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REVIEW.

. -♦— : ' “ The Battle of Life.” *

A man who in the course of his chequered career has nearly been earned off by dysentry in India ; who has had 8 narrow escape of breaking his neck by fall|ng down a vessel’s hatchway off the Cape of Good Hope ; who has been nearly shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall j whose vessel has nearly collided with a large steamer in the English Channel i who nearly went down in the “ Tararuafand who, finally, escaped by a miracle’ from’being blown up in the Red Sea, thust needs have something interesting to tell his readers, and this narrative of B working man’s adventures in England, India, Australia, and New Zealand, to say nothing about the Sandwich Islands, is certainly readable. One of its chief merits is that it is perfectly free from eX- . aggeration, and is in fact, what it purports to be—a “ plain unvarnished tale” of thewriter’s varied experiences - at home and

abroad. Our author was born in the year 1816, at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, and his first! memorable step in life was running away from his brutal employer, a farmer, residing in the neighborhood of his birth* place. He ran away to the great metro* polls, and shortly afterwards enlisted as a recruit in toe East India Company’s service, and sailed for Bengal His life as a common soldier in India is well sketched, and the manner in which, after ; a weary servitude under tropical skies he contrived to effect his own release, auffi- . ciently proves him to have been of the stuff out of which successful colonists are made. Longing for a sight of the old home again after his years of exile, our soldier now gladly took ship and sailed for England. Here he stopped for four years, during which he- married, but: instead of settling down, as most men would have done, after his experience' of, “ foreign parts,” he left in the year 1849 with his wife for Melbourne, but, not finding things quite so prosperous there as he had been led to imagine, he returned to England,, after’ visiting Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.- Arrived in London, this most restless adventurer re-commenced ! working at his trade as a woodturner, but the news of the “ gold fever ” in Australia proved too great- a temptation to be resisted, and accordingly, in 1851, or less than two years after his return from the Antipodes, he was once more afloat bound for the land of gold. On their arrival our hero and his wife went ■ through enough adventures to furnish the material for a three volume novel Finally they returned England, but not to stop ; a few months afterwards they were again bn the Wing, this time for New Zealanc|, of which they had heard re-assuring accounts. On this occasion husband and wife were, after a time, 1 separated, the writer visiting Australia while: his wife and family remained in New Zealand. Presently he retured, and with his family re-visited Australia, taking passage in the Tararua, and narrowly escaping shipwreck in Bass’Straits. On returning from the trip our author sailed for England, leaving wife and family behind him. Having spent three months at Home very pleasantly, the writer (who had, we had nearly forgotten to add, also visited the Sandwich Islands) returned to Christchurch, where he is now, or was when the little work containing this record of his life was published. But in the case of a man who has been accustomed to contemplate a run over to England with about as much complacency aa moat of us would regard a trip from Ashburton to Christchurch, it is really impossible to say where our adventurous author may at the present time be located. But, to lay joking aside, we regret that the space at our disposal will not permit us to review this unpretentious little volume at greater length. If its style is not quite. Addisonian it is at least interesting, as the life history of any man must he whose lot has been as varied and full of incident as that of this “ working man.” :

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18811112.2.2

Bibliographic details

REVIEW., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 490, 12 November 1881

Word Count
683

REVIEW. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 490, 12 November 1881

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