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Frank Leward: Memorials

Frank to Mrs. Leward

page 87

Frank to Mrs. Leward.

Wellington, Aug. 1841

My Dear Mother I got here the other day and found your letter telling me of Grandmammas death. It always makes me feel lonely and far away from home when I hear of any one dying there and especially dear old Granny. She is the first particular thing I can remember when I was a very small kid and she was always so jolly and kind I never knew her put out. I am afraid she had a good deal of pain before she died so I suppose it is all for the best. I am sorry she and you were bothered about the property before she died and you had a row with Aunt Jane. It doesnt matter much I never thought anything about it till you talked to me about it at Claydon the last time we were there. I daresay Arthur will manage it better than I should only sometimes I thought I should like to live there when I get old. I must work hard now and make some money but the thing is how to do it. Its difficult to make anything by the land unless you are accustomed to farm or have got some money to begin with. Some gentlemen who have come out here and taken land from the New Zealand Company cant get on at all labouring men get on very well I met Colonel Wakefield who is the head of the New Zealand Company he wants me to take up land here or at Nelson but he says the new Governor is such a fool he spoils everything and wont listen to any one except the missionaries and all they think of is keeping every one away so that they can get page 88as much land as possible for themselves and their children. If I had £500 or £1000 to start with I might join with some one and get on all right. I am determined to get on somehow or other so I have agreed to join a whaler for a year at least It is awfully rough work you have to go about doing nothing unless you see a whale and then I believe its very exciting. We start in about a week and its time I did start Ive spent everything I brought knocking about at Auckland.

I dont like this place so much as Auckland though its rather pretty with the sea in a sort of basin just like a lake and mountains all round. I liked the Maoris at Auckland very much and got to know many of them quite well. Just across the water there there is a fortified pah with palasades and things all round it they used to like me to come to see them. You should hear an old chief called Waikipui. In the evening if its fine they sit in a ring outside their whares and some old chief tells yarns about his ancestors and what heroic things they did fighting some other tribes. They are awful beggars for fighting and tremendously strong. I believe they could easily lick the English if they would combine. Then another chief begins to yarn and so they go on all night. If it is cold they warm up one of the whares till its like an oven and all sit men and women huddled up together till it gets so frightfully hot I couldnt stand it long and it gets to stink so.

Good bye dear old mother very likely you wont hear of me again for a year or more unless we speak a ship. I never thought I should come to be a whaler its con-page 89sidered the lowest thing for a sailor to be. As I can take the sun and work it out pretty well I am going second mate the Captain doesnt know much about navigation they say. We get lays that is we are paid in proportion according to the tons of oil we take when we get back.

Your affectionate son