22

The Diary of
Frederick William Hurst

1875-1876
We made quite a number if inquiries respecting my Brother, Alfred, and my dear Mother, but met with very little success. We went to a hotel and ate our breakfast and left our things there while we hunted around town. Through the directory we found a Mrs. Bowler in No. 4 Hawkstone Street. After a long search we found the house but it was not Mother, but a Daughter-in-law of Mr. Bowler's. However, she said Alfred was living away up the country, she did not know where, and had taken Mother with him; but if we would inquire at the house where Mother had lived at Willis Street we might possibly find out where she had gone.

Poor Clement, I felt sorry for him, he seemed so discouraged and tired out. I told him if he would go back to the hotel and rest I would go and hunt alone.

I went over the terrace and met Brothers McLachlan and Rich, the latter went to hunt Clement and Mac went with me. I found the old lady, Mrs. Maggie Motgiven, where Mother had been staying. She informed me that Mother was living at Taranaki Street, somewhere at a Mrs. Duff's. After being wrongly directed I almost went in despair; but finally found the right place, found poor dear Mother in a very feeble condition, almost helpless.

She was overjoyed at seeing me, but could scarcely realize it was true that we had come at last to see her, after such a long absence. As soon as I could get away I went and hunted Clement, met him at the lower end of Willis Street, then went back to Mother's.

Learned that Alfred was working up the upper Hutt, however, in the evening he came down. Happening to take up a paper and among the arrivals he saw our names, he jumped up and said, "I am off to Wellington, my brothers have come from Salt Lake and I'm going to see them." Ours was a happy, boisterous meeting.

My oldest sister, dear Salina, is still in Western Australia, and Mother is afraid that my very loving sister, Amelia, is dead, as she was very sick when last heard from, nearly a year ago. She had been to California for the benefit of her health, but had come back to Otohoitia, (Oteheitia?) their place of residence. Oh, what I would give to see them both again. They are missed more than ever now that we have come back.

Sunday, December 19th. Alfred was going to Karari with me, but backed out on account of going back to the Hutt today. He took Charles with him and I went to Karari alone.

I went up to the Cemetery where we used to live and found a beautiful mansion built upon it, and the grounds tastefully laid out; large Australian Blue Gum trees, Norfolk Island Pines, Flowers, etc. The place is so built up I can scarcely keep track of the old land marks. All along the Karari Road new houses in every direction; I was there almost before I knew it.

I delivered a parcel of current cuttings from Utah, from Brother H. Allington, to a Mr. Reading. They received me very cordially, had me eat dinner, stayed there two or three hours chatting about Utah. Mrs. Reading is bitterly opposed. In speaking of President Young's health she said he caused misery enough, she wished he was dead. Oh, if she only knew him as well as I did she would not talk that way. For I know him to be a very kind and benevolent gentleman, a man that has done a great deal of good all his life.

I then went to Mr. Leaver's in South Karari. They received me kindly, informed me they had belonged to the Church, but through an unwise cause of someone had become offended; Elder Beauchamp being the principal one. I talked as I was led, but did not feel as free as I would have liked; they appear to be afraid of persecution. I reasoned with them out of the scriptures, stayed with them all night, had breakfast after a long walk almost to the terminus of the road. When I bade them goodbye, they did not ask me to return, but thought it utterly useless for me to undertake to have meetings here, for a Mrs. Eagle and son, and Dryden, had apostatized and come back from Utah and had been using their influence against the Church. I told them it put me in mind of when I went to the mines in Australia; every day we would meet people coming back discouraged and said the mines were all a failure and humbug, but that did not prove true, far from it.

I went round to our other old place with the waterfall on it. It looked as natural as though I had not been absent more than a year; the same old ferns and trees, the same precipitous descent. I thought of old times and associations.

I read two or three chapters in Ephesians and felt to thank the Lord for a knowledge of the truth, and earnestly besought him to open up our way before us so that we can get to the hearts of the people, and lay before them the principles of truth and righteousness to their understanding; and that this great prejudice might be removed from the minds of the people in these Islands.

December 21st. I went away over Mount Victoria, down to Evans Bay, and then struck across to Lyle's Bay out at the heads. Collected some very pretty shells, enjoyed a good bath, got back about two or three o'clock.

In the evening I delivered a parcel to Mr. Devalle Carter. He was very courteous, invited me to supper (Tea they call it here), his wife was also very kind.

I told him my business was to preach and I would like to get a hall. He kindly said he would go with me and introduce me to several Pastors, he being well acquainted. He inquired about the Athenium, Odd Fellow's Hall, and several others, but they were all engaged for the holidays, it being Christmas time. One gentleman wanted three guineas for the use of a hall. I told him we traveled without purse or script and, consequently, I had not the means to hire.

He replied, "You must charge so much admittance," and, by the by, "What would be the subject of the lecture."

I told him, "Salvation as Taught By Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and as advocated by the Latter-day Saints."

He did not wish to talk on that subject and gave me to understand that I could not get a hall for that purpose, especially without pay.

My attempts thus far have been utterly futile, and I must say the prospects ahead look woefully discouraging, but I know with the Lord all things are possible.

December 22nd. Brought up my journal. Clement arrived from the Hutt, his health much improved. We have had a good walk up Mount Victoria, and counseled over matters and feel impressed to take the steamer forthwith for Lyttleton. We have found out that the Taranaki sails tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.

December 23rd. Clement and I took a walk to where we used to live above the Cemetery. He returned and I went on to Karari and took a sketch of our old waterfall.

I got back about noon, and in the meantime he had inquired about our passage; we were both utterly dismayed to learn that it would cost 2 pounds each to Lyttleton. We only had 2 pounds between us, and we owed six and sixpence for washing. However, we concluded to get one ticket and Clement go on down and I would stay until we could hear further from the Brethren.

We went to both officers, they said 2 pounds was the lowest. Clement had a five franc gold piece to make it up to the required amount. I didn't like to take it. Took it and showed it to the agent, and we could not account for it, except to heartily thank God, for the clerk came back and said we could get a ticket for thirty shillings. This was a clear interposition of Providence, for we hadn't seen the agent, Mr. Lodger.

We hurriedly packed Clement's things in my valise, and a little after 4 p.m., after a sorrowful parting, steamed out from the Wharf.

Here I am with one shilling in my pocket, and for sure I haven't a friend to speak to. Everything in the future looks dark. I picked up a book and the following lines struck me very forcibly. I thought I would write them down in my journal. I consider it quite prophetic:

"Commit thou all thy griefs
And ways into His hands
To His sure truth and tender care
Who earth and Heaven commands.
Who points the clouds their course
Whom winds and seas obey
He shall direct thy wandering feet
He shall prepare thy way.
Put thou thy trust in God
In duties path go on
Fix on His word thy steadfast eye
So shall thy work be done.
Give to the winds thy fears
Hope and be undismayed
God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears
God will lift up thy head.
Through waves, and clouds, and storms,
He greatly clears the way
Wait then his time, soon shall the night
Be turned to glorious day."


December 24th. Took a long walk out near the heads, and collected some shells. Got back about noon.

Its a good job that my appetite is not very good, for I do not eat very much, for I am about broke. I hope Alfred will assist me till I can get away, or else get a job of work.

I scarcely know what to do, everybody I used to be acquainted with gives me the cold shoulder, and at the same time I would not change places with them. Oh, how dark and benighted these people are. Oh, Lord, How long will it be before the truth can be presented to the understanding of the honest in heart in this place.

I could not help thinking of home. What a good time the children would have hanging up their stockings, and wondered if Santa Claus would remember them all round with his usual liberality. I heartily wish them all a happy time, and a Merry Christmas all round. But I find I must change the subject.

Saturday, Christmas Day. Took a walk round the bay, found a secluded spot on the side of a mountain. While reading from Hebrews 13:5, I was very much comforted by the words, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." I read the whole Epistle of James, and then sought the Lord to open up our way in this Mission, that the hearts of the people might be softened, and that He would give us, His servants, influence among the people to do good. For I earnestly desire to be more actively engaged. I returned comforted.

After breakfast Alfred came and brought Mother some cake and a box of figs; only stayed a few minutes and started off, saying he would be back presently. I ran after him and caught him down Mower's Street, for I felt confident he did not calculate to return. He told me he was invited out to dinner and would be back in the afternoon. I asked him to give me two or three shillings. He gave me five (2 half crowns) but that was the last of him.

I spent the day drawing, finishing up some of the sketches I took in Auckland and Nelson. It has been a beautiful day. Took another walk this evening, but got thoroughly disgusted at seeing so much drunkenness.

We had quite a Christmas dinner, a small piece of roast beef, and the lady of the house sent several pieces of plum pudding (Mrs. Duff). Dear Mother and I spent Christmas quiet and alone.

December 26th, Sunday. Spent the day reading. In the evening I got an abusive and insulting letter from my brother, Alfred, but have concluded not to notice. It would be beneath me to stoop so low as to answer it.

December 27th. Received a letter from Brother William McLachlan, stating they were trying to get at the people by visiting them at their houses and distributing tracts. I sat down and answered it right away.

December 28th. Rain, rain, more or less every day. Had to stay indoors all day.

December 29th. Walked 16 or 18 miles today to look up Brother William Fawsett in Oharia Valley. Learned he was in town, but found his daughter; where I got a lot of our tracts, Books of Mormon, and Voice of Warning, etc. I must say that her father and Mother-in-law, although they do not belong to the Church, treated me very nice.

I enjoyed the first bowl of bread and milk I have had since I left home. I returned the same evening tired enough, for I had such a heavy load of books and tracts to carry. I also got some very nice specimens of ferns.

December 30th. Rain again most all day. Who would think this in summertime. Also a cold Southly wind, when I go out I have to wear an overcoat.

January 1st, 1876. Cold, wet, and dreary as ever until afternoon, then the sun came out.

I had almost forgotten to state I received a letter from Charlie yesterday stating that he found the brethren at Kaiapoi, Christmas day, all well. They had concluded I had better stay where I am for the present, and if a chance offered, to learn the Maori language, as there was no opening whatever down there at present. Prospects looked dark there as here.

I must confess I was disappointed, but tried hard to be resigned, knowing that the lord in His infinite mercy is all wise, and if there is anything to do I want to be doing it. It is lonely though, being left here like this. But no doubt it will work out alright. I feel to live so the Lord will favor me with His spirit, to direct my course in the future, for what lies before me is a complete mystery. I'll have to strike out somewhere, and echo answers, "Where."

January 2nd. Rained all night, and has been cold and cloudy. Took a walk round toward Evan's Bay, watched some fishermen haul their seines in. They caught several large snappers besides quite a quantity of small fishes, different varieties.

January 3rd. Took a long walk in the cemetery, sketched our old place just above on the hill; also a view of Queen's Wharf. Rambled round all our old favorite walks, etc. Rained all afternoon.

January 4th. Wet and very cold. Have to wear an overcoat.

January 5th. Wet, wet, cold and dreary. Am housed up about all the time. All my spare time apart from studying, I amuse myself drawing. I think if I keep on I shall have quite a variety by the time I return home.

January 6th. Mother's Birthday. I bought her a 2 shilling plum cake, and that put me in mind of, "Have I got the money?"

Mrs. William Bowler was here yesterday to see Mother. Owing to some foolish action of Alfred taking Mother away from where Mrs. Bowler had provided a place for her, and never informed them either why or whereabouts. The consequence was that her monthly allowance of 2 pounds had stopped, she of course feeling insulted at Alfred's mode of procedure. But through the kindness of a Mrs. Williams, a school teacher and one of Mother's friends, Mrs. Bowler was induced to come and see Mother.

Yesterday her heart was filled with compassion, though first she let us know how grossly she had been insulted. She says: "It is Alfred though, not your Mother I should talk to on that subject. She told me it was old Mr. Bowler's wish that Mother should be provided comfortably for as long as she lived, that she had promised to attend to it and fully calculated to do so. She then said if Alfred would pay up all he was owing to Mr. Duff, and would continue to pay the rent, she would furnish Mother 10 shillings a week, and Mr. Duff to bring to Mother what she needed for board, or any little notion she might need.

Mrs. Bowler gave me one pound, and I gave Mrs. Duff 10 shillings and kept the balance as she instructed me to get a few little niceties with. Mother is very glad to have me and if I go off for a day gets very anxious about me. I consider it quite an interposition of providence for Mrs. Bowler to come and do as she has done, for I am flat broke and at present no other home.

It is the Lord that provides, and I feel thankful. What would I have done through all this rainy weather? And then Mrs. Duff is very kind to me.

I found old Mr. Fawsett at Mr. George Stratford's. Saw Mrs. Watson, also Mr. and Mrs. Stratford. The above named ladies have belonged to the Church but have died out, also Mr. Watson, but I did not see him. I stayed to Tea, but they were very shy. I answered their questions, which were many, in regard to Utah. I left early in the evening. I think they were afraid I would stay all night like all the rest I have met. They think it is hopeless to undertake to preach here or hold meetings, there is so much prejudice. But although the way has not opened up yet to get a place to preach in, I firmly believe there is a great many good people, and the Lord will not be deaf to our earnest prayers, to give us power and influence to teach and administer in the ordinances of the Gospel.

January 7th. Still wet and cold.

I dreamed I saw two large serpents. One attacked me but I was armed with an American Axe. A person stood close by and said, "Go right on and kill him, don't be afraid. I stepped toward it and it grew to an alarming size till its head was larger than a horse bucket. I struck it several times without making an impression, it was like striking a rock. I was entirely devoid of fear. I called upon the Lord mentally and redoubled my strength and energy, took the back and crushed his skull and then chopped off his head. My companion in the meantime caught the other in his hands and twisted its neck. However I thought it best to cut its head right off. This latter serpent was about the size of my arm near the shoulder. My companion was very courageous, but entirely unknown to me.

I forgot to state that I received two letters yesterday from Utah, one from my wife, and one from Brother E. M. Curtis. My feelings were so overcome while reading them, especially the one from home, that I cried like a child. I felt ashamed of myself, but could not help it. My wife referred to our dear departed Nora, how she had mourned. Who could refrain from shedding tears. I am truly thankful that the Brethren and Sisters are kind to them. She stated that the Sunday School had had a party and had given her the proceeds, 16 or 17 dollars and 6 bushels of wheat; besides other instances of kindness. God bless them.

Brother Curtis mentioned how they were getting on with Sunday school with such an affectionate remembrance of love and respect. Well I must quit on that subject.

January 8th. The weather is trying hard to clear up, got to be quite warm and pleasant. Mother is very feeble and has been quite poorly all day; can't bear to have me to be away.

Sunday, January 9th. A truly lovely morning. Took a walk before breakfast round the rocks. Thought of the Children at home fixing up for Sunday School, and what a treat it would be to just walk in on them and also go to meeting. Well, patience is a virtue, but I am here alone. Alone and that expresses a great deal in a place like this. I know it will be easy for the Lord to soften the hearts of the people. I think of how he did it with Parley P. Pratt in Canada, and subsequent to that time in New York City, beside many other instances and that gives me courage and hope and again I know there are many sincere and warm hearted prayers being offered up for this mission daily and hourly and I feel more than ever to live worthy to labor in these Islands.

Took dinner and tea at Mr. George Stratford's; old Mr. Fawsett and I took a long walk in the evening, he seems to like to talk on principles and doctrines; the others are very shy and reserved.

January 10th. I took a long walk to find a secret place to retire to, for I felt bowed down and bewildered, not knowing where to go or what to do. Everything seemed shut down for want of funds. In the anxiety of my soul I wished to exclaim: "Oh, Lord, I am here to do thy will and not my own, wilt thou in Thy tender mercy make it manifest unto me what I shall do for the best interest of this mission. If it is Thy will that I should preach in this place, wilt thou provide means to hire a hall, or what shall I do, and whither shall I go to accomplish the most good?"

I felt like my prayer was answered for I walked down to the Post Office, and received two registered letters, one from brother McLachlan, and one from Charley, containing each a pound note, and instruction to do as I was led. I felt like staying and trying it a little longer after deliberating what was my best course.

I went and hired the side wing of the Old Odd Fellow's Hall for 7 and sixpence; put an advertisement in the evening Post, as follows: "A lecture on the faith and Doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be delivered in the side wing of the Odd Fellow's Hall on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. by F. W. Hurst.

The editor was very courteous and showed me through the establishment and promised me to add a local. I paid five and sixpence for three insertions. The Brethren informed me they were getting 4,000 copies printed of the tract entitled "The Only Way to be Saved". They manifest a great deal of sympathy and kindly interest in my welfare, especially as I am alone.

Brother McLachlan sent me his only pound, and a young man named Burt gave Charley one to send to me. I felt in my heart, God Bless them for their kindness to me. I had wanted to write home but was destitute for stamps and paper, just flat broke. Thus the Lord provides and I heartily thank Him and feel encouraged.

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Pages 125 - 132 in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst