LETTERS FROM THE LITTLE FOLK. Motto : — We write for the benefit of others, not for ourselves.
Dear Dot, — I think it is about time for me to give an account of my doings, you know, so here goes. I shall treat you with a volume or two. Well, first of all, I mu3t thank Doloroso for her encouraging remarks concerning the Ben Lomond. She has evidently taken me for a greater Jonah than I really «; but of course, I shall let hei off this time, trusting that she will never have the misfortune to get stuck in the mud herself, in . which, case I would probably feel like leaving her on instead of "off." Well, I never, says Dot, if obat Queen Fellow hasn't done "a shoot" from Alexandra already. Alas, biich is the case, Dot, and, mind you, I tried all I knew to bui d up a large bump of inhabitiveness and settle down, but, of course, I must go and do the exact reverse, and settle up with the boss where I was working. Nevertheless, I managed to put in two whole weeks in this place, which has apparently appealed to the romantic side of Indian Chief's nature (judging by the cracking up he gives it), during which time I failed, to discover any of the proverbial shady nooks or beauty spots. However, my visit to Alexandra was not altogether fruitless, for while there my scene of operations was a nursery, where there were a iot of apple trees growing, and during working hours I had the good fortune to unearth several dandy grey russets, and some dandy red ones too. In the orchard where I ws-s weeding I could command a splendid view of M. P. D.'s little homestead, which was nestling in a olump of weeping willows, and) to my eye it seemed the prettiest little spot in the whole locality ; but, of course, we must - allow for the magnetic attraction of the 3/. F. who was within its walls. There- is, however, one redeeming point about Alexandra, ard that is,' there is an easy way of getting out of it, and I might tell you, Dot, that' aftei 14 days' hard labour (not in gao 1 !, -ecu know) I made this accessible vray my redeeming point, and turned my facs straight in the direction of Roxburgh. Before bidding my final adieu to this holy city (I call it this, for there a.re holes and shafts in every direction), I sat down on a form underneath the verandah of one of the inns, to collect my scattered thoughts, as it were, when who should come along but that young scamp Bend'igo, sin^moout "Hullo, Queer Fellow!" at the same time displaying a grin which reached 'from the peak of his cap right down to his shirt collar After comparing notes and wishing each oth<?~ all sorts of things which we knew that neither of us would ever see, I bade my L.F. chum farewell for ever, and quickly struck out for bningle Creek, which was about 17 miles on the road to Roxburgh. The scenery was delightfully wild-looking on either side, for aboiit eight miles, when it began to assume a more civivhsed aspect owing to the presence of some cultivated land and odd dwellings. Towards midday I came to a little creek crossing the road, and on gazing up the gully which it flowed from I could distinguish the ruins of what seemed to be an old miner's hut. Being of an investigating turn of mind, I quickly steered for it, with the intention of exploring for hidden treasure, which is one of my numerous forms of insanity, when, lo and behold! when I reached there I was greeted with a "Where you flora com?" in a decidedly Celestial tone of voice. I tell you, Dot, I was taken aback— at least I mean I felt like taking | myself back as quick as possible. The situaI tion was so embarrassing, you know — rue es-
pecting to have a quiet moon round, ueve? dreaming the o d shanty was occupied, and least by a "chinkey." I made an excuse, saying that I had .cst my way, trying to imitate his mode of speech as much as possible, but • he extracted the wrong meaning, and thought I had lost something else, some valuable or other. He replied in a confused way, say1 ing, "Me no gottee; you look-see," making j a gesture in the direction of his shanty. All J this time 1 was holding my breath as much, as possible, for fear I shoxild inhale some of the deadly gases which seemed to issue from the open door, so, needless to say, 1 did not accept the invitation to look-see, but struck out for Shingle Creek once more, fce'.ing a wee bit disappointed. Look here, Dot, it would do your poor old heart [The idea! even if the writer is a queer fellow. — Dot.} good to go along that road 1 and s-urvey the I works of Nature. I am no good at describing I things, especially scenery, but feu aLI ihat I can enjoy it and take an everlasting impression of its beauties, which months or years cannot blot out. There was, however," on© drawback, and that was too many tributaries of the Molyneux got into one's way. I think, if I remember rightly, I encountered "22 cf these from Alexandra to Roxburgh, and co, you see, I had every reason to whistle that good old tune, "One more river to cross.'' X. reached the Shingle Creek accommodation, house at 10 — no moon, and a deluge prevailing. I tel'i you I was pretty thankful when I tumbled up against a wheel-barrow, or something, and heard a dog bark. Ten minutes I found myself in a, cosy little room with «v vacant bunk in it, into which I quickly stowed my weary bones, and soon I was unconscious of everything surrounding me. When I came to my senses next morning I discovered that my clothes had been spirited away while I had been wandering through the land of nod, so I had to content myself in bunk until Lhe'r were retvirned in a dry state, as I had received a fairly good ducking the night previous. After stowing away a fair.y good breakfast, a.nd L~ riding my hosts farewell. I set out again to cover the remaining i" miles to Roxburgh, which I managed m three hours, arriving there just about midday. I remained ihere just exactly 24 hours, during which lime I came into contact with A Kilted .Laddie, Teviotite, and Pat Sneezer. The last-nainecT gave me an introduction to three L.F. girls, I who were pretty closely related to A Kilted; t Laddie. I am sorry to say I am altogether in the dark as to thear noms de plume, as they refused to "give themselves away," as they put it. However, they were anxious to learn who I was, and I in turn kept them i» the dark. Finally, they took to speculating, j one laying odds that I was Texas Jack, winJo • another would have it that I was Indian Chief, j She was perfectly sure of this, as she had seen my photo in the Witness. Now here was chance for a rare old joke, as it quickly occurred to me that I had received I. C.'s auto., and I knew his name and address. Presently they asked me if I would tell t-hem. my owe. name, and, of course, I consented, giving thfim I. C.'s real name instead, so you need not be surprised, Dot, if you hear that Indian Chief was at Roxburgh lately. I hope that personage won't be annoyed if he happens to see this. I left Roxburgh in the company of AKilted Laddie, who was acting as my guide. We made down the great MoJyneux towards Teviot station. While walking aLong together my guide pointed out the aomes of Dame Trofj and Izerica to me, but I hadn't the pleasure of seeing eithei of these L.F. We r>axted three miles from Teviot estate, where I made to that night, and where I am working at present. Hoping this letter won't fill the whole page, I will close, with love to Cosy and the L.F. generally, — Yours truly, QUEER FELLOW. [Queer Fellow is indeed a rolling- stone, j He must be pretty familiar witih all Otago j now, and no doubt he finds pleasure in seeing j new districts and new faces. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — I am going to tell you about & trip I had to Omakau the day the railway was official.y opened. I got up early, and y-as very soon on my way to the railway station, but I had to wait a long time on the train, because it was late. Arrived at Omakau r I got off the train and started to have some dinner, which was ! very acceptable after my long ride. After hearing a. speech from the Premier and some other men, I had to make tracks for the 'bus again, and was very soon on my way home, after spending a very happy day. I was at a. church sociaJ on Thursday night, where I ; enjoyed myself immensely. The Naseby ; choir sent out some singers, whose contrib-t- ) tions were very much appreciated by ali. To j our local talent I must now tender a word of praise. One lady over 70 years of age took the shine out of them all, and' it was really a treat to hear her sing. During the interval tea and cakes were handed round by the ladies, and this part of the programme -vas very much enjoyed by all. After singing tne j doxo'_ogy the people repaired to their homos | haying spent a most enjoyable evening, j Wishing all the little folk, the editor, ju.d yourself a, very happy Christmas, — Yours Irvly, UAui>x'S HELPER." [Thank you for your kind wishes, Daddy's Helper. I am. sure we all heartily reciprocate them.— DOT.] Dear Dot, — Our A. and P. show was°held on the 30th November, about a mile and a-nalf this side of Arrow, in one of the paddo:;bs belonging to the Ayrburn station. I can. tell you, Dot, it was a great luccess, for .heie j were over 1000 people present, and out of tbat I crowd, you may be sure there were a good ! number of D.L.F. Indeed, there were ra.ih.er i too many to mention their names here. Iknow that I spoke to about 15 or 16, but vejy few had their badges on. When I read Nancy Lee's last letter in the paper 1 fully intended to return th© compliment to her, out I had! a, yarn to her and L. O. L. on Sunday e\ ening, and she tc-ld me that it was an O.W. that had written the letter for her. V'ell, Dot, when an O.W. takes the lead in criticising, *urely there is an excuse for those who have only been a few months writing! And what an example-=for, as Ir>dian Chief oays, "The old cock crows, and the young onolearns." Well, if the O.W. criticise, the youay ones learn. What will the page be ma. few months' time? We (have not such a lcng time tliat the L.F. should only think of criticising instead of making their letters as ylessant as they can. And I thank the O.W. much for making a mountain out of a uolehill. We 1, I think myself, when an O.W. can't leave the page in peace, he or she ought to resign altogether. Wishing Dot, the editor, and all the L.F. a merry Christmas and a, happy New Year, and with Love and best wishes to Zeaha, Lallie, L. O. L., Nancy Lee, Snow, Queer Fellow, Isle of Beauty, Spring Gun, and Tang'.es, — Yours truly, DOLORO3O. Dear Dot, — Since we last wrote to you there has been very changeable weather, and we are just beginning to get summer weather new. To-day was the first time for ripe strawberries to come down from, Roxburgh ; r.ncl it will not be long before the fruiterers aro on the tramp egain. We have a large strawberry garden near us, and the owner is very liberal with them. We have church service here every Sunday now, and! a very nice minister, whom everybody seems to like. fome of the young girls and young men of Rae's Junction have just started to chip the tennis court, so we are kept busy preparing for our I summer's enjoyment. There have been several weddings up this way, including a double
«ne, but we were at none of 1 them, so we "can't tell you what they were like. Owing to the ■wet weather, the sheep • farmers are very backward with their- shearing. - There is a farmer up here breaking. in a young -horse, and it is great fun watching the men holding on to the rope while- it kicks up, its legs and runs xound the paddock; then.. it stops suddenly, and the men have to -wait until it makes up its mind to move again. .We had a concert up here on the -21st of October in aid of the sports to be held here on the 2nd of January, New Year's Day being on' a Siinday. We would be very pleased, -Dgt, to see you ■up afe them if- you would come, or any of the Dunedin D.L.F. As it was a wet night, there •were not so many present aa would "have been the case if it had_ been fine, . tut those who "were .there seemed' to enjoy themselves. The concert* started ;at about half-past' 8 o'clock xrlth. a piano solo b.y Miss Clark, who also played during the rest of the evening. Some very nice songs "were sung, and a "farce was performed by two young girls and two i men, after which' tea and oakes were handed round by 'the young ladies and young men. The floor was then cleared for a dance, during - -which, songs were .sung, and another tea 'was handed round before the people set out for home. But the fun was not all over then, - for^outside a drag with four horses was waiting to take the people to their homes. Watching the women and children all getting seated ■ was really as.good, as ffche otherrpart. -Before -clpsicg our letter,. D6^, we-should-be pleased if "the * '3X.1i.F1 who— were 'lip this" way in •winter could- see the" difference * between the mucl and the - dust. ■ With -love 'to Anthea and" Duicie and all the other- DXi.F., not forgetting yourself, Dot,- and "the - editor, — Yours truly, - - . - TWO SCHOOLMATES. Dear Dot, — My eldest brother, who is only 11, : had "a^ narrow escape of" having his -kg • broken- a few weeks. -^"go. The" horse-h e was driving became unmanageable, and bolted, throwing him to the ground. The wheel of the buggy passed over' his leg, but he escaped "with a 'slight bruise. 'About a month ago, •while on my way tq,JWoodhaugh, Harry Tode past on horsebacK but I did not speak-be-cause he passed me so quickly. Christmas is not far off now, and I hope, the L.F, will give Dot a holiday in Christmas week, and not be writing like some of them did^last year. Of I don't mean all of them :. there are exceptions. With love to Fairy Queen, not forgetting yourself,- dear Dot. — -Yours truly, . .- PRINCESS MYRTLE. [Thank you," Princess Myrtle, iox l your timely reminder to thoughtless L.F. I hope they will bear -your remarks in. mind.— DOT.] Dear Dot,-^The^weather of late has- not been of the best. TOrdayj is not ,very bright, but altogether it is. rather, inclined to be. wet now and then, it is hot a. bad 'day. The fi rs t three weeks of last month were very wet, there hardly being one day in, which "it did not rain more, or less. The /King's Birthday was a bright and sunshiny day, as';fine.as,you could ■wish, but the brightness did not last to the next .day. The"" next week _after the King's Birthday was something dreadfuA, and although it rained a great deal, we managed to get to school four days out of five," which •wasn't bad considering the distance, "(four miles) we have to go, was it? On"Ttiesday morniDg, as it was not raining- much, we started offhand got to school quite, dry. .-In, the afternoon it simply poured, and by home 1 time it was very wet indeed. One-" of my mates said, to me, "You'lt-^get drenched," 'to .which I replied" that a-s we were not made. of sugar, we:would not- melt. , We quite expected *>to.get a bit wet, but riot so badly as we did. You can imagine_us going along, Blue Violet and I sitting . in .' front, both wrapped- in a - cloak, > with =a rug over our knees, and' Blue ' Violet holding tip' a large umbrella to keep eoine of . the. ,rain off. Water Lily, who sits behind us, on a low stool, bad tlie same protection from the rain. We were just about half way home when there was a flash of lightning, closely followed by a roll of thunder; then the wind blew with' all its might, and the rain simply -poured down. Sam, our horse, "began to walk, for he found he could not run against' the wind. Blue Violet was struggling not to let the wind under the umbrella, the ribs of which ; were bending in so much that they nearly touched the handle. Ha'.f a minute later the scene was altogether changed. Blue Violet was nolding on to her limbrella, which was inside out, and trying its best to fly a-way from her over the. side of the cart. Water Luy was also holding on to her umbrella, but not in' suoh v a"- plight, for, sitting where, 'she -does, she 1 wag somewhat sheltered by lisin front tof her.' "Sam had his ears laid back, and was backing into the ditch on" the left-hand ' side of "the road. I cried out, "Whoa,. Sam!" and he stopped for a few seconds. My only thought was to stop him altogether, so I dropped rug, rbooks, reins, and everything, and jumped down after him," my cloak flying open in the act. hatching the reins close to the bit, one in each hand, I puhed him forwards well on to the road, an act he did not appreciate in the least. Letting go one rein, I ,then .made hinv go on' at *- : Jig-jog pace," much against iis wilL " The showier had nearly- stopped but I 'still kept hoia of him till 4g4 g was .well over. . Thexoads^ were •just'-'s'treaniing with'- water}" and I wSs soaked to the skin.' The front of, my skirt - was dripping *water, some" of ' which ran down my stockings into my boots. ' makingmy feet .feel vcold. It was ' ccJ.d, Wribly cold, for not only did it rain, but a good' percentageof hail' fell a 150.," When -I got .ba-ck into, the cart things were not -in a very" "bright condi-tion,-but we, could not help laughing when we saw -the objects we presented." Blue Violet was wet, her face, which is usually pa^e, bein<* a bright pink, showing where the hail ha 3 etruok her, and her hair all over her face. Water Lily was iv much the same condition, "but not so bad. I think I was ditto, for Blue Violet informed me that I was about twice as led as usual, so I must have been bright red, as I have always got plenty of co.our. The lest of the journey home" was not very wet, but we all fe';t wet, cold,, and miserable before we reached home, but when we got -there that was soon a thing of the past. It was the worst shower" I can remember, and coming *on so suddenly, when we 'were not prepared for it, made"" it worse. At home they were afraid that Sam might turn right round, but it is ■just as well he didn't, for the road was rather narrow in that place. We noticed next day two trees lying on the ground close to where we met the shower, having been blown over, - and the- tops oi several others were also lying about. None of us, you may be sure, wish to bs caught in such a shower again, for it ■vi&s by no means the most pleasant experience. 1 am very glad 1 to see that you have been able to see your way fo have an Old Writers' week this month. I hope a large number of the retired D.L.F. will write, for I am sure everybody will be glad to hear from them again. lam hoping to see letters from C.C.M., Moyra, Daisy Primrose, Hairy Farrar, Moonlight I, Cooee, and many other old writers ■whose names no-. longer appear on an ordinary week. The Greymouth. Agricultural and PaaturaL show was held on November 30 and December 1. My two c dest sisters, my brother, end Water Lily were down the first day, while the rest of us stayed at home to look, after the cows, calves, etc. The second day father, Grey Valley, Blue Violet, and "yours truly" vrere down at it. Just before we left home it began to rain, but the afternoon in town was firy, except fox a slight drizzle once or twice.
The show was not much, as regards stock, but we enjoyed it all the same. The three of us were wearing badges, and kept a sharp lookout for other badge-wearers, but did not see a. single one. Where, in the name of goodness, do you Greymouth L.F. keep your badges? For over four years, whenever I have been in town, I have worn my badge, but I have never seen another. With my sisters it is just the same thing. If you have badges, and I believe some of you have, why don't you make some use of them? I also wish some of you would let us know if you are still in the land of the living, for some have hot written for years. This applies not only to the Greymouth L.F., but also to some of the other West Coast writers. Oh, Dot, doesn't time fly? Here we are. three weeks from Christmas, and neany half of summer gone. I suppose this time three or four weeks we will be hay-making. I suppose I ' had better stop now, but before doing so I must wish you, Mr Editor, and all the D.L.F. a merry Christmas and a bright and happy New Year. — Yours truly, WEST COASTER. [Well, that was a trying experience, West Coaster, and it is a. good thing storms like that are not matters of everyday occurrence. Fancy, if one of the fallen trees had come down when you were passing! You wexe fortunate in getting off as well as you did. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — Have you ever seen cape -pigeons? They 'are coloured b.ue and white, and 'are a 'kind of seagull.^ They came about ,here when we were ploughing, to get the ;worins. They never settle ' to the ground p- • when picking- up the- worms they keep flapping jkheir_ wings. ~ Lately it has .been wet, and the river was in flood. My brother went up to cur top paddock, and only at one place was the sand above the water. On the top of the sand was -a cape pigeon's nest scratched out in the sand, with one egg in it. Its colour was brown, with black spots. Dear Dot, I shall tell you two true stories aboxit cats. One of my friends used to pjit the milk inside an open window. When the cream was set the cat would go to the window, and put its paw in, and skim the milk and drink the cream off. I have heard of a cat that took the cream -off the milk in the cans. Some netting was put over the cans, so that the cat could not get the cream. Pussy was, however, very wise, for he then put his tail down through the "netting, and pulled it up covered with cream, -tvhich he proceeded to lick clean. His litt'ie trick was not found out till one day he was caught in the act. His owner wondered- why he was so plump and his tail so greasy. .The creamery has started here this season after not having been running for two years. Dear Dot, I live on a. farm, and we have 12(khens and two roosters, and there are 150 chickens. We have 25 young ducks and • •14 old ducks and three drakes. We are milk- ' ing 24 cows, and I help at night, and I like it. Some years ago ,w/ had a cow called Lady, whose colour was red and white. On one side was a red splash, like the map of v Australia, and very -ike it it was. I passed the last theory examination with 98 marks, and I was at the top of the list. I was at the show, and the 4our-iri-hands were very pretty. There were a good many horses; but there were more horses than cattle. With love to all L.F., Mr Editor, and not forgetting , yourself, — Yours truly, ' BLUE VIOLET. [Wha-t- ar remarkably 'cute cat, Blue Violet. I fthink .he, must have been endowed with reasoning power to -a considerable extent. Yoixr remarks about the cape pigeons are very interesting. ■ I suppose they foLow the plough to* find' the worms.— DOT.] ' Dear Dot, — I saw my letter in the page a. week ago, and^ I noticed tha.t my norn de plume was incorrectly ' printed as the Tagabogs. "Zagabog" was- the name I wrote, but . niy" peculiar way of making the capital letter no doubt Jed- to the mistake. Our weather is getting very hot now, and> the earliest peaches are ripening. The Frimley orchards, near Hastings, are not a success this year, owing -to the severe frosts in early spring. The damage done was caused trough 'some of the men- neglecting to keep the fires burning all night. The smoke of the fires amongst the trees keeps the frost from injuring the young fruit. The orchard covers 300 acres of ground, and contains principally peaches, prunes, and grape vines. In August the trees present a dazzling forest of pink and white. I have had the pleasure of studying its more substantial autumnal beauties. Many were the excursions the other fruitpackers an~ myself made into the orchard, and many were the golden plums, juicy peaches, and luscious grapes that we disposed of. Wofully uncomfortable also, did the younger members of the party feel afterwards. The season for the packers lasts on'.y a few months, but the wine has to be made and stored later, so a good many men are employed for half the year. - -The Frimley Factory, situated a quarter of a mile from the packing shed, also employs a number of men and girls. But enough of fruit. I read Harry's interesting letters about his visit to the north. If he lived at Hastings he would see plenty of Maoris. , „ TJie. town is. always full of lounging . 1 men, and ths shop steps are generally crowded wahines ■ and their piccaninnies. The women .wear full blouses, called,, hookareres, i and short, .full skirts. As no Maori woman thinks of riding otherwise than astride, their , style of 'skirt is especially useful. An amusing 'scene with a fat old Native for chief actor . took, place at the theatre some time ago. It .was - while "The ■ Collee-n Bawn" was being played. The play was _so pathetic 'in one .part as' to make 'ladies weep, or pretend to do' so. No such mild, decorous grief for our , friend the Maori, though. At first he got | up and walked about wringing his hands and j sobbing, but as the heroine's plight grew i worse and worse, he sat down and blubbered out aloud, "Oh, my poor gel, I so sorry for ' you ; my heart an* soul, I very sorry for you." His anguish-stricken tones, his fat, shaking sides, and the big tears ro.ling down his cheeks -and dropping on to the floor changed the sobs of the audience into stifled giggles, but the ' cqor man was so absorbed in his grief as to ! be quite unconscious of the amusement he was i causing. As I very seldom write letters at all, I have found the arranging of this rather hard. With love to all,— Yours truly, i THE ZAGAxSOG. i . [You have succeeded admirably, Zagabog, and have written a most interesting letter. The tender-hearted Maori evidently caused more amusement than the play. I suppose he became wreathed in smi e3 when the colleen's fortunes changed and everything ended happily.— DOT.] Dear Dot,— l have intended to write this letter for a good long while, and as I fe&' in a humour to write to-day, I thought I would do it bafore the holidays. The last three or four weeks we have had real summer weather and scarcely a shower of rain. The grass was getting burnt. up with the heat, and the creeks were not -running, so everybody was oiying out for rain. One day last week it poured, but it was all dried up in no time. These last three days it has rained a' most constantly, just clearing up this ' afternoon. The ram was very much needed. Now I must tell of all the holidays I have had since I wrote last. First of all. J. went to Waipu, a Gaelic community, and they are like al'i Scotchmen, most kind and hospitable. To get there my father and brother had to pull across the harbour in 6ur boat, and then I had a drive of 14 snile3 ftlons' & dreary sandy road, aad it was
such a cold night I was nearly frozen when I got to my destination. (It was in winter.) I stayed there for over a fortnight, and had a most enjoyable time. One day my friend took me to see an old lady who knew scarcely any English, but she did not tell me that till we were at the gate, or I think I shou.d not have gone in case I laughed. However, I thought I could surely manage to keep from laughing, but, axas! as soon as the door opened the Gaelic started, and, of course, I didn't understand a single word. To my delight a young lady was there, so there was somebody to talk to me, and it wasn't quite so bad. But the last stroke came when a lady who understood and spoke Gaelic appeared on the scene. She was neatly attired in a riding habit and a bright red Tarn o' Shanter pinned very artistically on her head. She shook hands ai;l round, and then the lady of the house screamed out something in Gaelic, and ran away from the newcomer to the other side of the room ; ' whereupon the other three all burst out laughing, anu although I didn't know what she said, it was so amusing I couldn't refrain from putting on a very broad smile. When the laugh subsided I asked •what she said, and this was the answer: "I thought that was a. cat you had on your head." It seems the old lady had a great dislike to Tarn o' Shanfers, and she always said that if anyone was wearing one. The next Gaelic conversation I heard was one lovely day the lady and gentleman with whom. I was staying went to visit an old Gaelic couple about a mile away. This time the whole- four of them were talking in Gaelic, and- it sounded so funny, I had to bite my lip, and, rea.:ly, if a few sandflios had not kept me employed I should have been in fits of laughter. When we were leaving I could have clapped' my hands, as, really, I don't think I could have kept quiet much longer. They have a Gaelic service there every Sunday morning. I didn't go, but I have heard them over here. The singing is .ovely: so plaintive. Every Monday there is a Gaelic class. They wanted me to go, but I told them I was afraid of laughing. I had a lovely day to come home, and when I got out of the coach I was offered a sail over in a- boat instead of going by the steamer, as our boat wasn't across. I gladly accepted, and had a delightful sail across. Next, about a month ago, I went to Maungakaramea-, 14 miles inland from Whangaxei. Angel'esea was there once. I left here in the morning by the oil launch, and my friends were in Whangarei waiting, than I had a delightful drive but in a sulky. The roads were very good. It was dark when we arrived, as we didn't leave Whangarei till late in the afternoon, so I didn't see the place tSil the next morning. Like Waipu, it lies in a hollow, but I prefer it to Waipu; the only fault is there is no river and no* sea. At the back is a- range of mountains called Tangihua, which we ran see quite plainly from here; in the centre is a. small mountain, from which the ptace gets its name — Maungakaramea (Red Mountain). We climbed it one day, and could see the heads quite distinctly, but we cannot see it unless we go up our mountain. The thing that struck me most was the lovely flat green paddocks enclosed by stone dykes'— such a. large number of them, too. I didn't have any long rides at either place. One day, at Waipu,. I got on a pony bareback, and, of course, had to faf;l off, and I -get teased about it yet. At Maunga I got on an old horse a friend was riding to, bring in the cows, and every time I hit him he bucked, and the ground is so stony that if I had fallen it would have been^ on something harder than the ground. I stayed a week, and had a really first-rate time. I was driven into Whangarei the day I oame home ; then I had. to go down to the wharf in a. train, next on to the Ngapuhi,. and when we got to Marsden Point I had to get on to the Coromandel, the tender boat. Lastly, I was landed on our beach in the borough rowing boat. Wasn't that a change about for such a short distance — 14 miles' drive, and IS miles by sea. On November 9 tb-are was an excursion from Whangarei down to TTrquhart Bay, four miles from here, so three friends and myse.f decided lo ride down and spend the day. We had a delightful ride, down, our horses going like fun. After lunch eight or nine of us walked over to Smugglers' Bay. It was a lovely day, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. One of my friends took our photos, but, alas! we cracked the plate in one, though the other is pretty good. Fancy, this is the iast month of the year. Our fruit trees have a good show of fruit, but with the wind this last -week such a, large number of peaches have been blown off. Still, there are a good many on. With love to all L.F. and yourself,— Yours truly, PRINCESS OF THE FAR NORTH. P.S. — My name is longer than most, but you never found any fault with it, Indian Chief. A merry Christmas and' a happy New Year, to you and the editor and all L.F., and success to O.W.W.— P. O. X. F. N. [Thank you, Princess. I nope your anticipation of having a gcod time at Christmas will be realised. — DOT.] .Dear Dot, — Here I ,ani again with Christmas greetings to one and al;l. Just fancy this being December. I can scarcely believe it. But oertainly the weather does not appear to justify the fact. Since you last honoured me by inserting in your pagea a letter of my composition I have come farther north, into the windy province of Canterbury. Perhaps syou would like an account of how I spent two ■days in coming up here. Well, on Friday morning, at— well, I shan't tefc you what time — I awoke from peaceful slumber to be reminded of the fact that at last I was "going away." I hurried everywhere at once, saying good-bye to all my friends'- of five years' standing. At 11 o'clock I caught the Tapanui coach, which plies between the township and the railway station. After a short ride I arrived at the station, where I boarded the Wai-pahi-Heriot express. At miserable, dxiil, windy Waipahi I waited for 20 minutes, after which I caught a goods train, which only took me as fax as Clinton, where I waited for two whole hours. Oh, merciless fate, why Clinton of aLI places in this miserable world of ours! I went up the street to find a fruit shop, and lo3e myse-f until train time. At length I caught sight of a fruit shop. I purchased some fruit and made the best of my way back to the hotel, where I sat wishing I was in Jericho, Halifax, anywhere, in fact, but Clinton. At last the express steamed into- the station, and I seated myself amidst the ■luxury of first-class cushions. With a good book to read, t never noticed where we were or what we were doing for an hour, until we reached Waihola, where I changetl my seat in order to see my old friend the lake. After we passed it I went back to my book, which was "The ..aif and Gipsy. ' At a few minutes to 7 o'clock I first saw the lights of the Dunedin railway station. As soon as we stopped I hurried 1 out on to the platform, where I found my sister and cousin. Hastily calling a cab, we seated ourselves preparatory to driving down to our destination in George street. After a good meal I dragged my weary frame off to bed. In the morning I drove down to the station in time to catch the 8 o'clock express for the north. Oh, it was simply glorious, Dot, being whirled along by the sparkling sea. It being the first time I had travelled so far north by train, I had intended to study the landscape properly, but when we got farther away from the sea I could see nothing but gozse hedges.
so I had to again resort to a book — this time . indyhaugh." I had to shut my window (not because of tunnels), and I was nearly suffocated the whole time. I caught the names of the small stations as we rushed past — Hinds, Windermere, Winslow, Tinwaid. I thought Aishburton would never come. But it did at last, and with it a feeling of relief that at last I was at my journey's end. As soon as the train stopped the friend who had come to meet me saw about my lnggage, and we then struggled to a hoteU as best we could in a fierce wind, and there I shall stay. If any picture-postcard collectors wil 1 ' send me one (or some) I shall return the compliment at once. I have some beautiful Indian views unused. I would very much iike to obtain some New Zealand or Australian views. If any L.F. are willing to exchange, will they please write address on the postcard, as well as whether they would like me to send them painted postcards or those meret y containing views. With much love to yourself and MiEditor, — Yours traly, ' YOUNG TYMON. [I hope Young Tymon will write again and tell us about her life in Ashburton, as I am sure her Otago friends will be glad to learn how she ;ikes her northern home. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — After an absence of over a year, I once more become an active D.L.F. In your last issue I read with interest Jessica's proposal to hold a picnic, and think it a very practicable idea. Mount Stuart is a favourite resort for all holiday-makers, and not very long ago the grocers held their annual picnic there, and it was most successful, and our L.F. band is equally as strong in numbers as the grocers, though no doubt' inore~ scattered. What a grand idea it would h<* to hold an annual picnic there, Dot. Everything favours the idea, for it is most central, and a well-known holiday resort. We read nearly every week of minor picnics, but this one would be "the" picnic, where, instead of the old-time bil.y, it would be the more modern boilers. With all our big stars (excuse the term) a committee could be formed that would do justice to the affair, and to the D.L.F. themselves. Now, dear Dot, I shall leave the picnic proposal to be further deait with by an abler pen than mine. As Christmas is drawing near, the D.L.F. will be giving an. account of their personal doings. I, along with some mates, contemplate a week's camping out in the Blue Mountains. Such holidays are becoming quite the fashion here. It is a fine holiday, in the bush, far from the madding crowd, where a most enjoyable and interesting time can be spent. Wishing you and the editor a merry Christmas and a happy New iear, and my best wishes to Jessica and her proposed picnic at Mount Stuart, — Yours truly, CORNISH. [I am afraid Christmas. wLI be past ere your letter appears, Coruish, ' but I thank you all the same for your good wishes, and trust you will have an enjoyable time camping out. — •] Dear Dot,— How time flies! "Why, 1903 and almost 1904 have come and gone since I last wrote to you. I have had one or two changes during that time. I left home this time year, and went to a place 10 miles from home ; tliera I stayed for 10 months, then I went home for a fortnight, and now I have gone to another place 30 miles from" home. This locality presents a vast difference from home, as there are not nearly so many hills, and- the place is much more thickly populated. There are a number of dredges up this way. -Have you ever seen a dredge working, Dot? ~ I have not seen one working myself yet, but I am going to have that ' experience some of these days soon. I was at the Gore show last week, and s&w five little folk, four of.whom. I was speaking to. When the horses were jumping the hurdles one of them ' fell, a<hd the rider was thrown, but, fortunately, the man was not hurt. I see when the litfce folk have, been for a holiday or at any amusement they say that they enjoyed themselves. Now, Dot, should they say they enjoyed themselves or enjoyed the holiday or amusement? The L.F. continue to increase. You must have a good many over a thousand now. I see by this week's Witness that Nance O'Neil's brother has had his wrist broken. Poor fellow! I hope it will soon be better. Weli, j Dot, Christmas is here again,: it seems no time since last Christmas. Wishing all the little folk and yourself a har>py New Year, — Yours truly, MISS MESSENGER. [Well, strictly speaking, Miss Messenger, I suppose we should say we enjoyed the entertainment or outing, but I think custom sanctions the use of the mode of expression you seem doubtful about. — DOT.] Dear Dot,— 'Since I last wrote to the L.F. Page, I have shifted quarters. Stony Creek, where I now live, is a lovely place. I was at the Clutha show, but I only saw three badges, though I expected to see a great many. I only knew one L.F., but I did not have the pleasure of speaking to her. It was the first i year I was there, and I thought it was all , right. It rained in the morning when we left, | but it cleared up when we got there,; and we ) were not sorry, Dot, for we drove, and it is , not very pleasant driving in 'the cold: and- wet.' The garden looks so pretty just now. The fruit trees are past their bloom time now, but the flowers are out in ah their glory. It is so pleasant in the garden, and such a sweet perfume the flowers have got. Dear Dot, here is Christmas again, before you know where you are. It seems no time since last Christ1 mas, does it? Are you good at weeding iiowerj beds, Dot ? lam just learning, and my hands are black; but^nb wonder, considering my norn de plume. We have such a. dear little foal here, and it is amusing to watch its capers. ' I am going to tell you about a day's outing , my sister and I had while up seeing one of , my sisters and a schoolmate. We left home about 9 o'clock in the morning, and had to walk about eight miles. It was" such a hot day, which made walking rather trying. We got to our destination just before dinner time, I and we were not sorry to reach it, for I ' thought we should never get to the end of our journey. We left my sister at quarter past 7on our return journey home. We thought we would take a short road by coming over paddocks, a way we had> only gone once before. .There was no road, only the storeman's wheel marks, and as it was getting dark we lost the wheel marks, but got on sheep tracks. Then we began to realise that we had lost our way. We went over some great big hihs, but could not -find the right road. We thought we saw it, but when we got down we found that what we saw was only a great big heap of tussocks. We travelled on, and at length came to a big creek, and we knew we were not past the road. The river was^down in front of us, .and my sister twas afraid, ..and kept saying, "Look out, or you will be in the river." We found the road after a long search, and when we got on the right road we found it was just alongside of us, and what a. laugh we had. We reached home at 10. — Yours truly, THE- -SfrA'CK-ajISL. | [So you learnt tha.t it is a mistake to take , a short cut unless you know it we' 1, Black Girl. After all, even the best of short cuts has some disadvantage, and it is much better to keep to the high road as a general thing. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — It is raining as hard as it can, because we were going for a walk; but that is always our luck. I am going to town tomorrow night, so I hope it does not rain, as it is the last time I shall get in until Christ-
inas. My sister and I often go for a walk in the fine evenings, and it is so nice to get the fresh air. One night last week Bess and I were at a party about a mte frcm here, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We had games, singing, and music, and it was simply grand. I met a number of L.F. there, and I knew most of them. With love to all the L.F., the editor, not forgetting your own dear self, — Yours truly, QUEj^xM i/AISY. [Rain seems to have a knack of coming just when we want it least, Queen Daisy, but that is one of the trials of life which we must bear with the best grace possible. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — It is a new sensation for me fc« he writing to your columns, but I suppose I shaL get used to it as the time rolls on. It is a great pleasxxre to write to the page. The D.L.F. must have had a very enjoyable tiina at the picnic to Outram Glen on the King's Birthday. I wish I had been there, but I suppose we country foi.k will have to be content to hear about the way in which the day was spent. I see a. good many D.L.F. complaining about toothache, but I don't think any of them can have it worse than I. Oh, Dot, did you ever like going to school? I am wishing for the day to come when I shall be able to leave. I live in a part of the country where it is very hilly and rocky. There is to be a concert at the break-up of the school, and the teacher is teaching us songs to sing at it. l cannot dance, so it is not much use for me to go to any concert, unless it is to look on while others are enjoying themselves. We have had some nice weather here with, the exception of a Tittle wind. With love to Geranium, Goldspur, and yourself,— Youis trul y. LITTLE MINNIE. [Probably when you have left school you wr.l wish your school days were back once -.more, Little Minnie. We are never satisfied, so it is well to cultivate a contented niind.--Dear Dot,— A few days ago I had a lovely spill oft my pony, Robin. I am not quite big enough to get on without first standing up on a higher piece of ground, so I led my pony to the side of a steep bank, put my foot m the stirrup, and swung into the saddle bcarcely was I seated when Robin made a leap and a bound, jumped the bank, and %vaa off. Accidently niy foot slipped out of the stirrup, and by degrees my trembling fingers let go the reins, which immediately fell "over his head, and, of course, were broken. -There then remained nothing for me to do but to hang on to his mane for all I was worth. But that couldn't -ast I'ong; I had to leave go, and Robin- had his way, as he always has, stubborn little brat, and before I realised my fate I had rolled off the saddle, and %vas flying in mid air, with Robin yards away. I oame with such a thud to the ground that I wUs rendered completely helpless for She rest oi the day. I was strictly forbidden never to try to get on a horse by mysef-f again, but I took no more notice > than if it, had been so many fairy tales, and I have got* on dozens of times since without anyone's assistance. In a few .days my sister will be home from a trio to Christchurch, and then I shall hope to go tripping to Roxburgh. I -.must now close, wishing all a happy Christmas and a very bright New Year.— Yours truly, .. FLOSSIE. [I think someone else must be stubborn besides Robin, Flossie, or she x would have taken more, notice of what she was told. It is fortunate yoxx sustained no serious injuries by your fa, : l. — DOT.] ' Dear Dot,— After all the kindness I received from the Dunedin L.F. during my stay in that city, it is only right that I should write and let you know about it. Of course,,jny usual lu&k was in attendance at the Competitions, and I came out with flying colours— at what end we shall not mention. Together with Areta. I went to the Literary and Debating -Club's meeting, where I was introduced -to most of those present, and after being introduced to the editor, Necl showed me round. This was the first of a series of meetings at which "I ' enjoyed myself splendidly. The picnic waa lovely, with the exception of the aching pains, which were much in evidence all over my, body for a few days afterwards. The Wednesday following I came home, but mother being away, we did not tell her about my staying away so long. My sisters said it was best t not to say anything; so after a while I consented to be silent about it. But I had my misgivings about our neighbours' silence, and, if you please, one of them, thoughtlessly I presume, went and split to mother. Poor mother was annoyed at oxir deception, but beyond that she let the matter drop. I must acknowledge the kindness of Areta*, Santiago, and Ned especially; but;, indeed, everyone was so nice to me that I must give thanks to all. When I went to my music teacher on my arrival in this beautiful place, I received a few words which took a deal of self-conceit out of me. I didn't think I was so bad*; but when, she told me that I had only a fortnight to study for my exam., I felt so small thai I could have crawled into a rathole, though everyone knows the improbability of my "ever getting in one. Last Friday, 2nd., I again made my way to Duuedin, but with no thought of .LJF..;-for before I . arrived, at Waitahuna - 1 made the discovery that I had left behind my ticket, without which no one can commence her exam. I telegraphed, home for it, so they sent it down by a lady in the 11 a.m. train on Saturday morning. I was nearly an hoitr late in getting- started, so I sivppose'l have done a great stroke. The result -will be out in March, so that is a while of grace yet. On my way down Lord Darlington and Jean Gerald" came to see me at -the Mosgiel s.tation, bitt on Saturday I looked! for' them in vain. On Friday night- 1 saw King- Dick- with a young lady, and on Saturday I caught a glimpse of "Elmo and Cherry Blossom from the car window. While waiting on the Milton, station for the Lawrence train, I spoke a fewwords to Sweetheart May. So ended my flying visit to town. I ana going to start riding a certain distance every night, and I hope to be able to bike to Mount Stuart for the picnic ; but I know it will be a tax on a dear, delicate, wee ( ?) girl like me. I know you - -will b© shocked! when I say I am writing this in. school ; but as it is approaching break-up we aren't doing much, so I'm making hay while the sun shines. Now, Dot, again thanking all, and with love to Lords Plunket and Darlington, I shall close with the compliments of the season to every one. — Yours truly, . - ~ REECE. [I think it was just as well that the neighbour told your mother of your prolonged absence, Recce, because you were all taught a lesson which will probably have a good effect on you for the remainder of yovir lives. Nothing is lost by being perfectly open and straightforward in all your dealings, q&d it is really much easier to adopt a straightforward course on every occasion than to descend to practise deception.— DOT.] Dear Dot, — I have attempted to write to your page several times, but being just rather shy — most girls are — of seeing my writings in print, I have always -until now given it up as a. bad job, but to-night I have determined to "do or die," as the saying is. Well, Dot, I suppose I should choose some nora de plume before going any further. After much consideration I have dpcided to choose as my representative that little birdie the Titlark. As I sit writing a large number of people are wending' their way past lo the Zealandia Hall to witness the production, by the 1.A.D.C.. of a drama entitled "A Noble Outcast." From all appearances the club are going to have a crowded! house. To-day ia Southland's gala day, for ths
— A wonderful freak of Nature is an oak ' one living knows how long Nature has been tree in the Par West, which has grown up assisting this oak in its work of sfconeJrom a sapling into a wide-spreading, hand- crushing. The oldest people in the neighfome tree, through a rock of flint stone, bourhood recall the tree in their childhood, splitting the massive rook by the tremend- . and experts in forestry say that it must «iv vxenw fif its vigorous srowttt. Ito Ibe f uljy 200 feara old.
Southland A. anclf P. Association hold their annual show to-day. They have had a good show, good weather, and a good gate. I noticed several D.L.F. at the show. Dear Dot, I see I you have been getting terrible weather in Dunedin l-ately. People may say what they like about Southland, but we do not get such nice little changes as you haye — siich as a few inches of water in our shops. We can generally manage muddy streets, but we have not got as far as that yet. I am looking forward to seeing the photos of some of the D.L.F. in the Witness next week, because I shall then know if any of them arc known to me- I mean, of course, the little folk out of Invercargill. I think I have said enough for my first try. Next time I 'hope to have a. little more news for you. I shall conclude by wishing yourself and all the little folk a merry Christina's and a happy New Year.— Yours truly, TITLARK. [I trust Titlark Kad a merry Christmas, ancl will have a happy New Year. — DOT.] Dear Dot, — The weather is not so bad just now, and I am beginning to think it is getting like summer. We had our annual show last week, and, luckily, we had a fine day for it. We had both cows and horses at it, and every one of them got a prize, some of them getting two. It was the largest show that has been held in Milton for some years. I enjoyed myself very much with my mates. There was a great number of L.F. there. A few of them gathered, and we walked round the ring looking for any other L.F. I see that the D.L.F. have decided to have a picnic at Quarry Bush on December 31, and I think it will be a great success. There are a great number of small L.F. around about here, and 11 the picnic were to be held at Mount Stuart the mothers would not want to let them go in the txain by themselves. Where it is held — and I >suppose Quarry Bush has been definitely decided upon — it will no doubt be an enjoyable picnic. It makes very zittle difference to me, Jessica, so make it where you please. I suppose we sha.l all have to take our own provisions and cups, and what about tea and sugar — who will provide them, or do we all take our own? With kind regards to all the D.L.F. and yourself, not forgetting the editor, — Yours truly, THE GAIETY GIRL. [You would see from Reta's lette*r last week that tea, milk, and sugar were to be provided, Gaiety Gin.— DOT.] Dear Dot, — Our concert came off on the 2nd December, and I enjoyed rnyseL. at it. I was not one of the performers," so I enjoyed seeing my mates going through their different parts, which they did very well indeed. Oui schoolmaster, Mr Aldred, is leaving us at New Year, having been appointed head master at Oamaru South. I don't know where I shall go during the holidays, but I hope I shall go during the holidays, but I hope I shall have some fun. I hope the picnic day will be fine, for I think it will be nice playing games and racing about all day with my mates. It is raining vei-y hard to-day, so I did not go to Sunday school. I wonder if I shall get anything this year from Santa Claus. I hope his bag is not empty when he comes round this way, and I hope he sees my stocking. Love to Premier,— Yours truly, ANNE.
Cooee. — The address i? Moray p<lace, Dunedin, dear. I hope you will not meet with disappointment in connection with the matter you speak of in your letter. Vidocq. — There are not nearly enough photos in for the group yet, so I cannot say when it will be ready to appear. Probably some L.F. will be getting their photos taken during the holidays, and if a few send copies in the number should soon be- made up. Rewa. — Yes, dear, I think it is a decided improvement, as the full name was far too long. Maobi Chief. — Thank you for your kind wishes, which I heartily reciprocate. Robt. — I am so glad to hear that, "though s-ilent, you aie very much alive to the pro- - gress of the page. ' I hope this is the case with numbers c*f our old- time favourite writers wno'se noms die plume are now conspicuous by their absence "from the page. I am indeed glad to hear that we shall have you on " the active list " once again during the coming year, and I sincerely reciprocate your kind greetings, and can assure you that your little gift has given me greatest pleasure imaginable.