Entry from the Urewera notebook of Katherine Mansfield, dated December 18, 1907
Petane Valley. “Monday Morning (Dec. 18, 1907).
“Bon jour, Marie dearest—
Your humble servant is seated on the very top of I know not how much luggage, so excuse the writing. This is the most extraordinary experience.
Our journey was charming. A great many Maoris on the train; in fact I lunched next to a great brown fellow at Woodville. That was a memorable meal. We were both starving, with that dreadful, silent hunger. Picture to yourself a great barn of a place—full of finely papered chandeliers and long tables—decorated with paper flowers, and humanity most painfully in evidence. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
“Then the rain fell heavily, drearily into the river and the flax swamp and the mile upon mile of dull plain. In the distance, far and away in the distance, the mountains were hidden behind a thick grey veil.”