26

The Diary of
Frederick William Hurst

1876
Charley Wiley still owes me 2 pounds, but I cannot get a cent out of him so far. For one thing, it doesn't cost so much to live, firing is nothing except a little trouble to chop, rent is three shillings a week.

Before Clement came over I had bought some tube colors and some washing painting and had three paintings under way. The subjects were: "A scene in Oharia," "The Terapis S. S.", that took the prince of Wales out to India and "A Mexican Girl", in the possession of old Mr. Wiley, and I am copying it.

After we got settled a little, Charley commenced to chop wood to sell and I worked at painting and cooking.

Some years ago Old Mr. Wiley had a little girl accidently shot dead, and I, seeing a headboard cut out but not lettered, offered to do it for them, especially as they had been so kind to me. They were delighted at the idea. Being made of Totona, I thought I would carve instead of paint the letters, and succeeded far beyond my most sanguine expectations, and now that it is painted looks like rock. Several have promised to give me a job in that line, being very much pleased with my work.

On Thursday, June 22nd, I walked to town, the mail having previously arrived. I received letters from my wife, sons, Willie and Harris, and my daughter Lucy; brothers E. M. Curtis, J. Juashan and his son James's wife, Mattie Blair; papers from Brother C. B. Robbins, letters from Riego Hawkins and Henry Allington of Salt Lake City; another from my Sister, Selina from Western Australia, one from N. S. Wales from Brother David Cluff, Jr. I also received four numbers of the Deseret News. Charley's mail went to Christchurch. I answered my family's, Brother Curtis, and Miss Blair's letters, sent a "Herald and Sketcher".

On Thursday, June 29th, Charley and I both walked into town. Visited Mother; found her feeble and childish as ever, but glad to see us. Mailed out letters and papers and hurried home, barely escaped being caught in the bush in the dark. The day was fine and we enjoyed our walk through the bush very much going in.

We have been having some very heavy frosts lately, and Friday it commenced to rain and has kept it up ever since. This is Sunday, July 2nd.

We have had several visits from a young man named Brown. He was here most all day yesterday and evening. He appears to like to talk about the principles of the Gospel. We have lent him some papers and the Book of Mormon. He came here ostensibly to get me to give him lessons in drawing.

I forgot to state, while I was in town getting my mail I tried to borrow a pair of blankets from Mrs. Watson, and she quite insulted me and said she wasn't going to lend blankets, and her sister (being influenced by her sister I suppose) began making excuses. I arose, although it was very rainy, hastily bade them good morning and left, resolving in my own mind that it would be a long time before I troubled them again.

The fact is we lay cold and have no means to buy. All we have at present is two shillings, and we owe six shillings rent. Charley has cut and stacked 1 cords of wood, but there is poor sale at present. I went the other night and tried to get some money from Charles Wiley on what he owes me, but all I got was excuses and lies. I shall soon have one of my pictures finished, "The Mexican Girl", and I do earnestly hope I will be able to sell it to make a raise. Last evening Mr. Brown asked me privately if we were short of money, "If so," says he, "I'll lend you some to help you along."

The Lord has always provided, and I expect He'll continue, but it don't always come in the channel we are looking for it, making us exercise our faith, which is all right, and is as it should be.

Monday, July third: Rained all day.

Tuesday the glorious fourth of July. I have been thinking about the jolly happy time the folks at home are having. I thought what a contrast to last fourth. Here we are, having just ate up the last in the house for supper.

It has been a very cold stormy day. The wind has blown a perfect hurricane all day, so bad I couldn't paint.

We held quite a counsel over two shillings which would be the best way to lay it out to the very best advantage, and we decided to lay it all out in bread. We thought with economy it would last us to near the end of the week.

But in the evening Mr. Albert Brown came to visit us and after a while after he had been admiring the Mexican Girl (my painting), I told him I had a good notion to sell out to him and if he would give me two pounds for the picture he should have it, telling him we were broke and as he appeared to appreciate the picture he could have it at that price and welcome. He pulled out his purse and said he would buy and he was perfectly willing to lend us money. He paid me one pound and will bring the other pound down some other time. Our hearts were full of thanks and gratitude to God Our Heavenly Father.

Now we are purposely laying in a good stock of provisions. We can get them so much cheaper in Wellington. I calculate to start two more pictures on the same subject. The Mexican girl is a splendid subject and will sell readily.

This is July 17. There has very little transpired worthy of note lately. Life is rather monotonous. We have had a great wind from the South Coast accompanied with rain, besides very severe frosts, but we fully enjoy one luxury, and that is plenty of wood, and big fires. Some of our back logs are quite a sight and keep burning all night long. We have very little trouble lighting fires for there is always plenty of live coals.

Just before Charley came over from Christchurch, an old lady by the name of Eagle was around here visiting and she has given me a shameful character, stating that while in Utah she was well acquainted with me, and said I was a lazy, shiftless drunkard. A profligater of the lowest and worst degree; that I was a stain on even the Mormon community. She strongly advised the people here not to continence or permit me to enter their houses for I was a very subtle, dangerous, low life character that "virtuous girls!!!" were very much in danger on account of a delusive power that I possessed; a kind of devilish, magnetic influence. But enough of this nonsense, this in very brief is the substance of her lies. Thank the Lord I am worthy of such abuse. Jesus said: "Truly the disciple is not above his Lord." And He said: "If they have persecuted me, so will they you also."

The last two Sundays we have taken dinner with Mr. Brown's father. They have treated us very kind indeed, and we try every opportunity to sow the good seed. Last week we applied again to the committee to let us have the use of the schoolhouse, but met with a brief and positive denial, clearly stating we could never, no never get it again. However, time will tell.

The way appears to be perfectly hedged up in regard to getting places to preach in, however, I feel like going ahead with the Lord's help, and not slacken my efforts. We warn the people, and what we can't do in public, will do the best we can in private capacity, generally of an evening. While Mr. Brown and I are drawing, Charley reads aloud a sermon each evening out of the Journal of Discourses and our evenings pass off very interesting and instructive.

I received a letter from Brother William McLachlan the other day stating among other items that it was either work or starve and go naked with them, that the branch at Kaiapae did not assist them at all, and like Charley and I, are thrown entirely upon their own resources. Things look dark at present but may take a turn ere long. I sincerely hope and trust they will.

July 19th. Early this morning at about a quarter to five o'clock we experienced a heavy shock of earthquake.

I walked to Wellington although it poured with rain all the way there and back. I received letters from my wife, son Willie, one from Brother Monson of Richmond, with a letter of introduction to a Mr. Boysen at Christchurch, also one from Anne Bolingbok of Malad, requesting us to make inquiries respecting a brother of hers by the name of Mitchel, both of which I instantly forwarded to Brother William McLachlan.

My folks are all well. My wife thinks we will be released to go home much sooner than we at first expected. I wrote and told her that was the opinion of some of the Brethren out here, but now that I have come so far I would like to accomplish some good, please the Lord.

Before I returned I wrote letters to my wife, Willie Reigo Hawkins, H. Allington, 16th Quorum of Seventies, Brother J. Juashan and son James; but I am very sorry I did not have money enough to buy a Sketcher. However, Mother gave me some pictures and illustrated London News, so I posted them. Well, better luck next time.

The glorious 24th of July was very stormy. High winds and rain. I washed three pairs of garments, two shirts, socks, handkerchiefs, etc. Rubbed the skin off the back of my fingers and they are very sore.

We are very hard up. Sometimes we go a whole week without meat, butter is a rarity, we live mostly on oatmeal porridge and sop, but we have sickened on oatmeal, especially Charley. I went and saw Mr. Bassett, from whom we rent the house, and he took a cord and a half of wood on the rent, paying five weeks.

We have a great deal of dark rainy stormy weather and the wind is almost continually blowing a hurricane.

Mr. Brown continues to come every evening, sometimes we take tea at his father's and spend the evening. Sunday, I find when there are any of their friends present, they are shy of Mormonism.

Sometimes of a Sunday evening, old Mr. and Mrs. Wiley come to see us and the pictures. Clement has nearly exhausted his supply of reading matter, he is now reading Brother Parley P. Pratt's "Key to Theology". Last Friday I walked to Wellington to see a Mrs. Compion, a friend of Mrs. Brown's, to make arrangements about getting a tomb stone for her. She received me kindly, gave me some dinner. She wants one fancy cornered. I agreed to get her one for fifty shillings.

Mother was rather poorly and lonely, but glad to see me. I think she is failing fast. She said she knew she would not live much longer. I hope that when the Lord sees fit to take her she will go in peace.

Sunday, August 6th. Received letters from my sister Selina, and Elder Wm. McLachlan. He seems to be perfectly disgusted with New Zealand, and discouraged in regard to the mission. I do hope and earnestly pray that prospect will brighten ere long.

It takes all one can do to live. Last week we cut two cords of firewood, sold one. Charley sold cord two weeks ago. We are now out of money, meat, bread and butter. We are eating unleavened cakes for a change. Well, I thank the Lord for what we have got. The Lord knows we are both ready and willing to do our best, and the way won't always be hedged up before us, and if we cannot do any good here, the way will be opened up before us somewhere else; may the Lord hasten it in His time.

My Sister Selina's letter filled me with joy. She says she calculates to go to Utah and end her days with us. God bless her. I hope she will be speedily delivered from her present troubles, and come down to Wellington that I may see her face once more. She continually begs our prayers in her behalf.

August 8th. Washed shirts, garments, towels, etc. Wet and windy, in fact continually the rain comes down in torrents. Wrote to my sister Selina and to Elder MacLachlan.

Sunday, August 13th. Been a dreadfully windy day; Southeast and very cold. We are in a very destitute condition, and it requires all our courage, and that would not amount to much without the Spirit of the Lord to comfort and cheer our hearts.

I had a very pleasant dream last night, that filled my soul with joy unutterable. A personage was talking to me. He appeared to be standing in the air several feet from the ground and was telling me, or giving me an account of some very great and important events, several of which will transpire within a year from this date concerning the Lamanites, and cited me to a certain passage in the Book of Mormon, that was now being fulfilled concerning that people, but when I awoke, alas, the dream and the passage referred to fled from my memory, for which I feel sorry, but presume it is all right.

Charley has been very unwell for the last week, suffering from a bad cold. I feel very sorry that our mode of living is so scanty and frugal that I cannot get anything for him. No money coming in yet, but I feel the Lord will provide for us.

Albert Brown has spent most of the day and evening with us; he stayed to supper, also Robert Wiley. I got half a pound of butter last night and Charley made some currant biscuits for supper, having a few currants on hand so we made out quite a supper, after which Charley read a discourse, subject, "True Riches" by President Brigham Young.

I almost forgot to state last Thursday morning, August 10th, Charley Wiley sent George Fawsett Jr. for the table, camp oven, and supermiated old rusty milk pan we use to wash hands in. I told George to thank him for the use of them, however, we improvised a table from an old door we found on the premises. Charley made a couple of trussels and we nailed it on there. I went over to the bush and cut some saplings for legs, etc., and found Albert Brown splitting shingles. I told him the enemy had made a descent on us and had taken away all our household managements, oven and all, and that the oven business was the worst of it.

He replied: "Never mind, we can lend you a much better oven. If you will come up at noon I will have it up for you."

I did, and beside lending me the oven, Mrs. Brown would have me stay to dinner. I felt sorry that Charley was not there too, for we are in quite low circumstances, and good meal is a treat. I feel a half starved feeling most of the time lately. No mistake, our living is frugal enough; we cannot even get milk lately on account of the cow drying up.

On Wednesday, August 16, I got letters from my wife, Brother George Foster, and Brother E. M. Curtis. Thank the Lord for good news from home once more. All are well and my wife seems to write in good spirits.

Brother Curtis gives a very cheering account of the Sunday School children in Logan. Had a glorious celebration on the Fourth of July.

Last Thursday evening Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Miss Gilbert and two of Mrs. Brown's little boys came to visit us and brought some currant cakes for us. Said they came to see the pictures. (I have just finished "The Serapis", it is very much admired.) We spent a very pleasant evening. They looked at all the pictures and appeared to enjoy themselves.

Sunday, August 20th. Last night Mrs. Brown sent us two small loaves of beautiful light bread. God bless her. I sometimes think she will someday embrace the truth; also Mr. Albert Brown, her son.

We took dinner over at old Mrs. Wiley's, and tea at Mrs. Brown's. After tea I went to hear the English Church Service and a short sermon, text, "Repentance". The preacher labored hard to prove that repentance was a conviction of sin, etc. A very foggy sermon; it was neither understood by either preacher or congregation.

We experienced a very cold, blustery, Southeaster. I think the good seed is being sown in good and honest hearts, only it will take time to grow and develop. May the Lord grant that it may bring forth fruit to His honor and glory.

Someway or other I feel more encouraged lately, for I firmly believe there are some good people here, lost sheep, full blooded, but it will require some stamina to come out and embrace the truth, but I know the Lord can turn the hearts of the people, therefore, I feel to go ahead and leave the result with Him.

If I know my own heart it is to go ahead and accomplish some good in trying to warn mankind, and, Oh! how terribly near are the judgments of God, and alas, alas, how careless and indifferent and heedless are the people in regard to salvation. A great deal of the time our words appear like idle tales. "Oh Lord! Wilt Thou in Thy tender mercies touch the eyes and understanding of the honest in heart; give them ears to hear and willing hearts to obey. Open up our way that we may fulfill our mission in an acceptable manner in thy sight, in the name of Jesus, Amen.


September 10th, Sunday. Well, here it is Sunday the 10th of September and for some reason or other I have not posted my journal. The fact is, there does not seem to be much to write about. We have lived very frugal lately, but still we get along, the Lord always provides. Old Mrs. Wiley will have us to dinner on Sunday, and we occasionally go to tea at Mrs. Brown's.

I wrote to my wife, Brother Curtis, and Brother George Foster, and also sent three sketchers, Mother's likeness. I received an order from a Mr. Stubbs to paint a picture entitled "Toilers of the Sea". I have finished the "Serapis" and Mr. Albert Brown is going to raffle it off for me.

We have experienced a great deal of wind, but not much rain lately. Charley has been cutting wood to pay the rent.

We received a letter from Brother McLachlan containing 10 Post Office Order, we were reduced to penny, and it seems hard to get any money although we have some owing us. We can't both go to town together on account Charley's boots have entirely given out, and that leaves us with but one pair between us, and we wear them turn about. Last night Charley received a Post Office Money Order for 1 pound 5p from Brother MacLachlan; the money is a draft Charley received last summer, and it had to be sent to England to be cashed. Charley will now be able to get some boots or shoes.

Last Thursday I walked to Wellington, found Mother about as usual. Mrs. Duff informed me that Alfred had absented himself on the sly very much in debt. He owes her about eleven pounds for rent and washing and board, etc. She was in a terrible way about him and wanted to know if Charley and I could pay 6p per week rent providing she kept Mother. I told her I was very sorry indeed but the way we were situated I could not promise for I did not know how long we would be here; in a few weeks we might be away, and I could not see the way clear to do anything to be depended upon.

The fact is, Alfred appears to be determined to do us all the injury he possibly can but I know the Lord can over rule this for good and I earnestly desire wisdom to do the very best I can under the circumstances, and not do or say anything that will be a detriment to the cause of truth, or a stumbling block to anyone.

I never in all my former life or experience realized the need of prayer as much as now; I mean the right kind of prayer. In my reflection on this subject, I often think, 'were some of our prayers answered, they would be to our hurt as well as the hurt of others, though we mean well'. How very short sighted we are, and now more than ever before I feel like beseeching the Lord for wisdom to pray right, and be able to say in every sense of the word, "Father, Thy will be done." If we could always pray from the heart earnestly, seeking guidance of the spirit of truth to teach us aright, and lay aside selfish notions and desires, what could hinder our prayers from being both heard and answered by our Father in Heaven; especially if our faith and works corresponded upon this principle. I can plainly see how the prayer of the righteous availeth much, and yet it is a great comfort to know that although we are full of weaknesses, the Lord in His tender mercies both hears and answers our prayers. How many instances I can recall since leaving home in Utah less than a year ago. I think of the nine lepers that were cleansed, only one out of all that number returned thanks to Jesus. Let me follow his example and be thankful; and be as correct and sincere in thanks and gratitude as in craving the blessings. So in this present trial, owing to Alfred's meanness, I realize my utter helplessness and inability to act, and I feel to say: "Oh, Lord, give me a wise and understanding heart, that what I may do, though it be in weakness, may it be overruled for good."

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Pages 153 - 160 in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst