February 22nd. A notable event has occurred today. The first cable dispatch to the press has been received here today, and the first extra containing it published by any Journal in the Colony was issued by the Evening Post today. As the cable messages come from Sydney direct to the head office of the press agency in Wellington and are thence distributed all over the Colony. The Wellington Journals of course receive it first. New Zealand is thus joined to that great circle of communication which girds almost the whole of the civilized world.
February 23rd. This is Willie's, our eldest son, birthday. I heartily wish him many happy returns of the day. I have been troubled with sore eyes all week and it hurts me to go out, or even to read, consequently it is DULL, DULL. I hope Willie is having a good time at home today.
February 27th. Life is rather monotonous, my eyes are very sore. Yesterday was one of the most lonely days I have experienced here. I walked out to the old signal station, in fact, I ran along the ridge till I reached the seashore. Had a splendid view of Terewiti; took a sketch; found some very pretty shells, better than common, and in great abundance. Had a good time of it, it was dark when I returned home.
I have spent most of the day at George Stratford's having both dinner and tea with them. Monday I walked out to the heads, or entrance to the harbor. Took two sketches; found plenty of shells. I am getting quite a variety and large quantity on hand, but they will do for some of the Brethren that don't get as good a chance as I have. At all events I shall have plenty to choose from.
March 4th, Saturday. Last Tuesday I received letters from my brother Charles, and William McLachlan and Brother Groo. They had all been opened and read before I received them. My eyes being very bad I have kept in the house as much as possible.
March 5th. I awoke and found my eyes so much better I was really very much surprised, and while reflecting it suddenly flashed on my mind, "the Brethren at Christchurch have received your letters, and have been praying that your eyes might be healed."
Being so very much better, I concluded to take a walk to Rarau. I reached Mr. Lewer's just as they were going to sit down to dinner, after a very warm walk across the hills. Mrs. Lewer's was in town. About 5 p.m. he told me he was sorry he could not ask me to stay all night and thinking that a hint I took it as such, bade them good evening and left. I have never troubled them very often, and they never ask me to come back and always seem more glad to see me go than come.
Called at Mr. Reading's. They were as usual glad to see me. I took tea with them. Mr. Lewer refused to receive a tract. I left one at Mr. Readings. He said he did not believe our principles, etc., and did not think he ever would. It was late when I returned to town.
The streets were thronged with pleasure seekers and folks returning from their various places of worship. It really was a charming evening to take a stroll and I thought of the loved ones at home and here am I, a stranger in a strange land, insulted and despised by all that know me, abused by the Press, Priests, and people. And what for? Because I have the Priesthood of the Almighty and a message from High Heaven to warn the people to repent of their sins ere the judgments of God will overtake them as a thief in the night. As I have written in some of my letters, it has never fell to my lot to meet with so many rebuffs, slights, insults, and abuse and crosses and disappointments in such a short space of time as I have since I landed here and yet the hand of the Lord is over me for good, and I often realize it to a marvelous extent.
But it does not do to brood over these things; although things look dark now I firmly believe there will be a change before long even if the Lord has to come and stir the people up by His power. He will do all things well.
March 6th. Received three letters and two papers (Deseret News). I hurried off to a secluded spot back of the fence. I found one from my wife, one from Brother Curtis and one from Riego Hawkins, my wife's brother.
It was well I was alone for so much kindness all at once perfectly overwhelmed me. I could not restrain tears (and a copious supply of that). Oh how thankful I am. All well at home. They have plenty of kind friends and I heartily thank God and the Brothers and Sisters in Zion for these many acts of kindness to my family.
All the letters were full of love and kindly feeling and interest for our welfare (Charles and I). The Sunday Schools are flourishing. The people in Logan are going in with a run into the Order--a general reformation, etc.
March 10. I have been writing home all the week. I received and answered kind and encouraging letters from Charley and brother McLachlan expressing great sympathy on account of my sore eyes, etc., and at the time I mentioned had made it a special matter of prayer for which I feel very thankful. These letters are a source of very great comfort to me.
I wrote a short address to the S. Schools, letters to my wife, Brother Gov Foster, Brother Curtis, Brother R. Hawkins, and T. R. Jackson and two illustrated papers to each. I must say this week has passed very pleasantly writing home, etc.
March 11. Walked to Terewiti, through happy valley clear round the lands and back to Lysle Bay. Found some very pretty shells -- some of the smallest Tawa shells I ever saw and plenty of them. I filled a canister for fear of breaking them they are so frail. Had a pleasant day.
Sunday, March 12. Had quite a pleasant visit at Mr. Tha. Watson's. Took dinner, had a good chat about doctors, gifts of the Gospel, etc. Spent the evening at Mother's. Had a very pleasant dream about the Lamanites. Saw some a great deal lighter, in fact almost white. I felt very much interested, trying to talk to them. Somebody standing by said, "It is no use you trying to talk to them, they can't understand you."
I replied, "By the power of God I can, and have never studied their language either." and commenced talking to them right away.
March 13. Walked out to Karari and got a good sketch of our Old Waterfall. Found some beautiful ferns of different variety. The day has been very warm.
March 14. After taking a walk, at Mother's request I scrubbed the floor. Cleaned out the cupboard and had a regular cleanout. Although it had not been done for over six months and is literally alive with fleas. They beat all my former experience in that line, even on the Sandwich Islands.
March 15. Wrote to my Brother, Charles and Elder McLachlan.
March 16. Took a trip out to Oharia, took a sketch of Kaiwara. On the way some of the folks were very glad to see me.
March 17. Helped Charles Wily carpentering all day, fixing cornice, etc., for Mr. Darby. Had a very little talk about Utah, but they were full of prejudice.
March 18th. Chopped wood all day; my left hand is already very badly crippled and both are well ornamented with blisters, but I am broke and must make a raise. I need pants and shoes.
Sunday. In the afternoon, Sister Prisilla Wily, the children and I took a pleasant walk; found some very nice specimens of ferns.
March 19th. Chopped wood all day. A perfect hurricane from the Northwest. Great fires in all directions.
March 20th. The gale continues. Helped fight fires to threatening some homes and fences. Everybody is very much alarmed at the fires; they are certainly fearful. The whole country is on fire. Some have suffered considerable loss; barns, outhouses, cordwood, fences, etc., burned up. The scene at night is terribly grand, the sparks flying and eddying round like snow in a storm in drift.
March 21st. Didn't do much on account of the fire and smoke and the wind still continues to blow in a fearful manner.
March 22nd. My hands were so sore, and my left one so crippled I could not handle the axe. I could not endure it, so I concluded to go out to Papaorie, the seashore. I went by Mr. Quick's, then up Mike's Creek, then past Mr. Kelley's. I found it very difficult to descend to the seashore; no regular path, and the descent was very precipitous and dangerous.
I found a heavy sea rolling in and the coast very rough, and a very poor place to get shells. I could see the small Islands of Mana, and Rapiti. Mana has a lighthouse erected upon it, and from the summit of a cliff, had a good view of Cook's Straits, the Rar Raoa's and Cape Farewell.
Returning through Mike's Creek I found some very handsome ferns, and collected quite a variety.
I returned to Charles Wiley's near barefoot. The extremely rough travel had used up my shoes. This has been one of the roughest days travel I have had for some time.
March 25th. Chopped again today. The weather is pleasanter and the fires are almost out in places. Made out to finish cutting three cords of wood.
Sunday March 26th. Went way over to the creek and had a good wash and change, and felt to earnestly beseech the Lord to open up my way, that I might do good and that this mission might be blessed and prospered. In the evening returned to Wellington in company with a Mr. Hume and Son. We had a long chat about Utah. As usual, he was full of strong prejudice especially against Polygamy.
We came by way of a short cut over the Mountains, down to Kaiwara, being very much nearer by John Town. It was quite late when I arrived at Mother's and she had retired, and my sorry concern of a hat had entirely disappeared. Being very tired and weary I laid down on a couple of trunks till morning, and was very glad to take an early morning walk to get rid of the shivers, for the night was very cold and I had been warm walking.
I had a strong presentment as I was coming along that something either had happened or was going to happen, and the feeling grew stronger after my arrival.
Mother was extremely glad to see me, and we enjoyed breakfast together, after which I went down to the Post Office, and I received two letters from Clement; one containing a one pound note from a Brother Batts to help me. Thank God I have a good kind affectionate brother and kind friends. God bless them.
Our twins are one year old, and to commemorate the fact I purchased a few very curious shells from India. I hope the darlings will live to see many happy returns of the day.
I also bought a pair of watertight boots, but am almost sorry they are so very heavy, having so much iron about them.
When I returned, Mrs. Duff informed me that Alfred had been down the day before and left word that I was to clear out altogether, for I should not stop any longer with Mother. He had stood it long enough. I was prepared for it, and concluded to lay out rather than trouble him or anyone else.
I went right off to Mr. Thomas Watson's and told him that I had been turned out of house and home and did not know where to go, and would like to stay in town, anyway till the San Francisco mail arrived, which I expected would be in a few days. I was made welcome. The Lord had softened Mrs. Watson's heart. Mother felt very bad about the whole affair but could not help herself.
Mrs. Duff also said that Mrs. Bowler said I had no business there, which I scarcely believe as she has always said she was glad I was staying with Mother as she was so feeble. However, the Lord will provide.
I felt thankful that as far as I am aware I have never done anything to injure Alfred and I think the time will come when he will be sorry for the course he has taken, though I don't wish him evil by any means, but, "As a man soweth that shall he reap.", and it is inevitable. This is quite an event to commemorate March 27th, 1876.
March 28th. Watson's are building. I have been helping all day. We raised the frame and put on some of the rafters. They are very kind to me.
Wednesday, March 29th. Reigo's 4th birthday. Bless him, I hope he will have a good time. It is very wet from the Southeast. I posted up my journal, etc.
April 1st. I have been carpentering all week helping to build Mr. Watson's house. Old Mr. Fawsett is also working and a little sandy haired man named Edwards. I received quite a large mail from Utah. Two letters from my wife and one from each of the children except Willie. Also another interesting one from Brother E. M. Curtis, for which I feel truly grateful. Thank the Lord my family are all well, and it is a source of comfort to know I am remembered in their prayers. Their letters are so full of genuine love and affection that I was fairly overcome. My wife and Brother Curtis tell me to be comforted, that I will come out alright.
I also received a letter from my Brother, Charles, from Christchurch, giving quite an interesting account how he spent last Sunday. He had attended several meetings, felt full of the Spirit of the Lord; had finished up the day by baptizing a young woman, his first convert. Quite a contrast between his Sunday and mine, for Alfred had even taken away the chair I sat on. Well, I am very thankful Charley is where he is, where there are a few Saints. Another thing, I think I can stand to rough it better than he can, and I feel very thankful he is doing something and feels so well.
Sunday, April 8th. Spent all the week at Mr. Watson's; helped to build a chimney.
On Friday the 6th, mailed letters to all the family, to Brother Curtis, and also sent another sketch.
It has been raining heavy all day, accompanied by a perfect gale from the Northwest. Spent the day at Mother's.
Sunday, April 16th. Been all week at Mr. Watson's carpentering and painting. Yesterday he gave me a pound note and tomorrow to all appearances I shall again be a homeless wanderer. I think some of going out to Oharia until I hear from Brother McLachlan and Charley again.
I scarcely know what to do for the best, and if I know my own heart, it is to do that which will tend to do the most good. Brother McLachlan told me that Brother Groo thinks if there is any opening amongst the Maoris, if I have sufficient knowledge of the language, to try what I can do in that direction. I do earnestly hope and pray that something or other will transpire so that I can be doing some good. The fact is, I am not so well posted in the language as I would have been had I been amongst them, but they are such a drunken, low, corrupt set around here I have been ashamed to go near them to associate with them. I have got so that I can read and write it tolerably well.
I wrote and told Brother McLachlan that I was tired of being alone, but if I must continue alone I will try to do my best, the Lord being my helper, but I felt like if there was another Elder here and we were to hire a room and hall by working to pay our expenses, we would in time make an opening, and in all probability raise up a large branch. I have submitted these thoughts to him, and will wait at Oharia for an answer from him.
We have been having a good deal of stormy weather with rain lately, but today it is mild and beautiful. I have been at Mother's and posted up my journal.