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Letters from New Zealand 1857-1911


page 110


Hokittka, Feb. 5th, 1868.

My dear St. John,

Now for some account of more than a year's experience here among the gold winners. My parish measures sixty by forty miles, with a population of 30,000. With my colleague, G. Beaumont, we maintain Church work in these centres; Greymouth, thirty miles to the north; Ross, twenty-five miles southwards; Beaumont living with me at Hokitika, and devoting his time to Ross and Greymouth. This means single-handed work for me, with much going on foot in a country broken up with ravines, negotiable only by forest tracks, which are shut in by thick underwood, a jungle, in fact, with no short cuts.

Take an afternoon's visiting. Piloted by a surveyor to some new diggings three miles inland, following a newly cut track, we came to several shafts sunk about eighty feet on a "lead" of gold lately discovered. Gold here is usually found in strata, about three feet thick of wash-dirt running from nor'west to sou'east, narrow, and often interrupted by broken country. Over the shafts there are windlasses, with stout ropes, and hooks attached to the ends for winding up buckets of dirt, and also as the only means of descent. Looping the rope over one foot by the hook, straightening your leg, holding on to the rope well page 111above your head, the other leg hanging, you dangle down into darkness, bumping against the sides of the shaft, until the ground below suddenly seems to rise up and hit you, and you find yourself in a heap on the bottom. There a miner in a drive five feet high, with a lighted candle end stuck in his cap, welcomes the visitor, gives him a candle end, and guides him, both crouching, to a place where the drive opens out a little, several men sitting there, and working with pick and shovel. They show you the wash-dirt, composed of gravel, small quartz pebbles, bits of granite, little morsels of ironstone, with occasional tiny garnets. The dirt is wheeled to the shaft in very small trucks on a wooden tram-line, about two barrow loads to a truck. It is then hauled up to the surface, and once a week the dirt is washed, being passed through wooden channels; the gold, being heavier than the stones and gravel, sinks to the bottom of the channel, and is caught by rough battens; the extreme end of the channel covered with a piece of plush retains the very fine gold brought down by the rush of water. From all I can gather, gold costs a considerable percentage of its value, but it has the advantage of being always saleable at a fixed price. Alluvial gold is got with much greater ease than gold in quartz, and is much more profitable. But the work is always a kind of gamble, very attractive and uncertain; men make for weeks merely good wages, then their luck turns, and they make their "pile." Providentially, it seems that alluvial gold, easily got, is usually the first discovered, leading to the colonization of many parts of the Earth which otherwise would remain waste.

After many invitations to come again, we ascended, page 112and my friend suggested a short cut from the terrace to the river-side, visible over the tree tops below, about a mile distant. Down we went, but were soon entangled in thick growth of tall white pines, where the ground was full of water-holes, partly hidden by moss, into which we floundered, waist deep, in places. The sun sank, and it looked like a night for us perched in a tree, when a dog barked, and following his lead, brought us to a digger's hut. After tea with him, we hit the right track homeward. "That comes," said the Surveyor, "of having for once left my compass at home."

Now for a Sunday's work. A lovely day, such as Westland revels in, when the rainfall has ceased, free from wind and dust, soft as the softest day in Devonshire, and without the sudden changes so prevalent in other parts of New Zealand. After the Early Service, at breakfast I heard voices just outside the open window of my sitting-room, beneath which I had fenced in a tiny garden plot; the rest of the Church site being a mass of fallen timber; in this plot were some primroses in bloom, which I had brought from England. "Look here, Jack, seems like being at home again, don't it, seeing these flowers?" I caught a glimpse of two miners who had left their "claims" for a Sunday in Hokitika. Then came Sunday Morning School, specially valuable to me, as I am always elsewhere in the afternoons. Service in All Saints at 11 a.m.; good choir, lady sopranos, and men, and boys in training. To your eyes All Saints would seem an ecclesiastical barn, with its rough open roof, unlined wooden walls, and no chancel. But it is spacious and well-cared for, and well attended. We use Hymns Ancient and Modern, which I have page 113introduced in place of a New Zealand Hymnal, compiled some years ago, but difficult to obtain. Tall pines overshadow the east end of the church; the attendance is good, and includes to-day Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand, and his suite. He is making his first official visit to the Goldfields, meeting everywhere an enthusiastic reception. After lunch, being due at Kanieri for the afternoon service, I crossed the river, and walked up the opposite bank some three miles, recrossing it to St. Andrew's Church. Service over, the Governor asked me how I was going back, and said he would like to come with me in my boat. Half in doubt as to the boat's capacity for so many, I determined to risk it, the Governor, his aide-de-camp, his private secretary, and Judge Gresson, finding room in the stern sheets. We rowed down the brimful river at a great rate, intending to keep mid-stream, but nearing a sandy island, were drawn by a strong current into a channel which ran in a dangerous curve under the river-bank, and, though the boatman did his best with the bow oar, down it we went. A huge pine-tree had fallen from the bank, its stem lying athwart the stream, a few inches under water, and I knew that lately a boat had been capsized, with fatal results. Knowing that our only chance lay in taking the obstacle stem on, I quickened the stroke; we struck it fairly, balanced for a second or two, dipped nearly over, first on one side, then on the other, and slid safely into deep water. Had we capsized in such a torrent, icy cold, swimming would have been a poor chance. Fortunately, all sat quite still. "Well," said Sir George, "I've had many a narrow shave in African rivers, but never quite so close a thing as that." On landing, he bade the boat page 114man come next day for his pay, and I found that he had not only treated him handsomely, but that the boatman had said nothing to his mates about our adventure. Loyal, wasn't it?

A day or two later, a Levée was held in the Court-house. Overnight I received a visit from the Congregational Minister of a small chapel in the town. He thought that a loyal address should be presented to the Governor at the Levée, on behalf of the various religious bodies, and said that he had drafted one, wishing to submit it for my approval. It was so long that I persuaded him to shorten it, and arranged that he should invite all concerned to meet in the morning and sign it. You know, I imagine, that there is no Established Church in New Zealand; all religious bodies have a fair field, without any favour from the State; the Church population numbering rather more than half of the whole. Accordingly, we met in the morning; the Roman Catholic priest, an elderly Irish gentleman, of varied experience in Australia, and racy of speech; a Presbyterian and Wesleyan, a Jewish Rabbi, the Congregationalist, and myself. We met in an empty room of an hotel opposite the Court-house, our seats being up-ended beer barrels, and the table a hogshead. The address was read and approved. Then its author, looking round, said, "Gentlemen, there is one thing I thought it best to leave to the decision of the meeting,—I mean the order of precedence of signature." "Order of precedence!" exclaimed Father …., slipping off his barrel, "The Archdeacon first, ex officio, myself second, and where the rest of you come, I don't care a——." The blank look of astonishment that passed over their countenances was almost too much for my page 115gravity, but the situation was saved by an urgent message from the Court-house, bidding us come at once. There the address was formally presented, but, to the great disappointment of its author, the Governor, receiving it with a few gracious words, said, "I think we will take it as read."

Westland is part of the Canterbury Province, but for the time is under the control of a Gold Commissioner, with an executive, and Gold Wardens resident in certain districts; a sort of limited autocracy which works well under Commissioner G. Sale, who seems to the manner born; a fine specimen of manhood, blest with an unfailing fund of tact and commonsense; and yet his training for the work has only been that of Rugby and a classical Fellowship at Trinity, Cambridge, with no "specializing." Much has been already done; there is a well organized police force, with a mounted contingent; court-houses in every centre; hospitals, and a central gaol in Hokitika, besides an asylum, already needed. The two latter buildings stand on a forest-clad terrace, where tree felling and clearing afford useful occupation to the inmates. I hold services at both institutions, and have had some curious experiences in the gaol, where the class of prisoner is not that of the ordinary convicts at home, most of them serving short sentences for trivial offences; but there are exceptions, and one of them of particularly bad type.

I touched in a former letter on that gang of Australian bushrangers who ran their short career of crime here, and were hunted down at last. One of them escaped the ultimate penalty, being sentenced for ten years for perjury; a thorough rascal, who had a small white-smith's shop at Greymouth, where he page 116acted as the brains of the gang, and receiver of booty, but taking no actual part in their murderous work. No sooner had I begun my regular visits than he sent for me, being at the time in solitary confinement for insubordination. "Mr. Archdeacon, I wish to inform you of the infamous way in which this gaol is conducted; the gaoler is a tyrant and bully, and tries to make the place a hell upon earth, and because I have remonstrated, I am unfairly punished." As this did not tally with what I had heard, I let him talk on, and when, suddenly, he let slip some special comment on gaol management, I said, "You seem to know all about gaols." Taken aback, he replied, "Well, you ain't a Government Chaplain, and you come here of your own accord; you won't peach, will you? I was in Pentonville before I came out to Australia." "No," said I, "I won't say anything about that, but how can you expect me to believe what you say of this gaol? You, a murderer, if not in deed, of the worst sort, and a coward; you have only saved your neck by perjury." Unabashed, he pointed to a shelf whereon lay a Bible and a volume of sermons. "I assure you I'm innocent. I always attended F. W. Robertson's sermons at Brighton; there's a volume of them; have you ever read them? He was a true Christian minister; he wouldn't have treated me as you do!"

There was something almost humorous in the calm impudence of such a scoundrel. I left him, and soon afterwards met the Magistrate on his way to the gaol. "Come with me. I'm going to hold an enquiry; there's trouble with the prisoners; complaints of short commons of bread, and, from what I hear, I fancy that somehow Chamberlain is at the bottom of page 117it." At the gaol Mr. Cleary, an excellent officer, stated the case: "Hearing complaints of a shortage of bread in the daily rations, I imagined it to be mere talk, as our scales and weights are new and in good order, until my suspicions were aroused a few mornings ago. You know that, being a Roman Catholic, I don't myself read the morning prayers, but have deputed the duty to a young, well-educated fellow, who is serving a short sentence, but I often go there to listen. My attention was caught by the words of a prayer I had not heard before. 'O God, behold, we beseech Thee, the afflictions of Thy people, and grant that the scarcity and dearth which we do most justly suffer for our iniquities may be by Thy merciful Goodness turned into plenty.' I, then, questioned the young fellow, who shewed me the prayer in the prayer-book: 'In time of dearth or famine.' He owned that Chamberlain had induced him to read it, and said he would get the gaoler into trouble." "But," said the Magistrate, "let us have a look at the scales and weights, and try them." To all appearance they were correct, but on examination, we found that a cavity had been hollowed out in every weight, filled with putty, and concealed by brass filings and dust. "Ah!" said the Gaoler, "that's Chamberlain's work, he has been allowed to clean the scales." He was sent for, but denied everything until threatened with a flogging, when he gave in and cried for mercy, and was let off with a fortnight's solitary confinement.

It is probable that Westland, with its mining population, shows an exceptional record of scarcity of crime; nor is there much drunkenness, except in holiday time, when hard work is in abeyance; the community consists chiefly of men in the prime of page 118life, few greybeards among them, full of the spirit of adventure, naturally strong in the elemental passions of youth, often reckless, but capable of much good, and remarkable for a generous spirit of comradeship, ever ready to help each other.

Here is an instance: Crossing the river on a visit to the hospital, I found there a powerfully built young fellow, one of a mining party at Kanieri, whose ankle had been badly crushed. His mates had carried him on an extemporised litter several miles to the hospital. He had been a navvy at Wimbledon, had gone out to Queensland with a contractor for work at reservoirs, and thence had migrated to Westland; reputed the strongest man at Kanieri; a dare devil; very ready with his hands, uproarious in drink; but the best man on the field with pick, hammer, and shovel. I soon found in him a certain simplicity which augured well. For months he lay in the hospital; able at last to get about a little, he devoted himself to the care of a young frail lad, a clerk, dying of consumption. The lad was a simple religious soul, and his influence touched the heart of the big fellow; women nurses were scarce, but his big friend was as tender with him as any woman. He died, and when the time came that Harris was able to leave the hospital, he made his way to Kanieri, and was received with boisterous welcome by his old mates, who were spending their Saturday half-holiday, as usual, with plenty of beer. "Look here, mates," he said, "you know me; I've served the Devil better than any of you; now I'm going to try to serve God." He kept his word; was seldom absent from church; and when his name was proposed as one of the Vestry, stood up and said, "Archdeacon, I'm not fit for it; I can hardly read page 119or write; but if they want me, I'll do my best." A short time afterwards, hearing that the Bishop was coming for a confirmation, he came to me and said, "Do you think the Bishop would take me? I can't learn much, as you know." When the Confirmation took place, he stood up with the rest, the large majority of them quite young, and made his profession of faith.

With such a man and others like him, St. Andrew's Church has become a centre of real Christian life and work; its congregation entirely of miners, some married, others single, who freely supply all the funds needed for its maintenance. I leave the finance as much as possible to them, finding that nothing so arouses the interest of laymen in Church work as responsibility for its maintenance. Occasionally they organize a social evening in their Town Hall, with a preliminary tea of good things, and then a concert, for which they can raise quite a good little orchestra of strings and wind, varied with songs, and occasionally a short lecture from myself.

Now for another sort of experience. Sent for suddenly by a messenger from the hospital, I found that a young woman had died there just before I could get across the river, the daughter of a farmer in the Nelson district, who had met with some mischance and left her home, drifting down to Hokitika, there taking refuge with some of that class of women who frequent Goldfield towns, but had only been with them a short time. At the cemetery, waiting for her funeral, the sexton said that he did not expect there would be any to follow her. It was a typical West Coast day of torrential rain, to add its own gloom to the sad end of such a young life. We saw, however, a number of women following, evidently some of her page 120companions. Going to the grave, I said, "I cannot use the ordinary service; I think you all know why, though the poor girl lying here was probably more sinned against than sinning"; then, after a few words to them about their own lives, I used a few special prayers. The service over, I noticed one of them, apparently older than the others, loitering behind, and drawing near, she asked if she might call on me the next day. She came, and said she wished to give up her mode of life; what must she do? I told her first to close the house she was keeping, and then come to talk about it. In a week's time she came again; the house was closed, and she had obtained an honest situation. Some little time after came a message, asking me to visit a sick woman in the town; enquiring for the house, I was met with the remark, "Going there! What's the use of it?" Entering, I found her ill, but I thought in no immediate danger, and asked her why she had sent for me. "I've been thinking," she replied; "I know all about A——, she repented, and lives a respectable life. If she could, I thought I might too, and I do want to try; I was half afraid you wouldn't come, but I heard all you had done for her, so I sent; it's not that I am so very ill; I do want to try to live a better life." And she did, and succeeded. It was Sunday evening, and I went to the service with many thoughts; the wonderful power of example, as compared with precept.

Fresh discoveries of gold are being made near Kanieri, in the recesses of the forest. Some miles back there is a lovely lake, shut in by mountain ranges, only accessible by a narrow forest track; its deep water, strange to say, in this country devoid of fish, is full of a kind of grayling, the only freshwater fish page 121I have heard of in New Zealand. Between the lake and the Hokitika runs a stream in which there is good fishing, soon to be spoilt by the muddy refuse which defiles all watercourses near a gold-field.

Not long ago a message from Ross reached me on a Monday morning, having been delayed several days by flooded rivers; a fatal accident underground; a fall of earth had crushed a man, one of a party of Cornish miners. The letter said that the funeral would be deferred until Monday, in hopes that I might be able to come. Going down to the river, I got my usual boat and man, and with the aid of a strong breeze, we sailed across the estuary; then, with a good horse, I made way down the beach, in spite of flooded streams and awkward quicksands. Reaching Ross in early afternoon, I found all work suspended, and the funeral procession ready to start. "We knew you would come if it were possible." St. Paul's Church stands on a terrace at the upper end of the township, commanding a view of the whole of it, with a cemetery above it on the slope of the hill. As I stood there waiting, I looked down, not only on a scene of singular beauty, but also on one of those occasional outcrops of human sympathy in time of disaster, not readily forgotten. An extensive valley, encircled by primæeval forest-clad hills, a few years ago untrodden by man's foot, its silence only broken by the voices of birds and the murmur of the stream winding through it, to-day the habitation of some four thousand people, dotted with huts and tents and mining machinery; the main street of the town, which leads up to the church, thronged with men, making way for a procession of four hundred miners; the coffin, with its cross of white clematis, carried between its bearers; the page 122sound of hymns sung with much fervour rising and falling as the procession wound its way up towards the church. At the grave-side the hill-side was thick with people, and I took the opportunity of speaking to them, and then asking them to sing. For a long time we remained there, the evening sunshine casting its quiet glory on the forest and the distant sea, lighting up the faces of the great crowd of mourners, who seemed loth to leave the place.

At night, in the simple hotel where I had a room, after supper, came a deputation to thank me for my services. Miners are nothing if they are not grateful for any kindness or sympathy shown them; all being done with due formality and politeness; some cake and wine and tea; a few well considered speeches and much friendly talk. At midnight work began again, the night shifts in full swing; engines puffing and rattling, bells tingling; in fact, as much noise as in daytime, a glorious moonshine flooding the valley. Next day I rode back, but found the Hokitika still in considerable flood; my boat and man were there, but he advised going well up stream before trying to cross, as the mouth of the river had changed, with a straight run out to sea, and some risk of being caught by the current and swept out into the surf. Finding that we could not make the landing steps at the end of the wharf, we decided to run the boat ashore and jump out where the sandy beach curved a little. Jerry Morphew, rowing bow, had the painter ready to hand, and tumbled out on all fours, digging his hands into the sand to get a chance of holding the boat, and I followed in similar fashion. "That was touch and go," said Jerry, "if we had gone out to sea 'twould have been a bad job." He is too old for page 123mining, but a good boatman, a character in his way, and seldom absent from All Saints Church.

We have lately found a posse of boys and girls, much neglected, arrivals from Australia, attending neither day or Sunday School, and have begun a night school for them in a large iron building on the beach, built for a store, but hitherto unused. School is held four nights a week, with large attendance; the building being convenient, with a large central room, and several smaller. Our experience has been very encouraging, but certainly novel; no difficulty with those inside the bulding, but outside we are beset with larrikins, who lurk about in the darkness and deliver every sort of attack on the walls and roof with stones and sticks; the walls and roof consisting only of iron, unlined with wood, the clatter and row caused by their missiles at times almost prevents work. To meet the enemy, we have formed a bodyguard of strong young fellows, who patrol the building every night; frequent scrimmages take place, but only add zest to the business, and I find no lack of volunteers for it. My post is that of Superintendent, with occasional teaching, and a watchful eye, sometimes also a ready hand, in case of any insubordination, a sort of argument which the lads understand and respect. One night the street door banged open, and a dead goose, well aimed, took me full in the breast, followed by the capture of the rascal by the patrol, and condign punishment quickly administered. Another night came a noise on the roof, and in a few minutes a boy who had clambered up to the top of the wide iron chimney, intending to chuck stones down it, missed his hold, and slid down to the hearth, fortunately fireless. Promptly seized, we kept him page 124prisoner, and so interested him with compulsory lessons that he became a regular pupil. Many of the children are almost entirely ignorant of the Bible, and have evidently been dragged up somehow, with the most primitive ideas of morality. Here is an instance: one of the teachers, a lady, who has a class of girls in a side room, about twelve years of age, came to ask my advice; "I am teaching them the Commandments, and whilst explaining the third, I told them how wrong it was to swear and use bad language. 'Not swear, Miss,' said the biggest girl, 'why, Mother swears every day!'" Well, in this, as in all else, it's "dogged as does it," and to our great satisfaction the school wins favour every day, and at times our evenings are quite tame, though lately a guest who was staying with me, much interested in this new country, and keen about school work, had a very lively experience with us several evenings, and declared that he had never enjoyed anything more than our evening school. The Bishop, during his last visit, came to see it, and met with a great reception; there was a large gathering, not only of the children, but of friends who live near the school, who provided a sumptuous tea for all, to mark the occasion.

Some four miles from Hokitika a group of Maoris are settled on the river Arahura, about one hundred in all. They were there before Westland was known to settlers in Canterbury, a tribe driven out from the North Island by raids of a famous warrior, Te Rauparaha; Christians, living in simple fashion, practically shut off from communication with the rest of New Zealand. Before our discovery of gold these Maories knew of its existence, but not of its value, page 125and it was owing to information gathered from one of them, who had crossed the mountains to Christchurch, that it was ascertained that Westland was a likely goldfield. Government then made liberal reserves of land for the natives, which happened to be in the centres which were richest in gold. Trustees were appointed, land let on their behalf, and I find that every native has a comfortable annual income. They are a sober set of people, and industrious, having their small cultivations, with horses and cattle and pigs. I have been able to provide them with a church, paid for by them, designed by myself; a school also has been built for them by the Government. They speak a little English, but have the Bible and Prayerbook in Maori; two of them have been appointed Lay-readers, and conduct the services, one daily, and on Sundays. Once a month I visit their village and hold a week-day service, with a celebration of Holy Communion, and, if necessary, baptisms. Maories know their prayerbook well, and are most particular in observing all its seasons. I receive every Saturday a visit from some of them to ascertain exactly what the Sunday will be, so that there may be no mistake. They have much respect for discipline; for example, I go for the monthly service, and find all work stopped, and everything ready; the two lay-readers in cassock and surplice prepared to help me. One produces a note of two names of persons who, in their judgment, ought not to come to Communion. "Why not?" "Well, he quarrel with his wife since you come last, and not really make it up,—and he—(this is a rare case) make a drunk." We go to church; the two delinquents are there, sitting at the extreme end; the service is taken by myself, aided by the lay-readers, page 126in Maori; it is easy to acquire the pronunciation, almost every word ends in a vowel; a language, when properly spoken, soft like Italian. Moreover, knowing the prayerbook, it is comparatively easy to read with due emphasis; talking in ordinary conversation is quite another matter. I speak to them in English, which they can follow fairly well. Every Maori takes part in the responses, which are rendered in most musical fashion, all together, as if they had been purposely trained, for their sense of rhythm and time is very keen. Their reverence too is noticeable.

After service they provide dinner for me in their "Runanga" or Social Hall, a low long wooden room, hung inside with "toi" reed, the woodwork and rafters painted in red, white and black, in the spiral patterns which Maori Art delights in, whether in colour or in carving. Dinner consists of a roast wild duck, but neither mustard or salt, potatoes steamed in Maori ovens, cake, biscuits and tea, with plenty of milk. Maories do not care for salt. I am left alone to eat. Maori etiquette is strong; a "Rangitira," i.e. chief, or man of good blood, eats by himself. Then there is a sort of social meeting in one of their houses, weather-boarded and snug, but with few chairs, as they prefer the floor, and we talk, always with much deliberation; I ask them to smoke, and by degrees they open out and tell me much of their old history and traditions, which are carefully handed down from father to son. "Do you use your Social Hall at night?" "Horomona" (Solomon). "Yes, we often sit there till late at night and talk of the old times in New Zealand and of our ancestors, and we are sad." "Why? you are all well to do, and have comfortable houses, and good land, and your families are all well page 127cared for." "Yes, quite true, but then, we often think, we have no future as a people; we do not think that is the Pakeha's (white man) fault; before you came we knew little; we have all sorts of things now, but it is to you the future of the land belongs; we have no future; often it makes us very sad to think of this. We can only talk of the old days, when our ancestors were great men."

I was much struck by this, for this is, in fact, the exact case of this clever, intellectual people, so apparently powerful in physique, and so quick to learn. Like all savages, they appear to be degenerates, their traditions pointing to a golden age in the far past; they lack the power of recovery; it is very remarkable how a Maori, in middle age, whatever his early manhood has been, seems able to die, gives up, and cannot persevere; literally, in some cases, dying without any adequate reason for death. Yet they are such likeable, fine, honest, chivalrous fellows. Changing the conversation, I said I had remarked in their Social Hall a curious carved and painted figure, about three feet high, of an old Maori warrior, club in hand, with eyes inlaid with white oyster shell, standing at one end of the hall, on a revolving circle of wood, on the floor; what was it for? "Well, you see, often at night we have a debate; all sitting on the floor against the walls, except those who speak; they rise up to speak, walking up and own in the centre of the room. One Maori sits behind that figure, and as the speaker moves about, he turns it, so as always to face him." "Yes, but why?" "That figure, he what you call Chairman; he one of our old ancestors; he always look at speaker, to make him remember to speak well, not foolish, to speak as if his ancestor heard him,"

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I could not help feeling that such a feeling as this of the true "noblesse oblige" might do much to control the speech of many of our political orators, and chasten the wild thoughtless talk which so often discredits our legislative assemblies.

One has to make a day of it, visiting Maories, so more tea and cake appear, till at last I bid them farewell; a Maori lad brings me my horse, well cared for; "Kapai, Kapai, the horse," i.e. very good horse; they love riding, and appreciate a good animal.

I shall soon have to attend the Diocesan Synod in Christchurch, and be able to give you some account of its procedure. Winter is at hand, often very severe in the Southern Alps, so I do not anticipate as easy a journey as in summer. I have arranged for someone to come and take my duty for three weeks. If all goes well, it is a journey of two days' coaching, but in stress of weather may be longer.

I am, Yours, etc.,

H. W. H.