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Life on the Kermadecs.

a Mr Thomas; Bell formerly ,a IJepr Zealand colonist but who' has been living at Sunday; Island for the ;last t^flre^ye years, has, placed his :diary at ;the disposal of the "Auckland-Star." Evidently the island is anything but a desirable. ph\ce to live! in, among numerous inconveniences—to apply to them a very*mild term^-being irie presence* of swarms to? rate,? 1 which ate all his potatoes and other! seedsKa^fast as they were r put into the ground. "At last" 'he'says #*-&'■ despair, I dug up a seed bed irr~front of our dwelling, and 7filled it with" the lait 1 •ofo'our pumpkin, marrow,"'and-'melon seeds. Bound this I made T fires at night, and sat alongside^ thelini stick "in hand, for a ■ week, until they-sho wed above the ground, when they- were safest Durittg^his time ifc rained alnwet continuously, ■ and 1 had the greatest difficulty- in keepintj the, fire goiiig/ 5 However^whett^tlle'^ttuints were strong enough,' 1! carefully planted them out, one at 1 a time F in; the clearing, where they, grew all right.,, I thought I liad out- .. wittedthe ra'ts/buill was mistaken. When: .theflowers appeared on the pumpkins they devored the ovaty'of all:43ie female ones ;' marrows the^sa'irie;.';' The melons, however, .they left, urifcouched"until ;Ttliey,had at-' tairied the size of orangeS^whetf they disappeared like magic.i • Out of, nearly two . acres Of iriaize, .only about twelve plants escaped. I tried to 1 save tUi seed from these byjputting the,few ; tins J/had over ,them; but, r it-was ,4tute u.s^^Bjft; I did not get a single? grain of maize from it, nor had we, any on the; island, for^.ti^o years afterwards. At this r time the rats had in-

creased to > s,uch, an extent as to 4 be, '*-. almost ■ , , indescribable. iThejrswarmedoyefusinbed, and we had .to take refuge in the )patakv.: Towards,, evening, the .ground^in the > neighborhood-pf our "dweUingi seemed to be a moving mass, of .rats. dis-' turbed, they darted into some large heaps ,of jpumicejstone thathad-been gathered off ' ihe;land}by,former*residents. ,{l'_'yraa at a., loss at first tp.'knp^r.what^such vast:/'" numbers of rats could find to .'eat, until gqing into the, bush, I observed the ; * ground rooted up* ii i many places, seem- : ingly < -for .jearth . worms; rpAcres ■ were rooted up in "this manner, resembling pig- <■ rooting on a small scale.,. These rat« were alive wlth^fteaß, I'which' soon made up for ■ the absence of sand flies, and^osquitoes.

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Bibliographic details

Life on the Kermadecs., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2438, 30 May 1890

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Life on the Kermadecs. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2438, 30 May 1890

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