Bank & other places in the morning. I stayed in & did needlework. We had lunch early & went round to the Australia Hotel where the Popes had asked us to be at 1.45 & we all went together to Manly, a pretty little place on a bay near the North Head. It takes about half an hour by ferry boat from Circular Quay. At Manly we walked about a little along the pretty path skirting the bay, then we went out to Ocean Beach, a very pretty part of the other side of the North Head & separated from the bay by quite a narrow neck of land. It was nice to be on the real ocean & hear the breakers. The cliffs to the north looked very pretty & the sea was a very pretty blue, it was a lovely afternoon. We walked along the coast to another little bay called Shelly beach, had tea at a tea-place there, then sat at the top of the cliff until it was time to start back for the boat. As we went up the harbour again we watched the sunset which gilded the whole scene with a golden pink light, I have never seen the harbour look more lovely. Before we got back to Circular Quay, lights were coming out on shore & on the boats, the brilliantly lit ferry boats flitting about added a sort of gorgeousness to the scene. We spent the evening again writing & reading.
Thursday Sept 6th We went out about ten o’clock this morning having various things to do. We first took Uncle Dilnot’s watch & keys to be packed up at a jeweller’s & then took the parcel to the post office & registered it. Then we went to see about having our stored luggage sent on board the Oroya & afterwards we had other shopping to do, photographs of views to choose etc. In the afternoon we were to go to tea with the Popes at the Australia, so went there at 4.30, had tea in the lounge & a nice little chat with them, we exchanged addresses before we wished them goodbye. They leave for Adelaide by this evening’s train. If our boat stays long enough at Adelaide they hope we will go & see them, but we rather doubt if there will be time. On our way back we went into a curiosity shop & looked at some of the things. There are not many aboriginal curios, boomerangs & fire sticks are the most interesting, but we saw a lot of things of all kinds from the South Sea Islands. We found letters from home at the post office this morning & a newspaper with an account of the Flower Show. We are very glad Cyril has passed the Matrix.
Friday Sept 7th A gentleman who is over here from Wellington called this morning, a Mr Mitchell who knew Uncle. He came the other day & undertook to take charge of the luggage to be sent as he is going back to Wellington by the boat tomorrow. We had to go & arrange for it to be taken to the boat. Just as we were starting out Miss Castellaine, a lady from Petone who is on her way to S Africa, looked in to see us. She started from Wellington last Saturday & of course had not heard the sad news. We arranged to meet this afternoon & go to the Art Gallery together. When we had done what we had to do in town we came back to pack. At 3.30 we went with Miss Castellaine to the Art Gallery & spent a good hour there. It is a fine building in the Domain grounds & there are a lot of good pictures. The “Light of the World” which we saw in Auckland is here now. We wanted to go into the Museum close by to see Captain Cook’s diary which Miss Castellaine told us was there, but the Museum shuts at 5 & we were just too late. Miss Castellaine left us & we went into S. Mary’s, the R.C. Cathedral, a fine place well worth a look round. The stained glass windows looked to me rather good, but we were both tired after looking at pictures & did not stay long. After dinner Mr & Mrs Crosby asked if I liked to go with them across the harbour to see the lights. I had never seen the harbour lit up when it was quite dark so I was very pleased to go. We trammed to Circular Quay, took a ferry boat across to McManus Point, North Shore, there we climbed up a steep path to a good height & had a splendid view. Being on a promontory we had harbour nearly all round us. With all the shore lights & ship lights & ferry steamers like gems of light flitting silently here & there through the still, dark water, it was a scene out of fairy land & the quietness & repose it all took hold of me. I was very glad I went.
Saturday Sept 8th Our luggage from the hotel had to be ready by 9.30 to go down to the boat. We followed it soon afterwards. I forgot to say that yesterday morning we went to the boat to look at our cabin. We were rather dismayed at the smallness of it, I suppose we were spoilt on the Orates. However our luggage stowed away fairly well & no doubt we shall soon get used to being in close quarters. After settling our luggage we watched people coming on board. Mr & Mrs Crosby came down as they had said they would to see us off. Mrs Crosby brought us some roses & violets, so kind of her we thought. They took some post cards we had just written to post for us. We exchanged addresses. Mrs Crosby came to look at our cabin. They stayed until the bell rang just about 12 o’clock. It was very nice to have some one to wave goodbye to, we should have felt rather lonely with no one to see us off. We sailed punctually at noon. It was a most beautiful morning for our last sighting of the harbour. We passed the Ortona at anchor, she came in yesterday. After we got out of the Heads lunch was ready. I found a telegram for Aunt Lottie, it was from Petone “Goodbye, love to you both from all”. So nice of them to think of us. We have had delightful weather this afternoon, calm sea & no wind. We hope it augurs well for the voyage. The “Oroya” is not much like the Orantes. We have the stern end of the upper deck which is a fair size, but there is no little top deck like what we had before. There are very few passengers so far & some of them are for Australian ports, but no doubt we shall pick up some more at each port. So far of course we have only exchanged a few words with one or two. I haven’t seen any body very striking looking yet. We have good places at table they are only using two tables (there are five) & the steward said they would very likely only use one after Freemantle, so we may be moved. It was a perfect evening on deck, we walked up & down for a little time after dinner then sat looking at the stars. Later on the band played in the saloon & we went down there.
Sunday Sept 9th There has been no sun all day, sitting on deck was not very pleasant as one soon began to feel cold, specially in the afternoon when there was more wind. The sea has been quite calm all day. They have had no service so it has seemed rather a long Sunday. Our meal hours on board are not quite so terribly early as they were on the Orantes, here we have breakfast at 8, beef tea at 11, lunch at 1, tea at 4 & dinner at 6.30. Ship’s run at noon today 340 miles
Monday Sept 10th Last night at about 2 o’clock the noise of the engines slowing down & a slight rolling of the vessel woke me & I knew we must be at the entrance to Port Philip, we had passed Wilson’s Promontory yesterday afternoon. The ship was stopped to take ‘the pilot’ on board. When we woke in the morning we were almost in at Port Melbourne wharf. Breakfast today was at 7.30. We had written to the “orands” to tell them when to expect us. We waited til 9 o’clock, then not seeing anyone, we set off to find our way by tram to their house, where we arrived about 10 & found that Miss Winnie Francis had gone to meet us, she came back not long after 9. We found all the Frances’ well, the youngest girl Clare has had influenza but was practically recovered. Mrs Francis seemed wonderfully better than when we saw her in November, much plumper in the face & able to walk quite a long way. She has had a trip to Adelaide & that has done her so much good. She & her daughter have not long returned from Adelaide, they came in the “Oroya” on her outward journey about three weeks ago. It is rather strange that they know of (though they do not actually know) both the Popes of Adelaide & the Crosbys, who live at St Kilda. We did not go out before lunch but sat & talked with them all, they were so friendly & pleased to see us again. They had lately received from Uncle George photos of his house, which we were pleased to see. Sister Adele came in during the morning & had a talk with Auntie. They were all very sorry to hear of poor Uncle’s death. I had written to tell the Francis’ from Sydney. At 2.30 Mrs Francis & the two younger girls set out with us for the Gardens which Auntie was anxious to inspect more thoroughly than we had time for last time. It is not a good time of year for them but the arum lilies were coming out & we admired the great clumps of them by the sides of the lakes. We went up to a Pagoda built on the top of a mound & which they call the “Temple of the Wind” from there we had a fairly extensive view over part of Melbourne & its environs. From the gardens we walked along the Alexandra Avenue which follows the river Yarra a little way & consists of four separate tracks, for riding horses, vehicles, cycles & pedestrians. Each track is divided from the next by a sort of little rockery with flowering mauve ice plants. We saw where a statue of the late Queen is being erected on a conspicuous mound. Getting into the town we looked into the English Cathedral as we passed, the outside is very plain & I am afraid the inside does not atone for it, the pillars are built up of layers of dark grey & light brown stone, & the walls present patterns in stone work which I could not admire. As one of the Miss Francis said it makes one think of a bath room. We went to a place in Collins Street for tea then went to the Post Office for letters. Aunt Lottie expected, & found, one from Uncle George, there were none for me but I expected to get mine on the boat, we left this morning before they were brought on board. We took a tram from Collins Street out to St Kilda beach where they showed us the house Uncle George & the others stayed at when here. The beach overlooks Port Philip & we could see Port Melbourne where we landed in the distance with its many big vessels lying alongside the wharves. We saw the P &O line “India” this morning being tugged alongside just before we left our boat, she has come from England & brought our letters. From the beach we took another tram back to the house & got there in time for the 6.30 evening meal. During the evening Mrs Bage, a friend from next door, came in. She had been over in N.Z. last January & February with her daughter. On comparing notes we found that they were driving from Te Anau to Lumsden on the same day as we were only they were in the buggy while we were in the coach. She said they in the buggy kept looking at the coach expecting to see it go over every time it had to go down into the river-bed & I am not surprised – I know we had cause to be thankful when that drive was safely over. We slept very well in our comfortable bed on shore, next time we sleep on shore will be at home I hope.
Tuesday Sept 11th It was a nice bright morning. After breakfast Aunt Lottie wanted to go round to Sister Adele’s. I remembered the way so went round with her that she shouldn’t get lost, came back & soon after 10 o’clock Miss Francis, Miss Clare & I joined Aunt Lottie at the house where the Sisters of the Church live. I went in & said goodbye to Sister Adele & we all went to the station & caught a train to Richmond which station lands us not far from town. We walked from there through Richmond Park, past the Melbourne Cricket Ground where the big matches are played through Fitzroy Gardens to S Patrick’s R.C. Cathedral which we went into. I like it better than the Sydney one, it seems to me better proportioned, there are a good many small chapels with a fine marble altar & reredos. Coming out we went past the Treasury & the Parliament Buildings where the Federal Parliament now meets. It was now 12 o’clock & our boat sailed at 1 so we took the tram to Port Melbourne got on to the boat about 12.30 & found Miss Everist waiting to see us. Aunt Lottie had written asking her to come. She was pleased to have a little talk. There were home letters waiting for me as I expected. The bell rang a few minutes before one, we said goodbye & saw them all down the gangway, & we were off almost immediately. Lunch was ready at once. There seem scarcely any fresh passengers, a Presbyterian missionary clergyman with his wife & child going to England & another Presbyterian going to Freemantle are I think almost the only additions. By tea time we were at the entrance of Port Philip, it takes about three hours from the port to the Heads. The wreck of the “Australia” which we saw last November has now been removed & nothing left to be seen. The end of the afternoon saw us on speaking terms with a few more passengers in fact I had quite interesting conversations with two. The sea remained quite smooth when we were out of the Heads. One of the stewards told me they had taken on a lot of heavy cargo which would make the ship very steady. After dinner Auntie & I had a walk round the deck, then she found someone who wanted to play cribbage & came to the saloon for a game & I came down too to write. It is too cold for the deck to be inviting. There is more motion this evening. I would rather it did not get any worse than this just yet as I am sleepy I am going to bed in good time.
Wednesday Sept 12th I slept like a top all night, but Aunt Lottie did not sleep so well & several people talk of the ship having rolled a good deal during the night – however I felt nothing. There has been a moderate swell on all day but it has been fine all day except after breakfast when it rained. That means staying in the saloon as there is no covering to any part of the deck & the awnings are not to be put up until we leave Freemantle. The day has passed pretty quickly with reading, needlework, one or two letters to be written to post at Adelaide tomorrow, & conversations with several people. We are getting less afraid to speak to each other now. The Presbyterian going to Freemantle is decidedly interesting to talk to he is a Scotch Australian & typically so. There is also an elderly Englishman who sits opposite us at table, he too is typical of his race. I was talking with both of them this afternoon. A Mrs Baragwaneth who comes from Auckland & is going to Freemantle has been friendly & chatty, I found out this evening that she knew the Lairds in Auckland. Aunt Lottie played cribbage with her again this evening. The band played again in the saloon this lot of stewards seen musical & they give us very good music. Our table steward is a very decent sort, very civil & generally has some cheery remark to make as one takes one’s seat at table. 297 miles
Thursday Sept 13th When we awoke this morning we were at anchor in Lings Bay off Adelaide, the steward brought me a letter from Kathleen which I read before getting up. Breakfast was at 7.15. Immediately afterwards having made sure from the Purser that we had plenty of time to go to Adelaide & back with a little time there, before the boat sailed at 2 p.m., we set off in the tender which left at 8 o’clock. The Popes had asked us to go & see them if we had time enough. Adelaide is nine miles from where we landed off the tender. Auntie was rather nervous lest we should not get back to the boat in time, but I persuaded her to go knowing what a long dull morning it would be if we stayed on board & in the end we were very glad we went, we had such a nice morning. The train was waiting near the pier when we landed & a run of half an hour or so brought us to Adelaide. At the station I rang up Mrs Pope to let her know we were coming, then we took a cab straight up to their house. They were so pleased to see us Mrs Pope took us all round the garden, a fine large one, beautifully kept. There were several hedges of rose trees which must be lovely when I full bloom. Even now there were a few Banksias in bloom. They had a lot of fine large violets with stalks ten or twelve inches long. We picked some of these & we were to have taken them with us when we left but stupidly forgot them. There were fruit trees of all kinds, one envied them being able to grow their own oranges, lemons & grapes. But Mr Pope who comes from England says the grapes do not come up to the English hot-house ones. The house which we went over also is very large & comfortable. We enjoyed a nice cup of tea & bread & butter after our 7.15 breakfast & when we had finished this Mr Pope arrived, Mrs Pope had telephoned to his office to tell him we were there, We had to catch the 11.48 boat train, they all drove to the station with us & took us through the principal street, King William Street & pointed out the various buildings of interest. Adelaide strikes one as a delightfully green city, at least it looked so today but there has recently been heavy round. Immediately surrounding the city is a wide circle of park land with nice trees & flowers. Mr Pope’s house is just outside this park & stands on high ground with a view over the city to hills beyond. They saw us off by train, as we said goodbye we told Mr Pope he must bring his wife to England next year, they talk of coming over before long. We got back to the Oraya by about 1 o’clock & we sailed at 2. Several new passengers have joined us & now we are a larger party than we have been before. The weather has been lovely all day & the ship is steady as a house, but there may be a different tale to tell tomorrow when we shall be in the Bight. The deck is cold in the evenings but we generally go up for a walk after dinner & sometimes sit for a little while if it is not too cold before coming down to the saloon to write or read, or play cards as the case may be. I forgot to mention the laughing jackasses we saw in Mr Pope’s garden, such queer looking birds with a long formidable looking beak, but these would not laugh. We heard some laugh once in Sydney Gardens but only in the distance. They say they are useful in keeping down sparrows & other small Birds. Mr Pope had also aviaries with canaries, doves & pigeons & a lot of fowls.
Friday Sept 14th We entered the Bight during the night but on getting up this morning it was hard to believe we were in that dreaded bit of ocean. The sea was absolutely smooth on the surface & there was only a slight swell, by evening the water had that oily smoothness more often seen in the tropics & the stars were reflected in it. The phosphorus lights in the foam at the stern of the vessel were also very bright as I watched them from the deck. This morning I was actually industrious & had another go at marking a set of handkerchiefs originally intended to have been done on the outward voyage during which seven weeks I finished two! In the afternoon I played quoits with a Tasmanian man going to Freemantle & beat him, spent the rest of the afternoon in a long talk or discussion, more or less serious, with the Scottish Australian Presbyterian & the evening after going downstairs in a game of enchre in which the Tasmanian tried his best to beat me in revenge for his afternoon defeat, but again failed. 311 miles
Saturday Sept 16th We were woken up this morning at about day break by the sound of swish swish against our porthole, that was shut but the one outside in the passage had not been properly screwed up & the water came in & ran under our door so that looking out of our bunks we saw nice little pool of water from which streams ran under our luggage at every roll of the ship. We rang for the steward & he took out all our luggage & mopped up. Fortunately our things were not wet, at least nothing to speak of. The sea looked very different to last night, I suppose I thought it not correct to let us go through the Bight without reminding us of the fact. There were a good many absentees at breakfast, the Tasmanian among them. I shall have to joke him about succumbing to his defeats when he appears again. I had a walk after breakfast then read for the rest of the morning. The sea got gradually rougher & rougher all day, about 4 o’clock we came down from the deck & did not go up again. After dinner we began a game of bridge with two other passengers, in the middle of it the engines suddenly stopped & we were stationary in mid-ocean, rather a queer experience when you don’t know & can’t find out the reason for the stoppage. Of course the officers won’t tell anything & the stewards who probably know no more than the passengers invent all sorts of ridiculous reasons, one said some potatoes had broken loose from their cases & had fallen down the scuppers & stopped them up. Another version was that the water washing over the deck had got into the stoke hold & put out nine of the fires. Mean while we could only hope that nothing had gone wrong, or at least not seriously wrong, with the machinery, everyone felt a little anxious. After about an hour we started again slowly. By ten o’clock every body had gone to turn in.
Sunday Sept 16th All night the engines seemed to be playing tricks we stopped again at dead of night. Fortunately the ship was very steady while at a stand-still, she has a lot of cargo which keeps her steady. When in motion she rolled about considerably. I woke several times but dropped off to sleep again. A good many people did not sleep much. The stewardess called it a rough night when she came to call us this morning & it is not easy to get them to admit as much as that. Aunt Lottie & I were all right & appeared at breakfast with our usual appetite a few other staunch ones stick nobly to their meals, but there were a great many empty seats. There is no Church of England clergyman on board I suppose the Captain thought there would not be enough passengers for a service anyway we did not have one & this evening the two Presbyterians were neither of them feeling up to taking a service so we have again perforce been what Cyril calls “heathen Jews”. The sea has been rough all day but we managed to get on deck for a little while after breakfast & again after lunch. I managed a little walk but it required some care. The fore part of the vessel was getting much the worst of it, we watched the sea washing right over the bows & over part of the first class deck. The afternoon was rather long but the evening was very much enlivened by a sort of debate some of us got drawn into, chiefly by the efforts of Mr Byers the Presbyterian clergyman who managed, though in a reclining posture, to keep us much interested in his own opinions & also to elicit a few ideas from the rest of us. One of the questions discussed was Is a man’s decision to marry a sign of weakness or of strength in his character. Other topics more or less allied to that were also discussed. Mr Byers in spite of being a bad sailor has been the life & soul of all on board & everyone will miss his fun & nonsense when he gets off at Freemantle. We went to bed prepared for a pretty rough night the sea had been getting rougher & rougher all day. 250 miles
Monday Sept 19th It was well we were prepared, we had a terribly rough night, waves dashing over the decks making a thunderous noise over our heads, things in the cabins began tumbling about & we got rolled over as we lay in our bunks. In spite of it all I fell asleep pretty soon. Auntie however did not, she felt nervous & kept popping in & out of bed which woke me so neither of us did more than get short snatches of sleep all night. Dressing & especially having a bath, was an acrobatic feat this morning, there was still a fair number of faithful ones at breakfast, but the majority of passengers have had a bad time the last day or two. After breakfast we managed to go up on deck, the sea gradually became calmer, in the afternoon it was quite pleasant on deck & even the invalids found their way up there. I felt rather tired & head-achy after two or three disturbed nights so I went to bed in good time after a little more fresh air on deck in the evening. Auntie soon followed my example. We passed two steamers this morning, this afternoon we watched our ship signalling to the station on Cape Naturaliste which we passed just at dusk. 255 miles
Tuesday Sept 18th At 2 a.m. we reached Freemantle, nearly a whole day behind time. I was far too fast asleep even to hear the boat stop. Before daylight a steward came to our cabin with letters for us. Auntie was too sleepy to read hers then, but I never can wait to read letters so I got the steward to turn up the light & enjoyed mine then went to sleep again. Breakfast was at 7.30. The boat was to sail at 10 a.m., as she was right up alongside the wharf we went ashore for a walk after breakfast, a farewell walk on Australian shores. We got back by 9 o’clock. Mr Byers came up to say goodbye & he & one or two others who got off here waited on the wharf to see us off. We did not actually get off until 10.45, then we soon lost sight of the coast. Now we feel really on our way to Colombo. Everyone is rejoicing at having got through the Bight & not without cause for from what we can hear the cause of the stoppages the other day was pretty serious, four feet of water was in the hold & the fires could not be got to burn for a time. This afternoon the sea has been calm though with a strong swell, some of us played ball-board part of the morning. A rain squall came up before tea time & drove us all downstairs. Some of us went to visit the barber’s shop by way of passing the time, he showed us some Maltese lace he has to sell. In the evening the band played in the saloon. The new passengers who got on today can hardly be called desirable additions to our little party, they consist of a lunatic old man & his two keepers & two not very prepossessing looking youths. I may as well enumerate here the rest of the passengers – Mr & Mrs Frater & their little girl Meltie, four years old, he is a Presbyterian clergyman from New Hebrides going home for a year’s holiday, he & his wife are both Scotch & very nice. Mr & Mrs Laun & their two children Dorothy aged 14 & Nellie aged 5, Mrs Murray a nice Canadian lady quite young, Mrs Hawkins a young Austrian lady going to join her husband in India, Mrs Storer elderly & Scotch, Mr & Mrs Blake an actor & his wife both pleasant, Mr Stickney the typical elderly Englishman whom I referred to a few days ago, Mr Byers nicknamed him “George Anglo Saxon” the initials on his chair being G.A.S., Sergeant Major Thetford with his wife & two small children. That is all our party not exciting (unless the lunatic should become so, but he has two strong sober looking keepers so we feel safe) I daresay we, that is the rest of us, shall shake down together & manage to put up with each other during the voyage. Our captain is on the sick list having caught a chill while on the bridge during that rough weather. It must have been an anxious time for him especially as this is his first voyage as captain, he has only just been promoted.
Wednesday Sept 19th A fine bright morning, we had had a nice run all day in a calm sea the weather is getting perceptibly warmer. Many of us seemed to feel lazy today & disinclined for doing much. The wind grew rather cold before sunset but after dinner we went up on deck again, the wind had quite gone down & it was a perfect starlit evening. The Southern Cross showed up well rather low down near the horizon. 350 miles
Thursday Sept 20th The awnings were put up today on the first class deck, we have to wait till tomorrow for ours so we have been getting what shade we could under boats & suchlike points of vantage for the sun is now getting really hot. After dinner I had to retire to be not being well, the doctor came to see me very dapper looking in his dress clothes. 359 miles
Friday Sept 21st I had a moderate night but have been up to very little all day. Mr Lann who is something of an amateur medico has been doctoring me. There is a strong sea running but the wind is with us so we do not feel the motion much. The port holes however cannot be opened & the cabins are fast becoming little dens of iniquity. On deck we have the awning up now & it is a great improvement, there was no covered part before. We sat up on deck as late as possible dreading the closeness below. 344 miles
Saturday Sept 22nd I had a horrid night & could get very little sleep. It is a new thing for me not to be able to sleep or eat. I came up on deck as soon as possible there was a very nice air up there. The sea is still rough like yesterday but we don’t feel the motion with the wind with us. The doctor came along this morning to have another look at me, I am better today though not quite right yet. He said if we were going in the opposite direction we should be having a bad time of it. Talking of the stokers who he said are his most frequent patients, he suggested it might do me good to take a turn in the stoke-hole! I declined with thanks. The captain is better again, he had to be on the bridge during the whole of that rough night with a very high temperature & the doctor has had to be very strict with him since. There is no chance of the port-holes being opened again tonight I am afraid so we must expect another wretched night. Fire drill was held this morning, a bell rang & crew & stewards all came running up on deck, the latter with boxes of provisions which they placed by the boats, each man tied a life belt round himself & then took his place inside his particular boat there were about eight ……..each boat. On the first class deck the hoses were got out but we could not see what they were doing there. Very soon a whistle went & all was finished, the men flung their life belts back into the big chest & disappeared as quickly as they had assembled. It was pleasant on deck in the evening. I was very tired so did not stay up late. On going to our cabin I took it upon myself to open the port-hole for a few minutes. We can open these ourselves, but could not on the Orantes. The sea was calmer & I thought it would be safe for a few minutes at any rate however before long a swish of water came in & I had to get the steward to come in & mop up. Some of my clothes I had to dry on the rail along the engine room wall, a most useful place for drying things, but that was all the extent of the damage & I maintain that it was quite worth it to get a blow of fresh air through the cabin. I was just dropping off to sleep when Aunt Lottie came to bed. 349 miles
Saturday Sept 23rd I awoke early feeling very hot & wanting air, the upper bunk I found was empty. Auntie had gone off to sleep in the saloon, she came back saying she had slept well there. Doing one’s hair this morning was a decided ordeal, about the happiest time of the day in this sort of weather is the few minutes in one’s bath & even they are spoilt by the knowledge that one must soon get out. We were both up on deck by 9.15 & very glad to get there & eat the fruit the stewardess brings us each morning at 7. Nearly all the men donned white duck suits this morning. All the officers & stewards appeared in their yesterday, they look so nice & cool & smart at the same time so long as they remain clean. We had service this morning in the first saloon drawing room, Mr Frater was asked to take it & did so reading of course the Church of England service – The captain read the lesson & the purser played the organ. There were not a great number there. This is not exactly a hungry day but I managed to make a better meal at lunch than I have had for a day or two. After lunch the 3rd officer came & chatted with us on deck till tea time. Aunt Lottie asked him what sort of weather be considered we had in the Bight he said we might say we had been through a good stiff blow. At 8 o’clock Mr Frater conducted a Presbyterian service on our deck which we attended. It came on to rain heavily later & the deck got rather damp, the awnings do not keep out heavy rain very effectually. The port-holes were still shut so we & two other ladies made up our minds to sleep in the smoking room a nice airy place near the deck which the men scarcely use, so they were quite willing to relegate it to our use for the night, the steward brought up our mattresses & we slept very comfortably on the floor. 341 miles
Monday Sept 24th It rained heavily again during the night, I felt a little sprinkle on my face once blowing through the open sky light above us that however was quite a detail, the great thing was to have fresh cool air wafted over us, Auntie found it rather too airy but she can do with less then I like to have. When we came downstairs to dress the steward opened one port-hole, the wind having changed the sea was calmer. During the morning a message came from the purser that we could have a four berth cabin to ourselves if we liked, we had already an extra cabin next door to ours in which we kept most of our luggage, but we thought the four berth one would be more comfortable so moved all our things into it. It will be a great comfort to have room to turn round in when dressing. The cabin is on the starboard side not far from our old one. After lunch the 3rd officer came over again for a chat, he has asked us to tea in his cabin tomorrow afternoon to meet Mrs Tyler who it appears travelled out on the Orantes when we did in the first class, who knew Miss Cow & used to come over to see her. This officer is a jolly little Irishman, a regular typical sailor, very fond of his calling of a yarn, & as he says of a girl to talk to. So far he is the only officer who has honoured us with his company over here. There was some fun this evening over dinner. During the afternoon Mr Laun had brought round a mysterious parcel to raffle, he would not tell what was in it but saying it was a charming present persuaded most of us to take a penny ticket for it. Mr Blake won it & amid some speech-making had to open it at the dinner table. It was a baby’s bottle. Mr Blake being a comedian by profession was quite equal to the occasion, he caused much amusement by pretending to be quite overcome with grateful emotion. 346 miles
Tuesday Sept 25th We both slept in our new cabin last night & found it (& found it) a good deal more airy, also better ventilated than the old one, but it was none too cool. The boat has been pitching rather since last night & several people are not much appreciating the change of motion. There has also been a strong warm wind blowing all day making the atmosphere damp & heavy. They say it is a monsoon. Everyone has felt more or less disinclined for much exertion, even Mr Stickney the “Anglo-Saxon” who never seems to be affected either by heat or rough weather, confessed to having slept in is cabin for two hours this afternoon. Aunt Lottie & I felt quite unusually gay at having an invitation out to tea. Mr Gavegan the 3rd officer came for us at 4 o’clock & escorted us to his cabin. Mrs Tyler & her nephew Mr Hoare who is travelling with her were the other guests, there was just room for the five of us to squeeze into the cabin. Mr Hoare sitting upon the bunk, Auntie on a camp stool, Mrs Tyler & myself on the sofa & our host on a corner of the table. Mrs Tyler talked of coming over to see us some time. She & her nephew are the only first class passengers going all the way to England, the other five are bound for Colombo. The evening was pleasant in a sheltered corner of the deck but I had to come downstairs to write letters for posting at Colombo. We ought to cross the line I believe sometime this evening. 335 miles
Wednesday Sept 26th We have been pitching again a good deal all day. Wind & sea are still against us & the days run was not a good one. It is annoying because it means that we shall get to Colombo tomorrow evening probably & leave early next morning, giving us no time ashore at all. The day has been rather uneventful. I just saw Mrs Tyler & her nephew this morning to shout to on their deck. Mr Gavegan paid us his usual visit this afternoon & gave us what gossip there is going in the first saloon. There is only one girl there & wagers have been going on among the officers as to each of their chances with her, lately the chances have lain between the 4th officer & the doctor, but today we hear that the doctor has it all his own way. Mr Gavegan says he never rated his own chances highly, he never goes where there is a crowd! This evening was pleasant on deck, on the sheltered side, we were talking with Mr Stickney & Mr Blake both of whom are very good company. I have seen a lot of flying fish today. We have had several sharp rain squalls during the day. 284 miles
Thursday Sept 27th We came in sight of the Ceylon coast about middle day & spent most of the afternoon looking out at it. Report ran that we should get in to Colombo about 5 p.m. & perhaps not leave until 10 tomorrow morning, in which case a good many of us made up our minds to stay the night ashore. We packed our night things in a bag hoping we should be able to do so. However after tea when the 3rd officer came along he rather dashed our hopes by saying we should probably leave before daylight. However we could not know for certain till we arrived in port. The land of spicy breezes looked very inviting as we neared its shores, lots of catamarans with their picturesque with their brown sails studded the sea between us & the coast. Soon we spied among the palm trees Mount Lavinia Hotel which we drove out to when here before, & then we were approaching Colombo harbour. How delightfully oriental it all looked, such a change after colonial cities. One quite English looking Church spire rose in the midst of other buildings but there was absolutely nothing else to recall memories of home. The rather strange form of the buildings, the domes & mosques, the palms outlined against the sky, above all the peculiar & indefinable sort of glas…. That overspreads everything, all these with other impressions combine to make one realise very fully that this is really “of the East”. We saw the Galle Face Hotel on the shore where we had tea last time. The waves were breaking most beautifully over the breakwater as we entered the harbour, they formed great jets of spray dozens of feet in height. The mail tender brought us letters and those from home we were very glad to get. Auntie heard also from Mrs Haynes saying she was going to meet us as her husband was unable to do so. Directly afterwards we found her on board looking for us. We were quite ready to go ashore so went with her in the first tender. The sailing notice announced that we were to sail at 6 a.m. so we regretfully left our bag behind & had to make up our minds to go back to sleep on the boat. We both wanted to do a little shopping & Mrs Haynes was most kind in helping us over this, she knows the shops & took us to one of the best where she deals. She knows what prices things should be to so it was a great help to us to have here to prevent these bargaining rogues cheating us. She knows exactly how to treat them & when in the street they were very importunate she just sent them off with a word or two in their own language. Besides ourselves she was a help also to some of our fellow passengers who were making purchases. At about 8 o’clock we went to the G.O.H. (Grand Orient Hotel) a beautiful place where we dined most sumptuously, waited on of course by Singhalese men. The dining hall was beautifully cool with large electric fans going & palms & plants all about. A band played a selection of music at intervals, there was just enough music & not too much. We all enjoyed our dinner, a lemon squash I had I think I shall remember as one of the most delicious drinks I ever had. Some of the G.O.H. Nettie Frater went fast asleep in her mother’s arms. Mrs Haynes was staying with friends a little way out of the town & she had to leave us soon after dinner, we saw her off in a rickshaw. It was very nice meeting her she was very much disappointed at our not being able to stay longer, she had looked forward to taking us about. The rest of our party did not turn up till after 10.30, however we were better at the hotel than on the boat where of course coal dust reigned supreme. The row back across the harbour was delightful if it could only have lasted longer! At 11 we were on board again & experiencing the full miseries of coaling. The cabin was almost insufferably hot, all port hole being of course tightly shut, the deck also was impossible, not a square inch of anything anywhere being clean. There was nothing for it but to go back to the cabin & try & exist somehow. 324 miles
Friday Sept 28th Though in a horrid state of heat, we both managed to get some sleep though coaling noises went on all night. I woke soon after five o’clock & was on deck at six. Most of the other passengers were up even earlier & it was not too early for the back men to be there in their catamarans climbing up the sides of the boat & bargaining to sell their wares. Little brown boys anxious to dive were also alongside crying “Throw a penny” & singing “Tara rara boom deay”. About 6.30 the quarter master came along & cleared all natives off the deck with no gentle hand & by 6.45 we were steaming out of the harbour & saying goodbye to Colombo not without a very strong wish on my part at least that some day I may have the chance of seeing it again. We have had a calm sea & fine weather all day, but everybody has been more or less tired & has found the day long. The grimy condition of the boat has also not increased one’s happiness on these occasions. Although they soon got the floor of the deck washed down it takes a few days before everything can be cleaned up again. The 3rd officer came & relieved the monotony between tea & dinner. We have lost three passenger Mrs Hawkins & the two aging men who got on at Freemantle. Only one man has got on. There was an accident yesterday while our boat was in harbour – a fireman fell over the side of the boat from today’s account he seems rather badly hurt. 68 miles
Saturday Sept 29th This morning about breakfast time, the Orantes passed on her outward way. I rushed up on deck to see her, she was about four miles off so she might have been any vessel for all we could see, however it was nice to salute her as an old friend. The 3rd officer told me later that she signalled she had 900 passengers on board. A German boat passed later & at noon we passed Minikoi the northern most of the Maldive group of islands. It looked a fair sized island, low lying & covered with palm trees, & a tall light-house on the coast. Several little sailing vessels were lying off the coast indicating I suppose the presence of a little township but we could not see any houses. Except for these little excitements the day has seemed rather long & dull until after tea when things (ie. people) usually begin to liven up a bit. The new passenger had a nasty accident today, he caught his finger in a deck chair & cut a piece off. I had a long chat with Mrs Murray this evening.
Sunday Sept 30th It was lovely on deck before breakfast this morning, I generally go up for a few minutes fresh air & wander around. Mr Frater took the service again this morning in the first class drawing room there were not many there so the singing was rather feeble, also the collection. After Church we spoke to Mrs Tyler & Mr Hore & asked them to come over & see us this afternoon. I had a good read after lunch. Our visitors came about 4.30 and stayed till about 6.15. Aunt Lottie talked nearly all the time to Mrs Tyler so I had to entertain Mr Hore all that time. He has lots to talk about but I thought it hard lines on me all the same. There was no service this evening as Mr Frater was not very well, some of us sang a few hymns in the saloon, later on in the evening after a pleasant time on deck. The weather & the sea the last few days have been delightful, no need of any wrap on deck at any time of the day or night & yet the heat has not been extreme. 339 miles
Monday Oct 1st A lovely morning on deck. The band played up there this morning, until now they have always played in the saloon for some unknown reason, we much appreciated having it on deck where we could sit mean time & work & enjoy the lovely weather. The 3rd officer was over as usual in the afternoon, he said we must come to tea with him again one afternoon. After tea we saw a shark’s fin not far from the boat. I had never seen a shark, this one must have been a big one from the size of its fin but we saw nothing but the fin. It was a perfect moon-light evening & the sea with a lovely pathway of light across it. 346 miles
Tuesday Oct 2nd This morning at breakfast the boat stopped & again for about half an hour of course no one knew the reason. The 3rd officer’s reason given to me this afternoon, was that the bottom of the ship had got too hot & they stopped to cool it down! We passed a P. & O. boat before lunch it was a very large vessel & passed fairly close, within about 2 miles. There has been quite a cool wind all day, & too strong to be pleasant, but it seems there is always a fair amount of wind about here. We are passing the island of Solotra this evening but not near enough to be able to see it without strong glasses thought it is moonlight. The 3rd officer has asked me to tea with Mrs Murray tomorrow in his cabin. I forgot to say that Mrs Tyler came over this morning for an hour’s chat. 332 miles
Wednesday Oct 3rd The deck was very damp this morning when we went upstairs & the air moist & heavy, the clouds soon cleared off though & it became quite hot, I suppose the hottest day we had had yet, though I did not find it oppressively so. Aunt Lottie does not like it so much. Mr Gavegan the 3rd officer came over for us this afternoon at tea time. Mrs Murray backed out of coming at the last minute so Mrs Frater & Nettie came instead. Nettie enjoyed herself immensely with sugar & chocolates, she is a great favourite with Mr Gavegan. The 2nd officer Mr Goodwin was there too, he showed us his cabin after tea, he is a bit of an artist & showed us some of his sketches on the walls & in a portfolio. There was one big sketch of the Oroya not yet finished, several other vessels & bits of landscape at Brisbane & elsewhere. The evening was a delightful one on deck, the moon on the sea being lovely. 340 miles
Thursday Oct 4th Last night was very warm & I did not get much sleep. The boat stopped again in the night & I noticed it & one or two others but it went on again in a very few minutes. It has been very hot all day still there has been some breeze most of the time. During the morning we came in sight of the Arabian coast which loomed high & mountainous in the distance to the starboard. About tea time we went through the straits. Mr Gavegan pointed out the different points of interest on the island of Perun as we passed, we signalled to the flag station there. The coast about here is a dangerous one & there have been many accidents Mr Gavegan says they prefer passing by when possible. The “old man”, as the officers call the captain, will be says probably be on the bridge a good deal tonight during his watch from 8 to 12. We have seen several ships today, three meeting & one following us. This evening we have been watching the cake walk performed by two of the third class passengers. The evening is perfect on deck elsewhere it is too hot to be comfortable. 357 miles
Friday Oct 5th Last night Aunt Lottie & I both decided quite late to sleep up on deck in our deck chairs so we brought out pillows up & made ourselves as comfortable as possible. Before we went to sleep we passed between two islands both not far distant & high out of the sea. They looked so pretty in the moonlight, on the highest point of one was a revolving light. Aunt Lottie slept very fairly well & I got a certain amount of sleep, but I felt too cramped in my chair so lay on the deck part of the night. At 5.30 this morning they came to wash down the deck & we descended to our cabin where Aunt Lottie had another sleep before getting up time. This has been the hottest day we have had they say the temperature of the sea water this morning was 93°. One comes out of a cold (!!) bath feeling as if one has had a Turkish bath. I wanted some clothes out of my big box this morning, they let me & others who wanted things go down into the hold to get what we wanted – another Turkish bath business that! From the hold where our boxes are, are doors leading different parts of the hold & marked “Mail room” & “Specie room”, “Parcel room” etc. It was rather interesting going down there, before they have always brought our boxes up. The band played on deck this evening. We have seen a good many vessels today. This evening there is quite a strong breeze thought warm, I scarcely think it will be necessary to sleep on deck tonight. The band played up there again this evening. 355 miles
Saturday Oct 6th A year ago today since we left Tilbury in the Orantes. In some ways it seems more & in others less. We slept in our cabin last night, the breeze kept up & made it very fairly cool. Today has been a good deal cooler, there is quite a strong head wind this evening. Nothing much has happened all day. The “Orube” passed us just before dinner time but I was downstairs dressing at the time & missed seeing her. The Captain was over on our deck this evening talking to some of
Sunday Oct 7th The morning it was quite fresh & cool on deck though towards middle day it got pretty hot. We had morning service as usual in the drawing room, conducted by Mr Frater, the captain not there & the doctor read the lesson. Mr Frater gave a nice address we have never had one before. During the afternoon we came in sight of land again as we approached the entrance to the Gulf of Suez. Very high distant hills bordered the horizon on both sides. After tea we passed close under a large & very barren looking island with a solitary light-house where we all agreed we would rather not live. Not a blade of grass or green vegetation of any kind on the place, just slopes of barren light brown soil. We keep passing boats of various sizes, there is usually great excitement over them as they approach & general disappointment when they turn out to be only “tramps”. We have been finishing off letters today to post at Suez where we are due early tomorrow morning. This evening at 8 we attended a Presbyterian service in our saloon, there were not many present.
Monday Oct 8th We were awakened at 5.30 this morning when nearing Suez & were told everyone had to get up & muster in the saloon to be passed by the doctor. Soon after 6 I was on deck & Aunt Lottie followed a little later, the doctor had not arrived yet so we watched ourselves anchoring in the bay & the small boats with their native occupants bringing us fruit & vegetables. Soon the doctors launch came alongside, the yellow flag having been run up our mast to show that we were awaiting inspection. The assistant purser came & ordered us all down to the saloon where a lady doctor through & we were pronounced to be passed. All the crew & stewards & third class passengers had to be severally examined by the other doctor (a man) but our business was soon done with. Mr Blake, who is the funny man of our party, heaved a sigh as the lady doctor passed out & said he felt very much better! The next excitement was the mail, I met the steward bringing our letters. He said “you always get all the letters Miss” & handed me four nice fat envelopes & one for Aunt Lottie, there were not many for other people. We had still over an hour to wait for breakfast & were getting very hungry having had nothing but an orange so far, the letters however whiled away the time splendidly & then there were the Arabs selling their wares to look at. They come on deck with a box or basket of small articles, olivewood, coral, shell & such like they spread these out on a piece of paper on the deck & squat beside them ready for any amount of bargaining. Most of us had spent nearly all our money at Colombo but still some purchases were made. The breakfast bell at 8 o’clock was very welcome. During breakfast we weighed anchor & we had to go up on deck immediately afterwards to watch the very interesting scene around us as we entered the Canal. The bleak & barren looking hills around were almost of a terracotta colour under the morning sun, the deep blue of the bay formed a splendid contrast & then again there was the vivid green of a fine avenue of trees which line one side of the entrance to the Canal at Port Tewik. And the glamour of the East over every thing! All the morning we were jumping up & down out of our chairs, running first to one side then to the other of the deck to see any objects of interest. Now it would be a gang of Arabs engaged in widening the Canal & on the banks their strangely simple camps, all the covering they have consists of two good sized wooden walls built up one against the other like a card house, this (drawing). The middle is barely high enough for a man to stand upright, but they use these houses only to sleep in, we saw some lying asleep in some of them. When eating or sitting at rest they sit on a shady side of these “domiciles”. The next attraction would be a lot camels at work carrying sand from the side of the canal into the interior. Such slow ungainly beasts they look at work, the Arabs keep shouting & tugging at their halters to make them go the right way. Presently we had to tie up to let a boat pass us. Soon afterward the canal widened out into one of the Bitter Lakes, here though the banks are distant the navigable channel is still quite narrow & marked out by buoys. About tea time we passed Ismailia & left the Bitter Lakes. Here we saw more camels & we kept passing Arabs at work on the banks. They usually shout & gesticulate as boats pass, in fact one wonders how they ever get any work done as they seem to stop working every time a boat goes past. After tea Mr Gavegan & I were watching the sunset which was glorious, the sun went down a great red ball on the desert horizon & sent a beautiful & ever changing tinge of red all round the sky. A perfect evening followed, the stars were brilliant & about ten o’clock the moon rose & as we neared Port Said we watched its reflection on the water. I had been told we should reach the port at 11 p.m. so I made up my mind to stay up till then & Aunt Lottie stayed up too. Some of the others went to bed & got up again about 11 to see what there was to see. In the end we did not get in till midnight but the evening was so lovely & there was so much to see that we did not go to bed till after we had anchored. We passed almost countless vessels at anchor in the harbour four American battle ships & one English were among them. The lights on them all made a brilliant scene, & what was most weird & interesting were the quantities of coal barges ready to disgorge themselves. Each keeps a large fire of coals burning in an open furnace on the prow & in the glare & shadows of this fire the dark figures of the natives move about in their long tunics & turbans. As we anchored we heard the midnight eight bells ring on all the vessels around & on our own. Very soon some of the coal barges were alongside & an incipient smell of coal dust drove us at length to bed. About 1 a.m. a pile of letters were brought to our cabin mostly for Aunt Lottie this time. I managed to keep awake to read mine but not to hear the news out of Auntie’s. After being up from 5.30 a.m. to 1 a.m. it was not too be wondered at that we were sleepy, & we slept well in spite of shut port holes & the noise of coaling. I heard today & must note the fact as interesting to remember that it costs a vessel of this size about £1200 to go through the Canal, passengers are charged for I believe at 10 francs a head. We had pilots of course all the way through, one as far as Ismailia, there they change. 263 miles
Tuesday Oct 9th I went on deck before breakfast the coal dust there was simply appalling but we just had to put on old clothes & touch as little as possible. They were just finishing coaling, the empty barges & boat loads of black men were moving away from us. We had taken on I believe about 900 tons. I stood watching the people on shore & we were only a few dozen yards from the wharf where the scene was very gay & animated. I wished I could paint to carry away a permanent impression of the colours of the native costumes all mingled on the wharf. Several passengers who had not seen Port Said got up very early & had an hour or two ashore. As we went on our way out we did not cut short our night’s rest. We sailed at 9 o’clock at which time most of us were on deck bidding farewell to the last Eastern port on our route. We spent a very uncomfortable morning of knowing where to sit, every place was being cleaned up & of course the process took some time. Multiply the discomfort of spring cleaning at home by about ten & you have some idea of what we have to put up with. After lunch the deck was possible, Aunt Lottie & I were both glad to have a rest in our chairs. At 4 o’clock Mrs Tyler came over & had tea with us, the Fraters also joined our tea party. Mrs Tyler brought over some beautiful Maltese lace she has been buying to show us. A man selling this lace travels on all the boats between Suez & Port Said & usually seems to do a fair trade among the passengers. The sea has been perfectly smooth all day, there was a lovely sunset again this evening. We have ten new passengers in our saloon, of course at present we look upon them as mere intruders. In the third class there are a lot of soldiers & their wives & children, & there is actually one more passenger in the first class, a fat old clergyman but I don’t know of what denomination. We began to feel the need of a wrap up on deck this evening after dinner. 75 miles
Wednesday Oct 10th I was up quite early on deck this morning & after a good walk up & down, had a good appetite for breakfast. The day has been comparatively cool & they have taken down the awning over the deck. The cooler weather made me energetic enough to do some work this morning. I also had letters to begin to write to post at Naples. This afternoon I had a game at bull-board with Dorothy Lann, she beat me. After dinner we saw the lights on Gabo a small island off Crete. I saw the Great Bear tonight & welcomed the sight of it. After all the Southern Cross cannot hold a candle to it. 331 miles
Thursday Oct 11th A fine morning although it was cloudy early the sun was quite hot in the middle of the day, but the evening was quite cool & not many of us went up on deck after dinner. Auntie & I had walk and then soon came down to the saloon. I have had quite a busy day – for board ship! I have done quite a lot of crotchet, & as it was baggage day I sorted out & put away in my big box a lot of things I no longer want & got out others. Besides this I have had letters to write to post tomorrow at Naples. The boat has been pitching a little today & several people are bowled over by it. I am not generally too fond of the pitching motion, but I have hardly felt it today, I had had other things to think of perhaps! 334 miles
Friday Oct 12th This morning it was pouring with rain & I could not get my usual airing on deck before breakfast. We passed through the Straits of Messina about day break. I looked out at about 5 o’clock & saw we were pretty near the land. I think we were just coming out of the Straits, but it was hazy & not light enough to see anything but the outline of land. After breakfast we should have seen Stromboli, but the rain was so heavy & the atmosphere so thick that we did not even catch a glimpse of it. About the middle of the morning it cleared up & we were very glad to be able to go on deck, a whole morning spent in the saloon seems too dreadfully long & dull. We lost sight of land during part of the morning but sighted it again at lunch time & soon came within view of Capri. After tea we were all on deck watching our approach to Naples, we thought of our trip here on the way out when we passed Capri & Sorrento. Vesuvius was quite inactive looking through glasses I could see a small whiff of smoke issuing forth but to the naked eye it might just as well have been any ordinary mountain. Nor could we say any fire after dark. It was six o’clock by the time we had anchored in the harbour. The sunset as we entered was very fine, the sky behind the town was dyed a gorgeous red, the buildings showed up well against this background & in the foreground of our picture were the boats flitting about or at anchor on the harbour waters which had caught the rosy tint from the sky. And in the midst of enjoying this sight I heard some one saying Naples is not worth seeing! Some people are never satisfied. We were to sail again at 8 p.m. so there was no possibility of going ashore, especially as Naples at night is said to be a very undesirable place for going ashore. We had to come down stairs for medical inspection, then it was dinner time. After dinner a few passengers bought curios, postcards etc. from people who came on board. When we weighed anchor at 8.15 we watched our exit from the harbour & the town lights rapidly disappearing, they were so pretty each light might have been a gem in a fairy palace of jewels. An Italian on board had pointed out to us on coming in the old castle, a gloomy grey building, the palace close to it, & on the top of the hill the castle of St Elmo. We got another budget of letters here & of course posted a budget home before we got into port.
Saturday Oct 13th A beautiful day & absolutely smooth sea. Around mid-day we passed through the Straits of Bonifacio between Corsica & Sardinia & had a good view of both islands. Both are very rugged, the highest hills being in Corsica. A fair number of passengers on at Naples, actually several in the first class, but they are mostly French people & getting off at Marseilles. After tea this evening, having got my letters for Marseilles written & posted I went up on deck again & saw Mrs Tyler on the first class deck, she asked if Auntie & I would come to tea tomorrow. Mr Hore came over & had a chat with me & then Mr Gavegan, later on the 2nd officer. Mr Hore suggested asking the Purser if they might have a small dance tonight on the first class deck, he thought it might be possible with the help of the new passengers, however it has not come off I expect because it is Saturday night when the band always plays on the third class deck. If they had had one they would have asked me over to it.
Sunday Oct 14th We anchored in Marseilles harbour this morning at 7. During the night we had both awakened several times & seen shore lights through our port-hole indicating our approach, at one time the sea seemed rather rough. Letters were brought to us while we were dressing, breakfast was at 7.30 to enable passengers landing to get off by 8 o’clock. The Fraters left us here, they are travelling home overland. After breakfast we went on deck & watched anything that was going on, had a look at the town through glasses, also the Chateau d’If on a neighbouring islet. Most of the coast around is very rugged & barren looking, but near the town there are some beautifully fresh green slopes, so good it was to see real European trees & grass again, not bush & ferns! We sailed at 9.30 & as we got out of the harbour we soon saw that we were coming into a roughish sea. However it did not get bad until lunch time. One of the passengers who boarded at Naples is the English chaplain there & he took service this morning in the drawing room. After lunch the sea got decidedly rough & the boat began to pitch considerably with an occasional roll by way of a change. Auntie tried sitting on deck but found it not inviting enough, I stayed up there however, made myself comfortably with a rug & cushion lying on a seat I had to hold on sometimes to avoid being pitched off. A good many passengers were not “on show” this afternoon. At 4 o’clock Auntie & I went over to have tea with Mrs Tyler, we found her in her cabin, had a chat there, then went to the saloon for tea & then to the drawing room where Mrs Tyler presently played to us. She plays very well. By the time we came back the sea was calming down & I stayed on deck till dinner time. After dinner we went up there again. At 8.15 there was service in our saloon at which however there was only a very small congregation. We are now of the Gulf of Lyons & the sea is much quieter again. 248+27 miles
Monday Oct 15th There was rather a rolling motion during the night but today the sea has quite gone down again & we have had lovely weather. I feel quite proud of myself for not having minded the motion at all yesterday afternoon, when I hear today how many people felt it, even one of the stewards told me it made him ill. This morning we passed between the island of Ivica & the Spanish mainland. The coast is very rugged as we see it on passing the capes, between these two promontories, of which there are several down this south east coast of Spain, we almost, if not quite, lose sight of land. We massed the meridian of Greenwich today, it is nice to feel we have no longer to make a calculation to find out what time it is at home. This morning I played some deck games with Mrs Murray & two young fellows. This evening a concert is going on in the third class to part of which we have been listening, some of the songs could not be called high-class! Mr Gavegan thinks we shall reach Gibraltar at noon tomorrow, perhaps earlier if we are good! 330 miles
Tuesday 16th It has been a most beautiful day the sun almost too hot for comfort now that we have our awning down. We were skirting the south coast of Spain all the morning. About 10 o’clock the mountains of Africa came into view on our port side & soon we were in the straits, & by noon we were rounding into Gibraltar Bay past Europe Point. We stayed very little more than an hour & did not even cast anchor. One or two passengers went off & a few more came on. We thought the Rock did not look quite so high & imposing to us this time as when we saw it first, no doubt the high hills we have seen on our travels have something to do with it. A lot of men of war were in the Bay, one we saw before getting in shooting at a target in the sea. There were several shots fired from a gun on shore while we were in, close enough to us to make a deafening noise. A few of the usual people selling things came round in small boats. At 1.30 we were off again & we had a delightful run through the Straits, both shores were so clearly visible. A better view is to be had of the Rock as one leaves the Bay than when one is right underneath it. We saw the last of it from the stern of the boat. We heard this afternoon that a passenger who has been travelling from Marseilles in the first class under the name of Mr Brown, turns out on landing here to be Prince Louis of Battenburg travelling incog. From all accounts he seems to have got himself generally disliked during the two days for his stand-offishness, the 4th officer asked him yesterday to join in a game of cards & rated him for his unsociability when he refused! On Sunday when we went to tea with Mrs Tyler we didn’t know we were sitting at the same table with a Prince! There is another distinguished passenger, Admiral Keppel, on board, he looks a homely, rather old fashioned type of man. Mrs Tyler came over to tea with us today & seemed very pleased to have a good long chat. We saw such a huge shoal of porpoises this afternoon, thousands of them were jumping about in their customary joyous manner all round the ship almost as far as one could see. I also saw a big whale spouting. 335 miles
Wednesday Oct 17th There has been a moderate swell on all day, which I expect will keep us back a little & prevent our making as good time as we want to. This morning we had a fine view of Cape Reca as we passed, & the town of Ciutra. On one of the high hills behind was a very large building standing out against the sky & clearly visible through glasses, it looked like a monastery. In the afternoon we passed the Burlings, a group of small rocky islands in the wall-like cliff of one we could see an enormous cave. The western sun shining on them gave their brownish rocks a ruddy hue contrasting splendidly with the calm blue of the sea surrounding them. We have passed & seen a lot of steamers & other vessels today, being now in the track of lots of different lines of ships. The weather has again been warm though getting cooler as we go north. 5+301 miles
Thursday Oct 18th There was a fine sunrise this morning. I awoke to see a red glare across the sky & got up to look at it out of our port-hole. We were passing Cape Finisterre when we got up. The first part of the Bay at any rate has not been at all terrible, the wind was at our stern this morning but changed later. In the afternoon rain set in & we felt rather unhappy at having to go below. However after dinner the rain stopped & I had a walk on deck. It was too wet under foot though for Auntie. This morning I got some packing done. Auntie began hers yesterday. We went to the Purser’s office & got forms to fill up for luggage, labels, etc. also tickets for rail from Tilbury to St Pancras. All this savours of a speedy home coming & yet I don’t realise even now that we are so near.
Friday Oct 19th At 10.30 this morning we passed Ushant & saw the light house which they say is the most powerful in the world. Mr Hore came over during the morning for a few minutes chat & Auntie went over to speak to Mrs Tyler. Later I did some more packing. At 4 o’clock we went over to tea with Mrs Tyler, she played to us again & Mr Hore sang, he has a good voice. He & I walked up & down the deck while Auntie & Mrs Tyler were talking in the drawing room. About 5 o’clock we sighted the Eddystone Lighthouse & a dim outline of land was visible on the port side, our first sight of old England! Dinner was at six, afterwards we went on deck & watched the Plymouth lights getting nearer & nearer. We reached them at 7, did not go inside the Breakwater as we were to get off again as soon as possible. The pilot came on board & a tender came alongside to take off the few passengers who were going, it also brought our letters, again there was a good budget for us both, I think everyone has been most good about writing & such nice letters of welcome home these were. For a short time we found out from the Purser’s office what time we are due at Tilbury tomorrow, 5 o’clock, & Auntie sent telegrams off to that effect. By eight o’clock we were off again, Auntie & I watched the Plymouth lights receding then she went down. I stayed on deck till later, & saw Start Point light. People are all getting excited now that we are within sight of home. At dinner time when we were passing the Eddystone there was a general rush from the table to the port holes to have a look at it. We are looking forward eagerly to getting in tomorrow & being met at Tilbury.
Saturday Oct 20th When we awoke this morning we were not far off Beachy Head I saw the White Cliffs when on deck before breakfast. We spent nearly all the morning watching the coast & recognising familiar land marks. After passing close to Dungeness, we came in sight of Folkestone which we had a good look at, also at Dover. At St Margaret’s bay a good view of this pretty little spot. Kingsdowne, Walmer, Deal, Sandwich in the distance Ramsgate & Broadstairs we had good views of all these, but at Margate we were further from the land. It was a glorious day the sun was so hot that I was sitting on deck without a coat in the middle of the day, so we enjoyed the trip up Channel very much & were very glad we did not get off at Plymouth. Going up the mouth of the Thames there was not so much to see as in the morning until we got near Tilbury. Mr Gavegan came over to a farewell chat before going on the bridge at 4. Great excitement of course prevailed as we were nearing dock, we were just in time to catch the tide so that we could go alongside instead of having a tender to land us. It was getting dusk before we were quite in. I saw five people waving & wondered if they belonged to us but could not be sure, I just waved back again in case it should however when our party of five finally came on board & found us I wished I had waved more energetically for it was they. The scene for the next hour or more was one hopeless confusion of greetings, luggage, customs, goodbyes, showing our party round the boat, losing each other & finding again & having so much to say that one hardly knew where to begin. At last we found ourselves waiting for the train at Tilbury station having Bidden Goodbye to the Oroya. And now that we have come back to short life again, this diary begun on our first setting sail in the Orantes, must close.