The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62
It is upwards of twenty-two years ago since I left
"My own, my native land;"
"This land of the brave and the free,"
and the parental roof. Of that final but awful wrench, those tear-stained faces, those aching hearts, that last "good-bye," so far as earth is concerned, to the dear father and mother of that little group of five, I might but must not tell. It is more than twenty-two years since I first breathed the fresh pure oxygen of that Britain of the South that I now call home, my adopted country, the birthplace of my dear wife and my children three. In this twenty-two years I have basked in the brilliant sunshine, gazed with enchantment through a clear, lucid air, strolled beneath the Southern Cross, beheld the glories of the moonlit scene, and looked up into the bright star-spangled heavens. I have cruised round its rugged shores, entered its grand harbours, sailed up its wondrous sounds, and steamed along its rivers. I have climbed its mountain steeps, roamed in its virgin forests, swum in water courses, descended into its luxuriant valleys, and careered over its plains. I have seen its giant peaks capped with eternal snows, looked upon its glaciers, listened to the roar of its cataracts, and beheld the beauties of its waterfalls. I have crossed its cold lakes surrounded by mighty heights, and rowed over its hot lakes to view the work of the earthquake and volcano. I have bathed in its hot springs, and luxuriated in the delightful warmth of its charming swimming baths. Have dipped in the invigorating freshness of its saltwater baths, and rejoiced in their briny rollers. I have looked upon its geysers, boiling springs, solfataras, and mud volcanoes. I have gloried in its blushing gardens and fruit-laden orchards, and marvelled at its fruitful fields. I have eaten bread without scarceness, and enjoyed its mutton, and beef, and poultry, and fish, and page 8 other luxuries which I cannot enumerate. I have seen some of its mineral wealth, gone down its shafts into the dark depths of its mines, and gazed with amaze at the richness of its golden deposits. I have watched the black diamonds come up from its coal mines, seen the beautiful timber hewn from its forests, and examined the lovely kauri gum that is dug from its soil. I have admired its flocks of sheep, its herds of cattle, and its beautiful horses. I have travelled long distances on horseback, and in open vehicles, and passed over its railways from the extreme north to the far south. I have been long coaching journeys in the interior of both islands. And in all my experiences, and in all my travels, and though during my twenty-two years I have lived on farms and sheep stations, in country villages, townships, gold mining settlements, and the large cities of the Colony I have never known the want of a meal. But best of all, I have had a period of uninterrupted health extending over the whole time, approaching nearly a quarter of a century. Never have I for one day been confined to my bed with illness, and this I attribute under God to the charming climate of that sunny land, the brightest land on which God's sun shines. I cannot therefore keep silence and hold my peace, but must tell of that fairy land whence I come, and whither I trust to return before the Ice King of your severe climate lays his stiff fingers upon the land.