I took a walk over into the second valley this morning and collected some very pretty ferns, especially of the moss variety. The day turned out real fine and clear and very warm.
Sunday, October 29th. We have been holding what we call Protracted Meetings lately, that is William Wiley, Louis Brown, and George Kilsbury spent the evening with us regularly the last three nights. We did not break up until one and two o'clock in the morning, they showing quite an interest in the principles of the Gospel, especially George Kilsbury who really acts honest and sincere. We ate dinner and supper both at Mrs. Wiley's.
I'll relate the following to show the spirit of the old man: While at dinner William Wiley says: "What do you think Father told me this morning about Joseph Smith. (You know, Father, I told you I would tell the Elders) Father said that Joseph was a thief. In brief he got to stealing men's wives from them."
I looked at the old man, he looked ghostly and devilish and I severely rebuked him for his wickedness. This shows his mean, contemptible spirit. After all our conversations and example, but the old lady is as true as steel and as honest hearted as can be. May the Lord grant that she may yet embrace the truth and gather home to Zion. She wants to be united with the people of the lord, and has always manifest a desire to help us and make us comfortable and as I told her, I know the Lord will bless her and she will yet get her reward.
We had our usual company in the evening and George Kilsbury said, after asking a few questions, that he would give it up, fairly acknowledging that he could bring no argument to bear against the truth of this work. After a long and interesting conversation they very reluctantly left us at two o'clock in the morning. We lay down and slept till daylight.
When we awoke it was raining, however, we breakfasted and then packed up our things.
George Kilsbury came over and told me he believed the truth and said he would investigate still further.
George Fawsett came along with an empty cart and hauled our things up to old Mrs. Wiley's, and not long after a young boy came along and said he would haul us both into town, luggage and all for two shillings. We gladly accepted the offer.
It had quit raining and had begun to get brighter so we bade the folks a hurried farewell. Mrs. Wiley was deeply affected at our departure. God bless her and reward her for all her kindness to us, His servants, and all others that are worthy.
We arrived in town about eleven o'clock. I bought a trunk for which I paid 7 shillings to put my shells and clothes in. Had quite a chat with Charles Lawe about his sad bereavement. After a while I told him that by complying with certain principles he could secure her company in the Eternal world forever and ever. He replied in a very uncourteous manner that he had nothing to do with the future, the present was all he had to deal with or believed in. I did not press the subject as it was like casting that which was holy to the dogs.
I paid [?]2 for each of our tickets for the steamer Ladybird to Lyttleton. We also bought or finished out a good suit of black broadcloth, socks, etc., each. That with ferns, our valises and trunks we had quite a lot of luggage which were awkward but still necessary.
Tuesday, October 31, 1876. We carried our luggage down to the steamer, it was a tiresome job.
I should say Mr. Duff kindly lent us some bedclothes so we slept on the floor at Mother's. She did not like us coming away. I gave Mrs. Duff 10/s so that paid up all we borrowed from Alfred. Mrs. Duff made me a present of a beautiful pair of shells, dark spotted. Clement made us some cakes before we left Oharia, but we went and had dinner at a restaurant or cafe which cost us a shilling each. I took a sketch of the Queen's Wharf and Harbour.
At 2 o'clock we embarked and started about 3 o'clock p.m. and although the steamer Marawater had considerable the start of us, we passed her before getting entirely out of the Heads.
I must say it was with a thankful heart that I bade Wellington adieu. Not having money enough we were obliged to take steerage passage; we lay in our bunks without any bedding as that was extra, but it was not very cold, but the boards were rather hard.
November 1, 1876. I couldn't help thinking, one year ago this morning I left my family in deep sorrow and anguish on account of the death and burial of our dear little daughter, Nora. Yet we mourned not as those without hope for I know she is most gloriously happy.
O how very happy I ought to be for the hand of the Lord has been over, and around about me and mine for good, and my heart swells within me, and my gratitude to devoting myself, my time and my all for the upbuilding of God's kingdom and the spread of truth. And while I'm permitted to live on earth I want to do good.
We arrived at Lyttleton about 10:00 a.m. The town looked very pretty. The ground gradually rising to the hills, enough to show every building to advantage.
Charles and I walked around till dinnertime. We then went to an eating house. Enjoyed a real good dinner for which we paid each one shilling, after which we took the 1:00 train to Christchurch.
In a few minutes we entered the great tunnel. It is one mile and three quarters through from one end to the other, clear through the foot of the mountain. After about a 10 minute ride we emerged into the daylight, and then a most beautiful sight was presented to our view.
Before and at each side of us stretched a vast extent of very level country, very picturesque, dotted over with neat little cottages and farm houses, many almost hid from view among the trees. Australian Blue Gum trees, Wattles, Poplars, English Oaks, trees very much like our Quaking Aspen (the foliage) besides Norfolk Island pines, and other varieties of trees and shrubs entirely new to me, helped to make the landscape most pleasing to the eye. This certainly must be the garden of New Zealand. Every farm and garden and field is surrounded with hedges of neatly trimmed Quick Forge or Broome, and once in a while Holly. Weeping Willows are a specialty and grow most luxuriously.
We passed beautiful mansions situated amongst very tastefully ornamented grounds, with magnificent flowers and shrubbery. It was such a contrast from where we had just come from (Oharia) that I was truly delighted.
After traveling nine miles we reached Christchurch. As the train did not go farther till 4:00 p.m. we took a stroll around to town. The country is so very level, and there are so many trees that in order to see anything the visitor must travel.
We found the main part of town at least one mile from the depot. The streets are four rods wide, and the town is composed of very fine buildings, some of them on a very lavish grand scale, especially the government buildings, museum, new jail, cathedrals, etc. Some stone buildings, concrete, etc., but most of the houses are frame.
We visited the museum. It is situated in a park beautifully laid out, the Avon river winds through the grounds fringed with weeping willows and other ornamental trees. Very charming to behold. The museum contains an immense variety of stuffed birds, skeletons of the Moa 12 feet high, to the smallest hummingbird consisting of hundreds of varieties from all parts of the known world. New Zealand carvings, mats, weapons of war, such as spears, clubs, also idols, canoes, etc., etc.
I was disappointed in the fine arts department. It is very poor, consisting of a few inferior copper and steel engravings, photographic views of some of New Zealand's scenery is really beautiful. Only one oil painting life sized. The subject, a gentleman sitting in a chair with several dogs lying at his feet. No doubt the artist had bestowed a great deal of labor to very little advantage. It is all together too stiff and too much like a painting to be natural. The statuary is very good, and a credit to the institution, some twenty or thirty in number. Mostly life sized. Venus and Apollo are prominent with many others, also a life sized Japania or (Jassmea ?) in wax work, clad in armour. Forest shells, specimens of Quartz, precious stones, etc. Skeletons of Elephants, Rhinocerous, also a splendid lion stuffed; Polar bear, tigers, lynx, monkeys, in fact an amazing variety of animals too numerous to mention.
We again took train and after traveling 12 miles over a country similar in many respects to that already described with the exception of the sandhills, we arrived at Kaiapai.
Brother McLachlan was waiting to greet us. It was a joyful meeting after our long separation. We went down to Brother James Burnett Senior's where we received a hearty welcome. Here we found Brother Steed and John Rich and we had a good time in attending testimony meeting in Brother Burnett's front room after tea; the first I had attended in a year with the Saints. All spoke their feelings and a good spirit prevailed. Mother McLachlan requested that all of the members of the Kaiapai Branch be rebaptized, which was unanimously concurred with by all present.
Thursday, November 2nd. Elder McLachlan, Charlie and I walked 9 miles back to Papanui. We arrived just before sundown. Found Brother and Sister Boysen well and very glad to see us, also Brother and Sister Mortensen, and Nordstrand, also Sister Norris.
I met so much kindness that I had to keep a strict watch over myself to keep from acting foolish. Brother Boysen is a German, his wife is a Norwegian, a wholesouled, good hearted woman and a good singer, and does all she can to make the Elders feel comfortable. We spent the evening very agreeably singing. Oh what a treat it is to be with the Saints again. I heartily thank God for the privilege.
Saturday, November 4th. I accompanied Sister Norris home, six miles. Received a hearty welcome from Brother Norris. He is a sickly looking man, probably consumption, but his whole soul seems to be in the work of God. Though he is considerable of an extremist, their house, just built, is very poor. The walls, chimney, etc., are built of sod, with a well ventilated roof composed of gum pailings, open all under the eaves and when the wind blows, causes a dreadful draft, and dust from the sod it comes down like through a sieve over everything, making everything perfectly black.
Next morning, Sunday, November 5th, 1876. Brother Norris and family (they have two very nice little girls and one little boy) accompanied me back to Papanui to meeting. The two youngest children rode in a perambulator and were extremely delighted to get out.
Attended meeting at 2:30 p.m. in Brother Boysen's front room. I was introduced to Brother John Walker, also two of his daughters, not baptized yet, but expect to be before long. I partook of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the first time since I left Utah, one year ago. I was called on to speak, although I felt embarrassed at first, I enjoyed a good flow of the Holy Ghost and was astonished when Charlie afterward told me that I had occupied 35 minutes. The manifestations of the spirit were so powerful it caused many to shed tears of joy. Charlie spoke next, very spirited, followed by Elder McLachlan, all of us speaking on the first principles of the Gospel, and that with power.
In the evening Brother Norris and family returned home, and the balance of us and Sister Boysen walked to Christchurch (3 miles) and held meetings in the Odd Fellows Hall. Brother McLachlan preached on the subject of the decline and falling away of the true Church of God, followed by Charles Hurst, and an appointment given out for next Sunday evening. The subject to be "The restoration of the Gospel in the Latter Days." The attendance was fair considering the prejudice, there being about thirty strangers present.
Wednesday and Thursday Brother Boysen and I went to the fair, or cattle show. I received 10 shillings per day for just leading a prize bull 2 1/2 miles to the show and back again at night. He was young and very tame, just imported from England. He took the second prize for the first class stock.
Besides we had the privilege to see everything else; the exhibition of horses, cattle, and sheep was really a credit. I never saw such large heavy horses before. There were pigs, dogs, and chickens, Horses, manufacture, wools, butter, hams, bacon, in fact an innumerable variety. Numbers of booths where liquors of all kinds were dispensed to the thirsty crowd. The more they drank the more they wanted.
There was also every conceivable kind of gambling going on, such as Cylinder Boxes, turn tables, throwing dice, play at different kinds of ball, and whichever way I would turn I would be saluted with cries from women as well as men, "Here you are, six pence a turn, you always get a prize worth double your money, and run the risk of getting one worth two guineas." "Here you, one shilling a throw, a big prize every time." "Now is your time, throw high or throw low, if you hit the ball out of the pit I will give you a shilling, this is the place to make money easy and fast." The idea was they would have a few good looking articles in view to tempt the people but the prizes were a perfect swindle. Still the people crowded around each place, getting nothing but disappointments and I thought what a dreadful bad example to the young. Just encouraging them in every kind of gamble and lying and dishonesty.
Tuesday November 12. Held meeting. Owing to the rain in the morning the Brethren (except James Burnett, Jr.) did not come to meeting as was expected they would. However, we had a good testimony meeting, and in the evening we walked to Christchurch and met in the Odd Fellows Hall. Only seven strangers present. I spoke on the restoration of the Gospel, followed by C. C. Hurst.
Monday, November 13. I walked to Kaiapai, nine miles in 1 1/2 hours. Received letter from my wife, a photo of our house and front garden through the kindness of T. B. Gordon, with all of the children nicely grouped on the garden path. Also letters from E. M. Curtis, the clerk of the 16th Quorum of Seventies and R. W. McGalister. My wife wrote in good spirits. I felt amply paid for my walk.
Brothers Steed and Burnett and family were all very glad to see me. Sister Burnett saw me nearly a mile off, and said, here comes one of the Brethren I know. At the same time they were not expecting any of us. I stayed all night and next morning rode back to Papanui with Brother John Clark. Brother John Rich, having gotten his release from president Groo, was very busy packing up. I painted his name on his Trunk, looked him out a good variety of ferns, packed up a pair of large shells, and some pieces of silk mother gave me for the girls to make dolls dresses to send home with him. I wish I could have sent all I had. I also sent an envelope full of photos of Maoris, scenes in Western Australia, sister Amelia and children, also a large card with all the New Zealand missionaries likenesses. Wrote letters to my wife and sent sketches, and Brother Curtis and T. B. Gordon. Charlie and I posted them Wednesday.
Brother Rich started early on November 16th, Thursday. It was raining very hard. Brother C. C. Hurst and McLochlan went to Lyttleton to see him off. I went to work and papered a bedroom for Sister Boysen and finished it Friday. We have had a great deal of rain all week. Charlie took the pound note I earned at the fair and bought me a Maori bible for 3p (about 75¢), very nicely bound. 10 S had to go for hall rent. I paid Charlie some I owed him and half a crown left, just enough to pay for getting boots patched up a little.
Sunday, November 19th. Had a good meeting in the afternoon. Enjoyed good freedom. I spoke on the divine authority of Joseph Smith, Gospel, etc. Followed spirited by Charles and Brother Walker. Mrs. Walker and two daughters were present, also a stranger and wife.
In the evening we walked to Christchurch. Charlie occupied most of the time. He preached a powerful discourse on the subject, "How Does Mormonism Compare with the Bible." There were about 50 or 60 strangers present. I bore testimony to the truth, etc.
Monday I prepared what Sister Boysen calls the missionary bedroom. The one I am occupying. Clement went off to Southbrook to assist Brother McLochlan. He is building a house for Brother James Burnett.
I had almost forgot to state that Brother McLochlan received a letter from President Isaac Groo stating he had just received a letter from President Brigham Young, to the effect that he wanted the New Zealand missionaries to study the Maori language for the time had arrived for them to hear the Gospel.